Tag Archive: book cover


 

I’ve just got a quick post this week. It’s been a long weekend, though it was wonderful to see family I see too infrequently, but I’m feeling a little blue, so I have a story snippet to share with you.  I’ll be working like crazy at the day-job this coming week, and trying hard to get my mind focused on that and on my writing, rather than our sad get-together over the weekend to say goodbye to my dad.

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It was one of those days when having the Medusa’s fabled power to turn people to stone would really come in handy.

Andrea Rosakis did not, however, have that ability, not this week, anyway. Even though she was the reigning Medusa.

She glared at the man on her back porch, wondering if he could ever understand how lucky he was she wasn’t suffering from PMS this week. And why wouldn’t he stop talking? Her fingers itched to slam the door.

“…if you just have five minutes, ma’am,” he concluded.

She narrowed her gaze on the vacuum beside him. “No, thank you.” And how the hell had he found her all the way out here? No one ever bothered to follow her rough, muddy driveway all the way to the top, even if they did ignore the “No Trespassing” signs posted at the foot of it. Not to mention the protective warding she had set at the boundaries of the entire property. Sure, it wasn’t the heavy artillery of protection spells, but no one else had ever gotten past it. This man however, had not only ignored the signs and the subtle “go away” protections, but managed the entire bumpy, muddy track into the woods and halfway up the mountain. Just to hear her say, “No.”

And he didn’t look discouraged. At all.

Andi almost wished she were PMSing this week, though it would be a real pain in the ass to have to get rid of a life-sized stone statue of a vacuum salesman.

Or maybe she could keep it. He was very pretty, even if he annoyed her. He was tall and broad, his inky black hair was a tad too long, and his bright green eyes held her attention. At least as stone, he’d be silent and still pretty. She gave herself a mental shake. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this—”

“When would be a better time?”

“Never.”

He did blink at that, but his smile never disappeared. “I’ll have to check my calendar.”

She snorted, then clapped her free hand over her mouth. Laughing would not discourage the man. “Look, I’m sure it’s a great vacuum, but I don’t need it. I don’t want to see how it works, and I’d like you to get off my property.”

His smile did fade a little bit. “Well, I suppose, if that’s what you really want.”

She quirked an eyebrow, trying not to smile again. He had the faintest hint of an accent, but she couldn’t place it. Not without hearing him talk some more, and she didn’t want to encourage that either, or he’d just keep trying to sell her an expensive vacuum she didn’t need.

“Maybe I could talk you into meeting me for coffee sometime then,” he said.

Her jaw dropped. The cute salesman was hitting on her. For half a second, she indulged the fantasy of a date with the hunk. A real date, maybe ending with a real kiss. Her pulse quickened. Then she remembered one good date led to more, and eventually, it led to guys running away from her, gibbering like idiots when PMS struck. She shut her mouth and ignored the regret burning in her middle. “Sorry, but no.”

“You’re a hard woman,” he said lightly, his bright gaze sliding down to her mouth. “I’ll leave my card in case you change your mind. About the coffee, that is.” He forced a small card into her hand and picked up his vacuum.

Andi stared after him as he strode off her porch. The bulky vacuum looked like it weighed nothing in his hand, swinging at his side on his way to the shiny, new truck parked behind her car.

When he took one hand from the steering wheel to wave at her, she stopped herself from lifting her hand in response. He turned the truck around and vanished down the drive into the trees. Frowning, she went back inside and shut the door, then locked it and re-armed the alarm. He’d tossed the vacuum into the bed of the truck. A very strong salesman.

Who didn’t seem to care the impending rain was going to damage his expensive vacuum.

She turned back to the door and stared out the narrow window beside it, her heart beating faster now with alarm. Maybe he didn’t realize. Or maybe he really hadn’t come here to sell her a vacuum.

She swallowed hard.

Aunt Celosia had always told the cousins stories of the Harvesters, the men who still hunted for the Medusa. Somehow, Andi had always thought they’d be more frightening. More obvious. Ugly men intent on murder.

If this vacuum salesman was a Harvester, he was sneaky. Of course, if he was a Harvester, he would be sneaky, as Perseus had been when he killed the first Medusa.

She was in a lot of trouble.

________________

 

I hope you all have a beautiful week, and if you love someone, tell them!

 

 

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Not an actual picture of me, but a fair representation of this weekend. Only there should be more crumpled up papers.  I’m not trashing one of my stories, just revising my writing goals for the year now that I’ve survived the craziest week I’ve had in three years at the day-job.  And as I’m revising, I’m really glad I built in some padding for my original goals, though I had no idea how much of it I was going to need when things went south.

I think in the next day or two, I’ll have it fine-tuned and then I can get back to rewriting Medusa #2, which I was enjoying, right up until the start of crazy week.  And can I just tell you, in the midst of all the insanity, I finally got my snowstorm–on the two craziest days, of course.  It started snowing while we were in the office Tuesday, and I had to clear off my car before I could go home. Then I had to clear off even more to go to the office Wednesday morning.  And then, after almost 11 hours at work, I had to not just clear off more snow, but shovel the car out, since the maintenance guys had been plowing all day.  And now most of my 12″+ of snow is gone already.  Spring in Pennsylvania. I didn’t even get to take any pictures of it, and it was beautiful, no matter what my summer-loving friend says.

