Distractions, distractions….such a pretty distraction

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Here’s another new year, and glad to see Sneak Peek Sunday return. If you don’t know what this is about, author Sara Walter Elwood created a hop to showcase the work of fellow Romance authors, just a snippet or two at a time. For me, here’s a snippet from my romantic paranormal mystery, MURDER UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, Detective Helene Collias is question the victim’s brother (Sean Grant) during her  investigation and Sean’s mind’s wandering a bit.

*~*~

He looked into Helene’s eyes and could see her mind working, as his hadn’t. She took his place and he stepped back, watching her examine his defaced mailbox. He skimmed his gaze over the length of her back. Her shoulders tensed and relaxed as she moved. He wondered if she worked out. Her black slacks fitted to the curve of her butt as if she’d painted them on this morning. She cleared her throat.

Sean’s gaze shot to hers. Her smile flashed so fast, he wasn’t sure he’d seen it. The shame of a scolded school kid bubbled up in him. You expected her not to catch you drooling? “What?”

*~*~

Murder Upon a Midnight Clear by Juli D. RevezzoSynopsis:

Tis the season … for death.

Murder reminds Detective Helene Collias of Holly PD that crime doesn’t respect holidays. And the last victim she ever expected to find in her case files is the sister of her old flame, Sean Grant. Ordinarily, Helene’s psychic gifts give her an edge but this time, that gift has short-circuited. Could her lingering attraction to Sean be blurring her abilities, or is something more sinister at work?

If you’d like to read more, MURDER UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is available for Kindle and in paperback.

Incorporeal halloween party guest Julia Rachel Barrett

afternoonteatag

*Minion Juli steps into the Mistress’ office* “More of our guests have arrived, miss.”

Mistress peeks out the door! Oh, good! I had hoped we’d attract a few more. Ghosts! I love them. *steps out the door*

Well, now  isn’t this party just turning out lovely? Our dear friend Julia Rachel Barrett seems to have brought a guest along with her. Julia, who is that guy? Well, never mind. I take it he pokes his nose in from time to time. Any friend of yours is welcome! Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can find a charm to help keep him where he belongs. Why don’t you tell us a little about his story?

Incorporeal, J.R. Barrett
Copyright Julia Barrett

Incorporeal_v3-1Sara turned from the window, and clicked off her cell phone. Her lips moved, forming a silent, “Holy shit.”
“What?”
Startled, her hand flew to her chest. “Christ! Would you stop doing that?”
“Doing what?”
“Sneaking up on me like that; it’s rude.”
“I did not sneak up on you. I stood right here the entire time you spoke on the phone.”
Sara turned in a slow circle. “Stood where?”
“Over here, by the sink.”
She faced slightly away from the sink and glanced out the corner of her eye. She could just see the faintly glimmering shape of a man. “You could announce your presence once in a while. I really dislike the thought that you might be, well, you know, spying on me.”
“In the bathing room?”
“Exactly,” Sara agreed. “In the bathroom. I like my privacy.”
“So you’ve said.”
Sara flipped open her computer and waited for it to boot up. She wanted to check her calendar.
“What do you mean by the words, holy shit?”
Sara jumped. “Stop doing that!”
“I have no other way to do it. I’m incorporeal, remember?”
“Yeah, as if I’m likely to forget. Go haunt someone else.” As she scrolled through her datebook, Sara heard a long-suffering sigh from over her left shoulder. “What?”
“You’d be rid of me so soon?”
“So soon?” Sara swiveled around on her chair. “It’s been two months. You showed up here two months ago and you refuse to leave.”
Sara heard his laughter, that familiar warm, deep, throaty laugh, and her stomach clenched. Yes, he had shown up two months ago, first in her shower, incorporeal, as he’d just reminded her, sending her screaming in terror from the bathing room; and then in her dreams, where he was about as corporeal as any man could get. Sara shivered despite the warmth of the room.
“It’s not a matter of refusing to leave; I’m not permitted to leave.”
“Well, why the hell not?” she grumbled. “Every other ghost leaves. They say a word or two, ask me to pass on a message, which I still refuse to do by the way, and they move on. So move on.”
“I can’t comply with your request. It’s not up to me; I’ve already said as much. Besides, do you really want me gone?”
Sara glanced over her shoulder in the general direction of the voice. “Don’t press your luck.”
“Why not? You like my luck, as you call it.” The low, suggestive whisper right beside her ear made Sara flinch, and not because he’d startled her again.
“Fucking horny ghost,” she muttered.
He laughed. As annoyed as she was with him, Sara couldn’t suppress a grin. Yes, he was a horny son of a bitch, but her dreams since he’d arrived, oh my god, they’d been scorching. Last night’s encounter still lingered in both her mind and body.
“So what’s holy shit?”
“Huh?” Sara gave herself a mental shake.
“You heard me.”
She could almost visualize him rolling his eyes and a corner of her mouth twitched. “You’re awfully nosy for an incorporeal being.” Sara sighed. “All right, I’ll tell you, but chances are you won’t understand what I’m talking about.”
“I don’t understand half of what you talk about, Sara. I’m just curious, that’s all.”
“Right.” Sara snorted. “You’re such a bossy ghost I keep forgetting how truly impotent you are.”
“Impotent?”
Oh, I hit the mark with that jab.
He roared at her. “Impotent, you say? Wait until you fall asleep, woman, and I’ll show you impotent!”
Choking back her laughter, Sara managed to ask, “Is that a threat or a promise?”
“Both.” He purred, and that one word sent Sara spiraling back into her dream.
“Enough. I have work to do. I’ve been asked to pick someone up at the airport on Friday.” Sara studied her calendar. “I’ve got a meeting scheduled that day, but I might be able to switch it.”
“So this is your holy shit, a trip to the airport?”
“Yup.” Sara couldn’t help it. She smiled and her smile felt a little smug, even to her. “I’m picking up a publisher.”
For a few seconds, there was complete silence in the kitchen. The lack of conversation surprised her. Sara had grown accustomed to his constant presence, even though he annoyed the hell out of her during her waking hours. She looked around the kitchen, scanning for his outline.
“So someone is finally interested in your ghost stories, eh?”
“Where’d you go?”
“I’m over here, on the couch.”
“You know, I really hate it when you move around like this. I like to know where you are. Can’t you wear bells or something?”
He snorted. “It’s just as tiresome for me to stand in one place as it is for you. At least you can get out. I’m trapped in this damn house, haunting you until, well, until I’m not haunting you.”
Sara rose from her chair and stretched. “I don’t know if she’s interested in my ghost stories, as you call them. I’ll see.” She filled the tea kettle with cold water and set it onto one of the gas burners. “I know it bothers you, but I’m going to make some coffee.”
“Would you mind having tea instead?”
“But I’m craving coffee and I’ve barely been able to use my new French press since you showed up.”
“You can buy coffee anytime you want at that Starbucks place. I hate it when you make coffee. It’s downright cruel. I may not be able to drink it, but it smells so good. We didn’t have coffee when I was…”
Sara interrupted. “But it’s my house and I want coffee. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“Is that so?”
The voice was right at her neck again and Sara shivered. She swore she could feel the warmth of his breath against her skin, but she knew damn well ghosts didn’t breathe.
“It seems to me you slept very well.”
Sara turned around to face the ghost, despite the fact that she couldn’t see him. “Stop with the innuendos. You’re not being fair. I can’t help what I dream.”
“Yes you can. You choose to dream of me.”
“I do not. You enter my dreams uninvited.” Yeah right. He spoke the truth and she knew it.
“But not unwelcome, I should say.”
Sara turned the gas burner on. “At least I don’t have to worry about birth control in a dream,” she muttered.
“What was that?”
“I’m getting out the coffee grinder so you might want to make yourself scarce.” Ignoring his question, Sara pulled a bag of extra-bold Ethiopian coffee out of her freezer. She waved it in the air. “See? Pretend this is garlic. Be gone. I have work to do, I want a couple cups of coffee, and then I’m going for a hike. You skedaddle, you ghost.”
He snorted. She heard him say, “Garlic is for vampires,” and then the voice was gone.

Oh, a snarky ghost, is he? Now, listen you. *pokes ghost*

*smiles* I snark with the best of them, welcome to the party!

Julia’s story Incorporeal, if you’d like to check it out, is available at Amazon.

author Julia Rachel Barrett

Julia Rachel Barrett

Bio- Julia Barrett

If one word describes me, it’s eclectic.  Or so my friends say.  I’m a lover of books, poetry, art, history, baseball, barbecue, chocolate, coffee, children, animals and the great outdoors.  I’m a hospice nurse as well as a writer, but I got my first job at the age of twelve so believe me when I tell you if my heroines are doing it, I’ve probably done it.  At the heart of every one of my stories is a real life event.  (Even in Captured!)

If I was pressed to brand my romances, I guess I’d say I write romance for the thinking woman.  Or I try.  I layer my stories with meaning – I have fun, yes, but I draw on my literary background and I love nothing more than to sprinkle a special pixie dust composed of one part mythos, one part symbolism.  I’m quite fond of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung.

Family is everything to me.  I keep my kids private, but my mom and dad and my poor husband are occasionally fair game!  And I talk about my German shepherd, Jake, all the time.

Please feel free to visit my webpage, my author page on Amazon, or chat with me on Twitter!

Halloween Castle open for business.

afternoonteatag*Mistress turns locks and peeks out* Full moon, check, werewolves, check. Minions have the torture chamber and guard tower all decked out. Check. Oh! Look. A hearse or two. Looks like the guests are arriving. Good! Welcome, everyone, to my humble castle. I’m glad you could make it. We do so look forward to opening up the castle to new victim—er, guests this time of year. I’m sure the graveyard will stay quiet this year. We’ve brought in a voodoo priestess or two just to make sure Doctor Helsing stays where he belongs.

Juli: *We hope, anyway. Turns out we’re already besieged by gremlins.*

*Mistress looks at Minion* What was that, Juli my dear?

I was apologizing for letting our first guest out of her cage early. Sorry to interrupt.

*Mistress leans against door jamb and shakes head at first guest* Aw, well. There’s nothing wrong with that. :) Clarissa’s welcome any time.

*Juli*: Very true. *Aside* Night mistress needs all the friends she can get.

Mistress: You’re mumbling again, dear. Don’t mind her, my dears. Good minions are so hard to find. The beating will take place after the close of festivities, tonight. Never mind. We have a bevy of talented guests for your reading pleasure this year—from  the steamy to the macabre. Our guests include:

√Paranormal fiction author Clarissa Johal

√Romance/new adult author Julia Rachel Barrett

√Paranormal romance author Dylan Newton

√Historical romance and fantasy author S.G. Rogers

√Paranormal Romance author L.A. Kelley

√Paranormal horror author Geoff Wakeling

Paranormal erotic romance author Eliza March

Paranormal/western  romance author Loretta C. Rogers

New Adult Paranormal author Brandy Nacole

Other invited authors include

Paranormal romance (zombies!) author Renee Charles

Do come in and make yourselves comfortable. Minions are laying out brew and sweetmeats as we speak. So come, welcome to Halloween at our castle.

Making a date–September 29

I keep missing these Sneak Peek Sundays, but not this time! Here’s my sneak peek for PASSION’S SACRED DANCE for this Sunday:

Passion's Sacred Dance

Stacy’s gaze went to Aaron’s, and butterflies dashed around in her stomach. A vision flashed before her of how his eyes might look glazed over in passion. “Maybe we should go.” She cleared her throat, stood and moved to the filing cabinet, changed her mind and went to the
desk again.
The fabled diary! She was beside herself with excitement. She’d have the diary. What a month this
was turning out to be. “When can we meet him?”
Aaron came forward and ran a finger over the calendar’s slots. “How about tomorrow morning?”
“Yes.” She nodded emphatically. “Perfect. Nineish?”
“Tomorrow it is.” He nodded and turned toward the door.
The thrill of this discovery overwhelmed her. An urge to kiss him in thanks struck her hard in the chest. “Aaron?”
He met her gaze, waiting.
Her brain screamed, halt! She wanted to touch him at least. Her fingers twitched. She stepped back.
She just couldn’t. “I’ll see you at nine.”
He turned away with a knowing glint in his eyes.
She was such a fool.

****

Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise–but can she trust him?

Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help–even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron’s budding love might only complicate things.

If you’d like to get a copy from Amazon and Amazon.uk:)

Chivalry or something more…

Romance author Jenna Jaxson came up with something to fill the (hopefully temporary) void of Sweet Saturday Samples–which I do miss along with its illustrious creator J. Gunnar Grey (I hope everything’s peachy for you, dear!) In the meantime, Jenna suggested Sweet Nothings, so for this week, here’s a tidbit of PASSION’S SACRED DANCE.

My heroine Stacy is having a really bad day when a handsome, mysterious, new friend steps in to save her from disrupting the peace of her gallery with a fist fight with a very strange foe:

Passion's Sacred Dance


cover art by Kim Mendoza

Aaron turned to face her. “This should never have happened,” he said. “Forgive me, Stacy.”
Surprised to see his medallion glowing with a soft golden light and his eyes an unearthly shade of green, Stacy gasped. She stepped back only to be jostled aside as the patrons slowly filed into the parking lot.
Wondering why the woman threatened her and why Aaron felt the need to rescue her, Stacy bent to pick up a broken glass—what had once been the discarded dishes before the fight started.
What was going on? Why was Aaron Fielding even here? A second more and she would’ve shoved the woman into her security guards’ hands.
“Thanks, but I didn’t need your help,” she said.
Peering through the crowd pushing through the back door, she could just make out the flutter of Miss Silver Eyes’ skirt. “What was that woman on?”
“Better to ask what she is,” Aaron said. Then he shook his head. “No. You don’t want to know. We were lax in our vigilance, and this intrusion never should’ve been allowed.”
His gaze came back to hers as the door shut behind the last patron. The glow in his eyes was gone. Had she hallucinated?
“I give you my solemn vow that I’ll do everything in my power to see it doesn’t happen again.”
“Do you?” She stood, glaring at him. “And who are you?”
“Is that truly important?”
She had a sneaking suspicion she knew the answer, but wanted his confirmation. She’d heard fables all her life about women and fated love with mystery men.
Was the tale just the stuff of silly bedtime stories? Was Aaron merely defending her from an attacker as any gentleman might? Or did his purpose spring from something other than chivalry?

Passion’s Sacred Dance

Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise–but can she trust him?

Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help–even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron’s budding love might only complicate things.

***

As usual, the book is available at Amazon should you like to see more.

See Jenna’s post for more samples a great tidbit (It really is sweet, folks!) from her novel Betrothal, Book 1: Time Enough To Love.

Love in a letter–Passion’s Sacred Dance

Passion's Sacred Dance

cover art by Kim Mendoza

Okay, there’s a reason for the silly post title of this Sweet Saturday Sample/Sunday Snippet. In this scene  from my new book, Passion’s Sacred Dance, Aaron’s just turned over a note to Stacy which will change everything. (It’s a little longer than the customary six paragraph but…I hope you will find it intriguing…)

 

[Stacy] unfolded the paper, and her breath stopped when she read the words written there in black ink.

Ms. Macken,
I have something you might be interested in. A rare diary in your ancestor’s handwriting.
Should you be interested, tell Mr. Fielding. I’ll unlock my vaults for you.
D. McDunn
“McDunn? Who’s McDunn? What is this?”

“A private collector. According to our last chat, he sounded fairly adamant that you should have the diary.”

“Someone local?” she asked.

Aaron nodded.

“Do you know how much he’s asking for it? We’re a little low on cash.”

“He didn’t discuss figures. It can’t hurt to ask.”

She thought a moment. Depending on varying factors, old diaries could be very inexpensive, or priceless. Which category would this fall into? “I just don’t know.”

“What’s the harm in taking a look?”

An interesting question. She wondered why he cared whether or not she saw the thing. If he really was a harshad warrior, and if the diary could stop the war, why didn’t he just present it to their leaders and be done with it? And leave me out of it.

****

If you’d like to find out more, to read more of Passion’s Sacred Dance it’s available at Amazon.

For more Sweet Saturday Samples see: http://sweetsatsample.wordpress.com/

For More Sneak Peek Sunday entries see: http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/