Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Launch: IN HIS HANDS by Adriana Anders out August 1st!

IN HIS HANDS, the third book in the Blank Canvas series is out tomorrow!

The rules are simple:
Never speak to outsiders.
Never yearn for something more.
And never, ever seek the pleasure of a stolen kiss...or a whispered promise that with him, she can finally be free.

Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there's no way out...until her darkly handsome, brooding neighbor defies the rules and takes her into the safety of his arms.

He should frighten her, but everything inside Abby thrills at Luc Stanek's rough manners and shockingly gentle touch. He excites her, ignites her, leaves her shaken and wanting more. But evil men follow in her footsteps, and it may take more than one fierce beauty to defend her loving beast.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo


Get your copies of UNDER HER SKIN & BY HER TOUCH right now for only $0.99 each!





ADRIANA ANDERS has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and two cats in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Launch: Saving Mr. Perfect

She's a wanted jewel thief. 
He's FBI.

What's that saying? Keep your friends close...and your husband closer.

Your summer (and mine) just got a whole lot more exciting! 

Nothing says sun and relaxation quite like a romantic heist caper. If you like your men suited up, your women slightly crooked, and your romance filled with laughter, then the Penelope Blue series is perfect for you.

Although I strongly recommend you start with STEALING MR. RIGHT before you jump into this book, this entire series is a whole lot of fun. Keep an eye out for the third book in the series, SEEKING MR. WRONG, out in March of next year!

Back Cover Copy: 

Being a retired jewel thief certainly has its perks.
1. Oh, wait.
2. No it doesn't.
Without the thrill of the chase, life's been pretty dull. Penelope gardens, drives her gorgeous husband up the wall, and watches as her old world slowly slips away. But what's that old saying? When one thief closes the door...a copycat jimmies open a window.
And now all fingers at the FBI are pointed at her.
Set up to take the fall for thefts worth millions, Penelope have no choice but to strap on her heels and help her FBI agent husband track the thief. Grant might not think he needs a partner, but this is one case only a true professional can solve. Besides, she's got to know who's been taking her bad name in vain.

Let's just hope curiosity doesn't kill the cat burglar.

"Morgan has superbly revived the pairing of romance and jewel heists." - Kirkus

"Morgan opens her Penelope Blue series with an utterly unique, compelling and surprisingly touching romance, full of snarky commentary and blistering chemistry." - RT Book Reviews

"The reader is left with a solid romance and a tease of mischief to come" - Publishers Weekly

"Not since Enoch's excellent Samantha Jellicoe series has such a successful blend of love and law hit the shelves. Watch for future novels." - Booklist

Tamara Morgan is the author of thirteen contemporary comedy romances and the new Penelope Blue series. Her books combine fast-paced antics and humor with heartfelt sentiment, and have been described as both “utterly unconventional and wonderfully smart.” Her debut novel was chosen as the Smart Bitches Trashy Books book club pick in April of 2012, and her books have since gone on to receive two starred reviews from Library Journal and three Romantic Times Magazine Top Picks, one of which was nominated in the 2014 RT Reviewers' Choice Awards in the Contemporary Love & Laughter category. 

Visit Tamara online at:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

It's here! It's here! Launch of Never Dare a Dragon

Women can be just as tough and brave as men. My firefighting females in both My Wild Irish Dragon and Never Dare a Dragon prove this.
Of course, what's a romance without a hunky hero? I think mine is the handsomest and most charming hero I've ever written. Jayce Fierro is his name. You won't see him in this excerpt, because, after all, this post is about brave women! But, just look at the yummy! *sigh*
Now, here's what Kristine Scott has to go through as a Hell's Kitchen firefighter with the FDNY. By the way, I interviewed a couple of Hell's Kitchen firefighters, and this is an actual story they shared with me. Of note: They have a female captain!
Two days later, Kristine was back to work at her fire station in Hell’s Kitchen, back to studying for the lieutenant’s exam. Her life seemed on track, but something was missing.
Her mind had returned over and over again to that bright smile and those dark eyes glinting with naughtiness. She kept telling herself to forget about the handsome Boston lieutenant. When he had mentioned her transferring to Boston, she had thought about it for all of one heartbeat. Then she remembered everything she would be giving up in New York.
If she went to Boston, she’d have to go through the fire academy all over again and start at the bottom rung as a probie. That seemed like a slap in the face after all she’d been through. And with only a few months left to finish her degree in fire science, she had a better chance for a promotion to captain or chief someday. Not to mention that her mother depended upon her half of the rent.
Years ago, Hell’s Kitchen had been a tough neighborhood. Mother and daughter were dragons—not as vulnerable as humans, so they felt safe enough there. Then in the early ’90s, the middle class began moving in and gentrifying the area. Kristine and her mother had lived there all that time and had watched their rent go up, up, up. With no father to help or pay child support, her mother had had to work two jobs—while pursuing an acting career. Kristine vowed she would never forget that. It still took two salaries to live there, but only one of them would be her mother’s. Amy Scott had finally landed her dream job. She taught at the nearby Actor’s Studio.
Even though Kristine had grown up among actors, artists, and writers, she hadn’t inherited the need to express herself publicly. Despite being paranormally gifted, she had been a sheltered kid—and that was fine with her. As a little dragon, she’d never felt like she fit in. She was happiest when reading in her room overlooking Ninth Avenue.
She knew she wasn’t supposed to talk about shapeshifting or demonstrate what she could do, ever. When she grew up, she realized there was something special she could do with her powers other than just protect herself. Because she was fireproof, she would make an ideal firefighter. She could protect her community.
She loved the job. Only a handful of women worked for the FDNY, and half of them were on ambulances. She was one of the few with the strength and fortitude to do the heavy lifting required of a firefighter on the front lines.
She had proven herself to be the equal of any man in her battalion. They respected her and depended upon her to have their backs. And as much as she cared about her fellow firefighters, she could never see herself falling in love with one of them. She would worry constantly, knowing what he was up against as a mere mortal.
One ordinary Thursday, her battalion was gathered around the long kitchen table, eating lunch and watching Judge Judy on the wall-mounted TV, when the tones rang out. They all rushed to their turnout gear, suited up, and jumped into their usual roles.
Kristine rode next to Donovan on the ladder truck. When the truck pulled up to the high-rise office building, smoke was pouring out of two large broken windows on the fourth floor. A police cruiser was already there, getting people to clear the area for the fire apparatus. So far nothing seemed unusual.
Kristine and Donovan followed the captain into the building to locate the seat of the fire. Alarms were blaring, and people were filing down the stairs. When the firefighters came to the fourth floor, they located the office they had seen from the outside. The captain pounded on the door and yelled, identifying them as the fire department.
When there was no response, the captain instructed Kristine and Donovan to take off the door with the ax and halligan. Two other firefighters from the engine company rushed up behind them hauling the hose. One of them broke into the firebox on the wall. As soon as the door was breached, flames shot out from the hole.
They had the right place.
When they got the door open, the captain barked out, “Scotty, stay with me. Donovan, go above and see if anyone is still up there.”
“Yes sir,” he said and dashed to the stairs.
The captain didn’t need to tell Kristine to step aside. When the pressurized water hit the fire, steam filled the hallway. The guy carrying the hose entered slowly, bathing the place in water. Between the smoke and steam, firefighters had to go in blind and look for survivors or people who weren’t that lucky.
“Scotty, stay beside me.”
Kristine followed the captain’s orders, even though she knew he was in more danger than she was. He kept one gloved hand on the wall to avoid becoming lost. She placed a hand on his shoulder and walked a few feet to his right. Even a dragon could barely see through this.
Her foot hit something dense but soft. Squatting down, she felt a leg. “I’ve got someone,” she said. Hauling the person up by the arms, she tossed his torso over her shoulder and made her way back to the door.
She heard the captain shouting into the radio that she was coming down and to have EMS ready. Something felt off about the body she was carrying. She had to adjust its position to account for an uneven distribution of weight.
When she finally made it to the street level, the EMTs were there to meet her, but as she emerged, their eyes bugged out of their heads.
“You’re covered in blood!” the female EMT exclaimed.
She glanced down and saw that it was true. She squatted down, braced the victim’s back with her hand, and gently lay the headless body onto the sidewalk. Startled, she jumped backward and gasped.
The cop who had been redirecting traffic ran over. “What the hell?”
The chief strode over and set his hands on his hips. “As soon as we put the fire out, you can have your crime scene.”
“Jesus,” muttered the male EMT. “The coroner won’t have any problem identifying cause of death.”
The captain’s voice crackled over the radio, alerting the chief that he was coming out with another body.
“You don’t have to go back in there, Scotty. You’ve got to be pretty shaken up right now.”
“No, sir. I’m fine. I’d like to go back in there and help where I’m needed.”
The chief smiled and nodded.
On her way back in, she passed the captain, carrying a second body in the same condition. She didn’t take the time to find out if he knew what was going on; she just rushed up the stairs faster.

