Flotsam & Jetsam

What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be. He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune. Flotsam & Jetsam

The dashing Frenchman or the handsome handyman? Who will she choose? For the Love of a Spy

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wild Rose Holiday Cookbook Available NOW for FREE

Boys and girls, cats and kittens, and all of you who are old enough to wield a pot in the kitchen, head to The Wild Rose Press TODAY to get a FREE copy of the 2016 Holiday Garden Gourmet cookbook brought to you by the authors of the Wild Rose Press. This year we are featuring COMFORT FOODS for those long, warm nights before the fire, a mug in your hand and a hand in your other hand. This fantastic cookbook features two of my family recipes--Swedish Coffeebread (from my Swedish mother-in-law), a warm, cardamom-scented, buttery, braided bread, which my children insist on me making every Christmas--although last year my daughter decided to make it herself. We all had a good laugh. It's not as hard to make as the detailed instructions may appear!

The second recipe is for Zucchini 15th Street, a delicious concoction of zucchini and feta cheese that goes well with absolutely anything.

Download yours now here:

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sex on the Stones-Triptych is at Dawn's Reading Nook Today

Do drop by Dawn’s Reading Nook today for a spicy excerpt from my romantic suspense Triptych
Sex on the Stones

. Three women, three men, three spirits guarding a dangerous river. Legend, history and romance intertwine in a triptych of suspense.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Breakup: Is There Hope for Claire and Gideon?

Who to trust? The policeman, the handsome Senator, or the secret agent? Claire must decide and soon, before the murderer strikes again.

Claire Wilding is a newly minted docent for the George Washington National Masonic Memorial and a recent widow. On her first day she meets the handsome, if mysterious Gideon Bliss, newly minted U. S. Senator. They do not hit it off.

Thrown together due to the unexpected appearance of a corpse in the Memorial, any possibility of romance is thwarted by assorted villains and intrusive friends and relatives.

The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)
Wild Rose Press, May 6,2016 (Crimson Rose imprint)
Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Romantic suspense
ebook 79,000 words; print 322 pp.
M/F;  3 flames

In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she'll fall in love with him only to learn he's a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.

Gideon's car, a McLaren

This excerpt indicates how close to hopeless seems their future.

Excerpt (PG): The Breakup
She heard not a peep from Gideon for the next three days, a welcome respite because it gave her time to think. The meddling of the mothers aside, the issue lay between Dorcas and Gideon. It didn’t matter that Dorcas had left Gideon—Claire still felt like the other woman, and it didn’t sit well with her Southern upbringing. Another skirmish with Wonder Woman would be the death of her. By the time Gideon called, she’d made up her mind. “Hi, sorry I haven’t been in touch. I—”
“I understand. You’re dealing with…family matters.”
“No,” he said slowly. “Actually, the Senate will be back from recess this week. They had a pro forma session Friday and being the lowest life form on the seniority pole, I had to preside.” He paused. “I sent the papers to Dorcas. She hasn’t responded.”
Claire didn’t want to get sucked into the soap opera. Bite the bullet. Take the bull by the horns. The horns of a dilemma? No, that’s not right. Take my medicine—take his medicine. Oh dear, I wish I were better at these idioms. “Gideon, I…I think you should clear this matter up before we see each other again.”
The phone went dead. Hmm, he took that surprisingly well. She resisted the urge to cry and went into the kitchen. When she came out carrying a glass filled with ice and a bottle of vodka, she found Gideon sitting on the packing crate. His eyebrows bristled. Claire didn’t think she’d ever seen eyebrows actually bristle. It made him look like an angry centipede.
“Claire, you can’t dump me over the phone. I forbid it.”
She poured a large tot into her glass. “I see.”
He stood and paced, not an easy thing to do in a room the size of a refrigerator box. Watching him, it occurred to Claire that she should decorate her house in the Shaker style—have all the furniture hang on pegs, up and out of the way of large trampling feet. She forced herself to focus on the words spilling out of the side of his mouth. “I never hid my predicament from you. It’s unfair to let me fall head over heels for you and then suddenly go all ethical on me.” He stopped and peered down at her. His face drooped. “Claire, I need you to help me through this.”
Her heart tried to claw its way out of her body and rush to him. She deliberately folded her arms across her chest. To muster her resolve, she pictured herself burning at the stake, the crowd chanting, “The other woman must die.” When she finally spoke, her tone was hard. “You’re a grown man, Gideon Bliss. You have to clean up your own messes. I begin to wonder if your mother may have spoiled you just a teensy bit.”
His cheekbones went rigid and his eyes narrowed, firing bullets of angry red light at her. “That was unnecessary, Claire. And unjust. But you’re right—this is my mess.” And with that he twirled, bumped his shin hard on the hall stool, and charged out the front door, leaving it open. That went even better than the phone call. This time she did not resist the urge, and burst into tears.
Claire's house
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Love Lost and Found in the Wilds of Maine

Deep in the North Woods a woman sits before a fire, dreaming of her lost husband and determined to find him. Behind her stands a man, tall, dark, and gruff, who loves her. Which man will win her?

