FINDING REDEMPTION, PART 2: COULD HE DO THE JOB?
Sunday, December 8th, 2019

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He’d been through hell. Everyone knew that. He’d retreated from life and shut everyone out while he battled the demons that never seemed to leave him alone. But the life of an eight-year-old boy depended on his being able to do just that. 

Lisa looked at the man across from her. She’d seen him a few times, in very brief situations, but this was the first time she’d had the chance to study him.

At thirty-eight he looked at least ten years older. He had thick black hair peppered with grey, worn long enough that he tied it back with a leather thong. His beard looked more like the result of not shaving rather than a deliberate plan, and dissolution had added extra flesh around the jaw line and pouches under his eyes. His skin was an unhealthy, ruddy color, probably from the amount of alcohol she heard he drank with regularity. Although he carried a few extra pounds, she bet that in his best days, he was lean and mean.

If this were, as the fairy tales said, once upon a time—before Charles had killed any interest she had in men and before Ethan Caine had destroyed himself—she could see herself being drawn to him. Now he just offended her, and she resented any latent spark of attraction he ignited in her.

But then she saw his eyes and something stabbed at her. Although they were alert, studying both the Taylors and his surroundings at the same time, they were a bottomless black filled with so much pain it hurt to look at them. What had this man seen and done that caused that much personal misery? Was this the kind of man she could trust to find her son?

“Lisa?”

She shook herself at the sound of Josh’s voice. “I’m sorry. My mind tends to wander these days.” She pasted what she was sure was a grotesque mockery of a smile on her face. “Than you very much for coming, Mr. Caine.”

“Ethan. Don’t thank me yet.” His voice was deep but not smooth, more like the scraping sound of gravel falling on cement. “Right now we’re just having lunch.”

“That’s true.” She nodded, willing her hands to stop their incessant tremors.

“So, why don’t we order and you can tell me what this little meet and greet is all about.”

FINDING REDEMPTION

 

In her darkest hour, only a ruined hero can help her
Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of any of Books 1-4 in Guardian Security

I was always told that if you want to write a good story, write what you know, either through narrative or personal experience. I do  that with almost all of my books. In fact, in MOVING TARGET, Book #1 in Guardian Security, Windswept was based on the small Texas town where I was living at the time and Quinn’s house is my house.

In FINDING REDEMPTION. I chose to base the main character on a real person. Many of you have met my son, Steven Horwitz at various conventions and book signings. Steven had a long-time friend who passed away suddenly a few years ago, but he was a great character and a terrific friend. He followed his own path. he would disappear for months at a time and people would say, “Bill? Oh, you know, he’s off doing something for the CIA. Or the NSA. Or the FBI. Or whatever. Then he’d reappear with no explanation.

But as a friend there was no equal. His passing left a big hole in a lot of people’s lives. And people kept telling me, “Bill’s someone you should write a book about.” So I did! He became the model for Ethan Caine, the dark hero of FINDING REDEMPTION. And if you want a dark hero to take home for Christmas (and why not, right?), Ethan fits the bill.

Here for your enjoyment, the first of two excerpts from the book, #5 in Guardian Security.

Lisa Mallory’s marriage from hell ended with her husband’s unsolved murder. Four years later, her eight-year-old son, Jamie, is kidnapped. When every other avenue of finding him fails, she turns to her brother’s best friend. He’s not the man she’d have chosen, but to get her son back, she’ll suffer anything…even the desire he stirs that she’d thought long dead.

Ethan Caine, former Marine/special ops agent, is dealing with his own private hell. All he wants is to be left alone with a bottle of whiskey to drown the guilt of surviving a mission gone wrong. When he finally agrees to go after Jamie, he certainly doesn’t want the boy’s mother slowing him down. Besides, she makes him ache to have her naked and beneath him. Worse, she stirs dreams of the future…something he doesn’t deserve.

Passion explodes between Ethan and Lisa in the exotic Quintana Roo jungle, even as the past and present threaten to steal it all.

Excerpt:

Prologue

 

Of course it was raining. How fitting that the weather should be miserable.

Lisa Taylor Mallory shifted on the folding chair provided by the cemetery, careful not to move out from under the umbrella held by the funeral home attendant. Next to her, four-year-old Jamie snuggled closer to her, needing the assurance of his mother’s warmth.

