WHY WOULD TUCKER VOLUNTEER TO DEPLOY TO THE MOST DANGEROUS REGION OF AFGHANISTAN?
In the conversation Tuck has with his friend Logan before leaving for Afghanistan, we see that Tuck doesn’t believe it’s any more dangerous than his last deployment to Afghanistan the year before.
“Neither does your decision to volunteer to go to Kunar for six months. I talked to a guy who’s been where you’re going. Men come out of there changed. He said if the hundred-and-thirty-degree heat and tarantulas didn’t get to you in the summer, the sheer boredom in the winter would. Then there are the IEDs . . .” He let the sentence trail off, obviously aware Tuck knew exactly what happened when soldiers got hit with one of the insurgents’ improvised explosive devices.
“The platoon currently there is nine months into a fifteen-month tour. They needed some new blood to rotate in for the last leg of it. I’ve got combat experience and I needed a change. It’s a perfect match.” Tuck shrugged.
Yes, the IEDs were a real danger, but heat and spiders? Seriously? That’s what Logan was using to try to dissuade Tuck from going? Hell, Logan should try sleeping in a horse trailer after it had been sitting in the sun all day the way Tuck had on a few occasions while rodeoing with Jace full-time.
In this conversation between Tuck and one of the men in his unit, we see that Tuck had assumed conditions were much better than they were in the region he’d volunteered to go to because of 1) the draw down (reduction in military forces) and 2) the reports of reduced contact with the enemy. It’s not until he gets there that he find that everything is relative.
“What the hell? I thought with the drawdown there wouldn’t be much contact here anymore.” Tuck shouted over the noise.
Conseco’s response was a snort. “I guess the Taliban didn’t get that memo.” When Tuck frowned at him, he continued above the noise. “Don’t get me wrong. The guys in the valley, before we pulled out of Korengal in two-thousand-ten, used to get hit like five, sometimes seven times a day.”
“Seven times a day?”
“Oh, yeah. My buddy was there. They had a guy hit in the leg while taking a nap in his bunk. They’d get shot at while minding their own business trying to take a piss. We’re usually only hit outside the wire. So yeah, I guess you can call that not much contact.”
It’s my job as a writer to try and know how the real life men who inspire my fictional characters think and act, even if I don’t personally agree, I need to understand it. I may not agree why my military guys WANT to deploy to the Hell that is Afghanistan right now, but to know that they really do want to go. And they get upset when plans change and they can’t deploy with their unit. Yes, SERIOUSLY! I’ve personally seen it 3 or more times now.
It’s my job to know that the men who served during the last decade in the Korengal Valley (the ones featured in the nonfiction book and documentary I devoured multiple times for research) sometimes volunteered to go back there and face almost certain death or injury. I don’t have to agree with their motivation but I do have to know that it exists.
Lastly, as I explain in the book, Tuck feels he needs to leave for a little while to slow things down between him and Becca, and six months deployed will give him that.
Is this the start of a series?
Yes, it is! ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY is book 1. Book 2, TWO TIMES AS HOT, features Army officer Logan Hunt whom we meet as Tucker’s boss/superior in the ROTC program at OSU. Book 3, THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER, features Tuck’s rodeo traveling partner Jace Mills. In addition, there are 2 spin-off short stories. “Fish Out of Water” in the HE’S THE ONE mass market anthology with Linda Lael Miller and Jill Shalvis, features Becca’s boss, OSU English department head Mark Ross. And “Two for the Road” is in the Aphrodisia trade paperback anthology A COWBOY’S BED. It features the 2 young stock contractors who supply the OSU rodeo team Tucker coaches with rough stock for their weekly practices. And in 2015 Kensington’s Zebra imprint will release a spin-off series, Midnight Cowboys. Book 1 will feature Tuck’s little brother, Tyler.
Is this book an ebook or paperback?
Both! It’s in ebook and paperback and also in audiobook.
Is the restaurant where Tuck & Becca have a date real?
Yes! Joseph’s Fine Food is real and is located in Drumright, Oklahoma. If you go look for Tucker’s favorite, the Fried Bologna Sandwich, on the menu. Ask to see Jamey Martin, the chef/owner and take a picture for me.