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Jack and Jill: Army

Jack and Jill: Army

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Jack and Jill: Army

Longueur:
284 pages
4 heures
Sortie:
Apr 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781310679650
Format:
Livre

Description

He’s an orphan,
She’s a tomboy,
They’re both soldiers . . .

Lieutenant Jill Jacobson is determined to prove herself in a man’s world, the Army, but needs an experienced partner to do so. She handpicked Sergeant Jack Savage to be her sniping partner because he’s tough, and has a protective spirit—both of which will be needed on their first mission. She must convince him that she’s a worthy leader: fearless, trustworthy, and capable in combat so that he will obey her commands without doubt or hesitation.

Jack aspires to lead a sniper team, and loathes taking orders from a woman. But, his tough demeanor is pricked by her courageous attitude and uncanny ability to get her job done under dangerous and demanding conditions.

When Jack and Jill parachute into the deep dark jungle of South America, neither realize the peril, and romance, that will arise.

Sortie:
Apr 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781310679650
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Hi, I hope you are enjoying my story. Please let me know how you like (or dislike) it. My email address is: ansleygilmore@gmail.com Thank you! I have always lived in my make-believe world. It was the best kept secret, until I started writing, and now everyone knows I'm schizo, ha. Well, hopefully, my imaginary friends will entertain you and bring you some diversion. In my "real" world I like riding motorcycles, snow skiing, snow boarding, sailing boats, flying airplanes and gliders, and most any activity that is outdoors. I wish I had the opportunity to climb Mount Everest, or search for Noah's Ark on Mount Arafat. As you can surmise, I like a good challenge, and writing is certainly that. In the end, my hope is that you enjoy venturing into my make-believe world as we go on adventures around the world, and maybe even into space (hint about one of my adventure books in the making). Finally, I must confess that the most challenging puzzle I found is the human heart. What makes us tick? Why do we do the things we do, sometimes with full conviction, sometimes with hesitation? What makes us happy and sad, sometimes both at the same time? These are questions that I like to broach in my writing. Relationships are complicated, but only because we are complicated. To understand a relationship we must understand the "other" person, and to that end we must understand ourselves first because with all of our differences, we also have much in common. Under standing ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, is the first step to understanding others. Ansley

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Jack and Jill - Ansley Gilmore

Gilmore/JACK & JILL: ARMY Page 279 of 279

Jack and Jill: Army

Ansley Gilmore

Copyright © 2014 Ansley Gilmore

Published by Ansley Gilmore

All rights reserved. This book or any portions thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Characters, institutions, organizations, and events mentioned in this novel are either the product of the author’s imagination or, if real, used fictitiously without any intent to describe actual conduct.

Chapter 1

Headquarters

Lt. Jill Jacobson sat in Major Phelps’s office, staring at the floor, trying to avoid eye contact with the major. She noticed her foot feverishly bobbing up and down and willed the nervous limb into calm submission, then glanced at the major. He was looking straight at her. She opened her mouth to speak, but words failed her. She tried to imagine how to interpret his stolid facial expression. Was he thinking she was incompetent, a weak woman, unable to stand the rigors of combat? Did he have second thoughts about assigning her to a sniper team? What if she didn’t succeed, would she ever be able to face him, her father and three older brothers?

She glanced at the clock. Sgt. Jack Savage should arrive any minute. He was going to be a far greater problem than the major, especially when he found out that his new sniping partner is a woman.

Her nervous foot resumed its uncontrollable bobbing . . .

***

The warm summer air from the open window blew through Jack’s short military haircut as he drove the Army Hummer to his meeting at headquarters in Fort Carson, Colorado. He pondered his situation. Jack was an expert at killing people, and he didn’t need someone telling him how to do his job. If he were going to serve under someone, he might as well be someone who is worthy of respect. Some of the academy graduates were in the Army just for an education. Some wanted to push a pencil, or train soldiers. Those officers couldn’t care less about killing enemy soldiers.

The only thing Jack knew about his new partner was that he was a recent West Point graduate, and that his last name was Jacobson. Jack wanted to be in charge of the new sniper team, but he was a sergeant so Lieutenant Jacobson’s higher rank would be a bit of a problem. Jack knew he had to be careful not to cause too much trouble about the difference in rank. But, why didn’t the Army put Jack in charge? For that matter, why was a commissioned officer on a sniper team? Officers never served as snipers. Jack tried to relax. He knew he had been picked for this mission because he was the best sniper in the Army. That gave him bargaining power, and he knew it.

Jack parked in front of headquarters next to another Hummer and jumped out. He strode to the steps of HQ and bounded up the squeaky stairs two at a time. Arriving at the front door he felt energized and ready to meet with his new boss. Inside HQ he walked, as if on autopilot, down the long hallway to the office of Major Phelps. He knocked, entered, and carefully closed the door without turning his back to Major Phelps who sat at his desk. He noticed the major had a cute new secretary. She sat in one of the chairs in front of the major’s desk. She wore her long black hair in a ponytail, and her petite nose was flanked on either side by cute reddish-brown freckles. Her loose military uniform was not able to hide the curves of a slender, sexy woman.

Jack stood at attention. Sergeant Savage reporting as ordered, sir.

At ease, Savage. Have a seat. Major Phelps had a sober look on his face as he motioned for Jack to sit in the chair next to the secretary. Savage, we need to talk. The new mission you’ve been assigned is dangerous, and I mean dangerous with a capital D. Do you understand what I am saying?

Sir, I want to go on this mission because it is dangerous. I don’t want any easy jobs. I can’t prove my true value to the Army if the mission is easy.

Good. The Army needs more men—I mean, soldiers like you. The major glanced at his secretary when he corrected himself. Now, before we continue any further, I want you to meet your new partner, Lt. Jill Jacobson.

Jack saw Major Phelps look at the woman who sat next to him. At first he thought he misheard what the major said; or maybe the major had made a mistake. He paused and waited for Major Phelps to correct himself. Silence. No, this can’t be true. Phelps couldn’t really mean what he said. Jack waited another moment. His heart began racing. Then the major looked at Jack. Reality began to settle in. In shock, he took a deep breath and slowly turned his head toward the female who sat next to him. The skinny girl was not the major’s secretary; she was Jack’s new sniping partner. He should say hello, but he couldn’t speak. He should salute, or shake hands, or do something, but he couldn’t move.

***

Lt. Jill Jacobson knew the Army of the 1990s had not warmed up to the idea of women in combat. Jack was going to be shocked when he found out that his new partner was a woman. She was ready for his mistrust. Four years at West Point proved she could hold her own against the Army’s brightest and toughest male officers. Jill had read Jack’s file, and it had said he was tough, so it might take a little while, but in the end she always got her way. She was confident that she could argue with and, if needed, intimidate any man in the Army. She told herself that Jack Savage was no exception. She was determined to win the cat and mouse game that was to ensue. She would start with a friendly approach and use her charm to befriend him. If that didn’t work, her determination combined with her fast thinking, and years of studying Army books, would quickly prove her superiority over Sergeant Savage. I don’t care if he doesn’t want to shake my hand. The only thing that matters is that he learns to obey my orders without hesitation. What could go wrong?

Chapter 2

General Hayes’s Office

General Morrison burst into General Hayes’s office. What in the blazes have you done? This new sniper team has a woman on it! What are you thinking? I rarely lose my temper, but this is unforgivable.

General Hayes’s eyes focused steady on Morrison. I don’t want to hear your complaints. If you don’t like it, go talk to General Knight.

Don’t give me that, Morrison said. We’re going to settle this matter here and now. I’ll say it again, what are you thinking?

Okay, if you really want to know, there’s a new mission in South America. It involves a drug lord. We don’t want to kill him. We just want to rein him in. He’s shipping lots of hard drugs to the United States and our youth are literally dying because of him. So, we are going to kill his second-in-command, and we are going to do it while they are standing side by side. That way he’ll know we could kill him any time we want. Then he’ll get the message, and stop shipping drugs to the United States.

But—well—is this authorized?

Look, you know how these things go. There’s no paperwork that’s going to provide a trail back to us, Hayes said. The two snipers are the only ones in real danger, and only if they get caught. That’s why we formed this new team. They are new and young. They know this is a dangerous mission, but they have no idea how dangerous it really is. On the other hand, we need to do everything we can to help them succeed. So we took the valedictorian from the last West Point class, Lt. Jill Jacobson. Then we looked around and found the best sniper in the Army, and that’s Sgt. Jack Savage. Together they are the best of the best, and hopefully that magic recipe will not only accomplish the mission, but will also bring them back alive.

But, she’s a woman, Morrison said. I mean—well . . . you know what I mean.

She’s going on the mission.

Why?

Because she has to.

But why?

All right, if you really have to know, here’s the whole story. First, these missions don’t always go as planned. So we always plan on some sort of redundancy in case of a problem. In this case Sergeant Savage is the best sniper in the Army, but there is always the remote possibility that he could get injured, or possibly . . .

Killed?

Yes. If that happens we need the best back-up plan possible.

Just how is sending a woman is the best back-up plan? Morrison asked.

She’s the best shot of all the Army officers.

General Morrison leaned forward and put both hands on the edge of the desk. You want me to believe that with all the officers in the Army, we can’t find one that is a better shot than a woman? Do I look like an idiot?

If her father was still on active duty I would send him, but he’s retired.

