Archive for February, 2016

Coming March 7: Dangerous Intentions

Monday, February 29th, 2016

March 7 Dangerous Intentions is out again! Here’s the blurb and a snippet for your reading pleasure! You can grab a preorder copy for a discount at Liquid Silver Books. Click here.

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Wildfire attraction, dangerous enemies. There’s a serious chance no one will make it out alive…

Wealthy magazine editor Kiley Chapman lives with the frightening memory of her kidnapping ten years ago. When she advertises for a man for a hero profile article, she soon discovers sinfully sexy bodyguard Scott Danger lives up to his name. Charismatic and confident, he erodes her resolve to stay cool and uninvolved.

Security specialist and ex-Special Forces soldier Scott Danger prides himself on having impeccable restraint—a man who disciplines both mind and body. It’s questionable how long he can resist his powerful and heated attraction to Kiley—and all bets are off when he must protect her from a deadly stalker bent on destroying all they hold dear.

The wildfire sexual attraction between them guarantees sparks they may not want to acknowledge but can’t ignore. So while Scott guards her body, and Kiley guards her heart, neither one can fight the sensual and emotional hunger that swirls between them, consuming them.

* *

Kiley saw the black limousine coming down the street about the same time he did, but his reaction took her by surprise. Scott yanked her into the alley next to them and ran.

She stumbled over a trashcan and sent the metal nuisance flying. She cursed under her breath, gritting her teeth against the pain.

Deep inside the alley he stopped. She pulled against his hand. “What the hell are you–?”

“Quiet.”

His hand clamped over her mouth as Scott wrapped an arm about her waist and brought her against his body. She gasped, surprise rolling through her stomach. Damn if she wasn’t having déjà vu.

He looked down the alley toward the street, his mouth drawn tight. Kiley experienced every inch of his hard muscles with intimate detail. His hips rammed her stomach, and a funny ache throbbed where he squashed her. Though he wasn’t hurting her, his chest mashed her breasts.

Oh, hell. That felt way too…intimate. Exciting in a deep, primordial way she couldn’t stop. She shifted against him in protest, a sound echoing from her throat.

The scent of threat seeped into her pores. She shivered against him. For what seemed an eternity, he trapped her like an insect on flypaper.

Suddenly Scott removed his hand from her mouth and his arm from about her waist. She staggered back a step and came up against a brick wall.

She licked her lips. “What–”

“Thorson’s limo was coming down the street.”

“How do you know it was his limo?”

“The license plate. Stay put.”

He walked to the edge of the alley and scanned the area, then came back to her. “It’s clear. I don’t think he saw us.”

Kiley started around him. “Then I can leave.”

He grabbed her arm. “No.”

She backed out of his grip and came up against the wall again. Residual anger broke forth. “I suppose you found the note I left you telling you that I wouldn’t need your help any longer?”

Scott glared. This man had the facial expression down to a science. He could scare puppies and little babies. He could frighten her, if she let him.

“Cat got your tongue?” she asked.

He took a step forward. “You deserve a good–”

“Spanking?”

If he was shocked by her word choice, he didn’t show it. Instead Scott took another step toward her, until he almost touched her, and Kiley was forced to tilt her head back to look at him.

He put his palms down on the wall next to her about shoulder height. “Something much worse. I’m taking you out of here, and you’re not going to give me trouble.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, you’re fired.”

“Your uncle hasn’t fired me.”

“I have.”

“You don’t pay the bills, sweet thing.”

Sweet thing. Barclay had called her that all the time. She hated it. Hated it. Hated it.

Kiley didn’t care for his Neanderthal attitude. Pissed, she pushed with both hands against his chest. It didn’t budge him. “Don’t call me that again. I ought to kick you in the balls.”

“But you won’t.”

“You just expect me to go along with this shit without question?”

“For the moment.”

“A woman could get bruised being around you.”

“Better bruised than dead.”

Though light wedged its way into the alley, the darkness still hung here, cloaking Kiley like a shroud. Fear warred with a primitive feeling she couldn’t ignore. Somehow, despite his barbarism, she knew he would shelter her against any threat.

She could trust him with her life.

Rallying against the flutter deep in her belly, she said, “Well, don’t do me no favors.”

He grunted. “Sounds like a line from an old movie.”

Lethal Weapon.”

