#TeaserTuesday: Proof of Life by Raquel Riley

Raquel Riley has written a gritty, painful story that touches every part of your heart with Proof of Life.  Some of our reviewers have already submitted their reviews in advance of the release and  here are a few snippets:

Molly says "Mind the trigger warnings before you dive into this book. They are their for a reason, and Raquel writes this pain powerfully and beautifully."

Shawn says "This book made me feel so much for every character within this story."

and Lisa C. says "10+ stars. Amazing story of the resilience of the human spirit when bolstered by love."

From the Proof of Life blurb:

 Love heals even the deepest wounds.


After giving twelve years of my life to the service, I didn’t just lose my leg. I lost everything, including my career. When the dust settled, the only person still standing by my side in the rubble was Brandt —the single lifeline I had left to a world I didn’t want to live in anymore.

With painstaking care, he healed my body and my mind. When he eventually started healing my heart, I realized I didn’t just need him in my life, I needed him in ways I’d never wanted him before.


Watching West struggle every day was tearing me apart. If he could only see what I do, he wouldn’t see flaws and hopelessness. He’d see a courageous, selfless, brilliant leader. A guy with no filter, who always makes me laugh. Someone who never asks questions before offering to bail my ass out of trouble.

He’d see the man I’ve come to love as more than just my best friend.

Proof of Life is a double bi-awakening MM romance between best friends, with a heavy dose of healing and angst. These courageous vets prove that when all is lost, love heals even the deepest, most painful wounds. Book one of the Scars And Stripes Trilogy.

Excerpt: chapter 10 west’s POV: 

Instead of confiding in him, I turn my head to the door that leads out onto the deck. I feel his lips press against my skin, and he leaves a kiss on my neck. A soft lingering kiss that I can’t interpret. I don’t know what's been going on with us lately, I just know that whenever he touches me, I feel better, or at least, if not better, I feel less alone. The bullshit in the showers, and whatever that was in the hot tub last week—it’s getting out of hand. And it’s not like it was before, when it was all just a game between us. This feels different, this feels like it means something, but fuck if I know what.

And it’s not just that he makes me feel good because he’s touching my dick. It’s more than that. He makes me feel safe. And I can tell he enjoys it. Brandt wants to touch me, for whatever fucking reason. I don’t know why anyone would want to fucking touch me. But he does, and it makes me feel…wanted, desired, desirable. 

He makes me feel like I matter. 

His touch doesn’t feel like pity or consolation, or even comfort. His touch feels like fire—all-consuming. He makes me feel like me again, when I used to feel like myself, my old self. His touch brings me back to that man I used to be. 

It’s thrilling and reassuring, and it’s addicting, and I just want to feel more of it.

The memories run through my head as he continues to trace over my skin, over the outlines of my tattoos, and like always, he makes me feel something. He makes me feel everything. All the hurt and the pain and the anger and the guilt and sadness rush to the surface and leak from my eyes. 

My voice is barely a whisper. “Don’t let me go.”

“Never. I Promise.”

And then I keep silent for long minutes, so I can continue to feel his touch on my skin, his lips on my neck, without having to actually ask for it, until the pressure in my chest is too heavy, and I have to let it out with words.

“I’m fucking useless. I can’t even protect you and keep you safe anymore. I’m your Team Leader, your SFC, and your best fucking friend. How am I supposed to look after you?”

“Why don’t you let me look after you for a while instead?” 

“Because that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”

“Look, you're too upset to hear me right now. I’m afraid if you hear what I have to say, you’ll just push me away.” Brandt raises up on his elbow and grasps my chin, turning my head to meet his eyes. “Listen with your heart, not your head. We’re not going back there ever again. We’re making a new life here now. I don’t need you to keep me safe, I’m more than capable of looking after myself. What I need is your help with the rest of it. All the shit in here and in here.” He taps his head and his chest and then laces his fingers with mine, and brings them to rest over his heart. “I need you to help me keep all of this straight. Make sure I don’t get lost. Protect my sanity. Make sure I don’t become bitter and hateful. Can you do that for me? Will you look after my heart?”

This motherfucker always knows what to say to pull me from my shit-spiral. “You trust me with your heart?”

“There’s no one I trust more.” Bringing our joined hands to his lips, Brandt presses a kiss to my knuckles. “Can I make you lunch? Or popcorn and a movie? We can stay right here in your bed all day.”

Through my sheen of tears, I nod and manage a watery smile. “Will you stay with me tonight?”

“In here? Fuck yeah. Your bed is bigger and softer than mine.” He laughs when I roll my eyes, and then adds, “I promise you, I’ll never leave you alone in the darkness again, even if that means sleeping with you every night. But you have to promise me something in return.”

I swallow past the emotions forming a lump in my throat. “Anything,” I croak.

“You have to promise me you’ll try and live. Giving up your weapons is a huge start, and I’m not asking you to be happy every day or to pretend to forget, I just want you to commit to your life. If you can’t get out of bed, just ask me to fucking join you, but don’t hide away from me. I can’t watch you slip away like this, little by little, each day. I can’t watch you self-destruct. I can’t watch you take your life, not when it means so fucking much to me, West. You mean so much to me.” His voice chokes up. “I don’t want to be left alone in the darkness either.” 

Fresh tears run down my face, and he wipes them away. “I can’t promise you the rest of my life, but I can promise you today. And I can promise you that tomorrow I will try my hardest. That’s all I’ve got, Reaper.”

He lays his head on my chest and traces my belly button. “I guess that’s enough for me,” he says softly. “I’ll be checking in. I need proof of life, every day, maybe twice a day. Maybe every other day if it’s a good day, but I’ll be checking in.”

“Proof of life?”

“Yeah, I need to know you’re in there, and that you’re still holding on, still fighting. I need to know you’re still with me.”

All I can do is nod. Proof of life. I can give him that.


Proof of Life releases on March 21st and will be available as an e-book and paperback and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription