Authors: Clare Revell
Tags: #christian Fiction
Forget-me-nots in September
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Forget-me-nots in September
COPYRIGHT 2016 by Clare Revell
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
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Contact Information: [email protected]
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.â¢ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
Cover Art by
White Rose Publishing, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410
White Rose Publishing Circle and Rosebud logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC
First White Rose Edition, 2016
Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-989-8
Published in the United States of America
and to all other military families, who sacrifices much to support their loved ones in their chosen career paths.
What People are Saying
â¦must hide for protectionâ¦ Oh, the heartbreak that starts this story makes you wish it is only a dream. Poor Liam. And talk about “destiny”â¦Liam and Jacqui, although the sparks fly from the start (that's not necessarily a good thing) are clearly meant to be together. The time they spend together is so sweet! But when the past rears its ugly, evil head, only God can lead them to peace and forgiveness. This story is truly a depiction of good vs. evil â and we all know how that story will end! Great story! Loved it! ~ Donna B Snow
Carnations in January shake the foundations
Violets in February are an aid to salvation
Daffodils in March bring betrayal and loss
Sweet peas in April consume all the dross
Lily of the Valley in May brings danger untold
Roses in June show hope in a heart filled with gold
Water lilies in July a town will submerge
Gladioli in August love from the ash will emerge
Forget-me-nots in September are on the front line of fear
Marigolds in October will test her career
Chrysanthemums in November show the burden of choice
Holly in December lets a broken family rejoice
Forget-me-nots in September are on the front line of fear
You are my hiding-place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
His back flat against the rocky overhang, Lieutenant Colonel Bev King sucked in a deep breath. His unit was cut off from the forward operating base, and he had a man down. Gunfire ricocheted in front of his men, and there was no sign of the chopper he'd requested. Radios were down, so maybe his call had never been received. Sending up prayers that he knew would be heard, Bev made the only choice he could under the circumstances. He had to get his team to safety, and if that meant laying down his life to do so, then that is what he'd do. Without question, hesitation, or pause.
Retreat was their only option.
Bev glanced up and down the overhang, before making rapid signs to his team. Getting nods that they understood, he gripped his gun and turned. Standing just enough for a clear line of sight, he laid down covering fire at the insurgents. “Go,” he yelled.
Bullets flew around him. Adrenaline flooded his system as he returned fire, trusting his team were doing as instructed. Chopper blades sounded from somewhere to his right. A loud explosion and bright light filled the air. The blast sent him flying backwards. He slammed into the ground, stars surrounding him.
“Bossâ¦boss, are you all right?”
Bev pushed the female medic attached to his unit aside and sat up. “I'm fine,” he said doing a quick mental tally of arms and legs. Nothing hurt more than it should. “Just need to get everyone out of here.”
“Then let's go. Everyone, move. Now.”
Back at the main base, Bev sat in the container that passed for his office and put the final touches to his report. Frank was being treated and would be airlifted home as soon as he was stable enough to withstand the ten-hour flight. But the outcome could have been so different.
This was Bev's third tour. He knew what to expect, but today had been a close call. Too close. For an instant he wasn't sure if the chopper had blown up or if he was dead, or both. He buried his head in his hands, pushing his fingers through his close cropped hair, and offered up a prayer of thanks for the fact that all his men had come back alive.
“I hear it was intense out there.” The clipped voice of his CO, Brigadier Charles Hereford-Jones, accompanied the knock on the door frame.
Bev glanced up. “We were ambushed. They knew we were coming.” He held out the report.
“We're already looking into it.” Brigadier Hereford-Jones took the document and held out an ebluey. “You missed mail call. Are you signing up for those dating agencies again?”
Bev gave him a wry smile. “It's a parcel sending service. Everyone is well vetted by the Ministry of Defence. These men and women don't expect a reply, though I try to send at least one letter. We get letters and parcels every so often. You should try it.”
“My wife sends me parcels.”
“Yes, but does she send paddling pools and blow up Santas? Or is she a tea, coffee, hankies, and BO basher person?”
“She is and the deodorant comes in very handy out here. Wait a second. Blow up Santas? Seriously?” Brigadier Hereford-Jones tilted his head in amusement.
“Oh, yeah. Smudge got light up boxers in his last box. Along with the normal tea, coffee, soap, and toothpaste. We also get soup, noodles, and ketchup. It's a touch of home out here in the desert. Most of the adopters who send boxes are married with six kids, but it gives them a chance to show their support and let us know we're not forgotten out here. Besides, I don't have time for romance. The military is a jealous mistress at times.”
“Never say never.” Brigadier Hereford-Jones ran his fingers over his wedding band.
“In all seriousness, sir, try it.” Bev pulled a leaflet from his drawer and held it out. “Several of the married lads do it. The âadopters', as they're known, aren't allowed to send photos of themselves, not even if we ask. Actually, they have a whole list of stuff they're not allowed to send. And if we get stuff we don't want, we share or swap it with the others.”
“I'll think about it. Thanks for this.” He waved the report. “Debrief in an hour, OK?”
Bev stood as his CO left the office, then sat back in his chair. He raised a hand to rub the back of his neck. His gaze caught the return address on the letter.
Jude Travis, 82 Raggleswood Crescent, Headley Cross.
An address he knew all too well, and not just because it was opposite Gran's house.
“Small world,” he muttered.
“What is, boss?”
Bev looked up. Steve Blackwood, his sergeant, stood in the doorway. “New adopter. She lives opposite Gran.”
“I got a letter, too. From somewhere in the Lakes. You could always drop in on yours when you go home for R and R.”
“And if she's forty, fat, and frumpy?”
“You'd get along like a house on fire. Come on, cheffo's got the kettle on for a brew before the debrief.”
“I'll read this firstâ¦”
“No, you won't. Blokes need you more than some letter does.”
Bev tucked the letter into his jacket pocket and stood, following Steve out into the blistering June heat.
Hours later, Bev was about to drop into bed when he remembered the letter. Tearing off the edges, he read by torch light.
Hi, Lt. Col. King.
My name is Jude Travis, and I've been given your name, rank and serial number by the Adopt a Squaddie service. I'm about to pack up and send out your first parcel. We're allowed to send six boxes per tour, plus an extra one at Christmas. I try to send one every three weeks, as we can't send six weeks before the end of your tour. So you'll probably get them all at once the day you leave as the post is rubbish here at times. I sent my cousin in Scotland a birthday card last month and it still hasn't arrived!
Anyway, like I said I'm Jude, just about the right side of thirty and married to my job. I work in a shop, well, actually, it's a bakers, well, actually, I run it, hence the being married to it bit. Early starts, late finishes, but I love it. What else can I say before this page shuts on me and I lose everything again? I dance, sing (not very well, but I do sing, and not just in the shower either), go to samba classes, and I'm thinking of taking up belly dancingâpurely for the shock value in church.
If you want anything in particular sent out just ask, and I'll do my best to get ahold of it and post it to you. Stay safe and I'll write again soon. Jude
Jude Travis checked the street in both directions before she unlocked the front door to her rented house. She dived in fast, shut the door, and almost stepped on the pile of mail on the mat. Bending down to retrieve it, she stroked the cat behind its ears. “Hello, Chesterfield. Did you miss me? Are you hungry?”
The cat meowed and tried to trip her up as she made her way into the kitchen. She checked the mail, tossing the envelopes one by one to the counter. Junkâ¦junkâ¦pay slip? It couldn't be. She didn't send herself pay slips through the post. Turning the letter over, she caught sight of an address on the top left. Strange. Return addresses normally go on the back of letters. It must be from abroad.
Looking closely, she almost jumped out of her skin. It was a BFPO address! It must be from her squaddie. With trembling fingers, she fed the cat that seemed determined to kill her if she didn't, and then shoved her dinner in the microwave.
Finally, she settled down to read. Her whole body tingled with excitement as she tore off the strips of paper sealing the edges.
Thanks for the letter. It came after a really bad day and made me smile. Especially the part about belly dancing in church. That would have made me laugh out loud if I hadn't been afraid I'd wake the rest of the lads.
Jude's cheeks burned hot. She hadn't meant that at all. Had she really put that? What else had she put that she shouldn't have done? She returned to the letter.
Although it does say somewhere about David dancing semi-naked before the Lord, I don't think the UK is warm enough for that. And my church definitely wouldn't approve any more than David's wife did.
What can I tell you about me? I'm a career soldier, in at eighteen and still here now, obviously, else neither of us would be doing this. I like football, support the Biscuit Men because someone has to even if they don't win muchâ¦
Jude frowned. She didn't follow football, but the Biscuit Men were Headley Wanderersâthe local team. Did that mean Lt. Col. King was a local lad? What were the chances of that happening?
I love peppermint tea, chocolate and cheese and onion crisps. There is one thing I've been cravingâaside from a decent book to readâand that's sweets. Do you remember penny sweets? Things like black jacks and parma violets. I loved those, but I haven't seen them in years. Anyway I'd better go as it's late and we have PT at 5 AM every morning. The unit CO is particularly tough on his men when they're late, so I'd better be on time or I'll never hear the end of it. It would be nice to have someone to talk with via e-bluey, now that we've connected by post. I'll send my information to you so that we can connect via Internet.