Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Book, New Sneak Peek, New Links

In all the insanity of my life in the last couple of weeks, I forgot to update my blog with the links for purchasing Taking a Shot, which is available now. You can buy it at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo US, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords.

And in one more week, you'll be able to buy Double Major, the novella that is a second epilogue to all of the previous books in the series. You can pre-order it now at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo US if you don't want to wait. :) Here's the third and final sneak peek into that book.


We really shouldn’t have left Laura in charge of the bachelorette party, despite the fact that she was one of my best friends—and one of our joint bridesmaids—but somehow she’d finagled her way into that position, anyway. I should have tried harder to insist that Sara would be better suited to the task and had Laura deal with the bridal shower. Instead, the pair of them had ended up in charge of the exact opposite event we had been hoping for.
Laura meant well, but she’d had so much on her plate lately with Katie’s illness and graduating high school, and then also with Dave retiring and moving into a different part of his career, that she had forgotten some things—like my panic attacks. Even now, she seemed so caught up in the moment that she wasn’t aware of my extreme discomfort.
That was how I ended up in my current predicament. Not only did I have to figure out a good excuse for turning down wine and other drinks at every turn, but I also had virtually nude men shaking their thong-clad backsides in my face in the hope that I’d shove a bill in the string. That wasn’t going to happen. I’d come a long way in the last year and a half but not so far that I had any intention of touching a strange man’s ass. But because I was one of the two brides, the strippers were paying particular attention to me, no matter how many times I refused to participate. At least they didn’t touch me. They just hoped I would touch them—and at least that left me in control of the situation.
Sara would have probably found a classier bar to take us to instead of a strip club. Then I would only be dealing with the alcohol aspect of this uncomfortable night. It was too late for a change of plans, though.
Once the current stripper gave up and went to shimmy for Rachel, our waiter came over. He was wearing pants, thank God, but no shirt, just a bowtie, leaving his waxed chest bare.
“You sure I can’t bring you something, sugar?” he asked, giving me what I was sure he thought was a seductive smile. To me it only seemed smarmy. “Brides drink free at bachelorette parties here. I could get you a sauvignon blanc…a sex on the beach…maybe a pomegranate cosmo?”
Katie leaned over so she could whisper in my ear. “Get something and give it to me if you don’t want it. Mom won’t notice tonight. She’s…distracted.”
I rolled my eyes at her and turned my attention back to the waiter. “I’m sure. Just water for me.”
“Spoilsport,” Katie muttered, but she was grinning. She knew there was no chance I was going to give her alcohol with her mother sitting three seats over. She should just be glad that her father didn’t know she was here. Yeah, he knew she was with us, but I doubted Laura had filled him in on the precise details of her plans for the evening.
Katie was eighteen now, so she was a legal adult, but that didn’t mean he was any less protective of her than he always had been. Especially not after she’d just been given a clean bill of health.
The waiter worked his way through the rest of our group getting more drink orders, and a new song came on, signaling a new stripper coming to the stage. I tried to brace myself for another onslaught of naked man-flesh wobbling in my face.
“So why aren’t you drinking?” Katie asked, sipping from her Shirley Temple. She kept her voice down so she wouldn’t catch anyone else’s attention. “You never drink much, but you usually drink some.”
Her mother had asked me the same question earlier, narrowing her eyes on me as though that would give her X-ray vision into my mind. I’d managed to brush Laura off long enough for the show to start up and drive her attention away from me.
I would have thought the show would distract Katie, too. She was only eighteen, and I was pretty sure she’d never been to a strip club before. Yes, Portland was the strip-club capital of the United States, but they were almost all clubs with female strippers. I only knew of one that had male dancers, and it was a gay club that only catered to clientele with XY chromosomes.
“I just don’t want to be hungover tomorrow,” I hedged. “Not for my big day.”
“One glass of wine isn’t enough to give you a hangover.”
“But one leads to two…”
“You’re pregnant,” Katie whispered. “Aren’t you?”
Before I could answer, a naked butt cheek was waving in my face, nearly whacking me in the nose he got so close. In my haste to get away, I leaned back in my chair so far I almost knocked it over and fell onto the lap of whoever was sitting behind me. I had to close my eyes and concentrate on remembering to breathe so I wouldn’t start having a panic attack. That wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend the night before my wedding.
Katie helped to right my chair, and my eyes shot open wide. She took one look at me and then leaned across the girls between her and her mother. Laura had a fistful of dollar bills, and Katie whipped two of them free. She shoved them into the dancer’s thong and smacked him on the ass, and he went away.
“Aren’t you?” she repeated as soon as he was gone. She was acting as if what she’d just done had been no big deal, like it could have been an everyday occurrence. How could she be so calm about something like that?
“You can’t say a word to anyone,” I hissed at her. “I might not be. I don’t know yet, I just think I might be. But no one knows, no one at all, and Eric should be the first to find out about it if I am.”
I’d just realized this morning that I was almost a week late. With everything leading up to the wedding, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. Eric and I always used protection, but nothing was one hundred percent fail-safe. It could just be the stress of wedding planning that had thrown a wrench in my cycle, but I wasn’t going to hold my breath.
Katie grinned. “But you don’t want to take any chances tonight in case you are.”
“Our little secret. Not gonna say a thing to a single soul.” She shot her eyes over to Sara, and her lips twisted into a bit of a grimace, and I knew without her saying another word that she was thinking the same thing I was. Sara had just miscarried a couple of months ago. I didn’t know how she’d take it when she found out I was pregnant—if I was pregnant. She’d been through a lot of counseling, but this was definitely going to be a blow. I wanted to make sure I handled it well, if and when it was time to let her in on the happy news.
Things like this were just one of many reasons I really liked Katie. She was young, but she was very sweet and thoughtful.
“We should get one of those tests,” Katie said. “You should find out tonight so you can tell Zee tomorrow.”
That was actually an excellent suggestion. If there was one thing that would make tomorrow more perfect than it already should be, it would be being able to tell Eric I was going to have his baby.
I nodded and winked at her now, and she turned her attention back to the stage. None of this seemed to be fazing her, even though it was shocking me to my core. I mean, there’s a difference between knowing strip clubs existed and experiencing all they had to offer half an inch away from your face. I kind of wished I could go back in time and revert to the knowing-they-exist phase.
We had more than just the women in the wedding party here tonight. Several of my former teammates from my high school and college hockey teams had joined us, as well as some of the women I’d worked with at Love Handles when I’d still lived here in Providence. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves, at least—much like Laura and Sara were. Rachel kept blushing, her cheeks turning as bright red as her hair, and Katie seemed almost immune. And then there was Noelle Payne, who had her back turned to the whole thing so she could talk to the woman behind her. I had to laugh at her ability to tune it all out. She might as well be at home or at work, or anywhere but with a bunch of almost-naked men gyrating nearby. She was oblivious to it all in the best possible way.
I made up my mind to try to be more like her for the rest of the night. Whatever it took, I wasn’t going to let any of this get to me. I wasn’t going to let it set me off. I’d been doing too well lately, and the last thing I wanted to do the night before I got married was allow something as silly as this to cause me to take a step backward.
I turned back to Katie. “So…you and Babs. When’s this going to become a real thing?” I understood all the reasons they hadn’t become an official couple before now, but those reasons seemed to have all evaporated. Katie was old enough now and wasn’t in high school anymore. The cancer was gone. Her dad was going to be one of Babs’s coaches now, not his teammate—but Sara and Jonny had already tackled that hurdle and come out all right in the end. There didn’t seem to be anything else standing in the way of the two of them becoming the couple we all knew they were destined to be.
She turned big doe eyes on me—sad eyes—and my heart ached for both of them before she even opened her mouth.
“I don’t know if we will be a couple. I don’t want to hurt him, but I just…”
I couldn’t make heads or tails of that. Those two belonged together.
“You just what?”
She shrugged and shook her head. “It’s just that Jamie should be the first to find out.” She brushed a tear away from her eye, and then she forced whatever was breaking her heart out of the way for now. “That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to have a good time.”
I didn’t know if that was possible for me, but I grinned for her benefit. “Okay. But if you need to talk…”
“I know. But let’s focus on you for now.”
        I couldn’t stop myself. I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and drew her closer to me for a side hug. “Just don’t hurt yourself unnecessarily.” That was something I had experience with—not my fault, of course, but still. I didn’t want to see her run away from something she ought to be running toward.

Finally, I know I've told you at least a little bit about Comeback and Dropping Gloves (the 6th and 7th novels in the Portland Storm series), but here's a working blurb (subject to change) for each of them.


Nicky Ericsson has had a long fight with addiction, and because of it he lost his spot as the Portland Storm's top goaltender. He's on the road to a comeback--both in his personal life and on the ice. He's throwing himself into charity work, recovery group meetings, training...all the things he needs to do to become the best version of himself he can be, and to keep himself clean. He has no other choice.

Jessica Lynch has been running the Portland office for the Light the Lamp Foundation for a few years, so she knows a thing or two about addicts. One of the main things she's learned is that even when they try to turn their lives around, sometimes the addictions get the better of them. Because of that, she takes a hands off approach, keeping her heart out of things.
Nicky's attempts to better himself puts him in directly Jessica's path more often than not, and their attraction is instant and mutual. Can he prove that he won't fall back into old habits, and complete the perfect comeback?
Jamie Babcock has done everything possible to let go of Katie, but she keeps coming back, and she keeps crushing him all over again when she leaves. There are only so many times he's willing to let his heart be trampled on. At some point, he has to draw the line. Doesn't he? Only, when it's Katie, he's not sure that's even possible. She's back, but for how long he can't be sure.
But Katie will stop at nothing to convince Jamie she's back for good--even dropping gloves--because in the game of love, all bets are off.

Available on February 19, 2015.

Pre-order links: Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Dropping Gloves:

Katie Weber left her heart behind in Portland when she left to follow her dreams in Hollywood. Now she's back to sing the national anthem for the Portland Storm during their annual Hockey Fights Cancer night. One look to the bench while she's singing is all it takes for her to know that Jamie Babcock is still hurting just as much as she is. She's done the Hollywood thing, though, and she's over it. She knows what she wants.

Jamie Babcock has done everything possible to let go of Katie, but she keeps coming back, and she keeps crushing him all over again when she leaves. There are only so many times he's willing to let his heart be trampled on. At some point, he has to draw the line. Doesn't he? Only, when it's Katie, he's not sure that's even possible. She's back, but for how long he can't be sure.

But Katie will stop at nothing to convince Jamie she's back for good--even dropping gloves--because in the game of love, all bets are off.

Available on April 23, 2015

Pre-order links: Barnes and Noble, iBooks

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