Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

I would like to thank all of the men and women who have served this country. It is due to all of your efforts that I am able to live in a country where I can do what I do. Help SCP celebrate with a special romance anthology. $2.50 of each of each sale of  The Call of Duty Anthology will go to Operation Gratitude which mails packages to soldiers overseas.

Military romance can come in as many flavors as ice cream. Call of Duty, a military romance anthology from Secret Cravings Publishing, offers five different flavors of military romance with stories from five different authors. From historical to contemporary, from male military personnel to female, from broken homes to couples just getting together you’ll find emotionally scorching stories with humor, passion and plenty of steam, all ending happily. Enlist in hours of reading pleasure with Call of Duty, a different kind of anthology.Contribute while you read! Secret Cravings Publishing is donating half the proceeds from sales of Call of Duty to Operation: Gratitude, an outfit that funds care packages for the military.


Healing Hearts Excerpt by Jackie M. Smith
Elodie closed her eyes and let Jack hold her. She wanted to pull away, but his comforting arms made her forget her woes and the war raging around them. Why must he be so nice to her? He was her patient, nothing more could happen between them. Besides, once he left her care, she would never see him again.
“We should go back inside,” she said stepping back.
Jack cupped her face and stared into her eyes. His thumb glided along her lips, coaxing them to open. A honeyed sensation pooled within her depths. Her breath slowed and her heart thumped with anticipation. Her gaze went to his tempting lips. If only she could taste him just once before she no longer saw him. He lifted her chin to kiss her cheek. His hot breath warmed her skin and radiated through her. His lips inched to the side and moved across hers in a slow tempting dance. Her head spun with a burning desire for Jack. Heaven help me! She was losing herself, her heart to this man she barely knew. She surrounded his neck with her arms, pulling him closer, feeling him. His tongue requested entrance and she let him in. No man had ever kissed her with such passion. A memory of her fiancĂ© entered her mind. She broke Jack’s spell before she lost herself to him forever. Stepping back, she touched her warm moist lips, oddly longing for another kiss.
“Please forgive me. I shouldn’t have kissed you in such a manner,” he replied with regret in his voice.
Elodie looked at him and saw the distress on his face. Her heart sank. She cleared her throat. “We should get back inside before they come looking for us.”
While she helped Jack in the wheelchair, Elodie willed her heart to stop racing. She touched her lips, still feeling his mouth upon hers. She wished for more of his kisses, but it wasn’t possible. A breath stuck in her throat as the thought of never seeing Jack again ran through her mind. Maybe if they had met in another time or place, love could be possible for them. She squeezed her eyes and chided herself for letting Jack kiss her and for letting herself feel again. She thanked the heavens no one saw them. Her cheeks warmed at the thought of them stealing a kiss. She couldn’t recall one moment when her fiancĂ© had done the same with her. No matter, she reasoned. Jack Cassidy will never kiss her again.
“Thank you for your kindness, mademoiselle,” Jack said, gently grasping her hand.
“Do you need anything?” she asked, adjusting his pillow.
“I’d like some water, please.”
Elodie poured him a glass and handed it to Jack. Their fingers touched, sending a spark through her arm. She bit her lower lip. The need to rest in Jack’s arms grew with every moment passed in his presence. She wanted him to kiss her until she no longer felt her lips. She shook her head.
“Are you all right?” Jack’s low baritone broke her reverie.
She gave a short nod.
“If you need to talk, I’m here,” he said with honesty.
“I’ll check up on you later.” She smiled and released her hand slowly from his.
Elodie walked away, longing for some time alone. But her duties needed her attention first. The distraction, she hoped, would help her forget how much she wanted Jack’s strong arms around her. She shook her head. “Stop thinking about Jack Cassidy,” she chided herself. “He will only leave you too.” Unshed tears stung her eyes as she folded clean linens. Before the head nurse saw her, Elodie wiped at her wet cheek and took a few deep breaths. Once Jack left the hospital, he would forget about her, and she would forget him.
She giggled. How could she forget him? He was unlike any other patient who came into her care. Something about him called out to her. His strength, courage and kindness toward her touched her to her very core. And his lips against hers made him unforgettable. She let out a low groan. Why must he be so irresistible?
A hand on her shoulder gave her a start. She lifted her head and saw Jack standing at the linen closet door. His wide shoulders filled the doorway. A breath caught in her throat.
“What are you doing here? If Nurse Valmont sees you here, she will have my hide.”
He smiled. “I needed something.”
She stood. “What is that?”
