Friday, November 9, 2012

Men & Women of Military Blog Hop: Meet the Marines of Mike's Place (Always a Marine)

Good morning and welcome to Mike's Place. Located in Allen, Tx—this facility was founded by retired Marine Captain Luke Dexter. He wanted to create a place for veterans and their families to heal together.

Why? Let's hear that from Luke's words in Once Her Man, Always Her Man:

“I’ve seen what back to back wars do to the men and women who serve, and their families. Mothers who don’t see their kids for years. Fathers who return, a wad of stress and out of sorts. Soldiers who can’t reintegrate because their personal worlds moved on without them, and the injured who are struggling to figure out who they are now without an arm, a leg or the ability to walk. It’s a bitch and we don’t leave people behind, especially when they come home. Mike’s Place will provide the lodestone for a lot of lives.” The thirty-acre complex providing physical therapy centers, mental health pavilions, free clinic services and a childcare facility. Donations requested, but not required, covered the near non-existent cost to patients. Out-of-state visitors would be provided with access to onsite apartments for both patient and family.

So who was Mike?
 “Mike Nowiski went through basic with me. Two years older than me, he’d dropped out of college to enlist. He grew up in New Jersey. His parents owned a pizza joint, and he married his high school sweetheart for love. They had a baby girl, just a year old when Mike enlisted. He was a good guy, never shut up about his kid. He joked that the Marines would give him all the know-how he needed to cap any punk who wanted to date her. I met his wife, twice. Shari was a sweetheart. They had that real thing, crazy in love, but supportive as hell. She was amazing, we spent four years in Afghanistan, and Mike never had leave to go home except for one seventy-two hour furlough. Shari flew to meet him halfway in Germany.”

Dread curled around Rebecca’s heart. So many of Luke’s words were past tense, not present. But she squeezed his arm, the heat of his bicep melting the ice chips on her soul.
“Three years ago, Mike got injured. We were in Iraq, monitoring a school rebuild. Insurgents tossed a few grenades, brought down most of the unfinished building. Mike took shrapnel in the leg helping the workers get out. It was bad. They airlifted him to Germany, and he spent ten weeks getting pins in his leg to rebuild it. Then they sent him home.”

Fear squeezing her heart, she waited. A muscle ticked in his jaw and they were gliding down the exit ramp. He took a left at the light and blended in with the evening traffic. Lights from the strip malls illuminated the truck, reflecting off his angry, tortured visage.
“What happened, Luke?” She couldn’t stand the silence.

“Three weeks after he got home, he shot Shari and then himself. The reports said he suffered from severe PTSD. Shari had spoken to a chaplain about his violent mood swings and nightmares, but the day before the chaplain’s scheduled visit, something in Mike snapped. He was a good man, he loved his wife. What happened to him overseas, the war, the injury, changed him and he didn’t get the support services he needed. I know he shot himself because he killed Shari, but it doesn’t change the fact that his little girl is now an orphan. She’s barely eleven and she has no one, no family. Mike’s Place can’t save everyone, but kids like Amy Nowiski shouldn’t have to bury their parents, and guys like Mike should have a place to go to get better while women like Shari have the support they need to be there for their spouse."
                                                                                -Excerpt from Once Her Man, Always Her Man
Mike's Place is the setting for many of the Marines we meet in the Always a Marine series. Five books are currently available and five more on their way including No Regrets, No Surrender releasing this Thanksgiving.

So who are the Marines of Mike's Place?

Captain Luke Dexter (Once Her Man, Always Her Man) – The founder and principal owner of Mike's Place, Luke lost his mother and his sister on 9/11. When his retired Marine father returned to active duty, Luke applied for early graduation and enlisted in the Marine Corp. He served for over a decade, returning to Texas after years of service and met the love of his life Rebecca Rainier for a second chance at love.

Second Lieutenant Brody Essex – Still on active duty, Brody visited Dallas for leave and hung out with members of his old unit at Mike's Place. During his last visit, he met artist Shannon Fabray and shared a passionate affair. (Her Marine)

PFC James Westwood -  Retired PFC James Westwood enlisted with just a few clinical hours left to obtain his license. Upon retiring from active duty, Westwood came to work for his former Captain and leads many of the group and individual psychology sessions for wounded veterans at Mike's Place. During his 1Night Stand he met actress Lauren Kincaid. (Tell It To the Marine)

Damon Sinclair – This retired from active duty grunt worked as a cook during his tour in addition to his other duties. Raised in Louisiana, he brought his love for food to Allen and opened up a restaurant near Mike's Place. A volunteer and battle buddy, Damon enjoys taking care of others. He met a real challenge in his 1Night Stand date attorney Helena Blake (Proud to Serve Her)

Gunnery Sergeant Jazz Winters – An active duty Marine, Jazz enlisted right after high school in honor of her deceased uncle, also a Marine. For over a decade, she's proved herself more than capable of being one of the guys. But during her leave, she hooked up with two retired Marines in Las Vegas, seeking to feel like a woman.  When she returned to duty, she promised to keep in touch. (Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here)

Logan Cavanaugh – Gravely injured during an IED attack, Logan's recovery took months. But he found solace and support at Mike's Place along with best friend and fellow unit Marine Zach Evans. Logan specializes in physical therapy. Zach arranged for a 1Night Stand date in Las Vegas to help Logan overcome his impotence. The two men more than met their match in fellow Marine Jazz. (Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here)

Zach Evans – Zach's upbeat and optimistic personality makes him a great coach and friend. When his best friend was sent to Mike's Place to recuperate and recover, Zach joined him. Not one to sit idle, Zach volunteered to run the sports complex for the children of veterans being treated at Mike's Place. When he encouraged Logan to join him in Vegas, he didn't expect they would meet a woman like Jazz. The two Marines are very supportive of the active duty Gunnery Sergeant and are awaiting her next leave.  (Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here)

The story of Logan, Jazz, and Zach continues in No Regrets, No Surrender this month.


At the end of their night of frenzied passion, Jazz Winters walked away from the only two men who’d ever made her feel like a woman. Logan Cavanaugh and Zach Evans let her go, but only if she swore all her future leaves to them.

Waiting fourteen excruciatingly long months, visiting Jazz when they can, is harder on the guys than they like to admit. But their work at Mike’s Place, a veteran’s rehabilitative facility, only lets Zach and Logan go one at a time.

Jazz fears their unconventional relationship can’t last a lifetime. The stress of years of military service in hot zones, combined with life-threatening injuries pushes her to the edge. But when she comes home a wounded warrior, not the woman she believes they want, Zach and Logan are right there to help her, even when she resists.

She’s not alone. Whether she chooses one or both, they have no regrets and they won’t surrender.
Read an excerpt.

Enter to Win:

Every Marine has a story, and Always a Marine is dedicated to finding love for those who serve.I'm giving away three copies of No Regrets, No Surrender. Winners will be selected on November 16 and receive their copies on release day!
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  1. Thanks for the giveaway!


  2. Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  3. I love marines because they are loyal and strong and the way you write them super hot!!!

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

  4. The training that these men goes through shows how physically and mentally tough they have to be.

  5. You are a new author to me, I added yoir books to my TBR list, I can't wait to read them! The excerpts had me hooked! I love how Marines are Strong, passionate, loyal and Proctective! God bless our Soliders! Happy Veteren's Day!

  6. I love your Marine series and can't wait for this one!!