Cheat Her With Charm

As a continuation of last week’s six, I thought I’d share another from Cheat Her With Charm from the hero’s perspective.

Peter didn’t want to admit he hoped meeting a strange woman in the honeymoon suite of a Boston hotel would fill the desperate void in his heart. He knew what people would think and what conclusions they’d draw if they suspected his deception. To hell with them. No one understood what he was going through. And even if they did, it didn’t matter.

He was like a train whose conductor had thrown the wrong switch—compelled to continue on this course until the bitter end.

I know it looks bad, but you should check it out … things aren’t always what they seem in romance novels.

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Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. This week’s six come from the opening of my newest sexy romantic suspense CHEAT HER WITH CHARM.

Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door. Her palm caressed its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair.

How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.

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It’s here! FINALLY! It’s taken more months than I’d like to admit, to say that the third and final book in the Tilling Passions series is finally out in the world! Yay! Yes, this book was previously published and I LOVED it when it went out into the world, but ya know … I’ve learned a lot about writing and storytelling and so it’s gone through a major overhaul before I could re-release it. And here’s the gorgeous cover (designed by DAR ALBERT who is the absolute best!

He has a secret past. She has dreams for their future. Together they have a problem that may just kill them both…

Floral designer, MEGHAN TILLING, has been in love with her fiancé since college. With her business, his promotion and a family illness, she’s finding the demands on her time are keeping them apart. PETER MADDOCK loves his fiancée with a fierceness that claws at his soul, but finding answers to his past becomes an obsession he can’t ignore. When bizarre accidents threaten Meghan’s life, he wonders if his secrets have finally caught up with him. Can they both discover the truth without paying the ultimate price …their lives?

Peter wasn’t sure what to do for Meghan after the horrendous weekend she’d just endured.

First the episode with the cooler, which still knotted his stomach with guilt, then the death of her beloved cat and today she’d had some argument with Deirdre that had brought tears, but no explanation. Now her father lay in the ICU, fighting for his life yet again. Yeah, sucky didn’t quite cover his fiancée’s life at the moment.

Meghan dragged herself out of the car in the garage and through the door Peter held open. Stepping up into the breezeway and into the kitchen seemed an almost insurmountable task for her. At least he’d gotten the garage door to work, and she wasn’t schlepping through the freshly fallen snow.

Another winter storm had rolled in somewhere around midnight, accumulating several inches an hour, making the forty-minute drive from Bangor a treacherous one. Thank goodness her mother had agreed to ride back to Delmont with them. Alice was tucked in safely at home down the street. Deirdre and Ayden had gone home an hour ahead of them, leaving Julie and Damon, because their apartment was so close to the hospital, to take the first vigil at John’s bedside.

Absently, Meghan slipped out of her winter gear and threw it over the back of a dinette chair. Slumping into the seat, she looked like every cell of her body had been drained of energy.

“Babe, can I get you something to eat?” Peter walked across the kitchen and stuck his head in the refrigerator. “We’ve got eggs, bagels, leftover soup.”

“It’s three o’clock in the morning, Peter. How can you think about food?” A weak laugh escaped her lips. “I’m too tired to eat, but help yourself. I’m just going to take a shower and wash off the hospital before falling into bed.” Instead of standing, she laid her forehead on the table. “I should be able to get several hours of sleep before heading over to open the shop.”

Peter abandoned his quest and came up behind her, rubbing at the knots in her shoulders. “I think the good citizens of Delmont would understand if you didn’t open the shop today. There’s no doubt word has already made it around town that your father’s in the hospital.”

Turning her head to look at him, Meghan’s eyes filled with tears. “What if…”

“Don’t, Meggie.” Peter knelt beside her and cupped Meghan’s face in his hands, his thumb brushing a tear from her cheek. “Your dad’s a stubborn man. He’s pulled through before, he’ll do it again.”

“I just don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t.” Her voice trailed off.

Peter pulled her tight to his chest, protecting his own shattering heart. John had been the only father figure he’d known. His only memory of his mother centered on his fourth birthday, party balloons, and a bike. Shortly after that he’d been placed in state custody. His mother had never shaken her drug addiction long enough to regain permanent custody. Though he’d always believed she would come for him, her death when he was ten sealed his fate. He’d come back to Maine in search of the happy memories of his childhood and found love in Meghan.

“Hey, where are you?” Meghan’s finger trailed along his brow.

“Nowhere.” He stood and pulled her with him. No sense hashing over a past he couldn’t change. “Let’s get you to bed.”

“How about you climb in the shower with me?”

“Meghan.” The word came out on a husky breath. As exhausted as they both were, desire sparked in her eyes, and the heat shot straight to his groin. How had he ever doubted that she was enough? His lips came down softly on hers, the contact gentle but filled with unspoken hunger.

He swept her into his arms, cradling her against him, her cheek pressed over his heart. He carried her past the bed they shared, where she satisfied every part of him. He set her down, kissing her tenderly, her mouth hungry and eager for him. There would be no bondage tonight. No spanking or sex toys. Just sighs of pleasure and sweet caresses. As he pulled the T-shirt over her head and bent to kiss the luscious curve of her breast, he marveled at the many sexual personas of his fiancée; insatiable tigress, wanton sex-slave, and alluring angel. All his—whenever he wanted.

“I love you, Meghan.” He sighed the declaration into her ear. He didn’t need to say it out loud. His hands roaming her body communicated it so much better, but the emotions bursting from his heart required a voice.

“I love you too.”
Oh, and did I mention it’s on sale for the next couple of weeks for $1.49?

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You know when your life is completely insane and you wonder if you’re really going to be able to survive the storm of craziness that fills your days? Yeah, well, that’s been the kind of summer I’ve had.

But this week the planets finally aligned and I managed to find my mojo and get back on track. With the redesign of the Tilling Passions series book covers (including new titles) I feel re-energized with the series. I’m working really hard on the final edits for the third book “Cheat Her With Charm”. With some hard work it should be released by the beginning of October.

And since I’m looking at all the exciting things that happened this week, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Facebook. Because yeeeeeeah, that’s exciting … NOT! I know it’s true it’s a FREE social media and they can do whatever they want, but as an author I am expected to have an active presence over there. So yeah, I think I have the right to say they’re really pushing my technical abilities into the abyss of chaos. Every time I have some sort of handle on this “making friends” and posting pictures, they change the way I’m supposed to do something or other. And that scrolling update thing is really too many moving parts for my liking. There are many blogs I don’t visit because of the moving advertisements in the sidebar. I know it’s not going to change anything, but complaining like Facebook can not only hear me, but gives a s**t what I think, certainly makes me feel better.

On a disappointing note, this week Romanticon, EC’s reader convention, begins. But I won’t be there. Life conspired against me and I had to cancel my reservations. But lots of my friends and fellow authors will be there enjoying the cavemen, a little pole dancing and LOTS of laughter. That’s what I’m going to miss the most. Just hanging out and having fun. Enjoy everyone … and hug a sexy caveman for me!

I’m crossing my fingers that the house we’ve been trying to buy since May, might actually be ours before the end of this month. Which means all my stuff that has been in storage for six months will finally be back in my home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned around wanting that foolish little thinga-ma-jig tucked in the waaaaaay back of the cupboard that you only need once a year. Of course this summer it seemed I wanted something or other every other week! Anyway, it will be nice to be back to normal in our new community.

I’m looking forward to another productive week. What about you? Anything exciting happening in your corner of the world?

There has been a lot of talk on the internet about authors like JA Konrath and John Locke who have made A LOT of money self publishing their books. Heck, even NYT best selling authors are looking to put their backlist up on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. And why wouldn’t they? There is money to be made from digital savvy readers looking for a fix.

Why shouldn’t it be my book?

I’m not going to talk about HOW to do it. There seems to be all kinds of self-help blogs and books about the actual process. Let me just tell you … it’s easy. Don’t be fooled into thinking formatting is something only IT techs can do properly. Seriously, I did it myself and as the saying goes “If I can do it…”

Of course I decided to upload books that had already been edited and published through traditional electronic publishing routes, so a freelance editor wasn’t something I needed to consider. I did have someone design covers, Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs worked with me for the Tilling Passions series. I would highly recommend her. Her prices are reasonable and she didn’t charge me for all the “tweaking” stages. 🙂

But I digress. Really I wasn’t going to talk about the process. I want to talk about the results. Though many authors are finding HUGE financial rewards within only a month of putting their book on Amazon, some of us … just aren’t. And we don’t know why. I’ve looked at the marketing studies. I’ve read the blogs of authors who are now paying quarterly taxes for the first time because their sales are overwhelming. I’ve tweeted and facebooked and blogged and toured and … well, suffice it to say … for me nothing has been the magic bullet.

I understand it’s a numbers game. And I’m working on that. The third book in the Tilling Passions series, Arranging Love should be on sale by the end of August. I’ve got two more books that require a major round of edits before they’re ready to go up for sale. But I’d like to have both of those out before next spring. Perhaps that’s the answer. I’m not sure.

I know I’m not alone in this. There are many authors whose sales are lackluster at best. Since I’m on a loop with them, I know they’re out there. So just to let you know, not everyone finds gold in this self-publishing venture, let me share my three months worth of sales for Blind Love:

Kindle: 65
Smashwords: 10
Nook: 18

I understand this is a marathon and not a sprint, still it is a little discouraging when someone on an indie loop I’m on is wondering why her sales dropped below 100 that day and had anyone else experienced the drop. I haven’t experienced the sales. Bleh.

I’m not suggesting anyone shy from self-publishing. Like I said, it’s uber easy to get books up on the three venues I mentioned above. (Though I understand All Romance eBooks is a little more difficult with their formatting requirements.) I really just wanted authors to know that their results may vary.