Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Friday of the Month Recipe: Churrasco with Chimichurri sauce recipe. It's simple, but delish!

 
 
This recipe from Sophia Knightly ties in very well with her Grill Me Baby book.  Who wouldn't love a chef like Chef Paolo, a man who will romance you and cook like a dream too?
 
What meal would you like Chef Paolo
to prepare for you?
 
Leave a comment. 
Sophia is giving away an e-book copy of Grill Me Baby to one lucky person who leaves a comment.
I'm hungry already.
 
 
 
 

Ingredients:
  • 4 skirt steaks, trimmed
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions: 
Brush with olive oil and rub salt and pepper all over steaks. Grill to your preference. Serve with Chimichurri sauce. 
 
Chimichurri Sauce Recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsps. fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
 
Directions:
Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl and stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve immediately or refrigerate it. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Will keep for 3-5 days refrigerated.

Sophia likes to serve it with a salad of tomatoes, red onion and avocado in a vinaigrette dressing, and also oven roasted potatoes drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, pepper and herbs de Provence.

Here is the trailer for Grill Me Baby:


 And the link to the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Grill-Me-Baby-ebook/dp/B007YJN82C


Bestselling author Sophia Knightly loves to cook up hot romance and delicious humor in her feel-good stories. Whether it's romantic suspense, romantic comedy or chick lit, her books are fun and sexy contemporary romances that feature hot alpha heroes and strong, smart women. Her popular Tropical Heat Series books, Wild for You and Sold on You, have consistently been on multiple Amazon bestselling lists. A two-time Maggie award finalist and a P&E Readers' Poll finalist, she believes in love-at-first sight and happy endings, and she always enjoys a good laugh. When not writing or reading, she finds pleasure in walking the beach, exploring museums, going to the theatre, enjoying good food, and watching movies.  
One of her favorite pastimes remains simply watching people, especially those in love!
 
 
And her latest release:
Links to HEART RAIDER:
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Meet Ally Shields


It's my pleasure to continue to bring authors to the spotlight here at My Story~My Way.

Today  we meet Ally Shields and Saturday read an excerpt from her latest novel,
Fire Within, Guardian Witch Series.

Ally's writing cave.
Ally was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for her urban fantasy series. After  a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009, and Awakening the Fire, the debut novel in her Guardian Witch series, was released in September 2012.  Ally still lives close to the Mighty Mississippi with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing or reading, she loves to travel in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.

Please welcome Ally Shields.


LA: Hi Ally, welcome to My Story~My Way. Tell us about your current series.
AS: I write the Guardian Witch urban fantasy series published by a small indie,  Etopia Press.

Arianna Calin is a kickass cop trained in weaponry and martial arts, but she's also a witch with the ability to call fire and to shoot it from her fingertips. On cases involving both humans and Otherworlders, she partners with a human cop, Ryan Foster. Andreas, a sexy vampire singer, joins their investigation in book one and is a recurring character. Ari is alarmed by the weird mystical bond she and Andreas seem to share. And of course there are evil doers...everywhere.

LA: What’s next for you?
AS: Book 3 in the series, Burning Both Ends, releases in July, and there should be at least four more books after that. Number four is already written, and I'm wrestling with number five. Ari is not being very cooperative in writing this one!

LA: I can understand stubborn characters, I have one myself now! How much time do you spend promoting your books?
AS: Way too much. It takes at least an hour or two a day, sometimes more.

LA: What works best for you?
AS: I split my efforts between my blog, twitter, facebook and Goodreads, but the majority of the time goes to the blog and twitter.

LA: Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
AS: My pen name is my mother's maiden name. She didn't live to see my books published, but she would have been so excited. Besides, it sounded like a good name for a fantasy writer, and I don't have any trouble remembering it! :)

LA: What is your writing routine like?
AS: Lol. What routine? I have an office--a writer's cave--where I do 99 percent of my writing, but times vary widely. I tend to be a night owl, so some of my best writing might happen in the middle of the night. I write every day, seven days a week, even on vacation, if I can. It's what I do.

LA: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
AS: Ah, an easy question. Hearing from happy readers. There's absolutely nothing like it!

LA: Which aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
AS: First draft is the most fun. I am pretty much a pantser (as in 'seat of') and I experience the story as it unfolds on the page. My characters surprise me a lot, and I sometimes laugh at the things Ari says! The part I finds most tedious is the final proofing. By that point, I'm already sick of the story from all the rewrites and editing.

