The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

I'm on Author Bytes Today with Secrets

Alicia Dean--that amazing writer & blogger--has a new feature called Author Bytes on Facebook and guess who is interviewed today! Yes! Me!  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAliciaDean/posts/852745784907220

I'm talking about Lapses of Memory, my globe-trotting romantic suspense. 


I'm also talking about my favorite books, favorite movie line, ideal last meal, and a tidbit about an adventure I've only told a few people about. This is a hint:


Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAliciaDean/posts/852745784907220

Be sure to leave a comment or like!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine FIFTY PERCENT off at Smashwords

December 25 through December 31, Smashwords is offering my four I Heart books—Mai Tais and Mayhem, A Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma, Dear Philomena: Love, Lust & Murder on Chincoteague Island, and Triptych—for FIFTY PERCENT OFF! Get all four today!


Today I’d like to talk about my murder mystery romance, Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine.

When Tessa Diamond rescued a baby pufferfish from a hungry gull, her good deed led her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages, confronting murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.

***
Tessa Diamond, the heroine of Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine, works with the annual sea turtle nesting survey along with a motley assortment of volunteers. There are in fact several volunteer groups that patrol the 770 miles of coastline during the nesting season. Five of the seven sea turtle species live in Florida waters: the loggerhead, the leatherback, the green, the Kemp’s ridley, and the hawksbill. This year Mote Marine logged a record number of nests on Longboat Key.

Tessa is checking on a leatherback named Fred who is being rehabilitated at Mote, when she makes a grisly discovery.

Excerpt (G): The Body

The alarm woke her at seven. Tessa threw on the Mote polo shirt and black golf skort she’d laid out the night before, grabbed the bagel and can of V8 she’d left on the counter, and shot down Gulf of Mexico Drive as the sun came up. The road for once was deserted, and she could revel in the breeze blowing her long hair over her shoulders and the scent of frangipani in the air. The soft gray sky held only a hint of the deep blue to come later, and the gulf lay becalmed by the evaporating night. She sang a country song as she drove. In her bones she knew this would be a glorious day, the first in a long time where she felt free of any guilt or sadness. If only she could whistle. If only I could carry a tune.
She parked in the aquarium lot and walked across to the Goldstein Center. Pulling out the key Pilchard had given her, she let herself in by the ticket booth. Pale, blurry light seeped in through the plastic sheeted tanks to her right. She went up the stairs and around the gift shop to the dolphin pool, rattling doors as she went. All was quiet and locked. A snort came from the pool. One of the dolphins raised his head and peered at her before diving back down.
Looks okay here. She checked her watch. Eight-twenty. The support staff should be arriving soon to open the gift shop and ticket counter. She walked back down the stairs. The turtle tanks lay to her right—two large shallow pools that at present held four sea turtles, one leatherback—Fred—two green turtles, and a loggerhead. She leaned over Fred’s tank. “Fred,” she called, “how are you? Feeling better?”
A black mass floated at the other end of the pool. Oh dear, I hope he’s not still sick. Worried, she skirted the other tank and ducked under the gate. The mass didn’t move. “Fred?” She reached out a hand to touch his shell and instead encountered something soft and mushy. “Fred?”
At that moment the overhead light flashed on. She swung around. From the hall came the voice of Henry Stillwater, the coordinator of the dolphin training program. “Who’s there?”
“It’s Tessa. Tessa Diamond. I’m the volunteer. I was checking on Fred, but something’s wrong.”
“What?”
Tessa turned around to look into the pool again and screamed.

I Heart Publishing, 12/7/2015
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames, Mystery
eBook 68,840 words; print 208 pp.

Get Your Copy at Smashwords during their Christmas Sale for 50% off.
Buy Link:


Buy Link for A Widow’s Walk: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/638502
Buy Link for Dear Philomena: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/584372


All four books are also available in both eBook and Print-on-Demand at Amazon, Itunes, Barnes & Noble.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dear Philomena--Chincoteague Suspense--Fifty Percent Off at Smashwords

December 25 through December 31, Smashwords is offering my four I Heart books—Mai Tais and Mayhem, A Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma, Dear Philomena: Love, Lust & Murder on Chincoteague Island, and Triptych—for FIFTY PERCENT OFF! Get all four today!


