Blog Tour ~ Shadow Unit Series by Jamie Lynn Miller (Guest Post + Giveaway)Meet Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller--elite covert ops soldiers with Shadow Unit--a joint UK/US anti-terrorism task force.
Meet Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller–elite covert ops soldiers with Shadow Unit–a joint UK/US anti-terrorism task force.
Connor and Shawn’s harrowing missions take them across the globe from London to Kuala Lumpur to India to Pakistan to Bangladesh. Fighting to stem the flow of ever-increasing terror attacks and to protect innocent civilian lives, they battle arms dealers, drug smugglers, biological weapon threats, and a madman hell-bent on revenge, facing death at every turn. Their private lives are fraught with struggles as well, both Connor and Shawn battling personal demons from their past that threaten their future.
Amidst a backdrop of guns, bloodshed and violence, Connor and Shawn’s love and dedication for one another never wavers, standing resolutely side by side, drawing strength from each other to continue their never-ending fight.
Broken Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 1)
Rogue Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 2)
Hunted Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 3)
Snowbound Soldiers (Shadow Unit Holiday Short Story)
Genre: MM, Gay Romance, Suspense
Broken Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 1)Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller are dedicated soldiers working covert ops for Shadow Unit -- a joint UK/US anti-terrorism task force.
Partners in the field and out, they had been through hell together for the last four years and made it through standing side by side. But when their latest undercover op to bring down an arms dealer plunges them into a world of drugs, sex and violence, Shawn must literally get in bed with the enemy in order to complete the mission. And Connor is forced to watch, helpless, as his partner is broken into pieces.
Will love be enough to put them both back together or will this be their final mission?
WARNING: Contains scenes of drug use, graphic sex and realistic situations
(2016 Rainbow Awards Runner-Up) M/M Romantic Suspense 50,000 words
Shawn lowered himself down onto Connor and Connor held him tightly, both of them trembling as their orgasms subsided. Shawn’s voice was a shaky whisper next to his ear.
“I love you.”
Connor felt his heart skip a beat. It wasn’t the first time Shawn had said those words. He squeezed his eyes shut and buried his face in Shawn’s shoulder.
“Shawn, I…” But the last two words lodged in his throat and refused to be spoken.
Everyone he’d ever told he’d loved had died – been killed - and left him alone. His parents, his sister, his lover Mark. He never expected to get another chance at happiness and he was going to hold onto it desperately with both hands and not let go. He knew it was completely irrational, but he didn’t care. As long as he didn’t say it Shawn would stay safe.
Shawn lifted himself up slightly to look at Connor and he could see the understanding in Shawn’s blue eyes.
“It’s okay.” Shawn kissed him softly. “I know.”
Dawn was just breaking when Connor felt Shawn stir and he opened his eyes. He hadn't been sleeping, though. Neither of them had been, really, their minds too occupied with the upcoming mission to rest. They'd instead spent the last hours in each other's arms, making the most of the time they had left together.
Connor felt Shawn's hand lightly trail down the back of his neck and across his shoulder and he lifted his head from where it had been resting on his partner's chest.
"Hey," Shawn said quietly with a small smile.
"Hey," Connor echoed then sat up and kissed Shawn for a long moment.
When they moved apart Shawn looked down and unhooked his paracord bracelet from around his wrist, which he then fastened around Connor's.
"Hang onto this for me, will you?" Shawn asked, trying for a light tone, but failing.
Connor shook his head, refusing to acknowledge the implication of Shawn's action. He knew how much that bracelet meant to his partner. He'd received it the day he was accepted into the SEALs more than ten years ago and he had worn it every single day since. If he was giving it to Connor he was afraid there was a chance he wasn't coming back from this mission.
"Shawn. No." Connor reached for his wrist to unhook the bracelet but Shawn covered his hand.
"Connor. Please." Shawn's voice was rough. "Just…do this for me. Keep part of me with you." Then he swallowed and forced a smile. "Besides, it's just temporary, so don't get attached to it. I'll be asking for it back soon."
Connor turned his hand over and linked their fingers together. "I'm going to bloody well hold you to that."
The sun peeked over the horizon then, signaling the start to a new day.
Connor released a long breath and asked Shawn a familiar question. "Are you ready for this?"Shawn squeezed Connor's hand. "I am now."
Rogue Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 2)
Shadow Unit may have overturned the illegal arms cartel in Kuala Lumpur, but the harrowing undercover op left emotional scars on Sergeants Shawn Weller and Connor Finley. Slowly, patiently, they piece their partnership back together, closer now than ever before.
Until a new mission threatens to tear them apart.
When Connor accidentally kills a civilian, he questions his job, his abilities, his worth. A timely offer of promotion seems his only way out, even though it means transferring out of Shadow Unit and away from Shawn.
The arrival of Julian Montgomery, Shawn’s former CIA handler and lover, further strains their relationship. Julian knows all of Shawn's secrets as well as the past Shawn has kept hidden from Connor. Now the self-serving Julian wants Shawn back—with the CIA and with him. No one will get in his way. Including Connor.
When the joint Shadow Unit/CIA mission to stop the supplier of a deadly biological weapon goes sideways, Connor is captured, tortured, and used as a human test subject. It’s a race against time to save his life. But who can Shawn trust?
And who has gone rogue?
M/M Romantic Suspense51,000 words
Sergeant Connor Finley swore as he ducked behind the crate a split second before a spray of bullets slammed into it, sending shards of wood flying toward his face. This op had gone both pear shaped and sideways and he needed to get control of it. Immediately. Shadow Unit only had one chance left.
Connor began running through possible scenarios as fast as his brain could process them just as their target let loose with another barrage of automatic gunfire, the muzzle flash lighting up the night.
Connor glanced to his left as his partner cursed and hunched over behind his own crate. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Connor idly thought that someday soon he’d keep a tally of how many times Shawn Weller actually said the word "fuck" in a twenty-four hour period. Did they teach him that back in his Navy SEAL days?
Shawn's gaze flicked to the house and back. "We need to do something," he said. "He’s the last one left."
Connor clenched his jaw, the muscle jumping. As if he needed another reminder. "I know, I – " he began but cut himself off as his comm crackled to life. A split second later the gruff voice of his commanding officer was in his ear.
"Shadow One. Alpha. Send sit-rep," Lieutenant Colonel David MacDonald demanded in his Scottish brogue.
"Shit," Connor spat, banging his head back against the crate. He ran a hand over his face then responded. "Alpha. Shadow One. We have one target remaining," Connor reported back. There was a long pause and Connor could picture the scowl on MacDonald’s face from where he sat at the communications desk back at the hub, five miles away.
"Need I remind you we need him alive, Sergeant?" MacDonald finally responded.
Connor glanced over to Shawn, hazel eyes locked with blue. "No, sir."
All of Shadow Unit was well aware that if they didn’t take this last man alive they’d never get the intel they needed on the money man funding a terrorist cell of the United Jihad Council. They knew he was based here in the Kashmir region of northern India but not his name and exact location. There were four men inside the house when the op began. Now they were down to one. If they didn’t do something quickly there was a distinct possibility their target would kill himself instead of allowing himself to be captured.
Connor squeezed his eyes shut in frustration but then opened them again as a crazy plan began to form in his head.
"Bugger this," he hissed, decision made.
He reached over and grabbed a flash-bang grenade off of Shawn’s tactical vest and pressed it into his partner’s hand. "Go on zero," he instructed, then kept low and darted off into the darkness, hearing Shawn calling after him.
"Finn! What the fuck are you doing?!"
Connor smiled inwardly at the nickname only Shawn was allowed to call him, a split second before his partner’s angry voice was in his ear.
"Shadow Team, be aware that Shadow One is attempting a south side entry. Hold position. Wait for my signal then move in."
"Shadow Three, copy that," replied Sergeant Mandy Cho, followed by Sergeant Chloe Davis.
"Shadow Four, copy that."
Assured that his teammates were ready, Connor crept silently to the back of the house, keeping his six-foot, two-inch frame as small as possible, sweating profusely in the humid climate with all of his heavy tactical gear on. What he wouldn’t give to be back home in cool and rainy London he thought as he wiped the perspiration from his face.
He made his way to the rear of the small, dilapidated house, pausing outside the door, which was partially open and barely on its hinges. He cautiously looked inside, peering around the edge of the door. The interior was just one open room. A kitchen sink and stove were to his left, a small table and two mismatched chairs to his right. Beyond that a mattress on the floor with a ripped and stained blanket thrown over it. And on the other side of the bed, a beat up recliner sat in front of an ancient television set sitting on a box.
The two windows had been shattered from gunfire and broken glass littered the wooden floor, along with three dead bodies, blood pooling all around them. Connor spied their last remaining target, who was partially turned away from him, casting furtive glances out one of the broken windows, his semi-automatic rifle clutched to his chest. The Indian man was breathing hard, shifting nervously.
Connor hooked the strap of his rifle around his shoulder, leaving his hands free, then whispered into his comm. "Shadow Team, I have eyes on target. Shadow Two, on my mark." Connor reached out, silently and carefully easing the door open wider to fit his body through. "Three, two, one…zero."
The flash-bang grenade sailed through the window and exploded at the exact moment Connor burst through the back door. Prepared for the smoke, intensely bright light and deafening noise, Connor did not let any deter him as he sprinted toward his target.
Caught completely off guard, the man turned away from the light and smoke – unfortunately right toward Connor. His eyes widened and he raised his rifle, firing as Connor charged forward, now mere steps away from him.Connor saw the muzzle flash an instant before his head snapped to the side, blinding, white-hot pain tearing through his temple. He fell backward, managing to kick out and sweep the legs out from under his target. They both went down hard just as Shadow Team made entry. Connor got a glimpse of Mandy and Chloe subduing the man and then Shawn dropping to his knees beside him, clutching at his arm. He could see Shawn yelling, his partner's face a mask of panic, but Connor couldn’t make out the words as his vision went red, then gray, then black…
Hunted Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 3)
The hunters become the hunted when the past returns to haunt Sergeants Connor Finley and Shawn Weller with deadly vengeance.
In the wake of the harrowing missions in India and Pakistan, Connor struggles to come to terms with causing the accidental death of a child, while Shawn tries to put Julian’s betrayal behind him.
Adding to the emotional fallout, new trials arise - the appearance of a young man from Connor’s past turned stalker may have fatal consequences for him, while Shawn must confront his former heroin addiction and break free of the hold it still has on him.
The challenges continue when a Shadow Unit undercover op in Bangladesh to shut down the pipeline of terrorists being smuggled into the UK draws Shawn and Connor into a web of lies and deceit from a man hell bent on exacting revenge on the two soldiers - demanding a life for a life.
Will Connor and Shawn survive? Or will the jungle become their final resting place?
Gay Romantic Suspense58,400 words
Shawn's eyes scanned over his partner, taking in his injuries. He reached out and cupped Connor's face with both hands, his thumbs gently pushing against his nose, over his cheekbone, checking to see if anything was broken. Connor's lip had stopped bleeding but his left eye was completely swollen shut now.
"How bad is it?" Shawn asked as he continued his exam, slipping his hands under Connor's shirt to feel his ribs.
Connor winced and pushed his hands away. "No less than I deserve," he muttered.
Shawn grasped the top of one of Connor's shoulders with his hand and squeezed hard, while he pointed a finger in his partner's face with the other. "I don't want to hear that fucking shit from you right now. We have more important things to concentrate on than your perceived guilt. Like getting the fuck out of this jungle."
Connor stared hard at Shawn, his jaw muscle jumping, before giving Shawn a terse nod. Shawn relaxed and squeezed his shoulder again, this time in approval and not anger.
"So what's our plan?" Connor asked. "We're at a total disadvantage. This is his playground. We have no weapons, nothing."
Shawn's face lit up in a triumphant smile. "Now that's where you're wrong." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a folding hunting knife. "Your distraction worked perfectly. I got it off the guard's belt."
Connor grinned back at him and clapped him on the shoulder. "Brilliant, mate."
Shawn slipped the knife back in his pocket and looked up at the sky. "It'll be light in a few hours. That's when he'll start tracking us. We need to get moving."
"Any particular direction you had in mind? I tried to keep track of where we were going, but they were purposely driving in circles."
"Yeah, I came to the same conclusion." Shawn pointed to their right. "We know the truck headed back that way after they dumped us out."
"Since we can't see the stars well enough and until we know where the sun will rise, that's as good a direction as any." Connor pushed himself slowly to his feet. "Let's move."
It was slow going through the dark jungle, Connor and Shawn leaving as confusing a trail as the truck had left for them, splitting up and circling back around several times through the trees and underbrush, making it difficult for their soon to be pursuer to track them. They followed tire tracks where they could, but the darkness hampered their progress.
Connor was two steps in front of Shawn when it happened.
He heard the barely perceptible snick as Connor took a step forward. The sound was instantly familiar to him but before his brain could process it, a large, dark shape rushed toward them from his left, swinging down out of the trees, heading right for Connor. With his left eye swelled shut, his partner was blind on that side, unaware of the danger.
"Finn!" Shawn yelled, springing into action and lunging forward, tackling Connor around his legs, driving him forward and down. But he wasn't quite quick enough. The heavy log clipped Connor on the side of his head and neck, sending him sprawling with a sharp cry of pain.
Shawn remained flat on the ground as the log swung backward on its arc, the earlier sound now registering to him—tripwire. He quickly moved up beside Connor, who was laying on his side, unmoving.
"Finn!" Shawn put his hands on Connor's shoulders and carefully rolled his partner over. Connor looked up at him, blinking sluggishly. Shawn ran his hand over the side of Connor's head and it came away bloody. "Shit," he cursed. "Finn, can you hear me?"
Connor groaned and closed his eyes, his hand coming up to touch his head. "Nnngh…Shawn…? he mumbled.
"Yeah, I’m here. Can you sit up?"
Connor levered himself up on one elbow and Shawn helped him up the rest of the way, sliding him over to rest his back against a tree. Connor's head fell forward and Shawn cupped his chin in his hand and gently raised it back up. The moonlight was bright enough in this spot that Shawn could see Connor's right eye was glassy and unfocused. The pupil was dilated more than it should be, even in the dim light. He knew if he could see Connor's left eye it would look the same.
"Shit," Shawn swore again. "You've got a concussion."
"What…was that?" Connor grimaced.
"A log. You hit a tripwire," Shawn told him, his voice grim. "Son-of-a-bitch has this place booby-trapped, Finn."
"Christ," Connor muttered. "The bastard's stacked the deck."
Snowbound Soldiers (A Shadow Unit Holiday Story)
With memories of the past coloring their present, Sergeants Connor Finley and Shawn Weller use an unexpected 24 hours together in an isolated cabin on Christmas to help one another make peace with their ghosts and look toward the future together.
(Set between Broken Soldier and Rogue Soldier but can be read as a standalone)
Shawn tipped his head toward the fireplace. "Come here," he said and led them over, sitting down on the quilt.
He removed the small box from his pants pocket and held it out to Connor.
Connor tilted his head. "Shawn…"
Shawn shrugged. "It's our first Christmas together. I wanted to give you something."
Connor accepted the box and removed the lid. When he saw the gift, he went completely still, for inside was Shawn's Navy SEAL challenge coin, emblazoned with the motto "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday" and the SEAL emblem, the same one tattooed on Shawn's upper arm.
Connor looked up at Shawn with surprise and confusion and Shawn understood the reaction. Connor knew how much that coin meant to him, the act of bravery it had been awarded for. It was as precious to him as his paracord bracelet.
Connor shook his head. "Shawn, I can't."
"No, I want you to have it," Shawn insisted. "Keep it with you, so you'll know I'll always be there for you. I'll always have your back, Finn."
Connor removed the coin from the box and clutched it tightly in his hand, clearly touched by Shawn's gesture. He leaned forward and kissed Shawn long and gentle, his turn for thanks without words. But when they moved apart, Connor would not meet Shawn's eyes.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Shawn asked, concerned.
"I'm sorry, Shawn. I don't have anything for you," Connor apologized. "I haven't done Christmas gifts in a long time."
Shawn shook his head, his voice soft. "You're my gift, Finn. This life we lead… It's hard and it's lonely. I didn't think it was possible to find happiness in the death and violence that surrounds us. But I found it. With you."
Connor swallowed hard, his eyes bright with emotion. "I love you," he said simply.