LA: What do you do when you find yourself overwhelmed with all the stuff that goes along with writing and publishing?
AS: Chocolate is good. So is Baileys and coffee. :) Going for a walk outdoors is an excellent alternative that is neither fattening nor alcoholic! My dog Ranger and I might also take the ball out in the back yard. Anything works that gets me out of my office and allows time for my head to clear.

LA: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about?
SA: Barbara Mertz who writes the Amelia Peabody series under the pen name of Elizabeth Peters. I'd love to talk with her about Egypt. Her series takes place there, and she is an Egyptologist. I've been to Egypt three times, fell in love with the place, and would go back again if the political situation would cool. It's one of my favorite places in the world.

LA:
Tell us something about yourself we might not expect! 
SA: I've hiked the Grand Canyon and rode a horse across the Navajo reservation to visit ancient Anasazi Indian ruins.
 
 
Blurb for Fire Within, Guardian Witch Series ~ Book Two
 
A hidden evil stalks the city…
  
Ari Calin refuses to believe her human friend Eddie murdered a vampire—in spite of his confession. Her human partner Ryan thinks the case is a slam dunk, even though there’s no weapon and no witnesses, but Ari’s not about to let her friend take the rap without finding out more.
  
 When Ari attends a charity event on the arm of a handsome werewolf, she finds someone she never expected to see again—Andreas De Luca, the charismatic vampire she used to date. When their eyes meet across the room, memories come rushing back. His kiss, his touch, a savage death…and a terrifying magical bond. A reconnection is the last thing she wants. Only by staying away and forgetting Andreas can she hope to avoid the Legend of Ramora.

But when vampires keep dying, one thing becomes clear: Riverdale has a serial killer on its hands, and Andreas could be next. Ari begins to fear there’s more to it, though. Something truly evil is stalking the city, waiting to take control…
 
 
 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Excerpt From Eine Kleine Murder by Kaye George

 
 Blurb:
 
Aspiring conductor Cressa Carraway arrives at her grandmother’s cabin at a rural Illinois lake resort, hoping to find some peace and quiet so she can finish composing the symphony she needs to earn her master’s degree in Composition. Instead, she finds her grandmother’s corpse in the lake.
The authorities dismiss the death as an accidental drowning, but when Gram’s best friend drowns in the exact same spot, Cressa just knows something is off-key in this idyllic setting. Convinced that her grandmother’s death was anything but an accident, she fights her instinct to flee and starts looking into things herself.
There are lots of people and facts to consider, from the self-important property manager and his brow-beaten wife, to their salacious son, to the elderly widow who may be lacing her home-baked cookies with a dash of poison. As the body count rises, Cressa doesn’t know which will be finished first—her symphony or her life.
Eine Kleine Murder is the first novel in the Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery series.

 

As promised, here is the excerpt from Eine Kleine Murder.

 Prologue

Stinguendo: Dying away. (Ital.)

What was that sound? A foot, snapping a twig in the woods? Ida knew she shouldn’t be swimming alone at night, but she’d been antsy all day. She needed to get her mind off Cressa's visit.
             Grace usually swam with her, but Grace had taken relatives to the Quad-City airport tonight.
             Besides, Ida was a strong swimmer. She knew every inch of Crescent Lake. And she thought she knew every sound. But there was that snap again. It prickled the hairs on her arms.
She stopped stroking and listened, straining toward the trees on the opposite bank, just ahead. It didn't repeat. Must have been a night creature in the woods. A raccoon out foraging?
Ida cupped her hands and pulled herself through the caress of the cool water, creating tiny ripples and almost no sound. The moon, a mere sliver tonight, lay a shining path across the silent ridges in the inky liquid.
Bullfrogs boomed from the shallow end of the lake and the wind rattled the oak leaves on the shore.
She neared the bank and stuck her toes into the soft mud, turned and stood waist deep for a moment before her return trip. The scent of the night woods was verdant, lush. She breathed in the familiar fishy smell of the dark water.
There was that sound again--snap, then a footfall. She tried to whirl around as a dark form--Dear God--sprang with a splash from the darkness--grabbed her from behind, shoved her under the water.
Ida clawed, scratched. Strong fingers pressed her down. Into the muck. Ground her face into the bottom. Her nose and mouth clogged with silt. No air.
She twisted. Kicked. Her bare feet struck strong legs. Unmoving legs. She scratched, tried to pry the iron grip from her shoulders. It only tightened.
Her arms went limp. Her legs stopped flailing. Those hands, always those strong hands, forced her down, into the mud. No air. No breath. Mud. Only mud.
She knew this shadow, these hands. She stopped struggling. She was dying. Regret mingled with the peace that took over as she collapsed and gave up.
Oh Cressa, my dear, dear Cressa.
 
 
 
 
Links to buy EINE KLEINE MURDER:

http://www.amazon.com/Kleine-Murder-Carraway-Musical-Mystery/dp/1935460641/
http://www.barkingrainpress.org/products/eine-kleine-murder/


Kaye George is a short story writer and novelist who has been nominated for Agatha awards twice. She is the author of four mystery series: the Imogene Duckworthy humorous Texas series, the Cressa Carraway musical mystery series, the FAT CAT cozy series, and The People of the Wind Neanderthal series.
 
Her short stories can be found in her collection, A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, as well as in several anthologies, various online and print magazines. She reviews for "Suspense Magazine", writes for several newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and promotion. Kaye is agented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary and lives in Knoxville, TN.

Here are Kaye's links:
 
 
 
 

 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meet Kaye George ~ Two Time Nominee for The Agatha Awards!!

It is my pleasure to bring you Kaye George today.

Kaye is a short story writer and novelist who has been nominated for Agatha awards twice. She is the author of four mystery series: the Imogene Duckworthy humorous Texas series, the Cressa Carraway musical mystery series, the Fat Cat cozy series, and The People of the Wind Neanderthal series.

Her short stories can be found in her collection, A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, as well as in several anthologies, various online and print magazines. She reviews for "Suspense Magazine", writes for several newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and promotion. Kaye is agented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary and lives in Knoxville, TN.



LA:  Kaye, thank you for being with us today. And for your excerpt on Saturday. What’s next for you?

KG: Since I’ve gotten myself into the situation of writing 4 series, lots more books, with short stories sandwiched in between. After this most recent release, EINE KLEINE MURDER (the first Cressa Carraway Classical Music Mystery), the first People of the Wind (a Neanderthal mystery) will come out from Untreed Reads. I don’t have a publication date, but it will be later this year. At the moment, I’m working on the 1st in the FAT CAT series, which will debut in 2014 from Berkley Prime Crime. It’s a cozy series set in Minneapolis and featuring a pudgy, adorable cat named Quincy and his owner, the sleuth. I’ll be writing three of those under the name Janet Cantrell. Eventually, I’d like to put out a 4th Imogene Duckworthy book in the humorous Texas series that I started in 2011. The tentative title for that one is STROKE.

LA: How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you?

KG:  Probably not enough, since none of my books has yet funded a new home gym and a personal assistant. I do what I can, mostly by trying to make as many personal appearances as I can and by showing up in cyberspace where I can. I do a personal blog (Travels with Kaye) and a group one (Make Mine Mystery), and guest blogs, of course. I think hosting guest bloggers doesn’t hurt anything either--might help both of us.

LA: Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

KG: I published my first couple of short stories under my real name, Judy Egner. But, at the time, my husband was a brand new Methodist minister and I wanted to leave myself open to writing hard-boiled if I felt like it, or anything really. So I went with Kaye George, which is my middle name and my husband’s. It was my clever daughter’s idea. Since the FAT CAT series will be owned by the publisher, I’m required to pick another name for it, hence Janet Cantrell.

LA: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

KG: I get a huge thrill out of people telling me they like certain parts of my books, or having a favorite character. I’m pleased that they read the books, and beyond pleased that they like them!

LA: Which aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

KG: I guess actual writing is my favorite part. After all, that’s why I do it, because I love it. I don’t especially like trying to find a publisher (although I love it when I’ve found one). I also don’t like promotional stuff, but I’m getting used to it and like it better than I used to. I used to be terrified of speaking in front of people, but--miracle of miracles--I’m getting over that.

LA: What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

KG: My two Agatha nominations. You could have knocked me over both times when I got the phone calls. I’m blown away by the fact that at least more than one person nominated me both times. I think it would have to be more than one, anyway. My writing must be OK.

