THE COMMANDER (Red, Hot & Blue Series) New Release Excerpt #2

The Commander (Red Hot & Blue) Cat JohnsonJust when they thought they were out of last chances, love comes around again.

Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 12

To his men on his SpecOps team, Hank Miller is simply the commander. They treat him like he’s more than a mere man, but Hank would be the first to admit he is full of the same fears, feelings and desires. He just doesn’t let them show.

The military is his life, and that’s all he needs—until he travels to Pigeon Hollow for a wedding and meets the woman his men reverently call “Mama”.

Lois Gordon is nothing like Hank envisioned. Instead of the plump, older woman happily baking pies in her farmhouse kitchen, Lois is a smart, sexy powerhouse who runs Gordon Equine…and tempts him to break all his own rules.

The heat between them quickly flares into a weekend fling hotter than Lois’s oven. But with Hank’s dangerous career and two failed marriages between them, forever could be too much to ask for.

Product Warnings: Contains one smoking-hot mama and a man tough enough to not need pot holders to handle her.

EXCERPT

“I was just fixin’ to bring the last bag of trash from the living room out to the bins when I heard Mandy squawking.” Lois tilted her head toward the doorway.

“I can take it out for you.” Hank moved toward the hall. Lois jumped to follow. It was strange having a man around to do things like take out the trash. Jared was here, but he was so busy with the horses she handled the little things around the house herself.

She was sure there were a lot of things Hank could do for her—to her. Things no man had done in a very long time, and she wasn’t thinking about his cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace or anything like that.

Hank and his long legs reached the living room first. By the time Lois passed through the doorway after him, he was standing over the cardboard box in the center of the room, peering down into the contents.

Oops. She’d forgotten all about that.
He looked up as she entered. “What kind of party was this?”

“Just your average bridal shower/bachelorette party.” She bit her lip and almost laughed at his expression when faced with a box filled with sex toys. “One of the women in my book club sells personal pleasure devices at home parties. Those there are her samples. She’ll be by to pick them up in the morning. She had to leave the party early tonight to babysit her grandchild.”

“Her grandchild.” Hank looked a little horrified. “Okay.”

“Watch it. I’m about to be a grandmother now too, you know.” Like it or not. Lois moved closer to Hank and the box. She picked up the plastic package her friend had given her as a thank you. “A grandmother who now owns a vibrator, apparently. This was my hostess gift from her for having the party.”

Hank’s eyes narrowed as he focused on the object in Lois’s hand. He swallowed, sending his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. His gaze moved to her lips, then his steely eyes met hers. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any grandmother, much less such an attractive one, holding a vibrator before.”

Lois’s heart pounded, sending her blood rushing through her veins until she got lightheaded. They were standing close enough for her to see the beginnings of stubble on Hank’s chin. Then her gaze moved to his mouth. She bit her bottom lip before bringing her gaze back to meet his.

Leaning in, Hank brushed his hand against her cheek, hovering his lips temptingly close to hers. “Lois, if I’m about to make a fool of myself, stop me now.”

She shook her head. “You are many things, Hank Miller. But a fool is not one of them.”

He thrust his hand beneath the hair at the nape of her neck, cradling her head as he crashed his lips into hers.

Blindly, Lois dropped the vibrator back into the box and freed her hands so she could touch Hank. She ran her hands over the bulging back muscles beneath his shirt. It’s what she’d wanted to do since first seeing him get out of the car earlier that day.

Hank backed her up until her knees buckled at the edge of the sofa. She sat heavily and he followed her down, pressing her back into the cushions. God, how she’d missed a man’s weight on top of her and the feel of big, rough hands against her skin.

“Tell me to stop. If that’s what you want you have to say it, because I’m not going to do it on my own.” His voice sounded gruff and as breathless as she was. His eyes mere slits as he looked at her, Lois could only imagine how she looked herself.

She felt the heat in her cheeks. She hoped he saw the desire in her eyes. “Don’t you dare stop.”

