Monthly Archives: November 2013

Best of Tuesday Tales

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Welcome to another Tuesday Tales!  This week we are celebrating Thanksgiving with the Best of Tuesday Tales.  It was a difficult choice.  However, my current work in process made the choice for me.  And the choice was appropriate.  This Thanksgiving, this series is the center of one of things I am most thankful for.

What could it be?  Take a look… Thanksgiving Best of Tuesday Tales.

And don’t forget to stop by and see what the other very talented authors of Tuesday Tales has picked for their best!  Click the picture below to journey back to Tuesday Tales.




Tuesday Tales – Loose

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Hello everyone and welcome to Tuesday Tales!  This week’s word prompt is “loose”.  We are back with Gideon in my untitled Steampunk romance.  Gideon has agreed to help Katarina Hellwig murder her husband and has chosen how he will do it.  When will he get started?   Let’s find out!

And don’t forget to stop by and check out the other incredible excerpts from the Tuesday Tales authors!

Gideon wasted no time starting his project.  He knocked the cobwebs loose from his leather bound, aged journal.  It had been ages since he had jotted his designs in this book.  Normally he built his creations through experimentation – a bolt here, a little oil there, maybe a drop or two of absinthe.  It was by sheer luck he had a house full of whirling, living brass creatures.

However, a project of this magnitude would take some thought over a long period of time, long enough that he needed to keep notes.  This contraption could not fail.  There could be no weaknesses.  It had to be perfect.

He opened the book and flipped the brittle pages.  His breath caught in his throat as his eyes discovered his last entry.  He felt his heart crumble at the image of the sketched rose.  He brushed his fingers lovingly over the rough drawing.  It took months for him to plan it.  When he was on leave from the Queen’s Army, the time he and Sophia conceived Toby, he built it for her.  The crimson silk blooms glowed warmly.  The brass stem and leaves were tinted a shiny, grass green.  At night the fragile petals wove themselves tightly in a bud.  At daylight’s first rays the blooms opened.  He finished it just in time to present it to his beautiful wife as a memento of his love for her.

When he arrived home to her lifeless body and his missing son, it was the only material item that was missing.  The money, the pure silver place settings in the dining room were there.  The rose Gideon gave Sophia was gone.

Gideon shook the bitter memories from his mind.  He took the quill pen on his workbench and began to draw.  It was time to get started on the humidor.

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Diva Ladies Thanking The Authors Blog Hop


Welcome to the Diva Ladies Thanking the Authors Blog Hop!

This year I have SO much to be thankful for – a healthy family, a chance to live my dream.  I am very, very thankful for the incredible readers out there who read my books!

As a thank you, I will give to one lucky commenter a e-book copy of my first book of the Black Irish series, Black Irish, along with a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks (did I mention I am very thankful for Starbucks too?).


Abbey couldn’t believe he was gay. She nearly ran away from her dreams of being a children’s book writer when she was introduced to her illustrator Sloan O’Riley, a dark, sensual Irishman with incredible blue eyes. He certainly couldn’t be good for Abbey’s relationship with her boyfriend back in Iowa. How could she stay in New York and work with the sinfully sexy Sloan even if he was gay? And when Sloan is threatened to be deported, how far would Abbey go to keep him in the US?

The next morning, within twenty-four hours of Abbey’s “proposal,” Sloan paced the floor of the courthouse, the heels of his Italian leather boots clicking against the cocoa and bronze patterned marble. He stopped to glance at his watch.

Robert laughed at his best friend. “Why exactly didn’t you come here together?”

Sloan glared at him. “Abbey had to get dressed, style her hair, and apply her makeup. Plus, it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.”

“Does that include fake ones?”

Sloan’s stare turned icy. “It isn’t fake.”

“When are you consummating your marriage, then?”

A sly grin crept across Sloan’s face. “Don’t you worry when I will consummate my marriage. It will happen soon enough.”

Sloan spun around, distracted by the sound of heels against the marble. He looked up to find Abbey discreetly sprinting across the courthouse floor with Gordon close behind. His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her. Her dress was white, the halter-top strap caressing the back of her neck. The empire waist peaked just below her breasts. A full, flowing skirt fell to just above her bare knees.

Her hair was pinned to the top of her head with ringlets of curls cascading alongside her face and down her back. A pair of white satin pumps skidded to a halt as she stood before him, breathless from her run.

