Coming soon! Dark Moon Magic

Blurb

Practicing wiccan Regina Moon is starting over in the tiny town of Groves, Arkansas, hoping her New Age shop will succeed despite her friends objections. A ritual-type killing of a local man transforms the quiet little community into 1692 Salem, with all eyes on her, and has the sheriff, Trace Langston not only trying to solve a murder but disbanding a mob of angry townspeople hell-bent on burning her at the stake. In all the upheaval, a cold case, sealed within a circle, is unearthed and an evil no one knew existed revealed.

Excerpt

Regina stepped inside the VFW hall and glanced around, the smell of stale coffee and popcorn overwhelming her.

Why had she decided to come? She’d never played Bingo in her life, not even as a child, but Sylvia thought it would be a good idea for her to get to know the residents of Groves—put a face to her business and start to assimilate herself into the community.

She scanned the tables peppered here and there with people, unsure of what she was supposed to do.

“B three,” echoed over a loudspeaker.

Regina recognized the voice. Sheriff Langston. Her eyes swept the room, spotting him sitting at a card table, turning a handle on some wire contraption. He reached in and pulled something out. “I twenty-three.”

The man’s voice vibrated like an electrical current down Regina’s backbone. Tonight, he wore a light blue chambray shirt, which highlighted the color of his eyes, and she noticed how full his lips were beneath them.

“Are you going to play?” a man asked, forcing her attention away from the sheriff’s mouth.

“I’m not sure. I’ve never played Bingo before.”

The young, brown-haired man standing next to her smiled. “You must be the owner of Healthy Glow.”

She frowned. “How did you know?”

“We don’t get many new people in Groves. Trace told me he met you today.”

Regina’s frown deepened. “And you are?”

“Oh, sorry. I’m Garrett Sherwood. Trace’s deputy.”

The ruddy color of his cheeks and nervous stance had her thinking he wasn’t used to talking to women he didn’t know. But that didn’t stop him from doing a full body scan, his gaze stopping abruptly on her chest. Men were all the same. Give them a rack to stare at and they’ll be happy to do so.

He looked up, knew he’d been caught, and turned red.

Regina sighed. She thought it best to move on and learn how to play. That was why she was here, after all. That, and to meet the people in town. “So, explain this game to me.”

“Okay. I’ll get us some cards.” Garrett scratched at the nape of his neck. “Find us a seat and I’ll teach you the basics.”

She glanced around the tables. Sitting with women would be best. Older ones. They were more accepting.

“N forty-five,” the sheriff said.

Regina turned and found his gaze on her.

She sucked in a breath and blindly found a table. Regina didn’t care who she sat with. She was too busy shaking off the rush of intense heat coursing through her body, making it hard to breathe. No man had ever made her feel so frazzled. Maybe it was just fatigue. That had to be it. Because lately men just gave her the willies. Especially after the way her ex-boyfriend tried to end their relationship—with her dead. Psychopathic lunatic.

Garrett dropped down in the seat next to hers and placed a card on the table in front of her. “Open your hand.” He grinned.

The boy had a cute smile. She’d give him that.

Regina stuck her hand out, and he dumped a bunch of green see-through orbs onto her palm. She stared at them, unsure of what she was supposed to do. She glanced at the people around her table. Okay. They were markers of some kind.

“O sixty-five.”

Regina squirmed in her chair. The sheriff’s voice alone could give a woman an orgasm. What would that baritone be like whispering sweet nothings in her ear? The mere thought had her nipples puckering. She hoped Mr. Ogler next to her didn’t notice.

“You have that one.” He pointed to it on her card.

She stared at the number and realized she needed to cover the spot with the green circle thingy. Regina placed one over the sixty-five and smiled at Garrett, who again turned red. He was worse than an adolescent. She’d think the guy was a virgin if he wasn’t at least twenty-five. No man his age could be one. Could he?

“G forty-seven.” The sheriff’s words cut into her thoughts and diverted her attention back to him. He looked up, and their eyes met.

I sold Dark Moon Magic to Ruby Lioness Press!

This book was a little different for me since my heroine is Wiccan. The story has paranormal elements to it.

Blurb

Practicing wiccan Regina Moon is starting over in the tiny town of Groves, Arkansas, hoping her New Age shop will succeed despite her friends objections. A ritual-type killing of a local man transforms the quiet little community into 1692 Salem, with all eyes on her, and has the sheriff, Trace Langston not only trying to solve a murder but disbanding a mob of angry townspeople hell-bent on burning her at the stake. In all the upheaval, a cold case, sealed within a circle, is unearthed and an evil no one knew existed revealed.

Excerpt

His deputy left with the woman Trace hadn’t been able to keep his eyes off of since she’d entered the hall, and a strange feeling worked its way over him. He had no idea what the reaction was. But he knew he didn’t like it.

“Did you see what she was wearing?” Becky asked from beside him.

