Feb 282011

Karen Cantwell (she of Kindle best-seller fame with her humorous mystery TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN) has posted an evocative excerpt from DRAGON BLUES on Fiction for Dessert. At least, I hope it’s evocative. Stop off if you get a chance and let me know if you agree.

Are you interested in creating book covers? Laura Morrigan, the genius who created all my covers, is at the How To Write Shop with a book cover creation breakdown. She uses DRAGON BLUES as an example. She makes it look simple, but I know it’s not. If you know someone who designs their own covers, do them a favor and tell them to check it out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with news about another friend. I have to do taxes today. Not fun. How is your Monday stacking up?

Feb 282011

We have winners from the release party. Congratulations! A huge thank you to all my guests and their wonderful excerpts, and to everyone who read the excerpts.

Here are the names:

Pam P won Wicked Souls by Misty Evans.
Bakerette won A Whisper To A Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner
Bakerette also won Undead In The City by Lynda Hilburn
StacieDM won Sparring Partners by Leigh Morgan
Marie Wolf won Irish Moon by Amber Scott
Valerie won Emily’s Captain by Shari Anton
Marilyn Brant won Take The Monkeys And Run by Marilyn Cantwell
Cathy M won Forget About Tomorrow by Liz Kreger
Linda Henderson won Sacred Secrets by Linda Prather
Linda Henderson also won Ain’t Love Grand? by Dana Taylor
Sylvia Rochester won Unwilling Accomplice by Melanie Atkins
Magaly Guerrero won Bittersweet by Marcia Colette
Carla Cullen won The Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser
Barbara won The Color of Heaven by E.V. Mitchell (aka Julianne MacLean)
Yolanda Henschel won an audio of HEAD OVER HEELS by Cindy Procter-King
Misty Rayburn won Demon High by Lori Devoti
Linda Henderson won We Interrupt This Date by L.C. Evans
Mary Marvella won Come Back My Love by Sylvia Rochester
Valerie won Bad To The Bone by Karin Tabke
Linda Henderson won One Thousand Kisses by Jody Wallace
Aimee won Lying Eyes by Amy Atwell
Donna Caubarreaux, Joleene Naylor and SandyG265 won either The Ghost Hunter, The Mind Reader, or A Night Of Secrets by Lori Brighton
Linda Henderson won A Killing Tide by P.J. Alderman
Misty Evans won Lost Leprechaun Loot by M.A. Golla
Aimee won Shades of Gray by Joleene Naylor
Pam P, SandyG265, Dale Mayer, Joleene Naylor & Liz Lipperman won their choice of Dragon Blues, Dead People or Cattitude by Edie Ramer

I’m going to add one last thank you to whoever created Random.org for making this easy to pick the winners.


Feb 252011

Witches Anonymous, Step 3

In this continuing novella series, as reformed witch Amy Atwood wrestles with completing the third step of Witches Anonymous—turning her will over to a higher power—she’s counting the days to her six-month magic-free anniversary. However, when Gabriel steals half her soul, claiming she’s cast a spell on him to keep him from returning to Heaven, the odds of her sticking to her magic-free oath shrink. He demands she break the spell keeping him Earth-bound…or he’ll kill her and damn her soul for eternity.

But Amy’s not about to go down without a fight. Having once been the Devil’s right hand witch, her soul’s already bound for Hell, and while Gabriel now owns half, the other half belongs to Lucifer…and Amy knows exactly how to use Luc to stop Gabe.

While Amy will do anything—outside of using magic—to reunite the halves of her soul, the powers of good and evil also control her free will. As she works to uncover the real witch behind the spell holding Gabriel prisoner, she finds herself back in Lucifer’s arms…and her Witches Anonymous goal spinning further and further out of reach.

The next thing I knew, Lucifer’s voice was waking me. I’d lost consciousness somewhere along the line. “Amy? Can you hear me?”

Gabriel was gone. Luc’s hands felt like hot brands on my chilled skin as he grasped my shoulders and gave a gentle shake. “Open your eyes, witch. Look at me.”

“Don’t.” The shaking made my ribs rub against each other. “Hurts.”

He stopped, and as he leaned over, the heat of his body warmed me to a crisp. I cracked one eye open and looked into his face. His brows were knit together in a deep scowl but his eyes were filled with concern. “What the hell did you do to Gabriel?”

What had I done to Gabriel? What the hell had he done to me? Taking a hesitant breath, I grimaced at the fire in my chest cavity. My voice came out breathy and rough. “Noth…ing.”

“Gabriel doesn’t kill humans over nothing.”

My brain continued floating in fog. I caught myself mesmerized by Luc’s jet black hair, hard jaw line and full lips. He was so handsome, and not just to me, to everyone. To me, he was more than unabashed good looks, though. I’d loved him for seven years. Given him my soul. We’d shared a history no one on Earth would ever understand. Or experience.

I laid a hand on his arm. “You fought him for me.”

Luc’s eyes narrowed, watching me closely. His head tilted as he sized me up, surmised I was loony, and shook his head. He glanced up at the cracked tile overhead. “How hard did you hit your head?”

The first time Gabriel and I mixed it up, I’d also whacked my head and woken up in Eden—the original Eden, complete with beautiful gardens, animals, and a sin-free policy. Fun place to visit. Wouldn’t want to live there.

Glancing around, I made sure I was still in the fire station’s locker room. Fluorescent lights, cracked tile, leaky shower head. Everything seemed normal. “My head is fine. The rest of me, not so much.”

Lucifer’s gaze went to the spot between my breasts where Gabe’s fist had been planted. He swallowed hard, but his eyes didn’t stray, which I appreciated, and he glanced back up at me as if to ask permission. I nodded, hating myself for being willing to let the Devil lay his hands on me in order to get rid of the pain, but there it was. I’d do anything to get Luc’s hands on me.

Wait, that wasn’t right. My brain backpedaled. To feel better, I corrected myself.

The pain eased the instant his hand touched my chest, and whatever damage Gabe had done began to heal. For several minutes, neither of us spoke, my head, still not functioning at full capacity, filling with memories of Luc’s hands on other parts of my body. A flush pervaded my skin, heating it, and more memories flashed across my mental landscape. Happy times. Satisfying times. Lust and sex and love all wound up and permeated with the magic only Luc could spin.

I wasn’t the only one feeling the heat. Luc’s eyes sparked with a familiar, devious glint, his body relaxing into his normal confident self. “Better?”

The cavity in my chest disappeared, the pain with it. My breathing returned to normal, if a little fast and shallow, thanks to the inappropriate sensations coursing through my body.

Although all appeared to be healed, however, my chest cavity felt lighter, emptier than it had a few minutes prior. “Yeah, I think so.”

Luc helped me up and handed me the towel rather reluctantly. “Was Gabriel really trying to kill you?”

After securing the towel, I rubbed the vacant-feeling spot, hoping the weird empty sensation would stop. All it did was trigger a ripple of goose bumps over my bare skin and a renewed sense that something was out of place. As in literally gone. “He accused me of casting a spell on him. Wanted me to reverse it. When I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about, he got pissed.”

Luc lifted one eyebrow in question. “And?”

“And what?”

Luc inspected the cracked tiles again and then the back of my head as if unconvinced I was tracking right yet. “Did you?”

I jerked away and a wave of dizziness almost toppled me. “You mean, did I cast a spell on him? Of course not. I’m two days and a few hours away from making my six-month magic-free anniversary. I’m certainly not going to jeopardize that with spellcasting. Besides why would I cast a spell on Gabriel?”

Luc laid a hand on the tile behind my head and leaned in close. The heat coming off his body hit me in waves. As another chill swept through me, I fought the urge to snuggle up to Luc’s warm body. Every cell, every muscle, every bone wanted to press against him.

Luc narrowed his eyes as his gaze stopped on the hand rubbing the spot between my breasts. “Are you still in pain?”

“Not pain.” The sensation was hard to describe. “Just…empty. Like there’s a hole in my chest.”

The showerhead let go a series of rapid drips and all the muscles in Luc’s body tensed.

His gaze scanned me from head to foot, hyperaware, as if he were searching for something. “A hole.” It was said in an unemotional way, but all his nonverbal intensity made the warning bells in my head ring like Immaculate Conception calling me to prayer.

“Probably nothing.” I forced a smile, stopped rubbing the spot, and took a step to the side. “Anyway, it’s over. Hopefully he won’t be back.”

“Oh, he’ll be back,” Luc said, staring again at my chest, although not in his usual, rakish manner.

“Why is that?”

He straightened and lightly touched the spot with the tips of his fingers. “Because, Amy, he took a piece of your soul.”

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords

Misty has a fun NAME A WITCH Contest (with BIG PRIZES) for her next Witches Anonymous book! Be sure to check it out. For her DRAGON BLUES release party giveaway, she’s offering either WICKED SOULS or the first novella of the series, WITCHES ANONYMOUS to a lucky commenter.

Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011

Have you ever wanted something so badly it hurts?

Annie Jacobs has dreamed of the day she would become a mother since the first time she held her Baby Tenderlove doll. Unfortunately, biology has not cooperated with her plan, and she finds herself dealing with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility instead of picking out baby names.

Across town, stay-at-home mom Sarah Anderson is just trying to make it through the grocery store without her toddler hurling a box of rice at a fellow shopper. She is exhausted from managing the house, a first grader and a toddler, all without any help from her work-obsessed, absentee husband.

When Annie and Sarah meet through a Classics Book Club, each thinks the other one’s life is so much better than her own. But is the grass truly greener on the other side of the fence?

At 35 years old, Sarah Anderson discovered something quite shocking. She had Attention Deficit Disorder – she didn’t get any. Men saw right through her, slightly noticing the children she was usually toting about – one hanging on her leg and one in her arms – but quickly dispelling her, as if the kids were somehow suspended in mid-air, like receivers on Monday Night Football. She wasn’t sure if she had made this correlation herself or had seen it as a joke on the comedy channel, but what did her sleep-deprived brain know anyway?

As she neared the end of the grocery store aisle, her cart came to a screeching halt, barely missing the man wearing a business suit and cell phone who just cut in front of her. He continued his conversation, rolling over her foot as he passed.

“I’m in an all-day meeting on Monday. How’s Tuesday look?”

“Asshole,” she whispered, hoping her son would not hear. “C’mon, Alex. Let’s get this over with.”

The toddler was playing his favorite shopping game, throwing things from the cart at passersby. Alex had a small box of rice in his hands. Sarah mistakenly thought shaking it might amuse him, but instead the little guy was ready to chuck it at the pink-babushkaed head of an octogenarian when Sarah turned around from choosing a linguine. Spotting the just-released rice, she leapt across the aisle, caught it on the fly and tossed it in the basket. Alex cried at being thwarted. Sarah smiled, only to be admonished by the pink-scarved lady for not knowing how to keep her child quiet in the store.

“These kids nowadays. They run the show, not the parents.” The little woman, oblivious to her near-miss, pushed her cart past Sarah’s, who stared in shock as the pink head became lost in the crowd of shoppers. Alex cried louder. Sarah gave him some fish crackers and continued on.

At last, they were finished and headed for the check out lanes. “Hey! Record time. You were a pretty good boy in the grocery store. Mommy really appreciates that.” Sarah kissed her son on the check. Alex responded by smiling and slapping her in the face.

Reprinted from A Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner, Copyright © Karen Berner, 2006

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble

You can find out more about Karen and her books on her website, her Amazon author page, and Facebook.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Karen’s A WHISPER TO A SCREAM. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011

Musician Tempest Moon knew the world was a rough place. Raised in the inner city of Detroit, the only way to succeed was to be smarter – and tougher – than the next guy. Being a sexy, talented singer/lead guitar player with her own band was her way of being in charge of her destiny. Whether anyone else liked it, or not.

Tempest’s band was gigging in yet another downtown dive. The club was almost empty due to the arrival of the worst blizzard the city had seen in a century. With one more set to play before she and the band could escape the smoky lounge, a mystery man walked in. Even dripping wet from the relentless onslaught, Tempest could tell the man was unusual. If only because he was the most gorgeous male specimen she’d ever seen. But he was a little pale.

Malveaux had ducked into the bar to avoid having to kill anymore of the worthless minions set upon him by the local vampire territory boss. Under most circumstances, he’d have enjoyed tracking the idiots, and tearing their hearts out. He’d learned long ago to take pleasure in his work. But Malveaux wasn’t dealing with usual circumstances. A sexual obsession, passed to him by his sire and suddenly overwhelming, had changed all the rules of the game. He knew if he didn’t find an “offspring” – a female to serve his needs – he’d go mad.

When he laid eyes on the charismatic musician on stage, he knew he’d found his “child.” She wouldn’t need to know he was an assassin. But she’d find out his deeper secret soon enough when he sank his fangs into the pulsing vein in her neck.

Together they’d take on the human underworld and the undead.

A burst of frigid air hit Tempest as the front door opened, and she gazed at the entrance. She’d hoped a few more customers might brave the sudden ice age to show up for the last set. It sucked to play for nobody. She was disappointed to see only a solitary man step inside. He shook his hair away from his face, sent a shower of melting snow down the walls, and straightened the collar on his coat. The entryway was directly in front of her at the far end of the club, and there were a lot of overhead lights, so she got a good look at the new arrival. Even with his long, dark hair snow-covered, wet, and plastered against his shoulders, she felt her breath catch – and not from the cold air. He had to be the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Tall, with light skin and piercing eyes. She appreciated the cut of his leather duster and suspected it was high dollar. What the hell was a fancy number like him doing in a crap hole like this? Maybe he was another one of those mafia jerks. They were always showing up to extort one kind of payment or another.

Hidden in the darkness of the stage, she followed him with her eyes as he strode purposefully to the booth tucked back in the far corner. The bartender, along with every other life form in the smoky room, had gone completely still as the man passed. The newcomer paused next to the booth, removed his coat, then shook it to dislodge the melting snow and ice. A smile spread across Tempest’s face as she noted the form-fitting leather pants and muscle-hugging, light-colored t-shirt he wore under the expensive coat. It didn’t take much creativity to imagine how it would feel to run her hands over that muscled expanse, but Tempest had creativity and imagination in abundance. So much, that her body stirred in satisfied anticipation of the unexpected possibility that had just magically offered itself for later that night. She would’ve been happy to bounce on Stan again, but as far as men went, new was always better than familiar. She’d learned that the best thing about her looks was being able to pick up any guy she wanted. Pitiful that males were so easily controlled, held hostage by their little heads, but it was just as well, since she so enjoyed being in charge.

She watched the handsome stranger fold himself into the booth, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chaz, the bartender, spring from behind the bar. The previously laid-back – read stoned – fellow practically fell over his own feet in his frantic attempt to reach the leather man. He hovered near the booth, wringing his hands, and nodded energetically at whatever the new customer said. Chaz finally pointed toward the pay phone near the shelves of liquor, and speed-walked in that direction, leaving the man alone.

Tempest realized she’d been holding her breath during Chaz’s strange performance. Of course, she’d only met the bartender that day, so she had no idea what his normal behaviors were. But still, the vibe he gave off around the stud muffin was unusual, almost as if he was afraid or something. She could feel the thrum of his anxiety from her observation post. No surprise, really. Most of the businesses in the inner city were mob controlled. Maybe the eye candy in the booth was high-up on the motherfucker feeding chain. She smirked. A lesser woman might take a pass on rolling around with a member of The Family, but she always enjoyed a challenge. None of the assholes had gotten the upper hand with her yet, and she felt confident she could call the shots with this yummy specimen, too.

Tempest watched the leather god for a couple more minutes, trying to guess what drink he’d ordered, but when Chaz returned to the booth, he was empty handed. Gorgeous Guy nodded at Chaz, who slinked away. The mystery man tilted his head back against the wall of the booth and closed his eyes. The movement appeared oddly vulnerable.

The commotion of the other musicians returning from their break surprised her out of her daydream. She couldn’t believe she’d been standing there in the dark for the entire fifteen minutes. She hadn’t even gone for her usual shot of tequila. It was completely out of the ordinary for her to be so intrigued by a man. Usually she just selected a likely candidate during the course of the night, and collected him at the end. Not much pre-boink lust indulgence. Something about this guy was different. Arousing. Dangerous.

Leon, the bass player, eased around her, reconnected the PA, and clicked on the bar’s cheap stage lights. As the dim colors framed her, Tempest saw the man in the booth jerk his head in her direction, predatory eyes locked on hers.

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords

Find out more about Lynda Hilburn and her books at her website.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Lynda’s UNDEAD IN THE CITY. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011

What if everything you always thought you wanted could be yours simply by saying “I do”? Billionaire Jordon Bennett needs to find a wife, now, to secure his position as CEO of B.H. Holdings. Reed Mohr could use a miracle to help pay for her alternative elder care facility, Potters Woods. Inside and out of the dojo, can these two survive sparring with each other? Find out in SPARRING PARTNERS, an exciting new contemporary romance novel.


Finn met Reed at the bottom of the stairs with steaming herbal tea in the oversized mug Jesse had given Reed for Mother’s Day.  A giant squished bug on one side and jagged letters on the other philosophizing, Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.

It was looking like a bug kind of day.

“What’s going on?” Reed asked taking the tea, wishing she’d never let Finn talk her into giving up coffee.  Caffeine, good.  Rooibos, not quite the same kick.

Finn raised her eyebrows and her shoulders.  “Apparently we’re getting a new driveway and wheelchair ramps.”

“I thought we were broke.”

“We are.”

“Then why are we doing this now?  I thought the bank was hounding you for cash since the appraisal came in at less than what we owe.”

“They are.  And ‘we’ aren’t doing anything.”

Reed set her tea down on the hallway table.  It was Charlie’s table from some manor house in England where Shakespeare supposedly wrote something, probably a grocery list.  She grabbed a coaster from the drawer and placed it under the teacup.  The table was hideous, but Charlie loved it.  She wasn’t going to be the one who made rings on the wood.  Charlie would have her polishing it for a year.

“So what’s going on?”

“You asked, and daddy-war-bucks is making it happen.”  Finn looked at her watch.  “Less than twelve hours and Cinderella’s pumpkin is already turning into a gilded carriage.”

“You’re mad at me?  What did I do?”

Finn seemed to crack and she got that worried look in her eyes, like she did when she was sure Reed had just stepped in major doo-doo that wasn’t likely to wash off without leaving remnants of its stink on Reed’s skin.  But it wasn’t until Finn enveloped her in a lavender scented hug that she truly began to worry.  She repeated her question.

“What did I do, Finn?  Please.  Tell me.”

Finn pulled back, tears dampening her clear blue eyes.  “It’s bad, baby-girl,” she said, still holding Reed’s shoulders, making Reed feel small and vulnerable.

“You married a billionaire.”

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords

Find out more about Leigh Morgan and her books at her website.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Leigh’s SPARRING PARTNERS. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011

“Captivating…alluring and suspenseful. It kept me on edge of my seat.” -Bitten By Books

“The kind of story you can rip through in one day.” -Quills and Zebras

Druid Magick…
Breanne struggles to master her talents and help a handsome stranger retrieve the stolen Bloodstone before it falls into the wrong hands.

Knight Errant…
Ashlon made a vow to bury the Bloodstone, its horrific past and secrets, in the farthest reaches of Ireland.

Fate’s Twisted Course…
Passion binds them but betrayal will test their every belief under an Irish Moon.

Highlander and fantasy lovers alike will swoon for Irish Moon.

“Who are you?” the man asked, sounding so inspired that Breanne returned to his side and touched his cheek.

“Shhh. Rest now. You have a long journey ahead of you.” Then she bent forward and kissed his forehead, giving in to an urge to feel how soft his skin was. Part of her knew she shouldn‟t be so intimate, tender. It took advantage of his vulnerability and compromised trust. A healer walked the fine line of trust with any charge.

But, she didn‟t regret it when her lips pressed his skin, warm, moist with sweat. His hand covered hers on his cheek and then touched her cheek. His fingers trembled. Breanne inched back and lowered her gaze to his. What she saw there startled her. Never before had she seen such intensity, such heat in another‟s eyes.

Breanne leaned her cheek into his palm and searched his eyes. His hot gaze trapped her, spellbound and unable to retreat or progress. She needed to do neither, as he did for her.

His hand slid back and into her hair. She covered his hand with hers, her touch intrigued by the change from stubble to smooth texture. He pulled her gently. His lips caressed hers, a whisper of touch, and his eyes closed. Breanne’s closed as well and the feel of his lips on hers magnified. A dizzying hunger for more took root in Breanne and she pressed her lips onto his, opening her mouth. The hunger grew, spreading through her limbs, down her belly, between her thighs.

A shockwave tingled there when his tongue met hers, soft and warm. He tasted sweet. His lips on hers were so firm but pliant. She gripped his hand and leaned in for more. His tongue swept into her mouth, jolting her with pleasure.

She reveled in this new experience and grew bold. All thought beyond the feel of it, of him, escaped her. She matched his sweep with her own, suckling his lower lip, letting her teeth drag against it, savoring the plump feel.

The tingle warmed, changed, into an ache unlike any she’d ever known. It made her heart beat harder, her breathing feel desperate. She needed something more, craved a satisfaction she could not name but sensed it there in his lips pressing hers, his tongue twining and tormenting her mouth.

His hand stroked her jaw and explored lower, brushing her throat, tickling her collarbone and all the while taking Breanne’s hand with it. She couldn’t let go and as it drew farther and farther down, a strange, wonderful beating of anticipation built in her.

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords

Find out more about Amber Scott and her books at her website.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of IRISH MOON. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 242011

I’ll be quick so I won’t interrupt your excerpt reading for too long. I’ll be in a chat room with the Romance University ladies this evening (Thursday) between 8-9pm CST. You can find the chat room link at Romance University tonight. If you have a few minutes, stop in a say hi. Ask me a question about writing or dragons or ghosts or cats. Or anything you’d like.

In the meantime, RU has posted a new excerpt from DRAGON BLUES. It’s a vulnerable and dramatic moment for the heroine. I like it and thought readers would like it.

I hope I’ll see you at the chat room tonight!

Feb 242011

As the Union Army prepares to rampage through Georgia, Emily Gardner prepares to flee. She accepts the escort of a handsome soldier, who she later learns is not the man he claimed to be. Jared Hunter is on what he considers an easy mission: kidnap Emily Hunter and take her to her father. Too soon he discovers his necessary deceptions could cost him not only Emily’s love but their very lives.

Emily’s heart thumped, realizing she was about to offer her body, her heart, her very soul to the man she loved. She loved Jared. The startling admission heightened her fears.

Lovers. Could she settle for the relationship without commitment on Jared’s part, knowing that once they reached their journey’s end at Petersburg, Jared would leave and she might never see him again?

Damn her scruples. She’d had commitment once, from Lewis, and where had it left her? Rejected, alone.

Emily extinguished the lamp, closed the door behind her, then padded down the inn’s dimly lit hallway. She stopped. What if Jared no longer wanted her after she’d so thoroughly rejected him?

Before her courage could falter she knocked on his door, but entered before he answered.

Jared’s room was dark, except for the glowing ash on the tip of his cigar. She watched the spot of light glow brighter, then make a long arc of orange between his mouth and knee. He had to be sitting in a chair, in the corner.

“Do you know,” he asked flatly, “the light from the hall seeps right through your nightgown?”

Stung by the lack of emotion in his voice, Emily realized Jared was angry, probably hurt by her rejection. Heavens, she’d come to his room for the express purpose of being seduced, not seducing Jared. Where did a lady begin?

“I’m sorry.”

“Go back to bed, Emily.”

Emily almost turned to obey the command. But she’d come too far to retreat. She closed the door.

“I’d like to stay.”

He took another drag from the cigar. With a sigh, he said, “You can’t sleep in your bed, so you want to use mine.”

Emily resisted the childish urge to stomp her foot. Usually so astute, Jared had chosen this awkward moment to be blindly imperceptive.

“I am trying to say I am willing to share yours.”

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, A Writer’s Work
Find out more about Shari and her books at her website.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of EMILY’S CAPTAIN by Shari Anton. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 242011

Film lover Barbara Marr is a typical suburban mom living the typical suburban life in her sleepy little town of Rustic Woods, Virginia. Typical, that is until she sets out to find the missing link between a bizarre monkey sighting in her yard and the bone chilling middle-of-the-night fright fest at the strangely vacant house next door. When Barb talks her two friends into some seemingly innocent Charlie’s Angels-like sleuthing, they stumble upon way more than they bargained for and uncover a piece of neighborhood history that certain people would kill to keep on the cutting room floor.

Enter sexy PI Colt Baron, Barb’s ex-boyfriend who would love to be cast as new leading man, filling the role just vacated by her recently estranged husband, Howard. When Colt flies in from out of town to help Barb, events careen out of control and suddenly this mini-van driving mother of three becomes a major player in a treacherous and potentially deadly FBI undercover operation. It’s up to her now. With little time to spare, she and she alone, must summon the inner strength necessary to become a true action heroine and save the lives of those she loves. The question is can she get them out alive before the credits roll?

The sky was black, my toes were numb and I was a lunatic.

Forgetting that our recent October nights had turned colder, I had set out on my mission barefoot.  I had no idea what the thermometer said, but the ice cold brick beneath my unprotected feet told me plenty.  And my worn-thin-through-the-years knit jammies were certainly no match against the biting air.  Evidently I had left my brains in the house along with my shoes and down-filled parka.  Indiana Jones, our orange Tabby, followed me and purred while he rubbed against my legs, offering a tinge of warmth at best.

I squinted into the darkness.  “Three thirty in the morning.  Am I totally insane, Indy?”


“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

Yes, I’m a grown woman and I talk to my cat.  What’s the big deal?  My cousin Samson the psychiatrist tells the family I’m delusional and should be medicated.  Pshaw I say.  Samson has a psychiatrist of his own as well as a far more disturbing obsession with large farm animals, so I severely doubt his legitimacy.  As long as Indiana Jones talks to me, I’ll keep talking to him.

My name is Barbara Marr.  I’m not a lady coroner, bounty hunter or crime scene investigator.  I don’t fight vampires, werewolves or flesh-eating zombies destined to destroy humanity.  Even worse, I don’t knit, sew, bake gourmet goodies for sweet English ladies or refinish houses then flip them for a profit.  In fact, I lack a veritable encyclopedia of talents and accomplishments.  I have managed to give birth to three children, but when my teenage daughter looks at me like I’m an alien from the planet Freak, I wonder at my parenting abilities.

Then of course there is my marriage.  Not long ago I would have bragged to anyone about our solid bond.  True love.  True fidelity and commitment.  That was before Howard dropped the bomb and moved out.  So perpetuating matrimony can be added to the list of things I don’t do.

When reviewing the list of lifetime achievements for which I am proud, being mother to my three girls sits at the very top, followed by the time I saw Yul Brenner in a convenience store and discreetly let him know he had ketchup on his chin.  He was so thankful that he autographed a bag of Fritos for me.

And most recently I got familiar with the video camera again and shot a music video with my daughters.  We called it Four White Girls Do Madonna. I posted it on You-Tube and got over twenty-five views.  It was very exciting.  Still, I’m not exactly setting the world on fire.

So when Howard left, I decided it was time to resurrect my dream and write about movies.  I love the movies.  Old movies, new movies, musicals, dramas, comedies, westerns, action, science-fiction, and anything starring Meryl Streep.  Some years ago, in between changing diapers and potty training, I had bought a domain name, ChickAtTheFlix.com, with the intention of building a movie review website.  I kept the domain name, but got side-tracked by little things like ear infections, strep throat, pre-school, elementary school and baby number three.  Now, with my life deteriorating before my eyes, the time had come to take the bull by the proverbial horns and start anew.

After putting the girls to bed, I needed a way to keep my mind off Howard.  I plotted and planned a grand design.  The website would contain reviews of current release movies as well as DVD releases of older classics.  I would also have a weekly blog where I waxed enthusiastic on different subjects of the cinema.  Since I had just recently watched a Men of Mystery Film Festival on the Classic Movie Channel, my first blog title would be, “Charlie Chan or Sherlock Holmes?  Whodunnit Better?”

At two a.m., I was too tired to think about the website, but too upset about my marriage to sleep, so I turned on the TV.  Movie fare included The First Wives Club, A Bill of Divorcement, An Unmarried Woman and The Breakup on HBO.  Disgusted, I turned off the TV, turned out the lights and contemplated learning voodoo so I could hex Howard with a festering urinary tract infection.

By three a.m., I had been crying for at least twenty minutes when I heard the rumble of a truck outside my bedroom window.  Suddenly, I had something else to occupy my frazzled mind.  The truck was back at House of Many Bones.

And that was how I ended up outside on a cold, fall night with no shoes on.

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Find out more about Karen and her books at her website.

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