Posted by triciaandersen
Happy Veteran’s Day Weekend and welcome to the Secret Cravings Publishing Veteran’s Day Blog Hop! I want to take this moment to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart to those who have served or are still serving in the Armed Forces to keep the United States the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! I especially want to say thanks to my uncle Robbie who is still serving in the Army, one of my best friends Kevin who served in the Coast Guard and to Dick Goodall, one of my favorite teachers and a man who greatly encouraged my writing who served in the Navy.
And of course we have great giveaways!! Two lucky commenters will win all three books of the Black Irish Series – Black Irish, Heartland and The Troubles. Just leave your name, e-mail and preference of e-book format! I will choose Monday evening at the end of the hop.
Each author in this weekend’s blog hop has donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. We would be honored if you would join us. To make a donation just click here Wounded Warriors Project.
Admittedly I have not written any novels about the military. I do, however, have a sexy military man in the Black Irish series – Bartholomew Evans.
We first meet Bartholomew at the front door of Sloan’s building in New York City. He was the doorman who kept Abbey from going inside – that is until Sloan arrives on the scene. We learn later that he is one of Sloan’s closest friends, like a brother. Then, when Sloan’s darkest secret is revealed we learned he is actually one of Sloan’s bodyguards.
In Heartland we learn that he was in the Army and served in Iraq until he was dishonorably discharged for saving the life of an Iraqi child.
And in The Troubles, soon to be released by Sweet Cravings Publishing, we learn what a true hero he is.
Maggie dug through Amelia’s diaper bag, dropping several of the baby’s items on her lap. “Ame’s swimsuit isn’t in here.”
“So?” Bartholomew asked, glancing at his wife as he drove down the road.
“I wanted to take her swimming at the pool.”
“Well, let’s buy her one.”
“Why? She has a perfectly good one at home.”
He was silent for a moment. “So, do you want me to go back?”
Maggie smiled at him sweetly. “Yes, please.”
Bartholomew chuckled as he turned into the next parking lot he came to. He glanced again at Maggie. He’d do just about anything she wanted him to.
The trip back to Mount Vernon was quick. Bartholomew could sense something was wrong as they entered the city limits. He noticed the plume of smoke rising above the trees. He tuned out Maggie’s chatter to Ame, the hairs on the back of his neck rising. As he turned the street corner near Sloan and Abbey’s house, he slammed on the brakes. The car lurched violently to a stop.
“Bartholomew, sweetheart. What the devil…?” Maggie gasped.
Bartholomew shoved the vehicle into park and threw open the door. He jumped out and raced for the inferno that engulfed the house and garage. He sprinted down the block, past the fire trucks and police cars, quickly tearing his eyes away from the dedication on the brand new vehicle donated by Sloan and Abbey. Lord, the irony… He dodged the firefighters who reached out to stop him. “Sir, you can’t go in there…”
He leapt the porch stairs two at a time then dropped his shoulder as he collided with the door. It splintered, blasting him with the intense heat of the fire. Images of Iraq filled his mind, plaguing his senses. He fought them from his brain then struggled through the flames, covering his mouth with his sleeve. “Abigail!” he cried.
He glanced quickly from room to room, finding no sign of her. He ran up the staircase. As he reached the top, he felt the house shudder. He stopped suddenly as he reached the master bedroom.
Bartholomew swept across the room in two steps, scooping Abbey into his arms and tossing her lifeless body over his shoulder. He raced down the hallway and back down the stairs, feeling them wobble under his feet. He looked up to find a half dozen firefighters waiting for him in the doorway. He coughed violently, stumbling across the floor.
Bartholomew glanced up briefly in time to see the ceiling collapse in a rain of fiery ash. He pushed off on his toe and hurdled toward the exit. He felt the million sparks bite his skin as he and Abbey tumbled out the door and down the porch steps.
Bartholomew sat up gingerly, coughing and gasping for air. A second later, he was smothered in Maggie’s arms.
