The motto on their website is Born Ready and, boy, does that sound heroic. I have recently been researching the Coast Guard (CG) for my To Protect and Serve ongoing series with Harlequin Romantic Suspense under my Karen Anders pen name. With the release of Joint Engagement, a story about the collaborative effort between Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), I have to admit that I was first introduced to CGIS through the TV show NICS. I was intrigued that they had a branch of the CG that acted just like NCIS, only the agents in the CG can sometimes be active duty instead of civilian.
During the writing of Joint Engagement, I got even more interested in exploring other aspects of our protectors on the sea. Now, I have to say how completely impressed I am with this small, but well-trained and tough branch of the military.
This is the description from their website: The Coast Guard is one of our nation’s five military services. We exist to defend and preserve the United States. We protect the personal safety and security of our people; the marine transportation system and infrastructure; our natural and economic resources; and the territorial integrity of our nation–from both internal and external threats, natural and man-made. We protect these interests in U.S. ports, inland waterways, along the coasts, and on international waters.
Because of my interests in a variety of stories, I decided to focus on search and rescue, an integral part of the CG’s mission. Alexander Hamilton, known as a “Revenue Marine,” suggested its creation in 1790. But the search and rescue part of the CG that is so much a part of today’s service happened when the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service (an organization that evolved out of the Revenue Marine and initially collected customs duties) and the U.S. Life-Saving Service merged in 1915.
I focused my new stories on twin sisters that evolved from characters I created for a soon to be released book, Her Master Defender out in October. These sisters are mixed race, blending Inuit and white and are out of Unalaska, Alaska where the adjacent Dutch Harbor is home to the largest fishing fleet in the world, and is documented in the Discovery Channel series, Deadliest Catch. One of the sisters I made a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Book #8, titled A Deadly Catch) and the other a search and rescue swimmer (Book #6, titled Counterstrike). The pilot sister goes back home during her second tour of duty where she flies the big Jayhawk helos out of Air Station Kodiak, Kodiak, AK and the swimmer sister’s story is set in both San Diego and the tropical rainforests of Brazil. So far the research has been both enjoyable (watched The Guardian) and awe-inspiring.
Reading about rescues at sea out of Air Station Kodiak impressed the heck out of me. Facing great odds, risking their lives, and still getting the job done, the men and women of the CG battle freezing seas, buffeting and gale force winds. They often pull fishermen off crippled ships and plucking them out of wind tossed seas that can reach up to 40 feet. Of course, this makes for great fiction, but their mission doesn’t have anything to do with fiction. It’s their job, one they do with professionalism, skill, and dedication. Another story evolved out of the sister pilot story that is a secret baby plot and involves another rescue swimmer, this time a hero. I couldn’t resist the intriguing plot that started forming when I wrote the proposal for A Deadly Catch.
So in total I have three new Coast Guard stories to write. Here are the blurbs:
To Protect and Serve – Book #6
Petty Officer Neve Michaels, USCG broke her collar bone during a search and rescue gone bad—the guy was dead before she got to him. Three weeks after the rescue, someone breaks into her apartment and tries to kill her. She lets the police, her brother and her friends think it was a home intruder when she knows it was an assassin sent specifically for revenge. The guy she couldn’t save is part of a family of arms dealers and his oldest brother is now gunning for her and her whole family. She’s at the top of his hit list. To save her family and herself, she’s got to take him out before he takes her out. But, before she can go on the offensive, Russell “Rock” Kazcewski happens. He’s too smart to believe her story and once he sees all her gear, he makes her spill the beans. Rock has no intention of letting her go off to a foreign country to track down a gun runner alone. He just has to find a way to keep his hands off his best friend’s sister. Yeah, right, ignore all the signs that say Neve has a thing for him, too. The hardest part of this op isn’t the thick and dangerous jungle, the almost impossible op or the murderous weapon brokers—it’s the threat to their hearts.
To Protect and Serve – Book #8
A Deadly Catch
Seasoned helicopter search and rescue United States Coast Guard pilot Commander Nova Michaels, has been sent for her second tour to Air Station Kodiak located near Dutch Harbor and her home town of Unalaska, Alaska. Flying helicopters is what she is born to do and no matter how much she detests the profession, pulling fishermen out of the Bering Sea is her mission, but what she doesn’t expect is sexy, charming Logan Buchanan. His boat sinks and it’s her quick thinking and skill that saves the day. But, with the loss of his livelihood, he signs on to work her father’s boat. She can’t seem to shake him or the danger that he unwittingly brings into her life. Problem is she is all about leaving and he is all about putting down roots. They don’t see eye to eye, but there’s enough heat generated to melt the ice in the frozen waters of the perilous Bering Sea.
To Protect and Serve – Book #10
Unsafe and Unsound
Two years have passed since Dr. Kelly Hu, left the Coast Guard for an exciting and busy life of a NCIS medical examiner, her heart in tatters. She’s now working out of the NCIS San Diego office. During an intense cross-service search for a serial killer who is murdering women military medical personnel, Kelly runs into Coast Guard rescue swimmer, Jason Hollow. It has been two years since they parted, two years since their illicit affair could have gotten both of them court-marshalled, two years since she gave birth to their daughter, a daughter he knows nothing about. As she’s targeted by the serial killer, Jason refuses to leave her side, elated by the news that he’s a father and devastated by Kelly keeping that secret all this time. He needs the time to work out his pain and anger, and the feelings he still harbors for Kelly while protecting her from a man intent on taking her life, taking everything.
You can find my photo inspiration and all my proposed upcoming books for the series on my website here. I am so excited about writing and researching them. If you’d like to read about the CG, you can go here.
It’s great to know that the CG is always on alert. Tell me any thoughts, stories, people you know that have to do with the CG. I would love to hear them.
My next two releases:
Going to the Dogs 2: Piggy Bank Blues
Ian Lassiter is living the high life in Manhattan and loving it. He’s a successful artist and sculptor and has just adopted an adorable Mantle Great Dane named Ozzie from his sister, Callie. The bachelor life suits him, so he thinks until he gets a load of AlphaGroup’s newest client.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” O’Reilly is trying to save her art school for the deaf where she teaches. Thinking her clever Border Collie, Georgia who paints amazing huge abstract flowers could be commercial, she reads about grants available from AlphaGroup Investments that could help out. But, the guy she deals with, Ian, is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s a renowned artist and touted as a confirmed bachelor. Lizzie comes from a big family and the man she gets involved with would have to embrace not only a happily ever after with her, but want kids as desperately as she does.
Ian just doesn’t fit the bill, or does he?
To Protect and Serve: Her Master Defender
Though survival training is Master Sergeant Tristan Michaels’s specialty, one of his students has been murdered. And sharing quarters with the ravishing NCIS agent sent to investigate is a challenge his expertise hasn’t prepared him for. Tristan has his reasons for distrusting NCIS agents, but Amber Dalton is stirring unwelcome feelings of a different kind…
Despite the fierce attraction between them, Amber is determined not to let it distract her from the mission. But when they’re captured by the killers, escape means combining forces and daring to survive freezing mountain terrain.