Archive for August, 2018


( Photo by fPat on Foter.com / CC BY )

Just when it looks like things at the day-job will settle down, they don’t. I’ve just finished two consecutive 50+ hour weeks at the day-job, and my brain is tired. We also had a big schedule change for mid-September, which means things will be insane again right through the day before my vacation starts. I’m kind of glad we aren’t going away for the whole week now, because all I’m going to want to do the first day is recuperate.

I have been sneaking in a little writing time, though, on days when I manage a lunch break, or before I dive into the work in the mornings again, so I’m making a little progress on this novella I’ve committed to for next year. (I’m also glad it is for next year, not this fall!) Since I worked again yesterday, then came home to dinner with all my guys for a change (yay!), today is about chores and catch-up, and when I get to that point, a little reading time and some writing, before I go to bed so I can start all over again tomorrow.

I hope you have all been finding more down-time than I’ve managed in the past two weeks. I know it’s back-to-school season, too, so there are plenty of things to accomplish for that successful transition. I kind of miss those days.

Before I go wrap up the last of my chores for the weekend, I have a little snippet of tiger shifter #4 to share with you today.

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“Just wondering how you’ve gone so long without them catching up before now.” He brushed his thumb at the side of her neck.

She finished chewing the briny olive slower than she needed to, debating with herself. Finally she swallowed and reached for another. “I’ve moved around a lot,” she said at last. “And evidently Edwin hired actual professionals this time, instead of sending pack-mates again.” When she slid a quick glance up, she could see Anton was pondering her words and judging her honesty.

“He’s already sent pack-mates after you?”

“Several times.” She lifted one shoulder. “I’m not dumb, but I haven’t made it that hard either, by using a fake name or anything.”

He didn’t speak, his green gaze too sharp.

She ate the second olive, wondering if he was thinking how stupid could one woman be.

“How many times before now?” he asked after several moments.

Laney counted in her head. Vegas, Tulsa, Cleveland, Indy, Williamsburg… “Six.” She smiled a little, thinking about Baltimore.

“What happened?”

She slid a sidelong glance at him, still smiling. “I don’t know what you mean.

Unexpectedly, he grinned, and her breath caught.

Wow. And she’d thought he was attractive before. This, though…

“What did you do to them?” His thumb rubbed a little circle against her skin. “I know you did something, from the look on your face.”

Laney took a shallow breath. The tiger wasn’t just smart and dangerous, he was gorgeous. “I might have sent gifts to his room while I disabled his car.”

“What kind of gifts?”

“Pizza and then a hooker, followed a little later by the cops.”

He laughed, and goose bumps rose on her skin. “I like it. Devious and clever. You should come work with me.”

She didn’t care how strong the wine was, her mouth was dry. She took a sip. “I have a job, thanks,” she murmured, her gaze stuck on his smile, which faded after her words.

“He probably found you that way.”

She nodded once, her own smile fading. “Probably.” And if Edwin had resorted to a pro, he would be able to find her that way again, no matter where she went, dammit. She wasn’t sure how much a fake identity would cost, but she had a feeling it would do more than dent her stash of emergency funds. Shit.

Anton picked up another salami roll. “Open.”

Automatically, she obeyed, though she wondered now how she could stay under the radar without having to spend a fortune on a new identity.

Until his thumb brushed her mouth. Heat flashed through her.

Her gaze shot to his face. His expression hadn’t changed, but she noticed his eyes were shadowed. She made herself concentrate on chewing, though she couldn’t look away. Finally, when she’d swallowed the last of the appetizer, she cleared her throat. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

His lips curved a little, but the smile didn’t come close to reaching his eyes. “When was the last time you were on a date?”

She blushed, finally forcing her gaze away. “A long time ago,” she murmured. “And he didn’t look at me like that.” Like she was the appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Anton chuckled as he picked up his glass. “Not a good date, then.”

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I hadn’t originally planned a story for Anton, but I discovered as I was writing the first two stories in the series that he needed one, too.  What do you think?

Now I’m off to finish the chores–ie, making my giant batch of salad so I have lunch and/or dinner for work the next few days, and the rest of the laundry, before I can do a little relaxing.

How are you winding down your summer? Relaxing, or super-busy?

( Photo by Tambako the Jaguar on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

 

 

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I’d like to be counting down to my vacation week, but it’s still too far away for me to do that. So instead, I’m going to keep my head down and keep writing in my spare moments.  I actually can see the light at the end of the tunnel at the day-job. We have a new trainee starting this week, but it will be about a month before she’s ready to actually do the job, so we still have a few crazy weeks ahead before we can slow down and catch our breath. And right after that is my vacation week, and I have plenty of things on that to-do list already, aside from the trip to the beach.

 

Actually, I have a pretty huge to-do list in general.  I need to break that down into categories, like ‘do now’, ‘do by the end of the year’, and ‘do when you can’. I used to be much better about weekly to-do lists and goals, and need to get back into that. I used to break down the yearly goals I set to monthly, and then weekly, by day. Now I do my goals for the year and break them down by month, but the past two and a half years, plans kind of went to hell with all of the family things we had going on. I really have to get my brain back into list-mode. I love a good list, and checking things off when they’re completed–I do them at the day-job all the time, I’ve just gotten out of the habit in the rest of my life and I need to fix that.

Exercise used to be on my weekly lists, and that’s been off the radar for a long time–when I worked retail, I got plenty of exercise in during the work-day, but now I sit at a desk all day, which isn’t so good for the size of my behind. One of my teammates and I actually added a daily walk to our work calendar so we get up and move for at least ten minutes once a day (unless all hell has broken loose and we’re lucky to make it to the bathroom), and are adding a second one this week.

I used to have page goals on my weekly goals as well, which went a long way toward making the annual writing goals. I’m already plotting for my 2019 goals that I won’t set till December about how to get that figured in early so I make better progress again.  Right now, I’m still studying and researching things I need to know for jumping into the self-publishing pool (which, by the way, is a scary place!). There are a lot of things to know and do there, and since I’ve never done some of them before, I want to make sure I’m doing it right. Too many people put books out themselves who have clearly not done enough homework, and I don’t want to be one of them. I want the Medusa trilogy to go out into the world ready to fly. Some more in-depth study will be happening during my vacation week.

I am going to get some fun time in, along with all of the work. We have concert tickets for the end of the month for a group with some musicians my husband and I both like from their previous bands, so that will be an interesting evening. And next month, right before my vacation week, a friend and I are having a mini-retreat the day before the next Nora Roberts signing, and I can’t wait. We’ll head down the day before the signing, check into our hotel and spend the rest of the day writing, and then be at the signing the next morning.

Before I get back to weekend chores, I have a little story snippet to share with you, from the first tiger shifter story (which is still currently nameless).

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His father’s words stuck with him the rest of the night, and again the next day. Boyd was right. Dealing with Tessa would take all his attention.

Now if only he could cross paths with her.

He got lucky the next evening. India had left a note in the kitchen that Tessa was stopping by after work to pick up some books, just in case India wasn’t back from New York on time.

He grinned to himself as he made his way to where he knew she’d go when she arrived. India was, indeed, still in New York, so she wouldn’t be there to meet Tessa.

But he would.

He heard the front door, and her laughter reached his ears along with his brother Joe’s voice. Joe’s heavier footsteps continued up the stairs, and Tessa’s slower, lighter ones came along the hallway. To the library. To him.

Harley lounged in his chair, deliberately not letting her know he was there. How long would it take her to notice his presence?

She dallied for a few minutes in front of the shelves that housed the African cat books even though he knew she’d read all of them at least twice. He took the time to admire her toned legs beneath the hem of her khaki skirt. The shape of her hips as she leaned her weight on one leg. Then she meandered past the native plants of New England shelf, her fingers trailing along the spines as she went.

He imagined what her fingers would feel like sliding over his skin that way, and his body came to attention.

She stopped in front of the garden design area, head tilted. After a moment, she pulled a book out, then another, then several more, and lugged the whole stack to the wide worktable several steps away from him.

