romantic suspense

>Trish McCallan Talking Alphas w Excerpt + Giveaway!!

>I met Trish years ago when we critiqued for each other. I’m so very thrilled to have her here today as a guest, talking about her new release, FORGED IN FIRE. Zane is just as yummy as an alpha can get and Trish’s writing is as deep as her characters and as visceral as the twists in her plots.  And, boy, oh boy, do I love what I see she’s done with good ole Zane!!

Leave a comment to be entered for a chance at:
1) An ecopy of FORGED BY FIRE
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
International!

FORGED BY FIRE

Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.

The Protector by Trish McCallan

Hands down, my favorite romantic hero is the protector. I like them alpha too, dripping with testosterone. It doesn’t matter what the sub-genre is, as long as the book has a sexy, alpha protector for a hero.

Pretty much every sub-genre has this type of hero, although they are most common in romantic suspense, or romantic thrillers. In this sub-genre the hero is a usually in law enforcement, or perhaps a spy, sometimes a military man. They serve their city, or county or country and protect an unsuspecting and somewhat naïve population from everything from rapists to terrorists. Many of these heroes are gruff, often damaged by what they’ve seen during their forays into the seamier side of life. Or they can be tortured by past horrors, and past betrayals. Almost all of them are highly sexual, as though that alpha protectiveness goes hand in hand with a ramped up sex drive—which is no surprise really, when you consider all that testosterone. *BG*

The protector archetype thrives in romantic suspense and some of my favorite romantic suspense heroes fall within this archetype. Linda Howard excels at writing this kind of a hero. And I count several of her novels among my favorites. To Kill and Tell, Mackenzie’s Pleasure, Dream Man, Burn—these are all on my keeper shelf. And then we have Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter Series, sexy SEALs out to save the world. Maya Banks’ KGI Series and Stephanie Tyler’s Shadow Force Series both fall within the umbrella as well.

But the protector is just as popular in dark paranormal romance. In JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, the entire reason behind the formation of the brotherhood was to produce a sub-species of vampire warriors capable of protecting their race from an ancient enemy determined to eradicate them. In Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed Series, The Order formed to protect humans and vampires alike against their own kind who had been lost to blood lust. Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians straddle and protect two worlds, both of which would face obliteration without them.

It’s no surprise, I suppose, that when I started writing my own heroes fell beneath this umbrella. In previous books my heroes have been homicide detective, but in my new series—The Forged Series—they are Navy SEALs.

Cool, controlled, deadly—the heroes of Forged in Fire are seasoned warriors who face death with without hesitation or blinking an eye. They do it because they are protectors. Each and everyone one of them. They’d give their life to protect this country and the citizens who inhabit it.

So what heroes do you have on your keeper shelf that would fall beneath this umbrella? Enquiring minds want to know, and my TBR shelf is looking for a couple of new series!

I’m including a short excerpt here of my protectors in action. I hope you enjoy!

Excerpt: FORGED IN FIRE

“Let’s hope that woman of yours shows up ASAP. Much more of this drought and you won’t remember what to do with her.” With a flash of white teeth, Rawls reached over to punch Zane’s shoulder.

The moment Rawls’ fist made contact, every muscle in Zane’s body clenched. He froze, his breath locked in his throat. His vision blurred.

Click.

It was a subtle sound. A switch flipping inside his head. An image flashed through his mind. Quick. Brutal. Ugly.

Rawls sprawled across a bank of narrow seats. His blue t-shirt splotched with black. Blood dripping from limp fingers. A fixed stare glazing his blue eyes.

The vision vanished.

“Son of a bitch.” Sheer disgust vibrated in Cosky’s gritty voice. “We’re on stand-down. This is a civilian flight. Regardless of that all-too-familiar look on your face, we cannot be in any goddamn danger.”

But he didn’t dislodge the hand Zane clamped around his bicep.

This time Zane was expecting the vision. He tensed anyway, his body contracting into one giant charley horse.

Click.

He strained to capture as many details as possible as the new vision flashed through his mind.

Gray eyes locked and empty, already filming with the unmistakable haze of death. Black hair saturated with blood. Hands clenched. He was splayed across a narrow aisle, dark blue upholstered seats rising on either side of his head.

When the image vanished, he released Cosky’s arm and wrestled air back into his lungs.

“Tell me this is a joke,” Cosky demanded.

Zane shook his head and gripped the back of his neck with both hands.

“What did you see?” Rawls finally asked.

Zane drew a shallow breath. “You dead. Cosky dead.”

“From boredom?” Cosky asked dryly, one black-as-sin eyebrow arching. “We are going to a wedding.” A quick glance at Zane’s face, and a glint of steel darkened his gray eyes. “Where’s this going down?”

“On the bird.” Zane frowned. “Couldn’t tell whether she was in flight. Didn’t get a good enough look.”

Cosky turned to study the boisterous crowd. “When do you ever?”

“Which bird? Over or back?” Cosky braced his hands on his hips and studied Zane’s face. “Either fits the three-day window for those flashes of yours.”

“Today.” Zane nodded toward Rawls’ blue-clad chest. “Same clothes.”

Cosky grunted. “I don’t suppose you saw who killed us?”

“When have these damn things ever been that accommodating?”

“Fuck.” With a disgusted shake of his head, Cosky dropped his chin and scowled at the worn carpet. “What about the wounds?”

“Lots of blood. Could be a gun. Or a knife.”

“A crash?” Rawls broke in quietly.

“Doubtful. Neither of you were burned. We’re looking at some kind of weapon.”

Cosky frowned. “It would be easier to smuggle a blade through security, but few people are good enough to take us on with a knife. Chances are it’s a gun.”

Zane pushed away from the wall. “Whatever’s going to happen is bad enough to take the three of us out.” The flashes never centered on him, but if Cosky and Rawls were in danger, he was as well. “We need to get hold of Mac.”

As the OIC of SEAL Team 7, Commander Jace Mackenzie had the pull to get the plane grounded and the passengers searched.

“Question.” Cosky’s attention zeroed in on Zane’s face. “What are we going to tell him? We don’t know what’s going to happen, who’s behind it, or what kind of weapons will be used. If Mac gets this bird grounded, only to have nothing show during the search, the backlash is gonna be a bitch.”

“What are you suggesting?” Zane cocked an eyebrow. “That we skip the wedding, keep our mouths shut and let events play out?”

“Don’t be an ass. I’m saying it would be handy to have some solid intel to pass on for a change.”

FORGED BY FIRE is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

What’s your favorite type of hero?
Leave a comment to be entered for a chance at:
1) An ecopy of FORGED BY FIRE
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
International!


Jeanne Adams Guests With Giveaways!

>by Jeanne Adams

Hi Joan! Thank you so much for having me on today! I’m delighted to come and hang out at your place for a bit, since you always have such fun guests. You also make FABULOUS bookmarks! Love those.

As you know, my fourth book with Kensington, DEADLY LITTLE LIES, the sequel to Deadly Little Secrets, is out today! WOOHOO! Since Deadly Little Secrets was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine (Aprill, 2011), I’ve been getting lots and lots of emails about when I’m going to tell Davros and Carrie’s story. Thankfully, I’d already turned it in – that would be DEADLY LITTLE LIES.

As DEADLY LITTLE LIES opens, billionaire businessman Davros Gianikopulos, called Dav, has decided that it’s long past time he settled down. The events portrayed in Deadly Little Secrets showed him that life and time are precious. He’s decided to seriously court the woman he really wants – something he’s avoided, due to his own issues – but on their first “real” date, they’re kidnapped, drugged, and hauled off to points unknown! Eeek! Now THAT’s a first date, right?

In this excerpt, Carrie’s still a little woozy from the drugs they’ve given her, but she knows her mind when it comes to Dav.

     “We could die here,” Carrie muttered and he heard the fear again. “We could die.”

     “No,” Dav made it a statement, not a question. He would not allow that possibility. She was his future. He would not allow it to be otherwise. He would use the stubborn will that helped him survive his father and countless business rivals; he and Carrie would survive. “We’ll make it out of this. My people, they’ll know to get Gates. He has all manner of ways to figure out what’s happened. He’ll find us. He and Ana are the best.”

     “But they don’t work for you anymore,” she said, stating the obvious.

     “I know, sweetheart,” he said smiling into the dark. “But friends don’t worry about little things like that. They’ll find us.”

   “Dav,” she murmured, sliding her hands up to touch his face. “Dav, why did we wait?”

     Dav was distracted momentarily by the shift in the sound of the engines, the subtle drop in the slant of the cabin. “Wait?” he replied, still thinking about the change in the plane’s attitude. “Why did we wait for what?”

     Evidently, her question was rhetorical. He looked down into her eyes, loving the feel of her hands on his face. While he recognized all his reactions were off-kilter from the drugs though not as badly skewed as Carrie’s, just the touch of her, the feel of her in his arms no matter the situation, was inflaming his body, his mind and senses.

     “Carrie?” he whispered, seeing the dark of her eyes, feeling every inch of her in new ways.

     “We fought it, Dav, both of us,” she said, her voice serious, but her eyes were still deeply dilated, the effect of the drugs. “We waited for the right time. We didn’t make a move, either of us.”

     While he was puzzling through what she meant, she shifted closer, whispering, “Don’t wait anymore. Kiss me now, just in case. I need to know how it feels, I need,” she trailed off, quieting in order to bring her lips to his.

     The connection was instant and powerful. Every thought of the plane, of their situation sank out of his mind, replaced by the magnificent roar of triumph in his heart. No pain could compare to the sweetness, the fire of her mouth moving on his. All hesitancy fled as she pressed into him, wriggling closer, heating his body. Nothing mattered but Carrie. Nothing was real or present but her mouth.

     The pain in his hands and shoulders throbbed a counter point to his body’s needs. He ignored the pain and focused on the pleasure.

     He might never get another chance.

     “Dav, oh, Dav, I…I…” she stumbled over the words, pressing kisses to his face, her bound hands cradling his jaw.

     Whatever else she might have said was lost when the plane banked hard again. Now she fell into him, slamming her head into his chin as the altitude dropped.

     He knew it wasn’t the time or the place, and that Carrie was reacting to the drugs, but the confirmation that she was interested, attracted, gave him hope despite their dire state of affairs.

     While there’s life, there’s hope.

All in all, a pretty disastrous first date! But, there is indeed hope for both Dav and Carrie, as you’ll see in Deadly Little Lies!

What was YOUR worst first date?

What about the best?

If you have a significant other, was there one thing they did on that first date that told you “this is the one”?

On some of those stinker first dates, what was the thing that told you immediately that this one was a “kick-it-to-the-curb” kind of date?

Leave a comment to enter to win:
1) An ARC of PRETTY LITTLE LIES
2) 1 of 5 custom bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN


>Jeanne Adams Guests With Giveaways!

>by Jeanne Adams

Hi Joan! Thank you so much for having me on today! I’m delighted to come and hang out at your place for a bit, since you always have such fun guests. You also make FABULOUS bookmarks! Love those.

As you know, my fourth book with Kensington, DEADLY LITTLE LIES, the sequel to Deadly Little Secrets, is out today! WOOHOO! Since Deadly Little Secrets was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine (Aprill, 2011), I’ve been getting lots and lots of emails about when I’m going to tell Davros and Carrie’s story. Thankfully, I’d already turned it in – that would be DEADLY LITTLE LIES.

As DEADLY LITTLE LIES opens, billionaire businessman Davros Gianikopulos, called Dav, has decided that it’s long past time he settled down. The events portrayed in Deadly Little Secrets showed him that life and time are precious. He’s decided to seriously court the woman he really wants – something he’s avoided, due to his own issues – but on their first “real” date, they’re kidnapped, drugged, and hauled off to points unknown! Eeek! Now THAT’s a first date, right?

In this excerpt, Carrie’s still a little woozy from the drugs they’ve given her, but she knows her mind when it comes to Dav.

     “We could die here,” Carrie muttered and he heard the fear again. “We could die.”

     “No,” Dav made it a statement, not a question. He would not allow that possibility. She was his future. He would not allow it to be otherwise. He would use the stubborn will that helped him survive his father and countless business rivals; he and Carrie would survive. “We’ll make it out of this. My people, they’ll know to get Gates. He has all manner of ways to figure out what’s happened. He’ll find us. He and Ana are the best.”

     “But they don’t work for you anymore,” she said, stating the obvious.

     “I know, sweetheart,” he said smiling into the dark. “But friends don’t worry about little things like that. They’ll find us.”

   “Dav,” she murmured, sliding her hands up to touch his face. “Dav, why did we wait?”

     Dav was distracted momentarily by the shift in the sound of the engines, the subtle drop in the slant of the cabin. “Wait?” he replied, still thinking about the change in the plane’s attitude. “Why did we wait for what?”

     Evidently, her question was rhetorical. He looked down into her eyes, loving the feel of her hands on his face. While he recognized all his reactions were off-kilter from the drugs though not as badly skewed as Carrie’s, just the touch of her, the feel of her in his arms no matter the situation, was inflaming his body, his mind and senses.

     “Carrie?” he whispered, seeing the dark of her eyes, feeling every inch of her in new ways.

     “We fought it, Dav, both of us,” she said, her voice serious, but her eyes were still deeply dilated, the effect of the drugs. “We waited for the right time. We didn’t make a move, either of us.”

     While he was puzzling through what she meant, she shifted closer, whispering, “Don’t wait anymore. Kiss me now, just in case. I need to know how it feels, I need,” she trailed off, quieting in order to bring her lips to his.

     The connection was instant and powerful. Every thought of the plane, of their situation sank out of his mind, replaced by the magnificent roar of triumph in his heart. No pain could compare to the sweetness, the fire of her mouth moving on his. All hesitancy fled as she pressed into him, wriggling closer, heating his body. Nothing mattered but Carrie. Nothing was real or present but her mouth.

     The pain in his hands and shoulders throbbed a counter point to his body’s needs. He ignored the pain and focused on the pleasure.

     He might never get another chance.

     “Dav, oh, Dav, I…I…” she stumbled over the words, pressing kisses to his face, her bound hands cradling his jaw.

     Whatever else she might have said was lost when the plane banked hard again. Now she fell into him, slamming her head into his chin as the altitude dropped.

     He knew it wasn’t the time or the place, and that Carrie was reacting to the drugs, but the confirmation that she was interested, attracted, gave him hope despite their dire state of affairs.

     While there’s life, there’s hope.

All in all, a pretty disastrous first date! But, there is indeed hope for both Dav and Carrie, as you’ll see in Deadly Little Lies!

What was YOUR worst first date?

What about the best?

If you have a significant other, was there one thing they did on that first date that told you “this is the one”?

On some of those stinker first dates, what was the thing that told you immediately that this one was a “kick-it-to-the-curb” kind of date?

Leave a comment to enter to win:
1) An ARC of PRETTY LITTLE LIES
2) 1 of 5 custom bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN


RITA nominee Dana Marton Excerpt + Giveaway

>

Many of you may have run across my guest today.  Dana Marton is not only a multi-published author (27 books now!), but she also runs www.prizesforreaders.com!  A girl after my own heart!!

Today, Dana offers an excerpt of her June release, GUARDIAN AGENT. 
And she’s GIVING AWAY an ecopy of the full book as well!!
Just comment to enter! (Open Internationally)

Guardian Agent

Chapter One

Dark waters lapped the century-old palace’s foundation, eager to claim the forgotten building on one of Venice’s backstreet canals. At four on the February morning, tourists still partied on in the distance, drunk on love, youth and full-bodied Italian wine. Gabe Cannon could hear both the water and the faint beat of the music, but he couldn’t hear the half dozen men in the building with him. His new commando team spread out like ghosts moving through the night.

“Target on the roof,” the team leader’s voice whispered in his earpiece.

He stole up the crumbling stairs, ready for the rogue soldier who needed to be brought in before he caused more damage. He’d known Jake Tekla ten years ago in the army–a decent guy back then, but war could change a person, could even twist a man’s mind.

Static hissed in his earpiece before the words, “Kill order authorized. Repeat, authorized to shoot on sight.”

His instincts prickled. Standard procedure called for an attempt to capture first, and see what information they could gain during interrogation. Usable intelligence trumped a quick kill, every time. Then again, he worked for a private security firm now: XO-ST. Xtreme Ops Shadow Teams. They did things differently than his previous employers, the army and the FBI.

Gabe reached the roof. Plywood patches formed a psychedelic pattern in the moonlight—an unexpected break. Not having to sneak around on crumbling Mediterranean roof tiles would make this much easier. He stole forward and eased into the cover of a crooked chimney stack.

He caught a silent shadow at the door he’d come through–Troy, one of his teammates, joining him. Odd how Gabe had been last into the building, but first on the roof. Maybe the others had pulled back on purpose, testing the new guy. Another person might have been annoyed, but he’d expected this much. He wasn’t afraid of having to earn his stripes.

Dormers, chimneys and ridges blocked visibility. Clouds kept drifting over the moon. Scan. Move forward.Take cover. A night game of hide and seek in a labyrinth, with a fair chance that the ramshackle roof could open up under his feet any minute.

Then he stole around a dormer and spotted the target at last. Jake Tekla blended into the night in black fatigues, similar to Gabe’s, black ski mask in place. A lot slighter than Gabe remembered. Looked like being on the run had taken its toll on him. The man crept toward the edge of the roof, his focus on the jump he was considering.

No visible weapons.

Yet another thing that didn’t add up. Not for a government-trained, seasoned soldier.

Gabe inched closer, watching for a trap. He flicked the safety off his gun. Come on. Turn. He moved another step closer then stopped with his feet apart, gun raised, silencer in place.

His target sensed him at last and spun around.

Oh, hell.

Gabe caught the curve of a breast in the moonlight, and his finger froze on the trigger as he stared at the woman.

She could be a trap–Tekla’s accomplice or a decoy.

He had a kill order.

Most of the men he worked with squeezed the trigger each and every time, preferring to err on the safe side. He’d been like that once. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He pushed the North Village incident from his mind.

The woman stared at him for a startled moment, then her instincts kicked in and she ran. Or tried. He lunged after her, caught up in three leaps and brought her down hard. She was lean, yet soft, every inch unmistakably feminine. But none of that feminine softness showed in her fighting spirit. She shoved against him with all she had. She had to know she was conquered, yet she refused to yield, stirring some of his base instincts.

“Stop,” he hissed the single word into her ear as he did his best to subdue her.

Plywood gave an ominous creak on the other side of the ridge, the team moving into position to cover the roof and inspect all its nooks and crannies. Something stopped Gabe from calling out even as the woman did her best to scratch his eyes out, fighting in silence. Enough small things about this op had triggered alarms in his mind for him to want to see what he had here before he called the rest of the team in.

He patted her down one-handed, although if she had a knife she would have probably used it on him by now. He kept his voice low. “Did Tekla send you?”

She tried to buck him off. He managed to hold her down with one hand and ripped her black mask off with the other. Wavy dark hair tumbled free, eyes going wide with panic even as her full lips snarled. Despite the semidarkness, he couldn’t miss her beauty, or the fact that she had Tekla’s eyes and nose.
“Who are you?” he asked, even as the answer was already forming in his mind.

The man had two sisters, the younger one a teenager and the other somewhat older. The one under Gabe now was all woman and then some. Definitely not the teenage sister. He’d met both once at the airport when Tekla and he had gone home on a short leave over Christmas, back in their army days. They didn’t have parents, he remembered suddenly. Tekla had enlisted so he could support what was left of his family.

What in hell was his sister doing on the roof? No way his team’s intel could be so bad on an op like this. They weren’t fighting in the chaos of some distant battle field. The target’s sisters were supposed to be living with a distant aunt in Arkansas, according to the op files.

His mind ran all the options as he pressed her down a little harder to keep her still. He wanted to believe that Brent Foley, the team leader, hadn’t known who she was when he’d given the kill order, but being naïve didn’t pay in this business.

But if Brent did know… Eliminating one of Tekla’s sisters might push the guy over the edge, bring him out into the open as he came in for revenge. XO-ST’s small army for hire consisted of ex-soldiers and ex-agents, conducting outsourced ops for the U.S. government and anyone else who could meet their price. Brent wrote the book on how to reach goals by whatever means necessary.

Except, Gabe hadn’t signed on to kill innocent women, no matter how badly he needed the money. He motioned to her to stay down and stay quiet, then eased his body off her a little so she could breathe.

“Is he here?” he whispered.

After another spirited minute of resistance, her muscles went slack and she lay there, breathing hard, despair filling her eyes. She shook her head.

He pulled up all the way. Her gaze slid to his gun, and she swallowed, her body stiffening. Fear came onto her face, that wide-eyed look of people who know they are about to die. She didn’t beg, nor did she offer her brother’s life for her own. She simply met Gabe’s gaze and lifted her chin.

She still looked impossibly young, although he figured she had to be around twenty-six or twenty-seven by now. Her slim body might have looked fragile next to his, but her eyes shone with defiance. Which wouldn’t be enough, not with a kill order in place and a team of mercenaries spread out around them.

“I’ll come back.” He secured her with a plastic cuff to the iron scroll that decorated the roof’s edge, with one smooth move.

He switched on his mouthpiece as he turned from her, ignoring her silent struggle. “Target escaped the roof. East end.”

He ran along the edge toward the other side where a six-foot gap separated the old palace from the next building. Dark shapes materialized from the shadows. He jumped without giving the steep drop below him much thought. As expected, his clear purpose and energy drew the rest of the team behind him.

He dashed forward as if he could see a man’s disappearing back somewhere up ahead. He didn’t slow for twenty minutes and several rooftops later. Then he braced against the edge of the roof as he stared down onto a dark, abandoned bridge below him. “Lost visual contact.”

A four-letter word came through his headset, then, “Did he look hurt?”

“No.”

“I could have sworn I clipped him before we lost him last week.” A moment of silence. “Spread out.”
As the team scattered, Gabe made his way back to the old palace, trying to think of the woman’s name, not expecting much after ten years, surprised when it did pop into his brain: Jasmine.

She was going to take him to Tekla. He would bring the man in himself, making sure she didn’t get hurt in the process. Things could get out of hand when a cornered person was confronted with an entire commando team. For all he knew, the other sister was here, too. His jaw muscles tightened. He had no respect for a man who would use his sisters as a shield. Gabe vaulted from roof to roof, watching out for crumbling edges.

If he could complete the mission without bloodshed, he wanted to give it a try. Maybe saving a few lives, after having taken so many, would even the scales a little.

Except, he found the palace roof empty.

Leave a comment to enter to win a full ecopy of GUARDIAN
 
Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.  

She would love to hear from her readers.

Okay, the above version is the glamour version for press releases. The truth is that my path to publication was nothing but unglamorous. I wrote for 13 years and completed 4 books (as well as having others in various stages of completion) before I finally received a call from a Harlequin editor. I was beginning to wonder if I was being tenacious or just too dense to know when to quit. But it all worked out at the end! J I love, love, love writing and would spend all day in front of the computer if I could just break my family of the habit of wanting to eat and wear clean clothes. What’s up with that? But I must get up from the desk now and then, if only because my Internet connection goes down or my ancient PC overheats. Then I do enjoy cooking, knitting, hunting for treasures at the flea market, our Beagle, Peanut the Destroyer, and gardening.

I’d love it if you picked up one of my books and emailed me to tell me what you thought of it. I’ve been known to name characters after readers. Just ask Princess Judi.

Find Dana Marton:

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>RITA nominee Dana Marton Excerpt + Giveaway

>

Many of you may have run across my guest today.  Dana Marton is not only a multi-published author (27 books now!), but she also runs www.prizesforreaders.com!  A girl after my own heart!!

Today, Dana offers an excerpt of her June release, GUARDIAN AGENT. 
And she’s GIVING AWAY an ecopy of the full book as well!!
Just comment to enter! (Open Internationally)

Guardian Agent

Chapter One

Dark waters lapped the century-old palace’s foundation, eager to claim the forgotten building on one of Venice’s backstreet canals. At four on the February morning, tourists still partied on in the distance, drunk on love, youth and full-bodied Italian wine. Gabe Cannon could hear both the water and the faint beat of the music, but he couldn’t hear the half dozen men in the building with him. His new commando team spread out like ghosts moving through the night.

“Target on the roof,” the team leader’s voice whispered in his earpiece.

He stole up the crumbling stairs, ready for the rogue soldier who needed to be brought in before he caused more damage. He’d known Jake Tekla ten years ago in the army–a decent guy back then, but war could change a person, could even twist a man’s mind.

Static hissed in his earpiece before the words, “Kill order authorized. Repeat, authorized to shoot on sight.”

His instincts prickled. Standard procedure called for an attempt to capture first, and see what information they could gain during interrogation. Usable intelligence trumped a quick kill, every time. Then again, he worked for a private security firm now: XO-ST. Xtreme Ops Shadow Teams. They did things differently than his previous employers, the army and the FBI.

Gabe reached the roof. Plywood patches formed a psychedelic pattern in the moonlight—an unexpected break. Not having to sneak around on crumbling Mediterranean roof tiles would make this much easier. He stole forward and eased into the cover of a crooked chimney stack.

He caught a silent shadow at the door he’d come through–Troy, one of his teammates, joining him. Odd how Gabe had been last into the building, but first on the roof. Maybe the others had pulled back on purpose, testing the new guy. Another person might have been annoyed, but he’d expected this much. He wasn’t afraid of having to earn his stripes.

Dormers, chimneys and ridges blocked visibility. Clouds kept drifting over the moon. Scan. Move forward.Take cover. A night game of hide and seek in a labyrinth, with a fair chance that the ramshackle roof could open up under his feet any minute.

Then he stole around a dormer and spotted the target at last. Jake Tekla blended into the night in black fatigues, similar to Gabe’s, black ski mask in place. A lot slighter than Gabe remembered. Looked like being on the run had taken its toll on him. The man crept toward the edge of the roof, his focus on the jump he was considering.

No visible weapons.

Yet another thing that didn’t add up. Not for a government-trained, seasoned soldier.

Gabe inched closer, watching for a trap. He flicked the safety off his gun. Come on. Turn. He moved another step closer then stopped with his feet apart, gun raised, silencer in place.

His target sensed him at last and spun around.

Oh, hell.

Gabe caught the curve of a breast in the moonlight, and his finger froze on the trigger as he stared at the woman.

She could be a trap–Tekla’s accomplice or a decoy.

He had a kill order.

Most of the men he worked with squeezed the trigger each and every time, preferring to err on the safe side. He’d been like that once. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He pushed the North Village incident from his mind.

The woman stared at him for a startled moment, then her instincts kicked in and she ran. Or tried. He lunged after her, caught up in three leaps and brought her down hard. She was lean, yet soft, every inch unmistakably feminine. But none of that feminine softness showed in her fighting spirit. She shoved against him with all she had. She had to know she was conquered, yet she refused to yield, stirring some of his base instincts.

“Stop,” he hissed the single word into her ear as he did his best to subdue her.

Plywood gave an ominous creak on the other side of the ridge, the team moving into position to cover the roof and inspect all its nooks and crannies. Something stopped Gabe from calling out even as the woman did her best to scratch his eyes out, fighting in silence. Enough small things about this op had triggered alarms in his mind for him to want to see what he had here before he called the rest of the team in.

He patted her down one-handed, although if she had a knife she would have probably used it on him by now. He kept his voice low. “Did Tekla send you?”

She tried to buck him off. He managed to hold her down with one hand and ripped her black mask off with the other. Wavy dark hair tumbled free, eyes going wide with panic even as her full lips snarled. Despite the semidarkness, he couldn’t miss her beauty, or the fact that she had Tekla’s eyes and nose.
“Who are you?” he asked, even as the answer was already forming in his mind.

The man had two sisters, the younger one a teenager and the other somewhat older. The one under Gabe now was all woman and then some. Definitely not the teenage sister. He’d met both once at the airport when Tekla and he had gone home on a short leave over Christmas, back in their army days. They didn’t have parents, he remembered suddenly. Tekla had enlisted so he could support what was left of his family.

What in hell was his sister doing on the roof? No way his team’s intel could be so bad on an op like this. They weren’t fighting in the chaos of some distant battle field. The target’s sisters were supposed to be living with a distant aunt in Arkansas, according to the op files.

His mind ran all the options as he pressed her down a little harder to keep her still. He wanted to believe that Brent Foley, the team leader, hadn’t known who she was when he’d given the kill order, but being naïve didn’t pay in this business.

But if Brent did know… Eliminating one of Tekla’s sisters might push the guy over the edge, bring him out into the open as he came in for revenge. XO-ST’s small army for hire consisted of ex-soldiers and ex-agents, conducting outsourced ops for the U.S. government and anyone else who could meet their price. Brent wrote the book on how to reach goals by whatever means necessary.

Except, Gabe hadn’t signed on to kill innocent women, no matter how badly he needed the money. He motioned to her to stay down and stay quiet, then eased his body off her a little so she could breathe.

“Is he here?” he whispered.

After another spirited minute of resistance, her muscles went slack and she lay there, breathing hard, despair filling her eyes. She shook her head.

He pulled up all the way. Her gaze slid to his gun, and she swallowed, her body stiffening. Fear came onto her face, that wide-eyed look of people who know they are about to die. She didn’t beg, nor did she offer her brother’s life for her own. She simply met Gabe’s gaze and lifted her chin.

She still looked impossibly young, although he figured she had to be around twenty-six or twenty-seven by now. Her slim body might have looked fragile next to his, but her eyes shone with defiance. Which wouldn’t be enough, not with a kill order in place and a team of mercenaries spread out around them.

“I’ll come back.” He secured her with a plastic cuff to the iron scroll that decorated the roof’s edge, with one smooth move.

He switched on his mouthpiece as he turned from her, ignoring her silent struggle. “Target escaped the roof. East end.”

He ran along the edge toward the other side where a six-foot gap separated the old palace from the next building. Dark shapes materialized from the shadows. He jumped without giving the steep drop below him much thought. As expected, his clear purpose and energy drew the rest of the team behind him.

He dashed forward as if he could see a man’s disappearing back somewhere up ahead. He didn’t slow for twenty minutes and several rooftops later. Then he braced against the edge of the roof as he stared down onto a dark, abandoned bridge below him. “Lost visual contact.”

A four-letter word came through his headset, then, “Did he look hurt?”

“No.”

“I could have sworn I clipped him before we lost him last week.” A moment of silence. “Spread out.”
As the team scattered, Gabe made his way back to the old palace, trying to think of the woman’s name, not expecting much after ten years, surprised when it did pop into his brain: Jasmine.

She was going to take him to Tekla. He would bring the man in himself, making sure she didn’t get hurt in the process. Things could get out of hand when a cornered person was confronted with an entire commando team. For all he knew, the other sister was here, too. His jaw muscles tightened. He had no respect for a man who would use his sisters as a shield. Gabe vaulted from roof to roof, watching out for crumbling edges.

If he could complete the mission without bloodshed, he wanted to give it a try. Maybe saving a few lives, after having taken so many, would even the scales a little.

Except, he found the palace roof empty.

Leave a comment to enter to win a full ecopy of GUARDIAN
 
Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.  

She would love to hear from her readers.

Okay, the above version is the glamour version for press releases. The truth is that my path to publication was nothing but unglamorous. I wrote for 13 years and completed 4 books (as well as having others in various stages of completion) before I finally received a call from a Harlequin editor. I was beginning to wonder if I was being tenacious or just too dense to know when to quit. But it all worked out at the end! J I love, love, love writing and would spend all day in front of the computer if I could just break my family of the habit of wanting to eat and wear clean clothes. What’s up with that? But I must get up from the desk now and then, if only because my Internet connection goes down or my ancient PC overheats. Then I do enjoy cooking, knitting, hunting for treasures at the flea market, our Beagle, Peanut the Destroyer, and gardening.

I’d love it if you picked up one of my books and emailed me to tell me what you thought of it. I’ve been known to name characters after readers. Just ask Princess Judi.

Find Dana Marton:

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Welcome Dale Mayer with Two Releases!

>Welcome, Dale Mayer!!

Freelance writer Dale Mayer lives in the beautiful Okanagan valley in British Columbia, Canada. She’s multi-pubbed in nonfiction but her true love is the stories that weave through her mind. For the past nine years, she’s written around the daily responsibilities of being a single mother of four and still squeezes in time to produce new fiction manuscripts each year.

In fiction, she writes taut psychological suspense with romance and paranormal elements. She has recently branched out into both mystery and urban fantasy books for young adult with the occasional vampire book thrown in just for fun.

Dale is here today with two releases in two different genres: romantic suspense and young adult.  She is providing excerpts from both as well as one Ebook of each as a giveaway to two random commentors.  Contest ends midnight 7/3/11.  So tell us which genre you prefer, what you liked best about one of the excerpts or ask Dale a question — any comment to qualify for the giveaways!

Young Adult: DANGEROUS DESIGNS

Description:

Drawing is her world…but when her new pencil comes alive, it’s his world too.

Her… Storey Dalton is seventeen and now boyfriendless after being dumped via Facebook. Drawing is her escape. It’s like as soon as she gets down one image, a dozen more are pressing in on her. Then she realizes her pictures are almost drawing themselves…or is it that her new pencil is alive?

Him… Eric Jordan is a new Ranger and the only son of the Councilman to his world. He’s crossed the veil between dimensions to retrieve a lost stylus. But Storey is already experimenting with her new pencil and what her drawings can do – like open portals.

It … The stylus is a soul-bound intelligence from Eric’s dimension on Earth and uses Storey’s unsuspecting mind to seek its way home, giving her an unbelievable power. She unwittingly opens a third dimension, one that held a dangerous predatory species banished from Eric’s world centuries ago, releasing these animals into both dimensions.

Them… Once in Eric’s homeland, Storey is blamed for the calamity sentenced to death. When she escapes, Eric is ordered to bring her back or face that same death penalty. With nothing to lose, can they work together across dimensions to save both their worlds?

Excerpt:

When she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, she dropped the book to the floor beside her, clicked off the light and dropped into a deep sleep – a sleep full of weird dreams and voices calling to her.

“Storey, come and get me.”

“Storey, come.”

“We need you, Storey.”

Disturbed, she bolted upright gasping for breath as she stared wildly around the room. Who said that?

No one. She was alone – and clearly losing it. Her heart banged in her chest as a film of sweat covered her skin. She took several deep breaths and tried to calm down. Talk about nightmares.
She shuddered and lay back down. It took several minutes to get her breathing under control and when it did, she started to get pissed.

“What the hell do you want with me?” she snapped in the direction of her backpack, the drawing safely secured inside. “Crap. This is too freaky, even for me.”

“Storey, is that you, honey?”

Her mother knocked on the door and poked her head around, the light from the hallway lighting the silver streaks in her otherwise dark hair. “Can’t you sleep?”

“Sorry, if I woke you, Mom.” Storey sat up, brushing her own jet black hair back off her face. “Just a bad dream.”

“That’s because you didn’t have any dinner. I checked up on you after the meeting finished only you’d fallen asleep.” Her mother’s fingers twisted around a dangling lock of dark hair, stepping further into the room, her Wiccan robes dragging on the floor. She bit her lip. “Storey, you have to eat. You’re already skinny enough.”

Bone rack is what a jock had called her last month. Looking down, Storey realized they could be right. Her hip bones stuck out to match her big elbows. And her body had developed to the point she just barely missed the skinny scarecrow look. Too bad. She might have been able to make that work.
“I’m eating, Mom. They had pizza in class today, so didn’t need my lunch. Ate that on the way home.” She had more important things to worry about anyway.

Relief washed over her mom’s pretty face. “Oh, I’m so glad to hear that. Sometimes, I worry about you.”
Sometimes? Didn’t she mean all the time? Was that was normal for moms? Then again, there was a world of difference between normal moms and hers.

“What time is it?” Storey looked out the window. Blackness stared back.

“It’s just about 12:30 am. Please get into your pajamas. You don’t want to be sleeping in those jeans.” She backed up to the open door. “If you’re alright, I’ll say good night. It is witching hour after all.” With a carefree grin, her mom closed the door.

Witching hour. Right. Only in her house. Sighing at her mother’s antics, Storey collapsed down on her covers and fell into a light, troubled sleep.

“Storey.”

She sighed. “What now, mom?”

No answer. She sat up and glanced at the closed door. Weird. She could’ve sworn she’d heard someone call her. Lying down again, she pulled her blankets over top, not bothering to get changed.

“Storey.”

She bolted upright. That’s it. Who the hell was playing games with her?

“Storey.”

Throwing back the blankets, Storey kneeled on her bed. “Who said that?” she hissed into the early morning air. Not trusting the gloomy light, she flicked her bedside lamp on, quickly scanning the room. Empty. “I am so losing it. This is nuts.”

Her gaze landed on the backpack on her floor. Her gaze widened. Oh no.

‘No, no. Hell no.” She shook her head, slowly at first then more wildly. “This can’t be happening. It’s a picture. Nothing more. Nothing less. I created you. I can destroy you.”

That’s exactly what she was going to do. She dragged the backpack onto her bed and opened it. The knot defied her first and second attempts, before she managed to pull the laces apart and yank out her book. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but enough is enough.”

She flipped to the last page she’d been working on and grabbed it at the top left and ripped. It wouldn’t tear off. She tightened her grip and tried again. It refused to budge. Scared now, she threw it on the floor and in a fit of defiance, she jumped on it.

And fell through the picture, through the floor even.

She went right through the doorway in her picture.

Romantic Suspense: TUESDAY’S CHILD

Description:

What she doesn’t want…is exactly what he needs.

Shunned and ridiculed all her life for something she can’t control, Samantha Blair hides her psychic abilities and lives on the fringes of society. Against her will, however, she’s tapped into a killer—or rather, his victims. Each woman’s murder, blow-by-blow, ravages her mind until their death releases her back to her body. Sam knows she must go to the authorities, but will the rugged, no-nonsense detective in charge of tracking down the killer believe her?

Detective Brandt Sutherland only trusts hard evidence, yet Sam’s visions offer clues he needs to catch a killer. The more he learns about her incredible abilities, however, the clearer it becomes that Sam’s visions have put her in the killer’s line of fire. Now Brandt must save her from something he cannot see or understand…and risk losing his heart in the process.

As danger and desire collide, passion raises the stakes in a game Sam and Brandt don’t dare lose.

Excerpt:

The shepherd’s low growl warned her halfway.

“It’s okay, boy. It’s just me. I’ll be taking care of you. Give you food, fresh water, and friendship. The things that help us get along in life.” Although she kept her voice quiet, warm, and even toned, the growl remained the same.

She couldn’t blame him.

He might be able to get along without friendships, but she wanted them. She’d never had that elusive element that others took for granted.

Sam approached the dog’s cage with care. According to his chart, he’d had surgery to repair internal bleeding and to set a shattered leg. On top of that, he’d suffered several broken ribs, a dislocated collarbone and was missing a huge patch of skin on both hindquarters. Written in red and circled were the words – aggressive and dangerous. The growling stopped.

Sam squatted down to stare into his eyes. The dog should have a name. He didn’t give a damn. But a name gave the dog a presence, an existence…an identity.

“How about…” she thought for a long moment. “I know, how about we call you Major?”

The dog exploded into snarls and hideous barking, his ears flattened, and absolute hate filled his eyes.

“Jesus!” Sam skittered to the far corner of the room–her hand to her chest–sure her heart would break free.

“Is everything okay back here?”

Sam turned in surprise to see one of the vets standing behind her, frowning. “Sorry,” she yelled over the din of the other animals that had picked up the shepherd’s fear. She waited for the animals to calm down before continuing. “I’d thought of a brilliant name for the shepherd, but from his reaction, I think he hates it.”

The vet walked over and bent down to assess his patient. “It could have been your tone of voice or the inflection in the way you said the name.
He’d been abused even before this accident.” After a thoughtful pause, he added, “I’m not sure, but it might have been kinder to have put him down.”

“No.” Sam stared at him in horror. “Don’t say that. He’ll come around.” At his doubtful look, she continued, “I know he will. Give him a chance.”

That she seemed to be asking the vet to give her a chance hung heavy in the room, but she didn’t think he understood that.

He stared at her, shrewdness and wisdom in his eyes.

Then again, maybe she’d misjudged him. She shifted, uneasy under the intense gaze.

“We’ll see. We’ll have lots of opportunity to assess his progress as he recuperates.”

Sam had to be satisfied with that. She knew the dog was worth saving and so, damn it, was she. Her salvation and that of the dog’s were tied together in some unfathomable way. She could sense it. She’d fight tooth and nail to keep him safe.

In so doing, maybe she could save herself.

Dale is a talented multi-genre author. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for a free Ebook of either DANGEROUS DESIGNS or TUESDAY’S CHILD.
  • Contest entries end midnight 7/3/11.
  • International giveaway (Ebooks)
  • MUST leave an email contact address

>Welcome Dale Mayer with Two Releases!

>Welcome, Dale Mayer!!

Freelance writer Dale Mayer lives in the beautiful Okanagan valley in British Columbia, Canada. She’s multi-pubbed in nonfiction but her true love is the stories that weave through her mind. For the past nine years, she’s written around the daily responsibilities of being a single mother of four and still squeezes in time to produce new fiction manuscripts each year.

In fiction, she writes taut psychological suspense with romance and paranormal elements. She has recently branched out into both mystery and urban fantasy books for young adult with the occasional vampire book thrown in just for fun.

Dale is here today with two releases in two different genres: romantic suspense and young adult.  She is providing excerpts from both as well as one Ebook of each as a giveaway to two random commentors.  Contest ends midnight 7/3/11.  So tell us which genre you prefer, what you liked best about one of the excerpts or ask Dale a question — any comment to qualify for the giveaways!

Young Adult: DANGEROUS DESIGNS

Description:

Drawing is her world…but when her new pencil comes alive, it’s his world too.

Her… Storey Dalton is seventeen and now boyfriendless after being dumped via Facebook. Drawing is her escape. It’s like as soon as she gets down one image, a dozen more are pressing in on her. Then she realizes her pictures are almost drawing themselves…or is it that her new pencil is alive?

Him… Eric Jordan is a new Ranger and the only son of the Councilman to his world. He’s crossed the veil between dimensions to retrieve a lost stylus. But Storey is already experimenting with her new pencil and what her drawings can do – like open portals.

It … The stylus is a soul-bound intelligence from Eric’s dimension on Earth and uses Storey’s unsuspecting mind to seek its way home, giving her an unbelievable power. She unwittingly opens a third dimension, one that held a dangerous predatory species banished from Eric’s world centuries ago, releasing these animals into both dimensions.

Them… Once in Eric’s homeland, Storey is blamed for the calamity sentenced to death. When she escapes, Eric is ordered to bring her back or face that same death penalty. With nothing to lose, can they work together across dimensions to save both their worlds?

Excerpt:

When she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, she dropped the book to the floor beside her, clicked off the light and dropped into a deep sleep – a sleep full of weird dreams and voices calling to her.

“Storey, come and get me.”

“Storey, come.”

“We need you, Storey.”

Disturbed, she bolted upright gasping for breath as she stared wildly around the room. Who said that?

No one. She was alone – and clearly losing it. Her heart banged in her chest as a film of sweat covered her skin. She took several deep breaths and tried to calm down. Talk about nightmares.
She shuddered and lay back down. It took several minutes to get her breathing under control and when it did, she started to get pissed.

“What the hell do you want with me?” she snapped in the direction of her backpack, the drawing safely secured inside. “Crap. This is too freaky, even for me.”

“Storey, is that you, honey?”

Her mother knocked on the door and poked her head around, the light from the hallway lighting the silver streaks in her otherwise dark hair. “Can’t you sleep?”

“Sorry, if I woke you, Mom.” Storey sat up, brushing her own jet black hair back off her face. “Just a bad dream.”

“That’s because you didn’t have any dinner. I checked up on you after the meeting finished only you’d fallen asleep.” Her mother’s fingers twisted around a dangling lock of dark hair, stepping further into the room, her Wiccan robes dragging on the floor. She bit her lip. “Storey, you have to eat. You’re already skinny enough.”

Bone rack is what a jock had called her last month. Looking down, Storey realized they could be right. Her hip bones stuck out to match her big elbows. And her body had developed to the point she just barely missed the skinny scarecrow look. Too bad. She might have been able to make that work.
“I’m eating, Mom. They had pizza in class today, so didn’t need my lunch. Ate that on the way home.” She had more important things to worry about anyway.

Relief washed over her mom’s pretty face. “Oh, I’m so glad to hear that. Sometimes, I worry about you.”
Sometimes? Didn’t she mean all the time? Was that was normal for moms? Then again, there was a world of difference between normal moms and hers.

“What time is it?” Storey looked out the window. Blackness stared back.

“It’s just about 12:30 am. Please get into your pajamas. You don’t want to be sleeping in those jeans.” She backed up to the open door. “If you’re alright, I’ll say good night. It is witching hour after all.” With a carefree grin, her mom closed the door.

Witching hour. Right. Only in her house. Sighing at her mother’s antics, Storey collapsed down on her covers and fell into a light, troubled sleep.

“Storey.”

She sighed. “What now, mom?”

No answer. She sat up and glanced at the closed door. Weird. She could’ve sworn she’d heard someone call her. Lying down again, she pulled her blankets over top, not bothering to get changed.

“Storey.”

She bolted upright. That’s it. Who the hell was playing games with her?

“Storey.”

Throwing back the blankets, Storey kneeled on her bed. “Who said that?” she hissed into the early morning air. Not trusting the gloomy light, she flicked her bedside lamp on, quickly scanning the room. Empty. “I am so losing it. This is nuts.”

Her gaze landed on the backpack on her floor. Her gaze widened. Oh no.

‘No, no. Hell no.” She shook her head, slowly at first then more wildly. “This can’t be happening. It’s a picture. Nothing more. Nothing less. I created you. I can destroy you.”

That’s exactly what she was going to do. She dragged the backpack onto her bed and opened it. The knot defied her first and second attempts, before she managed to pull the laces apart and yank out her book. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but enough is enough.”

She flipped to the last page she’d been working on and grabbed it at the top left and ripped. It wouldn’t tear off. She tightened her grip and tried again. It refused to budge. Scared now, she threw it on the floor and in a fit of defiance, she jumped on it.

And fell through the picture, through the floor even.

She went right through the doorway in her picture.

Romantic Suspense: TUESDAY’S CHILD

Description:

What she doesn’t want…is exactly what he needs.

Shunned and ridiculed all her life for something she can’t control, Samantha Blair hides her psychic abilities and lives on the fringes of society. Against her will, however, she’s tapped into a killer—or rather, his victims. Each woman’s murder, blow-by-blow, ravages her mind until their death releases her back to her body. Sam knows she must go to the authorities, but will the rugged, no-nonsense detective in charge of tracking down the killer believe her?

Detective Brandt Sutherland only trusts hard evidence, yet Sam’s visions offer clues he needs to catch a killer. The more he learns about her incredible abilities, however, the clearer it becomes that Sam’s visions have put her in the killer’s line of fire. Now Brandt must save her from something he cannot see or understand…and risk losing his heart in the process.

As danger and desire collide, passion raises the stakes in a game Sam and Brandt don’t dare lose.

Excerpt:

The shepherd’s low growl warned her halfway.

“It’s okay, boy. It’s just me. I’ll be taking care of you. Give you food, fresh water, and friendship. The things that help us get along in life.” Although she kept her voice quiet, warm, and even toned, the growl remained the same.

She couldn’t blame him.

He might be able to get along without friendships, but she wanted them. She’d never had that elusive element that others took for granted.

Sam approached the dog’s cage with care. According to his chart, he’d had surgery to repair internal bleeding and to set a shattered leg. On top of that, he’d suffered several broken ribs, a dislocated collarbone and was missing a huge patch of skin on both hindquarters. Written in red and circled were the words – aggressive and dangerous. The growling stopped.

Sam squatted down to stare into his eyes. The dog should have a name. He didn’t give a damn. But a name gave the dog a presence, an existence…an identity.

“How about…” she thought for a long moment. “I know, how about we call you Major?”

The dog exploded into snarls and hideous barking, his ears flattened, and absolute hate filled his eyes.

“Jesus!” Sam skittered to the far corner of the room–her hand to her chest–sure her heart would break free.

“Is everything okay back here?”

Sam turned in surprise to see one of the vets standing behind her, frowning. “Sorry,” she yelled over the din of the other animals that had picked up the shepherd’s fear. She waited for the animals to calm down before continuing. “I’d thought of a brilliant name for the shepherd, but from his reaction, I think he hates it.”

The vet walked over and bent down to assess his patient. “It could have been your tone of voice or the inflection in the way you said the name.
He’d been abused even before this accident.” After a thoughtful pause, he added, “I’m not sure, but it might have been kinder to have put him down.”

“No.” Sam stared at him in horror. “Don’t say that. He’ll come around.” At his doubtful look, she continued, “I know he will. Give him a chance.”

That she seemed to be asking the vet to give her a chance hung heavy in the room, but she didn’t think he understood that.

He stared at her, shrewdness and wisdom in his eyes.

Then again, maybe she’d misjudged him. She shifted, uneasy under the intense gaze.

“We’ll see. We’ll have lots of opportunity to assess his progress as he recuperates.”

Sam had to be satisfied with that. She knew the dog was worth saving and so, damn it, was she. Her salvation and that of the dog’s were tied together in some unfathomable way. She could sense it. She’d fight tooth and nail to keep him safe.

In so doing, maybe she could save herself.

Dale is a talented multi-genre author. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for a free Ebook of either DANGEROUS DESIGNS or TUESDAY’S CHILD.
  • Contest entries end midnight 7/3/11.
  • International giveaway (Ebooks)
  • MUST leave an email contact address

New Year’s Giveaway: Last Day! with Stephanie Tyler

>Stephanie Tyler and I are Twitter & Facebook buddies.  I met Stephanie through my CP, Elisabeth Naughton, and got to know her online.  After reading the first book in her romantic suspense trilogy, HARD TO HOLD, I was hooked.

Stephanie writes strong heroines, uber-hunky heroes and tight suspense. Nothing keeps me glued to the pages like that combination. YUM! 

Like Larissa Ione, Stephanie was generous enough to take time out of her crazy schedule to read and quote my debut novel, FEVER…but even before it was FEVER.

Something I learned along the pathway to publication was that I not only needed quotes from established authors to sell my book to readers off the stand, I needed quotes from established authors to sell my book to editors off my agent’s query.

Stephanie spent her time reading and quoting the book even before I’d sold it.  Even before it was shopped.  My agent was thrilled with the quote and the book sold in a two book deal.  The editor who bought my book recently said in an email, “Our publisher is a big believer that [cover quotes] make a huge difference for a debut…”  Just one of the (less important) reasons I’m so grateful to have Stephanie as a friend!

Today, Stephanie has generously offered FIVE of her books up for giveaway — and the winners get to choose which book they receive: any one of the five books in her romantic suspense trilogies including the three books from her Hard to Hold series: HARD TO HOLD, TO HOT TO HOLD, HOLD ON TIGHT and the two books from her Shadow Forces series: LIE WITH ME or PROMISES IN THE DARK.

How cool is that?

Stephanie also writes erotic romance with co-author Larissa Ione under the pseudonym Sydney Croft.

Up For Win Today:
YOUR CHOICE of any one of the five books listed above.

To enter:
Follow me on Twitter: @joanswan & send me a tweet with #newyear in the message. (Tweet Here)

Upcoming Releases:

  • TAKEN BY FIRE, her latest Sydney Croft release, June 2011
  • IN THE AIR TONIGHT, book 3 in the Shadow Force series under Stephanie Tyler, July 2011
  • NIGHT MOVES, book 4 in the Shadow Force series under Stephanie Tyler, September 2011

Works In Progress:
Stephanie is currently working on a NEW paranormal romantic suspense trilogy which will be published by NAL.

Contact Info:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Email

A very big thanks to all of you who followed the contest this month and entered to win!  Another giganormous thank you to the authors who participated in the giveaway — each one of you holds a special place of gratitude in my heart.

I hope those of you interested in writing and reading will come back and visit often.  I have some great stuff to share in the upcoming months!

>New Year’s Giveaway: Last Day! with Stephanie Tyler

>Stephanie Tyler and I are Twitter & Facebook buddies.  I met Stephanie through my CP, Elisabeth Naughton, and got to know her online.  After reading the first book in her romantic suspense trilogy, HARD TO HOLD, I was hooked.

Stephanie writes strong heroines, uber-hunky heroes and tight suspense. Nothing keeps me glued to the pages like that combination. YUM! 

Like Larissa Ione, Stephanie was generous enough to take time out of her crazy schedule to read and quote my debut novel, FEVER…but even before it was FEVER.

Something I learned along the pathway to publication was that I not only needed quotes from established authors to sell my book to readers off the stand, I needed quotes from established authors to sell my book to editors off my agent’s query.

Stephanie spent her time reading and quoting the book even before I’d sold it.  Even before it was shopped.  My agent was thrilled with the quote and the book sold in a two book deal.  The editor who bought my book recently said in an email, “Our publisher is a big believer that [cover quotes] make a huge difference for a debut…”  Just one of the (less important) reasons I’m so grateful to have Stephanie as a friend!

Today, Stephanie has generously offered FIVE of her books up for giveaway — and the winners get to choose which book they receive: any one of the five books in her romantic suspense trilogies including the three books from her Hard to Hold series: HARD TO HOLD, TO HOT TO HOLD, HOLD ON TIGHT and the two books from her Shadow Forces series: LIE WITH ME or PROMISES IN THE DARK.

How cool is that?

Stephanie also writes erotic romance with co-author Larissa Ione under the pseudonym Sydney Croft.

Up For Win Today:
YOUR CHOICE of any one of the five books listed above.

To enter:
Follow me on Twitter: @joanswan & send me a tweet with #newyear in the message. (Tweet Here)

Upcoming Releases:

  • TAKEN BY FIRE, her latest Sydney Croft release, June 2011
  • IN THE AIR TONIGHT, book 3 in the Shadow Force series under Stephanie Tyler, July 2011
  • NIGHT MOVES, book 4 in the Shadow Force series under Stephanie Tyler, September 2011

Works In Progress:
Stephanie is currently working on a NEW paranormal romantic suspense trilogy which will be published by NAL.

Contact Info:
Website
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Twitter
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Email

A very big thanks to all of you who followed the contest this month and entered to win!  Another giganormous thank you to the authors who participated in the giveaway — each one of you holds a special place of gratitude in my heart.

I hope those of you interested in writing and reading will come back and visit often.  I have some great stuff to share in the upcoming months!

New Year’s Giveaway: Day 19, Christy Reece

>Christy Reece and I met initially online via Facebook.  That was before I was a big twitterer.  Then I discovered the wonders of Twitter and didn’t spend near as much time on Facebook.  But I still wanted to chat with Christy.  So I bugged her, and bugged her, and bugged her — along with many of her other friends — and she took the plunge and joined us on Twitter.  Yay!

We met in person at Elisabeth Naughton’s release party at RWA National 2010.  I remember I was in the process of rewriting my first novel to my editor’s requirements, it was due shortly after nationals and I was…nervous.  Christy was so encouraging, so positive.  And it only took a few words of reassurance from her to make me feel like I’d make it.  And I did–met the deadline with a very polished new version of the novel.

I’m very grateful for Christy’s words of wisdom that carried me through and always look forward to her fun and upbeat comments online.

Christy is a NYT bestseller of romantic suspense.  And you can win an autographed copy of the first book in her bestselling series here today!

Up For Win Today:
NO CHANCE, first in her bestselling romantic suspense series

To enter:
Follow me on Twitter: @joanswan & send me a tweet with #newyear in the message. (Tweet Here)

Book Summary:
Skylar James told a lie to the man she married, and eight years later she still bitterly regrets the deception. Unknown to Skylar, her husband, Gabe Maddox, now lives in the dangerous shadows of elite operatives who rescue victims. When Skylar tries to save a naïve young beauty, kidnappers come after her. For Gabe, Skylar had been his last shot at trust and love. But news of her disappearance battens down his anger and launches him into action. Saving Skylar is Gabe’s only chance for peace and his last chance for happiness.

Read an excerpt: HERE.

Upcoming Releases:
SWEET JUSTICE, August 2011
SWEET REWARD, December 2011/January 2012
SWEET REVENGE, Early 2012

Contact Info:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Email

Tomorrow, paranormal romance author Juliana Stone!