TV Series & My Mixed Tastes

Howdy, this is a drive by blog because August 1 is the start of the Sizzling Summer Blog Hop which goes until August 3.

What prompted me to talk about television series? It was a weird idea I’ll admit. I watched an episode of Under The Dome and that made me think of other television series I’m currently watching. Okay, so I’m listing what I can recall off the top of my head that I watch…and from the length of the list you’ll probably think I watch too much television. Maybe I do. Here’s my list as I recall:

Under The Dome

The Strain

Swamp Murders

Killer Kids

Falling Skies

Defiance

Ghost Adventures

Ghost Hunters

The Walking Dead

Downton Abbey

The Lost Ship

Hell On Wheels

Crossbones

Scared Straight

The Musketeers

The Dead Files

Longmire

Dark Minds

Chicago Fire

Talking Dead

The Night Shift

Too Cute

Alaska State Troopers

I Survived

Hot In Cleveland

When Calls The Heart

Rookie Blue

The Big Bang Theory

The Haunting Of…

Manhattan

Outlander

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I don’t consider these all must see programs, in fact I’m starting to get tired of Falling Skies, Rookie Blue, and Defiance. Yep. I am. The shows I consider must see are: The Walking Dead, The Dead Files, Ghost Hunters, When Calls The Heart, I Survived, Talking Dead, Chicago Fire, The Musketeers,  and Downton Abbey. You can see there’s an eclectic bunch there, many of them paranormal in nature. You’ll also notice a lack of what I consider reality television. I’m probably forgetting something, but for the life of me can’t recall it at the moment. I haven’t see Manhattan yet or Outlander, so we’ll see how those work out. So if you watch television, which shows do you like?

Guest Author Marie Harte & Wetwork

Today I’m featuring an excerpt from Marie Harte’s third book in her The Works series. This is a new release so please welcome Marie!

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WETWORK (The Works, book #3)

New Release by Marie Harte

He might command her body, but she owns his heart.

Trevor Doran is trying to fit into civilian life now that he’s no longer working secret missions for the government. But his job as a financial investigator for a security firm doesn’t give him the thrill he needs. With his last love dead from a mission gone wrong, he doesn’t need that kind of life anymore. Does he?

His attention soon turns to the beautiful, shy Emma Clark—a friend of his sister’s who intrigues him. He’s getting a vibe from her that makes him want to know more. Is she as submissive as she seems? When Emma starts receiving unwanted attention from a secret admirer, he steps in to help. Then the case he’s investigating at work gets messy. Danger’s afoot, and it’ll take all his skill to keep Emma safe. And all her patience to get Trevor to open himself up to putting his heart at risk and loving again.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe

 

Excerpt

So strange to find the shy Emma Clark so perfect for him. Dana had been outgoing, brash, sexy and sure of herself. Emma was shy, funny, and insecure. He knew she didn’t understand her appeal, which made her that much more attractive. Unlike Dana though, Emma was overly caring. She went out of her way to make him feel comfortable, and he had to admit that pleased him to no end.

They connected in so many ways, but they hadn’t connected physically yet. Ever since that last kiss, he’d kept his distance. He’d meant it when he said he wouldn’t rush her. She looked at him with desire, but she didn’t seem ready to embrace her feelings. And with his own self-doubts, he didn’t want to tangle with her yet either.

It made no sense that he should feel such affection and lust so soon for her. Especially not now, when he should have been missing Dana all the more fiercely. Just last week marked the anniversary of her death. Dana, a woman who’d matched him in all ways. A fighter, a killer in high heels who knew which pressure points to use to disable a man. Lethal with a knife or a gun, beautiful, sexy…and dead.

He had to work to see her in his mind’s eye, and that bolstered the grief he wanted—needed—to feel. But then an image of Emma’s soft smile, her shy eyes, her vulnerability tugged at him and made him want to smile.

He swore and shifted in his seat, aroused and no longer surprised by it. The need to own Emma, to control her, ate at him. He wanted so much more than tame sex with her. But would she be able to accept that? Could she obey him, open to him the way he needed her to?

With a frustrated sigh, he turned back to his computer and forced himself to finish working on some financial statements for the firm’s other cases. By five thirty, he’d had enough distance from the woman he couldn’t stop thinking about. He packed up and rejoined Emma at her bakery. With her small staff on alert, everyone continued to look for anyone or anything suspicious.

No one had found anything yet. Which meant he’d need to spend more time protecting her. Sleeping in her house, seeing her, hearing her, breathing her in. He muffled a groan and studied her.

She wore her hair up in a ponytail, a Sweets ‘n Tweets tee-shirt and jeans making her look all of twenty years old. Too young for me, he tried telling himself. But he knew he only had ten years on her, thirty-four to her twenty-four. Not too old at all for what he had in mind.

Two men sat talking quietly while an older woman gathered her belongings and left the bakery.

He gave the men a cursory glance, recognizing John, the computer guy, and Garrett, a regular, close to John’s age, who had a sweet tooth and a fondness for Emma. He seemed innocent enough, though John remained a potential suspect in Trevor’s mind. He hadn’t taken anyone off his list, though, and made a note to go over Garrett’s background again. This time in more detail.

“Closing time,” Garrett said with a wink as he noted Trevor.

The regulars had noticed his presence and teased Emma about it. She’d confessed he was her new boyfriend, following his advice on how to explain his presence. Plus he wanted to see how her secret admirer took the news she was no longer available.

Because she wasn’t. Period.

John nodded to his buddy. “Come on, Garrett. We can continue our conversation at my place.”

Trevor made a mental note of the pair’s closeness, wondering how many other customers spent a lot of time in the bakery. John, Garrett, Mitchell, Thomas, Amelia, Sue. The list went on. Emma had loyal customers, sugar addicts needing a fix.

But for food or for Emma? Hell, Trevor even considered himself one of her many admirers. He sighed as John and Garrett left.

Cat poked her head out from the back. “I’m taking off since Trevor’s here.” She waved at him. “Hi.”

“Hey, Cat. Let me walk you out.”

He went out the back with her and waited until she got into her car and left. Then he returned to Emma, who waited for him while she finished wiping up her baking racks and cookie trays .

