Sunday, January 12, 2014

What I'm Working on: THE BOOK OF LOVE

New book for the new year!

I worked on Cats in Heat and Cat Scratch Fever back to back and really needed a genre break, so I've jumped into a contemp erom with both suspense and some humor aspects. It's exactly what my brain needed and I'm having a tremendous amount of fun with it.

Read on for the blurb and a random excerpt (which is a first draft--apologies for any typos). Everything from the blurb to the excerpt to even the title is subject to change, of course.

Romance editor Janaeh Forrester is a problem solver. A Jill of all trades, she’s worked in all aspects of publishing and no challenge is too big for her to overcome. It’s this reputation that leads her new employer to send her after the elusive Delilah Daniels, their top selling romance writer, who won’t deliver her latest manuscript and made the last editor quit.

But “Delilah” is nothing that Janaeh expects. It’s the pen name of Carter Daniels, a thirty-something man as sexy as he is arrogant and frustrating.

Six months have passed since Carter’s divorce was finalized and writing happily-ever-afters seems like a lie he can no longer tell. When Janaeh shows up at his door with a schedule in hand and threats to take back his advance if he doesn’t meet his deadlines, he assumes it’s a joke. But his attractive new editor is there to see that he finishes the book, driving him mad with both irritation and desire.

Her presence stirs up something far more sinister, however: Janaeh is directly in the path of Carter’s more fanatical followers, and someone will stop at nothing to get her out of the way.

Carter was roused from a fitful sleep by the shrill alarm blaring in his ear.
He groaned, pulled the spare pillow over his head, and tried to drown the noise out and go back to sleep.
Then he remembered he didn’t have an alarm.
Before he could move the pillow, it was jerked off his head. Carter growled and rolled over, blinking against the bright yellow sunlight stabbing his eyes.
Sunlight. Through his windows. Why the hell weren’t the curtains drawn?
He squinted, his sleepy brain slow to catch up to his eyes as they scanned the bedroom. A figure stood over him, holding the pillow that had been his refuge when that “alarm” went off. His gaze traveled up, over shapely legs and curvy hips clad in a turquoise skirt that hugged without clinging, over white silk camisole with a lacy scooped neck that teased a hint of cleavage.
And his eyes sort of just...paused. Right there. Because he couldn’t remember the last time he saw cleavage hanging over him in his bedroom, and in the hazy moments after being abruptly woken, it was difficult to force his gaze up.
The editor, Janaeh Forrester, tossed the pillow down on him; it wasn’t heavy but he let out an “oof” nonetheless as it connected with his chest.
“You’re still in bed,” she said sharply.
Carter blinked. Oh God, the alarm was her voice. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, yawned, and let his arm flop over the pillow at his chest. “Not now, thank you very much. Why, what time is it? Wait, why are my curtains open? How the hell did you get in my goddamn house—get out!”
Instead of honoring that last request, she turned and seated herself in the mission rocking chair near the window a few feet from the bed. Her hair was once again pinned up and she sat there prim and proper, dressed like she was in an office and not his goddamn house. She even wore a pair of black high heels. Pretty in that effortless way some women were; he didn’t think Janaeh spent hours in front of the mirror in the morning or worried about her shade of lipstick like Leona used to. She was put together and professional, but natural.
And he had to stop thinking about how pretty she was, especially with the way she was all but glowering at him.
“The answer to your first query is that I’m still waiting to see your work in progress,” she said in a steady, though irritated voice. “The second, it’s nine-thirty—”
“Jesus Christ, in the morning?” he broke in.
Her sharp dark brown eyes gave him a look like he was an idiot. “Obviously.”
Screw it, he was going back to sleep. Carter rolled over and let his face sink into the pillow, groaning. “Go away,” he mumbled against the feather-stuffed fabric.
“Third,” she continued, undaunted, and if he was being entirely honest, her voice didn’t sound like a shrill alarm—it sounded warm, rushing over him like he sank into a relaxing bathtub of hot water. “The curtains are open because it is nine-thirty in the morning and time to get up. Fourth, your housekeeper let me in.”
Jean Marc. Carter thought long and hard about firing the man but then he wasn’t sure who else he’d find in town to put up with him. Not that he was a terrible employer, but he was snarly pre-coffee in the morning—well, afternoon—and he preferred a housekeeper he wasn’t fazed when he was a grouchy prick.
“Get out of my room,” he mumbled into the pillow, unsure if she could actually make out the words or not.
“Get me your manuscript,” she returned sweetly.
Goddamn it.
He rolled over again and glared up at the ceiling, the sheets cutting over his lower torso and tangled around his legs. “Go put a cup of coffee on.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Daniels, but did you miss the part where I am not the hired help, but your editor? If I wanted to be bossed around by unruly writers, I’d go back to slush reading.”
He sucked in a breath and resisted barking at her. “Please can you put on the pot of coffee. I move faster at the crack of dawn when I’m caffeinated.”
“It’s not the crack of dawn, it’s nine-thirty.”
“I was up until four.”
“If I leave, you’re going to roll over and go back to sleep.” Her chin lifted, arms crossed at her breasts, and she gazed steadily at him. “I’m not going anywhere until I’m sure I don’t have to throw another pillow at you.”
Fine. She wanted him up so badly? He'd get right on that.
Carter sat up, his muscles twinging from awkwardly tossing and turning all night, and swung his legs around the edge of the bed so his feet hit the cool hardwood floor. He brushed the sheets aside and stood facing Janaeh.
Her mouth dropped open, eyes went huge, and for a moment she stared before her hand clamped over her face. “Oh my God, where are your clothes?”
“This is how I sleep.” He braced his hands on his hips, taking a tremendous amount of delight in her squirming. “If you have a problem with seeing me naked in the morning, stay the hell out of my bedroom.”
Her fingers moved slightly, as if to check his position in the room, and then she squealed and bowed her head with her hand still cover her eyes. “Please, for the love of God, put some pants on.”
“Go put a pot of coffee on and I will.”
She kept her head down, grasped the arms of the chair, and stood shakily; unfortunately, the rocking chair did as it was made for and rocked. It threw her off balance and she stumbled.
Without thinking, he darted forward and caught her elbow as her arms flew outward, keeping her from tumbling to the floor. Her heels clacked on the hardwood as she stumbled but regained her balance.
“Thanks,” Janaeh began as she straightened, eyes meeting his as she stood just six inches away.
Her skin flushed with heat, searing against his hand that still gripped her elbow. A blush crept up her cheeks as her gaze swept over him and while he probably should’ve been uncomfortable himself, something about her embarrassment amused him. Warmth rushed through him and it wasn’t from discomfort, his heart thudding hard. He was actually smiling, for Christ’s sake, which was something he rarely did anymore.
And he was having trouble frowning again.
Her throat moved as she swallowed and the blush hadn’t abated. She seemed to be intentionally holding his gaze rather than look anywhere else again.
Oh, this was fun.
“Please let me go and put your penis away,” she said calmly. “I’ll put the coffee on.”
He peeled his fingers back from her elbow and offered a gentlemanly bow, one she barely saw as she bolted from the room and slammed the bedroom door behind her.
His skin was still hot as he stared after her, his cock stirring.
Carter blinked. This really wasn’t like him. He shook his head to clear it, rubbed his eyes, and started toward the en suite. Just some temporary blip, he was sure, since he was sleep-deprived and roused early. A pretty girl staring at him while he was naked—anyone would have that kind of reaction.
His face fell into a scowl and he grabbed a pair of jeans and a T-shirt from the dresser drawer on the way to the bathroom. That would at least teach her to not show up in his bedroom unannounced in the morning. He hoped.
Or he thought he hoped.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sympathy for the Devil - Night Owl Reviews Top Pick

How cool is this??

"The combination of the oppressive small town scene, hunt for a vicious killer and developing personal relationships provides an exciting and multi-layered story which held my interest from beginning to the end."

Check out the full review here.

Sympathy for the Devil is still available for sale in ebook if you haven't checked it out yet.

Natasha Whitaker is a workaholic, putting in long hours to acclimate herself to the P.I. business in preparation to take over for her aging mentor. But the day after her boss’s retirement doesn’t bring the usual insurance fraud and cheating spouses: instead, a dead body shows up in a startling similar fashion to a home invasion cold case from years ago.

Complicating matters is the return of Devin Archer--estranged husband of the original victim--to Stirling Falls. He was the prime suspect in the first case, though slipped away when there wasn’t enough evidence to prove his guilt. With bodies piling up the same time as his arrival, all eyes in town turn to him once again.
Tash is hired by the brother of the first victim to keep tabs on Devin, a task she eagerly accepts. But she can’t help her attraction to this dark, potentially dangerous suspect, or deny the instant heat between them. Is Devin a broken man still suffering from the loss of his wife, or a cold-blooded killer setting his sights on Tash as his next victim?