Chapter Three of The Grunt 2 takes you inside a covert USMC Force Recon operation in Afghanistan. From the first word of the chapter, you are there with the six-man team as they leap bravely from an HH-60 Pave Hawk during a HALO (high altitude, low opening)jump. As a civilian, I have never jumped out of a plane, though I’ve wanted to. I have a fascination with the sky and the bird’s ability to soar through the air. I’ve even had dreams of flying in my sleep, which usually leads to me accidentally kicking Shag. But I’ve never, as a core function of my job, been asked to jump from a moving object into the sky and fall thousands of feet (strategically might I ad) to land on the ground without a scratch. It’s pretty epic stuff.
As it turns out Force Recon is spectacular at jumping out of planes. And I could not, in good conscience, write this book without including a little of Recon’s awesomeness in it.
Check out this rough draft excerpt:
The Grunt 2
Latrivia Nelson ©
Dressed out in full tactical uniforms, camouflage, aviator gloves, go-packs and parachutes the Recon Unit assembled quietly inside of the HH-60 Pave Hawk in preparation for their HALO (high-altitude, low-opening) parachute insertion jump. It was everything that kids across the country dreamt of as they played their video games, and everything wannabe’s lied about when trying to impress women.
However, this was the real shit; there were no video cameras for reality tv, no theme music for a movie, no turning back for sake of life over country.
Standing by the hatch already let down for their departure, Brett looked down the line at his men standing at the ready. Each one of these men were brave and had shown valor in the face of death a hundred times. Joe, Bear, Rusty, Geek and Hound. He would die for either of them, all of them, if needed. But he hoped that their training would prevent the need to make that decision.
Right before they reached their mark, Brett stepped out where he could see his men and made his normal speech. It was the same one every time, but each time it was warranted, needed to remind each man of why he was there, especially when after long months away from home there were more questions than answers.
“No one on this plane rang that bell three times in training. No one gave up then. No gives up now. You know why they sent us, devil dogs? It’s because we’re the baddest motherfuckers they could find.”
“Oorah,” the men replied in cadence. Their voices boomed like lightning against the black night as the wind from the open hatch ran across their faces.
Bear, their Irish ginger good ole boy from Alabama, spit his brown snuff out on the floor beside his boot and coughed. It was his normal routine and had not changed since their first op together. It was Bear’s way of saying that he was ready.
Joe made the sign of the cross and rolled his neck. He was ready.
Rusty kissed the picture of his son.
Hound scratched his balls.
Geek stood stoically focused on the hatch.
Each man had a thing, and now was the time to do it.
Brett’s jaw clenched as he moved to the open hatch, the wind pushing and pulling at him like a rag doll. Anticipation coursed through his veins like an angry drug. The veins in his neck protruded as he screamed, “Let’s go to work!”
The twinkling stars and the full moon in the sky looked close enough for the men to reach out and touch them, and the ground so infinite below looked like it was a million miles away while they dwelled somewhere in the middle of this world and the next.
If one had never thought about their mortality before, they thought about it then being as small as ants in a world so vast that it could suck them up before anyone could notice.
Brett stood by the hatch, hitting each man on his back as they plunged out into the night in a free fall.
They looked angelic as they fell, but in fact, they were killers, the whole lot of them, going to do the government’s bidding.
With a nod toward the birdman, Brett prepared in his own way. Checking his gear and his watch, he clasped the sides of the entryway, looked out at the vast world behind him, imagined his family back home, and made the unreturnable leap toward danger.
With his arms splayed wide, he cut through the thin clouds in a perfect arch, feeling his body become one with the air around him. His massive, muscular frame, while formidable on land, dropped through the heavens like penny off a tower.
Balancing himself out, he fell hundreds of feet before he checked his wrist detector and pulled the rip cord on his parachute when he had reached the right altitude.
The parachute exploded violently in the night, giving him a small jolt as he navigated it down.
Brett bent his knees as his boots hit the ground. Dust billowed up around him as he crunched dry soil below him. Releasing himself from the parachute, he pulled his earpieces from inside of his tactical gear as he knelt in a crouched position and looked around.
It was dead silent. No motion. No lights. No people.
“Check in Eagle team,” he said, listening as all the men sounded off. They were all right around him, but with no light, they were nearly impossible to see, save the light coming off some of the men’s tactical watches.
As soon as his voice registered on the radio, the command center back at the base went live. Captain Lawless, who had been leaning on his desk glaring impatiently at the blank wall of monitors, popped up and put his coffee down.
“Eagle four to Nest, we are live. I repeat, Eagle team is live,” Brett said, just below a whisper as the men gathered together, ready to move on the Captain’s command.
“Do we have eyes on our men yet?” Lawless said, looking at his comms specialist.
Staring at the young captain too long was like looking directly into the sun. He was intimidating even when he wasn’t trying. The young man quickly adverted his eyes to the monitor as the black screen in front of them linked to the satellite and produced a night vision picture.
“We are live, sir,” the young man said, typing into his computer.
Lawless turned to his second-in-charge. “Get the general now,” he ordered, taking a wide stance in the middle of the floor and watching the operation from the vest cameras installed on each man. This was what he did best. In this command room, he was a warrior, a strategist and a swift hand for the U. S. Marine Corps. The sudden pride that always overcame him made him want to sing God Bless America, but for now, he’d just settle for kicking some ass.
“Zoom into Eagle four,” Lawless said flatly. He slipped his earpiece on to communicate with the team. “Eagle four, we have eyes. Satellite says you’re good to go. No bogies. Proceed.”
“Copy that,” Brett said, making a knife hand motion for the men to advance toward the house.
Don’t worry. The book is coming soon. Check in regularly for more information on the chapters as they are completed.
When you read a book, you want to identify with the woman. When you read an Interracial Romance (bw/wm), you expect to identify. All of us can’t be supermodels, millionaires or even a size 2 (I like being curvaceous), but we can all see the strength of a character or be motivated by that strength in a book.
My readers have taught me through their feedback over the years that they demand strength. When I first wrote Ivy’s Twisted Vine, a part of exploring what it was like to be an impressionable young woman was writing about Ivy’s weaknesses, but The World in Reverse was clearly about her strengths.
I’m committed to showing African-American women in a strong positive light through my books. Strong heroines are not just wanted, in this day and age, they are needed. Even in our entertainment and imagination, we must visualize ourselves as pillars of strength. Now, does that mean that you can’t be loving, caring, warm and even have moments of weakness? No, that would you inhuman.
However, I will say that if we are to project an image of strength into the media, we have to start in books. We have to damage/destroy the negative stereotypes of African-American women by re-writing ourselves.
For your viewing pleasure:-)
“Despise not small beginnings.” Zechariah 4:10
This morning at 6:30 a.m., Bruce pulled me out of bed. “Baby, get up. It’s time to go and work out.” His words echoed in my subconscious, swirling in the opposition of the act.
This idea, to get fit “er” sounded great when he first suggested it, but at the moment, all I wanted to do was hug that pillow and his muscular chest a little longer before I crawled out of bed and got ready for work.
He nudged me again, his sexy southern drawl sounding like silk to my ears. “Come on, baby. You can do it.”
Ever so gently, he pulled the covers from my body and pulled me out of bed. I complained the entire time, but with every complaint put on my clothes, shoes and grabbed some water before we headed out.
By the time when arrived back at the house from the work out, I was laughing and bubbly. Working out does that to you. Endorphins were running rampant. Motivated to start my day, I ran my bath water and then noticed I had several missed calls on my cell phone. Accidentally, I had left it on silent yesterday.
They were from all around the country.
Something was up, and suddenly I was afraid…that was until I saw the text from sister author Yvette Hines. “WE MADE IT TO THE USA TODAY LIST!” I could hear her voice through the text.
I screamed, and jumped and yelled. Bruce by this time wasn’t sure to grab his shot gun or jump and scream with me. I put the phone down and told him. I was now a USA Today Bestselling Author.
TEARS. Happy, big fat tears of joy.
Something like this is the thing that an author dreams of achieving. It’s not a small task and takes a lot of work, and a lot of people believing in you. 11 women come to mind. I have to thank God for the ability to write. His blessings continue to shine down on me. He is my refuge and no, I do not want. He meets all of my needs and very often, He goes above and beyond. Today was another one of his many gifts. Thank you, Father.
This project was Yvette’s baby. She led the charge, and the other 10 women in the box set were absolutely wonderful. Despite everything that happened in their personal lives, they were devoted to this project. They were kind and thoughtful, worked together, allowed for life to happen in between. And it paid off.
Our fans are amazing women and men. They follow us on Twitter and Facebook. They post reviews. They uplift us and continue to be supportive. This could not have happened without each and every one of them. They bought and pre-ordered. They posted and reposted. They came out in big numbers.
There are so many books out there now in the bw/wm genre. When you have someone who will give you a chance, you are grateful. You are competing with a world full of insanely talented authors for every book sell.
I’ve been in this business now for seven years. I’ve written countless books, and every single experience is still a new one. I remember selling my first book back in 2008. I remember wanting to be on this list. And now I am. It started small, but it has grown…this book dream. I never gave up. I never gave in to just putting it aside. And HE blessed me for it. I’m not deserving. I know it. But He does that anyway because He loves me. I will not despise small beginnings.
I’m celebrating today. I’m happy, and I’m thankful.
Ladies, we made it.
Latrivia S. Nelson
I’m guilty of changing my mind. After talking to the ladies in the Love Pub, I thought about it and decided that this cover would best serve Young Dmitry Medlov and not his nephew. Hope you like the changes. However, there is no release date yet. We’re just working along on as many projects as our brains will allow.
They drove in separate cars to a small rehabbed wooden, yellow shotgun house just around the corner from the theatre. It was a cute as a button with its blue shutters, complete with a blue door and a small garden with red mulch. There was a white rocking chair on the porch and an American flag hoisted out on the side. It didn’t look like a bachelor pad at all, more like a family house.
Parking his Jeep out front on the street, Kennedy ran quickly up the sidewalk to the house, unlocked the door and vanished inside, while Jade waited out in her Audi.
With the music playing and the windows half down to enjoy the breeze, she listened to the radio and waited, feeling very much like a teenager inside. She had not been on one date since she arrived in Memphis, but this was a great way to start.
A few minutes later, he emerged. “Told you I wouldn’t be long,” he said, moving quickly.
They drove around the corner to the movie theatre and parked in the packed parking lot. Jade got out and looked at the sun. It would only be a couple of hours before the day was given away to night and this perfect day would be over.
Kennedy jumped out of his jeep and walked over to her. Grabbing her hand, he escorted her inside.
It was the close proximity to him that was driving her insane, and how comfortable he seemed with public displays of affection. However, all day, he had behaved like a total gentleman, not like the crazed sex animal who had humped her friend or kissed her without knowing her name at Selma’s party. He was a bit of an enigma to her. She was expecting all day for him to bring up sex, but he did not mention it one time.
However, the intensity in his green eyes made her think of nothing else. She kept having to push back thoughts of feeling his body against hers and the way his tongue tasted. She kept wondering if he’d kiss her again, or if he was a completely different man when he wasn’t Santa.
As she sat by him in the movie theatre, his long arm draped over her to keep her warm, she grappled with her feelings and wondered if he was doing the same. Every once in a while in between laughing and eating popcorn as they watched some stupid romantic comedy, Jade wondered if the joke was on her. He didn’t seem the least bit frantic about the situation, where she was two seconds from ripping his pants off.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” he bent to her ear and asked. His grin was absolutely adorable.
“Very much,” she said, moving closer into his embrace.
“Good.” Bending to her, he kissed her forehead. “Me too.”
Argh!!!! Jade was about to go crazy. He was literally driving her insane. Don’t kiss me on the forehead, kiss me on my lips, she screamed inside.
Maybe out of habit, he rubbed her arm as he watched the movie. His fingers lingered on her right shoulder, making her clitoris pound so hard against her yoga pants, she thought she would orgasm right there.
“I’ll be back,” she said, finally unable to handle one more second of his slow teasing.
“Okay. You alright?” he asked sincerely.
“Great,” she said, moving down the aisle toward the exit. “I’ll be right back.”
She doused herself with water as she stood over the sink in the ladies room. Staring at her reflection, she quietly demanded of herself that she get her shit together. Maybe all of this pent up frustration was coming as a result of seeing him nearly naked already, or maybe it was the fact that in 20 minutes of meeting him, she had already seen his monstrous erection, but whatever it was that had the sex chemical coursing through her veins, she had to get control.
Another thought, one far more sinister, crept through her mind as she reapplied her makeup. Maybe after talking to her for two hours, any sexual attraction that he had toward her was completely lost. It might have been the same thing that pushed he who would not be named away.
To Jade that was far more reasonable than any other possibility and suddenly she felt sad. Pulling herself together and spraying on a dash of perfume, she slowed her breathing and walked back out.
Well, maybe even if he doesn’t like me that way, I may have made a friend, she thought to herself as she made her way back inside the movie theatre.
As soon as Jade approached, Kennedy adjusted to make her more comfortable and as she settled down beside him in her seat completely deflated from her own thoughts and grabbed the popcorn to shovel the entire box into her face, he grabbed her gently and landed a sweet warm kiss on her mouth. He lingered there a moment with as much passion as the night that he met her. Stroking the side of her face with his thumb, he stopped when the people behind them started to clear their throats.
Even in the dark as her eyes flashed open in disbelief, she could see that glimmer in his eyes. He was still very much attracted to her. And she was still very much in play. Sitting back once he released her from his powerful embrace, he threw his arm possessively over her shoulder and began watching the movie again and laughing.
It was hot today. 100 degrees. And I picked out the most beautiful outfit that I could find for a bright sunny Friday afternoon, not appreciating the fact that the weather didn’t care that you’re outfit was designer label. When I left the office, I was pristine. Make-up, clothes, shoes, purse, hair. However, when I arrived at the Shelby County Clerk’s office and had to walk two blocks, I was sweaty. I’m not a manual labor girl. The most physical part of my life is carrying my bags to the car after I’ve gone shopping.
Of course, I was nervous. I didn’t want to walk into the clerk’s office pouring sweat and Shag see me, but he wasn’t there, so I had time to freshen up. I ran to the restroom and immediately began to re-apply everything.
When he arrived, I was better. I’d even had time to stop and chat with a few people I knew. He came up the stairs with a big grin and hugged me as soon as he saw me. “Hey baby,” he said with kiss. I instantly melted. I love when he calls me baby.
We waited for a while outside as other couples applied and were processed, and then it was finally our turn. We both went in hand-in-hand, kissing and smiling. The woman asked us a thousand questions for her document, but was kind enough to share her paper towels, fans and even take a photo for us in the process. How many marriages? Where were you born? Sign this. Pay this. But in all, she was so pleasant and so was the overall experience.
When we had the paper in our hands, we were awestruck. The ten minute interview was totally worth it. Shag grabbed me right in the hallway and kissed me in front of everyone. “Finally,” he said. “I told you that you were going to be my wife. I knew it the first time that I laid eyes on you.” Truth be told, I knew it too. Way back when in August 2012, we became a “thing.” Three years later, we’re becoming husband and wife.
I’ll never forget his words or how happy we were today. We have a Marriage License in hand. This marks a new journey for us – one we’ve been trying so hard to get to for so many years.
I remember day before Christmas of the year we first met in 2012. He said, “You were supposed to be my wife, all along.”
I felt the same. He was supposed to be my husband. We had just both gone the long way to get to our final goal.
Since then, we’ve been through hell, but nothing has kept us apart and now, we’re going to be husband and wife on July 31st. He has already been showering me with gifts, and foot rubs, and champagne and so much laughter. But the thing that really melts my heart is that we are truly soul mates. Through everything (divorce, loss of a child, job changes, house changes, deaths, etc.), we have been there for each other.
Now, we mark the day that it history books, it all begins. I’m about to be Mrs. Bruce Welch, III.
Everyone is Getting Some But Me
Week of Thanksgiving
The alarm blasted into Jade’s ear at 6:00 a.m. She rolled over and glanced at her phone before she turned it off. She wanted to hit snooze, but she knew that ten more minutes in the bed wouldn’t help what ailed her.
