Guest Bloggers — Nancy Lee Badger


By Nancy Lee Badger

Ever since my latest e-book was released earlier this month by Whispers Publishing, I have been deluged with questions concerning my book’s setting. UNWRAPPING CHRIS is set on a fictitious army base in North Carolina. Myhero is a staff sergeant and my heroine is his former love, recently widowed. How they meet again eight years later is a complete accident!

But, why exactly did I choose a military theme for this novella? Simply put, story ideas hit me all the time. I have to keep a notebook full of my ideas so that when the time comes to start a new story, I have the ‘bones of my plot’ ready to go. The idea for UNWRAPPING CHRIS started out as a simple idea based on a visit to an army base. My son, Eric, was training at the drill sergeant school and I drove down to visit him in January 2010. When he gave me a tour of the base, I absorbed the sights, sounds, uniforms, buildings, and more. The tallest building was the base hospital, which later gave me an idea to make my heroine a newly graduated nurse. The men marching in formation were led by sergeants who carried big guns and that gave me the idea for my hero.

When I got home, I checked out the photos I had taken and the notes I had jotted down and then came up with a short story (very short…800 words) I set it aside, because I knew it needed more. When my publisher put out a call for a Christmas wedding themed story between 5,000 and 10,000 words long, I was up to the challenge! So, after my hero and heroine crash into each other—literally—they meet a week later on Christmas Eve. In the wedding scene, Jayne attends as a guest with her soldier sister. Chris is a groomsman in full Highland dress (yes, I love EVERYTHING Scottish).

My son helped me with military terminology and read my manuscript before I submitted it last September. Whispers accepted it several days later, and the rest is history. Since I am proud of my son’s military service, coming up with this story was a pleasure. It’s a short, spicy, holiday adventure and I hope your readers will check it out.


Sometimes the best memories are worth unwrapping once more.

Army widow Jayne Rockwell searches for a secure future for her and her two daughters. Staff Sergeant Christopher Hawkins regrets leaving young Jayne eight years ago to go off to war. A crash encounter a week before Christmas thrusts these two lonely people back into each other’s lives once more.

Jayne must learn to trust a man who disappeared with her heart. Chris must overcome the guilt of taking her innocence, and then leaving her heartbroken and alone.

A Christmas wedding brings them closer when Jayne spies him as a groomsman in Highland dress, complete with kilt. He cannot keep his eyes off the woman in green velvet wearing a wedding ring. Accusations, explanations, and remorse leads to a love that erupts among candlelight, Christmas carols, and a dark room. Who needs mistletoe?

EXCERPT (rated P-G)

Staff Sergeant Christopher Hawkins marched alongside his platoon. Along with two other drill sergeants, their AIT soldiers finished lunch in record time. This group had survived basic combat training and now neared the end of their advanced individual training. Chris looked forward to filling their heads with intense survival instruction before sending them off into the world with their new skills.

Glancing up, clear blue sky filled his vision. Diesel exhaust mixed with pine scent from the North Carolina forest surrounding the army base. He swore he smelled the tang of the sea, though it was over one hundred miles to the east.

Several of the men chuckled as they marched. The frigid weather under clear skies had put everyone in a good mood. Too good. Perhaps a ten-mile hike would give them all a good night’s sleep.

Nowadays, sleep came hard to Chris. Nightmares filled with gunfire and blood had gotten to be a habit. He’d awaken covered in sweat with a curse on his lips. This proved tiresome. With Afghanistan a recent memory, he woke today determined to enjoy a march on paved roads under an American sky. No guns, no blood, no bodies laying dead and dismembered in the sand.

“Wake up, fool. You’re safe,” he mumbled.

“What’s that, Sarge?” his second-in-command asked.

“Nothing. Just thinking out loud. Quiet today. No traffic.”

“Why drive when you can march? The sun is real bright.” Chris’s sergeant closed his eyes, leaned his head back, and smiled. “I could get used to this.”

“Open those eyes. You’re on traffic detail. Can’t have my boys run down.”

“Yes, Sarge.” Tipping his cap, he swung his M-16A2 rifle off his shoulder, and trotted into the next road. The platoon marched in place until waved by. Several clapped their hands together for warmth as their hazy breaths danced in the chilly breeze. Noses, on several of the men, had grown rosy from the cold.

Chris sighed. Training soldiers on a secure army base was easy and safe.

And boring.

If I had bothered to get me a wife and a couple of kids, I’d have something to look forward to each day, he thought as he caught up, and then trotted to the front of the platoon. An image sprang up, clear as day.



Nancy grew up on New York’s Long Island then attended school in the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire. She earned a degree in art education. After meeting her husband there, they raised a family in a small, nearby town. She was am EMT/firefighter on their small fire department then worked for the State of New Hampshire as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher. Nancy now writes full time, lives in North Carolina, and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and Sisters-in-Crime. She also writes as Nancy Lennea.


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