Writing On Angels’ Wings was a labor of love. I’d always been a fan of the 1940’s era, having watched 40’s movies (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Abbott & Costello, etc.) on television while growing up, and although I was born in the 50’s, I felt like I was truly a part of the 40’s. When I began to write seriously, I knew a novel taking place during that time period was on the top of my list.
So in 1984 my first draft of On Angels’ Wings was born. A rather long novel, weighing in at over six hundred pages, it did well on my agent’s list, and was “almost” contracted by two major publishers at that time. After waiting almost a year for one publisher to decide, it was rejected at the last moment because they had taken on publishing another WW II novel that same year and didn’t want to take on another.
OAW was shelved for three decades, though it never left my thoughts. Then one day I took it out, dusted it off, and rewrote it down to two hundred some pages. My characters and a major part of the plot stayed the same, but it came out different this time around, better, more mature. I truly liked it far better than its original rendering. The years had softened it and mellowed it, allowing more emotion to shine through.
Since the original story was written before I had my second son, when he was born I named him Johnny, after my hero in the story. Lt. Johnny Morgan is a Navy flier in the tale and my son, at the ripe old age of seventeen, attained his pilot’s license. He is a private pilot with the goal to become a commercial pilot after college. I may have named him after my hero, but his love of flying was all his own. It was truly odd how it turned out that way.
On Angels’ Wings is my second release from Rebel Ink Press. I would be honored if you would read about my characters—Anne, Johnny, and Daniel—who have been so close to my heart for so long a time.
December 1940 found the world on the brink of a conflict greater than it could ever fathom but for Anne Miller, the days before Pearl Harbor find her world full of excitement and promise. She’s left the comfort of family and friends back in Washington, DC to venture out into the foreign and beautiful Hawaiian landscape to make a new life for herself and her fiancé, Corporal Daniel Beiler.
Little did Anne know her perfect world was just an illusion. She didn’t expect to fall in love with a Navy flier she’d meet at the USO dancehall on the eve of “the day that will live in infamy.” Her love for Daniel is threatened while she fights new and strange emotions for the brave and reckless Lieutenant Johnny Morgan. How can she love both men and remain true to either? Will the outbreak of WWII tear their lives apart or pull them together on the rain-drenched islands of the South Pacific? On Angels’ Wings is a story of desperation, hope, and fulfillment during the tumultuous years of World War II.
Anne was dancing a fox-trot with a young man in a devil’s costume when she noticed a pair of crutches leaning against the side wall. They made her think of Johnny again and she sighed.
Just then, a tall Robin Hood tapped the devil she danced with on the shoulder and said, “May I cut in?”He wore a green, half-face mask. The devil shrugged and released Anne.
The green-costumed Robin Hood swept her up into his arms and pulled her close. Anne gasped as she looked into deep blue eyes. “Johnny?” she asked, breathlessly.
She chuckled. “Johnny, you’re dancing.”
“Uh-huh. I brought my crutches just in case.”
“But you’re dancing without them. I’m thrilled.”
The band signaled it was time for her to return to stage for the next set. Johnny released her then tipped his hat and strode away. She watched him go, noticing a slight limp, but otherwise he was walking without the aid of crutches. A strong sense of pride enveloped her and she almost flew up on stage she was so happy.
She took the microphone and said to the group, “Excuse me, boys, I want to tell you a little story.” The commotion in the hall dimmed. “Someone I know has proven to me tonight he could move mountains and his courage is as big as his heart. When he was down and out with no hope, he said, ‘I’m not going to let this get me down,’ and today he’s accomplished his goal. Fellas, I give you Lieutenant John Morgan.”
Clapping filled the room. Johnny sat in the rear of the hall at a table and shook his head, obviously embarrassed.
“Come up on stage, Lieutenant Morgan. I have a song for you,” Anne said.
Johnny gave up the ghost, pushed back his chair, and stood up. Slowly he made his way on stage and stood next to her. “I’ll get you for this,” he said good-naturedly to Anne.
The band struck up the opening notes and moments later she was pouring her heart out to strains of Frank Sinatra’s Old Black Magic.
“Sing, Lieutenant,” came a few shouts from the crowd.
Johnny chuckled, but surprised Anne by belting out the lyrics to the song flawlessly, as though he’d practiced with her before. His baritone voice was loud and clear and they sounded good together. She sang happily, her eyes locked with his.
He took her hand and held it as he sang, “For you’re the lover I have waited for.”
“The mate that fate had me created for,” she sang.
They finished the remainder of the song in perfect harmony. All during their duet the audience cheered, clapping wildly. Then Burt, on his trumpet, played a slow, romantic ballad called Moonlight Becomes You.
Johnny pulled Anne into his arms. A large mirrored ball suspended from the ceiling rotated slowly as they danced on stage, casting prisms of flickering, bejeweled light cascading around the darkened hall. It shimmered across Johnny’s hair and mask like moon kisses.
She closed her eyes and like the flickering of a hummingbird’s wings, Johnny’s lips brushed her cheek. Her heart beat wildly and she blinked. Though his lips were warm, she shivered.
He pulled her even closer and she felt the heat of his hard, muscular chest wedged against her breasts, the firm pressure of his hands at the small of her back. There was noise and music, song and chatter, but she heard nothing but the excited beating of her own heart in harmony with his.
The song ended and he stepped back. “Thank you, Annie,” he said, bowing to her. Without another word, he went back to his table.
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