“I locked up the front. The tables are clean. We can go.”

“Okay.” Was it just him, or did her eyes seem even darker today? Tendrils of her hair had escaped the band holding it up, and his fingers itched to stroke the downy softness of her neck. Her bruises had faded, and he had the insane urge to plant new marks…with his mouth. Small stings from his lips to show everyone she belonged to him.

“Trevor?” She licked her lips. “I-I know you said I needed time. But I, well, would you kiss me?”

He’d been hanging on by a thread for days. Now she wanted him to kiss her, in the safety of her store.

Well, hell. “Kiss you?”

She blinked, doe eyes staring out at the big bad wolf. Her gaze traveled slowly down his body, resting on his evident erection. “Oh, er.” She sighed, bit her lip, and met his gaze with a shy one of her own. “I want you to kiss me…everywhere.”


WETWORK
marieharte.com

 

Hot for SWAT (You’re Either SWAT, or You’re Not)

Remember that line from the movie SWAT starring Colin Farrell? Okay, you might not. Why am I mentioning it? It’s time to talk about SWAT or SRT (Special Response Team)…one of those subjects that sometimes sends readers into a frenzy. The allure of hot men in dangerous occupations.

It has been a while since I talked about my SWAT series, so I thought I’d give you a taste! In my Heart of Justice series (see the hero profile page here) we get to meet some of the fascinating men who put their lives on the line for others in hostage or other situations. When I wrote these stories I did a ton of research, but I was also fortunate to have the expert assistance of two SWAT team members who could answer questions and keep me on the accurate track. Here are the blurbs for the series, and I hope you’ll read the excerpts on the special book pages. Enjoy!

 

Within His Sight

 WITHIN HIS SIGHT

Mary Wickes didn’t want to acknowledge that ex-marine, now SWAT team member Dace “Hard Man” Banovic could draw her in with one smoldering, purely male look. Yet working with him for six months at the sheriff’s department proved her hormones didn’t care what she thought, only what she wanted. Now she needed to boogie out of Gold Rush, Colorado before he wore down her resistance. Tainted by bad memories of past betrayal and trust, she knows getting involved with him would be a big mistake.

Dace Banovic is puzzled by Mary’s avoidance tactics, and although he’s tried to ignore the powerful attraction he feels for her, he can’t help wanting to learn everything about the woman he’s desired for six months.

When danger comes, sometimes it takes a special man and woman to see it through to the end…

When a hostage situation brings them to a razor sharp edge of danger, only their determination will prove to them the true meaning of the feelings they’ve tried so hard to deny.

Stop here to read an excerpt!

 

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IN HER DEFENSE

Celeste Rice’s life has been shattered by terrible violence more than once. Violence threatens to creep back into Celeste’s world when her ex-boyfriend stalks her. When Celeste inherits her aunt’s home, she decides to move back into her childhood neighborhood after long years away. Upon her prodigal return, she encounters old friend and long-time object of her desire, Mick MacGilvary and knows that she is finally ready to pursue that heart-stopping attraction. She believes she’ll stop craving him if she has sex with him once and gets it out of her system. She decides to test the wildfire attraction, even though Mick’s violent past and his SWAT position frighten her.

Mick will do anything in her defense…

SWAT cop Mick MacGilvary’s instincts tell him Celeste’s ex-boyfriend has something evil up his sleeve. Mick’s uneasy past with Celeste makes him gun-shy around her. His protective feelings for Celeste have never abandoned him. Ten years ago, Celeste rejected his advances, and he hasn’t forgotten. The heavy-duty attraction he’s always had for her ramps up now that she’s near.

Danger lurks around the corner…

Caught up in a passion neither of them can deny, Mick and Celeste’s strengths and weaknesses are tested when her ex-boyfriend decides if he can’t have her, no one will.

Stop here for an excerpt.

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UNDER HIS PROTECTION

SWAT sniper Trey MacGilvary likes his women wild and hot…

Trey’s adventurous streak once served him wrong, now it makes him dangerous to criminals and devastating to female hearts.

Englishwoman Olivia Scott’s quiet life as a librarian is about to fall apart…

With nothing more exciting to cogitate on than which video to rent on a Friday night and which pie to create for the local bake off, Olivia isn’t prepared for violence. When Trey rescues her from a man’s brutal attack, he vows she’ll be under his protection from that point forward. The enthusiasmand unpredictability of his life stirs erotic passions within her that threaten to reinvent the woman she always thought she was.

Trey attraction for the plucky, bookish woman boils sky high but he’s not in relationships for the long term. Still he battles with emerging feelings he never thought he’d have again for a woman. After all, she’s returning to England in six months. There’s no way they can forge a lasting relationship, even if they wanted to.

As a criminal resurfaces with revenge in mind and promises to harm everyone he loves, Trey’s skills as a sniper, a brother and a lover are tested. As danger closes around her, Olivia must find a core of strength she never knew she had, and capture a red hot passion she never hoped to find.

Stop here for an excerpt.

DAA_HOJ_WithinHisEmbrace

WITHIN HIS EMBRACE

 With her job gone and her carefully crafted life plan wrecked, Leigh Strongdecides to take a short vacation from reality before she has to face putting it all back together again. A wild shootout puts her in the sight of SWAT cop Craig MacGilvary, the man she is fiercely drawn to, but that drives her crazy at the same time. She finds his stern, strong and silent personality a tad too uptight and decides he needs to live a little. She’s determined to discover if he’s really stoic, or if under all that starch burns a man of fire.

Craig’s ordered world is interrupted by the extroverted, live-it-up Leigh. Her in-your-face style disturbs his desire to keep things in line, and the feral attraction he feels for her arouses a fierce need to protect. They discover an unexpected and sizzling passion that makes him question his sanity. When her past and his catch up with them, and danger follows hot on their heels, the perils they’ll face apart and together will test all their resolve in both career and love.

Stop here for an excerpt.

(Side note I have a short story in the back of WITHIN HIS EMBRACE that is an extra for you, and it’s called WITH HIS KISS!)

Whew! Someone hose me down please! Ahem. On to more adventure! I hope you’ll read the HEART OF JUSTICE series and see why I enjoyed writing these characters so much.

Adventure! Snakes, Archaeology & Hogamany

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The weather has been a little more gloomy lately with our  monsoon season and that’s cool. We needed the rain. What it has done is make me long for my favorite season…fall and October! Halloween! Samhain! How I love it. Holy cow it’s July and I’m wishing it was autumn? Okay, maybe not yet. But it did get me to thinking about adventure, and the fact I love to write stories with adventure in them. Does that mean I’m an adventurous person? Well, I am more so than I used to be. I can’t say I’ve had too much adventure other than what I read, watch on the big screen, or create in my books. I’ve always thought the saying “by the seat of your pants” described as much about our daily lives than it did unusual circumstances. With pressures from work, social commitments, family, and cell phones, we can rest assured our blood pressure is high enough. Luckily for me, I don’t have much pressure in that respect, and I’m grateful.

Humans are strange creatures. Very strange. Think about it. We say we don’t like real life danger, yet we spend time in front of the television watching Most Shocking or Most Daring (I do), or we thrill to the danger in an Indiana Jones movie or the psychological scare of Disturbia (love that movie.) Some of us take it a step further and actually sign up for the white-knuckle experience of skydiving, base-jumping, rock climbing, or white water rafting. Truth is that most of us want the excitement to be vicarious. Take me. When I was a little kid, I was a girly girl. On the playground, I would say to the kid hanging on the monkey bars, “You’re gonna fall off that.” What happened? The kid would fall off. I felt vindicated.

It wasn’t until about ’85, when I joined an archaeological society, that I started to have relatively safe adventures, and I loved it. About the worst it could get would be heat exhaustion, sunburn and tangling with rattlesnakes. There was an archaeology trip to Hovenweep, Utah where a late May snowstorm hit with big winds and our tent almost got away. Oh, yeah. And I slept in the car one night because my friend snored so loudly there was no way I was getting any sleep.

One scene in The Mummy Returns parallels my archaeological life. Remember the scene where Evie discovers a snake crawling across her boot? That really did happen to me. I looked down and there was this small dark snake crawling over my boot and my automatic reaction was the same as Evie’s. I simply swung my foot and flipped the snake away. For a minute I thought maybe I’d imagined it, and probably no one would have believed me if they hadn’t seen me do it. Heck, now that I live in the desert Southwest (I was in Colorado when I had the boot slinging snake experience), I have seen more snakes, poisonous and otherwise, than I want to see. Still, the archaeology continued to be awesome in Colorado and was awesome when I found a new group in the Southwest.

One adventure I’ll never forget, though, came when my hubby and I ventured to Edinburgh, Scotland (we lived in England at the time) in the 90’s. We wanted to see New Year’s Eve celebrations (called Hogamany). Now we’re not that fond of big crowds of any type, so we should have realized that 250,000 people in a small space would prove overwhelming. We had a few hours to wander around in the city in the central area including the Royal Mile. That was great except for the cold and the hoards of roaming drunks. Don’t get me wrong. Scottish drunks seem to have less a propensity for outright skirmishes and violence than if you put American drunks in the same situation. Go figure. After the beautiful fireworks display presented from the top of Edinburgh Castle (still the best fireworks I’ve seen to date), we headed down the hill. We’d linked arms securely because of the huge crush of people. We quickly discovered that wouldn’t do the trick. The throng pushed in on all sides but it threatened to separate us. My hubby wrapped his arms around me from behind and held tight as he sort of maneuvered us like a big spider through the crowd. Basically he feared losing me in the mess of people, and I feared loosing him. We could have met up back at the tour bus, but it still would have been intimidating to say the least.

By the way, I’ve had a paranormal experience in Edinburgh that I’ve shared on this blog before, but I’ll share it again next week.

Until next week’s adventure installment, may you have a safe yet adventurous week.

Social Media Diet 2: Creativity & Mental Rejuvenation

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Howdy from the castle. Okay, I’m not in a castle right now, but I can dream, right? After all, I have a pretty vivid imagination.  Today is the start of another social media chill out diet for me. After my last social media diet a few months back, I’ve decided I definitely needed to abandon social media from time to time. By social media diet, I mean not engaging on Facebook or Twitter as often as I normally do. Here’s what I find avoiding social media for a week or more does for me:

1. My creativity jumps. I feel more creative overall.

2. I get even more writing done.

3. Mentally I feel less stressed and less likely to get obsessed reading stuff that serves nothing more than to rile me up.

Plenty of people engage in social media and feel no mental stress and they’re usually very good at brushing off other people’s stuff. I haven’t mastered that technique yet although I’m working on it. As an empath I’m really bad sometimes at sucking in people’s bad juju if I don’t watch out and shield myself.  So I’m taking the easy way out by avoiding social media.

I’m also discovering another wonderful tool that I’m recommending to friends who complain a lot about the negativity on Facebook. I’ve started using Facebook Purity. Now this isn’t some virginal, “I’m lookin’ to turn back the clock to a more wholesome era” scenario. Nah. As a paranormal and suspense author I’ve soaked my head in “unwholesome” plenty of times. No, it’s just an effort to declutter the feed from stuff that doesn’t serve me. With Facebook Purity I can just block out a lot of the political and/or religious stuff that gets posted on Facebook and even a few other things I don’t want to read. So far so good!

With that being said, I’m looking forward to the down time to finish a novella, relax and just reboot the mind. I’ll still check in to Facebook probably every couple of days or so and the same with Twitter (although I’ll retweet some things automatically through my Tribber account). I may even have a blog or two here and there to let you know how the social media blackout is going.

Talk to you again soon!

Feel The Heat Contest: Celebrate Book Releases With Denise A. Agnew and Marie Harte!

Marie&Denise

Marie Harte and I have new book releases this week and we wanted to share some of the fresh new book love with readers. Check out our books, comment on both my blog and hers for a chance to win some terrific prizes! Contest ends July 13th. Good luck!

*Marie is offering an ecopy of any two of her backlist and a $15 Amazon Gift Card. (Comment below to enter and stop by her website here to enter.

*I’m offering offering two ebooks (two winners receive one book each) from my backlist. (Comment below to enter.)

Here’s some information on both books to tantalize you!

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A Major Distraction


Major Brad Cava has watched his siblings fall in love. He tried marriage once—it didn’t take. He’s been in a dry spell for a while, which must be why that smart-aleck at work, Ms. Genevieve St. James, is looking so good. Granted, she’s just his type. But she sets his teeth on edge with all her professional dictates and attitude at the office.

Genevieve has no idea why Major Annoying, as she likes to call the sexy Major Cava, is always on her mind. When she inadvertently catches her new mystery neighbor pleasuring himself, she automatically thinks of Cava. To her mortification, she finds out Major Hottie and her exhibitionist neighbor are one and the same.  They find themselves falling hard for each other. Until something strange happens at work, and Genevieve is blamed for things she didn’t do. Brad doesn’t seem to trust her, and she has to wonder if the love she’s beginning to feel is one-sided. When the truth comes out, Brad has to has to figure out if he can risk it all again for a woman. Has he learned from his past, or is he doomed to make the same mistakes again with a woman he can’t help loving?

Buy Links

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

Body Language

She runs.  She hides. But the stalker is determined to find her…

Lizbeth Cauldwell escaped the boardroom and her city life to forget a fierce attack. When she returns to the tranquility of her old home in Arizona, she discovers harmony she never expected when she takes over a bar and grill.  There she discovers another thing as mind-boggling as the evil that stalks her.  Her once skinny, shy childhood friend Thomas Giancomo has transformed into one grade-A, powerful, gorgeous man.

He never runs.  He never hides.  But a stalker is determined to hurt the woman he dares protect…

Memories of strong, sexy Lizbeth kept ex-soldier, now cop Thomas Giancomo alive during a long stay in the harsh desert.  Thomas is determined to protect her and to feel her surrender to raw passion in his arms.  When danger draws them closer, one intense night proves that long suppressed desires and feelings are too heated to ignore.

Purchase at:

Liquid Silver Books

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

ARe

Kobo

**

Thanks so much and be sure to comment!

 

 

New Release: Body Language is out!

Today Body Language, my short romantic suspense story featuring an ex-military hero is available at Liquid Silver Books at this link and at Amazon here. Today I’m featuring a snippet of the sexy chemistry that burns between the hero and heroine. Plus, I wanted to let you know about a contest I’ll be running with Marie Harte on July 9. Here’s the snippet excerpt and information in the contest below. Warning, salty language in this excerpt. :)

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

What seemed only seconds later, she jerked out of her daydream. A shadow fell over her, and then a man’s hand touched her arm. She squeaked in alarm and bolted upright, heart pounding.

“Whoa,” Tom said as he straightened. “Easy. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

She took a gulping breath of relief. “God, don’t do that. My heart almost stopped.”

Before she could leave the wide chaise, he sat on the edge. His jean-clad hip bumped her thigh. She drew in a breath, more to steady the sharp coil of awareness in her stomach than her restless heart. His long, muscled legs caught her attention, and for one second she allowed her gaze to fall on the impressive bulge at his crotch. Oh, man. She looked away quickly.

Wicked thoughts flashed into her head faster than she could block them. What would it feel like to have him sliding inside her, a hard bar of thick flesh pushing, thrusting, and stroking deep into her aroused channel? To have all that rugged strength at her disposal, at her bidding? Her skin tingled from head to toe and desire coiled in her belly.

“I was worried about you,” he said, breaking her wild fantasy.

“I’m fine.” Did she have to sound so damned breathless?

“Right.” Doubt touched his voice. “You forget something. I can spot a liar at fifty paces.”

Unreasonable annoyance gripped her, and the warm bubble created by her fantasy evaporated. “Thanks so much. Now if you’ll excuse me–”

“Wait.” Regret flickered across his rough-hewn features. “I’m just saying you don’t need to hide anything from me.”

Oh yeah I do. Like wanting to jump you and do the nasty for the next ten hours. Yeah. That.

“I’m a small business owner. I can’t afford to wait for anything,” she said.

He sighed, and his gaze searched her face. “I need you to listen to me.”

She crossed her arms, suddenly obstinate beyond reason. “No, you need to stop being bossy.”

A smile flickered over his lips. It was fast, but it was just enough to make his dark eyes light with warm humor. “Sorry. Sometimes I don’t think about it. I’m a cop and half the time people are breaking the law and all they want to do is argue.”

She smiled this time. “Too bad. You might get an argument from me anyway.”

He held up his hands, his expression softer. “I didn’t just come in here tonight to drink iced tea.”

She lifted one eyebrow. “You looked pretty relaxed to me. The woman you were talking with couldn’t keep her eyes off you.”

Oh, damn. She’d never liked jealousy in other people, but as the words left her mouth, she realized she couldn’t deny it. She sounded and felt covetous.

Ever perceptive, his eyes narrowed. “You care whether I have drinks with beautiful women?”

In defense, she scoffed. “Tom, you’re a great-looking guy and…” Impulsively, she reached out and squeezed one of his ultra-hard biceps, “…and built like a rock, but why would I be jealous?”

“Bullshit.” The matter-of-fact curse slipped easily from his lips. “Just because you left this town years ago and just came back doesn’t mean you don’t know me.” He pointed at his chest. “This is me, Beth. We’ve known each other decades.”

“We’re changed people.”

“You think I’ve changed that much?”

“Yes. You’re not shy, retiring and wide-eyed any more. You’re completely different. Okay, maybe you still have a bit of shyness in you, but only in a social situation. Cops can’t afford to be reticent in their profession.”

“I’ve matured physically, but inside I’m the same guy.”

“I suppose you have some swamp land nearby you want to sell me, too.”

To her amazement, his eyes lightened as amusement broke over his face. A wide smile curved his mouth. “Yeah. I do. And the swamp is full of crocs, too.”

“You always did have a dry, wicked sense of humor, Tom. I was wondering where you’d hidden it.”

His expression turned intense with a soul-searching heat that threatened to melt her inhibitions. She’d remembered a younger Tom as much less expressive. Less smoldering.

