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An early childhood of dodging fists and anger had taught Collin to shove down his emotions and focus on survival. He carried that same focus into adulthood and his job as a sniper assigned to the State Police SWAT team.
...What would Bernie do? That question had provided a compass for Collin since he was six years old and Bernie O’Shea pulled him from the garbage-strewn squalor that had been his existence, gave him a decent home and a solid sense of responsibility. Continuing Bernie’s legacy of justice with compassion had become more imperative since his adoptive father had been killed on duty. In fact, this life purpose was sometimes all that kept Collin from falling into grief over the outrage of losing a man who had become legendary to many in this rural part of Oregon.

Collin & Beth w/cover



Beth felt the same welcome that always surrounded her in this storybook house...Her dad sitting at a child-sized table with his knees scrunched up to fit in the chair while she plied him with make believe muffins and tea. His nervous shifting of feet when he took her shopping for her first formal gown. His gruffness as he grilled Collin about taking care of his little girl.

Beth pressed her hand against the ache in her chest as she stared at the splinters of boards that had once been her café. Her dream of being an independent businesswoman had been literally blown apart in a madman’s moment of revenge. She fought the temptation to slide back into the mindset of the awkward girl she had been in school. Afraid to reach out and make friends. Yearning to join in, but not sure how. The café had shown her how to join in, even if it was in the little town of Halo.

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Collin & Beth's Courtship

Beth drove slowly back toward Halo, savoring the taste of Collin’s quick kiss on her lips...She was at least half in love with the man–emotionally swept off her feet like a heroine of a romance novel. She had never imagined someone as strong and handsome would take any interest in her, let alone ask her on a date and kiss her.

When most of their hometown was destroyed in a beast-man's drive for vengeance, both Collin and Beth realized their lives could be snuffed out in a moment. They married in haste...

Collin was grazed by a bullet and Beth realized her husband could die any day on his job. Beth took refuge at her mother's house...and Collin realized what a fool he had been, thinking if he shielded Beth from the harshness of his job that would protect her innocence. Instead, avoiding reality pushed her away...Now he understood why Patrick left the priesthood. Why Marly moved hundreds of miles away from her job to start a new life. For love. For the one person who made the sun shine brighter; who brought new meaning and hope to life. Beth’s love was the illusive “something” Collin longed for since he had been a terrified six-year-old boy trying to be brave. Did he have the courage to give up the work that had defined his life for all his adult years to reclaim Beth’s love? Or was it already too late?

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