Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dakota Hearts, Book 6: DAKOTA WEDDING

Ian McKinnon was just getting steady on his feet, looking forward to the opening of the Wounded Veterans Center and a big McKinnon wedding celebration, when tragedy struck again. The soldier who'd saved his life while in the military has died. He's charged with his most important mission: find his friend Carlos's family in Mexico or become guardian and raise Carlos's children. The only mandatory stipulation of his friend's will was that Ian live under the same roof with Abby Townsend, a firefighter from Carlos's firehouse. Abby knew the kids well and she could help ease them all through the transition of becoming a family. Okay, so Ian may not be daddy material, but he'd grown up with a whole lot of McKinnons running around. He could handle the kids just fine. The beautiful Abby Townsend was another story.

Abby took one look at Ian and shook her head with utter disbelief. What were her dear friends thinking by naming a man whose nickname was "The Hazard" as guardian of their three small children? She only needed to spend one year in Ian's house in South Dakota. She had to either find Carlos's family, or convince Ian that she was the better person to raise the children. Abby knows how hard it is to lose someone you loved. She'll be there to protect the children in any way she can. But can she protect her heart from falling in love with a man known for taking too many risks...and risk heartbreak again?


Chapter One Excerpt:

There was a time when the prospect of standing on two feet was beyond Ian McKinnon’s imagination. That had been a darker time in his life. A time he didn’t ever want to go back to again.

As he made his way up the driveway leading to the home he’d spent the last year refurbishing, feeling the early autumn sun on his face, he could finally see light. He felt at peace.

His cousin’s SUV sat next to his Jeep in the driveway. As he rounded the corner, he found Hawk sitting on the porch overlooking the river in the back yard.

Hawk smiled and stood up when they made eye contact. But the look on Hawk’s face immediately told Ian he wasn’t here for a social call.

“Can we go inside and talk?”

Ian sighed and tried to force a smile. “Something tells me I’m not going to like this conversation. So if it’s all the same to you why we just have it right here on the front porch?”

“I was hoping to spare you.”

Ian laughed without any humor. “That bad, huh? Just give it to me straight.”

Hawk shook his head and chuckled low. “You always did things your own way.”
Ian climbed the few stairs and pivoted so he could sit opposite Hawk on the porch. He braced himself for whatever news he was about to get.

“You got a call from Vermont this morning. Your mom took the call. No one has your new number.”

 “I didn’t get the new number until last week. I haven’t had a chance to call Carlos and Brenda yet. Both of them are excited to come out and see the house and the Wounded Veterans Center now that it’s nearly complete. But both of them have my cell phone number. They could have used that.”

He was rambling and his stomach hurt just looking at Hawk as his cousin struggled with what he was about to say.

“Carlos and Brenda’s lawyer only had your parents’ telephone number."


Hawk nodded, taking a deep breath. “Carlos and Brenda are dead.”

* * * 

Ian couldn’t breathe. He glanced at his reflection in the bathroom mirror and wiped the cold moisture from his face with a crisp clean towel he’d just purchased at a fancy department store in Rapid City last week.

Two years after a mortar blast in Afghanistan took part of his leg, Ian was not only standing, he was running. And he was looking forward to life again. Soon the Wounded Veterans Center he’d worked tirelessly on with his cousin, Ethan, and Hawk’s girlfriend, Regis, would be open, and they’d be celebrating the McKinnon way with the wedding of Logan McKinnon and Poppy Ericksen. They all couldn’t wait. No one more than Ian. The entire McKinnon clan was coming in from all over the country just for this celebration. Life was finally righting itself.

And now the man who’d given Ian a second chance at life was gone. Dead at the hands of a drunk driver on a winding Vermont road. One day he was enjoying life. The next he and his beloved wife were gone. The only thing left were three children who no longer had their parents.

The knock on the door pulled him out of his thoughts.

“Ian, it’s me. Everything okay in there?” Hawk hadn’t left. Ian knew he wouldn’t. Hawk would stay all day and all night until he knew Ian was steady on his feet. Like always. Hawk had a medical clinic in town. The people of Rudolph depended on him. But they were McKinnons and McKinnons stuck together through everything. Barring an emergency, Hawk would stay as long as Ian needed him or at least until one of his brothers or cousins could come and relieve him.

Ian wiped his face with his towel again, still feeling the jolt of the news. “I’ll be just a minute.”

Closing his eyes, he fought the wave of nausea he hadn’t felt in a long time. But the feeling of loss overwhelmed him. And for the first time in more than a year, Ian wept.

* * * 

It’s just a well, Abby thought as she looked down into the hole where Marissa had been standing for the last half hour.

“Go get him, please?” Marissa looked up at Abby as if she were her only hope.

The entire Stockington Falls fire department had managed to get through one of the worst weeks of their life, mourning the loss of a member of the department. It was like losing family. Now Abby had to call them to help Marissa so she could be on time for her afternoon appointment, or rescue the cat herself and be a few minutes late.

She decided on the latter.

Looking around she saw some neighbors who’d been curious enough about Marissa’s cries to come outside.

“Does anyone have a fifty-foot rope and a pillowcase I can borrow?” she called out.

Marissa ran into her house and slammed the door.

As if Sean Pierce had read her mind, he suddenly came out of his garage with a rope. He handed it to Abby and said, “If I were thirty pounds skinnier I’d try to get down that well myself. But then you’d probably have to rescue me.”

Abby took the rope and unwound it. “I don’t have time for that today, Sean. But I thank you for the rope.”

Marissa’s mother, Karen, came out of the house with a pillowcase and a towel in her hands. “Abby you should let me call my husband. You don’t need this right now. I told him a thousand times this well is dangerous. And now the cat has gone down there. I’m going to make sure he fills this thing as soon as he gets home from work.”

“Let’s take care of the cat first.”

Abby zipped her sweatshirt up to her neck and then tucked the pillowcase into the pocket. When Sean finished tying the rope around a big maple tree about fifteen feet away, Abby climbed over the rock side and dropped the length of the rope into the well.

This wasn’t her first time rescuing a cat. It probably wouldn’t be her last. She gripped the rope in her hands and eased herself down the fifteen feet to the bottom where Marissa’s kitten had fallen. Although the well was thought to have dried up, there was a puddle of water at the bottom.

“Did you find him?” Marissa called down to her. Abby looked up and squinted as debris on the edge of the well rained down on her.

“Honey, let Abby do her job,” Karen said.

Abby tasted dirt on her lips and unsuccessfully tried to wipe it on her collar. “Not yet. Step away from the well, Marissa.”

“I can hear him crying!”

Abby could hear the cat, too, although the cat’s meow had been drowned out by Marissa’s cries until Abby had climbed a little deeper into the well.

“What’s the cat’s name again?”

She heard both Karen and Marissa call down to her, “Baxter!”

“Okay, Baxter. How far down are you?” she said. And then she listened.

Baxter meowed long and loud, a sound that echoed in the confines of the well.

Good. Baxter could meow all he wanted if it would make it easier for Abby to find him.

The ick factor of the well was starting to get to her, as the smell of wet earth. The more she slid down the rope, the slipperier her hands felt, making it hard to hold her grip.

And then she heard the cat’s meow loud near her ear. She turned quickly, holding the rope tight. But Baxter jumped on her back and dug his claws through her sweatshirt to her tender flesh. Abby fought the pain so she could hold onto the rope, trying to find a foot hold in the side of the well so she could maintain her position. But as she struggled with the rope, Baxter fell off and dropped into a puddle below. That was enough to upset her balance. She lost her grip on the rope and slid to the bottom until her feet hit the cold water below.

“Uh, Sean?”

No answer.

“Is Sean still up there?”

Abby looked up at the opening of the well. A man’s face appeared there. But it wasn’t Sean.

* * *

His morning run had taken an interesting turn when Ian spotted a crowd in front of a well on the tree-lined street where he was staying while in Stockington Falls, Vermont. The Maple Farms Inn didn’t have more than six guest suites, and was nothing more than a large Vermont farmhouse, not that much bigger than his own house in South Dakota. But given so many people had come into town for Carlos’s funeral, Ian had been grateful there had been a vacancy.

He’d arrived two days ago and managed to get through Carlos and Brenda’s funeral while avoiding most everyone, even during the funeral which had been attended by just about everyone in town.

There were no words in him. Ian didn’t know what he could offer to the crowd of people who’d lived with Brenda and Carlos these past few years to bring them comfort when he needed so much of it himself. So he’d stayed to himself and decided to deal with his grief through exercise. Carlos had always encouraged that.

The run had done him good. It burnt off nervous energy he hadn’t been able to shake since he’d arrived in town. But as he approached the crowd, Ian found it hard to ignore the cries of a small little girl.

He stopped near the crowd and approached the woman who was trying to console the little girl.

“What’s going on?”

“My daughter was playing with her cat in the front yard and he fell into the well.”

It was then Ian noticed the narrow wishing well and the rope that was attached to a nearby tree and dropped into the well.

“Someone is down there?” Ian asked.

“Abby went to save Baxter,” the little girl cried, swiping at her wet cheeks.

“Who’s going to save Abby?”

The woman didn’t find the humor. “Abby is a firefighter in town.”

He lifted a sweaty brow. “A firefighter put this contraption together?” he asked, pointing to the ropes.

“No, my neighbor did. But he had to go to work so he left.”

He groaned. Ian had seen too many accidents from overzealous trainees who didn’t want to take proper precautions. He couldn’t imagine Carlos sitting well with a woman this reckless working under his command at the fire department.

A dull pain grew deep in his chest just thinking of Carlos. But he couldn’t think about him now. Ian walked over to the well. It was old, possibly as old as the farmhouse it was standing in front of, and some of the stones on the top were missing. The concrete holding it together was crumbling in places.

He peered over the mouth of the well and saw a long length of rope and the head of a person with a ponytail. “Don’t you think you should have waited until the fire department got here?”

The woman lifted her head, squinted, sputtered, and spit dust out of her mouth. “I am the fire department,” she called out.

He rolled his eyes. “I heard. You don’t actually have anyone trained in search and rescue?”

“Funny. Look, you can either help or get out of the way. Whether or not you know it, you’re dropping debris into the well. The rocks down here are slimy,” the woman called up. “I hadn’t anticipated that or I would have gotten a winch first. It’s been a lousy week here in Stockington Falls so if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather you help instead of criticize.”

“Can you find any foot holds on the wall?”

“This cat is pretty scared. He’s clawed up and down my arm and back and is drawing blood. It’s a tight squeeze down here, too. It’s going to be hard for me to hold onto him and get out.”

“You didn’t think of this before you went down the hole, Squeeze?”

“Beg your pardon?”

“Never mind,” he muttered. Ian looked at the rope securely tied to the tree and pulling against the mouth of the well. At least she thought to get a strong enough rope before going down. “How much do you weigh?”

“Excuse me?” she called up.

“Are you having trouble hearing me? Your weight. I’m going to try to pull you up but I need to know how much pressure I’m putting against the stones and the rope. I don’t want the walls of the well to cave in on you.”

“Gee, thanks.”

He sputtered, “I’m not looking for the exact number.”

“I’m not sure. One hundred and twenty pounds depending on the day. Let me get a firm grip on Baxter. He’s soaking wet. And be careful when you pull. I’ve already been clocked on the head with a rock from the well.”

Ian surveyed the area of the well where it looked like rocks were missing. He could use that spot to secure the rope while he was pulling.

“Would you mind handing me that towel?” he asked the little girl’s mother. He crouched down to eye-level of the little teary-eyed girl. “I have a big job for you. Could you got fetch me two more towels?”

The little girl nodded and complied by running into the house. He didn’t really want her here while he tried to pull the woman from the well, just in case she somehow lost her grip on the cat. It wouldn’t be easy to do this with a hysterical child and woman at the same time.

“You ready with the cat?” he called down.

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she called up. Then she muttered something unintelligible as if she were talking to the cat.

He placed the towel on the concrete section of the well beneath the rope to keep the rope from fraying as he pulled. He only hoped that he could firmly stand in place while he was pulling. Turning to the little girl’s mother, he said, “I’d like you to hold the towel in place while I pull.

When she moved into position, Ian gripped the rope and started to pull. The woman in the well was not kidding about her weight. Ian had pulled and carried many soldiers during his time in the army and this woman was as light as a feather. No wonder she thought she could climb down this narrow hole.

By the time the ponytail was visible, the little girl had emerged from the house with two big towels in her hand.

“Baxter!” she cried with delight when the woman in the well came into view. Her sweatshirt was tight around her like a pouch. The cat’s head was sticking out the top of the sweatshirt. Baxter meowed when he saw the little girl.

“Wait until I get all the way out of the well, Marissa,” the woman said. “I don’t want Baxter to get scared and fall back in.”

Despite worrying about having a firm stand on the ground with his prosthetic limb, Ian felt steady. One more grunt and tug and the woman grabbed the side of the well, pulling herself up so she was resting on the wall of the well. Only then did Ian let his grip on the rope go so he could wrap his arm around her waist and help the woman climb the rest of the way out of the well.

The woman put her feet on the ground and faced Ian, looking up at him with blue eyes that were full of surprise. She felt petite in his arms, but her grip on his arm was strong.

“Thank you,” she said. Glancing down at the squirming cat tucked inside her sweatshirt, she added, “If you don’t mind.”

Ian let go of his hold on her and took a step back. “Oh, sure.”

She quickly unzipped her sweatshirt and the cat jumped onto the ground. The little girl dropped one of the towels to the ground, scooped Baxter up in her arms and wrapped the cat in the towel. The crowd gathered around the well started clapping.

Ian took a step back to give the woman some space and to get a good look at her. Then he let out a belly laugh that finally lifted his spirits for the first time in a week.


On Conversations: #AAMBookclub #author Demiere Lee

Please join me in welcoming author Demiere Lee to Conversations today! Demiere is here to talk about his new book, What is Love?! So, check out the cover and blurb below. And don't forget to check out his interview too, and get to know Demiere Lee!

Lisa ~

What is Love?

Best friends since high school, Rhonda, Karen, and Patrice are now in their mid-30s and early 40s, at a crossroads in their relationships with the men in their lives, causing them to question what if they weren’t meant to participate in long-lasting relationships or do they have what it takes to live up to being a wife. Through their stories, they realize that all of their decision making and communication with their partners boil down to one question: What Is Love?

In his debut novel, Demiere Lee captivates the minds and hearts of readers entertaining them through humor, wisdom, and offering his psychological perspective on what it means to be joined together. What Is Love? is a must-read for anyone who has ever been in multiple relationships that don’t lead to marriage, in relationships where the basis is sex and not intimacy, and if the spouse if causing to question whether their marriage is worth holding on to.

Sensual, empowering, and uplifting with elements of epigrammatic storytelling and wise aphorisms, readers will come to love Rhonda, Karen, and Patrice and hold them in a special place in their hearts.

Interview with Demiere Lee

How do you get inspired to write?

My emotions play a key role in what motivates me to put that pen to paper. Often I coordinate my emotions with the idea to write a book. Most of my characters are female heroines and I use the emotion that I’m feeling in that moment to create a relatable heartwarming or gut-wrenching plot that’ll resonate with my audience in that particular genre.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Having the ability to construct a detailed story line and the characters that come along with it. As I draft my thoughts on paper and hear quotes and anecdotes from influences in my life, I subconsciously realize i’m writing a book. Also conducting research for the novels are extremely significant and my favorite part of being a writer.

What do you do when you have a great idea for a book?

I will write it in a notebook. For me it’s all about organization and the best way to see if a idea for a book is great is to create a character analysis. Scour the internet for a picture of a celebrity that you envision as the character and then you make a profile about physical descriptions and their backstory. This typically works for me because as a writer I believe in capturing my audience with drama and juicy details.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

If you are passionate about writing, join as many writing workshops, writer’s forum and write, write, write. Even if your work isn’t on stellar level, always keep a eye open for new ideas and find ways to revise your work. Useful tools to keep nearby when you write: Dictionary, thesaurus, legal pad, black, blue and red pens and newspapers/magazines/other novels to keep up with current events and those past. Good luck!

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I don’t. I’m a firm believer in the fact that writer’s block is a setback. And like the saying goes, “For every set back there’s a strong comeback.” I allow that writer’s block to let me focus on any other activity in my life and then like a light bulb one day, I’ll happen to think of one and write it down. I have many ideas running through my head that I write down to help me keep track of. So I always have a list at my disposal to focus on my next idea.

Do you have a favorite author? Or book?

Terry McMillan. And Waiting to Exhale. Terry isn’t just a writer, she’s a lyricist. Her complex writing style speaks to me because it’s raw, honest, and there’s always some positive message at the end of it all that usually centers on family. I cannot wait for her next novel, I Almost Forgot About You, to be released on June 7th. I have enjoyed every novel she’s written and I know this one will be nothing short of amazing.

What are you working on now? Will there be a sequel to What is Love?

I’m in the planning stages of my next novel and have absolutely no idea what it’ll end up being. That’s the beauty of writing. Books never go as planned. However, if any of my fans have any ideas I welcome all of them to email me their ideas. To answer your other question, there will be a sequel to What is Love? but not so soon. I need a break from the characters and I want to showcase my versatility in writing which is precisely the reason why I’m focusing on a stand-alone.

Demiere Lee is a native Floridian (he’s from St. Petersburg and was raised in Orlando). A published poet with the American Library of Poetry, he’s always had a love for writing in the creative form. He says of writing, “It’s my natural high. I love creating another world, developing characters, and drama that transports my imagination to another level.” A sequel to What is Love? and a stand-alone novel are in the works within the year.

When he’s not writing, Lee takes on an active role in both his church and school and in his spare time is a zealous reader. He  currently resides in Waynesboro, Georgia. What is Love? is his debut novel.

Connect with the author:


Monday, January 25, 2016

On Conversations: #bestselling #author Cate Beauman

Please join me in welcoming international bestselling author, Cate Beauman to Conversations today! Cate is here to talk about latest romantic suspense release, FINDING LYLA, the 10th book in her immensely popular Bodyguards of L.A. County Series. So be sure and check out the cover and blurb below! And don't forget to check out her bio too and get to know Cate.

**To celebrate the release, Cate is also giving away a $100 gift certificate! Readers will have a chance to win a $100.00 (USD) Amazon gift card. On February 12, Cate will draw one (1) winner. To enter click HERE.

~ Lisa

Bodyguards of L.A. County, Book 10
*NOTE: While reading the series in order is recommended, it is not necessary. Each story is a stand alone title featuring new primary characters with limited overlapping secondary characters.

Principal Dancer Lyla Markovik-Avery is always on the go. Grueling practices and endless performances rule her busy days—and things are about to get more hectic. Russia is rolling out the red carpet for their beloved star, despite the string of violent terrorist attacks that have rocked the nation.

Bodyguard Collin Michaels’ life is falling apart. His long-time relationship recently ended. He’s trying to start over, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, Collin has a new assignment on the horizon: keeping a beautiful ballerina safe for the next three weeks.

Collin finds comfort in Lyla’s easy friendship, but that all changes after a night out on the town. Simple feelings become complicated—something Collin can’t afford, especially when tragedy strikes and Collin realizes Lyla’s caught in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge.

Collin and Lyla are forced to flee. They need to reach the border before it’s too late, but the odds are stacked against them in a country that wants them dead. With time running out, Collin formulates a risky plan that might be their only chance of making it out alive.

International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on Finding Lyla, the tenth novel in her popular bodyguards series.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On Conversations: #AAMBookclub #author Colette Harrell

Please join me in welcoming author Colette Harrell to Conversations today! Colette is here to talk about her new book, Tell The Truth The Devil Won’t! So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know Colette Harrell!

Lisa ~

Tell The Truth The Devil Won't

The full-figured Esther Redding doesn’t realize it, but she desperately needs a change. Her Cinderella tiara is tarnished, and her glass slippers cracked. No longer any one’s knight in shining armor, Briggs Stokes always had a soft spot for Esther. She was in his blood, and he didn’t want a transfusion. When he returns to Detroit, he decides that nothing will keep him from her door. Well, nothing . . . but the once reformed bad girl, Monica Stokes Hawthorne, Briggs’s ex, who wants to be his—give me one more chance, again—wife. The resulting tug-of-war that ensues may be the catalyst that destroys the person they both love the most.

More than one household is upset when the prison doors swing open and a “rehabilitated” Roger, Esther’s ex, returns home. Following Roger is a sinister force so malicious that no one in their community will be left untouched.

When truth is held hostage by lies, mayhem ensues. And when it does, the lives of Esther, Briggs, Monica, and Roger are forever changed. Don’t blink—pray—these shenanigans are too shocking to miss . . . The second stand-alone book in the Heaven over Hell trilogy.

Excerpt from Tell The Truth the Devil Won't

     It was dead cold. The air crackled with the sound of ice-covered tree branches crashing onto cement sidewalks; it was an unnatural arctic day, even for Harlem. There were motorists stranded on every major highway as an epic ice storm settled over the length of New York City. And while the air over those highways was filled with road rage, explicit language, and hunger pains, the contrasting hush of the opulent brownstones on 132nd Street was shattered by an eerie scream that filled the bitter air.
     Monica Hawthorne, the ex-Mrs. Briggs Stokes, stood shaking uncontrollably. Her beloved, risked-everything she-had-to-have-him husband of one month, Randall, lay in a pool of blood on their imported Brazilian cherry kitchen floor. If Randall could, he would have stood up and told her for the tenth time that ten thousand dollars for a floor was too much, and just because she could buy it didn’t mean she had to. But Randall couldn’t utter a word. She watched horrified as his blood seeped into the natural grooves of the wood, giving credence to the fact that maybe the cost was too much.
     Monica blinked, but he wasn’t getting up or giving her advice about her newly acquired wealth, because standing over him was his newly divorced wife, the ex-Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne. This She-Spawn-from-the-Pits, with her six hundred-dollar hairdo mussed, her designer clothes askew, and her chest heaving in spastic breaths, clutched the knife that once protruded from Randall’s chest. Words of explanation weren’t necessary; the vivid picture painted its own morbid story.
     Monica was spellbound. She was in her own home. The ordeal of leaving one husband to claim another’s was behind her. The guilt had been laid aside. The shame stamped down, at least temporarily. It was Randall and her against the world. But it had all just changed drastically.
     Snapping to, Monica shrieked, “Oh sweet Jesus! What have you done? You crazy—!”
     Her cries were halted by the demented gleam in the ex-Mrs. Hawthorne’s eyes. The maniac’s focus switched from Randall to her, then back to Randall. Mrs. Hawthorne had gone mad, crazy, bonkers, cray cray.
     Monica’s head hurt at the thought that she was still addressing this woman by what was rightfully her new name. It bore psychological study that she could only think of the witch as Mrs. Hawthorne. For over three years the woman had railed it at her, negating Monica’s right to ever wear the title. She’d stood in haughty arrogance and promised in divorce court that she would never relinquish it. At the time, Monica didn’t care; she felt Mrs. Hawthorne could keep the last name, as long as she had the man. Now she felt she had been short-sighted. If in the middle of a bloody rampage, she thought of her that way, then who was she?
     The murderous interloper looked on in glee as blood bubbled out of Randall’s mouth. Monica observed her spiteful approval as Randall’s hand feebly stretched over his wound, but failed in mustering the strength to staunch the flow of his river of life. His eyelids fluttered—pausing, fighting to focus as he scanned beyond Mrs. Hawthorne’s face. His eyes settled on Monica’s outstretched hands.
     “Randall,” Monica whispered. She swayed in agony.
     Time was grinding to a stop, like an old-fashioned watch discarded in a moth-eaten hope chest, it would soon end, and Randall would be done. She needed a way to get close to him, but Mrs. Hawthorne stood as she had for the last three years, directly in her path.
     Always . . . in my way.
     Rage bubbled into a go-for-broke moment. Monica launched forward and charged Mrs. Hawthorne with a Joan of Arc warrior’s roar. The sound of the impact and responding grunt was dulled by the body that crumpled to the floor. Monica gambled . . . and lost. Her body fell inches from Randall’s.
     Her hands bloodied, Mrs. Hawthorne rocked in despair. She had meant to take her time with the slut, but her offensive attack had taken her by surprise.
     Then . . . Monica moved. What she was witnessing had
     Mrs. Hawthorne’s keening wail ricochet throughout the spacious brownstone. She glowered in anguish, howling as Monica’s fingers inched toward Randall’s, and they entwined even in their near-death status.
     She watched in ghoulish repulsion as the almost loving tableau played out before her. Her eyebrows arched as she made out Monica’s pleading words, “Jesus, help us.”
     A rattle of air descended from Randall . . . and then stillness.
     In slow motion, Mrs. Hawthorne turned in robotic movements away from the scene. Her steps faltered when she heard Monica’s fading voice, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”
     The prophetic words washed over her as she stood in cold resolution. Shaking it off, she strutted away from the two people who had humiliated her in public and had caused her heart to bleed dry for three unbearable years.
     Randall had won his freedom, imprisoning her in her own madness in the process.
     She had sworn to Randall’s dying mother, there would be no divorce. Tears gathered at the end of her hawkish nose, dribbling onto her twice-a-week, spa-waxed upper lip, then streamed down her cosmetic-tightened neck.
     She was Mrs. Meredith Hawthorne, of the Hawthornes, and failure was foreign to her. In agony, she backtracked, and stumbled, tumbling over the bodies. Blindly, Meredith wiped her eyes, reared back, and spit in Monica’s face. Still feeling empty and unfulfilled, she stared, craving the ability to wake Monica and kill her again.
     Rising, she noted Randall’s discarded, prized Civil War-era, matching pearl- and jewel-handled knives. She blew a kiss at him, and left the knives there. It was only fitting Randall have ownership of what he demanded in the divorce decree. What better way to deliver his bounty, then to use it as the method of obliteration for both he and his tramp?
     Mrs. Hawthorne reached into her purse and pulled out her derringer. Acting as a lover whose desire is close to fulfillment, she caressed it. Her insides churning, she panted, taking one last glance at the co-conspirators to her destruction. She could answer Monica’s final question. God had forsaken Monica because she was a Delilah home wrecker. What Mrs. Hawthorne wanted to know, was why He had forsaken her.
     She lay the letters for her children—who never called—on the solid mahogany credenza, then her purse. All she’d had was the facade of a happy life. She’d paid for it in an avalanche of tears as she played dumb blonde to Randall’s neglect and numerous indiscretions over the years, anything to keep him home. And how had he repaid her? By falling for a nasty, ashy-prone, ghetto rat. The slut’s resulting pregnancy, and his request for a divorce, “so he could be happy” was the Joker’s wild card. How many wrongs was she expected to endure?
     She looked around and hiccupped laughter—a great-granddaughter of the confederacy ending up in a brownstone in Harlem? Well, rise up every long-buried plantation owner and move over. I’m coming in, and from this gaudy, overpriced slum.
     In the middle of her cynical chuckle, she bit her lip. She was stalling and knew it. The gun shook in her hands as she placed the barrel to her temple; lips pressed together, she focused on the brightness of the moon, brilliant against the frigid dark sky. The trigger was pulled, and the gun clattered to the ground. Once again blood seeped into the Brazilian cherry hardwood floor.
     It should now have been quiet in the apartment. Instead, after the booming sound of the gunshot, you could hear through the intercom three things: the startled cries of a newborn, a phone ringing, and a feeble whimper.

     The air was clear and sweet with the aroma of citrus floral and the essence of myrrh. Large winged inhabitants fluttered about on missions of supreme purpose. Above, two hovered in midflight, one apparently holding the other from takeoff.
     “Why do you hold me, Zadkiel? I must go. Did you not hear Monica scream? I am hers, and she is mine. Monica thinks that God has forsaken her. I am here,” he bemoaned. What the guardian angel saw split him in two. He could not linger.
     The dominion angel, Zadkiel pulled the guardian back, his wings clutched, and held him firm through the struggle. “Stand down. She cries out in fear, not faith. We are not charged to react to tears, but we are rewarders of faith. What is occurring is heartbreaking, but you have not been given leave to interfere.”
     The guardian wanted to push at Zadkiel’s wings, but that would have been disrespectful. “Oh, why do the humans act this way? Must they torment and cause such pain to each other? They have left a child and though Monica has not been innocent for many years, her screams of pain bring too many hurtful emotions to the forefront. How can you float above it all?”
     “I am not above anything, but we must be obedient to our Lord of Hosts. He has not given us permission to intervene; a greater good must be coming.” Zadkiel then telepathically shared with him how he kept the sounds of Randall’s and Monica’s pain in the background of his thoughts. “I am empathetic to your feelings. I have learned that our God knows all and His will is the only way. He did not create this mess, but He will make a way out for the innocent babe. Go sing a song of praise. It will ease your soul.”
     Large expansive wings flapped in decisive strokes as a voice of power and beauty soared over majestic heads. As other voices joined in song, the angelic choir trumpeted the holiness and sovereignty of God. Contrary to the chaos, He continued to reign.
     In another realm, the gates of hell rattled in anticipation of the eventual capture and consumption of the new souls. It was a two-course meal: adulterer and murderer, their favorites.

Interview with Colette Harrell

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background? 
I’m really happy to be writing. I’m in that midlife second-career change we are sometimes known to pursue. You become a certain age, and in certain areas of your life you become fearless. Your internal clock starts ticking, and you decide that if you are ever going to birth your passion, it better be now. I have always written poetry, short stories, and in the last nine years, I have co-written several local stage plays. This is my sophomore novel.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I think most of us have things about us nobody else knows. Who’s really an open book? Let’s see, how transparent should I get? Well . . . I’m claustrophobic—give me an MRI—and you do it at your own peril. It’s no-holds-barred.

What makes you do the happy dance?

When I can stay in the moment. It gets hard sometimes, you know? But, if I can just sit and enjoy the journey, take solace in a perfect slice of time, I get elated. And then I catch myself and I stop and say, "I’m not worried about tomorrow. Bills are paid, no one’s in trouble or sick, and people’s opinions are far away." . . . that makes for a golden, happy, satisfied sigh.

What about this journey is the hardest?

This answer is reminiscent of the joke concerning the man who fell out of the fiftieth-floor window of a building. On his way down, at each floor, he could be heard yelling, “So far, so good!” When I was writing the book, there were days it flowed like a symphonic orchestra; other days, I wanted to slam my computer against the wall. Then before I was published—pure angst. Now, I’m in the marketing stage . . . Can you see me sweat? What I learned along the way . . . Whatever is behind you is no longer impossible. It’s a done deal.

What do you do in your down time?

I read—I read profusely. I read in bed, when I’m a passenger in the car, on lunch hour . . . I’m like Dr. Seuss’s Sam I Am. I do it everywhere!

After successfully publishing The Devil Made Me Do It what did this book teach you?

I learned that fear can’t hold me. We can get real caught up in what people may or may not say about us or our work. So much so, that it ends up crippling our ability to move. I learned to talk myself off the ledge and by placing myself into the fray by doing each step by faith. I can tell you this, sometimes the crocodile tears tried to limit my vision, but guess what? I stuck my hand out there and felt my way through.

We’ve enjoyed learning about Colette R Harrell, author. Tell us about your book Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t.

It’s a continuation of the characters that originated in my first novel, The Devil Made Me Do It. I felt like the characters in the novel weren’t finished telling their story. Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t is filled with romance, suspense, humor and a twist of the super natural.

The story centers around two college sweethearts, Esther and Briggs who have taken different paths in life. Their romantic journey was disrupted by a life changing tragedy and they both lose their way. In the first book they settle for what they believe is the best course for their lives. But is it? Then there is Monica and Roger. These two were the people we love to hate. What is their real story? Are there certain people just born evil? Woven throughout the story, I love to sprinkle my stories with humor and a back drop of the supernatural. And, I never want people to guess what’s coming next. I love what one of my readers said, “seat belts should be worn”.

Your readers should pick up a copy today. I promise it’s just plain page turning fun! I’m just saying...

Colette Harrell, wants you to know that she has come to be a gift, to be an encourager and a light that reflects God’s goodness.

She’s a wife, mother, author and playwright. A Detroit native, she currently calls Ohio home. She holds a master’s and is a Director of Social Services. Writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her novel, Tell The Truth; The Devil Won’t is filled with wisdom and humor. This adventurous love story goes where Ms. Harrell loves to tread, down an unbeaten path. No millionaires rescuing damsels in distress—although she enjoys these reads herself—but real people, falling and getting back up.

The Devil Made Me Do It was her debut novel. It was nominated for First Fiction for the Phyllis Wheatley Book Award from the QBR/The Black Book Review and the Harlem Book Fair.

Her sophomore novel, Tell The Truth, The Devil Won’t will cement her as an author to watch.

Friday, December 11, 2015

On Conversations: #author Beate Boeker

Please join me in welcoming the author of sweet sophisticated romantic fiction and entertaining mysteries, Beate Boeker! Beate is here to talk about her Christmas Romance stories, Venetian Tangle, Gingerbread Kisses, and Stormy Times. So be sure and check out the covers and blurbs below! And don't forget to check out her bio too and get to know Beate.

Lisa ~

Venetian Tangle

Lorena doesn't believe in supernatural things, but one night in December, she feels the sudden presence of her ex-lover Guido in her apartment . . . even though he should be miles away. When she learns that Guido died the night he came to „see“ her, she's perturbed. Did Guido try to tell her something? To find out more, she decides to spend Christmas at the place where they fell in love ten years ago: Venice in Italy.

With no clear plan in her mind and a very hazy idea how to deal with a ghost, Lorena stumbles into a tangle of romance and confusion in the ancient city of Venice. She has to learn a lot about herself and her old relationship to Guido and has to fight for the man she loves before she can finally be happy.

This contemporary sweet romance will plunge you into the heart of mysterious and foggy Venice during Christmas time, entertaining you with a delicious mix of humor and romance.

Gingerbread Kisses

Carol spends Christmas at the luxurious Hotel & Spa "Dolomitissimo" in the snowy Alps of Italy where she's busy creating gingerbread men as name cards for her younger sister's wedding. When things start to go wrong, she finds help in the form of Tom, the attractive hotel manager, but then, her sister manages to create havoc and Carol has to fight for her happiness.

Gingerbread Kisses is part of the Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 book bundle

Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 takes you from the Smoky Mountains to Florida’s sun-drenched beaches, from the Italian Alps to Paris, France, and even to a quirky little town in Arizona. The Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 bundle features all-new, stand-alone stories that are sure to make you laugh, sometimes bring tears to your eyes, but always put you in the Christmas spirit.

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo / iTunes 

Stormy Times

Joanna is going through a hard time: Half a year ago, her beloved dog died, and two months later, she separated from her fiancé because he cheated on her. Now she works like a demon in her job as a Vet to forget her feelings. Returning from a difficult foaling in the middle of a late November night on Long Island, she gets stuck in an early blizzard. With her last ounce of strength, she manages to reach a house, but the man who gives her shelter for the night treats her like an unwelcome disease. As she has no choice, she adapts to his rough manners by being impolite herself. Sparks fly, and the night ends with a rescued puppy and a power failure, but this is only the beginning of her troubles in this heartwarming holiday romance.

Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. She writes sweet sophisticated romantic fiction and mysteries, many of them set in beautiful Italy. Her novels were shortlisted for many awards (Golden Quill Contest, the National Readers' Choice Award, 'Best Indie Books of 2012').

She's a global marketing manager with a degree in International Business Administration, and her daily experience in marketing provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.

Widely traveled, she speaks German, English, French, and Italian and lives in the North of Germany together with her husband and daughter.

While 'Boeker' means 'books' in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as 'Happy' . . . and with a name that reads 'Happy Books', what else could she do but write novels with a happy ending?

You can learn more about Beate at her website

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On Conversations: #AAMBookclub #author Eno Esquire

Please join me in welcoming author Eno Esquire to Conversations today! Eno is here to talk about his new book, Son of a Gun! So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out his interview too, and get to know Eno Esquire!

Lisa ~

Son of a Gun

A young African hustler named Okon from Lagos Nigeria migrates to the United States in search of the American dream. When he arrives, he quickly finds out a dream can turn into a nightmare. Okon is disappointed in what he finds until he meets up with his cousin in Washington DC who is heavy in the game. Okon begins to cut out a corner of the heroin  business in washington dc for himself and in the process meets a women named Berreta,  who family was heavily respected in the streets and together they give birth to a son of a gun….

Excerpt from Son of a Gun

Washington D.C., December 1981

    Knock! Knock! Knock!
    “A Berreta somebody at the door.”
    “You get it T, I’m fixing Justeen something to eat,” Berretta yelled.
    “I'm on the toilet,” T shot back putting some base in his voice.
    “Damn,” Berretta said to herself as she put the bacon on low and cleaned her hands on the apron. She opened the drawer beside  the stove and removed a chrome .25 and cocked it. She then placed her hand in the apron pocket still gripping the pistol as she walked to the door.
    “Who is it?” Berretta asked looking through the peephole.
    “Its Black,” the voice on the other side answered.
    Berretta took the chain off the door and cracked it. “Whatchu need?” she stated coldly.
    “You got some herb?” Black asked.
    “Yea. How much you want?” Berretta asked looking behind him for a possible robbery attempt.
    “Let me get to nickels...
Interview with Eno Esquire

What inspired you to write this book? 

At the time I was locked up and did a lot of reading, it was a guy named show boat from North Carolina who had published a book from the feds so that pushed me to write one.

Is your novel fiction or nonfiction? 

If someone was to ask I would definitely say fiction, but the characters are based off people I know or cross paths with in my life.

How was is it growing up in Washington DC?

It was cool gave me a unique experience on the world. I stayed in a housing project couple blocks from capitol hill.

You have a few Nigerian characters in your book, what's the connection?

My father is Nigerian.

How long did it take you to complete this novel?

9 months mostly in solitary confinement.

What are your expectations for your first self published novel?

I really don’t have any expectations, just want to finish something I started.

Do you have anything you want people to know?

Yea I wrote this book for Author Cappers and the whole Surelere.

Eno Esquire is an author born and raised in Washington DC to a Nigerian father. His mother is of Greek and Native descent. When Eno was 17 he was convicted as an adult for a crime and sent to federal prison for several years. While in prison he wrote his first novel, Son of a Gun.

Good Reads Review

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