Today I am so pleased to welcome the fabulous Keira Andrews back to Joyfully Jay. Keira is here today to share more about her upcoming release, Semper Fi, coming out on November 11th. She has also brought along an exclusive cover reveal and excerpt, plus copies to give away! Please join me in giving Kiera big welcome!
First up, here is the exclusive first peek at the cover by artist Dar Albert
“I’m beginning to think they’re out of boats.”
Jim kept his gaze forward and whispered, “What?”
As they marched on in close order drill in the gray afternoon, backs ramrod straight, legs striding in unison to the DI’s cadence, Cal didn’t turn his head either. “The only reason they could possibly have for marching us around this much is that we’re walking to Japan.”
Lips twitching, Jim fought a smile. “Right through the ocean, huh?”
“Yep. This rain is just a warm-up for the real thing.”
“Plaatooon, halt!” Tyrell bellowed.
The men staggered to a stop, their rifles clattering together. Jim blinked the rain out of his eyes and waited to find out why Tyrell had stopped them. It could be safely assumed that the recruits had done something wrong. As always.
From the corner of his eye, he could see Tyrell slowly stride down the column of men, eyes sharp like a predator stalking its prey. Jim prayed he would pass Cal by just this once and pick on one of the other recruits. Not that Jim wished them any harm, but he hadn’t gotten to know them. Everyone knew that once their six weeks of training was through, their platoon would be scattered throughout the Corps. No sense in getting attached.
But it was different with Cal. As much as Jim wanted the time to go quickly so he could officially be a Marine—and not stuck in this purgatory—he dreaded the day he would no longer have Cal at his side to raise a sardonic eyebrow or give him a hand, strong and sure, when he struggled at the top of the climbing wall during PT.
As they set out again, it happened so quickly that Jim wasn’t sure if Tyrell tripped him or if Cal had unluckily stumbled. Jim could only catch the edge of Cal’s rain poncho for a moment before Cal sprawled forward in the mud, crashing into the man in front of him, who staggered but remained upright.
Shouldering his rifle, Jim sank to his knees beside Cal, who sputtered, wiping mud from his face as he glared up at Tyrell looming over them.
Tyrell narrowed his gaze on Jim. “Recruit! On your feet!”
The words were out before Jim could stop them. “He could be hurt, sir.”
Jim had grasped Cal’s shoulder, but Cal shook him off. “I’m fine.” He hissed under his breath as he moved to his feet, “Get up!”
Clambering up as well, Jim stood at attention once more, eyes on the helmet of the man in front of him. They waited with bated breath for Tyrell’s next move. The freezing rain pelted down, and all else was silent. Jim tensed from head to toe, wondering if Cal was hurt. Cal seemed to be standing fine beside him.
Finally Tyrell spoke. Instead of his usual red-faced roar, he addressed Cal with an eerie calm. “This is what happens when you don’t stay in step, recruit.”
“Yes, sir.” Cal’s voice was flat.
“You’re filthy, recruit.”
“Get out of that disgusting uniform.”
Cal hesitated. “Sir?”
With a swift intake of air, Tyrell unleashed at full volume. “Did I stutter? You’re a disgrace to this platoon! You’re not fit to wear that uniform, so get it off! On the double! Down to your skivvies!”
From the corner of his eye, Jim watched as Cal stripped, awkwardly shifting his rifle from arm to arm since he couldn’t dare put it down in the mud. He hopped on one foot as he struggled to yank off his trousers over his boots. Jim clenched his fists, pressing his arms to his sides.
Once Cal stood at attention again, Tyrell inspected him. He barked, “Pick up those revolting pieces of clothing. You think I’m gonna carry them back to the barracks for you?”
Cal did as he was told, balling up his uniform and tucking it under his arm. “No, sir!”
They were off again. Jim caught glimpses of Cal’s chest, the dark hair scattered across it matted down by the relentless, icy rain. As they marched on interminably, Cal began to noticeably shiver. Jim wanted to give him his own poncho and tell Tyrell to go to the devil, but knew it would only make things worse.
When they finally returned to the hub of the base, Marines laughed and hollered at Cal, whistling and breaking into a ribald song. Jim could see the stony set of Cal’s jaw as he ignored them. They were finally dismissed for an hour to write letters, but Cal headed straight to the head.
Although he was eager to write home, Jim followed. The empty shower room was large and open. Still in his muddy boots, Cal dropped his gear and clomped over to one of the showers and turned on the water. His soaked white briefs clung to his buttocks.
For some reason, group showers always made Jim strangely bashful and uncomfortable, even back in high school phys ed. He’d seen Cal and all the other recruits naked by this point, and didn’t want to be labeled a prude. Yet there was something about the sight of Cal in his boots and see-through skivvies that made Jim flush and turn away.
He realized Cal needed dry clothes, and hurried back to the barracks to retrieve Cal’s spare khakis and towel. When he returned, Cal still stood beneath the spray of water, his legs parted and arms braced against the wall.
Jim croaked, “Cal?” He cleared his throat. “You’d better get dressed. Tyrell’s likely to call off the personal time any minute and get us marching again.”
With a nod, Cal turned off the water. A crooked smile lifted his lips when he saw Jim holding his spare clothes. “Thanks.”
As Cal bent to unlace his boots, Jim made himself busy at the sink, scrubbing his hands even though they didn’t need it. In the chipped mirror, he glanced at Cal toweling dry and dressing. When Cal swore under his breath, Jim turned around. “Okay?”
“Damn buttons.” Cal had on his undershirt, but struggled with his uniform.
Jim stepped closer and realized Cal’s hands were shaking. He reached out and covered Cal’s fingers with his own, wincing when he felt how cold they were even after the shower. “Here. Let me.”
Although clearly wanting to argue, Cal lowered his arms to his sides. Jim inched closer, but found his own hands clumsy as he tried to fasten Cal’s shirt in the opposite way he was used to. “Wait, this’ll be easier.”
He moved behind Cal and reached around him, pressing against his back as he pushed each button through its hole. Cal seemed to be holding his breath, and didn’t move a muscle. When the last button was through, Jim stepped away and slapped Cal lightly on the back. “There you go. Ready for action.”
Cal mumbled a reply, his face flushed. Jim was relieved the shower and dry clothes had done the trick, and that Cal was warming up again.
The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.
As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.
But when Jim’s wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn’t know a thing about apple farming—or children—but he’s determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend’s support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Keira has brought three advanced copies of Semper Fi to give away to three lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, October 12th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.
What a beautiful cover! I really liked the excerpt as well. I’m looking forward to reading this book 😉
Thank you so much, Susana! I was so thrilled with Dar’s work on the cover. 😀
It sounds amazing and the cover is beautiful. Please, count me in.
Thanks so much, Angeles! 🙂
Sounds like a terrific story and the cover is gorgeous!
Thank you, Laura!
I love her stories, please count me in
Thanks, Petra! 🙂
I love the cover it’s beautiful and I like to read Historical books. Please count me in for the Giveaway.
Thank you, Shirley Ann! Dar did such an amazing job on the cover. 🙂
That sounds like a wonderful story. I’d love to be included in the giveaway. Thanks.
This story sounds so good and I love the cover. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!
Thanks so much, Lisa! 🙂
Looks like another Keira Andrews winner!!!
Aww, thank you, Denise! 🙂
Thank you! Dar Albert did an amazing job. 🙂
Definitely want to read this love me some marines! Fab cover ??????????????????
Thank you so much, Jane!
Love the cover and excerpt!
Thank you, Trix! 😀
Military and friends to lovers-sounds like a great story. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
Thanks so much, Alexandra!
HE did do an amazing job on the cover. Sounds like the amazing cover fits the amazing story.
Thank you, Debra! Dar’s a she, by the way, and I was so thrilled with her work! 🙂
sounds and looks amazing!
Thank you, Sabrina!
Hi Keira, great cover and I look forward to reading Semper Fi. Thanks for the giveaway.
Thank you so much! 🙂
Uh count me in! For anything you write really, your shopping list, phone doodles… Anything…
Hee! Aww, thank you, Anna. 🙂
This sounds like a terrific book and I agree with everyone else, the cover is just beautiful. Thank you for the chance to win this book.
Thank you very much, Renee! 🙂
This looks wonderful – I love the cover. Thanks for a shot at winning a copy.
