Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Material Witness



Heroes of Providence Book 1
MATERIAL WITNESS

Named one of KIRKUS REVIEWS Best Indie Books of 2012!

Who does she trust when the horror of one of her crime novels turns into a deadly reality?

Bestselling crime novelist, Cassie Alvarez, aka Cassie Lang, had murder on her mind when she walked into Rory's Bar under dressed and under cover to research her latest crime novel. Researching the cool, blue-eyed and dashingly handsome man at the end of the bar stirred her senses more than she wanted to admit. But was this man of leather armor all he appeared to be?

Playing White Knight to an innocent wasn't how Detective Jake Santos planned to spend his time under cover. But there was no way "CJ" was what she claimed to be and that nagging tightness in Jake's chest told him he'd better take her home to safety and leave it at that. Then the barroom exploded with gunfire, leaving a trail of dead that includes a notorious Providence organized crime boss and an undercover FBI agent. When Cassie’s name is leaked to the media as the only witness to the grisly murders, Cassie insists she only trusts Jake to protect her.

The FBI wants their star witness happy and will do anything to make sure Cassie testifies. But someone wants vigilante justice and it is clear to Jake that the shooter isn’t the only person who wants Cassie dead. Not knowing who to trust, he vows to protect Cassie at all cost despite the fact that guarding the beautiful novelist is a serious distraction.


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Excerpt:

She was going to kill Maureen. There was no doubt about it now.

Cassie Alvarez yanked down the hem of her too-short red spandex mini-dress, trying to conceal what every man with a pulse at Rory's seemed to be ogling over. She was tired, cold and exposed, but it was no use. No matter how much she covered her bare flesh, she was all out there like the woman of the night she was pretending to be.

Damn Maureen…and damn her for listening.

It had taken Cassie all of ten seconds after seating herself at the bar to realize just how big a mistake she’d made in coming to a bar owned by one of Providence’s most notorious crime bosses. When you walk through fire, you get burned. With all the stares she’d gotten just walking across the floor, she felt like burnt toast.

Definitely murder. It was her forte. The only question left was how? She’d plotted many murders in the past. She was good at it. And nothing was too harsh for what Maureen was putting her through tonight. The least Maureen could have done was come here with her since it was her idea.

Maureen’s idea. But despite all the convincing, Cassie couldn’t figure out exactly why she’d actually agreed. Her editor had always been good at pulling her strings. And that nauseated Cassie even more than having her thighs stuck to the barstool.

Note to self: Learn to assert yourself with your editor even if she is your best friend.

Cassie vowed to do just that right after she was finished wringing Maureen's bony little neck.

Turning her attention to her diet soda, Cassie used her red-striped straw to play with the maraschino cherry that had sunk to the bottom of the glass. The bartender wiped the polished surface of the bar as he made his way closer to Cassie. She made eye contact with him when came close enough. With her hand still holding the sweating glass, he snatched her drink and dumped the contents into a bucket behind the counter.

“Hey, I was still drinking that.”

“You’ve been stirring it for an hour. It’s nothing but melted ice and you’re making a mess of my bar. Doesn’t look good. Here’s another one.”

Before she could protest further, he had a clean glass full of ice under the soda fountain and was filling it.

“Don’t worry. I don’t expect you to tip me twice.”

While her mouth was still dropped open, he made his way down to the other end of the bar, wiping as he went. She'd give anything to be home right now wearing her favorite Boston Bruins tee-shirt and the Brown University sweat pants that, even though they’d seen better days, Cassie refused to give up. Instead of three-and-a-half-inch stilettos, her feet would be warm in her fuzzy slippers. Instead, she was stuck in a bar watching people who’d be the inspiration for her next crime novel.

“Life mimicking art,” she mumbled. “How’s that for stupidity, Cass?”

She blinked her sore eyes as the haze of the neon lights on the window assaulted them. The quickest way to get out of here was to take notes and get into the head of her character. How could she write about a woman who was so devastated by circumstance, who felt trapped in a life beyond her control, if she hadn’t lived it? She needed to step outside herself to break this block.

The room was thinning out now, but there were still enough people to talk to. The couple in their fifties, arguing at a table, looked too self-absorbed to do her any good. The “suit” with the combed-over shiny head, sitting alone at a table by the bathroom, looked like he was about to fall asleep in his Martini.

Cassie snapped her glance away from him as he lifted his head in her direction. Better to leave this man with his troubles and not make them one of hers.