Jack caught her mouth with his, moving across her lips in a slow and delicious manner. His good arm drew her into his embrace. Her head spun, and she swore she saw stars behind her closed eyes. She searched for a hard surface with her hands and found his chest. A low moan escaped her throat when his tongue glided along her bottom lip. His mouth left hers and descended down her neck, gliding his tongue along the delicate spot behind her ear.
“Jack,” she whispered.
“Hmm,” he replied, feeling his hot breath against her ear.
Heat coursed through her blood, making her weak in the knees. She held on to Jack a bit more, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Kiss me.”
His lips turned up in a boyish grin. “Say it again.”
“Kiss me.”
He granted her wish, tasting her lips once more. She lost herself in his embrace, wishing this moment never ended. Their bodies pressed against each other, she felt his growing desire for her. Or was it her imagination? His ragged breathing teasing her neck told her he wanted her as much as she desired him. She cupped his face and captured his lips as he had done to her. If they had no other moment like this, she wanted Jack to know how much she wanted him, how much he touched her heart in the short time they had known each other. As their tongues mingled, she tasted him until her mind blurred, no longer concerned with her surroundings. All she wanted was to feel Jack and remember this moment forever.
A soft knock at the closed door made Elodie jerk. Panic filled her.
“Hurry. You must hide,” she said, helping Jack hide behind the door before fixing her hair.
She pulled on the knob and relaxed. . “Anything wrong?” Elodie asked Isabelle, hoping her friend didn’t notice her heated cheeks.
“Nurse Valmont needs you.”
“I’ll be right there.” Elodie closed the door and leaned her head against the cool hard surface.
“Please forgive me for getting you in trouble,” Jack spoke behind her.
Elodie turned and cupped his strong jaw between her trembling hands. “You should return to your bed before someone realizes you’re gone, or you will be in trouble.”
He chuckled.
She loved his laugh. Without thinking, she took his lips between hers, tasting him one last time. “Please, leave,” she whispered, leaning her head against his chest.
Jack lifted her chin. “I’ll see you later.”
She nodded.
He left her breathless once more. She let out a low groan, hoping the frustration building within her would leave. Why couldn’t she resist Jack Cassidy? His touch and kisses left a lasting memory within her, and no matter how much she tried, she couldn’t help wanting more of him. Taking a deep breath, she prayed for strength and for her heart to resist the only man who showed her passion. Was it already too late?
To Love a Soldier Excerpt by Lacie Nation
Jamie woke when Adam kicked her as he thrashed around in his sleep. He was having a nightmare. She smoothed his hair trying to calm him. But as soon as her hand made contact with him, he grabbed her wrist and pinned her to the bed. His face no longer held the peaceful look she loved so much. Now, his handsome features were twisted in anguish as horror swirled in his eyes.
"Adam," she said softly so she didn’t scare him anymore than he already was. "Adam, it’s me. It’s Jamie." His grip tightened on her wrists. "Adam, calm down baby."
Adam’s face was only an inch away from hers. Her words weren’t registering, so she did the only thing she could think of. She kissed him. He tensed for a moment before he returned her kiss with so much passion it made her toes curl. Jamie knew she should ask him what had happened, but as she felt the tension in his body leave, she couldn’t bring herself to bring the subject back up.
"I love you Jamie," he whispered against her neck and placed open mouthed kisses on her collarbone. 
Love After All Excerpt by Sandy Sullivan
The satiny slide of silk caressing her left nipple, made her breath catch in her throat. Wayne’s lips followed the material, soft, wet across her breast. He knew exactly what to do to make her want him. How he did it, Maggie didn’t know, but he always seemed to bring out the best and the worst in her, at least from the moment they hooked up again.
The glare of the Vegas lights illuminated the expensive hotel room from the line of windows encompassing one whole wall. No Motel Six for Wayne Ridges. Only the best would do. Penthouse suite, open bar with more liquor than the best cowboy bars in Houston and silk sheets on the bed. Things a top bullrider could afford boggled her mind—luxuries she could only hope to have one day. The room had a huge king sized bed near the bank of windows with a separate living area where one could dine, drink or sit back and watch television if they so chose. Color from the flashing neon lights on the strip, bounced off the white walls of the room, capturing her attention. Flash. Dark. Flash. Dark. The rhythmic pattern of the lights hypnotized her as thoughts of where they would go once this little rendezvous ended, clouded her mind.
"You’re thinkin’ too much, Maggie."
"What’cha thinkin’ about?" he asked right before his mouth closed over her nipple. Blue eyes glanced up through thick dark lashes. At six foot four and all muscle, the man could stop traffic on a bad day or cause an accident on a good.
Not ready to tell him exactly where her thoughts drifted, she said, "You and what you do to me. You can wind me up like a top."
He slowly drew her nipple into his mouth with a steady pull as his hand crept down her abdomen heading for the place she needed his touch like her next breath.
