Good morning. Our interview today is with Ridge Romano. He’s one of the most humble people I’ve ever met and so handsome with that black hair and muscular build. Let me give you some background. Ridge was recruited by the Army Rangers when he graduated from MIT at seventeen to work in bionics. He has a PhD and is CEO of MedBionics. He’s here in DC meeting with the Congressional committee about the bill for veterans’ care.
Please, tell us about your project, Ridge.
I’ve pulled together some of the top health organizations in the US. We care committed to taking over the care of our veterans, to make sure no man or woman is left behind after they return from their service to our country. It’s been a goal of mine ever since I lost my brother to war related injuries.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “The mission for government is to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.’ I can’t say it any better than that.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
(Ridge frowns and rubs his chin thoughtfully as if he didn’t anticipate this question.)
Happy, hmm. I don’t think about it. I have more important things, more important priorities than what makes me happy. Okay, if you want to know what would make me happy, it would be seeing the men and women I represent who stood for this country, many of whom are suffering… seeing them happy, healthy and living a full meaningful life again. All my energy is focused on this mission for veterans. Failure is not an option.
Which living person do you most despise?
I don’t waste energy on that kind of negative emotion. It’s unproductive. When I come up against someone whose goals or opinions don’t match my own, I just figure out a way to move around them, not let them affect my forward momentum.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I admire a strong woman, one who knows what she wants and goes after it. I don’t have time for a partner who, well, I don’t have time for a relationship but if I did, she would have to be someone who was comfortable with who she was and didn’t need me to “complete” her. That’s the stuff of romance novels, not reality.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Once again, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about this, but I guess… I can be excessively focused, even anal, when my goal is in sight. I’ve been told I should learn to lighten up. Honestly, I wouldn’t know how.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
If, and it’s a big if, I can pull off this contract with the government to care for veterans along with my consortium partners, I’ll never ask for another thing.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
(He answers quickly, no need for thought.)
Losing someone you love and living with the fact that you couldn’t do anything to stop it. It’s my greatest regret and my greatest motivation.
Thank you, Ridge, for taking the time to speak with me. To find our more about Ridge, check out When the Right One Comes Along, book 1 (Free at all stores).
Title When the Right One Comes Along, Calloways of Rainbow Bayou, #1
Author Livia Quinn
Genre Small Town Military Romance
Publisher Campbell Hill Publishing
Love happens when you least expect it, even when it's the last thing you're looking for.
Former Army Ranger, Ridge Romano lost his brother John to the war, but not the battlefield. After returning home with PTSD he committed suicide leaving behind a grieving wife and baby. Now the CEO of MedBionics, Ridge is on a mission to ensure John’s death is not in vain. He’s in DC meeting with Congress about an ambitious veterans’ project that could change the lives of his fellow soldiers and their families. But an impulsive act and one night with one very special woman - complete with photographs – will put the contract and his dreams at risk.
Famous model and photographer, Buffy Calloway, is at the romance convention to find the “Face” of her studio and casting agency. This tall, intense man is everything she’s looking for and she’s sure he’s "the one" but there seems no way to find middle ground.
Can two people with very different goals find a way to have it all?
He was drawn to one poster in particular, the likeness of the lovely redhead he’d followed from the elevator. A Scottish castle stood on an isle with a lush green pasture in the background. Dressed in a frilly green gown, the woman was draped over the arm of a seriously muscled dude in a kilt, who looked like he was about to carry her off across the water to his castle. A tempting fantasy for sure.
Ridge furtively made his way toward a room with double doors behind which he could make out clapping and laughter. Then a woman with a deep smoky voice called out, “Her Lady Rogue by Claranne Braxton.”
He heard two or three feminine voices shout, “I’ve got it,” and the discouraged grumble of another, “Shoot, I got all losers.”
The smoky voice again called out, “Billionaire Sex Toy". Ridge’s eyebrows rose as three voices sang out, “Got him,” then one cried, “Bingo!”
Ridge walked up behind two women hanging on the open door watching the action. He was taller than anyone there and when he turned his head toward the stage, he relied solely on experience and training to keep from gawking.
The two men he’d shared the workout room with that morning stood on the stage, neither of them fully dressed. One was in bare feet but still had his slacks and belt on along with a white tank and dress shirt.
