Midweek Tease: Secrets and Lies

MWTease15Good morning, and welcome to this week’s tease facilitated by Angelica Dawson. Each week various authors post an exerpt from one of their books. There is a wide variety of choices, something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

This week, I’m going to post an exerpt from Secrets and Lies, Book Four of the Hearts of Braden series. This eight book series, written by eight different authors,  does not need to be read in order. While they center on the town of Braden Iowa and have recurring characters, each books stands alone.

About the Book:

Secrets&LiesFinaleBookSmall (2)DEA agent, Emily Shepherd, is after the Chef, a crystal meth cook, who sets up labs for the Mexican cartel and walks away—the same man responsible for the deaths of her husband and unborn child. Her search leads her to Braden, Iowa, a small town just right for the Chef’s specialty. But identifying her quarry won’t be easy when she’s up against a woman who sees her as a threat, a male chauvinistic deputy sheriff, and an attractive school principal who might just be at the center of it all.
Jackson Harris has sworn off women. Life is satisfactory, if lonely, until he meets a hazel-eyed damsel in distress who gets under his skin, and triggers that protective instinct of his. There’s a killer in town, one who may or may not be a notorious drug lord. Finding him, and keeping his town, his students, and Emily safe, may be harder than he thinks.
Love is breaking out in Braden, Iowa. Follow all the romance with this collection of stories. Secrets and Lies is part of the Hearts of Braden Series, a multi-author series Secrets and Lies stands alone for your reading enjoyment, but the story doesn’t need to end there.

Secrets and Lies is available from Amazon.

This week’s Tease: In this scene, Emily sees the hero for the first time. 

There were half a dozen men standing or sitting at the bar, most of them still dressed in what they’d probably worn on their job sites. One man with red hair and a face full of freckles seemed vaguely familiar, but it was the dark haired man in a short-sleeved, powder blue shirt and dress pants who caught her attention. As her father would’ve said, he’d just had his ears lowered as the tan lines at the side of his face and neck testified, but it was his resemblance to Alex that stopped her in her tracks.

He looked her up and down appraisingly the way men sometimes did, and she fought the urge to squirm, well aware that she’d been the first one to stare. Having a man look at her that way shouldn’t have bothered her since it had happened to her time and again before the accident, but back then she’d been someone worthy of a second glance. Now, she resembled an anorexic teenager, not a woman deserving of admiring looks.

All eyes had turned to her when she entered the bar, and she could see the curiosity and interest in them, but one man’s chocolate brown eyes, unlike Alex’s blue ones, disturbed her, seeming to look beyond her outward appearance and into her soul. Alex had been the only man to ever affect her this way. Was it because this guy resembled her late husband that she felt his magnetic pull? He looked more like a businessman than an itinerant worker, although he could be an insurance adjuster or with FEMA.

Great, a town full of single men, anyone of which could be the Chef, and they’re looking at me as if I’m today’s special.

Fighting the urge to fidget, knowing she didn’t want to be perceived as a snooty bitch, but not in the mood for company, especially from the man who interested her, she walked over to the closest table, purposely facing away from him, focusing her attention on the ball game on the television set mounted high on the wall. Any one of those men could be her target. While she definitely hoped to flush the Chef out, the last thing she wanted to do was court disaster by accidentally building a personal relationship with the monster.

“Hi. I’m Jenny. What can I get you?” the brown haired, brown eyed, waitress in short-shorts and a tight T-shirt with “Buddy’s Bar” emblazoned across her chest asked, smiling and showing off a perfect set of white teeth.

“Hello Jenny. Nice to meet you. I’m Em. How about a menu and a small draft?” she asked, envying the girl her slender yet curvy body. Making friends with the barmaid might be a good way to learn a little more about the people in Braden. Sooner or later, just about everybody in town probably came through that door.

“Light or regular?”

“Light, please.”

“Coming right up.” She moved away quickly.

Emily focused on the game once more, not really seeing the screen but remembering the last time she and Alex had gone to a place like this. They’d been with Kyle and his girlfriend, celebrating Kyle’s promotion to agent-in-charge. That had been more than three years ago, before the baby, before the raid. Would she ever be able to go anywhere without memories bombarding her?

“Here you go.” Jenny placed the small glass of beer in front of her, leaving a menu on the table.

Emily drank deeply from the glass, allowing the icy beer to quench her thirst. The feeling of being watched came over her, and goosebumps puckered her skin. She tried to ignore the sensation, but finally, curiosity won out, and she turned back to the bar, gazing directly into the mesmerizing brown eyes of new haircut man.

He looked away the moment he realized she caught him staring.

Was he the Chef? Had he recognized her despite the plastic surgery and the weight loss? If he had, then she’d been burned but good. Don’t jump to conclusions. Maybe I resemble someone he knows, just as he reminds me of Alex, but either way, I’m definitely getting this to go. She turned away, opened the menu, and perused the choices.

“Have you decided?” Jenny asked coming back to check on her.

“Yeah. I’ll have the burger on a pretzel roll, an order of fries, and can you make it to go?”

“Sure thing. Everything on your burger?”

“Why not? And can you add a couple of cans of ginger ale?”

“Will do.” The waitress hurried away.

Emily turned back to the television and her glass of beer, aware the man at the bar was watching her again. She needed to make friends here. People who could tell her who was who and what might have changed recently in the small town, but those people had to be locals. She’d meet with Sheriff Hines in the morning, and maybe if she could describe the stranger at the bar, he could tell her who he was. She wasn’t ready to jump into bed with anyone, but she was desperately lonely and what harm would there be in making friends with someone she could trust?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s tease. See you next week! Now, please visit the other teasers. You won’t regret it.

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Tuesday Tales. From a Word:PAINT

Badge for TT - very small (1)Welcome back to Tuesday Tales. It’s always fun to participate in this flash fiction blog hop.  This week, the word is PAINT. As always, I’m continuing with Charley, Bill, and Shirley, the characters I created for  Hello Again, my paranormal/romance/suspense. I hope you enjoy this heart-to-heart talk between Charley and Shirley.  Last week’s post from a picture actually comes after this scene. Don’t forget to visit the other Tuesday Tales’posts.

SueParaCoverDraft5 (1)Shoving her fist angrily into the bread dough once more, Charley pounded the white ball viciously, as if it were somehow to blame for every bad thing that had happened to her in the last five years. She was furious at God, Mother Nature, and whoever else she’d like to point the finger at for her current situation, but the truth was this was all her fault—hers and hers alone. Beads of sweat dotted her brow. Her upper arms ached from the unusual exertion.

“You’re certainly angry with someone,” Shirley said and chuckled. “From the way you’re pounding that dough, I’d say it was far more than one person.”

Feeling her cheeks heat, Charley eased up on the inoffensive ball in front of her.

“I hope I didn’t ruin it,” she answered miserably. “These days it’s as if everything I touch gets destroyed. Take Matilda, my car. I’m a good mechanic, yet I ignored a critical piece of equipment. If I hadn’t, I’d have made it to Saskatoon the day before yesterday, well ahead of the twister, signed my contract, and would be looking for a place to live. Now, because of my own lack of diligence, I’ve lost everything that mattered to me: my tools, Mike’s ashes, my grandmother’s linens and china. I may not even have a job, let alone a vehicle, or a place to live. Half of my clothes is ruined, and what’s left smells like mildew.”

Touching her shoulder, the heat of Shirley’s work-roughened hand comforted her. “You haven’t lost everything.” With her index finger, Shirley tapped Charley’s temple. “Your memories are sacred, and they’re locked away safely up here and in your heart, but no one can survive on old memories. We have to make new ones. Clothes can be replaced. The rest will be fine once it’s washed, and when we leave you’ll take whatever you like from my daughter’s drawers.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Yes, you can, and you will. I didn’t know why I’d kept them all these years, but now I do. They may be old, but jeans, T-shirts, and sweaters don’t go out of style. Even the skirt you wear now would pass muster.”

Charley nodded. Since she didn’t follow fashion the way others might, Shirley was right.

“Sometimes we have to let go and be cleansed before we can start over,” Shirley continued. “You’re here because this is where you need to be wi’cin, not by accident because you made a mistake. The spirits brought you to me for healing—and I’m not just talking about your leg. The dead don’t need you, but the living do.”

“How can I help anyone when I can’t even help myself? I can barely walk. I’ve painted myself into a corner, and I’m well and truly stuck. I can’t go back, and I can’t move ahead.”