“What?”

Lethal Weapon. Danny Glover says to Mel Gibson–”

“Yeah, I remember.”

His gaze focused on her mouth, and suddenly the air changed. Like a lightning bolt it hit Kiley, hot and fierce and unprecedented. His heart beating against her fingers, and the rise and fall of his breathing called to her body in a rhythm that recognized him as all man. Her heart pounded, her body aflame as he pressed his chest and hips closer. Closer yet.

* *

Dangerous Intentions has actually been in the publishing world for almost fifteen years and Liquid Silver Books is the third publisher to take on the two stories that comprise Taggert Security Team (Dangerous Intentions and Treacherous Wishes) I’ve had a few people ask if there will be more stories, but I haven’t decided on that yet. You could say I have a hella backlist of books I’m republishing one way or the other, as well as writing new stories. But I never say never. Until next time, stay dangerous.

 

Creativity Books You’ll Love: Breaking Those Blocks

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Ever feel like you need some creativity help? You might not realize how many resources are out there for you in the battle against creativity blocks. In my video, Creativity Books Worth Reading, I give some recommendations on books I’ve found helpful in my writing/creativity journey. Enjoy!


Sharon Hamilton’s Latest Release: True Blue SEALS: Zak

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

I’m a big fan of military romance novels and Sharon Hamilton has a new one!

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TRUE BLUE SEALS: ZAK by NYT Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton is on sale today!

For a chance to win a free copy of True Navy Blue (the prequel novella to ZAK), watch the book trailer for ZAK, then tell me your favorite part in the comments below (on Facebook, not on Youtube).

Can’t wait to start reading? Take ZAK home today:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

Amazon FR

Amazon DE
(Print & audio versions coming soon!)

Sharon Hamilton

New York Times and USA/Today Bestselling Author
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
Author Page ** Sharon’s Blog ** Sharon’s Website ** Facebook ** Twitter
Join Sharon Hamilton’s Newsletter

Want To Be Saved By The Marine?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Happy morning or afternoon or evening! I’m playing catch up after a few days out of town at a paranormal conference and investigation in Yuma, Arizona. I’m wanted to let you know that Saved By The Marine is here! This story was originally in the Romancing The Military Man box set. If you missed it that time, now is your chance to grab it. You can get it at Amazon only for the time being either as a regular purchase or Kindle Unlimited. Snag your copy here.

Want a little taste of what’s in Saved By The Marine? Try this excerpt and meet Candy and Mike before danger envelopes them. Here ya go.

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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.

* *

She felt a man settle on the stool next to her at the same time she caught a whiff of freshly showered skin. She glanced over at him. Contradicting impressions threw her off kilter. Although her platform high heels made her close to five ten, this man was big. Big in one of those, don’t-even-consider-messing-with-me ways. Her attention snagged first on his body. Broad shoulders were encased in a casual gray sports jacket and under that an open-collared white shirt. He wore khaki’s and casual brown shoes. Candy jerked her attention to his face. He had very short, thick dark brown hair. He owned an aggressive face with a Roman nose and the dorkiest black glasses she’d ever seen. Nerdy. Well, okay. Not exactly nerd city, but he sort of looked like an accountant. His jaw showed a hit of five o’clock shadow. He looked a little tired around the edges, as if he’d made a long journey and had little time to recover. All right. Not a stereotypical accountant. He looks too rough for that. Right. Probably a married businessman slamming down a drink before heading upstairs to his room and a phone conversation with his wife. Her gaze landed on his left hand. No ring and no sign of a tan line to indicate he wore a ring. Still, some married men didn’t wear wedding rings.

Before she could return her attention to her whiskey, the man caught her staring. Heat warmed her cheeks as he captured her gaze and held it. His startling green eyes flashed with definite intensity and a sudden interest that made the heat in her face spread down over her body. Uncomfortable with her reaction and embarrassed he’d caught her staring, she could have turned away or left.

Instead she swallowed her discomfort. “Sorry, didn’t mean to stare.” She put her hand out to shake. “Candy Cartwright.”

His big hand clasped hers, warm and assured without smashing her with his grip. He swept her with a thorough, hot gaze that belied any idea she might have about cool green eyes. He liked what he saw.

He released her hand, and the subtle caress of his callused palm made her fingers tingle. “Mike Compton. Nice to meet you.”

