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Archive for 'contemporary romance'



What do the Ferryman, the Fates, and the King of the Underworld have in common?
Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

You’ll just have to pick up a copy of Gargoyle’s Embrace to see! Do you love mythology as much as I do? Greek, Norse, Egyptian… I could get lost for hours in books about mythical heroes! So, I wrote one. It’s very naughty! Consider yourself warned!

Gargoyle’s Embrace

Gargoyle's Embrace

Lust trapped them in darkness…only love can free them…

Petra Pedersen has lived as a recluse all her life thanks to a shameful power inherited from the father she will never know—the power to incite lust in men and women with just a touch. Exploring the garden of the mansion she’s just inherited, she comes across a fascinating stone gargoyle whose raw, passionate expression draws her to caress its powerful body. Her imagination follows her fluttering fingers. As she closes her eyes and gives herself up to the arousal, something shifts beneath her touch.

Long ago, failure to stop a demon battle trapped Octavius in a prison of stone. Freed by the woman’s incendiary touch, he doesn’t hesitate to unleash his pent-up rage and desire in a blistering fury. Yet once the haze of lust clears, he discovers he isn’t really free after all. They are both trapped in another realm where he must choose between his last chance for redemption or returning Petra home…

Warning: Sex with inanimate objects, lusty m/m/f ménages with gods… It’s all good when the reward is freedom.

Get your copy here!

And…what readers are saying about Cochise?

“This series of books [Montana Bounty Hunters] is one of the author’s finest.”

“Cochise (Book 4) was exciting, fast paced, scary, filled with plot twists…”

“Heart pounding action and a VERY satisfying read!”

A hunt deep in a national forest forges bonds between a bounty hunter and a woman desperate to find her sister…

Get your copy here!

Lizzie Ashworth: Her Pirate Adventure (Free KU Read)
Friday, July 13th, 2018

Hi Delilah Fans! I’ve got an exciting new read for you, Her Pirate Adventure. Based on a story I wrote for Pirates, Delilah’s last edition of the Boys Behaving Badly collections, I’ve created a novella full of sexy fun perfect for your vacation reading.

Right now, this can be yours for only 99¢ or FREE if you’re on Kindle Unlimited. What I’m hoping is that you’ll like it sooo much that you’ll nab it and write a review! Have I ever asked for much?

Her Pirate Adventure


Thoroughly disappointed with her expensive cruise ship vacation, Burgess Carter has one night left to find the adventure she craves. She looks up from her dinner at a seaside restaurant to see someone who might make her dreams come true. A man stands at the prow of his sailing sloop as it glides up to a nearby pier. A man like she’s never seen before, tall, dark, gorgeous and maybe a pirate. A man she absolutely has to meet.

Morgan Rand has a lot on his mind. Tomorrow will be the last day of a massive project that he and his crew have been working on for months. With any luck, he’s about to become incredibly rich. He’s nervous, exhilarated and exhausted, but not too far gone to catch the stare of an enchanting female watching him from the deck railing of his favorite restaurant. Good thing he plans to eat there. He’ll make his move on this intriguing lady and discover if she’s up for his dare.

What happens when Burgess decides to stow away and see if this pirate is real? When he decides to blow up her entire concept of adventure?

Get your copy here!

Excerpt:

With every sense piqued to the limit, Burgess tried to make a reasoned decision. She had never wanted a man like this, had never even met someone this amazing. She’d also never brazened such an outrageous maneuver. Yes, he’d been friendly. But this was his personal space. Would he be upset?

Tall, tanned, and scandalously good looking, he had actually come up to her, recognized her, talked to her. Invited her to his table, for God’s sake. Was it like she was really intruding here when a person took all that into consideration?

Anyway, even if he was upset, what would he do? It’s not like he’d beat on her or throw her overboard. At the worst, he might say she had to leave. She lifted her chin. This was her chance and she wasn’t going to chicken out now.

The boat rocked gently as she slipped further into the shadowy room. After a moment’s hesitation, she stripped off her clothes, tossed them to the floor, and climbed into the bed. Snuggling deep into the covers, she punched the pillow and propped her head so she’d see anyone entering the room.

“Umm.” Burgess was having the most incredible dream. Big rough hands caressed her breasts. A warm mouth suckled the tight nipples and kissed the hollow of her throat. “Oh,” she moaned.

If only dreams could be real. This one felt perfect. Heat radiated from his skin. He smelled of bay rum and salty air.

“Are you awake?”

A generous deep voice rumbled in her ear, so incredibly masculine. She arched toward him, urging the dream to continue. His hand slid down her belly, brushed over her damp center, then traced a light circle around her stiff clitoris sending gooseflesh down her legs.

“Oh, please,” she moaned.

The sound of his chuckle startled her awake. Light from the galley met her barely opened eyes. A dark room. A man…

Treat yourself and nab it now at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F6HCB53

About the Author

Lizzie Ashworth lives in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains with three cats, two hound dogs, and too many deer in her yard. She’s been writing her entire life and wants her readers to know how much she enjoys sharing her naughty stories.

Follow her for free erotic short works, hot photos, and the occasional rant on her blog at http://lizzieashworth.com/

Like her Facebook author page for updates on other nice and naughty works https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLizzieAshworth/

Enjoy some amazing eye candy? Check out her Pinterest page https://www.pinterest.com/ashworthlizzie/

Stephanie Queen: 5 Favorite Summer Things To Do
Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Like a lot of us, I find I have more leisure time in the summer. Work slows down, days get longer and energy goes up. Maybe it’s all a mirage, but suddenly there’s more time for the fun stuff in life.

Here are my top 5 fun summer leisure loves:

  1. The Beach. Breathing the salt air. Splashing in the ocean waves. Walking I the warm sand. Any of it. All of it! One of my favorite all time beaches is Gay Head Beach on Martha’s Vineyard, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts and top summer vacation mecca. When POTUS vacations there, you know it has to be hot! Speaking of which, POTUS plans a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard in my latest Beachcomber Investigations novel, Beachcomber Danger. The problem is there’s a credible threat to his life. But my hero and heroine, Dane & Shana will do their part to foil the threat. Of course, nothing is that easy and nothing good happens without a cost. Find out the price Dane has to pay when you read the book…
  2. Summer Theater. Maybe I’m a geek, but I love seeing those small productions done in all the vacation spots well off Broadway—mostly in the mountains. Revivals of long ago favorites like South Pacific or My Fair Lady, or my very favorite The Pajama Game. I’m heading up to the mountains in New Hampshire to see whatever they’re showing!
  3. Shopping. I know, I know. This is a great leisure activity any time of year (think Christmas) but it’s extra special when you can cruise the boutiques and shops in a vacation town, especially one that’s on the water, and duck in for specials and AC when the sun gets too hot. My favorite spot is in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, closely followed by Wolfeboro, NH on the shores of Lake Winnepesauki. Or any water front harbor town along the coast of Maine, like York or Kennebunkport.
  4. Ice Cream. I know it’s not an activity. Not strictly speaking, but eating ice cream cones, visiting shops or outdoor stands, especially if they’re along a beach or at a carnival, is classifiably a FUN activity! I enjoy the beach side stands at places like Old Orchard Beach in Maine or Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts among many, many others (closely followed by the stands that sell ‘Beach Pizza’!)
  5. Reading a Beach Book. This is the ultimate leisurely activity in the summer. Laying around with nothing to do but read for hours on end. On the beach or in a hammock or poolside. Or maybe in bed late at night or before you get up in the morning because you have nowhere else to be. The definition of leisure activity.

If you’re looking for a great Beach Read, check out my romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigations.

About the Author

USA TodayBestselling Author Stephanie Queen is a romantic at heart and a writer by nature. So of course, she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. She writes the romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigationsset on Martha’s Vineyard and the Small Towncontemporary romance series as well as other series and stand-alone novels. So far she’s published more than 25 novels and novellas and has no plans to stop.

You can check out all her books at www.StephanieQueen.com.

Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and her cat, Kitty.

Here’s my stalker sites:
Newsletter Sign-Up: http://stephaniequeen.com/sq-newsletter-sign/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StephanieQueenAuthor/
Twitter: @StephanieQueen
https://twitter.com/StephanieQueen
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/stephaniequeen2/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authorstephaniequeen
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stephanie-queen
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qCFaYV
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/738682.Stephanie_Queen
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcjLLwNSVMMxjEgC0F3qxUQ

Roxanne D. Howard: Flip the Beat
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018


Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Release Date: July 10th, 2017
Genre(s): Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Modern-Day Fairy Tale, Romantic Comedy
Buy Link: http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/flip-beat

Molly Ivers thinks she is falling for the opposite of Prince Charming, and she knows she should give him up, but, oh, the temptation.

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

Molly Ivers thought she found Prince Charming, but without a devilishly sexy accent, and six months ago she gave into their undeniable attraction. But the swarm of ever-present groupies was so not part of the fairy tale. As much as it hurt her heart, she shut out rocker Evan Castle.

Now, on the verge of finishing her graduate degree and moving to Paris—she even hires a French life coach—Molly begins to realize Evan, who hasn’t given up on her, might be the man of her dreams after all.

Excerpt:

Molly laughed while she told her what had happened last night, though at the moment, she wasn’t sure it was a joke. She sighed and left the computer to go make scrambled eggs. Nell followed her to the kitchen.

“So, should I call you ‘Number One’ now?”

She could never keep a straight face with Nell. Molly speared a peach slice with a fork and nibbled the end of it. Sweetness filled her mouth. “‘Make it so.’ No, nerd. He seems pretty cool. I mean, if I check it out, this may turn out to be a positive change. At the least, he’ll get me in shape for Paris. His bio says he’s from Giverny, and he’s a retired civil-rights attorney. His website says that when he retired, he decided to change his objective to improving people’s lives, which is why he’s a life coach. Pretty impressive.”

“So, you’re going through with it?”

“Going through with what?” They both looked into the living room, where a bemused Evan stood half naked and barefoot in a pair of black pajama bottoms. Molly licked nectar off the peach on the end of her fork to save it from dropping to the floor. Evan’s jaw tightened, and his eyes gleamed as he zeroed in on her. He cleared his throat and lifted an empty half gallon of milk. “Sorry, you left the door cracked open. I came to borrow milk.”

“Jesus, Evan! Knock next time, or at least text. I’m in my panties.” Nell smacked him on the arm and tugged down her nightshirt as she ran past him into her bedroom.

“Sorry,” he said, but he seemed distracted as he strode toward Molly, eyes glued to her lips. She sucked the rest of her peach slice into her mouth and wiped at a little of the nectar at the corner of her lips. Her cheeks blazed at the hungry longing in his eyes. She turned away to open the fridge to get the milk. It wasn’t uncommon for them to borrow food from one another, and he always watched out for them. He had a comforting, protective nature she’d gotten used to.

She grew painfully aware of her night shorts, which had a tendency to ride up her butt and cut off at mid-thigh, and her thin white tank top. Could he see her nipples? And jeez, Louise, why did they have to harden every time he came near her?

She pushed hair out of her face and poured the milk into his empty half gallon. “Help yourself to the fruit in the bowl there. Nell had leftovers. How much milk do you want?”

“Enough for a bowl of cereal, please. I’ll get some at the store later.” His voice only dropped that low and husky during sex. She stopped after she poured enough milk, then gave him extra.

Evan reached over her to open a nearby drawer. He took out a fork, inserted it into the flesh of a peach slice, and brought it to his lips.

“Forbidden fruit, hmm?”

He teased the fruit around his lips with a wicked smirk. He winked at her and sank his teeth into half the peach as he watched her, licking it. Her mouth went dry. Oh, he knew what he was doing.

Check out the Official Book Trailer on YouTube!

Follow Roxanne’s book releases over the next six months. Be sure to add the books to your TBR pile!

About the Author

Roxanne D. Howard writes sizzling erotic romance with Boroughs Publishing Group and The Wild Rose Press. She is a U.S. Army veteran, and a Columbia College alumni. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she’s not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, children, and furry companions. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

Other Books by This Author

Sonnet Coupled

Social Media Links (for Roxanne):
Website: www.roxannedhoward.com
Newsletter: http://roxannedhoward.com/subscribe/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneDHoward
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoxanneDHowardAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roxanned.howard/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019190.Roxanne_D_Howard

Cathy Perkins: That Truck Did What With Those Rocks?
Friday, July 6th, 2018

Thanks for letting me visit with you, Delilah! I thought it would be fun to share the story behind the story with your readers. Let me back up a minute. The first question usually starts: Where do authors get their ideas?

Someone told me they think an author’s brain is a scary place! We do constantly ask, “What if…?”

Sometimes a daydream offers a story start, but ideas and inspiration can show up in the strangest places. My husband and I were in eastern Washington state, hiking along the Snake River in a game management area called Big Flats (which happens to feature in So About The Money, the first book in the Holly Price Mystery series). We had to push through some tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind really can go strange places, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”

Fortunately, he laughed.

That germ of an idea—a body in the middle of nowhere—kept growing. Why would the heroine be at Big Flats to stumble over the body? How did the body end up beside the river in the first place?

The idea for In It For The Money (Book 4 in the series) came while I was chatting with a friend’s nephew at a party. He was all excited about designing some bizarre machine called a Rockcrawler. I had no clue what he was talking about, but I picked up on his passion. And my writer’s brain went, Hmmm… Rockcrawlers… That’s different.

Let me explain Rockcrawling—or rather, here’s how Holly described the sport to her friend, Laurie Gordon, after Holly dragged Laurie to the opening day events:

“Two guys were sitting on their back porch, drinking.” Holly raised her wine glass and Laurie clicked the rim. “One polished off his beer, belched, and popped open another can. He pointed at the vacant lot next door and said, ‘Betcha I can drive my truck over those rocks.'”

“You’re lying.” Laurie narrowed her eyes.

“Swear to God.” Holly raised her right hand. “And since God takes care of idiots and drunks, the first one made it over—alive—and his friend and all their friends had to try. And their friends…” She waved at the scene before them.

Continuing that excerpt…

Beyond the last vendor booth, Holly saw another jacked-up truck rumble toward the enormous pile of boulders that marked the start of the rockcrawler course. The crowd shifted, watching the truck’s progress up the torturous 45-degree angle.

Just past a short series of tented seating—the sponsors’ section and some “premium seats”—an array of parked pickup trucks overflowed the designated parking area. Men—and a few women—stood in the beds for an elevated view. More than one person had climbed onto the top of the truck’s cab. The coolers and grills gave new meaning to the term “tailgate party.”

Holly waved a hand at the crowded areas beside the course. She wasn’t sure what to call the space. The stands? Infield? Peanut gallery? “Trucks climbing over rocks may be nuts, but this is fun. It’s like a big party.”

“Clearly, you don’t get out enough,” Laurie said dryly.

“Maybe.”

Probably.

“’Course, when you told me rockcrawling was a big deal, I about laughed my ass off. I mean, seriously? Rockcrawlers? I still can’t believe they drive trucks over big piles of rocks.” Laurie worked in admin at the local hospital. The Boulder Bounders sporting event wasn’t exactly her scene, either. “I’ve never seen so much alcohol and testosterone in the same place. It’s like a slow-mo NASCAR race with giant wheels.”

“And rocks. Don’t forget the rocks,” Holly said. For a moment, she longingly watched the partying instead of the competing truck. She needed to, make that wanted to, invite friends over for a cookout at her house—if she could find an open afternoon in her overcrowded schedule.

Yeah, good luck with that.

