A Bit More Good News

One in Vermilion¬†has found a home at JMS books! It’s looking like a July release at this point, and I’m super excited to bring it to you.

This is another one I wrote to a sub call, and the story came from the title. Which I have a ridiculous love for. ūüėÄ This is the story of Wyatt and Tru, a red hat, and their dogs. I loved writing it, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

And Dreamspinner has asked to see the first few chapters of the sequel to my currently contracted Dreamspun Beyond title. There are potentially two sequels here, but I’m focusing on the first one. It’s Sam and Michael’s story, and I’m very much looking forward to writing it. This was a pairing I had in my head since before I started the first book, even knowing it might not see the light of day. I wrote a few clues in the first one regarding it, and now we’ll see if not only can I bring the story to life, but if it’ll be accepted.

So May has been a pretty darn good month, and I’m working hard to bring more stories to you. Stay tuned for details!

More Good News

Just a quick note to say that Hearts and Hazelnuts will be part of the Dreamspinner press States of Love collection. Contract has been signed and returned and anticipated release is sometime in December or January. More details when I have them!

This one took a lot of work, in the best possible way. After I first sent it in, the publisher asked for some revisions, which I happily made. And then sent it back to me again, asking for a bit more. It definitely improved the overall story, and I’m super excited to bring you Jordan and Beckett’s story.

I loved the idea for this collection from the start, and wanted to be a part of it. My first couple of pitches didn’t work out, because the states were already claimed. But when I saw Oregon on the list again, I knew I could write the story. I love the gorgeousness of the Pacific Northwest. And I’d long wanted to write about a farmer. And a mechanic. Maybe not in the same story, but here it all worked out. Beck and Jordan came together easily, and I loved doing research to find out all the bits I didn’t know.

This one is also written in third alternating POV, which I wrote before Ghostwalker (which still doesn’t have a new title)

And in other news, this past Saturday, I finished writing One in Vermilion. So I’m working on getting that polished and cleaned up so I can submit that one as well.

So two contracts and a finished novella, all in a fourteen¬†day span. Plus a solid plot idea for a holiday novella. It’s been a pretty good week.

Freebies

I added a new freebie story on the freebie page at the top.

Back in March, I was part of a huge author giveaway, and the prize I offered was a flash fic written from a prompt of the winner’s choosing. A Chance Worth Taking ¬†is what came out of it. Now that the winner has had her fic for a while, I’ve decided to put it up for everyone to enjoy.

Both stories currently there have the PDF downloadable with a simple click of their titles. I’m only able to put PDFs up on this site. But if you’d like them in a different format, just shoot me a note, and I’ll be happy to send either story along in mobi or ePub if you desire. Just let me know!

And enjoy!

Flash Fic Friday

**This week, Ivan and I have decided to once again write to the same prompt. We’ve also decided to split it up into two parts. This week you get the break up. And tune in next Friday for the next part. Enjoy!**

Waiting was never the easiest thing for me, but I was doing my best. Okay, I was watching the clock as it ticked by each minute, silently counting seconds in my head. I’d been planning this for weeks, and I could not wait for Jesse to get here. Finally, the clock struck seven, and I bounced to my feet, practically vibrating. Not even thirty seconds later, I heard the knock on the door. My man was always punctual. When he didn’t immediately walk in, I strode toward it. That was unlike him. He’d been entering my house after a courtesy knock since the second week we’d been dating. I could hardly believe it had already been two years. Unaccustomed giddiness bubbled in my stomach, excitement at the night ahead.

But when I pulled the door open, my smile fell right off my face. Jesse looked terrible. His usually spiky dark hair sported telltale finger marks, and he only pushed his hands through his hair when he was nervous. He looked pale and wan, and immediately my heart clenched. Was he sick? Was something wrong? I mentally retraced our conversation earlier that day, wondering if he’d mentioned something I’d missed in my eagerness to invite him over tonight.

“Baby? What’s the matter?” I reached for him, trying to pull him in close, but he kept me at arms length and stepped into the front hall. He didn’t walk further into the house. His dark eyes were red rimmed, and as he looked up at me, his lip trembled. He was scaring me.

He took a deep breath. “Nathan, we need to talk.”

My stomach plummeted. The dreaded sentence¬†nobody wanted to hear. But no, that couldn’t be what was happening here. I would know. This had to be something else. Reassured by my internal pep talk, I forced a smile, and said softly, “Sure. We can talk over dinner. I’ve got–”

“No.” He voice was quiet but firm, and he stepped back further to lean against the wall. Another deep breath.

I tried again to get him to move him inside. “Let’s go into the living room then and–”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

My blood ran cold at his whispered declaration. It froze me on the spot, unable to breathe, to move, to think. Everything came to a screeching halt as I stared at his beautiful, devastated face. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. I tried again and again, until all I managed was a feeble, “What?”

“I’m sorry.” And his voice was still soft, but there was no mistaking the determination in his tone. “I love you. So much. But I can’t keep…I can’t be with you anymore. We have to end this.”

I knew I had to be imagining this. I just knew it. There was no way my boyfriend of two years was in my house, tonight of all nights, breaking up with me. We were happy. We laughed and fucked and talked all the time. If he’d been…less than satisfied with our situation, he would have told me. I would know. But he stood there before me, looking up at me with tear-wet eyes, and the truth settled into my gut. There was no way he’d be this upset if I was imagining it.

“I don’t understand,” I said. Because I didn’t. Less than a week ago, we’d spent the whole day on my couch watching terrible movies and cuddling until it eventually led to more. And now he was standing in my entryway and breaking up with me? What the fuck?

I only realized I’d said that last bit out loud when he flinched, his complexion going even grayer. He wrapped his arms around his stomach and drew a hiccuping breath. If he was hurting this badly saying goodbye then why was he saying it?

“Talk to me,” I pleaded. I wanted to reach out and touch him but everything about his posture was screaming that it would be a bad idea.

“You’re gone all the time.” He shook his head, and straightened, his shoulders squaring as he looked me in the eye. “You’re gone all the time and you work insane hours. There are weeks when I hardly see you. Months. And I’m tired of missing you. Worrying about you. About you not coming back to me when you’ve been gone. It’s exhausting. Loving you is too hard. And I just can’t do this to myself anymore.”

Anger flashed through me first, followed quickly by hurt. I had to make a concerted effort not to yell. “You knew I was a federal marshal when we started dating. You knew what I did. That I’d be gone and–”

“And I thought I could handle it!” Jesse sighed, and dropped his voice. “I thought I would get used to it, or that the fear would lessen over time. But it just gets worse and worse. Every time you go on assignment, have to transport a witness, hell, every day you go into work! I worry I’m going to get the call that you aren’t coming home again. And I just can’t anymore.”

For a minute, everything went black, sadness seeping into me. Then I shook my head and straightened up myself, because if that was his worry, then I could do something about it. “You should have said something, baby. Told me how you were feeling. I can change things. I can switched divisions, get a desk job, so I’m home and not out in the field–”

“No!” His shout cut me off, and finally I saw some anger from him, some of the passion that had drawn me to him in the first place. “Absolutely not. I don’t want you to change. You love the job, what you do, how you make a difference. I can’t, I won’t ask you to change any of that.”

“But if I’m offering, it’s different.” I tried for reasonable, but I sounded a little desperate, even to my own ears.

“If you change for me, you’ll end up resenting me, and we’ll only have put off the inevitable.” He sighed again and pushed off the wall, taking one step closer to me. “Maybe I’m just not the right one for you, did you think of that?”

“Never once,” I responded vehemently.

His smile was sad, and my heart cracked even further. “Then maybe,” he began softly as his gaze darted around my face, before once again locking with mine. “Maybe you’re not the right one for me.”

I felt the pain in my chest as if he’d stabbed me there, and I staggered back against the wall. This was it. This was happening, and nothing I could say or do could change his mind. I’d always loved his stubborn side, the one that went after what he wanted as soon as he’d made up his mind. But now it was working against me, ending the best thing that had ever happened to me. The love of my life wanted out, and there was nothing I could do to stop him. And I wasn’t about to try and make him stay where he didn’t want to be.

Jesse knew the moment I gave in, because a tear slipped down his cheek and he gave a single nod. “I love you, and I’m sorry. But this is the way it has to be.”

He stood on tiptoe to place a kiss on my cheek, then he turned fast, yanked the door open, and was gone.

I wasn’t sure how long I stood there, but it had to be awhile. The smell of something burning finally roused me from my stupor, and I shambled into the kitchen and turned off the oven. I removed the blackened casserole from inside and threw the whole pan so hard into the sink the glass dish broke. I didn’t care at all. I was numb. I couldn’t feel anything. How could I feel when Jesse had taken my heart with him when he walked out the door?

I punched the marble counter so hard I split the skin of my knuckles. I couldn’t even feel that, and didn’t care that I’d possibly broken my hand. Ignoring the blood, I walked to the table, and blew out the candles, leaving the place settings where they were. Then I reached into the basket of bread, and pulled out the small jeweler’s box I’d stashed there earlier. Flipping the lid open, I stared blankly at the platinum rings.

The tears came then, the emotion flooding my insides and pouring out my eyes. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d cried. That wasn’t me. But it made a twisted sort of sense that Jesse would be the one to bring that out of me.

How could he just walk away?

I grabbed the bottle of Jim Beam from the shelf above the sink, shoved the box into the back of the junk drawer, turned off all the lights, and sat in the dark, chugging whisky straight from the bottle.

This was supposed to be the first night of the rest of my life. Instead, it was the night my life ended.

Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt is hurt/comfort. And Eli and Chase are back. (You can get Enchanted Love here) Enjoy!**

I usually hated Wednesdays because that was Chase’s late night, but tonight, I was grateful for the extra few hours before his smile proceeded him through the door. Maybe by the time he got home, some of the bruising would fade and the swelling would go down. I nursed my bourbon and tried not to watch the clock, counting down the hours until Chase breezed through the door.

Far too soon, I heard the click of the lock, his footsteps, and then his jovial voice. “Hey baby! I’m home. What do you–Jesus. What the fuck happened to you?”

I tried to smile without making my lip split again. “It’s nothing.”

“The hell it’s not!” Chase hardly ever got angry, but when he did, it was never without good reason. Apparently seeing his fiance wearing bruises on his jaw and around his eye, as well as a cut lip and cheek was a good reason. He looked murderous, and he ran across the room to take my face gently in his hand and tip it so he could inspect the damage. “What happened?”

For a long moment, I didn’t speak. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to worry, although that was a part of it. But there was only so much I could say, bound by confidentiality as I was. His fingers were gentle as he prodded at my wounds, but his eyes were blazing with fury. I needed to say something or my normally gallant and bighearted fiance would destroy the world. The thought made me smile, which made me wince, and I let out a sigh.

“A new resident.” That was all the information I needed to give. I knew he’d know I was talking about the Josef Adler House, the LGBTQ youth shelter I funded and operated. He volunteered there, but I didn’t know if the new resident would stay yet, so I was wary of sharing too much.

“One of the kids hit you? Eli, what the hell?” His voice went low, sort of dangerous, and I was quick to soothe him.

“Her father.” I sighed again, and gently eased out of his hold. “Who¬†was under the mistaken impression his child was a boy.”

I saw the moment it dawned. The new resident was transgender, so it was even more imperative I kept things quiet. He studied me, even though the tension had drained out of him. Finally, he gave a single nod.

“You called security?”

“Of course,” I assured him. “Dimitri was already on duty, but he called in two others to keep things especially¬†secure. There will be at least three guards on duty until this passes. And he reported the assault to the police.”

“Good.” Then he got up and walked away.

Huh. Not exactly the reaction I’d been expecting.

Not two minutes later, he returned. He handed me a bottle of water, and when I took it with my free hand, he confiscated my glass of bourbon. “You don’t need that. Take these.”

In his palm were two white pills, and I gratefully downed the aspirin with several large gulps of water. Once I was done, he took the bottle and set it on the coffee table, then lifted an ice pack and gently pressed it to the side of my face. I hissed at the cold, and Chase gave a mirthless laugh.

“Suck it up. You should have iced it right away.” He pulled the pack away and looked carefully at my cheek. “Do we need to get you checked out? He could have cracked your cheekbone.”

I tried not to melt under his ministrations. I loved him taking care of me like this, even if the reason for it left a lot to be desired. I leaned into his hold, and he immedately pulled me up against him, settling me against his chest so he could hold me and also keep the ice pack in place.

“No, I’m fine. Jenny checked me out and she assured me nothing was broken.” The NP we had on staff was well versed in every kind of bruise, laceration, broken bone, sprain, and strain. A lot of the kids we catered to faced violence at home or on the streets.

“All right. Twenty minutes with this on your face, and then a bath. Then more icing in bed.”

I wiggled a little, and tried to make my tone suggestive. “I can think of better things we can do in bed.”

Chase laughed, a more real sound, and kissed the uninjured side of my face. “Not tonight. Tonight, we take care of you.”

I hummed contentedly, and lifted his free hand so I could kiss his knuckles. I was careful to keep it away from the cut on the right side of my mouth. “I love you, Chase.”

“I love you too, baby.”

I knew he did. He showed it with his every action.

The Good News

I’ve contracted my paranormal story to be part of the Dreamspun Beyond line!

*confetti*

It’ll probably be getting a new title, but I’m super excited to be a part of the line. Category romances were my first love, and I always had dreams of writing one. Now Blake and Derek will be out in the world, and you can see how they fall in love and find their forever. I love these guys, and I love their story. And it’s the first paranormal I’ve submitted for publication, which is extra exciting, as paranormal is one of my deepest loves. It also varies from my regular work in that it’s written in dual third person POV.

I had a lot of help with this one, with an alpha and beta reader, not to mention a stolen (with permission) premise. So this one has a very special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

I don’t have a whole lot of info yet, as it won’t be out for some time, but here’s some¬†things I can tell you:

Release! Tentative release is set for some point in January 2018

Paperback! I love ebooks. A lot. I have, well, thousands. And it’s an affordable and space saving way to enjoy many more books than I normally would. But if you’re like me, there’s something special about holding a book in your hand, smelling the paper, and turning pages. So if you have a desire, then you can purchase this one in paperback format.

Subscription!¬†As far as I know, just like Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desire line, you’ll be able to subscribe to Dreamspun Beyond. That means you can choose the ebook option, which will be¬†automatically delivered (and at a price less than two ebooks would normally cost) or choose the paperback subscription, get two paperbacks automatically shipped AND get the ebook versions as well (again at a discounted price).

–Cover! The Dreamspun Beyond titles will all have unifying covers, with an element that makes them all the same. But there will be some originality, my guys, on there too. (so they’ll look extra great on your shelf :D)

So I think it’s obvious just how thrilled I am. Watch this space for news about the line and about my title.

Sale News!

 

In honor of the Romantic Times convention, Dreamspinner Press is a hosting an everything is 30% off sale! A lot of my stuff is there, of course, but the entire store is on sale, so if you’ve been looking to stock up on any titles head over to the site and check it out!