Thank you so much to everyone who picked up Beauty and Snow and left reviews/told friends, and supported my work in other ways. I’m pleased to announce the fourth book in the series, Beast, is coming out December 4, 2015.
Beast on par with Snow as my favourite of the Midsummer Suspense Tales so far. The books in this series have been getting progressively darker, so my apologies to those who really liked the sweetness of Cinders but you’ll be finding that less and less. If you liked Sympathy for the Devil but weren’t into the D/s, you might like this one (although there is some light bondage, about on par with Snow).
This concludes my releases for 2015. I have a number on my plate for next year but Stray Cat Strut‘s performance was…honestly, probably my poorest selling book of anything I’ve published in nearly three years. I do have a few ideas to hopefully boost things, but in the meantime I’m once again shuffling things, trying to stagger poor-selling series books between better ones so I can get those last Cats & Conjure books out to readers. If Beast does okay, I’m hoping to swing back to Midsummer with Gold, which is going to be a bit of a mashup between Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Rumpelstiltskin.
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Without further ado, here you go!
A scarred recluse hiding from his past…
Joseph Li has lived in hiding since he was fifteen years old. The son of dangerous mob boss known as The Dragon, he sought a life of his own and paid the ultimate price, ending up horribly burned over half of his body. He escaped when the world–and his mother–assumed he died in the fire, but is not without scars. Physically, he’s disfigured; mentally, he trusts no one and has become a shut-in living in the fringes of small towns until local interest drives him away.
The beautiful young housekeeper who is more than she seems…
Belladona Martin is a loyal employee of Seven Security, specializing in undercover work. When a local call girl comes to her for help after a prostitute turns up dead–one who worked at the Li mansion–with worries the scarred man living there killed her, Belle naturally takes the case. She slips into the persona of a housekeeper who provides “companionship” on the side, hoping to find evidence to convict the monster responsible for the crime.
Joseph believes he’s more beast than man, even as Belle’s presence gives him hope for redemption. But beyond the lies surrounding her identity that could destroy their budding relationship, a twenty-year-old secret is buried deep in Midsummer, one from Joseph’s past that might claim both their lives.
Release Date: December 4
Genre: IR (bwam) contemporary romantic suspense
Length: novel (60K words or 180 pages)
Series: Midsummer Suspense
Format: ebook & paperback
Ebook Price: $3.99
Print Price: $8.99
Astute readers will recognize some names: Joseph was mentioned in Beauty, and Belladona was briefly in Snow. One of my favourite parts of writing these stories is getting to connect all the characters and weaving them from book to book–a few of the heroes and heroines from previous books make an appearance in this one (and…one couple is expecting!).
Read on for a taste….
Rage coated Joseph’s skin, the one thing he could feel past the scar tissue. He was betrayed and hurt, fuming with nowhere to direct his anger.
Except at the woman in front of him.
He pushed her until he saw the door to the sitting room and then gripped her arm and dragged her through there. Across the dark room, to the hall, and then down to the end where another corridor bisected it. He knew the labyrinth of the mansion easily, even in the heavy darkness of a moonless night like tonight. His stride was long and purposeful, stalking toward the west wing, his hand a bruising-grip against Belle’s arm as he pulled her stumbling beside him.
How long had she known about the passage? How long had she been spying on him? He’d stripped out of his clothes in the bedroom, tied a towel around his waist, and then glimpsed her in the bathroom looking at his medication. Had she also found the spyhole in the wall in his room? Did she view the full extent of his scars as he changed in what he thought was the privacy of his room?
Self-loathing filled him, embarrassment hot in his veins. She must’ve been disgusted, initially, to realize what precisely she’d been spending time with, and then she’d probably laughed at him. What a joke, pretending to like his company.
And he hated himself for trusting her.
His jaw set and lips pressed tight, hand squeezing her arm, he dragged her to her bedroom. Found the door unlocked, pushed it open and jerked her inside. Slammed the door again and let her go.
Belle scrambled backward, her spine hitting the nearest canopy post at the foot of the bed. Her eyes were still squeezed shut and that angered him more, that she would pretend to be so respectful despite the fact that he’d fucking caught her spying on him.
She was tensed and braced as the wood floor groaned beneath his steps. She was tall but he was bigger, and she seemed to shrink the closer he got.
His chest heaved and hands coiled into fists. Then he scanned the bedroom and found her suitcase by the dresser.
He tossed the case on the bed and jerked open the zipper. “Pack your bag, you’re fired.”
She didn’t move, really, but there was a physical change in her, like she hadn’t expected that. Her posture was no longer cowering. “No.”
He was pacing, ranting now, unable to contain himself. “Tell me, Miss Chose, did you enjoy your look at me? Enjoy seeing the beast you’ve been spending so much time with? Were you able to contain your horror or will I find where you vomited in the passage?”
“I didn’t see anything,” she said again, more firm this time, the defiance that had attracted him originally once again lifting her chin.
Without the blindfold, even with her eyes closed, he could see her face better now, and take in the shape of it, the way her fine dark brows arched perfectly, her long lashes fanning out. And he hated her all the more for being so beautiful, for the way his cock stiffened just looking at her.
Joseph turned from her to the dresser, where he yanked open the top drawer. Since she mostly wore her uniform throughout the day, he found piles of underthings—lacy bras and panties—and silk pajamas. Pretty things for his pretty thing. He grabbed handfuls of them and tossed them at the suitcase. “Pack your fucking bag!” he roared.
Her chin lifted higher. “No.”
He froze and faced her fully, growing all the more enraged. “You forget your place, Belle.”
“I didn’t see anything.” Her voice hovered just above a whisper. “I’m not leaving. Punish me, if you like, but I’m still your pretty thing.”
He grabbed her wrist and pushed her to the bed atop her rumpled panties. “Pack or I’ll keep everything you’ve left and burn it.”
She swallowed visibly, kept her eyes shut tight. “No.”
Joseph leaned forward and grasped her shoulder, turned her over and thrust a fistful of clothing into her hand. “Pack.”
“Why don’t you just spank me?”