Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Release Day! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Always a Marine

Joe Cooper is a hero and active duty Marine sent to Mike’s Place to complete his recovery from injuries sustained during a firefight. His one-in-a-million injury includes a bullet to the back that cracked a bone in his spine, but left the nerves intact. His right leg was shattered in two places. Extensive reconstructive surgery and weeks trapped in a wheelchair haven’t dampened this wounded warrior’s pride or his devotion to duty—but they have left him needing to be needed because he is not an idle man. His waiting is very soon rewarded when recently widowed mom Melody Carter moves in next door. 

The Story Behind The Story

At the heart of every Marine book I write is the theme of healing and returning to life at home, away from the wars we’ve been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I first began writing the Always a Marine series, a conversation with my critique partner began with “what if someone who comes to Mike’s Place is a bit of a fraud?” This random idea stuck with me and evolved into, what if this person wasn’t so much a fraud, but felt like a fraud? Why would she feel that way? How could she overcome it?

Then just a few months ago, my editor mentioned to me that they were putting together a new series. Based on stories I’d written previously, she invited me to participate. This idea resurfaced, because I knew the story I wanted to tell. What if an abused wife and widow of a Marine had to rely on Mike’s Place to save her child? Who could reach out to her? And in a flash, I saw Joe. Joe, an honorable, admirable, and courageous Marine battling back from his own injuries—he would be in a wheelchair because that would make him safer for my heroine to “trust” him and these two lonely souls would find salvation in each other.

It was far from the easiest story I’ve ever written. I found myself battling anger over the hurt and pain Melody found herself in and cheering Joe on as he struggled to breach the barriers she erected against the world. Ultimately, the tale traveled different paths than I envisioned, but I am extremely proud of the book. Joe is also my first African-American hero and at no point did I focus on race, but whenever I saw Joe in my mind, he was a good looking man with a heart of gold, a spine of steel, and a soul worth cherishing.

I hope you see him that way, too. Sadly, Melody’s issues are not unique and are part of a larger, silent epidemic in and out of the armed forces.  Please remember, if you are being abused, you are not alone. Call for help:

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Military OneSource – 1-800-342-9647 (To locate a victim advocate in your area).
Defense Centers of Excellence Outreach Center – 1-866-966-1020  (Helps you find resources in your area)
Department of Defense (D.O.D) Child Abuse Safety and Abuse Hotline – 1-800-336-4592


Have you ever woken up every day afraid of everything?

For single mom and widow Melody Carter, six months passed since an IED ripped her life apart. Everyone is sympathetic and offers platitudes of comfort and support. Everyone thinks they know why she's grieving but Melody isn't mourning her broken heart. She's ashamed to be grateful her abusive husband won't hurt her anymore and scared for her child. Born with a mild heart defect, her daughter needs lifesaving surgery and with her funds tight and her emotional scars tighter, she’s running out of options. When she receives an offer for assistance from Mike's Place, can Melody put her faith in the men her husband called friend?

Have you ever woken up, day after day, to discover your body's betrayal?

Marine Captain, Joe Anderson Cooper, received the Silver Star for Valor when he led his unit through heavy fire to rescue fellow Marines. Despite numerous injuries, the Captain refused medical aid, insisting that the medics attend others. A broken back and shattered bones put Captain Cooper in a wheelchair and every day is a battle to keep his recovery on track and his sanity intact. When a single mom moves in to the apartment next door to his and he recognizes a kindred—damaged—soul, can he overcome her fear and be the man she's always needed?

 Can these two lonely souls rise to the challenge or will their scars trap them forever?


Letting herself out of the apartment, she locked up and turned to find her neighbor locking his door. He caught sight of her and smiled. “Good morning.” His deep baritone hummed over her senses. She appreciated the low voiced greeting.

“Good morning.” She wanted to say something more, but her brain locked up around the words. He eased his wheelchair back until nearly off the sidewalk and motioned for her to precede him. Biting her lip, she found another smile for him. “Thank you.” Her heartbeat accelerated and sweat cooled her spine. She didn't hug the wall, but she couldn't help widening the distance between them.

The wheels made the faintest squeaking noise after she passed, and she glanced back to see him following her down the path toward the parking lot. Maybe she should have offered to push. He wore an olive green t-shirt and a matching pair of slacks, though they were cut up the side of the large cast encasing his right leg from mid-thigh to his toes.

He—Joe, he said his name was Joe—met her gaze and gave her another easy smile. His eyes crinkled at the corners and the dimple in his cheek deepened. The sidewalk widened and she slowed to let him catch up.
“I'm sorry. I'm not the best company this morning.”

“No worries, ma'am. Little ones take a lot out of a body.” The buttery softness of his voice washed over her like a soothing balm—like the night before when he knocked on her door and introduced himself. He scared the hell out of her, but not in the same breath.

I must be tired. I have no idea what I'm feeling from one moment to the next. As if summoned by her thought, fatigue wavered through her and she stumbled. The diaper bag swung down her arm. She couldn't catch it and hold the baby at the same time. Joe stopped the bag's arc, and gave her a chance to catch her balance.

“May I?” He offered, still holding the bag.

May he what…? He wanted to carry the bag for her and she winced. It was heavy and he…

“I have plenty of room and then you don't have to worry about it taking you off balance again.” The sound logic quashed her natural objections. She shifted Libby carefully and let the strap fall off her arm. Her internal alarms sounded. Giving him the bag didn't give him some kind of power over her, but her gut tightened at the surrender of her possession.

He settled the bag against his lap and nodded encouragingly. “Just point me to your car…”

“Oh, I don't drive. Well, I do but I'm not driving here. I'm actually just staying here for a few weeks and I'm waiting for the shuttle.” She tacked the last on with a grimace. “And apparently I'm as muddleheaded for real as I feel. Sorry. Thank you. The shuttle is scheduled to pick us up here in about…” She couldn't look at her watch.

“Two minutes.” The captain supplied. “I'm waiting for the same shuttle.” His warm brown gaze turned studious. “Are you okay?”

Don’t miss these upcoming titles in the Always a Marine series:

The Two & The Proud
A Marine & a Gentleman
Combat Barbie

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I can't wait to read this one! I think each one gets better than the previous one, but they are all amazing!!

    Congrats on the release!


  2. I love your series Always a Marine, that and cowboys are my most favorite characters. Joe already sounds like wonderful man. He will have a tough job breaking down that wall Melody erected. I am looking forward to finding out how things work out. I am also following your Fevered Hearts series, I am looking forward to the new release.

  3. All of these books look amazing.

  4. I love the Marine series and Whiskey Tango is currently impatiently waiting on my Nook. :-D