Friday, July 25, 2014

SEAL's Promise - Meet S.O. TJ Talbot

I'm participating in an incredible anthology, Hot Alpha SEALs, with 12 talented ladies. Doing a box set is all about timing, great writing, getting along and playing nice, communication and no Divas. I think we've been fortunate to score nearly a 10 in every category.

I like doing these because of more than just the fact that it keeps getting my name out there so new readers can discover me, I do it because it gives me hard deadlines I have to shoot for, and gives me material to start a full length book from. Every novella, except one, I've converted to a full length novel.

I've heard of SEAL wives who are widowed, and what happens to them after their man is killed while serving our country. What often follows is that the community closes ranks, and it is highly likely that she will marry another SEAL. I had the opportunity to speak with a proud former SEAL father, whose son married one of the widows from the Redwings mission, one of the men who perished in Lone Survivor. So, my story is loosely based on things that have or could have happened.

I added an extra twist in this story to have her be 6 months pregnant when she gets the news. Now she has to deal with the loss of her husband and be careful about the baby. And then I couldn't resist and made the hero of the story another SEAL her husband served with, his best friend, and a man she's always disliked. But boys will be boys, and the unthinkable happens and T.J. is forced to promise to his dying Team buddy he'll watch over Shannon and their unborn child, even though Shannon has made no small thing about hating him.

Hard to show the range of emotions in a short story, only 20,000 words. The sex scene is between a pregnant, grieving widow and a young SEAL who has grown quickly to love her. I will be expanding it this fall into a full length novel. But judging from the comments and emails I've been getting, apparently I've hit the mark. It is the book I'm the most proud of.

So here's an excerpt that shows the tension between the best man and the groom. The best man will be the hero. The groom is about to have a disaster of a wedding, including passing out. In the end, the bride merely tolerates her wedding and wants to quickly move on with her plans for a HEA, until fate steps in, and brings her what she never believed she could have.

Yup, I'm in love with these two characters, and I hope you love them too. Shannon is the bride. Cindy is the maid of honor. Frankie is the groom, T.J. is the best man.

EXCERPT, SEAL's Promise:     ****SEAL Language Alert****

Four other SEALs were in the wedding party, and he had to admit they’d make a wedding portrait which would look good on the cover of any bridal magazine, except for their dark glasses. Only Frankie, the groom, posed without shades. Shannon had wanted them all without the shades, but T.J. smiled at her and put his back on in open defiance, and the others followed his lead.
She’d flounced off in a huff, a flurry of white organza and chiffon, and her perfume that made him sneeze. He’d watched that hellcat streak she had, angled his head to the side and watched her march off to some mythical place brides hide when they go crazy. Lovely, though. Even he had to admit that.
Frankie was white as a sheet as they gathered. “I wanna pray first,” he’d said to his best buddies. Tyler was there, of course, and Kyle, Ollie and Rory were as well. But T.J. was Frankie’s best friend, and that meant he had to be best man.
“Fuckin’ going to need a lot more than fuckin’ prayin’. Gonna need a miracle, Frankie. Shannon’s had the evil eye on me all morning…yesterday, too, and that means I don’t think you’re getting any tonight, not that you haven’t—”
“Fuck sake, T.J. It’s my fuckin’ wedding and has nothing to do with how my bride looks at you. Get that fuckin’ thought out of your head.”
“I was just sayin’—”
“Not what you’re sayin’ I have a problem with. It’s what you’re thinking.” Frankie was so nervous he was seeing conspiracies behind every plant, guest and bouquet.
“Just be glad we didn’t send you to Alaska,” Tyler said, making it worse. Last year one of the young recruits had gotten time off from BUD/S to get married—a request which was almost never granted, and then the boys thought it necessary to save him from that quickie wedding in Las Vegas, and so got him stinking drunk and put him on a plane to Alaska so he missed his own wedding. They incurred extra wet and sandy for that one, and had the toilets cleaned so many times you could eat out of them.
This had worried Shannon, and her mother even more. Mrs. “I Want Moore” was one of the hottest women T.J. had ever seen, all toned and a marathon runner in her fifties. He had never before had fantasies about the mother of the bride. Mrs. Moore was twenty-five years his senior, but he knew she could clean his clock. He’d enjoy chasing her around a few places.
Turning to face Frankie again, he felt a tad sheepish about his lusty thoughts. He wiped his mind clean and decided to concentrate harder on Frankie’s day. His buddy was so crazy in love with Shannon, he needed extra protection to keep him from stepping out in front of traffic, or bumping into caterers, which he’d already managed to do several times today.
“Come on, Frankie. Lighten up.” T.J. slapped his cheeks to redden them up. “You need to stop looking like a dead man if you’re really gonna do this.”
“Yup. I’m doing this,” Frankie said to the auditorium full of people, the organ music now swelling up to the rafters. “I’m fuckin’ doing this.”
T.J. had a hunch he was looking for his courage and had come up short. He glanced down the hallway. Cindy was leaning against the wall right outside the bride’s dressing room, keeping sentry, but also giving him the long vacant look he knew only too well. He unabashedly scanned her entire body and let her see he couldn’t wait to get her naked.
She abruptly turned after blushing.


