new adult

Happy Release Day, Hell and a Hard Place!

Today is a release day, which means it’s a day for celebration!

Hell and a Hard Place has a very special place in my heart, more so than any of my other books. When I think about this book, and the inspiration behind it, my heart breaks. Domestic abuse isn’t a fun topic and I don’t know about you, but I hear even less when it comes to the woman being the abuser. But it happens in real life and it happens in Hell and a Hard Place.

There’s so much more that I wish to write, but this is a day for celebrating and I can only say so much. Here’s a little more about Hell and a Hard Place:

What's a girl to do when she's in love with her best friend but she can't have him? Well, I pretend I'm not. I keep my best friend, FC, close and keep my life moving forward. I work. I date. I see my therapist for my mental health issues. But everything always leads back to FC, no matter what I do. The distance between us, FC's secrets, and our own relationships keep us apart while bringing us closer together.

I'm a guy with loads of problems. Where do I even begin? I'm an on-again off-again smoker. I'm an alcoholic. I have a best friend of twelve years who I can't live without, and I only recently met Idaline in person when she let me escape to her house one night. Oh, and did I mention I have an abusive girlfriend? That every day winds up being worse than that last? I'm stuck between hell and a hard place with the dimmest of lights at the end of the tunnel. And that light might not even be there tomorrow. Because things will get worse before they get better.

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

I’ll be baking cinnamon sugar pecans to celebrate, and don’t forget, the sequel releases next month!

Have you heard about the Heaven and Hell Duet?

Releasing this fall is the Heaven and Hell Duet, which includes Hell and a Hard Place (October 11, 2018) and Light in the Dark (November 8, 2018). My love and excitement for these two books surpasses that of all my books before. I absolutely cannot wait to share this duet with y'all. 

It's a bit of a rollercoaster ride that will definitely bring out some strong emotions and that's all I'll say right now. But be sure to stay tuned and check into my social media for teasers. Read on for the blurb and check out the awesome cover.

What's a girl to do when she's in love with her best friend but she can't have him? Well, I pretend I'm not. I keep my best friend, FC, close and keep my life moving forward. I work. I date. I see my therapist for my mental health issues. But everything always leads back to FC, no matter what I do. The distance between us, FC's secrets, and our own relationships keep us apart while bringing us closer together.

I'm a guy with loads of problems. Where do I even begin? I'm an on-again off-again smoker. I'm an alcoholic. I have a best friend of twelve years who I can't live without, and I only recently met Idaline in person when she let me escape to her house one night. Oh, and did I mention I have an abusive girlfriend? That every day winds up being worse than that last? I'm stuck between hell and a hard place with the dimmest of lights at the end of the tunnel. And that light might not even be there tomorrow. Because things will get worse before they get better.

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Happy Release Day, Defend!

Who's ready the next standalone in the Hearts in Carolina series? I AM! Defend does have a familiar character taking the male lead role. If you've read Steady, then you'll recognize Brent Murphy and his family. If not, no need to worry. You can pick this book up without reading Steady (although I totally think you should read Steady, too!😉)

Okay, so now, let's get to all the details you need to know about Defend

A flat tire brings together Brent Murphy, a workaholic parent of two, and Jamie Alexander, a soon to be college graduate. The eighteen year age difference startles them both at first, but they decide there's no harm in seeing where things go. After a few dates, it's clear their attraction to one another can't be resisted.

Jamie's best friend thinks the appeal must be physical. Brent's daughter can't understand why he would date someone so close to her age. Others judge the fact that Brent is dating someone so much younger than him. Over time, it becomes apparent they will have to defend their choices to those around them.

Brent and Jamie are secure in their relationship, but will outside assumptions become more than they are willing to defend?

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Another Sneak Peek: Chapter Two of Defend

Chapter Two

Brent

“I’m the oldest,” I say, answering her question. “There are five years between each of us. Do you have siblings?”

“An older sister.” Jamie wears a slight frown as she stabs a piece of her waffle and I wonder if she realizes it. I also wonder if she knows how beautiful she is. She seems confident enough, but I feel like there are many layers to her. I was instantly attracted to her, tears and all. She has this kind of beauty that makes a man want to throw her over his shoulder, carry her off, and make sure he keeps her all to himself.

“Do you have a good relationship with her?” I’m not sure why I’m pushing. Hell, I’m not sure why I’m still here with a twenty-one-year-old, but I can’t seem to find any reason to leave. There seems to be some magnetic pull to her that I can’t resist. Has been since the moment I saw her hunched over her knees on the sidewalk.

Jamie shrugs. “How’s life been since your divorce?”

I’m not quite sure if she wants anything specific or not, so I answer with what comes to mind. “It’s been good. I work, more than anyone likes. I date here and there. And I make time for my kids.”

“What do you mean about your work?”

I lean forward a little bit, my elbows rest on the table, and my hands clasp in the air above my empty plate. “Okay, here’s the deal. I love my job. I love working and staying busy. Unless there is a reason for me to not work, then I’m at the shop doing just that. Because this is how I am, my daughter thinks I’m a workaholic, which I guess I am, but she thinks it’s a bad thing and she worries. I could step away from my work any time as long as I have a reason to. She doesn’t think so, however. Not only is she on my case, but now, she has my brothers on my case too.”

Jamie smiles and leans forward, mimicking my stance. “So, what you’re saying is that you need someone to see, which will ease everyone’s worries.”

“You offering yourself?”

“Do you see anyone else at this table? Of course I am.”

I grin as I shake my head. “Still way too trusting, Jamie.” She rolls her eyes at that. “I think we need to return to that forgotten issue.” I nearly fainted and she about choked.

“You’re hot and you’re sweet; I can get over it.” She raises her eyebrows in a challenge, waiting for my answer. How did she get that I’m sweet out of a few hours with me? Sure, I helped her with her tire, but that wasn’t extraordinary. “I’m waiting, Brent,” she says in a bit of a singsong manner.

