The Melanie Kato Adventure Series

June Kato’s daughter Melanie has grown up and left the nest in this fun adventure series. Like mother, like daughter: Melanie has a way of finding excitement and maybe a little trouble. Just as stubborn as her parents, she forges a new path in life, bringing a whole new round of worry to her mother. 

AWAY  Maui resident Melanie Kato is ready to graduate from high school and move into the next phase of her life. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Melanie has become a first-rate student and a top athlete. Recruiters from around the country visit, all trying to lure her into their schools and programs. Overwhelmed with the attention, she explores a route of her own: the military. Melanie knows she would be throwing away once in a lifetime opportunities, but she needs to do things her own way, something she learned from her single mother. Concerned with what her mom might think, she hides her intentions for as long as she can, always hoping for the best. When her plans are finally revealed, both mother and daughter get the surprise of a lifetime.

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FAITH  When Melanie Kato enlists in the Air Force, her trainers scrape the surface of her youthful exterior and discover hidden talents–along with a toughness and resiliency that need exploring. Instead of following the route she had decided on prior to enlisting, she is sent for advanced training as a medic. Before she can take a deep breath, Melanie is quickly thrust into the hyper-masculine world of Search and Rescue. After her long and arduous Pararescue training is complete, she gets her assignment in South Korea. It isn’t long before she is jumping into excitement from one end of the Korean Demilitarized Zone to the other.
While she develops talents and techniques to keep others alive in dangerous circumstances, she also learns a few things about herself. The hard part about working in Special Forces isn’t the risk taken during ops, but in keeping a level head and good attitude when times turn tough. And Melanie faces some pretty tough times in this thrilling adventure!

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RISK  Just out of the military, and with a gap year before medical school starts, Melanie needs to earn big time money to pay her looming tuition bills. One way would be to wear a push-up bra while waiting tables and pander for generous tips. Another would be to pretend to fall in love with a sugar daddy. But she was raised that hard work and dedication is what brings the best results in life.

Within days, Melanie is transformed from recently-discharged Air Force sergeant into model and spokesperson for an outdoors clothing company. It isn’t long before she jumps from one advertising adventure to another, always taking a secret along with her everywhere she goes. Sky diving excitement, big wave surf contests, and rock climbing in Spain await her adventurous spirit! (One of our favorite stories in Melanie’s series!)

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QUEST  Having slipped past her prime, an athlete takes one last shot at Olympic success. Much to everyone’s surprise, Melanie makes the highly competitive US swim team. But her trip to the Games is fraught with peril when political maneuvering threatens her participation. After calling in a favor, she lands in a courtroom fighting for her chance to represent her nation. When her chance finally comes to prove her swimming prowess, Melanie makes a sacrifice few others would ever consider.
Don’t miss this story that overflows with twists and turns, and last chances at athletic glory.

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MISSION  When Melanie Kato packs her bags for a medical mission in Africa, she doesn’t realize how long or busy a year can be. No sooner does she start working in a small community hospital than she is over-whelmed with unusual cultures, incomprehensible languages, and strange food. Going on the occasional day safari is the thrill of a lifetime, seeing wild animals up close and personal. Throw in big game hunters, a wayward teenager, and a witch doctor, and Melanie has something to write home about. But when those hunters turn to poaching, Melanie finally draws a line in the savanna. Would she take up arms for the first time in many years to defend the animals she holds so dear to her heart? Or will she let Africa decide for itself the fate of the wildlife that has made it so famous?

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SECRETS  As Doctor Melanie Kato settles into her practice as a thoracic and vascular surgeon on her home island of Maui, her life is full and robust. Except for one thing: love and romance with a good man.Dating on an island is more difficult than navigating a minefield, and Melanie has first-hand experience at both. At the insistence of her best friend, she throws her hat into the dating ring one last time. As soon as she does, she finds she’d rather tiptoe between mines than men. When they begin to come and go a little too easily, Melanie finds respite and dating advice in one of her best friends. Before long, that advice takes on a whole new meaning when it becomes motherly. And since her mother’s passing a decade before, she is sure to listen to every word.

With the help of her best friends, and maybe some other-worldly kismet, can Melanie find the right man for her?

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FUTURE  This is a fun story of a honeymoon where everything goes wrong, but the happy couple have fun anyway! One portion of trouble and a healthy portion of humor make their family life fun!

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KAHUNA  Melanie Kato has it all. She is living in her hometown on Maui with her new husband, a career she loves, and maybe best of all, a baby on the way! That’s not all she has, though.

When dreams of the future turn to nightmares of the past, she soon realizes there is much to the dark spirits that haunt her nights. On every full moon, Hawaiian nightmarching warriors descend from the mountains near her home, coming to capture her mortal spirit. Assembling an army of her own, can she ward off the battle cries of the dead and defend her family from being eternally trapped between life and death?

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DIRECTIVE  Surprises abound in this story of politics, international intrigue, war, and human determination. Melanie travels to  Syria to perform surgery on a seclusive leader of a secessionist faction battling for rights and freedom in their homeland. No sooner is the surgery done than Melanie is embroiled in combat–with guns and bullets, ideas and beliefs, and hearts and willpower as weapons! But will she be brave enough for all the contests that are waiting for her?

NANO  IN THE WORKS! A murder mystery with international implications! Melanie Kato dives head first into the business of cancer research when she builds a lab at West Maui Medical Center. She is determined to find a better way of treating cancer than disfiguring surgery and toxic chemicals. Coming up with the idea of building minuscule robots that would attack and destroy tumors, she discovers the science is lacking and sets about to develop the techniques herself. But when competitors come sniffing around looking for her data, trouble starts!

 

Here’s an excerpt from “Directive”, a submarine scene, now available at Amazon:

Eleven and a half hours later, Robinson was being helped into a bright orange survival suit, the captain watching intently.

“As soon as my missiles are away, and we have video confirmation of a kill strike, you’re going out the escape hatch, Mister Robinson. If all goes well, I might even send out a raft right behind you.”

“Much obliged, Captain. Shouldn’t the festivities be starting soon?”

“Right about now, Robinson. Pay attention to see the Navy’s finest at work.” He looked around his control room. “Mister Carson, all hands?”

“All hands, Sir.”

“I have conn,” Captain Taylor said. “Call battle stations.”

The Chief Petty Officer responsible for all on-board communications hit a knob that activated an alarm. “Secure for battle stations: missile. Secure for battle stations: missile.”

“Mister Carson, take her to periscope depth.”

“Rig for fifteen degrees up bubble.” They waited while three minutes passed. “Periscope depth.”

“Zero bubble, commence hovering.” Captain Taylor took the periscope and scanned the water surface above them. “No close contact. Slow and silent to launch depth.”

Mister Carson repeated the order. “Weapons, time to authenticate.”

Another officer came with an envelope. Taylor, Carson, and the Weapons officer each opened their envelopes and read aloud the codes.

“Codes match, Sir,” the weapons officer said.

“I concur,” Carson said.

“I concur,” repeated Captain Taylor. “Launch authentication complete. Weapons, spin up missiles Tango One through Four.”

The weapons officer made the call. “Ready to execute, Sir.”

“Level and hovering at launch depth, Captain,” Carson said.

“Pressurize VLS tubes.”

The captain looked at the time and depth of his submarine. While the captain waited, the battle stations alarm went silent.

“Sir, tubes pressurized.”

The captain looked at the clock. “Mister Carson, put me through to missiles.”

“Comms is yours, Captain.”

Captain Taylor picked up a wired mike. “Missiles ready?”

“Four missiles are a go.”

“Open VLS hatches.”

“VLS hatches open.”

“On my mark, fire Tango One.”

“Aye, Sir.”

The captain watched the digital clock, along with everyone else in the control room. The XO made a countdown for the sake of the crew.

“Missile launch in five…four…three…”

“Launch Tango One,” the Captain said on his intercom mike.

“Depressurized, missile out, shell off, booster fired. Tango One away.”

“Fire Tango Two.”

“Tango Two away.”

After all four Tomahawk missiles had been fired and were safely away, the crew got started on getting the submarine ready for travel.

“For Mister Robinson’s benefit, bring up video of Al Fuaz Hospital,” Captain Taylor said. “I’d like the crew to watch the CIA’s best at work.”

Flat screens around the control room lit up with a live satellite image of the hospital. It was night, and the image adjusted for low light, making it look like daytime on the ground. A second smaller image appeared, a picture-in-picture, of the hospital showing the front entrance from an angle.

“Time to strike?” the captain asked.

“Time to impact, eighteen minutes.”

If all hands were at stations, all eyes were on screens. In one corner of the video was a timer running backward, the number of minutes and seconds to impact, along with the Tomahawks’ distance from the submarine and distance to the target. Robinson continued to dress in his survival suit, swigging from a bottle of water.

“Ten minutes to impact.”

“Sir, picking up movement at the rear of the building.”

“Bring up that image.”

The smaller image took over the screen, showing a man running with sandbags in his hands, taking them into the building. He was joined by a second man.

“Robinson, you see this?” Captain Taylor asked.

Robinson stepped closer to the screen to watch but said nothing.

They watched as a third person showed up at the back of the building.

“What the hell,” the captain muttered. “Can we zoom in on that third person?”

“Zooming but we’ll lose clarity, Sir.”

“Five minutes to impact.”

The third person began to walk away in a hurry, going to the building toward the back.

“Follow. Try to show me his face.”

The image zoomed in until it got grainy.

“Holy cow,” the captain said. “Mister Robinson, it’s been a while since I’ve been ashore, but that sure looks like a woman. She’s also wearing what appears to be civvies with a standard issue Kevlar vest over top and a gas mask hanging from her belt. Do you have any explanation as to why apparently US civilians would be sandbagging a reportedly ISIL-held location?”

Robinson stared at the screen. “I…well…”

“Two minutes to impact.”

“Why are they sandbagging the interior of the building?” the XO asked.

“Probably because of all the missiles strikes in the city tonight,” Robinson offered.

“Or they know they’re in imminent threat of the strike on their hospital. Zoom out for a broader view.” The captain hit the intercom. “Missiles, are you watching?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Anything you can do to change course?”

“No, Sir.”

“One minute to impact.”

They watched as the men continued to rush sandbags into the old hospital. The woman came back into view, carrying a bag.

“Tango One impact in five…four…three…two…one…”

There was a flash on the screen. When it converted back to imagery, there was only dust, with vague outlines of broken walls.

“Anybody see movement?” Captain Taylor asked quietly once the dust began to clear.

“No, Sir.”

“No, Sir.”

“Zoom in. Scan the perimeter of the rubble.”

“Tango Two impact in one minute.”

“Wait! Look, Sir! One of them is moving!”

“No, two are up!”

“Tango Two impact in five…four…three…two…one…”

Another flash on the screen followed by another cloud of dust.

The captain turned to Robinson. “Satisfied Al Fuaz Hospital is now a pile of rubble, Mister Robinson? Your mission has been accomplished?”

“Yes.”

“Then it’s time for you to get the hell off my boat.”

“Video off,” said the XO. “Prep for dive!”

While the others in the control room worked, the captain got in Robinson’s face. “From what I saw, we just obliterated five Americans. I didn’t see any of your hajji friends. You got anything to say about that?”

“My assets will go through the scene within an hour. They’ll make a report.”

“Mister Carson, the conn is yours.” Captain Taylor didn’t back off, only grinning at the CIA operative. “Mister Robinson, time for you to go swimming.”

The heavy-duty survival suit was zip closed the rest of the way up, leaving only a plastic window for Robinson to look out. He was told to hug his arms to his chest until he got to the surface and reminded not to zip open the suit until he was in his life raft. When he nodded his understanding, he climbed up into a vertical tube similar to a torpedo tube and was closed in. A moment later, there was a gush of air and water, forcing him out of the tube and up toward the surface.

The captain watched as a crew began loading a compressed life raft into the same escape tube. “Hold off on that, Seaman.”

“Sir, we can’t leave him up there just in his suit,” Carson said.

“I want to make him swim for it.” He nodded at the seaman. “Okay, send it away.”

Once the raft was away, the captain settled into his seat. “Get us out of here, Mister Carson.”

The XO took over controls. “Dive command. Speed course, ahead two-thirds, bearing 2-4-0, cruising depth.”

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