He wanted her, but on his terms. He wanted to possess her, but only in bed. When she pushed back, he became angry and when there was someone else, he nearly broke down her door.
Aliza Mann’s Disarmed features a fascinating male’s point of view on romance. It was interesting being inside a man’s head and seeing the world through his eyes. Jessie behavior was everything that irritates me with men, but through it all, I wanted to heal his broken heart.
Jessie Workings was forced to return home for a little R&R and a mandated psychological evaluation by his commanding officer after his fourth tour in Afghan. The bright side was returning to Mavis VanHorn’s embrace.
Memories of Mavis, Jessie high school sweetheart, soothed him during the bitter nights in Afghan. After joining the military he found his way into her bed whenever he returned home but kept their relationship casual. But this time, she didn’t want scraps of his love, she wanted a deeper, more committed relationship and he couldn’t give it to her.
He emotionally struggles with dark guilt from the war and must sorts through the grief of surviving and being called a hero. Among the abundance of guilt, remembrances of the grieved expressions on the army wives faces haunted him and his fears replaced their grieving appearances with Mavis’s face. He is faced with giving her or walking away with what she already had his heart.
Take a look at this scene from Aliza Mann’s Disarmed.
When he saw her walking up the driveway, he thought he was imagining things. Maybe a mirage, or a vivid daydream. But as she moved closer, he was overtaken with the smell of wildflowers. She had on a fresh perfume that intoxicated him.
“Hi,” she said.
For a moment, Jessie just looked at her. He tried to hide his anger with her. He had no right. He’d told her that there were no strings, but in that moment he wanted to wrap her up in them. Then to show up, adding insult to injury?
“Hi, M.” God dammit, he hadn’t meant to call her M. That was for different times. When her body was pressed against his and her supple breasts were beneath his fingers. He told himself not to be angry with her. That he wasn’t and shouldn’t be pissed.
“May I sit?”
Jessie didn’t say anything, afraid that each word told a little more than he wanted. He just motioned with the bottle to the lawn chair that sat beside him. She followed his direction.
“You didn’t call.” She spoke before he had to.
“When I left the other day, you seemed to be too tired for talking. I wanted to let you get your rest.”
“Really? I was thinking something else. Like you didn’t want to talk to me.”
“Nah. I haven’t ever been that way toward you.”
She looked at him, leaning forward to see his eyes. The last statement, Mavis seemed to have a hard time digesting.
“I came because I needed to talk to you.”
Mavis stood and walked directly into Jessie’s line of sight.
“I need to know what to do here.” She was shaking. Her hands went to her hips, then folded over her breasts that peeked over the top of her coral colored halter top.
“What do you want to do?”
Looking off into the distance for a moment, she seemed to turn the question over in her mind, a wrinkle marring her delicate skin. She returned her attention to him, with resolve in her eyes. The white, flowing skirt that she wore pressed against her body as the wind blew. Her hair swished to one side, delicate strands wrapping around her neck and along her shoulder blades. Her hands fell to her sides. She looked as if she were surrendering. As he watched the fight fall from her body, his heart broke. He didn’t want to defeat her. He wanted her to accept that he could not give her the things she wanted more than anything from him.