You’re welcome, and thanks so much, Lisa!
this looks to be a great book to read i haven’t read anything else by this author but this would be a great way to be introduced to a new author
Great to meet you, Mark! 🙂
Love the blurb and excerpt! Hope I’m lucky enough to win an ARC. Thanks so much for the giveaway.
Thanks so much! 🙂
Loved the excerpt! This sounds like a book that is a must read! Thanks for the chance to win!
Thank you, Alaina! 😀
Loved being able to do the Arc for “Unconditional Surrender ” I am now a fan and this book seems right up my alley. Good Luck with it’s release
Thank you so much, Kristy! 😀
Ooooooohhhhhh!!! I want to win this! Pick me! Pick me!
Hee! Thanks, Lynn!
The book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!
Thank you, Rodney! 🙂
I love the cover, and the book aounds reat right up my alley. I enjoyed the shoet atoey I got to review in Unconditional Surrender but would love the chance to read a full length novel and review ot by you. You have a new fan from what I read previously.
Beautiful cover and I loved the excerpt! Thanks for the chance to win!
Thanks, Antonia! 🙂
This sounds great! I’d love to have a chance to win it 🙂 Thank you for the opportunity!
You’re welcome, and thank you, Samantha!
I really, really want to win an advanced copy. Because I have a countdown to 11/11- it’s 34 days (but 33 if you are reading it at midnight like I plan to) I will still buy a copy, even if I win one. I believe in Kiera’s work and she deserves every cent. But I would love to read it now because I am DYING- especially after this excerpt!!
Aww, Lori. You are too sweet! Thank you for your countdown and support. 🙂
Thanks for sharing the excerpt. It sounds wonderful. Thank you for the chance to win. 🙂
You’re welcome, Valerie! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
Please count me in. Thanks
It sounds like a great read and the excerpt does a lovely job of grabbing a hold of the readers attention. The cover looks fantastic too. Thank you for the giveaway chance.
Thank you so much, H.B.! 😀
You are certainly covering a lot of ground (ie rumspringa, marines etc) Have re-arranged my RSS feeds to make sure I catch any new titles. This one is a must, but watching out for A Clean Break as well.
Thank you very much! Yes, A Clean Break is coming in February. I’m hard at work on it! 🙂
I just purchased my first Keira Andrews book yesterday. I’m looking forward to getting into a new author who I hear has some great stories to tell! Thanks for the chance at Semper Fi, which is absolutely something I’d love to read.
Thank you so much, Carolyn! That’s wonderful to hear. Hope you enjoy the book you bought! 🙂
I’m always excited when Keira has a new book. She is one of my favourite authors. The cover on this is gorgeous.
Thank you, Kim! I really appreciate it. 🙂
I might be screaming. This looks amazing!
Yay! Thank you, Megan! 😀
What a gorgeous cover! Love the excerpt, too! Can’t wait 🙂
Thanks so much, Jewel! 🙂
Sounds fantastic! And the cover is beautiful. Thanks for the excerpt and contest.
P.S. Loved A Forbidden Rumpsringa. 🙂 Can’t wait for the sequel.
Thank you, Jen! So glad you enjoyed Rumspringa. 🙂
😀 😀 😀
Loved the post, the cover, the blurb and I love the giveaway. Count me in,please.
Thank you so much! 🙂
Wow, this story sounds amazing! Loved the cover and the blurb! Thanks for the chance!
Thank you, Mari!
I loved Keira’s book “Rumspringa” and after reading about this new book, I’m sure it will be a winner!! Thank you for the giveaway <3
That’s so great to hear, Alex! Thank you.
Military, historical and GFY/first-time gay. These are my favorite M/M tropes! Can’t wait to read this.
Thanks for writing! Cheers, Jenn
So glad to hear it, Jenn! Thanks. 🙂
Wow! Another great book from our lovely Keira. The cover and the blurb are really good. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
Aww, thank you so much! 🙂
Keira has a lovely way to express every emotion that her characters feel. This new book sounds really different and deep and I love it. Thank you for the giveaway.
Wow, thank you so much for the kind words! 🙂
What a lovely cover and blurb. Thank you for this amazing chance to win this 😉
My pleasure, Kejara! Thanks. 🙂