He held his breath.

She dropped the books loudly, and then froze when her gaze landed on him.

“Hello, little Tessa,” he said softly.

Panic flitted through her eyes, and her pulse beat madly in the hollow of her throat. “Harley.” It came out strangled.

“Planning a garden?” He stayed where he was, hoping she wouldn’t flee.

She lifted a shoulder jerkily. “Someday.”

He stifled his grin. She was still poised for flight. “What kind of garden?”

She blinked at him. “What?”

“What kind of garden?” he repeated evenly. “Formal, cottage? Something in between?”

A tiny frown line appeared between her eyebrows, as if she were trying to decide his intent. “Probably cottage style,” she said at last, dropping her gaze to the stack of books in front of her. “Formal gardens are pretty, but require more work than I have time for.” She glanced at him again, wariness clouding her eyes.

He leaned forward in his seat, watching her tense still more. The first hint of her arousal scented the air. “I haven’t seen you for a couple days, Tessa.” He pushed to his feet.

She swallowed hard, blushing. “I’ve been busy at work.”

Liar. “I thought maybe you were avoiding me.” He moved to the work table, standing opposite her so he could see the way her eyes darkened.

“Of course not,” she murmured, dropping her gaze to the books again.

“I’m glad to hear that, since I was hoping to kiss you again.”

Her gaze jumped to his face. “We agreed that wasn’t a good idea.”

Harley shook his head slowly, holding her gaze. “I never agreed to that.” He took a step toward the corner of the table, then another, until he rounded the table and stood beside her.

Tessa’s prey instincts were good. She was fairly quivering with the need to run. But she held her ground anyway. He touched her arm lightly with his knuckles and watched the goose bumps lift along her soft skin.

You said it would be a good idea not to kiss again, but I’d never agree to something like that when I know it’s a fat lie.”

Her eyes widened a little more. “I disagree.”

“Liar.” He slid his hand higher, until he could catch her warm nape against his palm.

She set her hands on his chest when he turned her. “Whatever happened to leaving siblings’ friends alone? Or not screwing with the humans?”

He’d been bending toward her and it was his turn to freeze. “That’s Adar’s opinion, Tessa. Not mine.” He pulled her slightly closer. Now it was his turn to lie. “And all I’m talking about is a little kissing.”

Her gaze landed on his lips and her tongue darted out at the corner of her mouth, almost too quickly for him to see.

Almost. He stifled a groan and bent to kiss her, quickly. Lightly. And again. Again. Until she opened her mouth, her fingers curling into his shirtfront.

Gotcha!

One kiss turned into two, into five, until he lost count. The taste of her was addicting.

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I hope you all get in some down-time this week.  Find a hammock and take a book along!

Young lady reading the book in the hammock on tropical beach at sunset

( Photo by ikewinski on Foter.com / CC BY )

Now that party month is over, it’s back to nose-to-the-grindstone mode for me. Last month was also insanely busy at the day-job since we’re still short-handed, but I did manage to get some writing done. Have I mentioned the novella project I’m working on for next year? I’ve been working on that when I get a few minutes to break at the day-job, and just cranked out a few thousand words on that this afternoon. I’ll share more about that another day, though.

Anyway, things aren’t going to slow down at the day-job quite yet. We have a really heavy week coming up in two weeks, and then we have a new teammate starting to train, so maybe in a month things will lighten up for the rest of us a little bit. Just in time for my vacation week at the end of September. Plans for that have changed, no Maine this fall after all, but I am going to sneak off to the beach for a couple days. I’m disappointed not to be going to my favorite state this year, but I’ll have time to do some of the things I had planned to do on my vacation week last summer that never happened because instead I was working on my late aunt’s house. Not really what I was hoping for when I planned my vacation week, but necessary tasks. I may even give myself a head-start with some of those things by working on a couple of those projects on weekends in the next month or so, at least one day each weekend while I’m already doing my regular weekly household chores, so I can still have the other day to read, to write, and to relax just a little.

