I've also read some great books where the heroine is military, too, but I haven't, as it turns out, written one. Hmmm. Will have to think on that. Meanwhile, I want to mention two of my favorite heroes. One's from a new book, one's from one of my first. They're different people with different issues, but both came home with scars, mental and physical, and both have to step it up when their lady-love is in need. First, I'd like to take a little stroll down memory lane with One Good Man, recently re-released from Ellora's Cave with a to-die-for good cover (also a Thanksgiving story, so very timely), and then we'll take a peek at my latest release, Wrong Side of Town, out this month from Resplendence Publishing.
And if you know any veterans in real life, (male or female) it's not too late to give them a hug!
By Lacey Thorn and Cindy Spencer Pape
Available now from Ellora’s Cave
One of the most enduring of all urban legends is the story of the phantom hitchhiker. Young or old, male or female, in need of help or just needing a ride, the legends vary. A helpful driver offers a ride and the passenger gives directions. When they arrive at the destination however, the driver discovers the passenger has vanished, sometimes leaving behind a piece of clothing or some other memento to mark his or her passing. A stormy night, a deserted country road, a blown tire, and a woman on the run from a killer. Is the handsome young Marine here to save her? Or is he just a figment of her imagination?
Casey is caught between a murderer, a ghost and the wounded soldier who could either save her life or break her heart. Grant can deal with Thanksgiving snowstorms and determined killers but not his brother’s ghost, and not a woman who makes him start thinking about the future. Can Grant let go of the past to embrace the explosive passion he finds with Casey? He’s willing to risk his life for hers, but what about his heart?
She didn’t cry, like some women did, in a cute, chick-flick kind of way. He was immune to that. His ex-wife had had it down to an art from. This woman cried from the gut—and if he didn’t miss his guess—from the heart. Her shoulders jerked and she wheezed for breath as she sobbed and sniffled, then wiped her face roughly with the back of her hand.
He didn’t even realize he was moving ‘til he was there beside the bed. Then it was the most natural thing in the world to sit on the edge and gather her into her arms. Whoever she was, whatever game she was playing, right now, all he could do was hold her in his arms and stroke his hands down her back while she cried.
After a few minutes the sobs dissolved into hiccoughs, then faded away to one locker-room loud snort. She pulled away from his soaked chest and used both hands to swipe at her face, shove damp strands of hair out of her eyes.
“For what?” His own voice sounded rusty, even to him. Now that she wasn’t falling apart anymore, his cock had registered the fact that there was a real live woman sitting in his lap, all warm and soft, for the first time in almost a year. Down boy! He tried to remember that he didn’t know her, couldn’t trust her. Too bad it wasn’t working.
“Everything.” She looked around wildly. It dawned on him what she needed and he handed her the first thing that came to hand, which turned out to be a pillowcase. She nodded her thanks and used the cloth to wipe her face, then finally, blow her nose. “Including the extra laundry.”
“That would be the least of my worries. Probably should have put clean bedding on a while ago.” Would have, if he’d known there was going to be a woman in the cabin. But he knew, or thought he did, what she was really apologizing for. Unless he missed his guess, Casey—her name was engraved in his mind from earlier—was a strong, independent type. And he knew very well how much he hated to fall apart in front of anyone else. He figured he might as well say something to put her at ease. They had a lot of talking to do. It would go easier if they didn’t start out in confrontation. “Trust me, I’m no stranger to nightmares. They happen to the best of us.”
By Cindy Spencer Pape
From Resplendence Publishing
Zach Shannon is back in town, and tiny Hawthorne, Texas will never be the same. When the local military hero comes home and starts working for his father, the sheriff, one of his first cases is a string of minor fires that everyone seems to blame on a handful of teens from the wrong side of town. Even worse, Zach is rapidly falling for Laney Burroughs, a quiet librarian whose Goth nephew is the suspected ringleader. Their attraction deepens but both have too many responsibilities and too much baggage to make it easy, especially with Zach’s wealthy family, Laney’s nephew, and the entire town looking on.
“Why don’t we get those in some water?” Seeming to understand that she was too stunned to know what she was doing, he steered her through the archway to her kitchen. “Then we can go get something to eat. I don’t know about you, but I’m starved.”
“D-dinner?” She reached into a cabinet for a vase—the green glass piece had been one of her mother’s favorites. Carefully, she filled it with water while Zach unwrapped the bundle of flowers. “I didn’t think you’d want… That is everyone will see you with me… I don’t want you to get in trouble.”
“I’m a big boy, Laney. I’m allowed to date anyone I want. Even if a couple idiots seem to have a grudge against her nephew.” He handed over the flowers and watched while she trimmed the stems in the sink. “I’d like to get to know you better. We’re both single and over twenty-one. There’s nothing wrong with us sharing a meal.”
How was she supposed to respond to that? She arranged the stems in the vase then set them in the center of the small, maple table.
“You might need some shoes, though those pink toenails are awfully cute.”
He thought her toes were cute? She felt her face heat. Reluctantly, though, she shook her head. “I’m sorry, Zach. I’m just not up to facing the stares tonight, or the pitying looks, or the whispering. I’d really love to go out with you sometime, but not…not tonight.”
He shrugged and gave her an easy smile. “Okay. So we’ll eat in. You want me to run back to the grocery store for some steaks or something?”
Suddenly staying in with Zach seemed more dangerous than going out—though that thought sent a thrill along her spine and made her core tingle in anticipation. She squeezed her eyes shut for a minute, got her breathing under control then smiled up at him. “Is the offer still good for going out of town? I know it’s late, but we could get to Midland in an hour or so.”
“Sounds good to me.” He reached up a hand and cupped her cheek. “Whatever you’re most comfortable with.”
Oh, lord, just that slight touch, and her bones wanted to melt. They had to get out of here, and fast, before he had her flat on her back. “Let me get my shoes and purse.”