Read an Exerpt of Reunion

Deja vu. For a moment he was swept on a tide of nostalgia so strong that it threatened to overwhelm him. The music, the decor, the familiar faces, the whole atmosphere instantly transporting him to a reality hundreds of miles and a veritable lifetime ago. Bassingbourn.

He remembered with sudden clarity the Quonset huts, pre-dawn awakenings that in two years he never did get used to, winters that were cold and beer that was warm, and he remembered above all the young man who had been irrevocably changed by that experience. He smiled and suddenly he knew why he had made the effort to come here.


He turned without haste feeling a light touch at his elbow, instantly recognising the voice. Not trusting himself to speak, he looked instead for a long moment at the man who stood before him. To say he had not changed would have been a lie. They had all changed, but the blue eyes were as vivid as ever, looking out from a tanned and weathered face, and the Texan’s slow smile tugged at an emotional heartstring that caught the Southerner off guard.

“Vin!” He reached out and found his hand clasped in a firm handshake before Tanner pulled him into a back-slapping clinch, a brief embrace that Standish returned in full measure.

“Been a long time, Vin.”

“Yep. Too long.”

Tanner broke away but held Ezra at arm’s length, one hand on his shoulder, the shadow momentarily darkening the Texan’s eyes not lost on Standish and he waited for what he knew would come next.

“I’m sorry. About Richard. Was tied up in Guam when I heard. Just couldn’t make it back in time.”

Ezra nodded, understanding. He knew Vin would have been there at the memorial service if he could have. No hard feeling there. He slapped the Texan on the arm, pushing back the memories. Tonight was not for mourning.

“Come on, the bar awaits and we’re wasting valuable drinking time, Lieutenant Tanner.”

They both laughed, recognising a familiar phrase that neither had thought about in twenty-five years but which came with natural ease to Ezra’s tongue as if no time at all had passed between drinks.

“Sounds good to me,” confirmed Vin, then he smiled, “Think they’ll have shipped in any English beer?”

Ezra stopped in his tracks and shot a look of exaggerated dismay at the Texan.

“Dear Lord, Vin, I sincerely hope not.”