One Chance With You Releases Oct. 2

Howdy all. Good news. One Chance With You, a short novella with a hint of adventure tucked into a lot of romance, will be released October 2. Here’s a sneak peak!

One Chance With You_PROOF yellow

 

Sometimes being who you really are means taking a chance.

Amber MacMillan has survived abuse and misunderstanding over her empathic abilities. Being true to herself has set her free but most men aren’t interested in a woman who can sense their feelings.

Jim Clay’s time in war left a mental scar—a fear of flying. When Amber rescues him with her gentle touch and understanding, he thinks he might have a chance to defeat his phobia. An unlikely crisis brings them unexpectedly closer. Amber and Jim may have found the chances they’re looking for—in each other’s arms.

* *

She’d noticed him the moment he’d sat down next to her while they were still on the ground in Denver but not before. She’d had her nose buried in her ereader, inhaling a great novel. Reading was one way she blocked crazy vibes that battered at her empathic senses. If she hadn’t been reading she definitely would have noticed his brand of masculinity. He was the type of man a woman with any libido would have to notice, to feel in the most primal part of her. The man was scary in that way that made a woman question her sanity if she found him attractive. In one glance she took in his physical appearance once more. Oh yeah. Prime choice male but not in that too-good-looking-to-be real way. Plastic men is what her sister called pretty boys but this guy was brutal-looking and definitely not fancy. He took up the whole seat with wide, muscular shoulders that filled out a black t-shirt. A broad chest tapered down to flat belly, trim waist and long legs in faded blue jeans. His booted feet looked big. He didn’t fit in this tin can all that well with his sense of barely controlled power. As for his face, she barely glanced at it, not wanting him to catch her staring. Longish black hair curled around his neck and over his forehead. A messy twist of this and that. She doubted he’d designed it that way. She had an impression that he didn’t care much what people thought of him. A prominent nose, tanned features and cruel mouth gave him the look of a Roman soldier.

She felt deep down that somewhere along the way he’d defended others. Maybe he was in law enforcement or the military.

She turned her gaze forward as another air pocket caused several female passengers to scream. She drew in one deep breath and then another. She felt the man next to her tense and that was when she understood. This new sense of fear truly didn’t belong to her. The man next to her struggled with real trepidation. She’d done such a good job of shutting him out until now. Another bump and her senses went on high alert. Yeah, the guy next to her was freaking out but he wouldn’t want anyone to know. Compelled to help, she dared look at him again. As he gripped the armrests veins showed on his very masculine hands and strong forearms. Another glance at that strong face showed a tight mouth and his gaze darting around. Maybe some women would have found his distress disturbing but it turned her “gotta take care of him” meter up several notches. Caution threatened to derail her wish to comfort him. After all, she’d learned the hard way that trying to change a man never turned out right. Then she saw how green he looked, that tan face more pale than moments before. Damn.

She couldn’t just leave him like this. Drawing in a deep breath and envisioning a white light surrounding her body, she made sure to block his anxiety. She couldn’t afford to take on that horrible feeling. When she was certain the white light cloaked her in protection, she opened her eyes.

“Hi. My name is Amber MacMillan.” She held out her right hand. “Hell of a storm, isn’t it?”

When he turned his face full toward her she almost sucked in a breath. In profile he looked intriguing but his entire face told the story. Not only was he handsome, he was scarred. Down his right cheek a thin line grooved his skin from cheekbone to chin. Not a horrible scar but one people would notice. Yep, if he’d been in the right costume he would have made an excellent pirate. His eyes were so dark they were almost black but they weren’t scary at all—they were filled with a valiant attempt to rein in panic.

His frown deepened. Crap. He didn’t look any too pleased. She almost drew her hand back but he presented his big right hand and she took it. His palm and fingers swallowed hers but he didn’t squeeze hard. When he drew his touch away the brush of his slightly callused skin made a tingle of pure feminine arousal dart low in her belly. Wow.

“Jim Clay.” His voice rumbled a little, a deep, rich texture.

“Nice to meet you.” Her mouth felt drier than sand. “Um…” Go ahead, Amber. You started the conversation. “Where are you from?”

“Right now I’m from Tucson.”

“I’m from Redemption Ridge. I mean, not originally. Originally I’m from Woodland Park, Colorado. I was at a retreat. Barely got out of Colorado Springs before the thunderstorm hit.”

“Hmm.” The sound that came from him was more grunt than acknowledgement.

“Redemption Ridge is in the Arizona mountains.”

“Yeah. I’ve been there. About four hours from Tucson.”

“Right.”

His gaze focused, as if he’d managed to leave the turbulence behind. She felt his anxiety decline and that pleased her. But the way those intense eyes swept over Amber increased her own awareness. He took her in with one accessing glance that said he approved. A lot. He practically blistered her with smoldering attention. Holy guacamole. A heatwave took her over and she almost fanned her face. When was the last time a man had checked her out like that? She couldn’t remember.

**

 

Cover Potpourri!

Because I’m rather lazy today, I thought I’d pepper you with some of the postcards I’ve made lately. These are simple little cards that advertise my books, especially on Twitter.

BTTMCARD

 

AsylumTrilogy copy

There are more, but I will show those later!

Have a fantastic day. :)

 

 

 

A Little Side of Scottish Hero: Instinct

So who doesn’t love a Scottish hero? With Outlander all the rage, I predict there will be even more Scottish heroes popping up in the next few months. I’ve written more than one Scottish hero, although many of them are contemporary rather than historical characters. In my erotic romance INSTINCT you meet Lucas Sloan a former Royal Marine. By the way, this story is available for 99 cents right now so pick up your copy at Ellora’s Cave (you can get all ebook formats at Ellora’s Cave.) Here’s a small excerpt, but beware. This excerpt is spicy. Apologies for the wonky formatting on the excerpt. I’ve tried fixing it but it isn’t cooperating. :)

 

instinct_msr

Instinct
Denise A. Agnew
(A SIA Special Investigations Agency story)

She can’t release the past…
But the past is about to take hold of her…
SIA scientist Mina Carling shies from contact with Scottish SIA soldier Lucas Sloan. After all, the gorgeous, tough-talking agent has a reputation for a voracious almost…animal sexual appetite. He’s arrogant, and she doesn’t like him.
He wants nothing to do with a permanent relationship…
Yet one relationship keeps finding him…
Lucas tracks evil entities in the dark places of the world and never seeks more than physical satisfaction with women. Yet something within Mina calls to his deepest male instincts to protect, even though he doesn’t really like her.
Sometimes there are human urges that are just so…animal.
When Mina and Lucas are thrown together at a conference, all the basic instincts they’ve tried to ignore find a way to escape. All the feelings they thought were dislike melt together, in one hot, unbelievably passionate discovery.
**

Soft moans of ecstasy pierced the night, and she gritted her teeth. Oh great. No, she had no intentions of enjoying this hump fest vicariously. She needed sleep. She tossed the covers to the end of the bed and switched on the lamp. Heat seemed to shimmer under her skin.
As she dressed in slip-on flats, jeans and a halter-top, Mina tried to rein in a secondary sensation. Built-up anger. Hanging around Lucas Sloan would do that to a person. She’d seen him date and drop several women since she’d started working with the SIA a year ago. She’d entered the Science Division and run into Lucas at several of the potluck events during the year. From his accent she’d quickly learned that he hailed from Scotland. Lucas had transferred from Scotland after a successful career as a Royal Marine. Unfortunately, he’d kept the hard mien of a military man, and Mina didn’t care for his edgy, know-it-all attitude.
Damned if she’d let him ruin one more night of sleep before this intelligence conference finished in three days. She grabbed her key card and stuffed it in her jeans back pocket and left her room. Brimming with indignation, she hurried to his door and rapped on it. She heaved a deep breath. The sound of a woman being fucked out of her mind stifled immediately. A scenario ripped through her mind. He’d come to the door with a towel around him and the woman he diddled would probably call out “who is it, honey?” Distaste burned in her stomach, a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction and something more insidious she refused to acknowledge.
The door snapped open and he stood in the threshold, wearing nothing more than immaculately tailored dark blue dress pants. No shirt. No shoes. No socks.
She never fantasized about a man wearing dress pants. But oh, oh, oh. He looked…
Everything female inside her stood up and took notice.
An obvious erection tented his pants. At least, the beginnings of one. She swallowed hard and looked back to his face quickly. Heat burned her cheeks.
Oh great. Great. Don’t look at his cock.
About six-two, he gazed down on her five-foot-five frame, his amber-brown eyes glinting with an animal intensity. Once this man caught her gaze, he mesmerized. She hated how out of control, how hot he made her with one glance. She already felt a little breathless and out of sorts.
Tousled, copper penny hair fell over his forehead, and a thick five o’clock shadow covered his upper lip and jawline. His face, a mixture of hard angles and intriguing planes, didn’t qualify as handsome. No, he defied description with the slashing eyebrows and hard mouth, his nose a blade of determination. He scowled better than anyone she knew. One frown from dour Lucas Sloan scared the shit out of law-abiding and not so law-abiding citizens. He was the walking, talking poster boy for repressed sexual energy.
Okay, Mina. When you return home, you might want to start dating again. Anything to take your mind off Lucas Sloan. After all, he isn’t even personable.
No. Lucas had a medieval, carnal handsomeness that qualified as gut-wrenching, knee-melting gorgeous. As she took in her view of the tall, broad-shouldered man’s chest, she gulped.
Holy…
Lightly tanned, muscular chest was sprinkled with russet hair across his pecs and down over his rippling stomach muscles. His arms were carved, hard sinew. Oh. Oh man. A shivery, hot sensation wended through her body and pooled low in her loins. Just like it always did when she saw him. Just like it always did when he stood too near, like now.
No. No, I won’t allow him to do this to me. I won’t react like the silly women at the SIA who are constantly gushing about Lucas as if he were some heartthrob in the movies.
His gaze traveled with hungry interest over the stretchy, snug material of her flaming red halter and form-fitting jeans. His attention lingered over her full breasts for a few seconds before he jerked his gaze back to hers. Her nipples peaked, tightening against the material.
His nostrils flared, a sigh parting his lips.
Okay, so this wasn’t the first time he’d given her the once over, looking at her like he would love to dine on her rather than with her. Yet she put little credence in the gesture. He probably looked at other women like this all the time.
One corner of his mouth turned upwards until his lips curved in a heart-stopping grin she hadn’t seen often. “Hey, Mina.”
His voice sounded rough, gravely with sleep, and oh-so-sexy deep. Women at the SIA constantly made comments on how much they loved his Scottish accent. All except her, of course. So what if he had the sexiest freakin’ accent and voice she’d ever heard?
“It’s one in the morning. What are you doing up?” he asked.
Her glance flicked to the room and with a start of surprise saw his bed was made and not a woman in sight. “Uh…did you have…I mean there was a lot of noise coming from your room. I thought I heard…”
He cracked another grin, this one sly and knowing. His voice lowered yet again, the velvet and thousand-proof whiskey quality filling her with a slow, maddening heat. “Ah, bollocks. Sorry about that. The walls are thin in here, aren’t they? Yeah, I was watching a movie preview on television.” He crossed his arms over that magnificent chest and his biceps bulged. “I just came in from a meeting with Ben Darrock about twenty minutes ago. Did I wake you?”
Her gaze landed on his exquisitely carved chest, and she had to force her eyes back to his. “Yes. Most definitely. What on earth were you doing meeting with Ben at this time of night?”
He didn’t speak for a second then he reached for her upper arm and tugged her into the room. “Come inside and we’ll talk.”

***

Forevermore: Scotland and Reincarnation

With the popularity of Outlander on television lately, I was inspired to post an excerpt from a paranormal romance I wrote many moons ago. Forevermore was inspired entirely by a dream I used to have as a child. As I grew older the dream didn’t happen as often, and when I visited Ireland in 1983 the dream stopped. But that is a paranormal thing for another discussion…maybe during my October Halloween Spooktacular! I set Forevermore in Scotland and it was the first and only romance I’ve written in first person. Here’s a tidbit!

foreverCoverLG

Sometimes one lifetime is not enough…

American Mae Sutton travels to Scotland to investigate tormenting dreams that have plagued her since childhood. Once in the shadowy, misty land, she discovers a brooding Highlander—and a secret that threatens her very existence.

A dark castle ruin haunts her nightmares…

Mae discovers Moor Castle is the same ruin in her nightmares, and knows she must learn why she’s been drawn to Scotland and the crumbling castle that whispers her name. She experiences an intense and immediate attraction to Aidan Ramsay, conservator of the evil castle. She’s shocked to find out she is the spitting image of a Ramsay ancestor, and that maybe her nightmares are past-life memories.

Mae and Aidan have lived before, and the dark legacy that destroyed them once, may destroy them again…

**

As I stared at the pile of stones high on the hill, familiarity tickled at my memories. I’d seen Moor Castle as an eighteen-year-old exchange student nine years ago. More than once I’d been drawn to the castle, but something always held me back.

Fear of something primitive and raw. Wounding and evil.

Now I had to take that first step toward showing myself that my dreams remained unreal. That I had made up horrible images in my mind that had no basis in fact.

I got out of the car and pulled my trench coat close about me. A compulsion drew me a few steps forward. Soon I’d discover the cold walls of Moor Castle held nothing baneful. Something stronger than apprehension, though, stopped me again.

Dread.

Why had this place haunted my dreams for so many years? Somehow, somewhere, there had to be a reason, a meaning behind the demons that possessed my nights.

I’d taken a leave of absence from my job to investigate Moor Castle for myself. Maybe I’d find peace exploring this dilapidated ruin.

I forced myself up the hill. Daylight faded as rain fell like an icy blanket.

I pressed on until I reached the top, a wide mesa somewhat naked and barren, the scraggly trees surrounding it in need of tending to bring them back to life.

I noticed how light seemed to disappear into the arched entrance without means of escape. Suddenly the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. Taking a deep breath, I pressed on, even though the trek up the steep hill had quickened my pulse. Or was that fear?

When the huge arch loomed above my head, cold penetrated my sweater, oozing into my bones with a chill, arctic and numbing. Trembling, I peered into the darkness, and as the rain lessened, shafts of weak light speared from a hole in the roof high above.

I proceeded. Up above, in the crumbling stonework, a fluttering sound echoed. I thought of the creatures of nightmares, flying on wings and snatching me away to dark lairs. A screech echoed all around me and I whirled, my apprehension escalating. Seconds later, a large black bird gave flight, turning away from the castle walls and sailing into the air until it looked like a tiny dark dot against the sky.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a bird, not a bat…or…” I whispered.

