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Posts tagged ‘romance’

Story a Day: Day 24 – “But Everything”

Today’s prompt was to focus on genre. This one was easy for me when pretty much everything I write is some form of romance. And I’m at the perfect place in Paint Me a Picture to show that. In fact, with a few added sentences, I should be able to add this in to the current scene. Getting a little steamy at the end, but it’s more implied than explicit.

Kirsten closed the door softly behind her after shutting off the light, leaving only the soft glow of a nightlight on in her daughter’s room. It had been a long day, and Cora had even fought to stay awake.

Now, Kirsten looked around the apartment. It was still mostly clean. Cora had been at her grandparents’ all weekend, so there hadn’t been much of a chance for it to get messy after her cleaning spree Saturday morning. Which Rylan had helped her with. That still surprised her that he’d been so willing to do that. When she knew it wasn’t the only reason he’d come over. They’d gotten to that, too. Her body heated, just remembering.

Speaking of Rylan, she figured he’d be right behind them. He’d left the restaurant at the same time. She figured he’d be practically following them up the stairs. But, he still hadn’t shown up. Had he had second thoughts?

No. Not with the way he’d been looking at her at dinner. She couldn’t believe he’d just decide not to come over.

Well, at least that meant she’d have a chance to change and make sure her bedroom still looked decent. The thought of getting ready for her lover almost made her laugh, it was so strange. Four years ago, she thought she’d be content if another man never touched her, not after getting away from Kenny. But, Rylan was the opposite of everything he had been. He didn’t push, didn’t pressure, just took care with her.

But, he didn’t treat her like she was fragile, like she was afraid people would if they knew what Kenny had done to her. Instead he saw her strength and helped bring it out. He trusted it, even if he still would rather face her problems for her, but he seemed to know that wouldn’t work.

Kirsten had just finished changing into a satiny camisole and a pair of matching shorts and was pulling a brush through her hair when she heard a knock on her apartment door. She’d left it unlocked so he could just come in. But, of course, Rylan wouldn’t just assume he was welcome. He wasn’t like that, never had been since she’d first known him, when her brother had been married to Rylan’s sister. In fact, it had seemed like he’d always expected to not be welcome.

She pushed those thoughts out of her head and put the brush down before hurrying out to the door. “Come in,” she told the man who stood on the other side of the threshold. It looked like he’d taken the time to change as well, though he’d looked good for dinner, he looked even better now. His dark green shirt bringing out the flecks of green in his otherwise brown eyes. All the red stubble had been shaved from his jaw, though she did almost miss that, knowing the way it would feel against her skin.

His gaze caught on her, and heat flared in his eyes. Yeah, taking the time to change had been worth it.

“Is Cora still up?” he asked, taking a step forward.

That was his first question? It surprised her, though it probably shouldn’t. She knew he cared about her daughter as well. And it warmed a part of her she hadn’t quite realized was cold.

“No, she was worn out. She usually is after a weekend out at the ranch. My parents don’t exactly enforce a bedtime, and she spends almost all day outside with dad and Sophie.” Her little sister had been the only one of them who had wanted to stick around to work the ranch with their father. Jason probably would have, he still did the cowboy thing, if he and their father didn’t constantly butt heads.

Rylan seemed almost disappointed, surprising her once again. “I’d hoped to help tuck her in.” He must have seen the expression on her face, because he said, “I want that, too, Kirsten. Not just this thing between us but everything.”

Everything? It was too much. She was still too afraid of being swept away to give him everything. But, that didn’t mean she wouldn’t give him anything, or take anything from him. So, she pushed up so their mouths could line up and pressed her lips to his. “Come on in, Ry,” she murmured.

The disappointment left his face replaced by a heat she recognized. His hands went to her waist, and he pulled her closer, his mouth slipping to brush her jaw then down her neck. His hands slipped under the hem of her shirt, the tips of his fingers teasing her skin. Pleasure seared through her at his touch, and she wanted to drag him back to her bedroom. But, he seemed content to stand right where they were.

“Ry,” she finally whispered when she didn’t think she could take it anymore, “let’s go to bed.”

He lifted his head, his gaze catching hers. “Yes,” he said, “Let’s.”

Cover Reveal: First Choice, Second Chance

No blog links this week, since I got the cover art for the first in my small town contemporary romance series, First Choice, Second Chance. So, you get the first look at that instead.

