And So It Starts…

My BFF talked me into trying my hand at writing. This will be the public site for my posting, my WIP comments, Short Stories, Poems, and just general thoughts on my writing journey. I welcome everyone to read and post comments. Constructive criticism is welcome, trolls…not so much. ;}

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Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 3

So here’s a snippet from chapter 3 of Polar Shift. This Sig Olson and Holly Rowan’s story. I’m still working on which direction I want to go with story.

 

The silence lengthened as they drove out of Mistletoe and toward the NPI building that housed the med center on the edge of town. Nether one of them knew what to say. After fifteen long minutes the front of a sleek, white two story building came into view. It was in the middle of a flat, snowy area, the perimeter of the building surrounded by dim lights. Sig brought the SUV to a halt in front of the steps leading up to the doors. Holly shifted in her seat, reaching with one hand to unlatch her seatbelt, the bag with now cold dinner gripped in her other one. Sig turned his head, studying at her.

“We need to talk, Holly.” His tone was throaty. Her eyes flashed to his face, already shaking her head no. “Yes,” he reached over and fingered a strand of red hair that had escaped her pony tail when she’d pushed back her hood after getting in the car. He stared at his fingers as he caressed the silken strands between them.

Holly stilled. “Mistletoe is a small town, Holly, we see each other around town, we work in the same building and I don’t want what…”

“Don’t,” she said, her voice quivering as she too watched his stroking fingers.

“We have unfinished business…”

Unfinished business?” She looked at him now, her eyes in the shadowy car narrowed on him. “Was that all I… we were to you? Business?” She wrenched her hair free of his touch and fumbled with the door handle, thrusting it open and sliding out of the car.

“Holly, wait!” Sig throw open his own door, appearing next to her before she could even blink. He grasped both of her arms, her bagged dinner falling to the snowy ground as he pinned them to her side. “You know that’s not true.” He insisted quietly.

“Do I?” she countered. “What I do know is that I thought we had something between us, Sig. Something…” She broke off and took in a deep breath of the icy night air and glared up at him. “You know, just skip it. Forget those six months in the Afghan desert, forget that I fell in love with you, forget the plans we made before you…” She couldn’t finish.

Tears pooled in her eyes but she’d be damned if she let him see them. She jerked back, struggling to free herself from his grasp. Sig tightened his grip on her, tugging her into his arms, trapping her arms between their bodies. He tilted his head, his lips hovering just above hers.

“I haven’t forgotten a fucking thing.” He rasped, his eyes locked with hers.

“Let me go-”

“Not a chance in hell, sweetheart.” His lips crashed down on hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth when she gasped.

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 2

A sneak peak at Polar Shift, chapter 2. It’s not edited, so be aware if that!

 

 

Holly shivered, tingles racing through her body. “It feels like I’m being…” She frowned, peering around the diner until her eyes found the big man setting in the corner. She dragged in a sharp breath as he stared at her, need flashing across his face for a moment before a shield of indifference slide into place.

“Being what?” Kandy asked, following Holly’s gaze to the guy at the corner table. “Ahh…” Sig was staring at Holly, his face stoic. Anyone observing the two of them together would realize something had taken place between them before coming to Mistletoe. She’d asked Holly once, but the Holly declared it was the past and better left there.

She’d asked Rudy if he had any notion what had transpired, since he’d known Sig from thier SEAL days. But he’d just shook his head and grumbled something along the lines of it not being any of his business.

“Come on, hon,” Kandy touched Holly’s arm. “Let’s get you seated and fed.” She waited for the other woman’s gaze to break away from Sig’s and focus back on her. “Holly?”

With a shiver, Holly looked from Sig to Kandy, and with a quiet sigh, nodded. “Thanks, Kandy, but I’ll just take something to go.” She lifted a hand and rubbed her right temple. “I have a mountain of paper work to finish on the poisoned shifters that were released today. I’ll eat when I get back to med center.” Both women walked to the bar and Holly slid onto a stool before picking up a menu from where it was stuck between the salt and pepper shakers. Kandy walked around the bar and stopped in front of Holly.

“Are you positive you want it to go, Holly?” She peeked to where Sig was sitting, noting his eyes had followed them and were locked onto Holly’s back.

“He’s staring at me, isn’t he?” Holly asked with a sigh.

Kandy nodded. “Yeah.” She narrowed her gaze on Sig. “Try to ignore him.”

Holly gave a low snort before shaking her head. “Easier said than done, Kandy.” She stared down at the menu. “I’m just beat right now. That’s the only reason seeing him bothers me.” Lier! Her inner voice grunted.

That same voice had called her a coward when she’d wanted to turn around and run back to Seattle on seeing Sig Olson stalking toward her in the small Deadhorse, Alaska airport. To say it was a shock to him was like saying a hurricane was gentle summer’s rain. Holly shook her head, struggling to clear out the memory of that encounter. Lost in thought, she started when Kandy cleared her throat.

“So… what will it be tonight, girlfriend?”

“Umm…” Holly wrinkled her nose as she decide what she wanted. “I’ll have the…”

“Rudy’s Kickass Mac n Cheese?” Kandy was already writing it down on her notepad as she chuckled. Rudy’s had great food and the best Alaskan brewed ales and Holly told herself she was going to try everything that was on the menu at least once. But not tonight.

“God, I’m so predictable!” Holly grimaced. “Yeah, the mac n cheese.” So much for trying something new, she thought. But damn, Rudy’s mac n cheese was to die for. Just thinking about food had her stomach rumbling loudly . She felt her face heating up and realized she was turning a nice pink shade.

“Please, tell me only the two of us heard that?” Holly groaned, her hands covering her face in embarrassment. She dropped her hands and peered up as Kandy started to giggle.

“I… I want to say we were the only two, but…” The words sounded a bit breathless, her giggles turning into chuckles. “The place is full of shifters, elves, and who knows what else. All with super-duper hearing.” Kandy sucked in a tremendous breath before blowing it all right back out, struggling to reclaim some control. Once she had, she sobered and glowered at her friend. “Did you even eat today?” There was worry in her voice.

“I had a banana and a cappuccino at work this morning.” Kandy had to lean over the counter to catch her words.

“And that was when this morning?” Kandy stepped back, frowning, palms on her curvy hips.

“Umm… around six or six-thirty this morning.”

Kandy threw up her arms and rolled her eyes. “No wonder your belly is loud!” She turned and with a few brief steps slapped Holly’s order on the counter between the bar and kitchen. “One mac n cheese to go, sweetcheeks!” A growl sounded and Rudy’s rich, rough voice came from kitchen.

“Told ya, babe, don’t call me that while we’re workin’.”

Holly laughed as Kandy stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry at her mate. There was an abundance of love there and she envied the bond between the blond and her reindeer shifter mate. She’d had that, once, with… Stop! Don’t think about him. Kandy turned her attention back to her friend and shook a finger at her.

“For god’s sake, Holly, you’re a doctor! You know better then go with eating.” She huffed. “I mean, you get on other people about taking care of themselves, especially in this weather.”

“Yeah, I realize that, Kandy.” Holly admitted. She was aware that she didn’t always follow her own advice. “I’ll try harder, OK?” She grinned.

“OK, OK,” Kandy narrowed her eyes as she studied her friend. “But if you don’t, I’ll call Jamie and we’ll both show up to be sure you taking care of yourself.”

“Order up!” The shout came from the kitchen and Kandy walked to where Rudy had deposited a large, insulated bag on the counter. “One mac n cheese to go!”

Kandy puckered her kips and blew her mate a kiss. He smirked and wiggled his eyebrows at her.

“Yeah… promises, promises, big guy.” She teased as she walked back to Holly. “Here you go.” She handed the bag to her. “It should remain hot until you get back to the med center.”