Chincoteague is one of a pair of barrier islands off the coast of Virginia.  Its eastern sister, Assateague, is the actual home of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and of the ponies made famous in Marguerite Henry’s children’s books (remember Misty of Chincoteague?).

Chincoteague has a long, colorful history. First settled possibly by freed slaves in the seventeenth century, it was noted for its antipathy to the heavy hand of government. It was the only town in Virginia to support the Union in the Civil War. Given a glorious cornucopia of waterfowl and deer, many locals were disinclined to follow the strict regulations on hunting and fishing. Thus, when Dagne is shot at on the refuge, citizens, rangers and even the police were less than concerned.  As you’ll find out in Dear Philomena, they were wrong.


Blurb:

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice columnist, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague would extinguish any feelings she had left for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that in her first week on the island she’s entangled in a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, disrupting her new romance with Aidan Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  As if that weren’t enough, Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.

Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or risk falling back into the arms of the man who broke her heart?

I Heart Book Publishing, October 12, 2015
eBook, 72,000 words, Print 209 pp
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Mystery Romance
M/F, 3 flames

Excerpt (G): The Sniper

The afternoon sun beat down. Before long, perspiration dripped unpleasantly down her back and her neck began to burn. She reached a curve in the loop where a service road angled off. The cool shade of the evergreen alley beckoned, and she opened the gate and went through. Gravel popped beneath her sneakers and yellow-rumped warblers skipped from branch to branch, moving just ahead of her. She swung along, loving the feel of stretching her muscles, thinking of nothing.
At the end of the pines, the landscape opened out. Ponds choked with cordgrass lay on either side of the road, flanked by dunes on her right and scrub forest on her left. Ducks crowded the shallow water—mergansers, American wigeons, gadwalls. She stopped to watch a pair of diminutive black and white buffleheads putter around at the water’s edge. A cloud passed overhead, blotting out the sun. When it moved on, the light had changed to the desperate gold of a late afternoon teetering on the threshold of twilight. Time to go.
As she stood in the path, not yet willing to give up her afternoon off, she heard a loud crack. Woodpecker? Another bang rent the air, but this time the noise sounded much closer. Oh my God, that’s a rifle. Someone’s hunting out here! A surge of impractical outrage washed over Dagne. How dare they? This is a refuge for God’s sake! Nonetheless, prudence suggested she turn back.
She began with a walk, but some primitive instinct told her to accelerate. Directly over her head something zinged and a chunk of bark plopped at her feet. Her trot turned into a canter. Another shot hit the road, spraying pebbles into the air. They can’t be shooting at me. Can they? What should I do? Duck? Throw myself on the ground? Run into the trees? Instead, like some hapless cartoon character racing down the tracks ahead of the train, she ran straight down the road. By the time she reached the loop, her lungs were clawing for air. Stabbing pains scraped her chest and side. She’d heard no more shots, and after a few minutes’ rest, walked as fast as she could back to the parking lot, slowing every few steps to take a quick check of her surroundings.
She jumped into the car, locked the doors, and roared out onto the park road. At the Chamber of Commerce circle she slowed down, which gave her time to notice that the gas gauge read empty. She pulled into Ivan’s service station, Ivan II. She’d met the owner—a Belarusan native who had defected in the fifties—when he fixed a flat tire for her some years before. Despite his penchant for naming every store he owned after himself, she knew him to be a warm and generous man. He stopped polishing his vintage Morgan and came over. “Dagne, you’re shaking like a leaf! What’s wrong?”
It came pouring out. “Ivan, someone shot at me!”