LA: What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

KG: Panic. It’s like I can’t remember how to put one word down after another. Then I get out my folder where I’ve left myself notes, kind of like the guy in the movie, “Memento”. Then, oh yeah, there are plot points, three acts, all that stuff that’s in the folder. And first draft is all well and good (and not easy, don’t think I’m saying that), but the real work starts when I begin to edit. I have another folder for that. Check goals and obstacles for each scene, check involvement of as many of the 5 senses as possible, try to even out the pacing and the chapter lengths, balance dialogue and exposition, all that stuff.

LA: Coffee, tea or other?

KG: For some reason (maybe the fact that my mother drank enough for two generations), my body can’t handle coffee. I swill a lot of tea, though. Scotch at night.

(Ah, a woman after my own heart.  Scotch at night or after 5 o'clock! ~ LA)

LA: Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

KG: Maybe you wouldn’t expect this. I mentioned this online recently and was told it was unexpected. I love ice hockey--my favorite sport to watch.

LA: Do you have a day job, too?

KG: This isn’t really a day job, because it doesn’t pay anything, but I’m serving a two-year term as president of the Guppies, and the Guppies are my favorite online writing group.

If you don’t know, the Guppies are a Sisters in Crime chapter. We’re completely online and therefore it’s easy for us to have the members that we do--they’re from around the world, Italy, Finland, Australia, and more. Our curious name comes from the original moniker, The Great Unpublished. It got shortened to Guppies and comes complete with a cute fishie logo: GUPPIES. We exist to help each other get published and, when that happens, which is more and more often, we help each other with promotion, how to do signings, and answer any and all questions from our nearly 500 members.


Here are Kaye's links, and don't forget her excerpt on Saturday.  
Blurb:
Aspiring conductor Cressa Carraway arrives at her grandmother’s cabin at a rural Illinois lake resort, hoping to find some peace and quiet so she can finish composing the symphony she needs to earn her master’s degree in Composition. Instead, she finds her grandmother’s corpse in the lake.
The authorities dismiss the death as an accidental drowning, but when Gram’s best friend drowns in the exact same spot, Cressa just knows something is off-key in this idyllic setting. Convinced that her grandmother’s death was anything but an accident, she fights her instinct to flee and starts looking into things herself.
There are lots of people and facts to consider, from the self-important property manager and his brow-beaten wife, to their salacious son, to the elderly widow who may be lacing her home-baked cookies with a dash of poison. As the body count rises, Cressa doesn’t know which will be finished first—her symphony or her life.
Eine Kleine Murder is the first novel in the Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery series.
 
Links to buy EINE KLEINE MURDER:

 
 
 
 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

EXCERPT FROM HEART RAIDER BY SOPHIA KNIGHTLY




Blurb, you've just got to read on :)
 
Marooned together on Turquoise Bay, hot passion explodes between two unlikely lovers...and nearly destroys them.

Intrepid TV reporter Veronique Whitcomb is the last person reclusive billionaire Nick Cameron expects to show up on his doorstep in the wake of Hurricane Abby.  All grown-up with heart-stopping allure, she is far different from Ronnie, the tomboy he remembers fifteen years ago as her camp counselor. Yet enticing as she is, Nick just wants to be left alone. The burnt-out corporate raider has retreated from the cutthroat corporate world after a scandal he was falsely accused of nearly landed him in jail. Still reeling from his ex-wife's betrayal, Nick has no intention of falling in love, but keeping Ronnie at arms' length is proving impossible.

When it comes to Nick, Veronique doesn't understand the meaning of "No." He was her childhood crush, the gorgeous summer camp counselor who saved her from herself when she was a rebellious kid coping with an alcoholic, drug-addicted celebrity dad and an emotionally unstable mom. In love with him and unstoppable in her zeal, she is determined to vindicate Nick's name and alert him to criminal activity that if not stopped in time, could destroy him.

As danger and suspense builds, Nick must keep the head-strong Ronnie out of harm's way—and out of his heart—but how can he when she's raided his heart in a sweet and spicy way?
Here it is as promised.  The excerpt from Heart Raider:
 
 

