“A beam of red light shot through her window. Sunset already? She got up, fixed herself a drink, and took it to the balcony. She watched as the sun sank into the gulf, long, needle-like pincers of light stretching out as though it wanted to hook the horizon and hang on for dear life. Like Kilroy, whatever was pulling it from below won the battle and the sun dipped, leaving its signature green spot as a token of affection for the world.”
This is what it’s like to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. By day the sky is the deep blue of Paul Newman’s eyes; at close of day it’s flooded with a full palette of reds, oranges, pinks and purples. I have a lot of pictures of my granddaughter—I have even more pictures of sunsets in Sarasota!
Here’s the story of The Pit & the Passion:
At midnight, in the darkness of a deserted hotel, comes a scream and a splash. Eighty-five years later, workmen uncover a skeleton in an old elevator shaft. Who is it, and how did it get there? To find out, Charity Snow, ace reporter for the Longboat Key Planet, teams up with Rancor Bass, best-selling author. A college ring they find at the dig site may prove to be their best clue.
Although his arrogance nearly exceeds his talent, Charity soon discovers a warm heart beating under Rancor’s handsome exterior. While dealing with a drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and an irascible forensic specialist, Charity and Rancor unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.
The Milky Way spread a swath of cream overhead. One small cloud trundled across the sky. Behind it peeped a gibbous moon. The beach was wide here, sweeping south in a twelve-mile-long arc but ending only a few yards north of her at a severely eroded cliff.
Not a soul stirred on the sand, except for a couple of willets picking their way along the edge of the water. She turned and headed toward the cliff.
Someone had left a beach chair out. She sat and watched the waves, listening to the chittering of the sandpipers and the putt-putt of a trawler far out. She assumed the rustle behind her was a ghost crab and kept quiet, hoping to catch a glimpse of it. She loved the way they would stop, half in and half out of their holes, their eyestalks waving. They’re so sure they’re invisible.
She jumped straight up, knocking the chair backward.
“What th—?” Her heart pounding, she turned. At that moment, the cloud shrouded the moon, and in the sudden darkness she could only make out a form.
“It’s me. Rancor. Rancor Bass.”
She held out a hand and encountered a broad chest, lightly furred. She pulled it back quickly. “Are you…are you…”
He snickered. “Naked? As a matter of fact, yes.”
She backed up. A splash told her that her brand-new sandals were likely ruined. She vaulted out of the water and landed between two bare arms.
“Easy there, Charity. I hardly know you.”
“Stop it, Mr. Bass. And let me go. If I were you I’d drop that conceited tone. I wouldn’t be caught dead in your arms.”
His voice came low, laughter licking at its edges. “You don’t feel dead to me. In fact”—she tensed at the touch of a finger on the inside of her elbow—“you feel very much alive. And quite…fresh. Call me Rancor.”
“Rancor Bass, you leave me alone.” She tried to walk around the shadow, but an arm snaked out and caught her. She opened her mouth to scream and found two lips smothering hers. She stood quite still, fear and…something else…oh my God, desire?…taking over her senses.
He let her go. “Couldn’t resist. Wanted to see if those defensive walls could be breached.” He sat down in the chair. The moon came out from behind the cloud and cast a pale glow on his hair. “You’re a tough cookie, Charity.”
She wanted to deny it, to tell him how vulnerable she could be, but knew that would be very stupid. She wanted to kiss him again but knew that would be even more stupid. So she settled for a grunt and walked away.
He didn’t follow, and as she reached the dunes, she felt an unexpected twinge of disappointment. Could this man be the one? Nah. Still, preoccupied by this novel notion, she decided to skip the police station and go straight home. As she turned into her condominium parking lot, the obvious question finally occurred to her. What the hell is Rancor Bass doing naked on the beach in the middle of the night?
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Ms. Spencer has published eleven romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Check out my sister’s latest, exciting release! ~ DD
Montana Ranger’s Wedding Vow
Hot Delta Force Cowboy and sexy female Army Ranger plan a wedding to trap a saboteur
Dallas Hayes muscled her way through Army Ranger training only to be considered a curse on her all-male unit in an operation in Syria. When half the team is killed, she’s left Injured, losing the lower portion of her leg and is medically discharged from the life she loved in the Army. A fight with her physical therapist at Walter Reed lands her at the Brighter Days Rehab Ranch in Montana with an offer to join the Brotherhood Protectors.
Retired Delta Force soldier, Vince “Viper” Van Cleave, did his time in the Army but hasn’t managed to fit into the civilian world. What can an expert sniper do with his life when not shooting at enemy combatants? A widower, his first assignment is to masquerade as the groom of a former Army Ranger female and stage a wedding to smoke out a wedding saboteur. Together, they make a formidable team that might just make it to the altar intact.
Former Army Ranger, Daniel “Dagger” Renfrew, has been a lot of things—an Army Ranger, a Seattle beat cop, a PI, and now, a bounty hunter, which, so far, suits him just fine. In his job, he doesn’t look for easy takedowns. He likes lying in mud or snow with his binoculars trained on a window, hoping for a glimpse of the dirtbag whose mugshot he carries in his hip pocket. If they’re badasses—all the better. Dagger prefers when assholes try to run, because then he has an excuse to mix it up, get physical, and blow off steam in an all-out brawl—when the situation warrants, of course. One morning when he’s working his side gig, repossessing cars, he discovers the car he’s taking belongs to his old high school sweetheart, and there’s nothing like sweet revenge…
Lacey Jones is furious when she finds a very large, scary dude trying to steal her car. It’s the last straw. She’s lost her job and is about to lose her apartment, so there’s no way in hell she’s letting him take her damn car! When she discovers its Dagger, her old beau, she jumps into the car with him. When she learns how he makes a living, she’s curious…and then determined to become a bounty hunter herself. How hard can it be?
If you want more stories featuring Montana Bounty Hunters,
check out these titles…
The first installment in the Triplehorn trilogy arrived today! If you love stories about brothers, who also happen to be cowboys, this series is for you! All three brothers reunite with women from their pasts—the ones that got away. Plus, you won’t have to wait long to read the next two stories!
And if you have time, tell a friend about this story and, maybe, write a review. Readers trust other readers to let them know whether they should take a chance on a their next book boyfriend…
Laying Down the Law
The Triplehorn Brand, #1
A teller implicated in a bank robbery seeks sanctuary from small-town sweetheart she left behind—who happens to be the new sheriff in town.
A lifetime ago, Zuri Prescott kicked the dirt off her boots and fled her small-time, small town, but lived to regret choosing a glam city life over her high school sweetheart. When she’s framed for a bank robbery, she flees to her home town, seeking refuge with her old flame while she figures out her next steps—only to discover he’s the last man she can confide in.
Sheriff Colt Triplehorn knows trouble when he sees it, especially when it’s one familiar naked trespasser, caught between an angry bull and her underwear. Sure she’s up to her usual no good, he grants her sanctuary at his ranch where he can keep an eye on her while he purges her from his system once and for all. When he realizes she’s involved with a robbery, he has to make a career-compromising choice between following the letter of the law and his heart…
In Too Deep The Triplehorn Brand, Book #2 Coming March 20th!
Some things never change. And some things change everything…
Gabe Triplehorn can think of no better getaway from his heavy responsibilities at the ranch than to go back to a time and place where he didn’t have a care in the world. When there was just a campground, a river, and a girl. When he gets to Red Hawk Landing, the campground and the river are still there. He just never expected the girl would still be there, too. Only now she runs the place.
Lena Twohig can think of no better place to raise her young son than the family-owned campground that holds so many memories. Especially, the romance with Gabe that lit up one long-ago summer like a wild electrical storm. Now he’s back with a ranch-hardened body she knows she shouldn’t want so badly.
No amount of lies, or the years that have passed, can tame this tidal wave of passion.
A Long Hot Summer The Triplehorn Brand, Book #3 Coming April 3rd!
When two lonely hearts collide, age becomes just a number…
Sarah Colby’s marriage was over long ago, but she’s never shed the scars her abusive husband left behind. One shameful indiscretion, an affair with a younger man one long-ago summer haunts her.
Tommy Triplehorn is happy his brothers have settled down and started families of their own, but he’s feeling a little smothered by all that domesticity. Carousing and drinking no longer provide him any thrills, and he thinks he knows the reason why. He’s waited long enough for Sarah Colby to get over being ashamed of their past. He’s old enough to know what he wants, and he wants her.
I’m an author. I sure hope this doesn’t happen to me! Without Warning! (Vigilance #2) Now up for preorder! Releases March 20!
Leave me a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Book #1, Hide and Seek.
“The agents of Vigilance return to protect another high-profile target and capture hearts in the process. The stakes are somewhat higher when the history between the bodyguard and client dates back to high school. Clearing the air of past misunderstandings is almost as important as keeping the client safe. This is a fast-paced page-turner that makes for a quick and entertaining read.”– RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
When you don’t know how the story will end . . .
After years of hard work honing his craft, Blake Edwards is now an international bestselling author. But one thing he never imagined was that his fictional world would become all too real. When a stalker turns Blake’s latest book tour into a treacherous and nearly deadly trap, it’s time for Blake to hire protection. But the body assigned to keep an eye on him is someone he never wants out of his sight . . .
As a bodyguard for Vigilance, the private security agency in Blake’s hometown of Arrowhead Bay, Samantha Quenel has found the perfect outlet for her military experience. But her latest client is also a former high school flame, which might explain her willingness to protect Blake at all costs—even if that means staying in the same room with him, on the same bed, under the same torrid sheets . . .
***check out this picture of where Blake Morgan lives in Tampa, Florida.
Blake Morgan parked his car behind Slater’s Books and took a minute to gather himself together. Another note had shown up today, this one under his windshield wiper when he retrieved his car in the parking garage at the hotel. No one would have paid any attention to someone leave a note under his windshield. Why would they? He wondered, though, how whoever this was had known the car was his? It was a rental.
Three weeks. That’s how long ago this started. In the beginning he’d thought it was a joke. Or maybe even a case of mistaken identity. But after it happened so many times he got the message someone was definitely on his case. And he had no idea who or why? Was it his sudden celebrity? He’d heard war stories about obsessed fans stalking authors, but usually they left love notes.
After slogging in the trenches with his first three books, he’d finally hit the best seller lists with Number Four and Number Five. This one, Deep Cover, had been in the Top Ten for five straight weeks. Apparently someone was determined not to let him enjoy it. Today’s incident was another in a long string that rattled his cage, despite his best efforts to ignore them.
It started with one note, sent to him in the mail. One sentence on a plain sheet of paper, typed on someone’s computer
I know what you did.
He had no idea who it was from. The postmark was Boston, but he was pretty sure none of the people he knew in that city would be sending him a message like this. He had a lot of readers from that area but he never gave out his address to them.
I know what you did.
What he did? What in hell had he done? He couldn’t think of anything so terrible someone would attack him this way.
That note was the beginning. In the past three weeks he found notes left every place for him. When he checked in at one of his hotels they had one waiting for him that had been left there at the front desk for him in an envelope. No, no one could remember who left it. In a restaurant he went to the rest room and when he came back there was a note at his place setting. And of course no one had noticed anyone leaving it. Then came two emails. When he tried to reply to them they bounced back.
This week he twice received a text on his cell phone. On his publisher’s advice he had two cell phone, one for business and one for personal. This came in on the personal one. How the fuck had anyone gotten that number? But again, when he tried to reply to see who this was came back undeliverable.
They all carried the same message: I know what you did.
He wasn’t a man easily intimidated but too many incidents in such a short time could sure make a person uneasy. Who the hell was doing this to him and why? Sure, he’d made his share of mistakes in life. Pissed some people off. But he didn’t think anything he’d done was bad enough to provoke this kind of stuff. And he realized someone was going to a lot of trouble to find out his schedule so they could do this.
He picked up the crumpled piece of paper he’d stuck in the console cup holder earlier, smoothed it out and looked at it again. None of the notes were hand written. They were either printed with marking pen or typed on a computer like this one.
I know what you did.
I love to hear from my readers. Here is where you can find me:
Thank you, Delilah Devlin, for inviting me to celebrate the release of SAM’S SURRENDER, the fourth book in my Hearts & Heroes series.
I loved writing the stories in this series because I got to include places I’d been or wanted to go in my work. In Wyatt’s War, the setting was San Antonio, Texas and the beautiful River Walk. In Mack’s Witness, I took the brothers to Ireland for Wyatt’s wedding. In Ronin’s Return, I took Ronin to Venice, one of my favorite cities in the world! It was beautiful and magical.
In Sam’s Surrender, Sam picked the Greek Island of Santorini as his vacation spot. I’d been to San Antonio, Ireland and Venice, but I have not been to Santorini. It’s on my bucket list!
I love to travel and I’m working my way across the world one country at a time. It’s hard for me to believe there are people who have never left their home town or state. The world is full of beautiful and interesting places and people. I want to see them all! I hope you give Sam’s Surrender a chance and visit Santorini vicariously if not for real!
When the stress of the job pushes Sam Magnus to take greater risks than is called for as a helicopter pilot with the US Army 160th Night Stalkers, his commander insists he extend his leave for much-needed R&R. With no clue how to chill, he relies on a dart thrown at a map to determine where he should spend his unwanted vacation. The Greek island of Santorini it is! Used to non-stop action, the thought of lolling in the sun for two weeks makes him want to hurt someone. Until he interferes with an attempted kidnapping of one hot babe his first night on the island.
Stranded on Santorini, abandoned by the wealthy couple who hired her, former au pair, Kinsey Phillips, has enough going wrong with being broke and homeless, she doesn’t need to add an attempted kidnapping to her list of troubles. An Army helicopter pilot swoops in to rescue her, and thus begins a whole new set of troubles.
Hi Delilah Fans! Hope you have a safe and warm holiday season. Now that all the excitement is dying down, I’ve got something to talk about.
Addiction. It’s a horror show for everyone it touches, and I’ll bet that most of you are touched by it, one way or the other. Fortunately—I guess—the addiction that touches me isn’t opiates or meth. It’s alcohol.
Alcohol is one of those ubiquitous parts of our world that almost everyone enjoys, a sociable, relaxing, and tasty treat. It’s been part of the human experience since pre-history. According to a February 2017 article in National Geographic, “Chemical analysis recently showed that the Chinese were making a kind of wine from rice, honey, and fruit 9,000 years ago. In the Caucasus Mountains of modern-day Georgia and the Zagros Mountains of Iran, grapes were one of the earliest fruits to be domesticated, and wine was made as early as 7,400 years ago.”
Plenty of evidence suggests that from the earliest days of mankind, intoxicants—especially alcoholic drink—have been at the foundation of religion, creative arts, and even the development of language. It seems that getting out of our minds actually helps us get into our minds.
That out-of-mind aspect, unfortunately, can become a serious problem for those who can’t get far enough or often enough out of their minds, and take up substance abuse as a way of life. Some even argue that substance abuse isn’t a matter of deciding anything, that compulsive consumption is an illness that we may be predisposed to due to genetics and/or early childhood experience.
It’s said that alcoholism accounts for around 88,000 deaths every year and costs the nation billions. On a personal level, suffering addiction or experiencing the troubles of a loved one with addiction is a tragedy that seems never-ending. So when I wrote alcoholism into a character in my most recent novel, Refuge in His Arms, it was a choice I made with some hesitation.
No one wants to relive painful experiences. Romance novels aren’t exactly a place where you expect to think about addiction. No one experiences difficult relationships in the same way. But alcoholism and other forms of addiction are pervasive. Characters without flaws are simply not believable.
My story isn’t meant to be a definitive analysis of alcoholism, and the character of David isn’t just about his love of drink. By the time we see him in this story, the worst of his struggle is behind him.
But like compulsive behavior for anyone, the tendency is never far away. And as David Evans shows us in this novel, when the right circumstances arise, the desire for that mind-numbing relief becomes a battle all over again.
I’m giving a discount coupon (GC48J) for Refuge in His Arms. It’s good for three days only, January 12-14, at Smashwords. If you have opinions about the issue of addiction, alcoholism, or if you read the story and have comments, I’d love to hear them. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Here’s hoping your shiny new 2018 is another step toward your happiness! ~ Lizzie