Thursday, December 17, 2009

NNN Excerpt Thursday - Meet the Heroine

A staccato rap on the door put him on alert. He wasn’t expecting a contact until the bust went down. The last thing he needed was to blow his cover too soon.
"Come in." He sat back in the folding chair. The door opened, and she walked in.
It was the customer. Or rather, The Customer. The one he’d noticed right off, even over the wince-inducing shock of seeing his colleagues in the audience. Of all the places he might expect to see a woman like this, a sleazy strip club was pretty much last on his list.
The first thing he’d noticed about her was her hair. Flame red, with a hint of curl, it swooped around her shoulders like that cartoon babe from Roger Rabbit, all sexy and sort of retro. A half-smile curved full red lips. And her body—have mercy.
What the hell was she doing at Strippendale’s?
"Can I help you?" He prayed the rickety chair wouldn’t collapse and dump him on his ass.
"Yeah," she said, and licked her bottom lip. Shit, who needed a collapsing chair? That little nervous gesture almost dropped him to the floor. "I, uh, really liked your…" She waved her hand around. "Uh, your show."

Hell. If the guys down at the station knew he was getting groupies, he’d never live it down. Then again, a groupie who looked like a long tall shot of sex might not be such a bad thing, either.
"Thanks," he drawled.
"I’m Caroline," She held out her hand.
He shook it, trying not to react to the softness of her skin contrasting with the firmness of her grip. "Tony," he replied, motioning her to sit.
Too late, he remembered that he had the only chair, but before he could offer it to her, she had perched on the counter in front of the mirror. Her skirt hiked up, giving him a splendid view of her long, slim legs.
Why, why, why did he have to meet her here?
And why tonight, fifteen minutes before the operation was shut down for good?
"And I, uh, was wondering…" This time, she bit that poor abused lower lip. He wanted to take it home and lavish it with loving care. Oh, the things he could do with that lip…
Okay, man, focus. "Wondering what?"
She fiddled with her purse, then took a deep breath. "I was wondering if you were available."
"You know, outside the club." She looked him straight in the eye for the first time tonight. "How much do you charge?"
Just like that, his private fantasy turned into another nail in Strippendale’s coffin.
"I really liked you," she continued. "So I was wondering, do I have to clear this with someone, or do you work privately?"
This had to be the first time she’d done this. Otherwise, she’d know that management handled all the gigolo action.
Just her bad luck she decided to take a walk on the sleazy side tonight.
He sighed inwardly, wishing he had met her somewhere else, under very different circumstances. He didn’t understand why the hell someone who looked like her felt the need to pay for sex.
"What are you willing to pay?" If she took the bait, he’d have no choice but to haul her in with the rest.
"I don’t know." She colored a little, an interesting contrast with her gorgeous hair. "I’ve never done this before. Is two hundred enough?"
"Sounds about right." He stood up. Even in her high-heeled shoes, she only came up to his shoulder. Brushing past her, he pushed the door all the way open. "What do you say we head back into the club and finish our negotiations there?"
She smiled at him, and it was like a fist to the gut. Why did she have to be so sexy, so enticing, so—sweet? Her smile had none of the hard-edged cynicism he had grown used to over ten years of working vice.
But if he’d learned anything during those years, it was never to trust appearances.
He held the door for her, taking the opportunity to check out her assets as she walked past him into the hallway. Then he escorted her out of the backstage area—and straight into hell.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I'm guesting on the Samhain Blog today, complaining about the weather and asking for book recs. Stop by and tell me what I should read!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

NNN Thursday Excerpt: Meet the Hero

Meet Detective Tony DiMarco, hero of Strip Tease:

Well, tonight had been a massive waste of time. She bent over and reached for her purse, which had migrated under the table during the evening. Her fingers brushed the straps, but it was beyond her reach. Cursing under her breath, she twisted underneath the tabletop and stretched a little further.

Suddenly, music blasted from the ancient sound system, startling Caroline and making her jump, smacking her head against the underside of the table.
Tossing out a few more curse words for variety, she wriggled out from under the table, rubbing her head.