“Thanks, Kandy.” Holly reached over the counter and squeezed her hand. Looking toward the kitchen, she yelled back “Thanks, Rudy!” He grunted at her and brandished the large spatula he was using in her direction.

“Be careful out there, Holly.” Kandy tilted her head toward the exit. “It’s nasty cold out there. Where are parked?”

“I’m not.” Kandy’s eyebrows wrinkled at that. “I got a lift with one of the lab techs who was headed this way. He dropped me off a few from blocks here.”

“So how are getting back?”

“I’ll order an Uber and wait outside for it.” Mistletoe may be small but they did have most things big towns did, Uber was one of them. Well…sort of Uber. Theirs consisted of one snowmobile, a newer snow cat, and one eight dog sled team. Kandy frowned.

“You shouldn’t be standing around outside in this weather.” Her gazed shifted past Holly to a place behind her. Holly tensed, her body stiffening, tingles racing up and down her spine.

“She’s not going to be.” Sig said from behind Holly. Deep and smoky, it sent quivers through her. “She’s leaving with me.”

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 1

I’m working on book two of the Mistletoe, North Pole series featuring Commander Sig Olson and Doctor Holly Rowan. It’s been slow going so far as these two are being stubborn about talking to me. This excerpt is from chapter one. It’s a rough draft.

 

Sig Olson sat at a small table in the corner of Rudy’s Diner, his back to the wall, nursing a large, frosted bottle. He scanned the door as people arrived and left. He noticed everything that was going on around him in the diner. Sig’s position as commander of security for North Pole, Incorporated, and by extension the town of Mistletoe, North Pole, meant a part of him was always vigilant.

Christian Kringle and his mate, Jamie Winters, had been attacked few weeks ago. The man behind the violence, Jackson Frost, never made it to the Paranormal Correctional compound in Alaska. Sig had been notified via email to be exercise cation as the plane carrying the man responsible had disappeared in an epic snow storm on Christmas Eve. That was twelve days ago. A PCC team sent to search for the plane found it along with it’s crew. But no Frost, the man was missing.

Sig lifted the bottle into the air, catching the eye of the tall, buxom blond waitress making the rounds with a coffee pot. She nodded her head at him before filling the mugs on the table she was standing next to. A pair of tight jeans and soft gray t-shirt hugged every curve of her body as she headed to Sig’s table. She could turn the heads of every man in the room. No one watched her as she worked the tables, knowing that Rudy would hand any man his head on a platter if they came on to her in any manner.

“Hey, Sig.” Kandy stopped next to the table and sit the coffee pot on it. “Need another brew?” She nodded her head to the almost empty bottle in his hand. “Or something to eat?”

“Kandy.” He lifted the bottle to his mouth and drained it before smiling at her. “How’s Rudy doing?” Kandy’s mate, Rudy, had been attacked and injured a few days before Christmas Eve by Jackson Frost. The psychopath’s family carried a long festering resentment against the Kringle family over the generations. In an attempt lure Christian Kringle to a deserted toy shop to kill him, Frost had kidnapped Christian’s new mate. Kandy’s smile wavered as she remembered and he saw pain flash through her eyes.

Kandy was silent for a few moments. “He’s fine. We’re both fine.” Sig doubted they were both fine but he didn’t comment. Rudy was a tough as nails ex SEAL who happened to be a reindeer shifter. He seen and done a lot over the years, so Sig wasn’t surprised to hear he was doing OK. But Kandy, she was human and it was tougher for her to put Rudy’s almost dying and her best friend’s kidnapping behind her. “So,” Kandy’s smile returned, maybe not as bright as it been before. “What can I bring you, Sig?”

“Ribeye, rare.” Sig didn’t need to see the menu to know what he wanted. “Baked potato, butter and sour cream on the side, and a large salad, no dressing.” He waited as she wrote it on her pad. “And another ale, please.”

“Sure thing,” Kandy looked at him. “Another Alaskan Winter? Or are you feeling… adventurous… tonight, big guy?” She grinned at him. Sig’s eyes narrowed in mock suspicion.

“Are flirting with me, Kandy?” He asked. He leaned closer to her. “Just what kind of adventure did you have in mind?” His voice was low and amused. Kandy turned a nice shade of pale pink but before she could speak, a booming voice bellowed from the kitchen. Even through he kept his voice low, he knew Rudy could hear him. Shifter hearing was beyond excellent.

“No flirting with my woman, Sig!” Sig looked over to the pass through behind the bar. Rudy was glowering at him and Kandy, a huge metal spoon clutched in one hand. Sig grinned as he fisted one hand, his middle finger offering Rudy a one finger salute. The place grew quit, watching and listening to the exchange.

Both Kandy and Sig spoke at the same time.

“Can’t help it if she’d rather have an adventure with me then with you, old man.”

“Oh my god! Will you two stop it!” She was laughing now and within moments both Sig and Rudy were grinning. Soon laughter and chuckles filled the diner as people returned to what they’d been doing.

“So, I’ll ask again,” Kandy challenged, “Feeling adventurous?”

Sig leaned back in his chair again and nodded. “Sure, what do you have?”

“A brand new dark ale, brewed just for the diner.” She eyed Sig. “Tomas has been dabbling in home brewing and came up one just for us. He’s called it Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale.”

“What’s it taste like?” Tomas was one NPI’s List Keepers. He’d been attacked the week before Christmas while transferring the Naughty and Nice lists to digital. Both lists had been stolen in a try to derail Christmas. Like all the paranormals attacked that week, he made a rapid recovery. Sig hadn’t known he was into making his own beer through.

“It’s nutty with hints of candy cane and sugar plum.” Sig grimaced, it sounded cavity inducing. “Don’t look like that, Sig” Kandy swatted his shoulder with her order pad. “It’s not so sweet you can’t drink it. Like I said, it’s more nutty than sweet.”

“OK, OK,” he responded. “I’ll try one. But only for you, sweetheart.” He winked at her when a growl rumbled from the kitchen.

Kandy rolled her eyes before she turned on her heel and walked to the kitchen pass through, slapping Sig’s order onto the counter between the kitchen and the bar. Rudy looked up from the grill and made kissing noises in her direction. She sighed softly and did the same to him. He offered her cocky grin as he reached out one long arm and plucked the order up.

“Love you, babe.” He mouthed and she melted. This huge man owned her heart and it sent shivers of fear through her at the memory of how close she’d come to losing him.

“Love you always.” She murmured back before pulling up a bottle of Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale from the cooler and taking it back to Sig.

 

 

Polar Shift And Rewriting

 

 

 

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past two, maybe three years of writing is that you’ll always be rewriting. And rewriting! This is where I’m at with Polar Shift. I had three chapters done, even posted them here. But rereading those chapters as a whole I find I’m not happy with them. I love them, just not for this book. They were angsty, way darker then I wanted, and  just not the direction I wanted to take the story.

Santa Baby was lighter and I want to keep the series that way. So… I rewrote chapter one one day last week. I hauled my butt, my new tablet, and Polar Shift off to our new local Starbucks and knocked most of the rewrite in just under 3 hours. I’ve done some light editing and now I’m going to post the new and (I hope) improved chapter one!

 

Sig Olson sat at a small table in the corner of Rudy’s Diner, his back to the wall, nursing a large, frosted bottle. He idly scanned the door as people arrived and left. He noticed everything that was going on around him in the diner.

To anyone watching him, he’d just look like a guy having a beer on a wintry evening after work. They’d be mistaken. Sig’s position as commander of security for North Pole, Incorporated, and by extension the town of Mistletoe, North Pole, meant a part of him was constantly vigilant.

He needed to be. With everything that had happened over the last few weeks and now the man behind the violence never making it to the Paranormal Correctional compound in Alaska. The airplane that had retrieved the man responsible had disappeared in an epic snow storm on Christmas Eve. Sig had been notified via email to be exercise cation until a PCC team could locate the crash scene and report back.

Sig lifted the bottle into the air, catching the eye of the tall, buxom blond waitress making the rounds with a coffee pot. She nodded her head at him before filling the mugs on the table she was standing next to. A pair of tight jeans and soft gray t-shirt hugged every curve of her body as she headed to Sig’s table. She could turn the heads of every man in the room. No one watched her as she worked the tables, knowing that Rudy would hand any man his head on a platter if they came on to her in any manner.

“Hey, Sig.” Kandy stopped next to the table and sit the coffee pot on it. “Need another brew?” She nodded her head to the nearly empty bottle in his hand. “Or something to eat?”

“Kandy.” He lifted the bottle to his mouth and drained it before smiling at her. “How’s Rudy doing?” Kandy’s mate, Rudy, had been attacked and injured a few days before Christmas Eve by Jackson Frost. The psychopath’s family had carried a long festering resentment against the Kringle family over the generations. In an attempt lure Christian Kringle to a deserted toy shop to kill him, Frost had kidnapped Christian’s new mate. Kandy’s smile wavered as she remembered and he saw pain flash through her eyes.

Kandy was silent for a few moments. “He’s fine. We’re both fine.” Sig had his doubts they were both fine but he didn’t comment. Rudy was a tough as nails ex SEAL who happened to be a reindeer shifter. He seen and done a lot over the years, so Sig wasn’t surprised to hear he was doing OK. But Kandy, she was human and it was tougher for her to put Rudy’s nearly dying and her best friend’s kidnapping behind her. “So,” Kandy’s smile had returned, maybe not as bright as it been before. “What can I bring you, Sig?”

“Ribeye, rare.” Sig didn’t need to see the menu to know what he wanted. “Baked potato, butter and sour cream on the side, and a large salad, no dressing.” He waited as she wrote it on her pad. “And another ale, please.”

“Sure thing,” Kandy looked at him. “Another Alaskan Winter? Or are you feeling… adventurous… tonight, big guy?” She grinned at him. Sig’s eyes narrowed in mock suspicion.

“Are flirting with me, Kandy?” He asked. He leaned closer to her. “Just what kind of adventure did you have in mind?” His voice was low and amused. Kandy turned a nice shade of pale pink but before she could speak, a booming voice bellowed from the kitchen. Even through he kept his voice low, he knew Rudy could hear him. Shifter hearing was beyond excellent.

“No flirting with my woman, Sig!” Sig looked over to the pass through behind the bar. Rudy was glowering at him and Kandy, a huge metal spoon clutched in one hand. Sig grinned as he fisted one hand, his middle finger offering Rudy a one finger salute. The place had grown quit, watching and listening to the exchange.

Both Kandy and Sig spoke at the same time.

“Can’t help it if she’d rather have an adventure with me then with you, old man.”

“Oh my god! Will you two stop it!” She was laughing now and within moments both Sig and Rudy were grinning. Soon laughter and chuckles filled the diner as people returned to what they had been doing.

“So, I’ll ask again,” Kandy challenged, “Feeling adventurous?”

Sig leaned back in his chair again and nodded. “Sure, what do you have?”

“A brand new dark ale, brewed just for the diner.” She eyed Sig. “Tomas has been dabbling in home brewing and came up one just for us. He’s called it Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale.”

“What’s it taste like?” Tomas was one NPI’s List Keepers. He’d been attacked the week before Christmas while transferring the Naughty and Nice lists to digital. Both lists had been stolen in a try to derail Christmas. Like all the paranormals attacked that week, he made a rapid recovery. Sig hadn’t known he was into home brewing through.

“It’s nutty with hints of candy cane and sugar plum.” Sig grimaced, it sounded cavity inducing. “Don’t look like that, Sig” Kandy swatted his shoulder with her order pad. “It’s not so sweet you can’t drink it. Like I said, it’s more nutty than sweet.” She peered at him expectantly.

“OK, OK,” he responded. “I’ll try one. But only for you, sweetheart.” He winked at her when a growl rumbled from the kitchen.

Kandy rolled her eyes before she turned on her heel and walked to the kitchen pass through, slapping Sig’s order onto the counter between the kitchen and the bar. Rudy looked up from the grill and made kissing noises in her direction. She sighed softly and did the same to him. He offered her cocky grin as he reached out one long arm and plucked the order up.

“Love you, babe.” He mouthed and she melted. This huge man owned her heart and it sent shivers of fear through her at the memory of how close she’d come to losing him.

“Love you always.” She murmured back before pulling up a bottle of Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale from the cooler and taking it back to Sig.

Sig looked at the bottle of dark, reddish ale that Kandy sit it in front of him. There was a picture of the diner on the label, with a reindeer paw print stamp in one corner. With a sigh, he picked it up and took a small sip. His eyes widened in astonishment. A full but delicate nutty flavor burst over his tongue, accompanied by minor notes of peppermint and sugar plum. “Damn,” he murmured. “Shit’s good.” He tilted the bottle up again and took a deeper drink.

It seemed that in no time, Kandy returned with his meal. She placed a wooden platter in front of him with a sizzling plate on it. The aroma of perfectly seared steak wafted around his head and his mouth started to water. Next to it was a huge, steaming potato with butter and sour cream in small ceramic tubs and a big green salad. Being a big guy, and a polar bear, he could pack away enormous volumes of food. Tonight, he’d gone for a lighter dinner. Another bottle of ale appeared in front of him.

“Thanks, Kandy.”

“Enjoy, Sig,” She smiled at him. “Let me know if you need anything else.” She strolled away and Sig picked up his knife and fork.

About half through his meal, the front door opened and a burst of freezing air swirled into the diner. He peered up from his plate and stiffened. The figure that entered pushed back the hood of her parka and dragged her ear muffs off, before removing her gloves. Sig’s eyes followed her hands as long, elegant fingers tugged her parka’s zipper down. So focused on the woman’s movements, his meal was forgotten. He stared as she slipped out of it up and hung it on a peg by the door before, with a smile, she waved at Kandy.

That smile had Sig’s inner polar bear roaring in his head, wanting out. Sig pushed hard at his bear, driving the animal back. He recognized what his bear wanted, he wanted the woman now walking toward the diner’s bar.

“Fuck,” He cursed under his breath. “Holly…” His bear grumbled when he said her name. She was the last person he needed to see right now.

Doctor Holly Rowen. Head of North Pole Inc. medical center and his mate. The mate that had his bear prowling and growling inside of him now.

The mate he’d left behind in the dry, gritty sands of Afghanistan.

Polar Shift – Chapter 3 Excerpt

Combat Outpost Khilagay, Afghanistan – 2011

It was December in Afghanistan and a faint dusting of snow blanketed the dirt of the outpost. But it was stifling in the tent housing the or, the heaters running at peak as the temperature outside dipped below freezing.

Faint Christmas music drifted in each time the or doors swung open to admit another casualty, transfer a patient to the neighboring recovery tent. Or when removing a body to the smaller tent set up as morgue.Just after breakfast a call came that the SEAL team assigned to the territory around the outpost had been ambushed in a small Afghan village. Three of the eight man squad were injured during the attack, as well as the young Afghan man… boy really… that served as interrupter for the team. More than a few of the friendly villagers had been hurt as well. Once the fighting ended, all the wounded had been evacuated back to the outpost for treatment.

Air Force Captain Holly Rowan’s forehead creased in concatenation as she focused on stopping the blood that spilled from the young Afghan man’s body. The organized chaos of the tent that served as the Forward Surgical Element (FSE) operating room barely registered as she worked. More of an irritation was the ever present flies that buzzed around her head and her patient. The Army nurse standing across from her shooed them away from the young man’s open wounds. A bead of sweat formed on her temple, gradually slipping down the side of her already damp face.

“Shit…” Blood splashed the front of her blue scrubs. “Get a clamp on that bleeder!” The medic next to her reached in and clamped it off.

“Got it, doc.” A soft southern drawl assured her.

“Vitals?” There was too much blood, too much damage. “Come on, kid…” Holly muttered behind her mask. “Don’t die on me…”

“Bp is seventy over forty, pulse irregular, respiration…” the nurse across from her broke off as a loud beep sound from the monitor. She shifted to glance at Holly. “We’ve lost him!”

“Shit…shit…shit….” Hands flying, Holly continued to work on the young man, “Hang more units of blood and bag him.” Her mind raced as it searched for a way to save this kid’s life. He’d been hanging out around the camp for the last two years, becoming a part of the daily existence in the dirt that was Combat Outpost Khilagay. The SEALs took him under their wing, giving him small tasks to do and errands to run before accepting him as a translator when meeting with the locals. Everyone in the camp seemed to adopt the bright, grinning young man. Aamir was only seventeen and she would not let him die.

Holly glanced up at the screaming monitor, seeing all the lines flat on it.

“No… no…” She hissed. “Come on… live damn it.” As if willing it to provide some hint of activity.

Nothing.

“I need more blood…” A hand settled on her shoulder.

“Enough.” Major Dawson, the post commander, spoke from behind her. “You can’t do anything further for him, Captain.” His tone was quiet but there was hint of steel in it. “We still have people that need our help.”

“It’s… it’s Aamir, Major.” He acknowledged her words with a slight squeeze of her shoulder.”I know, Holly.” Sorrow colored his voice, the use of her name offering his support. It was always hard to lose a patient, but when it was someone you considered a friend, the was so much harder.

Polar Shift – Chapter 2 Excerpt

Doctor Holly Rowan clutched at the armrests of the small commuter plane as it rocked side to side. The winds sweeping across the runway seemed to think the landing plane was a ping pong ball it could bounce around. Deadhorse, Alaska was flat and open to the winds that swept in from the arctic sea, making any landing hard. Flying wasn’t a problem for her. She had been in the Air Force and had flown in many different types of aircraft, and in all types of weather during her service.

But seeing the older, bright red Cessna 206H Stationair setting on the tarmac in Fairbanks, it’s single prop spinning, a fissure of dread had run through her. The plane looked dirty, battered and so… so small. Smaller than anything she’d ever flown on in her years in the Air Force.

The planed dipped to the left and her grip tightened to the point that her bluntly trimmed fingernails almost pierced the leather armrests. “Oh god… please just let us get on the ground in one piece.” A glance out of the window showed the plane just coming in over the end of the landing strip.

It rocked right for a second before leveling out. Holly released the breath she hadn’t even known she’d been holding as the plane touched down with some bumps and bounces. Once settled on the runway, it zipped toward a low roofed building midway down the tarmac. Holly pulled her cell phone from the large carry on bag she’d jammed under her seat and turned it on. She wanted to double check the information for last leg of her journey.

“Crap!” The plane made a bumpy right turn and her phone slipped through her fingers, thudding to the floor at her feet. Holly released a frustrated sigh and leaned forward to pick it up only to have it slide out of reach under her seat. “Shit!” She bit out and reached for buckle of the seatbelt that rested low across her hips. The plane was still moving but if she was careful…

“Excuse me?” The voice came from the seat behind her and she turned sideways in her seat, leaning over the arm rest to see a girl holding her phone. “I think you dropped this?”

“Thank you so much!” Holly took her phone back with a small smile. “I worried it would get stepped on, bouncing around like that.”

“Oh, no problem. I’m Jilly Rose.” The girl introduced herself with a bright grin that had Holly smiling for the first time since leaving Seattle. Jilly had boarded the small plane in Fairbanks, along with two men. The men had gotten off at Fort Yukon, leaving the two women to go on to Deadhorse.

“Holly Rowan.” Holly offered with a small smile. “Nice to meet you, Jilly Rose.” It had been a quiet flight from Fort Yukon to Deadhorse. Both women had been lost in their own thoughts while the pilot was busy flying the plane.

“Just Jilly will do.” There was a loud “click” from behind Holly as Jilly slid forward in her seat. “Only my mama calls me Jilly Rose.”

“Welcome to Deadhorse, Alaska.” The pilot, a grizzled old man of indiscriminate age, boomed from the open cockpit over the plane’s noise. “And let’s keep those seat belts buckled until we’ve stopped rolling, OK folks?” He paused. “That means you, Jilly Rose!” A loud sigh sounded from behind Holly, followed by an audible click.

Holly grasped the end of her seatbelt and tugged on it once, making sure it was snug across her hips. The terminal building grew bigger as the plane darted toward it not seeming to slow down at all. Holly braced herself, sure that the plane’s brakes didn’t work and they were going to crash through the building. At the last minute, the pilot jammed pedals to the floor and took a hard left, coming to an abrupt standstill ten feet from the low building. The propeller slowly came to a stop as the old pilot turned his seat to address his passengers.

“OK, folks, we’ll be on the ground about twenty minutes, long enough to take on fuel, then be back in the air to Barrow.” He turned the other way and shouldered the door next to his seat open and rushed around the plane to open the larger door. “This is your stop, Miss.” Holly took the hand he held out and stepped to the ground. She swayed as the solid ground seemed to rock for a moment under her feet before.

One gnarled hand of the old pilot wrapped around her arm, steadying her. “Are you alright, Miss?” Concern filled his voice and Holly looked at him, seeing that same concerned echoed in his eyes

“I’m fine,” She’d regained her equilibrium and smiled. “Everything just rocked for a second.”

“Yeah, that happens sometimes, when you’ve been cooped up for a while.”

#VegasStrong

Words are hard to come by after what happened here in Las Vegas on Sunday. But I’ll start off with a simple we’re safe. Hubby and I were at home safe and sound Sunday night. His youngest daughter was staying with us that night too. She had been staying down on the Strip for a few days before that. She was with us to visit with her dad before flying home to Hawaii on Monday. We are so thankful she was here with us and on the Strip.

I watched things unfold on TV that night in shock. This is MY city! How could this be happening HERE? I was still in shock Monday.

In the aftermath of this horrific event, my city has come together to support those involved and those of us that, while not directly affected by it, still feel most of the same emotions. Shortly after this started, the citizens of Las Vegas were lining up to donate blood all over the valley, sometimes waiting over 12 hrs to give. Water and food was being delivered by regular people to our first responders and anyone that need care. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, the cab companies, Lyft are all offering services to people needing them. THIS is what makes America great! Our caring for each other. Now we just need to make that caring an everyday thing, not just something that we rise up to be in times of shocking events. I’m so proud to be a member of the Las Vegas community. And to the brave members of the police, the fire departments, ambulance crews, and other EMS. THANK YOU! You guys ROCK!

I had all these feelings inside of me, a jumble of words that I felt needed to be put in order. Finally, yesterday afternoon I mix those words with what I was feeling and posted them to my Facebook. This is what I said:

We have been through this before, someone starts shooting, people die, the news organizations run with 24 hour coverage. Collectively, we as a nation grieve and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. We use hash tags to show our support for communities affected by heinous violence.

But after last night, watching it happen in MY town, I understand that I really had no idea just how these acts of violence affect those living it.

I wasn’t at the concert last night. I don’t know if anyone I know was. I can’t imagine how those that were there or their families feel. But I do know how I feel right now. Anxious, shocked, afraid, helpless, confused.

I truly feel I now know how the people of those other communities felt.

I hope, with all my heart, that no one has to go through what my city of Las Vegas is going through right now.

I hope… but I expect this will happen again and again until we find a solution to the gun issues.

#LasVegasStrong #PrayforVegas