Men read books about war, not love. Women read books about love, not war. True? Nearly, but not quite - not when they read a book published by Mills & Bang, the world's only purveyor of military romance, where the killing and the kissing go hand in hand!
All Mills and Bang novels, tough yet tender as they are, are designed to appeal to both men and women - and here are another three titles fresh out for autumn which we can confidently predict will be on everyone's Christmas shopping list!
'I'm afraid he's lost all the will to be an Army dog, sir' said Sergeant Wilkins sadly to Captain Cavendish.
They both looked down at Traitor, the name ironically given to the handsomest Alsatian in the regiment, who, after a close encounter with a smoke rocket, had decided not to obey anyone ever again.
'I've never been defeated by a dog yet, and I am damned if I am now,' said Captain Cavendish, striding towards the unpredictable hound. 'Now, listen here to me, Traitor...!
'Watch out, sir!' cried the Sergeant, who knew all the signs. 'I think he's going to spring!'
And then something very extraordinary happened. Another voice was heard, altogether softer and more appealing.
'Traitor ... Traitor, old boy ... Here, Traitor, come here, boy...'
And to Cavendish's amazement the dog wagged his tail and trotted over to the beautiful woman who had just appeared behind them. It was Leading Dog-Trainer Susie Otterback, who had just joined the regiment, and Captain Cavendish suddenly knew, as he looked into her eyes, that it wasn't just dogs she was put on earth to tame...
'Can I help you with that, lady?'
Penny Sturge looked up from the three ton truck she had been trying to help the men get back on the road.
Looking down at her was the slightly mocking smile of Captain Rodney Denselow, the heart throb of the regiment. She had been warned about him. He broke hearts but never showed any sign of having one himself. She had only been with the regiment a week, and this was their first encounter. She was determined to hold her end up.
'We don't need any help, thank you,' she said haughtily. 'Private Jenkins is a fine driver.'
She gave a signal. Private Jenkins revved up the lorry. It slid slightly further into the mud.
'Right, Jenkins,' said Denselow. 'Out of the cab. Let me have a go.'
Captain Denselow sprang lightly into the cab, and, with superb control, brought the great beast up the bank and on to the road. He smiled arrogantly at Penny.
'All signed and delivered... I'm sorry - I didn't catch your name?'
'Major Sturge, Captain. Major Penny Sturge.'
The smile faded from Rodney's face as it dawned on him that Penny was not just a beauty, but also a superior officer to him. Unwillingly, very unwillingly, he saluted her and stood to attention. One of the men chuckled softly behind her. Penny smiled slightly. Perhaps she was going to enjoy this after all.
Life is never easy in the Israeli Army, but Benjamin knew it was going to get a lot more difficult when he was stationed outside one of the more rebellious Palestinian villages. Then, to make things even worse, he fell in love. With a Palestinian girl. Who went across the village square each day with such grace and beauty that he ached for her.
Her name was Fatima, as he discovered when he arrested her.
'You're arresting me?' she said, incredulous. 'Why?'
'It is the only way I can think of to meet you,' he said. 'Now, I want to ask you a few questions. Like, what are you doing later on this evening?'
After six months, love had ripened on both sides of the great divide and the boy in the Israeli army was ready to propose marriage to the girl from the Arab village.
'First, though,' he said, 'there is something very important I have to tell you. Don't react immediately. But I have a secret. I am not Jewish. I am a Palestinian spy in the Israeli army. So we are both Arab'.
'Unfortunately,' said Fatima, 'I also have a secret. I am an undercover agent for Mossad. I am here acting for the Israelis. So we are back to square one...'
Will this unfortunate misunderstanding come between them? Will one of them have to assassinate the other? Will the plot become so complicated that you wish you never started the book? There's only one way to find out, and that's by reading it!
More Mills and Bang titles in the autumn...
The Independent Thurs Sep 12 02