What am I working on now? #amwriting

WIP

8 november 2017

I can’t believe I haven’t updated my Work-In-Progress page since July. Bad writer. No cookie for me.

The Nullifier, the first book of my brand new series is releasing December 1, 2017! Yay! You know what that means, right? Yup. I’m hard at work on book two of The Criminals: The Fixer. We first met Zero in The Nullifier, where his life took an unexpected dive into violence. Now, Zero’s been a fixer for a long time, and he’s no stranger to making hard choices, but having someone put a hole in his lung tends to make him very, very cranky. Revenge for this trauma is on the top of his list, but when love comes knocking on his door, what is a man supposed to do? Ignore it? Nope. Zero is a guy with many talents. He can multi-task. Spilling blood has never been so romantic…

 

Day (Stronghold 4) #FirstChapter Excerpt!

This is how Bruno and Amy’s story begins….

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKobo – iBooksBarnes & Noble

 

First Chapter Excerpt:

Bruno Day stood at the window of his penthouse in midtown Manhattan. The thunderstorm rolling up the East River threw lightning at the horizon like a vengeful child while ominous clouds billowed over the Statue of Liberty in the distance. He couldn’t help but think of the storm as a portent of doom.

The silver shield ring he held chilled his palm, so he closed his fingers around it to warm the special alloy. He didn’t usually have time to stand around idle, but today he’d somehow managed to squeeze out thirty minutes of blank space in the midst of his insanely busy day. He wished he hadn’t. Nothing good ever came of giving himself time to brood. When the elevator doors to his floor opened on the far wall, he turned in relief. His mind had been circling the same problem with no solution for days now.

“Bruno? I have the briefing on your next appointment ready,” his assistant, Eileen Parker, said as she stepped out of the lift. As usual, she wore her hair scraped back into a tight ponytail. Her suit jacket and slacks were immaculately pressed. If he didn’t know better, he’d almost think she was an automaton, but the photos of her daughter and husband on her office desk two floors down belied her professional exterior. He’d seen her with her family, and his empathic gift gave him more intimate details of the people he met than they realized. He knew Eileen’s emotions well. He knew her kindness and loyalty. He counted on them. And her efficiency continued to impress him.

“Thank you,” Bruno said, walking toward her. They met in the middle of the vast space, near the Stronghold pillar that dominated the center of the room.

She unclipped a paper from her clipboard and handed it to him. “This should be a fairly routine meeting. Fifteen minutes tops,” she said.

Bruno nodded and scanned the information. “The President sent his favorite hacker to interrogate me? For what?”

“Because he can.” Eileen laughed. “If that’s what you want to call his cyber-security chief.”

Bruno sighed softly. “I hope they don’t still think that the Stronghold net has somehow compromised the government’s networks.”

“They long for something damaging that will force the Sentries under their control. Something that will force you, as the most visible Sentry, to answer to them.” Eileen reshuffled the rest of the papers on her board, then tucked it between her arm and torso. “Human nature and all that.”

“I know, but that will never happen. They couldn’t force us to do their bidding if they tried. My brothers and I must remain outside and above human governments,” Bruno said, rescanning the brief. As he did so, he absently rolled his shield ring around his palm. He glanced up to find Eileen frowning at him, and closed the ring inside his fist. “What?”

“When are you going to see her?” She looked pointedly at his closed hand.

Bruno stared at his assistant. He knew better than to assume Eileen didn’t know what was happening. He knew she’d spoken to his brother Greyson’s wife, Eva, just yesterday. If Eileen was asking this question, that meant all of his brothers and their paired mates knew everything. “You spoke with Eva?” he asked, stalling for time.

“Of course.”

Bruno exhaled. “There’s no rush to go see Saige’s friend.”

“No?” Eileen tilted her head. “Saige is a good person. I’m glad Isaac found her.” She narrowed her eyes. “But she isn’t in Flagstaff anymore. Isaac took her out to Alpha Centauri in one of the starships, remember? If her friend Amy needs protection, shouldn’t you give that ring to her?” She nodded at his fist.

“Amy Roderick is safe. She has Isaac’s ring.” Bruno didn’t elaborate. He didn’t have to. Eileen understood enough to know he was being uncharacteristically reluctant with her.

“But the ring Amy has is meant for Saige, right? It’s for Isaac’s wife, not for her best friend to carry around,” Eileen pointed out.

Bruno sensed her honest concern, and suppressed his frustration. He’d foreseen this exact moment in a dream over two hundred years ago, and one would think that having that much time to chew over an event was long enough to get used to the idea of meeting one’s mate. It wasn’t. He had no desire to put an innocent young woman’s life at risk, even if it meant he’d finally have someone to share his life with. “I need you to clear my schedule for the next few weeks,” he heard himself say, as if from a great distance.

Eileen’s eyes widened with surprise. “Weeks? Are you serious?”

Bruno nodded, understanding her shock. He never took time off, and certainly never that long a stretch at a time. “I’m sorry. I know what a mess that will cause.” But I can’t run from my fate any longer. The world’s survival depends on me. And on Amy, though she doesn’t know it yet.

“I’ll do my best,” Eileen said as worry seeped into her expression. “What’s happening?”

Bruno shook his head. “Nothing is happening right now. No incursions or swarms, so you can rest easy, Eileen. I am merely taking your advice.” He showed her the ring he still held. “I may not be gone for that long. I may be able to resolve things sooner.” He lifted a shoulder. “But I can’t promise it.” He squeezed his fingers around the silver ring so tightly that it hurt his joints.

Eileen stared at him for a long moment, and then her expression eased. “Bruno, if you want a rest, you should take all the time you need. You have never taken even one day off since I first started working for you twenty years ago.”

“Sentries do not take time off.” Bruno knew the words sounded pompous the moment they left his mouth, but they were true, nonetheless. He smiled wryly as he caught Eileen’s smirk.

“Tell that to Greyson. He hid in his woods for what? Decades?” Eileen smiled. “That’s a lot of time off.”

Bruno folded the briefing notes in half and then in half again. “My brother had good reason to hide away. And he has different duties to fulfill.”

Eileen raised an eyebrow at him.

Bruno pursed his lips, and then decided to tell her a secret that she surely suspected after working with him so long. “You know that Sentries have certain abilities, yes?” he asked, watching her for the merest hint of confusion. “Beyond the technology we use to safeguard Earth from the Spiders.”

She nodded. “Yes. I figured that out in the first year I worked for you.” Eileen glanced at the pillar in the center of the room. “And you have some impressive technology, but that’s not what you mean, is it?”

“The abilities I refer to are biological tech. Long ago, a group of benevolent aliens tampered with our DNA,” he explained.

“Everyone knows that,” Eileen said, frowning. “But the Others have been gone for a long time, right?”

If only she knew, Bruno thought, remembering the alien he’d fought with his brother, Isaac, just a few short weeks ago. “Yes. They are extinct,” he said, not wishing to explain the situation that had led to a single, surviving, rogue Other attacking his brother and his paired mate. The creature was dead now, anyway. “What no one knows is that we have a heightened sense of empathy,” he continued, watching her closely for signs of disbelief. There were none.

Eileen waited a moment, then nodded when he didn’t elaborate. “Well, I assumed you had some sort of enhanced intuition, given the way you interact with politicians and the like. I know that you are gifted. No one else could keep all these crazy leaders from blowing each other up.”

“Humans can be very trying.” Bruno grimaced. “What I have is more than simple intuition. It’s an energy-based ability to read and sometimes influence the emotions of other people.”

Eileen blinked. “You can literally sense my emotions?”

“Yes.” Bruno smiled. “Right now, you are feeling surprise, but also satisfaction. I have confirmed something you suspected but did not know how to articulate.” He exhaled. “I’m relieved that you’re not afraid.”

“I’ve known you too long to fear you,” she said slowly. “However, what does this have to do with Greyson and his short temper? And why he hid himself away in a forest for so long?”

Bruno swept out a hand. “Imagine being able to sense the emotions of everyone around you. Then imagine being in the midst of one of the largest concentrations of sentient beings on the planet.” He looked out of the windows at the storm drenching the city. “Imagine feeling all of Manhattan inside your brain.”

