Archive for June, 2016

Bridge Through The Mist: Meet The Scottish Highlander

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Way back in the day (1990’s) I wrote a time travel romance set in 1318 Scotland. That story has been with numerous publishers over the years, and just this year I retrieved the rights to the story. I’ve tweaked only a little and it’s back! Here’s the blurb and an excerpt to give you a taste. Isn’t this cover delicious?

DeniseMist533

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Kobo

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.

* *

The door slammed shut. She opened her mouth to speak, but the sound strangled in her throat as she caught her first sight of the man standing inside the door.

“Aye, so I see ye are awake now,” he said, in the husky, deep voice that belonged to the man who had carried her.

Nothing, in her wildest, most fantastical dreams could have conjured a male like this man. Okay. Maybe in her most outrageous, sex-filled evenings with her vibrator. Still, she’d never encountered a man like this one in real life. With her dating and almost-married record, she didn’t think guys like this existed.

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 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.”

Continuing to look at her as if she might decide to bite him, the boy nodded. He scrambled up from his chair and started for the door.

“She must be a witch, sir,” the boy said, his voice squeaking in his excitement.

The man smiled slightly, a twinkle leaping into his eyes. Before the boy could open the door, the man clasped his arm. “Tell not a soul about the woman.”

Tell not a soul about the woman.

A curl of apprehension wandered along her body.

“Aye, sir,” the boy said in a whisper, and rushed out the door as if the devil were on his heels and fast closing.

Maybe the boy knew something she didn’t. She looked at the door with longing. It really wasn’t far, and Alenna wasn’t that ill. She could dash by this big man and make a run for it.

No. The man had planted his solid bulk in her way. If he caught her, she knew she wouldn’t be a match for him. He possessed a sheer, brutal power she felt could overpower if provoked.

“Why did you send him away?” she asked.

The man turned back to her. “His sister worries about him.”

As he stared at her, Alenna shivered and realized that although her stomach no longer lurched like a drunken sailor, a heat wave invaded her. She pushed the pungent fur off her shoulders. Again his eyes traced over her, penetrating and searching. He didn’t guard his emotions well, she realized. She saw unadulterated sexual interest overlaid by curiosity.

Sexual interest? Another warm wave settled over her and then she shivered. God, since when did extraordinary men like this enter her life?

Never.

Love From The Ashes: Strong Women

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

 

I love strong women in novels. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we don’t all have faults and vulnerabilities. I love this scene from Love From the Ashes when the heroine shows us that she has strength.

ASHES-Teaser

From the Ashes of Hell itself…

During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire privileged Grace Wyne and Irish immigrant Nathaniel Dempsey desperately try to rescue LOVE FROM THE ASHES.

Grace and Nate seek freedom and a new life in San Francisco but society, her family and forces of Nature, wage war against them.

Nate is torn by the death of his family in Ireland. Yet he finds Grace’s spirit and strength a balm for his soul. She joins a suffragette organization, but when she encounters scorn and violence, Nate vows to protect her.

She is determined to marry for love, and now is stunned by her feelings for a man far beneath her social status. There is more than one danger to face–for the earth is unstable and their forbidden love is a sure formula for disaster.

When the earth trembles and breaks apart, only Nature knows who will live to love again… and who will die.

* *

 Thursday, February 22

Wyne Mansion

Grace stepped out the back door of the kitchen and headed toward the gazebo, drawing in a deep breath of cool sea-scented air. A soothing few minutes in the mild sunshine might revive her. Last night she’d had a horrendous dream where the walls of the mansion tumbled all around her, and the earth bolted and shook.

“Too many tall tales from Mary,” she said out loud.

Mary had explained that California tossed and turned with earthquakes on a regular basis. Although intrigued by quakes, Grace’s dream disturbed her deeply.

Absorbed by her thoughts, she stepped from behind a hedge and onto a dirt path. She almost didn’t hear the honking of the automobile horn until too late.

Startled, she saw the Studebaker kicking up dirt as it roared down the narrow path like a silver bullet bent on destruction. She didn’t have time to think.

With a cry Grace thrust herself backward, tripped over her hem and landed on her back with a thump and a grunt.

At the last moment the driver swerved around her, twisting the steering wheel in a desperate attempt to avoid running over her.

Dozens of tiny rocks dug into her palms, and she took in a gasping breath. She muttered a word no well brought up young lady was supposed to know.

