Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Hot Summer Reads with Edge Summer blog tour

The 2011 Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers Summer Blog Tour kicks off on Wednesday, July 6th, with a stop at Donna B. Snow's blog 

And guess what? Donna's featuring Journey's End!!
How cool is that?

My blog stop is on Monday, August 22nd, so stay tuned!

You can find the entire blog tour schedule here.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Journey's End voted Book of the Week at LASR

Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness. Ps 115:1 (NIV)

Thanks so much, everybody, for all your support and encouragement. And your VOTES!
 Journey's End voted Book of the Week at LASR. Yowzie!
Devastated after the brutal murder of her husband, Chelsea Hammond vows never to love another lawman. Intent on rebuilding her shattered life, she turns her focus to helping troubled teens. But when an angry father bent on retaliation, threatens her, Chelsea must turn to the one man she never thought to trust: Deputy U.S. Marshal Trey Colten.

Trey wants only to protect Chelsea, but she blames him for her husband’s death. Trey can relate. He blames himself, also. As danger lurks, Trey begs Chelsea to heed his warnings. He let down one Hammond. He won’t let down another—especially one who now holds his heart.

When Chelsea is snatched from her home, can she put aside her fear, and trust Trey with her life? Can she forgive him for destroying her past and let him help to rebuild her future?

Where one journey ends, another begins…

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Awesome "5-book" Review for JOURNEY'S END!

Oh. My. Stars!!
A "5-book" rating from Long and Short Reviews! And...that's not all.
Journey's End is up for Book of the Week! Please click here to vote for Journey's End only til Sunday.  Is this awesome or what? Woo-hoo!

Check out this "5-book" review for Journey's End. Long&Short Reviews

Every year when Chelsea visited her husband’s grave on the anniversary of his death, she sees a man standing in the distance like he was grieving, too. Who was he and how did he know her husband?

Ms. Hiers takes a basic plot and breathes life into it by providing links to the present from the past and throwing in conflict, sexual tension and danger in good quantities. The story is believable, the two main characters are honest and honorable, and a boy’s life is at stake as well as Chelsea’s. The conversations flow well, her characters act like real people do, and the action is intense throughout the entire story.

Chelsea finds a boy in her barn who just happens to be the son of the man who killed her husband. He’s hiding from his father’s men who want to kill him before he can testify at a trial. Then the US Marshals show up. Chelsea’s husband had been a marshal and died because of it. She wants nothing to do with them anymore.

Chelsea is conflicted about wanting to protect the boy and wanting to get rid of the marshals. Trey is assigned to protect her and his partner takes the boy to a safe house. Chelsea and Trey both have issues from the past and don’t want to be involved, but the attraction is certainly there. The banter between two stubborn people who think they know best is entertaining.

This is a Christian themed story and there are Biblical references thrown in at moments of crisis or when the characters are trying to make big decisions. There were situations in this story where I think praying absolutely made sense, and wasn't intrusive.

I enjoyed this read. I just kept turning pages to see what was going to happen next. You’re not sure how things will end up until you get to the end of the story, and that makes it fun to read.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Write a book in 30 days? K. Dawn Byrd does. Check out MISTAKEN IDENTITY

Eden Morgan makes a list of six goals to accomplish in order to have the best summer ever. Getting a boyfriend, which is perhaps the most important goal, becomes complicated when she and her best friend, Lexi, fall for the same guy. Since Lexi is popular, gorgeous, and always gets her guy, Eden thinks she doesn't have a chance.

Channing Johnson is everything Eden's ever dreamed of and she can't believe he just moved in next door. When he starts showing interest in her, she's overjoyed...until she sees him out on a date with Lexi. He says Lexi talked him into it to repay her for tutoring him. Lexi says they're in love.

Eden doesn't know who to believe and is forced to choose between her best friend and the guy of her dreams. Nothing is as it seems and no matter who she chooses, someone will get hurt.


After dinner, Mom suggested that we go swimming while the adults had coffee. Channing hurried home to change into swimming trunks and, when he returned, I was waiting in the pool. Still a little self-conscious about the few extra pounds I carried, I'd rushed at breakneck speed to get in before he came back. Not to mention that I was embarrassed at the old-fashioned one-piece I wore.

"Want to play some water volleyball?" I called as he sauntered across the patio.

"Sounds like fun."

Channing climbed down the stairs into the pool. His chest was broad and tanned, his body pure muscle. He belonged on a magazine cover.

The breeze was warm, carrying the delicious smell of lilac from the bushes between our houses. I breathed in the scent as Channing swam under the water toward the deep end, his body just a shadow under the surface. Dusk had fallen, and the pool lights were on.

He surfaced, and I hit the ball. Channing sent a quick return, which I missed by inches. "Hey!" I yelled. "That's not fair. I didn't see it coming."

Channing laughed. "Maybe you should keep your eye on the ball." There was a teasing tone in his voice.
Stephie would have been right out there in the middle of it if she hadn't gone to bed with a headache. I should go check on her soon. She was prone to the ones Mom called migraines, and sometimes they made her throw up.

We played until I was tired, and then we swam a while. I did some laps, glad that I'd lost at least some of the weight I'd put on during the winter. I was so lost in my thoughts that I hadn't realized I'd swam too close to Channing until I surfaced and found myself almost in his arms. He reached out to steady me, and I stepped forward, attempting to regain my balance.

A shiver tripped over my skin even though the night was warm. My eyes locked with his, and I found myself lost in the mossy depths. He hadn't released me, and his hands were warm on my arms.

We stood there, speechless, drinking in each other in with an odd kind of understanding, an odd feeling that all was well in the world and we were meant to be together. His touch and his gaze were so mesmerizing that I couldn't have looked away if my life depended on it.

"Channing, you ready to go?" called his mother from somewhere across the patio.

The spell was broken. I backed away, hoping our parents hadn't seen the magic that had passed between us. I wasn't sure what my parents would think about my dating a senior if Channing asked me out.

"Good night," I said, turning and diving under the water, my heart beating wildly as what passed between us seemed like a dream, a beautiful, surreal dream.

I surfaced on the other end and watched Channing retreat from the pool. He turned and waved and, just like that, the guy of my dreams, walked right out of my life.

Wow! Cool cover and awesome excerpt. Hey, Dawn, do you mind answering a few questions?

What does a normal workday look like for you?
I write all my books in 30-day spurts. I'm careful to choose months that I don't think will be very busy in my personal life. I start with a loose plot and photos that I've cut out of magazines of my characters. I map out my daily word count on a calendar, which helps me to stay on track. I work 8 hour days and also am on call some weekends. I write during the evenings after work or on weekends if I'm not out on a call with my job. I try to write at least 2,000 words per day.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I'm a natural born plotter. I can't even go to the grocery store without a list.

What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not writing? Least favorite?
Favorite? I have a new hobby. I'm raising guppies and killifish and having a blast. Least favorite? I hate to empty the dishwasher.

If you had a Friday night all to yourself, what would you do?
I'd either watch a chick flick, plot, or write.

About K. Dawn Byrd:

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Mistaken Identity, her first young adult romance released on June 15 from Desert Breeze Publishing. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense released in April 2010 and was the bestselling book for her publisher during its debut month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense, released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at!/group.php?gid=128209963444.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

You can find K. Dawn Byrd and her books with these links:

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mr. Shipley's Governess by Joanne Troppello

Please welcome Joanne Troppello, author of mystery and inspirational romance novels. Her second novel, Mr. Shipley’s Governess, was recently released by Wild Horse Press. She is at work on her next novel, a romantic suspense. She is married and loves spending time with her husband and family.

Let's find out a little about Joanne.

What does a normal workday look like for you?  
JT: I work from home as a freelance writer and marketing consultant so my mornings and early afternoon hours are filled with that work. I work on writing my books and marketing them in the afternoon and then after dinner I try to get a few hours of writing in usually while my husband is watching TV. Noise doesn’t bother me while I write. I started my writing journey when I was still in high school and I grew up in a large family—there was always noise in the house. I guess I got used to that and now I don’t mind the noise of the TV or other people talking in the room.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
JT: I’m actually a combination of both. I start out with an outline to give myself some direction. However, most of the time, my characters get restless if I’m not paying attention; and listening to them as they tell their story. So many times, I veer off the outline a little bit.

If you had a Friday night all to yourself, what would you do?
JT: Write! Or if I’ve already had time to write during the day, I’d probably watch some HGTV or a romantic comedy or read one of the books on my Kindle (TBR book review pile). I do book reviews and I have a bunch of books in my virtual pile…great for my summer reading.

Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?
JT: My book is available at ARe - or at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. Right now, it’s available in eBook format only. My blog: Facebook:

Mr. Shipley’s Governess:

Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her.

Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective.

When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.

Want to read an excerpt?

Sebastian leaned against the doorframe of the library, amused that Sophie continued reading, oblivious to his intrusion. He watched her scrunch up her face in consternation, engrossed in the book. “So, who do you like better, me or Mr. Knightly?”  He heard her sharp intake of breath. She nearly dropped the book as she turned to look at her intruder.

“Definitely, that would be Mr. Knightly; he doesn’t have the habit of sneaking up on me.”

Sebastian sauntered into the room and sat in the chair opposite her. “Yes, he’s so charming. I hope to someday be like him.”

“Hey, don’t make fun. He is the epitome of the perfect gentleman.”

“Actually, I’m serious.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve read the same book as you. It must be a coincidence.”

Sophie smiled. “Really…you’re just trying to get on my good side.”

He leaned forward in mock surprise. “Huh, I thought I was on your good side already.”

“That depends on my mood.”

“I see. You’re all about a woman’s prerogative.”

“Yes, I live by that rule.”

He played along, enjoying the playful banter. “Oh, so you’re one of those.”

“You’d better believe it. It’s my prerogative to change my mind whenever I want.”

He fluidly maneuvered his way to the ottoman where her feet rested and he sat down. “I hope you don’t change your mind about me.”

“Well, that all depends on you.”

“I’d better be on my best behavior then.”

Sophie got up quickly and before he realized it, she walked across the room to the bookshelf. “So, you really read Emma, too. That’s still surprising and sweet.”

He followed her. “You’re avoiding any serious conversation, young lady.”

She moved away, running her finger along the spines of the books. He kept following, backing her into a corner. She leaned her hands against the windowsill and backed up as far as possible. She laughed nervously. “So, tell me again why you interrupted me.”

“I did it because I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now.” He cupped her face, tracing the outline of her lips with his thumb. Then he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her gently, at first, but soon his fervor matched hers. She put her arms around his neck and moved in closer. Finally, they pulled away from each other, both breathless. “I…I’m sorry.”

She touched his cheek. “Don’t be. I’ve wanted you to do that for a long time, too.”

He squeezed her hand. “I should get back to work. David’s going to wonder what happened to me.”

Sophie gave him a flirty smile. “Oh, I’m sure he knows.”

“Now try not to compare me too much to Mr. Knightly because there’s no contest, really.”

As he walked out of the room, he still felt the warmth of her lips on his and the softness of her body in his arms. He chided himself. “Shake it off, man.” Then he walked down the hall in search of his brother.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

 Happy Father's Day to five generations of my family...
Left to right: Son John, Hubby (holding our grandson, Mason), Grandpa, and Dad

You make my world richer, brighter, and so much sweeter! 
You set such great examples of what fatherhood is all about and are an inspiration to those who know you. I'm so thankful to journey through life with you.

And to my son, Scott.
You aren't a daddy yet, but you will be one day. You've got "Awesome Daddy" stamped across your heart.

 I love you, guys!

Happy Father's Day
to all Dads and to all those who fill the role of Dad

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Friday, June 17, 2011

BEHIND THE BADGE by Susan Sleeman

Enter to win a copy of Susan Sleeman's Behind the Badge and a $50 Amazon gift card!

Susan Sleeman here. Behind the Badge, my second romantic suspense book for Love Inspired Suspense will release on June 6th and in honor of all of you, the readers, I am hosting a special contest on my website for the month of June.

Let’s face it. Without you, the wonderful readers, books would not exist and I wouldn’t be able to wake up looking forward to a job that is fresh and exciting each and every day. Praise God for this incredible opportunity!

