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The third and final cover for the Secrets & Shadows series?

Darker Than Desire

 

This is one of my more…tortured heroes, folks. This wasn’t an easy story, and he wasn’t an easy character…And that’s about all I saying about him for now.

But I’ll share this.

A hand touched his arm.

He fought the urge to react, and react with violence.

He had been forged in the fires of hell. Physical touch wasn’t welcome.  There were only a very few that he allowed to touch him.

As the woman sat down beside him, he had to force himself to relax.

She was one of the few.

Due out in March 2015

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Tomorrow…

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“So what happened?” she asked, sliding a hand around his waist.

He wanted to turn back to her and lose himself. Forget the darkness, forget the pain, the misery. Forget everything but her.

Trinity rested a hand on his shoulder and he locked his limbs to keep from giving in to that urge. It all but consumed him. He knew the oblivion he could find in a woman’s arms. It had given him comfort for a long, long time. And this need went so much deeper. The need for Trinity all but consumed him.

“What happened that day?” she asked quietly.

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Deeper than Need…five days left!

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“You try and take it easy if you can,” she murmured. “You look like you’re having a rough one there, Noah.”

A rough one . . . maybe that was why he did it. Reaching up, he touched his fingers to her cheek when she went to pull away.

She stilled.

The voice of reason, rational thinking, restraint . . . the voice Noah expected to hear whispering to him from the back of his mind was silent as he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.

Just a light, easy kiss. Almost impersonal. Impersonal . . . if anything could be impersonal when a man had spent so many nights dreaming about a woman. If anything could be impersonal when the heat of her skin reached out to tease him, even though inches separated them and the scent of her, sweet woman and lavender, rose up to taunt him. If anything could be impersonal when her lips parted on a gasp and he caught the first hint of her taste.

If anything could be impersonal when he lifted his head and saw her staring up at him, her gaze smoldering, smoking, as if it held all the heat of the sun. It was almost too much and he had to fight to keep from hauling her back against him.

Another kiss, just one more, he thought. Deeper, harder

A car sped by and he heard Micah’s voice bounce off the glass as the boy called for his mother, but the words made no sense.

Trinity licked her lips, her lids drooping down to shield her lashes.

Aw, now that wasn’t helping at all. “It just got a little bit better,” he murmured, stroking his thumb over the path her tongue had taken.

She eased back, a slow blush rising up to stain her cheeks pink. But she didn’t look away.

“Should I apologize?” he asked.

She reached up and closed her hand around his wrist. “I’m hoping you won’t. If you do, my day is probably going to take a turn for the worse.”

 

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I have news…such nice news, I have.

So I live by the Ohio.

It’s weird how you never realize how something like that plays into your life until you find yourself driving down by it.  Stopping to taking pictures…

And then one day…bam…there’s a book.

More like three.  This idea has been toying and dancing and flirting with me for a while now and finally, it let me catch it.

It’s a fun one, too.  Fun as in, it’s suspense-ish.  But I won’t be killing people all around town, either.  I mean, yes, there will probably be mayhem.  But I don’t think I’ll be smashing and bashing on every corner.

That’s the fun for me…maybe a little more laid back.  Maybe.

Here’s the fun for you…(and me)…I sold it.

St. Martins has bought a new trilogy for me.  It’s going to be a three book series, another small town romantic suspense series, this one, set in the south.  Instead of the Ohio, I ended up going with the Mississippi for reasons that I won’t be going into, but it was important to the story.

I have NO idea when it will be out.  I kinda need to write it first.

But here’s a snippet.

 

 

The last thing Gideon Marshall expected when he woke up that morning was to see trouble come rolling back into town.  But, unlike most people, he didn’t mind one bit.

He’d always had a soft spot for Neve Flanagan, the hellion youngest child of the family that had been the central figure in this small town for more than a hundred and fifty years.

Now that he was the sheriff of said small town, people might expect things to change—Neve had gotten into trouble more than once in her life, both before and after she’d left home.  But to be honest, Gideon suspected a lot of that was because people had expected her to get in trouble.

Neve simply gave them what they wanted.

Right now, as she leaned against the side of the beat-up Corolla that looked nothing like the fire-engine red Porsche she’d driven away from here eight years ago, she did the same thing.  She gave him what he wanted.

A smile.

It wasn’t the same smile, though.  That hit him, right in the heart.

Neve was like the little sister he’d never had and that wan, tired smile mad him want to chew nails and hit something.  Or somebody.  Because he recognized the look on her face, all too well.

She had the look of somebody who needed to hide.

But he knew his Trouble too well.  Instead of handling her the way he wanted to, hugging her up against him and demanding she tell him what was wrong, he did what he would have done eight years ago.  He reached up and caught of lock of her hair—deep red and soft—and pulled.  “Well, well, well.  Trouble is back.”

She made a face at him.

“In town fifteen minutes and I’ve already heard that—three times now.”

Gideon grinned, somewhat relieved to see an echo of her old smile flash across her face.  Then she moved away from the car and wrapped her arms around him.

Now, he let himself hug her.  And it hurt, he realized, more than he’d thought possible to feel the sharp bones and frail strength in her.  She’d lost weight, too much of it.  It was like there was nothing but skin, bone and the remnants of that cocky attitude.

“You stayed gone way too long, sugar,” he murmured against her temple as she tucked her head against his chest.

“Yeah, well.”  She sniffed and snuggled in closer.  “I kept thinking about coming back and nabbing you up for myself since my sister was dumb enough to let you get away.  But…well.  You’re so old.”

“Old?”  Chuckling, he rubbed his cheek against her hair.  “You mean to tell me I’ve been waiting around here for eight long years, pining after you and you think I’m too old for you?”

The gas pump shut off and she sighed, breaking away from him.  “Well, maybe not too old.”  Then she shrugged and finished dealing with the car, grabbing her receipt, putting the gas cap back on.  “But you and I both know you’ll never love anybody but Moira.”

He didn’t say anything.

Neve’s gaze swept up to him and he knew he didn’t have to.  She wouldn’t tell anybody.  Neither would he.

Their secret.

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LONG FOR ME… available now..

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Nothing but the desperation of a man staring down the business end of a gun. Guy knew that well enough.  But all of this added up to yet another scar on the Bell family and they already had enough.  And Chris . . .

The door slammed shut behind him.

He had to fight not to flinch.

Of course she was here.  After the night they’d spent, after everything she’d been dealing with, how could he not expect her to come looking for him?

She always came to him.  It was something that he both needed and hated, because he needed her, more than he needed to breathe, it seemed.  But she didn’t want the things from him that he wanted from her.

She wanted comfort, wanted silence. Wanted a million things, and he just wanted her.

Feeling the weight of her gaze, he turned to face her, leaning against the counter behind him, his hands curling around it so he didn’t give in to the temptation to reach for her as she came even closer to him.

“What in the hell are you doing?” she demanded.

“Taking some personal time,” he said levelly.

It had been his idea to take a few days away from work. Piss-poor timing, he knew, but the sheriff hadn’t been able to deny it made sense.  Fifteen years ago, Guy had been tangentially involved in what was likely going to be a manslaughter case.  They didn’t need him around right then.

He didn’t need to be around right then.

If he could cut the ties that bound him to Chris, he’d just leave Madison altogether.  She was the only thing that really held him here, but those ties were strong, forged of iron and lust and love and need.  To cut those ties, he’d have to cut out his heart.

“Personal time.”  She continued to stare at him, her eyes glinting, sharp and brittle.  “What did you do? Roll out of my bed and just decide you needed a few days away? Just like that?”

“Actually, I’d put the request in the day before the memorial.”  Setting his jaw, he looked at the wall past her.  “I should have mentioned it before that.  This isn’t exactly the best time for me to be around, Chris.”

“Not the best time.”

The wooden tone of her voice was so unnatural, he couldn’t help but look at her and the shattered expression on her face ripped at him.

“Aw, fuck,” he muttered, shoving away from the counter.  “Chris, that isn’t what I . . .”

“No.”  She shook her head, her throat working as she swallowed.  Vivid bursts of ink, those sexy, insane bursts of color that bloomed on her flesh moving as her chest shuddered, a ragged breath easing out of her.  “Fifteen years, I waited for answers.  Now I have some of them, and the person I always turn to just up and leaves.”

He closed his eyes.

“Okay.  Fine.  I get this is hell on you, too.  I thought maybe we could help each other through it.  But you don’t want that.  I’ll see you around.”  She turned and headed for the door.

She was two feet from the door when the threads of his control broke.  Slamming a hand over her head, he shoved the door closed as she went to slip outside.  When she attempted to jerk it open, he simply outmuscled her.

When she spun around and glared up at him, he glared back. “You get that this is hell on me,” he said, echoing her words.  “You have no idea what kind of hell this is.”

Her lip quivered, a snarl forming on her face.  “Poor Guy.” She gave him a look of mock pity and reached up to pat his cheek.

He caught her wrist, pinned it to the door.

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Long for Me… one more day!

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Tomorrow, the conclusion to the Bell family story is wrapped up with the release of LONG FOR ME…of course, this doesn’t mean we’re leaving the SECRETS & SHADOWS series behind yet. There’s a lot more to come with the release of DEEPER THAN NEED.

But for now…

 

Long-for-me-by-Shiloh-Walker225x340

 

“That was mean, and stupid,” she said, the words rushing out of her.  “I don’t know why I said it. I’m never going to learn to think—”

He’d like to think he did it just to make her stop kicking herself.

But Guy would have given his left arm to have the chance to kiss her again.  And there she was, tears blurring her beautiful green-gold eyes, while the self-doubt and self-anger built inside her.

Because he hated seeing it, he caught her face in his hands and cut off her words by pressing his lips to hers.  “No,” he murmured as she stumbled to a halt, her lips still moving slightly against his as she sucked in a breath.  “Just no, Tink, okay?”

He went to pull away.

Her hands came up, fisted in the lapels of his suit.

“Do that again,” she said.

He stared at her.

“Chris . . .”

She licked her lips, her gaze locked on his mouth.  “There’s been nothing but noise in my head most of the day.  I’ve told you what it’s like.  Usually I can turn it down or tune it out better than this, but not today.  When you’re touching me, it’s better.”

She eased back in and pressed her lips to his again.  “Do it again.  But really kiss me.”

He tangled his fist in her hair.  “Chris, we said we weren’t doing this anymore.”

“Does that mean you don’t want me?” she whispered, easing back just enough to touch her fingers to his lips.

That light touch was a torturous pleasure, one that went flying through him, straight down to his cock, drawing his balls tight while he fought the urge to grab her dress, pull it up, and just bury himself inside her.

“Not want you . . .” He closed his eyes, struggled to think for just a blessed minute. Chris complained that she had noise in her head and he could believe it.  She lived her life like she was running at high speed and only had so much time to do the million things she had firing inside her head.  Guy had something in his head, too.

Just her.

Always her.

Slowly, he opened his eyes and looked back at her.

He tugged her up against him, her body flush with his.  His erection pulsed against her belly and her breath shuddered out of her. “Oh,” she whispered, a smile lighting up her face.  “You do want—”

Want has nothing on how I feel.  But you need to be sure this is what you want.  What you really want.”  He dipped his head but instead of pressing his mouth to hers, he angled her head back and pressed his mouth to the delicate notch between her collarbone, felt the soft gasp fall from her.  “It’s not just something you’re doing to kill the hours before you can sleep.  It’s not something you’ll regret in the morning.  You regretted it last time.”

“I didn’t.”  She slid her hands up, her fingers biting into his shoulders through the layers of clothes.  “I didn’t regret it. It was just . . .” She shook her head.  “You’re making me think too much but it wasn’t regret.  Anything but that. And I won’t regret this. Give me tonight, Guy.  Please.”

 

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You need a wife, Guy… LONG FOR ME (snippet)

 

Long for Me

“Come on, Tink.”

In response, Chris just sighed and turned her head away from him, burrowing deeper into the seat.

Deputy Guy Miller closed his eyes and tried to mentally prepare himself.

He could do this.

He had done it before, after all.

Blowing out a breath, he reached over and unerringly freed the catch on the seat belt. As he climbed out of the car and circled around, he braced himself.  Chris was tired. Chris hadn’t just had a rough day—the past few weeks had been hell and he needed to be there for her.

All he was doing was taking her inside, putting her to bed.

Just being friendly.

Yeah, because that was how she wanted things.

That was how she’d decided things would be between them, just a couple of years ago.

Friendly.  That was exactly how he felt.  Friendly.

Lust and love twisted inside him.  Just lifting her into his arms made his dick ache.  Of course, he’d been a fucking disaster all day, ever since he’d slid onto that hard bench at church, seen the red dress she’d worn.  No black for Chris.  Her mother had loved color, so Chris had given her color.  A brilliant spray of red roses and white lilies had stood between two of the pictures and he already knew who had designed that arrangement, and Chris had worn a dress the same shade of red as those roses, a deep, dark red that had glowed against her skin and she’d left her arms bare so the tattoos had been on display.

More roses.

Roses that climbed up her arms and trailed down her back.

Once, he’d stripped that delicate body naked and learned each curve, each bloom of ink, and tasted that soft flesh.

One weekend, frozen in time.

But now, he was just a friend.

Settling her against his chest, he paused, gave himself a minute to rub his cheek against the softness of her hair.

Just a friend, maybe.

Even if everything he felt inside was so much more.

“Chris, baby,” he murmured.

She hummed in her throat and snuggled against him.

Sighing, he shifted around and managed to kick the door to his car shut.  He relished the soft feel of her in his arms as he carried her to the back door, using his key to unlock the door.

“You’re good at this.”

He stilled at the sound of her voice.

A low beep beep beep came to his ears and he scowled, moving inside and using his shoulder to bump her door shut.  The alarm system he’d nagged her into buying had a key fob, but he’d forgotten about it. Disarming the alarm, he looked down at the pale circle of her face.  “How long have you been awake?” he asked softly.

“Somewhere between the car and here.”  She wiggled against him but he pretended not to notice as he carried her into the kitchen.

If she was awake, he was going to make sure she ate something before he left.

“Are you back on the medicine?” he asked, settling her on one of the bar stools.

She grimaced at him.  “No.  I don’t need it right now.  Well, maybe it would be useful, but I don’t want it.  Why?”

“Because you’re not eating.”  She’d lost probably five pounds, easy.

“I never eat when I’m miserable.”  She sighed and shrugged.  “The ADHD drugs aren’t the only thing that kills my appetite.  Finding out what happened to Mom.  The memorial.  Nosy bitches who don’t need to be at Mom’s memorial anyway.  All of those things will make me not want to eat.”

“You’re going to eat.”

She slid him a look.  “Am I now?”

He came back over to the island and planted one hand in front of her, the other on the back of her chair.  “You are.  You’re wasting away.”  Then, because he knew she might ignore him if he bossed her around, but she’d never ignore him if he asked, he softened his voice and said, “Please, Tink.”

She sighed.

Reaching up, he cupped her cheek, wished he had the right to stroke his thumb over the full curve of her lower lip, maybe press his lips to hers and see if he couldn’t find some way to stir her appetite and make her forget some of her misery for a while.

She covered his hand with hers and squeezed.  “You need a wife, Guy.  You just love taking care of people.”

“Not all wives want to be taken care of.”  He shrugged and turned away.  He wasn’t about to tell her that the only woman he wanted to take care of was her, that the only woman he wanted was the woman he’d never have.

Just a few more days…have you ordered?

 

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How much of a book addict

If you’re here, more than likely, you’re addicted.  I think the quiz is rigged.  I’m much more addicted than this.

 

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You can take the quiz here.

There’s a book tour going on with the release of BREAK FOR ME…you can hit the blogs and get more chances to win. First stop is here.

Just a reminder, if you review, you can request BREAK FOR ME and LONG FOR ME from Netgalley.  I don’t think they’ll be there long, so grab them while you can.

Break for Me

Long for Me

For those who have read BURN FOR ME and BREAK FOR ME, if you feel so inclined, reviews posted to Amazon, BN, iBooks, etc…it helps a LOT… publishers look at these things and since I’m trying to get them to buy another series, having reviews going up would help an awful lot. Cuz…well, they like seeing those.

Snippet!

“It’s okay, Jensen. I get it.  You and me, we’re not going there.  So I’ll . . .” He blew out a breath.  “I’ll just stop.”

The words ripped out of her.  “Stop what?”

He didn’t answer.  Long fingers wrapped around the neck of the bottle of Woodford Reserve he had next to him and he rose.  “I hope you can get some rest this weekend.  Find some peace.”

“You didn’t answer me.”

He paused halfway up the steps. “I can’t stop myself from thinking about you.  But I haven’t made much of an attempt to hide the fact that I’m interested.  I can do better, so I will.  You don’t want to see it, so I’ll keep it to myself.  Sooner or later, it will fade.”

Will it?

She stared at the strong line of his back as he crossed the porch, her heart slamming away in her chest.

A knot formed in her throat.

This . . . this intensity she felt every time she looked at him.  That could fade?

It was the most real thing she’d felt since . . .

She didn’t even realize she was moving until he’d turned to look at her.

Then she was doing the very thing she’d dreamed about.

His skin was warm against hers, the light stubble scraping against her palms.  Because that light touch wasn’t enough, she kept one palm on his face and then drove the other hand into his hair, tangled it in his dreads.  The texture was coarse against her hand and she shuddered at the thought of feeling him, all of him.

“I don’t want it to fade,” she whispered as she rose onto her toes and pressed her mouth to his.

 

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Check out the contest…you can win a Coach purse and books!

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Want an ARC of Deeper than Need?

ARC contest

 

I have one ARC left, set aside for a blog contest and it’s time to give that ARC away.

Time heals all wounds

Eager to put a dark, troubled past behind her, Trinity Ewing buys an old house that will make the perfect refuge for her and her young son once renovations are complete. The last thing on her mind is finding someone new…but the contractor she’s hired is an irresistible distraction—and Trinity can’t help but fantasize about all the business they could be doing behind closed doors.

So does one man’s touch

Noah Benningfield thought he’d put his demons behind him. But the moment he lays eyes on Trinity, the temptation he feels is too powerful to deny. Soon the attraction between them explodes into something neither of them could have imagined. But their desire will be put to the test when a shocking local murder has them dodging danger at every turn. Can the beautiful and damaged Trinity trust someone like Noah, whose own past is as haunted as her own? The only thing she knows for sure is that she can’t live without a man who makes her feel this good—over and over again…

 

Noah couldn’t help it.  While she was still laughing at him, he closed his mouth over hers.  The need that had tormented him for so long threatened to drive him insane and all he wanted was to lose himself in her.

Spreading his hand out over the small of her back, he fisted the other in the golden silk of her hair as her laughter faded away and her mouth opened for him.

There was hunger here…and need.

It would be easy, he realized.

Too easy to get lost in her. In the sweetness of her kiss, the warm strength of her body.

She was lean and limber against him, all those curves pressed tight to his.  He had to fight the urge to let his hands roam over all her, to learn every single inch, to learn her by touch, by sight, by taste. His cock pulsed against her belly and she kept moving against him.  He had an overwhelming need to pin her against the nearest flat surface and just rock against her until he exploded.

Her chest moved in ragged, uneasy bursts against his own.  The soft, sweet curve of her breasts pressed against him as she leaned in, wrapping her arms around his neck. The tight, hard points of her nipples scrapped against him and he thought he was going to go out of his mind.  A whole new sort of temptation—one he hadn’t had to deal with before.  Not like this. Never like this, because he was pretty certain he hadn’t ever wanted like this…

All because of a kiss.

Her tongue moved against his, stroking along the curve of his lip before venturing into his mouth and Noah felt the muscles in his legs start to tremble. On a ragged breath, he tore away from her and pressed his brow to hers.

“So.  Again…I think I’ve made my case pretty clear.  A date isn’t a bad idea.  Does tomorrow at eight work for you?”

 

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