Military romance has been, and will always be close to my heart. Up until now I’ve primarily written Marines, my affection for them is well documented in nearly 30 books including the Always a Marine series, Lone Star Leathernecks, and of course, When Danger Bites, the first book of Bravo Team WOLF—marrying my love of Marines to my love of Shifters.
When Susan Stoker invited me to come and play in her Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! What did give me pause was writing a SEAL, I’d written Marines, but SEALs are different. I wanted to be accurate, and I wanted to be entertaining—but most of all I wanted to be honest.
I’ve met SEALs in the past, but there are only so many questions you can ask. Instead, I relied on observation. It’s easy to forget these men are some of the toughest men around, not because they hide it—but because they are usually very comfortable in their own skin. They know what they are capable of and they don’t need to prove it to anyone.
Their training is brutal, and it’s not just about physical capability but mental discipline. Their service is often classified or top secret, and they are always training, or prepping, or on a mission. It’s rather humbling to realize that they need downtime after a mission because days of being on and focused and pumped with adrenaline requires decompression time before they can come back to the civilian world.
Admiring the fortitude required for all of the above is only the first step to getting a grip on the character.
What About Movies and Television?
Why not watch television shows or movies featuring special operations? We can do that, and I have, but entertainment always takes a certain amount of dramatic license just like I do in my books. FYI, currently I enjoy The Brave of all the latest offerings on television. Liking it doesn’t mean I can rely on those shows to do my research for me.
So you interview who you can, ask questions and recognize that you can’t always get all the answers, but you might get hypotheticals. Then you respect the work they do and focus on your character—I’m not going to write about every minute of his training or every hour of his missions, but I can take the long view and see how all of these will inform the character’s development.
SEAL, Now and Forever?
Mickey is a SEAL, that is very much a part of his identity, but he’s no longer active duty. In the Marines, once a Marine, always a Marine. For SEALs? They’re always SEALs, it’s something they earn, they become, and retirement or not, the experience is theirs forever.
The best part of a writing SEALs? What makes them dangerous isn’t their weapons or their combat skills—it’s what it took to make them SEALs in the first place—their mental discipline and strength of character. Those elements are amazing to combine into a character I create.
What is your favorite part of a SEAL? Real or fictional?
James “Mickey” MacBride retired from the teams with a solid record of mission accomplished. Now at odds and ends, he accepts the request of his retired Petty Officer grandfather. They want to gather the children of the USS Arizona—the descendants of the 355 survivors—for a special event. No problem, how hard can finding one woman named Arizona Kensington be?
Ari King has been on the run for over a year. No matter where she goes, her stalker finds her. She’s changed her name, her hair color, and even gave up the job she loved. When Mickey walks into the restaurant and asks for her by the name she surrendered, she takes his order then leaves via the back door, running for her life. Only she can’t shake him.
Securing Arizona was supposed to be a favor, but Mickey soon discovers it’s the mission of his life, and the men after her will have to go through this SEAL to get her.
One of the joys of reading is escaping to places you’ve been or always dreamed of going. One of those places that should be on everyone’s bucket list is Venice, Italy. The city is magical! The canals, the alleyways, the people and Carnival are amazing and take you back to another time.
I chose Venice for Ronin’s Return because I so loved the city. Hotel Eden is a place where we stayed, and I described it just like it was when I went there. I’ve included a picture of my daughter standing beneath the sign at Hotel Eden. The picture of Venice on the cover is one I took while there. I loved the colorful buildings and the reflections of the buildings in the water. I hope you enjoy visiting Venice, even if only in the story.
Navy SEAL helps Italian heiress evade bounty hunters set on collecting the price on her head, while navigating the canals of Venice.
Navy SEAL, Ronin Magnus, has his first real vacation since his visit to Italy two years ago when he met the woman who continues to haunt his every day and night dreams. His mission: Find Isabella and prove to himself two years of fantasizing has blown her image and attributes way out of proportion. In order to move on, he has to get her out of his system.
Isabella Pisano, daughter of the multi-millionaire Pisano family of Venice had spent the past two years trying to forget a handsome Navy SEAL who’d turned her views on love upside down. Not satisfied to be just the daughter of a wealthy man, she had set out to make a difference in the lives of the women being raped, tortured and sold into slavery in the ISIS raids in Syria. Disguised as the gun-toting Angel of Mercy, she entered Syria and helped hundreds of women and children escape ISIS brutality. When ISIS puts a price on her head, she returns to Venice, resumes her life as Isabella and prays her alter ego and the bounty on her head doesn’t follow her
Unfortunately, their reunion is beset by killers who’ve discovered Isabella’s secret.
