Meet the Characters: Dane & Shana

TheBeachcombers- Twitter-RevisedMeet Dane Blaise & Shana George, partners in Beachcomber Investigations on Martha’s Vineyard and two of my favorite people. This charismatic couple—or non-couple as the case may be—will answer some probing questions to help us get to know them.

Then maybe you can help them decide whether they ought to be a couple—or not. They are NOT having success figuring this out on their own. Here’s the Q&A for our intrepid characters from the world of fiction:

Q: What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?

DANE: I’ll be the gentleman and let Shana answer first.

SHANA: (scoffs) You’re a prince. That’s what I always say.

DANE: Answer the question, girlie. Honestly. Is it the action, the dialogue or, my favorite, the romance?

SHANA: (eye-roll) You mean your favorite is the sex, not the romance.

DANE: Then you agree—

SHANA: Honestly, my favorite scenes are the action scenes. That’s when I’m in control and in my element and doing what I love and was meant to do. Putting up with on-again, off-again romance with Dane is the hard part. It drives me crazy. But working with him, well, he is the best.

Q:  What do you do for a living?

DANE: Didn’t we say? We’re private investigators. We specialize in big cases—missions—often sent our way by the governor, my old special ops commander.

Q:  What is your greatest fear?

SHANA: This I want to hear—what is it Dane?

DANE: You. I’m afraid of you, Shana.

SHANA: (eye-roll again) You mean you’re afraid of yourself. I’m nothing to you but a pain in the butt except when I’m covering your butt.

DANE: (silence)

SHANA: Okay. I’ll tell you what I’m afraid of—never getting back home to Sydney, Australia, never visiting my Dad’s grave again…

DANE: Heavy.

Q:  What turns you on?

DANE: (looks at Shana)

SHANA: (yet another eye-roll)

Q:  What do you like most about where you live?

DANE: We live on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. It’s mostly a summer vacation place, but I like the solitariness of the winter months all the people are gone and it’s you against Mother Nature. The excitement summer crowd… (shrugs) It’s the cleansing ocean air that I need most.

SHANA: What I like most is living where Dane lives.

DANE: (raises one brow)

SHANA: No sense pretending otherwise. Why else would I stay? It’s the heart-hammering excitement of not knowing what will happen next, but knowing surely that something will happen.

DANE: Oh. That. None of that in Sydney or London? None of that with Scotland Yard where you worked when I found you?

SHANA: Where you found me? You didn’t find me.

DANE: Figure of speech, girlie.

SHANA: Don’t call me that in front of—

And that concludes the interview—before they come to blows. Or something else. You can see Dane and Shana in action all through the Beachcomber Investigations series beginning with The Beachcombers which is currently $.99. The newest book in the series, Beachcomber Test is available now.

Do you think Dane & Shana should stay together or fall apart?

Blurb for Beachcomber Test:BeachTest Teaser

The biggest test of Dane’s life comes down to this: Can he give Shana everything she wants from him?
Ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise is staking his life on passing every one of Shana’s tests for him. Desperation to keep her with him made him crazy enough to agree to take a divorce case.
He’d sworn never to take a follow-the-cheating-spouse case since the day they’d started Beachcomber Investigations together.

She was tough and gorgeous, but Shana George never expected much from men romantically speaking. Then again, she never thought she’d quit her dream job at Scotland Yard to work as a private-eye on Martha’s Vineyard. There was no explaining how Dane made her crazy enough to hope. Too many times she came close to leaving. Now she can’t live through another round of dashed hope without leaving for good. This case could be her last.

But Even a simple divorce case turns dangerous for Beachcomber Investigations while Dane & Shana’s resolve to stay together is tested to the end.

Excerpt: 

Chapter 1

It had seemed like a simple case. A case Dane had agreed to take because he would do anything for Shana. Now that he was shamelessly in love with her and in full-on convincing-her-to-stay-with-him mode after he almost lost her on Christmas Day.

Shana didn’t trust him yet. She was in full-on test-the-bastard mode to make sure he was for real.

Her first test had been to suggest a trip to Australia to visit her family. He’d agreed. They’d planned it for the fall. They were coming into spring and summer season so it didn’t make sense to leave now. They would wait for the cold weather to travel down under where it would be warm. She had booked their flight and the tic of uneasiness that Dane felt was almost imperceptible.

Her second test had been to accept a divorce case without asking him. He’d vowed never to take follow-the-cheating-spouse cases and she knew it. The muscle clench between his shoulder blades was mild, so he soldiered through.

Now they would be following some nasty middle-aged man around the island for half the season to work up an irrefutable file on him for the wronged wife so she could work the pre-nup infidelity clause and wring every penny out of the sap—or scum, depending on your view—in the divorce. Dane tried hard not to have any view in the matter.

His view was to pray to hell that the man dropped his pants on his first night on island.

No such luck.

Instead, the poor sap—or scum—got himself killed.

This wasn’t any routine divorce case anymore, but Dane wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

*****

He stood in the small kitchen looking at Shana over his coffee cup. The sun shone through the window and glinted off her golden hair so that she looked like she had sparks flying from her. She wore her usual gorgeous scowl.