Eileen blanched. “Oh.” She followed his gaze, then put a hand to her throat. “Dear God.” She glanced back at him. “How do you function? I assume you can feel … everyone.”

“I can, and it’s often quite uncomfortable.” He ran two fingers along the crease in the paper he still held. “I have developed some coping mechanisms after so long among so many humans, but Greyson’s work requires him to remain more open. He requires solitude.”

“Open? Open to what?” Eileen asked, then visibly gathered her wits. “Wait. He’s an engineer. He creates a lot of your tech, and he uses this ability to help him do that,” she reasoned.

Bruno didn’t interrupt her musing. His assistant was a highly intelligent woman, and she’d already gotten to the point he didn’t have to explain aloud.

“And that leaves his mind exposed, since he’s manipulating energy, right? He’s grumpy because he feels too much.”

“Precisely,” Bruno said, not surprised that she’d put it together so quickly.

Eileen frowned. “And you all have this ability?”

Bruno sighed. “To a certain extent, yes. We can all heal a little bit, and use our energy against the Spiders, but our abilities are most focused where our interests lie.” He waved a hand at his home in the middle of one of the biggest cities on the planet. “I am good with people.” He had other gifts, but they weren’t something he felt comfortable sharing. Even his younger brothers didn’t know everything about him. They’d all inherited their abilities from their parents, but his father had tinkered with him when he’d been born, boosting his personal energy beyond natural levels. When he fully bonded with his paired mate, her power would match his. It was another reason he’d been so reluctant to claim Amy: he didn’t want her to have to deal with such a difficult responsibility.

Eileen raised her eyebrows, obviously recalling numerous incidents over the years when his private anger had bled through his extremely composed exterior. He didn’t bother to explain. He’d done nothing more than stalk around in private, even at his most angered. No politician had ever seen him less than composed. One thing he prided himself on was his self-discipline. A man in his position could not afford to lose control. Ever. He continued his explanation. “And when we pair, our mates gain the ability, too, because their DNA is irrevocably changed during the process.”

Eileen went still for a moment, and then she tilted her head. “You feel more than Greyson, don’t you?”

Bruno stared at her. She deserves at least some of the truth. “No one knows this.”

“I’ve known you for almost my entire adult life, Bruno. You’re over two hundred years old.” Eileen ran a hand over her face. “Jesus. I thought living forever was a curse. This is worse.”

He laughed shortly. “It is also a gift.”

She shook her head. “No. Now I definitely know you need time off.” She flapped her hands at him. “Go. I’ll take care of all your meetings.”

“Thank you,” Bruno glanced outside. He’d go tomorrow. Perhaps startling the girl on a Saturday would be less stressful for both of them. And she’d likely be home, not at work.

“Do you need a driver?” Eileen asked.

“No. I don’t think showing up with an entourage would endear me to her,” he replied.

“Oh, I don’t know. If the most powerful man in the world showed up at my door with all of his minions, I’d probably be pretty damn impressed,” Eileen retorted, eyes twinkling. “I might even swoon on my doorstep.”

Oh, hell no. Never. Bruno made a face. “I did show up at your door one day. Your daughter vomited all over my shoes. I had to throw them out. I had no idea that human bile could destroy leather.”

“That’s because you insisted on coming to see if we were all right. I told you to stay away that day. We all had the plague.” She rolled her eyes. “And anyway, that was years ago. Many years ago. Martha’s all grown up and off at college. She knows how to throw up in a toilet now.”

Bruno smiled, pleased that Eileen wasn’t treating him any differently after the past few minutes’ disclosures. What she didn’t know was that he’d used his healing abilities on her and her family that day, so long ago. When he’d shown up at her house, he’d wanted to make sure that they hadn’t contracted a particularly virulent form of ‘flu, and a bit of discreet healing had assured him that they would be okay. He didn’t regret the vomit, not that he’d admit that to her. He had to maintain his stern image, after all. “If Amy is still in Arizona, I’ll use a starship. If she’s back on the east coast, I’ll take my motorcycle,” he said instead of elaborating on that particular visit.

“The Harley?” Eileen laughed. “Oh, Amy’s mother is going to love you.”

