I am currently working on Liam's Spell, Book 2 of the Decker Brothers Trilogy, and also working on Secrets, Lies & Sins, Book 2 of the Quest for the Shroud series, when I have extra time.
Since it's been a while since I've posted anything, I am posting an excerpt from each one.
Excerpt from Liam’s Spell – Coming Soon!
“Hey Jade, I’m going to run next door for some lunch. Do you want anything?”
“No, I’m fine. Brody brought us lunch earlier. Go ahead.”
Conner’s Coffee Café was next door to the White Magic. Erin grabbed her bag and left the shop.
And there was Liam, sitting on the white bench outside the shop.
He stood. “Going to Connor’s?” He fell in beside her.
“Yes. I have a break.”
“I know. I looked at your book. I’ll join you.”
“Okay.” Erin managed a smile.
Liam was always a gentleman. He opened the door, ushered her in.
“Liam and Erin!” Connor greeted them when they reached the counter. “What’ll you have?”
They ordered their meals.
“Unsweetened tea for you, Erin?”
“I know what the big guy wants to drink.”
“That’s a no brainer, Dr. Pepper.” Liam laughed.
“Go sit down. The lunch rush is over. I’ll bring your tray to you when it’s ready.”
“Thanks, Connor.” Erin flashed him a smile.
Liam grimaced slightly as he sat.
“Is your leg hurting?” Erin asked with concern. Liam’s leg was left mangled on his last tour in Afghanistan. He never wore shorts, always jeans – even in the high heat of summer like this hot, July day. She’d given him several massages, so she’d seen the damage. His leg was badly scarred from his injuries and burns. He’d almost lost the leg, but didn’t, though he’d had a very long recovery which was amplified by multiple surgeries. He still limped a little, and probably always would. He’d told her it was a small price to pay for keeping his leg.
“I had therapy this morning. It’s always sore afterward. It was my last session. I return to the doctor next week. I should get the go ahead to drive again.”
“That’s good. More independence for you.” She gave him a genuine smile. She knew how much he was looking forward to driving again.
“Yeah.” He nodded and smiled.
“Italian sub for the big guy and chicken salad for the lady.” Connor slid the tray onto the table.
“Thanks.” Erin smiled.
“Anytime, sweetie.” Connor headed back toward the counter when a mother and three kids walked in.
“Yes.” She returned her attention to Liam. Harper was right. The man was gorgeous. Short, black hair that was forever tousled, intense blue eyes, tall, muscled and lean - the finest body she’d ever seen. She shouldn’t have allowed herself to remember what that hard body felt like against hers while he was kissing her, but she couldn’t help it. She did.
“Why are you avoiding me?”
Liam was also direct. Erin chewed then swallowed the bite she’d just taken.
“You are,” he cut her off.
At first, she suspected this was it. They’d have an argument, his pride was wounded, his feelings hurt, and the result would be they would probably never speak to one another again - but to her surprise, it wasn’t anger she saw when she looked into those brilliant eyes. Was it tenderness? He continued to watch her. And yes, she felt guilty because she had been avoiding him.
“I’m sorry. I told you I don’t have good relationships, and that I didn’t want to do this.”
“This. Um, I’m not ready for a relationship.”
“Why aren’t you ready for a relationship?”
“Well, because my relationships don’t ever work.”
“How do you know this one, ours, won’t?”
Well he had her there. “I don’t. But I don’t want to hurt you, Liam. What we are doing right now as a team is too important. And like I told you, I don’t know how.”
“No one knows how. They just give it a try and see where it goes.”
“I must not be good at it, because I always mess things up.”
“Says me and my last five boyfriends.”
“Hmm. They told you it was your fault it didn’t work?”
Erin sighed in frustration. “Do we have to talk about this?”
“Yes. We do.”
“Liam, it’s just…It’s just not a good time to try this. We need to be focused. I need to stay focused and I couldn’t if we, well, I need to keep my mind on this defeat the demon thing.” She looked at her watch. “And I have a client due-”
“In fifteen minutes. I looked at your appointment book, remember?” He smiled.
“Okay, we’ll talk about this later. Eat.”
“All right. Thanks.” Erin took another bite of her sandwich.
Liam spoke occasionally, just filling her in on some of their preparations. She would answer or comment.
After they finished, he walked her back toward White Magic. He stopped, reached out, and took her gently by the arm. “I need you to answer one question for me.”
“Okay, if I can.”
“You can. It’s not hard. My question is this: do you want to have a good, happy, healthy relationship? One that sticks.”
She rubbed her brow. “Of course. Doesn’t everyone?”
“It’s not that you’re not attracted to me, is it? Or you want a relationship, but just not with me.”
“No, Liam. It’s not that at all. You’re a wonderful man and I am attracted to you. It’s not you, it’s me.”
“Okay.” He shrugged and released her arm.
“It’s not you,” she whispered.
“All right. Let’s give it a try, you and me. We’ll take it slow.” He reached down, took her hand, and brought it to his lips. He stepped closer to her. She vaguely registered her back touching the wall. After his lips grazed over her knuckles, he turned her hand over and pressed a slow, warm, lingering kiss to her palm. Heat shot up her arm and she tingled all over. She saw tenderness and caring in the depths of his intense, blue eyes.
“Good.” He gave her a sexy smile as he studied her face. “We’ll take it slow.”
He released her hand, turned, and proceeded to walk toward the shop door.
Erin had to peel herself off the wall before her legs gave out and she slid down to the concrete. Her legs felt like jelly as she followed him. Of course, her eyes focused on the back of his jeans. She shouldn’t look there, but she couldn’t tear her gaze away. She had to admit he was gorgeous everywhere. The man did have great buns. She’d noticed that the first day he walked into the shop with the two other Decker brothers.
She didn’t remember actually telling Liam she would try a relationship with him, did she? Maybe she did. At the moment, she couldn’t think of one reason not to try. Still dazed, she muttered her thanks to him for holding the door open for her.
On the way to the massage room, she turned to look at him. He gave her a very sexy smile that did things to her. Wicked things. And it didn’t help her clear her head at all. Not one bit. She realized she was smiling when she turned toward her massage room.
Excerpt from Secrets, Lies and Sins, Coming late 2017
When their remaining enemies turned and rode away, Fin turned to regard Jamie. “Were you harmed, Lass?”
“Nay, but you were.” She reached for his arm.
“It’s just a scratch.” Fin pulled his arm away.
“It’s bleeding an awful lot for a scratch, Fin.”
“Might I remind you, Lady Jamesina, that I’m a grown man and can care take care of myself.”
He hadn’t realized that his voice was raised until he turned to see everyone looking at them.
He softened his tone. “I am fine, my Lady. Thank you.” He gave her a curt nod and left her standing alone.
Jamie sat to reload her pistols then joined the group of men.
“Are you ready, Lass?” Ian asked her.
She nodded and gave him a small smile.
Marrek had reloaded his pistols for him while Fin removed his neck cloth and fashioned a bandage around the graze on his arm. Fin thanked Marrek when he returned his pistols.
Arran handed him a flask of whisky. “Perhaps a wee dram will improve your mood.” Arran’s green eyes cut toward Lady Jamesina.
“My mood is fine. However, I’m quite sure I can do with a dram later. My thanks, Kildonan.”
“And where is it that Lady Jamesina and I should head?” Fin turned to ask Ian.
“Well now, you’ll have to ask her. She’s the guardian.” Ian seemed highly amused.
Fin turned to her. She held her head high and ,et his gaze. He guessed it was determination he saw in those golden eyes.
“We’re headed for one of my safe places. We can’t reach it by nightfall. We’ll have to stay the night at another MacEwen property,” Jamie informed him in a cool tone as she passed by him. She mounted her horse on her own and turned her head. “Are you coming, Lord Dunloy?”
“Aye.” It took him aback that she was now using his title instead of his given name.
Jamie didn’t wait, she urged that big beast of a devil she rode forward. Fin briskly walked toward his gelding.
“Then you’d best mount up in a hurry. We’ve a long journey ahead of us and I hope you’re not intending to lag behind the entire way.”
Fin let go a huff of irritation and mounted his horse. He paused to wave farewell to his friends then hurried after her. He heard deep baritone laughter behind him as he struggled to catch up to her. Damn Jamie MacEwen. She is the most infuriating woman. She had no right to treat him thus. It was she who’d lied to him all these years, after all.
He tried to tamp down his anger and forget about her. He failed. The anger simmered during the long, silent hours they rode toward God only knew where.
Darkness was nearly upon them when they passed by a small, quiet village just off the road.
“Mayhap we should take a room at the inn there, in the village,” Fin suggested. He was feeling quite weary of a sudden.
“Out of the question. We’ve not far to go. Another mile or so.”
“And where exactly are we going, lass?” Will there be a bed waiting for me?”
“Of course. ‘Tis a cottage.”
“Good.” That was heartening news. His stomach rumbled. “And will there be food at this cottage?”
“Aye, of course.” She muttered.
He was tired. Bone weary tired, which was unlike him. Then again, he hadn’t sat in a saddle for almost a full day without a rest in some time, and to be fair, he was still healing from the wounds he received several weeks ago. He was reminded he had a new one just this day when his arm began to throb. He’d never let her know he was struggling to keep up. Not on his life!
It was a small cottage she pointed out as they left the road and made their way down a path. It looked to be in good condition, and that was promising. He couldn’t help but notice how spry Jamie was as she slid from her mount. She walked to the door, turned her key in the lock, pushed the door open and returned to her horse. “There’s a lean to in the back. I’ll take the horses.”
He stifled a groan as he dismounted. His arse was mighty sore. And why did his legs feel so damned weak. “I’ll bring my horse. It will make faster work of it if we each take care of our own mounts.”
She gave him a nod and led the way behind the cottage.
It wasn’t until he had trouble lifting the saddle from the handsome black gelding he borrowed from Arran, and his arm felt like it was on fire that he realized there was something wrong. He dropped the saddle. Groaned and straightened.
And there was Jamie. She raised her hand to his brow. “You’ve a fever, Fin. Go in and sit. I’ll see to the horses. I’ll be in as quickly as I can to see to your wound.”
The man in him wanted to protest, but the part of him that felt so blasted weak and sick complied with a nod. He trudged around the small, compact structure and took himself into the house. He thought to sit in a chair at the table, but the bed in the anteroom beyond beckoned. The mattress looked fluffy. It was a MacEwen plaid that was thrown across it. He lay his head down upon one of the plump pillows and closed his eyes.
When he next opened them, there was a soft golden glow in the room. He saw a fire gleaming in the hearth in the large room beyond. Something smelled divine. A lamp on the table beside his bed had been lit.
Then Lady Jamesina entered, minus her hat. Her long, dark braid trailed over her shoulder. She was carrying a basin. He watched as she set it atop a table stacked with folded cloths on the other side of the bed.
“Good, you’re awake.” She drew the plaid away from him.
It was then he realized his chest was bare. The woman had undressed him while he slept? How could that be? He tried to lift himself up and couldn’t.
“Your wound has festered, Fin. It’s where the fever comes from. I cleaned it earlier and applied a poultice. Now I need to apply another.”
He grunted and gave her a nod. “What smells so good?” He scraped his hand over his face.
“A Stew. I made it yesterday, and left it in the cellar so we would have it if we needed it.”
“We need to compare the clues?” His eyes narrowed after he surveyed the room. “What have you done with my coat?”
“Damn it, Fin. I hung your coat on a peg in the other room to dry. I know you’re angry with me but I can’t believe you don’t trust me.”
“Well you’re certainly not the person I thought you were. You could have been lying about everything, how am I to know.”
“I never purposely lied to you. I just never revealed to you that I was a woman. Everything else I wrote in my letters was the truth. How I felt, what I believed. If you read them, you should know exactly who I am.”
Her words stung almost as much as the cleaning of the gash on his upper arm. “Ouch!”
She rose and walked to a cabinet. She returned with a bottle of whisky and a glass. She set them down, and poured him a generous amount and offered it to him.
“If you’re going to whine like a bairn, Fin, you need to drink this.”
“I’m not whining. I was complaining about the sharpness of your tongue as much as roughness of your ministrations.”
“Drink it or do without. I’m changing your poultice regardless.” She held the glass out to him again.
He struggled to sit up, but managed to do so without her assistance. He snatched the glass from her hand and drained it, then settled back down into the soft warmth of the bed.
“There. I’ve had my medicine. Do your worst.”
“Hmmph.” Jamie continued to clean the remnants of the old poultice off. She sponged the festering gash and then applied the new poultice.
“Fin?” she called when she finished.
“Aye?” Fin struggled to open his eyes.
“Could you eat a bit of stew? You need to keep up your strength.”
“Aye, I can. And could I have another wee dram, lass? For Scottish whisky, it tasted fairly good.”
“Aye. I’ll get it, and I’ll have you know ‘tis the best whisky to be had in Argyll.”
“MacEwen made, I suppose,” he mumbled.
“Of course.” She quirked a dark brow his way.
The venison stew was the best thing he’d ever tasted. It was humiliating that she’d had to help him sit up to eat it. That stung his pride. She made him drink a hot cup of rather bitter tea before she’d pour him a whisky.
“No wonder you’ve never married. That was the foulest tasting brew I’ve ever put in my mouth.”
“It’s not meant to taste good. It was made to fight your infection and help you to heal.” And put him to sleep and out of his misery and hers, God willing.
He insisted on another dram, she argued but eventually gave in after muttering something about if he had more whisky in him mayhap he’d go to sleep and quit complaining. She helped him lay down and pulled the plaid over him. Then he felt her hand, he’d noticed earlier that she had long-fingered, pretty hands, upon his brow. He could hear the soft lull of her voice as he slid into slumber.