Category Archives: Author Open Mic

Author Open MIC: Best Selling Author Cate Beauman + Answers for Julie Giveaway


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Cate Beauman is back with the ninth installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Answers for Julie is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more!

Answers For Julie

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About the book

Buy it now!

Julie Keller relishes the simple things: hot chocolate on winter nights, good friends she calls her family, and her laid-back career as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Julie is content with her life until Chase Rider returns to Bakersfield.

Bodyguard Chase Rider isn’t thrilled to be back in the town where he spent his childhood summers. His beloved grandmother passed away, leaving him a house in need of major repairs. With a three-week timetable and a lot to do, he doesn’t have time for distractions. Then he bumps into Julie, the one woman he hoped never to see again. Chase tries to pretend Julie doesn’t exist, but ten years hasn’t diminished his attraction to the hazel-eyed stunner.

When a stranger grabs Julie’s arm at the grocery store—a woman who insists Julie’s life isn’t what it seems, Chase can’t help but get involved. Julie and Chase dig into a twenty-five-year-old mystery, unearthing more questions than answers. But the past is closer than they realize, and the consequences of the truth have the potential to be deadly.


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The inspiration behind Answers For Julie:

I often get my story ideas from watching crime documentaries, but the plot for Answers For Julie came together after I read some sobering FBI statistics in a magazine about the odds of a missing child coming home. Unfortunately, many children are lost forever. The wheels began spinning quickly after that, and a few weeks later, the story was well on its way.

I hope you enjoy Julie and Chase as much as I enjoyed writing them!  ~ Cate

Read an excerpt from Answers For Julie:

 She frowned, glancing in her rearview mirror when someone honked. Gasping, she cringed, bracing herself for a nasty impact as a car approached fast from behind. When the vehicle barely missed hers, she accelerated, making space for the bully to go around, but the navy blue BMW moved closer to her bumper.

She punched the gas, moving over to the final right-hand lane. The car sped up directly to her left, until the dark tint of the passenger’s window was even with her driver’s side. Julie pressed on her brake, slowing on the damp roads, hoping the car would move on, but it decreased its speed as she did. “What are you doing?”

Unsure of what to do, she jerked her rental toward the upcoming off ramp. The car followed, closing the distance between them, and rammed her back door, forcing her closer to the guardrail. She screamed, veering hard to the left, barely avoiding a collision with metal and a plummet to the busy road several hundred feet below.

The vehicle sped off as she slammed on her brakes and sat where she was, closing her eyes and gasping in several breaths. She flinched and screamed again, her eyes flying open as a red Camero honked as it swerved to miss hitting her.

Trembling, she accelerated to the bottom of the off-ramp, knowing that if she didn’t move she would cause an accident. She braked at the stoplight, her teeth chattering and her eyes darting around, on the lookout for the BMW. There was no way that was some random act of road rage. She could no longer claim that the instances in Massachusetts were a string of bad luck. Chase was right. Someone was trying to hurt her, and she still needed his help.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book here!

About the author:

04 Cate profile pic copy 2

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard’s, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the international bestselling and award winning romantic suspense series, Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, five years later, I’m working on my tenth novel! I’m remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had.  Thank you!”  – Cate


Contact Cate

Amazon Author Page

Social links:

Twitter: @CateBeauman

GiveawayE-Book/s Giveaway Contest – Answers for Julie

(5 ebooks up for grabs)

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Want to read this book?  Enter contest HERE!

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Author Open MIC: Welcome Best Selling Author Cate Beauman + Reagan’s Redemption Book & The “Glacier” Swarovski Crystal Set Giveaway


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Cate Beauman is back with the eight installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Reagan’s Redemption is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more!

About the book

02 Reagan's Redemption - Ebook


Doctor Reagan Rosner loves her fast-paced life of practicing medicine in New York City’s busiest trauma center. Kind and confident, she’s taking her profession by storm—until a young girl’s accidental death leaves her shaken to her core. With her life a mess and her future uncertain, Reagan accepts a position as Head Physician for The Appalachia Project, an outreach program working with some of America’s poorest citizens.

Shane Harper, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest team member, has been assigned a three-month stint deep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and he’s not too happy about it. Guarding a pill safe in the middle of nowhere is boring as hell, but when he gets a look at his new roommate, the gorgeous Doctor Rosner, things start looking up.

Shane and Reagan encounter more than a few mishaps as they struggle to gain the trust of a reluctant community. They’re just starting to make headway when a man’s routine checkup exposes troubling secrets the town will do anything to keep hidden—even if that means murder.

 typewriter News Headlines

Read an excerpt from Reagan’s Redemption

The front door opened and closed. “Shane?”

“Down here.”

Reagan hurried in, her eyes full of excitement. “How are things going?”

“Good. Faith is clean, eating, and will hopefully be sleeping in the next couple of minutes.”

“I can take a turn. I know I’ve been gone for awhile.”

He shook his head. “We’re fine. Looks like you’ve had a run today.”

She smiled. “Two patients—one ear infection and a strep throat.”

“Good stuff.”

She nodded, sitting on the edge of the mattress. “That’s not the best part. I was talking with Jodi, Josiah’s mother, about her gardens—trying to break the ice a little. She was telling me how she grows some of the best corn around but constantly has trouble with her beans. Apparently, Sue Anne’s family seems to have the opposite issue.” She swiped her hair behind her ear. “Anyway, while Jodi was talking, I got this idea. I was thinking we could organize an evening where families can get together here at the clinic and swap fruits and vegetables for a bigger variety of healthful foods—kind of like a farmer’s market. We can offer some simple snacks and drinks, and I’m hoping I might be able to throw in a few nutrition facts while we’re at it. There are so many kiddos with bad teeth. They’re drinking too much soda.”

“Sounds like you’ve got a plan. Go get ‘em, tiger.” He liked seeing her like this—her eyes bright, her hands punctuating certain words as they spilled from her mouth, caught up in her own enthusiasm.

“I will.” Her smile dimmed as she touched Faith’s toes peeking out from the blanket. “But I don’t know how many people will come.”

“So you won’t have standing-room only on your first try.”

She licked her lips. “They’re afraid.”

He frowned. “Who?”

“The people here. They’re frightened by either me or the clinic.”

“Why do you say that?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. That was the sense I got when I spoke with Jenny’s mother and then again with Jodi.”

He remembered Mrs. Hendley’s weird spewings about heeding warnings and staying away, but she also seemed like a bit of a whack job. “I don’t know, Doc. When I look at you ‘intimidating’ isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind.”

“Maybe not to you, but they were certainly uneasy. Maybe I’m trying to make sense of an unusual situation, but I don’t think so. Both women kept looking toward the trees, like they were being watched or something.” She shuddered. “It gave me the willies.”

“We’ll keep an eye on the situation, but things have been pretty low key so far.”

She nodded. “I just really want this to work. I can help this town if they’ll let me.”

Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book here!

 The Inspiration Behind Reagan’s Redemption

I’ve wanted to tell Reagan and Shane’s story for quite a while now, but I kept putting it off, knowing where the weeks of research would take me. Reagan Rosner is a doctor, which is great for her but not so much for me as the writer. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac who is afflicted with White Coat Syndrome. Typically, I stay as far away from anything “medical” as possible, but for Reagan’s Redemption I had to dig deep and conquer a personal demon or two. There were many days where I cringed, watching how-to videos on IV insertions and blood draws and hyperventilated my way through more than one resuscitation tutorial, but I did it, making Reagan’s character all the more stronger for it.

After the days of dreadful research, I really knuckled down and got to work. I had so much fun with this story. Reagan is kind and dedicated and Shane extremely funny. This couple complements each other well, which is perfect because they’ll face more than their fair share of trouble in Black Bear Gap, Kentucky.

I hope you enjoy Reagan and Shane as much as I enjoyed writing them!

~ Cate

Music to write by…

Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Reagan and Shane’s story! You can listen to them on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Reagan’s Redemption:

  • Devil Town by Tony Lucca
  • So Easy by Phillip Phillips
  • Not A Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake
  • Science and Faith by The Script
  • Daylight by Maroon Five
  • Hazy by Rosi Golan ft. William Fitzimmons
  • Get Out by Casey Abrams
  • First Flight Home by Jake Miller
  • Human by Jon McLaughlin
  • Have A Little Faith In Me by Jewel
  • Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
  • Parachute by Train

 About the author

04 Cate profile pic copy

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard’s, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, five years later, I’m working on my ninth novel, Answers For Julie, which I plan to release during the summer of 2015. I’m remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had. Thank you!” – Cate


Cate’s Links

Amazon Author Page

Social links:
Twitter: @CateBeauman

GiveawayE-Book/s Giveaway Contest – Reagan’s Redemption

(6 ebooks up for grabs)

02 Reagan's Redemption - Ebook

Why wait? Start the series today…

Want to read this book?  Enter contest HERE!

Comment Below:  What is your all time favorite hospital/medical based TV-show?

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Author Open MIC: Welcome Best Selling Author Cate Beauman + Saving Sophie Giveaway

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Cate Beauman is back with the seventh installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.

Saving Sophie is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes!

Buy it now!


About the book

When the only choice is to run…

Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.


Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.


Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives.

 typewriter News Headlines

Read an excerpt from Saving Sophie

Sophie glanced around one last time at the town she’d called home for more than twelve years as Dylan merged south on the onramp towards Brunswick, knowing she would never come back to the place where she and her mother had made their fresh start.

“Your train leaves at nine. We should make it in plenty of time.”

“I’ve never traveled by train.”

“Me neither.” Dylan moved into the right lane, letting faster traffic pass. “Have you decided where you’ll go?”

She shook her head, even though she’d thought of little else since she woke this morning, knowing today had to be the day. “Somewhere big. Somewhere where he can’t find me.” She swallowed. “He’ll look. He’ll never stop,” she said, staring into the side mirror, waiting for the black Mercedes to rush up behind them and force them to pull over. “You have to be careful.”

Dylan huffed out an amused laugh. “That bastard doesn’t scare me.”

She wished he didn’t scare her either. “Be careful anyway.”

“I will, but he’s a coward.”

“No more than me,” she murmured, glancing down at the hints of bruised skin peeking out from under her sleeves.

Dylan tossed her a look. “Don’t go there.”

She sat back fully in her seat, unable to take her eyes off the mirror until Dylan eventually exited the interstate and drove toward the center of town, stopping in front of the Amtrak station as the train pulled up.

“Looks like you won’t have to wait.” She set the emergency brake and searched through her purse. “Here’s my license.” She handed over the Maine ID and paper ticket she’d bought and printed when Sophie gave her the green light from her kiosk at the mall. “We don’t look all that different with your wig, so this should get you your next ticket in Boston.”

“Thank you.” Sophie leaned over and gave Dylan a big hug. “Thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”

“Don’t look back, Sophie.” Dylan eased away, squeezing her hand. “Get out of here and never look back. Here are the phone numbers for the Stowers house shelters in Baltimore and LA I told you about—just in case.” She handed over the March copy of Trendy magazine with papers sticking out from the edges.

“Thanks. Please don’t forget to put flowers on my mother’s grave.”

“I won’t.”

She nodded and hugged Dylan for the last time. “Bye.”

“Bye. Take care of yourself.”

“I will.” Sophie got out, sliding her backpack on her shoulder as she made her way to the bored-eyed man at the ticket kiosk.

“Ticket and ID, Ma’am.”

Sophie handed over both, holding her breath, waiting for her plan to fall apart.

“Safe trip.” He gave them back.

“Thank you,” she murmured, letting loose a shaky exhale as she turned and moved toward the train, wanting to run instead of walk. She boarded the first available car and stared out the window as she sat down, watching Dylan pull out of the lot in the rusty hatchback, already missing the only person she’d had a connection with. She bobbed her leg up and down, struggling to keep her fidgeting at bay. Minutes passed, feeling like hours, until finally the doors closed. The train jerked forward, moving toward Boston—the first stop on her journey to freedom.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book here!

The Inspiration Behind Saving Sophie

Stone and Sophie are as opposite as can be—or so it seems—and that’s why telling their story was so much fun!  Readers met Stone in Justice For Abby.  He’s a gorgeous bad boy, more interested in taking care of himself than worrying about anyone else.  Stone’s a hard-ass.  There’s no other way to say it, but everyone has an achilles’ heel.  That’s what drew me to Ethan Cooke Security’s latest bodyguard.  I kept asking myself what type of woman had the power to bring a man like Stone McCabe to his knees.  Enter Sophie Burke, a shy jewelry designer dealing with lots of trouble, and you just might have your answer.

I hope you enjoy Sophie and Stone as much as I enjoyed writing them!

~ Cate

The Unofficial Saving Sophie Soundtrack

Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Stone and Sophie’s story!  You can listen to them on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Saving Sophie:

  • Grey Street by Dave Matthews
  • Sleep by Plumb
  • Come To Me by The Goo Goo Dolls
  • All I Want by Staind
  • I’d Come For You by Nickelback
  • Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran
  • In My Veins by Andrew Belle
  • Only You by Matthew Perryman Jones
  • Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk

 About the author

04 Cate profile pic copy

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best-selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, four years later, I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015.  I’m very grateful for the support and success I’ve had.”  – Cate

Contact Cate

Amazon Author Page

Social links:

Twitter: @CateBeauman

GiveawayE-Book/s Giveaway Contest – Saving Sophie

(4 up for grabs)

Want to read this book?

Enter contest HERE!

Comment Below:  What is your favorite gemstone or jewlrey?


Get the Series

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morgan'Book One: Morgan’s Hunter, the story of Morgan and Hunter.

Morgan Taylor, D.C. socialite and wildlife biologist, leads a charmed life until everything changes with a phone call. Her research team has been found dead—slaughtered—in backcountry Montana.

As the case grows cold, Morgan is determined to unravel the mystery behind her friends’ gruesome deaths. Despite the dangers of a murderer still free, nothing will stand in her way, not even the bodyguard her father hires, L.A.’s top close protection agent, Hunter Phillips.

Sparks fly from the start when no-nonsense Hunter clashes with Morgan’s strong-willed independence. Their endless search for answers proves hopeless—until Hunter discovers the truth.

On the run and at the mercy of a madman, Morgan and Hunter must outsmart a killer to save their own lives.   

“-one thing I noticed right away was Hunter is smoking hot. This author captured his attractiveness well. Many romance authors have said their main character was good looking, but this was one of the very few times where I thought, “Wow. He’s hot!” And let me tell you blonde-haired blue eyed guys are not my type. The author deserves some serious props here.” Raven Reviewer


Book Two: Falling For Sarah, the story of Sarah and Ethan. sarah

Widow Sarah Johnson struggled to pick up the pieces after her life was ripped apart. After two years of grieving, she’s found contentment in her thriving business as photographer to Hollywood’s A-list and in raising her angel-faced daughter, Kylee…until bodyguard and long-time friend Ethan Cooke changes everything with a searing moonlight kiss.

Sarah’s world turns upside down as she struggles with her unexpected attraction to Ethan and the guilt of betraying her husband’s memory. But when blue roses and disturbing notes start appearing on her doorstep, she has no choice but to lean on Ethan as he fights to save her from a stalker that won’t stop until he has what he prizes most.

“This story, although starting sad with Jake’s death, goes zero to sixty from there. A creepy, insane , psycho thrown in with HOT manly men always make for an awesome ride.” Inside BJ’s Head


Book Three: Hailey’s Truth, the story of Hailey and Austin.

Hailey Roberts has never had it easy. Despite the scars of a tragic childhood, she’s made a life for herself. As a part-time student and loving nanny, she yearns for a family of her own and reluctant Austin Casey, Ethan Cooke Security’s best close protection agent.

Hailey’s past comes back to haunt her when her long lost brother tracks her down, bringing his dangerous secrets with him. At an emotional crossroads, Hailey accepts a humanitarian opportunity that throws her together with Austin, taking her hundreds of miles from her troubles, or so she thinks.

What starts out as a dream come true quickly becomes a nightmare as violence erupts on the island of Cozumel. Young women are disappearing, community members are dying—and the carnage links back to her brother.

As Austin struggles to keep Hailey’s past from destroying her future, he’s forced to make a decision that could turn her against him, or worse cost them both their lives.

“WOW. My head is in a whirl from this one. From the high intensity of Suspense, down to the oh-so yummy Romance, by far, Hailey and Austin have the hottest freaking scenes of the three books! ~ It’s so good… or I’m so bad because–I hate to admit it–I reread the hotter than Hades scenes! I could read the entire novel again, and that’s rare for me.” Hammy


Book Four: Forever Alexa, the story of Alexa and Jackson.

First grade teacher and single mother Alexa Harris is no stranger to struggle, but for once, things are looking up. The school year is over and the lazy days of summer are here. Mini-vacations and relaxing twilight barbeques are on the horizon until Alexa’s free-spirited younger sister vanishes.

Ransom calls and death threats force Alexa and her young daughter to flee their quiet home in Maryland. With nowhere else to turn, Alexa seeks the help of Jackson Matthews, Ethan Cooke Security’s Risk Assessment Specialist and the man who broke her heart.

With few leads to follow and Abby’s case going cold, Alexa must confess a shocking secret if she and Jackson have any hope of saving her sister from a hell neither could have imagined.

“FOREVER ALEXA is a book that is impossible to put down. I loved the first three books in this series, Morgan’s Hunter, Falling for Sarah and Hailey’s Truth, but FOREVER ALEXA is far and above my favorite in the series. That being said, I not only recommend but encourage readers of romantic suspense to give Ms. Beauman’s books a try… will not be disappointed!!!” NicoleMD


wrenBook Five: Waiting For Wren, the story of Wren Cooke and Tucker Campbell.

Wren Cooke has everything she’s ever wanted—a thriving career as one of LA’s top interior designers and a home she loves. Business trips, mockups, and her demanding clientele keep her busy, almost too busy to notice Ethan Cooke Security’s gorgeous Close Protection Agent, Tucker Campbell.

 Jaded by love and relationships in general, Wren wants nothing to do with the hazel-eyed stunner and his heart-stopping grins, but Tucker is always in her way. When Wren suddenly finds herself bombarded by a mysterious man’s unwanted affections, she’s forced to turn to Tucker for help.

As Wren’s case turns from disturbing to deadly, Tucker whisks her away to his mountain home in Utah. Haunted by memories and long-ago tragedies, Tucker soon realizes his past and Wren’s present are colliding. With a killer on the loose and time running out, Tucker must discover a madman’s motives before Wren becomes his next victim.

“My heart raced from the suspense and from the romance. The characters, and their love story, are believable. As the series develops, I feel like I know these characters and find myself turning the page to find out more. This series just keeps getting better. The author crafts characters that are true-to-life and creates moments of such sheer suspense that I find myself turning on all of the lights in the house just to make sure I’m alone.” Robert John Baron


Book Six: Justice For Abby, the story of Abigail Harris and Jerrod Quinn. Justice For Abby_ebook_2500

Fashion designer Abigail Harris has been rescued, but her nightmare is far from over. Determined to put her harrowing ordeal behind her and move on, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life while eluding the men who want her dead.

The Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring is in ruins after Abby’s interviews with the police. The organization is eager to exact their revenge before her testimony dismantles the multi-million dollar operation for good.

Abby’s safety rests in the hands of former US Marshal, Jerrod Quinn. Serious-minded and obsessed with protocol, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest agent finds himself dealing with more than he bargains for when he agrees to take on his beautiful, free-spirited client.

 As the trial date nears, Abby’s case takes a dangerous turn. Abby and Jerrod soon discover themselves in a situation neither of them expect while Jerrod fights to stop the ring from silencing Abby once and for all.

 “I really thought this would be a routine bodyguard/subject book, boy was I wrong. Cate Beauman’s characters popped! By the end of this book (which I read in one sitting) I was exhausted but replete… From paragraph to paragraph this story shifts and changes. The betrayals and surprises come at the reader at a furious pace. And while this story revolves around a very dark occurrence, there are enough moments that will make you smile, chuckle, snort and go “awwwww” Sebella Blue


02 Saving Sophie_ebookBook Seven: Saving Sophie, the story of Sophie Burke and Stone McCabe. On Sale September 4, 2014


Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.

Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.

Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives.


Book Eight: Reagan’s Redemption, the story of Reagan Rosner and Shane Harper. Coming Spring 2015!

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Author Open MIC: Welcomes Pema Donyo- One Last Letter

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Welcome Pema!


Pema Donyo is the eighteen-year-old author of The Innocent Assassins and One Last Letter. She is also a coffee-fueled college student by day and a creative writer by night. She currently lives in sunny Southern California, where any temperature less than 70 degrees is freezing and flip-flops never go out of season. As a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna, she’s still working on mastering that delicate balance between finishing homework, meeting publisher deadlines, and… college. She’s a firm believer in the healing power of endless cups of coffee and espresso shots, staying up until 3AM, cheesy British period dramas, and the Beyonce Voters Tumblr page. Find her rambles/rants about writing, reading, and life in general on her website’s blog.




Genre: Historical romance, Western

Pages: 171

A romantic hardened by reality…  Evelyn Lancaster turned her back on her love for ranch hand Jesse Greenwood when she was sixteen to pursue a career and marry into wealth that could save her father’s struggling ranch. Now twenty-three, she works hard to keep the property afloat, but no suitor has stirred her heart the way Jesse did. After her father falls ill, she needs all the help she can get to keep the ranch running.

A cowboy returning to what he left behind…  After making his fortune, a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home to see his younger sister married. Still smarting from Evelyn’s rejection, he finds the tables have turned, and now only his investment could save the ranch that he vowed to never step foot on again.

When he agrees to help her salvage her family legacy, they must overcome their pride and painful past to work together. As long-held emotions rekindle, Jesse pretends indifference, only to admit his true feelings in an unsigned letter left on Evelyn’s porch.

Evelyn finds the missive and writes back, beginning a furtive correspondence. She dares to hope her mystery admirer is Jesse, but then another man comes forward to claim the letters as his own. Will one last letter give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?


Tell us about your latest book? Any secrets or snippets you can share?

Thanks for having me, Jean! One Last Letter is a historical western romance. It also happens to be a completely new ball game for me! I’m used to writing romantic suspense stories with lots of action and adventure – not to say there isn’t plenty of that in One Last Letter … just with a bit more horse riding than I’m used to.

The story opens with a sixteen-year-old Evelyn Lancaster, daughter of a prominent plantation owner, rejecting her childhood sweetheart, seventeen-year-old Jesse Greenwood, a ranch hand on her father’s plantation. He goes out west to California to make his fortune and comes back a wealthy man years later. Time has passed, but it hasn’t lessened his love for Evelyn nor her love for him. The plantation’s fallen on hard times, and he offers his investment to help pay the ranch’s debts. Yet his heart’s become too guarded to admit his true feelings to her in person. Evelyn starts to receive anonymous love letters from a secret admirer, and she dares to hope the letters come from Jesse. Yet another suitor steps on the scene, a man from a blue-blooded family nearly as established as Evelyn’s. Will Jesse possess the courage to admit how he feels before it’s too late, and will Evelyn swallow her pride to admit her own mistake?

Secrets and spoilers time!

Expect deadly fires, runaway brides, passionate confrontations, a headstrong heroine, and an eloquent cowboy. I love Evelyn because she’s intelligent and she’s analytical. At the same time, she prefers physical tasks and loves working on the ranch. And of course I have a soft spot in my heart for Jesse because he’s a born writer, even though you would never catch him admitting so.

What inspired you to write it?


I know so many couples who communicate mainly through texting, especially for those who are long-distance. I thought, “How did people connect without texting?” Letters. Nothing’s changed, really. Many say texting’s replaced actual face-to-face communication, but we thought of plenty of ways to express ourselves without being face-to-face for centuries through letters. It’s easiest for me to express myself through writing, and I’m sure there are plenty of others who feel the same way. While I can’t say I’ve pulled a Jesse and written love letters to anyone before, I would probably do the same thing if I was in his situation. There’s something so romantic about letters as well. It’s your handwriting; it’s your unedited and unabashed emotions spilling themselves onto a page.

What is your biggest challenge as an Author?

It’s definitely time. Since I’m still in college, most of my writing happens during breaks. Otherwise it’s homework and hanging out with friends and trying to figure out my major. So when I do have time to write, I take full advantage of it. I type about 5,000 words a day when I’m deep in a story and usually finish up a first draft in three weeks. Then it’s merciless rounds of editing and rewriting and submitting. When I’m immersed in my manuscript, it pretty much occupies all of my time. I’m thankful that I can churn out a story so quickly, especially considering my ‘writing periods’ are confined to summer and winter breaks.

What are you cooking up next? Will we see more of Evelyn and Jesse? What can readers expect?

I just finished a New Adult contemporary called A Truth University Acknowledged. It’s a college spin on Pride and Prejudice and I’m so excited about it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved exploring the time period of the American West while writing One Last Letter, and my favorite kinds of books are still edge-of-your-seat thrillers like The Innocent Assassins. But New Adult’s a genre that’s close to my heart because those are the years I’m currently experiencing. I’ve read so many New Adult books featuring college heroines that made me wonder, “Wait – college students don’t do that. Where can I find an actual representation of today’s college life?” So I decided to write one.

Elizabeth and Darcy are perfect for the college scene. Elizabeth’s a new adult herself, and she’s still trying to find her place in the world. Part of being a new adult is having all these passions but still not knowing what exactly we’re going to do with them. Darcy’s so awkward most of the time; he’s the perfect aloof and withdrawn sophomore. I wanted to write a college story from a current college student’s perspective, and I’m happy with the result.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Find me at –






Crimson Romance:





Open MIC FAV five

  • Favorite hero or heroine:  
    • Favorite hero will always be Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables. He’s intelligent, hard-working, and supportive of Anne. I love Crombie’s portrayal of him in the Sullivan Entertainment series.
  • Favorite author:  
    • When it comes to historical romance, Lorraine Heath. Her characters are complex and lifelike.
  • Favorite music to write by:  
    • Dan + Shay for westerns!
  • Favorite inspiration:  
    • Rejection. It’s the best fuel to improve and move forward.
  • Most memorable moment: 
    • First rejection from a publishing company. I was eleven and querying a middle-grade novel I wrote. I saw the rejection e-mail and thought, “Okay, fine. I’ll write another one.”
  • Relationship advice:  
    • Never change yourself for anyone.

Excerpt ~ One Last Letter by Pema Donyo

Evelyn Lancaster wanted to run away as fast as possible.

It was a mistake. It was one colossal, gargantuan mistake. Worse than Athens ordering the death of Socrates. Worse than Persephone being kidnapped by Hades. What did she think she was going to do? Seconds ticked by as she found herself unable to say anything more. Her mouth felt dry. What was she supposed to say?

He’d changed, more than she would have ever imagined possible. The boyish frame was filled out, and extra years working on the ranch had defined the muscles in his arms under his coarse brown shirt. He’d even grown taller—past six feet, she guessed. His shoulders were broader, and his cheekbones seemed more pronounced than before. His face carried even more of an aristocratic air, but his body seemed undeniably more masculine.

Yet the expression was the same. Jesse Greenwood’s same reticent, admiring expression hadn’t changed as he continued to stare at her like she was hand-blown glass. His brown hair still flopped lightly in front of his eyes, causing him to brush it away.

“Hey, Eve.”

She winced. She hadn’t heard that nickname since she’d left Hamilton, Texas, for the female seminary in Massachusetts. No one there ever called her Eve. During classes she’d been “Miss Evelyn” and “Miss Lancaster.”

She cleared her throat. She’d anticipated the awkwardness but not the simple difficulty in forming words. “I returned home a few hours ago. I thought I should stop by and say hello. Is Preston here? Are any of the other ranch hands here?”

Jesse blinked. He didn’t respond for a few seconds. The adoring expression morphed to one of disbelief. “Eve, did you get my letters?”

She bit her lip. “I did.” Evelyn resisted the urge to embrace him. Doing so would only make it harder to answer his questions with a lie. Instead, she stood rooted to the spot. She wouldn’t move a muscle; there was too much she could regret. “They were nice letters. Thank you. But I burned them.”

His eyes became cool steel, all traces of admiration in his eyes melting away. “Burned them? But you . . .” His jaw was set. “Eve, why didn’t you write me back?”

“I was busy.” She tore her eyes away from Jesse’s searing gaze and tried to look behind his shoulder. The sinking feeling in her chest was surely no more than an echo of the past. She needed to leave before all rationality left her. “Just let all the other ranch hands know I stopped by.”

“Stop. Eve, I said stop.” Strong hands grabbed both of her shoulders, and she looked up in alarm toward his furrowed brow and confused expression. His voice was so much deeper than she’d remembered. “That’s all? You couldn’t once respond to me?”

She struggled to push against him, but he held her in place. His tone was rough. It increased in volume, rising with each word that tumbled out of his mouth.

“What about the promise I made to you? When you told me that you wanted to marry—”

“Enough!” Evelyn yanked herself out of his hold and glared. She breathed deeply, as if the extra air would give her the courage she couldn’t truly conjure up. “I remember what you are referring to. I did receive your letters. I thank you for them. But I did not respond to you because whatever we had before I left for school . . .” She gulped. The polite tone of indifference faded. “This has to end.”

Thanks so much for hosting me, Jean!

And happy reading everyone.



Filed under Author Open Mic, Cover Reveal, Events, Giveaway

Author Open MIC: Welcomes Nancy Weeks – In the Shadow of Pride GIVEAWAY

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Welcome Nancy!

Nancy C Weeks profile picture

Nancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.

Shadow of Pride




Lexie Trevena buried her murdered husband, discovered he had cheated on her, and signed to adopt his newborn son—all before noon. Now she just wants to raise her child in the loving, supportive home she never had. The last thing she needs is another man to complicate her life, but her best friends feel differently. Their matchmaking meddling accidentally places Lexie smack in the path of a terrorist who intends to use her as his pawn.

The only person who can help her is the FBI agent she holds responsible for her husband’s death.

Special-Agent-In-Charge Luke “Mac” McNeil watched his best friend and partner marry a woman he knew was too good for him, but he did nothing to stop the wedding. He stood by as Lexie adopted the cheating jerk’s son. But when someone goes to great lengths to make it appear that Lexie is responsible for launching a drone into the home of a prominent Texas senator, Mac’s conscience finally speaks up, and he fights for Lexie’s freedom … even though all the evidence leads to her door, and she has never given him a reason to trust her.

Can Lexie and Mac find the courage to forgive and trust, or will their pride stand in the way of love, allowing terrorists to bring another devastating attack onto United States soil?


Tell us about your latest book? Any secrets or snippets you can share?

I’m so pleased to be visiting with you today to share the news about my latest novel, In the Shadow of Pride. Pride is the fourth book in my In the Shadows series. In this story, you will meet the third McNeil brother, Luke ‘Mac’ McNeil.

Mac has a tough job as a FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge. He sees the worst that mankind has to offer on a daily basis. One of the most heart wrenching experiences he had to live through was losing his friend and fellow agent, Rico Trevena. Here’s a little snippet that won’t give too much away about the story: Rico was on an undercover operation and Mac was his handler. The unthinkable happened and Rico lost his life while saving Mac’s younger brother, Jason [you meet Jason in In the Shadow of Greed]. Rico’s last words to Mac: “Promise me you’ll take care of Lexie. Don’t allow to be alone!”

For the last three years, Mac has tried to keep that promise to Lexie, but she has made it almost impossible. She has come to hate everything about the FBI and despises Mac because she blames him for Rico’s death. Lexie is thrown into a huge mess that she didn’t create and the only person who can save her is the one man she hates beyond reason.

I have to say that throwing my gorgeous Mac McNeil and spunky, Lexie Trevena into life altering situations, making them work through their animosity toward each other, and then watching them fall in love on the page is what makes being a romantic suspense author such a joy.

What inspired you to write it?

I guess In the Shadow of Pride was inspired by the first book I finished in the series, In the Shadow of Evil. Both In the Shadow of Evil and In the Shadow of Greed [my debut novel] begin on the same day with the same incident. One brother [Jared] goes to the crime scene and the second brother [Jason] goes to the hospital to interview the victim. Each brother’s life changes forever.

So where does Pride fit in? Well, all five books are connected in one way or another. Jared nor Jason could not have found their happy-ever-after without Mac’s help. In Pride, Mac finds himself in a mess and he knows that his brothers have his back like no one else. My inspiration for Pride, and the entire series, revolves around the love and support of family. The McNeil families aren’t perfect, they argue, even fight, but underneath it all, they love each other.

What is your biggest challenge as an Author?

The part I struggle with even after four books is the promotion writers need to do today to get their books noticed. With hundreds of free and 99 cents books available all the time, it is so hard to be heard through all that noise. Promoting a book is like raising children. Just because it worked for the first book, doesn’t mean it will work for the second, fifth, tenth. There are no clear answers because the game is constantly changing.

What are you cooking up next? Will we see more of the McNeil brothers? What can readers expect?

I’m so excited about the last book in the series, In the Shadow of Vengeance. I’m going to bring my entire McNeil family together in one place. This will be the Noah’s story, the die-hard bachelor. He’s going to need all of his brothers to deal with what I have in store for him and the woman who he will find is his happy-ever-after, Elizabeth Merlot. What can readers expect? There are some villains that—no matter how hard you have tried to put away—just don’t stay away. The title of the book says it all.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Find Nancy at:


Facebook :,

Twitter: @NancyCWeeks



Look for In the Shadow of Pride at: Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | BAM

Open MIC FAV five

  • Favorite hero or heroine:  My favorite hero and heroine changes all the time. Right now, since I recently finished this series, is Emma Paulsen, a brilliant geneticist and the King of the Realm and hunky vampire, Dage Kayrs, in Claimed (Dark Protectors Book 2) by Rebecca Zanetti.
  • Favorite author:  This is just too hard because I have a long list of favorite authors. I can’t pick just one.
  • Favorite music to write by:  For In the Shadow of Pride, I loved listening to Dreamcatcher by Secret Garden, especially Songs from a Secret Garden []. This CD really stirs my emotions and brings out the best in my characters.
  • Favorite inspiration:  I keep this quote on the front page of my website for me!  Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas Edison
  • Most memorable moment:  All time most memorable moments in my life were the days I gave birth to my son and daughter. I gained the greatest explanation of what true/unconditional love is the instant my children were placed in my arms.
  • Relationship advice:  Love exists and everyone deserves to be loved. Never settle! Find that one person that makes you want to be a better person and hold on tight. Love is messy, complicated and hard work, but it’s worth it. I know because I found that one person that makes me want to be the best person I can be.

Excerpt ~ In the Shadow of Pride

Lexie leaned her back against the cool stone and made herself release Mac’s hand. She then took a breath of fresh, clean air and tried to hide the shakiness in her voice. “Now what?”

“I’m going to drop down to the roof. You will kneel on the ledge and, using the window to balance, turn so your legs hang over the edge. Let go of the ledge, and I’ll catch you.”

“Are you crazy? I can’t—”

“Lexie, look behind you.”

She turned her head slowly toward the open window. Flames appeared under the door and the small office was completely filled with smoke. One word escaped her lips. “Trapped.”

“Once we get down onto the roof, there’s a fire escape ladder to the street.” He reached for her hand. “Gabriel needs you. We can do this together.”

Finding her voice, she whispered, “Not fair using Gabriel.” She bit down on her lower lip and dredged up an ounce of courage. “Mac, do what you have to do.”

With the grace of a trained athlete, he lowered himself over the side until only the tips of his fingers were on the ledge. An instant later, he dropped, landing on his feet.

“Tag, you’re it, Lexie. Just drop and I’ll catch you. Trust me.”

Lexie’s heart pounded like she had just run the 100-yard dash. After a quick glance into the office, she knelt, and holding onto the window, rolled onto her stomach.

“That’s it. Now just ease your legs over the ledge.”

The instant her feet hit empty space, panic ripped through her and she swung a leg back onto the ledge as her fingers dug into the window frame. God, she couldn’t do this. It was freaking crazy.

“You have to let go of the window frame. I’m right under you.”

“This isn’t the time to be nice to me, Mac.”

“Okay, then how’s this? I’m loving the view of the sexiest red panties I have ever seen that barely cover an ass that will live in my dreams for years to―”

Lexie dropped. Before she could get out the ear-piercing, girly scream that roared in her head, she landed in Mac’s arms. The impact crushed the air from her lungs.

“You’re okay,” he whispered. “I’ve got you.”

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she allowed his strength and his herbal all-male scent to soothe her. He eased her legs back on solid ground, but she didn’t let go. She couldn’t remember a time in her life when she felt so safe, protected.

She raised her chin and met his amused stare. Of all stupid days to wear a skirt to work. As soon as she got out of this mess, it was going to Goodwill.

Heat spread up her neck and her chest tightened. “This one time, I’m going to let that go.”

“Let what go, Lexie?” Mac’s hand moved slowly down her back to her waist and pressed her tightly against him.

His touch sent a flash of need that had been dormant for too long into her gut. Lexie swallowed but couldn’t look him in the face. “That wasn’t my best moment on that ledge. You shouldn’t have looked.”

“You told me not to be nice. I was saving your life.”



Have questions? I would love to answer them. Feel free to ask me anything and you will become eligible for a drawing for a free digital copy of any book In the Shadow series. Reader’s choice. By the way, my In the Shadow series can be read out of order. I hope you will enjoy both the blurb and excerpt. It was great fun visiting with you.

 ((Hugs to all))

Nancy C. Weeks


Filed under Author Open Mic, Cover Reveal, Events, Giveaway

Featured Debut Release: The Fire Walkers by Shelley Greene

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Today, I want to introduce a fellow Maryland Romance Writer, Shelley Greene. She is celebrating her debut release — THE FIRE WALKERS.  So let’s please give a warm welcome to Shelley.



Welcome Shelley!

Hi Jean!
Thank you so much for having me to visit. My debut novel THE FIRE WALKERS releases July 1st and I’m mega excited to get the word out about it.

On May 4th I had the great pleasure of having Jean as my guest for THE SUMMER LOVE BLOG TOUR. Today I’m going to answer the same hard-hitting author questions and share a little about how THE FIRE WALKERS came to be.

What do you love most about romantic suspense?

I love how intrigue makes your heart race. When add a touch of suspense to a love story it’s exciting and it plays into the plot. For example in THE FIRE WALKERS, my couple, Aidan and Kelly are real people with real problems. When they meet there’s an attraction, but it takes them being around one another for them to fall in love. The external conflict brings them together and illustrates how they react under pressure. It makes for a fun and action-packed story.

What’s is the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?

With TFW I have an animal protagonist named Keegan, a rescued racehorse, who required a back story and a big black moment. I learned a lot about the horseracing industry and equine diseases. The latter resulted in an embarrassing discussion in a hallway with an author I greatly admire. Needless to say, picking what illness to give a fictional horse is tough. Lol.

Tell us one unique fact about you (something that few people know).

I’m ambidextrous with chopsticks. 🙂

What is your favorite scene in THE FIRE WALKERS and why?

There are about four scenes in the book that get me for different reasons, but since we touched on Keegan, I’ll say Chapter 9. It takes place after Aidan and Kelly’s first fight, so the atmosphere starts off on a serious note. Kelly is sitting at a table with Keegan’s background laid out in papers from the horse’s rescue file. It was an interesting scene to write because Kelly is revealing Keegan’s back story while Aidan is trying to reconnect to her. All three of my walkers are in one room together and bonding over Keegan’s history. Almost all the characters have names with fire meanings, and Keegan’s mother, who’s mentioned in Keegan’s birth records, stays in that theme. Her name is beautiful, if you Google it you’ll see the fire flower she’s named after. I’m proud of how real the scene reads, and how moved I get over Keegan from learning his past. The interaction also shows how Aidan and Keegan are both alpha males’ just different species.

Those boys are double trouble when they get together…



Blurb from THE FIRE WALKERS, Shelley N. Greene:

Kelly Monroe is an idealistic good girl thrown into a bad situation. A graduate student chasing her dreams of a PhD, one party invitation lands in her a jail cell with only vague memories of the night before, images of a tragic bonfire haunting her. Sentenced to perform community service at a horse rescue, Kelly’s life goes from bad to worse, all under the watch of an attractive, blue-eyed detective. Driven to stick out the hard times, Kelly develops a bond with Keegan, an abandoned racehorse horse with a past.

Ex-NARC turned arson detective, Aidan Wright is tracking the drug dealers who killed his partner. Kelly’s memories of the bonfire prove to be the missing piece to Aidan’s investigation of several drug-related teen deaths, perpetrated by the band of drug dealers who scarred him years ago. When Kelly becomes the unsuspecting victim of the drug group’s trafficking, Aidan is forced to stay close to her to catch them.

As Aidan uncovers the truth, Kelly develops feelings for the fearless, blue-eyed cop, and the battered arson detective falls hard for the sanguine girl with the contagious laugh.




Born to a military family, Shelley spent her early years living abroad. Having been exposed to different cultures early in life she developed a respect and admiration for tradition, philosophy as well as a big imagination. When her family returned to the states they settled in southern Maryland, where she was raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C.  From early on she loved to create plots in her mind, following characters on their adventures and seeking out the meaning of life in the stories that unfolded in her head.

She acquired a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Baltimore with a specialization in technology and discourse, gaining a deep appreciation of the writing process through her studies.  From classic literature to contemporary romance novels, she identifies with the joy of getting lost in a good story.

Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.

 Author Links:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads (Coming July 1st!)

 Jean, thank you again for hosting me today!

 Please check out THE FIRE WALKERS, available at the following retailers:

Amazon Nook – iBook – Kobo

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Author Open MIC: Welcome Best Selling Author Cate Beauman + Justice for Abby Giveaway

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Cate Beauman is back with the sixth installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.

Justice For Abby is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes!

About the book

02 Justice For Abby_ebook_1600


Fashion designer Abigail Harris has been rescued, but her nightmare is far from over. Determined to put her harrowing ordeal behind her and move on, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life while eluding the men who want her dead.

The Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring is in ruins after Abby’s interviews with the police. The organization is eager to exact their revenge before her testimony dismantles the multi-million dollar operation for good.

Abby’s safety rests in the hands of former US Marshal, Jerrod Quinn. Serious-minded and obsessed with protocol, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest agent finds himself dealing with more than he bargains for when he agrees to take on his beautiful, free-spirited client.

As the trial date nears, Abby’s case takes a dangerous turn. Abby and Jerrod soon discover themselves in a situation neither of them expect while Jerrod fights to stop the ring from silencing Abby once and for all.

 typewriter News Headlines

Read an excerpt from Justice For Abby

The black bag was ripped from her head, along with several strands of her hair. Abby blinked against the bold light of the naked bulbs hanging from the low ceiling. She glanced around the dingy space in shock as her gaze traveled from girl to girl—six young teens, dirty, bruised, and malnourished, staring up at her through bland eyes while they sat or lay on filthy mattresses on the dirt floor. “What—”
“In.” Victor shoved Abby into a small, windowless room, slamming the door, locking her in with a rusty scrape of something sliding against the heavy metal barrier.
She walked on shaky legs to the wooden chair in the corner and collapsed to the uncomfortable seat, clutching her arms around her waist, shivering as she bit hard on her bottom lip while tears rained down her cheeks. Where was she? What was this place? She shuddered, remembering six sets of listless eyes holding hers. Nothing good was happening here.
She covered her face with trembling hands and gave into her sobs, relieving the worst of her dread, wishing for nothing more than to be home with Lex and Livy. Thinking of her sister and niece, she forced away her tears, taking several deep breaths of stale air. If she wanted to see her family again she needed to pull herself together. She couldn’t get herself out of this—whatever this was—if she didn’t think. There had to be a way out. Her eyes darted around the barely lit space, searching for a weapon, another exit, anything.
The door opened, and she rushed to her feet as a tall, well-built man stood haloed in the beam of light from the room beyond. Abby blinked as he stepped forward. “Renzo?” She bolted from the corner and fell against her friend’s firm chest as a wave or relief flooded her. “Oh, thank god.”

His strong arms wrapped around her.
“I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t know what’s going on. I need help. Can you help me?”
“What happened?” He eased her back some, but she refused to release him from her grip.
“My family—we were on our way home from Virginia Beach. We stopped at a rest area, and two men grabbed me and brought me here.”
“You were with your sister and niece?”
“Yes, Alexa and Olivia. I think they’re okay, but I need to call and make sure. Will you get me out of here?”
“Of course.”
She could hardly believe she was leaving. “Thank you. Thank you.” She hugged Renzo again as tears of gratitude flowed free. “I knew this had to be some sort of mistake.”
“Come on, let’s get you home.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and walked with her to the door. “Oh, wait.” He stopped.
“I can’t let you go.”

Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book here!

The Inspiration Behind Justice For Abby

Justice For Abby is one of my favorite stories in The Bodyguards of L.A. County series (Okay, they all are, but I really love Abby and Jerrod!). I truly enjoyed writing their adventure. Oftentimes I found myself caught up in Abby’s rollercoaster ride as she heals from her experiences as a survivor of the Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring. At times I cried with her, and at others, I laughed. She’s so strong and sweet, but she’s vulnerable and struggling. Enter Jerrod Quinn, the perfect man to provide her protection and help her overcome her ordeal in his own quiet way.

Although Abby’s story is one of fiction, sex trafficking is a very real crisis for millions of young women, men, and children all over the globe. My idea for this novel came after a night in front of the television watching crime television. A segment showcasing the mysterious disappearance of a young woman named Amy Bradley bothered me greatly. She vanished from a cruise ship in March of 1998 while vacationing with her family. Unfortunately, Amy has yet to be found, but she is believed to be alive, stuck in the horrific world of human sex trafficking. I immediately began my research into this very troubling epidemic and shortly after wrote Forever Alexa, the story of Abby’s sister dealing with the aftermath of Abby’s disappearance. My readers have requested Abby’s story, and I felt the need to share her experience.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Abby and Jerrod as much as I enjoyed writing these two fantastic characters.


The Unofficial Justice For Abby Soundtrack

Music always plays a huge part in my writing process. With two boys and two dogs in the house, music helps me “get lost” in my story. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube and put together a playlist of songs that I feel represent the characters or the situations they face as the novel unfolds. Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Jerrod and Abby’s story! You can listen to them on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Justice For Abby:
• Applause by Lady Gaga
• Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
• She Is by Ben Rector
• I Should Go by Levi Kreis
• The Other Side by Jason Derulo
• Why Don’t You Love Me? by Hot Chelle Rae ft. Demi Lovato
• We Owned The Night by Lady Antebellum
• Stars Go Blue by Tim McGraw
• Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
• Come Back by Pearl Jam
• By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North
• Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran

 About the author

04 Cate profile pic copy

Cate currently lives in Tennessee with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, three years later, I’m working on my seventh novel, Saving Sophie, and I’m an Amazon best selling author. I’m very grateful for the support and success I have had. – Cate “

Contact Cate

Amazon Author Page

Social links:
Twitter: @CateBeauman

GiveawayE-Book/s Giveaway Contest – Justice for Abby

(2 up for grabs)

03 Justice For Abby_3DWant to read this book?  Enter contest HERE!

Comment Below:  What is your favorite crime show?

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Get the Series

05 All-Book-Covers-Side-by-Side-PromotionalThe Bodyguards of L.A. County



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Author Open MIC: Welcomes Toni De Palma

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There are many benefits of being published by a small press publisher.  One of the things I am most grateful for is meeting so many talented and supportive authors.  I am always amazed at the camaraderie and friendship that has blossomed from our small authors’ loop.  It is always a joy when I get to highlight my fellow CMP authors and today is one of those days.


Toni De Palma

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | About.Me  | Amazon

I was born in Brooklyn, New York where I spent my summers dancing in the spray of the johnny pump (fire hydrant) and playing freeze tag and a game called skully or skelly (depending on the block you lived). 

From a very early age I was an observer, an essential skill I believe for writers. On a warm summer night, I loved looking out from my bedroom window. We lived in an apartment, above a candy store and along a busy avenue. I loved watching the people walk by and I often made up stories in my mind of where they were heading off to. There was a payphone on the corner and I loved to eavesdrop on people’s conversations.
In sharp contrast to life in Brooklyn, some of my summers were spent on the Italian island of Ischia. Ischia is the island where my Dad grew up. There I swam, fished, and ate lots of pizza. When I got older I also learned to ride a motorcycle and I fell in love with the Italian language. This helped me appreciate my own language.I’ll make a confession. While I always loved stories and writing, I didn’t think I was smart enough or creative enough to be a writer. So instead of pursuing my dream, I decided to do something else I loved. I studied psychology and then went on to get a Masters in Social Work. This allowed me to become a school social worker, which enabled me to counsel kids and get them the education they needed. I loved my job for a long time, but my old dream of being a writer nagged at me.

She welcomes visitors to her website

typewriter News Headlines


The Devil’s Temptation is the second book in your series.  Tell us a little about the first book, The Devil’s Triangle and how the story and characters transition to the second, The Devil’s Temptation. 

In my first book, Cooper is actually dead, but he gets another chance at life when Lucinda, Lucifer’s sister, makes a deal with him. He can earn his place in Heaven if he goes back to earth and finds Grace. Little does Cooper know that he and Grace share a past. That past involves a battle with Lucifer himself.

*(Spoiler Alert)

By the end of The Devil’s Temptation, Cooper and Grace are a couple again. When I wrote the end on the Devil’s Triangle I knew that Lucifer wouldn’t give up so easily on these two. Also, I started wondering about relationships and how it takes work to keep them from going stale. While finding their way back to each other was the theme of the first book, in The Devil’s Temptation, I explore how hard it is to keep the love light burning.

Tell us about your main characters.  What are their strengths and weaknesses?  What challenges will they face?  Any hang ups the readers would be interested in?

Cooper is my brilliant hero. I absolutely LOVE him, but I’ll be the first one to say that his biggest weakness is himself. He lacks confidence in himself and so therefore doesn’t trust that he is good enough for Grace. When he first meets Stefania, the sexy Italian baroness, he does what any other red blooded boy would do, he falls in lust. But the collision course Cooper puts himself on by flirting with Stefania is really just a test of whether Cooper deserves true love, the kind of love he has with Grace.

While I love Grace, I think she has even more hang ups then Cooper does. Grace has spent the six years in battle with the Devil and trying to hide her pain. For Cooper, she’s sacrificed a lot and there might be a little bit of her that secretly resents what she had to give up in order to save Cooper. Don’t get me wrong, she loves Cooper, but when she goes to Italy and a handsome Italian First Officer starts showing interest in her, it’s hard for her to resist.

Lucifer plays a big role?  What is he after and where will he strike next?

In The Devil’s Temptation, Lucifer is not happy that he was duped out of what he felt was rightfully his. Now he’s seeking revenge.

How do you fight a demon? Special powers, spells…. 

Cooper is just a regular guy. No special powers, just his heart.

This book happens on a yacht.  A dream come true for anyone, except those prone to seasickness.  Are you a seagoing gal or land lover?

I get sea sick and air sick and so does my husband. However, we both love the water and like to look at boats.

What do you are you cooking up next?  Will we see more of Cooper and Grace?  What can readers expect?

I write “around” and so I just finished a contemporary middle grade. I love Cooper and Grace though and am always wondering what they are up to.

Where can readers find you and your books? (links, purchase and social media)

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | About.Me  | Amazon


  • Favorite hero or heroineEleanor from “Eleanor and Park”
  • Favorite authorJohn Steinbec
  • Favorite music to write byIndie
  • Favorite inspirationLife
  • Most memorable momentSo many, too many to list, though I loved bringing my son to Ischia two summers ago. This is the Italian island where The Devil’s Temptation is partially set.
  • Relationship advicePeople change, but before you give up on a person, really assess what you’d be giving up.


Devil's Temptation _FrontCover


Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

Buy today on AMAZON

typewriter true love


To find out more about Toni and her work, please pay her a visit at any one of the following online hot spots:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | About.Me  | Amazon


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Author Open MIC: Welcomes Renee Charles ~ Top 10 Super Sexy Men in Fiction + Giveaway

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Let’s give a warm welcome to Wicked Romance’s next guest ~ Renee Charles

Don’t forget about her giveaway ~  Author signed copy of Only Love Survives (US).

About the Author

Renee Charles

Renee Charles

Author Renee Charles believes all love is legendary. Being the only female in a house full of giants (husband and two teenage boys) she tends to lean toward the strange and unusual, but inevitably the softer side shines through.  Whether life leads her to a snow covered mountain top, sun dappled forest, or the bottom of a ravine (yes, ditches happen) she always has a pen and note pad ready so wherever the next adventure takes her, she can take notes.  Her own romance began in an insane asylum. Luckily, both she and her husband only worked there. But it makes sense her romance novels have strange beginnings that lead to passionate endings. Romance with a twist.

In the face of zombies, werewolves, and big foot she always seems to find a happily ever after to leave you with a sigh at the end.

Find Renee’s Books:

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Guest Post

What makes a hero Sexy?

Is it the tight tights? The super hero bravado that allows him to accomplish anything? I say no. Think super nerds of the Big Bang theory. They wear tights, can accomplish anything they set their IQs to, and granted are cute in a weird sort of way, but Melt your legs sexy? No.

I submit to you, what makes a hero sexy is a drive to do whatever is necessary, despite the obstacles, despite the odds, driven by passion to ensure love prevails no matter what. The hero risks, even sacrifices, all for the woman he loves. That is why we find them so irresistible. That is what transforms an everyday guy into a hero that even the most sophisticated woman can swoon over. Here is a list of my top ten super sexy men of fiction. Some are books, some are movies, ALL are men in love.

10) Capt. Daniel Gregg -The Ghost and Mrs. Muir- Book by RA Dick-

The salty sea captain is dead, but can’t help but admire, then fall in love with the strong woman who moves into “His” house. After he helps her save the house, he does the right thing by leaving her alone to have a life and waits patiently for her on the other side.  Sacrifice for love. Not to mention, who doesn’t love a sea captain?

Daniel Gregg

9)    Will Parker -Morning Glory- Lavyrle Spencer –

A man who takes on a pregnant widow and her two children as his own, with no agenda other than to love and be loved, is sexy. But when he chooses that life over the other “options” dangled in front of him, that just pushed his sex appeal over the top.

will parker

8)    James Fraser-Outlander- Diana Gabaldon-

Is it wrong that the hottest part of that book is when he spanks her for her own good? Also, the scene when she is so worried about her cleanliness and he basically says he didn’t care if she stinks he had to have her. Yep, nothing sexier than then sweaty, sticky, hot monkey lovin’.


7)    Westley or The Dread Pirate Roberts- The Princess Bride-

He comes back from being mostly dead all day to save her, need I say more?


6) Richard Collier -Somewhere In Time-

He travels back in time just to be with the woman he loves, and to top it off when they are torn apart he cannot go on without her. Okay, I am just gonna say what we are not supposed to say. Come on, isn’t that our ultimate fantasy? That life will cease without us? Look at your husband and tell me a little part of you doesn’t wish that. Not that he would die without you, but that he could not go on without you. Yeah, it’s there buried under all the 20th century politically correct crap.


5) King Leonidas -300-

I know it is not a romance movie, but the relationship he has with his queen, the strength he gains from his wife as he makes his choices, is sexy as hell. And when he says at the end, “My Queen! My wife. My love…” as he is about to die, I get goosebumps. IMO best scene in the entire damn movie.


4) Daryl Dixon – Walking Dead-

The way he has been with Carol through the loss of her daughter and proving deep inside he is a good guy, despite what everyone else thought, well what else can I say? I love the lone wolf archetype.

walking dead

3)Kyle Reese in Terminator –

Travels back in time to save her…oh, and the future of mankind, but mostly her.


2) Edmond Dantès (from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas)

Such a tortured soul, even with the option to be a rich man and go about his life, he can not. He is trapped by hatred, and must, must, must have his revenge. The one thing that finally brings his soul peace, returning to the arms of his lost love. Ohhhhh yeahhhhh.


1)    Mr. Darcy-

Has an author ever written a hero so multifaceted since Ms. Austin created him? The perfect combo of dark and brooding mixed with humor and raw need. Intoxicating indeed. The stuff we compare our heros to now. Hell, our men even.


GIVEAWAY details below

Check out Renee’s newest release…

Author’s Book Info


Amidst an epidemic ravaging the world, all Megan Fletcher’s hopes for the future lie in getting to Las Vegas where newscasts reported scientists were gathering to search for a cure for the modern plague. After rescuing her from a rooftop surrounded by Zombies, Sam Woods appoints himself her escort.  While he knows she is determined to get to Vegas no matter the cost, he doesn’t know her secret. And with his hatred of all things Zombie, she doesn’t dare tell him the truth. The more he kisses her, the harder it is for Megan to hide her growing feelings…and the bite-shaped scar.

But Vegas is not the haven it was promised to be, and when Megan’s immunity to the disease is discovered, she realizes her future and her heart belong to Sam, if he will trust her.  An idealistic school teacher and ex-corporate mogul manage to find love despite a looming worldwide catastrophe. Can their love survive while everything around them is dying? Will they learn that when facing the end of the world, Only Love Survives.

Find Renee’s Books:

 Book Excerpt

A storm that spelled danger flashed across Sam’s face. He advanced on Megan so fast, she backed up against the side of the Suburban. Planting a hand firmly on each side of her, he pinned her with his arms as well as his gaze.

“What I want? Are you so hard headed you can’t tell what I want?” He covered her mouth with his lips and crushed her clever comeback with an assault on her senses.

Megan pushed him, but he didn’t budge. Instead, he continued to kiss her until her heart raced and cheeks flushed with need. All resistance melted and she succumbed to the warmth of his embrace. Her arms wound around his neck of their own accord pulling him closer while her tongue sought his in a passionate dance, completely ignoring what her heart wanted.

When he finally broke away leaving Megan breathless and wanting so much more, Sam put his forehead to hers and watched her mouth like a drunk watches amber liquid poured into a glass. “You,” he rasped. “I’ve wanted you since I found you hanging from that damn roof, and all our little encounter in the river did was add fuel to the fire.”


Who did Renee miss on the list?

To ENTER:  Top Ten List – Share your #1 Sexiest Man

(Contest ends Sunday, July 7th at 2359/midnight)


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Author Open MIC: Welcomes Declan Sands + Giveaway

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Thank you to all the readers that stopped out at the Frederick Book Festival.  I had a blast and the weather held out without a drop of rain crashing our party.  I will be posting some fun pictures from the event and yes, you might just get to see me in my Egyptian goddess headdress.  LOL!

Today, we have another special guest, Declan Sands.  Declan, the author of over 40 novels, is featuring the new release to the Hoale Construction Series, a M/M romantic suspense that will not disappoint readers.  Declan and I had a great discussion about why the majority of M/M readers are women.  Come and weigh in on the subject.  One lucky commenter will win the HOALE SERIES (3 titles).  How awesome is that?


Declan Sands

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Amazon Author Page

Declan Sands writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Declan is the award-winning author of 40+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

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Tell us about A Hoale Lot of Trouble?  Is this a stand-alone book or a series?

A Hoale Lot of Trouble is Book 1 in my Hoale Construction Mystery series. The Hoale Construction Series is based on a sexy, thirty-something, gay construction company owner with the unfortunate name of Adam Hoale and his mostly gay group of professional associates. Adam’s business partner, Maddy, is a lesbian, his realtor, Mink, is gay, and his big, loveable but angst-ridden dog Walter is…well…neutered. The mysteries in the series are tied to the places Adam and his gang flip or rehabilitate and Adam does a fairly decent job both of solving the mysteries and getting on the admittedly twitchy nerves of their friend and hetro cop with a stick up his ass, Detective Craig Clandestine, CC for short. The mysteries are fun, fast paced, and anchored by the on again, off again romance of Adam and his secretly gay lover, Dirk Williams, who is a B-level Hollywood actor.

Adam owns his own construction company.  Tell us about how he got there.  Did he work to the top?  Or is he a gifted entrepreneur?

Adam worked summers in high school and college on a construction crew. So when he was fired from a corporate sales job in his late twenties, he decided to use his energies doing what he loved to do, instead of pursuing another job doing what he thought he should do. So he started Hoale Construction and his knowledge of business helped him make a success of it.

Something not everyone knows about Adam is that he’s very community conscious. He gives unskilled labor jobs to out-of-work people in the community so that anyone who wants to work can do such jobs as demolition, painting, and clean-up for Hoale Construction on a cash-in-hand, job-by-job basis.

What can Adam tell us about “flipping” a house? 

He can certainly attest to the fact that you never know what you’re going to find when you start renovating a house. LOL  In A Hoale Lot of Trouble Adam is flipping an old house in a wealthy neighborhood and finds a four-fingered hand in the wall. The discovery puts a serious crimp in his construction schedule so Adam sets out to “help” the consummate “straight” man, Detective Craig Clandestine discover why it’s there and how, decades later, someone is still willing to maim and kill to preserve the mystery.

Is Adam the “love and leave him” type or looking for something more permanent?  Does he have commitment issues and flip boyfriends like he does houses?

Funny you should ask. LOL One of the threads running through this series is the powerful but challenged relationship Adam has with Dirk Williams, his long-time lover who hasn’t quite made the commitment to admitting his sexual preference and publicly claiming Adam. Adam and Dirk have known each other since high school, where their mutual attraction was limited to occasional, secretive gropings in dark places and they’ve shared a lot of pain since those first times together.

Adam is continually having to re-evaluate whether it’s worth the pain to keep working at their relationship, but something inside him just won’t let him give up. He loves Dirk and his loyalty to his friends and loved ones is one of Adam’s most endearing traits.

Without giving too much away, what secrets are the boy toy and the house hiding?

Well, I’ve already touched on the surprise in the wall, but the house also holds other surprises that cause Adam and his crew serious concern. There are signs that someone with a twisted mind once lived in the house—such as violent, disturbing drawings on the walls, covered over with a child’s wallpaper, and a horrific discovery under the rose bushes in the back yard.

The boy toy is a conundrum for Adam. Sean actually used to live in the house, but seems conflicted about his feelings for the place—alternately asking to be allowed to walk through it and then disappearing instead of going inside. As Adam uncovers Sean Buford’s heartbreaking story, he’s torn between his compassion for the man and unease over the young man’s strange behavior.

What is at stake for Adam?  Is he at risk at losing something he loves?

He’s at risk of losing everything. His business, his reputation, even his life. And adding to the stress of the situation are his confusing feelings for Dirk, who has shown up apparently hoping to heal their fractured relationship.

Does it surprise you that many readers of M/M are woman?

It does actually. In fact I blogged on this very subject. Here’s part of what I wrote:

Manlove romance is arguably one of the hottest genres right now and has been for some time. Just look at the bestseller lists at any of the etailers and you’ll see that Manlove romance dominates. Women love the genre! At first glance this may seem strange. Why would women enjoy reading about love and sex between two men? Why not between two women?

Maybe these fans love stretching the envelope a bit. Maybe it’s the tang of forbidden fruit that attracts them. Or perhaps they want some insight into how the male mind works. Whatever it is, a well-written Manlove story flies off the shelves, eagerly consumed by a rabid and adoring audience.

You can read the entire post here.

What are you cooking up next?  Will we see more of Adam?  What can readers expect?

hoalelotoftrouble_200x300 oh_hoaley_night_200x300

A Hoale Lot of Trouble is Book 1 in the Hoale Construction Mystery series. I recently released Book 3, with plans for a Christmas novella entitled, Oh! Hoaley Night!, which is scheduled for a November release. I’m very excited about this fun series and plan to keep writing it for a while yet. Blurbs for the other two books in the series follow.



Blurb for Book 2: Hoaley Ill-Manored:

A 200 year old manor house, a questionable death, and a cache of stolen jewelry. Who will kill to keep their secrets?

The gang flips a 200 year old manor house in the beautiful, rolling hills of Brown County, Indiana. Unfortunately the house is the site of a suicide, the result of a broken romance, and is rumored to be haunted. Adam and Maddy get caught up in the story of the young couple who were torn apart by family, local events, and something sinister that still seems to be stalking the house. It might not be a ghost, but whatever it is, it has the potential to be deadly.



Blurb for Book 3: Hoaley Inexplicable:

Bringing Bobby’s Gym into the twenty-first century should have been fun. But the dead guy draped over the weight machine definitely took the joy out of it!

The Hoale Construction gang has taken on the task of bringing Bobby’s Gym into the twenty-first century. But the dead guy hanging from the new lat machine is putting a serious crimp in their timeline. When Bobby becomes the number one suspect for the murder, Adam and the gang are forced to try and clear him. But who is the guy? And was Bobby really the last one to see him alive? Questions only seem to multiply the deeper they dig. Until they uncover a connection with a group of thugs who call themselves the Indiana Mobsters. Things just continue to spiral downward from there.

Where can readers find you and your books? (links, purchase and social media)

The books are available in all the usual places. To access links for ALL of the available sites, along with reviews and excerpts, you can visit each book’s page on my website:

A Hoale Lot of Trouble
Hoaley Ill-Manored
Hoaley Inexplicable


hoalelotoftrouble_200x300 BOOK BLURB

Sexy gay construction company owner, Adam Hoale, sometimes gets more than he bargained for when he flips a house!

Adam Hoale owns a construction company called, predictably, Hoale Construction. When he finds an eye opening surprise in the walls of a house he’s flipping, and a libido flaring surprise standing on the lawn, he’s willing to do the right thing with the surprise in the wall while entertaining dirty thoughts about the surprise on the lawn.

But as the world finds out what he discovered, and his new boy toy seems to be keeping too many secrets to make a relationship a reality, Adam soon realizes he may just get flipped himself if he’s not careful.

typewriter true love


Excerpt from A Hoale Lot of Trouble, Declan Sands

Adam grinned. “You want another drink?”

“Maybe just one more.”

Adam signaled the waiter over and put in their drink order. Then he looked at Sean, grinning wickedly. “How about chocolate cake?”

Sean shook his head. “Not a chance, I have to guard my boyish figure. But go ahead if you want to. I might steal a bite.” His eyes sparkled intimately, making Adam’s stomach tighten. He looked at the waiter. “One slice, two forks please.”

The waiter winked and turned away. Adam watched him walk across the restaurant and then sucked in a breath as the front door opened and a familiar face and form entered.

Dirk’s gaze found him almost immediately, as if he’d known Adam would be there. He felt a shock of surprise as their eyes met, their gazes tangling across the space.

The young woman with Dirk was draped over his arm, speaking to him animatedly. Dirk seemed to be ignoring her. His full attention was fixed on Adam.

“Is something wrong?”

Adam jerked his gaze away from Dirk and gave Sean a strained smile. “I just saw someone I knew.”

Sean turned toward the door, his sexy eyes widening. “Is that Dirk Williams?”

Sucking back a sigh, Adam nodded.

“You know him?”

Adam tried not to frown but he wasn’t entirely successful. It had always been the same. Once Dirk walked into the room, nobody had eyes for anybody else. “We were friends…once upon a time.” He stiffened his spine and asked, “Would you like me to introduce you?” Please say no, please say n—

“Sure! I’ve always thought he was so yummy. Are the rumors true?”

You mean the rumors that he’s a dick? “What rumors?”

“Oh, never mind. He’s coming over. I’ll just engage my gaydar. It almost never steers me wrong.”

Dirk led his date toward their table, the frazzled Hostess in tow. He engaged his trademark grin as he came within a few feet of the table and extended his hand. “Hello, Adam. How nice to see you again.”

He stood up and took the other man’s hand. At six foot two, Adam was close enough to Dirk’s height, about an inch taller, to look him directly in the eye. “Dirk.” Adam turned to Dirk’s fluffy decoy date, just to annoy him. “And who is this lovely lady?” He reached for her hand and bent over it like European royalty, lifting it to his lips.

She giggled prettily.

“This is Macy.” He smiled in her direction. “Macy, darling. This is my old friend, Adam Hoale.”

Macy blinked, then sucked in a breath and laughed, covering her rose petal lips with her hand. Seeing Adam’s face she stopped. “Oh. Sorry.” She blinked. “You’re not joking?”

Dirk the Dick grinned at Adam, his intense, green gaze sparking with mirth. “Nope. That’s actually his name.”

Sean stood up and offered Dirk his hand. “I’m Sean. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Williams.”

Dirk slid a lazy gaze toward Sean, his lips quirking. “Hello, Sean. Call me Dirk, please.” He held Sean’s gaze a beat longer than he should have and Adam could almost hear his date’s gaydar humming.

“Well, don’t let us keep you from your dinner.” Adam glared at him.

Dirk’s jaw flexed with irritation at the obvious dismissal, but he recovered quickly, flinging Sean another smoldering glance. “Of course. I’ll see you at the house, tomorrow, Adam.” He lifted a hand in a wave and turned away, following the busy Hostess to their table on the opposite side of the restaurant.

Adam stood there, his mouth ajar, until Sean touched his arm. “Are you all right?”

Blinking rapidly, Adam nodded and dropped back into his chair. He wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of the restaurant. But he had that damn cake coming. “I’m fine. I’m just surprised. I didn’t know Dirk was coming to look at the house tomorrow. He must have spoken to my realtor.”

And Adam was gonna choke Mink with his epaulets for not warning him.

Sean settled back in his chair, picking up his fresh drink. “Is that a problem?”

“A problem? Yes.” Then realizing what he’d said he amended, “It’s just not ready for viewing yet. I’d hoped to get farther along…”

They sipped their drinks in silence for a moment.

“So is Dirk planning on buying the house?”

Adam didn’t miss the disappointed tone of Sean’s voice. “It’s possible. I understand he’s moving back to Indy. The house will certainly fit his overblown ego when it’s done. And god knows he has the money.” Adam took a much larger sip of his wine than he’d planned, nearly draining his glass.

Sean sat forward, touching Adam’s arm. “What’s wrong, Adam. You seem worried about something.”

Adam toyed with his glass for a beat and then broached the subject of the grisly discovery in the house. “What do you remember about the house on Jackson, Sean?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, do you remember anybody making any drastic changes to it when you lived there. Like adding a wall…” Cutting up bodies into itty bitty bits and arranging them in the insulation like a grisly Picasso?

He shook his head. “Not really. I mostly just have impressions, nothing concrete I’m afraid. Why do you ask?”

“We’ve been tearing some stuff down…” He watched the younger man carefully for a reaction. He didn’t see one. “One wall in particular. It seems to have been put up after the house was built…way after. The house is a hundred years old. But the type of insulation in the wall is something that has only been available since 1986. So we know the wall was added much later. Probably in the nineties.”

Sean seemed to be thinking about Adam’s question. “In 1995 I would have been only ten…” He shook his head. I vaguely remember some construction, but I couldn’t tell you the details. Unfortunately I’m one of those people who only remembers the traumatic events from his childhood.” He slanted Adam a curious look. “What’s so important about when the wall was added?”

Adam briefly considered lying to the other man, but that wouldn’t get him what he needed so he decided to be straight with him. “I’m afraid we found something in that wall today, when we started to tear it down.”

“Oh really? What?” Sean looked only mildly curious.

Adam held his gaze as he said, “The skeleton of a four fingered human hand.”

Curiosity turned to alarm in the sexy blue eyes. Sean leaned forward, lowering his voice. “You what?”

Adam nodded. “It’s true, I’m afraid.”

Sean’s handsome face darkened. “You’re lying! Why are you lying to me?”

Adam felt his eyes go wide with surprise. He’d expected a range of different emotions…but anger hadn’t been on the list. “I assure you, it’s true. What do you know…?”

Sean pushed his chair back and stood. The chair tottered on its two back legs for a beat and then settled to the floor. By the time it landed, Sean was already heading across the restaurant, toward the exit.

Adam stared after him, shocked. What the hell had that been about?

As the restaurant door whooshed shut behind his date, Adam slid his gaze toward a distant table and a curious, green gaze.

Dirk lifted an eyebrow and Adam shrugged.

“Would you like your cake to go, sir?”

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COPY OF the FULL SERIES:  Hoale Construction


Question: If you were given the choice of reading M/F or M/M romance on a rainy Sunday afternoon, which would you choose and why?

For a chance to win the complete Hoale Construction series (all 3 titles) respond to this question in a comment below (Don’t forget to leave your email address so we can notify you if you win!)

For extra chances to win:  RAFFLECOPTER

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