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 - The Soldier's Mission by Lenora Worth

Camy here: Because I know you're not yet tired of Christmas stories, make sure you get this before it's no longer on the shelves!

The Soldier's Mission
by
Lenora Worth


Counseling is more than Laura Walton's job—it's her calling. So when Luke Martinez hangs up abruptly after calling the hotline where she works, Laura won't let it go. She tracks Luke to the Grand Canyon, little knowing she's walking into a heap of trouble. Laura's not the only one tracking Luke, and while she came to help him heal, his other pursuer has murder in mind. Luke thinks he has nothing left to lose until Laura makes him believe—and love—again. Just in time, too, since he'll need all his faith to face this last enemy.

Excerpt of chapter one:

He'd had the dream again.

The stifling desert air burned hot, dirty and dry. The acrid smell of charred metal and scorched wires mixed with the metallic, sickly sweet smell of blood all around him. The sound of rapid-fire machine guns mingled with the screams of pain as, one by one, the men in his unit fell. He saw the horror of a landmine exploding against the jagged rocks of the craggy mountainside where they'd been penned down for forty-eight hours. One misstep and three of his men gone in a flash of searing fire and ear-shattering explosions. The others were taken out as the insurgents fought to the finish.

Then, the eerie sound of a deathly silence as the shooting stopped…and even after all of Luke's efforts to save his wounded men, the moans and cries for help eased away…until there was nothing left but scorched dust lifting out over the rocks.

He was the only man left standing. But he wasn't alone on that mountain. And he knew he'd be dead before dusk.

He'd jolted awake, gasping for air, a cold sweat covering his body, his hands shaking, grasping for his machine gun.

Luke "Paco" Martinez sat up and pushed at his damp hair then searched for the glowing green of the digital clock. 6:00 a.m. Old habits died hard. And a good night's sleep was always just beyond his reach.

Barefoot, his cotton pajama bottoms dragging on the cool linoleum of the tiny trailer's floor, Luke went straight to the coffeepot and hit the brew button. And while he waited for the coffee, he stared at the lone bottle of tequila sitting on the window seal.

Stared and remembered the dream, the nightmare, that wouldn't let him find any rest.

Looking away from the tempting bottle of amber liquid, he instead focused on the distant mountains. The desert and mountains here in Arizona were a contrast against the rocky, unforgiving mountains of Afghanistan. Even though this high desert country was harsh and brutal at times, he could find comfort in the tall prickly saguaros and occasional thickets of Joshua trees and pinon pines growing all around his home. Here, he could run toward the mesas and the mountains and find solace, his questioning prayers echoing inside his head while his feet pounded on the dirt, his mind going numb with each step, each beat of his racing heart. Why was I spared, Lord?

In the dream, Luke screamed his own rage as he moved headlong into the fray, his M4 carbine popping what seemed like a never-ending round on the insurgents hidden in the hills.

In the dream, he always woke up before they killed him.

And because he did wake up and because he was alive to relive that horrible day over and over, he stared at the liquor bottle while he drank his coffee and told himself he could get through this.

Focus on the mountains, Paco.

That's what his grandfather had told him the day he'd come here to wrestle his soul back from the brink. Focus on the mountains.

He was better now, six months after coming home to Arizona. He was getting better each and every day, in spite of the nightmares. He'd even gone on a few short-term missions for CHAIM, the secret organization he'd been a member of since before he'd joined the army.

He was better now. No more drunken binges, no more fights in restaurants and bars. Not as much pain. The army might not believe that, but his fellow CHAIM agents did, thankfully.

He'd be okay, Luke told himself. He just needed a little more time. And a lot more prayers.

So he drained his coffee and put on his running clothes and headed out into the early morning chill of the ever-changing desert, away from the little trailer that was his home now, away from the nightmares and the memories.

And away from that tempting bottle of golden relief.

She couldn't get his voice out of her head.

Laura Walton thought about the man she'd come to the desert to find. The man everyone was worried about. The man who, a few weeks ago, had called the CHAIM hotline in the middle of the night.

"My father died in Vietnam," the grainy, low voice said over the phone line. "My brother was wounded in Desert Storm. He's in a wheelchair now. And I just got back from Afghanistan. Lost my whole unit. Lost everyone. I think I need to talk to somebody."

