Monday, November 23, 2015

Indirect Lines

Halle Shifters Book 5
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Novel
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61923-364-5
Release Date: December 1, 2015

There’s only one way to win this game: break the rules.

James “Barney” Barnwell is losing his ever-loving mind. Between the threat to the white shifters and a riddle he’s been ordered to solve, he can actually go for ten whole minutes without thinking about Heather, the woman destined to be his mate.

As much as he burns to get the redhead under him, the safest place for her is far away from him. If the bad guys catch the barest hint of her scent on his skin, she’ll become a target.

The way Heather sees it, the quicker she helps the stubborn Bear solve the riddle, the quicker he’ll bite her—literally. But when she’s hurt while protecting her cousin from an attack, she finds herself right where Barney never wanted her: smack dab in the middle of the investigation.

Like it or not, Barney is forced to bring her fully into his crazy world. With his mate’s life in his hands, he’s in a race against time to solve this maddening riddle before the enemy discovers that the Hunter has finally been caught by love.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, lots of questions and maybe even some answers. Remember: Fox holds the key.

She was so busy thinking she missed the curb. Down she went, scraping her knee and her hand. The box of needles rolled to the middle of the street and almost got run over.

Heather pulled herself to her feet, limping after the box. She hissed as she picked it up. Geez. She was going to get one hell of a ribbing when she got back and told them she’d tripped on air.

As she passed one of the stores she stopped to stare at her reflection in the window. Tilting her head at the image she made, she grimaced. Long red hair, messy from the summer breeze, blew past her pale face. Nondescript green eyes stared back. Her skin was so white it practically glowed, showing off her freckles. Her cut-off jean shorts and white tank top were nothing special, the Doc Martens on her feet worn and comfortable. Thanks to her tumble, she now had brand-new scuff marks on the toes.

No wonder Barney doesn’t want me. I look like any other campus kid running around Halle. I’m a complete mess. All I need is a backpack and the look would be perfect.

Halle was a college town, but it was also home to the Halle Puma Pride, led by the Cannons, Max and Emma. Because of that, the college was deemed a safe place to send shifter children for further education. It allowed shifters to leave their home territories and enter colleges that not only had the major they wanted to study but where their parents knew they’d be safe.

It hadn’t been so safe for her cousin Chloe, but Heather tried not to look back on the time Chloe was in the hospital, fighting for her life. She tried to focus on the fact that her cousin was alive and well, and back in school. Even better, Chloe had her mate, Jim Woods, cheering her all the way.

I wonder if Barney would cheer for me.

She squared her shoulders and glared at her reflection. Grunting in disgust, she moved on. She wasn’t going to change, not for her parents, and not for Barney. Nope. If anything about her changed it would be because she wanted it to.

Of course, there were a few things she’d like to change. Like her mated status. Watching her cousins getting all cozy with Glory and Tabby was driving her crazy. Meanwhile her mate kept her at a distance, refusing to acknowledge the pull at all unless it suited him. Hell, he’d ordered her to have nothing to do with some weird chick and her brother who were currently guarding Chloe and Jim. Why, she had no idea, but the fact that Barney had done so gave her hope. It was slim, barely breathing and crawling on all fours, but it was there.


She froze as a deep baritone washed over her, making her shudder in want. “Barney.” She turned to find him just behind her, his image towering over hers in the plate glass window.

He was the epitome of everything she’d been terrified of before she’d met him. Tall, blond, with shoulders as wide as a Mack truck, she should have been running for her life.

Instead, she wanted to climb him like a tree and plant a damn flag on his head that declared him hers.
“What are you doing?” He studied her with an amused smile. He always looked at her like she was something amusing. She had yet to see him looking at her with desire.

“Getting something for Cyn. You?”

His brows rose. “Nothing. Just out for a stroll.” He gestured toward the box. “Want me to carry that for you?”

“Pfft. It weighs maybe two pounds. I think I got it, Barney.”

He patted her on the head. “Of course you do. Hobbits are stronger than they seem.” He bowed and waved, his T-shirt stretching over his shoulders. “After you.”

“Oh no,” she replied. “Age before beauty.”

His brows rose, but he took the lead with a small laugh. “Do I need to tuck you under my arm?”

“Only if you want your ass bit,” she muttered, falling into place beside him with a wince. Damn, her knee hurt.

“Not in this lifetime.” He took a few larger steps, effectively putting her behind him. “Keep up, shorty. I’m on a timer here.”

“Really? I thought you were just out for a stroll.” She quickened her pace, taking two steps to his one to remain at his side. She clenched her hand, hissing when pain shot up her arm.

“You’re hurt.” Barney stopped and pulled her under the awning of one of the local businesses. He tugged her fingers open and glared at the bleeding scrape on her palm.

“I tripped crossing the street.” She showed him her scraped knee as the pain in her palm eased.

He hissed in sympathy. “That looks nasty.” He knelt in front of her, brushing his hand gently over her knee. To anyone else, it would look like he was brushing something off, but for her the soothing heat of his power washed over her, taking the pain away.

He’d healed her, using his Bear’s power to do so. As far as she knew, Barney never healed anyone. As he stood, he took her hand again, checking her palm once more.

She smiled at him, needing him to know that it meant something that he’d done for her what he’d done for no one else. “Thank you.”

Their gazes locked together, her hand still in his. The world around them went silent and still. His thumb caressed the skin of her palm, making her shiver with a desire so sudden she almost dropped to her knees. Only his hold on her kept her on her feet.

Barney slowly let go of her hand, bringing the world crashing down around her senses once more. “You’re welcome.”

Without another word he took the box and carried it to the front door of Cynful. He handed it over, nodded once, and was off to whatever it was Hunters did when they weren’t in their home territories.

Heather shook her head and carried the box into the shop. “I’m back…”

Monday, November 16, 2015

One of the Lovely Things About Being Over Forty

Yes, I've been sick. Yes, I've been a LOUSY blogger. But I haven't forgotten about blogging, I just haven't had the pain management or the energy levels to write something. Next week I'll post about my upcoming release, Indirect Lines, but for now I wanted to dip my toes back in the water with a short, funny bit that's been floating around in my head for a while now.

There are a few things they don't tell you when you're approaching the big four-oh, let alone what's going to happen to your body as you stumble your way through your forties. I'm forty-seven now, and I tremble in fear of what forty-eight has in store for me. This is just one of the lovely things about being over forty:

What Happened to My Boobs?

The first thing that changes when you leave your thirties? Your boobs. Your love bags. Those things on the front of your chest that used to be perky and bright. Remember them?

Yeah, I hope you took a picture. They'll never look like that again without a shit-ton of plastic under your skin.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like my boobs just fine. But perky only happens with my ponytail these days. At my age, a booby check isn't to look for lumps. Nope. That's called a booby squish, aka a mammogram. Nope. A booby check is to make sure my nipples are both facing the same direction.

And can we mention sag? Oh, yeah. I love the thought that by the time I'm sixty I'll be able to tuck them into my waistband.

Hmm. Then again, it might save me some money...

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert

"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford