I am so excited about my new series. It’s one that is very special to me. It used to be that when a warrior, a Marine, a soldier, a Ranger, or any of our veterans returned home after serving our country they were greeted with love, honor, and respect. That’s not as true today as it used to be. Many of our vets return to broken marriages and a country who no longer recognizes the sacrifices they’ve made to defend their country. Not only do they give up four or more years of their lives, they do it for low pay, few benefits, and no promise of having something to go back home to once they had completed their tour.
For those who do return, having escaped the pine box transport, nothing will ever be the same again for them. They saw and sometimes did things that will haunt them forever. Some suffer from PTSD while others must learn to cope without a limb or four. They are blind, deaf, and scared both inside and out. We avert our eyes from their suffering because it makes us uncomfortable. I am ashamed that I’m part of a culture that has forgotten their service and their sacrifices. I’m dismayed that we’ve failed to teach our children to honor those men and women whenever we see them. I’m afraid that our children have no idea of the cost of our freedoms we take for granted. We can’t take them for granted anymore. Those freedoms have been compromised and the men and women who fought and bought those freedoms with their blood, their sweat, and their very lives, are growing weary in their fight. Why fight when we don’t value or appreciate what they’ve given us?
Wounded Warriors is the ongoing story of men and women who sacrificed everything and returned home to have to deal with what they have left. Battered and broken, they believe they are no longer worthy of love. But I tell you this. Everyone deserves a Happy Ever After, especially our veterans. The first book, "Ellie's Wounded Heroes", is out now at Siren Bookstrand! http://www.bookstrand.com/node/868327
In honor of this, I'm giving away some great prizes! I’ll be choosing names for a couple of gifts tomorrow and Saturday as well as Sunday. To enter, all you have to do is comment here on my blog or on my Facebook page on why you are thankful for our veterans and soldiers. What about them do you value? Then check back each day to see what else I’ve posted and look for your name to be announced as a winner.
Ellie’s Wounded Heroes is the story of two soldiers who returned with challenges to overcome in order to function like everyday people. Rex and Clark were friends even before their return, but through the struggle to regain their independence, the two bonded even closer. The heroine, Ellie, is a social worker who works for the city dealing mainly with issues like finding homes for the elderly and the homeless or arbitrating disagreements within neighborhoods. Ellie meets Rex first then is introduced to Clark and she falls for them both. The journey hits some bumps along the way but love prevails. Read an excerpt below.
The next time you see a veteran or someone in uniform, tell them thank you.
Rex pulled into his drive ten minutes later still thinking about the pretty Ellie. Her honey gold hair swirling around her in the warm wind as she’d glared with murderous intent at her engine had caught his eyes at first. The way her jeans hugged her generous hips and sweet, squeezable ass had prodded him to see what other delights might be part of the package. When she’d looked up at him with the lightest hazel eyes he’d ever seen, Rex had known she was the one. For one moment, everything else had faded away, and all he saw was her.
Ellie's Wounded Heroes
Then her eyes had registered his leathers and scruffy look, and those amazing eyes displayed unease, if not downright fear. It had taken him a second to realize that he probably looked the part of an evil biker gang member. Well, that was because he was, in a way. Maybe not the evil part, but he was a biker gang member, just not the type she probably thought.
As he drove up the long drive, his garage door opened so that he could pull inside next to his truck. The door closed automatically, and Rex climbed off the bike, jerking the snaps on the chinstrap so he could pull off the head cage. After setting it on the shelf next to the bike, he opened one of the saddle bags, pulled out the bag from the VA, and carried it with him as he crossed the garage to unlock the door to his house.
Once inside, Rex quickly decoded the alarm before entering the kitchen from the mudroom. He tossed the bag on the counter next to the fridge. He’d worry about it later. Right now, all he wanted was a beer and to think.
Her name seemed to whisper relief through his aching soul. Looking into her slightly unsure eyes had been like seeing his future in a different light. One of his old buddies had once said that when he’d found the woman who would become his wife, he had seen their unborn children in her eyes. Maybe there was something to that after all. He would swear he’d seen her sitting with him on his front porch swing.
Shaking his head, Rex grabbed a bottle from the fridge and walked over to his favorite chair and sat down as he removed the cap on his beer. One long, ice-cold swallow later, he set the nearly half-empty bottle on the side table and toed off both boots. After pulling off his socks and stuffing them in the boots, he pulled the seam along the left leg of his jeans from the hem, and it split halfway up his leg so that he could get to his leg.
Well, it was where part of his leg used to be. Now he stared at the new and improved part of him that continued to burn and ache despite its lack of nerves. Metal and silicone formed his lower leg instead of the bone, sinew, muscle, and skin he’d been born with. It didn’t take but a few seconds to remove the offending part, but it did take a while before he was able to touch the remaining stump to massage away some of the irritation that never seemed to totally disappear.
“Fuck. This is bullshit.” Rex grabbed the bottle off the table and upended it, gulping down the still-cold brew, then slamming the empty bottle down on the coaster.
He leaned back in the chair and shoved with his hands until it reclined. He closed his eyes and ran both hands over his face several times to push past the stinging tears that burned just below the surface. Too often he found himself in this spot, alone and angry, struggling to find his next reason to wake up to another day of his life. Yesterday it was because he was riding with his gang to say good-bye to someone he’d never met before. The man deserved an escort and protection for his family from protesters who always seemed to find the time to show up. Today it had been because he had to show up at the VA to help the new guys navigate the gym with someone who’d already been there and done that.
Tomorrow? What would be his reason to wake up tomorrow? No funerals to attend, and it was a Sunday so no one needed his help with therapy. Maybe tomorrow would be the day he didn’t wake up.