As the driver brought the automobile to an abrupt halt, only inches from her, a fresh onslaught of rocks flew up from the tires and pelted her.

“You little fool,” the man muttered loud enough for her to hear. Standing up in his seat and tearing off his cap and goggles, Nathaniel Dempsey opened the driver’s side door and jumped out.

She pushed herself to her feet, brushing at the back of her dress with angry strokes. As he strode toward her, eating up the ground with his long strides, he looked incensed enough to chew her into tiny pieces and swallow her. Indignation rose in her throat and stiffened her back. Grace placed her hands on her hips and stared at the oncoming man with disdain.

“Fool?” she asked. “I assume you’re talking about yourself, Mr. Dempsey?”

His expression didn’t change, and when he grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a tiny shake, she gasped. His eyes sparked with anger, his fingers pressing into her arms and the line of his mouth grim.

“Are you daft? I could’ve killed you. Didn’t your father and mother ever tell you to look both ways before you cross the road?” he asked, his tone low with anger.

Trying to keep her voice steady, Grace stared into his eyes. “Of course. But I’d hardly call this a road, Mr. Dempsey. My father asked you to practice in the circular drive, if I am not mistaken. What are you doing driving the Studebaker back here?”

Nate’s fingers tightened on her arms and his lips curled. “Returning the automobile to the carriage house, Miss Wyne.”

Silence expanded between them, and the moment stretched before she regained her equilibrium. She took a deep breath. As she surveyed him in his chauffeur togs, she noted his black hair stuck up in small tufts. She had the urge to arrange each strand back into proper position.

Instead she said, “I suggest you take your hands off me before someone sees us.”

He released her, clenching his hands at his sides.

“Are you hurt?” he asked, his voice a harsh rasp.

Grace touched the hair escaping her pompadour and looked down at the hem of her white lingerie dress. When the automobile had come to a halt it had thrown dirt onto the material. A small strip of delicate lace had torn from the skirt. She thought she could feel a split in her cotton stockings. Substantial damage for such a small fall.

“This is going to take considerable work to launder,” she said matter-of-factly.

His nose twitched. “I wasn’t asking about your dress.”

The sarcasm in his voice told her she’d hit a nerve. She’d never wanted to see a man out of control before, but she liked the tension that rolled off him in waves. To her surprise, seeing him agitated intrigued her. Somewhere between animosity and attraction, she felt his vigor like a flame, ready to explode at any moment.

Before she could answer, he reached out and touched her shoulder. The soft, gentle heat tingled straight through her arm and into the rest of her body.

How extraordinary.

“Are you hurt?” he asked again.

“I am perfectly fine. Though I may have torn my inexpressibles.”

His expression relaxed, and he let out a bark of laughter and dropped his hand away from her shoulder. “Sure, and has anyone ever told you you’re a corker?”

Raising one eyebrow, she asked, “A what?”

“A corker.”

“Is than an insult, Mr. Dempsey?”

“No. It means you’re one of a kind. A humdinger.”

“Oh.” She still didn’t know whether to be offended or not. “Well, I suggest you keep your insults and your praise to yourself.”

Nate’s lips twitched, as if he held back a strong retort. He didn’t hold back long. “I’d take your own advice.”

She knew she was being horrid, but something about this man made her speak without thinking of consequences.. “I could tell my father what happened and have the expense of cleaning the dress taken out of your pay.”

His eyes narrowed and he took a step closer. Much closer. “You wouldn’t.”

“I would.” She smiled. “If I were a nasty bitch.”

His mouth dropped open. “Bitch, Miss Wyne? Did you learn such language at finishing school, then?”

“Of course. Young ladies are rarely as proper as everyone imagines.”

“Most of the ladies I know are very proper.”

“Irish women?”

“Aye.”

“Well, this is America. American ladies are different.”

“Humph. So I’ve seen.” Nate punctuated his statement with a sweeping look over her entire body. He stepped closer again, until only a couple of inches separated them. “You really shouldn’t talk like this with a man, Miss Wyne. They might think you were offering something.”

The husky inflection in his voice and the light in his eyes told Grace she’d hit danger hard and fast. His proximity sent a hot, unexpected, and unfamiliar shock through her body. Heat knotted deep in her belly, and a flush filled her cheeks. Heaven help her. The way he looked at her … she couldn’t describe it. No words for the way he made her feel would come to mind.

What was happening to her?

When they’d first met Grace thought he might be indifferent to her, but his intent perusal shook that theory to the ground. She’d seen similar, less powerful looks in other men’s eyes before. A deep and ignited lust that filled their expressions when they thought no one would notice. Nate’s attention was more powerful. Incandescence simmered like a blue flame in his eyes, expressing something stronger and more promising than anything she’d known. Mesmerized by his interest and the new sensations snaking through her, she didn’t move, didn’t speak.

“Have you ever been kissed, Miss Wyne?” he asked, his voice thick with a throaty nuance she’d never heard a man use.

* *

That’s all for this week! I’ll be on some R&R next week, so I’ll see ya on the flip side!

 

Jett Munroe: In The Line Of Fire & Military Romance

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Everyone knows I love a great military romance novel. I’m happy to welcome Jett Munroe to my blog today as she talks about In The Line Of Fire, the first in her Hot Desert Heroes series. Welcome Jett!

* *

Hi, y’all! I’m so happy that Denise opened up her blog to me today. I write paranormal romance under the pen name Cynthia Garner and contemporary romance as Jett Munroe. My most recent release, IN THE LINE OF FIRE, is a contemporary with suspense elements and a hero who is former military.

My favorite thing about reading romances that have heroes who are in law enforcement, the military, or the like is the bonds of brotherhood the men feel toward each other. Bonds forged in blood, sweat and tears that make them as close, if not closer, than actual blood-brothers.

My new series, Hot Desert Heroes, takes a retired Marine Corps special ops team and puts them in an elite security firm founded by two of the team in Tucson, Arizona. These are men who are alpha warriors—they fight with honor and protect the ones they love. And along the way they may stumble and perhaps even fall, but their brothers and the discovery of love each hero makes helps them heal their pasts. It’s hot in the desert, in more ways than one.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE follows the adventures of Beck Townsend, former spec ops leader and co-owner of Red Eagle Group, and Delaney Murphy, a soft-spoken and shy woman Beck’s had his eye on for a while.

 InTheLineOfFire300_large

Their passion burns white hot. But danger is heartless and cold.

 Hot Desert Heroes, Book 1 – IN THE LINE OF FIRE

Delaney Murphy has had a stomach-fluttering, mouth-watering crush on Beck since the first time she saw him over the rim of her regular morning latte. But she’s never been long on self-confidence, especially around exceptionally handsome men.

After a year of avoiding him, she’s shocked when he slides into the next chair and wears down her resistance to a first date.

When Laney is laid off from her job, Marines special ops veteran Beck “Gravedigger” Townsend wastes no time hiring the quiet, auburn-haired beauty into Red Eagle Group, his security firm. Keeping her within touching distance—and under his protection.

Laney’s smile and sharp intelligence light up Beck’s life and heat up his bed, yet he hesitates to give her what she really wants: full access to the darkest corners of his wounded spirit. But when danger is delivered right to Red Eagle’s door, the only way to save her—and their love—will be to bleed. Body and soul…

 Warning: Adult language and graphic sex scenes between a man locked behind his secrets, and a woman ready to break free of her past. If you think the desert is hot, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

~ * ~ * ~

And an excerpt:

Delaney had pulled the paper wrapper off and had just finished twisting the bottom of the muffin away from the top when the cushion next to her depressed. Expecting to see either Lily or Andi, she licked icing off her finger and looked up with a smile. Then froze.

Beck. Beck Townsend had just sat down next to her, and he had a look on his face that told her he wasn’t going to give her a chance to run. He confirmed that when he said, “I’m not givin’ you a chance to run, Laney. No more playin’ around. Today’s the day you and I start to get acquainted.”

What?

She put the muffin halves on the plate and leaned forward to set it on the table. Fumbling for her napkin, she wiped the remaining icing off her finger. “Um…” She rolled her lips between her teeth and stared over his shoulder. A group of customers went out the door, including Edmond and Mrs. Henderson. The old lady gave her a wide smile and an enthusiastic thumbs-up, while Edmond’s eyes narrowed on her and Beck. She wondered about that for a second, until Beck spoke.

“I get that you’re shy,” he murmured. “I like that you’re shy. It gives me the chance to make the first move instead of having to fight off unwelcome attention.”

Her eyes slid back to him. Seriously? Like any man, good-looking or not, would want to fight off a woman who wanted to get it on with him.

“You like people you don’t know gettin’ up in your personal space without invitation?” Beck asked.

She frowned. “No.” She glanced meaningfully at the spot where he’d parked his taut ass next to her.

He grinned but ignored her pointed look and said, “Neither do I.”

Maybe if she told him she wasn’t interested, which was a big, fat lie, he’d leave her alone.

“And don’t kid yourself or try to make me believe my attention toward you is unwelcome.”

Good God. Now he was in her head, knowing what she was thinking.

His lips twitched. “You have a very expressive face.”

Her breath caught and held. She was thirty-one years old. No one had ever told her she had an expressive face. She’d learned from a very early age not to let people, namely her mother and later her now ex-husband, see when they upset her, because then the nagging and bitching and belittling never let up.

She didn’t have an expressive face!

“Might’ve enjoyed women all up in my space when I was young and stupid,” Beck went on, his voice husky and deep. “I’m more selective now that I’m older and know what’s important, want what’s true and real.” His lips twitched again. “Laney,” he murmured and reached over to briefly squeeze her fingers. “Breathe.”

She exhaled noisily and got her lungs working again, though that quick touch of his warm hand on hers didn’t help in the endeavor. She had to play it cool and not say something dumb like she normally did around a good-looking guy. “I don’t have an expressive face.” She rolled her lips again and closed her eyes. Really, she just had to blurt out what she was thinking, didn’t she?

“Babe.” His voice brought her gaze back to him in time to catch his lip twitch turn into a smile. “You do,” he said. “Don’t ever play poker, baby. You’d lose your shirt.” Even as his grin widened, his eyes darkened to a smoky gray.

Oh God. He’d called her baby. She didn’t know what to do with that. She also didn’t know what to do with that smile. He was supremely handsome before he smiled, and what that upward tilt of his lips did to his face should have been illegal. She shifted her weight, trying to alleviate the sudden heat of awareness between her thighs. She was a grown woman, not some teenager fighting burgeoning hormones. She should be able to have a coherent conversation with the man.

Maybe if she didn’t look at him. Yeah, that could work. When she looked at him, especially if she met his gaze, the thoughts flew out of her head as if they’d been burned up by a wildfire.

“So,” he said, his deep voice soft and just raspy enough to snag her libido, “Lily and Andi tell me you work at SNJ Technology.”

Delaney nodded. It was a small but very successful military contractor. “I work for one of the VPs.” She realized what he’d said and her gaze flew to his face. He talked to my friends about me! And neither one had breathed a word, the big traitors.

“Which VP?”

She frowned, just a little, and put her gaze back to her hands in her lap. Tucson wasn’t that big of a city, but it still had over five hundred thousand residents during the hot summer months. That number swelled to over a million once the cooler temps of fall and winter rolled in. It was possible he knew her boss, she supposed, but she didn’t think it was probable. “Trigg Halverson,” she finally replied, shooting him a glance from under her lashes. “He heads up the Data Compilation Department.”

“Ah.” Beck tipped his head forward to try to catch her eye and she, like a dork, ducked her head. “Don’t know him,” he said and followed it with a sigh. “Laney, darlin’, I’m not gonna jump you in public in front of God and witnesses. Please relax.”

How did one go about telling a hot guy that you weren’t afraid of him in a you’re-going-to-attack-me kind of way but rather were too afraid of being a big ol’ disappointment? What if she did relax around him and he discovered she just wasn’t all that interesting?

“You seeing anyone?”

There. That was her ticket out. Beck was a good guy. He wouldn’t poach on another man’s territory. If she told him she was dating someone, he’d leave her be. She tried to ignore the sadness she felt at that thought and focused instead on the relief she was sure to feel when he left her alone. “I broke up with someone yesterday. Now he’s texting me nonstop, asking me to take him back.”

Lord. God. Almighty. Why could she not just lie to the man?

~ * ~ * ~

Thanks for dropping by! Let me know what you think about the book, and I’d love to hear which branch of the military is your favorite. (I honestly went with Marines because I love-love-LOVE their dress uniforms. Don’t judge me. But I believe that all the men and women of our armed forces, regardless in which branch they serve, are heroes.)

Please like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter and Pinterest. You can also sign up for my newsletter.

You can get your copy of IN THE LINE OF FIRE at:

Samhain Publishing

All Romance Ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

As the writing of this post (6/1/16), Samhain was selling the ebook for $3.85 and the paperback at $11.89. Might just be the best place to purchase your copy!

Denise, thank you so much for giving me time and space on your blog so I can share Red Eagle Group with your readers. The names of all commenters will be tossed into a hat (or maybe a plastic baggie) and the winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.