Lane got himself into his wheelchair, rolled himself to the back porch and started doing pull-ups. His eyes were on the lake, on the water right outside his porch as he worked his arms, his abs. He’d spent his whole fucking childhood in this lake house, fishing with his gramps, swimming, goofing off. He loved this place and now Gramps was gone and it was his to do what he wanted with.
Hell of a trade for a pair of legs.
Up. Down. Up. Down. Eyes on the water. Don’t think about sand, bombs, enemy fire. Just the lake. The water. The burn in his arms.
The snap of a twig sounded like a shot.
He stopped, frowning. It was late winter. People didn’t come out here in the winter and he hadn’t found himself a dog yet. “I have a .38 and I know how to use it.”
“I sure as hell hope so. It wasn’t your head you injured.”
Jesus fuck, that sounds just like Hammer.
Lane lowered himself down onto his chair. No. No way. He hadn’t talked to Hammer in almost two years. Hadn’t seen him in longer than that.
The owner of the voice appeared beside his deck from the side of the house. Tall, stacked, haircut high and tight over a strong, square jaw and mismatched eyes. He’d only ever met one man with one hazel eye and one green, and that was Hammer.
Lane immediately, instinctively rubbed his shaggy beard that hid the scars on his face. “You lost, Sarge?”
“I was thinking I might be, then I turned a corner and found you, so no, I’m not lost.” Hammer wore a pair of jeans, a T-shirt with a leather jacket over it and had his bag slung over his shoulder. Fuck, he looked good.
Lane was in nothing but a pair of sweats, the sweat cooling on his bare chest making him shiver. “You want a cup of coffee?”
“I do. I was hoping you’d invite me in, too.”
“Yeah. Yeah, sure. Come on.” He wheeled himself into the kitchen, which was in the middle of a remodel, and grabbed the coffeepot. “Excuse the chaos. I’m working on the place.”
Hammer followed him in, work boots ringing on the deck. “You doing it yourself?”
“Yeah. Gramps left it to me. I’m staying here full-time now. Fixing it up.” Making it as accessible as he could.
Hammer looked around but didn’t say anything, his face unreadable. Finally those mismatched eyes met his again. “I’m sorry about your Gramps.”
“Thank you. He liked you a lot.” He wheeled over to the sink, filled the coffeepot.
“He was a good man.” Hammer unshouldered his bag and left it by the door, out of the way.
“He was. How long are you on leave?”
“I got some time.”