Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Tracey L. Dragon. She’ll be telling us the story behind the story of her WW II novel Cherished Wings. She’s also sharing an excerpt from the book, so be sure to keep reading to the bottom of the post. Welcome to the blog, Tracey.
Cherished Wings was inspired by my own mother’s story. Although she never spoke of it, my sisters and I were aware of the pair of World War II Navy wings she kept hidden in her dresser drawer. The wings belonged to a beau who was killed on a mission during the war. After my mother’s death I cleaned out her dresser, and when asked by my father if I’d found anything else besides her clothes, I lied and said, “No.” He then explained to me that my mother used to keep photos of an old boyfriend, and he seemed pleased that she’d gotten rid of them. I didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise. For although I did not find the wings, I did find an envelope containing the photos—one was cut to fit the size of her locket. She’d kept those photos for sixty years. I also found the chunky, pyramid–shaped glass top of an old bottle of French perfume. The stopper had been broken off, and the bottle was nowhere to be found. I wondered why she kept it. I could only assume it meant a great deal to her. The mystery around these items sparked the idea for Cherished Wings, and Fran and Jack’s love story was created. This book is dedicated to my mother.
Cherished Wings-Book 1 of my Return to the Home Front Series, published by Soul Mate Publishing, is a dual-time romance where you have two stories—a contemporary and a historical intertwined in one novel. Examples of similar books would be Bridges of Madison County and The Notebook which some have compared Cherished Wings to. I call it Romance-Where the Past and Present Meet.
by Tracey L. Dragon
When Sara Kennedy returns to her small hometown in Western New York and visits her dying grandmother, she asks her about the pair of World War II Navy Wings she found in her grandmother’s dresser drawer. Her grandmother reluctantly shares with Sara the powerful love story she had not spoken of in over fifty years. As the tale unfolds, Sara finds herself caught up in a time where things were simpler, yet more complex—where love and war were not compatible.
A story so poignant, it rocks Sara’s world and changes her life forever.
The knock on the door followed by a chorus of greetings stirred Fran to take one final glance in the mirror before heading downstairs. Amy and Red’s voices were distinctive, and she could clearly make out their boisterous teasing. It was the third voice that stopped her in her tracks—rich, deep, and smooth as fine whiskey. It sent shivers down her spine and struck a chord deep within her.
As she stepped onto the landing, Red turned in her direction and whistled.
“Ah, there’s my girl now.”
She parted her lips to refute his statement, but found the words stuck in her throat when the tall sailor in dress uniform standing beside Red turned to acknowledge her presence.
The stranger’s mesmerizing eyes locked with hers and for a moment it was as if time stood still.
Fran froze mid-step when a pair of startling blue eyes met hers. A sense of déjà vu overwhelmed her as though their souls had met before. Her hand locked on the stair rail to prevent the unchecked motion of her body as her stride faltered.
“Are you all right?” The dark-haired man standing at the foot of the stairs stepped forward with an outstretched hand.
Disconcerted by her visceral reaction to Red’s friend and feeling self-conscious and more than a little clumsy, she blurted the first thing that came to mind.
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be? Now that my guy’s home.” She forced a smile. Ignoring Red’s grin and Amy’s choked expression.
Red shouldered aside his friend. “Now don’t you be trying to horn in on my gal.” He reached for her hand, tugged her forward, and slid his hands to her waist, lifting her up high.
She slapped Red’s shoulder. “Put me down you big oaf. You’re embarrassing me in front of your friend.”
Red swung her down but held her with her feet just above the floor. “How about a kiss from my favorite girl?”
“In your dreams, sailor, I’m sure you’ve used that line in every port.”
Red set her down and dramatically crossed his right arm over his heart. “Oh, how you wound me.”
She rolled her eyes at him and laughed. “I see you can take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy. I would have thought you’d have gained some polish while stationed in the city.”
“Ouch. Cut to the bone. You’ve sure gotten sassy while I’ve been away.”
“Just you remember that buster.” She poked him in the chest. “Now how about you quit being rude to your pal and introduce us.”
“Oh, all right. But don’t you be making sheep’s eyes at him like all the gals in the city. You’d think he was Frank Sinatra or something. He just casts his baby blues at the girls and they practically fall at his feet.”
His friend cleared his throat. “Laying it on a little thick, aren’t you, Red?”
Red turned to his buddy and grinned. “Just want to make sure Fran doesn’t become another one of your victims.”
“Well, how ‘bout you do me the courtesy of an introduction first, you big galoot.”
“Fran meet Jack. Jack meet Fran. Now that that’s over, what do you say we get going?”
Jack just shook his head at Red, his eyes sparkling with humor. He then stepped forward and extended his hand. “Lieutenant McOmber at your service, ma’am.”
Fran put her hand in his and then with indrawn breath withdrew it quickly. “Frances Jones, but please call me Fran.”
“I’d be honored to, Fran.” His lips curled warmly.
“All right, Casanova.” Red tucked his arm through Fran’s leading her toward the door and away from his friend. “What do you say we leave? I’m anxious to dance this pretty little redhead around the floor, and boy can her feet move. I’m telling, you. She can jitterbug like there’s no tomorrow. I usually have a hard time keeping up with her—always had a bit of a left foot.”
Fran flushed at Red’s praise. She hated having attention drawn to her. She’d always been shy that way, but she did love to dance.
Amy grabbed Jack’s arm. “Come on, Jack.” She led him toward the car. “We can sit in the back, and you can tell me all about yourself.”
Fran gave her friend a frown. So much for just catching a ride. She had no one to blame but herself for being paired with Red. After all, she opened her mouth and inserted her high-heeled shoe. She wanted to hit herself in the head with it. She replayed her words over again in her mind. Why wouldn’t I be fine, now that my guy’s home? What on earth had come over her?
Jack’s baby blues, that’s what.
Want to read more? You can find Cherished Wings on Amazon
About the Author:
Tracey L. Dragon is a relocated New Yorker, former Navy wife, and retired educator who now lives in Florida with her husband and their Miniature Goldendoodle. After seven military moves, raising two Navy brats, and twenty years teaching troubled youth, she is now able to put her full attention to publishing the children’s stories and romance novels she’s written over the years as a hobby. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Florida Writers Association.
Connect with Tracey on Social Media at:
Check out a Review of Cherished Wings at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2423311584