“Are you all right? Bartholomew, sweetheart…”
Bartholomew pulled her loose a little. “I’m fine, Maggie. Where’s Ame?”
“Mary has her. Abbey…”
Bartholomew looked to where the paramedics were performing CPR on Abigail. “She wasn’t breathing, Maggie.”
His eyes trailed to Mary and Gordon standing on the curb, their arms wrapped around each other and their granddaughter, glancing between the paramedics fighting to revive their daughter and the house and garage burning to the ground. He shook his head.
“Maggie, baby,” Bartholomew growled. “Where the hell is your brother?”
The two couples raced after the ambulance to the hospital. Bartholomew couldn’t look at Maggie. Her beautiful blue eyes brimmed with tears. Amelia had dozed off in her car seat as they sped down the highway. Good thing. Poor girl. I just pray her mother is alive when we arrive.
They waited anxiously in the waiting room for any word. Bartholomew watched Gordon as he dialed every number he knew for Sloan. There was never an answer. The Irishman flew into a panicked rage. Where in the world is he?
They all stood as the doctor emerged. Bartholomew clenched as he waited for word on Abbey’s condition. At least Jackson isn’t treating her. After breaking Maggie’s heart and almost letting Sloan die, I do not want him near Abbey.
The doctor delivered the news. She was alive. Her burns were being treated. Because of preliminary reports, she would be moved to the Psychiatric Floor. It was a suicide attempt. The couples thanked him before he walked away. Bartholomew hugged Maggie tight to him. What exactly had gone wrong so fast?
Two weeks dragged by with still no word from Sloan. Gordon sent Robert and Bartholomew on a manhunt. On the plus side, all their underground networks reported that he had not been taken captive or killed. Still, the man was missing. Bartholomew fumed. How could he just disappear when she needed him? Finally, Bartholomew returned home after searching the world for Sloan. His family needed him in Iowa.
Everyone but Bartholomew had visited Abbey. She didn’t acknowledge any of them. She didn’t even give notice to her doctors and nurses. She refused to eat. All she did was sit wrapped in a thick, white blanket and stare out the frosted window.
He sighed as Maggie slipped through the double doors. “Anything?” he asked.
“No. She won’t talk to me.”
They both turned as boot steps approached. Gordon stormed toward them. Bartholomew thought he looked like he could spit bullets.
“Gordon, what’s wrong?” Maggie pleaded. “Are Mary and Amelia all right?”
“They’re home and fine. I finally got that parasite Nathan to speak to me. It took me flying to New York and getting in his face.”
“And?” Bartholomew prompted.
Gordon glared at him. “Sloan is in Switzerland. He filed for divorce. Nathan served the papers to Abbey himself. The morning of the fire.”
“What?” Maggie screeched. “Why?”
“The papers said ‘irreconcilable differences.’ They had no differences. It’s bullshit. Probably some woman. When I find that man for what he’s done to my daughter…”
Bartholomew shook his head in disbelief. Maybe he could get Abbey to open up to him. “I’m going to go talk to her.”
He slammed through the double doors, startling the patients and nurses on the other side. He strode down the corridor, weaving around people and equipment until he reached the door at the end of the hall. He stared silently through the doorway for a few moments before stepping inside.
Abbey never moved, never flinched at his presence. He sat in the wood chair beside her. “Hey, Abbey. We know what happened. We’ll work it out. I will go find him and personally beat the crap out of him for hurting…”
Abbey slowly turned to him. Her eyes were cold and angry. “Why couldn’t you just let me die?”
Bartholomew stared at her, speechless. She glared at him for one more moment before turning back to the window. He slowly exhaled again before he stood and shuffled out of the room.
Find the Black Irish Series (Black Irish, Heartland and The Troubles – releasing on November 25th) at…
All Romance E-books (https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-blackirish1-1208605-153.html)
and Bookstrand (http://www.bookstrand.com/black-irish-1)
Find me at…
Please stop by and check out the other incredible authors participating in the Veteran’s Day Blog Hop. Click on the flag below to hop on!