Today, the second book in my contemporary series, Safe in His Arms goes up at Total-E-Bound. I can’t really express in words how thrilled I am about Mac and Mandy’s story. The Love’s Command series started with Running Scared back in August of 2012, but the reality is, I wrote the story at my mom’s house out in Arizona almost a year before the release date. So, this second story seems to have taken forever to get from my fingertips to your eyes!
Running Scared was my first attempt at writing contemporary without the freedom I find in my paranormal and fantasy worlds. Still, any sort of writing for me – outside of college research papers (gah) – sets my imagination on fire. In Running Scared I discovered that there were two more stories, possibly four, simmering up from the adventure Lacey and Russell started.
Mac, introduced as Wolf in Running Scared, even pushed his story forward with Lacey, demanding to know where Mandy was living and so on. J You might say he’s a tiny bit upset with Mandy for disappearing, but I’m not going to give anything away here, you’ll simply have to go out and find Safe in His Arms today to learn more about Mac the sexy SEAL and the woman, Mandy, that completes him!
I will, though, share this little snippet since I’m just as in love with these two characters as I was with Russell and Lacey …..
Mandy stared up at Mac, not quite believing what he’d just said. The roar of the wind coming in from the open helicopter door made it insane. She could barely breathe, let alone hear Mac even if he was right in her face.
He grimaced and pulled her by her shoulders until he could yell in her ear.
“You heard me, sugar, up, now. The ‘copter’s going down.”
He released her and unbuckled her safety harness before she could stop him. Hauled to her feet, she grabbed his arm and tugged at his uniform only managing to get a glance down from him.
“I— We can’t— I mean, where are we?”
A sudden shudder rocked her into him just as a loud explosion roared through the cabin. Mac hauled her in tight against him and forced a pack on her back.
“We have to jump. Feet pointed down. Straight down or you’ll break your legs. Feet down, arms crossed and stay the fuck near me.”
“What! No, no, Mac, I can’t!”
Rapid rat-a-tats hit the side of the ‘copter and she screamed as they started to spin in a circle. From her peripheral, she saw Tad’s head slump forward. Mac dived for the front and she swallowed to keep from throwing up while trying to keep an eye on Mac struggling with Tad. For several tense seconds she thought she might be pulled from the plane by the sheer momentum of their spin, but somehow Mac and Tad got the ‘copter flying right again. Mac stayed up front a bit longer, but turned back to her with a look so frighteningly intense she felt tears rush her eyes.
They were going to die and she’d never even told Mac she loved him.
Mac pushed her back down in her seat and grabbed the side of the ‘copter and leaned out so far she had to close her eyes. That only made it worse. She quickly opened them to see Mac bring his rifle up, take aim, and fire. His big shoulders barely moved with the kick. He let go of several more rounds, his face tight with such deadly concentration she shivered. After two more shots, he pushed away from the opening with one hand. This was what he’d not wanted her to see. Him killing. She knew it like she knew she’d never survive if he was taken from her.
An explosion louder than before sounded above the whirl of the Hawk’s engines and the wind whipping through the cabin. She grabbed the straps above her head as they rocked back and forth like some crazy kid’s beach toy.
Mac turned and slung the rifle strap over his shoulder, grabbed her hand, and jerked her up against him. Her legs felt like noodles. She shuddered uncontrollably and couldn’t stop a small laugh from bursting from her numb lips when he said, “They’re gone. We jump. Now.”
He was serious. “But the… Oh, God, oh, God, can’t you simply fix…? I mean, Mac, we can’t leave Tad! He’s—”
Dead? She shook her head, tears burning her eyes. Tad dead? But he’d been there, right there… Mac reached up and caught her face in his hands.
“Sugar, I can’t fix this. It’s going to crash and we’re not going with it,” he yelled. “I rigged it so it will fly on its own far enough away from us to not come down on our heads, but it’s going down.”
She tried hard to stop the flood of tears spilling over but she could feel them wetting her face. The wind rushed in, chilling her through her layers of gear, but her face felt flushed and too warm. Mac grimaced and brushed at her face. “Just stay close, point those feet and stay alive. If I thought you couldn’t do this, I’d not make you.”
She shook her head. She couldn’t do this. Her stomach lurched to her throat. The helicopter dipped and shuddered, but he tugged her upright and to the open doorway. What looked like deep, dark ocean spread out beneath them like some kind of creepy Jaws movie.
“I can’t do this! I can’t jump out of this. Oh, God this is crazy!”
Her wail was met with a ‘don’t fuck with me’ look she absolutely hated. Reaction set in and her body began to shake like Jell-O. The ‘copter dipped again and he braced them both against the side, one arm tight around her, plastering her from head to toe to his bigger, stronger body. The open door bit into her back. Sweat dripped down her spine and ribs. A chill rushed her immediately followed by heat like she’d caught a fever. He was serious. So serious she knew, if she didn’t jump, he’d simply push her out the open door.
She looked down and regretted it instantly.
“We have to jump. Now, before it’s too late.”
She met his hazel eyes and tried hard to focus. “I—”
“If you open your mouth to say you can’t, I’m going to spank you.”
She smacked his chest light enough but it hurt her hand on the straps he had across his chest. “Stop! Please, Mac. This is serious! I’m not a SEAL! Why can’t—?”
“Mandy.” He finally turned serious and gripped her shoulders to hold her still. Had she been trying to get away? “Listen, we have to do this. Any lower and we won’t make the fall. Tad is gone. Now, think, sugar. We can do this.”
She glanced away from his determined stare. The wind whipped so loudly through the open door, they were yelling at each other. Her throat hurt. Breathing was getting harder and if she didn’t get a grip she was going to black out, but she looked back up at him.
He grinned and nodded tightly. One big arm hauled her hard to him and he pressed his face to hers. “I’ll get us out of this. Trust me.”
She wanted to smack him again and cry into his broad chest all at the same time. Instead, she simply held on tight to his warmth.
“I trust you.”
There was blood on his shirt and he smelt like gunpowder, she realised. The next instant he set her aside, but held her hand as he leaned out of the open door. Her stomach nosedived to her toes and she laughed.
“Oh, God, I never meant it when I said I wanted to dive out of an aircraft.”
He grinned and kissed her hard and fast. Releasing her mouth, he took her hand and pulled her tight. “I’m sorry, baby. We drop, keep your arms crossed like this, feet down. The floatation I have on you will bring you back up.”
Gathering her nerve, she let him pull her closer to the open doorway and immediately backed up into him at the sight of the water below her. “But the water is right there!”
“It has to be,” he yelled in her ear. His rough whiskers brushed against her skin, making this so real she couldn’t pretend she’d wake up from this nightmare. “We need much closer. Wait for my signal.”
Closer? The water looked like it was rushing up to them. Whatever he’d done with the ‘copter, it wasn’t nosediving but it was going at an angle and that angle was bringing them closer and closer to the blue ocean. Eyes stinging from the wind, she tried to keep his instructions in mind.
“We jump on three. You will be right in front of me. As soon as you surface, you find me. See those islands? We make for those.”
Islands. Oh my God. Her whole body shuddered.
“Survive, sugar. Just jump like you’re at a pool.”
“Okay,” she managed, trusting him more than anyone else in this world.
“Now, one, two, three!” He shoved her out and she screamed.
Billi on Amazon