Archive for June, 2015

Coming July 1: Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Sunday, June 21st, 2015


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Today I’m teasing you with a tiny sampler of my story Saved By The Marine, which is featured in the box set Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes. This box set is available on preorder July 1. I’m excited to be in this set with Jan Springer, Adrienne Bell, Toni Anderson, Monique DuBois, Lisa Hughey, Kathy Kulig, Carded Pineiro, Sharon Hamilton and Karen Fenech. Here’s a taste of the box set.

Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Whether it’s romance, suspense, or action/adventure—Romancing the Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes Box Set offers ten romance stories with something for everyone who craves a hot military hero. For a limited time this is your chance to enjoy books from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors.

Excerpt from Denise A. Agnew’s Saved By The Marine:

Explosive danger creates a whirlwind of heat between two strangers…

At forty years old, Candy Cartright isn’t eager to indulge in girlish dreams of ‘happily ever after’ when she attends her friend’s wedding. When she runs into a suit and tie guy at the hotel bar, she thinks he’s a nerd businessman.

Retired US Marine Mike Compton finds it amusing that Candy at first mistakes him for a nerd. He’s not looking for a hookup, but he can’t resist the challenge in her eyes. However, when unexpected danger forces them into tight quarters, they discover there’s a hell of lot more to both of them than meets the eye.

* *

Mike followed her onto the dance floor. As they eased into a tight spot, she flowed into his arms on instinct. He didn’t hold her close—he kept their distance formal. She placed her hand on his shoulder, and he cupped her waist and hand. As the music grew a little louder, she smiled up at him. Mike was tall. Even with her heels the top of her head only came level with his eyes. She drew in a deep breath and found his all-male scent a bit intoxicating. Right. It is just the whiskey. But one whiskey didn’t usually cause her to feel this giddy, and being this close to Mike Compton gave her a definite thrill she couldn’t explain. As they moved slowly, the love song’s sultry sound drew her nearer to Mike. She appreciated his formality, yet one part of her wondered what it would feel like to be held close in his arms. His big hands were so damned gentle on hers, yet she sensed a lot of leashed power within them. She caught site of Jessica and Arnie watching her, and Jessica gave her a thumbs up sign. Arnie had a big grin. For a half second she wondered if they’d set her up. Nah. Jessica wouldn’t do that. Would she? She had to know.

“Did Jessica put you up to this?” she asked.

He leaned in closer. His gaze was puzzled. “Put me up to what?”

“I thought maybe she sent you over to dance with me.”

He smiled. “She didn’t send me over. I was late getting to the bar because I was on the slopes skiing earlier today, then I went to dinner with an old friend. Just got in not long ago.”

“Ah, I see.” Time to change the subject. “Did you grow up around here?”

“Yeah, I did. My parents did, too. They owned a ranch here. Mom still works it with my brother and his wife.”

After that they clammed up, and she wondered if his silence meant she’d made a horrible first impression. They moved around the dance floor and after two songs her feet wouldn’t take it any more.

“Afraid these shoes are killing me,” she said with a groan.

He smiled. “Let’s get back to our drinks.”

As he released her hand the warmth of his fingers passing over hers sent a sweet tingle through her skin. She sank onto the barstool and nursed her drink, while he took his time with the remainder of his beer.

“Thanks for the dances,” he said quietly, his eyes still intent on her.

She hadn’t experienced this level of male attention in so long she wasn’t sure what to do with it. She was out of practice making clever conversation.

“You’re welcome. You’re a good dancer.” She didn’t know what the hell to say next, so she said the first odd thing that came to mind. “How tall are you anyway?”

“Six three.”

“Are you a friend of Arnie’s?” she asked, elevating her voice a little as a loud song cam over the speakers.

“From way back. We’ve worked together before.”

A little spark of surprise hit her. “Military?”

“Yep.” When she gaped at him, he grinned.

She bit her lower lip. “I was thinking you could be anything from a soldier to an accountant.”

His nose wrinkled and he chuckled. “Oh, man. Accountant.”

Slightly embarrassed that she’d assumed so much, she said, “Sorry. The glasses threw me off.”

He peered at her. “Are you telling me you’re one of those people who judges by looks?”

Feeling like an idiot, she fessed up. “I don’t usually. But I confess I did this time.”

“It’s okay.” He gestured at the glasses. “I usually wear contacts. These are my BC glasses.”

“BC?”

“Birth control glasses.”

She gave a short burst of laughter. “I see. Because…”

“If you wear them no one will want to make love to you,” he said in a deadpan tone.

Wow. Warmth filled her lower body at the thought of kissing him much less doing the nasty with him. Her imagination went riot. What would he be like as a lover? Were his muscles as glorious as she imagined? Stop Candy. Despite the personal admonition, her body didn’t care. Her nipples tightened against her bra. Thank God the slight padding would camouflage high beams.

Time to get some perspective. “I’ll be right back. Off to powder my nose.”

He nodded. “Where are the restrooms anyway?”

“In the hallway down toward the exit.” She stood and shifted the small clutch handbag over her shoulder.

“I’m going that way, too. Meet you back at the bar?” he asked as he stood and followed her toward the door leading into the hallway.

“Meet you there.” She smiled as he headed in the same direction as her—the men’s room lay across the hallway from the women’s restroom.

Minutes later she stood near the sinks using a hand dryer when she thought she heard a few noises outside she couldn’t identify. Shouts? She stood still and tried to hear over the obnoxious roar of the hand dryer. Again she heard something. A booming noise? What the—?

Her heartbeat picked up the pace. Hands dry, she headed toward the door when she heard shouts outside and then screams and then— Oh shit.

Gunfire.

 

Release Day! Excerpt: Winterfall (The Wasteland Trilogy #3)

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Howdy all! I hope you’ve had a great week. Today is the release of Winterfall (The Wasteland Trilogy #3). I had a great time writing about people in Maine after a super volcano explodes in California. Poor California! Always getting destroyed in disaster movies. When I wrote The Wasteland Trilogy I decided these stories would be more about the hero and heroine in each story, their relationship and maybe some of the things that happened to them when the volcano erupted. These stories aren’t about the actual eruptions themselves, but more what might/could/has been theorized would happen on the East Coast of the United States if an event like this did happen. But again, these stories are more about relationships and how people might form those relationships in a time of crisis. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into Winterfall. You can find Winterfall at the following outlets:

Liquid Silver Books

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

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A firefighter and a former soldier have survived an apocalypse, but there is still danger lurking in the winter light

Firefighter Juliet Van Pelt’s strength comes from previous adversity, but there’s an arsonist in town who wants to crank up the heat. When threatening letters target her, she turns to the one man she has never forgotten. Former Army Ranger and sniper Mark O’Day can’t forget the woman he met months ago when their city was in chaos and they shared a dangerous moment. When opportunity brings her into his life again and danger threatens, he knows there is no alternative but to keep her close and never let her go.

* *

Juliet’s eyes almost teared when she caught sight of the four homes across the street leveled to nothing more than charred ruins. “What a mess.”

Mark’s voice sounded a little hoarse. “I’m thankful it didn’t leap the street and get to your house, but I feel bad for those people.”

She couldn’t make her throat work as she imagined all the memories in the burned structures. “At least no one was killed or injured.”

“At least.”

When they parked behind Jeeter and Okono, she unbuckled her seatbelt. “I won’t take long.”

“Want me to go with you?”

She glanced at Jeeter and Okono standing expectantly on the sidewalk. “I have a feeling they’re volunteering for duty.” She grinned. “Gotta keep the overkill going.”

He laughed and they exited the SUV. Part of her wondered if she was imagining it, but were three men actually jockeying for her attention? It didn’t make sense for Okono, because all he’d shown her was misogynistic tendencies. Jeeter liked her, but she wasn’t convinced he wanted her as his girlfriend. Now Mark…Mark did it for her mentally and physically. His teasing, the banter, and their talk about sex had thrilled her on a level she hadn’t experienced with a man in ages. Remembering how hot and amazing his kisses were threatened to set her panties on fire. Part of her thought maybe she should just do him and get it out of her system.

Someone was speaking to her, but she’d totally missed what they’d said. “What?”

Jeeter frowned, and she hated seeing that since he usually had such a happy-go-lucky personality. “You okay? You were about a mile away.”

She smiled to reassure the three men staring at her. “Absolutely. I’ll get my mail.” She walked over to the mailbox, grabbed the bundle of envelopes inside and walked toward them. “You guys hang out here, and I’ll go inside and get a bag ready. I need my car, so I’ll back that onto the street.”

To her surprise, no one objected.

“Amazing,” she said. “That was easy.”

“What was easy?” Okono asked.

She smiled and saluted as she walked away.

She drew in a deep breath and reality hit her in the face. The air still smelled like smoke. She headed up the sidewalk. Once inside the house, she shut the door. She’d left all the curtains closed and had to flip a light on to see. Damn. Even the house smelled like smoke. She wrinkled her nose and threw the mail on the living room table. She took the stairs quickly and went to her bedroom to put together a bag. She threw together a few days’ worth of easy wear clothing. Who knew how long the investigation would take? If they kept this street evacuated for a while, she didn’t plan on returning any time soon. Yet she also couldn’t rely on Sentry Security’s continuing hospitality. She shrugged off the worry. She’d deal with things as they came.

She removed her heels, which were starting to bug her feet, and dragged off the pantyhose, which were making her legs itch. “Thank you God.”

