Archive for 'military romance'
Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
The life of an author can be solitary. But not for me! I’ve been on the go since the beginning of the year, and my schedule isn’t slowing down a bit! April 1-9, I’ll be in Seattle for a writer’s retreat. If you’re in the Seattle area, we’re having a meet and greet at the Snohomish Library April 8th from 1:00-3:30pm. You can check out the details on Facebook. I hope to see some of you there. I’ll be with authors Susan Stoker, Becca Jameson, Cherise Sinclair and Lainey Reese. If I don’t see you there, I’ll be at Romantic Times Convention in Atlanta May 2-7. Lots of fun things happening here! Then it’s Dallas for the Wanderlust Booksigning May 20th. Seriously, I hope you can make one of these events to say hello. In the meantime, I have books coming soon.
April 11th is the release of WHO’S YOUR DADDY, a romantic comedy co-authored by me and my sister, Delilah Devlin. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, there’s still time! And I have two other books up for pre-order coming to you in May. May 16th is Montana Dog Soldier and May 31st is Wyatt’s War. If you love military heroes and romantic suspense pre-order your copies now!
Hope to see you soon! Happy Reading!
WHO’S YOUR DADDY – Texas Billionaires Club Series Book #3
Sexy advertising executive lays out a plan to have a baby without the complications of a husband. A billionaire cowboy is just the man to complicate her neatly laid plans.
Amazon | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay
MONTANA DOG SOLDIER – Brotherhood Protectors Series #6
Prior-service Army Dog Handler Joseph “Kujo” Kuntz and his dog Six team with a female FBI agent to locate and neutralize a training camp for ISIS terrorists
Amazon | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay
WYATT’S WAR – Hearts & Heroes Series Book #1
Army Special Forces soldier tasked with augmenting security at a high-profile international trade convention teams with the sassy convention planner to protect the delegates from terrorist threats
Amazon | Kobo | Nook | IBooks
Saturday, March 11th, 2017
You know I have this great big backlist of books I have to republish. Begging For It is one of them. I’ve been hunting for artwork like a crazy person, spending way too much time looking through pictures for things that might suit my stories, or could be massaged in some way to work, and then I found this picture, and it’s absolutely perfect just the way it is.
TJ’s not a submissive looking for a Dom. She’s a woman who needs pain to get off, and who better than a Dom to do it? There’s plenty of kink inside this story. Plenty of angst, too, because you know she has a problem that causes her to be the way she is. Best part of the story? Cross, my Dom, who’s fated to be with TJ in ways she won’t fully understand until the end. I hope you’ll pick up a copy this weekend. I’d love to hear what you think!
Begging For It
She needs punishment…before she deserves pleasure.
Tragedy scarred TJ Lipton. Now, the only way she can find pleasure is when its delivered with a heavy-handed dose of S&M. But finding a lover who can give her what she needs proves an elusive quest—until she finds the sex club La Forge and a Dom named Cross McNally.
Cross understands all too well what drives TJ. He takes command of her body to give her everything she needs—restraint, the stinging kiss of a flogger, the thrill of a three-way—a sexual adventure that pulls her beyond her painful past and has her begging for more of his tender brand of domination.
Get your copy here!
“Have you and Tanner been friends a long time?”
She swirled her hips to wet the tip of his cock. “He the guy you had fuck my mouth last night?”
“Yeah, does it bother you, putting a face to the dick?”
A shallow pulse forced him inside an inch. “Yes, I didn’t want him last night. I wanted your cock.”
“I was a little busy giving you what you really needed.”
He said it in a gruff, masculine tone that clued her to the fact he was just as tightly wound as she was. She pressed down, taking the cap inside another two inches. Her thighs flexed, and she fought the urge to shove downward. She wanted to savor the stretch—this fuck had been a long time coming. And because she was a little annoyed that he’d made her wait, she asked, “Do you like fucking?”
His smile was a quick, tight flash. “One of my favorite things to do.”
Her nipples were hard, aching, but she resisted the urge to cup them. She wanted his hands there but wasn’t able to command him. Her voice would lack strength. She feared he’d laugh if she tried because she shook with need. “Why didn’t you take me? You knew I wanted you to do it.”