Now back to the contest. All you have to do is read the excerpt below then go to my WEBSITE and answer the following question. That's it. You're entered to win.

If you'd like to sign up for my mailing list to learn of other contests in the future you can do that at the same time, too. Full contest rules are on the entry page. Remember only one entry per person.

QUESTION: What item let Russ know the bike was street legal?

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website

Her books include Nipped in the Bud, High-Stakes Inheritance, Behind the Badge, and The Christmas Witness. Also watch for the first two romantic suspense books in her Justice Agency series coming from Love Inspired suspense in 2012 and featuring a private investigations firm specializing in helping those who traditional law enforcement has failed.

Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.

To learn more about Susan visit her website, Facebook , or Twitter.

Behind the Badge


A killer is threatening the life of rookie cop Sydney Tucker's sister-unless Sydney turns over evidence from a drug bust. But she doesn't have the evidence. Not that the thug believes her. Now she and the sibling in her care are under the watchful eye of Logan Lake police chief Russ Morgan…but will his protection be enough?

The killer is closing in, picking off the people and places that mean the most to Sydney. A list that now includes Russ. To protect her loved ones, will she pay the ultimate price-her life?

The Morgan Brothers - Bk 2

Love Inspired Suspense June 6, 2011

ISBN-10: 0373444478

ISBN-13: 978-0373444472


Chapter One

Gunshots split the inky darkness.

Deputy Sydney Tucker hit the cold ground, a jagged rock slashing into her forehead on the way down. She reached for her service weapon. Came up empty handed. She'd stopped after work to check on the construction of her townhouse and left her gun and cell phone in the car.

Dumb, Sydney. Really dumb. Now what're you gonna do?

Inching her head above knee-high grass, she listened. The keening whistle of the wind died, leaving the air damp and heavy with tension but silence reigned.

Had she overreacted? Could be target practice. But at night? Maybe. Hunters did crazy things sometimes.

Footfalls pounded from below like someone charging through the brush. No. Two people. Maybe a chase. One person after another. A loud crash, branches snapping.

"What're you doin', man," a panicked male voice traveled through the night. "No! Don't shoot! We can work this out."

Three more gunshots rang out. A moan drifted up the hill.

Not target practice. Someone had been shot.

Sydney lurched to her feet, dizziness swirling around her. Blood dripped into her eyes. She wiped it away, blinked hard and steadied herself on a large rock while peering into the wall of darkness for the best escape route.

Heavy footfalls crunched up the gravel path.

"I know you're here, Deputy Tucker," a male voice, disguised with a high nasally pitch, called out. "We need to talk about this. C'mon out."

Yeah, right. Come out and die. Not hardly.

Praying, pleading for safety, she scrambled deeper into the scrub. Over rocks. Through grass tangling her feet. Her heart pounded in her head, drowning the prayers with fear.

"I'm losing patience, Deputy," he called again in that strange voice. "You're not like Dixon. He had it coming. You don't."

Dixon? Did he mean the man she arrested for providing alcohol to her teenage sister and for selling drugs? Was that what this was about?

Rocks skittered down the incline. The shooter was on the move again. No time to think. She had to go. Now!

Blindly she felt her way past shrubs, over uneven ground. Dried leaves crunched underfoot. Branches slapped her face and clawed at her arms, but she stifled her cries of pain.

"I hear you, Deputy."

She wrenched around to determine his location. A protruding rock caught her foot, catapulting her forward. She somersaulted through the air. Her knee slammed into the packed earth and she crashed down the hill. Wrapping arms around her head for protection, she came to a stop, breath knocked out of her chest, lying flat on her back in a thick stand of weeds.

"So you want to play it that way, do you Deputy? Fine. Just remember, you can run, but you can't hide. I will find you. This will be resolved one way or another." His disembodied laugh swirled into the night.

The darkness pressed closer. Blinding. Overwhelming. Terrifying.

She was easy prey. Even with her bulletproof vest, a few rounds fired in her direction would take her out. She had to get up.

She rose to her knees, but pain knifed into her knee, keeping her anchored to the ground.

Lord, please don't let me die like this. Give me the strength to move. I need to live for Nikki. She's only seventeen. She has no one.

Sydney uncurled and came to a standing position. Taking a few halting steps, she tested the pain. Nearly unbearable. But she could-no she had to do this for her sister.

Thinking of Nikki, she gritted her teeth and set off, moving slowly, taking care not to make a sound.

Out of the darkness, a hand shot out. Clamped over her mouth.

Screams tore from her throat, but died behind fingers pressed hard against her lips.

A muscled arm jerked her against a solid chest and dragged her deep into the brush.

God, please, no.

She twisted, arched her back, pushing against arms like iron bands.

She dug her heels into the ground, but he was too strong. He kept going deeper into the brush before settling them both on the ground behind a large boulder.

"Relax Sydney, it's Russ Morgan," Logan Lake's Police Chief whispered, his lips close to her ear.

Russ Morgan? What was he doing here?

"Sorry about the hand." His tone said she was nothing more than a stranger instead of someone she'd known for years. "I didn't want you to alert the shooter with a scream. I'm gonna remove my hand now. Nod if you understand me."

She let all of her relief escape in a sharp jerk of her head. His fingers dropped away.

"Once the shooter rounded that curve, you would've been a goner," he whispered while still firmly holding her. "Good thing a neighbor reported gunshots."

Sydney started to shiver and breathed deep to steady her galloping pulse. Air rushed into her lungs. She was alive, but barely. No thanks to her own skills.

"You okay?" he asked, his breath stirring her hair.

"Yes." She willed her body to stop shaking and eased out a hiss of disappointment in her performance as a deputy. "How long have you been here?"

"Long enough to hear the shooter claim he's hit Dixon and is coming after you next," he whispered again, but urgency lit his voice and rekindled her fear. "This have to do with your arrest of Carl Dixon the other day?"

"I don't know," she whispered back. "I just stopped to check on the construction of my townhouse on my way home from work."

"Off duty, huh? Explains why you don't have your weapon drawn."

"I left my duty belt in my car." She waited for his reaction to not carrying, but he simply gave a quick nod as footfalls grated against gravel.

"Shh, he's about to pass us." Russ leaned forward and drew his gun with his free hand, but didn't release his hold on her.

Crunching steps came within a few feet of their location. Halted.

"Can you feel me breathing down your neck, Deputy? I'm inches from finding you." He didn't know the accuracy of his words.

She felt Russ's breathing speed up, upping her concern and washing away the brief blanket of security his arms provided. Adrenaline urged her to move. To keep from panicking, she focused on Russ's unwavering weapon.

The shooter took a few steps closer. Her heart thumped, threatening to leave her chest. Russ tightened his hold as if he knew she wanted to bolt.

The shooter spun sending gravel flying then headed up the path.

As his footsteps receded, she tried to relax taut muscles. The warmth from Russ's body helped chase out her fear and the chill of the night. Thank God Russ was here. If he hadn't come.

She refused to go there. God had watched over her. Provided rescue, just not in the form she'd have chosen.

Not only was Russ an officer from the city police force-a team often in competition with the county sheriff's department where she worked-but a man she'd had a crazy crush on in high school. A man whose rugged good looks still turned women's heads.

She let out a long sigh.

"I know this's awkward," he whispered, "but hang tight for a few more minutes. We need to wait for him to head back down the hill."

She wanted to protest and suggest they flee now, but not Russ. He thought clearly. Taking off now gave the killer the advantage of higher ground, making them moving targets. They'd have to sit like this until he passed them again.

If they made it out of here, which the approaching footfalls told her wasn't at all certain.

They pounded closer. The shooter moved at a quick clip this time as if he thought she'd gotten away and he was fleeing. Or maybe he was heading to her car to lay in wait for her.

As the footsteps receded again, she felt Russ's arm slacken.

"Time to roll," he whispered. "Stay here."

"But I-"

"You have a backup?" He referred to a back up gun officers often carry.

She shook her head.

"Then wait here." He gave her the hard stare that'd made him famous around town and crept toward the path.

She leaned against the boulder and wrapped her arms around the warm circle on her waist where he'd held her. Without his warmth, she couldn't quit shaking. The reality of the night froze her inner core.

