Hi, I’m Sky Crawford, better known as, “The Skylark, King of the Skies and the Bedroom.” You wanna know how I got my pilot call sign? Well, to skylark in the Navy means to not pay attention, be easily distracted, or pretty much have one’s head up one’s you know what at the wrong time, so you do the math. But don’t worry, I’m always focused once I climb into the cockpit of my Navy helicopter. See, I’m a Romeo pilot and—what? No, the Romeo stands for the type of helicopter I fly, the MH-60R Seahawk. The “R” stands for Romeo in the military alphabet, which makes me a…Romeo pilot. How’s that for branding?
I recently met this awesome woman who turned my world upside down. Now after a hard day of doing Anti-Submarine Warfare patrol, Search and Rescue at sea, or Counter-Narco-Terrorism interdictions with my helo crew, I drop by Dr. Daisy’s veterinary clinic and try to win her over. See, this stray cat adopted me last week while I was trying to impress my chick-du-jour. Turned out what really impressed her, was when I agreed to take the cat to a vet and find it a home.
But, whoa, baby, the vet turned out to be the hottest chick on the planet, except that she wouldn’t give me the time of day. For starters, Dr. Daisy didn’t fall for my BS. She thinks I’m a player. Does that seem fair to judge me by my Navy flight suit, my cocky attitude, and my come-on-sweetheart-you-know-I’m-the-bad-boy-of-your-dreams smile? Said she didn’t date military men anyway, especially pilots. I asked if she’d crashed and burned before and she replied, “Something like that.”
Since I’ve always loved a challenge, I decided to keep the cat, calling it my ticket to veterinary paradise. But, you know what? I’ve grown fond of the kitty. Siamese cats are very much like dogs—meeting you at the door, following you around and talking to you, and apparently waking people from PTSD nightmares before they get out of control. Not that I can’t handle a few bad dreams.
I kept taking my cat to the vet with trumped-up ailments and it finally paid off. Dr. Daisy has allowed me to tag along to her volunteer activities, figuring kids at the Boys & Girls Club and retired Naval officers at a nursing home would enjoy chatting with me in uniform. I think she’s running from something, being such a do-gooder and not leaving any time for herself. But I’m gradually breaking down her defenses and I bet we’ll be going on real dates soon. By the way, I kind of like working with the kids and retirees. Who knew community service could be fun?
I’ve been training for an upcoming mission to the Eastern Pacific, where it’s rumored a crop of La Perla, the purest cocaine in the world, will be making its way from South America to Mexico. Hopefully my crew will be the ones to interdict this shipment. We’ve been practicing a lot lately on the St. Johns River near our base at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. So when I’m not sweet-talking Dr. Daisy, explaining Search and Rescue to kids in after-school programs, or telling sea stories with elderly, retired Navy pilots, I’m preparing to ruin some drug runner’s day. I just hope when I return safely from this next mission, Dr. Daisy will be waiting for me with open arms.
That is, assuming I return safely.
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Meet the author
Forget Me Not, the story of a Navy pilot and a war widow who rescue one another, is the second novel in Heather Ashby’s “Love in the Fleet” series from Henery Press. It was named a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist and Sheila Award winner under its original title: Cat On a Hot Steel Flight Deck.
Heather’s debut novel, Forgive & Forget, the first book in the “Love in the Fleet” series was voted “Best of 2013” by Suspense Magazine for Romantic Suspense.
Ashby is a Navy veteran whose mother was one of the original WAVES in World War II. After leaving the service, Heather taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Naval engineer husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for her Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation – Helping Military Families. She lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and three rescue cats. Contact Heather at Heatherashby.com.
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