“You’re beautiful,” he murmured in wonder.

“Thank you,” she gushed.

“Sloan,” Robert interrupted. “Judge Goldstein only has a fifteen minute window to fit you in today. You need to go now.”

Sloan sighed then took Abbey’s hand in his. “Of course. Let’s go.”


Sloan led Abbey through the corridors of the courthouse, followed by Robert and Gordon. Pushing open a dark-stained door with a frosted glass window, he motioned her in.

Inside sat a man huddled over a stack of papers on a desk of the same dark-stained wood as the door. His salt and pepper hair was combed over his balding head. The freshly pressed robe he wore draped down from his shoulders. He looked up at them through the spectacles on his nose then smiled and stood to greet them.

The justice shook Sloan’s hand emphatically as he quipped about some recent city legislation they had both been part of—legislation that Sloan’s influence had swung in Judge Goldstein’s favor. Abbey stared at Sloan, puzzled. She knew he had money. She knew he had an immense artistic talent. But he has political power too? What deep, dark secrets does he have?

Judge Goldstein turned back to his desk to retrieve a book then turned and faced them again. Abbey’s heart caught in her throat. This was it—her wedding day. True, it wasn’t a real wedding with the big, white dress, the five-tiered cake, and hundreds of guests. In fact, her soon-to-be husband was gay. But at the end of this, she would be Mrs. Sloan O’Riley. She glanced around the cold chambers then back to Sloan.

Instead of her heart clenching in regret, it fluttered rapidly in excitement. She wrapped her arm around his, hugging it to her. He looked down to her, his ice blue eyes shining brightly as he beamed at her. Then, he softly nudged her, turning her attention to the justice.

“Ms. Wright?” Judge Goldstein questioned.


”Do you take Mr. O’Riley as your husband?”

Abbey’s eyes shot from him to Sloan as she felt her face flush hot. She didn’t want to know what shade of red her cheeks now were. “I do.” she squeaked.

“And Sloan, do you take Ms. Wright as your wedded wife?”

Sloan’s gaze was soft and gentle. “Oh, yes. I absolutely do.”

“Do you have rings to exchange?”

Sloan reached into his slacks pocket. After a few moments of digging within the cloth, his hand returned with the simple gold bands. He gave the larger of the two to Abbey and kept the smaller for himself.

Abbey was oblivious to the justice’s words as she pushed the ring onto Sloan’s finger. She let go a tiny squeal of excitement as she watched him slide her band into place against one Michael had already given her. Sloan clasped her hand in his as he chuckled at her reaction.

“By the power invested in me by the State of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,” Judge Goldstein announced.

Her eyes locked onto Sloan’s mouth as he gathered her into his arms. She felt an ache deep in every nerve to know what his kiss would feel like. A wave of disappointment hit her. It will only be a quick peck. He is gay after all.

As Sloan’s lips engulfed hers, Abbey quickly discovered how wrong she was. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she sank into his kiss. She let out a sigh as he pried her mouth apart and dove deeper. His warm breath, the softness of his lips, the sensation of his large, powerful hands holding her close—it all made her dizzy and giddy at the same time. She clung to him as they finally parted.

Steadying her, Sloan smiled, a sweet, seductive glimmer sparkling in his eyes. “Shall we go to lunch to celebrate, Mrs. O’Riley?”

Abbey giggled. “Of course.”

They paraded arm in arm through the courthouse all the way to the curb, where Gordon had the Hummer waiting. Sloan opened the car door, waving both Gordon and Robert away, then offered his hand to Abbey. Once she was settled in her seat, Sloan climbed in beside her. He took the hand smoothing the white satin of her skirt and held it tight in his as they pulled into the busy downtown traffic.

“Thank you, Abigail, for doing this. I truly appreciate it.” Sloan moved this thumb in a soft caress.

“I’m glad to help. What’s next?”

“I’ll apply for my green card tomorrow. I have several business matters to attend to today.” He paused then pulled his hand free. “I almost forgot.”

Sloan pulled his suit coat open and reached into the inside pocket. He pulled free a white, finely woven envelope tied closed with a burgundy cord. “My wedding gift to you.”

“But I didn’t get you anything.”

“It doesn’t matter. Open it.”

