Alright readers . . . you have asked for it, salivated over it. . . here is an excerpt of the upcoming release of SOLO VIETNAM, sequel to FLYING SOLO. Coming in just days! Release should be around the first week of April 2013. Please enjoy! Would love your comments, RTs, reblogs and invitations to your friends. Already getting great advanced reviews! Thanks so much for your readership and support.
∞ Tonkin Gulf ∞
Steve packed his B-4 bag in silence. He expected that like the rest of the crew on board the Coral Sea, that he had only a few weeks before they set sail toward home. He wasn’t the only A-4 pilot being reassigned to the USS Bon Homme Richard. Because of a fire on the Bonnie Dick back in the fall, they were short of pilots. There were several others scheduled to serve in the Tonkin Gulf until October. Once on deck to await his COD helo, Steve ran into Pete Watterman, the helo pilot he had met before.
“Lt. Commander,” Pete saluted.
“Lt.” Steve saluted back. “At ease.”
“Hey man, how’s it going?” Pete asked.
“Being relo’d. To the Bonnie Dick,” Steve replied.
“Yep, I’m taking some of the pilots over now. COD.”
“Aren’t I included on that manifest?”
“No, man. You’re orders must have changed again. Sorry.”
“What?” For a moment, Steve was confused.
Before Pete turned to make his way to his helo he offered, “Hey Lt. Commander Novak. You’re an alright guy. Nice to have met another man from Dixie land. Good luck out there.”
“Same to you,” Steve responded.
About three other pilots and their bags were loaded. Pete geared up his propellers, kicking up some salty mist. About that time, Steve was approached by Commander Woolcock, the skipper from his squadron.
“Sir,” Steve saluted.
“Sorry to jerk you around, buddy. But there’s been a change in plans. You’re to bingo off to Chu Lai, taking one of our scooters for hand-off to VMA-311. She’s seen her days on the decks of the Coral Sea. Commander Nelson from Air Ops is fazing her out.”
“Gotcha,” Steve acknowledged. Chu Lai? How lucky could he get?
“But that’s not all. Your recent service bought you some R and R. After you hand off the plane, you’ve got three days before you report to the Bon Homme. Here’s your pay advance.”
Steve was handed an envelope containing the customary $200 given to pilots for spending money during their brief time off. He couldn’t believe his luck. Chu Lai, Nora and R and R. It couldn’t possibly get better.
Often, when the navy felt an A-4 had seen its days on the carrier, they would send the plane to one of the marine VMA stations for repair and refit. The marines would patch it up, repaint their own VMA call signs and the plane would be used for another hundred missions or so. Second hand.
After pre-flighting the Skyhawk, Steve was given signal from the LSO to cat. One last look at the deck of the Coral Sea. She had been good to him. As he gained altitude, he saw the lights on the deck become a small line of white, amidst a black sea.
He would be flying under night cover to transport the plane. Another chance to see the war in action at night, from 10,000 feet. By now, he knew the coast well. He could see stars out everywhere on this clear night.
Despite flying over a war zone, it was relaxing in a way, to be flying a plane for delivery instead of a mission. On shore, he intermittently caught site of flares being dropped. There were white hot lights of anti-aircraft fire launched skyward. It was a short flight from the deck of the carrier to Chu Lai, a mere ninety miles. Before long, he saw the lights at Danang. The moonlight was shining on the pristine, yellow-white sands of China Beach.
Soon, he visualized the river at Chu Lai. As he descended, he saw the sampans out in the water. No attacks for tonight. He radioed Chu Lai ground and got clearance to land.
“Chu Lai tower, this is Blue Tail NL-317 requesting to land, over.”
“Bingo in, NL-317. Keep your eye on the meatball. Clear to ground.”
The runway at Chu Lai was fairly short. He positioned the plane such that his slope would contact the arresting gear. Lowering his speed and putting down his landing gear, with a small bump and scrape, Steve touched down at Chu Lai at 1930 hours.
There was no one to meet him on the tarmac. For a moment, he wasn’t sure where to go. But then, a marine flight crew approached. Haggard and cover in dust in grease, they were a site. One of them radioed for a jeep. Steve took a moment to take the flight line in. It was sure a far cry from the organized symmetry of the Coral Sea. There were bunkers and razor-edged barbed wire everywhere. It looked like the tarmac as well as the flight line had taken some substantial mortar attacks. Airplane parts, partially burned out made it a metallic graveyard.
A six by six jeep transport pulled up with three other pilots in it. “Where to, Lt. Commander?” beckoned the driver.
“The USO club. I hear they’ve got a great singer there,” Steve said.
“Yeah. Righto. Tonight’s a Mardi Gras party. But you’ve only got about twenty minutes to curfew.”
“Then step on it,” Steve chided as he threw his bag in the back.
“Right on, Sir,” the jeep took off and sped toward the beach and the club. As it neared, Steve could hear the sounds of jazz emanating from inside. He could hardly contain himself and nearly jumped out of the jeep before it pulled adjacent to the make-shift arched bridge over a trench to the entrance.
Homesick for New Orleans, Nora arranged through her black market connections with Woody, to get the adornments for a Mardi Gras celebration. Doubloons, beads, and plenty of seafood. She booked a Vietnamese band that could play some jazz. One more way to bring a little bit of the U.S. to Vietnam.
They place was packed. Bar and restaurant were almost standing room only. GIs were bedecked in vibrant Mardi Gras beads. Some had on colorful masks. The distinctive spicy smell of Zartaran’s filled the air from boiled shrimp and “bugs,” a crustacean native to the South China Sea. Steve traced the sounds of jazz to the porch along the backside. Sure enough, Nora was crooning out one of her favorites, Moon River. He stood in the breezeway out of her sight.
She looked amazing, as always. Radiant smile. Bright pink lipstick. Long, sensuous legs and high heels. Her skirt had to be at least eight inches above her knees. Damn, she was hot.
The crowd cheered as Nora wrapped up her song. “Thank you all for coming tonight. Les bon temp roulles.” The GIs hooted and hollered. As she finished replacing the mike in its stand, Steve came up from behind her.
“Say gorgeous, I’d know that voice anywhere,” he whispered in her ear. Nora felt her knees grow weak hearing his voice.
Whipping around, she exclaimed, “What the heck? Steve, where the devil did you come from?”
“About a hundred miles north of here. Just to see my gal,” he couldn’t resist and in front of everyone grabbed her and planted a big kiss on her lips. Catcalls erupted from every corner of the bar.
Nora was a mass of emotion. Joy, tears, and pent up libido just hearing his voice. Taken aback at first, she quickly recovered. “I can’t. Not here. Let me wrap things up and make sure everyone clears curfew. Then,” she pulled him close and whispered in her sultry voice, “I’m all yours.”
Directing her cook, dishwasher and one of her girls running the bar, she quickly wrapped things up for the evening. The books and tabs could wait till the morning. She thanked everyone for the great job they did. Within a few minutes, due to curfew, it was just Steve and herself left in the bar.
“What on earth are you doing in Chu Lai?”
“Had to deliver a Skyhawk for refurb to VMA-311. How’s that for luck?”
“Brilliant,” she said throwing her arms around him. “I’m just tickled pink you are here.”
“Nice place you got going,” he said referring to the club.
“The girls and I have really worked it over. It was a dump. But I’ve learned to make, uh, well, let’s just say connections.”
“That’s the navy way. Way to go girl,” he could hardly keep his hands off of her. “I’m about as randy as ever. But where can we go?”
“I’ve been thinking about that,” she had a gleam in her eye.
“Certainly not to your hooch,”
“Nope. The girls are there and curfew’s on. But we might be able to sneak out back under the decks. There’s a small, unused, elevated tent. It was the original officer’s mess, near the beach.”
“Sounds great, doll. Let’s go,” he said taking her hand. Nora locked the place up and they quietly snuck out down the back steps of the club. They walked close to the jungle line of trees, so as not to be seen by the sentry guards. Clearing through some brush, they came to a clearing with the tent. It was dank, dark, and sandy, but they didn’t care. They were finally alone.
The flap of the tent barely went down before he had his hands all over her. The fact that there was dust everywhere and cob webs didn’t bother them. They finally had a secluded, stolen moment alone. He kissed her passionately, relinquishing the pent up sexual tension between them. She darted her tongue in around his mouth, long, slow and ardent.
Pulling her close into him, she felt his desire for her. He was rock hard. He stopped kissing her for a moment and looked deeply into her eyes. Without saying a word, he unzipped the back of dress, exposing her shoulders. He lowered his head and began kissing along her collar bone, starting on her left.
And. . . . you will have to just purchase the upcoming copy to see the rest!!!!!
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