Realistic Writing

Black Swan on water drawing on grey copyI’m re-writing the first book in my new Black Swan series to move it from the Contemporary Romance genre into Romantic Suspense. Fingers crossed, it should still release in June.

As many of you know, I write Factual-Fiction. My books are based in fact and I leave it up to the reader to figure out where the truth ends and my imagination begins. Here are a few facts the book is based upon:

Fact:  A woman can get a man alone within hours  …and kill him in seconds.
Fact: Men always underestimate beautiful women.
Fact: In February 2013 the United States military opened combat roles to women but no woman has “officially” been trained in military Special Operations.

How about a few snippets?

#1.  The five women slipped easily through the darkening streets to the U.S. Marine Corps camp. As they approached the outer guard post, Katlin spoke loudly in English when the young Marine brought an M4 rifle to his shoulder.

“Captain Calloway and team returning,” she announced her cover name for this op. She lowered her niqab so he could see her white face as she dug handfuls of hair from under the abaya and flipped thick golden strands over the traditional Iraqi outer dress. Her teammates followed her lead, exposing their faces and hair, an act local women would never dare. They would be killed for it.

“Ma’am, may I see some ID, please?” He then spoke quietly into his communication system.

“Certainly,” she looked to his rank then embroidered name over his pocket as she held her hands out where he could see them, “Lance Corporal Framer, I’m going to reach into my pocket and get it.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She produced the ID created for that mission and held it out to him as he was joined by another Marine whose gun also pointed at the women. She was fine with this. It was standard operating procedure for this war-torn area, one of the few Muslim countries that understood women could be as deadly as men, a hard-learned lesson for American troops.

Two up-armored Hummers with remote weapon systems perched atop roared to the gate. Four Marines in full battle dress jumped out and took up defensive positions while a Lieutenant Colonel strode to the guards.

“Quickly, inside ladies.” He jerked a thumb towards the vehicles. “And get out of those things.” He didn’t have to say it twice. All five women hurriedly flipped the black mantles over their heads and wrapped them into a ball. She knew her team had looked fat and moved awkwardly, but the packs they carried in front of their bodies made it difficult to maneuver with any amount of grace. The disguise had worked flawlessly.

The men’s eyes widen as the women shrugged the packs off their chests.  Desert camouflaged uniforms now revealed the curves of every member of her team. The women shook off the weight of all they’d carried for days.

She scrubbed her scalp with glee, lifting her heavy hair, allowing the slight breeze to cool her sweat-dampened head. Not for the first time, she considered getting her hair cut short, the way she’d worn it while in the Navy before being selected for the top secret test group. She quickly rejected the idea. She spent weeks at a time stateside and loved her long hair that fell below her bra strap in the back.

The mid-forties man before her took a deep breath before he spoke. Katlin knew the effect her team had on men, especially those who hadn’t seen a woman this close in months. She checked out the nametag above his pocket then offered, “Thank you Lieutenant Colonel Rogers.” She gestured to her team who moved in closer to her back. “We really appreciate your hospitality.”

The senior officer nodded in acknowledgement. “Let’s get a move on. You’re on a tight schedule.” With a glance to the other women, they too had noticed that his voice was a little roughened.

Yes, that was exactly why the Ladies of Black Swan team had been created. They could get a man alone in hours…and kill him within seconds.

#2.    Alex Wolf thrashed side to side in the king-sized bed as the dream repeated the worst night of his life.

Red streaks lit the shallow ravine that seemed to extend into hell. The smell of gunpowder and dust choked the air. Screams of dying men echoed under the report of machine guns.

The dream jumped back in time.

“Drinks on me when this over, Lobo. You’ve got my back, old friend.” Tyler Malone’s voice and brilliant smile cut through the thick night air just before he and his SEAL team blended into the darkness and the sandy foothills to secure the perimeter.

The nightmare leapt forward this time.

Rapid firing bullets. Red tracers. Men in turbans with dark stains on their digitized camouflage lay screaming in pain in several languages.

Sweat seeped from every pore in Alex’s body as the dream dragged him through it all again.

“Alpha and Delta, left flank, come around them from the back, Bravo and Charlie, right flank. Clean sweep. Echo, with me.” Alex had called out orders through his helmet mic in the blackness of the Afghan mountains to his company of Special Operations Marines.

“I’m hit.” Muffled cries from American boys pierced by enemy fire seeped through his comm unit.

He felt the ancient-packed sandy soil shift under his desert boots as his legs peddled in the soft tan sheets of the huge bed.

Three-shot bursts of gunfire mixed with machine guns on squirt. Men in light brown camouflage lay beside American Navy SEALs, dark spots on every man that lay on the ground. The screams. Oh, God, the screams.

“Medic, forward,” Alex ordered.  “Comm, we need medevac ASAP. Get some choppers in here now.”

He ran as fast as he could. Alex checked every SEAL looking for Ty. Looking for his best friend.

Finally, Ty’s face.

He’d found him. There was blood everywhere.

Alex placed his fingers on Ty’s throat to find a pulse, but it wasn’t there.

His throat wasn’t there.

Alex looked at the blood on his hand illuminated by the red tracer bullets that flew around him. Then, he looked into the empty eyes of his best friend.

No. No. No.

“No!” Alex awoke to his own screams. He sat up, heart pounding. He was alone in the king-sized bed in the quiet penthouse apartment at the New York City location of Guardian Security, Inc. As he glanced around the barely-lit room he reassured himself that it was only a dream.

It was the dream. Again.

He lifted the sheet and wiped the sweat off his face while he controlled his breathing to bring his pounding heart rate down. A glance at the clock revealed that it was only three-thirty in the morning. He didn’t have to be at JFK International Airport until nine o’clock.

He raked all ten fingers through his long damp hair. “Christ!” he said on an exhale. It had been nearly three years since he’d left a combat zone. He’d led Marines on top secret black ops missions all over the globe. He’d seen plenty of death, before and after, he’d held Ty’s bullet riddled body in that ravine in Afghanistan. He thought he’d left all that behind him when he’d resigned his commission as a Marine Corps Captain and said goodbye to his Special Operations company on Onslow Beach at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

More sleep would be impossible.

 

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