Tate and Layla's journey started when we were looking at sending a Christmas Care package to one of our Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. We discovered a horrible statistic - every service dog on active duty overseas gets four packages a year but sometimes there aren't enough sent for our soldiers.
Not every soldier gets a package!
My imagination went into overdrive. How would you feel - thousands of miles from home and you missed out? The image of a soldier, sitting slumped over a trestle table in the mess wouldn't leave me and after a sleepless night I knew I had to turn that image around.
Here's an excerpt, when Tate receives his package:
He put the box down as if it were a bomb, and backed up. This sender had gone to a lot of trouble. If he opened his parcel, he wasn’t going to find the standard tinned tuna and lollies of previous years. He brushed at the bead of sweat that trickled down from his hairline, searching for a way out.
‘McAuliffe.’ The CO’s bellow reached him from across the mess.
‘Open the present, McAuliffe.’ The CO rang Santa’s bell. ‘Santa’s orders.’
‘Yes, Santa.’ He glanced around the mess. Stevo and Doug, his two mates, had
organised to Skype their families and had disappeared from the unit get-together almost before it started. They’d be back for lunch, but until then, he was pretty much on his own.
Just him and the box.
Tate hefted it with one hand, feeling the weight, then lowered it onto a table worn from the trays of thousands of men over the last few years. Scratches marred its surface and he traced a deep gouge with his fingertip, trying to decide which was better, no Christmas gift or a bad Christmas gift? He shuddered. As a kid he’d had both, and this parcel was starting to bring back memories he’d thought were long buried.
Want to find out what's in the package?
Home for Christmas is available is available in e-book now. Order here or via your usual e-book stores. I hope you enjoy reading Tate and Layla's story.