This story has a long history for me. I began publishing through various online and traditional houses in 2003. I wrote Her Sanctuary in 2006. The first publisher disappeared. I re-pubbed it through a second publisher a few years later that disappeared as well. I dragged my feet on again publishing this story on my own because, over all those years, I’ve gotten many requests from readers for sequels. I wasn’t ready to continue the series then. I am now.
So, without further ado, here’s the first story in my Texas Vampires series. It’s FREE in Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll read it and want more. Because “more” (specifically Diego’s story) is in the works!
Enjoy the story! If you have time, tell someone about it. And thank you for supporting me over the years. I love my job. 🙂
A woman surviving on the edge of a dark frontier strikes a sensual bargain with a handsome stranger hiding a dangerous secret…
In a post-apocalyptic future, creatures who’ve hidden in the shadows for millennia are freed to roam in a world shrouded in darkness. Rancher Kate McKinnon runs Sanctuary Ranch—a last refuge on the western frontier. While running herd over her cowhands and integrating refugees into their self-sufficient refuge, she escapes her responsibilities the only way she has left—via radio to pockets of other survivors. One man, Ty Bennett, is her confidante, and she thinks she might be falling in love with his deep, rasping voice. Although they’ve never met, he seems to know her heart.
On a patrol to scavenge supplies, Kate and her cowboys are surrounded by a gang of renegades intent on claiming her. Rescue comes unexpectedly by a militaristic band led by the man she’s spent so many hours talking to through the dark nights. She brings him home only to discover she’s brought vampires inside the refuge.
Already half in love with the human woman, Ty offers added muscle to her defenses and promises to move her people to safety. Fighting his own nature and appetites, he seeks redemption for his many sins but can’t control his hunger to possess Kate. Getting past her prejudice and choking responsibilities tests his seductive powers.
Recently, I got the rights back to a short story Harlequin published back when Spice Briefs still existed. It was one of the first two stories released into that line. It’s sexy as hell, features a vampire hero and a heroine who’s not the average human herself, and it’s FREE in Kindle Unlimited—just $0.99 if you don’t have KU. I hope you give it a read, and if you can, leave a review!
Invite Me In (A Paranormal-Vampire Short Story)
On a sultry night in the French Quarter, alone in a room thick with desire, she is able to channel the wanton mating of the couple down the hall. Each kiss, each sensation is as real to her as if she were the one being ravished. Forgetting herself, she calls out to him, until he is at her door, in her bed, knowing fully what she wants…
On June 22nd, CHASE releases! It’s book #4 in the Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series—an offshoot of my Montana Bounty Hunters series. I’m still writing the story! Gah! I hate running it up to the wire, but I’ll get there. In the meantime, have you pre-ordered your copy? Read an excerpt below to get a hint of the fun I have in store for you!
Chase Kudrow flipped down his visor to shut out the bright morning sun beaming through his windshield. He was parked on Main Street in Dead Horse, congratulating himself on his good sense in accepting the job with Montana Bounty Hunters’ Dead Horse office because he was here, hunting a skip, and not living out of his truck in bumfuck Colorado…or Wyoming…or Idaho. Sure, Cage Morgan, his new boss, had said they’d be looking for the richest bounties in a multi-state area when he’d offered him the job, but as luck would have it, today’s hunt was right in their own backyard.
Chase would never admit it to any of his new bounty hunter brothers, but he’d been ready to settle down and stop living out of a suitcase. He needed to put down roots and prove he could provide a stable home—to himself and to the caseworker handling his niece’s situation. No way in hell was he letting his blood relative, his little sister’s orphaned daughter, be raised by strangers.
The job offer had come at just the right moment. Although he’d feigned resistance to joining the hunters as part of their newly formed satellite agency, inside, he’d been jubilant. He’d hemmed and hawed for days, and he’d done his homework, reaching out to hunter friends in the Kalispell office to make sure this gig was legit, and that he could trust the people he’d be working with. The more he’d learned, the more certain he was that his accepting the job was meant to be.
Yes, there was a lot left to iron out. He had yet to find a house. Work had been pretty busy, but he’d be asking Cage for some time off to find a home and fill it with furniture and the things an eight-year-old might need or want, and for him to meet with local school officials to talk about what he’d need to get Mikayla enrolled. Then the hard work would begin to get Miss Tight-ass Bradshaw at Child and Family Services in Billings to sign off.
The last time she’d seen him, she’d shaken her head. “How do you think you can care for a little girl? You live like a gypsy, Mr. Kudrow. All your past mailing addresses have been forwarding services because you’re never in one place longer than a month. How are you going to be a father to Mikayla?”
He’d shifted in his chair, knowing his petition looked bad, but this was Audra’s girl. He hadn’t been there for her mother, hadn’t even had any idea how much trouble she’d been in. His mama, had she been alive, would have been so disappointed in him for his neglect while he’d been out living his life.
No more. He’d lived like a nomad since his days in the military. He’d liked seeing the world, but when he’d gotten fed up with the rigor and the rules he’d had to abide by in the Army, he’d left and found the one job ideally suited to his wandering ways. Even now, working from a home base in Dead Horse, bounty hunting allowed him to roam just far enough to keep from feeling that itch to pull up stakes and move, and it gave him the occasional adrenaline rush he craved. The targets were varied, and hunting them down never got boring. Except when he was on stakeouts, like this one.
Today’s target was Billy Calloway, one of the Calloway brothers who ran a junkyard east of town, who’d been busted with a shit-ton of stolen catalytic converters. He’d refused to give the DA the names of his suppliers so he was facing multiple charges for receiving stolen goods. Since he was a three-time offender, the judge had set his bail at $100,000—high for the crime, but Judge Hodges was setting an example for the other Calloways.
Then the dumbass skipped his court date…
Chase picked up the manila folder Fredericka “Fig” Newton, their office manager and tech guru, had prepared for all the hunters combing their hometown for this skip. Billy was a scrawny fucker, with greasy brown hair, a scruffy beard, and one eye that permanently looked down his nose. He’d be easy to spot.
The passenger door beside him opened, and Dylan “Preacher” Priestley, his new partner, climbed into the seat beside him holding a small pink box in his hand.
“Took your damn time,” Chase groused, not really concerned, but he and Preacher enjoyed that kind of relationship, always griping at each other but quick to jump into action when the situation called for it. Three weeks in, and Chase wondered how he’d ever gone it alone as a bounty hunter. Having a partner made things like boring-ass stakeouts kind of fun.
“They’re straight out of the oven,” Preacher said, opening the box to reveal two big donuts. Preacher’s hand hovered over them.
“Don’t even think about takin’ the one with the sprinkles,” Chase said, giving him a glare.
Preacher shrugged. “Sprinkles taste like chalky sugar anyway.” He plucked the pink glazed donut from the box and left the cream-colored one with sprinkles for Chase.
Chase plucked his from the box, took a bite, and groaned. “Don’t know how you aren’t fat.”
Preacher waggled his eyebrows. “She makes me work for them.”
“TMI, man,” Chase said, holding up a hand.
Preacher grinned. “Sorry it took so long. I had to taste wedding cakes when I was in there.”
Chase wrinkled his nose. “Way to kill my appetite, man. Weddings!” He gave a mock shudder.
Preacher chuckled. “Laura and Rhonda have this huge notebook. It takes up an entire table when they open it. It has polaroids of cakes and things to decorate the tables with, flower arrangements—”
Chase narrowed his eyes and looked out the windshield. “Rhonda’s in there?”
“Yeah, why?” Preacher shot him a sly sideways glance.
“Just wonderin’. Haven’t seen much of her lately. Her sister’s behind the counter at the Dem Bones Package Store every time I stop to buy beer.”
Preacher arched an eyebrow. “You crushing on Rhonda?”
Chase gave him a deadpan look. “I don’t crush on women. Just sayin’. She seems pretty busy with all that wedding shit.”
“She’s been a huge help to Laura. Says she loved planning her wedding more than she loved her ex-husband. Said it should have told her something.”
“Didn’t know she’s been married…”
“Yeah, for five years, until her husband up and left town with a massage therapist.”
“Must have been rubbing more than his back.”
Preacher shrugged. “Laura doesn’t talk much about him. Guess he left her the store and a pile of debt. She’s been digging herself out of that mess for years.”
Chase finished off his donut and followed it with a gargle of coffee straight from his thermos. When he screwed the lid back on, he glanced down the street. His attention was snagged by two men stepping out of Dead Center Guns & Pawn, both holding handguns and wearing camouflage masks pulled over their chins and noses. They were running toward a beat-up pickup parked alongside the curb.
“Think we got trouble,” he said to Preacher, tapping his ignition button and glancing up and down the street before punching the gas pedal and pulling out of his parking space.
“Damn.” Preacher hit the button on his radio. “Hey, Fig!”
“Yeah, Preacher. What’s up?”
“I think we’ve got a robbery in progress on Main Street. Saw two armed individuals coming out of the pawn shop. Call 9-1-1.”
The tailpipe of the beat-up pickup belched smoke, and then the truck jumped the curb and careened down the street.
All through my family, coworkers, readers, and friends, it is well-known that I will travel the world for food. Foodies Unite. I have always been a person who never could settle for the status quo when it comes to my food. My family would get very frustrated with me when I was younger because when it was my turn to cook, I always imagined some dish then prepared it for dinner for the household. I will honestly say it wasn’t always executed well. LOL. I was trying vegan meals before I knew the word vegan. I’m not a vegan now, but it is one of the foods I love to eat, but I also like bacon.
I once wandered into a natural health food store and grabbed a pack of peppermint gum that tasted wonderful but smelled like soil, dirt, the Earth in your mouth, to the annoyance of my entire family each time I placed a piece in my mouth. LOL. They honestly never knew what to expect from me.
Food is something readers will see placed inside most of my books. Food from all types of cultures. In 2019, my daughter, my road buddy, and I traveled to Quebec City, Quebec. All the pictures here are from that trip. We ate our fill of poutine, crepes, sweet and savory, pastries, gelato, creamy ice cream, and coffee. The dark brew is another love of mine. We had tickets to go to Toronto in 2020. However, everything got canceled. I sometimes wonder if we would have gone if we would have been stuck on the other side of the border when they closed their country to America. Hm, it is a thought. LOL. We also lived in Germany for five years and could not believe how fantastic the food was there and in the many surrounding countries. My waistline can attest to that fact. ROFL. We couldn’t leave the country or the state during the pandemic, so we had to be selective about the restaurants we set out to eat in. Usually, we went right when a place opened to beat the crowds.
Coffee. Some call it a “Cup of Joe,” but I think it should be renamed as “Cup of Convo”. I’ve never sat across from anyone named Joe (I know it has something to do with grieving sailors), but I have sat with family, friends, strangers, and readers over a cup of convo and shared bits of my life or my work. A stranger has become a lifelong friend by the time we have drained the French Press dry just through the brew and babble. Even wine hasn’t connected me with another person as much as coffee. Lastly, I will say that one of my favorite things to do while traveling is finding a café or small coffee shop with my journal and pen and writing down whatever unique, new story idea that the place/country inspires, while I nibble drink some fancy latte.
Are you a “Foodies Unite” member? If you are, let me know about a new place you recently ate and what you had there or about the best cup of coffee and conversation you have ever had. 😊
COVER REVEAL for To Kiss a Flame
The one thing that Aubrey Carsen always wanted was to be a firefighter with her two friends. She returns home to her small town and new firehouse, with secrets following her, only to prove herself like a proby. But she can take it. Soon she discovers that a man from her past, an old high school crush—a man too sexy to be wrapped up in a suit all day—is too close for comfort. The day she rescues a little boy from a tree, things begin to unfold in a way she never expected. Now, being back in town has a whole new outlook. Is it possible that her time has finally come and everything she’s wanted will fall in line? Even as she is afraid to believe it.
Pierce Emory, the bank loan manager, has been burned by love for the last time. His ex-fiancé walks out on him the week before their wedding, and he can’t see himself getting lost in love again. Then his beautiful, tough neighbor comes knocking at his door in a storm. She’s sexy as hell, but there’s something about her he can’t place. When he discovers the curvy beauty was the good girl from high school, the home before dark and straight A’s, quiet type, he can’t believe her transformation. Now, she’s back in town, and the old spark between them has ignited into a flame that threatens to scorch them both.
To Kiss a Flame will be sold at Amazon, BN, Kobo, Draft 2 Digital, iBooks
Drawing ONE winner from those who comment on my Will Travel for Food and a Story post on Delilah’s blog between 26 May 2021 – 2 June 2021. The winner will get an e-Copy of To Kiss a Flame on release day, a Hero candle, and a $10 Amazon GC.
This former SEAL thought BUD/S training was the challenge of a lifetime until he faced his biggest challenge, teaching a woman who’d never learned trust to trust in them…
Former Navy SEAL, Pierce Hardman, the new guy at Montana Bounty Hunters in Dead Horse, MT, finds that riding with his partner and trainer, Marti Mills, has some perks. Marti’s unlike any woman he’s ever met, and she intrigues him from the start. However, her tough demeanor hides secrets she’d rather keep hidden. Marti’s dedication to her trade leads her to take some interesting risks that only fuel his interest and desire.
Marti’s new partner proves to be her undoing. Until Hardman, she’d never been tempted to cross certain lines. All her old tricks to deflect a man’s interest backfire on her, and soon she finds herself thinking about a life outside of “the hunt” with him.
Just when she’s ready to surrender her solitary life, one last job might cost her everything, even her life.
So, I wrapped up Hardman today! It’s why I’m posting this so late. I wanted to share another snippet from the book. I think you’ll really like this story. It’s very sexy. Much more so than Preacher. Sorry, if that’s not something you love, but Marti and Hardman wrote the story themselves. They were very “handsy.” Have a look at where Marti’s mind tends to go…
“Hardman…hard man,” Marti muttered. Then she thought maybe mumbling his name would make his handle less of an issue. “Har’man.” Now, she was reaching.
She considered calling him by his first name instead, but “Pierce” hit her straight between the thighs. She was double-fucked when she put both names together. Pierce Hardman. Had his mommy wanted him to be a porn star?
The double doors to the detention center entrance swung open, and Hardman strode outside, his gaze landing on his SUV. Wearing the dark, long-sleeved Montana Bounty Hunters T-shirt he’d pulled from his duffel earlier, he looked ripped and edgy. With his angular jaw and prominent cheekbones, he was a handsome man. His nose was slightly slanted, like it had been rearranged a little in a fight. It didn’t detract from his looks one bit. She liked that nose. Liked those gray-blue eyes, too, especially when they narrowed on her.
Yes, he’s very, very cute. And there’s tons of action in this story because Marti has to be a badass. And she’s…creative and fierce, and…can you tell I love her?
Anyway, Hardman will release next TUESDAY!
Inside Hardman, you’ll get a fun glimpse at my next hero, Chase. He’s… Well, I’m not going to give you any hints. He’s all about the job. In fact, he tried to scoop a bounty out from under Marti, because he beat her to guy she’d been trying her best to catch. As you can imagine, the interplay between Chase and Marti was…interesting. Not that kind of interesting—she’s a one-man woman. But Chase and she tend to bump heads. It’s fun. You’ll see. And if you want to go ahead and pre-order his story, follow the link! It will release in June!
First, thank you to everyone who picked up their copy of Preacher! Thank you, thank you! And bless those who left a review. Very much appreciated! But if you’ve already read the book, you should be asking for the next story, and I didn’t leave that any big mystery whose story it will be…
His name’s Pierce Hardman.
This former SEAL thought BUD/S was hard, but convincing his new trainer that all work and no play doesn’t make a bigger, badder bounty hunter might just be the greatest challenge of his life…
I’m not satisfied with that blurb, but blurbs are torturous and I suck at them. I’ll work on it.
In the meantime, can we celebrate the fact that we’re well into the Dead Horse, MT spinoff series now? I love everything about the town. Coming up with kooky names for the town’s businesses was completely fun and some readers helped with that! This is the reading order and includes the short story, “In the Wild”…
Click on the covers to learn more about these stories!
Since I have this wonderful, crazy little town of Dead Horse, should I plan to write some stories that don’t necessarily center around the bounty hunters just for fun? Would that be something you’d like to see?
Oh, and take a look at the cover reveal my dd put together for Hardman. Is this hot or what?
It’s November of the most trying year I’ve ever lived—and that’s saying a lot given the losses our family has suffered the past nearly three years. Sometimes, it truly feels like we’re living in the dawn of an “Extinction Event.” We’re doing what we can to keep ourselves healthy. I’m sure we’re making mistakes, but we’re masking, handwashing, keeping kids out of school and online, and trying not to go stir-crazy in all our togetherness. Take Halloween. We’ll be playing Halloween games and holding a scavenger hunt in lieu of trick-or-treating. Family fun. Making an event out of everything (just not an extinction event) is important for us because the kids always have something to look forward to.
All this togetherness has taken a toll on my writing. I’ve produced less than half of my usual number of stories this year. I need alone time to create. After Mom died in January and my dd’s family moved into the house, and then the pandemic forcing everyone into closer quarters 24/7, alone time is something I’m training my brain to find in the midst of kid-chaos. Of course, I wouldn’t trade having family around me for anything, but I really do have to commit to sitting my butt in a chair to write more consistently.
That’s why I’m taking up the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. It runs from November 1-30. The goal is to write 50,000 words. If you carve that up into a daily wordcount goal, that’s 1667 words a day. Completely doable. I begin tomorrow. So, today, I have to figure out what I’m going to write. I have a title (Preacher), a cover (Two, actually. See below!) and a blurb, but no idea what’s going to happen in the story. Not one clue. But I have today to figure out at least the first scene, and since it’s a Montana Bounty Hunter book, I’ll probably jump right into a takedown because those are the most fun scenes to write.
This month, is also the deadline for submissions for my Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology. NOVEMBER 15TH AUTHORS! Tell you what—accept the NaNo challenge just long enough to write that 2500-5500-word story! You can do it! So, you know, I’ll have to add reading submissions to my To Do list! Want the rules? Follow this link.
I’m also trying my hardest to cut out some time to improve my art. I love doing it at night after the hustle and bustle of the day. It’s relaxing. And I think I’m learning. This is last night’s piece. I used Nupastels which, for me, is like drawing with crayons. Completely fun and liberating. I love the foreground, the sky? Not so much, This was taken from a photograph from western Ireland.
So, that’s going to be my November—write, write, write, read, art. 🙂
My lovely sister, Elle James, gave me two versions of Preacher. I love the one with the scenery beneath the title, but when I ran them both by my Street Team, they preferred the plainer cover. So, help me make up my mind!
Comment on something I’ve written about today—NaNoWriMo, the poll—for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!