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.

The Pit & the Passion

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Tall Cool Ranger: Dear Philomena Meets Aidan


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




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.




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?

 
Chincoteague Main Street
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….



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, June 19, 2018

The Penhallow Train Incident Audiobook is Available for Review This Week



A drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and a mysterious ring—a famous writer & ace reporter unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.

My mystery romance set in Maine The Penhallow Train Incident is now available in Audio format! If you act now, you get it free with a 30-day Audible.com trial (cancel anytime)! That’s a $19.99 value! Check it out here:


AND the week of June 19, the Penhallow Train Incident will be available on Audiobookboom for reviews. Here’s the link:


It will instruct you how to request a review copy at no cost to you! Get them while they last. Have fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Lapses of Memory and the Agony of Choices


The Dilemma: Why does it take some people SO long to figure out what they want?

Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser when she is five and he is seven. They run into each other every few years after that, but while he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese civil war. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret.

Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but this time, in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?

From Rochelle Weber, who gave Lapses of Memory five stars: “it…kept me on the edge of my seat, burning pages wanting to know how it turned out. How would Sydney and Elian finally get together? Who would Olivia choose?

In Lapses of Memory, both mother and daughter are faced with the question of who they love. In this first excerpt, Sydney is “too misty and too much in love” to know what will come of it.


She stopped his meandering with her lips. His arms went tentatively around her. For a minute they floated in a cocoon of mist, the voices and music fading into the background. She drowned in a mixture of new feelings and old memories, of hope and despair, of the past and the possibility, hitherto unanticipated, of a future.”

In the second excerpt, Olivia—Sydney’s daughter—is positively, absolutely, dead sure she’s making the right decision…Maybe.



Sydney waited until she heard the door slam and sprinted to the drawing room. Taking a wary look around, she slipped the notebook out of what Olivia mistakenly believed to be a hiding place. Ha. She turned to the last page and read.
She got in the cab. “I’ll write when I get home.”
He nodded. “Sure.”
She blew him a kiss. He caught it and blew it back. She gazed into his eyes, his English eyes, cold as the whiskey and warm as the dew. They shimmered. He waved but turned away before she could lift an unsteady hand.
She gave her instructions to the driver. No point in looking back. She looked. Nothing but the back of his head, cocoa brown waves of hair, thinning slightly. Moving away.
It was over.
Sydney closed the notebook and put it away. Over? Except that, unless I fix this, every night in the shower for the next twenty years, she’ll think of him.


Wild Rose Press, 3/15/2017, Imprint: Champagne Rose
Contemporary romantic suspense/Action Adventure; M/F; 2 flames
Ebook (70,560); Print: 296 pp.



Buy Links:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Penhallow Train Incident is Now in Audio!

A drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and a mysterious ring—a famous writer & ace reporter unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.

My mystery romance set in Maine The Penhallow Train Incident is now available in Audio format! If you act now, you get it free with a 30-day Audible.com trial (cancel anytime)! That’s a $19.99 value! Check it out here:




https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Penhallow-Train-Incident-Audiobook/B07DK1LLFJ

Mary Stewart & Me! Blogging at Moonlight & Mystery



Drop by the beautiful site Moonlight and Mystery, where I'm talking about one of my favorite childhood authors, Mary Stewart.

Mary Stewart


Monday, June 4, 2018

Beyond the Moon Chapter 4--Moonlight and Mystery Virtual Mystery


Come by Moonlight and Mystery for the latest installment of our Virtual Mystery—Beyond the Moon. It’s a time-travel, romantic mystery. Today, Chapter 4 is up, with lots of clues and teasers. Please drop by today and every Monday for new chapters.

http://www.moonlightandmystery.com/moonlight-virtual-mystery/beyond-the-moon/

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Coming Soon: Flotsam & Jetsam--the Amelia Island Affair

Canopy road Amelia Island
Keep an eye out in the coming months for updates on the progress of my new novel, Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair. Set on Amelia Island, one of the Atlantic sea islands, it features romance, mystery, history, and murder. Here’s a bit about the story.



Amelia Island


Who's littering the park with corpses? State Park Rangers Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone are used to dealing with messy campers and ravaging raccoons, but when three bodies wash up on the beach, they mobilize all their powers of deduction. Who are they and how did they get to the shore of Amelia Island? Are they connected to the secretive League of the Green Cross? Or linked to a mysterious Jamaican drug ring?

Ellie, new to Amelia Island, must penetrate a close-knit community if she wants to find answers to the mystery, and at the same time decide between two rivals for her affection: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm.

Meanwhile, Simon will have to call upon not only his academic expertise to solve the case, but also on his not-so-well-honed skills as a Don Juan to pry Ellie from Thad.

Fort Clinch
Check here for updates!