Help! Which Author Head Shot Contest!

Good morning, and Happy Labor Day! I am having a fantastic mini-vacation here at home. It’s been wonderful to sleep late, and read, and knit, and write. Really fantastic. I need to do this more often!!

 

Anyway, I’ve received the headshots done by Gary Lura Photography. I hate even looking at pix of myself. In my mind I’m tall and willowy and young, but when I look at a picture of myself I discover I’m short and plump and middle aged. Can you imagine my disappointment?

 

So I’d like some help choosing which pic should be my new author head shot. Look over the pix below and leave a comment saying which one you like best and why.  To sweeten the pot, I’m going to offer an Amazon $10.00 gift card to one person who leaves a comment. I will draw tomorrow evening, September 2 (Oh my gosh, it’s September already?!!) at 7pm central time.

 

A Reading & Writing Weekend

Here in the States it’s a holiday weekend. Labor Day weekend is the traditional end of summer and beginning of the school year. It is also the Gimli Weekend. For those in the Kingdom of Northshield, in the Known World of the SCA, Gimli is a camping event held on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba Canada. I really wanted to go, and even had travel arrangements made. But I’ve had some tummy bug for a few weeks (nausea and diarrhea, but let’s not go into details) and trying to get to the restroom at the campground every half hour could be … unpleasant. I have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, and meanwhile, per the nurse’s direction, I’m keeping a strict food diary and listing  all my symptoms on a timeline. I am planning a quiet 4 days at home, reading, writing and knitting. Although I hate to miss seeing people, I think a quiet weekend at home will be heavenly.

I’ve been on a bit of a reading binge lately. Anyone else? With four days off, I should be able to get through at least a few books on my To Be Read (TBR) list and get some writing done on Wolf’s Princess. A few weeks ago a Western Romance author I enjoy made a blog post about her upcoming release.  I just about jumped on the table and did a can can dance. I was instantly dying to read that book. I mean, seriously jonesing for that book. The rough draft was complete, and the manuscript was out  with the beta readers, so I figured it couldn’t be long before it was out.  I then re-read every book she’d written.  (Does anyone else do that? When a favorite author is going to have a new book out, do you go back and re-read?)

 

Who is this author? Ellen O’Connell.  If you enjoy western romances and haven’t read her yet, I strongly recommend her.  Her heroes are to die for, and her heroines aren’t too stupid to live. Her ladies are strong (not spunky, or feisty, or silly). If you don’t enjoy westerns you might still want to give one of her books a try. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but it would be either Beautiful Bad Man or Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. If you like Native American romance, Dancing On Coals is excellent too. And there is sort of a sequel to Beautiful Bad Man called Into the Light.

Badman Eyes of Silver

 

Barnes & Noble:

Beautiful Bad Man

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold

Dancing on Coals

 

Amazon:

Beautiful Bad Man

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold

Dancing on Coals

 

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend. I’m off now to write a bit in Wolf’s Lady. Time for one more love scene (you want to know for sure that Sand is healing, right?) and an epilogue. Happy Reading!

Tuesday Teaser 8/26/14: Wolf’s Lady Part 32

Wolf's Princess Plotting BoardLast week I found myself floundering with Wolf’s Princess. I was getting bogged down on too much description and losing my focus for the story, so I did some re-plotting. I’ll probably spend the rest of this week re-writing, re-arranging and cutting to get the story back on track. See? Here’s the revised plotting board.

 

One of the things I like about Wolf’s Lady is that I get to give readers a first glimpse of what Omaha is like. I give you fair warning, it isn’t like Kearney or the den at all.  Sky has changed in his time in Omaha, so focused on what he feels he has to do that he’s pushed his wolf to the background. He certainly isn’t the impatient boy Rose remembers. He’s been wheeling and dealing to make alliances, feeling out who might be sympathetic to a new form  of government in Omaha, trying to find a way to give women back their rights. You see that in this tidbit in Sand and Amanda’s story.

