'When A Soldier Cries' is my latest erotic romance novel, the story of a Special Ops Marine and a Navy psychiatrist.
Major Tanner Caldwell is the 'tip of the spear', one of the elite soldiers most likely to be sent deep behind enemy lines to make a surgical strike. Lieutenant Commander Victoria Morgan Banks is getting her life back together a decade after her mother and brother were killed on United Flight 77, resulting in an ill-chosen marriage to an abusive Navy SEAL. Recalled to active duty, Tori's working the opposite end of the military spectrum; helping wounded combat vets pouring into Bethesda from Iraq and Afghanistan cope with the loss of limbs and the effects of PTSD.
The sexual fireworks sizzle, yet every step they take toward each other has the potential to explode some painful memory in each other's past.
"Once you see a man die, you never stop seeing it," Tanner tells Tori. He cannot understand why she willingly seeks out opportunities to listen to broken men share the horrors of war.
My unofficial six sentences are her explanation, made to one of her patients:
“That’s the real reason soldiers don’t cry, Raymond, the reason you feel you need to hold your tears inside. Deep down, you know when a soldier cries, the angels stop to listen, and bow their gilded heads. Because there’s power and majesty in the tears of one who looks into the fires of Hell and can still lay claim to his own soul. Honor must be paid, because the claiming comes at a high cost. A soldier learns to do without, to put his needs aside, but there are angels here waiting to honor your tears, ready to pay honor when you decide your soul is worth cleansing. It doesn't matter what you saw or what you had to do in Iraq and Afghanistan, those tears will help cleanse your soul."
Tanner and Tori were born from my own painful past.
You see, when the planes went down on 9/11, I barely noticed. I'd buried my thirty-eight-year old husband two days before. In my struggle to accept his death, and to meet the challenge of raising two children alone, I glided numbly past the most shocking act of terrorism on American soil.
When the numbness wore off, and I had somewhat come to grips with the changes in my life, I realized people were talking about a war I knew little about. I backtracked to figure out how America had changed at the same time I had.
Literally thousands of articles, newscasts, online videos and editorials later,
the result is a story of two people who have put aside their individual needs to meet the needs of their country, and the price each has paid to keep America free.
They're pure fiction, wrapped around an ugly reality I hope they manage to transcend. It's taken me 110K words and three years to complete this story.
Now to find a publisher. <grin>