His warm, deep voice had rumble to it. Something in his tone made her think of sex. Bang up against a wall sex. Her face flamed again and she considered asking the bartender for a glass of ice water to put out the fire. Okay, girl. Where did that idea come from? He’s just a man you know nothing about. Rein back the crazy.

The bartender asked Mike what he wanted to drink, and Mike ordered a beer. Curiosity played with her. She could usually pick out a military guy on a dime—this man could be anything from an insurance agent to CPA.

“What brings you here?” he asked.

“A wedding.”

“You one of Jessica’s friends?” he asked.

“Yes. From Denver.”

“Are you a lawyer like Jessica?” The bartender placed a tall glass of beer in front of him, and Mike took a swig.

She shook her head and smiled. “Executive Assistant. I work at the federal building in Denver. Well, at least I did until a month ago. I’ve been on—”

She cut herself off, mortified she’d launched into her life story before she knew a damned thing about a stranger.

Too late. His eyes narrowed as he turned slightly toward her. He pushed the big black glasses back up on the bridge of his nose. “Been on?”

She drew in a slow breath. “My mother was…dying. Cancer. She hung on for a long time and then needed some help at home. She wanted to…she had home hospice care.”

Candy swallowed hard as an unexpected rush of tears surged into her eyes. She drew in a shuddering breath and managed a smile, jamming back the waterworks by sheer force. The unexpectedness of her reaction took her off guard.

“Sorry. I don’t usually dump my history in a person’s lap like that,” she said, keeping her gaze pinned on her whiskey.

“Hey.” His voice rumbled again, but this time it held genuine warmth and concern. “It’s okay. I’m sorry to hear about your mother.”

She was ready with another smile to prove she didn’t ache inside. “Thanks. It’s a little raw yet.”

His wide shoulders made a subtle shrug. “Of course.” Behind those glasses his gaze was thoughtful and filled with compassion. “My Dad was killed in a construction accident when I was ten. I still grieve his loss sometimes. It hits me at weird times when I don’t expect it.”

A lump stayed lodged in her throat and she nodded because she couldn’t squeeze a word out at first.

She drew in a deep breath. “I’m so sorry about your father. That’s got to be hard for a little boy.”

“It was. Mom was amazing, though. She held it together as best she could.”

A comfortable silence formed. A slow song came over the speaker system and the lights lowered. Voices hushed a little under the melody’s seduction.

“Would you like to dance?” he asked.

She looked down at her ridiculously high heels. “Uh, these shoes aren’t made for dancing.”

“What are they made for?” The low vibration in his voice was husky and soft.

Um. Well. “Good question. Crazy fashion?”

His gaze skimmed from her ankles up her legs. She’d worn a long sleeved, knee length red sweater dress that hugged her curves. She felt the sizzle as his attention finally landed on her face.

“I don’t usually wear heels this high.” Candy shrugged. “I had a momentary aneurism when I bought these, I guess.”

He smiled, and the grin was megawatt. “Dance with me. I won’t let you fall.”

 

 

Whiddon & Cornelison on Characters & Settings

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Please welcome authors Karen Whiddon and Beth Cornelison to my blog. They have a new book out today called Rock-A-Bye Rescue. Be sure to stop by your favorite bookstores and grab a copy. Karen gives us some insight into characterization and Beth tells us about setting. Take it away ladies!

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It was a dark and stormy night… Using setting in story
by Beth Cornelison

It was a dark and stormy night…

Ah, yes. The trite opening line that even Snoopy, in his Great Writer persona, used to set the stage for his novel. Why? Because setting, when used to the fullest advantage, is an important element of a writer’s toolbox. What would Rebecca be without the mysterious and austere Manderley? Would Star Wars be the same in a galaxy just around the corner from Earth?

The setting of a story, used to full advantage, affects the plot and the mood and can reflect a theme in a novel. In To Love, Honor and Defend, one of the first books I published with Harlequin Romantic Suspense, the stark cold weather, gray skies and bare trees mirrored the feelings of isolation, fear and betrayal my heroine felt. Setting can also be used for contrast, thereby highlighting some aspect of plot or character. In Healing Luke, my grumpy and bitter hero glares irritably at the bright Florida sunshine early in the story, showing the reader the truly dark place his life had reach.

Knowing the importance of setting, when I set out to write Rock-a-bye Rescue with Karen Whiddon, I knew we needed to pick a setting that would complement our story. I needed my characters to be cut off from help for a period of time, to feel alone, with the chill of fear and suspicion hanging over them. This sort of scenario is becoming harder and harder to believably achieve in the real world. Cell phones, the Internet and GPS tracking have all made keeping in touch and staying connected with the world easier. While this is great for real life, it makes the job of a suspense writer harder!

Instant communication doesn’t allow your heroine to feel suitably cut-off from help and reliant on the dark and mysterious hero who shows up at her door. The potential for a climactic battle of life and death holds less tension if a call to the local police could bring help in a matter of minutes. To build a sense of danger and suspense for Guarding Eve, I needed my hero, heroine and her infant charge to be essentially on their own for a significant period of time— enough time for danger to find them and pose a threat to life and limb. Circumstances had to be just right, and an essential element to framing and plotting the story was the setting. But how? A natural or man-made disaster, geography, or failure of technology?

After an exchange of emails, Karen and I chose the mountains of West Virginia where finding a cellular signal is difficult. But isolated mountain roads and a cabin tucked away in the woods were not enough to isolate my heroine in the modern world. So I added a significant ice storm that would close steep and twisty roads, knock out power, and strand my heroine and baby Eve. In addition, the treacherous roads provided a means for the bad guys to escape captivity, setting the suspense plot in motion. Karen seized on these elements for her story as well, and we had the foundation for plotting our “babies in jeopardy” novellas.

* *

Rita Award finalist Beth Cornelison made her first sale to Harlequin in June 2004 and has gone on to publish many more books with Harlequin/Silhouette as well as other publishers. Cornelison has presented writing workshops across the United States, and she currently lives in Louisiana with her husband and three spoiled cats. For more info about her books, her latest news, recipes and photos, visit www.bethcornelison.com.

Characters Are People Too
By Karen Whiddon

When Beth and I got together to write our joined novellas for the Harlequin Romantic Suspense 2-in-1 Rock-A-Bye-Rescue, we decided on setting and backstory first. Then, while Beth worked on developing her characters, I worked on mine. We’d mutually agreed to make the villain two brothers, with one coming after her couple and the other coming after mine.

For such a short book, I knew I wanted to have my characters former lovers. Nothing better than to throw two people with unresolved issues together and watch sparks fly! Most of my stories start with the people. My hero Garrett Ware lives for his career as an FBI agent. He’s never stopped loving my heroine, Michelle Morgan, but the differences that tore them apart five years ago seemed insurmountable. Most importantly they broke up because she wanted children and he, raised by an abusive drunken father and fearful mother, didn’t. He believed he didn’t know how to be a father.

Michelle has always been a nurturing person. She looked after her baby sister as best she could, and wanted nothing more than a family of her own. When her sister Lydia was taken in by a cult leader, believing she loved him, Michelle moved to a nearby cabin in case Lydia wanted to get out. Unfortunately, Lydia is killed, but not before she bears the cult leader a baby. The baby is delivered to Michelle for safekeeping while the FBI and police search for the escaped cult leader and his brother.

With the setting Beth mentioned earlier – remote location in the West Virginia mountains, a crazed bad guy wanting to kill an innocent infant, I added in a blizzard to ratchet things up a bit more.
So we have a couple who never stopped loving each other trapped together in a cabin. A woman who now has her greatest desire, a baby, but at the cost of losing her sister. And the man charged with protecting them, about to come to terms if love can be greater than fear.

A writer can have the most beautiful setting in the world, the most dangerous villain, and an intricate plot, but without people we can root for, who can make us ache when they hurt and laugh when they feel joy, the reader will feel something’s lacking. That’s why it’s up to the author to create believable, sympathetic characters, like Beth and I did in our stories.

* *

Award winning author Karen Whiddon spun fanciful tales for her younger brothers as early as the age of eleven. Growing up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she found enough magic in the rugged peaks to keep her imagination fueled for years.

 Now making her home in North Texas, she shares her life with her hero-like husband and four doting dogs. In her spare time she volunteers for Legacy Boxer Rescue, Inc. She has published over 45 books. Currently she writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne.

You can email Karen at KWhiddon1@aol.com

 

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