 

 

Amanda had to look for Sky. He wasn’t in the waiting room or the hallway. He was found in the corner of a dark patient room, in a huddle with Dean Erikson and Johnnie Case. When she first opened the door and the weak electric light streamed in, Johnnie’s face showed excitement, and Dean looked nervous. The Guardsman pulled his usual cold mask over his face, but Jonnie seemed to struggle to bring himself under control. Sky’s face showed its normal smooth imperturbability. Amanda nodded at Sky.

“Sand’s awake. He wants to talk to you.”

His face lit with relief. He gave Johnnie’s arm a squeeze and slapped Dean on the shoulder. “We’ll talk more later,” he murmured.

Amanda had to hurry to keep up with his long legs as he rushed down the hall to Sand’s room. “Wait a second,” she hissed at him, catching his arm. “You were awfully friendly with Johnnie and Dean.”

Sky stopped and leaned down to whisper in her ear. “It seems Lt. Erikson is offended when wrong doers aren’t punished. Judge Case doesn‘t like it when a man ignores his warning and hires thugs to steal a lady he admires and kill her husband.”

Her heart pounded. “Are they going to do something? Arrest Terry?”

“I believe I talked them out of that, at least until you and Sand leave Omaha.” His voice lowered even more. “Maybe we have another two allies in the fight.”

She was sure the fight to depose McGrath and set the women of Omaha free was the only reason Sky was in the city. He gave her a small smile and strode down the empty hall to Sand’s room.

Sand smiled at his cousin, but held his hand out to Amanda. She went to him and held his hand tightly.

“I love you,” he whispered. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

Something deep inside untwisted and she smiled at him. “Yes. I’m fine.”

“I should have asked before.”

Until he’d said he loved her just now, she hadn’t even been aware of a tiny annoyance that he hadn’t said it earlier. She perched on the edge of the bed and squeezed his hand. “You sort got distracted, throwing up.”

“Sand, how are you doing?” Sky asked.

Sand smiled at her, weakly pressing her fingers with his own before turning to Sky. “Not too bad. Whatever they gave me is wearing off.”

Amanda clutched his hand and looked him over. “Are you in pain?”

He looked away. “Some. Sky, you have to get me out of here.”

He didn’t even need to explain why. Amanda saw Sky’s eyes narrow and comprehension cross his face. “It’s too late tonight; it’s nearly midnight. Tomorrow you’ll come home.”

Sara gasped. “The doctors will never allow that.”

“Never?” Sky tilted his head. “I think they will, with a little incentive.”

And they did. The next morning at eleven o’clock Sand was asleep in her bed in Sky’s House. Sara had asked to come to be his nurse, but Sister Roberta forbade it.

“A novice in the Order of the Sisters of Healing does not attend a man in a house of ill repute.”

Amanda opened her mouth to blast the stiff necked nun, but Sara beat her to it, and in a much more humble and reasonable way than Amanda would have.

“Sister, it is our duty to care of the sick, and Sand is my cousin’s husband.”

Amazingly, the sour-faced nun smiled. “Very true,” she said approvingly. “And I’ve no objection to you visiting during the day, but you cannot stay overnight. If Mr. Wolfe needs care in the night, I will stay and help him.”

Only Amanda caught the slight widening of Sky’s eyes and wondered if a nun on the premises would hurt business. Not that she cared right now. Sara had confirmed, in a low, awed voice, that Sand’s wound was already healing. It looked like it was a week old after less than twenty-four hours. Amanda was so relieved she crushed the younger woman in a bear hug that made her squeak.

She sat in her vanity chair, watching Sand’s bandaged chest rise and fall with his breathing. His hair, freshly washed and braided, lay over his shoulder to spill over the blanket. His color was better, his full mouth soft in sleep, his thick lashes a crescent of black against his cheek. Even his hand, relaxed and brown on the white sheet, was dear to her. He was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen on her bed, the most precious. If he had died … God, she couldn’t bear to think of it.

A hot tear slid out of her eye and ran down her cheek. She blotted it away. She hadn’t prayed since her mother died, but she said a short wordless prayer now: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One of Sand’s eyes opened a crack. “You’re tired, mate. Come sleep with me.”

“I couldn’t!” she protested. “You’re hurt.”

“Hm,” he grunted. “Too hurt for much more than just sleep, but I’ll rest better with my mate beside me.”

She slipped her shoes off and lay on the covers beside him, stiff to avoid touching him. With a fumbling hand but surprising strength he dragged her under the blankets with him. “Sleep, Amanda,” he mumbled.

Within a minute they were both fast asleep, heads close together on one pillow. A half hour later he roused when the bedroom door opened. Sara poked her head around the door, and her brown eyes widened at the sight of them snuggled together under the blankets. She opened her mouth to say something, but he pressed a finger to his lips. After a moment, she nodded and closed the door.

Sand curved an arm more tightly around his mate. Her scent seduced him into wanting more than sleeping beside her, but her warmth caressed him into drowsiness. He was still too weak for more than snuggling, but soon he would show his mate again just what her luscious scent did to him. He would never been finished showing her that. Maybe tomorrow…

New Cover For Sherry’s Wolf!

Have I mentioned how I HATE trying to do cover art? Well, I hate it. I did Sherry’s Wolf myself, but it pretty much sucked. I try, but I just don’t have the skill necessary to cut out the images I like and put them together. So when  a reader who is going to school for video design asked if she could do a cover for me just for practice, I said YES!!! I figured she couldn’t do any worse than I had, right?  LOL Now I want to show it off to you.

Here is what she did for Sherry’s Wolf.

Sherry’s Wolf

Cover design by Caryn Ertel

Sherry's Wolf2sml

Tuesday Teaser, 8/19/14: Wolf’s Lady Part 31

Well, this novella is up to 31,080 words now. Another couple of thousand ought to wrap this up. Just for comparison, Wolf’s Oath is 35,380 words long and Sherry’s Wolf is 32,899 words long. So Wolf’s Lady will be the usual length of one of my novellas.

 

I’m falling down on the job for my goal of finishing the rough draft of Wolf’s Princess done by mid-October. Either I’ll have to pick up the pace or push the target date back. I still have two months, so all is not lost yet. I think I need more sexual tension between Rose and Sky, so i’ll need to go back and sprinkle some in. it can’t be hard. Sky has wanted Rose since the moment he laid eyes on her in the Lakota Wolf Clan camp. Now that she’s finally within reach, he’s going crazy trying to control himself. Rose is leery of Sky, but he’s very handsome and she’s very curious about sex. Living in the den with all those wolves and their highly developed senses of hearing and smell means she hasn’t dared experiment in private.  Wish me luck in powering through the last two thirds of the book!

 

Do you recall that when we left Amanda and Sand last, he was in surgery and she was in the waiting room at the hospital? The judge who married them has just walked into the waiting room and announced he was going to write an arrest warrant for Terry Askup.  Please remember this has not been proofed at all, so there will undoubtedly be errors.  Feel free to point them out, but I’m sure the beta readers will catch anything that we miss.

 

 

sandAmanda gulped and shot Sky a glance. Seeing Terry locked up would give her a lot of satisfaction. Pissing Mayor McGrath off could result in widowhood for her and trouble for Sky. Sky moved smoothly toward Johnnie and led him out of the waiting room. Dean looked from their retreating backs to her.

“What’s that about?” he asked.

She considered whether or not to be honest and decided on honesty. “We don’t have any proof of who paid to kill Sand and steal me.”

“Hm. Terry Askup is a logical suspect.”

“Yeah,” Amanda agreed. “Do you know what would happen if you arrested him?”

Dean’s expression didn’t change. “Hm,” he said again, before turning and following Sky and Johnnie out into the hall.

Sara tugged her arm. “Come on. Sand will be awake soon. You should be there.”

When Amanda walked into the small room where Sand lay recovering, her heart clenched. Just for a second she thought his beautiful hair has been cut off, but then she saw it was slicked back into a ponytail. Oh, God, he looked so helpless lying in the narrow bed with the blanket folded down to his waist to reveal the bandage that was wound around his chest. Sara whispered for her to take the chair by the bed and told the nurse she would take over. The male nurse hesitated, then left.

