August in Texas is just not a pleasant place to be.
LOL! It's hot!
I posted this graphic last week on my personal Facebook page and it's so very true.
Right now, we are definitely dead in the middle of Summerer.
But I love Texas and that's why my first books are set here. There's a different feel to Texas.
For the most part, I grew up here (at least from the age of 10 when we moved to Midland...although we had done a few months in Amarillo when I was in kindergarten). I went to college here. Yes, Texas Tech in Lubbock TX where all three of the books (Operation: Endgame, Operation: Endeavor, and Operation: Endurance) are set ....and I am planning a series of four books on a ranch in Texas too.
So, as a writer, how do I combat that heat in my books? Margaritas and a pool!
Enjoy this excerpt from Operation: Endgame....
Cassie switched off the blender, stuck in a straw, and moaned in appreciation. “Yum. I’m officially the Queen of Making Margaritas.” She yelled out into the backyard at her best friends, Julie and Penelope, “Refills coming right up! Those glasses better be empty and in the air ready for more of my fabulously perfect margaritas.”
Cassie smiled and laughed as she sauntered through the back door, carrying the pitcher of margaritas and her own glass, already topped off. The semester ended the day before at Texas Tech University and they were spending the day lounging by the pool to celebrate the end of another academic year.
As a military history professor, Cassie would be headed to Europe in two weeks to spend the summer as a guest lecturer. The year before, Cassie acted as a military strategy consultant on a video game, called Endgame. It became a bestseller within three weeks of release and remained there ever since. Cassie’s interview on the video extras made her a celebrity and in high-demand as a guest lecturer. It promised to be a crazy summer, but for now, she was celebrating the freedom from responsibility and drinking accordingly. This was their third pitcher of margaritas and all three of them were pleasantly buzzed.
They were at Cassie’s cozy little bungalow just a couple of blocks from the campus. She adored this house and had lovingly restored it when she had inherited it from her grandfather, while she was still in college. That restoration included the addition of this oasis she now called her backyard. Chris, Jake, and she had spent two whole summers transforming it, but the work had been worth it. There were terraces filled with mood lighting, easy-to-care-for plants, outdoor speakers, and the piece de resistance….the pool which beckoned all of them in from the West Texas heat.
Today, it was Julie and Penelope who were beckoning her to come refill their empty glasses. They sat in the shade of the outdoor umbrella which loomed serenely over the café-style bistro tables. They were her best friends, next to Chris and Jake, but the three girls could not have looked and acted more different from each other.
Julie was the tiniest of the three. She was a physical therapist at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and also filled in as a physical trainer at the Fitness Center on campus. Her dark black hair was cut into a cute little pixie cut which fit her small frame and many times, she was mistaken for someone in junior high. At least, that was the case until she turned around and said person got a glimpse of her rack which would make any Playboy bunny envious. She was quiet, serious, and they all gave her a hard time about her OCD tendencies.
Penelope owned the local bookstore and taught yoga at the University Fitness Center. She had wavy honey colored long hair, startling jade green eyes, and a free-spirit attitude which made everyone love her from the very first. She was vivacious and outgoing and didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t an immediate friend. She was also flighty and a bit scatter-brained, but most people just learned that was part of her charm and overlooked the fact. Only her best friends knew that, for the most part, it was an act she used to hide her brilliant mind.
Cassie was tall, with a thick cascade of auburn hair. She grew up in Lubbock and had the Texas drawl to match. She’d always been a tomboy and very athletic. Now she channeled her athleticism through her running, which was almost like a religion to her. It was how she kept the margaritas from going to her hips, how she sorted through her lesson plans, and worked out the stresses which came from working at a high-stress University system. Also, it kept her fears about all the boys at bay so she could sleep at night.
They, the boys and her, had all grown up playing silly neighborhood war games, but those games established a love of the military for all of them, even Colton.
Colt was her older brother by four years. He went to Texas A&M through the Corps and was a Special Ops officer. He flew combat-ready C-130’s and was a Major stationed at RAF Mildenhall in England.
Jake, Chris, and Cassie all attended and graduated from Texas Tech. Jake and Chris went the ROTC route with Jake becoming a PJ- Pararescue Jumper for the Air Force. He spent his career as a military paramedic jumping into enemy territory rescuing downed pilots and Spec Ops guys who had run into trouble. Jake had just been selected for Major although he hadn’t been officially pinned on yet.
Chris was her twin, younger than her by 4 minutes, and a fighter pilot who flew F-22’s. He was a Captain in the Air Force and the consummate flirt of the group.
Colton was her older brother, Chris was her twin brother, and Jake was their best friend. They all three were in the Air Force and constantly in too much danger for her liking.
Cassie re-filled their glasses and then flopped down into one of the empty chairs. Julie asked, “Have you heard from any of the boys lately?”
“Colton called Sunday. He’s doing okay, although I still don’t think he’s dealing well with Dianna’s leaving him.” Cassie’s forehead scrunched up as she considered her older brother’s pending divorce. “Right now, he’s safely ensconced behind a desk playing commander in England. I hate that he lives so far away. I’m looking forward to getting to spend a little bit of time with him over the summer, so I’m hoping the desk duty continues.” She gave a mischievous grin, “No matter how much he hates it.” That grin quickly turned into a scowl as she continued. “He said he didn’t know where Jake and Chris are stationed right now, but he’s lying to me.”
Penelope looked at her questioningly. “Why do you think he was lying?”
Cassie shook her head. “I know my brothers too well. I could tell it from his voice. Besides,” she said, her voice cracking, “I’m having nightmares about Chris. Something’s wrong. I know it.”
Both of her friends suddenly looked worried. As twins, Chris and Cassie always had a unique connection. They simply knew when something was wrong with the other one. Cassie continued, “I’m sure I’ll hear from him soon. He’ll tell me he broke his toe or something and then I’ll feel stupid for getting all worked up about it. But until I hear that, I just don’t have a good feeling.” Her eyes welled with tears at the remembrance of the visions of Chris in her dreams and her voice cracked when she said, “The dreams have been really awful.”
Suddenly, a doorbell rang from inside the house. “Okay, no more unhappy talk. Like I said, I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything. Come on girls, it’s the start of summer. Drink up and I’ll go see if whoever is at the front door wants to join us.” Cassie bounded into the house, while Julie and Penelope shared a look of concern.