I have an overactive imagination. Which is great for writing, sure, but in real life it can be a pain in the behind. But…it came in handy a few days ago and saved me from a run-in with a sneaky spider. Here’s what happened… The other night as I was brushing my teeth I saw
New Year, New Series! As much as I love my Cates brothers, I’m excited to introduce you to my newest family of brothers, The Thorne Brothers. Here’s a glimpse into what shaped them into the men they are today…
Twenty-three years ago…
By the time I was in the third grade I knew two things for sure.
First, breathing was easier when I knew my brothers were safe. Like right now. I sat with four of my five brothers, scrunched together like peas in a pod on the queen mattress our daddy had rescued from the dump. Our youngest brother, Wyatt, was only two and lay in a playpen next to us trying to suck on his big toe.
“Why is daddy mad?” Gray asked as glass shattered on the other side of the door making us all jump.
Because the sun rose. Because mama got paid so daddy got drunk. Because the social worker came two days ago which meant she wouldn’t visit again for months.
None of that would make a lick of sense to my youngest brothers. I looked over the heads of my little brothers at Asher, who was seven to my eight. Asher knew. But Eli, Gray, and Ryker were too little.
The yelling got louder, almost as loud as when the tropical storm rumbled through the trailer park last summer. Eli’s body trembled up against mine, and I wrapped my arm around him tight.
“Hey, did I tell you guys what happened at recess today? Suzy Baker forgot she had a dress on”—crash—“and did a cartwheel”—you fucking bitch—”and everyone saw her pink underwear.”
Asher looked over at me with a single nod as our little brothers snickered and giggled.
“Gross,” Eli said. Eli was five and everything was gross to him. Mama said it was a phase.
“Yeah, gross,” Ryker and Grayson, both four but ten months apart, echoed Eli.
“Girls are dumb,” Asher added his wisdom just as the bedroom door slammed open.
I shoved my body in front of my little brothers, whipping my head around to the door. My heart pounded up against my chest, only to calm down at the sight of mama.
Our beautiful mama, even with an eye swollen shut and an angry red handprint slapped on her left check and both arms. I’d seen my mama like this before. The suitcase in her hand—that was new. I hadn’t seen that before.
“Boys—I’m leaving. Your daddy’s a mean son-of-a-bitch, and I can’t take it anymore.”
I watched a single tear roll down her bruised cheek as she looked around the room, avoiding our faces.
I had a bad feeling that started like an earthquake in my stomach. Jumping up, I grabbed onto her arm. “You can’t! Mama, you can’t!”
“I have to. You hear me, Beck?” She grabbed me by the shoulders, shaking me so hard my teeth cracked together. “I have to.”
“Can we have pancakes when you get back, mama?” Ryker asked.
Her hands dropped from my shoulders and her eyes finally met mine and I knew—she wasn’t planning on coming back. It was like a big gaping pit opened up between us and just maybe I fell in.
“I’m counting on you, Beckett. You take care of your brothers.” Her green eyes darted around frantically and then she was gone.
That was the day I knew the second thing: don’t count on love.
Two days later when our daddy sobered up after his pay-day binge and realized mama was gone, he’d gone into a rage. And that rage set the pattern for the next three years. Daddy was a mean, ugly drunk. I went to bed every night praying and wishing for something to change. That something would stop the life we were stuck in.
I tried to protect my brothers. Most of the time I succeeded and had the bruises and cuts to show for it. Sometimes I didn’t. It was one of those times and a broken bone that finally brought the change I’d been wishing for.
Too bad no one had taught me that expression, be careful what you wish for…
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If you enjoy Romantic Suspense romance with a bit of heat and humor, here’s a new release from an author whose books are getting great reviews…Kari Lemor’s FATAL EVIDENCE.
What you don’t know can get you killed . . .
Construction company owner Scott Holland doesn’t go looking for trouble, but he’s just stumbled on plenty. The rundown mill he’s bought is plagued with mysterious incidents, and his investment partner, heiress Heather Silva, is as stubborn as she is intriguing. Dumped by his ex because of his blue-collar job, Scott is wary of Heather’s privileged background. Yet he’s drawn to her independence and strength, especially as the “accidents” grow more terrifying.
Determined to succeed without anyone’s help—especially her wealthy parents—Heather clashes with Scott again and again. But a grisly discovery makes them both targets. Someone wants Heather and Scott silenced for good. And as a killer closes in, the only option is to trust each other—or become the next victims…
Early Praise for Fatal Evidence:
“Fatal Evidence is fun and flirtatious, the characters are nicely developed and the story is engaging. Lemor has brought happily-ever-afters and laughter into the hearts of readers.” ~ RT Book Reviews
“Fatal Evidence has the right amount of everything I love in a book: mystery, suspense, intrigue, sexual chemistry, family drama and great friendships. Throw in an heiress turned real estate agent trying to get out from under her rich family and her entitled role and add a blue-collared construction worker with a chip on his shoulder and it’s perfect. …Enjoyed all the books in this series so far and loved the hint at the next to follow.” ~ Carolyn’s Book Reviews
“Lemor once again incorporates humor, romance and suspense to make this novel another must read!” ~ Goodreads
“Hold still,” he scolded and pulled her tighter to his chest. “Now listen up while I give you the run down on the condos up here.”
He walked around the space as if he wasn’t carrying a full-grown woman in his arms. Damn impressive. The pectoral muscles beneath her hand weren’t too shabby either. Continuing on with his description, he seemed to not even realize she was there. At the windows, he set her down and stood behind her looking out, pointing to certain landmarks in the small mill town that you could see from here.
He had been affected by carrying her. The erection digging into her back was evidence enough. Good to know. Not that she wanted anything to happen. They were business partners now. They had to be professional.
“Ready to go?” His gravelly voice sent goose pimples crawling across her arms, and she rubbed them.
“Cold? You should have worn a warmer coat. You’ve lived in New England all your life. You should know April can be chilly. Plus the heat hasn’t been on in this building for years.”
“I’m fine,” she lied. The cold wasn’t getting to her. It was him and his annoyingly sexy presence. She wouldn’t tell him though.
“I’ll make sure to let you know when the permit comes through. If I don’t have it by next week, I’ll call and check on it.”
“Perfect, but remember I’m in on this too. If you need me to do anything, you only need to ask.”
“I will.” His sexy smile was back as he glanced up and down her body. “Ready for your ride down.”
“You don’t have to carry me. I’m fine walking.”
“And killing yourself by falling down three flights of stairs. Then where does my funding for this project go?”
“You already have access. You don’t need me.”
“Stealing from a dead woman, though. That just seems…wrong.”
The chuckle escaped before she could stop it. He seriously had a warped sense of humor at times. Moving closer, he placed his hand on her hip.
At her indignant look, he said, “You could always ride piggyback if you don’t like me carrying you.”
Scanning her slim skirt, she scoffed. “A piggyback ride? In this?”
“You could hike up the skirt then jump on.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
His eyebrows went up and down. “Very much.”
Closing her eyes, she sighed then held out her arms. “Fine, come get me, my prince. Rescue me from the dangerous crumbling castle.”
Scott sidled closer then ran his hands down her hips. One hand continued down her leg until it slipped under. His other hand caressed her back then he scooped her up in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on as he trotted back down three flights of stairs. At the bottom he didn’t release her right away. And for some reason she didn’t tell him to.
His eyes roamed over her from head to toe and lingered on those heels. Slowly, he allowed her feet to slide to the floor, her body rubbing against his hardness, sending fluttering sensations through her blood stream. As her shoes touched the ground, he leaned in close, his manly smell assaulting her nostrils. Inhaling the scent, she waited for his next words.
His breath drifted across her cheek. “Next time, you should think about wearing a sensible pair of shoes.”
Check out the other books in the Love on the Line series:
Wild Card Undercover: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34406
Running Target: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34984
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Throughout my Cates Brothers Series every so often a reader/reviewer will comment or ponder why in the world I picked the name “Climax” to set my small town series in. I actually have a list of reasons –not necessarily good reasons, lol– but reasons for choosing Climax. Here we go…
1.Climax happens to be an actual town in NC within a few hours of where I live. I didn’t know that until my husband and I got lost driving home from looking for a couch in High Point. (FYI: we didn’t find a couch we could agree on.) We passed the sign for Climax and it made me smile. Yes, I’m easily amused. I did a bit of research and it turns out almost every state has a city/town named Climax. So I liked the idea that my fictional town of Climax was, in theory, a town within driving distance of every reader.
2. The first book in the series, BRINGING DELANEY HOME, touches on some serious issues. My heroine, an army nurse, lost a foot while serving in Afghanistan, and after almost a year of surgeries and therapy she’s given up. Serious stuff. But in between some serious stuff there’s quirky humor. My thinking was naming the town Climax would give a nod to that humor. You know, like give the reader a hint that the book wasn’t going to be dark and angsty. Nothing wrong with dark and angsty. Sometimes that’s the perfect type of read. But I didn’t want a reader to pick up DELANEY expecting dark and angsty and being surprised/disappointed/confused with the quirky humor. Climax is quirky, right?
For example, the first time the hero, Quinn, sees Delaney in eight years, she’s given up on her recovery and beyond tipsy. Here’s part of that first conversation…
Delaney scrubbed her hands over her face and shook her head. “Funny how one second can change your life, you know? Boom. So now I want to be left alone. Why won’t Greer understand that?”
“She’s worried about you.”
“I told her I was fine.”
“You don’t look fine.” Quinn watched the tears run silently down her face, realizing in all the years he’d known Delaney he’d never seen her cry before.
“Of course I’m not fine. My life makes no sense anymore. And I’m tired of trying to make it make sense, you know? I just want to be left alone. That’s all.”
“Yes?” She sniffed and blinked tear-filled eyes up to his face.
“It’s time to come home. Greer sent me to get you.” He used the bottom of his shirt to finish wiping her tears away.
She looked up at him in confusion. “One of the many Cates brothers. In high school, you couldn’t sneeze without spraying a Cates brother. One of you was always at the principal’s office. Was that you? You look like the bad boy of the bunch.”
Quinn quirked an eyebrow at her, wondering what game she was playing. She damn well knew who he was. “No, that was Tynan.”
“The one who cheated off my chemistry tests?”
“The one who dated the student teacher?”
“What? Seriously? Had to be Tynan.”
She studied him, tilting her head different angles. “Hmmm, not Tynan, and not the super hot one, or that other one the girls nicknamed Mr. Darcy, and definitely not old what’s-his-name. That makes you the one who dated all those perky cheerleaders. Quinlan.” She poked him in the chest with her finger.
“Guilty.” He stood up and took a step back, rubbing his chest where she’d poked him.
“You don’t say. Of what?”
“Nothing.” Guilty of being stupid if he let her touch get to him again. He’d gotten over her five years ago. He was not taking that road again.
“Don’t poker up on me now. Go ahead and confess. It’s a few years too late, but . . . No? Fine. I’ll go first. I confess I’m pretty sure I made out with one of you Cates boys, but I’m not sure which one.”
Quinn crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “How could you not be sure which one of us you made out with?”
“Well, you all looked a lot alike. You know, tall, square jaw, and dark hair. You know what you needed? Name tags. If you Cates brothers had worn name tags, then I’d remember which one.”
Quinn grunted. “I think I might be insulted.”
“Why? Was it you?” She stared at his lips as if this would reveal the truth.
“I don’t kiss and tell.”
“See, you don’t even know. I told you y’all needed name tags.”
“I’d say you need some more coffee.”
Delaney looked around the floor at all the wineglasses and coffee cups lined up. “Oh, good gravy, I know what I need more than coffee.”
“The bathroom. Help me up,” Delaney said. “No! Do. Not. Touch. The. Legs. Just grab my hands and pull.”
Quinn gently pulled her up by her hands. He kept holding on to her while she swayed precariously.
“Okey dokey. Step out of the way, Great Wall of China.” She looked up at him as she pushed against his chest. “Someone’s been working out.”
3. I liked adding in a local connection–although I didn’t base any of my fictional town on the actual town. In fact, I sort of picked it up and moved it about an hour south.
4. BRINGING DELANEY HOME was the first romance book I wrote. When I wrote it I was just writing one book. So Climax, NC for one book was an easy decision. I didn’t dream back then that my Cates Brothers could be a series. I’m blessed that my editor and publisher loved the Cates brothers enough to let me tell all their stories.
But…I’ve had a small subplot running through each of the Cates Brothers’ books about an adorable kid, Henry Lee, who’s looking for a mom and a wife for his widowed dad, Hawk Savage. As the Cates Brothers series came to a close, I knew I wanted to wrap that story up for readers of the series and a Christmas novella sounded perfect. But now there are lovely unsuspecting readers choosing that book, WANTED: MOM FOR CHRISTMAS because they love Christmas stories and have never read a Cates Brother book looking side-eyed at a Christmas in Climax book. I get it. It’s like the perfect title for a steamy read, right? LOL. So, maybe if I’d planned out the whole series ahead of time down to the holiday novella, I might have chosen a different name. Or not.
And that is the story behind my small town Climax, NC setting and the Cates Brothers Series.
To celebrate the release of WANTED: MOM FOR CHRISTMAS in 21 days I’m running a series of Goodreads giveaways for the previous books in the series. First up is a giveaway for 1 *signed copy* of COULD THIS BE LOVE? Here’s the link:
Today I’d like to introduce you to a debut author whose book, MUST LOVE PLAGUE, releases on October 11, 2017. Have you ever read something you just loved and knew you needed to read more of? That’s what happened to me the first time I read this author’s writing. I kid you not–I am literally counting down the days until her book pops up on my kindle. 7 Days.
Please meet debut author Shelly Chalmers…
Thank you so much for having me, Lee, and letting me talk about myself and my first book, Must Love Plague, which is out everywhere, October 11, 2017.
So, dear reader, you’re probably wondering who the heck is writing this. 😉
My name is Shelly Chalmers. I write paranormal romance that runs the gamut from space opera to contemporary paranormal (like Must Love Plague), but all of my stories always have a heavy dose of humor, a touch of magic, and a dab of geek. I write paranormal with humor because that’s what I also love to read. Besides, the world could use some more magic and laughter, don’t you agree?
If you like your romance served with humor and the occasional talking animal—this book has an empathic skunk—then please, check out this book. A novel about the four horsewomen of the apocalypse, and the small town they live in, where myth holds a grain of truth, magic is real, and the history of the four horsemen is about the get messy.
Here’s the blurb:
Spreading disease isn’t all it’s cracked up to.
Piper Bane wants nothing to do with her pesky Pestilence bloodline and would give anything to be a Normal. In fact, she put Beckwell—land of the paranormal and home of the weird—in her rear-view ten years ago, and hasn’t been back since. Until an invitation to her best friend’s wedding coaxes her back home and reminds her what it means to continue the legacy of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. She receives a typical Beckwell welcome the second the reaches the city limits where she’s stalked by a toad and wraps her car around a tree. And is rescued by the one person she most wants to avoid: Daniel Quilan. Town doctor, genuine nice guy, and her ex-fiancé.
Ten years hasn’t been long enough for Daniel Quilan to forget the only woman he’s ever loved. His responsibilities as Beckwell’s only doctor keeps his mind off he hole Piper Bane left in his chest when she broke his heart and skipped town all those years ago. His no-so-ordinary patients and his trouble-making twin brother keep Daniel occupied twenty-four-seven, not to mention magic going haywire throughout town. But his plan to stay busy as the town’s golden boy is shattered when his latest patient turns out to be Piper. How good she looks isn’t his concern. How she still makes fire shoot through his veins isn’t his focus. But the fact that someone wants to end the world and will use Piper to do so…that makes her impossible to ignore.
The tree-lined highway and the fields looked unchanged in the ten years since she’d stepped foot in Beckwell. Ten years since she’d seen the place where she grew up, where her three closest friends still lived. Ten years since Piper Bane, Pestilence clan, had anything to do with the world she’d been born into. A world where myths held some grain of truth, magic was real, her family was part of the horsemen dynasty, and unicorns could fly. Okay, that last part wasn’t true and probably wishful thinking, but the rest?
Yep, she was related to those four horsemen of the apocalypse: Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence. Who, when they weren’t off causing disaster, had apparently gotten it on with every surviving female they met, creating clans that were now large and spread worldwide. Kind of like royal family lines, where some members were rich and powerful—in both human and non-human ways. The more powerful stood the best chance of becoming the true embodiment of their clan, to ride into the apocalypse as a true horseman and carry forth destruction.
The radio station turned to static. Piper shuddered. Definitely getting close now. She pushed the button and shut the static off, leaving only the collected ghosts of memory filling the car. Her stomach hardened.
What a nightmare. She’d held out hope that someone else would gain the powers of Pestilence, because when they did, they absorbed all the powers of their clan. Poof. Piper would finally be normal. You know…for that little while before the world ended. But she’d be normal. Life would be easier if she were normal. Average. Those people got to fall in love, have kids, have happy lives.
So far, though, no one had taken a ride on that damned horse, which left her in limbo.
If you’d like to read a longer sample chapter:
Where you can find Shelly:
website / blog: shellychalmers.com
Barnes & Noble http://hyperurl.co/9oletm
New #goals… I like setting goals, especially when it’s because I’ve achieved some of my goals so it’s time to set new ones. But there is also something about every change of season that makes it feel like a new chance to reevaluate or reaffirm where I’m going in my life. It’s too easy to get caught up in all the things swirling around and lose sight of what my priorities are and if I’m still on the path to achieve them. It’s too easy to veer off and wander around (on social media, the news, negative thoughts, a really good book) and get lost. Granted, sometimes when the world or my own life if full of bad news, I need to get lost a few hours for a mental health break. But then I’ve got to check back in. Saddle up and get back to it. #Life #Goals #FindThePositive
So here we go. #Goals…
- drink more water
- no internet until after pages are written each day
- make time for friends and fun
- volunteer/make the world a better place in my little corner of the world
- pick a writing project that stretches me
- get back into blogging 2x/week
- pick a paint color for the dining room and get it painted!
- sit out in nature. find the sacred. appreciate the moments and the people around me.
Got any new goals for this season? Go ahead and list one in the comments. We can be in this together. 😉