Abbey unlaced the string from the envelope and opened it. She reached inside, pulling out a single ticket. Her eyes opened wide as she read the print on the paper. “Phantom of the Opera! For tonight!”

Sloan grinned proudly. “Front row. Orchestra.”

“How did you get this?”

Sloan’s smile grew deeper. “I have my ways.”

She threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tight. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

As Abbey pulled free from his embrace, she fought to control the disappointment on her face.

Sloan searched her face, his eyes filled with concern. “What is it, Abigail?”

“I’m sorry. I really love this,” she defended. “Thank you. But something this incredible…I was hoping to share it with someone.”

Sloan’s deep, sexy smirk returned. Abbey stared at his lips, the sensation of his kiss flooding her mind again. Shaking herself from her daze, she noticed Sloan pull his jacket open again to produce a second ticket.

“As I said, I have business to attend to today. I’ll meet you there in time for the show. Then we will get supper afterwards. That is, if that’s all right with you?”

Abbey let go a lovesick sigh as her euphoric smile returned. “That will be perfect.”

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Tuesday Tales – Picture Prompt

Badge for TT - very smallHi everyone and welcome to Tuesday Tales!  This week we wrote to a picture prompt of our choosing.  Once again we are with Gideon in my untitled Steampunk Romance.  The beautiful Emma just visited Gideon with the news of a lucrative payoff if Gideon build the contraption to kill General Hellwig.  Now what will he do?

And when you are finished catching up with Gideon, don’t forget to visit the other very talented writers of Tuesday Tales!!


Gideon strolled down the lane beneath the brilliant red, gold, and pumpkin orange autumn leaves as he contemplated his situation.  He tugged his wool overcoat tighter to block out the chill.  He felt duty bound to escort the lovely Emma back to the Hellwig’s mansion.  Twice in one day he emerged from the safety of his home.  It was definitely unusual behavior for the recluse.

He blew out a heavy breath.  How did his quiet morning suddenly escalate to him agreeing to build a contraption meant for murder?  Despite the nagging intuition that General Hellwig couldn’t have ordered Sophia’s execution, Katarina’s admission that he did was certainly incentive for him agree to the plan.  The beautiful, spirited Emma encouraging him certainly didn’t deter him by any means.  Just the thought of the blonde dredged up desires in Gideon he hadn’t felt in a long time.  He shook his senses back into order.  He wasn’t doing this for Emma.  This mission was to avenge Sophia.  Wasn’t it?

Gideon changed the direction of his thoughts.  What would he build?  He needed to design an item that would attract Hellwig, make it irresistible for him to take part of.  What would that be?

Then he remembered.  While on leave, Hellwig would gather his most favored pilots for a night of revelry.  He would offer his prized cigars to the boys then proceed to smoke several himself.  He loved nothing more than a good cigar.  He spent an obscene amount of money to import them in for his pleasure.  Money he obviously stole from the poor of London.

Gideon chuckled to himself as he reached the town house.  He pushed the front door of his home open.  The answer was simple.  He would build a humidor for General Hellwig.  And it would kill him.

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Veteran’s Day Blog Hop

IMG_72895133239592Happy Veteran’s Day Weekend and welcome to the Secret Cravings Publishing Veteran’s Day Blog Hop!  I want to take this moment to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart to those who have served or are still serving in the Armed Forces to keep the United States the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!  I especially want to say thanks to my uncle Robbie who is still serving in the Army, one of my best friends Kevin who served in the Coast Guard and to Dick Goodall, one of my favorite teachers and a man who greatly encouraged my writing who served in the Navy.

And of course we have great giveaways!! Two lucky commenters will win all three books of the Black Irish Series – Black Irish, Heartland and The Troubles. Just leave your name, e-mail and preference of e-book format! I will choose Monday evening at the end of the hop.

Each author in this weekend’s blog hop has donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.  We would be honored if you would join us.  To make a donation just click here Wounded Warriors Project.

Admittedly I have not written any novels about the military.  I do, however, have a sexy military man in the Black Irish series – Bartholomew Evans.


We first meet Bartholomew at the front door of Sloan’s building in New York City.  He was the doorman who kept Abbey from going inside – that is until Sloan arrives on the scene.  We learn later that he is one of Sloan’s closest friends, like a brother.  Then, when Sloan’s darkest secret is revealed we learned he is actually one of Sloan’s bodyguards.

