Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sometimes it is Rocket Science snippet

I know I've mentioned this often enough, but I am working on a contemporary romance/romantic suspense story.  It's a challenge trying to avoid demons and magic, but that's what science is for!  I had contemplated publishing this under a different name to avoid confusion, but nixed that idea (though I have posted a draft under a different name).  Since I love family dynamics, Georgiana's relationship with her younger brother features heavily into the story, as does Robert's relationship with his father.  This is also set in Houston and features talking houses, robots, and quirky assistants.

Sometimes it is Rocket Science
(working title, natch)
Already overwhelmed by responsibilities, robotics whiz Georgiana doesn't have time to deal with traitors, murderous CEOs, or Robert's persistent seduction.

Here's a snippet from Chapter Two:

Robert spotted Georgiana seated on the hood of his hired town car chatting with the chauffeur. As soon as he was within earshot, Georgiana shook her head and slid off the hood. He was disappointed to note that her slight smile had disappeared and her face was once again closed off.

“Are you staying at Dan’s or at a hotel?” she asked.

“Mmm,” Robert hummed. “Angling for a dinner invitation, already? I will admit that I am not used to dining solo.”

Georgiana rolled her eyes, shoved her hands in the pockets of her hoodie. “I don’t know why you bother flirting with me. It’s never going to work.”

Robert leaned forward so that the tip of his nose grazed her cheek. The citrusy tang of her perfume was light and intoxicating. “I never say never, Georgiana.”

He was rewarded by a shiver and the dilation of her pupils. Despite what she claimed, she wasn’t completely immune to him. He rocked back on his heels and grinned rakishly. “I’m in the mood for a nice, juicy steak. You look like you could use the iron.”

“I don’t need… I’m not…” Georgiana’s cheeks were red. Irritation sparkled in her eyes. Her face scrunched up a moment before smoothing. “I wasn’t asking you to dinner.”

“That’s a shame. Now I’m heartbroken and hungry.”

She snorted. “You’d have to have a heart first.” She leaned against the town car and jerked her pointed chin towards a blue Audi sports coupe parked nearby. “I’ll follow you to the house. Dan changed the locks last year, and I should explain about NORA.”

“Who is she? I wasn’t aware Dad had a housekeeper on staff.”

Georgiana’s lips twitched. “Oh,” she said, “I think this you’re just going to have to see. NORA is something you need to experience to understand.”

Soundtrack... Thursday? "Spectacular Girl" - Eels

Oh, I know I'm very late with this. Blame it on the pre-vacation craziness, the vacation itself, and the post-vacation laziness. This is just a sweet song that fits perfectly for Viola and Duke.

I am still working furiously on Mistress of Malice and Mercy and my romantic suspense. More Duke and Viola to come soon. I hope y'all have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Birthday Present

Okay, so it's my birthday, but I thought I'd give y'all the present.

I have been utterly swamped with work, getting ready for my trip, and working on both Mistress of Malice and Mercy and my contemporary romance (which I may start posting snippets of, if you'd like). I did manage to get this very short, early Duke & Viola piece done.


A noisy, crowded outdoor party in The-Second-Wheatfield-Beyond-The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Oklahoma was the last place Duke wanted to be. Since he’d stopping traveling with the Ashwoods, though, Bert had made it clear that Duke needed to make sure his Trackers remembered his name and his face. Tommy Calhoun, Duke’s eyes and ears in the Oklahoma City area, had invited him to their pre-busy summer season bash.

He took a sip from his plastic cup of warming beer and ignored the sweat trickling down his spine. Though the sun had set over an hour earlier, it was hot even a good distance from the bonfire they’d lit before the first stars twinkled. He nodded at a pair of Trackers he remembered attending one of his database training sessions.

He opened his mouth to start a conversation, when an unforgettable, feminine laugh reached his ears. His jaw snapped shut. Muscles tense, he whipped out his phone and tapped out a text message to his high school best friend Sebastian Ashwood: Where are you?

‘Shreveport,’ came the one word answer.

Duke blew out a sigh of relief. He was always happy to have a six-hour drive between him and Sebastian’s little sister, his nemesis/friend/sorta-trainee. Relaxed, he asked the two closest Trackers about the funniest thing that had happened on their last rotation and forgot all about hazel-eyed, Goth-wannabe imps.

Forty minutes later, he edged closer to the bonfire. The heat was no longer unbearable, and the sweat drying on his back was actually a little cool. He stopped dead in his tracks at the sound of that impossible, unmistakable laugh. His head swiveled around as he tried to find the source of the laughter. If the party hadn’t been so crowded, or full of people with unique abilities like his own, he would have dropped the extra-thick walls surrounded his mind. Her mind was usually the most chaotic in any room, and he knew the feel of her brain as well as he knew his own.

His feet carried him to a grouping of fifteen or so men a dozen feet from the fire. Salsa music, oddly enough, blared from the open windows of the ancient pickup truck that doubled as the bar. A smaller fire had been built specifically for the smokers in the group. The heavy blend of cigarette and cigar smoke made his eyes water, but it was what he saw near the center of the circle that made the breath catch in his throat.

A slim, dark-haired gypsy in a long, gauzy pink skirt, matching halter, and jingling bracelets grabbed the hand of the nearest Tracker and dragged him into her dance. Her skirt whipped around her calves and her loose hair, curling in the humidity, bounced around her grinning, elfin face. When her dance partner planted large, calloused hands on the bare skin between the hem of her skirt and her shirt and dipped her, she threw her head back and laughed merrily.

Duke’s plastic cup crumpled in his hand. He shook off the warm beer and elbowed his way into the circle. It was obvious that every man watching her dance was under her spell. He longed for a water hose or a bucket of ice. A growl rumbled low in his chest.

He expected her to notice him right away. He waited for her eyes to widen with surprise, for her cheeks to flush with shame and not giddiness, and for her to gravitate to his side like she always did. He mentally prepared a lecture on attending parties like this without a chaperone.

Viola Ashwood, lost in the music and the three sweet, high-octane drinks she’d downed earlier, never glanced in his direction. When her dance partner shuffled back to his friend, she simply spun and grabbed the nearest arm. The short, stout man was good for a turn around the fire before he pecked her flushed cheek and slipped out of her grasp.

Freer than she’d felt in over a decade, she giggled to herself and reached out blindly for a new partner. Fingertips hitting skin and coarse hair, she trailed her hands down until she was able to lace her fingers between rough, warm digits and yanked. The palms pressed against hers were familiar, but she chased away that thought as soon as it skittered through her mind. She was at the party to forget about Tobias Duke, not pretend that every man was him.

Her newest partner was surprisingly good. He lacked the awkward reluctance of the others and seemed to anticipate her moves. She smiled beatifically at her partner and lifted her mascara-laden lashes. If she was lucky, it was one of the downright edible Cooper boys who’d been flirting with her all night.

She gasped at the furious blue eyes blazing back at her. The hands twined with hers tightened until they were almost painful. Her heart sped up and her knees turned to jelly momentarily. Courage, bolstered by alcohol, stiffened her spine when Duke dragged her out of the circle. She dug her heels into the soft, red clay.

“Wait a minute, Tobias!”

He didn’t pause for a second. She twisted her hands quickly and pulled herself backwards with surprising strength. Before Duke could grab her again, she disappeared into the crowd. Bewildered, Duke rubbed the back of his neck. It wasn’t like Viola to run away from him.

He found her an hour later slumped on a hay bale next to a dozing, behemoth of a farm boy. The man’s thick, tanned arm was wrapped around Viola’s waist and his beefy bicep acted as her pillow. Four empty cups were piled near her feet; she’d lost one of her delicate, silver sandals and her pink-painted toes were dusted with red dirt.

