This will be out soon, and I’m looking forward to it being available to everyone. It’s a dark tale, an Ugly Cry, that pulls no punches about PTSD and depression. It left me an emotional wreck when I wrote it, and judging by the early reader reviews, they’re experiencing that too :-)
“I had a hard time helping to edit this story because I kept crying. EVERY single time I read it even after I knew what was coming. Emotional and heartbreaking and totally wonderful. Love it.” – A.L.
“It’s not light or fluffy but I completely loved this story.” – Lucy
“Amazing even if I did cry like a baby.” – Bookbee
“Boy, was this one heart-wrenching story, but so damn good.” – Fritz42
Sgt. Travis Cooper is a hot mess. He’s a seething cocktail of PTSD, depression, and anger, with a side-helping of borderline alcoholism. The giant holes in his memory don’t help either. When his partner, Kyle, walks out after ten years together, and takes his beloved dog, Travis hits rock bottom.
There’s no kind of future if he can’t face up to his past. Somehow Travis has to learn to breathe again.
“So, Travis, why don’t we talk about Kyle today?”
As usual, I levelled my stare at the stand-up name badge on her desk. Dr. Leah Forrester. So, Leah, why don’t we not? I kept the words inside my head. How was she in any way qualified to understand me? She was a chick. She had both legs. She hadn’t been to war. And judging by the sparkling gold band on her finger, she had a loving husband at home.
I didn’t want to be here. Period. The only reason I came each week was to get my brother off my case, or Brady would continue to bust my ass. It was an extra hassle I could do without.
A stray thought snuck through the fog. “How do you know about Kyle?” I spoke without thinking, and then wanted to kick myself. I’d agreed to attend the sessions, but that didn’t mean I had to participate. A petty distinction, but on the swooping roller coaster my life had become, I clung to even the tiniest amounts of control.
Her eyebrows tugged together, and she flicked back through her notebook. “You mentioned him. Two weeks ago.” She glanced up at me. “You indicated some intense feelings toward him.”
“He stole my damned dog.” I clamped my lips together before anything else fell out of my mouth. Most of the times I came to this office, I floated on a tide of alcohol. Now I thought hard, I did remember mentioning his name. What the fuck else had I said?
“How did that happen?” she asked.
God damn it. She picked my weak spot with the focus of a hungry mosquito. “I had Killer since he was a pup. It was me who rescued him from being drowned. Me who took him home. My name on his paperwork. He was mine.”
I grunted. “Achilles. Killer for short.” It had been a joke between us, saying, ‘Achilles, heel.’ “He isn’t a killer. He’s the softest mutt you can imagine.” A gentle giant.
“You said he was stolen?”
I ran a hand across the back of my neck. “Kyle took him. When he left.”
“Uh huh.” She made a note in her book, and then gazed at me, her face calm. “That came as a surprise? Your partner leaving?”
“Damn right, it did.” We’d argued, sure, from what I remembered. But was it bad enough for him to pack his bags and vanish from my life, when I needed him the most? “And I never thought he’d take my dog.”
“Perhaps he was attached to him too?”
I didn’t bother answering. It didn’t matter if Kyle had been attached to Killer. He still had no right.
“How long did you have your dog?”
“He’s six years old,” I said.
“So who looked after him while you were deployed?”
“Kyle.” I fixed the therapist with a sullen glare. “And how is that relevant?”
“It was just a question. Do you think it’s relevant?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sexy To Go vol. 8 will be out in a few days, and includes the conclusion to the Charlie & Daisy mini-series of short stories. If you haven’t read any of them yet, they also read as standalones. Like dark chocolate and cherries though, they work best together :-)
Here’s a snippet of To Have And To Hold (A Charlie & Daisy story).
Daisy feels like she’s living a dream–engaged to the man she loves, and wearing a gorgeous ring as a reminder. But with the wedding planner from hell, and Charlie’s insistence they marry sooner rather than later, Daisy worries her happily ever after may be over before it even starts.
The Daily Mail online took ages to load, and I contemplated searching for another news channel, but then the headline popped up. We’d made the front page.
All Night Charlie starts a new adventure
I giggled to myself. His press nickname summed him up so well. His stamina for partying was secondary only to his legendary performance between the sheets, skills I enjoyed all the time now. The pleasant ache between my legs was proof of that.
The page loaded some more with a stock photograph of Charlie. His spiky, bleached hair made him stand out from any crowd.
Charlie Jones, guitarist from sell out rock band Event Horizon, will soon be spending his nights in a new way. He’s following his half-brother’s footsteps and starting his own family. Welcome to all night nappies, Charlie.
