Halloween Blog Hop

Welcome to our annual Halloween blog hop. There are all kinds of authors to visit … all kinds of prizes to win along the way … including our grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite. If you’ve stumbled here without jumping on the bus (or if you lose your way) click HERE to start at the beginning.

Our hop runs from now until SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 at 3 pm EST so you don’t have to enjoy all the yummy Halloween goodness all at once.

Once again this year I accepted the challenge and let a “word generator” tickle my Halloween muse. I’ve been challenged to write a short scene using a BODY GUARD, WEREWOLF and DENTIST as my characters. I need to work in the characteristics of DRIVEN, DIRTY and LIFELESS. And it all has to take place in a THICK FOREST. Please enjoy this excerpt:

Catherine ran blindly through the night. Though a full moon hung in a cloudless sky, its light didn’t penetrate the dark forest. Branches slapped against her face and tangled in her braids. Tree roots grabbed at the hem of her skirt and the toes of her boots, but determination kept her on her feet. She had to keep moving—had to reach Elijah.

She hadn’t been in time to save Doc Nichols.

Though she’d arrived in Colorado six months earlier, Buzzard Roost’s local dentist had met their stagecoach, overlooked her dirty eastern high-society dress and her little brother’s cranky attitude and settled them into a small cabin just off the main thoroughfare. A second cousin to her late father, Doc Nichols had given her a job and a new start. Now he was dead and Elijah was missing and Catherine didn’t know if the future she’d seen in her dreams would become her reality this All Hallow’s Eve.

Catherine hadn’t believed her visions were true until tonight when she’d arrived home from town, her arms filled with local produce and kitchen staples. Discovering the cabin door ajar and the cloying aroma of an animal filling the small space, she’d known instantly the wolf she’d trusted had somehow come for Elijah. She’d run to Doc Nichols for help, only to find the first of her nightmares played out in gruesome reality.

There had been no doubt Doc Nichols had been killed only moments before she’d arrived. The stench of death and evil still hung like a moldy curtain in his small office. Blood oozed in a rusty puddle from his torn throat, his lifeless eyes and gaping mouth beseeching her to save him. But she hadn’t believed her dreams and had never warned Doc Nichols of the malevolent forces hell bent on destroying his little town. Catherine didn’t have time for guilt— nothing could undo the horror that had befallen the dentist—but there was no way she’d let the same fate come to her little brother.

Grabbing the good doctor’s spare pistol from his desk drawer, Catherine had bolted into the forest. She’d never been to Elijah’s favorite fishing hole. Didn’t know in the inky blackness if she was even on the path. Driven by love. fear and instinct, she pushed through the unfamiliar forest. Her brother was only nine. Sassy and full of anger at their circumstances—he was all she had left in this world. She’d give her own life if she could save him from the death she’d seen in her dreams.

Until this night when she’d sensed the wolf, Catherine hadn’t wanted to acknowledge the visions she’d recently experienced weren’t the nightmares of a woman on the brink of insanity. At twenty, she thought the murder of her parents and the trip across country had triggered the violent dreams. Images of torches and thick forests, angry men and vicious wolves, blood and death had filled her nights until she’d feared falling asleep.

And then just last month she’d seen the wolf of her dreams on the far side of the river as she’d been gathering water. With eyes the blue of a cloudless sky and a coat that rivaled the purest of snow, the animal had watched her every move. At the time, there had been no fear, only the overwhelming sense of peace, as if the animal were a body guard protecting her from harm. It had come nearly every night to watch her from afar and she’d taken it as a good luck omen.

Catherine wondered now if she’d invited the monster to steal everything from her.

And then she heard him howl. Not the playful wail of a wolf calling his pack, but the plaintive call of distress. Catherine quickened her pace, tripping in her haste to find Elijah, her knee coming down hard on a rock. Ignoring the pain, she followed the sound, pushing herself to save the brother, somehow knowing the wolf called directly to her.

She was out of breath and nearly panicked with worry when she finally broke into the clearing. The ebony surface of the fishing pond that had brought her brother such joy over the summer now sat still as death, its ebony surface broken only by the reflection of the moon—and the ghostly specter of the white wolf standing over Elijah’s still body.

Even in the muted wash of the moon, Catherine knew the dark shadow running across her brother’s forehead and down his cheek was blood. It had soaked into the soft chamois of his shirt, prickling her soul with dread. Instinct took over as she raised the pistol, not sure the lessons Doc had given her could bring down the animal from this distance. It didn’t matter, she had to try— Elijah’s life depended on her bravery.

The wolf sprang and Catherine closed her eyes and pulled the trigger. The bullet missed its mark and she heard the wolf land not two feet from her in the spongy moss on the edge of the pond. Bracing herself for the inevitable attack, she brought the pistol up to shoot again, opened her eyes and gasped at the sight of a man standing naked before her, his shock of white hair nearly luminescent in the moonlight.

“Catherine, I didn’t hurt your brother. I’m trying to save him—trying to save both of you.” He took the pistol from her trembling fingers. “Someone killed the dentist and tried to kidnap your brother. I—”

She pushed past the man and ran to her brother’s side. Falling to the damp earth, she cradled Elijah in her arms, tears stinging her eyes. The blood on his head had dried, but he was so still, his tiny chest barely moving. She searched for claw or teeth marks, but found none. “What did the wolf do to Elijah?”

The man knelt next to her, careful to shield his nakedness from her. “I did nothing. Men were in your cabin and I ran them off and brought the boy here. They must have knocked him out. I haven’t been able to rouse him. I knew you’d find us if I called for you.”

“You? But I thought the wolf—”

“Catherine, I am the wolf. A werewolf. Both man and beast. I’m the one who’s been watching over you. I’m not sure why fate has brought us together, but I know our paths are as connected as your heart is to your brother.”

A gunshot rent the stillness of the forest.

He took Elijah from her arms and pulled her to her feet. “And so our journey begins … run!”
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Happy Halloween! I hope you enjoyed that little Halloween excerpt.

 *** CONTEST IS CLOSED ***

So what’s your favorite part of this spooky holiday? Leave a comment on this blog post between now and SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 at 6 pm EST and you’ll be entered to win:

A signed copy of my erotic suspense “Healer’s Garden”
goodies from my prize closet
(shipping to US or Canada only. An international winner gets a $15 Amazon gift card)

One winner will be chosen at random from all commenters this weekend. Best of luck … and enjoy the rest of the hop!

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Welcome one and all. This weekend I’m doing something a little bit different. I’m participating in a blog hop with all kinds of authors offering all kinds of prizes. If you happened upon my blog first, please do start HERE and join in on the fun to be eligible to win a Kindle 4!

Since this is a Halloween blog tour, I can’t resist sharing some candy …

I have no doubt this tooshie is popular on our hop today. But isn’t he worth another look?

Ah hem, okay, back to our regularly scheduled tour … Participants were offered the opportunity to “roll” a scene generator and challenged to use the words offered in one scene. Of course working it into a Halloween theme gets me extra points. (I totally made that up! *vbg*) But here are my characters: VETERINARIAN, DEMON, BOUNTY HUNTER and I somehow I had to incorporate the personality traits SMUG, OBSESSIVE, SHIFTY and it all had to take place in a SALON. LOL! I’m always up for a good challenge. Leave me a comment to know what you think and you’ll be entered to win a set of my romance trading cards(which you can check out HERE) and an ebook of BLIND HER WITH BLISS, the first book in my Tilling Passions series.

Please enjoy my story …

I slammed into the salon, the cheery bells announcing my arrival.

The day had dawned way too early after a night that had ended way too late. But calves didn’t arrive at the convenience of veterinarians. It felt like I’d no sooner fallen exhausted into bed when the alarm screamed at me to begin another day at my practice. I’d started my morning under a cold spray of water from a water heater my landlord had yet to fix. Add the burned toast and grinds in my watery coffee and I’d barely been coherent enough to change the flat tire I’d no doubt acquired at Old Man Corey’s farm the previous night.

“What the hell, Delanie Shepherd? You look like something one of your horses trampled. And I wouldn’t call a flannel shirt and jeans much of a costume.” My best friend, Peggy sauntered out of the back room, the sexy demon costume hugging her curves, reminding me I’d forgotten to buy candy for the trick-or-treaters who would be knocking at my door tonight.

“Don’t give me a hard time. I’ve had a crappy morning and I’m already running late. I told you I’d pick up little Oliver on my way to the office.”

“Of course I remembered. I’ve got my little guy. We’ve done some special bonding this morning commiserating about his surgery.” Peggy was obsessive about her ten cats. As responsible as she was, she always felt neutering was cruel form of toruture. “Why don’t you give me thirty minutes to work at trying to give that hair of yours a little style and maybe find you a sexy doctor’s costume you can wear for the day?”

The bell over the door rang.

“No time this morning. I’ve got shots to give and testicles to remove. Busy. Busy.”

“Ouch! I’m glad I’m not one of your patients.”

A low groan rumbled in my chest. That toe-curling Irish accent could belong to only one man. So not who I wanted to run into after I’d barely gotten two hours of sleep. But I pasted on my best I don’t care smile and turned to find Heath McTabbit in all his six-foot-something-mouth-watering glory standing there in a Hans Solo getup. The Bounty Hunter costume made the local pediatrician appear even more dangerous. The smile he flashed seemed to reach down and grab the pit of my stomach, pulling it into a hot lump in my throat.

“Are you emasculating all males you come across today or targeting specific ones?” he asked.

“Only males with shifty eyes who have no control over the libidos.” I shot back.

“Dr. Heath,” Peggy cried. “I’m so glad you could stop by this morning to pick up our basket of goodies for the children’s party this afternoon. Let me get that for you.” Peggy disappeared into the back room.

I rolled my eyes at my dear friend’s obvious attempt at matchmaking. Happily married, Peggy hated that I hadn’t found my Prince Charming. “I think Peggy’s arranging more than hair today.”

Heath stepped closer to me, the heat of his body buffeting me through the thin flannel of my shirt. The fresh scent of his cologne assaulted my nose, making my knees go weak. “I for one am glad she did. You seem to avoid me every time we’re in the same room.”

I backed up, only to find he’d trapped me between the free standing hair dryer and the wall of his body. My heart hammered in my chest and I suspected by the way his gaze dropped to my throat that he could see how he affected me. “That’s not true. I do not avoid you. I’m just…a busy woman.” A lie. There was something about my younger brother’s best friend that I found unsettling. Heath McTabbit never missed an opportunity to single me out at parties. But our five year age difference made me feel awkward and uncomfortable. In our small town, I had no desire to be the grist for the rumor mill that never stopped.

He toyed with my hair, his mesmerizing blue eyes raking my face. “Prove it. Find some sexy costume and join me at the Halloween dance tonight.”

“Heath…” I dragged his name over my tongue, trying to make my lips form the word no even as my head screamed yes.

“Stop worrying about other people, Delanie. Don’t think what’s right. Think about this.” His mouth came down hard on mine, not some soft exploration, but a full on assault that had my eyes falling shut and overwhelming me with the dizzying softness of his lips. He tasted and nipped before slowly easing back enough to talk, his breath feathering over my swollen mouth. “Say yes, Delanie.”

My lids fluttered open, my mind overwhelmed by his heat. His taste. His smell. “Yes, Delanie.”

The smug smile lighting his face, stole what little breath I had left. “Then it’s a date,” he said dangerously quiet in that Irish brogue that promised wicked tricks and sinful treats.

Peggy’s squeeing brought me back down to reality. “Well it’s about time you two figured this thing out.” She held up a basket of cookies and the cat carrier.

Peggy may have been wearing the demon costume, but when Heath winked, I was sure I’d just made a date with the devil.
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Enjoy the rest of your blog tour!

****  CONGRATULATIONS TO MY WINNERS  ****

Julia Barrett
(Blind Her With Bliss and Romance Trading Cards)

Donna
(A set of Romance Trading Cards)

****  CONGRATULATIONS TO BLOG HOP PRIZE WINNERS  ****

DJ – Grand Prize of the Kindle
Jessica Sutton – Winner of my “Bonded Souls”

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYONE WHO JOINED IN THE FUN!

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