Sunday, May 08, 2016

Preview from SUMMER HEAT

I’m excited to tell you I’m in a new boxed set coming out May 24 and up for pre-order now.

My story is OUTLAW JUSTICE about a couple who had a burning-hot relationship eight years ago. Now she’s on her husband’s murder list, and only Steve Justice can save her.  Here’s the first chapter.


“Just great,” Steve Outlaw muttered as he took in the beer bottles, pizza boxes, and other debris littering the floor of his mom’s old house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Obviously, the last tenants had trashed the place.

The mess was bad enough, but something else made his senses tingle. The scent was wrong for a dwelling that had been closed up for weeks.

It smelled like someone was in here. Or maybe burglars had recently broken in, then cleared out.

He stifled a curse. If he’d still been on the job with the Baltimore PD, he would have been carrying his service revolver. But he’d quit six months ago after recovering from a nasty gunshot wound to the leg. Medical had wanted to keep him on desk duty, and he’d been too restless to sit on the sidelines.

Now he looked around the room, hoping to see something he could use as a weapon. When he spotted a broom leaning against the sagging couch, he picked it up and held it in front of him as he turned toward the closet near the door. The bad leg ached from the effort to move quietly. He ignored it and kept going.

The closet was clear and so were the dining room and the kitchen, except for a couple of folding chairs lying on their sides. But the smell of humanity was stronger near the pantry, and when he threw open the door, a figure leaped out, trying to knock him down in a frantic rush to escape. Since he wasn’t entirely steady on his feet, the tactic almost worked. Dropping the broom, he spun to the side, grabbing a slender arm and wrenching the intruder toward him.

The light was dim, but the breath froze in his lungs when he saw her face. Was he making it up? Or was the woman standing in front of him really Leah?

For a moment he was transported back to the last steamy afternoon they’d spent here, her naked body pressed to his, her fingernails digging into his shoulders, her lips moving urgently over his. In his teenager’s bed, the blue of her eyes had deepened with need, and her chestnut-colored hair had been a tangle around her elegant face.

Not now. His mind snapped back to reality as he saw her breath quicken and her hand tremble—not with passion but with fear.

“Leah?” he asked, struggling with his own roiling emotions as past and present collided.

Her head bobbed in answer to the sound of her name.

Trying to cope with this out-of-kilter meeting, he asked, “What in the name of God are you doing here?”

She glanced at him, then down at the tips of her running shoes, as though she could avoid confrontation by looking away. Although he didn’t want to break the physical contact, he could feel the tension radiating through her. To give both of them a little space, he let his hand drop away from her arm, but he kept his gaze fixed on her, hoping she wasn’t going to make another run for the door.

In a voice he had to strain to hear, she answered, “I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go.”

Again his mind zinged back to the intimate weeks they’d spent together in this very house—before she’d gone off to Boston University. He’d thought they’d resume their hot and heavy sexual relationship when she came home for Thanksgiving vacation. Instead, she stayed in Boston for the holiday because she’d met a guy named Warren Pendelton.

After reading her carefully worded letter, he’d snatched a beer mug off his desk and thrown it across the room, where it shattered against the wall. As the weeks dragged on, he’d gone from anger to resignation, yet he couldn’t let go of a tiny spark of hope—until she’d married the bastard the next year and dropped out of school.

He’d known he had to get over her, and he thought he’d succeeded. But as they stood facing each other, all the unfinished business simmering between them seemed to explode inside his head.

Struggling for some perspective, he tried to focus on the immediate problem—whatever it was.

“You can’t go home?”

He wasn’t prepared for her explosive laugh—or the way she sobered immediately—as though she’d allowed herself a few seconds of emotion that she was fighting to keep under strict control.

Raising her head, she met his questioning gaze. Her voice turned edgy as she said, “Sorry to intrude. I’ll get out of your way now.”


And as a special present to readers, we’re giving away a cookbook based on the boxed set, where each recipe is tied to one of the stories in the collection.

You can get COOKING WITH THE AUTHORS OF SUMMER HEAT at these venues:

Barnes and Noble

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