Until 2011, openly gay individuals were not allowed to serve in the military. When Ely and Todd were serving prior to 1993, military personnel could be discharged for homosexuality. During World War II, gay servicemen received a "blue discharge," which was neither honorable or dishonorable but was considered a stigma that could prevent them from being employed after they left the service.
In 1993, President Clinton signed a law that led to the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy. Federal courts in 2010 declared the DADT law unconstitutional. President Obama signed the "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010" which removed restrictions on service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel. Too late for Ely and Todd and many real people who were not allowed to serve their country honorably.
I liked Ely and Todd so much, I wrote their story - Ely's Epiphany, my first M/M which is sizzling hot. Check out the blurb and excerpt for Search & Rescue:
Not every search ends with a rescue. One look at Captain Taylor Jackson at a college Career Day and wealthy coed Lexie Carter knew he was The One. In six months they're engaged and the wedding set for after graduation. When Taylor was reported killed in action in Afghanistan two months before their wedding, Lexie was devastated, her hopes for a family of her own crushed. Can she survive a future without Taylor or will she succumb to her grief?
Army Ranger Taylor Jackson falls hard for young Lexie Carter. He introduces her to passion and she teaches him to love. While on a mission in Afghanistan, he is captured by insurgents. When Taylor escapes and returns home on what should have been their wedding day, Lexie has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Can he find her in time to rescue her from her fate?
Excerpt: Taylor Meets Lexie's Family
Lexie pulled Taylor onto the terrace, but something set off an alarm and he stopped dead. He caught Lexie who still held his hand before she hit the ground. He surveyed the area, but couldn't detect an intruder. He would keep his cool, but stay alert. "So far I haven’t seen anything that qualifies as a down side, unless it’s maintaining the house and grounds."
Lexie smiled. "I think you’re about to."
Two middle-aged men materialized out of the shrubbery. They were both dressed casually in khakis and short-sleeved pullovers, worn un-tucked. Their bearing was unmistakably military and those un-tucked shirts probably concealed weapons. Neither appeared friendly, and he was unarmed.
Lexie stepped between him and the two men. His hackles went up. Both were over six feet tall and in peak fighting condition for their age. The mean-looking one with the ponytail was built like a tank and could probably take out a dozen fighters by himself. The pretty one with the fashionably long blond hair was several inches taller. Taylor knew the type. He could easily find work as a model or an assassin. Heavily muscled with almost no body fat, either of them could kill Lexie in any number of ways. Then, the tank glanced at Lexie. Taylor breathed a sigh of relief. The man loved her. He hoped he was a close relative. It explained a lot.
"Taylor, meet Ely and Todd, my guardians. They are employed by a real estate LLC out of Delaware that owns this property. Ely," she touched the tank’s arm, "maintains the outdoors. Todd does the inside. When Ely’s in a good mood, he cooks for us."
Taylor couldn’t imagine Ely in a good mood, but they weren’t a threat to Lexie. He nodded to them. "Green Berets?"
They looked at each other, looked him up and down, and nodded.
"What was your unit?"
Again the exchange. Ely spit on the ground.
"We were in the 12th Special Forces Group," Todd muttered.
Up their ages to approaching fifty. The 12th had been deactivated after the Gulf War.
Lexie squeezed his hand. "After they left the military, they went into private security. That’s how we ended up here."
He let that go for now, but folks didn't pay the kind of money Ely and Todd could earn for house sitting.
Todd walked over to the small refrigerator that was part of the outdoor cooking area. He tossed a Heineken to Ely who caught it midair, twisted off the cap, and took a long swallow. Lexie linked arms with Ely and they headed toward the kitchen, leaving him with alone with Todd. "They won’t be long. Ely did most of the cooking this afternoon. How about a beer while he and Lexie finish dinner?"
Taylor nodded. Todd handed him a beer and pointed to a chair. Rather than piss off his host, he sat down and twisted the cap off the bottle. Todd took a seat in the chair beside him, within easy reach.
"Lexie’s never brought home a boy, much less a man. She hasn't dated a lot. Said she wasn’t interested. Said she'd know the one when she met him. You've impressed her." Todd sipped his beer. "Of course, we checked you out. Top ten at West Point, tops in all your schools, outstanding performance evaluations, fluent in five languages. You're on track for an exceptional career." Todd glared at him, almost a challenge. "Doesn't make you the best choice for our Lexie."
Damn, Todd was direct. "Can't say that I agree with you. You've learned a lot about me in a short time. You still have contacts, pretty high up. West Point?"
Todd nodded. "Class of '87."
"I bet your friend never saw the inside of West Point."
"Ely?" Todd looked into the kitchen where Ely was busy preparing dinner. Lexie sat on the counter talking animatedly. He softened. "He was enlisted. A well-known troublemaker, but the best search and extraction specialist around. On a weekend I was Officer of the Day, we received a complaint about a soldier tearing up a club not far off the post. I was sent to investigate. I found Ely sitting at a table drinking a beer. A couple of dozen men were laid out on the floor around him and the bar was in shambles. He didn’t have a scratch on him. The man was a damned force of nature. We looked at each other, I paid the bill, we walked out together, and have been partners ever since."
Todd and Ely, partners? Like a couple? Lexie's guardians were gay? She should have mentioned that. "You couldn’t stay in the service. You went into private security and ended up with Lexie. Damn! I should have realized who he was sooner. That man in there is Mad Ely. The old timers—the senior NCOs—still tell stories about him. None with happy endings. How could you allow him near Lexie? You knew his reputation."
In the kitchen Ely laughed at something Lexie had said. He touched a finger to her nose. She pulled away, wiped off the speck of potatoes, and licked her finger. They both laughed, and then returned to work.
"You don’t know shit about us, Taylor."
BIO: Rita Bay is the author of numerous contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance novels and novellas. She has lived and traveled extensively in the United States and Western Europe. Rita has worked as a Registered Nurse, educator, and school system administrator and served as a nurse in the U.S. Army Reserve. She lives with her family on the Gulf Coast.