Thursday, September 26, 2019

Throwback Thursday! ~ Trust Me Series - Serenity Lost

Can a man remain loyal to his brother, even if it means abandoning the love of his life when she may need him the most?

Their brief heated meeting one fateful night had singed itself into their minds. Not knowing of the other’s identity, but unable to forget, had sealed their fate. The fire smoldered quietly in each of them as they tried to move on with their lives.
Eric Stiles was in the middle of chaos, searching for a killer.
Hunted by an obsessed psychopath Rebecca Gailen was trying to be strong.
The world stopped for a moment as they looked up and saw the other standing just feet away.

His heart lurched, her armor shattered and the world started again as Eric’s brother, Charlie, appeared to take her hand.

Family loyalty isn’t a choice. When Rebecca’s stalker rages out of control, Eric’s decision haunts him and he struggles to stay away. Can he remain loyal to his brother, even if it means abandoning Rebecca when she may need him the most?

***

"Hey, thanks for coming."

“Thanks for the address.”

“What’s going on?’

“I think she got a visit from our friend this evening,” he replied, still looking for Rebecca.

“Really, when?”

“Not sure, that’s what I’m here to find out. Where is she?”

“Other side of the bar,” Donna replied with a small wince.

His eyes found her. She was sitting on top of the bar, laughing and teasing a group of men surrounding her.

“She started doing shots, as soon as she hung up on you.”

“Okay,” he replied with a deep breath and wondered how he was going to handle this. She looked like she was having fun, although his stomach clenched at the thought of someone else's arms around her. “Maybe I should just leave her be. She’s been through enough the past few days.”

“Which is exactly why you need to go over there,” Donna insisted. “She's not thinking straight. She isn't listening to me and Charlie isn't available.”

The comment wasn’t meant to, but it stung. He was third on the list. Fourth, if you counted Mindy. Eric nodded in agreement and walked around the bar to the engaging crowd. Perched on the bar, her long legs were crossed and wrapped in a mid-length black skirt. She wasn't flaunting anything, she was just smiling and laughing. The small gathering of men were making comments and even began singing to her.

Eric stood at the back of the group, waiting for her to see him. He couldn’t help but become lost in the sight of her. Since their unexpected reunion, he hadn’t really been able to just look at her, take her in and see once again how stunning she was. From her fiery locks to her thin ankles. His entire body began to pulse at the memory of her softness beneath him. He took a deep breath as her eyes caught his and instead of the expected scowl, she smiled and tilted her head as she had in the coffee shop.

“Look out, boys, the cops are here to rescue me,” she said as she leaned forward.

He pushed his way between her suitors until his chest brushed against her legs. “May I have this dance?” he asked as he looked up into her eyes.

“Depends,” she answered as her hands rested on his shoulders.

Eric grasped her waist and lifted her off the bar, resting her on the floor in front of him. “On what?”

“Whether you're here for business or pleasure.”

“Dancing with you,” he said in a low breath, as his body reacted to her softness against him, his hands still wrapped around her small waist. “Definitely pleasure.”

She looked up at him and the room seemed to disappear. A serenity that he'd only felt once before encompassed him. The weight of the world seemed to lift when he stared into the electric pools of her eyes, and he wondered how that could be.

“I wish that were true,” she said.

He saw doubt and pain flash in her eyes. “Rebecca…” he started when the popping of a champagne bottle startled her. She jumped away from him as her entire body visibly trembled. She ran her fingers through her hair, and he watched her look for something familiar. Her eyes found Donna and she walked past him to her friend...




Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Teaser Tuesday! ~ The Prophet and the Snow Angel

 


When Navy Seal Team leader, Charlie Stein is paired with Operations Analyst Aria Lockett, he is annoyed. Having the burden of an Analyst on a field mission was not a headache he wanted to endure.

Operations Analyst Aria Lockett has been tracking The White Guard Terrorist cell for years. When they finally get a strong lead on an upcoming attack, she is ready to put an end to their terrorist reign once and for all.

With an imminent attack scheduled for Christmas Day in Rome, the pair must work together to thwart the threat. The unease between them quickly turns to trust and unexpected desire. When the terror cell is alerted to their plan, can they remain focused and save Christmas or will their growing feelings cloud their judgment and destroy the path of hope?

Excerpt

 “Good afternoon, Jean-Paul Krandif. How can I help you?”


“We apologize for taking time out of your busy day. My name is Chris Schoenfelder, and this is my associate Lisa Milam. Your establishment is very beautiful.”

“Thank you, our supporters are very generous, and we have established ourselves as the premiere établissement vinicole of Paris. The tourists love us. Please call me Jean,” he said, leaning against the desk.

“Given your reputation and expansive collection du vin from around the world, I just wanted some insight about the procurement of some rather rare more robust vintages.”

“There is an entire network of dealers and well-known suppliers. Why come to me?” Krandif said. “What business are you in again?”

“Recovery and we were told you are the guy who gets things done."

“How can I help?”

“Well, what we wanna know is, if I wanted to procure and transport canisters of a potentially lethal bioweapon from somewhere, let's say, Germany would you be the guy to talk to?” Stein said. Aria watched Krandif’s reaction closely. He blinked, and his bald head started to perspire. “Would you be that guy?”

“No, I'm afraid not,” Krandif said. “I believe our meeting is over.”

Krandif moved to the door and Stein followed, “all right, thank you for...wait I have a quick question. Do you like Hummers?”

Oh good lord

“Range Rovers, Land cruisers?”

“Mr. Schoenfelder, will you leave the room?

“No!” Stein said, smashing Krandif’s head against the edge of the wooden door. “Should've taken the money, Jean!” Aria immediately moved behind the desk to the computer.

“You broke my nose!” Krandif said.

Stein pulled his weapon from the back of his pants, pointing it at Krandif’s head, “not a word.” Aria wrapped up the laptop, cable, and started searching the desk. “I won't shoot you unless I have to, don’t make me have to because and I’ll feel bad about it. Sit down!” Aria pulled the duct tape out of her bag, tossing it to Stein. Stein proceeded to bind Krandif to the chair. Aria pulled every piece of paper and notebook out of the desk, shoving it into her bag. Then she started on the bookshelf.

“Two nights ago, you had a German visitor, Geoff Vlakin. Why was he here?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, we have guests—” Krandif started, and Stein backhanded him with the gun in his hand. “Understand, it is not my intent to disrupt this little operation you’ve got going on here, Jean. I need to know about Vlakin. Why he was here and the location of the canisters he stole.”
“I don’t—”

“Come on, Jean,” Stein hit the man’s face again. “I can do this all day. Just tell me what I need to know, and we can be on our merry way.”

Aria yanked the books off the shelves uncovering a hard drive and a camera she detached and shoved into her bag, “Stein, we need to go.”

Stein glanced at her and then hit Krandif again, this time pointing his gun at the man’s groin, “Talk to me Jean, or you will be spending Christmas getting reconstructive plastic surgery that may or may not restore your manhood.”

“Fine!” Krandif said. “The man—”

“Vlakin.”

“Yes, Vlakin. He asked me to add a box to my shipment. It seemed harmless,” Krandif said.

“Where?”

“I don’t know. Vlakin put the package on one of the trucks. I didn’t ask which one.”

“Where is the shipment going?”

“Downtown Paris.”

“When?”

“Today,” Krandif said, and Stein rolled his eyes.

“Where are the deliveries for today?” Krandif hesitated, and Stein shot him in the knee. Krandif screamed. “Come on, Jean, you’re making this way too hard.”
“Alright, alright!” Krandif said. “There are three, I de Flore, Les Deux Magots, and Le Secret.” Aria gathered up her bag and moved to the door.

Stein ripped off another piece of tape using it to cover Krandif’s mouth, “thank you for your cooperation. It’s been a pleasure.” Stein met her at the door. “Let’s go.”

Aria followed Stein out of The Ice House without incident. Aria immediately dialed her phone as they dashed to the car. “Wes, we have three potential targets—”
 
Stein got into the car, his mind spinning with the most likely target. All well known Paris café’s. The door next to him closed, and he started to drive. “Three places. All well known, all heavily populated this time of day.”

“He said it was a box which means it the device is small. Likely a low yield,” Aria said, digging into her bag. She pulled out the laptop, inserting a USB drive into the device. “We are dispatching French Hazmat and police to all three locations.”

“Where are we going?”

“Give me a minute,” Aria said, waiting for the encryption key to do its job. The computer unlocked, and she started searching.

“The deliveries are regular. Check the last delivery contents against the deliveries for today. See if there are any anomalies,” Stein said. “There has to be a notation, a change in weight, contents—”

“Stein shut up!” Aria scrolled through the data fervently searching. “If you are getting paid to deliver an important package you are going to assign someone you trust to get it done. Not your usual lackey.”

She found it, the delivery driver for Le Secretonly driver was not on a reoccurring route before today.

“Le Secret, it’s going to Le Secret.”

“We are ten minutes away,” Stein said.

“Go faster,” Aria said, and Stein hit the gas weaving his way through Paris traffic. Aria was back on the phone updating Wes. They hit a traffic jam and came to a stop. “Stein!”

“I’m working on it.” Stein looked around seeing the median between the two sides clear. “Hang on.” He pulled onto the median and hit the gas, seeing a break in the cars he made a left and then a right. He came to a stop at the police barricade. Both he and Aria sprinted toward the chaos of the café evacuation. Stein saw Wes in front of the building. People started falling. One by one they fell like dominos. Stein stepped up his pace and grabbed Aria holding her back.

They watched Wes turn in realization before he fell to the ground.
“No!” Aria screamed.


The Prophet and the Snow Angel is coming this holiday season from eXtasy Books stay tuned for more details!


Come Find Me!


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Monday, September 23, 2019

Exclusive Excerpt - Finders Release Date ~ Oct 4th 2019!

When an expert Demonologist meets a Reality Show Producer on the Ghost Hunting Show Finders, sparks of true love fly so brightly even the Devil takes notice.

Demonologist Luke Melloy has seen the face of pure evil. He's fought it and sent it back to hell. It's what he does. To Claire Westin, ghosts and demons are just great television and good for ratings. When she’s faced with the truth Luke has seen, her reality is turned upside down as the two are swept into dire straits moments after they meet. Desire sparks between the unlikely pair, throwing their hearts into chaos with a love neither of them expected nor wanted.
When the Demon targets an unsuspecting Claire with his wrath, Luke finds his focus split between his oath to God and the awakening of his heart. Together, can they face the ancient evil and defeat it, or will they lose everything?

Find out in Finders – October 4th 2019!
Pre -Order Now~


Finders consisted of a team of eight to ten paranormal investigators. The supporting technical team was four boom operators and four cameramen. Depending on the size of the other locations, they could have more or fewer. For the investigation of Crestwater Church, Craig and Claire had doubled the number of cameras to enable multiple teams to be filming concurrently. In addition to the film equipment, the paranormal team employed a slew of scientific equipment to collect evidence of paranormal activity during the investigation. With the entire team at work, it would take a full day to set up and calibrate all of the necessary equipment.

The flurry of activity continued around her. Team members waved and said hello. Claire nodded, smiling in response. "How are we looking?" she asked Craig.

"Four hours until sundown, six until lights out. We’re right on schedule. I was just about to go around to the back of the church for some B-Roll shots. The foliage is amazing, and the shots I’m getting are phenomenal."

"Is the church open?"

"Yeah, we haven't locked it down for dinner yet."

"Cool, the three Venti Starbucks on the trip here are calling for an exit."

"Gotcha," Craig replied with a smile and a nod.

Claire inhaled the fresh air. Despite the cold, it was invigorating. She drank up the smell of wood, freshly fallen leaves, and dirt. Taking a closer look at the church, she realized the media photos didn't do justice to the immense structure.

Dark redwood covered the fifty-foot face. Jutting into the sky like a dagger, the roof was pointed and peaked ten feet above the face. The aged wood’s hues shifted with the sunlight, and the sway of trees gave the appearance of the inanimate object breathing. Against the backdrop of the autumn leaves, the sight was staggering and breathtaking. Claire ventured to the wide-mouth doorway opening of the church.

Piles of orange and yellow cords looked like snakes spilling out the open windows. The crunching of leaves beneath her feet and the whipping of the wind made her stride a little quicker. Hurrying up the plethora of steps, she lifted the red hot set tape barrier out of the way and pushed open the door.

As she stepped into the vestibule, the stale air stifled her lungs. The solid wooden door closed behind her, but sunlight continued to stream into the enclosed area via the large windows on either side. Thick darkness beyond the sun's reach constricted the expanse. Even the doors were massive, at twice her height, at least. She guessed they were made from solid walnut, from the ancient trees surrounding the church.

A chilling wisp crept within her hair to the back of her neck, like fingers playing with her hair. Claire instinctively turned. Seeing nothing but feeling a shiver up her spine, she took in the surroundings and searched for the bathroom. Eying a promising door, she made a beeline and found salvation.

Thankfully the facilities were in working order. After washing her hands in cold water, Claire dried them on her jeans. Taking a quick look in the cracked mirror, she adjusted her long brown hair tied up in a ponytail, smoothing any unruly strands and bumps before walking back into the vestibule.

The intricately carved stone lining the archway into the nave caught her eye, and she stopped, inspecting it closer. A carved frame of tree limbs with gnarled and knotted extensions bent and twisted around the mouth of the doorway, amazingly delicate and detailed. She could feel the bark beneath her fingertips despite knowing it was carved in stone.

Hearing Pip barking at the door, Claire moved away from the nave archway to the main entrance. Opening it, she saw no sign of her dog. Confused, she walked outside to the steps.

"Pip? Pippy, come!"

The flurry of activity when she’d arrived had ceased. The Finders crew had disappeared, and Claire remembered Craig mentioning dinner. Hearing another bark, she followed the sound.

"Pippy, come!" Claire said, her patience waning. She wasn't used to Pip not obeying her commands. They were going to need to talk. Finally, the dog appeared, sprinting out of the thick brush. She breathed an unconscious sigh of relief.

"Claire?"

Her heart leaped as Pip barked.

She spun toward the voice, seeing nothing but Pip taking off through the open door of the church. "Pippy!"

Claire chased after him, into the vestibule, but saw no sign of him. He barked again. The sound was muffled. He had to be on the other side of the large arched doors leading to the nave. Claire pulled on the slightly open door. It swept back with a whoosh of air and a loud thud, the sound echoing off the brittle walls, and a shower of dust rained down.

"Fuck. Pip, come here!" she yelled, attempting to not choke within the cloud of decay from the ruin.

Seriously?

Claire grabbed her phone, turning on the flashlight feature, utilizing it to explore. She shivered at the feel of invisible hands pulling her deeper into the darkness. Heart thudding and hands shaking, she struggled to remain calm, though her mind told her to run.

High cathedral ceilings jutted up to the heavens. Faded images of angels and cherubs adorned the beams. The pews remained, dust-covered and overrun by spiders. When the light flashed over the stone altar at the head of the room, Claire's heart skipped.

The sound of metal clanked on the floor, and Claire panicked, thinking she’d dropped her keys. Checking her pocket, she found her keys intact. Using her flashlight, she searched the surrounding floor for the source of the noise. Her eyes focused on a large old-fashioned key a few inches from where she stood. Reaching down, she picked it up. The cold metal felt icy in her hand. She examined it closely.

Pip barked. Claire turned, putting the key in her pocket, and realized how far away from the opening she'd traveled. Pip's fur brushed against her legs. She turned, glaring at him. "You and I are going to talk about this."

"Claire!"

She heard her name and turned. A scorched skull atop a body shrouded in black dominated her vision. Claire instinctively raised her arms, stepping back. The floor beneath her cracked before disappearing from beneath her feet. Her body fell. She screamed. The light above quickly faded, and wet darkness engulfed her senses. The impact rendered her immobile while agonizing pain from icy water shocked her entire body.

With her arms flailing, her senses returned. She struggled to kick her legs despite the hardening of her muscles. Up, I need to go up!

Pushing her arms in front of her, willing the blackness away, she prayed for air.

* * * *