Well, in the past week, I finished editing Operation: Endgame and started book #2 in the series, Operation: Endeavor. So far, the feedback on Operation: Endgame has been good and I officially started submitting it, so we'll see. I know that it's a LONG process and trying not to dwell too much on the waiting part of the process.
In the meantime, I am in love with my new hero, Colton. *sigh* He's a complex guy. I am not going to be able to share too much with you about this book, because I don't want to give any spoilers for book #1, but I will share the prologue with you. Like Operation: Endgame, this book starts with a flashback to when the kids were little. BTW, I don't think that it ever says it within this scene, but Colton is ten years old in this scene.
by Christi Snow
Prologue, 22 Years ago
The Chapel, Fort Hood, Texas
Colton stumbled down the hall of the chapel and worked to keep a tight rein on his emotions. He could feel the tears battering at his insides, trying to get out. He couldn’t cry. If he started, he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to stop. Don’t think about it, he berated himself. Don’t think about his parents lying dead in the next room.
He needed to focus on the twins. Chris and Cassie were only six years old and they didn’t understand why mom and dad weren’t coming home. Not that he really did either, but that didn’t matter. Not now. Now, he needed to be there for them, but first he had to find them. They were always wandering off. The twins lived in their own little imaginary world where only the two of them were invited.
He started to turn the corner of the hall, but two female voices stopped him before he rounded the corner.
“It’s just so sad. Those poor kids. What’s going to happen to them?”
“I heard their grandfather, Lora’s dad, is coming to get them, but as far as I know, he doesn’t even know the children. He and Lora were estranged. He never approved of her marriage to Major Robertson.” Colton could hear the women murmuring their disapproval. “Those poor kids, but there’s nowhere else for them to go. There aren’t any other relatives willing to take in all three of them. He’s single. You have to wonder about a man his age living by himself. How is he going to handle three young children?”
That ball in the pit of Colton’s stomach started spinning more. Estranged? Colton had no idea what that word meant, but it couldn’t mean anything good. A grandfather? He didn’t even know they had a grandfather. Who was he and why had he never met him? And now they were supposed to go live with him?
Colton could hear the women continue talking as they wandered down the hall, but their voices were too quiet now for him to hear anymore. He peered around the corner towards their retreating backs. He still had no idea where the twins were. He had to find them before they got into trouble. They were his responsibility now and losing track of them was not acceptable.
He gritted his teeth and started looking in the doorways, searching. Finally, in the third doorway he peered into, he could hear whispering coming from the back corner.
Creeping in, he quietly approached the voices, just in case they didn’t belong to the twins. But as he got closer, he realized it was Cassie he heard. Actually she was crying and Chris was comforting her. Colton swallowed the lump in his throat as he crouched down beside them. Chris looked up at him with anguished eyes. Colton started to reach for him, but Chris shook his head vehemently. “We’re okay. Just leave us alone. We’re coming. Just a minute.”
Colton turned and went over to the door to wait for them, trying not to let the rebuff hurt. He knew that the twins always turned to each other before they’d turn to him. He knew that, so he shouldn’t let it bother him, but in this case, they were all in these miserable circumstances together. Colton clenched his jaw as he heard the twins walk up behind him and tried to get his anger and hurt under control.
He turned to them as they walked up behind him and asked gruffly, “Are you guys okay?” Colton turned to analyze the twins. At six years old, the twins were still young enough that they looked identical regardless of the fact that they were the opposite sex. The only difference between the two of them was their hair. Cassie’s was flame-red and Chris’ was blond. Right now both of them also shared identical red-rimmed sapphire blue eyes, but they both nodded at him.
“We need to get back, before someone starts looking for us.” Just as he said that he looked down the hall and Colton’s stomach sank at the sight of his father’s commander coming towards them. At first glance, he didn’t look happy, but when he spotted them, his face softened.
The tall man looked at them kindly even as he quietly admonished Colton, “We’ve been looking for you three. We need to get started and I need to introduce you to someone.”
Colton looked beyond the Colonel and saw an old man standing there observing the three of them. Colton immediately stood up straighter and reached for Chris and Cassie. As they approached the man, Colton studied him. He looked at them unsmiling, but his blue eyes were kind.
“I’m sorry that we weren’t there, sir.” He said to the Colonel, but then he nodded his head at the man. “Is that our grandfather?”
The Colonel looked at Colton in surprise, but nodded. “Yes.”
They’d reached the man, so Colton stretched out his right hand towards him. “I’m Colton.” He drew his siblings up beside him. “This is Chris and Cassie. They’re twins and only six. This is hard for them.”
The man cleared his throat as he said, “This is hard for all of us. I’m your Grandfather. Your mom was my daughter and I hope you three will come live with me. I’m sorry this is the first time we’ve had a chance to get to know each other.”
As one, the twins reached up to grab hold of each of Colton’s hands. He squeezed them in reassurance and swallowed his own fear and uncertainty. Colton nodded. “Do you live here?”
The man shook his head. “No, I live in a town further north of here called Lubbock. Have you ever heard of it?”
Colton nodded, “Yes, we went to a Texas Tech football game there last year.” Colton saw a flash of hurt in the old man’s eyes, but he didn’t know what he’d said wrong.
The man cleared his throat, “Well, from here on out, it’ll be your home…with me, if that’s okay with you three.” He looked at the three of them questioningly.
“Yes, sir. We appreciate you taking us in.” Colton looked down at the twins and tried to give them a brave smile. They would make the best of it, the three of them together. He was the oldest. He’d be strong. The twins needed that from him.
These are my words so you are not allowed to copy, alter, or re-print them anywhere else without my permission. ;o)
BTW, I won't be sharing too many more scenes with you from this book, but next week, I do plan to share a bit more insight into the hero and heroine of this book. I promise you, you will want to come back. Not only is Colton a very complex character, he is also VERY pretty. *sigh* There will be pictures. ;o)