Archive for 'Texas'
Monday, January 2nd, 2017
I have an exciting year planned. I can’t wait to share everything going on.
First, my last book in the Devil’s Shroud series with Harlequin Romantic Suspense released yesterday. I think you’ll love Andrew Stratford, his daughter Leigha and their protector Dix Reeves. Prepare yourself for an exciting conclusion to the series and to fall in love with the characters.
At the end of January, my sister, Delilah Devlin and I have a co-authored book coming out SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT. It’s book #2 in the Texas Billionaires Club series. It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy you’ll enjoy.
And watch for more exciting things coming from the BROTHERHOOD PROTECTORS Series. I have 3 books planned and Amazon has given me a Kindle World for this series! That’s right. There will be many authors writing stories in this world. I can’t wait to see these stories. I know you will love them and the authors contributing to them, to include my lovely sister, Delilah Devlin!
In a Gothic mansion on a windy coast, former soldier Dixie Reeves and her client, billionaire Andrew Stratford, are in grave danger. The single dad has hired her to help him protect his daughter from a mysterious threat. As their enemy closes in, even tough-as-nails Dixie has to hold her nerve…and keep her guard up to stop herself from falling for Andrew and his adorable little girl. The long nights pass, and Dixie and her handsome boss can’t deny they’re barreling toward the kind of love that changes lives. That is, if they can somehow keep their instant family safe from the danger at the door!
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SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
What happens when a young Martha Stewart teams up with the Oscar Madison of radio talk shows? Sparks fly, romance blooms and their audience goes wild
Diane Denton is a cool, sophisticated home and garden talk show host on K-YAK 102.5 radio station. All she thinks she wants is to talk about fertilizer and place settings, while fending off her well-meaning country club parents’ attempts to push her into marriage with the “right man.”
To Diane, fellow talk show host, Rip O’Rourke, is nothing more than a rebellious, overgrown teenager flaunting his baseball-capped, Hawaiian-shirted, ex-football player physique to “score” with anything with breasts. Proof of his perversity is the crude, but popular, hour of programming he hosts that discusses such manly topics as wet T-shirt contests and sports statistics. Diane wouldn’t spit on Rip if he were on fire, while Rip on the other hand, wants to do more than spend time with Diane. She is a challenge to mankind as a whole and his goal in life is to see Diane’s crisp shirts and tailored slacks properly rumpled, just once.
Rip gets his opportunity when the radio station is sold to a large corporation and the station manager is challenged to come up with a prime-time show that will set the city on its ear. From one of Rip and Diane’s public arguments springs the idea of a show about the differences between men and women giving their audience, “Something to Talk About.”
Amazon | Kobo |GooglePlay
Saturday, December 10th, 2016
Did you know that my sister and I co-authored 5 books before we branched out on our own? We love romantic comedy and hope you will love it too. In January, SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT will release for the first time! It’s the second book in the TEXAS BILLIONAIRES CLUB. If you liked THE UGLY TRUTH with Gerard Butler and Kathrine Heigl, you’ll like this story. It’s up for preorder on Amazon, so don’t wait. Get it now. It’ll be fun! And we have 3 more books in the series!
What happens when Martha Stewart teams up with the Oscar Madison of radio talk shows? Sparks fly, romance blooms and their audience goes wild!
Diane Denton is a cool, sophisticated home and garden talk show host on K-YAK 102.5 radio station. All she thinks she wants is to talk about is fertilizer and place settings, while fending off her well-meaning country club parents’ attempts to push her into marriage with the “right man.”
To Diane, fellow talk show host, Rip O’Rourke, is nothing more than a rebellious, overgrown teenager, flaunting his baseball-capped, Hawaiian-shirted, ex-football player physique to “score” with anything with breasts. Proof of his perversity is the crude, but popular, hour of programming he hosts that discusses such manly topics as wet T-shirt contests and sports statistics. Diane wouldn’t spit on Rip if he were on fire, while Rip, on the other hand, wants to do more than spend time with Diane. She is a challenge to mankind as a whole, and his goal in life is to see Diane’s crisp shirts and tailored slacks properly rumpled, just once.
Rip gets his opportunity when the radio station is sold to a large corporation, and the station manager is challenged to come up with a prime-time show that will set the city on its ear. From one of Rip and Diane’s public arguments springs the idea of a show about the differences between men and women, giving their audience, “Something to Talk About.”
ELLE JAMES aka Myla Jackson
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
MONTANA D-FORCE | SEAL’S DECEPTION | SEAL’S DELIVERANCE
DEADLY OBSESSION | NAVY SEAL TO DIE FOR | NAVY SEAL SIX PACK
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page
Tuesday, October 25th, 2016
UPDATE: The winner of the free prequel story is…Enikö!
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So, last Saturday, I had this story come out called Flashpoint. It features two of my favorite things—a firefighter from down in Texas. I loved writing Troy Barlow. He’s a hero who doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he’s strong at his core, playful when he’s bent on seduction, and just plain yummy. I’ll share an excerpt below so you can see just what I mean.
I’m trying to get out the word about this story, and I could use your help. It’s easy, just two clicks really, starting with clicking on this link: Thunderclap.
Thanks for doing that! One more thing you need to know about Flashpoint, it’s the fourth story in a series of related, but standalone stories. The first three books are also in Kindle Unlimited, which means if you have a subscription, they are all FREE!
Here’s the three stories. You can click on the covers if you’re interested in more sexy adventures featuring men with badges and suspenders…
And if you’re not a KU subscriber, but would like to win a copy of one of these prequel stories, leave a comment for a chance to win! Tell me whether you love Texas settings, and what you might like to see from me in the future!
His touch makes her burn…
Troy Barlow wasn’t looking for love when he competed in the Texas Tough Firefighting Competition, but one feisty little blonde caught his attention and wouldn’t let go. The more she tried to deflect him, the more determined he became to make an impression, until he did something she couldn’t possibly ignore.
The last thing Diana Boyle expected to feel was attraction for another firefighter. After her husband’s death, she’d been adamant–never another firefighter. But Troy was impossible to escape. When he wore down her resolve, she thought a one-night-stand might purge him from her system once and for all, but his powerful appeal and uninhibited lust and zest for life were addictive. When a harrowing fire threatens their newfound happiness, Diana has to face her worst fears.
Get your copy here!
They’re naked and standing in front of the bathroom mirror…
Another shiver traveled down Diana’s spine. She’d never seen a look quite like the one Troy wore now. Ravenous. Wild. His blue irises had nearly been consumed by his black pupils. His jaw was tight; his skin stretched over his cheekbones. And every part of him that touched her was hard. The arm clamped over her breasts. The chest pressed against her back. The cock lodged between the globes of her ass.
She’d wanted uncomplicated sex. Maybe a little gymnastic, too. But this was a whole other prospect. Troy was set to turn her inside out, and she was worried she wouldn’t be enough to satisfy him.
Her sex life with Mike had been…nice. Happy. Comfortable. But the emotions Troy aroused in her now were anything but.
His intense expression said he’d allow no modesty. No holding back.
As if she could. Already her sex was damp, her labia swelling. Her nipples had sprung instantly when cool hair had hit them, and now ached pressed against his arm.
“Stop looking at me like that,” he growled into her ear.
“Like what?” she asked, gasping when he bit her lobe.
“Like I’m the big bad wolf.”
“I’m not afraid.”
“Then why are you shaking?”
She widened her gaze, locking with his in the mirror and licked her bottom lip. “Because I’m dying to feel you inside me,” she whispered.
He groaned and his arm moved downward, fingers sliding between her legs to feather across her slit. “You’re wet for me.”
Diana leaned her head against his shoulder and reached back both hands to grab his ass. It was hard, no give at all. She dug her nails into his skin.
He slipped a finger into her pussy and swirled it.
She turned her head to hide her expression as she drew a hissing breath between her teeth. More fluid greeted him, wetting his hand, sliding down her thigh.
“I’m gonna lick that all up.”
Once corner of her mouth kicked up as she wrinkled her nose. “Big talk for a man who can’t seem to find his own bed.”
“I’ll get there. Promise.” But instead of leading her into his room, he reset his feet farther apart, lowering his height, and pushed his cock between her legs. Now she could see him there, sliding through her folds, his big fat head appearing then disappearing, as he stroked forward and back. A crude image that made her nipples harden.
She couldn’t stand the tingling there and cupped her breasts, playing with the tips. His gaze dropped to watch, and he tucked a finger into the top of her folds to circle her clitoris.
She jerked because the nubbin was already hard and engorged. The hood had slipped away. His raspy fingertip touched it directly, and she wasn’t sure she could take much more until he raised his finger, wet it with his tongue, and resumed his teasing motions.
“Troy,” she groaned, arching her back and reaching now to clutch his hair. She pulled as she began to writhe against him, loving the slide of his thick cock, the scrape of his finger. She could come like this, but she wanted more. Wanted him deep. Wanted to be so full and stretched she didn’t remember who she was or the fact this wasn’t something lasting.
Troy removed his hands then tugged on her hair and pulled back her head. Coming around her, he kissed her hard, then walked her backward, his arms surrounding her, guiding her, until her thighs hit the mattress, and she fell back.
Then he was on her, not allowing her to scoot deeper onto the mattress. With her legs hanging over the side, she watched breathlessly as he knelt between her legs and set her thighs on his shoulders.
“Too much,” she said, shielding her pussy with her hand. Too embarrassing. Too intimate. Him there, seeing everything in the lamplight.
But he ignored her, nipping her fingers until she withdrew them. Then he pulled her labia into his mouth, sucked on them, chewed them gently, getting them wet and engorged. When she was ready to scream, he backed off to blow cool streams of air over her hot flesh.
Then he parted her folds, tugging them upward to expose her clit. She groaned again and closed her eyes, refusing to watch him because it was so much dirtier to see what he did than simply feel.
He rubbed his cheeks and chin in her wet folds, the scrape of his beard itchy and exciting. Then he flattened his tongue and licked her up and down, making sure to pay more attention to the tight, hot bud at the top.
Before long, Diana rocked her head side to side and tapped his back with her heels, while she moaned and shrieked, because he surprised her, licking her, then biting her, stroking his fingers inside her pussy, teasing her asshole. Things she couldn’t prepare herself to accept because he never gave her warning.
“Bastard,” she gasped when his tongue dipped into her anus. This wasn’t happening, he wasn’t doing that.
In the next instant, she yelped because he stood and gripped her waist, shoving her toward the center of the bed, then climbing quickly over her.
When he lay atop her, his weight propped on his elbows, his cock resting on her mound, he smiled down at her. “I love the sounds you make. Do you know you chirp?”
“That was a squeal.”
“Sounded like a cricket.”
“You surprised me.”
He bent and flicked his tongue against her earlobe. “And what was that other sound. Sounded like a squeaky door.”
“It was a moan, you idiot, that you interrupted when you…did that thing.”
“That thing? Do you mean when I tongue-fucked your ass?”
She clapped her hand over his mouth. “Don’t say that. It never happened.”
He bit her fingers.
“Don’t get in the way.”
And then he was scooting downward, this time hovering over her breasts.
“They’re small,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
“You could always gain fifty pounds. There’d be more.”
“You want me to gain fifty pounds to make my boobs bigger?”
“No, but if you want them bigger, I’m game. Just more of you to bounce against.”
She couldn’t help it. She laughed. “You say the most ridiculous things.”
“I like your tits,” he said, dropping a kiss on one distended nipple then the other.
“Good to know,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest because he was staring so intently.
He grabbed her arms and moved them to her sides. “Stop hiding.” He stuck out his tongue and licked around one dark circle. “You’re soft everywhere—but here the most,” he said, giving her another lick. Then he latched onto the tip and drew hard, like he was sucking a milkshake through a straw.
Her toes curled. More fluid trickled down her channel. “Troy, please.” She gripped his ears and pulled him.
He slid upward. His cock pushed against her folds, and he paused to reach downward and part them so that he could set his fat head against her opening. When he glanced toward her face, he gave her a tight smile. “Almost there. Think you’re ready?”
She shook her head. “Do you always talk this much during sex?”
“I don’t know. I tend to talk when I’m nervous.”
She canted her head. “You’re nervous about doing this with me?”
He nodded and gave her another quick smile. “You’re…so fucking sexy. Perfect. Still can’t believe you gave me the time of day, much less access to your pretty cunt.”
She smacked his shoulder.
He waggled his eyebrows.
“I’m older than you.”
“Are you?” he said, sounding surprised.
She smacked him again.
“And I’m twenty-eight. So, not a huge difference, babe.”
“Guess it doesn’t matter. It’s just sex.”
“And for that…” he pushed inside her, coming steadily up her channel, leaving her no chance to catch her breath, no time to get used to his size. He was just there. Deep inside her. His arms around her. His body over her. No escaping his steady gaze or the strength of will evident in his taut features.
She drew a ragged breath, widened her legs, then lifted her knees, easing them alongside his hips, hugging them, like she wanted to hug him, but couldn’t because her arms were trapped against his chest.
“This what you do when a girl pisses you off?” she asked.
“This what you want me to do?”
Sunday, October 2nd, 2016
UPDATE: The winners are Roxie, Jackie Wisherd, and Joye!
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What a treat to wake up this morning without wondering where I need to be or which kid I need to watch. Not that I don’t love them all, but it’s nice to be back in the saddle (er, in my padded executive chair in front of my desk). October will be busy, busy, busy! I hope I can keep up with the pace I’ve set for myself. If you see me out there tweeting or posting on Facebook, don’t be shy about nagging me to get my stories done! If you checked out yesterday’s post, you know what I’ll be working on. I shared covers for three different stories. Which story are you interested in reading the most?
