Release Day for Heartfelt

The Fierce Heart series continues today with the release of Heartfelt. I’m very excited to share the story of were-lynxes Asia Blue and Conrad Pike. The characters are extraordinary in that they are were-cats facing brutalities of their nemesis, The Nexus Group, but ordinary in that they face internal struggles common to many humans.

To read an excerpt, check out my post today on USA Today HEA column.


Goodreads Giveaway of Cravings

It’s Happy Giveaway time!

I’m very excited about my giveaway of Cravings on Goodreads. It just started, so be one of the first to enter.

I love the story of Asher and Kennedy, two were-lynxes who face tremendous obstacles to their love. Cravings is the second book in my Fierce Hearts series. The story of the colony of were-lynxes began with Secrets, which follows the developing problems and relationship between were-lynx Casey Mitchell and human Michelle Slade. The story continues with Cravings. Book 3 in the series, Heartfelt, releases June 22 and will follow the stories of were-lynxes Asia Blue and Conrad Pike, as the colony struggles with the evil organization, The Nexus Group.

Here’s an excerpt from Cravings:

“Kiss me?” Kennedy lifted her chin slightly. Her full lips, the luscious color of pomegranate seeds, pulled Asher close. Just one kiss.He cupped her face in his hands and placed a delicate kiss to her mouth. She pressed her body against his, and he thought how silly he was to think he could tear away with one kiss.

Please enter the give away today! I’d love for you to get to know strong but troubled Kennedy and charming and heroic Asher. Just click on the Goodreads Giveaway button and cross your fingers!

A Good Ole Sexy Time

This week My Sexy Saturday shares different ways of A Good Ole Sexy Time. This week is about…well…normal people. You know, the boys next door, the good ole boys, the boys of summer and everything in between. There is nothing more sexy than a man at the beach or getting done with his chores or doing his best at any task.

Here’s an excerpt from Dancing with Detective Danger. Hero and cop Ben Kirby is at a diner having a conversation with his former lover Sterling Aegar when he notices a suspicious man at the check out.

“Excuse me,” Sterling heard Ben say. “Is that a gun you’re holding inside your pocket?”

 Startled, the man took a step back. “Get back, I don’t want to use this,” he threatened, pulling out a revolver. “Now hurry up with the money!”

 Sterling’s attention was locked on the scene unfolding in front of her. Ben continued to walk toward the gunman, and she didn’t dare aggravate the situation by stepping in too soon. But God, the man has a gun!

 “I know you don’t want any trouble.” Ben’s voice was smooth and commanding. “But the minute you came in here, you invited trouble. Now put down the gun.”

“I told you to get back!” The man shifted his feet and shook the gun towards Ben. “Who do you think you are, Superman?”

“No, not Superman, Detective Kirby, smucko!”

With the mighty power and deftness of a mountain lion, Ben grabbed the nose of the revolver at the same time he kicked the man’s feet out from under him. The man slammed to the floor with a loud groan, and the force of the fall sent the gun flying across the polished linoleum floor. 

Her heart melted. As clichéd as it was, Ben’s strength and easy assuredness did something for her. It made her feel safe. Sure, she could take care of herself, but Ben made it so she didn’t always have to. It was a luxury she’d seldom been unable to relax into since her father’s death.

Dancing with Detective Danger amazon encore cover

Be sure to hop on to experience other moments of A Good Ole Sexy Time.

Human Nature

I’ve been in shock for three days. Ever since I first heard on the local news that a young woman put her ex-boyfriend’s puppy in a 300 degree hot oven, closed the door and propped a chair against the door, I have been upset. It’s unbelievably horrifying that a human could and would do such a terribly heartless thing. If you want to be as shocked as me, read the report in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

I try not to think about it. My brain is as horrified as the rest of me and seems to need to repeat intricate thoughts of the experience for the puppy before he or she died. An innocent animal is picked up by a familiar person, having no expectation of what is to come. He’s suddenly set on searing hot metal and cries out. No one helps him.

See? My brain can’t accept it.

In my fiction writing, people get hurt and people suffer and people die. But it’s fiction. In my current series, Fierce Hearts, the main characters are not human, they are were-lynxes. Being half-human, half-animal affects how they present and experience the world. It influences how they treat the planet and the beings that populate it. The Fierce Hearts series books deal with diabolical activities committed by the bad guys. Human bad guys.
In the first book, Secrets, the bad guys are people who have joined together to form The Nexus Group in order to create a world more to their liking, and in the process hurt humans and animals alike. The colony, led by Casey Mitchell, 399px-Lynx_lynx_poingunderstands the ways of humans but it’s not in their nature as were-lynxes to cause arbitrary and selfish destruction. They accept the responsibility of thwarting the bad guys for the better good and use their keen senses and special abilities to end the chaos. And in the midst of the colony’s problems and personal issues, the hero, Casey, and the heroine, Michelle, find love.

In the next book, Cravings, the colony’s problems with TNG expand. During a rescue of animals at a TNG research facility, the colony discovers the group has stolen children from were-lynx families to groom them for contributing to the take-over of all resources and power. One of those children, Kennedy, has grown up, and now, rescued by the colony from a dangerous drug project, has to address the trauma she’s endured her whole life. The colony, comprised of Casey Mitchell, Asher Monroe and his sister Lara Monroe, Conrad Pike, Booker Chase and his wife Shaun, Asia Blue, Lara Monroe, and Tizzy Sands, welcome her into their family-like circle and help her to unlearn destructive ways. In the process, she, too, finds love with a fellow colony cat, Asher.

However, the battle continues as TNG seems to be unstoppable. In the third book, Heartfelt, the were-lynxes discover the next horrifying plan in the works for TNG is to create a hunter’s paradise, providing captive big game to hunt. It’s a shoe-in who will triumph in the so-called hunt. The humans. Asia and Conrad, BFFs, are drawn into the machinations of TNG, when Asia discovers her alcoholic mother has been kidnapped and is a subject in TNG’s research projects conducted by Phoenix Biosciences. Each were-lynx has a special ability at their disposal, and when they shimmer into lynx form, they are ferocious, strong, and fearsome. Still, the conflict pushes the were-lynxes ‘abilities to the edge. The lynxes have an advantage over the humans by nature. But they are at a disadvantage, as the humans will stop at nothing to win the struggle. Casey’s colony members respect life. All life. And are rewarded with sorrow and loss and self-respect and love, as Asia and Conrad become more than just best friends.

So you see, while I write stories with real-life inner conflicts and put characters in dire situations, I can make characters with strong morality and kindness and respect for life. It doesn’t change the way real people conduct themselves and I’m no judge. But it does offer me a bit of “setting things right” when atrocities occur at the hands of people. While people are awesome and complex and capable of kindness and generosity and great intelligence and creativity, we are capable of poor choices and causing great harm. It’s all human nature.

Sexy Love

Hey, hi there! Thank you for stopping by for a My Sexy Saturday post. This week the post is about My Sexy Love. It’s wonderful to have love in a relationship and to have wonderful sex in a relationship, but when they come together it’s out of this world.

In Dancing with Detective Danger, characters and former lovers Ben Kirby and Sterling Aegar have come back together as a result of their work. Though Sterling has put up walls to love, Ben is still in love with her and is able to breach her walls in this excerpt.

Slamming her hands on her hips, Sterling stared Ben down.  “Your comments keep bringing up old stuff.  Stuff we settled two years ago.”

In one second, he slammed the door shut and strode close to her.  Standing inches from Sterling’s face, Ben peered down at her.  “We never settled anything.  You may have, I don’t know, but we never settled anything.”

Ben’s eyes locked hers and suddenly Sterling felt her walls tumble.  The pain filling his face gripped her heart.  She knew she caused it.  She had never meant to hurt him so terribly. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be so painful.  Caught between the fear of what could happen and the agony of the moment, Sterling closed her eyes and collapsed against his chest.  “I’m so sorry, Ben.”  Ben’s body, rigid and hard, instantly drew up the buried cravings for his touch from deep and low inside her.  As she let her mind relax, she felt a matching response, the taut muscles of his chest molding to her body.

“God, I’ve missed you,” he breathed.  Gently, reverently, he stroked her cheek, sending chills spiraling down her body.

“This can’t be happening,” she murmured, her eyes still closed. The intimate brush of his breath on her face sent reason swirling up in smoke.

“I love you, Sterling.”  His voice sounded raspy in her ear, emotion tumbling out.  “I’ve never stopped.”

With every kiss Ben pressed to her hair, Sterling’s heart rose higher in her throat.  His lips softly, hesitantly touched hers.  They felt warm and so invitingly tender.  Weakly, she pressed her face into the hollow of his neck as he nuzzled her hair.  She breathed in the warm, earthy scent of Ben — the only man who had ever gotten to her like this.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Dancing with Detective Danger. Be sure to continue the hop for more Sexy Love.

Visceral, Earthy Beauty of Blooming Love

In my “About Me” page on my website I mention that “In my romances, I focus on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down.” Doing that effectively is very important to me when I’m writing. I put my heart and soul into characterization that reaches deeply into the human experience. Humans are complex and I feel we only touch a bare edge of the complexity of life. I want my characters to suffer and suffer, until they can stay present in the suffering and from it, expand. This is a beautiful process to me.

I don’t always achieve that goal and that disappointments me, but I keep trying. My intention is not to “teach” readers anything, but I know I’ve learned so many things about myself and been able to expand through characters’ experiences in romance novels. Those kinds of stories are meaningful reads for me. And when I feel I’ve stretched my skills to write characters who struggle with everyday, ordinary things, as we all do, and dress it in a story about were-cats whose lives are complicated but out of the ordinary, I fall in love myself.

I’m in love right now with the stories of the were-cats in the Fierce Hearts series.  In fact, I’m doing a final read-through for the next book due to release in June, Heartfelt, and I’m so happy to be reading about Asia Blue and Conrad Pike. Lifelong friends, they determined early in their relationship to remain friends, not friends with benefits. They’ve vowed not to become lovers, because they cherish their friendship and love and sex could ruin it, they believe.

While I check for typos and misplaced commas I’m right there with them as the colony they belong to faces more danger from The Nexus Group, and watching each step Asia and Conrad take in learning more about love.

I hope readers have been enjoying the evolving story of the were-cat colony in the Fierce Hearts series, even just a little bit as much as I do. 399px-Lynx_lynx_poing

Here’s an excerpt from Heartfelt in which Conrad’s attraction for Asia surprises him.

Out in the gym he promptly spotted Asia across the room, already in a heated round with the punching bag.

The slightest lift of her nose clued him that she knew he had entered the gym, but her focus remained on the bag. In perfect form, she executed a jab, a cross, then drove up a punch, all in a smooth, flowing pattern, repeated over and over.

He stood there, across the room, and noticed things. He knew she stood about five feet, six inches, but had she always been so lithe and lean? He’d known her for so long, but had he ever really seen her? Did he hold an appreciation for her taut abs, highlighted just now by her cropped, racerback sports bra top? Or held in admiration her firm behind beneath her boy-cut shorts, or her shapely legs?

His gaze narrowed down to her face and he found it hard to swallow. Her face was a delicate mixture of high cheekbones, pert nose, and full lips. Her brown eyes sparkled with glints of green.

Thank God she doesn’t read the colony cats’ thoughts.

The moment of ogling Asia was innocent, as well as baffling, but he didn’t want her to know anything about it.

He blinked hard and deliberate three times, then strode across the room to Asia. “It looks like the bag is winning,” he teased her.

Oh, the visceral, earthy beauty of blooming romance. I love it!