He had. A form-fitting black dress that outlined the curves of her body, and even from his vantage several feet away, he could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra. That alone had stirred a part of his anatomy that hadn’t seem much action lately. Not that he hadn’t had offers. It just wasn’t safe to accept any. Sex was serious for women and led them to think commitment and no way was he giving any woman that idea. Marriage was not for him. He’d had to find that out the hard way from his ex-wife, Brianne.

Cheating …

Every time he had been called to a crime scene when he’d worked homicide in Chicago, another man had been called to her bed—their bed.

Eight years had passed since then and her infidelity still stung. Yet, finding out about her affairs had helped his decision to leave Chicago for a small town. The city of Groves had been just what he needed to get over the whole divorce mess, and he could now say he no longer missed The Windy City or Brianne. This had become his home and he liked being sheriff of the tiny Arkansas community. Not to mention being single—though he did have a lady friend a county over he’d visit from time to time—a woman who wanted nothing more than his company for a few hours. Too bad it’d been over a year since he’d made that trip.

“Are you listening to me?” Becky asked, interrupting his thoughts.

“Sorry. I need to get to my rounds, Becky. I’ll see you later.” Trace didn’t care how she reacted to his abruptness. He was in no mood for her clinging tonight.  He had too much on his mind. Like why Regina Moon had made him forget for a few minutes that women weren’t in the cards for him, and remembering Brianne and her whoring ways brought back why.

He exited the VFW and started down the street, glancing in all the alleyways to make sure no one was skulking about where they shouldn’t be—a routine he performed every night before heading home.

He crossed the street and spotted Garrett in the window of Caulders cafe. He glanced at his watch. Quarter to ten. They’d be closing soon.

The closer he got to the building, the more tense he became. Was Ms. Moon with Garrett or had she used his deputy as an excuse to get away from him? No way could the woman have run any faster out of that hall. Not to mention her rudeness earlier in the day with him.

Did she have something to hide?

As he neared the door to the cafe, an overwhelming need to go inside assailed him.

No!

He had rounds to finish, then he needed to go home and get some rest.

But would he be able to sleep when all he could think about was Regina Moon’s pert nipples pressed against that black dress. One lucky little black dress. His palms itched to be that lucky. Too bad they’d never get the chance to find out if her breasts were as lush as they appeared. Not when feeling up a woman led to sex and that was completely out of the question with any woman from Grove—new or not.

 

 

 

Coming in May! Agent in Training

Blurb

On the outside Shiloh Templar appears rigid as steel. But inside she’s fighting to keep everything together. Not only has she stepped into a minefield of controversy at work, she’s dealing with her father’s debilitating disease and a past in Seattle she wants to forget. Week one as the new director, she’s forced to cut staff. The smart-mouthed, much-too-young and sexy Nicholas Trent’s position is on the chopping block. Yet, rather than accepting his fate, the man blackmails her.

Nicolas Trent joined the Department of National Security solely for his mother’s benefit in an attempt to follow in his dead father’s footsteps. He never planned to stay. But when the company’s new director, a fiery red-head nicknamed Old Iron Maiden  makes it clear he’s not DNS material and will probably be released from duty, Nick has a change of heart. He’ll resort to any means to keep his job, even threatening to file a sexual harassment suit against the director for walking in on him in the men’s shower room while he’s naked. What he never dreamed of was the strong, undeniable attraction that could cost him what he’s held on to so tightly.

When a threat and two attempts on Shiloh’s life are made, the company insists she have an agent by her side. She’s forced to turn to the one man she thinks doesn’t belong at the department. Now, not only is she in danger of losing her life, after a night in his arms, she’s afraid of losing her heart.

Excerpt

Nick turned off the faucets and reached around the corner of the concrete shower stall for a towel. From the adjacent locker room a door closed. He assumed it was another agent coming in from their workout.

He’d just finished his three-mile run and weight training for the day, and after he dressed, he planned to head to the office to wait for the Iron Maiden to swing her axe. The confrontation was inevitable, and he was in no way looking forward to it.

His attempt to locate a towel on the bench where he usually put it, proved futile.

He vigorously shook his head, sending droplets of water splashing against the walls, then walked around the corner to grab one… and stopped dead in his tracks.

Standing directly in front of him, her spectacled eyes as big as dinner plates, was Director Templar.

Her mouth practically hung to the floor.

Nick froze. What the hell was she doing in the men’s shower room? And why didn’t she at least have the decency to turn away?

Her gaze dropped, then instantly snapped back up.

Nick grabbed a towel from a stack on a metal rack, and wrapped it around his waist, waiting for her to come out of the trance she appeared to be in. How could she have the balls to venture into the men’s shower room and not expect to come across a pair or two?

“Is there something you wanted?”

She blinked, then recovered her wits. “I––ah… I’ll wait out in the hall while you get dressed.” Swirling around, she rushed from the room, her black high heels loudly echoing her departure.