“I’ll make an exception for you,” I decide only as the words flow out of my mouth.

Jamie’s smile is bright and quick. The waitress brings over our bill and I pay. While we wait for her to bring back my card, I ask, “Why don’t you like college?”

“I don’t like school,” she replies flatly. “I’m only in college because my parents insist and they’re paying. If I could quit and do something that doesn’t require a degree, but keeps me around people, I’d be happy.”

I frown. “You don’t think your parents would understand that?”

“I’m still in college, aren’t I? Trust me, if I thought telling them would be better than suffering through four years of this hell, I would drop out in a heartbeat.”

The waitress drops off the receipt and my card. I don’t like what she’s telling me, but it’s not like I can change her situation. We slide out of the booth and I rest my hand on her lower back. I wait until we’re back inside my truck to ask my question again.

“Why do you hate school so much?”

“Ah, ah, ah. I can’t spill but so much about myself in one night and that one is a whopper. We’re not ready for that answer. You’ll have to ask me again another day.”

Hmm. “Okay. Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“Five years, ten years, twenty years, it’s all the same. Hopefully, I’ll have a job I enjoy and in a good relationship with a man I love. That’s all I want out of life.”

It sounds so simple. Maybe too simple. All she wants is a job and a man? No kids? Nothing else on her list?

“Thank you for dinner, by the way,” she adds.

“You’re welcome. We’ll do it again sometime.”

“That sounds like conviction and certainty in your voice.”

I glance over and see her smiling. “It is,” I confirm.

We ride the rest of the way in silence. It seems as if Jamie’s mood darkens by the second. When I park my truck next to her car, she confirms my suspicions with a sigh.

“I have to go back to campus. Yay me.”

“Hand me your keys.” She doesn’t ask or give me a look; she just hands them over. Again, the girl is way too trusting of people. I get out, the cold nipping at my skin, and go over to her car to crank it. It’ll be nice and toasty by the time she gets in it.

“See? Seriously so sweet,” she says as I get back into the truck.

I shrug. “I have manners.”

Jamie stares at me for a moment. “Huh.”

“What?” I don’t know what that huh means.

“I’ve realized that all the guys I know have no manners. None. Absolutely none.” She shakes her head in astonishment. “I don’t know anyone who would open a door for me, much less crank my car so it’s warm when I get in it. You are something else, Brent.”

No, I’m not. It’s just a damn shame that there aren’t more people with such manners out there. “Your car should be warm and toasty.” I get out and walk around to open the door for her, making her smile once again.

“When do you plan to see me again?” she asks.

“Tomorrow at six in the morning?” Her jaw drops and I laugh. “We could run and I’d make you breakfast afterward. You need a good start to your day so we don’t have a repeat of whatever happened today.”

“Six?”

“Six,” I confirm.

She pulls her phone from her pocket. “What’s your number?” I recite it for her and she adds, “I’ll text you later to get your address. I wasn’t exactly paying attention earlier, so there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to find your house again.” Jamie takes a step closer and closer until our chests touch. It doesn’t seem like enough, yet it is all the same. “One last question before I go. Is this considered a date and if so, do I get a—”

She is not about to ask that question, so I cut her off with a kiss. Within seconds of our lips and tongues meeting, my arms rope around her waist and I move to lean her against the car. She shivers as the cold from the car presses against her back. Her hands rest on my shoulders, her nails digging into the skin as she leans up and presses herself into me, kissing me harder and deeper. A soft moan leaves her to echo into my mouth.

I pull away, breathing as hard as if I just went running. I... What the hell was that? In all my years, no woman has done whatever the hell she just did to me. Kissing when I was a teenager and horny as hell didn’t even feel that good, that right. She tasted sweet and somehow, she smells a little like chocolate.

I need to get my head checked.

Instead, I clear my throat and open the door for Jamie. “Drive safe.”

She slides into the driver’s seat, buckles up, but looks at me. “One more?”

I laugh as I lean into the car and kiss her one more time. “Dress just a little warmer tomorrow. It’ll be colder.”

She tsks. “You’re bossy. I’ll see you in the morning, Brent.”

“Drive safe,” I repeat because one can never be too careful. I close her door, step back, and stand there until her tail lights disappear.

By the time I make it home, Jamie has texted me that she made it back to campus safe and sound and she needs my address for the morning. Now that I’m away from her, I can’t help but wonder what the hell I was thinking, even as I respond to her. She’s not much older than Kayla. I can’t seriously think about doing anythingwith her, can I? Even if I’m completely interested in finding out a little more about her?

What would my kids think? How would I feel if the situation was reversed? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. It’s not like I’m about to jump into a relationship with this woman. There’s no harm in exploring the waters, right? And just the other day, Kayla actually told me to date more. Granted, she told me so I’d work less if I was dating someone, but that’s beside the point. I’ll just see what happens and if it seems like it might become more than casual, I’ll reevaluate. In the meantime, I have a feeling that Jamie is exactly the person I need to see right now.

~ ~ ~

She knocks on my door five minutes after six. I pull it open, keep my face expressionless, and say, “You’re late.”

Jamie rolls her eyes. “Sorry, boss. I needed this.” She holds up a coffee cup. “As soon as I set this down, we can get started.” She walks past me and adds, “You’re lucky I’m here at all. Do you realize how early it is? Too early, that’s how early.” No shorts this morning, but no pants either. She went midway with capris. And no long-sleeved shirt like me, either. She’s wearing a short-sleeved shirt. How is she not freezing her ass off? “Okay, let’s go.”

“Are you sure you’re ready? I have a jacket if you’d like to borrow it.”

“No, thanks. I overheat when I run. This is enough.” She walks out the door, jogs down the steps, and I have no choice but to follow her.

