Grab your favorite beverage, relax, and let me tell you a story…

After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

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Dangerously Sexy Suspense

April 18, 2009

I have a release date

January 29, 2010
The Wild Rose Press
ISBN: 1-60154-634-3
ISBN 13: 9781601546340

I'm thrilled to announce that I now have a release date for NOT WITHOUT RISK. It will be available to download at The Wild Rose Press as well as available in print on January 29, 2010.

Here's a sneak peak at the book:

Her hand reached out for him, settled lightly against his left side, just below his sidearm. "What about you, Justin? Do you know, too? Is that what happened to you?"

Her words splintered through him. He swore softly and stepped back, forcing her to drop her hand. "That doesn't matter now."

"I think it does," she persisted, her eyes dark and churning with emotion. "I think it matters a great deal."

What could he say to her that wouldn't add to the fear already churning through her? "Paige, please," he said, attempting to turn the conversation around. "We need to discuss getting you out of here."

"I'm not leaving. I won't be driven from my own home."

"You shouldn't be alone."

She lifted her chin, determined to show him strength even while her hands shook. "I'll be fine."

Frustration wound deeper. He rolled his shoulder where his muscles knotted painfully. "Listen to me-"

"You aren't going to tell me are you?"

Justin set his jaw.

"Why not?"

Because she mattered to him. Because the truth about what happened to him six months ago would hurt her, push her away and he didn't want that. Not when he ached to draw her back into his arms, ached to have the sweet, potent taste of her swimming through his system again.

Too late he realized his silence had the same effect on her. Already, her eyes were going cold and distant as she pulled her emotions tightly under control. Only this time, it wasn't fear she wanted to keep at bay, but him.

The knowledge stung. It didn't matter that by distancing herself from him - emotionally and physically - she was probably doing him a favor. He'd already spent enough time thinking of her when he should have been concentrating on his job. Recalling the scent of her, the feeling of rightness that filled him when he held her in his arms. When he was supposed to be reestablishing his place in the department.

He needed to remember that any further involvement with her would be a colossal mistake. That he couldn't afford the distraction Paige Conroy represented.

Still, the ache in his chest as she withdrew even further took him by surprise.

"Tempting as your offer is," she said quietly, as she eased across the room. "I won't go home with you. I can't sleep with you, Justin. You say it doesn't have to be that way, but you and I both know that's the way it would be." Her arms slid around her middle. Her gaze met his. "You're a risk I can't afford to take."

April 1, 2009

Contest & Promotion

Because I believe it's a good thing to support and help promote my fellow authors-Okay, and because I would love to WIN (who wouldn't with those prizes)-I want to tell you about a wonderful contest by HelenKay Dimon, Jill Shalvis and Alison Kent. This contest goes until June 1, 2009 so you have plenty of time to enter. Check out the official rules here.

March 26, 2009

What I'm Reading

I've been reading a lot lately. I mean a LOT. Spring has sprung in Michigan and with it came my allergies. It seems like every morning I wake up with a splitting headache that only subsides after much medication. Medication that makes me tired. So, after putting in my time at the office, I fall into a chair and open a book. The upside of all of this? I have read some wonderful books.

For a look at what I've been reading, check the sidebar. What's on today's read list? Finishing the final galley of NOT WITHOUT RISK. What have you read lately?

March 17, 2009


Here it is, my new cover for NOT WITHOUT RISK. What do you think?

Coming Soon
The Wild Rose Press


Six agonizing months after a slug collapsed his lung, Sergeant Justin Harrison manages to return to the one place where he shines—the San Diego homicide division. Nothing will stand in the way of proving he is fit for active duty. Especially not the long-legged brunette who just stumbled into his crime scene.

Photographer Paige Conroy spent years hiding from her past. Then a late night telephone call brings it crashing back. An old friend is in town and needs her help. When she arrives at his hotel room four hours later, he's dead. Suddenly, she's the target of a madman, and Paige must turn to Sergeant Harrison for protection.

