First, I am pleased to welcome, Patty Campbell and Rafael Cruz, the hero from Patty’s newest release Once a Marine.
Congratulations on the book Patty. I’m so glad you could visit with me today and that Rafi, may I call you Rafi? was able to join us.
Thank you for having us, Anne.
You can call me Rafi, any time. <wink>
Well, well, well, Rafi, aren’t you the flirt Patty, why don’t you provide us with a setup of the story?
Here’s a teaser…
BD’s on an upward career path. She works for a tyrant whose erratic demands have already cost her a broken engagement. Her personal life takes a dramatic turn when she meets Rafael Cruz, a retired Marine who lives a secret and dangerous double life.
When she learns Rafi has deliberately kept her in the dark about hs black ops missions, she questions whether her passion for him is strong enough to overcome her fear and mistrust.
Rafi believes BD is the one woman strong enough to challenge him—a quality he values highly. He’s reluctant to change his footloose life, but BD’s much more than a plaything. He would give his life for her. He’ll do whatever it takes not to lose her.
Now, Patty, I have a question or two for you first. How did you two meet and what made you decide to tell Rafi and B.D.’s story?
I met Rafael Cruz at a very tony cocktail reception, at the Grandezza Country Club, near the FGCU Campus. My husband and I were there to attend a Distinguished Speakers lecture. I noticed Rafael standing alone, and my husband had wandered off, so I introduced myself to him. Rafi was friendly and charming. He asked me what I did, and I told him I write romance novels.
Instead of scoffing, like so many men often do, he smiled and said: “Hey, that’s great!” So, of course, I was immediately in love with him and his name. I looked him in the eye and told him that his name inspired me to create a new hero for a new novel. I asked permission to use his name. He nodded, smiled, and winked. The rest is history, or better, in the book.
That is so cool! So many times in this story, the odds were against poor Rafi and B.D. I’m surprised they ever managed to get together at all! How did it finally happen? Or did you have to make it happen?
The timing couldn’t have been worse for BD. The last thing she was looking for was romance. Her fiancé had just dumped her, and her nutcase of a boss was driving her crazy with unreasonable demands and erratic behavior.
Then all of a sudden, there he was.
It seemed unlikely they’d ever be more to each other than a hot fling, but something clicked for both of them on that first encounter. Life got in the way to keep them apart. They made decisions which had negative effects on the relationship.
They were both so damn bullheaded! I did have to give them a nudge or two.
Or three or four. But it finally worked out for them, and I’m so happy! Rafi, I have to say, I’ve always had a thing for well-built men, and my-oh-my, but you certainly fit the bill. *waves paper in front of face*. What do you do to keep in such great shape? (Oh, my gosh. He actually blushes. How sexy is that?)
Uh . . . I really can’t take too much credit for it. It’s in the genes. My dad’s side of the family produced a lot of big, strong guys. Dad and I have the same body type. He’s former military, and so am I, so we’ve learned discipline.
I put a treadmill and a stationary bike in the hangar. Joe and I hit it every day we can. The other pilots and mechanics use them too. Not much other than that. I hate working with weights, but force myself to do it a couple of times a week.
Well, speaking on behalf of the ladies…thank you . What I love most about you is your sense of humor, your playfulness and your sense of commitment, even though it caused you a few problems *wink, wink*. Where do you get those traits from?
Jeez. That’s a hard one. I come from a big, noisy, extended family. My parents fled Cuba when they’d only been married a couple of years. They taught me that laughter is essential, and happiness is a choice.
I couldn’t agree more! Now are you able to tell me about what you do for a living? And I promise not to divulge any of your secrets – it’s just between the three of us here.
I own and operate a small, but growing, charter airline with my partner Joe Broski. Joe and I have been buds since high school. We served in the Marines together. To satisfy the bill collectors we sometimes take jobs with a private security firm. I’d give you more details, but I’d hate to have to kill an attractive gal like you.
Patty, how in heavens do you and BD put up with this guy?(giggling, I look around the room, wondering if BD is hiding anywhere). Now, I understand you are quite the dancer. Care to show us a few moves?
waggles his eyebrows.>
Dancing, Rafi, dancing moves! LOL
I love Latin dancing. Mama taught me the Mambo when I was this high.< hand gesture at belt level> But I just learned the Bachata. It’s very sexy. Do you know it? *shaking my head* No? Grab hold. I’ll show you.
