Tag Archive: cover art


(  Daffodil – Depositphotos )

It’s starting to feel more like spring here, so it looks like my hopes for at least one good snowstorm this season will be dashed. Again. But as busy as things are at the day-job right now, it wouldn’t matter, because I don’t have time to enjoy either snow or spring right now. At the moment, my last load of laundry is in the dryer, and I haven’t had time to sit long enough to even think about writing today. So I’m going to try to sneak in a few minutes at least before I call it a day.

I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa for you this week.

________________

Something had moved outside.

Something too tall to be one of the does that frequented the clearing each evening, though not tall enough for the bull moose who came occasionally. Just the right size for a sneaky Harvester posing as a vacuum salesman.

She thumbed off the phone and sat up straighter, her other hand coming to rest on the dagger across her knees. For a long moment, she didn’t see anything. Then a dark shape slid between the trees, a few yards nearer to the house.

Her heart hammered against her ribs and she curled her fingers around the dagger hilt. That was no animal. At least not of the wild variety. No, this was a two-legged animal, and she had the terrible feeling this one really was a Harvester, no matter what her mother had said yesterday.

Let him try, she thought, setting the phone back on its base. He’d find this Medusa wasn’t going down quietly. She only wished she were PMSing so she could take him out without too much effort. Or mess. If only he’d waited just a few more days to make his move…

She stifled a hysterical giggle at that last thought, glad she’d listened to her instincts this evening.

The shape disappeared again in the dark trees, and she held her breath. Then he reappeared for a few seconds, much closer to the house this time. Her pulse pounded in her ears. He was determined. And now out of her line of vision.

A loud, sharp beep indicated her alarm system had shut down, and was accompanied by the sound of every appliance in the house also turning off. He’d killed her power at the junction box outside.

Bastard.

Andi got to her feet, then tried to decide which door he’d come in. She heard the soft sound of a footfall on the back porch. She crossed into the kitchen, not needing to feel her way around the furniture, and positioned herself beside the refrigerator. He wouldn’t make it far into the house, and then he was hers.

 

Kallan wiped his sweaty hand down his jeans, hoping the shriek of the Medusa’s alarm shutting off hadn’t wakened her. He didn’t want her prepared for an attack. He’d prefer to kill her quickly and get the hell out. He could be back in Baltimore by supper tomorrow with the amulet in hand for Uncle Ari to destroy, ending the protective spell for the rest of the Medusa’s descendants.

He touched the doorknob, felt the locks disengage beneath his hand, then turned the handle and swung the door wide.

Silence greeted him, and he took that as a good sign. No creaking came from upstairs, as there would be if she’d wakened. Good. Nevertheless, he stepped inside cautiously, listening hard. He took another step after a few heartbeats, trying to remember just where the kitchen table and chairs stood from his limited view the day before.

He made it past the furniture and paused to listen again. Still nothing. He frowned. With the power off, the house was too quiet. Surely the sudden and complete silence would wake her, even if she hadn’t heard the brief noise of the alarm shutting down. He slid one foot forward on the smooth wooden floor, and suddenly she was there. Fiery pain shot up his left arm. He grunted, realized she’d stabbed him deeply. He swung his other hand up, managing to hit her on the side of the head.

She cried out but didn’t go down, swinging her blade again. He caught her wrist, but she managed to get another slice to his already-injured forearm before he yanked her arm behind her.

Her booted foot connected with his knee—hard—and he bit back a string of curses at the pain, but didn’t let her go. Why wasn’t she barefoot? If she’d been sleeping, she should be barefoot. His left arm was nearly useless, blood pumping steadily from his wounds, so he crowded her up against the nearest surface. The refrigerator. He shoved hard, hearing her moan when he twisted her arm a little more.

Her blade hit the floor between them. She kicked backward again, and her foot hit his knee from the other side this time.

“Dammit,” he muttered, flattening her between his body and the appliance’s cool metal surface. His arm burned, warm blood dripping from his fingers.

“Get off me, you murdering bastard,” she said, her words slurred slightly from her face being mashed into the refrigerator.

“Well now, that’s not very nice. Especially since I’ve never murdered anyone. Yet,” he added darkly, tightening his grip on her wrist. The bones in her arm were fragile and he was fully aware he could crush them, render her arm as useless as she had his. But he didn’t. He wasn’t Stavros.

“You’re not going to start with me, either, Harvester.”

Mouthy. He grinned at the back of her head. Even trapped and defenseless as she was now, she didn’t stop fighting, even verbally. He had to work to keep from laughing as she continued to threaten him. No one had warned him the Medusa would be talkative. Or soft, he realized when her bottom shifted back into his groin. He concentrated on breathing evenly when his nerve endings all came to life. He’d never imagined he might be aroused by the Medusa.

________________

Here’s hoping for a quick week for you all, and some writing time for me!

 

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It’s Sunday, and this week, that means family dinner. When the boys were little, we had family dinners daily. Then they got older and schedules changed, so dinner all together wasn’t something that could happen every day. Now they live on their own, so I decided this year that I wanted to make sure we had family dinner again, at least semi-regularly. Right now, I have a roast in the crock pot, and a giant pan of vegetables roasting in the oven, and both smell delicious. The boys will be here in a little while to eat and visit. And half the left-overs will go home with them, which makes me happy, since I know they don’t do a lot of cooking–the leftovers mean they’ll have something good for a couple of days. Yes, they’re young adults and on their own, but my job as Mom doesn’t stop just because they don’t live with me anymore. So I still worry, and if I can feed them once in a while, I will.

We used to have Sunday dinners every week when I was a kid. There were occasions when my dad wasn’t there, depending on his work shift that week. Some weeks, we had company…grandparents or aunts or cousins. Some weeks, we went to my closest grandma’s house an hour away for Sunday dinner. I miss regular family dinners. Some weeks I only get to cook once, depending on my schedule. This is one of those weeks, so I’m really looking forward to dinner, and to the left-overs we’ll all have for a couple of days.

As I’m writing this, I realize I have a strong family theme through a lot of my manuscripts. In my Medusa trilogy, the heroines are all part of the same family, my shifters are family, and in the novella I have due out this fall, there is a little family aspect as well. Interesting. I wouldn’t have considered family to be a recurring theme in my stories, especially considering how hot some of them are. Hm…

Before I go set the table for my Sunday dinner, I have a little snippet for you from my first shifter story.

________________

Harley caught a glimpse of his younger sister in the far corner of the room, at the center of a small crowd. Their cousins and her friends surrounded her, and his gaze caught on one sleek, dark head. Tessa Gardiner. He hadn’t seen her in a very long time. She looked tense despite her little smile at whatever India had just said. He grinned and raised his hand to greet her.

Her bright green eyes went blank, and then she turned, angling herself so she was still within the group but completely facing away from him.

He blinked. What the hell was that about? He frowned. Tessa had always liked him. She’d even had a crush on him for most of the time he’d known her, though he’d ignored it in favor of keeping the peace with his sister, and then, later, with the elders in his family even when his younger self might have considered at least dating her.

But this?

Turning her back on him was unacceptable. Though it was a damned fine back, he admitted, with the creamy skin of her shoulders and arms bared by the fitted blue dress that hugged her torso. He set his jaw and made his way through the crowd in her direction. Whatever he’d done to piss her off, surely he could make it up to her.

Or not. An hour later he continued to try to maneuver into her line of sight. Every time he thought he’d managed, she shifted yet again, further away from him. There were inevitable interruptions to his stalking with family greeting him and friends he hadn’t seen in a long time who kept stopping him along the way. By the time he’d made it to where she’d been originally, she and India were on the other side of the room in the middle of a different crowd. His sister seemed oblivious to Tessa’s blatant rudeness, her arm linked with her best friend’s.

He’d had enough of subtle, he decided, squaring his shoulders inside the hot blazer he wore. Tigers only did subtle or stalking for so long, and then they pounced. He strode across the room, now ignoring hailing family members along the way, until he reached their little group, nudging his way in until he stood behind Tessa. He could tell when she realized he was there, as her bare spine straightened and her shoulders squared. Tensed still more.

“Hello, little Tessa,” he murmured, leaning nearer. She smelled delicious, some spicy scent rubbed on her skin, and she looked very grown-up, despite the faint sprinkling of freckles dotting the bare skin he could see. Though, he mused, he had to admit, she and India were adults now and had been for a long time. But he still thought of her the same way he had when they’d first met. ‘Little Tessa’. He’d called her that for more than twenty years now.

She didn’t respond to his greeting.

He lifted an eyebrow. What the hell had he done to piss her off so badly? He set one hand on her shoulder, feeling, briefly, the warmth of her soft skin, before she jerked away, muttering something to India as she fled.

He stared after her, jaw sagging.

“Way to go, dumb ass,” India snapped.

________________

What are some themes you like to read about when you’re diving into a new romance novel? Reunion romances? Family ties? Revenge gone awry?

 

 

 

Today’s post will be short and sweet. I’m torn right now between watching the snow falling outside my window, and the writing I need to do, as well as cover shopping–I saw a great one last weekend, but it’s gone, so I have to keep looking. Sadly, we are only getting a few inches of snow through tonight, and the new snow we got Friday night was already gone by the end of the day yesterday, as was the snow from Thursday night. It isn’t looking good for me getting my one required big snowstorm for this winter, since we only have a few weeks of winter left. I might have to find a good winter movie to watch. Who has suggestions?

Before I get back to work, I have a little story snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

________________

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.

________________

Now I’m back to work on this manuscript and then some more cover art shopping. Wish me luck!

( Young couple in love – Depositphotos )

 

 

 

( Sticky notes too much To-do – Depositphotos )

My to-do list is a little bigger than that.  Probably more like this…

And that’s just the writing-related list. Today is actually the second day of my three-day-weekend, the first in a couple of months, and I haven’t finished nearly as much as I wanted. On the other hand, I have been working, it’s just taken longer to whittle away some of the things on the list. Who knew there were so many book cover designers I needed to look at? I didn’t. Holy cow. On the other hand, I have seen some beautiful covers. At this point, I guess I have to start narrowing down the designers still on my list.  Then I get to do the same thing with editors and formatters. While I’m still writing.

I knew diving into the self-publishing pool would be time-consuming. I did. I guess I just hadn’t quite admitted how time-consuming. The good news (for me) is this novella will be good practice for the Medusa trilogy. The better news is I have a lot of friends who’ve already done these things who can stop me from making any terrible mistakes along the way.

And hey! I’ve seen some very pretty cover images in the past two days, with very yummy heroes on them. There are worse ways to spend work time, you know.

Before I get back to it, I have a little snippet of story to share with you, from my second shifter story.

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“I was hoping to share dessert with you,” he teased, leaning closer so his warm breath brushed the top of her ear.

Heat burst in her middle at that. They’d shared many desserts, a long, long time ago. Damn him. “I can’t eat anything else.”

“Then maybe a walk.” He tipped his head to look at her, and she couldn’t look away.

“I need to go home.”

Instead of looking disappointed, Rory smiled, his bright eyes knowing. “Then I’ll walk you to your car, a rúnsearc.”

That was too easy. She frowned up at him, trying to figure out what was going on in his head.

He gave her nape a stroke, fingers and thumb coming together at her spine, that made her suck in a shaky breath. “Let’s go.” He reached into his pocket and took out some money, then pushed his chair back without releasing her. He held out his free hand.

If she took it… She tipped her head back to meet his gaze, unsurprised to see the heat flare in his eyes. Gathering her courage, she put her hand in his.

Rory pulled her to her feet, and into his arms.

She knew this was a mistake.

His hand slid down from her nape to the small of her back and settled, while his eyes darkened. “Come, a rúnsearc,” he said softly after a moment, his hand slipping away from her spine, though he kept his other hand wrapped tight around hers.

And she let him. Just for a minute.

Or until they got outside.

Or maybe, she thought when they stepped out into the warm evening, until they got to her car.

His hard fingers were relaxed around hers, but she knew if she tried to withdraw, they’d tighten quickly, like a trap on a rabbit.

She had no intention of withdrawing her hand from his. She wanted just this little while. This moment would have to hold her for a very long time again.

He let her lead the way, swinging their joined hands between them as they walked up the sidewalk toward where she had parked her car. She tried not to think beyond this moment. She couldn’t help trying to remember the last time they’d had a moment like this–awareness shimmering between them, mostly relaxed.

A long time ago.

Another lifetime, she thought.

Her steps slowed as they neared her car, and his fingers tightened just a tiny bit. She stopped walking at the side of the car.

Rory released her hand and set his hands on her waist, turning her to face him.

India let him, her pulse skipping. Just the end of a date, she told herself. Not her first date. No big deal.

Except this was Rory.

His bright gaze locked on hers, and one of his big hands lifted to cup her face as he took a step toward her, determination evident in the set of his jaw, hunger darkening his eyes.

Her heart shot into overdrive. “We shouldn’t.”

He didn’t pretend to misunderstand. “Oh, a rúnsearc, we should,” he said instead. “We’re quite overdue.” He bent and nudged her nose with his.

Even knowing what a terrible idea it was, she tipped her head back. If she kissed him, she’d only want more. She already wanted more, and he’d barely touched her.

His thumb slid beneath her lower lip, and her mouth tingled in anticipation. “Soon, my pretty mate,” he breathed, as if reading her mind.

The tingling spread, down her throat, to her chest, tightening her nipples still more. She pressed her thighs together against the arousal, and he groaned, catching her mouth with his.

India set her hands on his lapels to keep from falling down at the onslaught of sensation–it had been so long since she’d tasted him, yet the flavor of him hadn’t changed at all.

His lips teased hers with light kisses, feathered from one side of her mouth to the other and back again.

She slid one hand to his nape, through the silky curls there, and felt him shudder, half a second before his kiss deepened.

Open-mouthed, hot, his tongue gliding along her lower lip.

India heard her own whimper only vaguely.

Rory tasted so damn good–like a shot of good Irish whiskey that went straight to your head, fiery and potent.

When he lifted his head, only his hand at her back and her grip on his lapel kept her on her feet.

She realized they still stood on the sidewalk beside her car, traffic rushing past on the street, people strolling by–while she was on the verge of climaxing just from his kiss. She opened her eyes, inordinately pleased to realize he was equally aroused and distracted.

His erection burned against her belly, and his breath came too fast–maybe even faster than hers.

“Fuck,” he muttered, and hauled her close against him, his panting warming her scalp while his arms slid around her.

She shut her eyes again and smiled, allowing herself this indulgence. Who knew when it would happen again? Her smile faded.

Probably not for several more years.

His hand stroked up her spine again, beneath her hair, before coming to rest at her nape. “Come with me, India.”

Dammit. She swallowed hard, her eyes opening. “Why did you go there?”

“We should be together.”

She tipped her head back to look up at him–at five-ten, she wasn’t tiny, but he had at least seven inches on her height. He might look lanky, but she knew the expensive suit hid well-developed muscles. “It can’t happen.” She tried to lean away, but she didn’t get far.

“Are you going to make me pay for the rest of our lives?” Some of the heat in his eyes chilled. “For one stupid moment?”

India’s stomach dipped, as an old ache opened up in her chest and spread through her entire body. “Let go.”

He didn’t budge, even when she wedged her hands between them.

“Rory.”

“You’re my mate, India. How long can we live apart this way?”

The pain burned all the way to the backs of her eyes. “Your family needs you.”

“I need you.”

The stark declaration made her knees wobble. “I don’t think this is the place for–”

“It never is, and I’m tired.” His fingers tightened on her for a second. “I’m tired of pretending I don’t have a mate I want. I’m tired of waking up and rolling over and you’re not there beside me.”

India’s eyes burned. “Stop, Rory.”

“No, a rúnsearc, I won’t.”

She pushed at him, her breathing hitching. If he didn’t let go soon, the pain that kept expanding from her chest was going to start leaking from her eyes. “This isn’t fair,” she hissed.

He stepped forward again, so she was sandwiched between him and the car. “Stop, a rúnsearc. Breathe.” He tightened his hold on her again, until she felt his lapel against her cheek.

“I want you to let me go,” she got out around the hot lump in her throat.

“I can’t. Not anymore.”

________________

Now I’m going back to making the cover designer list shorter before I call it a day. What are you working on this week?

( Goals List – Depositphotos )

 

 

It’s been a gloomy afternoon here, though it looks now like the clouds are lightening a little. Just in time for sunset. But my house smells amazing: there is double-chocolate bread in the bread machine, and just about ready, and a hearty vegetable soup in a giant pot on the stove, so it’s not a bad way to end the day. Plus…writing time!

I’m working this month on the novella I committed to for this fall. There is lighthouse in the story, and I’ve been looking for a while for just the right one. I haven’t found it, so am merging a couple different ones in my head to come up with the perfect one for the setting–an island in Maine, where the lighthouse stands about three stories high and overlooks a rocky cliff and narrow, rocky beach beneath. The lighthouse adjoins to a house with a workshop attached, and the hero and his young son live there.  This one is close, though the island is much too small, and the lighthouse not quite tall enough, but it is pretty.

(Depositphotos.com – Nubble Light)

I expected the day-job to be quieter than it was last week, so I’m not sure that bodes well for the next two weeks, when it was scheduled to be busy. That’s my long-winded way of saying I have to get back to my writing so I can finish this novella by the end of the week. Before I go, I have a little story snippet to share with you from the second Medusa story in my trilogy.

________________

Philomena parked beside her mother’s house. She was the first one home, and she needed to get dinner on in a hurry. Once Jason got in, there’d be no time.

She went in the back door, balancing a grocery bag while she reset the alarm system, then hit the light switch with her elbow as she continued on into the kitchen.

She took her mother’s cast iron skillet from its hook over the counter and put it on the stove, turning the heat up high and dropping in the ground beef before she took her coat off. While the meat began to sizzle, she left out the other things she’d need for supper, then put away the rest of the groceries.

She rolled up her sleeves and dug a spatula out of the utensil drawer, but stopped when she heard something creak upstairs. She waited, then shook her head. It was an old farmhouse. It made noise sometimes.

She stirred the beef in the pan, adding chopped onions she’d picked up at the store–not because she was lazy but because she’d known she needed to get dinner together quickly after three days away and with an excitable six-year-old on his way home.

The sound came again. She set the spatula on the spoon rest and turned the flame under her pan down to low, then tugged up the hem of her long skirt to pull her dagger from its leather sheath on her thigh.

A loud thud reached her ears, and her heart beat a little faster.

Dear Gods, someone was in the house.

She crept up the back steps, keeping to the edges where she knew her weight wouldn’t make the stairs creak, the handle of her knife comforting in her sweat-damp hand.

More thumping, and now she heard water running.

She frowned as she got to the top of the steps, wincing when she heard something hit the porcelain bathtub followed by muffled cursing.

She stuck her head around the corner, but the partially-closed bathroom door at the other end of the hall was in her way. All she could see were shadows.

Two people? In her mother’s bathroom? She wished she’d grabbed the phone on her way up so she could call the police. No, she should’ve called first, then come upstairs. Too late now.

More thumping and a crash.

Her jaw clenched, and she stepped up into the hallway, her pulse pounding loudly in her ears.

“I’ve called the police,” she lied, moving slowly along the hall. Frigid air drifted toward her. Either the bathroom window was open, or something was seriously wrong with the furnace vents on the second floor. She frowned, holding tighter to her knife.

She caught a flash of something dark going out the window, and her eyes widened. That was quite a drop to the ground, even with the snow piled up below from all the big storms they’d already had this winter.

When a naked man with a gun went to the window, looking out to see where the other man had gone, she froze in the middle of the hall, her dagger shoulder high.

Naked.

She swallowed, and then he turned around, and her lungs stopped working.

________________

What did you do today to make a gloomy January Sunday better at your house?

 

 

 

( Speedometer – Depositphotos.com )

One week down in the new year, fifty-one more to go.

This year, one of the things I am hoping for is keeping myself accountable with some writer friends. I reach my goals better when I have to be accountable to someone–whether it’s a real deadline, like a date a manuscript is due, or if it’s a deadline I’ve set for myself, if someone knows when I have said I need to be finished with something. A few of my friends like the accountability as well, so we’ve started off the year together.

The other aspect of this group is cheering each other on, which is always a nice bonus, especially on a day when you feel like you haven’t accomplished much, or enough, or what you have done is crap. Some days it might be crap, or maybe you did only dredge up a few hundred words instead of the larger number you wanted or needed, but at least it’s something, and something is better than nothing. You can fix something. Nothing, well, you can’t do anything with that. As my role model Nora Roberts says, you can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank page.

So how are you doing with your New Year’s goals or resolutions so far? Pretty good? Not so good? Maybe you need to round up a couple of friends to help each other out with your goals, too. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or formal. Maybe just text messages or emails. My writing friends’ group is a little bigger, so we actually have a group set up for ourselves, so we can chat comfortably. Find what will work best for you.

Before I get back to my writing, I have a little story snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

________________

“Give me your mouth, Andrea.”

She bent back to him blindly, sliding one hand into his hair to catch him, and the kiss this time was savage, all heat and reckless passion. When their hips shifted together now, the motion was instinctual, primitive, wild and fast. There was no Medusa, no Harvester. Simply man and woman. Mated. Fated.

And the pleasure was ten times more powerful than what she’d felt that morning. The explosion sent her into the abyss, tumbling freely, breathless.

Andi couldn’t stop shaking. Even minutes later, the trembling in her limbs wouldn’t stop. Aftershocks made her body tighten on his and his hips shifted against hers. He murmured into her hair, and she heard his wild heartbeat beneath her ear.

She wanted to stay right where she was.

It was the stupidest thing she’d ever wanted. Especially since freedom was not too far away. Just as far as her dresser, clean clothes, the door downstairs.

“Easy.” His lips grazed her forehead this time.

Her eyes burned, and she cursed her stupid hormones. She blinked hard and steeled herself. Lifted her hips away from his. Her breath hissed in as he groaned a protest. She felt cold suddenly.

Ignoring that, she clambered off the bed, searching for some piece of clothing to put on. She’d never felt so naked.

“Andrea.”

She ignored him too, moving to her dresser and taking out some clean clothes. She didn’t even notice what. With her stinging eyes, she couldn’t quite see the things she’d grabbed.

“Andrea.” His tone this time was harder, more insistent.

She glanced toward the bed.

“Don’t do this.”

“I have to.”

“It’s not safe.”

She forced a laugh. “Yeah, you’re so concerned for my safety. Does it really matter which one of you kills me? As long as it gets done?” She jerked on panties, then jeans before wrestling with a bra.

Kallan sat up, gripping the headboard with his cuffed hand. “Stavros won’t be as concerned with how he kills you, or how he gets the amulet.”

Andi swallowed as she yanked on her shirt, then froze when he put his free hand over the cuff on his wrist. She heard the unmistakable sound of it releasing before it jangled to the pillow.

Impossible.

He got to his feet, his green eyes dangerous now.

She dashed toward the door. She only made it halfway before he caught her, ripping one of the belt loops on her jeans in the process. She fought, striking whatever she could reach and wishing she’d at least gotten shoes on so she could do some real damage since he was still naked.

But the Harvester was stronger than she was, and he simply held on until she wore herself out.

Andi finally stopped struggling, her head drooping, breath coming hard again, but with far less satisfaction this time.

He carried her back to the bed and snapped her wrist into the handcuff, his mouth set in a hard line. “I have another set, if I need both of your hands out of commission,” he ground out.

She didn’t bother to answer, struggling still to catch her breath. And against more of the unexpected tears. Damned hormones.

He sat down beside her, hands braced on his hair-spattered knees. “I thought we were going to each do a little trusting,” he said finally.

She looked at the wall to her left, rather than at him. “I saw the handcuffs and I had to try.”

“Was it worth it?”

A scalding tear rushed down her cheek, making her glad she’d turned her face away.

“I know you weren’t faking,” he whispered, leaning nearer. “You can’t fake that.”

She bit her lip, swallowing around the giant lump in her throat.

“And neither was I.”

She barely kept herself from turning to look at him, but the shock still made her body jerk.

He rose and drifted a kiss on the top of her head. “Try to get some sleep.”

Behind her, she heard him gathering his clothing before he padded into the bathroom next door. The water ran briefly, and a few minutes later, she heard him slowly go downstairs.

She lifted her free hand at last to swipe at the tears on her face, closing her eyes.

She should have known this would turn out badly. Who knew the Harvester could undo locks without keys?

Her eyes flew open. What other abilities did he have that she didn’t know about yet?

Gods help her.

________________

Let me know how you’re doing with your goals for the new year!

 

 

The picture above is one I took at my dad’s a few years ago in the fall.  It was slightly earlier than November, but right now here, we have some trees that are still holding onto green leaves, some that are totally bare (thanks to a fall storm system the past two days), and some with a few fall colors holding on, kind of like in that photo.  And it’s chilly here today, though not as cold as yesterday, when the wind was blowing non-stop and the actual high temperature was about forty degrees, so there was wind-chill to factor in, too.

It’s a good day to stay inside. For some, that means chores. I did those yesterday after I finished my errands, so I would have today to write. The trouble is, there are always more chores. Plus I have to figure out what we’re going to be eating for Thanksgiving dinner in a week and a half, because my schedule at the day-job is going to be pretty crazy the next ten days. Of course there’ll be turkey and stuffing (I’ll make the sage and onion bread for that myself), mashed potatoes and gravy, corn pudding, and homemade cranberry sauce…all of our usuals. But I still have to figure out a dessert (no pumpkin pie!), a dinner bread, and maybe a fish dish for me since I don’t eat turkey anymore. We’ll see how things go next weekend–I’ll probably be working at least one day next weekend to get through the beginning of Thanksgiving week a little easier, so that will limit what I can accomplish besides laundry so we have clean clothes for work. If you have ideas for dessert, I’d love to hear them.

Now I’m going to dive back into my novella. My normal write-before-work-starts and lunchtime writing sessions have gone by the wayside the last week or so. I was lucky to be able to get to eat anything at all nearly every day last week, and I’m not counting on too many lunch breaks in the next seven days at the day-job either. Before I go, I have a little snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

________________

Slowly, Andi walked back down the hallway until she reached the end. The door was glossy, dark wood, and she touched it lightly before putting the key into the lock. It took a little effort to get it to turn, and then she swung the door open onto a big, bright room dominated by an enormous bed.

She blushed.

“Hey.” Kallan’s greeting was soft, but still made her jump. “Nice.”

She stepped aside so he could carry in their suitcase and backpacks.

He dropped them in front of the open closet and pushed the room door shut, then latched it and fastened the chain. “Now, let’s see.” He turned back to her, his eyes bright with intent.

Andi stood on the spot, part of her wanting to run from the overwhelming need rushing through her, and the other part wanting to let him have his way with her.

She’d been reading too many of the older, early romance novels, if she was having thoughts like that, she mused, hearing her pulse pound in her ears. No one said things like “have his way with her”.

But she thought she might like it if he did.

“Are you tired?”

She thought about it. “Yes. And no.”

His lips curved slightly. “Really?”

“Thank you.” Before her brain was useless, she needed to remind herself of one more thing.

He tilted his head. “For what?”

“For reminding me who I am here.”

His expression cleared. “It would have been really hard to explain to that lovely old lady why the name on your passport doesn’t match the name you gave her.” He smiled, squaring his shoulders. “Did you want to take that walk on the shore now?”

She shook her head. “No. Let’s go to bed.” Her tone was husky, even to her own ears, and his eyes darkened in response.

“So you are tired, after all.” He tugged his shirt free of his jeans, whipped it over his head and took a step toward her.

Her gaze slid down over his chest, lingering, then back up to his face. “Not exactly.” She yanked off her own shirt, gratified to see his stunned expression when the garment went flying across the room. She took a step toward him then, and it was his turn to swallow, hard.

She put her hands on his chest, skimmed lightly over the muscles there, before detouring to his sides, then up to his shoulders.

“Andrea.”

She smiled. “Yes, Kallan?”

His throat worked, and she heard his breath catch when she rubbed her palms down over his hard little nipples. “What are you doing?”

“Touching.” She stretched up to drift a kiss on his parted lips, then dragged her open mouth along his stubbled jaw to his throat. Under her hands, his heart pounded faster. “Tasting.” She nipped at his shoulder next, then flicked her tongue over the same spot.

His breathing went ragged.

“Are you tired, Kallan?” She leaned closer to press her aching breasts against his chest, and stifled a sigh of relief.

He captured her waist and lifted her to him, his mouth demanding when it caught hers. Along her belly, she felt his arousal, hard and hot. Her own body echoed the latter, dampening her panties.

She slid one arm around his neck, tangling her fingers in his loose hair while the kiss went on and on.

Agaph,” he rasped against her lips.

In reply, she wrapped her legs around his waist, making him groan when she rocked into him. “Tell me what that means,” she breathed.

“Love.” One of his hands slid down under her, holding her more securely. Temptingly close to where she wanted him to touch, but not near enough.

________________

I hope you’re all staying toasty on this chilly November day. I may make some soup again today. Probably not pumpkin, though that looks really good, doesn’t it?

If you have dessert ideas for Thanksgiving, I’d love to hear them. Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

 

 

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

It’s officially November now, and the weather really does feel like fall finally. And I’ve taken yet another look at my goals for the year, starting with the original goals from January, and then the revised goals, and the revised-again goals. And you know what I’ve decided? I’m tired of life getting in the way of my writing goals the last few years.

So here is what is going to happen:

I am going to give myself a break for the next two months.

This doesn’t mean I won’t be writing. It just means I am not going to stress anymore over the list of goals that are staring accusingly at me from the bulletin board beside my desk. It means I will keep writing. I will participate in the goal-setting workshop that I love in December and set my goals for 2019. I will read every chance I get. And I will be ready to kick some goal ass starting in January.

I am going to set good, realistic goals for next year, not that I haven’t set realistic goals the past few years, it’s just that life has thrown me a few serious curveballs. And next year, nothing is going to stop me from reaching them. I have been working on a novella for a Common Elements project for release in November 2019, and I’m excited about that story. I am going to get my Medusa back out into the world, and her two cousins will follow. Lots of writing things are on my mind, and I’ll fine-tune them next month during the workshop.

Before I get back to my weekly household chores, I have a little story snippet to share with you from the second Medusa book, Protecting Medusa.

________________

Aristotle Tassos dropped to his knees beside his desk, bowing his head. “My Lady,” he murmured, his heart pounding faster.

“Your nephew is dead, Aristotle.”

His head jerked up, and he stifled the urge to blanch under the steely grey gaze of Athena. “My nephew?” He had a terrible feeling he knew to which nephew She referred this time.

“Yes. That fool Nestor. He was killed at the Medusa’s home.” She glared down at him. “Why did he not kill her before they killed him?”

Ari swallowed, his mouth dry. Another dead nephew. Beneath his knees, the plush carpet was not plush enough. “I’m sorry, My Lady. I know he intended to–”

“Intended to.” Her lip curled with distaste. “It seems to me that all the Tassos family is able to do these days is intend to do their job.” The tall woman in the flowing white gown folded Her arms over Her chest. “I grow weary of the lack of results.”

He bowed his head under Her furious gaze. “I am so sorry, My Lady. I vow to you, we will kill that monster for You.” He shut his eyes.

“Perhaps I should remind you then,” she said after a moment, “that there are repercussions if this task is not carried out, Aristotle. I will take out my frustration with your family on you if this monster is not killed.”

He bowed lower. “I promise, it will be done.” He tried to slow his too-quick breathing.

When there was only silence in response to his words, he dared to lift his head a few inches.

The Goddess was gone.

He struggled to his feet and braced himself on the edge of his desk, his heart pounding too quickly. He concentrated on breathing evenly, trying to make his pulse slow down. Perspiration dripped into his right eye, and he brushed it away, noting the way his fingers shook.

He moved carefully around the desk to his chair and dropped into it, then fumbled in the top right drawer until he found a pill box, popping a small white tablet into his mouth and swallowing it. After a moment, his heartbeat began to drop back into a more regular rhythm.

In a few more minutes, he felt better, though worry still pulsed along his veins. He’d done all he could over the years to teach his nephews the importance of fulfilling this task for the Goddess. Surely it couldn’t be so difficult now that there were so many modern technologies at their fingertips. Not to mention the special abilities the Goddess had gifted them with.

He sat up straighter in his chair, setting his jaw. They would do this job, by the Goddess, and he would make certain of it.

He glared at the photo on the front of his desk, an old black and white picture of a young man. “You fool, Iphis. Look what you have brought us to.

The Goddess would kill you all over if She knew what you’d done. All these years later, and I am still cleaning up your mess.”

He reached for the phone on the corner of his desk.

These boys would come to heel, and they would do it now.

________________

Are any of you thinking about your goals for next year? Are they ambitious enough? I’m aiming high, how about you?

( Photo by xJason.Rogersx on Foter.com / CC BY )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am back from the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, full of ideas and inspiration, and so happy to have spent time with friends I haven’t seen in too long. Plus I’ve made a few new friends, too!

I have a longer to-do list in preparation for getting my Medusa’s Daughters trilogy out into the world, thanks to an indie publishing session I went to yesterday, and notes from other workshops that I want to go back to after I get through the next couple of crazy days at the day-job. I can’t wait to dive back into my shifters (hence the pretty tiger above). I’m also looking forward to listening to the recordings of sessions that happened simultaneously with some I attended (it would have been a very good weekend to have clones!), so I can see what I missed in the other panels. And I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference so I can see my long-distance friends again, though I hope that I’ll see some of them between now and then.

Besides the wonderful conference this weekend, it finally feels like fall here, so I am really a happy camper now.

Before I try to get myself ready for the day-job again, I have a little snippet of the novella I’m working on for release next November to share with you.

________________

Lucie had been on the island for almost two weeks, but the view from the back door of her temporary home still took her breath away. Right now, she realized she’d been standing there staring, slack-jawed, at the sunlight glinting off the bright blue ocean waves for a good five minutes. Shaking her head, she pulled the door shut and stepped down onto the sidewalk, feeling in her purse for her car keys.

She closed her fingers on the fob as a giggle reached her ears. She turned to the white picket fence that bordered the property next door as a big multi-colored ball sailed over it, toward her. She caught it before it hit her in the face and started across the grass, balancing the ball on her hand.

Another giggle sounded as she neared the fence, and she adjusted her direction a tiny bit, so she came to a stop and looked directly down onto a blond head with tousled, curly hair.

“I think you lost something,” she said.

The little boy’s face tipped up quickly, his blue eyes wide with surprise–as if he couldn’t believe she’d found him so easily.

Lucie grinned and held the ball higher.

He smiled back and got to his feet, brushing off his jeans-clad butt.

From seeing him playing outside several times already, she’d guessed he was three or four, and now that she was seeing him at closer range, she scaled that back to three.

“Hi, I’m Hayden,” he said, holding out his right hand.

It was her turn to be surprised. She shook his hand, bemused. “Hi, Hayden, I’m Lucie.” Not too many three-year-olds had such good manners. Aside from the ball toss at her face, that is. “Nice to meet you.”

He glanced up at his ball. “Me ‘n’ my dad are your neighbors.”

“I see that.” She noted he hadn’t mentioned his mom. “Who were you playing with?” She gave the ball a little bounce.

“Maybe you wanna play with me.”

Ah. She squelched the pang in her chest. “I wish I could, but I’m on my way to town. Maybe we could play another time?” she added when his grin vanished.

“Like this afternoon?”

“Hayden!”

The deep voice got her attention, and the little boy’s, just before a tall, sandy-haired man rounded the back corner of the next-door house.

Lucie’s mouth went dry. Wowza!

________________

Now I have to get back to reality for a few days. How is your October looking this week?

 

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

Finally! It finally feels like fall here in Pennsylvania the last few days, and I’m so happy about that. Even better, it looks like the fall weather is going to stick around all week. That will certainly make it easier for me to pack for the New Jersey Romance Writers conference later this week.

I’ve been taking a harder look at my first couple of shifter stories, and how I need to tighten up the over-reaching conflict for the series.  Going to have to do some more rewriting. It will make the stories better, and it’s a definite pitfall of being a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer, rather than a plotter. My brain just doesn’t work that way, and I’ve tried more than once to plot out my stories.  I guess the good news is the only deadline I had for wrapping these up was my own, and not a publisher’s deadline. (Though I would rather have the publisher’s deadline, because I work better with real deadlines!)

Anyway, I will be spending some time working on making this series conflict stronger, but not until after I get back from the conference. We have an insanely busy week coming up at the day-job, and I’ll be out of the office for the conference for two of those five days. I’ll do my best not to feel guilty about that, but I am absolutely going to have a great time at the conference and attend some workshops bound to get my creative juices flowing. There is one on my must-list about self-publishing that will come in handy for my Medusa trilogy.

I’m also looking at my goals for this year with an eye to revising them (yes, again). There are some that are just not doable in the next two and a half months, but some things I can still accomplish that will put me closer to making more of my goals next year. Yes, I do start thinking about goals for the new year this early. I had a good chat with a writing friend yesterday that made me take a fresh look at some of my goals for the future, and I’m sure a few of the workshops on my list for this weekend will also give me ideas for refining and adjusting my goals, too.

( Photo by Glen Bowman on Foter.com / CC BY )

Before I go back to my notes for my shifter series, I have a little story snippet to share with you.

________________

India closed the file full of wedding pictures on her laptop and set the computer aside. Tessa and Harley had sent the rough shots as soon as they arrived from the photographer. Dozens of them, including one of her looking wistfully at her brother and new sister-in-law. She pushed to her feet and paced to the window.

Sighing, she reached up with one hand to unclip her hair from the neat twist she usually wore for work. That alleviated a tiny bit of the pressure in her head, but the rest was internal. She tossed the clip onto her desk and used both hands to rub at the base of her skull.

It had been a long week. Her uncle Adar had stormed into her office early Monday morning, growling about her treatment of his shiny new wife at the wedding reception, then a report she’d sent to Boris’s secretary had gone missing before lunchtime, and things had gone downhill from there.

Her only consolation right now was that she had one day left till the weekend. Of course, next week, she’d be stuck in Shifter Alliance Conference meetings in New York City all week. She stared down at the traffic and pedestrians on the street below, resting her forehead against the window. If she were going to New York to shop, that would be one thing, but with the conference schedule, she wouldn’t have time to wander the city on the hunt for any fabulous shopping opportunities or bargains.

She shut her eyes and took a deep breath. Work. She needed a vacation. Somewhere on a beach, with room service.

She straightened and returned to her desk. She needed to get through next week before she could think about time off. And right now, there was a scheduling report on her computer–she should have been looking at that instead of Harley and Tessa’s wedding pictures, since the report was due this afternoon.

She leaned forward in her chair and turned the computer back around, tapping the keys to bring up the report again. Rubbing her temple to ease the ache in her head, it took her a few minutes to refocus her attention on the screen. Work.

An hour later, she’d nearly finished compiling the report, when India felt eyes on her, making the fine hairs at the back of her neck prickle. She looked up, frowning. No one. She tapped her fingers on the desktop, shifting her gaze to the window.

And then she saw him, standing at the window across the street.

Her heart leaped into high gear, and she tried to slow it down, tried to convince herself it was just her imagination, just a little wishful thinking left over from the weekend. Her imagination.

Even though she knew it wasn’t.

Rory was here.

Heat flashed through her, molten, and left her shivering. If she tried to leave the office, her legs would never hold her.

She couldn’t see his face clearly from here, but she didn’t need to. She knew it almost as well as her own, even after all this time.

She shut her eyes and turned back to her desk.

Her phone rang, and she nearly jumped out of her chair. Laughing at herself, she picked it up. “Hello?”

“Hello, a rúnsearc.” The lilting Irish accent teased her ear, familiar, sexy.

She went still, except for her racing heart. “What do you want?” The question came out hoarse, but she couldn’t help it. Her imagination went wild. Memories, good and bad, flooded through her.

He chuckled, and arousal stirred in her belly, spreading outward. She knew what he wanted. “Have dinner with me,” he said after a second.

“No.” She was a little surprised she’d managed to sound like she meant that.

“You’d really make me wait until the meeting next week to have a meal together?”

India shut her eyes. He would be there. Dear Gods.

“India, a rúnsearc?”

“Why are you here?” She should have just repeated her refusal and hung up.

“Why do you think?”

To torture her, obviously. Every part of her wanted to go to him, even now. “Because you’re a glutton for punishment,” she muttered.

He laughed again. “For you? Of course.”

She’d meant herself, and she flushed, trying to ignore the slow, thick trickle of heat in her veins, the building throb in her belly.

“But the pleasure is so much better,” he whispered.

A moan tried to climb her throat, and she covered her mouth with her free hand to contain it.

“I know you remember, too. How good.”

His words had every part of her body on high alert. Of course she remembered.

“Have dinner with me. Please.”

“When?” She’d meant to say ‘no’ again. Really.

________________

I was on the verge of saying how much I love Rory, but then I realized I said the same thing about Harley. I meant it, too, about both of them. It’s true, I love them both, and all of the other heroes in my shifter series. Someday, I hope readers will feel the same way.

Now I’m going back to work, and I’m going to enjoy my fall weather all week long. I hope you all do the same!

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