Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States. I grew up near a Navy base and my father worked there as a civilian electronics engineer. My uncle was in the Air Force, my first husband was an ex-marine. So I have a lot respect and love for our military. Thank you, all of you, for your service.
Then my oldest son joined the Army. Yep – I’m an Army Mom. Regardless of what I feel about any particular choices of our government, I have a huge amount of love and respect for our military and those who volunteer to serve our country. I find Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell especially heartbreaking and I had already had a germ of the idea for Forsake Not for a while but when I heard MLR Press was going to produce an anthology for Veteran’s Day this year based around Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I had to submit Forsake Not.
The anthology is available TODAY from MLR Press. I’m sure it will appear on other sites soon but it’s out NOW! And, as always, I’d love to hear what you think!
Our men and women in uniform sacrifice daily to serve our country. But what about the additional, voluntary sacrifice that each gay person in the military makes daily when they don their uniform? We ask these men and women to not only serve their country but serve in silence and denial, sacrificing not only their physical lives but their emotional ones too by denying them their right to love. Four talented authors weave tales that describe how living a lie pulls at the hearts and souls of good servicemen, whose only desire is to do their duty to their country…honorably. In AFTERBURNER, two fighter pilots let their hearts soar despite regulations. THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE STORE provides a glimpse into the U.S. Army prior to the institutionalization of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A sniper and infantryman find that love eases the pain of being forsaken in FORSAKE NOT. And STRATEGIC MANEUVERS reveals the intricate steps that can lead to love while in uniform.
Here’s a new excerpt for you to enjoy.
(c) 2010 by Maura Anderson
Leo jolted awake, bolted upright and reached out for his gun only to realize it wasn’t there. Hell, he wasn’t in his hootch at all. He wasn’t in Iraq anymore or even his base barracks. He rubbed his dry, scratchy eyes and forced them to focus on the sterile hotel room he’d rented, as his pulse slowed to a less panicked rate. A quick scan of the room showed nothing amiss. Why had he woken up?
He was in the hotel near Arlington he’d checked into yesterday when he’d decided to stay in Virginia instead of doing what he usually did on leave; hanging about on base. At least it was one of the longer-stay hotels, so he had a small kitchen and sitting room as well as a bedroom. It made it seem a little more like a home, however temporary— not that he’d really had one of those since the day after his high school graduation. The same day he’d enlisted in the Army. The same day he’d come out to his father who’d immediately disowned him, and hadn’t spoken or communicated with him since. As far as his father was concerned now, he had never existed, and if he had other relatives, he didn’t know them.
A wave of loneliness swept through him. The Army had become his focus and it seemed strange to be off-base and out of his normal life. The life he’d sacrificed a lot for, but the life that gave him a purpose and a feeling that he could make a difference. The life that might be ripped away because of one stupid loss of control. He needed to get his head on straight and he wanted to be near Terry until he had some idea of what was going to happen after his attack on Barker, and his announcement that he was gay. To hell with getting tricked into violating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; no one had even had to trick him or ask, he’d nearly screamed his secret out instead. It seemed like a smart idea to not be near the base, or his fellow soldiers, right now.
God, he was a fucking moron.
Leo dropped his head into his hands and groaned. How could he have been so stupid? His cell phone chirped from across the room, and Leo’s head jerked upright. What the hell? No one ever seemed to call him—no one that was still living, anyway. Maybe the battery was low or something.
He tossed the covers off his legs and eased out of bed, stiff despite spending the night on a bed more comfortable than he’d even seen in six months, let alone slept in. The rough skin of his boot-worn bare feet caught on the commercial grade carpet as he walked over to retrieve his phone. The display showed one missed call and a message, but he didn’t recognize the phone number listed. Maybe it was a wrong number.
Leo pressed the button to retrieve his voicemail and stretched a bit while he waited through the stock voicemail greeting. When prompted, he pressed the button to play the recorded message.
“Lion, it’s Star. Sorry to interrupt your leave but I wanted to let you know I overheard Barker saying he reported the bar incident and what you said about being a fag to the CO today.” A long pause and Star continued, sounding a bit hesitant. “The team is behind you, you know. We have your six. Barker is a worthless ‘git and should be shot by someone— not necessarily the enemy either. I’ll let you know more as I get any intel. Later.”
Oh, crap. It had happened. What the fuck was he supposed to do now? Maybe he could just lie and say he wasn’t gay at all; that he’d just said it to piss off Barker because he’d insulted a dead friend and teammate. It would be his word against Barker’s then, and the team would probably back him. No one trusted Barker anyway. God, but he hated lying, and he hated making other people lie for him even more.
But if he admitted he was gay, his career was down the crapper. He’d get discharged and not only would he be alone, he wouldn’t have the Army or the job he loved either.
Why the fuck had he been so stupid?
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