Here's a universal link to every outlet that carries the book for sale.

My mother was one of the first female pilots in the US Army back in WWII. I think she's the woman I most admire, bar none. Do you know any brave women?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The magic started at conference

Today I am at a conference, the Romance Writers of America national conference. (It’s where a whole bunch of people who write kissing stories get together and become an awesome tequila-drinking, alpha-male ogling aggregate. You should totally look into it.) This year's event is precisely my second romance-writing conference ever.

And it has a story.

Three years ago, I went to my first romance-writing conference. This was me, right before the Fantasy Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P) steampunk shindig:

At that conferences, I pitched my book to an agent and an editor. Both were super kind and worked really hard to make me feel comfortable, which, thinking about it now, must have been on the verge of superhuman since they had been sitting in uncomfortable-looking chairs for literally hours and presumably without potty or coffee breaks. Poor them! And yet: kind.

Despite the fact that my book was clearly neither romance nor science fiction but a weird hybrid creamy-part-of-the-Oreo-cookie between, they requested pages. Because, as mentioned, kindness.
That was in August. I went home from the conference and straightaway sent pages to everyone who wanted to read them (all two people, woohoo!). 

Some time later (two months)…

The editor had been busy and passed my pages on to another editor at the publishing house, and she read the pages and requested the rest of the book. Cool! Except not really booze-worthy coolness...yet.

Some months later (three)…

I got an email. The best kind of email. The “I might want to offer money for this book if you completely changed it, are you interested?” kind of email. Which I pondered because WOW – and then mentioned to an agent who had been reading my book for a while. She took the offer to heart and read my book superhuman fast, like in a matter of hours, and everything happened in a brilliant glittery chaotic blur at that point and I’m not sure if it was hours or days or nanoseconds later, but suddenly I had an agent.

She had some revisions for me to make, and we decided to take the book in a different direction (more romance! More smooching! More hot sex!) and submitted it to Sourcebooks, among others.
That was almost a year after the conference. Six(ish, because I’m not sure really what’s going on at a given moment) months after that, Sourcebooks offered for my book. And the year after, it came out. Book one, my first, with the gorgeousest cover in the history of badass covers, and I love it so very, very much.

But, you know, it took a while.

Three years, all told.

None of this happens over night, but the magic does happen. You just have to believe.

Going to conferences helps.

Connecting with people helps.

Writing the next damn book helps.

And last Friday, three days before I was set to attend my second ever conference? An advanced copy of my second book, Perfect Gravity, arrived on my doorstep. This is it:

You see??! Magic. Pure and simple. (Actually their names are Tahiti and Lily.)

So anyhow, if you’re here at RWA17 Orlando, I hope you'll find me and tell me your story. Because in this magical, kissing-story, alpha-ogling, tequila-swilling aggregate, we all rise together.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kim Redford and Her Classic Cadillac Convertible

When I got a call from my editor (the incomparable Deb Werksman) about my new book, A Very Cowboy Christmas, I sat up and took notice. She said to me, “Will you please, please, let the heroine (Sydney Steele) keep the Cadillac she rents. I don’t care how you do it, but will you find a good reason why she owns the Caddy?” Well, that request had my mind whirling in several directions as I tried to figure out how she’d arrived at her request. Finally, I said, “You want to drive that classic car, don’t you?” When she enthusiastically agreed, I knew readers would feel the same way, so I was up for the challenge.

Now here’s a little background to bring you up to speed on this snippet of conversation. In my novel, Sydney is promoting Christmas at the Sure-Shot Drive-In—a brand-new event in Sure-Shot, Texas, at the recently renovated 1950s drive-in, also known as the Passion Pit—by driving a pink 1959 Cadillac convertible with longhorns on the front grill (after all, it’s Texas) and wearing vintage clothes. Originally, I simply had Sydney rent the car and give it back at the end of the book, since she’s a cowgirl who normally drives a pickup. Now I was chomping at the bit to figure out a clever way to change my storyline to give Sydney a reason to own a vintage Caddy.

After galloping down several dead-ends, I realized that a 1959 Cadillac still in pristine condition had to have been loved by somebody for a long time. And that somebody would have given their beloved vehicle a very special name. Celeste. Right away, I realized that was the only name that would do. And once I had the name, I had the backstory. Sydney inherited Celeste from a man who trusted her to value his Caddy and keep her in tiptop shape just as he had since buying his car brand new.

And that’s how Celeste became an important character in A Very Cowboy Christmas, leading the Christmas parade with Sydney behind the wheel and the Christmas Queen wearing a cowgirl hat with a rhinestone tiara ensconced above the backseat. Of course, I might add, it’s all thanks to an editor who has a yen for her very own 1959 Cadillac.

Kim Redford is an acclaimed, bestselling author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at Kim Redford.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Snippet of The Right Kind of Reckless (Coming 11/7)

In the world of publishing, everything is slow going. Several people have asked me, emailed me, messaged me, and all that good stuff, wondering about the next books in my series. For now, The Right Kind of Reckless is officially coming November 7th! AKA Max's story.

As for Gavin's story? I don't have an official release date for that just yet. (sorry Gav lovers!!) BUT I'm hoping next year, for sure.

To make up for all the waiting, I've decided to give some Max fans a little taste of his sweetness come November. Yes, he kind of got a bad rap for being a little jerky when it comes to women, but I SWEAR to you all, he's got the most redeemable book ever.

Writing a hero that's a bit of an ass specialty. Was Collin an overprotective, overbearing, downright booger of a man at times? Yeah, and I'm not afraid to admit it. WHY? Because I love to read books like that, bottom line.

Was Max a bit of a jerk who spins tails and loves the ladies a little too hard, only to say goodbye to them the next day? Yep. And I'm not sorry for that either. I write what I love, without merits or apologies, and if you're an author, reading this post, don't be afraid to do the same. <3

Okay, without further ado, here's a little taste of TRKOR, Maxwell, Gavin, and Chloe style.

Ten minutes later, I was dressed and the two of us stood outside his door. “You knock, pretty girl.” I grinned as she pounded her tiny fist against the glass storm door. Ten seconds later, a sweaty-a ss yeti of a man answered, towel around his neck and looking like he hadn’t seen a razor—o r sleep— for months.

“Get dressed. We’re taking Beaner for breakfast.” In response, Chloe leaped toward Gav’s leg and wrapped her chubby little arms around his calf.

“Sabotage,” he grumbled, flipping me off over her head. But, like all three of us would’ve done, he squatted down to her level and said with a smile, “Good morning, Chloe.”

The guy wasn’t good with kids. The only time he’d tried to take care of Chloe on his own, he’d wound up covered in her vomit and calling Addie. But that didn’t mean he didn’t love her. And Chloe, for some reason, thought the sun rose and set with her uncle Gavin. Hell, her first real, recognizable word was Avvy, which we all knew stood for Gavvy.

“Sorry. First thing she asked for this morning was your dumb-ass.” No, it was candy, but a little white lie never hurt anybody.

His bearded face went soft as he pulled back from kissing her forehead. “I’m all sweaty from my run, Chloe. Can I take a shower first?”

I rolled my eyes as he tried— failed— to barter with the kid. Again, the guy didn’t have a fatherly bone in his body.

She grabbed hold of his finger and tugged him out onto the front porch, her decision already made. Gavin shot me the devil eyes from over her shoulder, and I held my hands up in defense. “Kid’s hungry.”

“Fine, fuck. Put her in her car seat. I’m coming.”

"Uck!” Chloe squealed proudly, her eyes wide as she watched Gavin stand.

I laughed so hard my eyes started watering. Gavin, on the other hand, turned pale and pointed a finger at her, then me, then her again, his mouth opening and shutting each time. Chloe giggled like she knew exactly what she’d done. I picked her up, propping her on my hip.

“Chloe, you can’t say the bad words Uncle Gavin says, all right?” I laughed again, knowing damn well she wouldn’t understand.

Gavin moved forward and tucked some of her curls behind her ear. Then he glared at me, his jaw tight. “Give me five minutes.”

Pre-order The Right Kind of Reckless now! 11/7/17


Maxwell Martinez

I'm in love with a woman I can't have, and there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.
The problem? Her brother's my best friend.
I shouldn't want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I've never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.
But one look into her eyes and I'm a mess for her. She's my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.

Friday, July 21, 2017

I'm so thrilled to share this sale with you! All three of my books; Race the Darkness, Hunt the Dawn, and Saving Mercy are on sale for 99¢.



Series: Fatal Dreams Series, Book 1 
Genre: Dark Romantic Thriller

Cursed with a terrible gift...
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn't have to question you-he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night-the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except...there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.
Buy Now


Her gaze locked with his—locked so hard the entire world vanished and all that existed were her and him and his hand feeling the steady beat of her heart. Whatever the fuck she was about to say, he was gonna believe her. She could tell him he was a two-headed, purple squirrel, and he’d go out, find a nut, and climb a tree.

“Xander. I vow to protect you from pain. I vow never to leave you unless you want me to leave. I vow never to hurt you the way Gran hurt your father. Because hurting you would be hurting myself. Your pain is my pain. And my pain is yours. But together we are strong and invincible. Don’t you feel it when we touch? It’s all I can feel. All I want to feel. You and me. Us. Together.”

Her words did more than enter his ears; they melded into him as bone-deep truth. He’d never do anything to hurt her and—damn—he trusted that she wouldn’t hurt him. As sick as it sounded, maybe his faith in her was born from the suffering she’d endured. She understood pain. Understood the depth and damage pain caused in a way few others ever would. That kind of knowledge made her incapable of wounding anyone else.

“Say something. You’re looking at me funny.” Her voice trembled just a bit. He could practically hear her doubting whether she should’ve spoken the words of her heart.

“What you said… Those words…” Christ. He didn’t have experience talking about his feelings. “Everything.”

 She cocked her head to the side, questions wrinkling her forehead.

He was screwing this up. “Your words mean everything to me.” He could show her easier than he could tell her. He slid his hands up her neck, framing her face, staring at her, absorbing every detail. “You’re my…” Fearless. He caught himself before he said the word. To base how he felt on a story wasn’t real. She was real. And the emotions warming him were real. “Everything.” He lowered his mouth to hers. She tasted sweet, of cinnamon and sugar, and for some reason, his heart ached with a fullness of feeling it had never experienced before.

He scooped her up in his arms, cradling her to his chest, his mind flashing back to the day he found her—and to holding her this same way. God, she had weighed so little, had seemed so fragile, but she was strong. Stronger than he’d ever be. Knowing what she’s gone through, what she’d survived—yeah. Strong was too weak a word to describe her.

He carried her up the stairs to his bedroom, his mouth never leaving hers. With a gentleness born of reverence, he settled her on the bed. He broke the kiss to stare at her once more. Her eyes were closed, her face relaxed, her lips deliciously puffy and pink from a good kissing. He fucking loved pink.  


Series: Fatal Dreams Series, Book 2 (stand alone) 
Genre: Dark Romantic Thriller

Out of darkness and danger… You can't hide your secrets from Lathan Montgomery-he can read your darkest memories. And while his special abilities are invaluable in the FBI's hunt for a serial killer, he has no way to avoid the pain that brings him. Until he is drawn to courageous, down-on-her-luck Evanee Brown and finds himself able to offer her something he's never offered another human being: himself.

