Monday, December 26, 2011

Cassie's Christmas Wish - A Mini Christmas Story on Kindle!

I wrote a Christmas mini story (a chapter that might have been) for Cassie and Jed from TAME THE WILD WIND. We finally get to meet the elusive Uncle Abe and find out what Cassie got for Christmas! If you enjoyed TTWW and can't get enough of the characters, then this mini is for you!

Cassie's Christmas Wish on Amazon.com

I hope everyone got their own Christmas wish answered this year. I'm looking forward to 2012 and all the possibilities and wonders that it holds! Blessings and peace to all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

I can't believe another year has flown by. It seems that the years pass quicker since I had my kids. Was it only yesterday I was telling stories about the Nativity and Santa Claus? Now, I have one more night to go until I'm putting out cookies and milk and urging my 7 yo son to go to sleep so Santa can come.

My Christmas gift to myself was finishing my latest novel, a Regency historical romance. My New Year's resolution is to find a publishing home for it! I also want to finish the Tame the Wild Wind sequels (I planned 4) and maybe write some shorter stuff. What are your resolutions and plans?

Thanks to all our soldiers who served in the Iraq war and are now coming home. May they all have a safe and happy holiday at home. Peace on earth!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! 236 years young!

I hope my readers and fellow authors adore the incomparable Jane as much as I do. Her novels (along with the Bronte sisters' Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre) sparked the romance genre that we all know and love today. If you haven't read Emma or Pride and Prejudice yet, do your heart a favor and start reading! The movies of the books are all wonderful, but my favorite is the Keira Knightley version.

My current "work in progress" is a Pride and Prejudice-based novel, and in honor of Miss Austen as well as begging her pardon, I'm giving you a sneak peek at one of the scenes. Hope you enjoy it!


     She closed her eyes, exhaling on the window so that her breath bounced back into her mouth, as warm as his had been. Confusion swirled through her, igniting all variety of emotion. She’d sensed a connection between them. Somehow, beyond the difference in their ages and stations, not to mention life experiences, she’d felt a kinship. As if she’d known him all her life.
     Nonsensical dreaming was all it was. Girlish fantasy and listening to Lucinda’s romantic nonsense. That was the source behind her confusing thoughts. She suddenly did something she had never done before in her life.
     “Frederick,” she whispered. Her lips relished the shape of his name, the way they parted on the consonants, as if preparing for a kiss. Her tongue pressed the back of her teeth on the d. Her breath misted the glass as she spoke his name, and she stared at it until it evaporated.
     Though she wasn’t the least bit sleepy, she climbed into bed beside Lucinda, pulling the quilt up to her chin. Colonel Parker had offered her a solitary room at the start of her visit, but she, who had always shared a room with her younger sisters, found the large, drafty house a little frightening at night. She scooted close to Lucinda, taking some comfort in her friend’s sleepy warmth.
     Lucinda mumbled in her sleep. The sweet tones of the pianoforte filtered through the closed door and the layers of carpeted floors and walls. It was a variation of his symphony. She wondered if he thought of his former love as he played.
     It was too much to think that a man such as he would ever consider playing for a simple country girl like herself.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

FREE Cookbook from The Wild Rose Press Authors!

Yes, I said FREE.  Yours truly has a recipe for some tasty lasagna roll ups in there! Just go to the link below to get your own free downloadable copy. You still have to "check out" but it's 100% free. The Wild Rose Press has award-winning, one-of-a-kind romances of all genres, so check out their books while you're there!

FREE Wild Rose Press Authors Cookbook

While we're on the subject of food, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And to my international readers, Thanksgiving is an American holiday whereby we all eat a lot of turkey, watch football, and take long naps! Seriously, it is a time for reflection on what we are thankful for. Here's my list - that I have a healthy family, a roof over my head, a job I love, friends I adore, and the best readers in the world!

What are you thankful for? I'd love to hear it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Interview at Romancing the West, with Jacquie Rogers

Here's a link to the fun interview I did with Jacquie Rogers! Make a comment on her blog and mine to be entered to win either a FREE ebook of Tame the Wild Wind or a $10 Amazon gift certificate. Come on - you know you want the book! :)     Romancing the West Blog Interview

Another birthday has come and gone - shudder! I immediately bought new anti-wrinkle creams, as if the little buggers would appear on my face overnight. But hubby was sweet - bought me a new laptop, on which I am writing this! My trusty desktop was starting to act like it would rather work for someone else, and I was writing with the constant fear that it would crash at any moment, taking my work in progress with it! The laptop was cheaper than a desktop tower by itself - go figure!

I hope that all of you are enjoying these last few weeks before the big holiday rush is here. Have you finished your shopping yet? Baking any special goodies to share with friends? I love making Christmas cookies, even though the kids don't like homemade unless it's chocolate chip! But I will be making Snickerdoodles and raspberry bird's nests like I always do! What special thing do you like to make for the holiday season?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

4 **** Review from Romantic Times Magazine!!!

Wow! This is so exciting. Taking A Chance on Forever received a 4 star review from RT!!!  Here's the review in a nutshell, with the link to their site. Thanks to everyone who believes in me and supports my writing endeavors. Writing is a solitary vocation, but the end result opens the author to the entire world.

Taking A Chance on Forever **** Review

Small’s take on a second chance at love proves that fate has its own agenda. The secondary characters add their own brand of humor, while Kate and Dan ride an emotional roller coaster driven by the whims of others.
Kate Thorne’s daughter is getting married. Imagine her surprise when she discovers the groom’s father is the boyfriend who left her for another woman 20 years earlier. Now he’s a widower engaged to a much younger starlet.
Dan Reynolds never stopped loving Kate and wants to recapture what they once had. He persuades her to escape to a picturesque B&B for the weekend. She’s reluctant until she learns more about his fiancĂ©e. But once she’s finally ready to try once again, she sees him in the arms of his intended. (SIREN-BOOKSTRAND, Apr., 210 pp., $13.99)
Reviewed By: Donna M. Brown

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sneak Peek at TAME THE WILD HEART

This is a follow-up novel I'm writing about one of Jed and Cassie's sons, Dillon Hazard. It should be ready for publication next year, but in the meantime, here's the first chapter! Hope you enjoy it!


Chapter 1-- The New Mexico Territory, 1889


            An ivory cotton chemise, while appealing to Dillon Hazard’s eye appeared quite out of place, draped over a tumbleweed. He fingered the soft material, and cast a glance around. Other than a watchful hawk on a nearby xxx tree, he was quite alone. He tugged his horse’s bridle and pushed aside some low-hanging branches, grabbing the chemise as he went. He ducked before his head grazed a tree branch, and was surprised to narrowly miss riding into a woman’s white blouse, which dangled on a branch next to a long brown skirt. A pair of neat kid boots hung from another branch by their laces.
            “What the…?”  He turned around in the saddle, eyes and ears straining for any sign of the mystery clothes’ owner. He was at the far end of his family’s sprawling ranch, and there were no other neighbors for miles, besides Laughing Crow, his father’s good friend, and his family. An outbreak of sweat dampened his shirt beneath his armpits. What were the odds that an unclothed woman just happened to be passing through the ranch?
            A sudden splash in the river beyond the trees startled him. His horse, a ten-year old stallion and descendant of his father’s horse, Demon, pricked his ears forward.
            “Come on, Chester. I want a drink just as badly as you do.” And with any luck, the owner of the discarded clothing was nearby. He dismounted to better navigate the rocky slope toward the river. His pulse had increased in anticipation of what he would discover. Cutting through some brush, he emerged, nearly breathless, out of the foliage and in plain view. He almost groaned in disappointment. No woman, unclothed or otherwise, occupied the river. He shook his head and rubbed his horse’s nose. “Must’ve been gone longer than I thought. Now I’m imagining things.” But the chemise wasn’t from his imagination. Someone had been here.
            Chester pawed the ground, and Dillon laughed. “Go on, boy.” He released the reins and picked his way over the rocks toward the water. He still carried the chemise in his hand. It would make a decent towel for now, and he could always give it to Ma when he got home. He stooped at the edge of the river and slopped the chemise through the water, then swiped it across his hot, sweaty face and gritty hair. Chester stood by the edge, drinking his fill. Dillon’s stomach growled.
            “Come on, boy, hurry up,” he scolded the horse. “You know Ma hates to be kept waiting when supper rolls around.” He wrapped the sodden chemise around his neck. It would cool him off on the long ride back to his parents’ house. He scanned the empty river again. Except for a few ducks, he and Chester were the only living things in sight. Annoyance and disappointment flooded him. “Let’s get home.” He scuffed his boots on the rocks as he shuffled toward the trees again.
            “Excuse me, but would you mind giving me back my clothes?” A woman’s voice broke the stillness.
            Dillon’s neck snapped around. He stared in surprise at the woman who had just appeared around the bend, treading water in the middle of the river, her long, black hair floating around her like a cape. Her dark brows knit in anger, and her red lips pursed together, making her look as if she’d just sucked a lemon. Dillon fought the urge to laugh, and slowly pulled the chemise from his neck. He held it out to her.
            “Come and get it.”
            She stared at him in surprise, and opened her mouth as if to scold him, but decided against it. She clamped her lips shut, and moved closer to the riverbank, though still keeping below the water line. Dillon watched her gaze dart to the shore. White, lace-trimmed drawers and silk stockings lay on a pile of rocks. He grinned.
            “You are no gentleman,” she accused.
            He swung the wet chemise around in his hand as if he had all the time in the world. “I may not be a gentleman, but I’m not stupid enough to swim buck naked in a snake-infested river.”
            Her eyes, glittering like smoky topazes, narrowed. “The snakes don’t bother me. It’s men like you I try to avoid.” She moved closer, and he sat down on the bank, enjoying the view. He mopped his brow with the chemise again, and she slapped her hands on the water. “Stop that! Give that to me.”
            He reached down and gathered the rest of her clothes from the rocks. “You want ’em, come and get ’em.”
            She sucked in a breath. “If I get out, do I have your word you’ll give them back?”
            He stared at her figure in the water. So far as he could tell from the long, lithe arms and slim neck, the rest of her was probably just as appealing. “You have my word, though, as a gentleman, that point was debated a moment ago.”
            “Fine. Do I have your word as a…a cowboy, then?”
            Cowboy. He liked the sound of it. “Rancher and we’ve got a deal.”
            “Very well. Rancher.” She was growing impatient, and he was enjoying every minute of it. The past few weeks of riding solo and attending various cattle auctions had bored him to tears with only Chester for company. He'd never expected such an attractive diversion on his way home. Good thing Pa stayed home; else I’d be apologizing and hiding my eyes. Not to mention what Ma would do to me if she caught me looking….
            “I promise I’ll give you your clothes, ma’am.” He stood expectantly, and watched as she seemed to steel herself for her walk to shore. Her long hair tossed behind her shoulders, she strode through the water, her expression defiant and proud, like some ancient warrior queen.
