You’ve probably heard me or a handful of others talk about the fact that I have a new release from Ellora’s Cave today. It’s the first one in over two years, the last one being Ink Spots which was part of the Simple Need collection. And yes, for those waiting, there will be another one coming.
But for right now, I’ve given you Trouble In The Making.
It’s fun. It’s honest. It’s sexy. It’s got coffee. It’s personal. It’s fantasy, and it’s fiction. It is what it is and nothing more.
I approach books that I read on that basis and that basis alone. It’s very simple and keeps me from being pissed or disappointed when I reach the end. Unless there’s a massive cliffhanger and the author doesn’t intend to keep going…then I’m gonna get a little irked. But some books, mine especially, aren’t meant to be more than what they are, more than the title suggests. Maybe it’s part of living in the moment and being happy with what we’ve got. Sure, look forward to the next book or movie or coffee re-fill, but be happy with that moment, those characters, that action, that sip.
Trouble In The Making is about two friends, old friends, high school friends who’ve moved on, lived life, fulfilled dreams, had jobs, failed marriages, but who after a reunion and a reconnection, find there’s more they want and the first one to make the move, surprisingly, is Liz.
She begins to grow in this book. And the title, Trouble IN THE Making is about that. Her growing, her becoming… Her taking that step toward him and what she’s always fantasized about… Johnny Trouble.
I did some growing as I wrote this. I took a similar path as Liz in that I had to come out of my shell to do some things that were scary for me. She examines herself and Johnny tries to make her see herself as he’s seen her for years. Most times, dear reader, that is the hardest thing for any of us… Too see ourselves as others see us when they see amazing, beautiful, sexy, talented, etc…
Johnny Trouble. He’s a commanding presence in leather and tattoos, both on stage and off. He’s had more than his fair share of groupies and lovers, but it’s time for a change and he reconnects with the one woman whose memory has driven him crazy since high school. Liz.
She’s a quiet, shy romance author who likes her comfort zones. But when Johnny comes back into her life after years of living in the spotlight, Liz’s private fantasies shift into overdrive and she nervously asks him to fulfill them.
Just one weekend is all she proposes, but the sparks flying between them when Johnny touches her aren’t temporary. She’s the particular brand of trouble he wants in his bed, bent over, or crawling all over him. Forever.
He just has to convince her by any means necessary…
This title is available at Ellora’s Cave and will soon be available on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Barnes and Noble.
Yeah, I know. Pick your jaw up off the floor. This is the 4th day in a row for me blogging? I know I’m just as surprised as you, but hey, I’m trying.
So yeah, let’s talk music. I’m all over the place. Classical to screamin’ metal. I’m very particular and yet I’m not. I like the familiar, but I’ll try something new on and every now and then I’ll find something that doesn’t give me a headache.
I started going to live concerts when I was…young. 10 years old or so… I was hooked. I’ve been to every kind of show you could imagine. I’ve seen world renowned classical and jazz and gospel stars to the baddest bad boys of 80’s glam rock and everything in between. Some I’ve seen more than once, some I’d kill to see again.
Music plays a huge part in my writing, too. Both have been a part of me since I was a kid. I didn’t attend a normal high school but rather an arts high school and in the midst of us were the guys in local bands…long hair, smoking, leather, guitars, gravel laden voices, bad reputations. Oh. My. God. Though that was more than 20 years ago, I’m still obsessed with the bad ones, the naughty ones, the nothing but trouble on their minds ones.
And I saw enough concerts when RATT, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Poison, Cinderella, Kiss, Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Guns ‘N Roses, Skid Row, etc… from the ages of 14 to 18 that… Yeah, I my head was filled with naughty, sex, hard rockin’ tattooed guys that… I never quite got over it.
So when I write, the music has to be there. And I’ve written books listening to different types of music. Usually one type or one particular artist or one particular album/song plays over and over until the book is finished. Music is also how I can write on multiple books at a time. Different genres of music put different ideas in my head and make me feel different emotions. I hope, when the books are done, that those pieces and parts have come together well.
For these latest releases, the most recent to the one coming at the end of the week, different music was listened to during the writing of…
Keep It Together was written with the help of the music by Miranda Lambert, primarily her latest album, Four the Record and the song, Mama’s Broken Heart…
I don’t have a choice but to write with music. It fuels the story. It fuels my thoughts and ideas and emotions. It sparks something that doesn’t let go until the last words are written. The books and scenes in my head are extensions of me and the music that I listen to, that I grew up with resonates in a way that is impossible for me to ignore. It goes much deeper than simply needing something to inspire. It flows through my veins like nothing else.
When the music is gone, it’s likely the stories will be too… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon.
Do you have a favorite band of all time? What was our first concert? I’d love to know… And in exchange, I’ll be giving away a copy of Keep It Together or Trouble In The Making on Saturday to one of the commentors.
After the events this week in both Boston and Texas, we all need a little tenderness. With the events in the world in general, tenderness is something every man, woman, child, and animal could use. A hug, a kind word, a smile… It’s not too much and it’s not hard.
In my contemporary erotic romance, Keep It Together, our hero Colt, offers tender concern for Chrissie after she’s been left at the altar…
The sunshine streaming in through the windows seemed a little out of place to Chrissie’s way of thinking. It should be dark and overcast with thunder rumbling in the distance. That would fit her mood better than birds chirping and clear skies and bright sunlight.
There shouldn’t be someone knocking on the door either. It was only fuck-you-o’clock in the morning. Didn’t whoever it was know she’d been jilted at the altar? ’Cause her whole damn hometown of Pembroke, Georgia, a mere thirty miles to the west of Savannah, had been invited and had been there to witness her humiliation when her groom decided not to show up.
She fumbled with the locks, and for good scare-the-shit-out-of-her-unwanted-guest measure, grabbed up her brand-new rifle, and threw open the front door. She barely stopped it from banging against the wall and shattering the leaded glass front. “Damn it’s cold out here,” she muttered, shielding her eyes from the early morning light.
“Good morning, Chrissie.”
Her visitor was in shadow, and she had to move to the left a little to get a better look at him, though she’d have known that voice anywhere. It was deep and warm, smooth like molasses. The first time she heard it, and each time after, her brain had latched on and committed it to memory. It flowed and caressed and wrapped her in comfort.
Colt Fisher was the last person she’d expected to show up at her door. And that little thrill spreading through her at the fact that he was there? It was inappropriate, and for the moment, she was going to chalk it up to the whiskey still affecting her. “Colt? Do you know what time it is? What the hell are you doing here? How’d you know where to find me? I’m mad at you.”
He nodded. There wasn’t a hint of his usual easy smile on his way-too-perfect lips, and she felt bad about her outburst. She— Wait. Too perfect lips? Why was she looking at his lips anyway? That little thrill was growing.
“Yeah. I do know what time it is, and I apologize for waking you so early. I‘m on my way to the airport and… Well, I was concerned for you. I dropped by your parents’ house in Pembroke last night to talk to you, and they said you’d come back here to Savannah. I didn’t even know you lived here. It was important to me to see you and make sure you were all right. When you left the church yesterday, you looked…I don’t know, brittle I guess. And yes, I know you’re mad at me. You have every right to be.”
What the hell was she supposed to say to that? “My place is a bit far from the airport,” she remarked, touched that he would go out of his way like that for her. They had almost been family, and standing there on her porch, she realized they hadn’t known each other as well as they should have for the commitment she’d almost made to his brother.
And now Colt was being agreeable and kind and sweet and she was being a pill. She lowered the rifle to rest against her hip, and smiled a little at the way his gaze followed the move. “Don’t worry. I’m not planning to shoot you.”
Colt nodded and his blue eyes once again met hers. “I suppose you were thinking I might be Russ.”
“I won’t say it didn’t cross my mind.”
He nodded again. “When Russ didn’t show up at my hotel Friday night for the bachelor party and didn’t return my calls…” He shook his head and turned the cowboy hat he held by the brim in a circle between his fingers. “I honestly thought he was just out with guys from his law firm and blowing off what he thought would have been a boring way to spend his last night as a single man. I figured he’d show up yesterday morning at his place with a hangover, and that’d be it. I never imagined he wouldn’t show up at all. I am so sorry.”
Chrissie was stunned at the apology. Colt was a nice man and obviously cared deeply for the people in his life, even those on the edges and those he never need see again. “Crap,” she groaned and stomped her foot. “How am I supposed to stay mad at you now? You just ruined it with kindness.” She sneered for a split second and gave a huge sigh. “Apology accepted, but honestly, it’s not your place to apologize for your brother.” She didn’t like seeing him feeling bad for something that was not at all his fault.
“All part of my charm, I suppose. If it’s all the same to you though, I’d rather you not be mad at me because Russ was stupid.”
I love author’s choice. It’s my favorite topic. I can choose whatever I like, from any book. I can do that any Saturday, but not all books fit all topics.
Today, my choice is a snippet from my upcoming release Keep It Together… I really am in love with this book, these characters, and I’m usually the last person to say that about my own books. I’m my own worst critic…
“You said you were over him.”
“You said you wanted me.”
“I do,” she said softly.
“It’s a damn good idea then.” They stared at each another. His blue eyes darkened and up close, in the bright kitchen, she could see her reflection staring back. He was so handsome, so sexy… Could she be lucky this time around? ”You’re doubting me.”
“You are Russ’s brother.” That’s it, Christina. Hide behind some good, old Southern sarcasm.
“Brother, yes, but I’m not him.”
“Prove it,” she countered. Tossing out the challenge hadn’t been planned, but with him right there, offering her something she’d been dreaming about for months…
“Oh, I will.” He leaned down again, pressed his lips to hers a second time, and then stood to his full height and stepped back. “I’m not sure you really want me to, though. You did continue to reject my offer of dinner.”
“Yes. Work. I know all about that. Where do you work? I don’t believe you’ve said.”
“Promise not to laugh?”
He considered her for a moment, and she fidgeted. “You keep asking me that every time you start to reveal something. Why on earth would I laugh?”
Chrissie ran her finger through the condensation on the glass. “You have a high-powered job and I…I manage the hunting department of an outdoor store.”
She looked up from under her lids. “You said you wouldn’t laugh.”
“No. I asked why would I laugh not that I wouldn’t. But I’m not laughing.”
“You have a smile on your face.”
“And that’s not a laugh. Did I hear you right? You work in retail?”
“Why? I know you said you wanted to find your own way and not depend on the family money, but retail?”
Chrissie shrugged. “There isn’t much I am trained to do. A liberal arts degree only goes so far, but I do know how to hunt and shoot, so… It’s not my dream career, and it’s definitely not flashy. To be honest, I don’t think it was flashy enough or exotic enough for Russ.”
“His loss, then. There’s more to life than flash and exotic.”
“You’re sweet, but you don’t have to patronize me. I’m okay with what I’m doing right now. It pays the bills.
“I’m doing nothing of the sort, but if it’s not your dream career, what is?”
She wondered how much more she could reveal of herself before he took off running. She hadn’t been frilly and too terribly feminine before or during her engagement, and she’d become even less so since. She had her little girly secrets, but if Colt hightailed it out of her life before they got to that point… “I do some engraving. Custom work on guns and knives and even some swords.”
“Yeah. I’m just full of surprises, huh?” She stared straight into his eyes lest she miss the moment he decided enough was enough and she was one arrow short of an Outdoor show. “I dated a guy in college whose family owned a trophy shop. While we were together, I worked part-time for them during their busiest seasons. My mother flipped. It was my first job, and I loved working. They taught me how to use the tools and as it turns out I was kind of a natural at it.”
“Uh-huh. Let me get this straight. You shoot and hunt. You make sun tea and can make blankets out of yarn. You come from money but choose to work. And you’re an artist?”
“I’m not an artist.”
“You can engrave designs and names on things, right?”
“You’re an artist.”
Chrissie shrugged. “My mother thinks I’m a boy. She blames my father completely.”
“Is he sorry?”
“Not a bit.”
“Good. Show me?”
“Yep. Show me or…take me wherever it is that you do it.”
“Colt, I…” Whatever protest she was prepared to mount, when he crossed his arms over his chest and appeared unwilling to budge otherwise, she relented. “Come on,” she said after a huge, fake-irritated sigh. “You can bring your tea, if you want.”
Chrissie set her own glass down, then moved by him. She tried not to notice the tingles and the way her pulse spiked when she was within inches of touching his body, but they were things she couldn’t ignore. She might not be all that feminine on the outside, but on the inside? She was a giddy little schoolgirl with her first crush.
“I turned the second bedroom into a small workshop,” she offered into the silence. She was keenly aware that he was following close behind, that his footfalls on the steps were solid and near. She never expected him to be in her house like this, or at all. When the wedding fell thru and he’d come to check on her, that had been sweet and above and beyond his responsibility.
Only it seemed there were ulterior motives and she felt wow’d and in a strange way, romanced. Desired, too. Completely desired.
Of course, to most people, their visit was innocent and nothing more than one friend visiting another friend, minus the kiss in the kitchen. To her, it was much more and in her head, not at all innocent.
He wore a cologne she couldn’t place, though she didn’t have much experience with men’s colognes. Russ had worn one scent, something by Calvin Klein, but that was the extent of her knowledge. She was more familiar with pipe and cigar smoke, chewing tobacco, gunpowder, and the ever popular been-out-in-the-woods-for several-days pine and body odor combination.
Their shoes echoed along the small empty hallway, at the end of which was a room she walked into. Two work tables lined the long solid walls and a drafting table sat in front of the window which overlooked the forest behind the house. Like the rest of the house, it was bright and open.
Metal plates of several sizes and shapes, scroll and alpha/numeric templates, and transfer mediums cluttered one table. On the other table was an assortment of special orders and weapons she needed to finish work on. She had an air compressor and several types of engraving tools and bits in the corner beside her table at the window.
She turned to look at Colt, who was still in the doorway. He was looking around the room, and it seemed his eyes missed nothing. It was almost like he was cataloging everything in his head as his gaze passed over the tables and workspaces. “I guess I like to keep busy.” He wasn’t saying anything. The silence was one that she wasn’t wholly comfortable with. It made her feel as though she needed to justify herself in some way.
“I guess you do. Did my brother know about this?”
“No. I didn’t pick this up again until after him. I don’t think he’d have understood.”
He slanted her a quizzical look. “Did he know you at all?”
She shook her head. “No. But that’s not his fault. I had my head in the sand as much as he did. Us together seemed like the right thing, but in reality, it wasn’t. I’ll show you what I was working on. I’d bought myself a small, personal engraving tool as an early Christmas present and was making something for…” She opened the closet door and took a piece of cloth down from the shelf. It was wrapped around a plate which she handed to Colt.
“Wow,” he said again after taking it from her.
“It was a lightweight hand tool, and I’d seen some good reviews on it, and I’m not one to ever pass up a tool of any kind, especially a power tool, and I’d wanted to make something special for Russ.”
“This doesn’t look like the conventional way of spelling his name.” The comment was marked with humor and a lift of one eyebrow.
“No. It’s not.” She didn’t have to look at the silver in Colt’s hands to know what it said. The rather unkind term that described how she felt about Russ at the time and underneath, the words Attorney At Law. It had worked wonders on her mood.
“The corners of the letters are hard and sharp.”
“Well, yes. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Colt laughed and stepped farther into the room. He came close, so close she could hardly breathe. “No. No, you didn’t.” The last was whispered before he swooped down and took her mouth in a heated kiss. He parted her lips with his tongue and drew her in.
He was different than his brother in the way he kissed her. Russ tried to seduce her, and Colt tried to possess. It wasn’t teasing or flirty. It was full of passion and hunger. It was everything she’d secretly dreamed about, when he wanted her more than anything else in the world. He wrapped his arms around her, and he moaned in agreement when she whimpered in need.
And boy oh boy, did she need. She—
The plate between them clattered to the floor, and she jumped away in surprise. She looked down and found it was upside down. “A sign,” she said a little breathlessly.
Nudging the plate to the side, Colt took its place. “Not a sign.” Sifting his fingers through her hair, she fought the urge to beg him not to stop touching her. She liked the feeling of his hands on her, the scent of him wafting around her, the rightness of him in her house. “I’m going to have to get going, baby,” he was saying. Good God, there was that word again. Baby. It made her feel sweet and gooey inside.
He was still talking and she needed to pay attention before he was gone.
“I have a conference call in about an hour, and it’ll take me at least thirty minutes to get back to my hotel from here. I’d still like to take you to dinner, though. You tell me when is good for you, and I’ll be there.”
“How long are you staying?” she asked as she reached out to touch soft cotton of his T-shirt.
“How long until you have an evening free?”
“Oh.” She hadn’t expected him to ask that. “I, uh…”
He chuckled. “I own the company I work for so I can typically make my own schedule, but I do have work to do back home.”
“So, you’d stay or come back whenever I’m available?” He nodded and smiled at her with an indulgence no one else ever had. Except her father and he’d say Colt was a keeper just for that one thing. And she’d been the recipient of that indulgent smile of Colt’s before. The day after she was supposed to get married. On her porch. When she first admitted that she’d seen him as not her future brother in law but as a man. A hot, gorgeous, throw me down to the floor and have your way with me man.
“I’d do my best.”
“This is you proving it, isn’t it?”
Colt grinned. “This is me trying.”
“Okay. Tell you what. I get off work at nine-thirty. The store I work at is off Abercorn. I can meet you somewhere downtown on the river if you’d like. Around ten?”
“I’m staying at the Hyatt.”
“There’s a seafood tavern and grill that I love just down from there with outside seating.”
“See? Saying yes wasn’t so difficult.”
“I just wanted to see you again,” she said shamelessly.
“Good to know. I’ll be on the River Walk, outside the Hyatt at ten. For now, though, I do need to go.” He kissed her on the top of the head and lingered a moment, just staring down at her.
“There is so much I want to say to you, do to you. My self-control is about to go up in flames. I’ll see you tonight.” And with that, he was gone. Quickly. The front door closed, and Chrissie bent slowly to pick up the plate. The tool she’d used had done a really nice job, and she loved working with it. Too bad this piece, which she’d wanted to put her heart and soul into, was little more than scrap.
She grinned as she took the same path Colt had from the room. She had a job to get ready for and dinner to look forward to.
April 16 is the release date…
So, now that you’ve marked your calendars, please take some time and visit the following blogs for more snippets:
In case you didn’t see it on Facebook this weekend, here is the very pretty cover for my new contemporary, erotic romance, Keep It Together.
Jilted bride? Check. Hangover? Check. Shotgun? Double check. Wayward groom’s half-brother Colt on her porch the next morning, hat in hand, with concern in his sexy blue eyes, and apologies on his full kissable lips? Uh… Check?
That was six months ago. Now, with a job she loves, her heart mended and her pride put back together, the last thing Chrissie expects is that same half-brother standing behind her saying he’s got an answer for her. Problem is, she can’t seem to remember what she’d said on that long ago day that would warrant a visit from him.
Colt does. And as the CEO of a cookie company, it’s his job to pay attention to the details.
“Maybe I should have married you instead.” She’d been right. He was the brother she should have married and all he has to do is convince her of it with a blend of persistence and seduction. But their first kiss is hotter than the southern Georgia summer and catches him off guard. She’s primed and ready to burn up the sheets and he’s not inclined to say no. Will she believe that he won’t ever leave her? Maybe. If he brings her cookies…
The book will be available April 16th from Loose Id. More information to come soon…