The timing of the storm was fun all the way around–we had tickets for a concert Tuesday night, so after I got done with the crazy at work, then we had to drive through the snow to dinner and the show, and it was totally worth it.  It was a nice reprieve before the extra-long Wednesday.

I have done some writing this week, on hot tiger shifter #5.  But I’ve been doing more rewriting on other things than new writing for poor Joe.  Fortunately, Joe is patient, so he’ll be ready when I get back to his story.  Which might be a little while, since I’ve reworked the writing goals for the rest of the year.  Poor Joe, but first up will be Medusas, and then tiger shifters.

And since I’m in Medusa-mode today, how about a little taste of Medusa #3?

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Katharine had had enough. Her skin was tingling with the need for release again, and her heart beat too fast. And she hadn’t seen any likely candidates. Even a desperate Medusa had standards.

Which meant it was time to go home and break out a couple more vibrators to get through tonight. Dammit.

She took another sip from her glass, smiling at Ramona from her post on the deck. Her friend danced enthusiastically with someone she’d greeted even more enthusiastically just a little while ago. She hated to interrupt, but it really was time to go home.

Katharine sighed and shifted her shoulders, trying to loosen up the tight muscles there, turning her gaze over the crowd one last time. Her breath caught in her chest.

He was gorgeous, in a rugged sort of way. His nose had been broken at least once, but it didn’t matter. A dimple dented his chin, and he had the brightest blue eyes she’d ever seen, black hair dipping over one of them. Even better, his green shirt stretched taut over strong shoulders and a wide chest, then tucked into a pair of jeans that fit nicely on narrow hips.

Her heart beat faster in anticipation.

Then he glanced up from his conversation with a shorter man whose arm was wrapped around an even shorter woman and caught her eye. A slow smile curved his mouth as his gaze slid down the front of her, then back up, making her skin warm in anticipation, lingering on her mouth.

Her lips tingled hopefully.

She took a drink from the cup she still held. Whatever frozen thing Ramona had given her was melting and slushy, but she could still taste the bite of alcohol as it hit her tongue.

He moved away from the couple he was with, toward her, and her temperature went up a couple more degrees. His long-legged stride was confident, though he didn’t rush.

No, damn him, he made her wait, pausing once, briefly, to greet someone along the way.

She tightened her grip on the stem of the plastic cup and took a quick breath.

He finally stopped about two steps away, and she could smell his cologne, something musky that made her pulse race even faster.

She felt her nipples tighten inside her vest.

“Hi.” The low tone of his voice raised goosebumps on her arms despite the warm evening air.

“Hi.” She put out her right hand. “I’m Katharine Vardos.”

He smiled again, that slow curve of his lips that made heat spread in her belly, from the inside out, until her panties were damp when she shifted her weight from one foot to the other.

Then he wrapped his long, strong fingers around hers. “Hunter Phelps. Nice to meet you.”

Heat shot up her arm from where he held her hand, rising into her face. “Are you a friend of Ramona’s?” She left her hand in his, her brain already imagining his long fingers elsewhere on her body. The mental images made her breathing quicken.

He shook his head, sliding his thumb across the back of her hand. “My buddy Lance is, though.” His bright gaze dropped to her mouth again.

She inhaled slowly. “Are you a dancer, Hunter?” Blue eyes she could drown in, she thought when he met her gaze again.

“Occasionally,” he said, tightening his hold on her hand. “Was that an invitation?”

“Yes.” Oh, please let him say yes, she thought.

He set his beer bottle down on the deck railing, then took her cup and set it aside, too. “Let’s go.”

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Katharine and Hunter had some surprises for me when I was writing the first draft of their story, and I hope when the time comes that everyone else enjoys those as much as I did.

Before I go, I wonder how many of you have had to rearrange your plans already for the rest of the year? Surely I’m not alone in having something unexpected happen that pushed your goals off-track.  How are you managing with getting back on-track?

 

 

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

This past week felt more like a normal week, though after Wednesday, I wasn’t nearly busy enough at the day-job. But I have projects to work on, there and at home. Like prepping for a few crazy-busy weeks coming up there, and writing and photo-scanning here at home.  We have a few big things left to wrap up with my aunt’s estate before I feel like I can relax.  Who knew settling an estate could take so long? (Don’t tell me if you did, I just wish I had known before now!)

So I have been making progress with the fifth (final??) shifter story when I’ve been on breaks at work. I had intended to write only three of them, with this hero being the last, but then one of his siblings needed a story, and one of his cousins.  I hesitate now to say this will be the last one, since I had other plans when I started writing the first one.  But at the moment, anyway, Joe will be the last of my shifters.  I need to revisit the first stories in the series, though, before I can do anything with them–one of the perils of not plotting before you write a book is that sometimes you get a few stories in and realize something that needs to happen earlier in the series. Too bad my brain doesn’t work the way it would need to for me to plot out my stories before I write them. I’ve only pulled that off once, with a synopsis worksheet from a writer-friend of mine. But mostly my brain just needs to tell the story as it goes, not figure it out beforehand, and I’m okay with that.

Since the first part of my year hasn’t gone according to plan (when does it ever?), I’ve dug out my writing goals for the year so I can make use of some of that wiggle room I built in to try to rearrange things so I can still accomplish some of the things I wanted to accomplish this year. One of the top priorities is my Medusa trilogy–re-releasing the first book and then sending the other two books out into the world, hopefully still later this year.

Right now, I’m about to go back to hot Joe the tiger shifter, but I think this week I’m going to share a little of the first Medusa with you.  I know some of you have read it, but a lot of you have not.  I hope you enjoy.

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Andrea rested her head on her folded arms on the kitchen table, only half listening to Kallan typing on his keyboard. She didn’t want to die just yet. She knew for sure she didn’t want to be mutilated before she died.

But she didn’t look forward to killing the Harvester either.

She never should have had sex with him. She knew it. She’d known it beforehand.

And she should definitely not still want him.

When the phone rang, it was a relief. For a few seconds. Until she realized it was Thalia. “My cousin.” She didn’t think she needed to explain her mental caller I.D. to him.

Kallan held her gaze for a long moment. “Don’t try to let her know what’s going on,” he said at last. “I know where a lot of your cousins are located, and I’m not the only one.”

Her heart pounded harder at the implication, but she got to her feet and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Thalia. How are you?”

“I’m fine, Andi, but I think you need to get away for a while.”

She frowned, feeling Kallan’s presence behind her. Close behind her. Close enough to hear her conversation. “What do you mean?” His body heat teased her.

“The Harvesters are out and about. I’m afraid for you.”

Andi shut her eyes for a second, then opened them again when he put his hands on her shoulders. She shot him a glare and moved away, back toward the table. “I’m fine.”

“Please don’t ignore this, Andi. You know I’m hardly ever wrong.”

That was true. But she wondered if her cousin realized she was very often late with her flashes of intuition. Far too late in this case. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought, all right? Mom said something the other day about visiting.” Gods, had it only been two days ago? “And Aunt Lydia just called yesterday too. I could go to see either of them if anything seems odd.”

His hands settled on her shoulders again, massaging the tense muscles there.

She didn’t bother to shrug him off this time. He was persistent. “I could even come visit with you,” she teased, forcing a lightness into her tone.

Her cousin cleared her throat. “I actually have company right now,” she said after a moment, and Andi could almost see her blushing. “You remember I met someone in Athens last summer? Well, he’s come again to stay for a while.” Even over the phone, the emotion in Thalia’s voice was obvious.

One more cousin safe—none of the cousins who’d fallen in love ever had the curse land on their heads. A tiny bit of relief made her relax further under Kallan’s touch. “That’s terrific, Thalia. When do the rest of us get to meet him?”

“We’re talking dates,” the other woman said, a hint of a smile in her tone now. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Good. And thanks for the warning. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I’ve got to go, Andi. Talk to you soon. But promise you’ll be careful. Danger is coming from more than one direction.”

She pushed the off button on the phone and shut her eyes, ignoring the slight sting in them. She was not envious of Thalia’s good fortune. She was just in an impossible situation here.

His warm breath brushed the top of her head a second before his lips. “That was good.”

She wanted to tell him to go screw himself. She wanted a weapon to swing at him. She wanted him to wrap his arms around her and carry her down onto the nearest flat surface.

Her eyes popped open. Damned hormones.

His hands slid down her sides and wrapped around her, settling her back against his chest as if he’d read her mind. She hoped he didn’t have that ability.

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This reminds me–I got to keep the cover for my first Medusa, which I love.  But one of the things on my writing goals for the year is to find a cover artist for the other two books in the trilogy. Which made me wonder if I really will need a whole new cover for Hunting Medusa as well, so the three look like they belong together? What do you think? Am I going to be able to find someone to design the second and third covers so they are similar to the first one, or am I going to have to redo that one, too?

 

 

( Photo by Un ragazzo chiamato Bi on Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

The day-job has been just as busy as I expected this past week, and that will continue for the next couple of days, but I actually spent part of my weekend relaxing. Of course all the chores still had to be done, as well as work on my aunt’s estate, but I took yesterday afternoon to spend with a friend. We were way overdue, and both of us have had a crappy couple of weeks, so it was nice to just sit and talk, without having to try to figure anything out, and just hang out. Of course, we had a little wine and watched a movie full of pretty faces, which made it even nicer.  Easier to get back to chores today after that.

Today would have been my paternal grandma’s ninety-seventh birthday.  One of my aunts shared a picture earlier of my grandma with her five kids at her seventy-fifth birthday party. It was a little bit of a jolt to realize that only two of the people in the picture are still living, and more than a little sad, considering the loss of one was just a couple weeks ago.  But it led me to dig through a couple of other old pictures of my grandma, and I stumbled on one another of my aunts shared some time ago, of my grandparents when they were much younger.  The first time I saw it, I was surprised to realize I look like my grandma.  I’d never heard that from anyone when I was growing up–it was always, ‘wow, you look just like your mom’, which I did (the only difference between some of my childhood pics and my mom’s is that hers were black and white).  Evidently that changed somewhere along the way, but I’d never seen any pictures of my grandma when she was young until my aunt shared that one. As an added bonus, it included my grandpa, who died way before I was born.  Family was always a big deal when I was younger, and sometimes I miss having everyone closer, rather than spread out over most of the country.