Nick walked over to his locker and opened the door, shaking his head. He didn’t know what just happened. But one thing he did know, the director had definitely checked out his privates, which weren’t exactly standing at attention after a shower. Her face had turned rosy red, indicating that she wasn’t used to confronting naked men––and with her cold, uncompromising demeanor, he could well believe that. Hell, she probably hadn’t been laid in years. The thought sent a charge of electricity through his system. A feeling he shied away from.

He thrust a leg into his boxer shorts, wondering what had brought her down to the basement in the first place. And, after the tongue-lashing she’d given him at the briefing, he never dreamed she’d be speechless.

Aztec Security is today’s book

Aztec Security is actually an anthology and is the name of the company my agents work for. It has Inventing the Abbotts, Mauvelous and Caddy-Did inside.

Inventing the Abbotts

Guns, drug runners and a horde of angry alligators can’t keep them apart. Book One in the Aztec Security series.Ava Stanton may be one of Aztec Security’s best agents, but following the rules has never been her strong suit. She dresses too sexy, lives too loud and likes her men disposable. And Thorn Abbott loves her despite—or maybe because—of it.

Thorn isn’t exactly your average field agent—he’s known more for being “Mr. Computer” than James Bond. When Ava goes on a dangerous mission, Thorn leaves the office behind to be her backup, determined to keep her safe no matter what.

The two embark on operation “Fly to the Spider,” a high stakes game of seduction designed to trap a deadly criminal. It doesn’t take long before Ava’s seeing a whole new side of Thorn. Who knew he was hiding a killer set of abs beneath his conservative clothing? Maybe Thorn’s love isn’t so unrequited after all.

Soon they’re dancing a dangeous two-step through the bayous of Louisiana, and between their igniting passion and the terrorists on their tail, it’s difficult to tell who’s the spider and who’s the fly…

Mauvelous

Can trust, once lost, ever truly be regained? Book 2 in the Aztec Securityseries. Yancy Adams returns to work at Aztec Security with three things on his to-do list: 1. Prove he’s no traitor; 2. Bring down Evan Grayson’s criminal empire; 3. Get fellow agent Mauve O’Connor out of his head. Or back into his bed. They may have spent only one perfect night together, but Yancy can’t keep the fiery redhead off his mind. But his new assignment for Aztec should take care of that. Seducing an international criminal’s girlfriend should be the perfect way to purge Mauve from his system. Too bad the closer he gets to his mark, the more he wants the one woman he can’t have.

Mauve O’Connor’s got a problem. Not only is she partnered with Yancy—a man she doesn’t trust—she has another assignment for Aztec. To watch him and prove his innocence…or guilt. Except she hadn’t planned on how damned good he’d look, or how memories of their one night together would creep into her mind and hold her hostage. Or how jealous seeing him with another woman would make her feel.

As they close in on their elusive target, sparks—and bullets—fly. But the most elusive and dangerous thing of all is the truth.

Caddy-Did

Can two agents who clash work together to stay alive? An Aztec Securitybook. Kent Jameson is content with his free-and-easy life-until Aztec’s newest recruit lands in his lap and his superiors drop them in the middle of the Everglades with instructions to work out their differences. Cadence Fleming is excited about becoming an Aztec agent, but she didn’t get what she considers the best of the best as a trainer. Instead, she’s stuck with a man who reeks of booze and sex. While she never thought herself a sharp-tongued prude, Kent seems to bring out the worst in her. Not the best partner to have on a survival training mission.

Then, on day two of their isolation, they come across a body, and their training mission becomes a very real trial by fire. Somewhere in the marshes there’s a killer-and he’s hell bent on making Kent and Cadence his next victims.

 

This week I’m going to revisit all of my books.

First up is my only contemporary romance Fire & Ice

He’s a hunky fire investigator, she creates ice sculptures-when these two get together things can’t help but sizzle.

Fire investigation is Knox Manning’s passion, that is until he meets the suspect in his latest arson case. The moment he locks eyes with Melanie Sharp’s powder blue gaze his knees buckle-a foreign reaction to the six-foot-two fireman. Thing is, the woman is trouble with a capital “T”. Messing with her could cost him his job and his sanity. That’s what his mind says anyway, too bad his body isn’t listening.

Melanie’s a talent, an up-and-comer in the cultured art world and a woman with a less than stellar past. When one of her promotional flier’s is found at the scene of a burned out house, she suddenly finds herself the focus of an arson investigation. One led by a dark-haired man who scares her as much as he thrills her. The house blaze had been set, but not by Melanie. She’s determined to prove that to Knox, who has suddenly become the catalyst of her secret sexual fantasies-igniting an inferno so intense she’s afraid of sustaining third-degree burns.

Melanie opened the back door to A Leg Up, slipped inside, and inched her way down the hallway.

Knox was here somewhere. She’d found that out from one of the men at the firehouse. She prayed he wasn’t engaging in a sexual act when she found him.

Though why shouldn’t he be? Not answering his calls had driven him to come to such a place—maybe into the arms of another. Experienced arms, legs, and God knows what else from the looks of the place.