I glanced around me nervously. Yeah, right. Big, brave Mae. What would Aunt Ethelfreda think of me now? I could see her crinkled brow and piercing blue eyes condemning me for cowardice. Since I was three and Aunt Ethelfreda had adopted me after my parents had died in a car accident, I’d endured her belief that I somehow wasn’t “worthy.” I fell short, continually, in her estimation. I fought back frequently, though my ego took a nasty blow. Many dents still remained. Deep inside I hated myself for trembling like a frightened pup. A litany ran in my head, the same thing unkind children had yelled at me in grade school: Scaredy cat, scaredy cat. Mae is a scaredy cat!

I shoved aside disturbing childhood memories. Those children weren’t here now. My aunt wasn’t here now. In some ways this journey to Scotland proved those children and my aunt wrong. I could and would conquer these fears. Strength filled my limbs as I glanced around at the haunting beauty of the castle.

I hadn’t gone far into the grand foyer when I knew someone watched me.

I turned, my heart thumping with renewed alertness.

The man stood several yards away, almost hidden in a shadowy doorway. He stood with arms at his side and feet planted apart. His white poet shirt opened at the throat, giving me an enticing view of muscled chest sprinkled with dark hair. Snug black breeches were tucked into tall black boots and molded his legs. His wide mouth firmed into a tight line. A brisk wind blasted through his cascade of long, wavy black hair. Welded to the spot, I stared with unabashed curiosity at the strong planes of his face.

I took a breath, ready to call out to him in greeting. But I didn’t have a chance because suddenly he looked straight at me. His gaze turned sultry, hot, and welcoming. The moment drew out, long and surreal.

Behind me a crack like a gunshot sent me spinning around, my heart leaping. I threw myself sideways as a large stone missed me by inches, bouncing away to break into smaller pieces. My heart pounded as I looked back to the mysterious man. He’d disappeared.

“Hello!” I listened to my voice echoing in the cavern of the castle, but no answer came.

I walked about, certain he must be somewhere close. Within a few minutes, though, I had to wonder how he could have vanished so completely. A thought slipped into that part of my mind reserved for negative thoughts. Had I imagined him? Seen a ghost?

I could almost see Aunt Ethelfreda’s disapproving moue reprimanding me for even thinking I’d spotted a ghost.

“Pfft. Bug off, Aunt Ethelfreda.” I gave a nervous chuckle, realizing that if anyone heard me now they’d think I’d turned nuttier than walnut pie.

Or, perhaps, a sane person would heed the pervading gloom and leave before whoever or whatever appeared.

The wind picked up again, whistling around the walls like the demented wailing of a banshee, her grief so deep it etched into the castle walls. That pain knifed into me, and unaccountable tears rose to my eyes. Sorrow filled these ruins, soaked with harsh deeds and horrors I couldn’t bear to ponder.

Deliberate, unbidden apprehension pushed me forward and I rushed out of the castle and down the path at a jog.

I didn’t look back.

 

Cooper’s Haven: A Little Side of Romantic Suspense

Like a little side of suspense with your romance? Cooper’s Haven definitely has that.  Here’s a tidbit of Cooper’s Haven. Enjoy!

**

Ten years ago Jilly Warren and Cooper Hawkins shared a night of devastating losses that almost brought them together. Now a new threat brings them together again in a fight for love and survival.

The man starting at Jilly Warren at the courthouse is up to no good and every instinct tells her to run far and fast. Instead she turns to marine reservist and sheriff’s deputy Cooper Hawkins. Cooper, who never forgot the comfort of Jilly’s embrace, knows that the only place she’ll be safe is in his arms.

**

She strode into Redemption Ridge’s premier bakery with a full-on need for sweets. After a long day at court nothing would taste better than her once-a-month treat. No one was at the front counter and usually Maggie Logan and her assistant Gayle Tracher were there. Jilly glanced at her watch. Only ten to five. The ladies didn’t close the bakery until six on a weekday. Jilly groaned and rubbed her lower back. She’d sat in that damn chair far too long today, both in court and later translating her work.

“Thirty-five and you’re already falling apart,” Jilly said.

The door swung open a second later and Jilly started. She turned around just as Cooper “Hawk” Dawson entered. Jilly’s mouth popped open in equal measures of surprise and pleasure.

Cooper looked disconcerted for a split second before his usual grin appeared. “Hey, Jilly. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

She swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly drier than the desert. She echoed him. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”

Cooper hadn’t changed a lot in the last few months since she’d last seen him at a city social function. He’d always been fit but now his wide shoulders looked even broader under his dark parka. His close-cropped mahogany hair revealed his military background but his jawline was darkened by a day or two of beard growth. His soulful cinnamon-brown eyes had always intrigued her and now they held distinct interest. Attraction jolted through Jilly and created a sweet, tingling pull low in her stomach. Damn. No matter how many months he was away, every time he returned from war she felt this incredible pull to this big, strong man.

“What’s it been?” he asked. “Five months?”

“At least. Are you…are you on leave?”

“I’m done with the Marines for now.”

“For now?”

“Unless I get called up again, I’ll be back with the Sheriff’s Department in a month. I’ve had three deployments to Afghanistan. I think they’re tired of seeing my ugly face there.”

She laughed softly and he joined her. Ugly? No way. His face wasn’t handsome in a conventional, pretty boy way. His nose had a slight dent at the top from a bike accident as a teenager and the rest of his face proved too angular for anyone to call him cute. No, he was a raw, masculine presence all the way. A little too rough-and-tough-looking, he had a dangerous edge that had always called to her.

She realized she was staring and he stared right back. Heat filled her cheeks. Oh crap. Now she was blushing. She had all the sophistication of a cheerleader pining over the football player.

* *

You can find Cooper’s Haven at:

Ellora’s Cave

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Before There Was You & Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Frequently authors who’ve been around a while are asked, “How do you decide what to write?” As an author of over sixty books, I still sometimes find that question difficult to answer. Most of the time…probably 99.9 percent of the time I create from simply getting an idea that pops into my head and just says in big bold letters WRITE ME. Often it is an event that propels me to write the book, something that happened in history that grabs my attention and won’t let me go. Sometimes it’s a situation I’ve seen or experienced or heard about. I don’t go looking for ideas because they come to me. As a result, I rarely fear that I’ll one day run out of ideas. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying if the idea is marketable. For me that isn’t the main focus of my writing. For example, when I wrote BEFORE THERE WAS YOU the idea for the book hit me like a ton of breaks and it screamed WRITE ME so loudly that I was able to write a full sized novel in a fairly quick fashion. First draft of course. The story morphed into BEFORE THERE WAS YOU, a story featuring a marine with PTSD and the heroine with PTSD. I had a great time writing this story. Here’s a blurb and an excerpt to give you a taste. In this excerpt, the hero makes a big step in recognizing some things about himself with the heroine’s assistance.

So if you’re writer, where do you get your ideas?

BeforeThereWasYou600x800

Kidnapped in a foreign country, Lana Burns’ faith in herself and the world has been shaken to the core. Once home, she finds her world mangled into nightmares and depression. Refusing to give in to fear and torment, she searches for answers. Now she must escape a dark mental place before it swallows her whole.

Former Force Recon Marine Aaron MacPherson made it through war without a scratch, but he doesn’t count thick scars carved into his mind, threatening to unhinge his happiness forever. His equilibrium teeters on the edge, his battle moving from combat to everyday life. One wrong word from a total stranger sends him on a path to destruction.

Both Lana and Aaron have seen hell, and group therapy might show them the way out. Forging a link between them could prove perilous to their hearts. When danger strikes without warning, Aaron and Lana must use their bond to create a way to survive the night.

**

He rarely drank, but tonight he decided a glass of whiskey wouldn’t hurt. He went into the kitchen and found the unopened whiskey in a cabinet. The bottle had been there three years, a birthday gift from Cruz who couldn’t think of anything else to get. Cruz’s words went through Aaron’s head.

Drink it to celebrate something or to mourn something.

He quickly opened it, found a glass, and poured a couple fingers of whiskey. After one sip he carried the glass with him and headed to the computer and sat down. He stared at the glass in his hand for a full thirty seconds. Which was it? Celebration or mourning? Maybe both. Celebrating that he’d recognized the big event that had made him so damned fucked up. Fillman’s suicide. Mourning his fellow marine, and maybe his parents’ divorce if they couldn’t work shit out. If it was both, he might need two glasses of whiskey. He snorted a laugh and put the glass on a coaster.

Master’s Degree application or writing the freaking letter? Which one to start first? Get a life. How the hell did you survive a war when you can’t make a decision?

He turned on the desk lamp and fortified himself with a slow sip of the amber liquid. He put the glass down and stared at the drink. He could slam it down. Maybe it would make relaying this shit easier. Yeah, it probably would. But he’d never used alcohol as a crutch, and he sure as hell wouldn’t start now.

Fuck, who am I kidding? He was using it as a crutch right now. He stared at the blank screen, fingers over the keys. He hovered. He took another small sip of whiskey. Yeah, go girly on the whiskey until you can get this puppy written. In a flash of clarity he understood if he didn’t write this with a clear mind, he wouldn’t tell the truth. He’d gloss it over. He’d pretend. He’d say what he thought others would want to hear. God forbid he freaking got dramatic.

Do the Masters application first. So he did.

He filled in the application and then started the process for having his Bachelor’s Degree transcripts sent to the program. Paperwork didn’t bother him. The military had improved his patience for filling out paperwork because God only knew the military loved freakin’ paperwork. He was refreshed and feeling good that he’d cleaned the house and was now working toward obtaining a Master’s Degree.

Finally he couldn’t avoid the letter.

He opened his word processing program. His fingers hovered over the keyboard. He didn’t know where to start. He decided to just jump and allow a stream of thought to take over. Stream of thought was always more honest.

I seriously considered not writing this letter. The skeptical part of me says this is stupid. The marine in me demands I follow through and not give up. I’ve never been much of a touchy-feely man, so this experience…this whole group therapy thing, is like fingernails over a blackboard. I’ve finally discovered, as I write this letter, what my biggest problem is. The thing that fucked my shit up—

Nope. He couldn’t be that honest. He typed a new sentence.

The thing that broke me and made me crave the need to beat the man in the restaurant.

Tears welled in his eyes. Ah, shit. Okay, this was going to be hard. As gut-wrenching as anything he’d done. He thought of Lana and what she’d say. The comfort she’d give him as he wrote it. Maybe the big bad marine needed a modicum of help. His cell phone was on the charger on his desk, and he snapped it up. Without giving more thought, he called Lana. The phone rang twice before she picked up.

“Aaron.” Her voice held sweetness and welcome. “How are you?”

Oh, hell yeah. There was that soothing, sin-filled voice making him want to kiss her, to lay her down and make love to her for hours. He cleared his throat. “Am I interrupting anything?”

“I’m grading some papers. Nothing that can’t wait.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. Aaron, you sound a little funny. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah. Well, okay, that’s kinda a lie.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m sitting here trying to write this damned letter for therapy.”

“Oh.” The oh was filled with complete understanding. “It’s tough. I’ve already written mine, but I had to keep coming back to it. I wrote it yesterday.”

“I just got home and tried to start. I’ve written an entire paragraph.”

“Good. Don’t be hard on yourself.”

“I’m not sure I even understand how not to do that.”

“Start now.”

Longing hit him and tenderness hollowed out his gut. “You’re bossy, Miss Burns.”

She laughed softly. “Oh, I’m pretty good at telling other people what they need to do. Not always so good at taking my own advice.”

“Ditto.”

“Did something else happen today to make it worse?”

“Maybe. I visited with my parents today and some excrement has hit the fan.”

“Is your Dad all right?”

“He’s good. I guess the doctors think he didn’t do as much damage to his stomach as they first thought. But he’s on medication, and they’ve told him to lower his stress level or else.”

Another laugh came over the line. “Let me guess. He’s not listening.”

“Mom says he isn’t. She gave him an ultimatum.”

“Ultimatum? That doesn’t sound good.”

“She’s going to leave him if he doesn’t do something about his stress.”

“Oh, no. No.”

“Yeah.”

“That must feel…” She drifted off.

He filled in the blank. “It feels like if my parents’ divorce, that’ll be one more crack in the family. Craig dies, I get arrested, they get divorced. At this rate I’ll turn into a drama queen.”

She laughed, and this time it was full of volume. “Aaron, there is no way you could turn into a drama queen. You’re just human. Sometimes I think you forget.”

“Marines aren’t human, Lana. They’re marines.”

“Oh, please.”

“All right, I’m exaggerating. It’s just the training. Sometimes it bleeds over into the rest of our lives.”

“Of course it does. Transition to the civilian world from the military is hard enough, and then the experiences you had in war make it doubly hard to sort out. But you’re getting there just like all of us are. Step-by-step. The letter is just one more piece.”

“You’re right. As always.”

“What have you written so far?”

He read the short bit to her. “Maybe I should erase that.”

“Why? It’s what you feel, right?”

“Yep.”

“Then keep it. Write what you feel. All of it.”

“Is that what you did?” he asked.

“Yes. Wadded up a few tissues too.”

“I’m not going to cry.”

“Uh-huh. Well, even if you don’t, you might need a catharsis afterwards.”

“Such as?”

“Exercise? Have you exercised already today?”

He stared at the whiskey glass. “Yeah. But I could do some more.”

“Do you…do you want me to stay on the line while you type it?”

Oh, man. “Yeah. Would you mind?”

“No. Go ahead and put me on speaker and type away.”

So he did. One agonizing word at a time. He checked once in a while to make sure she was there.

“I’m still here. Grading papers,” she said once.

Soon the words wouldn’t stop coming and he typed faster and faster. One tear made a track down his face, but he wiped it away and cursed it internally. So he increased the speed of his typing. If he could get this bad boy written up quickly, he could ignore the tears now flowing steadily down his face. The typos were racking up, but he could fix those later. Finally, he stopped. There was no more to tell. No more. He stared at the black letters on the white screen, but couldn’t read a fuckin’ word. It was blurred.

“Aaron? I don’t hear typing. Are you done?”

“Yeah.” His voice was hoarse. Fuck that too. Another tear rolled down his face. “Shit.” Okay, so there went his vow not to curse in front of women. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Did you say all you needed to say?”

“I think so.”

“That’s wonderful.”

Her voice had turned even more soothing, a quality that wrapped around him.

“Lana Burns, you’re one hell of a therapist.”

“I was hoping I was one hell of a friend.”

He laughed and realized he wasn’t sad. Not one damned bit. It was if the dam had broken and washed away the sins, the gnawing hurt that had pawed away at him for ages.

“You’re amazing, Lana, that’s what you are. I’m getting a handle on this crap once and for all. I’m trying to decide whether to celebrate with this glass of whiskey on my desk. Like I said before, I’ve already exercised for the day.”

“I thought you exercised all the time.”

“I used to. Maybe I’m over that too.” He grinned. “It gets even better. I cleaned up this sorry excuse for an apartment.”

“Wow. I’ll have to see that.”

“I wish you would. Soon.”

Silence hung in the air for a moment before she said, “Maybe next week.”

He closed his eyes, and this time when the tears came, it was out of happiness.

“Aaron?”

“Yeah.”

“Drink the whiskey, marine. It’s time to celebrate.”

So he did.

A Little Side of Scottish Highlander Please

BTTMCARD

So how many of you have watched the first episode of the new Outlander series? So far it is pretty yummy. I’ll fully admit I only read the first two novels a bazillion years ago and got sidetracked after that.

Watching Outlander this weekend gave me an idea. Time to design a new Twitter postcard for my time travel novel, Bridge Through The Mist. Many moons ago Bridge Through The Mist wasn’t as hot as it is today. When it was originally published about fifteen years ago, I hadn’t started writing erotic romance. Bridge Through The Mist had two covers with two different publishers before it found a long time home at Ellora’s Cave and after I’d turned it into an erotic romance. Normally I wouldn’t turn a book into an erotic romance unless it was the type of novel that screamed erotic possibilities and this one certainly did.

One of the cards I designed is too large a jpg, but I do have the image I used. Awesome, isn’t it? Here’s a snippet excerpt for you! Sorry on the formatting of the snippet, I’m afraid it wouldn’t cooperate.

 

KnightSmall

 

When Alenna Carstairs is hurled through time into 1318, Scotland’s medieval world brings her face to face with hot, sexy Tynan of MacBrahin. Infuriated with his barbaric manners, and yet sensing vulnerability within him, she vows to discover the heartbreak that has scarred his soul.
World-weary knight, Tynan of MacBrahin lost two loves to the brutality of other men. He can’t forgive himself for failing to protect the women who depended on him. When Alenna saves his life, her independent spirit stirs desires so strong within him he can’t resist her. A depraved baron soon wants Alenna for his own, and Tynan must find a way to conquer this powerful man to save her. Alenna struggles with soul-staggering desire for Tynan, but most of all, she must convince Tynan his love is not lethal, and she is the one who can bring shine to his armor again.

* *
Most women would run in fear from him. A few inches over six feet, his sheer size swallowed the small room. Did a man this outrageously feral have a concept of tenderness? Of restraint? He looked ready to spring, to dominate. His brutishly handsome face arrested her. Time slowed, and all the fantasies she’d harbored about gorgeous men over the years dissolved, overwhelmed by the sheer male animal presence in front of her. Unfastening the broach at his shoulder, he allowed his heavy brown cloak to fall open. Under the cloak, he wore a dark shirt of rough material open at the throat. The gap revealed a bit of muscled chest sprinkled with dark hair. Broad of shoulder, his powerful frame demanded attention. His black trousers revealed just enough with their cut to suggest strong thighs and calves. She licked her lips involuntarily. His gaze landed on her mouth and stayed for one stomach-dropping second, then glided over her body with a mix between curiosity and pure male appreciation. His hungry appraisal sent a coil of heat deep into her loins, and a blush to her cheeks. She couldn’t speak and she almost couldn’t breathe.
Taking off the cloak, he settled it over a chair. Crossing the room, he stood next to her makeshift pallet. “Are ye deaf, then, lass? Or mayhap a mute?”
“No,” she said softly, her throat feeling as parched as if she’d crossed the Sahara. His strange questions threw her, and she couldn’t think of a first-class retort.
His brow crinkled, and she noted a deep scar ran down the right side of his forehead, as if he’d suffered a severe blow at one time and never had it stitched properly. He shoved a hand through his inky black hair, and it fell about the top of his shoulders in thick waves.
Turning to the skinny boy, he said, “Clandon, ye had best get back to yer duties. And visit yer sister at the donjon to see how she fares.”

Sizzling Summer Nights Blog Hop Aug. 1 to 3! Win A Kindle Fire!

Welcome everyone to the Sizzling Summer Nights Blog Hop! In order to participate and possibly win a prize (including a Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire), please click on the animated banner  at the end of the blog to hop from author to author. Also, in order to be put in the queue to win an ebook of  Within His Sight, the first book in my Heart of Justice series, please comment below. I recently mentioned my Heart of Justice series SWAT series in a blog. I’d like to share an excerpt of Within His Sight for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!

Within His Sight

Women respond to a man’s testosterone without any thought…
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.
Men respond to a woman’s softness without any thought…
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.

* *

Mary gazed at her hamburger. She’d eaten her enormous burger and fries with complete, guilt-free relish. She’d craved iron all day, well aware her “eat it before it gets away mentality” was motivated by exhaustion and working overtime for a week. It explained her snarky reaction to the television psychologist, her ’tude about work, and her bone-aching desire to head home and rewrite her resume. It also explained her compelling desire to toss one certain man right on his gorgeous ass and tell him to find a life that didn’t include annoying her with his sexual vibes. Prowess. Whatever the heck the psychologist on television had said.

She shoved aside her plate, satiated with red meat, and sipped her wine. Nothing like an alcohol jolt to substitute for bravery. She needed courage if she hoped to look for a new job soon. Spending part of her weekend designing a spiffy new resume didn’t qualify as enjoying herself. Still, she must do it. Had to leave Gold Rush before his testosterone proved Amanda Prather absolutely right.

And my willpower in the toilet.

Once out of Gold Rush, she could design a new life unhindered by male complications. She could forget that this certain man had turned all her well-honed defenses on their ear.

Her luck didn’t last.

In walked her living, breathing definition of sex on a stick. The bane of her existence. The reason she needed to run and run fast.

Dace “Hard Man” Banovic.

She almost groaned. She didn’t want to notice him, but she did anyway. Dace didn’t swagger, but danger defined his walk, and confidence radiated from him. His muscular, rock-hard form held all these qualities, and he didn’t have to say a word. Tall, dark, and handsome described him superficially. No, he was all of those things and none of them, a dichotomy of textures and uniqueness she’d find difficult to describe to anyone who asked. As he came closer, she drank in over six feet of broad-shouldered masculinity. His pitch-dark hair had started to thin at the temples, and this probably motivated him to keep it military short. This took nothing away from the striking symmetry of his nose and penetrating grey eyes. A scar, just noticeable above his right eyebrow, added a tough man look women seemed to find fascinating. As he headed toward Mary, she knew he’d seen her. She couldn’t run from the law.

SWAT had come to take her away.

As he walked by tables, women looked up and admired, tossing glances at him and smiling. Of course they’d notice him. After all, he defines all those things the television psychologists harped about, doesn’t he? Still, a woman should be able to restrict her responses, control her physical urges, by God.

Finally, Dace stood at her table and glared. He bristled with energy in his long-sleeved SWAT uniform minus all the heavy-duty combat-like gear. But his gaze pinpointed on her, and she glared back. As she opened her mouth to make a smart comment, he slipped into the opposite seat. What reason would he have for glaring as if she’d committed murder?

She brought the merlot to her lips and took a leisurely sip. “What brings you here?”

“Coreen said you’re leaving Gold Rush.”

“You should never believe anything she says.”

His nose wrinkled, which didn’t flatter its aristocratic length one bit. “Coreen is a good dispatcher.”

Mary’s teeth ached, thinking about the woman. “She can also be a bitch. She’s gorgeous, twenty-five, and thinks you’re seriously hot. Which you’re not … of course.”

“Now who is being the bitch?” The amusement in his eyes belied his words.

God, she hated it when he smiled, because two small dimples appeared in his cheeks and all that kick-ass-and-take-names attitude morphed into a devastating combo she never could ignore. How could one man contain that much testosterone and that much charm in one package? It isn’t fair.

“She shouldn’t have told you,” she said in defense.

“Then I guess you should have known better than to let her in on your plans.”

“I didn’t. I think Hetty George in personnel spilled the beans.” She reached into her purse and placed money on the table for her wine and dinner.

Dace grimaced as a new song blared over the speakers. “Damn it, how do you hear above this shit?”

She smirked and touched her right ear. “What? I can’t hear you?”

“I said—damn it, never mind.”

Before she could take the last gulp of her wine, he stood. “Come with me.”

“Why?”

“Because we need to talk.”

Curious and a little annoyed, she slid from the booth. To her surprise he took her arm. His grasp assured she’d follow, but he tempered his strength–his grip didn’t hurt. She grabbed her purse and wool coat, and trotted along with him, trying to keep pace with his long-legged strides. Unfortunately, people in the bar watched her and the cop exit the restaurant in a hurry. They probably thought he’d placed her under arrest. Charming.

Once outside in the parking lot, he marched her straight past his car, which happened to have “El Torro County Sheriff’s Department” plastered on the side.

“Am I under arrest, Officer?”

He steered her around a corner of the building under a not so bright streetlight. “No.”

Her boots hit a patch of ice and, with a startled gasp, she went down on her ass with a thump.

“Ah, shit!” Dace squatted next to her, his hand on her shoulder. “God, honey, are you hurt?”

Honey? He’d never called her that before, and the concern in his eyes took her off guard. When she didn’t speak, he cupped his hand around the back of her neck and peered into her eyes, worry narrowing his gaze. “Mary, are you hurt?”

His flesh against hers, something that she’d never experienced before, startled her into silence. Unexpected heat generated in her belly, her breath coming quicker. Flustered by his attention, she scrambled to her feet and out of his grasp. She dusted snow off her cold rump and leaned over to reach for her purse and coat. “I’m fine.”

“Sure?”

“Peachy.”

His gaze sharpened, more assessing than ever.

She backed up against the brick wall, irritation and something far more potent and unpredictable trembling in her belly. “You could have talked with me in the restaurant. Now everyone is going to think I’m under arrest.”

 

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

**

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!

Wetwork4x6

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