Thursday, August 9, 2018

Federal K-9 Series – How Did I Create My K-9 Heroes & Heroines?


Giveaway Alert!

Since the release of Lock ’N’ Load, the first of my Federal K-9 series, I’ve posted several blogs about how I devised the plot, how badly I tortured my hunkiest hero ever, and created my most interesting heroine yet. But I never discussed how I came up with my K-9 characters. What breed will they be? What will I name them? Will they be male or female? As with human cops, K-9 heroes can be just as strong, whether male or female. In the case of dogs, the female is often more protective.

Years ago, I went to a small dog show in New Jersey, where my boyfriend and I walked the benches to meet the different breeds. We were in the market for a puppy and stopped to visit with a Belgian Malinois. That was one intense dog, and it left quite an impression on me! It’s no wonder this breed is commonly used in law enforcement and the military. So with a few quick keystrokes, my first K-9 hero became a Belgian Malinois. I decided to make the dog female, so as to be the “other woman” in Sgt. Matt Connors’s life. Thus, Sheba—the canine heroine of Lock ’N’ Load—was born.

For my second book in this series, I wanted to shake things up a bit and go with a different breed. For my K-9 research, I spent a day last year with the Massachusetts State Police K-9 Unit, and K-9 officers from several local police departments. Among the noteworthy dogs I met that day was Pako, a stunning black German shepherd. Pako’s handler doesn’t know it yet, but his K-9 is the inspiration for the canine hero of Federal K-9 #2—Saxon. A strong, proud name for a totally action-oriented dog.

Now for Book 3 of my series, which I just began writing. In April of this year, my brother and I attended the Maryland Dog Fest in La Plata, Maryland, and watched an exhibition by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. One of their dogs was a young Dutch shepherd that had recently been paired with his handler. The dog was basically dark brown, but it was a sunny day and when the sun hit the dog at a certain angle, it sure looked to me like he’d been painted with stripes in varying shades of brown. Hence the canine hero of Book 3 was born—a large Dutch shepherd named Tiger.


I hope you love my K-9 books as much as I do. I certainly enjoy writing and researching them!

LOCK ’N’ LOAD

Secrets can be deadly.

Crack CIA analyst Trista Gold is a whiz with the computer, but not so much with people. She hides behind her job, analyzing Top Secret code and making recommendations on national security. She doesn’t need a man in her life. But she will, very soon...

CIA K-9 officer Sgt. Matt Connors suspects that beneath Trista’s uptight appearance, there’s a sexy woman itching to cut loose. But he doesn’t dare act on his attraction. He’s a loner and always will be. Keeping away from Trista is a must-do directive. Until he doesn’t have a choice...

During a routine assignment, Trista stumbles across a cryptic exchange. She doesn’t think much of it...until someone tries to murder her—twice. Both times, Matt had been there to save her. But now she has to hide. And her new bodyguard, Matt, and his K-9 are the only hope she has against the powerful forces that want her dead.

Excerpt
“Are you all right?”
Trista jerked her head around to find Sgt. Connors crouching on the floor beside her, his face only inches from hers, his incredibly broad shoulders blocking out all else. Big brown eyes pinned her and she couldn’t tear her gaze away. No, his eyes were more like cocoa, coffee and caramel all rolled into one. Yummy.
The look he continued to give her was intense. His dark brows drew together as he searched her face, as if looking for injuries.
“Are you all right?” he repeated, frowning. Actually, it was more of a scowl.
Yes, she wanted to say. But her throat was clogged again, and no matter how much she tried, her lips wouldn’t move.
She took a deep breath, praying it would kick her brain into gear. It didn’t. The only thing it did, was send his sexy, way-too-appealing aftershave directly to her lungs and her brain.
Say something, stupid.
“I—” She swallowed. Lord, she’d thought he was good looking before, but this close …OMG. She might not be able to speak to certain men, but that didn’t mean her libido was dead. For a man, he was utterly stunning. In a tough, rugged kind of way.
“Do you think you can get up?” Sgt. Connors held out an enormously large, incredibly strong-looking hand. “Let me help you.”
Now staring stupidly into his eyes, she placed her hand in his, noting several thick scars on his hands and forearms. As he began pulling her to her feet, an inhuman snort ruffled her hair.
A large brown and black muzzle thrust its way into her peripheral vision. Trista gasped and scrambled in the opposite direction—straight into Sgt. Connors’ hard chest.
Her pulse pounded. Her body trembled a she took in quick breaths. The dog stared at her steadily from amber-gold eyes, a shade lighter than Sgt. Connors’.
She tried pushing herself farther from the dog, but not only weren’t her sensible shoes gaining traction on the shiny granite floor, but Sgt. Connors’ body was an immovable mountain of muscle.
Still holding her hand, he hugged her tighter against his body, wrapping his other arm around her waist. “It’s okay...” His deep voice rumbled in her ear. “Sedni.” In response to his command, the dog sat. “Sheba won’t hurt you. She’s here to protect you.”
“I d-doubt that.” Cynophobia—fear of dogs—was something she’d lived with since she was six years old.

Giveaway: 
Tee will be giving away one eBook copy of Lock ’N’ Load. Click here for a chance to enter and win!


Federal K-9 Series
Lock 'N' Load Available now!

NYPD Blue & Gold Series - Available now!


Buy links:

Tee O’Fallon has been a federal agent for twenty-three years and is now a police investigator, giving her hands-on experience in the field of law enforcement that she combines with her love of romantic suspense. Tee’s job affords her the unique opportunity to work with the heroic men and women in law enforcement on a daily basis. For Tee, research is the easy part! Besides reading and writing, Tee loves cooking, gardening, chocolate, lychee martinis, and all creatures canine. Tee is the author of Lock ’N’ Load, Federal K-9 #1, and the NYPD Blue &Gold Series: Burnout, Blood Money, and Disavowed.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Through The Fire


Giveaway Alert!

He’s tall.
He’s dark.
He’s brutally handsome…
And he may be her only hope.

Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it’s a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can’t do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders…and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it's personal.


Buy Links:


Excerpt:

Wes couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t uncommon for him to have insomnia, but it usually happened when he was working on a project or was trying to sort out an especially tricky problem. This time, it felt different. Excitement was running through him, making him feel like he’d downed a half-dozen espressos in the fifteen minutes before he’d gone to bed.
He couldn’t blame caffeine for his sleepless state, though. No, it was all the fault of a beautiful woman who’d almost gotten shot by Rufus. The memory made him frown, hating the idea that she’d been in danger. After seven years working in his tower and living year-round in the small, adjacent cabin, Wes had earned the wary respect of his neighbors. He wouldn’t call them friends, but he’d be able to knock on their doors without getting his head shot off.
Probably.
Giving up on attempting sleep, Wes climbed out of bed and tossed his winter coat over his drawstring pants and T-shirt. Stuffing his feet into his boots, he clumped outside. He glanced at his watch. It was close to four, but the world was as dark as if it were the middle of the night. The stars were bright, though, giving the snow an eerie, blue-white glow. One of his favorite things about his home was how quiet it was, especially at night in the winter. In the small city where he’d grown up, there’d always been noise, sounds overlapping other sounds until it was impossible for him to concentrate on anything. Here, it was just the slight thud and brush of his boots connecting with the snowy ground, then the quiet beep and click of the tower door unlocking and opening.
Once upstairs, there were more distractions—the crackling of the fire in the woodstove and the whir and beep of various electronics he’d hooked to the motion sensor—but everything was familiar and expected. Usually, the sameness of his tower was comforting, but tonight he was restless. He’d gotten a taste of the heady excitement he’d felt in Kit’s company, and he wanted more. For the first time, the tower felt empty.
“Radio on,” he commanded, needing to hear human voices other than his own. After he heard the beep indicating that the digital radio had powered up, there was still silence, and he almost laughed. Why had he thought anyone would be communicating at this hour? It was tiny Monroe after all. “Radio scan.” Although he still didn’t have high hopes of hearing any communications, even with all the channels open, that at least increased the odds. Walking over to the bank of windows, Wes peered into the darkness, not seeing anything except his reflection.
“Dispatch, Unit 2242. I’m about to make a traffic stop on the 200 block of Main Street. Plates when you’re ready.”
The voice belonged to one of Wes’s more sane neighbors, Otto Gunnersen. The cop and his new wife, Sarah, lived a few miles away.
2242, go ahead.” The dispatcher sounded sleepy. As Otto rattled off the license plate number, Wes wondered if Otto’s transmission had woken her up.
It wasn’t long before the dispatcher spoke again, sounding wide awake this time. “That plate comes back to a blue Honda Accord, registered to a William Kyle Yarden. He has a warrant.”
Copy.” Otto didn’t sound fazed by the information, which wasn’t surprising. Although Wes didn’t know Otto well, he got the impression that it took a lot to rattle the big cop.
2268.” Wes’s stomach jumped with excitement when he recognized Kit’s voice. “Need some help, Otto?
I’ve got this, thanks,” Otto answered. “Bill never gives us any trouble.”
Copy. Let me know if you can use a hand. I’m just around the corner, so I could be there in five minutes.” Kit sounded a little disappointed, and Wes wondered if she was having just as much trouble sleeping as he was. He liked that idea. It made the early-morning hours seem less lonely when he knew that she was awake as well.
On impulse, he switched the radio to a seldom-used channel and picked up the wireless mic. “3537 to 2268 on eighteen.”
There was a pause long enough to make Wes wonder if she was scanning channel eighteen or if his attempt to reach out had been lost to empty air. “2268 to 3537. Wes, is that you?
He smiled. “Yes, it’s me.”
What are you doing up so late?” she asked. Her voice was warm, and it made his blood feel carbonated again, all those fizzy bubbles swirling through him. He couldn’t stay still, so he paced over to the windows, peering through the glass even though he knew he couldn’t see her house without the binoculars.
“I couldn’t sleep. How about you? Are you working nights now?” He hoped not. There would be fewer chances to see her if their sleep schedules were reversed.
Nope to both. Can’t sleep, but I’m not on nights. Too bad. At least then I’d be paid for staying up.
He moved from Window 1 to Window 12 and then back again, needing to move so his brain didn’t freeze with the pressure of talking to Kit. “Why can’t you sleep?”
Although he’d only met her a few times, the sound she made was already familiar, and he could picture her doing a half shrug as she made it. “I’m not sure. New place or too much excitement yesterday or something. Who knows. My brain does what it does, giving no explanations.
“Yes.” Her words resonated inside him. “Mine, too. Our brains match in that way.”
Please.” Amusement filled her voice, and it made his throat tighten with anxiety at the thought of her laughing at him. “As if my brain could even hope to match yours. I’ve seen your tower. You’re a stinking genius.”
The words ran through his mind a few times before he was reassured that she was complimenting him, and he ducked his chin, his face heating from pleasure and relief. As he lifted his head, his reflection in the window caught his attention, and he was glad Kit couldn’t see his flushed cheeks. Realizing that his pause had probably stretched too long, he scrambled to come up with an answer. “You’re just as smart. I think your brain could hold its own.”
Now I’m picturing our brains battling it out.” Her words were filled with laughter, and he was pleased that he was actually managing to banter with her.
At least, he was pretty sure that they were bantering. He made a mental note to call his sister, Leila, later and ask.
“Are they using swords or light sabers?”
Neither. They’re bouncing off each other like lumpy, armless sumo wrestlers.”
His own laughter took him by surprise, and he felt a rush of affection for Kit. It had been a long time since he’d been able to talk to anyone so easily. “Of course. That’s the only battle that makes sense.”

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Deep Cover


Congratulations to "Maurisa P.", the winner in Scarlett's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!


Hey, Everyone. It’s great to be back here at Just Romantic Suspense again! I’m super excited to celebrate the release of DEEP COVER with you all. Wow, Cabe and Amy… where do I begin? This one has a pinch of Ocean’s Eleven as ex-Navy SEAL, Cabe, is forced to work undercover in a casino alongside talented FIB agent and part-time card-shark, Amy Murray. With Cabe still recovering from his fiancée’s death two years earlier, and Amy attempting to escape the fall-out from a sexual harassment case she’d raised, neither of them have any intention of doing anything with each other, aside from their jobs. But when it’s just the two of them, the sparks fly no matter how hard the try to hold onto their hearts.

It’s another fast-moving adventure for the men of Eagle Securities twinned all the romance and banter you’d expect from Six, Mac, and Cabe, especially when Six asks for their help in planning his wedding. I hope you love DEEP COVER, and take Cabe and Amy to your hearts.

DEEP COVER

ARE THEY IN TOO DEEP?
Ex-Navy SEAL Cabe Moss always comes when called to duty—at all costs. Even though the death of his fiancée nearly destroyed him, Cabe won’t let his past interfere with any work that has to get done. When his latest task pushes him to team up with FBI operative Amy Murray, a fierce beauty with the undercover skills to match, Cabe must admit that, for the first time in years, he wants to do more than just complete their mission together…
Amy was born ready for this assignment, but working side-by-side with the the strong, silent, and frustratingly professional Cabe seems to be the biggest challenge of all. But when the sparks begin to fly—and the stakes rise to dangerous heights—the only thing Amy is left worrying about is how she can resist him. Their lives may be in danger, but their hearts hold the biggest risk of all…

Add to Goodreads http://bit.ly/2JIzAyF

Buy Now: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Chapters | iBooks


Want to start from the beginning? Grab the first two books in the series today!
Read UNDER FIRE (Book #1) Now! Buy Now:  Amazon | Amazon UK | B&aN | Chapters Indigo | iBooks

Read FINAL SIEGE (Book #2) Now! Buy Now: Amazon | Amazon UK | Chapters | B&N | iBooks

Giveaway: 
Scarlett will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and a Love Over Duty ebook of choice to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry.

About Scarlett Cole
The tattoo across my right hip says it all really. A Life Less Ordinary. Inked by the amazingly talented Luke Wessman at the Wooster Street Social Club (a.k.a. New York Ink). Why is it important? Well, it sums up my view on life. That we should all aspire to live a life that is less boring, less predictable. Be bold, and do something amazing. I’ve made some crazy choices. I’ve been a car maker, a consultant, and even a senior executive at a large retailer running strategy. Born in England, spent time in the U.S. and Japan, before ending up in Canada were I met my own, personal hero – all six and a half feet of him. Both of us are scorpios! Yeah, I know! Should have checked the astrological signs earlier, but somehow it works for us. We have two amazing kids, who I either could never part with or could easily be convinced to sell on e-bay.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for a really long time. Check through my office cupboards or my computer and you’ll find half written stories and character descriptions everywhere. Now I'm getting the chance to follow that dream.

Connect with Scarlett: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter



Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST August 3rd. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Exclusive Excerpt – ARMED RESPONSE


Congratulations to "Emily D.", the winner in Janie's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize. Thank you to all who participated!

I’m thrilled that my new book ARMED RESPONSE releases on all formats this week! Early reviews are in, and they are fantastic!
"Complex...pulse pounding...serious page-turner." (Robin's Reviews Goodreads) 

…An amazing story that left me gasping for air!...Powerful, poignant, and passion-filled
” (Books & Spoons Reviews) 

Best book I have read all summer!” (Shari J Reviews)

WOW and WOW Jace and Lillian burn the pages up! This book is filled with romance, action, and suspense. What a great read.” (Teresa R Amazon Review)



Here’s an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from ARMED RESPONSE where Jace and Lillian are attempting to defuse bombs in an elevator shaft—it’s one of my favorite scenes from the book!
*****
“We’re under two minutes, Jace. Which wire am I supposed to cut?” Lillian asked.
They both heard the guy in the elevator start crying, promising God he would go to church every day for the rest of his life if he survived this.
“Tell Him you’ll stop making sexist remarks, too. Maybe that will help,” Lillian called down to him.
Jace grinned. This woman.
He couldn’t wait to get her back in his bed. All the thoughts about keeping his distance from her seemed ridiculous now.
The bomb was clever. If that tiny wire got cut by accident—by someone who didn’t see it—the explosive would detonate.
They were in serious trouble.
“Lil, you need to go.”
She didn’t even look up. “Like hell I will. Especially not without you.”
“Negotiator was right. Whoever rigged this didn’t plan on anyone surviving here today, no matter what demands he gave.”
Guy below them began crying louder.
“Is it possible to defuse it?” she asked. Their eyes met across the roof of the elevator. Hers were calm, like his. Lillian could handle it.
“Yes, but it’s tricky.”
She grinned. “Tricky is my middle name, Eakin. What do I do?”
He quickly explained about the aluminum wire, the need to separate it gently from the other wire that had to be cut. Just getting the device in front of him defused would take all his time. There was no way he’d be able to help Lillian with hers.
“Okay, I see it.” She muttered a curse. “I really don’t like whoever put this damn thing together.”
“You found the adhesive, I see. Forty-five seconds.”
“Yep, damn it. Wanna race?”
Jace couldn’t keep from chuckling. Lily. God, if he had to go out, there was no one else he’d rather go with.
Guy inside was wailing now.
Jace carefully eased his blade through the tiny wire, using the utmost caution not to cut the aluminum wire around it. He took in a breath to focus and then made the final cut.
“Clear,” he breathed.
He looked over at Lillian. They had less than fifteen seconds. Jace stayed where he was. The best thing he could do now was let her do her job. Trust her to do it. And he did, he realized. She was crouched there, small flashlight now in her mouth pointing down at the device, completely focused on the task at hand.
That was the Lillian he’d always known. Able to handle anything.
C’mon, Tiger Lily. Save our lives.
He’d no more than finished the thought when she looked up, grabbed the flashlight out of her mouth and grinned.
“Clear.”
*****

Don’t miss ARMED RESPONSE –available wherever books are sold!

Lillian Muir is the lone female member of the close knit Omega Sector SWAT team, but that's never been a problem. She can throw down with the best of them. Can outfight anyone or anything that gets in her way.

Except her past.

She's made damn sure no one on her team suspects the darkness that haunts her. But when former Special Forces soldier Jace Eakin arrives to help fight a terrorist mastermind, he sees Lillian not only as the fierce warrior, but as the wounded woman. He's determined to stand beside her as she battles her demons.

But he never dreamed those demons would dwell so close to home...

Barnes and Noble   https://readerlinks.com/l/285905
All other vendors https://readerlinks.com/l/285906

Giveaway:
Janie is giving away ANY of the OMEGA SECTOR: UNDER SIEGE books. (ebook or paperback for USA; International: ebook only). To enter, just post below with the name of any book you’re currently reading (hope you’re loving it! Life’s too short for boring books). Winner picked randomly.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST July 31st. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

And the winner is…



Risky Redemption (Rogue Security) by Marissa Garner.

When I heard those words last week, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend the RWA Kiss of Death awards ceremony in Denver, but I was watching the live video on my computer at home. Actually, maybe it’s a good thing I wasn’t there because my husband said I had the same look on my face as I do in our photo taken during the Disneyland Space Mountain ride. In other words, I looked like I was having a heart attack.

For Risky Redemption to win the mainstream category of the 2018 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is truly an honor. My editor had concerns about this story being too nontraditional with its two timelines, CIA-assassin hero, and rape-victim heroine. But I had faith in romantic suspense readers because I know (since I am one) they can handle books that are edgy and different.

Even before this award, Risky Redemption held a special place in my heart, and now I really want to share it with everyone. So here’s a blurb, an excerpt, and my favorite quote graphics to introduce you to my Daphne du Maurier winner. I hope you’ll read it and discover why the judges loved it.

Four years ago, a brutal attack destroyed Angela Reardon’s trust in men. Now the fiercely independent interior decorator has built a successful business and a new life without love or sex. Haunted by her inability to identify her assailant, Angela wants only to be left alone—until a shadowy stranger reignites dormant desires. But their time together may be brief…because someone wants her dead.

CIA assassin Jake Stone’s targets deserved to die. Until now. Until he falls in love with the innocent woman he’s been hired to kill. Can he save Angela and redeem himself by uncovering who wants her dead? When the trail leads him into the carnal underbelly of L.A., the truth is more shocking than even he could ever imagine.

Excerpt:
“Good try, Jake, but you’re not sneaking away from the topic. Why did you break up with Bonnie and all the others?” Angela asked.

“All the others? What is this, an inquisition?”

She leaned over him, her face inches from his. “Answer me, Mr. Stone.”

Jake pushed her aside, swung his feet to the floor, and sat up with his back to her. “This sucks. But okay. Here’s the ammunition you want. Yeah, I dated Tanya, Bonnie, and all the others. I screwed them. A lot. But if they’re honest, they’ll tell you they had a really good time. We had fun; we had sex. It never got any more serious than that.”

“Why?”

“Why did I screw them?” He twisted around and shot her a lecherous smirk. “I like to f**k, that’s why.”

“Stop it, Jake. I’m not going to let you hide behind your vulgar vocabulary. I know you use it to put me off balance. It’s not going to work this time.”

“Well, aren’t you clever, Miss Shrink.”

She inhaled slowly, held the breath a moment, and then blew it out through pursed lips. “I’m asking why you never have serious relationships with women.”

Jake tunneled his fingers through his hair and scratched his scalp, obviously stalling. “It’s simple, Angela. They were superficial relationships that didn’t have anything meaningful to grow on. Why would a woman want a long-term, serious relationship with me anyway? Even you called me a playboy.”

“Maybe you always escaped before they had a chance to grow.”

“Sure. Whatever you say, Miss Shrink.”

“Okay, this is what I say. I think you cut and run because you’re afraid one of these ‘superficial relationships’ might get serious. Deep down inside, you want it, but you’re afraid of it, too. So you hide. You’ve hidden the real Jake from Tanya, Bonnie, et al. And now, you’re hiding from me.”

Steel shutters closed behind his eyes. Cold, hard, emotionless gray stared back at her. “Believe me, you wouldn’t like the ‘real Jake.’ I don’t even like him.”

Enjoy the whole book:  Amazon  B&N  iTunes  Kobo

Where to find Marissa:

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