Instead of reacting with shock, he chuckled, and wiped his hands on a towel. “Well, Milaya—I mean—my dear. It is hunting season. What were you doing—flitting around, doe-like?”
“No! I was on the wildlife loop!”
Hmm. Last I checked hunting is illegal on the refuge. Now poaching…”
“It’s not funny, Ivan. I heard three—no, four—shots! Someone was trying to kill me.”
“Now, now, Dagne, calm down. Tell me, where on the loop did this happen?”
She took a deep breath. “Well, I’d actually gone up the service road—as far as the Farm Fields impoundment. You know, beyond the pine woods?”
He nodded. “That explains it.” He removed the gasoline cap and inserted the nozzle. “I think they allow hunting up there on certain days. Did you see a sign?”
“No.”
“Well, check at the visitor’s center. If it’s not an authorized hunting day, you most likely ran into a poacher. The ranger should be informed.”
Dagne wasn’t about to go back to the refuge alone, but another idea had  insinuated itself while Ivan talked. She paid, headed down to Main Street, and parked next to Lance’s car behind the decoy shop. As she passed it, the sun glinted on something in the rear seat. She peered in. A rifle. The back door opened. “Dagne? What are you doing here?”
Did his voice sound odd? Did she hear a hint of menace in his tone? Lance sidled up to her. “Everything okay?”
“Sure…sure.” Should she run? No, that would be absurd. This is Lance after all.
Lance looked into his car and back at her. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Dagne. Does the itty bitty gun scare you? I haven’t had a chance to tell you—Dwayne Oates is giving me shooting lessons.” He struck what he evidently thought was a manly pose. “You don’t think the hairy-chested outdoorsy image suits me?”
The laugh bubbled up before she could stop it. “No, Lance, I’m sorry,” she spluttered. Then the thought of her recent adventure sobered her. “Lance, someone shot at me. On the refuge.”
Today? Are you all right? Did you see them? Where? Oh…on the loop?” His concern certainly seemed genuine. He stopped. “No wonder you looked so frightened when you saw the rifle.”
She could only nod mutely.
Lance took her arm and led her into the store. He sat her down and bustled around making coffee. When she had the mug in her hand, he leaned against the counter, arms crossed. “Okay, tell me everything. But first, have you been to the police?”
“No, not yet. I wanted to talk to you first.”
“Why? Oh, in case I’d seen anyone on my way out. Hmm. I’ll think about it, but I don’t think so. At least no one passed me coming into the refuge, but the perpetrator could’ve come from anywhere, you know—even by boat. Look, Dagne, I think you should tell the police. No, no, don’t argue. I’ll go with you.”
“Okay.” It comforted her to have someone else take charge, even if he didn’t exactly fit the superhero model.
They walked across to the police station. Sergeant Akers stood at the desk. “Hey, Miss Lonegan. Mr. Forrester.” The sergeant eyed him with some trepidation. Lance winked at Dagne and whispered, “Wait’ll he gets a load of the new huntin’ and fishin’ me.”
Dagne ignored him. “Sergeant, is Detective Andrews here?”
“No, Miss. He’s up in Salisbury. Can I help?”
Dagne stifled the urge to keep her news for Jack. Anyway, Lance wouldn’t let her. “Sergeant, Dagne’s been shot at.”
What?
Lance nudged her. “Tell him. You have to make a report, even if the detective isn’t here to take it.”
The policeman pulled out a form and a pen. “Okay, give me the details.”
Dagne described the incident. He wrote it all down carefully, then put the clipboard down. “The shots could’ve come from off the refuge.”
“That’s what Ivan thought.”
“Or we could have ourselves a poacher. Duck season’s started and hunting is permitted up the service road a couple of days a week. He probably thought he could get away with it. He wouldn’t expect anyone to be walking up at that end of the refuge this time of year.”
Dagne caught Lance nodding in agreement. Sigh. No sense in beating a dead horse. “If you think so. What happens now?”
“Oh, we’ll let the Fish and Wildlife folks know. It’s their jurisdiction.”

Get Your Copy at Smashwords during their Christmas Sale for 50% off.

Buy Link for Dear Philomena: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/584372

Buy Link for A Widow’s Walk: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/638502
Buy Link for Mai Tais & Mayhem: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/598865


All four books are also available in both eBook and Print-on-Demand at Amazon, Itunes, Barnes & Noble.


Monday, December 25, 2017

A Widow's Walk: Fifty Percent Off This Christmas Week at Smashwords

December 25 through December 31, Smashwords is offering my four I Heart books—Mai Tais and Mayhem, A Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma, Dear Philomena: Love, Lust & Murder on Chincoteague Island, and Triptych—for FIFTY PERCENT OFF! Get all four today!



Blurb:

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?

Excerpt (PG): Fireworks

The sky was still that queerish gray of autumn in the high north, but they could see clouds racing across it, forming castles or pretending to be mountains, alternately obscuring and liberating the moon. At the pier they piled into a van and headed toward the noise.
Franz called from the front of the bus, “Rockwood is actually quite small. The population waxes and wanes with the seasons, but there are never more than a thousand people in residence now that the timber industry has bypassed us.”
Sarah craned her neck out the window. “It looks as though the entire village is outside tonight.”
Holden pointed at the British, Canadian, and American flags flying from every lamp post. “Guy Fawkes Day is Rockwood’s favorite holiday.”
Franz laughed. “Probably because three-quarters of its citizens hail from across the border.”
Ivy pointed at a fat man dressed as Uncle Sam. “They don’t seem too picky about historical consistency.”
Leo nodded. “At any rate, they sure go all out.”
As Franz let them off and went to park the van, a band marched past, playing Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. The crowd cheered. Al hacked and spat tobacco juice. “Do they all have to be so…patriotic?” He managed to make it sound pornographic. No one answered him.
Nathan and Bunny began to dance to the music. “It must be wonderful to be so in love,” sighed Sarah.
Catherine didn’t think so. Of course, she’d only been in love once, and the romance hadn’t lasted much past their wedding day. A month or so after the honeymoon, Jonathan began to withdraw from her. Catherine had no idea why. Over time he became more and more aloof. His behavior made Catherine so nervous she found herself blurting out inappropriate comments just to get a reaction from him. To her distress, his responses fell just short of hostile. Catherine’s sister Jane speculated that he was insecure about his new job. Her father thought he must be preoccupied with his research. Her best friend Evangeline averred he was gay and wouldn’t admit it. Whatever the reason, as the months went by, Jonathan turned increasingly inward, shutting her out. Catherine was distraught, then angry, then sad. Then he disappeared.
The music stopped, and the fireworks began with a vengeance.
Franz appeared. “Sorry folks, we forgot to pack the folding chairs. You’ll have to stand.”
“That’s okay!” Sarah spread her legs and tilted her head back.
Leo and Ivy crossed the street. “We can lean against that wall.”
Nathan and Bunny sat down on the curb. Catherine joined them. Rocket after rocket boomed, battering them with sound and light. At last the grand finale began—shower after shower of red, purple, and silver tendrils. She stood up and craned her neck. As the brilliant fountains shot higher, she leaned a little farther back. All of a sudden she began to fall backward, but before she could hit the ground, two strong hands gripped her shoulders, steadying her. She turned and found herself in Holden’s arms. He gazed at her, the gold sparkles of the cascading fireworks reflected in his eyes. Quickly, he bent down and brushed her lips with his, and just as quickly released her.
Catherine stood gaping at him, her mouth tingling. What was that all about? At that instant, the sky went dark. With a collective sigh the crowd began to disperse. She stood alone as people pushed past her.
Holden’s deep voice cut through the hubbub. “Mount Kineo Resort, over here.” She roused herself into motion and followed him to the van. On the return trip, the only sounds were those of Nathan and Bunny surreptitiously spooning in the rear seat, and stifled yawns from everyone else. As they limped off to bed, Catherine heard the professor ask Holden about Seboomook. She strained to hear his reply, but missed it. Please God, let’s go tomorrow. She needed to refocus on what she was here for, not on two gold-flecked brown eyes and a pair of full, sensitive lips.

I Heart Book Publishing, June 6, 2016
Ebook: words; Print: 227 p.
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames

Get Your Copy at Smashwords during their Christmas Sale for 50% off.

Buy Link for A Widow’s Walk:

Buy Link for Triptych:
Buy Link for Mai Tais & Mayhem: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/598865
Buy Link for Dear Philomena: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/584372



All four books are also available in both eBook and Print-on-Demand at Amazon, Itunes, Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Triptych--Love in Threes--50% Off This Week at Smashwords


December 25 through December 31, Smashwords is offering my four I Heart books—Mai Tais and Mayhem, A Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma, Dear Philomena: Love, Lust & Murder on Chincoteague Island, and Triptych—for FIFTY PERCENT OFF! Get all four today!


In my romantic suspense novel, Triptych, my heroine Miranda wrestles with the question of true love. She also wrestles with recalcitrant sisters, mysterious machines and art thieves.

What is true love? Can unrequited love be true love? Must true love be reciprocal? Can true love be bad for you?  Can unrequited love be good for you? If loving someone makes you sad all the time, is it still love? If someone loves you and you don’t love them as much, is it still true love? Does true love have to last forever?  Can you find true love more than once?  What exactly does “true” mean?  Honest? Everlasting? Exclusive?

In my new romantic suspense, Triptych, Miranda Cabot finds out.


Take lost masterpieces, brilliant inventors, and stolen prototypes. Add the Three Sisters, Indian spirits who guard the Potomac River. Stir in three sisters and their lovers. Result? Jealousy, sex, genius, larceny and love. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend demands?

Excerpt (G): We meet the Sisters
Sybil dropped a pebble and listened to its clicks and clacks as it hit every crag and spur on the way down to the water. It took a long time, for she stood very high above the river. She waited, hand to ear, to catch the tinny, far-away splash, then gently tossed another pebble over the cliff.
“Sybil! Where are you?”
The girl turned swiftly, her simple white shift catching on the bark of an ancient elm tree. She pulled at it impatiently, tearing a bit of the delicate lace from the sleeve. “Here I am, Miranda! By the sun house!” She flew up the path.
A woman of about thirty-five, beautiful but stone-faced, waited on a flagstone patio wreathed in a thickly branched wisteria. To her right a large flower garden ambled down to a grassy verge. Behind her loomed a vast, Queen Anne-style mansion complete with tower. She crooked a finger at the girl. “Sybil, Honor needs you. She has to measure the hem.”
“I’m coming. It’s almost finished then?”
The woman began to smile, but then her thin lips tightened as though she’d caught herself just in time. The glow of the afternoon sun backlit a rivulet of well-worn grief seeping from the closed face. “Of course it is, Sybil. You need it for the tea dance tomorrow, don’t you? Honor has been working on it day and night.” A soft chestnut curl escaped from her severe French twist to graze the heart-shaped mouth. She raised a thin, ring-less hand and plucked the strands from her lips. “Do hurry in and help her.” As Sybil ran eagerly past her, she blinked a tear away.
Miranda gazed out over the cliff and down to the river. Directly below her, three small rock formations, known as the Three Sisters, reared out of the water like iceberg babies. When she was young, she loved to observe the intercourse of river and rocks from high atop her hill. In the spring the Potomac River, heavy with silt, rushed headlong past, shooting plumes of whitecaps up and over them. In the summer, the calm water filled with boats—canoes, punts, motorboats. A few months later, when the oaks and hickories turned the cliffs into a mass of scarlet and gold, the water would thin to a gentle trickle, and people forgot how strong the currents could surge, and grow unwary.
She shaded her eyes and looked north, where the steep canyons of Great Falls split the folded metagraywacke rock, the river slicing through it as easily as if it were paper. The Three Sisters marked the upper limit of the Potomac’s navigable waters. There, at a dangerous part of a dangerous river, Miranda and her sisters had helplessly watched many a hiker or kayaker flounder in the treacherous channels between Great Falls National Park and Teddy Roosevelt Island.
She no longer came out to watch the boaters, not after seeing Edward die when he crashed his Donzi 38 ZR on the rocks. He and the woman he left her for. The nightmare still haunted her though. In the dream she waited, hidden in the summer house on the edge of the cliff, as the sleek, sexy, Italian-made speed boat slammed into the half-submerged Sisters in the middle of the river. Alone in the dark she relived the sight of the flames as they shot up almost high enough to singe her bare toes. She heard again Wanda’s Banshee shriek as she died in agony. Her husband never appeared in the dream. True to form, Edward had disintegrated in the maelstrom, leaving nothing behind to remember or bury, not even a belt buckle.