In Heartland we learn that he was in the Army and served in Iraq until he was dishonorably discharged for saving the life of an Iraqi child.

And in The Troubles, soon to be released by Sweet Cravings Publishing, we learn what a true hero he is.

Maggie dug through Amelia’s diaper bag, dropping several of the baby’s items on her lap. “Ame’s swimsuit isn’t in here.”

“So?” Bartholomew asked, glancing at his wife as he drove down the road.

“I wanted to take her swimming at the pool.”

“Well, let’s buy her one.”

“Why? She has a perfectly good one at home.”

He was silent for a moment. “So, do you want me to go back?”

Maggie smiled at him sweetly. “Yes, please.”

Bartholomew chuckled as he turned into the next parking lot he came to. He glanced again at Maggie. He’d do just about anything she wanted him to.

The trip back to Mount Vernon was quick. Bartholomew could sense something was wrong as they entered the city limits. He noticed the plume of smoke rising above the trees. He tuned out Maggie’s chatter to Ame, the hairs on the back of his neck rising. As he turned the street corner near Sloan and Abbey’s house, he slammed on the brakes. The car lurched violently to a stop.

“Bartholomew, sweetheart. What the devil…?” Maggie gasped.

Bartholomew shoved the vehicle into park and threw open the door. He jumped out and raced for the inferno that engulfed the house and garage. He sprinted down the block, past the fire trucks and police cars, quickly tearing his eyes away from the dedication on the brand new vehicle donated by Sloan and Abbey. Lord, the irony… He dodged the firefighters who reached out to stop him. “Sir, you can’t go in there…”

He leapt the porch stairs two at a time then dropped his shoulder as he collided with the door. It splintered, blasting him with the intense heat of the fire. Images of Iraq filled his mind, plaguing his senses. He fought them from his brain then struggled through the flames, covering his mouth with his sleeve. “Abigail!” he cried.

He glanced quickly from room to room, finding no sign of her. He ran up the staircase. As he reached the top, he felt the house shudder. He stopped suddenly as he reached the master bedroom.

Bartholomew swept across the room in two steps, scooping Abbey into his arms and tossing her lifeless body over his shoulder. He raced down the hallway and back down the stairs, feeling them wobble under his feet. He looked up to find a half dozen firefighters waiting for him in the doorway. He coughed violently, stumbling across the floor.

“Look out!”

Bartholomew glanced up briefly in time to see the ceiling collapse in a rain of fiery ash. He pushed off on his toe and hurdled toward the exit. He felt the million sparks bite his skin as he and Abbey tumbled out the door and down the porch steps.

Bartholomew sat up gingerly, coughing and gasping for air. A second later, he was smothered in Maggie’s arms.

“Are you all right? Bartholomew, sweetheart…”

Bartholomew pulled her loose a little. “I’m fine, Maggie. Where’s Ame?”

“Mary has her. Abbey…”

Bartholomew looked to where the paramedics were performing CPR on Abigail. “She wasn’t breathing, Maggie.”

His eyes trailed to Mary and Gordon standing on the curb, their arms wrapped around each other and their granddaughter, glancing between the paramedics fighting to revive their daughter and the house and garage burning to the ground. He shook his head.

“Maggie, baby,” Bartholomew growled. “Where the hell is your brother?”

The two couples raced after the ambulance to the hospital. Bartholomew couldn’t look at Maggie. Her beautiful blue eyes brimmed with tears. Amelia had dozed off in her car seat as they sped down the highway. Good thing. Poor girl. I just pray her mother is alive when we arrive.

They waited anxiously in the waiting room for any word. Bartholomew watched Gordon as he dialed every number he knew for Sloan. There was never an answer. The Irishman flew into a panicked rage. Where in the world is he?

They all stood as the doctor emerged. Bartholomew clenched as he waited for word on Abbey’s condition. At least Jackson isn’t treating her. After breaking Maggie’s heart and almost letting Sloan die, I do not want him near Abbey.

The doctor delivered the news. She was alive. Her burns were being treated. Because of preliminary reports, she would be moved to the Psychiatric Floor. It was a suicide attempt. The couples thanked him before he walked away. Bartholomew hugged Maggie tight to him. What exactly had gone wrong so fast?

Two weeks dragged by with still no word from Sloan. Gordon sent Robert and Bartholomew on a manhunt. On the plus side, all their underground networks reported that he had not been taken captive or killed. Still, the man was missing. Bartholomew fumed. How could he just disappear when she needed him? Finally, Bartholomew returned home after searching the world for Sloan. His family needed him in Iowa.

Everyone but Bartholomew had visited Abbey. She didn’t acknowledge any of them. She didn’t even give notice to her doctors and nurses. She refused to eat. All she did was sit wrapped in a thick, white blanket and stare out the frosted window.

He sighed as Maggie slipped through the double doors. “Anything?” he asked.

“No. She won’t talk to me.”

They both turned as boot steps approached. Gordon stormed toward them. Bartholomew thought he looked like he could spit bullets.

“Gordon, what’s wrong?” Maggie pleaded. “Are Mary and Amelia all right?”

“They’re home and fine. I finally got that parasite Nathan to speak to me. It took me flying to New York and getting in his face.”

“And?” Bartholomew prompted.

Gordon glared at him. “Sloan is in Switzerland. He filed for divorce. Nathan served the papers to Abbey himself. The morning of the fire.”

“What?” Maggie screeched. “Why?”

“The papers said ‘irreconcilable differences.’ They had no differences. It’s bullshit. Probably some woman. When I find that man for what he’s done to my daughter…”

Bartholomew shook his head in disbelief. Maybe he could get Abbey to open up to him. “I’m going to go talk to her.”

He slammed through the double doors, startling the patients and nurses on the other side. He strode down the corridor, weaving around people and equipment until he reached the door at the end of the hall. He stared silently through the doorway for a few moments before stepping inside.

Abbey never moved, never flinched at his presence. He sat in the wood chair beside her. “Hey, Abbey. We know what happened. We’ll work it out. I will go find him and personally beat the crap out of him for hurting…”

Abbey slowly turned to him. Her eyes were cold and angry. “Why couldn’t you just let me die?”

Bartholomew stared at her, speechless. She glared at him for one more moment before turning back to the window. He slowly exhaled again before he stood and shuffled out of the room.

Find the Black Irish Series (Black Irish, Heartland and The Troubles – releasing on November 25th) at…

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Amazon (,

Barnes and Noble (,

All Romance E-books (

and Bookstrand (

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Please stop by and check out the other incredible authors participating in the Veteran’s Day Blog Hop.  Click on the flag below to hop on!

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Tuesday Tales – Abrupt

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Hello and welcome to another Tuesday Tales!!  This week’s word it “abrupt”.  We are once again visiting my untitled Steampunk romance.  The beautiful Emma has just arrived on our hero, Gideon’s, door.  What could she want?

And don’t forget to stop by and check out the blogs of the other incredibly talented authors of Tuesday Tales!

Gideon stared at Emma dumbfounded as he struggled for words.  “I told Katerina I would send word.  I will not be pressured into this decision.”

Emma smiled.  “Captain Alexander, Katerina did not send me to  retrieve your answer.  There was more she wished to tell you.”    She tilted towards the door to peer inside the townhouse.  “May  I come in?”

Gideon’s breath caught in his throat.  The thought of this beautiful angel in his home electrified him.  He forced himself to breathe, to force his  desires under control.  Whatever he would do would be for his Sophia.  “I do not think…”

His words came to an abrupt halt as Emma laid her hand on his and guided him to push the door fully open allowing her to step inside.  She looked around the living area, taking in the stacks of books, the workbench, Gideon’s bed.  He winced.  It certainly was nothing like the Hellwig’s palace.  His home was cluttered, dusty and crawling with his gadgets.

Emma turned towards him.  “Your home is lovely, Captain Alexander.”

“Thank you.  And please call me Gideon.  What is it you needed to tell me?”

He watched her stop at the crate he deposited the brass spider in earlier.  His heart seized in his chest.  What would she think of a man who brought such creatures to life?  Her smile grew as she reached into the box.  A moment later the spider was nestled in her hand, whirling away happily as she pet it with delicate fingers. “Katerina is willing to pay you handsomely to help her.  200£ for the finished project.”

Gideon’s brow wrinkled at her news.  With 200£, he could buy his ticket to the colonies.  He could escape London and the memories that tortured him with every breath he took.  He could start over.  He sighed. “All right.  Tell Katarina I will make her gadget.  I will work with her.”

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