Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

They say still waters run deep.
In the tiny lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

In this teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE, Bree learns that she’s not the first to notice something paranormal in the cottage by the lake.

Glancing around, Bree saw that the island was larger than it looked from her place. The pair of oak trees were much larger and much older than she’d realized, and both were strewn with Spanish moss just like the oaks that lined her drive and dotted her front lawn. Scrubby low shrubs clustered here and there, but the rest of the ground was a mix of soil and sand, and Bree wondered if the summer traffic simply trampled any other vegetation that might have the temerity to spring up.

At the crest of the island, the ground leveled off. A half-dozen chairs similar to hers stood scattered around a giant stone fire ring, their owners opting to stand around in small groups for the time being. The large fire crackled and popped, its light augmenting the fading sunset.

Jake set his cooler beside two others, then returned to Bree, handing her the red chair. He set up his own blue chair, then placed hers beside it.

“Everybody, this is Bree. She’s renting old man Meyer’s cottage for a while. Bree, this is everybody.”

Conversations stopped and Bree felt every eye on her as waved shyly. “Hi, everyone.”

She was greeted with smiles and friendly welcomes, but she suddenly felt out of place. She wondered if it was too soon to ask Jake to take her back.

When she looked up, Jake was watching her, his bright blue eyes filled with understanding. “How about a drink?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yes, please.” Following him to the cooler, she handed him the corkscrew from her bag. Deftly he popped open the wine and poured some into a plastic cup. Then he replaced the wine in the cooler, pausing to grab a brown bottle of beer for himself before he closed the lid again.

Jake gently placed his hand on the small of her back. “Want to take a little tour of the island while it’s still light enough to see?”

“Sure,” she laughed, deciding that it couldn’t possibly take very long. The tiny spit of land was so small, it would be like taking a tour of a studio apartment. Still, wine in hand, she followed him away from the fire. A trio of dogs brushed past them with Murphy trailing along behind, tail wagging happily.

“He’s having a good time,” Jake observed.

Bree laughed softly. “He’ll sleep like a log tonight.”

They came to the water’s edge on the opposite side of the island. “Here on the west side,” Jake explained, “the water’s deeper. A few feet out, the bottom just drops off and in those reeds over there, you can catch some serious bass.” He glanced at Bree. “Do you like to fish?”

She shrugged slightly. “I like to hold the fishing rod. I don’t like to mess with bait, or heaven forbid, I catch something, I don’t want to have to take it off the hook.”

He laughed lightly, his eyes sparkling. “Fishing is kind of my therapy. I love to stand still and watch the water and just listen to the quiet.”

Imagining the peace he described, Bree sighed. “That does sound nice.”

Jake quirked a dark eyebrow. “You could come over sometime and give it a try. I promise, I’ll take care of all the messy parts. You can just hold the rod. Of course, you’d need a license. Wouldn’t want to get in trouble with the police.” He winked and she felt herself blush.

“Pro tip: Get the annual license. It’s $20. The license for a week is $25.”

“Uh! Why is that?”

He laughed. “Because tourists on vacation for the week don’t question it. They just go back home and show everyone photos of the lunkers they caught.”

“Wow!” Bree shook her head and sipped her wine.

“How long until you go back home?” he wondered softly.

Rolling her eyes slightly, she took a large swig of wine. “I’m renting the cabin until the middle of November, but I’m not going back.”

Brow knitted in the fading light, Jake watched her expectantly.

Bree huffled softly. “I came here from Clearwater, Florida, but I’m not going back there.” She shook her head dismissively. “Suffice it to say, it’s a bad situation. But I’m not sure where I’m going when I leave here. I write,” she shrugged, “so I can do it anywhere. I was thinking maybe I’d go to New York. My publisher is there, so…”

She trailed off and glanced up to find him watching her intently.

“I’m sorry about the bad situation.” His eyes radiated sincerity. “Would you like to sit?” he asked quietly.

Smiling gratefully, Bree nodded, and they made their way back around to the campfire, where clusters of people, beer in hand, stood talking together. A young couple stood near the fire roasting marshmallows.

Together, Bree and Jake sank into their camping chairs. “I suppose this crowd can be a little overwhelming,” Jake said quietly, “but they’re really nice. You’ll see.”