I first got the idea for this back in the summer of 2013, I believe. I had just finished reading a book(Gwynneth Ever After, by Linda Poitevin), and for the first time I had ideas for a straight contemporary romance. No suspense subplot. I couldn’t get to sleep with all the ideas I had circling in my head(one reason I shouldn’t read on my phone in bed). So, I got up and started writing them down. I knew I wanted to set it in the area where I grew up(and still live not far from). I had some other vague ideas and they started to come together. I also realized there were two stories here, but they were so twisted together, they couldn’t really be separated. Hence an alternating timeline. And it just took off from there.

I know, I know, you’re actually here to see the cover, huh. So, I’ll get to that…

*Pushes papers around on desk*

*Shuffles some more papers*

Oh, here it is(I know, I’m weird.)…

FirstChoiceSecondChanceSmallerWebUse

Ain’t it purty?! Love when I’m looking through pre-mades and find one that just hits me. This was designed by the wonder Marianne Nowicki, the same designer of my cover for Flames of Redemption.

Title: First Choice, Second Chance
Series: Kurztown(#1)
Release Date: 8/18/2015

Synopsis:

One wrong choice doesn’t have to lead to another

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

Excerpt 1:

Mason Akeley stepped out of the barn and saw his father standing beside the large red tractor. He had one hand on the handle of his cane, while the other tried to turn a wrench. A curse barely slipped past his lips before he hurried forward. “Dad, what are you doing? You’re going to hurt yourself.”
“I’ve been working on tractors longer than you’ve been alive, boy. Leave me to it.”
He ignored the words and the pain behind them and put his hand over his father’s. “Dad, please give me the wrench.”
His father didn’t even bother to bite back the curse. “If I can’t even be helpful around here, I don’t know why I bother. The damn doctors should have let me die.”
The words had something slithering inside him and squeezing around his chest. “No, Dad, don’t say that. You’re still useful. You don’t have to do this. That’s why you have me around, remember?”
The storm seemed to pass right through his eyes. His shoulders slumped, and he relaxed his grip on the wrench, letting Mason take it. “Can you go in and get my toolbox?” Mason asked. “I planned on getting to this when I finished the other chores anyway.”
“Right,” his father muttered.
Mason waited until he’d limped into the barn before he turned back to the tractor. He closed his eyes, trying to gain his composure back. His father stayed upbeat most of the time. When he got like this, he was in serious pain. Nothing seemed to take that completely away. He smacked the wrench in his hand against the tractor. “Damn it.”
His father had always been the strongest man he knew. Now, he seemed to get weaker and weaker. This damn tractor was a reminder of why. He wished he didn’t have to see it and be reminded every day. Really wished he didn’t have to try to fix it all the time. It wasn’t the tractor’s fault his father was nearly crippled.
It was his.

Excerpt 2:

Her father opened the door before she had even reached it. He took the larger suitcase from her and set it aside. Then, he dragged her inside. Maybe he would wrap her in his arms like he had done when she was younger, but he didn’t. He held her away from him and looked her up and down, like he looked for any flaws. Like one of her flaws had caused this whole mess.
Maybe it had.
Then, he released her, and one of the cracks in her heart widened. “I’ll take your stuff back into your room,” her mother said, stepping forward.
“Thanks, Mom.”
She turned to look at her father, but he’d already turned away. She itched to go to him, to put her arms around him. Then, maybe he’d turn and return the gesture. She wanted something to tell her she could be whole again. She stayed right where she was, too afraid he would never embrace her again. She was too much of a disappointment for that. Tears welled into her brown eyes, so much like his, but she blinked them back. She’d caused them enough heartache in the last year. She wasn’t going to burden them with her tears as well.
“Dinner will be ready in a little while,” her mother said when she returned. “You have time if you want to take a shower and get cleaned up. I know you spent most of the day on the road.”
She was about to thank her mom again, but the words wouldn’t come. Instead tears flooded her eyes. “Oh, baby,” her mother whispered and stepped forward to offer the hug she’d wanted from her father. It didn’t take away the pain though. Neither did her father’s next words.
“You never should have let him do this to you. You were smarter than this.”
The words slammed into her, like punches right to her soul. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
“You are sorry?” The words came out as a roar, and thick with the accent that most of the times nearly disappeared from his voice. Then, he shook his head and stepped back. “I cannot do this.”
Lila watched him leave the room then turned back to her mother, tears gathering in her eyes. “I never meant to hurt him. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”
Her mother didn’t say anything. She stepped forward and slipped her arms around the young woman. “You did nothing. He blames himself.”

Excerpt 3:

He held up a hand to stop her. “Give me a shot of Jack.” He caught Lila at the edge of his vision. “Actually make it a double.”
Jess hesitated then poured the drink and passed it over to him. He took the first sip and winced at the burn. He wasn’t sure if he would ever get used to it. The whiskey warmed the parts of him that had gone cold with Lila’s arrival. He kept his eyes focused on the wall across the bar as he took the second sip. He still knew the moment she stepped up beside him. He didn’t know if her scent still lived in his memory and he recognized it, or if it went deeper. He didn’t even have to hear her voice. It was in his head, in his dreams, every day and every night. When she ordered a drink, it twisted around his heart again.
His fingers tightened around the glass. He was almost afraid it would shatter right there in his fist. He dragged in some air through his nose, but it only came back out sounded strangled. He started to turn away. He needed to put some space between them. He couldn’t handle having her so close. As soon as he took a step, her hand was on his arm, the muscles in it cording tighter. “Mason.”
He was going to explode, shatter into tiny pieces no one would ever be able to put back together again. He had to get away. He didn’t even respond to her saying his name. He set the glass on the top of the bar. It must have been harder than he planned because a crack sounded when he did it. He didn’t even look back. “Put it on my tab, Jess. All of it.”
His head pounded. He didn’t think it was the alcohol or the music. It was Lila. It had always been Lila. He pushed out through the door. Then braced his hand against the side of the building and squeezed his eyes shut. The door opened again, and he didn’t even look behind him. Instead he strode across the small parking lot to his truck. She called his name again, but he didn’t stop. He checked his mirror to make sure she wasn’t right behind him, he certainly didn’t hate her that much. She still stood close to the building. She had her arms wrapped around her, and stared after him. His eyes started to burn. Then, he backed out of his parking spot and pulled out of the lot. The gravel spun under his tires, but he didn’t care. He wanted to put distance between them. Before he lost the grip he barely kept on his sanity.

Add it on Goodreads or pre-order now(Kindle only, I’ll have other links up on release day).

Fiction Friday: The Choice Ready for Beta Readers

I just finished revising The Choice, per my critique partner’s comments and cleaned it up. This is the first in my Kurztown series, set in small town Pennsylvania. It’s a contemporary romance that sits at a little under 68,000 words.

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

If anyone is interested in reading this and providing feedback, let me know either by leaving a comment here or emailing me at fallonrb@gmail.com. It has a bit of an alternating timeline and is more on the steamy side than sweet.

Fiction Friday: Valentine’s Weekend Sale

So, I put Duty to Protect up on KDP Select last September. I figured I’d put it in Kindle Unlimited and maybe at least get some exposure. Of course, I was doing pretty much nothing for promotion, so this didn’t work out too well. Then, it renewed before I could uncheck that, so it’s been up exclusively at Amazon for almost 6 months. And I haven’t taken advantage of the promotional free days. I did opt out of it renewing again, so I’ll be able to put it back up at other sites after March 7. I figured before that, I should actually do something with the benefits I have. And with this being Valentine’s weekend, what better time to do a promo for a romance novel?

So, from today through Sunday, Duty to Protect is available for free. If you haven’t grabbed it yet, now’s your chance. I’m hoping to have the second book in this series out by the middle of the year.

Release Day: Flames of Redemption

The day is here. Adrian and Kayla have finally been released into the world. I’m very excited about this one. And nervous. I hope everyone will enjoy it.

Available now

Available now

You can add it to your goodreads

Or purchase at: Amazon| B&N| Kobo

Once lit, there’s no stopping this blaze.

Kayla Brooke has firefighting in her blood. She followed her father’s footsteps into the Crystal Glen Fire Department, but when she shows an interest in the whys, she moves into her uncle’s path; fire investigation. Fighting the flames has cost her: a man she thought she’d loved and friends taken by the flames that call to her. After her fiance walked out on her because he could handle what she was, she never expected another man to light a different kind of fire in her blood. Until Adrian Riley ran into her life.

Adrian Riley came from a family of cops, but he decided to start over in a town where no one knows his family. Now, on the fast track to promotion, he thinks this new case could be the key to proving himself. Then, he butts heads with a hotheaded firefighter on the scene, and his whole world turns upside down. She could be the key to everything, or the one weakness that could take him down.

They fight the sparks that threaten to burn them both. But, once they light, there’s no stopping the blaze. Kayla’s been burned before, but this time the flames may consume her. When more fires start, they know it’s more than a simple case. But, when the arsonist seems to have turned his attention to Kayla, Adrian will do everything within his power to keep her safe, even stand between her and the fire.

Excerpt:

This was a mistake. It would blow up right in their faces, and she wasn’t sure if either of them would survive the blast. She had never run from the things that scared her before.
Kayla released the doorknob. “I feel it,” she said, swallowing down her fear and turning toward him. “I’ve felt it ever since I saw you standing on the other side of the funeral home. Maybe since that day on the street. It pissed me off, and it terrified me.”
He had started to raise his hand to touch her face, but her words seemed to stop him. “Why?”
“I felt like this once before, drawn to someone. He thought that meant he could tell me what I could and couldn’t do.”
His face went hard. “Did he hurt you?”
“No, not like that. He wanted to keep me under his control. When I wouldn’t buckle to his demands, he walked away. I felt so used. I got over him, but I’m not going to trust this pull is enough.”
“Of course, it isn’t,” he said, finally stroking her cheek. “There’s more to it than that. I know you can feel it. It’s not just some pull. There are sparks. It’s a damn spontaneous combustion. It’s not going to go away until we burn it out of our systems.”
She struggled to breathe. Is that what she’d hoped for in coming here, to get this out of her system? She knew it was, even though she would never admit it out loud. “Do you know what happens when sparks contact an ignition source?” she asked, running her hand up his chest and looking up into his eyes.
“I’m guessing that’s firefighter speak for ‘things go boom’.” He pulled down the zipper of her coat then slid it away from her arms.
“Incendiary,” she murmured.
“Hot.”
He ran a finger down her neck. She could feel the quiver all the way down to her stomach, which clenched as his touch moved down the shirt, between her breasts, barely brushing the sides of them.
“Adrian.”
“Shh. I’m concentrating here.”

Friday Fun: Black Friday Giveaway

How many of you went out early this morning for deals? Or late last night, since those deals seem to start earlier and earlier. Me? I’d rather stay nice and warm in the house and away from the crowds. I’ve never felt any deals were worth the trouble.

However, my wonderful critique partner, Kat Morrisey, is hosting a Black Friday giveaway over on her blog for this weekend. A chance to win one of fourteen books from six different authors(including me).

The giveaway runs through Cyber Monday, so head on over and check out some good books.

Cover Reveal: Duty to Protect

Taking another step forward today. A couple weeks ago, I spent a lot of time looking for cover art. I found this site: http://www.selfpubbookcovers.com/ and looked through a bunch of their covers there. I ended up saving more than a dozen to my favorites. Then, I took a couple more days and narrowed those down to 4. Which I worked up with the title and everything and sent them to my CP for a second opinion. Because, Lord knows, I can’t make a decision for myself(okay, I could, but it would probably take twice as long and I’d keep second guessing myself). Was also having a self-doubt crisis, which she talked me through. She liked the one I was leaning toward and we discussed the title change and all that. I went back and looked at the other covers and realized all 4 I had kept were by the same artist. Must have been a reason those were the ones I liked. 🙂

Duty to Protect

cover art by Yvonne Less(Diverse Pixel)

A duty to protect and serve. A love he would die for.

Garren Alexander has been a detective with the Gilbert Police Department for almost a decade, but he’s been haunted by the shadows of his past for the last fifteen years. He turned to women, whiskey, and work to drown out those shadows, but they keep catching up to him. When his little sister, Connie, turns up missing, they threaten to drown him.

Lisa Giles has been best friends with Connie Alexander since rooming together in college. She knew her friend’s brother in passing but her sudden disappearance has now thrown them together. After being let down by more than one man in her life, Lisa isn’t quick to trust. But, trusting Garren may be the only way to find her friend again.

As more people around him fall victim to the vengeance of his past mistakes, Garren has to use all the skills he possesses to keep anyone else from dying, and protect the woman who may finally be able to help him fight his demons.

It’s up on goodreads now. I’m planning to have it up on Amazon & other platforms by 4/22.

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