After a few authors mentioned their disappointment that they wouldn’t have their stories done in time, I decided to extend the deadline. So, authors, keep writing those Silver Soldiers stories! DD
SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY
Editor: Delilah Devlin
Deadline: April 5, 2022
SILVER SOLDIERS is open to all authors.
Editor/Author Delilah Devlin is looking for stories for a romantic erotica anthology tentatively entitled SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY.
Why write a short story for this collection? Well, it’s certainly not about making a lot of money, so why do it at all? I’ve said this before, but here are my thoughts…
Writing a short story for a call for submissions is a chance to flex your writing muscle! It can be a chance to experiment with a genre you’ve never written. If you’ve never written a story in first person but don’t want to begin by writing an entire novel using it, start short! For myself, I’ve written stories in new genres or with fresh themes that ended up being so much fun to write they’ve spawned entire series.
You have a deadline! I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping my butt in the chair without one!
It’s a promotional opportunity! If selected, you’ll be joined by 12-15 other authors for the launch, sharing your audiences and, hopefully, picking up new readers along the way. Having your story in the collection is another chance to be “seen.”
And remember, you retain the rights to your story, so you can republish it for individual sale or give it away to attract subscribers to your newsletter. You might even decide there’s more story to tell and expand your short story into a novel.
Here’s what I’m looking for…
SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY will include stories that satisfy the reader who craves stories with older alpha male heroes. Those salt-and-pepper hotties with crow’s feet earned through rugged training and years of combat. Former soldiers finding their footing after their first careers, or current soldiers nearing the end of their military careers. They’re ready to find the right partner to put down roots, ones who aren’t afraid of scars and rough edges.
SILVER SOLDIERS will seek stories with varied settings here on earth, grounded in reality, or soldiers who might be something a bit more than human—supernatural creatures, or even aliens and cyborgs. The only requirement is that these soldiers understand loyalty, allegiance, and real courage.
I’m open to any subgenre of erotic romance you want to write. I’ll accept contemporary, historical, science fiction, or paranormal stories, and I won’t be picky about whether the stories are hetero, LGBT, ménage… Basically, you, the author, can go anywhere your imagination takes you so long as 1) the story is a romance, and 2) you have a bad boy somewhere in the pages!
The anthology will be sold at a low price—my intent is exposure for you and your writing. The more readers reached, the better! You will retain the rights to your story so that, at a later date, you can republish your stories individually.
I’m seeking hot and inventive stories from authors with unique voices, and above all, I’m looking to be seduced by tales filled with vivid imagery and passion.
Published authors with an established world may use that setting for their original short story.
This is erotic romance, so don’t hold back on the heat. Stories can be vanilla or filled with kink, but don’t miss describing the romantic connection between strong-willed individuals learning to trust and love one another. A deep sensuality should linger in every word. Keep in mind there must be a romantic element with a happy-for-now or happy-ever-after ending. Strong plots, engaging characters, and unique twists are the ultimate goal. Please no reprints. I want original stories.
How to submit: Prepare your 2,500 to 5,500 words story in a double-spaced, Arial, 12-point, black font, Word document (.doc or .docx) OR rich text format (.rtf), with pages numbered. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch, and double space (regular double spacing; do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). U.S. grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) is required.
In your document at the top left of the first page, include your legal name (and pseudonym, if applicable), mailing address, email address, and a 50-words or less biography, written in the third person, and send to email@example.com. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you’d like to be credited as. Authors may submit up to 2 stories. I will try to respond no later than June 15, 2022 with decisions.
Payment will be $25.00 USD, ninety days after publication at the end of that month.
Who is Delilah Devlin?
Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance and erotic romance. She has published nearly two hundred stories in multiple genres and lengths and has been published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Entangled, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Kindle, Montlake, Penthouse, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing.
Her short stories have appeared in multiple Cleis Press collections, including Lesbian Cowboys, Girl Crush, Fairy Tale Lust, Lesbian Lust, Passion, Lesbian Cops, Dream Lover, Carnal Machines, Best Erotic Romance (2012), Suite Encounters, Girl Fever, Girls Who Score, Duty and Desire, Best Lesbian Romance of 2013, and On Fire. For Cleis Press, she edited Girls Who Bite, She Shifters, Cowboy Lust, Smokin’ Hot Firemen, High Octane Heroes, Cowboy Heat, Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors and Sex Objects.
She has also edited Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance, Rogues: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Blue Collar: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Pirates: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Stranded: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, and Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.
Direct any questions you have regarding your story or the submission process to Delilah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a very successful January, I had big goals for February. My actual results are a little mixed. I have great excuses. Always do. But here’s what I did accomplish on my goal list…
I published my short story from the Cowboys anthology as a single short story release, “Hunk of Burning Love.” It’s currently FREE in Kindle Unlimited, but I also offered it as a FREE direct download as my Valentine’s Day gift to you.
I completed 4 editing projects in February, including two long novels!
I did NOT write a book—only a few pages, actually—which was my only disappointing progress this month.
I continued with Weight Watchers and can proudly say that I’ve lost 18.6 pounds as of today! I’m not pushing to lose fast because I like how I feel. Slow is good!
I’ve been paying attention to my step count. It’s not stellar, but the fact that I’m looking at it means something to my brain.
I began working on the #100DayProject art challenge! It’s my third year participating, and yes, it’s HARD fitting in play time at my art table but sooooo fulfilling. Here are some samples of what I’ve done so far…
Here’s me putting this out in the world…
For work-related, I plan:
To write and publish the next Texas Vampires novella, No Tender Mercy. (Have you pre-ordered your copy?!) No dilly-dallying. This will be done!
To get close to “Done” with my next romantic suspense story.
To prepare a new box set of the three Danger Zone books and publish it!
To complete 4 editing projects in March!
For health-related, I plan:
To continue with Weight Watchers and hope to lose at least 5 pounds. Slow is good!
To begin some low-impact aerobics, which will include a video workout for old people (I’m not old, and my joints aren’t effed, but I like the low-impact part!), plus, I’ll add some outdoor activities, like pool maintenance and blowing the patio—counting the things I should already be doing to get ready for pool season. All of them burn calories and build muscle. Guess I should count housework, too. Blech.
For happiness-related, I plan:
To continue working on getting my art room better organized, because I plan…
To produce something art-related every day for the #100DayProject art challenge!
Comment on anything you’ve read in this post. Tell me what you’re doing to make yourself happier and healthier. Tell me what you plan to read… Like I said, comment on anything for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to enter these contests while you still can!
So happy to be back on Delilah’s blog. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about my writing process. It’s what I have started following ever since writing Matched (book 2 of my Navy SEALs of Little Creek series). Hopefully, you might fight something useful or interesting that you may want to try with your own writing. (Or, for you readers out there, this gives you a view into how this author approaches her craft.) At the very end, there is even a bonus excerpt from Matched.
My writing process usually begins with me developing my premise. I try to figure out what will make it unique, what do I believe about some of the topics that occur in the story, and the biggest part of the chart—the one that is up at the top—is my why. Why is this book important to me, and why do I want to write this particular story?
From there, I move on to developing my characters, specifically focusing on their backstories, goals, motivations, and conflicts. Then comes the fun part…character profiles. I love looking at their quirks and how they dress and what they look like. Enter Pinterest!! I’ll admit some days I feel like going shopping after spending time “researching” the clothes my characters might wear.
Next comes working out my beats followed by creating my chapter-by-chapter outline. And because I am a super plotter, I have ended up with outlines that have been fifteen to twenty pages long. Luckily, this has come in handy once I learned how to fast draft. I find the hardest part of the process just getting that first draft out.
Editing comes next. Believe it or not, I actually love this step. There’s nothing like working on a story and making it better. Some of my favorite parts of editing come from ideas that are created with my critique partners. After a couple of rounds of editing I’ll send my book off to beta readers. This is a great time for me to disconnect from the story. Usually during this time, I try to take some classes and listen to podcasts on craft. I usually wait until I get feedback from all my beta readers before diving in. This way I can decipher issues that everyone had versus comments that might be more subjective. And even if they are subjective, they might spark an idea or a different path or even a new chapter to include.
Truthfully, I don’t think the need to edit ever stops. Even after a book is published, I’ve found areas I want to fix or things I should’ve included. But there comes a time when we must send our book into the world and apply things we wished we could fix to the next manuscript.
Everyone’s writing style and process is different. There is no right or wrong way, no way that makes it any easier. My best piece of advice would be to do what works for you but take time to understand your why. It will keep you going when you hit a point where you are struggling or are even contemplating giving up.
An excerpt from Matched…
To my credit—for which, I should get big kudos—I don’t point out that history and her birth prove her mother knows her way around a boner. Instead, I walk closer and reach around her for an apple sitting on the counter in a powder-blue fruit bowl that matches the wall color, the coffee maker and a stand mixer I can’t wait to show her I know how to use. Chicks love guys who can cook. It’s helped me score on more than one occasion. But while I’m ready to score with my new wife whenever she says the word, a part of me is just as eager to prove to her I’m good for more than terrible pick-up lines.
She gives a little gasp as my fingers brush against hers, and I shiver. Yeah, no. Getting to know my wife in the biblical sense definitely edges out proving my usefulness on the scale of things I’d like to accomplish today.
I could cover up. Could even take a piss and get rid of the problem, but this is more fun than I’ve had in a couple of days. More like months. And I’m not itching to hurry it away. “So, is this breakfast you’ve baked for me?”
Her eyes go dark, what could be classified as deadly, and she smiles slow, devious, a smirk of proportions so epic, I’ve never seen another like it. “Cold day in hell, mi esposo. And before you even think to open that stupid mouth of yours once more, for the indefinite future, your situations are your problem.” She wax-on/wax-offs her hands in front of her. “This is off-limits until further notice.”
Paris Wynters is a multi-racial author who writes steamy and sweet love East Coast stories that celebrate our diverse world. She is the author of Hearts Unleashed, The Navy SEALs of Little Creek series, Love On The Winter Steppes, and Called into Action. When she’s not dreaming up stories, she can be found assisting with disasters and helping to find missing people as a Search and Rescue K-9 handler. Paris resides on Long Island in New York along with her family and is also a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
UPDATE: The winners are…Colleen, Miki, bn100, Jennifer Beyer, Debra Guyette, and Stacey Kinzebach!
It’s Monday, a holiday (so kids are home), and it’s the beginning of a week of bad weather. The 8-year-old slept over with me last night and told me to turn off my alarms because she wanted to sleep in. Wish I could sleep in!!!!
Thought I’d take a moment to remind you about the pre-orders I have up. No, I don’t have big old blurbs to tell you about the last two because I haven’t written them yet, and I never know what the story is about until I’m midway through. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s what works for me.
Both of the first two books are EROTIC romance, so be warned!No Tender Mercy comes out on March 22nd! It’s the sequel to Her Sanctuary. If you love Texas and vampires, you’re in for a sexy ride! Dark Seduction, which releases on April 19th, is the sequel to Dark Legacy and is a story I’m republishing. It’s a full-length novel, very sexy, smutty, involves a police investigation, and is full of twists and turns involving vampires and demons. I love the story. It’s my third favorite thing I ever wrote.
These next two are part of a series you should be very familiar with by now! Hot SEAL, Wild Thing releases May 24th! The authors in this series are using song titles as our theme this time around. Of course, I jumped on one of my old favorites. All I know about my hero is that he’s living his life as wild and freely as he can. If you have any ideas why that is, I’d love to hear them! 🙂
If you read my latest bounty hunter story, Eli, then you’ve met Gabriel. And I gave you a huge hint about his possible love interest, so be sure to pre-order so you read their adventure! It releases on June 28th—my birthday!
For a chance to win your choice of a download from my ginormous backlist, let me know if you plan to read any of these stories! Also, if you want to gripe at me to write a story you’ve been waiting for, let me know! I’ll choose two commenters!
February is right around the corner, so Valentine’s Day is on my mind. Maybe it is on your mind, too.
Here are 10 gifts to give your valentine that may or may not cost a lot depending on how you decide to execute this plan:
Provide a meal. This could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but taking the burden of cooking off of someone’s plate when they normally do the cooking is an amazing gift and gesture.
Household Chore. Whatever chore your significant other, parent, child, whoever you are showing they are special this holiday, hates the most. Do that chore for them on this day or the day before. You really want to rock? Do this chore for a week!
Snacks. That’s right, get a gathering of this person’s favorite snacks together and present it to them. Let’s them know you know them well enough to get those and they have them on hand. The key to this gift is not eating your Valentine’s gift no matter how tempting that box of thin mints are!
Bake Something. A cake, pie, cupcakes, brownies, etc. are not a meal and not a snack. Desserts are special and when you fancy them up it makes them extra special, so take the time and bake something.