She should listen to Russ. Lay low. Wait until he apprehended the killer.

That was the safe thing to do.

The easy thing to do.

The wrong thing to do.

Not for everyone, but for an officer of the law, letting a shooter escape without trying to stop him wasn't an option. Even if that shooter had her in his sights, she'd make her way to her car for her gun and help Russ stop this maniac before he hurt anyone else.


Near the ditch, Russ came to a stop and fought to catch his breath. Taillights on a mud splattered dirt bike roared up the trail. He'd warned the suspect to stop, but short of shooting him in the back, Russ couldn't stop him from fleeing into the dark.

At least he'd accomplished his primary objective. To protect Sydney and keep her alive. Now he needed to alert his men and the sheriff's office to the suspect's whereabouts.

He lifted his shoulder mic and ordered a unit from his office to stake out the end of the trail for the motorcycle and an ambulance in case Dixon survived. Then he asked dispatch to patch him through to the county sheriff's department to make sure they knew he'd taken charge of the scene so none of their hotshot deputies arrived with the hope of usurping control.

He turned on his Maglight and headed up the hill. The beam of light skipped over gravel and lush plants lining the winding path. Midway up, rustling brush stopped him cold. He'd left Sydney higher up. Nearer the lake.

Was a second shooter hoping to ambush him?

He flipped off his light and sought protection behind a tree. His breath came in little pulses in the unusually cold air for a typical Oregon fall. Adrenaline with little time to ebb away came roaring back, but even as the noise grew louder, he resisted the urge to take action.

Maybe it was Sydney. The Sydney he used to know wouldn't have listened to his directive and stayed put. She'd trounce down the hill, her chin tilted at the same insolent angle as when he told her he didn't return her crazy crush her freshman year of high school. Not that he'd wanted to send a beautiful, lively girl like her away. He could easily have dated her, but he was four years older, in college. With their age difference, it wouldn't have been right.

Bushes at the path's edge shook then parted. Slowly, like a sleek panther, Sydney slipped out. He watched until she stood tall on those incredibly long legs he'd admired since she was sixteen before lowering his gun and aiming his flashlight at her.

She jumped. Peered up at him, an impudent look planted on her face. This was the Sydney he'd known as a teen and heaven help him, in less than thirty minutes, she'd sparked his interest again.

"Care to shine that somewhere other than my face." She perched her hand over her eyes, warding off the glare.

He moved the light but not before he caught a good look at a gaping wound running from her hairline to eyebrow, covered in congealed blood. He lifted his hand to check out her injury, but stopped. He wouldn't probe a wound on one of his men's faces. As a fellow LEO-law enforcement officer-he wouldn't treat Sydney any differently.

"I told you to stay put." He infused his words with authority.

"I wanted to help. Wish I'd listened. I tripped over the body." She held out blood-covered hands. Her eyes watered as if she might cry.

Man. Don't do that. Don't fall apart. He couldn't remain detached if she started crying. He'd have to empathize, maybe give her a reassuring pat on the arm. Maybe feel her pain and resurrect all the reasons he'd left his homicide job in Portland.

He changed his focus. Nodded at the brush. "Show me the body."

As a faint whine of sirens spiraled in the distance, she limped into tall grass, a grimace of pain marring her beautiful face. He followed, illuminating the area ahead of her. About ten feet in, she suddenly stopped. He shone his light a few feet ahead of her.

Diffused rays slid over a young male lying on his back. Russ swung the beam to the man's face landing on open eyes staring into the blackness above.

Sydney gasped and swung around him. She rushed toward the main path. Even though Russ knew it was a lost cause, he bent down to check for a pulse. No question, this man hadn't made it and no question about his identity. Carl Dixon, a man every LEO in the area knew from his frequent blips onto the police radar and the most recent arrest for selling drugs.

All that ended with three gunshots to the chest at close range from what Russ could see with his flashlight. Once they thoroughly processed the scene, he'd know better. But first, they needed to vacate the area before further contaminating the scene.

He found Sydney near the path, gaze fixed in the distance, hands clasped on her hips and exhaling long breaths as if trying to expel what she'd just seen.

Haunted eyes peered at him. "He's dead, right?"


"And what about the killer?"

"Couldn't catch him. He took off on a dirt bike."

Disappointment crowded out the fear on her face. "Did you at least see him?"

"From the back. He was my height or a little taller, but lean. Wore a black stocking cap. The bike has a plate so it must be street legal. I caught the first few digits."

"That's something, then."

Russ didn't want to tell her it would do little for them in terms of searching DMV records as three digits would return thousands of bikes, but he didn't think she could take any more bad news so he kept quiet. "Let's head down to the parking lot."

He gave her the flashlight and urged her to take the lead down the steep hill. Once on solid concrete, she handed it back to him. Holding it overhead, he watched her closely for dizziness or other impairments from her fall. He saw nothing out of the ordinary, but a head injury could mean a concussion. He'd have the EMT's check her out when they got here.

He pointed at a rough-hewn bench. "Maybe you should sit down."

"I'm fine " Her voice cracked and she seemed embarrassed over reacting to the murder.

"It's okay to be upset, Syd. A horrible thing happened tonight."

"I'm fine really. I'll be back to a hundred percent by morning."

Text copyright © by Susan Sleeman

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

I've been tagged!

Thank you, Joanne Troppello, for tagging me with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award! What a cool way to connect and get to know each other.

Seven random facts about me.

1. What do a resident apartment manager and an assistant fire chief have in common? A parking problem. How do they resolve it? By getting married. lol. The beginning of our happy-ever-after story.
2. We have one child left at home ~ a spoiled golden retriever.
3. No beaches for me. My favorite getaway consists of sipping coffee on a cabin deck tucked in the mountains.
4. I’m a family room sports fan. Why should I leave the comforts of my air-conditioned family room to enjoy NASCAR, football, and hockey?
5. Café con leche is my favorite coffee, but McDonald’s mocha frappe comes in a close second.
6. I almost never wear dresses.
7. I rebelled against joining Facebook until last month. So help a sister out, click on over, and “like” me.
Tag. You're it! Have fun, ladies!
Angie Arndt ~ Joy on the Back Roads
Anne Albert ~ Piedmont Island Trilogy
Clare Revell ~ The World Can Wait
Susan Tuttle ~ Steps
Carole Brown ~ Sunnybank Meanderings
Lynnette Bonner ~ Writer's Journey
K. Dawn Byrd ~ K. Dawn Byrd
Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista
Monique DeVere ~ Monique DeVere

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

PURPLE KNOT - by Raquel Byrnes available now with White Rose Publishing

A killer strikes. A love rekindled. A life-altering choice.
When her best friend, is murdered, Reyna Cruz doesn't believe the police have the whole story. An investigator by trade, she has the talent to track Summer’s killer, but when clues lead to a family connection and a vicious gang, she suddenly becomes the hunted. At the end of her rope, Reyna must decide to trust the God she believes abandoned her. 

Wanting justice for his sister’s murder, lawyer Jimmy Corbeau agrees to help Reyna—even though she’s his ex-fiancé, and their break-up devastated him. Romance is reawakened, but so are memories of their tragic undoing. Jimmy must decide if he will fight for a future with Reyna or allow their past to derail the investigation and his second chance at love.

When the investigation goes awry and Summer’s infant daughter is kidnapped, Reyna must put her life on the line. Will Jimmy and Reyna survive the desperate measures it takes to recover his niece, catch a killer, and secure a happily-ever-after for them all?

Read an excerpt...

