“She’s a world-renowned, beloved, prima ballerina, currently performing with the South Vietnamese Royal Ballet in Huế City. The Vietnamese have a name for her, dansseur que pleure. The dancer who weeps.”
“The globe was from my father after my first performance of Romeo and Juliet, my favorite ballet.” Tears ran down her face. “How did you know to bring these to me? All three of these are my most treasured belongings. Thank you so much.”
“I don’t know, something just told me they were important.” Elijah pushed her back down, kissing the tears off her face and showering her lips with soft kisses. “No more tears, brat."
She had come from a closed world of Dance--the Prima Ballerina in South Vietnam, where her father was Ambassador. Her mother had died many years ago so that she had early become being on her own, an independent girl and then a young lady who had spent her life...studying...
It was during the Vietnam War and talks on peace had begun... It was then that the enemy set their sight on that prima ballerina and, suddenly, Elyse Booker's life was in danger, unbeknownst to her... She had been forced to leave Saigon, taking luggage with her, but sending most of her clothes in a large trunk. Her ride was a helicopter...
Which was being fired upon as they left South Vietnam... Elyse was in fear of her life as the 'copter caught on fire and went out of control over the jungle... Finally, one of the men managed to kick her out, as in seconds the entire crew and 'copter exploded...
Elyse Booker* had been dancing since she was very young, but she had also studied languages, musical instruments, and was very well-read. Still, nothing had prepared her for the bugs, snakes, jungle animals, and the North Vietnase following her! She ran for hours, fought a monkey in the tree she climbed with her strong legs for a banana, only to stumble and fall, hiding when she heard the sound of men coming... When she came to a village, speaking with the elder of the village in his language, she asked for water...and then was hidden from the soldiers who followed her...
She played back the last telephone conversation with her father in her mind, the argument that ensued as he told her to notify the South Vietnamese Royal Ballet of an emergency at home, pack all of her things as a chopper was already on the way to pick her up from the American compound where she lived in Huế City. “Daddy, Why? Why do I need to come home? What’s going on?” “Elyse, please don’t argue with me. There is no time to explain. I need you home as soon as possible.” “I have responsibilities here. I have two performances next week.” “I’m sorry, you need to do as I say.” “Why are you always ordering me about? I’m a grown woman.” The call was breaking up, and soon, all she heard was the crackle of static on the line. “You’re,” more static, “danger,” then the dial tone as the call disconnected.
Staring down into beautiful amethyst eyes, the Captain had to scuffle with her, holding his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming--the Viet Cong was very near! Seeing the man above her, she hold quietly for quite some time, then in a rage, she erupted--only for both of them to notice that her breasts were bare. The Captain immediately handed her his shirt...
Thus began the strangest rescue message ever! A radio message was sent in to camp and they discovered that they had been hunting for her--that her helicopter had been destroyed--and that they were to immediately return bring her back to Khe Sahn!
Where Captain Corrington (Cap) and his small team was to speak to the Commandant... And was told his team was on guard duty until they could get Elyse some place safe. Cap was NOT happy...
Elyse soon realized that she was surrounded by marines and felt safer. But did they have to have all dropped their mouths when they softly whistled and looked every inch of her over, not once...but... She quickly put that to a stop! Sorta... She had been around men all of her life and she had become friendly and caring. Soon that small team were like brothers--except Cap...
They started moving keeping her near the end...as they arrived at a small stream and Elyse decided she didn't want to get wet...
Another grueling day behind them brought them closer to their target. Athlete that she was, Elyse struggled to keep up with the men’s fast pace. When they came across a small, fast-moving stream, they crossed it single file. The first three men along with the Captain had entered the stream. The water appeared to be chest deep and fast moving.
Elyse contemplated the stream. She didn’t want to get wet with nightfall fast approaching. It’s not that wide. I’m a ballerina, I can make it.
Elyse backed up and took a running, graceful, leap straight over the heads of the men in the stream. All four looked up to see legs sailing overhead. Elyse landed on the far bank, and with a grin on her face, turned to look at the men in the stream.
Shock and admiration shown on their faces. All except the Captain.
“Elyse, don’t move, stay where you are.”
Elyse backed up, turned, and walked into the nearby clearing and sat down on the grass. It felt cool and refreshing. She longed to rest her cheek on it.
Elijah saw red as he pushed his way past the men in the steam and climbed the embankment of the stream. Marching into the clearing, he could barely contain his anger as he strode over to her and hauled her to her feet. “You little fool. Don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again.” He shook her like a rag doll.
Elyse pulled away. “What is your problem? I did not want to get wet, so I jumped the stream. No big deal.”
“It’s not the jump,” Elijah said. “It’s the landing. The far bank could have been booby trapped. This clearing could have been booby trapped or worse. I told you not to move, and you disobeyed my orders and walked in here, anyway. You will start doing as you are told from this moment forward.”
“I don’t take orders, Captain,” Elyse retorted.
Elijah grabbed her arm and pulled her back against him hard. He grabbed her by the back of her hair and forced her to look up into his eyes. “You will do as you are told without question. I know how to deal with spoiled brats.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Elyse spat back at him.
“Keep testing my patience, Elyse, and I’ll show you what I dare.”
No matter where they moved, those who meant her harm would find her. She was under constant guard, except when she rebelled and escaped! You see, her guard team were under orders to not tell her she had a bounty on her head. And, in my opinion, that allowed all of the "adventures" she got into throughout the book... Of course, if that hadn't been the orders for the marines, the book would not have been so much fun! Did I include that she got into a tank, accidentally started it and wound up destroying everything in her path until going into the swimming pool?!
The tension between Elyse and Cap grew as each realized that their attraction to each other was part of the conflict. Cap knew it was a bad idea to get involved. Elyse only knew one thing--she was falling, hard, for him. On the other hand, wherever Elyse went, she made friends with all the soldiers and soon became known well enough that talk of her traveled from one camp to another--and she was dancing all the way! A problem because the enemy would hear and be able to pinpoint where she was. So Cap decided to contact other camps to have "fake Elyse dancers" working to help detract from the real one. Got to say, this reader was totally enjoying what was done to protect her--especially, when she actually saw one of the "Elyses" and realized that a nude dancer with a red wig was taking her place. Wow! Talk about a temper!
I could go on talking about this book! Needless to say, if you are looking for an escape from reality, yet a fun alternative reality within the armed forces...you've just got to check this one out. It gets a little steamy, but anybody late teens and above can thoroughly enjoy Operation Amethyst!
Leesa makes her home in Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota with her husband and their two dogs Rosie and Jax.
When she isn't writing, she enjoys gardening, painting, and reading romance novels. She and her husband also enjoy movies, traveling, and entertaining their two grown children, along with their spouses, and seven beautiful grandchildren.
Leesa's favorite romance authors are Kathleen Woodwiss, Christine Feehan, and Johanna Lindsey.
The book's inspiration came one night from a dream about the characters, a song, and the story around them.
*Pic of Elyse was selected from female models on the Internet.