Laura had been on call that night, volunteering to man the hotline that CHAIM held open for all of its operatives, the world over.

But only one call had come to the Phoenix hotline on that still fall night. One call from a man who was suffering a tremendous amount of survivor's guilt.

Laura understood this kind of guilt. She didn't have survivor's guilt, but her own guilt ate away at her just the same. She'd lost a patient recently. A young patient who'd taken his own life. She'd failed the teenager.

She didn't want to fail Luke Martinez.

The soldier's tormented words, spoken with such raw pain, had stayed with her long after the man had hung up.

Which he did, immediately after confessing that he needed to talk.

It hadn't been easy convincing her CHAIM supervisors in Phoenix to let her go through case files and match the man to the words, then come to this remote spot near the Grand Canyon to find Luke "Paco" Martinez. Nor had it been easy taking time away from the clinic where she worked as a counselor to Christians suffering all sorts of crises.

But this crisis trumped all the rest. This man needed help. Her help. And somehow, in her guilt-laden mind, Laura had decided this was a sign from God to redeem her. She had to find this man. So she'd traced his cell number to this area.

So here she sat in a dump of a roadside café called The Last Stop, hoping she'd find the illusive Paco Martinez, also known as "The Warrior". Fitting name, Laura thought now as she dared to take another sip of the too-dark, too-strong coffee the stoic old man at the counter had poured for her. While she relied on the tip she'd received about Luke coming here every morning for breakfast, Laura went back over his file.

The army neither confirmed nor denied it, but Luke Martinez was reported to be some sort of Special Forces soldier—a shadow warrior—as they were often called. And while the elite Delta Force didn't put a lot of emphasis on rank, preferring to use code names or nicknames instead of stating rank, from what she could glean Martinez was a hero who'd been the lone survivor of a highly secretive mission to rescue two American soldiers trapped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan.

Everything about the mission had gone bad. Luke's team of men had been dropped by helicopter onto the mountain with orders to find the two soldiers and bring them home. After taking one outpost and locating the two badly beaten soldiers, Luke's team had made it back to the pickup spot to wait on a helicopter out. But the enemy had advanced behind them and taken out all of Luke's men, including the two his team has rescued. Things got fuzzy after that, but according to the rumors swirling around, The Warrior had managed not only to escape the men who tried to take him hostage, but he'd killed all of them in the process. And he refused to leave that mountain until the rescue team had recovered all of his men.

Except the one who'd seen all of them die. Luke Martinez had survived and for that, he was suffering mightily.

So he'd come home an unknown hero—that was the code of Special Forces—but Martinez didn't want to be a hero, didn't care that most would never know what he'd tried to do on that mountaintop. He was still in pain, still reeling from losing his team members. Deep inside, he was having a crisis. Post-traumatic stress over losing his men and for what he considered his failure—not bringing the stranded soldiers back safely.

That had caused a bout of serious drinking and many hours spent in jail cells and later with stress counselors and army specialists.

As well as CHAIM counselors such as Laura. His CHAIM team had stood by Luke, with one stipulation. He had to go to their remote retreat center in Ireland— Whelan Castle—for some serious debriefing and counseling sessions. And hopefully, to find some peace.

Luke had agreed. And he'd improved after his three months in Ireland. Then he'd come home to Arizona to rest. But he'd been called out on a mission in Texas to help Shane Warwick, known as The Knight, guard and protect prominent Texas socialite Katherine Atkins.

According to the official report, Luke had done a good job backing up Warwick and they'd brought down not only the woman who was trying to kill Katherine, but a ruthless oil-smuggling cartel to boot.

But this late night phone call had come after Luke had returned from Texas.

Which brought Laura back to the here-and-now. And this stand-on-its-own-legs coffee.

Laura motioned to the old man behind the counter, finding the courage to ask him the one question she'd come here to ask. "Excuse me, sir, do you know a man named Luke Martinez?"

The old man with the silver-black braid going down his back didn't respond to her question. Instead he just stared at her with such opaque eyes, Laura felt as if the man could see into her very soul. "Sir?"