The argument from the couple grew louder. Apparently they’d both had a little too much to drink and were loud enough for Cassie to hear every intimate detail. Someone was walking home tonight.

And then there was the black-armored thug seated at the end of the bar, staring at her. Yeah she’d noticed. His interest in her was unmistakable. Their gazes locked for a lingering moment. The heat in his eyes was piercing.

Cassie glanced down at her cleavage and to her bare legs. It couldn’t be the dress. There was nothing but a few scraps of fabric covering her.

Slowly, she turned to look over her shoulder, just to see if she was wrong and he was actually looking at someone else. The table behind her was empty. When she turned back, it was as if he’d caught her in a radar lock.

Terrific. “A little too eager beaver, but…” she muttered.

The guy was hunched over with his long arms draped stiffly on top of the bar with his black leather jacket encasing him like body armor. His strong jaw had a don't-fuck-with-me tightness she was sure was bred of years of hanging out in a dive like this.

Cassie wanted to feel bad for him. All of them really. What made a person come to a place like this thinking it could resolve their sorrows? She had to find out. Only then would she understand her character.

As she always did with people she encountered, Cassie began to formulate a character sketch. She couldn't quite come up with one for this guy though. He was…


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Montana Secrets



Sweet Montana Book 5
SWEET MONTANA SECRETS

They say time heals all wounds, but time doesn't make you forget who you were... 

Ten years ago Hunter Williams' life was a mess. Injured on the rodeo circuit, the absolute last thing he needed was to fall in love. He hadn't expected being completely taken by Julie Samuel, a beautiful young woman who took riding lessons at the ranch he worked at. But their love hadn't been enough to conquer his demons.

Julie had never been able to forget her first love no matter how hard she tried or how far she'd run. Running hadn't changed anything or the loss that still ate at her heart every single day. The only way to rid herself of her pain was to confront it. But how can she go home after so long and face the one man she'd never stopped loving? And would he hate her when he learned the secret of why she'd left in the first place?


 “You know what makes you happy.”

He glanced at her and then ahead as he sighed. “That may be so, but a man can’t always have what makes him happy.”

His gaze bore into her and made her whole body shiver with anticipation. She wanted him to kiss her. She could almost feel his lips against hers as the memory of it crashed down around her. She wanted him to reach for her and hold her in his arms, make her feel small and safe as he used to.

But he didn’t. He turned and started walking toward the sub shop. She reeled in her disappointment and followed him.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Montana Outlaw



Sweet Montana Book 4
SWEET MONTANA OUTLAW

He did time for killing a man he should have killed to save the woman he loved...

Brody Whitebear had the reputation as a bad boy and people won't let him forget.  His past has come back to haunt him when he returns to Sweet, Montana at the request of an old friend who wants to help give him a second chance. Some people won't let him forget or move on.

Tara Mitchell knew her brother wasn't a saint but he didn't have to die because of it. She'd tried for years to forget what she'd seen and to focus on building her little novelty shop in Sweet.  But now that Brody is back in town, the fantasy that her brother was blameless is hard to ignore. Can she forgive Brody for what he did without losing her heart and falling in love?


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Excerpt:

“You’ve got a sick sense of humor. You know that, buddy?”

Brody Whitebear stared across the thick polished table at a local pub called Bojangles to one of the few friends he’d had for life, a friend who’d stuck with him in his darkest hour and didn’t judge. Hunter Williams.

“Have I ever lied to you?” Hunter asked, motioning to the waitress to signal they needed a refill. “No, strike that. Bad choice of words.”

Brody lifted his eyebrows. “Yeah, they are.”

The two of them were drinking coffee, not beer or whiskey like all the others in the pub.

“It’s a sure thing,” Hunter said, almost too excited about the prospect he was telling Brody about for it to be real.

“Sure things usually come with a barn full of sure trouble.” Brody looked at his old friend across the table at Bojangles Bar and Grill with a skeptical eye. “I can’t believe you’re even suggesting I step foot in Sweet.”

“Why not? Just because Tara Mitchell has a business there, doesn’t mean you can’t work as a ranch manager on one of the ranches.”

The waitress came to the table, filled their coffee cups, and then dropped a bowl of peanuts on the table. When she left, Brody said, “Somehow it doesn’t sound that simple.”

“Be positive for once in your life,” Hunter said. He’d met Hunter a long time ago when they were young teens on the rodeo circuit. He’d never been very good, but Hunter had been until an injury set him on the path that ended his rodeo days. Now he worked with horses as a farrier on most of the ranches in the area.

“See, there you go again. This isn’t about being positive. It’s the sure thing notion that gets dicey for me. Nothing is that good, and certainly not worth my running into Tara.”

“Look, I’ve known Trip a long time. I worked on the Lone Creek Ranch as a ranch hand right after I stopped rodeoing. He’s a good man. He’s given me a chance. He’ll give you one, too. He’s an old rodeo man himself, and now he raises rodeo stock.”

Brody grabbed a handful of peanuts and started to shell them. “How come you’re not working for him yourself?”

“I still do farrier work for the ranch. I’m just not a ranch hand. I’m usually out there at the ranch every week to shoe horses. He boards horses for some people, mostly the people who use Sweet as a temporary home. There’s a lot of work there.”

“There are plenty of ranch managers he could choose from. Why can’t he get enough help out there?” Brody asked, leaning back in his chair as another waitress walked by with a tray full of drinks.

What he wouldn’t give for a beer right now. The terms of Brody’s parole prevented him from drinking in public. Just being in Bojangles was questionable if not for Hunter being there to vouch for him that he’d only had coffee. Still, he’d make sure the waitress gave him a receipt before they left so he could prove all he had was coffee.

“Trip was close to Levon. He’d been with Trip for a while. He’d tried a few cowboys as replacement but he hasn’t really clicked with anyone else.”

“Did Levon take a better job?”

Hunter’s expression grew dark. He grabbed a peanut from the bowl and shelled it. “He was killed last winter.”

Brody was about to drop a few shelled peanuts into his mouth but stopped abruptly. “Killed?”

Hunter glanced up at him and then gave him an idle shrug.

Brody’s eyebrows stretched on his forehead as he stared at his friend. “You are one sick dude to bring me into this, Hunter Williams. You want to hook me up in a job where the former ranch manager was killed after I’ve done time for murder?”

He said the last part quietly despite the noise in the pub. He didn’t need to broadcast it to the world when it followed him to every new job opportunity he’d had since leaving prison.

“We both know it was an accident,” Hunter said, glancing around quickly. “I was there. And I know the truth about what went down even if the prosecutor didn’t see it that way and managed to prove otherwise.”

“Twelve jurors saw it that way too. No one wanted to believe it was an accident.”

“We don’t have to re-litigate this, do we?”

“I have no intention of doing that. But I have a feeling my being in Sweet isn’t going to go over too well. People have long memories.”

“They are forgiving people. I should know. I get a lot of work from them.”

“Not everyone.”

Hunter looked down at his hands as he twirled his coffee mug on the table in the wet spot the waitress made when she’d refilled his mug. “I get that. Tara probably won’t be happy. And she will find out. But she’s going to have to get over it one way or another because you did your time.” Hunter leaned forward. “You shouldn’t even have been in prison. But even if you did serve time, everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone. The question is what you want to do with it.”

It seemed so simple when Hunter said those words. But it was far from easy and Brody knew it.

He’d spent eighteen months in prison for manslaughter and had six months left on his parole. It had taken a long time for him to shake off the stench of prison and the stigma of his past. He was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Although he’d been sorry his actions ended up taking a life, he wasn’t sorry that it had stopped Doug Mitchell from taking his sister, Marie’s, life.

“It was a long time ago, Brody. None of us can change it. We did stupid things. And some of us paid a higher price for it. But this is a chance for a new start.”

He grabbed another handful of peanuts from the bowl and thought about Hunter’s proposition.

“I sure hope you’re right.”


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Montana Rescue



Sweet Montana Book 3
SWEET MONTANA RESCUE

Sometimes the person you are rescuing...becomes your rescuer.

Dangerous Montana snow storms are no surprise. So when police dispatcher, Harper Madison, heads to the mountains to bring supplies to a survivalist/scientist who is renting her invalid grandmother's remote cabin high in the mountains for the summer, she doesn't take chances. But when a elk runs in front of her car and it tumbles down an embankment, nearly killing her, and leaving her stranded on the mountain until she can be rescued.

The only thing Nash Webber wants is to be left alone. Working in the Montana mountains will give him much needed perspective. But as soon as he arrives, his quiet retreat is quickly compromised when a sudden blizzard leaves a stranded woman perched precariously on the cliff of the mountain road leading to his cabin.

The cabin is certainly big enough for two. But can they be forced in close proximity for days on end without losing their minds and their hearts?


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