What are my Holiday Traditions? Wow, that is a question that spans all of my roles. I am the Shepherd Security Office Manager, Executive Assistant to Shepherd, the wife of one of the Operators, and a mother. I kind of feel like in a way, I am the wife or the mother to all the Operators. I take care of them all. I make sure the holidays are celebrated well and often remind Shepherd that his people need a break to come together as the family they are during the holiday season. He’s focused on operations, I get that, but his people are human.
Before I became a part of Shepherd Security, anyone who wasn’t active on a mission celebrated Christmas by putting up a Christmas Tree, having a meal together, and a Christmas Eve sermon performed by the team pastor, Landon ‘Lambchop’ Johnson, if he was in town. The entire celebration lasted a couple of hours. Shepherd Security is a twenty-four-hour, seven day a week operation. Christmas was merely a blip on their radar.
After I joined the team, I felt it was important to give the guys a home-cooked meal and to really decorate the office well. I put the decorations up December first, and we enjoy them for the entire month! I also make sure that all the guys have a gift. Shepherd pays for them, and I love to go shopping and pick out something I think each person will really cherish. I like that Shepherd respects my opinion and ideas. We’re a team.
After my baby, Sammy, was born, Shepherd didn’t like the idea of me having to cook, so he began to cater a big dinner in. I still make a bunch of sweet treats! Sammy’s first Christmas was incredible. Everyone made the holiday about celebrating his first Christmas. He comes to work with me, so Sammy is in a way, everyone’s baby. Even the toughest of the guys cradle him in their arms and dote on him. What I like the most is the family atmosphere. We’re a big, loud, boisterous family!
The Christmas celebration has bloomed into two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The comradery is something I’d never experienced growing up, the only child of a single mother. My husband tells me our celebrations now are more like what active duty units deployed away from their family’s experience. We all hang out, sing Christmas carols, watch Christmas movies, play board games, laugh, and share what our favorite Christmas memories are from our childhoods. It’s like we are snowed in at a ski lodge. And we keep the birth of Jesus at the center of the holiday. Lambchop makes sure of that!
The past few years, Shepherd has adjusted operations so that the majority of the teams have a few days off around the holidays to partake of our office celebration. Several of the other guys now have wives, who are like my sisters. I bring them into the planning for the holidays too. We’re a tight group, a family. I think that is at the heart of the holiday traditions we celebrate. Family doesn’t have to be about blood relations. It’s about who you care about, about spending time with those who are important to you. These teams spend so much time together. They risk their lives together. It’s only natural that they would want to celebrate the holidays together too.
I hope as my son grows up, he will feel what it’s like to be part of this big family and appreciate it as much as I do. Being a part of Shepherd Security is a privilege, a wonderful privilege I am grateful for, especially during the holiday season!
~ Angel Jackson
Operation Departed Angel
Military ~ Romantic Suspense ~ Action & Adventure ~ Women's Adventure Fiction
Gary ‘the Undertaker’ Sloan, Navy SEAL, sniper and corpsman on Shepherd Security’s Delta Team, left the Sloan Family Mortuary and Funeral Home in Cleveland, Ohio in the hands of his brother and joined the Navy after the death of his father. When he left Cleveland, he also left his high school sweetheart and fiancé, Kennedy Bristow, who was more interested in pursuing a career in music than she was in being a military wife. The parting was somewhat mutual, at least that was what Sloan told himself over the years.
When Gary gets a call from his brother that Kennedy is laying on their prep table, the victim of an execution-style shooting, he immediately returns home. He soon discovers that things are not what they seem. It will take all his skills and the help of the entire Shepherd Security Team to get to the bottom of the murder and bring those responsible to justice.
Shepherd Security recruits only the best. They can protect someone in trouble like no other because they work in the shadows, invisible, and outside the system where the rules don’t apply–just the oath they took. They don’t exist. That’s also why they can break any suspect and can get answers out of anyone accused. That’s when they’re called in, when someone must be protected at all costs, or when answers must be obtained, by any means necessary.
Warning, this story is realistic, with adult language and content on the way to the HEA. This is book 5 in the Shepherd Security series. Even though the story does continue from book to book, each is a stand-alone story and can be read without reading the prior book(s), but they are best enjoyed in order.
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