Triptych, by M. S. Spencer
Ebook 67,300 words; Print 213 pp.
Romantic suspense/Adventure
M/F, 2 flames

Get Your Copy at Smashwords during their Christmas Sale for 50% off.
Buy Link:

Buy Link for A Widow’s Walk: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/638502
Buy Link for Mai Tais & Mayhem: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/598865
Buy Link for Dear Philomena: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/584372


All four books are also available in both eBook and Print-on-Demand at Amazon, Itunes, Barnes & Noble

Christmas Sale at Smashwords--All My I Heart Books 50% Off!

Christmas Sale at Smashwords—All Four Books 50% Off!

Head over to Smashwords for a great Christmas sale. It runs from Christmas Day, December 25, through January 1.  All four of my I Heart books will be available at FIFTY PERCENT OFF! That’s right, HALF off.

Here they are:

Blurb:
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?

I Heart Book Publishing, June 2016
Ebook: 71,500 words; Print:  227 pp.
Contemporary Romantic Suspense, M/F, 2 flames

Buy Link:




Blurb:
Dagne Lonegan’s advice column begins to mirror her life when a murder is committed her first week on Chincoteague Island.  When the killers try to frighten her off, she must decide who to trust: Tom, the handsome Refuge Manager, or Jack, the lover she wants to forget.


I Heart Book Publishing, October 12, 2015
eBook, 72,000 words, Print, 209 pp.
Contemporary Romantic Suspense, M/F, 3 flames

Trailer: embed:





Blurb:
Take lost masterpieces, brilliant inventors, and stolen prototypes. Add the Three Sisters, Indian spirits who guard the Potomac River. Stir in three sisters and their lovers. Result? Jealousy, sex, genius, larceny and love. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend demands?

I Heart Publishing, Nov. 10, 2015
Ebook 67,300 words; Print 213 pp.
Romantic suspense/Adventure
M/F, 2 flames



Blurb:
When Tessa Diamond rescued a baby pufferfish from a hungry gull, her good deed led her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages, confronting murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and sturgeon, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.


I Heart Publishing, December, 2015
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames, Mystery


Friday, December 15, 2017

A Tall Cool Stranger: Dagne Meets Aidan in Dear Philomena

Something crashed in the woods.  Was it a deer?  Or something more dangerous? Dagne didn’t care; she just kept running…




Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice columnist, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague would extinguish any feelings she had left for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that in her first week on the island she’s entangled in a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, disrupting her new romance with Aidan Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  As if that weren’t enough, Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.

Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or risk falling back into the arms of the man who broke her heart?


Chincteague National Wildlife Refuge

My family has been going to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands since my children were little, often twice, in the spring for the mating birds, and in the fall for the migrating snow geese. A barrier island situated east of coastal Virginia, it has everything: a lovely beach, a wonderful wildlife refuge, ponies, marshes, a lighthouse, and most alluring of all, oysters.  Dagne, like me, scarfs them up at every opportunity during her year on the island. Luckily, her new beau, Refuge Manager Aidan Ellis, is happy to treat her to them.



