Back from Hell by Marissa Dobson
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Lance Corporal Kyle Phillips’s life has been blown apart by an IED explosion. All the work he put in at boot camp is worthless. Now he feels he’s half the man he was before, with nothing to offer. His life fell apart in one brief moment and everything he worked for was gone. Better men than him died that day, and now he must come to terms with being chosen to live.
Staci Pence volunteers at a Veterans Affairs hospital in hopes that she could do something good. She had seen what the war had done to her father and in the end, he had taken his own life. Now she is using her own grief to save others. Her newest patient is Lance Corporal Phillips and while he believes he’s damaged goods, not worthy of living, she’s determined to show him otherwise.
Kyle had gotten to the point that he wished he’d died on that battlefield instead of living the life of half a man. That was until a woman with whiskey brown eyes and a feisty side strolled into his room looking to save him. Can he make peace with what has happened and open himself to the love Staci offers?
“Unless you brought whiskey, I don’t want a visitor and I don’t need anyone’s pity. I just want to be left alone.”
“Do whiskey brown eyes count?” As she neared the bed, she realized that the sheets fell flat where his left leg should have been.
That time he did turn and glare at her, but after a moment, a small smile spread across his face. “While I might be able to get lost in those eyes, I was talking about a bottle of whiskey. Now you didn’t just stumble upon my room, so who sent you?”
“One of the nurses, Brenda, thought you could use someone to talk to. Someone that isn’t here to judge you or determine if you’re fit for duty. Just a friend.” She raised an eyebrow at the deep laugh that vibrated his whole body.
“Fit for duty…” His words trailed off as he tugged back the sheet so she could see the full extent of his injuries. “You must be crazy. I’m being medically discharged. Everything I’ve worked for tossed down the drain. I should have died.”
“You were given a second chance at life, which means you’re meant to do something amazing.”
“Like this? What good is half a man?”
She pulled the cover back over him, not because she was disgusted by what she saw but to keep the burns and bandages protected. “You’re still the man you were before. Just because you’re injured doesn’t make you less so. Physical therapy will help you learn to use the prosthetic leg. You’ll be able to walk and drive again. You can do the same with the prosthetic arm, but most get to the point where they become comfortable without it.”
“How do you know so much about this? From what I can see, you have all your limbs intact.”
“I’m in my last semester to become a physical therapist. I’ve worked with many amputees over the years, some through rehab but most of them right here in this hospital. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easy but you’re a Marine, you don’t give up. You’ll push through in the end. You’ll be stronger and you’ll get your life back.”
“That’s easy for you to say; you’re not the cripple.”
“I think you need to consider that things could be worse. You still have one good arm and leg. Some who come back don’t have that. You’ll learn to do things with your other arm and you will move past this. You survived. So many others didn’t.” She tried not to sound harsh but she knew first-hand the cost of war. His reactions were natural but from the look of things and the fact he wasn’t drugged up from the pain, she knew he had been here for some time. He needed a wakeup call because, with his burns healing, he’d be discharged from the hospital in a few days.
“I’d rather have been one of those who didn’t make it back. I’d have changed places with Weber in a heartbeat if it meant he’d be able to come back to his wife and son.”
“You believe you’re half a man because of your injuries, but you’d want someone else to suffer them instead of you. Cruel, isn’t that?”
“If it meant he’d be here with his family, then yes, I’d gladly change places with him. Half a man is better than dead.”
“You’re right there, and you should be thankful you’re still alive.” She stood, grabbed one of the small cards she carried, and held it out to him. “My name and number. If you want to talk, call me and I’ll stop by.” When he didn’t take it, she placed it on the bedside table.
“I don’t need your pity.”
“I don’t need your pity.”
“Good because I don’t pity you.” When she reached the door she turned back to look at him one final time. “Think about what I said. You’ve been given a second chance at life. Don’t waste it.”
About the Author:
Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning.
Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with.
Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night.
Her writing buddy Pup Cameron, a cocker spaniel, is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but they’re helpful in their own ways.