Oops! I Did It Again…

JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1 is out and doing great! And I’m nearly 30k words into the second book in the series, HUNTER’S PRIDE.

So…
The other day, a wild hare struck and I started a new project that has nothing to do with ranchers. It does feature a redhead, because, have we met?!

Take a little sneak peek at the (unedited) first chapter of what I’m tentatively calling Desperate Times.

Two pink lines.
Behind the locked bathroom door, Charley stared in disbelief at the plastic stick in her hands.  Her heart pounded, and she felt tiny beads of sweat forming on her upper lip.
This is really happening, she thought.  Holy shit!

Chapter 1
(six months earlier)

At the tinkling of the bell over the door, Charley Weatherly looked up from the well-worn Charlotte Bronte novel she’d been perusing behind the counter at Once Upon a Bookshop, the dream into which she’d poured her heart and soul and most of her 401k.  

“Hi there, Charley!”  Reggie Baxter had been walking the same mail route since before Charley was born.  The space currently occupied by the bookstore had had numerous incarnations during that time, including a bar and a dry cleaner, among other things.

“Hi, Reggie!  What’s the good news?”  She smiled at the old man.

“The good news is, next Friday is my last day.  I’m retiring.”

“That’s great, Reggie, congratulations!”  Charley accepted the stack of mail he proffered.  “What are your plans?”

“Oh…” With a far-off look in his eye, he leaned back on his heels, shifting the mailbag that was slung over his shoulder.  “First off, I’m going fishing in Florida. After that, who knows?”

Charley grinned good-naturedly.  “Do you really have to go all the way to Florida to go fishing?”

The letter carrier shrugged.  “Never did like the Pacific too much.  Florida fishing is a lot more relaxing.  California’s too uptight.”
Charley had to laugh.  “I’ve never been fishing either place, so I’ll have to take your word for it.”

Grinning, Reggie opened the door and paused.  “How’s your grandmother doing?”

Consciously forcing back a grimace, she smiled.  “She’s doing well, thanks.”

“Tell her I said hello.”

“I will, Reggie.”  She waved as he walked out the door, headed past the front windows of the shop, and passed out of sight.

Enveloped in silence once again, Charley breathed a deep sigh.  Her grandmother hadn’t been doing well for months now. But that wasn’t something she wanted to talk about.  Talking about things made them more real somehow. And she wasn’t ready to face what was happening to her grandmother.

Anymore than she was ready to face the stack of bills Reggie had dropped off.  If she flipped through the pile of envelopes, she’d see ‘Final Notice’ stamped across the fronts of most of them.  But that would ignite the pain in the pit of her stomach, so she opted to sweep them into a drawer beneath the counter, the better to deal with them later.

She gazed around the shop recalling the day three years earlier when she’d first seen the space.  It had been empty for some time, abandoned when a psychic palm reader had gone out of business.

But in the empty and crumbling space, Charley had envisioned shelves full of her favorite books.  She’d majored in English literature at Cal State and following graduation had landed a job as a copywriter with a marketing firm.  

Which she’d hated.  But it had afforded her to save up enough money to walk away three years later and start her dream business, a small boutique bookstore.

She’d created a cozy space with a comfortable seating area near the front windows, places for book lovers like herself to relax and try before they buy.  She’d even scheduled live readings and a few book signings, too, all to try to drum up more business.

But unfortunately, downtown Modesto wasn’t exactly a mecca for the literati.  Those who did like to read tended to head to the Barnes & Noble out on Highway 219.  Or to order their books online.

Which Charley couldn’t fathom.  Walking around the counter, she wandered down the 19th-century romance aisle, dreamily dragging her fingers across the spines of the stories she knew by heart, including a full complement from her namesake Bronte sister, Charlotte.  

How could you tell whether you wanted to read a book without touching it, hefting its weight, flipping the pages to release that divine fresh-paper scent?  
And ebooks?  Charley snorted.  Please! Talk about the Big Macs of the literary world.

Apparently, though, not everyone saw it the way she did.  Foot traffic in the downtown area wasn’t sufficient to bring in the hoards of customers she desperately needed.  She had her regulars, but the reality was that she’d lost money every quarter since she’d been open. Her savings had gone to the purchase and renovation of the storefront, and now her 401k was seriously depleted.  The bills Reggie had brought were all long past due.

Reluctantly, Charley realized it might be time to let go of her dream.  Nana wasn’t getting any better. It had started with little things, misplaced reading glasses and socks put away in the refrigerator.  Now, there were times when she didn’t recognize Charley, or she mistook Charley for her mother, calling her Denise.

Gently, Charley would remind her.  “No, Nana, remember, Mama died a long time ago.”  

The old woman’s face would crumple and she’d break down in tears.  “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“You were there at the funeral, Nana.  Remember? That’s when I came to live with you.”

“Oh, yes, that’s right.  You’re Charley, Denise’s girl.”

“That’s right, Nana.”

She was grateful that the next door neighbor had agreed to check in on her grandmother during the day while Charley was at work.  But that was not a sustainable arrangement. Charley had done some checking into an assisted living facility with a memory care program.  And while it wasn’t cheap, the portion of her 401k she’d squirreled away, along with Nana’s social security, should be enough to get her in.  But to stay long-term?

She rolled her eyes.  That would require Charley to sell the business and go back to work for a company that paid an actual salary and benefits.

Sighing heavily, she turned around and headed back to the counter.  If it stayed quiet for the rest of the day, maybe she’d tweak her resume and upload it to one of those job websites.

DESPERATE TIMES (working title) by Pandora Spocks

There’s no timetable for the release of Desperate Times. I’m still busy working to finish HUNTER’S PRIDE and the third Redheads & Ranchers book, HANNAH’S HEART.

But if you haven’t nabbed your copy of JENNY’S VOICE, it’s available at your favorite online bookseller. One-click yours today!
books2read.com/JennysVoice

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

Coming Soon!
JENNY’S VOICE
Redheads & Ranchers Book 1

Redheads & Ranchers is my new three-book series of stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels, each featuring a sexy redhead and a hot rancher they can’t resist.

First up is JENNY’S VOICE. It’s the story of Jenny Stone, a young woman in a world of trouble, and Cole Caldwell, a horse trainer with a heart of gold who wants nothing more than to protect her.

Upon returning to his ranch after picking up a new client’s horse, gifted horse trainer Cole Caldwell is shocked to find a terrified young woman hiding in his horse trailer. She’s been beaten, and beneath his old barn jacket, she’s barely dressed. She’s not even wearing shoes.

Mute since the violent day she was taken, Jenny Stone saw her chance to escape the thugs who’ve been holding her for the past two years, and she took it. Hiding in the horse trailer seemed like her only option.

Now, how can she explain to Cole that dangerous criminals will be out there looking for her? How long can she hide at his horse ranch? And can she ever recover her voice?

Here’s a teaser from JENNY’S VOICE.


By three o’clock that afternoon, Caldwell Ranch had been restored to normal.  Jenny helped Cole untack the horses and put everything away in the barn. The canopies and coolers were returned to their proper places as well.

As they worked together, Cole was uncomfortably aware of the conversation he needed to have with Jenny.  He wondered if he could put it off. It had already been a huge day for her. She’d faced her fear of being seen and he was proud of her, so proud.  But this was one of those conversations best had sooner rather than later.

He cleared his throat.  “You know, I feel kind of sorry for Apollo and Dahlia.  Everybody else got a nice workout today. They must be feeling a little left out.”

Jenny chuckled, hooking a thumb at Jade.

“Well, Jade, too.  But I’ve been working her hard, so she probably appreciated the day off.”  He stepped toward Jenny.

“Maybe we could take Apollo and Dahlia for a trail ride.  There’s a ridge toward the back of the property, overlooks the whole ranch and it has a nice view of the sunset.  What do you say?”

An hour later, they neared the ridge he’d told her about.  Perched atop Dahlia, Jenny had easily made the transition from riding in the ring to trail riding.  It seemed the more she rode, the more comfortable she was. Again, he worried about the time when Dahlia would have to go back home with Meredith.

I’ll just buy Jenny another horse, he decided.

As the trail grew steeper, Cole moved ahead on Apollo, leading the way up the ridge.  He glanced back at Jenny.

“How are you doing?”

She smiled and gave him a thumbs-up, her small whiteboard hanging at her side from a cross-body shoulder strap he’d fashioned for her.

He nodded with satisfaction.  “You’re doing great, we’re almost there.”

At the top of the rise, the ground leveled off in a grassy area dominated by a huge old oak tree.  Cole slid out of his saddle, gave Apollo’s nose an affectionate rub, and left the horse to graze as he headed to help Jenny down.
With both horses munching contentedly on grass, Cole and Jenny retreated to the shade of the giant tree.  Cole patted the trunk.

“This was one of my favorite places growing up.  When I needed a minute to myself, I could come up here and just be.”  He eyed the upper branches with a wry grin.  “Used to be a pretty good climber, too. I could sit way up there and look out all over the valley.  I also got out of a lot of chores that way.” He winked, and Jenny smiled.

The late March afternoon wasn’t inordinately warm, but it was as dry as ever.  From the small backpack he’d worn, Cole retrieved a pair of bottled waters, handing one to Jenny.  She unscrewed the cap and sipped thirstily as she stood at the edge of the rise looking out over the ranch below.

Recapping her water, she tucked it under her arm and scribbled on her board.  I had no idea how big the ranch is.

Cole nodded.  “Yep. It’s quite a spread.  Back in the day, my folks ran a much larger operation with a bunch of ranch hands helping out.  Later, they pared it back a little, then when I took over, I made it just about horse training. It’s what makes me happiest, and I’m able to make a good living, so it works out.”

Jenny nodded, wandering around the perimeter of the clearing as she took in the 360-degree view.  Occasionally, her gaze flitted in Cole’s direction and he wondered if he imagined a cautious glint in her green eyes.

Scrubbing a hand over his mouth, he decided to plunge ahead.  “You know, Jenny, I wanted to talk to you about something.” He sighed heavily, and she froze in her circuit of the clearing, her eyes now locked on him.

“Last night after you went to bed, I remembered that I needed to order some medicine for Minnie’s hoof.  I went online and pulled up my history to find where I looked at the medicine the other day, and that’s when I noticed some tabs I didn’t recognize.”

Jenny’s jaw tightened noticeably, and she crossed her arms protectively as she stared at a spot beyond him.

“You know you’re welcome to use the computer or anything else at the house,” he said quickly.  “You can consider my home as your own. And I didn’t mean to pry into your business, I really didn’t.”

Sweeping his hat from his head, he took a step toward Jenny.  “I read the article about Jennifer Stone from Boulder.”

Jenny cut her gaze away, but not before he saw the pain that flashed in her green eyes.

“Jenny,” his voice soft as he took another step toward her, “someone killed your parents?”

She drew a ragged breath and nodded brusquely without making eye contact.

“Damn it,” he swore softly.  “Were you there when it happened?”

She clapped her right hand over her mouth as large tears rolled down her cheeks, and again, she nodded.

Cole took another step closer.  “And then they took you?”

Jenny’s eyes squeezed shut as she sobbed silently.  Cole dropped his hat and went to her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to himself.  She was stiff in his arms, but he pulled her close, murmuring softly against the top of her head.

Eventually, she relaxed, leaning into his embrace, sobbing into the front of his shirt.  He held her like that for a long time before she quieted. Easing his hold, he peered down at her.  “Jenny, I’m so sorry that happened to you. And I’m so sorry about the way I found out about it.”

He exhaled loudly, shaking his head.  “But once I knew about it, I had to tell you.  I don’t play those games, those ‘keeping things secret’ kinds of things.  I believe in being honest, always. The thing is,” he took her hand in his, “now that I know, you don’t carry this burden by yourself.  I carry it with you.”

Tentatively, she looked up at him.  Cole saw the fear and suspicion in her eyes, willed her to see the sincerity in his own.  “I care about you, Jenny. And I’ll be…”

He cut off, infuriated at the idea of someone harming Jenny.  Deliberately softening his voice, he continued. “I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone hurt you, ever again.

JENNY’S VOICE, Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1, is due out in February. Keep watching here for the official cover reveal and the release date.

Weekend Excerpt–New Year, HOT New Series!

I’m so excited about the New Year! 2019 is bringing my brand new series, Redheads & Ranchers, a three-book collection of stand-alone novels featuring gorgeous redheads and the ranchers they can’t resist. First up is JENNY’S VOICE, due out early this winter.

Upon returning to his ranch after picking up a new client’s horse, gifted horse trainer Cole Caldwell is shocked to find a terrified young woman hiding in his horse trailer. She’s been beaten, and beneath his old barn jacket, she’s barely dressed. She’s not even wearing shoes.

Mute since the violent day she was taken, Jenny Stone saw her chance to escape the thugs who’ve been holding her for the past two years, and she took it. Hiding in the horse trailer seemed like her only option. Now, how can she explain to Cole that dangerous criminals will be out there looking for her? How long can she hide at the ranch? And can she ever recover her voice?

Here’s a little sneak peek at JENNY’S VOICE.

After Cole left, Jenny aimlessly wandered around the house. She gazed again at the photos hanging in the hallway, making a mental note to ask Cole about them sometime.

In the kitchen, she found the chicken he’d mentioned, a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. She chewed her lip thoughtfully, then opened an upper cupboard. There she found flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a small container of dried parsley. She frowned. Dried would do if he didn’t have fresh parsley, she supposed.

In the fridge, she found butter, grated Parmesan, a lemon, and a partial bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She surveyed everything on the counter, frowning.

Capers. If only he has capers. Dragging a chair from the table, she climbed up and peered into the upper cabinets once more. Shoving aside all the items in the front, she leaned up on her tiptoes, straining to see what else might be in there. All the way in the back, she spied a small round jar. She had to climb onto the counter to reach it.

Capers! Yes! Gleefully, she pumped her fist in the air.

Now that she had everything she needed, she filled the sink with water and submerged the package of frozen chicken. Cole had said he’d be gone a couple of hours. That should be plenty of time to prepare chicken piccata.

Before, Jenny hadn’t done a lot of cooking. She’d always been busy with school and her friends. Her mother hadn’t much of a cook herself, preferring to pick up take-out on her way home from work. That was before.

After, alone in her little room, sometimes she was given old magazines to pass the time. Never anything with news, mind you, but magazines about home décor and cooking, issues that someone else had thumbed through and gotten tired of, always months out of date. But to Jenny, they’d been a tiny window onto the outside world.

Hour after hour, she’d pore over the articles and recipes, even creating the dishes in the kitchen of her imagination, following step after step. Eyes closed, she’d mixed seasonings, sautéed the beef or chicken or whatever the directions called for, and at times, she’d have sworn she actually smelled the dish she was cooking.

A recipe for chicken piccata had particularly interested her, and she’d read it so many times, she had memorized it. And with all the ingredients, she was finally going to bring the dish to life here in Cole’s kitchen.

While she waited for the chicken to thaw, she gazed out the kitchen window. Across the yard was another pasture she hadn’t noticed before. She couldn’t see any horses there, but waving in the gentle March breeze were scores of wildflowers.

They’d look beautiful on the table with dinner. Anxiously, she wrung her hands. Could she risk going outside? Cole wasn’t home. There would be no one to protect her.

Her stomach flipped at the thought of Victor or his men watching her. That was stupid. He had no idea where she was. No way to trace her. How could he?

She shook her head. I will not let Victor run my life. Not anymore.

With determined steps, she walked to the front door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Glancing around, she saw no one. The horses were still out in the pasture, although Minnie had returned to the gate as though she wanted to go back to the barn.

The only sound she could hear was the wind whispering through the oak trees along the drive. She glanced to her left and saw the flowers she’d seen from the window. Blue sat at her side and looked up at her questioningly. She patted his head.

Twenty steps. Twenty running steps will get me to the flowers. Then twenty steps back. She breathed in deeply and glanced down at the dog.

Heart pounding, she took off sprinting across the side yard, ducking under the fence rail and into the field. Blue barked happily and chased along beside her, unsure of the game but pleased to be playing anyway. Jenny stopped at a large patch of bright yellow poppies and grabbed a handful. She was about to run back when she spied tall purple lupines further into the field. Glancing around to reassure herself that no one was around, she darted to the lupines and snatched a few before running back to the house.

She slammed the front door closed and leaned against it, panting. Ears up and tail wagging, Blue grinned up at her as if to ask if they could do it again. Jenny smiled and patted his head, then went to find a vase for the flowers.

–JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1

Keep watching right here for the official cover reveal of JENNY’S VOICE, and for information about its release date.

In the meantime, who doesn’t love a modern-day adult fairy tale?

See why CHASING ORDINARY is the
2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Medalist in Literary Erotica.
Get your copy here:
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary