Welcome to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked for the Men & Women of the Military Giveaway Hop celebrating Veteran's Day! It is such an honor to be part of this hop and my first romantic suspense with SEALs will be out in 2013. So rather than talk about how my family is involved with the military (which it isn't), I thought I'd give you an excerpt of my upcoming military menage, The Navy's Ghost.
The Navy's Ghost Excerpt:
Lieutenant Junior Grade Todd “Magic” Hunter lengthened his strides down the hallway of Bethesda Medical Center, searching for the nurses’ station to find out where they’d moved Ghost. His gut clenched at the thought she may not have made it after all their efforts to save her. Dammit, if the stupid doctors lost her after he managed to clamp her artery shut, he’d tear this place apart.
Beside him, silent and deadly, Lieutenant Jim “Retro” Waters looked quiet enough, but Magic knew the bigger man was going out of his mind with worry. Waters was 6’4”, 230 pounds of badass SEAL with black hair and deep brown eyes. His face was chiseled and squared-jawed, like Robert Redford, complete with the cleft in his chin, and his eyes could bore a hole through concrete when he stared. He could be alternately scary or mysterious, projecting the Bad Boy image perfectly, and women melted at his feet, much to the other SEALs’ disgust.
“Where are the fucking nurses?” Retro growled.
“Doesn’t matter. Read the white board,” Magic remarked, pointing to the Nurse Rotation board behind the desk. They found Brickman listed with a nurse’s name.
They shifted direction like a school of fish, quick and coordinated in their movements without awkwardness. Magic felt some of his tension fade as he approached the room. Ghost was no longer in the ICU. That had to be a good thing.
But when they reached the door, they both paused and looked at each other, suddenly nervous.
Pussy. Just open the damn door and look in on her. She’s not dead.
He hoped. He watched Retro take a deep breath, then depress the door handle and push the door slowly open.
The room was dark and empty of ornamentation, only the bed and the medical equipment filled the small space. Magic’s anger kindled when he realized there were no flowers or balloons to liven the somber atmosphere and he vowed to remedy that immediately. He heard Retro suck his breath in a little fast and he swung his gaze finally to the occupant in the bed.
She was asleep, her head turned toward the shaded window as if seeking the light. She looked so small and fragile, though he knew she was anything but, and his chest tightened with anguish at her condition.
Dear God, why her? Of all of us, why her?
“Open the shades, Retro,” Magic whispered as he retreated to the door to snag the chart in the holder outside. “Let her see the light when she wakes up.”
Retro glided across the floor in silence and twisted the rod hanging from the top of the window. The last light of the setting sun painted orange stripes on the wall and the foot of the bed as Magic looked over the chart, too afraid to take in the details of Ghost’s body beneath the covers. He was barely aware of Retro snagging a chair and planting himself in it beside the bed. He did notice when his best friend took Ghost’s hand and held it, his broad shoulders slumping in dismay.
“What’s it say, Magic?” Retro rumbled without looking up. “How’s she doing?”
“She’s doing good,” Magic replied absently as he read. “They’ve got her on 10 cc’s of Dilaudid.”
Retro whistled softly. “That should take the edge off.”
“Yeah. Captain said it was ugly, her leg.” Magic grimaced as he remembered slicing through her thigh muscles with his field knife to get to her artery. He’d butchered her and her blood had been everywhere, but he’d somehow found the artery and staunched the flow before it took her soul with it. “They stitched her up and the CT scans show the artery’s strong, but her leg looks like the victim of a shark attack. Fuck, Retro, I carved her up like a Thanksgiving turkey!”
“Yeah, but it saved her life. I don’t think she’d begrudge that. Have they given her anything for bone and muscle replacement?”
“They’ve increased her calcium intake for bone replacement and protein for muscle and soft tissue development. Progress is ‘satisfactory’.”
Retro snorted. “Not satisfactory for me…or Ghost, I’d bet.”
Magic heard the anguish in Retro’s quiet words and wondered for the hundredth time when the larger SEAL was going to admit he’d fallen for their female comrade.
Probably never now that he knows I love her, too.
Magic was still kicking himself over revealing to his best buddy that he loved Lt. Christiana “Ghost” Brickman, realizing it only when she lay dying under his hands on that grimy warehouse floor. He’d never been so focused in his life and he’d thanked every god out there for it each day since. At least they’d gotten the bastard who lured her into an ambush and the homegrown terrorists paying him. A small victory in the face of the tragedy that lay in the bed in front of him.
Setting the chart aside, Magic approached the bed and stared down at the woman sleeping there.
Sleeping beauty. He felt a half grin slide over his face. Yeah, but don’t kiss her to wake her up. He’d find himself on his back with a knife at his throat and a rabid weasel on his chest.
God, he loved her. He’d loved her ever since she’d gotten those hostages out through the drainage pipe no wider than a meter in diameter right under the noses of the Afghani guards. She’d been magnificent and lethal, and his cock had hardened at the thought of having her not only by his side, but in his bed. She had him hooked when she told them about the guard who opened his fly and pissed on the wall right next to her, never seeing her.
That had been their first real op right after graduating from BUD/S training and his love had only grown from there. He’d said nothing to her, of course, not willing to trash the amazing friendship and trust they’d developed over the last four and a half years in Team 4, Squad Beta.
Now she lay in a bed, recovering from the worst wound he’d ever seen in the field and his heart broke for her.
“No, probably not satisfactory to her at all,” he agreed, noting the IV bag hung nearly empty. The nurse would be in to change it soon. “She’ll never be back with the Squad, you know.”
“What?” Retro looked startled.
Magic nodded, his chest tightening. “Perforated artery and fractured femur. It’s a done deal. She’s beached.”
“What’s she going to do now? The SEALs was all she ever wanted.”
“I don’t know.”
Magic studied the fading sunlight on Retro’s face and knew the other man’s heart was breaking as much as his own. They knew Ghost best, her hopes and fears, her strengths and weaknesses. Hell, they even knew she hated Tequila and cilantro, loved Dutch chocolate wine and Indian food, and hoped to visit Machu Pichu whenever they got more than a few days leave at a time.
You’ll get to go now, Ghost. He doubted she’d be very pleased with her opportunity.
“This is gonna kill her, Magic,” Retro murmured, his voice hollow with despair.
“No, it’s not. She’s tougher than this. She’s tougher than any of us. Hasn’t she taught us that enough times over the last four years?”
Retro laughed without humor. “Yeah, she has.” He kept rubbing the back of her hand in gentle circles with his thumb. “I hope she wakes up soon. I want her to know we’re here.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Ah, I love the SEALs. I'm only as awesome as they are in my mind. :) Now for the giveaway portion of my post. I'm giving away a signed copy of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, a Siobhan Muir mug, and a Siobhan Muir tote bag to three lucky commenters, because this is a menage. ;) All you have to do is tell me what's your favorite branch of the military and why, and leave a valid email address or Twitter handle so I can contact you if you win. Following my blog is optional. My giveaway is open to US/CAN residents, although you must be at least 18 years old to win, and please void where prohibited. The hop runs until November 15th and the winner will be announced here on the blog on Friday, November 16th. And don't forget to visit all the other blogs on the following list. There are many prizes to be won. So thanks for stopping by, good luck in the giveaway, and happy reading! :)