Prologue
Thirteen-year-old Veronique Whitcomb gazed at the sparkly stars in the clear North Carolina sky and let out a frustrated sigh. Sitting cross-legged in front of the campfire, she swallowed against the lump in her throat and tried to smile. It was the last night she’d spend with her two best friends at sleep away camp and she wished it would never end. Tonight she’d enjoy their company…tomorrow she’d have to face the disaster called home.
“I hate that we’re leaving tomorrow,” Veronique said, grabbing each girl’s hand. “I’m gonna miss you guys.” They’d first started coming to camp as little girls and none of them had sisters. Tash and Teddy would always be her Heart Sisters.
“I bet you’ll miss Nick even more.” Natasha White’s blue eyes danced as she tossed her long strawberry blond hair. “You’ve been trying to get his attention all summer.”
“I have not, Tash,” Veronique retorted. God, had she been that obvious? The first time her eyes had connected with the deep blue eyes of the cutest counselor at Camp Merry Cascades, her heart had done a cartwheel and was never the same.
Theodora Behr clutched her heart dramatically. “Nick is sooo hot. I can’t stop dreaming about him.” She grinned and nudged Natasha.
“You can’t have him, Teddy. I want him too.” Natasha pretended to swoon. “Admit you like him, Ronnie. We all do.”
“Cut it out, guys.” Veronique’s chest hitched at the thought of not seeing Nick again, but she rolled her eyes to hide her feelings.
Natasha smiled. “Hey, you don’t have to get so defensive.”
“Yeah, we’re just messing with you. We won’t mention him again. No more Nick—I promise,” Theodora said, lifting her right hand in a pledge. “I’m gonna miss you too.”
“We have to stay in touch after we leave,” Natasha said earnestly.
“Pinky swear.” Veronique raised her pinky with the bitten-down nail and ragged cuticle.
“I’m in.” Theodora linked her suntanned pinky with Veronique’s. “I plan to travel the world and marry a hot prince in a foreign land, but I’ll always stay in touch.”
“Me too.” Natasha looped her bejeweled, manicured pinky with theirs. “I’m going to be a famous Broadway actress,” she said dreamily. “Of course…if Nick proposed to any of us today, we’d say yes.”
“You promised not to mention him again,” Veronique reminded her. “Anyway, I’m gonna be too busy reporting important stuff to think about marriage. I probably won’t marry anyone,” she added with a touch of cynicism to throw them off.
“Unless it’s Nick!” Theodora and Natasha added in unison and collapsed into giggles.
 
 
Fifteen years later…
Chapter One
 
Veronique squelched a sharp intake of breath at the dangerous looking man whose wide shoulders filled the doorway. She hadn’t expected to find him looking so untamed and ominous on this steamy August morning on Starfish Island, a barrier island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. He looked annoyed too. She couldn't blame him really—she'd stood there ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door until he finally answered.
Nick Cameron’s cobalt blue eyes locked on hers, flashing with impatience. Veronique’s stomach fluttered nervously as she lifted her chin and stared back, her lips unsteady with the effort to smile. The foreboding glint in Nick’s eyes made her knees knock, yet she was not the knee-knocking type—not by a long shot. Veronique Whitcomb, intrepid reporter for Ace News, was not easily frightened. Still…Nick’s sheer size and intimidating air gave her pause. She held onto the wooden balustrade and gaped at him. Dark stubble shaded his chiseled jaw. The angles of his face were sharper than she remembered, his cheekbones and jaw taut, his nose a hawkish blade. He was almost unrecognizable, save for the brilliant blue eyes pinning her with an intensity that made her smile falter.
“Ronnie?” Nick’s searing gaze raked over her. “What are you doing here?”
Her heart lifted. Nick remembered her. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard after all. Maybe the large, scowling man would revert back to the childhood heartthrob she remembered. She’d flown into Miami two days ago from New York and driven across to the west coast of Florida in a rental car, stopping to do some interviews in Fort Myers before crossing over the causeway to Starfish Island. She would have driven anywhere to seek him out.
“Never mind. I know why you’re here,” he said caustically. “You’re not getting an interview.” He looked behind her, peering from left to right.
“Relax, I came alone,” she said, guessing that he was checking to see if there was a camera crew waiting to ambush him.
“You’re leaving. Now.” His hand on the door, he began to close it in her face.
“Wait a minute!” She stepped up to the door ledge and he took a step backward. “How did you recognize me?”
He looked at her tousled, layered shag with narrowed eyes. “I’ve seen you on TV a few times—reporting. Your hair’s still reddish brown, but you haven’t changed much from the thirteen-year-old brat with long pigtails and freckles who raised havoc wherever she went.”
“Gee thanks.” Why was Nick making her feel like a gauche tomboy when she’d gotten all dolled up in a floral sundress and pretty sandals? She had even put on make-up, for God’s sake. She did not look like the ragtag, wild Ronnie he remembered from Camp Merry Cascades years ago.
She drew herself up to her full five foot, five inches. “I have changed a lot in fifteen years and you know it.”
Nick’s steely gaze flickered over her flushed face. “Fifteen years or not, I’d recognize your freckles in a heartbeat, especially when you’re blushing.”
She wished her fair skin didn’t turn bright pink under duress. It was one of those things a reporter could do without. Not even the self-tanner she’d applied before coming down from New York could hide her vivid blush.
“Fine welcome after all those years. Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
“No.” Nick towered above her with tanned, muscular arms folded across his chest and solid legs braced apart. His thick black hair was longer and shaggier than any businessman would ever have. She stared at his well-developed arms and the imposing chest straining his cotton T-shirt. His uncivilized appearance wasn’t exactly what you’d expect of a billionaire corporate raider. He looked more like a muscle-rippling wrestler ready to take down his opponent. There wasn’t an ounce of fat or flab on him.
Her pulse quickened as she took in every detail. Nick, at twenty when she’d last seen him, had been lean and lanky, but he’d put on at least fifty pounds of roped muscle since. He’d grown a few inches too.
“How did you find me? Nobody knows where I live and I plan to keep it that way,” he warned, his voice low and tough.
Veronique lifted her hair up and fanned her neck. “Please let me in and I’ll tell you. It’s hot out here and these sandals are pinching my feet,” she said, shifting from one foot to the other. Why had she even bothered to wear the strappy sandals? Oh yeah, to impress the grouch blocking her entrance.
“Make it brief and then skedaddle. Got it?” Nick opened the door and gestured for her to enter his plantation-style mansion.
Veronique nodded, even though she had no plan to skedaddle. Not when she’d managed to get inside his house. Delighted to pass the threshold of his reclusive digs, she followed him past a high-ceilinged portico and into his living room. As Nick ambled ahead, the play of taut thighs and well-formed butt muscles contracting and relaxing in his low-rise jeans snared her attention.
She forced her gaze away from his jeans and studied her surroundings. A mahogany staircase led to an upstairs loft and other rooms at the back of the house. The living room and dining room were decorated in greige tones, a relaxing combination of gray and beige. Other than basic, minimalist furniture and a few abstract paintings, the house was sparsely decorated.
The living room had a plush, square sectional surrounding an oversized travertine stone coffee table. The dining room, with a long sleek table and six chairs, looked like it was never used. A modern, diamond shaped crystal chandelier hung from a high beam ceiling over the table.
“Aren’t you happy to see an old friend?” Ha, she was being delusional. Nick looked ready to throttle her.
His brows knotted over irate eyes. “I wouldn’t exactly call you an old friend. More like a little rebel without a cause. I’m surprised they didn’t send you home, with all the havoc you raised,” he groused. “Especially the last summer you spent there.”
Why did he have to mention the worst summer of her life?
“You forget I had famous, rich parents.” Damn, this wasn’t going as she’d expected…and hoped. She’d wanted him to take notice of the new, grown-up Veronique. “My thirteenth year wasn’t exactly a happy one. After Daddy’s death and Maman’s nervous breakdown, I toughened up real quick.”