Comment for a chance to win. There will be three winners!
One will win her choice of a Cowboys on the Edge story!
The other two will get their choice of a short story.
And if you haven’t read my shorties, check out the full list here!
This flame doesn’t need a match…
One high school prank gone wrong shouldn’t define the rest of Carly Lohan’s life. But setting fire to Caldera Canyon isn’t something townsfolk will ever forget. As the last part of her final act of restitution, she’s among the group of volunteers assigned to keep a prescribed burn of underbrush and grass from “running over the rim” into the ranches ringing the park.
Local rancher and volunteer firefighter Jeremiah McCord doesn’t trust the reformed firebug anywhere near the canyon’s controlled burn. Determined to keep her on a short rein, he’s everywhere she is, watching her. His distrust and determination sparks a plan for some sexy revenge—one that will get them both too close to the flames.
Get your copy here!
Carly wasn’t unaccustomed to hard work, but she’d never before used a pitchfork. The cowboy who’d set her on her task had called it a “shit fork”—before clearing his throat and explaining the implement was smaller than a regular pitchfork so that the balls of horse dung didn’t fall between the tines.
After mucking out the stalls, she’d forked a mini-mountain of horse manure and straw into the center of the barn. Now she was pitching load after load into the wheelbarrow so she could wheel it out and add it the larger mountain of dung behind the barn. Dung that was used in Mayra’s garden.
Before today, she’d never given much thought to horses, and she’d never had an aversion to the smell, but a day of forking poop had altered her view forever. Or so she told herself. She knew she must be a sight in her dirty jeans and tee. She’d forgotten to take off her gloves a time or two and used them wipe sweat from her face. Meaning she had to have some smeared on her cheek.
But she didn’t dare stop. Not and have the high-and-mighty Jeremiah shaking his head. The night before, he’d been so sure she’d balk at his list of chores. Little did he know, but she was used to hard work. Her foster families had made sure of it.
Still, she’d never mucked stalls, and the repetitive motions had tightened the muscles at the small of her back, and her upper arms until they felt bruised. Pausing to stretch, she reached high, letting the hem of her shirt rise. The slight breeze blowing through the open barn doors wafted against her belly and felt almost luxurious.
“Looks like we’ll make a cowboy out of you yet.”
Carly dropped her arms and glanced over her shoulder. She’d missed Jeremiah at breakfast. Mayra told her he’d been up before dawn, as was his custom, to check on the herd. Carly hadn’t seen him since dinner the night before and dreaded their next encounter.
While her mind was made up to detest the man, her fickle body responded with a wave of heat that swept her cheeks and prickled her nipples. No man had a right to look that good when he was that dirty. “The cowboy who showed me how to muck out a stall asked me what I’d done to piss you off.”
“Oh?” His eyebrows rose. “And what did you say?”
“That I’d burned three hundred acres of hay and an expensive bailer. He said that’d do it.”
He gave his signature grunt.
Even though she’d told herself that morning she must have imagined its appeal, she still felt the pull deep in her core.
“You should take a break,” he said, his voice sounding gruff.
“Why? I’m not done.” Did he think she’d jump at the chance to not finish?
“The sun’s out, and the air’s warm in here, Carly. And it’s time for lunch. Someone else can finish up.”
She wrinkled her nose. “I’ll have to bathe again.”
He came closer and picked a piece of straw from her hair. Then he rubbed her cheek.
An action that shocked her to her toes.
“I think you’ve picked up more than a little dirt,” he murmured.
Because she was nervous with him standing so close, she laughed. “I have shit on my face. You can say it.” She swept a hand toward his own dirty clothing. “I’ve been mucking stalls, what’s your excuse?”
A smile stretched across his face.
The first she’d ever seen. Her stomach flipped.
“I chased a calf into an arroyo. He got separated from his mama. Took some doing to get him up on the horse with me.”
“I’d have loved seeing that.” And she meant it. The thought of him chasing a calf on horseback—well hell, now she was romanticizing the surly cowboy.
One dark brow arched. “You would have loved seeing a calf getting the better of me?”
“Yeah.” Feeling breathless because he was still standing close, she had to remind herself he was only being polite. That he’d likely come to see whether she was still hard at work. She moved away to lean her fork against the barn wall. “I better go shower, or Mayra will light into me.”
“I better hit the shower, too.”
Walking away, Carly pursed her lips and blew out a hot stream of air. Him being civil was tough enough on her libido. Now she had the picture of a naked, wet Jeremiah in her head.
Not wanting to track manure through the house, she took off her boots at the door before entering and making her way up the stairs. She headed straight to the shower with its lovely shower head that poured water like a soft rain over her head and never grew cold no matter how long she stood beneath it.
But eventually, she acknowledged her hunger, turned off the water, and then reached for a big fluffy towel. At that moment, she realized she’d forgotten to bring along clean clothing.
No worries, Jeremiah had likely finished his shower long ago and was already digging into his meal. She opened the door and padded toward her bedroom.
Just as she was reaching for the knob, she saw another door open, just past the staircase.
Jeremiah stepped out into the hallway, his hair wet and looking cool and clean in his chambray shirt and Wranglers.
Before she could push open the door and jump inside, she watched his head turn.
His gaze trailed from her sodden hair, dripping on her shoulders to the towel she’d knotted between her breasts. “See you downstairs,” he said, his voice thick, and then he strode quickly to the staircase and out of her sight.
She opened her door, entered, and then sagged against the cool wood. Would she ever catch a break with the man? First, he’d rubbed horseshit off her face, and then he’d caught her looking like a drowned rat.
She must be the most unappealing woman he’d ever had the misfortune to have under his roof—even if only for a few days. For once, she wished she had something stylish in the closet to pull out and wow him with. Then maybe he’d see her as something other than some white-trash nuisance.
Although she wasn’t entirely sure how she’d deal with anything other than his annoyance and mistrust. Just the thought of him ever showing any masculine interest made her heart stutter and her palms sweat.
No, she was better off to never entertain those thoughts. Jeremiah was way out of her league, and too much history existed between them—all of it bad—to think that a little spark of attraction might catch fire.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Delilah. I look forward to spending time with you and your followers.
I’d like to chat today about time travel and history.
As a reader, what part of our past fascinates you the most? If you could travel back in time where would you go and what would you want to see?
The piece of history that has always held me enthrall is the Alamo. Approximately two hundred men held the fort for thirteen days against an army of fifteen hundred. Their actions, and subsequent deaths, rallied the rest of Texas.
I really wanted to write a saga centered on the Alamo but my muse balked. So we compromised. My story revolves around the battle of San Jacinto and Sam Houston. And a woman who traveled back in time, captured history in her paintings, and found her lost love in the process.
He came through time to find her.
As Sarah Miles drives down Eighteenth Street a stranger materializes in front of her car. She throws on her brakes, braces for impact and…drives straight through him. For a brief moment, his voice echoes in her head, “Saura.” Then he’s gone. Later that day, she discovers the SUNDIAL and her incredible journey through time begins.
On sale for .99 September 19-25 at Amazon.
A purple haze of gunpowder hung in the air that filled her nose and mouth with the acrid smell and taste of sulfur. Her eyes watered and burned.
A sharp burst of gunfire sounded nearby. Fifes and a drum played a tune she didn’t recognize. Cries of, “Remember the Alamo. Remember Goliad,” echoed through the air, overriding screams of agony.
Oh, my God! She clutched Monet and stumbled to her feet. The Alamo? Goliad? Screams too real to be an enactment lifted the hair on the back of her neck. Goosebumps roughened her skin.
In front of her, over a thousand men were doing their best to kill each other.
They wore clothes from another era. Some were dressed in nondescript gray denim; some in white roundabout jackets and pantaloons; some in brown jackets and pants; all carried rifles, clubs, knives and tomahawks and all were bent on slaughtering men dressed in blue uniforms and shako hats.
A cannon blast rumbled. The ground shook.
Where am I? In the back of her mind, a fear too unbelievable to acknowledge grew. Along with terror, a growing sense of urgency bubbled in her like a volcano ready to erupt.
She edged closer to the battlefield and scanned faces for the beloved features of her lover. She’d lost him once—no, twice. She couldn’t lose him again.
About the Author
Sandra writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. The last animal member of the family, a kitten, came hurtling out of the woods in southern Illinois to land at her feet. He made the trek back to North Carolina and wasted no time settling into the household.
Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.
Monday, August 22nd, 2016
I recently celebrated a significant birthday. However, people seem to think I should now behave like a grown up and be serious, right?
Some have gone so far as to ask: “Why don’t you write a real book for a change?” “Why don’t you write something that matters?”
Translation: Why do you still write romance?
I believe romance readers want love stories because they are believers in the power of love to reshape their lives in miraculous ways.
In today’s world with so many ethnic groups taught to hate and with so many public figures encouraging hate along with an us-versus-them mentality, the need to express love for others and to be kind is more important than ever. I try to take every opportunity to celebrate my favorite forms of love: weddings and babies. There is always such hope and love with those events, and they only get better when there’s a cowboy involved!
Since I’m from Texas, it may be only natural that the two series I’m currently publishing are about cowboys! And, of course about the women they love and their babies, and weddings too! These novels celebrate all love from the tender caresses of a baby, to romantic wedding celebrations that include extended family and community, to the steamy, passionate nights under the wild Texas moon.
My latest series is called Lone Star Dynasty, and it focuses on the wealthy and powerful Starks, with their legendary ranch, and their loves and triumphs over challenges in South Texas.
To introduce the series, Book 1, Love With An Imperfect Cowboy is on sale for $1.99 (regular price $3.99) from August 24 until September 1.
She’s a runaway bride looking for love in all the wrong places
Desperate to escape her cheating bridegroom, Hannah Lewis heads to the one place nobody will ever think to look for her–Texas, where she’d planned to go on her honeymoon.
An Impossible Attraction
Grieving widower, rancher Liam Stark knows better than to get involved with the big-eyed, naïve-looking dazzler who walks into his bar lost and alone casting haunted glances his way, practically begging him to kiss her. When she puts herself in harm’s way, he saves her. He doesn’t do love, but maybe he can give her what she wants… if for one night only.
Get your copy and follow Liam and Hannah’s story as they explore the possibility of finding love where they least expect it:
iBook | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
The second series I’m currently publishing is my Texas: Children of Destiny series, which was written a while back, but revised and republished in ebook format. This series is set in Texas and across the globe as members of the powerful Jackson family loved and lost but are given a second chance. Will they take advantage of their opportunity to win love back or will their pride force them to risk it all?
Best of all, as a gift to my fans and an incentive to new readers, Passion’s Child (Book 1) is free.
Passion’s Child is the story of an estranged, married couple, who meet again when their beloved son’s life is threatened. When Nick tries to claim his wife and child, they discover that their passion for each other still burns as hotly as ever, despite Amy’s terrible secret.
Is it too late for them? Will his sins and her secrets destroy their second chance at love? Or can love triumph over all?
Order your copies of Ann Major’s Texas: Children of Destiny series and discover the terrible secrets kept and the risk they must take to rediscover the power of love.
About the Author
ANN MAJOR lives in Texas with her husband of many years. She has three grown children and several grandchildren. She has a master’s degree from Texas A&M at Kingsville, Texas and is a former English teacher. A founding board member of the Romance Writers of America, she is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups.
Besides her writing, Ann loves to hike in the mountains, sail, kayak, travel, and play the piano. Most of all she enjoys her friends and family, and lastly, but not least, her cat.
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
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Have you ordered your copy? Do you love Navy SEALs? Cowboys? Reunion stories? Well, if you do, Baby, It’s You should please you. I’ve included an excerpt below, just in case you’re waffling. 🙂
The story will release in the early morning hours on Friday. And yes, it’s every bit as sexy its cover. So, take the plunge. Have I ever steered you wrong?
Baby, It’s You is the 5th story in my Uncharted SEALs series. For a chance to win one of the four prequel stories in the series, answer me this…
What do you love about Navy SEAL stories?
Baby, It’s You
Carter Vance, Jr. stands at the fork in the road. Wounded in action, the Navy SEAL has a decision to make: whether to find work with a spec ops unit, or return to his family ranch in Texas and repair his fractured relationship with his dying father and the woman he wronged. Complicating the decision is his reignited attraction to Melanie Schaeffer and his confusion over his feelings for his dead brother’s little girl, whom Melanie has raised since his brother’s and her sister’s deaths by a terrorist’s bomb.
Get your copy now!
Read an excerpt
Carter walked into the house and had to remove his glasses due to the dimness inside. Nothing appeared to have changed, save for a new carpet atop the oak floors in the family room. He supposed his father had replaced the raggedy Navajo rug his mother had chosen due to Melanie’s influence. His father had always had a soft spot for women and girls.
Footsteps flew from the kitchen, so fast he tensed until he realized the person wasn’t some insurgent, but instead a slender little girl in blue jeans and boots. Emmy.
Carter didn’t want to feel it, but his chest filled with a sudden indrawn breath as he stared for the first time at the little girl with the red-gold curls. Daniel’s child. His now, by law. Despite his best effort to thwart his brother’s will by simply ignoring the lawyer’s letters.
Commander Callahan had stepped in and forced him to acknowledge his duty. And although he’d decided not to take her himself, Carter had changed his will, signed over his life insurance, and had payments removed from his checks to provide for her support although she hardly needed it.
Lastly, he’d assigned guardianship to Melanie Schaeffer, knowing he was giving the little girl her best chance.
Emmy stopped only a foot away and chewed on her bottom lip as she frowned up at him. “You the seffish bastard who won’ come see Gampa?”
“Emmy!” Melanie’s voice came from behind him as she hurried past to kneel beside the girl. “That’s not a word we use.”
“But Tildy said I was seffish for eatin’ all the snickerdoodles.”
“The B word, Emmy.” Melanie blew out a breath. “We don’t use that word.”
“But Unca Lee says it all the time.”
“Uncle Lee needs to be more careful with his words,” Melanie muttered. She lifted her gaze to Carter. “Sorry about that. This one hears everything and repeats it. Be warned.”
Carter couldn’t help freeing the grin that tugged at the corners of his mouth. “Sounds like she’s a Vance, through and through.”
Melanie slowly rose to face him.
Without the shield of his sunglasses, he hoped his gaze didn’t give him away. She was still lovely, despite the white scar that trailed down one cheek. Her face was still rounded and youthful. Her curves every bit as lush as they’d been the first day they’d met. He felt a stirring in his groin and grimaced. “I should unpack,” he said, lifting his duffel bag.
“Sure,” she said, tucking a lock of thick red-gold hair behind her ear. Still flustered, she barely met his gaze.
Seeing her fingers freeze beside her ear, he knew she remembered how he’d tucked her hair there, right before he’d kissed her. Or was she pausing because she’d forgotten the hair hid the worst of the scar. His chest tightened.
“You should see your father,” she said softly.
“That’s why I’m here,” he said, knowing his tone had roughened. From sympathy for the pain she’d suffered. Not because her tone chided him to move along. His relationship with his father, or rather, the lack of, wasn’t her business. Dropping his gaze, he bent toward Emmy and reached out, lifting her small chin with a finger. “Good to meet you, Emmy.”
Her green eyes flashed, and a coy smile plumped her small doll’s mouth. “Nice to meet you, Unca Carter.”
As he walked away, he acknowledged the shard of pain that stabbed at his gut. He’d been an ass ignoring her existence. But that could change. If he took the job in Dallas, rather than return to his unit, they’d all have to put up with his regular visits.
He climbed the stairs, slower than he would have liked. The repaired ligaments surrounding his knee were still tender and would be for months. His knee worked well enough, but he hadn’t gone to therapy in a week, and stiffness was setting in. Once he reached the upstairs landing, he strode toward the door at the end—the master suite his father had shared with his mother.
The door opened. An older woman, her face lined, her hair iron-gray, and wearing scrubs exited, and her eyebrows rose. “Took your time,” she chided.
“Hey there, Miz Davis.” She’d been the school nurse when he’d attended middle school and had bandaged many of his scraped knuckles. “He awake?”
“I saw you come up the drive. He’s waiting.”
Carter set his duffel beside the door and entered. Stepping inside was like stepping into a museum. Every artifact carefully reflecting the era of Susan Vance. Her vanity still stood in front of the window with her mirrored tray filled with perfume bottles and a silver-backed hairbrush. Framed photographs, all featuring her smiling face, lined the dresser. While there were pictures of her with his father or his brother Daniel, not surprisingly, there wasn’t one featuring him. As he approached the bed, he hardened his jaw.
His father’s long frame dominated the king-sized four-poster. His eyes were closed, tubing stretched one ear to the other, stubs disappearing into his nose. God, he must hate that. Being seen like this. An invalid. Carter cleared his throat.
His father’s eyes slowly blinked open. “Didn’t think you’d come.”
The man spoke in a voice that wasn’t his. Too raspy, too frail. Carter didn’t want to feel pain, but he couldn’t help it. He lowered into the chair beside the bed. “Hi, Dad.”
His father’s gaze roamed his body, dipping down to his legs. “Heard you tussled with a roadside bomb.”
Carter let one side of his mouth slide upward in a wry grin. “Left a crater. Only tore up my knee. I think I won.”
His father’s grunt was familiar, if weak. “Can you still sit a horse?”
Carter narrowed his eyes. “Why? Will I be useless if I can’t?”
A frown deepened the wrinkles stretched across his forehead. “You liked riding. Would hate it if you lost that, too.”
The look he gave Carter said he understood what loss of mobility was like. Carter swallowed, not wanting to feel any sympathy for the old man, but his dad had always been a force of nature. He was thinner. Shockingly so. Now, he looked as though a breeze would blow him away. “You make it sound like I plan to stick around,” he said, his voice thicker than before.
Carter, Sr.’s blue gaze was as icy as ever. “Aren’t you?”
Before he answered, Carter glanced toward the window. “I’m considering job offers. Maybe one with an outfit in Dallas. I might still finish my last tour. If the docs will clear me.”
His dad’s gaze went to his knee again. “You end up in Dallas, you gonna be a weekend cowboy?”
Carter shook his head. “Won’t be weekends. But I would spend my downtime here. If I’m welcome.”
His father’s face turned away.
Carter thought he might have gone to sleep, and he shifted in his chair, preparing to rise.
“Man has a lot of time to think…when he’s stuck in a bed.”
Something Carter knew to be all too true. Sensing where the conversation might be heading, Carter tensed, his fingers digging into the faded flower upholstery covering the chair.
“I’m not sayin’ it wasn’t your fault,” his father said. “I’m sayin’…I forgive you.”
Carter squeezed his eyes shut. How long had he waited to hear those words? Spoken in a voice as raspy as fine sandpaper, his father’s statement didn’t give him the rush of relief he’d always dreamed about. Instead, anger flooded his veins. Remembering his dad was sick—he wasn’t about to upset him and have yet another death on his hands—Carter stood.
“Got someplace to be?” his father asked, turning his head slowly to lock his gaze with Carter’s.
“Anywhere but here,” Carter whispered, then turned on his heel a little too sharply and bit down hard to keep from groaning. With his dignity drawn tightly around him, he limped away. Stomping down the hallway, he nearly missed the sight of the slim body charging up the last steps.
Emmy glanced upward and gave him a smile. “Gampa wants a story.”
“You read?” he asked, trying to keep the amusement out of his voice. What was she? Four?
“Nah. But he likes my stories. ’Specially ones about me and the dragon.”
“You know a dragon?”
Her eyebrows lowered into a fiercely funny frown. “Don’t you know anything? Dragons aren’t real.” She jammed both hands on her hips.
He would have chuckled, but he sensed she’d be affronted, and he didn’t want her angry at him. A pang hit him square in the chest. He’d missed so much of her growing-up years. Done it purposely, but he hadn’t considered how he’d feel about the child. He’d also thought she was likely better off never knowing him. It wasn’t like he’d ever planned to leave the SEALs. Not until he was on the verge of being mustered out against his will.
But here he stood. Facing down a child who, despite her cherubic features, looked every inch a Vance with her stubborn stance and scowl. Daniel’s child. Not for the first time, he felt regret his brother would never have the chance to know her like this.
But he was here. Now. And perhaps, ready to take on the challenge.
Footsteps hurried up the stairs. He glanced beyond Emmy to Melanie as she climbed toward him. Another regret in a lovely package. He’d wronged her as well. “He’s awake. We spoke.”
“I take it that didn’t go well?” Her gaze was wary.
He shrugged. “Depends on your definition of well.”
A frown dug a line between her brows. “Whatever it is between the two of you, you need to get over yourself. You might not love him, but plenty of people inside this house do.”
A small hand tugged at the leg of his jeans. “You don’t love Gampa?”
Melanie arched a brow in warning.
He quickly smoothed his expression, knowing he had to be a little scary-looking to a child when he was angry. “Course I do, Emmy. But your Gampa and I haven’t seen each other in a while.”
She rocked back and forth on her boot heels. “I ain’t seen Petey Whitehead in a month. I might wanna punch him when I do.”
“Emmy…” Shaking her head, Melanie blew out a breath. “She spends too much time with Lee and the hands.”
Carter grunted. “She’s gonna inherit this place. It’s not a bad thing she’s got a bit of a bite.”
Melanie darted him a glance. “Dinner’s at six. Don’t be late. Tilda won’t like it.”
He narrowed his gaze. “Do not let her set my plate. She might spit in my food.”
Melanie shook her head and anger flashed in her green eyes. “Does every word have to be negative or sarcastic?”
“If ya can’t say somepin’ nice…” came a soft mutter from below.
Carter guessed he did deserve a lecture from a kid. “I’m sorry, Mel. I’ll do better.”
She stepped closer and tilted her head to meet his gaze. “This isn’t easy for anyone. We were doing fine. Emmy was happy. Things are about to change…again.”
Seeing the shimmer of tears in her eyes pitched his stomach to his toes. He didn’t know what to say, because every word that formed in his head would have been another unkind deflection. So, Carter did the only thing he could think of to escape her glossy, leaf-green eyes. He reached out one arm and pulled her against his chest.
For a moment, she stiffened, but then she gave him her weight, sagging against him. Her hands smoothed around his sides, and fingertips dug gently into his back as she returned the embrace.
And just as it had happened all those years ago, something settled into place inside Carter’s heart. He felt warmth. Yearning. He felt home.