Chased through the streets and canals of Venice, Ronin and Isabella must elude their enemies or die. But they cannot escape the burgeoning love, threatening to consume them.
Hey there! I’m up bright and early today. What does that phrase mean, anyway—bright and early? It’s dark as midnight outside at the moment. And you know, I stumbled over the “dark as midnight” too. I wanted to write “dark as fuck”, but figured you might not like that word outside of a scene where the F-word is definitely being used as a verb. The “dark as fuck” is a remnant of a relationship I had with an Irishman. He loved that phrase. Now, it slips far too easily off my tongue and fingertips…
So, there was absolutely no point to that opening paragraph. Hope you didn’t mind the meandering segues. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those days. I have a shit-ton of editing to do today, and how will I be starting my day? I’m headed to the Pumpkin Days Festival, which a little nearby church in the sticks holds every year. The kids always love it, so of course, we have to go. Games, food, PUMPKINS.
Do you have big things planned for today? I have a suggestion! Read the excerpt below from Hard SEAL to Love, and tell me you’re not tempted to find a SEAL book-boyfriend!
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Hard SEAL to Love
Former SEAL, “Big Mac” McLane, is sure he earned all kinds of bad karma somewhere when his next mission with Charter Group is to guard the “Love Boat” and a pretty program director. Okay, so the cruise line is sponsoring a special cruise for wounded soldiers and their significant others—a great cause. Mac doesn’t doesn’t know a thing about spending time with “good” women, but Kylie Hammond is full of surprises. After the initial shock of meeting her, he feels like he has two left feet whenever she’s around. So he’ll do his job, keep it strictly business, fade into the background whenever she’s around, but Kylie seems to have other ideas…
Kylie knows the muscle-bound SEAL isn’t exactly gung-ho for his new assignment, and she isn’t exactly the “princess” he expected, 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. Then someone aboard the ship is killed. The thing her charity most feared—a terrorist attack at sea—appears to be underway. Now, she has to trust Mac and his team to keep her wounded soldiers safe.
Read an excerpt…
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.
UPDATE: The winners are Vickey Kennedy, Tamara Kasyan, and Debra Guyette!
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It’s hard being mommy! And no, I’m not just talking about the fact I just birthed my 12th Uncharted SEALs tale. My dear daughter is halfway across the country helping out with her dad’s business, so I’ve pretty much moved in across the street with her family to watch kids, keep things orderly, and walk her way-too-fucking-many dogs. I get only a very slim window to escape to my office, check my email, and post a blog before I have to pack up for another day of challenges. Writing has taken a hit. Which isn’t good because I need to be making page count on my next story—something longer than I have been writing, but something I think you’ll enjoy—my first Montana Bounty Hunter story. So far, I only have one chapter. 🙁
She’s been gone a week, and I have just one more week to go. Did I mention that she has seven dogs that have to be rotated in and out of the yard in twos and threes or there would be war? And cats! And guinea pigs! Yeah, I much prefer my life with my solitary cat. I only occasionally have to watch my mom’s three Yorkies. And in the meantime, my bamboo plants are getting yellow. Isn’t it bad luck to kill them?
Anyways, what I would like is: 1) for y’all to go find a copy of my new release, SEAL Escort (of course!), and 2) tell me whether family puts impossible demands on you sometimes.
Comment for a chance to win one of my previous Uncharted SEALs stories!
In case you couldn’t find it… And just because this cover’s so lickable…
So, I’m on this little trip. Yeah, I’m in Peru! First time on the South American Continent. I’m hitting one of my items on my bucket list. My husband and another couple are on our way to Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca ruins. And let me tell you, you can’t get there unless you’re specifically going there! No, you can’t fly direct. Hell, you can’t even fly to Machu Picchu. We flew from Arkansas to Houston, Texas. Houston to Miami. Miami to Lima Peru and stayed the night in the airport hotel and then flew the next morning to Cusco. From there we were picked up and transported by van to the Sacred Valley. From here, we’ll ride a train up to the ruins. Though I’ve been traveling for 3 days, in this modern age of air travel, I have yet to get where I’m going! But it will be well worth it. I have no doubt. Watch my Facebook page for pictures of our trip. We’re surrounded by the Andes snow-capped mountains in a beautiful country. The people here have all be wonderfully welcoming and the cultural costumes are incredibly fun and colorful.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for the next in the Brotherhood Protectors series, you can preorder MONTANA RESCUE now. It comes out November 14th. It’s also a part of the SLEEPER SEAL Series of books written by a fabulous group of authors. So don’t miss this book! Pre-order now!
The Sleeper SEALs are former U.S. Navy SEALs recruited by a new CIA counter-terror division to handle solo dark ops missions to combat terrorism on U.S. soil
Plagued by survivor’s guilt and a bad knee, SEAL Maddog Maddox left the Navy and buried himself in a mountain cabin in Colorado where the only creatures he hunts now are those he puts on his table. Slowly going out of his mind with boredom, he’s on the verge of throwing himself off a cliff when an old friend, his former commander gives him a reason to live. His mission: Team with special CIA operative and assassin to reveal a terrorist on home soil.
Raised by her father in the Crazy Mountains of Montana, Jolie Richards learned to fire guns before she learned to do her hair. When her father was killed by a careless hunter, Jolie joined the CIA to get as far away from Montana and the emptiness of a home without her father. Her skills as an expert marksman land her as an assassin. When she kills one of a pair of brothers radicalized into ISIS, she becomes the target. In order to flush out the ISIS threat, she sets herself up as bait, but takes him to familiar ground in the Crazy Mountains. Used to working alone, she finds she’s been assigned a partner. She just hopes he stays out of the way of her accomplishing her mission.
Together Maddog and Jolie team with the Brotherhood Protectors, a protection agency comprised of former military members, to expose their enemy before he can kill more innocents.
On Thursday, my good friend Desiree Holt has a brand new set of stories from some terrific authors ready to launch! I’m proud to be among them! If you’d like to join Desiree’s Omega Team Facebook group, just click on the pretty picture above! My contribution to Thursday’s launch is a fun story set in my Uncharted SEALs series, entitled SEAL Escort. Read an excerpt below and get ready for Thursday!
When former SEAL, now Charter Group operator, “Snake” McPherson, is assigned to guard a social media star, he’s not pleased. Edgy from back-to-back tours in the sandbox, the last thing he wants it to tail some “selfie-princess.” Worse, the spoiled little rich girl doesn’t want anyone to know that’s his purpose. No, Cat Mikkelson insists he pretend to be her boyfriend for the weekend, a paid escort for a party at some billionaire’s private island. Worse, the woman dresses him like a Ken doll and insists they share the same room at the billionaire’s mansion.
Cat Mikkelson has a secret. Despite her carefree, online persona, she’s frightened. She’s been a prisoner inside her Manhattan apartment since she broke it off with her prizefighter boyfriend. She knows all too well what he’s capable of, so when she’s invited for a weekend getaway, she’s relieved for a chance to escape her prison while her lawyers gear up to serve him a restraining order. Her handsome bodyguard turns out to be a blessing in more ways than one. With him, she feels safe, and for the first time in a long time, she’s ready to play. The more she pushes his boundaries, the hotter their exchanges get.
As things heat up between Snake and Cat, her past pays a visit…
Yup, sexy times! Here’s a short excerpt…
Cat lost herself in his kiss, noting every caress he gave her as his hands roamed her body. She loved the insistent stab of his tongue as he plunged deep inside her mouth. Inwardly, she crowed with excitement. The time was now. No way in hell would he tell her no this time. The way he crowded his cock against her skin, he was telling her, silently, to prepare. She pulled back. “Please, Snake.”
Smiling, he kissed the tip of her nose. “I packed condoms.”
She grinned. “So did I.”
Lacing their fingers together, he tugged her toward the shore.
She needed no encouragement. Already, her nipples sprang against the thin fabric of her bikini top. Warmth filled her chest and belly, and a languid heat licked at her sex. Just as he would. She knew it. Snake wouldn’t leave her behind. Not ever.
And now, she wished she knew more about him than the fact he understood how to please her. She wanted to meet his friends, see where he lived, what car he drove, and how he filled his hours.
She’d give anything to be invited to learn more.
They moved without haste, but her body was already rushing ahead. Slightly behind him, she reached with her free hand to pull at the bow in the center of her back, loosening her top.
By the time they reached the blanket, the strappy number had fallen to their clasped hands.
He glanced downward, loosened his fingers, and let it drop. Then he gazed at her breasts.
Silently, she stood, letting him look his fill, knowing what he saw—flushed rose tips, paler pink areolas. When he reached to lift one, cupping it, weighing it in his hand, she nearly moaned she was so excited. So ready.
His thumb flicked one tip.
Lust hit hard, and she drew a sharp, hissing breath. “The other,” she whispered. “Touch them both, please.”
Snake went to one knee and burrowed his face between her breasts while he massaged the mounds with his palms. When he turned his face to draw one peak into his mouth, she clutched the back of his head to pull him closer.
He went down on the other knee, lowering his head, and then urged her with his hands to drape one thigh over a hard shoulder. Next, he tugged at the ties at the sides of her hips and drew away her bottoms. His hands sank between her legs, fondling her sex. Fingers gliding through her silky warmth and entering as he began to tongue her clit.
As she rocked her hips forward and back, she never wanted this experience to end. This sensation was heaven. She’d never felt more beautiful or been handled as though she was treasure. When his lips closed around her clit, she stiffened just a little, but he was so gentle, she relaxed again and learned to enjoy the gentle pulls as he sucked it.
A finger trailed up her inner thigh then slid inside her, swirling in her heat and drawing down more moisture, which he used to coat another. Now, two stroked inside her. The pressure of fullness felt incredible. Cat gripped his hair. “Snake.”
He gave her mound a kiss then stood and shoved down his trunks.
His cock was darker than his tanned skin and crowned with a slightly purple head. Thick bluish veins stood in relief against his thick shaft.
When she reached out, he caught her fingers. “Another time,” he said, his voice tight. “Please lie down.”
Her legs trembled, so she was only too happy to drop to the blanket then stretch across it. While his gaze roamed her body, she cupped her breasts and teased the tips, tempting him to come quickly and fill her. Her channel already pulsed and was already drenched.
Going to his knees, he slipped between her thighs, waiting.
Anticipation pumped her blood hot and fast as she opened wider and lifted her knees.
He cloaked himself, hissing between his teeth as he rolled it downward.
Then she followed his glance as it dropped, watching as he fit himself, shaped like a blunt cudgel, against her entrance.
A slow flex of his hips pushed his shaft inside. With gentle moves, he used his fingers to pull away her folds, before he could work his thick cockhead inside her.
Once he was past her entrance, he moved forward and back, easing deeper and deeper inside her, his features growing so hard and set, she knew he battled against thrusting fast.
“You’re tight,” he said, grimacing.
“You’re big.” She gave him a weak smile, because she was focused on the delicious sensations of him moving within her body. He crowded her walls, his gliding cock building frictional heat inside her…
Tidbit: Did you know my mother was born in Montana? I have family who still live in that beautiful state and I love to visit. I spent the first five years of my life on the plains of eastern Montana while my father was in the US Air Force.
Former Navy SEAL enters the fight of his life to protect the mother of his child from killers who wish to silence her testimony in a murder case
After the sudden disappearance of the amazing woman he fell for on vacation in Cozumel and nearly losing his own life on a politically volatile mission in Syria, Brandon Rayne “Boomer” leaves the SEAL brotherhood and signs on with the private security agency Brotherhood Protectors in Montana. Determined to forget the girl and maybe even try for a real life and start a family, he embraces his new life.
While on vacation in Cozumel, Daphne Miller fell in love with a handsome SEAL. On the verge of committing her heart and life to him, she becomes the unwitting witness to murder. Forced into witness protection, she doesn’t realize she’s pregnant, the product of the hot fling with the sexy SEAL. A year later, still pining for what could have been, with a baby girl to protect, Daphne’s safe house is compromised. In an attempt to evade the people trying to kill her to keep her from being a star witness in a big court case, she heads to Montana to find the only person she knows can help, the baby’s father.
Determined to put his desire for Daphne on the back burner, Boomer focuses his skills and cunning on keeping her alive long enough to testify. Together, they vow to protect baby Maya from being used as a pawn to control the outcome of a critical court case.