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–Bonus Scene!

A traumatized young woman held hostage for years.
The rancher who comes to her rescue.
The crime boss who will kill them both if he finds them.

JENNY’S VOICE is Book 1 in the Redheads & Ranchers Series.
Sexy redheads and the ranchers they can’t resist.

Jenny Stone’s voice was silenced the horrific day ruthless crime boss Victor Sorkin executed her parents in cold blood and took her as his personal good luck charm. Now she’s his pet, at his mercy when he summons her to warm his bed. Or the beds of his more esteemed business associates.

When she sees her chance to escape, she takes it, hitching a ride with an unsuspecting cowboy, horse trainer Cole Caldwell. Cole’s stunned to find the terrified young redhead hiding in his horse trailer. She’s as skittish as some of the horses he works with, and she’s apparently mute. But the nurturer in him wants to shelter her, to protect her. He’ll do his best to ignore the attraction he feels, content to help her know she’s safe with him.

When Jenny first escaped, her only thought was to get away. But now she’s worried. She’s put Cole in unspeakable danger. Should she leave before Victor finds them? Could it already be too late?

If you like your romance filled with hot cowboys, suspense, and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love JENNY’S VOICE.

Here’s a special bonus scene from JENNY’S VOICE.

What am I going to do?  

The question hasn’t stopped swirling through my head for the last few hours.  Not since I arrived back at the ranch with my new client’s horse and found her hiding in my trailer.

Jenny.  

At least that’s what she tells me her name is.  Maybe tells isn’t the right word.  Because apparently, Jenny doesn’t speak.  

She won’t write, either.  I found that out quickly enough when I tried to get her to jot down her name on a notepad I found in the kitchen drawer.  

Somebody has scared the utter shit out of this girl, that much is clear enough.  Maybe the same asshole who gave her the black eye and the busted lip. The one I’ll kill if I ever get the chance.  I may be out of the Marines now, but I know how to handle myself.

Hell, I undoubtedly scared the shit out of her when I snatched her up off the floor of the trailer.  All covered up in my old barn jacket like she was, I couldn’t tell who’d stowed away in the empty stall beside Dahlia.  When I grabbed the front of the jacket and slammed her against the wall, it felt like lifting up a bag of nothing.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first glimpse of her face, with her left eye all purple and swelled shut, her lips battered and split.  Her good eye was the clearest green I’ve ever seen, and she stared at me with a terror that pierced my soul. 

She was shaking like a leaf, but whether it was from the cold or from fear, I couldn’t say.  Her legs and feet were bare, and I had to wonder if she wore anything at all under my old jacket.  

I didn’t even hesitate.  I scooped her up and carried her to the cab of the truck where I put the heat on blast.  At least she could warm up a bit while I got Dahlia sorted out in the barn.  

It gave me a little time to think, too.  How did this girl get in my trailer? And when?  I only made two stops. Once to pick up the horse, and once to grab lunch at the truck stop.

That has to be it.  The truck stop. She ran away from whoever was hurting her.  That’s the only thing that makes sense.  

With Dahlia squared away, I drove us to the house.  Blue greeted us at the door, and he took to the girl right away.  She seemed to like him, too, so that’s a good thing, I figure.

When she slid the hood down, I was surprised to see that her hair was long and red.  In the light of the kitchen, her bruises were more obvious, too. I didn’t want her to feel self-conscious about it, so I tried to keep things light.  After a while, it became clear that she doesn’t talk. It was a hell of a realization.  

Two thoughts hit me at once: one, that makes things more complicated communication-wise, and two, what the hell happens to a girl that takes away her ability to speak?  I’ve seen combat veterans who have been through hell on earth, but they could all speak.

When I offered her the chance to take a hot shower while I heated up some leftover beef stew, she jumped at it.  She went upstairs with me and waited with Blue outside the hallway bathroom while I went to my room to try to find something for her to put on.  I grabbed some old sweats and my softest flannel shirt, along with a pair of grey wool socks.

I handed her the clothes, and it nearly broke my heart when she tried to smile and her lip split again.  She set the clothes on the bathroom counter and slid off my old jacket.  

Underneath, she was indeed clothed, but only in the most basic sense of the word.  The dress she wore was a skimpy club dress made out of some shiny kind of material.  It left little to the imagination, and I deliberately looked away.  

But when she turned to go into the bathroom, I caught something on the back of her shoulder.  It was a raised circular mark about the size of a silver dollar. A second or two ticked by before my brain caught up.

Somebody has branded her.

