Sample HiJack,coming 1/12/17

This Thursday, January 12th, I’m publishing the second book in the Vivienne Series, HiJack. I’m so excited to continue this fantastic chick lit, novella series. If you haven’t read book one yet, you can get it free today or on January 11th or 12th. (Here’s a link> https://amzn.com/B01M8PKQ9K)

The entire series follows super-smart Vivienne as she aims to break through the glass ceiling of the private jet industry. She meets some fantastic characters along the way, including Joel Rockhurst, the CEO of JetStream Areospace (maker of high-end private jets). In the scene below Vivienne is called to have lunch with Mr. Rockhurst, something she finds really odd considering she’s only a secretary in the sales department.


Now I’m in Wonder Woman mode, ready to tackle…I have no idea. Lunch, that’s obvious, but why?

I finally opt for a business suit, but give it some key Vivienne touches. For one, I skip the shirt. A strategically placed safety pin keeps the neckline of my jacket exactly where I want it. It’s intriguing and I add my delicate gold necklace with the Irish goddess symbol charm to boost my powers. I’ll take all the help I can get today. I keep my makeup and jewelry simple to offset the sexy effect of no blouse. And, my pièce de la résistance—four inch heels. They’re classic pumps but with devilishly pointy toes that look like they could injure you. They will also make me exactly the same height as Joel Rockhurst. I checked online, he’s 6’2”.  It’s harder to be intimidating when you are eye to eye.

✈✈✈

I feel fierce and ready for whatever he throws at me when I show up at Carolyn’s desk. She’s on her phone, but she smiles up at me and points to his door, indicating that I should go in. I smile back, suck in a deep breath and pull myself up to my full height before I open the door.

Joel Rockhurst looks like the CEO of a private jet company should, if you’re going by Hollywood standards anyway. He’s a sixty-three year-old silver fox, aging like Richard Gere or Kevin Costner—all distinguished and kinda sexy. He has the body of a man with a personal chef and a private trainer and just enough lines on his face to make it look like he hadn’t hit the Botox, yet. When I walk in, he’s also on the phone and fiddling with a golf club while he talks. He uses it to point to a chair in front of his desk, indicating that I should sit there. I sit on the edge. I don’t want to get comfortable until I know what this meeting is about.

As he finishes his call I study his office. Most of it is pretty generic for anyone in our industry–glamour shots of all the planes we make, awards for charity work, a few golf trophies. There are photos on his desk, probably of his family, but they’re facing away from me so I can’t scrutinize them. The décor says wealthy, but is more business than flash. Like him, it’s all understated. The desk alone probably costs more than my car, but it’s made to look more mundane and well-used.  There’s a marble-topped table next to my chair with two industry magazines and an interesting paper weight. I can’t resist the urge to turn it toward me.

As he hangs up, he catches me and smiles. “Welcome to my office, Ms. Ramsey. I’m glad you could make it.” He doesn’t stand up to greet me. He’s keeping it casual, except for my name.

“Thank you.” I smile back and try to look relaxed. I don’t let go of the paperweight but instead pick it up. “EPR gauge,” I note. I study the face further. “From a 1960’s model J2.”

He laughs and shakes his head. “I was right about you.”

Ok, that was cryptic. “Sir?” I have to know more. Right about me how?  

He pushes himself out of his chair and walks past me to the conference table at the far end of the room. “I hope you like chicken, Ms. Ramsey. I always have chicken on Mondays.”

What a perfect Joel Rockhurst statement. It sounds accommodating, but isn’t.

I shrug. “Chicken is great.” I stand and walk toward the table making sure I stand near him briefly and face him, eye to eye. He pulls the chair out for me and I sit. “Thank you.”

As he walks toward a bar cart he asks, “What can I get you to drink?”

I play it safe. “Water would be great.”

He returns with a glass of water for me and a glass of tea for himself. When he sets it down, I push a small plate containing lemon slices toward him and he nods. “You’re good.”

Ok, we’ve established that. I don’t think my nerves are showing, but my irritation might soon if he doesn’t get to the point.

He sits and immediately begins to cut his chicken and green beans. I follow suit. After chewing and swallowing his first bite, he finally gets to the point.


Joel will finally get to make his point this Thursday. Find out what brought Vivienne to this mysterious meeting by grabbing a FREE copy of Fearless Flying (book 1) here > https://amzn.com/B01M8PKQ9K

Then pre-order your copy of HiJack for only 99c (the price will go up on publication day!) > http://a.co/48JZlId.

 

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Fearless Flying–Sneak Peek

I’m finally putting the finishing touches on Fearless Flying, the first book in The Vivienne Series. To whet your appetite I wanted to give you a sample chapter–a chance to meet Viv and peek into her (very orderly) world.

Remember that you can get a FREE e-copy of Fearless Flying by clicking here and letting me know where you want me to send it. For right now enjoy chapter 1. Goodreads members be sure to add it to your TBR!


Chapter One

 I can count the number of guys I’ve slept with on one hand. I can count the number of guys I’ve wanted to sleep with on one finger. And that man is on his way to my apartment right now. Ironically, if I end up having sex with Danny tonight I have my dad to thank, or blame, depending on how this goes.

It’s 4:05 and the chime on my electronic meat thermometer dings. Perfect. Danny will be here at 4:15 so that gives the roast beef ten minutes to rest before I need to serve it. I do another walk through of my tiny apartment for a final confirmation of the details of my plan of seduction.

Pecan pie warming on the stove top and combining with the roast for the perfect scent—check.

Tools necessary for removing and storing the window A/C unit lying next to it—check.

Pristine linen sheets replaced with Walmart cheepie sheets that I am willing to have sex on—check.

My heart is racing a little but ten years of anticipation will do that to you. I check myself in the full length mirror in my bedroom one more time. Even I have to admit, I’ve nailed this outfit. My new jeans keep it casual, but have strategically placed seems and fading to highlight all my curves. My ass could turn me on in these. My tee shirt looks like I just threw it on, but I shopped for an hour online for this specific one—it’s a little sheer, hangs off one shoulder, and highlights the blue lacy bra underneath. And even through my toes are freezing on the hardwood floor I’m barefoot to show off my shell-pink Pedi. My feet are one of my best features; no way I’m hiding them today. If all goes as planned I can warm them under Danny’s gorgeous muscular legs during our post-sex snuggle.

I grab the tousle spray from the bathroom cabinet and primp my perfectly-styled messy beach waves one last time. Good luck resisting me now Danny. You’re going to need it.

At 4:15 I hear the buzzer from the building’s front door announcing his punctual arrival. I knew it. Danny doesn’t do late. He was never late one day in the eight years that my dad was his boss. Yes, his reliability is one of the reasons I crave this man. I buzz him in and use the two minutes it will take him to climb the stairs to my apartment to pull the roast from the oven and tent it with the waiting piece of foil.

I try to suppress my smile as I open the door. I’m keeping it casual. Like he’s just Danny moving my air conditioner to storage, not my undying crush finally ready for me.

He is definitely looking laid back, leaning on the door frame, hands in his jean’s pockets, looking at the floor. He looks up and shifts the tooth pick to the other side of his mouth, drawing my attention (once again) to how damn full his lips are. I swear I’m already wet and he hasn’t even said a word.

Then he does. “Roast?”

I regain my composure and nod. “Yep.”

He takes a deep breath in and launches himself off the door frame. “Pecan pie too?”

“Yep.”

And he lets out a long frustrated sigh.

     What? NO! Not this. Not again.

He walks over to the window and starts to pull the air conditioner from its perch. It’s wedged tightly into the ancient window frame and puts up a fight. I silently thank it for making this harder for him. In muted distress I watch him as he takes a screwdriver from my tool kit and uses it to push the frame back where it has embedded itself into the unit. After replacing the screwdriver in its correct slot (Do you see why he is perfect for me?), he shifts his weight back, stretches his impeccably muscular arms around the machine and heaves. I can’t help but marvel at the way his shoulder muscles flex then settle as he leans the old hundred-plus pound thing against his chest.

He looks at me, but only to get my attention, then nods toward the door. “Let’s go.”

My weak smile can’t hide my disappointment. Surely he must see that I anticipated and want more than this.

I open the door to my apartment then walk ahead of him down the three flights of steps to the basement storage area. He’s not even trying to make small talk–not asking about my job or my new car. This is worse than I thought.

I admit I knew there was a chance he would turn me down, but I weighted it as a slight chance. He could still be getting over his divorce, but it’s been over a year. She left him. How long can he mourn the loss of the stupid, wussy woman? I’ve written off his reluctance to let her go to the fact that she has their son. That’s the only reason I can see for him not moving on to someone better, someone who won’t bail at the first sign of trouble, someone with a backbone—

Someone like me.

I fumble with the padlock on the door of my storage locker. I probably should have had it unlocked already so he wouldn’t have to stand there holding the A/C unit, but I didn’t want to leave it unlocked for too long and I did not plan on him doing this right away. My roast and pie were supposed to work their magic and slow this project down so it would last until morning, or at least a few hours.

With the lock finally off I open the door and step aside for him to enter the tiny room. I fight the urge to lock him in there and hold him until he wakes up and notices what is right in front of him.

“I didn’t ask you to do this, you know.”

He sets the unit down with a grunt and turns to me. “I know.” He dusts off his hands and walks past me as I shut and lock the door.

“I had already made a deal with the maintenance guy to do this for me.”

He starts back up the stairs ahead of me. “Yeah, well your dad asked me to come over here and do this, so here I am. You’re welcome.”

     God-damn it. I did sound ungrateful, but this was about so much more than the air conditioner. “I made you dinner to thank you.”

We reach the landing with the building’s front door and he turns toward it. I can’t let him go yet. I need to have this out now. “You’re not staying for dinner?”

“Can’t. I’ve got to go to work.”

     Puhleeese. What a lame bull-shit lie. I know where he works, I know his hours, and I know that he doesn’t have to go back to work tonight. His shift ended at three and he’s not wearing his work uniform. “Did you change shifts?”

“No, but I’ve got to go.” He makes a move for the door and I block him.

The war of anger and embarrassment and pain in my head has me at a loss for words. I open my mouth to speak but I’m afraid of what might come out. I needed time to process this and formulate my response. For once I have no plan B. I didn’t plan on failing this spectacularly. All I can think to do is kill him with kindness. “Take the pie at least. I can wrap it up and you can share it with the other guys on your crew.”

“Not tonight.” He moves toward the door again. I block him again.

“Danny, I…”

“Vivey, I told your dad I would come over here and help you move your air conditioner. That’s all he asked me to do and that’s all I’m going to do.” He reaches out and touches my arm as if the contact would somehow lessen the blow. “I…,” He checks his watch. “I gotta go. I’m gonna be late.”

He pushes past me, his size and warmth momentarily engulfing me, his Irish Spring scent lingering in his wake as he passes by me. He doesn’t look back as he descended the stairs then gets on a motorcycle illegally parked on the sidewalk. When did he get a motorcycle? He guns the engine, checks for pedestrians and cars and pulls out onto Drayton Street heading toward downtown.

I’m not sure how long I stand there, recovering from the shock of that short, excruciating brush-off. I had an armory of temptation ready in my apartment and he ran after he caught a whiff of my first shot. I shut the door tightly and check that the handle has locked. I love this apartment and this neighborhood, but I’m not stupid enough to not be aware of its dangers.

On my way up the stairs I pull my phone from my back pocket to call Dom who’s on standby, waiting for her BFF sex summary. She answers, “So soon? Jesus he’s quick on the draw.”

New & Improved Burnouts Series

They’re the same unique, sweet contemporary new adult love stories but with a whole new look.

I hoping to bring them to a whole new group of readers so I took a new direction in the packaging. I wanted covers that better expressed that these are definitely romance books, full of all the great feels you want when you read a romance. But I also wanted the highlight the things that make them unique in the romance category. The heroes in both books are different. No “bad boys” here. These are really nice guys who genuinely like women. These are the guys you cheer for because you like them. They are multi dimensional, real people with hopes and fears and faults and dreams.

And my heroines are truly strong, sexy, fun girls–never apologizing for their smarts, love life or the choices they make.

The stories are a little more gritty, but all my reviews thus far have mentioned how much they are like what high school was really like–the heart aches, silliness, mistakes and awkwardness of falling in love for the first time.

Here’s a sample from “Suburban Love Song”

Carrie sat down with a fork and dug into the rest of the cake. She looked up into Ben’s disapproving eyes. “Wha?” she said through her mouthful, “it’s not like anyone else is going to eat it.” She shoved another forkful in to spite him, then chewed with a smile on her face, her cheeks full.

“So where is MG?” Ben was referring to her best friend who was grounded, at least for today.

Carrie thought about answering him and letting the cake fall out of her mouth, but she was enjoying his company and didn’t want to razz him too much. She held up a finger till she swallowed then said, “grounded.”

“She got caught going out with a 22-year old guy.” Ben didn’t need that information, but it was always fun to shock him a little. Carrie’s own sometimes boyfriend, Chuck, was 21; another fact that Ben would, no doubt, not approve of.  But Ben didn’t seem fazed, or really interested.  Why did she always feel the need to press his buttons? Because you are a mean girl, her mother’s voice in her head chimed in.

Carrie put down her fork as she felt the storm clouds of guilt rain on her little birthday parade. Focus on the other person, don’t always talk about you, said the mom-tape running in her head. “So, are you still going out with Joelle?” Carrie knew he was. Ben and Joelle always walked around school holding hands. Joelle proudly displaying her purity ring between their clenched fingers. People in Carrie’s group, the druggies, would gag and make retching noises when they walked by.

His answer was a strangely weak, “yeah.”

“What?”

“Nothing.” Ben filled his mouth with cake so he wouldn’t have to talk then focused on giving Christopher another bite. Carrie kept watching him, looking for more details than his lukewarm answer. Finally after swallowing Ben said, “You don’t like her much, do you?”

Carrie wondered if her feelings about Joelle showed on her face. She hoped they didn’t because she was going to lie to be nice to Ben, “She’s alright,” she said with a shrug. Ben wasn’t buying it. “OK, no, I don’t like her much, but I think the feeling is mutual.”

That seemed to get his attention, “What are you talking about?” You could hear his shock that Joelle Welker, purity ring-wearing President of the Right to Life club and outspoken Christian would have anything bad to say about anyone. Carrie knew better.

“She talks about us, about me, and MG.”Carrie paused to read his reaction, so far neutral. “More than once I overheard her and her friends calling us whores.  She calls my friends drug-addicts.”

Ben raised his eyebrows, “Aren’t they?”

Now it was Carrie’s turn to get defensive. “Some of them do drugs, but not all. Most just dress different, ‘cause they’re creative. So people judge them, people like Joelle.”

Ben carried Christopher into the living room and dropped him on the couch. Two-fer giggled. Ben picked up the remote and turned the TV to cartoons, distracting him from their conversation. “Is that why you hang around with them?” he asked as he walked back into the kitchen, “because you’re creative?”

 

“Yeah, I guess so, and they’re nice. They don’t judge.” She raised her eyebrows, challenging him.

“You’re kidding, right?” Carrie knew he was referring to them gagging when Ben and Joelle walked by.

“They only give it back to those who dish it out.”

Silence. Damn it. They were getting along ‘til she had to bring up this mine-field of a topic.

“Do you want some more cake?” Christopher popped up and looked over the back of the couch, “cate?” They both laughed.

“Not you Two-fer. I asked Ben if he wanted more because some little monster ate all his cake.” Christopher laughed and said, “meee.” Then he turned and plopped back down to watch TV. The uncomfortable tension between Ben and Carrie was still there.

Ben picked up his plate and fork, took them to the sink and rinsed them off.  Carrie was surprised he didn’t load them in the dishwasher. “Thanks for the cake.  It was really good.” He walked over and stood directly in front of her, crowding her space. “I’m sorry I forgot your birthday,” he almost whispered.

Carrie backed up into the counter. She didn’t want him to be nice, it was too real, too honest, too much. Joking and teasing she could take, distance was good too. “Why would you remember my birthday?” she smirked. She was too raw for this today.

“Because I went to every one of your parties since we were 6,” he said as if he was pointing out the obvious. Ben was looking down at her, studying her.

“What?” she said, exasperated and irritated by his scrutiny.  There was pity in his eyes, and it was rattling her cage.

“Was this your only party? For your sweet 16?”

Oh, a swift kick to the heart. She couldn’t let him see how much it all hurt.  “Yeah, well, I’m not so sweet.” She tried to diffuse the tension.

Ben was standing over her, trying to look into her eyes, like he had something important to tell her, something he wanted to make sure she heard. “You deserve better than this.”

Shit he was direct. That last hit was her undoing. A tear she fought all afternoon while she made her cake ran down her cheek. She looked away from him and tried to turn away in the small space between two stools, the counter, and Ben.

But he didn’t move. He stayed in her space, blocking her in, witnessing her humiliation. Carrie worked to shut down her pain and turn it into anger. She was about to shove Ben out of the way or say something rude when he crushed her thin defense. He reached out and hugged her.

“I’m sorry.” He spoke quietly into her hair. “I just say stuff. I think just because it’s true, I should say it.”

Carrie’s body tensed. Her brain spun trying to make sense, trying to process, trying to find a reference for his comfort. She felt a small warm spot in the pit of her stomach, and it felt amazingly good and god-awful strange at the same time. She tentatively bent her arms and touched his waist.

“I’m sorry I made you cry.” He said over the top of her head.

Carrie tried to respond but couldn’t talk past the ball of emotion caught in her throat. She was about to tease him about wanting to hug her because that’s all he and Joelle did, but she fought the urge to make him angry. It felt too good. He was tall, and warm; there was so much Ben surrounding her. And his jacket smelled like fresh air and laundry detergent and fabric softener. She felt the lump in her throat melt and the breath it had been blocking all day eased out of her.

***

I hope you liked it. If you did you can pick up an kindle copy of Suburban Love Song for just 99c for the next 5 days.

 

Sneek Peek at Burnouts, Geeks and Freaks

This is my second to last post before my book becomes available on Amazon on Tuesday (3/4/14).  Today I am passing out a free sample. 

First, a little synopsis to introduce you to the key players:

They’re burnouts – a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun.  With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity.  To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else.

He’s such a geek.  Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger.  He’s also the only geek with a girl.  Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben.  But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her.

Their friendship started by chance.  Their love started with trust. 
And your sample:

          The first meeting of the Homecoming decorating committee wasn’t so bad. The theme was castles, which Carrie thought was sort of lame, but considering the school mascot was a knight and there was a bunch of castle decorating stuff left over from other events, it made sense. 
By the third meeting, Carrie wanted to bail. Joelle and her friends were also on the committee, and Ben must have told her Carrie went with him to Dutzow, because they went out of their way to talk bad about her and her friends anytime she was within earshot. Michelle Wagner noticed the tension and assigned Carrie to work with her and the preppy girls on decorating the stage. She assigned the Jesus freaks to the refreshment area, at the other end of the gym. 
Michelle turned out to be really fun to work with. She was nice to everyone and knew a lot about paint and fabric and decorating in general. Carrie felt kind of bad that she still didn’t want to hang out with her. She had her friends, and they would be mad if she did anything more than help with decorating. She didn’t want to rock the boat. 
The dance was on a Saturday night and set-up was the night before. Michelle told Carrie they would be working from after school till 9 or 10 p.m., so she asked MG to pick her up at 10 and bring her some clothes she could wear to Chuck’s. What she hadn’t planned on was Ben and his friends showing up to help. 
It was mind-boggling how unaware Ben could be of the tension between Joelle and Carrie. When he got to the gym and saw Carrie, he came over to say hi immediately. Out of the corner of her eye, Carrie could see Jesus freak #2, Laura, go running to make sure Joelle knew. Shit. Carrie hated drama.
“It’s crooked, you know.” 
“Doesn’t matter,” Carried shot back, “it’s not a real castle wall, Ben, no one is going to storm it.”
“It should still be straight.” 
Carrie backed up a few steps to see how crooked it looked. “You do realize you are the only one who will notice.” 
“I’d notice.” Pat, Ben’s best friend added. 
Carrie rolled her eyes. “Thanks for the help.” She turned Ben away from her wall and pushed him in the direction of Joelle. 
“Happy to be of service,” he yelled back over his shoulder as he walked away. 
Joelle’s reaction to seeing Ben was as sappy as a Hallmark commercial. She ran to him and jumped into his arms, squealing with delight. He gave her a big hug, then let go and turned his attention to the refreshment table decorations. Carrie turned back to her crooked wall. It was already 8:40 and she needed to hurry up if she was going to finish by 10 and be waiting for MG in front of the school. 
She had finished everything but hanging the big puffy purple and white things from the top of the archways. It was slow going because she had Pat and Wayne, Ben’s other friend, following her around, possibly flirting with her, but they were so bad at it, she couldn’t be sure. 
“Wayne, move.” Carrie needed to put the step stool exactly where Wayne was standing. He moved only slightly to the right, still too close in her space. For the sake of speed, she ignored him. With a big fluffy ball of tulle in her hand she climbed up on the stool then on her tip toes to try and reach the top of the wall. Wayne reached over to hold her in place, and her irritation at running late only compounded how much it bugged her that he was touching her waist. She still couldn’t reach the top of the wall. 
“I got it, Wayne. You can let go.” 
He still held on, so she climbed off the stool and stepped away from him.
“I didn’t want you to fall.” OK, he meant well, but he needed to go find Ben and leave her alone. 
That gave her an idea, one that would stir an already boiling-over pot, but she needed to both get rid of Wayne and finish. “Do me a favor,” she turned her attention to Wayne, “Go get Ben for me.” 
He was obviously disappointed, but he did it. 
“Still crooked,” Ben yelled as he walked toward her. 
She beat her head against the wall, almost knocking it over. Ben laughed. It really wasn’t that bad, but he knew his precision drove her nuts. “What’s up?”
“You,” she answered as she pulled him into place next to the step stool facing the wall. As she climbed back on the stool, she pulled him close to her. “Put your hand out for my foot. I’m going to get on your shoulders.” He looked at her like she was crazy, but did as he was told. She was always bossy when she was decorating, and he was used to it. 
She effortlessly perched on his shoulders and wrapped her feet around his back for stability. “Pat, hand me one of those purple thingies.” 
“This one?” Pat held up one of the puff balls.
“No, the other one,” Ben teased. Pat looked down at the pile of them, then realized they were all the same and laughed along with Ben.
“Gorman, you are holding up the show. Pat, purple thing.” Pat tossed one up to Carrie.
“You are so bossy when you decorate,” Ben teased.
“Well, if I wasn’t we’d spend all day getting the imaginary crooked out of the fake wall.” Carrie tied the ribbon that held the tulle in place. “Pat, another one. Ben, move down.” 

They continued down the line till there were only two tulle balls left. She couldn’t see her, but Carrie could feel Joelle’s stare burning a hole in her back.  Jealous waves rolled in from the refreshment end of the gym.

More to come starting Tuesday, March 4th!