Shirley smiled compassionately. “Paint dries, little one, and when it does, there’s something bright and new to enlighten even the darkest places. I know what it’s like to lose the ones you love. When my daughter disappeared, it was as if a piece of my heart was torn out. I waited for her to come back, even though the spirits told me she wouldn’t. In time, the pain hurt less, but when the spirits took my man, I ached just as I had the day she left. I was alone and empty. For a long time, I refused to listen to the voices, but in time, they told me how to help others and in doing so, the pain eased. I’ve been waiting for you, for Bill. Once I accomplish this task I’ll be whole again, and so will you.”

Charley swallowed awkwardly. Was Shirley foreseeing her own death?

doughReaching for the large ball, Shirley pulled off a small chunk. “As far as the bread goes, I’m sure it’ll be fine,” she said, changing the subject. “It’s unlikely you could over knead it by hand, no matter how strong you think you are.” After rolling it in her hand, she placed it on the floured table and stretched it slowly the way a pizza chef would when he was getting ready to make a new pie, but she kept stretching it until the dough was almost transparent. “It’s perfect. Tonight’s bread will be light and airy.”

Charley looked away, surprised the compliment should bring tears to her eyes. She watched Shirley divide the bread into two loaf pans and then make a dozen smaller balls with the remainder. Satisfied, the old woman carried the two pans and the cookie sheet over to the stove.

“If I tried that, I’d have dropped the baking sheet for sure,” Charley said a self-deprecating laugh bitter on her tongue.

“You’re far too hard on yourself. If you’d done this as often as I have, you could do it with your eyes closed. So, what were you thinking about while you beat the daylights out of that dough?” She opened the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of lemonade.

“The storm, Mike, and Bill going off when you say we’re in danger—that gun.” Charley indicated the rifle hanging on the wall near the door. “My life’s become a nightmare, one in which horrible things happen over and over again. As soon as I think I’ve overcome a challenge, another one appears ten times worse than the previous one.” Tears filled her eyes. “I’m so tired of hurting, Shirley. I walk around with this big empty space inside of me. I thought this new job would make things better. New home, new friends, nothing from the life I had to pull me down, and instead, I find I’ve dug a hole for myself, one so deep I’ve got no idea how I’ll ever find my way out. I wish your spirits had let me die out there.”

“Don’t talk nonsense,” Shirley said, her tone cross. “Let’s go sit outside for a while before the storm clouds roll in again. I want you to tell me all about your old life. Mike’s spirit clings to you, but he needs to leave, and you have to let him go. You’re both being stubborn about this. He can’t move on until you release him. Wallowing in your grief like this, year after year, pains him as much as it hurts you. He needs to be freed from this plain so he can move onto the spirit realm where he belongs. He’s done everything he can to make you happy. Once you accept that you can love again, that someone can love you and need you, he’ll be free and so will you.”

Well, that’s it for this week.  Now, please drop by and visit all the Tuesday Tales.

Look Who Dropped By Today: Vikki McCombie

This morning, it’s my pleasure to bring back an author whose books are among my favorites. Vikki McCombie is a talented multigenre author whom you might remember from previous visits here under her pen names, Vikki Vaught and V.L.Edwards.  This morning, she’s here to introduce you to her newest romance: A New Beginning, a sweet, inspirational, clean contemporary romance that will touch your heart.

Take it away, Vikki.

About the book:

A new beginning or a life stuck in the past?

When grief pulls her liVikkiCover-draft5fe apart, will she seek a new beginning, or will fear keep her from finding a forever kind of love?

Can her new infant son and a friendship with a naval officer offering more, give her the chance for a new beginning?

Dare she risk her heart to find a new beginning?

Cover Blurb:

On the day Nanci discovers she’s going to have a baby, she receives the devastating news every Navy SEAL’s wife never wants to hear. Her husband’s death sends her into the depths of despair. As she struggles to accept, she’s grateful for the support from the officer assigned to her.

Will she turn to God letting Him show her the path to a new beginning, or will fear of loving and losing keep her locked in the past?

When Lt. Daniel Foster’s appointed to assist a SEAL’s widow, the last thing he expects is a woman who can break through the barricade guarding his heart. As he helps her with the aftermath, he offers her a shoulder to lean on, but would like to offer more.

