Sylvie’s Salvation excerpt

Sylvie Roses promo

 

Feeling like a fool, Noah sat at the bar and held his still half-full, single beer. He wondered if he should concede defeat and throw in the towel. He’d never been stood up before. Granted, he wasn’t a dating machine like Holloway, but he’d had a fair share without a single one ghosting him.

There was a chance she was the type to be habitually late. Some people were. It wasn’t one of his favorite traits, but it wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker, either.

Willie, the bar’s owner and drink slinger, thunked a bottle on the bar’s opposite end, Noah spared him a glance then watched as Willie made his way toward him. The man wiped the battered surface of the old bar with a ragged towel along the way, his motions easy with familiarity. Noah lifted his bottle when Willie approached, so the barkeep could continue his path with the towel. Instead, Willie stopped mid-swipe. “What’s got you so down? Something wrong with your beer?”

Noah rubbed a finger over the label, the texture cool and a bit wet under his touch. “Beer’s fine.” He hadn’t even tasted it, really. “I think I’ve been stood up, Will.”

The bartender flipped the towel over his shoulder then scratched his gray beard. “Stood up? By who?”

“Your waitress, Sylvie. The pretty one with bright eyes and great smile. She’s got short dark hair, light brown eyes with flecks of gray…”

Willie’s eyes crinkled, his dull gray irises getting lost in mounds of wrinkles. “You have a date with Sylvie? Bout damn time the girl went out with a real man. That last one of hers, he was a piece of work. She almost married the sumbitch.” The old man visibly shuddered. “He had this fake smile and shiny shoes.” Willie’s tone made it sound as if wearing nice clothes was the equivalent of kicking puppies.

Noah was starting to think she hadn’t been as interested in their date as he’d hoped. When he’d stared into those deep, milk chocolate irises, he’d thought she’d felt the same pull of attraction he did. Her breath caught, in what he thought was the good way.

Maybe he’d misread her signals, like Holloway suggested. At least none of his friends could see his misery.

He set down his beer and shook his head. “Looks like I had a date with her. She’s almost twenty minutes late. Oh, well. Maybe she still has a thing for Mr. Shiny Shoes.” He pulled out his wallet, resigned to her not showing up.

Willie looked genuinely surprised. “Nah. That was almost a year ago, right before she started working here. Even though she never said anything outright, I think he gave her some trouble. The one time I mentioned him I thought she was going to hit me over the head with her tray. Never saw that gal so angry, even when she was little.”

Noah sat in silence as he processed Willie’s words. Seemingly baffled, the old man continued. “She’s never late. Sylvie is one of those annoying types, always ten minutes early for everything. Too damn responsible, if you ask me.” He pulled his rag down and clenched it in his fist as he frowned. “Hmm. Maybe she got cold feet or somethin’?”

“How well do you know Sylvie? Do you think something could be wrong?” Even as he said the words, the hair at the back of Noah’s neck stood up on end. His instincts clamored to life, and he trusted his gut.

Willie seemed to weigh his words carefully. Noah didn’t miss the omission as he skipped over the first question. “Nah. She’s probably just tired. She’s been working an awful lot lately. She’d work every damn day, if I let her. She even offered to work off the clock, for tips only, if I couldn’t afford the overtime. Probably she’s just bone tired. Sorry about your luck, man.”

Noah didn’t like the way the old barkeep’s eyes shifted away, and the feeling in his gut hadn’t abated. “Willie, seriously, how well do you know Sylvie? What’s going on?”

“Nothing. Besides, I don’t know her all that well. Swear. I got a policy to uphold, you know.”

When his eyes slid away again, Noah lost his patience. “I just want to make sure she’s okay, especially if this isn’t normal for her. Tell me her last name.”

The barkeep grumbled then used his washcloth and wiped circles in the same spot. “You really don’t know it? You were goin’ on a date with her and you didn’t even know her whole name?”

Noah set his nearly full beer on the bar with a loud smack and stood. “Your noisy bar isn’t exactly conducive to meaningful conversation. Her full name, Willie.”

“I don’t like people asking about my waitresses. I gotta protect their privacy and all.”

Flat out of patience, the niggling in his gut worsening by the minute, Noah slapped a twenty on the bar to cover his single beer. “I don’t want to argue about a policy that you’ve probably scribbled on an old napkin. Give me her name or I’ll call the sheriff to discuss the ‘shine you’re selling out of the backroom.”

Willie’s creased face went pale. “Shit. You’re playin’ hardball.

“Yup. I swear, I only want to make sure she’s safe.”

Willie’s shoulders slumped, and he braced both hands on the bar. “She’s my late sister-in-law’s girl, Sylvia Grace Smith.”

Noah turned his back on Willie. He stormed out to his truck, thinking he should go home and forget Sylvie. It might be the first time he’d been stood up, but it was her prerogative to decide not to come once she’d agreed. He knew that logically.

Still, even if there could be a reasonable explanation why she hadn’t shown up, his gut instincts railed at him to get moving.

Something was wrong.

Over the past few months, trouble hounded a few of his friends something fierce. He didn’t begrudge them the help he’d given one little bit, but he wasn’t ready to sign on for more. He wanted a date—not a new tangle of danger and intrigue, not more problems.

No. No way. He would go home, find a game on TV, and forget this terrible idea.

His hands acted of their own volition. He picked up his phone and sent a quick text. Hopefully Pete was busy helping his wife with their two young daughters, bath or story time probably. He wouldn’t get an answer until morning and, by then, it would be too late to act.

Need an address for Sylvia Grace Smith. He set his phone in the cupholder and turned the ignition. The engine had barely grumbled to life before his phone chimed. The hair on the back of his neck stood a little straighter.

With a sinking feeling in his gut, he picked up the phone and read the message.

Only an address? Child’s play, big man. Just finished something for the boss. Gimme a sec.

Urgent, anxious dread tightened Noah’s muscles. It had to be a result of his frustration over getting stood up. Nothing was wrong.

Yet, years ago, when he’d been stationed in Afghanistan, he’d learned to trust his gut. In the war-torn desert, anything less equaled suicide.

Willie’s words replayed in his head. She’s never late. Sylvie is one of those annoying types, always ten minutes early for everything.

His phone dinged with a new message. 3467 State Route 713.

He knew the road well, but not the actual house number. He typed it into his GPS app then backed out of his parking spot. A quick drive by, nothing more. In thirty-minutes, he’d be at home watching that game he’d promised himself.

Amazon                           iBooks                        Nook                          Kobo

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I use affiliate links for purchases originating from the Amazon links on this site. Thank you for your support. (There is no extra charge for you, my readers. It’s just a referral incentive program. Thank you!)

Sylvie’s Salvation release

Sylvies33p

It’s here! Or at least the official release date is! (It’s only 3 days away, lol)

February 14th is the release date. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that I struggled with this book, though after some reflection, I’m certain my struggle resulted from daily life and family issues, not the story. I’ve fought hard to get myself feeling better and my family (especially my husband! ❤ ) are pitching in more.

LOOOoooong story short. I finally got the book finished and it’s been through multiple rounds of edits. The file has been uploaded to the major ebook retailers and should drop at midnight on Feb 14th.

I can NOT tell you how much I appreciate everyone’s patience! Here’s a quick excerpt to tide you over until the 14th.

Excerpt~~

But when a silken, honey and whiskey-drenched voice spoke behind him, his hand froze even as his blood began to simmer. The sultry sound went straight to his groin. “Here you go.”

Shit. Down, boy! It was not the time or the place for his body to react in such a primal way. He turned, knowing who to expect. Sylvie. The problem? He’d completely underestimated the blow she’d land to his senses when they met face to face.

And he’d expected a Mack truck.

Short black hair, cut in a sexy, flirty style, fell just below her ears. Creamy skin covered delicious curves—just the right size for a man with big hands to hold onto. Full, petal pink lips smiled shyly up at him, and he forgot his name as thoughts of tasting them took over his mind. Those eyes? Big, bright, expressive. He’d never seen anything like them. Light brown irises, flecked with gray and rimmed with a dark chocolate border, they seemed to see straight into his soul.

What does she see, when she looks at me?

“Here’s your order.” Her voice, with its silken grip on his throat, spoke again. He swallowed hard, but she rewarded him with another lovely smile. After a moment, the happy expression dimmed. She tilted her head as if not sure what to think about him.

Damn it. He’d never had a way with words, and he was making a fool of himself.

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid. “Appreciate it, but I didn’t order anything.”

She held her tray higher, unconsciously placing the bottle of beer right in line with her breasts. She wore a simple black blouse that should have been decent, boring, but she’d tied the tails at her waist. With the top three buttons undone, the shirt revealed a hint of mouthwatering cleavage. A delicate silver chain suspended a moon shaped pendent just above the valley.

“Isn’t this what you drink?” When she spoke again, he moved his gaze back to her face, thankful her voice had broken his thrall. “Your friend ordered it, said you were thirsty.”

Forced to look down again, he saw that it was indeed his brand. “It is. Thank you.” He pulled money out of his pocket to pay her.

“Oh, it’s covered. Don’t worry about it.”

“Well, here. A tip, then.” He handed her the first bill that he found, a twenty.

She started to object, but before she could tell him no, he gently cut her off. “Take it. It’s a rough crowd. I’m sure you’ve more than earned it.”

Something like sadness flickered in her pretty eyes, making his throat clinch. Then she squared her shoulders. “Thank you.” She took the bill and put it in her apron pocket before giving him another shy smile. This twitch of her sexy lips hit him below the belt harder than his cleavage peeping had. Without another word, she turned and walked across the greasy, peanut shell and bottlecap littered floor.

Once he lost sight of her delectable, denim covered ass as it swayed through the other people at the bar, he found Holloway watching him. His friend leaned against the bar between two, mismatched and battered stools and stared, his eyebrows arched high. His mouth moved at ninety miles an hour, as Holloway silently called him every dirty name in the book. Noah ignored all of it except the last four words. Ask her out, dumbass.

 

Amazon                           iBooks                        Nook                          Kobo

Unearth update…

Azrael’s Light and Sunlight’s Kiss are in process of being pulled from ebook retailers. Very soon I’ll republish them under my imprint, Words by Night. They’ll get new covers (already in the works) and pricing that I feel is more appropriate for their word count.

Print copies already distributed to retailers can’t be pulled. I have no control over their  pricing for Siren copies already in their inventory. But I will also do a print re-issue as well. I am tentatively planning on continuing the series and combining three stories into one print anthology ( as well as the seperate ebook editions.) As much as I love those characters and that world, I can pretty much guarantee that I will return there to write more Unearth stories.

But at this moment in time, Dark Horse has to be my focus. I’m behind and HATE feeling like I’ve let anyone down. And I know how hungry readers are for stories about characters they love.  I have made significant progress on Noah’s story AND made cutbacks in both my schedule and my daughter’s. I think we were both trying so hard to do ALL the good things for her – dyslexia tutoring, music lessons and a myriad other things that we wore ourselves down to the point where we nearly canceled out any progress we were making.

As badly as I feel about that part, I reassure myself that we spent over a year trying, and trying damn hard to get my little dyslexic conundrum the help she needs. But we have lives to live too. Sooooo, I don’t know. Clearly we need to find a better balance.

Thank you for your patience. It truly means the world to me.

 

Edited to add! Because I’m a big dork!  Dillon’s Gift! Same situation! It’s already been pulled, will get a facelift and reissue. So bear with me and as I get the new covers I’ll update with new links, prices and all the things!

 

Cover reveal! Finally!

Sylvies33p

*happy sigh*

I’ve looked at it countless times and couldn’t be happier with it. It fits Noah and Sylvie’s story so very well.

Pre-order links coming soon! For real! And again thank you so much for your patience. Between work, my daughter’s stint in the hospital, my fatigue, and a dozen other headaches I’m behind. (I know, unfortunately, that you’re not surprised.) I’m still peck-peck-pecking away, a little at a time. Most days I feel like an ant constructing a mountain, one piece of dirt at a time. I keep telling myself that in just few years, when my daughter is grown, I’ll miss these times, but, ugh, it’s hard to balance it all now.

*hugs* Love you all!

Things!

Yay! Believe it or not, I have things to announce. Good things!

1- Appearance – I’ll be signing at Lori Foster’s Annual Reader Author Get Together this coming Friday, June 8th in West Chester, OH. While I will be attending the entire weekend, I will be officially signing at the Friday Book Fair from 3-5pm which is open to the public. I will have plenty of print books and a few T-shirts available for sale with me as well.

2 – COVER REVEAL! – I have in my possession the cover for the fourth Dark Horse book, titled Sylvie’s Salvation. If you want to be among the first to see it, please make sure you’ve subscribed to my newsletter. I’ll send the newsletter out Friday morning with the first official reveal and will also have it with me at Lori Foster’s RAGT. Monday, I will share the cover here and everywhere else that I can possibly remember to post it.

3 – Pre-order links! They are coming, hopefully in time for the cover reveal. If not then, definitely ASAP and soon.

SylviesSalvation-pre-cover reveal

4 – Last and most importantly! Your patience. I cannot express how much I appreciate and value your patience. No bullsh*t, this past year has been rough on me personally, but I’m still pushing forward. So I need to send out a big thank you hug to those of you who haven’t given up on me. Truly.

Ouch, have I fallen behind!

No excuses. I’m running behind. Again. Go figure. I’ll keep the groveling short this time around. Too many balls in the air and not enough hands. Truly and I’m sorry.

I AM working on the fourth Dark Horse book and making progress. I’m trying to fight off some fatigue issues, but it is coming. I still have an entirely new series idea that won’t leave me alone and it’s in the works too. BUT Noah and Dark Horse are absolutely my priority.

I’m scaling back my travel and convention attendance this year. As much as I enjoy signings, they do take up a good bit of time. Like I said, I love them, but feel that time would be better spent behind the keyboard.

That being said, I do have one more appearance (that I booked last year) coming up on the 24th of February at the Behind the Mask Author Event. It’s in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel. If you’re in the area please feel free to stop by and say hi!

Thank you for your patience! *hugs*

 

Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt

 
Hey gang!
 
I know this time of year is crazy-busy for everyone but when you get a moment, you should put your feet up and take a breather. While you’re at it, take a moment to go to Night Owl Reviews and check out the Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt. I’m one of the sponsors and this year’s event is packed full of goodies and new reads.
 
The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card.
 
 
Event Dates: Nov 20 – Dec 13
Winter2017Reader