First off, I have a confession to make. I have P-cock envy. A couple of years ago I hand painted my dining room and thought Peacock accessories would go well with my green-gold color scheme and fan-like brush strokes. So every time I happened to be in a store, I’d search for peacock anything, but never really found anything of significance. Then, I happened to be at a dear friend’s house this fall and low and behold what did she have in the corner of her sunroom? A glittering, light flashing four-foot high beautiful peacock!
“OH, OH, OH,” I shouted. “Where did you get him? He’s awesome!”
She immediately gave me the scoop, which all started last year when she’d gone to visit family. She’d been out walking in the neighborhood and saw a lit peacock amid a woman’s Christmas decorations and fell in love. (Who wouldn’t right? I did, too.) So, at the neighborhood Christmas party my friend went on a fact finding mission. She cozied up to the woman, raved about her peacock and casually asked where it had come from. The woman soaked up the praise, but then shrugged her shoulders and simply said she didn’t remember where she’d bought the peacock. Well that obviously was a bald face evasion. How could you buy a four-foot peacock of such beauty and NOT remember?
Now super charged with determination to find a peacock like that for herself. My friend took to the internet and by the time she returned home from the family visit, she had a peacock on her doorstep.
When, I left my dear friend’s house, I too did an internet search at the stop sign on the corner. Not only did I find the peacock on-line, but I also discovered that a nearby store HAD the peacock IN STOCK. I drove directly to the store and arrived home with my precious peacock in tow. Since then, numerous visitors to my home have admired my peacock and I’ve heard two different people say that they are having a PEACOCK Christmas tree this year.
So, while I have my beautiful peacock with which I am quite satisfied and may keep as a year-round decoration, I’m already in the throes of envy for a peacock Christmas tree. Perhaps good book sales in 2015 will allow me to feed my weakness. LOL. Who thinks
I’m crazy? What Christmas Tree do you covet?
On a more serious note, my church is having a shoebox Christmas this year. Through Samaritan’s Purse we received shoe boxes that my daughter and I had the most fun filling to the brim with things to bring Christmas to kids around the world. I think our boxes were destined for Africa. From dolls to deflated soccer balls to tool sets, it brought joy to our hearts to see just how much stuff we could fit into a box. We sent them off with a prayer that they would bring love to the hearts of the children who received them this Christmas. So who is joining in the gift of giving this year and where is your love going to?
Downton Abbey Fun! This past week I joined some Amazing writer friends (Stephanie Bond, Wendy Etherington, and Wendy Wax) on an adventurous evening to the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta to watch a preview of the first episode of Downton Abbey’s Season Five. I had to work that day and didn’t get off until an hour before the party started. So I dressed at work, rushed through nightmare traffic, putting on accessories and ran hurriedly to the theater before the show started. The Lord was with me in a big way. I made it and…I saw and rescued my diamond bracelet that was hanging by a thread to my dress BEFORE it fell to the sidewalk, where it would be forever lost to me. So I learned my lesson that it is better to go jewel-less than to drive and bejewel. Anyway, the show was awesome as was the speaker, Alastair Bruce. The man inspired greatness, especially in my writer’s soul. I feel another historical coming on.
Finally HOT IRISH LASS and a Tit-for-Tat! The story is coming along well! I had hoped to have it hit the shelves by Christmas, but I fear it will be after the New Year by the time it’s all said and done. As I am almost to the end, I am fairly certain this section of the book won’t change so I’m giving you a little peek at James and Cierra’s story. Now, if you remember from Hot Irish Lass and other fun news!when James’s brothers Jesse and Jackson momentarily disappear from his vision in the church ceremony, James fears it’s a premonition of their deaths. Only, it’s eight months later and nothing has happened to them. He doesn’t know what to believe, but he’s about to be forced TO believe.
Before sharing the excerpt, I have a huge favor to ask. Two important things are in the works. First, on December 8th and on December 9th is the Facebook release party for HEROES TO SWOON FOR. It is a 99¢ boxed set of sexy stories by eleven authors and features WILD IRISH RIDE, which I know most of you have read. If you can spread the word and come join our Facebook party, I’ll be hosting at 5:00-6:00 ET on Monday and again at 5:00-6:00 ET on Tuesday. We are all working hard to hit the bestseller list and any support would be appreciated.
For my eager fans, if you purchase HEROES TO SWOON FOR on Amazon at 99¢ and send me an email copying that purchase, I will gift you an advanced reading copy of HOT IRISH LASS, when I have it ready. Of course, a review in return would also be much appreciated.
Then Secondly, I need seventy-five people to support my Headtalker campaigns. Here is how it works. Click on the links to each of the campaigns, select what social media you want to share my ad through and then follow the steps and hit the support button at the end. You have to do each link separately and support each ad separately. What this will do is send out my ad for WILD IRISH RIDE, THE MISTRESS OF TREVELYAN, and TOUCH A DARK WOLF to thousands all at the same time on the same day. If I don’t get seventy-five people to support my ad, then the ad will not run. So I truly hope you can help. When you support these campaigns, and they go live, you will be entered to win a $100 Gift Card to Amazon!
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading.
Oh Wait. Here’s a bit of raw, unedited James:
Mike Mulligan’s instructions twisted the knot in James’s stomach tighter and tighter. “We’re booked into the WM Hotel. It’s adjacent to the Waldorf Astoria where Hassan has the Royal Penthouse Suite, close enough to use electronic surveillance if needed. It’s going to be tricky finding out what is going on beneath the surface. No one even passes Hassan on the street without being investigated. The moment he sees you with Cierra, he’ll do some digging. If anyone does a computer background search on you, they’ll find you live simply but made good money on real estate and investing in Sheridan Weldon Securities. You build because you like it not because you have to.”
“I have a fake bio now?” The bird’s eye view of New York’s skyline was just as surreal to James as the words coming out of Mulligan’s mouth and the stash of gadgets he’d been getting a crash course on. From belt-buckle mini dagger to a homing device glued to the back of his ear. All he needed was a pen that shot poisoned darts from Bond’s Q and he’d be set to go. Unlike bullets, darts delivered a silent, no mess death which meant less hassle. Back in his wannabe spy days of a daydreaming twelve year old, James had thought that’d be his weapon of choice. Now that a clandestine opportunity was being dumped in his lap, he wasn’t so keen on the spying idea. He eyed Mulligan, James had yet to say a word about Cierra’s horse-napping bomb and wouldn’t until he found out if she had lied to him and he wanted Mulligan to come clean as well. “When are you going to tell me what is really going on? This is way more than a simple fishing expedition.”
“Other than the fact that Jesse will kill me if anything happens to you?” Mulligan frowned as usual, but this time when he met James’s gaze, Mulligan looked more human and less sure than ever before. “The truth is I really don’t have a clue as to what is going on and that worries me more than anything else. I always do, or at least have a contact who knows something. Everything about this guy is dark, and what you can’t see, will always get you dead.”
Before James could recover from that bomb, Mulligan dropped another one. “If Hassan and Cierra’s limo leave the restaurant before you make it to her place, I’ve arranged for a little delay. A minor fender-bender or something. My guy will think of something. Have you figured out what you’re going to say to her?”
The situation went from surreal to totally unbelievable. He thought he’d call her again and play it by ear as to how to meet up with her. It wouldn’t be completely insane or untrue to say he hitched a ride with a jet-setting pal to party in New York for the weekend. What Mulligan was asking was too much. “What the hell? I’m supposed to go sit on her doorstep like a puppy left out in the rain?”
“Yeah. The whole point in getting here tonight is to meet Hassan and intervene into what might come after their private dinner.”
James clenched his jaw. He would have stayed in Savannah if he’d known this twist. “And what if they go to his penthouse at the Waldorf, Sherlock?”
“I’ve got that covered. Fire alarms are a beautiful thing.”
“Do you have any idea what this will do to my bachelor’s image?”
“No one will know.”
“I’ll know. Hell, she’ll know and as much as she posts on Facebook and Twitter, the world will know by tomorrow, too.”
“Maybe not. She’s broken her usual pattern. She hasn’t posted a thing today at all. That says a lot right there in my book.”
James paused. Cierra was a social media queen. If she hadn’t posted anything today then maybe she hadn’t blown him off with the horse-napping story. Maybe it was true and it wouldn’t hurt for him to arrive bearing something to help. “Better stop at a liquor store. Not only do I need a drink, but I need a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It’s her drink of choice. If Cierra couldn’t make it to the party, seems like I’m bringing the party to her.”
“You got a better idea?”
Mulligan shrugged. “Not really.”
“I also need a bike while I’m here. I’ll likely murder someone if I have to rely on taxis and sit in traffic.”
“Nobody drives in Manhattan.”
“Without wheels a man’s a sitting duck.”
“You aren’t solo on this. I’ve got your back, but I guess it won’t hurt. You’ll have temporary wheels by tomorrow.”
James hid is grin. Things for the weekend were looking up.
At least that’s what he told himself until he was standing on the sidewalk outside Cierra’s condo. Somehow Mulligan managed to stuff roses and expensive chocolates in James’s arms before he sped away. The limo that Cierra rode with Hassan in was five minutes out. He almost wished they’d gone to Hassan’s penthouse.
James felt like an idiot. Panic clawed up the back of his throat. What the hell would he do if Cierra looked at him as if he’d escaped a looney bin and told him to take a hike? Texting did not a relationship make—even just a casual-pop-over-and-see-if-you-need-help one.
What if her horse hadn’t been horse-napped? They weren’t involved in any way. She could have just texted that she had other plans instead. He didn’t like being lied to.
And just how damn awkward was it going to be if Cierra and Hassan were reigniting their old relationship? The image of her with another man irritated him–some. He’d kind of imagined himself kissing Cierra a few times since their Christmas outing, especially whenever she’d sent a late night text that somehow managed to sound sexy. And hell, he was a red-blooded Weldon; he’d be lying if he’d ended his fantasizing of his blue-blooded relation there. So, he already knew that if Cierra exited the limo with Hassan all hot and bothered that was going to really bug him.
Not that he he’d been sitting on the sidelines for her since Christmas. If he’d wanted some action, he’d have found some. He’d just been busy with helping his dad on the farm and working with Jared on their new housing venture with Rocky’s charity.
Him being out of the singles game lately had nothing to do with Cierra.
He broke out in a sweat and was about to signal a taxi, then manned-up. What if there was something real behind Mulligan and Jesse’s suspicions? James’s parents could be in danger. Cierra could be in danger. Maybe what she’d said about Pegasus was true. He owed to everyone to find out the truth. And if she had lied to him and was hot and heavy with this Sheik, then surely he had enough grit, or as Cierra would say savoir-faire, to keep from being sent home like a dog with his tail between his legs and give her a warning about the guy.
Somewhat settled inside, he finally focused on his surroundings. His James-Bonding skills sucked. Were in a real situation, he could be dead already.
Better get your game on, bro.
He didn’t necessarily get concrete jungle living. He was born in the South and raised on a farm. He needed space with his urbanity. He needed quiet with his noise. Not constant, perpetual movement and disruption. Manhattan never slept and even though it was almost eleven at night, a steady hustle and bustle of activity surrounded him. Dogs dragging their owners to hydrants sent him a few steps up the entrance to Cierra’s building. With his recent karma-streak, he’d get peed on. Taxis vied for space outside an upscale piano bar called Sing Me to the Moon. The scents of Chinese takeout and car exhaust mingled with the sounds of people living the life and walking the walk of their urban oasis. Nobody stood out.
What you can’t see will always get you dead.
James drew another breath and scanned the area again as he pretended to look down at his phone. An illegally parked black sedan in the shadows had a rental tag. He put the company and the license number onto his notes app. A man, too bulky to be a punk, was wearing a hoodie and smoking outside the upscale piano bar. He didn’t mesh with the smartly dressed couple walking into the club. James made note of that as well.
Before he could spot anything else, he saw a white limo coming down the street. It was show time. The limo came to a stop. James’s heart hammered and his palms dampened.
What the hell was wrong with him? You’d think he’d hit gravel on a sharp curve and about to kiss asphalt.
The back door popped open and Cierra barreled out looking up at him in shock. “James! You’re here?”