SAMHAIN    AMAZON    NOOK    iTUNES

DON’T MISS THE REST OF THE RED, HOT & BLUE SERIES

TREY   JACK   JIMMY (3 novellas bundled for print as RED BLOODED)

BB DALTON (FREE Bonus Read)

JARED   COLE   BOBBY (3 novellas bundled for print as SMALLTOWN HEAT)

A FEW GOOD MEN (Novel-length)

MODEL SOLDIER (Novel-length)

A PRINCE AMONG MEN (Novel-length)

BULL   MATT   THE COMMANDER (3 novellas bundled for print as TRUE BLUE soon!)

www.CatJohnson.net/series-reading-order/

Military Romance Reads

I had no plans to post a blog today. I’m much too busy worrying about my one active-duty military consultant who is counting the months until he returns home from Afghanistan, while my other is packing because he can count in days his departure to the same region. But then I saw the mass amounts of others posting and felt left out. 😦 So call me a sheep, but here I am, following the flock.

So here you go, the military heroes who I write to honor the real military men in my life. Some are soldiers and cowboys both, some are Marines, some are special ops while others are tankers and infantrymen, but all encompass the qualities of the very special men who inspired them.

FYI- BB Dalton is FREE and Cat Snips, my anthology which is also FREE, contains 2 military-themed short stories (Fireworks and The Soldier and the Siren).

Trey (erotic military romance)

Jimmy

Model Soldier (a Red, Hot, & Blue Novel)A Prince Among Men

One Night With a Cowboy by Cat JohnsonTwo Times as Hot (Oklahoma Nights Series)

Cat Snips ~ A short story anthology

A Few Good Men Print Release Today!

A Few Good Men

It’s been available as an eBook for some time now, but finally today A FEW GOOD MEN  releases in trade paperback!!

ORDER at:

Amazon

Samhain Publishing

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble

All Romance eBooks

Kobo

He has met the enemy…but he’s never fought desire like this. 

a Red, Hot & Blue novel, Book 7

Deployed in the deadliest place on earth, Army Staff Sergeant John Blake relies on caffeine, adrenaline, years of training and sheer force of will to get through his days. He has no problem with his tank crew passing around a sexy romance novel, but John’s a fighter, not a lover. He’ll pass. Winding up as the author’s accidental pen pal wasn’t in his plan, but there’s something about her sweet, caring emails that has him looking forward to checking his inbox.

Week after week, Maureen Mullen, aka erotic romance writer Summer Winters, has dated one loser after another in a quest to find the last decent man on earth. Now it seems she’s found him—halfway around the world. When it comes to falling for unavailable men, she’s batting a thousand.

Gradually, the emails between the war-hardened warrior and the writer of passionate prose heat up to the point of keeping them up warm and wanting at night. Soon they’re wondering if it’s possible to build something solid out of cyberspace, or if it’s just an emotional mirage that will dissolve in the heat of reality.

Warning: Contains some steamy phone calls from the war zone and one hell of a sexy first meeting between two strangers who are already in love.

“A Few Good Men is filled with suspense, humor and an erotic passion that will have a smile on your face as the last page is turned.” Jo, Joyfully Reviewed

A PRINCE AMONG MEN eRelease Today!

A Prince Among Men

Who needs a prince when there’s a sexy soldier in your bunk? Hoo rah!

Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 9

.
Sergeant Ryan Pettit blogs anonymously as Groundpounder, recording non-confidential details of a deployment where every day feels exactly the same—until a female reporter shows up at his firebase. And he realizes nothing will ever be the same again.

.
Though his orders are clear—protect her, but make her life so miserable she high tails it back to London—the last thing he wants is to watch her leave in a cloud of Afghanistan dust.
Intrigued by Groundpounder’s blog posts, Vicki Vanover flirted, bribed, and outright threatened her way to the front lines outside of Kandahar. Nothing has ever stopped her from getting a story, but an accidental night in Ryan’s bunk is a distraction—and attraction—she never anticipated.

.
Yet Afghanistan leaves Vicki with more questions than answers. Why won’t Ryan let her anywhere near the local women she wants to interview? Who is the mysterious, red-headed Lt. Wales everyone treats with such deference? Worst of all, why is watching Ryan run toward danger, instead of away from it, enough to stop her heart?

Warning: Contains super-hot sexual encounters in the war zone.

This book has been previously published.

eBook available now at:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

SAMHAIN STORE

Don’t miss the lead in story, MODEL SOLDIER, where we first meet Ryan and the men in his unit.

