Blog Archives

First Draught: Size Matters

Hey gang! This month First Draught tackled size. Of books. We sat around in a virtual circle and discussed the differences between novels and novellas, short stories, series, and serials. It was a good time and everyone got a good laugh out of my drink.

Just to clarify, it was a whiskey and tonic not just a giant glass of whiskey. I’m stressed, but not that stressed!

Mary Chris also coined the new word #interlapping.

Check out the show on YouTube, Soundcloud, or iTunes and stop back next month when we tackle getting ready for RWA!! Woot!

Podcast:

iTunes ∴ Soundcloud

Video:

 

Visit the First Draught Website

Under the Bright Morning Light (a Storm Inside short story)

12 Days Revision

When Julia Kelly approached me about a Holiday Blog Hop my first thought was that Jake and Eve needed an appearance. It’s been almost a year since I published Reflected in the Rain (the sequel to The Storm Inside) and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to see what they’re up to. Of course we’ll be seeing quite a bit of them in When Lightning Strikes, and they have a specific B-story in the book that leads up the moment you are about to read about. This moment will also lead us into the their next book, Book 4 in the series. I don’t have a title yet, but I know exactly what happens in the book. I can’t wait to write it, but first, let’s see what’s going on in the world of Jake and Eve:

Under the Bright Morning Light

I was too scared to get out of bed.

For one, it was freaking cold out and the wood floor in our bedroom was going to feel like ice on my toes.

And for two…I wasn’t ready to find out.

I could put it off a few more days, heck I could probably put it off a couple of weeks.

I mean, technically I knew.

There was just a feeling that had come over me in the last forty-eight hours. It was probably hormones. So yeah, technically I knew what the stick was going to say once I peed on it, but that didn’t mean I was ready to see it.

Jake was snoring lightly beside me. Light filtered in through the blinds casting a yellow slanted glow on everything in our bedroom. The poor guy was exhausted. Between work and advising meetings for the new position he was taking at the University, this week had just about wiped him out.

Which was fine with me because that meant he was distracted. Normally Jake was pretty aware of my cycle…he was just that kind of guy.

But that also meant that for the last six months he’d checked the app on his phone, watching the days count down, hoping we’d get a positive pregnancy test instead of a period. So far, we’d only been disappointed.

Well, Jake was disappointed. I was scared shitless. Sure, I’d agreed to the whole “let’s start a family” idea, but that didn’t mean it didn’t terrify me. Kids changed everything and I loved what I had with Jake. We’d both waited so long to have this. Call me a terribly selfish brat if you want (I do every day) but I didn’t want to lose it. I didn’t want to lose Jake. And a huge part of me was convinced a baby might change everything in our lives for the worse.

So here I was, lying in bed on the day I knew I should be getting my period—absolutely convinced I was pregnant because of the weird vibe I’d been feeling—and I was too scared to get out of bed and find out the truth. The smart thing to do would be to wake Jake up and tell him what was going on.

But I wasn’t feeling terribly smart at the moment. Instead I was feeling a little crazy and glad that I was getting a chance to absorb this alone.

And if I really and truly wanted that chance, I needed to get my chicken-shit ass out of bed.

I took a deep breath and gently rolled out. The floor was freezing as I scurried across it and into my giant bathroom. I stole one last look at Jake before I closed the door. He was still snoring with his bare back to me.

He was so lucky that a baby wasn’t going to make his body look completely different. No actually, knowing him, he’d somehow wind up sexier and in better shape in nine months, the bastard.

My bastard.

My heart skipped a beat and I remembered exactly why we were doing this crazy thing. Why I wanted to do this crazy thing. My sexy, cocky, sweet husband desperately wanted to be a father—and that was more important than my selfish fears which, let’s be honest, were a little dramatic.

I opened the cabinet under the sink and pulled out a plastic box I’d hidden in the back, out of my daily line of sight. Inside were a variety of pregnancy tests (when you’re trying for six months, it makes sense to buy a few different brands). I dug around until I found the one I wanted: the one that was the most sensitive.

It was first thing in the morning so this was the best time to take the test. I ripped open the package with a deep, deep breath, angled the clock we kept on the counter, bit my lip, and dropped my sweatpants.

Peeing on a stick is exactly as weird and uncomfortable as it sounds, by the way.

I was just pulling the thing out from between my legs, putting the little plastic cap on the end, when the bathroom door opened. “What’s it say?”

“How do you know what I’m doing?” I asked as he closed the door.