Melanie grimaced. Could she blame him really? She hadn’t returned his calls—or been all that nice to him since they’d met. He’d admitted to wanting her. But he couldn’t tell her why. She wasn’t beautiful. Wasn’t built like Kay, curves in all the right places. Not hardly. So why would a gorgeous, hunky man like Knox want her? The whole thing made no sense.

“Hey, you. Come here,” a thin, balding man said, his finger hitched up at her. “You’re late.”

“Me?” Melanie’s heart pounded inside her chest. Caught like a rat. What were they going to do? Throw her out? She’d never find out what Knox was up to if they did.

“They just keep getting’ dumber.” The ugly man shook his head and grabbed her arm. “Yes, you. Hurry up. You’re next.”

He shoved her into a dressing room and threw a strange costume at her. “Get into that. You have five minutes.”

Melanie stared at the getup, and convulsively swallowed. It looked like a firemen’s uniform, except made for a Barbie doll.

She stared aghast at the tiny bits of fabric.

The man stuck his head in and frowned. “Aren’t you dressed yet?”

“There has to be some…mis—”

He raised his hand and cut her off abruptly. “Two minutes.”

What was she going to do? Think, Melanie. What would Nancy Drew do in this type of situation? Yeah, right. Like Nancy would ever be caught dead in a bar, spying on Ned. No, it’d have to be a case she was on the brink of solving to get her into a strip joint. Nancy Drew and The Clue of the Exotic Dancer.

An idea hit Melanie. Maybe if she put the outfit on, she could go out and see if Knox was with another woman. Sort of incognito.

With that in mind, she strapped herself into the outfit, which was held together by strips of Velcro. At any second the contraption threatened to fall down. Obviously the costume was made for a much chestier woman.

“It’s about time,” the balding man said, pulling her with him through the curtain, and down the hall to another larger one. “We have a room full of drunken firefighters waiting for the grand finale. I want you to go out there and show ’em a good time.”

He Said, She Said!

On today’s “Talk To Me, Susan” we’re doing a thing called, “He said, She said”, or in this case, “she said, he said” Our first two guests hail from Denver, Colorado. They’re an ex-couple who remain partners on the job. Please put your hands together for Adriana Kent and Flint Morgan. We’ll start with Adriana. I’d like you to tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what your problem is with Flint.

“Hello! I’m a special agent with the Department of National Security. The man sitting next to me is my partner, Flint, who I’ll just say is a cad and a jackass. The two of us used to share a bed until I found him on our mattress with a red-haired bimbo, who just happened to be working for a guy who’s on our most-wanted list. This alone only reiterates in my mind how incredibly sloppy Flint has gotten, but you can’t tell him this since he’s a cad and a jackass. I think I might have already said that, but I’m hoping if I say it enough, it’ll sink in. Let me just mention here that I’ve worked hard to get to where I am in the agency and I refused to allow my distaste for Flint to destroy the career I’ve built. When things were starting to get back to business as usual, this fake-breasted fem-fatale ended up with a bullet in her head. In Flint’s apartment. The gun used in the kill shot, his. For whatever reason, I felt obligated to help get his sorry ass out of trouble. Okay, maybe obligated isn’t the right word, and to be brutally honest, I have this crazy obsession with Flint’s ass. Can I say ass on television? I mean, you could literally bounce a quarter off the thing, or is it mine you can? I’m not sure. All I know is that I couldn’t let him be railroaded into a murder he didn’t commit. What kind of partner would I be if I did?”

So, Flint, do you have a rebuttal for what Adriana said?

“She is so full of herself. It is true that I was in bed with this redhead, but I don’t remember a damned thing about it. Until today I refused to admit that to Adriana. I mean, why not let her think I had the night of my life with the woman (I might have said those exact words to her at the time). I was angry since she was playing mouth-to-mouth with some doctor she’d met when she ran her Porsche off the road while trying to apply makeup. You think a guy would do something so stupid? But I digress. Anyway, so, maybe there was a lack of judgment on my part drinking myself into a stupor the night I met this lady, but I wasn’t thinking clearly at the time. I was actually contemplating strapping on the old ball and chain with Adriana. How crazy is that? And, on the record, I never asked her to save my sorry ass. She volunteered and got herself kidnapped and sent overseas to some prince who intended to tame her wild ways. Like that would ever happen. Anyway, I rescued her from a fate worse than death–becoming yet another concubine to this lecherous fiend. Truth is, and I’ll deny I said this if asked again, I love Adriana. Too bad she only loves one person–herself!

Well, Adriana?

“First, I wasn’t putting on makeup when I had that accident in my Porsche. I was deliberately run off the road by a pair of goons who worked for the dead woman’s boyfriend. As far as the doctor he’s talking about, Flint had already destroyed our relationship long before I started dating him. Mister Morgan likes to embellish things to make himself look less like a cad. As far as him loving me. Huh! The man doesn’t know what the word means.”

 

“Flint?”

 

“I don’t know what she’s talking about.”

 

“Exactly. I rest my case.”

