Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Loves Are the Deepest

By Heather Long

This truism is now the official motto of the Marine Corps League. The origin of the statement is credited to a gung-ho Marine Corps master sergeant, Paul Woyshner.

During a barroom argument he shouted, “Once a Marine, always a Marine!” MSgt. Woyshner was right. Once the title “U.S. Marine” has been earned, it is retained. There are no ex-Marines or former-Marines. There are active duty Marines, retired Marines, reserve Marines, and Marine veterans.

Nonetheless, once one has earned the title, he remains a Marine for life.  - USMC Heritage

Last November, a friend of mine and fellow author suggested that I take a look at the 1Night Stand line. I’d heard of several of the titles, but one of the drawbacks to being an author is not as much time to read, as I might like.  I finished up one book just as Thanksgiving rolled around, so I treated myself to a few books to read during the holiday.  On Black Friday, I woke up with an idea.  That idea became Once Her Man, Always Her Man.

The story is a classic tale of first love lost and found again.  Only it comes with a bit of a twist, Luke Dexter was just barely eighteen when 9/11 happened. He lost a mother and a sister on one of the flights and it changed his whole life.  His father, a retired Marine, returned to active duty with Luke hot on his heels, but Luke left someone behind: Rebecca.

It was how he left her behind that affected her so much. Luke told himself it was the honorable choice to not make her wait…whether it was waiting for him to come home or waiting to hear he died.  He enlisted in the Marines and served his country. Retirement brought him back to the Dallas area, along with many of the men he served with on a mission to create a place to helped Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and more reintegrate into civilian life, rehabilitate injuries and even provide counseling for their families.

Having believed that there was no I in team for most of his life, Luke along with all of his men signed up for Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand in a show of solidarity for the men and women in his unit that needed the opportunity and outlet to make those intimate connections.  Imagine his surprise when he discovers his 1Night Stand courtesy of Madame Eve is Rebecca, the girl he left behind.

The story of Luke and Rebecca as well as all of his Marines became very personal for me.  Once Her Man, Always Her Man is the first of five Always A Marine


Fulfilling a favor and executing a business plan, Luke Dexter arrived at Dallas’ Sybarite Club for a one-night stand. He never imagined that in the darkened club with bluesy strains of jazz playing he’d come face to face with the woman he left behind a decade earlier.

Rebecca Rainier fell in love with Luke Dexter in high school and was crushed when he dumped her to join the Marines after 9/11. Now, waiting for a date her best friend and business partner set up, she’s unprepared when Luke walks in.

Can Luke and Rebecca bridge the pain of a decade long abandonment in one cold Texas night? 


Luke’s chest hurt, but he braced himself against it. Shock wrinkled the line between her brows, the emotion far more brutal to him than a firefight in Kandahar or Kabul. She didn’t turn to look at him. But her reflection in the mirror didn’t soften. The familiar, flirtatious smile fled from the cool, firm line of her lips. Color drained from the face of the woman who shifted on the bar stool. Movement to his right caught his attention. A man approached, intent on her, but meeting Luke’s iron expression, the would-be interloper diverted to another table.
Satisfied, his attention returned to the girl—no, the woman—gazing at him, pain etching the softness of her lips. The memory of her lips got him through Paris Island. He’d thought about them, about her smile, every single, damn day.
“Hello, Luke.” Her voice poured over him like warm honey.
Life doesn’t always offer second chances….
“May I join you?” He nodded to the stool next to her.
“It’s a free country.” And just like that, she turned her back and the warm honey chilled, hardening over his chest.
“Thank you, ma’am.” He tacked the ma’am on as an afterthought. But the steel wrapped in her velvety voice jabbed his kidneys. Perching on the edge of the stool, he motioned to the bartender. “Two more of whatever the lady is having.”
She watched him from the mirror. Hungriness reflected in the gold flecked, tawny brown eyes, a perfect contrast to the tight jaw and stiff fingers wrapped around her wine glass. She tossed back a third of a glass like a shot of vodka.
A shot of vodka sounded like a great idea. But he needed his wits about him. IEDs laced the battlefield in front of him and patience and procedure and about eighty-five pounds of protective gear weren’t handy. But the trick to survival was to examine what was right in front of him and to react to it. He could do that in the field, he could do that with her. It was what he did best.
After the bartender served the drinks and took his credit card, Luke sat sideways, intentionally brushing his leg against hers. She didn’t recoil—exactly—but did shift away after a few seconds.
Definitely treading in dangerous waters.



  1. Congrats on your new release, Heather! Can't wait to read it. :)

    I married my first love. All those before him were teenage lust.

    1. Jessica,

      That's awesome. I think there really is a fine line between that teenage lust and true love, but it takes some maturity to see it. Ahh but for those moments of beautiful passion when love is fresh...

    2. You're so right, Heather. It does take some maturity. I thought I was in love at the time, but now I know I wasn't, just in love with the idea.

  2. Congrats on the new release. Sounds like another winner for you. I met my first love in high school. We lasted until senior year when we both thought it would be better if we parted company before we went to separate colleges across the country from each other. It worked out fine in the end. We both married other people and still keep in touch. This book sounds amazing. Can't wait to read it.

    Joanne B

    1. Joanne, thanks for dropping by and sharing your story. I'm glad it worked out for both of you!

  3. I love this series and I've read many of the titles. I love the concept of yours and I live in the Dallas area. I met my first love at church...don't laugh. I was a sophomore and he was a senior. We were so in love with each other. We even lost our virginity to one another. Unfortunately, he went away to college and he broke up with me one weekend he came back. I was devasted. I truly don't think I ever got over him and I'm 45 years old now. I look back on our time together and it was special but breaking up the way we did, that was a shock.

    Congratulations on the release.


    1. Marika,

      My heart breaks for you. Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Fell in love with a bad boy musician (keyboards). He broke my heart. Hope he is well.

    Your books sound amazing, Heather. Who doesn't love a man in uniform or out one? Either way is good. LOL Congrats on the release.

    1. Musicians! I remember a certain bassist and his guitarist brother when I was in junior high and they were in high school. Always wondered what happened to them!

  5. Congratulations on the new book. i love the cover, it's gorgeous and the excerpt was wonderful. i can hardly wait to see what happens next. :D

    thank you for the chance at such a great giveaway.

    Tammy Ramey

    1. Thank you Tammy! And thanks for stopping by!

  6. Love Marines and love (OK, like) Dallas. Sounds like a winning combination!

    Hmm. My first love. I think it was Greg, when I was in the sixth grade. I "ran away" to be with him, and he found me on the beach and told me to go home. Brat.

    Then I got my first kiss under the mistletoe over the holidays and that was not Greg. lol That crush lasted a couple of years, even after my family moved from Florida to Texas the following summer. I still think affectionately about that one sometimes.

    1. Lana,

      What a great story and how precocious of him to tell you to go home! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Awww, this sounds like a sweet story. I'm about to turn 24 and I have yet to fall in love but I'm still waiting patiently :)

    1. Heather,

      In some ways that's awesome too because good, bad or indifferent, falling in love the first time is always just a little bit magic.