“Didn’t you do a background check on our client before you agreed to the case?”

He smiled when she narrowed her eyes at him.

“No.” She stood with her hands on her hips, daring him to shoot her down. That, Dane figured, was test number three.

He nodded and walked past her, brushing a hand over the waves of her long soft mane of hair and inhaling the scent of her.

“Where are you going?”

“To the secure phone.”

“What are you? Batman?” She followed after him. She always followed after him. Almost always.

He laughed.

“I’m calling in Acer.”

“Not that I have anything against Acer, but we don’t need him. We can handle this ourselves.”

She’d gotten the call from Captain Colin Lynch at six that morning about the murder victim. Dane knew it was bad when she came back to bed and wouldn’t tell him what the call was about.

He stopped at his old metal desk, the feature piece in his office, which should have been a living room. Shana had brought in a couch, but he mostly used it for a shelf where he threw all the files, papers, mail, books, and any other paraphernalia that got collected during an investigation. Or any other time. He looked at the pile of crap and took a deep breath. Then he smiled at her like he meant it, because he did.

“I’ll do whatever you want, sugar bun.”

“Stop that.”

“You don’t want me to call you sugar bun?”

“I don’t want you doing whatever I want—”

“Can I quote you on that?”

“Don’t patronize me.”

“I’m not. I’m trying to be agreeable.”

“Well, stop. It’ s not you and it’s creeping me out.”

He reached out and pulled her in and held her tight against him. He was hard and she was soft—in all the strategic places—and he let that feeling, of her pressed against him, simmer through his body, hit every nerve, and settle in his head and deep in his soul. She stirred and he reflexively tightened his hold.

“It’s okay, Dane. I’m not going to run out the door if you disagree with me.”

“Of course not. Why would you? I mean, look what you have here.”

He spread his arms. It was half-hearted sarcasm because he wasn’t used to feeling vulnerable, but he’d been feeling a lot of that lately. It was as if he were reliving his teenage years, only inside a forty-year-old body which made the fun parts not nearly as fun.

“I’m looking at who I have.” She sighed deeply and then leaned in and grabbed his lips with her teeth and sucked in, giving him a hair-raising—and other-body-part-raising—kiss. Deep and juicy and thorough.

“You want to go back to bed?” It was a stupid question and he should have grabbed her by the hair and dragged her—figuratively speaking. Maybe another time he would have.

She smiled, moving her hands over his chest. It was a strong, well-muscled chest because in his line of work staying in good shape was a matter of life and death. Evidently even when his line of work was a divorce case.

“Always. I always want you.”

“Then we have something in common—I always want you.”

He moved, holding her in his arms, half dragging her in the direction of the hall to the bedroom. Until she dug in her heels.

“We have a murder case,” she said.  Then she really smiled.

 

 

 

Don’t you love book series?

Box Cover Beach Inv Dark Spine-TransparentIt seems that readers these days are wired for series. The “more is better” way of thinking–and reading–is alive and well. Even Myren, my chauffeur, can’t stop at just one–book that is. (He also has multiple cars, come to think of it. Being a chauffeur and all, I suppose that’s to be expected. I’m not sure if his cars can be called a series… but I digress.)

What’s your favorite series?

My favorite is the Gabriel Allon thriller series by Daniel Silva. Also, my own DSilvaBeachcomber Investigations romantic detective series (Myren is rolling his eyes, but don’t pay attention to him. I’m not.)

It’s all about the characters. When you read a series it’s because you love the characters, find them exciting and fun, find yourself wishing they were real people so you could meet them and be their best friend. (Okay, maybe that last part is just me. After all, my current best friend is Myren, my chauffeur, so you can’t really blame me for wanting a fictional character for a friend, can you.) (Don’t answer that.)

The only thing better than reading a series that you love is writing a series that you love.  Returning to the world and the characters like they’re old friends in a familiar neighborhood, makes the writing easier–though not easy–and all the more enjoyable. That’s what I do and why I do it.

The new upcoming release: Beachcomber Test

Beachcomber Test 3-DBookComing in November will be book 7 in Beachcomber Investigations. Here’s an excerpt from Beachcomber Test.

Chapter1

It seemed like a simple case. A case Dane agreed to take because he would do anything for Shana. Now that he was shamelessly in love with her and in full-on convincing-her-to-stay-with-him mode after he almost lost her on Christmas Day.

She didn’t trust him yet. She was in full-on test-the-bastard mode to make sure he was for real.

Her first test was to suggest a trip to Australia to visit her family. He agreed. They planned it for the fall. They were coming into spring and summer season so it didn’t make sense to leave now. She booked their flight and the tic of uneasiness that Dane felt was almost imperceptible.

Her second test was to accept a divorce case without asking him. He’d vowed never to take follow-the-cheating-spouse cases and she knew it. The muscle clench between his shoulder blades was mild and he soldiered through.

Now they would be following some nasty middle-aged man around the island for half the season to work up an irrefutable file on him for the wronged wife so she could work the pre-nup infidelity clause and wring every penny out of sap–or scum—depending on your view–in the divorce. Dane tried hard not to have any view in the matter.

His view was to pray to hell that the man dropped his pants on his first night on island.

No such luck.

Instead, the poor sap or scum got himself killed first night on the island.

This wasn’t any routine divorce case anymore, but Dane wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or bad thing.

He stood in the small kitchen looking at Shana over his coffee cup. The sun shone through the window and glinted off her golden hair so that she looked like she had sparks flying from her. She wore her usual gorgeous scowl.

“Didn’t you do background on our client before you agreed to the case?”

He smiled when she narrowed her eyes at him.

 “No.” She stood with her hands on her hips daring him to shoot her down. That, Dane figured, was test number three.

Dane nodded and walked past her, brushing a hand over the waves of her long soft mane of hair and inhaling the scent of her.

“Where are you going?”

“To the secure phone.”

“What are you? Batman?” She followed after him. She always followed after him. Almost always.

He laughed.

“I’m calling in Acer.”

“Not that I have anything against Acer, but we don’t need him. We can handle this ourselves.”

She’d gotten the call from Captain Colin Lynch at six that morning about the murder victim. Dane knew it was bad when she came back to bed and wouldn’t tell him what the call was about.

He stopped at his old metal desk that doubled as the feature piece in his office that should have been a living room. Shana had brought in a couch, but he mostly used it for a shelf where he threw all the files, papers, mail, books and any other paraphernalia that got collected during an investigation, or in general. He looked at the pile of crap and took a deep breath. Then he smiled at her like he meant it, because he did.

“I’ll do whatever you want, sugar bun.”

“Stop that.”

“You don’t want me to call you sugar bun?”

“I don’t want you doing whatever I want—“

“Can I quote you—“

“Don’t patronize me.”

“I’m not. I’m trying to be agreeable.”

“Well, stop. It’ s not you and it’s creeping me out.”

He reached out and pulled her in and held her tight against him. He was hard and she was soft—in all the strategic places—and he let that feeling of her pressed against him, simmer through his body, hit every nerve and settle in his head and deep in his soul. She stirred and he reflexively tightened his hold.

“It’s okay, Dane. I’m not going to run out the door if you disagree with me.”

“Of course not. Why would you? I mean, look what you have here.”

He spread his arms. It was half-hearted sarcasm because he wasn’t used to feeling vulnerable, but he’d been feeling a lot of that lately. It was as if he were re-living his teen age years only inside a forty-year old body which made the fun parts not nearly as fun.

“I’m looking at who I have.” She sighed deeply and then leaned in and grabbed his lips with her teeth and sucked in, giving him a hair-raising—and other body part raising—kiss. Deep and juicy and thorough.

“You want to go back to bed?” He figured it was a stupid question and he should have grabbed her by the hair and dragged her—figuratively speaking. Maybe another time he would have.

She smiled, moving her hands over his chest. It was a strong well-muscled chest because in his line of work staying in good shape was a matter of life and death. Evidently even when his line of work was a divorce case.

“Always. I always want you.”

“Then we have something in common—I always want you.”

He moved, holding her in his arms, half dragging her in the direction of the hall to the bedroom. Until she dug in her heels.

“We have a murder case,” she said.  Then she really smiled.

You can pre-order Beachcomber Test a the following places:

AMAZON.         B&N.         iBOOKS.         KOBO.

Let me know what your current favorite series is for a chance to win a copy of Beachcomber Investigations 4 Book Set!

Welcome to Long Island!

I admit I couldn’t come up with a topic for this month’s blog post so I put it out to my Facebook friends/followers and one suggested I write about life on Long Island. See, that’s the first thing you have to know. Unlike people who live in Cincinnati or Wichita or even New York, we live on Long Island.

So, here are a few things I love about my home:

The food. You can’t get better pizza anywhere, and there is literally a pizzeria within walking distance of anywhere you live here. And I’m not talking about Domino’s or Pizza Hut or any of those other franchise chains. We’re all about the small business pizza owner here. I drive 2.5 miles to work every day, on one main road, and I pass three pizzerias on my way! I could probably give up everything else if I moved, but the pizza is a deal-breaker.

Transplanted Long Islanders tell me the must-have egg sandwiches are not available anywhere else. Luckily, I can make my own at home. Start with a seeded roll, layer on grilled ham or turkey or bacon or no meat, if that’s your preference (I usually go with the ham), two eggs prepared anyway you want (over easy, please – with the yolk still drippy), cheese if that’s your thing, and your favorite condiments (most people go with SPK: salt, pepper, ketchup. Ketchup on eggs is sacrilege, in my book.) Like pizza, you can find these delights at any bagel shop or delicatessen on your way to work. The good places will throw in a coffee and small orange juice for a great morning meal!

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And don’t get me started on bagels. (Okay, fine.) Like our pizza, our bagels are the best and readily available. You want flavors? We got ‘em: egg, onion, sesame, everything, cinnamon raisin, French toast, blueberry, strawberry, even rainbow bagels, and the St. Patrick’s Day tradition of green bagels! Grab a dozen and some hand-whipped cream cheese for a feast that can’t be beat.

Location, location, location! If I drive west, I wind up in one of the most exciting cities in the world: New York. I’m an hour’s ride by train or car from Broadway plays, museums, zoos and aquariums, world-class shopping, or sightseeing. Driving east, I hit the Hamptons and Montauk (fun fact: Montauk is the inspiration fo my fictional town of Snug Harbor in my Calendar Girls series) for five-star beaches,DuetinSeptember 500x750 (1)fishing, summer fun, vineyards, microbreweries, farm fresh fruits and veggies, and quiet but lovely off-season getaways. In my own sleepy little town, I’m a five-minute drive from stunning sunsets at our local beach.

sunset

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We’re quirky. We have buildings shaped like a giant duck, like castles, and like a pirate ship. We’re the home of the world-famous Grucci Fireworks family and the Amityville Horror House.

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Credit: Shutterstock.com

We’re historical. The first English-speaking settlement in New York was founded in Southold in the 17th century. During the Revolutionary War, our residents were spies who aided Washington’s forces in New York. America’s first poet, Walt Whitman, was a born-and-bred Long Islander. The first golf course was built here. Sorry, Texas, but we had the first cattle ranch. First lighthouse? Montauk Point. The first supermarket was our very own King Kullen. And our ancestors drove to it on the first parkway. We probably suffered through the first traffic jams, too. Charles Lindburgh’s famous transatlantic flight began here. President Theodore Roosevelt had his summer home here, as did the Vanderbilts, the Gettys, and other wealthy families of the late 19th century. In 1965, 7-11 introduced the first coffee-to-go on Long Island (you’re welcome, caffeine-aficionados!). The Apollo lunar module was built here. The science of DNA was started at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind had its start here (and is still located here. Go to the local mall early on any morning and you can see the trainer volunteers walking new recruits).

Long Island is not, in actuality, an island; it’s a peninsula. Shaped like a fish, it’s 23 miles from north to south at its widest point and 118 miles long. We’re the most populated island in the U.S., and if we were a state, we’d be the 13th largest in the country. It’s not cheap to live here. In fact, we have some of the highest real estate prices, property taxes, and utility bills nationwide. But it’s the place that I (along with about 8 million other people) call home.

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Here’s how one of my characters in DUET IN SEPTEMBER, Book I of the Calendar Girls Series describes her hometown:

After dropping Nia off at her store, I considered my options. Going back to bed was out of the question. But if I planned to forgo my usual Saturday morning routine in favor of an early start to the day, I would need coffee. Stat.

As I cruised down Main Street, I sought out a quick spot for a caffeine infusion. My mistake. This was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, one of the peak times for tourists in Snug Harbor. I passed the block where Mama’s Hen House served breakfast and confirmed my worst fears. Crowds of tourists loitered outside the restaurant on the three park benches, window shopping at the realtor’s next door, or chatting with the others waiting for one of the two dozen tables inside. Their children zipped up and down the sidewalk or slouched beside their parents. Strollers, which were not allowed inside due to the cramped interior, sat parked in rows near the entrance. Strike one.

Two blocks later, the line at the local bakery snaked the length of a football field. Really? These people were willing to wait over an hour for a few Danish? Sorry, I didn’t have the kind of patience needed to infiltrate that mob scene. Strike two.

One last place to check. And I couldn’t even squeeze into the parking lot at our local convenience store, thanks to the multitude of beachgoers buying ice for their coolers, twelve packs of canned soda, a quick breakfast, or all of the above. So much for my getting coffee to go. I’d have to wait until I got home for my morning jolt. Which, when I took my sweatpants and giant t-shirt into account, was probably a very good idea.

I made a beeline for home and soon enough, sat at my kitchen table with a toasted English muffin and my longed-for coffee. Once I finished breakfast and washed my few dishes, I stared at the clock above my sink. Now what? It wasn’t ten o’clock yet, and I had an entire day stretched out in front of me with nothing to do. I couldn’t hit the beach for the same reason I had to come home for breakfast: the plethora of tourists. Ditto for the shops, which would be jam-packed with those seeking that last-minute souvenir of the summer they’d spent in Snug Harbor. I should probably throw some laundry into the washer, but I cringed at the idea of spending my day off doing housework. Besides, it was far too beautiful a day to stay cooped up indoors.

A bike ride might be nice. And…I sneaked a peek at my thighs in my shortie pajama bottoms…beneficial. Yes. A little fresh air and some cardiovascular exercise. This excursion would also serve as my “something different” today. Win/win/win.

I quickly dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, before my lazy side could convince me if God wanted us to exercise, He wouldn’t have invented the Lifetime Channel. In the garage, I found my bike penned in by my artificial Christmas tree, the snow blower, and my ski equipment. Okay, so it’d been a while since I’d opted for two-wheel transport rather than four. When I first came home from Albany, Daddy’s deteriorating health had kept Nia and me running back and forth to the hospital. After his death and the funeral, I’d invested all my time into becoming the new Wainwright at the helm of Wainwright Financial. Such a dismal time…

Enough. I shook off the memories and wrestled the poor bike free. Once I rolled it out, I checked the tires and noticed the front one was flat. I ventured back into the garage for my manual pump and filled the tire with air. Fifteen minutes later, I sailed down my driveway, aimed for the circular road that ran around the marina. A salty breeze kissed my cheeks as I rode leisurely through my neighborhood.

I waved to Mrs. Seifert as I pedaled by where she knelt, weeding the garden of red and white impatiens around her mailbox. “Good morning.”

“Morning, Paige,” she called after me. “Enjoy your ride.”

I would.

Snug Harbor earned its name because the town bordered large water on two sides. On the southern coast, the Atlantic Ocean offered miles of pristine beach with soft white sand, ideal for the tourist trade. The rocky northern coast sat at the edge of the Long Island Sound, creating a perfect waterway for fishermen. Whereas the south end of town prospered due to multi-million dollar properties, five star restaurants, and upscale boutiques, this side—the north crescent—catered to a very different clientele. No-frills motels, bars, delicatessens that opened at four in the morning to serve breakfast for early rising mariners, bait shops, and takeout restaurants ruled here.

The north side also had a wilder beauty than the south, thanks to less development and a more rural flavor. At least, that was my opinion. Buildings were erected farther apart, with lots of open space between. Bulrushes caught the breeze and rustled. Seagulls hovered, squawking as they sought leftover food to scavenge. Across the rocky inlet, the Coast Guard station stood sentry with its lighthouse and flapping flags.

The one exception to this pristine homage to Mother Nature was Coffield’s Wharf, a miniature version of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Our replica boasted a popular clam bar where tourists and locals could grab fresh-caught seafood and pitchers of frosty beer while dining outdoors at picnic tables. For higher end clientele, there was also one five-star restaurant with spectacular water views. The various outbuildings housed a few souvenir shops, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, an expensive toy store, and of course, a Coffield’s Bluff wine store that offered free tastings on weekends. When Nia and I were kids, our parents often took us to the wharf in the evenings for ice cream or fried clams, or just to walk over to the docks next door to see the party boats sailing back with the day’s catch. At ten on a Saturday morning, I figured most of the crowds would be elsewhere: the beach, breakfast (obviously), aboard party boats, or wherever else tourists went on beautiful sunny days.

The simple joys of childhood echoed around me as I cycled toward the wharf. I passed the old elementary school Nia and I had attended. Behind the school sat the playground where I’d had my first kiss from a boy. Darren Simmons had been eight and I was seven. His family moved to Texas a few weeks later and for a while, I thought my scandalous behavior was the cause of their abrupt departure from Snug Harbor. When I’d finally confessed my deep dark sin to my mother, she’d laughed and explained Darren’s father had been offered a transfer from his company. The peck on the lips I’d shared with Darren was probably his way of saying goodbye. Of course, only a year later, my mother became the poster child for “scandalous behavior,” but at the time, her comments made perfect sense.

On the next block, I rode past the public library, a frequent hangout in my school years—before the existence of the Internet.

Everywhere I looked along my route sparked a memory to make me smile.

Why hadn’t I done this before now? My legs pumped for an uphill climb, then relaxed my feet on the pedals as I coasted down the other side. I felt exhilarated, powerful, and a little bit sexy. No wonder people raved about the endorphin rush that came from exercising. This was amazing!

A higher hill came into view, and I shifted gears to prepare. I had to pedal a bit harder than I’d anticipated, but I pushed myself, knowing I could coast down the other side. Once I reached the other side. Funny how I never noticed how steep this road was when I drove it every day in my SUV. My thigh muscles ached, and I actually rose off the seat to get more power into my pedaling. Sweat broke out on my forehead. Still, the bike and I climbed. My pace slowed with my exertion, making every motion harder to complete. At last, I crested the hill, but only found a plateau. No downhill break to catch my breath. I had to push on.

A few yards ahead of me, a man walked a large, lean dog near the curb that ran along the shoreline. The man had a great build with broad shoulders packed into a tight t-shirt and long, muscular legs in khaki shorts. Nice buns, I contemplated as I drew closer. A good handful, but no excess.

Beeeeeeep! A car horn blared from behind me, and I swerved to keep the front tire straight. The bike veered onto the road’s shoulder and slid on a patch of sand, nearly upending me.

The expensive convertible roared past me at a speed I surmised was double the town’s limit. The blond driver, her long hair whipping with the wind, flipped me the bird as she sped on down the road.

“Nice,” I shouted after her. “I hope you get arrested!” Where was a cop when I needed one?

“Paige, is that you?”

Oh, good God. Mr. Yummybuns looked at me over his tasty shoulder, and I groaned. Why had I wished for a cop right now?

“Hey, Sam.” I tried to play nonchalant as I braked my bike next to him. “Did you see that moron?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, but I’m off-duty right now. If it makes you feel any better, though, Tonya’s at the top of the next ridge with a radar gun.”

Imagining the blonde’s upcoming surprise, I laughed. “No lie?”

“Nope.” Sam’s grin sparked fireworks in my belly.

In the dim hallway last night, I’d found his smile dazzling, but in the light of day, I could easily understand Nia’s attraction to the rest of him. He looked like a sun-bronzed god, all sinew and golden skin with eyes the color of honey and the lushest lashes I’d ever seen on a man.

If only he were mute…

As if to introduce itself, the fawn-colored dog suddenly lurched forward to sniff at my sneakers.

“Daisy, get down.” Sam yanked on the leash.

“Hi there, sweetheart. Aren’t you a love?” I bent to rub the pooch between its folded ears, then looked up at Sam again. “I didn’t know you had a dog.”

“Daisy won’t hurt you. She’s big but loveable.”

“Daisy?” I quirked my eyebrows. “You named this huge beast Daisy?”

“Not my choice. She’s a rescue from the Greyhound Liberation. Her full name is Daisy Chain of Love.”

“Wow.” I slipped my hand under Daisy’s angular jaw, and she snuffled. “I’m impressed.”

“Don’t be,” he replied. “All the racers get goofy names.”

Actually, I was referring to the fact that he had a softness for any living thing. But I wisely bit back the insult. “How long have you had her?” I asked instead.

“Two years.” Daisy licked his hand, and he patted her fondly. “If you’re thinking about a pet, I could probably hook you up with the rescue group. They’re always looking to place retired greyhounds.”

Me with a dog? I shook my head. I couldn’t even keep a houseplant thriving. “I don’t think I’d have the energy for a former racing star.”

“The keyword there is ‘former.’ They’re retired so they actually don’t do much running. And you’ve got a decent-sized yard for a dog to get out his ya-yas. Besides, you look like you could handle anything.” He glanced at my bike, then the road ahead, as if he didn’t want me to see the smirk on his face from his attempt to compliment me.

Yeah, sure. Suddenly he’s worried about hurting my feelings. Get a grip, Paige.

“Where you headed?” he asked, gaze still fixed on the horizon.

“The wharf, then home again.”

He whistled through his teeth. “Oh, right. But you don’t have the energy to keep up with a greyhound. That’s like…what? Eight miles round trip?”

Eight miles?! I swallowed a gasp and forced a casual smile. No way did I want him to know I had no idea how long a trek I’d planned for myself. “Yeah, something like that.”

“You training for some kind of marathon?”

“Sort of,” I lied. “The 10K Twin Fork Ride is next month. I figured I might as well start getting ready.” Wow. Could I get any more ridiculous? No way I had the slightest intention of participating in that torturefest.

“Where’s your water?” He gestured to my bike frame, then looked up at the sun and shielded his eyes with the flat of his hand.

Water? My gaze followed his to the empty wire rack where a water bottle should rest beneath my seat. Oops. I forgot about bringing something to drink on my morning trek. I wasn’t about to let him get the better of me, though.  “I’ll pick up a bottle when I get to the wharf,” I replied with a dismissive air.

His brows rose in twin arcs. “The wharf is still two miles from here. You’ll dehydrate long before you get there.” He jerked his head in the direction of the side street. “Come back to the house with Daisy and me, and I’ll grab you a coupla cold ones to go.”

If this were a movie, the creepy music would start building right now. What should the naïve heroine do? Go home with the monster so as not to hurt his feelings?

Lucky for me, this wasn’t a movie. I had no qualms about turning him down. “No, that’s okay. I’ll be fine.”

“Do I scare you, Paige?”

I snorted to hide my surprise. “Puh-leez.” He thought I was afraid of him? Or was he actually daring me to come to his house?

“Good. Then you’ve got no good reason to decline. And the break will give you time to reapply your sunscreen, too, since it looks like your face is starting to burn.”

“My…” Sunscreen. Of course. Something else I forgot. Jeez, I was a moron. But I’d committed to this stupidity and wouldn’t give Sam Dillon the satisfaction of catching me in my lies.

“Forgot that as well, huh?”

“I didn’t forget,” I retorted. “I just ran out and decided to pick up more when I got my water.”

“Uh-huh.” His knowing grin raised hackles on my nape. Note to self: don’t try to lie to a cop. “Come on. Let’s get you properly outfitted for your ‘training.’”

“It’s really not necessary,” I said lamely.

“Yeah, it is. Your sister would never forgive me if you wound up in the hospital and I could have prevented it.”

Nia. Again. I sighed my defeat and pushed my bike forward. “Then I guess I’ll take you up on your hospitality. Thanks, Sam.”

As I followed him and his dog, I had the uneasy feeling I’d just agreed to visit the devil in his private circle of hell.

 

Ebb & Flow

The perks of owning your own business are plentiful; like making your own schedule and generally liking your boss! 😀  People don’t always understand or see being a writer as a business. Granted, some of my work is sold through a publisher, but even with a publisher there is a business side that is all mine. Either way, it all begins and ends w/ me! This is both a blessing and a curse.  

 2015 was a rough year for the industry. Small publishers began closing their doors; including Samhain, which will close this year. And sales that were once soaring have tapered or plummeted, for some. The lucky ones have seen a slow enough decline to react in one way or another – like a “day job”. Which I have returned to, sadly! 

It’s funny how you forget office politics when you’re used to working alone. Or how co-workers can be quirky, for lack of a nicer term! I’ve started consulting for a tech firm, in the Sales &Marketing department. The Tech part is new to me, but I built a nice life and career in Sales & Marketing – before writing.

  
So while book sales ebb, I’m taking an opportunity for new character development via the workforce. I’ve already met several interesting people who I’m certain will find their way into personalities or full blown characters in a novel coming soon! It’s also giving me a chance to learn about a new industry. 

I will take this ebb in stride, create some new opportunities and develop a new portfolio of interesting characteristics. Hey, maybe I’ll be the first writer to make an engineer sexy! 😍 Either way as long as the ideas and words flow, a little ebb can be dealt with. Lord, let it be a quick ebb! Here’s to new adventures! 

Wishing you well, in fiction and real life! 

Kindly,

💖 Kelly Rae ❤️

  
🌟www.kellyraebooks.com 📚

Visit my website for information, buy links, or to purchase signed copies of any of my books! Thanks in advance❣
Here is the reality of being a writer: 

   
I’ve seen numbers floating around about the top 10% are making it, or only those in KU (which is VERY restrictive for authors) are making it, to basically unless you’re Stephen King or Jodi Picoult, no one is making it! 😀 What you can do is support your favorite small business & writer with reviews and word of mouth advertising. Every little bit helps! 😘
 

 

In Pursuit of Life

How many times do I wonder about the future? What should I chase? What should I let go?

What do I have? What do I want? What’s important?

While thumbing through Netflix one evening, I saw a series called Chasing Life. The cover, which had a young girl sitting on a coffin, didn’t appeal to me, except to generate reluctance for its suggested content. I wasn’t in the mood for death or anything pertaining to it.

A few weeks later, after spending too much time trying to find something to watch, my husband happened to notice the cover. Why don’t we see what that one is about? So, tired of searching for something else, I clicked on the series, Chasing Life.

We were immediately caught up in the storyline and couldn’t wait for the next episode to air.

While I searched for time and listing for the next season to air, I found future episodes are abandoned. What? Four episodes to go and we’re finished. From a friend who had already seen the series, I understand the last episode ends on a cliffhanger. Of course, since in the beginning they most likely expected there would be more of the storyline to air, but that isn’t to be.

I suppose that’s the same as pursuing life. We enjoy the ride for a while, and then the road either takes us in circles or ends. And…roads have many curves.

Okay, so what do I have? Love, family, friends, my health, a comfortable life?

Yes.

What do I want?

The list above covers it all.

What’s important?

The same list above gives me all the things in life that is important—important to me.

In the pursuit of life, the future is unknown. I can only be accountable for what I do in the now…but plan for potential growth. I can let go of areas I can’t control.

Are you chasing life? What’s important to you?

Happy January!

You can find my books at the links below.

http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html
http://www.amazon.com/Carol-DeVaney/e/B005PRX20I/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

New Year, New Release!

I cannot explain how thrilled I am to be headed into a new year! To say 2015 was a disappointment would be a huge understatement! So I am ready, more than ready, for a new start and the best news is that I have books releasing and book signings right at the start of the year – no better way for a writer to begin a new year! I’m excited to share all of the goodness with you all, here, today. 

P.s. I LOVE my covers, big love!

Series: One Day at a Wedding

Once Upon a Wedding (#1) PreOrder Now

Anything but a Wedding (#2) PreOrder Now

When Cassie Met Thad (#0.5) Now FREE

Call Me Yours (#2.5) Releases 02.02.16

Books One & Two Release Date:

Jan 12, 2016

  

Once Upon a Wedding:

Cassie Anderson, bridesmaid extraordinaire, is tired of attending her friend’s weddings either solo, or with her best friend, Thad. Finding a real date is simply too much work. Especially when she sees an old acquaintance from high school, Dan, at her friend Shelley’s wedding. After the spark shared between them, Dan has become the object of her affection. Too bad he has a nasty habit of having a date on his arm at every turn. Stealing another woman’s date is against the rules, but if she could just catch him at an event alone…well, that would be fair game! Unfortunately, timing is everything, and she and Dan seem to have the worst. Always the bridesmaid, walking away with nothing more than a dreadful dress,
Cassie is committed to changing her luck and getting her man.
Dan daydreamed about Cassie Anderson through most of his high school classes. She barely knew he was alive – but that didn’t stop him from wanting her for all those years. Unfortunately, her return to his life comes at the worst time possible. As he tries to put his life back together, he keeps an eye on her, hoping to find her single at the right time. A time when it all hurts a bit less. A time when he can offer her all of the love she deserves. After three weddings of happenstance meetings, Dan finds himself to be a little more ready for everything that is Cassie. Putting himself out there, he can only hope she is everything he thinks she might be — his forever girl. 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

   
 

Anything but a Wedding:

Thad never expected to find anyone who meant more to him than his best friend, Cassie. She was the one woman he loved enough not to sleep with. He was a player, but an honest one. Unfortunately, not everyone felt that balanced out his love ’em and leave ’em ways. He just didn’t see a need to settle down — yet. Then, he met Brianna, who made him think about the future — a future with her — which was a new experience for Thad. Brianna is also a new kind of woman and convincing her that they have a future might just be the challenge of his life.
Brianna works through men like she works through her closet — seasonally. Any other way has always been trouble. When she meets Thad, she is thrilled. Not only does he intrigue and excite her, but he is just like her — noncommittal. He sets her on fire with his smooth talk and honest approach to dating. Even without being physical beyond a kiss, the thought of him makes her entire body hum. Except, Thad has gone and gotten attached to her in a way neither of them expected; attached in a way she simply cannot allow. Unfortunately, he won’t allow their relationship to become physical until she surrenders her heart to him, which is a battle she isn’t sure she can win. The longer it lasts, the less sure she becomes of wanting it to.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

   

When Cassie Met Thad: 

Were you curious about how Cassie and Thad met? Read all about their friendship based love story. College parties, makeups and breakups – see what makes their platonic love, one of the best around. This is the perfect introduction to the One Day at a Wedding Series and it’s FREE, so you check out the stars of the series with little to no commitment, we call that Thad Style! 

Kobo | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

🌟Call Me Yours: Cover Reveal 1.14.16 😝

 
 

From Once Upon a Wedding –

 

“Cassie. Cassie, did you see who’s here?” Shelley tugged at her skirt, trying to get her attention directed toward the back of the church.

“What’s the matter with you?” she asked Shelley and then turned to face the back of the church. “Ohh, now I see what you mean.” 

“And yet, you ignored me,” Thad said from the other side.

She just blew him off with a wave. He would get over it in two seconds or less anyway.

 There he stood, looking as dapper as a GQ cover. His suit was a very nice shade of blue, with a white shirt and what appeared to be a pinstripe tie. By the time Shelley had gotten her attention, he had already selected a pew and scooted by people for a seat. The most important thing Cassie noticed was his lack of a date.

Who doesn’t take their fiancée to a wedding? 

This could be a good sign. Of course, she would have to do some more investigating before she determined whether he had a single status at this point, or remained affianced. It then dawned on her that she, herself, had brought a date to the wedding. She took her eyes off Dan long enough to glance over at Thad, currently very busy staring at the legs of the woman next to him.

Boy, can I pick ‘em. Even my pretend boyfriends are losers.

“Thad, do you think you could be a little more discrete about your appreciation for our neighbor there?” she asked through gritted teeth, trying to keep her disdain to a low roar.

 “Oh, shit, I’m sorry Cassie. But did you see her calves? I swear, it’s just a professional thing,” he said this with the gigolo grin, his specialty, one that hardly ever worked on Cassie. Hardly ever.

“If this is where you tell me how you’re a critic and you were just admiring her legs in a professional manner, don’t bother,” Cassie uttered in her most stern, yet quiet, voice. “You critique the arts, Thad, her legs are not performing.”

“I could argue that point, but seeing how your face is scrunching up at me, I won’t. You’re right, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

Thad did his best to appear remorseful and even went so far as to kiss her forehead and squeeze her hand. She did not squeeze back.

To Cassie’s way of thinking, the fact that he had been holding her hand the whole time, including while checking out the lady’s legs next to them, made it a little worse. What could she say, though, considering she had been waiting and hoping for the appearance of another man?

She turned her head and caught Dan glancing in her direction. His mouth immediately curved up into a smile and he waved in Cassie’s direction. Cassie returned the smile and raised her left hand to reciprocate the wave, realizing she’d brought Thad’s hand along with her. Making it obvious that she had brought a date to the wedding, she immediately dropped Thad’s hand. Too late. She knew Dan had seen already.

Damn it! 
Happy NEW YEAR!

Wishing you well in fiction and real life,

Kelly Rae 💋

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Musical Genres

  

I’ve spent the bulk of my career writing Contemporary Romance, which I love. It’s treated me well, here on Main Street, and in my other ventures. I’ve been told a time or two that I should try a different genre, that my voice and my phrasing lends itself to historicals. 
So, I have decided to leap into a historical storyline that has captivated me. It’s been so refreshing to my little soul, taking me to new places in my writing that are exciting and rejuvenating. 

Many authors write in more than one genre, some using a different name for each. I haven’t gotten far enough into that side of things yet, although I don’t think I’ll use a different name. My historical still has romance as the overall theme, so I don’t think I’ll need a new name. (Plus, pen names can be a real pain the butt to keep up w/ – extra social media accounts, email accounts, websites, etc.) 

I’ve always read historicals, but never given them much thought, as a potential option for me as a writer. Now, I feel like I’ve really found a niche that is going to serve me well and make me happy. And hopefully, people will respond, buy, and enjoy this new adventure when I’m done.

For now, I’m working on two other books, one in edits with my publisher and one which is in first draft for a series that will start next year, also with my publisher, Forever Red Publishers. It looks to be a very busy summer and for now my little historical than could, and will, is making all the rest of my writing easier; it’s making it fun and exciting again. 

I think I see why there are so many authors who play the musical genre game – it sure gets your blood flowing for the art of writing again. At least it has for me! 

Some of my favorite historicals are written by Eloisa James, Johanna Lindsey and Amanda Quick. What are some of your favorite books and authors that aren’t sweet, contemporary romances?! 

   

   These works are inspiring and make me long for a time long gone. I only hope my future endeavor into this world does the same for a reader someday!  

If your of the mind, look up these ladies and play a little game of musical genres, along with me! 😀 Be sure to comment and share your thoughts on authors who write more than one genre; historicals in particular or if you do read one of these ladies – you must share your love for them with us here! ❤️

Wishing you well, in fiction and real life.

Kindly,

Kelly