But who is the bigger threat to her... the faceless assailant she fears will steal her life or the dark-eyed detective she knows could steal her heart?

February 20, 2009

Friday Funny

So I checked my emails this morning and found this little gem. I remember laughing hysterically the first time I saw this clip a few years back.
Today was no different. Enjoy!

February 8, 2009

Welcome Author Jenni Holbrook

Today I am pleased to have my very dear friend Jenni Holbrook as my guest. I met Jenni a few years back at RWA National conference in New York and right away I knew she was a very special person. The kind of person you don’t meet everyday. The kind you’re proud to call friend.

Jenni’s romantic suspense, REKINDLED, releases this week from The Wild Rose Press. The print version will be in stores this May, but I for one, can’t wait that long. Help me in welcoming Jenni Holbrook.

Welcome Jenni. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Western NY with my husband and three children. I got my degree in Business Education with a concentration in Marketing and Sales, however I spent most of my adult life teaching dance part-time and working as a product and sales trainer for various companies while being a full-time mom. My first priority has always been my family. Recently, I quit my part-time job to write full-time and I love it! When I’m not carting my children from ice rink to ice rink for hockey, I can be found in my office writing. It’s the best job I’ve ever had!

How did you start writing?

I’ve always loved to read. I generally read 1-3 books a week, although in the summer months it’s more. I like to sit out on the front lawn at the lake and lose myself in a good book. In the summer of 2003 I opened a notebook and started writing. I really had no idea what I was doing, just that I kept hearing these two characters in my head demanding that I tell their story. Truthfully, I have always had characters living inside my head. I would play out their stories like a mini movie and decided why not write it. When I first wrote “the end” I realized I had written a novel and felt something I had never really felt before – complete satisfaction. Well, it was more than that. A passion to do it again. So I did. After completing the next novel I asked myself what I should do with them and joined a writers group. From the first moment I walked into that group, I felt like I had finally found my niche. Home. I learned about the business and started submitting. I haven’t stopped since.

Why did you choose your genre?

I started writing romance because deep down I’m a sap. I love the Happily Ever After. I had spent that first summer reading a lot of Romantic Suspense and that’s what I started writing. It just felt right. I’m not sure I chose the genre, I think it chose me.

Who are your favorite authors?

Always a tough one, because I’m afraid I’m going to miss someone. I love Harlan Coben, Suzanne Brockman, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, Catherine Coulter, MJ Rose, Bob Mayer, Stephen King, Brenda Novak, Sandra Brown, Anna DeStefano, Joan Johnston, Tim Maleeny, Laura Benedict, DP Lyle, Tami Hoag, Ridley Pearson, David Morrell, Clive Cussler, Lee Child, Terry Brooks, Nelson DeMille, Michael Connolly, Stella Cameron, Jordan Dane, Carla Neggers, Diana Palmer, Linda Howard… to name a few.

I also love category romances. Mostly the Romantic Suspense and Blaze lines.

What do you find is the hardest part of writing a book?

The first draft. Getting the idea on paper and staying the course. I much prefer to go back and revise and make better. I can’t judge my work while I’m in the middle of writing the draft, it’s only when I go back can I see where I’ve made mistakes and how I can make the book better. That’s the part that excites me the most. The draft is daunting to me.

Do you ever base characters on real people?

Not really. I will use certain characteristics from real people. Like my husband always cracks his knuckles. Drive me nuts. My hero in JANE DOE’S RETURN cracks his knuckles. But other than that, I don’t.

What writers have influenced you the most?

A lot of writers have influenced me over the years. I study a lot of writers and their work.

Do you have any 'must haves' with you while you're writing?

Just my computer and my nails. I have really long fake nails and the noise they make against the keyboard is very soothing for me. Keeps me focused, if that makes sense.

What's next for you?

I have four books coming out with The Wild Rose Press and I’m currently working on another one for them, along with a straight suspense novel.

Where can we find you on the web?

Lots of places. My website is http://www.jenniholbrook.com/. I have a blog: http://www.jenniholbrook-author.blogspot.com/ and another blog: http://www.murdermayhemandmore.blogspot.com/.

Rekindled by Jenni Holbrook

February 13, 2009
The Wild Rose Press

For the last nine years, Kalee Mead has been running from her past. Now she's running for her life. Her only chance at survival is to return home and patch things up with her father. When she returns to her home in Thief Lake, Minnesota, she finds her father dead and herself becoming the cop's best suspect for his murder. Assistant Police Chief Blaine Walker has been trying to put his ex-wife out of his mind for years, but when he finds her hovered over her father's body, he knows that battle is lost. She becomes his only suspect in a case that doesn’t make sense. He vows to find the answers and then hopefully rekindle the flame that has never quite died out in his heart.


“You don’t still live here, do you?” Kaylee asked as she looked to the staircase going up to Blaine’s parents’ garage apartment. The one they’d lived in
together during their short marriage. Puffy dark clouds floated across the sky, partially covering the half-moon. The rain had let up some, but the cold,
crisp air chilled her skin. “You don’t live in the house? Or in town somewhere?”

“I wanted to be close to Mom when Dad died, but I didn’t want to live with her.” He glanced over his shoulder with a scowl, like she should know all this.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” She wanted to reach out and touch him. He’d always been close to his father. “How?”

“Car accident.” He turned. “A lot has changed around here.”

A loud clicking noise echoed as he unlocked the door at the top of the stairs and pushed it open. The familiar, small space did nothing to ease her growing discomfort and Blaine’s physical effect on her only added to her confusion. She stepped in and glanced around. He wasn’t kidding when he said a lot had changed. The apartment she remembered had bare walls, an old blue matted down carpet and a sagging couch. He’d
always been good with his hands, but the new galley-style kitchen she stared at was beyond anything she remembered he could do.

“You do all this work yourself?” She slid her fingers across the log-style chair-rail that set off the soft blue walls in the main room.

“Gives me something to do when I’m not working. You should see the kitchen in Mom’s house. Took me nearly three months.”

“I’m sure it’s beautiful.” A chocolate-colored leather sofa sat in front of a wood-burning fireplace. A bearskin rug hung on the wall. “You have great taste.”

He shrugged. “Can I get you some hot chocolate?” He kicked off his boots and made his way into the kitchen. “I think I’ve got marshmallows.”

“Marshmallows?” As a little girl, she had loved to go out and play in the snow, and then when she’d come in all wet and cold, her father would meet her in the kitchen with hot chocolate and marshmallows. The big ones. She’d poke at the white puffy object floating in a sea of steaming milk chocolate, making sure the marshmallows were totally saturated. That had been the best part.

The realization that her father was actually gone forever sent tears streaming down her cheeks. “Sure,” she managed through choking sobs. Her eyes were already puffy from hours of crying over the past few weeks. At twenty-eight, she’d made nothing
but one pathetic mistake after another. Now she was alone.

“Kaylee, sit down.” Blaine’s strong hand pressed gently against her lower back and helped her to the couch.

The soft leather formed to her body. “Please tell me this is all a bad dream.” She clung to his strong frame for support, something she hadn’t felt in years. “Please tell me my father didn’t die before I had a chance to fix all the wrongs between us,” she cried, wrapping her fists in Blaine’s T-shirt.

“Kaylee, it wasn’t just you, honey,” Blaine whispered, stroking his fingers through her hair.

Being in his embrace brought back memories she’d been trying to pretend didn’t exist. She’d barely gotten used to the idea of coming home, and to be reminded of what could have been, what had been taken from her, was more than she could

A sense of dread engulfed her as she took a deep breath. “I’m sorry.” She pushed herself from his welcoming arms. “I’m just tired.” She reminded herself the comfort he offered wasn’t real. Never was.

“When did you decide to come back to town?”

Dropping her head back on the sofa, she closed her eyes. If he only knew the half of it. “I called him two weeks ago.”

“You called him?”

She nodded. She’d give Blaine what little information she could, without getting herself into trouble. She knew him well enough to know he’d use whatever information he could pump out of her to get the bad guy. Right now that could mean her. “We’d been in touch a few times over the last few years. We both wanted to put the past behind us.”

He ran his hand across his face, then through his jet-black hair. “I’m stuck between a rock and hard place here.”

She looked directly into his stubborn dark eyes. “Do you honestly believe I could kill my father?”

“Not intentionally.”

Anger surged through her blood, but before she could leap from the couch, he grabbed her arm. “Let me go.”

“Kaylee, I want to help you.”

“By accusing me of something I didn’t do?” She yanked her arm free of his grasp and stood. “I should’ve known. You’ve always held me responsible for what happened.”

“Damn it!” His fist smacked the pillow and he bolted upright. “I’m a cop. It’s my job to find out what happened to your father. A job I take very seriously, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re still my wife.”

“I haven’t been your wife for a long time. And you never loved me anyway.” A thick lump formed in her throat. Her own father had offered her husband money to divorce her and her husband had taken the bribe. That was proof enough for her.

“Touché.” He turned, uttering a few choice curses and then ducked his head into the
refrigerator. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I saw the check.” She swallowed. “You took my father’s money and never looked back.”

A swishing noise filled the room when he opened a soda can. She couldn’t take her eyes off him while he gulped down his drink. The pain in her chest thumped with every beat of her heart as he took small steps until he stood right in front of her.

“I never took a dime from your father.” He narrowed his stare. “And, I might add, you’re the one who filed for divorce.”

“Can you deny you had the check?” she asked.

“No.” He chugged his soda and then sat back down on the couch.

“Then you took my father’s money.” She folded her arms across her middle.

“I ripped it up when he had the audacity to blame me for our son’s death.”

“Deslin,” she spoke his name softly. Her pulse flared and her hands trembled. No matter how much time had passed, the pain never subsided. Unable to carry her own weight, she sat down. “You blame me for Deslin’s death.”

“And you blame me.” The hardness in his face matched the tone of his voice.

No point in arguing. Nothing had changed. Even if Blaine never cashed the check, her father had given it to him and he’d contemplated it. And their son was still dead.

A roll of thunder rumbled outside. Lighting flashed in the sky, illuminating the room for one brief second. The rain began to fall so heavily that it sounded like deer running across the roof. A slight flicker of the lights made her gasp.

“We both hurt,” he whispered. “But you walked away without a word.”

For years, she’d dealt with the pain of losing her only son in a silent hell. “This has nothing to do with my father’s death.” She stretched, letting out a good
fake yawn. Dwelling on the past wouldn’t help her present situation and it had nothing to do with her future. If she had one. She needed to get out of this
mess and get out of town…fast.

He appeared to study her before standing. “You can take the bed,” he offered.

“I’ll sleep on the couch.” She slapped the cushion. “And only for tonight.”

“You can’t go to the house until I clear it.”

“I’ll stay at the motel in town.”

“No.” He glanced at his watch, dismissing her. “I’ve got to be to work early.”

“But didn’t you just work half the night?” She blinked, trying to ignore the soft caress of his hand on her back.

“I’m on call every second I’m not on duty.” He gave her a nudge toward the few steps that lead to the loft-style bedroom and then pulled his hand away.

She followed him up the five short steps into his bedroom. When they had first married, she had complained they didn’t have a bedroom and had to sleep in the middle of the family room, so he raised the roof and built the loft. She glanced at his strong hands. Back then, she thought he could do anything. The memories bombarding her mind confused her.

She took a deep breath, filling her nostrils with a fresh pine scent. “I hate incense.” Actually, she missed it. She missed him and that made no sense. She glanced around the loft. An Indian painting hung over the same wood bed that had been their bed, but thankfully, he’d gotten a new maroon bedspread.

“It’s not incense.”

“It’s stuff that smells.” She shifted her gaze toward the small window overlooking the yard. This was all too familiar and shouldn’t make her feel like
she’d just come home. She had no home.

“It helps with my headaches.”

“You still get them?” She took the T-shirt he offered. Those so-called headaches could cripple him. She ran her fingers across his forehead like she’d done a million times before. His skin was still soft, but this time he furrowed his brow and took a step back.

“I’ve actually gone to see a real doctor about them. He put me on some beta blocker thing.”

“Is it working?”

“I’ll take the fifth.” He gave her a slight smile before his face turned serious as he cupped her chin. “I have a job to do. You might not like some things I say, but know one thing.” He tightened his grip. “I don’t believe you could kill anything, much less your father.”

February 3, 2009

Where did January go?

It’s February already. Are you as surprised as I am? As hard as it is for me to believe, today is my youngest son’s birthday. With a February 3rd birthday, you’d think I wouldn’t be so surprised. But somehow, no matter my planning, February always seems to sneak up on me. Which is why it only just occurred to me that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

No worries. I’ve got Valentine’s Day covered. You see, DH and I don’t buy each other gifts. Not for Valentine’s Day, Birthdays or Christmas. Nope, not even for our Anniversary. Our special days usually include dinner together, but if we want gifts, we go out and buy it ourselves. Yup! It usually goes something like:

“Honey, in case you were wondering, you bought me a Kindle for Christmas.”


“This year I’m going to the drag strip for my birthday, so I ordered a new set of drag radials.”

I admit, some people think this is very strange and wouldn’t like it if their significant other didn’t purchase the gift themselves. But more than not, I get people telling me how much they would love to have the same arrangement. No stressing over finding the perfect gift. No hard feelings if the other comes home without a gift on your Anniversary. I love it!

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to add to my TBR pile. My gift includes:

Jordan Dane, Evil Without a Face

Dianne Emley, Cut To The Quick

Karen Rose, Kill For Me

Kate Carlisle, Homicide in Hardcover

I can’t wait to curl up on the couch and read, read, read. My favorite pastime.

So what do you want for Valentine’s Day? Books? Chocolates? A bouquet of flowers? Maybe dinner and a movie? All are wonderful gifts, but maybe none of these are for you. Would you prefer a hug? A night alone with no husband or kids? Help with the housework? If it’s on your wish list for this holiday for lovers, I want to hear about it.

January 30, 2009

Murder, Mayhem and More

As some of you know, my friends Melanie Atkins, Jenni Holbrook and I have a group blog titled, Murder, Mayhem & More. With the start of the new year, we have added author interviews and guest bloggers to our blog. About once a month, sometimes more, we will spotlight authors and industry professionals on the blog. We're very excited about this change and want to invite you to stop by and check out the blog. We already have a few interviews posted, including author Laura Benedict and crime scene expert Lee Lofland.

Check it out at: www.murdermayhemandmore.com

January 14, 2009

New Edition

I decided to take a break from cleaning house (ugh!) and introduce you to the newest addition to the family. Meet my miniature schnauzer puppy, Sasha Noel.

Since one of my dogs has been showing signs that she is nearing the end of her life, I had been checking Petfinder.com every so often, pondering whether it was best to get a new puppy before or after the other dog's passing. On Christmas day I stumbled upon Sasha's picture on Petfinder.com and was hooked. (see her petfinder picture on the right)

Sasha was listed as a four month old, and located at a rescue about an hour and a half from my house. She came from an Amish breeder who bred her for a pet store.(don't get me started) Luckily the pet store decided that with the economy, they couldn't take any more puppies, so she went into rescue.

Upon bringing her home, it immediately became obvious that this poor thing had never been outside! When placed in the yard, she completely shut down, backing against a snow bank, where she shook in fear. But no longer! Sasha soon discovered the joys of being outdoors. She LOVES snow, preferring to press her nose to the ground no matter how deep the snow, then run through the yard, the snow sliding up her face like a snow plow. Unfortunately, I haven't managed a good photo of that. In fact, I don't have any really good photos yet. Unlike her sisters, she won't sit still long enough for me to take a good one. Until then, here's another so-so shot of her.