Posted in books, eliza carlisle mystery, giveaway, mystery

Catch your breath #giveaway!

To celebrate the next installment of Eliza Carlisle’s adventures, the first book in the series, TROUBLE MAGNET has joined up with a handful of other awesome mysteries to give readers some #freebooks and a chance to win a super cute dragon book bag!

Catch Your Breath share 1-bag

Readers get to choose which books they want to download and which authors they’d like to follow, AND enter to win the book bag.

If you haven’t read Eliza’s first foray into craziness and murder, you can grab a copy of TROUBLE MAGNET free through this promotion. If you’re all too familiar with Eliza’s knack for getting into dangerous but funny situations, grab a few mysteries from these lovely authors:

https://mybookcave.com/g/7040684d/

Woman pointing a gun at the target on dark background, selective

Posted in books, new adult, new release, paranormal, romance, the ghost host

Release Day! The Ghost Host: Episode 2 #kindle #kindleunlimited #paranormal

The next installment of The Ghost Host is here just in time for the holidays!

The Ghost Host

Episode 2

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It’s bad enough that Echo already has ghosts haunting her 24/7, now her past mistakes want to join the fun and come back to haunt her, too?

Moving to Georgia was supposed to be a fresh start. So far, it’s turned out to be a fresh start at more chaos. After battling Devourers for the soul of her childhood friend, Echo learns the depth of what her abilities might cost her. She’s always been pretty good at failure, which is concerning when the fate of the spiritual world is suddenly in your hands.

If that isn’t enough pressure already, Echo’s personal life is a mess. She and Malachi are both freaked out by her ability to control him and have no idea whether their relationship was ever based on more than their bond as Medium and Keeper. Kyran is keeping his distance from both of them to keep from doing something stupid, things are still tense with her parents, college is proving more than she bargained for, Agent Morton is doubting her stability and brings in his son Griffin to help keep her grounded-which only causes more problems between her and pretty much everyone, and Echo gets pulled into her first case: a young boy whose mysterious injuries and claims of monsters in his dreams has everyone baffled and terrified of what it might mean if he isn’t lying.

Oh yeah, and a past mistake Echo thought had already been dealt with is back to settle a score. It can’t get much worse than that, right? Except, for Echo, things can always get worse.

Buy now for $0.99 or read FREE on Kindle Unlimited

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Posted in books, reading

What #books are you #reading?

I gave up doing my book review blog a while ago, mainly do to time constraints, but I thought I would share a few of my favorite series.

Romance, drama, and intrigue, anyone?

28 wishes

 This whole Rose Gardner Mystery series is awesome, including the between the pages novellas.

Hilarity and mystery, with a dash of romance.

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The Miss Fortune Series is just the best. I usually laugh my whole way through as I enjoy the twisty-turny mysteries, and my favorite Deputy 🙂

And it’s FREE!

Edgy mystery with just enough humor and heart.

sydney rye

The Sydney Rye series is a little darker than the first two, but gives readers a realistic heroine who’s made mistakes, but is a survivor even when she might not want to be.

Clearly I’ve been very into mysteries lately, but that doesn’t change the fact that these are all great series. Enjoy!

Posted in eliza carlisle mystery, giveaway

#Giveaway Time! #ezlizacarlislemystery

I’m trying out the new giveaway feature with Amazon that now allows ebooks to be offered up as prizes, so here goes!

Pop over to Amazon and enter to win an ebook copy of TROUBLE MAGNET the first book in the Eliza Carlisle Mystery series.

Eliza Win

Eliza Carlisle has the unwanted talent of attracting trouble, in all its forms. That couldn’t be truer than when she moves into the most bizarre apartment building on the planet. Weekly required dinners with the landlord and assigned chores are bad enough, but the rules don’t end there. Top most on the list of requirements is NO physical violence against the others residents.

There have been issues.

In the past.

The young manager, Sonya, claims that hasn’t been a problem recently, but Eliza comes home from her first day of culinary school to find a dead resident, her next door neighbor looking good for the crime, and a cop that seems more interested in harassing her than solving the case.

All Eliza wanted was to escape her past and start over, completely anonymous in a big city. That’s not going to be so easy when the killer thinks she’s made off with a valuable piece of evidence everyone is trying to get their hands on. The ultimatum that she turn it over to save her own life creates a small problem. Eliza has no idea what the killer wants, or where the mysterious object might be.

If she can’t uncover a decades old mystery in time, surviving culinary school will be the least of her problems.

Eliza Cat Baxter.jpg

 

Posted in new release

#SydneyRyeKW The Catalyst by @DelSheree Gladden

Day 3 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

The new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches on Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project. Today’s installment is from DelSheree Gladden’s The Catalyst, where the Syndey Rye and Blue world crosses over the Eliza Carlisle reality.

CatalystCover“Before I let you get back to sleep,” Lauren said, “have you been keeping up with local news while you were in LA?”

It seemed like a random question. “No. Why?”

“Uh, no reason,” she said cryptically. “One of my students, could you keep an eye on her while I’m gone? She’s got a lot of talent, but she’s been struggling the last few weeks. She might need a little extra encouragement.”

My head ached from lack of sleep and jetlag, but I smiled. Lauren’s soft heart was a contrast to many of her coworkers at the culinary institute. Some might call it weakness, but I never would. “Who is this student?” I asked.

“Her name’s Eliza Carlisle. She’s a bit of a misfit at times, but like I said, she’s really talented and I would hate to see her get overwhelmed and give up.” Lauren sighed, like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. “Thank you, Hugh. For covering for me, and for keeping an eye on Eliza. You’re a good friend.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve been there for me often enough the last year and a half, I figure I owe you,” I said with a smile. “I hope everything goes okay with your dad.”

“Thanks,” she said, emotion making her voice squeak. She’d played off her fears when trying to talk me into covering her classes, but I knew how much not being there was eating at her even then. She drew in a deep breath to calm herself. “I’ll bring the key by this afternoon. My flight is a five, so I’ll swing by on my way to the airport. Get some sleep.”

We said our goodbyes and I ended the call. Rolling back toward my pillow, I pressed my face into the fabric. James’ scent had long faded, but the memory of it hadn’t. I both loved and hated the reminders of him that still lingered even after packing up his things. I wondered if the wounds losing him created would ever heal.

Friends didn’t understand. It had been a year and a half since his murder. The killer was dead at Joy’s hand. Didn’t that mean closure? Shouldn’t I have been able to move on after so long? Sometimes I wondered that as well. Moving on sounded good, in the same way made-from-scratch mac and cheese sounded good on a rainy day. Comfort food didn’t make the rain stop. Wishing I could move on didn’t make me miss him any less. It didn’t make me feel any less responsible for not being there when he needed me.

My body begged me to go back to sleep, but my mind was too awake. Lauren’s question about whether I had been following local news poked at me. What had happened while I was gone? An uncomfortable dread settled in the pit of my stomach. The last time something had blown up in the news, it had surrounded Joy, James, the mayor, and murder. Picking my phone back up, I brought up the latest news stories, found nothing overly interesting, then wondered about the girl Lauren had asked me to look out for. It took me a few seconds to remember the name.

Typing “Eliza Carlisle” into the news app, I hit the search button and sighed when the results loaded. “Local culinary student plays key part in solving 50-year-old murder.” That wouldn’t have sounded so ominous if not for the pictures and videos accompanying the headline. Anything involving SWAT couldn’t be good. My mind decided it had had enough and was ready to shut off. Ditching my phone, I crawled back under my blankets and closed my eyes. Lauren’s favor just got a whole lot more complicated.

What’s The Catalyst all about?

Eliza Carlisle has the unwanted talent of attracting trouble, in all its forms. That couldn’t be truer than when she moves into the most bizarre apartment building on the planet. Weekly required dinners with the landlord and assigned chores are bad enough, but the rules don’t end there. Top most on the list of requirements is NO physical violence against the others residents.

There have been issues.

In the past.

The young manager, Sonya, claims that hasn’t been a problem recently, but Eliza comes home from her first day of culinary school to find a dead resident, her next door neighbor looking good for the crime, and a cop that seems more interested in harassing her than solving the case.
All Eliza wanted was to escape her past and start over, completely anonymous in a big city. That’s not going to be so easy when the killer thinks she’s made off with a valuable piece of evidence everyone is trying to get their hands on. The ultimatum that she turn it over to save her own life creates a small problem. Eliza has no idea what the killer wants, or where the mysterious object might be.

If she can’t uncover a decades old mystery in time, surviving culinary school will be the least of her problems.

About the author

DelSheree GladdenDelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities.

Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects:

 

And follow her on Twitter @DelSheree

What are Kindle Worlds?

SRKWlaunchimageKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

Posted in new release

#SydneyRyeKW: Walk Softly, Danger by Renee Pawlish

Day 2 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

The new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches on Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project. Today’s installment is from Walk Softly, Danger, where Sydney’s and Blue’s path crosses that of Denver PI Reed Ferguson.

WalkSoftlyLarger

He sighed. “And then she is gone.”

I hesitated, choosing my words carefully. “Is it possible she ran away?”

“No.” He fixed those hard eyes on me again. “That is what police say, that she left. They file report, ask a few questions at the club, but nothing else. But I ask questions, too.”

“And?”

He threw me a sad smile. “The girls Yana works with, they won’t talk to police. They’re scared. But they talk to me, a little.”

I noticed a woman with short black hair loitering near the street corner. She was also watching JD’s. I eyed her for a second, then said, “What’d the girls say?”

He leaned in and lowered his voice. “Yana is not the only one who has disappeared.”

I turned back to him. He had my attention. “They told you that?”

“One girl did.”

“What’s her name?”

“Lexi.”

“Last name?”

“I do not know.” He gestured across the street again. “She works there. You can talk to her. Talk to the boss.”

“Who’s that?”

“Spencer Gage.”

“How do you know that?”

“Yana told me. One time when I picked her up, I saw him with some of the girls. Yana said they don’t like him.”

“Why?”

“He can get angry with them. He wants…things…from them. If they don’t give in to him, he will hurt them. They are scared of him.”

“You think he knows something about Yana?”

“I don’t know.”

“How many others have gone missing?”

He shrugged. “A few.”

I stared at JD’s and mulled over what Zubov had told me. It wasn’t much to go on.

“You think it’s nothing, right?” His voice shook as he pointed at JD’s again. “A little sex is all. But they take some of the women. They disappear.”

Who’s taking them?”

He shook his head. “I do not know, but I will pay you to find out.”

“Hmm,” I said.

Just then, a black SUV rolled up to the curb in front of JD’s, and a man in dark slacks, a white shirt and long dark hair got out of the back seat.

“That’s Gage,” Zubov said.

The woman on the corner took a few steps toward Gage, then stopped and sauntered back to the corner. I kept binoculars in the backseat, and I pulled them out and trained them on her. I guessed she was in her late twenties or early thirties, and she wore jeans and a gray jacket. But what struck me was her left eye. In the fading light it was difficult to tell, but it looked like there was some scarring around it, as if she’d been on the losing end of a vicious fight.

“My money is good,” Zubov interrupted me. “I want you to find out what happened to my daughter.”

This didn’t look promising. But Zubov seemed so sincere…and heartbroken. I got out of the 4-Runner. “Wait here.”

Zubov thanked me profusely. I started across the street, wondering what I was getting myself into.

What’s Walk Softly, Danger all about?

Two forms of justice collide in Colorado.

Denver PI, Reed Ferguson, accepts a missing persons case that thrusts him into a world of strippers and night clubs. In the midst of a den of iniquity, he comes across Sydney Rye and her dog, Blue, who have perfected their own art form of vigilante justice.

Can they work together to find the truth, or will a killer end up calling the shots?

About the Author

PawlishRenée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, the Dewey Webb mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, as well as young adult, middle-grade and nonfiction books. She has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller.” Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado, the setting of many of her books.

Visit her:

What are Kindle Worlds?

Sydney Rye Kindle World WeekKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

Posted in eliza carlisle mystery, mystery, new release

Eliza Carlisle Mystery Series Update

Before anyone asks, yes I am also working on Wicked Revenge and am hoping to have a mid-April release date, but I did have a few other deadlines to meet before then, including this one:

The Eliza Carlisle Mystery series is one I’m really excited about. The first book, TROUBLE MAGNET, will be releasing next month, and a crossover novella called THE CATALYST will also release next month as part of the Sydney Rye Kindle World.

More on that later.

For now…

I’d love people’s thought on the blurb for TROUBLE MAGNET, which is a humorous murder mystery. Let me know if it intrigues you, needs work, etc.

Trouble Magnet

Trouble MagnetEliza Carlisle has the unwanted talent of attracting trouble, in all its forms. That couldn’t be truer than when she moves into the most bizarre apartment building on the planet. Weekly required dinners with the landlord and assigned chores are bad enough, but the rules don’t end there. Top most on the list of requirements is NO physical violence against the others residents.

There have been issues.

In the past.

The young manager, Sonya, claims that hasn’t been a problem recently, but Eliza comes home from her first day of culinary school to find a dead resident, her next door neighbor looking good for the crime, and a cop that seems more interested in harassing her than solving the case.

All Eliza wanted was to escape her past and start over, completely anonymous in a big city. That’s not going to be so easy when the killer thinks she’s made off with a valuable piece of evidence everyone is trying to get their hands on. The ultimatum that she turn it over to save her own life creates a small problem. Eliza has no idea what the killer wants, or where the mysterious object might be.

If she can’t uncover

Let me know what you think!

 

Posted in romance

Torino Dreams Excerpt

2015-02-28 11.12.30Over the weekend we got a crazy amount of snow for our area. It was gone two days later, but still. For Northern New Mexico, snow is a big deal, and when there’s a lot of it, the roads can get pretty dicey. Why do I bring this up? Well, it reminded me of the opening chapter of one of my Romance projects that will be out later this year, TORINO DREAMS.

I thought you all might like an excerpt…

TORINO DREAMS: CHAPTER ONE

Torino Dreams Front Cover Final

1: An Offer
Snow in the desert could only lead to one thing, sliding down a sheet of black ice, right at another car. Kate tried everything to get her truck to turn, spin, jump up onto the sidewalk, anything to keep it from hitting the Beamer at the bottom of the hill. Knuckles white as the snow blowing through town, she yanked against the steering wheel in one more desperate attempt to avoid crashing. It lurched wildly to the left and for a split second Kate thought she had done it. Until she realized she had just spun herself in a circle and was still heading straight for the other car. Kate closed her eyes and groaned right before the sound of metal on metal tore through the air.
Pain blossomed across her forehead. The rebound of her head from the steering wheel to the back of the seat hurt almost as bad. Blood ran down her cheek, but her hand refused to move and wipe it away. Her entire body was numb and useless. The most she could do was roll her eyes open, blinking slowly until her vision cleared enough to actually see something. White. That was all Kate could see. It was snowing harder every minute. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before forcing her fingers to unbuckle the seatbelt. Getting the door to move seemed ten times harder than usual, but she shoved it open and stumbled out of her truck.
The other driver was out of his car already, staring at the crumpled rear end of his BMW 740Li in disbelief. A string of furious words burst out of his mouth at the sight of it. Kate cringed when she saw the bumper dangling off one side, the crushed corner of the trunk, flat tire, and misshapen wheel well. It was such a nice car, too. A top safety pick, even. The driver noticed Kate, finally, and turned his glare on her. Snow had already covered his stylishly cut black hair almost completely. Kate was surprised the heat of his anger hadn’t melted the icy flecks by now.
“Are…are you okay?” Kate asked him shakily.
“What were you doing? Didn’t you see me sitting here?” he demanded, his basso voice loud in the snowy silence. It was the kind of sound that burrowed under your skin and warmed you up no matter the temperature, but his blatant accusation annoyed Kate instantly.
“I slid on the ice! I couldn’t do anything to stop. I tried hitting my brakes, but it didn’t do any good.” What a prick! Kate thought. It wasn’t like she tried to hit him on purpose.
He stared at her like she was a total idiot. “You hit your brakes? Don’t you know anything about driving in snow?”
Was he kidding? “It snows here maybe twice a year and it never sticks and freezes like this. So, no, I don’t know what to do when my truck starts sliding down a hill! I live in the desert. I’m not supposed to have to know how to drive in snow.”
Yelling at him made Kate’s head hurt worse, but she wasn’t about let that jerk treat her like she was stupid. He looked like he was about to say something infuriating again. Kate’s body tensed, expecting another nasty comment from Mr. I Know How to Drive in Snow and You Don’t. The angry tension filling him seemed to soften, very slightly, as he stared at her. Instead of yelling again, he just huffed in irritation and yanked his phone out of his pocket. Kate’s eyes flew wide.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m calling the police to report this,” he said. His fingers started dialing and Kate panicked. Lunging for his hand nearly pitched her into the snow when she tripped over a piece of the wreckage, but Kate grabbed his hand and stopped him from making the call. He ripped his hands away from her, glaring once again. “What is wrong with you?”
“Please don’t call the cops,” Kate begged him.
Keeping his finger perched to complete the call, his expression changed so slightly it was almost imperceptible. Kate couldn’t tell if he was curious or just a little bit scared. Her breath froze in her chest. Either one would work for her at that point. Whatever it was, it was keeping him from dialing. Too bad it didn’t last.
“I’m calling,” he finally said.
“Please, you can’t call.” Kate was desperate, begging a complete stranger for help. One she had just hit. “I only have two points left on my license. If they give me a ticket I might lose it.” There were other reasons she didn’t want the police involved, but Kate was not about to bring those up.
He smirked. “That’s your problem, not mine.” His finger moved to complete the call.
“I’ll fix your car!” Kate blurted out without thinking.
It was enough to make him pause. The way he scoffed at her offer made Kate want to smack him. “You? You are going to fix my car?”
“Yes. Please, just don’t call the police.”
He laughed outright, and not hitting him got even harder. “Why would I let you fix my car when I could just file a claim and have an actual professional fix my car?”
“I am a professional!” Kate snapped at him. Was he always so irritating?
“A professional what?” he asked, ignoring her attitude completely.
Oh, that was it. Kate’s freezing hands balled into fists. “A professional mechanic,” she said through her teeth.
Maybe he realized that Kate was about to add to his reason to call the police by punching him in the face, because he tamped down his obvious disbelief and mellowed his tone considerably when he spoke. “Even if that’s true, I don’t know you or have any reason to trust you. Why would I risk you taking off without fixing my car rather than just getting it fixed through your insurance?”
“Uh… it’d have to be your insurance. I don’t have any at the moment,” Kate said. Embarrassment settled on her shoulders like a diesel engine.
“Of course,” he said derisively. “I guess the about to lose your license excuse should have prepared me for that. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll just go through my insurance then. I’m still going to want this on a police report.”
“I’ll fix it for free,” Kate said. Her stomach dropped out at the very idea of it, but she had to say it. “If you make a claim on your insurance you’ll have to pay a deductible, and you’ll have to go to court, too, because I’ll definitely fight it if the cops try to give me a ticket. I can’t afford to pay a reckless driving citation right now.”
He lowered his phone, but he didn’t look like he was planning on giving in. “How are you going to fix my car for free if you can’t afford to pay a ticket? Do you have any idea how much parts cost for a BMW?”
“Of course I do. The 7 series is an expensive line to work on. Your Beamer isn’t the first one I’ve ever fixed up.” Not that Kate got the chance to work on luxury cars very often any more, but she definitely remembered back when she did. That used to be the only kind of cars she worked on. “I have some friends that owe me some favors. I’ll get the parts and do the work myself. It will be like this never happened when I finish. I promise.”
“And what am I supposed to do for a car while you’re fixing this one? Are you going to get me a rental?” He just used Kate’s lack of funds as a reason she couldn’t afford to fix his car. He knew good and well she couldn’t pay for a rental for him while she got his car fixed. It might take her a couple of weeks to round everything up. Kate swallowed every last bit of bitter pride and made him an offer.
“I’ll loan you my car until I get yours fixed.”
His face screwed up in disgust. “I am not driving around your beat up old truck. That thing looks like it’s about to fall apart if I so much as look at it.”
Kate glanced back at her twenty year old Dodge pickup. It was one of those massive, solid trucks that could survive anything. In fact, under the snow, you couldn’t even tell it was just in a wreck. There were a few new scratches on the bumper, and it may be a little more lopsided than it was before, but otherwise it looked great. To her, at least. It was rusted and dented and the paint had seen better days. That guy definitely would never drive her monster. But that wasn’t what she meant, anyway.
“No,” Kate said, “I’ll lend you my other car. This is my work truck. I have a Ford Torino GT fastback at home. You can borrow that.”
His eyes lit up at the offer. Kate suddenly felt like she was going to throw up.
“You have a Torino? Is it restored? What year is it?” he asked.
“It’s a ’70, and yes it’s fully restored. It’s gorgeous.” Misery puddled around her. She couldn’t believe she was even offering her baby to him. If anything were to happen to it… she had to force those kinds of thoughts out of her head before her lunch ended up painting the snow.
“Still,” he said, “it’s a safer bet just going through my insurance.”
His phone came back up. Kate flinched at the sight, but what good was arguing really going to do? This guy was standing in the quickly piling snow in a great looking jacket and an even better looking suit. Kate didn’t know much about clothes, but his looked expensive. He didn’t care about her problems. She closed her eyes and sulked as the falling snow slowly soaked through her sweatshirt.
Kate missed the first part of his phone conversation, but her eyes popped back open when he said, “Yeah, I’m going to need my car towed…No you don’t need to contact the police. I just need it towed to my mechanic’s… Yes, thank you.”
He slipped the phone back into his pocket and folded his arms over his chest. Kate’s words tumbled out in a rush. “You’re going to let me fix it?”
“I’ll undoubtedly regret it,” he said with a hint of a smile, “but I’m willing to let you try. I can always file a claim with my insurance later if I need to.”
He said it like he was doing it for her benefit, just to be nice, but she saw the excitement in his eyes when she had offered up her prized possession to him. This wasn’t about being Kate’s knight in shining armor. It was all about the car. Kate’s knees threatened to buckle at the idea of anyone else touching her Torino, but she couldn’t stomach the other option, either. She pasted on a wilted smile.
“How long is this going to take, anyway?” he asked.
“It’ll just depend on how fast I can get the parts. The actual work won’t take that long. Hopefully I can get you taken care of in a couple of weeks,” Kate said, praying he didn’t change his mind because of the length of time.
He just nodded his head and checked his watch. “AAA should be here in ten minutes.”
The mention of time jogged Kate’s memory of why she was rushing to get home in the first place. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and checked the time. 3:05. He would be getting home any minute. Anxious energy wriggled through her body, making her fingers begin to tap on the phone.
“Ten minutes?” Kate asked. Can’t they get here any sooner? We’re right in the middle of town.
“Do you need to be somewhere?”
“I just need to get home soon.” Kate should have been home already.
He frowned and studied Kate for a moment. A snowflake landed on his nose and melted immediately, forcing him to wipe the bead of water away with his gloved hand. “Why do you need to get home?”
“I just do.” It was bad enough she had to give him her Torino. He was not getting anything else from her. The less personal information he knew about Kate, the better. He shrugged and looked away.
The deepening snow around Kate’s feet had soaked through her tennis shoes. Her toes were hovering on the verge of pain from the cold and going completely numb. Kate’s fingers, at least, were tucked inside her sweatshirt, safe from the icy wind and snow. She was freezing, but she did her best not to shiver. Despite the snow dusting his hair, the other driver looked perfectly comfortable leaning against his Beamer as he waited. Next to him, Kate probably looked like a drowned rat in her beat up work jeans and sweatshirt, with no coat, no gloves, not even a beanie to keep her ears from freezing off. Kate shrank in on herself a little more in a rare bout of self-consciousness. Usually, she couldn’t care less what she looked like to other people, but for some reason, it was different in that moment.
Grease-covered hands, ratty jeans with a rag sticking out of her back pocket, that was how she felt comfortable. If her baggy sweatshirts and old baseball caps kept customers from staring at her, all the better. Who was this guy to make her feel like she wasn’t good enough to be standing with him in the middle of a freak blizzard? Even if he was rather attractive, and from the look of his shoulders, well built, that didn’t make him better. He glanced over at Kate just as a stream of melted snow slid down her cheek. She brushed her sweater-covered hand across her face to avoid his gaze and stared at it in surprise when it came away covered in blood. She had completely forgotten that she’d cut her head bashing it into the steering wheel. Great, this was my favorite sweatshirt, Kate thought.
“Are you okay?” he asked, suddenly right next to Kate.
She shoved her hand down and looked up at him. “Yeah, fine. Don’t worry about it.”
“You’re bleeding. Do you need to go to the hospital?” he asked. Actual concern colored his voice. It was almost as surprising as him reaching up and touching Kate’s face.
Heat rushed through her face and she turned away. Her hair fell over her cheek. She was happy to leave it there. “I’m fine,” Kate repeated.
“That cut looks pretty deep.”
Kate stepped away from him. “I’ve had worse.”
His curious expression made Kate bite her tongue. No personal stuff, she reminded herself. I just want to fix this guy’s car and forget this day ever happened, Kate thought. The dull flash of yellow lights approaching rescued her from having to say anything else. Kate pointed down the road, and said, “Looks like AAA’s here.”
He looked behind him and nodded approvingly. “That was fast. Looks like you’ll get home soon, after all.”
“Great.” Let’s get the Beamer loaded up and get out of the snow, Kate thought. Her fingers tapped anxiously against her folded arms as she watched the tow truck attempt to position itself.
“I’m Sam Dalton, by the way,” he said.
“Kate Laramie.”
He reached out for her hand and she shook it quickly, tucking her cold fingers back under her arm right after. For a moment he looked like he was going to say something else, but the tow truck driver called him over. He walked away and Kate climbed back into her truck ready to lead the way. She counted the minutes it took to load Sam’s Beamer onto the truck’s bed. Seventeen. Both of her feet and every one of her fingers were tapping anxiously by the time the driver waved for her to pull ahead and show him where to go. Kate wanted to speed away, but given what just happened, and the thickening snow, she forced herself to drive slowly. When she finally pulled up to her house, she dashed out of her truck and ran for her front door.
The bundled up ball of laughter that was throwing snowballs in the front yard saw her before she could get to him. He turned to greet her with a grin. Kate scooped him into her arms and hugged him fiercely. “I’m so sorry I was late getting home, Lincoln. What are you doing outside? Why didn’t you use your key and go inside to get warm after you got of the school bus?”
“I was having fun out here,” Lincoln’s happy little voice answered.
“Lincoln, you can’t be out here alone. You know that.”
Worry wrinkled his little face as he considered that. “Sorry, Kate.”
“It’s okay, buddy. Just remember for next time. Go inside as soon as you get home.”
He nodded. All traces of his childish glee disappeared when he pulled back and saw the gash on the side of Kate’s head. She couldn’t stop his eyes from traveling down to the tow truck that pulled up behind her. The Beamer was already being unloaded and Sam was walking up the drive to them. Lincoln took it all in and looked back at Kate with all the seriousness a five-year-old could muster. “Another accident, Kate?”
“I know, buddy, I know. Go inside and get warmed up. I’ll be in in a minute, okay?”
He nodded and let himself into the house, forgetting to take his boots off, as usual. Kate couldn’t get herself to be upset with him, though. Not today. She stood back up feeling much better than she did a minute earlier, now that she knew Lincoln was safely inside. Kate turned around to find Sam standing right behind her.
“That your son?” he asked, motioning toward the door Lincoln just went through.
“No.”
He looked like he’s expecting more, but he wasn’t going to get it. Kate didn’t discuss Lincoln with anyone.

Once we get moved into our new house I’ll start working on details for the release of Torino Dreams, so check back later for updates!