Captain Jordan Collins is battered and disheartened in an Afghanistan prison, but definitely not dead, though he learns his own government believes he is. His only mission now is to stay alive and make it home to Angel, if he can find an ally among the enemy. But someone in the US government will stop at nothing to make sure he never leaves that prison, And Jordan must reevaluate the lines between friend and foe if he is ever to return to his Angel.
Excerpt: Angel’s Hero
Even as he entered the diner to find Aaron waiting, Jordan still struggled to believe that he’d persuaded Aaron Larson to leave the mixer by using the worst pick up line ever. But as he’d stood across the room, all he could think was, Angels should smile. I’m going to see if I can change his mood. Jordan’s gaydar had sharpened as soon as he’d entered the military and hitting on the wrong person could cost him his job.
“Hey Angel,” Jordan said, taking a seat at the booth.
“Are you honestly going to continue calling me that?”
“Is it going to continue making you blush?” Jordan countered, deepening the red in the man’s cheeks even further. “I’ll stop if it bothers you.”
Aaron shook his head. “Doesn’t bother me. It is an odd descriptor for someone you only met a half hour ago. Unless you make a habit of judging people by their appearance.”
Appearance tells more than most people like to admit, but Jordan would get there eventually. “Fair enough. What if we got to know each other a little better and reevaluated if Angel fits you?” Jordan posed, opening the menu.
“Okay. It won’t,” Aaron told him. “The burgers here are fantastic if you’re a meat eater.”
Jordan raised his eyebrow. “Do I look like a vegetarian?”
“Now not only do angels all look the same, but vegetarians, as well?” Aaron threw back.
“That has a biological basis. Vegetarians eat less protein and therefore build less muscle than people who eat from all the food groups,” Jordan said.
“Every single vegetarian in the history of the world consumes less protein than the general population?” Aaron asked.
Jordan raised his hands in surrender. “I need some food before entering into verbal volleyball.” He ordered French fries and a cheeseburger from the waitress. His jaw dropped when Aaron requested a salad. Jordan quickly closed his mouth so as not start another debate,
but damn if Aaron wasn’t proving Jordan’s point about body types by eating salad instead of meat.
“By the way, I’m not a vegetarian. I am selective with what goes in my body,” Aaron clarified, seemingly reading Jordan’s thoughts.
“Yeah? That’s good to know.”
Aaron rolled his eyes. “You’re infuriating.”
Jordan smiled. “You like it.”
“Why would you say that?” Aaron asked.
“Still here, aren’t you?”
Releasing a breath, Aaron said, “Yes, yes. What makes you think I’m an angel?”
“What makes you think you’re not?” Jordan leaned back to assess the man across from him. He had to ensure he was not pushing too far. But so far Aaron seemed to be enjoying his annoyance, because no matter what he said, Aaron kept the tiniest smile.
“Do you always answer a question with a question?”
Jordan fused their gazes. “Only when your answer is more important than mine. See, I called you Angel because the light made your hair shine. And… every other time I have seen you, you’ve been helping someone.”
Aaron tilted his head to the side. “What are you talking about? We haven’t met before tonight.”
“No, but I’ve seen you around. First time was six weeks ago in the writing center at Georgetown. You were working with a football player to keep his scholarship. Then last week, you stopped a dog from getting hit by a car,” Jordan told him.
The conversation paused as they thanked the waitress for their drinks. Once she left, Aaron asked, “Have you been stalking me?”
Had he truly been concerned about sitting across from a dangerous stalker, Aaron’s voice would have heightened and his body would be stiff. Neither of those things was the case, so Jordan smiled and replied, “No, I happened to be in the writing center working with a tutor at the same time as you, and I was jogging across the street when you saved the dog. At that point, I would have stopped to introduce myself, but I had a drill sergeant screaming a few paces behind me.”
Aaron’s gaze darted around room before leaning closer and lowering his voice. “Speaking of drill sergeants, we need to discuss you being out with me in your uniform. I never had a closet to come out of, so if you’re seen with me, people would have reason to be suspicious.”
Jordan caught Aaron’s smoldering grey eyes, covered his hand with his own, and took note of the other man’s tripping pulse. “Relax. My comrades know. My superiors have guessed. Could the wrong person start trouble? Sure, but my private life has never interfered with my job or schoolwork. It never will.”
“So you’re telling me that you’re the exception to the law? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell doesn’t apply to you?”
“Of course it does, but the fact is I’m smarter than most people. I can read a room within seconds of walking in. I have never once incurred bullying for my sexuality. I don’t hit on men who aren’t gay, and I avoid flamboyant men. They would get me in trouble.” Jordan moved his hand, but kept eye contact. “If I want to get to know someone, I don’t let my job stop me. Granted, certain things are more difficult. For example, I can’t bring my partners as dates to work events, and it’s probably a bad idea to take them on base.”
When not with her heroes, Liz enjoys exploring cities, working toward social justice, and editing for other authors. Liz is less than three months from obtaining her Masters’ degree in English and published nine books since 2010.