Good Tuesday morning. Help me welcome Debra Holland, Ph. D, to our blog fireplace. Did everyone survive Halloween? Too much candy? Too much snow? (Couldn't resist that one.)

Debra now knows how nosy I can be. Inquiring minds want to know. Be sure to read to the end. There won't be a test, but there will be a giveaway.

What is your favorite food?

Mexican Food (not spicy) with something chocolate for dessert.


How do you find time to write with job obligations?

It’s hard!!! I don’t have children, but I do work as a psychotherapist and corporate crisis counselor, which can take a lot of my energy. For example, today, I did not one, but two crisis jobs--the death of an employee at one company and a robbery at a bank. It’s unusual for me to have two in one day, but I ever know when I’ll get the call, where I’ll go, and how long I’ll be at the company—from a few hours to several days.

I knew you were busy!

Lately, to get some writing structure in my busy life, I’ve had a friend come over to my house on Mondays and Wednesdays, and we write together for two and a half hours. She sits at one end of the table, and I sit at the other. It forces me to put everything else aside and focus on my writing. I try to do a little writing and editing on other days, but it often doesn’t happen.

What made you want to be an author?As a child, I wanted to grow up and write my grandmother’s stories. She had wonderful stories of the adventures that happened to her as a child. So once I’d recovered from many years of graduate school, that’s where I started.

When did you decide to write romance and how long have you been at it? Also, have you written other genres? I started dating a sexy, young cowboy, and we had nothing in common. I thought, “If we lived a hundred years ago in the West, this just might work.” That was around 1997.

Aside from self-publishing my sweet historical Western romances, I have self-published the first two books in a fantasy romance trilogy, endorsed by the late Andre Norton, the Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

My first nonfiction book, The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, comes out today! I’m really excited to finally have a book I can hold in my hands and see on the shelf in a bookstore. (You heard it here!)

How do you get over writer’s block?I haven’t really had writer’s block. When I get a little stuck, I need to spend some time thinking about the story, what comes next, and that starts the flow going again.

How do you come up with your ideas? That’s a hard question, because they seem to come from different places. It’s a matter of taking the little grains of an idea that often pop up and expanding on them.

What influenced your decision to self-publish? What about nonfiction books? My first novel, Wild Montana Sky, won the Golden Heart in 2001, and two agents tried to sell it. But the market for romance is sexy, not sweet, and historical western isn’t popular, either. So they didn’t sell, and I set them aside and concentrated on writing nonfiction. Then some friends self-published, and had great success. I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. I’ve had over 30,000 sales of two books in less than six months. Gulp! Awesome!

How many books did you write before publishing one? Six fiction books and most of two nonfiction books.

How many books have you published? I’ve self-published four, with another of the Montana Sky Series coming out in December.

The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving is my first book with a traditional publisher—Alpha Books, a subsidiary of Penguin. They also publish, The Complete Idiots Guides.

On average, how long does it take to write your books? Way too long. About 10 months. I wrote the grief book in five and a half because the contract dropped into my lap. I was more of a writer for hire, than the usual submitting three chapters and a proposal and then selling. I had to start from scratch. It was a tough five months.

Who’s your favorite author to read? Favorite book?

I’m a very fast reader, and I read a LOT! So I have too many favorites to name. I’m in a yahoo group of other self-published romance authors, and I’m working my way through their books. I’m loving it..

How have you coped with rejection?

It was disappointing at first. After a while, I became numb to it.

I also told myself selling would happen when it was meant to. Now I’m SO glad I didn’t sell the novels to a traditional publisher, because I’m doing so well and having fun. Plus, I’m making way more money than I would have if I’d gone the traditional route.

What would you like to tell readers?

Thank you so very much for trying my books! Your positive reviews and fan letters are such a blessing to me. They often bring tears to my eyes!

What themes go through your books? Although the books aren’t religious, there does seem to be a theme about the importance of a relationship with God that’s in most of them.

Which other jobs have you had? I knew I wanted to be a counselor from the time I was thirteen. So I beelined through life straight to doing that. However, I did lifeguard and give swimming lessons during the summer. I also taught physical education while putting myself through graduate school.

I’ve taught karate for the last ten years.