Excerpt (G): A Tall, Cool Ranger


As she leapt out of bed, someone knocked at the front door. She checked the clock. Eight. A bit early. Maybe it was the milkman. She clucked at her little joke, but took a moment to smooth her hair and flip off her fuzzy slippers. Halfway down the stairs, she peered through the glass door to see a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette. Someone new? And handsome too! Panting only slightly, she tripped on the last step and almost fell flat. Sucking in a couple of ragged breaths, she called, “Who is it?”
“Miss Lonegan? It’s Aidan Ellis. I’m the Chincoteague Refuge Manager. I apologize for the early hour, but I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.”
Questions? Dagne zipped into the kitchen and turned the burner off before opening the door. A tall, remarkably good-looking man in the tan uniform of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stood on the mat. His dark brown eyes flecked with cream reminded her of the Sika elk that roamed Assateague. The flat-rimmed ranger hat obscured his hair but his tanned face sported a bit of five o’clock shadow, which only served to highlight the straight Roman nose. He smiled a dazzling smile, and stuck his hand out. “Miss Lonegan?”
“Yes?”
“May I come in?” Dagne realized she was still holding his hand and gazing hungrily into those chocolate eyes. She shook her head to clear it.
“Of course, of course.” She led the way into the living room and indicated one of the easy chairs patterned in blue ponies. She sat down on the sleep sofa, only to spring up to clear the coffee table of half-filled take-out boxes and bits of underwear, her face burning. The ranger sat quietly, hat in hand, while she bustled about trying not to stare at his large, strong hands. A full head of rich brown hair too—is there anything that isn’t gorgeous about him? “Sorry. I’ve just moved in and I haven’t had time to organize, or even grocery shop.”
“I understand. Cora Anne said you’re staying for a year?”
Chincoteague sure was a small town. “Yes. I’m trying to write a novel.”
“That’s wonderful.” He didn’t seem surprised at the news. The pause lengthened. Dagne finally settled down on the sofa. “Well…Mr. Ellis, is it? What can I do for you?” How about a big, wet one?
“Miss Lonegan, as I mentioned, I supervise the wildlife refuge. I don’t know whether you’ve heard, but there’s been a murder.”
Dagne took a moment to pull her jaw back up and her eyes back in. “A what?”
“A murder. We found the body Saturday morning. On the refuge.”
“No, I had no idea. I haven’t talked to anyone yet today.” Wait a minute. When was I trapped on the Woodland Trail? “Saturday? The day before yesterday?”
“Yes.” He studied her, his eyes sharp. “I heard you were there on Friday afternoon. I mean, on the refuge. Nick, one of our volunteers, said he talked to you.”
Dagne tried to think. “Yes, that’s right. I stopped in at the visitor center just at closing around four. I’d seen a fawn with a broken leg on the Swan Cove trail the day before and wanted to let them know.”
“And where did you go after that?”
“I decided to walk the Woodland Trail.”
He sat forward eagerly. “You did? Did you see anyone else on the path?”
“There were a few people, yes, but they passed me early on. I was alone for most of the hike.”
“Did you see anyone in the parking lot?”
“No. No one. By the time I got back to my car everyone had gone.”
“What made you decide to go so late in the day?”
This was beginning to sound like an interrogation. His intensity made her nervous. “I…I didn’t really think about the time. I’d been working and thought I’d take a break and get some exercise. To tell the truth, I’d forgotten how long the trail was. When the sun went down the place spooked me a bit and I ran most of the way back.”
Hmm.” He sat back. A couple of minutes ticked by. He seemed lost in a reverie.
“Mr. Ellis? Who was murdered?”
“What? Oh, please, call me Aidan. A local girl, name of Terri Aster. She’d been missing for three days. We assumed she had run away, but then Park Service maintenance reported an…odor. Police dogs found her.”
“Oh dear. And do you know who killed her?” Now that’s a stupid question. Why would he be here if they’d already caught the murderer?
“No, ma’am. We’re just following up leads, looking for possible witnesses. That sort of thing.” He looked grim.
“I see…Aidan. And you can call me Dagne.” God, he’s cute. Did I just simper?
“Dagne. Nice name.” He smiled, and a tingling sensation trickled up her back. “Anyway, we don’t have much to go on yet. We’re questioning anyone who visited the refuge on Friday or early Saturday.”
Curiosity trumping prudence, Dagne ventured, “So, how was she killed?”
Aidan stopped smiling. “I’m afraid it would be inappropriate to give out details at this stage.” He stood. “Here’s my card. Since we found the body on federal property I’ll be in charge of the investigation. If you think of anything else that might be of interest don’t hesitate to give me a call. For example, if you saw or heard anything unusual.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to make a flirtatious reply, but she bit it instead. Talk about inappropriate timing! But he was so gorgeous, so polite, so different from Jack. Maybe, just maybe….

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge


I Heart Book Publishing, October 12, 2015
eBook, 72,000 words, Print 209 pp
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Mystery Romance
M/F, 3 flames

Buy Links:


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Winner! Katie O'Sullivan, Come on Down!




We have a winner! Katie O'Sullivan, you have won a copy of Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders. The story does take place at Christmas--featuring a picture book town in the snow, crazy characters,  spicy romance, needlepoint stockings...and murder. 

Please let me know if you wish a pdf, or mobi or epub format. Enjoy the story and have a happy Christmas!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mary Morgan's A Highland Moon Enchantment is Here

Welcome Mary Morgan and her latest installment in the series Order of the Dragon Knights, A Highland Moon Enchantment.



Blurb:
You first meet warrior hero in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3

Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.

Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow. 

When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?

A Highland Moon Enchantment
The Wild Rose Press, November 17, 2017
Genres: Historical, Medieval, Scottish, Paranormal, Romance, Holiday
Length: Novella


Excerpt (PG): The Moonlight Kiss

His mind screamed to stay rooted in his chair, but his body betrayed him. Standing, he reached for her hand. “I will escort ye to your chamber.”

She eyed him with curiosity and stood. “Nae. Take me to the north wall. I hear the view of the loch is one that steals the breath from your lungs.”

“Done.” When her fingers slipped into his, Desmond fought the urge to crush her to his chest.
Placing her soft hand in the crook of his arm, he led her quickly out of the hall and up the stairs. Bending to the left, he took her along a corridor and up a narrow circular pathway. The torches flickered as he approached the door leading to the north wall.

A cold draft blew by them, and she shivered. Instantly, regret filled him realizing he had not considered to bring a cloak for her.

Desmond paused by the door. “Ye should not venture out into the biting cold without a cloak.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I simply wish to capture a quick look, not spend the night sleeping out there.”

Shaking his head, he pushed open the massive oak door. Brittle air slapped at his face while they made their way up along the wall.
  
“’Tis cold,” she muttered, but chuckled softly and hugged his arm. “But ye are
warm.”

“We shall not tarry long,” he assured her and placed a warm hand over hers.

“Oh, sweet Goddess. Look at the moon, Desmond. Her light shimmers over the water. I have now witnessed the charm of the loch in sunlight and moonlight. Though our rivers are stunning on their own, they cannae rival this view. As I have told ye, our island is shrouded in mists, so ye cannae see verra far out into the sea.”

Desmond’s focus was not on the moon, but the beauty standing beside him. To take what he dared not possess. He marveled at her delight of the striking scene.

Ailsa turned toward him. “Thank ye, Desmond, truly.”

Her nearness was overpowering, seducing him in a way he had never known. Desmond cupped her chin. Her eyes widened, and her lips parted in invitation. Moonlight and lust danced within her eyes. No longer did he battle with his mind and body, and he slowly lowered his head.

And under the silent whisper of a full moon, Desmond captured her soft lips within his own. He could taste her sweetness mixed with the wine, and desire shot through his veins. His hands shook as he placed them securely on her waist. As he deepened the kiss, she placed her hands around his neck. Desmond groaned, crushing her body against him.

Buy Links:

Mary Morgan
About the Author
Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
 
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Social Media Links:




ORDER OF THE DRAGON KNIGHTS

Dare to journey with the Dragon Knights of Scotland!

They were an ancient order descended from the great Tuatha De Danann, a tribe from the Goddess Danu. Half human and half fae, each blessed with mystical powers. They were also given holy relics and guardianship over the dragons.

With the dawn of Christianity, the dragons were systematically hunted down and slain leaving only one. The Dragon Knights took her from Ireland to a land across the sea, settling in the Great Glen near Urquhart. The clan was known as the MacKay clan, descendants from the MacAoidh.

Yet, there were those who deemed the Order had too much power, and they tried to possess it for themselves. They were evil and twisted, and their plan succeeded one fateful night. A battle was fought and their sister was killed.

The Clan Mackay is no longer.

The Dragon Knights scattered across the land.

Yet out of the darkness, they will each fight for redemption.