Navy Seal's Deadly Secret
Cindy Dees

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Everyone hoped that coming home would relax him enough to cut the memory loose. A military board of inquiry was waiting for his testimony—but they wouldn’t wait forever to hear his side of the story. Eventually, they would run out of patience and charge him with dereliction of duty.

He realized he was jerking the steering wheel roughly, barreling along the main road toward town. He took his foot off the accelerator and slowed to a saner pace. It was harder to force his fists to ease up their death grip on the steering wheel.

“Where would you like to eat?” he managed to grind out past his clenched teeth.

“Not Sunny Creek,” she blurted. “There’s a new Italian place in Hillsdale. Want to try that?”

“Sure.” Not Sunny Creek, huh? Was she afraid to be seen with him? Not that he was complaining. Lord knew he wasn’t interested in feeding the local gossip mill.

“What brought you back home to Montana?” he asked curiously.

“I have no idea what I was thinking when I came back here.”

Despair laced her voice, reminding him sharply of that moment in the diner when she’d seemed to long for death. Obviously, she and Eddie had split up. He would have to ask his mother for details. She knew everything about everybody in town.

Anna was silent, pensive even, for most of the drive to Hillsdale. But as he ushered her into a blessedly dark little dive of a restaurant, she smiled bravely at him across the candle in the middle of the table.

“You okay?” he asked quietly.

She blinked like she was startled. “I am, actually. You?”

He considered. “I guess I am.” Color him surprised. Since when had he gotten comfortable with her? Maybe when it had dawned on him that she didn’t want a darned thing from him.

The food was average, but given that he didn’t have to cook it, clean up after it and, furthermore, it was the first chicken parmesan he’d had in years, he enjoyed the meal far more than he’d expected to. He and Anna chatted about harmless topics—movies he’d missed in the past few years of being deployed, how bad he thought the coming winter would be this year, where kids they went to high school with had ended up. She conspicuously avoided discussing the fate of her husband.

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