Downstairs, I stirred the pot of stew and did some deep breathing exercises trying to tamp down the rage I felt.  Somebody motherfuckin’ branded that girl!  

When she came back downstairs, she seemed pleased to be clean and warm.  I was shocked to see that she’d cut her hair. When I left her, it had hung all the way down her back.  Now, it just brushed her shoulders, and despite her battered face, she was a pretty girl.  

Now that’s the kind of thought that can just go back where it came from.

Favoring her busted lip, she carefully devoured her bowl of stew like she hadn’t eaten in weeks. 

When she’d finished,  I took her up to my sister’s old bedroom.  It’s nothing special. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of a time capsule to back when Beth was in high school, but she seemed to like it.  I said goodnight and went to close the door, but she wasn’t having it. Without words, she made it clear to me that she wanted the door left open.  

I called Blue to come, but he’d already curled up on the rug beside the bed, so I figure that’s a good thing.  I think he senses her brokenness and has appointed himself to be her canine guardian.  

Now, downstairs in my office, I swirl the bourbon in my glass and wonder what comes next.  When I mentioned calling the police, the stark terror in her good eye returned. So I guess that’s out.  For now. Maybe as I gain her trust…

I wonder where she came from and who hurt her.  I have a million questions.  But I guess the most immediately pressing was her name.

Standing there in the kitchen, dressed in an old pair of my sweats and a faded plaid flannel shirt that swallows her whole, she finally trusted me enough to trace the letters with her finger on the kitchen counter.  

J-e-n-n-y.

It’s progress, right?  I suppose it is. But now what?

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/JennysVoice

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

2018 GOLDEN FLOGGER AWARD WINNER
Best BDSM Book, BDSM Light!

A platonic Dom/sub relationship?
It’s a damn odd arrangement.

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years. Now she’s lost her friend, her lover…and her Dominant.

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet.

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend. But it’s a damn odd arrangement—a platonic Dom/sub relationship. With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her. At her husband’s funeral.

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking. But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi. She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies. In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive. But that’s simply ridiculous. He’s five years younger than she is. He couldn’t possibly be interested in her. Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom. It’s perfect for the time being. Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

And could it all end at the hands of a madman?

FOR SPARROW is the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection. Here’s a steamy snippet.

They followed the porter up the stairs to the last door on the end. He opened it with a flourish. “Welcome to your suite.”

Judd motioned for Jessi to go ahead, and she entered, finding herself in a small foyer that opened onto a warm, inviting, luxurious suite. The room was appointed with British colonial furnishings in muted earth tones. The king-sized mahogany four-poster bed was flanked by matching side tables, and beyond that was a sitting area with a small sofa opposite a pair of wing-backed chairs, a low table between them. But what caught her attention was the pair of French doors that opened onto a generous veranda overlooking the ocean.

Jessi drew open the door and stepped outside as a warm breeze ruffled her hair. A pair of rattan rockers with thick beige cushions sat pointed toward the water, a small circular table between them. She crossed to the white railing then turned to look back into the room.

Judd was handing a few bills to the porter and thanking him. He closed the door behind the man, then joined Jessi outside. The roof hung over the expanse of the veranda, so that even on a rainy day, the outdoor space could be enjoyed.

“What do you think, Angel?” he asked, sliding his arm around her waist and nuzzling her neck as they faced the beach and the water beyond.

“I think,” she tiptoed up to kiss him, “that this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.” She nuzzled his cheek, wrapping both arms around him. “Thank you so much for bringing me here.”

He pulled her close, kissing the top of her head. “I’m happy you like it. But there are more surprises.”

Jessi looked up at him. “More surprises?”

Judd nodded. “But something’s wrong.” He knitted his brow, feigning confusion. “Angel is here, and dressed, rather than on her knees, and naked. How is that possible?”

She tried to suppress a smile. “That’s possible because Sir didn’t tell me.”

He shook his head in mock exasperation. “Blaming it on me, too? The infractions just pile up. Hurry!” He smacked her bottom lightly as she headed inside, then turned to gaze out over the strip of sugar-white sand separating the land from the crystal blue water.

If he were being honest with himself, he’d have to acknowledge the tendrils of anxiety that tickled his stomach. Offering Jessi a collar was a big step-what if she said ‘no’?

Could she say no? He sighed deeply. He didn’t think so.