This is just me meandering around to a story snippet to share with you, where family is also a big deal.  I debated which family to share today–Medusas or tiger shifters, and the tigers won today.  This little snippet is from the first story.

( Photo on Foter.com  )

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Tessa watched India dance with one of the groomsmen. The man was good-looking, dark blond hair, green eyes, nice physique, and he was obviously interested in India.

India, on the other hand, held herself stiffly in his arms, her mouth turned down at the corners, and her gaze slid from one spot to another, never meeting his.

Tessa wondered if India missed Jon, even though she’d never have brought him along for this. All these shifters in one room, and there was bound to be a display or two of shifting. Tessa had already seen several partial Shifts. It was only a matter of time before someone Shifted completely.

Harley lifted her hand to his lips. “You’re a million miles away, honey.”

She forced a little smile. “Sorry.”

Before he could speak, Boris appeared. “Come dance with me, Tessa.” He didn’t give either of them a chance to protest, but pulled her out of her seat and onto the dance floor.

“That dress is too pretty to sit all evening,” Boris said, smiling.

She shook her head. “I was good with the sitting.”

He grinned. “You just hate the heels.”

Tessa laughed. “You’re right.”

He spun her around until she laughed again.

* * *

Harley glared daggers at his brother for several minutes, and then his father cut in. Boris flashed an “I know something you don’t know” grin before returning to his wife’s side. Marigold didn’t look like she was enjoying herself, which surprised Harley. Mari was a social butterfly, and usually at an event like this, she’d be everywhere, whether she was wanted or not. Tonight, she’d been quiet and had mostly remained in her seat. Maybe she was still sick with whatever bug she’d had earlier in the week.

Harley turned his attention back to Tessa, and he watched his father laugh at something Tessa said as they danced around the crowded floor. When his cousin Alec cut in, Harley realized he’d clenched his fists.

It was just a dance.

He repeated that to himself several times as Alec flirted with her, making her blush and laugh. When Alec leaned closer to hear her speak, Harley’d had enough. He charged through the dancers to where they swayed together. “My turn,” he growled, shoving his cousin away from her.

Tessa’s eyes rounded and her mouth dropped open before color rushed to her face.

Alec raised one eyebrow. “Really?”

“Don’t make me kick your ass in front of the whole family.” Harley gave him a hard look for a long moment before Alec looked away.

“It was nice seeing you again, Tessa,” Alec said, moving away.

Harley pulled her into his arms.

She didn’t move with him, digging her heels in. “What was that?”

“Me rescuing you from Alec.” He finally gave up trying to move her, though he knew he could–but not without attracting more attention.

“I hadn’t realized I was in need of rescue.” Her words were as stiff as her body. “There was no need to make a scene.”

He realized some of his extended family were watching them closely. Too many of them. “I didn’t like him touching you,” he said after a moment.

She frowned up at him.

“I didn’t like him flirting with you.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“Not because I don’t trust you,” he said quickly. “But because I’m discovering I’m jealous.”

Her mouth dropped open. Then pink tinted her cheeks. “Harley–”

He bent and nudged her nose with his. “I didn’t say it was rational. But it’s how I feel. You’re mine.” He brushed his lips over hers, lightly, and held his breath.

Tessa sucked in a quick breath, and her eyes went shiny with tears.

He hoped that was a good thing.

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Before I go back to my writing, I have a question for you all. Is your family close, distance-wise? Or are you all spread out, too, making regular visits a challenge?

 

 

It’s been a busy week here, which is good. No time for thinking, and then exhausted by the end of the day.  But I did get a lovely present from my brother yesterday–a flash drive full of old pictures.   Some of them I remembered, some I didn’t, but most of them made me smile, at least a little, including this one.

 

 

The house where I grew up was one we rented.  It had an enormous yard, front and back, with more acreage that was wooded. There was also a giant barn, and the landlord’s horse.  I used to ride that horse with my dad quite a lot, sometimes just in the yard, but often up onto the wooded ridge beyond our yard and the horse’s fenced-in field.  Seeing this picture definitely made me smile.

I’ve also been writing.  I was actually a little surprised by that this week, but a few paragraphs in the morning before starting my workday, and then again on my lunch breaks. Another way to keep my brain busy, I suppose, but I’ll take it. I’m only about a quarter of the way into this fifth tiger shifter story, and I’d hoped to be working on revisions/rewrites on something else at this stage of the month.  Then again, that’s why I try to leave myself some wiggle room when I’m planning my writing goals every year–for the things that come up that you just can’t plan for.

So I think once I get through this crazy week and next week at the day-job, I need to revisit my writing goals for this year so I can make some tweaks. I also need to start scanning old pictures that I have–from my own albums, and from both my grandparents and my aunt, so can share those with my family, because I’m sure I have some that they don’t yet. That will be a long-term project, though, because I have a lot of photos.  I hope my scanner holds up for all of them.

For now, I am going back to my writing, but have a little snippet of Medusa #3 to share with you for the week.

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Finally, Hunter sat back in his chair when he’d polished off his own lunch. “Okay. Hit me.”

She blinked at him. “What?”

“Give me your best argument.”

That wasn’t what she’d expected. She frowned again, pushing her empty plate aside and resting her forearms on the edge of the table. “I shouldn’t need to convince you,” she said after a moment. “You saw him. You heard how determined he is. And there are more just like him. Lots more.” She brushed her fingers absently over the smooth surface of the table. “My best bet right now is to hook up with one of my cousins or their husbands who’ve dealt with the Harvesters before. Then you’ll be safe.”

“That’s the best you can muster?”

Katharine glared at him, more annoyed when he just continued to smile at her. Only half a day ago, that look would have killed him. Now, it didn’t even make her feel better to know that. “I shouldn’t have to convince you that you’re unsafe as long as you’re with me.”

He shrugged. “I’m not the Medusa. They’re not interested in me.”

That was true.

She shook her head. “That doesn’t matter. My cousin Philomena, who was the Medusa before me, had Harvesters target her family to try to reach her.”

He shrugged again. “I’m not family. They have no way to connect me to you.”

“Except for the one who saw you Monday.”

“But he doesn’t know who I am. I didn’t introduce myself while I was holding him at gunpoint.”

Her pulse quickened. “That doesn’t mean he didn’t wait around to see you leave so he could follow you or try to track you down.”

Hunter shook his head. “Didn’t follow. And he definitely didn’t stick around after I made him ditch his knife.”

Her frustration level jumped up. He wasn’t understanding. Why wasn’t he understanding?

Why did it matter? She was an adult and could do what she wanted.

“Don’t even think it.” His tone was mild, but there was something in his eyes that made her hesitate.

“I am not going to stay here and put you in danger,” she said finally, working to keep the edge out of her voice. “I’m going to call my cousin and get a little advice from her husband, and then get out of your hair.”

Hunter’s smile disappeared. “No.”

She covered her face with her hands.

“I’ll talk to your cousin’s husband and see what he thinks, but you’re not going off on your own.”

She dropped her hands. “I can defend myself just fine, at least for the next four weeks,” she pointed out.

“I’m sure you can. But I’d rather keep you where I can see you.”

“Why?”

His expression softened a little. “I already know how to deal with this guy. And I’ve already gotten you to safety. Oh, and I have the new code to your alarm system for you, not that you can go back there.” He dug a piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it across the table.

Katharine sighed. “You’re going to be difficult about this, aren’t you?” She took the paper and unfolded it, staring blankly for a few seconds at the numbers. She swallowed, wishing her brain was functioning a little more quickly. Evidently, the residual effects of three days of painkillers hadn’t yet gone away.

“You’d better believe it.” He set one hand over hers on the table, his fingers warm. “I’m in this thing now, Kat, and you’re going to find it hard to shake me.”

That’s what she was afraid of. She looked away, her gaze catching on the fruit plate. The green of the grapes contrasted sharply with the whitish flesh of the apple slices.

“So,” he said at last, giving her fingers a squeeze, “which cousin are you calling? Didn’t you say there are two now who used to be the Medusa?”

Katharine rested her face on her other hand, shutting her eyes, then sighed. “Yes. Andi’s husband is the one who was a Harvester, and Phila’s husband owns a security firm.”

“Really?”

She opened her eyes to find his gaze had sharpened.

“Yes.”

“Then I’m going to want to talk to him. I’m sure between the two of us, we can come up with something nearly foolproof to keep you safe.”

She shook her head slowly, noting the stubborn set of his jaw. “You’re serious.”

“As a heart attack.”

________________

Before I go, I wanted to say thank you to the very kind notes after last week’s blog post. I appreciate them all, and all of you for thinking of me and my family.

 

(New chapter printed on a tyepwriter -Depositphotos)

 

My weekend has been busy,though I haven’t gotten all the things done that I intended.  One thing that happened, though, is that we are officially empty-nesters as of today, and I’m torn about that.  I know that’s how life works, but my mom-brain isn’t ready.

To avoid being sad all over (again), I’m going to change the subject.  Writing. I’ve gotten a bit done this week, even though the day-job was busier than I had expected. I’ve also been reading through manuscripts I intend to do something with this year, including the first shapeshifter. I have some work planned for that one, but there are still a lot of things I love about it, including the yummy tiger shifter hero Harley. He has known Tessa most of her life, but he’s ignored the crush she had on him. But now there are a few rogue shifters targeting her, and Harley knows he’s the best man to keep her safe, even if she doesn’t believe him. So I’ve got a little snippet of their story to share with you today.

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He debated for half a second: cold beer or ringing phone. It would take far less time to reach the telephone than it would to get to the refrigerator in the kitchen, and he’d be able to hear the phone the entire time. Sighing, he headed for the nearest phone just inside the library.

Harley smiled when he saw the name on the caller i.d. It was about time he got lucky. His evening was suddenly looking up. He snagged the phone from the cradle. “Hello, little Tessa.”

There was silence for a moment, and then he heard her inhale shakily. “I need to speak to India please.” Even her voice trembled.

Surely she wasn’t that upset by having him answer the phone. He must have startled her. “She’s not here.” He wasn’t sure he managed to keep the smugness from his tone.

Another shaky breath reached his ear. Then a sniffle.

On alert now, he frowned. “Tessa? What’s wrong, honey?”

“Someone broke into the house,” she whispered.

His heart pounded faster. He stuck his free hand into his pocket and grabbed the car keys. “Call the police, Tessa.” He strode out of the office toward the entry hall.

