Congratulations to "Mandy", the winner in Lynn and Angela's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
No, I don't live on the edge doing truly scary things, the kind of things equated with living on the edge. I do not skydive or snowboard. I don't climb rock walls or drive race cars. Living on the edge for me is taking on a new writing challenge or speaking in public. What exhilarates me is pretty simple, as simple as experiencing a dramatic thunderstorm from my back porch, or working with a homeless cat to get it accustomed to me and therefore adoptable by a compassionate person.
But when it comes to my characters it's a different story. I put them into dangerous situations, ones that could end their lives. Being kidnapped, shot at, and knocked unconscious is just another day in the lives of heroes and heroines in my romantic suspenses. But the real risky stuff is in the moments when they face inner pain that has shaped their lives. I love reading romantic suspense because it is fast-paced and intense. It's interesting to read about characters who are flawed, have regrets, and decide to make a choice to continue in that life or suffer the pain of facing their truths, all while dodging bullets and trying to prevent the bad guys from doing harm to anyone. In writing, I enjoy the physical danger I put characters through. I think average people rise to a challenge and triumph, even when it's hard, and my characters reflect my belief. My characters are good at taking down gunmen and thugs, and I'm right there with me. But I'm equally stoked by the exploration of what has brought them to a moment of emotional crisis. These moments are a part of the complex life of human beings. They're a way for characters and people in real life to expand and find that life has offered an unexpected passage through the wounds of the past. Facing hard truths offers a second chance at happiness and love.
Here's an excerpt from Always and Forever Love in which heroine Lacey Aegar wrestles with emotional pain that is an obstacle to her developing relationship with hero Jackson Carter.
It scared Lacey to death to consider that her other option—trusting in Jake and believing in her ability to endure whatever happened—felt like a sure formula for disaster. Warring parts scratched her from the inside like sandpaper under her skin, and she felt like trying to scramble away from it.
Why is this so hard? The question came from a very young Lacey, a Lacey whose world had completely imploded when her father had been murdered, leaving her to take care of Sterling and adult things that her mother could no longer manage. Being present with the sorrows and fears and confusions of that part of her, Lacey dropped her head in her hands, resting exhausted on the steering wheel. Sobs erupted out of her from a deep place, and tears streamed freely down her cheeks.
Rage roared silently behind her eyes as she let that part of her speak. She couldn’t stop the tragedies that visited her family, she couldn’t fix her mother or save herself and Sterling from years of loneliness and abandonment. Her father was murdered, and she’d had to carry all the pieces of her remaining family. Her mother left them, first emotionally and then physically when she died an early death. And when life seemed to have gifted her finally with stability and joy, Nicholas was stolen from her.
I’m so tired of carrying it all and trying to make everything be okay. The words echoed through her with weighty truth and she shuddered, allowing them their reality. The truth was it had been too much for young Lacey. She’d done the best she could, but the damage was done and now she knew more than ever how strong she really had been, how strong she was. She’d been fucking amazing. No one had meant to hurt her in this deep way, but she’d been hurt. Life had not singled her out for persecution, but she’d suffered. To manage the pain she’d distracted herself and followed old ways. It couldn’t have been any other way, and she knew that. Her time with Nicholas, after his return, had not just been a place to stay safe and comfortable, it had been an experience that exposed her distractions and wrong-thinking and opened her to the truth of so many things.
Private eyes are watching and romance is calling in these five seriously suspenseful stories. Full of dashing detectives, femme fatales, and nocturnal desires, this collection offers breathtaking thrills to get your pulse pounding. Features authors Lynn Crandall, Kristine Overbrook Angela Smith, Shay Lacey, and Mari Manning
Noir Nights features 5 hunky detectives, 5 fabulous love stories, 5 unforgettable heroines in one amazing bundle. My contribution is Always and Forever Love.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Lynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don't back down.
Please enter our giveaway for a chance to win a $20 gift card as well as a copy of my Dancing with Detective Danger, the first book about the PI sisters Sterling and Lacey Aegar, and a copy of Burn on the Western Slope, by Angela Smith.
Always and Forever Love
By: Lynn Crandall
The presence of a ghost in her life doesn't alarm Lacy Aegar, in fact it makes her happy. Two and a half years ago when her dead husband Nicholas reappeared in her life as a full-bodied spirit, she questioned her sanity. But with Nicholas' explanation that there are things about life that are not as she's always believed, she settled into a pleasant routine of working with her sister at their private investigation business and enjoying home life with her now 10-year-old son – with Nicholas never very far away.
Lacey's complacency and sense of stability is sent topsy-turvy when she runs into Jackson Carter, the son of powerful and influential business tycoon, William Carter. Typical of the Carter reputation, Jackson's slick new private investigating business is siphoning off clients from the Aegar sisters' business, creating financial difficulty. It's a recurring nightmare for Lacey, who has already seen damage done by the Carter family, and when she encounters Jackson, she wants nothing to do with him.
But things are not what they seem when it comes to Jackson Carter, either. Unbeknownst to Lacey and her sister, Jackson is fighting a battle to preserve his business, too, and his integrity. For him, it's a fight for his soul, and he enlists Lacey's help because of her unique investigative skills and open heart. When she uncovers a mole in his business, she also discovers that one of his clients' drug trials has been given the green light to go to the next phase based on falsified data. As they work together to save both their businesses, Jackson and Lacey not only face death, they must come to grips with their feelings about love and life.
With: Angela Smith
The Noir Nights bundle features five outstanding books with one common theme: one (if not both) of the main characters is a private investigator. That’s where the similarities end. You’ll find ghost stories, paranormal, spicy stories, and good old-fashioned who-done-it stories in this bundle. I love it because it’s a great way to read new stuff, and of course I love it because my story, Final Mend, is a part of it.
In Final Mend, Winona is the PI. However, after a heart-wrenching case and her mother’s death, she has retired and gone to work in her brother’s bar in a small town in Montana. But Jake’s godchild has gone missing, and everyone tells him she’s the best PI and best tracker in the business, so he convinces her to take the case.
I’ve worked many long years as a paralegal for the District Attorney’s office, and have known many investigators and private investigators in my line of work. Most of them probably haven’t gone through some of the things Winona has, but it’s interesting when they talk about their work. Many of them don’t, unfortunately. Winona has a hard time talking about hers, too, and I love it when she finally opens up to Jake. It was as much of a surprise to me as her author as I hope it will be for the readers. I’ve also learned over the years that there is nothing remotely romantic about police work, but I still love to write about them as characters because they make such interesting heroes and heroines.
Like Lynn’s previous post, I don’t care much for dangerous situations, and my favorite adventures are found in the pages of a book. I do love Jeeping and off-road adventures, and my favorite place to go with my husband is off-roading in Moab, Utah. That’s dangerous enough. Many of my characters will have similar hobbies, or at least hobbies I wish I was brave enough to pursue. My characters are always adventurous, whether ice climbing, mountain biking through treacherous trails, jumping out of airplanes, or even race-car drivers. But me? I’d rather sit on my back porch and read about these adventures while I watch my cats frolic in the grass and chase butterflies that I hope they’ll never catch.
Below is a short excerpt of Final Mend. Be sure to enter our giveaway for a chance to win Lynn’s book, and also a mobi copy of my book Burn on the Western Slope, which is the first book in this standalone series about two brothers and their half-sister. All you have to do is make a comment to win, but you’ll have more chances if you follow me on Twitter at @angelaswriter, or like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authorangelasmith. And you can always find more about me and my books on my website www.loveisamystery.com. Thanks for stopping by!
By: Angela Smith
A recovering alcoholic, Jake Inman has found a new, healthier addiction: training for his successful triathlon career. But when his manager is murdered and beloved goddaughter kidnapped, another obsession takes hold: doing whatever it takes to find Brandon's killer and keep Amy safe. Jake turns to a private investigator for help in solving the case, and though he finds temptation in her whiskey-colored eyes, he knows he must resist his attraction, or risk losing his heart.
After a devastating case, Winona Wall has turned her back on her skills as a private investigator, preferring a quiet life as a part-time bartender. That is, until Jake storms into the bar, demanding her help in tracking his missing godchild. Unable to resist Jake's charm, she reluctantly agrees. But even after Amy is found unharmed, Jake insists Amy's mother was more involved with her kidnapping than the police suspect. When the situation takes a turn for the worse, Winona must trust her instincts in order to save them all - and avoid falling in love.
The Jeep bounced along the road, up steep mountain slopes, as rain fell in sheets. Winona gasped as the Jeep slid through slick channels of mud, but Jake managed to hold it tight. The roads were spongy, absorbing water, then wringing it out in a collection of goo.
She imagined water gushing around her. Imagined falling to their death. Being sucked into the earth by sludge. The sky had turned dark, merciless, and she couldn’t see a damn thing but the Jeep lights soaking an otherwise indistinguishable trail. The wind clamored across the ragtop as if it wasn’t even attached.
“We’re almost there,” Jake had assured her several times as she clenched the grab handle. They had made it past the public roads just fine, and she felt this trail was way worse than he’d described. “It feels worse than it is,” he continued. “I’ve traveled this road hundreds of times.”
“We should wait for backup.” She checked her phone yet again but had no service. She couldn’t call Garret to find out what was going on at his end, and none of her texts was going through. As a private investigator, she’d done many stupid things alone. This ranked top of her list.
She opened the glove compartment. Searched under the seats, behind the seats.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking to see if Chayton has any ammo or guns in his Jeep. Knowing my brother, he doesn’t.”
Her arsenal consisted of the .380 she’d hidden in her pants and the 9mm she kept in her purse. She’d feel much better if she had an assault rifle as backup, or at least her shotgun. Not that she could handle any more than two at a time anyway, if she was lucky to handle more than one.
Jake cracked his knuckles. “The only ammo I need is right here.”
Winona settled in her seat and faced him. He continued to peer out the window as the heavy downpour seemed to crack the Jeep’s ragtop. But the Jeep held steady. “Really, Jake?”
“Yep. That and adrenaline.”
“So your fists, your arms, will help you dodge bullets? You don’t think that whoever we meet at this cabin won’t have their adrenaline? You know we could be heading into a trap, right?”
“You think I care about that right now? All I care about is my little girl.”
“How do we know she’s even there? Lillian could be lying to you. Setting you up. If she had anything to do with Brandon’s murder, anything at all, then—”
“You didn’t have to come!”
“We can’t just go in there without a plan.”
“I have a plan.”
“We don’t even know who’s there. How many are there. If Amy is even there.”
“I know that cabin like the back of my hand. We’re close, and I’m damn sure not stopping or turning around.”
She squared her shoulders, digging in her purse for the 9mm. She checked the clip and handed it to him.
“Do you at least know how to shoot?”
“Are you kidding me, Winona?”
“No, I’m not kidding you. If it comes down to it, can you shoot a living, breathing human being if he’s threatening your life or those you love?”
“Maybe you’re a tough street chick who carries a couple of guns everywhere she goes. I can picture you with an AK on your back and a belt of bullets strapped around your chest. But I can hold my own. I might not be a cop, but I’m probably a better marksman than most. I was four years old when I shot my dad’s rifle for the first time. I grew up around hunting and fishing, spitting and shooting.”
“Hunting is a lot different than killing a person.”
“And you would know better than me how?”
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST April 12th. 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 email@example.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.
Check out more giveaways on the JRS SHOWCASE