“Eric,” said Smoky Voice whom Ridge could see was a lushly built young woman in a black dress. She sat at a table near the stage, held up a chip and read, “Please remove your tie.” Eric muffed for the crowd, twisting back and forth and undoing the tie like one of the Chipper…Chip. . . whatever those male strippers were called. Eric dragged is movements out eliciting more catcalls from the women in the crowd. Moving the tie back and forth, he thrust his hips, teasing them. Pulling the strip of silk out of his shirt collar, he swung it twice around his head like a lasso and let it fly out over the heads of the women seated in front of him.
The tie dropped into a crowd of upraised hands. After a short tug of war and a lot of laughter and bawdy good-natured cheering, the victor squealed. With a satisfied grin, she looped it around her neck and raised her thumb up above her head. Good natured laughter followed from her envious compadres.
The M.C. on stage said, “All right, get your cards ready! The first one is for my book, Seal Team Alpha.” Several minutes and six titles later another scream went up, “Bingo!”
After the prize, apparently a signed paperback was retrieved, and the announcer sighed. “Ladies, since we’re short a cover model, we’ll have to do things a little different. Hugh…”
One of the women at the entrance pointed at Ridge. “He’s here.” She took Ridge’s arm and propelled him forward. “Go on, you have some catching up to do.” He frowned and before he could figure out what they were about, they shoved him toward the stage.
“You’ve got the wrong guy. I’m not—” but they couldn’t hear him over the screaming.
“Alex, Alex, Alex,” the chant began. He shook his head smiling. Who knew what these rabid spectators might do if he tried to escape. Looking back, he knew he hadn’t really tried to resist. The women had been having a blast and up to that point, it seemed like good, clean fun, nothing he’d get arrested for.
The delight on the faces of the women made his pulse jump. Fun. God, when was the last time he’d done something just for the fun of doing it? For the kick.
One corner of his mouth turned up in a smile without his permission and the more they hooted and called to him, the wider it got until he figured, why the hel—heck not? No one knew him here. It was just harmless entertainment. A hundred women calling his name—or the AWOL Alex's name—and begging him to strip.
He reached down, unbuckled his belt and very slowly… slid it out of the loops.
The first book in this series, When the Right One Comes Along is free on all stores.
My tagline is “Love happens when you least expect.” But for the holiday season it should be: Love (and all kinds of other stuff) happens when you least expect it in Rainbow Bayou (especially at Christmas).
Momentous things happen around Christmas in Rainbow Bayou. Years ago, Ridge and Buffy, the first Calloway couple in the series were married at the Calloway Farm. Last Christmas there was a Christmas miracle, an engagement, and the reunion of two high school sweethearts.
This year is no different. The Calloways are expecting a new baby, the December reunion of family members from far and wide, and the marriage of two siblings in a special double wedding. But the desperate actions of a veteran threaten everything.
Not simply Christmas stories these two books Christmas Wishes and Christmas Vows are books 4 and 7 respectively. Currently you can still get Christmas Vows for $0.99 while it’s on preorder for release on December 4th and Christmas Wishes is $0.99 for today only.
Now lest you think a double wedding is just fiction, here’s a picture I dug up of my mom and dad’s wedding in Washington, D.C. Notice the twins in the center? That’s my mother and her identical twin. Cool, huh?
The Calloways of Rainbow Bayou is a feel-good smalltown romance series about a sprawling family of former military heroes and heroines. They are standalones but the secondary characters’ stories progress through the series so you may better enjoy reading them in order.
“Samantha?” came a voice on the other side of the powder room door.
She looked at the ceiling. Great. “Yes, Jed…”
“Are you okay?”
“Jed, you’re becoming kind of a mother hen. I’m just using the john,” she said in her best Captain Larue tone. There was a long silence while she continued to look for the lever and wondered if he’d left. Then she heard his foot scrape against the door. “Jed. Are you still out there?”
“Do you need me?” He asked quickly.
“No, but…” she thought of what might make him go. “You’re kind of cramping my style.”
“Did you say you’re cramping?” He asked a little louder.
