Friday, June 28, 2013

SPRING SURPRISE BY CYNTHIA GAIL



SPRING’S SURPRISE
by Cynthia Gail


Sara Michaels is single again. And she's celebrating her thirtieth birthday with a complete spa makeover and a day of boutique shopping with her two best friends. After a ten-month battle for freedom, a long weekend in Nashville, Tennessee is just what she needs to erase the memories of a broken heart.

Jack Tanner is the soon-to-be new partner at Chester & Dorsey Development Firm. Jack's love life has been on the back burner for years as he's built a successful career. But the moment he meets Sara, he takes a hard look at his life and his priorities.

Sara steps out of her comfort zone and spends and unforgettable weekend with Jack. She's never felt so carefree. Until she realizes too late that three days can change everything.




EXCERPT:

Jack was leaning against a post, about halfway between the barn and the porch, when he saw Sara come out of the house.

God, she was gorgeous. Every inch of his body stirred as he watched her approach him in a pair of form-fitting black jeans. She had her hair down and wore a long necklace that hung low on her neck, bringing his eyes to the low cut of her shimmery blue blouse.

If that wasn’t enough to make his blood boil, she was wearing a pair of high-heeled black sandals that showed off her sexy red toenails he’d noticed the previous night.

He felt like a teenager going on his first date. He didn’t know what to say. You’re pretty didn’t seem to do justice, but he hated to be the slobbering fool, constantly telling her how beautiful or amazing she looked. Even though she did.

He wished their situation wasn’t so complicated. He was getting ready to make a huge move in his professional life that would take him farther away from her.

How could life be so cruel, to introduce him to such an amazing woman, the kind he could really see himself falling for, just to say that he couldn’t have her?

Or maybe life wasn’t saying he couldn’t have her. Maybe long distance was just temporary. Maybe . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Cynthia Gail

 My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.




Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SUSAN HORSNELL!

One of the great things about the internet is that we can interact with interesting people from across the world. I’d like to introduce you to someone I “met” online in a western writers group. Susan Horsnell and I recently became friends via the world wide web and I felt an immediate kinship with her--as if I've known her all my life. I am happy to introduce her to you. Here’s Susan:

Author Susan Horsnell
Caroline: Please tell us something about growing up, Susan.

Susan: I grew up in Sydney, Australia. My parents came to Australia from England in 1952 as £10 Poms after Dad did 3 years in Mombasa, Kenya with the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces. I’m the eldest of five children and I have two brothers and two sisters. A lot of my early years were concentrated on dancing, I did tap, ballet, clog, jazz, etc and we spent a fair amount of travelling to competitions throughout New South Wales. I was a very good tapper and I had a good singing voice so I won my fair share of comps. I did pantomimes and also a stint on a children’s television show. I’ve always loved to read and English/Writing was my best subject at school.
            I met my husband, Robert, when I was 16 and we started going out when we were 17. He’d joined the Navy from Western Australia when he was 15 and was posted to a Naval Base near my home. I was living in the nurses’ quarters studying nursing and dances used to be organized between the two establishments. A lot of the Navy boys were very young and a long way from home, so it was a way for them to leave the base and have some enjoyment. If they were underage, like Robert, they were pretty much confined to base where they could be supervised. We married when we were 18, had our first son – James 18 months later and Scott was born 4 years after that. James married Coralie and they live in Sydney with their 3 children – Tamsen 12, Paige 6 and Clayton 3. Scott married an Irish girl aptly called Colleen and they live in Melbourne with their 2 children – Grace 6 and William 3.
            My love of reading was invaluable with Robert away so much and I began to write bits and pieces when I had the time.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Susan: I love Margaret Mitchell – GONE WITH THE WIND is my absolute favourite book of all time. I love Jodie Picoult, Maeve Binchy, Di Morrissey, Judy Nunn and Nicholas Sparks just to name a few. I love Western Romance, Western Historical, Mystery and any story based on fact.

Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Susan: I’m retired now and have been for 4 years. Being honest, I have plenty of time to do whatever I want. I like to be active. I love walking our two Jack Russell Terriers – Cosmo and Kelly. We spend weekends out in the country visiting interesting old, antique, craft shops or historical homes, museums.

Caroline: My youngest daughter, Darling Daughter 2, and I love to visit all of those places, too. In fact, we used to have 3 booths in antique malls. My husband, Hero, and I love going on historic tours and to museums. Of course, Hero and I live “out in the country.” Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Susan: “Life’s short; don’t run if you can walk.”

Caroline: Very good advice. We rush so much we miss enjoying the things around us, as in the above weekend pursuits. How long have you been writing?

Susan: I have been writing seriously for 2 years but dabbled on and off for years before that. I wasn’t confident enough that people would want to read what I wrote but I decided to dive in and give it a go. I figured if I didn’t try it I would never find out if I had any talent or not.

Caroline: Exactly. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Susan: I write in our family room during the day while the dogs sleep so it is usually quiet. I can’t write with a lot of distractions. I use a laptop to write, I can sit outside on a nice day with it too.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Susan: A little of both; I usually have a plot in mind before I begin but as I write things will jump into my head and I try and incorporate them. I don’t stick hard and fast to any writing guideline like I was taught in school.

Caroline: I think the new term for what you do is a plotzer. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Susan: A bit of both, I read a lot of history particularly about the American West so I use “artistic license” to weave bits and pieces in.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Susan: I try and write at least a chapter a day but if I’m on a roll and the words are flowing I keep going. If I get stuck I pack it up and do something else.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Susan: I hope they can look at my writing as escapism with the old fashioned type romance that seems to have been lost. People are so busy in their jobs and with family life they don’t always have time to read heavy stories. I just would like them to sit down with a coffee and read something they don’t have to think about; something that will take them away to someplace else.

Caroline: Exactly the type reading I enjoy. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Susan: I would love to sell lots of books like all authors but if a few people enjoy reading what I have enjoyed writing then I’m happy.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Susan: I have just finished my new book, MAIL ORDER MARSHALL, and I am getting it ready for publication. It’s a bit of a twist away from the female always being a mail order bride. I have given an outline and excerpt below for readers.  I have also written a fantasy Children’s Book called MYSTERY UNDER THE HOUSE which my daughter-in-law, Coralie is currently illustrating (She is an Artist).  My next book is a romance between two characters during the days of the Victorian Gold Rush in the start of Victoria, Australia. I am incorporating some of the history of the Cobb and Co coaches into it.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Susan: Go for it! Ask friends and family to read your work and if you think you have something others will enjoy then don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Caroline:  Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Susan: I always cheered for the Indians in the old Western Movies that I used to watch with my Dad. Love the old movies with John Wayne, Audie Murphy, and Alan Ladd; used to sweep me away!

Caroline Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Susan: I am convinced I lived my last life in Texas! I have such a fascination with the great state as well as cowboys and Indians; particularly during the 1800’s. I don’t usually believe in that kind of thing but I have such a strong affinity for somewhere I have never been during this life. I am hoping to “revisit” next year some time.

Caroline: Remember, you’re including a stop at my house on that visit. Is your book a series?

Susan: No; it’s a stand-alone, although I do have a series of four books called ‘The Glenmore’s’. MAIL ORDER MARSHALL is around 200 pages.



Can you give readers a blurb about MAIL ORDER MARSHALL?

Susan: Of course.
When Claire Sullivans’ parents are killed in a stagecoach hold up she is left as the only heir to their successful Texas horse ranch. Claire has been informed she is in danger of losing the ranch if she doesn’t marry; as a woman, the law won’t recognise her ownership. Claire hates the thought of marriage and family thanks to her philandering father; but to keep the ranch that she loves she knows she has no other choice but to marry.
She refuses to marry anyone from her ranch, or in town, so her neighbour suggests she write to a mail order bride agency. Claire writes to an agency in Forbes and explains her situation. She tells in her letter that the marriage will be one of convenience with none of the privileges normally shared between a husband and wife. The man will have a share of the profits but, if he decides to end the marriage and leave, he will have no claim on the ranch and Claire will be free to start again.
Peter Reynolds has just quit the Rangers to set himself up on a ranch. When his boss explains Claire’s situation he jumps at the chance to partly own an already established and successful horse ranch even it does involve marriage. Marriage is the last thing Peter wants after the betrayal he suffered, but one of convenience in exchange for a ranch seems like a good offer.
When Claire’s horse is poisoned and she gets shot in broad daylight; Peter knows he has to find the man responsible. As Peter stays by Claire’s side while she recovers; he finds himself losing his heart to his brave little wife. Claire also finds a love she never believed in before she met Peter.
Their love is put in jeopardy when the shooter takes advantage of the men searching the mountains for him and he breaks into Claire’s room determined to kill her. Will Claire survive to be with the man who has finally broken down her barriers and captured her heart?

Caroline: How about an excerpt?

Susan: I’d love to share one:

Summer 1870                                                  
Winton; TEXAS
Claire Sullivan stood up, slapped her dusty Stetson against her denims for the third time in fifteen minutes and pushed her loosened hair back behind her ears. She had been attempting to break the recalcitrant roan stallion for the past four days and she was still no closer to remaining in the saddle.
“Not lookin’ good boss” her foreman, Carter, said as he hung over the corral fence watching.
Claire limped over to the fence and leaned with her back against it watching the gelding run wildly in circles around the corral.
“Ya okay?” Carter asked after seeing her limp towards him.
“Yeah, just twisted up the ankle a bit is all. It’ll be fine” she frowned at the antics of her high spirited horse as he began to kick out his rear legs.
Claire had been breaking horses to the saddle for almost ten years now and had been riding since before she could walk. She’d grown up as an only child on the Flying J Ranch and had been around horses all her life. Local people reckoned she was the best in the county at breaking horses, better in fact than any man. Claire neither knew nor cared if she was; she just loved being around horses.
Her father, John, had come west from Virginia more than thirty years ago to realise his dream of starting a ranch. The Flying J has the reputation of supplying the finest riding horses to the US Army, with whom they have a contract, and anyone else willing to pay for them.
The ranch is only a small operation compared to most but it provides a very comfortable living for all involved. There are 20,000 acres of fertile grazing pastures and on average it plays host to around 1600 horses at any one time.
The main house is a two storey wooden, whitewashed building with a huge wrap around verandah; Claire loves to sit and read in the chair out front when she has time to herself, which isn’t all that often. The large kitchen has a walk-in pantry and a large oak table that seats twelve. Claire and her staff eat all their meals together at the kitchen table, a tradition begun by her father, and now continued by Claire. There is a large parlour, an office/library and a separate dining room as well as a laundry on the ground floor. Upstairs are six bedrooms and the washroom which, like the laundry and kitchen, has water plumbed in. Kelly has one bedroom and Claire now sleeps in the master bedroom; she says it makes her feel closer to her parents.
There is a bunkhouse alongside the house which sleeps twelve with a washroom of its own and a parlour type area where the men can play cards and relax. The stables house thirty horses at a time; at one end is a huge tack room. There are also three sheds for feed storage and machinery.
Henry and June Carlson are their neighbours to the east; mountains border her property to the west and the Rio River runs out of the mountains and forms the south boundary; to the north is a small farm owned by the Cleary’s.
Henry is a solidly built man of average height. He has what Claire considers a ‘kindly’ weather-beaten face with numerous wrinkles thanks to his lifetime of ranching. He has piercing grey eyes that turn as dark as storm clouds when he becomes annoyed or worried. He is always helpful to his neighbours and fiercely protective of his close friends and family. Henry is 60 years old.
June is a small, stout woman who Claire loves to hug as she sinks into her many folds and it makes her feel safe. June has long grey hair and pretty green eyes. Her skin is still smooth with very few wrinkles. June is 55 years old.
Henry and June own the South Prairie Ranch. It is 150,000 acres in size and runs around 6,000 head of cattle as well as 200-300 horses. Claire and Henry have two children, Howard 33, and Mary 27. Mary is one of Claire’s best friends and Claire loves Henry and June like a second set of parents.
Henry loves Claire like a daughter and respects her talent with horses; he often calls on her to help with his own, if he is having trouble, and she is always willing to help.
Claire’s parents had been killed in a stagecoach massacre six months ago when they were on their way back from Boston after a holiday. Henry and June, as well as the men on Claire’s ranch, had provided the support that she’d needed during such a difficult time. Two other passengers, the stagecoach driver and his partner had also been killed, the bandits had still not been apprehended and Claire mourned the loss of her parents deeply.
***
Claire Mona Sullivan is 25 years old and a pretty girl, some would even consider her beautiful. She is small and thin but with feminine curves in all the right places. She has small, firm breasts and hair the colour of cornsilk which hangs in waves to her waist when released from its usual braid. Her eyes are as blue as a summer sky and come to life when she smiles. Her heart shaped face has a smattering of freckles over her nose and her cheeks, thanks to constantly working outdoors, and she has large dimples which appear when she smiles.
Since the death of her parents Claire has taken over the running of the ranch but she is now in danger of losing it. She needs a man to marry who will be her husband in name only; being a woman she is unable to legally own the ranch and needs a man to prevent it from being taken away from her.
Claire hates being put in the position of having to marry as she would much rather remain single and answer to no-one. After talking with Henry and June they have come up with a solution that hopefully will solve her problems with the law and keep her happy; she just needs a man to agree to her conditions!
The dilemma weighs heavily on her young mind. She has refused any man from town and as it could drive a wedge between the men on her ranch, should she choose one of them, she has also ruled that option out.
She wonders if her preoccupation with her thoughts on this matter is the reason why the horse is reacting this way.
“I can’t understand him Carter. I ain’t never had a horse that didn’t respond. I can’t even remember papa havin’ one that took more than two days to break” Claire watched as her wranglers - Ben and Clayton, attempted to calm the horse down.
Ben Mitchell and Clayton Simpson are two of the best horse wranglers in the business and together with Donardo Vega, a Vaquero her father befriended and hired when he first arrived in the area, they are responsible for the success of the ranch.
“Do ya wanna cut him loose?” Carter asked but he already knew what the answer would be. Claire was not a quitter and she would find a way to work with this horse.
“Hell no!” Claire moved off the fence and swung around to face her foreman who had a grin on his face. “He’s a real challenge but I ain’t givin’ up; you knew that didn’t ya?” she punched his shoulder playfully and leaned back on the fence.
The horse eyed her with suspicion as Ben walked him past her to take him back to his stall.
Claire sighed and pushed away from the fence. “Call it a day, men, and wash up for supper.”
Carter watched as Claire hobbled up to the house. He hoped this little girl, who he’d known all her life, could hang on to the ranch and he would do anything he could to make sure she did.

