Skip to main content

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter

Excerpt - A SOLDIER'S REUNION by Cheryl Wyatt

Captain's Log, Stardate 06.01.2009

A Soldier’s Reunion
by
Cheryl Wyatt


A MAN FROM HER PAST

Despite a decade apart, this isn’t the reunion Mandy Manchester expected! She thought she’d put high school sweetheart Nolan Briggs behind her. Now he’s back…and the pararescue jumper literally sweeps her off her feet. He’s ready and willing to rekindle what they once shared. Mandy, though, isn’t prepared to put her heart at risk. He left her before--she won’t trust him again. Can Nolan teach this grounded girl to take a leap of faith?

Buy from Christianbook.com
Buy from Amazon

Excerpt of chapter one:

"Briggs, phone! Chief Petrowski's on the line. Says it's beyond urgent."

U.S. Air Force Pararescue Jumper Nolan Briggs rushed past teammates Brock Drake and Vince Reardon, who stopped rigging parachutes and looked up. The airmen grew sniper-still and spotter-alert as did the other PJs in Refuge, Illinois's skydiving Drop Zone facility.

Nolan grabbed the DZ phone from teammate Chance Garrison. "Briggs speaking."

"Nolan, I'm tasking your team to a major bridge collapse."

Nolan pressed the phone tighter against his ear and processed Petrowski's words wafting across the line. "Major bridge collapse? Where?" Adrenaline pumping, Nolan eyed his teammates.

They stood at his words and marched close in listen-mode.

"Reunion Bridge over Refuge River—hold on," Petrowski said.

"Refuge." Nolan hiked his chin to his team while on hold.

The room erupted in activity as airmen grabbed gear.

Nolan had been placed in temporary command while PJ team leader Joel Montgomery traveled abroad with his wife to meet children they were adopting. Second-in-command, Manny Péna, was in surgery to remove pins, following a two-year-old injury incurred during a skydiving accident.

Nolan yanked a notebook from PJ Ben Dillinger's pocket. As Petrowski, back on the line, talked about the rescue mission, Nolan scribbled information.

Stiffening beside Nolan, Ben straightened. "Hey, babe," he called for his fiancée, Amelia, near the round tables across the room. She approached, Ben's brother Hutton following, his Mosaic Down Syndrome causing his eager feet to shuffle.

"Didn't Reece have a field trip today, across the bridge at the museum?" Ben said of his stepdaughter-to-be as he grabbed Amelia's hand.

"Yes." She scanned the note. Her face turned pasty. "Th-they would have been on the way back. P-probably on the bridge."

Arms numbing, Nolan tightened his grip on the phone as he observed Ben and Amelia. Dread pounded through his body, incinerating the lining of his gut.

The room stilled as implications of Amelia's words sank in. Ben's arms steadied her. "Don't panic. We don't know for sure she was on the bridge when it went."

"What if she was?" Amelia, trembling, slid to a chair.

Nolan squeezed Amelia's shoulder with his free hand. "We'll handle it. Okay? I guarantee Refuge divers are already there."

Amelia managed a catatonic nod. Ben searched Nolan's face. The only other time Nolan had seen Ben look this rattled was when his father passed away last year.

Nolan leaned close to Ben. "Stay with her 'til you hear from me."

Blinking rapidly, Ben looked torn. "We're already two men short. If I don't go, that puts you at only four."

"We'll make do. I can use you here for now. Run the command post. Once we see Reece is okay, you can join us on the bridge."

Ben gave a short nod. "I'll call the church. Tell folks to pray. Refuge hasn't experienced anything like this in its history that I'm aware of. And we don't know who all was on that bridge…" Ben's composure faltered.

Nolan knew Ben loved little Reece as though she were his.

"Don't buckle, Dillinger. Keep your head. Make sure our airmen's families are accounted for. Have everyone wait here at the DZ or Refuge B and B. Cell and landlines will be jammed from mass calls going in and out."

Nodding, Ben slipped a bronze arm around his wife-to-be.

Shoulders hunched, Hutton chewed his tongue and blinked close-set eyes while shuffling near. "I praying too, Benny."

"Thanks, buddy." Ben hugged his brother, then faced Nolan. "Can we load? I'll help with that at least."

Nolan covered the phone and nodded.

Two minutes later, gear in arms and courage in their steps, the PJs were out the door.

The harrowing look in Ben's eyes echoed the sentiment screaming through Nolan's mind: had Reece been on that bridge when it collapsed?

"How bad is it?" Nolan asked Petrowski as they sprinted to the waiting chopper minutes later.

"Pretty bad." Aaron Petrowski, commanding officer of their team plus two others, answered above rotor noise. "Bridge collapsed in a V." Aaron heaved an extraction basket hoist into the craft. "Expecting mass casualties if we can't get those people off."

Nolan paced his breathing as he tossed heavy medical packs into the belly of the bird. Diving gear and rescue equipment loaded, Nolan climbed in, followed by his other three teammates.

Petrowski hunkered in and faced the opening. "Where's Ben?"

"Tell you in a minute. What else?" Nolan signaled the pilot to take them up.

Petrowski studied him. "There's a flammable tanker about to boil from flaming cars. If heat expands it, she'll blow."

"Cars near enough to ignite it should something spark?" Nolan asked above howling wind as the chopper lifted.

"Yes. Unfortunately, so is an elementary school bus."

Vince swore softly.

Pulse kicking, Nolan's gut clenched. "Full of little kids?"

Petrowski nodded. "On their way back from a field trip."

Nolan's stomach hollowed. "The reason I had Ben stay behind for now is because his stepdaughter-to-be might be on that bus."

Petrowski's head jerked around. "You serious? Little Reece?"

Anxiety for Ben and Amelia fought for rabid hold but Nolan steadied himself. "Yeah."

As if their team hadn't already been under enough pressure with the possibility of Nolan being plucked from it. No one voiced it, but everyone felt it. Any mission, starting with this one, could be Nolan's last with the team, thanks to superiors wanting to use him elsewhere.

Sighing, Petrowski slid a hand over his silvery-blond buzz. "News air surveillance report a dozen children are on it."

"Can we have the news chopper megaphone them off the bus?"

Petrowski stretched out his legs. "Problem with that is there's no place safe for them to go should the tanker blow. Unless all the cars burn themselves out, that's a mammoth possibility."

Brock's head tilted toward Nolan and Petrowski. "Plan?"

Paper spread over the floor, Nolan diagrammed. "Lift kids in rescue baskets here. Two pararescuemen per litter. Work fast."

"So, what exactly happened? Any word on that?" Brock shifted closer to hear over the chopper blades whipping air. The Pave Low's engine noises gurgled up the southern Illinois sky.

"A small aircraft flew into the support beams near where the bridge connects to land," Nolan answered.

"Steel beams are bending under the pressure. Concrete's crumbling. Engineers at the scene say the bridge is tilting an inch every five minutes. Any second, the rest could give way. At this time nothing short of prayers will brace up that bridge."

He eyed the team. "Refuge divers got to most cars that slipped into the water and helped people out that could be."

"And those that couldn't?" Nolan asked.

"Couldn' t be helped." A grim cloud camouflaged Petrowski's face.

"I hope someone has the sensibility to get the kids off the bus. Though the tanker's volatile, they probably have a better chance off than on. Even minor shifts could hasten its plunge," Nolan said.

Petrowski brushed a hand over his forehead. "Worse thing they could do is get off then back on the bus for any reason." He eyed Nolan. "Pray the bridge holds until we get there. Can't land a chopper on it, so we'll rappel rigs in teams of two."

Nolan ignored Vince's smirk at Petrowski's praying comment. Team brotherhood was stronger than personal feelings.

Once they hit the bridge, everyone would be about the mission.

Screams of a dozen children drifted through the smoke and clamored for Mandy Manchester's attention.

Disregarding her own pain and fear, she scrambled through mazes of twisted metal, forcing her feet across puddles of burning gasoline. "M-must get to them. Please help me."

But who was listening? No one. Not for a long time.

Today, today please hear me—for them.

Determination compelled her beyond an overturned truck. Its driver lifted himself from the cab. He'd be okay, she decided as she ran past. The dawning sight of a crumpled orange school bus clenched her stomach.

Using her uninjured hand, she pried open the door. Fought to cover her mouth at the sight of the driver's forehead, lacerated like the interstate. She was a doctor-in-training! Think she'd have learned to control outward reactions by now. She rushed to press his shirt hem to the angry knot.

"Be okay. Just a little bump," he slurred.

Little? Hardly. "Hold pressure here. Don't let up, okay?" She spoke in calm tones but a take-charge voice. He'd need at least five stitches. So would she, but who was counting?

"I'm a doctor. Who's hurt the most?" Mandy moved on to two adults who identified themselves as teachers. One rested a hand on the other, slumped over.

"Her neck hurts." She peered at Mandy with wide eyes.

"Hold her neck like this and keep it still. Carefully walk her to an area where you'll be seen by First Responders." Mandy demonstrated by placing the teacher's hand on her cohort's neck and jaw. She helped them outside before returning to the mounting pandemonium on the bus, which leaned so far left it felt like it would soon topple over the gaping bridge.

Something inside her screamed to get these children out. Triage training kicking in, she maneuvered down the aisle. Even with careful movement, the bus shifted several inches. Screams cut the air in tones resembling ambulance sirens.

Halted and heart pounding, Mandy grasped a green spongy seat with her good hand. She faced the tousled group.

Several frightened eyes stared back.

"Is anyone hurt bad enough they can't walk?" At her voice, hysteria hushed to whimpers.

A dozen little heads looked at themselves, then all around. Disheveled hair shook and tiny trembling mouths warbled, "No."

"This is terrible and scary, I know. But we're going to get you to safety, okay?" One by one, Mandy took the hands of the littlest ones and matched them with those of an older child.

"Let's make a game of it. Like a reverse Noah's ark. Two-by-two." She ushered each duo out the doors. Once all visible children were off the bus, Mandy directed them to the safest-looking intact portion of the bridge.

Surely authorities knew by now it had collapsed. Surely they knew, and help would be here soon. Though it seemed an hour had passed already, probably only minutes had.

After triple checking over every seat of the bus for unconscious children, Mandy helped the driver off. She assisted him to lie down flat near the teachers and joined the huddle of traumatized children.

"H-how will we get off the bridge?" One little girl eyed their surroundings. Burning cars looked to be melting into the kind of tanker that transported flammable gas. It blocked one exit. A gaping hole the size of Refuge Memorial's pediatric ward blocked the other.

She faced the trembling child. "What's your name, sweetheart?"

"J-Jayna."

"I'm Mandy. I'm training to be a doctor. What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"A-a teacher."

"Good choice. I want you to think about how you would decorate your very first classroom, okay? Think about it really hard. Then I want you to tell me all about it once we get off this bridge. Okay? I'll want every little detail."

Jayna nodded vigorously, eyes still big with fear.

One boy stepped forth. "I wanna be a fireman. They help people." He took the little girl's hand. "Especially people who are very frightened."

Mandy smiled. "What's your name?"

"Caden," the boy said.

"Caden, you'll make a grand fire chief some day."

Please let them live to fulfill their destinies.

"Are there people in the cars?" Jayna's voice escalated.

"No. Thankfully, it looks like everyone escaped before the cars caught fire." Mandy pointed up the bridge. "See? All those people huddling together? They can't get to us, but they'll keep each other calm. That's what I need you to do, too, okay?"

Caden leaned nose to nose with Jayna. "Yeah. We gotta get as brave as the big people. Can ya?"

She nodded and swiped a finger across her nose.

Another girl in a glittery "Princess" logoed shirt moved close and handed Jayna a tattered brown bear. "Here. Bearby will make you brave."

Mandy's heart melted at the little child with teddy-bear-big eyes who looked like she longed to snatch the well-used toy back for herself. "That was nice, sweetie. What's your name?" Mandy asked the girl who clasped Jayna's other hand.

