Aaron's first surprise is the amputation of one of his legs.
The second is the woman he left behind, now a widow with a 4-year-old son – and his new prosthetist (artificial limb maker).
He vows that losing his leg won’t derail his career. But maintaining his outward appearance as a got-it-together officer becomes increasingly difficult as he faces one personal demon after another – and sees his career aspirations slipping away. And though he has no intention of expanding his life to include a woman, his heart has other ideas – and he finds himself questioning the very foundation of his personal beliefs.
When violence – and unexpected redemption – touch his life again, Aaron must make a stand. Which will he choose: duty or love?
His bed was empty.
Impossible, she thought.
And then she saw him: motionless on the floor, a dark stain spreading underneath his body. A stain that she recognized instantly.
Oh my God, the terrorists found him!
This first irrational thought was immediately followed by a more trained response. She assessed the situation in the few moments it took her to cross the room. She hit the button on the intercom system, identified herself and requested help.
She dropped to her knees next to Aaron. She spoke as she ran her hands across the back of his neck. “Aaron! Can you hear me?” As soon as she was certain he had no neck or spinal injury, she shook him gently. “Aaron, it’s Holly. Talk to me, Aaron.”
His arms snapped up, flailing for a moment before his good hand clamped onto her wrist—hard. His eyes were wide open, and in them she saw terror…confusion… pain…
They engaged in a macabre tug-of war as Holly stated repeatedly, “Aaron, it’s me—Holly. You’re okay. Take it easy.”
After what seemed like a long time, she saw recognition seep into his eyes. But then he shut them tight, and his body went limp. He released her wrists and dropped his hands over his face. “Go away,” he whispered, his chest heaving.
“I can’t do that, Aaron.”
“You shouldn’t see me,” he said. “Not like this.”
Unexpected tears stung her eyes.
“This isn’t who I am,” he rasped.
“You asked me to leave once already,” she said. “And I honored that request. Maybe I shouldn’t have. So please…”
She locked her eyes onto his, which were open again. Surely he could see that she was close to tears, but she didn’t care. “Don’t ask me to walk away again.”
Military Writers Society of America
War and its aftermath is a deep, deep well for stories about devotion to duty, sacrifice, strength of character, friendship and love as well as violence, betrayal and loss. Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of war that brings this urgency to situations and depth to characters.
Tracey Cramer-Kelly successfully weaves these emotions together in her poignant book, True Surrender, where we enter the world of Major Aaron Bricewick. After enduring capture and torture by terrorists in Afghanistan, and ultimate rescue by his fellow soldiers, Bricewick returns to the states wounded both physically and mentally. As may be typical of combat veterans, his stubbornness and outward self-confidence mask his vulnerability.
Perhaps it’s because of the author’s Army Reserve medic experience, but I found the descriptive side story of Bricewick’s leg amputation with its phantom pain, adjustment to prosthetics, acceptance of the reality of a lost limb and the limits it places on career and personal life, to offer raw insight into a world too many of our war wounded face and so few of us civilians can imagine.
Bricewick’s amputation brings him together with his former lover, Holly Rossiter, a prosthetist (artificial limb maker) at Holbrook Medical Center in California. But the amputation also serves as a metaphor for his life at this point: cut off emotionally from those around him, caught off balance by the betrayal of those he trusted, and in need of support from loved ones, no matter how painful it is for his independent self to admit.
Mix this with a mystery to be solved, an endearing and sensual love story, and a renewal of faith that had been long forgotten and True Surrender becomes a compelling and entertaining story. I couldn’t put it down.
Jersey Girl Book Reviews
True Surrender was everything that I could ask for in a book: a captivating mixture of romance and suspense, what a combination! In a time when Afghanistan is always in the news and our military is stationed there, author Tracey Cramer-Kelly provides her readers with a very realistic and intriguing contemporary military romance suspense thriller. As I followed Aaron and Holly’s story, I couldn’t help but hope that this book would be made into a movie made for television, it was that good. The storyline is well written, realistic and fast paced. The characters are realistic and believable, I could actually see them being my neighbors since I live in a military town. As a healthcare provider, I enjoyed the author’s description of the medical and rehabilitation portions of the story, this is a wonderful attribute from her own real life medical and military experience. The military suspense portion of the story had me sitting on the edge of my seat, holding my breath waiting to see what would happen next. But most of all, I absolutely loved reading about Aaron and Holly’s relationship journey, it was sigh worthy! There is not enough words to say how much I enjoyed reading this book.
TRUE SURRENDER is one EXCEPTIONAL book!!! Mere words cannot express how impressed I am with this novel. Tracey Cramer-Kelly has out done herself on this military romance. This book is so well developed it would make an excellent candidate for the Lifetime movie channel. This author has fully convinced me that she is a voice that will quickly earn her high marks in the book world.