Archives for 2012

What I’m Working On: I WHO HAVE NOTHING

I’m actually working on a few things, but here’s a taste of what I’m hoping to bring you in the new year…

I Who Have Nothing

A man bent on revenge…


Darren Dallas watched his father die
at the hands of his corrupt business partner five years ago. He left law school,
gave up the life he was building, and descended into an underworld where drugs
and prostitution run rampant, struggling to survive as he seeks to bring his
father’s killer to justice. He’s had many close calls, but none as bad as when
he’s almost made by his target after following him into a nightclub and stands
face to face with a loaded gun wielded by a murderer.

A woman with a
secret…

Contemporary blues singer Ella Lockwood enjoys the local
club scene, with loyal fans following her show to show but able to fly under the
radar and enjoy her privacy. She never expected to see high school sweetheart
Darren Dallas again—not after she abruptly broke his heart several years ago,
and certainly not now in the club where she performs while a notorious thug
threatens to kill him.

Ella rescues her old flame with a lie, one that
throws them together and tangles her in the dangerous web he now lives in. Worse
still, the sparks are still there between them, and their rising desire is a
fire that threatens to consume them if Darren’s quest—and Ella’s past—doesn’t
kill them first.

This is to be a standalone contemporary romantic suspense. I LOVE working in this genre, actually–I like straight contemporary, but I found when I was writing the end of WILD HORSES that I really get a lot of joy out of that element of danger. Besides this, I’m looking forward to planning SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL for that very reason (yay, serial killer!)

 

Here’s a taste of what’s to come in the new book…

Darren stepped outside and raised his hood; the rain had picked up in
just the short time he’d been in the club, going from a mist to a drizzle, and from
there he anticipated a downpour. And he focused on that, on the feel of rain
hitting his face and pelting the top of his hood, because he was too numb to
think.

That was Helen Lockwood—Ella, Montanez had called her. It had
been years—seven or so, at least—since he’d seen her last but behind the long
hair, dangling earrings, and makeup, it was the same girl he knew as a teen.

Or thought he knew.

Heels clacked on the cement behind him in a rush and a moment later, six
feet outside the club, he felt her hand wrap around his arm.

“Oh,” she said, her volume loud as she caught up, “honey, you didn’t
have to go looking for a taxi. We can walk.”

She tightened her grip, nearly jerking him to a halt. He slowed then
came to a stop with a heavy sigh, staring straight ahead instead of at her.

“What the hell are you doing?” she whispered as she leaned close. “Do
you know who you were talking to?”

“None of your business.” Sure, he’d tried to move in too soon—tried to
grab an opportunity and been caught. Montanez might’ve recognized him
eventually. Marco most definitely was a problem.

But he wasn’t going to admit that to her.

“Listen to me…” She shifted to his side and grasped his jacket lapels,
drawing him closer. “Two weeks ago, Andrews beat a man into unconsciousness
outside the Blue Horizon after it closed. And the witnesses mysteriously forgot
everything they saw. You don’t mess—”

He stiffened and tried to pull back, but she held him tight.

“Damn it, Darren, look.” Her eyes flickered to the side pointedly
and she raised one of her brows.

Darren focused on his peripheral vision and saw the figure she
indicated: Marco Andrews stood outside the club, watching their conversation.

Her face was scant inches below his now, close enough he could smell her
spicy perfume. “If they think I was lying, they’ll question why I was
lying.”

He nearly snapped a comment about how he didn’t ask her to get
involved, but as he stared down at her, he swallowed back the words.

Helen—Ella—gazed up at him from under the hood of her black
pleather jacket. Her expressive brown eyes were wide, almost hopeful, and
definitely concerned. She hadn’t changed much, still with thick black lashes that
looked almost unreal, large lips he remembered, with a pang, how good it felt
to kiss.

For a moment the numbness cracked and with it everything pierced him
again—the fear, the guilt, and now the near-painful love he’d felt for her so
long ago. He shoved it back down again but memory remained, like staring into a
bright light and seeing lingering spots when plunged into darkness again.

The sight of her tore at him and his first instinct was to take off and
disappear into the night of rain and strangers around them. Staying, even if
only briefly, would lead to words—conversations he didn’t want to get into,
long-held arguments he didn’t want to have. Helen Lockwood had once broken his
heart and no matter the intervening years or a changed name, that’s who she
would always be to him.

But for now, he owed her thanks, and wouldn’t put her at further risk.
The charade could go on a short while longer.

Darren raised his arm and slipped it over her shoulder, drawing her to
him, and they walked through the thickening downpour.

Turning a COLD, COLD WINTER a Lil Bit Hotter

It’s official: Dani and Adam are back for the holidays.

I mentioned previously I was hoping to call it “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”–I love that song and I think the cheeky tone fits the characters. But the title was already in use with the publisher, so that left me on the hunt for another title…

A quirk of mine is that I like to pick song titles for my books, and series often are linked by a musician. Stirling Falls? Wild Horses, Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter…The Rolling Stones, obviously.

I adore the Stones song “Winter” but I thought the title needed a little more, so this novella is officiall called Wild Horses: Cold, Cold Winter.

 
Six months after the events of Wild Horses, blogger Danyiah Jackson happily lives in the country, loving—and often shocking—her broodtastic horse wrangler boyfriend, Adam Cooper.
 
But her surprise Christmas present for him, done as a prank for her blog and to spring some life-changing news, incites an argument months in the making, bringing the insecurities and vulnerabilities of the pair to the forefront. Adam wants more than he fears she’s willing to give, and Dani has a secret of her own that she fears will tear everything apart.
 
Is a happily-ever-after really possible for an opposites-attract romance?

Coming December 4 from Phaze Books!

Keep warm until then! Here are some tunes to get you in the mood:

If you want to catch up, you’ll find Wild Horses on Amazon, Nook, All Romance eBooks, and Phaze–all ebook formats and in print.

Somebody to Love – Now on Nook!

Here it is for Nook readers!

Some exciting new things brewing and I hope to have news for you next week. Thanks for reading!

In Progress: A Dani/Adam Holiday Novella

Though it was time consuming and difficult to write, I admit I really, really loved Wild Horses. I had loads of fun with that one–Danyiah was so much fun to write, and YUM, Adam! Readers have commented that they were hoping for a more solid HEA–I do lean toward slightly more ambiguous endings, I suppose–and that they really missed the couple when WH was over. Though there will be glimpses of them in Sympathy for the Devil and Gimme Shelter, I thought their story was done.

I’m glad to announce I was wrong.

I have a holiday novella in progress with them, hopefully you’ll see it next month! It’ll bridge the gap between Wild Horses and Sympathy, and possibly tie up a few things while presenting a few more challenges…

Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Blogger Danyiah Jackson happily lives in the country,
loving—and often shocking—her broodtastic horse wrangler boyfriend, Adam
Cooper. But her surprise Christmas present for him, done as a prank for her
blog, incites an argument six months in the making, bringing the insecurities
and vulnerabilities of the pair to the forefront. Adam wants more than he fears
she’s willing to give, and Dani has a secret that threatens to tear them apart
for good.

Details to come as I know them!

SOMEBODY TO LOVE: Excerpt

Hey folks!

A huge huge HUGE thank you to those of you who picked up Somebody to Love this week and left a couple of reviews–it means so, so much to me. You rock!

Here’s an excerpt from the novella.

————-

 

Spirits’ Will

 

Marie paced away from the billiard room and James.
“I don’t want to hear any ghost stories.”

She heard his steps following and his smooth, deep
voice rumble, “Why’s that?”

She stopped abruptly and turned, lantern swinging in
her hand. “Because people always die in them.”

“Well…yes. That’s the point.”

“And that’s depressing. So no, no ghost stories, no
ghost hunting, no ghost talking, no ghost anything!” She snapped her
lips shut, regretting her outburst. He didn’t look any differently at her, of
course—expression didn’t change at all except to slip from teasing to more
thoughtful.

And the sudden silence hanging between them didn’t
bother her, either. Tension rose but it wasn’t unpleasant—instead the air,
strangely, seemed to sizzle. Her heart fluttered as she was locked in
his blue eyes, held immobile by a sudden yearning for him. James was tall and
broad, with brown hair cut short, looking silky to the touch, and a hint of
stubble along his strong jaw. He stood casually but it did nothing to diminish
his stature, his strength.

They’d parted on bad terms, but no one would guess
just looking at him—he seemed like no time had passed. No one would guess the
hurt that hollowed her out and left her broken.

Marie looked away from the heat in his eyes and the
moment between them ended. Instead she moved for the front door. Some fresh air
would do her good—it might cool her suddenly flushed skin. She let the camera
hang from her shoulder again and reached for the door.

It didn’t budge.

She frowned and checked the lock. It was fine. Again
she twisted at the knob but to no avail—it was stuck, completely shut.

“Well.” James sighed behind her. “Guess you’re stuck
with me.”

Her temper flared. “Did you do this?” She turned back
to him and pointed at the door. “Seriously?”

His eyes widened but she didn’t believe him for a
second. “Such an accusation.” But her unyielding anger seemed to dawn on him at
last and he sobered. “It’s not me.” James walked past her, reached for the
door, and tried the knob only to have the same result she did.

Forget this—I’m finding another door. Marie shook her head and trekked away from him, down
the opposite hall. The floor creaked angrily, announcing her every movement,
and she didn’t care. She stalked past the stairs, the lantern swinging in her
hand, and down the corridor. She passed two closed doors and two archways
leading to dark rooms she didn’t spare a glance to. At the back of the house
she found another door and she stomped right up to it and grasped the handle.

This one didn’t open either.

Damn it! She
pounded with her free hand against the wood and it just kicked more dust up
that filled her lungs and tickled her nose. She coughed and stepped back,
glaring at the door as if that might open it. Her head throbbed and pain
stretched over the back of her neck. The fear creeping up in her was
overshadowed by exhaustion and she slumped against the wall by the door with a
sigh.

Steps crossed the floor and while she continued
staring at the barred exit, she spoke to James. “You’re telling me that’s not
you? Keeping it shut? After all your ghost talk?” When silence followed, she
turned her tired eyes to him.

He cast a glance back at her. “No, it’s not me.”

“Then who’s doing it?”

His lips parted.

“Don’t say ghosts!”

“Okay. Spirits?”

I have to get out of here. Once again she pushed past him, still needing to clear her head. This
time she turned into the kitchen and set the lantern down, and stopped to look
outside. The windows showed a dark, overgrown lawn patterned with dry fallen
leaves, and pricks of stars in the sky. She leaned on the counter, peering up
at the starlight.

Damn him. He had to be keeping those doors shut somehow.

Marie slipped the camera off her shoulder, set it on
the counter, and her gaze trailed over the sink. Her throat was parched and her
skin was flushed still, whether from her quick temper or something else, she
didn’t know. Though she doubted she’d have success, she reached over and
fiddled with the dusty taps anyway.

Nothing. Nothing at all. Whether it was attached to a
well with a broken pump or the town line and it hadn’t been turned on with the
house being vacant, she didn’t know. And it didn’t matter. No water, damn it.

James’ footfalls sounded on the floor. She sighed and
turned around, pressed her back against the counter, and watched his approach.
His hands were knotted behind his back and he came nearer, nearer, until her
head tilted back so she could continue to meet his gaze. Scarce inches
separated them and for some reason her mind went wild wanting—

Stop. It. And get a hold of yourself. But that was easier said than done. She locked her
hands onto the counter’s edge and waited.

“Thirsty?” he asked.

“Taps don’t work and I didn’t bring anything. Wasn’t planning
on staying, but that was before someone locked me in.”

“I didn’t—”

But she didn’t want to hear it. She started to turn
away from him when his arm darted out, barring her path along with the bottle
he had in hand.

James said nothing but held still, offering the
bottle. At last she relented and took it, turned it back and forth in her
hands. The label was too faded to read.

“You didn’t pack wine,” she said.

“Maybe I did. Or maybe…” He seemed to be leaning
closer to her still and her heart leapt, the warmth of him enveloping her, his
voice dropping low against her ear. “I…stole it from the billiard room.”

Marie grinned. He was exceptionally good at melting
away her irritation though she was loath to admit it. “I don’t really want to
know what food you might’ve found in there too.”

“Nothing in there but I have sandwiches. They
were in my bag.”

Back in the billiard room. She clutched the wine
bottle to her chest. “How about eating in a different room?”

“Drawing room?”

She made a face. “Library?”

His expression sobered and he averted his gaze. “Oh.
Yeah, I think I passed it on my way.” He took her lantern and started from the
kitchen.

Marie watched his retreat for a moment, hugging the
old, sealed bottle of wine. Her head continued to ache but maybe some food
would make her feel better. Still, locked in here…

The twisting in her stomach told her this night wasn’t
going to end well.

————

The empty house at the end of Landsdowne Lane is
supposedly haunted.
Among the alleged ghosts is a couple who died
young and, legend has it, they possess the living and draw true love to the
house for a night of passion before dawn comes.
 Marie and James are about to find out if it’s
true.

Buy on Amazon (Kindle)
Buy on Smashwords (all formats)
Other stores coming soon!