Corporal Henry Iverson is 2nd Platoon's Doc. He loves his job, even if the guys don't quite love him back. Uneasy with the “company queer”, Henry is on the outs of everything, except when they need his help. He's used to being lonely, though, and he's got the tough skin to prove it.
Private Will Rollins joined the Army to get away from everything and everyone, but most especially from himself. Five thousand miles away, about to leap out of a plane over Utah Beach on D-Day, Will knows he's missing something in his life, but he told himself he wouldn't think about that. Not ever again.
When the jump doesn't go as planned, Henry finds Will – a man he barely knows from another platoon – injured behind enemy lines, and it's up to him to get Will to safety, despite the raging war and Will's sudden amnesia… and Will's out-of-seeming-nowhere searing attraction to Henry.
The war doesn't stop for two men, though, not for a moment. Stuck between endless battles and a world that shuns their form of love, Will and Henry must fight to survive the war and fight for each other, though everything stands in their way.
This is the perfect example how things that start out meh can turn into something utterly marvelous. When I read that Kleypas-y beginning I felt like rolling my eyes six ways to Sunday. I thought this was going to become my next big mistake.
Only it wasn’t.
Yes, I’m pretty lame myself, choosing a book with a guy with retrograde amnesia. I plead guilty. The plot says it all: simple, obvious and straight to the point. The character is in a situation of vulnerability and lacking all the social and personal inhibitions that used to stop him from showing his real emotions. But once that obstacle disappears, there is only the raw longings and desires. And the object of such desire is… yes, the other guy! As it should be.
Everything had a specific path and it was already written. Predictable, silly, definitely entertaining and, of course, with some PWP sex. Sounded like a plan!
I even made some popcorn. I was ready.
Only I wasn’t.
So, if you are looking for that book, you better start running now, because this is not a book for you.
This book lied to me on page 1 and I’m glad of that.
This book hides a beautiful story of two men with the enemies’ shots flying over their heads. This book is about jumping from planes, crashing into the ground and shutting down that afraid little voice in your head that begs you not to jump. This book is about weeks in the cold trenches in the middle of winter, with food running short, supplies at the minimum and only a dimming little hope to enlighten their hearts. A hope that they will make it to Christmas, to the end of the hell on Earth. This book is about those liberty days secluded in a room and scratching a moment here and there. About one more moment together, a moment together alive. And about comradeship and death.
It’s not a heavy book, and it’s not long either. But it’s definitely not the cheap version I pictured in my head when I decided to pick it up. Don’t let that cover fool you, it’s more epic than that. It’s much more than the amnesia easy plot. It’s of course, not a PWP novel. The ending surprised me, in a good way.
It’s worth reading.
NineStar Press: http://ninestarpress.com/product/finding-you-finding-me/
Interested in learning more about the author and "Finding You, Finding Me"? See an excerpt below.
Bailey Queen is the pseudo name of a romance and erotica author. She has been writing since 2001 and moved into the e-publications market in 2015. She has written action/adventure, mystery, drama, suspense, horror, romance, erotica, military, sci-fi, and fantasy. Much more will come from Bailey in each of these genres!
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©Copyright Bailey Queen
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His bones were shaking.
Hell, even his guts were shaking, his internal organs, all the bits and pieces that made up his insides were rattling ’round. He couldn’t close his mouth, couldn’t grit his teeth because they would jackhammer together, probably crack and break, and then he’d really be up shit creek.
Will didn’t think there’d be any kind of dental care where they were going. Behind German lines. Behind Utah Beach.
Operation Overlord. It was really happening. He was stuck inside a C-47, rattling and banging around, his bones shaking right out of joint with the rest of his stick. They’d been flying long enough for everyone’s tightly wound fear to begin to wrestle with their boredom. Robertson messed with his clicker. Phillips, Ramirez, and Troy, all sergeants, shared a shaking cigarette at the end of the row.
Outside the plane, clouds hung low, as if they could just step out the jump door and bounce across the puffy surfaces. Hidden in the clouds were a thousand other planes holding thousands of other jumpers.
Thousands of other crazy, stupid, insane, suicidal idiots ready to leap through German hell. The welcome party was sure to be a blast. Will grimaced at his own terrible joke. Really, he didn’t expect to survive this. He’d enlisted because it was the right thing to do, ’cause fighting evil in the world was better than staying at home doing nothing or getting a crap job down at the mill. He’d been running; from what, he couldn’t remember anymore. There was boot camp, the airborne, and then there was the move to England. Training, every day, all day, and passing out exhausted on his cot with all of his teammates snoring next to him. He’d even been too tired to care about all that snoring.
And then, they were there, shuttling over the English Channel in what was going to be the last calm night of their lives, if not the last night of their lives. Will swallowed, shifting under the mountain of gear strapped to his body. He tried to lick his lips, but bit his tongue instead. He cursed and just let his jaw hang slack. He closed his eyes. If this was the end, this was the end.
Thinking about the end of his life made him remember things, things he didn’t want to remember. Times he’d tried to forget, feelings he’d desperately buried. Will shook his head, squeezing his eyes closed as he screwed up his face. No, he wasn’t going to die thinking of that. He’d buried it. He had.
The cloud bank outside the jump door disappeared, replaced with a slap of crisp night air and the firecracker splatter of tracer fire. Pops of bursting light bloomed, shattering the stillness of the hold, followed by the heavy crack of anti-aircraft guns firing from somewhere down below. Like the sound of tree trunks cracking, snapping in half as if a giant’s twigs, the booming snaps and flickering lights tore into Will, into everyone, in a way they hadn’t expected.
Then a roaring whine and the sound of engines straining. Their plane, rolling, banking, rising. All around them, planes were on fire, splitting in half. Parachutes opened. They weren’t even at the DZ yet, they couldn’t be. Will hauled himself to his feet as his lieutenant called out the order to stand ready. He hooked his line, checked his jump partner, and felt his teammate behind him check him. They rocked and rolled on unsteady feet as the plane continued to bank and shudder beneath them.
New sounds burst to life, creaking and groaning. Their fleet, their airplanes, split in half. Frantic cursing came from the cockpit after another hard roll.
“Get them out, now!” Will didn’t know how, but he heard the pilot’s angry shouting, and then the light at the edge of the jump door turned green, and the lieutenant leapt through the opening.
They all followed, waddling as fast as they could, relying on the training they’d repeated until they waddled to the latrines in the same way. Will couldn’t think of anything, couldn’t remember his name, couldn’t even say a single word, but his training had his body moving toward the door, gripping the frame, and hurling himself into the black French sky.
His chute ballooned open above him. First miracle. Exhaling, Will tried to look around, tried to orient himself. Parachutes were everywhere, falling above and beneath him. Tracer fire lit the sky, zinging hot and sharp into the metal bellies of their planes and whumping into the open canopies of the chutes in the sky.This is it. Tracer fire will take me out. I’ll burn alive in the sky. Or my chute will burn above me, and I’ll splatter to the ground.
But the ground was coming up quickly. Quicker than it was supposed to. His body knew, from all the training, what a jump at the proper altitude felt like. How many breaths he’d have. How much time he’d have.
There wasn’t enough time. The trees were coming in fast—and wasn’t that just the luck, to land in fucking trees? He shifted, trying to steer, trying to move, but the trees were everywhere, suddenly right there, and he knew he’d slam right into them. He’d jumped too low—the plane, diving and climbing and rolling to evade fire had missed the altitude window, and they’d all dropped in the middle of the plane’s maneuvers. They’d jumped at different altitudes, and now they were scattered. Will didn’t see anyone else near him, near enough to slam into the trees with him, and he curled up as best he could. He wrapped his arms around his face and spat every curse he knew as he slammed into the branches.
* * * * *
Groaning, Henry lay on his side for another moment, letting the tall French grass conceal his position. He knew he had to move, but he just couldn’t. Not yet.
The jump had jarred every bone in his body. He’d executed the parachutist landing, had felt all five points hit, but damn. That hurt. Before he knew it, he was stripping his chute harness, undoing his helmet, and sliding the inflatable life vest over his head. Henry hauled his gear up, situating his medic pack and doing a quick check to make sure everything was there. Rifle in one hand, Henry clicked his cricket and waited.
“Fuck me,” he whispered. The whole jump had been a scattered mess, burning planes falling from the sky, anti-aircraft fire everywhere. He’d jumped from his plane before it had blown, and he thought all the others made it out when he did. The plane, a fireball rolling through the night, had hit the ground before he had.
And now, he was alone, God knew where, with no idea of the others’ locations.
Closing his eyes, Henry listened, trying to hear anything at all. He’d lost the booming roar of the anti-aircraft guns and the rumble of the planes overhead. It was deceptively quiet, almost peaceful, and the silence was grating on his nerves. He’d expected anything else. Weapons fire, screaming, calls for “medic!” Anything but this.
Staying low, Henry ran to the nearest tree line. At the very least, he would find cover and try to orient himself. He was a medic. He needed to be with his troops. Even if, generally, they didn’t want him anywhere near them. “Queer,” they called him to his face. “Faggot” when they thought he couldn’t hear. It was Doyle who had started it, way back in basic, and it was just his luck to keep Doyle in his platoon all through Airborne and into England. The rest of the guys had followed Doyle’s lead. Still, even though they were distant and cold, they came to him for aspirin, bandages, and advice on what to do with the sore on their crotch after a weekend in Bristol.
Sharp eyes, a disapproving glare, and some ointment later, the troops were on their way.
Combat would change everything, like training on some kind of ultimate high. The happiest Henry had been was on those long, miserable, awful training exercises. In the pouring rain, miserable and full of piss and vinegar, they’d all huddled together in their holes and tried to cheer each other up. It had been the first time he’d been able to laugh with the guys in his platoon, and they with him. Though they’d all conveniently forgotten about it by the time they were back at camp, he still wanted to do his part. Yeah, the guys in his platoon were jerks, but they were all right. Generally. Gillen had a kid back home. Giordano was the clown, leading the rest of his gaggle on some grand adventure every liberty. Doyle was a jerk, but he couldn’t change that.
He wanted to find his platoon, wanted to be with them.
Looking around, Henry dropped to one knee at the tree line and dug for his map. It showed the drop zone, the attack routes, where they were supposed to be. It did nothing for him now, though—lost, with no idea where he was. He swore again, shoving the map back in his pants.
A low groan caught Henry’s attention, and he froze.
The groan sounded again, louder, along with a curse. There was a shifting in the leaves and the branches on the ground and then the snap of a twig.
Moving slowly, one foot crossing over the other, Henry crept deeper into the woods. Silently, he breathed through his mouth, open and measured, and raised his rifle. He wasn’t supposed to fight, but he was supposed to defend himself, and all alone in the German woods with God only knew what in front of him, he was going to Goddamn defend himself.
Except, whatever was groaning seemed to be in pain. And…human. And…alone.
Henry rolled from behind the tree trunk he’d crouched behind with rifle raised and pointed directly at the groaning man on the forest floor. “Flash,” Henry hissed, using the call and response challenge he’d had drilled into his brain.
“Son of a bitch…” Rolling toward Henry, the man frowned up at him, one hand on his head. “The fuck are you pointing a rifle at me for?”