Running Scarred (Book 1 in the Scarred Series)
2nd round placements (top 400) in the ABNA competition
2013 and 2014
Suitable for age 16+
About The Book
He once had it all, but for three years retired special services expert, Patrick has hidden himself and his terrible war wounds from the world.
But when a bright, beautiful woman buys the ruined château and estate on which his own home
Ellen doesn’t give a damn what Patrick looks like. With one glimpse of his shaded figure, one touch of his work roughened hands, one hint of his masculine scent, she is his. Forever.
Buying the abandoned French château had been a dream, her only desire since her brother was blown up in Afghanistan, if she could only capture the elusive Patrick, her world will be complete.
But Patrick is hiding from far more than himself.
Devastated when her wounded hero abandons her for a flame haired beauty, and terrified when her selfish ex fiancé reappears, Ellen discovers that she might not only lose her lover but also her life.
Can Patrick escape in time to save the woman who loves and accepts him exactly as he is, or will she be lost to him forever while he has been Running Scarred for far too long?
2015 revised edition. Running Scarred is a sensual military romance, gently exploring the emotions stirred by disability caused by war.
An Excerpt From The BookChapter 4
Patrick stared at her from the other side of the rhododendrons. They had arrived only a few moments before him and he’d been too late to leave the hat and key and get out of sight again. He’d remained hidden, praying they would leave quickly, but as soon as he saw the way her hand moved gently across the stone walls, he knew it was hopeless. She looked completely in love with the place already. And when she sat down, he knew there would be no getting rid of her. He would have to show himself.
He shook himself defiantly. What was the matter with him? He wasn’t some idiot kid with a schoolboy crush. He was thirty-two. Retired Special Services, amongst other things. He had killed people. Lots of them, if he cared to count, which he didn’t. They had all been worse than bad and deserved to die, so he wasn’t going to worry himself over that. But here he was getting himself into a sweat, worrying over meeting this woman in daylight. For God’s sake! He had to get over this. It wasn’t as if he was some kind of ogre. Anton was his friend and he had overcome his fears for the market place. A mere slip of a girl shouldn’t scare him.
He only wished that she wasn’t quite so beautiful. Last night he had thought that perhaps the moonlight was being kind to her, but after seeing her earlier as she jumped from her car, he knew it was no trick of the light. She was stunning, completely entrancing. The nearly forgotten passions began stirring again and he took a deep breath to calm them.
This was going to be harder than he had anticipated. He didn’t want to see her expression when he finally limped into view. His phone buzzed in his pocket. He knew it was Anton, he could see the man with his own mobile pressed to his ear.
He huffed out an annoyed breath. Get a bloody grip and move! He squared his shoulders, stood up as straight as possible and shoved forwards through the bush.
“Anton! I’m here. I was held up at the market,” he called out as he revealed himself. He saw the woman’s head come up and he stared hard at her, lifting his chin, challenging her and bracing himself as he waited for the shock to register.
He waited for her to drop her gaze. He waited for the fixed smile. He waited for her to be embarrassed, waited for the pity in her eyes…
Absolutely no reaction at all. She didn’t bat an eyelid, merely stood up and came down the steps towards him, smiling a genuine smile that crinkled the outer edges of her beautiful brown eyes and sent sudden stabs of sharp pain directly into his heart. She bent to pick up a bag at the bottom of the steps and then walked right up to him.
“Hello again. I brought your coat. Sorry I rushed off with it last night, but thanks for the loan and thanks for taking me back to the hotel. I’m Ellen Phillips. From Essex.” She finished, smiling up at him again. Though she had known he was big, she hadn’t realized how tall he was the night before. It had been so dark and they had been stooping beneath low branches and scrub. The tone of his voice hadn’t told her much about his age either. She’d guessed about the same age as her brother. Now she could see that he was a little older, probably in his early thirties, well over six feet tall, muscled and fit.
He stared down at her open gaze, his brows creased into a solid line of confusion.
Well, this was a new one on him. What the hell was the matter with her? Why wasn’t she running for the hills? He lifted his hand to his face, wondering if, by some miracle, the disgusting hard, white skin was gone, but dropped it immediately as he touched the horrible numb, waxy texture. The scars were still there, the same as always, cold and terrible under his fingertips.