Her father? Who is her father?

Shooter.

Shooter’s her father?

Yes. Now do you understand why she is such a good shot?

I know he had a daughter, I didn’t know her name. I guess all those father-daughter hunting trips that he talked about finally rubbed off on her.

There is one more thing you should know, Morrison. This is the Nineties, and the Army is looking for ways to promote women serving in the military. A woman on a sniper team will be great publicity. She’s young, attractive, smart, and gung ho. After she has a few kills under her belt, she’ll be transitioned to a high visibility position where she can be a poster girl for the Army.

General Morrison slowly sat in the large leather chair in front of General Hayes’s desk. He intertwined his fingers and rested his hands on his sizable stomach that tugged at the buttons of his uniform. Hmm, I see. If Savage and Jacobson succeed, we get a pat on the back, and maybe a promotion. If they fail, nobody knows we were involved. Then the parents receive a condolence letter stating their death occurred during a training mission.

General Hayes smiled. Thank you for understanding. I expect your full support.

Morrison gazed at the ceiling as he pondered the situation, then he looked straight into Hayes’s eyes. I understand the logic of what you did, but really, shouldn’t you have used a more traditional approach? After all, we’re talking about the possibility of a woman being captured, tortured, and maybe even killed. That will be a bad situation. And if word leaks out it will be bad for the Army, and even worse for us. Besides that, I will never be able to look Shooter in the eye again.

I don’t care what other people think, Hayes growled. I didn’t get this position by thinking like everyone else. And I really do think that this mission has a good chance of success. I read the files on both soldiers. They are perfect for this mission, and they are perfect for each other. Their skills and personalities will complement each other. I know it will be difficult for them at first, but when Savage gets comfortable with a woman leading the mission, everything will go smoothly.

Morrison shrugged. One more question: why not kill the drug lord instead of his brother?

The drug lord has connections to the Colombian government, and so the CIA considers him a potential asset. After he gets over the death of his brother, they think he will be scared for his own life and open to helping us influence the Colombian government officials.

Morrison took a deep breath and pondered again. Hmm, you think the mission has a good chance of success. Are you willing to wager a bet?

Certainly.

And the prize?

Same as always, said Hayes.

A steak dinner?

Yep.

Morrison tilted his head back against the leather chair as he thought about what he had just done. He sat in silence and realized he just wagered a steak dinner against the lives of two young soldiers, one of which was a female, and the daughter of a friend. I never thought I would ever say this, but I hope I don’t win this bet with General Hayes.

Chapter 3

Headquarters

In Major Phelps’s office, Jack continued to stare silently at Lieutenant Jacobson. I don’t want to shake hands with a woman who is going to be commanding me in the field. Finally, the silence was broken when Phelps said, Savage, it’s okay if you shake hands with your new partner.

Jack still couldn’t speak, but he was able to reach out and grasp the outstretched hand of his new partner. He took her hand in his and noticed that it was petite, soft on the back, but calloused in the palm. While shaking her hand he said, Nice to meet you . . . But Jack struggled to finish his sentence. After several seconds of silence, he swallowed hard and forced himself to finish his sentence by adding the last word, . . . ma’am.

Lieutenant Jacobson flashed Jack a friendly smile and said, I’m pleased to meet your acquaintance, Sergeant Savage.

Jack’s throat felt like sandpaper. He struggled to maintain his self-control. Why did the Army do this to me? I am a well-developed sergeant, talented beyond all others in the field of sniping, not to mention hand-to-hand combat, pistol skills, light anti-tank weapon skills, and navigation. Why do all of these skills have to come under the authority of a pencil-neck female that just graduated from the academy? I need a partner who knows more than just books. I need someone who instinctively knows what to do in a combat situation, someone I can count on to watch my back.

Jack was so lost in his mental tirade that he forgot to release his grip from the lieutenant’s hand that he was still shaking. Jack noticed the muscles in her petite hand tighten, then her hand straightened, and with a firm twist she nimbly slid it out of his grip.

Before I let you two get acquainted, I need to run a couple of things past you, said Major Phelps. You two will be going to training camps before you get your assignment. First, you will be attending jump school together.

But I have already done that. Jack raised his voice ever so slightly, just enough to emphasize his point, but not enough to be considered insubordination.

Phelps glared at Jack. Yes, but this is HALO school. I read your file and I didn’t see HALO in it. Savage, do you know what H-A-L-O stands for?

Jack took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. Then he responded in a slow, reticent voice. High Altitude, Low Opening. He saw this as the only good omen so far. He always wanted to do a HALO jump. He did the civilian equivalent when he was in high school. He made many of these jumps from airplanes at twelve thousand feet, and then sky dived to two thousand feet, where he pulled his ripcord. He then floated to earth on a high-performance parachute that steered like an airplane and could land a man on a target the size of a golf cart. Now he would be able to do the military version, which started at a much higher altitude—thirty-three thousand feet. That required the use of bottled oxygen, which sustained him until he got to twelve thousand feet where the air was thick enough to breathe.

Major Phelps continued with a stern face. After that I want you both to go to the upcoming sniper competition at Fort Benning, Georgia. You two will have a chance to demonstrate your abilities as a sniper team. Remember, only the best go to this competition, and so the winner is literally the best of the best. I fully expect you two will win the competition.

That was another good omen. Jack realized that this would be a good opportunity for him to gain more leverage with the Army by winning the sniper competition.

After that, if all goes well, you will come back to HQ and get your assignment. Do either of you have any questions?

Jack didn’t know how to respond. He wanted to say that everything was good except for the part about working with a pencil-neck female, but he knew better. So, he simply said, No, sir.

Alright, why don’t the two of you get out of here and start getting acquainted. Go out and have some beers and do some male bonding—I mean get to know each other.

Lieutenant Jacobson and Sergeant Savage stood, saluted the major, and exited the room.

As the two walked to the parking lot, neither spoke. Finally, they stopped next to the two Hummers at the edge of the parking lot. Jill broke the silence. Before you say anything, I want to say that I know this isn’t what you were expecting.

Jack glared at her. Woman, that’s an understatement.

Jill continued, The upside is that the Army picked us for this mission because we are the best of the best, and anything less than that will have a sour ending for everyone: you, me, and the Army.

Jack pondered her words. The thought of having a female partner in combat made him grind his teeth.

So, if we both keep our eyes focused on the successful completion of this mission, we should see a nice future in the Army. Jill smiled again.

Jack understood the logic of her statement. But, somehow it just didn’t seem right. To make matters worse, Jack realized that for the successful completion of this mission, he needed to work on his attitude.

Ma’am, we have a long way to go. So let’s not sing Kumbaya too soon.

Jill smiled again. Jack decided that he did not like it when she smiled. He sensed that it was a sign of optimism on her part, and right now he was not very optimistic. If she thinks she can use her smile to impart some of her optimism to me, then she has a lot to learn.

Savage, do I detect a little bit of your competitive spirit coming out?

The pleasant rebuke made Jack even madder. The veins in the side of his neck bulged. He knew he was losing control. He did the only thing he knew how to do. He took a don’t-care attitude and then spoke his mind, Ma’am, you seem like a nice lady, but in the end, I want a partner I can trust. It’s going to be difficult to trust someone that is fresh out of school, a woman, and a skinny woman at that.

Jill’s smile dissipated. Good, I think we are making progress. I wanted to personally hear you say those words. I suspected that you would feel that way. I am glad that you have admitted to your weaknesses. Now you can start the process of modifying your inept attitude.

Jack was furious. He felt like he was going to explode. Both hands clenched. He wanted to strike her, but he knew that would be the end of his career, so he did nothing.

Jill responded to his silence. By the way, Savage, it works both ways.

Jack wanted to continue his silent rebellion, but his curiosity got the best of him. He managed to speak the words, What do you mean ‘both ways’?

Savage, it’s true that you are stuck with me, but I am also stuck with you.

Jack’s hands clenched tighter as he searched for words to express his frustration. Again Jack restrained himself and said nothing.

Have we put all of our cards on the table? Jill asked.

Jack was still struggling for words, so he simply nodded.

Good, we’re definitely making progress . . . she said.

***

Jill felt relieved that she won the first argument with her new partner, if you could call it that. She sensed his quiet rebellion, but at least he saluted her before departing. She returned his salute, climbed into the Army Hummer, and drove off. She looked in her rear view mirror as Jack climbed into the other Hummer and drove away. For some reason, Jill did not have the sanguine sensation that she usually felt after winning an argument with a male soldier. In a way, she felt sad, like she had hurt the feelings of a good friend. But how could that be? She had only known him for less than an hour. She tried not to think about this. After all, her job was to be his boss. I have to be tough and smart. Otherwise he will never respect me. Once I earn his respect, everything will work out. Who knows, maybe in the distant future we might become friends.

Chapter 4

Jack’s Troubled Youth

Jack lay in his bunk bed that evening, but couldn’t sleep. Beads of sweat dripped down his face, but not from the heat. He was looking up at the spinning ceiling fan, while he was thinking about the problems he had with his new partner. What should I do? I could ask for a transfer, but I don’t want to pass up an opportunity like this. It’s too enticing to prove my abilities on a black ops mission. I could ask the major for a different partner. But Major Phelps was not the type that changed his mind easily.

This situation was one more in a list of life-long challenges. Jack began reflecting on his childhood and problems he had at an

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