Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guy’s Angel – Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Angels.  We hear a lot about angels these days, from the now fallen angel Castiel on the popular television program Supernatural to the cherubs decorating everything from coffee mugs to curtains. Angels remain popular but some angels are different than others.
In Guy’s Angel, Angel isn’t an angel at all – she’s a young woman, Lorraine Ryan, nicknamed ‘Angel’ by flyboy and ace Guy Richter.  He calls her Angel because she wants to fly but she isn’t the only angel in the story.  St. Michael makes an appearance too.
My latest release, a historical romance set in 1925, owes a lot to my own heritage and my love of flight.  Maybe I should give credit to a few angels along the way, too.
Here’s the blurb:
When a young woman really believes the sky is the limit, amazing things can happen…
Lorraine Ryan wants to fly airplanes so she heads for the local airstrip in 1925 to make her dream come true.  Most of the flyboys think she’s cute but a woman’s place is in the home, not the cockpit.   When Guy Richter steps up and offers to teach her to fly, she’s captivated with both Guy and flight.  He nicknames her “Angel” and takes her up into that wild blue yonder.  Before long, they’re deep in love.
Love, however, isn’t always enough……
Guy, a former World War I flying ace, is haunted by his past. His demons include his war service, the death of his only brother in an accident the previous year, and the Valkyries that he evaded in France who trail him in the hopes that they can complete his destiny.  But his dreams lie with Angel and as they grow closer and closer, he soon realizes that if anyone can save him, it’s his Angel.
The brown leather jacket swallowed up her thin figure and the boots dwarfed her small feet so she looked like a little girl playing dress-up in clothing purloined from her father’s closet. Even the trousers, though cinched at the waist for a tighter fit, diminished her. Before she put on the gloves, the leather helmet, and the goggles, she still retained her femininity but with the last of the gear in place, she must resemble a flying child or an oversized insect. 
 When she first showed up out at Rosecrans field, however, on that Monday afternoon in early May most of the flying aces, the would-be aviators, and the curious onlookers stared.  Maybe it was the way the dimity dress she wore hugged her figure or the way she let her black curls tumble loose down her back unbound. She figured they thought she must be lost, the way they stared, as if she was out of place.  Before she reached the hanger, they began calling to her, teasing and flirting as if she was a catch they might be able to reel in from the adjacent Missouri River.
“Whose kid sister are you?”
 She ignored the first salvo, as she sidled across the open field in French Bottoms as if she were window-shopping downtown. 
Another took a shot. “Come to call somebody home to supper?”
She tossed back her head and the curls rippled in the sunshine.
“I came to fly.”
They all laughed every one of them.  Heat flared enough to make her blush but she wouldn’t go away.  It took too much bravado to come in the first place.
“Beat it, doll.” The oldest of the gathered males stepped forward as he spoke. “Scram.  Flying ain’t for gals. Go and learn the Charleston or something.”
 Her rosebud mouth, pinker than nature ever painted it, pursed into a pout but her dark blue eyes flared with fire.
“I don’t wanna dance,” she said. “I want to take to the sky and fly.”
 Another burst of laughter flamed her cheeks pinker but she stood her ground, fists balled tight as she glared at them. Despite her anger, tears flirted with her eyes until one of them felt some sympathy for the kid, parted the crowd and put an arm around her shoulders.
“Dry up and let her alone,” he said, walking her away from the others.  “Hey, Angel, cheer up.  If you want to fly so bad, I’ll teach you.”
She didn’t mind his arm around her and she liked the way he shut the others up for her sake.
“Do you mean it? That’s nifty.  When can we start?”
He looked her up and down, shook his head at the white dimity dress decorated with red and blue polka dots, and sighed.
“How old are you, Angel?”
“I’m eighteen.” She told the truth but didn’t mention how recently she reached the age.
He shot her a skeptical glance but asked, “Yeah? You still go to school?”
“Nope,” she said. “I quit and went to work two years ago.  I work at the dime store, Kresge’s, you know, downtown.”
 He turned her so he could study her face and she stood still, sensing scrutiny might make or break her chances to fly.
“All right, then,” he said, after the pause. “Come back on Saturday morning, leave the glad rags at home and I’ll take you up.  If you still want to learn after that, I’ll give you a few lessons. My name’s Guy, Guy Richter.  Be here at seven, Angel.”
 Her lips shifted into a smile and she nodded.
“Okay! I’ll be here with bells on.”
As she started back across the field, mincing a little in her patent leather shoes, she heard one of the fellows rag her new friend.
“Hey, Guy, what did you want to do that for?  This dumb Dora won’t learn how to fly.”
She paused, marked his name and listened for the answer. When it came, she grinned all the more.
“The kid deserves a fair chance.  Angel’s going to show up all the rest of you, just wait and see.”
With those simple words, he baptized her “Angel” and she knew it was who she would be with them, forever.  She liked it very much.
 Because they could no longer see her face, she let the grin she’d been hiding stretch across her mouth and once out of sight, she ran like a kid going home from school.

Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot
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