Sharon’s NYT and USA Today bestselling novels are almost-erotic Navy SEAL stories of the SEAL Brotherhood. Her characters follow a spicy road to redemption through passion and true love. This series continues with books 7, SEAL Of My Heart, releasing in July 2014, and book 8 scheduled in the fall of 2014. All of her SEAL Brotherhood Series are available in audio book. She has maintained an Amazon top 100 author status in Romantic Suspense for since the end of 2012.

Sharon lives in Sonoma County, California, with her husband and two Dobermans. A lifelong organic gardener, when she’s not writing, she’s getting verra verra dirty in the mud, or wandering Farmer’s Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Read an All New NIGHT WITH A SEAL Excerpt from Cat Johnson

by NY Times Bestselling Author Cat Johnson
Ten years in the Navy taught SEAL Jon Rudnick one thing—he’s not afraid to risk life and limb for his country. But when navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy it makes Jon question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the one woman he can’t get out of his head.

The glare of the sun bounced off the hood as Jon steered his truck to the curb and parallel parked in front of his buddy’s place. Cutting the engine, he evaluated the house through the dark lenses of his sunglasses. It was nice for a rental. He’d definitely lived in worse. They all had.
He stepped out of the air-conditioned cab of the vehicle and pocketed the keys. It was hot outside, but not unbearable considering it was summer in Virginia. He’d take sunny and high eighties any day rather than the hundred-and-twenty degrees Fahrenheit that would be waiting for him in Afghanistan.
Jon moved around to open the passenger door and grab the cold eighteen-pack from the floor. It was going to be a good day. He had cold beer, good friends and Rick had promised them some tasty barbecue.
Best of all, he was actually stateside for a holiday. It was only Fourth of July—not one of the big days like Thanksgiving or Christmas, both of which he’d spent deployed last year—but it was a federal holiday so officially it counted.
He made his way up the short path to the front door and, case of beer in his hands, hit the doorbell with his elbow.
It was a nice change, walking up to a door in daylight and ringing the bell rather than creeping through the dark wearing night vision goggles and blowing the lock. It was the little things such as being able to approach a door and not have to dodge automatic gunfire that a man grew to appreciate after a decade of combat deployments.
The door swung wide and all six-foot-five of Rick Mann’s hulking frame filled the opening. Built like a linebacker, Rick always had made Jon—whose six-foot-two-inch frame was lean muscle rather than bulk—feel small.
“Dude, good to see you.” Jon held the beer with his left arm and clasped right hands with his former teammate.
“You too. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss seeing that smartass face of yours all hours of the day and night.” Rick grinned and stepped back to let Jon inside the front door of the house. “Come on in. The party’s going to be around back on the deck.”
As Rick led the way through the house, Jon glanced around him. It wasn’t huge, but it was neat and comfortable. A big flat-screen TV hung on one wall of the living room. Just past the living room furniture was an island lined with stools and a decent sized kitchen with appliances that looked to be fairly new.
Except for an overabundance of floral throw pillows covering the sectional sofa and the room’s two upholstered chairs—a clear sign Rick lived with a female—a man could be very happy kicking back here.
Jon tipped up his chin and called a greeting to Rick’s sister Darci in the kitchen. With a phone pressed to her ear, she smiled and wiggled her fingers in a wave.
“Nice digs,” Jon said as he skirted around a dining table and chair on his way to the sliding glass doors.
Rick let out a huff. “Thanks.”
He’d sounded less than enthusiastic and as Rick glanced over his shoulder, Jon saw his scowl. “What’s the face for? I meant it.”
Rick made a face again. “You know this is Darci’s place.”
“Yeah. So?” Jon asked. “It’s still nice.”
“I just never thought I’d be living with family at this point in my life. Moving in with my little sister is barely a step up from moving back home with my parents.”
“Hey, it’s not a big deal.” Jon shrugged. “You only got out a couple of months ago. And it didn’t make sense to buy your own place while you were active duty.”
Rick’s brow rose. “You bought yours.”
“Yup.” Jon nodded. “And I’m there less than half the months of the year, but even so, the bills still keep coming every damn month, so who’s the smart one here? You are.”
It had made sense for Rick to live in the bachelor quarters on base for the months their squad was stateside, and then just move his stuff into storage for the months they were deployed. It would be logical for Jon to do the same, except that he rarely did what was logical.
Besides, Jon liked coming home to a turnkey condo that was all his. It was far better than being at the mercy of base housing, which had left more than a few guys without a room after returning home from deployment. Real nice welcome home, that.
Team members without family in the area usually crashed on Jon’s sofa until a room became available for them. Sometimes it took a few days, sometimes a couple of weeks, but Jon didn’t mind the company. At this point, he and the guys spent so much time together he was more comfortable being with them than apart.
“I guess.” Rick continued to look miserable as he yanked open the sliding glass door leading onto the back deck.
Rick was obviously experiencing the grass-is-always-greener syndrome. Jon had seen it before. Guys who were in the military dreamed about getting out, while at the same time guys who’d gotten out lamented about how much better things were when they’d been in.
SEALs were no different than any regular Joe in that respect.
“I’ve got a cooler full of ice in the shade under the tree. You can put the beer in there.” Rick tipped his head toward the cooler and then reached to raise the cover on a stainless steel barbecue grill. “I gotta check the ribs real quick.”
“Sounds good.”
Ribs. That explained the tantalizing scent he’d smelled wafting from the closed grill when they’d stepped outside. Jon sniffed the meat-laden air as he made his way down the steps and across the lawn.
The yard was nice. Small enough to be easy to keep up, but private thanks to a fence and some well-placed landscaping. So far, Jon saw nothing for Rick to be complaining about. Living here, Rick should be a lot happier than he appeared to be. But to each his own.
Kneeling in the grass, Jon paused while tearing open the cardboard case. He breathed in the scent of freshly mowed lawn that hit him now that he was away from the smoke of the grill.
Never mind taking time to smell the roses, after spending so much time in the desert even just the sight of a patch of lush green grass could stop Jon in his tracks. He ran his hands over the shorn blades and felt them tickle his palm. It might be one of the last opportunities he’d have to appreciate things like backyard grass.
The squad couldn’t tell anyone the exact timing, but barring any last minute changes Jon’s unit would be heading back to the sandbox next week to spend the remainder of the year in the war zone.
Summer in Afghanistan sucked. But then again, so did winter . . . and the rainy season . . . and fighting season.
Jon had to think that Rick didn’t know how good he had it.
Catching himself in a grass-is-always-greener moment, he focused back on his task—stowing the beer in the ice. When he got to the last couple of bottles, he closed the lid and carried two longnecks back to the deck. He handed one to Rick, trying not to let his mouth water at the scent of the meat grilling just feet away.


NOTE: NIGHT WITH A SEAL is debuting as an eBook exclusively in the 99 cent Hot Alpha SEALs Megaset on July 22. It will be available for purchase as an individual eBook (independent of the bundle) in late August and also as a Trade Paperback!


Look for SAVED BY A SEAL (HOT SEALS, BOOK 2) releasing Sep16.