The tough times don’t define you. It’s how you respond to them that does.
Loving Kyle is a unique tale about love, war, letting go & moving on, from USA Today Bestselling author, Kasey Millstead!
Six years ago, my world was turned upside down with the ring of my phone and a gravelly voice on the other end. For months afterward, I felt like I surely wouldn’t make it through another day. Then my daughter was born. A bundle of joy, bright enough to light my dreary days, with a glow that warmed my aching heart. I’ve lived for her ever since.
As I stand here, staring at the man who looks so much like him, but is still so different, I find myself contemplating living for me, just for a little while…
Honorably discharged from the army after five tours to Afghanistan, I’m back in my home town and working as a Basic Combat Training instructor.
Falling in love with Liv was never part of the plan, but as time goes by and wounds are healed, the wall erected between us slowly starts to crumble. But Liv isn’t the type to give in easily. Then I remember I’m an American soldier.
I will never accept defeat. I will never quit.
It’s time she realized she’s mine.
“Deep down, I know two things for sure. One, my heart, head and gut all direct me to Kyle. Two, I’m going to continue ignoring them.”
My heart hurts. My throat feels permanently constricted from the lump of despair that has taken up residence in my esophagus. God, it hurts so much. I sit silently in the church beside Celia, both of us dressed in black, as the preacher finishes the service and ‘He ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ – the Bill Medley version – starts to play. My shoulders shake as silent tears roll down my cheeks. On my left side, nearest to the aisle, is Kyle, and as the first strains of the song stream through the church, he gently puts his arm around me and strokes my shoulder with his thumb. I pat his thigh, an unspoken gesture of comfort from one grieving person to another. After the song finishes, Kyle, Tom, Blake, Stuart, and my two brothers, Thomas and John, slowly carry Brant’s dark wood casket out of the church.
“We’re so sorry for your loss.”
“If there’s anything we can do, you know where to find us.” I want my boyfriend back. Can you do that? Of course, I don’t say those words, but I feel like it.
“I’ll stop by later and drop off a pot roast, dear.” Oh god, not a pot roast. I sob violently, reminded of the last meal I cooked for Brant. Only he didn’t get to eat it.
Died on impact. That’s what the police told us. At least he didn’t feel pain.
“The service was beautiful, Liv. Brant would be happy.” Would he, though? Would he be happy? Or would he be pissed because he’s no longer alive?
“I know it’s probably not the right time, but congratulations on your pregnancy. Brant would’ve made a fantastic father. Such a shame.” Yeah. Thanks for the reminder. I hear their words of condolence, but they sound far away, barely penetrating the numbness in my brain.