Wednesday, March 29, 2017

REMNANTS--A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER BY CAROLYN ARNOLD



Remnants
by Carolyn Arnold

GENRE: Mystery

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION: 


Carolyn Arnold also will be awarding a paperback copy of VIOLATED by Carolyn Arnold to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

REMNANTS Blurb:

FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team are called to Savannah, Georgia, when body parts belonging to three separate victims are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River. As the case takes one dark turn after another, Brandon finds himself embroiled in a creepy psychological nightmare.


Here’s what Remnants is about:
All that remains are whispers of the past…
When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?
The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

The Brandon Fisher FBI series is a perfect fit for you if serial killers and the FBI fascinate you, if you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations. If this speaks to you, then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal MindsNCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.


Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.



Excerpt One:

REMNANTS Excerpt:

My senses were busy taking in the crime scene: marshland, relative seclusion, an arm and leg discovered last week, an arm yesterday. Aside from the human remains that had been found here, the property had a serene feeling to it, a sense of peace. There was a tangible quality to the air, though—or maybe it was the presence of law enforcement and crime scene investigators—that made it impossible to deny that death had touched the place.

“What else can you tell us about the limbs that were recovered?” Paige asked.

The lieutenant cleared his throat. “Well, both arms didn’t have hands, and the leg didn’t have a foot. We found incision marks indicating the hands and foot had been intentionally cut off.”

“Our killer could have taken them for trophies or to make identification impossible,” I suggested.

Pike gave a small nod and continued. “And while we know the hands and foot were removed, it’s not as clear how the appendages separated from the torso. It would be something we’d need the medical examiner to clarify.”

Jack’s brow furrowed, and I could tell his mind was racing through the possibilities.

“But,” Pike continued, “all the limbs have one thing in common: muscle tissue remained, even though the skin had been removed.”

“It is possible that the skin was also taken as a trophy,” Zach speculated.

“We could be looking for a hunter or a sexual sadist,” Jack said.

Hunters were typically identified by the type of weapon they used—a hunting knife, rifle, or crossbow, for example—and they tended to dispose of their victims’ bodies in remote, isolated areas. A sexual sadist, on the other hand, got off on the torture and pain. But we’d need to gather more facts before we could build any sort of profile on our unsub. Even knowing more about the victims themselves would help. Was the killer choosing people he or she was acquainted with? Were the victims of a certain gender, age group, occupation? The list went on and on. From there, we could more easily speculate on our killer’s motive and what they had to gain.

Carolyn Arnold, Author


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

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Meet today’s guest, Carolyn Arnold. She is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark, POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Today, she answers a few questions for us and gives us insight into her life as a mystery author.

When you first begin writing a new book, is your main focus on the characters or the plot?
I’d have to say it’s really a blend of both. I approach writing a book without an outline and with merely an idea of the storyline. Oftentimes, I don’t even know the identity of the killer until my characters work through the investigation. Both the characters and the plot are strengthened through the editing process.

Why do you write within your chosen genre?
I love the logical progression and intrigue that goes with the mystery genre. The fact that I love to read mysteries and watch crime dramas has also made writing in the genre only a matter of time.

How much research goes into your fiction writing? What is your approach?
As an author of police and FBI procedurals, a lot of research goes into each of my books. I need to know how real life police or FBI would handle situations, have an understanding of forensics and weapons, as well as a grasp of the human aspect—the interaction between departments of law enforcement and within a department.
I’m grateful to have contacts from law enforcement who are generous in sharing their wisdom and experience with me.

Is there a time of day or night when you're most creative?
It used to always be the morning, but that’s not always the case anymore.

Describe your writing environment. (Do you prefer noise or silence? Is your work area messy or neat? What do you see when you look around you?)
Oh, I love working in my office for the most part, but sometimes during the summer, I’ll take my laptop outside and write on my patio.
I prefer just above tomb silent and my work area is somewhat messy with papers everywhere… (bows head in embarrassment).

You can connect with Carolyn online via her website, Twitter, and Facebook. And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Carolyn’s latest book—Remnants from her Brandon Fisher FBI series—hit retailers April 11, 2017. You can pick up a copy from your favorite retailer in e-book, paperback, or hardcover formats. It’s available wherever books are sold, including the following:


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION



Carolyn Arnold also will be awarding a paperback copy of VIOLATED by Carolyn Arnold to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

PURR M FOR MURDER IS CLEVER AND FUN!




The author will be awarding autographed copy of PURR M FOR MURDER (hardcover - US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

MY REVIEW

I love cats—I have three of them—so most cozies featuring cats appeal to me. PURR M FOR MURDER is a particularly clever novel in which the characters have depth and the plot moves along well. With humor and suspense, Ms. Lo Tiempo keeps the reader interested from the first page to the last.

After an upsetting discovery involving her fiancé and his secretary, Sydney McCall leaves New York City and returns to her hometown of Deer Park, North Carolina. Syd plans to help her sister Kat with Friendly Paws, a no-kill shelter. (I applaud Ms Lo Tiempo for using this type shelter in her story!) Working as a part-time publicity director, they hope the increase in donations via Syd’s publicity will allow them to make her position full-time.

Meanwhile, Syd lives with her friend Leila Adams. Syd comes up with the concept of a Cat Café. In cooperation with Dayna’s Sweets and Treats. There Syd sets up a cozy room where customers can eat their treats while visiting with cats. Hopefully, this will result in cat adoptions. In the meantime, a ginger tom named Toby adopts Syd and follows her whether she wishes or not.

One person who stands in the way of their success is wealthy miser Trowbridge Littleton, who operates the Brush and Canvas gallery. Not only does he oppose the Cat Café, but he owns the building and is increasing the rent considerably. The day before the opening, Syd and Kat go to talk to Littleton and find him dead. Unfortunately, Kat had made threatening statements to Littleton and she becomes the prime suspect among many.

One of the lead detectives is Will Worthington, Syd’s high school crush. Syd decides to prove her sister is innocent by doing her own sleuthing—assisted by Toby. Readers will cheer at the climax of the story, but I won’t give away the details. No spoilers here!

For once, I was stumped as to who the murderer was in this complex mystery with twists and turns. There is a fun mix of colorful characters in this first of the A Cat Rescue series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I highly recommend PURR M FOR MURDER to anyone who loves a clever cozy, cats, and/or an engaging story.




Purr M for Murder
by T.C. Lotempio

GENRE:  Cozy Mystery


PURR M FOR MURDER Blurb:

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat--along with Littleton's dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington--who just happens to be Sydney's old high school crush--is highly suspicious of the sisters' involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton's death--until the killer notices she's pawing a little too closely at the truth.



PURR M FOR MURDER Excerpt:

Will glanced up.  “Pretty observant of you, Syd. The ME will determine the cause of death.”  He tapped on his notebook with the edge of his pen.   “Why don’t you walk me through what happened.  How did the two of you come to be in Littleton’s shop so early?”

“We had something we wanted to discuss with Mr. Littleton, and we thought the earlier the better,” I said.

“I see.  And just what was the nature of this discussion?”

I shifted my weight to my other foot. “Friendly Paws has teamed with Dayna’s Treats & Sweets for a cat café event to benefit the shelter. For a nominal fee, people can have their coffee and goodies in a room with shelter cats that are available for adoption.”

Will glanced up, and I could see a light of interest in his eyes. “I’ve heard of those cafes. They’re mostly in Europe.”

“There are a few in the States, big cities mostly.  This will be the first event of it’s kind in North Carolina. We’re hoping to increase revenue for both the café and the shelter.”

 “Let me guess. That idea didn’t sit well with Littleton?”

Kat and I both shook our heads in unison and Kat exclaimed, “I should say not! He was in the shop yesterday, and he made his feelings pretty darn clear.  He thought having the cats around would be detrimental to business. Heck, he thinks-thought-the shelter in general was a detriment to the town.”

“A sentiment you two didn’t agree with,” he said slowly.

“I should say not!” Kat returned, her cheeks starting to flame.  “Syd and I tried to reason with him yesterday but he didn’t want to hear it.”

“And that’s why you decided to come here this morning?”

I nodded. “Yes.  I put together a pretty good argument of pros for the event.  I was hoping to appeal to his sense of business acumen.”

“Why did you feel this was necessary? Had he threatened you?”

“Not in so many words,” I said carefully. “But he did say yesterday that he was determined to put a stop to the proceedings, and we hadn’t heard the last from him.”

“Um-hm.” Will murmured, scribbling some more.

“And Leila Addams – do you remember her, Will?  She’s a reporter for the Deer Park Herald now,” Kat chimed in.  “Leila said that she thought Littleton was inquiring about starting a petition against showing the shelter cats – and the shelter in general.”

Will made another notation in his book. “So when was the last time you saw Littleton?”

 “Yesterday around one-thirty.” I cleared my throat.  “If that’s all the questions you have, we need to get going.”