IN IT FOR THE MONEY

Holly Price traded professional goals for personal plans when she agreed to leave her high-flying position with the Seattle Mergers and Acquisition team and take over the family accounting practice. Reunited with JC Dimitrak, her former fiancé, she’s already questioning whether she’s ready to flip her condo for marriage and a house in the ‘burbs.

When her cousin Tate needs investors for his innovative car suspension, Holly works her business matchmaking skills and connects him with a client. The Rockcrawler showcasing the new part crashes at its debut event, however, and the driver dies. Framed for the sabotage, Tate turns to Holly when the local cops—including JC—are ready to haul him to jail. Holly soon finds her cousin and client embroiled in multiple criminal schemes. She’s drawn into the investigation, a position that threatens her life, her family and her already shaky relationship with JC.

LINKS:

Amazon: http://authl.it/B07D6FDF2X
http://bit.ly/InIt_AmazonUniversal
Nook: http://bit.ly/Nook_InItForTheMoney
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Kobo_InItForTheMoney
iBooks: http://bit.ly/iBooks_InItForTheMoney

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cathy Perkins started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting daydreams. Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was hooked on the joy of creating stories. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Sign up for her newsletter on her website or follow her on BookBub for new release announcements.

You can also find her hanging out on Twitter – https://twitter.com/cperkinswrites and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCathyPerkins

Flashback: Before We Kiss (Contest–3 winners!)
Thursday, July 5th, 2018

I love my Uncharted SEALs series. All have rugged, alpha heroes. All have strong heroines. Humor. Action. All the ingredients that make the stories fun for me to write, and hopefully, fun for you as well.

With Uncharted SEALs, I experimented a bit. For the first time, I did sequels with the same characters—for the simple reason I couldn’t say goodbye to them. I wanted to see inside their Happy Ever Afters. Through Her Eyes and Between a SEAL and a Hard Place share the same main characters, as do Dream of Me and Heart of a SEAL. Big Sky SEAL gave birth to my Montana Bounty Hunters, introducing Jamie and Reaper, who as a result of their work in Big Sky earned their own satellite office of MBH.

A fun theme I used in two of the stories was a cruise ship. Both Before We Kiss and Hard SEAL to Love are set on the same ship, and have the same supporting characters. You’ll meet the old guys in the scene below. Hope you enjoy it!

Watch Over Me   
*~*
Baby, It's You Before We Kiss Special Forces: Operation Alpha: Between a SEAL and a Hard Place 
*~*
  Head Over SEAL

Click on the covers to learn more!

Contest

Win your choice of one of my Uncharted SEALs stories! There will be 3 winners! All you have to do to enter is answer me this…

If you could go anywhere in the world, what would be your cruise destination?

Before We Kiss

Before We Kiss

Navy SEAL, William “Wiley” Coyote, should have known his “piece of cake” assignment would go sideways in a hurry. But he’d been lured by the promise of an all-expenses-paid cruise. A nice “fluffy” assignment after the last one spent escorting freighters through pirate-infested waters in the Strait of Hormuz.

A general’s daughter, Poppy Shackleford, wasn’t some spoiled daughter of a man made famous for defeating insurgent forces. She’d endured her own tragedies—the loss of her mother when she was young and her father stationed in Afghanistan, and the loss of her fiancé after he’d sustained wounds in Iraq—not from the physical wounds that had claimed his two legs—he’d taken his own life. His death was why Poppy was involved in Soldiers’ Sanctuary, a non-profit that helped disabled soldiers adjust to their new circumstances. Her mission in life is to see that no veteran of war would ever feel so alone, so hopeless he’d choose her dead fiancé’s path. Which was why, despite the current threats against her father, she was on this cruise, assessing the ship’s ability to accommodate the soldiers rather than sending a surrogate.

However, the first threat doesn’t come from terrorists with an axe to grind. Mexican banditos stop her tour bus heading toward Mayan ruins to shake down the passengers for their money and belongings. When one snaps a picture of her, he soon figures out there’s a much bigger payday. She knows she’s going to be kidnapped, but she didn’t know someone was on that same tour bus who had her back.

Wiley’s unconventional takedown of her would-be kidnappers exposes the fact her father didn’t honor her wishes to fly under the radar. And now that the cat’s out of the bag, Wiley’s made it clear he’s moving into her suite for the rest of their time at sea to keep her out of harm’s way.

Excerpt from Before We Kiss

William “Wiley” Coyote should have known the “piece of cake” assignment his team leader, Deke Warrick, offered him would go sideways in a hurry. But he’d been lured by the promise of an all-expenses-paid cruise. A nice “fluffy” assignment after the last one spent escorting freighters through pirate-infested waters in the Strait of Hormuz. He was due a vacation, and he’d envisioned slipping into a chaise on the cruise ship’s deck while his target sunbathed nearby. Something his team leader had warned him might not be in the cards. After all, Deke’d had a similar, simple assignment when he’d been tasked with protecting a girl. And look what it had gotten his buddy. Shot at. Then married. Happily, it seemed.

Not that Wiley had marriage on his mind. No, sir. Not him. Everything he owned was stuffed into a duffle bag. He lived in hotel rooms, tents, and, now, a cruise boat cabin. No, he had nothing to offer a bride. Marriage wasn’t something in his cards. And certainly not to some celebutante who couldn’t keep her picture off multiple social media sites on a daily basis. That sort of exposure, even by association, would be deadly in his line of business.

He’d listened intently when Deke outlined his assignment, determined to keep this job all business, despite the photos that had spilled from the envelope during his initial briefing.

“Every time she steps out of her suite, the room attendant will buzz you. You keep on her tail, but not close enough she notices. Her daddy said she’d raise hell if she knew he’d hired security after she refused a special detail.” At that point, Deke had grinned. “I think he’s a little afraid of her.”

Wiley hadn’t smiled. Instead, he’d grunted. General Shackleford wasn’t any lightweight desk-jockey. He’d seen his share of action.

The ship had barely left the Port of Miami before Wiley understood. The woman never stopped moving. Or talking. Sometimes loudly, if she didn’t like what she heard. If he could have worn earplugs, possibly his first impressions of her would have been very different.

Poppy Shackleford was a pretty little thing. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, lightly tanned, curves in all the right places. And maybe five-foot-two in her espadrille sandals. He’d had a girlfriend charge two pairs to his credit card years ago, so he knew darn well what they were and how much the cork-heeled things cost. Although he could appreciate the sexy curves the three-inch heels gave her toned calves, he wasn’t risking getting any closer. So far, he’d managed to operate under the radar. He had no doubts she’d know exactly what he was there to do if she got one good look at him. Nothing escaped her attention. Not the too-steep ramps leading onto the ship when they’d embarked. Nor the undercooked steak she’d been served last night in the dining room.

He’d begun to think she was deaf because she talked so loudly, but then he’d realized her complaints were on behalf of her fellow passengers, and this cruise had been billed as senior-themed. Most of the thousand passengers on board were over seventy. The dinner conversation surrounding him last night consisted of tracking blood sugar levels as his companions pricked their fingertips and fed droplets of blood into their readers. Afterwards, their conversation drifted to the best fiber to promote healthy bowels and where the captain would store their bodies if they happened to pass during the night.

“No kidding?” Deke had said after Wiley’s status update early that morning.

Wiley’s jaw ground shut at the snickering no hand over a receiver could muffle. “The Countess cruise line’s security seems pretty tight. Someone is always nearby, although they’re better at blending in than I am.”

“You mean you didn’t pack any Hawaiian shirts?”

“Don’t own one,” he’d gritted out.

“How are you keeping from blowing your cover?”

Wiley grunted. “I haven’t shaved, and I have on my cowboy hat and boots.”

“So you’re sticking out like a sore thumb.”

“She won’t expect a security detail to blend in quite like I do.”

Deke grunted. “Just remember you have people positioned around the ship. Channel two if you need them.”

Which would be great if his assignment was actually aboard the ship. The farther into the jungle their tour bus drove, the deeper his concern grew. They were on an excursion to view Mayan ruins. Anywhere along their route would be a great place for an ambush. The two security people provided by the cruise line to accompany his target were in good shape, but he could tell neither was armed. Conventional weapons were impossible to smuggle aboard the ship, and the weapons kept under lock and key aboard the vessel wouldn’t have been permitted for this little jaunt.

And why were they out here? If he remembered right, the pyramids weren’t exactly wheelchair-friendly. But he knew Poppy was thorough, that she took her tour coordinator job seriously. No stone would be left unturned. No tour unvetted, personally, by her.

He’d read the dossier Charter Group had put together. Poppy Shackleford, daughter of Lieutenant General Randall Shackleford, wasn’t some spoiled daughter of a famous man. She’d endured her own tragedies—the loss of her mother when she was young and her father stationed in Afghanistan, the loss of her fiancé after he’d sustained wounds in Iraq, although not from the physical wounds that had claimed both his legs. Frank Sutton, who’d been despondent over the loss, had killed himself.

His death was why Poppy was involved in Soldiers’ Sanctuary, a non-profit that helped disabled soldiers adjust to their new circumstances, whether supporting wounded vets with additional therapies the VA was slow or unable to provide, or seeking the latest in prosthetics and mobility devices. And the organization provided mentorship, one wounded soldier to another, to ensure no veteran of war would feel so alone, so hopeless, they’d choose Frank Sutton’s path.

Wiley understood and admired her for not simply crying then moving on, but embracing a cause that might help others. However, today he wished she wasn’t quite so determined to make it impossible for him to protect her. Not that she had a clue he was there. If she’d glanced toward the back of the air-conditioned bus, all she might have noted was one dark head amid a sea of white, gray, and blue.

The fellow seated next to him gave another narrow-eyed, flinty glance.

Wiley aimed a frown his way, hoping the old guy would mind his own business. The man was burly, surprisingly muscled for an old dude.

He leaned sideways in his seat and whispered, “Name’s Joseph Olinsky, but you can call me Joe. I’m a Marine.” He nodded toward the head of the bus where Poppy stood beside the tour guide, asking questions. “She someone important?”

Not as invisible as I thought. Wiley blinked. “No, sir. I think she’s just another passenger. A noisy one.”

Shaking his head, Joe grunted. “She has a detail. That guy with a clipboard ain’t a cruise director. I’d say he’s ex-Navy, probably a SEAL. Has a trident tattoo on his upper arm. Saw it when he was stowing her backpack into the overhead.”

Knowing there was no use convincing Joe he was just a guy on a trip to see a pyramid, Wiley gave him another look. He recognized the type—his dad had been the same steady, patriotic sort. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Maybe he did need backup, should shit go sideways. “You’re right,” he murmured. “The cruise line provided her security.”

“What about you?” his gray-haired companion asked.

“Name’s Wiley, and I was Navy.”

“A SEAL,” he said, nodding. “Can’t hide that look. Everyone else, besides her, has been taking a nap. Not you. You’ve been watching the road ahead. Expect trouble?”

“Not expecting, but prepared.”

Joe nodded. “Don’t get along as well as I used to,” he said, patting his right knee. “But I can be another set of eyes. And I do know who she is, son. She’s the daughter of that general ISIS wants taken out. They had his face and his daughter’s plastered all over Facebook faster than Homeland and the FBI could take down the pages.”

Wiley almost smiled at how in tune the old guy was. “Nothing much gets past you, does it?”

Joe lifted his chin toward two older gentlemen seated across the aisle from them.

Wiley glanced over to find both old codgers staring back.

“We were in the same division, the 3rd, during Vietnam. We’re all that’s left of our company. Try to take a trip every couple of years. Went to Nam five years back. There were eight of us then.”
Wiley nodded his understanding.

“That’s Morty,” he said, pointing at the thin one with a round belly. “The other one’s Sly.”

Sly gave him a grin that displayed unnaturally white teeth.

Wiley gave both men a nod then turned his attention back to the front of the bus.

“She know you’re tailing her?”

How had the old guys figured out he was there for Poppy? He remembered how the old men had jostled him, cutting him from the rest of the group when they’d boarded the bus. He’d thought it unintentional, but now knew they’d meant to be seated beside him. Admiring their cunning, he shook his head. “She doesn’t know. Not yet, anyway.”

“Need a better cover,” Joe said, eyeing his boots and the scruff on his chin. “Could tell folks you’re my grandson.”

Wiley chuckled. Sounded like a better plan than the one he’d started with. “Just don’t get in the way. If things go down…”

“You could use another set of eyes—between the three of us, we might just make one good pair.” Joe tilted his head toward his buddies.

This time, Wiley laughed.

Joe grinned and gave a slow nod to his companions, who settled back in their seats and now directed their attention to the job at hand—and the woman wearing the pretty blue dress at the front of the bus.

Suddenly, the bus shuddered and slowed. Cries arose from those seated near the front.

“Fat’s in the fire now,” Morty said, pointing forward.

Wiley cussed. A pickup was parked sideways in the middle of the road. He began to rise, but then he noted the four men standing in front of the truck. All dark, but with features that were clearly Mestizo. So, bandits rather than terrorists. He settled back in his seat. He’d let this play out a bit before he gave himself away. As long as no one was hurt, he’d keep his cover.

Kate McKeever: A Writer’s Life
Friday, June 29th, 2018

The image of a writer varies, according to the person you ask. For some, it’s the image of a famous, wealthy author who goes on book tours, accompanied by a well-dressed but harried assistant and with tons of extravagances. For others, it’s the image of a poorly dressed, shivering person in an attic or garret, pounding away at a keyboard. And then there’s the image of the person who writes on the same book for eons, never to get it published.

The true image of a writer, at least for me, is very different. A writer is someone who lives for words. Words she reads, writes and edits over and over again. And this part of my life is very solitary. Not lonely, certainly, as I’m living with the people I’ve created and placed in jeopardy. But there is another facet of my life as a writer, and that’s the more public image.

As a romantic suspense writer, I compete, whether I like it or not, with many other writers and have to find readers in various ways. One of those is to attend conferences and book signings. There, I put on my smile and talk to readers, meet other authors and generally try to expand my world. Through the years, I’ve come to realize I haven’t only been trying to sell books and “get my name out there”, but I’ve met some awesome people.

I’ve met husband and wife teams who write together or who act as each other’s technical expert/editor/artist. I’ve met mother-daughter teams who do the same. And I’ve met individuals with talents that extend from cooking to metal works and more. Each and every one of these people who I’ve met has left a mark on me and on my creativity, I think. So, this blog’s purpose is to thank each and every person I’ve met over the years who has made conversation, complimented me on my books, laughed at my jokes and sat with me at breakfast when I’m less than pleasant.

While I’m an introvert at heart, I’ve come to appreciate and look forward to the reader/author events I go to each year and to see the friends I’ve made. I relish the opportunity to talk books with people who equally appreciate them, as I do. And I look forward to being able to do this in the future as well.

If I see you at an event in the future, please say hi. I’m there for the pleasure of socializing with like-minded people. And if I sell some books? That’s good too.

Oh, by the way, I have a novella coming out on June 26th, Saving Sidewinder. It’s set in Elle Jame’s Brotherhood Protectors World and is available here:  https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Sidewinder-Brotherhood-Protectors-World-ebook/dp/B07DR2GSZL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529969250&sr=8-1&keywords=saving+sidewinder.

Below is a short blurb. Hope you check it out.

Saving Sidewinder

Sam “Sidewinder” Jameson left the Rangers to keep an eye on his young friend, Kid, as he recovers from their last mission, an injury Sam blames himself for. To tide him over and be close at hand, Sidewinder agrees to a short stint with Hank Patterson’s Brotherhood Protectors. He expects his assignment to guard Alana Christian and her son from threats to be a job, nothing more. What he doesn’t plan on is how the job will change him and his expectations, both of Kid and of himself.