 

Okay. Now, it’s time to poll the audience? What do you all think? Do you agree with Adriana? Is Flint a cad and a jackass. It’s time for you to decide. When we come back from commercial break, we’ll have an answer. Then, we’ll move on to our next couple who come to us from Washington D.C.


 

A giveaway! PDF copy of Her Man Flint

All you need to do is leave a comment for a chance to win. I’ll choose a winner on Friday.

 

If James Bond and Cleopatra Jones had a daughter, Adriana Kent would kick her ass.

 

Everything Adriana knows about being a top-notch, undercover agent she’s learned from her partner, Flint Morgan, in and out of the sheets. That is, until he’s caught between those same bed linens with another woman. Heartbroken, Adriana refuses to forgive him. But when ‘the other woman’ is found dead in Flint’s apartment, she steps up to prove his innocence–he might be a womanizer, but he’s no killer.

 

As Adriana closes in on a suspect, she’s kidnapped and sent overseas to a sadistic prince who collects women like priceless pieces of art. Now this tough as nails agent finds herself playing the helpless courtesan to a man hell-bent on breaking her spirit. Flint arrives in the nick of time, dressed as a harem girl, fighting off randy guards and surly camels to rescue Adriana so they can fly back to the states to find a way to exonerate him for murder.

 

Excerpt

Still dripping, she crept into her bedroom. She listened intently for the sound again. It came seconds later when something banged against the other side of her bedroom wall.

Tiptoeing to her nightstand, she picked up her Glock, her heart pounding in her ears.

She turned and made her way to the door. It was cracked a few inches, but the darkened room beyond made it impossible to see anything.

She flipped off the bedroom light, then eased the door open. Maybe she’d catch a glimpse of the intruder. She held her gun cocked and steady, ready to fire.

Like a cat, she pounced into the living room, her eyes darting frantically around the dimly lit area.

From behind, a hand clasped over her mouth, the other came down hard on her hands and knocked the gun to the floor. The towel that had been wrapped around her fell like freshly fallen snow about her feet. A steely arm snaked around her waist and drew her up hard against a solid, obviously male form.

Adriana struggled against his strength with little success. His iron grip had her pinned. Hot, sweet breath exhaled next to her ear, sending a prickle of apprehension down her backbone. Her heart raced painfully in her chest as warm, wet lips connected with her ear lobe. Adriana held her breath, terrified for the first time in her life. Was this guy going to rape her?

“You smell incredible,” a familiar male voice whispered, taking his hand away from her mouth.

“Flint,” she groaned. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I had to prove I hadn’t lost my touch. Besides, you didn’t give me a chance to thank you for the little diversion earlier this evening.” His teeth nibbled on the side of her neck.

“You came here and scared me half to death, just to say thank you?” Adriana couldn’t believe it. She might have shot him. Was he loco? Hell, she should shoot him now for being so cocky. How dare he sneak in to try and prove a point?

His hand slid up and connected with a breast, bringing her attention back to her predicament.

“You do have perfect breasts, baby.” Flint’s voice was husky as he caressed her with his palms.

Adriana couldn’t remember being so pissed, but she’d play along with his little seductive ploy, for a few minutes.

“So you do think they’re perfect?” Adriana tried to concentrate on the act, and not the incredible sensations his hands evoked in the pit of her stomach and nipples. Then the sensation moved lower.

“Is there anything else you like?” she asked, trying hard to ignore the pleasure of his touch, but it was getting harder by the second. It was Flint, after all, and she knew damned well what he could do to her body.

“I love your neck.” His tongue ran up her throat, sending little jolts of electricity firing through her. “I love your stomach,” he continued as his palms moved down to caress the flat surface, gently brushing her skin until Adriana thought she’d lose control. I love—” he said, moving his hand lower, “every inch of you.”

Adriana’s body came alive. She wanted him more than she ever had. Then, just as quickly, images of Lindsey in his bed hit her full force, and it was as though ice water flooded her veins.

Slowly, she turned and smiled temptingly at him. Without a second thought, she brought her knee up to his groin, buckling him over.

She’d never forget the look of shock and pain on his face as he went down. It was priceless, a vindication of what he’d done to her—right where it hurt the most.

“Oops. Sorry.” Adriana picked up her towel and wrapped it around her again. “My knee slipped.”

She watched him struggle to get up, not feeling an ounce of guilt for what she’d done.

“Jesus, Dray,” he hissed, through quick, uneven breaths. “Don’t you know you could damage a man forever doing that?”

Adriana opened her eyes wide with mock surprise. “Really? I didn’t know that.” She tried to keep a straight face, but failed. “I’ll keep that in mind the next time I feel a need to do it.”

Flint scowled at her as he eased himself upright, then turned and limped toward the door.

“Flint.” Adriana held out her hand. “I’ll take that key.”

With eyes now watering, he reached into his pocket, flinched, then pulled out a key ring and tossed it at her.

“Good night, Dray.” He opened the door and hobbled out, closing it quietly behind him.

“Yeah, good night to you, too.”

