Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Blogger Heather Long - What Part Of Marine Don't You Understand

Thank you to the Nine Naughty Novelists for hosting me today! From the first moment Matt McCall appeared in Tell it to the Marine, I knew his story would have to be told. Matt had such a powerful impact in that story, including an interruption for James and Lauren’s date. Matt made another appearance in Proud to Serve Her and things seemed to be going well for him in a job he took at Damon’s restaurant, but appearances can be deceiving.

In Her Marine, Damon used Matt as a red herring to get Brody on his "date," filling in for Matt who wasn’t up for it. Matt appeared again, often in the background or as a mention in passing at Mike’s Place, but I never forgot about him. I knew Matt’s journey was special and that he needed not only the right woman, but the right framework to let his story be told.

One morning while watching Good Morning Texas, I saw a story on Patriot Paws and the work they do providing service dogs to disabled veterans.

In a flash, I knew Matt’s story, I saw it unfolding and I saw the woman who would be write for him—and I sent the info off to my editor. She immediately wrote me back and said ‘do it.’

One year after Matt debuted in Tell It to the Marine, his story begins in What Part of Marine Don’t You Understand? Matt is not in a good place when the book begins, but he has a new friend—a dog named Jethro and together, they took me on an amazing journey of healing and hope.

Thanks to my Always a Marine readers who have supported this fantastic journey in exploring every Marine’s story. Matt will always have a special place in my heart—and I hope in yours. A portion of the royalties from Matt’s book will be donated to Patriot Paws (http://patriotpaws.org/) to help them continue their work!

What Part of Marine Don’t You Understand?

Matt McCall’s struggles to reintegrate into civilian life have been an ongoing battle for the better part of two years. Daily group sessions and weekly one-on-ones have only allowed him to grow so far. Twice he’s returned to his home state of Indiana and twice, he retreated to Mike’s Place. Uncertain of where he belongs in the world, he silently battles depression. The unexpected gift of Jethro, a black Labrador Retriever, perks his spirit…and a chance meeting in the park gives him a precious gift…

Aspiring country singer, Naomi Sparks, comes from a long line of Marines, so she knows all about sacrifice and struggle. When her Congressman brother asks her to visit Mike’s Place on his behalf, she discovers a real opportunity to make a difference. And meeting former Marine Matt McCall inspires her with the real challenge of discovering love and daring heroes who takes risks. Writing music has never been so sweet….

Can one woman who believes in him really heal the wounds in this Marine’s heart?

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“We should probably let you compose—without distraction.” He didn’t sound like he wanted to go.

“No, you’re exactly the kind of distraction I need.” Did she dare tell him? Oh, what the hell. He deserved to know. “You inspire me.”

Surprise rippled across his face. “I do?”

“Oh yeah. I even wrote a song about you last night….”

Wariness creased his brow. “Oh?”

Grinning, she started playing. If only performing in front of the world was as easy as singing for Matt. By the second refrain, he relaxed and by the last he laughed. The song detailed their kiss and exposed her vulnerability, her growing affection for him laid bare in every note. When the song ended, she held her breath and waited.

Matt leaned forward, rested a hand atop hers and brushed her mouth with the lightest, sweetest, and most heart-wrenching kiss. “Thank you.”

Her pulse jackrabbited. “You’re welcome.”

The bubble of tension wrapped around them burst with his slow grin. “No, I mean it. Thank you.”

“I didn’t do anything—I completely blame you for the song. You knocked on the door.”

He chuckled. “You opened it.”

“But you kissed me….”

Slanting his mouth across hers, he silenced any further words. He brushed his thumb across her knuckles, sending tingles racing across her nerves until she hummed like a guitar strung too tight. Every time she thought the kiss would end, he tilted his head to the other side and darted his tongue in and out, teasing her.

Nose to nose, he finally let her come up for air. “You kissed me back.”

“Yeah.” She laughed. “You kissed me again.”

“I did.” He nodded, brushing their noses together, whispering another kiss on her cheek and again to the corner of her eye. “You don’t mind, do you?”

Her laughter rode on a shuddering breath. “No, not at all.”

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Meg Benjamin said...

Welcome Heather--I love your cover!

Marilyn McNeill said...
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Kelly Jamieson said...

Welcome to the Naughty Nine Heather! This book sounds so great!

flchen1 said...

Looking forward to this, Heather :)