She was still looking at him directly, holding out a bag. Feeling a complete idiot, he reached out and took it from her. He looked briefly inside the bag and saw the thick lining of his coat. A wonderful delicate fragrance wafted up at him. Curiosity replaced his frown. He didn’t think she could have worn it long enough for her scent to transfer. He hoped she hadn’t sprayed it with perfume to mask the smell of his open fire. He looked right back at her.
“No problem, glad to have been of help. I’m Patrick Reeves, from Essex too, but you guessed that already. Thanks for bringing this back. Not that I need it so much, now that the weather is improving.” He sucked in the words, feeling a complete fool for discussing the weather with someone so young and beautiful while desperately hoping that he wasn’t dribbling from the scarred corner of his mouth. He lifted the back of his hand to check. No, it was dry, thank God!
She turned towards the château.
“Did you manage to find the key? I’m dying for a look inside. I think it’s going to be just what I want.”
“Huh! You hardly need a key.” He grunted doubtfully, as he looked down at her. “I think you might change your mind when you take a closer look. It’s pretty bad.”
He put the coat down on the balustrade and fumbled in his pocket, then limped up the stone steps. Now she did glance down, frowning as he walked past.
“Why do you still have one of the old models? Anton says you’ve been out here nearly two years. Have you been offered the new update?” She asked as he walked unevenly towards the château door.
He stopped immediately.
“What? What do you mean?” He turned sharply, his dark blue eyes looked fiercely down at her and he dropped the key.
She raised her eyebrows in exasperation.
“Your leg of course. I wondered about it last night, but now that Anton has confirmed that you’ve been here two years I just assumed that you’re still using the old model. You’re entitled to the new one. It has much improved ankle movement and uses a better suction cup at the top. More comfortable apparently. A lot less friction and a lot more mobility.”
Patrick looked down at his leg. It was completely covered by his dark denim jeans and his brown boots were identical. How could she possibly know he had a prosthetic limb rather than just a limp? He looked harshly, accusingly at Anton, but the man just shook his head and shrugged.
Patrick stooped to pick up the fallen key. His voice was stiff.
“I’ve been told, but I haven’t got round to it yet. I haven’t been back to the U.K since I bought the cottage, and I’ve sort of got used to this one now.” He was uncomfortable answering her question, but she didn’t appear the least bit embarrassed, her eyes just grew wide in amazement.
“Well, you want to get yourself back there and get it sorted out. You can’t let the government get away with making you put up with second best. You can always keep this one too, but I would have thought it was quite restricting and it must be a pain in the ass to drag about in all this undergrowth.” She indicated the bushes where he had been hiding.
He gawped at her incredulously, feeling the anger rise in him. Who the hell did she think she was? Preaching to him as though she would have any idea of what it was like to be blown apart and find your life completely ruined in less than a second.
He gritted his teeth before he spoke.
“I’ll wear whatever type of leg I damn well like, thank you.” He turned away from her sharply and growled over his shoulder. “Now do you want to see this place or not?” He held up the key and the hat.
She jogged up the steps behind him, completely unfazed by his angry tone.
“Yes please. Come on, you can take me round. Anton is afraid of the ghosts. Apparently there are the unhappy spirits of raging German despots, missing French prisoners, war wounded and displaced mad people.” She counted them out on her fingers. “Should make for an interesting tour.” She gave a pretend shiver as she grinned and lifted her chin towards Anton who was staring open mouthed at their exchange.
Patrick’s furious tone disappeared immediately as he gazed incredulously towards his friend. He put his hands over his stomach and burst out laughing. The sound rang round the forest clearing and bounced off the walls of the château.
“Ghosts! You’re kidding me! Anton, really, is that the best you could come up with?” He shook his head as he calmed his laughter. “I should have thought that the dry rot was scarier than any unfortunate, forgotten spirit.”
Ellen looked up at Patrick in mock horror, noticing the deep blue eyes now sparkling under his dark hair. He was incredibly handsome. Even the vicious scars couldn’t disguise his square jaw and generous mouth.
“Dry rot?” She gave a real shiver this time. “Now that really is scary. Lucky you came along, Patrick. You don’t look as though you would ever be scared of anything.” She looked rather obviously across his broad shoulders and then down his wide chest to his slim waist, then even further to where she could just see the cup outlined below his muscled thigh. She raised her eyes again and felt herself blush as she realized that Patrick was staring right back at her, but her gaze still never faltered.