From that low point in her young life, she had vowed never to feel so vulnerable again. Her father, Brett Whitcomb, a renowned TV news anchorman, had died of a lethal cocktail of drugs and alcohol the summer of her thirteenth year. Her genteel French maman, Helene, had always been prone to depression and bouts of paranoia. The more Brett had self-destructed, the worse it had become. She had worshiped her dashing celebrity husband and refused to acknowledge he was an alcoholic and drug addict. When reality finally set in after his death and Helene found out Brett had lost their family fortune in a Ponzi scheme, she spiraled down into a nervous breakdown, leaving behind her frightened, rebellious daughter to cope with the press.
“That was a rough time for you,” Nick conceded in a quiet tone. He knew all about her childhood traumas, he’d witnessed them first hand—especially Helene’s penchant for high drama and histrionics.
Her thirteenth year was the last time she’d seen Nick—until today. She’d kept tabs on him, rejoicing in his triumphs and success over the years. She met a lot of men in her line of work on a daily basis, but no one had held her interest long enough to build a relationship. Maybe she was “commitment phobic” as Maman often proclaimed gloomily…or maybe no one measured up to Nick. He’d been her hero then and still was, albeit a fallen one. Now that she’d found him, she wasn’t about to let things rest until they were set back to right.
Veronique expelled a heavy sigh. “There’s no use dredging up bad memories. Mind if I sit down?” she asked, eyeing the living room couch.
“Matter of fact, I do mind.”
She paused, gathering courage before he booted her out of there. “I have a proposition for you.”
Nick didn’t respond. His gaze was so direct, she had to break eye contact and gather her wits. As the seconds ticked by, she realized he wasn’t interested.
“Don’t you want to know what it is?” She held her breath and waited. He continued to stare at her with a mixture of distrust and skepticism.
“No,” he finally said. “But I have a feeling you won’t leave until I listen to you. I already told you I’m not giving you an interview. What harebrained scheme are you cooking up now?” he demanded.
She thrust her chin high and narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m no longer a kid and prone to what you rudely refer to as ‘harebrained’ schemes. I’m all grown up now, if you hadn’t noticed,” she stated, throwing her shoulders back and puffing out her chest.
Nick’s gaze lowered to her breasts and then back to her face. “I noticed.” He shook his head as if to clear it. “Once a hellion, always a hellion.”
“I don’t remember you being so gruff. You were always nice to me.” The Nick she remembered as camp counselor had been on the serious side, but kind and fair.
His upper lip curled. Damn, how long was he going to make her stand there before him like a delinquent? With his brawny hands braced on his lean hips and his wide-legged stance he looked like a tough detective interrogating a suspect.
Nick was being so patronizing, she felt like filling him in on the past years of her adult life, the ones filled with awards for investigative journalism and documentaries. But more than likely, he knew all about her recent public shame and how she’d been demoted from foreign correspondent to reporting fluff. She had once been renowned for her daredevil journalism, but given Nick’s aversion to the media, it wouldn’t be wise to bring it up now. Especially since he too had been publicly shamed in the media, but for vastly different reasons.
Given the way he was glowering at her, she wasn’t about to tell him the reason she’d landed on his doorstep was to present Ace News with a prized story. An exclusive interview with Nick Cameron, the notorious, sought-after recluse whose fall from grace had landed on every tabloid would do wonders to revive her flagging career after the fiasco of her last assignment.
But that was only part of it; the real reason was to alert him to what she’d found while investigating his recent divorce from tobacco heiress, Elizabeth Remington.
“You still living in London?” he asked abruptly.
His question surprised her. “Nope, I live in New York now.”
“Reporting for Ace News?”
She paused. “Yes. I’ve been reassigned to human interest stories.” Her stomach contracted as she said it. The reminder of her recent demotion and near firing still smarted and she’d rather not get into details with him.
Nick cocked his head and quirked a dark brow, the gesture so arrogantly male, it reminded her of Sean Connery when he’d make a sardonic remark in old James Bond movies.
He was making her feel as welcome as a bloodthirsty mosquito. Veronique locked her determined gaze with his as they faced off standing rigidly apart, throwing sparks off each other. Neither spoke until she finally strolled over and plopped down on a duck white canvas sofa.
“Okay, I give. What will it take for you to stop frowning at me?”
“How about you march your little butt out of here?” he asked in a gravelly tone.
He was definitely out to rile her. “How about we make nice instead?” she said with a saucy grin.
Nick lowered his strapping frame into the big armchair across from her, elbows braced on widespread knees. He leaned in nose-to-nose, close enough for her to notice the thick jet lashes framing narrowed blue eyes. Wariness sharpened the hard edges of his jaw line as he watched her intently.
“Tell me. What is so important that you would disrupt my privacy?” he asked, not taking his eyes off her.

 

Links to HEART RAIDER:
Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00CRQUCSK
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1115291695?ean=2940016439624 

 
SOPHIA KNIGHTLY – BIO
Bestselling author Sophia Knightly loves to cook up hot romance and delicious humor in her feel-good stories. Whether it's romantic suspense, romantic comedy or chick lit, her books are fun and sexy contemporary romances that feature hot alpha heroes and strong, smart women. Her popular Tropical Heat Series books, Wild for You and Sold on You, have consistently been on multiple Amazon bestselling lists. A two-time Maggie award finalist and a P&E Readers' Poll finalist, she believes in love-at-first sight and happy endings, and she always enjoys a good laugh. When not writing or reading, she finds pleasure in walking the beach, exploring museums, going to the theatre, enjoying good food, and watching movies.  
One of her favorite pastimes remains simply watching people, especially those in love!
 
 
~Thanks, Sophia, for being with us this week.  It's been fun! 
LA

 

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