“I did. They’re here, but they won’t let me go inside. They said I won’t be able to stay here tonight.”

And he could hear in her tone that right now, she didn’t want to stay there. He stopped near the front door. “I’ll be right there. Are you okay? You didn’t walk in on whoever it was?”

“I’m fine.”

He resisted the need to snort his disbelief at that claim. He could hear in her voice that she was far from fine. “I’ll be there in just a couple of minutes, honey.” He pushed the off button on the phone and dropped it to the table beside the door on his way out.

It took him seven minutes and a lot of miles an hour over the speed limit to reach Tessa’s place, and he saw the flashing red lights on the police cars before he even got in view of the house. When he jerked his car to a stop at the end of her very crowded driveway, he saw her, standing outside the front door, arms wrapped over her middle. Shaking.

His protective instinct rose up with a growl as he shoved the door open and climbed out of the car. The cops had left her standing there alone. Unprotected.

Her front door had been smashed in, shattered. There was no need to use that much force, he thought as he strode nearer. Whoever did it had done so maliciously, simply to destroy it.

Tessa had been watching the proceedings inside her house, but she glanced over her shoulder then, her wide eyes dark with fear.

He held up his hands, though he knew she was aware he meant her no harm. “Hey,” he said softly.

Her lower lip quivered, just a little, and then she sank her teeth into it, to keep it still.

________________

Hope you enjoyed that little taste of Harley and Tessa.  I also hope you all have a wonderful week, full of only happiness and good!

 

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

 

( Photo on Foter.com )

It’s been a busy week. I expected the day-job to be busy, and it was. I didn’t expect to be so busy outside of there this week, though it turned out that way. I got quite a bit of writing done this week, in spite of the day-job craziness.  I also got some things done (or at least moved further alone) with my aunt’s estate, too, and I feel better about where things stand there right now.  Work should be a little quieter for me after Tuesday (at least for a few days), so I’m hoping to get more writing time in. And I know a few more estate things will move progressing as well. All this forward movement is making me happy about January this year.

One of the other things I want to work on this month is some of the household tasks I didn’t get to last year (other things took priority), like clearing out my work area here in the office and getting rid of some unnecessary things in the basement. Both of these were on my to-do list for my vacation week last year, but you know how I spent my vacation last summer–doing those same sort of tasks at my aunt’s house instead. This year, I’m going to get them done here.

I really do need to clean up my office. Since mid-summer, I’ve been accumulating things not just of my own, but for my aunt’s estate–bills we’ve paid, bills we will need to pay, etc.  It goes without saying that my work area here is a cluttered mess right now, and it’s really beginning to bug me. So I am plotting a couple of long weekends so I can get this project started and wrapped up.

Speaking of writing, I also started digging into my second and third Medusa manuscripts this past week, to try to figure out how much work is ahead of me getting them ready for the world. I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but excited, too, because I’m overdue to make this happen. Real life does sometimes throw a wrench into your plans.

Since I have dug back into my Medusas, I think today’s little snippet is going to be from the second story.  I hope you enjoy!

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That left Philomena alone in the kitchen with him, and the tension ratcheted up a few more degrees.

“You don’t think he’ll come back here, do you? Tonight, I mean?” She remained seated, not wanting to bump into him while she cleared away the remains of their meal, keeping her gaze on the table. Flitting from her plate to the leftover peas and sloppy joes. The open bag of rolls. Jason’s empty plate.

“I don’t know. He seems to believe this is your primary residence, so that means your mother and Jason need to be out for now. But I winged him earlier, so he’ll have to patch it up before he comes back.” He inhaled deeply. “We’ll be fine until my buddy gets here.”

She arched one eyebrow. “‘We’?”

His lips curved again with that cocky smile that made goosebumps lift on her arms. “Yeah. I think I can protect you.”

“Who’ll protect me from you?” It was out before she could stop it, and she colored again.

“If you need protection from me, I’m sure you’ll do fine. You wear that knife of yours all the time, right?”

“Not to bed.” Dammit, what is wrong with my mouth? She felt more heat crawl up her throat to her face.

“Well, that’s reassuring,” he drawled, his eyes darkening even more. “Why don’t you let me help you clean up?”

“Why don’t you go sit with Jason while I clean up?” she countered, pushing away from the table and to her feet. Standing made her feel a little better, though he still towered over her by a good six inches. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to catch you up on his show.” She carried her plate to the sink and scraped the remains of her meal into the disposal, turning it on and drowning out any response he might have made.

When she turned around again, she saw the back of him as he went into the living room, where Jason greeted him enthusiastically. The back looked as good as the front, she admitted, faded jeans clinging to a tight ass, strong thighs and calves.

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( Photo by x1klima on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

How are you all doing with your goals for the new year? Forward progress? Still planning? It would be nice to hear someone else’s good news, or just commiserate if things aren’t going as fast as we’d like.

 

 

Hot Chocolate

How has the first week of your new year gone? As well as you’d hoped? Better? Not as well as you wanted?

I haven’t gotten as much writing-related work done this week as I would have liked, but I have been writing, in spite of the absolute craziness at my day-job–way more insanity than I anticipated, and the next week is probably going to be even busier.  I’ve also been working on getting a new-to-me computer set up in the home office, which is taking some time, since I have to move things onto it from my laptop and the old desktop computer, and some of those things take way too long–finding disks, trying to figure out how to install an older program that might need tweaking on a newer system…   Some of those are frustrating.

I also had to figure out if it made sense to me to participate in the very fun booksigning I’ve done the past couple of years, since I haven’t yet got Hunting Medusa ready for reissue, and settled on dates, etc. for the second and third books in the trilogy. I was disappointed to have to say no, but it doesn’t make sense to me to do it when I don’t have something new, so I’ll be bummed to miss this year, but then should be good for next year, because I am aiming to have at least the first two books in the trilogy out before the end of this year.

I know the weather has been in full-on winter mode in a lot of areas this week, but it has been extra-cold here.  I have had quite a lot of tea this week, and some very yummy hot chocolate to stay warm.  How about you? Lots of warm beverages while you’re reading?

I think I promised a little snippet of story for this week, didn’t I?  So how about a little taste of Hunting Medusa for those of you who haven’t read it yet (and those who haven’t read it in a while!)…

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Andrea rested her head on her folded arms on the kitchen table, only half listening to Kallan typing on his keyboard. She didn’t want to die just yet.

She knew for sure she didn’t want to be mutilated before she died.

But she didn’t look forward to killing the Harvester either.

She never should have had sex with him. She knew it. She’d known it beforehand.

And she should definitely not still want him.

When the phone rang, it was a relief. For a few seconds. Until she realized it was Thalia. “My cousin.” She didn’t think she needed to explain her mental caller I.D. to him.

Kallan held her gaze for a long moment. “Don’t try to let her know what’s going on,” he said at last. “I know where a lot of your cousins are located, and I’m not the only one.”

Her heart pounded harder at the implication, but she got to her feet and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Thalia. How are you?”

“I’m fine, Andi, but I think you need to get away for a while.”

She frowned, feeling Kallan’s presence behind her. Close behind her. Close enough to hear her conversation. “What do you mean?” His body heat teased her.

“The Harvesters are out and about. I’m afraid for you.”

Andi shut her eyes for a second, then opened them again when he put his hands on her shoulders. She shot him a glare and moved away, back toward the table. “I’m fine.”

“Please don’t ignore this, Andi. You know I’m hardly ever wrong.”

That was true. But she wondered if her cousin realized she was very often late with her flashes of intuition. Far too late in this case. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought, all right? Mom said something the other day about visiting.” Gods, had it only been two days ago? “And Aunt Lydia just called yesterday too. I could go to see either of them if anything seems odd.”

His hands settled on her shoulders again, massaging the tense muscles there.

She didn’t bother to shrug him off this time. He was persistent. “I could even come visit with you,” she teased, forcing a lightness into her tone.

Her cousin cleared her throat. “I actually have company right now,” she said after a moment, and Andi could almost see her blushing. “You remember I met someone in Athens last summer? Well, he’s come again to stay for a while.” Even over the phone, the emotion in Thalia’s voice was obvious.

One more cousin safe—none of the cousins who’d fallen in love ever had the curse land on their heads. A tiny bit of relief made her relax further under Kallan’s touch. “That’s terrific, Thalia. When do the rest of us get to meet him?”

“We’re talking dates,” the other woman said, a hint of a smile in her tone now. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Good. And thanks for the warning. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I’ve got to go, Andi. Talk to you soon. But promise you’ll be careful. Danger is coming from more than one direction.”

She pushed the off button on the phone and shut her eyes, ignoring the slight sting in them. She was not envious of Thalia’s good fortune. She was just in an impossible situation here.

His warm breath brushed the top of her head a second before his lips. “That was good.”

She wanted to tell him to go screw himself. She wanted a weapon to swing at him. She wanted him to wrap his arms around her and carry her down onto the nearest flat surface.

Her eyes popped open. Damned hormones.

________________

Have a great week!

My shiny new cover art! isn’t it pretty?

I think summer is here already.  We had those few beautiful days, and suddenly the past three have been hot and muggy.  I’m disappointed.  I shouldn’t be, because we haven’t had too many good springs here in recent years.  Most of the time now, we get a few weeks of cool, early-spring weather, and then summer arrives with the heat and humidity.  One of these years, I’ll get a really great spring again.  Maybe next year, after a decent winter.

 

(  Photo credit: Sorin Mutu via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA )

But the flowers are blooming, which I like (and the weeds are sprouting, which I don’t like), so I’ll just look at the positive parts for now.  One more positive is I get to watch beautiful horses racing next weekend.  I’ll get the household chores in first, and I won’t drink a mint julep, but I’ll find something summery to drink with it.

And I have a three-day weekend this week, which means extra writing time, and that is definitely a positive.  I actually got a lot of writing done last week, even though the day-job has been crazy-busy.  I got a lot of new pages written in the mornings and on my lunch breaks.  I’m aiming for a decent night’s sleep tonight, because the next two days will be busy, before a little lull, but I still want more new pages.

I have a quick snippet of story from Hunting Medudsa to share with you, too…

_______________

“You need to know I’ll die before I let him kill you,” he said, startling her.
Andi blinked, and he turned his head toward her, his green eyes as hard as his jaw. Her heart jumped up into her throat. Gods, he was serious. A hot splatter of stew hit the back of her hand, and she jerked her spoon away from the small pot to turn the burner off, forcing herself to look away from him.
“Maybe you should be practical,” she started.
“Maybe you should think about trusting me a little,” he cut in, swinging around to fully face her.
The front view was as distracting as the back, she realized, absently noting the crisp dark hair spattered over his wide, muscular chest and narrowing onto his flat belly, to that unfastened button…
She pulled her gaze back to his face when he stepped away from the cave opening.

“I got you safely away before Stavros could kill you. I just spent the last two days taking care of you.” His nostrils flared. “I don’t know how you’ve managed by yourself all these years.”
A lump pushed her heart down out of her throat, making her nose and eyes sting.
“If I haven’t earned a little trust after the last two days, I don’t see how you can ever trust anyone.”
That was low. She dropped her spoon into the pan and pushed to her feet. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“It doesn’t look like your family rushes to help you out every month.”
She couldn’t argue, as it was true, but that didn’t lessen the sting.
“So when did anyone take care of you last, Andrea? Besides me?”
“Not since I was thirteen,” she yelled. “Then it wasn’t so bad, until Annis died. Now I take care of myself.” Her vision blurred a little, and she blinked hard.
Kallan moved toward her, his mouth a flat line, his green eyes flaring sparks. “But you trust them anyway?”
“They’re my family.” It really was that simple. If she truly needed them, one of them would come.
“They’ve abandoned you to the Harvesters.” His shout echoed in the cavern.
To her horror, a tear slid down her cheek, but she didn’t wipe it away. “They need to be safe too,” she whispered.
“So the sacrifice of one isn’t a big deal if the rest are safe?” His tone was still rock-hard, though lower in volume.
Andi didn’t want to think about it that way. His view of the whole situation was so distorted.
Wasn’t it?
“As long as none of us get the amulet, it’s okay to lose the Medusa every once in a while?” He touched her cheek, wiping away the tear there.

Another fell, and she wasn’t sure if she was angrier at him or herself. Or her family.

_______________

Now I’m going to go listen to some good music while I dive back into my tiger shifter story.  I hope you all have a really wonderful week!

 

 

 

 

My lilacs are blooming like crazy this week, so spring is definitely here.  I suppose that means that, in addition to cutting them to bring in the house, I should also be clearing out the flower beds to get them ready for the new season. Instead, though, today, I’m going to enjoy the flowers I brought inside while I write.  I could write outside, but half the neighborhood has lawn mowers or other outdoor tools running, and even in the house, I can still hear them if I don’t have my headphones on.  So I’ll put my afternoon to good use by getting more words on pages.

I’m still working on my revamped writing goals for the rest of the year, and I’m counting that as my spring clean-up.  It kind of is, because otherwise, the rest of the year will be a shambling, disorganized mess, as far as my writing goals.  Probably otherwise, too, if I don’t get update this settled.  So I am aiming to finish this new writing plan before the end of this month.  I have to.

Before I get back to the writing, I have a little snippet of Medusa #2…

________________

Philomena let him seat her at a corner booth in the bright diner he found and didn’t protest when he told the waitress they both wanted the dinner special. She just kept thinking of her mother and Jason and the danger they were in because of her. Because if she didn’t think about that, she’d be thinking instead of the coming night and the monstrous bed in the tiny cabin she was about to share with Ryder. And that was unsafe territory after the past twenty-four hours, just as dangerous as the Harvesters, but in a much different manner.
“You’re thinking way too hard about this, Mena,” he said softly, stroking the back of her hand where it lay on the table.

She glanced up from her plate, aware of the warmth sliding up her arm from his touch. “How can I not?”
“Danny is going to make sure they’re safe.” His low voice was soothing, though it still sent a shiver up her spine in a way that was far from soothing. “They’ll be getting ready to travel tomorrow, then hit the road the following day.”
“Jason should be in school.” She didn’t let herself think of the other thing.
He smiled, setting his hand more securely over hers. “It’ll be fine, baby. I promise.”
She set her fork down. “You shouldn’t make promises like that. You can’t know for sure.”
His dark eyes went serious in a flash. “I will keep the two of you safe, Mena.”
Her stomach twisted at his words. “You should worry about keeping Jason safe first.”
“And how do you think he’d feel if I let something happen to you?” His grip on her hand tightened.

She looked away, swallowing. She didn’t want to think about that either.
“For all intents and purposes, you’re his mother, Mena. You’ve raised him since he was born. No–” he held up his other hand when she opened her mouth to protest– “just because she gave birth to him and physically lived there for a couple weeks afterward and sends him a birthday card when she thinks of it, that all means nothing. Desi is a lousy mother, but you aren’t, and Jason knows that. He’d be devastated if I let something happen to you.” He shot her a hard glance. “And even if I didn’t want you so bad my zipper’s about to burst, I’d need to keep you safe just because you’re family.”
That didn’t make her feel better. “So you have control issues and a knight in shining armor complex,” she said, lifting one shoulder.
He tugged on her hand, getting her attention again. “I may work well in protector mode, Mena, but I’m no knight in shining armor.” He held her gaze this time, his own heated. “Having a sheet of solid metal between us is my idea of torture.”

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Now I’m off to write.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!