It was Shawn's turn to go completely still, hearing those three words, knowing they were still difficult for Connor to say after fighting against them for so long, with the pain and heartbreak he associated with them.
With his heart pounding furiously in his chest, Shawn pulled Connor close, his partner embracing him just as tightly. His words were gruff with the emotion threatening to close his throat.
"I was wrong," he whispered against Connor's ear. "This right here? This is my favorite Christmas memory."
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Jamie%20Lynn%20Miller%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Jamie%20Lynn%20Miller&fcsearchfield=Author Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/author/247163406/Jamie-Lynn-Miller
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Jamie+Lynn+Miller
Sea to Sky Books: http://www.seatoskybooks.com/product/author/?author_id=1154
Prize: An e-copy of Snowbound Soldiers
Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.
Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.
If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.
5 Questions about my writing process
When did you start writing and what was your inspiration?
I’d been writing short stories since I was a kid but didn’t get serious about it until I started writing fan fiction in the mid-90’s. I got tired of hearing how bad all fanfic was, that fanfic writers had no talent. I took it as a challenge and decided to give going pro a shot. And what do you know, my very first book was accepted to a publisher on my very first try. Take that, fanfic haters!
Who in your personal life was the biggest supporter of your writing?
That would be my husband, hands down. Though he doesn’t read what I write he has always been there for me, doing whatever he can to help me out.
What can readers expect when they read a story from you? What would you like readers to know about your writing style?
Well-rounded characters with faults and flaws. And in-depth research. Since my tag line is "Men in uniform…and out" I do a lot of research (much of it hands on) to make my police officers, firemen, paramedics, and now soldiers, come alive and be authentic.
And until this new series I would have also said "Hearts and flowers romance with a bit of angst thrown in for good measure".
But that statement changed pretty drastically with Broken Soldier, Rogue Soldier and Hunted Soldier. I believe in challenging myself as a writer and taking chances. And that's what I've done here with my Shadow Unit series. These books are dark and gritty, more romantic suspense than contemporary romance. I want people to constantly wonder if Connor and/or Shawn will survive to the end of the book.
It's a big change for me, and I hope that my regular readers will give this series a chance. Because even though it's not my usual style, I am, and always will be, the Queen of Happy Endings. I will put my boys through hell, but love and dedication will always put them back together again. So give it a try! You just might like it!
How long does it take you to write a book?
Usually a couple of months for the first draft. I have a regular full time job and my writing time is very limited to just an hour or two each morning. And I'm also a big time plotter. My outlines are extensive, like pages long. So that takes up a good chunk of time before I even write the first word of the book. But then because I have done such detailed outlines, the writing of the actual book flows pretty easily after that.
Despite the fact that you do extensive plotting and outlines, do your characters still sometimes take over and send the story in a different direction?
Usually not with major plot points, but with dialogue for sure. I had an idea in my head how the conversation(s) would go and suddenly my guys are taking things in another direction. And it's usually for the better! Rule of thumb - always listen to your characters. :-)
Tour ScheduleJune 19
- Nicole's Booi Musings http://nicolesbookmusings.blogspot.com/
- Happily Ever Chapter https://www.facebook.com/happilyeverchapter
- BFD Book Blog http://bfdbookblog.net
- Love Bytes http://www.lovebytesreviews.com
- Making it Happen http://moonangel23.blogspot.com
- 2 girls who love books http://agirlandherbooksblog.wordpress.com
- Because Two Men Are Better Than One http://www.becausetwomenarebetterthanone.com/
- Bayou Book Junkie http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com
- Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews http://wickedfaeriesreviews.blogspot.com
- Triple A http://www.facebook.com/tripleabookblog
- Book Lovers 4Ever http://bl4ebookblog.blogspot.com/
- Turningpagesatmidnight Book Blog https://facebook.com/turningpagesatmidnight/
- Gay Book Reviews http://gaybook.reviews
- MJ's Book Blog and Reviews https://www.facebook.com/MJsBookBlogandReviews/
- Outrageous Heroes of Romance http://www.facebook.com/outrageousheroes
- Aisling Mancy, author http://aislingmancy.blogspot.com/
- Yah Gotta Read This http://www.yahgottareadthis.blogspot.ca