He turned back to the room and was pleased with what he saw. He’d been deliberately vague in his instructions for Jessi. She knew to be naked and on her knees, but he hadn’t said where. In the absence of any directive, she’d gone with what was their norm, kneeling at the foot of the bed. His cock celebrated the sight of Jessi, arms behind her, breasts pushed forward, her head bowed submissively with her eyes closed.

Judd stalked noiselessly across the tile floor to where his bags were, unzipping the top of one and extracting a black satin blindfold mask. Jessi waited patiently, eyes still closed. Rather than standing in front of her, which was their custom, he stopped behind her, lightly petting her hair.

“Angel, you are amazingly beautiful. You have no idea. I think,” he slid the blindfold into place, “I want you to forget about seeing for a while. Just concentrate on your other senses.”

He moved back to his bag, returning with a small implement in his hand. To his knowledge, Jessi hadn’t experienced a Wartenburg wheel. At least she’d never mentioned it to him. “Safe words, Angel. What are your safe words?”

“Green, yellow, and red, Sir.”

“Good girl,” he nodded. “Use them if you need them.”

Lightly, Judd drew his fingers across Jessi’s shoulders, leaning down to fondle her breasts. He heard the change in her breathing and knew she was aroused. Her nipples peaked instantly, her areolas simply tight pink puckers around the sharp points.

Applying only the slightest pressure, he drew the spiked wheel up her arm from her elbow to her shoulder, eliciting a gasp from Jessi. He stilled his movements. “Color, Angel?”

“Green, Sir. I was just…surprised.”

Judd smiled, resuming his meandering with the wheel, drawing it across her collarbone to her other shoulder and down, delighting in the goosebumps that formed across her body. Her nipples sharpened to impossibly tight points, and unable to resist, he headed that direction with the wheel, lightly grazing them.

Jessi caught her lower lip in her teeth and groaned softly. Abruptly, he stopped his survey of her torso and walked away, returning a moment later with something different in his hands.

Curious, Jessi listened as hard as she could, straining to hear what Judd might be doing next. As she waited, impatient for his sweet torture to continue, she became aware of the scent of leather. She turned her head this way and that, trying to figure out where it was coming from. She heard Judd’s throaty chuckle and felt a puff of air on her face. The leather scent was a bit stronger.

“I’m not sure what you want me to do, Sir,” she confessed.

“You may remove the blindfold, Angel.”

Jessi loosened her grip behind her back and reached up to slowly slip off her blindfold. Blinking against the soft light in the room, she saw nothing but the bed.

From behind her, Judd lowered a purple leather collar into view. It was plain, for the most part. A strip of purple leather about an inch wide, it was marked only by a quartet of silver rivets in the center of the strip, flanking a D-ring with a round ring attached to it. There was a silver buckle on one end and the other end tapered into a point. Judd moved around and sat on the end of the bed, laying the leather strip over his knee. Wide-eyed, Jessi ventured a finger to lightly stroke the collar. Then she looked up to Judd.

“What do you say, Angel? Will you be my submissive? Will you agree to obey me, trusting me to lead you?”

Jessi stroked the collar again and gazed back at Judd. Her voice was soft. “I’ve already given you my submission. I do trust you to lead me.”

Judd smiled. “This makes it official. I’d be honored Jessi, if you’d wear my collar.” Earnest longing sparkled in his eyes.

Jessi bowed her head. “If it pleases you, Sir, I’d love to wear your collar.”.

FOR SPARROW by Pandora Spocks

Award-winning FOR SPARROW is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

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 picked the town of Midnight Cove, South Carolina by closing her eyes and pointing to a random spot on the map. She doesn’t care where she goes as long as it’s away from her abusive former fiance. All she wants is a quiet place to finish writing her new novel and to live in peace.

As soon as she drives up to the cottage she’s renting for the next couple of months, she knows she’s not alone. But she learned long ago not to be afraid of things that go bump in the night.

What she didn’t count on was falling for the handsome local lawman who lives a few doors down. Jake Hanson is giving her hope that finding real love is actually possible. But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

If I’m being honest, I have to say that I LOVE October. First of all, it’s my birthday month. Add to that the cooler temps, the beautiful fall colors…it’s an irresistible season.

But in October, suddenly I’m in the mood for a ‘dark and stormy night in a haunted house’ kind of book. If you’re like me, MIDNIGHT COVE is just what you’re looking for.

Here’s a scary little snippet.

A flash of lightning lit up the downstairs of the lake house like an overexposed photograph.  The crack of thunder was instantaneous, and Bree ducked her head reflexively.  Murphy, never a fan of a thunderstorm, cowered beside her on the sofa. 

The power had blinked off nearly half an hour earlier, and now the den was lit only by the fire in the fireplace along with a few scattered candles Bree had brought down from upstairs.  She’d had a productive day of writing, and now she was content to watch the storm and read her Kindle for as long as the battery held out.

She patted the dog affectionately.  “You’re fine, don’t be such a baby,” she murmured.  “It’s nice and cozy in here, and I’m sure they’ll get the power back soon.”

The tiny digital clock in the corner of her tablet read 10:04, and Bree wondered if the power might be off until morning.  Certainly, no one would be climbing up any power poles until the storm was over.

Briefly, she considered heading upstairs to bed, but her phone rang before she could definitively decide.

“Hi,” she smiled.

“Hi yourself,” Jake said.  “How are you holding up in this crazy storm?”

She glanced at Murphy and shook her head.  “Oh, we’re fine.  Some of us are better than others.”

“Murphy’s not digging the thunder?”

“You guessed it.  I, however, am enjoying the light show over the lake.  I wish the power were on, though.  It feels very 19th century.  I’m so spoiled,” she laughed.

There was a slight pause.  “We don’t have any reports of power outages.  How long has it been out?”

Bree raised her eyebrows.  “Maybe half an hour?”

“Can you see if mine’s out, too?  I left my dock light on.”

“Okay, hang on.”  Bree slipped off the sofa and padded to the back door.  Through heavy rain, she could just make out a dot of light several houses down.  “Yeah, I think I can see your light.  The rain is so heavy, it’s hard to tell.”

Lightning flashed again, for a microsecond illuminating a dark figure standing directly in front of Bree, mere inches away on the other side of the glass.  She shrieked, scrambling backward so fast, she tripped on the rug and ended up on her behind.  Her phone landed beside her.

“Bree!  What’s wrong?”  Jake’s tone was urgent.

She snatched up the phone.  “Holy shit!  I thought I saw someone on the deck.”  Bree’s heart pounded.

“Is someone out there?”

She shook her head.  “No, that’s crazy, nobody would be out there.”  Another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the darkness, and she saw it again.  Someone in a dark hood was peering in at her from the deck.  She gasped and crab-crawled backward to the end of the sofa, hiding herself from view.  Murphy leaped off the sofa and charged the back door, barking for all he was worth.

“Bree?  Bree!”

“He’s…he’s there!  Somebody’s out there!  I thought maybe it was just my own reflection, but he’s out there!”  Bree felt hysteria rising.

“Bree, where are you right now?”

“I’m hiding behind the sofa,” she whispered.

“Is there someplace you can go, a closet or something close by?”

With Murphy still barking, she looked wildly around the room.  From her vantage point behind the sofa, she could see the hallway that led to the foyer.  She knew there was a closet about halfway down. 

“Yes, yes,” she hissed.  “The coat closet.”

“Stay low and get there.  I’m on my way.  Don’t come out of the closet.  I’ll call you once I know it’s safe, okay?”

Phone pressed to her ear, Bree nodded.

“Bree, did you hear me?  Hide in the closet and don’t come out for anything.”

Her teeth chattered, and she nodded again.  “In the closet.  You’ll call me.”

“I will.  Everything’s going to be alright.  I’ll be there as soon as I can get there.”

*******

Jake doubted he’d ever made the trek from town as quickly as he did that night.  Dan Roebuck, also on duty that rainy night, followed Jake in his own patrol car.  Blue lights flashing as the storm’s fury began to subside, Jake skidded to a stop in the gravel driveway and jumped out into the steady rain that still fell. 

Heavy black Maglight in one hand and service revolver in the other, he nodded to Dan.  They split up, cautiously searching around opposite ends of the house and meeting at the back deck. 

Jake glanced down the lake toward his house and saw the light illuminating the end of his dock, just like Bree had said.

“Hanson.”

He turned to Dan, who aimed his flashlight on the wooden steps leading up to the deck.  “Muddy footprints.  Somebody was out here.”

Stepping carefully to avoid ruining the tracks, the men followed the trail up the steps and all the way to the back door, where they ended.  Inside the house, Murphy continued to bark.

“It’s okay, Murphy, good boy,” Jake called to him.

As soon as the dog heard Jake’s voice, the barking was replaced by tail-wagging.

The two men crouched to examine the muddy prints.  Jake’s lips pressed into a grim line.  “The guy stood here for a while.” 

He looked up, past the yellow lab who was now whining at him, into the den where the fire still burned in the fireplace.  A half-glass of wine sat on the end table beside the place Bree would have been sitting on the sofa.

Jake felt a ripple of rage.  Someone had stood out here watching Bree.  He shook his head abruptly.  “Hey, Roebuck, want to keep looking around?  I need to let her know we’re here.”

Dan nodded and moved further down the deck, shining his light as he did.  Jake took out his phone and carefully headed back down the stairs. 

She picked up on the first ring.  “Where are you?” she whispered.

“I’m here,” he answered as he rounded the end of the house.  “I’m heading to your front door now.  Come let me in.”

At the front door, he tapped lightly, exhaling deliberately as he tried to tamp down his anger.  That someone had been prowling around the house, had been peering in at Bree, was more than he could stand.  As she tentatively opened the door, he pasted on what he hoped was a reassuring smile.  When she saw him, she threw herself into his arms. 

“Hey, it’s okay, everything’s okay.”  She shook uncontrollably as he held her.  He pressed a kiss to the top of her head.  “Come on, let’s go inside.  I’m getting you all wet.”

“I-I don’t c-care,” she told him.  “I was so scared.”

“I know, babe, but you’re safe.  I promise you’re safe now.”  He walked her to the sofa where she sat.  He took a seat on the coffee table across from her.  “Now, tell me what you saw.”

Her eyes were wide, and she still shook.  He took her icy hands between his own.  “Bree, describe what you saw.”

“A-a man was just standing there.  It was so dark.  I only saw him for a second, when the lightning flashed.  At first, I thought I had scared myself, that it was just my own reflection.  Or maybe–” 

She looked up at him like she was surprised to see him, and she shook her head again.  “But when the lightning flashed again, he was still there.  I was so scared,” she squeaked as tears began to fall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

Doesn’t September put you in the mood to read something suspenseful and romantic? You know, a steamy ghost story with a happily-ever-after ending?

Take a creepy lakeside town, add an eclectic cast of characters with secrets and a haunted house, and you have MIDNIGHT COVE, my spooky, sexy Halloween romance novel.

In MIDNIGHT COVE, 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?

Here’s a teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Sand feels cool beneath her bare feet, and a light breeze ruffles her long red hair. Turquoise water sparkles in the sunlight as foam-edged waves rush up the sandy slope. Normally, the beach would make her nervous, but this isn’t her beach. It’s just a dream.

Bree relaxes in the knowledge that she’s tucked safely in bed. She’ll just enjoy the serenity of the imaginary shoreline. Smiling to herself, she looks down past her flowing white dress to the footprints she’s leaving in the soft wet sand. She wonders if this is Fiji. She’s always wanted to go there.

Further down the beach, she sees a figure and she stiffens, hoping this isn’t turning into one of those dreams. Maybe she should wake up now. She squints, raising a hand to shade her eyes.

The figure is closer now. It’s a man with light hair. Bree relaxes again. She doesn’t know who the stranger is. She simply knows who he is not.

Bree drags her toes through the shallow tide, playfully kicking up water in front of her as she approaches the stranger. To her left, a trio of dolphins leap joyously. Nevermind that the water is too shallow. That’s how it is in dreams.

She raises her hand in a wave. “Hello!”

The stranger stops a short distance away, a bemused expression on his face. He’s nice-looking, she notices. His blonde hair is a little shaggy, but his light blue eyes sparkle with intelligence. He’s dressed a bit oddly in her estimation. He’s wearing faded blue jeans that flair toward the bottom and his blue Superman T-shirt looks vintage. A strand of puka shells encircles his neck. Like Bree, his feet are bare and he’s wading along the edge of the water.

“Hello,” he returns.

“Hi.’

He grins broadly. “You said that already.”

Bree shrugs lightly and twirls in a circle, swinging her skirt around. “I know. Did you see the dolphins?”

He nods and looks toward the water. “I did. They’re cool.”

“This is a cool dream,” Bree agrees.

He smiles again. “What’s your name?”

“Bree. Bree Blaylock. What’s yours?”

“I’m Steven.”

She holds out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Steven.”

He stares at her outstretched hand and hesitates before reaching to take it. Static electricity pops slightly as their skin touches.

“It’s nice to meet you, Bree.”

“Do you think this is Fiji?” Bree asks.

Steven glances around and shrugs. “I’m not sure. Do you think it is?”

“Maybe. It’s not Clearwater, that’s for sure.” Bree wraps her arms across herself and shudders.

“Is Clearwater bad?” he asks.

“This is a happy dream. Let’s not talk about Clearwater.”

Steven shrugs. “Fine by me. We can just enjoy the beach.”

Bree nods happily and slips her arm through his. Together, they wander along the shoreline, stopping occasionally to examine a shell or two. Steven stoops, picks up something, and hands it to her. “Here, this is for you.”

It’s a tiger cowry. She knows this because as a child, she had a book of shells and she’s seen the picture.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.”

He nods, looking pleased. “Keep it so you can remember this beach. So you can remember me.”

Bree turns to him frowning. “Will I see you again?”

Steven shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“I hope so,” she says fervently. “This is the nicest dream I’ve had in a long time.”

“I’ve liked it, too.” There’s a hint of sadness in his eyes.

***

Sniffing loudly, Bree rolled onto her right side and curled around her extra pillow. Her eyes fluttered briefly before she was fast asleep once again.

From the corner of the bedroom, Steven watched her in wonder. He had no idea how he’d ended up in this woman’s dream. But for the first time in a very long time, he hadn’t been alone.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is now available in wide release
at your favorite online bookseller!
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

All Jenny could think of was to escape.
But she’s put Cole in unspeakable danger.
Is it already too late?

Young Jenny Stone has suffered unimaginable evil at the hands of the ruthless men who executed her family and took her as a trophy. When she saw her chance to excape, she took it, never looking back.

But when she hid in horse trainer Cole Caldwell’s trailer, she put them both in more danger than she realized. Can they hide out in the boondocks of Cole’s remote ranch? Or will trouble come looking for them?

Here’s a teaser from JENNY’S VOICE.

Jenny gazed unseeing out the kitchen window as she beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Her thoughts strayed back to Saturday when she and Cole had ridden up the ridge overlooking the ranch. Looking back, she’d known there was something going on, something he’d been holding onto. Heightened radar was a survival skill she’d mastered over the last couple of years, one that, to her way of thinking, had kept her alive.

She couldn’t have foreseen, however, that Cole knew about that day. It was her own damn fault, though. Leaving her search in his History like she had. What a stupid, careless thing to do.

Hearing him say her full name, Jennifer Stone, had been a gut-punch. Reliving the moment now, her stomach churned with shame. She liked Cole, really liked him. She hated that he knew her dark and dirty secrets.

She could have predicted the return of the nightmares. It seemed Cole had seen them coming too, because when she’d tiptoed into his room in the dead of that night, cold sweat dotting her brow, the cot was ready and waiting. His steady breathing was quietly reassuring, and she’d quickly fallen back to sleep.

For now, she was thankful that she hadn’t suffered another episode. That was really embarrassing.

Cole, for his part, had moved forward as though the truth about her didn’t phase him or cause him to view her differently. But of course, it did. It had to.

Over days of working with him in the barn and sharing meals with him in the farmhouse kitchen, she’d been foolish enough to begin entertaining notions of falling in love with the handsome rancher. But now that he knew the truth about her, there was no hope of some storybook happily-ever-after.

She beat a room temperature egg into the mixture and nodded to herself. This was how she’d get on her feet. Cole had negotiated a price for her cupcakes for the baby shower. After she repaid him for the ingredients, she’d save the rest of the money, and hopefully continue to get more orders until she had enough saved to move out on her own. That way she could leave Cole to his life. He deserved someone without her ugly past.

When the batter was ready, she scooped some into the paper-lined muffin tins and put the first batch into the oven. While it baked, Jenny wandered into the den and looked out the window. Cole had Dahlia in the round pen and he was putting her through her paces.

From what he’d told her, the horse had about another week and a half before she returned to her owner. Jenny sighed deeply. She loved that horse. She knew she’d miss her more than she cared to acknowledge.

By the time Cole returned to the farmhouse, Jenny was just starting to apply pale blue frosting to the cooled cupcakes.

“Mm-mmm, something smells good in here, doesn’t it, Blue?”

Pleased at hearing his name, the dog wagged his tail and grinned up at the humans.

“I don’t suppose you have one I could taste, do you?”

Suppressing a smile, Jenny plucked one from the end of her workspace and handed it to Cole.

He peeled back the paper and took an enormous bite, then shook his head. “Oh, that’s terrible.”

Frowning, Jenny snatched up a second cupcake and sniffed it carefully.

He shook his head. “You can’t send these over to Alida. To get rid of them, I’ll just have to eat them all myself.” He gave Jenny an exaggerated wink, and she relaxed, shoving him playfully.

Cole’s laughter rang through the house as he made his way upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/JennysVoice