Yep. If you didn’t see it in an earlier post, I’m on TikTok. Be careful. It’s addictive.
In the past, whenever I interviewed an author, I used seven questions. It dawned on me today, I may have never answered them myself. Here they are.
Who are your top five authors to read?
Funny that if I had answered this just three years ago, it would’ve been a bit different. But I guess this is true to everyone. My current favorites are Louise Bay, Maya Banks, Jennifer Ashley, Lisa Kleypas, and Linda Howard. The last two have been my favorites for years. When you come across an author who continues to publish books that hold your attention, you just can’t let them go.
What is your go-to book to read over and over again?
Oh, my, I actually have several now. Lorraine Heath’s Lord of Wicked Intentions, Meagan McKinney’s Lions and Lace, Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, and Maya Banks’s Never Seduce a Scot. I swear I re-read or re-listen to contemporary too. A couple of Sawyer Bennett’s Cold Fury books and several of Louise Bay’s English men (that’s not the name of the books, but the heroes are English, and YUM, the narrator (audio version) is great, but that’s because the author writes them so sexy!).
Who influenced your writing the most? Why?
In the beginning, I would say Linda Howard’s books. Her heroines are so smart and gutsy. Her book, All The Queen’s Men, encouraged me to write my first book, Circle of Desire, that was published by Avon’s Impulse Imprint. Now, don’t go and buy my book and expect it read like Linda’s. The only thing similar between the two is the heroines are gutsy in their own way.
The why is easy. I admire Linda’s writing then and still do. As time has gone on, I say several more authors have influenced me, such as Anne Stuart, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and the ones I mentioned above. If I admire your book and want to read it over and over again, I pay attention and think of how I can improve my writing.
Describe where you are the most productive when you write.
In my study. But I can write anywhere I’m left alone for more than an hour. Otherwise, I’ll do other busy author work (editing, outlining, promo, etc.) in hotel rooms, waiting rooms, lunch time at day job, etc. I type it in my phone, iPad, or write into a notebook I try to keep in my purse.
Tells us a little about your current book?
Fake Play is my second Atlanta Edge Hockey Romance book.
Two strangers wake up in the same bed one morning after a big party in Las Vegas to discover they are married. (OMG! This is one of my favorite tropes. But I love it.)
Connor Ellison, one of Atlanta Edge’s best wingers and biggest prankster, is given an ultimatum by the coaches and the PR department. He must stay married until the end of the hockey season.
Lily Jones wants nothing to do with him, but he convinces her the best decision is to play along. He offers, if they remain married and pretend to be in love, he’ll help save her family’s ice rink from bankruptcy. That’s only until the end of the season, Then they can go their separate ways. Easy-peasy.
(But you and I know something will happen to stop that. Like love and marriage and a baby carriage…oops! Did I type that?)
Show us your one favorite scene of dialogue from that book.
(This is a page or so into the beginning of the book.)
“Oh, f**k.” One big hand scrubs his face and then he uses the back of a wrist to rub his eyes. After a heavy sigh, he says, “Darling, you need to go. I have a bus and plane to catch in a couple hours.”
Great. He doesn’t remember my name. Isn’t that special?
“Lily. My name’s Lily.” I sit up and whimper. The room’s spinning. As anyone can guess, I’m not much of a drinker.
“Nice to meet you, Lily. I’m Connor.”
“I know.” My mouth is so dry. “You’re Connor Ellison, winger for the Atlanta Edge. I’ve seen your picture everywhere in Atlanta.”
“All right.” His gaze moves from mine, examining the room. He purses his lips.”Excuse me, but I need to get my stuff together.” He turns and picks up a pair of dark dress pants. For a couple seconds, I watch as he pulls them up and over a firm ass sans underwear.
I become light-headed, not from the view, goodness knows it’s a wondrous sight, but my body alerting me to how I mistreated it the night before. I bend over.
With hands on my knees, and my head nearly between them to keep from throwing up or fainting or both, I take in slow breaths. That’s when I see it. The biggest freaking diamond ring with matching wedding band. On my finger.
I straighten, lifting my hand in front of my face. “What? Is this real?”
It has to be a fake. Some type of joke.
I look at Connor. His confused look tells me he’s as clueless as I am.
What do you believe makes a man sexy?
A man is sexy when he pulls on a white shirt, tie, and dress pants just because he knows I appreciate it. When he does an unexpected and thoughtful thing, like pick up my favorite candy bar on the way home from work. Hugs me and kisses my cheek and tells me he loves me.
A Scene From My Next Book
Over five years ago, I started on the book I’m about to reveal a scene from, but I put it to the side to write two novellas (self published) and three full novels (two for Loveswept and one self published) along with three partials (a tale for another time). But I can’t get the characters out of my mind, and I need to finish it. At the rate I’m going, it will probably be my longest book.
So far, the book doesn’t have a title. Well, it did, but I don’t like it anymore. For now I call it my Southern Crime Family book. If you read my books, you might recognize the hero’s last name and the county.
It’s unedited and raw. Here you go.
“I hope you rot in hell, old man.”
Jake Whitfield leaned over the grave and spit as his father’s casket slowly disappeared into the blackness. When a violent shudder brought the crank to an abrupt stop, he shot a sideways glare at the cemetery worker.
The man wiped a sweaty forehead on the upper sleeve of his faded gray uniform and kicked the contraption. “Stupid old thing,” he muttered as he avoided Jake’s gaze.
With a painful screech, the device started up again, rattling and jumping, and finally a solid thud came from the hole as it reached the bottom. If he believed in ghosts, he’d swear the hateful bastard wanted out to kill him.
Jake’s attention fell on the mourners surrounding the gravesite.
Their jackets flapped in the hot wind like vultures settling around a carcass as most of the men stared at the ground beneath their feet. No one looked into his face. Though the minister shook his head at Jake’s disrespect, he, like the others, didn’t say a word. They understood his hatred. Everyone who attended would love to do the same, if they had the backbone. All were business associates and most came not so much to grieve for the man’s death, but to receive assurance that his dad had died.
Many of the people in Sand County owed Dick Whitfield their livelihood and endured his heavy-handed manipulations, but none suffered like the Whitfield brothers. The old man had reveled in tormenting his bastard sons more than he did his associates. Besides their last names, the old man refused to give the boys anything without a deal or concession involved. Then again, maybe an agreement had been made when they were born, a bargain with the devil for their souls.
Releasing a snarl, Jake turned and nodded at his brothers. Townsend, Sen as he was known, and Ethan fell in step beside him as they headed toward the old man’s white limo idling next to the curb. No one said a word.
Another gust of wind tugged at their jackets. A bouquet of dead flowers blew across their path to become stuck between an urn and headstone.
Behind dark sunglasses, Jake scanned the area. Tension from the funeral and a gut feeling warned that danger lurked. Nothing appeared strange or out of place. But life with the old man had taught him to be extremely cautious whenever emotions ran high. With new leadership at Whitfield Industries taking over, many of the smaller players wanted a part of the business and conspired to oust the brothers. He knew without a doubt, no one would take one brick or dollar without a fight. After years of being under the old man’s rule, they deserved every piece of his ill-gotten money and property. They each had worked hard and often for pennies compared to others who worked for the old man and did far less.
He glanced around again without being obvious. The old cemetery covered acres of well-tended plots that held numerous large memorials and oak trees. Several people headed toward their cars while others remained near the burial site, talking and gesturing toward the grave being filled. In the distance, he heard traffic swooshing by, but strangely the birds stopped chirping in the swaying limbs.
Steps away from the limo with the chauffeur waiting inside, Jake passed a life-size marble statue. The head exploded, spraying chunks of the white stuff. The confirming snap of gunfire sent everyone running for cover. Screams and shouts of concern punctuated by more shots echoed around him as he scrambled for the other side of the limo, its bulletproof body offering better protection than a tree or headstone. He motioned for his brothers to follow. In no time they hunkered down with guns in hands.
“Damn! Who do you think it is? Some asshole out to get Jake for sleeping with his girlfriend?” Ethan sat on the ground with his back near to the car’s engine, watching for anyone coming from behind.
In his usual calm manner, Sen checked his Beretta and then edged closer to the taillights. “Probably the girlfriend.”
His brothers loved to rag him about how his last girlfriend had another guy on the side. When he kicked her out of his home, she must have told the other boyfriend a tall tale as the dumbass came at him with a gun. It almost became messy. When the boyfriend realized whose door he had knocked on, the poor dude wanted out of town so fast, he left rubber on the road for a half mile.
Jake shook his head and white dust fell around him. His forehead stung. A light touch came back with blood, just a nick. “Most likely someone who’s wanting to take over the old man’s businesses,” he said as he ignored his brothers’ comments. “Or possibly the person who set the fire.” Leaning over, he ruffled his hair, showering the ground with powder and bits of stone.
He sneered. They’d already received warnings that someone outside the county planned to make a move soon. He hadn’t expected it to be at the cemetery. The old man was barely cold in the ground.
Several more shots zipped by and dug into the asphalt a few yards away.
Damn! They needed to concentrate on stopping the sniper. Normal people ran and kept moving when fired upon, but no, not the Whitfield boys. Maybe he and his brothers were as insane as the bastard they buried.
Sen nodded to where the road looped into the cemetery near the interstate fence. “I think the shots are coming from that direction. See the old rusted-out black van?”
“Yeah.” Ethan peeked over the limo’s hood.
“The sliding door is cracked opened. You think he’s still in there? The smart thing for a shooter to do is leave with the crowd.” Jake referred to the mourners cranking automobiles and screeching tires on their way out.
“I’ll go around and come up on the opposite side.” Without wasting time, Sen stooped low and ran alongside a couple cars parked by the curb.
Jake shook his head. He always wondered if his middle brother had a death wish. “Tick!”
The rotund driver inside the limo rolled down the window, showing only the top of his pale bald head and large blood-shot eyes. “Yeah, boss?”
“Scoot over. I’m coming in.”
“You get in the back.” Jake nodded at Ethan. With a jab, he returned his gun in its holster beneath his jacket.
“Sure, boss,” his brother said, mimicking Tick.
In seconds, they eased the limo down the lane toward the van. Jake caught a glimpse of Sen dashing behind a tree a few feet away. Then the side door on the van slammed shut, and a figure dressed in black jumped into the driver’s seat. No way would he let the asshole escape. He flatfooted the gas pedal and the old limo t-boned the van.
The crunch of metal and broken glass rang in Jake’s ears as he pushed hard on the door and sprinted to the other side. Two fellows ran for the trees. He tackled the nearest one as Sen sprinted after the faster, smaller one.
“You son of a bitch!” Jake flipped him over. Fist pulled back to slug the sniper, he stopped. “Sally? Sally Tally?”
Light green eyes in the middle of dark liner and eye shadow glared up at him. Chin length ebony hair tipped blood-red stuck to a sweaty pale face. A grimace stretched her crimson lips lined in black as she waited for the downward swing.
He lowered his arm and examined her clothes. No wonder he’d mistaken her for a guy from the back. She wore an ankle length leather coat, thick sole biker boots buckled at her knees with tight black pants tucked in. The only feminine clothing was the stiff red corset holding up plump, creamy white breasts, heaving with each intake of breath.
“No one calls me Sally anymore. Call me Angel.”
The last time he’d heard that husky voice, they had been teenagers, and she’d stolen his wallet. He’d retaliated by turning her over his knee and giving her nearly bare bottom a good sound spanking. During the chastisement, an unexpected dilemma had emerged. He’d enjoyed it way too much.
A famous author told me one time to never give the first chapter as an example. People will read the first chapter of a new book and think they already have it. So please, if you want to read this make a note to yourself somewhere, “I need to buy this book.” LOL! If all goes well, I should be finished with it this summer. When it will be published is still up for debate.
Of course, the above is copyrighted.
If you liked it, click like below or go to my Author Page on Facebook and click like there. FB is a good way to keep up with what I’ve released. Or you can come back here to check on it.
Celebration Starts Tomorrow
Tomorrow, I will be celebrating five years published. My first book, CIRCLE OF DESIRE, came out Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Pretty neat, huh? Same date and day. If you want to check it out, it’s on sale for $1.99 (e-book). Think James Bond and Le Femme Nikita.
Per one reader, Nikki, “I can’t even tell others how much I loved this book! I don’t read spy stuff, but this storyline works and is probably the HOTTEST set up I’ve ever read.”
Here’s an excerpt.
As soon as [Collin] walked into the suite, he knew something was wrong. The whirl of an electronic device starting up filled the room and a small green light bounced off the wall and then disappeared. He guessed it was now dancing on his back.
“Olivia, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” He raised his hands and slowly turned around.
Feet spread apart, dressed in black with a sporty red trim jacket, she held the sniper rifle they’d recently returned to her and forwarded to the hotel in several containers. He’d been impressed by its microcomputer, perfect for shooting in any kind of weather. Presently she had one eye to the night sight. Damn, the woman was stronger than he gave her credit for as she was holding, elbows out, an eighteen pound rifle and it barely moved.
“You do know from this close of a range my torso would disintegrate into a hundred thousand tiny pieces, spreading blood and me everywhere in the room.”
“Like I care,” she spit with menace. Her hand trembled and the barrel wobbled.
“Can we talk about whatever has set you off?” He hadn’t expected her to become so angry about his turning her down.
She shifted the rifle against her cheek, probably easing up a tight muscle. “I thought this job was too easy. What was the real reason I’m here? Have you worked out some type of trade with Jason?”
Damn! He didn’t need this now. The sun was peeking around Camelback Mountain. They needed to get out of there.
“No. You’ll have to trust me.” He was a crazy f**ker as all he could think about was how damn good she looked holding that rifle.
“Oh, that makes a world of difference. Not!” She made another adjustment of the pad next to her cheek. “You get me all hot and bothered and then ignore me. You never finish what you start and I can’t–” As she crumbled to the ground, Rex caught the rifle.
“Motherf**ker! What were you thinking? You’re going to f**k around until she kills you? Bloody hell! There wouldn’t be anything left for me to pick up.” Rex started breaking down the rifle, slapping each part into the shaking hands of one of his men.
Collin knelt next to Olivia, pressing two fingers to the artery in her neck. His heartbeat matched hers as it continued to speed up.
“What did you shoot her with?” Collin asked as he smoothed her hair out of her face.
“The same as you did before. Twilight.” Rex sneered.
“Damn, she’s going to be pissed again. We can’t keep knocking her out.” Collin scooped her into his arms. “Let’s go. Thank goodness we’ve got a private plane back.”
“I’m all for dumping her out over Texas.” Rex followed leaving the clean up for his crew.
“Now what has Texas ever done to you?”
And just so happens, tomorrow, FULL HEAT will be on sale for a limited time for 0.99 cents (e-book). Here’s what reader Pinky had to say about it. “Carla Swafford does an amazing job at bringing to life the workings of a Motorcycle Club. The love scenes sizzle and do not disappoint.”
Be aware, that my outlaw MC books are close to true life. Not saying all are this wild and dangerous, but most are. At the same time, this is fiction and I take much license with it, in order to make it a romance. YES!
Here’s an excerpt of FULL HEAT.
Storm had watched her luscious lips move, not hearing one word. He’d never seen lips that needed to be kissed, bit, and sucked as much as hers. Hot damn! Every inch of her begged him to taste her. Usually, he lusted after big tits like the ones so many of the old ladies in the club flaunted. He had a feeling he was about to switch to a handful. Yeah.
Small ones with hard little nipples perfect for tweaking.
His gaze drifted back up to her face.
One trimmed dark brow lifted as he looked into her eyes. Instead of embarrassment or anger, humor twinkled in their mossy depths. Sh*t! He f*cking loved that, a woman who didn’t play hard to get but didn’t throw her body at any available male.
Too bad he had to scratch the idea of her being a porn star or a stripper. If she had been, convincing her to remove her clothes would’ve been so much easier.
One thing was for sure: he needed to teach her the danger of walking into a biker’s bar without a bodyguard.
Here are the links to purchase the books tomorrow. Oh, before I forget, be sure to come back here tomorrow. I will be giving goodies away. More people who show up, the more goodies that will be given away.
AMAZON BARNES AND NOBLE KOBO BOOKS A MILLION
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What’s Cool About Assassins?
Today, I was thinking about assassins. Don’t know what my train of thought was that got me there. One of my problems with ADD. I start looking up one word like Muscular and before you know it, I’m looking at pictures of butterflies. You thought I was going to say naked men, didn’t you? Well, I’m sure I did that somewhere along the way to butterflies.
Going on, I Googled assassins — oh, I remember now — I was looking for the assassin movie that I watched a couple years ago and wanted to use as a reference in my current book. Anyway, I found this great article about the Top 10 Movie Assassins. I don’t necessarily agree with all his choices (Tom’s Collateral should be number 1) but I enjoyed his insight. The article is from 2010, so he doesn’t include Looper.
I love Bruce Willis in anything including that movie. And of course, as you know I have a thing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. No. Not a sexual thing. I like my men older, like Bruce. But then again I’m happily married. Whatever. Back to the subject.
Then I found this other list of assassin movies under Box Office Mojo called simply “Hitman/Assassin.” It lists all the movies for the last thirty years. Wonderful! I do love them.
That’s partly why I wrote my first published book, CIRCLE OF DESIRE. It’s about a female assassin. The opening scene is her waiting for a target. In fact, I’ll place an excerpt for you.
Olivia St. Vincent typed the ammunition data into the keypad on the sniper rifle and then nestled her cheek against the stock’s custom-fit pad. She waited for the information to be processed and her target to come into view.
Keeping her attention on the boardwalk outside the open window, she caressed the silencer attachment and sighed. Powerful and lightweight compared to others, the rifle was her favorite and the only one of its kind. She wasn’t sure how The Circle got their hands on the prototype, and she knew better than to ask. She’d used it twice in the last eleven months and had no complaints.
She inhaled the fresh salt air coming in and watched the few early joggers trotting along the boardwalk next to Elliot Bay. Almost the whole length was visible from the empty fourth story apartment. A strong wind picked up and splattered water off the windowsill onto her hands and the rifle even though she sat a good three feet from the opening. She grabbed a soft cotton cloth and stroked off the liquid. It had rained for ten days straight since she’d arrived in Seattle, and only twenty minutes ago had it stopped. To the north, a break in the clouds showed deep blue sky. A miracle. Good grief, she couldn’t wait to get back home to Atlanta.
One moment, she was running her fingers across black metal, enjoying the bumpy finish. In the next, she was aiming at her target, taking a deep breath and then releasing it, relaxing, holding her trigger finger steady. He’d crossed the street and started down the boardwalk. Five foot eleven with a well-proportioned torso, he always wore the same dingy sneakers with orange Day-Glo stripes.
She squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds and inhaled. Time to concentrate on the job. The Circle had given her orders to eliminate him, and she was programmed to follow. Later she’d hear he was a child molester or a killer like herself. Why she should care one way or the other, she wasn’t sure. Maybe knowing helped her sleep at night. Not that it would matter otherwise; she was a killer and good at what she did. She never really had a choice.
She waited as he’d jogged a little past the half-mile mark. His feet pounded in a steady rhythm as the early morning light glistened on shifting muscles. Like clockwork every day, he hit the pavement at sunrise, jogging down the same area. Only thing about predictability, it could be deadly.
The area around him was clear, no one nearby. He turned down a short pier. Only a few feet more and he would be at the mark. She cleared her mind and inhaled, holding her breath for the fraction of a second. She squeezed the trigger. The jogger’s body continued straight ahead, propelled by the bullet’s trajectory, and then he toppled off the edge of the pier and splashed into the water as his god-awful shoes tumbled across the boardwalk. Perfect shot. That was why they sent her.
Once she pressed a couple buttons on the gun’s microcomputer, she scooted away from the tripod and stretched with arms up, bending her back, getting the kinks out. Her back popped. After an hour in one position, it was no wonder her body protested, no matter how much she worked out. She shook her head when the image of the body landing in the water tried to resurface. Think of the good she carried out. Her job eliminated those who preyed on the weak. She performed as a tool for the greater good.
Yes. That was it. She was a tool.
Thinking of tools, she smirked at the gun. The usual brutal recoil dampened by the hydraulic system always surprised her. The rifle worked like it should with little firing signature, a thump of air and only a small amount of flash at the end of the barrel. The suppressor did its job. Unless someone stared directly at her open window and caught the small flare, nothing gave away her location.
Damn! If she’d been a man, she would have a hard-on now. She loved her gun. Objects she could control. People were a different factor.
Yeah, yeah, violence and sex. Sex and violence. That’s what you’re thinking, and congratulations, you’re right. It is an erotic romantic suspense and not about her going around killing people. She will and does, but it’s more about the relationship she develops with her kidnapper/opposing competition.
Okay. Now I’m going back to that list and figure out what movie I haven’t seen. Surely, there are a couple.
[This was originally posted May 10, 2014. I just wanted to share again.]
AMAZON BARNES AND NOBLE KOBO BOOKS A MILLION
Excerpt from Naked Heat
Naked Heat should be coming out in February. It’s Wolf’s story. Now you get to meet his heroine, Sofia Cruz, beloved cousin of Toro. Toro is the leader of the Thirty-Second gang and mortal enemy of the Mayhem Brothers. Think Westside Story with a happy ending. All my books have happy endings.
Sofia and Wolf are at the Brothers of Mayhem clubhouse.
They weeded their way through the crowd. A couple brothers slapped Wolf on the back and a few more nodded his way, but none paid her any attention. Were they used to him being handcuffed to a woman? They finally stopped at a bar that sat in one corner.
“What do you want to drink?” he asked.
“I’m not drinking a beer this early in the morning.”
“No alcohol is served an hour before church. So how about a soda or water?”
By the grin on his face, she felt silly for what she’d said. “Water would be nice.”
“Water for the lady, prospect.”
The man tossed a bottle his way. Wolf easily caught it one handed. His grin widened. His arms circled her as he twisted the cap and then handed the bottle to her.
“Thank you.” She took a large swallow.
“That’s one of the things I liked about you. Always so polite.” He brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
Sofia wanted to melt into his touch, and his sweet talking always caused her to blush. The way he looked at her with such tenderness had her heart pounding. She wanted to run her tongue up the side of his cheek. The man was dangerous to her self respect. He had been the one to dump her. Then again, any chance of them being a couple — what with the Mayhem versus Thirty-Second situation — was doomed.
“Who do you have here?”
The man with the deep voice had a crooked nose and deep scar across one high cheekbone, warning anyone who saw him that he knew all about pain. He leaned over the bar and grabbed a soda, his long braid swinging over a shoulder. With his black hair, tanned skin, and dark brown almost black eyes, he looked to be a Native American.
“Sofia, this is Cutter. Our VP.”
Without thinking, she reached out to shake his hand and came up short. The handcuffs stopping her. Heat seeped into her cheeks.
“What the f**k, man? Do you have to shackle your women now?” Cutter’s eyebrows lifted as he laughed.
Even if she could think of something to say, she doubted he or any Mayhem Brother would consider helping her if she asked.
“Long story. I’ll tell you after church.” Wolf nodded to where an older blond man walked down the stairs, stopping every couple feet to make a comment or point and laugh. “The asshole does love being president,” Wolf muttered.
“Yeah.” Cutter glanced her way before shaking his head at Wolf. “Later.”
The crowd started moving toward a door at the other side of the huge room.
Finally, he would have to un-cuff her. She lifted her arm.
“I’ll see you inside. The boss will be happy to see you made it.” Cutter slapped Wolf on the back and walked away.
“In a sec.” Wolf turned to her. The apologetic look alerted her that she wouldn’t like what he planned next. “Come over here.” She wasn’t sure why he thought it necessary to tell her that. It wasn’t like she had a choice.
He led her to the end of the bar where a thin pipe came out of the wall about eye level to Wolf and disappeared into the floor.
“No! Don’t you leave me chained up like a dog. You let me go.” With a simple click of a key, he attached his end of the handcuff around the pipe.
“I can’t risk you leaving. You’ll be safer here.”
“Are you crazy?” She leaned forward. “It’s like leaving out a bag of blow on a coffee table and not expecting a junkie to touch it,” she whispered.
His smile returned. That beautiful flash of white that always made her heart skip a beat. Damn him for being so sexy. With her emotions going from terrified to anger to desire, no wonder she felt dizzy every time he touched her.
“You’re no old bag, and I’ll break anyone’s hand if they touch you.” He caressed her cheek with the back of one knuckle. The sweet look he gave her brought warmth to her face.
She was in hell, and she had the hots for the devil himself.
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Here are the links to my other books including the Brothers of Mayhem novels if you want to check them out.
Excerpt from NAKED HEAT
I thought you might be interested in a little excerpt from NAKED HEAT.
A scene when the heroine remembers meeting Wolf Savalas for the first time.
Calling him adorable was like calling a grizzly cuddly.
He’d noticed her standing a couple feet away with her hand over her mouth, trying to hide her laughter.
“What the hell’s the difference between a glaze, rub, and brine? I told them not to send me. What the hell? Thanksgiving isn’t for another two weeks.” He shook his head, tossing black hair into his eyes while the rest fell over his ears and straight around the nape of his neck.
His pale blue eyes peeked between the dark strands. God, they were almost otherworldly as he watched her. She guessed him to be taller than her cousin. That would make him easily six-three. The plain beaten-up brown leather jacket looked perfect for his olive skin and that gorgeous hair, giving him a bad boy look. She did have a problem being attracted to bad boys. She really needed to stay away from men like her soon-to-be ex-husband.
Turning on her heel, she made two steps before a hand reached out and lightly touched her arm. “Sorry, beautiful, but I have a feeling you know the difference. Could you help?”
Unable to say no when asked so nicely, she faced him and smiled. No one had called her beautiful before, and she didn’t care he was lying to assure her help. She blushed. He smiled back, and she knew she was screwed.
If she hadn’t been in the final stage of an ugly divorce, he would’ve had her panties off that afternoon when they met for coffee.
That had been the beginning of the most exhilarating time of her life. They’d seen each other almost everyday for the first three weeks though most times it had been only an hour or so. They talked about their childhood and their plans for the future, but never about their current life. Except on their second week together, she did mention she was going through a divorce, and her voice had cracked. His eyes had filled with compassion. Later, when he walked her to her car, he’d kissed her. It had been heaven.
A Real Deal
My book, HIDDEN HEAT, is on sale for 99 cents. Presently, it’s on sale at Amazon and Kobo. Probably by Wednesday, it will be on sale at B&N and elsewhere. Remember that it only comes in e-format.
Here’s a small excerpt.
Her gaze moved over the hood of the car and skidded to a stop on the man leaning against the bar’s outside wall facing the car. He inhaled on a cigarette and continued to watch her. Thorn. That was what Stonewall called him.
His eyes squinted against the bright sun. No sign of embarrassment in being caught staring, he remained there, one foot flat against the brick and a thumb hooked on a belt loop, taking another long draw. Silver rings on long fingers glistened in the sun. How long had he been there?
With a flick of his finger, the cigarette stub sailed over the hood to the asphalt parking lot.
Please go away.
The Contest Continues for the iPad Mini
If you haven’t caught the news here or on Facebook, I’ve decided to give more people time to read CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE (novella – in other words, short story) and answer the questions for a chance to win the iPad Mini. The contest has been extended to June 30. If you’ve already read it, click here and answer the questions. They give you three possible answers. They’re not easy, and a couple are trick questions. BUT, if you read the book, you won’t have a problem.
CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE is only $2.99. And during the contest, I’ve made CIRCLE OF DISHONOR free during this time. So double bonus!
Here’s a little tidbit from CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE. (No answers given away.)
He lightly squeezed the woman in his arms. Who was he kidding? He was up shit creek without a paddle when Kat learned the truth. So, he’d keep her safe and when it was over, leave. Same old, same old. Chances were she wouldn’t want anything to do with him when she found out he still worked for The Circle, and they had set her up.
[June 30, 2015: Congratulations to Jenn Williams. She was one of the few to answer all the questions correctly. The iPad Mini will be mailed this week! Please keep reading! Thanks! Carla]
Welcome Katherine Bone (Giveaway)
Please welcome Katherine Bone! I love this woman. She’s sweet and talented. Not only talented in her writing, but in making jewelry. I have a beautiful pair of cameo earrings she gave me for just being her roommate at a conference a couple years ago.
Lucky me! I’ll be your roommate anytime, Kathy!
In the hope that she will look favorably on me again, I will be giving away her book, My Lady Rogue (ebook). The winner will be picked from a commenter and announced on Wednesday night (May 27).
Everything Simon and Gillian have done has led to this moment… Will it be too late?
Baroness Gillian Chauncey thought she’d seen everything during her years of devotion to England. But as war escalates and political bonds are severed, a devastating betrayal forces Gillian to make a life or death decision to save the man she loves.
Lord Simon Danbury’s loyalty to the crown has never been questioned — until now. As death’s darkening veil cascades over London, a hostile mole inside Nelson’s Tea tries to assassinate him. Surrounded by the greatest spies in England, only one thing stands to defeat him — losing the one woman who has made life worth living.
“DO YOU REALLY think this will be the last time we are all gathered together?” Gillian moved into Simon’s welcoming embrace, swallowing back a heart wrenching sob.
Ten minutes had passed since Garrick had left the townhouse. Ten long minutes of watching Simon’s brows furrow ever tighter, deepening until the aristocratic lines of his handsome face were grossly disfigured. Gillian couldn’t bear the ugly transformation, for his expression only hinted at the war building inside him. His steadfast code of morality and honor had consistently succeeded in suppressing his own needs and desires. What of sorrow? Would the news of Nelson’s death prove a more impenetrable shield? Could she shore up this wounded man’s agony? And more importantly, how could she if she tried?
In the past, their separations had been purely physical, an exhausting distance no preoccupation could eliminate. Today, her new enemy held greater influence on Simon’s emotions than marriage vows and honor. And she knew well enough the folly of ignoring this new foe. She’d seen what despair had done to Garrick.
She ran her fingers over Simon’s shoulders, luxuriating in the feel of the exquisite lines of his tailored morning coat. They were as close as they could possibly be, and yet the distance had never been further. Too much stood between them, Lady Danbury’s and Nelson’s deaths, the fate of Nelson’s Tea, their unspoken feelings. Did he feel it too? She’d long dreamed of sharing a deeper intimacy with this man who haunted her days and nights, absorbing his scent of sandalwood and spice, taking all of him, holding nothing back. Now she suppressed a shiver in the resounding quiet. Her long wait for Simon had come to an end at last, hadn’t it? But at what cost?
Her heart cried out with longing. He was no longer married. He could be hers, if not for the sorrowful voices haunting their lives or the ones they heard pulsating throughout the city.
Nelson is dead! Nelson is dead!
Simon inhaled deeply, breaking the uncomfortable silence. “We cannot fail. Our business is not only risky, it relies solely on His Majesty’s grace. With Nelson’s assistance, leadership, and guidance, we were assured good measure. No longer.”
She hesitated to ask why. “And now?”
Surely King George respected Simon enough to allow him to continue Nelson’s Tea after he and Lucien had saved the king’s life at Drury Lane?
His winded sigh heightened her doubts. “I’m not as certain as I once was. Without Nelson at the helm, Nelson’s Tea’s motivation is gone. Once morale is gone—”
“Not all gone,” she said, clinging to him as if her life depended on it. And it did. Simon was everything to her. He was her night and day, her moral compass. He was the most intelligent man she’d ever met. His skill at disguise, his mastery of language, culture, and stratagem far outweighed any nobles servicing England in the House of Lords or the Admiralty Board.
He stepped back, only slightly, and lifted her chin, tilting her face up to his. Her gaze traveled from the lapels of his coat to his starched cravat, upper neck, and chin, finally settling on his generous sensual mouth. She held her breath as hundreds of butterflies fluttered to break free from her chest and waited for him to speak as if her very life depended on his next words.
“You and I are not of this world, are we?”
She closed her eyes absorbing his warmth like she’d been deprived of the noonday sun. “I am part of any world you reside in, Simon. I would follow you anywhere.”
When he said nothing, she opened her eyes, suppressing the chill that swept over her. Why wouldn’t he let go and just be? She leaned toward him, absorbing the power emanating from his body.
Dark hair draped over his forehead as he glanced down at her. Heaven help her, she was a selfish woman. She trembled with desire, wanting his mouth on hers, longing to know how he tasted. She wanted assurances, his promise that their dreams of being together hadn’t been crushed. It was wrong to desire these things, so very wrong. It was too soon.
Katherine Bone has been passionate about all things historical since she was an Army brat traveling all over the world. Initially, she dreamed of being an artist, but when she met and fell in love with Prince Charming, her own dashing Lieutenant vowing duty, honor, and country, she found herself saying, “I do.” Whisked away to Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals, where tales of swashbuckling adventure filled the lonely gaps when the Army called Charming away, Katherine’s imagination took flight. No longer nomadic, she calls the south home and spends most of her time daydreaming about Charming and heroes of yesteryear.
Excerpt from CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE
Be sure to go and buy CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE, read the whole novella (short book) and
for a chance to win an iPad Mini by answering the questions correctly. You really and truly have to read the book to answer them. There has been such a low number of people answering the questions (and getting them right), I’ve decided to extend the contest to June 30. So that should give you plenty of time to read it.
Here’s an excerpt from CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE. And no, none of the answers are in it. Hopefully, it will be interesting enough for you to want to read it all contest or not.
“I’ll take you up on your offer, but the money isn’t enough,” he said in a near growl.
“What? Are you kidding me? That kind of money could get me ten guys like you.” As soon as it came out of her mouth, she wished each word would evaporate into the night air.
The pierced eyebrow lifted. “If that was true, you wouldn’t be begging me to help you. You know I’m the only one who can protect and help you at the same time.” That smirk she hated was back.
Beg? He only wished. The handsome devil. He was evil.
She crossed her arms. “So you don’t want money. What will it take to get your help?” She avoided thinking about it too hard. The heated look he gave hinted at what it entailed. Would she have the strength or will power to say no?
“I want the money. That’s part of the deal. From what you’ve told me, there’s no guarantee the gold will be found. So I could do all that work and end up with nothing.”
“And?” She hated sounding like a smartass, but she really wanted him to get to the point.
He grinned and leaned forward, one hand resting on the wall behind her. She should feel trapped, but her body started melting against his. Yeah. She wanted him. Badly.
“Give me free access to your body for the next week and then if the deal goes tits up,” his grin deepened, “we’re even.”
His eyebrows rose.
Did she just say that without hesitation? Oh, Lord of Mercy, she’d lost her mind.
A new series is coming February 2016. Brothers of Mayhem. Yep, an outlaw motorcycle club and wait until you get to meet the heroes. Ohoooo, baby! Hot! The first book is HIDDEN HEAT!
Two more days . . .
Jack stepped out of his Silverado and hesitated near the truck’s front end, keeping the thick engine block between him, the house, and anyone who might shoot. Besides, he wasn’t sure what mood Kat would be in.
The place appeared to be deserted. Not that anything looked different from last evening. Early morning sun reflected off the windows and exposed peeling paint beneath the eaves. The overgrown bushes near the long porch needed to go. Too easy for someone to hide behind and attack when entering the front door.
No birds chirped nearby. Something didn’t feel right. Kat wasn’t inside the house. A heavy sensation ran down his spine. Who was watching?
He stepped back and opened the crew door on his truck and pulled out a sawed-off shotgun. In the South, it was the weapon of choice against thieves and burglars. Using rock salt, the spray would cover anyone heading his way, and he didn’t worry about his aim, or killing anyone. Rather ironic considering the field of work he’d been in so long, but he was tired of people dying around him.
A Snippet of CIRCLE OF DISHONOR
The blurb for the small novella, CIRCLE OF DISHONOR.
John “Ice” Takahashi’s final job for The Circle has an unexpected hitch in it; he’s fallen for an innocent civilian and his enemies know. With his mission in a shambles, he’ll do anything to protect her, including kill. So how can a man without honor prove he’s worthy of her love?
Lena Matthews feels like she’s playing with fire by dating the mysterious Master J. He’s exotic, dangerous, and exactly what she needs in her boring life. With the bad guys bearing down on them, she discovers a whole new world of sensuality that binds her heart to his forever.
And here is the snippet from the first chapter.
Lena Matthews felt like a perverted voyeur.
Sitting in a coffee shop across the courtyard from the martial arts studio’s glass storefront, she stared at the tae kwon do class as they kicked and jabbed. Most of the students wore white pajama-like uniforms, except for the teacher. He stood out in black with his shaggy dark hair and ripped body. The man looked good enough to lick.
For the last five weeks after her tai chi class, she’d claimed the same chair and watched his every move. Behind her, others in the coffee shop chatted about the class and the mysterious man leading it.
From what she’d overheard, his name was John Takahashi, and the students called him Master J.
Master? Oh, yeah. She could imagine he’d master many things. With his strong hands and long muscled arms and legs, he likely controlled any situation or person. He could easily lift and hold her against the wall as he stroked her to a climax. She whimpered and squeezed her knees together.
A shake of her head knocked out the dirty thoughts racing through her mind. She knew better. He’d never be attracted to an ordinary person like her. The woman he chose would be totally the opposite of her: young, athletic with honey blonde hair. Lena was about as interesting as watching bread turn to toast.
Copyright 2014 Carla Swafford
I had hoped to have it out in June, but it will be later. No date at this time. Keep an eye out here. [Updated 5/31/14 – It will be out in June after all. YAY! Probably June 23. Be on the lookout for the announcement!]
A Taste of A Book
I’ve been thinking about about placing some excerpts of my books on Goodreads, but a few things came to mind. A few years ago, Sherrilyn Kenyon told me not to use the first chapter as an excerpt because people will open the book and think they’ve read it.
That is so true. If I want to make sure I haven’t already read a book, I always read the first few paragraphs. I wonder how many books I placed back on the shelf for that reason?
But, of course, the first scene is what I posted when I gave readers a taste of my fourth book in The Circle series. Hopefully you won’t forget and think you’ve already bought the book when I self-publish it next year. And the same is true about the first three books that are already available (published through Avon Red, HarperCollins) wherever books are sold on line.
*Excerpts* *Amazon* *B&N* *ARe* *BAM*
Anyway, my questions today are, do you prefer the first scene or chapter? Or do you like to see a scene or chapter from further into the book? Maybe in the middle of a turning point (e.g., an emotional scene)?
And do you like a page or two, or more like ten to fifteen to read?
CIRCLE OF DANGER Tidbit
One hand raised to hold them back, she asked, “Let me get this straight. The drug will cause me to have a driving need for sex at any time and any place? You’ve got to be kidding.” ~~ Marie receiving bad news in CIRCLE OF DANGER
Available in paperback and e-format.
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