Finally the man shuffled up to the counter, his tanned, aged skin reminding Laura of one of the craggy mountain faces beyond the desert. He wore a white cotton button-down shirt that hung like a tunic on his body, giving him the look of someone on their way to a fiesta.

Before she could ask the question again, he leaned forward, his frown as stand-up as the coffee. "Would you like some pie with that coffee?"

Surprised, Laura shook her head. "Ah, no thanks. I had a granola bar in the car. About the man I'm looking for—"

"Can't help you there," the old man replied, turning before Laura could finish the sentence.

But the old man didn't need to help her. The rickety screen door flapped open and she felt the hair on the back of her neck rising, felt his eyes on her even before she looked into the aged mirror running along the back wall and saw his reflection there. Completely paralyzed with confusion and doubt, she lowered her gaze then heard that distinctive voice without turning to face him.

"I'll take some pie, Grandfather." He advanced toward Laura. "And while you're getting my pie, I'll ask this pretty lady why she's trying so hard to find me."

Luke stood perfectly still, his senses on edge while he analyzed the woman sitting at the counter. Her brown hair fell around her face and shoulders in soft waves. She wore a sensible beige lightweight sweater, a faded pair of jeans and hiking boots. Interesting. He could smell her perfume, a mixture of sweet flowers and vanilla. Nice.

Then she turned to face him and Luke's gaze caught hers, the deep blue of her eyes reminding him of a mountain sky just before dusk. The look in those eyes amused him even while it destroyed him. She was afraid of him. And she probably had good reason.

"Mr. Martinez?"

Her voice was soft but firm. She quickly recovered from her first glimpse, Luke noted. She got points for that, at least. Most people just ran the other way when he scowled at them.

"Paco," he replied. "That's what everyone around here calls me."

She reached out a dainty hand, her nails clean and painted with a clear sparkle of polish, her fingers devoid of rings. "I'm Laura Walton."

Luke took her hand for a second then let it go, her perfume warming his fingers. "Okay. You already know me and now I know your name. Why are you here?"

She leaned in then glanced around the nearly empty diner. "I'm… from CHAIM."

He liked the way she pronounced it—"Chi-Im", with the CH sounding more like a K using the Hebrew enunciation. He did not like that she was here.

Luke pushed a hand through his hair and sat down beside her, the weight of his body causing the old spinning stool to squeak and groan. "Coffee, Grandfather, please. And two pieces of buttermilk pie."

"I don't want pie."

Luke didn't argue with her. "Make that one piece and two forks, Grandfather." He waited for his pretending-not-to-be-interested grandfather to bring the requested food. Then he shoved one fork at her and took his own to attack the creamy yellow-crusted pie. "Eat."

She looked down at the plate then picked up the fork. "I don't eat sweets."

"Try it."

Luke took his time eating his own side of the pie. Then he sipped the dark brew, his gaze hitting at hers in the old, pot-marked mirror running behind the cluttered counter. "Now, why are you here?"

She chewed a nibble of pie then swallowed, her eyes opening big while she slanted a gaze toward him. "One of your friends was concerned."

"I don't have a lot of friends."

"The Knight," she said on a low whisper.

"Just saw him a few weeks ago."

"I know. He wanted to make sure you were okay."

Luke knew she wasn't telling him the whole story. He'd talked to Shane Warwick two days ago. The man was crazy in love and making big plans for his upcoming Texas spring wedding. Shane was going to repeat the vows he'd spoken in England—to the same woman he'd married in England. He'd called Luke to invite him to the wedding but Shane had asked Luke how he was doing. Polite conversation or pointed inquiry?

"Who are you?" he asked, this time all the smile gone out of the question. "And don't lie to me, lady."

Laura swallowed down more coffee, hoping it would give her more courage. "I told you, I'm from CHAIM."

"Who really sent you?"

Laura couldn't hide the truth. "I…I came on my own. I mean, I got clearance to come but I asked to come and see you."

His smile was so quick and full of stealth, she almost missed it. But if he ever did really smile, Laura believed it would do her in for good. The man was an interesting paradox of good-looking coupled with dangerous and scary. His dark hair, longer than army regulations allowed since he was usually undercover, sliced in damp inky lines across his scarred face and around his muscled neck. His eyes were onyx, dark and rich and unreadable. His skin was as aged and marked as tanned leather. It rippled over hard muscle and solid strength each time he moved. He wore a black T-shirt and soft-washed jeans over battered boots. And he smelled fresh and clean, as if he'd just stepped out of a secret waterfall somewhere.