I catch up to her on the sidewalk. We start slow and steady without any talking. This is the odd thing about running with a partner. You have to learn their running habits. What’s their pace like? Do they enjoy talking or do they prefer not to? I normally run alone, so I enjoy the silence. Jamie had her phone in an armband yesterday with earbuds attached, but I notice it’s missing today.

We run five miles in silence by the time we make it back to my house.

“No wonder you look so great.” She rests her hands on her hips and takes a few breaths. “You’re a workhorse. I almost didn’t think I was going to make it.”

“You should’ve said something.” I hand her her now cold coffee and lead her into the kitchen, where I pull out a seat and make her sit.

“I was fine. You just have a...” Her voice trails off as she thinks and I wash my hands before getting started on our breakfast. “I don’t know what to call it. How I run is based on my emotions. It’s never a smooth, solid run like that.”

“I don’t know if that means it was enjoyable or not.”

“It was. What’s for breakfast?”

“Eggs, bacon, toast?”

She nods in agreement. “How did you get into running?”

“Ran track in high school. It’s a bit of an addiction. You?”

Jamie sighs. “Ever heard of the freshman fifteen?” I nod. “It was more like the freshman fifty for me. Running helped me lose it. I got into the habit of running every day.” She glances down at her lap and then her gaze moves around the kitchen. Everywhere, but at me. “I was scared if I broke my habit, I’d gain it back. That’s not something I want to experience again.”

“There’s more to that story, isn’t there?” Her not looking me in the eyes was my first clue, but maybe I’m wrong.

“None that you’re going to hear.” Or maybe I’m right. “What’s different about your life since your divorce?”

“It’s actually not that different from being married, which probably says a lot about my marriage.” I leave that line of thought behind and say, “I still work a lot. Only changes are I now live alone, I see my son less, and I can date other people.”

“What about your daughter?”

“She lives with her boyfriend now. I see her about the same as I did before. Maybe slightly less with the boyfriend and her new jobs. Where are you from?” I don’t want to talk about my kids just yet. Her age is still too much at the forefront of my mind.

“Charlotte. I wanted some distance between my family and me, and they were adamant about staying in-state for school. I almost went to the university in Wilmington, but changed my mind.”

I make our plates, fix myself a cup of coffee, and walk over to the table. “Still good?” I ask, nodding to her drink. “Or would you like something else?”

“Actually, can I have some water?”

“Sure.” Once I’ve fixed her a glass of iced water, we’re finally able to eat.

Except, Jamie’s eyes are fixed to my fridge.

“What is it?” I ask.

She stands and walks over to the refrigerator. She points to one of the pictures from a family vacation last year. “Who are these people?”

“My kids: Kayla and Gregory. Why?” My muscles tense and coil, ready to spring into defensive mode if necessary.

“Your daughter is Kayla Murphy?” She releases a short breath before looking over at me. “I have a class with her this semester.”

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Sneak Peek: Chapter One of Defend

Chapter One

Jamie

I’m suffocating.

This campus sucks all the air from my lungs and prevents me from inhaling. All the assignments, all the parties, all the people, and all the pressure is a burden with two hands around my throat. What started out as a way to lose the fifty pounds I gained freshman year and soon became therapeutic for me won’t be happening on campus today like usual. I need to get away from this place.

Running around campus won’t relax me. Hell, just standing here coils my muscles and locks up my joints. I hate this place. I need to get away from here. Without a second thought, I change, grab my keys, and jog out of my dorm room. A few minutes later, I’m in my car driving. I don’t know where I’m going yet, but campus isn’t where I need to be. Overall, college isn’t too bad, I guess, but I don’t like it. I pretty much despise it.

School has never been my cup of tea. Tests? Suck. Teachers lecturing for hours on end? Sucks. Homework? Sucks. The only reason I’m in college is because I disappoint my parents enough. They’d have a fit if I didn’t go to college, and well, if they want to pay for me to earn Cs in all my classes, then they’re more than welcome to do so.

I spot someone running on a sidewalk along the road and immediately pull over. If someone else runs here, then so can I. After locking the car doors, I put my earbuds in place and turn on the music on my phone, which rests in an armband, and I take off running on the sidewalk.

Sometimes, I start out slowly before increasing to a full speed run.

Sometimes, I switch from slow to fast, slow to fast, and so on.

Sometimes I run like today. No preparation. No buildup. Just full-fledged running.

My lungs soon burn as my feet pound on the sidewalk with every step. My music drowns out the sounds of any traffic or people. I run until my entire body aches and I can’t breathe. I run until college is a distant memory and not a current nightmare.

Then, I stop. Take a deep breath. Realize I have no idea where I am or where I parked my car.

Damn it.

Time to turn around. Considering I don’t know where my car is, I take off running just like when I started, only paying more attention to my surroundings. It doesn’t help that the sky changes from a bright blue to a more subdued blue by the second as it slowly gets dark. None of this looks familiar. It should, considering I ran past it all, but I was too lost in spacing out that I didn’t pay attention to anything.

Where is my car? It should be around here somewhere. Feeling discouraged, I press my panic button, hoping to hear my alarm. It’s not until I’m further down the street that it finally goes off. I parked just past someone’s house. I turn my alarm off, but then curse when I see my front driver’s side tire.

I must’ve run over something on the way here because it’s completely flat. I sit on the curb, the tears falling before I can stop them. Great. Another problem to deal with. At least this one is fixable. Resting my head on my knees, I decide to get all the tears out now before I change my tire to my spare. These tears have wanted to trail down my cheeks for months, as I’m one of those people who likes to bottle up my emotions, but today must be the day I break.

“Ma’am?”

I jump at the sound of a man’s voice and glance up; I didn’t even hear him approach. He’s tall with dirty blond slightly wavy hair, green eyes, and a body built for ogling. Holy hell, he’s hot. I wipe my tears and point at my tire, which causes him to walk over and look at the problem. I get a good view of his backside. He wears jogging pants and a white T-shirt that makes me want to drool, which is crazy because it’s not like he’s half-naked, but he’s still insanely hot right now.