"Reece North. And I want to be a famous rock star with big pink glasses and diva rhinestones when I grow up."

Smiling, Mandy faced the others. "Caden is right. Think you can be that brave?" A bouquet of miniature heads nodded.

Except one. "I got asthma. Smoke makes it hard to breathe." He audibly wheezed. But his color seemed okay. For now.

Mandy pulled him close. "Do you have your inhaler?"

His arms clasped her neck. "On the bus. I think."

"My face feels sunburned," another child said. Mandy noticed. All their cheeks resembled rubies from fire heat. She eyed the bus. Maybe it would be better, safer to get them back on. That way, she'd have the inhaler should the little guy's asthma kick in. Plus, they'd be more shielded from smoke. Then if the tanker exploded, they might be protected from the blast and debris.

Or, putting them back on the bus could help them to die in one unit. Dread sickened her at the thought that any decision she made might hasten the manner of their deaths.

Drowning or burning. Which was worse?

Please show me what to do. I don't know what to do. I just know I don't want them to die.

"H-how will we get off the bridge?" Jayna persisted.

"Experts will know whom to send and what to do." She'd been in Refuge long enough to know its townsfolk would pull together and rise above this epic tragedy.

"I want my mommy!"

"How will Daddy find me?"

"Who will come for us?" Jayna persisted.

Mandy tugged as many of them close as would fit, even though it hurt like mad to move her hand. The others huddled in, looking at her like she was their one and only lifeline.

They're looking to me. But it has to be You. Send help. Hold up this bridge, and hold down the fires.

Peace she hadn't felt in a decade befell her. Thankful He'd heard, and confident He'd act, she met each child's frightened gaze. Then smiled into each face, using her eyes and—okay, mental prayers—to infuse courage, instill hope and inject calm.

"Someone strong and brave will come. I promise. Someone who rescues people all the time."

"Who?" Jayna's voice persisted. "Who will come rescue us?"

Mandy looked square into two frightened, tearful eyes and said with calm assurance, "Only the best."

"There it is." Nolan observed the unimaginable chaos. His pulse ramped at the surreal devastation.

"Whoa!" Chance's mouth hung open. The team stood as one unit, observing the collapse from the air.

Vince inclined his torso. "Unbelievable."

"Weird to see steel and a slab of concrete we've driven over time and time again…" Brock shook his head. "Just—gone."

"Okay, guys. Gear up." Nolan grabbed his stuff and lined up at the door. If he was gonna lead his team, he was gonna lead them. Joel was the kind of commander who hit the trenches alongside his men. Nolan would follow Joel's stellar example of being both a humble servant and a confident leader.

As if reading his mind, Petrowski leaned over. "Being Tech Sergeant in charge, you don't have to go, Briggs."

Popular Posts

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Interview with Fantasy author Willamette Sutta

Adamant in Dust by Willamette Sutta Stones of power and one princess to save them all. The Far Stone Endurant is broken, and a prophecy foretells doom… She should have been the chosen princess to deliver them. But Pergi can’t love Prince Teyrnon, and that's a deal-breaker. Pergi has prepared all her life to become the ruler that her father wants. Without sons, he knows she could only retain the throne if she marries the neighboring prince, combining their kingdoms. Yet the same prophecy that calls for the reunification also warns that they must join by love. Supplanted by her younger sister in this sentiment, Pergi waits with ill grace for Sadira to marry Teyrnon and steal her birthright. No one expects that Sadira would do a runner on her wedding day. What starts as an impromptu rescue of the wayward bride leads to a desperate struggle against a deadly foe. The dark lord Malchor ensnares Sadira in his opening bid to gain all the Far Stones of power. With them, he wi