Bruno narrowed his eyes. At that moment, a loud roll of thunder echoed across the room as rain started pelting the floor-to-ceiling windows when the wind changed direction.

Eileen shook her head, still smiling. “Enjoy the briefing, if you can. And then enjoy your time off. You deserve it.” She checked her watch. “I’m heading out for the day, but if you need anything—”

“I know how to text, Eileen. You forced me to learn how several years ago, remember?” He walked her to the elevator.

“Yes, yes. But still. I know you. If you need anything, I’m only a phone call away.”

“It’s a good thing your husband trusts you,” Bruno muttered.

“He’s met you, remember? I think he told me that you would never be so crass as to steal another man’s woman,” Eileen said, stepping on the elevator. She grinned at him.

Bruno refrained from yet another sigh. He didn’t mean to come off so stuffy. He simply had a great deal of responsibility, and never enough time to handle most of the problems that fell across his desk. He’d considered hiring more assistants, but almost immediately dismissed the thought because more people close to him would only weaken the security of the Stronghold net he and his brothers maintained. They had to remain vigilant, as the non-sentient Spiders continued to send swarms down to the surface of the planet every so often. He slid the shield ring into his pocket. No, he’d manage. He always did. And he didn’t want a crowd of folks following him around all day, every day. It was bad enough living in the middle of one of the largest cities on the planet.

“Have a lovely weekend, Eileen.” He pushed the button to send the elevator down to her office level.

“You, too,” she said, as the doors closed.

Bruno ran a hand over his face, sensing her amusement fading as she descended, and then he checked the time again. He had approximately seven minutes until the briefing, just enough time to check in with Isaac. He went to the Stronghold pillar and put a hand on the smooth white surface. An interactive window opened, but he didn’t bother trying to establish a video connection. His brother and his new wife, Saige, were out on the edge of the solar system, heading for Alpha Centauri. The Sentry tech could send text over interstellar distances, but not video. He typed an inquiry into the interface as more thunder rolled across the room. The summer storm darkened the view of the city, and overhead lights clicked on automatically as he waited for his brother’s response. He didn’t have to wait long.

Isaac: Bruno. Hey, what’s up?

Bruno: I am going to exchange the shield rings tomorrow. Is she still in Flagstaff? He knew his brother would immediately know he was talking about Saige’s best friend, Amy, so he didn’t bother with explanations. He’d put off the exchange for long enough already.

Isaac: Nope. She’s back with her mom in New Jersey. She graduated, remember?

Bruno frowned, suspecting as much. He’d have to drive. New Jersey was too close to warrant taking a starship. Address?

Isaac: Dude. You’re not seriously going to her mother’s house, are you?

Bruno: Yes. And don’t call me “dude.”

Isaac: I can give you her phone number. This is Saige, here, btw.

Bruno took a breath. He had a feeling Saige was going to give him a hard time. I don’t want her number. I want her address.

Isaac: You have to give her time to prepare!

Prepare for what? Bruno wondered. He checked the time again. He had maybe a minute left before his meeting. No time to be nice to his new sister-in-law. Address.

Isaac: OMG she’s never going to forgive me if I give you her address.

Bruno hated to annoy her, but he had no choice. Saige would understand. Eventually. Put Isaac back on.

Isaac: !!! Fine. 985 Manito Lane, Oakland, NJ. Don’t tell Amy I told you her address or she’ll kill me.

That response startled a smile out of Bruno. He could almost sense her disgruntlement. She’ll know anyway.

Isaac: Shut up. You suck.

Bruno: Isaac has been a poor influence on you, my new sister.

Isaac: I can be irked at you all by myself, Sentry Day.

Bruno grinned. He liked Saige, not that he’d ever tell her that directly. He had a reputation to maintain, after all.

Isaac: Good luck, brother.

Bruno knew that last message was from Isaac. Saige still didn’t feel comfortable calling him “brother”. Thank you. Be safe, out in the universe.

Isaac: The stars are quiet. All is well.

