Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holiday Excerpt - A Snowflake's Chance in Hell

Two hearts drawn by hope, linked by love.
All Quinn Lawson wanted was to find her brother. Separated after their parents perished in a drunk-driving accident, Quinn has been searching for him since she became eighteen. She is closer now than ever, but it is her last lead.
Gunnery Sergeant Kevin McCaluson has a choice to make, stay in the military or step away and try life as a civilian. With no family and no prospect of one, Kevin wonders if he can leave the only family he has ever known for the life he’s always dreamed.

Gunnery Sergeant Kevin McCaluson reread the letter a dozen times. For some reason he thought by reading it over and over it would spark an answer to his problem. It was his commission letter promoting him to Master Sergeant, stipulating his decision to go career military. He had spent the past eighteen years in the Marines, and truth be told, he wasn’t sure where his hesitation was coming from. Maybe because it was all he knew and that felt suffocating. It wasn’t as if he had anywhere to go outside the word he knew. He enlisted as soon he was legally able and kissed the world goodbye. The Marines challenged him, made him a man, and gave him a sense of honor. He felt it a privilege to defend his country, so why would he ever want to walk away.
That was the question preventing him from accepting the commission as soon as it landed on his desk.
A knock at the door pulled him from his thoughts. He looked up to see a wisp of brown hair peeking through the door. A tanned, heeled foot followed by a navy suit followed.
“Excuse me?”
The voice was sweet but did not waver, and he rose from his seat. “Can I help you?”
She stepped fully into the room, holding out her hand. “My name is Quinn Lawson. I am looking for Sergeant McCaluson?”
Her deep eyes swirled in a pool of color and a touch of sadness. “What is this in regards to?”
“It’s private matter.” Her expression tightened, her voice sharpening in tone.
He really wasn’t in the mood for this. “Well you can leave him a message if you like, concerning your private matter.” He hoped that the excuse would shut her down until he was better prepared to deal with her private matter.
“Do you have a copier?”
The question threw him off. “Pardon me?”
“Do you have a copy machine?”
She is certainly tenacious. “Yes.”
“May I use it?”
“Of course, follow me.” He led her to an adjoining mailroom. He held the door open for her and she moved past him. The soft scent of cotton candy filled the air surrounding where she passed. He watched her pull a letter out of her purse. She made a copy, wrote on it and folded it neatly. She silently handed it to him before moving past him and out of the office. He tossed the letter on the desk, his mind lingering on the woman who decided to invite herself into his office. Absently looking back, he became curious about the copy she so carefully folded and laid in his hand.
He groaned, knowing his best friends voice anywhere. “Clarkson.”
“So where are we going to celebrate?”
“What are we celebrating?”
“It is not every day my best friend becomes a Master Sergeant.”
“Yeah well, hasn’t happened yet.”
Turning the chair across from his desk and sitting down. “Oh please it is as good as done.”
“Not sure I want it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Exactly what I said, I don’t know if I want the promotion.”
“It’s a career. It’s what you’ve been working for.”
“Yeah I know, it is just a big decision.”
“What’s so big about it? It is a steady job for the rest of your life.”
“Exactly, what if I don’t want all this for the rest of my life?”
“What else would you do, if not this?”
“I don’t know, travel, work TSA or the Fed, buy a house, have a few kids and a dog. Not live on a military base for once in my life.”
“Sounds great in theory. Do you have any idea what it is like out there?”
“No, that is part of the problem.”
“Seems like a good problem to have I guess.” Clarkson snagged the folded copy off his desk. “What’s this?”
“Some woman barged in looking for Sergeant McCaluson. I informed her he was not currently available so she left a note.”
Clarkson opened the note, a grin spreading across his face.
“Oh man, you’re dead in the water. She is on to you, dude.”
McCaluson took the note from his hands. “What are you talking about?”

Gunnery Sergeant McCaluson,
Call me when you give a damn.
Quinn Lawson

He couldn’t help but chuckle at the directness of the note, “Crap.”

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