Saturday, July 13, 2013

Marines, Love, and Christmas in July

Yep, I said Christmas in July. I do actually have one more Marine release this summer--it will be out next week. We're returning to the Always a Marine series roots with a 1Night Stand entitled Marine with Benefits. It's due to release on July 19, but I will be in Atlanta and I may not be online enough to celebrate, so be sure to swing by my Facebook page the week after for some party fun. I'll include a little excerpt at the bottom, in the meanwhile, I wanted to talk about Christmas in July.

Holiday Stories

I've been writing holiday stories since May and let me express just how weird it is to be writing about Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and more when it's hotter than hell outside? I keep forgetting to have my characters shiver.

Fortunately, the books are set in some different locales--including Texas, so at least I know that there are some holiday seasons where it's warm enough outside that we don't shiver. Heck, I've worn shorts at Christmas here before--easily.

Five Holidays for the Marines

Yes, I know there are many other holidays in the year, but I picked five that all fell around the same time - Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas and New Year's Eve. I wanted to capture the spirit of the season and the chance for love for my guys in uniform. In addition to the holiday magic, I plan to donate a portion of the proceeds from each book to Toys for Tots.

This is an amazing organization that works to provide children with toys every holiday season. They are like Santas in uniform and they don't do it for credit or to win points, they do it because it's hat they do. They rescue Christmas with the same determination they protect our country. So heck yeah, I want to help out!

A Marine of Plenty

The first holiday book tackles Thanksgiving, not here--but in Afghanistan. It's a little different because I know I'm dealing with a hot spot and I did take a little literary license by cutting a corner here or there. But I hope it works out, because it turned out to be one of my favorite Marines to date--right up there with Marine Ever After. It also deals with Charlie Sparks, Naomi's brother from What Part of Marine Don't You Understand?

A Candle for Marine

Hanukkah books are not that easy to find during the holidays, and that kind of surprised me. So I wanted to tell a Hanukkah story that was a little different, but also one that embraced the beauty of the celebration. Fortunately, I had the right guidance from friends who do celebrate and the celebrations I've attended in the past.

Marine Under the Mistletoe

Pagan Marine? Yes, this was right up my alley! Marines come from all walks of life, all races, and from a wide variety of religions. Why not a Wiccan Marine? And considering one of the basic tennets of Wicca is "An it harm none, do what ye will," how does a Marine reconcile his spiritual side with his experiences in the Corps? This turned out to be a beautiful challenge and even lovelier tale.

The final two are not quite complete yet, so I don't want to tell you too much in case it changes *wink* but I do know that our New Year's Eve story, Lest Old Marines Be Forgot, takes me into some new territory with an older pairing, a true second chance at life romance story that resonated with me and I hope with you.

So that's what I'm doing on these blistering hot days--writing about colder weather and hotter passion. Do you enjoy holiday romances when it's the season?

Excerpt from Marine with Benefits
By Heather Long

Releasing next week!

He needed to get it together. Tonight was about purging demons and having a good time. When the waitress delivered his jack and coke, he swirled the ice around in the glass, watering down the alcohol. An icy hot shiver skated over his skin. Twisting in the seat, he looked toward the entrance in time to see her walk in the door. It was like every cell in his body leaned in her direction, drawn by the inexorable force of nature that was Kara Childs. He’d know her anywhere.

Steel bands squeezed his chest, compressed his lungs, and bruised his heart. She was gorgeous. A red dress hugged her luscious curves, too much so. His dick stood at attention without a second thought for courtesy, commitment, or promises made. And damn if she didn’t make an entrance, her arrival captured more than a few looks of interest from the single men at the bar and a few not so single men at the tables.

Rising, he crossed the room toward her. The moment her gaze collided with his, heat flashed through him. She had no business being out in a dress like that much less in a club like this.

“What are you doing here?”

“I planned on asking you the same question.” He caught her arm and turned her around, not quite hurrying her back up the red-carpeted steps toward the front door. “And why aren’t you wearing some damn clothes?”

Kara stopped, and unless he planned on picking her up or knocking her over, he had to stop, too. Although, he had to admit the former idea held a certain appeal. “Let go Derek.”

“You shouldn’t be here.” He kept his voice low and leaned into her. The scent of plum and flowery blossoms in the soap she favored smelled like coming home.

“Really?” The cold spray of her gaze flicking over him cooled his ardor. “I live here. What’s your excuse?”

“I’m moving here—moved here.” Yeah, not how he planned to drop this particular bomb. And from her shocked expression, not one she expected either. “I planned to call you,” and it was a little to late to apologize. “After I settled in.”

Her chest rose with her swift inhale and his gaze dropped to the warm curves of her breasts visible above the strapless line of her dress. That dress was made for her. His cock jerked in his pants and he was grateful for the lower illumination near the door. “Well, thanks for the notice.” She turned away from him and surveyed the room beyond. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a date.”

Violence rocketed through him. “With who?” He didn’t even realize he gritted his teeth until he tried to speak.

“With a gentleman called none of your damn business,” she tugged her arm out of his grasp.

Flushing hot and cold and then hot again, he moved to stand next to her and studied the room. Who the hell was she meeting in a place like this? How did she even know a bar like this existed? Keith’s baby sister did not belong in a club like this. “Who are you here to see, Kara?” He bent his head, his lips damn near brushing the warm curve of her ear and half tempted to kiss it while he was there. Locking down that urge, he ordered his body to knock it off.

She was—and had always been—way out of bounds.


  1. You forgot an important November least for Marines, the Marine Corps birthday, Nov 10. Believe me, they celebrate it.

    1. LOL, yes I know they do :) I hadn't added that to my holiday Marines yet either though I don't doubt it will get mentioned

  2. Love Christmas in July! These books sound great.