Friday, August 31, 2012

Congrats to Kate Hardy...and casting couch

I'm over at Kate Hardy's blog helping her celebrate her 50th Book today...FIFTY! Can you imagine? That number is quite a ways away for me yet. Anyway come on over and help her party, and you can also enter to win a copy of IN THE LINE OF DUTY. :-)

I've spent my morning doing more background work for the new book I'm starting in a few days. Yesterday I sorted out character names, professions, and a basic conflict. I also figured out what's going to keep them thrown together even though spending time together is the last thing they want (at least, the last thing the heroine wants!).

This morning I began the task of casting. While this can be fun, it can also be frustrating, especially when I can't think of anyone who matches the look and more importantly the ATTITUDE. It is far harder to find celebrity casting for westerns I find. But then I remembered this great Facebook page OF LOVE AND COWBOYS and I went through their pics and voila! There he was. Meet Cooper Ford - horse breeder and former best friend to the heroine's ex. Coop is all charm and charisma, but Melissa doesn't believe it a bit. Wouldn't she be surprised to learn Coop's had a thing for her for years?


Then we have Melissa (as yet without a last name) who owns the local flower shop in Cadence Creek. Melissa's divorced after discovering her husband's affair. She doesn't trust Coop as far as she could throw him - after all, he knew all about the affair and said nothing. He's a part of her past she'd rather just forget.  Melissa is a little bit sweet, a little bit sassy, and with the sexiest voice on the planet (much to Coop's consternation). Emma Stone as a brunette (and without the heavy eyeliner) fit the bill just right to me.


I even have a working title courtesy of the sharp brain of my pal Deborah Hale:

A COWBOY TO COME HOME TO
 
I'm starting to get quite excited to get writing, which is a great sign.
 
In the meantime, it's a holiday weekend and we're chillaxing and then having an end-of-summer barbeque at our neighbours.
 
What are you up to for the Labour Day weekend?
 


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Win a copy of IN THE LINE OF DUTY!

Today I'm celebrating release week by being over at THE BOOK BOOST blog talking about adding a bit of variety to my writing schedule. There's also an excerpt from IN THE LINE OF DUTY and a chance to win a copy, so please pop by!

Yesterday I visited Alison Stone's blog with a fun interview, and I revealed a bit of a culinary embarrassment: go visit and find out the one thing that NEVER turns out for me (and it should be a no-brainer!).

What else is going on? Well, I've subbed a workshop proposal for a conference next year, organized some things I've left by the wayside for a while, and started figuring out my next book, which I'm starting next week. I'm really excited to be continuing on with the Cadence Creek series, and I have two brand new characters I'm working up. The next three books are all planned as Cadence Creek ones, so it looks like the series is going to be at least 6 books long. That's so exciting for me!

Anyway, have a great rest of the day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IT'S HERE!

IN THE LINE OF DUTY is officially for sale! Yay! I had a lot of fun writing this story!

Some people have asked me how these books differ from my regular western Romances for Harlequin. I like to think that I deliver the same type of story that my readers expect, although two main differences are that this series is made up of novellas so they are slightly shorter reads, and they are a bit sexier than I write in Romance.

The Library Journal Xpress Reviews agrees - I got this review recently and the "verdict" portion says, Alward’s previous work in cowboy romances (e.g., The Last Real Cowboy) can be seen here. Jake sounds like a cowboy-turned-bartender and Kendra is the strong female who never learned how to love. The overall innocence displayed by the two when not getting hot and heavy makes this a short and sweet read.—John Rodzvilla

Here's the blurb:

When it comes to love, sometimes a girl has to go above and beyond.

First Responders, Book 2

Jake Symonds has been a thorn in Constable Kendra Givens’s side since the night they first met, when she’d had to arrest him. In his boxer shorts. The drunken comments he made that night are worsened by the truth she’ll never admit. For a fleeting moment, they’d connected.

Two years later, when she’s called to investigate a break-and-enter at his pub, the last thing she expects is for the now-competent businessman to cook her breakfast. But she’s no fool. The former bad boy still lurks beneath the charm. And his business involves the one thing that she’s hated since it ruined her childhood. Alcohol.

As far as he’s concerned, Jake has changed, but Kendra still has a stick up her butt. Yet he can’t help but like her sass and quick wit. One well-aimed baseball at the carnival dunk tank later and he’s got a date.

Their spark of attraction quickly flares out of control, but their emotional baggage is stacked too high to risk anything deeper—until one tragic night strips the barriers from their deepest fears. And Kendra realizes the greatest danger Jake presents is to her heart.

Warning: Readers should be aware that any sexy comments made to police officers will be used against them in the hottest way possible.

You can get it at Samhain's Store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most ebook retailers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Big 4-0

I realized yesterday that I'd never posted about vacation - probably because I was too busy being ON it, and then even when I wasn't we were still a bit, well, loose with our schedule. Two weeks ago tomorrow I turned 40, and we had friends here from Alberta to help us celebrate.

The last time they were here (a few years ago) it was grey and cold and rainy almost the whole trip. This time the weather was gorgeous, with the exception of the last full day we were all together. That was okay. We chilled in the morning and then our family went to Truro to my husband's graduation from a program he's taken and their family went to the Discovery Center. Afterwards we had lasagna for dinner and made ice cream sundaes. It was a good day.

So basically we spent a week eating too much and lounging by the pool and generally enjoying each other and the sunshine. On the 14th (my birthday), Joyce and I were "dismissed" to the local inn around lunch time where we indulged in a few strawberry coladas and some sweet potato fries while the husband and kids decorated. My mother in law and aunt in law arrived with lobster and wine. We enjoyed the pool and then two other couples joined us for dinner on the deck (chicken wings, salads, burgers and lobster rolls) and cake and fireworks.

It was a fabulous time.

I have worked a little since then, mostly on admin and promotion stuff to clear the decks before everyone goes back to school and the house is my own again for writing stories. The husband went back to work today - a week before the students go back - and the kids go back on the 5th. But I'm gearing up just the same. I've done a lot and on Saturday I was at Prescott House Museum in Starr's Point doing a day long retreat with RWAC chapter members Jennie Marsland and Michelle Helliwell. The weather was stunning and they set us up outside (there were 21 of us, including me) beneath a Japanese Heartnut tree. Being around other writers for a whole day really helped me switch gears from "vacation Donna" into "work Donna" in the nicest way possible - especially when the half-dozen or so of us from RWAC went to the Port Pub after for some down time.

All in all my well has been filled and I'm really looking forward to getting back to work. Good thing too, because my fall is shaping up to be very busy indeed!

Have a wonderful day and come back tomorrow as it is LAUNCH DAY for the next in the First Responders series!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Responders Excerpts!

I just realized I haven't blogged all week. It's been busy - I've been doing a lot of running with kids, back to school shopping, and all kinds of good stuff. But I did manage to add excerpts etc. to my website for my upcoming First Responders books!

IN THE LINE OF DUTY releases in less than a week! You can read a teaser on my website. You can also preorder it through the Samhain Store or at amazon.

INTO THE FIRE is next, and the official release date is November 13. There's an excerpt there, too. It's also available for preorder at Amazon and other retailers.

Enjoy! I'm off to a day-long writer's retreat on Saturday at the gorgeous Prescott House Museum in the Annapolis Valley (incidentally, the town where the First Responders series is set!). I'll be back on Monday when I think I might actually be getting back into a semi-regular schedule again!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway for Sleigh Ride With The Rancher

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sleigh Ride with the Rancher by Donna Alward

Sleigh Ride with the Rancher

by Donna Alward

Giveaway ends October 01, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, August 17, 2012

HIRED BY THE COWBOY

I've been on vacation all week - and will be back next week with deets and pics as it's been FABULOUS. But I realized that I never posted some news on my blog even though it's been up on FB and twitter.

Amazon has my very first Harlequin Romance - and incidentally it won the Booksellers' Best Award for the year it was released  - on for 0.99!!!!!!!!! So if you have a kindle, and missed out on reading this when it was released in 2007, now's your chance! You can get it at this link.

If you have a NOOK, you can get it for FREE!

If you read on itunes, it's also free at this link!

Other e-tailers also have it for free, like Diesel (epub) and Eharlequin.

ENJOY!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

RWA Day 5 - RITA day!

Or otherwise known as glamour day 2!
Saturday we had a slower start, which was really quite nice as I didn't sleep well AGAIN and we'd partied until 1 a.m. Fiona and I met up with my "stalker" Nicole Flockton - Nicole showed up EVERYWHERE I was and then we realized a lot of it was due to the fact that she was in the next ROOM! Anyway Nicole joined us for breakfast, which was great - I really felt like I got to know here a lot better during the week.

Fiona and I both planned to attend the Michael Hauge workshop, but by the time we got there it was sitting on the floor only, and my wardrobe kind of prohibited that. Instead I got a coffee at Starbucks and I caught up with Rula Sinara and we had a long chat in the lobby. It was just the sort of hour I needed, because the rest of the day went in a flash.

I attended the Harlequin Author session at 11; had lunch at the Hilton with the Petticoats and Pistols crew, then went straight to the RITA rehearsal. After a short break, Fi and I left for a meeting off-site, we just got back and I had to get ready for RITA night as I was meeting the Mills and Boon editors at 6 for a light dinner before the main event.
Dinner was lovely - editors Tessa Shapcott, Lucy Gilmour, and my Senior Editor Bryony Green treated fellow finalist Trish Morey and me and it was the perfect thing to occupy our time. I was sooo nervous. I'd be fine and then wham! My tummy would go all funny. Lucy gave me a message from my editor who couldn't come and I tried very hard not to wibble. Our table was in a quiet  corner and it really was a wonderful way to chill out. (During the ceremony I did manage to snap a pic of the screen when my book was announced!)
Before the ceremony I did a "red carpet" segment with Harlequin's Jayne Hoogenberk - you can watch in on youtube on Harlequin's channel. It was so fun and the best segment was Fiona Lowe's who I am sure considers that boomerang very lucky...


Then it was into the ceremony. Sarah Morgan was at our table, along with her editor Lucy; Fiona was my date, Trish Morey was on my other side (we giggled a LOT) and the lovely Yvonne Lindsay beside her, and Starr Ambrose, who I met the first night of my very first conference was seated with us along with her agent and editor. It was just my luck that the Series Contemporary category was second to last for the WHOLE night, so I had a long time to be nervous. But I will confess that when Fiona Lowe won for Boomerang Bride I jumped up and cheered and then with a red face sat down as I had the sudden thought that people might think I was her...I was and am so excited for her. She deserved every bit of success with her big book that could.

Of course the results are no secret now and of course Sarah Morgan won our category for Doukakasis's Apprentice! I have to say that I am so happy for her and that the RITA went to our editorial office (Harlequin in London). After her very glam "photoshoot" with Nora Roberts (okay, will confess to being slightly jealous about THAT), we all moved to the bar for a champagne toast! Ms. RITA got passed around and the mood was definitely jubilant.

Around 11 Fiona and I left for the Samhain afterparty (Fiona was my date - actually, I called her my conference wife. She looked after me so well! I love her.). There was food and free drinks and a dance floor and it was truly just what I needed - something fun and upbeat rather than the inevitable letdown that generally happens after the RITAs and honestly a little more bittersweet for nominees. It was WAY better to go out on a high note.


And seriously - how can a girl feel bad when she has friends like this? This is my favourite picture of the whole conference. When Sarah won the RITA, my phone vibrated. It was Jenna, and she texted "I love you man." Not winning didn't make me get weepy, but that text sure did - and Fiona too, when I showed it to her.

And that was it. We got back to the room around 12:30 and I was up and making a hasty "I need to do this fast so I don't cry" goodbye to Fiona by 6:45. 7.5 hours of flying and 3 hours of delays later, I finally made it home.

It was good to be home. But I'm so glad I went. Next year Fiona has to final so *I* have an excuse to go!

Friday, August 10, 2012

RWA Day 4- otherwise known as Glamour Day 1

The Friday of conference is always a BIG DAY. It's Harlequin Party day, the most awesome party on the planet. But other things happen too. Fi and I actually got a decent night's sleep and got up raring to go. We hit the conference breakfast for our daily dose of fruit and yogurt and discovered the wonder of chocolate chunk scones (bliss).

We went to the Harlequin Series Spotlight then, and heard about some of the changes coming both from a marketing angle and within the series themselves - like increased word counts for SuperRomance and Romantic Suspense, the addition of a new series, KISS, and cover rebranding that will be taking place across ALL series. Let me just say that the new covers look AWESOME! It was a really great session all done with an Olympic theme that was fun and also fun to look at (many thanks to whoever added the pic of Joe Manganiello whilst talking about heroes in the Nocturne series!).

After that I headed to the Harlequin signing, where I signed copies of THE REBEL RANCHER and got to sit next to Annie Burrows and her feather pen. It was great getting to know her a little better and we had a blast. I got to see some familiar faces, meet some new ones, and indulge in a few squee moments as I met Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Brenda Jackson and also Susan Mallery (and got a book signed) and RaeAnne Thayne (who didn't sign a book, because I'd already read it and thought it brilliant).

The luncheon on Friday was very good for conference food (no complaints here) and the speaker was fabulous - Robyn Carr had me laughing a little and crying a little and just plain proud to be a writer. THIS IS WHY I LOVE THE LUNCHEONS! I'm always inspired and warm and fuzzy! I came away from that talk with a bonafide girl crush. Robyn, you rock.

Then from 3-5 I headed to the RITA and GOLDEN HEART nominee reception. In keeping with the "champagne is the drink of RWA12" theme, I snagged a glass as I went in the door, and stayed away from the dessert table (still had a dress that I needed to fit into, thank you very much!). Everyone mingled for a while and then the certificates were presented. I sat with Sarah Morgan (who ended up being our category's winner!) and Trish Morey, who I just met this conference and who is a scream. Here the three of us are together after the ceremony was over!

And then it was back to the room to get ready for dinner and the Harlequin party. I felt so glam! Fi and I were all dressed up and we went outside to catch a cab to the Hyatt and ended up waiting with HQ CEO Donna Hayes, COO Craig Swinwood and VP Series Dianne Moggy, who commented on our dresses and especially Jennie Lucas's SHOES! (There are pics of those shoes on Fiona's blog I think!). We went to dinner at the Hyatt and Jennie ordered a bottle of champagne (naturally!) and then we were joined by Janette Kenney and Lynn Raye Harris. I totally got to be a Presents girl for the night, right down to ordering another bottle of bubbly (and our champagne had its own chair. True story). Then it was to the Harlequin party where we danced our butts off...

And I swear that we'd already claimed a table and put our clutch purses down and had been to the bar when it was made very clear that we were OBVIOUSLY the cool table...as NORA herself (yes, I mean Nora Roberts and entourage) came and sat down!

And as usual, we closed the place down, caught a cab back to the Marriott, and after a quick soft drink at the bar, fell into bed.

Friday of conference just RULES.

One more post to come - about RITA day!


Monday, August 06, 2012

RWA Day 3

Day 3 - otherwise known as Thursday. There was breakfast this year on 2 of the conference days, so Fi and I were up and showered and ready to go at an obscene hour thanks to jetlag and filled up on fruit, yogurt, muffins and coffee.

After that we split up as I had the National Reader's Choice Awards. My agent was my "date" and I indulged in a mimosa. Since another of her clients, Christyne Butler, was up for the award as well, the three of us sat together. When it was over we had some extra time and we sat and chatted for a long time, which was awesome.

After that I met up with Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for a podcast session that was SOOOO fun. You can listen to the result here - I start at about the 17 min mark.

Then it was lunch, and the keynote speaker, Stephanie Laurens. She spoke about the changes in the industry, how it's a good time to be an author, and gave an all-around thought provoking and inspiring address. You can read the text on her site.

From there it was to the Mills and Boon Meet and Greet, and then from there to the Romance line tea at The Cheesecake Factory. YUM! There were 10 of us there and we ordered 8 pieces of cheesecake so we could each get a taste of each kind - and we STILL couldn't finish it all. It was delicious! And a really lovely, relaxed few hours where 6 of us (authors) got to chat with our editors and also guest Dianne Moggy (VP of Series for HQ). The chance to get to know people better was just as good as the cheesecake!

Being conscious of fitting into dresses later in the week, Fiona, Barb and I walked back to the hotel in the sunshine. Then Fiona and I went for a late supper at Bubba Gump's - check out her blog for a detailed account of that and her mad Forrest Gump trivia skillz.




After that was the Harlequin PJ party. Here I am with HQ Community manager Jayne Hoogenberk and author Michelle Willingham. Poor Fiona was utterly exhausted by this time and somehow she managed to find her way back to the room in a zombie-like state. I followed 30 minutes later, and when I went inside she was already sound asleep! But both of us FINALLY got a good night's sleep and we woke up Friday morning, raring to go....

Friday, August 03, 2012

RWA12 - Day 1 and 2

As promised - here's the beginning of my RWA adventures!

I left Halifax early Tuesday morning. I arrived at the airport an hour before my flight. Well, 50 minutes. I thought I'd have lots of time. But because I was going through the US, I was very nearly panicked when I realized they had closed the check in for my flight. I was quickly told I would have to go to the counter and RE-BOOK. And I'm thinking...but the flight doesn't leave for 45 minutes and OMG OMG OMG.

Thankfully a wonderful man in a United uniform said it might not be too late, checked me in, directed me to customs and security. And because there was NO line at either, I spent half an hour waiting for boarding. Yep, hurry up and wait. Argh! Anyway, I got to Newark without incident, killed a few hours at the airport before getting on the flight to Orange County. I also read 3 1/2 books on the flights out!

I got to the hotel and checked in, texted my roomie Fiona Harper from our balcony, and less than an hour later there she was! Wooo! We caught up briefly, thought we might check in at the conference registration desk, but it was closed. What to do? Well, we went to the patio bar and found Heidi Rice, Abby Green, and Sharon Kendrick. A glass of wine was just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately the second glass wasn't, and with the time difference it made dinner with Jenna Bayley-Burke and others a bit of a surreal experience.

Fi and I hit the sack, and on Wednesday morning she zipped off early for some Disney adventures and I registered, caught up with some peeps in the Starbucks over breakfast, and wandered to Harlequin's Digital Day where I got an analysis of my website, then did a Goodreads session which answered a few questions I had about effectiveness of ads etc.

The rest of Wednesday was crazy busy. After an early lunch with Barb Wallace, I hit the Women's Fiction Mini Con, doing a workshop with Margie Lawson and then listening to an author panel. I had to leave half way through the agent/editor panel as I had to zip over to the Convention Center for the Literacy for Life signing. What a great time! I sat beside Margaret Mallory, who was totally the swag Queen. I met Jennifer Haymore for the first time in person as she was at the same table, and I totally LOVED meeting Deanna Raybourn, who I kept seeing all conference and who ended up being one of the very best things about conference. As she put it - every year you seem to meet ONE person that you're just so glad you connected with. Here we are at the Lit signing holding our RITA flags!

My chaptermates Nikki McIntosh (A GH finalist!) and Tara MacDonald stopped by - here we are all together!

After the signing, it was straight to the Booksellers' Best Awards. The Detroit RWA Chapter puts on such a nice event - finger goods and a bar and even though it's an awards ceremony it's actually a nice way to wind down the evening. My pal Michelle Willingham was nommed as well, so the UK editors came with us and after it was over we ended up catching up for a few minutes.

And then it was off to the legendary pizza party thrown by Sandra Marton. This is the first time I've been able to attend. Around 10:30 Fiona and I headed to our room, as we'd been up since FOUR in the morning. The jetlag, by the way, was horrendous (and I've slept and slept and slept since I got back!).

There are more pictures with the next post as more group STUFF happened. Stay tuned, I'll be back after the weekend with day 3.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

News, covers and fun stuff

I've been back from Anaheim a few days now and I promise I'm going to write some posts and share some pics from the trip and conference, but for now I wanted to share some news about things that happened while I was away and/or shortly after my return.

First of all, my revisions have been put through and it's official - my 17th book and 19th project for Harlequin has been accepted and will be out in March of 2013. It's called LITTLE COWGIRL ON HIS DOORSTEP and is also set in Cadence Creek. Yay!

Then I wanted to point you in the direction of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books as I did a podcast interview with Sarah Wendell in the middle of the conference last week. We chatted a little about my books, about the awesomeness that is conference week, and how I got started writing for Romance. It was hugely fun and you can listen to it here. The whole thing is great but if you're just looking for my segment, it starts at about the 17 minute mark and goes for about 15 minutes.

And just because a blog post needs a good pic, here's the cover art for the Holiday Miracles Trilogy coming this fall from Fiona Harper, Shirley Jump, and me. This is the UK version - they'll be released independently in North America but in an anthology in the UK. Isn't it gorgeous?

I'll be back with conference reports soon!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Please welcome the AWESOME Alison Stone!

Today's a special day -  Alison Stone is joining me here on the blog to talk about her book that is releasing soon. We also share an agent - Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates and a publisher, Samhain Publishing.

I hear we are also going to be sharing another publisher in the near future... pay attention, because you're going to be seeing her name a LOT. I'm really thrilled that Alison has chosen THIS moment and THIS blog to make a big announcement....

SHE HAS SOLD TO LOVE INSPIRED SUSPENSE! WOOOOO! Break out the party horns! Congratulations, Alison!

While she's putting the finishing touches on her first Harlequin title, she's sent a bit of info about herself and her new book that's coming up!
Here we go!

1.        If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would love to live anywhere along the coast, preferably in the southern United States. My bliss is to sit out on a balcony with my laptop or a good book with the sound of waves crashing in the background. Ah...

2.        What’s your writing routine?

During the school year, I get up and see my four children off to three different schools—elementary, middle and high school. Then I usually take a two mile walk. I return to my desk ready to write. I find checking e-mail, Facebook and Twitter can really eat up my time, so I try to limit these activities. Some days are more successful than others! I work on and off until the kids get home from school. I often write or work on promotion for a few more hours after dinner.

During the summer, I feel most accomplished when I get up early and write for a few hours before we run off to the pool or other activities.


3.        How do you celebrate successes? Do you go out to dinner, treat yourself to shopping, etc?

It’s funny you asked this question. In my August release, Too Close to Home, the dedication reads (in part): To Scotty, Alex, Kelsey and Leah, my biggest supporters. Thank you for leaving encouraging notes on my desk, for asking me every day if I got all my words in, and for picking the best restaurant to celebrate a new contract.

They can’t wait until I sell my next book. I think they already have the restaurant picked out! J (And I just got some news from my agent today! A dinner out is in their future! Squee! Okay, back to the interview…)


4.        What was the first story you ever wrote?

When I first tried writing fiction, I targeted the children’s market. I have a lot of cutesy stories in my files that will never see the light of day. I remember one where a young boy bought his little brother a stroller with big wheels. I think I titled it, “Dune Buggy, Boom Buggy.” Yeah I know, Highlights Magazine didn’t recognize my genius either.

Once I populated my stories with adult characters and dead bodies, I found my voice. Too Close to Home is the revised version of one of my first completed romantic suspense novels. The main character is a manufacturing engineer and I drew on my experience working in the automotive industry. No one ever drowned in the chromate wash on my watch, but it made for good suspense in my fictional world.


5.        Which novel do you wish you'd written and why?

I wish I had written The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I was drawn into her portrayal of 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. I am a “Northerner” who went to college in Atlanta, GA. I arrived on campus in 1987. As an eighteen-year-old, I thought the civil rights movement, including the work of Martin Luther King Jr, had started so long ago, not the short two decades earlier. I used to love driving through the old neighborhoods and finding huge plantation houses. I remember traveling with my friend from Atlanta, GA to Greenwood, SC and seeing the old shacks where farm help used to live. The South is rich in history. I wish I had explored the history more when I lived there.  

BIO: Alison Stone graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech. After working in Corporate America for a number of years, she retired to raise her young family. Soon the writing bug bit. After years of conferences, critique groups and writing, Alison achieved her dream of becoming a published author. She claims it was easier to earn her engineering degree. Too Close to Home is her second novel. To learn more about Alison Stone please visit www.AlisonStone.com. She’s also chatty on Twitter @Alison_Stone.


Thanks for hosting me Donna.  I’m thrilled to announce my second release, Too Close To Home, due out August 7th. Here is the blurb:

They say you can never go home. If you do, better watch your back.
Ten years ago, after her father’s gruesome death was ruled a suicide, Kathryn McNabb left her hometown, vowing never to return. And never to let anything—business or personal—break her heart.
Now an overachieving manufacturing engineer, she thrives on order, control and solitude. But an unexpected inheritance makes her the co-owner of the company her father founded, forcing her to face the ghosts of her past. Including Ben Nowak, childhood friend, secret crush, and son of the man who ruined her father.
Ben hadn’t planned on returning home either, but with his own father’s death it falls to him to continue the family legacy. When he learns Kathryn plans to sell the plant out from under him, his quest takes on new urgency—Midport Industries is the main source of jobs in town.
Butting heads strike sparks of attraction that entangle business and pleasure into a hopeless knot. And someone is watching. Someone with a darker reason to prevent the deal from going through. Someone desperate enough to kill…
Warning: Beware of the shadows, disgruntled employees, and childhood crushes all grown up.





Excerpt from Too Close to Home:

The Watcher stood silent at the edge of the property, taking a long drag on his cigarette. He blew out a slow, smoke-filled breath and flicked the butt into the night. He stomped the glowing ember with the steel toe of his work boot.

Nasty habit is going to kill me. One side of his mouth curved up. If he lived long enough.

He returned his attention to the brightly lit clapboard-covered house, watching, waiting, obsessing as he had done for the last ten minutes. As he had done for the last ten years. He hoped to catch a glimpse of the occupants—one in particular. He lingered longer than he had planned, comfortable in the knowledge no one could see him even if they had bothered to peer into the darkened backyard. And he fully expected they were far too busy with their joyous homecoming to bother.

A cool breeze whipped up from the northwest, rustling the few remaining leaves clinging to the branches above. A few leaves, their life cycle complete, floated to earth. He hated this time of year. Nothing good ever came from it. And from the looks of it, this autumn would be no exception.

She appeared in the kitchen window. The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He took a small backward step toward the tree line, the jagged weeds scraping against his jeans.

Did she see me?

A silent laugh whispered past his lips. Don’t be paranoid, man. Maybe she was doing the dishes. Or getting a drink of water. It didn’t matter. As long as she wasn’t watching him watch her.

Tears filled his eyes, catching him by surprise. She wore her auburn hair long now, and even from this distance she looked good. Healthy. A smile on her face.

His jaw trembled. “Silly fool,” he whispered to no one but the shadows.

Sadness morphed to anger. A deep-seated anger. Life wasn’t fair.

Why was she still living, breathing when—

He cut the thought off. He was a complete failure. Refusing to watch anymore, he lowered his head and stuffed his cold, wet hands into his thick winter coat, glad he had left the thin windbreaker at home. The night temperature had dropped as quickly as his mood. He tucked his chin into the coat’s collar as a shiver coiled up his spine.

He turned to walk away.

The Watcher had witnessed what he had dragged himself out of his cozy, warm house to see. Kathryn McNabb had returned to Midport, New York. Now he had to make sure she left. One way or another.

Failure was not an option.