Coming in 2015
EXPOSED (Aspen Lake Series, Book 2)
Kate Logan needs a safe haven. A place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.
New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.
I’m so excited to finally be sharing Kate and Seth’s story, which I began writing in 2009 during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It was such a mess I put it away and let it stew for a couple of years. Now it’s time to tell their story. This is the cover that gives face to it all. I love it. It captures the small town feeling of my fictional town, Aspen Lake. And those eyes! Perferct. Because more than one person is watching Kate’s every move.
And here’s another little something I wrote in 2009. A Christmas tale for the now defunct Prairie Chicks Write Romance blog. So, if you’ve already raed it – thanks. But if you haven’t, here it is…
“Tell us the story, Daddy,” pleaded Emma.
Ella chimed in, “Tell us. Tell us.”
Stefan Dalakis glanced down at his four-year-old twin daughters. Each one had a strangle hold on a leg. He pretended to try and shake them loose.
“Daddy!” Little arms wrapped tighter around his legs as they giggled and shrieked.
“You don’t want to hear that old story. It’s Christmas Eve. A time for Christmas stories.”
“No! The other story.” Emma let go long enough to tug on his pant leg. “Please? Please?”
“With sugar on top?” Ella gave him her special look, the one calculated to break the most stubborn soul.
He feigned indecisiveness for a few seconds before relenting. “Okay, here’s the deal. I’ll tell you the story if you’re both in bed in the next five minutes.”
He trailed after the ensuing whirl of pink pajamas and chatter as they circled the eight-foot Christmas tree one more time. Waited while they brushed their teeth, their dolls’ teeth, their hair, and their dolls’ hair. When they were finished they all climbed onto Ella’s purple draped bed and he tucked one little sugar- charged princess in on each side.
He remembered a time when the idea of family and children had turned his guts to water, given him unspeakable nightmares, and made him question everything he knew to be true.
Men like him didn’t have lives. They didn’t have families. They existed to annihilate evil. End of story.
He looked down as Emma’s pudgy finger traced over the brilliant colors of the dragon inked onto his forearm. He had found a way to be both family man and social outcast.
He smiled and started the story. “So there she was, watching that old movie, the one that always makes her cry.”
“In the café,” added Ella as she scratched her cheek. “By herself.” She pressed her head against his shoulder and he got a whiff of her little girl shampoo.
He nodded then pressed a kiss on top of her blond curls. “All by herself.”
“Cuz she was sad.” Emma patted his cheek wanting her fair share of attention. He kissed her curls too.
“Yes, she was.” He paused, waited for them to look up. “So I tossed the ring box down on the table and I said-“
“And you said, ‘Hey, you forgot this.’” Ella finished for him.
Emma piped up, “And she said, ‘No, I didn’t.’” And she shook one chubby finger.
“Hey, who’s telling this story?” He tried for stern. They were suitably unimpressed judging by the giggles.
“You are, Daddy.”
He grinned as he continued, “Then she said, ‘Don’t, Stefan.’ And I said, ‘Don’t what? Ask you to marry me? Too late. I already did.’”
“And she said, ‘I don’t wanna marry you.’” Ella shook her head sending curls flying.
“Cuz, you’re trouble,” added Emma.
Which had him thinking they’d already heard this story from someone else today. “Something like that. Bottom line, she said no and then she got up and left me sitting there.”
“All by yourself,” said a sympathetic sounding Ella.
“With a broken heart,” offered Emma looking appropriately somber.
“That’s right.” It had been the bleakest moment of his life.
“But she came back!” they announced all smiles again.
“Yes, she did.”
He glanced up at the woman leaning against the doorframe of the girls’ bedroom and his heart squeezed. And because he wasn’t stupid or neglectful, he offered up a prayer of thanks. Then he slipped in a very important detail of his own. “Because she couldn’t live without me.”
Anna Watson-Dalakis rolled her eyes as she tossed a tea towel at his head. “Really.” She crossed her arms and raised a brow. “That’s an interesting way of putting it.”
“Mommy! Mommy!” Emma and Ella bounced up and down on their knees while they waited for Anna to settle in at the end of the bed.
“I do remember a certain someone demanding I marry him.” She smoothed a hand over Emma’s cheek and tucked a stray strand of hair behind Ella’s ear. “Before he came to his senses and realized he needed to act like a gentleman and ask nicely.”
Those ocean blue eyes met his and he drowned for the millionth time. Her lips curved up into a smile and distracted him so she could get her fingers near the soles of his feet and then two tiny princesses launched themselves at him. Two minutes later those same princesses switched to chanting, “Kiss, Kiss.”
He was only too happy to oblige. His lips met hers and before he knew it Anna was batting him on the back of the head. He backed up, laughed and nodded in the direction of two little girls clapping their hands. “It’s their fault.”
“Uh huh.” Anna clapped her hands. “Bedtime.”
“Definitely bedtime.” He held up a hand to stop the protest. “Santa can’t come if you’re awake.”
Finally the light went out. The girls had chosen Ella’s bed tonight and were snuggled in and whispering.
“Goodnight, girls,” he warned as he shut the door and followed his wife down the stairs.
Anna turned on the bottom stair. “What do you think they’re planning?”
“I don’t care as long as it involves being asleep within the next ten minutes.”
“Good luck with that.”
“Because then I’m taking my gorgeous wife to bed and unwrapping my Christmas present early.”
“Is that before or after you put together the dollhouse?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!