We still have projects at my aunt’s house, which is now my boys’ house. That makes me happy–I’ve been going to that house my entire life, because it belonged to my grandparents before it was my aunt’s. The boys are working on making it their own–we spent a weekend ripping up carpets last fall, and they’ve been painting and making other changes to suit them–but it’s still family, so I’m glad.  I have some outdoor projects to get to there before winter comes, but those aren’t high on my priority list right now.

Maybe Maine next year instead. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working on my writing and revising so I can get my Medusa stories out into the world, again for the first, and for the first time for the second and third books. Before I go find something for supper, I have a little story snippet to share with you, this week from Freeing Medusa, the third in the trilogy.

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Katharine watched him, rather like she might look at a strange animal, he thought. “I don’t understand why you would do this,” she said finally. “You have a home and a job, your own business. A life.”

Hunter resisted the need to sigh, but only barely. “You’re not safe, and I’d never send anyone out alone when I could help keep them safe.”

“So you have a knight in shining armor complex.”

He glared at her. “I don’t. But I have a vocal conscience.”

She narrowed her own eyes. “Believe me when I tell you I’ll be fine.”

He shook his head. “No can do.”

She shoved to her feet.

“And I’ve promised your family I’ll keep you protected.”

She froze, looking poised to stomp away. “I don’t suppose you’ll feel any remorse for playing the family guilt card, do you?”

He smiled, knowing he’d just won another skirmish. “None.”

“Of course you don’t.” She shut her eyes for a second. “How about the guilt I’ll have if anything happens to you?”

“Not so much.” He settled deeper into his chair. “You still don’t trust me completely. I’m okay with that,” he continued when she shot a sidelong look at him. “I know I’m capable, and you will, too, eventually.”

“How many men have you killed?”

He blinked at her, then cleared his throat. “That I know of?”

Kat folded her arms on her chest, her gaze leveled on his face.

He considered for a moment not answering. Then he reconsidered. “Probably a couple dozen, minimum. Afghanistan, a few other places.” He shrugged, one-shouldered. “One in the line of duty as a cop.” He could still remember the look on that guy’s face–it broadcast the man’s intent even better than the weapon he’d held. “I would’ve put a bullet in that guy in your bedroom, Kat, if he’d made the tiniest move in your direction after I got there. He knew it, too. It’s why he went out the window.” Hunter dropped his foot back to the floor.

She still didn’t look convinced.

He pushed to his feet. “Are you angling to be restrained?” he asked lightly. “I do have handcuffs, you know.”

Her eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. “What? Of course not.” Still, color tinted her cheeks, and he imagined she was thinking about the possibility. “No,” she said more firmly, shifting her gaze away.

“You let me know when you change your mind.” He kept his tone light, moving toward her.

Kat glanced at him. “Don’t stalk me.”

He smiled. “Do I look like I’m trying to sneak?” He reached out and caught one of her wrists, pulling her closer despite her reluctance. “I was trying to be up-front. If I’d been sneaking just now, like that, you could send me back to basic training for a refresher.”

She gave a tug at her wrist, but he held on, just enough to keep her where she was. “Hunter.”

He let his smile widen. “I understand trusting me with your life is a lot different than trusting me with your body.” He enjoyed the color deepening in her cheeks. “But please try.”

She studied his face for a few long heartbeats. “You know it’s got nothing to do with you personally, right? I just don’t trust that many people,” she said finally.

“I know.” He leaned closer, bending to rest his forehead against hers. “Give it a try.”

She sighed. “I can’t make any promises, but I’ll try.”

His heart bounced harder in his chest. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

She rolled her eyes and gave him a shove, but he wrapped his other arm around her back, and her eyes widened a little. “Hunter–”

He kissed her, just a brush of his lips over hers, still holding her gaze. “Thank you.” And when he released her, he was gratified to see the way her eyes darkened.

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Now I’m off to find some supper and get in some reading time before I gear up for this crazy week at the day-job.  More studying of the things I need to do before I am ready to dive into the self-publishing pool.  Keep going, on whatever you’re working on this week!

( Photo by mikecogh on Foter.com / CC BY-SA )