Round-up, Recap & Read

In case you haven’t entered this month’s contest….

If you want to help a ferret…or a wolf…or a polar bear…

Just how wrong are the stereotypes?

So there’s a round-up & recap.

Here’s the read… from Beautiful Girl, coming out in ebook 1/29 from Samhain Publishing.

And… if you’re a blogger, if you’d like a chance to win an early read of Beautiful Girl, make sure to check out the info at the bottom.


Oh, yeah. The party girl was definitely gone. Since she’d walked out of the diner early that morning, Blake had tried to convince himself maybe she hadn’t changed as much as he’d thought. It wasn’t like they’d said more than a few words to each other.

But he’d been wasting his time. The girl he’d known was long gone. Blake couldn’t help but miss her laugh, the way her face glowed when she smiled and the mischievous glint that would appear in her eyes.

It was Thursday night and most of the people coming to the reunion were down at the lake for the barbecue. There were two bonfires going and the attendees roamed back and forth between them, laughing, talking. There was an impromptu karaoke contest running and Blake worked hard to tune out the sound of Vance belting out a very bad rendition of Live Like You Were Dying.

The firelight flickered and danced over Dee’s face as Blake circled around to stand beside her. “He’s no Tim McGraw, is he?”

A smile curved up the corners of her mouth and she glanced towards her cousin. “Definitely not.”

He offered her one of the longnecks he grabbed a few minutes earlier and she shook her head. “No, thanks.”

“Something besides a beer? Manda couldn’t have done better if she paid somebody to set up a cash bar.” Blake gestured towards the series of folding tables set up by the tree line.

“No. I’m not into drinking.” She’d left her hair loose and Blake watched a long fingered, slender palm come up, shoving the dense, dark hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear. With the dark hair and the pseudo-Goth clothes, he wouldn’t have been surprised to see some serious metal in her ears, or elsewhere.

But she didn’t have even a pair of earrings on.

The shirt she wore clung like a second skin and it was just a shade or two darker than said skin, giving the illusion that she wore nothing. Blake had the feeling that if she’d realized how damned sexy a picture she made, she would have found something else to wear.

“So what have you been up to the past ten years, Dee?”

She glanced at him. “Twelve,” she corrected in a soft voice. Then she shrugged. “Same as everybody else. Getting by.”

“The princess of Pike County ought to do more than get by,” Blake teased. It wasn’t a nickname she’d cared for and he’d purposely used it to see how she’d react. But he didn’t get the reaction he was hoping for. Which would have been any kind of reaction. The only response he got was a faint, polite smile. The kind of smile a person would give a stranger. Empty, meaningless and pointless.

He opened his mouth, about ready to try something else to get a reaction out of her. But instead, he reached out, cupped his hand over her elbow and guided her away from the laughter and the music. She didn’t resist but Blake couldn’t help noticing that she kept a careful distance between them. As soon as he let go of her arm, she backed away a good five feet.

Out of the blue, a memory flashed through Blake’s mind. That last night here at the lake before he left for that camp. The last time he saw Dee. They’d come down to the lake with plans to swim, fish and stay gone until way past curfew. When he’d picked Dee up, she had worn a pair of cut offs and a pale blue bikini. By the time night fell, it had cooled off and she’d ended up wearing an old denim shirt of his.

Manda had been down by the shore with Brad, while Blake and Dee were standing in possibly this same spot. Dee had her back against a tree. He could still remember how she looked, moonlight filtering down through the trees, her curls in a wild tumble around her face and shoulders. She’d reached for him, lifted her mouth to his. They’d been just a few seconds away from making love for the first time that night. Dee wouldn’t have said no, Blake didn’t think. But he was leaving in the morning for two months and he didn’t want to their first time to be followed by a separation.

Who ever would have thought a twelve-year old memory would have the power to turn his blood to lava? Hunger raged inside him and when he focused on Dee’s face, it was almost like he was staring at her through a time warp. He could see the dark hair, straight as a pin, falling to her shoulders and the plain, almost ugly utilitarian clothes and the unsmiling set of her face. But the memory of that last night kept superimposing itself and he saw her smiling and laughing, her arms reaching for him and her mouth opening for his.

“What happened to you, Dee?”

She lowered her lashes, shielding her gaze from him. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Bull.” Blake closed the distance between them, watching her the entire time. She didn’t move away. But everything about her went on edge. He could see it. Her body tensed. He could see her open her hands, flexing them, before closing them into tight fists.

“Something happened,” he murmured. He reached down and captured one wrist, lifting it. She resisted but he didn’t let go. He looked from her fisted hand to her face. “You look like you’re afraid of me, Dee.”


And now the contest…do you have a blog? If you do, would you like to get an ARC of Beautiful Girl? You can.

I’m going to draw the names of five bloggers to win a download of Beautiful Girl.

All I ask:

  • an honest review of the story…whether you love it or hate…posted on your blog by the end of January. The book releases 1/29 and we all know word of mouth can sell books. So I just want to help spread the word.
  • It does have to be an established blog… meaning you can’t get one going today and enter the contest. Needs to already be in existence and being used.

Simple enough? Then if you’re interested, send me an email @

I’ll draw the winners Monday or Tuesday. Please include your blog URL and what format you prefer, so I can get the file to you ASAP.

For those that don’t blog…don’t worry. I’ll be doing another contest for the book when it releases.