Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Just in time for the 4th of July, Angela Scavone's sweet military romance, A Journey Home, takes the spotlight on this week's Thursday Threads.
Title: A Journey Home
Author: Angela Scavone
Heat Level: Sweet
Book Blurb: 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.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Home-Angela-Scavone-ebook/dp/B00W3UK05A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430155218&sr=8-1&keywords=angela+scavone
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 end? 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.”
* * *
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Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6683076-angela-scavone
This week's Thursday Threads spotlights Neva Brown's (mostly) sweet contemporary romance, A Pretty Penny.
Buy Link: Amazon
Clayton Brandt knows the cost of a woman but he never knew the value of a woman until Penny, quiet, efficient, and determined, invades his workplace then his life.
Penny, inadvertently, sets off a chain of events that threatens her life and the happy-ever-after that she hoped for with Clayton.
How they navigate through government agents’ plans, vindictive women's plans, and their vastly different upbringing to find common ground to nurture a love that clings through all the troubles and trials takes the reader on a compelling vicarious journey.
Awestruck and wondering how a rodeo producer managed to have such a grandiose personal jet, Penny jumped in surprise at the clipped, commanding voice behind her. She turned and focused on the imposing man who extended a lean, hard hand for her to shake as he towered over her.
“I presume you’re Wilma’s little friend.”
His emphasis on “little” implied so much more than the fact that she was only five foot two, one hundred five pounds. She stiffened.
“I’m Penelope Ann Jones. And, yes, Wilma and I are friends.”
“I’m Clayton Brandt, your boss.” His icy stare chilled her from head to toe.
“Are you another of her projects, or can you do a day’s work for a day’s pay?”
Her haughtiness probably added to his irritation, but she wasn’t about to cower before this arrogant tyrant.
Stretching her neatly clad body and raising her eyes from his chest to his cold, gray eyes, she answered with an indifferent tone.
“I can do the work Wilma said would be expected of me, sir.”
She bit her tongue to keep from adding that she had a master’s degree in finance, held a CPA license, and had worked as a secretary all the way through college. Just because she had been following the rodeo did not make her incapable, just besotted with love.
He curtly dismissed her. “Get buckled up. The pilot is ready to take off.”
His woodsy scent and the feel of his hand still lingered in her memory. From her luxurious lounger, she continued to watch. He frowned at Wilma. His words became clear enough for Penny to hear.
“I thought we got through your ‘mother hen’ phase a few years back. Where did you find this one?”
Wilma’s longsuffering look made Penny strain to hear the reply.
“The ‘mother hen’ periods as you call them passed a long time ago. Penny is different. She was Jason’s wife, but none of our family even knew they were married. They’d been married almost a year when that bull killed him.”
“Then she’s a rich young widow. Why does she need to work?”
“Things aren’t quite what they seem. Jason never got around to changing his will and never had her sign a signature card to draw on his account at the bank. Being his usual distracted self, he just gave her cash. She had money but no permanent financial security.”
“So I guess you’re paying her bills. No wonder you want to put her to work.”
“Clayton, she was my baby brother’s wife and was ‘holed up’ in that fifth wheel at a trailer park with nothing but crackers and peanut butter. She’s smart and willing to work. You know I wouldn’t ask you to hire her if I didn’t believe she could do the job.”
He scowled at Wilma as she added, “I’d bet six month’s wages she’ll do a good job.”
“You may not have six month’s wages if she messes up. I don’t suffer fools and lazy people, as you well know. Right now, she looks like both to me,” he growled.
Penny let her eyelids shut completely at the hostile sound of his voice. A surge of adrenaline made her ears ring and her muscles twitch. Her anger churned, and her thoughts raced. Just who does this aging Adonis with a Neanderthal attitude think he is? Wilma thinks he hung the moon, and he acts like she is just some inconsequential employee when, in reality, she shields him from all kinds of thorny situations every day. She’s always telling me about the mountain of work she does to smooth the way for him. What an insufferable man!
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