NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITION
This year there seemed to be more than the usual amount of ugly Christmas sweaters. Our family decided this year to embrace the spirit of the season, by wearing the loudest, ugliest and perhaps most tasteless sweaters we could find.
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What my son-in-law bought for my daughter as a gag gift, turns out to actually be something I’d wear. LOL. Yes. I admit it. I like to wear bold colors and sparkly things. It used to embarrass my kids no end, and often they didn’t want me to get out of the car when I picked them up at school, for fear their friends would see me. We had a pink house, too, but that’s another story (my attempt to make our home look like the Sonoma Mission Inn that failed).
So, this is the collection. I bought the one in the upper middle for my husband. My daughter bought the light blue one for her husband. Perhaps you’d like a closer look.
Well, we are a family that reads hot romance, so what do you expect?
I also have a little Christmas cheer for you. Everyone who comments on this blog will be given a free short SEAL Endeavor or SEAL Encounter, Kindle format. Please leave your email in your comment.
Here’s a little blurb from my new release, Fallen SEAL Legacy, book 2 of the SEAL Brotherhood series, just released this month. One commenter will be sent a set of dog tags, as pictured below.
Fallen SEAL Legacy excerpt:
A tall shadow fell through the glass and ornate metal front doors of the Brownlee house. The melodic doorbell chime came all the way from an abandoned abbey in the South of France. Whoever he was, Libby Brownlee thought, he’d not be able to get through the doorway without ducking, or smacking himself in the forehead.
“Yes?” She didn’t remove the brass chain connecting the door to the door frame. It couldn’t really stop anyone, especially someone of his size. What she saw scared her, but not in the way she expected. He was a handsome, very, very tall and fair-haired young man about her age. His piercing blue eyes didn’t stray from hers as he coolly nodded his head, and took inventory of her character, without peeling his gaze from hers.
She felt undressed, yet powerless to cover up. But she didn’t look away.
“Ma’am, I’m looking for the Brownlee family.” He said this as he ducked his head and leaned forward. She observed he was trying to make himself smaller. The effort made him look huge.
“This is the Brownlee residence.” Her response was worthy of a domestic. No need to let him know she was a relative.
“My name is Special Operator Calvin Cooper. I’m…”
“I know what a Special Operator is.”
He smiled but continued, “—currently serving in the Navy. I’ve been asked to reach out to the family of Special Operator William Brownlee.”
“Uncle Will.” She bit her tongue. Too late to take it back. “My father’s brother. I never met him. He’s been dead for many years, before I was born.” Libby looked at the ground, but was soon distracted by the size of the young man’s canvas slip-ons. The light brown hair on his ankles and lower legs, punctuated by light purple scars, blazed in the afternoon sun.
“Yes, ma’am. That’s the reason I’m here.”
“It’s a little late for a color guard. He get awarded a medal posthumously or something?”
The sailor stepped back and put his eyelids at half-mast after a flash of anger. He appeared way calmer than she knew he really was. The control was impressive. No matter how hard she looked, the anger did not surface again. He licked his lips and began to speak, softer this time.
“Look. I don’t want to be here any more than you want me, so let’s just get this over with, so I can tell my Chief I tried to reach out and you guys slammed the door in my face, okay?”
Well, this wasn’t the wrinkle she’d expected. “Fine.” She removed the chain, opened the door and the lumbering giant walked in. He smelled like he’d just figured out how to wear aftershave. Something told her he didn’t do it very often.
He scanned the large two-story living room with the carved wood ceiling done in Spanish florets. His eyes lit on the three-foot tall bouquet of fresh flowers her mother put on the coffee table every day—bounty from her extensive flower garden. Behind the table, a bright red velvet couch was covered with lime and fuchsia-colored silk flowered pillows. No one ever sat there, Libby mused. If they did, they’d be buried in the pillows, and hidden from view by the bouquet.
Rest in Peace.
“My mother takes pride in her flower garden.” She said. He had been staring at the blooms.
He tore his eyes off the display, and, without saying a word, continued to scan the archway that led to the kitchen, then back around to the walls of the foyer and a view of the grand metal staircase leading upstairs to the bedrooms.
His silence made her nervous. She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to say something.
“This is about a hundred times the size of my place.” He regarded her with a crooked smile she couldn’t read. “Kinda like living in a church, although not like a church I ever attended.”
Our house looks like a church?
“Where do you live? On base?” she asked.
“No ma’am. I have a motor home I keep parked at the Silverdale Beach.”
“Wow.” A homeless Navy SEAL?
“Exactly. Got the whole ocean as my back yard.”
“It’s all I need.”
“Okay. Well, what’s this about? Your visit, I mean.”
“Did he have a family, or someone close, other than your family?”
“He is our family. I just never knew him.” She realized she was being short. “My grandparents are both gone, and my father was his only brother, perhaps he would know.” Libby started tracing the grout line of the marble floor with her toe. “Look, I’m going to need some answers here. You have to kind of spell it out for me. We don’t speak military in this house.”
“I can tell.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You don’t speak military, and I didn’t bring an interpreter.”
“I think you should speak to my father.”
“That would be good.”
“Except he isn’t here. Maybe another time?”
She caught him eyeing the front of her cotton shirt, like he could see right through it without unbuttoning it. With an involuntary jerk, he was focused on her eyes again. It was very odd she didn’t feel afraid of him, like she had every other man who showed interest in her lately. Her heartbeat elevated and her breathing became shallow.
“When will he be here?” His voice sent a tingle down her spine.
“He gets home about four-thirty. But I wouldn’t waste your time unless you can tell me what you want.” She started for the door and he followed behind her. At the front, she stopped, and turned around. “I’m waiting.” She tapped her foot to an invisible drummer.
The giant nodded, but faced his own shoes as he responded to her command, “I’ve been asked to do a little research on S.O. Brownlee. It’s an order from my Chief.”
“And why would the Navy want to contact my family? What purpose would it serve?”
“It’s just what we do. I was given his name when I got my Trident. I’m supposed to know about him. I’m a SEAL as well.”
“After all these years? Why now? Why not let the dead remain dead? Why bother my father?”
The sailor shrugged, looked up at the ceiling, adjusting his stance. With a sigh, he turned his gaze back on Libby. She felt herself melt under the press of his intense study.
Cooper took a deep breath, and continued, “Because, I’ve just lost mine.”
* * * * *
Merry Christmas, everyone. Hope your holiday is very merry and very bright.