Romantic Suspense

I love reading books that have an element of suspense in them and you guys certainly offered some awesome suggestions yesterday. I should have said my favs are JD Robb, Lora Leigh and, of course, Miss Jayne. I’ve attempted to write the genre as well and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge. It’s like working a crossword puzzle or jigsaw. You have all these letters or pieces that have to go together just right in order to solve the mystery!

Today, I thought I’d share the first chapters from two of my rom sus books. I love First Chapter sneak peeks. 🙂

Retreat

Chapter One

“I’m retired.”

“I know that, Jon, and believe me, I wouldn’t be here if there was any other way.”

Jon Walker sighed, turning his back on his former boss, Reilly—his mentor, his conscience and the bane of his existence the last fifteen years.

Walking around his desk, he glanced out the window of his classroom at the beautiful autumn afternoon. The students had gone home for the day, yet reminders of their presence could be still be seen as he stood amidst the skewed rows of desks, forgotten books and scattered love notes left behind. He tried to rekindle the feeling of contentment he’d felt an hour earlier, before Reilly crash-landed back into his life. Since being hired a year ago as a senior English teacher, he’d never stopped relishing the idea that he had finally found his niche in life.

And now, five years after his retirement from the Undercover Intelligence Agency, he was being dragged back into the hell he’d barely escaped with his life and sanity intact. Jon had given ten years of his life to the UIA, a government-sanctioned organization known only to those inWashingtonwith the highest level of security clearance. The UIA—unlike its sister agencies—operated on both home and foreign soil, gathering information and diffusing difficult situations by any means necessary. By any means.

“No.” He could already feel the invisible bonds he thought he’d severed, tightening around his chest like a vise.

“Jon,” Reilly said softly, “just hear me out.”

“Dammit Reilly!” He turned quickly, striding back to his ex-boss to point an angry finger in his face. “There is nothing you can say that would change my mind. I’m done with that life. Done! Do you hear me? This is where I belong now. This is where I want to be.”

“The cult is back,” Reilly whispered.

And with those four words, he felt his blood run cold. “That’s impossible. Rex is dead. He’s been dead for three years and he was rotting in a prison cell a dozen years prior to that. There’s no one left who would—”

“No one?” Reilly posed his statement as a question, though he knew it was merely rhetorical. They both knew there was another.

“Cassandra?” Jon read Reilly’s chagrined expression and shook his head in denial. “My mother? You’re crazy. Cassandra barely escaped with her freedom last time. She would never, I mean… Christ Reilly, what could she possibly hope to gain?”

“What did Cassie ever hope to gain? Money, power, sex.”

He felt a cold laugh pass his lips. “You better hope she never hears you calling her ‘Cassie’. Sort of like uttering Voldemort in Hogwarts.”

Reilly didn’t share his laughter, but Jon continued anyway. “Only thing she hates worse than being called ‘Cassie’ is ‘Mother’.” Jon shook his head and walked back to the windows. “Find someone else.”

“I have,” Reilly answered coolly. “Unfortunately, this mission calls for a team.”

“Night? You’ve signed Night up for this?”

His mentor smirked. “Actually, he signed himself up.”

“Fuck that!” Jon exploded with a pent-up anger he’d spent years struggling to keep under control. “Un-sign him, Reilly. He’s my best friend. You can’t send him back to that.”

“Night was no fan of Cassie. You know that, Jon.”

He knew the man’s words were true and he was hard-pressed not to admit to the same disdain. If a more egocentric and cold-hearted woman than Cassandra Walker existed, he hoped to hell he never met her. Simply knowing Cassandra still lived as a free woman, rather than locked up behind bars, was enough to drive him insane. God help her if they ever met on the street because he wasn’t sure he would be able to keep himself from committing matricide.

Reilly remained quiet for a few moments, obviously attempting to give him a chance to digest the unsavory news he’d just delivered. He studied his mentor’s face and discovered the stress of Reilly’s job was finally catching up to him, noting the deep-set lines around his mouth and eyes that had not been so pronounced when he left the agency. A deep crease between his worried eyes told Jon his former boss spoke the truth. Reilly felt no pleasure in dragging him back into the cesspool of his younger life.

“It doesn’t make any sense.” He crossed the room and sat in one of the student desks, resting his head in his hands.

“None of the sick shit Cassie ever pulled made sense, Jon.” Reilly stood behind the podium at the front of the room. If Jon hadn’t been so angry, he would have been amused by how easily they reverted back to their natural states. For nearly half his life, the man standing before him had been his teacher. Whether the lessons involved how to fire an AK-47, how to break into an impenetrable fortress or even how to control his hot-blooded temper, Reilly never stopped instructing him.

“Why now?” He was genuinely perplexed by Reilly’s news. “Rex has been dead for years. Cassandra made a clean break from theCommitmentChurchand if your sources are correct, she managed to abscond with more than a lion’s share of the money. She’s an incredibly wealthy woman. Besides which, you and I both know she never bought into Rex’s religious mumbo jumbo.”

“I can’t tell you why, Jon. Only that she has moved back up on the mountain and she’s reorganizing. Night’s doing a bit of reconnaissance up there already. He could probably tell you more about the specifics of what’s happening.”

“Take him off the case.”

“No. And he wouldn’t thank you for asking me to. He’s still one of my top operatives and this case is priority one. No one at the bureau wants a repeat of the last time.”

“Dammit. I know Night. He may seem cool as a cucumber on the outside, but I know what this case will do to him. He can’t go back there.”

“Are you sure it’s Night who can’t go back, Jon? It sounds to me like it’s you who can’t face it all again.”

“I didn’t drag him out of that godforsaken place only to have you drag him back in!”

“You dragged him out?” Reilly’s usually calm voice rose slightly. “That’s funny. I remember it a slightly different way. I seem to recall Night dragging you out.”

Any response he could have given to Reilly’s astute comment seemed to become lodged in the ever-growing lump in his throat. He was saved from having to acknowledge Reilly’s comment when his mentor spoke again.

“Why did you come back here?” Reilly asked, shocking him with the abrupt change in topic.

“What?”

“I’ve never understood why you returned here. You could have settled anywhere in the world. Why here? You never considered this place your home and after all that happened on that mountain, I would think this would be the last place on earth you’d set up housekeeping.”

Jon sighed. He had asked himself the same question every day since returning to this sleepy southern town. He wasn’t sure there was an answer. When he’d retired from the agency and returned to college to get his degree in English education—always in the back of his mind—he knew this was where he would settle down to teach.

Penance, perhaps? For a decade, he and Night had dedicated themselves to the agency, to ridding the world of villains like Rex Thomas. When he’d felt too tired to continue to do that job to the best of his ability, he’d turned to teaching. But the cult of his childhood had played a role in every decision of his adult life and coming back here was no different.

Apparently deciding he wasn’t going to answer his question, Reilly changed the subject again. “Regardless of your feelings on the matter, the fact remains your mother is operating some sort of underground organization again. Back up on that mountain.” Reilly pointed out the window of the classroom and Jon’s eyes followed the line to the colorful mountain range that served as the backdrop to his lessons every school day.

“Christ.” Jon ran his hands through his shaggy black hair. He needed to get it trimmed but hadn’t found the time. His nights were spent planning lessons and grading writing assignments—a pastime others would consider dull in the extreme, but which appealed to him greatly. He was tired of a life lived on the razor-sharp edge of a blade, every minute spent in the struggle to kill or be killed. He couldn’t go back to that—regardless of the fact this case wasn’t simply a case, but his past coming back to haunt him once again. “I can’t help you.”

“Jon—”

Jon’s temper got the best of him again and he felt his grip on calmness slip away. “No, don’t. Don’t say another damn word. I’ve said no and I won’t change my mind.”

“Do you think I wanted to come back here? To disturb this life you’ve created? I’ve never wanted you to have anything else, but how can you close your eyes to what’s happening? What will happen? The seventeen-year-old boy I pulled out of that rubble would never turn his back—”

“Enough! I’m not him! Not anymore.” He rose, stalked to his teacher’s desk and pounded his hand on the hard surface in frustration as the door to his classroom opened.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” a soft voice said from the hallway. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Carly.” Jon crossed the room to where she hovered just outside the door.

Carly James, the school secretary, was the first friend he’d made after returning toWestchesterto teach atLowellHigh School. The cute brunette had caught his eye on his first day at his new job. She simply walked up to him, introduced herself and in twenty mind-boggling minutes, gave him such a thorough and accurate overview of his new place of employment he was surprised she wasn’t working for the UIA.

“I wanted to see if you were going to the football game tonight, but I can see you’re busy,” she said.

“No, I’m not busy at all,” Jon replied smoothly, despite the fact he felt as if his two worlds were colliding and he was helpless to stop it. “Carly James, this is Mr. Reilly, my, uh, my…” As far as Carly was concerned, he’d spent the first decade of his adult life working in advertising. After growing bored with that, he’d decided to become a teacher. His personnel file confirmed that lie.

“Old colleague from his advertising days,” Reilly finished as Jon watched him produce the charming grin that came easily to the old man when in the presence of beautiful women. Reilly—whose age was a mystery to Jon—could still turn the ladies’ heads. At six foot five, the man was a towering presence with salt and pepper hair and piercing blue eyes that seemed to laser straight through anyone who stood in his way. In the past, Jon had emulated that same cocky smile, but seeing it flashed for Carly’s benefit left him feeling like smashing a fist into his mentor’s face.

Shocked by his response, Jon cleared his throat. “Carly is the secretary here.”

“Secretary?” Reilly reached over to take her outstretched hand. Rather than return her intended handshake, he raised her hand and placed a light kiss on the knuckles. Jon could see his romance-reading friend was entranced by the gesture. “Any chance I could steal you away? I’m looking for a new secretary.”

“Are you really?” she asked.

“No, but I could be,” Reilly teasingly answered.

She laughed at his corny joke and again, Jon felt an irrational streak of jealousy attack. “Careful, old man, she’s young enough to be your daughter. Wouldn’t want you to have a heart attack.”

“Jon!” she chastised, clearly surprised by his sudden rudeness.

“Oh, don’t mind him, Ms. James. Or is it Mrs. James?” Reilly’s interest in Carly was now fully engaged thanks to Jon’s revealing, if foolish, comment.

“Ms. I’m divorced.”

“I see.”

Jon sensed the undertones in his mentor’s short response. Clearly, the only person in the room unaware of his less-than-platonic interest in Carly was Carly herself.

Her divorce became final the summer he was hired. When he had first arrived, he’d wanted a simple life devoid of complications, and she’d offered that. Over the past year, they’d filled a void in each other’s lives. He was her handyman, spending a couple Saturdays a month helping with the repairs that never seemed to run out in her old house. When he needed help typing up a test—a skill he’d never mastered—she would do it for him. However, lately he’d found his feelings for her moving beyond simple friendship, despite the fact she seemed content with their “best friends” status.

“I can see you have plans for the evening.” Reilly interrupted his thoughts. “I’ll give you time to consider my proposal and touch base with you later.”

“Proposal?” she asked.

“Property he’s selling,” Jon lied smoothly. “He has some land he thought I might be interested in buying and he invited me to drive out and take a look at it.”

Carly’s eyes widened. “I had no idea you were looking to buy property. How exciting. Where is this land?”

Before he could reply, Reilly answered for him. “Up onOlsonMountain, just pastLindsey Lane.”

Jon jerked at his response. TheCommitmentChurchhad owned and operated a fair amount of land onOlsonMountain. Because of poor roads and steep inclines, the area was nearly inaccessible to anyone the cult wished to keep out. Clearly, Reilly hadn’t given up hope that he would take the case and was dangling more information in front of him despite his refusal.

“Oh it’s beautiful out there. I think the school library has several house-plan books, Jon. You should check them out.”

“I haven’t bought the land yet and I didn’t say anything about building a house.” The idea of lying to Carly did not sit easily on Jon’s shoulders.

“I have to be going.” Reilly picked up his jacket. “I’ll be in touch with you later. Perhaps we can drive out to look at the property together—and Ms. James, it was a pleasure to meet you. I hope we run into one another again before I return home.”

“So do I.” She smiled as Reilly made his way to the door of the classroom.

Once Reilly left, Jon took a deep breath and braced himself for the onslaught. He wasn’t disappointed.

“Jon, you sneaky Pete! Why didn’t you tell me you were planning to buy land? I thought you were happy in your townhouse. Living up on a mountain would be amazing. I bet it has a beautiful view. Can we drive out and look at it sometime?”

Grinning, he shook his head. Not only was Carly friendly and vivacious, she had more energy than a four-year-old. “I haven’t bought the land. I wasn’t even thinking about such a purchase until Reilly came by with the offer. To tell you the truth, I’m perfectly happy in my townhouse and the stress of building my own home isn’t something I need right now.”

“Jon—” she started to protest.

“I’m not going to buy it.”

“Oh.” She was clearly disappointed. No doubt she’d already envisioned helping him pick out carpet and appliances. “Well, I suppose it would be stressful. Joyce and her husband split up right in the midst of building their dream home. She said they would still be married today if it weren’t for their inept contractor and the strain of it all.”

Jon smiled. Carly knew everyone’s story because in addition to her role as secretary, she also served—in an unofficial capacity—as counselor to the entire faculty. Anything told to her in confidence was kept in confidence and she never betrayed a trust. After living so much of his life pretending to be someone other than himself, he found her straightforward, no-nonsense approach to life enlightening. She was exactly what she appeared to be.

“Well, what about the football game?” She returned to her reason for seeking him out.

“I’m in. Wanna go grab a burger beforehand?”

“Sounds great. We can hit that new place next to Lee’s Pizza in the mini-mall. I’ve heard good things about their bacon cheeseburgers.” She paused, groaning. “Oh shit.”

“What?”

“I forgot. I’m on a diet.”

“Carly,” he said in a tone he hoped would warn her he didn’t want to go down this road again. Why she thought she needed to lose weight was beyond him. Mercifully, she wasn’t pencil-thin. Give him a girl with curves any day—and she had her curves in all the right places. Although she complained endlessly about what she referred to as her “bubble butt”, Jon simply didn’t see it. She was the perfect hourglass and he’d pointed out to her on more than one occasion that most women would kill for her Marilyn Monroe figure.

Unfortunately, his compliments were continually rebuffed and he tried not to be annoyed that the woman simply could not accept any favorable comments about herself. If there was one thing about her that drove him crazy, it was her low self-esteem.

“Of course, I’ve been on a diet for ten years, so I don’t see what difference a lousy burger is going to make. My metabolism seems to have died a painful death years ago and there’s simply no reviving it. It’s hell getting old.”

“You aren’t old.” He knew his voice sounded gruff, but he was tired of hearing her put herself down. “And you aren’t fat. You’re just right.”

At her eye-rolling dismissal of his words, Jon felt his anger building.

“I’m a practical girl with eyes and mirrors, Jon, and besides, I figure I have something much better than good looks.”

“What’s that?” He tried to calm the fury Reilly seemed to have set loose inside him.

“Common sense. That’s much better than brilliance or beauty.”

“Well,” he answered through gritted teeth, “it seems to me, you have all three.”

“You are such a sweet friend.” She turned as if to leave. That was the other thing that drove him crazy. Whenever faced with a compliment, she became embarrassed and left the room. Unwilling to allow her to retreat this time, he grabbed her arm before she’d taken two steps.

“You are beautiful.” He forced her to look him in the eye with a firm finger under her chin.

“Jon—”

“Say it,” he demanded harshly.

“Say what?” She was clearly shocked by his domineering manner. He’d only ever treated her with kid gloves, but Reilly’s visit upset him more than he cared to admit. He felt shades of his former personality breaking through the cool exterior he’d worked hard to construct. Listening to his gorgeous friend’s ridiculous self-recriminations drove him over the edge.

“I’m beautiful,” he repeated, refusing to back down.

“You’re beautiful.” She gave him an impish smile—however, her joke was wasted on him. He could feel himself slipping into the old Jon.

“I’ve got all night.” His grip on her arm tightened. “Are you going to say it or not?”

“I don’t understand…”

He watched the smallest glimmer of fear creep into her confused eyes but he refused to give her an inch.

“I mean it, Carly. I’ve had it with your comments. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met and if you try to tell me one more time that you’re not, I’ll lose it.”

Carly smiled at his words and he watched as the fear and confusion were replaced by what appeared to be amazement. “That is absolutely, positively the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me,” she said after a moment.

“Clearly that’s the problem, but that doesn’t stop it from being the truth. Now are you going to say it or am I going to take you over my knee?”

He watched her cheeks flush at his comment. It appeared she was struggling to take a deep breath and the pupils in her lovely blue eyes dilated. Could it be she wouldn’t mind such an occurrence? He felt a serious stirring in his pants that would cause her to blush even more if she spotted it. Usually he was able to keep his one-eyed friend under control around her, careful not to frighten her with his interest.

As he watched her stammering, Jon wondered why he’d started this conversation. What the hell was he thinking? It was that damn Reilly. He’d left him in a state of turmoil, opening a Pandora’s box. The old, dangerous Jon was beginning to reemerge from the wreckage of his earlier life and he felt the new calm, cool and collected Jon quickly losing the ground he’d gained in the last few years.

“I—I’m b-beautiful.” The sincerity of her words was questionable enough, but she sealed her fate when she rolled her eyes and giggled with exasperation at the end of her statement.

“That’s it!” He dragged her toward the chair behind his desk.

“Jon!” She began to struggle.

“Don’t fight me.” He pulled harder as she dug her heels in. “I gave you a chance.”

“Fine. Have it your way. I’m beautiful. I’m the most gorgeous woman on earth. I should be a supermodel or a movie star, I’m so fucking hot. Happy?”

He turned to face her and felt his anger melt away at the humor written on her lovely face. He’d behaved like a brute but rather than run away in fear, she continued to tease him.

Grimacing at his foul behavior, he barked out a brief “sorry” before turning to load his briefcase. He needed to put some distance between them before he did something they’d both regret.

“Wanna tell me what the hell that was all about?” she asked after a few moments of uneasy silence.

He shook his head.

“Jon.” She paused, waiting until he looked at her before finishing her comment. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Still want that burger?”

“Heck yeah. I’m beautiful and hungry.”

Grabbing his briefcase and leather jacket in one hand, he wrapped his arm around her shoulder in a friendly gesture. “You’re beautiful and crazy.”

They’d nearly reached the classroom door when she pulled away. “You wouldn’t really have…” She gestured back to the desk chair. “You know.”

“Spanked you?” He grinned with the lightheartedness she seemed to bring out in him.

She blushed and nodded.

“Oh yeah—and I would have loved every minute of it.” He watched her cheeks grow even redder. “Don’t worry, Blue Eyes, knowing you and that mouth of yours, I have no doubt I’ll get to carry through on the threat eventually. And trust me, you’ll love every minute of it too.”

Ignoring her speechlessness, he winked and continued to guide her out into the hallway before turning off the lights and locking the door.

Retreat is available in ebook at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony and All Romance Ebooks.

Because of You is the first book in my Just Because trilogy. Here’s the first chapter…

Chapter One

“I don’t understand why you can’t tell me who he was meeting with,” Jessie Warner said, her hands shaking with frustration. She’d tried for two weeks to get her late husband’s partner to agree to see her, but to say the man had been evasive was an understatement.

“Client confidentiality, Jessie,” Rex replied so smoothly she wanted to reach across the desk and ram her fist through his smug face.

“You’re an accountant, Rex. Not a fucking priest or psychologist. It’s not like I’m going to grill them about their back taxes. All I want to know is which clients Tommy met with the day he died.”

“Why?”

Jessie sighed, perfectly aware that this discussion was going to end like every other conversation she’d had regarding the night of her husband’s death.

“I just want to talk to them. See if they noticed anything strange in his demeanor that day.”

“Why?” Rex repeated, and for a moment Jessie was struck by the fact that the man was no longer looking at her with annoyance, but rather with pity in his eyes.

Shit.

She hated pity. She’d seen it on the faces of too many people lately and it only made her angrier, more frustrated. She was tired of being treated like she was weak, and she was sure as hell tired of being treated like she was crazy.

“Forget it,” she said, rising quickly. “You aren’t going to tell me a fucking thing. You know it and I know it. Thanks for nothing, Rex.”

“Dammit, Jessie, don’t leave like this. I know you think Tommy’s death wasn’t an accident, but believe me when I say it was. It’s been seven months since he died. You’ve got to let this go.”

An accident. She’d read the police and coroner’s reports and she knew what they all believed. They’d said it was an accident, but she couldn’t shake the idea that it wasn’t—despite the fact she had no proof to the contrary. Tommy had fallen on the ice and hit his head. It seemed to be an easy answer for everyone—everyone but her.

Shortly after his death, she’d begun probing into the details a bit more—asking the police and hospital workers questions, but so far everyone she had encountered had been less than helpful. They thought she was some silly, grieving widow who had watched one too many episodes of CSI and had decided to create a crime out of thin air.

Apparently Rex was no different. He’d ignored her phone messages until finally she’d decided to take the direct approach. Her spur-of-the-moment, “oh I was just in the area” visit had been a surprise to him. She knew he was too wrapped up in appearances to throw the widow of his former partner out on her ass in front of an office full of employees. She’d seen in his face that he wasn’t pleased about being shanghaied into this visit. No doubt he’d heard the rumors that she was chasing shadows and had hoped to avoid this conversation.

“I can’t let it go, Rex,” she said quietly as she reached for the door. At one point, she’d considered the man a friend, but nowadays she found it harder and harder to reconnect with the people she’d known before Tommy’s death. Aside from her best friend Todd, she’d drifted away from everyone else in her life. “Please help me.”

The man shrugged sadly. “I’m sorry, Jessie, but I can’t.”

“There’s a world of difference between can’t and won’t. I think you have them confused,” she said, storming out. She closed the door loudly behind her and sighed heavily. She’d known when she left the house this morning it would be a wasted trip. She’d been a fool to think that Rex would offer her any sort of help. Hell, the man had avoided her calls like she was a telemarketer.

“Jessie? Is that you?”

“Jordan.” She smiled at the older man in the foyer as he leaned down to hug her. Jordan Scott had been a good friend to Tommy in addition to being one of his biggest clients. He’d always been kind to her as well. He’d never forgotten to send a birthday card or his traditional bottle of champagne Christmas gift. They’d dined at his penthouse apartment on more than a few occasions. Neither she nor Tommy had been close to their families and in some waysJordanhad taken on the role of a beloved uncle. One they didn’t see often, but with whom they were always happy to reconnect.

“What a nice surprise,” she said as he released her. Always dressed to a tee, he was an extremely attractive gentleman in his mid-fifties, with salt and pepper hair and expressive deep blue eyes. She had often questioned him about why he’d never married. She couldn’t imagine a whole generation of women lettingJordanslip through their fingers. He was handsome, rich and charming.

“I haven’t seen you since—” He paused and Jessie nodded at the silence that followed.

“Since Tommy’s funeral,” she finished for him.

“How have you been, my dear? I meant to call, but I’m afraid a problem at work pulled me out of the country for a few months. I’ve only just returned fromItalythis past week.”

“I’m fine,” she answered, the lie a familiar one. She hadn’t been fine for seven months. Not since the night she’d found her husband’s dead body.

“What brings you to the firm?”Jordanasked. “I thought Rex said you’d sold Tommy’s half of the business to him.”

“Oh, I did,” she said. She looked intoJordan’s compassionate face and found her suspicions, her fears falling from her lips. “I’ve had this feeling since Tommy passed away that something was wrong and I wanted to know which clients Tommy met with the day he died. I was hoping to speak to them, hoping one of them could help me understand his frame of mind that day.”

Jordan’s puzzled look gave her a moment’s pause. “Frame of mind?” he asked.

“I don’t think his death was an accident.”

“You don’t?” he asked in such a way that for the first time, she felt a glimmer of hope that someone actually understood.

She shook her head.

“I met with Tommy the day he died, Jessie.”

Jordan’s confession stopped her short. She’d anticipated another pitying look, another pat on the head, another condescending comment about being foolish. She hadn’t expected an answer. “You did?”

“We met earlier that morning about the audit he was performing for my company. Rather run-of-the-mill stuff. I can assure you his behavior was perfectly normal. I wish I’d known then that I’d never see him again. So many things I would have liked to have said to the dear boy.” The older man looked away and Jessie could see the glimmer of tears at the corner of his eyes. When he turned back toward her, the look of sadness was replaced with one of concern. “What’s going on, Jessie? Why don’t you believe it was an accident?”

The tightness in her chest that never left eased asJordanspoke. For the first time in months, someone was listening to her, answering her questions, taking her seriously. “Tommy called me earlier in the afternoon, the day he died. He said something that made me think—” She paused, uncertain how to word her concerns.

“Made you think?” he prodded.

She paused and shrugged, her thoughts were traveling a different direction.Jordanhad seen Tommy, spoken to him that day. She couldn’t focus on anything other than that fact. “Was Tommy acting strangely that day? Did he seem preoccupied, overwrought, worried?”

“Not at all. What did he say on the phone, Jessie?”

“Nothing specific.” Tommy hadn’t said anything at all really. Perhaps it was his tone more than his words that had sparked her suspicions.

“I suppose you’ve spoken to the police about this,” he said.

She nodded and sighed. “Yes, for all the good it’s done me.”

“I take it they don’t share your belief that there was foul play involved?”

She shook her head. “No. I sort of get the impression they think I’m insane.”

Jordanlaughed lightly at her lame attempt at a jest. “Nothing could be further from the truth. I wish there was something I could say that would help you, but honestly, there was nothing in Tommy’s demeanor that day that leads me to suspect foul play. Tell you what. Why don’t you let me do a bit of digging around? I’ll see if I can’t scare some information out of old Rex, the shyster.”

Jessie grinned.Jordanhad never made any bones about the fact that Tommy was his preferred accountant in the firm.

“Would you? Really?”

“I’m not sure what help I can be, but if it will put a smile back on that pretty face of yours, I’m willing to try.”

“Oh, thank you,Jordan, you’ve already been more help than you know. If you remember anything else about that day, will you call me?”

“Of course, my dear. You will be the first person I call.”

She said her goodbyes and walked to her car feeling lighter than she had since Tommy’s death. She still hadn’t discovered any answers, butJordangenuinely seemed to believe her and wanted to help. For the first time in a long time, she didn’t feel as if she was wandering around in a dark room with no doors.Jordanhad just offered her a flashlight and, God willing, a way out—back into the sunshine that had eluded her for months.

Maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all.

Because of You is available at Samhain, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Fictionwise, and All Romance Ebooks.

Oh! And by the way, I’ve been interviewed by the gals at Guilty Pleasures Reviews. Hope you’ll check it out.

Today’s question is a fun one. Remember commenters from this week will be eligible for a drawing on Saturday. Prize is signed book and goodies from me. 🙂

Which is hotter?

Two rough and tumble cowboys who like to share

A sweet, sexy doctor with very good bedside manners

Hardcore m/m action

23 Responses to “Romantic Suspense”

  1. A doctor for me. Cowboys come in second.

    Marika Weber

  2. Mary Preston Says:

    COWBOYS for me thank you!!

  3. Two hot cowboys for sure! I like heroes who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty.

  4. Kaylyn Davis Says:

    The 2 hot cowboys who like to share! Menage is so fun read.

  5. Regina Ross Says:

    2 rough cowboys who like to share 🙂

  6. I’d take all three scenarios if I could, but two hot sharing cowboys tops my list.

  7. Ok so maybe I do like romantic suspense lol, they sound good!
    2 cowboys who like to share and some m/m action…. sorry I want my cake and eat it too!

  8. A sweet, sexy doctor with very good bedside manners is my choice. Heavy emphasis on the bedside manners.

  9. I gotta go with two rough and tumble cowboys who like to share!
    Menage is my favorite type of romance.
    I have to admit though I do love some hot m/m action!

  10. Nicole M took the words right out my mouth. I, too, would like two rough and tumble cowboys with some hardcore m/m action. YEAH, BABY!

    Thanks for the smokin’ excerpts.

  11. Do I really have to choose? I love all of them. Ok, ok, it will have to be 2 cowboys who love to share 😊

  12. For me, two rough and tumble cowboys who like to share really melts my butter! It is great that so many menage books are available now.

  13. Hi

    I enjoy reading about two rough and tumble cowboys sharing – fun!

    Thanks

    Pam

  14. All of the above in one story..lol.Ok I have to pick…Cowboys!!
    Thanks for sharing the first chapters.

  15. Tough choice, they all are delicous. Since reading my first ever m/m story,Bareback by Chris Owen, I’ve learned that hardcore m/m action will seriously melt your glasses and you into a little puddle on the floor, lol.

  16. I have to go for the doctor with a great bedside manner.

  17. I say cowboys although the m/m choice made me think a minute.
    And I have to buy both of these books. Thank you for helping me deplete my savings. 🙂
    Patti P
    musicalfrog at comcast.net

  18. I have not read any of your Rom Susp stories yet, but from the sounds of these, I will be soon. They sound great! I love long excerpts (I generally do the sample from Amazon before buying a kindle book).

    As for your question, can we have the 2 hot cowboys who like to share and engage in some m/m action? Now that is my kind of story, lol!

    June
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  19. Hi Mari! I love your books! There so good! I already have Retreat, so good! I dont have Because of You yet, but its on my wishlist! 😉 As to your question, to me, Two rough and tumble cowboys who like to share is hotter! Yum! lol ;D Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. Lindsey E Says:

    Cowboys. Doctors remind me of being at work.

  21. Ooh, doctor! But cowboys are sexy, too 😉

  22. Cheryl S. Says:

    I’ll take the tasty doctor!!

  23. Do I have to pick just one? That’s not fair. I want them all. Thanks for the excerpts.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

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