Make Something. It’s not all food on this list. LOL. You know how people pull out ornaments and finger paintings from when you were a kid? Well, you could pull out the crafting supplies and make something. If for your significant other, make two somethings. One for them to display and one that no one but the two of you should ever see.
Journal. A gender-neutral gift that aims to please when you write a nice note on the inside of it so they remember who gave them the gift and when. I give journals as gifts frequently.
Books. eBooks, audiobooks, paperback books, hard cover books, doesn’t matter. Find some books in their favorite genre or by their favorite authors and gift it to them.
Sleep. Whether it is an extra hour in the morning or night, a nap in the afternoon, the gift of sleep matters!
Music. Make a playlist. It’s a throwback to the 80s but now you don’t need a cassette player and the radio station to finally play that song for you.
Time to do whatever they want. An hour to read undisturbed, family movie night without cellphones, whatever it is, gifting someone time with you, with friends, with family, or with themselves is never time wasted and always a great gift.
UPDATE: The winners are…Daun Ann Corty and Laura!
I loved writing my Uncharted SEALs series. All those rugged, alpha heroes and strong heroines. Humor. Action. All the ingredients that make stories fun for me to write, and hopefully, fun for you to read.
With Uncharted SEALs, I experimented a bit. For the first time, I did sequels with the same characters—for the simple reason I couldn’t say goodbye to them. I wanted to see inside their Happy Ever Afters. Through Her Eyes and Between a SEAL and a Hard Place share the same main characters, as do Dream of Me and Heart of a SEAL. Big Sky SEAL gave birth to my Montana Bounty Hunters, introducing Jamie and Reaper, who as a result of their work in Big Sky earned their own satellite office of MBH.
A fun theme I used in two of the stories was a cruise ship. Both Before We Kiss and Hard SEAL to Love are set on the same ship and have the same supporting characters. Plus, Hard SEAL to Love features a disabled female vet! Enjoy the excerpt below!
Click on the covers to learn more!
Win your choice of one of my Uncharted SEALs stories! There will be 3 winners! All you have to do to enter is answer me this…
(IGNORE COVID) If you got two free tickets for a cruise, who would you take with you and where would you go?
Hard SEAL to Love
Former SEAL, “Big Mac” McLane, is sure he earned all kinds of bad karma somewhere when his first mission with Charter Group is guarding the “Love Boat” and its activity director. Okay, so the cruise line is sponsoring a special cruise for wounded soldiers and their families — a great cause — but Big Mac doesn’t do well around families and children, and Kylie Hammond is cute, but he feels like he has two left feet whenever she’s around. But he’s going to do his job, keep it strictly business, fade into the background whenever she’s around, but it seems Kylie has other ideas…
Kylie knows the big SEAL isn’t exactly gung-ho for his new assignment, but she can’t be more pleased. The big man’s the yummiest thing she’s ever seen, and coaxing blushes and glares from him becomes her favorite sport. But then things begin to go wrong aboard ship, people disappear, and then someone’s killed. The thing her charity most feared — a terrorist attack at sea — appears to be underway. Now, she has to trust Big Mac and his team to keep her wounded soldiers safe.
Excerpt from Hard SEAL to Love…
“Big Mac” McLane stood on the well-lit dock beside his team leader, Deke Warrick, and his teammate, Jackson Keller, as crewmembers and dockworkers rolled storage containers from the belly of the huge cruise ship. Soon, the refuse from a four-day cruise would be disposed of, and new provisions, along with a new group of passengers, loaded.
Waves lapped against the piers, the wheels of the rolling containers whirred and grated, and forklifts beeped. All familiar sounds but made surreal because he wasn’t waiting to board some Navy battleship, and the size of the cruise ship was astounding.
Mac admired the lock-step precision of the entire operation as the unloading continued. Despite the added pressure of law enforcement personnel crawling all over the ship, the Delphin’s crew didn’t miss a beat. Nothing would delay the ship from leaving the dock just after fourteen hundred hours that day. The cruise ship had a schedule to keep.
Stretching his arms, Mac stifled a yawn. The trio had taken a red-eye flight from Dallas to meet the ship in Miami. Due to the recent troubles, Charter Group wanted feet on the ground to make sure the Countess cruise line and law enforcement were taking seriously the string of events aboard their ships that had unfolded over the past weeks since the abduction of Poppy Shackleford. Although Charter Group’s people had successfully recovered the general’s daughter, everyone involved with the upcoming Soldiers’ Sanctuary cruise feared the problems would only escalate. Mac had been tapped to provide the program director protection during the special cruise which was scheduled to leave the Port of Miami the following day.