Catherine Killean is a woman on a mission. When her new husband disappears, leaving a suicide note, she is determined to find out why. She follows his tracks first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to Maine. Along the way, she meets the tall, dark, gruff Holden Taggart, a Maine guide.

In her doubt and loneliness she is drawn to Holden, leaving her confused and adrift. What will happen when her questions about Jonathan are finally answered? Will old loyalty or new love triumph?

Today we find Catherine and Holden in their first embrace following a close encounter with a bear.

Black bears are the most common bear in North America. They are quite small, averaging four to five feet long and about 250 pounds. They usually subsist on berries, roots, grasses, and insects, with an occasional fish. They are not normally aggressive, although when harassed by a human female such as Catherine and kept from their favorite dish—ripe raspberries—they can become quite grumpy.

Good thing Holden was nearby to console Catherine after her fright.

Excerpt (R): Panic Turns to Desire

Another wave of panic washed over her. Holden started to rise but she held him closer. “Not yet. Don’t go yet. Just give me a minute.”
Holden clucked his tongue. “You’ll be fine. I promise.”
Catherine tried unsuccessfully to loosen her grip. Holden got one arm free but used it to stroke her hair. “Really, you’re perfectly safe now.” He brushed his lips against her forehead. Then he lifted her chin. He looked at her, concerned. Suddenly, he bent and kissed her lightly. “Are you okay?”
She raised her face to his. Her heart constricted. He really is handsome, isn’t he? Especially when that bad-tempered scowl softens. Before she could say anything, he kissed her again, this time a little harder. In her shaky state, it felt comforting. She kissed him back. An instant later, their arms were wrapped around each other and Holden’s tongue had slipped between her teeth to explore the inside of her mouth. She dropped back onto the bed. He followed her, bracing himself above her, his kisses now passionate. When they broke apart, they were both panting. A split second of decision, then his fingers went to the hem of her nightgown and lifted. Catherine gazed into his eyes, willing him to continue.
He fumbled at the buttons on the nightgown. Finally, in frustration, he took hold of the collar, tore it in two and threw the pieces on the floor. She lay back on the blanket, her long hair spread out on the pillow, drained of all rational thought, watching and waiting. The moon bathed her body with a misty light. Holden unzipped his jeans and let them drop. He was naked underneath and she thought fleetingly that he must have thrown them on when she screamed. That means he sleeps in the nude. She smiled at the thought, but he gave her no more time for reflection.
He fell on her, the length of his body pressed to hers, his arousal obvious. He kissed her hungrily, and then brushed his lips down her neck, continuing down to the right breast. She arched her back to bring her nipple closer. Her chest heaved beneath his mouth. He moved to the left breast and began to suckle. She gasped, the sensation too pleasurable for words. He lifted his head, as though praying that the sound didn’t mean she wanted him to stop. Instead, her arms went round his neck and her legs around his back, pulling him closer. He had no choice but to enter her. He didn’t hesitate. She was wet and ready for him. It didn’t take much, she thought. Then she stopped thinking.
Like an escalator—one which changed direction every few seconds—they went up, up, up, then down and down. They began to move faster and faster. Now they were both steaming uphill, but instead of flying off at the top of the stair, they met and came together. Catherine let out a mewling sound like a baby eagle and went rigid in midair. Holden held her up, ignoring the laws of gravity for just long enough to reach the moment of pure ecstasy. Then they plummeted. Quiet. Peace. Comfort.
It could not last.
Catherine’s eyes flew open. “What did we just do?” she whispered.
If Holden was wondering the same thing, he didn’t let on. “Do?”
“I mean…I mean…” She trailed off.
Holden gave her one more deep kiss before pushing himself off. He shook his head. “I don’t know, Mrs. Killean. It just happened. Sometimes it does. You were scared, you needed comfort. That’s all. Forget about it.” He looked out the window. She looked over his shoulder at the sky. The moon had gone down. It must be near dawn. He turned to her. “The bear is gone. I’ll take my leave as well.”
Catherine was so thunderstruck she couldn’t think of anything to say. Lost in wonder at what had just happened, she didn’t even hear him pull on his pants and leave, closing the door softly behind him. Just before she fell asleep, she whispered into the night, “Catherine…call me Catherine.”

A Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma
I Heart Book Publishing, June 6, 2016
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames
Ebook: words; Print: 227 p.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tristram and Milo Meet--Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders

Murders,  mistrust, misfits, and miscreants—needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can Tristram Brodie prove to her that love conquers all?

It’s just before Christmas, and Milo Everhart has two needlepoint stockings, a cross-stitch purse, and three canvases to finish for her clients. Waiting out the rain in a pub, she is captivated by the handsome man next to her, but blocking the road to romance are two mysterious corpses who turn up in the tower of her Torpedo Factory Art Center. As if that weren’t enough, a second crisis erupts—a proposal to gut her beloved Art Center. 