Last chance for Camy’s Patreon bonuses

Thank you to everyone who subscribed to my Patreon! I hope you enjoyed the chapters of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster  that I posted the last few weeks. (For those who missed the announcement, I now have a subscription on Patreon where you can read the chapters of my next book ahead of the ebook publication. In order for you to get a taste of my Patreon, I’ve posted the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 7: Spinster  for my newsletter subscribers to read for free.) Roundup of what happened on Patreon: Last week, I posted a bonus extras post about Easter Eggs from Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer  and volume 7: Spinster . Be sure to chime in if you watched Fullmetal Alchemist or any other anime! I also recorded a video —which was super scary, let me tell you, because I had NO clue what I was doing! Check it out, and at the very least, you'll have a good laugh. This week is your last chance to subscribe and receive “Bidding on Tr

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by Feminitz.com . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the seat. And

Frogs

I know I blogged about this on my Writing Diary Blog , but I don’t think I blogged about this here. I read a few writing and productivity books, and I’ve been trying to form better daily habits. The problem is that my self-discipline is very bad. As in, embarrassingly bad. One of my goals has been to form a better writing habit. Since I’m a full-time writer, I already write every day, but I think there are things I can do to tweak my schedule so that I can be able to focus better when I write. I tend to get distracted by the thought of things I need to do that day which I haven’t done yet. I don’t know why my brain is like this, but I haven’t been able to break this tendency. So for example, while I’m writing, I’ll suddenly think about the fact that today’s the day when I need to change the bathroom towels, or mop the kitchen floor, or change the bedsheets. It’ll distract me for a few moments before I tell myself I’ll do it later and I need to focus on writing now. Then a few

Irrational loves

Captain's Log, Stardate 10.09.2007 Today I went to lunch with my friend Dineen, and afterwards, we headed into Borders just to browse. Borders has this section full of cute little notebooks. Small ones, big ones, colored paper ones, you name it. They also have pens and wallets and zippered bags and iPod cases. I must have spent at least thirty minutes just going ga-ga over the stupid little notebooks! What is it with notebooks and me? I can count the number of them that I’ve actually filled on the fingers of one hand. I have them all over the house, most with only a page or two written on, and an entire BOX of new ones in my closet. And I keep coveting more! This thing with notebooks is completely irrational. I cannot understand it, and I cannot stop it. I also cannot seem to fill them with any speed. And considering how much I like to talk, that’s pathetic. I should at least be able to spout nothings enough to fill a few. But when I open it to write inside, a part of my brain sud

Earthquake in San Jose

Captain's Log, Supplemental Some of you might have heard about the 5.2 earthquake in San Jose last night. Just to let you know, we’re okay. The house started shaking, and after 17 years in California, I know by now to run for a doorway. The shaking was over in a few seconds. No big deal. Not even a broken plate or glass. A couple CDs fell off my shelf, nothing else. Even before the shaking completely stopped, I’m standing in the doorway to my office like a good Californian, and I see Captain Caffeine walk into the foyer! “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be under a desk!” “Uh ... I was keeping the cabinets from falling.” (Translation: he was holding the cabinets closed so the glasses wouldn’t rain on the kitchen floor, which in hindsight was thoughtful of him, but I’d rather have glass over the floor instead of a ceiling tile falling on his head!) My friend Dineen lives closer to the epicenter, so I called to see how she was. Everything was fine at her house. “In fact,” she s

Lacy Red Bolero knit pattern

I’ve been trying to get rid of yarn in my stash this year. I came across these two red yarns that look similar but are slightly different. I didn’t have enough of one yarn for a scarf, and while I had enough of the second yarn for a scarf, I have TONS of scarves. So I decided to use both yarns to make a lacy bolero that I can wear over tank tops to make them into T-shirts (it’s still a little chilly here in California, not quite tank top weather). I wrote down the pattern here. I based it off of the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet pattern by Julia Allen . This is a good pattern to use if you have between 250-300 yards of a worsted/Aran weight yarn, or between 150-200 yards of a worsted/Aran weight yarn and about 90-100 yards of another yarn to use for the ribbing and edging. I think this might look really good with a contrasting color for the ribbing. The yarns I used were a wool worsted/Aran weight (I’m not sure since I got it when my mom cleaned out a friend’s house for her, b

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter