Posts Tagged ‘romance’
I’m trying to spread the word on Facebook about Ember’s Fire (Book 2 in the Standish Clan trilogy), and you can help! Just share the pinned post at the top of my Facebook author page. Everyone who shares will be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Ember’s Fire and a pretty beaded bookmark.
Find the post here. It’s the top post.
I’m giving away ten (10) copies of Promise Me the Stars, Book 3 in the Standish Clan trilogy. Hop on over and enter for a chance to win! It’s open to readers in the US, Canada and the UK.
I’m giving away ten (10) print copies of A Fall from Yesterday on Goodreads. Enter for your chance to win! Not a member of Goodreads? You don’t know what you’re missing! Here’s a link that tells you a bit about it, and how to use it. Once you’ve joined, you can check out this and other giveaways of print books. There are tons of them! Obviously, there are always lots of people vying for the free books, but you in the words of the inimitable Steve Forbert, you cannot win if you do not play.
I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new contemporary series launching. The three books in The Standish Clan series are under the Hearts of Harkness umbrella. More series are planned.
Here are the books with links to excerpts and pre-order links:
Book 1 – A Fall from Yesterday
Read an excerpt here.
Book 2 – Ember’s Fire
Read an excerpt here!
Book 3 – Promise Me the Stars
Read an excerpt here.
If you haven’t yet read The Eleventh Commandment (A Dystopian Romance), or would just like to have it in print, I’m giving away two copies on Goodreads. The giveaway opens July 16 and runs through August 6, 2015. It’s open to readers in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Click here to access the Goodreads giveaway page, and click Enter Giveaway. Super easy!
My friend and writing buddy Kate Kelly has a book in the Kindle Scout program. It’s hot and trending right now, but it could use your votes to stay there. The way Kindle Scout works is that you have a chance to read an excerpt, then nominate it if you’d like to see the book published by Amazon. If the book “wins” in this reader-driven selection process, you will automatically receive a free copy of it when it comes out, as a thank you for your sharp scouting skills. If anyone’s writing deserves it, it’s Kate’s. She is a USA Today bestselling author. The two of us, who were critique partners at the time, actually finalled together in RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® contest once back in 2001, both in the same category, and both with cowboy books. These days, she self-publishes romantic suspense stories and writes awesome Superromances for Harlequin. I’ll post the link to read her entry below, but first, to whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt.
Finally free of her cheating husband, Maggie Kennedy is searching for a “real man” to be a sperm donor for the baby she desperately wants, and figures cowboy country is the place to find one. She’s set her sights on JD Cooper, who fits the bill to a T.
A famous architect, JD retreated to his brother’s ranch three years ago when personal tragedy struck. He doesn’t want a child. He doesn’t want to fall in love. And he most definitely doesn’t want to be part of Maggie’s Next Great Idea.
Excerpt from ONLY YOU, by Kate Kelly (Copyright Kate Kelly 2015):
To set up the scene, Maggie Kennedy has propositioned JD Cooper to one night of hot sex, and he’s trying to do the right thing by suggesting going to dinner instead. Poor guy. He doesn’t have a chance! She wants a baby, and he wants her. He doesn’t learn until later that she’s picked him as the father of her child. This is the build-up to the first time they make love. Maggie and JD have a rough emotional ride in this story. Thank goodness for happy endings!
JD pulled his cowboy hat lower on his head as he settled into the low-slung seat beside Maggie. He was in for a lot of ribbing once they arrived in Cooper Creek. He hadn’t grown up in the small village that sat a few miles east of Jackson Hole, but over the years he’d met most of the town folk, and if there was one thing he knew about the locals, they liked a good laugh. Especially at someone else’s expense. Seeing him folded into this ridiculous pink car would give them fodder for months to come.
“Nice car,” he said as he maneuvered his legs in the cramped space in front of him. His knees practically came up to his chin. Wasn’t he the biggest goddamn fool who ever lived? He swore if Maggie had said Jump over the moon, he’d try his best to please her.
He glanced at her profile. He’d never met anyone like her before. As far as he could understand, she wanted to have sex with him. Not a relationship. Just sex. Was that some kind of cosmic joke? A beautiful, vibrant woman strolled into his house with a chocolate cake and said she wanted to have sex with him. She’d given him an instant hard-on, and it had been years since that had happened. Not the hard-on, but the immediacy. The urgency. He was starting to get hard right now, imagining those incredible long legs wrapped around him.
What was he doing taking her to Arnie’s, for chrissakes?
“You’re awfully quiet.” Maggie glanced over at him.
“I’m rethinking my options.”
“Meaning I think we should go back to my place.”
She stomped on the brake, and the car skidded to a stop. “Right now?”
“Yeah.” His nerves jangled so much, he wondered if he was glowing in the dark. “No. Damn it. Hang on a sec.”
He reached for her and pulled her toward him. His breathing eased when he pressed his mouth against hers. She tasted sweet and mysterious at the same time. He slid his tongue along her lips and inhaled her breath. He’d inhale her if he could. Her lips were so soft. And eager. As greedy as his. It had been so long. He’d dated women since his divorce, had even tried to take the relationships to the next level, but no one had come close to making him feel like this.
If he didn’t take her right now, he’d explode.
He pulled away. Welcomed the cool night air that washed over him. She’d pulled his shirt out of his jeans, and he sucked in a breath as her hands explored his stomach.
“Yes, we can.” She tried climbing over the stick shift to get to him.
He laughed and caught her hands. “No, baby. Not here in the middle of town. Let’s go home.”
Home. She really was driving him crazy. He’d never called the house home before. It had always been “the house.”
“You’re right. I guess.” She pulled her hands through her hair and looked around and laughed. She started the engine and turned the car around and gunned it back to his house. “Talk to me. Talk to me about anything but sex, or I swear we won’t make it back.”
He put his hand on the back of her neck. He needed to feel her warm skin under his fingers. Needed to feel her pulse throbbing with excitement. To get her out of her clothes and lay her on his mattress. He didn’t even have a proper bed, for God’s sake. Just a thousand dollar mattress on the floor. What was wrong with him? He was squatting in his own home.
“Why is the car pink?” He pulled the question out of the air. He didn’t want to think about why he lived the way he did. All he wanted was Maggie’s warm, silken skin against him. He wanted to be inside her. Deep inside her. Over and over again.
“My ex wanted the car as part of the divorce settlement. I bought it for him as a wedding present.”
She shrugged. “He’s cheap, and I knew if I painted the car pink and made the seats and everything inside pink, he’d never spend the money to change it back.”
“He must have hurt you a lot.”
She downshifted as they flew up the last grade. “He got what I wanted the most, so I thought it only fair that I got something he wanted.”
“What is it you wanted?” He knew he shouldn’t ask. It was far too personal and didn’t have anything to do with him and Maggie. He wanted to keep things light with her. Not get too involved. Maggie wasn’t going to be here for long. He might not be, either, but then again, he might.
She parked the car and smiled sadly at him as they sat in the dark listening to the ticking of the engine cooling. “It doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is whether I’m going to get what I want tonight.”
“That I can deliver on.”
Whew. :::Fans self:::
If you enjoyed that as much as I did, you can read more and nominate the entry here.
With the launch of my newest Montlake romantic suspense FATAL HEARTS just a few days away, I thought I’d post an excerpt. Since you can read the first pages at Amazon with the Look Inside feature, I’m going to post something from a little further on in the book. If you’ve read the blurb, you’ll know that Toronto Police Detective Boyd McBride has come to Fredericton, New Brunswick, to look into the death of his identical twin Josh, who was conducting his own investigation into their birth parents. Although this is a single title book and not part of my Serve and Protect series, it is set square in the middle of that Serve and Protect world, complete with roles, large and small, from characters you’ll remember from that series, if you’ve read it.
C h a p t e r 2
Boyd signed in at police HQ almost two hours later. It had taken an hour to get the slim medical file from the records department, which he counted as a minor miracle. That kind of request often took days, if not longer. Twenty minutes for lunch while he took an unrewarding cruise through the hospital records, which were very minimal, and another half hour to get out of the busy hospital parking lot and downtown. Ten minutes after that, Detective Ray Morgan strode across the police station lobby toward him.
If Boyd hadn’t met the guy already, he wouldn’t have pegged him for a cop. He’d probably have figured him for a lawyer, given the setting. For starters, that custom tailored suit looked like it belonged on a model, as did that hundred-dollar haircut. Morgan was early to midthirties by Boyd’s estimation, but it was hard to say with guys like that. The first time they’d met, Boyd had been ready to write him off as a dandified lightweight. But that was before the guy got close enough for him to get a look at his eyes and the deep grooves on either side of his mouth. That and the handshake convinced him there was a real cop under the elegant packaging after all.
“Detective McBride,” he said, his voice as smooth and perfectly pitched as the rest of him. “Sorry to keep you waiting. Took me a while to get off the phone.”
“Morgan.” Boyd stood and grasped the other man’s outstretched hand. “Thanks for agreeing to meet with me.”
Morgan led him back to the detectives’ bull pen. This was Boyd’s second visit, but it struck him again how small it was. A mind-blowing thought, considering that this detective squad was the sum total for the whole city. Of course, there were more citizens in the city of Toronto than in the whole province of New Brunswick. A whole hell of a lot more. So it made sense that it would be small.
For his brother’s sake, he hoped small didn’t translate into ill equipped. Or, worse, incompetent.
They passed several desks, some manned, some empty, but all stacked high with paper and files and sticky notes and colored phone messages. The organized chaos made him feel right at home. A detective with a phone pressed to his ear nodded at them as they passed without missing a beat of his conversation. When they reached Morgan’s desk, Boyd sat in the chair Morgan indicated.
“Coffee?” Morgan offered.
“No, thanks. I’m good.
Morgan gave a wry smile. “Good decision,” he conceded. After taking his suit jacket off and carefully draping it over the back of an empty chair, he took a seat. Then he reached into a drawer of his desk and withdrew a folder, which Boyd assumed to be Josh’s.
Boyd’s gaze fell on the file on the desk between them. “So, what can you tell me about my brother’s death?”
“Since we last talked on the phone? Very little more. I told you the coroner found no obvious problems with your brother’s heart?”
“You did. And if I understand what you told me, that’s not common, but it’s not unheard of either. What was the stat you gave me? Up to five percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims display no discernible anatomic problems on autopsy?”
“Correct. The forensic toxicology report is probably still weeks away.”
Boyd raised an eyebrow. “Weeks?”
“You know the drill, McBride. They test for probably three hundred substances. And you know there are new experimental drugs being introduced all the time and new designer crap hitting the streets. It takes time to test for all that stuff. And then if they find something, the result has to be replicated independently. If we find there was foul play, this shit has to hold up in court.”
“I know. I’m just . . . anxious.”
“We do have the hospital’s standard tox screen, as I’ve already reported, so the really obvious ones—alcohol, cocaine, yada yada—can probably be safely eliminated.”
Boyd wanted to say the illegal stuff could be eliminated without the benefit of testing, because this was Josh they were talking about, dammit. The man barely even took the occasional Advil. But he knew all too well that drugs sometimes wound up in a vic’s system through no conscious choice of their own. Just ask all the roofied girls he’d talked to in ERs while a forensic nurse prepared to give them a sexual assault kit. Boyd drew a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
“We’re also waiting for the genetic tests the coroner’s office ordered.” Morgan’s eyes were sympathetic. “Maybe those results will shed more light.”
“Right.” He dragged a hand over his face. “So, what kind of wait are we talking about for the genetics? Weeks? Months?”
“Months would be my guess. The backlog is hellish.”
Boyd nodded his understanding. He’d had to explain similar delays to many a bereaved mother or father or wife who’d just wanted to understand what had happened to their loved one.
“Maybe my results will come back first.”
“You had genetic testing done on yourself?”
“After what happened with Josh, I had everything done. I’ve been imaged, had ECGs, EEGs, cardiac ultrasound, stress tests. I’ve worn a Holter monitor for forty-eight hours. They couldn’t find even a whiff of abnormality, with the electrical system or otherwise.”
“Interesting.” Morgan scribbled a note and put it in the folder.
Boyd gestured to the file. “Any chance I can get a copy of that?”
“The file?” Morgan snorted. “You’re welcome to look at it, but I can’t be giving out copies. Which I think you knew before you asked. But I’ll keep you abreast of developments. Like I said on the phone, I’m happy to do another sit-down with you further down the line, if it seems like it would be useful.”
“I guess that’ll have to be good enough.”
The other detective’s handsome features hardened. “I’ve already assured you that when I get toxicology back, you’ll know about it. When I have the genetics report, you’ll hear from me. Short of deputizing you and handing you the case, I don’t know what more I can do.”
“Sorry.” Boyd held up his hands in a conciliatory gesture. The man was right. And the last thing Boyd wanted to do was piss off best window into Josh’s case. “I know you’re bending over backwards here. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. I’m just—”
“I know.” Some of the ice went out of Morgan’s eyes. “Don’t sweat it.”
Boyd cleared his throat. “Look, I know you told me a lot of this stuff on the phone, and I appreciate that. I really do. But can walk me through the timeline again? I just need to understand what happened.”
Something stirred in Morgan’s eyes now. Pity, he realized. Ordinarily, that would sting. Nobody pitied Boyd McBride. But under the circumstances, he’d take it. Take it and exploit it if he could.
Anything to find out the truth about Josh’s death.
You can pre-order Fatal Hearts, or wait to snag it when it releases on August 19.
Saving Grace, Book 2 in my Serve and Protect Series, is currently free. It’s enjoying very good reviews (4.4 stars on 485 reviews), which is a relief! Sometimes when you make a book free, lots of people who wouldn’t otherwise read a romantic suspense will pick it up, and quite often they give it two or three stars because it’s not to their taste. Basically, they dislike it for conforming to a genre they don’t like in the first place. But for some reason, I haven’t had very many of those types of reviews. What I do get are reviews that begin, “I didn’t expect to like this book…” I love that!
I should note that while this is Book 2 in the series, it stands alone very nicely. They all do. But as always, there’s something to be said for reading books in order. That way, when you glimpse secondary characters, you already know a lot about them.
Oh, and Saving Grace is currently featured in Kindle Books and Tips, one of my favorite newsletters for learning about free and bargain Kindle books. Check it out. http://bit.ly/1p4w8Mu
I am so pumped today to play host to Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa is one-half of the husband-and-wife writing team, V.K. Sykes. She’s also a writing pal, a fellow Canadian, and a fellow Rock*It Reads author. Vanessa and her hubby Randy Sykes have a brand new sports romance out, this one an awesome romantic suspense. Take it away, Vanessa!
VANESSA KELLY: Hi, Norah! Thanks so much for helping me celebrate the release of my new VK Sykes romantic suspense, Lethal Confessions.
When my hubby and I were brainstorming characters for Lethal Confessions, we decided we wanted our heroine to be a fish-out-of-water. The setting for the story is the world of minor league baseball in Palm Beach County, Florida. We knew our heroine would be a homicide detective, and we knew she would be smart enough and tough enough to fit into that demanding environment. But we also wanted her to be something of an outsider.
So we made Amy Robitaille a transplanted Francophone from Quebec who emigrated with her parents from Montreal to Palm Beach when she was a young teenager. Amy hated the move to Florida, but over the years she eventually came to embrace her new country. But she never forgot her beloved Quebec, or completely gave up thinking in French. It was a lot of fun to put her in situations with the tough alpha males—some of them good old boys—who work with her in the Homicide Unit.
The brutal murder of her twin sister drove Amy Robitaille into a career as a homicide detective for Palm Beach County. When a serial killer targets the wives of local baseball players, Amy has more than just a professional interest at stake—her only surviving sister fits the profile of the other victims. Amy’s hell-bent on catching the killer, not only to protect her sister but to destroy the demons haunting her since the death of her twin.
Baseball star and former soldier Luke Beckett has just retired from the game and is looking to move on with his life. When he’s asked to consult on the serial killer case for the local police, he finds the challenge he needs—despite the objections of lead detective Amy Robitaille. But Luke has no intention of backing away from the job and every intention of getting to know the intriguing detective.
Amy has no time to babysit a celebrity consultant while trying to catch a serial killer. But Luke is not the man she assumed him to be and he threatens to become a powerful distraction. That’s the last thing she needs, especially when the killer starts closing in on her family. But without Luke’s help, Amy stands to lose everything.
Here’s a little snippet of Amy—the first meet with the hero, former pro baseball player, Luke Beckett.
The tall, broad-shouldered man strode through the double sliding doors of the hospital as if he owned the place, and suddenly Amy Robitaille felt like she was sixteen again. Back home in Montreal with her girlfriends. She didn’t much care for the feeling and almost stumbled over her own feet in surprise.
Luke Beckett. The last time she’d seen the man in the flesh had been when her girlfriends had dragged her to a late season Montreal Expos baseball game to moon over him. Le Grand Luc, the player soon to be named rookie of the year, already darling of the team’s faithful, and heartthrob to practically every silly female in Quebec.
Amy almost laughed. Could it really be fifteen years ago? She felt like she’d aged a half-century in the meantime. But the years had treated Beckett with an easy hand. He was still as hot as the twenty-two year old superstar whose talent and ambition had overshadowed even Montreal’s hockey stars for a few years. Maybe even hotter. Maturity sat well on his lean, handsome features.
As he strode through the lobby in her general direction, she automatically gave him a quick scan. She was used to working with big men—tall, burly cops who threw off guy hormones like a wet dog shakes off water. But Beckett, as big as he was, had more than size and GQ looks. He had the smooth grace of the gifted athlete. And, deep inside, in a place she kept under lock and key, something responded to all that masculine perfection and power, sending a flush of unwelcome heat purring through her body.
Beckett glanced her way, catching her undoubtedly startled expression and the brief hitch in her step. Then he dropped his eyes to the gun and badge on her belt. He veered toward her, his mouth lifting in a dazzling smile that froze her in her tracks.
Amy didn’t want to stop. She had no desire to speak to Luke Beckett, however famous or handsome he might be.
But Beckett clearly had her in his sights. He strolled up to her, assuming, no doubt, that a lowly police detective, especially one of the female variety, would welcome a brief brush with greatness.
“Ma’am, I just thought I’d say hello,” he said in a seductive southern drawl. “I talk to a lot of police officers here at the hospital, but we haven’t met before. I’m Luke Beckett.” He stuck out his hand, a mitt big enough to engulf both of hers. He clearly thought she’d recognized him, and he was right.
Reluctantly, her hand came forward and disappeared into his oversized paw. “Detective Amy Robitaille.” She inwardly cursed the catch in her voice.
He must have heard it, too, because his smile kicked up a notch. He tilted his head, looking curious, and a lock of black hair feathered across his forehead.
Calice, this guy is good. Maybe he practiced in front of a mirror.
“Roh-bi-tie…” He drew the syllables out in a lazy cadence, one she felt down the backs of her legs. “With that name and that accent, I’d guess you’re from Montreal. Did you recognize me from up there?” His dark eyes seemed to laugh at her. “I sure did love that town.”
“And Montreal loved you right back,” Amy said, starting to inch around him. “Yes, I grew up there.”
Beckett shifted a little. Not enough to block her path, but enough to make it clear he wanted to continue the conversation.
She repressed a groan. Beckett reminded her of Gabe Labrash, though admittedly her ex-boyfriend wasn’t as poster handsome as the man standing in front of her. Gabe had taught her the dangers of getting involved with a pro athlete, but that wasn’t a good enough reason to be flat-out rude to a stranger.
His eyes flicked down over her chest to the ID card on her belt. “Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, right?”
“You have sharp eyes,” she said.
“I recognized the colors and the logo right away.” He cleared his throat. “Est-ce que tu viens à l’hôpital souvent?”
Amy gave a reluctant smile at his decent stab at French. His use of the familiar “tu” was a little forward, but she decided not to use the stiff “vous” in response. “C’est beau, ton débit. Tu parles français pas mal,” she said, and then switched back to English. “I’m impressed. Your accent isn’t half bad.”
He shook his head. “I used to speak a fair bit of French, but now I’m rusty as hell. I left Montreal nine years ago, and I haven’t kept it up.”
Amy nodded, knowing how easy it was to lose your French in southern Florida. Sure, there were thousands of Quebec expatriates and snowbirds there, and you could buy La Presse in some Fort Lauderdale convenience stores. But English was too dominant to allow most people to preserve their native language and pass it down. She’d managed, but only through iron will and fanatical determination to spend every vacation in Quebec since her family had forced her to leave. But her younger sister, Marie-Louise, had already lost some of her fluency, and M.L.’s little boy would probably be barely functional in French.
“It’s hard to maintain a language in a foreign environment,” she said, beginning to enjoy the conversation.
Beckett shifted closer. It was an easy, fluid movement, but one which brought her native sense of caution flooding back.
“Are you visiting someone here, Detective?” he asked. “Or working a case?”
Amy cast a pointed look toward the hospital exit. “I dropped in to see a ten year-old girl. A bystander caught in the middle of a double homicide shootout last week. She was transferred down here for follow-up surgery. I was just checking to see how she was doing.”
The tough lines of his face softened a bit. “Poor kid. What’s her name? I’ll drop by.”
Amy hesitated, caught off guard by his offer. “Tanesha Malone. That…that would be nice of you.”
He flashed another devastating grin. “No problem. I’ll make sure I catch her.”
“I guess you’re doing one of those celebrity visits,” Amy said, thinking back to all the times she’d seen athletes, actors, and politicians make whirlwind tours of children’s hospitals.
Beckett’s smile faded. “Not really.” He suddenly sounded cool.
Shut your big mouth, Amy. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to give offense.”
He actually looked kind of pissed. “That’s okay. I just don’t like to be stereotyped.”
She started to back away, hating that her self-assurance seemed to be taking a perplexing nose dive. Thank you, Luke Beckett. “I understand. Well, if you’ll excuse me—”
“Before you go,” he interrupted. “I recognized your ID because a good friend of mine heads up the Violent Crimes Division at the Sheriff’s Office. Kellen Cramer. You must know him.”
Amy knew Kellen Cramer, all right. Her boss, captain and commander of the division that included her Homicide Unit. Talk about a small world. And not in a good way.
She dredged up a smile. “Of course. I’ll mention to him that I ran into you, Mr. Beckett.” She kept backing away. “Have a good day.”
Beckett raised his eyebrows, his gaze latching onto her with a sharp return of interest. Sexual interest, by the look of it. But she didn’t stick around long enough to give him a chance to reply. Every cop instinct she possessed shrieked that Luke Beckett was capable of weaving a web and capturing a victim in the time it took to drink a cup of coffee.
Amy simply refused to play fly to Luke Beckett’s spider. Not after Gabe Labrash. She wouldn’t make that mistake twice.
What’s your favorite type of heroine in romantic suspense novels? One person who comments will win a copy of my award-winning VK Sykes anthology, The Philadelphia Patriots.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Vanessa! If I didn’t already own the book, I’d be off to snag it after reading that snippet.
Okay, it’s comment time! On the line is that awesome box set which contains the three novels, Fastball, Hardball and Bigger Than Beckham.