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Teaser Tuesday: ‘Sensed the Urgency’

This will be the final teaser from Healing the Heart seeing as it releases this Friday. You can pre-order it if you’d like and be able to read it as soon as it’s out. For now, here’s a teaser:

Kaden yanked him close. “I don’t have your woman. If you don’t find her, she’s going to be dead. I’ll have to kill you both. I don’t know why, but I don’t want to do that. You’re a Coyote.” He sounded confused as if that was reason enough to want to. “Get out of here.”
He pushed Jared away from him, and he felt as confused as the boy looked, but he didn’t see this getting any better. He glanced over his shoulder but just made out the figure of a man in the car. Something about it seemed familiar. He couldn’t believe someone would drive something that fancy into this area of town. He’d sensed the urgency in Kaden’s voice, but he turned back to him and said, “This isn’t over. If I find out something happened to her, you’ll be the one to pay for it.”
Probably a mistake, but he turned his back on the young man and walked to his car. He didn’t even relax until he had driven out of the neighborhood. He shook and pulled over to the side of the road when he figured he was safe again. He laid his head back against the seat. He already felt the pain spreading through his ribs.
“Damn it.” What had this even solved? Melanie was still gone. He still had no idea where she was. Kaden’s words rang through his head. If you don’t find her, she’s going to be dead. No. He couldn’t let that happen, and he couldn’t stop thinking about the person who stepped out of that car. Who was that? Could it be…no. That didn’t make any sense. Why would he have tried to win over Melanie if he was behind these threats to her?
“Where are you, Melanie?” Feeling desperate, he took out his phone and dialed her number one more time. “Please answer,” he murmured when it started to ring. “I need to hear your voice.”

Teaser Tuesday: “What It Means”

Healing the Heart is set to release in another 2 1/2 weeks. So, this is at least the next to last teaser from it. From Chapter 22, at Garren & Lisa’s wedding:

She started to head for the dance floor, but Jared’s arms came around her. “It’s okay, you know. It’s okay to feel whatever you do.”
“How did you know?” she asked and couldn’t fight back the tears forming in her eyes.
“I know you, Melanie. Sometimes I think I know everything going through that head of yours.”
“I never would have expected this from you, Jared. Even as early as this morning, you couldn’t stand him, or the fact you thought I still had feelings for him,” she said and faced him directly.
He shook his head. “He’s not a threat to me. I can see that now.”
“What about my feelings? Are you worried about those?”
“As I said, they are yours. What you feel about him doesn’t matter, as long as I know what you feel about me.”
“Do you?”
He slid one hand around her back and the other over her ribs. He started swaying, causing her body to move in time with his. “I’m a doctor. I know what it means when your heart rate speeds up, when you can’t breathe,” he said and covered her mouth with his. “I know what those are symptoms of.”
“Oh really, Doctor?” she asked but couldn’t keep the smile from her face. “What’s your diagnosis?”
The hand at her back ran up to her neck and into her hair. “I’d say you have a severe case of unrelenting lust.” The word slammed into her, and she wanted to insist it was more. How could she when it’s exactly what she’d been trying to convince herself of? He leaned down to whisper in her ear. “Only one cure I know of. You in my room tonight, wearing nothing but those heels and my tie.”
That took her breath away. “I’m not so sure that’s going to help,” she finally managed to say and saw the wicked grin on his face. Before either of them could say anything else, she was being called to the dance floor for her part of the dancing. Now she couldn’t wait to get this over with and get back to Jared. What else could he say or do to turn her on without all these people noticing?

You can pre-order this now at Amazon, Kobo, & B&N.

Fiction Friday: Cover Reveal – Healing the Heart

A little something different again, though this time it’s a bit of self-promotion. But, I got the cover for my next release, Healing the Heart, this week. So, I decided to reveal it today. First, the blurb:

Melanie Griffin, a well-respected surgeon at the city’s best hospital volunteers her time at an inner city clinic. There she runs into another doctor, Jared McDermott, who she has a history with. Between bickering with him, she realizes not all her feelings for him have been buried. And that’s not all the trouble she faces.

Jared McDermott swore he’d gotten over Melanie Griffin since the last time he walked away from her. They could never seem to stay away from each other, even if he knew nothing good could come of it. Especially when he had to focus on raising his younger sister. But, he pulled both of them out of the pit of their childhood and was ready to help others as well. So, he knows he’s staring disaster in the face when Melanie starts volunteering at his clinic. But, he can’t turn away from it or her.

After treating the victim of a brutal assault, an obviously troubled boy, Melanie realizes intervening may have brought her into deeper trouble than she can handle. In the meantime, things get more serious with Jared, and she isn’t sure what’s more dangerous to her well-being; the threats against her or what Jared could do to her heart. Jared wants to do everything to keep her safe and with him, but he just might be holding on too tight. Will they be able to come to terms with each other before it’s too late?

Now for the cover. Thanks to Marianne Nowicki for this beauty:

healingtheheartsmallerwebuse

 

Looking at a December 2 release date, hoping that won’t change.

Teaser Tuesday: “Close Enough”

I just got Healing the Heart back from my beta reader last night. There are a few issues to address, but I don’t see a problem having it all done before the end of this month. So, right now, I’m looking at a December 2 release date. Hopefully that doesn’t change. Now to secure a cover and make sure it’s ready to go by then. For now, another little teaser.

“I don’t like being late.”

“You never did.”

She shrugged. “I almost was. Got a call about a half hour ago from one of Gilbert’s finest. He told me my car had been found. I never reported it missing, so I assume you did call them.”

Jared’s shoulders tensed. He hated how easily she riled him up. He didn’t think she always even tried. It was just that easy. “Of course I did. I said I would, didn’t I?”

She nodded. “You did, but I could tell you didn’t want to. I thought maybe you’d back out.”

“Why would I? It’s not that I didn’t want to notify them of the damage to your vehicle. I didn’t want to bring them down on my clinic and risk losing patients who feel they don’t have anywhere but the clinic to turn. I explained that already.”

“I’m not trying to fight with you, Jared. I told him I couldn’t talk now because I needed to get to the hospital, so he wants to speak with me tomorrow. What exactly did you tell him?”

“The truth,” he said but didn’t look at her. “Someone told me a car had been vandalized in the parking lot. I went to check it out and recognized it as yours. I had no idea why you left it there instead of driving it home, but you usually took the bus so probably forgot you had driven this morning. You were already gone.”

A smirk flashed across her face, and he fought back his own smile. “I thought you told him the truth,” she said.

Jared shrugged. “Close enough.”

Melanie shook her head. “What did he say about it?”

“Probably some punk gang kid doing it for kicks.” He turned his head to glance at her. “Those were pretty much his words.”

“Do you think it was something else?”

“Yeah, I do. Most of the kids in that neighborhood have more to worry about than destroying someone’s car. Especially someone who has been trying to help them.”

“Even when they don’t want help? Maybe that’s what they’re trying to tell me.”

Teaser Tuesday: “A Good, Safe Place”

I have another teaser from Healing the Heart for you this week. It’s still off with my beta reader, but if anyone else is interested in reading and giving feedback, let me know & I can send it out. I’m still planning on having it out by the end of the year hopefully.

“You said you found it like this?” the detective questioned.

Jared cleared his throat. “Yeah. One of my patients came back in and said he saw it out here.”

“No one saw anything?”

He sounded almost like he couldn’t believe that. Jared pushed down his irritation. “I told you no one said anything to me. That doesn’t mean they didn’t see it, but they likely would have told me if they did.”

“Unless they saw you.”

“Seriously?” he asked, disgusted. “That’s where you’re going with this? I have done nothing but help this neighborhood since I started here. I want a good, safe place for the people who live here. Why would I do this in my own place? I know the doctor who drives this car. She works for me here. She’s an old friend of mine. Why would I do something like this?”

“That’s a good question to ask, doctor,” the detective said, a sneer on his face. “Why have you ever destroyed property or caused havoc in the streets? You know, I’ve been a cop longer than you’ve been a doctor. I know what you are, Doctor McDermott.”

Jared cursed in his head. He didn’t think this guy had ever arrested him. Sure, he’d gotten into trouble with the cops. He hadn’t been one to deface property. He’d never killed anyone. He’d fought, and he’d stolen. It had all been to protect Denise. He didn’t have to do that anymore. “You say that like I’m not a real doctor. Yes, I come from these streets, and I did what I had to in order to survive and help my sister. I’ve done a lot of good since then. I told you what I know about this,” he said with a wave at the car. “Now, it’s your job to figure out what happened.”

The man lifted one shoulder. “Probably some punk gangbanger doing it for kicks. You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, Doctor?”

Teaser Tuesday: “Between Us”

I was going to share another snippet from Guarding the Heart today. But, I just sent Healing the Heart to my beta reader, so it’s closer to being ready to publish. Whereas Guarding the Heart still has another round of edits to go through before it will even be ready to send to my critique partner. So, instead you get some more of Healing the Heart. I’d like to have this out before the end of the year, but that of course depends on when I get it back and how much I need to fix. Warning: There is mention of domestic/child abuse at the beginning of this snippet.

Jared watched Greg leave the clinic with his mother and his heart twisted. He knew what the boy would go home to and anger for his mother rose up. She could get him and her daughter out of their situation. It wasn’t so black and white. She lived daily in fear of her husband but had even more fear about leaving him.

What would it take to get her to accept her husband was an abusive bastard, and they didn’t deserve this? One of her children dying? Being beaten so bad they could never recover? He’d seen too many come through in the same situation. It broke him every time. Just because he’d survived it didn’t mean the rest would be so lucky.

He clenched his fists at his sides and leaned against his desk. That didn’t do anything to push all those feelings, all those memories away. Melanie’s steps approached his office, and he took a deep breath. He couldn’t deal with her now. He had told her to come to his office. He’d done this to himself.

At the knock on the door a moment later, he said, “I left it open for a reason.” Footsteps sounded then a soft click as the door closed. Still he didn’t face her.

“You could have let me know I’d be working under you. Did you have all the staff call you Dr. J, so I wouldn’t know it was you?”

He shook his head. “They’ve always called me that. So do our patients. I didn’t realize it would still matter. It’s been almost six years.” It was childish to not look at her while he spoke, but he wasn’t sure if he could and remain detached. He continued to face the wall. “I figured you’d moved on.” He did finally turn around. “You went right back to him after all.”

He saw the shock in her eyes a moment before she asked. “What are you talking about?”

“You know exactly what. You kept him between us the whole year we were together. He broke your heart and then you went running right back to him as soon as I left.”

Teaser Tuesday: Healing the Heart

I almost have Stained by Ashes ready to go live. Just have to finish formatting and making everything look good, and it will be ready to go. I’m not sharing from that this week, though. Instead I’m going to share from the one I’ll be working on cleaning up for beta readers, Healing the Heart.

An image had popped into her head, but she had shaken it out just as quickly. It couldn’t be him. Last she knew, he worked at a clinic in the city. She prayed it wasn’t this one. She had no idea what this Doctor J even looked like. The Jared she’d known had never been the head of anything.

It didn’t matter. She would work with him no matter his appearance, or how devoted anyone said he was. Melanie unlocked her door and climbed into the car. She checked her phone and waited for the car to warm up and saw three missed calls and two text messages were waiting for her. “What I get for not looking at it all day,” she muttered.

Not that she would have had time even if she’d had it on her. It had been pretty much a nonstop day. She hadn’t even taken a few minutes to eat lunch, which her stomach growling reminded her of. The messages could wait until she had some food in her system.

She drove home, keeping herself awake by reviewing what she had done during the day. She had taken notes on each of the patients she had seen. She would have to take some time with a clearer mind to go through them and get a better picture in case any of them came in again.

She almost drove right past her apartment building. Once she found a parking place, she gathered her things again and climbed out of the car. She had just reached the building before she remembered she hadn’t locked the car. “There,” she muttered, once she’d hit the button and a beep signaled the car was locked, “that’s better.” God, she was tired if she was talking to herself.

Then, she walked into the building. Almost literally. How could she be so tired after a fairly short shift? She’d get something to eat and some sleep before she had to be at the hospital.

She got into her apartment and took off her coat then walked to the bedroom instead of the kitchen. A little rest then she’d eat. She flopped down on the bed with her clothes and shoes still on and fell asleep almost instantly.

So is she right about who Doctor J is? You’re going to have to wait and find out, I guess(yeah, I’m mean like that).

I’ll be looking for beta readers for this soon, if anyone is interested. It might help if you’ve read Duty to Protect, but while there are some references to events in it, I don’t think it’s really necessary in order to read this one.

Teaser Tuesday: ‘Fighting Dirty’

I have one more teaser from Stained by Ashes. I’m just going through the final polish of this, so I probably won’t be sharing any more from this. The good news: it will be available to read fully soon. This week’s teaser picks up right after last week’s. Here it is:

Louis didn’t have any hesitations in fighting dirty. Even as Adam pinned his legs to the ground, Louis was digging his thumb into Adam’s wound. Everything around him went a bright white, and a scream wrenched out of him. Somehow he kept his grip on Louis through it.

As his vision cleared again, Louis’ hand reached up toward him. Blood covered his fingers. Wet, sticky blood. Adam’s blood. More of it would cover the ground soon if he didn’t stop this.

He ignored the hand reaching for him and shot his fist into Louis’ jaw. The other man’s head knocked back, but he only had a moment before Louis was heaving him off. Trying to, at least. Adam held on. Until Louis reached for his face, his thumb trying to gouge out Adam’s eye.

Adam jerked back, and Louis’ nail scraped the corner of his eye. It still brought a stinging pain, and blood painted Adam’s cheek from Louis’ other fingers. He shuddered a little, then plowed his fist into Louis’ stomach before leaping to his feet. He got ready for Louis to come at him again, but, a scream came from the cabin.

Leah.

He turned back, worried what Louis would do while his back was turned. The other man was already scrambling into his saddle. Lucas sat slumped in his own saddle, glancing between the two of them and the cabin.

“Your daughter is in danger, and you do nothing but sit there,” Adam said, contempt dripping from his voice. “You disgust me.”

Louis was already racing off, and for a moment, Adam thought about chasing him down. Leah needed him more right now. He started to run toward the cabin, pulling out his own gun, but pain sliced through him with every step. Blood ran down his side, and he clamped his free hand over it, wishing that was enough to get it to stop. He wouldn’t let himself bleed to death before Leah was safe. It couldn’t happen.

Is Adam going to be okay? Will he get to Leah in time? Or will she save herself? You’ll have to read the whole story to find out. 😉

Teaser Tuesday: “Not a Killer”

I got the rest of the chapters of Stained by Ashes back from my second beta reader last week. I’m still working through them, but I’m almost done, then I’ll have to do a final clean-up round of editing. I’ll have it out before the official end of summer, though. Getting really close now.

And for today, here’s a little teaser(from some added material):

“Louis, no,” his father said. “You’re not a killer.”

A smirk twisted Louis’ face. “Taking care of trash like this doesn’t count as killing, Father.”

But, Lucas had distracted Louis enough for Adam to close the distance between them. By the time Louis turned back to him, Adam was close enough to bring his boot up and knock the gun from his hand with a swift kick.

“What’d you do to her?” Adam asked, grabbing onto the front of Louis’ shirt.

“The better question is what did you? Wasn’t it bad enough to ruin her reputation?”

“I love her,” Adam said between gritted teeth. “I-“

Louis jabbed at Adam’s side, connecting with the skin that had just been torn by a bullet. White hot pain stabbed through him, and his knee gave out. He felt a boot connect with his other side, then his hands smacked against the ground.

He only took time to drag in a painful breath then lunged back to his feet. Louis was already raising a fist to swing at him, but Adam went in close, so he couldn’t land the blow. Adam brought his own knee up into Louis’ stomach, then with his arms around the other man, threw them both to the ground.

The landing had bright colors flashing through his head as pain surged through him. Louis tried to scramble away from him, but Adam had spent his early years wrestling with boys who thought they were better, stronger, smarter than him. He knew how to fight like this. When he wasn’t being held at gunpoint or having his arms held behind him.

 

Teaser Tuesday: Stolen Moments

I just finished editing all the chapters I’ve gotten back from my beta reader for Stained by Ashes. I should be getting more back soon, but for now, I have a teaser from the beginning of the first chapter I don’t have back yet. Things have been going good for Adam(and you may be able to figure out what happened just before this), but they’re about to take a turn:

Adam sat on his horse, watching as Leah rode off, deeper into Kline land. He wanted to ride the rest of the way with her, or even better, taken her back to the Bailey ranch. Neither would have been a good choice. He knew that, even if he despised the truth of it. He hadn’t wanted to let her go at all, but they had shared one more kiss before parting. If he kept her with him, he didn’t doubt her father would have him in shackles for abduction. It wouldn’t matter what Leah said. This was best for now.

He stayed there until she moved out of sight. He turned his horse. He’d felt so light when they left the cabin, until he’d had to say goodbye to her. Now, a heavy weight laid on his chest. He wondered if it was his fear he’d never see her again. He wanted more than these stolen moments with her. He needed them.

He couldn’t have them.

Adam ran a hand through his hair then shoved his hat back down on his head and headed back for Patrick’s ranch. He shouldn’t have been missed yet. Although if he couldn’t get this crazy grin off his face, he wouldn’t be able to lie about why it took him so long to return. Everyone would know.

Yet his lips pursed, and he whistled a tune as he rode back toward the Bailey ranch. He turned off the main trail, knowing a less used one that would get him back home faster. Not that he was ready to push aside what had happened this day. He’d have to stop thinking about it if he didn’t want everyone to know. Also, the sooner he returned, the less questions there would be. He wasn’t sure he could lie about what had happened today.

He crossed a stream, guiding the horse through the trees. The ground remained soft from the hard rain they’d had days before. He tried to nudge the horse around the worst of the mud. Not that the animal needed a lot of help. He had a good feel for where to walk.

Adam had only ridden maybe a mile when he realized something was wrong. It could be his presence that had the birds quiet, but that was unlikely. They would have flown out ahead of his arrival if he disturbed them. There was something else here. He saw the birds perched in the trees, other animals hiding in the brush, but none of them moved. Almost as if they sent off a signal to some instinct in him.

Still planning to have this out next month, before the official end of summer.

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