January was a pretty cool month. I ticked off several things on my 2021 plan. So far, I’m keeping to The Plan. I do have one every year, but then life happens and things slip or disappear. But so far (I still have today to get through 🙂 ), I’m right on the mark.
I finished writing and published a book — Preacher. I really enjoyed writing it, and it looks like readers are loving it, so whew! Check
I set up the pre-order and began work on the next Montana Bounty Hunter, Hardman, and have three chapters under my belt! Check
I completed two full sets of edits for author-clients, and have two more to carry over into February. Check
My daughter restarted my Delilah Devlin Instagram and took it over, making and posting book memes for me. Something I’ve been completely haphazard about doing. Now, my Insta looks like an author lives there. 🙂 Check
With her help and pushing, I started a new FB group as a place to hang out with fans. We’ve set it up but haven’t done any big events yet, like author takeover days, but that’s coming. In the meantime, we’ve had fun with giveaways and sharing exercises. It’s been a pretty fun thing, and thank you, Kelly, for pushing me over the ledge. So, FB group, Delilah’s Corner. Check
I’ve read through roughly 1/3 of the short stories submitted for the upcoming edition of the Cowboys: Boys Behaving Badly Anthology. Check
Also, during the month, I posted plenty of fun commentary, ran numerous contests, and had many wonderful guests. Maintaining this site is work, too! Check
Already, that’s a lot, but I have one more thing to do today…
If you’ve been following me for very long, you’ll remember that I did this art challenge last year, and I posted a boatload of pics of things I completed. Well, it starts again today, so hopefully, I have room to add one more thing to my daily To Do List without capsizing that boat.
Coming in February
February will be cram-jammed. I want to complete Hardman and start on the last in the Beau Reve Coven series, Dark Moon. If Hardman takes me longer to wrap up than I’ve planned for, then I have to push out Dark Moon and start on Hot SEAL, In His Memory first, because that one has a hard due date (April 27th).
Hardman has a release date on Amazon of March 23rd, but if I finish it early, I may move the release to the end of February or early March, so be watching for that announcement!
I have a ton of short stories to still read through and make decisions regarding which stories will be in Cowboys: Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.
I have two sets of author-client edits to finish up and three more to work on in February.
I have 28 days, therefore 28 art projects, to complete in February.
Plus, I’m going to put together a box set of previously published books and run some special deals. So, be watching for that, too!
I think that’s enough, right? Okay, laid out like that, I’m a little nervous. Will you give me an attagirl? And I don’t mind a little nagging throughout the month…
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?
Some of you who loved my Stepbrothers Stepping Out series of erotic short stories especially enjoyed my With His SEAL Team series within the series and nagged, er, encouraged me to write the final sequel—Sara’s and Hunter’s wedding! Well, I finally wrote it! I hope you enjoy it! It’s short, so the perfect read when you’re taking a break from all that holiday preparation! Plus, it’s only $0.99—and FREE in Kindle Unlimited. It’s packed full of naughty goodness. Sara is after all the luckiest girl in the world. 🙂
With His SEAL Team, Part 6
Tomorrow at sunrise, I’m marrying my steplover, Hunter. At long last, I’m marrying the man I’ve loved since we first met when our parents married–a dream come true.
However, one pesky question remains unanswered. I don’t know what happens after we say, “I do.” Is tonight the last time Hunter will share me with his friends, my dearly beloved playmates?
Note: This 6,400-word short story is the sixth installment of the short story series, With His SEAL Team.
I loved writing my Uncharted SEALs series. All those rugged, alpha heroes and strong heroines. Humor. Action. All the ingredients that make stories fun for me to write, and hopefully, fun for you to read.
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 crusty veterans who were part of those stories in the scene below. Hope you enjoy it!
Click on the covers to learn more!
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…
POST COVID: If you could go anywhere in the world, what would be your cruise destination?
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.
The last Hot SEAL, Wedding Edition story is here—and it revolves around an “accidental” wedding! I know that, if you try one of our Hot SEAL stories, you’ll want to read them all. Check out Maryann Jordan’s Hot SEAL, Undercover Groom. Get your copy today, and then sit back and enjoy!