(Oookay…) Ready? Three steps to the right-pause-three steps to the left-pause. Got it? Okay just follow me. A little more hip action. Good. Now for the sexy part. <Rafi stops, pulls me close, bends his knees and sways in place.> (Wow!)
You like? (ah, yeah ) My big sister Elena and I won a lot of dance contests when we were kids. Dancing is a big part of any family gathering.
(gulp) Um…Now, about B.D. What does that stand for by the way?
No can do. Not wishing to die young, I’ll refer you to her for that answer. She wouldn’t tell me, so I called her Bravo Delta for a long time.
You seemed to fall for her pretty quick. What’s she like?
<Rafi twists those yummy lips and gives it some thought> How long have we got? The first thing I noticed about my honey? She was totally pissed with her boss, and fighting mad. After I got through laughing over the interplay between them I noticed what a little sweet package she presented. I think the biggest turn-on was the fact that she was totally uninterested in me, and found me annoying. That was a challenge I couldn’t resist.
Like I said at the beginning…a flirt! What qualities do you value most in a partner?
BD has ‘em all. Intelligence, spirit, independence. a take-no-prisoners attitude. She’s got zero sexual hang-ups, and she can dish it out as well as take it. Doesn’t hurt that she’s irresistible and sexy as hell.
And what turns you off?
Phony sexiness combined with a clinging-vine mentality. It’ll do for one night only. After that, I can’t run fast enough.
And, what do you want most out of life? Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Cruz Aero on a sound financial footing. Continued good health for my parents and Elena and her family, working with Joe until we’re old and gray. But best of all? Bringing BD home from the hospital with our second kid. Keeping her safe. Making more babies. Loving her forever. Do I sound like a sap?
You sound like a man in love. I think B.D. is very lucky to have you Rafael. Thank you for speaking with me today.
It’s Rafi, and I’m the lucky one.
Patty, I’m so pleased you came today and brought this sexy and very personable man. I’m jealous. Good thing B.D.’s not here. Would you like to share an excerpt with us? Although I’ve read this fantastic book, I’m sure there are many others who would like a peak into Rafi and B.D.’s world.
Here goes – Setting: Honolulu, Hawaii. Her employer’s villa on Waikiki Beach.
BD woke up with a start and scowled into the early morning sunlight at Rafael Cruz’s shadow looming above her. She bolted upright. “What do you want?”
“And a good morning to you too, sunshine.”
“How did you get in here?”
“Through the gate.” He put his hands in the pockets of his shorts and faced the sunrise. “Are you always so cheerful this early in the morning?”
“The gate has an automatic lock. You need the code to open it.”
He turned to face her, his head cocked. “I know the code. Grayson gave it to me about six hours ago.” He squatted down to be at eye level. “You remember that don’t you, Bravo Delta? Or were we partying naked in the pool all night?”
BD looked at her bare chest and yelped. She yanked at the towel, part under her and part over her, in a desperate attempt to cover up. At the same time she thrust out a hand and shoved him back. She didn’t budge his bulk.
Rafi enjoyed a nice long look at two of the most kissable, rosy breasts he’d seen in a long while. Her antics brought on a lot of bouncing and jiggling, adding to his enjoyment.
He grinned. “Need help?”
“No!” She yanked and pulled to no avail. “Get away from me, you pervert!” A searing blush rose from her navel to her brow.
He chuckled. “Me? I’m not the one lying buck naked, displaying my wares for every morning stroller on the beach to ogle. What are you, an exhibitionist?”
Much to his disappointment she freed the towel and covered herself, the show now over. Until she got up from the chaise, that is. It might get even better.
Now covered from ankles to chin she rewarded him with another glare of anger. “I fell asleep. It was dark when I came out here.”
“Whatever you say, Bravo Delta.” Little bulges of her butt were visible between the plastic straps of the chaise.
She’d pulled both the top and bottom towel to cover herself.
He grinned. “Nice bottom view too, sunshine.”
She kicked out a leg from under the towel and thrust it viciously, landing squarely on his shoulder. He went down on his butt with a thump. “Get away from me!”
“Good move, Bravo Delta. You a black belt?” He leaned back on his hands, now enjoying the exposed view of her lower half. Nice package. Very nice.
She followed his eyes, realized that she revealed way too much of herself and pushed the towel down to cover up again. “If you don’t get away from me I’m going to scream. I mean it.”
Rafi stood and brushed his hands on the seat of his shorts. She was staring at the dragon tattoo twining around his right knee.
“Now is that any way to be when I came all the way back here to take you surfing?”
She pointed at his leg. “What’s that thing?”
He smiled. “Pretty, ain’t it? Let’s go surfing.”
“I don’t know how to surf, and in any case, I’m not going anywhere with you.” She crossed her arms.
“Have it your way, sunshine.” He yanked off his shirt to reveal his strong, muscular chest, stepped to the edge of the pool, and dove in, drenching her in the process. When he surfaced BD sputtered and wiped water from her face. Holding both towels in front of her, she stood, turned, and headed toward the pool house, rewarding him with a luscious rear view. What a juicy little bottom she had. Good thing he was in the pool.
In moments she stepped back out of the shadows clad in a neon pink bikini.
He grinned. “Coming in?”
“So you can drown me with more juvenile antics? I’m going to the beach. Not that it’s any of your business.” She rounded the end of the pool, walked through a break in the line of low sea cabbage hedges and onto the warm, sugary sand.
Rafi pulled himself out of the water with one powerful thrust, shook himself like a Labrador, and jogged after her. When he caught up with her he swung her up in his arms and ran toward the water. “Let’s go for a swim, Bravo Delta.”
She pounded his rock-solid shoulders and kicked for all she was worth. “Put me down, you caveman!”
A couple walking on the sand at the edge of the water laughed at her protests.
“Put me down, dammit!”
“OK.” He dropped her on her butt in a foot of water and took a couple of long leaping strides. He dove into a curling wave.
BD sat in the receding wavelet and slapped the water with her hands in fury. “I’ll show you, you jerk.” She stood to avoid a waist high swell, bounced up and down and chased it back out. Diving, she swam with long powerful strokes. He didn’t hear her coming. She caught up, put her arms around his neck, and kicked his legs out from under him, using every bit of strength she could muster to push Rafi under water.
He came up laughing and sputtering. “Good move, Bravo Delta. You an ex-Navy SEAL?” He reached out and pushed her under with a big hand that nearly covered the top of her head from ear to ear. Then he reached down, grasped her waist, pulled her out of the water and tossed her into the air like a small kid. She sank into the next wave like a stone.
When she surfaced they were nose to nose.
He laughed and pulled her, sputtering, into a sloppy saltwater kiss.
She resisted for just a moment and then got with the program. Her legs clamped around his waist. She held his lips to hers by grabbing an ear in each hand and hanging on.
When she eased up, he leaned back and took a breath. “You like my version of CPR?”
“No,” she lied and rewarded him with a foxy smile.
“Like hell.” He pulled her into a tight embrace and kissed her again.
BD had no idea how far she would go with this, but Rafi had a body to die for and he was a great kisser. She clung to his broad shoulders and ran her hands down his muscled back. He probably weighed seventy pounds more than Nick, and it was solid muscle. She shivered with hot desire. A sensation so long missing, she’d almost forgotten the feeling.
His hands slipped under her bikini bottom and grasped a cheek in each big mitt. He pulled her into his erection. “You interested?”
God yes, she was interested and shocked by the reality. But should she let him know? “I’m interested in learning how to surf. I’ve already done the…other thing.”
“I’ll bet you have, Bravo Delta. I’d bet my life on it.” He put his teeth on her neck. “I could eat you whole, sweet stuff.”
She pushed her knee between his legs. Felt the muscles in his thighs tense. “Feed me first, teach me how to surf, and we’ll take it from there, Big Foot.”
“You got it.”
To Buy Once a Marine
Patty Campbell and her husband, Larry, have five adult sons, five granddaughters and two grandsons between them. Patty took up writing romance novels full time when she reached what she calls My Third Life.
To learn more about Patty and her books see: