Tough as nails San Francisco homicide detective Winter Parker runs fast and far to escape ancient threats of revenge, and small town torments. Can equally tough Special Agent Mike Hunter convince Winter to put aside her fears and take a chance on him and their small town?
The door to the small bath slammed open and Mike stood, both hands raised and clutching either side of the door frame in a white knuckle grip.
She sniffed and jerked her chin up. “You’re still here?”
His jaw clenched, he glared at her. “It’s going to take a lot more than you not caring a classmate was murdered to get rid of me.”
Her mouth dropped open.
His hands fell to his sides and he took the one step needed to be right in front of her. He towered over her and she instinctively leaned back, until her lower back was pressed against the smooth porcelain of the bathroom sink.
“The way I see it, Parker,” he growled, “is if you can hate so fiercely, then you will also love just as fiercely, and that’s the kind of woman I want loving me. Oh, and Parker,” he said. “Mark my words, I love you every bit as fiercely.”
His head lowered and he kissed the air right out of her lungs.
When he lifted his head she touched her kiss-swollen lips. “So, you don’t mind I’m not a nice person?”
He rested his forehead on hers and puffed out a half laugh. “I’m not such a nice person either, Winter.”
She shook her head in instant denial and he pressed a finger over her lips. “There are layers to me you cannot even guess at.” He lowered his head until they were nose to nose. “We’ll always have one another’s back, Winter. We’ll get married, and someday have a dozen or more not so nice children, who will make us pay for our raising.”
Download from Desert Breeze Publishing April 11. Learn more about Tami Dee from her website and don’t forget to download the first book in this series, Animal Instinct. Each book stands alone, but the entire series will capture your imagination and, if you are an animal lover, you will enjoy guessing what animal helpers will show up next.
Paisley Kirkpatrick is my guest this week, and she has two books published with Desert Breeze Publishing, and more to come. Paisley, tell us what makes a writer. How can people with a book in their heads become published as you have?
You’ve got to have a dream to have a dream come true. When you dream, don’t dream small. Go for the biggie because you only go through life once. I can testify that when the biggie comes true, it is worth all the waiting, all the dreaming, and most of all — all the hard work.
Ah, the work. It is more than dreaming then?
My friends said I am one of the most stubborn people they know. How could I possibly practice writing for 22 years and never give up. I prefer calling it perseverance — more letters in the word, and it sounds prettier. Twenty-two years ago I started writing this story called Marriage Bargain. Once I had it into a computer — way back in the days of two floppy discs to get the computer to load up — I needed to learn the proper way to present it. Just how could I do that? I had no idea the wonderful world of writers, chapters, and RWA would change my life. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I have landed in a place where I know I was born for, the place I persevered for.
Yes, I agree that a professional association and the support of other writers is key.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear this piece of advice before I started writing, but I did have a great crutch. My great, great grandfather, Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick, wrote a journal when he traveled across the country in 1849 on a wagon train. Not bad for finding what I needed from an ancestors that lived the story. Inadvertently, I did write what I know after studying his words. This five star journal is kept under glass at the Bancroft Library at UC California, Berkeley.
Wow! What a rich resource from your own family’s history! What was your toughest lesson to learn as a writer?
My first review by a chapter mate made me realize how little I knew about the craft of writing. I handed her my magnificent story and could hardly hear her thoughts. She gave it back to me and said she’d try reading it again when I learned point of view. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I learned. I’d say out of all the things I’ve learned to master, POV is one of the most important and can be a very difficult skill to perfect. If I had any advice to give to a beginning author, it’s the one I would tell them to master first. It can make the difference of distinguishing one character’s thoughts from another. I find it difficult to read a story where the author head hops because when you have to stop the flow of your reading and reread to figure out who is talking it takes you out of the story and can frustrate a reader enough that they may give up on your story. You certainly don’t want that to happen. This same friend who guided me into learning POV tells a story on me and how bad I was at POV. ”Paisley had a five sentence paragraph with four POVs, one of which was the rock.” It’s something I will NEVER live down, but laughing at yourself and not taking criticism too seriously, is important when you are a writer.
When we transition from readers to writers we do have to think about how the writers we love actually craft their work. Any last words for your fans?
To let you in on how my dream came true, I got my writing contract and March 21, 2013, my second book is released. It’s about a hero and heroine on a wagon train…
Dusty bearded men in miner’s boots and faded shirts, gamblers in fancy vests and frock coats, a ghost or two tossed in for good measure – these are the characters who come to life on Paisley Kirkpatrick’s pages. Mix them with strong, independent women of the Gold Rush era who delight and tempt their heroes to take a chance on love and, voila, it’s romance.
The Sierra Mountain Range of California is a perfect place to discover the mysteries of a wild time in history. Placerville, known as Old Hangtown in 1849, provides a virtual hive of tales that Kirkpatrick cannot resist working into her stories. Underground tunnels, mine shafts, and rumors of ghost sightings provide perfect backgrounds and add a bit of spice here and there.
Come explore these glorious parts of California’s past with Paisley Kirkpatrick. Meet the pioneers who dared to live life with gusto.
Her husband of 43 years and she are fortunate enough to live in the Sierra Mountain Range of California where this colorful time in history took place. Exploring gold mines, inspecting the stately historic homes, and traveling through tunnels zigzagging underground stirs the imagination and brings reality to her stories. To write and create has always been her dream. Joining Romance Writers of America twelve years ago opened the door to achieving what she was born to do.
Future Releases by Paisley Kirkpatrick:
Paradise Pines Book Three: Forever After – October 2013
Paradise Pines Book Four: Broken Promises – May 2014
Paradise Pines Book Five: One-Eyed Charlie – December 2014
MARRIAGE BARGAIN second book in the Paradise Pines Series, release date March 21, 2013
Marriage Bargain is set on the dusty trail of a wagon train traveling from St. Joseph, Missouri, to the California gold rush area at Placerville, California, in 1849. Betrayal and embarrassment drives Darrah Benjamin to run away from home to take a tutoring job in San Francisco. Darrah finds her journey a pathway to love and forgiveness when an arranged marriage to the wagon scout becomes much more than a convenience. Chase challenges her determination to keep their marriage in name only with his promise — she’ll give him her heart and invite him to her bed before they arrive at their destination. Darrah has an immediate attraction to the rogue, but holds her emotions tight because she doesn’t want her heart broken again.
Charles Danforth, a scout known as Chase, leads a wagon train of emigrants west through plains plundered by murderers. As an undercover agent of President Polk, he has sworn to stop the massacres. Darrah’s inadvertent comment gives him the clue he needs to achieve his assignment. His Sioux blood brother helps Chase end the killings, but almost ruins Chase’s chance of winning Darrah’s heart when he takes matters in his own hands to demonstrate the depth of love Chase has for his wife.
Footsteps crunched on the rocks a few minutes later. He spun around and froze on the spot. The drowned rat? At least he thought the young woman walking toward him was the drowned rat. Her appearance was a far cry from the woman he’d saved during the storm. Unable to pull his gaze away from the gentle sway of her hips and the firm round breasts pressing against her crisp white bodice, he shook his head trying to clear his thoughts. Light filtered through the branches giving her an ethereal appearance, and touching on pouting lips begging to be kissed. All logical reason vanished. His reaction staggered him as his mounting desire for the woman coursed through him. She was everything he’d remembered and more. She was a liar.
He dropped the last of his gear alongside Cappy’s wagon as she stopped in front of him. “What’s your game, lady?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Cut the act, Rose. You know very well we’ve met before. Or maybe you were such a good actress I actually believed you were in trouble during the thunderstorm.”
Her eyes grew wide as saucers. Her hand pressed against her bosom as she gasped. “You can’t be the man who rescued me.”
Cappy cleared his throat. “What’s going on here? Who is Rose?”
“I didn’t tell you a lie, Captain. My name is Darrah Rose Benjamin. It’s true your friend pulled me off my runaway horse. I was cold, wet, and tired. He suggested I remove my clothes before he kissed me, and then he had the nerve to invite me under his fur.” She glared at him. “Under the circumstances I chose not to tell him my full name.”
“What’s she talking about?” Cappy’s voice cracked with anger. “I raised you better.”
Chase shrugged. “It didn’t happen exactly as she says, Cappy. I may have misjudged the lady. She was such a fetching little thing I couldn’t resist kissing her. Besides, she needed thawing out.”
“Wipe that damned grin off your face, boy. You get into town and find a Justice of the Peace. There’s goin’ to be a wedding tomorrow.”
“Hold on a minute.” Darrah grabbed Cappy’s arm. “If this man is the scout you want me to marry, I won’t do it. He obviously doesn’t trust me or believe in bathing.” She stalked toward the clearing where she’d tethered her horses.
Watching her march across camp, Chase wished he’d handled the situation better. Cappy’s glare shot daggers at him. He’d been a fool for stomping on her pride. Damn, but she’s far too high-strung and beautiful for her own good.
“Why’d you hurt her feelings and how will you fix the mess you made?” Cappy asked.
He set his attention on the old man. “Me?”
“You’re the one who acted an ass.”
“Wait one damned minute. I told you this was a foolhardy idea in the first place. I only agreed I would talk to the girl, nothing else.” His gaze slid over the gentle sway of her hips. He remembered the soft touch of her lips and the seductive way she looked with her hair in ringlets around her shoulders when she dried her hair by the fire.
“You can’t let her walk out of our lives.”
Chase took off his hat and raked his fingers through the tangled mess. “You’re a stubborn old man. It’s not so simple. I was close to being drunk the night of the storm. When lightning struck the ground in front of her horse, I thought I was hallucinating. Her screams brought me to my senses so I went after her. While I had her on the horse with me, she wriggled that little bottom of hers against my crotch until I was nearly out of my mind. Once I got her settled in camp, I went after her horses. It gave me a chance to cool off. She looked so damned desirable dripping wet I couldn’t think straight. When she stole away from camp early the next morning, I figured I was done with her.”
“You didn’t cool off enough, boy.”
“Dammit, Cappy, I’m not proud of my actions.”
“Talk to her. What if she hooks up with someone else? If she attempts the trek on her own as she’s threatened, she could die. I couldn’t bear the weight of another death.”
He didn’t have room in his life for a woman and he sure as hell didn’t have time to babysit. At this point he wasn’t ready to tip his hand and let her know his true identity.
Download Marriage Bargain and read it right now!
How beautiful are you? If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you land?
I don’t think anyone is terribly comfortable with that exercise. We’ve been trained by the media to criticize ourselves. A droop, a sag, a blemish… Those are inexcusable. Actresses are publicly mocked for having gained a little weight or having some “cottage cheese cellulite” on their thighs, exposed by the prying lenses of unwelcome cameras.
Women have babies and are judged by their “bounce back” time, ridiculous as that may be.
A woman’s value is not based on something as fickle as Hollywood ideals, but the constant battery of messages coming from the media would have us believe something else. Companies want us to believe that tubes and vials will make us beautiful, that certain styles will help us maintain our youth, that dyes will make us feel lovely. From diets to exercise machines, clothing lines to skin creams, the woman in this modern age is bombarded by messages that she just isn’t enough, and she needs some help. Big time.
So when we look at ourselves in the mirror, what do we see? I always joke that it isn’t fair to judge me only on my looks, because when you add in my personality, I get at least a three point lift on that number. And while I’m only joking around when I talk like that, there is truth under the laughter.
Beauty is more than skin deep. But how much more?
Would you still feel beautiful if you had to wear unflattering clothing? Would you feel beautiful if all your hair fell out? Would you feel beautiful if scars covered your face and distorted your smile?
And if you stopped feeling beautiful, would you feel loved?
Where does our beauty come from?
In Eye of the Beholder, my heroine loses her looks in a freak accident. She goes from stunningly beautiful, capturing the admiration of everyone around her, to scarred and pitied. Doors no longer fly open for her, and the face in the mirror seems to belong to a stranger. When she goes up to the autumn woods to try to make peace with what she cannot change, she’s faced with more than the reality of her new looks–she’s faced with a man from her past who lost more than she ever knew.
When a woman loses her looks, what is there left to love?