Patrick gawped at her. Was she flirting with him? Impossible, surely? He turned away sharply, not wanting to see her embarrassment at being caught out, but then something made him glance back over his shoulder at her. His heartbeat quickened. She was still looking at him, not curiously, not with pity and certainly not afraid. She was checking out his arse! And looking as though she liked what she saw. He turned to face her as he felt his own face become hot under her open stare and his stomach gave an unexpected rumble. It sounded very loud in the stillness.
She gaze lifted to his flat waistline. And then, he could scarcely believe it, her dark eyes dropped even lower. Was she staring at his crotch? He fought to keep his libido under control as his stomach rumbled yet again, and she looked up at last, smiling widely at the sound. At least he hoped it was at the sound, and not at what he’d failed to stop swelling in his pants.
“Sorry. Have I made you late for lunch?” She grinned up at him.
He felt himself become even hotter as he beat down the violent surge of desire that had suddenly descended to his groin, and he turned to shove his way through the great doors.
“No, more like breakfast actually. I went to the market to get bread and cheese, but I was delayed. My French is still a bit crappy.”
She was standing right beside him and he caught the hint of the same exotic perfume that had wafted up from his coat. He bent and picked up the hard hat and jammed it on her head. He limped forwards, pulling a flashlight from his pocket and shining it around in the darkness. She followed him into the vast open hallway.
“What about your hat? Anton has one outside for you.”
He laughed grimly.
“Huh! What’s the point? If anything falls on my head, it can’t possibly do any more damage, can it? Just mind where you tread.” He stomped forwards, kicking a few shards of glass out of the way and she followed quickly. He shone his torch around in the gloom and she moved away from the shadows, closer to his shoulder.
Running Scarred is the first book in the Scarred Series!
What people are saying about 'Running Scarred'
~First in the series had me hooked~
~It is a story told with bold conviction and who can ask for more in a book? Highly recommended.~
~Very compelling characters, felt very real, not contrived. I can't wait for more in the series.~
~A perceptive, emotionally satisfying, contemporary love story.~
Coming soon is book six, 'Scarred Surrender'!
In honor of this new release, the author Jackie Williams has lowered the price of Book One, Running Scarred to just 99c/99p!
If you haven't started the series yet, now's the time!
For the Complete series:
Running Scarred: viewBook.at/B0089UMGAK
Scarred Beginnings: myBook.to/Scarred2
Forever Scarred: viewBook.at/B00EMMD1Y4
Scarred Horizon: myBook.to/ScarredH
Scarred Survival: myBook.to/Scarred5
Scarred Surrender: http://www.romanticsuspensebooks.org/scarred-surrender/
About The Author
I was born in Essex, England during the mid sixties but I missed all the fun. Being only young, I assumed that all Beatles were six legged creatures and Flower Power was something to do with the vigorous way my mother kneaded the bread dough.
My wonderful parents brought me up with a huge love of books. We read anything and everything. Bedtime stories were a treasured time of adventure and mystery. My sister and I sat wide eyed in wonder and to this day I worry about Dinah and Dorinda being pricked with pins because they grew so fat, and I never pull faces at the a waning moon (or was it a waxing one?) just in case my chops stay that way . (The Wind On The Moon)
I began reading romance while still at school. The fuel for many a teenage fantasy leapt from between the covers of wildly romantic books and my passion still lingers now for all those dark haired heroes.
My own beautiful teenage daughter persuaded me to write my first romance. She was only fourteen at the time and between books for children and adults. She couldn't find anything that ticked all her numerous and particular boxes and so she asked me to write a book, with all the exact ingredients just for her. Though not just a book for teens, she enjoyed the resulting tale so much that she shared it with her friends and I eventually published A Perfect Summer as an ebook on amazon.
But I have discovered that writing is not easily stopped once you start. It has turned into a grand passion that I just cannot hold back. The fingertips start tapping the keys and ideas suddenly come flooding, far too many for just one book and so I began another and then another. Fourteen books later I am still nowhere near done. Book twenty two (Scarred Surrender) is on its way and only just the other night I woke from a wild and wonderful dream with book twenty three fully formed in my head.
I hope you enjoy all of my efforts and I look forward to your comments and reviews.
You can reach Jackie on any of the following:
Rukia Publishing: FBTW