Adriana stared at the door for what seemed like an eternity. She almost regretted her decision to send him away. They could have spent the whole night making love. But at least now she knew he wouldn’t feel up to being amorous with anyone else either.

A satisfied grin crossed her face as she returned to her bath—now cold, which she hoped would ice the desire he’d stirred inside her.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Swashwords.

Welcome Jolyn Palliata!

Did you ever get a song stuck in your head? Or part of one? How did you get it out? Did you avoid the song at all costs in the blind hope it would stop hammering you into submission? Or did you listen to the song over, and over, and over, until you were so obsessed that all you could think about was that delicious, devilish little laugh….er, what was I saying? (Right. Song stuck in my head. Ahh…I mean, your head.) Now, I know this has happened to every person reading this post, so I’m hoping you’ll relate to my little story here.

Let me give you some background. In October, I released Connected (Twists of Fate #1), and here’s a brief description of the story: A rock group’s rhythm guitarist, Rhys Alexander, dies and finds himself bound inside the body of a woman he’s never met. Can she help him move on to the other side, or will he end up finding the love of his life…after his has already ended?

For a time, I had this for free on Wattpad (where I posted as I wrote it). And several readers asked me how in the world I came up with the concept. The short answer was ‘By taking the longest route possible.’ The more involved answer is this…

It all started with a song—Imagine that, huh?—which began with a synthesized-sounding guitar and a sinful, maniacal laugh that made my gut quiver. (Yes, I do realize this may be an issue I need to fully address later.) It was Disturbed’s “Inside The Fire”. Add a little Framing Hanley (with that oh-so-sexy voice), and Tavion, lead singer of the band Persevere, was born. And what kind of woman would knock a strapping rock star to his knees? Why, a best-selling author, of course.

So here I had two people who worked in the entertainment industry, but were worlds apart. What could possibly bring them together? The answer seemed so simple, really: Fate. Then my next though was “What if Fate was a living, sometimes-breathing, entity? What an interesting point-of-view that would be!” And it spiraled from there. I dug deep into the protag, Devan (the name of the girl in Disturbed’s song), and put pieces of me and my personality into the mix. Naturally, then I had to mock myself and my works along the way. (i.e., Suddenly Impending Reprisals became Devan’s masterpiece, and guess what…it made it all the way to the NYT Bestsellers list! Way to go, Devan!!)

Now, the question was ‘What inspired me to write Connected’, and so far, I’m telling you how I started writing Twisted (Book 2). Yeah, well, I’m getting there. (Remember how I said it was the longest route possible?)

So there I was, writing Twisted and having a hell of a time. And then the unthinkable happened (insert suspenseful music here)…I got writer’s block. I’m talking a stint of writer’s block that could only have originated from the deepest, most vile and sulfuric, bowels of Hell. And, man, was it stubborn! Over a year went by before I picked it up again, and even then it wasn’t because I came up with a grand master plan, or that my head was swimming with ideas. No. It was simply because I missed my characters. So I started to reread/revise/edit the 30K words I had written, hoping it would shake something loose. Enter: two new inspirations.

The first was the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. In the series, paired up mates can sense each other’s emotions and I got to wondering “What would that be like?”

The next piece of inspiration came from Avenged Sevenfold (A7X). I was studying up on rock bands for Twisted (and can A7X ever ROCK!!), and checking out the band members (*drool*) and it inspired a new character—Rhys.

From Ione and A7X blossomed Connected (finally!) where Rhys’ spirit was stuck inside Addison (my protag), and they could sense each other’s emotions.

But I had one problem. I absolutely REFUSED to walk away from Twisted again. Soooo…how could I use this? Well, first of all, Rhys couldn’t be a lead singer since that’s what Tavion is. And secondly, I wanted this to be a fast-hitting novella used to compliment Twisted’s story. What I needed was a supporting member of the band… Hello, Rhys, my luscious rhythm guitarist!

But then I had another problem. (Because I needed more, right?) I couldn’t picture Rhys in Tavion’s band, Persevere, which is a more mature, established group. No, he belonged with some just-making-it-big band that wasn’t afraid to play with the formula, to take chances, and was just enjoying the ride and what life had to offer. He belonged with the guys of Black Codex.

Then problem #3: How did Black Codex and Persevere tie in to each other? I mean, if Connected leads into Twisted, they have to know each other somehow, right? Well, as luck would have it, they’re all friends. (Who knew?!) Eh, okay, so actually two members from Black Codex are brothers and they grew up with a guy from Persevere, so, by association, they became friends. (It’s all in the details, right?) 😉

All right. Now what? I didn’t want to introduce Fate (my sassy, capricious entity) in Connected even though he’s definitely hard at work behind the scenes. It would’ve been too distracting from the plot, and I had plenty to maneuver already! (Hello…dead rock star stuck in some chicks head!!) So what I did was plot Connected so it all occurs during the same timeframe as the first half of Twisted. Perfect! Then when people read Twisted, they’ll get all the behind-the-scenes-extras that were going on in Connected that either 1) I didn’t have time for, or 2) I couldn’t smoothly transition in.

