Happy St. Paddy's Day to those who celebrate. And honestly, why don't we all? :D
I've been fighting one of those nagging headaches all day. The kind that hovers in the background and becomes annoying, but not overly painful. Bleh.
But…a post must be made!
Tonight's preview is from what I hope will be a free download if and when I ever get my lengthy space saga trilogy completed and published. Down and Dirty outlines the betting pool that features heavily in the first book of the trilogy, Follow Me.
Here's the tagline:
The tale behind how a certain pool gets started that put Sloan and Molly in the hot seat. And how Specialist Neve Campbell thought she might have caught them in the act.
And here's a wee sneaky peek…
The nearly empty flight deck sounded oddly quiet on third watch. Only the deck chief, Keegan Douglas and Specialist Neve Carlyle remained, handling some routine maintenance reports and cleaning up. The chief sat on a stool at one of the workstations, catching up on the paperwork. Specialist Carlyle cleaned up around the perimeter of the flight deck with her push broom, every once in a while she'd stop to spray down a workstation and wipe it clean. Neither the Chief nor Neve paid much attention to the two pilots in a darkened corner of the deck where a mangled bird needed extensive repairs.
Finishing up a workstation, Specialist Carlyle took a moment before she started sweeping again. Resting her chin on the handle of the broom, she stared dreamily, her mind flitting back to an earlier incident after the first dog CAP.
Phoenix—Lieutenant Molly Ryan—came in hot and landed hard. The CAG—Captain Sloan MacNeill—read her his riot act. Not that Neve blamed him. The lieutenant pulled a daredevil maneuver against the captain's orders and cut it too close. If the CAG hadn't jumped her shit, the chief would have. The space carrier's planes were his babies and he got very protective…and extremely grouchy…when pilots decided to play rough with them.
Neve stumbled onto the scene on her way back from the mess. If she'd known what would go down, she'd have brought popcorn. Keegan…Chief Douglas…hovered close to the action, which drew Neve's attention right away. The chief rarely stood still on the deck. He preferred a constant state of motion, the better to put out fires with a quick response. Neve stopped and followed his line of sight to the CAG and his top pilot.
Her breath caught in her throat. It usually did when the captain and lieutenant got within five feet of each other. Even when they argued—usually a daily occurrence—something, chemistry maybe, oozed back and forth. Sloan and Molly had a history and baggage with each other, but the depth of feeling, always there, defined their friendship. Lieutenant Ryan pushed MacNeill's buttons, but everyone knew she respected him. That helped smooth the way when he took over as CAG.
It really saved the day when Captain MacNeill had to get in the lieutenant's face. Molly often stood toe to toe and argued with him, but she held the key to his acceptance among the other pilots and crew. The fact Molly approved of him meant everyone else did. And the current turmoil made it vitally important. The pilots were the front line defense, protecting the fleet and providing safe passage. Neve wouldn't hesitate to admit she appreciated having them around. Being on the run and having them as backup made her take extra special care with her duties. Even something as mundane as cleaning up the flight deck.
Neve worked her way around the hangar and edged closer the bent plane, but she hadn't made it far enough to see who lingered there. Besides, the darkened corner could wait a few minutes for the swipe of her broom. Maybe she'd get lucky and they'd leave before she reached it. She hoped none of the nuggets decided to try the chief’s patience by sneaking in a quickie on the flight deck.
It would not go over well. Just last week he'd caught two newbie crewmen all hot and heavy in one of the transports. Her ears still rang from the scathing lecture he'd delivered. Neve wondered if maybe he'd been listening to the CAG and picking up pointers. Captain MacNeill blasted Lieutenant Ryan not long ago for disobeying a direct order. Neve would totally deny it, but watching them go a round always made her a little hot under the collar.
And why wouldn't it? The air between the captain and lieutenant literally crackled. Neve took a moment, letting the scene play out in her head.
Sloan moved with purpose when Molly exited her wounded bird. "You pulled a hot dog move after I ordered you not to." His voice rose with each word. "And what happened, lieutenant?"
The fact Sloan reported directly to his father didn't faze Molly in the slightest. She held a place of importance in the commander's life, too.
She rolled her eyes. "I cut it a little close. So what?"
The captain made a strangled, choking sound. "A little close? You're insane." He lowered his voice. "Any closer and the deck crew would be welding on new wings, Lieutenant."
Molly looked away and shrugged. "Yeah, well. I told you I needed to let off some steam."
Sloan exploded. "Only crazy people do barrel rolls when the landing bay doors are closing.
Molly's eyes snapped back to his. "I got in, didn't I?" Her face dared him to counter the fact.
Sloan snorted. "Barely, Lieutenant. You barely got in. And you will make the repairs to the landing struts."
Molly's nostrils flared, but she held her temper. "Whatever. Doesn't mean I have to like it."
Sloan snapped. "Fine."
Molly mimicked. "Fine."
Each stalked off in opposite directions.
Neve shook her head. They should just lock themselves in a supply closet and be done with it.
Chief Douglas shot her a look and Neve realized she'd said the thought out loud.
She blushed. "Er, sorry, Chief." Her mouth always seemed to get ahead of her brain.
Keegan cocked his head to the side. "Actually, Specialist. You might be onto something." His eyes followed the CAG's angry progress toward the office. "They're either gonna screw each other or kill each other. Hard to say which."
Neve pondered his words, keeping an eye on Molly when she yanked her flight suit down to her waist then glanced back over her shoulder, her gaze following the CAG's progress away from the flight deck. "No. They won't kill each other. It's a matter of when or where they'll hook up."
The chief grabbed a clipboard and a fresh sheet of paper. "I'll take that action. Date and time, Specialist."
Neve gaped. "You're serious, Sir?"
He snorted. "Hell, yes. Those two going at each other is like foreplay. Sooner or later, they'll cave." He handed her the clipboard.
And with a stroke of a pen, a pool had been started.
And there you have it. You'll have to come back once I get Follow Me published and see why Neve thought she might have caught the CAG and his top pilot in action. LOL
That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.