Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Burning Truth Blog Tour By Joyce Proell. Guest Post, Excerpt and Review. Plus a Giveaway!



SHORT BLURB:
There’s no shortage of deadly deeds in 1881 Chicago as school administrator Cady Delafield and entrepreneur Doyle Flanagan plan their wedding. When one of Doyle’s workers is brutally killed he must use his considerable power to stop a mysterious enemy bent on destroying his reputation and business empire. But as Cady and Doyle struggle to keep their marriage on track, the murder victims might not be the only casualties.


BUY LINKS:
The Champagne Books link to buy her book is broken, 
but here's her author page: http://www.champagnebooks.com/joyceproell.htm



BIO and CONTACT LINKS 
Joyce grew up in Minnesota and attended college and grad school in Chicago. After working in mental health, she retired at a young age to write full-time. Her first book, Eliza, was published in 2012.  A Burning Truth is the second in the Cady Delafield series. When she isn’t writing mysteries or historical romances, she loves to travel, walk, read, and do crossword puzzles. She and her husband make their home in rural Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie.

Visit her website at www.joyceproell.com or at www.facebook.com/AuthorJoyceProell


Excerpt 
April, 1881
 “Why, it’s outrageous!” Cady Delafield said with a laugh.
In the soft glow of the carriage lantern, she glittered in the familiar way which delighted Doyle to his very core. He’d missed seeing her bright smiles and playful attitude absent these past few weeks.
“It’s almost midnight,” she added and crimped her mouth in mock disapproval, but failed to mask her teasing. “Surely, Mr. Flanagan, you aren’t serious about traipsing about in a lumber yard near the docks at this time of night?”
“It’ll only take a minute.” Happiness strummed through his body with each hopeful sign of her recovery from the recent tragic events. She was plucky, determined and stubborn. But the death of three women and seeing a man blow his head off left a person altered. He knew this for a fact. He’d watched the man pull the trigger too.
“Besides.” He dropped a hand over his chest affecting a bit of melodrama. “Aren’t you the least bit curious to see where the master potentate, the supreme leader, the Great Poohbah—”
“Oh, please.” She thrust up a palm forestalling any more joking. “Great Poohbah, indeed!”

He chuckled and angled his long legs on the carriage seat so his knee leaned against hers. It struck him as unbelievable he’d known her only five weeks. Time enough to fall in love and fall he did with both feet crashing through the floor. His familiarity and ease with her made it seem as if they’d been the best of friends since childhood. Soon, when he believed the horrific events were behind them, when she no longer complained of nightmares or jarring flashbacks, when the world was again solid beneath her feet, he’d propose marriage. The notion made him smile.


Author Joyce Proell’s guest post

Hi everybody. I’m so excited to celebrate the release of A Burning Truth with you today. The book is the second in a new series and follows the trials and growing love between Cady Delafield and Doyle Flanagan. The story starts a few weeks after they find a killer in A Deadly Truth. The bad news is it forces Doyle and Cady once again into some ugly situations. For Cady, who has yet to recover from the grisly antics of a madman, this gives her reason to wonder about a future with Doyle.

Here’s an excerpt: 
Why was it, dear God that murder followed in Doyle’s footsteps? She loved him, but would they be forever battered by tragedy? Ever since the deaths of Villard and the three women, she’d been plagued with irritability and nightmares. She was jumpy and not at all her old self. How unfortunate that another murder should occur when she was not yet fully recovered from the first onslaught of misfortune. She doubted her frayed being could withstand another siege. As if she might chase away the ugly images of death, she waved a hand before her face. Still, the horrifying images came unbidden and destroyed all good feeling.
As if PTSD symptoms weren’t bad enough, Cady worries that Doyle’s strong personality will constantly clash with her need for independence. If she marries him, will their relationship become as combative as her grandparents, or will she fashion herself after her passive mother, a woman so meek she constantly stood in her husband’s shadow?
This next excerpt takes places after Doyle learns Cady has invited a fiery union organizer and one of Doyle’s foes to speak at her school. 
“Oh, Doyle, nobody who knows you would consider such a failing. You are one of the bravest men I know.”
He tilted his head his mouth set in a grim line. “You know many men, Cady?”
Her mouth pinched and she prayed for patience in the face of his testy mood. “If you think there might be trouble why not send word to the police? Perhaps they can…” She scraped her upper teeth over her bottom lip aware of his great dislike for the force. “Perhaps—”
“You honestly think the police will do their duty and protect my property?”
She’d never known him to be so cutting. Her shoulders drew back in defense. “Yes. Middendorf won’t shirk…” As soon as the words flew out, she knew she made a mistake.
Doyle slapped his hands on his thighs. His mouth hitched at the corners.
“Do you find my suggestions amusing?” Her voice elevated as did her annoyance.
“I’m grateful I can still laugh,” he admitted. A second later, his mouth thinned.
They sat in silence. He studied a seam in his trousers. She stared out the window, saw the baby grand in Bauer’s Piano Emporium and next door to the store, the sign for Sharp & Smith, Surgical Instruments and Artificial Limbs. When they turned onto Clark Street, she frowned and said, “Where are we going?”
“I’m taking you home.”
“Home? Aren’t you being rather presumptuous?”
He appeared genuinely puzzled.
“You make a decision without even asking me what I’d like to do. Maybe I planned to go back to the school.”
“Since it’s late in the day, I assumed you’d want to go home. Was I right?”
“That’s not the point.” And yes, he was correct. But would he always take charge without regard for her input? The metaphorical yoke about her neck grew smaller. She fiddled with her collar not liking the heaviness of the burden one bit.
He bent forward in a mocking bow. “My apologies for assuming…”
She clenched her jaw which prevented her making foolish or incendiary comments although she very much wanted to say something nasty. In fact, she wanted an explosion, right here and now, in the carriage. She wanted to blow everything apart.
Can Cady work through her doubts to marry the man she loves? Read A Burning Truth and find out.
Happy reading!
Joyce

5 Star Review

I received this book from the touring host for an honest review.

A Burning Truth, Book 2 in the Cady Delafield Mystery Series. I must say I really liked this book and series and hopefully it will continue with Cady and Doyle whose characters are fascinating, ever growing to make this a wonderful book. 

The book continued with these two lovers as more mystery and mayhem followed them during the 1880 in Chicago, ten years after the great fire that wrecked the city. This time, with all the murder and deceit going on around them the focus was more on the relationship between this couple than in Book 1.  I would recommend that you read Book 1 first in order to understand the complexities and thinking of both characters and how they met. 

With the one a traditionalist and the other progressive in their thinking; will they find a common ground? That remains to be seen, maybe book 3. Dare I hope **smile**.
Their characters were both strong willed, independent in their ways with Cady testing Doyle's resolve at every chance she could get. Always risking her own safety without thinking which had Doyle in up and arms more often then what he would have liked. Making this a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed. 
The believable relationship allowed you to relate with both. Cady's growing stubbornness to be her own woman, making her own mark in the world while doing what she loved; helping people was the center of the plot. Doyle stubborn, bossy, protector and hopelessly in love with Cady was more then once tested with her antics. Both had to come to a place where they were willing to compromise in order for them to be more then a couple. What I like most in this book was the attraction they felt for each other that made for some heated moments although they never went to far but you could feel the sizzling temperature rising between them with each encounter.

With the rising tension of workers and the growing union during this time; murder was once again the topic that brought Middendorf back into the story. Obnoxious pompous ass...sorry **smile**. His character was well defined and I for one didn't like the man's attitude, but it did make him a brilliant character for the role he'd played. Finding clues seemed not to be on his list as he continued thinking that Doyle was the villain in it all. Not willing to let go of his arrogant ways. Leaving Doyle to fend for himself, seeking the culprits who wanted to destroy him and his hard work that leads to some interesting scenes and supporting characters. Making the plot intriguing and colorful.

The relationship between Ophelia and Cady also had more prominence as their battle continues and you couldn't help but see the similarities between these two women as the story unfolded.  So a like but yet so far apart in their ways but when they finally sat down and talked I was surprised with the turn of events.
Again one of her family was in danger but this time Cady refused to get involved informing them that their choices would lead to heart ache; as with Grace in Book 1 where she saw the devastation her interference caused. But that didn't stop her to unmask the villain in any case, she just changed her tactics. Clever woman this one. Even struggling with the after effects from the previous murders it didn't cause her to back down and take it easier. 

A great story that I refused to put down and hopefully you would agree with me. I am looking forward to learn more about this couple and how they would resolve their differences amidst life and its many curve balls.
Were there a happy ending? Yes, but it did leave some questions prompting me to believe that is wasn't over...I hope... fingers cross. 
Thanks for a great read.

Review for A Deadly Truth can be seen HERE



Giveaway Information
$10 Amazon Gift Card





Friday, February 21, 2014

Married to the Job Blog Tour By Cynthia Racette. Plus an excerpt from her new book and Giveaway.


Blurb:
Astrophysicist Dr. Miranda Perry is happily ensconced at Palomar Observatory. She rarely goes out because she spends so much time searching for new planets. Her job is everything to her. When sexy, smart, and suave particle physicist Dr. Russell Rogers visits Palomar to give a seminar on the popular Higgs Boson, he blows her world apart, planets and all.
It’s love at first sight for Russ, and he convinces Miranda to go out with him. In the short time they have together, sparks fly and sexual tension magnifies by powers of ten.
After Russ returns to his job in Boston, the two arrange hectic, emotional- and sex-filled moments, but the liaisons in the Midwest don’t cut it and a choice must be made. With each of them committed to prestigious jobs on opposite sides of the country, who will move to be with the other? Or, will they give up on their relationship because each is married to the job?

Short 50 Word Blurb:
Two prominent scientists living on opposite sides of the country fall in love at a seminar and must make a harsh decision. Leave his/her prestigious position, giving up crucial experience and notoriety for their love, or let their love perish in the heat of scientific discovery.



Buy Links:



Bio: 

Cynthia is a New York native, currently living in Western New York. She and her hubby moved from the capital area in Albany to be near their grandchildren, one, five, and six. They are adorable, much more adorable than other grandchildren. She is retired, except for her writing, but she still writes prolifically. She is one of those weird people who has always been a writer, long before she thought of it as a job. When not writing, she is reading, traveling (especially south in winter), and swimming in her pool with her grandbabies.

Contact Links:

Email--  cracette5@gmail.com




Excerpt

“I know we just met, but I want to kiss you,” he murmured, his nose in her hair. “There’s a dark corner over there. Come on.”
She shivered at his words, eager to feel his lips on hers. It seemed as if she’d waited forever for that touch even though it had only been a few hours since they met.
He led her across the floor to a dim space around the end of the bar. Pressing her into the corner, he brought his mouth down to hers, gently at first and then with more firmness. His arms closed around her waist and pulled her to him. Her body responded to the pressure of his, contouring itself around his shape. He nibbled on her neck for a few moments and then he brought his lips back to hers, insistently persuading hers to open widely in passion. Soon, they were both plunging their tongues into each other’s mouths, angling their heads for better access, frantic to get as close to each other as they could.
Heavy breathing filled the small space, and it emanated from both sides. This is so not good. She wanted to eat him alive, but they were in a public restaurant, and, if they didn’t restrain themselves soon, people would start to notice. If they hadn’t already. She stepped back, breaking his hold, and hating to lose his warmth, but they she knew they had to stop.
Slowly, as she dragged her lips from his, then leaned her forehead against his chest, she tried to calm her breathing and her heart. His lips touched her hair and then he set his cheek on top of her head. Finally, their breathing almost back to normal, they broke apart and drifted back to their chairs. She glanced around. No one appeared to be looking at them. She didn’t really care what other people thought, but still, she didn’t want to create a spectacle.
“I suppose I should apologize for that,” he said quietly as he pulled his chair in. “Except I’m not sorry about what happened at all.



Link to tourhttp://wp.me/p3SVfE-oJ

Giveaway Information – 
The author is giving away one ebook copy from her backlist 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Professor’s Plaything Review Tour Normandie Alleman. Enter to win a $75 Amazon Gift Card



Synopsis –

She’ll loosen him up, and he’ll tie her down.
Twenty-one year old Colette Ellis has done plenty of daydreaming about Professor John McGill, but after a spur-of-the-moment decision to seduce him in his office turns her fantasies into reality, she is left longing for more.

She soon learns that this handsome academic can be as firm as he is passionate, and when her bratty behavior earns her a sound spanking she sees a side of him she never expected. Before she knows it, the beautiful young woman finds herself tied up at his mercy, naked, exposed, and more aroused than she could have ever imagined. As she grows closer to him, she cannot help but wonder how long this can last. Could John come to see her as more than just a naughty coed?

John has never fallen for a student… until now. There is something different about Colette, something that brings him alive in a way he has never felt before. Can he dare to hope that she is  after more than just a fling?

Buy Links






Excerpt 1
She struggled to shake him off. “What are you doing?”
Planting one foot on the step above, he turned her over his knee and held her there with strong arms.
Colette screeched. “Stop! No!”
“I’m giving you that spanking you deserve,” he said through gritted teeth.
“No-ho-ho!” she protested.
The palm of his hand landed on the edge of her ass. Thankfully, she wore a one-piece outfit that protected her doomed bottom. But it didn’t matter, because he just pushed the fabric aside, exposing her cheek and slapped the only place not covered by her romper.
She couldn’t believe he’d thrown her over his lap outside of her apartment. What if someone walked by? She’d die of embarrassment.
Suddenly his hand electrified her skin, and she forgot all about the neighbors. The blows stung, and then a dull pain mixed with the sting as he swatted her again and again. Yet with each jolt of pain, a slight thrill zipped through her.
The scent of his leather shoes filled her nostrils. Her vision seemed clearer as each blow sounded out like a clap of thunder. Fear and uncertainty bubbled up inside her, and she fought back tears. He would stop soon. He didn’t really want to hurt her, did he?
She wanted it to stop, but in a deep corner in the back of her mind, there was something about him spanking her that felt satisfying. Was it the excitement of being manhandled? Or was it the magnetic attraction to a man strong enough to correct her?
If she was honest with herself, she admitted she deserved a punishment. She had been a bad girl—in several ways. First, she had seduced him, and then she’d been testing his patience in the car. There was something almost magical about being punished for it.
Without warning—he stopped.
Her ass cheeks burned, but John smoothed firm hands over them, tenderly caressing where he’d swatted her only moments ago. His touch soothed her aching skin, and she luxuriated in the attention, like a cat in a sun-drenched windowsill.
“Sit up,” he ordered.
Gingerly, she rearranged her clothes and sat next to him.





Author Bio 
A former psychologist, Normandie has always been fascinated by human behavior. She loves writing quirky characters that are all too human. “I’m interested in the kind of relationships people have in real life. So I write about my characters’ messy, unpredictable, and inexplicable journeys to love.”
If there were another 5 hours in the day, Normandie would spend more time needle-pointing and playing with photography. Instead, she’s a Pinterest and Twitter addict who loves sports and the color pink. She lives on a farm with her husband, a passel of children, and a pet pig who’s crazy for red bull.
Twitter at @NormandieA | Pinterest | Facebook | Website  

My 5 Star Review
I received the book from the touring host for an honest review.
This is my second book from the same author and again I was delighted with her work. Her easy writing style and story telling had me glued to the book from page one. 
 The Professor's Plaything is a short story that had everything within such a few pages. The sex was great, the plot creative and the characters believable and interesting. It was filled with human emotions and strong characters as two people meet rather unusually. 
Collette had a dream, to graduate as a Psychologist, but her years of taking it easy in college has backfired against her and she had to make a plan, fast. Doing the most unlikeliest thing, she found herself quickly in a position where she was spanked, cuffed and bounded. She also realized that she'd more career options that broaden her horizon more than she'd believed at first.
Professor John McGill was a hardworking man that never had any pleasures, but he'd fantasied about many things he could never do to the stereotypical women he dated before. When he met Collette, his dreams became reality and he could live out the fantasies he'd with her. 
It is a story of finding yourself, breaking the stereotypical thinking and taking a chance on love while you're thoroughly entertained with their sex exploits. Finding each other, they became each others instruments of pleasure. In the beginning the sex was just that; sex; mechanical but as the story progressed it became more than just sex as the characters bonded.
Giveaway Information - $75 Amazon Gift Card 



Link to tour –

February 4

February 5

February 6

February 7

February 10

February 12

February 14

February 19


February 20

February 21



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cover reveal for The Irish Trilogy by Kemberlee Shortland plus excerpts from each book.


RHYTHM OF MY HEART
Irish Pride series, book one

Cover design by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs 

BLURB

Artist Representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.

Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.

When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.

Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.

Will Kieran be able to protect her?


EXTRACT

Dublin's Northside looked far different by day than it did at night. Last night’s storm had been one of the season’s worst. Huge puddles hampered traffic, and trash had collected in the corners of doorways and blocked the gutters. The lingering breeze was still crisp and signaled the imminent winter. Wisps of dark clouds streaked the pale blue sky but remained reminiscent of last night’s tempest.

As the taxi drove through Dublin’s inner city, a blur of tacky euro shops, shoddy newsagents and off-licenses, all with shop fronts that had seen better days, flashed by.

Finglas wasn’t noted as one of Dublin’s prime locations. This was a large blue collar suburb in a rapidly expanding city. Lack in a pride of ownership was evident, as residents struggled to make ends meet, which gave the area a rough underbelly. The Little Man Pub was a perfect example of both.

Eilis wrapped her arms around her middle, instinctively protective. Was this the compromise she must face to get where she wanted?

When the taxi slowed at a junction, she pressed herself back in her seat. A group of out-of-work young men sipping something from a paper bag spun their heads and looked at her.

Just this once, just this once, she chanted to herself.

Just this one trip to find Kieran Vaughan and that would be it. She’d never have to come back to this place ever again. She could stay safely tucked away in her D2 house for the rest of her days. She’d worked hard for that house. She deserved it. She deserved it all the more now by putting herself through this.

Long ago, Eilis had vowed never to set foot in the Northside again. But if it took this one last visit to get what she needed, it would be worth it.

The taxi pulled around the corner and the now familiar entrance to The Little Man Pub came into view. Nicotine-stained curtains were pulled across windows, reflecting the unkempt street. The façade’s red and black paint was weather-faded to pink and gray. The ‘M’ on the sign hung askew and swung in the breeze, and the ‘P’ was missing altogether. Had she not been here last night she would have thought the place was shut.

She pulled some money from her purse to hand to the driver. “I’ll wait fer ye, luv,” he said, waving her money away. “Taxis can be hard to come by ‘round here.”

Eilis was suitably taken aback. “Thank you. I won’t be a moment.”

She swallowed hard, got out of the taxi then entered the pub.

Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark room. The few men sitting around the bar turned their gazes in her direction. Understandably. A well-groomed businesswoman in the pub was surely a novelty. These men were long since retired, or long since employed. Their stubbled faces meant they hadn’t shaved in several days, or possibly weeks. The dim light hid the worst of their unkempt appearances, but nothing could disguise their unwashed clothes. A pong in the room wafted into her nostrils, causing her stomach to lurch again.

Shoulders back, she strode to the bar.

The same man from last night stood behind the counter. He was short and pudgy with missing front teeth. His disheveled appearance made him look like one of his patrons. Had he not been behind the counter she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

His striped brown and white shirt had frayed cuffs and was open to mid-chest, showing a sweat-stained t-shirt underneath. His brown trousers had seen much better days and were held together not with a button or belt, but with a bit of twine looping between his belt loops, his round belly spilling over. The only thing holding up the trousers was his equally round bum. It seemed to push the waistband up in the back as his belly pushed it down in the front. The sight would have been funny if her stomach hadn’t been flip-flopping.

Her voice cracked when she first spoke, but it picked up strength in her determination to make something of this horrid trek. “A-are you the proprietor?”

A broad gap-toothed grin creased the man’s face and, loud enough for his patrons to hear, he said, “I’ll be who ever ye want me to be, luv.”

His friends burst into laughter. Eilis felt the flush rise in her cheeks. Not because she was embarrassed, but from frustration. She just wanted to get this meeting over with and she wasn’t in the mood to spar.

She stood her ground. “I’m looking for the man who played guitar here last night. Kieran Vaughan. We have business. Will you please tell me where I can find him?” She looked the man in the eye, much as she could, considering she stood a good half-foot taller than him, even without her heels.

“No, miss, I doubt you have any business with himself. ‘Speshly a fine lass such as yerself. Now, if ye were to come home with a real man like meself, well . . .” He left the rest unsaid, the insinuation hanging in the air.

Her gaze never wavered as she stared the little man in the eye.

“Sir,” she smiled sweetly, honey dripping from her words. She leaned over the bar just enough to give him a glimpse of the swell of her breast through the opening of her blouse. “I doubt you have anything I would be interested in. Besides, you don’t really want me to find out why this place is called The Little Man, do you?”

This earned the publican long oohs and sniggers from the patrons, who were now on the edges of their seats waiting to hear the disagreeable little man's response.

Obviously taken aback by such a brazen retort, the man stood gaping and red-faced at her for a moment before he got his wits about him. He winked at the men around the bar. “Oy does like me birds feisty!” That only encouraged more laughter.

Eilis could have enjoyed the banter if only the man wasn’t so repulsive. All she wanted to do was meet Kieran Vaughan and get out of Finglas as quickly as possible.

When the laughing stopped, Eilis’s gaze never wavered as she said, “Well?”

“Well what, loov?” he asked, wiping the tears from his eyes with a dirty bar towel.

“Are you going to tell me where to find Kieran Vaughan?” He was trying her patience, but she did her best to keep the frustration out of her voice.

Then she sensed someone step up behind her and straightened instantly. Somehow she knew it was Kieran. The feral scent of him permeated her senses and quickened her pulse. Butterflies replaced the strange ache in her stomach that had been there just moments before.

She slowly turned and looked up at the most handsome man she’d ever seen in her life. She found herself instantly speechless.

She'd seen him on stage the night before and knew he was handsome. But this close up . . . Never before had she seen such blue eyes. As she gazed into them, they changed from the light steel blue to the color of storm clouds heavily ringed with gunmetal. That he had dark brows and thick lashes only made his gaze seem more intense.

“Ye’ve found him, loov,” said the little man, taunting her. “Now what are ye goin’ ta do with him?”

The hammering of her heart and the pulsing blood in her temples blocked out the noise in the room as she looked into Kieran Vaughan’s eyes. To her dismay, her knees actually quivered.

Something in the pit of her belly ached. No, something else. It was like warm melting honey running through her marrow. In that moment she longed to touch him, to brush the unruly wave of his dark hair away from his face, to feel his lips against the pads of her fingers, to . . .

When he spoke she almost didn’t hear him.

“Like the man said, now that you’ve found me, what are you going to do with me?” His eyes sparkled with unabashed mischief.

“Anything you want me to.”





A PIECE OF MY HEART
Irish Pride series, book two


Cover design by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs 


BLURB

Mick and Kate thought they were falling in love. Kate hadn't been just the girl next door. She'd been Mick's life, and he hers. When an unforeseen force draws them apart they're left with wounds that refuse to heal. Now, ten years on, Mick's father's will should have been straightforward, except his addendum was like ice water in Mick's face.

It's essential that Mick and Kate work together to save his family's farm. Mick doesn't count on his new manager being accused of murder, and Kate doesn't expect a dangerously seductive woman from Dublin to claim Mick is the father of her child.

Kate thought she was falling in love with Mick all over again; however this newest revelation is too much for her. She is determined to finally say goodbye to her childhood sweetheart forever, but Mick has other plans for Kate's future. And none of them involve goodbye.


EXTRACT

“What are you doing here?”

“Nice to see you too, Mick.” She opened one eye to look at him.

He stood just inside the solicitor’s office door. He’d expected Kate at the funeral service yesterday, but he couldn’t see any reason for her to be here today.

He scowled in her direction, then strode to reception. The clerk behind the desk turned a harried glance his way, continuing to sort folders beside her computer. “Can I help you?” she asked, not bothering to stop what she was doing.

“Michael Spillane to see Tighe Lynch,” he grumbled.

Finally looking up, the clerk said, “He’s expecting you. I’ll let him know you’re here.”

As the clerk reached for the intercom, he turned back to Kate. If this hadn’t been his father’s solicitor’s office and if today hadn’t been the reading of his father’s will, he would have appreciated the sight of her in her smart dark blue suit, white blouse with the Irish lace trim, and matching blue pumps. She sat calmly, her head against the wall behind her, eyes closed. She bent her shapely legs under her and crossed them at the ankle, her hands folded in her lap.

Her emerald eyes hid beneath lids edged with thick dark lashes. He knew the exact shade of them since he’d looked into them so often in the past. They were eyes no man could forget.

Her normally unruly black hair was pulled back in a twist and away from her heart shaped face.

When they were kids he used to love it when she left her hair down. The tight curls of it bounced over her shoulders like springs when she ran. He’d seen her like that once last year when he’d been home for a couple days during Christmas.

They’d been invited to join the Conneelys, but he’d convinced his father not to go. He couldn’t bear being in the same room with her for so long, but she’d delivered food and he’d suffered anyway.

He recalled how he’d stiffened just watching her walk across the farmyard. As he did now. He mentally shook himself. This wasn’t the time or place to get an erection. The business at hand was the will and what she was doing here now. Not the fact that just looking at her could make him stiff.

Clearing his throat, he repeated, “You didn’t answer my question. What are you doing here?”

Her eyes fluttered open. The look she gave him made his heart skip a beat. His groin tightened again watching her tongue smooth its way over her lips. She had no idea just how erotic that simple act was. She was about to speak when a door opened behind him. Both of them spun to face Tighe Lynch.

“Mickleen,” Tighe exclaimed, using the common endearment and thrusting his hand into his. “Welcome home, lad. I just wish it were under different circumstances. I can’t tell you how much Donal will be missed.”

Mick could only tip his head at the man’s kindness. Words were still too hard to come by.

Tighe grasped Kate by her shoulders as she stood to greet him and kissed her on both cheeks. “Kate. Lovely as ever. Won’t you both step into my office?”

Not one to stand on ceremony, Mick strode through the door ahead of Kate and Tighe and went right into the solicitor’s office. He knew where it was. Was it really only a little more than two years ago he’d been here to discuss his mother’s will?

His scowl deepened when Kate walked through the office door ahead of Tighe. He got the perfect look at her shapely bum as she was forced to step between him and the desk to the seat beside him. He shifted in his seat, crossing his legs and pulling his coat around him to hide his erection. He kept his mind on wondering why she was at the reading of his father’s will to keep his libido under control.

Surely, she’d earned a regular wage for the time she spent cleaning his father’s house and cooking his meals. She was hired help and would have been paid accordingly. So there should be no reason why she should be here today. Unless there was something the solicitor knew and wasn’t telling them. Yet.

“I thought this was just a formality, Tighe. Why is she here?” He couldn’t even use her name. Just the feel of it in his mouth would leave him tongue-tied.

Tighe stopped him with an upheld hand. “If you’ll both bear with me, I will explain.” The solicitor turned to a folder on his desk and opened it, extracting two documents. Holding one before him, he said, “This is your father’s will, Michael. It’s all very straight forward. In it, the farm, the stock, the land—almost everything is left to you.”

“Almost?”

“We’ll get to that, lad,” Tighe said.

Tighe looked at Kate and held up the second document.

“This is the addendum to the will.”

“Addendum?” she asked.

“An addendum means that instead of making up a whole new will, Dad just changed it.” Mick, not looking at her, directed his statement to the solicitor and waited for the shoe to drop.

Leave it to his father to make this more difficult on him than it already was. Wasn’t it bad enough he couldn’t get rid of the tremendous feeling of guilt for not spending more time with him? He never wanted to believe—or admit—his father was that sick. Sure, Kate called him regularly with updates. He heard everything she’d said, but why the hell hadn’t he listened to her!

“Changed the will?” she asked. “Is that right, Mr. Lynch?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Tighe replied. “It means he added something into the original will.”

“When was this?” Mick asked.

“If you’ll allow me, I’ll read what Donal has bequeathed. If you have any questions we can go from there. Right?”

Both Mick and Kate nodded agreement. Tighe read the will as it stood and then the addendum. Mick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “That bastard!” he muttered. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the wide glares both Kate and Tighe gave him at the curse.

“Mr. Lynch.” Kate’s voice came on a whisper. “What does this mean? I don’t understand it.” Her eyes were big as she clutched the arms of her chair now, knuckles as white as her face. Gone was the cool Kate he’d seen in the waiting room. In a matter of minutes she’d gone from radiant to ashen. He was sure he wasn’t looking too good right about now either.

“Yes, can you explain it in plain English?” he asked. Why do will readings always have to be so damn dramatic?

“In plain English, your father left everything to you, Michael. However, the addendum states if you try to sell the farm, I have instructions to give everything to Kate.”




SHAPE OF MY HEART
Irish Pride series, book three


Cover design by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs -- 


BLURB

Gráinne has moved back to Dublin to get her life straightened out. She dreams of college and a better life. She’s working for her brother, Kieran, in his newly reopened pub, The Blues Tavern, but the money isn’t enough to support herself and pay tuition. Moonlighting at The Klub! as an exotic dancer seems to be her answer fast money.

John ‘JD’ Desmond is a detective working undercover in the Blues Tavern. The Klub!, owned by Jimmy Malloy, is being used as a drug front, headed by the notorious Taylor Wade. JD had intended to get Gráinne to snitch for him, but when he falls in love with her, things get complicated.

When Gráinne witnesses Jimmy’s murder, she and JD are forced to go on the run until Wade can be apprehended. Wade lives up to his nickname, The Hunter, and JD and Gráinne quickly find themselves at the end of a gun and running for their lives.


EXTRACT

Over the next couple hours JD tread lightly around Gráinne and peace settled between them. He hadn’t had the opportunity to talk to her again with the evening prep, but as he looked at his watch he knew her shift ended soon.

He’d tried almost every tactic he could think of to get her to reveal more about herself and he was getting anxious at her continued aloofness. He didn’t want to have to resort to seducing her. While the idea of getting her into bed was appealing, he just preferred to do it under other circumstances. He fancied her like hell, but he couldn’t let his libido get in the way of his job. She was his best hope at getting the information he desperately needed. So he’d have to resort to another tactic if he was going to get her to talk. Blackmail was one he was loath to use, but at this stage in the game, he had little choice.

There was a lull in the pub now that the afternoon crowds were gone and the evening prep had been done. If he was going to confront her, he had to do it now.

Gráinne stood at the end of the bar flipping through a magazine. The twinkling Christmas lights over the back bar shone on her dark hair. As she moved, the highlights reflected like electric current through the strands curling around her face. His heart thumped a little harder looking at her.

He reminded himself he wasn’t here to bartend. He was here to gather information. His future depended on it. He couldn’t afford another wasted day so it was now or never.

His pounding heart made it suddenly hard to breathe. He hated having to do this to her.

“Gráinne, can we talk?”

“Talk?” She put her magazine aside. “About what?”

“I think you know.” He locked gazes with her. He could tell she was nervous by the way she started fidgeting.

Then she turned away, refusing to look at him for longer than a millisecond. “My love life is none of your concern,” she told him, reminding him unnecessarily of their previous discussion.

“That’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Then I don’t know what you mean.” She spun on her heel, intent on leaving the bar area.

He grasped her arm. To his surprise, she didn’t struggle. But something odd happened as he loosened his grasp. He felt something powerful pass between them. His fingers tingled as he touched her. It radiated up his arm and shot through his body.

For the second time today, he felt himself stiffen, and wished that circumstances were different, that she was naked beneath him and gazing up at him with eyes he knew would undo him.

She glanced over her shoulder, but not directly at him. “Let me go.” Her barely audible words shook him back to the moment. It wasn’t a command, but he couldn’t help noticing her words were tinged with pleading.

“Will you stay to talk with me? I think this is important.” His own voice was softer now. When she relaxed he reluctantly released his hold. She kept her gaze averted, her arms folded protectively in front of her, refusing to look at him. He knew she was waiting for something, anything, to draw her away.

Reaching under the bar, he extracted the black plastic sack he’d brought in with him today. He knew the item inside would shatter any peace he hoped to make with her.
He looked at the sack for a moment, thinking about what could never be between them. There was a job to be done and it didn’t include getting emotionally involved. He hoped the more he reminded himself of this fact he’d eventually come to believe it.

Sighing, he extracted a black velvet bra and held it up for her inspection. She only cast it a side-glance.

“I take it you know where I got this.”

“Anne Summers?”

“No.”

“Well then, I have no idea.”

He saw her swallow hard then move over to the taps to pour herself a cola. She swallowed deeply from the glass.

“I think you do. Let’s not . . . dance . . . around the subject, Gráinne. We both know where I got this, and I’d lay odds at Paddy Powers your brother doesn’t know what you’ve been up to.”

His heart ached as he forced himself to goad her.

The look she shot him would have incinerated the average man, but he wasn’t average. He was a man with a mission, and Gráinne was the only one who could help him.

“By that look, I’d say I’ve hit the nail on the head.”

“So, what of it.”


“Why haven’t you told Kieran?” he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

“I somehow doubt he’d understand why I’m . . . moonlighting.”

JD chuckled lightly. “Moonlighting? Is that what they’re calling it these days?”

“Just stop. What do you want from me? Not that it’s any of your business what I do on my own time.”

“I need your help.”

A single brow arched over her eye. “With what? Wait, let me guess,” she seethed, throwing her hands on her hips. “You want a private show. Or you want me to entertain some friends. And you’re going to use this,” she fingered the bra he still held in his hand, “as a bribe to get me to do it for free.”

“Not quite. While I wouldn’t mind a private show, it’s not entertainment I’m looking for.”

“What’s this?” Kieran suddenly appeared behind the bar, startling them both. JD saw Gráinne’s face go pale, and thought she would faint then and there.



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