I met my husband, Tor, when we were both 19 years old. I was in the Navy, he was in the Marine Corps, and we were both stationed in Italy. Right off the bat I knew he was the one. No one can convince me that love at first sight doesn't exist. I'm originally from the city, and here was this man standing before me in jeans, big worn boots, and a flannel shirt - looking just like the Brawny man. You could have described him just like a hero out of a book...large shoulders, broad chest, square jaw...so handsome. Within ten minutes he asked me on a date.
Since we were in Italy there were numerous wonderful restaurants to choose from. He chose to take me to a place called Tony's...where I had been before. In fact, all of the members of the military went there on a regular basis. I knew the owner Tony by name because I frequented there. That Tor took me to Tony's let me know two things about him instantly - One, he was grounded. He wasn't trying to impress me. And two, he was a man who enjoyed the familiar. My interest in him grew. Of course I messed up the date by trying to pay my share at the end of the meal. Tor was insulted...and he still talks about my insistence on paying to this day. I promised he could pay for our next date, and with a wink he said that would work.
We were married in Italy less than a year later. Within that time he had gone to Bosnia, and during those months I realized just how much I loved him. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Through letters I came to know the sensitive side of him. Many romance readers go for the alpha male - but we want a little beta in there. We want our hero to have a sensitive side - a side that perhaps only we can see. He had both. I've kept all the letters he's written over the years, and I read them every now and then. (There are even a few poems in there, but he'll deny that. The beta in him will write them to me, the alpha tells me to keep them to myself.)
We've been married over ten years and during that time he's been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. As strong as I like to think I am, I was a mess during those deployments. While stationed in Iraq he trained Iraqi's to become police officers. He wasn't stationed on a base...he was in the middle of no where with little protection other than the eleven or so Marines with him. I couldn't watch CNN because I was afraid I would hear of a Marine detachment getting harmed. At the time that was all that was on CNN.
He's the strongest man I know. There isn't a thing he can't fix on a car or in the house...at the same time he knows how to separate the laundry and fix a delicious chicken and dumplings meal. If you ask our two daughters who makes eggs the best, they'll say he does, hands down. Cheesy eggs happen to be 'the' thing to eat on weekends in this house. :)
While I struggled to get published he was always there telling me I could do it. He believed in me even as I framed my rejection letters and put them on my office wall with tears in my eyes. He sat in the bookstore with me as I read through magazines and books on the industry, picking and choosing which books I wanted to purchase. He footed the bill for RWA Nationals when both of us knew the money was needed elsewhere. He was there to pick me up and twirl me around when I finally got the email that offered contract.
I wanted to write this as a thank you to the man who completes me in every way.
If I can get my heroes to be half the man he is, then I've done a damn fine job.