Which "bucket list" types of things have you done?

I’m a second degree blackbelt in karate. I’m currently testing for third degree.

Writing books is definitely a big accomplishment that I’m proud of. I’ve also adapted Wild Montana Sky into a screenplay, which has won awards. Selling it is on my bucket list.

Traveling more is also on my bucket list.

What do you love most about writing and do you not like?

I love the imaginative part of writing—thinking up stories. I don’t like doing the actual WORK of writing.

What are you writing now? I have about 50 pages before I finish Stormy Montana Sky. I’m about 30 pages into Harvest of Dreams, the third book of my Fantasy Romance Trilogy. I’m finishing a short nonfiction ebook on dealing with death in the workplace.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

I AM writing what I want to write. That’s one of the joys of self-publishing. And I’m lucky enough to have found an audience. I’m so very grateful!

Who is Debra Holland?

Debra Holland has a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy and Ph.D in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California (USC), and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. In her private practice, Dr. Debra counsels individuals and couples. She specializes in grief recovery, and communication and relationship issues.

Dr. Debra consults as a corporate crisis/grief counselor for businesses. She counsels employees who are upset or traumatized by the deaths of co-workers, accidents on site, robberies and other types of violence, and layoffs.

As a corporate crisis/grief counselor Dr. Debra consulted for American Airlines after 9-11, counseling flight crews and staff. She counseled the victims and families of the Metrolink train wreck in 2002. In 2005, she volunteered as a mental health relief worker in Louisiana for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She also volunteered as a mental health relief worker during and after the 2008 California fires in Brea, Yorba Linda, and Diamond Bar.

In addition to her psychotherapy practice, Debra is a consultant to the film and television industry, and wrote the “Ask the Love Doctor” column for the romance magazine, Arabella. Her current column, “Ask Dr. Debra,” along with a free ebooklet, 58 Tips For Getting What You Want From a Difficult Conversation, can be found on her website:

The scene in Starry Montana where the hero and heroine meet.

On Tuesday afternoon, Wyatt reined-in by the front of the livery stable, mentally consigning Reverend Norton and his good causes to the devil. Not that he had any fear the minister would actually be facing Old Nick. It’s just that Wyatt had better things to do with his time than play cowboy to a bunch of fancy Spanish horses belonging to the woman who’d taken over Ezra’s ranch--like dealing with the horses and cattle on his own ranch. But, he’d given the preacher his word.

He slid off Bill, looping the reins over the rail. He pushed open the barn doors, then stalked inside, peering through the gloom. Although he wouldn’t admit it to a soul, the idea of these South American horses had tantalized him. Maybe they’d be of high enough quality to add to his breeding stock.

A kitten skittered across the dirt floor, and he did a dance step to avoid tramping on it.

“Hey, little fella. Watch where you’re goin’.” He reached down, scooped the kitten up, and cradled the furry body against his chest. Running a finger over the tiny gray head, he remembered his daughter chattering about the litter of kittens she played with whenever she stabled her pony before school. Maybe he should talk to Mack about taking this one home to her.

Still holding the kitten, he looked up. A quick scan showed familiar horses: Cobb’s bay, Banker Livingston’s team, Doc Cameron’s roan, the Appaloosa Nick Sanders rode to town, and a few of the horses Mack Taylor, the livery stable owner, rented out. No South American horses hung their sleek heads over the doors of the stalls.

With a grunt of annoyance, Wyatt set the kitten on the nearest bale of hay, turned on his heel and strode outside, rounding the corner toward the stable office. “Mack!” he bellowed, charging through the door.

Mack Taylor half rose from behind a table, where the remains of a meal rested, and wiped his gray-bearded mouth with his stained brown sleeve. Pepe, lounging against a wall, straightened.

Wyatt didn’t give him a chance to speak. “Where are those Falabellas? Did they arrive?”

Mack and Pepe exchanged glances. Mack straightened, amusement wrinkling his narrow broken-nosed face. He ran a hand through his grizzled shoulder-length hair. “Arrived right on time. No problem et all.”

“Then where are they?”

“In the stable where they belong.”

“No, they’re not. I’ve just come from there.” He took two strides into the room. “If you’ve gone and lost that widow-woman’s horses, the ones I took responsibility for---”

Mack raised a placating hand. “Now, Thompson. I ain’t never lost me a horse in my life. Never even had one stolen. Let’s just mosey out to the stable and have us another look. Perhaps you didn’t see ‘em.”

“You sayin' I’m blind? Those Falabellas aren’t there. I recognized every horse in the place.”

“Let’s us go look-see.” Mack stepped out from behind the table, yellowed green eyes squinting in amusement.

Pepe followed. Although the young man kept his eyes downcast, Wyatt could tell by the set of his shoulders, he, too, found the situation humorous.

Wyatt let them pass, then fell in behind, puzzlement creeping into his anger. Were they playing a joke on him? The top of his ears burned at the thought. While Mack enjoyed a laugh as much as any man, he wasn’t known for being a prankster.

He followed the two men through the doors of the barn. Sunlight filtered through the entrance and an open window above the hayloft--more than enough to illuminate the dim interior. He glanced down the row of stalls, again assessing and dismissing each curious occupant.

Just as he thought, no South American horses. With one part of his mind, he took stubborn satisfaction in being right. With another, he started worrying--a gut churning feeling of concern. Regardless of what he’d felt about the Spanish widow’s acquisition of Ezra’s ranch, he’d taken responsibility for her horses, and Wyatt Thompson took his responsibilities seriously.

He couldn’t even report them stolen. Nobody to take the report. With the retirement of Rand Mather six months before, Sweetwater Springs no longer had a sheriff. Wyatt would have to track the thieves down himself. And how could he explain this to Reverend Norton, much less to the widow?

Mack leaned over the nearest empty stall. “There ya are, little fella. Thompson here worried ya done gone and disappeared on us.”

What the…? Wyatt stepped beside him. It must be a foal, he thought assessing the tiny brown animal with the black mane and tail. But his experienced eye dismissed that thought almost as soon as it came. This compact miniature horse didn’t possess the unfinished stick-legged look of a foal.

Mack glanced at Wyatt’s stunned face and cackled. Pepe’s soft laughter joined his.


“Yep, midget horses. Damned strangest thing I ever did see. Cute little critters, though. Look at the rest.”

Wyatt strode down the aisle, peering over the top of the stalls. Black, chestnut, brown, dappled gray, and a cream-colored one with black legs, mane and tail.... None of them stood higher than his hips.

The burning sensation spread from his ears, across his forehead, and into his cheeks. Why hadn’t that widow woman mentioned midget horses? He ground his teeth. Not a good way to begin relations with his new neighbor.

From Mack’s continuous cackling as the man exited the barn, probably for the nearest saloon, Wyatt knew the story would be all over town in a matter of hours. The heat in his face singed the outside of his skin like a fresh sunburn. He had a reputation in these parts as a calm, logical man of substance. People respected him. He’d built a prosperous life, erasing the disasters and shame of his younger years. Now in just a few minutes, some Spanish widow had managed to overset his hard-earned serenity. And he hadn’t even met the woman! Wyatt turned and stalked down the aisle, keeping a wary eye out for the kitten.

From outside the door, a boy’s voice called, “In here, Mama.”

Before Wyatt had time to step out of the way, a young boy careened into him.

Something jabbed into his side. He grabbed the boy’s shoulders before he could hit the ground and set him on his feet.

“Pardon, Senor.”

Wyatt surveyed his captive. A little overdressed for a weekday. He didn’t recognize the child, but he was familiar with the sticky red and white candy clutched in the boy’s hand. His daughter’s favorite. Wyatt glanced down at himself. Just as he surmised, a red stain blotched his once clean white shirt.

The boy’s gaze followed Wyatt’s. A chagrined look crossed his face. “Sentir ... I mean, sorry, sir.”

“Slow down, son, and watch where you’re going.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

A melodic woman’s voice asked, “Is there a problem?”

Wyatt looked up. The Spanish widow no doubt. Clad in black from head to toe, she clutched an armload of parcels and sacks. The shadows near the door obscured her features. He gave a gentle push to the boy, heading him back outside. “Perhaps you should wash up. Use the pump by the horse trough.”

