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Writing Ex-Military Men by Victoria Vane

For those who might not be familiar with my books, I have always enjoyed putting a different spin on familiar tropes as well as combining character archetypes. Although Hot Cowboy Nights has a definite Western flavor, two of the heroes in my series, Dirk Knowlton (ROUGH RIDER) and Reid Everett (SHARP SHOOTIN’ COWBOY), are also former Marines. While they share a number of things in common, they are very different personalities. Dirk is very much the wounded warrior. In ROUGH RIDER, Dirk spends much of the book trying to figure out what he really wants from life. When we first meet him he is fighting fiercely to hang onto his family ranch as he feels it’s all he has left.


Dirk stared at her in incomprehension, his mind still reeling at her appearance. He still couldn’t believe she’d walked into his life after all this time. He didn’t understand her motivation either, but did he really care? He’d done his best to warn her, to chase her off even. He hadn’t exaggerated. He was a fucking wreck, one that no sane woman would take on. But here she was, sane or not, and he wanted her with a desire that penetrated his marrow. The same need shone in her eyes, the kind of deep physical, gut-wrenching need that he shared, and the only kind he could fulfill.

He mumbled a stream of curses before hoisting himself to his feet. “Last chance, Janice. I can only fuck things up and make you miserable. It’s all I’ve ever been good at.”

Nevertheless, he offered his hand.

Her brown eyes met his unwavering. “I’m a big girl, Dirk. I think I can take it.”

The softness in those eyes betrayed her tough words. That same softness and vulnerability cried out to him. After six years in the Marines, there was nothing soft left in him. He wanted to bury himself in it…in her. 


Dear Haley,

This is my first real letter to you. I may not get another chance for a while. Hell, I may not get another chance period. Truth be told, I don’t even know if I’ll send it. Although I prefer to live by the adage that if you can’t say something positive, it’s best to say nothing, there aren’t a whole lot of rainbows in the middle of a shit storm. And that’s what we’re up against. The grunts we came to replace greeted us with a nod and the thousand-mile stare. No words were exchanged. None were needed. We all know what we’re facing.

Every morning begins a new game of Russian Roulette as we sidestep IEDs, dodge RPGs, rockets, mortars, and sniper fire, taking every minute as it comes, knowing nothing over here can ever be taken for granted. My first thought every morning is only to make it through the coming day, and my last, at night, is a prayer of gratitude that I’m still alive.

At the end of each day, I can only marvel at the beauty of sunsets that are some of the most spectacular I have ever seen. Watching them is an evening ritual.

Reid paused to read the message, realizing it was far too raw and real. Did she ever think about him? He didn’t know. Did she care? He didn’t know that either. Maybe he never would.

With a shake of his head, he deleted the text of the email, attached a photo of a breathtaking desert sunset, and hit “send.”

About Sharp Shooter





Weary warrior… After eight years as a Marine sniper, war-scarred Reid Everett is back in his native Wyoming. He knows and loves this rugged land, so working for wildlife services to reduce the booming wolf population suits him to a T.

Caring crusader… Wildlife biologist Haley Cooper is desperate to make a difference. Leaving the world of academia behind, she accepts a position as a wolf advocate to protect the animals she loves.

Raw attraction… Their jobs set them on a collision course, but chemistry sparks like wildfire between Reid and Haley. They’ll have to brave some rough territory if they hope to reconcile their polarizing views with a passion that won’t be denied.

About Victoria Vane

Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Connect with Victoria Vane: Website | Facebook | @AuthorVictoriaV | Pinterest | Goodreads

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