After twenty-seven years of marriage and service to his country, Gavin McIntyre returns from what he hopes will be his last deployment before either reaching the highest attainable enlisted rank in the Marine Corps or retiring. But what he returns to leaves him flat aback with a busted mast and broken rudder. His wife is a no show for the homecoming. Using the ages old adage of improvise, adapt, and overcome, he makes his way home only to discover, she hasn’t simply forgotten to pick him up from the bus, she’s gone. In her wake, Gavin finds his home set up boot camp style and twenty dollars in the cookie jar, but any evidence he’s ever had a wife or five children with her is deplete.
Pregnant at sixteen and married to a marine in a less than romantic ceremony courtesy of the local Justice, Raylyn McIntyre has spent almost three decades playing the dutiful patriotic wife, catering to the whims of the military. She’s lost track of how many places she’s lived, how many deployments she’s endured, and how many tears she’s shed. But most of all, she’s lost track of herself. With a husband who’s so wrapped up in saving the world he can’t see he’s losing his family, Ray resorts to the one tactic he might understand…a full frontal attack with extreme prejudice, which proves to get Gavin’s waning attention.
Nothing good ever comes easy, though, and just when her choice of battle plan seems to be working, tragedy befalls their family. As Ray and Gavin struggle to find center, they also struggle with the notion that forgiveness of self is often the only path to forgiveness of another, and that path is not only bumpy but filled with pitfalls.
The only thing in the front room was his well-worn American Leather recliner Ray had purchased from Cabot House as his welcome home gift two years ago and his fifty-two inch flat screen which still hung on the opposite wall. Everything else was gone. No rugs, no couch with Ray’s sewing basket sitting at the end, no family portraits on the walls. Gone. It was all gone.
Stark realization raced through Gavin’s veins as a ball of ice formed in the pit of his gut. His wife wasn’t just UA.
Ray had left him.
With his mouth hanging open, Gavin spun a couple of circles. How had he missed this? Things were fine the last time he talked to her. Weren’t they? She seemed fine. She was her usual chipper self, all happy news, no tears. He could hear the smile in her voice.
How had they gone from that to this?
“Hey, I don’t have all day,” the driver’s voice snipped from the doorway. Still in a daze, Gavin turned to stare at him. “Kind of a big house for just you and your chair, ain’t it?”
“Yeah, it is,” Gavin ground out.
“Look, I can see you’re having one of those days, but I need my money. I got other fares.”
“Right.” Sliding his pack off his shoulder, Gavin let it hit the slick hardwood floor, which was usually polished to a fine hue but now lay dull and dusty, with a hollow thump. How long had she been gone?
Gavin made his way down the hall which led to the kitchen and dining area to find those rooms in the same condition as the front room, nearly empty. Where their heirloom oak table which would seat twelve in a pinch used to sit was a fold out card table and one metal chair. The kitchen counters were bare save his Bulldog DI cookie jar which was set in the middle of the island with a note tucked beneath. Snatching it up, Gavin scanned it with one thought in mind. Maybe it would reveal Ray’s whereabouts.
Your Oreos are inside along with forty bucks to cover your cab.
Born and raised in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Denisea Kampe was spinning tales before she could even spell and once her sixth grade creative writing teacher encouraged her by leaving a most prophetic comment on one of her assignments, the wheels of destiny were set in motion. But those wheels would need greased again and again as her writing would take a back seat to life and her jobs of mom and wife many times over before she’d finally see her dream of becoming a published writer come to fruition in 2010. Denisea is a military wife who’s traveled the world over. She’s lived in four states and Okinawa Japan and held more drivers’ licenses than she can count. Her nest is empty save one furry and quite mischievous Siberian Husky and one spoiled rotten Rat Terrier mix. Denisea takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around since marrying her very own fairy tale prince in dusty cammies. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum, taking field research trips, crafting, and sewing. Her works include One Tear, The Executive Officer’s Wife, Private Pirouette, and the Slower Lower series. Denisea loves to hear from her readers and can be found at deniseakampe.blogspot.com
Before I get started on my topic of discussion today, I’d like to thank Melissa for hosting me today and allowing me to give you all a glimpse of who I am as a writer as well as a person and a glimpse of my latest release For His Country. I’d also like to thank each of you for spending a few minutes with me today.
One of the most frequently asked questions of me concerning my career is about research; how much I do, where I do it, and what it entails. I was doing an interview for another blog for my blitz and when they asked me this question in regards to For His Country, the first thing that came to mind was, that’s easy, I live it every day.
And it’s true. I literally live the life that most of my characters live because like my characters, I am married to a Marine. Normally when I answer the question so simply, the next thing people tend to ask is how much of me goes into each book? Then…Is there a character who I’ve fashioned after my own life? Are there other wives who are side characters? How much of what I write is true? How many of the events have I lived through personally?
In other words, a simple answer normally opens the door for a barrage of inquiries.
That reaction is fitting since there really isn’t anything simple about living this life anyway. And unless someone has lived it and understands it, they tend to be immensely curious about it. So, I thought I’d gab a bit about my life as a wife and how that influences and shapes my stories and characters.
MarshFox and I have been married for seventeen years. We met while he was an instructor at a base in Missouri and he literally swept me off my feet. It was a whirlwind courtship and we were married within six months of knowing each other. A year later I found myself boarding a plane to move to Okinawa, Japan. My travels were pretty contained up until that point, the furthest away I’d been from home being Ohio where a couple of uncles live. Wow! What a life changing experience. It was that year I also began to figure out life in the fleet was an entirely different animal than life at the school house. Life in the fleet meant extended periods of time away from each other, but at the time in the late 90s the world was a fairly quiet place and it wasn’t all that dangerous to go out on manuevers.
Three years later we moved back stateside to Virginia and it wasn’t even a year later all hell broke loose when a few terrorists thought to tear our nation down to its very foundation and my life as a wife was forever shifted left. Extended periods of time were a walk in the park compared to deployment after deployment after deployment. It got the point he was gone more than he was home. In less than ten years, I think we’ve seen all the Corps has to offer in the way of families being torn apart at the seams whether it be by divorce due to the stress and strain of separation or through the loss of a spouse to combat. In those same ten years, I saw my husband a total of four and those weren’t in any way consecutively, that was cumulatively. He actually did three one-year tours, two of those back to back.
I’m not saying there haven’t been good times, there have been. Plenty of good times to be honest. I’ve seen and done things I never dreamed of. I’ve lived places I’d never have seen otherwise. I’ve tried food I’d never have heard of any other way. I’ve made lifelong friends who I “catch up” with regularly through letters, email, and the wonder that is social media. I’ve dipped my toes on the Pacific and the Atlantic. I’ve seen the Appalachians and the Rockies. I’ve seen the Great Plains and the prairie lands.
But through all the good times, the separations eventually hit you and leave a mark. There was never a time MarshFox and I stopped loving each other, but there did come a time it became evident we didn’t really know each other anymore. That’s one of the hefty price tags separations hang around your neck like a noose. It’s what happened to Gavin and Ray in For His Country. After years and years of deployments Ray figures out not only does she not know her husband anymore, she really didn’t know herself either. What does one do when you realize you love your spouse with all your heart, but you have no idea who that spouse is? Dating seems a feasible fix…
Yes, it’d seem like the simple answer, I live the life, would suffice to the answer the research question, but truth be told living the life is a lot more complicated than that. And so it’s the minutes, days, weeks, and years spent following a Marine around the world which have been my research bed and gives me the inspiration for my stories and my characters.
Again, thank you SO much for giving me a few minutes of your time today. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter and check out the information below about my latest release, For His Country.