Sunday Word Count #excerpt

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I got to 680 before everyone woke up and it’s time to get off the computer and step outside for a while.

That’s 11109 words into my holiday novella and so far, I think I may have found my groove. Caitlin and Campbell seem to be cruising right along and I couldn’t be happier. I’m hoping to get at least 2k more words in by tomorrow so crossing my fingers!

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a section that I just finished.

***

By the time we make it to the theatre, the mere brush of his hand on my elbow or my hand leaves me feeling giddy, and somehow I can’t help but assume it’s no longer accidental. Even the theatre disappears whenever Campbell turns to look at me, all my senses heightened and focused on what he’s doing, on the words he’s saying. When he holds my hand as we make our way to the lobby during the intermission, I don’t see anyone else.

How long has it been since I’ve been with a man? Somehow I draw a blank. All I remember are the first dates that barely made it to first base, much less the second, my mind constantly on my research projects, meetings with my advisor, and that unwavering goal of making it to graduation and then finding a job.

But for tonight, I’m willing to toss all that out the window. I’m having way too much fun being with a man I’ve always felt safe with, my brother’s best friend and the boy next door. Only this time, something’s different. Somewhere between then and now, Campbell Murphy grew up and I never saw it until now.

Loving Riley Teaser: A Blast from His Past

“How do you know her?” Riley asked him as they stood outside, Ashe smoothing her coat over her shoulders. “And what did she mean about me being vanilla?”

“I’ll tell you when we get home,” he said as Dave parked in front of the restaurant and the attendant opened the passenger door for them.

Inside the car, Ashe seethed in silence. Of course, Catriona had to catch him right at the bottom of the stairs where everyone could see them together and even take photographs.  He wondered how soon it would be before the pictures were uploaded online and if anyone would remember the days when he and Catriona were regularly seen together at the same event, no matter how discreet they’d been. Who was he fooling?  Of course, someone would remember, if they knew where to look.

Ashe belatedly realized that, while he knew almost everything about Riley, she knew little about him; nothing much about his life after he’d left the family farm at eighteen until the time when he and Isobel Reign, his Sentience co-star, had dated and split up the previous year.

Riley knew nothing about the time when he’d been a struggling actor, when he had done things he now regretted doing—some that got him right where he was now.

In His Heart #TeaserTuesday

It was always the same dream. Just like the day it happened seven months earlier, someone switched off all the lights and the living room where the drug buy was supposed to happen plunged into darkness. Panic and confusion filled the air as gunfire erupted around undercover Detective Josh Morin, and within seconds, he lay on the floor, dying.

He should have known it was an ambush. His gut told him that as soon as his partner showed up at the last minute to say that it was going down that night, giving him no time to ask questions. But in his dreams, all Josh could do was to react after the fact, pulling his gun in self-defense against veteran detective Ray Bigby, the partner he’d trusted for the last year since he’d been assigned to the drug detail. He was a rookie, after all, Ray would always say, and he still had a lot to learn.

Ray went down first, or at least, it looked like he did and not from Josh’s gun for backup came then. But the searing pain in Josh’s thigh told him that he’d been shot, too, and his leg buckled beneath him.  They said the bullet almost nicked his femoral artery which, according to the doctors, remained intact until they got him to the Emergency Room where it burst, nearly killing him if they hadn’t stopped the bleeding right away.  They said he coded on the table.  Twice.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was that second bullet—the one that shattered parts of his collarbone and damaged branches of his brachial plexus, leaving him with numbness down the inside of his arm and along some of his fingers months later. Hell, he would never know such anatomical terms if it weren’t for the fact that he’d almost lost the limbs they innervated. But that was life. You never know what you got until you lose it.

It was a major screw-up, and even the press said so when the full investigation began, where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

But there a few things that never failed to capture Josh’s attention every time the dreams of his ambush returned. It was as if a part of his subconscious wanted him to take one more look in case he missed something, planting seeds that Ray was not working alone.

In his dreams, Josh would always see Ray turning to look back at him before the lights would go out saying something. At first, Josh thought it was Ray saying something like, alright, kid, here we go, like he always did to break the tension just before a drug buy, and that’s exactly what Josh had said during the investigation. But in his dreams, Ray couldn’t have said those words because his gun had already been drawn and pointed straight at Josh. No, the words that had emerged had been something else.

Sorry, kid. Hate to do this to ya.

And like every night when the dream would come, Josh would wake up, heart racing, sweat coursing down his back that would leave his pillows and sheets soaked. He hated feeling so helpless, so stupid, for he should have known. He should have trusted his gut instinct. But that was probably why he still kept dreaming the same dream and hearing Ray saying the same thing over and over again like a broken record.

But if Josh were honest with himself, it wasn’t Ray’s words that sent Josh into a panic every time he awoke from his dream. It was something he’d never admitted to anyone, not even during his therapy sessions with Dr. Ecklund to deal with the emotional trauma. Never mind the shooting. This one left him weak knowing he’d almost missed his chance.

Three words.

Three simple words he never got to say to the only woman he ever truly loved even though she had no idea how he really felt for her.

I love you, Olivia Firelli.

Okay… that was five words.

In His Heart is one of the fifteen novellas included in Just You & Me Contemporary Romance Collection that’s available for preorder now.

If you’ve read Finding Sam, then you’ll recognize Olivia and Josh, and this is their story.

Revisiting Old Muses

Before I learned all about the alleged importance of writing to market, I wrote from the heart.  I still do although it usually starts as a tug of war inside my head that goes like this:

Business me: Write to market.

Creative me: NO!

Business me: It’s what people want. More sex. More sizzle. More… whatever the market wants.  Maybe whips and chains.

Creative me: No, I want to write about love and pain and trust.

Business me: Write to the darn market anyway.

Creative me: Whatever.

Luckily, the creative part of me wins during the writing phase, leaving the business me to scramble on how to market the finished book to the public.  But this isn’t the point of this post.

I found a few of my older trailer videos back when I was posting most of my stories on Wattpad (and then unpublished when I started self-publishing for real) and one of them is finally coming out of the shadows in a contemporary romance box set that launches in May.

In His Heart first started out as a 50K word romantic suspense novel but I saw major problems with it when I wrote it – like how on earth did I make Hermosa Beach PD look so bad? I lived one block away from the station and they were good people – the ones I knew.

So I knew I had to change a few things like focus mainly on the romance and cut back on the suspense part but I wasn’t ready to read the whole piece all over again when I had another novel to get ready at the same time this novella was due for the box set.

Thank goodness for book trailers because it turns out I made one for In His Heart.  And the inspiration for my two characters, Josh and Livvie, are there along with the original blurb and the mood I wanted to convey. Rose Leslie and Nicolai Coster-Waldau are perfect, and even though I no longer use actors to imagine characters, Rose and Nicolai are the only ones I see in my head for California surfer-detective Josh and feisty Cali girl, Livvy.

Disclaimer: All images of the actors belong to their respective owners.