I can remember the exact moment I thought up the idea ofQuick & Dirty.
I was walking my dog up Rainbow Road on the south facing slope of Christmas Hill in Victoria and texting with some friends asking for heroine name suggestions.
One of them suggested Parker Ryan and I absolutely loved it.
I also knew that I wanted the tagline to be The best way to get over a millionaire is to get over a billionaire.
I’d already “created” Tate McAllister, mysterious billionaire philanthropist and introduced him to the “world” in Hot & Filthy, but I hadn’t really planned to give him his own love story, let alone turn it all into a series.
I joined a boxed set and needed a story to contribute, so I “whipped up” Quick & Dirty as my contribution. However, I never felt like I had truly “finished” the story arc of how Tate got his seed money to buy the resort. Too much was left unanswered about Tate’s dead, estranged father.
The world needed more answers. I needed more answers.
Quick & Easywas written more on a dare than anything else. Two of my very close friends, who also happen to be incredibly talented authors (Jeanne St. James and Erica Lynn) used to tease me over the fact that all my books were long, and just kept getting longer. Meanwhile, they had no problem whipping up 20-45K word novellas. But I just couldn’t do anything under 50K.
So to prove them that I in fact COULD write a novella, I set aside two weeks to write Quick & Easy. I wanted to outdo my own challenge and said I would keep Quick & Easy at 20K words. Well, of course, you know I did it!
But that just fed the flames of this series even more and I needed to add more brothers. More billionaires. The mystery behind the rich deadbeat dad still burned inside of me.
Quick & Reckless came about because I wanted to challenge myself once again. I wanted to write two tropes I’d never attempted before: secret baby and step-sibling.
I get a little squirmy at the idea of hooking up with a step-sibling, to be honest. I don’t have any step-siblings, but if its someone you’ve grown up with and in any way shape or form have called “a brother” or “a sister” it just feels too taboo for me to write. No judgement if you write or love to read step romance. I don’t judge. I just didn’t want to write too far out of my comfort zone, otherwise you as the reader would have known and felt that lack of sincerity and the characters and story would have been wooden.
So I put a twist on the step romance. A twist that didn’t have me stepping too far out of my comfort zone, but enough so that my toes got wet and I’d like to think I can now add that trope to my list of “I’ve gone there” tropes.
But of course, three books wasn’t enough. I still hadn’t answered the mystery of the dad.
We needed a sister.
Cue, Skyler and her story, Quick & Dangerous. We met Roberto “Rob” Cahill in Lust Abroad, and a lot of readers asked me if he was going to get his own story, since they loved him in Lust Abroad. So I figured, why not give him his HEA and pair him up with the fiery Skyler who is running from the mafia? A match made in romantic suspense heaven.
I honestly can’t tell you WHY I decided to make mention of a fifth sibling at the very end of Quick & Dangerous, but I did. It was my subconscious telling me that I wasn’t done with this series. That I needed to delve deeper into the mystery of Randall McAllister–
…deadbeat dad extraordinaire–and introduce one more McAllister sibling into the mix.
But, of course, I also wanted to bring us back to Canada and give the family a big, noisy, snowy Christmas.
I’m loving the direction that Quick & Snowy is going. It’s a slower burn than the rest of the books, and the heroine (Brier), although strong and brilliant, also suffers from crippling social anxiety and is terrified to meet her intimidating, billionaire siblings. Barnes is a former SEAL and an amputee, and he’s been tasked with finding Brier. Only when he finds her in sunny, beachy and beautiful Albufeira, Portugal she’s not exactly hopping on the next plane to go and meet her family.
He has a bit of a challenge on his hands, convincing her to leave with him. Because if there is anything this former SEAL does is finish the job he started.
I can’t wait for you to read this book and let me know what you think. I plan to wrap up all loose ends and any unsolved mystery pieces. This will be the FINAL Quick Billionaires book. I have way too many other things planned and on the TBW (to be written) pile to think about working another Quick Billionaire book into the mix.
But I think the reason why I did keep adding more books to the series is because just like the Hart family (The Harty Boys Series) I just love this family and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
“You’re welcome to tickle my nuts and sniff my ass crack, but I know damn well I don’t have to remove my leg. Try again …” Barnes Wark leaned forward over the rolling belt in airport security and squinted at the nametag on the baby-faced TSA agent.
He resisted the urge to sneer at the name since he, too, had an unusual name that often garnered some quirked eyebrows. Instead, he felt half an ounce of sympathy for the kid.
But it wasn’t enough o save him from Barnes’s impatience. Oh no.
The barely-legal kid’s Adam’s apple bobbed hard in his throat and his brown eyes shifted from Barnes’s to his supervisor who was standing in the corner.
“Don’t look at her, look at me,” Barnes continued. “I’m the person you’re dealing with right now. You saw my prosthetic after I took off my shoes and thought, hey, let’s make the cripple take off his leg. I’ve never seen that before.”
The kid’s face was turning the shade of an over ripe tomato. He shook his head as if Barnes hadn’t just dived into his sick subconscious and read his mind.
Barnes ignored the man’s silent, but colorful denial. “And you’re not going to see it today. But I am going to give you a second chance to speak to me like human being with the same rights as every other person in here. So tell me again exactly what I need to remove.”
The kid’s eyes found Barnes’s once more, he swallowed again and nodded. “Belt, shoes, all electronics, all liquids and anything metal. But I don’t need you to remove your prosthetic, sir. A pat-down will be necessary, though.”
Barnes nodded and chucked his wallet, watch, belt and carryon into the bin, then walked to wait for another TSA agent to wave him through the metal-detector. Of course, it beeped.