“Do you have a spare? I can change your tire for you,” he offers as he crouches to be eye level with me.

My breath is stolen at seeing him up close. He’s even more gorgeous. He’s probably thirty-five, tops, but I still wouldn’t mind him taking me home. Not at all.

“Ma’am?” he repeats. “Are you okay?”

“It’s Jamie.”

He holds out his hand. “Brent.”

I shake his hand and nearly swoon. It’s a rough, callused hand. Good lord. “I know how to change it,” I manage to say, not yet releasing his hand.

“Offer still stands. I can even fix your tire if it needs patching or get it replaced with a new one if you want. My shop isn’t too far from here.” A shiver runs through me. Even his voice is sexy. “Come on, Jamie.” He pulls me up since we’re still holding hands and I’m thankful because the cold concrete under my butt was really starting to get to me. It may be March, but I get hot when I run no matter the time of year, so I dressed in shorts and a sports bra. “Let’s get your spare and I’ll change your tire,” Brent says, taking over the situation.

We get everything he needs from my trunk and I stand off to the side in front of my car, at Brent’s orders, while he begins to change my tire.

“Are you okay, Jamie?” he asks me again with a sideways glance.

I nod. “Rough, long day. The tire pushed me over the edge. You can really fix it?”

“Yeah. I’ll do it right now if you want.”

It’s six in the evening, so I have to wonder if there are any reasons behind him offering to help me after business hours, other than simply being nice.

“That’s my house right there.” He points at the house whose driveway I parked closest to. “But I started my run from the shop, so I don’t have my truck. I can drive us back to the shop, or I can give you the address and run back if that makes you more comfortable.”

He’d run back to his shop instead of riding with me if it makes me uncomfortable to have him in my car? That’s both crazy and sweet. And he called me ma’am, which would normally be a turn-off because I reserve that term for older women, but when he says it? I’ll repeat, swoon.

“You want to do it today?” I ask.

He shrugs. “It doesn’t matter to me. If you want it fixed today, I’ll do it for you. It’ll be one less thing for you to worry about on your rough day.”

“Thank you.”

He looks up at me and smiles. “Your day should end on a good note, Jamie.”

He goes back to work and we don’t speak. He offers to let me drive to his shop, but I’m not too keen on driving with a spare—I hate doing it—so I hand over my keys. This could be stupid to do with a stranger, but I’m too tired and stressed to care. While in the car, I remove my armband and my earbuds from my phone, slipping my phone into my pocket.

We don’t speak until Brent has my car in one of the bays and working on my tire. “You trust too easily,” he says, glancing over at me while I walk around and look at all the different tools and machines. “What if I was a serial killer or something?”

“You’re too hot to be crazy.”

He laughs but shakes his head. “There are real threats out there. You should be more careful.”

“I should,” I agree. He isn’t crazy or a serial killer. Now that my emotions are contained, I focus on Brent. “Does your girlfriend mind that you’re working late?”

“No girlfriend.”

“Wife?” I question, glancing over at him to see a smile play on his face.

“No wife, no girlfriend, no friend with benefits, Jamie.”

I smile because he’s as free as a bird. “Do you always offer to help women when you see them crying on the sidewalk?”

“Only the pretty ones.”

I laugh. “What will I owe you for this?” I ask as he puts my tire back on my car.

“It’s on the house.”

With a frown, I walk over to him. “No, really. What do I owe you?” He didn’t have to change my tire, bring me here and do this tonight, and he definitely deserves to be paid.

“Nothing, Jamie.”

“Do you normally work for free?”

“Making an exception for you.”

I fold my arms over my chest. I don’t like this. It’s nice, but he deserves something. Soon, my car is all ready to go. I lean against the hood, in no rush to leave, and Brent stands in front of me, wiping his hands with a red rag.

“Can I take you out to eat as a thank you?” I ask.

My heart falls as he shakes his head and tosses the rag onto a nearby counter. “No, but I will be more than happy to take you out.”

“Right now?” I grin as he nods, but then I glance down at myself with a frown. While I may be comfortable running out in public like this, I wouldn’t go into a restaurant wearing just a sports bra and shorts.

“Stay right there.” Brent disappears toward an office and returns a moment later with a white T-shirt, much like the one he’s wearing. “Will this make you feel better?”

“Yes, thank you.” Slipping on his T-shirt does crazy things to me. I almost shiver again and it takes every ounce of willpower not to inhale heavily because damn, does it smell good. It has this manly scent tinged with the smell of the shop, but it’s not too overpowering. It’s too big, so I tie a knot at my hip.

“Okay if I drive?” Brent asks.

“Sure.”

He shakes his head as he holds out his hand for me. “Way too trusting, Jamie.”

“Do you want me to say no and go home?” I ask as we walk outside into the frigid air and to a truck.

“No, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”

He opens my door for me.

I repeat. He opens the door for me. He even closes it once I’m in the passenger seat! Where did this man come from and can I keep him? It hits me that this isn’t the first time. He opened the door for me when I was getting into my car on the way here, too. I wonder if I waited, if he’d open the door for me to get out.

“Any particular place you’d like to go?” he asks.

“You can pick.”

I sneak glances at him, wondering how old he truly is. I’ll be twenty-two in four months and this is my last semester in hell—I mean, college. A man like Brent might want nothing more than a roll between the sheets. He looks good enough that I might be okay with that, especially if he can be a distraction from the stress college gives me.

At heart, I’m a hopeless romantic; I want the kind of love where it consumes me. Where even his annoying flaws cause me to love him a little more. Where I would fight for him and for us. Where he would be able to calm me in the simplest of ways when I’m stressed. Where I’d feel like I’m living in a fairytale, even the road bumps feeling worth it because I’m with the person I love with every breath I take.

But I’d take a fling until I could find that love if that’s all Brent offers. Then again, I’m getting ahead of myself. All he’s doing right now is taking me to dinner, specifically to a diner that serves nothing but breakfast food, and as soon as I realize that’s the type of restaurant we’re at, I realize breakfast for dinner is exactly what I want.

The place is surprisingly busy, but there’s an empty booth we’re able to claim. Once the waitress takes our order, I pick up my drink and ask Brent what’s been on my mind the entire ride over.

“So, how old are you?”

I take a sip as he answers, “Thirty-nine, but I turn forty soon.”

The drink gets caught in my throat and I choke with surprise. “Seriously?” I ask as I cough. There’s eighteen years between us? How is this possible?

There’s a small smile on his face. “How old did you think I was?”

“Thirty-five at the most, late twenties at the least. I’m only twenty-one; I turn twenty-two in July.”

His face pales and he shifts in his seat. I think this dinner just went to hell and we haven’t even been served yet. Brent clears his throat. “I have kids, a daughter and a son. Twenty and sixteen, and they haven’t had their birthdays yet this year.”

“Oh.” Wow. That’s crazy.

“Yeah. Oh.”

“Well, how about we forget those little facts?” When he nods in agreement, I ask, “Do you run every day?”

“No. Three to four days a week. It clears my head, keeps me in shape, and makes me feel good. You?”

The waitress drops off my waffles and eggs and his pancake platter as I answer him. “Every day if I can. College is...” I shudder at the thought of that horrid place.

“That bad, huh?”

“I can’t stand it. Did you go to college? Did you like it?”

“My dad had my brothers and me working in the shop as soon as he felt we were capable of helping. Right after high school, I found out my then-girlfriend and now ex-wife was pregnant. I needed money right then to support them and staying home to work in the shop was the best way to do that. I eventually went to learn more than what my dad taught me, and now, my brothers and I own the shop while my parents are retired and living in Florida.”

“Do you enjoy what you do?” It sounds like he had no choice but to do the work he does now.

Brent nods. “I didn’t care for it as a teenager, but it grew on me. Now I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

“That’s good. How old are your brothers?”

He grins. “Thinking of trading me in already?”

“Nope,” I say with a smile. “I already know I picked the right one. I won’t get rid of you yet.”

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo 

WIP Progress Report

WIP Progress Report.jpg

- Title: Untitled
- Genre: Hockey Romance
- Word Count/Goal: 49,409/80,000
- Release Date: Spring 2018
- Series? Carolina Rebels 

It's been a LONG time since I posted my last WIP progress report, which was back in mid-June. I've been slacking, and I apologize.

There is a lot to catch up on, but I'll start with my current WIP. 

So, Scott & Sylvia's An Unexpected Life released last month. Brayden's book, Attached to You, releases next month. We've already met Rebels Noah, Marc, and Ian as well.

Up next and the Rebel starring in this WIP?

EJ!

His story has been flowing so smoothly! I can't wait to get this first draft done. I've had his story in my head for a very long time and it feels so good to finally write it. I can't wait to share it with you next year!

Now that you're all caught up on my current project, let me catch you up on my others.

Other Projects:
The first book in my New Adult Romance series, Hearts in Carolina, goes to edits and gets a cover soon! More details to come. (If you liked Logan from It's Our Time, then you'll be excited about this book!)

- As soon as my secret project (a newsletter exclusive) is ready, it'll be shared with my newsletter subscribers

- As I mentioned above, the next Carolina Rebels book, Attached to You, releases October 19, 2017.

WIP Progress Report

- Title: Untitled
- Genre: New Adult Romance
- Word Count/Goal: 33,410/80,000
- Release Date: Early 2018? Maybe.
- Series? Yes. Book 1 of new series. 

Yes, you read all of the above correctly.

No, I'm not working on a Carolina Rebels book. 

Yes, I'm going back to NA.

Yes, it's a new series.

What else can I tell you? Well, the female main character? Her name is Kayla. She's pretty awesome. The male? I can't tell you his name because you may have met him already in another book. I am telling my readers in Lindsay's League next week who he is, and they'll be the first to know. 

I can tell you that I'm having so much fun with these two. I'm so happy I decided to go on this new adventure with this new series. (And don't worry Carolina Rebels fans, I haven't abandoned that series at all!) 

The main point of this progress report is to let you know that I've started a new project/series. I don't want to say too much just yet since it is in the early stages, but I can say that I've worked it in such a way that there is loads of possibilities available. I don't know about you, but that makes me squeal with excitement! 

The future looks brighter than ever and I'm so excited for it! 

As y'all know, I'm always juggling multiple projects, so read on for more updates.

Other Projects:
- A Carolina Rebels WIP is with betas.

- One WIP (a secret project) is on hold because I keep getting caught up in the current WIP.

- The first secret project is with betas and eventually, I'll have my plan finalized for this.

WIP Progress Report (#6)

To recap, these "progress reports" are basically a way for y'all to know a little more about what I'm working on and to be able to follow along with the process. The main update will be on my solos, but at the end, there will be quick updates on other projects. 

When working on the latest chapter of Brittany and Trace's story, I knew it was time for another WIP PR. Let's go over the quick details first.

- Untitled. (However, I have an idea, but not sure if it'll stick.)
- Genre: New Adult Romance w/ Anxiety/Depression 
- Word Count/Goal: 51,636/80,000
- Release Date: Tentatively, the summer of 2016
- Series? Will be book 1 of 2.
- First Sentence of Last Chapter Written: 
I'm calling the grinch, babe,” I whisper, pulling the covers over my head, so I don't have to look at him.

There are two reasons why I wanted to give an update. One is because I passed the 50K mark, and that's worthy of an update. The other is because I felt compelled to give an update, mostly for myself and the need to talk about these characters. As you may remember from the last WIP PR, Brittany and Trace deal with anxiety and depression. That alone makes me love them a little more because these are my favorite kinds of characters to write.

However, this book is making me feel guilty. Here is a troubled pair and I'm putting them through hell right now. Usually, this would make me feel a giddy kind of evil, but this time, I just feel guilty. Poor characters! They're gonna break my heart, y'all.

I've known where this book was headed since I started writing it. It's finally catching up to me now because I'm having to write it. In an odd way, I'm eager to write it, too. That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to give anything away. Let's move on to the short updates on other projects!

Other Projects:
The final touches to get Bending Under Pressure ready for release are happening this month.

I'll be writing and doing edits on books from The Ninth Inning series to prepare for the upcoming season.

And that's it! As of right this second, I'm on my way to the airport to fly to Pittsburgh for a few days. I can't wait!!!

WIP Progress Report (#5)

To recap, these "progress reports" are basically a way for y'all to know a little more about what I'm working on and to be able to follow along with the process. The main update will be on my solos, but at the end, there will be quick updates on other projects. 

Before I get started, you should take a quick look to your left! I've added WIP Word Count section. It's just a little way to get a quick strictly numerical update on WIPs. It's updated every chapter pretty much.

So, based on that, you see that I have two WIPs listed: Brittany & Trace's and Noah & Meredith's. I ended up having to set Noah and Meredith aside while I figured some things out and ended up reshuffling my WIP To-Do list. 

Therefore, my main priority is now to write Brittany and Trace's books and then Noah & Meredith's. I'll work on them here and there, of course, but they aren't #1 right now. Let's talk about who is!

- Untitled.
- Genre: New Adult Romance 
- Word Count/Goal: 17,772/80,000
- Release Date: Tentatively, the summer of 2016
- Series? Will be book 1 of 2.
- First Sentence: My stomach heaves, the retched sound of vomit falling into the toilet echoes in the air as my hands grip the seat.

Nice start, huh? What better way to start a book than with the main character throwing up? Haha!

Anyway, I think this WIP will excite fans of Nepenthe. Not because of any characters are crossing over, but because of topic. These two characters both deal with anxiety and/or depression. With Nepenthe, only one person suffered. I wanted to have both of them in the same boat.

I want to write about how they'll deal with it differently. This book, in comparison to Nepenthe, shows more of the physical affects, hence how the book starts. These are the kinds of books that I love to write more than anything, so I'm really happy to bring Brittany and Trace to you for two books.

Another thing that has me excited is the dynamic of the two. Trace is older, divorced, and more settled in life than she is. Brittany is trying to survive her last semester of college. And Trace was Brittany's therapist before she left for college.

A lot of different little and big things are going on in this book. That's all I have for now though! Just wanted to give an update.

Other projects:
Mary and I are cracking down on the rest of The Ninth Inning series and making beautiful progress!

Without a Doubt releases this month on the 18th! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

Bending Under Pressure, Haley & Keelan's book, will release February 20, 2016. Check out the details here.

Without a Doubt: Chapter Reveal

Last month, I shared the prologue and first chapter of my next New Adult Romance, Without a Doubt. Today, I added the second chapter for you to read. As I said before, every month from now until the release, I'm going to reveal a chapter from the book until you've read the first five chapters.

If you want to read the chapters before I post them on the blog, then you should sign up for my monthly newsletter because my subscribers get the link first.

Without further ado, here is the Prologue-Chapter Two of Emerson and Eva's story. Enjoy!

Emerson Montgomery loves his high school sweetheart, Kelly Price. He'd do anything for her, including agreeing to a break where they'll see other people as he heads off to college. Struggling with the break and guilt over dating other people, Emerson meets Eva, a beautiful, funny, easygoing, and nosey junior.

Eva Harvey chose this particular college with the hopes of fulfilling her own fairytale and falling in love at the same college where her parents met. She does her best to go with the flow and simply see what happens, but Emerson simultaneously causes her to fall in love while making her second guess everything along the way.

There's some things you know without a doubt. However, Eva causes Emerson to doubt everything he believes about his future while he causes her to doubt what's right in front of her. Can they find a way to erase all doubts or will it tear them apart in the process?
Preorder Without a Doubt on iBooks, B&N, or Kobo, and add the book to your to-read shelf on Goodreads. WaD will be uploaded to Amazon later this month.

Without a Doubt, I'm Revealing This Chapter!

Oh, I think I'm having too much fun with the title of my next New Adult Romance, Without a Doubt. ;) Anyway, today, I'm sharing with you the prologue and first chapter of WaD. Every month from now until the release, I'm going to reveal a chapter from the book until you've read the first five chapters.

If you want to read the chapters before I post them on the blog, then you should sign up for my monthly newsletter because my subscribers get the link first.

Without further ado, here is your first look into Emerson' and Eva's story. Enjoy!

Emerson Montgomery loves his high school sweetheart, Kelly Price. He'd do anything for her, including agreeing to a break where they'll see other people as he heads off to college. Struggling with the break and guilt over dating other people, Emerson meets Eva, a beautiful, funny, easygoing, and nosey junior.

Eva Harvey chose this particular college with the hopes of fulfilling her own fairytale and falling in love at the same college where her parents met. She does her best to go with the flow and simply see what happens, but Emerson simultaneously causes her to fall in love while making her second guess everything along the way.

There's some things you know without a doubt. However, Eva causes Emerson to doubt everything he believes about his future while he causes her to doubt what's right in front of her. Can they find a way to erase all doubts or will it tear them apart in the process?
Preorder Without a Doubt on iBooks, B&N, or Kobo, and add the book to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.

I Have No Doubts About This

First off, I think I'm being clever with my title. But anyway, back to the point of this post. I'm so excited about my next release that I've decided to go ahead and share it with y'all. While I'm sharing some information now, you might as well get comfy because we've got quite a bit of a wait before this book releases.

Why?

Because it's not coming out until December 18, 2015.

The anticipation is what makes waiting worth while though, right?

RIGHT!

Next!

This is Emerson and Eva's book (you may have seen me talk about them on Facebook or Twitter), and it'll be titled Without a Doubt. (Now do you see why I think I'm clever with my title?)

This story came out of nowhere in the sense that I was working on two other projects when this one popped into my head while I was washing dishes (as good as the shower and driving when it comes to thinking of new ideas). It took me a little bit to figure out the details, but once I did, I couldn't stop writing.

Be sure to read the blurb below, adore my gorgeous cover, and add this book to your Goodreads shelf! It's available for preorder on iBooksB&N, and Kobo! It won't be on Amazon until closer to the release date due to Amazon's preorder policy.

I'm so excited about this book and I hope you are too!


Emerson Montgomery loves his high school sweetheart, Kelly Price. He'd do anything for her, including agreeing to a break where they'll see other people as he heads off to college. Struggling with the break and guilt over dating other people, Emerson meets Eva, a beautiful, funny, easygoing, and nosey junior.

Eva Harvey chose this particular college with the hopes of fulfilling her own fairytale and falling in love at the same college where her parents met. She does her best to go with the flow and simply see what happens, but Emerson simultaneously causes her to fall in love while making her second guess everything along the way.

There's some things you know without a doubt. However, Eva causes Emerson to doubt everything he believes about his future while he causes her to doubt what's right in front of her. Can they find a way to erase all doubts or will it tear them apart in the process?

Writing Update: What's Next?

I haven't written a What's Next post since Nepenthe released in January and since I've gotten my writing mojo back, I figured it's time. I've broken it down between solos and coauthored books. :)

Solos:
Firstly, I've taken a break from the Bracing for Love series (Patrick and Bo were tentatively going to get a book). I hope to write their stories, but they have their lips sealed right now.

Instead, I've been alternating between two works-in-progress.

One features Brittany and Trace and will be New Adult. Brittany has a lot going on in her life while struggling with anxiety. Trace is her former therapist who is now divorced and works at the college she attends.

The other features Haley and Keelan and will be Young Adult. Let me just say that I'm SUPER excited to be returning to YA after last year being full of New Adult and Adult age-categoried books. Haley is a tennis player who learns her family has some secrets after moving to a new town with her mom and stepdad. Keelan is a football player who was adopted and is dealing with his own family issues.

I've been having a lot of fun with these characters when I've been able to work on them.

Books with Mary:
As shown on the Schedule page, Mary and I have three books coming out starting this month. We're wrapping up the Oh Captain, My Captain series.

We have already started our next project. Of course, I can't say much about it yet. We probably won't announce any details until June at least. All I'll say is that we're very excited about and of course, it'll be a series. If all goes well, we'll have a couple more releases this year. That's all I'm sharing! :)

There you have it! That's the full update on what's coming in 2015.

All about the Penalty Kill!

 

This week is all about the Penalty Kill trilogy I wrote with Mary Smith. It was our first series together and we had a blast writing them. It's hard to believe that with our anniversary this year, we've only been writing together for two years. Two years and eight books. It's crazy talk!

Anyway, we loved these characters and still think about them from time to time. I'll be posting more this week (either here or on Facebook) about this trilogy, so stay tuned!

Levi Carr is captain of the Roxboro University Lions hockey team. His rival is James Wayne University and their captain, Trevor McCarthy. After an incident in high school and his mother’s death, Levi does whatever he can to make McCarthy’s life a little harder. When leaving the rivaling campus one night, Levi meets one person who can unknowingly help him mess with McCarthy. 
My one job in this is to mess with McCarthy’s head and all it has done is mess with mine.  
Presley McCarthy lives in the shadow of her twin brother, Trevor. After being separated when their parents divorced, all Presley heard about was Levi Carr being a bully to Trevor. Now in college, Presley is trying to be her own person, but when she meets Levi Carr, it all changes. But will the changes be good or bad? 
He is nothing like my brother described. Maybe I’ve been wrong all along.

You can follow this link to learn more about each individual book. Be sure to add the trilogy on Goodreads, too. Plus, Breakaway is free! If you haven't snagged it, I have no clue what you're waiting for! You can check out the series on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, or Smashwords.

And, here's a giveaway! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nepenthe Cover, Preorder, & First Chapter!

Here it is! The cover for Nepenthe (Bracing for Love, #2)! I'm SO excited about Corey's book and I hope you are too! I'm in love with this cover. I can't wait to get my hands on a paperback and the swag I've ordered!

In case you don't remember, here's what Nepenthe will be about:
Corey Kennedy was once a star on the football team at Salem University with his two younger brothers, Jonathan and Patrick. He lived and breathed football, hoping to follow his father’s dream to make it in the NFL. His chance was stolen from him when he was injured and his future in the sport ended.

As did his long-time method of coping with depression, a battle only he knows about and one he refuses to acknowledge.
A year after moving an hour away from his siblings, Corey hits rock bottom. His life is falling apart piece by piece. He’s too lost in his mind to see a way out. Slowly, with the the help of Olivia, a pushy new neighbor, Corey begins to learn healthier ways of dealing with the problems in his life.
His ground is already shaky and unstable while he struggles to stand on his own two feet again. He must find the strength to withstand what life throws at him, or crumble and fall back into his bad, unhealthy habits, which could end the relationships Corey very much needs.

Make sure you add it to your Goodreads. You can also read the first chapter here. Nepenthe releases January 24, 2015, but it's available for preorder on Amazon, B&NiBooks, and Kobo right now!

And don't forget that if you sign up for my monthly newsletter before January 1st, then you'll be joining my lucky subscribers as they'll exclusively be able to read the second chapter and have the first chance to win an ebook! Learn more perks and sign up here.

A little about the next book

I posted on Facebook yesterday that I might share a little info about the next book. That's what I'm doing today!

The next release is about the guys! Neil, Winston, and Grant, in case you didn't know. I'm already so nervous because I've never written anything like them before. This book is a lot of firsts for me.

-My first book that is told entirely in male POVs.
-My first book that is told in 3 POVs.
-The way it is written is new for me.

This will be a standalone NA sports romance book. Each guy, each relationship, each history is different yet intertwined together. I'm really excited and really nervous, but hopefully you'll like it.

As the image above shows, I'll post the title and release date in July. My newsletter subscribers will know those things on July 1st. If you want to know all the new information first, then you should sign up. :)

Teaser Thursday - You Before Me

It's time for the eighth You Before Me teaser! There are only two more left before the release! Holy moly, right?! Check out the first twothe thirdfourth, fifthsixth, and seventh if you missed them. Don't forget that you can also read Chapter One.

As I said Tuesday, this week's teasers revolve around a shooting scene that happens in the book. This time, we're in Gabe's POV.

Before I can answer, Owen bursts, “You've already slept with her?”
God, what is wrong with him today? He's acting worse than usual. All eyes are on me, waiting for me to confirm or deny. Especially my father. He's been quiet, but he's been listening. Ryan watches me, waiting as well.
“Don't y'all know it's rude to talk about this in front of Ryan?”
“Better you say it in front of me than behind my back. Topic doesn't matter,” she inputs.
“Yes, but we're supposed to be gentlemen.”
Before anything else can be said, my father clears his throat. “Enough. We're out of ammo and skeets. Time to pack up. My wife is fixing supper as usual, if y'all want to head there.”
That's my father's way of testing me. To see how serious this thing is with Ryan and if I'm ready for her to meet my mother. “We already have plans. Thanks, though.”

You Before Me will release on June 21, 2014. You can pre-order it for the special price of 99 cents on iTunes or B&N. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter and elect to receive the release day email for a chance to win a YBM swag pack! Be sure to add it on Goodreads and follow the Pinterest board for weekly pins.

Until next week when I'll share the final two teasers! Let's all take deep, calming breaths. Ryan and Gabe will be here soon!

Teaser Tuesday - You Before Me

It's time for the seventh You Before Me teaser! There are only three more left before the release! Check out the first twothe thirdfourth, fifth, and sixth if you missed them. Don't forget that you can also read Chapter One.

Remember last week when I shared a mini teaser on Facebook to go with the shooting pins I posted on Pinterest? Well, both teasers for this week are from that same scene! Enjoy.

“Are you doing okay, Ryan?” He asks carefully.
“Are you sure you know what you're doing?” I hate that I can hear my apprehension in my voice.
Gabe gives me a hearty laugh. “I'm a cop. Of course I know how to use a gun.” He stops what he's doing and walks over to me, running his hands up and down my arms between my elbow and my shoulder. With his lips against my forehead, he soothingly adds, “If you don't want to, you don't have to.” Gabe looks down at me, waiting to see if I'm going to bail or not.
“I'm just nervous. That's all. Let's do this.” I have no confidence in myself at all, but I trust Gabe, especially with this.
He nods and leaves to go set up the target. There's a post about the height you would use for a fence, and he tapes it to a board that's nailed to the post. He also places two stacked cans of soda on top of it. Gabe walks back to me, grabs the shotgun, the largest of the guns on the table, and tells me to get the earmuffs.
My eyes widen, my jaw hanging down by my knees. “That's what you're starting me with? A shotgun? Are you sure?”
“Yes, stop questioning me.” He doesn't snap at me like I was expecting. Instead, his words are gentle and sure.
I grab the protective earmuffs and follow him.

You Before Me will release on June 21, 2014. You can pre-order it for the special price of 99 cents on iTunes or B&N. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter and elect to receive the release day email for a chance to win a YBM swag pack! Be sure to add it on Goodreads and follow the Pinterest board for weekly pins.

YOU BEFORE ME Description!

I think it's time for y'all to know this, don't you? In case you've been out of the loop, You Before Me is my New Adult Romance standalone releasing in June featuring Gabe and Ryan. View the book's page, add to your to-read shelf on Goodreads, and follow the board on Pinterest for weekly pins leading up to release!

Without further ado, here is the official book description for You Before Me.

She’s too young for him. 
He’s too good for her. 
She seduces him away from the gentlemen he tries to be. 
He leads her to her own hopes and dreams.

Ryan Kavanaugh isn’t the kind of girl guys bring home to their moms. She’ll have sex on the first date, she’ll drop the f-bomb without a second thought, and she’ll answer the door in jeans and a bra.

Gabe O’Connor is exactly the kind of guy girls want. He’s a police officer and the classic good guy who takes his family’s opinions seriously and strives to be the best person he can be.

Two people in two different places in their lives, both being pulled in directions they don’t want to go. Ryan and Gabe both struggle with what they desire in life and in each other as well as what their families expect of them.

Sometimes, you have to think of yourself first.

EEK! I hope that gets you even more excited about this story because I'm beyond thrilled about it.

This Is a Pinterest Board You Will Want to Follow

I’m here to share that I have a new board on Pinterest! Why does this matter? Because it’s a board for You Before Me. I was going to post last week, but due to my hands, I stayed off the computer as ordered. I still have a few days off, but a few minutes to post this won’t hurt anything.

Anyway, back to the You Before Me Pinterest board. Every week, I’m going to share a pin or two that relates to the book. This will give you a sneak peek of sorts, so you better make sure that you follow it! There are a couple of pins on the board right now that links back to some posts regarding YBM, and I’ve already added this week’s pin.

Go check it out!

Also, make sure you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. When I send it out on the 1st of next month, they will read the description before anyone else!