Under his own umbrella, Pastor Howard Devol of Mangrove Baptist Church intoned passages from the Bible. He had already eulogized Charles Mallory to the point of sainthood. Lisa clenched her fists and swallowed the nausea that insisted on rising at the back of her throat as she listened to the words.

If you only knew. Just let this be over. Please, please, let us get this over with.

She let her gaze travel over the crowd of mourners. The abundance of black umbrellas nearly formed a canopy over the assemblage. Tampa society’s A List as well as the giants of the financial world were gathered in their best funeral attire to mourn a man whose sins had been swept away in fire at the foot of a mountain.

“Keeping up the myth,” Josh Taylor had told his sister.

This is for Jamie.

He was so frightened by the circus surrounding the death of his father. Lisa wanted him to have closure on what had become an outrageous situation. Despite the devil’s trap her marriage had become, Charles Mallory had always been good to his son. So much so that Lisa had lived in constant fear Charles would one day disappear with him and leave her behind.

Sitting on her other side, Josh squeezed her arm, a signal that this farce would soon be over and everything would be okay. Not exactly the word she’d have chosen to describe the current state of her life. She clenched one gloved hand in her lap. No, okay wasn’t even in the ball park.

At last, the interminable ceremony ended. Josh rose and nudged her to stand with Jamie. The pastor signaled her to come forward. With her brother’s arm supporting her, she stepped over to the casket and took the white rose the pastor held out. She stared at the casket for a long moment, then dropped the rose on its mahogany surface.

In a voice so low only her brother heard it, she said, “Rot in hell, you son of a bitch.”

 

FINDING REDEMPTION

Exclusive UNEXPECTED RISK excerpt
Thursday, December 5th, 2019

The Phoenix Agency rolls on!

LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE T WIN A DIGITAL COPY OF YOUR CHOICE OF BOOKS 1-6

Brand new book in this popular series now available for preorder.

AMAZON 

They never thought a chance meeting would turn into an Unexpected Risk!

Blurb:

Her so-called gift put her in perilous situations…

Janet Rodman barely controlled her psi ability as an empath to teach school and hang with a few friends. She never knew when a wave of unsuitable emotions from others would assault her. She had learned to build walls to live her life but evil could break them down. A job as a private tutor kept her safe from assault…or so she thought.

He wasn’t looking for a woman in his life…

Former Marine and top tier attorney J. T. Fitzpatrick A bitter divorce took care of that. But when his friends at The Phoenix Agency called on his help to rescue a woman in danger, how could he say no? He’s unprepared for the instant attraction to Janet rodman, but he’s not looking for a relationship and this is supposed to be a strictly business deal.

The Darkman isn‘t about to let some woman interrupt his mission in life…

His plan is workin

g perfectly, and the bodies are piling up. He can’t let Janet Rodman screw them up. But when she disappears, he pulls out all stops to find and eliminate her. Ad he’ll kill anyone who gets in the way. With the chemistry exploding between them, can the former Marine keep Janet safe and destroy the killer before he destroys them?

Her so-called gift put her in perilous situations…

Janet Rodman barely controlled her psi ability as an empath to teach school and hang with a few friends. She never knew when a wave of unsuitable emotions from others would assault her. She had learned to build walls to live her life but evil could break them down. A job as a private tutor kept her safe from assault…or so she thought.

He wasn’t looking for a woman in his life…

Former Marine and top tier attorney J. T. Fitzpatrick A bitter divorce took care of that. But when his friends at The Phoenix Agency called on his help to rescue a woman in danger, how could he say no? He’s unprepared for the instant attraction to Janet rodman, but he’s not looking for a relationship and this is supposed to be a strictly business deal.

The Darkman isn‘t about to let some woman interrupt his mission in life…

 

His plan is working perfectly, and the bodies are piling up. He can’t let Janet Rodman screw them up. But when she disappears, he pulls out all stops to find and eliminate her. Ad he’ll kill anyone who gets in the way. With the chemistry exploding between them, can the former Marine keep Janet safe and destroy the killer before he destroys them?

Exclusive excerpt:

Four years he’d been doing this, and still no one had discovered who he was. He planned to keep it that way. They called him the phantom, an illusion without material substance like a dream image because he appeared only in the dark and then was gone. The description suited him well. No one ever saw or heard him, knowing him only by the trail of destruction he left, with no clues to his identification.