Tristram Brodie, hard-driving corporate lawyer and former Marine, is focused on his plan to convert the Torpedo Factory into a box store. He is drawn to the beautiful woman sitting next to him, but their mutual attraction will be frustrated by both the murders and his intentions. As they edge closer to love, they must find a way to overcome both their differences and the still-fresh memory of her late husband. 

Wild Rose Press, 7/20/2016; Imprint Crimson Rose 
Theme(s): Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Contemporary romantic Suspense, M/F, 2 flames
Ebook, 66,830 words; Print 268 p.
Old Town Alexandria
My latest release takes place in Old Town Alexandria, an historic cobblestoned city on the Potomac River. It follows the adventures of several artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a hulking warehouse of a place on the waterfront. An old munitions factory, it lay abandoned after World War II until the 1970s, when an intrepid band of biddies got the City of Alexandria to lease it to them for an art center. Today it houses 82 studios, the Art League, the Friends of the Torpedo Factory, and an Archaeology center.

Old Town is now a vibrant hub for restaurants and the arts. Galleries—including the Torpedo Factory—abound. Milo and Tristram meet by chance in one of the more frequented Irish pubs, O’Connell’s.

Excerpt (PG) First Meeting

The bartender backed out past the man, who made no move to get out of his way. Milo frowned. The fellow appeared oblivious to the fact that his position inconvenienced everyone. At first she had assumed he was waiting out the rain, but his body language spelled expectant. Every minute or so, he would poke his head out and look up and down King Street. For lack of anything more exciting to do, she fell to observing him. The top of his head brushed the doorjamb, making him about six feet three inches. His bulk didn’t jibe with his height, though. She guessed him to weigh in at maybe one hundred seventy-five pounds stripped. He was undeniably her type—lean, trim, tall, clean-shaven—none of that painted-on, five-o’clock shadow male celebrities sported nowadays. And old enough, for once. Maybe forty? She could only see his profile at the moment, which revealed thick black hair curling over his ears, slices of silver gray relieving the dark waves at the temple, a straight nose, moderately rosy—from drink or the cold?and a forceful chin. Without warning he pivoted, and Milo caught the full impact of a deeply masculine face right in the kisser. Whew. Even with the Armani suit, definitely not gay.
He tapped the toe of a highly polished Gucci loafer with impatience and pulled out a pocket watch. By this time, Milo had dropped all pretence and openly scrutinized the man. He thrust the watch back in his pocket with a scowl and spun around toward the bar, almost colliding with Tony. He took Milo’s glass from the startled bartender. “Thanks, just what the doctor ordered.”
Milo lifted a finger in protest. Tony looked at her, and the man followed his gaze. Eyebrows raised in surprise, he held up the whiskey. “Er, I take it this isn’t for me?”
She tried to come up with a flip response, but his rich baritone rattled her.
Tony stepped between them. “Yes, sir, that drink belongs to the lady. May I get you something?”
The man didn’t answer. He stared at Milo more or less the way she was staring at him. Flustered, she plopped back down on the narrow bench, barely avoiding an embarrassing slide to the floor. He continued to stare. She resisted the impulse to pat her short fawn-colored ringlets, which always appeared tousled no matter what she did, and blinked. He blinked back.
Finally she blurted out, “Would you care to join me?”
He shook his head as though to clear his mind. “Forgive me—I’ve never seen such lovely eyes…I mean, eyes that color…I mean…sorry. What would you call them? Mahogany? Bronze?” His admiring gaze did wonders for Milo’s mood, which took a decided uptick.
“I just call them brown. But thank you.”
“I’m sorry about purloining your drink. May I buy you a freshener in restitution?”
“I guess so. Er…did you want to sit down?”
“I’d better not. I’m waiting for someone.”
“Oh.” His plight, though not unexpected, depressed her. Of course Armani man had a date. He probably always has a date, even during Lent.
Tony brought another glass. The man paid him, then hesitated as though reconsidering. “You know, she is awfully late. Since you’re right in the window seat with a commanding view of the entrance, may I be allowed to change my mind and sit here until she arrives?”
Ulp. “Not at all.” Good—got that out without stuttering.
“Thanks.” He pulled a low barrel stool next to the bench and clinked her glass. “Cheers.”
They sipped their whiskies in companionable silence while the rain pummeled both the sidewalk and the pedestrians with barely concealed antagonism.
After a few minutes, Milo decided her heart had settled down sufficiently to ensure a quaver-free sentence. “I’m Milo Everhart.” And I’m Gorgeous George. You don’t mind if I seduce you, do you? No, wait—he didn’t say that. I did. Hopefully in my head. “Um, I didn’t catch your name?”
“Tristram Brodie. Pleased to meet you.”
Torpedo Factory Art Center

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