Now, as to what's up--I still have not finished WILD PASSIONS, my second book in the Feral Passions series. The first one released in the CLAIMED BY THE MATE duet from St. Martin's on September 15--not sure when the second one will be out.
And for those of you who have written and asked when the next Spirit Wild is coming out--I wish I could give you a date. I had fully intended to write a couple of Chanku stories this year, but I ended up "overbooked" with stories for St. Martin's and those take precedence. I love what I do, but when it comes down to it, writing is my job, which means I sign contracts for work and do my best to get the stories in on time, and only then can I write the books that are more for fun and obviously for my readers who follow that series. I honestly wish there were more of you so I could afford to concentrate on those books. I think if there were only half a dozen readers, I would write them anyway, because I love that world and the characters.
I can promise that I am going to write more stories. I just can't give a specific date at this time. If you stick with me on either Facebook, Twitter, or my newsletter, you'll know as soon as I start work on the next one. And, if any of you are interested, I occasionally post on the updates page to let visitors to this site know what's up. You can access the link at the top called UPDATES & PROJECTS. It's sort of a catchall for what's going on when I don't have time for a newsletter.
Since I'm writing like a madwoman and still have a lot to do tonight, I'm keeping this short, but decided to post a new excerpt of INTIMATE. This is the first in my Intimate Relations series, first book coming out December 1, and so far I've got a 4.5 star review from RT Romance Reviews and and excellent review from Publisher's Weekly, which is making me even more excited about this book getting out in front of readers. I really think you're going to love Jake and Kaz.
Main characters are Jake Lowell and Kaz Kazanov--she's a model who's just lost her job, and Jake's a photographer who really wants to hire her. They've met briefly when she stormed out of her manager's office and he was in the waiting room at the agency, talking to the receptionist, but this is their first formal meeting, in a coffee shop in San Francisco, when Jake wants to convince her to work for him. Two beautiful but damaged people, both with secrets, who feel an instant attraction to one another.
It wasn’t until she took her cup and paid the bill that she turned without having to hunt for him, and headed directly to his table.
“Hey,” she said, sliding into the seat across from him before he had time to stand. She held her hand out. “Kaz Kazanov.”
He shook her hand. “Jake Lowell. Thank you for agreeing to meet.” He didn’t want to let go. Her hand was as beautiful as the rest of her, the fingers long and slim, nails trimmed short with clear polish.
Glancing up, he met eyes like dark chocolate, a wide smile in an angular face that was far from traditionally beautiful, but one he had trouble looking away from. High cheekbones, a long, sharply bridged nose, full lips and a firm chin. Her hair was a short, dark brown cap, cut in a jagged, off-balance style that merely accentuated the angles and shadows of her face, her long, slim neck, the deep hollows at her collarbones.
She wore an oversized white cotton man’s shirt over a pale blue tank top. He’d noticed when she walked in that her belly was covered. Damn. He’d really wanted a look at the tattoo.
She had turquoise studs in both ears and a tiny matching stud in her left nostril. This was looking better and better.
“Seen enough?” She tilted her head and smiled at him, but there was a bite to her words.
“Actually, no, but I must admit I like what I see. What nationality are you?”
“Does it matter?”
Yeah. She was definitely pissed, but why? He shrugged. “Only because I want to know if your skin color is all over or if you’ve got tan lines we’d need to cover.”
“Oh, crap.” She slapped a hand to her forehead and just left it there, covering her eyes as she laughed. Jake grinned as a dark burnt umber flush spread across those outstanding cheekbones. After a minute, she peeked through her fingers. “I am so sorry. I was treating you like a bad date getting a bit too personal.” Then she snorted rather inelegantly. “I totally gapped out this was a job interview. My apologies. Obviously you’re aware this has not been one of my better days.”
He was still smiling when he answered her. “I know. I heard what happened, and then I wasn’t sure if the receptionist would give you my number. She’s very protective of you.”
“Lola’s one of my roommates. She’s a really good friend. She was there for me through some very dark times; she just wants to protect me.” Kaz shrugged and glanced away.
The emptiness in her eyes sent a chill through him. He thought back to what Lola said to him and knew Kaz was thinking of her little sister—knew it as clearly as if she’d told him—but then she sort of shook herself and smiled at him again.
It felt like a punch to the heart.
“I don’t know what I am,” she said. How was it she could so easily rock his world and yet remain totally unaffected? She was chatting away as if nothing had happened.
“Dad’s fairly dark,” she said. “Hispanic maybe, or Middle Eastern. He was adopted at birth, an abandoned baby, so he has no idea what his genetic background is. My mother was mostly white, almost as tall as me, but with some Native American in her background. It shows more in me than it did in her. She was a natural blonde. I get the hair color from my father.”
“Past tense? Your mother?”
Kaz sipped her latte. Glanced away and said, “She’s dead. A long time ago.”
“That’s pretty tough, losing someone you love.”
She cocked her head to one side and stared at him. “You say that as if you know.”
He merely nodded, repeated her comment. “A long time ago.”
She watched him a moment longer, and then lowered lashes much too thick and long to be real—except he knew they were.
“So, you thought I was a bad date, eh?” He chuckled, changing the subject, and laughed when she gave him a snarky look out of the corner of her eye—and blushed again. She was absolutely intriguing, exotic rather than beautiful, and her appearance changed with each movement, every smile, every glance. He couldn’t wait to photograph her, to see what he might discover with his lens that was hidden within her rapidly changing expressions. After only a few minutes in her presence, he saw endless possibilities for the ad campaign—and more. Beyond her amazing looks, everything else about her was just as appealing—the low, husky voice, the broad smile, the easy laughter.
“I hate to admit it,” he said, “But I wish this wasn’t strictly business. I haven’t had time for too much play lately.”
“Tell me about it.” This time she merely smiled, but it was another expression that changed the entire look.
He took another mental snapshot, framing her in one more perfect shot. “Yeah,” he said. “Relationships are totally out, and dating isn’t penciled in on my schedule for oh, about the next ten years or so, but this is actually a job that could be a lot of fun as well as good for both our careers. The shoot is for a new line of jewelry, called Intimate. Very expensive, unique designs, many for intimate piercings, hence the name, though they’ve got more traditional designs as well. You have exactly the look I’ve been searching for the past couple of weeks. I was just about ready to give up before I saw you. I noticed you’ve got ear and nostril piercings. Are there any others we could use to display some truly beautiful pieces?”
She blushed again, and he wished he had his camera with him, but he’d dropped the equipment off at his apartment. He wondered if the camera on his phone could catch that beautiful burnt umber shade, but then she was laughing, her color was back to its perfect warm honey, and the moment passed.
“Why the blush?” He took a sip of his coffee and watched her eyes. Dark as bittersweet chocolate, they actually twinkled.
“I’ve done a few nude shoots, but very few.” She grimaced. “I’m not real comfortable posing nude, if that’s what you’re looking for, but beyond my ears and nose, both of my nipples are pierced, my navel, and the hood of my clit.” She laughed. “I’m not sure I know you well enough to model all the available options.”
He had to consciously will himself away from thinking about those piercings if he was going to function at all as a professional.
I've got just one prize this month, but it's a good one--Advance Reader print copies of both INTIMATE and the second book, REDEMPTION. You know the drill--sign up with the contest entry form on the right of the screen (or very bottom on some phones) and please get your mailing address right! I've had way too many prizes come back to me because your zip was wrong or the address incomplete. DOUBLE CHECK it! Please!
Be well, and I hope if you're in Texas you're not floating away--rains have been awful in some parts. Wish you could sent it our way.
Best to all of you,