“Rain, you have to decide what kind of person you’re going to be. I have to know.”
“What are you saying, Jimmy?” Confused I looked at him.
“I’m saying that you’re racing towards a crossroads, and I want to know what path you’re planning to take.”
“Now is not the time for this conversation, Jimmy. We’re chasing a suspect!”
“Now is exactly the time, Rain. I need to know, right now because anything you do out of anger or grief will directly affect me, too!” Jimmy said loudly.
Dread bubbled up into my chest. I tried to answer calmly but I felt control slipping. My throat ached with the words I wanted to shout at him. “Don’t make me do this, Jimmy. Not now.”
“Yes, now, Rain.”
“What do you want me to say?” I shouted. “What do you want to hear?”
“I want to hear that you won’t put your anger ahead of our future. I want to hear that you can walk away from the possibility of revenge.”
“Why…why would I do that?” I looked at Jimmy with wonder.
“Because you’ll destroy us in the process, Rain.” Jimmy reached out and caught the hem of my sweater in his fingers. He looked worried.
“Are you asking me to choose between nailing Parker and loving you?” Anger and confusion whipped through me like a cold wind.
“No. I’m asking you to choose between the hatred boiling in your veins and the grace hanging over your head.”
Raquel Byrnes lives in Southern, California with her husband of sixteen years and their six children. She considers inspirational fiction a wonderful way to minister to others. She writes romantic suspense with an edge-your-seat pace. Her first book the Shades of Hope Series, Purple Knot, released on June 3rd from White Rose Publishing. You can visit her at her website: and her writing blog,Edge of Your Seat Romance.

A Day in the Life of…Raquel Byrnes
As a homeschool mom of six, my day starts off pretty mellow. The kids wake up at their own times, eat and start on their work.  It’s not until the mid-morning hour when all of them are bustling around that the fun really begins.  I sit at my laptop in the classroom and try to do research for my book while simultaneously mixing icing ‘glue’ for our Great Wall of China replica made out of sugar cubes.
Once I have that going, I get the crock pot going with tonight’s meal. Usually some hearty chicken stew…it’s easy and yummy.  Meanwhile the babies have started to feed the water turtle their playdoh, so I fish that out with the pen I was using to jot down some personality quirk ideas for a character in my new work in progress.
I get the babies busy on some coloring, give my high schooler a lecture on Skyping while doing math, and settle down to check my email and Twitter...for two minutes. Because my Jr. Higher needs me to help him look up the average rainfall for Papua New Guinea for his report.  I print out his information, pop on over to my blog, read and answer comments, and start on a new post, but…
I answer a call from my mother who wonders why I never bring her grandkids over anymore (we were there last week) and I flip through the calendar and find a time between my critique group meeting and date night with hubby. I write myself a note on the paper with my character quirks and put it on the fridge as a reminder.
School time over, I put the babies to their nap and sit down to read the last chapter I wrote so I can get ‘in the groove’ of writing. Until my third grader reminds me that we are supposed to be planting the potato he’s been growing with toothpicks and a glass…my GOOD glass? Oh well we get it into the ground and I wash off, pop the bread in the oven and sit down to type…something. Where was I again?
Hubby comes home, dinner and homework are tackled, we put the kids down and I have some coffee on the couch with my sweetheart.  He goes off to grade papers and I settle down at my laptop. Nine-thirty and ready to write.  Now if I could only find my notes on character quirks…
All craziness aside, the Lord has blessed me with the passion to write inspirational romance. Purple Knot is my debut novel, and I am so thankful, Dora, for the opportunity to chat about my family and passion for writing.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Sizzling Summer Reads

Hey friends.

Can you answer question #4 from Journey's End? (caution: contains some graphic book covers).

Chatting at The Lounge tomorrow. Join me, won't you?

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Just got back...

Just returned from two days in the Gatlinburg area. Man, it was hot! Mid-90's. Yowzie.

I love traveling. For short periods. A week, preferably less, much to my hubby's dismay.

To me there's nothing sweeter than coming home. Sleeping in my own bed. Waking up to my own brand of coffee. The freedom to open the door and allow our dog to go out in the yard unattended.

What about you? Do you like coming home? Or could you stay on vacation indefinitely?

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

How will you use your words?

Words. Have you considered how powerful they are?

Words hurt. Words can destroy relationships and break families apart. They can discourage and humiliate, be rude and judgmental. How painful is it to be the brunt of critical, hateful words?

Words can also encourage, lift others up. A parent's words to their child can be gentle, kind, and patient. Sweet words like "I love you" create a lasting bond. Humble words like "I'm sorry" restore relationships.

How will you use your words today?

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sizzling Summer Reads by The Romance Reviews

 Journey's End will be displayed on 
The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Romance page from
June 16 to 20

Join me for a chat in The Lounge on 6/7


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