UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
As a lot of you may know, I am a water person! Meaning I love everything from a gently-tumbling stream to the splash of crashing waves as they race to a sandy beach. In fact, my new release Dangerous Lies uses a lot of the fantastic places I’ve vacationed in Florida as part of the story’s backdrop.
But this year I decided to head upward, so I took an early June vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. My family and I spent the week in a fabulous cabin high in the mountains just outside of Gatlinburg, where on clear days the distant mountain tops were visible. Other times they were cloaked in the clouds.
The entire region is just breathtaking! And that includes the ridge after ridge of forested mountains, plus the fast-rushing streams sliding over boulders smoothed by time, to eventually merge with a waterfall’s cascading waters. Then there are the natural trails, such as the one I climbed to Grotto Falls, that offer a different dimension of hiking. Paths that have been walked by many…with endless more hikers to come in future years.
Weathermen kept predicting rain, but most times there was only a brief shower. Except, one morning as I sat in a rocking chair on the porch, the steady drizzle turned into an all-out downpour! I loved the sound of the heavy rain moving through the trees on its way to my location. Thank goodness there was a nice half-porch roof covering so I could just stay where I was and enjoy the morning storm.
Since the cabin was so high up in the mountains, being on the porch felt as if I was one with nature amid the tall trees. In fact, during the downpour, I was able to see the rain hitting on top of the leaves…to see the delicate yet sturdy stems quiver with each drop’s touch…to see the leaves dancing in the rain. And my soul danced with them. That I’ll never forget.
I’d love to hear about a time the weather and its effect on your vacation was almost as exciting as the trip itself.
In celebration of my July 22 release of Dangerous Lies (Shades of Leverage Book 2), I will give one commenter an e-book of Slater’s Revenge—the first book in the Shades of Leverage series. Winner will be selected July 25.
(Shades of Leverage Book 2)
Release Date: July 22, 2019
She glanced over her shoulder, and there stood the man who’d hit on her. For all that’s holy, couldn’t the guy take no for an answer? “Back off, Dance Man. I told you before, I don’t care what song you play. And I don’t want to dance.”
“That’s good. Real good.” The corners of his mouth quirked upward, along with the tilt of his head and lift of his eyebrows. He chuckled as he slipped into the seat across from her. “Never been called that before.”
“You must really be desperate to keep hitting on someone like me.” Pointing her finger for emphasis, she gritted her teeth and spoke loud and clear in his direction. “Now, leave my table or I’m calling the police.”
The stubble on his jawline caught the light, emphasizing the dark, weathered tan of his now serious expression. His blue eyes focused on her with the intensity of someone looking for clarity before bidding on a rare diamond. She was drawn to the muscles in his forearms as he flexed his fingers back and forth, back and forth.
Caught in his stare, she shivered then noticed the barely visible earbud. She’d seen those on Secret Service agents when she’d visited the White House for an environmental briefing. She’d also seen the earbuds on people not so glad to see her as she dug for dirt on a corruption story. People who didn’t exactly play nice when she got too close to what they were hiding.
Without looking, she reached her hand into her purse leaning against her side, hoping to grab her keychain mace without him noticing. The purse tilted, and the vial slipped from her hand, landing on the floor with a slight thud.
He didn’t flinch. “You need to practice that move.”
What if he were the danger? She was alone. In the corner of an almost empty restaurant. No one was at the house to expect her home. No one even knew—
Drake. Drake knew. He was right there on the phone. He had to be hearing what was being said.
She wrapped her hand around her phone, ready to use it as a weapon. “If you don’t go away, I’m going to scream.”
The man sighed loud and heavy as he leaned against the high back of the wooden booth, then tapped his earbud and motioned to her phone. “Drake, you should tell this lady who I am before she rips my head off.”
Glancing at the phone, still on FaceTime, there was Drake holding a photo of the man sitting across from her. She lifted her gaze to the actual man and met his blue-eyed stare with one of her own. Evidently, her life had notched up in things that were out of her control. “You’re who’s supposed to protect me?”
“You got a problem with that?” He leaned forward, bracing his forearms on the table in front of him.
“No. Why didn’t you say something earlier?”
“Because you were too busy calling me Dance Man.”
She leaned forward in rebuttal. “Listen. I’ve had a very, very bad week. So, if I’ve upset you, that’s too damn bad.”
He popped the side of his fingers on the table. “Well, you’re not the only one who’s had a shitty week, lady.”
“Hey, you two want to put a lid on the sarcasm?” Drake sounded like he meant business.
They both took a breath.
“That’s better,” Drake said. “This is your protector agent, Mitch Granger. And, this is Elizabeth—”
“Liz,” Mitch stated.
“My name is Elizabeth Walkert.”
“Liz. As long as I’m your protector, your name is Liz.”
About the Author
Award-winning author Claudia Shelton could write her name before the first day of school, but now she writes romantic suspense, thrillers and contemporary romance. In addition, she presents workshops for readers and authors. Her debut novel, Risk of a Lifetime, released to 5-star reviews, reached Amazon’s Best Sellers Romance Series Top 100 and was named one of eBooks Galore top reads for 2014. She is also a two-time nominated Daphne Du Maurier (Unpublished) finalist for excellence in mystery. Claudia is the author of the Shades of Leverage action-adventure romantic suspense series.
On a personal note, Claudia considers herself a traveler, music lover and water person. A cool drink while listening to the splash of waves is always nice—so is a mug of hot chocolate in the falling snow. Her main priority is spending time with family, friends and her two sweet, conniving rescue dogs.