Rescue My Heart

There was a fine line between being exhausted and being comatose, and Adam Connelly had just about found it. He’d been two nights without sleep, half that without food, and his shoulder hurt like hell where his shirt was sticking to his open wound.

It was hard to feel much past the heart-pounding adrenaline surge still making his limbs quiver, but the pain managed to creep through. The freezing burn of the sleet slapping him in the face didn’t help either as he opened his pack and shoved in his gear. Later, he’d have to take it all back out again and carefully repair, clean, and repack everything after the unexpected rescue, but for now he wasn’t particularly inclined toward much besides getting the hell out of there.

Milo stood at his side, still in his search and rescue vest, attentive to their surroundings even though he had to be as done in as Adam. Knowing it, Adam forced a few deep breaths to try and slow his heart rate. “What do you think?” he asked, pretending he wasn’t fighting his still knocking knees to hold him up. “Food, sleep . . . or a woman?”

Milo nudged the pocket of the daypack where his food was kept.

Adam shook his head, finding some humor in the day, after all. “You always vote for food.”

The ten-month-old yellow lab seemed to smile at that. He was a search-and-rescue dog now, but not too long ago, he’d been nothing more than a scrappy, unwanted pup. In Milo’s world, food still trumped everything else.

Adam got that. After all, like tended to recognize like. Besides, sleep was overrated, and it wasn’t as if a woman had been on his calendar, anyway. Hell, a woman hadn’t been even a glimmer of a possibility in too long to contemplate.

His own fault. “Food it is, then,” he said, and realized in spite of still shaking and sweating, he was starving, too. That was a good sign, he decided. It meant that the PTSD had been kicked down to a lowly 3 on the scale, when two years ago it would’ve been at a 10.5, not to mention wholly consuming him.

Progress.