I am the worst blogger in history, I know, but I really am closing in on “The End” for Ache For Me. I am also in the process of changing the covers over for the whole series. The original covers are awesome (thank you, Jodi!), but since it’s been sooooooooo long since I published Live For Me, creating a cohesive series look seemed a good idea. And, it proved to be a wonderful one. Kim Killion is amazeballs. I can’t recommend her enough. Check out The Killion Group, you won’t regret it!
So… You might not be able to buy them with these covers quite yet… but here they are!
And, I’d better get back to Carter and Camryn!
So, I’ve been stuck in real life and illness and responsibilities and all manner of crap, but I am back to Camryn and Carter’s story and am resolved to have it to you this year. Yes, I know that means two years between releases, and right now the plot is making me insane, but I love these two and I hope you will, too! So… an excerpt?
Really? After everything your family has been through in the last few years, you don’t worry about your sister singing in a nightclub till after midnight?”
“I didn’t say we weren’t concerned,” Mason started.
“You need to hit the bag or something, man,” Caleb interrupted. “You’re too worked up and you’re going to hurt someone.”
“That someone would be me,” Mason said. “Look, she’s fine, and she’s not singing there anymore, right?”
“She’s a grown woman, Carter.”
Caleb’s eyebrows rose. “Sometimes I think he should’ve been the brother and you should be the friend. You know his name fits better.”
It wasn’t the first time he’d heard that, and it always made his skin crawl. The way he felt about Camryn already felt borderline incestuous. He didn’t need her brothers to point it out. “Just because your mom named you without a C doesn’t mean she loves you any less. Probably.”
Mason slugged him in the left shoulder. “She named me after herself. She loves me more, first born and all.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Caleb agreed with a sigh. “Get back to work. You two won’t learn anything standing around jawing.”
“Okay, Doc. You want me to beat the bag or your brother?”
Caleb gave him a small smile. “Definitely my brother.
So, June is Migraine Awareness month and of course those of us with this affliction are well aware of them, but I have been especially knocked out this year. In fact, I am WAY behind on both books I’ve been working on–ACHE FOR ME and BURN– but as soon as they are actually books and not, well, the collection of chapters I have so far I will share them with you.
Actually, since I haven’t posted anything in, like, four months, maybe you’d like an excerpt or two? Yes?
ACHE FOR ME (The Everetts of Tyler, Book 4)
Carter feigned sleep as long as he could, wondering what was going through Camryn’s head as he did. She’d been sobbing the night before, obviously shaken, and he hadn’t known what to do for her besides gather her in his arms. The decision had been the right one, but it’d been torture for him holding her and knowing that was all he could ever do. When her fingers slid across his biceps, feeling the muscle for a moment before trailing to his shoulder, he had to make himself known or pin her to the bed and take what he wanted.
Her hand immediately left his body. “Do you work out?”
She was wondering why he didn’t look like the nerdy pushover she remembered. He’d always stayed fit, but with brothers like his he’d been the runt. Smart, but not particularly athletic. In a family full of professional athletes, he was the one who played chess. He propped his head on one hand. “I’ve been learning martial arts with your brother.”
She laughed. “The doctor and the lawyer.”
“Caleb is the teacher. Mason and I are learning.”
“The doctor, the lawyer, and the banker?” She paused. “You’re lifting, too.”
“Gotta stay healthy,” he replied before steering the conversation away from his physique. He might be learning some moves, and he did have a weekly session with a trainer, but he wasn’t vain. “What do you say I make coffee?” he asked before rolling away. It was morning and he’d held Camryn in his arms all night. He needed to make a quick and inconspicuous exit before she noticed more than his muscles were hard.
BURN (Aylesford Book 1)
Giving up on sleep herself, Belle headed for the bathroom, dropping onto the low stool tucked under the built in vanity. She had the look of a woman well-loved, but she needed to get into the shower and get started on work. She had new inventory coming in for fall and nowhere to put it, so despite the lack of a building, she had a business to run. A chill snaked down her spine. Did the arsonist mean to kill her when he burned the store down? Everyone knew she lived above her shop. She rubbed her arms. This wasn’t mere destruction of property, this was attempted murder. Pure hate. Who hated her enough to kill her? And for lingerie and sex toys?
She shook her head. There was a strip club in Tyler, and at least two full-blown sex shops in Sheridan. She swallowed. Hers was the raciest store by far in Aylesford, but it was tasteful and her ads weren’t any more risqué than the national chains. Shit, the largest chain in the world had fashion shows with nearly naked women wearing wings on national television. Seduction was small potatoes compared to that. She shrugged. Maybe not such small potatoes in a conservative southern town.
She’d met some push-back when she’d first opened, but had paid it little mind. Women needed to feel sexy, and their men—or women, she wasn’t judgmental—ate it up. So, who, then? Who would try to kill her to prove a point, to drive her away or at least shut down her business? She rubbed her temples. She didn’t have the answers, but she had a lot of questions. It’d been three days since she lost her shop, and there was always Gabe’s theory the arson had something to do with Nate. He’d said he hadn’t dated in months because of her. She ignored the curl of warmth that settled in her belly at the thought. She hadn’t dated either because it was pointless. No other man had elicited the chemistry she had with Nate. She’d just ignored it for too long.
She tugged at her hair to get her mind back on track. If Gabe was right, maybe someone wanted her out of the way because she wanted Nate to herself. He was an incredible specimen of male perfection, but to kill to get him? She watched her expression sour as she thought about what happened to Mason Everett not long ago, and prayed Nate was safe.
So, I’m about to get political and a little preachy, but this is something that I felt I needed to write today, so here I am.
This past weekend a friend of ours lost his partner suddenly to a heart attack. He wasn’t even forty, and I wish that were the saddest part of the story, but it’s not. When he came out his parents disowned him, and they have been estranged for a number of years. Now, when our friend called with the news of his untimely passing, the parents were not interested in coming to the funeral because they had “already mourned him.”
There are so many things wrong with the statement here, but I’ll go for the low-hanging fruit. Disowning a child because you don’t agree with his choice of love is not just wrong, it’s shameful. A parent should fight for her children, love them unconditionally. To hate one aspect of your child so much that you declare him dead to you to the point of mourning him is despicable.
Let’s ignore the science and facts and pretend orientation is a choice for a moment. Whatever happened to the old gem, “Hate the sin, love the sinner?” that my mother always said? Whatever happened to loving your child even if you think they have made a mistake or a bad decision? And here’s where I get a little religious: To call yourself a Christian and then hate those who do not do exactly as you see fit really misses what Jesus taught. You are to love your neighbor and treat others as you wish to be treated. Hate in any form is diametrically opposed to those teachings.
Of course, we know orientation is not a choice, and the fact that everyone is different should be not just tolerated but embraced. Who would want to live in a world where everyone was the alike, anyway? There is too much hate in this world, and violence against those who are different be it because of color, religion, orientation, or sports team is horrifying to say the least.
I know this is way off what I normally post, but I couldn’t leave it unsaid. Everyone deserves to be allowed to love whomever they love publicly and equally, and everyone deserves to be loved by their parents unconditionally.
Today was a rare grown-up snow day, and tomorrow will be as well. Kentucky was slammed with a big winter storm and Lexington ended up with over ten inches of snow and a high in the teens, so everything shut down. Given the chance to write instead of earning a real living today I tried to embrace it (well, around the barometric migraine) but all I managed to do was edit what was already there and decide that as much as I like the bones of this book, I’m not loving it the way it is. This happened with Live For Me as well, so I’m not surprised, but I really don’t enjoy removing words when I feel like I should be adding them.
At the same time, I know Dance With Me is in need of some editing it didn’t get three years ago when I started this whole writing thing, and Speeding needs not only editing, but an actual ending, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Speeding might need to be wrapped before Burn can really move forward. It’s a frustrating thought, but the Aylesford series really begins with Reid and Kendall. So… yeah, I have a lot of work to do.
So… I suppose I should stop complaining and get back to work!
Being a Seahawks fan has been a teeny bit difficult the past week, for the obvious reasons. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson and everyone else have defended the call to pass when it seems the entire world was screaming, “You should’ve run!” but one thing that rings true for me as a lifelong football fan and former tight end/wide receiver (totally not kidding– I also played hooker in rugby during college), is that if the play had worked as planned, it would’ve been a touchdown and no one would be saying anything. Because Butler made a great play (a rookie corner with no interceptions until that spectacular one), the game was over. It was probably the best Super Bowl in recent memory, a constant give and take by two incredibly well matched teams, and for that I am grateful. Honestly, last year’s blowout by the Hawks was a bit boring and that’s coming from a fan.
This week also has one of the most respected newscasters on television turning out to be a little bit of a fiction writer. Now, we all know the news is not just the facts, and there is always a slant depending on the particular channel or publication, but inserting oneself into a situation is certainly not the way to honor the veterans who were actually there. Can Brian Williams recover from this? Time will tell.
For me, well, I have been struggling with Burn for the last, well, forever. I love Nate and Belle, but I’m not loving the way their story is turning out, and the villain is crazypants, but too prominent in the current version of the book. So… you will be getting the first of the Aylesford Series this year, and hopefully the last of the Everett Series as well, but, well, not for a while. Thank you for bearing with me– this whole working 40+ hours a week and raising children thing really gets in the way of writing– and I truly hope when I actually have a book ready, you’ll love it. Until then, how about a snippet?
“So, now Gabe doesn’t think the arsonist is after you?” Belle asked, hating herself for the deflated feeling that came with the thought he might send her back to Claire’s.
“No one is sure anymore. He seems to think it’s sex, or at least things related to sex or sins being targeted, but that’s so broad, so crazy, I have no idea where to start.”
She gave him a saucy smile. “You’re about the sexiest thing in Aylesford, so you’re definitely in danger if that’s the case.”
He returned her wicked grin. “Likewise.”
She had to step away so she wouldn’t jump on him in the middle of a conversation that might mean both their lives were in danger. Her stomach pitched when she told him, “I’ll pack my things.”
The smile slid from his face, replaced with a fierce look. “You said you wouldn’t run.”
“Oh. I.” Her heart was beating double-time. He wasn’t going to send her away, and now he thought she didn’t want to be here.
“You’re mine, Isabelle Baxter.” His green eyes were intense as he laid his claim, but he didn’t move toward her.
His brows furrowed. “Didn’t I make myself clear this morning?”
He hadn’t said much, but the intent was there, especially after she’d begged him to leave bruises. Still, she needed to hear the words. “You didn’t say—”
“Actions speak louder than words, sweets,” he told her before closing the space between them. “I can’t leave you vulnerable, and I refuse to let you go.”
She swallowed. She’d never seen him like this, determined and possessive, and she liked it. “I don’t want to go,” she started.
“But if the arsonist is after me, I will not put you in danger.” She spun away from him. “If something happened to you because of me—”
He turned her to face him, cut her words off with a kiss. “You told me once that I put my life on the line for strangers all the time. Why shouldn’t I risk myself for you?”
She studied him, taking in the hard look in his eyes, the ticking muscle in his jaw. He was a firefighter, a hero, and she had hidden behind that, hidden from him for years because of that fact. Now that she had promised to accept his nature, his need to make a difference, to save people, she had to back up her words with actions. “What if you lose your home because of me?”
“A house can be rebuilt, Belle.” He pulled her to him again. “You can’t be replaced.”
“Neither can you,” she said quietly as she laid her head against his hard chest.
Fourth quarter was a tough one for me, and I have not been blogging nor have I spent much time on social media. So, hi and Happy New Year!
One of my resolutions for this year is to write more– I’d really like to release more than one book this year!– and one of those books needs to be the as yet unfinished SPEEDING that started me on this journey. Looking at it now, I see it needs A LOT of editing and revision to go along with the final chapters, but that is something I would love to do this year. I will also be taking it down from the site in the next few weeks so when it is finished and released it won’t bring up any plagiarism alarms, and it will of course be free (charging for something I’ve offered for free for years seems a bit, um, wrong.)
BURN is first up, and it in full swing, with characters you know along with new ones that will anchor the Aylesford stories. That said, how about a snippet with some old and new characters?
“You’re living with Nate? Oh my god!” Kendall shrieked as she sat down to lunch, meeting Belle, Claire, and Taylor.
Belle felt her cheeks heat with color. “It’s not like that.” At the disbelieving looks of her friends, she gave in. “Okay, it’s kinda like that, but not.”
“Sure, that makes sense,” Taylor commented, a smile on her lips.
Belle took a deep breath, held it a moment, blew it out and tried to explain. “He wants to keep me safe. After my building was burned down, they’re worried.”
“So, naturally, you move in with a yummy firefighter you’ve had the hots for forever,” Taylor finished.
“And the other part? Where you said it’s kinda like that?” Claire asked.
“We kissed last night, and let’s just say…” Was there really a word to describe it? She settled on, “Wow.”
“That’s all you’re giving us? Really, Belle?” Claire complained.
“How’s Owen these days?”
“Touché, sister mine.”
“That’s what I thought.” She stared her little sister down. “You’d better not forget.”
“Tell!” Kendall ordered.
Claire looked away, took a breath. “Belle made me promise to go after Owen if she took a step with Nate.”
Kendall and Taylor both gasped at that. “What? You’re dating Daniel,” Kendall sputtered.
“He’s boring!” Belle drew the word out.
“Boring, huh?” Taylor asked, eyes on Claire.
“Total vanilla, home to watch TV by nine, meatloaf every Wednesday, boring,” Belle continued with a smirk.
“Maybe not that boring,” Claire defended halfheartedly. “He’s just so… So…,” she trailed off to search for a word.
“Just so-so?” Taylor asked.
“We broke up this morning. It was,” she paused, “really easy.”
“He wasn’t feeling it either?” Kendall asked.
“Guess not,” Claire agreed with a shrug. “We were much better friends than lovers.” She blew her hair out of her eyes. “We really weren’t great lovers.”
“So, what’s your plan, baby sister?”
Claire shook her head, her cloud of dark hair flying. “I called him.” Three sets of eyes focused on her as she swallowed and continued, “I left him a message and asked him to call.”
“A message?” Belle repeated.
“I called his office.” When Belle rolled her eyes, Claire added, “After hours. Tonight.”
“Please tell me you left him your cell.”
“I’m doing this, Belle. I’m making the first move. I’m sorry if it’s not as big as you moving in with your lickable firefighter, but I’m doing it.”
“Good for you,” Kendall encouraged.
With the weather being a horrible, stormy mess lately I have not been able to stand looking at a computer screen, but I have been able to handle a Kindle (yay old school Kindle Keyboard!), and last week I discovered a new to me, awesome author in Cristin Harber. Girlfriend can write an alpha man, lemme tell ya, and her heroines are badasses in their own right, putting the Titan series right up there with my favorite Romantic Suspense series’ of all time.
In order, with blurbs since I am not a good reviewer nor do I like giving synopses. I will say that while I’m sure you could enjoy them out of order or separately, reading in order is best. And Book 6, Savage Secrets is not kidding when it says there are violent (well, more violent than others) scenes and I will admit to bawling crying. Oh, and Book 1, Winter’s Heat and Book 1.5 Sweet Girl (prequel to Book 2, Garrison’s Creed) are FREE!!!
After putting her life on the line to protect classified intelligence, military psychologist Mia Kensington is on a cross-country road trip from hell with an intrusive save-the-day hero. Uninterested in his white knight act, she’d rather take her chances without the ruggedly handsome, cold-blooded operative who boasts an alpha complex and too many guns.
Colby Winters, an elite member of The Titan Group, has a single objective on his black ops mission: recover a document important to national security. It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out operation. But now, by any means necessary becomes a survival mantra when he faces off with a stunning woman he can’t leave behind.
When Titan’s safe houses are compromised, Colby stashes Mia at his home, exposing his secret—he’s the adoptive father of an orphaned baby girl. Too soon, danger arrives and Mia lands in the hands of a sadistic cartel king with a taste for torture. As hours bleed into fear-drenched days, Colby races across the globe and through a firestorm of bullets to save the woman he can’t live without.
Sometimes falling in love means going through hell.
Nicola Hart grew up under the heels of her older brother and his sexy best friend, Cash Garrison. Years of ignoring her spark with Cash has transformed their friendship into a slow burning sizzle. One night with him could ruin everything. Or it could be more than she ever dreamed. They play. They flirt. But they haven’t crossed the line because too much is at stake. Family. Friendship. And the deepest kind of love that she’d have to be crazy to walk away from.
She’s his best friend’s little sister. The definition of hands off. Cash has tried to ignore her for years. Those innocent eyes and her smile that screams kiss-me-if-you-dare… Instead, he’s looked at every pretty little thing who’s crossed his path, all to ignore the girl he seems destined to want. But when his hard partying ways get old and everyone at school is interested in Nicola, it’s time to stake a claim. To make Nicola his girl, no matter the risks, and hold the hand of the one he really loves.
Nicola is an injured CIA agent on the run from a failed undercover operation. Her escape plan shatters when she slams into the man who buried her a decade ago. Cash Garrison. Her first and only love. Now, sexier than her best memory and cradling a sniper’s rifle, he has questions she can’t answer. Why was she alive? And armed?
AND THE MAN SHE COULD NEVER SEE AGAIN
Cash is an elite member of a black ops organization, The Titan Group. He thought Nicola died his senior year of college and swore off love to focus on a decade of military missions. But when she shows up behind enemy lines, bleeding out and wielding a weapon, his heart and mind are unsure how to proceed.
BATTLE BETRAYAL TO SAVE THEMSELVES
Titan and the CIA join forces to uncover a mole hidden in a network of international terrorists and homegrown mobsters, teaming Cash and Nicola again. They fight old wounds and re-ignite sparks while closing in on a double agent. When disaster strikes, Nicola’s hidden past makes her the hunted target and Cash’s best kill shot may not be enough to save them.
Jared Westin knows his reputation and likes it. He gets the job done. No emotion. No baggage. That’s why his elite ops company, The Titan Group, is better than the best. They complete projects classified as mission impossible.
And then, in walks a woman as tough as she is sexy. His counterpart in every way, should he choose to admit it.
SHE’S NOT WILLING TO LET HER HEART FALL
Ousted undercover ATF agent Lilly Chase only answers to “Sugar.” Jared is the only man who can see past her leather-and-lipstick demeanor, and that revelation is terrifying. She was fired for helping Titan on a questionable arrest she should’ve ignored, then partnered with Jared’s rival on an assignment in Afghanistan.
Distance and danger do nothing to change her feelings. When she’s left on the side of a mountain to die, an unexpected ally comes forward, and might open her heart.
THE STAKES COULDN’T BE HIGHER
Saving Sugar isn’t a normal rescue operation. It pits Titan against its rival, Jared against his nemesis. Chasing Sugar’s heart isn’t a simple task, either. She fights him, fights them, always ready to run. When she becomes a pawn in a game of collateral damage, Jared must risk his life to save her—the woman whose bravado and surprising sweetness has given him the one thing he never had. Love.
Brock Gamble’s epic fall from the Titan Group labeled him a traitor. He betrayed his men. He failed his family. And when he thought he’d hit the lowest point, his wife walked out with their children, leaving him alone to drown himself in the bottle.
Surviving an abduction didn’t end the nightmare for Sarah Gamble. The aftershocks of post-traumatic stress disorder hit her hard. Self-doubt and confusion. Anger and hurt. Running away was an easy escape until Brock shows up on her doorstep offering a trip to paradise and a promise to fix their marriage.
Before the couple can search for answers, Brock is pulled back into the very world that Sarah is so scared of—kidnapping, cartels, and guns—and the stakes are too high for either one of them to ignore.
Jenny Chase has loved Asher McIntyre, her best friend’s older brother, since she first laid eyes on him. But their flirting over the years never progressed as well as his career. He’s the Asher McIntyre, Mr. Rising Star Politician, the congressman who is soon to be the senator to New York State. He holds a spot on every magazine’s most handsome, most powerful, and most unattainable list. All while Jenny has followed her acting dream, waiting for her big break.
Asher McIntyre has never had time for a serious relationship. Work is too demanding. But he’s also never stopped thinking about Jenny. When a stalker with a political agenda focuses on her, Asher can’t play the role of disinterested buddy any longer. The sparks are too strong, and his alpha gene is provoked. He wants her under his arm and in his bed.
But can two hearts on opposite career paths survive while Asher’s enemy seeks to take them both down?
Caterina Cruz has no home. No loyalties. No objection to exacting torturous revenge. Her life’s mission is to destroy the terrorist who murdered her family. Then she steps into an elaborate game of charades alongside a Titan Group operative posing as an arms dealer—and her newlywed husband. The sexy distraction may be more than she can handle.
Attacked with a psychedelic drug weeks before, Rocco Savage is plagued with hallucinations that threaten his new rank as Titan’s second-in-command. No one knows and he wants to keep it that way. Throwing him further off his game, he now has a wife with her own secrets he can’t crack and an agenda he can’t control.
Their mission—an elaborate deception of heated glances and passionate kisses—spins out of control. With Rocco’s mind already compromised, can he keep his secret and his distance? And with Caterina’s tragic past controlling her every move, can she keep the con up long enough to secure her revenge? Or will both go down in flames?