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Heart of a Warrior

Johanna Lindsey

PROLOGUE

BRITTANY CALLAGHAN STARED IN THE MIRROR, ABOVE her dresser, satisfied with the results. The blouse was sequined, fancy, but not too sexy. The jewelry was demure, nothing flashy. The long velvet skirt was elegant, slim, slit to the knee. It had taken her two hours to get ready, not that she needed that much time to look nice, but tonight was special, so she'd devoted more time than usual in her preparations.

Her makeup, applied just right, brought out the deep green of her eyes. Her roommate, Jan, had done her hair, managing to get the long mass of copper into a tight coiffure that would have earned Jan praise in her beauticians class. They made a great pair as roommates, swapping each others skills as needed. Brittany could fix just about anything that went wrong in the apartment and kept Jan's car in top shape, while Jan cooked most of the meals and did Brittany's hair for special events, since she never had time to get to a beauty shop herself.

They had been sharing an apartment in Seaview now for three years. It wasn't a big town by any means. Oddly, it wasn't by the sea either and the standard joke was that it was named in anticipation of "the big quake" that would show up one day, bringing the coast to them. A joke in poor taste, but if you lived in California, you either joked about earthquakes or you moved.

Seaview was one of the newer towns spread out inland away from the big cities, but within reasonable driving distance if you happened to work in the big city. The closest big one in their case was San Francisco. They were far enough away to not experience the chill weather and fogs off the Bay. They enjoyed such mild weather, in fact, that Sunnyview would have been a much more appropriate name for their town.

It was great having a roommate she got along so well with. Jan was petite, effervescent, always had a boyfriend on hand for anything she wanted to do, whether it was the same one or not, she didn't particularly care. She liked men, had a need to always have one around, even if she didn't take any of them seriously. Her only fault, if it could be termed one, was that she was a matchmaker at heart. She might not be able to settle on any one man in Particular herself, but she saw no reason that her friends couldn't.

Brittany had proven to be a challenging subject for matchmaking though, and not for the usual reasons. She was beautiful, intelligent, responsible, had interesting careers, and admirable goals. She just happened to be six feet tall.

Height had always been a problem for Brittany, from childhood on. It put a serious restriction on the relationships she could develop, to the point where she had stopped putting any effort into developing one.

She had tried dating men shorter than her, but it never worked. The jokes would come out eventually about her height, or the man would get ribbed by his friends, or more often, their faces would accidently brush against her breasts-deliberately of course.

She had decided, when she did marry, her husband would have to be at least as tall as she was. Taller would be nice, but she wouldn't hold her breath on getting that lucky, would settle for the same height.

Yet having such a problem did tend to make her notice tall men right off. Unfortunately, with a lot of really tall men, most of that height was naturally in their legs, and on some men, this tended to look a bit odd, particularly on the skinny ones. She'd take odd, though. She wasn't particular, just particular about not wanting to look down on her husband.

But a husband was a long way off for her, despite her age approaching thirty, or so she'd thought. Not that she hadn't wanted one eventually, but she was goal oriented, and she had one major goal that all her efforts were put into these days, owning her own home that she built with her own hands.

To that end, she worked two jobs, part-time at the local health spa in the evenings and all day on Saturdays, where she kept herself in good shape while doing the same for others, regulating diets and exercise programs. Her full-time job through the week was with Arbor Construction.

Sunday was her only day off, and the only chance she had to take care of the normal activities of life, like writing her family, balancing the checkbook, paying bills, house cleaning, laundry, shopping, repairing her car, etc. It was also the only day she had to simply relax, and she preferred to spend that free time catching up on sleep or working on designing her dream house, not working on a relationship. The two jobs gave her next to no time for socializing, which was why she had stopped trying-until she met Thomas Johnson.

She had tried seeing the same man more than once, every Sunday actually, tried it with more than a few men thanks to her roommate's persistence. But that never worked out well, because they soon resented that she wasn't available more often. She'd been waiting until after she had her house. She could quit the second job, then have the same free time that everyone else enjoyed.

Then would be soon enough to start looking for a serious relationship.

Tom had changed her mind about that. She had begun to think she'd never find the right man for her, but Thomas Johnson filled the bill beyond her expectations. He was six foot six so he met her major criteria, but he was also exceptionally handsome and an established executive in advertising. She was blue-collar, he was white, but they still found common ground. He might make her feel self-conscious occasionally, but that was too minor a thing to counter her belief that he was the one for her. Stubborn certainty might better describe it, but then she was Irish.

Actually, her last name might give testament to that, but her family were Americans to the core. Her grandfather Callaghan had owned a farm in Kansas that he built from scratch and that her father inherited when he died. This is where she and her three brothers grew up. None of the Irish part of their history had been preserved, if anything was known about it, because her grandfather had been orphaned too young to have learned any of it.

But their first names, well, it wasn't hard to guess that her parents had been a bit flaky when they'd started having children.

They denied being part of the hippy generation, called themselves "free-spirited," whatever that meant, and in fact, they had met while hiking cross-country, and had gone off to see the world together. They were hitchhiking through England when the first child came along, and had been so impressed with that country, that their sons got named York, Kent, and Devon, in that order.

As the only girl who showed up last, Brittany got named after the entire country. Her parents took offense when it was pointed out that Brittany was actually a province in France, and not the shortened version of Great Britain.

Brittany had a no-nonsense attitude about life. You lived it, and eventually, you might even enjoy living it. That was actually a joke or meant to be, yet it wasn't that far off the mark on her own life. She actually liked her jobs, got a lot of satisfaction out of them, she just missed having the time to do all the little things in life that everyone else took for granted. But then she was no stranger to hard work and having little time for simple pleasures. Growing up on a farm, you went to school, then came home to endless chores. She hadn't had much free time then, and when she left home, even less.

She had made time for Tom, though. They'd been dating for four months now, went out every Saturday night, spent every Sunday together. As a busy executive who often worked late into the evenings during the week, his time was also somewhat restricted, so he never complained that he couldn't see her more often, was probably relieved that she had no such complaints either. He hadn't mentioned marriage yet, but she didn't doubt that he would soon, and her answer was going to be yes. Which was why she had finally made the decision to give up her virginity to him.

     

 

2011 - 2018