Monday, February 23, 2015

Sea Glass Winter by JoAnn Ross

Shelter Bay #5
Claire's mother died and her life and her son's life changed. She decided to move them from Beverly Hills to Shelter Bay, which she had fallen in love with on trips there to sell her jewelry. Her son Matt is a basketball star. But the coach, Dillon Slater, needs to teach him how to work with a team. Claire is infatuated with Dillon right away. Dillon is completely taken by Claire the first time he sees her.

Kara and her friends bring meals to Claire and welcome her to town.  Kara invites her and Matt to Thanksgiving dinner. Claire says yes but doesn't know that Dillon had Kara ask her. Dillon wants her and Claire wants him but she is afraid that their relationship will cause problems for Matt and his playing basketball at school.  Will Claire let herself love?

I loved this one. I love how Dillon went after what he wanted.

From the author:
He was used to getting what he wanted.
And what he wanted was Claire. 

As an explosive ordnance disposal specialist, Dillon Slater had one of the most dangerous jobs in the military. Now he's enjoying the pace of life in Shelter Bay, where he teaches high school physics.  He still gets to blow things up, but as the school's basketball coach, he also gets to impart leadership skills.  His latest minefield: fifteen-year-old Matt Templeton — and Matt's irresistible mother. . .

Claire Templeton moved her troubled teenage son to the small town of  Shelter Bay to escape the bad influences of his school in L.A.  But when his attitude earns her a visit from the handsome basketball coach, she wonders if this role model might be too much of a temptation — for her.  Because, although she isn't looking for a relationship, she can't seem to resist Dillon's playful charm. But what she doesn't realize is that Dillon isn't playing games — he's playing for keeps. 

Tech Sergeant Dillon Slater's business was bombs. And in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Dillon's business was booming.   
The landscape he was driving his Buffalo armored mine disposal vehicle through could have come right from the pages of the Old Testament.  Years of baking beneath the hot Afghan sun had turned the mud of the compounds as hard as concrete.  Unlike some of the royal palaces he'd seen while deployed in Iraq, these dwellings boasted no gaudy exterior decoration.  Uniformly putty-colored, they were purely functional.

Children waved as the twenty-six ton vehicle bounced over what felt more like a goat trail than a real road crossing the bleak, moonscape surface.In earlier deployments, he'd been lucky if his EOD Bat Phone rang a dozen times a week. But the enemy was nothing if not adaptive, and since the country had turned into the Wild West, they'd figured out that it was a lot easier to blow coalition forces up from a distance than take them on in a shoot-out-at-the-O.K-Corral gunfight situation.   

In the last month alone, two hundred and twelve IEDs had been discovered and detonated.  Doing the math — and he had — that worked out to over nine thousand a year.  What had once been a cottage industry, guys making bombs in their mud homes had turned into an industrial complex capable of knocking out one IED every fifteen minutes, thanks to global jihadists sharing technologies and procedures.
"Crazy," he muttered as he pulled into the area where a Ranger unit was standing around waiting for him.
He'd been called to this same spot yesterday to remove a crude pressure plate device next to a basketball court he'd helped build.  Together with other unit volunteers, he'd cleared the space and poured the surface, using Quikcrete donated by some Navy SEALs.  One thing Dillon had learned early on was that SEALs could get their hands on just about anything.  Another thing he'd learned was to never ask them where they'd gotten it.

What really chapped his hide was that whatever cretin had planted that IED had been willing to take out children who used the court every day.   Often with troops who'd play with them.  The pickup games were more than just a way to burn off energy:  they served as yet another attempt to win hearts and minds.  Which personally Dillon wasn't so sure was working since more people kept trying to kill him every day. But hey, military war policy and nation building was way above his pay grade.

Unlike the previous day, when the square had been filled with civilian onlookers, the place was mostly deserted.
Which was not good.  One of the first things Dillon had learned in training was to look for the absence of normal and the presence of abnormal.  Both of which they definitely had here.

Did everyone but them know what was going on? Had the kids who were usually playing roundball on this court been warned to stay away?
The hair on the back of his neck stood up as combat intuition, born from years of experience, kicked in.

"We're being set up," Jason West, one of his team members said from the back seat as they pulled up next to a Hummer with Arabic writing painted on the side.
On Dillon's first tour here he'd learned the script translated to Not EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).  Having the guys on your side wanting to make sure no one mistook them for bomb guys was an indication of how popular Dillon and his team tended to be with the local population.
"Could be," he agreed, drawling out his words on his native West Texas twang as he considered that unpleasant prospect.  "Then again, we could have some hotshot showing off to his pals by playing with us."
He jumped down from the Buffalo and went over and talked to the Rangers, the ones who had called in the possible explosive, who reported none of the few civilians they'd been able to question had seen anyone plant an IED.
Surprise, surprise.

Read more here.

Pages: 374
Published: 2012

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