Once a week, every Tuesday, an excerpt from one of my books, chosen for no special reason.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

from Storm in the Canyon

 To date, I've written six paranormals-- kind of. Three are novella length and ended up in one book. The third is Storm in the Canyon. Since I put these three novellas into one book, Diablo Canyon, I've found it hard to say how many books I've written. The stories are the same with one difference-- the novellas are closed doors on any sexual scenes. 

In Storm in the Canyon,  the heroine of Part Two and the heroine of Part Three have a discussion about love and what is worth risking.


Eventless days had passed, but Racine still felt her nerves on edge with a mixture of desire for Dirk, combined with fear over what waited in Diablo Canyon. Her fear wasn’t so much for herself but for these humans, for whom she had come to care. How would she hold up her end when the time came?

Helping Myra prepare a meal eased frayed nerves. She hadn’t anticipated that her personality, as a spirit guide, strong but also weak, would come with her in a human body. She had always been a worrier, and it appeared that hadn’t disappeared.
Pace and Dirk were out on horseback, moving one of the herds to a new section, which left her time with Myra who was humming as she worked. Racine found the melody soothing. She had always liked her human charge but being a human alongside her had enhanced that fondness. She enjoyed being able to ask about simple things like what spices enhanced which flavors.
“You really haven’t cooked before?” Myra said as she added a pinch of rosemary to the marinara sauce.
Considering she only recently had begun to eat, she quickly realized she needed a better reason than having only been born a week earlier. “My mother was lost when I was young… and my father remarried a woman who didn’t want me anywhere near the kitchen or… her for that matter.” She gave a little laugh. That wasn’t a total lie. All right, it was.
“I would be happy to teach you what I know.”
“I’d like it if you taught me something else also.”
Myra looked over at her. “If I know it.”
“You know it. I have seen it in you… for this week that is. Despite what happened out there with the bear, I saw fear in you then as you faced the danger but after it was over, I don’t see you worrying. How do you avoid that?”
“You are in a serious mood. Let’s have a cup of tea, and I’ll tell you what I know. I hope though it won’t disappoint you as it’s nothing mystical.” She smiled as she put on the tea pot and looked through her herbal teas for the right choice. “How about chamomile?”
“I’ve never had it; but, yes, if you think it’s good.”
The older woman smiled, and when the tea pot whistled, she poured the water on the tealeaves. She took it over to the table where she sat on one side and Racine the other. “It’s strange,” Myra said, “but even though we just met last week, I feel I know you.”
“I hope that is good.”
“Yes, it is. I like you, Racine. As to the answer to your question, I do have fears. Through losses, I have learned to temper them. Losses came very early in my life with a grandfather dying in an accident, then a father who was never there for my mother or me; a mother who became ill and died also too soon; then a grandmother who became my mother; but then she also died.”
“I can’t imagine such losses.”
“They didn’t end. I married a good man. We put our ranches together; then he was killed in an accident. I could have given up then. I didn’t. When my son was killed, for awhile, I quit feeling anything. I didn’t worry, but I also didn’t feel. Then along came Pace. If I had let myself think about what has been in my past, I’d have run from him. I almost did, but then I’d have missed what is in my today. Does that make sense?”
“Worrying would not keep him safe. It wouldn’t keep Cole, Jessica and their child safe either. Worrying would do nothing; so I force myself not think about what has happened, not to connect it to today, to live in the now. Unless someone asks me.” She smiled softly.
“I am sorry. I brought back bad memories to you.”
“No, good memories. I lost them, but I also had them. What if I had worried such that I had not let myself ever have them?”

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

from Desert Inferno

In this contemporary suspense romance, a border patrolman and artist are an unlikely couple... or maybe not.


   When they got back to the border crossing, both he and Rachel loaded with sacks and packages, Jake was hopeful no one he knew would be on duty at Customs. The hope was dashed, as he glanced down the line. Although there was no way he could look particularly macho with his arms full of packages, he gave it a vain attempt.
   "Well, well," the customs agent said with a hard smile, "what have we here?"
   "Stuff," Jake said, putting down his load, digging in his pocket and showing the officer his ID as well as a stack of receipts.
   "Sure there's nothing smuggled in these?" he asked, glaring at Jake and not bothering to look at the receipts. He projected the belief he had just netted the head of a major smuggling ring. Any minute Jake expected him to call for reinforcements.
   "You can check anything necessary," Rachel said as he looked over her own identification, obviously concerned at the man's tone. "We'd be glad to unwrap the packages."
   A heavy-set female tourist behind them got a decidedly worried expression on her round face as the guard glared menacingly at Jake. "I think this might require a strip search, big guy." He fingered his gun.
   "That's about enough," Jake growled.
   "Was that a threat?" The guard's thick eyebrows beetled up with indignation.
   "Whatever it takes to get us through."
   "I heard that."
   "Jake," Rachel said, taking his arm, "please. We don't want trouble."
   "Yeah," the agent said, "listen to the wisdom of the little woman here. Who do you think you are anyway? Some kind of special border patrolman who can just waltz through these hallowed gates like you own the place!"
   Jake gave him a look of disdain. "Do I look dumb enough to try to guard a border that can't be guarded or like a man who doesn't have anything better to do than harass innocent tourists... at traps?"
   "You putting down the work of the fine men of Immigration and Naturalization," the guard snarled, "men who put their lives on the line every day. Sometimes twice!"
   "That right there shows a clear lack of intelligence," Jake countered, while Rachel pulled on his arm, trying to get him to stop talking.
   "I can agree with that," the agent said, now struggling to keep back a grin.
   "I'll bet you can."
   "Well, I'll let you through this time without stripping you raw, but it's just because you got this lovely lady with you. She looks like the honest sort, unlike some people. You're just lucky I'm busy today." He handed back their identification.
   "Not busy enough obviously."
   "Take care of him, miss," the man said, slamming his big hand against Jake’s shoulder hard enough to cause him to take a step backward. He turned to Rachel. "Looks like a clear stress problem. Must need some real tender loving care at home." He laughed at Jake's disgusted look and Rachel's shock.
   Now Rachel realized that these two men knew each other and were friends. It was at least if you could call what two men sometimes did to each other in bantering--friendship. When they were out on the street, the sun again shining down on their heads, she muttered, "I don't appreciate your humor."
   "My humor," he retorted, "I was not the one having fun back there, and the worst part of this will be Monday morning." He swore at the vision he'd conjured up. "He's going to make this little incident grow.  He thinks he was funny, and he's going to try and convince everybody I know that he was funny, and that this was funny!" He would have slapped a hand to his forehead as a symbolic gesture, except holding all the purchases left him no arms with which to demonstrate.
   "Actually," Rachel said with a beginning chuckle, "it was kind of funny."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Excerpt from To Speak of Things Unseen

 In To Speak of Things Unseen, Mitch finds out that witches can be handy-- at least the kind who use their powers to help the world.


    Watching Mitch be thrown, Elke suppressed her scream. She jumped off her mare, dropped the reins to keep her where she was, and went to where he was levering himself up. “Are you hurt?” Adolph loped to his side and nuzzled him for reassurance.
    He snorted. “My pride… and my wrist. Might be a little karma.” His laugh was swallowed by a reluctant groan.
    She saw then how he was holding it. “Let me see what I can do,” she said. Healing had been one of her skills, but she’d never tried it on a broken arm. She pushed him flat.
    “What are you doing?” he asked, sucking in a breath. “Damn.”
    “Let’s see.” She put one hand on his wrist, feeling for the energy of the break. Luckily, it wasn’t compound. The other hand she held over where she felt the heat of injury. She let the energy of the universe flow through her. The heat grew as waves of it traveled from her, through the air, to his wrist. She moved to hold her other hand over his arm but not touching his skin now. The healing wasn’t her. It was the earth, the elementals, the land that he loved now returning the favor.
She didn’t know how long she continued, but eventually she felt a cooling of the skin and the energy changed. “How does it feel?” she asked as she met his gaze for the first time.
    “Better.” He reached up with his other hand to her neck. He pulled her toward him, not applying enough pressure that she could not have broken away. She didn’t want to break way. His lips parted, and she knew hers had too. She wanted the kiss.
    The sound of pounding hooves caused him to release her and lever himself up onto his elbow.
    “What the hell happened, boss?” the cowboy yelled as he pulled his horse to a plunging stop. He was riding bareback and clearly was at least part Native American.
    “I got careless,” Mitch said. He rose to his feet and felt of his wrist. “No real damage done though.” He looked back at Elke. “Elke, this is Joe Kuruk, my cousin or second cousin or… What the hell relation are we, Joe?” he asked with a laugh.
    “Damned if I know.”
    “Well, the gist of it is when I’m not here, he runs the ranch—the part that Jacques doesn’t run at least. Joe, this is Elke Hemstreet.”
    “Howdy, pretty lady,” Joe said. His smile flashed white teeth. He was a handsome man, looked to be tall.
    “Pretty and handy to have around too,” Mitch said. “Mind if I ride behind you?” he asked as he lifted Elke into her saddle.
    “Pepper should be fine with the extra weight since it’s not far.” She leaned forward as he made a leap onto the back of the mare.
    “I take it Ranger was fine,” Mitch said as they rode down the trail, Adolph running ahead and checking out scents.
    “Jittery like before. That horse may not be good for here.”
    “We’ll see.”
    “Can I try with him?” she asked.
    He put his arm around her waist and leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “After you healing my wrist, how could I say no?”
    She smiled and leaned against him. “Maybe it wasn’t that badly injured.”
    “You and I both know it was broken. You healed it. Part of the gift of witches?”
    “Or shamans.” She liked the feel of Mitch’s hard body against her. She was beginning to feel urges where it came to him that were new to her. She’d only been with one man sexually and that was in college when it was a wham bam thank you ma’am, and she’d decided experimenting with sex wasn’t for her. After that, she’d had a few boyfriends but none that lasted long enough for her to consider going beyond brief, goodnight kisses—probably why they hadn’t lasted.