By Irish Winters
Hi Everyone! I’m Irish Winters and by now you know, at least I hope you know, that I love a man in uniform. What’s not to love? Most of the time, these men are absolutely sure of themselves. They’re braver than most and they’re protective of others, inclined to run into danger while everyone else flees for their lives.
I write about the kind of man I want you to fall in love with. The Few. The proud. The ones who think they’re tough enough to face the world alone—and win.
But I also want you to see these tough guys at their weakest. I want you to see the vulnerable sides to the men who look so handsome and stand so tall in the dress blues or whites of America’s finest. Most of all, I want you to fall in love with my guys as they come to grips with what they’ve done, what they had to do, and the uncertain futures many of them face when they return home to the land of amber waves of grain.
Most of my heroes suffer some level of Post Traumatic Stress. Having married a Vietnam Veteran, I know there is no escape from PTSD for anyone who’s been to war. Some might handle the effects of combat better, but some can’t handle it at all.
Jake, in the sixteenth romance of my In the Company of Snipers series, is one of those men who can’t handle what he’s seen. He’s lost between the tragic operas spinning around in his head and the reality of life on the mean streets of one of Washington DC’s toughest neighborhoods, Anacostia. In his mind, he’s still on duty, guarding Sector 18, the label he’s given his corner of the world. In reality, he’s just another nameless veteran the system’s lost track of, some homeless guy most people don’t want to look at. He’s one of America’s invisible people.
Until Lacy Wright comes along. Also a former Marine, Lacy’s fighting her own demons. But as often happens with true love, it’s the little things that turn their hearts toward each other. A chance meeting in the local free clinic parking lot. The fact that a woman with red hair has no more business being in Anacostia than a decorated war hero. The paintings Lacy hides in her bedroom closet.
I loved writing Jake’s story! He showed up briefly in chapter 1 of Zack, the third book in this series, and I honestly thought I was done with him then. Little did I know Jake would keep tapping at my shoulder like a kid who needed extra attention and little more time. A little more love.
Jake Weylin came home from Afghanistan a broken man. The former USMC scout sniper is lost between the dreamlike operas stuck forever in his head, and life in Anacostia, a hardscrabble Washington D.C. neighborhood. Some days he’s back in Kabul. Other times he’s lost in the land of the ‘brave and the free.’ He doesn’t know what he’s searching for until he locks eyes with the new nurse at the free clinic and thinks, ‘Do I know you?’
While in the Marines, Lacy Wright served by providing security to the international press corps in Afghanistan. Now she carries every image of the carnage she witnessed like a curse. To deal with the pain of all those hard memories, she commits the men and women she saw die to canvas. With a steady hand, she gives them a few last moments of life. She breathes on them and she talks to them. She calls it painting them home. Jake calls it crazy. He may be right.