Fierce- Brody…Chapter One

If you haven’t read the prologue for Fierce-Brody yet, hurry up, because here is chapter one!

brodyks

Doesn’t Know

Aimee Reed walked into Fierce on Monday at ten. She was here to meet Ella Fierce, one of the three Fierce siblings who’d interviewed her last week. At the time, she didn’t know they were quintuplets, but after some research on her new employers she’d found a backstory on their business.

Fierce, started by Gavin and Jolene Fierce thirty-five years ago, had grown from a small pub-style restaurant to one of the hottest spots in Charlotte.

Brody ran the bar and ran it well. It was named one of the top five hot spots for two years running.

Aiden, the head chef, had culinary skills straight from abroad that made people’s mouths salivate when they walked in the door.

Mason, the chemist, ran the brewery that popped up four years ago around the corner from the pub.

Cade handled all the marketing and branding for the company that’d grown by leaps and bounds in the last five years.

And Ella ran everything and everyone else, it seemed.

Their parents—well, it was said that when the kids turned twenty-five, they handed the keys over and decided to enjoy their retirement. Good for them.

“Aimee,” Ella said, extending her hand out. “It’s good to see you again. Let’s get your paperwork started and I’ll walk you around. For the next two days, I’m going to have you shadow Mason in the brewery, studying the brews and what their makeup is, then spend a day with Aiden in the kitchen. It’s best to know the menu well so you can make suggestions for those at the bar during the day.”

“I noticed that most of the menu I saw online had your beer in it.”

“It does. Aiden is a whiz in the kitchen. Every time I blink, he has a new special featuring Mason’s latest experiment. The two of them have gotten extremely close in the last few years and their work complements each other well.”

“Ratings are very high for Fierce.”

Aimee was still stunned she got the job. Waitresses, bartenders, and sous chefs battled for a spot here. Yet she got offered the job and wasn’t sure why. Not a great way to exhibit confidence, she mentally scolded herself. But sometimes who you knew was better than what you knew…and there was no way she was going to blow this.

“They are,” Ella said, nodding, sending Aimee a glance that clearly stated she should feel lucky to have gotten the job. The Fierce Five, as they were referred to in everything Aimee had read, were a cocky group of five siblings running the show in downtown Charlotte. They didn’t just set the bar for their competitors, they blew it up with dynamite.

Aimee followed Ella through the closed bar, past the formal seating of the restaurant, into the kitchen where prep work was underway for the lunch shift, and up a set of stairs to the offices. Several offices, mainly looking empty at the moment.

She took a seat at the conference table where she’d interviewed just a short five days ago. In front of her were a laptop and a few sheets of paper.

“Let’s get started on the boring part, and then we can move on to the fun stuff. Mason knows we’re coming.”

“When will I start working with Brody?”

Aimee thought it was odd that the person who was going to be her immediate supervisor not only wasn’t there to meet her, but his name hadn’t been mentioned.

Ella laughed lightly, a sound that didn’t match the look in her eyes. “We’re going to try to push that off until Wednesday. Maybe Thursday, if we’re lucky.”

“Ah, okay.”

Ella reached a hand over and patted hers, then grinned. “You see. He doesn’t know about you yet.”

***

“You did what when I was gone?” Brody shouted at his siblings Wednesday morning during their weekly meeting.

“You should have filled that position six months ago when Felix left and you know it,” Ella said.

Brody looked around the room at everyone. No one was making eye contact with him right now and that just burned his ass even more.

“I had it covered,” he argued. “We don’t need another manager at the bar. I run the bar.” He turned to Aiden. “You run the restaurant, so you hire your own staff, right?”

“Yeah,” Aiden mumbled.

Next, Brody turned to Mason. “Do you hire your own staff in the brewery?”

Mason looked at Ella, then back to him. “Of course.”

“I won’t bother to ask you, Cade. It’s just you and your assistant. But we know you hire for yourself. So the question is, why wasn’t I given the same courtesy?”

“Take it up with Mom,” Ella said boldly, then crossed her arms, smirking the way Brody hated. The same smirk she sent him and his brothers when they were younger and they knew they’d never win. The same smirk he and his brothers learned to master—a trait of their mom’s.

“Shit,” he mumbled.

“That’s right,” Cade said, regaining his voice. “It was Mom’s idea.”

“Do you want a matching shiner?” Brody snarled.

Ella stood up. “Enough. Do you both need another timeout?”

“We aren’t five, Ella,” Cade said, snapping back. Good. Someone else was losing their temper, Brody thought.

“Then don’t act it,” she said.

