Holy Batman’s Under Amour! This IS A Drill!!!
Okay, I want a show of hands. How many people have heard of Operation Gotham Shield?
Yeah, me neither until a few days ago when someone on my twitter feed dropped a link. Love my Twitter friends! Anyway, for those of you who don’t know – this is a USA military drill exercise where they are going to pretend that a nuclear threat of 4 bombs have been discovered in 4 different locations across America. Two of these bombs will be terminated by our crack military people and two will -unfortunately (pretend) to explode. One over NYC and the other near the Canadian border.
Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/sz8gHF1kxYc
And here’s the conversation I had with Honey about it:
Imagine me pacing back and forth and frowning as I try to come up with a good “break the ice” intro into this one. *leans in to whisper* If you’re new to my blog and Honey stories, I should tell you the man doesn’t like to talk about covert operations, anything to do with ghosts, and nothing to do with our military doing training exercises after 911. Did I mention that they were doing a drill exercise – on the very day that the planes hit the towers? They were. Even more stunning is that the drill focused on hijacked planes hitting the twin towers. This is why Honey doesn’t like to think about that.
I think about everything. Yeah, I’m probably that person who would sit next to you during a scene from a scary movie and explain how they could have made the images scarier. Drives Honey nuts.
Yay! I live to make Honey bonkers! Poor Honey.
Let me set the scene. Honey and I sit down to have our afternoon chat and I decide on the old “ripping the band aid off” strategy about broaching the subject.
“I can tell you had a great day. You’re home early.” <- See what I did there? I killed all the birds with two observations. Now we could talk about what was on my mind instead miring through his work day. Brilliant, right? “My day was interesting. You know what I learned? The military are getting set to do Operation Gotham Shield.”
As expected he took a deep breath in and then let it out as if he was kind of deflated. “Do I want to know what that is? Remember I told you that I’m trying to destress? I stopped listening to the radio during the day and you know I watch my how-to videos and documentaries at night.”
And there’s me blinking not at all. “Yeah, yeah. I know. You want to know what Gotham Shield is. Trust me.”
After he agreed to listen, and I explain it to him, he shook his head and said, “This is right up there with Jade Helm.”
Hm. I probably should have asked if you’ve heard of that military project. Not that Honey and I discuss these things at lengths. We don’t. But we do shoot the breeze about the weird stuff going on in the world once in a while that has no basis in regular old common sense.
Here’s the link on Jade Helm. Reader’s Digest version? The military played war games for two months during 2015 in a few states. Some people weren’t happy about it either…but back to our conversation.
Thinking about the other military drill, in 2001 I said, “I’m praying that this Gotham Shield doesn’t have any reality thrown in. It better not.”
We’re both silent for a few seconds and then Honey nods. “Me too. Maybe we should insist all of Congress fly to New York at the beginning of the week and hold hands around the statue of Liberty while singing Kumbaya repeatedly.”
I would have laughed, but seriously, I was still mulling over the idea because maybe we should do that, 😉 when Honey says, “You never did answer me when we spoke about the Jade Helm project. Do you think it’s possible?”
Okay, I have to say here, that as it turns out some believe that Jade Helm is a super (Sky Net) computer in space that is learning how to program itself by watching humans. Actually, most people into the theory believe that she’s capable of figuring out how a person thinks and feel, and one day will be able to gauge how each person on the planet will react when put under stress or angst.
I think Tom Cruise did a movie about being arrested before he actually committed the crime type deal. (Asked Honey and he said it was called Minority Report) And being that this kind of future is so pessimistic for humans (I hate dystopia) I probably didn’t answer Honey the last time because it broke my heart to do so. Even still that didn’t mean I hadn’t given the topic a lot of thought since then and that’s why I had an answer for him now.
“I think it’s possible. Man is the most egotistical, arrogant and aggressive creature in the universe.”
“Here we go.” Honey did the big eye roll. “I’m guessing you’re going to be going full extraterrestrial on me.”
I sure was. “Yep. So, if, as I believe there are other beings out there in the cosmos, I have to think they are waaaay smarter than us.”
He lifted a brow. “Your point?”
“They’d meet Sky Net Jade and have a talk with her. Or better yet? She’d figure out all by her “genius lonesomeness”, what as*holes some on this planet are, and how the people have been led astray by said A-holes. If so I’d think she’d make the bad actors pay and let The People who desire peace and not war – live on this planet as they were intended to and not as slaves to commercialism and—”
“Whoa. I get it.” He sat forward and patted my knee.
Now I hiked a brow at him. “Do you?”
That’s when he gave me that smile and talked right through it. “Men are easily tricked, but duping a smart woman? Not good. Me thinks the bad actors will be frying their as*hole, a-holes off.”
I shook my head and that’s when he frowned, saying, “You don’t think Jade would make them suffer?”
“Of course she would. She’d be the perfect woman, once she finished programming herself, and do you know what a perfect woman would do to those who tricked The People?”
“I said. Fry them.”
“No, she’d reprogram the war mongers to be peaceniks. Think daisies in their hair and long flowing skirts.”
“For the women,” he said.
It was my turn to talk through my smile. “No. I was referring specifically to the men. Oh, and the liars of all genders would suffer for the rest of their miserable lives unable to tell a lie.”
“Saw that Jim Carrey flick. Man, that would be awful.”
Yeah, he said that with such conviction I was given to wonder what the heck he’s lying to me about…but then I’ll leave that discussion for another blog post. 😀
So, given that I’m taking my time with this next release. Caleb and Genevieve have a soul-touching relationship *sniffle, sniffle* I thought I’d add to our giveaway. This is what we have so far:
And this is what we’re going to add:
This smells great and since we’re talking about the Big Apple and James and Genevieve are planting an apple orchard in Vermont on the property that Caleb bought – I thought this would be great!
Here’s a chapter for you to get to know Genevieve and Caleb. And, just to be clear, when I say soul-touching, I mean that in a great way. They are two people who need each other and they really don’t know why until the very end of their story. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to finally write that part. As you all know a happy ending is always guaranteed, so no worries – it’s just that they have shared so much with me, and reminded me of some very special things that Honey and I have shared over the years – I don’t want to let go.
The truth? These guys have captured a piece of my heart and I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave that part of me on the page with them when I finish their story. That kind of break-up is killer for me…but I’ll manage. This should be ready for release soon.
“I don’t blame you. Hate me all you want. I did what I had to do.”
Caleb stared at his brother as he continued to rub the knotted muscles that had begun to spasm on his upper thigh. “I don’t believe it.”
“It’s true. She didn’t want the reward money.”
“She’s French.” He had no idea why he said that.
“She speaks beautiful English. More precisely and better than you.”
Caleb glared. “She dresses better than me too. What does any of that have to do with you selling me out?”
Ethan tossed him a towel and a bar of soap. “I didn’t sell you out. You smell like shit. And what’s with the Joe Manganiello look? You need to shave.”
Caleb shifted forward and winced when another spasm ripped through his muscles. “What if I refuse?”
Ethan crossed his arms over his chest and he instantly recognized his older brother’s stance. It screamed, “I dare you.” What did that tell him? He needed to get out of this another way.
“Fuck.” Caleb swore, lifting his leg down from the chair he’d had it stretched out on. “Fine. She wants a green card, how many years do I have to stay married to her for her to qualify for it? Two? I’ll sign the license and be done with it.”
Caleb put the towel and soap aside and then reached for the bottle of tequila, unscrewing the top. “The marriage license. I’ll sign on the dotted line and she’ll get her American dream. End of story.”
He took a swig of the liquor without taking his eyes off his brother. Ethan looked uncomfortable or was he surprised? Didn’t matter. “Isn’t that what you wanted to hear?”
“Yeah it is. I’m just a little stunned you’re not bitching more about it. It’s three years by the way.”
Caleb shrugged. What the hell did he care how many years? “Fine by me.”
“Hm. By the way you’ve treated all us guys when we’ve come to stay, I would have thought you’d be a little more combative. Michael said you threw the lunch he made for you yesterday in the toilet.”
Caleb had scraped the disgusting congealed macaroni in the can, but he wouldn’t have done it if he’d thought Michael was watching. Wait. What did the guys coming here and stepping on his last nerve pulling unnecessary nursing duties have to do with Frenchie obtaining a green card? Unless… “Oh no. She’s not staying here with me.”
Ethan uncrossed his arms and frowned. “Where else would your wife stay?”
“No. She’s a green card digger, not my wife.” He tried to stand up, but failed. Of all the times to have left his cane on the bed. Damn it. He downed a good bit of the tequila instead, and then used the bottle as a pointer toward his brother. “Besides, she’s a crackpot.”
“Funny.” Ethan walked over and took the bottle out of his hands, taking a large pull of the liquor before he said, “She told me she was your soulmate.”
He reached forward and grabbed the bottle back. “And you believed her? You’re as crazy as she is.”
He didn’t like the way his brother was eyeing him when he mused, “Maybe. I guess we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?”
There was no hesitation when Ethan shot back a firm, “Yes.”
“Does Alistair know about this?” He needed an ally here. Someone who would be reasonable. An unbiased third party who’d see the sense in putting her up in her own home a few states away from where he was living until she got that fucking card as a thank you.
“Alistair was the one who informed me that you had to cohabitate in order to pull off something like this. It was just that we planned to wait on this until you weren’t so…”
So much for unbiased. He narrowed his eyes. “So…what?”
“Surly. I know it’s the pain bothering you and you’re probably wise not to be downing Vicodin, that shit’s addictive, but seriously, pounding back tequila isn’t helping either. Have you thought about doing some sort of therapy?”
“For what exactly? The pain? That’s what you think my problem is?”
Ethan’s tone was quiet, almost gruff when he asked, “Are you still having the nightmares?”
Yes, he had pain. Absolutely, he had nightmares. These things, given what he’d been through, were to be expected, weren’t they? What he hadn’t counted on was the sense of loss that was more crippling to him than his bum leg. “She’s not staying here.”
“She will reside here. I made a deal. Your life was saved. And now it’s time to pay up.”
He didn’t say anything. He just stared at the tequila bottle knowing there was no way he was going to agree to this.
Genevieve waited until Ethan finished speaking before she clasped her hands together and said, “I am very glad Caleb has recovered. Although Colin has kept me informed on his condition, hearing from you puts my mind completely at ease. But as you can see, my things are all packed. I’m leaving America in less than a week so while I appreciate the offer, what you’re proposing isn’t possible.”
“This.” He swept a hand toward the neatly stacked boxes against one wall in the room. “Will only speed things up when we call the movers and relocate you to Vermont.”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry. It’s not that easy.”
Genevieve wished it were. She’d lain awake many nights trying to get a handle on the situation, but it always circled back to the same conclusion. No matter how adamant she felt about Caleb being her soulmate and that she was supposed to be here. Not just in America, but somehow a big part of his life, she couldn’t consciously force him into being with her when he didn’t want to.
Ethan took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he sat down on the arm of the couch opposite her. “This is your chance at a green card.”
“Not my only one. Maybe you hadn’t heard, but Matt was ready to fulfill the original bargain we’d made once he got out of the hospital.”
Ethan leaned forward and some of that stoic Dom control he was a master at maintaining slipped. “I heard about that, and it does make me wonder why you didn’t take him up on it?”
He looked so much like Caleb in that moment her heart rate kicked up speed. But then his Dom-shield was back up, and she automatically told him the truth. “Before I met Caleb, I asked my friend, Matt,” she emphasized, so he’d know there was no romance between them, “to help me for the express purpose of buying me some time in order to meet my soulmate. But then I met your brother and that express purpose was no more.”
Ethan frowned and sat back. Clearly he was thinking all this through when he asked, “But initially in Cape May when you first met Caleb you were willing to put the need for a green card out there. He told me about that. Even later, when you came to Silver Lake, you and Colin seemed pretty set on blackmailing me into agreeing to that as the stipulation for the information you gave me. I’d like to know why.”
She held his gaze without a falter. “Because he’s mine, and at the time the card was a good excuse to get to him.”
Although he tried his best, she caught his initial surprise before he could hide it. Once he had though, he shook his head. “I should have said why, now that I’m here, have you changed your mind about wanting a green card, but more specifically him?”
She lowered her gaze and whispered, “Personal reasons that I’d rather not share.” If she ever did it would be directly to Caleb. No one else.
The quiet that stretched out between them then was intense to the point of suffocating until she couldn’t take it anymore, and looked up. She was fully prepared to use the only logical argument that made sense enough that he’d stop pressing her on this. “What kind of soulmate would I be if I forced Caleb to do something he doesn’t want to do? Your brother doesn’t want to marry me, Ethan. He made that very clear when we were in Cape May. He told me straight out that his bachelorhood wasn’t for sale. In effect he said that he had a big life planned and it didn’t include me. A woman he didn’t love, who only wanted to claim her American dream.”
Ethan’s chin dropped to his chest and then lifted again. “I’m sorry. Caleb’s a little rough around the romantic edges sometimes.”
That made her smile because being the protective big brother was causing him to walk a fine line here. “You may swear in front of me, sir. You can say he’s an asshole. Believe me, I won’t mind.”
Ethan laughed, but the sound quickly petered out when it appeared that something had just occurred to him. Now he was frowning again. “Genevieve, you do know that Caleb’s not a Dom.”
She nodded. “I know. He told me that too.”
“But you’re a sub?”
Why some people needed to spell everything out and put labels on things was beyond her. She was what she was. “Yes.”
He stood and looked as if he was going to say something, but then he shook his head and began to pace. Back and forth. Back and forth, before he stopped. “I can’t help wondering how you ever thought this would work between the two of you.”
She’d wondered that herself, but not for the reason he did. “I’ll admit I did have reservations.”
“So this was a waste of—”
“Not because Caleb and I have differing views of the lifestyle.” She looked away and then looked back. “We actually never discussed the topic at any great length. I heard about his views from Colin and it makes perfect sense to me since you’ve made such a commitment to this aspect of your life. It’s only natural he’d want to find his own path. And I may be veering off the subject of Caleb here, but I think you need to consider the reality of most submissive women. I’m positive it’s far different from what you think, sir.”
Ethan stopped pacing and clasped his hands behind his back. “How so?”
“A woman gives her heart unconditionally. But the heart of a submissive woman? It’s given wholly. If she doesn’t get what she needs from her man, whether he is her definition of a Dom or not, she would never belittle or place judgment on the kind of attention she does receive from him because he is hers. I think if you asked, most submissively inclined women will go to great lengths to get what they need without breaking that emotional covenant.”
He inclined his head. “Alright. I’ll ask you. What lengths were you prepared to go to when dealing with Caleb over this?”
Genevieve unclasped her hands and smoothed her palms across her linen skirt. This admission wasn’t an easy one. “I would do what every submissive does who aches to be mastered by the man she loves when that man can’t or won’t do it. I’d invent being taken in hand by him in my mind. I’d turn him into the Dom I needed him to be in my fantasies. Sometimes…” She paused here for a moment and then ended her little speech by saying as upbeat as possible, “Sometimes this way of things is better than the reality. Less complicated. N’est-ce pas?”
Ethan was studying her as if he was seeing her for the first time, and that kind of laser-focused attention made her a little uncomfortable. She sat up straighter. “But to get back to why I had my own reservations about this? Caleb is not really my type.”
Ethan’s gaze drilled through her. “And yet you insist, still if I’m correct, that he’s your soulmate.”
“Yes, yes.” Genevieve stood and now she was the one pacing. “It makes no sense.” She halted when she was right in front of him, and then looked up. “I’m afraid your brother is too nice for my liking. He smiles a lot and…and…he’s jokey.”
Ethan scowled and when his hands landed on his hips in a commanding way, well, this wasn’t the first time she wished Caleb would be more like that. “Jokey?”
She rolled her hands like she was looping twine. Slightly flustered because she hadn’t meant to share so much with him. “The funny man. He’s—” She let that last thought go with a wave of her hand, and stared at a spot on his shoulder. She didn’t want to meet his eyes. “It doesn’t matter. None of it does. I’m not going to force him—”
“I already did.”
Her gaze shot up and she frowned. “I don’t understand.”
His hands went from being balled on his hips in a semi-intimidating position, to lifting between them in supplication. She looked down at them and then back up. Gone was all his Dom-like demeanor, in its place was every bit of the frightened older brother of the man she was meant to love.
“Caleb is in pain.”
“Yes, I know.” She urgently searched his face. “Colin said his leg was healing though. It is, isn’t it?”
When he ran a hand through his hair and looked away, she held her breath until he said, “It’s not physical pain. It’s something more than that. Deeper.” He sighed and then seemed really angry saying his next words. “They took a piece of his soul and I—”
She held her breath again.
“If I have to I’ll—I’ve come here to force you to—”
She was steadily breathing once more. She had to in order to keep up with the adrenaline racing through her that was fueled by hope and a building sense that all the murkiness she’d been wading through over the situation with Caleb was about to disappear. She had no idea how all of it would work out in the end, but at least he was offering her a beginning. “Yes?”
“—to find the part of him they stole and give it back to him. I’m not asking you to marry him, Genevieve. I’m telling you that you must if you truly believe he’s your man. He needs someone in his corner right now and you’re our last hope.”
This was it. Her reason. The reason. She dove forward and gave Ethan a hug, wrapping her arms around his middle while she laughed, and yes, even cried a little with relief. “Thank you, sir.”
He put a hand on her back, and she knew she’d probably caught him off guard when he said, “Whoa. You’re thanking me? I expected you to yell at me when I said the thing about force.”
She finished squeezing him and then stepped back, shaking her head. How could she explain to him that she’d needed another way and he’d just given it to her? She beamed. “I never yell.”
One of his brows went up. “Never say never. And remember that you thanked me.”
“I will, but why do you want me to remember?”
Ethan led her out of the living room toward the front hall. “Did you ever hear the story about Androcles and The Lion?”
She looked between him and the glass panel at the front door. There were men standing out on the stoop. “Of course. Are those men with you?”
“Yes, the movers. Now about the story. Do you remember how miserable the lion was when he had the thorn in his paw…?”
By the time he finished retelling the whole tale she had a lump of worry in her throat. Brooding and surly? What had they done to her man?
“Oh, you are a soft one, aren’t you?” Ethan tipped up her chin and made a tsk, tsk sound as their gazes locked. “You can’t let him know it. He’ll bully you if you do.”
She needed to show him that she was stronger than he thought. “If I understood your version of the story correctly, sir. The lion becomes the slave in the end. Caleb’s the lion, so…?” Now she lifted a brow at him, and when he laughed she knew she’d succeeded.
“Hm. There might be hope for the two of you yet, French-fry.”
“French-fry? That’s not very nice.”
“Take it up with my brother.” Ethan opened the doors and told the guys to back the truck up into the loading zone as there would be a move today.
When he closed the door she asked, “Why would I take up the name calling with Caleb? You said it.”
“Yes, but he said it first. To a buddy of mine, David Hollan. I believe his exact words were, “She’s an adorable little French–fry that I’m having a hard time not eating.”
She felt her face flush with pleasure, not embarrassment. “Your brother does like food.”
“Yeah, I’m fairly sure he wasn’t fantasizing about potatoes when he said it. May I help you pack?”
All she could do is blink as he sauntered off toward the kitchen.
Could it be true?
Suddenly the term French-fry didn’t seem so bad after all.
Ethan swung around. “Are you coming? Colin’s expecting us for dinner in a few hours so we need to get cracking. I’ll tell you about the wedding plans and the move as we finish boxing up your stuff.”
Genevieve nodded. Showing him into her room. She was just about to tell him that she meant what she’d said earlier about being all packed when he looked around and made a low whistle.
“It’s all done.”
“Yes. Now you can tell me about the plans.”
And her future brother-in-law did.
As always. If you are a subscriber you are automatically entered in our build-a-givaway. If you leave a comment on any of the build-a-giveaway posts your name gets added to the finally draw hat additional times for each comment for more chances to win! Yay! I love more chances!!!
Thanks so much for stopping by. Next up? Honey and The Case of The Missing Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand Dollars…
*Looks right at you* Trust me. You don’t want to miss this next post (I should have it done this week). Why? Honey cracks me up. *shakes head*