  He snapped his notebook shut.  “You’re free to go for now,” he said, “but I will probably need to talk to you some more later on.”

“That’s fine,” I said.  “We’ll be here.”

The corners of Will’s lips twitched slightly. “Good to know.” 

Once we were back out on the street, Kat hauled off and punched me in the arm – hard.

“Yow!” I cried. “What was that for?”

“For thinking that you could come here and face Littleton without me, for one,” Kat said.  “I knew you had your fingers crossed last night.”

I rubbed at my arm. “Can’t put anything over on you, can I?”

 She gave me a shrewd look.  “So, how did it feel, seeing Will Worthington again after all these years!  I heard he was back in town, but I had no idea he’d become a detective – homicide, no less.”  She cut me a sidelong glance. “Funny, isn’t it, how you two came back to Deer Park almost at the same time.  Like Karma, or something.”

 “Well, I’d rather deal with Will than his partner, Colombo Junior,” I said. “Come on, let’s get my car and get to the shelter. I hope Maggie isn’t too worried.”

We walked through the alleyway and when we were almost at the spot where I’d parked, I suddenly stopped short.  “Hey,” Kat cried as she ran full tilt into my back. “What’s wrong?”

I pointed to the empty space beside my car. “There was a white Lincoln there when I came, parked pretty badly.  The license plate read TLITTLE.  I thought for sure it was Littleton’s car, but if it’s gone…”

“A white Lincoln?  That’s his wife Petra’s car,” Kat said.  She glanced around, then pointed to the gym. “She must have parked it here instead of the gym parking lot, like she usually does. I wonder why.”

Another disturbing thought occurred to me as I slid behind the wheel.  It would have been impossible for Littleton’s wife not to have seen the ambulance and police cars parked in front of her husband’s shop.  Why hadn’t she come to see what was wrong?

Unless, of course…she didn’t have to. Because she already knew.


T. C. Lo Tiempo. Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com  and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com


Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog:
Website:

Amazon- Purr M for Murder

Amazon: All Books Page

facebook:
@RoccoBlogger




GIVEAWAY 

The author will be awarding autographed copy of PURR M FOR MURDER (hardcover - US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, March 27, 2017

LATEST THRILLER BY DENISON HATCH--NEVER GO ALONE



Never Go Alone
by Denison Hatch

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GENRE: Thriller

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NEVER GO ALONE Blurb:

THE FIRST RULE IS: NEVER GO ALONE.

"Never Go Alone is an explosive return for both Denison Hatch and his hero." - BestThrillers.com

A rash of elaborate cat burglaries of luxury buildings in Manhattan has the city panicked.

When a group of social media obsessed millennials--a loosely organized crew that call themselves "urban explorers"--are suspected in the heists, undercover NYPD detective Jake Rivett is assigned the case.

Rivett dives deep into the urban exploration scene in pursuit of the truth. But what, and who, he finds--deep in the sewers, up in the cranes above under-construction skyscrapers, and everywhere else in New York--will change not only Jake, but the city itself.




NEVER GO ALONE Excerpt:

Jake paced along the familiar corridors of One Police Plaza. He padded across the detective bullpen and past his old office. A clean-shaven man, about his own age, stared back blankly at Jake. Rivett didn’t even recognize the guy who now occupied his former workspace. That wasn’t the nature of most police departments, but it certainly was in New York. The volume of crime was astronomical and the volume of new detective recruits equally high. In fact, many beat cops spent their entire careers trying to become detectives, only to burn out or transfer out within a handful of years. Jake had once been a boy in blue as well. He’d spent the minimum time required—two years—out in a patrol car. He’d gotten his gold shield ten months after that; primarily due to the sources he’d managed to scrounge up while on patrol in Chinatown. While Jake’s ability to measure people was strong, his ability to split them open was legendary. As was his chutzpah. He was like a pit bull when it came to everything, cases not excluded. That was why, during his first few years as a detective, not a single one of his cases went unsolved. But his discipline was another thing altogether. The department was half squares and half circles, but he was four-dimensional. It was a simple as that.


Author Denison Hatch

Denison is a screenwriter and novelist. He has a number of feature and television projects in development, including his original screenplay, Vanish Man, which is set up at Lionsgate. A graduate of Cornell University, he lives with his wife and a big dog in a little house in Hollywood. He is presently working on the third Jake Rivett thriller.


Purchase NEVER GO ALONE on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2e1PB7V

Purchase FLASH CRASH on Amazon:

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GIVEAWAY:

Denison Hatch will be awarding a physical copy of the Jake Rivett Series, FLASH CRASH and NEVER GO ALONE, (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, March 24, 2017

NEW RELEASE -- BRIDE'S ADVENTURE!

Announcing a new release is such fun! This one is in the Montana Sky Series and is titled BRIDE’S ADVENTURE. I promise you that writing this book was difficult. My personal life while I was writing this book was proof of Murphy’s Law—“Anything that can go wrong, will”. Everything is getting all sorted now, thank goodness. I'll give away an e-copy of BRIDE'S ADVENTURE to two people who comment on this blog post.

I do hope you enjoy reading BRIDE’S ADVENTURE! Fans of Debra Holland’s books will meet numerous characters you recognize. If you've read my previous Montana Sky release, MURDOCH’S BRIDE, you’ll see my characters re-appear in this book. This story genuinely is an adventure for heroine Amelia Douglas as well as a romance. The main characters for BRIDE'S ADVENTURE, Amelia Douglas and her hero Sean Murdoch, were introduced in MURDOCH'S BRIDE. I enjoy series where you read about characters you met in another book and I hope you do, too.

WHAT IS A KINDLE WORLD?

Several people have asked what a “Kindle World” is. Amazon has numerous “Kindle Worlds” but the one in which I write is Debra Holland’s. This means that Debra Holland does not write in this world, but chose authors to take characters from her popular Montana Sky series and write a book in which Debra's characters are secondary "supporting cast" and use her locale. In this instance, I’ve set BRIDE'S ADVENTURE in Sweetwater Springs, Montana Territory in 1887.

TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE SETTING

This part of the United States suffered a tragic summer of 1886 and winter of 1886-87. A terrible drought struck in 1886 that started in Texas and moved upward toward Canada. Some farming and ranching areas received only 2 inches of rain that summer. Crops, gardens, and animals as well as people suffered. Following this was the coldest winter on record. In Montana Territory, temperatures reached minus 40 degrees in some places. Animals and people froze. Even many ranchers who survived went bankrupt and were forced to move on. 

THE FUN OF FICTION

The heroic ranchers in my stories were forward thinking men who planned ahead and were able to survive. That's fortunate for them and for the heroines. ☺  

WHY NOT READ ALL OF MY KINDLE WORLD BOOKS?

This is my fourth Kindle World book in this series. The first two are AMANDA’S RANCHER and THE RANCHER AND THE SHEPHERDESS, each of which was set mostly in Morgan's Crossing. The third is MURDOCH’S BRIDE, set in Sweetwater Springs. 

Skhye Moncrief designed the covers for these books.



Here’s the blurb for BRIDE’S ADVENTURE:

After a distressing visit to her brother in Oregon, Amelia Douglas returns to her friends in Sweetwater Springs, Montana Territory. The millinery shop she establishes is popular with area women—except for two troublemakers. When she believes her life is near perfect, trouble arrives and requires her quick thinking.

Sean Murdoch has made up his mind that Amelia is the one for him. He tries to bide his time until she’s had time to get her business flourishing but he’s finding waiting harder and harder. When a problem arises, he lends support to her surprising decision. 


Here’s an excerpt from BRIDE’S ADVENTURE:
Amelia smoothed the front of her gray traveling suit before she gathered her valise. Thank goodness the rails had been cleared of the accident and she could take the train all the way to Sweetwater Springs. Would the Murdoch family be there to meet her or would Charity or Sean come alone?
Steam hissed as the train screeched to a halt. Passengers stood and gathered their belongings. How different this arrival was than the one in February when there had been a locomotive accident in the snow followed by passenger cars burning. Remembering that time sent shivers through her body.
When Amelia stepped off the rail car, Charity hurried forward to embrace her. “You’re finally here. We were so worried when you asked me not to write you at your brother’s address. You have to explain when we get to the ranch.”
Charity held Amelia’s shoulders as she stepped back to assess her. “Amelia! I’m so happy to see you in something besides black.”
“John liked me in pastels and I decided I do too. Strange as it sounds, I feel as if I’ve come home.” She hugged Edwina Murdoch, Charity’s aunt and wife of Kevin. What confusing family relationships.
Kevin, father of the Murdoch clan, hugged her and planted a kiss on her cheek. “About time you got back here.”
Charity’s husband, Logan, dutifully pecked her cheek. “Good to have you back. Give me the claim check and I’ll fetch your trunk.”
She held her breath when Sean Murdoch grinned and kissed her cheek. “Our adventurer returns. We’ve been curious as all get out about the goings on in Salem.” He held her a bit longer than necessary or proper.
“The story is long so I’ll wait until we’re at your home to relate my tale. You’re correct, though, I’ve had an adventure—far more than I expected.”


Many thanks to those of you who made MURDOCH’S BRIDE another Amazon Kindle World bestseller! You boosted my morale and my career. I appreciate your help more than I can express.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE BRIDE TRAIN ARRIVES WITH A NEW INSTALLMENT!

E. E. Burke, Author

Warm, witty…a little wild. That’s what you’ll find when you pick up a book by bestselling author E.E. Burke. Her chosen setting is the American West, and her latest series, The Bride Train, features a cast of unusual characters thrown together through a misguided bride lottery. Maybe Baby, part of the multi-author Magnolias and Moonshine series, is her first Contemporary Romance.

Other series include Steam! Romance and Rails, which follows the lives of dangerous men and daring women caught up in a cutthroat competition as the railroads advance across the frontier. Her novella, Victoria, Bride of Kansas, part of the unprecedented American Mail-Order Brides series, is a Kindle Top 100 Bestseller and a semifinalist in the 2016 Kindle Best Book Awards.

E.E., also known as Elisabeth, has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream--writing stories readers can get lost in.




Tell us a little about your new release.

I’ve just released the fourth book in my Bride Train series, Seducing Susannah. My readers have been anticipating this story over the past three books, the romance between the unpopular railroad agent and a feisty widow who has been his adversary since Book 1. It’s so much fun to develop secondary characters throughout a series and then give them their own story.

The series is different from most mail-order bride scenarios because the matchmaker in this case is the railroad. The concept was inspired by true events and features a cast of unusual characters taken from the pages of history. 

You can meet the first four couples in  this video:



For this month only, the second book in the series, Patrick’s Charm, is on sale for only 99 cents. You can read more about the series on my website.

-What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?

My first contemporary romance will be released April 26 as part of a multi-author project called Magnolias & Moonshine.  This book will also give readers a taste of a new Contemporary Western series that will come out later this year, Texas Hardts.

Maybe Baby features one of the descendants of my historical character Ross Hardt (the railroad agent in Seducing Susannah). Here’s a blurb and short excerpt:

Could a contract between them lead to more than a baby? Maybe.

High-powered executive Jen Chandler can’t ignore the urgent ticking of her biological clock. The nesting instinct has kicked in big-time, and she wants a baby. Only, she isn’t interested in acquiring a husband first. Taking control of her future, she sets out in search of a donor.

Logan Hardt, a laid-back cowboy who shows up at her Atlanta home one day, turns out to have the right genes, as well as a pressing need for cash. He’s seduced by more than Jen’s generous offer, and the closer the time comes to say goodbye, the less willing he is to honor a contract that would require him to walk away and never look back.



MAYBE BABY Excerpt

“She wants me to donate my sperm!” Logan whisper-shouted into the cell phone. He didn’t want to wake Troy and Celeste, who were in the bedroom next door.
His brother howled.
“It’s not that funny.” Logan started across the guest room, which was twice the size of his bedroom at home with twice the furniture. He caught his shin on the corner of the bed frame, swore at the sharp pain, and hopped around the bench pushed up to the end of the bed. He then dodged an armchair and limped to the paned window.
He could see over the bushes he’d trimmed to the house next door—Jen’s ivy-covered castle. Did she plan on filling it with children? She didn’t seem the Mother Hubbard type. In some ways, she fit the image that Troy had painted—cool, poised, aloof. She worked hard at hiding her vulnerability, but it was there, lurking in those big brown eyes.
“Tell me about the date,” Huston urged.
“Not much to tell. We went to a barbeque joint. Ate. Talked.” Logan scratched his head. He couldn’t figure her out. The way she looked at him, like she was hungry for something. Not sex, exactly. He’d seen that look many times and could recognize lust. No. Jen’s need went deeper. So why wouldn’t she be looking for a relationship before having a baby?
“How did she lead up to the big question?”
“She told me about her ovulation app.”
“Her what?”
“She tracks her ovulation on a smart watch.”
Static noise came from the other end of the line—or was it snickering?  “Sounds like an interesting conversation.”
With a sigh, Logan leaned his arm up against the window frame. “It was.”
Light spilled from the back of Jen’s house onto the brick patio and her dog darted outside. Not long after, Jen came into view as she crossed the patio and ran into the yard, wearing what looked like a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants. She had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and still looked cute as a doodlebug.
The dog jumped as she lifted something in air. They played tug-of-war with what looked like a carcass, but was probably just a stuffed toy. Her gleeful laughter drifted upward and made him long to go down there and join her.
Logan turned away from the window. She wouldn’t appreciate him butting in on her private time, and she’d think he was a weirdo if she caught him spying on her. “She asked a bunch of questions. I thought she was interested.”
“She is interested—in your sperm.” His brother snort-laughed.
“Honest to God, I’m hangin’ up if you don’t stop,” Logan threatened. He ought to know better than to call Huston to talk about this. His brother couldn’t have a serious conversation with an undertaker.
Who else would he call though? Huston was his closest sibling, more than that, his best friend. Only thirteen months apart, they’d been inseparable all the way through high school. The two of them, together, had taken all the shit their older brothers could dish out, or anybody else for that matter. Usually, though, he was the one listening to Huston brag about his latest conquest or moan about getting rejected by a girl he had his eye on. Not that Logan was bragging, and Jen’s request defied categorization.
Women had chased him.
Women had used him.
Women had sworn to love him forever, then betrayed him.
But until now, no woman had asked him to give her the means to make a baby—without any involvement beyond jerking off. Jen hadn’t offered a different option. The way she phrased it made it sound like she expected him to deliver his contribution in a mason jar, like ranchers did with bull semen.
“What’s the big deal, Logan? Guys donate to sperm banks all the time.”
“She’s not a bank.”
“Didn’t you say she offered you twenty grand? Sounds like a bank to me. And she’s offering you a better rate.”


 -Do you consider your books plot-driven or character-driven? Is that how you naturally write, or is there a purpose for what you chose?

My books, even the ones with complex plots, are character-driven because they are romances, and romances are about relationships. What’s interesting is that my stories always start with characters. They might be inspired by history, but they are unique “people” who appear in my imagination and talk to me. My difficulty was in taking those fascinating characters out of my head and putting them “on the page.” Through books, conferences, critique and mentoring, I learned the skills I needed to do this…and I’m still learning. If romance is what you want to write, seek out the best romances with the most memorable characters. Learn from the masters.

 -What do you think about when you are alone in your car?

I should be paying attention to the road! Ha! When I’m on a road trip, I usually mull over my current work-in-progress, figure out how to fix a problem, think of new ideas for books, sometimes I write whole scenes in my head, including dialog, and I talk to my characters. Good thing I’m alone, eh? Nut case!

-What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

At heart, I’m a hopeful person, and I truly believe that love is powerful enough to change people. Even change the future.

-How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’ve always been a storyteller. Even as a child, I made up stories and I loved to tell them to people. I wrote a few (terrible) plays and penned (bad) song lyrics, drew comics and illustrations. I started out as more of a visual artist, and kind of evolved into a writer in college and ended up in Journalism. Reading romances in the late 80s sparked a desire to write them, but by then I’d gravitated into a marketing job. Frankly, fear held me back. I did a lot of creative thinking and even writing while I was in advertising, but I didn’t start crafting novels until I was 50. What feeds my creative well? History, art, reading, movies, television shows, plays, music, symphonies, ballet, parties, school, church, family dinners, walks around the block. Everything. I see every part of my life as potential seasoning and food for creativity.

There’s some debate about whether you can “teach” creativity. I don’t think it’s something that’s taught as much as something you release and then learn to direct. That takes skills, so I’d say over the past ten years, I’ve evolved creatively as a writer and a storyteller through all those things I mentioned earlier, as well as seeking out learning opportunities and trying new things.


-What is the hardest thing about writing?

Digging deep to discover the gems, bringing them to the surface and polishing until it shines.


-What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Embarking on the challenge of writing my first Contemporary romance. I’ve only written Historical Romance up until this year. Talk about fear! I was scared spitless that I wouldn’t have the right “voice” for Contemporary. But I’d committed to a project and the book had to be Contemporary, so I was forced to spread my wings and leave my comfortable nest. I’m glad I did. I’ve learned that I really like writing contemporary as well as historical, and based on early feedback, I’ve made a good start.


-What is the easiest thing about writing?

Coming up with ideas and getting “lost” in the story. I love the first draft stage when you just write and write and you think you’ve written the most amazing words ever penned. This happy delusion lasts until the editing process.


Don’t forget: this week Patrick’s Charm is only 99 cents:  https://eeburke.com/books/patricks-charm/


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