Insight into the mind of Tucker from ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY

I’m a woman. I’m a civilian. I’m not a testosterone-fueled man. I’m not career military personnel. In light of all of those points, I do one thing to help me write my military characters…I talk (on IM, by phone, on Skype, etc) to active duty, career military personnel as often as possible. Below, paraphrased because I don’t always take notes during these conversations, is what I’ve heard some of them say…

1) “They came by the shop today asking for volunteers to go be door kickers in Afghanistan. If I was 10 years younger I would have volunteered to go.” …Let me interpret this statement for you. This was about 4 or 5 years ago, before the troop reductions had begun. This active duty Marine, nearing his 20 year mark, was safely stationed  in the US. Someone from the Corps came to his squadron to ask for volunteers to go to Afghanistan and become part of a team whose job was to literally kick down doors to inspect the residences and search for insurgents, and men were going, while others who didn’t volunteer wished they could.

2) “I had to pull one of my guys off the Afghan det. He’s really pissed.” This was just last month. A Staff Non-Commissioned Officer is explaining how one of his troops was scheduled to go to Afghanistan this summer with the rest of the squadron, but for some reason he can no longer go and now this Marine is upset because instead he will have stay in the rear, safely in North Carolina.

3) Just a few months ago, another Marine was about to leave in January for Afghanistan when he went to Medical with severe back pain. He was told if his condition didn’t improve, he wouldn’t be able to deploy with the rest of his unit. He was nearly inconsolable about that. He said, “Now I’ll never get to go. We’ll be out of Afghanistan by the time the next det goes.” He did everything he could to heal and though he didn’t get to deploy with the advanced unit as he’d hoped, he did get to go with the main unit and is there now.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I’m seeing reader reviews of ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY in which the reader doesn’t understand why the hero would volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan when events at home in Oklahoma make him believe it would be beneficial for him and the woman he cares about if he could separate himself from her for 6 months and then come back. It’s not a large amount of reviewers who say this, it’s just a few, but in my mind, even 1 is too many. 2 reviewers called his motivation “juvenile” and “infantile”. A couple of others thought it wasn’t a believable scenario he’d volunteer to go to Afghanistan. Sometimes that disbelief is because he ends up in a pretty hellacious region of Afghanistan. What we have to realize is this, soldiers don’t get to pick where they end up going. You say you’re willing to deploy, they don’t let you choose which base. This isn’t Club Med. “Kandahar or Korengal? Both are lovely this time of year, though I must say the food is better in Kandahar…”

These men I discuss above are the men I based Tuck’s character on. It’s their motivation I tried to capture.

I know the failure is mine as an author that I didn’t convey the above motivation better in the story. If I’d done my job, Tucker’s motives wouldn’t be questioned, he wouldn’t come across to some readers as a bratty child picking up his toys and leaving when things get tough. My only excuse is I failed to remember that not everyone has my experience with these kind of men. Not every reader is getting the “Good morning, Sunshine”  instant message that I get from the war zone on the other side of the world at night before I go to bed. Not every reader is waking up the next day to another message about how, now that the day is done in Afghanistan, it’s been a hell of a day and he’s heading to bed hoping tomorrow will be better. Not every reader can hear the disappointment in the voice of the man who just got told he can’t go with the rest of this squad. And that’s my fault for not realizing that and writing that better into the story. I’ll try not to make the same mistake in future books should I choose to focus on a military character again. For now, I hope this helps to give readers who haven’t had the same experiences I have a little insight into what I see, and what I’d hoped to convey.

Cat

One Night with a Cowboy Release Day Wrap-Up

It’s been a hell of a day! It started at 4am for me, when the release day To Do list woke me up. That’s when, over coffee and Twitter, I noticed release day had started as I slept, while the fine folks at Joseph’s Fine Foods held a countdown to midnight and my official book release. It’s been non-stop since! Here are a few of the exciting events of today.

One Night with a Cowboy at Barnes & Noble

I discovered Barnes & Noble has a “Rough Cowboys” category, and look who the #1 best seller in it is! Rankings change hourly so I took a screenshot. I also found One Night with a Cowboy as the #8 Trending Nook Book on the site and the #2 in the Contemporary Romance/Cowboys category.

Very exciting! But not quite as exciting as when the lovely Kim from Book Obsessed Chicks posted a picture of my book at a Long Island Barnes and Noble. That got me out of my house and in the car, headed for my own BN in Poughkeepsie, and lo and behold, look what I found!

Barnes & Noble Poughkeepsie NY

After creeping around upstairs in the romance shelves, trying to figure out how I was going to, should I find my book, flip it face out without anyone seeing me doing it, I finally asked a clerk if they had my book and he led me downstairs and to the front table for the New Fiction! No flipping necessary to see my blue manflesh cover. And don’t I stand out amid all those other covers!?

Have you spotted One Night with a Cowboy in the wild at a Walmart, Barnes & Noble or Target? Snap a picture, post it somewhere I can see it, such as your Facebook or Twitter, then email me your snail mail address and I’ll mail you a Cat Johnson swag prize!

Joseph's Fine Foods Drumright OK

And equally exciting is that despite historical snow and storms throughout the mid-West, a case of books made it to Joseph’s Fine Foods in Drumright, Oklahoma in time for release day, which, by the way, was commemorated with the lunch special being–you guessed it–the now infamous fried bologna sandwich immortalized in more than one scene in One Night with a Cowboy!

And now that the reviews are starting to roll in and readers are reporting back their progress in the book, I thought it might be nice to tell you about what’s next for the characters. For those of you reading now, you might have taken notice of the geeky but loveable head of the OSU English department, Becca’s boss and Logan’s poker buddy, Mark Ross. Guess who has his own novella? Yup, Mark’s story is my next release on preorder now for July 2 in the mass market, multi-author anthology He’s the One, headlined by Linda Lael Miller, Jill Shalvis and Lucy Monroe, with Kate Angell and me. To give you a taste there’s an all new, never before seen excerpt from that novella, titled FISH OUT OF WATER now in my FAN ZONE on my Facebook page. Go check it out!

March 2013 Wildflower Calendar Wallpaper

This month’s wallpaper was inspired by a number of things. First, spring! Hopefully the thaw from this winter will bring flowers, leading us to the next inspiration–Keith Anderson’s country song “Picking Wildflowers”, one of my all time faves. Though, the background image is actually a field of poppies, inspired by a scene in this month’s release, A PRINCE AMONG MEN (a Red, Hot & Blue series novel) coming from Samhain. I’ve pasted that scene at the bottom of this post.

March Wallpaper 1024x768As usual, feel free to grab the wallpaper for your desktop, and share it with a friend. Below are some different sizes. One should fit your screen. Depending on your operating system, it could be as easy as right clicking on the image and selecting “set image as desktop”.

After you’re done, scroll down and enjoy an excerpt from my upcoming military romance, A Prince Among Men.

WALLPAPER DOWNLOADS

1024 x 640 (good for standard screen)

1024 x 768 (good for widescreen)

800 x 600

800 x 500

640 x 480

1440 x 900

1152 x 720

A PRINCE AMONG MEN (Red, Hot & Blue)

Who needs a prince when there’s a sexy soldier in your bunk? Hoo rah!

Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 9

Sergeant Ryan Pettit blogs anonymously as Groundpounder, recording non-confidential details of a deployment where every day feels exactly the same—until a female reporter shows up at his firebase. And he realizes nothing will ever be the same again.

Though his orders are clear—protect her, but make her life so miserable she high tails it back to London—the last thing he wants is to watch her leave in a cloud of Afghanistan dust.

Intrigued by Groundpounder’s blog posts, Vicki Vanover flirted, bribed, and outright threatened her way to the front lines outside of Kandahar. Nothing has ever stopped her from getting a story, but an accidental night in Ryan’s bunk is a distraction—and attraction—she never anticipated.

Yet Afghanistan leaves Vicki with more questions than answers. Why won’t Ryan let her anywhere near the local women she wants to interview? Who is the mysterious, red-headed Lt. Wales everyone treats with such deference? Worst of all, why is watching Ryan run toward danger, instead of away from it, enough to stop her heart?

Product Warnings: Contains super-hot sexual encounters in the war zone.

This book has been previously published.

EXCERPT (G)

There had been one constant in Ryan’s life while growing up. Even if as an Army brat he’d had more first days in a new school than any of his non-military cousins. Even though he had so many new bedrooms his posters had no corners from being repeatedly hung up and taken down again. Through it all there had always been the “Field of Poppies”.

Of course, it hadn’t been the real painting. The original one was by Claude Monet and hung in some museum somewhere, but the framed print was his mother’s favorite possession. Even when some pieces of furniture had to be sold because the new base housing they were moving into was smaller than the old, the colorful print still came with them, carefully wrapped in plastic bubbles so the frame wouldn’t get nicked during the move. Whether they had been living in the States or outside the continental US, it had always hung in a place of honor where his mother would often gaze at it. Her personal piece of home no matter where in the world they happened to be.

Ryan’s gaze swept the expanse of brightly colored blooms now, only this was no Monet. This was Afghanistan during the yearly poppy harvest, and every one of the seemingly innocuous flowers may as well have been an RPG, recoilless rifle, or parts for an IED, because that’s exactly what they would turn into— weapons used to kill American soldiers.

Like it or not, that was just the way things were in today’s post-Taliban Afghanistan. Poppies turned into drugs, illegal drugs that when sold supplied the baddies with money, money that funded terrorism.

After his tour here, poppies and thoughts about his mother’s painting would be ruined for him forever. At that moment, Ryan hated the Taliban for mutilating one of the most comforting memories of his childhood and home.

He hated them even more for the fact they had innocents harvesting the blooms—locals comprised of the very old, the very young, men, women and children. They were all trying to survive in the face of the failure of their own non-drug-related crops due to the extreme weather in the region that year. Through his scope, Ryan could see them out there right now, far in the distance. Because of that, simply bombing the area, wiping out both the drug crop and the workers, was out of the question.

The much-needed local wheat and almond crop had failed miserably this year, but the poppies were still going strong. Didn’t it just figure? The only bright side was that with everyone, both the locals and the bad guys, busy picking and transporting flowers for heroin production, enemy contact during the harvest had been nearly non-existent. That was one thing to be grateful for. During his years in the service, Ryan had learned to take what he could get.

With a sigh, he turned helplessly away from the horrible, beautiful view.

Ryan saw Walker, a soldier in his unit, come to relieve him. His patrol was finally at an end. For today, at least. A shower, a meal—most likely meat patty— and a short sleep before going out to help with some of the construction work on one of the new buildings all sounded pretty good to Ryan right about now, even the meat patty.

On his way back to his living area, Ryan spotted Black and Moraches, two more of the guys from his squad, out on the makeshift volleyball court. As the new and still fairly white volleyball they’d gotten as a donation from the States popped high into the air, Ryan heard shouts in both English and Pashto, the local language, as various players called the play. His troops were trying to teach the

Afghani Army guys, who resided with them at base, the game of volleyball. Luckily, the phrase, “I got it” translated fairly easily between Pashto and English. Ryan smiled. Multinational volleyball. That alone would probably go much farther toward establishing friendly diplomatic relations with the locals of the region than all the government’s official efforts, but wasn’t that always the way? Besides, a little bit of diversion such as playing volleyball went a long way to raise troop morale and break up this very long deployment. It felt a bit too much like that movie Groundhog Day. Each and every day seemed essentially the same as the last, while at the same time being different. It was enough to really mess with a man’s head if he didn’t watch out.

While considering that the Groundhog Day analogy might be a good theme for his next blog entry, Ryan opened the door to his sleeping hut. It had grown a bit more crowded within the tiny space since Wally had moved in with him and Hawk after the collapse of his living quarters. Privacy was an even rarer commodity now, so Ryan was not at all surprised to find at least one of his roomies in residence when he stepped into the dimly lit hut.

“Hi there, Hawk.”

His squad leader nodded in his direction, not even looking up from the papers in his hand. “Hey, Pettit. How was the patrol? Any action?”

“Nah. It was as quiet out there as Afghanistan during the poppy harvest,” Ryan joked.

As he stripped off his weapons, Ryan watched Hawk crack a small smile and nod at the truth of what he’d just voiced.

PREORDER:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE 

SAMHAIN STORE (Read an alternate excerpt at the Samhain)