Hey everyone! Sorry for the long absence. I spent New Year’s Day and the day after fighting a kidney stone. Ouchhhhh! Anyway, I’m back in the saddle. Here’s a snippet excerpt from Redemption Ridge, which is coming to Ellora’s Cave non-erotic romance Blush line on January 17! This story wasn’t a long time in the making or planning. I only started writing it last summer. But sometimes a story is like that. I was playing around with a creative writing app on my iPad and it suggested a story that starts with a woman tied up in a trunk. Bammoooo! I went from there and Redemption Ridge was born. Although this story is only a novella, I feel like it packs a punch with suspense and romance. It’s definitely not erotic romance, but if you’re looking for a story that is still romance and features a hot military hero, this could be the story for you.
She realized with a jolt that he stood close to her now. She took a step away, a fine trembling radiating from her center.
“Don’t be afraid. You’re safe now,” he said.
She shook her head, feeling out of sorts and confused by everything. What should she feel, and could she trust this man? Slowly, as if she might be a scared animal ready to bolt, he put his hands on her shoulders. He squeezed gently. When she looked up at him, he towered over her. In the low light she could see his eyes were liquid brown, at once penetrating but soft with understanding. Tall, dark and handsome didn’t describe him. No, that description was too damn bland. He was over six feet of lethal male testosterone with smoldering eyes and a lean but powerful build. He wore a blue rain jacket of some kind, jeans and white athletic shoes. His voice held a smoky essence that made a low, sweet arousal burn in her stomach. He didn’t smile much but he was always polite, and the way he looked at her—well, she might have imagined the hunger she saw in his eyes all those times he stopped by the Tastee Freez. One of the women she worked with had asked him out but he’d turned her down, or so the woman had said. The woman had promptly suggested Jake was gay but Cecelia didn’t believe it.
Trust your gut. Janey had always said that too.
“You killed a man,” she said, knowing how stupid and obvious it sounded but unable to utter another coherent statement.
He nodded and took a big breath. He released it gradually between his parted lips. “Yeah.”
“How can you be so calm?”
“I’m not. But it’s not the first time for me.”
A tingle darted up her spine. “What?”
He released her shoulders and held out his hand. “Jake McNamara. We’ve never been officially introduced.”
She shook his hand and his big palm fit snugly around hers. His grip squeezed firmly but gently. He released her promptly.
“You’re in the military right?”
It came clear to her, and she wondered why her brain was so damn sluggish. “You killed people in the desert.”
One of those small nods again. She dared look into his intense eyes and saw the truth. He’d killed, but he’d done it to survive. Not for the joy of it. How she knew that, she couldn’t say.
“Sure you’re not hurt?” he asked.
“I’ll be fine.” She glanced over at Peter, so still and lifeless. Her stomach lurched. The dark stain on Peter’s chest told her in no uncertain terms where the bullet had hit him. Rain soaked his body, just as it did hers. Shocks of lightning darted overhead, so close she should have flinched. Yet she was numb, cold to the bone emotionally and physically.
“We need to get help,” she said.