She shucked the sweater dress and tossed it into the hamper, then slipped into her favorite blue sweater, a pair of relaxed jeans, and athletic shoes. When she went downstairs with her weekender bag, she noticed the combination telephone and answering machine for the first time. She had one message. Without thinking she pushed the button to listen.

“Hi sweetie. This is Dad.”

She dropped the bag on the floor in surprise. That was his voice all right. Gravelly. Deep.

“Yeah, I know you’re not too crazy to hear from me. I’m out of prison finally. I’ve served my time and want to reconnect. I heard about the fires in Buckleport and the one across from your house. Wanted to make sure you were okay. If you…look, you probably hate my guts and I understand that. I’d like to connect, though. I’ll try calling you again soon. Take care and stay safe.”

Shivers ran up and down her body, goosebumps trailing up her arms. Dad. Years had gone by since they’d talked, since she’d made the decision to cut him out of her life. Could he have changed in that time? Or had the penitentiary turned him into a worse monster? She rubbed her arms. Whatever. She needed to report this to the Fire Marshal and the police.

“Great. Just great,” she said.

She retrieved the mail and leafed through it quickly in case there was a bill to pay. Junk mail mostly.

“Well, we know the apocalypse wasn’t too bad. People still send junk mail,” she said.

One envelope made her blood run cold, and she tossed the rest on the table. Same white standard size business envelope with no return address and her name printed in blue ink on the front. Same handwriting. No stamp. Her heartbeat quickened, her pulse feeling erratic. She reached for the mail opener and sliced it open. Slowly, holding on to the paper like it was a bomb, she drew the paper out and unfolded it.

Dear Juliet,

I’m sorry you haven’t seen the folly of your ways yet. I don’t blame you for what’s happened, even though some men would. You’re continuing to ignore me even though it is dangerous to do so. You know I’m the only one you can depend on. The fires won’t stop until you acknowledge that you need me. Yes, I started the fires across from you. I could have taken your house, but I have no intention of hurting you at any time. Now that man you’ve been with. That security guy. That’s another thing. I do plan to hurt him.

Admit it and join with me. You want the fire as much as I do. It’s the only way to cleanse the horrible society we’ve created. The volcano was only the beginning, you know. The beginning of the end. Help me start the fires and we’ll make the process go faster. Everything must burn. Everything. And when everything is burned, we will start again. Together.

Love,

Fire Starter

The doorbell rang. She gasped and dropped the letter. “God.”

Cover Reveal: Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Whooohoooo! Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes will be available for preorder July 1. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this glorious cover.

What makes a hot military hero?

Whether it’s romance, suspense, or action/adventure—Romancing the Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes Box Set offers ten romance stories with something for everyone who craves a hot military hero. For a limited time this is your chance to enjoy books from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors.

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Excerpt: Winterfall (Wasteland Trilogy #3)

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Hey everyone! Coming June 15 is the release of Winterfall, the third story in my Wasteland Trilogy. I’d say the final story because this was supposed to be a trilogy, but there is a novella coming out called Nightfall that features a reoccurring character from the previous three stories and it will be out this year as well. In the meantime, you can preorder you copy of Winterfall now at Liquid Silver Books for a discount right here.

Here’s a tidbit from the story to tantalize your palate.

winterfall

A firefighter and a former soldier have survived an apocalypse, but there is still danger lurking in the winter light

Firefighter Juliet Van Pelt’s strength comes from previous adversity, but there’s an arsonist in town who wants to crank up the heat. When threatening letters target her, she turns to the one man she has never forgotten.

Former Army Ranger and sniper Mark O’Day can’t forget the woman he met months ago when their city was in chaos and they shared a dangerous moment. When opportunity brings her into his life again and danger threatens, he knows there is no alternative but to keep her close and never let her go.

* *

Buckleport, Maine

October

“Damn, Van Pelt, the way you’re polishing that tumbler is giving me ideas,” Firefighter Decker Okono leered.

Juliet Van Pelt broke from her trance long enough to throw a glare his way. They stood at the sink in the kitchen area of Fire Station Three finishing kitchen duty. Soon she’d take the mandatory forty-eight-hour time off, even if they needed every hand they could get. Besides, her accounting job waited at home, demanding she take care of her “day job” business. As a volunteer, she didn’t get paid, she fought fires for free. Okono, on the other hand, was a full-fledged firefighter with a few years under his belt and the paycheck to go with it.

She continued to dry the glass, turning her attention back to the busy street beyond the station house. “Keep on dreaming, Okono.”

She’d been dreaming all right. Pretending that January’s Long Valley Super Volcano eruption in California hadn’t jacked up their world. Hadn’t wreaked havoc across the United States. Bangor’s population had increased tenfold since the disaster, as waves of refugees from the western states poured into the eastern seaboard and points north. Traffic jammed the streets, and they’d worked a record number of car wrecks in the last week. Fires, too. The job never ended. In the months since the volcano had destroyed the world as they’d known it, things had improved. Riots had ceased, but crime had skyrocketed, and poverty and a general economic downturn had made life a far grimmer situation.

She opened the cabinet to her upper right and deposited the glass.

“Baby, there’s no need for you to dream,” Okono said. “I have everything you need right here inside this uniform.”

Seriously? She almost choked on the idea of sharing anything intimate with the ex-Navy SEAL, especially sex. Even meaningful conversation with this goober seemed completely beyond the realm of possibility.

“I thought Navy SEALS were supposed to be all honorable and shit,” she said, injecting toughness into her voice.

She felt rather than saw him bristle, and for a second wondered if she’d crossed the line. She didn’t know him, not really. If he decided to go postal, she was in deep kimchee. Okono grunted and rinsed another glass. He handed it to her and she dried it thoroughly before adding it to the cabinet.

“I’m as honorable as you’re gonna get, little lady.” His accent changed to fake southern. He was from New Jersey. “There aren’t many good men out there, Van Pelt. A woman needs a protector in this big, bad world. You could do worse than me.”

She laughed, but the sound held nothing but derision. “Yeah, right.”

“I’m serious. This is a different world. More dangerous since Long Valley. And it isn’t getting better anytime soon.”

Got that right. But not this guy. No, she didn’t want or need his protection. Especially not a man who thought his status as a former SEAL entitled him to front row seats to everything, including sex. He seemed to never have heard of sexual harassment, and she could report him. Thing is, she didn’t want the conflict. She could handle his brand of idiocy with one hand tied behind her back.

No, there were other men…far more agreeable than Okono. Her mind flashed back to April when a nasty fire had taken down a warehouse. A serial arsonist had been operating in Buckleport for months now. Scores of buildings had burned and the arson investigators hadn’t closed in on a suspect yet. During that fire she’d met a man who continued to intrude on her thoughts day and night. Hell, he’d done more than that. The nameless man had been part of a security team making sure firefighters weren’t harassed by some bad-ass-wannabes. Her mind drifted to the conversation.

The fire had cooled down, the destruction pretty complete, the old warehouse a smoldering ruin. They’d be here for hours more knocking down any flare ups. One of the rednecks who’d harassed the crew stepped toward her when she’d stopped near the ladder truck to strip off her self-contained breathing apparatus.

“Hey, pretty lady,” the man said, his big body and ham-sized biceps showing pure power. “What the hell are you doing out here? Women shouldn’t be taking a man’s job.”

“What?” she asked, not even sure she’d heard him right. She wasn’t up for games–she was hot, tired, and grimy as hell.

He crossed those beefy arms. “Women ain’t designed to be firefighters.”

“I’m not taking anyone’s job, bub. I’m a volunteer. I don’t get paid.” His mouth dropped open, but before he could say anything else stupid, she continued. “If you don’t mind, I have work to do.”

The man’s glare grew hot with anger. “Listen, bitch–”

“Move along, sir,” a deeper voice said from slightly behind her.

She turned her attention to the man the voice belonged to, and he approached with his semi-automatic clasped in front of him. Her rescuer stood taller than six feet and had dangerous written all over him.

The dipwad who’d given her a hard time stepped back and held both hands up. “Hey, hey. No need to get all violent with me, cop.”

“I’m not a cop. Move back and let the firefighter do her job.”

Her rescuer wore a black baseball cap, tactical or flak vest over a black t-shirt, a pair of khaki cargo pants, and a seriously thunderous frown. She’d seen two men and one woman pile out of an unmarked black SUV not long ago and realized they were one of the private security teams who now supplemented police and military in protecting the city. Security dude owned a powerful, ripped physique that said he might have been in the military at one point. Sunglasses and a baseball cap didn’t camouflage his craggy good looks. His dark hair, almost black, was cut military short as well. All of that wouldn’t have normally drawn her attention, but his voice had a certain quality…an intense, whiskey-deep sound.

“Move along,” the private security man said to the redneck wannabe.

When the guy backed away and left, security dude took his glasses off. His dark chocolate eyes held an intensity that slammed into her with a force she hadn’t expected. She saw undeniable curiosity and attraction in the way he looked at her, but his attention didn’t feel slimy.

“You all right?” he asked.

“Of course.” Defensiveness dripped from her tone. “I can handle myself.”

His gaze swept up and down her body, the look in his eyes telling her he liked what he saw very much. Unlike the slimeball who’d just left, the security dude’s attention sent a wild thrill through her belly.

“I’m sure you can,” security dude said. “But I’m here to help if you need me.”

“Oh, don’t worry. I won’t need you.”

Her captain called her name right then, and when she saw security dude next he was at least fifty yards away.

After that day she hadn’t seen him again, but God she’d dreamed about mystery security man. Hot, sexy dreams that made no sense.