First Meeting by M.L. Buchman
Writing military romantic suspense is an interesting balance, striving to find that point between the gritty horrors of what those who serve fight against and a love story that can engage and carry the reader to the end. One of the ways I try to approach these moments in my Night Stalkers series is by making sure they give us the characters’ changing relationship, for never are we more revealed than under a moment of stress.
In my newest release, BRING ON THE DUSK, Michael and Claudia’s first battle together is one of intense simpatico and few words, and even that is a discovery for them. They are in the heart of a Somali city during a thunderstorm at night. A single mistake and death will rule the night.
Michael could feel Claudia flying over his right shoulder as they approached the building one of the guards had revealed, after the two rounds in the shoulder that made him drop his rifle and his eyes cross to stare at the barrel pressed against his forehead.
Fifth house on the left. Four women—the other hostages hadn’t seen them in a week. He couldn’t think about what might have happened to them; he simply needed to get them aloft and out to the carrier. They would be taken care of there.
His job was to get them out.
The gunfire had died behind them and nothing new had opened up before them. Not yet. The driving rain had muffled the battle in the square. The building ahead was a two-story affair, perhaps eight or ten rooms, a mansion by local standards. He wished he could get up on the roof, but he didn’t have time. Or did he?
Michael wound his arm over his head in the signal for a crane lift and then pointed back at the intersection they’d just crossed through. He tapped Bill on the shoulder. With hand signs he told Bill to lead the assault into the building in twenty seconds, then turned and sprinted back just as Claudia touched down in a space that couldn’t be more than a yard past her rotor tips.
He jumped on the skid and grabbed the door frame for a handhold.
No instruction needed, she moved over the building. He could see her clearly in his night vision, so integrated into her helicopter that he almost couldn’t tell where woman ended and mechanical extension of the woman’s will began. And Claudia packed a lot of will.
She didn’t take him in close, but crossed over the building at seventy feet up. He wanted to arrive as undetected as possible. She had a fast rope on the copilot’s side of the bird.
With a jerk, he pulled the rope loose. Twenty meters of forty-millimeter line uncoiled to dangle from where one end attached just above the door frame.
He wrapped his gloved hands around the rope even as it uncoiled. Sliding down, he was standing on the building’s roof three seconds later. Claudia kept moving, releasing the rope into the street below as she continued flying along. Anyone inside who’d heard her would think she’d passed them by.
Despite her beautiful exterior and quiet manner, she was deeply battle experienced and thought very fast. He wasn’t sure he’d have come up with hitting the water tank to suppress the truck fire even if he’d been in position to see it.
Michael found a trapdoor and dropped through to the second story, doing a land and roll on the floor. The two guards sleeping there never managed to reach their weapons.
He heard gunfire below as he cleared the hall, and then the next room. It was the third room on the right where he found what he’d been hoping wasn’t there. It was against al-Shabaab rules and typical pirate practice, but that hadn’t stopped these kidnappers. Four narrow beds with straw-tick mattresses, and the four women naked and tied in place.
The one man in the room died with his pants pulled only halfway up his legs. Michael pulled out a knife and slashed all of the women’s bonds, keeping a close eye on the door. The battle below gained volume.
How could he move four women?
“This is a U.S. military rescue operation. Can any of you walk?”
“Walk?” one of the women spat out. “Show us where, and we can run.”
Two of them had to help a third, but the one who’d spoken almost charged out into the hall ahead of him.
“Upper hall, northeast corner, four in tow,” he announced over the radio.
Title: Bring on the Dusk
Author: M.L. Buchman
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Five nations surround the Caspian Sea, five nations desperate for the vast resources there, and willing to go to war. It will take all of Claudia and Michael’s ingenuity to avert disaster. As they discover how right they are for each other, it will take even more to breach the walls they’ve so carefully built around their hearts…
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21991198-bring-on-the-dusk
Amazon – http://bit.ly/AmazonBuchmanDusk
Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/BNBuchmanDusk
iTunes – http://bit.ly/iBooksBuchmanDusk
L. Buchman has over 25 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR“Top 5 of the year” and Booklist“Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.
In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.
He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at www.mlbuchman.com.
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