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The Witch Thief, Excerpt

“Where is the chalice? What did you do with it?” Joarr Enge picked up the dented metal lantern and peered through the glass. Amma, the witch whose spirit was trapped inside, refused to answer. He shook the lantern. The needle that he’d used to pull Amma’s spirit from the body she’d occupied rattled against the glass windows. The body hadn’t been Amma’s. A misguided princess, thinking she would gain the witch’s powers, had forced Amma’s spirit into her body, but she had underestimated Amma’s stubbornness. Just as Joarr had. Amma would still be there, annoying her hostess, if Joarr hadn’t used the needle to pull her free. But he had and now he had her where he wanted her…or where he had thought he wanted her. Things were not going exactly as he had planned. He glowered at the lantern. He should roast it, let an explosion of fire escape from his lungs until the object was no more than a bubbly puddle of melted metal and glass. He let his thoughts pour from his eyes. The witch inside the lantern stayed firmly hidden. His fingers tightened around the metal handle and he dropped it to his side, hiding his frustration from her in case she was watching without his knowledge. She is in there, he assured himself. She just refused to come out, had refused for the past month since he’d brought her back to his home. A home he hadn’t seen in over one hundred years, in great part because of this witch. He cricked his neck from one side to the other, his mood growing darker as he remembered where he’d been, the state he’d been left in. One hundred years stuck in his dragon form in a room that barely allowed him space to breathe much less turn around or stretch his wings. Nothing to...

Trust Me, excerpt

This is an unedited excerpt from my October 2011 release, Trust Me. Prologue Marie Jean Ste. Genevieve, Illinois Country May 1, 1785 – great flood The water shifted beneath her feet, as if the Mississippi wasn’t just swollen with flood waters, but angry, boiling. The others had left long before, gathering whatever they held dear and scurrying for higher ground, but not Marie Jean. She held nothing dear–not since that bastard Cruzat doomed her to marriage with the monster others called her husband. Damn Cruzat. Damn the church. Damn everyone who told her she had no choice–that God’s will was greater than her own. She would show them all. Grasping the rough logs of the cedar stockade she clung to, she stared down at the water. She could give in, throw herself into the angry current of the Mississippi, but there would be no satisfaction in that–no revenge. She had a better plan. She’d thought of it last night, when the others were packing, when her husband was chortling about the Lieutenant Governor’s denial of her request for a divorce. How she had wanted to kill him then–pick up the saber he kept hanging on the wall of their cabin, and pierce his heart, stand there laughing as the black blood of his soul spilled out on the dirt. But no, her body was too weak. He would have used the weapon on her instead, but damn his twisted soul, he wouldn’t have shown her the mercy of death–just continued the same torture she’d endured for years. Enough. She’d had enough. “So, you came.” The voice was low, masculine in a way that sent shivers of expectation up Marie Jean’s spine. She turned. He stood an arm’s length away, his feet braced on the roof of a cabin, his waist-length hair clinging to his bare chest. His eyes glimmered at...

Demon High, excerpt

Chapter 1 The envelope had arrived open. I wouldn’t have read the page inside otherwise, wouldn’t have thought to, honestly. And I wouldn’t have known I was about to lose my home. The only home I’d ever known. Letter still in hand, I went where I always went when I needed to think, the hall closet. It was a big for a closet but cram-packed with old comforters, wool coats and the scent of my grandmother’s perfume. The space had got me through a lot of bad, scary and lonely times. As I pulled open the door, the hinges creaked. As I tugged the heavy door closed the knob rattled and came loose in my hand. A line in the letter came back to me…“due to disrepair and continued devaluation of the property.” This was what the bank executive whose name was scribbled across the bottom of the letter had been talking about. This and the peeling paint, rotting windows and cracked sidewalk. The tree branch that had crashed through our front porch during a summer storm probably hadn’t helped either. I settled myself on the floor and stared at Nana’s green wool coat—the one with the real fur collar. The collar had bald spots. What I’d once thought of as luxurious was just old and worn out. I hadn’t noticed before. I glanced around the closet’s interior, taking in cracked plastered walls and the worn oak floors. Even the old heat vent was rusty. The front door flew open, smacked into the other side of the wall beside me. “Lucinda?” Nana back from the store. Still holding the letter, I waited for her to hobble away before burrowing deeper into the closet. I shoved aside a stack of embroidered pillow cases that hid the floor board I had loosened when I was eight. Under it was a cloth-covered...

Unbound, excerpt

Chapter One It was the fear he smelled first, a pheromone-laden scent almost irresistible to the hell hound within him. She was here–somewhere.   Risk Leidolf spun on one worn boot heel, searching the dim interior of the bar for his latest assignment. He didn’t have much information: young and pretty, Lusse had said. She hadn’t bothered to tell him anything more. It didn’t matter. Whatever Lusse’s latest target brought to the fight–talents or temptations–she would be no match for him. They never were.   The room was a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells, and emotions–an onslaught that would be overwhelming to a less experienced hunter, but sadly for his prey, it would barely slow Risk down. He inhaled, dissecting the surrounding scents. Stale beer and human sweat. He shoved them aside. Emotion was what he sought. What he craved. A tinge of desperation wafted toward him. He ignored it too. Despair and what followed, guilt and sorrow, held no appeal for Risk. No, much as he wished it different, adrenaline was what lured him–fear, anger. They called to him, making him a slave to urges he wished he could forget. Clearing his senses, he concentrated, listening to the low murmur of voices around him. It was quiet for a bar, but an undercurrent ran through the place, a vibration of danger humming around him like a tuning fork held to his ear. The bar held secrets, but Risk was unconcerned. He had one job tonight, to retrieve the female for Lusse, and save himself from another period of service in the kennels. Torture he could handle, but being forced to live with the other hounds, fighting daily just to survive, perhaps even losing the small piece of territory he had secured for himself in this world, that would surely drive him mad.   He laughed, a dry hollow sound. Like...

Love is All You Need, excerpt

Pearls before swine… “You want me to buy a pig in a poke?” Del Montgomery twisted the necklace at her throat and struggled to remember that the man sitting across from her desk had the power to take away everything those pearls represented. “Not just any pig in a poke, the pig in a poke. The Unruh Pig.” Her boss, Benjamin Porter, couldn’t have been any more condescending if she’d asked “Which Liberty Bell?” Of course, Del was used to his attitude. As creator of Porter Auctions, the premier auction house of the Midwest, Porter tended to address her with a certain level of disdain on a regular basis. She was used to it, but she didn’t like it. “Ah, the Unruh Pig.” Del searched her memory for mention of any swine in Unruh’s history. The pottery company, though legendary, had enjoyed a brief existence in the early 1900s. They were best known for their founder’s eccentric free-form designs—never had she heard of anything resembling a pig. “That was before the second fire, wasn’t it?” A safe question, since everything of any value was created before the second rebuilding of the factory. “So, you have heard of it?” Porter beamed at her. “I was certain if anyone knew the history, it would be you.” Lucky her. Rolling her pearls between the pads of her index finger and thumb, she asked, “Who did you say tipped you off the Pig was back in circulation?” Porter leaned against the worn leather of the one side chair allotted to her office and watched her over the top of his tortoise-shell glasses. “I didn’t.” Ass. “Fair enough.” She pulled a spiral notebook that served as her Day Timer from her lap drawer. “So you want me to authenticate the piece before we accept it?” “Yes.” Porter adjusted his skinny butt, like he couldn’t get...

Love is All Around, excerpt

She peeled off her shorts and draped them over the log. Will blinked away the sight. The same muscle tone he’d noticed on her stomach was apparent on her butt and thighs. Hell, that wasn’t a butt. That was a booty. A vision of his hands gripping her firm backside as she pulsed up and down above him fogged his brain. And her thighs, he could almost feel the strength of them wrapped around his waist as he… “You thinking about it?” Patsy brushed water off the thighs in question with an impatient flick of her wrist. He blinked at her, then down at his shorts. Was he that obvious? “Your left from your right? You trying to figure it out?” She held up first her left hand, then her right. “Maybe you could get a tattoo or something, you know, a little l and r.” Oh, that. He tried to focus on her smart-ass question, but the pressure in his shorts was a bit distracting. Maybe he should try another dip in the frigid river. He jerked his soaked T-shirt off and pretended to wring it out. Never show attraction or fear—they feed on it. “Just felt like a swim,” he replied. “Really? You usually take the cooler with you?” She held out her leg, removing a stray piece of flotsam with two fingers. Swallowing hard, he focused on the tiny piece of debris pinched between her fingers. Don’t look at her legs. “Keeps the beer cold.” Good, nice and casual. He was under control. “Well, that’s important.” She dropped his lifeline into the river and combed through her hair with her now unoccupied fingers. He couldn’t help but think of other things to occupy those skillful digits. Unaware of his ongoing battle with his libido, she continued, “Next time, warn me though, so I can pull a...

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