The suction on her breast made her hips surge up when his fingers found the tiny nub of her sex. God, the man is good. Fingers parted her pussy lips to give him better access to the place he sought. She knew from experience with Wayne, it wouldn’t take much to have her soaring amongst the clouds.
They’d been together for the last two weeks but their time was coming to an end. She had to return to duty while he would return home. Her unit would be shipping out for Afghanistan in two days for an eighteen month tour. She didn’t want to go, but her job called. Normal duty for her meant sheet metal work on jet fighters coming in and out of Nellis Airforce Base. Days on end of riveting, grinding and painting. Most people found her job funny since normally a man would be in this type of position. She didn’t.
"Am I that boring, Maggie?"
"What?" Startled out of her reverence, she said, "No, why would you say something so demeaning?"
"Your mind is wandering off while I’m makin’ love to you. I obviously can’t hold your attention." 
Serving Her Heart Excerpt by D.F. Krieger
The smile on his face reassured her immediately. "We get lots of break downs and, seeing as how I'm one of two towers in this town, I'm often on call during the nights. Though, when I pick up pretty women who've broken down all alone on the highway, I like to invite myself up to their room."
Laurie laughed even as a thrill zipped its way through her body. "Oh really now? And how many of these women would you say you've rescued and seduced in such a manner."
Patrick's expression turned serious as he sat up straight and studied her. "Point five," he replied.
"Point five? What kind of number is that?" Laurie wrinkled her nose, confused by his answer.
"Well, I think I might be about halfway through my first try." He grinned at her and she could have sworn the entire cab of the truck lit up. "Now I implement my cunning strategy of blackmail."
Almost involuntarily, Laurie licked her lips. Blackmail, eh? I hope it involves a kiss, that's for sure. "What strategy would that be?" She was proud that she managed to keep her voice steady despite the increased heart rate she was experiencing.
"I might be able to convince the mechanic at the shop to come in tomorrow morning and fix your car up, if…" He paused and she waited, holding her breath. "If you were willing to go to dinner with me in about an hour."
Even though Laurie wanted to whoop her joy to the world, she managed to contain it. Instead, she leaned forward and in a seductive tone said, "What if I say no?"
"Then I convince the mechanic anyway, clean up, buy flowers, and try harder." Patrick winked at her.
"I'll see you in an hour." She opened the door, pulled her suitcase through the opening behind the seat, climbed out, and made her way to the hotel doors. The bounce in her step was almost as big as the butterflies in her stomach.
Sweet Love Remembered Excerpt by Jean C. Joachim
“Get out of the car.”
“What’d I say?”
“Get out.” Perri shifted the car into drive.
“Look, Perri, the kid’s been gone for five years already. When are you gonna let go?” Ike closed the door but leaned on the open window, in no hurry to leave.
“Mike. The kid’s name was Mike,” Perri said as she peeled out, depressing the gas pedal almost to the floor. “Asshole.”
Perri slowed down when she crossed the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey. She forked right onto the Palisades Parkway, then leaned back against the rich leather seat of her BMW. The drive to Pine Grove was so familiar she could do it in her sleep.
You’d be five today, Mikey. If you had lived. It’s five years since we scattered your ashes in Cedar Lake.
June twenty-second, the day before Mikey’s birthday, was the day of Perri’s annual trip to Pine Grove. She took a shaky breath. SIDS took four-month-old Michael Jessup. The son of Perri and Sergeant Matthew Jessup…once her husband, now her ex. 
Perri pulled into the driveway of the Pine Grove Guesthouse facing Cedar Lake. She had a standing reservation for the same week every year. Lacy Ryan, gray-haired owner of the guesthouse, had Perri’s room ready. She took a freshly baked cookie off the plate Lacy was holding.
“Room’s ready, Perri.” Lacy hugged the pretty brunette.
“What’s all that lumber in old Doc Branford’s yard?” Perri munched on her cookie.
“Doc moved to Florida. Somebody bought the place. Fixin’ it up too.” Lacy took the plate into the kitchen. “Coffee’s still hot.”
Perri felt a twinge in her gut. Doc Branford’s house was the house she and Matt stayed in on their brief honeymoon. He was on leave from the Marines when they met. Every year Perri peered at the old place from next door, watching it get more dilapidated and seedy. She couldn’t bear to stay there. Too many memories…it’s where Mike was conceived. They stayed there again when they brought his ashes up…when they had that brutal fight. Perri shook her head to get rid of the memory.
“He wouldn’t have died if you’d been here instead of Afghanistan!” she screamed at him.
“You…you let my son die!” he hollered back.
The shouting match echoed in her brain as if she was hearing it for the first time. Her stomach knotted as the horrible words they exchanged knifed through her gut. 


  1. What a nice idea for SCP to help the troops this way. Thanks for letting us know about the book!

  2. Excellent work. An Australian Writing group is doing something similar. I'm sure many soldiers will enjoy reading the stories.