He remembered her being beautiful, but he’d forgotten that she was this awesome. Her wavy blonde hair swung like a silk curtain to her hips and her sultry eyes made a man think that drowning in a purple sea would be pure heaven. She wore a tantalizingly short and tight black lace dress that played hide-and-seek with his hungry gaze. He sucked in air and held up the Bailey’s in one hand and the flowers and Godivas in the other. “Yeah I—”
“You’re so wonderful!” Cierra cried, rushing up the steps. She flung her arms around his neck, pressed her enticing body to his in a full frontal assault on his senses before she pressed her lush mouth to his. That lush mouth that he swore couldn’t be that good. That lush mouth that he’d dreamed of kissing.
Thrown off kilter, he fell back against the hand rail and had to wrap his arms around Cierra’s back for balance. He still held the Baileys and the flowers and the chocolates, but he didn’t know it. The only thing he could feel was her. Groaning, he adjusted his lips to hers and slid his tongue searching for hers. Hot honey. She tasted like hot honey. Their tongues tangled like live wires, sparking an electric shock that went all the way to his toes before zinging back to his groin. She must have felt what he had because she shuddered and pulled back. She blinked at him in awe then hugged his neck hard.
He wanted to throw the gifts he held away, wrap his hands in her luxurious hair and take that kiss to the next level. He wanted to intimately know the full curves pressed so snugly against him.
“You’re engaged to me. Don’t let me down,” she whispered, before backing away from him. It was a good thing she collected the gifts from his numb fingers. He was so stunned that he’d likely have dropped them.
Cierra turned away from him to face the bottom of the steps. “Hassan, my fiancé, James. James this is Hassan a fellow equestrian and…friend.”
James was all prepared to give Hassan the evil eye, because it finally dawned on his stunned brain that Cierra had greeted James the way she had with an engagement ruse in tow because this billion dollar SOB had done something to scare the hell out of her. Instead, James had to grab onto the hand rail behind for support as Cierra disappeared from his vision.
Right there on the steps between him and Hassan. One second she was there, the next she was gone. He blinked twice, reached his hand out to grab where he remembered her being, and the moment he touched what felt like her arm, she reappeared into his sight.
Hassan climbed the steps and held out his hand. James, on auto pilot because everything inside him had short-circuited, shook the man’s hand.
“I didn’t catch your last name,” Hassan said.
“Weldon. James Weldon.”
“Weldon?” Hassan narrowed his gaze at Cierra as if accusing her of a crime. “The same as yours?”
She shrugged and caught James’s hand in hers. “Fate. We share a common ancestor about two hundred years ago. Finding James’s family was a huge blessing for me. His mom reminds me of mine. Even the stories she shares sound like the ones my mom used to tell.”
James blinked again. Cierra and his mom were in touch with each other often?
“Nice to hear, Habiba. I will let you two catch up with each other then.” Hassan headed for his limo, his movements seemingly stiff.”
Cierra took a step toward the man. “You’ll let me know if you find out anything?”
Hassan glanced back. His gaze intense. “Of course, Habiba. Nothing has changed. I will find your horse.”
Cierra shivered and James went to her. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. It was his turn to take the Bailey’s and the chocolates from her. The roses had already fallen onto the steps. He wrapped an arm around her and watched Hassan disappear into the limo.
“What in the hell is going on?” James asked softy as the limo drove away.
Cierra leaned against him. “God forgive me. I am so angry right now I could kill him.” She stabbed at the tears on her face with her fingers as if ashamed of them. “It’s called being stalked and terrorized.” She bent down and picked up the roses, bringing them to her face and breathing deep. The velvety pink blooms had a blush center and reminded him of her delicate skin. She seemed so fragile, was so beautiful, and that SOB had harmed her in some way. The rage exploding inside James had his vision turning red.
She set her hand on his arm. “I can’t freaking believe you’re here at this moment. But whatever made you show up, I guess, I’m glad you did.”
He focused on her and drew a deep breath. In the past five minutes he’d been on one hell of a roller coaster ride and he needed to start thinking with a cool head on his shoulders. “Explain stalked and terrorized and horse-napped?”