Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Dakota Heat



Dakota Hearts Book 3
Dakota Heat

Hotshot Sam McKinnon was always leaving town, chasing another fire until his own hometown became vulnerable during the fire season after a big flood left debris and devastation in its path.  He didn't expect out of town dispatcher, Summer Bigelow, to catch his eye or his heart.

It hadn't been Summer's idea to move from Providence to South Dakota, but when a serial murderer suddenly turns his attention on Summer, her boss insists she leave town. She's dealt with high tension, life or death situations many times in her job.  It isn’t until she meets Sam McKinnon and falls for the sexy hotshot that she really begins to know fear.  The fear of losing someone she loves.


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Excerpt 

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Summer Bigelow glared at the police chief of the Providence Police Department as she sat back against the chair.  She’d thought the parking ticket she’d found on her windshield this morning was a bad start of the day and it could only get better from there.

She’d been wrong.

Matt Jorgensen looked at her with sympathy.  “You’re one of the best dispatchers I have, Summer.  I’m not disputing that.”

“Then why?” she said.

Matt raised his voice over hers. “But I’m not going to risk your life to some crazy stalker who has already killed four women.”

Summer’s mouth dropped open.  She forced air into her lungs as she looked at the two detectives sitting in the office with them.  Jake Santos and Kevin Gordon had been working this case right from the beginning and had been doing drive-by checks on her ever since the killer had called into her line.

“There was a fourth?”

The grim look they both offered was answer enough.

“Last time he called in, he reported there was a fourth,” Jake said.  “A kid discovered her taking a short cut through a parking lot on the way to school this morning.”

“But he called in last week.  He said...”  Summer fought to think through the chain of events that had transpired over the last two weeks.

Kevin Gordon got up from his seat and walked in front of her, sitting on the desk.  She knew his wife had been stalked by her ex-husband a few years ago and was nearly killed.

“You have to take this serious.  We are.  With Daria, we knew her ex-husband was after her and she didn’t leave town.  We were watching him and he still managed to slip through our fingers.  I thank God every day we found Daria in time.  We don’t know who this serial killer is or where he’ll be next.  All we know for sure is that based on his last phone call, he’s fixated on you.”

“Look at you,” Matt said, throwing his pen on the blotter on his desk.  “It’s been a week since that nutcase called in and I can already see the toll it’s taking on you.  You’ve got dark circles under your eyes and you look like you haven’t slept at all.  And don’t blame Bobbi’s lumpy couch, either.  You walk down the hall and I see you looking over your shoulder.  That’s no way to live, Summer.”

“He doesn’t know my name.  Bobbi said I could stay at her place as long as I need to while you watch my apartment.  How could he possibly find me?”

Jake handed her a folded newspaper.  “We found this on your doorstep this morning.  He could be anyone you talk to on the street, Summer.  Anyone.”

She opened the Providence Journal Bulletin. In red marker, the words YOU’RE NEXT were boldly scribbled on the page.  Taped to the top was a picture of Summer walking out of Bobbi’s apartment.  The picture had the mark of a bullseye over her face.

Summer swayed in her seat.  The serial killer had been stalking her and she’d never even known.  The growing ball of fear she’d walked around with for the past week burned in her stomach.


She thought to this morning when she’d found the parking ticket on her car in front of Bobbi’s apartment building.  A nice man had stopped his walk when she’d ranted in frustration over what was happening and told her the day would get better.  It could have been him.  It could be anyone.  How would she know?

“For your own safety,” Matt said.  “You are going to be leaving Providence today.  I’m not arguing the point.”

“But…  You’re sending me to the middle of no man’s land.”

“South Dakota isn’t exactly the South Pole.  You’ll be working fire dispatch.  It’s a good cover.  I’ve already briefed the superintendent in charge of the fire unit in the area.”

“Fire dispatch.”

Matt looked at her file.  “You’ve been trained in it.  It’s a perfect cover.  If the killer continues looking for you he won’t be looking for a fire dispatcher.”

“Why would he look for me in South Dakota?  What the hell is even in South Dakota?”

Kevin’s voice was sobering.  “Safety.”


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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Dakota Heat



Dakota Hearts Book 3
Dakota Heat

Hotshot Sam McKinnon was always leaving town, chasing another fire until his own hometown became vulnerable during the fire season after a big flood left debris and devastation in its path.  He didn't expect out of town dispatcher, Summer Bigelow, to catch his eye or his heart.

It hadn't been Summer's idea to move from Providence to South Dakota, but when a serial murderer suddenly turns his attention on Summer, her boss insists she leave town. She's dealt with high tension, life or death situations many times in her job.  It isn’t until she meets Sam McKinnon and falls for the sexy hotshot that she really begins to know fear.  The fear of losing someone she loves.


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Excerpt 

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Summer Bigelow glared at the police chief of the Providence Police Department as she sat back against the chair.  She’d thought the parking ticket she’d found on her windshield this morning was a bad start of the day and it could only get better from there.

She’d been wrong.

Matt Jorgensen looked at her with sympathy.  “You’re one of the best dispatchers I have, Summer.  I’m not disputing that.”

“Then why?” she said.

Matt raised his voice over hers. “But I’m not going to risk your life to some crazy stalker who has already killed four women.”

Summer’s mouth dropped open.  She forced air into her lungs as she looked at the two detectives sitting in the office with them.  Jake Santos and Kevin Gordon had been working this case right from the beginning and had been doing drive-by checks on her ever since the killer had called into her line.

“There was a fourth?”

The grim look they both offered was answer enough.

“Last time he called in, he reported there was a fourth,” Jake said.  “A kid discovered her taking a short cut through a parking lot on the way to school this morning.”

“But he called in last week.  He said...”  Summer fought to think through the chain of events that had transpired over the last two weeks.

Kevin Gordon got up from his seat and walked in front of her, sitting on the desk.  She knew his wife had been stalked by her ex-husband a few years ago and was nearly killed.

“You have to take this serious.  We are.  With Daria, we knew her ex-husband was after her and she didn’t leave town.  We were watching him and he still managed to slip through our fingers.  I thank God every day we found Daria in time.  We don’t know who this serial killer is or where he’ll be next.  All we know for sure is that based on his last phone call, he’s fixated on you.”

“Look at you,” Matt said, throwing his pen on the blotter on his desk.  “It’s been a week since that nutcase called in and I can already see the toll it’s taking on you.  You’ve got dark circles under your eyes and you look like you haven’t slept at all.  And don’t blame Bobbi’s lumpy couch, either.  You walk down the hall and I see you looking over your shoulder.  That’s no way to live, Summer.”

“He doesn’t know my name.  Bobbi said I could stay at her place as long as I need to while you watch my apartment.  How could he possibly find me?”

Jake handed her a folded newspaper.  “We found this on your doorstep this morning.  He could be anyone you talk to on the street, Summer.  Anyone.”

She opened the Providence Journal Bulletin. In red marker, the words YOU’RE NEXT were boldly scribbled on the page.  Taped to the top was a picture of Summer walking out of Bobbi’s apartment.  The picture had the mark of a bullseye over her face.

Summer swayed in her seat.  The serial killer had been stalking her and she’d never even known.  The growing ball of fear she’d walked around with for the past week burned in her stomach.


She thought to this morning when she’d found the parking ticket on her car in front of Bobbi’s apartment building.  A nice man had stopped his walk when she’d ranted in frustration over what was happening and told her the day would get better.  It could have been him.  It could be anyone.  How would she know?

“For your own safety,” Matt said.  “You are going to be leaving Providence today.  I’m not arguing the point.”

“But…  You’re sending me to the middle of no man’s land.”

“South Dakota isn’t exactly the South Pole.  You’ll be working fire dispatch.  It’s a good cover.  I’ve already briefed the superintendent in charge of the fire unit in the area.”

“Fire dispatch.”

Matt looked at her file.  “You’ve been trained in it.  It’s a perfect cover.  If the killer continues looking for you he won’t be looking for a fire dispatcher.”

“Why would he look for me in South Dakota?  What the hell is even in South Dakota?”

Kevin’s voice was sobering.  “Safety.”


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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Badland Bride



Dakota Hearts Book 2
Badland Bride

Raised an Army brat, Regis Simpson was used to calling new towns home, learning to quickly make friends but never letting anyone get too close.  When devastating floods tear through the Badlands of South Dakota, she thinks Rudolph is just another town that needs to be rebuilt.  Nothing more.  The sooner she gets her work done, the sooner the people of Rudolph can heal and she can move on to the next town in need.  She never counted on the sexy town doctor, Keith “Hawk” McKinnon or his determination to break down walls she’d spent a lifetime building, making it impossible for her to leave.

Nothing pained Hawk McKinnon more than seeing people he’d known his whole life hurting.  He traded a high-paying salary at a city hospital to come back to Rudolph and make a difference where he’d dug his roots.  When the beautiful Regis Simpson comes to town offering help, he’s immediately drawn to her even though she’s spent a lifetime packing armor around her heart.  But once her work is done, she’ll be leaving again.  He’s determined to do everything possible to make her stay.


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Excerpt 

Army brats weren’t wusses. She’d been dealing with tough situations from the moment she’d pushed her way into the world. At least that’s what Regis Simpson’s daddy always told her. She should've known better than to traipse through mud and rubble without proper boots, no matter how stylish her flats looked in the store window. Her reward was the nice chunk of medal from the rusty fence that had somehow embedded itself into her ankle when she’d slipped.
     “You’re going to need a tetanus shot for that.”
     Regis looked up at the man standing over her. He’d just taken her on a thirty minute walk around his property to assess flood damage. It wasn’t pretty. Now as she was sprawled out on the muddy ground, smelling earth and Lord knows what else decaying, she tried to focus on the wetness from the ground seeping into the fabric of her pants rather than the pain in her leg.
     “I’m up on my shots,” she said, trying her best not to pass out as she pulled her leg away from the twisted fence. 
     Regis took the man’s proffered hands in hers and welcomed his help. She’d already been out to six properties today and couldn’t remember all the people she’d talked to.
     Tim Bennett. That was this guy’s name, right? Relief flooded her. She hated when her brain became overloaded with details. And Mr. Bennett had bigger worries than the damage she’d done to her leg to help keep her straight. Everyone in Rudolph and the surrounding towns in the Badlands of South Dakota were worried about whether or not insurance would cover enough to repair the damage to their property after the worst ice storms and flooding in a hundred years had swept through the area. That’s what she did and the only reason she was on a marathon tour of destruction. And there were days she wondered why she was still doing it after five straight years of living out of a suitcase and calling the local motel in Anytown, USA her home.
     “No, you really should have Hawk take a look at that. It looks pretty bad. Might need stitches.”
     “Hawk? What is he, a local Native American shaman or something?”
     Mr. Bennett smiled. “More like the local dare devil. Or he used to be anyway. People around here joke he went into medicine just so he could stitch up his own wounds because the thieving insurance companies cancelled his policy.”
     The joke fell flat and Mr. Bennett’s smile immediately faltered as if he suddenly remembered who he was speaking to. “Let me see if I can find something clean to wrap that leg.”
     “I’d appreciate that.”
     Regis couldn’t exactly blame Mr. Bennett for being nervous. It didn’t matter what town she was in across America. When a natural disaster struck an area, it caused upheaval and destruction that she needed to help these fine folks fix. She was their hope of a swift recovery…so long as she approved their claim.
     And that, she was sure, was the reason for Mr. Bennett’s nervous energy.
     While she waited, she carefully tried to put weight on her foot but felt warm moisture seep into her shoe as pain shot up her leg. She quietly let out a colorful stream of expletives that she knew sounded odd coming out of the mouth of someone in her position. But being raised by a single father on Army bases around the world, she heard a thing or two that made even her toes curl.


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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Her Dakota Man



Dakota Hearts Book 1
HER DAKOTA MAN


Everyone knows that the Dakotas didn’t get the name Badlands for nothing.  Harsh weather and rough living are a way of life.  But single dad, Logan McKinnon, had seen more than his share of bad times after the death of his wife a year ago.  The last thing he needs is Poppy Erickson, an old flame and his late wife’s best friend, showing up unannounced to help after devastating floods nearly washed away their hometown.  With no place to stay in town, he has no choice but to offer her a bed at his house.  But can he live under the same roof with a woman he’d once loved passionately without feeling he’s betraying his late wife?

Poppy Erickson had spent the year wondering how all their lives might have been different after hearing the death bed confession of her childhood friend.  She’d left South Dakota years ago because she couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved loving another woman.  But now she knows the truth.  She’ll keep the promise she made to a friend, but will Logan understand when he learns the truth?  More important, can they again recapture the passion that had been between them all those years ago?

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Excerpt 

One look on Logan McKinnon’s face told Poppy that his foul mood had very little to do with the devastating destruction all around the Badlands of South Dakota…and everything to do with her showing up in town after nearly ten years.
     She didn’t have to be standing next to him to feel his anger simmering just below the surface of his composure. Sitting in her rental sedan was close enough. What the hell was she thinking coming back home? Why had she made that ridiculous promise to Kelly?
     She parked the car next to his truck and took a deep breath, mumbling under her breath as she pulled the door handle, “This may just turn out to be the stupidest thing you have ever done, girl.”
     Truth was, even as pissed off as Logan looked, he was still an amazing sight to see. Part of her had hoped that she was wrong. That she’d gotten over him a long time ago. That she’d take one look at him, make sure he and Keith were okay, and be able to get back in her car and drive right to the airport in Rapids City.
     He turned to her, standing tall and proud. His thick dark hair blew in the March wind, fluttering around his face and making him all the more strikingly handsome.
     Yep. Stupid.
     He was taller than she’d remembered, and he’d long since lost that too-lean teenage body that had driven her crazy in her youth. He worked hard on his ranch and it showed in how much his arms and chest had filled with muscles.
     Despite the cold, he’d taken off his jacket while he worked in the yard and Poppy had a clear view of just how much his male body had filled out in places she’d dreamed of touching.
     Lord, help her. She was in trouble. And she hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet. She pushed the door open and stepped outside to get it over with. It was either going to be the shortest visit on record…or the life changing experience she’d been dreaming of ever since she was a teenager.
     “Hi, Logan.”
     Logan starred at her for a long, agonizing moment. She read the emotional tug of war playing on his face as the sudden chill from the South Dakota winds bit into her exposed skin like a whipping.
     Then his expression turned hard. “What are you doing here?”
     He must have heard the car drive up. But Logan’s four-year-old son, Keith, remained so focused on the mud puddle he was poking a stick into to even notice anyone was around. That was good. The next few minutes would go easier for both of them if Keith weren’t aware of the tension.
     Logan stared at her as if he’d been startled. Or maybe too focused on making sure his son was safely playing nearby to notice her car had driven up.
     Or perhaps he’d been too pre-occupied with assessing the damage the recent angry South Dakota weather had done to his property. Poppy had seen just how Mother Nature had shown no mercy to her childhood town as she drove from the airport to the ranch. She couldn’t exactly blame Logan for being in a foul mood because of that.
     Seeing her was just the icing on the cake.
     “What the hell are you doing here, Poppy?” he repeated.


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