He always forgot his dog tags. They were an extension of who he was—just like his leg—so it skipped his mind that they would need to be removed before proceeding through the detector.
Stepping back through, he lifted his tags out from under his black T-shirt and tossed them in with his belt and wallet.
The moment they were off, he felt exposed. Vulnerable.
A piece of himself was missing.
He needed them back.
Calmly, with a hard swallow, he stepped back through the detector.
It beeped again.
He rolled his eyes. It would beep until the day he died.
He’d been through this scenario hundreds possibly thousands of times. But once in a while he encountered a wet-behind the ears greenhorn who had either skipped the page on amputees in the TSA training handbook, or had some secret fetish or overwhelming curiosity that made them break protocol.
He NEVER indulged them.
Sure, he didn’t give two shits that one of his legs was made of titanium. He’d come to terms with that part long ago. But he did give two shits, probably more than just two about being made a spectacle or having his rights violated.
He was waved over to the side where two male TSA agents approached him.
He didn’t say a word. Just spread his legs and let them do their thing.
They wouldn’t find anything.
He was one of the good guys.
Or at least he tried to be.
The TSA agent who was sliding his hands up Barnes’s thigh was busy explaining what he was doing and why. Barnes tuned him out. The other agent had Barnes’s passport. He glanced into the bin of Barnes’s stuff and his brows lifted.
“Thank you for your service, sir.”
As predictable as the tides.
“My father served as well. We appreciate everything you’ve done to keep our country safe.”
Barnes nodded at the man and accepted his passport back. If only this thirty-something guy with the wedding band and baby spit up on his collar knew the kinds of things Barnes had done to keep this man and his family safe.
It would give the average person nightmares.
Fuck, it gave Barnes nightmares.
“Thank you for your cooperation,” the other man said, standing back up.
Barnes grunted, then continued on to gather his stuff.
He was almost home.
One more flight, Houston to Portland and then he could hunker down until the new year.
With his dog tags securely back in place, he released the breath that had been burning his lungs. He finished putting on his belt and shoes, slung his rucksack over his back and headed toward his gate.
His sister had offered for him to come and spend Christmas with her family in Maine. His nieces and nephew were dying to see their uncle Barney, but he just didn’t have it in him to do the big family Christmas thing.
I don’t talk about this series much, but I should.
Have you read The Dark and Damaged Hearts?
The first romance book I ever started writing was Sex, Heat and Hunger (James and Emma’s story). I started writing it after our six-month, twelve-country backpack trip. I’d really gotten into reading romance while we traveled, and I read some great books, and some really not great books. However, it was those really not great books that prompted me to think, “I could do this. I could do better than this.”
I know what you’re probably thinking, “how arrogant!”
And in a way it was. But it was also what led to me to go back to my one true passion which was writing, so however terrible some of those books may have been, I will be forever grateful to them for helping me get back to what I love. And no, it doesn’t matter what the names of those terrible books were, that’s not the point. It’s also just fuel for an argument, because I KNOW a lot of people LOVED those books, so I’m not going to go there. Some people don’t like my books, and that is 100% okay. That’s the beauty of romance books, there is something out there for everyone!
James and Emma’s story took me over a year and a half to write. Mostly because I was just doing it in the evenings after work and wasn’t really serious about it. I just had a story in my head and needed to get the words down. There was no plan to publish or anything like that. Then, I finished their book and decided I wanted to give Justin and Kendra their own story. Only, since Justin and Kendra were already married in James and Emma’s book, I needed to go back five years and dig into their beginning which is why their book, Love, Passion and Power is book 1 and 2 in The Dark and Damaged Hearts Series.
I was almost finished Justin and Kendra’s story by the time I had my first daughter. And it was her birth and the complete and total upheaval of my life that prompted me to start writing Amy and Garrett’s story, True, Deep and Forever. Only, instead of going back even further in time to their beginning, I wanted to write about what happened after they said “I do.” Because life doesn’t end when you get married. The drama and dilemmas, the arguments and frustrations don’t immediately stop the moment you kiss at the altar and are declared “husband and wife.” If anything, all the trials and tribulations of being “bound” to someone else for the rest of your life, are just getting started when you slide on those rings.
It’s easy to see how much Garrett and Amy love each other. Their romance was intense from the very beginning. She was a bit of a wildling and he was clean-cut and trying to make a name for himself in the architectural world. Together, they grew up, got married and started a family.
But they don’t call it the “seven-year itch” for nothing.
Nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors. Or what goes on behind a closed bedroom door.
So, I wanted to take a stab at writing a “beyond the happily ever after moment”
To show you the nitty gritty, the ups and downs of marriage and how kids, work and daily stressors can impact a couple.
Now, in no way is this a glimpse into my marriage. Not at all.
But I will say some of the conversations, the one-liners are similar to those I’ve had with my husband. And the way Amy thinks about herself, and some of the things she experienced as a new mother are reflective of how I was feeling at the time when I wrote it. The insecurities, the dark thoughts, the total disorganization and slow loss of self. This books was more than just a story for me. It was therapy.
Becoming a new mom is really fucking hard and if you know me and my writing, I don’t sugarcoat crap.
I actually had to tone things down, and cut a bunch of stuff, because in the end, I went too deep. But I still have those scenes, and they were still the therapy I needed.
You’d be surprised how much ends up on the “cutting room floor” or in the author world we call it “killing our darlings.” A lot of stuff gets cut because it ends up bogging down the story, not making sense, or not working well within the tone of the scene or book. But often those scenes or lines that get cut are some of our very best work. Our darlings. So have I them tucked away in a file, because in some ways they were like a journal for me. A way to express how I was feeling in an indirect way. It was almost like Amy was my safety veil, my nursing cover, or big baggy T-shirt to hide my mummy tummy. I’m not Amy, but I sure understand how she was feeling.
Like all the books in The Dark and Damaged Hearts series, True, Deep and Forever is a duet. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t split them into duets, but live and learn. They originally hadn’t been separate books, but advice for various people and word-length had me tweaking the books and cutting them in half. Oh well. What’s done is done. I’m still really proud of them.
Anyway, here is a small excerpt of True, Deep and Forever: Part 1. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
“What are you doing down here in the middle of the night … eating ice cream?” Garret asked, lazily sauntering into the kitchen and pulling out the chair next to me, knuckling sleep from his eyes. He wasn’t wearing anything besides his Fruit of the Loom boxers, and there was a healthy prickling of hair on his chin and scalp. Pillow creases ran across one side of his face, and the half-pitched tent in his pants told me he’d been having a racy dream.
“I couldn’t sleep,” I muttered, shoveling another spoonful of Turtles ice cream into my mouth, cringing immediately from the brain freeze.
Why’d I have to make my bites so bloody big?
“I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”
More like a ton on my mind. Most of that was Daxon van Camp, but a bit of it was also Christopher Weston and the thought of possibly running my own gallery. Could I do it? Since Christopher had offered me the job, I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it. What would I name it? How would I run it? How would I decorate it? What artists would I approach? The idea of running my own gallery, or running a gallery for someone, kept sleep on the run, so instead, like any person with an addiction, I turned to my vice.
Garret nodded methodically, a half-smile turning up at the corner of his mouth when he realized there was no way in hell I was going to offer him a spoon or give him mine. We might be teaching Henry to share, but I was a grown-up, and grown-ups don’t always have to share. “Is that good ice cream?” he asked. “I can’t decide if I like the Turtles or the Rollo better.”
“Turtles all the way!” I scoffed. “The pecans are what makes it. Plus, the chocolate is better quality.”
“I seem to remember other ways, besides gorging ourselves on chocolate, at”—he leaned over to check the clock on the microwave—“two-thirty in the morning that we spent our time. And we usually always fell asleep right after. That rush of dopamine, ain’t nothing better.”
I smirked and snorted a laugh through my nose. “I’m sorry, but as much fun as being thrown down on the table and ravished right now sounds, I just can’t.”
He dropped to his knees and brought his chair around, grabbing my leg and placing my foot on the seat. “No, you can’t. But I can. It doesn’t always have to be fifty-fifty. Sometimes you can just spread your legs and let me lick your clit until you scream.” He grinned like the devil. “Let me, Ames.” His eyes lifted as he hiked up my nightshirt to my waist. “Let me make my wife feel good.”
Eight years ago, Garret Banks swept me clear off my feet, catching me before I fell on my ass.
Our love was instantaneous, all-consuming and intense. We never thought the flame would die down, let alone extinguish.
We have everything we’ve ever wanted. Successful careers, a beautiful son and a rock-solid marriage. We’re living the dream. Right?
But how quickly dreams can turn into nightmares. Garret’s job is taking its toll on him, my whole world seems to be in shambles, and now I’ve got to deal with a blast from my past I thought I’d long buried. And that past wants answers—answers I’m not willing to give.
We grab quick and dirty sex when we can, but that just doesn’t seem to be enough and our marriage feels more tested and strained than ever before.
I was sure that I’d found my knight in shining armor, my happily ever after, my forever, but my marriage is being forced to bend more than it should—more than it can. So much so that I’m afraid it might just snap.
Dancing with the Single Dad audiobook is finally live.
I’m probably going to say this about each audiobook when it comes out, but I’m honestly so in love with the way Gregory Salinas and Erin Bateman brought Adam and Violet to life. Gregory nailed the slight southern twang, and gave Adam the perfect blend of shy but quiet alpha qualities I was going for. And Erin truly brought everything I envisioned Violet to be completely to life.
I’ll also admit that since this is only book two in The Single Dads of Seattle and I wrote it back in early 2019, it was like revisiting old friends when I listened to the whole story. There were scenes I forgot about, hilarious one-liners I forgot I’d wrote. In a lot of ways it was like reading a brand new book (well, not brand new, but darn close). I’ve written a lot of books since writing Dancing with the Single Dads, and since I’ve written SO MANY single dads it can be tough to keep track of them. I caught myself laughing a lot. I’d even say under my breath, “I’m fucking hilarious.” The dog would then turn around to look at me like I was crazy. I’d tell him to keep moving and finally crap somewhere.
I also forgot about how deeply emotional this book was. Violet deals with the loss of Jean-Phillipe and her father, and Adam is dealing with the end of his marriage. It’s some heavy shit. And those sex scenes!!! Again, I forgot about a lot of this book, including that college professor office scene. I’m sure my cheeks were bright red if anybody passed me while I was walking. Hopefully they just assumed I was flushed from exercise and the warm weather, and not the dirty words I’d written.
I loved Gregory as Adam so much that I’ve decided to cast him again. I’m confident that he will do an awesome job as Aaron Steele in Living with the Single Dad, Book 4 of The Single Dads of Seattle. I’ve also decided to cast Zachary Johnson (Mark from Hired by the Single Dad) as Zak for Christmas with the Single Dad, Book 5 of the The Single Dads of Seattle.
I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about the newest audiobook. I hope you love the narrators as much as I do.
The narrators for Saved by the Single Dad are hard at work bringing Paige and Mitch to life, so hopefully that audiobook can go live this fall.
Hanging up your dancing shoes isn’t so easy when you can’t let go of your former dance partner.
Welcome to Seattle, the Emerald City and home to the Single Dads of Seattle. Ten sexy, single fathers who play poker every Saturday night, have each other’s backs, love their children without quarter, and hope to one day find love again.
This is Adam’s story….
Single dad of Seattle Adam Eastwood knows that dance school is just the thing for his precocious daughter, Mira. She already spends most days twirling around the house in a tutu and tiara, why not pay a professional to teach her how to do it properly? Only Adam didn’t account for that professional to be the Violet Benson from a very famous New York ballet company. Not only is Violet a natural beauty who floats more than she dances, but she’s the kind of woman Adam’s been searching for all his life.
Grieving the loss of her dance partner and boyfriend, Violet is done with performing on stage. How can she go on when the love of her life is no longer there to catch her? Deciding a change is best, she moves back home to Seattle, determined to fulfill their dream of opening up a dance school. It’s not until she’s asked to dance for Art in the Park that she realizes maybe she’s not quite ready to hang up her dance shoes. Would it be wrong to take the stage one last time? It must be wrong to feel what she feels when she’s dancing with Mira’s handsome father.
Adam’s wounds are still fresh from his divorce, and Violet’s dealing with a loss of her own, but somehow they keep winding up in each other’s arms with neither of them willing to let go. But it’s never easy to conquer the past. Will Violet let fear and grief keep her from her dreams? Or will Adam convince her that the show must go on and dancing with the single dad might just be the way for her to find her happily ever after?
Note: This book can be listened to as a stand-alone. It includes lots of steamy scenes, cursing, and, of course, as with all my books, this has an HEA and no cliff-hanger or cheating. If you like single dads who take charge, this book is for you.
If you’re wondering where I’ve been the last few days and why the radio silence, it was because I took the little humans camping.
Well, not JUST camping. Last weekend, we finally got to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday (which was April 14th). But because of COVID restrictions, we were forced to reschedule until now. My brother and his fiancee flew out from Canmore, Alberta, we booked a professional photographer and did a big family photo session. Then my brother, his fiancee, my husband and I all cooked all weekend long so that “the mothership” as we affectionately call her didn’t have to lift a finger. We went to the beach, sat around reminiscing, picked berries in the backyard, went for a hike, and just spent time together as a family. It was wonderful. Now, we impatiently wait as our brilliant photographer edits the photos. As an artist myself, I know that brilliance can’t be rushed (I’m totally saying all of this about myself sarcastically), but not getting to see the photos is legit driving my mom mental.
After the fun-filled family weekend, I packed up the girls and we went to Miracle Beach provincial park for two days of camping “fun.” I’m not a fan of sleeping on the ground. Never have been . Not even in my partying days where we drank until we were numb and passed out on the nearest flat surface. Even then, the ground was not my jam. But, it’s not all about me, so I pulled up my big girl panties, packed the RAV until it was close to bursting and set out for two days of dirty feet and sand everywhere.
WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE!
Let’s just leave it at that. I’ve done the dirty hobo backpacker thing where you stink for days, your nails all break and no matter what you just can’t get your feet clean. Been there, done that, got the photos to back it up. But I’m also over it. I’m not twenty-five anymore. I threw my upper back and shoulder out using two computer screens for work. I want a little bit of luxury in my life. Like a bed. And a shower. And four sturdy walls around me that don’t flap in the breeze. I’m not asking for much. And, chastise me for saying this if you must, I’m also not a huge fan of sleeping with my children.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cuddling them, hugging them and showering them with all the love. But now that they’re not babies, they’re really fucking annoying to share a bed with. They’re movers, and the oldest one is like 90% limbs. Meanwhile, for some reason, even while sleeping, the Tiny Human just knows I’m there and wraps her arm around my neck like I’m a stuffed animal. Maybe she can sleep like that, but the Mama Bear sure as hell can’t.
And of course, what inaugural camping trip wouldn’t be complete without a popped air mattress? Certainly not ours. And on the first night, too! The three of us ended up rolling in toward the middle, piling up on each other. Thinking back on it all, it was hilarious and something we’ll be able to laugh about for years. But at time, I was a grumbling mess. How on earth could my three year old sleep through her sister crushing her while she simultaneously crushed me?
Anyway, we survived. They had fun, which was what it was all about, and now I know I need to make myself a “to pack” list and include butter/oil on it. Along with backup blow up mattresses.
But I went WAAAAAAY out of my comfort zone, that’s what I’m getting at here.
Kudos to those of you who love to camp, but you’re not my spirit animal and I think we can still be friends. Just don’t expect me to nod until my neck snaps if you suggest we go on a trip with tents into the back country. I’ll wave you off, give you a can of bear spray and say, “see you when you get back.”
At this point (if you’re still reading) you’re probably wondering where on earth is she going with this diatribe and how is going to circle it back to writing a Christmas story with ten POVs. Well, I am, just wait.
If you remember, a few years ago, I wrote Snowed In & Set Up. It was the first Christmas story I ever wrote, as well as the first third person POV story I ever wrote. Up until then all my stories were first person and ONLY in the POV of the heroine. Quick and Dirty, Lust Abroad, all of the Dark and Damaged Hearts.
Well, I got it in my head that this story needed to have six POVs. All three couples deserved equal “screen time” and the book just wouldn’t work from only a few POVs. So I dove headfirst into the murky stream of my own consciousness, completely unsure if I’d hit the bottom or glide right out into clearer water.
I took the plunge.
I took the leap.
And you know what?
Loads of reviews indicate that readers were unsure how six POVs was going to work, but they were surprised and delighted that it did. Hey, if George R.R. Martin can bounce around in everybody’s brain, why can’t I? I am NOT comparing myself to the all powerful George, but I’m just saying, if he can do it, why can’t I try?
It was from that book on that I started writing all my books in third person with alternating POV. And I love it. I could never go back to singular POV and only if you twisted my arm (like my co-writing partner did) go back to first person POV.
So, when I got the idea to write the fifth and final Harty Boys book, I knew that I wanted to try my hand (or fingers) at another multi-POV story. And I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do it. Yes, of course, I want Joy to have screen time, as well as her hunk of burning love, Grant. But since Full Hart is meant to take place a couple of years after Dark Hart ended, I also wanted to give you real updates on all the Harty Boys and their families. So much has happened to this family over the years, that they each deserve to reflect on how far they’ve come in their own POVs.
So yes, Full Hart will be told from the point of view of ten different people. Brock and Krista, Chase and Stacey, Rex and Lydia, Heath and Pasha, and Joy and Grant. It will be jam-packed with funny moments, one-liners, sexy times, holiday cheer, angst, frustration and even a little bit of sadness. If you know me and my books, you know I keep things real. People die, women lose babies, men cry and the world keeps turning through it all.
You can definitely expect fun, sexy times in Full Hart, but be prepared for shit to also get real.
I’m taking the plunge with this book. Going way out of my comfort zone once again. I’ve gone from six POVs in Snowed In & Set Up to ten POVs. I didn’t stop in the middle at eight. Go big or go home, right?
Just like I did with camping on the ground with my children (because our mattress popped and we legit were ON THE GROUND) I’m trying something new. It might work, it might not. But at least I’m going to give it a go.
Even now, with her gone, that smile was what kept him getting up each morning and continuing with his life.
That smile … and the woman who had just shut her car door outside and was making her way up the path to his house.
Could she have been named any more perfectly?
Because she certainly sparked joy in him.
She rekindled flames inside him he’d thought had long been extinguished, had long turned to nothing more than cold, damp coal.
Smiling, he glanced at Daphne’s photo. “You like her, don’t you?”
Daphne just showed him those blinding white teeth, dimples, and rosy cheeks.
She would have liked Joy.
He picked up both wine glasses and booked it to the front door, opening it just as she was lifting her little fist to knock.
Her smile winded him and her eyes twinkled. “I forget sometimes that you’re one of those kinds of men.”
“One of what kind?” he asked playfully, taking her overnight bag from her and handing her the stemless wine glass.
“Military trained with impeccable hearing, instincts, and senses. You probably knew I was in the neighborhood before I even parked my car.” She took a sip of the wine and made a sexy little humming sound in delight.
“Not quite, but I did hear you shut your car door.” He set her bag down on the arm of the couch, took her wine glass from her, and set both their glasses on the table beside Daphne’s photo. Then he wrapped his arms around her small frame, and she did the same to him.
He was over a foot taller than her, standing at six-one—he’d been six-three at his tallest, but age was causing him to shrink—and she was only four-eleven, but her personality made her appear so much taller.
With twinkling blue eyes, her ballerina bun tucked up on her crown with not a hair out of place, and fresh glossy lipstick, she tilted her head up to look at him. “Smells good. And I don’t just mean dinner.”
His chuckle came out raspy since his throat had suddenly gone dry as he mentally prepared himself for what he wanted to say.
“You smell good, too,” he said, ducking down and taking her mouth for a moment.
She hummed against his lips, parting hers so he could sweep his tongue inside. Her grip around his neck tightened and she pulled him down, pressing her hips against his.
Joy Hart was a passionate woman. She also knew her way around a man’s body and had taught Grant a thing or two about his own pleasure.
He’d been reluctant at first—even a little scared—but she was gentle and patient with him, and showed him just how much more he could enjoy sex with a little bit of imagination.
He’d felt like a bit of a chump when they first got together. Although he’d had ample sex in his life with Daphne, he’d only ever had sex with one woman. Joy was a lot more experienced than he was, and the fact that she was a sex and relationship therapist—specializing in sexuality—meant she was a lot more comfortable discussing things than he or Daphne had ever been.
Joy had even ironically nicknamed him Wild Man, not only because his last name was Wild, but because he wasn’t exactly “adventurous” or “worldly” in the bedroom.
Genre: Steamy/Contemporary/Suspense/Thriller/Alpha Male
Release Date: July 10, 2021
She’s the light this dark Hart needs to survive.
Pediatrician Dr. Pasha Young likes her routine, busy life. Her job is meaningful and she’s good at it. But when Heath enters her world—all long blond hair and midnight blue eyes—she realizes everything she’s been missing.
Former special operative and now security specialist, Heath Hart has never met a woman quite like Pasha. She helped his family when they needed it the most. Their attraction was instant. Electric. She’s also okay with his no-strings rule. Because he can’t go back down the love rabbit hole. Not after what happened last time.
She understands what drives him. She was there when Dakota Creed got away, and Heath’s need to find Creed and end his reign of terror is all-consuming. Nobody else deserves to get hurt, and Heath will stop at nothing to finish the job once and for all.
But what happens when the hunter becomes the hunted? The devil he’s chasing is now chasing him—chasing them. When Heath’s need to find Creed turns into an obsession, and he begins to slip into the dark, can Pasha muster the strength to pull him back into the light in time? Or will he give himself over to the chase, causing her to lose her heart, and her Hart, to the darkness once and for all?
“The book gets wildly intense and had me biting my nails! The suspense was killing me. They way this book ends is absolutely perfect. This author never fails to amaze me. Another bestseller!” (Nora Houston ~ Amazon Reviewer)
“The things he’s done, the things he’s seen, who wouldn’t have a dark heart. Betrayed by someone you loved will make you darker. Can Heath find the light or will the dark just get darker? A read that will keep you on the edge.” (Vickie Komarek, Amazon Reviewer)
“A few laugh out loud moments, more than a few suspenseful times and a lot of hot times. What more could you ask for?.” (Sue Hancock~ Goodreads Reviewer)
She headed to her en suite bathroom, tossing a look at him over her shoulder. A look that made him wish his phone was within reach because he’d make that image his wallpaper. “You coming?” she asked.
“Hate to see you leave, but love to watch you go,” he said standing up and following her into the bathroom.
She turned on the water for the shower and let it heat up, then she went about wrapping up her bandaged finger with cellophane. Once she was done, she looped her arms over his shoulders and lifted up onto her tiptoes so they were more at eye level.
He thought she was going to say something. A tease or a joke about the sex they’d just had, but she didn’t.
She stood there, breathing in his breath and staring into his eyes.
What was she looking for?
Did she want more from him?
More of him?
She couldn’t have it.
He had nothing more to give her.
Christina had stripped him of everything else he could possibly give a woman. Taken his trust, his love, his belief in happily ever after.
He gave Pasha everything he had left. Everything he could, and if she asked for more, then he’d have to say no and watch the disappointment fill her eyes.
And the thought of doing that gutted him.
After a moment of uncertainly, waiting for her to say something, he growled and cupped the back of her head, taking her mouth in a need-driven kiss. He needed to get things back to where they’d been, not to where he feared they were headed, which was her asking him for more.
We all have our favorite romance tropes. And even more of us have MANY favorites. And even more, even more of us probably can’t pick a favorite because there are just too many awesome tropes to choose from and we don’t want to make any tropes feel sad (as if they are living breathing things WITH feelings … *whispers: “because they are.”*)
But, as much as I like my PNR romances with vampires, witches, demons and shifters getting immortally jiggy with it, and my highland romances with bare-chested heroes with lilts that won’t quit … I have to say, I REALLY like my military romances.
My love of military romances started with Cindy Gerard’s Black Ops Series. If you haven’t read it, you should. It probably wasn’t the best idea that the first book I picked up from this author was about human trafficking in Indonesia, particularly since two months later I MOVED to Indonesia to teach English, but the book was THAT good, and the hero that swoony and heroic that it didn’t stop me from jumping on a plane and heading across the sea.
Now, if you don’t know, I’m in Canada. And we don’t have Navy SEALs. Our equivalent of the SEALs is Joint Task Force 2. So, because my Harty Boys are Canadian, hailing from Victoria, BC, Home of the Pacific Naval Fleet, I had my men belong to Joint Task Force 2.
They’re retired from the navy and special forces however, moving back home after their time served and working together in the security and surveillance company: Harty Boys Security.
Why wouldn’t men with very special sets of skills continue to use those skills for good? It just makes sense, right?
So even though they’re “technically” retired, they’re still bringing all that training, all that alpha goodness and protector instinct with them no matter the job.
And if I haven’t convinced you yet why military romances are awesome, here are my top five reasons!
TOP FIVE REASONS (Plus a bonus reason) why military romances are awesome and one of my favorite tropes!
1.) Who doesn’t like a man who will do anything to protect the woman he’s falling for? These guys are protectors and heroes through and through. It’s part of their DNA and in my opinion, that’s damn sexy.
2.) The abs. The body. These guys, take care of themselves. Enough said.
3.) The stamina. Going back to reason number 2, they take care of themselves and workout, so they have stamina. *wink wink*No two-pump chumps here.
4.) They’re competitive. Find me any man or woman for that matter who has served and tell me they don’t have a noticeable-from-space competitive streak. And as much as competitiveness can be frustrating at times, in the bedroom, they’re all about beating their last “best”. That means, they want to give their heroine more orgasms, better orgasms and the next “best sex of her life.” I don’t know about you, but that’s a competitive streak I can get on board with.
5.)they’re all about brotherhood and family. they’re close with their team and have their six no matter what. that means they’re loyal and family-oriented. they don’t trust easily, but Once you’re in their “fold” they’ll go to the ends of earth to take care of who they love.
BONUS REASON: Usually a military romance is also a romantic suspense. And I happen to love to not only to read, but to write, edge-of-your-seat, heart-in-your-throat, nail-bitingromantic suspense. the mystery, the intrigue, the danger. it’s a different kind of high that I get when I read those kinds of scenes, and when they’re peppered in among the steamy scenes, that there is my kind of perfect read!
Comment below or shoot me a message with military romance recommendations. Because as well all know, a TBR is never too full!
right now, in preparation for the release of dark hart next week, i have dropped the price of hard hart to …
He was just drifting off to sleep when a fist landed square in the center of his back.
Groaning, he rolled over, coming face-to-face with an angry angel. “What the fuck was that for?”
“You’re taking up over half the fucking bed.” She growled.
He inched over just a bit. “Better?”
She glared at him in the dark, her little button nose wrinkling. “No. You’re enormous. Easily taking up seventy percent of the bed and probably eighty percent of the covers.”
Brock rolled his eyes. He was too tired for this shit. But he also didn’t want her to go. “What do you want from me?”
“To give me space. You’re a furnace, too.”
“Do you want me to go to the other room?”
He didn’t want to, but he would. For her. For sleep.
She grew awfully quiet. “No.”
Grunting, he sat up, scooted over to the edge. Half his ass cheek was hanging off, but hopefully that would appease the mother bear in his bed. “Better?”
She nodded. “You just need to be more considerate while you’re sleeping.”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake, woman, how can I be more considerate while I’m sleeping? I’m sleeping. I have no idea what I’m doing!” Grumbling and swearing under his breath, he pulled a bunch of covers off his side and draped them over her. “There! Better?”
She grinned. “Yes.”
That sassy little smile. Fuck. It got him every time. Even when she was being an irrational, hormonal, back-punching nut job, he wanted her. He always wanted her. Never one to care about having anyone to kiss at midnight, he’d hated the idea of Krista sitting home alone the other night, ringing in the new year by herself.
“How’d it go?” she asked, rolling over onto her side and propping her hand under her head.
He grunted. “How’d what go?”
He lifted one shoulder. “Everyone’s safe.”
Her lips twisted, and she drew circles on the bottom sheet of the bed with her finger. Her eyes followed her finger. “Maybe next time you could call me when you go out on a job.” She lifted her head just a touch, her eyes pinning on him. “Let me know you’re safe. I worry about you too, you know.”
Brock’s chest tightened, and his throat felt raw. Here he’d been giving her shit for not behaving responsibly enough, meanwhile he could be doing more, too. He nodded stiffly. “Okay.”
Her smile was small but triumphant.
He gave her the side-eye. He needed a distraction, and the way her breasts squished together when she was on her side like that was doing a hell of a job. “Well, now that we’re awake, you want to bang?”
Her eyes brightened, and her smile grew. She scooted across the bed, tossing his pillow to the floor, and looped her leg over his hip. “What did you have in mind?”
Last night I went to do the stairs at Blueback Beach here in Nanaimo like I always do. Sometimes I do them in the morning, sometimes the evening, it really depends on how much work I have to do that day, and of course, the weather. Because if there is one thing a west coast baby like me knows, if you don’t like the weather, wait fifteen minutes. And today is no different. Ten minutes ago it was a torrential downpour and now the sun is peeking out behind light gray clouds and the powerlines look like they’ve been Bedazzled with diamonds.
But last night, when I went to do the stairs (FYI, it’s a set of 295 stairs down to the beach at a 40degree incline and I do them multiple times with and without weights and with and without resistance bands. I love this new workout and my husband has even commented on how nice my butt looks. I think it might be the Tik Tok leggings I bought, but he doesn’t agree.) Anyway, back to my point, last night while I was climbing the stairs, it started to rain, while the sun was still shining.
W A S
M A G I C A L.
You have to walk down the stairs through the trees, so when I was under the canopy I barely got hit with drops, but as soon as I broke free from the cover, or landed on the beach I was drenched. The wind off the water was balmy and refreshing and the rain hitting my heated skin was instantly cooling. I caught myself smiling and laughing so many times as I listened to my dirty hip hop music and ’90s boybands. Yeah, that’s what get’s my ass moving. Pitbull and The Backstreet Boys. But as I climbed and panted, wiping the sweat and rain from my brow, I was transported back to 2012 when my husband and I went on our six-month, twelve-country honeymoon backpack trip.
We’d just been robbed in Miraflores, Peru, then he caught a horrible gastrointestinal bug in Cusco (two days before we planned to go to Machu Picchu), but because I married a thrifty bugger, he refused to spend the money on the bus ride up to Machu Picchu and insisted we hike up the 1500 stairs. Well, as you can image, being the Andes and the jungle, it started to rain while we hiked. But neither of us grimaced. Rather, we embraced it. It was magical. Warm and tropical. Is there really anything more relaxing, more brilliant than the sound of rain hitting leaves? Of Mother Nature feeding herself?
I took our experience traveling in Peru and the major roller coaster of events and emotions we experienced and cathartically turned it into a romance novel. Now, obviously, some events have been changed, names have been changed and we certainly weren’t pursued by drug traffickers, but so many of the emotions are spot on. We also met wonderful people who helped us along the way named Matt and Elissa (they’re in the book!)
Look at how young, innocent and fresh-faced we were. Not yet hardened and aged by having wild children with even wilder hair.
But, even after being robbed, the hubby getting sick and me nearly getting arrested because I let my temper flare a little too brightly when I went back to speak with the receptionist at the hostel where we were robbed, our bond, our love, and our obsession with each other never waivered. In our entire six-months, we only fought once. And it wasn’t even so much of a fight as it was him getting frustrated and telling me to stop sulking about being robbed and ruining the good parts of our trip, and instead just be grateful we weren’t robbed at gunpoint or killed. He was right, and I stopped my pity party (eventually).
Now, the scene excerpt below DID NOT happen in real life. He was recovering from his gastro infection and we know better than to drift off the path (we live in a place with a lot of ticks), but the emotions are all real. The love is all real.
The hero in Lust Abroad is named Derrick — my husband’s name is Eric. But my husband wasn’t recovering from brain surgery, and he’s not a photo journalist, he’s a research biologist in aquaculture. The best way to describe what he does is Ancestry. com for fish, or Maury for fish (you are the father … you are NOT the father, get it?)
Please enjoy this super steamy, sex in the rain up against a tree in the Peruvian Andes excerpt of LUST ABROAD. Inspired by true events, true emotions and true love.
Also, I’ll send you a link to download this book for free when you sign up for my newsletter.
Derrick’s eyes caught mine as I blinked the water off my lashes, licking my lips while brushing my hair from my face. His shirt clung to him, defining each pec and ab, while the skin on his arms and neck glistened like polished bronze.
“Okay?” he asked. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going to die.”
My lip trembled, while tears stung the back of my eyes. I couldn’t lose him. He reached for me, pulling me hard against his chest. Absorbing my fear. His hands drove into my hair, holding my face inches from him. “I’m not going anywhere, okay? You believe me?”
I nodded again, a sudden shiver racing down my spine.
His eyes shifted across my face, studying me as the rain continued to hammer down and around us. And then his mouth smashed against mine, obliterating any thought besides yes from my mind. Devouring me, savoring me, possessing me. He wasn’t going anywhere, because I wouldn’t let him.
I returned the kiss in kind and grappled at him, leaping up onto his hips as he ploughed us off the path and through the woods a few yards. He tossed my pack to the ground and then my back was slammed up against a tree, his hands roaming my body and caressing my breasts, pushing into me, showing me with his body how he felt.
I was hot for him. This needed to happen. I needed him now like I needed to breathe. I started to work his belt, and then the zipper on his shorts. His bags fell to the ground as he let his hands slide up my tank top, like he was desperate to have skin to skin. Everything was wet and slippery, and the way his hands skimmed across my body and up under my bra made me quiver with longing.
His teeth grazed my jaw. “Yes,” I panted, letting my head fall back against the tree, my eyes and mouth opening up and welcoming the falling sky.
My shorts were next, and within seconds they were off and dangled by an ankle, his cock poised at my entrance and ready to thrust. Moving my thong to the side, he drew his hand up between my folds, making sure I was good and wet for him, ready. And I was, I was so ready.
“Please…” I begged. Knowing he loved it when I begged, but also truly feeling the need to plead with him for my life. “Please.”
Pure masculine triumph smiled back at me, and then he bit my lip, lifted my hips and drove home.
I grunted from the impact. “Oh, God.” My back slammed into the tree, rough bark damp against my skin. “More… harder.”
He bared his teeth and started to pick up speed, slamming into me. Dominating me, taking me, captivating me. My whole body was trembling from the savagery of his passion, the brutality of his need. I wanted bruises, I wanted bite marks, and I wanted them to be from Derrick. I raked my teeth down his neck, followed by my tongue. Feeling the pulsing vein that ran beneath his salty skin.
I felt alive. On fire and so damned good. Every draw of his cock left me greedy for more, while my whole body sighed and submitted each time he filled me, welcoming him home, pulling him in. Derrick brought his hand between us again and started rubbing rough and erratic circles around my clit. His digits slipped easily through my slick folds, feeling them swell as my need for release grew. I felt the warmth of the orgasm begin to bloom deep in my belly, threatening to unleash and overthrow my entire being.
“Derrick,” I mewled, not sure I’d be able to hold on much longer, and not sure if I wanted to. It was all becoming too much to handle. I needed to let go.
“Piper…” he said. “Come for me.” And then once again, maybe because he loved it, or perhaps because he knew I did, either way the vampire re-emerged, and he clamped down on my shoulder, snarling as he came.
I broke with a sharp cry as the climax blossomed and unfurled inside of me, spearing through me and rocking my very soul. I panted and sighed as the sensation washed over me, feeling him pulse as I contracted around him, milking him, claiming him, taking everything he had to give me.
A slippery wet forehead fell to mine while his body started to shake. I opened my eyes, rain blurring my vision. He was laughing.
I wasn’t even sure what was funny, but I started to laugh, too. “What’s so funny?” Our bodies were still connected.
He continued to chuckle, rubbing his nose against mine while our lips softly slid across one another. “Just how maniacal you make me. Since first seeing you in the airport, a flurry of gypsy skirts and mermaid hair, I’ve been consumed with this need to take you, hard and often. And hell, if I’m not trying my damnedest to do that.” He shook his head. “You’re driving me crazy.”
I blinked up at him. I’d felt the same way. I’d wanted him the moment I saw him, too. Thought about his body covering mine. His tongue between my legs, his hands on my breasts. And since that first day in Miraflores, I hadn’t been able to get enough. The man was a drug.
I flicked my tongue out and grazed it against his bottom lip. “Crazy’s just fine when the sex is as hot as this.”
He growled low and feral in his throat. “You’re going to ruin me, Piper.”
“Ruin you, or reinvent you?” I snagged his lip between my teeth and pulled.
Another growl rumbled, this time deep in his chest, and I felt him begin to grow again inside of me. The man was absolutely insatiable.
“Oh, little Piper…” He bucked up into me while a wily grin caught on his mouth as he took in my sudden wide eyes from how hard he already was again. “I think the word we’re looking for here is resurrect.” He started to slam into me again. “Because, baby, before I met you… I was damn near dead.”
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Piper Valentine knows all too well that life is short. Off to Peru to heal after a grievous loss, she finds more than solace in the hot, charismatic travel journalist sitting across from her on the airplane. Derrick King’s had a brush with death, too, but he has no idea that he’ll face it again—and again—after giving in to his instant attraction to Piper. Their journey to the top of the world, filled with parties, humor, and fun, is turned topsy-turvy as they’re pursued by mysterious gunmen.
Determined to reach Machu Picchu and fulfill her promise to her dead husband, Piper finds that having Derrick along makes her feel safer, even as his lust for her endangers her heart. She’s never found another man so sensual, and with danger on their trail, they keep ending up in each other’s arms. Derrick’s a man with needs—and secrets. Will Piper find strength in surrender? And can Derrick find a way to believe in a future—for both of them?