Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Switching It Up

Normally, when writing a suspense, I start with a heroine who has a good head on her shoulders, and put her in a situation she doesn’t know how to handle. Then I give her a hot guy to lend a helping hand as well as a few other essential parts. But Angel Larson in Wanted for Life doesn’t need anyone. Or so she thinks…

Angel has been part of Task Force Phoenix for years, and knows her way around guns, bad guys, and secret missions. Too bad she’s been set up for murder and has to ask someone else for help—something she’s really not good at.


Deputy Marshal Angel Larson has been set up and accused of murder. On the run, desperate to stay one step ahead of the law and the real killer, she turns to a former protectee in a small town—the man who's haunted her dreams...and fantasies...ever since.
Former DEA agent Colton Williamson misses the action of his past life since entering witness protection as a high school math teacher. He also misses Angel, who refused to join him in his new life. Now it’s Angel who’s in trouble, and Colton can’t help but be there for her—before it's too late.
But the killer may be closer to them than they think.

Each title in the Love Under Fire series is STANDALONE:
*Witness in the Dark
*Wanted for Life


Former DEA agent turned high school math teacher Colton Williamson’s headlights flashed across his modest home before he pulled into the one-car garage. He got out of his truck and went in through the mudroom, as he always did.
Except this time someone was waiting for him. With a very guilty look on his face.
At the sight of brightly colored debris strewn all over the kitchen floor, Colton let out a soft curse. “Dammit, Pudge.”
The mammoth German shepherd let out a whine, not even trying to hide the destroyed tennis shoe at his paws.
“If you were going to chew up a pair of my shoes, why didn’t you go for those loafers with the tassels? They’re an abomination.”
Pudge looked away.
“Right. It would be too embarrassing to be caught chewing on them. How do you think it feels to have to wear them?”
Pudge trotted to the back door and gave Colton the look that meant he needed to go out.
“Fine. But we’re not done discussing this. I am not happy.” He opened the door and the dog rushed out.
Still grumbling under his breath, he closed the door and went to get a beer.
He talked to his dog way too much to be considered normal. He was just glad he had a dog so he wouldn’t have conversations with himself. Yeah, things were that bad.
When the hell were they going to track down Viktor Kulakov, arrest the bastard, and get his trial over with so Colton could get back to his real life?
He’d been in witness protection for a little over a year and it wasn’t getting any easier.
“Moving on. Moving on,” he repeated his mantra out loud. He needed to make a new life for himself.
Tonight he would spend the evening watching an action movie, and point out all the places where they’d messed up. He should know. Between his time in the military, and the eight years working undercover for the DEA, he knew how to carry a gun and bust in a door for real.
He flipped through the TV channels, stopping at a familiar face on the screen.
“Holy shit,” he said, turning up the volume.
“Aubrey Daniels is wanted for the murder of technology mogul Heath Zeller. Please be aware this woman is armed and extremely dangerous.”
“The hell she is,” Colton said to the reporter on the screen. “If she killed that man, I’ll eat those loafers myself. Tassels and all.”
Still, just because he knew with all certainty she hadn’t killed Heath Zeller, it didn’t mean she wasn’t dangerous. She’d hurt Colton, bad.
He knew her all too well. And her name wasn’t Aubrey Daniels. It was U.S. Deputy Marshal Angel Larson.
She’d been the one assigned to protect him as he prepared for Kulakov’s trial a year ago in Philadelphia. They’d spent months together in a safe house. Then one night they got a bit too close. When they ended up in bed the second time, she was adamant it couldn’t happen again.
With only days left before he would move away to start a new life with a new home and a new name, he’d taken a giant leap.
And fallen flat on his face.
He’d asked Angel to come with him. She’d told him she would think about it. But the next morning she was gone. No note, not a word. There was another agent protecting him, and he never saw Angel again.
Not until her photo popped up on his television tonight.
Pudge barked at the back door to be let in.
Colton got up and opened the door wide, but his dog stayed sitting on the porch, tail wagging.
“What are you waiting for, an invitation?” he asked.
“Actually, that might be nice,” came the soft, feminine answer.
His world turned upside down as Angel Larson stepped out of the shadows and back into his life.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Crafting the Nail Biter

Congratulations to "Patricia B.", the winner in Cathy's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

“When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books.”
—R.L. Stine
While I was planning this post, I looked up famous author quotes about writing suspense, and Mr. Stine’s resonated with me. It’s exactly what I try to do when I create a romantic suspense novel. This doesn’t mean I include in my book the grasshopper that jumps on my shoulder, turning me into a blithering idiot that runs around my yard in a panic. But that sense of terror I feel from a three-inch creature landing on my body? That, I can utilize.
I love reading a buildup of suspense; the page after page of growing apprehension, when I almost skim the words because I’m racing toward the pinnacle of action. As I wrote Undercover with the Nanny, my new romantic suspense release from Entangled Publishing, I envisioned the climax of the book. I wanted my readers to feel that same sense of foreboding. It needed to propel them through to the end.

To do so, I thought back to incidents in my own life that generated fear, like going into an empty public restroom after a night class. Would someone come in after me, and lock the door and attack me? Or, after finishing my late shift at the restaurant, would the flirtatious drunk from the bar follow me out into the dimly lit parking lot and harass me? Or worse? I can still remember how I felt back then, the tightness in my throat, the internal quivers. The escape plans running through my brain.

Once I’ve captured the moments of suspense, I craft the scene. I write short, staccato sentences that help build the suspenseful mood. I use strong, vivid action verbs. And I draw out every thought, every emotion from my characters, so that readers can feel their fright, their sense of helplessness in the situation. And I go over and over the scene like a literary forensic specialist, until it resembles what I imagined in the first place.

Writing suspense novels isn’t for everyone. Readers of this genre demand to be surprised, scared, and satisfied with the action, and they can be brutal with their reviews if the suspense doesn’t live up to their expectations. But when I’ve done it right, when the readers say the ending was “cool,” or “I was able to picture it in my mind,” there’s no words to describe my elation. It’s what keeps me typing into the wee hours of the morning.

Below is part of the climax to my new book, Undercover with the Nanny. I hope it makes you want to read more. And as an added incentive, remember that one random commenter will receive an ARC of Undercover with the Nanny. All I ask is that you try to review it in a timely manner.

Exclusive Excerpt
Sawyer swung the truck in a one-eighty, spewing gravel as he finally got a good look inside the construction.

“It’s a hangar, Ian. We don’t have time to wait for the team. We’ve got to take him out now, or we’ll lose him to the sky,” Sawyer shouted over the wail of the siren, throwing the truck into park and leaping from it, using his door as cover. Good thing, because a barrage of bullets peppered the ground around him. Ian did likewise on his side.

“Do you see Kate?” Sawyer yelled. He shouldn’t have bothered. With the siren’s shriek and the truck’s whirling red and blue grille lights pulsating like a strobe, he was in his own cocoon. Ian and his approaching team operated in a separate dimension. All he could hear was the drumbeat in his head: Let her be safe, let her be safe.

There was a pause in the gunfire, and then the distinct sound of twin engines revving up from inside the makeshift hangar. Their quarry had abandoned the shootout. Sawyer still didn’t know if Kate was dead or alive. Either way, Cabrera wasn’t leaving. This chase ended here, now. There would be no more bloodshed. And God help the bastard if he’d hurt Kate.
The squeal of tires on gravel told Sawyer the rest of his guys had arrived. But it was the plane he focused on. He threw a glance toward the other side of the truck, where Ian crouched, gun drawn, awaiting directions from Sawyer. They all did. Unless Sanchez arrived from San Diego, a distance too far for them to wait, it was Sawyer’s decision. He didn’t hesitate any longer.

Under cover of the siren noise, he spoke into his mic. “Fan out. Be ready. I’m going in solo.”

 “What the hell, boss—” Ian’s voiced faded as Sawyer ignored his pleas and ran in a crouch toward the hangar, crisscrossing the ground to make himself a harder target. But there was no gunfire. Instead, the twin-engine plane rolled into view, gathering speed as it traveled toward him.


DEA agent Sawyer Hayes came to California in search of a drug cartel leader who slipped through his fingers in El Paso. The link to finding him is Kate Munroe, a nanny for one of his henchmen. The problem? He didn’t expect to be so drawn to a possible suspect. How is he supposed to do his job when his growing feelings for her are clouding his judgment?
Interior designer Kate Munroe’s life is a train wreck. Her parents’ deaths left her with their mounds of debt, she can’t get a job designing even a cubicle, and she’s bunking in her best friend’s spare bedroom. To make ends meet, she’s a nanny to a lonely little boy whose rich father works all the time. Romance is not on her radar. But her hot new neighbor could change her mind, with his broad shoulders and Southern charm. Too bad his secrets could destroy her.

Author Biography
Cathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.

Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate's Bride. The sequel to The Pirate's Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Her next contemporary romantic suspense, entitled Undercover with the Nanny, released on April 23, 2018.

She likes writing romance because she feels it's lacking in today's technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST April 24th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


Friday, April 20, 2018

Exonerated With Love

Can second chances really exist for a bad boy mobster and the only woman to ever steal his heart?

There’s a hit out on Cameron Shearer’s life, his mafia ties dragging him down the path of darkness once more. After a harrowing meeting, he discovers no one ever stays dead when you’re in the mafia. Determined not to lose the only woman he’s loved, Cameron turns to the Del Rossi mob for one last favor. Unfortunately for him, the ending may not be as happy as he once hoped.

Joci Dorous has it all. She’s happy, engaged, and just started her own law firm with her best friend. Everything appears perfect, until she discovers a suspicious trail of money in her business accounts and her once dutiful fiancĂ© suddenly turns as shady as his mob boss. When strangers clash amid mobs, Joci is left to decipher who her heart truly belongs to. 

“We can’t worry about what may happen.” She hugged him. “Whatever comes, good or bad, we have each other and we’ll get through it.”
Tracing her neck with agile fingers, he agreed. It was his sole option. “I know, but promise me one thing.” She nodded for him to go on. “You’ll never ever wear underwear again.”
Laughter bubbled up from her throat, and she slugged his arm playfully. “You’re relentless,” she teased.
Kissing her soundly, Cameron unlatched his lips only after hearing a satisfied sigh escape her. “Yes, I am. Relentlessly in love with you.”
Rolling her on top of him, he stole her mouth once more. “Wanna play cops and robbers?”
Smirking, Joci grabbed his wrists and pushed them into the bedding. He didn’t bother resisting. Why would he when he was exactly where he wanted to be? “It depends. Which one am I?”
Relishing the way she sprung to life above him, he grinned. “The robber, obviously, because you steal my heart on a consistent basis.”

About the Author:
Skye McNeil began writing at the age of seventeen and has been lost in a love affair ever since. During the day, she moonlights as a paralegal at a law firm favoring criminal law.
Skye enjoys writing romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels that leave readers wanting more and falling in love over and over. Her books range from sweet and sassy to steamy and sultry.
Her constant writing companions are two cats and two dogs. When she’s not writing, Skye enjoys spending time with family, photography, volleyball, traveling, and curling up with a cup of coffee and reading.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Maverick Seduction … a serial

Congratulations to "Janet K.", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I’m writing a new story…and it’s not for sale –well, the first chapter is, but I’m donating all the proceeds to WSF. That’s the only place to get the first installment of Maverick Seduction (available June 1st). I hope to have another installment (free with my newsletter) every month afterwards.

MAVERICK SEDUCTION is the first short story in the romance of Sean Maverick and E.M. Stone. He’s a cowboy turned mechanic who left the circuit to take care of his little sister. She’s a rich girl turned cow girl so she could rope her man.

Who says you can’t buy love?

Sean Maverick is on a charity auction block until a beautiful woman from his past buys him for the night. Em Stone bids big for one night with the rogue cowboy she’s loved from afar for nine years. She’ll win his heart even if she had to lasso and knock him off his feet.

“You’ve been pining for that young buck for so long that you forgot he’s just a normal cowpoke. We take a while to come around. Love takes time, baby girl. Did you expect him to take one look and sweep you off your feet?”
He had in a way.
“We barely know each other.”
“Mm hmm.”
Her grandad slid his eggs between his two pancakes and sliced into them. He stuffed a bite in his mouth instead of giving her advice. She took his lead and they ate in silence giving her a chance to think about what she’d expected last night.
Had she put so much thought into reliving her grandparents’ story that she’d missed something? She couldn’t imagine spending her life with anyone other than Sean Maverick. But had she ever given anyone an opportunity to persuade her?
“You know, Granddad.” She tapped the back of his hand. “You’re a pretty smart fella.”

When you buy MAVERICK SEDUCTION, you’ll also get 16 additional short stories all associated with Deadwood. Why did these authors put together the anthology? To raise money for the Western Sports Foundation. The following quote sums up why we chose to donate our stories and 100% of the proceeds to this great organization.

“The Western Sports Foundation allowed me the financial stability to properly let my body heal to 100% before returning to action. In our spot that is totally unheard of. Myself, all bull riders and the sport itself are forever better for WSF.” ~Tanner Byrne

If you’re in the area or can drive there, come join us at WILD DEADWOOD READS, June 7-9 in Deadwood, South Dakota. The book signing is Saturday June 9th.  Wild Deadwood Tales will be available in print and digital on May 1st. Be sure to grab your copy. Want it autographed? Talk to me!!

                                                  iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Kindle

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USA Today Bestselling author ANGI MORGAN writes Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love. Her work is a multiple contest finalist and Publisher’s Weekly best seller. She drags her dogs –and husband– around Texas for research road trips so she can write off her camera. They now have a map with highlighted roads they’ve traveled. Every detour somehow makes it into a book.

Website   Facebook   FB Fan Page   Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr     
Check out A Picture A Day, my newsletter or follow me on BookBub
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by leaving a comment for the $5.00 gift card.

Giveaway on JRS ends at midnight April 19th. Contestants enter drawing by leaving a comment on Just Romantic Suspense.

Do you like to watch the rodeo or the cowboys?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Giveaway Alert!

Have you ever wondered why we love second-chance romances? Perhaps, romance readers are a compassionate bunch, and we believe everyone deserves a second chance. Or maybe, many of us have had a relationship that ended badly, and we always hoped for another opportunity to make it work. Or are we naturally cheerleaders for star-crossed lovers? Whatever the reason, a second chance at love for the hero and heroine is a very popular trope.

I never start writing a story based on a trope, probably because I’m a pantser (i.e. I write by the seat of my pants versus plotting in advance) and don’t know where the characters will lead me. So I’m really pleased that—without even planning it—both my Rogue Security and FBI Heat series include a second-chance romance. What’s especially nice is that the reason for the demise of the first chance at love between the hero and heroine in each story is so totally different. In DEADLY DECEPTION, Sean and Jessie’s relationship is destroyed by someone’s cruel deception. In WANTED, Kat leaves Dillon at the altar because something she learns on the morning of their wedding day would ruin his dreams for the future. I hope both of my second-chance romances will tug at your heartstrings.


When her mother disappears, Jessica Hargrove’s life begins to unravel. And her problems are only just beginning. A horrible secret has been revealed, threatening to destroy three generations of her family, and the one person who may be able to help her is the man she’s never stopped loving, the man who once broke her heart.

LAPD Detective Sean Burke is back in his small hometown, pondering if his career in the big city is what he really wants anymore. As painful as it is to see Jessie again, she needs him. He can’t walk away when she’s about to lose everything she holds dear. But will what he discovers ruin their second chance at love?

            A voice called to Sean through the darkness, but he couldn’t make out the words over the jackhammering in his head. The constant pounding seemed to be pulling him up, up, up, like the crank on the back of a tow truck. If the pain ricocheting around his body was any indication of what awaited him at the top, he wasn’t sure he wanted to surface.
            The voice came again, louder, clearer. The rhythmic beating quieted. The cocooning darkness faded. The throbbing pain increased.
            “Sean Burke, don’t you dare die on me. If I kill you, I want to do it with my bare hands, not my car. Do you hear me?”
            “Yeah. Loud…and clear,” he mumbled. He managed to open his eyes a slit, but the world was a blur.
            Jessie squealed. “Oh, thank God, you’re not dead.”
            “I got…the message. You want…to use your hands.” He groaned at Read the rest of the excerpt here.

Buy the book: Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo


Kat MacKenzie knows something is terribly wrong at the Diablo Beach Nuclear Power Plant, but she can’t figure out if it’s computer error, equipment malfunction, or human sabotage. Unfortunately, the only person she can trust with the problem is the man she left at the altar two years ago. If Dillon doesn’t already hate her, he surely will once he discovers why she abandoned him.

The last person he expects to call him is the woman who broke his heart. But FBI Special Agent Dillon O’Malley can’t ignore Kat’s plea for help—not when national security may be at stake. As enemies become clear and catastrophe threatens, can Kat and Dillon put the past behind them to save the day and secure their future?

            A man stood several feet away, out of the glow from the porch light, partially hidden in the shadows, intensity rolling off him in waves. Tall. Muscular. Broad shoulders. Narrow hips. A shock of black hair hanging on his forehead and the hunger of a wolf glistening in his blue eyes. His handsome-as-hell image slammed into her, stealing her breath.
        “Dillon.” The name left her lips like a whispered prayer.
            “Kat.” A sound like a slap in response.
            She clutched the edge of the door. She needed to hang on for two reasons: Her knees had gone weak at the sight of him, and if she didn’t cling to the door, she’d throw herself into his arms and beg him to forgive her.
            All the love she’d buried for the past two years swelled inside her heart and then rose to the surface to steal her voice. She still loved this man more than she could bear. She loved him so much that she’d given him up so he could live his life as he had always wanted. As he needed. Letting him go had cost her dearly, more than Read the rest of the excerpt here.

Buy the book: Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo

About Marissa:
I’m a wife, writer, chocoholic, and animal lover, not necessarily in that order. As a little girl, I cut pictures of people out of my mother’s magazines and turned them into characters in my simple stories. Now I write edgy romantic thrillers, steamy contemporary romance, and sexy paranormal romantic suspense. My stories will titillate your mind as well as your libido. I live in sunny Southern California with my husband, but enjoy traveling from Athens to Anchorage to Acapulco and many locations in between.

Where to find Marissa:

Enter the giveaway on my Facebook page or my website to win a $15 (US$) Amazon gift card PLUS one Amazon ebook copy of both HUNTED and TARGETED from the FBI Heat series. Good luck!

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