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BUSTED… and oh wow, is this cover awesome…

busted

 

Man, oh, man…is this cover amazing or what?

Here.  A snippet.  FYI, this is unedited and may change during edits.

The first time Trey Barnes saw her it caught him by surprise.

Not because he knew her.

Not because of anything she did.

But because it had been six years since a woman had caused this kind of reaction in him.

Six years.

So it was a punch in the gut when he walked into the Norfolk library for the kid’s reading program and saw her.  His tongue all but glued itself to his mouth and his brain threatened to do a slow meltdown.

The woman was kneeling down in the middle of a circle of kids, a smile on her mouth.  A mouth slicked wine red and he suddenly found himself dying of thirst.

It had also been six years since he’d touched a drop of alcohol, but in that moment, he found himself imagining a glass of wine.  Wine…wine-red lips, wine-red sheets and the two of them stretched out on a bed as he ran his hands over that warm, lovely brown skin.

“Come on, Daddy!” Clayton jerked on his hand.  “Let’s go!  I want to go play.”

His son’s voice dragged him out of the fantasy, rich and lush as it was, and he shook his head a little to clear it.  A heavy fullness lingered in his loins and he was glad he’d gotten used to look like a bum.  The untucked shirt had fit him well enough when he bought it years ago, but the weight he’d lost after Aliesha’s death had stayed off so the shirt hung loose on his rangy frame.  Loose enough that he figured it would hide the hard-on that yet to subside.

A few minutes surrounded by chattering preschoolers ought to do it, he thought.

Clayton let go of his hand as he got closer and he reached up, nudged his sunglasses down.  As he’d retreated farther and farther into hermit mode, fewer people recognized him, but he rarely went anywhere without something hide his face.  Between the hair he rarely remembered to cut and the sunglasses, people didn’t often recognize him these days.

A shrill shriek split the air as two kids started to fight over a book.

That’s going to do it, he mused.  Blood that had burned so hot a minute before dropped back in the normal zone.

Only to jump right back up into the danger zone.

Miz Sexy Librarian was standing in front of the two kids.

And fuck… her voice was a wet dream.

“Now I know you two weren’t raised to treat books that way.  Do you do that at home?”

Two pint-sized little blond heads tipped back to stare up at her.  Trey barely noticed them, because his gaze was riveted on the plump, round curve of her ass.  How could he not notice that ass?  She wore a long, skinny skirt that went down a few inches below her knees and her stockings were the kind with a seam that ran up the back of her legs.

He passed a hand over his mouth.

Hell of a way to realize he could still get aroused—in the middle of the children’s section of the very public, very busy Norfolk library.  Gritting his teeth, he focused on the ceiling.  Would counting sheep help?

“Hello.”

That whiskey-smooth drawl was like a silken hand stroking down his back…or other things. He cleared his throat. Speak, dumb-ass.

“Hi!”

Saved by the Clayton-meister.

Mentally blowing out a breath, he watched as his son rocked back and forth on his heels, smiling up at the woman.

“Are you here for the program?” she asked.

“I am!”  Clayton stuck out his hand.  “I’m Clay.  I love books.  My dad tells me stories.  All the time.  Sometimes he even makes them up.  He gets paid to do that, too.”

Due out in May 2015.  Read WRECKED and RAZED.

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Furious Fire… Grimm #8…

It’s showing up for pre-order.

FuriousFire72lg

 

“Finn, why don’t you let our…guest…come inside?”

Finn fought the urge to grab the orin, grab it, loose the fire inside him and listen as its screams flooded the night around him.

Burn.

He just wanted to let the thing—and his own rage—burn.

But he stepped aside and let the demon see Will.

If he hadn’t been watching, he wouldn’t have seen the tiny flicker of lashes, the minute tightening of facial muscles. Such a small betrayal of emotion, but it was like a neon sign.

Fear

Demons fed on it, as long as it wasn’t their own.

And while one lone Grimm wasn’t necessarily enough to make one of the orin quake, all bets were off if the Grimm was the one who wore white.

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So… the next Barnes Brothers’ book…

After Zane, that is.

Busted

From the national bestselling author of Wrecked and Razed comes an emotionally charged story of undeniable passion and life-affirming love…

Like his brothers Zach and Zane, Trey Barnes thought he had found the love of his life. But fate had other plans. A widower who’s had to raise his five-year-old son on his own, Trey has not allowed himself to be with another woman. Until he meets Ressa Bliss at—of all places—a children’s library program. The beautiful librarian is wonderful with his son, Clay, but every time Trey even considers asking her out, he is tortured by guilt.

Fate is indeed fickle. When the two meet again at a conference, this time the attraction is too powerful to resist. But is their connection and passion strong enough to survive Trey’s deep inner torment?

 

Coming in May 2015

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Sweeter than Sin… releases next week…

Sweeter than Sin is due out next week.

I’m doing another FB party…if you’re on FB, you can join us. We’re giving stuff away and having fun. :)

Adam

 

It could be said that Adam Brascum loved women.

It could be said.

But it would be off-target.  Adam didn’t love women—he didn’t hate them, but he didn’t love them, either.  He needed them.

The soft curves, the scent of their skin, the husky voices as they whispered to him in the night.  If he worked it right, he could spent the night with any number of them, and he wouldn’t have to be alone unless he wanted.

Wouldn’t have to be alone, with just the voices in his head, the memory of a phone call, the memory of a smile, the memory of the girl he might have been able to save.

If only he’d done something.

Now, years after, when it was far too late, he was doing something.  Drowning his sorrows between the thighs of just about any woman who would have him.

There had been a time when he’d drown his sorrows with a woman, along with the help of his good friend, Captain Morgan, or maybe some Jack Daniels, but that had all stopped on a cold wintry day.  He could still remember the soft, sad words spoken in his ear and at the foot of a grave, he’d made a promise.

He didn’t make them often, but when he did, he kept them.

So the booze was gone.

His only vice now was women.

Lately, though, that vice wasn’t doing it for him anymore.

He didn’t even know the name of the woman in bed next to him.  She was beautiful, a long, sleek woman maybe ten years older than him and she had left him feeling like she could put him through his paces for the rest of the night.  He’d slept maybe thirty minutes, her neck tucked against his chest, her hand resting on his stomach.

And then the nightmare hit.

He was standing in front of the house.

Just standing there.

It was dark.

It was cold.

The dimly lit windows mocked him.  If he moved any closer, the lights would go out, and he’d find nothing.

But he could hear her.  Her voice, whispering his name.

Adam…why didn’t you help…

Why didn’t you…

Why didn’t you…

 

He came awake, choking back the oath.  He’d learned long ago that when he made noise, whatever partner he had in bed with him tended to ask questions.  Questions weren’t the kind of thing he liked to entertain in bed, so he eventually figured out how to strangle the groans, the curses…even the screams.

After all these years, it was second nature.

Next to him, there was a long, soft sigh.  He froze, listened.

After years and years of slipping out of beds, he’d all but perfected it to an art and he could almost tell to the second when a woman was about to wake.

She shifted, rolled onto her belly.

Adam turned his head, stared at her in the dim light filtering in through the skylight.  Her face, all but lost in the darkness, was a clean oval, her skin a warm, rich brown, her lips sweet and full.  She had a wicked laugh and she’d looked at him like she had more than a few ideas about any secrets he might harbor.  She’d looked, and she hadn’t cared.

I just divorced a son of a bitch who’d been cheating on me for eight years.  I knew, and I couldn’t leave him.  Now I can.  She told him that, sitting across from him at the sports bar he owned, staring at him with clear eyes.  This is how I burn those bridges.

He’d lifted an eyebrow at her.   Just how do you burn them, Jez?

He was the only man I ever shared my bed with and I plan on changing that damn fast.  I’m almost fifty years old and I don’t want the only man I’ve slept with to be a lying, cheating son of a bitch.

He was a son of a bitch, but he couldn’t be called a cheater.  He’d never married, never even had a serious relationship. Again, it went back to promises.  If you didn’t make them, you didn’t have to worry about breaking them.

I might be a son of a bitch, but I’m clear on the rest of it.

She’d smiled at him.

They’d ended up in her room at the B&B, not the big one in town, but a smaller, quieter one out near the river and she’d all but turned him inside out.  A hungry woman, a hot woman…that should have left him too burned out to dream.

But here he was, on the edges of a desolate nightmare.

While Jez slept on.

He leaned in, brushed her cheek with his lips.  “Find somebody who’ll do more than just share your bed, Jez,” he murmured.

She made a grumbling sound under her breath and then sighed, a faint smile curving her wicked, delicious mouth.

Then she shoved her face into the pillow.

He was gone in less than three minutes.

But he didn’t go home.

Amazon | BN | IndieBound | Book Depository | iBooks

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Sweeter than Sin… want an early read?

It’s just a few more weeks…

Saved one of my copies for a giveaway here.  Want it?

 

Sweeter than Sin

 

It could be said that Adam Brascum loved women.

It could be said.

But it would be off-target.  Adam didn’t love women—he didn’t hate them, but he didn’t love them, either.  He needed them.

The soft curves, the scent of their skin, the husky voices as they whispered to him in the night.  If he worked it right, he could spent the night with any number of them, and he wouldn’t have to be alone unless he wanted.

Wouldn’t have to be alone, with just the voices in his head, the memory of a phone call, the memory of a smile, the memory of the girl he might have been able to save.

If only he’d done something.

Now, years after, when it was far too late, he was doing something.  Drowning his sorrows between the thighs of just about any woman who would have him.

There had been a time when he’d drown his sorrows with a woman, along with the help of his good friend, Captain Morgan, or maybe some Jack Daniels, but that had all stopped on a cold wintry day.  He could still remember the soft, sad words spoken in his ear and at the foot of a grave, he’d made a promise.

He didn’t make them often, but when he did, he kept them.

So the booze was gone.

His only vice now was women.

Lately, though, that vice wasn’t doing it for him anymore.

He didn’t even know the name of the woman in bed next to him.  She was beautiful, a long, sleek woman maybe ten years older than him and she had left him feeling like she could put him through his paces for the rest of the night.  He’d slept maybe thirty minutes, her neck tucked against his chest, her hand resting on his stomach.

And then the nightmare hit.

He was standing in front of the house.

Just standing there.

It was dark.

It was cold.

The dimly lit windows mocked him.  If he moved any closer, the lights would go out, and he’d find nothing.

But he could hear her.  Her voice, whispering his name…

 

To enter, just tell me that last romantic suspense you read.  :)  I’m always looking for good ones.

Contest open through the end of the week!  Standard disclaimer applies. Entering means you’ve read it and agreed, including the part where the winner is posted here and must check back to claim the prize within two weeks!

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Reader Q on abuse in books

So I had recently somebody ask me why I had abuse in my books, specifically Kit’s books…was I having fun torturing her?

This comes up a lot, so I’m just going to blog about it and when I get asked, I’ll direct people here.

Do I torture my characters or write about abuse because it’s fun?

No.

I’m not a plotter.  I don’t set out with a plan in mind lets see how much hell I can put these characters through.

Now when I’m writing romance, I do work at finding realistic ways to keep them apart, because if you’re not doing that, you don’t have a romance.  You just have a HEA.  There has to be a conflict, internal and external, or there’s just no story and what’s the point.

But yes, I do have a habit of writing about people who have gone or are going through abuse.  And no, I don’t do it because I think it’s okay.

Abuse appalls me.

Sexual abuse appalls me.

It pisses me off.  I regularly donate to RAINN and I’ve mentioned the organization in at least one, if not more, of my books.

Bullying appalls me.  I’ve the one who will approach kids and teenagers when I see them picking on somebody else and interfere.  Have I gotten yelled about this?  Yes. Do I care? No.

Domestic abuse appalls me.  There’s been more than one time when my husband was almost positive either he, me, both of us would end in either in jail, or the hospital because I’d see something happening that I didn’t like and I’d shoot my mouth off and the guy involved wouldn’t like it.  When I go out of town on a trip, he tells me to stay safe and behave, and more often than not, I suspect it’s because he knows how I am with my mouth.

I had to leave my day job in nursing, in the end, because of burn out and part of that involved a boy who’d been abused by his father. It was breaking me inside.

I grew up seeing more than a few people I knew in life be abused and I know people even now in those situations.

Trust me…abuse isn’t okay in my book.  And if it’s okay in anybody’s book, they had a deep problem that is probably unfixable.

But abuse is out there.  Much of society turns a blind eye.  I don’t.

One reasons I’ve written the FBI Psychic books, particularly THE MISSING was because like most moms, I have fears of bad things happening to my kids. No, nothing ever has.  But I put my fears down on paper..I make them more manageable and I twist the bad things I see in society into a way that makes to where the bad guy is the one who goes down.  We don’t see in that in real life often. THE DEPARTED had a scene that was inspired by a real life bullying of a high school girl by some boys during her senior prom. I changed the set-up, I changed the outcome, I changed the methods of the madness, but I left the way one of the parents responded as it played out because the parent of one boy tried to act like …hey, it was no accident…her death was a tragic accident.  My character-well, one of them, didn’t die, but the abhorrence of what they tried to do is still there.

My romantic suspense that recently came out was set in Madison Indiana and yes, it is completely fictional, although some things I’d seen in the media – other years – did play a part in some of the things I wrote about, particularly about how people will turn a blind eye to some of the most disgusting evil in society.  Somebody made a comment along the lines of I can’t see this happening anywhere.  I hoped it never does, but the fact is, child abuse happens.  It happens daily.  It’s happening in your town.  Possibly on your street, or by people you know.  Pretending otherwise doesn’t change it.

I’ve always written about some of the harsh facts of life in my romantic suspense stories and yes, in the urban fantasy stories.  Evil happens and sometimes, there is no justice for it.  When I write about it, I can find justice…I can make it happen.  I always thought this was the main reason I did it…to make sense of things that have no sense in my head.

But I’ve realized it goes deeper than that and it took attending ConFusion and speaking on one of the panels to understand just what it was.  One of the panelist, I believe it was Christian Klaver, made a comment.

Horror is the most moral of genres

That sounds like a strange statement, doesn’t it?

Horror is about hacking people up, the woman running naked into the field…

Or is it?

See what WhatCulture says about it?

After watching Carrie, I bet you will never pick on the underdog or weakling in your life again for fear that you will go up in a blazing inferno or be killed by flying kitchen implements.

and

The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue tells us to avoid messing around with nature lest we unleash a wave of flesh hungry undead zombies. 

Sure…they are graphic moral messages, but those messages still exist.

Now, I don’t write horror, although yes, some things are rather horrific. I don’t think I try intentionally to write a moral message.

I don’t turn my back on the ugly things that exist in society, but what I do try to do is this…the people in the books I write are often broken.  And by the time I’m done with them, they are stronger–they come into my head as broken and they have a story.

I’m not going to fight the stories that God gives me. Humans are capable of remarkable things.  Some of the people that I’ve known who have lived through abuse are now free of it…and they chose to escape it.  It wasn’t easy, but they left it behind.  They fought free of it…some ran from it. But they escaped it.

Others, sadly, didn’t get away.  Or haven’t. They are still trapped in that ugly cycle. People turn a blind eye or think, Why don’t they just leave…if it was just that easy, they would.

But many of the stories that come to me are about broken people and during the course of the book, my job is to take that person (or persons) and make them stronger, to help them find the bits and pieces and put them back together.  And find a happy ever after, hopefully, justice or closure for whatever was done.

This is what I have a voice for.

I’ve lost track of how many emails I’ve gotten from survivors of abuse, be it domestic, sexual or emotional–there’s one in particular that I can remember reading her email even now and I cried as I read it.  It’s been years since I received that email and I still remember her name–that’s not just unusual, it’s unheard of for me.  She wrote of how she’d read FRAGILE…how she’d cried…and then she thanked me, because she felt like it had helped her take a step toward healing after her own abuse.  She felt that book had given her a voice.

Has Kit from the Colbana books been through hell?  Yes.  Am I trying to break her? No.  What people didn’t see is that she was already broken, even in book one.  She used her sword as a crutch, put all her value in it.  Others saw that she had more worth than that.  Why did things have to happen the way they did? Well, if Kit was around to ask, you’d have to ask her, because I didn’t plan that.  I can tell you that Kit probalby won’t have an answer, though.  Bad shit happens, period.  That’s the truth in fiction as well as in reality.  Kit was never going to be a character where life was smooth-sailing for her.

But I don’t plan these stories…they play out for me and I write them down.  They come into my head,  almost like a silent movie reel and I’m just the narrator.  I couldn’t have changed that ending if I tried–the only thing I could have done was written it…and not published it.

Nobody has to like how the book turned out and nobody has to like the book either.  But I didn’t write the book just to abuse my character.

I don’t carry these themes in all of my books.  My contemporaries are lighter, they’re fun and easy and sexy.  But the RS books and the UF books take a hard, sometimes brutal look at things.

I don’t write about abuse in my books because I think it’s okay.

I write about survivors.

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Appearances

Moonlight & Magnolias
Atlanta, GA
Bookfair open to the public
October 11 4:30-6pm
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NJRW Conference
Iselin, NJ
Bookfair open to the public
October 18 4-5:30pm
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Southern Magic Luncheon
Birmingham, AL
Have lunch with me!
November 1
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New & Olde Pages Bookshoppe
856 Union Blvd
Englewood OH
November 15
1-4pm

Romancing the Holidays
Barnes & Noble
West Chester, OH
12/6/14
1 PM

ConFusion 2015
Dearborn, MI
January 16-18
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Wicked Book Weekend 2015
Fort Lauderdale, FL
February 6-8
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LSFW Create Something Magical 2015
Iselin, NJ
March 21-March 22
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