He turned around and flashed me his sexy, cocky dimple. “Darlin’…”

“Okay, fine. I should have known you’d know.” I stood up and flushed before putting the toilet seat down and sitting on it. I was an idiot to think Jake wasn’t paying attention. He was probably the most attentive guy I’d ever met.

At least when it came to me. “Sorry if I woke you up.”

He chuckled. “I always know when you get out of bed. It gets cold and I get so damn lonely I can’t sleep anymore. I rolled over and sure enough, you were gone. I knew what today was so I put two and two together.” He dropped to his knees in front of me and took my hands in his. “Are you more scared that it will say yes, or no?”

It always surprised me how well he knew me. By this point I shouldn’t still be this surprised, but I was. I guess ten years apart didn’t mean starting over, it just meant starting fresh. “I’m scared it will say yes.”

He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, pulling my hands up and around his warm face. He held them there with his large hands over mine. “Why?”

He was so handsome with a little scruff on his face, his hair all crazy from sleep and no shirt to cover his gorgeous chest. But it was his green eyes that always did me in. I could see everything he thought and felt—and right now I saw concern, a little fear, and a lot of hope. I wanted to give him the world.

“I…” my voice fell away as the words got lost in my throat. I didn’t want to confess to the man I loved that I was scared he wouldn’t love me like this forever.

He pressed his cheek into my hand and closed his eyes like he was savoring the feel of my hand on his skin. “Darlin’? As much as you think I can, I actually can’t read your mind.”

I laughed a little at his joke. “What if things get hard again?”

His eyes flew open and locked onto mine. For once I wasn’t sure what I saw in his eyes.

“Things will get hard again, Eve. Life isn’t easy and sure as fuck isn’t fair. I can absolutely guarantee things will get hard again. But you can bet your sweet ass that I will never stop loving you.”

Well, fuck. “I can’t lose you again. Not ever.”

He took a deep breath and kissed the inside of my palm, then sat up on his knees so that we were eye to eye. He grabbed my face in his hands and shook his head. “Eve, you will never lose me again. You can get horrifically fat with my baby and I will love you even more than I do now. You can go bald, lose a foot to gangrene, or become as harry as a Sasquatch. It won’t change how much I love you. No matter what comes our way, I’m going through it with you. I will never leave you again and I will never pull away from you again. You are stuck with me, whether you like it or not.”

A few tears tumbled out of my eyes as I squeezed them shut. “What if we can’t have kids? What if this is another no?” I was so sure it was a yes, but there were no guarantees.

He leaned his forehead into mine and held me there for several seconds before he whispered, “You are my family, forever. Kids or no kids.”

A little weight suddenly lifted off my shoulders. I hadn’t even realized I was worried about not being able to get pregnant. Sure I was scared to death of what having a kid could do to us, but I was more scared that I wouldn’t be able to give my husband something he so desperately wanted. I wanted to give him the world, and if he wanted a kid, I wanted to be the one to give it to him. It was such a ridiculous burden to put on myself when I knew Jake didn’t feel that way at all.

He wanted a family—not for me to provide him with offspring. Those were two very different things and somewhere along the way, I’d lost sight of that.

“You want to find out?” I asked.

“Whenever you’re ready.”

“Do you want to do the honors?”

He shook his head slowly, moving mine with his. “No, you need to do this.”

I pulled my upper lip between my teeth. My heart was racing like crazy and I was so nervous I thought I was going to puke. I blindly reached out for the stick sitting on the edge of the bathtub and wrapped my sweaty, nervous palm around it.

Jake looked directly into my eyes. They never moved, never faltered. I had a feeling he was curious as hell, but was more worried about me and my reaction than anything else.

Maybe he knew what it was going to say, too.

“You tasted different last night,” he whispered.

I gulped. A dark image of him coming home late last night from the university and crawling up under the covers flashed through my mind. I remembered the pleased grunt he’d made when he first tasted me. I also remembered the goofy grin he had on his face as he pulled me into his arms and kissed me goodnight.

The bastard knew right then.

“I was wondering about those funny noises you were making.” I shook my head.

He grinned and bounced his eyebrows, his forehead still pressed firmly against mine. “I’m looking forward to all the changes the next few months are going to bring.” His voice was husky and very, very seductive.

I squeezed my legs together as I pulsed with a greedy little bit of need. Leave it to Jake to find pregnancy sexy.

“You are very confident that you know what this stick is going to say.”