Pepe rushed over. “Señora Rodriguez, let me take those for you.” He lifted the bundles out of her arms and disappeared outside. Popping back in the barn, he said, “Is there anything else I may do for you, Señora?”

Non, Gracias, Pepe.”

De nada, Señora.” Pepe hurried back out.

I should have helped her. Wyatt buried the quick spurt of shame under rising anger. She was the cause of his current predicament. “I take it you’re the owner of these midgets?”

She stepped into the light, and her beauty caught him in the gut--like a kick from one of her midget horses. Under her black straw hat, he caught a glimpse of flame-colored hair. Auburn brows and lashes framed wide blue eyes. A flush of peach crept into her cheeks and a determined chin, now lifted several inches higher than before, gave her a spirited demeanor. Not the withered, dark-skinned widow he’d been expecting.

“Falabellas,” she corrected.

“I don’t care what high fallutin’ name you give them. Those horses are midgets.”

“No they’re not.”

“What good are Falabellas anyway? Can’t even ride them.”

He caught the flash of her cornflower blue eyes and watched with appreciation as her bosom swelled with anger. She tightened her jaw and visibly forced herself to give him a civil reply. “They can pull a special buggy. And they’re very playful.”

“Playful?” His words dripped with derision. Shame brushed across his conscience, but not enough to stop him.


“Who needs a playful horse? A good horse is a hard workin' horse.” Didn’t she know anything? She would never make a go of her ranch with her kind of horses.

“They’re very good with children. Although you might not approve of that either.”

He heard the civility slip from her voice and secretly smiled. There was a way to reach past her cool exterior. “If you’re implying that I don’t approve of children, I must inform you I have a daughter. Christine will be out of school in a few minutes, and you can meet her. Perhaps we can get these ... these....”

“They’re Falabellas.”

“I get the name. Falabellas. Do you herd them like sheep or lead them like donkeys?”

“Chico and Mariposa will pull the buggy,” she said, crisping each word. “The rest only need lead ropes. I’ll hire a horse for Manuel, my groom. If we keep the bigger horses to a slow walk, these will be fine. Although I don’t know what business it is of yours, Mr...?”

Beneath the chill in the widow’s icy blue eyes and cool voice burned a passion as fiery as her hair. He could sense it. Like the fires of hell, a man could be consumed by such a blaze. Might even heat up the cold emptiness inside him. He shoved that thought aside. Best focus on the matter at hand. “I’m the help you requested in your letter to Reverend Norton.”

He swept her a mocking bow. “Wyatt Thompson, at your service.

Now is the time to ask questions and make comments. One lucky commenter will win a download of Sower of Dreams. Let the comments begin!.

If a female cooks for a man, is invested in his personal life and spends money on him, it usually means she wants a relationship. This is a no-brainer, at least in my opinion. But how can she tell if HE’S interested in love or just wants to be friends?

One of my girl-pals has a male friend who seems to be attached to her side. He pet sits, showers money and attention on her, and comes running to her aid whenever she calls him on the phone, even if it’s three in the morning and she just has a Taco Bell craving. She says he’s a good friend but, to me, he seems to be putting in a lot of time and effort for just a friend.  

The guy is intelligent and has boatloads of common sense.  He doesn’t appear to be into playing games. But if he’s really interested, wouldn’t he just come out and say so? Gauging a man’s interest level can be tricky.

Now ladies, I need you to travel back in time to your dating days. How did you know if a friend was interested in you as a potential partner rather than a buddy or sidekick? What were the signals and behaviors you looked for?

Here are the winners of three of the Pink Fuzzies giveaways. The other giveaways are being handled by the respective authors.

Tastes of Love and Evil (paperback or Kindle) goes to lisagk 
The Wanton Governess goes to Scarlet Pumpernickel
Tripping Through Time goes to Pamela Varnado

Mary Marvella's two winners are Judy Keim and Calisa Rhose. Ladies, you get to choose between either Haunting Refrain or Forever Love.

To claim your prizes, email me at bmonajem at yahoo dot com within the next few days.

Here are the winners in the SBBG giveaway. If you're one of the winners, go to immediately to claim your prize. SBBG only allows two days before choosing another winner.

The first winner will choose 15 items from the prize list
 Entry #2270desi reilly
The 2nd will choose 13 items after the 1st winner has chosen 
Entry #678sue brandes/katsrus
The 3rd will get 12 items after the 2nd winner has chosen 
Entry #846Martina K
The 4th gets 10 items after the 3rd winner has chosen
Entry #82 LJ Kentowski
The 5th gets 10 items after the 4th winner has chosen 
Entry #4116Orsayor L. Simmons
The remaining books and/or giftcards will be given to our hosts.

And the giftcard winners are...
$25 gift certificate to Amazon or The Book Depository
Entry #4062Kulsuma
$15 Barnes & Noble eGift Card (US & Intl) or Gift Card (US)
Entry #3054Mary Preston
$15 in books from the Book Depository
Entry #4897Maureen
$10 in books from the Book Depository
Entry #355Jeanne
$10 gift certificate to Amazon
Entry #2928Linda Thum

Today's the last day of Small Blogs, Big Giveaways for October. Go here for one last chance to enter and win!

I like writing characters who struggle with unusual abilities. My vampires aren't the normal kind -- they're not undead or immortal, and sunlight's no problem. But they do have fangs, and they're sexually irresistible. I don't know about you, but being irresistible sounds to me like a royal pain! They also have enhanced night vision, sense of smell, and hearing. I've also written characters who are powerful telepaths or can read auras -- with lots of hassles as a result.

Jack, the hero in Tastes of Love and Evil, is a human chameleon. He can blend into almost any background. It was a ton of fun imagining what problems this ability might cause him. Here's a scene from the first chapter of Tastes of Love and Evil. Jack has been shot, and Rose, the vampire heroine, comes to the rescue...but he has reason to mistrust vamps.

    The room was empty.

    No, it just appeared to be. “I told you there was no one here.” Her nostrils quivering, every sense alert, Rose scanned the bed, the curtains, the embroidered mantle draped on a chair, the Elizabethan gown on the luggage cart. “Now get out of my room!”

    The gunman ignored her, ducking in and out of the bathroom, glancing into the closet, going efficiently through every hiding place. Warmer, cried Rose’s senses, warmer, warmer, damn, oh God please no, as he shoved past the luggage cart to the window, and then as he returned, colder, warmer, colder, where the hell is the man? One-handed, the fake fed lifted the mattress and box spring, but no one was concealed underneath.

    Sirens cried in the distance, and a second later the gunman’s phone squawked a warning. He left without looking back.

    Rose retrieved her breakfast, double-locked the door, and scanned the room. Aha. She’d seen this phenomenon once before. She knew Random Man was in the room, somewhere near the window. “They’ve gone,” she said softly. “You can come out now. You need to have that wound tended.”

    Nothing. Where was he?

    “I brought coffee and doughnuts.” She put the food on the table. “I’d be happy to share, once we’ve patched you up.” Pause. “I know you’re here. I can hear you breathing.”


      “I can smell you,” Rose said, her voice rising, tendrils of allure escaping. You and your blood. “I’m here to help, you fool!”

      Still nothing. Or maybe…a faint shimmer, like heat rising in summer air, over on the luggage cart, right by the Elizabethan gown. Damn it, thought Rose. If he stains that costume…  Anger coupled with the aroma of blood overwhelmed her senses, and her fangs slotted down. Purposely this time, she directed her allure toward the luggage cart. Another shimmer, instantly controlled, and then absolute stillness.
      No more pussyfooting around. She smiled and sent a wave of allure crashing across the room. Random Man resolved into view, gold and tan and brown blending with the dress, then gradually reacquiring his own muted shape and colors, blue denims and Saints jacket, nondescript but definitely all there.

“God help me,” Random Man said. “Not another vamp.”

 I'm giving away a signed paperback of Tastes of Love and Evil this week, as well as a Kindle copy of one of my Regency novellas, The Wanton Governess. Also, Mary Ricksen is giving away a signed paperback of Tripping Through Time. We'll be picking winners from everyone who commented on my three blog posts here this week.

  Continuing with Small Blog, Big Giveaway, two lucky commentators will win copies of TO LOVE A HERO, international romance, or FRENCH PERIL, romantic suspense.

I've been often asked: What made you write this particular book? Why did you set your story in that particiular setting? So let me explain the whys behind three of my stories.

When I started writing, I already knew that my heroine would be an all-American gal, educated, assertive and independent. But I wanted my hero to be different from the men she met everyday at work. While traveling abroad, I observed the foreign male and study how he could attract my American heroine and be worthy of her love.

During my business trips to Belarus, I dealt mostly with officers, handsome, reserved, aloof at first sight.

TO LOVE A HERO --available for $0.99--highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and valiant Belarusian officers who sing, toast with vodka and make a woman feel like a goddess.

The Russian hero, such as the handsome Major General Sergei of TO LOVE A HERO, is a perfect example of alpha hero: a patriotic officer, authoritative and chauvinistic but protective and gallant, honest and loyal.

FRENCH PERIL was inspired by a vacation in a modernized chateau, in the historical Loire Valley. I was so impressed by the magnificence of the French chateaux and the wealth of history of that area, I visualized gallant aristocrats entertaining beautiful women in lavishly decorated galleries and plush gardens. Stories played in my mind. I upped the stakes with a missing statue and the murder of a professor to create a romantic suspense, FRENCH PERIL--available for $0.99.

In France, the old gallantry has survived and many Frenchmen would not hesitate to write a poem to their beloved. The aristocratic male greets a woman by bowing over her hand for a kiss while the average Frenchman kisses her three times on the cheeks. The French hero is a playboy and a womanizer, determined not to be entrapped, but also a generous and passionate lover.

In NO MORE LIES, Dr. Luc George is a charming psychiatrist and gallant aristocrat, the perfect French lover a woman can wish for. He detests secrets, but the woman he loves, Dr. Olivia Crane, has secrets by the bucket-load.

A lie that brings a smile...or the truth that draws tears?

Olivia doesn’t want to remember the past, doesn’t want to talk about it and carefully hide it from her daughter and from the man she loves. As a successful doctor, she treats abused patients, yet she is so afraid of seeing the past destroy her daughter’s peace of mind, that one little lie leads to another, and another,…

All hell breaks loose when Luc strolls into her office, with open arms and a confident smile. Should she return his scorching kisses, or should she lock her door before he digs into her many secrets?

Secret daughter, secret friend, secret enemy. Had Luc really known his sweet Olivia back then? He wants her back, but he wants the truth too. Now, Olivia has to face her past before she can grab her second chance.

NO MORE LIES --available for $0.99--is a sweet and sensual story that will make you smile, laugh and cry— the story of two psychiatrists with conflicting theories on how to treat their patients and tame their own emotions.

Murder can be real good.

Hi! As you can tell, I write romantic suspense. Welcome to The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers. We're glad you hopped over. This week we're participating in a fun blog hop. To visit the blog hop main page click HERE.

I'm giving away an e-copy of my novel 'Evil's Witness' to one lucky commenter. I'll announce my winner Friday at noon EST--just in time for the weekend.

To peak your interest in the story, I'm sharing both Steph's and John's backstory. These are the events that made them into the people they were when they met. Both were hurt. Both needed to learn that they could love again. I hope you enjoy.

Please visit me at

A look into John's past.

John Dolton crashed to his knees. The inferno in front of him consumed his life.

His heart pumped against his sterum with strong, wild vibes, but his brain felt starved for oxygen. How could that be?

Heat like tiny flesh straved piranhas gnawed at his skin. He gulped against the pain. Roasting air seared his lungs, expanding them until his chest felt as if were about to explode.

He didn’t care.

“Damn, John, snap out of it.”

He blinked and focued on the fingers clinking inches away from his nose.

“Come on, man. You’ve got to get back.” He heard his partner’s cry but Luke’s voice was diffused, coming at him from several directions.

Something looped under his arms and yanked him upward, lifting his dead weight off his knees—the ones that had given way when he’d seen his life gone.
The heels of his boots marked the tarmac with duel tracks as he was drugged away from the wreckage. He didn’t fight. He couldn't. Every muscle in his body had died. His gaze remained on the windows of what once was his SUV.

Staring beyond the flaming bizarre tongues licking at the vehicle’s roof, he saw his wife and little girl as he had left them only ten minutes ago. Happy. Laughing. Anticipating a long overdue family vacation.

“Why?” A screamed like that of a savage, wounded animal rivaled sirens.
He searched the faces staring at him. Wide-eyed, brow ceased, sad faces stared back.
Had the horrendous cry come from him?



He had to save them.

Adreline surged through his veins and John pulled from the force that pulled him back.

Luke’s grip tightened.

“Let me go. I've got to try.” John twisted and swung a fist at his partner’s jaw, but Luke ducted in time.

Pain ripped through John's shoulder as Luke grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back.

“They’re gone, John. You can’t save them.”

The agency’s emergency response team raced around the inferno, but John knew in his heart they were too late. He was too late. He had failed to keep Julie and Katie safe.

With the dousing of the flames, John caught a glimpse of the smothering arm lying on the sidewalk against the store front a moment before a fireman covered it with a white plastic sheet. A silver band encircled had the tiny wrist.


John swore a fiery rod pieced his gut. He grabbed his ribs and a second later hurdledthe egg-muffin ate an hour ago.

“We’ll get them. I promise you.” Luke’s voice shook as he held John. “I swear. I will die before they get away with this.”


John fell to the sidewalk. Cold laughter mingled with the taste of vomit in his mouth. Luke nor he knew who they were.

They had taken his reason to live. When he found them, they would wish this day had never happened too.

Stephanie's Story

Startled by a crash, Stephanie woke and fell from her couch to the floor. The boom reminded her of the episode last winter when a car skidded into their front porch taking out a corner post. Gripping the leather cushion, she sat up, swept her hair back from her face and stared into the dark corners of her living room. The red display of a digital clock on the entertainment center read three forty-two.

Another thump vibrated the floor seconds before the door which lead to the garage burst open. Light spilled across the carpet. Gene was home, finally.

“Damn kids.” His words were slurred and the alcohol he’d consumed over the last six hours while at his weekly poker game preceded him by about twenty feet.

More rattling.

“Stephanie, I’m caught. Get this damn thing off of me or I’ll—“

“Will you keep it down?” She scurried to her feet and hit the light switch to the high-hat lights above the fireplace. “The kids are sleeping. They have to get up for school in two hours.”

“This is my house and I’ll yell at them for leaving their freakin’ bikes lying in front of the door anytime I want.”

Em’s bike had been parked against the wall where it was supposed to be. Gene probably knocked it over making his not-to-steady way inside. However, arguing with him while he was in this state of mind was not going to do her any good. He’d only get more boisterous and eventually wake the kids just to scold them for something they didn’t do, and was his own fault. God, she was tired of Gene’s partying. He was married, a father of two. What example did he set for Bobbie? Would he ever grow up?

The sadness which filled her cemented the truth in place. No.

Gene fell forward and she grabbed him under his arms. As he struggled to free his foot from between the railings of Em’s bike, he leaned onto her and Stephanie’s nose became buried in his beer stained tee shirt. “My, God. How much did you have tonight? You didn’t drive home, did you?”

Em’s bike clattered against the garage’s concrete floor. “Damn straight I did. “

“You’re drunk.”

“So. “

Over his shoulder, she caught a glimpse of their wedding portrait and wondered where that happy, young couple went wrong.

Disgusted, she pushed Gene away. “So you’re a cop.”

“Yeah." He shrugged and then scratched his stomach, pulling his tee shirt up over the flat abs he worked hard to maintain since he quarterbacked for their high school football team. "Don't worry. The guys won't ticket me.”

She folded her arms across her chest in order to keep her hands from reaching out and strangling some sense into him. “What about hurting yourself, or God forbid, someone else?”

“I didn’t, okay.” He waved her away. Then with dithering steps, he made his way into the kitchen and flipped on the lights. “What’s to eat?” He called over his shoulder. “I’m starved. Rosie got pissed with Tony and threw the pizza we ordered at him. ”

Steph drew a breath as she raced after him hoping he wouldn’t reach the pots and pans before she could block him. His buddies probably ordered the pizza after midnight and the delivery guy woke Rosie’s seven-year-old twins. Poor Rosie.

She stepped between Gene and the stove just as he reached for the knob to turn it on. “Why don’t you go get a shower and I’ll—”

His frown turned wolfish as he grabbed and pulled her close, grinding his hips into hers. “You’re hoping I’ll fall asleep aren’t you?” He nuzzled her neck. “After I grab a couple eggs, I’ll be ready to take care of you, babe. Why don’t you whip them up for me?”

Not in the mood to be manhandled, she pulled away from his clutch. “Stop it, Gene. I’m not in the mood for your games. I’m going to bed.” Stephanie turned only to be stopped by the bite of his fingernails on her arm.

His eyes narrowed. “I said I’m hungry.”

“And I want a divorce.” She yanked her arm free. “See who gets what they want first.”


Elementary school nurse STEPHANIE BOYD’s ordinary world changes forever when she and her children witness a blood bath. To escape the wrath of the Russian Mafia, she has no choice but to help the FBI uncover the Mafia’s mole inside the U.S. Treasury. While on the run with the handsome agent who is willing to die for them, Stephanie learns the meaning of self-sacrifice and love.

Agent JOHN DOLTON’s only break in solving the case that cost him everything is a couple of kids and a beautiful widow. But keeping his witnesses safe seems impossible when their every move is foreseen by their enemy. Within weeks, Stephanie and her children soften the loner’s heart and John allows himself to let go of his all-consuming sorrow.

This time John vows not to fail to protect the family he loves.

This week the Pink Fuzzy Slippers are participating in a fun blog hop and we hope you participate: Small Blog, Big Giveaways.

Today I will be giving away two Kindle releases, ALL OF ME, and CHAMPAGNE FOR TWO.

I would like to open up a discussion on a New York Times article dated Oct.16th, about Amazon signing up authors. The article goes on to say that they are encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers, and is aggressively wooing some of their top authors.

They haven’t contacted me yet, but I’m still hoping! LOL

Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres which will put them in competition with the New York houses that are their prominent suppliers.

So, my question is, do you approve of this move, or think they are overstepping their grounds and an area of conflict?

Please feel free to comment and at the end of the day I will choose a winner for my two free downloads.

The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers are participating in this fun blog hop and I'm up today. To visit the mother ship behind the launch of this exciting blog hop click HERE.

I’m giving away eBooks (pdf or kindles, winner’s choice) of three of my historical/light paranormal romances touched on below. 

RED BIRD’S SONG, an adventure romance novel inspired by events that occurred to my Scots-Irish ancestors in the colonial frontier.
*A Night Owl Top Pick *Finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards

Blurb: Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn't how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather's vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III's English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.

As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.~

"This book touched my soul even as it provided a thrilling fictional escape into a period of history I have always found fascinating.” ~ Reviewed by Laurie-J for Night Owl Romance

"With "Red Bird's Song", Beth Trissel has painted an unforgettable portrait of a daring and defiant love brought to life in the wild and vivid era of Colonial America. Highly recommended for lovers of American history and romance lovers alike!"
Review by Virginia Campbell

ENEMY OF THE KING, an Adventurous Romance Novel inspired by research into my early American ancestors and the American Revolution.
"An amazing and vibrant look into the American Revolution…this sexy historical is a must read!" ~Coffee Time Romance and More

Blurb: 1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. 

When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah?

If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.~

A Suspenseful Scottish Time Travel Romance Novel, done in reverse.
"Ms. Trissel masterfully blended the past and the present in order to create a lovely romance that spans centuries." ~Poinsettia, Long and Short Reviews

Blurb: Neil MacKenzie's well-ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he's her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head--or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood.

Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he's dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall's brother, she's convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it's too late.

The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?

"Somewhere My Lass is a wonderful historical romance that captured me from the first page. Mora's confusion and how she perceived things with this time had me laughing out loud. I was rooting for Mora and Neil from the beginning and turned the pages frantically once the pieces began to fall into place to see how it all turned out. The author does a magnificent job of character development, world settings and keeping the plot streaming with no hiccups. I was enthralled with this novel; it's magical and I can't wait to read more from this talented storyteller!"~Reviewed by Wendy at Minding Spot

**Winners are selected from those visitors who leave comments!  

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