The sacrifice of our service men and women humbles me. When I began researching this book I had no idea what to expect. I’d read about the twenty-two suicides a day among veterans and long waits for medical care but wondered if these reports might be exaggerated. Maybe there’d been progress. Unfortunately, the problems our troops and their families face are massive and there’s been little forward progress in the suicide rates which are probably under-reported.
I’m sure you wish you could do something to help. My hero, Ridge represents all of us, in his desire to make a difference in the lives of veterans after losing the person closest to him, his brother. Ridge is a bit stuck in this “save the world” mode and it takes a special woman to shake him up and find his own happiness.
The Men of Honor series focuses on men and women in uniform who serve in the military, law enforcement or as first responders. They put service to others above themselves. The series has been REBRANDED to reflect the FOCUS of the men and women in uniform who serve their country and communities. Ridge was previously published as Her First Knight.
Ridge is book 1 in the Men of Honor series.
He’d sacrifice all for his mission – better care for veterans. Did that include love?
Ridge Romano is an Army Ranger, has a PhD in Medbionics and is CEO of two multi-billion dollar companies. After his brother, a wounded vet, commits suicide due to a lack of prompt medical care, Ridge meets with Congress to propose a new veterans’ care consortium that will revolutionize veterans’ services. All that’s left is the big vote.
So, with such an important mission, how did he wind up on this strip bingo stage in front of a hundred women yelling, “Tucker. Take it off!” If he can just slink away before he’s recognized.
Buffy Calloway was famous on the runways of Paris, but now she’s looking for one special man to be the face of her studio. At a romance convention, she discovers Tucker, a late arrival with just the je ne sais quoi that will make her agency a success.
The Calloways have a sixth sense when it comes to that special someone, and Buffy knows Ridge is ‘the one’. There’s just one problem – he rejects the idea of himself as a cover model and Buffy can’t argue with such a noble cause. She’ll have to enlist the entire romance community to make her plan work. But could this be the first time a Calloway was wrong?
Ridge felt like he was back in the Army, furtively tracking toward the room where he heard alternating bouts of laughter and then clapping. A woman with a deep smoky voice called out, “Her Lady Rogue by Claranne Braxton.”
He heard two or three feminine voices shout, “I’ve got it,” and the discouraged grumble of another, “Shoot, I got all losers.”
The smoky voice again called out, “Billionaire Sex Toy.” Ridge’s eyebrows rose and three voices sang out, “Got him,” and one cried, “Bingo!”
Ridge edged up behind two women hanging on the open door watching the action. He was taller than anyone there and when he turned his head toward the stage, he relied solely on experience and training to keep from gawking. The two men he’d shared the workout room with that morning stood on the stage, neither of them fully dressed. One was in bare feet but still had his slacks and belt on along with a t-shirt and dress shirt.
“Eric,” said Smoky Voice, who Ridge could see was a lushly built young woman in a black dress. She sat at a table near the stage, removed a chip from the bowl and said, “Please remove your tie.” Eric muffed for the crowd, twisting his hips and undoing the tie like one of those famous stripper performers. He dragged it out as the women hooted and clapped. Moving the tie back and forth, he gave a sharp thrust of his hips. Then slowly pulling the strip of silk out of the shirt collar, he swung it like a lasso and let it fly out over the heads of the women seated in front of him.
The tie dropped into a crowd of upraised hands and after a short tug of war and a lot of laughter and bawdy good-natured cheering, the victor squealed. With a satisfied grin, she looped it around her neck and raised her thumb up above her head.
The woman on the stage called out, “All right, get your cards ready! The first one is my book, Seal Team Alpha.
Several minutes and six titles later another scream went up, “Bingo!”
The bingo MC said, “Okay, since we’re short a cover model, we’ll have to do things a little different. Huey…”
“Wait! Sally,” one of the women at the door pointed at Ridge. “He’s here.” She grabbed Ridge’s arm and pushed him into the room. “Go on, you have some catching up to do.” They shoved him toward the stage.
“You’ve got the wrong guy. I’m not—” But they couldn’t hear him over the cheering and laughter.
“Tucker, Tucker, Tucker.” Who knew what the rabid spectators might do if he tried to escape? Ridge knew he hadn’t really tried to resist. The women were having a blast and the game seemed like good, clean fun, nothing he’d get arrested for.
The delight on the faces of the women made his pulse jump. Fun. God, when was the last time he’d done something just for the fun of doing it? For the kick.
One corner of his mouth turned up in a smile without his permission and the more they hooted and called to him, the wider it got until he figured, why the hel—heck not? No one knew him here. It was just harmless entertainment. A hundred women calling his name—or the AWOL Tucker’s name—and begging him to “take something off”.
He reached down, unbuckled his belt and very… slowly… slid it out of the loops.
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