I can’t start things off without thanking Delilah for this opportunity. For a debut author, getting to guest blog on a well-known, established author’s blog is a BIG deal. So, HUGE thank you!
I’m a little nervous, to be honest. I spent more than a few days trying to come up with something to blog about. I finally asked another author what I should talk about and she said share what people are saying about your book. Well, you can go read the reviews for yourself, so I won’t rehash that, but one of the things that keeps coming up in reviews is the relationship between my heroine Bree and her best friend Denise. So I’m going let you in on some of the inspiration that drove Bree and Denise.
Bree and Denise met in Iraq while deployed…just like me and my best friend — we’ll call her Sue (no, that’s not close to her name). Sue is badass. Seriously. If Special Forces had been open to women when she was younger, she’d have kicked all their asses. There is a lot of Sue in Denise. We were trailer mates for more than six months. We saw each other at our best and our worst and we came out the other side stronger for it.
She is my heterosexual life mate (kudos if you get the Jay and Silent Bob reference). We’ve already planned it out — when I retire, I’m going to build a house on part of her five acres and we’re going to raise our kids village style.
Bree and Denise’s friendship is as important to the story in Stitched Up Heart as the relationship between Bree and the hero, Jase. So with that, here’s one of my favorite scenes between Bree and Denise:
“Uh huh. You’ve got it bad, sister. I’ve never seen you like this. Not even when we got tasked to that SEAL team for two months in Jalabad.”
Bree stared off into space. “Mmm…that was good times.”
“My point is you’re completely distracted by Jase.”
“I know.” Bree folded her arms on the stall door and rested her chin on them. “He’s only been gone a few days. It’s ridiculous. I feel ridiculous and I don’t know what to do. I’m being all… what’s the word for it?”
“Girly!” Bree snapped her fingers and pointed at Denise like she had just solved the world’s energy crisis. “How do I quit being all girly and emotional?”
“Don’t look at me. I haven’t done girly since I went through puberty. I’m void of emotions.”
“You do emotions,” Bree said.
Denise lifted the latch on the half door and entered the stall. The dog’s tail thumped on the ground as Denise knelt next to her head. “I do some emotions, none of which are girly emotions. My emotions usually involve fireballs and razing insurgent strongholds to the ground.” Denise pat the dog on the head and checked the water and food bowls.
Bree quirked her mouth. “Valid point. Either way, I need to figure out how to quit doing them.”
“Why?” Denise asked.
“Why?” She opened the door for Denise. “Because I don’t want to be girly. I don’t want to moon over some guy and lose who I am in the process.”
“Who says you have to lose yourself?” She swung the door closed and checked the latch. “Why can’t you figure out a way to be who you are and still fall in love with Jase?”
“Um, first, no one said anything about being in love.”
Denise gave her that look again.
“Fuck.” Bree drew the word out as she groaned. She hated it when Denise called her on her bullshit. It was easy to avoid the truth without her around. “I can’t. It’s way too soon.”
“Not according to Gran it’s not,” Denise pointed out.
“Okay, Gran lived a fairy tale. We know that’s not how life really works.”
“Says everyone except Gran. Hell, even Elsa said you can’t fall in love with someone you just met.”
“You’re referencing animated characters again.”
“Hello? Fairy tale?”
“Whatever. You love my face.”
“At the moment, I want to high-five your face,” Denise told her.
I hope you read Stitched Up Heart and at some point call your best friend and say, “Listen to this, it’s so us!”
Thank you for having me!
Stitched Up Heart
As an Air Force medic, Bree Marks saw the worst the War on Terror had to dish out. Now a physical therapist, she uses her experience to help other veterans heal from their physical wounds; while she battles her own emotional damage.
Blaming himself for his best friend’s suicide, former Army Ranger Jase Larken, retreated from life. To honor his best friend’s memory and assuage his guilt, he started an outdoor adventure company to help veterans with PTSD.
Bree had better things to do than catch her cheating fiance in bed with another woman. Jase is something better – for a night at least. For the first time in years, Jase wanted more. When he finds her again, he doesn’t give her another chance to run.
Jase’s protectiveness grates on Bree’s independent nature. She’s dealt with her fair share of alpha-male, door kickers and doesn’t need one telling her what to do now. But as a new danger emerges, Bree and Jase must face their pasts, before someone’s obsession with Bree destroys any chance they have of a future.
Just letting you know about a new-old release that’s out tonight! This is a story that appeared in a now defunct publisher’s anthology several years ago. And the story exists in the same universe as Warlord’s Destiny. It’s been reedited, spruced up, and is now ready for prime time…if prime time censors allowed alien naughtiness…
Close Encounter of the Carnal Kind
Etienne Lambert, a Cajun ex-soldier fresh from the horrors of the war in Iraq, discovers that he’s an alien when an alien woman arrives at his door to take him home. When he resists, she kidnaps him. He soon learns he is the last potent male in the royal line of their planets, and it’s his duty to return to sire the next generation of the ruling caste.
Marika is a fightership commander who has succeeded where all the mages, seers, and trackers have failed. She has found her planets’ last hope for salvation! When the future king demands that he start work immediately on the primary mandate of his rule—to sire children—she can’t refuse his command.
Etienne leaned forward, cuddling his beer between his hands, letting the silence wrap around his jangled nerves. Here in the swamp, in a hunting cabin filled with happy memories, he hoped to finally shrug off his soul-deep sadness. He loved his brother and family, but he didn’t want to invite them into the dark place he’d been forced inside ever since Tekrit.
Arnaud had left half an hour before, frustrated and hurt. Etienne knew it, but couldn’t reach out to his brother, not yet. Maybe a few more days of staring out at the green, wet world around him would drown the memories of the sun-baked dirt that drank his buddies’ blood like a thirsty sponge.
He needed time to fit back into his old life. He snorted at that thought—like he’d ever really fit in to begin with. Taller by a foot than his brothers and pale-skinned to their olive, he’d often wondered if he hadn’t been traded in the bassinet at birth. And he’d never been satisfied with what life offered him in the bayou—which was why he’d enlisted in the first place.
A twig snapped nearby, and Etienne froze. As if he’d never left Iraq, time slowed, and in one long moment he realized the crickets had stopped their raucous chirping, and the owls no longer called to one another—he had a visitor.
Etienne eased from his chair, ignored the cane, and slid into his cabin. The gun, already loaded with shot to pepper any reporter’s ass, stood next to the door. He reached for it.
Footsteps crunched closer then climbed the wooden steps just as he swung back around with the shotgun cradled in his arms and stepped forward to block his doorway. But the woman who strode toward him wasn’t like any reporter he’d ever seen. She was easily the most beautiful woman he’d ever encountered.
Her smile was tentative as she stopped directly in front of him. Her gaze widened as she stared upward for one long moment. Then she drew in a deep breath, lowered her gaze, and knelt at his feet, pressing her forehead against his thigh.
Etienne felt a frown furrow his forehead, wondering what the hell was going on. He tried to nudge her away, but she grasped his calf and clung, speaking softly, the words guttural and lilting at the same time. Definitely not English. Not like anything he’d ever heard in his travels.
When she rose, her eyes glittered with moisture, which she quickly blinked away. This time the smile she flashed was joyous.
Etienne’s suspicions roused, and he glanced out into the darkness, wondering whether he was the butt of a joke and not liking it one damn bit. Was Arnaud responsible for this?
The woman in front of him was fresh-faced, her expression too open and innocent-looking to be real. His glance raked over her body. She was clothed from her neck to the tops of her shiny brown boots in a skin-hugging material that looked soft as suede leather, as soft and golden-brown as the large eyes she raised to stare up at him.
Color crept over his cheeks as he realized he’d stood frozen in place, transfixed by the woman’s beauty. Beautiful or not, innocent or not, she didn’t belong here. “Cher, you can turn right around and go back where you came from,” he said, the words coming out less harsh than he’d intended.
She smiled and started to speak again, and then rolled her almond-shaped eyes. She lifted her fingers to her ear and tugged at the shiny stud stuck in her left lobe. “Sorry ’bout dat. I forgot to turn on my translator,” she said in a Cajun accent.
Not a reporter, not with that accent. And yet, not from around her by the tone of her skin. Etienne sighed and propped the shotgun beside the door. “All right, who put you up to this? Arnaud?”
She shook her head, which shivered her long, dark hair around her shoulders. “Didn’t Jacques tell you?” she asked, her expression falling. “He was s’posed ta give you a message.”
His eyes narrowed. “I haven’t seen him since I returned. But you can tell him: thank you very much, but I’m not interested—however attractive you are, cher.” He turned to reenter his cabin.
A small, slim hand clamped on his forearm. “But you don’ understand how important dis is—”
Etienne shrugged her off, ignoring the plea in her doe-like eyes. “Look, I’m sure you’re very good at…whatever it is you do—”
“I’m da best!” she said, eagerness shining in her face. “Dat’s why I’m here.”
“Fucking hell! I can’t believe he thought I needed a whore,” Etienne muttered under his breath.
“A whore?” The woman’s face screwed up with a look of confusion. “Wait, I think I’m not translatin’ dat word correctly.”
“This is a joke, right?” Etienne blew out the breath he’d been holding since she appeared. “He sends you in that space costume, and you’re supposed to do what? Give me a ride?” His eyes widened, and he jerked back a little. “You’re not expecting to probe my ass, are you?”
“Only if you won’ surrender your sperm, Sire,” she said, a blush rising to her cheeks. “I can assist you…” Her voice trailed off, and she nibbled at the edge of her full lips.
“I just bet you can,” he murmured, wondering why he was fighting this so hard. The woman was a knockout. She was tall and slim-hipped, with small, round breasts. Any one of his old buddies would have given a month’s pay to slide between her thighs.
As he appraised her attributes, her nipples beaded beneath the soft, thin leather. “Perhaps you need a little foreplay ’fore you gimme your semen?” she asked, with a flirty tilt of her head. She straightened and thrust out her chest, but the effect was robbed of vampdom by her girlish smile. She was one hell of a confusing, yet alluring, package.
Jacques knew what he was doing. If she’d carried the odor of the streets on her, he’d have sent her on her way in a heartbeat.
Etienne felt his anger waver. Her skin was creamy-pale without a hint of tan, her pores so fine he knew her cheeks would be as soft as a baby’s. He wondered if the rest of her would be as soft. This close, he could smell the fragrance clinging to her skin—like almonds mixed with a musky floral scent that tugged at his cock.
The woman shifted on her feet as he stared, and then squared her shoulders. “We’ll never know until we get dis done.” She reached for the fly of his jeans.
“Wait a minute…” His hand closed over hers to halt her.
She looked up, a question in her guileless gaze.
“Where the hell did he find you, sweetheart?” he murmured, staring down at her. A dimple dented one cheek. A damn dimple.
“Oh, I found him.”
Her grin was childlike, and it angered him that she was playing with him. “Was he drunk when you fed him that line about surrendering his semen?”
She tilted her head to the side, her smile faltering. “Line?”
Etienne swore beneath his breath, patience at an end—restraint beyond his control as angry anguish exploded inside him. He gripped her waist hard, pulling her toward him. If his uncle thought a prostitute would prod him from his blue funk, who was he to argue? He certainly hadn’t managed on his own. Maybe this was what he’d waited for…
Her mouth opened around a startled gasp, which he breathed in as he sealed her mouth with his.
But her lips didn’t move beneath his. When he opened his eyes, he found her wide-eyed gaze staring back at him. He pulled his head back. “Kiss me,” he said, his voice gruff. “This is what you came for, isn’t it?”
“I came for your sem—”
He didn’t want to hear her story again and slammed his mouth down to shut her up.
This time she pressed back, sliding her lips beneath his. Her kiss was soft and tentative, drugging to his jaded senses. Her breaths came quick and excited, puffing into his mouth. Despite the fact, or perhaps, because she wasn’t very good at kissing, an electrical charge of heat pulsed throughout his body, tightening his loins.
Etienne groaned and pulled her body flush with his, grinding his cock against the soft cleft he found between her legs.
Her hips jerked then pushed forward, finding his rhythm, sliding her sex against his as she moaned into his mouth.
With her breasts mashed against his chest, his shaft riding her mons, Etienne drank from her lush, feminine mouth. The softness trembling against him soothed and excited his soul. He hadn’t known how badly he needed this—needed her—until this moment. He sank into the kiss, spearing her mouth with his tongue, sweeping inside like his body ached to burrow into her sweet flesh.
But she wasn’t the answer to his problems—she wasn’t even here because she wanted it. Good old Uncle Jacques had sent her.
Etienne realized he was only fighting himself. He’d wanted solitude to lick his wounds, but his family seemed to understand that deep down he needed to be touched.
This woman’s soft hands were as good as any. At least she wouldn’t be expecting him to spill his guts. He broke the kiss and pushed her back. “Go ahead,” he said, releasing her hand. “Take my semen,” he bit out, bitterness licking the embers of his anger into flame once more.
She swallowed, looking a little frightened by his anger. If she was scared, fuck her. This was what she’d been paid to do.
Eyeing him with caution, she flicked open the snap at the waistband of his jeans. Then she drew down his zipper and knelt in front of him to ease his jeans past his hips.
He wasn’t wearing any underwear, so his sex pushed into the widening gap until it sprang free. The warm breeze blowing over his flesh and the woman’s intent stare did the rest. His cock quickly filled and rose.
Etienne sucked in a deep breath and raised his hands to brace himself within the doorframe as the woman bent over him.
She licked her lips. “I’ll make dis quick.”
“Don’t rush on my account.” Now that he’d decided to enjoy his “gift”, he wasn’t in any hurry.
The woman cleared her throat, opened her mouth, and swallowed the head of his cock.
Etienne groaned and his toes curled inside his boots. The sensation of her hot, moist mouth drawing on his sex was so exquisite it hurt.
Her gaze never left his as she drew back and licked around the soft head. The sight of her pink tongue darting out to lap at him tightened his groin. She followed the ridge all the way around then licked down his length, caressing him with firmer strokes as she went.
Etienne gritted his teeth as she took her time, priming him. Her head dipped, and her dark hair shimmered in the moonlight as she worked his flesh.
She returned to the head and suctioned it into her mouth, her eyes closing as her lips drew hard, her cheeks hollowing with the effort. Then her hands glided up his thighs. One cupped his balls, already drawn taut and close to his body. She kneaded them gently with her palm and fingers, rolling and tugging until he pulsed his hips, beginning the drive toward release. The other hand circled the base of his cock and squeezed, twisting up and down his shaft.
A throbbing started in his injured leg, interrupting his upward climb, and he eased his weight to his good leg then clamped one hand on the back of her head to encourage her to take more of him, deeper into her throat.
Her jaw opened wider, and her teeth skimmed his length as he pushed his cock along her tongue until he butted the back of her throat. With his body wound tight as a coil, he closed his eyes and let his head fall backward, groaning as she dipped and bobbed faster—sliding down him, sucking hard on the upstroke. Christ, she had a talented mouth.
Just as he was ready to let her sweep him along in a frenzied tide, the hand cupping his balls slid farther back, her fingers tracing the cleft of his buttocks.
Before he could utter a protest, one finger eased inside his ass, tunneling then manipulating his prostate. With a shout of protest mixed with anguished release, his hips bucked, and his body exploded, come jetting inside the woman’s mouth.
Etienne bit back a curse and pumped twice, weak thrusts now, his body trembling in the aftermath. He curved his fingers around the wooden doorframe and opened his eyes to glare down at the woman. “My ass was off limits.”
Her lips pursed, and she reached for the belt cinching her small waist, pulling a small vial from beneath it.
While he watched, furious, she spat his creamy come into the vial, and then held it aloft and tugged her ear. She murmured something unintelligible, and light glimmered around the small bottle before it flickered and blinked out. When the light disappeared, so did the vial.
Etienne blinked. “What the hell?”
The woman rose and tugged up his pants, but he shoved her hands away and finished the job, tucking his cock inside. All the while, his gaze never left her.
As soon as the snap of his jeans closed, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her inside the cabin and into full light. “What the hell just happened?”
Her gaze met his, her chin raised in defiance. “I sent your sperm ta my ship. We need ta know if you’re potent.”
“Ship?” His mind skipped over that detail for the moment to return to the one blaring a warning in his mind. “Why the hell do you need to know I’m not shooting blanks?”
“If you’re potent, Sire, I’m here ta take you home.”
Sire? “My home is here. I’m not going anywhere.” He raked his hand through his hair, still rattled at seeing his come disappear into thin air. Perhaps Uncle Jacques hadn’t been drunk after all.
“Sire, if you’re potent, you must return ta fulfill your destiny.”
“And what might that be?” he asked, half afraid to hear the answer.
Her wide-eyed gaze filled with dreamy fervor. “To assume the mantle of kingship and lead our forces in the war against the Gracktiles.”
He snorted, wondering what rabbit hole he’d just fallen into. “Is that all?”
She bit her bottom lip and shrugged. “Oh, and to beget the next generation of our ruling caste…”
Etienne eyed her clothing. A uniform of some sort, no doubt. He noted her poreless skin, her perfect features. Aliens weren’t little and green. They were seductively beautiful. And now they had his come. A flash of some emotion, maybe excitement mixed with a little dread, filled him. He hoped he wasn’t sterile.