Bree sipped her wine and watched as people shared embraces like long-lost friends, chatting and laughing as they did.

The whine of outboard motors announced that another couple of boats had pulled up onto the beach. Bree recognized the cashier from the market among the new arrivals. Despite the cool fall evening, the young woman wore denim cut-offs so short, her ass cheeks hung out. In the thin white camisole she wore, her pronounced nipples attuned everyone to the fact that she was cold.

Immediately, she zeroed in on Jake. “Hey, there,” she drawled, eyes locked on his. “I’m glad you made it.”

“Hi, Darlene,” he answered, his tone friendly. Bree watched him carefully, but he didn’t seem impressed by Darlene’s obvious display. “You remember Bree from the other day.”

The woman flicked her gaze in Bree’s direction, her lips pressed together in contempt. “Oh, yeah, hi.”

“Hello.” Bree tried for friendly, but she felt her irritation rising. It was the second time she’d met this Darlene, and the second time the woman had both dismissed her and fawned all over Jake. It was sickening.

“There’s plenty of beer over there,” Jake nodded toward the collection of coolers. “Help yourself.”

“In the Publix bag, there’s everything you need for s’mores if you like,” Bree offered helpfully, smiling.

Darlene looked at Bree for a second then returned her attention to Jake. “I believe I will have a beer. Talk to you later.”

During the exchange with Darlene, another boat had arrived. Dragging their own chairs and a cooler, a ragtag assortment of people approached the others. Bree recognized the young woman from the bookstore.

Her smile was friendly. “Hey, how are you? I’m Whitley, from the Peacock. How’s the book?”

“Yes, I recognized you. I’m great, thanks, and I’m loving the book.”

Space around the fire was filling in, and Whitley slid her chair into a small gap at about Bree’s three o’clock. “It’s one of her best, if you ask me,” Whitley said. “How do you know Jake?”

Eyes wide, Bree looked to her left at Jake.

“We’re neighbors,” Jake said quickly. “Bree’s a writer. She’s renting old man Meyer’s place for a couple months.”

“Wait!” Whitley leaned forward in her chair and squinted in Bree’s direction. “You’re not Bree Blaylock, are you?”

Bree nodded. “I am, actually.”

“Holy shit!” Whitley squeaked. “Bree Blaylock! I should have recognized you the other day. I mean, your red hair should have given it away. Holy shit! I loved your book!”

Blushing, Bree glanced over to see Jake watching her. “Wow, thanks so much. I’m really glad you liked it.”

“No, seriously, Nothing Much, are you kidding me? It was life-changing. I read it three times.”

Aware that conversation around the fire had paused as Whitley gushed on and on, Bree felt herself blush even deeper. “That’s really nice of you to say.”

“Oh!” Whitley popped up out of her chair, waving her hands expressively. “We should do a book signing! My bosses are always looking for ways to get more customers in the door. A signing with Bree Blaylock! That would be amazing.”

Sheepishly, the young woman looked to Bree and sank back into her seat. “If you were interested in doing it, of course.”

Bree smiled warmly. “I’d be happy to do a book signing, if the owners of the store wanted to do it.”

Whitley grinned from ear to ear. “They’d love it. I’ll ask them as soon as they come back.”

“So, Bree Blaylock, what’s it like staying in a haunted house?” The disdainful drawl came from directly across the fire ring.

“Come on, Darlene,” Jake objected softly.

Darlene dismissed him with a wave of the Budweiser her hand. “We’ve all heard the stories. There’s a ghost in that cottage. How many summer renters have come running out of that place like a bat out of hell, never even bothering to look back?”

Determined not to let the woman get the best of her, Bree leaned back in her chair and smiled. “I’m very comfortable in Mr. Meyer’s house. It’s nice and quiet, and I’m able to get a lot of writing done.”

Eyes wide, Whitley leaned forward. “Have you seen a ghost?”

“Oh, come on,” Jake objected. “You two can’t be serious.”

“There are stories, Jake,” Rusty commented. “Years ago, they supposedly found a dead girl out here floating near the island. They say they never caught her killer.”

“Every summer, a handful of Meyer’s renters leave before their week is up,” someone else added. “They tell some weird stories.”

“That’s what it is,” Darlene purred, narrowing her eyes at Bree. “It’s the ghost of the murdered girl, looking for revenge on the one who killed her.”

Picturing Steven, Bree tried to suppress a smile. “Again, I’m very happy at the house. And by mid-November, I’ll be finished with my book and out of your hair.”

Determined, she held Darlene’s stare until the other girl finally dropped her gaze. Keeping her outward expression neutral, inside, Bree rejoiced. You’re being ridiculous, she chided herself. You just won a staring contest with a local grocery clerk.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–Summer is Coming!

Because you know you’re hot for teacher…

Here’s your first peek at this summer’s hottest anthology, SUMMER SESSIONS! It comes out June 1, and best of all, it’s going to be available FREE at your favorite online bookseller.
Check out the blurb:

School is out!
But the lessons are just getting started.
This summer, five of your favorite steamy romance writers,
who also happen to be current and former classroom teachers,
are bringing you SUMMER SESSIONS,
an anthology of HOT reads for those endless summer nights.
This anthology includes sexy summer break books by JC Winchester, Linzi Basset, Maggie Jane Schuler, Patient Lee, and Pandora Spocks.
SUMMER SESSIONS, from Bratty Ginger Books, who brought you last summer’s International bestselling anthology, A TASTE OF SUBMISSION,
is available only through the end of August 2020.
So, hurry and grab your copy before it’s gone.

My own contribution to this project is JUST ONE NIGHT, my naughty little summer novella. Here’s a little snippet.

     The pair parked themselves at a tiny table at the edge of the piano bar, the first place they’d come to in their search for a cocktail.  Katie watched him as he approached the bar and ordered for them.  She couldn’t get over how handsome he was, how he’d come outside looking for her.  This was precisely what she needed to take her mind off of her man problems back home. 

   She smiled up at him as he returned to their table, carrying a margarita for her and a Scotch for himself.  “Cheers,” he said, raising his glass to hers.

     “Cheers,” she murmured in return, and she sipped gratefully, counting on the liquid courage her glass offered.

     “You know, we’ve gone about this all backward.”  He rested his drink on the table and offered his right hand.  “My name is—“

     “No!  No names,” Katie quickly interrupted.

     Mac blinked in surprise.  “No names.  Why no names?”

     “Just…because,” she stammered.  “No names, no personal information, we’ll just…keep it casual.”

     “Keep it casual.”  Mac frowned.  “Okay.”  He gave her a curious look.  “Do you want me to leave?”

     She shook her head, red curls swinging.  “No, I’d like you to stay.”

     He gave a relieved smile.  “Good because I’d like to stay.  So…no personal information.  Do you want to talk about work?”

     “Oh, hell, no!”

     “Um, how about that weather?  That’s some pretty great weather out there tonight.”

     Katie laughed lightly.  “I don’t mean to be a pain.”

     Mac smiled back.  “You’re not a pain, exactly.  I just have to figure out the rules.  And you’re here with three other women?”

     “You could see that in the dining room.  Where you were staring,” Katie observed.

     “You know that because you were staring back,” he countered.

     “And you’re here with two other men.”

     Mac nodded.  “My brothers.  Oops!  Was that personal?”

     “Now you’re making fun.”

     He smiled ruefully.  “Maybe just a little bit.  This is kind of a bachelor party.  My kid brother is getting married.”

     “A bachelor party?”  Katie laughed lightly.  “Shouldn’t you be getting back to the debauchery?”

     Mac laughed.  “Not much debauchery with those two.  My older brother’s been married for years, and Tommy’s head over heels for his fiancée.”  He glanced up at Katie.  “Oops!  More personal information.”

     Katie sighed and sipped her drink.  “My friends and I get together for a week every summer.  We’ve known each other since high school.”

     “There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

     Katie nodded firmly.  “We’re even, that’s all.”  She rested her forearm on the table and toyed with her glass.  Mac did the same, and as he did, his arm brushed against hers.  She made no effort to move away from him.  He intentionally rested his arm against hers, noting the electric charge he felt, wondering if she felt it, too.

     Glancing up, he saw that she was watching him intently.  “So…you don’t want any personal information.  You don’t want to talk about work.  You don’t want me to leave.”

     Katie shook her head.

     “Okay, well, we’ve got that settled.  What do you want?”  He watched her expectantly.

     She stared at her glass as she swirled the remainder of her margarita.  Her buzz from the dinner wine combined with the icy cocktail made her feel bold.  She looked back up at Mac. 

                    “Do you really want to know what I want?  I want just one night.  Just one night of anonymous, no-holds-barred, red-hot, no-strings-attached sex.  That’s what I want.”  She fixed him with a challenging stare.

     “Whoa,” he breathed, eyes wide.

     Katie looked down at her glass again.  “Too blunt?”

     Mac leaned back in his chair, lips forming an O.  “That was blunt, all right, but I can respect that.  I’ve gotta ask, though.”  He sought out her eyes.  “Is there some guy at home waiting for you to come back?”

     Katie shook her head.  “I’m not cheating on anybody.  You?”

     He shook his head, too, and laughed humorlessly.  “What was it you said earlier?  Oh, hell, no.”

     She lightly stroked his arm as it rested on the table, delighting in the goosebumps that appeared there.  Her gaze traveled from there to his lap, which seemed to be taking an interest in the proceedings, if the growing mound there was any indication.  She shifted her focus, taking in his torso to those lips she’d noticed earlier.  God, I just want to suck on that lower lip.

     She met his eyes again, saw the fire there, and knew it matched her own.  “So, what do you say?”

     “I say, have another margarita.  I just need to run to the little shop and pick up some…  Well, I didn’t actually expect that I’d need…”  He smiled apologetically.

     Her voice was soft.  “I’ll wait right here.”

     He took her hand and gently brushed his lips across her knuckles, gave her a wink, and left the bar. 

JUST ONE NIGHT by Pandora Spocks

SUMMER SESSIONS goes live June 1!
Be sure to add it to your TBR list at Goodreads.

Watch This Space–Up to Bat by Maggie Jane Schuler

Up to Bat Cover DIGITAL FINALMaggie Jane Schuler is launching a new collection called The Diamond Series, and the first book, Up to Bat comes out July 25.  I couldn’t be more excited–I’ve been a huge fan since her fabulous book, Resurrection.

Up to Bat is a contemporary, suspenseful, steamy romance and I can’t wait for it to come out.  To tide us over until then, here’s the description.

Samantha Sawyer, a busy college junior, is thrown a curveball when she’s asked to mentor Adriana, a shy freshman with secrets and mysteries.

Unfortunately, these secrets lead Sam into a dangerous game she’s not sure she can win. Her salvation comes packaged in the tall, sexy, and self-assured Blake Angel. Can he save her, or is he really the devil in disguise?

Meet the author.  Maggie Jane Schuler is a wife, mother of three almost-grown children, and teacher by day. While she has always loved to read, the thought of writing her own prose did not strike until she was in the middle of writing her Master’s Thesis. From that point on she was hooked.

She Resides in Southern California. Besides the family and books, she loves baseball. Since the Dodgers, Angels, and Padres are all within a short distance, and the Giants and Athletics a nice weekend jaunt away, she’s got plenty of games to take in during the season. Additionally, she enjoys cooking, movies, the beach, and the local mountains. She’s most content being with her family engaged in whatever activity they have planned.

Connect with the Maggie Jean Schuler:
Website: www.maggiejaneschuler.com
FB: bit.ly/AuthorMaggieJaneSchulerFB
FB Reader Group:bit.ly/TheNaughtyNerdyNest
Twitter: bit.ly/MaggieJaneSchulerTwitter
IG: bit.ly/maggiejanenerdynovelistInstagram
Google+: bit.ly/MJSchulerGooglePlus
Goodreads: bit.ly/GoodreadsMJS
Amazon: Author.to/AmazonMaggieJaneSchuler

UTB Teaser Text

Want to read Up to Bat?

TBR: Goodreads
http://bit.ly/MJSchulerUptoBat

Up to Bat is out July 25,
and will be available
at these fine online retailers.


Amazon: Available on Release Day
iBooks: http://bit.ly/ibooksMJSUptoBat
Nook: http://bit.ly/NookMJSUptoBat
Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboMJSUptoBat