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Scars & Strife

by M. E. Johnson

First Sergeant John Randall “Randy” Andrews, a gutsy Army Ranger, is a hero among his brothers in arms. But the Purple Hearts and Silver Stars he earned came at a great personal cost. Now plagued by PTSD, Randy returns home after thirteen combat tours to an emotionally distant wife and their two sons—one of them a toddler he’s never met. Struggling to piece his life together, Randy finds himself in handcuffs one day. And when the court-mandated VA counseling doesn’t help, he embarks on a trip to Mexico, trying to escape his demons. There, during an unexpected encounter in a seedy tourist bar, he finds a possible road to redemption when he forms a connection with Matilda, a mountain lion kept in a cage as a tourist attraction. Stealing Matilda from the club, Randy drives her to the US, where he is arrested and prosecuted for smuggling a dangerous animal. So begins his journey back from the brink as he rediscovers something he learned on the battlefield: that sometimes one must cross a line in order to save someone . . . perhaps even himself.

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