“I am. I know your body, remember? I know what I felt last night as I ran my hands over your skin. I know that you tasted different, and I know that you reacted differently than you normally do. Add that to the confident glint in your eyes and the scared shake of your hands and yeah…I’m pretty damn confident I know my wife.”

I wrapped my arm around his neck and kissed the hell out of him. I slid forward on the toilet seat, wrapped my legs around his waist, and kissed him until I throbbed so painfully I felt like sex was the only relief I could ever want.

He panted as he pulled back to look into my eyes. “You better look at that stick so we can go and celebrate already.” His voice was almost a purr it was so deep and dark.

I kept one arm around his shoulders and turned the stick over in my other hand. This was it. Truth or dare time.

Pregnant.

The perfectly typed little words in the oval window were very easy to read for about three seconds, then the water in my eyes blurred my vision and I couldn’t really read it any more.

Jake kissed my lips and then each of the tears as they fell down my cheeks. “Darlin’,” he whispered. “What does it say? Are these good tears or bad tears?”

His hands held my face and his eyes searched mine.

“Good tears. Jake, you are going to be a dad.” Fear mixed with excitement. Yep, that was what I was feeling. Total fear, but absolute excitement.

His eyes widened and we both just kind of froze for a few heartbeats. I could hear each one thud in my ears.

Holy shit we were pregnant.

I was having Jake’s baby.

He started breathing heavier and his eyes glistened a little. Then he kissed me again and pulled me up into his arms. He held me tight against his strong chest, kissing the top of my head and running his fingers through my hair before he tilted my face up to his and kissed me slow and deep.

“I love you, Eve. I’m going to take such good care of you and our baby. I promise. You both will always know how much I love you.” The he suddenly dropped to his knees and kissed my belly, pulling my t-shirt up so he could kiss my skin. “I love you,” he said to the baby. “All you will ever know is love. I promise.” He dug his fingers into my hips as he pressed his forehead against my stomach.

He took several deep breaths before standing and then picking me up. “Mother of my child, it’s time to celebrate.”

I was worried about him until he flashed me that cocky grin of his. His dimple peeked out through his stubble and I ran my thumb into the dip. “Let’s take it slow, okay?”

“Oh darlin’,” he shook his head. “You have no idea.”

And then he made the sweetest, deepest, most impressive love to me in our bed under the bright morning light.


 

Here is a special sneak peek at the cover of When Lighting Strikes (The Storm Inside #3):

WhenLightningStrikes_Cover

Greg’s a jerk, everyone knows this. He’s made an art form out of pissing people off and swearing with style. What nobody knows is why.

The act works on everyone except Marie, a confident, no-nonsense woman. Or in other words, the only woman who can handle Greg. Together they’re passionate and honest in a way he never thought was possible. They have a rare kind of chemistry that makes everything else seem pointless.

Well, except the past. Greg hasn’t been able to let that go, and unless he figures out a way to forgive himself, he’ll lose Marie and his shot at the all-consuming, life altering happiness he didn’t think he was allowed to have.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Or does it?

Coming January 2015

To receive an email update when the book is published, sign-up for my newsletter!

Flash Fiction Friday: Chapter Six of The Unspoken Game

Hey gang! Sorry for taking a couple of weeks off from Flash Fiction Friday! Things got…busy. But I’m back with Chapter Six from The Unspoken Game: The Mummy Maneuver! Just to update you on the progress of The Unspoken Game series, Mummy Maneuver is DONE aside from final proofreading and formatting. The cover is mocked up, but not finalized. The Art of Deception, the first full-length novel in the series, is in another round of revisions, but the story is complete (I think!). The cover is also mocked up, but not finalized. I don’t have a solid release date, but it will be in June (for all your summer reading fun!) Now, here is Chapter Six!


The Unspoken Game: The Mummy Maneuver

Chapter Six

“Antonia?  What is it?” he asked a second time.  She was frozen with her mouth hanging open and one hand in the air.

Her eyes flicked over to his but she still didn’t say anything.  It was like she was processing a flood of information.  He took a step toward her hoping it would make it easier for her to talk.  Her eyes followed him and he saw her muscles soften.

“We’ve got this all backwards,” she whispered.

“Backwards how?”

But she was frozen again, thinking and not talking.  He took another step toward her and placed a hand on her arm.  “Antonia, you’ve got to talk to me, I’m not a mind reader.”

She rolled her eyes and finally put her hand down.  “Take off those stupid glasses so I can actually see you when you talk.”

He had half a mind to leave them on just to piss her off, but he really needed her to talk, so he took them off and spun them around to sit on the back of his head.  “Better?”

She smiled smugly.  “Yes.”

“Then talk,” he was already tired of the banter.  Antonia was exhausting.

“Simon wasn’t kidnapped.  This is Simon’s apartment.”

Donovan felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room.  “Come again?”

“Simon was living here.  I’d bet money on it.  This room is feng shuied.  How many people feng shui their bedrooms?”

“I do,” Patterson quipped from behind her.  “I came to see what all the fuss was about,” he added when Donovan glared at him.

“Ok,” Antonia replied.  “Besides you, how many people go to the trouble of arranging their bedroom like that?”

Patterson and Antonia were like opposing magnets, one minute it looked like they were on the same page and then the next, the energy between them was moving in the opposite direction.  Right then, Patterson was intentionally annoying Antonia, who looked like she wanted to punch the kid in the face.

Donovan was strangely annoyed and attracted to her all at the same time.

“Shut up Patterson,” he replied, then he turned to Antonia.  “Not many, but you’ve got give me more than the way the bedroom in arranged.”

She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes.  He knew right then and there that she was right.  She knew this was Simon’s apartment for a lot more reasons than bedroom furniture.

“The banana in the garbage can—Simon eats a banana every morning.  The books on the bookshelf are all books I know he loves and the People magazine in the living room?  He always had a thing for celebrity gossip.  Simon lived here.”  She was adamant about that fact.  “You said you couldn’t find anything on McQueen, right?”

He shook his head.  They were still coming up with dead ends.  The driver’s license used to rent the apartment belonged to an eighty year old man who lived in a nursing home in Texas.

“Simon stole this mummy,” she said firmly.

“But why?”  It made no sense and perfect sense all at the same time.  Why would he stage his own abduction?

Antonia shook her head and twirled the end of her ponytail as she thought.  “You said he and Seleron went way back.  Way back where?”

“Prep school.  They were childhood friends.”  As far as he knew.  That was what The Old Man told him.

“But not friends as adults?”

Donovan shook his head.  He didn’t like where any of this was going.

“Do you have the paperwork Simon submitted for the grant?”

Donovan took a deep breath and waved for a tablet computer.  It only took a moment to pull up the paperwork.  He handed the tablet to Antonia and held his breath as she read through it.  He saw it the moment she stopped.  Her eyes widened just a little, her hands tightened around the black tablet, and she stopped breathing as her eyes went back and forth over the same thing over and over again.

She finally licked her lips and whispered, “You didn’t say he originally requested a sample as well.”  She sat slowly on the bed.  She looked pale, very pale actually.  Like all the blood had just drained out of her head.

“I’m not sure I even know what that means.  Is that different from the scan?”

She looked up at him with her dark brown eyes.  “Very different.  It also explains why the Egyptians were being so difficult.  Simon didn’t just want to scan the mummy, he wanted to take a sample.  The Egyptian government denied his request—numerous times—but ultimately allowed the scan provided the mummy was immediately returned afterward.”

“I’m not following any of this…” he replied. Why was a sample such a big deal?

Her shoulders slumped.  “Simon is part of a genetic research collective that is cataloguing every sample of DNA they can get their hands on.  In cases where they can’t get a sample, or when there is a low probability of getting a viable sample, they are scanning skeletons and mummies instead.  They are attempting to create a genetic map of human history through time and across the world.  They’ll be able to see how diseases were born and spread, where genetic mutations originated, and how populations interbred.”

“And so you think when he was denied a sample he just took it?  Why?”

She turned off the tablet and set it beside her on the bed.  “The Little One is special.  She is a full-grown woman, but the size of a ten year old girl.  Scans done in the nineties confirmed all this, but scanning technology wasn’t what it is today and genetic research has gone into a whole new stratosphere.  The Little One is a genetic anomaly.  She’s very special.”

“Special enough to steal and leave your entire career behind?”

“If I’m right, then yes,” she replied.  “Several of the scientists involved in the research have been quietly hired on by a company in Switzerland that is creating its own genetic database.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” A very bad thing.

“Their goals do not seem to be research oriented.  My feeling is that they are looking into much more lucrative things to do with information like that.”

“Lucrative how?”

She held up her hand and ticked items off on her fingers. “Genetically modified diseases, population specific attacks, diet manipulation—”

Donovan held up his hand to stop her. “I get it. Let’s assume you’re right.  What do we do now?  Where is Simon?”