At the end of my long-ass journey, not only did I have Connected, but I shook myself loose on Twisted…aaand came up with storylines for the other eight band members. (I’ll spare you the details on those. LOL) Thusly, the Twists of Fate series was born.

So, let me ask you again: Did you ever get a song stuck in your head…?

For more information on the Twists of Fate series: http://jolynpalliata.wordpress.com/romance/twists-of-fate-series/

Twists of Fate series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Twists-of-Fate-Series/190217514383637

To purchase Connected (Twists of Fate #1): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&ie=UTF8&field-author=Jolyn%20Palliata

 

Her Man Flint

 

If James Bond and Cleopatra Jones had a daughter, Adriana Kent would kick her ass.

 

Everything Adriana knows about being a top-notch, undercover agent she’s learned from her partner, Flint Morgan, in and out of the sheets. That is, until he’s caught between those same bed linens with another woman. Heartbroken, Adriana refuses to forgive him. But when ‘the other woman’ is found dead in Flint’s apartment, she steps up to prove his innocence–he might be a womanizer, but he’s no killer.

 

As Adriana closes in on a suspect, she’s kidnapped and sent overseas to a sadistic prince who collects women like priceless pieces of art. Now this tough as nails agent finds herself playing the helpless courtesan to a man hell-bent on breaking her spirit. Flint arrives in the nick of time, dressed as a harem girl, fighting off randy guards and surly camels to rescue Adriana so they can fly back to the states to find a way to exonerate him for murder.

Excerpt for Her Man Flint

 

“Are you going to lie there all day, or are we going to get the hell out of Dodge?”

The voice was unmistakable. “Adriana,” he growled.

“What? Were you expecting Lindsey ‘Silicone’ Warren, perhaps?” Adriana popped her head out from behind the huge rock in front of him for a brief second, glared, then ducked behind the boulder again. “Sorry to disappoint you, but that woman wouldn’t break a fake nail to save your arrogant ass.”

“Cute.” Flint eased up and clutched his side, putting pressure on the wound in hopes of easing the flow of blood between his fingers.

“You think she’d care one way or the other if you made it out of here alive?” Adriana continued. “Who do you think set you up anyway?”

“You did,” Flint tossed her way.

She jumped up again, her eyes spitting fire. “The hell I did. I stopped by Billy’s this morning. He asked me what I wanted when I called you yesterday.” With a seriousness Flint had never seen before, she shook her blonde head, her glare boring into him. “I never called you. He told me you were headed out here, and I knew you were in big trouble. Did you know your precious Lindsey dated Hartford?”

“What?” Flint’s mouth slacked in astonishment.

“Yeah, they were a hot item last summer.” Her gaze turned ice cold. “Apparently the relationship never ended. Why would you think I’d set you up anyway? Believe it or not, I did care for you at one time.”

Adriana abruptly looked up and aimed her rifle, firing at a man who’d popped his head over the ledge, then cursed like a sailor when she missed the mark. “Move your ass. I’m not going to be your back forever.”

She fired again, this time smiling with satisfaction when the man clutched at his shoulder.

“One down.”

Flint scrambled over to the boulder she used as a shield and pulled himself behind it, moving in close to her. Instantly, her womanly scent filled the air around him, a perfume he remembered all too well—a sweet, flowery fragrance with just a hint of musk. The stuff had always done strange things to his libido. Today was no exception. Even in danger and wounded, he found it difficult to ignore her wonderful essence. Hell, her in general.

“Why’d you come, Dray?” He slid to the ground, his back against the rock while he wiped sweat from his brow onto his shirtsleeve.

He glanced back at her with curiosity. Today, her long, ash-blonde hair was pulled away from her face, her perfect ivory complexion smudged with dirt that no way detracted from her beauty. Her attention was on their surroundings—no doubt trying to figure the best way to get them out of the mess he’d gotten them into.

He watched her intently, shocked to realize he’d missed her. “Why’d you save me?”

She turned to face him. “We’re partners. Isn’t that what partners do?”

“But what about—”

“Forget it. So our personal relationship didn’t work out—that doesn’t mean our professional association at the department can’t continue.”

Adriana turned away and fired again, this time at a man who’d started down the ravine after them. Her shot was off again.

Intense pain cut through Flint’s side as he shifted his body. “I owe you one.”

She returned her attention to him and grinned. “Do I get to choose payment?”

Before he could answer, she turned to the leather-clad man who was moving again. Taking aim, she fired, hitting the goon in the leg. The blast sent the assailant firing wildly in the air before tumbling down into the gorge.

“That’s two.” Her triumphant smile said she was pleased with herself.

“We were discussing payment. What’d you have in mind?” Flint’s grin turned to a grimace when another wave of pain sliced through him.

Adriana’s frown deepened as she studied the area. “Let’s get out of this alive, and then we’ll talk.” She pointed to his side. “How bad is it? You think you can run?”

Despite the blood soaking his shirt, he knew he could scramble if need be. “It’s nothing. I’ll be right behind you.”

“Let’s go.” Adriana raced for the next boulder about twenty feet away, Flint hot on her heels. On the way, she tried to sidestep sagebrush in her path, but instead hit it head-on and stumbled, rolling to the rocky ground and landed hard on her back.

Flint dove on top her as a barrage of bullets flew over them.

“Man, they really want you dead. Could you get off me?” She scowled and tried to push him away, her breath coming in quick, uneven gasps.

Flint stared at her flushed face, painfully aware of the soft yet firm breasts beneath him. Emotions he’d thought long dead stirred him to distraction.

“I’m sure the same thought crossed your mind a time or two.” He studied her face for a reaction, then lifted himself from her.

A hint of amusement danced in her eyes. “No, not dead. Castrated maybe.”

As she rose in preparation to run again, her meaning sunk in and caused Flint’s groin to twitch. “Oh, that hurt.”

He grabbed her arm and pulled her back to the ground as another bullet buzzed past them.

“Yes, I imagine it would for someone who thought with his dick instead of his brain.”

Flint couldn’t help but smile. She had such a foul, sexy mouth. He reached over and laced his fingers through a loose strand of hair, caressing its soft, silky texture. “Have I ever told you, Dray, that you have the prettiest blonde hair?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact you have. It was right around the time you were trying to get in my pants.” She glanced around. “We don’t have time for reminiscing, Flint. If you hadn’t noticed, people are trying to kill us.”

“Right. Well, it is nice,” he mumbled under his breath.

Adriana wiggled away and sat up. “Flatter me later.”

He chuckled, then grimaced when his amusement garnered him a kick in the shin.

Another round flew by and ricocheted off a nearby rock, sending them scurrying further behind the boulder protecting them, and reminded Flint that they weren’t forgotten by their attackers.

Hunching over her, he asked, “Where’s your car?”

“Over there.” Adriana pointed to a large formation and almost lost a finger when another slug zipped past.

She gasped and clutched at her hand, her eyes narrowing on him.

“Are you hurt?” Flint reached for her fingers, but she pulled away.

“If I lose even a hair on my head, Flint Morgan, you’ll pay.”

Like a snake, she slithered toward the large rock where her car was hidden. A well-timed storm cloud crossed over the sun and cast a shadow over the ravine, giving them the opportunity to make their move to the larger formation.

Flint crawled behind Adriana. He couldn’t help but admire her perfectly rounded bottom, clad in a pair of tan khakis. She really did have the best looking rear-end he’d ever seen in his life.

“Did I ask you to save my ass?” he asked, his mind now consumed by hers, rather than what he should be worried about—getting them out of this mess alive.

“No, but I couldn’t help but recall yours, and I didn’t want to see it get shot off. Now crawl faster before my ass is the one that ends up with lead in it.”

He smiled again. The women definitely had wit.

They made their way to a pile of enormous boulders, just a few feet from Adriana’s red Porsche when Flint heard the faint thrum of a helicopter in the distance.

Adriana cursed. “Who the hell’s coming now—guerilla fighters? What if they’re not the good guys, Flint? What are we going to do?”

“Just keep moving. We’ll do whatever we have to. You got any guns in your car?”

“Yeah, two. No extra ammo, though. Only what’s loaded in my Glock and .45.”

The chopper flew overhead and circled the compound before fanning out into what was clearly a search maneuver.

“Can you see any markings on the craft?” Flint squinted, trying to make out anything that would give him some idea whether it was friend or foe.

Her green eyes widened and in a soft voice she said, “I don’t think we’re going to make it out of here alive, Flint. I need to tell you something.”

“Oh? What’s that?” he asked, his attention still on the helicopter above them.

“I wanted you to know—”

“I think it’s Billy,” he interrupted, waving his hands to draw the pilot’s attention.

The craft flew over them once, then landed in an open field a short distance away.

“Run.” Flint grasped her arm and pulled her toward the aircraft, using a zigzag pattern to dodge stray bullets, while fighting the rush of intense whirlwind caused by the propeller blades.

When they reached the chopper, he shoved Adriana inside and jumped in behind her.

Instantly, they took off, hovering just long enough for them to see three men aiming their weapons up in the air.

“Get us the hell out of here, Billy. Before they shoot us down.” The ping of a bullet hit the side of the chopper and pounded home the importance of Flint’s words.

“Right away, boss. Glad to see you’re alive. I thought I was going to have to take you out in a body bag.”

The chopper pivoted forward and left the compound.

“You might have had to if Adriana hadn’t come along. Say Dray”…Flint glanced at the blood clotting on his shirt, then looked up to meet her gaze. “What were you trying to tell me back there?”

Adriana shook her head. “Nothing. It wasn’t important.”

She turned to stare out the window, leaving Flint to wonder what seemed so dire just seconds ago, yet now that they were safely on their way home, turned into nothing?