Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tuesday Tales – Bloom

Hey everyone! It’s time for Tuesday Tales. We are back with Sloan and Abbey in Family Ties, book six of the Black Irish series.

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Oliver dabbed the blood dripping from his chin as he scrambled to his feet, his eyes locked on the approaching Sloan. “Let’s go, guys.” The three men scampered across the playground disappearing between the grade school and the junior high buildings.Sloan towered over his crouching family. “Is everyone all right?”

“We’re fine.” Abbey let the girls go then accepted his hand to help her to her feet. “The motorbike was a bit much, don’t you think? How’d you blow it up like that?”

“I had a chunk of explosives in the trunk of my car. I taped it to the fuel tank.”

“Should I ask why you’re keeping explosives in you car?”

Sloan motioned to the charred van. “For moments like this. And no, this wasn’t excessive. These basta…” His words were cut of by an icy glare from Abbey. “These bad men were trying to hurt my girls. Nothing is excessive then.”

“How are we going to explain the explosion and the burned out van to the Dean of Students? I’m sure Dean Williams isn’t going to be thrilled with us.”

Sloan cocked her an evil grin. “I called Agent Dunham and cashed in one of the many favors he owes us for Afghanistan.”

“CIA intervention? Nice touch.” Abbey slipped her gun back into the holster around her thigh.

Ame could hear a growl slip from her father’s throat as his eyes fixed on her mother’s leg. His voice was deep and rough as he spoke. “Are you taking the girls back to class, lass?”

“We both could. Then we could both go talk to Dean Williams. I didn’t blow up a vehicle on her campus.”

“Yes, luv. But you did bring not one but two guns onto school grounds which is against the rules too. Besides, Agatha Williams hates me but she adores you.” Sloan rubbed his chin as he studied the building. “Just tell her the money to replace the couple dozen windows that were broken has already been deposited into the school’s account plus an additional million for any trouble.” He pointed to the dark sedans that prowled along the lane. Each car’s windows were tinted black. “I’m going to go deal with the CIA.”

“Sloan Michael O’Riley, don’t leave me with this!” Abbey demanded.

He winked at her before planting a kiss on her cheek. “You can handle this, luv. I know you can. You’re brilliant.” Sloan backpedaled away from her with a grin before spinning on his toe. He jogged away towards the men in suits now mulling around the wreckage.

Abbey muttered under her breath as she stowed her other gun in the waistband of her skirt then took Aubrey’s hand in hers. The little girl’s resolve broke. She began wailing loudly. “Mommy, no. I don’t want to go back. I’m scared.”

Abbey glanced down at her then at Ame. Ame hugged herself tightly to try to stop herself from shaking. It didn’t work. She felt tears sting her eyes. She never had been so confused in her life. Dad just blew up a van. There could have been someone inside. I think my dad just killed someone…

Abbey smiled at her gently. “Do you want to go home, Ame?”

A tear slid down her cheek as she nodded. Abbey wrapped an arm around her as a gentle smile bloomed across her face. “All right. Let me go talk to Dean Williams then get you both excused. We’ll go home.”

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Tuesday Tales – Tiger

Hi there! It’s time for Tuesday Tales. Our word prompt is “tiger”. We’re back with Sloan and Abbey in Family Ties.

Don’t forget to check out the other incredible Tuesday Tales blogs!


He wrapped his hand around Ame’s wrist and tugged her to him. She stiffened as she felt the point of a blade poke her beneath her chin.

Her captor looked up the slide to Aubrey. “Come on, sweetheart. You don’t want me to hurt your big sister, do you?”

The only reply he got was a squeak. Aubrey straightened herself then slid down the slide, clasping her little arms around Ame’s waist in terror. She looked up with tear filled eyes. “I’m scared,” she whimpered.

“Me too,” Ame breathed.

“Ok, girls,” Oliver began. “See that white van over there.” He pointed at the nose of a beaten up white van peeking from the tree lined lane. “We’re going for a ride.”

“Like hell you are.”

Ame gasped as she noticed Oliver’s spine straighten. She knew that voice but there was no way it could be… She carefully glanced around her captor to the source.

Abbey suddenly had appeared, dressed in her business suit for the office. And she had a very dangerous looking pistol pressed against Oliver’s temple. “I don’t know who the hell you are, but please take the knife away from my daughter’s throat. Because if I see you so much as flinch I’ll put a bullet in your brain.”

Oliver laughed, a wicked twinkle glimmering in his chocolate brown eyes. “Abigail O’Riley, I was hoping you would be the one they would send. I’ve been dying to meet you. If you haven’t noticed, Tiger,  you’re outnumbered.”

One of the other men reached for his gun. Before he could pull it free, Abbey slipped her hand beneath her skirt, whipping the pistol in the holster wrapped around her thigh free. She pointed it at him. “And if you know me that well, you know I’m not alone. There are sniper rifles pointed at each of you right now. Now I have a question for you. Do you have anyone in that van of yours?”

“Why would I tell you?” Oliver questioned.

“Because if there are, you’ll want to get them out. Now. Call it my Good Samaritan moment of the day.”

Ame heard the faint buzz of a motorbike approaching. It was barely audible over her stampeding heart. She was trying to stay brave for her little sister but she knew the little girl could feel her shake. Snipers? Where did Mom come up with snipers? And why is she holding those guns? Has she done this before? Does Daddy know about this?

“Amelia, Aubrey, get down,” Abbey gently instructed.

Both girls stood stone still. The sound of the motorbike grew louder. Abbey sighed as she glanced out of the corner of her eye at her daughters. “Girls, I said get down. Now.”

Everyone’s attention suddenly was torn away to a large figure dressed in black racing up the drive lined for a direct collision with the van. In a fluid motion, he laid the bike on its side. Sparks erupted from the scraping metal as the man kicked the bike away and tumbled onto the lawn. Abbey used the second of distraction to land a roundhouse kick into the belly of one of the captors. Ame gaped as she watched her mother incapacitate the three, leaving a particularly wicked elbow for Oliver’s chin, strong enough to cut him open. She flew to the ground and tugged the girls to her to shield them.

The explosion was hard to miss. The van erupted in flames sending a fireball into the sky past the line of trees. The roar was quickly followed by the tinkling sound of shattering glass as several of the school windows blew apart. Aubrey screamed and clung to her mother. Ame pulled her head free enough to look.

The motorbike rider slowly rose from the ground like a demon from the flames. He brushed the dirt from his suit then strode across the lawn towards them. Ame quaked inside. She could only squeak one word. “Dad?”

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Tuesday Tales – Picture Prompt


Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week is a picture prompt. The excerpt is from the sixth and final book of the Black Irish Series, Family Ties. Let’s catch up with Sloan and Abbey…

Don’t forget to check out the other amazing authors of Tuesday Tales!

Ava leaned against her. “Who are they?”

“I don’t know.”

“Ame, you can’t go with them.”

“I’m not.”

“Would they have stopped at the other schools?”

Fear seized Ame’s heart. “Ethan. Colin. Aubrey and Liam…”

“Give your books to me and go.”

Ame piled her books into Ava’s arms, breathing a silent thanks to her friend. She raced out the fire door, leaving the blaring siren behind her as she sprinted across the grass to the drive that led to the other schools.

Hoping the lofty branches over the tree lined drive would hide her, Ame hurried down the hill to the elementary school. Someone from the high school must have sent a warning throughout the campus. Teachers shepherded children between them back into the building long before recess was over. She ran across the lawn to the group. “Missus Smith!”

“Amelia, what are you doing down here?” the teacher questioned.

“Where is Aubrey and Liam?”

“Liam is already in the building. We can’t find Aubrey.”

Ame’s heart slammed in her chest as she raced back to the playground. She called out her little sister’s name as she searched frantically. A whimper stopped her dead in her tracks. She looked up the slide. Beneath the mouth of the tunnel, Aubrey huddled with her tiny arms wrapped around her legs. She stared at her older sister with big, blue eyes.

“Aubrey, come down,” Ame demanded as she pointed to the ground. “Please. Now.”

The little girl shook her head, her black curls bobbing around her face.

“Come on, Aubrey. We have to go inside. I think we’re in danger. Please…”

Chills ran up Ame’s spine as a voice approached from behind her. She turned slowly to find the three men that asked for her standing there, the one named Oliver wearing an evil grin. “Look what we’ve found, boys,” he purred.

Don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales blogs!


Tuesday Tales – Flexible


Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week’s word prompt is “flexible”. The excerpt is the beginning of the sixth and final book of the Black Irish Series, Family Ties. Let’s catch up with Sloan and Abbey…
Don’t forget to check out the other amazing authors of Tuesday Tales!


The ear piercing tone of the alarm clock filled the large sunlit bedroom. A hand slipped from under the downy daisy yellow comforter to slap it silent. It quickly retreated under the covers. I don’t want to get up. Just five more minutes.

The creak of the door hinges and the sound of footprints reported someone else was in the room. “Ame, sweetheart. It’s time to get up. You don’t want to be late for school.”

Ame’s only response was a groan. She buried herself deeper into her bed. He could hear her mother sigh. “Amelia, you need to get up. You know what comes next.”

“I’m getting up, Mom,” Ame assured.

“All right.” By the sound of Abbey’s sigh, it was evident she had no faith in her daughter. She closed the door behind her. Ame snuggled deeper into her pillow. She could close her eyes for just a moment more.

“Amelia O’Riley, get up!”

Ame shot up in her bed, her heart beating out of her chest. She didn’t have to look up to see who was standing beside her bed. The deep Irish brogue told her exactly who it was not to mention his very large shadow now darkened the wood floor of her bedroom. “I’m awake, Dad,” she whined.

“Now you are,” Sloan scoffed. “Hurry and get dressed. Your mother almost has breakfast finished.”

Ame watched as her father slipped from her room, smooth and cool as a shadow. She tossed the comforter off her and scooted off the bed. Trudging to her ensuite, she started the water for her shower. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her long, nearly ebony hair was a rumpled. Her blue eyes with flecks of hazel were sleepy. And there was a zit right in the middle of her chin. She sighed. Sometimes being fourteen sucked.

After a quick shower, Ame shuffled to her closet to get her school uniform. Another sigh escaped her lips. She hated her school. The elite of the Twin Cities sent their children there. Being the children of billionaires, that included Ame and her siblings. She turned her head at the sound of squealing and screaming. Yeah, siblings. Six of them. Did anyone ever talk to her parents about birth control?

She tugged on her skirt and blouse, slowly fastening the buttons so not to miss one. She sat on her bed to pull on the regulation knee socks. As she picked up the navy blue blazer with the gold emblem on the chest she heard voices call out in unison. “Ame!”

Ame shrugged the jacket on with a huff. Grabbing her backpack she made her way down the hall to the staircase that led to the main floor. She froze as her foot hit the bottom step.

Her father was pressing her mother against the counter with his body, his lips roaming the curve of her neck. Ame could barely make out the tips of his fingers caressing her breasts. Her mother had her head thrown back against his shoulder in surrender. A soft moan escaped her lips.

“Seriously?” Ame screeched.

Sloan lifted his head confused for a moment. When he caught sight of his daughter he chuckled. “Lass, if I hadn’t done this to your mother, you and your siblings wouldn’t be here.”

“But at the breakfast table?”

“The breakfast table is over there in the other room.” Sloan pointed in the direction of the dining room where the rest of the children were enjoying breakfast. “What we do in the kitchen shouldn’t be of concern to you.”

“There are seven of us, Dad.”

“Are you adequately fed? Clothed? Do you have everything you need? Is there someone home for you at night?”

Ame sighed again. “Yes.”

Abbey cupped Sloan’s chin in her palm and kissed his cheek. “We can pick up on this later.”

“My office?”

“Sounds like a plan. I’m flexible.”

Sloan laughed again, kissing her lips then smacking her rump playfully. Abbey squeaked, winking at him before he strode to his office. She turned towards the dining room. “Come on, guys! Wrap it up. I need to get to work.”

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Starting the Fourth of July Weekend with a Bang!!

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Happy Independence Day! This is one of my favorite holidays and I am very grateful to the men and women who made this country what it is today and for giving me the freedom to do what I love to do.

Probably my favorite thing that happens on the Fourth of July is fireworks. When I was little I hated them. I used to hide in the back of my parent’s station wagon because the bang scared me. As I grew older I fell in love with the bright colors and the brilliant displays, especially after I learned to put my fingers in my ears.

Beautiful firework display for celebrationTo celebrate the holiday, I want to share my Independence Day excerpt from Breaking the Silence. When writing Breaking the Silence I got the extraordinary opportunity to work with Operation First Response, a group that supports our veterans when they return home from combat. They are an incredible group of people and the programs they offer to our country’s veterans are awesome. For more information on Operation First Response, click here!


**Just a warning…The following excerpt is definitely a spoiler. If you plan to read Breaking the Silence then you may want to skip ahead to the really good stuff – the giveaways!!**


They had returned home to finish their wedding planning. Shortly after they arrived, they had found out the venue that they had chosen was double booked. Avery had been crushed, wondering if that was a sign.

Dan had been the one to come to the rescue. He had told them of this resort north of the Twin Cities that he used to go to with his family when he was a child. On a cool, spring day, she and Rico had made the drive to take a look. They had fallen in love with it instantly. The gazebo at the lodge was the perfect place for the ceremony. The lake reminded them of their own spot near the college.

There was going to be a fantastic fireworks display the night of the Fourth of July. And the fact that they could rent a beautiful cabin for a honeymoon getaway less than a mile from the location of their wedding had sealed it. They had booked it immediately then raced home to make the changes. Several wedding showers and a joint bachelor and bachelorette party had led them to the present. Now, here they were, ready to start their forever together.

Avery startled as she felt a hand on her arm. Chloe smiled at her. She smoothed her own crimson, ankle length gown before she signed. The car is here to take us to the ceremony. Are you ready?

Can’t wait. Let’s go.

The two women slipped into the waiting vehicle outside the cabin. Avery’s heart thundered in her chest as they wound along the forest roads to the lodge. Rows of cars appeared then the roof of the building. Hopefully, the love of her life, along with his friends and the minister, would be waiting for her in the gazebo that overlooked the lake.

Her dad opened the car door, helping Chloe out first then Avery. She saw the tears pooling in his eyes as he glanced her over. Avery, sweetheart. You look beautiful.

She placed a kiss on his cheek. Thank you, Dad.

Avery noticed Chloe watching someone approach them. Avery smiled warmly as her father gave Lindsay a hug. Lindsay looked sharp in his dress uniform.

Even though he was her brother, Avery had to admit Lindsay was devastatingly handsome. Lindsay beamed at her as he signed. Dad thought since we have been so close over these past few years that I should walk you down the aisle also. If that is all right with you.

Avery grinned. I think you might like Rico.

She watched Lindsay laugh. Yes. It has grown on me. Like a fungus.

All of them chuckled at Lindsay’s comment. Lindsay gently weaved his arm around Chloe’s to escort her up the walk, pressing a cordial kiss to her cheek. Avery’s father did the same with Avery as they followed them behind the lodge toward the gazebo.

bridegroomAvery anxiously watched Chloe as she slowly made her way down the aisle to stand beside Max. Lindsay wrapped his arm firmly around her free one before they began a similar journey.

Avery read the minister’s lips then glanced to her Dad to see him speak. Her father nodded to Lindsay then let her go and sat beside her mother. Lindsay placed her hand in Rico’s then looked Rico in the eye. “Welcome to the family. I’m proud to call you my brother,” Avery saw him say to her future husband.

Rico’s deep blue eyes misted with tears. It nearly made Avery cry. She knew that this was the first time since he had been a child that Rico had an actual family to claim as his own. Sure, he loved the makeshift family he was a part of at Hard Drive. But it wasn’t the same.

Lindsay smiled at the both of them then took his spot next to his parents.

Chloe signed for Avery as the minister spoke his message. Then, Avery recited her vows clearly, as she had practiced. As Rico pulled his hands free to sign his vows, she recaptured them.

“I’ve been practicing reading lips. Please say your vows,” she encouraged.

A proud grin graced his face as he began to speak. Tears filled her eyes. She understood it all. He, Rico Choate, was promising her forever. She couldn’t hear his voice, but she knew each word was spoken in truth and confidence. He needed her as much as she needed him. Once the rings were exchanged and the minister pronounced them husband and wife, they sealed their marriage with a kiss.

Then, the party began. A picnic of fried chicken and salads led to conversation and games. Max started a bonfire when the sun set. Avery cuddled with Rico on a blanket laid on the ground as the fireworks began. After she had returned from Afghanistan, she had avoided these displays. Normally the flash of the explosions terrified her. But being held tight in her husband’s arms made her feel safe enough to enjoy the show.

Before they were over, he helped her to her feet and led her to his Jeep. The night sky above the trees was filled with bright color as they drove back to the cabin.

Her heart raced again as they stepped inside, and Rico locked the door. He pulled a long, velvet box from his tuxedo jacket and handed it to her. My wedding gift to you.

She slowly opened the lid. A beautiful, white gold, double heart pendant lined with diamonds held on a fine chain rested on the satin. She gasped as she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Thank you. I love it. But I didn’t get you anything.”

Rico’s smile was pure sin as he pulled her back to look at her. His eyes roamed over her. Actually, I have been waiting all day to open my gift from you. It has been killing me.

What gift?

He ran his tongue along his bottom lip. I will admit—the wrapping paper is absolutely beautiful. But I am ready to rip off the gift-wrap and get to my present.

She felt her face grow hot as she met his hungry eyes. She understood then that she was his present. It was their wedding night, and they had yet to sleep together. Would she be able to compete with his other lovers?

That thought fled her mind as he tugged her back into his arms and engulfed her lips with a devouring kiss. She gasped softly as he jerked the zipper of her dress down and let the garment pool on the floor. Suddenly, there was no doubt in her mind that this would be the best night of her life.

Buy links for Breaking the Silence. A portion of the proceeds to Breaking the Silence goes to Operation First Response to support our nation’s wounded, injured and critically-ill Heroes and their families.


Sweet Cravings Publishing:

Barnes and Noble:

All Romance E-books:


Now for the Giveaways!

For a chance to win the e-book version of the entire Hard Drive Series plus a $5 Amazon gift card, just leave a comment below! I’ll be drawing a winner on the morning of July 7th.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Fourth of July! And don’t forget to stop by and visit the other Freedom Hop Blogs!