Grunting, she rolled over and kicked her legs from under the comforter. Everything was hazy and cold. But that was intentional. She always turned the air down to 65 degrees before she went to bed. She liked snuggling under her covers in the dark in a perfectly clean room. Something about it was comforting. But in the morning when she woke, it was always the same.
Cold. Dark. Lonely.
Standing up beside her bed, she grabbed her glasses and slipped them onto her face, instantly going from nearly blind to 20/20 vision. Turning on her lamp, she looked around her large master bedroom. She always looked around every morning, scanning for anything that might be out of place. Besides work, she had nothing else in her life. So, keeping her house clean as a whistle had become an obsession. Healthy or not, it was all that she had.
Meandering through the long hallway, she made her way to the kitchen. Turning on the television in the corner atop her countertop, she poured herself a cup of coffee from the Keurig she had bought herself the previous year for her birthday and stared at CNN reporting on another violent eruption in the Middle East.
Then it hit her.
Today was her birthday. How could she forget that? Or maybe, she hadn’t forgotten at all, maybe she had pushed that date to the back of her mind until she had no choice but to deal with it.
Well, here it was.
There was something that went instantly sour in her stomach.
She was thirty-five today, and still she was single. Absolutely, positively single. How could a woman with a 775 credit score, thousands of dollars in the bank, no children, no STDs and no behavioral disorders be single at 35 when Honey BooBoo was juggling two men?
She didn’t even have a male friend in this city. Hell, at this point, she’d take an affair on Tinder to have someone to talk to. She was…pathetic. She had moved to Memphis from Manhattan one year ago to work for Koch PR firm, a move that she thought would help her find peace in her life.
Two years ago, she really had been in love. And she thought he was in love too. That was until he accepted a job with a bigger PR firm in Toronto and broke up with her to further his career. He called it an opportunity of a lifetime…like she was just something to do. Six months later, he was engaged to someone else, someone new. It only took six damn months. She saw it on Facebook. How tacky? And the woman had been far less pretty, in her biased opinion. The least the jerk could have done was block her as a friend before dropping the news on everyone and making her look like a complete ass.
Or maybe she should have looked at all the signs.
He said that he loved her…her knight in shining armor.
He said that he wanted to be with her. But he never moved in.
He said that they would spend their lives together, but he had never popped the question. She had been waiting, but it never came. She couldn’t even name how many times that he had taken her to dinner at a five-star restaurant and she thought, this is it, only to be disappointed by it turning out to be a celebration of some other special moment in his life. A promotion. Closing a deal. Paying off his student loan.
But he couldn’t seem to promote their relationship or close the deal with her.
He became him who would not be named.
And according to him who would not be named, she had one fatal flaw that he could not get around. She was a classic workaholic. Unfortunately, he lived in the world of man, where a woman could make as much money as her man just as long as it didn’t affect their personal time together. However, if she worked one hour longer or went in one hour earlier, then she was accused of cheating – her job was the other man in her life. The punishment…breakup.
Never mind his own business trips. Never mind his own untimely emails and phone calls. Never mind his emergency weekend meetings at the office. Those were looked over and chalked up to being reasonable while her job was treated like the elephant in the room.
So after the breakup and the new woman, she moved.
As accused, she had settled into her new job as the Director of Social Media and began slaving away and climbing the proverbial latter. Only, in the process of trying to prove herself, she had lost any semblance of a personal life. With no one on the weekend to occupy her time, she had nearly forgotten what it was like to have weekend plans or birthday plans or holiday plans or any plans at all. She had none.
No friends – except work acquaintances.
Not even a damn dog.
In six months, the only thing that she had managed to build was her portfolio. But who really gave a shit, when there was no one to enjoy retirement with?
“I need to stop feeling sorry for myself,” she said aloud, cutting out thoughts of sorrow.
Reaching to the back of the cupboard, she grabbed the slightly dust covered whiskey bottle and poured a little something special into her morning coffee. “Happy fucking Birthday,” she said, headed to the bathroom to get ready for her perfectly boring day.
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