Imagine you’re a single mom walking into a theater alone on a rainy night, when three masked attackers attempt to abduct you. Imagine closing your eyes to say a desperate prayer, then opening them again to behold a stranger, a man with piercing blue eyes, a gray countenance and growly voice standing before you, striking fear and bringing judgment down upon your would-be abductors. Then, imagine, after this harrowing experience, learning that your defender is Cody Musket, Houston Astros third baseman and a decorated US Marine who has shown up only because his game has been rained out that night. Brandi Barnes is a 24-year-old writer whose editorials exposing human traffickers have placed a price on her head. Now, they are both targets, but Brandi soon discovers that Cody carries dark military secrets which are destroying him. What happened after his F/A-18 crashed in the Afghan desert? What events did the generals and politicians hide? How did he get his scars? Why does he never smile? She must learn the truth before it is too late. Cody tries to protect her, but she risks her life to save the only man she has ever loved. An unforgettable tale of honor, sacrifice and courageous love. Historical fiction containing many real events. Heart-rending, tragic, funny, inspirational.
The attack on the AME church and Cody's battle with hate have created a crisis moment for Cody. Pastor Jonathan Williams, a battle-scarred fighter himself, approaches Cody in the aftermath and shares his wisdom with the fellow wounded warrior.
Somehow the word "romance" does not do justice to what is happening here. When I shared my first draft of this scene with friends, everyone in the room was crying before I finished -- even the guys. Cody, while saving Brandi's life for the second time in a week, has killed two hit men. It has sent him into a deep abyss in his mind. He has blocked out all reality, and Brandi boldly enters the steamy shower room to rescue him from himself.
Brandi has finally convinced Cody to tell her what happened in him in Afghanistan--events, the memories of which were destroying him. But as she begins to listen, she is shocked to discover why his pain is so unbearable.
Cody Musket is a Medal of Honor winner and celebrity athlete who carries dark secrets that are destroying him. Brandi Barnes is a courageous Pittsburgh writer who has exposed a human trafficking ring. Her enemies want her dead. They meet under the worst of circumstances, but together, they discover that no pit is so deep that God is not deeper still.
Brandi has persuaded the reluctant Cody, a stranger, to let her treat the itching scars on his legs and feet. She asks him how he got the wounds. He begins telling her but is unable to continue. It brings them both to tears. Near the end of the scene Brandi attempts to tell Cody the gripping details about the circumstances of her birth, but they are interrupted.
Violence is often romanticized in film and literature, but in No Pit So Deep I attempted to catch reality. Cody's ballgame with the Pirates has been rained out, so he goes to a movie. He sees a beautiful stranger and is smitten the moment he lays eyes on her. But when she is attacked by the three hit men at the theater, his killer instinct, the one he had tried to leave behind in Afghanistan, takes him over again. After he crushes her attackers, he struggles for his sanity. The crowd sees him as a hero, but he sees himself as a monster. He wants to meet her, but she, too. is traumatized and will not let him near.
My years of flying and some first-hand insight from Lt. Col. Bart Wilbanks, 419th Fighter Wing, US Air Force, helped me to inject reality into this scene. Lt. Col. Wilbanks has flown nearly 1000 hours of combat in Afghanistan. Angels Two Zero is the chapter that describes the event that changed the life of Cody Musket forever.
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