Cool Friends/Hot August Snippets – LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT



My August CONTEST opens up a whole lot more choices of great books to pick from, PLUS, you’ll still receive a $25 gift card from #Amazon, #BN or #iTunes.


To introduce you to these authors and their awesome books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories. ENJOY!


Today’s awesome choice: Karen Sandler’s sweet romance LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT. This book is one of the three books bundled in On Fire Fiction’s UNSUITABLY PERFECT.  So, if you pick that choice, you’ll get to read Karen’s book PLUS two other fab reads!

Live, Love, Laugh


Chapter 1

STEVE WALKER PLUNGED his hand into the murky depths of his daughter’s backpack. As Corazón regarded him with her coffee-colored eyes, Steve probed past fruit snack wrappers and pencil stubs, fingers encountering a soft, sticky lump.

He dislodged the gooey mess and held it out to his almost seven-year-old daughter. “What might this be?”

“Might be peanut butter an’ jelly.” She leaned closer and sniffed delicately. “Starbaby jelly.”

How many days ago had that particular sandwich taken up residence in the bottom of her backpack? With trepidation, he reached again into the black hole. His imagination displayed Technicolor fantasies of first his arm, then his entire body being sucked into the bottomless pit.

His mouth widened into a slow grin. Real potential here for his next smart phone app. Backpack Abyss. Hapless parents battling globs of bread and peanut butter, skewered by pencil stubs.

Finally, he struck pay dirt. He pinched the edge of the crumpled piece of paper and pulled it free. He held it out to Corazón’s earnest face.

“When did Mr. Harper give you this note?” He tried to be stern, but he wanted to hug her, and feel her thin caramel-colored arms wrap trustingly around his shoulders.

She shrugged, the gesture an imitation of his own. He brimmed with parental pride, marveling at how quickly she’d adapted in the eighteen months she’d been his.

With an effort, he returned to the matter at hand. “The message is from the principal and your teacher wanted you to give me this right away.”

She nodded solemnly. “Yes, Daddy.”

He lay the jelly-smeared sheet on the kitchen counter and picked up a damp rag. “I bet Principal Tipton thinks I ignored this note. She’s probably angry at Daddy. ”

“Ms. Tipton is always mad anyway.”

As Steve wiped the note clean, he had to agree. He’d never met the woman, only spoken with her on the phone after each of Corazón’s spirited antics. The Jell-O in the water fountain, the corn snake in the teacher’s desk drawer… Okay, the haircut she’d given her friend Jenny would take a while to grow out, especially the spot Cora had colored with permanent marker….

But where he saw high spirits and harmless experimentation Ms. Tipton saw signs of budding juvenile delinquency. The woman had no sense of humor. Her tone was judgmental, her attitude unforgiving. Talking to her, he felt the urge to pull on a sweater to keep warm. After a half-dozen rancorous phone calls with her, he was convinced she had snakes instead of hair.

Now there was an idea—Gorgon Schoolmistress. He could program each writhing snake on the Gorgon’s head with different venoms, and the hero would have to find the right shields to protect himself. Maybe Ms. Gor—Ms. Tipton would agree to model for the graphic artist.

When he’d swiped enough strawberry jelly off the paper, he read the appointment time penned neatly on the note. She’d expected him at the school at three o’clock. An hour-and-a-half ago. Principal Tipton would be furious.

“Daddy!” Corazón gasped. He looked up and saw her staring in fascinated horror out the front window. “She’s here!”

Steve moved behind his daughter, settling his hands on her shoulders. “Who’s here?” He squinted through the cut glass of the window, glimpsing the lines of a severe navy suit. The face above the suit shifted and fractured Picasso-like through the ornate glass.

Corazón craned her neck up at him, excitement bursting in her dark eyes. “Ms. Tipton!”

He heard the sharp tip-tap of steps on the porch then the doorbell rang.

“Daddy, what’re we gonna do?”

Even the doorbell sounded angry as it trilled a second time. “We let her in, mija,” he answered, using the Spanish endearment like a talisman. As he sidled to the door, Cora wrapped her arms around his legs.

“Tell her our dog ate the note, Daddy.”

“But we don’t have a dog, mija. Cousin Denny is allergic.”

She gripped him tighter. “Then a time-morpher took it. Came out of the ‘puter and gobbled it up.”

“I don’t think Ms. Tipton believes in time-morphers.”

“What’re we gonna do?” Corazón said again as her tight grip cut off the circulation in his legs.

“I’ll think of something, mija,” he soothed as he gripped the doorknob.

By the time he opened the door, he’d come up with several creative excuses, each sillier than the last. But it turned out not to have mattered. Because when he saw her on his doorstep, her slim ankles in navy spiked heels, the dangerous curves at hip and waist, the milk chocolate brown hair framing a delicate heart-shaped face—all coherent thought fled.

As a tantalizing scrap of red—red!—lace peeked from the edge of her skirt, he realized he was wrong about one thing. Ms. Tipton was no Gorgon. But he was absolutely right about another. She was blazing, spitting mad.

 Ah, yes, a wonderful start. Love the hero already. Poor Ms. Tipton doesn’t stand a chance, does she? Check all of Karen’s eclectic list of books here!

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this CONTEST. I hope your friends are as COOL as mine, and your hot August nights are filled with fun and good books! Look for more Snippets all month long.



Bullies suck!



From the Diary of Judy Banger:

“He called me a fat, stupid cow last night. I missed the final question on Jeopardy. So, did he, but I’m a fat, stupid cow? Yes, I need to lose some weight, but when we fight the first thing I do is reach for the ice cream. Stupid, right? I know this relationship isn’t healthy, but if I leave, I’ll be admitting failure–another failure. Just like Mom predicted. So, what’s worse–listening to his bullshit or proving my mother right? It’s not like he hits me. It’s only words.”

 When I started writing my Screw Senility series, I had a very one-dimensional view of my heroine, Judy Banger. I knew she was older (54), overweight, out-of-shape and divorced. I assumed some stereotypes that were flat-out wrong. She wasn’t lonely, unhappy, or feeling sorry for herself. She’d started working out and she’d even started dating again.  (So, that might not have been the best choice, but, at least, she was trying.) The point is: she’d decided life wasn’t going to change unless she changed it.

But, deep down, Judy was still dealing with the scars of an abusive relationship. And, because her ex-husband didn’t hit her, she stuck out the marriage longer than she should have. She made excuses for him. She forgave him his pettiness, his crass and demeaning slights, his power trips and vicious rants. She never once called him a bully, even though that’s exactly what he was. When some straw or another broke their already fractured marriage and she divorced him, Judy told herself she was okay. She was stronger for having survived. But the damage those cruel, hurtful words had inflicted remained, undermining her self-confidence.



Recently, someone very dear to me was the victim of a verbal attack by a bully. The shocking, disgusting slur sliced to the quick. Who says you can’t communicate tone via a text? The tone came across as intended: vicious and mean-spirited. Was the slanderous charge true? No. Not at all. But the wound bled for hours. It interrupted badly needed sleep. It brought tears and self-doubt–“Am I really that awful a person? Did I do something wrong to warrant this attack? I must have. Why else would someone say something so horrible about me?”

I turned to my heroine for advice. Here’s what Judy Banger taught me about bullies:

1. A person who calls you names is not your friend.

2. He or she does not love you. Love is about building up, not tearing down.

3. By diminishing someone else, a bully feels stronger, more powerful and in control–at the other person’s expense.

4. A questionable choice–such as liking, friending or, even, marrying an abuser–doesn’t make you a bad person. Mistakes make you human. That doesn’t give anyone the right to cut you down for it.

My lovely, vibrant, 54-year old heroine, Judy Banger, overcame spousal abuse to find genuine happiness and love at the end of my Screw Senility series. She found the strength to forgive herself for loving someone so mean and hurtful in the past and she overcame her fear of being hurt again to believe in herself and reach out with an open heart for the possibility of real love.

I wish that for all the people who, for whatever reasons, are presently dealing with bullies. Words can hurt or heal. What did yours do today?


Do you remember your first kiss?

I bet if you ask that question to 50 men, you’d get 50 vacillations. “Hmmm.” “Maybe.” “I think so…no wait. I’m not sure.”


But ask a woman, and you will hear…the details. In color.


I was invited to participate in Cindy Jack’s First Kiss Friday blog today. Here’s the link: First Kiss.

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 1.01.48 PM

I shared my heroine Judy Banger’s first kiss with her much younger lover, Jed. It’s sweet, a little needy on her part and opportunistic on his part. Judy later blames her fling with Jed on PTSDS: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sex. But, at the time, it feels good. Very good.

Anyone who is brave enough to share their first kiss, will get 5 bonus entries in this month’s contest.


Cool Friends/Hot August Snippets – SUMMER OF LOVE



My August CONTEST opens up a whole lot more choices of great books to pick from, PLUS, you’ll still receive a $25 gift card from #Amazon, #BN or #iTunes.


To introduce you to these authors and their awesome books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories. ENJOY!


Next up, Annie Jone’s delightful: SUMMER OF LOVE. 

Brides, Beehives, and Barbecue!

It’s 1967, the Summer of Love…Southern style.


June 1967

“Donald Parrish, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll get out of here,” I murmured, all bleary-eyed and satisfied, to the naked man spooning up behind me in my old childhood bed.

You’re good for me.” He slid his hand under my hair and pushed a thick damp tangle of red curls over my shoulder. Planting a soft, slow kiss low on the back of my neck, he said in an early morning growl, “These past seven months since I met you have been good for me, Bella Du-Mont-Lange. I don’t ever want to leave you.”

A moan rose all the way from that place south of the pit of my stomach. We lay there all soft sheets and bare skin and just enough sweat and the hint of something wickedly wonderful about it all to make me shiver. I shut my eyes and stretched my legs out, the soles of my feet skimming down the length of his shins almost to his ankles. “If my mother finds you here, you will not just leave me, you will leave this earthly plain.”

He leaned in until I could feel every inch of him, and I mean every inch, and moved his lips against the shell of my ear whispering between tiny kisses, “I… am not… afraid… of your mother.”

I groaned and writhed and giggled in pure delight. “I love it when you talk crazy like that.”

I love it, not I love you. I held my breath and waited for him to point out the disparity, as was his way. But this time he just cupped my breast in one hand and sighed.

He must have decided that vigorous self-examination and utmost candor did not mix well with afterglow and calculated evasion. Besides, he was in no position to push things with me. He wasn’t even supposed to be here in the Lange family home, much less in my old room and certainly not sinking down beside me in my canopied cherry-wood four poster bed.

Of course, to hear most of my family talk about me and my shot at ever having any type of love life, he wasn’t even supposed to exist. Men? Sure, they all accepted, even expected me to have my share of men. But my share, they didn’t hesitate to make clear, was a pretty small slice of the whole man-pie available to women like my gorgeous, petite blonde half-sisters, Margo and Charlotte Lange. Lucky for me, Donald was no small slice.

But neither was the only other really hot romance I’d had in my life. Tony Pinnette had been a handful in more ways than the most obvious. I had been eighteen when we met and he had been…

A thousand adjectives flew through my mind — sexy, funny, dangerous — but only one stuck. I had been eighteen and he had been a jerk.

He broke my heart. Everyone but me had seen it coming yet sometimes I still can’t put the pieces together and come up with the big picture.  Tony had claimed he wanted me. Lord knows I had wanted him. Then–

“What are you thinking about?” Another well placed kiss on my neck from Donald, this time lower and more lingering.

“Sex.” It was the truth.

“Okay, but it’s daylight already. We might get caught.” His long fingers curved purposefully into the flesh of my backside.

“Stop it,” I whispered pressing myself into his grasp.

“You said you were thinking about sex.”

“Yeah, but what makes you assume I was thinking about sex with you?” I twisted my neck around to give him a sly smile and found myself pulled into the deep, earnest calm of his smoky green eyes.

Such understanding eyes, underscored by a crooked nose that he’d gotten fighting with his big brother as a kid. That gave his face a hint of character that played well with his exotic, at least to a girl born and raised in tiny little Delpha, Tennessee, coloring. Donald Parrish’s earthy-to-almost-mocha skin tone hinted at but did not completely give away his Scottish/Jamaican/Scandinavian/Jewish heritage.  Not really dark unless you compared it to my skin, a hue roughly a shade about as sallow as Casper, the friendly ghost doused in butter milk, Donald was still dark enough that I imagined my deeply southern ancestors rolling over, and over, in their graves at the very notion of what he and I were planning. Rolling and muttering things like: “Did she say Jamaican and Jewish? Hang on to your petticoats, Patsy, that news is going to require another spin!”

I’d met the man last November when he saved me from dying in a fiery airplane crash. And by saved me I mean gave me the gold plastic airplane pilot’s wings his nephew had given him as a good luck charm for the flight from Cleveland to Atlanta. He explained he was a psychologist moving to Rome, Georgia to teach at Shorter College then told me he believed I was born to fly. And the instant he said it, I almost believed it myself.

“I assume you are thinking about sex with me.” He brought me back to the subject at hand with a kiss and, well, his hands as he eased me onto my back beneath him. “Because sex with me is so overwhelmingly awesome that it has blotted out the memory of any other man you have ever been with, or almost been with, or imagined being with so you are helpless to do anything else but marry me.”

Yes, marry. Like Luci Bird Johnson and Patrick Nugent. Like Superman and Lois Lane. Like Elvis and Priscilla. Let me re-emphasize: I could not say ‘no’ to this man.

So on July Fourth at my mother’s annual salute to singleness on behalf of her offspring… her Independence Day Barbeque, I was going to marry him. Right under her as yet unsuspecting nose.

Ooh, I love Annie Jone’s delightful sense of humor and rich, warm Southern way with words. If you’d like to check out more of her fun, slightly whacky–who among us isn’t?–characters and books, click HERE!

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this CONTEST. I hope your friends are as COOL as mine, and your hot August nights are filled with fun and good books! Look for more Snippets all month long.



Cool Friends/Hot August Snippets – THE BIG BANG! THEORY



My August CONTEST opens up a whole lot more choices of great books to pick from, PLUS, you’ll still receive a $25 gift card from #Amazon, #BN or #iTunes.


To introduce you to these authors and their awesome books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories. ENJOY!


Next up, Book IV of my Screw Senility series: THE BIG BANG! THEORY. 

What’s a gal to do? Leading a workout class filled with aging Baby Boomers won’t pay the rent. Yes, she could help Fletcher Canby open his new sex club. But that might be a bit awkward seeing as how she’s falling in love with his father, the Judge.

Big Bang! Theory

She placed her palm flat against his chest. “I told myself, ‘No more sex.’ But here I am ready to jump into bed with you. So, let’s be adults about this. I like you. You like me. We have chemistry. I swear I’m going into this with no expectations beyond having a little fun.” Her other hand cupped his manhood and squeezed. “You don’t have to walk me home and shake my daddy’s hand, and I promise you won’t be named in a paternity suit.”

“That’s very good of you,” he said, pulling her tight against him. The soft cushion of her generous bosom flashed an image across his mind of her naked breasts floating in the water. Lust poured through his veins. “Did I tell you how pretty you look today? Your dress is very becoming.”

“Thanks. It comes off easy. Wanna see?”

“In a moment.” He led her to the bed. “I want to savor you. Slow and deliberate. The way a trial unfolds. One piece of evidence at a time.” He caressed the side of her face then drew his finger across her lips. “Your dress, lovely as it is, needs to go.”

She kicked off her shoes and pivoted on one heel, presenting her back. “Unzip, please.”

Wiley had been married a long time. He was a pro at unzipping. This time he let his fingers linger at the top of the neckline even as he wiggled the small plastic zipper down the length of her spine. When it reached the bottom, he leaned over and kissed her shoulders from left to right. She shivered and let out a little peep.

He liked that she didn’t try to hide her feelings.

“Your skin is so soft. And you smell like flowers. What kind?”

“Lavender lotion. No perfume. Mom’s allergic.”

Thoughtful. Endearing. He brushed his nose back and forth, inhaling the faint scent. “I like it.” I like you.

“What else do you like?”

She spun around, her fingers to her lips. “O…M…G, as they say. Did that sound like hooker-speak or what?”

Her cheeks flushed crimson.

“Yeah, it did. And I’m not against a little role-playing, but maybe we should keep this simple our first time out.”

He said our first time, Judy thought. First implied there’d be more–possibly even many more. Although technically, given her plan to move, a hint at any sort of future should have sent up an armada of red flags, instead, her nerves settled down. “Simple works.”

She let go of her dress, which she’d clutched to her chest like a baby’s blankie. She hadn’t had time to shower after leaving Heritage House, but she had changed into her prettiest underwear…just in case. “Always wear nice undies when you’re going somewhere important, Judy,” Mom had preached. What could be more important than making love with the man of her dreams–literally?

Or was she putting the proverbial horse’s you-know-what before the cart? Yes, Wiley’s equipment was impressive, but did he know how to use the male divining rod as God intended–to pleasure women?

There was only one way to find out.

She stepped to his king-size bed and sat, legs splayed. “Your turn.” She made a twirling motion with her finger. “Make it interesting. And, by the way, I saw Magic Mike three times.”

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this CONTEST. I hope your friends are as COOL as mine, and your hot August nights are filled with fun and good books! Look for more Snippets all month long.



Cool Friends/Hot August Snippets – DIRE DISTRACTION



Congrats to, Kim P., winner of my July Hot Summer Reading with Friends Contest.

My August CONTEST opens up a whole lot more choices of great books to pick from, PLUS, you’ll still receive a $25 gift card from #Amazon, #BN or #iTunes.


To introduce you to these authors and their awesome books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories. ENJOY!


We start with Dee Davis’s DIRE DISTRACTION, part of her extremely popular A-Tac series. 

As the commander for A-Tac, a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty, Avery Solomon is the best of the best. He’ll stop at nothing to ensure the safety of his team, but when a mystery from the past resurfaces, he puts himself directly in the line of fire.

Dire Distraction_lo res

“All right, chow is served,” Avery Solomon said, setting a platter of burgers on the game table in his living room.  “First pitch is in five.  So fill up your plate and grab a seat.”

“Angels are going to kill,” Drake Flynn said, sliding two burgers onto his plate along with a healthy serving of potato salad.  “Just so you guys are prepared.”   He settled on the sofa and reached for his beer.

“In your dreams, surfer boy,” Nash Brennon laughed, dropping into an armchair as strains of the Star-Spangled Banner resounded from the surround-sound system.  “Yankees rule.”

“Most of the time.  But this year your pitching sucks, and we’ve got Pojuls.”

“And not much else,” Avery said, settling into a chair.  It was good to have some down time.  Of late, it seemed like A-Tac had been spending a hell of a lot of time chasing after ghosts.  Most of them sent by their nemesis, a secretive arms cartel known as the Consortium.  And despite the fact that they’d managed to win most of the battles, the cost had been high.

Too high, if he had to call it.

But it was what it was, and there was nothing he could do to change the past.  Best to focus on the future.  And in the moment, the things that made it all worthwhile.  Baseball, beer, burgers, and good friends.

“Where’s Harrison?” Nash asked, taking a sip from a bottle of Shiner Bock.   The beer, a Texas import, was a favorite.  And Harrison Blake, recently back from a job consulting with drug enforcement agents about an operation on the Mexican border, had brought Avery a case.  “I thought he was supposed to be here.”

“He is.”  Drake nodded.  “But he also just got back from almost a month away.  And if Hannah is anything like Madeline, let’s just say absence really does make the heart…” he trailed off, waggling his eyebrows for effect.

“Jesus, Drake.”  Nash blew out a disgusted breath.  “Do you ever think of anything besides sex?”

“Yeah.  Baseball and beer.”  Drake grinned, lifting his bottle. “The trifecta, of course being all three at once.”

“Good luck with that,” Nash snorted, shaking his head.

Avery watched his friends, suddenly feeling too damned old.  This business had a way of sucking the life right out of you, particularly when they were dealing with the Consortium.  He’d been with American Tactical Intelligence command for more than ten years now.

A black ops division of the CIA, his team was the best of the best.  Using Sunderland College as their cover, everyone did double duty as both operatives and professors.  And all of them were more than capable of carrying the load.

Nash, a noted historical scholar, was also his second in command.  Drake, a renowned archeologist handled extractions and logistics. Harrison headed the IT department and managed to work magic with computer forensics for the team.  Hannah Marshall taught political science and sorted through intel, pulling nuggets of crucial information seemingly from thin air.  Tyler Hansen rounded out the team, mixing a love of literature with an uncanny ability to both create and dismantle ordnance.  All in all, an extraordinary group of people he was proud to call family.

Avery took another sip of his beer, turning his attention to the TV.  The first Angels batter was up with C.C. Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees.

Behind them, the doorbell rang.

“Harrison,” Nash said, shooting a sideways glance at Drake as he bit into a burger.  “Told you he’d be here.”

“It’s open,” Avery called.  C.C. threw a curve ball for strike three.

“Sorry I’m late,” Harrison said, something in his expression sending alarm bells jangling.   “I sort of got sidetracked.”   He held up a mangled looking black box, his eyes telegraphing regret.

“Dude, you’re not supposed to be working,” Drake protested.  “The Angels are playing the Yankees.  Where I’m from that’s almost sacrosanct.”

“Big word, Drake,” Nash said, turning to look at Harrison, his eyes narrowing at the sight of the black box in Harrison’s hand.

Apparently Avery wasn’t the only one to sense that something was up.

Never late for the party, Drake swiveled around, looked first at Harrison, then at Avery and then back at Harrison again, the game forgotten.  “You’ve pulled something off the drive.”

The mangled hard drive had been recovered in an abandoned terrorist encampment in Afghanistan.  A-Tac had received intel about the possibility of a Consortium-funded operation, but when they’d arrived, the camp had been abandoned, everything of consequence removed or destroyed.

Except for a notebook that had helped them stop an assassination attempt.  And the remains of the hard drive.  Avery hadn’t doubted for a minute that if there was recoverable information, Harrison would find it.  But he’d also been fairly certain that there wouldn’t be anything left to find.

Clearly he’d been wrong.

“I’m sorry,” Harrison said.  “I know the timing sucks.”  As if to underscore the sentiment, the solid swack of bat-meeting-ball echoed through the room, but nobody turned to look. Not even Drake.  “But you’re going to want to see this.”

 Harrison’s gaze locked with Avery’s, and suddenly he wasn’t all that certain he wanted to know.   But there was nothing to be gained in putting off the inevitable.  Whatever the Consortium had in store for them next, he was ready.

“Okay then,” Avery said, switching the TV off with the remote, then pushing the burgers out of the way as they all gathered around the table, “what have you got?”

“It’s a little startling.”  Harrison paused, clearly searching for the right words.  “And kind of personal.”  His gaze met Avery’s.  “You might want to hear this on your own.”

Avery shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest.  “We’re all family here.  So tell us what you’ve found.”

Harrison hooked the box up to his laptop and hit a key.  A woman’s face filled the screen.  Her dark hair curled around her face, brown eyes glittering with some unshared emotion, her generous mouth giving nothing away.

Avery’s heart stopped.  His breath stuck in his throat.   And he felt as if someone had just kicked him in the gut.

She was dressed in fatigues, standing next to a bearded man leaning against a table, his hand resting intimately on her knee.  “Sweet Jesus,” Avery said, the words strangled.  “This was on the back-up drive we found in Afghanistan?”

“Yeah.”  Harrison nodded, his face filled with worry.  “I was just as surprised as you are.”

“Is that?” Drake said, turning to Nash who was staring open-mouthed at the photograph.

“Yeah.”  Nash nodded.  “Martin Shrum.  Avery’s old partner.  From before A-Tac days. And Evangeline, Avery’s wife.  But I thought she was—”

“Dead,” Avery finished, emotion cutting through him as he caressed the ring he wore on his little finger.  “She is.  For almost fourteen years now.”

“Yeah, well, Avery, there’s more.”  Harrison clicked the picture so that it zoomed in and then moved it so that they could better see the table behind the two people.  “Look at the wall.”  He enlarged the picture again.

“It’s a calendar,” Drake said, stating the obvious.

Avery’s blood ran cold, his eyes reading the date, his mind trying to process the seemingly impossible.

 “Holy shit,” Drake continued, his incredulity only adding to the surrealistic horror of the moment.  “It’s dated December of last year.”

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this CONTEST. I hope your friends are as COOL as mine, and your hot August nights are filled with fun and good books! Look for more Snippets all month long.



Hot Summer Snippets – MORE BANG! FOR YOUR BUCK



My July contest is called Hot Summer Reads. One winner will be able to pick two titles from the six awesome choices. To introduce you to these authors and their books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories, however…

HOT means these snippets are meant

for an ADULT audience.

***If you’re under 18–or offended by adult content–stop reading. My regularly scheduled PG-13 blogs will continue on days other than Mondays and Thursdays. Are we good?***


Only three days left to enter. Here is your final book choice. Good luck to all the adventurous souls who have entered!?! Today’s SNIPPET features the THIRD book in my Screw Senility series: MORE BANG! FOR YOUR BUCK

~Judy unearths a box from her past—sex toys, costumes, handcuffs, anything your basic BDSM aficionado might need. She’s prepared to take on Lewis Fusco alone—until Prudence O’Riley, straight off the plane from Greece, appears. Before she can entertain second thoughts, Judy finds herself tied to a bed, in the company of not one, but two naked men and a whip named Gerald. She only has one question: Who called the Judge?~



Pacing in five-inch platform heels had to be the worst exercise in the world, Judy thought an hour or so later. She wanted nothing more than to slip her left foot free from its torture device. But undoing the glittery zipper at her ankle required better balance than she possessed. Or a chair–something the hoteliers hadn’t seen fit to provide on the fourth floor landing.

How long does it take to eat a plate of cocktail weenies and nachos? What if Lewis isn’t as cheap as we thought? Surely Pru would call if they went to dinner. Wouldn’t she?

“This sucks,” Judy muttered, shifting her weight to her right foot. She’d half way made up her mind to go back to the room when her phone made its goofy bird chirp.

A text.

Judy pawed at her cleavage to pull out her phone and snickered a moment later when she read the single word: cumming.

A reminder of their ongoing debate. They’d gone round and round about the spelling of that word at their two-person book club a month or so back. Pru had picked an erotica e-book for them to read and discuss. The woman author wrote a hot, fast-paced story that had Judy squirming in her seat a few times, but she’d used the word cum–in all its linguistic forms–in place of come. Pru approved; Judy did not.

Judy grabbed the handles of her basket and slipped around the corner beside the ice machine to wait for the loud ding of the elevator. She’d heard the sound a dozen or so times since her vigil began, and each ding brought a quick squirt of perspiration under her arms no matter how deeply and calmly she breathed. She’d definitely need to send Pru’s trench coat to the dry cleaners when this night was over.


Judy squeezed her arms tight to her body and sucked in a quick breath before peeking around the corner.

“Your father was such a character,” Pru said in an overly loud voice. No Oscar nod there. “And a dear, dear friend. I’m so glad we had a chance to toast Buddy’s life and share a few memories, Lewis. People need that sort of closure, you know, and since you’re not having a formal service…”

Judy ducked back and closed her eyes. Would you like a little guilt with your grief, Mr. Fusco?

“This looks like a very nice bottle of wine, by the way,” Pru added, the sarcasm probably only noticeable to Judy. Nice equaled boring in Pru-speak.

For some reason, the inclusion of a bottle of wine in the equation triggered Judy’s panic button. She pressed her fist to her lips to keep from crying out, “No, Pru. Stop. Only a hooker goes to a strange man’s hotel room alone.” But hadn’t that been her plan, too? Why was she okay with risking her own safety, but not Pru’s?

“How’d you and my dad meet again?”

Lewis’s voice held a slightly sardonic edge–as though he might be humoring this person but wasn’t completely buying her story.

Judy peeked around the corner. They’d reached his room–two doors down from the elevator. Their backs were to her, but she saw him hand Pru the bottle before reaching into the back pocket of his slim-fitting denim jeans to withdraw his billfold.

The jeans made him look a wee bit more approachable and less like a minor celebrity slumming with his father’s less-advantaged friends at Buddy’s wake.

“I had lunch with a friend who used to work at Heritage House. She introduced us. Buddy and I hit it off right away.”

His hand froze an inch above the card reader. “Your friend’s name wouldn’t be Judy Banger, would it?”

Judy jerked back, her heart racing. How could so much animosity be infused in one simple question?

“” Even Pru seemed rattled by his tone. “It’s Babette. I believe Judy took over after Babette moved to Portland to be closer to her son.”

True…just not factual. To Judy’s knowledge, Pru never met Judy’s predecessor.


Straining to hear over her wildly thudding heart, Judy waited until she hoped the coast was clear then hurried down the hallway. She couldn’t remember if they’d decided on this part of the plan. Was she supposed to wait for another text? Could her feet handle another wait?

Hell, no.

Her fist hovered in knocking range of the door when she spotted the brass night lock sticking part way out. Oh, Pru. No wonder you won the mystery dinner.

She stepped closer and pressed her ear to the inch-wide opening. Only a few words made sense: “hope,” “happy,” “sex.” Good words. Positive words. But these were followed by “bitch,” “user,” and the c-word she refused to repeat. Shawn had called her that almost daily toward the end of their marriage.

Judy stiff-armed the door and marched into the room with as much forcefulness as shoes with rhinestone ankle bands allowed.

“That’s enough,” she cried. “You’ve got something to say? You can say it to my face, Lewis Fusco.”

🙂 Go Judy! Did I mention her basket is filled with sex toys? And a tawse. Yes, a tawse. (I had to look it up, too.)

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this contest. And Happy Hot Summer Reading!



Hot Summer Snippets – IN WITH A BANG!



My July contest is called Hot Summer Reads. One winner will be able to pick two titles from the six awesome choices. To introduce you to these authors and their books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories, however…

HOT means these snippets are meant

for an ADULT audience.

***If you’re under 18–or offended by adult content–stop reading. My regularly scheduled PG-13 blogs will continue on days other than Mondays and Thursdays. Are we good?***


July is almost over. Have you picked which books you want if you win?

Today’s SNIPPET features the second book in my Screw Senility serie: IN WITH A BANG! 

“Pending an administrative review at work, Judy Banger has time on her hands and much, too much, on her mind. Is Buddy Fusco’s son really going to sue her for his father’s wrongful death? Is the hunky carpenter Judy hires to eradicate the bad juju in her bedroom really more interested in laying her than a new floor? Might the sweet young cop, Officer Candy, be persuaded to stall the autopsy until Judy has a chance to talk some sense into Lewis Fusco? The combination has all the makings of an X-rated episode of I Love Lucy. Judy Banger, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”



“Can I ask you something? About Buddy?”


“Was he taking Viagra?”

She nodded. “He popped a pill as soon as he got here. You knew about it?”

He raked his fingers through his hair, causing a thick chunk to fall across his forehead. It took every ounce of self-control Judy possessed not to brush it away ala Barbra Streisand with Robert Redford’s golden locks in The Way We Were. She swallowed a big gulp of beer, instead.

“A few weeks ago, I heard Buddy and a couple of barflies discussing whether or not Viagra was safe. One guy said he used it all the time with no side effects. Another said he heard about a fellow who wound up with one of those infamous four-hour erections. Went to the emergency room, but he’s fine now.” He looked at a point over her shoulder as if picturing the exchange. “Buddy said–and I’m not making this up–that he’d die happy if his pecker made it into one last hottie.”

He got his wish. She’d never been hotter. She still got a little breathless remembering her orgasm. If she closed her eyes, she could almost–almost–recall the sensation. She flexed her labia, reveling in the residual dampness.

“I guess he got his wish, huh?”

The question held a husky, suggestive resonance. Sexy.

Reality check. He might not be a baby, but that didn’t mean he wanted to do the lust and thrust with her. “We made love, yes. He took the pill and it…um…worked really well.” Where’d that breathy rasp come from? “We both had a good time…right up to the moment I realized he was dead.”

“That must have been hard.”


“No pun intended, I’m sure.”

He leaned a bit closer. “Maybe a small one.”

Oh, crap. He had a sense of humor, too. In addition to her weakness for good hair, she was a sucker for men who made her laugh. His wicked smile looked good enough to eat–or put to use elsewhere on her body. But could she trust her man-woman radar or had residual high-resolution sexual reverberations altered her ability to distinguish between small talk and come-ons?

She fluffed her hair and let out the breath she’d been holding. “Death has a way of sucking the humor out of a room. I’m pretty sure I’ll never smile–let alone make love in my bedroom until the last trace of Buddy’s memory is wiped clean. If paint and a new floor doesn’t do it, I’m selling this place and moving away.”

Once the market improves.

His smile faded. “Sorry if that comment came across as inappropriate. But I think Buddy might have appreciated it.” He set his beer can on the counter. “I’ll email you a quote tonight. If you need a day or two to get a competing bid, let me know. I have a big remodel starting next week. It’ll eat up a month or so of my time, but I could do you…I mean, yours on a Saturday.”

His blush made her relax a little. Had she read too much into his suggestive tone? Was she being ridiculously hypersensitive? Either way, he was right. Buddy would have laughed his ass off at the whole damn situation.

“I trust you. Tomorrow works for me. Let me give you my email address.”

She walked to the wall phone where she kept a notepad and pen. She scribbled the information then returned to the counter to hand it to him. “I like the cherry wood, too. Could I keep this sample to take to the paint store?”

“Of course.” He stood, one hand still holding his beer can on the counter. “I apologize if I said something to upset you, Judy. It sucks the way Buddy died because you’re the one who has to deal with all the crap that comes next.”

I know, right? Except for Pru, nobody had shown her the least bit of sympathy. “Thank you,” she said, blinking back the extra moisture in her eyes. “This whole thing has been pretty aw…aw..ful, actually.”

Admitting the awfulness out loud removed the finger in her emotional dike. One sob slipped and another followed crashing on its heels. Tears came faster than one tissue could stem. A white cotton handkerchief just like the one her father used to carry appeared in her hand. They still make these? She blubbered noisily. Once the worst of the emotional tsunami had passed, two strong arms wrapped her in a hug, pulling her against a broad, masculine chest that smelled of fresh air, pine and working man. Her heart melted right along with her good intentions.

“Would you…? No, of course, you wouldn’t. We don’t even know each other.”

“We sorta do. We shared a bottle of champagne and a box of Girl Scout cookies after I finished your deck. Remember? We didn’t have long–you were picking up Buddy to treat him to a movie. I remember thinking what a kind person you are.”

She shook her head, suddenly mad at everything and nothing. “No. I’m not. I killed Buddy.”

His eyes narrowed. “Buddy made his own choices,” he said, his tone stern. “He knew the risks and decided being with you was worth what came next. That says a lot about you in my book.”

Judy liked his book. She wished she had a copy.

He tucked his thick, calloused knuckle under her chin and made her look at him. “Would I what?”

Kiss me? Fuck me? Make me forget my life is in the crapper? All of the above? But he couldn’t, of course. He might be able to handle one or two of the three, but if he had to ask… “Would you like another beer?”

“I’d rather kiss you.”

His lips caught hers partway open with surprise. Apparently his tongue took her lack of resistance as an invitation. It dipped, stroked and teased as if they’d been doing the lingual tango for years.

“Have we done this before?”

She shared his bemusement completely. “Only in my dreams.”

His mention of the champagne and cookies had triggered a memory. After a few minutes of friendly flirting with her sweaty, hunky contractor, she’d taken Buddy to see Magic Mike–a movie about sweaty, hunky male strippers. Later that night, her shower’s spray nozzle proved an acceptable substitute for a certain male body part Judy never expected to entertain in person. If that’s really what he was offering.

“You want to have sex with me?” she asked, hoping her incredulity wasn’t broadcast in her tone.

“Yes. Do you want to have sex with me?”

Um…yeah. Who wouldn’t? But what about Buddy?

A gruff voice she’d never hear again came through loud and clear in her mind chortling, “Go for it, Judy baby. He’s got a cock and he’s not afraid to use it. Makes him perfect for you.”

“I do. But Buddy isn’t even buried yet. Doesn’t this feel faintly sacrilegious?”

He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand–considerably smoother than the opposite side, her errant brain noted. “Like I said, I didn’t know Buddy well, but I’m pretty sure he’d be the first to say life doesn’t come with any guarantees. You only live once, so you damn well better go for it.”


🙂 That’s Judy for you. So much for good intentions, right?

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this contest.



Hot Summer Snippets III (Dee Davis)



My July contest is called Hot Summer Reads. One winner will be able to pick two titles from the six awesome choices. To introduce you to these authors and their books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories, however…

HOT means these snippets are meant

for an ADULT audience.

***If you’re under 18–or offended by adult content–stop reading. My regularly scheduled PG-13 blogs will continue on days other than Mondays and Thursdays. Are we good?***


Today’s SNIPPET features our newest member of On Fire Fiction, best-selling author Dee Davis. DOUBLE DANGER is part of Dee’s exciting, A-Tac series. Here’s the blurb: As the newest member of A-Tac, a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty, ex-SEAL Simon Kincaid races against the clock to save lives—and outrun his wrenching past. But preventing a major terrorist attack will plunge him and the one woman he’s never forgotten into a desperate fight for survival.

Double Danger cover_low res


New York City, Hospital for Special Surgery

“So on a scale of one to ten, how would you rank the pain?” Dr. Weinman asked as he probed the deep scars running across Simon’s thigh.

“Three,” Simon said, fighting against a grimace, pain radiating up into his hip.

“So a six.”  The doctor released the leg and scribbled something on his chart.

Simon opened his mouth to argue, but Weinman smiled.  “Look, I’ve been patching up people like you for most of my career.  Which means  I’m more than aware, that in  your world, a three would definitely be a six for the rest of us.  God’s honest truth, probably more like an eight or nine.”

“Apples to oranges,” Simon said, his smile bitter.  “The rest of you wouldn’t have a leg full of shrapnel.  So am I cleared for duty?”   The long hike through the Afghan mountains plus the stress of the firefight had aggravated his injury, his pronounced limp causing Avery to send him to the orthopedist for a look-see.

“Yeah.”  Weinman shrugged.  “You’re good to go.  There’s no new damage.  But I’m afraid as long as you insist on engaging in the kind of work you do, there’s always going to be risk.  And sooner or later, there’s going to be additional injury.  So it’s not a matter of if, but when.”

“Nothing I didn’t already know,” Simon said, jumping off the table to get dressed.

“I assume you’re still working with the PT?” the doctor asked, glancing up over the top of his glasses.

“Actually, I’m not.  With the new job, there just isn’t time to come all the way into the city.  But Sunderland has a great gym.  And I’ve memorized the moves by now.  So it’s easy enough for me to work out on my own.”

“Well, I suppose that’ll have to do,” the doctor said, still scribbling in the chart.  “Just be careful not to push too hard.  Do you need something for the pain?”

“No, I’m good.”  Simon shook his head, as he shrugged into his shirt.  The pain meds only dulled his brain, slowing his reflexes.  And in his line of work, that wasn’t an option.  Besides, he prided himself on being tough.

“There’s nothing dishonorable about managing pain,” Weinman said, correctly reading Simon’s train of thought.

“Look, I said I’m fine.”  Simon blew out a breath, forcing a smile.  The doc was only trying to help.

And if Simon were truly being honest, he’d have to admit that sometimes, in the middle of the night when the pain threatened to overwhelm him, the pills were his only ticket to oblivion.  But he’d seen what had happened to men he’d fought with when the meds had taken control.  And he wasn’t about to let himself go there.  No matter how fucking much it hurt.

“It’s up to you.” Weinman shrugged, closing the chart and rising to his feet.  “But if you change your mind, I’m only a telephone call away.”

“Good to know.  But I’ll be okay.”

“All right then.  We’re done.”  Weinman paused, his gaze assessing.  “Until next time.”   Leaving the words hanging, he turned and left the room, and Simon blew out a long breath.

The bottom line was that he knew he was on borrowed time.  His injuries had been severe enough to force him out of the SEALs.  And sooner or later, they were probably going to mean an end to his career with A-Tac, at least in the field.

But for now, he was determined to carry-on.  He was a soldier.  Pure and simple.  And just because he could no longer be a SEAL, he didn’t have to settle for some piddly-ass desk job.  A-Tac was as good as it got when it came to working counter-terrorism.  And he was lucky to have found a home there.

And he sure as hell wasn’t going to fuck it up by letting his injury get in the way.  Anyway, all that mattered now was that he was good to go.  Which meant he could get back to Sunderland—and the hunt for the Consortium.

He walked out of the exam room, striding down the hall, ignoring the twinge of pain shooting up his leg.   Compared to a couple of years ago, this was a cake-walk.   And the way he figured, another year and it would hardly be noticeable.  Everyone in his line of work lived with injury. It was part of the package.  It just wasn’t something most people could understand.   Their idea of the fast lane was eating fried food on a Saturday night—his was perpetrating a raid on an Afghan terrorist encampment.

He waved at the receptionist as he walked through the waiting room and pushed through the doors of the clinic.   Dr. Weinman’s offices were on an upper floor of the hospital, the corridor leading to the elevator lined with windows looking out over the FDR and the East River. Outside, beyond the congestion of traffic, the river was flowing out toward the harbor.  A tugboat, barge in tow, was making its laborious way up stream.  Above the swiftly flowing water, the skyline of Long Island City stood illuminated against the bold blue sky.

It was the kind of day that made a kid want to skip school. And suddenly Simon was struck with the thought that everything was right with his world, the past firmly behind him and the future beckoning bright.   It had been a long time since he’d felt hopeful about anything.   Hell, with his past who could blame him.  But maybe it was time to move on.  There wasn’t much point in letting the past or the future, for that matter, hold too much sway.  Better to live in the now.

He laughed at the philosophical turn of his thoughts.  Had to be the hospital.  All that life and death crap.   He stopped for a moment at the door to a large waiting room.  Inside a small army of what looked like nurses were triaging patients, most of them non-ambulatory with bleeding wounds and broken limbs.

Of course, the blood was fake, and the moaning and groaning more about theatrics than pain.  A disaster drill.  He’d seen a notice in the elevator on the way up.  Judging from the chaos ensuing inside the room, he’d have to assume it wasn’t going all that well.  But if it been the real thing, the hysteria would have been much worse. But this was just play-acting, and thankfully, he didn’t have a role to play.   With a rueful smile, he turned to go, then stopped, his brain conjuring the picture of a blue-eyed, blonde in blue scrubs.

Frowning, he turned around again, certain that image must be wrong, that his mind had merely super-imposed a memory onto a stranger.  He rubbed his leg absently as his gaze settled again on the woman.  She had her back to him, her sun-streaked pony-tail bobbing as she talked to another woman wearing scrubs.  She was waving her hands, her slim fingers giving additional meaning to her words.

Even from behind, he knew that his instinct had been dead on.   It was in the way she stood, the way she moved.  He’d have known her anywhere.  And then she turned, as if somehow she’d felt his presence, her eyes widening in surprise and then shuttering as she recognized him.

His mind screamed retreat, but his feet moved forward, taking him across the room until they were standing inches apart.  Behind her, out the window, he could still see the river, the blue of the sky almost the same color as her eyes.

“J.J.?” he queried, the words coming out a gruff whisper, his mind and body still on overdrive as he tried to make sense of her being here in New York.

“I go by Jillian now,” she said, her voice just as he’d remembered.  Low and throaty.  Sexy.  “It’s easier.”   There was touch of bitterness in her words and a tightness around her mouth that he’d never seen before.

He paused, not exactly sure what to say.  It had been a long time.   And he hadn’t thought he’d see her again.   Memories flooded through him.  The smell of her hair.  The feel of her skin beneath his fingers.   An image of her standing with Ryan in her wedding dress, eyes full of questions, Simon’s heart shriveling as he chose loyalty over everything else.

J.J. was Ryan’s girl.  She’d always been his.   Since they were practically kids.  And one drunken night couldn’t change that fact.   Ryan was his best friend.

And he’d failed him twice.  Once an eon ago at a college party, and the second time, years later, in a compound in Somalia.  He’d managed to avert disaster the first time, common sense and loyalty overriding his burgeoning libido.  But in Somalia, he hadn’t been so lucky, and because of his decisions, Ryan was dead.   J.J. had lost her husband.  And there was nothing Simon could do to make it right.

“I can’t believe you’re standing here,” he said, shaking his head.  “It’s been a while since I saw you last.”

“Four years,” she replied, the words a recrimination.

“You look the same,” he said wishing to hell he’d never seen her.  He didn’t need this.

Again she laughed, but this time with humor.  “You always were a flatterer.”

“Yeah, well, I guess some things never change,” he said, studying her face.  There were faint lines at the corners of her eyes and mouth.  And her hair was longer and slightly darker than before.  But over all, she looked like the girl he remembered.   Except for the smile.

J.J. had always been smiling.  Or at least that’s the way he’d chosen to remember her.   But the last time he’d seen her, she’d been anything but happy.  He remembered the pain on her face as she’d accepted the flag that had been draped across Ryan’s casket.   Simon had promised to come by later that day.  But instead he’d left town.  And never looked back.

“You look good, too,” she said, her eyes moving across his face.  “So what brings you to the hospital?”

“Check-up,” he sighed, absently rubbing his injured leg.  “But it’s all good.  I’m healthy as a horse.” And babbling like a fucking idiot.  She’d always been able to reduce him to baser levels.

“I’m glad,” she said.  “I heard you left the team.”

“Didn’t have much of a choice.”  He shrugged.  “But I landed on my feet, and I’m doing okay.  What about you?  You a nurse now?”

“Something like that,” she nodded.  “Speaking of which, I suppose I ought to be getting back to it.”

“Right,” he said, the silence that followed stretching awkwardly between them.

And then with an apologetic shrug, she turned back to her ‘patients,’ and Simon forced himself to walk away.  Hell, the past was better left buried.  Hadn’t he just been having that exact thought?

He stepped back into the corridor, and then despite himself, turned for a last look.  She was bending over a man with a rudimentary splint on his arm, her fingers gentle as she probed the imaginary wound.

Almost involuntarily, his gaze rose to the window, his senses sending out an alert.  A high-pitched whine filled the room, the glass on the windows shaking.  The sky disappeared as the window turned black.  For a moment everything seemed to move in slow motion.  And then, all hell broke loose as the windows shattered and something rammed through the side of the building, the walls shredding like corrugated cardboard.

People screamed, and Simon called her name.  “J.J.—Jillian.”

One minute she was standing there, eyes wide with confusion and fear, and the next—she was gone.


Oh, my! What an ending! My heart is thumping. I can’t wait to read more!

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this contest.


PS: you can check out all the books in Dee’s A-Tac series here: Dee Davis.

Why Happy Endings Matter

The news this week has been heartbreaking.

Two faces of our time.

images   cory-monteith-320


Too young, two dead.

Lost to gun violence and drugs. Futures ended. Families, loved ones, communities devastated.

I want to turn back the clock and do something to change this reality. Send Trayvon in a different direction. Give him a couple of buddies to walk with. Distract his killer with something positive and useful. I want Corey to wake up that morning feeling strong and empowered, in control of his addiction demons. I’d have his beautiful girlfriend show up unexpectedly, and they’d realize that “Why, yes! Today would be a great day to elope!”

And I can do that…because I’m a writer who believes in happy endings. Apparently, I crave them.

When I started writing my Screw Senility series, I had no intention of ending it with Judy Banger in a wedding dress. H.E. Double-toothpicks No! (If you’ve read any of this series, you know the language is…um…colorful.) I reveled in the fun and liberty of writing a heroine who wasn’t constantly worrying about what her hero would think. Judy was a rebel. She didn’t need no stinking hero. 😉

But as I got to know her better, I realized she might not NEED a hero–a partner, a soul-mate, but she wanted one. And when an interesting hero-type showed up–much to my surprise!–I began to believe that maybe–just maybe–she’d get her HEA (happily-ever-after). I didn’t realize until the Black Moment how strong Judy was and how much was resting on her hero (the Judge) stepping up to do the right thing. (Which thanks to Judy, he now had a clear understanding of what the Right Thing involved.)

I do realize that real life doesn’t offer a convenient editing option. I can’t undo the pain and sadness so many people–the famous or the not-so-famous–must deal with every day. But, I can make things turn out right in my books, and when you’re reading this series I hope you’ll chuckle, cringe, laugh out loud, blush and…finally, sigh contentedly. All will never be right with the world, but things in Judy Banger’s world are lookin’ pretty darn happy.

Big Bang! Theory

Here are links for KINDLE and NOOK. (iTunes will up shortly on my website).

Did the last book you read end happily? Have you ever re-written a story in your head when it ended poorly? Oh, come on, surely you didn’t let Kevin Costner get on that damn boat in Message In A Bottle, did you? Did you?