At the end of the year, a number of bloggers and reviewers list the “best of” and a few included one of my books on their list. It’s such a tremendous honor.
- Angela from Lives & Breathes Book Blog selected Unspoken
- Margreet from Ripe for Reader included Last Hit
- Mistress M from SM Book Obsessions loved Last Hit
- Lorie from To Be Read List included Unspoken
- Becca from Becca the Bibliophile loved both Last Hit and Unspoken
- Holly and Rowena from Book Binge honored Bo Randolph with inclusion to their Best Hero lists. Bo would say “That list looks right to me.” and then AnnMarie would slap him on the arm.
- Sharon from Obsession with Books selected Undeclared as one of the best debuts of the year. Yep, Undeclared was my first book! Sharon gave me one of my first reviews ever. Sniff.
- Lisa from The Rock Stars of Romance. Lisa has helped me from the beginning of my publishing journey. More sniffs.
- Books Coffee and Wine included Last Hit. I love interacting with those ladies on Twitter!
The following is a continuation of Chapter One from Unraveled. T-13 days.
Every time I had gone to sign those re-enlistment papers, though, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. On one side, I had Pops and my commanding officer, Captain Billings, warning me about how boat space was shrinking and that even for an exemplary Marine like myself I could be squeezed out if I didn’t hurry my ass up. On the other sat my dad, who sang an entirely tune—that I should get out now while I still had time to go to college, find a job, settle down.
Then there were the men in my platoon. Good men who would place their lives in my hands. I wasn’t just making sure that my weapon was ready but that theirs were too, and that was a responsibility you didn’t take lightly.
“Nah, you know Noah doesn’t speak unless it is absolutely necessary,” Bo said. “His frozen yogurt palace is always stuffed full of estrogen. We could swing by and scope out the women there.”
“I thought you said that the only females in Noah’s shop were a mess of teenage girls and soccer moms.”
“So? They’re still females.”
“My choices are to be a pedo bear or cougar bait?”
“Better go cougar. They’re in their sexual prime and could teach you something.”
“Let’s just head to your place.” There, I pulled my gear out of the trunk and followed Bo into the home he shared with Noah and three other guys – one complete with full floor to ceiling plate glass windows at the rear that overlooked a pool. The weather was great here. I’d missed the beach back in San Diego but I needed to get away. The more distance I put between the base and me, the better I felt. Right then, I wanted to pound some beer, ogle some women, and relax.
A loud noise like a gunshot echoed and I immediately ducked down to my knees, throwing my bag in front of me. I looked for Bo but he was propped against the counter, crying with laughter.
“I’m so sorry.” AnnMarie leaned over me—her long dark hair nearly touching my face. “We just popped the champagne.”
I looked around and saw a group of people with shocked faces and a few girls in front holding a sign that said “Welcome, Grunt.” One of Bo’s roommates (whose name I didn’t remember) stood frozen with the bottle in question, champagne dribbling from the open neck like he was pissing all over the floor. Noah broke from the group and pulled me to my feet because Bo, the asshole, was still laughing.
“Sorry, we weren’t thinking.” Noah tried to look repentant but I could see he was fighting a big ass grin too. The crowd had recovered and he started introducing me around.
“You fuckers.” I laughed, because it was funny. You could take the Marine grunt off the base but not eliminate his reaction to close quarter fire. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you planned that.”
“Bo would’ve had to frisk you to make sure you didn’t draw on us.” Noah shook his head. “We both know he’d have liked that far too much.”
One little blonde who’d been part of the sign committee murmured a few words I didn’t catch. I thought her name was Alice or Amy or something like that. I’d met her before when I’d come up for a weekend to see Bo and Noah’s set up.
“What’s that, sweetheart?” I had to double over to talk to her. Some guys loved a good height disparity. I preferred a taller women. Easier to have sex standing up.
“You guys are all so mean to each other. Noah made us write grunt on your sign.” She stuck her lower lip out, which might have been an invitation to do something, although I wasn’t sure what.
“Grunt is a good thing for a Marine. You have to pass infantry school,otherwise you’re in the rear with the gear,” I explained. After eight years of being enlisted, I spent most of my time with other Marines or Marine wives and Marine girlfriends. I didn’t love explaining things to civilians but part of why I’d come here to see Bo and Noah in the Midwest was to get away from the military folks, clear my head, and come up with a life plan. God, I sounded like Dr. Phil.
“What’s infantry school?”
I reined in my impatience and started to explain when Grace came over and rescued me.
“Amy,” Grace said. “Leave the pretty Marine alone. His glass is empty and you know how guys get when their glass is empty.”
“They get thirsty?” Amy asked.
I kind of wanted to hear Grace’s reply, but her eyes were silently telling me to get while the getting was good. I fled to the group out at the pool.