Stephanie Tyler’s sole job is to fly overseas to war torn areas of the world to retrieve and escort the bodies of fallen soldiers back home to the United States. It is a tough and emotional job but she is honored for the privilege. Her duty also helps her to escape her past and her failed marriage.
But those flights have become increasingly more dangerous and she is forced to have a partner accompany her. Much to Stephanie’s surprise and dismay, she is partnered up with her ex-husband, Captain “D.A.” Douglas Aston.
From the moment Captain D.A. enters the scene, he irritates her. It could have something to do with the fact he slept with her best friend while they were married. As they go on several missions together, Stephanie is forced to be courteous and professional with D.A. even though the very sight of him irritates her beyond comprehension.
Then, Stephanie’s cheating, husband stealing, ex-best friend is killed in Afghanistan and Stephanie and D.A. must escort her body home. While executing this difficult duty, a myriad of conflicting emotions makes Stephanie ponder how short life really is . . . and to question her own ability to forgive.
Here’s an excerpt for you to enjoy:
The phone intercom buzzed and Pam came over the speaker. “Sorry to interrupt, Colonel, but you wanted me to let you know when Captain Aston was here.”
I stared at the Colonel wide-eyed.
He merely smiled and said, “Thanks, Pam. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“He’s here now?” I asked, incredulously.
“Didn’t I mention that?” He rose from his chair and walked to the door as I stood and straightened my uniform.
The Colonel stood with his hand on the doorknob, watching me fuss. “You look tremendous, Captain.”
“What? Oh I don’t care what I look like for him,” I immediately protested, waving my hand in the air.
“Of course.” He was still smiling as he opened the door. “Captain Aston, please come in.”
I heard his voice first. “Thank you, Colonel.”
I glanced down at my uniform to make sure everything was in place before he came into the room. When I looked back up, Captain Aston was walking through the door.
To the female eye, he was a very attractive man. He stood at six-four and was well built, but not so much that muscles and tendons were popping out everywhere. He had a strong jaw and black hair just long enough to run your fingers through. Dressed in full uniform, his handsome features were even more prominent.
Not that I noticed.
“Please come in and we can discuss your new role.”
“Yes, Sir.” Captain DA put out his hand for me to shake, flashing his killer smile that started in his bright blue eyes and ended in a set of mouth-framing dimples. “Good to see you again, Captain.”
I returned his smile and handshake, determined to be professional in front of the Colonel even if it killed me.
Colonel Madison resumed his place behind his desk. “Please sit. This is a quick, informal meeting to get reacquainted with each other.”
I remained on my feet which kept both men standing. “Sir, with all due respect,” I began, facing the Colonel, “I cannot work with Captain Aston.” Apparently, my mouth wasn’t on board with being professional.
“Why not?” DA asked, sounding offended.
I ignored his question and kept my attention on the Colonel, who looked as if he were about to laugh. “We used to be married.”
“I know that.” He smiled.
“Our marriage did not end on a positive note,” I continued, “and I don’t think I can work with him on a day to day basis. In fact, I left Virginia to get away from him.”
“You know, I’m standing right here,” DA chimed in.
“Captain Tyler, are you telling me you can’t put your differences aside to work together as a team? Even though I asked you as a personal favor?” The Colonel’s smile had vanished and there was now a warning in his tone.
“No, Sir.” I heard the warning and decided it was time to back off the fight. “I’ll try putting our differences aside to work together, but I can’t promise I won’t kill him in the process.”
The Colonel coughed out a chuckle. “That’s all I can ask for. Now, you—hopefully—have some time off before another call comes in. Why don’t you show Captain DA around?”
The Colonel spoke as I reached for the door handle. “I’m curious, off the record, of course. How did your marriage not continue on a positive note? I remember the wedding. You two seemed so compatible and so in love. What happened?”
DA and I looked at each other for the first time since his arrival.
“He cheated on me with a friend of mine,” I replied baldly.
“I did not cheat on you! How many times do I have to say it before you believe me?” he retorted, all vestiges of professionalism gone.
“Oh, here we go again!” I shouted back. “I came home early, I walked into the kitchen and there was Alex on top of you on the kitchen floor.”
“I told you it wasn’t what it looked like. I have said over and over again that I did not sleep with Alex!” His tone increased until he was shouting, too.
“You’re telling me that you two never slept together?” I demanded an answer.
“Well . . .” He looked away from me. “Not while we were married.”
“I knew it!”
“It was after we were separated and you had moved here! What did you want me to do? Never sleep with anyone again?”
“You can sleep with whomever or whatever you want for all I care—”
“Ahem.” The Colonel cut in. I jerked back, startled; in the heat of arguing with my frustrating ex, I had forgotten my boss was there.
“Sorry, Sir. Do you see why I can’t work with him?”
The Colonel regarded us both. “Alex?” he questioned DA.
“Alexandra Keating, Sir. She was Stephanie’s best friend.”
“Best friend, my left toe! She’s a traitorous, backstabbing, two-faced, lying, husband stealing bitch.”
“Wow, that’s quite descriptive, Captain. Why don’t you tell us your true feelings about her?” Both of the Colonel’s eyebrows rose in shock.
“I’m only speaking the truth, Sir.” I addressed the Colonel but glared at DA.
“Well.” He clapped his hands together to signal the end of our bickering. “I know you two can be respectful when escorting a fallen soldier home and I know you will be professional during the dignified transfer ceremonies. However, please try and be professional at other times as well or at least civil to each other.” He waved us toward the door.
DA and I both nodded and exited the office. Before we could leave the reception area, the Colonel poked his head out of his office door.