 Amanda traced her husband’s pale face with her gaze, following the slashing line of his eyebrow to his high cheekbone to the straight, stubborn line of his jaw. From the first moment she’d met him in the hall outside her room, she’d thought him handsome. She remembered the first time she saw his chipped tooth. It could have detracted from his looks –maybe even should have– but it didn’t. That one slight flaw kept him from being too perfect. And now that she’d grown to know him, she found his face the most wonderful and beautiful art in the world. Love rushed through her like a tidal wave, crashing over her heart and washing down to her fingertips.

“Oh, Sand, I love you,” she whispered.

The corner of his mouth twitched. Amanda leaned forward to try to take his hand, but Sara pushed her unceremoniously out of the way. The younger woman lifted Sand a finches and tilted his head so he vomited into the basin she held for him.  She held him steady until he was finished then deftly wiped his face with a wet rag.

Amanda swallowed hard, trying to control her own gag reflex. Sara held a glass of water for Sand to sip.

“Now, spit,” she ordered, holding the basin.

He obeyed, and was laid back down. Sara thrust a clean basin into Amanda’s hands. “Here. In case he’s not done. I’ll be right back.”

She walked away holding the used basin and leaving Amanda clutching the fresh one. Her efficiency was almost frightening. Amanda looked at Sand. His face was gray except for the flush on his cheeks.

“Are you okay?” she whispered.

His eyes flicked open. “I’m done puking. I think. Where are we?”

“Hospital. They did surgery to remove the bullet. It broke inside you and they had to take the fragments out. Some ribs were broken too.”

“Oh. That’s why it hurts.” He closed his eyes again for a long minute before opening them again. “If Sky wants to keep the wolf stuff secret, I have to get out of here before they notice how fast I heal.”

“You can’t leave for a while,” Amanda began, but she broke off when Sara came back in, wiping the basin dry.

Sand turned his head to look at the teenager. “Cousin, you are a good nurse. You took care of me quickly and kindly, without hurting me. Thank you.”

“Yes,” Amanda agreed. “I’ve never seen you do your work at the hospital. I’m impressed.”

A flush of pleasure rose in Sara’s cheeks. She ducked her head like a shy toddler. “Will you tell Stone about it? He said I need to grow up and learn to care about someone besides myself.”

Amanda’s head snapped up with outrage. “He said what?”

Sara looked up, lips pressed tight together. “Nursing is the best way I could think of to do that. I’ve only just starting training six weeks ago, but I’ve learned a lot already.”

 “Yes, you have!” Amanda said. “You whipped that pan out like a professional.”

Sara’s brown eyes began to shine with tears. “Thank you. I’m trying.” She looked at Sand. “Tell him that, okay? Tell him I’m trying.”

“I will,” Sand promised. “How soon can I leave?”

Sara sniffed the tears back. “That’s up to the doctor. Four or five days, I’d guess.”

“It’s got to be sooner than that. Tomorrow at the latest.”

Amanda sprang to her feet. “No, you’re badly hurt. You need to stay until you heal—”

He looked right at her. “Darling, I’ll be just about well in four or five days.”

Disbelief made her jaw drop. “What? That’s impos… Isn’t it?”

He shook his head on the pillow. “No. I need to talk to Sky right away. Can you send a message to him?”

“I can do better. He’s here in the hospital. Should I go find him now?”

“Please. Sara will stay with me, won’t you, cousin?”

As Amanda went to the door she heard her cousin say, “You bet. Even if I didn’t like you, I’d stay because it’s my job. But I like you. I always did like you.”

Tuesday Teaser, 8/12/14: Wolf’s Lady Part 30

Here is the 30th installment on Sand and Amanda’s story.  I think when I do my revisions I’m going to make some changes to this, as it’s a bit drawn out and boring. It ends with a bag though, and that’s good. So, here you go: Wolf’s Lady!

 

Amanda leapt up every time someone walked past the waiting room. Sky sat in a chair nearby, his head in his hands, but when the tears she’d held back for so long spilled, he was up immediately and at her side.

“Amanda,” he said soothingly. He pulled her to his chest and held her there. “It will be alright.”

She wiped the tears away angrily. “It better be. If anything happens to Sand, I’ll kill him!”

Sky smiled a little. “You’ll kill your husband?”

“No.” Mindful of the City Guardsman sitting in the corner, she dropped her voice to a hiss. “Askup.”

Tension tightened the muscles in Sky’s chest. She felt him grow very still against her. “Do you know it was him?”

She shrugged, a quick jerk of her shoulders. “Those goons were paid to kill Sand and take me. Who else would have done that?”

“Do you have any proof?”

“No. Do you think I’m wrong?”

Sky tightened his arm around her shoulders with a small shake of his head. “I think you’re exactly right. What did you tell the Guards?”

She wiped away the last evidence of tears. “Nothing. Even with proof I couldn’t accuse one of Tim McGrath’s best friends.”

“No.” Sky’s voice was as cold and flat as she felt. “But he will pay. Not now, but someday, he will pay for what he’s done to you and Sand.”

Another hour crawled by, while Amanda went from staring a hole in the waiting room door to wearing a path in the floor. She was sitting when the door opened to allow Snow and Sara to enter. She sprang up and rushed to Sara.

“Amanda!” Sara gave her a fierce hug. “This is terrible! How is Sand?”

“I don’t know!” she burst out. “No one has told us a thing.”

Sara squared her shoulders in the prim gray cotton uniform. “I’ll find out. They’ll talk to me.”

Only a few inches over five feet tall, and not quite sixteen years old, some try might brush the girl in the novice uniform off. But Sara’s expression said they wouldn’t have any luck with it. Amanda felt a swell of relief crash over her. Sara would find out.

Snow stood close  to Sky, speaking quietly into his ear. Sky nodded from time to time, face expressionless. Amanda barely noticed them because the waiting room door opened, and Sara came back, her hand firmly clamped around the arm of a man wearing a blood smeared white apron over his clothes. With them walked elderly Sister Roberta, wrinkled face set in its usual stern expression.

“Cousin,” Sara said in voice like a general giving orders on the battlefield. “This is Dr. Rogers. Stan, this is my cousin, Amanda Wolfe.”

The doctor looked tired. He shook Amanda’s hand, and nodded at Sky and Snow who came forward. “Your husband is out of surgery. We’ve removed the bullet fragments and done as much repair as we could.”

Amanda clenched her hands together to control the tremble. “They said before that his lung was hit?”

“His lung hasn’t collapsed. It is a concern, however. We don’t know if our repairs will be enough for him to fully recover.”

Sky put a hand on her shoulder. “Mandy,” he said, and for once she didn’t hate the nickname. “He’ll recover. I told you, we’re strong.”

“You must trust in God,” the nun told her. “Pray to Our Lady for your husband’s recovery.”

Amanda was saved from making a very impious retort by the door opening yet again. Her mouth fell open when Judge John Case walked in, followed by Lieutenant Dean Erikson.

“I understand someone attempted to murder Sand Wolfe tonight,” Johnnie boomed. “And I think I know who. I warned that foo not to meddle with the Wolfe marriage. I’m here to write an arrest warrant for Terry Askup.”

Tuesday Teaser August 5, 2014: Wolf’s Lady Part 29

It’s time for another Tuesday Teaser already! So without further ado, here’s Amanda!

 

Sand was taken immediately into a room at the hospital, but the doctors told Amanda she had to wait outside while they examined him. The two Guardsmen stayed with her in the second floor waiting room. She had known Dean Erikson since he was an eighteen year old junior guardsman just posted to her neighborhood. For a few months they’d had a shy flirtation both knew would never go anywhere. His pay grade wouldn’t support a pet dog back then, much less have afforded a wife, and she was on her way to a bordello. Now, six years later, he’d moved up in the food chain to the rank of Lieutenant. But he’d never been one of her appointments.

“Please sit down, Mrs. Wolfe,” he said now. “I’m so sorry to have to disturb you at a time like this, but we have to ask you some questions.”

Amanda nodded. Their interrogation was keen and specific. She answered honestly about the three men, what they had said and done, but when it came to how her husband had defeated three armed opponents, she was vague. They wrote her answers down with no sign of suspicion.

Dr. Walsh came to find her. “Your husband has a bullet in his side that cracked two ribs on entry and nicked the lung. We are going into surgery immediately.”

She stood up so fast she almost lost her balance. “Oh, God,” she breathed. “That sounds bad. Is it bad?”

The doctor’s face was grave. “It can be a very dangerous wound. But Mr. Wolfe is young and strong. He has a chance of making a full recovery.”

That meant there was a chance he wouldn’t recover. “Oh, God!” she cried.

“I’ll come back when there is more news,” the doctor said, and went away.

Dean took her arm. “Sit down, ma’am. Your husband is in good hands. I need to go and brief the crime scene investigators, but Corporal Jones will stay with you. Be strong.”

Only two minutes after he left, Sky came up the stairs at a dead run, with no coat or tie, his shirt mostly unbuttoned. His cousin, Snow, was right behind him. “Amanda! What happened? Where is he?”

She flung her arms around Sky’s neck. “Sky! Sand was shot! He’s in surgery now. He … he might die.”

He squeezed her tight. Snow came and draped his arms around both of them. “No, cousin, he won’t die. Our family is hard to kill. I bet he’ll be up and about before you know it.”

Right. Sky told her years ago that wolf warriors recovered from injury very quickly. Her heart began to slow its wild beating. She gave Snow a wobbly smile. But not everyone knew what Sky and his cousins were. She put one arm around Snow and pulled both he and Sky closer to whisper. “Sand turned into a wolf and killed three men who attacked us. He doesn’t want anyone to know how he killed them, but anyone looking at the bodies would know he didn’t use a knife or a gun, and Dean Erikson is going to find out.”

Comprehension immediately came into Sky’s face. “Where are they?”

“By that empty lot only a couple of blocks from my house.”

Sky nodded. “Snow, go there. Drag the bodies to a hiding place and lure some dogs to them.”

“Hiding place?” Amanda tried to keep her voice down. “Why? He should bury them!”

“No, the Guards will find fresh graves pretty quickly, but if we can get the bodies mauled by wild dogs, they won’t know how they died.” He nodded at her blink of realization and turned back to Snow. “Then come back here.”

“And bring Sara back with you. My cousin Sara. She’s a nurse. She can help Sand. And it gives you a reason to leave and go in that direction.”

Snow smiled at her. “You’re pretty sneaky for a city girl,” he said approvingly. “But I’ll let my wolf out. He can run faster.”

They broke apart. Sky slapped Snow on the shoulder and spoke loudly for the corporal’s benefit. “Hurry then and fetch Miss Nelson. Sand will be glad to family nearby when he comes out of surgery.”

Snow nodded and left, and Amanda drew a long unsteady breath and settled down to wait for news of her husband’s condition.

Blog Hop Winners!

The BlogHop is over and we have winners!  The commenter who won the $10.00 gift card and the right to design Rose’s cat is TRIX! Congrats, Trix!

 

Other winners are:

 Cindy S. 
Grand prize: 7″ 16GB Kindle Fire HD

 

 Amy M. 
Chat Room Door Prize: $25 gift card to an e-book retailer of her choice

 

 Rebecca W. 
Tina Christopher: $10 Ellora’s Cave gift card
A. Catherine Noon: Sealed By Fire

 

 Lee T. 
Nina Pierce: Ebook In His Eyes & $10 Amazon gift card

 

 Jody F. 
Vivien Dean: $10 Amazon gift card
Tina Holland: Choice of Pilot and the Pinup, Drake’s Desire, Sexing up the Spy or FireProof

 

 Brandi 
Gem Sivad: $10 gift card to an e-book retailer of winner’s choice
Jianne Carlo: Prymal Lust

 

 Donna G. 
Trina M. Lee: Swag bag
TD Hassett: Darling’s Desire e-book

 

 Ada H. 
Hailey Edwards: $5 Amazon gift card
Tara Quan: More Than Strangers

 

 Titania 
Kayelle Allen: $5 Amazon gift card
Emma Weylin: e-Copy of Dark Forest

 

 Michelle S. 
Mary Quast: Free Download of Crow Magic, 1st book in the Legend of the Spirit series, and a pair of Dangle Button Crow Earrings
Alanna Coca: Winner’s choice of backlist ebook

 

 Darcy B. 
Janice Seagraves: An amethyst crystal pendant
Rhonda L. Print: Reader’s choice of ebook from backlist

 

 Bube P. 
Leela Lou Dahlin: A copy of A Haught Date & an 8 stem bouquet of Rosy Writer Ink Pens (www.rosywriterbouquet.etsy.com)
Dena Garson: Risky Business
Monette Michaels: Prime Obsession

 

 Sandra H. 
Laura Harner: Audiobook Honey House and Audiobook Forbidden Love
Ella Sheridan: Just a Little More (e-book)
Eva Lefoy: Darkest Magic

 

 Jennifer M. 
Maddy Barone: A download of any of my backlist
Bronwen Evans: Invitation To Scandal
Denise A. Agnew: One ebook copy of Within His Sight (Heart of Justice Book 1)

 

Thanks for hopping. It was another fun and easy bloghop. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Sizzling Summer Nights Bloghop!

Welcome to Maddy Barone’s stop on the Sizzling Summer Nights Bloghop! If you fall off, you can CLICK HERE to get back on the bloghop.

 

 

I’m glad you’re here! I love these bloghops. Read on to find out how to win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

 

I am currently hard at work on the last book in my After the Crash series, called Wolf’s Princess. You can see from the pic that Sky has grown up. (and very nicely, too!) If you haven’t read the series, it’s kind of hard to say exactly which genre it fits in. Shifter? Yep. Post Apocalyptic? Yep. Time travel? Yep. Paranormal? Yep. Dystopian? Yep.  If you’d like to know about  my hot and yummy Alpha wolves, you can click the Books link or the Excerpts link above.

 

The hop organizers will be giving away a download of any of my backlist in digital or audio format, but I am giving away two separate prizes here on my blog. One is a $10.00 Amazon gift card, and the other is a different sort of off-the-wall prize…

 

CAT CONTEST

 

 

 One person who leaves a comment will be chosen to “design” Rose’s cat. I’ll email the winner Sunday night with a short questionnaire to determine what the cat looks like, its name, etc. In return that cat will have a small but pivotal role in Wolf’s Princess, and the commenter will receive the $10.00 gift card to Amazon.

 

This is either the silliest prize ever offered on a bloghop or the coolest. I’m not sure which!  Either way, thanks for stopping and Happy Hopping!

 

 

 

Tuesday Teaser July 29: Wolf’s Lady Part 28

Woo-hoo! This is one of the last tidbits in Sand and Amanda’s story. If you recall, last week Amanda said goodbye to her father and her cousin in her childhood home, and then she and Sand left to walk back to Sky’s house.  As always, please excuse the typos and rough-draft-itis.

 

Amanda made it almost two blocks before she broke down in tears. Sand came to a stop and enfolded her in his arms. The hard body that sparked her passion to amazing heights was now a warm comfort holding her in a tender embrace.

“I’m sorry,” she sniffled, gripping handfuls of his silk shirt at his shoulders. The Henderson brothers in the house across the street probably had their noses to the front window, watching at them. At least she had stopped in front of the empty lot so no one there could gape at them and it was too dark for anyone to see much. “I hate it when women bawl like babies, especially in public. I’ll stop in a minute, I promise.”

Her husband stroked her hair with a gentle hand. “No, don’t be sorry, and take all the time you need. I’m taking you away from everything you know and love. That deserves to be mourned.”

He rocked her for a long minute, murmuring loving words into her ear over her sobbing breaths. Maybe that was why he didn’t hear the men coming through the empty lot. He must have caught their scent at the last moment, though, because he lifted his head and began to turn while pushing her so she would be behind him. She felt him jerk against her. Breath hissed between his teeth. Then he stumbled and went down.

She simply stared for a moment, uncomprehending, at her strong feral husband sprawled on his side at her feet. “Sand?”

Dark shapes rushed toward her. She fumbled for her whistle and tried to blow. It came out in a thin, trembling whisper of a whistle. She gulped in air to try again, but hands clamped onto her arm, dragging the whistle from her lips.

“Stop!” she croaked, and then managed a real scream. “Let me go!”

A luck blow from her flailing fist landed in a crunch that was both horrifying and satisfying.

“Ow!” a man grunted. “Fucking bitch broke my nose!”

She struggled with renewed hope, but before long she was subdued by two men who stuffed a smelly cloth in her mouth and tied her wrists in front of her.

“Check the man,” one of them ordered. “Be sure he’s dead.”

Her attempt to scream NO! was stifled by the gag. One of the men holding her squeezed his arms over her rib cage with painful force. The pain drove the breath out of her. There was a buzzing sound in her ears that almost drowned out the man holding her. His voice was calm and business-like, even soothing.

“Don’t be scared, lady. We were paid to bring you somewhere, not to hurt you. We’re just trying to earn a living, see? We ain’t Sunday school teachers, but none of us likes hurting women. So as long as you behave, we got no reason to hurt you. So just—”

His voice broke off abruptly and soared into a scream. A heavy weight thudded into him, knocking Amanda off her feet. Her eyes blinked wide at the sight of the wolf. She rolled over the sidewalk to get out of the way as he tore into a man with bloody rage. That hadn’t been buzzing in her ears, it was Sand, growling in his wolf form. Dear God, he was frightening. She pulled and tugged until the gag fell out of her mouth.

“Sand!” she shouted. Or tried to shout. It was more of a wheeze. “Sand!”

She wasn’t sure how long it was before the animal left his prey and trotted over to her, whining and pushing his warm wet nose into her cold face. The beast laid down beside her with a heavy sigh, put his head on his paws and shimmered into Sand.

“Sand!” She crept forward and reached her bound hands to touch his shoulder. His shirt was ripped and wet with a warm thick substance. In the dark she couldn’t see well, but it had to be blood. “Where are you hurt? What happened?” She looked wildly around for help, but there were only three lumps on the sidewalk. Their attackers looked like spilled laundry piled on the concrete. “Sand? Please, talk to me!”

“I’m okay.” His voice was a groan, but hearing it was better than listening to her favorite music. He was alive. “Shot. In the side. I’ll be better soon. You. Okay?”

“Fine.” The worst she had was bruises. “Oh, God.”

She had to get him help. This time when she raised the whistle to her lips she blew a clear, shrill blast. She did it over and over until Sand’s hand caught her wrist.

“Stop. I hear horses coming. Wipe the blood. Off my mouth.” He seemed to struggle for every word, stopping to gasp for breath. “Don’t wanna advertize how I killed. Those men.”

By the time two Guardsmen on horseback arrived she had cleaned his face with the tail of his tattered shirt and settled his pants, torn and twisted from his shift to wolf and back to man, into place. She held her bound hands up as the first of the Guardsmen hurried to her. Thank goodness it was Dean Moynihan, one of the men who had patrolled this area since she was a girl.

“Mr. Moynihan!” she cried. “Thank God you’re here! My husband and I were attacked. He’s shot. We need to get him to the hospital.”

The two Guardsmen worked quickly to examine Sand and wrap cotton around his chest. They took another two agonizingly long minutes to record scene in their notebooks, then snapped open a sling that they suspended between their horses. Amanda hovered while they lifted Sand and laid him into the sling. She clenched her hands under her chin when she saw his head, face slack, loll limply to his shoulder. He couldn’t be hurt badly. He had just spoken to her. Was he faking? Oh, please God, let him be faking!

The younger Guardsman lifted her to sit behind Dean, who patted her knee where it rested behind his on the horse.  “Don’t worry, ma’am,” he said bracingly. “We’ll get him to a doctor right away.”

Amanda was worried more than ever. If Sand were awake, he would have growled at seeing another man touching her.

“Hurry,” she ordered.

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