All Hot SEAL, Wedding Edition book links are below…
Hot SEAL, Undercover Groom
Bored. That’s Nolan “Ringer” Bell’s existence in a word.
A SEAL used to action, he’s sidelined for a ruptured appendix and on medical leave at his mom’s house. Desperate for any action, he agrees to help his PI sister. The case…suspected money laundering through a wedding chapel with ties to a casino.
Easy, right? Until he meets his partner.
Lynn Cox, a financial fraud analyst, is about to get the surprise of her life when whe agrees to help her best friend with a case.
She’s now partnered with the high school crush who left her behind when he joined the SEALs.
Their assignment…to have a pretend wedding to get a close-up view at what is going on in the chapel and spend their “honeymoon” at the Casino resort.
Ringer’s sweet but meddling mother is the secretary setting up the details, providing them with the paperwork for their “fake marriage license”.
Discovering they are married for real, Ringer and Lynn have to figure out how to get unmarried while still investigating the casino mob’s money laundering scheme. A night gambling and drinking lands Ringer and Lynn in honeymoon suite. Maybe mom knows best, after all.
The winners are…Candi Kandelas, Colleen C, and Amanda Zook!
Protect: keep safe from harm or injury; what real men do
I guess I have a hero complex because my favorite stories are the ones with strong heroes who have a soft spot and who also will do anything they can to protect women, especially those they love. Protecting Maddie kicked off a series for me in Susan Stoker’s Special Forces World, and brought to life Hawkeye St. John, one of my favorite heroes. Readers loved the story so much I was urged to keep it going. Well, of course! Writing about real heroes is one of the best things to do. And Maddie’s success brought readers to the other stories.
So here, for you, is a taste of all five books in the series:
Leave a comment for your choice of one of these books!
When Maddie Winslow talked a student out of his gun in her classroom, she never figured it would set off a chain of events that put her life in grave danger, and the lives of her parents.
Hiding in WitSec for thirty years, her parents thought they had beaten the odds—until the image of Maddie, an identical replica of her mother—hits the television airwaves and the people who have been seeking revenge all these years find her. Intent on learning where her mother is hiding, they break into her home and then try to kidnap her. Frightened, she goes to her friend, Zee, who once dated someone in Delta Force. She calls him to explain her friend’s situation, but he’s prepping for a mission and can’t leave the base.
Hunter “Hawkeye” St. John, a Delta Force team member, is on medical leave recuperating in Tampa and chafing for some action. When the he and Maddie meet, the sparks flying between them sizzle the air. But if Hawkeye wants to move forward with Maddie he first has to keep her safe and then eliminate the bad guys.
Injured and discharged, he is lost…
Sam Alvarez is newly discharged from SEALs that had been his entire life. Without the Team he is lost, but a bad injury to his left arm ended his career. His rehab is slow and he resents everything. The tiny isolated cabin in Maine former SEAL John “Tex” Keenan found for him is just what he wants.
Frightened and in hiding…
Physical therapist Cassie Malone had a job she loved, great friends and a man in her life she thought was Prince Charming. Until by accident she discovered he’s one of Boston’s drug kingpins. Now she’s hiding out in tiny Castile and scared he’ll find her.
When Fate throws Cassie and Sam together, it’s a battle for him to let her help him relearn everything. His surliness is in high gear and she’s always looking over her shoulder. But neither of them counted on or expected the hot, hot attraction blazing between them.
When drug smugglers show up and put everyone in danger, including Cassie, it’s up to Sam to use his skills to take them down and save the woman he’s come to love. But can he do it before it’s too late?
She thought her past was firmly behind her…
Amy Ressler was a vivacious, outgoing person, looking forward to her first job after graduating college. Until the night her stepbrother slaughtered her entire family and thought she was dead, too. For ten years she’d been living under an assumed name in a house in Tampa with security guards and a security system. Her agoraphobia keeps her a prisoner in the house where she designs sought after video games.
Quinn Molloy couldn’t seem to find a place for himself when he left the SEALS…
He has been part of the teams for eighteen years and suddenly an injury left him with no place to go, except to visit his friends Melody and Tex Keenan. Where they introduce him online to KitCat, Amy in her online disguise, a terrified woman who needs a bodyguard.
The killer is loose…
When Matthew Baker escapes from jail the hunt is on, led by the US Marshals. But with Amy helpless in her self-imposed prison, Quinn accepts the job as her personal bodyguard, and they discover that what starts online can explode n the bedroom. As long as he can keep her alive.
She wasn’t a no-name sex kind of woman but stress had gotten the better of her…
She’d never see him again so she could indulge every need and desire she had with this hot, sexy, intense, troubled man. Now she has to put it out of her mind as the DEA task force she’s on prepares to take down dangerous drug kingpin Luca Vasquez, coincidentally her brother-in-law. When her sister is murdered and her niece disappears, se leaves he task force to find her.
He couldn’t get the memories of the woman out of his mind…
Being a SEAL was the only thing Clint “Razor” DaCosta had known for twenty years until a disastrous mission ended his career. Now dreams of the raw sex with the passionate redhead are the only things that keep the nightmares of that mission at bay. He’s still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life when a phone call from a friend brings him to a shocking meeting.
Passion…danger…murder…a lethal combination
No one is more shocked than Razor and Arizona when he answers her call for help. The heat is still there and it’s hard to put aside the memories of their scorching sex. But first, they must find her niece and avenge her sister’s murder. And hope they both don’t get killed in the takedown.
And the newest…
When Terra Oenning and Griffin Dunne were paired in a Department of Homeland Security Op, neither of them expected the heat that exploded between them like the cabin they were surveilling. Personal relationships have no place in their lives. Ever. Period. That’s it. Except the night the cabin blows up so does their restraint, the sex between them so hot it sets fire to the sheets.
When the trail they are following takes them to the frozen north of Maine, even that isn’t enough to cool them down, but like experienced DHS agents, they never take their eyes off their assignment. Terrorists, computer hackers and the Croatian Mafia are combining to destroy the United States and Terra and must focus on destroying them. No problem. Despite the addictive, off-the-charts sex, they are trained agents who do their job, surveilling key players and helping to set up the takedown.
But when it goes awry and Terra is caught in the crosshairs, it will be up to Griffin to rescue her, a wake-up call for both of them that maybe, just maybe, what they have between them is real.
The next Hot SEAL, Wedding Edition story is here—and it’s a secret baby story! I know that, if you try one of our Hot SEAL stories, you’ll want to read them all! The latest release is Teresa Reasor’s Hot SEAL, Taking the Plunge! Get your copy today, and then sit back and enjoy!
All Hot SEAL, Wedding Edition book links are below!
Hot SEAL, Taking the Plunge
Rylie Stewart, daughter of SEAL legend, Admiral ‘Black Jack’ Stewart, is in trouble. Big trouble. Eight and a half months through a difficult pregnancy, she’s kept her silence about who the father of her unborn child is, but the closer she gets to giving birth the more the pressure mounts for her to reveal the man’s name. But she’s been a SEAL’s daughter for twenty-three years and she’s as good at keeping secrets as her father is.
Navy SEAL Eric ‘Viking’ Anderson has just come off a six-month deployment to find Rylie on his doorstep with news. He’s about to become a father, and she wants a promise in case something happens to her during the birth. Eric’s more than willing to give her his word, but he wants something in return. Another chance with the woman he loves. And this time they’re going to do things his way. No more hiding and no more secrets.
But there’s one truth he can’t reveal to Rylie without further damaging her rocky relationship with her father. He suspects Black Jack knew about their affair and deployed Eric to end it. But now Rylie’s carrying his baby, the Admiral will play hell getting rid of him again. His missions: To put a wedding ring on Rylie’s finger, making their relationship permanent, and to be the best dad in the world for their baby boy.