“And, Captain Tyler-”
“Try not to kill him, please. He just arrived at our base and it wouldn’t look good in the press.”
Knowing the Colonel had a wicked sense of humor, I still couldn’t find my own jocularity. “No promises, Sir, But I’ll give it my best shot.”
“That’s all I ask.”
Fairytales don’t always work out the way you plan.
Jenn Taylor has been with her husband, Jack, since they were in college. They had a fairytale life plan. They were going to finish college, get married and have three, perfect, children all two and a half years apart.
What happens is, the three perfect children become the four, not so perfect, children. Jenn and Jack are so busy keeping a handle on work and children that they don’t have the time, or energy, to keep the spark in their marriage. Jenn has noticed, lately, that the romance in her marriage is fading therefore she reads romance novels to ensconce herself in a world of romance.
Jenn complains to her friends about the lack of romance in her marriage, her friends suggest that to help spark up the marriage to recreate some of the scenes from her much-loved romance novels and surprise her husband.
Several attempts at recreating scenes from different novels are made, each one becoming increasingly complex and each one failing in a hilarious fashion. All the while she is trying to contend with three boys who do not know how to stay out of trouble, and a, environmentally and socially conscience, daughter who is trying to obtain her goal of becoming a vegan.
Is her marriage doomed to stay in a rut forever? Will she finally succeed in bringing the romance back? Or will she end up permanently injuring her husband with all the romantic scene mishaps?
Available Now from SoulMatePublishing.com, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com
Here’s and excerpt for you to enjoy:
Saturday May 28,
Blog entry one
Oh my, last night so did NOT work!
Hi Guys, I know this isn’t how a blog is supposed to work, but since it’s only the three of you reading it, plus Mom—by the way, thanks for that Jolene—I thought I would personalize it a bit more. So last night I set the scene, the candles, the wine, the fire. I had my sexy new black dress on, and I met him at the door when he arrived.
Jack came in the door and he seemed startled to see me standing there. I gave him a glass of wine, then took his briefcase and put it beside the staircase.
“What’s all this?” he asked, and I told him that the children were at my parents and we were going to have a romantic evening. He was completely onboard. We sat on the blanket on the floor, in front of the fire, drinking wine and talking about our day. It was very nice and very romantic, with the fire and all the candles going. I told him the lasagna was in the oven and that it would be ready whenever we were hungry. He said he was starving, so I jumped up to go get the plates of lasagna and salad and I knocked the red wine all over the blanket. He jumped up to use some napkins to clean it up, and he slipped on the blanket and fell on his back. I grabbed at the napkins in his hand to wipe up the spilt red wine before it leaked into the carpet. When the red wine was cleaned up, I went to the kitchen and brought out the lasagna and salad. We sat on the, now wet, blanket in front of the fire and ate dinner. We fed each other and drank wine together; really, we just enjoyed each other’s company.
After dinner, we were sitting there, gazing at the fire, and I was leaning against him and he had his arms around me. It was wonderful.
Suddenly he said, “Honey, I can’t take this heat anymore. Can we please douse the fire?”
“Oh, but it’s so beautiful,” I said, a little sad, and then I turned and looked at him.
He was seriously sweating. I mean pouring down his face, shirt soaked kind of sweating.
“Oh my God! Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.
“No, I’m super hot. I understand this is really beautiful and really nice, but Jen it’s ninety-five degrees outside and almost one hundred and twenty degrees in here. Can we please lose the fire?”
Jack then got up and put his hand out for me to grab to help me up. His hand was so sweaty that when I put my full weight on him to stand, my hand slipped out of his, and I fell forward, toward the coffee table. As you know, the coffee table is a perfect 48-inch by 48-inch square. Well, I had put about ten candles on the coffee table to ‘enhance the mood.’ When I fell, I hit about five of them, and they knocked into the other five. All ten candles hit the floor in different spots. We both dove to grab them all before the carpet caught fire and the house burned down. I dove to the right side of the table, and he went to the left. I blew out all the candles before I picked them up, and he put them out with his hand and threw them back on the table. When we had them all out and back on the table, we stared at the carpet, our newly-installed white carpet, and the ten little burn marks where all the candles had hit the floor.
“Oh, well,” Jack said with a hint of a smile around his lips. “The kids were going to ruin it anyway.” We both burst out laughing.
We doused the fire, the one in the fireplace, and then went to do the dishes in the kitchen. Jack and I cleaned up the kitchen together, which isn’t part of the scene in The Millionaire’s Mistress, but someone needed to clean it. We then went back to the living room and sat on the couch, this time with only one candle burning. We sat there talking about what we were going to do this weekend—by the way, Mom, Jack is totally good for swimming and BBQ tonight—and what was happening at his work. We sat in silence for a little while, my head on Jack’s shoulder, enjoying each other’s company. I kept thinking this was it, this is when The Millionaire’s Mistress scene is going to start. This was going to put Tuesday nights to shame. I raised my head up to give him a steamy kiss, to basically let him know ‘it was on,’ and he was asleep. Yes, you read that correctly.
He was sleeping. S.l.e.e.p.i.n.g.
I smacked him on the top of the head.
“What did you do that for?” He woke up with a shocked expression on his face.
“Why are you sleeping?” I was on my feet by this point.
“Because I just worked a sixty-hour work week, and I’m exhausted. It’s after eleven. Do you know that?”
“Yes, I know that! I thought we were having a nice night, and we were going to make mad, passionate love, all night long, right here in the living room!”
Do you know what he said to me? Can you guys believe what he said to me?
He looked up at me, all confused, and said, “But it’s not Tuesday.”