Love Shouldn't Hurt

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Cherry Hill 6: Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Love shouldn't hurt, but that is exactly how Harper feels when it comes to her secret relationship with four sexy mercenaries. She loves them so much, but they insist on rules, for her to be a good soldier and be there for them when they come home between missions. She's losing her mind. It just isn't fair to love them so much, to give them so much, but have nothing to show for it but pain. Other soldiers like them claim guardianship of a woman, and even have families. Why can't they?

When she has an opportunity to explore old feelings for two other men, she decides to try and figure things out, but as soon as it gets a little intimate she puts on the breaks, feels guilty for loving her four mercenaries so much and she calls things off. When they find out they rage, but they admit to loving her, and worrying about her safety. They claim guardianship of her, and she's willing to be there no matter how long it takes between missions. What they never expect is by loving her, they've made her a target to an enemy they still hunt, and Harper may become the ultimate sacrifice.





Prologue



“Well that was a long night,” York said to Harper as they locked up and headed to their cars with Ade.

“Sure was, and right back at it again tomorrow,” Ade said, and then waved goodnight.

Harper saw the deputy patrol car drive into the parking lot slowly. “Looks like your friend is making sure you’re getting home safely,” she teased York.

“What makes you think it’s for me?” York asked.

“Oh come on, York, give the men a break. It’s obvious they care about you.”

“Not interested, plus I’m too young for them.”

“In years maybe, but life experience and maturity, no way.” The patrol car pulled up and Deputy Finn McCuen smiled. “Late night, ladies?” he asked, but his eyes were on York.

“Yup,” York said, and then Ade honked his horn as he pulled past them slowly.

“See you tomorrow. Night, Finn!” Ade said, and left the parking lot as Finn gave a wave.

“Well. See you tomorrow,” Harper said and gave York a sympathetic smile. She understood that York was resistant to engage in any relationships. She liked to keep things simple, and she had trust issues. She also knew not to push considering Harper wasn’t exactly following the rules of Cherry Hill and was having a sort of secret relationship with four mercenaries. She sighed and pulled out of the parking lot as she saw Finn get out of the patrol car and York lean against her car. The McCuen men were good men, and they were ten-plus years older than York. She felt badly for York and hoped maybe she could let her guard down and let the McCuen brothers into her life. Considering her recent phone call from her mom, Harper knew York was embarrassed by her family, and also her past. We all do stupid shit, but a juvenile record would be hard to admit to two deputies, and two Marines, the other McCuen brothers.

As Harper made her way home, she thought about Ferrion, Broaden, Lextin and Snipe. She missed them. Six months and counting, and still no word. Like they would contact her if they had an opportunity? Who was she kidding? She absolutely hated when they left and despised the fact that they kept their relationship with her, for better lack of a word, a secret. No one knew what they shared. They had to sneak around, and she was starting to get tired of feeling like a sexual object, a bedmate instead of their woman.

The sex was incredible, though. A connection deep, but what did she have to show for it? An aching heart. As she pulled up along her driveway and to the small house she owned, she longed for things her friends had, and other people in Cherry Hill. Committed relationships, guardianship, and companionship on a daily basis instead of convenience. She signed on for this type of relationship when she said she was okay with no strings attached. She didn’t think she would fall in love with them. She thought it would ease her desires, and in between she would work, focus on business, and then enjoy when they came home from their missions. She wasn’t getting any younger, though. Twenty-six, and suddenly living in this town, watching other people achieve happiness, and she suddenly wanted more. Maybe she needed to call things off with them? The thought instantly made her heart ache something terrible and a pain form in the pit of her stomach. She was so stupid. She’d gotten herself into this mess, and there seemed to be no way out but pain.

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