“I told you, baby. It was about you. What you needed. And I wanted to build your trust.”
She came up but missed the solid heat of him filling her and pushed quickly down again, taking him deeper. Sweet Lord, she was wet. He slid inside with a succulent sound. “You don’t need my trust. Not for this,” she said breathlessly. “You can have me. Have me any way you want, so long as you do one little thing for me. You know what that is.”
“Have you any time?” he asked, his lips pulling away from his teeth. “More than just today?”
She shook her head but dug her fingers into his chest as she gave him another shallow stroke. “Don’t go getting possessive. I don’t need promises. You don’t want mine.”
“You don’t want to see me again?”
Her mouth gaped as she slid down a little farther, almost dizzy with relief, feeling as though every inch she consumed deepened their emotional connection. She shook her head, waging an internal battle for control. “I don’t want to make plans. Don’t want promises,” she lied. “But I wouldn’t mind you knocking at my door some night.”
His jaw flexed. “For a quick fuck but not a date.”
“This isn’t good for you?” She was wetter now, and the glides were faster, getting deeper, her breaths shortened, and her face flushed with heat. His strong hands took some of the burden from her straining thighs.
“This isn’t enough for me, TJ,” he said, slamming her down his cock now. “I want the whole woman.”
She slowed, shuddering hard. “That’s the problem,” she said, smiling with tears in her eyes. “I’m not whole.”
His palms slid up to cup her breasts, gently kneading them. “Tell me, sweetheart. Tell me why.”
She blinked away the moisture. “Just be quiet. Please.”
His lips closed, forming a thin line.
Closing her eyes to his disapproval, she continued to rock, but even though her body melted all around him, even though arousal curled inside her, she knew her limits. Her thighs gave way, and she sank against him. “Cross?”
“Open your eyes when you speak to me.”
A shiver hit her hard at his change of tone. She gave him a glare but knew the corners of her mouth were pulling downward, and that her bottom lip was trembling.
“What do you need?”
Her shoulders fell. Her head bent. “For you to take over. For you to punish me.”
“Do things my way?”
“Will those legs hold you up if I tell you that you have to stand?”
She nodded again then gave a little gasping hiccup. She hated being so needful, so out of control. He’d think she was a complete basket case, but maybe that was already too late.
His hands cupped her ass, and he lifted her. His cock slid from inside her and bobbed against his belly. “Go stand under the hooks.”
Her nipples spiked. Fluid dripped from inside her, and he knew because a fingertip followed the trail. He brought her moisture to her mouth and painted her lips with her own arousal.
TJ moaned and leaned down to kiss him.
His hand fisted in her hair to anchor her close, and his lips roamed over hers, rubbing hard, before he pulled her hair to raise her head. “Go now,” he rasped.
Even though she trembled with need, she pushed off him and slid from the mattress. The bed groaned behind her. His footsteps shadowed hers.
When she stood beneath the hooks, she raised her arms obediently and let him close the padded cuffs around her wrists. With her now secured, he walked to the wall and pulled down a handle to an apparatus where the ends of the chains were wrapped around a small wheel. He began to turn it, tightening the sturdy linked chain above her until her heels left the floor.
“Higher,” she grated out.
“You want to be stretched? Like the girl at the club?”
She nodded, and he winched her higher until she swayed on her toes.
“If this gets to be too much, if your arms go numb, you’ll tell me.”
She nodded, but it was a lie. Numbness would be a blessing. Pain would be rapturous. Already she felt a dull ache swell in her shoulders along with the lump burning the back of her throat.
Cross went to the dresser and pulled open a drawer. Poised on her toes, she peered down to see an array of implements. He picked up a flogger but discarded it. Then another. He drew a finger across the suede leather ends then glanced up at her. “I’m in charge now.”
She nodded, even though he hadn’t worded it as a question. Licking her bottom lip, she whispered, “Yes Sir.”
Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
Can she SURVIVE in a hostile environment…
I had fallen in love with Dara McKinley because she was thrown into a violent, life-and-death environment and had no clue as to how to survive it. Except that the man she was falling in love with, Sergeant Matt Culver, would become her guide, teacher and protector.
Sometimes courage comes in moments of shock, trauma and extreme conditions. Dara is a pediatrician, finishing up her residency, and getting ready to put a clinic for the poor near Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. But all her dreams explode when her vehicle is attacked, leaving her in the harsh winter of Afghanistan, chased by Taliban.
Matt Culver is a survivor and is saddled with a woman who has never been under such duress. He’s fallen in love with her. The challenges are enormous, not only brutal winter conditions in the mountains, trying to keep her safe and knowing odds of living through this, are next to nothing. Somehow, they survive.
Dara needs some down time to recouperate from her trauma. Matt wants to make her dreams come true, and takes her to visit Hawaii. NEVER ENOUGH picks up at this point in their relationship.
But even in Paradise? Things can go terribly wrong. Will their love stand the test of this next challenge or not?
Sequel to Forged in Fire, Book 2
Can a vacation in paradise heal her trauma and allow love to shine through…
Pediatrician Dara McKinley loves helping others almost as much as she loves her golden-eyed fiancé, Matt Culver. They met and fell in love during a dangerous situation in Afghanistan, and both are ready to enjoy some quiet time together in Hawaii.
As Dara and Matt learn more about each other, their love and commitment to each other deepens. But the pair is also committed to helping others and soon find themselves lending a hand at a local Delos safe house for mothers and children. As Dara tends to the sick, Matt does what he does best—finds a way to keep all of them safe.
The aquamarine ocean water was warm and delicious feeling over Dara’s bare feet. Her sandals hung from the fingers of Matt’s left hand. The sea breeze infused her with a peaceful feeling, as did the cries of seagulls sailing overhead. Walking on a golden, sandy beach, ankle-deep in the ocean water, made her feel so alive. Matt had taken off his sandals as well. The noontime warmth of the sun fell over her; the temperature was perfect, in the high seventies. The early January weather in Hawaii was very different from the climate she’d left back home in Virginia!
Every once in awhile, Dara would spot a small shell in the clear ocean water and she would stop, lean over, and retrieve her new treasure. Matt knew that locals here would get up at dawn, come down, and scour the beach for shells that had washed up during the night hours. By noon, the beaches were cleaned of any beautiful, whole shells that had been deposited. But Dara delighted in the pieces of colorful shells that she found, holding them like treasures in her hand. His heart swelled with love for her; she was one of those people who delighted in whatever she was doing.
He stopped her and said, “Why don’t you put your shells in the pocket of your dress?”
Laughing, she opened her palm, showing him the shards. “They’re so beautiful I just want to hold them for a while. Even though they’re fractured and in pieces, I want to collect a bunch of them while we’re here. I’ve decided to put them in a small glass goblet with the sand I’m walking on. Next time we come down here, I’ll bring some plastic bags. I want to bring some of Hawaii home with us where I can see it every day.”
“So,” he said, moving his finger through her many shell pieces, “you’re going to put that glass somewhere you can see it to remember this time?” He melted beneath the joy he saw shining in her eyes, those lips so lush, so kissable, and he ached to do just that.
Dara smiled and nodded. “I’m putting this on the desk in my office at the hospital. On tough days, I can sit there and look at it and remember this time with you.”
Leaning over, he caressed her smiling mouth with his. Matt could taste the salt air on her lips, taste the mocha latte she’d had earlier before they walked down to the beach. Easing away, he rasped, “I’m taking a heart photo of you right now . . .” He brought her gently to a stop, easing her into his body, feeling her breasts pressing into his chest, that low, husky sound of pleasure vibrating in her throat as he kissed her long and well. She was such a sensual, sexual creature, although most would never see it. He sure had when she belly danced at Bagram. And he’d been privileged to go with her to the gym where she worked out and belly danced to stay in top shape. They always ended up in bed after that, each of them turned on by the other.
Dara closed her eyes, drowning in Matt’s cherishing mouth, his arm around her, bringing her into the fold of his tall, lean, hard body. Everything was perfect. Just perfect.
* * * * *
Available: March 1, 2017
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
Today, I’m on my way to San Antonio, Texas, for the Wild and Wicked Weekend where authors and readers collide for a fun-filled weekend. And the best part is that I’m going with my sister, Delilah Devlin! I love traveling with her. We laugh, we plot and we share information all the way. And it’s been too long since our last trip together. And when we get there…let the good times roll!
Over the years, I’ve made lots of friends of authors and readers. It’s fun to see them and catch up. It’s also fun meeting new to me authors and readers. We all share the common bond of loving books. All authors started with their love of reading. We were readers first, so we can relate. I wish you all could be there this weekend. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by on Saturday at the Menger Hotel for the book signing. It’s open to the public.
MONTANA RANGER – Brotherhood Protectors Series #5
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay | Print
Former Army Ranger’s first civilian assignment is to protect a spunky physical therapist from an unknown threat at a rehab ranch for disabled veterans
Forced into medical retirement, Army Ranger Alex “Taz” Davila takes a job in the wilds of Montana with the Brotherhood Protectors. First assignment: undercover protection of a pretty physical therapist on a veteran’s rehab ranch.
Living her dream job, Hannah Kendricks helps wounded warriors and abused horses at a rehab ranch for veterans. Finally in a position for a little romance, she suffers a set back when strange accidents nearly get her killed.
Her lagging libido gets a kickstart when a sexy new patient starts following her, always there when she turns around. Before long, she realizes he’s the only thing standing between her and whoever is after her.
Accepting his offer to protect her, Hannah encounters a new problem. She’s attracted to the man! Together they struggle to determine who wants to hurt her and why, while fighting the growing attraction they are helpless to resist.
Friday, February 3rd, 2017
Enjoy an excerpt from Lindsay McKenna’s latest release, Snowflake’s Gift!
A Delos Series novella
SOMETIMES A CHRISTMAS GIFT DOESN’T COME IN A PACKAGE….IT COMES ON FOUR LEGS….
Snow was coming down hard in town as Nick drove the van toward the shut-in area at four p.m. The smell of spaghetti and buttered, garlic toast filled the vehicle. Myra had made sweet potato cupcakes for dessert, and he stole one before they left the charity facility. It was nearly Thanksgiving and he was looking forward to taking Holly to his folks place for the afternoon and evening. The wipers were rhythmically swinging back and forth, throwing off the heavy, wet flakes. The roads were salted, but still Nick was wary of invisible black ice. In the late afternoon the heat of the day was gone and things got slick real fast.
“Oh dear,” Holly called, sitting up, pointing out her passenger-side window. “Look, Nick!”
Snowflake, who stood between them, heard the pitch of her voice change, and whined.
Nick slowed and pulled over to the curb, then looked to where she was pointing. There was a yellow Labrador moving awkwardly through the belly deep snow between two brick buildings. Her ribs were prominent even though she had a short, thick winter coat on. “She’s starving,” he muttered, scowling. “It looks like a female Lab. She’s too dainty looking to be a male.”
“She’s terribly thin,” Holly said, worried. “I wonder if someone dumped her—they do that all the time around here. I hate it.”
“No collar on her, either,” Nick agreed. The Lab was about a hundred-feet down the alley between the two buildings, slugging it out with the snow. Nick heard Holly make a little sound of urgency. She had such a big heart, and she hated to see animals or humans suffer.
Nick knew she wanted to get out and try to call the dog over to her. From the looks of the animal, her light-brown eyes wild looking, tongue lolling out of her mouth, her fur matted, he intuitively knew this was a dog that had been left behind a long time ago to fend for herself.
“She’s feral,” he warned Holly. She turned, her huge, blue eyes filled with tears. “She won’t let us near her. I’m sorry.” And he was. It wouldn’t be the first dog dumped here that Nick had found, or that Holly had come upon around the building of one of her shut-ins. They had a no-kill shelter here, and this Lab would have had a warm place to stay, food, and care if they could befriend her.
“Can’t we do something for her, Nick?”
Tantor Media Audio:
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
The beginning of a new year. I sat down after Christmas and thought about all the things I would like to accomplish in 2017. So many things changed for me personally and professionally in 2016 that I couldn’t possibly think how or what I could do to possibly top 2016.
I met so many new people and have done so many things I could’ve never imagined I would do before I retired from the Army. My life had been my family and my Army family, and now I have my Book family.
How lucky can I get?
How possibly can I make 2017 better?
Organize and expand.
What do I mean by that?
Organizing my life and how I plan and produce my stories. Right now and in the past, I have always been what the writers refer to as a pantster. Meaning I just sit at the laptop and write whatever comes out of my little pea brain. To most a scary thought indeed. (insert evil laugh) but it is how I have always done it, but now I am trying to retrain myself to start taking notes and outlining stories.
Expanding my world. When I say I am expanding, I mean I am expanding the world, the one I created in my series Warranted into a series of novellas, as well as, and here is the NEWS—a series of paranormal characters that are separate from Warranted but intertwined as well.
Basically, in 2017, one of my characters will experience some changes, I won’t say now how or when, but it’s gonna happen. (insert evil laugh)
So to start off 2017, my first A Warranted Novella release is called Snowed In.
The story of a Brewery heiress and the Special Forces Sergeant First Class on leave while he is recovering from injuries. They meet in the mountains of Colorado and not in the typical fashion but in the most interesting way and fall for each other because you will only find HEA in my stories.
An Excerpt from Snowed In a Warranted Novella
The Bryant’s of Milwaukee, Wisconsin were famous for their wealth, their brewing skills and the exploits of their oldest son – the infamous Andrew Bryant, Jr. Andrew was the heir apparent to the family business and fought the title every chance he got. Doing anything he could by any means possible to avoid becoming his father he did the opposite of what they wanted. His parents had always planned that Andrew Jr take over just as Andrew Sr had. His parents plan- once Andrew Jr graduated from college, they would retire and enjoy their life knowing the family business would be in their son’s capable hands and would continue for many more generations.
Andrew Jr. had plans of his own, it was just his parents didn’t know them yet. He, like his grandfather, would join the Army and run as far away from the brewery and his family as possible. The problem was leaving his younger sister Annabelle; although, he knew Annabelle would be ok she was a Bryant for God’s sake and a Bryant through and through. Annabelle, a strong-willed and intelligent girl with a mind of her own. It seemed Janice and Andrew Sr. had raised the independent thinkers they had so desperately wanted. But for Andrew Jr leaving Annabelle to face their parents alone was not the easiest decision he would have to make he didn’t know it yet. When the day arrived, he had to be selfish and do what made him happy not what made his parents happy.
They had had a great childhood; everything a kid could want. Enjoying many trips to Colorado but particularly enjoying the trips to the cabin in the mountains for Christmas. It was the only time the siblings would have their parents Janice and Andrew Sr all to themselves no one worked during the holiday.
Andrew Jr. cherished those memories especially as he sat waiting for his friend SSG Jackson Tolliver outside of physical therapy at Womack Army Medical Center. Andrew Jr. and Jackson were stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina they were members of the elite 9th Special Forces. Tolliver had been injured during an ambush in the mountains of Takur Ghar region of Afghanistan. The same attack that two of their buddies had been captured and tortured.
That ambush was always on his mind. Recently, more than usual but with everything that had happened on the post. It was appearing as though they would be re-visiting the ambush. The massive investigation that had been started after a series of thefts on the post, and a massive fire at the warehouse, a warehouse that belonged to the 9th Special Forces. They would meet up with their old unit leader Chief Warrant Officer 3 Raleigh Fitzgerald and his associate SGT Samantha O’Hara for interviews.
Free CreateSpace Book Cover Template.
Warranted Desires, Book 2 of A Warranted Series Releases the End of Feb 2017 (fingers crossed) and it continues the story of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Raleigh Fitzgerald and SGT Samantha O’Hara. Will fate continue to shine on their relationship or will the terrorists they have been on the trail of find them before they find forever?
An excerpt from Warranted Desires Prologue
As the sun peeked through the curtains, Sam stirred and stretched in the large king sized bed, rubbing her eyes, her fists clenched as she scanned the room for Raleigh. Her entire body still ached from the beating she had received by Saheed Al-Balshera, the terrorist that Raleigh had riddled with bullets just a few days before. New Orleans was turning out to be the hotbed of terrorist operations, and they had stumbled smack in the middle of it. One simple investigation for missing equipment transformed into mischief, murder, and mayhem.
They needed to wrap things up here and get back to Fort Bragg. Finish interrogating Jared Thompson, they suspected he still had the information they needed. Thompson was the primary witness in the investigation that brought Sam and Raleigh together- missing equipment, money laundering, assault and murder this simple review had it all covered. There was a big problem, though, Jared and Raleigh had history, a long and involved one. The biggest of which was they were Best Friends about as close and Best as you can get.
Jared was Raleigh’s best friend, had been since childhood, they were buddies in high school, hell they had joined the Army together, served years together in a Special Forces and captured together when their unit got ambushed on a mission in Afghanistan. It was during this captivity that Jared had turned his back on his fellow soldiers and became an operative for Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Jared Thompson and his wife Semeana would face justice at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in the military and civilian court system. And Raleigh would be the one to bring that justice to his Best Friend and serve up the rest of the remaining terror suspects in a cute little bow to the Attorney General of the United States. Before they could leave New Orleans, they had to make sure all the suspects from the raid on the port were processed. They would see their day in court and more than likely be sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to serve out their sentences then be deported back to their own countries.
But once it was all said and done where would that leave Sam and Raleigh? Would they continue their forbidden relationship or would they chalk it up to a sinfully good time? That was a lingering question. They both had thought about it but hadn’t expressed it out loud or let alone to each other. What would the future hold for them?
Sam reached for the remote and sat up, propping herself onto the multitude of pillows that lay scattered upon the bed and the floor next to her. Flipping through the channels until she came to CNN coverage of the raid. CNN had covered the strike for a few days now; it was big news. The raid had recovered millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, stopped a terrorist organization from implanting any further into the United States and they had solved two murders. Every time coverage came on Raleigh would spout something like All in a day’s work for a stud like me. They would laugh and continue with what they had been doing before he pounded his chest like Tarzan.
I want to thank Delilah for allowing me to take up some of y’all precious time. I would be honored to get to know all of you, and I would be honored and love it if y’all joined my group or added me as a friend whatever makes y’all comfortable. Thank you so very much for your time.
If y’all have any questions, etc., feel welcome to hit me up check out my website, sign up for my newsletter all the links are below. #militarysupportingmilitary #MSM
Thursday, January 5th, 2017
Wind River Rancher: Shattered, but still fighting to be whole once more…
Wind River Rancher, Book 2, Wind River Valley series, s an emotional story that will suck every reader in. I’m known for gritty, visceral and emotional writing, and this book is no exception. It just happened to catch the eye of Publisher’s Weekly and it received a ‘starred’ review (like winning an Oscar) on 12.3.16.
This series I’m writing is about military vets returning home from combat from all over the world, mostly focused on the Middle East. Having been in the US Navy during the Vietnam War era (I served stateside as a weather forecaster at USNAS Moffett Field (now known as Silicon Valley) near San Francisco, California.
Book 1, Wind River Wrangler, the hero is an ex-Army Special Forces operator, Roan Taggart. He has left the Army with PTSD, no longer able to function at that high level any longer in black ops duties. He gets a job as a wrangler at the Wind River Ranch, where it’s quieter, it’s out in Nature and he is slowly healing from his internal PTSD wounds. Only, as life usually slaps us in the face, one way or another, he’s thrown back into a threat/life-and-death situation with Shiloh Gallagher, a writer from New York City. She’s escaped to the ranch to hide from a stalker who has torn her life apart. Figuring if she lives in Wyoming to write, her stalker won’t find her and she can breath once more, not look over her shoulder 24/7/365. Roan’s peaceful, back water life explodes when the stalker locates Shiloh. Once again, he’s thrust back into a combat situation. And for Shiloh, the nightmare begins anew when she thought she’d found safety at the ranch.
Book 2, Wind River Rancher, the hero is an ex-Marine Corps captain who commanded a company of Marines over in Afghanistan for years. The deployments, the combat, eventually took a toll on him, too. Reese Lockhart was a twenty-year man, his only dream was to become a Marine officer and protect his people, guide them and support them. Only the Afghanistan war gradually wore him down and sucked the life out of him, as it did so many others. He was given an honorable medical discharge, against his wishes. His whole life-dream has been shattered. He’s fractured internally by the PTSD, and you will meet him two years later as his story unfolds. He’s degraded to being like so many other vets we see on the streets of every city in the USA: shamed, hopeless, depressed and he cannot hold a job. In this book, I took “the gloves off,” as we say, and delved into the hero’s state of mind, his distorted emotions, his thinking he was a failure in every possible way.
EXCERPT from the opening to Chapter 1 of Wind River Rancher
Reese Lockhart’s stomach was tight with hunger as he stood at the outskirts of a small Wyoming town called Wind River. The sign indicated a population of two thousand. He’d gone a month without decent food. Six inches of snow stood on the sides of the road where he’d walked the last ten miles on 89A north. It headed toward Jackson Hole, where he was hoping to find work.
The town, for a Monday afternoon, was pretty slow. A couple of pickup trucks came and went, a few people walked along the sidewalks on either side of the highway that ran through the center of town. He halted outside Becker’s Hay and Feed Store, an aged redbrick building standing two stories high. The red tin roof was steep and sunlight reflected off it, making Reese squint. Bright lights now hurt his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, feeling the fear of rejection once again, he pushed open the door to the store. Would he get yelled at by the owner? Told to get out? It was early May and snow had fallen the night before. The sleepy town of Wind River still had slush on its streets midday.
The place was quiet, smelled of leather, and he saw a man in his sixties, tall, lean, and with silver hair, behind the counter. He was sitting on a wooden stool that
was probably the same age as he was, an ancient-looking calculator in his work-worn hands as he methodically punched the buttons.
Girding himself, ignoring the fact he hadn’t eaten in two days, Reese’s gaze automatically swung around the huge establishment. A hay and feed store was something he was familiar with. Maybe the owner wanted some part-time help. He needed to make enough money to buy a decent meal.
Shoving away the shame he felt over his situation, he saw the man lift his head, wire-rim spectacles halfway down his large nose, his blue eyes squinting at Reese as he approached the long wooden counter.
“Howdy, stranger. Can I help you?” the man asked.
“Maybe,” Reese said. “I’m looking for work. I saw you have several big barns out back, and a granary. Do you have any openings?” Automatically, Reese tensed. He knew he looked rough with a month’s worth of beard on his face, and his clothes were dirty and shabby. At one time, he’d been a Marine Corps captain commanding a company of 120 Marines. And he’d been damn good at it until—
“I’m Charlie Becker, the owner,” the man said, shifting and thrusting his hand across the desk toward him. “Welcome to Wind River. Who might you be?”
“Reese Lockhart,” he said, and he gripped the man’s strong hand. He liked Charlie’s large, watery eyes because he saw kindness in them. Reese was very good at assessing people. He’d kept his Marines safe and helped them through their professional and personal ups and downs over the years he commanded Mike Company in Afghanistan. Charlie was close to six feet tall, lean like a rail, and wore a white cowboy shirt and blue jeans. Reese sensed this older gentleman wouldn’t throw him out of here with a curse— or even worse, call law enforcement and accuse him of trespassing.
The last place where he’d tried to find some work, they’d called him a druggie and told him to get the hell out; he smelled. While walking the last ten miles to Wind River, Reese had stopped when he discovered a stream on the flat, snow-covered land, and tried to clean up the best he could. The temperature was near freezing as he’d gone into the bushes, away from the busy highway, and stripped to his waist. He’d taken handfuls of snow and scrubbed his body, shivering, but hell, that was a small price to pay to try to not smell so bad. He hadn’t had a real shower in a month, either.
“You a vet, by any chance?” Charlie asked, his eyes narrowing speculatively upon Reese.
“Yes, sir. Marine Corps.” He said it with pride.