Weekend Excerpt–Unintentional Work In Progress

With my newest book Chasing Ordinary officially launched and doing well, I’ve started my next one, the fourth Dream Dominant tentatively called Warrior Mine.  It’s a spin-off from Lost & Bound, and already 20k words in, I’m getting excited about this book.  It’s the story of Blake’s friend Scott, and his romance with Blake’s sister, Jackie.

I don’t own these images, they’re from Pinterest, but they’re from my Warrior Mine board.  Follow me there to get insight into my inspirations for my stories.

But…

For the last week or so, I’ve had a different story in my mind that I just can’t let go of, so I’ve begun writing a new story I’m calling Voices for now.  I added it to my Teasers tab, but for some reason it doesn’t show up.  I thought I’d share the first chapter.

RUN!  Every fiber of her being screamed at her, willing her to shake off the fog that veiled her mind, willing her to save herself. 

bigstock--209735947 Jenny Danvers shakily pushed herself into a sitting position in the back seat of the black SUV, ignoring the pulsing of her swollen left eye, trying desperately to focus with her right one as she peered through the dark-tinted windows.

Her minders, Slater and Wilcox (she had no idea of their first names, nor did she care to know) had left her in the back seat of the SUV when they’d gone into the truck stop for a bite to eat.  They’d assumed she was unconscious, which she had been, momentarily knocked out by Slater’s right jab to the right side of her face.

This after backhanding her across the mouth.  Tentatively, she pushed her tongue toward her puffy lip, her mouth filled with the harsh metallic tang of her own blood.  Her teeth seemed to be intact, no thanks to Slater’s meaty blow.

All because she’d fought him.  And she’d do it again.  Every time.

She might have no say when it came to Victor Sorkin, when he summoned her in the middle of the odd night, or when he gifted her to certain esteemed business associates.  But she’d be goddamned if she’d allow Victor’s slimy minions to presume to take their fill of her.

The trio been on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  An arms dealer with whom Victor wanted to do business was staying at the Four Seasons.  Jenny was meant to be a good-will offering for the weekend.

Currently, she had a bigger problem, though.

“Now what are you going to do?” Wilcox had whined.  Jenny, her head pounding, had feigned unconsciousness.

“She’s all beat up.  We can’t take her to San Francisco like that.  And we can’t take her back to Mr. Sorkin, either.  He’ll want to know what happened.”

“She’s not going to tell him anything,” Slater had snarled.

“But what will you tell him?” Wilcox had wondered.

Slater had growled and punched the dashboard.  “Stupid retard cunt!  Kicked me in the balls so hard, I still can’t breathe right.”

“What are we going to do?”

Squinting through her good eye, Jenny had seen Slater turn to look at her.  “We’ll have to kill her.”

“We?!  What the hell are you talking about?  I didn’t touch her,” Wilcox had squeaked.

“What happens if we take her to San Francisco?  Hauer calls Sorkin to complain about the merchandise.  And Sorkin kills us.” 

He’d glared at Wilcox, daring him to contradict him.  “What happens if we take her back to LA like that?  Sorkin kills us.” 

He’d shaken his head.  “It’s the only way.  We drive all the way to San Francisco.  Because he’ll be tracking us on GPS.  We stay in front of the hotel long enough to have taken her upstairs.  Then we go to our hotel.  We’ll rent a car, take her out into the boondocks, and get rid of her.”

“But Hauer will call to complain that she never got there,” Wilcox had reasoned.

“We’ll say he’s lying.  We’ll say we delivered the girl.  Then it’s all on Hauer.”

Wilcox had nodded slowly.  “It might just work.”

“Come on,” Slater had said, with one last glance into the backseat.  “Let’s go get something to eat and work out the details.  The bitch is out cold anyway.”

After the pair had left, Jenny had forced herself to remain motionless, counting to a thousand before opening her eyes.  By now, her left eye was swelled completely shut, and her lip felt as though it was ten times its normal size.

She had to get out.  They’d be back any minute.  If she rode with them to San Francisco, there would be no escape.  This was her only chance.  She supposed she should count her lucky stars Victor had decided for them to drive rather than fly.

The cloudy day threatened rain, but so far, the day had been dry.  With the midday sun obscured by clouds as it was, Jenny wasn’t certain of the time, but she’d guess early afternoon.  The truck stop was busy, with semis and all sorts of vehicles entering and leaving constantly.

Across the lot, she saw a cowboy in a straw hat checking on a horse in a vintage turquoise and white horse trailer pulled behind a silver pick-up truck.  Seemingly satisfied with the horse’s well-being, he turned and walked across the lot, passing her as she watched from the SUV, and headed inside the restaurant.

GO! her brain screamed at her.

She looked down at herself.  She was not dressed for walking around a truck stop.  In her slinky club dress with its halter top and micro-mini skirt, she was more suited for the function she was expected to perform.

Not any more, Victor.  She kicked off the silver stilettos and glanced toward the restaurant.  She couldn’t see Slater or Wilcox in the window booths.  It seemed safe to assume they were seated further inside.

Carefully, she opened the door and stepped barefoot onto the pavement.  The day was cool, and she instantly felt chilled.  She closed the door quietly, and head down, she moved in the direction of the horse trailer.

Once she got there, she looked around the parking lot.  Everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own business.  On her tiptoes, she peered into the trailer.  Only one of the two stalls was occupied.  She tried the tailgate hopefully, but it was locked.  Glancing around again, she saw that the lot was briefly empty of people.  She stepped up onto the bumper, reached the top of the tailgate, and pushed herself up.  With one last glance over her shoulder, she leaned forward, tumbling headfirst into the trailer.

The horse, a large brown and white spotted Appaloosa, whinnied in protest, stomping her feet and pulling at the rope tethering her to the front of the trailer.

Carefully avoiding the stomping hooves, Jenny crab-scrambled backwards to the front wall of the trailer.  A large black jacket hung from a hook, and she jerked it down, slipping it on and zipping up the front.

The jacket was huge, probably meant for someone the size of the cowboy she’d seen, but it was warm.  She tucked her knees under her chin and pulled the jacket down over her bare legs and feet, pulling the hood over her head.

Come on, come on.  She willed her heart to stop pounding as she waited for the cowboy to come back and drive them away from the truck stop.

So apparently, I’m currently writing two books, LOL!

Chasing Ordinary, and my other books, including Lost & Bound,
are available at my
Amazon Author Page.

Weekend Excerpt–Finding Callie

Happy Weekend!  Is it me, or is the summer seeming to fly by?  How can it be August already?  I’m still hard at work on FOR SPARROW, which will be the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.  Sexy and talented author (and fellow Wicked Pen) Linzi Basset is hard at work on the cover, and she may or may not have another couple of surprises up her sleeve.  Stay tuned here for more new about that.

callie

For this weekend’s excerpt, I’m sharing another snippet from the Teasers tab on my website.  Tentatively titled FINDING CALLIE, this story idea comes from experiences I had some years ago when I had the chance to travel to France and Spain for a couple of weeks.

Here’s the first chapter…

Standing in line at the post office has to be the fourth circle of hell

Callie shifted her weight to her left foot and leaned her hip against the railing around which the line of fellow postal customers snaked.  Look, only three more back-and-forths then it’s my turn, she thought sardonically. 

She frowned to herself.  Whose inner monologue is sardonic?

     “Next,” called the clerk at the second station.  Everyone in line took a step forward clutching their parcels all wrapped in brown paper and packing-taped into infinity, or their very important looking overnight-air envelopes. 
Callie glanced down at the peach square of paper in her hands.  We REdeliver for you! the paper promised.  She shook her head.  She wasn’t waiting for redelivery.
     Another clerk called out and the line shifted again.  A sextet of antique ceiling fans whirled ineffectively over their heads as a bead of sweat trickled down her spine.  She wondered if the air conditioning was out or if the USPS was simply economizing.  Either way, you could tell it was summer in south Florida.
     She made it to the turn-around and felt a bit encouraged.  Not much longer now.  She gazed at the receipt once again, her forefinger lightly tracing the address of the sender.  Sevilla.  She inhaled sharply.  She knew one person in Seville.  She couldn’t imagine what he’d sent in a parcel.
Raised voices interrupted Callie’s thoughts.  She looked up to see a well-dressed middle-aged woman shouting at the clerk at the third station.   
    
     “What do you mean, I have to get in a different line?  I’ve been standing here all day!”
     “Ma’am, I don’t have the form that you need.  Would you like to get in the other line?” the clerk asked patiently.  The man was an older black gentleman with sloping shoulders and an air of resignation.  Callie idly wondered if he’d delivered mail on foot back in the day.
     “Well if you won’t give me the form I guess I’ll have to!” the woman snapped as she vacated the station and toddled off to the the correct line. 
     Callie shook her head.  Why do people have to be such assholes?  She ran into her fair share of them as a teacher but she recalled her college days when she’d worked as a server in a busy restaurant.  People have no idea…
     She found herself suddenly only two people behind the head of the line, and she felt her heart begin to pound.  Finn.  She looked back at the peach scrap of paper.  After all this time.
     In truth she was shocked that he’d sent anything at all.  She’d known him for all of what, fifteen days?  The flush began in the center of her being and flowed up her neck to her cheeks.  Those fifteen days had changed her irrevocably.  She could never go back to the pre-Finn Callie.
     Vaguely she heard a clerk call for the next customer.  “Excuse me, ma’am?” said the guy behind her.  Callie looked up, startled.  “You’re next.”

     She murmured an apology and walked to the vacant station.  The same clerk who’d had the misfortune to deal with the nasty customer surveyed her with gentle eyes.  Callie was determined to be kind, to make up for the woman who’d been so unpleasant.  She smiled broadly.  “Yes, I’m picking up a parcel.”  She presented him with the peach scrap and her driver’s license.

     The man smiled kindly as he took the slip of paper and disappeared into the back.  He reemerged moments later carrying a package about the size and shape of a hardcover book.  Callie’s pulse pounded in her ears.
     “Here you are, ma’am,” he said as he handed her the box.  It was lighter than she’d expected.  Her eyes zeroed in on the return address.  Finn Cooper, 54 Calle Montevideo, Sevilla, Espana. 
     She smiled again and thanked the man, wished him a pleasant day, and walked out into the heat of the summer day.
I hope you liked this little teaser.  FINDING CALLIE joins a long list of stories I’ll eventually get to.   In the meantime, browse my Amazon Author Page for your next steamy read.

It’s Going to Be HOT in Tampa!

 

Looking for your next great read?  Love to have fun in the sun?  Join me this Sunday, July 16, in Tampa for the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention!

I understand that about 40 Indie authors will be there, chatting with readers and signing books.  I’ll have copies of RESISTING RISK, LUKE & BELLA, and LOST & BOUND.  I’ll also have some free swag.

Admission to the event is FREE, and you can buy tickets to the VIP after party where there will be food and an OPEN BAR.  Just imagine, sipping cocktails and chatting with your favorite Indie authors.  Sounds amazing, right?

Check out the official Facebook page of the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention.  And if you’re going to be anywhere close, please stop by and say hello!

How to Have a RED HOT #4thofJuly !

I know.  You have plans.  Cook-outs, beach outings, family gatherings, and fireworks.  But you’re going to want to squeeze in a little ‘Me Time’.  Because the Wicked Pens and KinkCrate are partnering up to give you a Fire Hot Fourth.

Check it out.

That’s right.  From 3:00-4:00pm EDT, Wicked Pen authors are having a panel discussion on adding heat to your romance.  We’ll be discussing a variety of steamy topics, and we’ll be answering your questions.

Plus, one lucky attendee will walk away with a couple of kinky prizes: their very own ball gag and flogger, courtesy of KinkCrate.

In order to attend, you must be a member of the Wicked Pens Facebook group, so hurry on over and sign up so you can join us for a hot, sizzling 4th of July.

Book Launch–Luka’s Dawn by A.M. Manay

If you adore paranormal author A.M. Manay’s award-winning November Snow series, and were heartbroken like I was when it ended, you’re in LUCK!

At the very end of She Marches Through Fire, Manay gave us a tiny glimpse of what happens next.  Now, she’s released the first November Snow epilogue story, Luka’s Dawn.  Luka is nothing if not the bad boy you hate to love, and he’s back.   Along with all your favorite characters.  And it’s brilliant!  I know, because I read an ARC.

Here’s the description.

What’s a failed supervillain to do when the object of his obsession dies?
Luka Lazarri, vampire terrorist and would-be dictator, faces life without November Snow. He now inhabits a world in which he is utterly defeated, sick and living in hiding, jailed by his own family. He waits for November to be born again, clinging to the hope that he will have the chance to know her. Will the consummate survivor succumb to despair, or will he build himself a new life? And if the reincarnated psychic finally lays her eyes on him, will she see a monster, or a friend?

I don’t want to tell you much more than that, it’s a shortie, one you’ll devour in an afternoon, then beg for more.  And, once again, you’re in luck, because this is just Episode 1.  More are on the way.  Cue extreme happy dance, y’all!

AM Manay Luka's dawn pre release

Get your copy of Luka’s Dawn at this LINK.

WIP It Up Wednesday–Invisible

Ever have a wild-hare idea and you just knew you had to follow it?  That happens to me sometimes, usually when I’m busy trying to concentrate on something else.  But sometimes, a story just comes to you, or at the very least, a nugget of an idea.  If I can, I try to write it down before I forget.  Eventually, I plan to write the whole story.

This snippet comes from a project I’m tentatively calling Invisible.  My love is dying for me to finish this story.  One day…

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 muttered. 
     She began pressing all of the buttons beside the door.  “Let me in!  It’s rainin’ out here!”  The door buzzed and he was free.  She gave an exaggerated bow and hurried down the steps, stopping under the awning of the building next door.
     Sheepishly, Henry followed, standing beside her under the awning.  She glanced down at him then resumed looking out at the rain.  “I’m sorry,” he said.  “I didn’t mean to be an asshole.”  She continued staring toward the street.  “Can I buy you a coffee?  My way of saying thanks.”
     She looked back at him again seeming to think for a moment.  Finally she sighed.  “I guess I’m not goin’ anywhere until it stops rainin’ anyways,” she said.  That was when he 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 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 in 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 judgin’?” 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.

Finishing this story isn’t on my radar at the moment,

but check out my Amazon Author Page for other great reads.

Bashing Romance Novels–Don’t Do It

In this terrific article from Bustle, author Sarah Maclean asserts that bashing romance novels is just another form of slut-shaming.  This image is from the article and I’ve included the link below…

https://www.bustle.com/articles/186881-sarah-maclean-bashing-romance-novels-is-just-another-form-of-slut-shaming

Romance, erotic romance, and erotica may not be your cup of tea.  But that doesn’t mean that those who enjoy it are somehow morally inferior.  It doesn’t mean that romance authors produce inferior work.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.  Like a good friend of mine always says, ‘To each his own.’

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