Tag Archive: Hunting Medusa


What Does August Hold?

(Heart in sand on Atlantic coast -Depositphotos)

I’m capping off my birthday week celebration today with family dinner with my guys, but we have a little while until our early dinner. It’s been a good week, and I’ve spent some of it looking at the new month ahead. I have my writing goals, of course, but I admit to being really distracted the last few days. I have a store of photos for hero inspiration, current and future, and periodically, I stumble across a photo I’ve loved previously and wish I had a story for the face. Well, this week, a cover designer I liked was finishing out her going-out-of-business sale, which is sad. The exciting part, though, is that she had a cover design with this same man, and it’s just gorgeous. I still don’t have a story to go with his face, but I bought the cover anyway, and now my brain is busy trying to figure one out. That wasn’t on the goal list for this month. Or even this year. But I couldn’t let him go, so I’ll let my brain work on it, but I need to keep going on the goal list.

While I get in a little work on that list, I have a little story snippet to leave you with for the week, from Hunting Medusa.

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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.

“Wh-what are you doing?” she asked suddenly.

Kallan realized he wasn’t moving—or most of him wasn’t. He shut his eyes for a second, clenching his jaw. Her ass now cushioned his throbbing erection.

“Hey!” She shrank closer to the fridge, making a soft sound when the move forced her arm higher behind her.

He shifted, easing her wrist a little lower. This wasn’t going at all as he’d imagined it. “Stop moving.” He forced himself to unclench his jaw.

“If you think I’m going to make it easy for you to kill me, Harvester, you have another thing coming.” She didn’t stop wriggling.

Growling, he flattened her completely between his body and the refrigerator again.

She froze, and he could feel her pulse beating crazily in the wrist he still held. Fear? He imagined that was one cause. Anger too, probably.

He doubted she was having the same unexpected reaction to him that he was to her.

Not that it was a bad thing that she wasn’t suddenly aroused, too.

He just needed to stop thinking about it.

Concentrate on the task at hand.

Kill the Medusa.

Feel how soft her ass was against him. If he shifted his hips just a little—

No. He growled again, and she shifted, just as he’d imagined so her softness cradled him even more.

“Get off, Harvester,” she whispered.

“Stop calling me that.” He hated hearing it from her lips for some reason. Yes, it was what his name meant. It was what he was destined to do. But the contempt in her tone… He didn’t like it at all.

As though the Medusa had room to be contemptuous of him.

“It’s your name.” Her voice was stronger now, as if she’d somehow sensed his unexpected inner struggle. “Why shouldn’t I use it?”

“You won’t be alive long enough to worry about it.” He ignored her behind against his groin for the moment and took a slow breath, trying to remember his plan.

Get in, find her, kill her, get the amulet, and get out.

Well, his plan was not going very well at all.

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What are your plans for this hot week? Are you on track with your goals, or have you been sidetracked by shiny new things, too? Are you looking for another shiny new read? Maybe Light the Way Home will fit the bill.

( Chocolate cake and sparkler – Depositphotos )

Yes, it’s July, which means my birthday is coming soon, so expect lots of cake pictures the next few weeks. Since it’s still Independence Day weekend, the sparkler cake seems appropriate today.

There are actually a fair number of family birthdays this month, though even in a normal year, we don’t gather for celebrations, because our family is so spread out geographically, cousins, siblings and aunts all over the country. This year will be just immediate family, as is the norm now, but I remember kid-age birthdays when there would be grandparents and occasionally some cousins and aunts and uncles crammed around the table for cake, sometimes sleepover with best friends who shared in the cake. Mom used to bake our birthday cakes, and we got to choose what kind, and whatever we wanted for our birthday dinner. I had a lot of lasagna and manicotti birthday dinners.

I haven’t thought far enough ahead to figure out birthday dinner yet, plus this year my birthday falls on a Tuesday, which is generally our busiest day of the work week at the day-job, so birthday dinner will probably happen the prior weekend, unless I’m doing extra day-job hours. Don’t know that quite this far ahead. I have already decided on my birthday cake, though, which is good, because I’ll have to order it ahead so it can be delivered on time.

I’m still working through revisions this week, but before I get back to them, I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa to share with you.

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“Does it work?”

Of course he knew why she cut her hair so short. She hadn’t had to spell it out for him earlier. “Yes.” Somehow, his knowing and understanding without her having to explain that when her hair was this short, it couldn’t turn into snakes didn’t make her feel better.

“When did you figure that out as an option?” His tone was conversational, as if they were instead sitting on her front porch, talking about the weather, rather than five feet from where he’d be handcuffing her to the bed for the night, and not for anything really fun.

She debated her response and finally decided it didn’t matter if he knew more about her now. This man wouldn’t be scared off, after all. He only intended to stick around long enough to find a way to steal the amulet and kill her, not long enough to develop a deeper relationship. “When the second man flipped out and ran away.” Which was when she’d stopped dating seriously.

He was silent for a long time, and she thought perhaps he’d given up on the conversation. “Most human men might be a little unnerved by it,” he said finally.

A short laugh escaped her. “Unnerved? No, this was total mental meltdown. Run away screaming like a girl, never come back meltdown.” Which the Harvester wasn’t doing. Instead, he was being nice. It was almost enough to make her want to cry. Almost. She hadn’t lost complete control to her cursed hormones yet.

Kallan’s fingers squeezed her wrist gently. “Had you talked about any of this to him before then?”

“Yes, and I’m sure he thought I was crazy. Not crazy enough to stop dating completely, but a little touched. The snakes, though…” She swallowed. “The snakes convinced him I wasn’t lying. Or maybe he just thought he’d had a hallucination. I never got the chance to ask, really.” The old pain reared its head when she remembered the way Austin had vanished from her house and her life, almost as fresh as eight years ago.

Warm fingers slid further between her own so his palm touched hers. “He was the second, huh?” He squeezed again, just lightly, sending heat up her arm. “I guess that put a real damper on dating.” His thumb stroked over the back of her hand and up the side of her index finger. “And explains the vibrator.”

She shut her eyes, smiling reluctantly, despite the pain.

“And the romance novel.”

She frowned up at him. “Those are good reads, I’ll have you know.”

“With sex in them.”

She sighed. “I guess I have to give you that one. Still good stories.”

“You know there are drawings and sculptures of the original Medusa, with the snakes and her still very beautiful face.”

“I’m aware.” Her jaw clenched, and she glared at the floor. “Not too many men are in the market for a woman so dangerous, however. Not to mention going out in public like that would be like sending out a worldwide bulletin to your family: ‘here I am, come kill me’.”

He nudged her shoulder with his own. “I’m attempting to cheer you up, Andrea.”

“It’s not working, but thanks.” A larger divot had appeared in the floor, and she slid her shoe forward to touch the mark with the toe.

Kallan released her hand and put his arm around her shoulders. “Should I distract you in a different way?”

“I thought we agreed that wasn’t happening.” She didn’t move away, though she knew she needed to. Before her hormones really kicked in. She rubbed the bigger dip in the wood floor with her toe again.

“Stop glaring holes into the floor,” he murmured, nuzzling the top of her ear.

“Better the floor than you, wouldn’t you say?” She tilted her head away from him, but he just bent to the side of her neck.

“You smell good.” He licked her skin, sending a shock through her. “Taste good.”

Andi jumped when his other hand settled on her thigh. “Harvester.”

“That isn’t going to work,” he whispered, nipping her throat.

“Neither is this.” She resisted the need to whimper when his teeth grazed her neck in advance of a slow, open-mouthed kiss over the same spot.

He squeezed her thigh lightly, and heat shot into her middle.

Well, okay, maybe it was working. A little.

When he tilted her back, she let him catch her mouth. Just for a minute. She wouldn’t admit it to him, but this really was a pretty good distraction.

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Who else has a July birthday? How do you celebrate? Big party? Just you and your nearest and dearest? And what kind of cake are you having?

While I go back to work on Medusa #2, maybe you’re looking for something to read right now? Light the Way Home is available wherever books are sold, so if you click the title, you’ll be able to find your favorite bookseller. Hot single dad, a haunted lighthouse, and a woman who is just passing through, it’s a quick, light read to while away a hot summer afternoon.

 

( Depositphotos.com )

I’m past my normal blog day this week, and I’m sorry. the last couple of weeks at the day-job have been kind of busy. Theoretically, we get to catch our breath for a few days, but my two teammates are off the rest of the week, so it’ll just be me the next two days. Luckily, it isn’t as insanely busy as last week, so I’ll be fine.

I think I mentioned that I was working with my web designer on a fresh look for my website, and we’re nearly ready to launch the shiny new design. I’m very excited, partly because, well, who doesn’t like a nice remodel? And partly because it gives me a reason to have a little party. I’ll have more details on that maybe in my next post or two, so stay tuned.

I’m keeping this one short and sweet since we’re mid-work-week, but I still have a little story snippet for you, from Hunting Medusa.

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Medusa knew he was coming. She always knew when the next one approached to try to kill her. But she had not been ready to die—until now.

While listening to the soft, sneaky sounds of his footfalls on the rocky path, she studied the golden goblet. It had not rid her of Athena’s curse, but it would help her daughters. As long as one of them had it, the amulet would stop them all from suffering constantly as she had all these years, limiting the effects of the curse to only a few days each month for the keeper of the goblet. Until the Goddess forgave Medusa’s foolish bragging.

Her killer drew nearer, still attempting to be quiet. Something about his deliberate pace—unhurried, careful—made her grateful she had already finished her protective spell for her children. This one would not have died as easily as the rest.

She looked around, from one statue to another—men of all ages and sizes, various weapons in their hands or tucked into their belts, all wearing the same horrified expression. Her eyes burned. She knew she was a monster. She had known not to brag so about her hair. Athena did not suffer braggarts. She had ruined Medusa’s hair, had cursed Medusa to live in exile this way—on this Gods-forsaken island, with no company but her own—as well as all her offspring.

Medusa despised living this way. She was not meant to be alone. She had never enjoyed her own company more than others’. When this hunter came, she would let him kill her.

He did not come into the clearing as the others had, charging forward recklessly. No, he came in with his back to her, watching her reflection in a shield. Clever, this one. She pretended to not have seen him, very aware of each step he took.

Soon. It would be over soon.

And she could not wait for the torment to end.

When he came nearer, she closed her eyes and prayed to Athena for forgiveness.

His blade whistled through the air. Closer, closer…

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If you’re looking for a nice light, quick read for a warm afternoon, Light the Way Home is out now at all your favorite booksellers. Clicking on the title will take you wherever you want to go shopping.

Here’s hoping the rest of your week is smooth sailing!

 

 

In normal times, a lot of people use the weekends to catch up on all the chores they didn’t or couldn’t get to during the workweek. Right now, we’re in far-from-normal times, and for a lot of us, there is no differentiation between weekdays or weekends. For some of us, we still have a regular or semi-regular work schedule. I’m one of those lucky ones. That leaves me weekends to get the bigger chores done, like it or not.

A typical weekend here includes multiple loads of laundry, probably cooking, likely following that up with some dish-washing. I usually also spend a block of time clearing out my inboxes, get my regular blog post together, and hopefully a nice chunk of time for writing tasks like revisions, actual writing, social media and marketing things.

I did a little day-job overtime yesterday, just a few hours. I even got the laundry done. But today? I don’t feel like doing chores today. I ran a couple of necessary errands, and I spent some time earlier with my web designer working out some ideas and issues with a new web design we’ll launch next month. What I’d really like to be doing in lounging in a hammock somewhere with a good book.

 

( lady on hammock with book – Depositphotos )

Since it isn’t warm enough for that here today (plus it’s raining on and off), I’ll settle for curling up on the couch with something to read in just a few minutes. Before I do that, I have a little story snippet for you from the second book in the Medusa’s Daughters trilogy, Protecting Medusa.

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Philomena parked beside her mother’s house. She’d arrived first, and she needed to get dinner on in a hurry. Once Jason got home, she’d be too distracted to focus on cooking.

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 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 to high and dropping in some ground beef before she shed her coat. As the meat began to sizzle, she 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 a creak from 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 out of laziness but because she’d known she needed to move 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 smooth handle of her long knife comforting in her sweat-damp hand.

More thumping, accompanied by running water.

She frowned when she got to the top of the steps, wincing as 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 blocked her view. 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 before she came upstairs. Too late now.

More thumping and a crash.

Her jaw clenched, and she stepped into the hallway, her pulse pounding 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.

A dark blur went out the window, and her eyes widened. It was quite a drop to the ground, even with all the snow mounded below from the big storms so far this winter.

When a naked man with a gun went to look out the window, she froze in the middle of the hall, her dagger shoulder high.

Naked.

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

“Hello, Philomena. Have I ever told you how much I love a woman who can handle a blade?” He caught the edge of the door and pulled it wide open.

She’d know that voice anywhere, and that face, even if she’d only seen him in photos. Ryder Ware, Jason’s father.

And wow, was she seeing him in person.

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This is the story I am working through in revision right now, with the hope that later this year, I might have it and the third story in the trilogy ready to go out into the world with a reissue of Hunting Medusa. But in case you need something new to read right now and you haven’t picked up a copy yet, Light the Way Home is already out in the world and ready to read. If you click on the title, it’s a link that will take you to all the major booksellers who have it available.

What are you doing this week? Taking a weekend break from your routine? Buried under a ton of work? Something else? Hop you all have a great week ahead!

 

 

( fresh chamomile with hearts -Depositphotos )

It’s Mother’s Day here in the U.S, meant to celebrate all of the moms in our lives. For some right now, today is harder than usual, when we can’t be with our kids or our families. But we’re together in spirit, and will be together in real time again one of these days, after this wretched virus has been knocked back and it’s less dangerous to everyone for us to gather again.

I hope if you’re a mom that you had a lovely Mother’s Day and got to connect with your family one way or another.

We had a quiet day, which is nice, but I’m gearing up for about a month and a half of crazy-busy at the day-job again, so a little down-time now is a really good thing. A couple weeks into the crazy, I’ll be thrilled to get a few minutes of actual quiet and calm.

Before I go try to get in some reading time, I have a little story snippet for you, this week from Hunting Medusa.

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“I think I have a plan.”

Her heart thudded harder. “A plan?” For the amulet, or her?

“Yes. My cousin will only be delayed a day or so at most before he comes back.”

Her lungs worked a little faster.

“How well do you know your mountain?”

“Like the back of my hand.” Which was why she would have been able to hide from him two days ago without any problem, had her body cooperated.

“Is there somewhere we can go he won’t be able to track us?”

“We?”

“You’re going nowhere without me, Andrea.”

That was a problem. “There are a few places.” Including her cave behind the waterfall. But she didn’t think taking the Harvester there was really in her best interest.

“Somewhere protected?”

“Yes.” The cave definitely qualified.

He sat up, braced himself on one hand beside her shoulder. “How long will it take to get there from here?”

“Hiking?” She considered for a moment. If she took him the roundabout way, she could wear him out and lose him. Maybe. “A day.”

He inhaled deeply, and she imagined him pondering the idea. When he exhaled, he touched her temple, just brushing the edge of the sleep mask. “Are you safe now?”

She nodded, wishing just for a second that it wasn’t true.

His strong fingers eased the mask up and off, and she rubbed her eyes, blinking against the bright morning light. He helped her to an upright position. “We need supplies if this location will take us a day to hike to.”

Andi gave him a long stare, panic making her pulse race. What if she couldn’t lose him in the woods? “I have some things in the basement,” she said at last. “Water and food.” Also true.

He nodded, gaze fixed on hers, and she realized she must be a mess. Self-consciously, she lifted one hand to smooth down her hair. A hint of a smile touched one corner of his mouth, making her blush. “Why don’t you shower, and I’ll start a list. We should head out tomorrow at first light.”

Andi looked away and eased out of bed. She gathered clean clothes from her dresser and headed for the bathroom. Behind her, the Harvester still sat in bed, his bare chest visible over blankets that had fallen to his waist. She wondered if he was naked under her covers.

She shouldn’t care.

The bathroom had been straightened up again, she realized as she stripped off her sweats. Her vibrator was nowhere in sight, clean towels hung on the bar, and her hot water bottle lay empty on the sink.

How very thoughtful.

Her mouth twisted and she climbed into the shower, then slid the door shut harder than she needed to. When the water came on, she made it hotter than it needed to be too, to distract herself from how nice he was being. “Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly,” she muttered, soaping up her hands before sliding them along her arms, her torso.

The Harvester could be as nice as he wanted, as sexy as he wanted. But she wouldn’t forget why he was here.

She lifted her face into the spray, then turned so her head was soaked next.

Either she would escape him in her woods, or die trying.

Not much as far as plans went, but it was all she had at the moment.

After her shower, she didn’t protest the cuff he put on her to keep her in the bedroom while he got his own shower, which was considerably quicker than hers had been. And he’d left her his list to look at while she waited.

Water. Check.

Food. Check.

Camping supplies. She chewed on her lower lip for a few seconds. In the cave she had more than enough, but she didn’t really intend for him to get there with her. Perhaps he had some of his own in the backpack downstairs. But the pack wasn’t that big. No, he didn’t have those supplies.

“What are you thinking?” He stepped into the room, his inky hair gleaming blue-black and wet as he dragged his fingers through it.

She forced her gaze away from his hair and back to the pad on her knees. “I’m thinking it’s going to be a long trek.”

“You’re up to it, right?” Concern darkened his green eyes.

“I’ll be fine.” She’d get to her cave if she had to crawl there.

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I am hoping to have this book back out in the world later this year, followed by the other two stories in the trilogy. In fact, I have a stack of pages from the second book, Protecting Medusa, on my desk right now, waiting for me to continue working on revisions. I think I may work on that for a while before I pick up my book to do some relaxation reading before I call it a day, early tonight.

And if you’re looking for a quick, light read while you’re safely at home, Light the Way Home is available at all your favorite booksellers.

I hope you all have a great week!

 

( Depositphotos )

That is where I would like to be right now. I’m not, but I would like to be.

Usually one day of the weekend is my do-all-the-chores day, and one is for relaxing a little, maybe cooking dinner, maybe a project, and definitely for writing. Not this weekend. I had an errand to run yesterday, and then I worked some OT for the day-job, and I have to say, my brain is pretty fried this week. Today should now be do-all-the-chores day, but I just can’t. I do have the laundry going, but otherwise? I don’t wanna. I want to crawl into bed, or make a blanket fort and hide away. I can’t even settle long enough to read, which is awful. It’s been a long couple of weeks, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, at least as far as the day-job, this week. We just have to get through our busy day Tuesday, and then hopefully we can catch our breath and start working ahead a little again so the next busy round isn’t this crazy.

The whole world’s gone crazy, I know, and other people have it far worse than I do, so I’m not going to complain too loudly. I have work, I have food, a healthy family, and the option to stay home away from fatal germs. But I miss my boys, and I miss seeing my day-job team. Still, if it means we all stay well, I can deal. It’s just that, occasionally, a little pity-party happens.

Before I try to go accomplish something–dinner, maybe?–I have a little story snippet for you from Hunting Medusa.

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Andi couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong. She’d worked into the night after the vacuum salesman’s appearance, until she couldn’t see straight to continue with her beading. Then she’d sunk into the bubble bath long enough to be nearly asleep. Today, she’d repeated everything but the bubble bath. Plus she’d driven into town to ship the big order she’d finished early.

Now she sat in the dark beside the front window, watching the forest. Waiting. Trying to convince herself nothing was coming. No one.

When the phone rang, she jumped about two feet in the air, barely keeping in a shriek. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath, forcing herself to laugh weakly as she picked up the receiver. “Hello, Aunt Lydia.” She didn’t need caller I.D. to know when one of her cousins or aunts was on the phone.

“I didn’t mean to startle you, my dear,” came the quavering voice. “I just wanted to touch base with you. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”

Her slightly psychic great-aunt must have spoken to Andi’s mother. “I know. I’ve been busy working.” She thought of the small stack of boxed beaded bracelets sitting on her desk upstairs for another customer whose order wasn’t even due for a month and a half.

“You’re aware you could do that here, too, right?”

Andi smiled in the darkness. “I know. I’m not feeling much like company right now.”

“You don’t have to visit your parents, you know.”

Her laugh escaped before she could stop it. “That isn’t very nice of you, Aunt Lydia.”

“Maybe I’m getting selfish in my old age.” Her great-aunt chuckled. “But I’d like to see you.”

“Maybe in a few months.”

The older woman sighed. “All right. But I wanted you to know I was thinking of you. I love you.”

Andi felt her eyes sting a little. “I love you too.”

“Your mother knows she wasn’t there for you eight years ago, Andrea. Perhaps it’s time to let her be there for you now.”

Andi’s eyes dried. “I need to go, Aunt Lydia.”

“Of course, dear. I hope you’ll come soon.”

She looked back at the window and murmured, “Maybe. I’ve got to go, Aunt Lydia.”

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.

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Anyone else having a pity party even though you know you shouldn’t? Are you indulging? Or trying to trudge on through the rough patches with a stiff upper lip? I think we’re probably okay to indulge a little, as long as we acknowledge that things could be worse, and we don’t wallow.

What coping strategies are you using right now? Ignoring? Lots of talking about it? Some of both? Neither?

I wanted to bake this weekend, but there isn’t time for that now, so it’ll have to wait until next week. But I am aiming to get back to my revisions this week. Thursday, since we have an appointment for the cat to see the vet Wednesday after work.

Something to look forward to, like my shiny new Stephen King book. How about you? What are you looking forward to this week?

In case you are looking for a distraction from the real world this week, Light the Way Home is available at all your favorite places.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(peeking out of a window – Depositphotos)

 

With all of the scary news around this week, I hope you are all home safe and well, and that you have plenty of reading material to keep you occupied if you wind up having to stay home for an extended period of time.

I do my normal grocery shopping every other Friday, and guess which Friday was time to go? Of course it was the thirteenth, and it seemed like our entire county had lost its collective mind and decided it was the apocalypse.

I always start at our local warehouse club for the things we typically buy in bulk–paper towels, a frozen fruit mixture I take to work for lunch, water, dry cat food–and then head to a locally owned grocery store chain for things like produce and snacks. One of my coworkers got a warning from her housemate before we left the office that the warehouse club had a line all the way across the store earlier in the afternoon, but we were hoping that had gone away before we went to do our shopping. That was not the case. Not only were they completely out of toilet paper, but also paper towels. The only paper products they had left were tissues and paper plates. None of the waters I buy were left–we always get the store brand waters, still and sparkling (I’m not a fan of the chlorinate-smelling water that comes out of our faucets at home, so I guess I’m a little spoiled), but that wasn’t even everything…no orange juice, none of my frozen fruit, no bread. The only pasta left was lasagna. Weirdly, there was still canned fruit, soup, and other things like that. Half of the things on my list weren’t available, which means another trip.

The only good things were that the store staff was doing a phenomenal job keeping the line moving (and it was even longer by the time I got in it, wrapping back toward the front of the store, and two of my coworkers were even farther back), and people weren’t being jerks. I felt bad, though, that the store staff was going to have to deal with all of the abandoned carts throughout the store from people who didn’t have the patience to wait their turn in line (I hope there weren’t perishables in those carts!).

The grocery store was slightly better by the time I got there, though they also had no toilet paper left (I’m glad I bought that two weeks earlier and didn’t need to buy more), and a lot of the frozen vegetables were cleaned out, but they had staff working on restocking things in different areas while we were shopping. Even at work, contingency plans are being worked on, in case we need to work from home. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but it might.

I’m working on a new shopping list for that next trip, and while I think about that, I have a little story snippet for you, from Hunting Medusa.

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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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I’m going to see what else I can accomplish before I call it a day. Do you think you’re going to be stuck at home soon, too? Are you stocking up on essentials? And books? (I think books are essentials, but the W.H.O. would probably disagree with me.)

I hope if you’ve been waiting for news on my Common Elements Romance Project novella that you’re keeping an eye on my Facebook page. I’ve started to post a couple of hints, and will soon have real news like a cover reveal and release date to share. I hope to see you there!

 

( Goal Target – Depositphotos )

I can see the finish line from here! I’m talking about my novella for the Common Elements Romance Project, of course. I wanted it done and out a long time ago, but I’m not going to beat myself up over that anymore. It’s almost ready to be out in the world, and I’m nervous. Excited, but nervous. Like, nauseous when I hit send to get the manuscript to the formatter, just thinking about it again is making me queasy, so I’ll stop that. Instead, I’m going to get back to work on rewrites for my second Medusa trilogy book and maybe start hunting for cover art for that as a reward for checking things off of my writing to-do list this weekend.

Before I do that, I have a little story snippet for you, from the third book in that trilogy, Freeing Medusa.

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Katharine had had enough. Her skin tingled 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.”

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I should soon be ready with a cover reveal and release date announcement for my novella, and that will happen on my Facebook page, so if you’re waiting, please keep an eye on that page, because it won’t be long.

What are you doing on this unseasonably warm March Sunday? Do you have spring-fever and plans to go with it this week, or just the usual, no-season, everyday chore list?

 

 

Today is the first day of March, and we still haven’t really had any winter here yet. Oh, we’ve had some chilly periods, but it’s been unseasonably warm for large chunks of time in the last month or two. The most snow we’ve seen was the unexpected one back in November that piled up a quick few inches that didn’t last into the next day. For winter lovers, it’s been exceptionally disappointing, though I have a friend who’s thrilled. I’m still holding out hope that we might get some snow this month–the first day of spring isn’t for weeks, and we live in Pennsylvania, where sometimes the biggest snowstorms happen in March. I’m not saying I want a blizzard (though I wouldn’t say no to one), but I would like a little taste of actual winter before spring gets here.

I’ve started looking at my second Medusa manuscript, with an eye to doing some rewrites in the next month or so. Before I get back to it, I have a little snippet of story for you, from my third shifter story.

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The drive from the office to the school took fifteen minutes on a good day, so on a busy Friday afternoon, it took twenty-seven. Not counting the three additional minutes it took to find a place to park.

He climbed out of the car and waited until a shiny mini-van sped by with no regard for the other parents and children in the parking lot before he crossed, weaving around parents leading their children out–parents who had taken into account the Friday traffic and arrived early. He checked in at the security gate, and then entered the school grounds. Pandemonium. Children running around, shouting, laughing, parents calling for their kids, teachers attempting to corral some rowdies.

Knowing his kids, they wouldn’t have hurried out in the first rush. Baron dawdled.

A screech to his left had him turning in time to see a little red-haired girl leap onto her father’s back.

Boris turned to search for Baron, and a flutter of green caught his eye–a loose blouse on a curvy brunette.

Then she pivoted, laughing at the small girl holding her hand, and Bori’s heartbeat quickened–Vivi.

The breeze caught a school identification tag hung around her neck and her blouse again, this time, pressing the garment tight to her, and revealing the unmistakable curve of her belly. Her pregnant belly. It was small, but he knew what that curve meant.

And it was just about the right size…

Vivi’s smile faded as her head came up, and she sniffed the air delicately. Her gaze swung over the crowd of children and locked on his face. All of the color faded from her cheeks, and her eyes widened.

He watched the child beside her tug on her hand, and Vivi bent back to her for a second, then, reluctance lining her face, released the girl, who leaped into another woman’s arms. Vivi straightened slowly, and he strode through the throng of kids toward her.

Alarm darkened her eyes, and she glanced around, as if thinking of fleeing.

Not a chance.

Three more strides put him in front of her. Her shoulders set, and her wary gaze crawled up to his face.

“Vivi, how nice to see you,” he said softly. He leaned closer and sniffed–the same delicious, earthy scent he remembered, along with a fainter undertone of his own familiar scent. His baby.

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While I go back to rewrites, I’m thinking about making some hot chocolate to go with them. Even if it doesn’t feel like winter, it still is winter, so why not? What’s your go-to winter drink? And are you team winter or team warm?

(hot chocolate – Depositphotos)

 

 

( celebrating success – Depositphotos )

 

I’ve checked off another couple of steps this week toward getting this Common Elements Romance Project novella into your hands soon, which is a huge relief! Just a few more to go with this one, which makes me happy. Then I can take a closer look at my goals for the year to see how much adjustment I need to make since I am late on this one. I hate that, starting off the year late on the first goal. It makes me think maybe the rest of the list is unachievable. Or that there is something wrong with me.

But I will look at the rest of the things on my writing goals for the year and see if I need to make any adjustments. I know I need to break things down for myself, month by month and week by week–it’s what works for me. But the overall list may need to be tweaked.

It’s a good week for me to have passed a couple big steps, because I have some fun planned this week. Mid-week, we’ll be going to see one of my favorite bands again, and I can’t wait!

( Daryl Hall & John Oates – Depositphotos )

We haven’t seen them in a few years, so I am really looking forward to this, and our unseasonably warm winter has no bad weather in the forecast for our drive up and back, which is a relief. I was a little worried when we got tickets for a show in February that meant a one hour drive each direction. That means we can safely get to and from the show and enjoy the whole evening.

The other fun I have planned for this week is my monthly writing group dinner. I’ve probably mentioned before that some friends and I get together one night a month and we have dinner and write for a few hours. And we talk–last month’s discussion revolved around the big Romance Writers of America mess that’s been happening since the holidays. Occasionally, whatever is happening in our worlds, whether writing worlds or personal or in the wider world, takes all evening to cover, but mostly we do get in writing time, and it’s always a joy to see writing friends. Writers spend our writing time alone, and while it’s always possible to chat via text or online, getting together in person is like going home to family. Some of us in the group have known one another for twenty years, some less, but everyone fits perfectly into the group. I look forward to our writing night every month.

Before I get to work on another one of those steps for the novella, I have a little story snippet for you, from the novella.

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Hayden bolted for the back door.

Nate followed more slowly, picking up his son’s jacket from the chair inside the door. By the time he reached the bottom step, he heard his son’s voice, then Lucie spoke in reply, though he couldn’t hear the words. When he cleared the lilac bushes, he expected to see Hayden’s shoulders droop.

He was a little surprised to see the two of them walking into the middle of the neighboring yard while Lucie bounced the big yellow ball on one hand. Huh. He would’ve bet on her putting Hayden off. He paused at the open gate between the yards to watch them. They’d stopped, and she crouched in front of Hayden, who chattered a mile a minute. She nodded as she rose.

Hayden jogged backward a few steps, grinning, then held out both hands.

Lucie gave the ball another bounce before she tossed it to him.

His son caught it, giggling. “Too easy,” he shouted. He jumped once, then moved a few more steps away from her. “Ready?”

“Ready!” She leaned forward and held out her hands.

Nate wished he could see her expression.

Hayden lobbed the ball at her, and she caught it before it hit her in the face. He smiled and shook his head when his laughing son danced backward a couple more paces. “Throw it again!”

“You sure you can catch it so far away?” The tease in her voice made Nate relax. Lucie Russo might be a nice woman. Mindi and Harry trusted her, which meant she was okay.

But she seemed to be enjoying his son, genuinely enjoying him. Maybe she had nieces or nephews–she was comfortable, chatting with Hayden as they played catch.

He leaned on the fence to watch.

“Daddy, come play with us!”

Lucie straightened and looked over her shoulder, eyes widening.

Nate felt a little kick in his gut at the appealing image–pink cheeks, green eyes that tipped up at the outer corners, full lower lip dropping a tiny bit. Lucie Russo was pretty.

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Now I’m going to get some more writing tasks done so I can be ready for the next thing on my goals list for the year as soon as I wrap up this novella release–which involves rewriting the second Medusa story.

How are you doing on your goals for the year so far? Better than I am? Or do you need a little encouragement, too?