“Sshh, you’ll have every one— OO… Oh.!” The pain hit so suddenly that she doubled over. She would have if she hadn’t had a fifty-pound baby in her lap. It hit again, and this time, she moaned.
“Samantha, open this door.” His voice was too loud. She knew what that was going to mean. The Horde.
Sam grit her teeth. “Go away, Jed.”
“I’m not leaving until you open this door, and I see you’re okay.”
Breathing rapidly to quell the spasms, Sam said, “Can’t you leave me alone? Get Buffy or mom if you want to be helpful.”
She could almost hear him thinking on the other side of the wooden barrier. “If you need your mother, you need me. I’m trained in this. No one else here is. Unlock the door before I bust in.”
“There’s no room to bust in, Stern. Me and this kid are taking up the entire bathroom.” She sighed and scooted to the edge of the toilet. “Hold on, hold on, don’t go causing a ruckus. I wouldn’t put it past The Horde to try to fit into this one-person bathroom. Horde was the affectionate name Sam and her brother Luc gave the rest of the family, except for their father. She twisted the button on the knob and the door swung out.
A frowning and obviously concerned Jed immediately knelt in front of her, squeezing his wide shoulders in between her and the sink. His brilliant brown eyes bore into hers looking for clues, just like a detective. “Okay. Be honest with me, Samantha. Are you having contractions?”
“No! At least…. I don’t…I don’t think so. I just couldn’t find the lever to flush the toilet.”
Jed frowned in irritation. “That’s all? You couldn’t flush?” He made a face and said, “What have you been eating?”
She glared at him even though she caught the sparkle in his eyes. “Jalapenos and banana pudding… and some other stuff.”
He chuckled and made the same search she had while she sat there taking shallow breaths so he wouldn’t notice. If she took a deep breath she would take in his manly scent. He worked out a lot and had probably come straight from the gym. The smell was intoxicating, mesmerizing— damn these hormones. She shook herself. He was still tinkering with something over her left shoulder, then the sound and vibration of the toilet flushing gave her a small sense of relief. She looked up at him as he straightened. “Where was it?”
He scratched his head looking surprised. “Against the wall. The toilet was installed backwards.”
“That’s crazy,” she said as her mother and older sister Chaz appeared in the doorway.
“What’s wrong?” asked Chaz.
“Samantha are you in labor?” her mother, the Colonel, demanded.
She rolled her eyes. “No, I just came to use the restroom and “ahhh.” The cry was ripped from her throat.
Jed wasted no time asking for permission. He leaned down and helped her get to her feet then scooped her into his arms. “Jed,” she protested.
He angled her feet through the door and said, “Damn, you’re heavy.”
Sam met his eyes and glared. “It’s the shoes. And thank you darling, you’re such a charmer. Just what I love about you.”
Their eyes met and it seemed that time ticked one second for every ten. Had she just said that? “Or hate. Please put me down.”
“No chance, Doc.” He made it out of the bathroom carefully angling her legs so she wouldn’t hit the sink, the door or… the crowd of spectators in the hall—
"I love you, Luc Larue. God, how I love you. The house, the view, the rose beds, it's all so perfect." She kissed him again. "Thank you."
It flustered him but his eyes were glowing. "I wanted to give you a backyard full of beautiful blooming roses but after I talked to Grandma Eme's contact at LSU—"
"You found out this was the proper way to plant new beds in the winter." Delilah grinned.
"Yeah, kind of disappointing. I mean what's better—a dozen roses or a half dozen rose bushes blooming. So I settled for the bed of bluebonnets which is how I've thought of your eyes since the day I met you."
* * *
He remembered it as if it was yesterday. He'd been lying on the floor of that convenience store, the lady cop's foot on his back. Hers and Jed's initial response to the scene with him holding a gun had been to follow procedure. They'd had no choice until they assessed who the real perp was.
Then Delilah had bent over him, her blonde ponytail swung forward and her clear blue eyes, like Texas bluebonnets, had sealed the deal. He'd known then with his face smashed to the grimy linoleum floor that she would be his—if he could convince her to give him a chance. It hadn't been the most impressive first meeting—but it was very memorable.