Then she stopped, riveted on the stage in front of her. She was tempted to pinch herself, just to make sure she wasn’t fantasizing the man who’d appeared onstage.
And oh, what a fantasy he was! The faux police uniform looked spray-painted on, showcasing a drool-worthy body. His arms flexed and bunched as he released each button on his tight shirt one by one. It fell open to reveal a wide, muscled chest, with the perfect amount of hair—not too fuzzy, not nonexistent—and sleek, lightly tanned skin that begged to be touched.
He stripped off the shirt, tossing it away as he began to work on the fly of his pants. Caroline swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry, as she noticed that the rest of him seemed as large as what had already been revealed.
The music throbbed in the air around her, the theme from a popular police show adding a strong drumbeat as he stripped down to a well-filled-out, and extremely small, brief.
Caroline was gripped by a sudden urge to scream for him to take it all off, even though she knew this was as far as he was going to go. The other strippers had all stopped at their skivvies, which hadn’t bothered her a bit.
Not until now.
Now, she would buy a round of screaming orgasms for the whole room if she got to see Officer Friendly do the full monty.
The music ground to a halt and the lights dimmed, announcing the end of the act. She sat back, disappointed, as he flashed a grin but nothing else while he made his way offstage.
She glanced around, not surprised to find the few other women in the club just as enthralled as she was in the latest act. The partiers had even abandoned their investigation of the X-rated gifts piling the table and were chanting for his return.
Until that moment, Caroline would have given Strippendale’s another three months in business, if that. There was probably a very good reason the club had no competitors, because really, how much of a market was there for a women-only strip club? The audience tonight had been pathetically small. But with a man like that showing off his assets, the club might stand a fighting chance.
Another song started playing, and Caroline shook off her musings. This guy, whoever he was, would be perfect for Mollie’s bachelorette party. And she’d better get backstage and find out if he was available before she lost her chance—and her nerve.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Winner, an Announcement, and a Recipe!

Whew! Today's blog post is chock-full of stuff that really isn't related to each other. But what the heck, it's Wednesday. Why not?

First, congratulations to HEATHER MAC, winner of Margaret Mallory's Knight of Pleasure. Hope you enjoy the book once your finals are over! Just send your address off-blog and I'll be sure Margaret can get in touch with you.

Second, just in case you missed it yesterday when I was bouncing and flailing and squeeeing all over the internet, my book Lessons Learned has been nominated for an RT Reviewer's Choice Award! It's one of four books nominated in the Indie Press Contemporary Romance category. Color me absolutely gobsmacked! It was totally unexpected and I am so thrilled. Winners will be announced in April at the RT Convention.

Third, it's party day over on the Nine Naughty Novelists' blog! We're answering holiday questions and everyone who comments on the post will be entered in our contest!

Fourth, here's my contribution to the group blog post on NNN - a recipe for Almond Butter Smash Cookies, one of my favorite holiday treats.

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons almond extract

Cream together butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and beat well.

Roll into 1 inch balls, then roll in sugar (regular or colored). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press flat with bottom of glass or cookie stamp. Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are light golden brown.

Easy-peasy! And oh, so delicious. :)

Book BIN Tuesday - Stolen Treasures

Claire Saunders is on the brink of realizing her dreams and putting her past behind her. She could care less about a group of pirates preying on San Diego. Nothing will derail her. Or so she thinks, until she finds herself an unwilling passenger aboard a schooner at sea. A reluctant participant in a covert operation, she sails further and further away from everything she’s worked so hard for. Without her there, it will all fall apart.

Hot-shot agent Dion Gaetani can’t believe he’s been saddled with a civilian. Worse—a woman. Guilt-ridden over a prior op gone bad, this is a burden he doesn’t need.

Together, they must work in close quarters to capture a rogue band of pirates. The stakes are high. Dion’s own boat, the Treasure, is the bait. And an unwelcome yet undeniable desire is the complication.

Note from Laurie Ryan, the author...

Walking amongst the gallant sailing ships at a local Tall Ships Festival, I envisioned the romance of a sultry night on the water, nothing and no one else around. After an opportunity to sail aboard a 160 foot schooner, I knew I had to tell this story. Enjoy!
Doesn't it sound fab? Why not head right over to Bookstrand and Buy It Now?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

MTA Monday - Laurie Ryan

This week's MTA (Meet The Author) Monday author is Laurie Ryan. Let's see what she had to say about my daft questions, why don't we?

NAME: Laurie Ryan


BLOG: No permanent blog yet. For now, I guest blog. And I’d like to thank Kate Davies for having me here.

TITLE OF FIRST BOOK: Stolen Treasures

RELEASE DATE: December 8, 2009

FAVORITE WRITING STORY/SAYING/MEMORY: It may sound cliché but it has to be “the call.” I was waiting with my mother when the call came in and it wasn’t so much the call from BookStrand that indicated I had sold my first book. It was the fact that my mother was with me when I got it. She is absolutely the most amazing person I have ever known. To be able to share that with her made it a precious moment for me.

FAVORITE NON-WRITING STORY/SAYING/MEMORY: Wow. There are so many choices. Now, that’s not saying I’m old, mind you. There’s meeting my husband, marrying my husband, childbirth. The list goes on. But last year, in a little wide spot in the road called Coldfoot, halfway between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, I got to check off a life dream. I saw the northern lights in great, green, gyrating streaks across the sky. For almost an hour, in the middle of the night, my husband and I stood with 30 or so strangers who, wrapped in coats, bathrobes, and blankets, were just as awed as we were. It was an amazing experience and one I treasure.

COMFORT FOOD: Cocoa. Always cocoa. Summer or winter. It can calm me down or rev me up, depending on what I need. It’s great for brainstorming or for reviewing the day.

COMFORT READ: Definitely Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series. I have probably read the series 10-12 times by now. It never gets old and, since I first read it in high school, it’s like revisiting an old friend.

YOUR PERFECT DAY: A lot of stars have to align for a perfect day so that, when I check my emails, all is well with my family and the world. Then I would join my husband for coffee in front of the roaring fireplace in a log home in the mountains. The windows would frame soft snowfall. Later, we’ll go for a walk (the snow’s not too deep yet) stopping to watch the elk in the meadow for a while. Once home, the aroma of homemade bread and soup heating in the crock pot would welcome us. And about that time, the kids and grandkids would descend and a beautiful chaos would finish out our day. In actuality, we live in the city, but each January, this is the exact feel of what happens when we go away to a rented cabin for a long weekend with our children and grandchildren. Absolutely perfect!

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? More stories about modern day piracy, of course! Stolen Treasures is the story of two people who find love while attempting to capture a modern day pirate. The second book in this series is about the hunky pirate and explains why he became a brigand.
Thanks, Laurie, for dropping by! And everyone else, be sure to check back tomorrow to hear more about Stolen Treasures.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Holiday Traditions

So in a few minutes the kids and I are off to the big city to watch the Nutcracker. I think this is the fourth or fifth year we've gone, thanks to my wonderful in-laws. All the cousins will be there, excited to see the show.

Afterwards, we'll go get pictures taken with Santa (can't waste the opportunity, especially since they'll all be in nice clothes!), and have dinner before heading home.
Then, later this weekend, it's time to hunt for a Christmas tree. (The picture is of a local tree farm that provided the White House Christmas tree a few years back.)

Just a couple of events out of a busy holiday season, but we all look forward to them every year.

What's your favorite holiday tradition? Remember, every comment is entered for a chance to win Margaret Mallory's fabulous new book, Knight Of Pleasure!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

NNN Excerpt Thursday - Fight/Argument

Here's the full scene for this week's theme - check out all the teasers on our blog!


Alex sat up as the door to his private office flew open. Brynn Dexter stood in the doorway, one eyebrow arched in silent question. She was trying to look composed, but he could see the tremble in her stiff posture from across the room.

Behind her, Mrs. Agincourt answered her question. “Philippe Alexandre du Charbonneaux, Prince of Laurivenia, mademoiselle,” she said with a puzzled frown.

Belatedly, he realized that he had not informed his secretary of the deception. He was—what was the American phrase? Oh, yes. Busted.

Equal parts anger and embarrassment vied for domination of Brynn’s expressive features. “Prince, is it? Well, I suppose that’s close to principal.” Indignation laced her voice. “I apologize for not recognizing you, Your Highness.”

For a moment Alex wished that she could go back to calling him by his given name.
But that was impossible. If she was going to work for him, royal protocol must be

And in a flash of realization, Alex recognized that he did want Brynn to take the
position. Despite her youth and good looks, despite his wholly inappropriate attraction
towards her, she was the right choice for Carissa. Her experience, her personality, her
enthusiasm made her a perfect match. It would be selfish to decide against her based on
his past experiences. Those mistakes would not happen again.

Now, he just needed to convince her to stay.

She had come a few steps into the office and was standing by the chair opposite his
desk, arms crossed over her chest. “Perhaps you would care to explain why you
pretended to be the principal of the Laurivenia Academy. Was it a test? I guess I failed
Tabloid Reading 101, since I didn’t recognize you.”

“It was not a test.” He slapped a hand on his desk. “And I did not pretend to be the
principal. You made that assumption.”

“I see. So it was my fault. Is that your idea of fun? Making the stupid American look
like an idiot?”

He drew himself up. “I won’t dignify that with a response.”

“Whatever.” She fisted her hands on her hips, glaring at him. “I’d just like to know
why I’m in the office of the Prince of Laurivenia and not the Laurivenia Academy.”

The time for deception was over. He sat back in his chair, crossing his arms. “Because there is no Laurivenia Academy.”


He waved one hand in a dismissive gesture. “The academy was merely a—front, I believe it is called, for the actual position.”

Alex recognized the look on Brynn’s face. Behind the coolly polite expression, she was definitely counting to ten.

“Are you telling me I was hired to teach a fictitious class in a fictitious school?”

"I suppose you could say that.”

She shoved her fingers through her hair, pulling it back tightly from her forehead. “Oh, my God. My mother was right.”

“About what?” he asked before he could help himself.

She ignored him, pacing back and forth in front of his desk. “I quit my job. I flew
halfway around the world. I got in a limousine with a strange man. Men, if you count the
driver. And my dream job doesn’t exist?”

He focused on the last part of her tirade. “Not in that specific form, no.”

“And what, may I ask, is the actual position?”

“Private tutor for my daughter, Carissa.”