Smart Girls Read Romance





Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Milestones by Suzanne Rossi

Hello everyone.

Here in West Tennessee autumn is slowing closing in on us. We've closed the pool, and while most of the leaves are still on the trees, more and more are dotting the lawn--not to mention clogging our gutters. I'm about to face my second winter in a colder climate than what I lived in for twenty years. Hope I can survive without too many layers of clothes.

So my first year in Germantown has passed and I'm happy. This is a milestone I can live with. I get to see my son, his wife, and the grandkids on a regular basis, which is why we moved in the first place.

There are other milestones in my life--some good, some not so noteworthy.

My birthday is next month. I will turn seventy. Damn, that seems old. Maybe because it is? I didn't have much of a problem with thirty. I still looked and felt young. Forty was a big milestone. I don't remember how I felt, but with kids and activities galore, I doubt if I gave it much thought--although I do recall having a dream in which my recently deceased mother appeared at the foot of the bed to wish me a happy birthday. To this day, I'm still not certain it was a dream.

When I turned fifty, I paused to reflect that I had most likely lived over half of my lifespan. I began to think about death, dying, and all I still wanted to do in life. I didn't like my sixtieth birthday. It signaled I was nearing that milestone no one likes to think about--retirement. I also had to realize that things I used to do without a care had suddenly become harder--like driving at night, my vision (hello, bifocals), and not having the stamina to go full steam with projects.

Sixty-five brought home the fact that according to the government, I was now a senior citizen. I could collect social security and apply for Medicare. I was bummed for months.

And now I am approaching seventy. I've accepted the bifocals, and only drive at night if I know the route well. I've also acknowledged that I need help with doing things that were once a breeze, like cleaning the house. We broke down and now have a maid service in every two weeks. My son does a lot of repair work my husband can no longer manage.

Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, sixty-five, seventy--all milestones in my life.

And this is another milestone--my sixteenth book, Point of View, the sequel to Through My Eyes is now officially available in both paperback and e-formats from www.thewildrosepress.com and over at www.amazon.com.

Here's a description and the cover.

Psychic Sasha Bellwood and her former fiance, Detective Reed McIntyre are once again thrown together to find a killer before he strikes. In the past two years, Sasha's psychic abilities have strengthened and now she works with the Memphis police to solve crimes. However, not all is well within the department. Her boss is being replaced with a skeptical detective who feels he's been demoted. Sasha is under pressure to produce, but her emotional state has deteriorated creating self-doubt regarding her ability to interpret the nightmares and visions. Then the new detective is murdered. And Sasha's vision of the killing is not clear. Reed, concerned for her, agrees to help. But the two quickly discover that their love has not diminished, and when Sasha becomes the target of the killer, their worlds are changed forever.



That's all for this month. See you then, and may everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Suzanne

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Autumn on the Farm in the Shenandoah Valley

Be advised, I'm writing this in the company of a puppy of little brain, like Winnie the Pooh, with a big heart, and even bigger puddles. At seven months, Cooper is a handful, chasing the kitties, and into everything, then he goes into sweet mode and I feel guilty for complaining. Such is life with this boisterous baby. He's a Morkie, Yorkie/Maltese cross, but more Yorkie in the mix so a heap of bounding terrier. Super busy. Super loving. Super devoted. Hard to housebreak. Must change my socks from stepping in a puddle. Again. Walk the puppy. Again. Cooper and I head outside a lot and I'm aware of every flower, leaf, the change of seasons on the farm.


(Cooper watching me)

Back to fall 2017. Autumnal splendor is late to the party in the Shenandoah Valley this year. We began with hopeful indicators, rain and cooler temps in late August, but that dissipated and the weather turned hot and dry. Colors getting underway halted for the most part and we despaired of ever seeing them. How we've longed for our wondrously painted trees, without having to spray paint the leaves ourselves. But now, we've had rain and colder temperatures and ta da! Fall. It's too late for some trees but many are strutting their stuff.


I glory in this time of year. Granted, I'm besotted in April, giddy with spring fever But October brings a mellow kind of joy. I'm happy for the summer heat to go, and though I miss the flowers, pollen isn't my friend. Frost brings freedom to us allergy sufferers. I've cleared the vegetable garden and planted greens, beets, and radishes in the salad patch We shall see if they emerge and thrive in late winter or early spring. I missed my window for a fall garden.


I'm also writing, of course, working on the next time slip/time travel romance in my Ladies in Time Series. I may never finish this book. Writing while hopping up to walk a puppy every half hour or forget to my regret is challenging. My other alternative is to put him in his pen and insist on 'nighty night' no matter what time of day it is. I feel like I have a toddler in my care. And yes, he is adorable. I got him because I was devastated after losing my dear little Sadie and had forgotten what an exuberant puppy is. I remember now. 


Some pictures from our farm or just up the road.



(The woods up behind our meadow)



(Old Order Mennonite School Behind Our Farm)

(Sunset behind our Farm)

 (The old cemetery at Cooks Creek Presbyterian Church a mile up the road. and maple tree in front of the church below.)




(Buggy going past our farm from last fall)

(Cool tree in the mist in our meadow)



My time travel fixation is ongoing. This is the blurb from my upcoming November 10th release, The White Lady (Book 2, Ladies in Time) in pre-order now in Kindle at Amazon.

Avery Dunham has always been ready to follow her friend, time-traveling wizard, Ignus Burke, on incredible adventures. This time, though, she has serious misgivings. It's just one week before Christmas, but she cannot get him to change his mind. The usually cool and collected magic-wielding leader is wholly obsessed by the portrait of the White Lady whom he is bent on rescuing.

Almost as soon as they begin their journey, it becomes clear their mission is a trap.

Avery was right: this adventure is not going to be like any other,

(If a ghostly white lady summons you back in time--don't go.)


For more on me, please visit https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Four White Roses - by Judy Ann Davis


Can a wily old ghost help two fractured 
hearts find love? 
     I'm excited and honored to discover that my newest novel, Four White Roses," was a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards. The Book Excellence Awards were founded by Literary Excellence Incorporated. Books that have received a Book Excellence Award have been recognized for their high quality design, writing, and overall market appeal.


I decided to just post an excerpt from the books along with a few details:
       Rich continued to peer at the vacant rocker, now rocking at a faster pace. “Grandmother? Gertie? Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
“I am dead.”
 “Then aren’t you supposed to be somewhere else? Like in another dimension?  In heaven or riding a cloud somewhere?” He pointed upward. “Or am I drunk and I don’t know it?”
     “Phfftt, you’re hardly drunk. And I’m not going anywhere while I have unfinished business here on earth.”

“Didn’t anyone tell you to go toward the Light?” His voice rose an octave now.

“Of course.” The voice was getting as annoyed as he was. “But not when I know things you don’t. Not when I need you to finish a few unresolved issues for me.”
Rich moved a little closer to the moving rocking chair and blinked, still trying to process everything. “Can you do that?”
“Do what?”
“Just waltz around willy-nilly on earth after you die?”
The rocker slowed.
Rich dropped his head in his hands and mumbled, “Please, please, please. Let this be a dream…or the effects of good eighteen-year aged Irish whiskey. I’m losing my marbles.”
The voice interrupted, “Buck up, Richard Lee. You aren’t losing your marbles, although you may have a hole in your bag. You are my last hope. You need to find your half-sister, who needs your help, and you need to find those Austrian rubies I’ve searched for my entire life. If not for me, for your daughter, Estella. It’s my great-granddaughter’s heritage and inheritance.”
“Yes, but for the record, how can I tell you’re really the ghost of my grandmother? Tell me something most people don’t know about me.”
                “For goodness sake! What is this? Jeopardy? I see you still can be a pain in the backside with your endless quest for the truth. How about this? The kids used to tease you and call you Richie Rich. And every time you got yourself tied in a sanctimonious knot over it, I used to tell you they could have chosen worse names like Dumbo or Dimwit.”
               Rich’s eyes widened as he stared at the rocker. “It really is you. Grandmother Gertie. Why me?”
               “Because you’re the only direct surviving relative, Dimwit.”
               “But I really don’t know where to start.”
               There was a long whoosh of air, like a disgruntled sigh. “Just how did you pass the bar with such a dull, negative attitude? How about some creative thinking? How about your grandfather’s study for starters?”
               “Where in the study?” he asked, but he instantly he knew he wouldn’t get an answer. The rocking chair now stood motionless.
               “Holy moly, let this be the effects of alcohol or a bad dream,” he muttered before turning and trudging inside, locking the door, and heading straight to his room to sleep.  

A word about the author…
 Judy Ann Davis began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television in Scranton, PA. She holds a degree in Journalism and Communications and has written for industry and education throughout her career.