“Knew you’d fin’ me,” she slurred, peering at him through half-lidded, bloodshot eyes.

He exhaled slowly, reined in his temper. If he came across too harsh, she’d only run. Or get the behemoth to break his jaw. She was unpredictable when mad or drunk.

“I will always find you, Vi,” he responded, not sure whether he meant that as a threat or a promise. Given the rollercoaster of emotions she evoked in him, it was a fifty-fifty split.

“Now who’s th’ stalker?”

Duke perched on the edge of bale in front of Viola. He leaned in close only to pull away at the alcohol fumes wafting off her. “Woah! You’re plastered.”

Her head shot up at the accusatory tone. Her nose crinkled and she kicked half-heartedly at his shins. “’M legal,” she reminded him archly. “Nothin’ you can do ‘bout it now.”

The behemoth’s arm snuggled her back against his chest. Duke’s hackles rose. He stuffed his fists in his pockets to keep from knocking the farm boy away from Viola. “What are you doing here, Shortcake?” He hoped the old nickname would get her to open up. He wasn’t used to not being able to read her thoughts or have her babble on about every idea racing through her mind.

“I,” she started, voice quiet but resolved, “am getting over you.”

Duke’s stomach twisted. He tried to tell himself that he was glad Viola was finally going to stop pestering him with her crush, but something like disappointment settled heavily in his heart. “Vi, sweetheart…”

“And Mikey here’s gonna help me,” she continued.

“It’s Gil.” The behemoth didn’t even open his eyes as he corrected her.

“Whatever.” Viola reached up to tickle the short hair at the nape of Gil’s neck. “Gil is gonna help me f’get all about your stupid face and your stupid hero’sm and your stupid smile and your stupid…”

“Eyes?” Duke suggested helpfully when she floundered.

Everything,” she seethed.

Duke’s patience was wearing thin. He surged to his feet and grabbed her arm. “Come on, Vi. I’m driving you to Shreveport.”

“Wha’s in Shreveport?”

“Your brother.”

She shuddered. “He and Amy are cel’bratin’ their ann’versary.”

“Where’s Olivia?”

Viola shrugged. “I dunno.”

Duke sighed. He was glad his hotel room had two beds. He’d drag Viola back with him, but she was going to have to deal with the hangover on her own. His charity only extended so far.

Gil slowly opened an eye when a Viola disappeared from his grasp. He stared at the swaying, sleepy girl and the angry, blond man holding her up. He recognized the regional head and scratched his chin speculatively. “She yours, boss?”

Duke hesitated. If he said no, there was the potential for jaw-breakage. Saying yes meant… a lot of things he didn’t want to think about surrounded by drunkards and cow patties. “In a way.”

“Am I going to regret letting her go with you?”

“Not as much as I am,” Duke groaned. “Trust me, not near as much as I am.”

The next morning, Viola awoke to a dark, quiet room. A bottle of Tylenol, a bottle of water, and the keys to her rental car were on the nightstand. The trash can was on the floor beside her head. Duke wasn’t in the room, but the faint scent of his soap lingered in the air. She clamped the pillow over her face. Her plan had been a complete failure. She didn’t remember much of the party, and she was dirty, nauseous, sore, and as in love with Duke as she’d ever been.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I am... wait for it... going on vacation. Not a "get together with the family for a holiday" type of vacation, either. I am going to South Padre Island to relax by the pool with my Mom and drink margaritas. Now, normally I read everything on my phone, but I am afraid of having my lifeline phone so close to the pool. I am opening myself up for good, pool-side book recommendations. I'll read anything except for horror, but I'd prefer something light to read out while I'm soaking up UV rays.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Giveaway Winners

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was a ton of fun: pool volleyball with the family, fajitas, card games, my cousin's graduation, watching my brother change a tire in the parking lot at A&M after graduation, more pool volleyball, a lot of wine...

Now for the part everyone's been waiting for - the winners of the Daughter of Deception and The Chaos Child giveaway.
Congratulations to Kelley C and Steph for winning a copy of the first two books in the series!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

I realize that I've been posting teasers for Mistress of Malice and Mercy but there are those who haven't read The Chaos Child. Here's a teaser from that book:

Viola Ashwood Duke yanked the thick brown sweater over her head as soon as the front door swung shut behind her. She tossed it on top of the heavy down jacket thrown over the back of the couch. Her plan to surprise Duke by catching an earlier flight had been ruined the moment he heard her mental grumblings about airport security. Finding him waiting for her with the warm grin that never failed to weaken her knees, though, more than made up for the disappointment.

"It’s freakin’ cold in Connecticut!"

"Thought you, being part Yankee and all, were warmer-blooded?" Duke teased, using one of her favorite arguments against her.

"Bite me." Viola glared at him as she pulled brown leather gloves out of the pockets of her jeans. The blissful smile on her face counteracted the heat of her retort. Sweet mercy, it was good to be home.

Before she could blink, she was tugged into the warm circle of Duke’s arms. He nipped at her neck playfully. "Don’t mind if I do, sweetness."

Hearing a faint crash from the vicinity of Duke’s office, Viola jerked out of his embrace and reached for the tranquilizer gun strapped beneath the side table. She flicked the safety off with her thumb and checked to make sure a dart was loaded. Whatever demon thought it necessary to ruin her reunion was going to be so very sorry.

Duke watched Viola’s quick, efficient motions with unadulterated admiration. Women who could handle weapons were one of his weaknesses. The glint of determination and glee in her eyes pulled him out of his lust-induced haze. "It’s just your brother, sugar. That’s his car you saw parked in the drive. Becky said she sent you a text about him this morning."

Viola’s grin stretched from ear to ear. She rolled her shoulders, toed off her sneakers, and tiptoed towards the office. Duke wrapped an arm around her waist and hefted her over his shoulder.

"Oh no, sweetness. I didn’t spend the better part of six hours restraining myself just so you could waltz in and shoot the bastard."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Daughter of Deception Blog Tour - Final Stop! International Giveaway!

Wow! It’s been a great tour, hasn’t it? I want to start off by thanking everyone who followed along and all the wonderful bloggers who hosted stops. I had a great time with the interviews and picking out excerpts. It was amazing. I also want to give a great, big thank you to Belinda for all her work putting the tour together and for all her help.

If you’ll step into my little narcissism corner over here, I’ll share a little secret with you: this tour helped me fall in love with my own book all over again. I’m currently working on the final book in the series: Mistress of Malice and Mercy. Most of last year was spent on the second book: The Chaos Child. Except for when I’ve had to go back and make sure I didn’t contradict myself, I hadn’t read Daughter of Deception in almost a year. After reading all your fantastic comments, I had to go back and make sure we were discussing about the same book!

As I said, I’m working on the final book in the series. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to Duke and Viola, but I have tentative plans to continue in the Network universe. I’m not going to rule out a guest appearance or two. One of the characters I’d like to explore is Viola’s former best friend Aaron. He stumbled his way into the Network when they were in high school, and a jealous Duke (though he had no claim on Viola at the time) moved him to El Paso. I’m also working on a contemporary romance chock full of artificial intelligence, physics (which is a nice break from the psychics in the Family Lies series), and a whole passel of geekiness.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported the tour. Now, for the fun part: I’m going to give away 2 sets of the first two books in the series (e-books only, sorry!). All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom – it can be a question about the series or a question for Duke or Viola or a random comment about whatever’s passing through your mind. The winners will be picked at random and contacted via e-mail. I’ll announce the winners here once the contest has ended. Since this is an e-book, it’s going to be an international giveaway. Please make sure you leave your e-mail in the comment or have it visible in your profile. My ESP often goes on the fritz :).

This contest is open until June 6th!