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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

From the Rubble by T.A. Chase

Ever since watching a search and rescue team find his lost sister, Keaton Goodwin has worked and trained to become a SAR handler. He raises the perfect dogs to work with him, and he loves his job. When he’s called to take his dog, Kaiser, to Bogata, Colombia after a devastating earthquake, Keaton heads out not sure what he’ll find.

And what he doesn’t expect to find is Master Sergeant Nodin Standing Bear.

Nodin’s squad has been sent by the Army to help keep the SAR teams safe during the search and rescue part of the operation. He’s done a lot of this kind of work during his twenty-three years of service, yet there’s something different about Keaton, and Nodin knows a disaster area isn’t the best place to start a relationship.

When Keaton disappears, Nodin has to face how much he really cares about the younger man. Will the emotions they feel amongst the rubble be enough of a foundation to build a future?

Genres: Gay/Contemporary/Action/Adventure
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (23k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...“Master Sergeant Standing Bear.”

“Yes, sir.” Nodin saluted as his platoon commander approached him.

“We’ll be going wheels up in ten to fly to Colombia. Get your men on the plane and secure.” Adamson looked grim, and Nodin knew that whatever had happened in Colombia was serious. “I’ll brief everyone once we’re in the air.”

“Yes, sir.”

Nodin waited until Adamson had moved on before addressing his squad. “Let’s get on the plane and secure our packs.”

“Do you know what’s going on, Sarge?” Hernandez asked.

He shook his head. “No, I don’t. We’ll find out once we’re airborne.”

His men knew better than to ask him again, so they grabbed their rucks and climbed aboard the plane. They all settled in their spots after securing their packs for the flight. Nodin watched as the other squads came aboard and took their places. Once everyone was settled, Adamson gestured for all the NCOs to come forward to where he stood.

“Bogota has been devastated by a seven-point-eight earthquake an hour ago. The US is sending several units to help support the Colombian military. Our job will be to safeguard the SAR teams flying in to search the rubble for survivors. We all know how dangerous this can be. Not only are the cartels going to try shit, but once we get beyond a certain point in time, the civilians will become desperate as well.” Adamson grimaced. “We have to make sure the people and their dogs aren’t kidnapped or killed. We’re to keep them safe.”

Nodin nodded. His squad had done this kind of protection detail before in other emergencies around the world, but he had to admit this might be one of the most dangerous ones. The cartels weren’t frightened of the military, and their presence wouldn’t mean as much in Colombia as it did elsewhere in the world. Yet he and his men would do their best to keep the SAR teams safe.

“Once we land and get oriented, we’ll go to the temporary base. After all the SAR teams arrive, I’ll talk with their boss to work out the teams and grid searches,” Adamson informed them. “Now get buckled in and we’ll take off. This is going to be a hard mission, men, and we have to make sure everyone gets home alive and unhurt.”

“Yes, sir,” they said, before rejoining their squads.

After taking his seat, Nodin got situated, then touched the bear claw that hung around his neck. He said a silent prayer to the Higher Being he believed in to keep everyone—the victims and the rescue workers—safe in the weeks to come.

There would be aftershocks for months after the main event, and he only hoped they wouldn’t be big ones. Those could cause as much damage as the original quake did, and he knew there would be a lot of unstable buildings needing to be shored up or demolished, depending on the amount of damage done.

His phone vibrated, causing him to pull it out to check it. He smiled when he saw it was a text from his sister. He slid his finger across the screen before typing in his password to unlock it. Scrolling through the texts he’d gotten, he found the new one from his sister.

Will take Harper home with me. Be safe and call if/when you can.

Relaxing slightly at the knowledge his cat would be taken care of, Nodin sent a quick thank you back to her before turning his phone off. There wasn’t any point in having it on while in Colombia. First of all, he didn’t have international service on it. Second of all, cell service and coverage had probably been interrupted by from the disaster.

“Sarge, are they sending in some of the US SAR teams?” one of his men asked as the pilot started to fire up the engines.

“I’m sure they are. We’ll find out more when we get there.”

The man nodded, and Nodin checked over the other guys in his squad before pulling his earbuds out of his pocket and popping them in. He turned on his iPod, letting the music flow into his mind. The noise and vibration of the plane grew louder as they got ready to take off. He was used to the traveling, though the few times he’d gotten to fly commercial, Nodin had enjoyed the comfort...

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