            Dillon realized he was holding his breath. He could just hear his best friend, John Crow, ribbing him once he found out Dillon Hazard had stared at a woman like he’d never seen one before. He swallowed down the nervousness, which clung to his throat like a tough piece of week-old bread. He was no mama’s boy, still wet behind the ears. He’d even had a drink, once, at the House of Diamonds, the town’s saloon, when his Uncle Ty was in town. Of course, he’d been too goggle-eyed staring at all the girls to enjoy his first whiskey, which he’d promptly thrown up as soon as he was outside, but he liked to think he’d grown up since then.
            He dangled the chemise. “Hurry up, now, ’cause my supper’s getting cold.”
            She emerged from the water, a dazzling sight. Her tawny skin, pale gold like a sunset, glistened as the water ran off her in silvery rivulets. She was perfectly made, like a statue…the Venus de Milo. He thought about one of his pa’s books, filled with drawings of the statues and architecture of ancient Rome. This girl was better than a statue. From the rounded slopes of her exquisite breasts to the flat stomach, the curvaceous hips….He couldn’t breathe, and was unable to tear his gaze from her. He’d have to copy out a few books of the Bible as penance for acting so shamefully, but he would face a week of copying out the Book of Romans just to have this moment.
            She raised one black eyebrow and regarded him with disdain. Indian princess, he thought. An ancient spirit of some wandering maiden, lost in the old Navajo lands. His fingers trembled on the garment he was suddenly loathe to part with. The moment he relinquished her clothes, she’d take them and be gone forever. The idea sent him spiraling into despair.
            She stood before him, looking up into his face without a shred of embarrassment, as dignified as a queen. Cleopatra. Bathsheba. No wonder many a king had forfeited a kingdom over luscious red lips and bright eyes. But this was no ancient queen. She was flesh and blood, and she was quivering with anger.
            “My clothes, if you please.” A long, elegant hand stretched out before him.
            “Wait,” he said, then licked his lips. “How about a…a kiss, first?”
            He didn’t know where in the name of all things decent, he’d ever come up with that one. The back of his neck burned and he knew it wasn’t from the sun. John Crow would laugh his fool head off.
            Her eyes widened a fraction. “You said I had to come out of the water and get my things. You never mentioned a kiss.”
            He swallowed to moisten his dry mouth, which felt covered with the same yellow dust on his boots. “I forgot to add that in, I guess.”
            She sniffed. “I suggest you give me my clothes and forget about anything else, rancher. If you know what’s good for you.”
            He would have obeyed, just from the demanding, haughty tone she applied, but then he saw the sparkle in her eyes. His spirits soared, and he casually stuffed her chemise into his shirt, right next to his thudding heart.
            “Just one kiss. You afraid of one, little kiss?”
            “A gentleman would at least take off his hat first.”
He tossed his hat as far from him as possible. He was ready to obey any other command. He inhaled the air between them. She smelled of fresh water and flowers and spring….
            “You need a bath,” she muttered, her nose crinkled.
            “One kiss, and then I’ll throw myself headfirst in that river, or wherever else you tell me.” He gazed down at her face in wonder, marveling at the high cheekbones that contrasted with the soft curve of her jaw. Hell with the river. He’d fly to Mount Olympus for a chance to stay near this alluring girl. He dared to drop his eyes to the peaks of her breasts, and caught his breath. “Please, just one kiss.”
            “Fine. But your hands stay down.”
            He nodded. If fire walking had been part of the bargain, his boots would be halfway to the moon.
            She placed her palms on his belly, slid them slowly up his ribs and across his chest, spanning the breadth of him. His head spun dizzily. The blood rushed through his body, ending at a particularly sensitive spot. His jeans were suddenly too tight, and the discomfort spread as her hands widened their search. Her fingers grazed his neck, and he wished he wasn’t wearing the grit and dust of the road. He stared into her eyes, which burned with liquid fire. She pulled his head down to hers, then rose on tiptoe, leaning slightly into him so that her breasts crushed against his chest. His head was swimming. His hands clenched at his sides with the ache of wanting to touch her, but he’d keep his word. No matter how his body rebelled, he’d keep it. Her long, black lashes closed over her marvelous eyes, and her sweet breath wafted up to him as her lips parted, eager for his.
            Too late, his instincts warned him. The teasing fingers on his neck were suddenly bands of iron, holding him in place while her body shifted. He barely moved in time to avoid the full force of the crushing blow of her knee into his groin, but it wasn’t enough.
            Gasping and retching, he fell to his knees, his hands cupped over his crotch. She groped in his shirt for her chemise and danced out of his way, snatching the rest of her clothes and boots, and disappeared into the brush, her laughter ringing sickly in his ears.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Met My Goal - Now What?!

I am truly blessed to now be able to work from home. My "paid job" hours are in the evenings and weekends, and I have all day during the week to write. My original plan was to spend all this new time doing the following: exercise after the kids left for school; eat a healthy breakfast and then shower; clean house for an hour; and then head to my office (in the back of the house) and write for about 4 hours. Then, I would start dinner early, get the kids from the bus stop, eat dinner, and head back to the office for my paying job.

The reality? You guessed it! I sleep until an hour after the kids have left, eat stale donuts and sugary tea, don't exercise, shower (but I've since stopped wearing makeup, shaving my legs, and drying my hair), putz around the house for a few hours, do laundry, watch TV, chat with friends, get the kids from the bus, scramble up dinner, and then come outside to start the paying job with nary a written word done for the day.

What's wrong with this picture?! Laziness? Procrastination? Fear of the Unknown?! All of the above? I dreaded writing this blog entry on this subject because it makes me almost embarrassed that I was so gung-ho about getting to work from home so I could write more, and here I am, doing nearly diddly squat. In the three months since I left my 9-5 job, I have written about 40 pages. At the pace I had set for myself, I should have had a complete new book finished.

Okay, honeymoon's over. I will make a dreaded list and start working off that. I did meet with a new critique partner/writing buddy this week and have plans to meet her next week. So that counts as writing. I did work on a submission letter for my nearly-finished historical romance, so that counts. I used the word "pen" in a sentence today. Does that count?

As for the other unwritten pages and wasted hours where my butt was not in the proverbial chair? I can't get those back, but I am going to start NOW. Once a week, I will be sure to post my progress and upload a sentence or paragraph I either just wrote or have revised. Warning: the writing sample will be crazily romantic, at times silly or melodramatic, godawful terrible, or plain genius. I just have no idea how to determine that.

If you'd like, please comment on how you get past procrastination, or what you did when you reached a goal in your life. Celebrated a giant weight loss with an entire box of candy? Saved money and then blew it all on something trendy? Or were you more practical, and took the grateful option? Please let me know!






Monday, September 12, 2011

Taking A Chance featured on Best Romance Novels Today!

This is exciting news! In order for a book to be featured on this site, it has to have earned 4.5 or 5 stars from a reviewer. Please check out their site!  Best Romance Novels Today

My blog has been rehauled!

My deepest, heartfelt gratitude goes out to Cecile, who gave my blog a much-needed overhaul! Now I will be able to post all kinds of things - excerpts, fun stuff, writing tips and bits, etc. I have moved my regular website over to this blog, so the website will cease to exist - why update 2 things when I can update 1?

I finished writing my latest historical Regency (book set in England in the 1820s) and am working on revisions now. Also have my Scottish, Viking, and other Westerns to write. Busy girl! Writing on a fulltime basis is a challenge - mostly because now I have these long periods of open time to write and I just stare at the computer and my messy desk and wonder what to do! But now I made a chart of the words I need to write to finish each of my works in progress, and it's not too daunting broken down that way.

Thanks for stopping by! Please let me know what you think of my pretty new blog site!



Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting Back Into Writing

Okay, I've had some time off! I was busy with the conference, promoting, and just plain lazing around with visitors. Our family had a wonderful time in Cozumel on Carnival Cruise line - our first cruise! The kids had fun, and it was amazing to sit on the deck in the early morning with my dh and have breakfast while the sun was coming up. Yes, he's an early riser!


But now, the guests (aunt and uncle) are back home, vacay time is over, and I have a pile of "to write" stuff that I must return to. I have the first book of two different series nearly finished, and am making it my goal to get those done before the month is up. Sound crazy/impossible/wacked? Not really. I'm just focusing and making it my top priority.

So, what do you do when you're mind is still on vacation? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coffee Time Romance gave Taking A Chance on Forever - 4 cups!

Here is the link to the reviewer's site and the complete review by Matilda -

Kate Thorne has been busy with her life raising her daughter and trying to stay afloat in the art world. The last thing she expects is to run into an old college boyfriend; one that left her and married another twenty years ago.


Dan Reynolds is widowed and in a relationship with a woman that he just has no clue why they are together. When he meets his son’s fiancĂ©'s mother, he is taken aback by the similarities to a love he once had and never forgot.

Thrown together by their children’s wedding, Kate and Dan find feelings still linger from a shared past and throw caution to the wind for the weekend, vowing to go their separate ways afterward. But the feelings and questions each have may make that harder than they thought. Can a second chance at love ever happen?

What a sweet romance. I loved this story filled with many choices that we make throughout life, never knowing the “what if?” Besides, who would not want a second chance at their first love? Kate and Dan’s story flows as smooth as silk from beginning to end. There is great chemistry between Kate and Dan as well as the other couple Sara and Brent, who deserve their own story as well.

Coffee Time Romance reviewMatilda

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PAPERBACK RELEASE!!! Taking A Chance on Forever

Sorry for the screaming title just now, but I am so excited to announce the paperback release 3 months earlier than expected!

If you'd like a signed copy, please let me know and I will have one sent to you for the cost of the book ($13.99) plus $2 shipping (the media rate).

I will upload the "epilogue" chapter that was not used in the final edition of the book in a few weeks, so keep checking back here or on my webpage.

Thanks again to all my friends, family, and readers who have supported and encouraged me over the years!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mini read - the "prequel" to Taking A Chance On Forever

I wrote this novella intending it to be a "free read" on Bookstrand's site, but they don't do them! This is the story of how Sara and Brent meet and fall in love. Incidentally, they are the children of the main characters in Taking A Chance on Forever. Please leave a comment or "follow me" on my blog and I will enter you in a fun contest to win a $10 Amazon.com certificate!


            The students were in their seats, and the professor, an old man with a perpetual frown, was already ten minutes into his lecture. Sara Fournier swallowed her nervousness and stepped back into the hall before he could spot her. Late again. She’d been up all night with her friends, watching old reruns of classic TV and had forgotten to set her alarm clock. This was the third time she was late to her Western Civ class. One more time, Professor Weinstein had warned, and he’d drop her.
            She clutched her backpack, a breakout of sweat tickling her armpits and under her hair, making her scalp itchy. Maybe she could say her father was in town–that he’d surprised her from his home in Paris and she’d been out all night with him. She almost shook her head at the thought. Unlikely her dad, whom her mom always called The Playboy, would drop in unannounced. His planned visits were rare as it was.
            “Are you going in? Or are you holding up the wall?”
            Sara jumped at the friendly voice and turned to face the speaker. Brent Reynolds. She’d never met him, but everyone knew who he was. Big Man on Campus, despite his sophomore status. An Honors student with the highest GPA in the world that was San Francisco State University. And owner of the deepest, dreamiest, baby blue eyes she’d ever seen.
            She stepped away from the wall, hoping he’d think her face was pink from running to class rather than from his presence. “It’s my third time being late for Weinstein. He said he’ll drop me. I’m just deciding if I’d rather go in and face him or just spare myself the embarrassment and drop it on my own.”
            He grinned. “He won’t drop you. I’ll tell him I got lost and you helped me.” He fluttered his class change notification at her.
            She quirked an eyebrow. “That won’t work on him. He once lectured a girl who was late because she broke her leg. She came hobbling in with a cast, and he still went off.”
            “But her dad probably didn’t just give a grant of two million dollars to the School of Humanities.”
            “And your dad…?” She laughed, but quickly sobered. Reynolds….of course! Brent’s dad was that millionaire everyone was always talking about. Invented some kind of software thingie…
            The tips of his ears turned pink. “Yeah. My old man keeps Weinstein in cheap cigars and all the research trips to Russia his heart desires. I think you’ll be okay.”
            She wanted to feel put off at his casual mentioning of his father’s endowment to the school. She thought about her own childhood, of being raised by a maiden aunt and her single mom, who worked nonstop to keep her in school when the scholarships just didn’t cut it. But Brent looked embarrassed, like he wasn’t bragging about his dad’s success. He stuck out his hand, and she wondered if he did it to break the uncomfortable silence.
            “I’m Brent.”
            She untangled her right hand from the backpack’s strap. “Sara Fournier.”
            His eyes widened. “That’s a mouthful! Forn-yay?”
            She felt her blush deepen. “My dad’s French.”
            He shrugged. “Cool name.” He peered intently at her, and she wondered if he liked brown-eyed girls. “It suits you. You don’t look like the other girls around here.”
            “I can’t afford to bleach my hair all the time.”
            “Yeah.” He laughed, and she joined him. “So…” He broke off, hesitant. She wondered why he kept staring at her, and tried to remember if she’d heard he had a girlfriend or not. “Do you want to come inside with me? I’ll make sure Windbag doesn’t bark at you.”
            “Okay.” She hoisted her backpack with a grunt. He immediately reached for it. “Hey, thanks.”
            “No problem.” When he spoke, a dimple in his cheek flashed. Very cute. He opened the door for her and the students looked up at the same time. The professor frowned when he saw Sara, but brightened at the sight of Brent behind her.
“Sorry I’m late, Professor Weinstein,” Brent said, prodding Sara to a seat close by where an empty one was next to it, “but I had some problems finding your class. Luckily, I met Sara here, and she showed me the way.” They sat down, and Sara heard the girl behind her let out a faint sigh. The professor nodded.
            “Glad to have you in my class, Mr. Reynolds. Miss Fournier, it was very good of you to show him in. But next time….”
            “There won’t be a next time,” she said quickly. Weinstein continued the lecture, and Sara pretended not to notice when Brent shifted his desk a few inches closer to hers. He loaned her a pen when hers refused to work, and she wrapped her fingers around it, absorbing the warmth from his hand. She glanced sideways at him from under her bangs, and he winked at her. Weinstein rattled on about the rise of the Bolsheviks and the White Army, but all she could think about was what it would be like to have a boyfriend as sweet and handsome like Brent Reynolds.
****
            “Are you doing anything tonight?” he asked when class ended an hour later and the students started filing out of the room. She’d lingered over her backpack until Brent seemed ready to go. They were the last ones left, and the professor had already rushed out of there to attend a meeting. She wondered if the rapid thudding of her heart echoed in the empty room.
            “Just studying. I have a math test tomorrow.”
            His lips pursed. “Math–yuck! Maybe I can help you. I’m pretty good with numbers.”
            Don’t act too desperate. She shrugged as casually as possible. “Sure. Where do you want to meet?”
            He checked his watch. She caught the first few initials of Rolex, and pretended not to notice. “I have to see my dad for dinner, and then I’m free. About seven? I can pick you up.”
            “Or I can just meet you at your dorm.”
            Again, the pink-tipped ears. “I don’t live in the dorms. I have a condo.”
            “Oh, a condo.” Of course. Every student who wasn’t on financial aid lived in condos and castles and mansions – “Okay–you can pick me up at seven. I finish my job cleaning up the lab by then.”
            He smiled, and she nearly curled her toes inside her Skechers at the warmth rising within her every time he smiled. “Great. It was nice meeting you, Sara Fornyer.” His grin told her that he would now officially be screwing up the pronunciation of her last name for the remainder of their acquaintance.
            “Same here.”
            And then for some strange, unknown reason that would puzzle her the rest of the day, she leaned forward and kissed him on the lips before she could stop herself. She broke away, horrified at her behavior, but he didn’t look shocked or remotely bothered. His gaze held hers for as long as it took her to realize he was going to kiss her back.
            He walked her to her next class, holding her hand tightly in his, both of their backpacks slung easily over his broad shoulders. She didn’t feel the ground beneath her or the sharp winter air on her face. They walked in intense silence, their hands linking their hearts and minds so no words were necessary.
****
            Brent skipped class the rest of the day so he could wait outside of Sara’s. She only had two more, and at the end of her third class, through which she hadn’t paid the least attention or taken any notes at all, they walked to the student center to grab a bite to eat.
            “Do you want to come with me and my dad to dinner tonight?” he asked, depositing their tray of pizza slices and soft drinks, which he had paid for, at a table.
            Sara couldn’t think about eating. Her stomach was full of butterflies and other crawling creatures. She sipped her drink. “Will he mind?”
            “Nah. He’s cool.” He gulped his soda. “He likes the fancier stuff now and then, so we’re going someplace nice.” He seemed to hesitate, as if he didn’t want to appear to be bragging. “We usually do subs or burgers, but those get boring after a few weeks.”
            She mentally scanned her wardrobe for something to wear. Her roommate, Megan, had a new Dolce and Gabbana cocktail dress she might be able to borrow. She’d write Megan’s term paper for English Lit by way of returning the favor.
            “Is your mom coming?” Maybe Brent’s parents were divorced, since he hadn’t mentioned his mother once.
            “She died.” He took a big bite of his pizza, shrugging at her question. A few moments later, he added, “It was a few years ago. Cancer. It’s been me and Dad for a while now.”
            “I’m so sorry.” She bit into her own slice. “My dad lives in Paris, so I don’t see him often.”
            “That sucks.” He touched her arm, and a flush of red stained his neck and cheeks. She smiled encouragingly, though her chest was about to explode with nervous joy. He slid his hand down her arm until their hands brushed. She held his hand before he could move away. He grinned, and she was struck by how – well, how darned cute he was. “Paris is great,” he said. Have you ever been?”
            “I was born there. My mom and I left when I was four.”
            “You should go back and see it again. It’s a beautiful city. I went with my parents when I was ten or something.”
            “Maybe.” Mom would be thrilled if I mention going to visit mon pere, the deadbeat. She changed the subject. “Have you traveled a lot?”
            Again, the casual shrug, like he didn’t want to show off. “Here and there. My dad travels for business sometimes and I go with him when I can.”
            “You’re so lucky,” she said, then gulped a huge sip of soda so as not to sound like a jealous little kid.
            “You’re lucky to have your mom. I miss mine a lot.”
            “I would miss mine, too.”
            His fingers clasped hers tighter. She forgot her pizza. Who could think about food when Brent Reynolds was holding your hand? He leaned forward, as close as he could with the table between them. The table was small enough and Brent long-legged enough that their knees bumped.
            “Sara, I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. Do you think that’s crazy?”
             “No. It’s not crazy. I think the same thing.”
            A slow grin spread across his face. “About that kiss….”
            “Argh!” She laughed, hiding her eyes with her free hand. “I don’t know why I did that! I’m sorry.”
            “Don’t be.” His laughter joined hers. “I’m glad you did it. Broke the ice for when I kiss you later.”
            The laughter died in her throat. Rapid heat coursed through her body, waving over each limb until she quivered. “You are?”
            “Yes. But why wait?” He pushed back from the table and knelt beside her chair before she realized what he was doing. He was so tall that, kneeling, his head was on the same level as hers. He cupped her face in his hands, drawing her close while the other students in the room cheered and whistled. His lips were warm, and his mouth tasted like pizza. She’d only kissed a few guys in high school and in the first months of her freshman year at State, but this was different. Somehow, Brent was not just a cute guy she could date and hang out with. There was something more happening. Something permanent with the stamp of a future on it.
            Her cell phone buzzed in her jeans pocket. They broke off the kiss. He touched his forehead to hers, inhaling her breath.
            “It’s my mom,” she whispered, her hands trembling around his neck. “She usually calls me around this time.”
            His own phone beeped. “That’s my old man. Good timing, folks.” He kissed the tip of her nose, then stood, extending his hand and helping her from the chair in a gallant, old-fashioned way
 “I’m not hungry,” she said, regarding their uneaten food.
            “Me neither.”
            “This sounds crazy….”
            “I know….”
            “…but I think I love you.”
            “I love you, too.”
They stared at each other for a breathless moment, then erupted in laughter while a girl at a nearby table shot her an envious look.
“Let’s get out of here,” Brent muttered, draping his arm over her shoulder as they headed out of the building and into the winter sunshine.



           





           

Monday, March 7, 2011

TAKING A CHANCE ON FOREVER - New release on March 15!

I'm so excited to announce the upcoming release of my sole contemporary romance, Taking A Chance on Forever. Bookstrand publishing is doing the honors. Here is the beautiful cover -

There's an excerpt on Bookstrand's site, and after the release, I will be posting an EXCLUSIVE mini-novella featuring the main characters' children, who are the main reason Kate and Dan get together in the first place! There are 2 love stories in this book, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did writing it.

bookstrand/taking-a-chance-on-forever