A guest post by Marilyn Pappano, author of the novel A Man to Hold On To.
In one of the first issues of the Navy Times that I ever read, there was an article written by an experienced wife about a trip to the commissary. While she was making her way through the produce section, she came upon a very young wife sobbing because the broccoli she’d chosen wouldn’t fit in the flimsy plastic bag.
I so related to that young wife, though I didn’t burst into tears at the commissary for another couple weeks, lol. I was 22, living out of state for the first time ever, halfway across the country from my family with an infant son and a husband stationed onboard a ship. Making friends was really tough for me; our household goods got lost in transit, so we lived six weeks without any furniture but a collapsible playpen; with my husband being junior enlisted, money was incredibly tight. I’d been all in favor of Bob going back into the Navy (he’d done a stint in Vietnam while I finished junior high and high school J) and serving our country. I just hadn’t known it would be so hard.
It was hard. And rewarding. And provided characters and settings for a lot of my books when I started writing. I grew up, living on the east coast and the west coast and in between. Bob got promotions, and the money got better, and my confidence grew over time. I had only one more crying jag (upon arriving in Augusta, Georgia, for a stint at the Army’s Fort Gordon, we wandered into a bad part of town; I was exhausted from the long trip and wanted to go back to San Diego now! But I got over it and came to love Augusta and the Army.)
Our last assignment was with the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Our infant was a strong, capable teenager, and I’d become a strong, capable person. When Bob’s battalion deployed to Okinawa for six months shortly after we arrived, I could handle it blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. In fact, I was the key wife, or liaison, between the command and the wives of the sailors in the medical department for that deployment. Instead of being the one in tears, I was the one helping my young wives cope, just as the older wife had helped the younger in that Times article I’d read.
I love being a Navy wife, I loved living surrounded by Marine wives, and I love writing about Army wives. For some, it’s not who they are; it’s just what they do. For the rest of us, when we married our Sailors and Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen, we married the service as well. We’re strong, and we make it possible for our spouses to do their job of protecting our country. For that, I salute us all!
Therese Matheson doesn’t know if she’ll ever get over losing her husband in Afghanistan. Surviving Paul’s death has been hard, but raising his sullen son and his thirteen-going-on-thirty daughter alone has been even harder. All they need is a fresh start, and Tallgrass, Oklahoma, could be the perfect new beginning…especially when Therese meets Sergeant Keegan Logan. The sexy combat medic and single dad soon awakens a desire she’d thought long buried.
Keegan always wanted to be a father…someday. So when his ex-girlfriend disappears, leaving her daughter in his care, Keegan’s hands are tied. He has to find the girl’s father. His search leads him to Tallgrass and to a beautiful brunette widow who has no idea her husband was ever unfaithful. What begins as a friendship soon ignites into something far more and gives him the courage to be the kind of man-and father-he always dreamt he could be. But his secret still stands between them. Can Keegan reveal the truth and convince Therese they share something too special to lose-a love that can bring two families together?
Marilyn Pappano’s Bio:
Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband’s Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.