“How many barf bags did you fill on Dad’s boat?” Brody asked Cade.

“Screw you,” Cade said, standing up.

“That’s enough,” Aiden said, in the same voice that controlled his kitchen—like a nun holding a ruler above your knuckles just waiting for a chance to snap it down. “The order came from Mom. That’s the end of it, Brody. The same order that decided you got a solo timeout and Cade got to go fishing.”

Brody snorted. His mother knew everyone’s weakness and she played it well. Brody hated being alone, hated any type of solitude. That was why he did so well managing the bar. He could talk to strangers day in and day out. The louder the better. Cade had the weakest stomach of them all and could never stand the smell of fish, let alone being on their father’s boat deep-sea fishing.

“So you all knew about this?” Brody asked, looking around.

His eyes landed on Aiden, then Mason, seeing the guilt and the looks that the two of them were sending each other. There was a time his brothers didn’t keep secrets from him. A time they banded together against any foe.

“I found out on Monday when I got back,” Cade said. “So don’t get pissy with me. It was done when I was gone.”

That didn’t make him feel any better since that was two days ago. “So when does he start?”

“She,” Ella said. “Her name is Aimee Reed and she started on Monday.”

From bad to worse. The person was already working and he’d never seen her. Where the hell was she?

“How is that possible?” Was he really losing his mind and his focus like his family thought?

Ella took her seat again. “Aimee and I met early Monday before you came in and we did her paperwork. She spent Monday with Mason in the brewery. Yesterday, she spent the day with Aiden in the kitchen.”

“And today?” he asked. “Am I going to get to meet this person that you thought should be my day manager? Or do I need to get permission from Mom first?”

“Cut the sarcasm,” Aiden said. “And don’t be a jerk to Aimee. She knows her stuff and you need the help.”

He didn’t need his siblings telling him how to run his end of the business. “I’ll determine what she knows and doesn’t know.”

“What bug crawled up your butt?” Mason asked.

Of his brothers, Mason was the quietest, Aiden the most talented, Cade the most outgoing, and he was the loudest. That Cade was keeping his lips sealed meant he was trying not to get on anyone’s bad side.

“I don’t know,” Brody said. “Maybe it’s the fact you’ve all been on my case for months. I took my punishment like Cade, but came back to find that you all thought I couldn’t do my job. That you all think I need some kind of a babysitter.”

“No one needs a babysitter,” Ella said softly.

“That’s funny coming from the person who seems to be making all the decisions right now.”

Ella laughed. “I’ve always been the one to make the final decisions. You guys all have your branches and you just run with it and never worry about the messes you create or the work it takes to make things happen behind the scenes. That has always fallen on me.”

“You love it,” Cade said.

“Believe what you want,” Ella said calmly. “But in this case, I’m cleaning up the mess you’ve made, Brody.”

“There’s no mess. The bar’s revenue has increased steadily at ten percent for the last six months. Explain that mess to me.”

Ella sighed. “Yes, the bar is profitable. Yes, Cade is bringing in more attractions and live music to help that. Yes, Mason is making more brews to help sell at the bar. And yes, Aiden’s food is sought after, also helping the bar. See, you all need to work together to make it work the best. The problem is, you aren’t working with anyone, Brody.”

It hurt to hear Ella say that. That he wasn’t being a team player. He’d always been the leader of the group and now he was being told he couldn’t lead anymore. That part of his identity was being stripped away.

He wanted to shout at Ella, at everyone, but he didn’t. The last time he started shouting, fists went flying and he found himself spending a week in a hotel room alone. This time he tried to find some restraint, the one thing he had the least of among all his siblings. Being a hothead went hand in hand with being the loudest and the biggest.

“So you think hiring me a new day manager is going to allow me to play nice with everyone?”

Aiden laughed. “You’ve never played nice with us, so we don’t expect it now. We just want to get back to working as a team.”

He wanted to grind his teeth. “I’ve always worked as part of the team.”

“Brody,” Mason said. “You haven’t been the same for a good year now and you know it. The last six months, you’ve been downright ornery. More than normal.”

Again, they weren’t telling him anything he hadn’t known or felt deep inside.

Cade stood up and walked toward him, then stopped and seemed to hesitate. Very unlike Cade to hesitate over anything. “We’ve given you time to get over what happened a year ago. Rather than get better, you’re getting worse. What can we do to help?”

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “There’s nothing to do. It’s in the past and it’s over with. I’ve moved on. Everyone else should, too.”

“If this is moving on,” Aiden said, “then we’re in trouble.”

 

Fierce – Brody…Prologue

The first in The Fierce Five Series will be live next week. Brody. Though the covers on these books are branded a little differently, it’s still the same style of books I write. Family dynamics mixed with hot romance and a little twist in the way of meddling parents.

Brody_2

I thought I’d give you a little taste for a few days, starting with the Prologue.

Brody swung his bare, size thirteen feet over the side of the bed, lifted his arms above his head and turned to the right, then left. The accompaniment of snap, crackle, pop filled the room.

Naked and feeling gloriously free, he walked into the bathroom for a quick shower. With his head much clearer, he wiped the steam off the mirror and eyed the slight red mark on his temple from the ridiculously low showerhead.

The foreign two-day-old growth of beard staring back at him managed to look neat enough for him to keep. Why not, he thought. Being uncomfortable was the least of his problems right now.

Grabbing his phone, wallet, and key card, he walked out of the hotel room in search of some food.

In the elevator, he finally looked at his phone and noted the time. Guess it was going to be lunch, so he headed toward the bar.

“What can I get you?” the bartender asked. She was well past her prime, trying hard to hide it and failing miserably.

A quick glance at what was on tap had him changing his mind from his normal drink of choice. But when his eyes landed on the stock of liquor reflecting against the mirrored wall, he resigned himself to the cheap stuff. “Vodka and tonic.”

“Coming right up,” she said, her voice a bit raspy, her eyes sending more his way than he wanted to acknowledge. “You want some food with that, sugar?”

“Sure,” he said as he watched her pull a stained sheet of paper out that he supposed passed as a menu.

“What are you in the mood for?” she asked, placing the drink down in front of him. A cheap glass that wasn’t cleaned to his taste either, but not dirty. Spending as much time as he did in a bar, he took note of everything that wasn’t up to his standards.

“A burger and fries,” he said, finding that the least offensive thing at the moment.

When the greasy concoction was slid in front of him, he wished he was back home and could just walk into the kitchen and get his brother Aiden’s specialty fish tacos, made with a slaw marinated in one of his brother Mason’s summer IPAs. As pissed off as he was at everyone right now, he couldn’t get them out of his head.

After washing down the last of his fries with his drink, he threw cash on the bar and walked out to the ocean breeze awaiting him.

Spring on the Outer Banks was busy, and the beach was filling up rapidly with tourists and kids, blankets and umbrellas.

Toeing his shoes off, he picked them up and carried them as he made the lone walk along the shore. Breathing in the salty air mixed with the sweet smell of artificial coconut cleared his head. Doing all the things his siblings told him to do. Too bad he didn’t agree with them.

An hour later, covered in sweat, he undressed and climbed in the shower once again, trying to cool off.

The ringing of his phone had him cursing as he hit his head on the showerhead for a second time stepping out of the tub.

With a towel wrapped around his waist and water dripping on the sterile white bath mat, he pressed the answer button and heard his sister Ella’s voice echoing off the walls on speaker.

“Did I wake you?” she asked.

“No, I was in the shower,” he said, grabbing another towel and running it over his short dark hair and neck.

“So you did just get up? Good, you need some sleep.”

“I’ve been up for hours,” he said, his tone grouchier than normal. “Just got back from a walk on the beach.”

“Even better.” When he snorted, she laughed. “Brody, we’re worried about you. You’re working too hard and too long. This was for your own good.”

“Whatever,” he said, still not happy about being here.

“You’re the only person on the face of this earth who complains about being told to take a week off. What’s wrong with you?”

“When was the last vacation you had?” he asked. “That any of you had?”

“Not the point,” she answered, her voice light but firm. “We aren’t biting each other’s heads off like you.”

“I’m always like that,” he said.

“Not this bad and you know it.”

Sometimes the truth did hurt. “I’m coming home tonight. I can’t stay here another day. I don’t know what to do with myself.”

“We figured you’d say that, so I was elected to make this call. If you step foot in Charlotte before Sunday afternoon, you can’t come to the bar, the restaurant, or the brewery.”

His jaw tightened. “Who’s going to stop me?”

“The staff have instructions to block you from entering. Without you firing them, too. I’ll change the locks if I have to, Brody.”

“What the hell, Ella? Is this some kind of a joke?” He whipped the towel off and started to briskly wipe the steam off the mirror. He needed to do something other than stand here, shell-shocked. How could his family betray him this way?

“Nope. Orders from Mom. Take it up with her if you want.”

His shoulders dropped. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. Ella and his mom were outnumbered, five testosterone-bearing behemoths in the house to two estrogen-toting pipsqueaks. Somehow, though, estrogen always seemed to win in the Fierce household.

“See you Sunday,” he said, wondering what the hell he was going to do with himself for the next three days.

“We love you, Brody. Even Cade, but next time you need to keep your fists to yourself. You’d been warned before.”

Brody cracked the barest of grins. “How’s his eye?”

“Not as bruised as his ego.”

“Where was he sent to cool off?” Brody asked.

“He’s fishing with Dad for two more days. Consider yourself lucky you got a solo timeout. He’s getting the lecture.”

Lucky, sure. There was no luck in being the leader of the Fierce Five.

 

 

Last Chance

Last Chance

You can run but you can’t hide.

Dr. Riley Hamilton found that out the hard way. When she’d had enough. When she felt uneasy and was scared, when no one believed her, she left town. Picked up the life she knew and made a new one. She let her guard down in Lake Placid, she got comfortable, and that was her mistake.

Trevor Miles, Lake Placid Chief of Police, always wanted to know what was going on in his town. Just because it usually had no more than small town nuisances, didn’t mean he couldn’t handle anything thrown his way. He’d seen the nastiness in the world and was ready for life in the slow lane. What he wasn’t ready for was the sexy new dentist in town who wanted to pull out his tooth. Did he mention he’s hated going to the dentist since he was a child?

Fun and Pre-orders! @NatalieAnn121 #mgtab

As many of you know I entered Fierce-Brody into the Kindle Scout program last month. Although I got a lot of great and complimentary feedback, it wasn’t selected for a publishing contract. It is however, up for pre-order right now!!

Brody_2

A little over 3 years ago I published my first book. Road to Recovery. It was the start of a 4 book series, called the Road Series centered around the Mathews’ Clan. By the way it’s a permafree book so download a copy and check it out!

By time I got to the 4th book, Road to Reason, I started to love my supporting characters so much, that I formulated a spin off series called the All Series that would focus on the Harper Clan.

The best way to blend these two series was to have one Mathews and one Harper…fall in love. So in Road to Reason, playboy Ryan Mathews meets his match with Kaitlin Harper. Not only does she give him a run for his money, but he has to deal with her 3 older brothers! Fast forward 3 years and I decided to put together a novella on how the Mathews’ and the Harper’s actually met way back in the day…starting with their parents.

All for Love- Road to Romance is just 99 cents.

All for Love is in included in a new Sweet and Sassy Valentine boxed set that is available for pre-order on Amazon now. Just 99 cents! 12 authors! 12 stories of love and romance!

SSVboxLGtransparent (1)

Also, Road to Redemption will be included in another boxed set called A Valentine She’ll Remember that is available for pre-order too. Just 99 cents!

Valentine Collection

It still amazes me that in 3 years’ time I’ve published 3 series, totaling 16 books. And I’ve got 2 other series that will be published in 2018.

So that old saying of ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ can definitely ring true for me. Because right now, I’m having a blast! Bring on 2018!

You can follow along with what I’m doing here:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Goodreads

Bookbub

All for Love- Chapter 1

All for Love

Just like I normally do before a release, I tease you with a few chapters. Since All for Love- Road to Romance is a novella I’m just going to post the prologue and Chapter 1.

Don’t worry, because All for Love will be live next week on January 16!!! And it’s just 99 cents!

Teamwork

Thirty-four years ago

The snow was coming down hard outside, the bar empty inside. It’d been hopping like a normal Friday night early on, but dwindled down about two hours ago. The last of the stragglers left about ten minutes ago.

The minute they were out the door, he’d locked up and started to put chairs on the tables he’d already wiped down, preparing to mop the floor and get it cleaned up for the owners to open tomorrow afternoon.

Four years of college, working ten hours a day and another several at this bar on the weekends, and he still had little to show for it other than a ton of debt, a sore body, and a cold bed to go home to.

He turned the radio on behind the bar so he didn’t feel so lonely. Loneliness was something he felt too much of in his life lately, it seemed.

He was almost done, hurrying more than normal, just wanting to get home and put his feet up on the coffee table in his little apartment. Nights like this, he was too lazy to even open up the sofa bed, falling asleep where he stopped for the night.

When he picked one of the last chairs up to turn it over, a purse fell on the floor. Just a tiny one, and he knew exactly who it belonged to. The petite brunette that was sitting at this corner table with two of her friends.

White wine. Two glasses of it. Her friends were drinking red. But it wasn’t the choice of her wine that stood out to him in a bar where everyone was drinking beer. No, it was the way she looked. Too nice and too classy to be frequenting this bar.

