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First Page Preview – Trident Valor

Welcome to my stop on the First Page Review blog hop happening during the month of October and brought to you by wewriwa.com. Interested in receiving feedback on your first page/up to one thousand words of a WIP, a manuscript, or a novel, published or unpublished? Here’s my first thousand words of Trident Valor, a military romance. Comments appreciated. 🙂

SoldierThrough shimmering waves of heat, Jax Taylor sighted his target. If he bit the big one today, his mom and brothers in arms would be his only mourners. But the latter would probably throw an epic party. After hours on watch, remnants of the crosshairs burned into his retina from the scope of his M14.

He shifted on his makeshift pallet, shielded from the window of a second story mud-brick apartment complex. On loan to the army for the last few weeks, he counted down the days when his team’s deployment ended. The chilly Pacific would offer a perfect respite from the heat of this stinking hellhole where the only water in quantity was the sweat soaking his desert cammies.

Cool mind. Cool body. He’d often reminisce of shrimping with his father in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Texas where he grew up. On evening snipes, he imagined chowing on a two pound burger with an iced mug of endless beer. Visions of warm shapely thighs were left for rack time or whatever floor became his bed, if he had any energy left.

Building a relationship proved difficult when he spent more time away than home. He’d pretty much given up, although sometimes he wondered.

The insurgent finally scaled the low wall and sprinted for a building across the street with AK-47 in hand. The same building occupied by U.S. troops.

Game on, bastard.

His heart rate dropped as his breathing slowed. He increased pressure on the trigger, let out a long exhale and squeezed. A millisecond later, the target plowed head first into the dust before the bullet echoed.

Then all hell broke loose. Gunfire peppered the stagnant air from every direction. He scrambled to his feet and shouldered his WIN mag 310 sniper rifle and gear bag. With his standard issued Colt M4A1 assault weapon pointed, he crept down the stairs. At street level, he’d even the odds for the army boys.

Conforming to the doorway, he aimed and picked off a single gunman about to unload into the street filled with U.S. soldiers. He slipped outside with his back to the plastered wall, pinging targets like the metal ducks at a carnival.

Chatter in his ear bud alerted him the guys were bugging out. He caught up and joined the rear guard. Ground rescue ETA two minutes.

Long enough to die over one hundred and twenty times.

Sweat mixed with dirt as he blinked and filched an ammo clip from his vest. He punched it into his rifle, well aware of the pistol holstered to his thigh. The eight inch blade strapped to his other thigh waited silently for any close and cozy encounter.

Military MRAP TrucksLike an action movie, everything moved in slow motion. Dust swirled around them as orange tracers flared brightly, crisscrossing the street in sync with the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire. The grinding tracks of an armored vehicle announced his ticket out. Army guys ahead of him raced inside.

He stumbled through last, exhaling in relief. A pinch forced his hand to the sting at the back of his thigh. Warm wetness bathed his pant leg.

Dark spots danced in his field of vision.

Fucking hell if he’d pass out.


Forty-eight hours later, Jax sat in the uncomfortable cargo bay of a C-130 cargo plane bound for the States. Medical refused to release him back to his team, so he put in for leave and caught a mail hop to the East Coast. Armed with a shit-load of antibiotics, the bullet wound chafed his ass more than his leg, metaphorically speaking.

At nearly six p.m., he landed in Little Creek and took a deep breath of the good old US of A. Salt air teased his nostrils. Compared to the dusty desert, the aroma smelled sweet. He’d always been a water dog.

He scanned his phone for his buddy, TJ’s number and pressed send. They’d completed BUD/S, Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, training together.

“You’re here, now?” TJ answered.

“Yeah, without wheels, and I need a drink in the worst way.”

His friend fumed. “Shit, Jax. We’re packing out now. Halo practice. How about tomorrow?”

Of all the fucking luck. He ground his teeth. The bar on base would do, but he’d kill for a decent cheeseburger and to lay eyes on beautiful woman in the flesh. He’d never realized how wonderful American women smelled until humping through the shithole towns of Afghanistan. “Where do you usually hang?” he asked. “I’ll get a rental.”

After catching a ride from base, he made it to a car rental before they closed and let GPS direct him to the Trident, which sat at the end unit of a small shopping strip near Oceana Naval Base.

He climbed out of the small compact with a slight limp, but righted his gait before opening the heavy, oak door. In his bar experiences, such an entrance usually led to a man cave. Stepping inside, he felt right at home.

Dark. Like his mood. Pain meds and exhaustion made him irritable on top of being pissed about not rejoining his team. Then TJ had a training op. So much for buddy reunions.

Behind the bar, a tall, lean beauty glanced up from the taps. The gnawing ache in his leg disappeared under the scrutiny of wide, sea-green eyes. Her long, wavy hair surrounded her shoulders like a lion’s mane. His fingers itched to tangle in the wheat colored strands. More intimate fantasies flitted through his mind.

Months without a woman made him a sick bastard, in stark contrast to the public’s standard perception of a SEAL. The general population didn’t understand a special operator’s life. What they did for love of country and their brothers in arms. For him, the best remedy after a gruesome mission was down and dirty, gritty sex.

girl_photo.com114254483Before he readjusted his sour expression, she stepped in front of him. Her lovely eyes branded him with I got your number, sailor.

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