He held her face between his hands and searched her eyes, his expression soft. "I love you, Delilah. All I want to do is make you happy so if anything isn't right—"
She put her fingers to his lips then laid her head against his chest. He closed his eyes for a minute and just soaked up the feel of her against him, the view, and how right everything was at this moment. He couldn't imagine anything but her in his future, a family right here in this house.
Del gave him a mischievous look. "Can we take another look at that master bedroom?"
Luc smiled, "Why sure, darlin', anything your heart desires."
She grinned, "Maybe you should lock the front door in case we have unexpected guests while we give ourselves a house warming present."
At that, Luc made quick work of the locks and followed her to the bedroom where he found his fiancé in only her pretty lingerie in the center of the big king size bed. It was a good day to be in love.
Christmas Wishes on sale until December 3. Christmas Vows 0.99 until release day 12.4.18
On November 22, a beautiful insightful thirteen year old girl was killed by a stray bullet in her bedroom. This could have been anyone's child, anywhere. But the irony of Sandra Parks' death is just too tragic to ignore.
In a time when most of us, even those who own guns and believe in the 2nd amendment, are saying "Enough is enough. Our children go to school and we wonder if they will return to us. Little ones go through emergency training for active shooter situations, just so those who want to own automatic weapons can. What other reason is there for our legislators not listening to the rising scream from parents, students and victims in this country to do something to stem the violence.
Sandra Parks was sad about what was happening and wrote a poignant essay when she was in the sixth grade. And now, this beautiful child of peace is dead. Please read her essay and think about how we can all do something to stem the violence that is taking hold in our country.
This is not the experience in other countries, only ours.
Please share her words so that this wonderful young woman's words might make a difference to someone. Read more on CNN or google gun violence on Twitter. There's plenty of information out there if you'd like to be informed about the real facts.
Our Truth by Sandra Parks
"Our first truth is that we must start caring about each other," she wrote. "We need to be empathetic and try to walk in each other's shoes. ... We shall overcome, when we love ourselves and the people around us. Then, we become our brothers keeper."
Dozens of people gathered for a vigil outside Sandra's home Tuesday night. They held up a plaque with her essay on it as they reflected on her calls against violence.
Her mother, Bernice Parks, said her daughter constantly spoke out against violence. "My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence," she said.
If you love this time of year and like picking up new authors for a great price, check out this great multi-author collection. Get it for a limited time on all book stores for $0.99
Winter may be rolling in, but that doesn't mean your days and nights must be cold.
Before you get snowed in, grab yourself a copy of this limited-edition collection. With heroes and heroines of all kinds, you'll be sure to find some that you just can't help but fall in love with.
These romantic reads can be read as stand-alone stories. But, why would you want to do that? Read them all! Immerse yourself in this wintery ensemble from Romance Collections.
This collection includes:
Storm of Seduction (Gilpin County Search & Rescue 1.5) by Nicole Morgan
Will Lori's plan be the thing that brings her and Kevin together again? The Gift by Stephanie Morris
Sometimes love is the only gift you need Luca's Little Christmas Cracker by Caitlyn Lynch
Santa's sexy helper is all Luca wants for Christmas! Finding Love by Krista Ames
Sometimes the best things are found in awkward places... The Great Fruitcake Bake-off by Vicki Batman
It's love and war in the baking world. Christmas Choices by Sharon Coady
Which man can make this the best Christmas of her life? Hot Coffee by Donna R. Mercer
Everyone Needs A Little Cream in Their... Nice Girl Naughty by Jan Springer
Can Summer's bodyguard keep her safe from a serial killer? Touchdown Dance by Carma Haley Shoemaker
Dance was my first love. I'm counting on you to be my last. Christmas Wishes by Livia Quinn
Tis the Season for Second Chances Tied Up In Tinsel by Amber Skyze
Things can go awry when a dream fantasy turns into a nightmare. Rent-a-Gentleman Two: Winter Sparks by Rebecca Fairfax
A winter-spring relationship? No--more like winter sparks Stranger in the Snow by Jane Blythe
Trust a stranger with her life or risk it in a blizzard. Resisting You by Suzanne Jenkins
Kendall accepted a life without love until an unexpected visitor changed her mind. Mistletoe Fantasies, Book 1 in the Pleasure Your Fantasies Series by Stacy Eaton
Dancing pays the bills, but it's ruining her Christmas Fantasy. A White Hot Christmas: Novella by Rene Webb
Keeping warm has never been this hot! A Wolf's Claim (The Holiday Ball Book 1) by Marie Mason
Will fate and some blue pixie dust be enough to get these two lovers together? Christmas Comes to Silver Falls (A BBW Holiday Romance) by Joann Baker & Patricia Mason
When a long lost love rides into town, Christmas becomes even more complicated for Mayor Holly Bryant as she must choose between her responsibility as mayor or her heart. Winter Encounter by Karen Cino
It’s easy to get lost in research whether it’s military minutia or the details of amnesia. I’ve had to do both. In my Calloways of Rainbow Bayou series with its big southern family I’ve often remarked how many facets of my characters’ lives I had to learn from research – the subjects above, pregnancy, childbirth, labor, and this time…wedding planning and toddler toys.