Her dark hair was long and parted in the center, raining over her shoulders, looking like silk. Straight as a board, swishing side to side when she moved her head. A curtain of sorts, and he wondered how it’d feel in his hands if he lifted it away and placed his lips to the pulse at her neck.

But he pushed those thoughts away because he was working in a bar, barely able to keep his head above water in his studio apartment in the wrong section of town, waiting for his break to come. Waiting for someone to believe in him enough to give him a chance.

He placed the purse behind the counter, pushing the lovely lady from his mind, and went back to his manual labor. He was wiping the table down when he heard a knock on the glass.

Looking toward the window, he didn’t see anything but white beyond, wind and swirling snowflakes. He put his head down to finish up fast and get home, thinking it was his imagination until it sounded again.

This time he walked to the door, pushed the old paisley curtain aside, and thought he was dreaming.

Only he wasn’t, because there she was. The beautiful brunette he was fantasizing about all night long, standing there shivering, her arms wrapped around her waist, smiling at him and nodding her head impatiently for him to let her in.

***

Good grief, Isabel thought, what more did she have to do to get the bartender to open the door? Strip naked and do a dance for him? She’d been standing there knocking for over a minute.

“Sorry to bother you,” she said, stepping in and shaking the snow from her hair. “I think I left my purse here. When I got back to my place, I couldn’t find it, so the cab driver brought me back.”

“Yeah, you did. It’s behind the bar. I’ll get it for you.” He left his rag on the table, then rubbed his hands on his jeans. He was taller than she’d thought he was, towering over her by at least a foot. She realized now that the bar wasn’t raised as high as she’d thought, that it was him.

“Thanks so much. I’ve never done that before. I’m not sure what I was thinking.”

“No problem. I didn’t go through it or anything. I just figured you’d come back for it.”

She waved her hand. “No worries. Not much in there really.”

“Your ID,” he said, cracking just a tiny grin.

He was even handsomer up close. Dark hair, not quite as dark as hers. His eyes, though, they were almost black. A little dangerous and definitely probing, with him not looking real friendly at the interruption. It should’ve unnerved her but instead excited her. She’d decided she needed a little excitement in her life lately.

“Well, if I hadn’t come back for it, then you’d know where to find me,” she said, teasing a little.

Not much reaction from him. “True. The owners take care of lost items. It would have made its way back to you at some point.”

She looked around the now empty bar. It was more dismal than it looked earlier when it was half full. Her roommate, Dawn, had wanted to go out for the night, but she would have rather stayed home. Now she was glad she didn’t.

“So you have to close all by yourself?” she asked.

He shrugged. Guess he wasn’t much of a talker. “Not a big deal. Quiet night, so not much to do.” He hadn’t made an attempt to pick up his cleaning rag and continue. Instead, he was just standing there watching her hold her clutch in front of her.

“Looks like you’re almost done.” Chairs were on all the tables but the one next to her, where it looked like he was working when she knocked.

“Just need to sweep and mop, then I can call it a night.”

“Do you need some help?” she asked. “It’s coming down pretty hard out there, so I’m sure you’d like to leave.”

He eyed her funny, looking over her long jacket and knee-high boots. “I’m good. You probably should go grab your cab before he leaves.”

“Oh,” she said, turning quickly. She’d completely forgotten about that. She’d told Dawn she’d just be a minute. “I guess I’ll let you get back to it.” But when she turned to leave and opened the door, she saw the cab was nowhere to be found. “I think they left me here.”

“I can call you another one,” he said.

“Or you can bring me home. I mean, if you live in the city. I’m just a few blocks from here,” she said before she lost her nerve.

He hesitated and then said, “I can do that. I’m in the city, too. I’ll probably be done before someone could make their way here anyway. Why don’t you have a seat at the bar while I finish up. Can I get you another wine or a water or something?”

He was pretty cute, looking flustered at the moment and not at all dangerous like she first thought with those dark looks of his. “I’m good. And I’ll help you. It’s the least I can do. I’m Isabel, by the way. Isabel Carmichael.” She walked up and held her hand out to him.

When his hand touched hers, she almost had to leap back from the spark. “William Harper. Nice to meet you.”

“My pleasure,” she said, and she meant it. He walked over and cleaned the last table off, then turned the chairs over. She removed her jacket and hung it on the back of a bar stool. When he walked out of the room and came back with a broom and dust pan, she took them out of his hands. “Let me do that. You can mop behind me. Teamwork.”

He nodded, almost bashful-like, but handed over the broom, and she got to work while she heard water running out back. They worked in silence for all of five minutes before it started to get on her nerves.

“So, William, how long have you worked here?”

He looked up sharply, as if he’d completely forgotten she was in the room with him. Talk about a blow to her self-confidence. “Just a few months.”

“Do you work every night?”

“Friday night. Saturday and Sunday afternoons until close.”

“You’ve got the weekdays to yourself then. That’s nice.” She started to sweep faster now. He appeared to be a complete dud. Guess she was wrong about him, if he couldn’t say more than a few words.

“What?” he asked. “No. I work during the week, too.” Then he went back to moving his mop around.

She rolled her eyes but slowed down her sweeping. Maybe they could get somewhere now. “What do you do during the week?” she asked. It was like pulling teeth. She did that all day with her students; she wasn’t sure she wanted to with a man.

“I work at Weber Investments.”

“Really?” she asked, leaning on the broom. That surprised her. “What do you do there?”

“Not much,” he said, then laughed. “Sorry. I’d like to do more, but right now it doesn’t seem to be working out the way I envisioned it.”

“Why’s that?” He didn’t look like the suit and tie type to her. He wore his faded Levis well and the cotton shirt pushed up at his elbows even better.

“It’s not easy drumming up clients. My boss doesn’t get the need to hustle. He’d rather sit around and wait for people to come to him. I guess he figures it’s his due now.” At her odd look, he finally added, “I’m an investment broker.”

She was right about him. Not a dud, but a go-getter. Maybe a little shy about it. “How long have you worked there?”

“Just a few months. Right out of college,” he said, slowing the motion of his mopping too. They were barely doing anything other than talking at this point. More looking at each other than anything, and things were picking up in her mind.

“Why are you working here then?”

“I’ve got to pay the bills somehow. The bulk of my income is commission and right now, it’s not very high.”

“But it’s got to be exciting, right? Going out and meeting new people, taking some risks and gambling a little.”

“It is. It’s just trying to talk others into taking that risk with me. My day will come, I’m sure. A little hard work never hurt anyone,” he said. “What about you? What do you do?”

Finally, he was asking her something. She didn’t miss his glance at her left hand for a ring. “I just started working myself. I’m a math teacher.”

“Where?” he asked.

“Emma Willard.”

“The college prep school for girls, right?” he asked.

“That’s the one,” she said. Most people were surprised when they heard she taught there. Then when they found out her father was the head of the school, they figured that was how she’d gotten the job.

Deep down she knew it was, but she was out to show she could do it on her own. She wanted to prove she didn’t need her father to get her a job. What she wanted to do was give back to the girls in the school that she’d attended. She wanted to show them that there was a whole wide world out there, and that they should work hard and try to achieve their goals. Not to rely on their fathers or future husbands…even though they all thought that was what she was doing.

That was why she came here drinking tonight. It was also why she moved out of her parents’ house months ago and found a roommate.

She was sick of her father controlling every move she made. Sick of him telling her what her place was in life and where she should work, let alone live. It was more of the same today at work and enough to decide a drink was what she needed.

She originally only agreed to take the job at Emma Willard in September so that she could start earning money to move out. But the longer she was there and the more she heard all the girls talking about their futures, the more she realized she could help. She could get them to see the big wide world and help them grab hold of it.

And that’s what she was going to do. Starting tonight. She was going to start taking risks and she was going to start living a little recklessly out from under her father’s watchful eye. She was going to practice what she preached.

 

 

All for Love – Prologue

For those of you that have read the Road and the All Series, you know all about William and Isabel Harper. Wouldn’t you love to know how they met?

Well now you can in All for Love-Road to Romance.

All for Love

I loved writing this book after I already wrote about their kids. I hope you enjoy it too!

Prologue

William Harper looked up at his wife of more years than he could count when she walked into the room. If she’d asked him the number, he could tell her—just like he could tell her anything about their lives—but he liked to pretend he couldn’t and watch the fire leap into her eyes.

She handed him a beer, then set her wine glass down and crawled into his lap, leaning against his chest while he pushed back the bottom of his recliner. It was a nighttime ritual for them. Relaxing together at the end of their day.

To this day, he still loved to feel her in his arms—to hold her tight and think back to the time when he thought he wouldn’t be able to have her. That he’d never be good enough.

“What are you thinking?” she asked, lying her head against his chest and snuggling in some more. It was a move that touched him just as much today as it did so long ago.

“Just thinking about the beautiful woman on my lap right now. That fills my head so that nothing else can occupy it.”

“You always were a smooth one,” she said, kissing his neck. “Well, maybe not in the beginning, but then you got your confidence.”

He laughed, loving how she picked on him. “And you fell for it all. Hook, line, and sinker. I tossed the line and reeled you in good and strong.”

“You keep trying to tell yourself that.” She ran her hand lovingly up and down his thigh, then sighed.

“What’s wrong?” He knew her better than he knew himself at times. She’d been a little sad lately, and that was completely unlike her.

“I spent the day with Michele and we were talking about the kids.” Michele Mathews was Isabel’s best friend and when they weren’t actually together in their free time, they were still chatting some way or another.

“Thomas mentioned something about Lucas dating a new girl that just moved to the area. Has him all twisted around.” Thomas Mathews was more than William’s best friend. He was the man who helped him build his life. The life he’d always wanted and the life that he’d been able to provide for his wife and four children. The life he’d thought he needed to win Isabel over. Turned out all he needed was to love her.

Isabel heaved a big sigh again and he had a feeling where this was going. “She thinks there might be a wedding around the corner.”

“I heard that, too. They’ve got to be thrilled.”

“She is. When are our kids going to settle down? The boys are in their thirties. Kaitlin close behind. Someone should be married by now, don’t you think?”

It would be unwise to laugh at his wife, so he didn’t. He wanted to, but knew better. “Plenty of time yet. Don’t be pushing them into something they aren’t ready for.”

“Ready? Aside from Phil, not one of them is even dating someone. And if Phil thinks of marrying that girl, I’ll put my foot down.”

“I don’t think Phil is even considering it, no matter how much people are talking about it. What’s this really about?” he asked. There had to be more.

“I want grandkids. At Alec and Phil’s age, we were married and had all four of them.”

“Times are different now and you know that. Ben just got home and he is nowhere near ready to settle down. Alec is out having too much fun. Phil is searching for something he can’t seem to find, and no one can help him. And Kaitlin is too busy building her career. Relax. It will happen when it does.”

“You’re right. I know you are. I just want it to happen now.”

“You’ve always been impatient,” he said, his hand roaming under her shirt. Her skin was still as soft and smooth as it was all those years ago.

She turned and put her lips on his. “And you’ve always loved it. Do you remember the first night we met?”

“Luckiest night of my life. I’ll never forget it.”

“That’s sweet. Guess it was luck for me too that no one stole my purse.”

“You’ve never lost it again, either. Or left it anywhere. Guess you learned your lesson that night.”

“Oh, I learned it, all right,” she said, turning around and straddling his hips. “I learned that sexy bartenders have their eyes on everything going on in the bar at all times.”

“How else would I have known where you left it? Or who it belonged to?” She was doing a good job distracting him.

She pulled the beer out of his hand, the one he hadn’t even taken a sip of, and put it next to her untouched wine. “Why don’t you show me what you wanted to do to me that night but were too afraid to? No one’s watching now. Just like no one was back then.”

He didn’t need to be told twice, and slid her off his lap, standing up next to her. “Let’s go upstairs.”

She laughed, the same sexy laugh she had that night, and all his brain matter settled into his pants. “We aren’t some old couple that needs to go to our room. We’ve got a whole empty house to ourselves. Where do you want to start?”

That woman he fell in love with all those years ago had only gotten better with age. She was still sweet and soft, rebellious and adventurous, and she was all his, thanks to a lost purse on a cold winter night.

2018 Goals & Plans

Happy New Year!

I’m not one for making New Year resolutions. I’d rather have goals. And those goals end up on lists because those that know me know that when I make a list, I tend to stick to it. Nothing feels better than putting a big thick line through a completed task. I’m a bit nerdy that way.

I’ve got two sets of goals. Writing and personal goals.

We’ll start with the writing goals (and some of these are actually plans in motion):

January- The release of All for Love- Road to Romance. This is the prequel to the All Series and blends in with the Road Series and how it all started so many years ago.

February – I’m in two boxed sets. Sweet and Sassy Valentine, which will also feature All for Love and A Valentine She’ll Remember which will feature Road to Redemption.

Once Fierce-Brody is done with the Kindle Scout nomination time frame (Jan 16th) then I’ve got to wait 2 more weeks while they decide if I get a writing contract. If not, that book will be published in February. But you can still vote for me here if you haven’t yet.

March- Last Chance will be released. I’ll be putting that up for pre-order in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

April – No releases that I’m aware of but I’ll be writing away.

May- I plan on releasing Fierce – Aiden, the second in the Fierce Five Series

June – I’ll be part of a boxed set called Sweet and Sassy Weddings and it will feature a new novella called Finding Love. I’ll also be releasing Finding Love on it’s own this month.

And the exciting news. Once I release the first of the Love Collection (Most likely Finding Love in June) I’ll be releasing a new novella each month for 12 months! That’s right. 12 months… in a row. New stories. A collection rather than a series.

In between those novellas, I’ll be working on the Fierce Five Series and another novel from the Lake Placid Series. Don’t hold me to those dates yet, but I’ve got them kind of planned for Summer/Fall/Winter.

That’s a lot of writing, but I’m up for the challenge and I’ve got it all down in a calendar. With any luck, I’ll stay focused and on track.

Personal Goals:

You’d think I’d have a more detailed list of personal goals, but the truth is, mine are pretty simple.

  1. Spend more quality time with my family.
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff – I’m good with this, most of the time, but I need a reminder a time or two.
  3. Stay physically active and healthy. I just need to get back on track now that the holidays are over. To me, good physically health leads to good mental health. I need all the good mental health I can get.
  4. Leave the house more than 1-2 times a week. I just started working from home, and found it’s easy to get in a lazy habit of not leaving the house and looking like I just rolled out of bed. This might play in with good mental health, I’m thinking ha.
  5. Enjoy my life more. I’m healthy right now and haven’t always been. That means I should take advantage of the good times and enjoy them to the fullest.

There, 5 goals, because I tend to be OCD and when I do a numbered list they have to end with a 0 or 5.

So how about you? Any goals or plans for 2018?

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!

merry xmas(1)

Right now, a special gift to you all… All of Me is available for a free download until December 29th! Get it while you can!

All of Me

 

Also, the first book in the Fierce Five Series is up for a Kindle Scout nomination. You can read the first few chapters here.

I happen to think the cover is pretty hot…so here’s another peek at it. And I should would love a vote if you like it!

Brody_2

Kindle Scout Submission!

Brody_2

I started a new series called The Fierce Five. I thought it’d be the perfect book to submit to the Kindle Scout Program in hopes of a publishing contract. It was accepted and I could sure use your votes. Plus you can read the first few chapters!

If you nominate me and I get a publishing contract, then Kindle Scout will send you a free ecopy of the book when it’s published too! Awesome huh?

What is The Fierce Five about?

Five Siblings. One business. Meddling parents. A fiercely addicting series!

Fierce-Brody is the first in a five book series—The Fierce Five Series. It’s all about a set of quintuplets with their own specialty to help run the family business. Their parents handed the reins over to them at just twenty-five years old. Five years later, all five are still single and their mother has had enough. She wants grandkids, and she wants them now! So she’s decided it’s time to interfere…right under their noses. Hit them hard and where they least expect it. Not one of them has a clue and she plans on keeping it that way.

There will be some ups and downs, laughter and tears, and plenty of bruised egos, but family loyalty will be the glue that holds them all together.

Be one of the first to see where it all starts with Brody!

Vote for me here! And read the first few chapters.

Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it’d be a great time to see what holiday traditions others might have.

I’ve got plenty. First and foremost, I bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to friends and family several weeks before Christmas. When everyone is just waiting for them and haven’t had their fill. Plus, it’s one of the things to get off my to-do list. Yes, that is my kitchen and cookies I made this year!

Another tradition is celebrating the holiday on Christmas Eve at my house. Both my husband and my side of the family come. It’s a day full of food and gift exchanging for my side with the nieces and nephews. Christmas morning, we go to my in laws, and it’s the one holiday of the year I don’t have to host or cook. Yay me!

But my favorite holiday tradition of all is the 12 days of Christmas. Or my version of it. You see, my husband and I were high school sweethearts and back in the day I’d thought it’d be cute to give him a gift every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas Eve. He’d get his real gift on Christmas morning, so I started on December 13th and ended on the 24th.

Back then I just gave him candy each day. His mother didn’t appreciate it and always made comments on dental bills, but it didn’t stop me.  As the years went on, the gifts moved away from candy and onto things like socks, ornaments, favorite foods, beer etc.

When my son was two and could understand the tradition, I started it with him. All 12 of his gifts (and hubby’s) are wrapped in their own wrapping paper to tell them apart, all gifts are stored in a big bag or box for them to draw out randomly each day. Kiddo still draws his and his father’s out like he’s done all along.

Truth be told, this is my favorite holiday tradition of all. Me giving them something to look forward to daily. Though it’s not as much fun for the kiddo at 18 as it was at 2, he still looks forward to it. Same with the hubby. They even give me ideas now and again of what they’d like to get on those days—and I find that very helpful!

So how about you? Do you have a holiday tradition? If not, how about reading some holiday stories? The authors at Authors’ Billboard have several Holiday boxed collections out right now for just 99 cents each. Grab them up and sit back and enjoy!

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!