Over a dozen of her short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines and anthologies, and have received numerous awards. She is published in multi-genres, including romance, mystery, western, and comedy. Four White Roses is her fourth novel to date.

When Judy Ann is not behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club where the chuckles are few.

She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and divides her time between Central Pennsylvania and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
                             Four White Roses Amazon Buy Link: 


Visit her on: 
Blog: www.judyanndavis.blogspot.com 
The web: www.judyanndavis.com

Facebook: Judy Ann Davis Author 
Twitter: JudyAnnDavis4 
Pinterest: JudyAnnDavis44/


Other Judy Ann Davis titles 
KEY TO LOVE
RED FOX WOMAN
UNDER STARRY SKIES
SWEET KISS [A Novella]
UP ON THE ROOF AND OTHER STORIES


 




 



Sunday, October 22, 2017

FICTION VS. REALITY

by Rain Trueax

There are times, when it may seem as if our world is bombarded by tragic news. Between political upheaval, natural disasters, and random, horrendous violent acts, it can feel as though it's all too much to bear. What do we do about what we cannot personally change?

After one particular horrible event (I am purposely not listing any, as that's not the point of this piece), I read people questioning should they carry on as usual. They felt that there needed to be some recognition through action or inaction as to what had happened. 

If we are students of history, we know things have been worse. There have been times of plague, famine, armies marching over hapless citizens. Such times seem to go in cycles with those of grace followed by turmoil. When we are the ones in in the midst of a time of chaos and violence it is, of  course, the most horrible it ever was. I think, this is especially in our era where we both know too much and not enough.

In such times, we who write romances might question how important can they be where real life is anything but offering happy endings. I'd make the case that offering happy endings, wherever possible, matters more than ever. 

One thing we know, humans cannot live with constant heavy hearts without paying a price for it physically. We need uplift. We need times of grace. If right now, the world can't or won't give it to us, we can claim it through writing something that gives heart, that promises a better tomorrow, and leaves us, those who wrote it, feeling better about life. Then, we can offer it to others as a gift of hope. Whatever we might do in terms of volunteering, donating, praying, in the end much is out of our control. In real life, the good don't always survive-- except there is one place they can-- in our books.

A friend sent me the following link on this subject. I saw it as uplifting and for me, a reminder of what words can mean. Words might seem like a small thing, but they are what can, even if only temporarily, bring light in a time of darkness. Light always does return to reality-- or always has. In such dark times, we need reminders of that, and romance novels can be one of them.



My links:
Rainy Day Thoughts
Rain Trueax books
Facebook Author Page

Rain Trueax will be moving to Sweethearts of the West in November. Follow Rain there at http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com  when she posts on the 12th of each month.

Friday, October 20, 2017

INTRODUCING LAUREAN BROOKS!

By Laurean Brooks 

Probably the two questions I'm most often asked are, "When did you start writing, and who planted the first seeds?"

Some writers may not be able to pinpoint an exact event or pivotal point. Not so with me. It was my fifth grade teacher, Miss Mary, as we students called her. She was my catalyst. Otherwise a shy child, I loved to write book reports and read them to the class. Each ended with a cliffhanger, causing several classmates to get into a scrabble over who would get the book next.

One day after I read a book report on a popular mystery, Miss Mary, smiled broadly and announced, "One day, Laurie will be an author."

Those words stuck somewhere in my mind. No one had ever inspired me to become anything. I tucked her words away in the depths of my heart and clung to them through the years.

And though Miss Mary was an encourager, she was a stickler for discipline. One day I discovered this the hard way. She assigned the class to write an essay describing the perils Columbus must have endured on his journey to discover The New World. While the rest of the class groaned over the homework, all sorts of creative ideas spun around in my head. Where should I go with this story? Oh, the possibilities!

I pulled the memory of the essay from the recesses of my mind and filled in the blanks to give you an idea of what my fifth-grade teacher was up against. My version of Columbus's perilous journey went something like this:

Columbus's Catastrophe

Once upon a time there was a man named Christopher Columbus. They called him Chris for short. Chris just knew the world was not flat like a pancake. But how could he prove it was round like a globe? Especially when he couldn't find anybody who would back him, or give him ships and the supplies he needed to cross the Atlantic Ocean, so he could discover the New World.

After traveling to several countries to beg the kings and queens, Queen Isabella of Spain finally gave in. She agreed to give him whatever he needed, but only if he promised to bring her bushel baskets of gold. Chris said he would then loaded the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria with food and water. They couldn't take milk or orange juice since neither electricity or refrigerators had been invented. You see, this was before Thomas Edison was born. And because they didn't have any oranges on board, some of the crew members died from scurvy. That's when you don't have enough Vitamin C in your body. Chris and the others had to toss the dead bodies overboard so they wouldn't stink up the ship.

One night the Nina was destroyed in a raging storm. Waves as high as the Empire State Building struck the ship and tossed it about until it sank. On the morning of October 12, 1492, Columbus Day, a man on deck of one of the other ships spotted sea gulls flying around the ship. Another man saw something green in the distance. He yelled, "Land Ho!" Everyone on board started dancing danced and yelling. The Pinta and Santa Maria soon docked in the bay of the West Indies. (Remember the Nina met her Waterloo in the storm.)

The crew was still whooping and hollering when they docked. The Wakoochie Indians on the island heard the loud commotion and armed themselves with spears, then ran to investigate. Before they reached the shore, Christopher and his men shimmied up coconut, banana and pineapple trees in search of fruit to cure their scurvy. When they reached the treetops, they started shaking them to loosen the fruit. Coconuts, bananas, and pineapples, fell like humongous hailstones, and bounced off the Indians' heads, knocking them to the ground. Some were out cold.



The more fruit that fell, the madder the conscious Indians became, until only six braves were standing. Those six rattled Chris's banana tree until his teeth chattered and he could hang on no longer. His grip slipped and he yelled, "Tim-ber!" before he smacked the ground flat on his back. When he opened his eyes, he looked up into six pair of vicious ones staring down at him. The Indians with red and yellow war paint smeared across their noses grabbed Chris by the arms and yanked him to his feet.

In the meantime, Chris's crew scrambled down from their trees, arms loaded with fruit, and high-tailed it to the ships. With yellow streaks down their backs they pulled up the anchors, hoisted the sails, and yelled, "Ship Ahoy!" Then they pointed the ships toward Spain. A big gust of wind blew them out to sea while a forlorn Chris watched them leave him behind. But he had more pressing problems.

The Wakoochie Indians prodded Chris at spear point toward the village square. One last shove and Chris found himself inside the chief's teepee. Big Chief Kookamunga was a hefty, pot-bellied man. They interrupted him as he finished off a pineapple. The yellow juice dripped from his heavy jowls onto his protruding belly. He wiped his face with the back of his hand. Pointing to Columbus, he commanded his natives with one word. "Raka!"

It must have had something to do with fire because the natives found a rope and bound Chris from shoulder to ankle. When the knot was tied, they dragged him to the center of the village and tied him to a stake. A few minutes later while two natives were busy striking flint rocks to start the fire, Chief Kookamunga jostled out of his tee-pee toward them shouting, "Oola! Oola!"

Chris figured it meant, "Wait! I've got a better idea." The chief grunted and pointed to a large cannon a ways down the beach. The Indians pulled Chris from the stake and hauled him to the cannon still bound. They stuffed him inside, feet first and belly down. He struggled and tried protest, but it was no use. They had crammed his mouth full of ripe bananas and the ropes were really tight.

The Indians turned the cannon toward the ocean and aimed it up and out. Chief Kookamunga lit the cannon and fired the shot that propelled Chris into the sky like a missile. The other natives stood by and watched him grow smaller with every passing second.



To this day no one knows what happened to Christopher Columbus. We can only guess. So, if on some clear, moonlit night you happen to see a shooting star, stop and salute it, because it might be Christopher Columbus still orbiting the earth. I wonder: Does he knows it's round yet?



By the time I finished reading the essay, the class was in hysterics. The girls giggled and the boys slapped their knees and roared. As I stood proudly, and giggling too, I felt sure an A+ was coming my way for my rendition of the Columbus story.

Then, a gruff voice behind me spoke. "Laurie!”

I turned to look at Miss Mary. One eyebrow was arched and she was not smiling. I felt the air deflate from my ego before she said, “I want you to re-write that story. And this time, make it more realistic."



My face burned. I thought the story was perfect. And the class loved it. Besides, I wasn't sure of the meaning of "realistic." But that day I reluctantly added it to my vocabulary.

Not that I've used it very often since.

Although Miss Mary spurred my imagination in 5th grade, she also reined it. No one knows the power of his or her words, how they will affect another. I credit Miss Mary with planting a seed that would one day sprout into a desire to become an author.

Miss Mary has been gone for decades, but her son made an appearance at a book signing for JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS, the first of (so far) my ten single titles and anthologies. In his words: “I had to meet the student who dedicated her book to my mother.”

If you'd like to check out JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS, the first of my (so far) ten titles and anthologies, here is the Amazon link: http://a.co/dt41NwS 


Laurean Brooks lives in rural northwest Tennessee with her flea-marketing/antique-hunting husband, two labs, and a cat. She writes inspirational romance with heart, humor, and unpredictable characters. Chivalrous heroes stand by to rescue their ladies from a plethora of disasters along the way. Her sassy heroines are familiar with the taste of their own shoe leather. "Foot-in-mouth" disease prevails throughout her stories. You can learn more about her at her website, http://LaureansLore.blogspot.com


Monday, October 16, 2017

Dead Heat by @JoanReeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

The dictionary defines Dead Heat as: a race in which two or more competitors finish in a tie.

In my novel Dead Heat, Sabrina Snow and John Galloway want to make sure there is no tie, that they triumph over the villain. The clock is ticking, and there's no time for mistakes.

Dead Heat is the second book in my Outlaw Ridge, Texas, series, and it was just as much fun to write as the first book Heat Lightning.

Blurbing The Book

She lies for a living so how can he trust her?

Sabrina Snow knew she was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. Someone was after her, and he wasn't going to stop. She ran to the only man she trusted...the only man who had the skills to save her.

Too bad Navy SEAL John Galloway probably hated her. That didn't matter because she owed him the truth even though she'd wanted to keep the knowledge from him. But what if she were killed? John needed to know where to look. If he'd hated her before, what would he feel once he learned the depth of her deception?


Naming The Villain

For me, naming the bad guy is always harder than naming the good guys. While an author wants a book to become a huge bestseller, we don't want to use a common name that may become associated with a heinous fictional villain. We definitely don't want to cause grief for a perfectly nice real person.

In naming villains, I do what Thomas Harris did in Silence of the Lambs. I create a moniker that probably isn't held by a real person. I mean have you ever heard of a real man named Hannibal Lechter? I don't think so. I followed Harris's method in Heat Lightning, Book 1 of Outlaw Ridge, and I did it in Dead Heat also.

In Dead Heat, the villain is known by many names. I introduce him early in the book as Shaitan--The Devil--a name from Islamic myth. He's known by whatever the most common surname is in the country in which he operates: Kuznetsky in Russia and the former Soviet bloc countries; Kowalski in Poland; Kovacs in the Czech Republic, etc. If he had a base of operations in the U.S., his name would be Smith.

Excerpt from Dead Heat

The only thing that saved Sabrina Snow was the too-sensitive car alarm on the twenty-year-old Renault Espace she’d bought when she’d arrived in France.

One minute she’d been sound asleep, dreaming about babies and blue skies. The next, the old car’s wailing alarm split the night.

Adrenalin dumped into her bloodstream, and her internal timer kicked in.

One-one thousand.

Sabrina didn’t hesitate or take time to look out the window to see what or who had set off the ultra sensitive alarm. She thrust her feet into her hiking boots, slapped the Velcro fasteners into place, and grabbed her Glock from the nightstand. Over the ululating siren, she heard men shouting—cursing in Albanian—she thought.

Two-one thousand.

Another second or two is all it would take for someone with the right explosives to breach the old farmhouse’s heavy wooden door. Her combat knife was in its Kydex sheath strapped just above her right ankle and a spare knife, along with a double-stack magazine for her Glock, was in a webbing sheath hooked to her belt.

Three-one thousand.

She snagged her thermal coat from the doorknob on her way out of the room. The basics for escape and evasion were in the coat pockets even though she had that and more in her go-bag. She shoved her arms in the coat sleeves and zipped it as she raced downstairs.

Four-one thousand.

She threw open the cellar door, leaped down the short flight of stairs, and headed for the hidden entrance to the tunnel.

Five-one thousand.

Desperation gave her strength and speed. She shoved aside the dusty pile of old carpet and furniture that hid the opening to the tunnel and crawled inside. The dank smell of earth that hadn’t been disturbed in decades created an anxiety of its own. She didn’t like tunnels or small spaces. She slid the straps of the go-bag she’d placed there—just in case—onto her back.

Six-one thousand.