Whaaaaaat? The breath jammed in my lungs. What the hell did that mean?
The page flickered, and then refreshed, a swathe of images all loading at once. Charlie and me in Tiffany, yesterday. Charlie holding my hand up to the press, and showing off my ring. An exceptionally unflattering shot of me at the airport, on our way out of Heathrow, Charlie standing behind me, hands resting on my stomach.
“Charlie claims to be thrilled at settling down. He’s not the kind of guy that would abandon his pregnant girlfriend.”
Pregnant? I wasn’t pregnant. I glanced down at my belly. Yes, I carried a few extra pounds, but Charlie claimed to love my curves. Christ. No wonder everyone was texting me.
I wriggled free from his embrace and sat up in bed, phone clutched tight, the story continuing to spill onto the page in front of me. According to one of his ex’s, a pointy-faced model called Gallina, I’d dug my claws into Charlie on the recent world tour, while I was nannying for AJ and Sylvie. He’d only broken off with Gallina when it became apparent that he’d knocked me up.
“He refused to consider an abortion,” announced Gallina. “He’s determined to do the right thing and stick with her, even if it’s a mistake. He’s so honourable.”
I couldn’t breathe. What on earth would my family be thinking? I had to tell them it was all a pack of lies. I’d met Gallina once, at a night club, and I don’t think we’d even spoken. She’d taken this nonsense and spun it into a news story.
At that point, I should have stopped reading, but like a train wreck, my eyes were drawn to the words on the page. I followed the links to the related stories. Why did I do it? Somebody had started a poll for how long Charlie would stay with me. Another writer speculated how far along I was. A bitchy columnist sneered at my lack of fashion sense, while another wondered how soon Charlie would be seeking a distraction from his new responsibilities.
He loved me because I wasn’t a stick-thin model with no interest in anything beyond the media. The fact that he’d never stayed with any girl for longer than a night, should have made me happy. It was proof I was different. That I meant something.
Leopards don’t change their spots. He’ll get bored soon, and then watch out, New York. All Night Charlie will be back.
It was rubbish. Every last word of it. Wasn’t it?
Two of my books are featured in this awesome showcase of NZ and Australian romance authors – and best of all – they’re FREE for a limited period.
If you want to grab a copy of Wolf at the Door (Snowdonia Wolves #1) or Obsession (Talisman #1), now’s your chance :-)
There are DOZENS of other freebies, from rural to contemporary, historical, paranormal, new Adult and much more.
Here’s the LINK
Wolf at the Door (Snowdonia Wolves #1)
Pop star Lillian Hart is determined never to trust another man. She has no idea that the wolf at her door is anything other than a wounded dog, much less the Alpha of the Snowdonia Wolf pack. There’s something about the wild creature that pulls at her. Then a man with her wolf’s eyes starts to invade her dreams, and reality and fantasy merge in a way that has her hoping, against all odds, for dreams to come true.
Lillian may have sworn off men, but Jake’s not just any man, he’s a shifter, and he’s about to shift Lillian’s world to make room for him. He vows to claim her as his Mate, and when Jake makes a vow, he keeps it. But Lillian wants to take it slow and Jake is not about to waste any time.
In this battle of wills, both discover giving in and trusting their hearts can heal even the deepest of hurts.
Obsession (Talisman #1)
Josh Delaney is the ideal honey trap. His charm and model good looks would be enough for most women, but coupled with his psychic ability to read their thoughts, he’s impossible to resist. Suspicious husbands employ him to test their wives, to see if they can be tempted to stray.
High profile couple Suki and Gabe Bridgewater have the perfect marriage, or at least, that’s the image they portray to the world. Behind closed doors, Gabe’s dominance in the marriage is unravelling and he decides to test Suki, using Josh as bait.
For Josh it should be just another easy job, but two things go horribly wrong.
One, Josh falls in love with Suki.
And two, Gabe refuses to let her go.
Scott’s story has been extended for it’s release as a solo novella – and it’s live now. Grab your copy for $0.99 :-)
His Reboot Girl
Scott wakes up with his head spinning, and not much else going on in his brain. He’d love to take the time to stop and figure out who he is and what he’s doing in a hospital bed, but apparently he’s the key suspect in a terrorist bombing.
The woman by his side insists she has the answers to his past, but the more he uncovers about her motives, the less he trusts her. Especially when one of her hostages triggers fond memories for Scott. If he can’t discover the truth on his own, his life won’t be the only one on the line.
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I needed a minute to myself. The bathroom door was just a few yards away. I sucked in a deep breath and made my feet move.