Dawns a unique and powerful love Nightmares are nothing new to Evanee Brown. But once she meets Lathan, they plummet into the realm of the macabre. Murder victims are reaching from beyond the grave to give Evanee evidence that could help Lathan bring a terrifying killer to justice. Together, they could forge an indomitable partnership to thwart violence, abuse, and death-if they survive the forces that seek to tear them apart.              
Buy Now


While he hauled his motorcycle onto the road, he didn’t look away from her.

She stood bereft in the middle of the pavement, staring out over the pasture. Emotions infused the air around her. Shame. Hate. Embarrassment. Sadness. Fear. Desperation. He recognized that tangled combination of scents. Knew them intimately. Knew the feeling of being hurt and vulnerable and powerless to stop the pain. Knew how memories, like the one he witnessed, had left wounds on her soul and Junior had just ripped off all the scabs. She was raw, bleeding emotionally in front of him and yet holding it together by a spider’s thread. He could see the effort in the way she stood straight and stiff.

Fury simmered low in his gut. After he got her squared away, maybe he’d pay a visit to Junior. Show the asshole what it felt like to be the victim.

He walked the bike to her. After he straddled the seat, he held out his hand to her. She grabbed him, her grip hungry. “Climb on up.”

She tossed her leg over the seat, using his hand to balance her weight. He sat at the same time she did, her body settling against his back. Holy Jesus. He couldn’t activate the ability to think—his brain short-circuited from her nearness.

Everything disappeared but the feeling of her open thighs wrapped around his ass with nothing but a tiny pair of black shorts and his jeans between them. Her sweet musky scent, almost like honey, but better—way better—folded around him like a celestial pair of wings. The scent of her entered his nose, flowed into his lungs, then out to his extremities, spreading a cooling wave of solace that he wanted to savor, but couldn’t. Not with her perched behind him, waiting for him to drive down the road.

He placed her hand against his stomach, pressed it tightly to him. His abdominal muscles twitched under her touch. “Hold on.” He let go of her hand and she slid her other arm around his waist. She pressed her front to his back, holding as tightly to his body as she’d held his hand.

She was a clingy little thing. Not that he minded. Her touch felt like—what was the word he wanted to use—kismet. Exactly as he’d always imagined a lover’s touch. Two pieces fitting perfectly together. He kicked the machine in gear, trying to ease it forward instead of his normal burst of speed. She rested her head on his spine, nestling her cheek across the fabric of his shirt before settling. His heart grew, straining against his chest wall, threatening to come up his throat in a shout of absolute ecstasy.  


Series: Fatal Truth Series, Book 1 
Genre: Dark Romantic Thriller

He's Found her at last...
Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man. His only redeeming quality? The extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch killers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his horrific past—and the one woman who might understand what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare
 Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful—and in terrible danger. The moment Cain finds her the line between good and evil blurs and the only thing clear to them is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood—but is their bond strong enough to overcome the madness that stalks them?                    
Buy Now


The rain came down gray and thick as a shroud, blurring his vision of the world. He flipped on the wipers and pulled out of the hospital parking lot onto the road. Fat blobs of smacked the windshield loud as marbles being tossed against the glass. Was that hail? As if it mattered. His car was trashed.

Cain had covered the passenger seat and all Mac’s blood with a blanket he kept in the trunk. Even though his view of all that crimson was blocked, his mind knew it was there and his eyes kept wandering to the blanket, calling up the image of the dark stickiness coating the seat and the floor. All that blood was playing touchy-feely with his sanity. And he wasn’t in the mood for games.

He drove past a gas station, a fast food restaurant, a person walking alongside the road. His foot hit the brake before his brain had a chance to talk him out of it.


Her hair was slicked to her skull, her clothes—his clothes—were sucked to her body, doing a shitty job of hiding her curves. At least the T-shirt she wore was black, not white.

He pulled over to the berm and watched her in the rearview mirror. She stopped walking, stared at the car—knew it was him—but didn’t move.

Could he blame her for not wanting to be around him after what he’d said to her? Not really. And yet, he couldn’t leave her alone and walking in the rain with Payne still out there. Not to mention that she didn’t have anyone or anywhere to go.

She still hadn’t moved from her spot.

He left the car running, opened his door and got out.

The rain slapped him—frigid, bordering on icy, soaking his clothes and dripping in his eyes. The pressure of it hitting the wounds in his bicep and shoulder made him wince. But that was all the attention he’d give to the pain.

“Get in the car.” The words came out harsher than he’d intended.

She crossed her arms in front of her chest, lifted her head, and somehow managed to stare down her nose at him even though she was almost a foot shorter. “No.” She said the word as if it didn’t matter that they were standing in the middle of a downpour.

“Get in the goddamned car.” This time the words came out loud and angry sounding. Like that was going to win her over. What was his problem?

“Fuck you.” She looked miserable—all wet and shivery and yet feisty and taking none of his crap.

He should soften his tone. He should try to be nicer. He should, but his inner asshole seemed attracted to her inner bitch. “Where are you going? No where. You don’t have anywhere to go. You don’t have any money. You don’t have friends.” His voice softened and filled with some emotion he couldn’t name. “You don’t have anyone looking out for you, caring for you, able to help you in a pinch. You got no one.” He sucked in a breath and when he spoke next his voice was soft and pleading. “Except me.” The moment he finished speaking he wanted to retract every goddamned one of those words he’d spoken. “I’m…Shit…” He ran a hand through his soaking hair. “Goddamn it. I’m a dick. Okay?” He softened his tone. “Now will you please get in the car?”

Her shoulders straightened, her chin lifted, and she walked forward without looking at him. He expecting her to stomp past the car, but she yanked open the passenger door and got in. Seconds passed where he just stood here, getting even more wet, and staring at the back of her head poking above the headrest. “Now what?” He asked himself. Just what was he going to do with her? Drop her on Dolan? Yes. No. Yes. No. No. No. The last time he tried dropping her on someone she’d almost gotten hurt. If Mac hadn’t been able to keep her safe, he sure as shit wasn’t going to trust Dolan with her.

He got back in car. Every inch of him soaked. He brushed his hair back off his face and wiped the water from his eyes. She stared out the passenger window, refusing to look at him. He reached over and touched her shoulder. Underneath his hand, her body tensed, then trembled. Shit. Was he scaring her? He wrenched his hand off her and wanted to use the damned thing to slap himself around a little. Maybe then he’d get it through his stupid brain that she was fucking frightened of him.

Too many words flooded his mind and he didn’t know which ones to say. The I’m-sorry ones. The I-won’t-hurt-you ones. The I’m-an-asshole ones. The I-don’t-know-what-to-do ones. She turned to him. Rain slicked her cheeks. Or was that tears? Her beautiful eyes were the color of tropical waters—deep and fathomless.

He held up his hands in a show of surrender and she flew across the console at him. He closed his eyes, braced for the blows, but none came. Instead, slender arms wrapped around him, her hair, cold and wet dripped against his chest, but her cheek over his heart was warm—so warm. Maybe he’d had a stroke or something because this felt like she was hugging him. And that couldn’t be. Could it?

He opened his eyes and looked down at her. Yep. She was wound tight around the front of him. And suddenly his brain let him feel the total sensation of it. Of being held tight as if he mattered to her. He let his arms fall around her and squeezed, pressing her tighter to him. Damn, this felt good. She felt good. It was oddly comforting to have her clinging on to him so tight. He closed his eyes and memorized the pressure of her arms around him and the way her hands pressed into his back. The way she felt in his arms, the subtle ripple of her spine and ribs underneath his fingers, the way her skin felt warm against his when every other part of him was cold.

If he’d been given a Stop Time button. This was the moment he would’ve used it. Here, holding her—the gentle lullaby of rain playing in the background—was the only perfect moment of his entire life.

About Abbie Roads

Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. SAVING MERCY is the first book in her new Fatal Truth Series of dark, gritty, romantic suspense with a psychological twist.
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