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Archive for June, 2017



Valerie Ullmer: Unexpected (A Unexpected Novel Book One)
Friday, June 2nd, 2017

NOTE for DD: Sorry I’m posting this so late! My Outlook crashed, and I couldn’t access Valerie’s email. Took me nearly half a day to repair it. Enjoy the excerpt!

Unexpected (A Unexpected Novel Book One)

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

A chance meeting will change their lives forever…

From the moment he entered the dark taproom, Caleb Hunt found himself drawn to the handsome man who sat alone at the end of the bar, away from the crowd. His interest in the dark-haired, muscled adonis took him by surprise, not remembering when he’d felt such hunger from a simple glimpse. Unable to stay away, he quickly found an open seat next to him and slid into it. When Ronan turned his ice-blue eyes to Caleb and introduced himself, his warm hand sent shivers of desire through his body and he was enthralled.

Ronan Scott’s boring Friday night had taken a turn for the better when Caleb took the seat next to him. Over the next few hours, he found Caleb easy to talk to and at the same time, he found that he couldn’t tear his gaze away from the beautiful man. Caleb captured his attention in a way that no other had for as long as he could remember. Taking a chance, he leaned forward and captured Caleb’s lips with his. And with the simple kiss, Ronan understood that Caleb would become an essential part of his life.

As Ronan and Caleb explore their new relationship and integrate their lives together, they realize that not everything will be so seamless…

EXCERPT

That’s when he spotted him and everything stopped.

His breathing hitched in his chest and his heart thudded once, hard, and even the music seemed to fade as his gaze landed on a dark-haired man who sat by himself at the bar.  As Caleb’s eyes slid down the man’s body of their own accord, he noted the fitted black tee that emphasized the muscles of his arms, back, and shoulders, before his gaze dropped lower to his legs encased in denim.

When he lifted a beer to his mouth and swallowed, Caleb felt his own throat tighten.  A shiver of desire passed over him.  Never had he felt this way about a man or woman in his life.

Before he could analyze his actions or talk himself out of his stupid plan, he walked toward the man.  Part of him wanted to see if the man was as stunning as he believed from across the bar or if he’d been alone for so long that his mind had conjured the perfect man.

Before Caleb could reach the stool next to him, a beautiful blonde glided up to him, running her hand down his chest.  Her smile flirty and sensual.  Although Caleb had never been propositioned in any way close to resembling what he witnessed, he knew that she offered the man a brazen invitation to get to know her better.

Disappointment flooded Caleb’s chest.

In the next moment, however, she frowned and backed away from him as quickly as she arrived, leaving an empty chair.

Not questioning his good luck, Caleb hurried over and shed his coat, dropping it over the back.  He flagged down the bartender and indicated the beer he wanted.

He sensed the man’s eyes on him, but for the moment, he wasn’t brave enough to turn and catch his gaze.  Not when his breath had stuck in his throat, and he didn’t know if he could speak without sounding choked.

As soon as the bartender handed him his mug, the man turned his body toward him and leaned over to speak, close to his ear.

“Are you here alone?”

Caleb had to bite the inside of his lip in order not to moan out loud at the sexy, deep voice.  Remembering the question, he shook his head and pointed toward Dylan and Garrett across the room.  Dylan, of course, had a woman on his lap and was tracing a finger down her neck, before he leaned toward her and his mouth followed the same trail.

Garrett was looking down at his phone.  The shy woman he’d been talking to had disappeared, much to Caleb’s disappointment, and another was trying, unsuccessfully, to get his attention.  She looked drunk and very loud by the way he flinched every time she spoke.

“Dylan, the one on the right with a woman on his lap, is the biggest flirt in the world.  He’s never serious about any woman he takes home.  Garrett is his best friend, the complete opposite of Dylan, but he’s loyal.”

The man laughed and Caleb couldn’t help the lift of his lips at the sound.  It was deep, rich, and addictive.  But when the man turned his ice-blue eyes on him, something unidentifiable swelled in his chest.  He could sense that he should speak, to keep this gorgeous man talking for as long as possible.  “Are you here alone?”

Smart, Caleb.  Just parrot the same question back.

The man smiled before he nodded over to his group of friends.  Some were flirting, but others were enjoying the company of their friends on a Friday night.

“The ginger is Hawk; he’s a divorce lawyer who is handling Ryan’s divorce.  That’s why they’re hunched over their beers.  Ryan’s wife apparently hadn’t been faithful during their entire four-year marriage, and he found out when he came home early from a business trip.  Jack is the one who is flirting with the group of women; he’s like Dylan in that way, never serious.  He’s a CEO of a tech company and he could have any woman with his looks and the power he exudes, but he’s never been in a serious relationship.  Sam is my second-in-command, the one who looks faintly sick, because Adam is a forensic scientist who loves talking about his work.”

Caleb found himself smiling at the group of friends.  When he glanced at the man, who had turned back to Caleb after pointing out his friends, he snagged Caleb’s gaze.  “So, do you have a girlfriend at home?”

“No.  I can’t remember the last time I had a date, much less a successful one.  You?”

Caleb breathed a sigh of relief when he shook his head.

“I’m Ronan Scott.”  He held his hand out.

Shit, even the man’s name is sexy.

He had to clear his throat before he reached out and grasped Ronan’s large, warm hand in his.  “Caleb Hunt.”

Something inside Caleb warmed in increments until fireworks exploded behind his skin, all from a simple touch.

About the Author

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary romances with strong alpha males and brilliant, beautiful heroines. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She’s addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character driven romances.

FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ GOODREADS ~ AMAZON

Flashback: Controlled Burn (Contest)
Thursday, June 1st, 2017

UPDATE: The winner is Katherine Robinson!

* * * * *

My daughter has perfect teeth. Not a cavity. Not ever. Thanks to genetics and modern dentistry. I, on the other hand, have horrible teeth. I have soft, chalky back teeth, prone to cavities. Which means, I have a few crowns back there. Last night, while I sat on my daughter’s sofa, she of the perfect teeth, one of my crowns fell out. Do you know, I had that one so long, I didn’t even know there was a crown on that tooth. Color me surprised!

Which really makes today a shitty, shitty day. I am going to call the dentist this AM to request an emergency appointment. This afternoon, I have a doctor’s appointment at the VA in Little Rock (oh joy). I had hoped for a little time to write. Now, I have a microscopic window open to write. So, I have a related question. Comment and you might win a free story! Don’t you love how I work real life around to having something to do with books? :)

For a chance to win your choice of one of these
Cowboys on the Edge stories, answer me this!

Do you have perfect teeth? Have you ever had a dental emergency?

Wet Down Controlled Burn Cain's Law Flashpoint

(Click on a cover if you’d like to learn more!)

Don’t know what you’re missing in this cowboy series? Read a sexy excerpt…

Controlled Burn

Controlled Burn

This flame doesn’t need a match…

One high school prank gone wrong shouldn’t define the rest of Carly Lohan’s life. But setting fire to Caldera Canyon isn’t something townsfolk will ever forget. As the last part of her final act of restitution, she’s among the group of volunteers assigned to keep a prescribed burn of underbrush and grass from “running over the rim” into the ranches ringing the park.

Local rancher and volunteer firefighter Jeremiah McCord doesn’t trust the reformed firebug anywhere near the canyon’s controlled burn. Determined to keep her on a short rein, he’s everywhere she is, watching her. His distrust and determination sparks a plan for some sexy revenge—one that will get them both too close to the flames.

Get your copy here!

Long excerpt from Controlled Burn

Caldera, Texas had been aptly named by its founders. Although technically late winter, the air was unseasonably warm—hot as a witch’s cauldron, and the town just as cursed.

Or, at least the place was so far as Carly Lohan was concerned.

Carly closed her car door and drew a deep breath, thinking she’d as soon have a root canal as walk into the midst of the people gathering inside the community center. All gazes would turn her way. They’d nudge their friends, and the ugly whispers would begin.

She might as well have had a big “A” branded on her forehead, but not for adultery like Hester Prynne—her crime was far worse. Arson wasn’t something folks around here would ever forgive.

Not that she thought of herself as an arsonist. However, a charge like that, even against a minor, clung like skunk spray. Which was why she’d headed to college as soon as she’d graduated high school and now lived a town away. Tonight, she had to face Calderans one last time.

Gripping her purse like it was a shield, she strode toward the door. Before she even reached the steps, she heard a whistle sound from behind her.

“Well, would you lookie there. If it ain’t Carly Lohan. Long time, no see.”

If she were ninety, she would have recognized Tater Johnson’s nasal twang. He’d taunted from her first day in kindergarten and had been the biggest thorn in her side all throughout school. The fact she was here today was partly because of him. She forced a smile and turned. “Good to see you, Tater.”

He smoked a cigarette while sitting on the edge of his truck bed. “Burn up any canyons lately?” he drawled.

Wow. He didn’t even take a second to work up to that. Carly stopped the automatic wince before he could see it. The last thing she should do was rise to a single one of his taunts. “Not lately. You going to the meeting?” she asked, tilting her head toward the open doors.

“Course.” He tipped back his cowboy hat and gave her a narrowed stare. “Keepin’ Caldera Canyon safe is important to me—which is why I’m wonderin’ what the hell you’re doin’ here.”

Carly felt her face heat. Before she could think of a more mature reply, she shot him the bird and turned on her heel. Good Lord, she’d only been back for five minutes and was already reverting to her old ways.

His grating chuckles followed her inside the large hall. The instant satisfaction she’d felt at giving the rude gesture faded as she entered and searched the rows of metal folding chairs. All seats were taken—of course, except for a couple right in front of the speakers’ table. Shit.

She didn’t have a choice. She’d be sitting across from the current sheriff of Caldera County. Her gaze snagged on the man sitting beside him, Jeremiah McCord, and her stomach sank at the glare he leveled. Shit-shit-shit.

Only to herself would she admit the man intimidated her. He was a large man—well over six feet and broad. And he was handsome when his features weren’t set into grim lines as they were now.

“Let’s call this meeting to order,” a man dressed in a park ranger’s uniform said. “We’re all here to talk about the prescribed burn we’re implementing inside the park four days from now.”

She turned her attention to the speaker. At least, he wasn’t staring at her. She didn’t know him, so she kept her gaze glued to the ranger as he started the slide show.

Pictures of happy campers sitting around campfires flashed on the screen, followed by more photos of the rugged bluffs surrounding the park. “Our goal, come Monday morning, will be to burn brush and dried vegetation from the canyon floor, while keeping the fire under control and halting it before the blaze runs the rim of the canyon, endangering local ranches. We won’t touch the areas around the campgrounds or the park service buildings. Those have been kept clear of excess brush by camp personnel. We’re focusing our efforts on the areas north of the campgrounds, through the upper canyon, toward the north rim of the park.”

The next picture was of a jackrabbit hiding in the brush. “A prescribed burn is good for the canyon’s plants and trees, and for its wildlife. By removing underbrush and new seedlings, we give the forest a chance to grow and deprive wildfires of fuel.”

The next photo was of rows of volunteers digging firebreaks, with flames licking across dry grass. The flames blazed orange, yellow, purple—so pretty—she couldn’t stop herself from startling when the slide changed to a photograph of those same volunteers, covered in soot, but smiling as they stood in front of a scorched patch of earth, trees with their bark only slightly singed.

“This is the outcome we want. A safe burn. A way to renew the earth and prevent uncontrolled blazes in the future…”

Carly drew a deep breath, and then made the mistake of again looking at Jeremiah. His gaze bored into her, cold and hard. Had he seen how the picture of the fire held her mesmerized? Her stomach tightened, and she felt a little sick.

Keeping her expression neutral, she returned his stare. She wasn’t that same reckless girl. She’d done her penance, and then some. Performing this last act of restitution would expunge her juvenile record, and she could function without worrying someone would discover her past mistake. She could submit a job application without her hand shaking, because she feared a background check would reveal her crime. And maybe she could finally make use of her teaching degree.

Thank God, she didn’t have to work around here. Jeremiah would consider it his civic duty to make sure everyone kept a close eye on her. He wasn’t exactly the most forgiving man, and if she couldn’t find a better job, she’d never be able to repay him for what he’d lost.

The rest of the presentation droned on and on. The park ranger was followed by the local fire chief, and then the park service expert they’d brought in to help supervise the burn. She tried to pay attention, but felt as though a hundred accusing fingers were pointed at her back. So she sat rigid in her seat, arms crossed, waiting for the briefing to end. She’d get her team assignment and head back to the motel where she’d left her suitcase. Then she could close her door and sleep until Saturday’s training.

Seven years hadn’t been nearly long enough to ease the feeling of guilt that weighed her down. Moving away had helped her live a more normal life, but she’d had these little reminders every so often, part of the deal the judge had made with her to protect her future. Participating in the controlled burn inside the park would be the last time Calderans would have to suffer her presence. And she theirs.

At last, the park ranger turned off the projector. Everyone rose and made their way to the board where team assignments were listed.

She waited patiently while being jostled—probably deliberately. At last, she scanned the list.

Her name was listed on a team of ten—and led by Jeremiah McCord. Shit.

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