The face that stared back from the mirror was a mess. My collar length hair was matted and dirty, and bruises raked my face, along with more fine cuts and scratches. Another memory seeped in. My nickname had always been ‘Scarecrow,’ and now I looked like one—straw for hair, and a head full of stuffing.
A long, raw scrape ran from my right temple down to the top of my jaw. I touched it, curious as to why it didn’t hurt. It stung under my probing fingertips, and I realized why. The hospital had to have pumped me full of painkillers or sedatives, or something to dampen my neural responses.
My knees shook, and I sank onto the floor, my back to the wall. Fears crowded in, as though I’d given them permission to emerge. This wasn’t my life. It couldn’t be. A bomb on the Mag-Line? The breath jammed in my chest at the thought. What the fuck did I know about bombs?
Black spots danced in my vision, and I forced myself to breathe. In, and out. Slow and steady.
I had to start with facts. What did I know, as opposed to what I thought I knew? My name. The nurse had called me Scott. I’d had an accident of some kind, and landed in hospital. There was a head injury involved. Another breath.
Adele said the police were going to arrest me. That I’d set a bomb and been caught in the blast. I dropped my head and rubbed the back of my neck, trying to ease the steady pounding in my head. I only had her word for both of these things, and my gut instinct screamed she was lying.
If she’d lied about those two things, it was entirely possible she wasn’t my girlfriend after all.
And if that was true, what was really happening?
A thump on the door broke my concentration. “Scott? You okay in there, baby?”
I licked dry lips and composed myself. “Yeah,” I rasped. “Out in a minute.” My throat hurt, but maybe a drink would help. I pulled myself up, cupped my hands under the tap, and gulped some cold water. The chill brought another wake-up moment. What should I do now? Play along with their story, while I tried to figure out the truth?
It was the best plan I had.
On my way back into the lab, it struck me that if there had been a bombing, it would be all over the news. Adele glanced up and caught my eye, but stayed with Donny. Did she really think I’d buy the story about them being siblings? It was as unlikely as the Mag-Line being bombed.
I settled at a desk close to the bathroom, and tapped the embedded screen to wake it up. Funny how I could remember some things, but not others. Moments later, I connected to the twenty-four hour news channel. The pretty anchor girl spoke rapidly, as screen after screen loaded with images. The rolling caption froze me in my seat.
Seventeen confirmed dead.
Images of a Mag-Line carriage, the entire side ripped out, as though a giant had tried to tear it in half.
The debris of what used to be a Mag-Line station. The designation plate was just visible in a pile of blocks and dust.
Emerald City West network closed until further notice.
I trailed my fingers across the screen. It was real. Somebody had bombed the Mag-Line. Not me. I couldn’t do that.
Footage of the bomber clearly captured on security cameras.
I couldn’t breathe.
It was me.
The first of the Return to Emerald City novellas is now available as a standalone, with a GORGEOUS new cover.
His Pretend Girl
(previously published as Dorothy’s Red Shoes)
Dorothy’s life is too complicated for things like commitment and long term relationships. But if she were to hook up with someone, it would be Matthew Bradley… The gorgeous guy from Sales with the heart-melting smile, and smooth-as-chocolate voice. The problem is, he’s too busy noticing every other woman in the office to give Dorothy the time of day.
Enter Ben. He’s friendly, as a fellow programmer he gets her, and Dorothy has to admit he looks pretty sexy in a tux. He offers his services as her fake boyfriend for the company Christmas party, strictly to make Matthew jealous of course, and Dorothy jumps at the chance.
When it turns out Ben wants more than a pretend girlfriend, Dorothy has to decide if she’s holding out for the implausible when someone impossibly wonderful is already by her side.
$0.99 from AMAZON
We’ll be re-releasing these stories one each week during August, so look out next week for more news :-)
Excerpt from His Pretend Girl
After an hour of trying to stare at Matthew without either him or Ben noticing, I finally escaped and headed straight for the coffee cart. Ben’s words rang in my head on a continuous loop. Ben had noticed I liked Matthew, and if he’d spotted my crush, it had to be blindingly obvious. So why hadn’t Matthew? Maybe he thought of me as one of the boys, like my own team did. For once, it would be nice to be noticed.
My thoughts swirled and darted in random directions. The big Christmas party, the one for all the Wellington employees, was next week. If I wanted to make a real impression on Matthew, that would be the place to do it. I was flying back to Emerald City for the holidays, but that wasn’t until a couple days later.
How about if I dressed up? Wore a slinky evening gown instead of my usual black slacks and shirt, put on fuck-me heels instead of flip flops, and got my hair and makeup done beforehand? My heart beat a little faster. Could I do it? The women he dated were always well groomed and elegant. That was why I thought he liked me—I was different from his normal floozies—but maybe that was where I was going wrong. I had no idea. I needed a guy’s perspective, but who could I ask?
“Hey.” The familiar voice came from behind me. “You look miles away. You okay?”
Ben. Standing beside me at the cart. How long had he been there? I watched, dazed, as he dug into a pocket, before holding out his phone to pay for his drink. Unlike most of the programmers I worked with, he had nice hands—with long slender fingers and neat, clean nails. I pulled myself together.
“Yeah, just thinking.” Ben was the closest I had to a male friend. Could I trust him?
He flashed me a smile, and then frowned. “What? Have I got something on my face?”
“No.” Still I stared, uncertain. He already knew I crushed on Matthew. What did I have to lose?
I took a deep breath, tried to calm the butterflies that danced in my stomach, and cast around for the words I needed. “Can I ask you something?” It came out in a jumbled rush, and I forced myself to slow down. “If you have a few minutes.”
“Sure.” He pocketed his phone. “What’s on your mind?”
Come on, Dorothy. If you can’t even ask Ben for help, there’s no way on earth you’ll ever attract Matthew. “Ben, if a girl was interested in you, how would you know?” I steeled myself for his laughter. It didn’t come.
“In me?” His lips tugged up at the corners. “Someone like who?”
Jesus. Why had I even started this conversation? “Not you, per se, I mean in a general way. Hypothetical.” Damn. I was blushing already. My stupid pale complexion meant I went pink at the slightest thing.
Ben took his coffee, picked up the ignored cup in front of me, and nodded toward a wooden bench. “Should we sit down?”
I followed him and sank onto the seat, taking my drink. I loved that Wellington was still uncrowded, and had space for random parks and benches. Sitting together in the sunshine made the conversation easier.
“In a hypothetical way,” said Ben, “you mean how does a guy know when a chick likes him?”
If I blushed any more, you’d be able to fry eggs on my cheeks. I nodded.
He shrugged. “I like it when a girl talks to me. When we have things in common. If she flirts with me.”
I already talked to Matthew. We both liked going to the movies and eating dark almond chocolate. Maybe it was just my flirtation skills that needed brushing up?
Ben had gone quiet, and I snapped my attention back to him. He slipped off his specs and rubbed his eyes, all the while looking at me. “I don’t think you’re talking about me though.” His voice was strangely flat. “You mean Matthew.”
“I like him, but he doesn’t see me that way.” If I was going to humiliate myself, I might as well go the whole hog. “What do I have to do, Ben? How do I make him notice me?”
There was a long moment, during which I wished I’d kept my mouth shut, and Ben just looked at me. Then he leaned back and stretched out his legs. He looked calm and unruffled, and as if I hadn’t just spilled my guts all over the pavement.
“Well…” He paused, took a thoughtful sip of coffee, and gazed into the distance. “There is one thing you could do, but I don’t think you’d like it.”
His eyes met mine, and I noticed for the first time how blue they were. They’d always been obscured by his specs before. It was a quaint and old-fashioned choice of his, but not everyone liked corrective surgery.
“It’s the Wellington party next week.”
“Are you going?”
I nodded again. I’d turn into a bobble-head at this rate.
“Well, the thing I’ve noticed about Matthew Bradley is that he likes a challenge.”
“He usually goes for chicks that are already taken. Angela, just married. Annalise, gone back to her ex. Siri, engaged. I’ve never seen him go after a single chick.”
I blew out a breath as I processed his words. He had to be wrong. That made Matthew sound like a creep. “So in order to get his attention, I need to have a boyfriend first?” My voice rose. Ben had to be mistaken. It sounded even more stupid, when I said it out loud. “Like how? Rent-a-date? And if I even had a date for the party, how would I tell him that I wasn’t interested? That I was just using him?”
“You use me.”
He flinched. “Ouch.”
I put my coffee cup on the ground, and bent forward to bury my face in my hands. “Gah. I didn’t mean it like that, Ben. I just meant…” You’re too nice to use like that. “I thought you’d already have a date.” I improvised.
“Well, I don’t. The girl I wanted to take is going with someone else. So if I’m free, and you’re free, why don’t we make Matthew Bradley so freakin’ jealous, he can’t resist you?”
My heart hammered against my ribs. Was it possible? I risked peeking at Ben through my fingers. He sprawled there in the sunshine, sipping his drink, gaze on me. “What do you get out of it?” I asked.
“At least three dances on the night, and dinner the night after. To debrief.” He took another sip. “If you’re busy chez Bradley, then dinner on the first night you’re free.”
It sounded too easy. No, it sounded terrifyingly risky. “No strings? You won’t, uh…” I couldn’t find the right words.
“I promise not to expect anything. Apart from three dances and one dinner.” He gave me a faint smile. “I won’t do anything inappropriate.”
Three dances and one dinner. “Deal.”
Sexy to Go volume 7 is now available on Amazon.
Eleven more sexy short tales to brighten your lunch break or your commute. And only 99c for a limited period.
11 sexy book boyfriends to steal you away every month. From billionaires to geeks, cops to alien lovers, the men you desire are waiting for you in Sexy to Go.
First Class part 2 by Jocelyn Dex
Shay fantasizes about Max after their sexy plane experience, but when she finds out his true identity, she fears she’ll be fired for her wanton behavior. Will Shay lose her job or just her panties?
Landscapes of Love Part 1, by Virginnia De Parte
Sally is stunned when Louise admits that her gardener, Raffety Blake is providing her with “extras.” From the small print on his business card Sally has no problem understanding the meaning of that word ‘extras’. In this case the fine print is definitely worth reading. Louise’s recent bloom isn’t all the result of good health.
Sally needs a gardener and she needs the extras as well. Raffety Blake is a man of charm and inventiveness. As well as his magic touch in the garden he indulges Sally and she blossoms under his care.
Follow the seasons as these two cougars enjoy watching their gardens return to rude health as Raffety Blake endeavours to tame their cravings.
Geek Overboard, #2 by Kathryn Lively
How did Natalie go from jilted girlfriend to sci-fi celebrity in less then a day? A kiss at the pool from a B-list actor may be her ticket to an out of this world adventure.
Dreamwalker: Finders, Inc. by Pamela Moran
When psychic PI, Flint Payson, accuses Dreamwalker, Iona Brooks, of stealing from his client, all bets are off. Flint never expected navigating the dream world to be quite so treacherous. Or so sensual. Can he keep his hands off Iona long enough to discover the truth?
Rewriting the Law, Part 5 by Daisy Banks
What is found in the sands of Jagan is owned. Ansgar discovered his off-worlder and claimed her. His discovery of her secret desires means he will never think of the Law’s punishment in the same way again. But there is more to their mating. Somehow he must help her complete her mission or lose her.
Sing for Me by Haley Whitehall
Kate is a lady of the night and works at the Bird Cage in Butte, Montana. She keeps her heart closed, and figures her life will be as lonely as her mama’s until a miner, Cliff Jensen, makes her a promise for the future.
Meeting the Parents by Sofia Grey
Daisy has a bad feeling about taking her rock star boyfriend home to meet her family. Charlie doesn’t take anything—or anyone—seriously. Will their fledging relationship survive the visit?
Rescued by the Billionaire by Eva Lefoy
Madison falls off the tour boat in Lake Union and swims for the shore. There she’s rescued by a billionaire with a preference for plus-sized women who’ll pull out all the stops to keep her to himself.
Love & Survival by Sorcha Mowbray
Best friends since they were kids Liam Whelan and Nate Lords struggle to survive in a post-apocalypse civilization where the government is crumbling. Dramatic changes in their lives will either drive them apart or bring them closer together than they ever imagined.
Surprise Waiting by Shiloh Saddler
James is hired out for a month to repay for Daniel’s loan. Separated from his lover, he imagined his life would be lonely. He never expected two surprises waiting for him on the Moore plantation.
On the Sly, Part 2 by Leigh Ellwood
The Jackson Park Jumper is caught, or is he? Colin isn’t convinced and he’s willing to take the law into his own hands. Tru, however, is determined to keep him safe.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
LOVING RUSH is now available for FREE download
Ed’s been best friends with Rush forever, watching from the sidelines while he rises through the ranks to become one of Hollywood’s top movie stars.
He can’t deny Rush anything. But letting him practice kissing, before he stars in his first gay role? Ed’s wanted Rush’s lips on him for as long as he can remember, but this won’t put just their friendship at risk. He’s not sure his heart will survive the encounter.
This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
Download it FREE from Goodreads: LINK
My latest release comes out today – Seeing the Love.
If you love contemp romance with a broken hero and a scarred heroine, this one’s for you :-)
Lucas Wade is losing his sight. As the darkness threatens to swamp him, the one bright spot in his day comes in the form of Natalie Fontaine. She works in the sales office, hundreds of miles away, and she alone treats him like a regular guy. She has no idea about his disability, and he doesn’t plan on telling her about it.
But if Lucas can’t be honest with her, Natalie may never see the love he has to offer.
$0.99 on AMAZON