Weekend Excerpt–RESISTING RISK

pandoraspocks2I am beyond thrilled!  This week, RESISTING RISK, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, received two more 5-STAR reviews!

The book has been out since December 2015, so I’m always happy when people discover it. Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.

Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan is great at what he does.  As the high-profile face of the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he dazzles juries and charms the press.  He’s also an inveterate player, shunning relationships in favor of shallow trysts with vapid blondes.

Enter smart redhead Maggie Flynn, the recent law school grad Michael hires to join his elite 50th floor team.  She’s been in love with him from the beginning, and she has no illusions about his character.  But she’s seen glimpses of the man he could be.  So for now, she’s content to work alongside him.  What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

For this week’s excerpt, here’s a little teaser from RESISTING RISK.

“Maggie, is the turkey ready?” Casey asked.

Maggie checked the clock and shook her head.  “No way, it has at least another hour, then it has to rest.  We can put in the beans and the stuffing when it comes out.  Nate, how do we reheat the red beans and rice?”

As Nate answered Maggie’s question, Ben wandered over to the window.  The buzzer rang again.  Ben glanced at Maggie in the kitchen.  “Somebody’s buzzing downstairs, Flynn.”

Casey was helping Maggie turn the turkey around in the oven.  “Well can you please buzz them in?  I’m a little busy here.”

Ben pressed the buzzer but made no move to open the apartment door.  About a minute later there was a knock.  The others were engrossed in the football game.  Ben stayed put.  “Somebody’s at the door, Flynn.”

“Oh for God’s sake, I’ll just drop everything and get it myself,” said Maggie, tossing down pot holders in exasperation.

Maggie flung open the door to find Michael standing in the hallway.  He grinned sheepishly.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

She blinked, confused.  “Michael, I…I mean, Merry Christmas.  But what…Shouldn’t you be in St. Bart’s?”

“I got snowed in.  My flight was cancelled.  I have a charter later on, but I thought I’d stop by here.  Do you have room for another orphan?”

A slow smile spread across her face.  “Of course, there’s always room.  Come on in.”

Maggie turned to find that everyone in the apartment was watching the two of them.  “Everyone, this is Michael.  Michael, everyone.”

“Hello, Merry Christmas,” he greeted the group.  To Maggie, “I brought wine.  I wasn’t sure…”

“Wine is perfect, thanks,” she told him.  Waving toward the kitchen she said, “Help yourself to something to drink.  We’ve been enjoying the munchies out of your gift basket.  Dinner will probably be another hour or so.”  She smiled at him.  “I’m so glad you’re here.  Shocked, but glad.”

After he dropped his coat and his suitcase in Maggie’s bedroom with the other coats, Michael got a beer for himself and settled in the living room, striking up a conversation with the guys watching football.  Casey sidled up to Maggie in the kitchen.  “You didn’t tell me Mr. Wonderful was coming.”

“I didn’t know Michael was coming.  He’s supposed to be in the Caribbean.  With someone, you understand, nobody goes to the Caribbean alone.”

“Maybe.  But he’s here now.”

Michael relaxed on the couch and looked around appreciatively at all the activity.  Maggie and Casey were in the kitchen along with a couple he didn’t know.  There was an older woman chatting with Nate from the firm.  Several others were watching football.  Everyone seemed happy and at home.

“This is nice,” he commented to Ben.  “It feels like a scene from Rent.”

Ben smirked.  “Viva la vie Boheme!” he raised his beer.

Michael chuckled and raised his beer as well.  “La vie Boheme.”

Dinner was served on three tables pushed together in the middle of the living room.  Plates were filled buffet-style in the kitchen.  Ben insisted that Maggie toast before they ate.

She raised her glass of wine.  “I feel like the luckiest girl.  I’m here celebrating the holiday with my most favorite people in the entire world.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.  Merry Christmas!”

After everyone ate as much as they could, the guys agreed to do all the clean-up.  Maggie supervised returning the tables to their proper places then sank onto the sofa, resting her feet on the coffee table.

“What about the dessert, Flynn?” Ben asked when the leftovers were packed up.

“Let’s be informal.  Grab some if you want some.  I want to do presents,” Maggie said.  Michael brought her a fresh glass of wine.  She looked up at him, grinning in appreciation, and patted the space beside her.

“I’ll sit on the floor, I don’t mind,” he said, sliding to a spot beside her feet.

“Now the way this works is, everyone takes a number.  We go in order starting at 1.  Number 1 picks first.  Number 2 can pick a new present or steal from Number 1.  Everybody got it?” Ben asked.  Maggie watched in amusement as some played shyly while others were cut-throat.

“What’s this?” Michael asked quietly.  She looked down to see him holding an ornament from the tree.  It was a small red glass ball held by a green paper cone.  Her name was spelled out in glitter.

“I think I was about six when I made that,” she smiled.  “The Christmas ornaments were some of the few things I took from my dad’s house.”

He grinned.  “I like it.”

When the gifts were over, Maggie had a new hand-crocheted toilet-roll cover.  Michael had a $10 gift card to Starbucks.  “Guess somebody didn’t get the memo,” he quipped so that only Maggie heard, and she giggled softly.

He winked and leaned close.  “Mags, I should be making my way to the airport.”

“Okay,” Maggie sighed.  “I’ll walk you out.”  She got her coat and hat while he said his goodbyes.  “I’ll be right back,” she said to Casey as they headed out of the apartment.  They walked down the stairs without chatting.

Once out on the sidewalk, Michael turned and faced her.  “I had a great time, Mags.  Thanks for inviting me.”  He glanced up.  “We have an audience, by the way.”  He waved at the crowd gathered in Maggie’s front window.

She looked up at them, scowling.  “Come on,” she said, turning right and heading down the sidewalk.  She stopped just around the corner.

Michael smiled.  “Thanks.  I just wanted to say goodbye privately.  I brought you a gift but I didn’t want to give it to you in there.”  He pulled a small flat box from his pocket.  It was light blue, tied with a white ribbon.

Maggie’s eyes widened.  “Sean Michael Rannigan, you did not!”

“How did you know the S stands for Sean?

She shrugged.  “Everyone knows it’s Sean.  I can’t believe you went to Tiffany…”  She stopped and looked up at him, smiling sadly.  “This wasn’t for me.  This is supposed to be for someone else.”

“No, Mags, this is for you,” he said earnestly.  “I mean, to be honest, I went there yesterday looking for something for Jana.”

“What, Toys R Us and GapKids were closed?” Maggie quipped.

“Ah-hah-hah, you’re very funny.  I found a little trinket to give to Jana, but then I turned and saw this.  All I could think was that you should have it.  It’s for you, Mags.”

Curious, Maggie slowly pulled the white ribbon and lifted the lid.  In the box resting on light blue velvet was a delicate silver bracelet.  It had a vintage look to it with large rectangular milky white cabochons alternating with trios of small round diamonds surrounded by platinum filigree.  She looked back up at Michael, eyes wide.

“Those are moonstones,” he said proudly.  “This was in the vintage case.  It was made in 1915.”  He gazed at the bracelet.  “It’s graceful and classy, just like you.”

“I don’t know what to say, Michael.  I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.  Will you help me put it on?”

He lifted the bracelet from the box and as Maggie held out her left hand he fastened it around her wrist.  She held it out and watched it catch the natural light.  As she did, she noticed a tiny platinum tag hanging from the clasp.  Peering closer she saw that it was engraved.  To Maggie, From Michael. 

“See?  I told you it was for you.”  She looked back up at him, eyes shining, and as she did, a gust of wind caught some stray hair, blowing it across her face.  Michael gently moved the errant strands, tucking them behind her ear.  Without planning it at all, he planted a tender kiss on her lips.

He moved back slightly as Maggie looked up at him, eyes shining with desire.  He leaned into her again, the kiss this time all heat and passion.  She brought her left hand up to cradle his right cheek, her desire matching his.  When he stopped kissing her, he pulled her close, tucking her under his chin and they stood like that for a moment.

Finally, he gently set her back from him.  She looked up, the sad glint once again in her eyes.  After all, he was leaving her to go to someone else.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

“Merry Christmas, Michael.”

RESISTING RISK is only $.99 and it’s available at this link:
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

RR1 updated

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Weekend Excerpt–Invisible

Here’s a little something different for this weekend’s excerpt.  Rather than posting a snippet from a book that’s currently (or soon to be) available, I’m digging into the Teasers archive on my website.

Sometimes when I’m busy working on my latest project, an idea pops into my head and I just can’t shake it.  Afraid I’ll forget, I’ll chase the wild hare and get a chapter or two banged out, then go back to what I’m supposed to be working on.

Under the Teasers tab, you’ll find these barely started stories.  My current WIP and next release, For Sparrow, has its beginning there.  This one is called Invisible, and it’s in the pipeline to be finished in the near future.

invisible

Henry sat across the table watching her devour his hamburger and fries.  When he’d asked, she’d said she wasn’t hungry, but when his food arrived, she hadn’t been able to take her eyes off of it.

     The impromptu meal started when he’d asked if he could buy her a coffee.  It seemed a small thing, seeing how she’d rescued him from an embarrassing predicament.  He never should have tried to go after Joanne.  He’d been a fool.  She hadn’t just now decided to break up with him, it had been brewing for a while.
     He’d found himself trapped in the door of her building, the sleeve of his overcoat caught when it slammed shut.  He’d pulled and tugged, kicking at the door, but to no avail.  He couldn’t even manage to take the damn thing off and the driving rain was soaking him anyway.
     That’s when she’d appeared.  “Are you stuck?” she’d called to him up the steps.
     “No, I enjoy standing in the rain!” he’d fired back.
     She’d shaken her head and bounded up the steps, pulling her soaked black fleece hoodie tighter around herself.  “No reason to be an asshole,” she’d muttered.  She’d begun pressing all of the buttons beside the door.  “Let me in!  It’s rainin’ out here!”  The door had buzzed and he was free.  She’d given an exaggerated bow and hurried down the steps, stopping under the awning of the building next door.
     Sheepishly, Henry had followed, standing beside her under the awning.  She’d glanced down at him then resumed looking out at the rain.  “I’m sorry,” he’d said.  “I didn’t mean to be an asshole.”  She’d continued staring toward the street.  “Can I buy you a coffee?  My way of saying thanks.”
     She’d looked back at him again seeming to think for a moment.  Finally she’d sighed.  “I guess I’m not goin’ anywhere until it stops rainin’ anyways,” she’d said.  That was when he’d noticed her drawl.  She certainly wasn’t from around here.
     She must be homeless, he guessed.  He figured her to be in her early twenties, twenty-three tops.  She was pretty, too, as far as he could tell.  Her long wet hair was plastered to her head, but it seemed to be red.  She had huge blue eyes that were watchful, flitting all around the room as she ate.  He’d never seen a woman eat like that.  And she was skinny, too.  “I’m Henry, by the way,” he told her.
     She paused, french fry halfway to her mouth.  “I’m Shelby.”  She chewed thoughtfully and swallowed.  “What were you doing stuck in that door, Henry?”
     He looked down at his hands.  “Acting like a fool, I suppose.”
     She smiled knowingly.  “It was a girl,” she said definitely.  Henry declined to answer.  “So what do you do, Henry?”
     “I’m a professor of English Literature at Columbia,” he answered.
     Shelby’s already large eyes grew bigger.  “No shit?” she said softly, and she laughed to herself.
     Henry felt his temper rising.  Having been born with dwarfism, he’d faced ridicule all his life.  “What, is it so unbelievable that someone like me could be a university professor?” he demanded.
     Shelby stopped laughing.  “That’s a hell of a chip on your shoulder, there.  A chip that big ought to have its own name.”  She shook her head.  
     “What I meant was, who would have thought that someone like me would ever meet a professor, let alone sit and have dinner with him?”
     “What do you mean, someone like you?” he asked, realizing that he owed her another apology.
     She shrugged.  “I’m not very smart,” she said simply.  “I never even finished the eighth grade.  I don’t even know anybody who went to college, let alone anybody who teaches there.”
     Henry let that thought sink in.  I’m not very smart.  “Where are you from, Shelby?”
     She shook her head, grinning.  “You never heard of it.”
     “Try me.”
     “I’m from Pine Grove, West Virginia,” she said, watching him carefully.
     Henry smiled slowly.  “You’re right, I never heard of it.”
     She laughed.  “Count yourself lucky, then.  It’s smack in the middle of nowhere.  Everybody there works at the Hastings plant, processing natural gas.  They actually have red lights to stop the cars about a mile away from the plant, just in case the shit hits the fan.”
     Henry nodded.  “Is that why you left?  You didn’t want to work in the plant?”
     Shelby looked him dead in the eye.  “I left in the middle of eighth grade because I was tired of getting fucked by my mama’s boyfriends.”  She paused.  “I figured if I was going to be doing it anyway, I might as well be getting paid for it.”
     Henry’s eyes widened.  “You’re a…” he stopped.
     She narrowed her eyes.  “Now who’s judging?” she asked.
     Henry backpedaled.  “No, I mean, I just…”
    “I don’t do that anymore.  I quit three years ago.  I have a new gig,” she said.  “I take pictures.”  Henry noticed that she pronounced it pitchers.  “I have a friend who sells postcards and shit to the tourists.  He sells my postcards and splits the profits with me.”
     “Really?” Henry said thoughtfully.
     “I have a nice camera,” she said, for the first time opening up her jacket to reveal a small camera bag.  She placed it on the table, opening it carefully.  “It’s mine, I bought it at a pawn shop,” she said, slightly defensively.
     Henry looked over the camera appreciatively before handing it back to her.  “It’s very nice,” he said.
     “That’s why I came uptown.  Somebody told me that I’d like to take pictures at Columbia.  Said there’s cool buildings there.  I was pissed off and not thinkin’ straight.  It was dark by the time I got here.  Plus I didn’t know it was going to rain.  I wasted a whole damn trip for nothing.”
     “Where do you live?” Henry wondered.    
     Shelby rolled her eyes.  “Long story,” she said, “but when I’m in between places, I usually stay at Grand Central.”  He thought of the train station.  “It’s pretty clean, and you can leave your stuff in a locker for two weeks before you have to move it.  There’s a guy who lets me clear tables for a few dollars.  Plus, you can eat what people leave on the trays.  You wouldn’t believe how much food people just waste.”
     Henry listened, astounded.  He’d never known a moment when he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from.  “So you came uptown to take pictures at the university?”
     “Yeah,” she said around another mouthful.  “Kind of stupid, I guess.  It was too late to begin with and then when I came out of the subway the bottom just fell out of the sky.”
     “So are you going to go back to Grand Central?” he probed.
     Shelby shrugged.  “I guess so.  I’d better hurry, though.  The good places get taken early.”
     Henry sat back in his seat, picturing Shelby stalking through the train station dripping wet, trying to find a good place to settle down for the night.  His own words surprised him.  “You could stay with me for the night.  I’ll take you to the university in the morning, give you a tour.”
     Shelby’s eyes narrowed.  “I don’t fuck for a place to sleep.”
     Henry blushed furiously.  “God, no!  That’s not what I meant at all,” he stammered.  “I just thought, you’re all the way here, you’re soaked, it’ll take you, what, another hour to get back to Grand Central.  What if you can’t find a place?”  He cleared his throat.  “I’m just saying you could stay on my couch, go with me to work tomorrow.  You can get your pictures and get back at a reasonable time.”
     Shelby popped the last bite of hamburger into her mouth, gazing steadily at Henry.  “Okay,” she finally said.
Invisible won’t be part of the Dream Dominant Collection.  It’s going to be more spicy vanilla, like Rannigan’s Redemption and Just One Night.
This is the one my husband wants me to finish, and I will.  But for now, you can head over to my Amazon page for my books that are currently available.

Be Part Of The Smart Sexy Launch Party

Cover for Rannigan's Redemption Part 1 Resisting risk FINALMy new book, Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk is now available for pre-order at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes&Noble, and Kobo.

In Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk, hotshot Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan hires smart redhead Maggie Flynn to join his elite defense team.  She’s sharp and witty, and he’s glad to have her working with him.  She’s not dating material, obviously, he prefers blondes.  But there’s something about Maggie that give him an uneasy feeling.

Maggie, on the other hand, has a mad crush on Michael.  She even changed her mind about where she’d work after law school just to be able to work with him.  She knows he’s a player.  But maybe, just maybe, he’s not the shallow jerk most people assume that he is.

In support of the release on December 8, I’ve started a Thunderclap called the Smart Sexy Launch Party.  If you’re not familiar with this promotional tool, it’s sort of like a crowd-funding website, only it’s not about money.  You sign on and agree to let the website post my message to your Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr on a specific day at a specific time.  It’s a super easy way to support an Indie Author’s work because you just set it and forget it.

I would be forever grateful if you would click on the link and participate in the Smart Sexy Launch Party in support of Rannigan.  If you’re an author I’d be happy to reciprocate.  Thanks so much!

Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk–Cover Reveal

Cover for Rannigan's Redemption Part 1 Resisting risk FINAL

I am beyond thrilled to present the cover for my new spicy contemporary romance, Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk.  It’s the first book of a trilogy about the complicated relationship between Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, a young lawyer fresh out of law school.

Most of the action takes place in New York City.  There is crisp dialogue, exciting courtroom drama, and, of course, sexy romance.

I’m hoping that Michael and Maggie become favorite characters you’ll want to return to again and again.  Here’s a sneak peek at the book description.

     Brilliant Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan has his life arranged exactly the way he likes it. As a founding partner at the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he can let his underlings do the legwork on the high profile defense cases his exclusive 50th floor division handles. He prefers to simply breeze in and do what he does best: dazzle juries and charm the press.
His private life is well-ordered, too. Michael doesn’t have the time or the patience for relationships. Instead, he has a contact list of hot blondes who meet his needs at any given moment, whether it’s a date to a gallery opening or awards show. Or he just wants to get laid.
Some people would call him shallow. But they’re just envious.
Maggie Flynn has her life mapped out as well. After she graduates from law school she plans to take a job with the Prosecutor’s Office where she interned. But when she attends a job fair and meets Michael Rannigan, her plans change. She’s studied his cases, even heard him speak once. He’s smart and sexy and she can’t resist interviewing with him.
Michael hires Maggie and has her assigned to his elite 50th floor team. He knows smart when he sees it. He also sees the spark in her eyes. She wants him. And having her nearby strokes his ego. It’s not like anything will come of it, she’s so far from his type. But there’s something unsettling about Mary Margaret Flynn, like she can see through his bullshit in a way no one else ever bothered to do.
Maggie realizes that her crush on Michael is all but hopeless. He’s a self-absorbed womanizer. But beneath that cool exterior, she’s seen the man he can be and she’s sure that love can bring that out. In the meantime, she’s content to work with him.
What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

The release date is December 8, 2015.  Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk is now available for pre-order at these fine retailers.

Amazon

iTunes

Barnes&Noble

Kobo

1 More Day…

rannigan bedUntil the October 14 cover reveal cover of Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk.  That’s right, it’s my birthday and I’ll reveal if I want to.

You’ll see it right here first, before I put it out other places like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  I’ll also tell you the release date and where it’s available for pre-orders.

Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn.  They work well together.  They laugh a lot and they have a great deal in common.

She’s always been in love with him.  She’s just contented herself with their relationship the way it is.

She means more to him than he cares to consider.  So far, Michael has managed to resist the risk of falling for Maggie.  It’s a delicate balance.

But if they cross that line, all bets are off.

2 Days…

Until October 14, when I celebrate my birthday with the cover reveal of her new spicy romance Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk.  You’ll see it first right here on my author blog, Luke & Bella.

It’s complicated between Michael and Maggie.  Probably more so for her than for him, she realizes.  They’re friends, good friends, that’s undeniable.

But she’s in love with him, has been since they met.  Before that, if she’s honest with herself.  And every once in a while they share a moment.  She’s almost positive he feels it, too.

Obviously she can’t spend her nights pining away for something that will never be.  She dates every now and then.  But when she’s with a man, in her mind it’s always Michael.

3 Days…

loversUntil October 14, when I celebrate my birthday with the cover reveal of her new spicy romance Rannigan’s Redemption Part 1: Resisting Risk.  You’ll see it first right here on my author blog, Luke & Bella.

Michael mentally kicked himself.  What had he been thinking, kissing Maggie like that?

He knew what he’d been thinking.  She was irresistible, really.  To be fair, they’d both had a lot to drink.  But the combination of the desire that sparkled in her bright green eyes, her utterly guileless magnetism, not to mention her cleavage in that dress, had drawn him like a moth to the flame.

Now to deal with the fallout…