Although the time was just past O-five-hundred, the air this morning was warm and balmy. Temperatures would rise to a boil by mid-morning, so Mac didn’t mind waiting on the dock to speak to the Delphin’s captain while passengers set to disembark midmorning still slept. A Miami-Dade County medical examiner’s van stood by to remove the body of one unlucky soul whose cruise hadn’t ended well.
“And the ship’s doctor is sure the cause wasn’t a heart attack?” Jax murmured.
Deke’s lips tightened. “He smelled almonds, and the woman’s cheeks were cherry red. Her traveling companion described her as having a seizure and not being able to breathe. M.E. looking at the body now thinks it was cyanide, but we won’t know for sure until an autopsy’s performed.”
Jax scraped his palm across his stubbled jaw. “No one else was affected?”
Deke shook his head. “It happened while they were eating in the dining room. No one else’s plate was tampered with.”
“The traveling companion?”
Deke shrugged. “Her girlfriend of thirty years. The ship’s doctor had to administer a strong sedative because she freaked. He doesn’t think she did it.”
“So, another incident.” Mac took a deep breath. “How many does this make?”
“Three.” Deke lifted his hand and began counting off the list with his fingers. “First, a water system was tampered with on the Tethys. Someone flushed red dye through the ship’s fresh water. Passengers thought it was blood.”
“So they may have been testing methods of dispersal,” Jax muttered.
“Looks like. Or they could be assessing which method of attack will cause the most panic. Next, was the small explosion in the engine room aboard the Nereus. The ship had backup generators, so services weren’t stopped, and the crew effected repairs to continue to their next port. Other than a loud boom, the incident caused no injuries, and the passengers were no wiser. The cruise line can’t be a hundred percent sure whether it was sabotage or a malfunction. So their resistant to cancelling any voyages. But their security’s stretched. And now, we have last night’s poisoning…”
“Gonna be bad PR for the line,” Jax said, shaking his head.
“The company’s keeping the incidents under wraps,” Deke said. “And Homeland’s locking down this investigation here. Miami-Dade will help with interviewing passengers and crew, but they’re informing everyone for now that it was a routine death at sea.
“Just got off the phone with Jake Patton at Homeland. He says they want to catch whoever did this. They don’t want the culprits spooked and scattered to the winds. If their ultimate target is the soldiers’ cruise, we’ll be waiting. In the meantime, they do their due diligence, talk to every person on that ship who had access to the victim’s meal, and search every corner of the ship to see if any clues were left behind. He’ll have men with the ship when it sails today to continue the investigation.”
“Had to have been wait staff,” Mac said, frowning while he thought about the thousands of support personnel that worked on the ship. Homeland and the police had a small army ready to question all cooks and waiters and still wouldn’t be done before the boat sailed.
“Probably was some waiter,” Jax said, “maybe someone embedded, or someone bribed or threatened to get them to add the poison to her plate. And the next question is whether the victim was a random target—as in, just another test.”
“Or they’re taunting us.” Mac’s hands slowly curled into fists. He hated goddamn cowards who picked a fight but didn’t bother showing their faces. “Maybe they’re letting us know they can get to our guys, no matter how well prepared we are.”
Deke’s cheeks billowed as he blew out a long breath. His gaze darted to Mac. “You’re set to meet with Kylie Hammond at the Hampton Inn this morning. Have to warn you, she’s no happier at the thought of having a babysitter than Poppy was to discover we’d put Wiley on her detail.”
Mac grimaced. “Doesn’t matter if she’s not happy. I’m her date for the next four days. She won’t move without me one step behind her.”
As he leaned forward to look sideways, Jax’s mouth twitched. “Didn’t turn out so bad for Wiley and Poppy.”
Yeah, right. Mac gave him a blistering glare. A wedding at sea wasn’t in his plans. Nope. Didn’t matter if Kylie Hammond was a knock-out or not, he was immune to commitment. After transferring teams, all he wanted was to settle into this gig and prove his worth to Deke. “So, you two wanna tell me who I pissed off to get this assignment?”
Deke’s grin was wry. “Thought you were ready for a vacation.”
Mac shook his head. Maybe he’d been too quick to accept Charter’s offer for an “easy assignment” after the last one where he’d spent weeks guarding freighters dodging Somali pirates. He’d been ready for some down time. Had even considered doing some house hunting or heading to his buddy Carter’s ranch in Texas. Although the last time he’d been there, he’d grown restless after witnessing just how happy Carter was with his new wife and little niece he’d adopted to raise as his own.
All that domesticity had made him itch. As a guy who’d spent his teenage years bounced around in foster homes, he couldn’t imagine any man willingly being leg-shackled to one woman or even planting roots to live in one place. Not that he couldn’t see the attraction. Carter had carved out a nice life for himself. Now that his father was on the mend, Carter wasn’t tied to the ranch, although he was always eager to return there after an assignment. He had a pretty wife, a great kid, and nice-sized piece of heaven in the ranch he’d someday inherit.
Family, a home passed down through generations of Texans—all that was as foreign to Mac as the thought of sitting on the “Love Boat” for a fancy cruise with a privileged society girl building her social media cred through charity work. “Hell,” he muttered. “Job’s just four damn days.”
“Five. The assignment starts today.”
Mac lifted his shoulder. “Whatever. She’s locked down in the hotel until the buses come tomorrow morning to take the soldiers to the ship.”
Jax slapped his shoulder. “You do know ships’ captains can perform marriages in international waters…”
“Hey, I’m happy for Wiley.” Mac shuddered. “But he has General Shackleford for a father-in-law. Wonder if he has to snap a salute before they sit around the table to eat turkey and cranberries at Thanksgiving.”
Deke coughed into his fist. “Having a powerful father-in-law isn’t always a pain in the ass.”
Mac winced, having forgotten that Deke’s father-in-law was a former Navy commander-turned-congressman, and was now in charge of special operations for Charter Group. “How’s old Commander Martir doing, anyway?”
“Still a badass,” Deke said, giving him a glare.
“Once a SEAL…” Shrugging, Mac didn’t complete the phrase.
“Stop bellyaching about the assignment, McLane.” Deke braced his feet apart. “You might be bunking in a stateroom but don’t treat this assignment differently from any other you’ve had. Kylie Hammond’s safety is your mission.”
Five hours later, Mac stepped through the entrance of the Hampton Inn. The lobby was a study in orderly chaos. Suitcases were lined up and stacked against one wall. Men and women, some in wheelchairs or walking with crutches and walkers, and missing limbs—some multiples—filled the space.
Mac tamped down a feeling of guilt for being able-bodied and whole as he walked through the throng, nodding now and then as he passed the veterans. He headed to the concierge and asked where he could find Kylie Hammond. After being informed which conference room Soldiers’ Sanctuary had commandeered to hand out welcome packets to arrivals, he headed down a hallway, relieved he didn’t have to push through a sea of bodies. He was ready to start this op. Sooner the better. Five days would fly by, and then he’d have the down time he needed to get his head on straight before the next assignment.
Stepping inside the room, he noted two long conference tables filled with plastic buckets of folders. Three elderly men manned the table.
One of them who sported a gray buzz cut and a surprisingly muscular build glanced his way. He lifted his chin in greeting.
Mac decided he was as good a place to start as any and strode toward him.
The old man held out his hand. “Joe Olinksy,” he said, in deep, loud voice. Then he leaned against the table edge and whispered, “You with Charter?”
Mac eyed him then glanced at his two buddies who were moving closer. His presence as part of the security team was supposed to be on a “need-to-know” basis.
Grinning, Joe waved a hand. “We’re part of your support. Eyes and ears only. We’re a little too long in the tooth to be the muscle, but we’re here to help. We’ll be staying in the stateroom next to yours.”
Skeptical that this band of elderly brothers could be of any service at all, Mac drew a deep breath and gave Joe’s two companions another look.
“This is Morty,” Joe said, pointing toward a thin man with a round, pot belly. “And that’s Sly.”
Sly smiled, and his teeth were blindingly white and little too large in his mouth.
“Ex-marines, 3rd Division during Viet Nam,” Joe said. “You a SEAL like Wiley?”
“Semper Fi,” Morty said, grinning.
Mac grunted, revising his original assessment. These guys had seen real action. “I’m looking for Kylie Hammond.”
“She’s out in the atrium,” Joe pointed toward the windows behind him, “getting a cup of coffee. She’s been manning the tables since dawn. And don’t worry about us. We can handle ourselves. After all our help on the last cruise, Poppy made sure to add us to the team. We’ll have your six.”
The three elderly men hadn’t been mentioned in any of the briefings he’d attended back at HQ. Wiley for damn sure hadn’t said a thing, but then again, Wiley had looked a little smug when he’d heard Mac was being assigned to protect his wife’s best friend. He cleared his throat. “Mac McLane by the way,” he said, giving a nod to all three men.
“We’ll see you aboard the Oceanus,” Joe said.
Mac left them and thought about calling Wiley to find out why the hell he hadn’t mentioned his geriatric buddies. Just to bitch because he was already dreading the coming minutes. He didn’t have a lot of experience with Ms. Hammond’s brand of womanhood. He’d served with women in the field, and slept with the women who swarmed bars outside Navy bases, hoping for a hookup with a SEAL.
Women outside those two categories tended to make him nervous. In his experience, women had served only two purposes, as support and/or stress-relief for a SEAL. Not that he looked down on them. He liked the women he’d known. But he hadn’t had to think much about what kind of impression he made or how to talk to them. He could be gruff and blunt. What the hell would he talk about for the days and nights he and the princess would be glued to each other’s sides?
Entering the atrium, he glanced around for someone who fit the picture he’d made up in his mind. She’d be pretty, no doubt. He couldn’t imagine anyone who was friends with Poppy Shackleford and attending her social functions looking any different.
Most of the small round, brightly tiled tables were filled with men and a few women. Probably wives of the wounded soldiers, who’d be accompanying their husbands on the cruise.
One woman sat alone, her head bent over her cell phone which lay flat on the tabletop, a tall Styrofoam cup beside it. Her hair was a mass of dark brown curls. Her body, what he could see of it hunched over the table, was slender. Her bare arms and the tops of her shoulders, revealed by an olive tank, showed well-developed muscles. She wore no jewelry, save for a watch on an olive-colored web strap. Faux military-issue? And now he wondered whether she was one of those who was so enamored of military men she wore cammo pajamas. He’d met a few like that. As he moved nearer, she must have sensed someone watched her.
The woman’s gaze lifted from her phone and locked with his.
As he took in her features, he slowed his steps. Wide-set green eyes whose gaze never wavered, tan skin, rose-colored lips, cheeks that were prominent and high. She was lovely, but didn’t wear a hint of makeup. She didn’t need it. Unbidden, interest flared inside him, heating his blood.
“Are you Mac?” she asked, her voice even and little husky.
His tongue felt thick as he gave a crisp nod and replied. “You Kylie?”
Her smile was a little tight, but she pushed up from the table to greet him, her arm reaching forward.
When he looked down at her hand, with its long fingers and short bare nails, his gaze dropped to her legs. Another shock stole his breath. She wore shorts which ended at mid-thigh, revealing one long, nicely turned limb paired with a shapely thigh that disappeared into the black cup of a prosthetic limb.
“Defending Evangeline is a phenomenal romantic suspense…”
“With a plot that is engaging, filled with danger, good guys, bad guys, and of course romance, we end up with another entertaining story in the series.”
Not enough to convince you that you need to read this story? How about it lives inside Elle James’s Brotherhood Protectors: Colorado series? Read on!
A sharp-edged, disgruntled former Green Beret who needs to find redemption finds himself attracted to a woman hiding dangerous secrets.
Zeke Turner still can’t get his head wrapped around the fact he’s been all but booted from the job he loved. Angry over the fact Trojan Team took the fall for their leadership’s failure, he’s relieved that he and his buddies appear to have landed on their feet, still together, having been hired by the Brotherhood Protectors, but he doesn’t trust this move will end well. Once burned, twice shy is his motto—and he was never very trusting in the first place.
His first protection job doesn’t leave him feeling any surer he made the right decision, but he’s keeping his dissatisfaction to himself, keeping his head down…until then he bumps into a dark-haired angel in Fool’s Gold, who manages to both attract and intrigue him. He knows something’s not right, that Evangeline Carré is scared and hiding secrets. With his protective instincts going into overdrive, he’s determined to unravel the mystery surrounding her while keeping her safe, even when she swears she doesn’t need or want his help.