For today only, my contemporary paramilitary mystery~adventure Trophies is FREE on Amazon. The cover's a link, so feel free to jump over and grab a copy. And as part of this week-long celebration for Rachel, I thought I'd share an excerpt from the sequel, currently entitled Fist or Circle.
Our intrepid hero, Charles Ellandun, is (at this point in his life) a lieutenant in U.S. Army Intelligence, but in Trophies, he was invited to work for a semi-rogue Special Forces type, Colonel Robert Holmes. In this excerpt, the nervous lieutenant is reporting for duty.
The orders handed to me by an embarrassed and disgruntled Lieutenant-Colonel Greentree (still not his real name) directed me to present myself to the officer of the day at Camp Holst, a military base outside Autumn Spring, Texas (not its true name nor location), near the Guadalupe River and about 35 miles north of San Antonio, at 0800 on the Monday following a week’s leave.
I did, of course, use the time available to pour the exciting turn my life had finally taken into Aunt Edith’s willing ear. We spent hours over the tea tray, the two-volume leather-bound Shakespeare forgotten in Uncle Hubert’s old study, while we verbally considered the possible forms my new employment might assume.
“A spy.” She sipped from her rosy cup with the gold rim, her eyes narrowed slightly to match her pursed lips. “You’re James Bond, Junior, in the making.”
I laughed at her — “Which one? Sean Connery? Roger Moore? David Niven?” — but honestly, my own suggestions weren’t much more coherent. I suppose my most realistic fantasy revolved around the possibility of Colonel Robert Holmes, my new commanding officer, organizing a Promethean Ranger regiment and being in need of enterprising young sorts to serve as lynchpins during that formative process. And I must admit, as much as I loved Aunt Edith and relished our time together, that was one leave when I counted the hours to its conclusion.
0745 that fateful Monday found me reporting to the gate guard at Camp Holst. It was the beginning of my third year in the Army, this was my third permanent assignment during that time, and the cabbie and I only got lost three times that morning while hunting for the ruddy place, which was a lot further off that beaten path than I’d expected. Third time, I thought as I paid off the hack and returned the gate guard’s salute; third time’s lucky.
I knew that Camp Holst was the home of some sort of salvage diving program the Army had recently established. I also knew, from my last and sadly misused days as an Army intelligence officer, that Colonel Holmes was not qualified as a diver, and therefore I hadn’t allowed such wet dreams to influence my anticipation. Other than that, my knowledge of the place was limited to a rapidly growing awareness of a truly amazing early morning, late summer heat wave. My Old English genetics and New England upbringing blessed the word late in that modifying phrase.
While the gate guard telephoned around to see where I belonged, I eased myself and my best walking-out greens into the shade, and examined the establishment which, meteorologically resembling the nether regions or not, I would now call home. Camp Holst was not big, twenty buildings at the furthest imaginative stretch, perched at the top of a short steep rise that had allowed the cabbie to demonstrate his vocabulary, if nothing else. The brick and clapboard buildings were brown and cream, asphalt roads already shimmered in the heat, and the parking lot peering from behind the largest building seemed dominated by helicopters rather than land-bound vehicles.
That morning, only the bright brave flags flying before that largest building stirred with any enthusiasm. The pansies, although nearly as colorful, hung their heads as if panting, and the gate guard seemed to push through the heat as if forcing himself past something alive. Some kind upper-echelon soul had allowed him to wear desert fatigues rather than full service dress while on this important, first-impression post; I found that mightily comforting as far as my future welfare was concerned.
I was swimming within my jacket and tie, of course, long before I hauled my duffle and garment bags across the camp to my destination. But I paused on the front porch long enough to glance up at that flag: a white compass rose on a navy blue background. I had never seen its like and could only assume it to be the organizational flag of my new unit — whatever that was. I felt bewildered, my excitement swirling down into the drain of a mounting worry over precisely what I had gotten myself into this time. I took a deep breath and let myself into the ranch house. Whatever this turns out to be, I thought, I just hope it’s air-conditioned.
Somebody get that boy an ice pack. Better yet, a cold beer. The fun's just starting, and he's already wilting.
Again, you really should scroll down to this blog's preceding post and make the rounds of the blog hop. There are 33 authors participating with giveaways at every stop. Like books? There's a lot of them out there and who knows, you might be a winner.
Thanks for stopping by. Cheers,