“He’ll have had enough time to scan the mummy and remove a sample.  He’ll be looking to get out of the country by now.”

Which also meant they were probably about to lose him.

Donovan went right into action putting out feelers for Simon at all the major airports, but he had a gut instinct Simon would be heading to the closest one, the one they had all just left.

So it was with a lot of frustration, leering, and scowling, that he the rest of the team threw themselves back in the Suburban and rushed back across town.

Donovan was feeling caged after an hour in the truck and he could feel time slipping between his fingers.  He hated playing catch-up.

Sophie and Patterson moved directly to the International Terminal after purchasing tickets that would allow them through security.  Sparks, on the other hand, was doing what he did best: working his connections.  He was inside the security center in less than five minutes.  The man knew everyone, or knew someone who knew someone.

Donovan stayed with Antonia as she scanned the crowds and made phone call after phone call.  Her expression darkened with every minute.

He checked in with Sophie.  “Anything?”

“Nope.  A big fat negative here.  There’s too many people.  Patterson is running some sort of program telling me which flights are boarding in which order and I’m hopping around the terminal trying to catch everyone before they board.  We could really use some help back here.”

He leaned closer to Antonia, her long ponytail catching his bare arm as she turned to face him.  They were nose to nose.  He lifted his glasses.  “We’re not doing any good up here.  Sophie needs our help, are you alright with that?”

She studied him for a moment, the lack of barrier between them made him feel unusually exposed.  He hadn’t realized how much he relied on his glasses.  “I think it’s our best shot.  Yeah, let’s do it.”

She handed over her passport at the counter while he checked in with Sparks.

“We’ve got eyes on all the terminals.  We’re watching for him, boss.”

They passed through security with a few funny looks, but Sparks made sure to call ahead and warn the officers they were coming through.  International travelers without bags tended to get noticed.

“Talk to me Patterson.”

The kid’s familiar voice came through Donovan’s earpiece loud and clear.  “I’ll rotate you, Antonia, and Sophie so we can hit as many departures as possible.  Send Antonia to F7 and you can take F5.”

Donovan didn’t like how far apart those gates were, but they really didn’t have much of a choice.  “Take F7.  Use your comm if you need help.”  He pointed his finger at her just to make a statement.

She rolled her eyes and jogged off toward the gate.

Donovan had studied Dr. Green’s photograph, paying special attention to his jaw line and lips.  People could cover their eyes and ears, even disguise their noses, but jaw lines and lips were harder.  He carefully scanned every person lounging in the chairs and along the columns.  He took note of the cell phones and tablets plugged into the charging station.  No one looked like Simon.

“I’ve got nothing again,” Sophie sighed.

Patterson replied, “Help Antonia at 7 and then cut down to 12, that gate will be boarding in fifteen minutes.  I’m headed there now.”

The flight attendant came over the loudspeaker and started boarding the flight.  Donovan casually checked each passenger.  Tired families, happy couples, men and women on business, but no Simon.  The next round of passengers was called to the gate and Donovan’s blood pressure continued to climb. He hated the waiting game.

He glanced at his watch as the flight attendant called for the last group of passengers.  This could all be useless.  Simon could have already come and gone, there was no telling.

“I’m heading to twelve,” Sophie said.  “They just started boarding this gate, Antonia’s got it.”

Final boarding was called and the doors closed.  Donovan headed toward Antonia and Gate seven.  “I’m headed your way, Antonia.”

But he didn’t get a reply.  She had two Ph.D.’s; surely she knew how to use the communicator.  “Antonia?”

He quickened his steps back across the terminal, a sense of dread quickly building.  Gate seven was boarding, but he didn’t see Antonia anywhere.  His heart rate and blood pressure skyrocketed.  “Sophie, where was Antonia?”

“By the column. Shit. I’m headed back your way now.”

Donovan circled the column, but Antonia wasn’t there. He didn’t see her anywhere.  His eyes shot to the corners of the room.  There, in a dark corner, he saw two people arguing.  “Back corner, Sophie.”

“I see them,” she replied.

They silently flanked the two archaeologists. As he got closer, Donovan could hear Antonia’s angry voice. “It can’t be worth it, Simon.  It can’t.”

“Look what they did to you,” he shot back. There was an obvious edge to his voice. “You can’t tell me the last six months have been easy for you.”

She shook her head and put her hands on her hips. “It’s been hell, but I’m not selling my soul—you are.”

Simon shook his head. “That is where you’re wrong, Antonia. This is a chance to actually make progress for a change. All we’ve done for the last ten years is watch our budgets shrink. We aren’t going to have careers soon. This is my chance to do the work I’ve always dreamed of doing.”

“In hiding, after stealing the work you need?”

Simon smiled.  “Everything we do is stealing, Antonia.”

She took a step back which was when Donovan managed to catch her eye. “Well, good luck with that, Simon. These two want to have a word with you, I’m afraid.”

To Donovan’s surprise Simon bolted for the gate and thrust his boarding pass at the flight attendant. Was he actually trying to board the plane?

The woman looked at them all with surprise.  “I’m sorry sir, but I can’t let you board until this matter is resolved.”

“I suggest you take a seat,” Donovan waved his hand at the recently vacated bank of chairs.

Simon’s shoulders sagged and he shook his head. “I didn’t hurt the Little One. I only took one sample. I left her somewhere safe and I was going to send instructions on where to find her after I landed.” He was looking right at Antonia as he spoke, but then turned to Donovan. “You have what you need. Please, just let me go. I’m sure Teddy will understand.”

Donovan tried not to laugh. No one called The Old Man “Teddy”. “I think a few things have changed since the two of you were kids. Seleron is pretty mad about the position you’ve put him in.” It was the truth, sort of.

In reality, The Old Man was sure Simon was up to something and that they’d be able to track it all down. What Seleron really wanted was a good excuse to bring the team together. None of them would have agreed to a meeting with Seleron on their own.

So while The Old Man had other motives, he was also pretty pissed off at Simon.

A minute later Sparks arrived with a team from security. They took care of the messy task of dealing with Simon, while Donovan took on the equally difficult job of bringing the team to Seleron Headquarters.

“Can’t you just drop me back at the airport?”  Patterson asked.  He’d given the front seat to Sparks, preferring to sprawl out in the backseat like a teenager with gadgets and cords spewing out of him like some half-robotic mutant.

“No, Seleron asked to see you all and thank you in person.”  Donovan replied.

“I’ll take a direct deposit,” Patterson muttered, sinking deeper into his seat.

“You know, I just realized I know Seleron from television, but I don’t know anything about him,” Antonia was in the far back again. Donovan had kept his eye on her, and not just because he enjoyed what he was seeing. Dr. Warren was an interesting combination—she intrigued him. He knew before he walked into the bar that the archaeologist was a contradiction.

On paper she was the poster child for over achievers. Graduating college at twenty with degrees in biology and anthropology, she moved to England where she quickly became the hottest up and coming archaeologist on early civilizations. She was considered to have more promise than her own mother, who was the pre-eminent expert in the world. Antonia did her internships at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and it wasn’t long after she became a full member of their staff that things veered from the expected.  There were blank spots that could only be filled in by government documents.  It took digging, but he’d eventually found reports detailing her dealings in the black markets of antiquities.

Antonia’s mother publicly denounced her for working with dealers, but Donovan didn’t feel like the information in his files quite followed the story in the papers.  To him, it looked a helluva a lot more like Antonia was hunting something down.  Her activity had all the hallmarks of someone looking for something in particular.  And he was willing to bet she was still looking for it.

For the last six months she’d been working odd jobs, most recently as a field monitor for a pipeline company.  It was hard, honest work, but it was a far cry from the type of research she’d been doing in Europe.  Antonia was keeping her nose clean, staying off the radar, and avoiding her tainted name at all costs, but based on the attitude he’d seen since he met her, Antonia was hardly the quiet, mild-mannered archaeologist.  She was a brilliant woman on a mission, more than willing to get her hands dirty when necessary.

That was when Donovan realized no one had answered her question about Seleron.  Everyone seemed to be looking blankly out the windows of the Suburban.  “He’s exactly how he seems on television, Antonia.  Driven, passionate, firm.  Headquarters is based out of his mansion.  All research and development is done in the compound that surrounds his house.”

“So we’re headed to his house?” she asked with surprise.

Sparks turned around to face her before Donovan could respond.  “He works constantly.  He walks into any lab or office at any time.  He works in every division himself and knows almost every employee by name.  He never sleeps.  He’s a machine.”

“Ok…” Antonia drawled.  “The Old Man is a super human control freak.  Got it.”

“This should be interesting,” Sophie replied.

And hopefully painless.

Read Chapter 7 now!


Thanks for reading! My new erotic serial is out now! And check back next week for more on The Unspoken Game!

 

Excerpt from Filters!

My first short story in the FILTERS series, Polarized, is out now!  Book 2, Grayscale, will be available this weekend.  The series tells the story of six people dealing with having their lives turned upside down when their private messages are publicly released by a group of hackers.

In the excerpt below you’ll meet television reporter Veronica Thomas.  She is married to divorce attorney Rick Thomas, and they have two small children.  But thanks to the hacking scandal, she now knows her husband cheated on her the weekend before.  Veronica is stuck working the story of a lifetime while her marriage is falling apart.  

I hope you enjoy reading the excerpt!

 

Veronica Thomas was having one hell of a day. Spectacularly good on the one hand, and phenomenally bad on the other. Talk about your opposites. One minute she was on Cloud Nine with happiness, the next she just wanted to crawl into a deep dark hole to cry.

The good was so, so good. A crew met her at the door this morning, she didn’t even get to wave good morning to the security guard.  And they’d been hitting it hard ever since. They went straight to a murder-suicide, but turned that over to another reporter almost immediately because just up the road a guy with a sword had gone on a rampage. All the networks had gone wall-to-wall with coverage so she’d been picked up by national. The package had been perfect. The videographer had managed to get some really spectacular footage of the guy just before cops took him down. And her stand-up had been dead-on.

They wanted her live for the evening shows. Live on national television.

Dream. Come. True.

And now they were down in the business district following the arrests of five different men and women on charges of corporate espionage. Two were CEO’s. Sure the suicides, murders, fights, and brawls were all spectacular, but they were so ordinary. The everyday common problems brought to a boiling point. But this, this was juicy. Secrets, lies, and money. Lots of money. Even the big and bad were being brought down thanks to Hacktastrophe.

And thanks to this late-breaking story, the networks were having a fit over which stories to cover. At the moment she was doing both.

Two stories on national television in one night.

It didn’t seem real.

But then she remembered her personal life. And well, that brought her right back down to reality. Rick had cheated on her. At least he had this weekend while he was in Atlantic City. More than likely there were others.

But that one email had been enough for Veronica. She didn’t need to read the rest. At least not today. She had work. National television, to be exact. Her broken heart could wait.

The worst part was she wasn’t surprised. She was shocked, yes. But the reality was she expected this. They were miserable shadows of their former selves. It only seemed fitting they’d also started living separate lives.

Didn’t make it hurt any less.

What were they going to do? Even though she hated her life and, at least at the moment, wanted to kill her husband, she found it impossible to imagine a different life. A life without Rick. She couldn’t picture Sundays without all four of them. She couldn’t picture holiday’s without her kids because they were with their dad. It just wasn’t right. They were supposed to be a family.

Where had they gone wrong?

It had been a fairy tale. Maybe that was the problem. Fairy tales weren’t real.

Rick had just passed the bar, she had just landed her first top ten market. They were perfect for each other. Young, ambitious, living life to the fullest. He had worshipped her and she had adored him. He was going to work his way up to partner and maybe start his own firm. She was going to land an anchor job and start a serious series of investigative reporting. They were going to have two adorable children, a boy and girl. They were going to live happily ever after.

At least they’d gotten the adorable children right. And Rick was a partner in his firm. And she was weekend anchor. But everything else had stagnated. She knew it had, but was clueless how to fix it.

Sometimes it felt like they were puppets. They looked the part and were moving, but it was hollow. They were empty. The life that once made them who they were was just… gone.

And neither of them seemed to know what to do about that.

So maybe it was for the best she’d opened that particular email first. Maybe she needed that shock to the system, to awaken her from whatever slumber she’d allowed herself to drift into. Because in the end, their lives weren’t real and it wasn’t fair to anyone. Not to them or their kids.

She just didn’t want to go home. She didn’t want to face Rick and see the betrayal in his eyes or hear those final words ending their marriage.

She wasn’t ready. Not yet.

“Veronica, we need you out here. Something is going on…”

She hopped out of her hiding place in the passenger seat of the live truck just as five more cop cars came barreling up to the building. They began waving at the news trucks lined up along the road. They were waving them away. Her instincts told her to run, but her body stayed frozen in place as her brain debated what it thought was happening. There was a story here, if she ran she would miss it. Of course if she stayed and died, it would be pretty damn hard to report it.

Her kids probably wouldn’t appreciate their mother being the idiot reporter who wouldn’t get out of harm’s way for a story.
So she screamed at her legs until they finally moved. Across the street, up the sidewalk, and in with the throng of others being herded away from the buildings. Her videographer, Ed, was slamming the doors shut on the van- she should have stopped to help him with that- and clicking the key fob to activate the alarm as he ran toward her with his camera.

That was when the explosion hit. It was probably a bomb, if she had to guess. It came from the inside of the building, exploding cement and brick and god knows what else, outward toward all of them. It was loud and powerful enough that she felt the waves of energy as they ripped through the air, pushing her and everyone else back, knocking them to the ground.

Sound seemed to lose all meaning for a while. She was covered in gray and rubble. The eyes of everyone around her were large and round with shock. She imagined hers looked the same.

Ed was already on his feet, his camera intact and on his shoulder, rolling. She should be helping, she knew that, but her first priority wasn’t reporting to the world. It was reporting to her family. She fumbled through her pockets until her hands closed around the sleek comfort of her cell phone. But as she glanced at the screen and pulled up Rick’s number, she paused. Should she call him? Was he really the best person to call first given the circumstances?

Her thumb wavered over her call log, the first five numbers were all work. But the next one was Jessica. She could call her. Jessica would let the kids know mommy was alright and she could answer Rick’s questions.

But if the kids heard her on the phone, they might want to talk. And there was no way Veronica was having a conversation with her kids right now. They might get scared.

And it was probably not entirely fair to Rick. He was still her husband and, more importantly the father of her children. The adult and responsible thing to do would probably be to let him know she wasn’t hurt.

She hit the call button before she could debate it for another second. It was just a courtesy call.

“Are you ok?” he shrieked.

She couldn’t remember ever hearing such fear in her husband’s voice. Not the time she forgot to call him after Hurricane Katrina. Not the time she called him from the back of a cop car. Not even in the delivery room when nothing seemed to be going right.
“I’m fine. They got us across the street before the bomb went off. Please let everyone know we are all fine.” She was going to simply hang up, but he was too fast. She caught his words as she pulled the phone away from her ear.

“Baby, please get out of there.”

He hadn’t called her baby in months. “Rick, this is my job.”

“You have no idea what else might explode around there. This isn’t worth your life, get the hell out of there. And don’t go back to that station. That place will probably go up too. Just go home. I’ll meet you there.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t take orders from my philandering husband. This is my job, genius. If you wanted to order someone around you should have married an empty-headed bimbo. I am perfectly capable of judging what I can and can’t do and I’ll thank you to stay the fuck out of my job, out of my bed, and out of my life. If and when you can keep you pants zipped I might have time to listen to something you have to say. I called to let you know I was fine. Please let our nanny and our children know for me. I have work to do.” She would have thrown the phone across the street if she didn’t need it desperately for work. But she did. So instead she mashed the red ‘End Call’ button as forcefully as her thumb would allow.

It wasn’t nearly as satisfying as throwing the damn thing.

That was when she realized she’d been yelling. And that every one around her was watching her with wary eyes and raised eyebrows.
But hey, the world was coming down around them. Did it really matter who knew her husband had paid a hooker to give him a blow job in the back of a limousine?

Her phone vibrated again. This time it was the network.

“Can you do a talkback live over the phone? Right now?”

Veronica looked at the chaos around her. She had no idea where Ed was or what the hell was going on. But she sure as hell had time to talk to the world about what she was seeing. “Yeah, let’s do this.”

 

Thanks for reading!  If you want to read the rest, follow these links:

http://www.amazon.com/Filters-Polarized-ebook/dp/B00CSG8XSA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369249228&sr=1-1&keywords=filters+polarized 

Or on Nook:

http://bit.ly/110gZ1R

And be sure to keep a look out for Book 2: Grayscale! 

Thanks and much love! xoxo

 

Updates on FILTERS

FILTERS_COVER

My husband calls my short stories “Riders” because they are a quick fun read, i.e. you can read them in the car rider line at school, on your lunch break, or Saturday morning.  I think I like that, so I’m gonna stick with it.

The good news is that FILTERS is now available as an ebook on both Kindle (Amazon) and Nook.  And my favorite little bit, it’s now listed on Goodreads.  I don’t know why that part is my favorite, but it is!

If you read it and like it, please take a second to leave a review.  Reviews and word of mouth are the bread and butter of the author world. It’s the only way a stranger knows if something totally sucks or has potential.  You have no idea what a thirty second review can do for an author!

Here are the links in case you are interested in taking a peek!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/10AeWl6

Nook: http://bit.ly/110gZ1R

Thanks and much love!

xoxo

%d bloggers like this: