Sunday, January 13, 2013

“Why is he with her?”

Congratulations to "Samgirl", the winner of Brenda's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

We've all looked at blissfully happy couples and thought “Why is he with her?” or “What does she see in him?” We've also been aghast when a couple we were certain would be together forever breaks up. Only the people inside the relationships know the truth.

I believe that is one of the lures of romance novels. We are given a front row seat as enduring love begins. We live it along with the characters, in a way we cannot share in real life.

In my debut romantic suspense, MOUNTAIN FIRE, June Brandt, a natural resources student, meets Conservation Officer Alex Weaver when he is investigating the death of a grizzly bear. When one of Alex's colleagues is murdered, June and Alex must work together to find the poacher before other lives are lost. While the mystery is integral to the story, it is the relationship between June and Alex I wanted to explore.
On the face of things, Alex and June are well-suited for each other. They are both athletic, resourceful and dedicated to the environment. But June comes from a large, loving family, and wants that same experience for herself someday. Alex, on the other hand, has decided there is no such thing as happy-ever-after, and anyone who thinks so is deceiving themselves.

June must decide if she is willing to love Alex on his terms, without trying to change him. And no one is more surprised than Alex when he finds himself wishing for more than he believes possible.


Alex paced from living room to kitchen, glaring at the clock. He was as randy as a teenager, as nervous as a boy planning to get to second base, instead of a grown man waiting for a woman he admired, respected and desired. They were both adults, he argued with himself, both able to make their own decisions. If June hadn’t wanted to come tonight, she could have said so. Would
have said so. But when he remembered his actions in the office earlier, he flinched. He’d needed her, and still did, but had he come on too strong, been too insistent? She had told him she wanted a commitment. She had asked for more time to see where they were going together. And then he had practically begged her to sleep with him tonight. He scraped a hand across his chin, irritated
with himself.

The doorbell rang.

June stood on the step, shifting the paper bag she carried from one arm to the other. She flicked a glance at him, not meeting his eyes. The sensations in his stomach had nothing to do with the delicious scent of Chinese takeout wafting in.

“Here, let me take that.” He reached for the bag, and when his fingers brushed hers she jumped like she’d been zapped with static. He pretended not to notice, and led her to the tiny dining nook.

A bottle of wine waited, uncorked, next to two thin stemmed glasses with elegantly wide bowls. Tall tapered candles shone with a steady glow. A single rose lay across one plate. She delicately caressed a velvety red petal.

“I know, it’s cliché. But I thought...I wanted...” He couldn’t avoid her eyes, and heat swept up his

Damn it, he was not blushing. He never blushed. He rolled his shoulders to relieve the tightness in his muscles. “I wanted to give you...something.”

She lifted the rose off the plate and brought it to her lips, his eyes following the movement. He swallowed. “I need to say something. About this afternoon. I think I might have pressured you.” He wished she would speak, but she only stared at him with those deep blue eyes, the rose near her mouth. “I don’t want you to feel like that. If you’re not ready, say so and...” 

She slid the silky blossom against his lips, and he stopped.

“Thank you,” she said, and replaced the rose with her mouth.


Brenda is giving away an e-book copy of MOUNTAIN FIRE to one lucky commenter.  Tell her what you like best about romantic suspense!

Find out where to purchase MOUNTAIN FIRE in digital or print formats at


Brenda's love of books began as a child. She ran into the living room holding "Old Hat, New Hat", tripped and smashed into the corner of the coffee table. The book sustained a deep gouge in its cover, and Brenda has never forgotten its sacrifice.

As a teenager, she saved babysitting money to buy a typewriter. It had an electric keyboard with manual return, and cost more than $300. She clacked away at that for hours.

Her first finished novel was still decades away, even though many others died on the page in the intervening years. It wasn't until her husband bought her her very own laptop for Christmas 2010 that she managed to type "The End" on what would eventually be MOUNTAIN FIRE.

Brenda lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets. By day she is Creative Director at the local television station, and by night she pecks away at her works in progress. 

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan. 13th. 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.


  1. I has deja vu! :D

    Great excerpt!

  2. What I like best about romantic suspense is that something is always about to happen or is happening. The hero & heroine are active in forging their relationship and battling evil. It is the only genre that keeps me interested start to finish and, I admit, at times "swooning" over the hero.

    Excellent excerpt showing off your hero ...rose on the plate. (swoon)

    Thank you for the giveaway...

    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

  3. I do believe that most romantic suspense, and romance in general, books contain tension between the protagonists. Unfortunately, in some books the only tension is sexual tension. While sexual tension is necessary,some books state every other page how hot each other is that the plot is reduced to window dressing.

    I do believe that relationships can suceed even though others wonder what the couple is doing together.

  4. I tell my daughter all the time that noboby knows the truth about a relationship except the people in it. Good excerpt.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  5. All over again!! And, ooh, it is a great excerpt!!

  6. This sounds like a really awesome book.i love romantic novel with a twist i also love finding new author on here it's great.thank you,debra stolhand (

  7. I like the action.


  8. Congrats to Brenda on her new release! Thanks for sharing a great post and excerpt! I like the action and I feel like the romance is deeper and more meaningful b/c it's not bogged down by the fluff and hem haw.


  9. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  10. In romantic suspense the hero & heroine have so much more to overcome. Outside forces at work.