In It Had to Be You, Samantha and Jed’s book, the ladies all go to New Orleans to La Belle Couture on a wedding dress shopping trip. I thought it would be fun to choose wedding dresses for each of my female heroines. Though they all get their happy ever-after, they don’t always get a written wedding. All told, I’ve probably spent ten hours looking at wedding dresses, and drooling.
I don’t want to spoil the surprise for Christmas Vows, the next book which releases on 12/1/2018 but I can show you a few of the gorgeous dresses I found on The Knot. Except for the last dress which is a Hailey Paigefrom the JLM Couture site. I know which one belongs to which heroine but you might like to guess if you’ve read the series which dress is Buffy’s, Samantha’s, Delilah’s, Maddie’s and even Commander Victoria Larue’s. I’ll update next month.
I had a blast with it. The wedding happens December 27th in Christmas Vows.
If you were choosing a wedding dress for yourself or your daughter today which would you choose?
1 this Boho style dress.
2. this spectacular Hailey Paige
3 &4 these two by Martin Thornburg
6 or this lovely Too
As I found out there are more dresses out there than there are personalities. Visit one of the many wedding galleries to explore for yourself.
Thenthere was the research I had to do on children’s toys… I enjoyed creating a scene with this lovely little princess tent for Sam’s daughter, Nina. There’s an especially poignant scene in the book I hope you enjoy as much as I did writing it.
Love happens when you least expect it. . .even when you resist.
Jed Summers has had a change of heart.
When he and Samantha Larue started dating he’d known she was pregnant and still he found her wildly attractive. But when their relationship turned more serious, Jed ended it, telling her he’d sworn off marriage and kids years ago after an abusive childhood. After following her around for six months, as if he still cared, he delivered Sam’s baby and now, every time he sees her and little Nina, he wonders if he made the biggest mistake of his life.
New developments from Jed’s past turn his long-held ideas upside down then Sam is threatened and her secret is exposed, leaving her feeling vulnerable. Can he convince her to give him a second chance?
On a hot humid early morning in August, Officer Jed Stern's favorite place to run was the parade route around downtown Larue, especially when he ended his six-mile trek at the Main Street dock. The only thing between the town and the Rainbow Bayou harbor were the storefronts along the brick walkway and the grassy park where early bird locals and tourists gathered to buy beignets and cafe au lait from a kiosk at the center of the promenade.
As proprietors prepared to open for business and a colorful tour boat coasted by in the calm waters, Jed paid a lanky teenager for a bottle of water and downed it in several swallows.
. . . As he turned, a scene nearby had him ducking behind a big sycamore tree, his heart suddenly running faster than it had in weeks, even during his intense workouts.
But it wasn’t the discovery of a most wanted criminal or a crime in progress that had his heart pounding.
The woman on the other side of the expanse of well-manicured grass was tall and curvy, with long dark hair and, Jed knew, eyes so green you lost your train of thought when she turned them on an unsuspecting member of the opposite sex. Jed had personal experience with those eyes.
Sam tossed her head attempting to flip her thick mane out of her face as she bent over to clasp her little girl’s tiny hands between her fingers, helping her lift herself up into a standing position. Jed smiled at the baby’s happy gurgle and as if his feet had a mind of their own, he left the shelter of the tree and sauntered toward the pair.
Nina saw him first. Her eyes lit up and she lifted one foot as if to walk toward him, then wobbled back and forth. When she rolled back on her heels Sam let her fall onto her padded butt probably just to show her falling wasn’t failure. That was his Sam—wrong, not his Samantha any longer. He’d fixed that, hadn’t he? It had been several weeks since they’d spoken, just the two of them, but surely they could carry on normally regardless.
Instead of trying to stand again, Nina proved she was as determined as her mother when she got something in her head. Off she went crawling on hands and knees for all she was worth in Jed’s direction. He laughed at the speed at which she outdistanced Sam, catching her off guard. Then he watched as Sam's gaze shifted from quizzical at Nina to frowning at him. So much for normal.
“Zhe, Zhe!” Nina cried, raising her chubby little arms up in the air toward him. He laughed. With a sigh, he admitted his pleasure that his mother’s namesake wanted his attention over her mother’s. He didn’t see Nina often, but there was a definite connection between them, as if she remembered his hands were the ones that caught her when she came into the world last Christmas Eve.
Now, as he watched her race toward him, he shook his head. What was he supposed to do? He reached down as always, hooked her under the arms with his hands and launched her into the air, eliciting a squeal of delight from her and a gasp from Samantha. Catching her firmly he brought her face down to his and let her smack him open mouthed on the lips. Her legs kicked furiously and Jed wondered if he set her down right then if she would take off across the grassy lawn
“Hey, baby girl,” he crooned. “You’re about ready to run your first toddler race aren’t ya?”
Sam looked like she didn’t know what to say. She just stood there, her hands fiddling with the zipper of her thin jacket. Jed held Nina in the crook of one elbow while he waited for her to say something.
Finally, she said, “What are you doing in the park?”
Just as he said, “You girls having a morning run?”
She shook her head and smiled. “You’d think, wouldn’t you? She's not old enough but she seems to think all it takes is determination and it will happen.”
Sounds like her mother, Jed thought, and Sam eyed him as if she expected him to say that aloud. He shrugged. It was that silent communication that had been a part of their relationship from that first day he’d been introduced to her at the station. He didn't want to ruin his good mood at this impromptu meeting by thinking about the reasons why they hadn’t lasted. But somehow the reasons intruded.
Their breakup hadn't been Sam's fault though come to think of it she hadn't put up much of a fight. As a young man Jed had made a decision, swearing off alcohol and kids, long before he'd known he would meet someone like Sam and this sweet little girl
"I guess I'd better get Nina on over to mother's and get to work," Sam said, her eyes on her daughter, not on him.
With Nina wiggling in his arms blowing bubbly kisses at him, her eyes sparkling with love, damned if he could figure out how to fix it.
"Okay." He kissed the baby and handed her back to her mother. They were careful not to accidentally make contact with each other. He attempted a smile but knew he didn’t pull it off and lifting his hand in a failed attempt to seem casual, he said, "See you around."
Get the book on all your favorite eBook stores and in paperback
We didn't get it as a birthright except through the sacrifice and service of men and women every minute of the last two hundred and something years and going. In case you missed it, today is Veteran's Day. We should not forget even though it landed on Sunday this year that we will be off on Monday to pay tribute to the end of a war that was supposed to end all wars. All you have to do is google life in many other countries to realize we are starting to take our freedom for granted here. And our veterans. As I mention here in the veterans resources page and at the end of my books, it is NOT a cliche or a stadium moment that we owe our veterans for our freedom. In researching my Calloways of Rainbow Bayou series I found that many of the issues our vets and their families face are understated. They deserve and need our support though they don't ask for thanks. It do it because they love our country and believe in the freedoms our forefathers have sacrificed their lives for over the last few centuries.
My father served in what's known as the China Burma Campaign. I've always loved this picture of him and wanted to know more and now, a fellow author, Grey Hoover, has written a book about this period in history. This is an awesome tribute to soldiers who fought in that campaign. We must never forget and as our family members continue to fight for our freedom, it's our duty to support them and educate ourselves on what's happening in our world.
Our Freedom is NOT free. We can't take it for granted.
Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep.
Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep.
He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness.
At first he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.
The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.
Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.
R Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution. He wrote his book “Kicker the forgotten front” to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre. During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.