His gaze cut from her to the mirror, watching, always watching the door of the diner.

"Why did you feel you had to come and see me?"

Print book:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Christianbook.com
Books a Million

Ebook:
Nookbook
Kindle

Comments

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

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

What's a Kickstarter and what will I get from it?

I’m hoping to do a Kickstarter in late July or early August, and I thought I’d post this to answer a few questions you might have about it. What’s a Kickstarter and why’s Camy doing one? My Kickstarter is a crowdfunding campaign to fund the production of a Special Edition hardcover with dust jacket of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer. Depending on how this Kickstarter goes, eventually I would like to do Special Edition hardcovers of the other books in the series. For all you avid fans of the series, this Kickstarter will also offer an early release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. However, the main focus of this campaign is the Special Edition hardcover of book 1. Kickstarter isn’t a shopping website, but I admit I kind of feel like I’m shopping when I back a campaign for books or items that look fantastic! Why Kickstarter: Kickstarter enables me to produce the kinds of gorgeous special editions that I love and offer them to you, my readers, so you can

Grace Livingston Hill romances free on Google Books

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

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

Camille's Writing Progress

Join my newsletter to get regular updates in your inbox!

Christmas meme

Captain's Log, Stardate 12.17.2008 1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Bags because they’re HECKA EASIER! HELLOOOOOO! Besides, save a tree. 2. Real tree or Artificial? I like the smell of real trees (had them while growing up) but cleaning up the needles in January was a pain in the petootie! Gimme a fake one anyday! I’ll burn pine logs to get the smell. 3. When do you put up the tree? That should probably be IF we put up a tree. Since it’s in the living room, the Christmasy eye candy is lost on us. 4. When do you take the tree down? After New Year’s Day. Sometimes a few months after New Year’s Day ... 5. Do you like eggnog? Yup! Full fat! Bring it on, baby! 6. Favorite gift received as a child? Books! (Come on, you saw that coming, right?) 7. Hardest person to buy for? My parents! They already have pretty much everything they want. If they don’t have it, they’ve already bought it. And anything they do want is WAY out of my price range. 9. Do you have a nativity scene? No 10.

I sold to Steeple Hill!

Captain's Log, Supplemental Remember that romantic suspense proposal I blogged about earlier? Well, it just sold to Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense line! I am so jazzed! I am beyond jazzed! The story’s working title is Sinister Spa The story's title is Deadly Intent and here’s a blurb (but it’s probably not what will appear on the back of the book): Massage therapist Naomi Grant could use a massage herself. With her father at home recovering from a stroke, Naomi is put in charge of the family’s elite day spa in Sonoma county. The new responsibilities sit awkwardly on her shoulders, and things only get worse when handsome Dr. Devon Knightley breezes into the spa, demanding to see one of the female clients. And the woman is found dead in Naomi’s massage room. Suddenly, Naomi is a suspect and her family’s spa is shut down. How could God let this awful thing happen? Devon only needed to see his ex-wife about a family necklace she still hadn’t returned, but when she dies and

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

Chinese Take-Out and Sushi for One

Captain’s Log, Supplemental My agent sent me an article from Publisher’s Weekly that discussed this incident: Chinese Take-Out Spawns Christian Controversy And here’s also a blog post that talks about it in more detail: The Fighting 44s This is Soong-Chan Rah’s blog: The PCS blog In sum: Apparently Zondervan (yes, my publisher), who has partnered with Youth Specialties, had put out a youth leaders skit that had stereotypical Asian dialogue, which offended many Christian Asian Americans. In response to the outcry, Zondervan/Youth Specialities put out a sincere apology and is not only freezing the remaining stock of the book, but also reprinting it and replacing the copies people have already bought. I am very proud of my publisher for how they have handled this situation. The skit writers have also issued a public apology . (I feel sorry for them, because they were only trying to write a funny skit, not stir up this maelstrom of internet controversy. I’ve been in youth work long enou