Caroline: Where can readers find your books?

Susan: On Amazon Kindle as ebooks

Amazon Bookstore in paperback

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Susan: Here are my links:

Amazon Author Central:http:// amazon.com/author/susanhorsnell  


Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?


Susan: I would like readers to know that I would appreciate their reviews and their feedback, good or bad. By being critiqued I can strive to correct my mistakes. I don’t want readers spending their hard earned money on my books and being disappointed. 

Caroline: A great attitude, Susan. Thanks for sharing with us in this interview. Best wishes for great success.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 24, 2013

THE EXPOSITO SERIES BY J M GRIFFIN




The Esposito Series
by J.M. Griffin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

The Esposito Series Box Set:

Now you can own the first three books in the sassy and suspenseful Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin!

By day, Lavinia (Vinnie) Esposito is a criminal justice instructor at a college in Rhode Island. By night Vinnie is an amateur sleuth, solving murders while trying to avoid getting yelled at by her Italian father, her hunky protective boyfriend Marcus Richmond, and her sexy upstairs tenant, the mysterious Aaron Grant.

For Love of Livvy (Book 1)

Vinnie investigates the death of her beloved aunt, and a mysterious box is left on her doorstep.

Dirty Trouble (Book 2)

Someone is stalking Vinnie and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Dead Wrong (Book 3)

Vinnie is out to save her brother from being framed after a valuable painting is stolen.




Excerpt:
The front door knocker rapped twice after the door bell rang. I hustled from the rear deck of the gargantuan house to answer the summons. Someone seemed impatient, and I was curious as to who it was. My watch read just after eight o’ clock. I swung the heavy door open to find my prospective visitor absent.

It was so quiet, the town ghostly in its seemingly deserted state. Sundays were always lazy days in Scituate, once church was over. With a glance up and down the street of the small historic Rhode Island village, neat colonial homes stretched along the sides of the road in both directions. No one came into view.

On the doorstep, a package addressed to my recently deceased Aunt Livvy sat wrapped in brown paper. Again, I gawked up and down the street, but only empty sidewalks and barren roadway appeared in the waning light. The idea of a jaunt along the main drag entered my mind. I figured it would be senseless since the street was visible for about two hundred yards in either direction. Whoever had left the package was gone, long gone.

An eternity passed, or so it seemed, while my gaze locked onto the square, little box. Reluctant to touch it, I decided to call the local fire company to come take a gander. Call me paranoid, but as a criminal justice instructor, a recent audit of a class on bomb components remained fresh in my mind.

I quickly stepped to the living room and grabbed the phone. I dialed the private number of the fire station up the street. A grunt came across the phone line that could only be Bill MacNert.

“Hey Nerd, its Vinnie,” I said. “A package was just left on my doorstep, could you come down and check it out for me?”

“Sure, you got a secret admirer or somethin’?” He cackled, as only senior men can.

“Not likely, but you never know. This package is addressed to Lavinia Ciano, not Lavinia Esposito and is wrapped in brown paper. Nobody’s here to accompany this little surprise either.”

“I’ll be right down, Vinnie, don’t touch it.” He warned.

“Okay.”

Anxious, I paced back and forth across gleaming hard wood floors in the spacious living room of my newly acquired colonial. My fingernails tapped the enamel on my teeth as I wandered to and fro. As irrational as it seemed, I finally leaned against the door jamb inside the entry to wait for MacNert to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.

When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.

“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.

“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”

“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.

The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.

“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”

“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.

“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”

Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”

I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”

Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.

After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.

In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger. I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.

“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.

Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.

“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”

“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.

Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.” Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.

An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him. He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass. This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead.

The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.

You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.

The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

The trooper turned to leave and I stepped forward.

“Uh, I’d like to know what’s in the box, if it’s not too much to ask.” My hand snuck up to my hip as my cocky Italian attitude slid into place.

Tall and Curious stiffened at my tone and turned to stare at me. It seemed he wasn’t used to being spoken to in this manner, which wasn’t any big surprise. Women tend to respond differently to men in uniform, especially a man such as this luscious creature. Well, not this chick. I teach guys like him all year long and the “I’m so wonderful” thing gets old fast.

“I’ll be sure to let you know, Miss Esposito. If we have any questions, you’ll hear from us right away.”

I gawked a moment and my eyes narrowed. His opened wide in contrast and he waited, his body tense. Maybe he thought I’d pitch myself off the steps onto his perfectly toned frame and pummel the daylights out of him or something. It was a thought, but I really wanted to know what was in the package. Besides, his muscles were bigger than mine.

In an effort to change tactics rather than be handcuffed and dragged off to jail, I smiled and spoke in as nice a manner as I could muster.

“I’d appreciate any information you could give me officer, since the package was left in such an alarming way. Should I call headquarters tomorrow?”

His look narrowed. I suspected he was unsure of where this was headed. There was a moment’s hesitation before he answered the question.

“Sure, that would be a good idea.” He gave a nod of the stiff brimmed campaign hat that covered cropped brown hair.

“All right then. I’ll call the colonel first thing.” My voice remained light and sweet, and the smile was charming, at least I hoped it was.

The colonel runs a strict police force and is a tough disciplinarian with an intense dislike for any impropriety, implied or otherwise. I’d gleaned that much from the cops in my criminal justice classes.

A tight lipped smile crossed his face. I figured he couldn’t decide whether I really knew the colonel or if this was a ploy. To be truthful, I lied by omission. I hadn’t said I knew the colonel, I just said I’d give him a call.

“That won’t be necessary ma’am. As soon as there’s any information, I’ll get in touch with you.” With a nod of his head, he turned and left.

Don’t you hate that ma’am thing? It makes me feel old. I know I’m thirty-something, but really.

Bill MacNert stood near the doorway sucking down a sandwich filled with sausage and peppers. My mother had sent the food home with me the day before. The smell of rich tomato sauce and fragrant sausage tantalized my taste buds.

“Guess it wasn’t that serious then?” Slurp noises preceded a sauce blob that dripped down his uniform shirt.

 I glanced at Bill’s shirt, snagged a tissue from my pocket and dabbed at the drip.

“I won’t know until tomorrow, but if I’m the town laughing stock you’re in for it and don’t forget it. By the way, did you leave me any food?” I chuckled at his expression.

Bill’s guilt ridden grin assured me that he hadn’t, but he swore that he had. He handed me the empty plate before he headed toward the fire station. I watched the stethoscope bob up and down from the back pocket of his pants. He trotted up the street, and I felt sure the story would make the rounds since Bill was an avid gossip.

The crowd had dispersed, and I was alone again. Livvy would have had a fit over the whole affair had she been alive, but I figured there was no sense in being stupid. I act that way often enough, thank you.

Mystery still surrounded Livvy’s non-violent death. While the police weren’t forthcoming with information, the state troopers’ attitude on the phone caused me to reconsider the promise to my father to not investigate on my own. I wandered through the house deep in thought over the situation.

Darkness had descended as I headed toward the bedroom. Changing into a t-shirt and boxer briefs, I climbed into bed with a notebook. The troopers’ attitude niggled at me. I leaned back against the pillows scribbling notes about the package delivery. Words ran across the page as the scene and the trooper came to mind. The trooper’s name wasn’t on his badge, but I remembered the badge number.

The pad propped against my knees, my mind drifted over the parcel and the officer’s attitude. Warm hazel green eyes along with the trooper’s cool manner had drawn my interest. It wasn’t really just his bearing that caught my attention either and it was a struggle to stay focused.

Intense eyes sat above a strong, chiseled nose and firm jaw. I sketched the features onto the pad of paper. His lips weren’t thin, not too wide, but just right for kissing. Wondering what it would be like to taste those lips, I gave myself a mental head slap. A cop is the last thing you want or need, my inner voice echoed. This voice always echoed dire warnings through my head. It had a bad habit of doing so at the worst possible moment. Just stay focused on Livvy, I lectured myself.

Snuggled under the lightweight blanket, thoughts about Livvy and our life played in my mind. Muscles relaxed, and I realized I needed to talk to her tomorrow. The graveyard was about two blocks away from the house. I often went to her grave for a conversation when I’d become involved in one issue or another. That’s what my life consisted of, one issue or another. Most of the time the issues were huge, never mundane, not ever.

I sighed, sniffed the sweet summer scents that wafted through the open window and wondered how this summer in Rhode Island would be. The pillow slipped lower and so did I as my mind wandered over life, the package and my aunt.

.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a humorous, cozy mystery writer, J.M. adds a touch of romance to every story. She believes in fairies, doesn't believe in coincidence, and feels life is what you make it. Believe in yourself and look at the positive, not the negative, to bring about success. AND. . .never stop trying.

J.M. lives in rural New England with her husband and two very mysterious cats



Twitter: @mycozymystery



Buy Link:




Saturday, June 22, 2013

THANKS AND MOVIES WE LOVE

First, thanks to each of you who commented on the Dog Gone Blog Hop for Charity. I have rounded up the donation for Parker Paws. They work diligently to foster cats and dogs and spare them from our local quick-kill shelter.

Last night my husband and I watched "The Pricess Bride" again. This movie is rated one of the top 100 all-time favorites of American movie viewers. Certainly, so many phrases from this movie have entered our vernacular, including "I do not think that means what you think it means,." "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya," and "As you wish." Plus, this movie always leaves me with a smile.


Not all memorable movies leave me smiling. Remember "Sixth Sense?" Wow, was that scary for me. Hero was out of town when Darling Daughter 2 and I saw that movie, so I had to go home to a dark house in our rural area. Now I'm never afraid to be alone, but in this case I dragged her right back to the ticket window and purchased our seats to the next showing of a Steve Martin comedy. But, that was a terrific movie and I hear people mention, "I see dead people" in conversation about something frightening.



"The Wizard of Oz" is a classic movie shown at least once a year on a major network. I do love the story, love Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Ed Wynn, etc. But to me as a small child, that movie was frightening. I was a  puny asthmatic whose strong medicine caused hallucinogenic dreams. For years, I dreamed the wicked witch flew overhead chanting. Instead of "I'll get you yet, Dorothy," she used my name. Yes, I was a wuss. Hey, I was a kid, but I really have to give my parents extra credit for not drowning me or dropping me off at an orphanage.



Do you recall the first time you saw "Star Wars?" That was an amazing experience, wasn't it? I can hardly wait to see the new version that has recently been released. And "Star Trek" falls into this same category. These movies created a new class of fans who became a cult following.



Another favorite is "Charade" starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. My favorite line is "I already have so many friends, I couldn't possibly make another friend until one of them dies." I always wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn, who was a kind as she was beautiful. Unfortunately, I shot up passed her height when I was twelve or thirteen and kept going to five feet eight inches.


Remember when the hero and heroine had to be in the same scene early in the movie? "Sleepless in Seattle" dispelled that rule. The movie is still popular and shown on TV frequently. Tom Hanks still commands huge crowds for any movie in which he stars.

Which brings up "Forrest Gump" and the genius of that movie. How many times do you hear someone say, "Life is like a box of chocolates" or "Run, Forrest, run?"



And I haven't even touched on the movies of John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, and so many of the other great male starts. Or Meryl Streep, Sandara Bullock, Amy Adams, and the great female actresses.

What is your favorite movie? Who are your favorite actors?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DOGGONE BLOG HOP FOR CHARITY


Welcome. This is a small blog hop to raise money for pet charities. For every comment, I will donate $2 to our local rescue group, Parker Paws http://www.parkerpaws.org/. Now, it’s all about our dog.

We adopted our sweet ShihTzu, Webster, from the ShihTzu-Llasa Apso Rescue Society. We don’t know how old Webster is, but the rescue people thought he was about three when we adopted him. He was found at the ER drive of a human hospital, severely wounded from an attack by a large dog. In fact, he was so injured that he was almost put down. That would have been a terrible shame, because he is such a sweet, loving, and obedient little guy.

Webster the Amazing Wonder Dog
When We First Adopted Him

ShihTzus are mostly one-person dogs, although he appears to consider both Hero and me his people. He was supposed to be mine, but he immediately bonded with Hero. I mean, Webster adores the man. (So do I, of course.) Webster also enjoys Darling Daughter 2. She sometimes brings her small dog for play dates with Webster. But Darling Daughter 1 has large dogs, so Webster does not enjoy her visits. He's afraid of large dogs, which, considering the injury that almost cost his life, is understandable.

Webster is happiest when he is in bed with Hero and me so he can snooze between our feet or against one of us. One funny thing he does is talk in his sleep. Yes, he sometimes yips, but he also mutters. His mutterings sound almost like words. It's as if in his sleep, he is having a conversation in human form.  He also makes theses same sounds for Darling Daughter 2 when she pets him, but not for anyone else. 

Webster hates riding in the car, but tolerates it to humor us. Unless there is bad weather, and then I have to hold him. He doesn’t mind storms at home, so it must just be the sound of rain on the metal car that terrifies him. We purchased him a fancy shmancy car dog bed because we thought his dislike of the car might be that he gets car sick. We read that if dogs can see out, they don’t get car sick. Nope, that’s not it. He prefers to ride on the seat if he has to be in the car. But he gives us that "Do I have to?" look.

When we’re at home, Webster barks once if someone comes to the door. If we are traveling, though, he doesn’t bark inside the hotel room. He was very well trained when we adopted him. I’m sure someone was extremely sorry to lose him. He is so friendly, that if a gate was left open, he would just trot off to investigate, so we suspect something like that happened. Who knows? We’re just happy he’s part of our family now.

A few cautionary words to pet owners:
Have your pet chipped.
Don’t your pet them run loose.
Don’t tie or chain a pet in your yard.
Make sure pets are inside in hot or cold weather.
Make sure there is plenty of water and shelter when they are outside.     



Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 17, 2013

FATAL EXPOSURE BY GAIL BARRETT



FATAL EXPOSURE
by Gail Barrett

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Cold-case detective Parker McCall has spent fifteen years trying to solve his brother’s murder.  Now a chance photo of the killer in the newspaper sets him hard on the woman’s trail.  A former teenaged runaway, reclusive, award-winning photojournalist B.K. Elliot chronicles the harsh reality of life on the streets -- until a photo in the paper reveals her identity, blowing the lid off her secret past.  With a powerful murderer now dogging her heels, and her police officer step-father determined to silence her permanently, the last person she can afford to trust is a cop.  So why does sexy police detective Parker McCall tempt her to break her silence and resurrect ideals she’d lost years ago?  As danger closes in, and with more than her own life at stake, Brynn must decide if the duty-bound cop will betray her...or heal her battered heart.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~



EXCERPT:

“All right,” she said. “Undo my hands.”

“You promise to answer my questions?”

“I said I would.”

He tossed her backpack onto the pile of papers and pulled out the handcuff key. He reached for her wrists and unlocked the cuffs, trying to ignore the alluring fragrance of her skin and hair. Then he stepped back, his impatience mounting as he waited for her to do her part.

But she took her time, righting the chair, taking off her peacoat and draping it over her bag. At last she turned to face him, and for the first time, he got a close look at her in the light. She was even more attractive than he’d expected with her wary green eyes and delicately winged brows, that long tumble of auburn hair. Her mouth was evocative and full, her high, sculpted cheekbones tinged with pink. A smattering of freckles dusted her small nose.

He raked his gaze down the rest of her—over her small, high breasts and slender waist, slim hips clad in low-slung jeans—and his heart began to thud. She looked amazingly like the computerized image, but softer, far sexier. More vulnerable.

Vulnerable? He stifled a snort. He wouldn’t make that mistake again.

He returned his gaze to hers. And without warning, a sense of awareness arrowed between them, a deep tug of sexual attraction that caught him unprepared. His belly went taut, a rush of adrenaline accelerating his pulse.

He bit back hard on a curse. Wrong time. Wrong place. Definitely the wrong woman, considering she was a potential suspect in his brother’s death. And her reaction didn’t help—her eyes going wide and dark, her breath catching on a quiet gasp, impacting him even more.

“I need a drink,” she muttered, spinning around.

That made two of them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Gail Barrett, Author


A former RITA® and Daphne finalist, Gail Barrett has received the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, The National Readers’ Choice Award, and numerous other awards.  She lives with her husband in Western Maryland.  Readers can contact her through her website: www.gailbarrett.com.


Links to buy the book:

Barnes and Noble paperback and Nook:

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, June 14, 2013

REVIEW OF OUT OF THE DARK

OUT OF THE DARK, by Geri Foster, is a fast paced, sexy, action adventure, romantic suspense available in print or e-book.  From the first page, readers are riveted to the story and can’t stop reading until the last sentence. I enthusiastically give it 5 of 5 stars!

To prove how much I love this book, I'll be giving away an OUT OF THE DARK e-book to someone who comments on this post.



Emily Richards is a mediation attorney who at times works for Falcon Securities. Her current assignment for Stromberg Chemicals has taken her to Moscow, and exhausting negotiations have just ended. Emily looks forward to returning home and a vacation at a peaceful Belize beach with her best friend, Brenda.

While in Moscow, Emily has tested an invention for her former fiancĂ©, Stanley. The device is a camera built into a contact lens remotely controlled by a pen-like device. Her last night in Moscow, she strolls around and takes random photos in various light to complete Stanley’s test.

When Emily returns to her hotel room, John “Mac” McKinsey is there. His mission for Falcon Securities has gone wrong and he is stranded while assassins search for him. Against her better judgment, Emily is persuaded by the head of Falcon Securities to let Mac hitch a ride to London on the Stromberg Chemicals private plane. After all, since Falcon Securities works directly for the President of the United States, so who is she to fight that connection?

Emily fights her attraction to Mac. She’s worked with him before at Falcon's Dallas, Texas corporate office, but always he’d been in a suit and tie. Now he’s in jeans and a tee shirt and looks even more ruggedly handsome. 

Mac notices that Emily no longer wears an engagement ring and figures any guy who let her get away is too dumb to live. Mac's interested, but she fits in the house-with-a-picket-fence-and-kids. He doesn't see himself in that picture. 

There’s a lot of chemistry going on between them, but neither sees it going anywhere permanent.

Before they can leave, armed men invade her hotel room. Mac shoots the men and hurries Emily down the staircase and out. Emily is forced to depend on Mac to escape whoever is trailing them. Each time Emily thinks they are finally safe, another frightening incident occurs. Her anger with Mac for entangling her in a life or death struggle quickly turns to fear when the men pursuing them call her by name. How would they know who she is?

Mac and Emily are caught in a tumultuous race to escape with their lives and capture a crazed bomber and a vindictive drug lord. Facing their attraction is almost as frightening as the villains. Mac can’t conceive of any other life than his, and he knows love never lasts. Emily wants a calm, normal life with a husband who comes home each evening and is with her all weekend, not someone who risks his life on each assignment.

But living apart offers no peace. Can they tear down their own emotional walls and admit love is the most precious thing in life?

I have to admit up front that Geri Foster is a long time friend and one of my three wonderful critique partners. That’s why I am so pleased her first two books are released and have been so well received. Geri is a terrific author who is also a supportive and encouraging friend. But here’s the point of this disclaimer: Even if I’d never met or heard of Geri Foster, I would still love OUT OF THE DARK.

As one of Geri’s critique partners, I know the struggles she endured writing a book that is so fast-paced it leaves the reader breathless yet immensely satisfied with the action, the romance, the relationship, and the outcome. Once she latched on to this plot, she did not back away. Even when the FBI came to her home to ask why she had been researching “how to make a bomb” and “White House floor plan” at the same time.

I’m so happy with this Falcon series. In addition to OUT OF THE DARK, OUT OF THE SHADOWS is now available. These truly are stand alone and don't need to be read in any particular order. Geri plans more stand-alone books in her Falcon Securities series next year, and I can hardly wait for each one. 

You can find OUT OF THE DARK here:





 Geri Foster

Award winning author Geri Foster and her husband and their dog Lola live in the Fort Worth area. Geri is President of the Yellow Rose chapter of Romance Writers of America and active in Dallas Area Romance Authors. For more information, check out her website at www.gerifoster.com, Facebook and Twitter, and her personal blog. She blogs on the 20th of each month at http://www.smartgirlsreadromance.blogspot.com

If you want to be included in the drawing for a free e-copy of OUT OF THE DARK, please leave your email with your comment.

Thanks for stopping by!