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Archive for June 30th, 2022

Desiree Holt: Missing Pieces (Read Chapter One!)
Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Writing the Guardian Security series has been and continues to be one of my most rewarding projects. Moving Target, Book 1, has been through several revisions. It was the very first book I wrote but not the first one I published. It changed personality several times before it hit the marketplace.

When I was writing it, everyone in the group of authors I belonged to helped me and gave me advice. One of the things they told me was, “Write about things you know and use familiar areas as settings.”

Moving Target is set in a small Texas town just like the one we lived in at the time and the hero’s house is the house we had built.

I struggled to get that first book finished, mostly because the plot I had just wasn’t working. Then I read Cry No More by Linda Howard. I wrote Moving Target (at that time titled Run for Your Life) in an effort to create a hero like Linda Howard’s Diaz. It was successful and inspired me to create the series.

Silencing Memories, Book 2, was based in part of a plot from an episode of CSI. And the Vanetta ranch is based on one just outside San Antonio, Texas, close to where we lived. Killing Lies, Book 3, came from an idea I got from a friend of mine talking about a friend of hers!

Running Scared, Book 4, came from some articles I read about the illegal use of digital games in the espionage business. And Finding Redemption, Book 5, was born when I read an article about Mexico’s Quintana Roo Jungle. But mostly, I wanted to base a hero on the man who was my son’s closest friend and who died way too soon of a heart attack.

The latest release in the series, Missing Pieces, features Dino Brancuzzi, the best friend of the star of Finding Redemption, who is based on a friend of my son. Many of Ethan Caine’s characteristics showed up in Dino, and I wanted to tell his story. Also, I have a huge fascination with civilian Black Ops stories.

This entire series holds a very special place in my heart, and I hope you will take the journey through all of the books to meet some very interesting characters and go on some exciting adventures.

Here’s a taste of the first five books in the series and then keep reading for Chapter One from Missing Pieces.

Moving Target

They’re trying to kill her, and she doesn’t know why…

Kathryn Holt knows only that she has to get far away as fast as she can. In a frantic, cross-country odyssey, she transforms from pliable Kathryn to feisty, determined Kate Miller, staying one step ahead of the killers on her trail. Then Fate delivers her into the hands of a dark knight with a tortured past. The safety he offers is as tempting as he is.

After having his perfect life ripped apart, recluse Quinn sees protecting Kate as his chance for redemption. He never plans on wanting the guarded beauty, never mind falling for her. Denying the explosive chemistry between them is useless, and as danger closes in, he must fight to expose the killer or risk history repeating itself.

Silencing Memories

Just when architect Alexis Craig thinks she’s gotten her life back on track, the terrible nightmares return, and out of nowhere, a stalker sends note to her office. Photos follow, then emails, and she can’t dismiss the threat any longer. Hiring security seems the logical answer, but there’s nothing logical about her body’s reaction to the sinfully sexy expert bent on keeping her safe.

Guardian Security partner Nick Vanetta believes there’s more behind the situation than a simple fixation, and he wonders if the answer is buried somewhere in her past. As they dig deeper into her family history, the sizzling attraction between them burns hotter and the job becomes much more than playing bodyguard to this headstrong woman. To protect the woman he loves, he must find the stalker…before it’s too late.

Killing Lies

After her husband was killed and she lost her unborn child, Sarah Madison believed she’d never find love and happiness again. Instead, she has channeled all her energy into her job as assistant to the sexy CEO of Guardian Security. When he proposes a marriage of convenience, the chance to become a mother is tempting, and so is her new prospective husband. His only flaw—the distance he keeps between himself and his sweet little daughter.

Reno Sullivan’s life is a mess. His first marriage was based on a lie, and the fiery death of his wife left him to raise a baby—a constant reminder of his wife’s deceit. He desperately needs someone to mother the child and take charge of his personal life, and his no-nonsense assistant is perfect for the job. Unfortunately, the alluring woman in the bedroom next to his chips away at his determination to maintain the hands-off clause in their agreement and the ice around his heart.

A near-tragedy and Reno’s fear of love could kill Sarah’s hopes of turning their fake marriage into happily ever after…

Running Scared

When computer program designer Zoraya “Zoe” Lombardo wakes up next to her business partner’s dead body with a gun in her hand and no memory of what happened, the first thing she does is run. The second thing she does is call the one person she trusts to help her—the man she abandoned two years ago. He’s not as bossy as she remembers, but he’s sexier than ever. She made a mistake not listening to his warnings, and she’s more than willing to kiss and make up…if she can just stay alive long enough.

Zak Delaney, partner in Guardian Security, never expected to hear from his ex-fiancee again. After Zoe left, it took him a long time to put himself back together. Now he must cast aside his hurt and anger in order to protect her. He’ll have to rely on his resources at Guardian Security to clear her name and every ounce of his self-control not to fall for her charms again. But as danger closes in, Zak will have to learn to trust Zoe as much as she trusts him or face losing her again…and this time for good.

Finding Redemption

Lisa Mallory’s marriage from hell ended with her husband’s unsolved murder. Four years later, her eight-year-old son, Jamie, is kidnapped. When every other avenue of finding him fails, she turns to her brother’s best friend. He’s not the man she’d have chosen, but to get her son back, she’ll suffer anything…even the desire he stirs that she’d thought long dead.

Ethan Caine, former Marine/special ops agent, is dealing with his own private hell. All he wants is to be left alone with a bottle of whiskey to drown the guilt of surviving a mission gone wrong. When he finally agrees to go after Jamie, he certainly doesn’t want the boy’s mother slowing him down. Besides, she makes him ache to have her naked and beneath him. Worse, she stirs dreams of the future…something he doesn’t deserve.

Passion explodes between Ethan and Lisa in the exotic Quintana Roo jungle, even as the past and present threaten to steal it all.

Missing Pieces

Ten years ago, Jen LaCroix left Dino Brancuzzi carrying a big secret. Now, her life is in danger and he’s the only man she can trust.

When a valuable shipment disappears from the museum where she works, the finger points to her and the number of dangerous people after her continues to increase. Leaving that secret, Dino’s nine-year-old daughter, Deanne, with Ethan Caine, Jen finds a place to hide in the Caribbean.

Dino is stunned to discover he has a daughter and immediately launches a search to find Jen and protect her. He might have made the biggest mistake by not realizing in time that he loved her all those years ago, but can he forgive her for keeping the child a secret?

Read Chapter One from Missing Pieces

A suburb of Detroit, Michigan

Jennifer LaCroix took a breath in an attempt to still her galloping pulse and get herself under control. What an unbelievable mess this was. And just how had it all ended up in her lap, anyway? It had to be Sutherland, that jerk, pointing his finger in her direction. She’d never liked him or trusted him, not in all the years she’d worked at the museum, and now she had even more reason not to.

Chaos reigned all around her. A shipment of antiquities, the largest yet, was scheduled to arrive at the museum for a special show. They’d be on display for three months, thanks to the owner who’d loaned them, and the entire shipment had somehow disappeared. Craig Sutherland, the museum director, swore he’d never signed for them, but the shipping company driver insisted he had. Meanwhile, they were missing.

In the ten years Jen had worked here, she’d never seen such pandemonium. But of course, a disaster like this had never happened before, either. When the discovery was made three days ago that the latest shipment of artifacts had gone missing, everyone went crazy. Of course, they did. Those artifacts were rare and uber costly. Some even said priceless. Crazy was a mild term for how it had been since then. FBI agents were all over the place, and the museum board was everywhere, scrutinizing everyone and everything. Giving everyone the third degree.

The board was also doing its best to clamp a lid on things, because if the owners of the artifacts heard, there’d be ten kinds of hell to pay. The blowback might even cause the museum to close. The story was all over the media, the board was in an uproar, the staff was in a panic.

Sutherland was sweating bullets, despite his efforts to maintain control. Major donors were involved in the museum, many of them thanks to his efforts. If they all pulled their support, the place would definitely close. No wonder Roger Welborn, the chairman of the board of directors of the museum, was raising holy hell and rightfully so. He was angrier than she’d ever seen him. It was almost as if they’d been stolen from him personally. Thank the lord, at least, he wasn’t here today, throwing his weight around, telling her how the museum was his responsibility and if she knew anything at all, she’d better tell him or get herself a good lawyer.

Sutherland, who was also her immediate boss, still denied any involvement, of course. Said he hadn’t even been at the museum the day the shipment arrived. That it was scheduled for a different day. The driver was now nowhere to be found, and the signature on the receiving form was totally illegible.

And now, here she was, headed yet again for the room the federal agents were using. Why? She’d already told them everything she knew at least five times. Answered their questions a million times. But the damn suits had summoned her for questioning yet again. Summoned! Read the rest of this entry »