Sabrina pulled the timer from beneath a pile of rags. Her hands were steady as she set it to blow the charges she’d placed three feet inside the tunnel. She knew how much lead time she needed to reach the ladder at the other end. She shoved the timer under the rags.

Seven-one thousand.

Her feet wanted to fly, but discipline forced her to replace the carefully-constructed camouflage that hid the tunnel opening. That might buy her another minute. Maybe two if the hit team wasn’t very good.

Eight-one thousand.

The muffled boom of an explosion shook the old house. Dust drifted down from the tunnel ceiling. The front door had been blown. Her internal clock automatically switched to a countdown.

Three minutes to reach the other end of the tunnel and climb out.

With the Glock in her hand—just in case—Sabrina ran flat out, or as near to flat out as she could, given the height of the tunnel wasn’t made to accommodate her five feet ten inches of height.

When the charges went off, there would be nothing left of the ramshackle building, nor the earthen tunnel that had been dug by French resistance fighters in the second World War. There wouldn’t be anything left of her either if she was still in the tunnel.

Two minutes and thirty seconds left.

In the past, she’d managed a six-minute mile when she’d been in peak condition. Not bad, considering the Russian woman who held the world record had done it in a bit more than four minutes. But she’d never aspired to breaking records—just staying alive.

Two minutes left.

Sabrina’s breathing was loud and fast. Too fast. She wished she could have tacked on an extra thirty seconds. She wasn’t in peak condition. Hadn’t been for more than two years. Even though the other end of the tunnel wasn’t quite a mile, she was cutting it close.

The house wasn’t that large, and the only room with furniture had been the bedroom. She expected the hit team to get to the basement right about now. Sooner if they were good—or reckless. If she were lucky, it would take seconds more for them to find the camouflaged opening to the tunnel.

Assuming they didn’t already know about it.

Sabrina pushed that thought to the back of her mind and focused on getting to the other end of the dark tunnel.

One minute and thirty seconds left.

She’d walked the tunnel enough times that she didn’t need a flashlight. The last time she’d had to run like this as if her life depended on it—which it did—was the last time Shaitan had sent a hit team for her.

One minute left.

A sharp pain bit into her side. She ignored it and kept running. Gulping the musty air, she reached the ladder at the other end. She’d have to increase the intensity of her workouts if she expected to stay alive. She dropped the Glock into her coat pocket and stepped onto the bottom rung of the rusty iron ladder and ascended, two rungs at a time.

Breathless, she reached her right hand up and found the square wood frame buried in the hard packed dirt. Her fingers searched for the crude wooden latch that secured the tunnel’s cover. A splinter rewarded her fumbling fingers, but she found the six-inch long chunk of wood. She gripped the handle, turned it, and pushed upward. The wooden hatch didn’t budge.

Thirty seconds left.

No! Not after all the preparations she’d made. Refusing to believe she was trapped in the tunnel, she pushed harder. Nothing. She removed the backpack and held it in her right hand while she steadied herself with her left on the ladder. She climbed up another rung, until she was stooped below the hatch. She clung to the cold metal rung, bowed her back, and pushed up. Pain stabbed her back where it met the unyielding wood, but she kept pushing. The hatch shifted a little.

Twenty seconds left.

Despite the cold December air, Sabrina perspired. Something was blocking the exit. Encouraged by the small bit of movement in the hatch, she stepped down, slung the backpack on, pulled the straps tight, and repeated the movement, pushing upward with all her strength. She gave it everything she had.

Ten seconds left.

The wood creaked. Frantic now, she shoved even harder, groaning with the effort.

Time's up.

The world exploded.

Pre-Order Your Copy of Dead Heat

Dead Heat is available now for the pre-release price of 99 cents.

When the book publishes, which will be sooner than the Nov. 14 date listed on the book description page, the price will rise to $2.99 for the first month. After that, the price will settle at $3.99.

Even though this book is part of the Outlaw Ridge, Texas, series, you don't have to read the first book in order to enjoy this second in the series.

Of course, I'd love it if you did grab the first book Heat Lightning. It's free on Kindle Unlimited or only $2.99 to buy.



Get a free ebook today! Just click to claim yours. Joan is giving away copies of one of her most popular romantic comedies. Just click and follow the prompts. The download link for the free book will be sent to your Inbox.

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sassy, Sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available in audio, ebook, and print. All of her books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after.

Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Visit Joan online: Blog * Website and Follow Her on  Facebook * Twitter * YouTube * Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page.