Good morning. Welcome back to another Feel Good Friday Reads, a blog where I give you a look at what inspired the story, and share a excerpt from it with you.
It’s been a crazy week as I strive to finish my latest manuscript, Hello Again. I love the premise of the new story, the charcters I’ve created, and as I polish them, I hope they’ll be good enough to please the readers.
On His Watch was originally titled, Until It’s Over and had a much different feel to it than the book eventually released.After I sold the book to Crimson Romance, the beginning of the novel changed as did the initial relationship between Nikki and Jason. In the original version of the story, Jason,the local sheriff, on his way home form a convention, rescued Nikki and her children after a downed tree had trapped them in the car during a storm. He’d been fascinated by the woman, who’d put on a brave front for her children and had been dismayed to find out that, not only was she married, but her husband was abusive. Nikki, unhappy in her marriage but unable to do anything about it had been taken by the her rescuer, and fantasized about what her life would be like had she not married a man who turned out to be not only cruel but a lousy father.When Jason gets the call to go to the house, he’s convinced the abusive husband is to blame until he finds him dead as well. He stays with nikki and in her dreams, Jason becomes her angel, the one who saved her.
My Crimson editor didn’t like that storyline, and because I’d signed a contract I was forced to change it. Don’t get me wrong. We authors hate making changes of any kind, especially those that change the charcters and their purpose, but after we gripe, complain, and tear out our hair, we usually do what we’re told. The novel is still our work, improved and polished under the watchful eye of someone who knows and understand the modern romance reader far better than I do.
So, how did On His Watch change? Well Jason became an FBI agent with a secret, and he and Nikki never met before the attack. Eventually, in the story you learn the husband was abusive, and the rest of the story unfolds more or less as it did in the original book, minus the emphasis on the angel who’d saved her before. While I still believe the original storyline would’ve worked, I have to admit, this is an excellent story, too.
Book Blurb for On His Watch:
On leave from the FBI, Special Agent Jason Spark is enjoying some welcome peace and quiet when he’s called on to help the local sheriff’s department check out a 911 call. Expecting a prank or misdial, he unwittingly steps into a horrifying bloodbath straight out of a Hollywood slasher movie, complete with clues scrawled on the wall.
Nikki Hart’s husband and son are killed, but she survives, badly beaten and barely clinging to life in a coma. When she awakens, she doesn’t know her name, recognize her face, or remember anything about herself and her past. Terrified, and unsure of whom to trust, she clings to the memory of the angel who comforted her in her darkest moments.
The investigation turns up a prime suspect: The Butcher, an elusive hired assassin for the Sicilian mob. As the news of Nikki’s recovery spreads, putting her in this ruthless killer’s sights again, Jason will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he’s learning to love.
Nikki’s beginning to believe Jason might be the angel who protected her in her dreams. But when she learns about the secret role he played in the worst day of her life, can she ever forgive him?
Sensuality Level: Sensual
On His Watch is available as part of the Boys in Blue bundle from Crimson Romance–10 edge of your seat romance suspense novels featuring law ennforcement officers –i=on sale for less than a USD!
B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-boys-in-blue-tami-lund/1123153159?ean=9781440596964
The sound of breaking glass coming from downstairs shattered the stillness. Nikki tensed. Had the sound come from the kitchen? Had she left a window open? She’d shut the bedroom window a few moments ago because the wind had picked up and its whistling sound bothered her. Could it have knocked over the crystal vase of roses Sam had sent her this morning? Perhaps Mrs. Olsen’s tabby had jumped in the window and knocked the vase over. The cat had been a regular visitor when the previous owners had lived here, and he saw no reason to curtail his visits. She’d almost had a heart attack the last time he entered, bringing her a gift—a dead mouse—and Danny had laughed himself silly at “Mommy’s girliness.” Sam, not an animal lover, had threatened to poison the animal if it came into the house again. If the cat had broken the vase, its days were numbered.
Or what if someone was in the house? She’d noticed a lot of strangers in town, some looking more unkempt than others. There were plenty of family campers, but every now and then, she’d seen so-called gold prospectors combing the Larosa hills. Trudy, Mandy’s best friend Lily’s mother, had said they were harmless but to a girl like Nikki from San Francisco, dirty, half-starved men meant trouble. They could easily be junkies desperately needing a fix.
She took a deep breath. She didn’t hear any other suspicious sounds. As Sam would say, she was letting her imagination run wild. Most likely it was one of Larosa’s minor quakes that had caused a glass to slip off the table. Just a few miles off the San Andreas Fault, the town was constantly trembling. She barely noticed the Earth’s slight shaking anymore.
Even though she’d convinced herself nothing was amiss, Nikki tiptoed to the guest room, got down on all fours, and peeked under the bed. Mandy was asleep. The child slept like the dead once she was out. Nikki reached for the flashlight, turned it off, and used the bed to leverage her body upright again.
She picked up the cell phone she’d left on the dresser earlier, made sure it was on in case Sam called, and dropped it into the right pocket of her pajama top. Carrying the flashlight, she slipped out of the room, closing the door softly behind her.
Maybe getting a dog’s a good idea. It would keep the damn cat out of the house.
Nikki stood still in the hallway and listened. The only thing she could hear was the sound of the television in the den. Someone was buying a vowel.
She reached Danny’s room and opened the door. When she saw his bed was empty, she relaxed and shook her head in resignation. As much as it annoyed her to admit it, this time Sam was right. Her imagination did tend to look for boogeymen where there weren’t any. Clearly her eight-year-old and his bottomless pit of a stomach had decided to have another bedtime snack. No doubt he was the culprit. She left the room and placed the flashlight on the hall table where it usually sat in case of a power outage.
“What did you break this time?” she called as she headed down the stairs. “I swear, you’re like a bull in a china shop.”
The sound of the garage door opening indicated Sam’s arrival. Although the clinic was nearby, since he carried major opiate drugs back and forth, Sam always took his car to work. He’d enter the house through the garage, leaving his lab coat and shoes out there and washing his hands at the sink he’d had installed for that purpose.
“Let’s get this cleaned up before your father comes in.” She turned the corner into the kitchen and stopped cold.
The fridge door was open, the pitcher of orange juice shattered on the floor beside what was left of her crystal vase full of roses, the red petals vanishing in her son’s blood. So much blood! Danny lay there, his head at an awkward angle, his eyes open, looking into the face of death. A scream froze in her throat as arms grabbed her from behind, and the sting of the knife bit into her upper back.