Should he allow their friendship to blossom and trust God will show him lowering his defenses is the only way to love?

Buy Link:

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AC7V0EK

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28504804-a-new-beginning-for-nanci

Author Note:

photo (2)As a Navy wife for many years, I know how hard it is to put fears at bay and go on with your life when your loved one is far from home. I want to thank all the military men and women who serve and protect our great country, along with their families who support and love them.

I spent over twenty years in Hampton Roads, Virginia and grew to love the area. I love the ocean and enjoyed its beauty almost every day as I traveled from Hampton to Virginia Beach where I worked. When this story came to me, I had to make Virginia Beach the setting.

What Nanci goes through in A New Beginning for Nanci is what countless military wives have faced since the creation of our nation. What I want to show in this story is that there is always a new beginning out there. We just have to go after it and not allow tragedy to keep us frozen in fear.

There are lessons learned in this love story. Nanci could have easily stayed locked in her grief instead of seeking God’s help. Both she and Daniel were brought up in faith-based homes, but they had drifted away. Fortunately for them, they chose to return to their childhood faith which helped them move forward into God’s light, depending on Him to guide them to a new beginning that will stand the test of time.

While this is definitely an inspirational romance, it does have a couple of scenes with minimal sensual touches and kissing. Nanci and Daniel have a strong physical attraction between them, so it is hard to resist, but never fear, they do not fully give in to temptation.

Excerpt:

After setting Tiger on the slate floor, Nanci checked her voice mail on the home phone, but still no call from Bryan. Of course, his mission was a secret, as usual. She had no idea what time zone he was in. It could be the middle of the night for him. After feeding the cat, she settled on the couch with the paperback she’d purchased earlier in the day. Tiger curled beside her, and she became engrossed in the book, especially the part concerning the first trimester of pregnancy.

The doorbell rang.

How odd.

She couldn’t imagine who it could be. Probably some kids selling something.

But a rush of anxiety flooded her system as icy prickles raced along her arms.

The doorbell rang again.

She laid her book down, went to the door, and used the peep hole to look out. Three men in Navy uniforms stood on her front porch.

Her heart caught in her throat.

Three men usually meant bad news, especially naval officers.

No, maybe they have the wrong house. Maybe they’re collecting money for some type of charity.

Anything but what it might mean.

Her body began to shake.

Her knees grew weak.

No, no! She would not allow those terrifying thoughts to enter her consciousness even for a moment.

Nonetheless, her hand trembled as she opened the door. Her voice shook as she said, “Hello. W-what can I d-do for you?”

The older officer removed his cover, tucking it under his arm. “Good afternoon, we’re here to see Mrs. Bryan Bowman.”

“I’m Mrs. Bowman. Please, c-come in.” Terror gripped her as she showed them into the living room.

Her mind screamed—Oh, God, please don’t let Bryan be hurt.

Author Bio:

Vikki McCombie started her writing career when a story invaded her mind and would not leave. Ever since then, the stories keep coming and writing is now her passion. Over the last five years, she has written well over a half dozen romances and is presently working on her next, while fighting off the other future characters shouting my turn!

Whether Vikki’s stories are contemporary or historical, she’s a romantic at heart and gives all her heroes and heroines a “happily ever after.” Her contemporary romances also have a strong inspirational element to them.

Vikki writes her historical romances under the pen name Vikki Vaught. Miss Kathleen’s Scandalous Baron is scheduled to release in the first quarter of 2016 and is the second book in her new Honorable Rogue series.

Vikki lives in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world to put up with her when she is in a writing frenzy. When she isn’t writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair reading her Kindle, lost in a good book with a cup of tea at her side.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vikkivaught.com/home.html

Email: mailto:vvaught512@aol.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VikkiVaught?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vvaught512

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+VikkiMcCombie/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/vaughtmccombie/

Amazon Author Page: http://smile.amazon.com/Vikki-Vaught/e/B008EE7TG2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1433778387&sr=1-2-ent

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5208041.Vikki_Vaught

 

 

Look Who Dropped By Today: K.C. Sprayberry

513LpL9rroL._AA160_This morning, I’d like to welcome fellow Solstice author K.C. Sprayberry. In addition to finding time to write and edit her own work, K.C. works tirelessly as acquisitions editor for the Summer Solstice line. She’s an avid tweeter and would love to hear from her readers. Good morning, K.C. and welcome to Living the Dream. I’ve recently started Paradox Lost: Their Path, the first book in this series and I’m hooked.  This book reminds me of books such as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

If you had the chance to read  Paradox Lost: Their path youcame to know DJ, Matt, and Elisa, and discover the path destiny has laid out for them. In Paradox Lost: The Ultimate Paradox, these triplets each have to make their way through a series of obstacles and prepare for a showdown with Rogues.

This new story brings out new information about the Sullivans and the destiny none of them was aware would be theirs to claim, along with several big surprises.

 

Paradox Lost: The Ultimate Paradox releases January 15, 2016!

Pre-order here Paradox Lost The Ultimate Paradox

Blurb

The past changed the future … the future must salvage the past.

3cda6-paradox2blostFalsely accused of murdering his father, DJ faces a terrible penalty. That’s the least of his worries—Uncle Toby and his army of Rogues are bent on tearing history apart, and DJ and his allies have to stop them any way they can. But only a True Neutral can save their world, and The First, his family’s ancestor, is long dead. His brother Matt was killed by Toby’s actions, and his sister Elisa is fighting her own demons.

The past created by their uncle needs to be uncreated into what it was meant to be. And these three teenagers, triplets and direct descendants of The First, must learn to ally with each other to correct the errors made real in the past.

And the Gateways reveal themselves as something no one ever suspected….

About the Author:

 

eb641-k-c-2bsprayberryBorn and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines.

Book Trailer

 

Social Media Links:

 

Facebook   Twitter   Blog   Website   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page   Google +

Pinterest   Manic Readers   AUTHORSdB


 

Midweek Tease is Back!

MWTease15Happy New Year! Midweek Tease is back thanks to the lovely Angelica Dawson who picked up the torch from Sandra Bunino. I’ve enjoyed being part of this group and reading all of their wonderful, and sometimes sizzling offerings, not to mention have gained valuable insight into my own efforts thanks to their wonderful comments and yours!

For my first tease of the year, I’m going to take you back to the future. On Monday, I released episode three od my space opera Eloisia. This is a post-apocalytic sci-fi seriesin which the Earth has been completely destroyed. In an effort to save humanity, the Intergalactic Peace Council designed the Explorer mission in which six ships, each laded with six-hundred matched pairs of humans and a sampling of the other life on Earth, head outside the galaxy looking for a new planet to call home. But, not everyone wanted humanity to survive.

Here’s your first tease of 2016: Eloisia: Episode Three Sabotage

EloisiaEpisodeThreeColonel Jim Striker stood beside Darla, his “chosen” mate and ally, watching as the last of his command crew exited the conference room. He ran his hand through his short, dark hair, convinced he’d soon see it turn gray, and sighed. How much more of this could he take before he cracked?

The constant murmur of thoughts belonging to others disturbed him, but he’d take that over waking up in the silence of a ship hurtling through space. At least when the others woke up to this nightmare, they wouldn’t be alone. The buzzing intensified. How did Darla manage to stay focused? Unless he got this under control soon, it would drive him crazy.

“I won’t let that happen. You’ll get used to it,” she said, reading his mind as if he’d spoken, something that still unnerved him.

“Maybe, but I’ve got a long way to go before I can make sense of it. The only one whose thoughts are clear is you.”

“Jim,” she began, placing her hand on his arm, intensifying the clarity of the connection between them.

They stood in silence, but he felt her moving around inside his head, probing, verifying what he was saying. She thought he was lying? Irritation filled him. Why the hell would she think that? She was the interloper here, the one whose entire past and existence was a mystery. Why would he lie to her—as if he could—considering he’d let her inside his damn head? She could do whatever she wanted in there, plant suggestions of her own—hell, she could tell him to order the ship flown into the nearest star—and he’d be powerless not to obey. What other proof did she need of his trust?

Darla flinched as if he’d struck her, but pressed harder on his arm. Glancing down, he saw his skin shine beneath her glowing hand. Having her moving around in his mind, especially now that he doubted the wisdom of giving her free rein like this, should’ve been an uncomfortable exercise, and yet, it was strangely soothing, beyond enjoyable, and felt not only familiar but right. He heard her self-doubt as she came up against walls of resistance she hadn’t expected to find. The annoying sounds subsided and knowing she was only trying to help, he relaxed, opening himself up more fully to her. He groaned when the action triggered deep sexual need.

What the hell?

“I’m sorry,” he said aloud, forcing her out of his head as he fought to control his sudden need to bury himself in her. “I don’t understand this…”

Her pale skin flushed, her nipples taut against her uniform. So, he wasn’t the only one who felt this desire.

“Don’t worry about it. What you’re feeling isn’t real—I mean it is, but it’s not for me. I used memories and your libido to counteract the worst of the nightmares created by the block. I’m as much to blame for this as you are.” Her color deepened. Was that shame or guilt?

“Both, Colonel,” she whispered in answer to his unspoken question. “This urge you have to mate with me isn’t real. It’s somehow become part of the block.”

“Well, it feels damn real,” he growled, unable to keep his hands off her any longer. He pulled her close to him until she was flush against his body, his firm arousal touching her abdomen. “Tell me again that this isn’t real. Tell me I don’t want you more than I’ve ever wanted another woman in my life.”

“I…”

His mouth crushed down on hers, and he reeled from the depth of his passion, unlike anything he’d ever felt before. His need, fueled by his lust, forced the kiss deeper. His tongue invaded her mouth, plunging, tasting, making this kiss something more than the mere meeting of lips. He continued to explore her until all the clicking murmurs in his head were gone. The only thing he heard was her heartbeat and his as they meshed. His hand moved up her body to cup her breast, and her skin heated under his touch. She was burning up, taking him with her.

She pushed him away forcefully, and her mind screamed in his. We aren’t alone. Stop, by the goddess stop, before I become one with you.

Interested in reading more? All Eloisia Episodes are available from Amazon

Eloisia: Episode One Stowaway

Eloisia: Episode Two Secrets

Eloisia: Episode Three Sabotage

Now, please take a few minutes to visit the other posts on this weekly blog hop. There’s something for everyone!

Tuesday Tales: From a Picture

Badge for TT - very small (1)Hello again, and welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales. As is the practice, once a month, we limit ourselves to 300 words, based on a picture. This month, the picture was author’s choice from a selection given. Since it’s definitely winter here, I thought a wintery memory would work.

This is the image I chose and I was able to fit it nicely into Hello Again, the wip created especially for this blog hop.

chalet

So, without further ado, this scene takes place shortly after Bill has left and the women have finished kneading the bread for tonight’s supper.

Enjoy!

SueParaCoverDraft5 (1)Shirley placed two cups on the table and sat. “Time for a break. The bread has to rise.”

“Mint tea! That’s my favorite,” Charley said, reaching for the cup. “But I haven’t had it in ages—not since Mike’s death.”

“Why not?”

“Memories. We rented a chalet at Tremblant, a resort  about two hours away from us. It’s a ski resort, but it’s open year round.”

“I’ve always admired the graceful skiers I watch on the television, but when I was young, skiing was a rich, white man’s sport.”

“It’s still an expensive sport, but color and race don’t matter now. I can’t downhill ski to save my soul, but Tremblant has tubing, too.”

“Tubing?”

“Like sledding, but you have a set path and go much faster. We must’ve gone up that T-bar and down the tube run thirty times. By the time we finished for the day, I was wet right through and exhausted.”

“But you were happy,” Shirley said and smiled. “I don’t need the spirits to tell me how much you loved that man, wi’cin.”

“He was my life, Shirley, my whole world, and without him…” Tears crept down her cheeks. “He was the best man I’ve ever known, the most considerate husband. When we got back to the chalet, we stripped off our snowsuits and just put on the fluffy, white robes the resort provided. He made a huge fire in the hearth and went into the kitchenette. I thought he was getting a drink. When he came back, he handed me a mug of mint tea. He’d brought the tea bags from home, knowing it was my favorite. I miss him, Shirley. I’ll miss him until the day I die.”

“But life goes on, little one. Bill’s a good man, too.”

Well, that’s it for me.  Now, please drop by and visit all the Tuesday Tales to see who chose which picture and what they’ve created based on it.

Look Who Dropped by Today: Angela Smith

star for coverHappy New year! May 2016 bring you all the happiness you deserve. Good health and good fortune to you and yours as we embark on a leap year. Let your star shine brightly. We get an extra day, so let’s make it count.

It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new author to Living The Dream.Please welcome Angela Smith who brings exerpts from two of her books to share with you. Burn on the Western Slope  and Fatal Snag.

Burn on the Western SlopeBlurb for Burn on the Western Slope:

Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels. With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time. When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life.

Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the death of his partner, Special Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain retreat. That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door. He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes compromised when his attraction to her heats up. Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to lobe, including Reagan?

Excerpt:

“The snow’s great, the skiing is great. When are you going out to ski?” Garret asked.

Reagan fumbled with the button on her sweater. When Chayton set her drink on the bar, she tightened her hands around the glass to curb her jitters.

“I hate to admit it, but I don’t ski.”

“You don’t ski?”

“I mean, I never have.”

“You have to be tempted, right?”

“Uh, not really.”
This was where he’d leave. He would think she was crazy, boring, uninteresting, and he’d find someone more fitting to talk to. Only, he didn’t. He smiled, his eyes twinkling with interest. At least, she thought it was interest. It could have been pity, or mockery, or…

No. She cupped a hand over her cheek, as if that would soothe her insecurities. The cold condensation from the glass she’d held sent a chill between her shoulder blades.

“How long are you staying?”

“A month, at least.”

“Do you want to learn to ski? Because I’m a pretty good teacher. And Tanyon is a great place to learn. It’s busy, but not as busy as some of the bigger resort towns.”

“Oh, I don’t know.”

“Yes. You have to try it at least once. You’ll love it. Chayton can hook you up with gear.”

“Well, I’ve always had a secret desire to plunge down a twelve-thousand-foot drop.”

Garret’s eyes sparkled, like sunbeams skipping across the ocean and landing under her skin. But even sunbeams on a clear summer afternoon wouldn’t affect her like this.

“It’s not so bad,” he said. “We’ll start on the bunny slopes. Then, if you fall it’ll only be half that.”

“I’ve seen the size of these mountains and there’s not a bunny slope in three-hundred miles.”

“Sure there is.”

Reagan clamped her mouth over the straw and slurped the cocktail. It tasted divine, the sugary, minty flavor inciting sweet thoughts of Garret’s lips.

“I’m not sure I’m ready for that,” Reagan said, running her tongue over her lips as she rested her glass on the counter. “Skiing, that is,” she quickly added. He would never know she’d been thinking of kissing him, but she had to force herself to look away from his mouth. Nudging Naomi, she stood. “It’s time for me to go. I need to settle in. I haven’t even unpacked yet.” And she had no intention of doing so now, but it was a good excuse to leave. She wiped her hands on her jeans before extending her hand to his, praying hers weren’t clammy. “It was great to meet you.”

Garret grasped her proffered hand and nested his other on top, engulfing her hand. She burned. Everywhere. “Meet me on the slopes tomorrow?”

Reagan bit her lip and glanced at the floor. “Tomorrow? I don’t know. I might need a little more time to get used to this place.”

“We’ll start with sledding. You can’t not like sledding.”

She didn’t know, seeing as how she’d never done it, but cozying up to him at a hundred miles an hour would probably be amazing.

“I’m safe,” Garret said as he dropped his hand.

“You’re what?” she asked, meeting his eyes. Maybe he was a good guy in most people’s standards, but he made her heart beat too fast to be anything but dangerous.

“I’m harmless. Several people in town will vouch for me.”

“But I don’t know them either.”

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Blurb for Fatal Snag: 

Fatal SnagHollywood fashion consultant Naomi Fisher is happy to use her obsessive-compulsive planning to assist with her cousin’s wedding, but her history with the sexy and sullen Chayton Chambers, the groom’s brother, terrifies her. When the groom is kidnapped at his own wedding, Chayton and Naomi rush to find an important relic to satisfy the ransom before her cousin becomes a widow before a bride. Naomi trades garters for guns as survival, and love becomes a deadly game impossible to resist.

Excerpt: 

From the hushed voices and quick glances between Garret and Buchanan and the other officers in the room, Naomi knew something was up. Garret and Buchanan disappeared for a time, and when they came back in she noticed him squeeze Reagan’s hand tighter and thought she heard Chayton’s name. Garret’s face revealed no clues.

Was Chayton dead?

An officer came to stand by him. He fixed his hand on Garret’s shoulder and leaned down to say something in Garret’s ear. A shadow crossed Garret’s face.

Long, drawn-out seconds passed. Silent seconds. Naomi’s thought processes were past the point of rationality as every fear—past and present—rushed forward. She was about to jump up and demand an explanation when a door slammed, the reverberation like a cannon straight through her heart.

When Chayton walked into the room, Naomi was struck with shock the force of a tsunami. Waves surging, striking her off balance. Crushing. Washing over her, crashing down, choking her. Water in her chest. She wheezed, unable to breathe. Her thoughts tumbled with the force of the waves. The swell receded, releasing her, leaving her in a wake of relief. As she regained her momentum, her breath came in short, liberating gasps. Her heartbeat steadied. Warmth tingled her skin. She wanted to run to him, hug him, tell him how grateful she was that he was alive. Limbs shaking in exhaustion, she couldn’t stand.

Buchanan stood and shook his hand. She remained seated, her eyes focused on him as he spoke to Buchanan, trailing him as he sat across from her. His gaze found hers, forcing out the terror of his potential death. He reached out and curled his hand in hers. Warm. Assuring. Alive. She let out a weak smile, her body unable to fully express everything she felt. Relief overflowed in tears she managed to choke down.

She’d never felt so safe or so joyful. She’d feared he’d get himself killed, and they still had so much to straighten out with the police.

Her mouth was dry. She couldn’t speak if she wanted to. Garret bantered with him, but Naomi couldn’t follow the conversation. All she could think about was Chayton. He was alive. Unharmed.

Then she noticed Caleb beside him. Caleb, a friend who had never evoked those types of emotions in her. He winked at her and she smiled, returning her gaze to Chayton.

Chayton slouched in his chair and kept one hand up on the table, the other lightly holding Naomi’s. He spread out his knees in a casual stance, like he had no care in the world. Like he hadn’t almost lost his life. And as far as Naomi was concerned, she’d been pressured to the point of breaking. Being left alone in a hotel with a distraught woman. Being nearly kidnapped. Nearly smashing her face in the windshield—prevented thanks to the seatbelt. It’d been a hell of a day.

“Life with these boys will never be normal,” Naomi commented to Reagan, who was sitting beside her.

Reagan laughed and turned to her, her eyes gleaming. “No, it won’t, will it?”

Chaos was right up Reagan’s alley. She liked spontaneity and surprises.

Not Naomi. When she’d left Air Dog a few months ago, she couldn’t wait to leave. She couldn’t live the spontaneous lifestyle her cousin was so wrought to live. Picking up and moving didn’t bother Reagan, probably because she’d done it since she was a child. But Naomi needed roots, and those roots needed stable ground.

But now, the graffiti Chayton painted on her heart would be impossible to erase. She didn’t want to leave. She never wanted to leave. So maybe Chayton was a little careless. He was still the most thoughtful, intelligent, and strong-willed man she’d ever known. And she loved everything about him. Internal scars and all.

He leaned into her and bunked his nose on hers, still wearing that blasé, devil-may-care attitude. “Are you okay?” he asked. Maybe the look in his eye was casual, but his voice was full of emotion.

Her toes, her knees, her thighs, her belly, her neck, her ears trembled as the whisper-soft breath of his words branded her.

“I am now.”

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AAngela Smithbout the Author:

Angela Smith is a Texas native and was dubbed most likely to write a novel during her senior year in high school since she always had her nose stuck in a book. Although high school was decades ago, the dream began when her mom read ‘Brer Rabbit’ to her and her sister so often they could recite it back to each other before ever learning to read. Research is one of her favorite parts of piecing together a story, and she loves creating new characters. Angela started with writing romantic suspense and is branching into other genres, but she hasn’t been able to write one yet where falling in love doesn’t come into play. She works as a certified paralegal and office manager at her local District Attorney’s office and spends her free time with her husband and the animals on her small farm. Although life in general keeps her very busy, her passion for writing and getting the stories out of her head tends to make her restless if she isn’t following what some people call her destiny.

Angela Smith LOVES talking to readers. You can contact her in the following ways:

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Email – angela@loveisamystery.com