He had begun his cleansing, as he called it, after an episode reminded him just what evil lurked beneath people’s socially acceptable expressions. Not that he’d ever forgotten; he’d just buried it deep so he could build a new life. He wondered what would have happened if, driven by his own past, he’d never decided after that episode to dig deep into the dark web.

His kills were specific targets, chosen by him for the particular sins they committed. He did his research carefully, knowing the signs to look for. The world knew them as highly praised contributors to society, wealthy businessmen, international leaders, politicians, even royalty. All of them masqueraded as philanthropists and do-gooders, icons of society. No one saw beneath the masks they wore with such ease. In reality they had black souls and evil in their hearts. But the phantom always saw beneath the surface and knew the heinous sins they committed. They were the vilest of the vile, and he believed it his duty to punish them, rid the world of them.

He’d only been wrong once in the targets he’d chosen. He’d had a hard time dealing with that, especially when deeper research showed him a mistake had been made, so he’d backed off for a while, but that didn’t last long. Every time he logged onto the dark web and did a search, the rage built inside him again. He really believed he was doing society a service. How could it be a crime to erase a stain on humanity?

One day he might rest but not yet. Not with so much evil still in the world.

His missions, as he called them, were carried out with such stealth and planning that nothing ever tracked back to him, not even the little “gift” he left on each body. No one knew who he was, where he came from, or what fed his killing desires. Because his “projects” occurred in so many different countries and cities, he became the subject of international law enforcement agencies. No problem. He actually laughed when he read the media accounts.

PREORDER TODAY!

And be sure to join Desiree’s Darlings for early peeks at nw releases, special contests, new authors and a lot of good fun.

DESIREE’S DARLINGS

 

Now you’re hooked, right? THE LIE: Book #4, THE RULE
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

The Lie by

Maggie Cole

A Midwestern girl who came to New York with a broken heart. A Texan tycoon who created his own billions.

 

A lie so devious it still haunts them a decade later.

 

Laura Aimee’s got her life together—until she crosses paths with the man who bootstomped her heart a decade ago. Back then, Blake Montgomery told her a lie so devastating she still hasn’t forgiven him.

 

But she also can’t forget the feel of his rough hands on her. The taste of his mouth. How he undressed her with his eyes.

 

She can’t forgive him, and she can’t trust him. But Blake will do anything to make her his. One night, she tells herself. Just one night together and then she’ll let him go forever.

Why are the men who wreck us the hardest to resist?

 

THE LIE is the fourth installment of the All In series. At approximately 70,000 words, this sizzling novel features a love-at-first sight romance and a guaranteed HEA. It can be read as a stand alone or after books 1 – 3 of the All In Series.

AMAZON

 

Excerpt

The car pulled up to my building. I walked into my lobby…and I almost turned and walked out. Blake stood there, hands in his pockets, his eyes full of emotion.

“What are you doing here?” I spat out.

He walked over to me. “Laura, please. Let’s talk.”

“How did you know where to find me?” I wracked my brain. Surely Tom and Phil wouldn’t have given him my address.

His face registered guilt. “I looked up Tom’s company and saw that you changed your last name to your grandma’s name. Then I Googled you.”

“Did it ever occur to you that I might have changed it so I wouldn’t be found?” I had changed it so my parents wouldn’t find me, but he didn’t need to know that.

He ignored my question. His voice sounded desperate, and he begged, “Please, let’s talk.”

I pointed to the door. “I have nothing to say to you. Get out.”

He stood there. “You don’t know the truth. Please, let me tell you the truth.”

It wasn’t fair. Blake looked better than in our twenties. His body was hard, filled out, and his lips looked as delicious as ever. The spicy smell of him made my nostrils flare, and butterflies danced in my stomach. The plea in his eyes made me want to wrap my arms around him and slide my tongue into his delicious mouth.

My body betrayed me, and I hated it at that moment. I laughed and pointed to the door again. “I know all about your honesty. Out.”

He looked at me, hurt, and didn’t move. “Laura, please…”

The security guard walked over to me. “Ms. Aimee, do you need me to escort this gentleman out?”

I raised my eyebrows at Blake.

He held up his hands in defeat. “I’m going.” He walked past me and stuffed a card in my pocket. “Call me when you want to know the truth.”

“Don’t hold your breath.” I walked over to the elevator, pushed the button, and quickly got to my floor. As soon as I got into my apartment, I leaned against the door and fell on the floor. But I didn’t cry this time. This time, my mind raced with thousands of thoughts.

I held his business card in my hand with all the information I needed to get ahold of him. I traced the raised imprint of his name with my finger: Blake T. Montgomery.

What had he been up to all these years? What was this new lie he wanted me to know? How old was his kid…nine? Ten? What about his wife? His beautiful, perfect fucking wife.

I had seen her picture in the paper. She was a perfect ten: blonde, blue-eyed, rich, and full of Texan charm. Unlike me, who was as Midwestern as they got, raised in Ohio by my grandmother, and with parents who preferred the bottle and the needle.

The day I left for New York was the day I saw Blake’s wedding picture in the paper. The smiles on their faces and the white wedding dress she wore—the dress that should have been mine—had haunted me since.

I leaned my head against the door and slightly hit it. These thoughts didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that I stayed as far away from Blake Montgomery as possible.

 

 

THE RULE Book #3: THE CRIME
Monday, December 2nd, 2019

An adventurous writer on a spur-of-the-moment vacation. A wealthy entrepreneur with a dark secret.

 

On the first night of Maddie Burns’ vacation, she meets fellow New Yorker Jack Stevens. The chemistry is instant and overwhelming. Jack doesn’t do relationships, but Maddie is different. He wants her for his own—and not just on vacation.

 

Maddie, fresh out of a six-year relationship, needs to figure out who she is. But she can’t deny the way her body responds to Jack’s presence. She wants him. She needs him.

 

Except Jack and Maddie soon discover they share more in common than friends. Turns out, their pasts connect them to the same horrific crime. If they don’t fight the fallout, they’ll lose their safety, freedom, and each other.

 

THE CRIME is the third installment of the All In series. At approximately 75,000 words, this sizzling novel features a love-at-first sight romance and a guaranteed HEA. It can be read as a stand alone or after books 1 and 2 of the All In Series.

 

Excerpt

 

 

The waiter came over and put a bucket with ice next to the table, which snapped me out of my thoughts. I shot him a confused glance.

He proceeded to open a bottle of Cristal Champagne. He filled a glass then handed it to me.

“I didn’t order this.”

“Madam, Jack Stevens ordered this for you and would like to know if he could join you?”

“Jack Stevens?”

The waiter nodded toward the bar. The jolt once again shot through me as our eyes met. My heart rate skyrocketed up again as I tried to comprehend the situation.

Jack lifted his eyebrows at me, as if in question about whether he should come over. My brain reminded me that I had sworn off men and that I needed to be by myself and figure out who I was first…but my body betrayed me.

I managed to point to the chair opposite mine.

Crap. What am I doing? My insides started quivering. Where could this possibly lead? I’m several states from home and in a resort hotel bar.

The waiter smiled and filled another champagne glass before he set it down across from me and left. I had little time to compose myself before Jack arrived.

“Jack Stevens.” He held out his hand.

“Maddie Burns.” I grabbed his hand and shook it.

“I hoped you weren’t here with anyone.” He sat across from me, dimples popping out as he grinned, and his eyes shined from the flicker of the candles.

I blushed, not sure what to say, and finally grabbed my glass and held it up. “Cheers then, I guess.”

He clinked my glass and took a sip. “Maddie,” He enunciated my name in a sentence, and let it hang in the air. “Are you here for business or pleasure?”

“Pleasure,” I replied, a little too quickly, then blushed again at the thought of pleasure with him.

His smile deepened. “Pleasure is good.”

My flush swept across my cheeks and heated up so much I wanted to go hide.

This was so out of character for me. I didn’t go to bars alone. I didn’t get picked up by men who could be cover models and oozed power and confidence. I wasn’t sure how to play this cool.

The thought of pleasure with him made my insides pulse.

I continued to sip my champagne. Somehow I managed to get out, “And what are you here for, Jack Stevens?”

He laughed a bit. “Business…and maybe some pleasure.”

My face was officially in flames as images of our naked bodies filled my mind. I tried to concentrate on breathing calmly. As I sipped my champagne, I realized that I was halfway through my glass.

Setting my glass on the table, I asked, “What do you do…for business.”

“I guess you could call me an entrepreneur. I’m in town assessing a few businesses to buy. What about you, Maddie? Where are you from?”

I sized him up, wanting to know everything about him. He felt mysterious, and I was drawn to him, almost like a magnetic pull I couldn’t control. My eyes wouldn’t leave his. “From California, but I live in New York City now.”

I didn’t think his smile could get any bigger, but it did. “Well I guess we both have that in common. What part of the city?”

My stomach did a happy flip. He lives in New York City, too?

“Right now I’m in the Meatpacking District. I’ll be moving…just not sure where yet.” I regretted the words that came out of my mouth the minute they left.

“Oh?” His brows lifted in question.

The last thing I wanted to do was talk about my breakup. I quickly decided on a different route: “Roommate issues.”

“Boyfriend or friend?” He drilled me. “And I’m hoping if it’s a boyfriend that it’s an ex…no offense.”

“Ex and no offense taken.”

He sat back in his chair, cool and in control, and watched me with the same intensity and huge grin.

“What?” I shifted in my chair.

“Dumb guy to let you go,” he stated matter-of-factly.

I rolled my eyes.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me,” he flirtatiously teased. Then, he leaned in, with a serious expression, and lowered his voice. “Really dumb guy.”

Heat flew into my face. I wasn’t sure how to respond, but I didn’t really have time. There was massive commotion from the front of the bar and it made us both turn.

The entrance of the bar started to flood with people. They sounded hostile and I looked back at Jack in question.

His eyebrows drawn together, he jumped up. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

He swiftly walked to the bar and talked to the bartender. The noise grew louder and the people’s voices were angrier. Within two minutes, Jack was back at the table.

“Maddie, what wing is your room in?”

“East, why?” A bad feeling flowed through me.

“They put the East wing on lock down. The smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have malfunctioned and everyone is being evacuated from the entire wing. The hotel is sold out. They have nowhere to go. Grab your stuff.” He pointed to my laptop and bag.

I didn’t move and tried to process what was happening.

“Maddie, we don’t have a lot of time. Come on. That crowd is pissed off, more people are coming in. This isn’t going to be a safe place to hang out. Let’s go,” he instructed.

“But where…” My head snapped as I realized the crowd had gotten larger and angrier. They pushed past the hostess and the bar became standing room only. Glass shattered and people started to push and shout.

Jack grabbed my laptop and shoved it in my bag. He pulled me up. “Come on, Maddie.”

Swiftly, he drew me into him, planted his arm firmly around my waist, and escorted me through the bar, as we stayed close against the wall. We moved through the lobby, which was louder than the bar. People were yelling at the staff, and security were trying to calm them down. Jack pulled me closer and into a crowded elevator for the west wing. He pushed his card in and hit the penthouse button.

It dawned on me that he was taking me to his suite. I nervously glanced up at him. He brought his lips to my ear and whispered, “Don’t worry. It’s okay.”

I wasn’t sure what to do. The logical part of my brain told me to get out of the elevator, but I wasn’t sure where I would go. The emotional part of me wanted to sink further into Jack’s muscular, warm body.

People in the elevator discussed the chaos in the lobby. I stood quietly, and wracked my mind about what to do. Jack kept his arm tight around my waist, even in the safety of the elevator.

I sank into his chest and inhaled his sexy scent, completely paralyzed except for my racing heart.

People left, one by one. There slowly became room to spread out, but Jack and I both didn’t move. Finally, there were only the two of us in the elevator, and we waited for the final stop.

I fixated on my fidgeting hands. “Jack, I…” What the heck was I trying to say?

His thumb stroked my waist. “Don’t worry, Maddie. It’s only a safe place to go. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, I promise.”

I inhaled slowly and was pretty sure I knew what the deeper connotations of that meant. But, I felt completely safe and secure with Jack. I only just met him, but I didn’t want to be anywhere but with him.

Lewd thoughts raced through my mind, along with how I didn’t know this guy, and that I was taking time off from guys right now. I tried to push the thoughts away, but my mind started spinning.

The elevator stopped and opened into the penthouse hallway. We slowly stepped out of the elevator. Jack held the door open for me.

I walked in and did a double take. The penthouse was huge. The skyline twinkled and there had been turn-down service already. Slow, sexy music played, and the lights were soft and dim.

Jack turned toward me, then held my face in his hands; his thumbs caressed my cheeks. “Make yourself at home. You can stay as long as needed. There’s several bedrooms. Don’t stress. I promise I’ll be a gentleman.” His eyes were worried, and I realized that he understood my thoughts. Well, not all of my thoughts…

But what if I don’t want you to be a gentleman?