* *

Hope you enjoyed the snippet. Now, on to the contest July 9. Marie Harte and I are holding a joint contest that day to celebrate our story releases. So stop by here and comment that day to enter the contest, and then trip on over to hers to enter for a chance to win her contest. It’s that simple. See you then.

Marie&Denise

Body Language releases July 7 & Preorder Discount!

Hey all! I hope wherever you are you’re have a wonderful day or evening. I’m reminding you that Body Language is out July 7 and you can preorder a copy directly from the publisher for a 20% discount here. How cool is that? Just to tantalize you, here’s the blurb and a small excerpt.

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

She runs. She hides. But the stalker is determined to find her…

Lizbeth Cauldwell escaped the boardroom and her city life to forget a fierce attack. When she returns to the tranquility of her old home in Arizona, she discovers harmony she never expected when she takes over a bar and grill. There she discovers another thing as mind-boggling as the evil that stalks her. Her once skinny, shy childhood friend Thomas Giancomo has transformed into one grade-A, powerful, gorgeous man.

He never runs. He never hides. But a stalker is determined to hurt the woman he dares protect…

Memories of strong, sexy Lizbeth kept ex-soldier, now cop Thomas Giancomo alive during a long stay in the harsh desert. Thomas is determined to protect her and to feel her surrender to raw passion in his arms. When danger draws them closer, one intense night proves that long suppressed desires and feelings are too heated to ignore.

* *

Just shoot me now.

Lizbeth Cauldwell watched Isaac Breena swagger to the bar for the sixth time that evening. She was too damn tired to tolerate him any more. She served tequila to a toothy redheaded man barely legal enough to drink, then returned her attention to Isaac and his cock-of-the-walk bluster.

Isaac had appeared at the Foxfire Bar and Grill a week ago and had been here only twice, but both times had proven more than enough for Lizbeth. The man gave her the shudders, and most, but not all, of her revulsion came from the fact he was on the make for any woman under the age of sixty-five.

Regardless of his scattershot approach to getting laid, he’d honed in on Lizbeth as the feather in his cap. In his fantasy world, he believed if he charmed her long and often enough, she’d succumb to his sticky charm.

Tonight his belly jiggled like gelatin and his presumptuous, odious smile made her more nauseous than usual. The wait staff called him Jabba the Hut and now Lizbeth couldn’t even think of him as Isaac Breena anymore.

The scent of burned onions accompanied him, and she wrinkled her nose. He’d stuffed two orders of onion rings down his gullet already this evening, on top of just enough alcohol to make him think he had a shot at finding a lady love.

God, what a pig.

Under the thump of rock music coming from the speakers and the steady hum of conversation buzzing through the building, weariness worked its way into her system. She needed a break, but quitting time hadn’t arrived.

Here in the bar, she felt relatively safe. The operative word being relative. After the attack in Phoenix two months ago, she wondered if she’d ever really feel secure again. Still, she wouldn’t abandon the noisy, rambunctious establishment for anything in the world. Busy and successful, the place rocked with an eager horde ready to party after long days at work. It usually made her feel alive, something she’d desperately needed after Phoenix.

But nights like these…yeah…they made a woman wonder why she’d relinquished the craziness of a corporate boardroom for the insanity of running this small Arizona mountain town business. Houndstooth was as homey and quirky as the name suggested, and with a population that hovered around ten thousand, the place felt comfortable and uncomplicated. Besides the fact this was her hometown and everyone knew her, she had never truly liked living in a city as enormous as Phoenix. She shuddered when she thought of the danger she’d encountered there. She touched the tiny scar that had formed on her neck, so close to her jugular. She shivered again and drew a deep breath into her lungs. Forcing back the beginnings of a flashback, she managed to control her fear. It wasn’t Isaac who gave her the willies, not really. But he was certainly nasty enough for her to use it as an excuse to stay as far away from him as possible.

“Hey baby. Give me another drink.” Jabba’s piggy green eyes seemed swallowed up in the mush of his rounded face and twisted smile.

This had been a crappy day, and all she needed was a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer, no matter how politely or impolitely she framed the refusal.

“No, sorry. I can’t. We’ve cut you off. Besides, the bar closes in fifteen minutes.” She glanced pointedly at the clock on the wall behind the bar that read ten minutes to midnight.

“I saw ya pouring a drink for old Giancomo over there a minute ago.” The inebriated asshole’s voice slurred as he jerked his thumb back in the direction from which he’d come.

She cracked a smile. “He’s drinking iced tea.”

Jabba grunted and placed his thick hands on his stout waistline. Tonight he wore what a friend of hers called a wife beater shirt. A t-shirt with the sleeves torn out and the words Keep Honking, I’m Reloading emblazoned across the front. He was a walking, talking redneck stereotype.

“That prick can’t handle a drink like a real man.” Jabba added a smile to his statement, his gaze glinting with malice. He cupped his crotch. “I’ve got what you need right here.”

Her stomach rolled. Crissakes, but Jabba was odious.

Her gaze darted to Thomas Giancomo in the far corner of the room. They’d been friends since grade school, but drifted apart when they each left town in search of bigger and better things. She’d left for college at University of Phoenix and also to escape her straight-laced, over-protective parents.

She allowed her attention to linger too long, her fascination snagged by the way he slouched in his chair, iced tea sweating on a coaster in front of him. She almost snorted a laugh. Um…yeah. Saying Thomas Giancomo wasn’t all man was like stating that there was no centerfold in this month’s Playboy.

 

Military Monday: Major Pleasure

Howdy all! I’m back with a military excerpt, but this time it’s a Monday. Today I’m introducing you to an erotic romance novella featuring a military hero. I loved putting together this story several years ago. I hope you enjoy the hot excerpt! You can find Major Pleasure at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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He’s got the military command…
Army Special Forces Major Blayne Forbes has always desired Jemma Teagan, but knows she’s off limits for a casual relationship. The last thing he wants is involvement with a forever kind of woman. Jemma’s desire for the diamond-in-the-rough soldier has never faded, and when he tumbles into her arms, the tough guy sends her heart rate into orbit. She doesn’t want to love a man destined for danger, until he challenges her to a display of hardware she can’t resist.

* *

Jemma saw the big man walking toward her with confident strides. Her heart leapt in surprise and happiness, then thundered with excitement.

She couldn’t restrain how her breath quickened and her body hummed whenever she saw him. It didn’t matter that months of separation parted them, or that he traveled the world keeping freedom, hope, and democracy intact. No, she responded to him with unadulterated pleasure and a full-on lust she couldn’t control.

Then reality intruded. What was Blayne doing home? She almost called out to him in greeting, until she saw his slight limp and the tired expression on his face. Pale, with five o’clock shadow and a haunted look in his eye, he didn’t appear like the tough, indomitable soldier she’d known for almost two years. He caught sight of her and his trademark sultry smile started, then came to a dead stop. His mouth opened but instead of greeting her, he put one hand out to prop against the doorframe.

“Damn,” he muttered as his eyelids started to flutter.

Worried, she reached up to cup his face in one hand. “Blayne, are you all right?”

The dazed look in his eyes retreated. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

With instincts honed by years of growing up with brothers who didn’t see the doctor unless their parents hogtied them, she shifted her touch to his forehead. “You’re feverish. What’s wrong?”

He blinked as if someone had just told him he’d jumped out of a plane without a parachute. “Nothing’s wrong. I’m good.”

A little surprised by his gruff tone, she withdrew her hand. His stubble-roughened jaw scratched against her palm, and though he looked tired, he could still make the molecules in her body come to a standstill and take notice. No doubt about it, in her personal dictionary under the word hunk, the description said Blayne Forbes. From the first time Graham introduced them, she had a gut-level reaction to the man. Blayne’s unique combination of gallantry combined with a dangerous edge intrigued her. So did the soulful, sexually charged nuance in his thickly lashed dark eyes. A short, military cut restrained the curls in his lustrous, thick ash-colored hair. His somewhat crooked nose and strong jaw line added to the craggy image. His incredible, conditioned body spelled sin. In the recipe book of life under delicious there should be a picture of Major Blayne William Forbes.

For too long, steamy, sexy dreams of being with him haunted her. It didn’t help he looked delicious enough to eat. Swirling heat filled her loins and mixed with her extreme pleasure at seeing him. God, the man is gorgeous.

Today he wore a black leather bomber jacket, thick red turtleneck sweater, and butt-loving jeans showcasing his long, muscular legs. But it didn’t matter what he wore because every time she saw him, her libido caught on fire whether she liked it or not.

More often not.

After all, getting involved with a footloose, rough-and-tumble Special Forces officer didn’t define her idea of safe and secure. He had a risky job. Chances are one of these days he’d come back from a mission in a flag-draped coffin.

Right now, though, he looked anything but tough and it worried her.

He kept his hand on the doorjamb. “Sorry, Sweets. It’s been a long day.”

Sweets. Only Blayne could get away with calling her something like that. And she’d been too damn chicken to ask him why he’d pinned her with the nickname not long after they’d met. He never said it in an insulting manner, but always in a warm, teasing tone.

“I didn’t know you were coming home,” she said. “I figured Graham would have mentioned that your unit was back.”

A grim, almost sarcastic smile spread over his face. “Graham may not have heard. I’m back alone.”

“Why?”

Clutching at the doorjamb, he shrugged those mile-wide shoulders. “Long story.”

Her eyes narrowed as she frowned. “I saw you limping. Is that why you’re back?”

His mouth thinned, his gaze sharpening. “Among other things. Is Graham here?”

“I stopped by to see if he wanted to go out to lunch, but he apparently ran out to do some errands.”

“I should have called first.” He released the doorjamb gingerly, as if unsure he could stand without the support. “It doesn’t matter. I needed to come on post anyway.”

His gaze centered on Jemma again and this time the way he looked at her brought wild, rushing feelings back to her. Warm and appreciative, his attention caressed her face. Her cheeks flushed under his unbridled interest. As her nipples tingled in response, she wanted to reach up and hug him. Every so often she thought she caught two emotions running across his expression and it always caught her off guard.

Lust and tenderness.

Tingling built in her belly, moistening forbidden areas deep between her legs in a shocking rush. The man knows how to turn me into mush every time.

“You look good, Jemma.” His smile went brilliant, a touch of the old Blayne in his grin. “How are you?”

“I’m great.” Before she could thank him, he closed his eyes a second and winced. That did it. She clasped his arm. “I think you should sit down a minute.”

“It’s no big deal.”

“Right. You almost fainted in my arms a moment ago and you look like the semi from hell plowed over you and then backed up and did it again.”

He placed his palm over her hand, effectively trapping her fingers against his arm. Big and well-shaped, his hands always inspired some pretty interesting fantasies for her.

He resurrected a wolfish grin. “Big, bad Special Forces officers don’t faint.”

She rolled her gaze to the sky a moment, then sighed. “Oh, excuse me. You don’t faint, you pass out.” She tugged on his arm and started to pull him along. “Well, Major Forbes, what am I going to do with you if you fall flat on your face right here? I’ll have to call for EMS and that would embarrass you, big bad Special Forces officer or not. Why don’t you sit in my car a minute and take it easy.”

To her surprise he allowed her to guide him to her Taurus. She opened the door and he slid into the passenger seat. She got into the driver’s seat.

When he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, she asked, “So what’s wrong? Why did you come back early? Were you injured during the mission?”

The thought of him hurt at any time made her heart drop into her shoes.

He opened his eyes but kept his head back on the seat. “Maybe I should have taken a nap before I drove straight to the post.”

“You just got back? No wonder you’re out on your feet.”

“I changed clothes and came right over. I need to talk with Graham.”

“Well, in lieu of my big brother, I can be a pretty good listener.”

He shook his head.

She grinned and crossed her arms. “Oh, is this one of those I’d-love-to-tell-you-but- then-I’d-have-to-kill-you things?”

“Yeah, some of it is.”

She sensed an undertone in Blayne’s voice, something dark and serious beneath the evasiveness.

Go for it, Jemma. “Since my dear brother stood me up for lunch, maybe you could have lunch with me.”

He looked at his watch. “You don’t have to go back to work?”

“I’m on two weeks’ vacation.”

He grunted. “You know, I think I’m going to go home and crash.” He flicked a warm, almost sensual look her way before opening the door and starting to get out. “Good to see you, Jemma. I’ll talk to you later.”

Fine. Be that way. She didn’t care if she had lunch with him anyway. He probably has a girlfriend waiting for him at home. The thought made unwelcome jealousy rise inside her.
Instead of leaving the car, he came to a stop and put his head in his hands. She reached out to touch his broad shoulder. “That’s it, Forbes. You’re telling me what’s wrong. If you’re ill, you’re going to the doctor.”

He removed his hands from his head and managed a crooked grin. “Forbes?”

“Okay, Major Forbes.” She blushed. “Blame it on my brother. He calls you that.”

Although he looked weary, he smiled. “I figured that’s where you got it.” He shook his head. “I’ve told you to call me Blayne.”

Resistance to the idea remained steady in her psyche. “Tell me what’s wrong. You’re not healthy. I can see that.”

He rubbed his hand over his chin. “I’m getting over the flu.”

“I think you should see a doctor,” she said. “Then I’ll take you home.”

His gaze cleared long enough to rake over her with a sudden, blazing energy. Flickering with sensual awareness, his gaze locked with hers, then drifted to her lips.
“Yeah.” His voice came soft and sensual. “Maybe I need some nursing.”

Jemma’s belly fluttered and tingled. My, oh my. She couldn’t deny the innuendo, and she knew he realized what he’d said. She dared search his eyes, probing for his intentions and enjoying the heated way his gaze moved over her. With any other man, the blatant once-over might have seemed insulting. When Blayne looked at her like this she felt uninhibited and willing to take a dare. Hell, she felt devoured.

 

 

Historical Paranormal Romance: Shadows Rise & World War One

This month, a hundred years ago, the incident that brought on World War One happened. World War One and romance? How does that go together? Well, more than you would think. With any war there are love stories hidden inside the strife. When I wrote my Asylum Trilogy I stretched the story of an old asylum over three time periods…1906, 1918 and modern day. Shadows Rise is the 1918 story, which is the year the war ended. During that time people suffered through many of the things people do today. PTSD (though it was known as shell shock then), broken marriages, broken romances, new romances. World War One (or The Great War as it was called) was a time ripe for turmoil and drama. I thought I’d share a snippet of Shadows Rise with you today and give you a taste of the hero and heroine together in 1918.

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A time of war, disease and supernatural threat tests the fabric of one woman and one man…

Annabelle Dorrenti is ravaged by her experiences in World War I, her body marked by wounds, and her psyche damaged by guilt. To save herself, she becomes a nurse at the asylum and discovers the haunting is just beginning. Perhaps she’s imagining the shadows that flicker nearby, waiting. A creeping dread presses in upon her, and she sees signs everywhere that something just isn’t right at the asylum. She doesn’t want to admit it anymore than she wants to acknowledge her building attraction to a handsome soldier as broken as she is. A man who blames her for his sister’s death.

Army Captain Cade Hale suffers from shell shock and the terrible fear that the dead haunt his every step. He knows that danger terrorizes the earth, but he also feels Tranquil View could cure him of addiction and grief over his sister’s death. He’s determined to lay the blame for her death where it belongs, directly at Annabelle Dorrenti’s feet. Drawn down to his soul to Annabelle, he hates their attraction and struggles against it. Yet he knows the asylum harbors evil, and his fear for Annabelle demands he protect her, no matter what the risk, no matter what she’s done in the past. When evil and illness manifest, Cade and Annabelle step up to challenge a horror far more insidious than insanity.

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Tranquil View Asylum

Simple, Colorado

October 1918

Annabelle Dorrenti limped as the ache in her left leg reacted to long hours on the ward. She continued down the hallway, albeit at a slightly slower pace. No point in paying attention to pain. Her shift wasn’t even half over.

A soldier entered the asylum and changed everything in Annabelle’s life. Physically he looked fine—more than fine, actually. He came through the massive front doors, old metal and wood creaking and each assured step thudding on the floor of the rotunda. He didn’t look anything like the soldiers who resided here now. She was used to frail-looking military men with odd gaits, thousand-mile stares, and souls so destroyed they’d never find their way back to sanity again. This man had presence, and there was nothing fragile in how he presented himself.

He was a big man, easily six feet three inches. Strength showed in his broad shoulders, trim waist, and steady walk. His long wool uniform coat fit him as if tailored, his boots were polished, and his bearing was upright and imposing. His height would intimidate most men and women, but his gaze might give people pause. It was a dark, haunted gaze that would stay cloaked to strangers, but could read a woman’s secrets within minutes.

His face didn’t have the classic good looks of Douglas Fairbanks. She’d seen Fairbanks in only one film this year called Say! Young Fella and hadn’t been as impressed as the women who sighed and simpered at the mere mention of the actor. Her friend, Penelope Billings, another nurse at Tranquil View, thought the actor was the most handsome thing she’d ever seen. No, this man was harder than Fairbanks–raw with energy and grounded. Real.

His jaw appeared carved out of granite and his cheekbones sculpted, but he was far from pretty. His hair, thick and black, fell in unruly waves that defied the short cut. It made him appear untamed, a wildcat few could cage or train. His mouth was caught in a thin line etched with pain or disapproval, or maybe both. Something powerful radiated from him and mixed with a vulnerability that snatched the breath from her. She didn’t understand how she knew it, but he would become important in her life.

Compelled, she stepped into the rotunda from the north wing first floor ward. She’d intercept him and help. Perhaps he wasn’t a patient, but a friend coming to see one of his wounded buddies. Nurse Liza Olmaster saw him, too, as she strode from the administration offices located in the back. And when Nurse Olmaster latched on to a person they never escaped.

Annabelle hadn’t gone more than two steps before a powerful arm slung around her neck and drew her back into the hallway. She managed one strangled cry, surprise mixing with anger.

“What you doin’ Kraut? You think you’re going to spy for the Kaiser and tell those Huns where we’re at?” He pulled on her neck again and she gasped for air.

The gruff voice was thick with drug, but also strong with hatred. She recognized that foul-mouthed mid-western accent right away. Problem was, she could barely squeak, much less plead with Sergeant Martin “Pepper” Culpepper. Pain shot through her throat. She gripped the man’s hard forearm with both hands, but she couldn’t make him budge. If he crushed her larynx she wouldn’t have to worry about anything. She wouldn’t have nightmares, or sweats, or feel her heartbeat slamming relentlessly against her chest every time she tried to leave this building anymore.

“Soldier!”

The deep, commanding voice boomed, startling her as much as it did Pepper. The man hauling her backwards into the hallway stopped. As Annabelle’s eyes watered, she tried to see through the pain.

The handsome man walking toward her and Pepper brushed passed Nurse Olmaster. Nurse Olmaster, petite but blustery, took instant offense. “You have no business—”

“Shut up,” the new man said, his voice cold and harsh.

Nurse Olmaster gasped, and turned right around to dash back to the administration offices.

The tall man coming to her rescue took each step slowly, and he held up one hand. “Soldier, what are you doing out of your barracks?”

Is this man crazy? Yes, he probably was.

Pepper’s grip around her neck eased, and she realized she was wheezing like a bellows. “Pepper, you know I’m not German,” Annabelle said.

“Soldier, what’s your name?” The tall man asked, inching closer.

The hard muscle behind her shifted, and pressure came down on her windpipe again. “Martin Culpepper. My friends call me Pepper.”

“Well, then, Pepper … may I be so presumptuous to call you Pepper?”

“Sure.”

“Good. Now, this woman you’re holding is a German?”

Pepper’s arm loosened a little, but not enough to allow her to escape. She sucked in breath, enjoying the air almost too much to notice anything else. “Yeah, she’s a German … Captain? You is a Captain?”

Hale tapped his insignia. “I am.”

“In the U.S. of A Army?”

“Yes. Where are you from, Sergeant?”

“Missouri.”

“A fine state.”

“Yes, sir.” Pepper loosened his grip even more. “Sir, I’ve brought you a prisoner. Those bastards done blew up my entire regiment sir. They left me alone.” Pepper’s voice turned ragged as he started dragging her back down the hall. His voice rose. “They left me with blood all over me. Blood and guts and … aw, Chrissakes Captain, it was the most awful damned thing I ever saw.” Pepper’s voice broke. “You don’t understand. You just don’t understand.”

The Captain followed, his steps quick, but not crowding the man. “I know how that is Sergeant.” The Captain had the gall to smile. “This one time I saw a man’s head blown clean off at the shoulders. Was the most horrible thing I thought I was ever going to see. Found out later it wasn’t.”

Annabelle considered that maybe the captain had no intention of helping her at all, and fear slid up her throat like a bad taste. What if this new soldier was here for the same war sickness problem Pepper had?

The Captain gestured casually as he stepped closer. “I know they told you living in a building like Tranquil View would make you better.”

She couldn’t see Pepper nodding, but she could feel his movements. “They did say that, sir.”

“And does it?”

“Yes.”

She wanted to growl at the captain. After all, he wasn’t the one dangling off this man’s arm with his throat hurting like the dickens. Now that the captain stood nearer, she saw that his eyes burned like coal, their brown so dark they almost looked black. But there was nothing cold in his expression now.

“Look Pepper, even if she’s guilty I know you wouldn’t hurt a woman. It’s not the way we do things in the Army. It’s not the way a real man would do things. Let her go now. She’s my prisoner. I’ll take it from here.”

She didn’t know whether to be relieved or to still worry about Pepper’s intentions. Fear still scuttled hot through her body. Annabelle remembered what her father told her before she went to war.

Darlin’ you’re going to see some things. Things no man or woman should ever see. My Daddy said Gettysburg killed him long after the war was over. You need to get it right in your head to be strong. Anything else, and you’ll be like your Granddaddy jumping at his own shadow.

She’d thought she’d been ready. How wrong she’d been. Even leaving the war didn’t really mean leaving the war.

By now they’d drawn a crowd with a few nurses showing up. Her knees shook, and her mind whirled. Shame followed quickly. She’d dealt with plenty of disturbed individuals as violent as this man, but none of them had been able to waylay her from behind until Pepper. Annabelle decided to take charge if she could. Allowing the patients to run the show could prove disastrous in more than one way. She needed this position to work.

She cleared her throat. “Pepper you know me. I’m not a traitor to our country.”

“She’s a nurse, Sergeant. She wouldn’t hurt you,” The captain said. “You’re hurting her.”

The Captain’s face stayed granite as he talked. She took in his calmness and refused to panic any longer. She’d make it through this somehow.

“Let her go soldier.” The Captain moved closer. That’s an order.”

Pepper relaxed his grip. “Yes sir.”

She eased away from Pepper, relief and sympathy hitting her all at once. Her knees wobbled as she took an involuntary step toward the captain. Two nurses and one male attendant came up behind Pepper and grabbed his arms. Annabelle automatically reached out. “Don’t hurt him.”

Head Nurse Summit appeared and talked quietly to Pepper. “It’s all right, son. Come this way and we’ll get you something to eat.”

Pepper was led up the staircase back to his ward.

Her rescuer stepped forward and gently clasped Annabelle’s shoulders. “You all right?”

She wanted to control her reactions; anything else meant unprofessional behavior. A man had never shown concern for her well being, and Annabelle didn’t know what to think or how to react.

“Miss, are you all right?” the captain asked again.

She croaked her answer. “Yes.” She peeled herself away, missing his strength and heat in the unforgiving and cold asylum. “Thank you for talking him down. I was taken off guard and couldn’t think what to do.”

“Big difference from a person who’s been in war, and one who hasn’t.”

“I agree. But I’ve been in war.”

He lifted one eyebrow, and those dark eyes intensified with interest. He must have seen memories etched in her face. “Then you’ve earned every bit of your time here.”

“I’m a nurse, not a patient. As you can see from my uniform.” She glanced down at the white and gray dress. She almost reached up to touch her cap. “Why are you here?”

“Checked myself in, and I have serious business with a staff member here.”

She frowned. “No orders from a commanding officer?”

He snorted softly. “Yeah. They think I’m fruity as hell.” He saluted, his handsome smile swiftly appearing and disappearing. “And if you knew me better you’d agree.”