At least there’s that, Bruno thought, relieved that Saige’s first jaunt into deep space was a noneventful one. They didn’t need any Spider incursions right now. Bruno touched the corner of his eye, even though he knew his brother couldn’t see the symbolic gesture. The connection dissolved, and the pillar returned to a seamless white sheen just as his elevator door opened once more. Men walked out, scanning the room for threats and who knew what else. Bruno put on his diplomat’s face, and turned to welcome his last appointment of the day even as rain chased the last of the light into darkness.

Day (Stronghold 4) Coffeehouse Teaser Peek

DAY is now available!

Scroll down for a peek into the time right after DAWN (Stronghold 3), before Bruno Day meets his match. The coffee is hot, but none of them are going to get to drink any.

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKobo – iBooksBarnes & Noble

Erotic Romance (MF), May/Dec, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Suspense
Word Count: 41,070
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

Coffeehouse Teaser Peek:

Bruno stopped just inside the coffeehouse. “This is a bad idea.” The midmorning crowd filled the small space, and he winced as their emotions battered against his mental walls. Sometimes, being an empath was more of a liability than a gift.

“Doesn’t matter. I’m in desperate need of caffeine.” Isaac pushed past him into the crowd and got in line. Solomon followed.

“He didn’t even try to disguise his appearance,” Bruno muttered.

“You know how Isaac gets without his coffee in the morning.” Greyson scowled as he hung back at Bruno’s side.

Bruno jammed his baseball cap further down on his head. He usually wore a suit and tie in public, but today his worn jeans and leather jacket might keep him from being recognized. He saw people staring at Solomon and Isaac, but so far, he and Greyson seemed to be escaping attention. “We could have made our own coffee. We didn’t have to come here.”

“When Eva gets an idea in her head, it’s best to listen. They wanted to put together a picnic, and they took over the kitchen.” Greyson shrugged. “It is what it is.”

“Isaac could have convinced Saige to let us—” Bruno broke off as Greyson laughed. His gruff younger brother rarely displayed that much emotion.

“You think any of us can argue with our paired mates? You are delusional.” Greyson’s eyes twinkled. “You’ll see.”

“I don’t think so.” Bruno frowned. He knew who his paired mate was, and he had no intention of dragging her into his life. “No woman deserves to wake up every day knowing that the entire world is watching her,” he told his brother. “Ah. Our brothers have been discovered.” He lifted an eyebrow at Greyson, watching Isaac and Solomon slowly back away from the counter as a cluster of young people accosted them. “We are next, you realize.”

Greyson sighed noisily. “Eva really wanted that latte I promised her.”

Bruno shrugged. “It’s not going to happen.”

“Oh my God! It’s Bruno Day,” a girl screamed, grabbing her friend’s arm. “Holy crap, he’s wearing *leather*,” she added, voice rising.

Greyson winced. “You should have worn a ski mask over your face, not that stupid cap.” He stepped behind Bruno as if to hide.

“Coward.” Bruno removed his hat as the girls rushed towards them. He ran his hands through his hair and straightened his shoulders. It wouldn’t do to appear anything less than supremely in control of himself.

“I’m going to slip out the back,” Greyson said.

“Don’t you dare,” Bruno replied, grabbing his arm. His brothers thought they could wander around in public with impunity, but he knew better. A practiced smile slid over his face. “Smile, Greyson. It is time to earn your pay.”

“You don’t pay me,” Greyson said, but he stepped forward to help.

“This is also part of our job,” Bruno told him.

“When you meet your woman, I’m going to tell her you are a cruel man,” Greyson said.

“You seem very sure that I am going to meet someone,” Bruno signed the notebook one of the girls thrust at him, then posed for a selfie.

“It happened to me, and you know how long I fought it,” Greyson replied. “Fate is a stubborn mistress.”

Bruno glanced at his brother. Greyson tried to stare him down, but Bruno had centuries of practice at looking inscrutable. The only way he would ever claim the woman he knew was destined to be his was if the fate of the entire world was at stake. “Fate can be fooled,” he finally said.

Greyson frowned, but he looked away. Bruno signed another notebook. He smiled for another selfie. He very carefully did not think about the woman he’d spent his entire life ensuring he would never have to meet.

Day (Stronghold 4) Release Day!

It’s release day for Bruno and Amy!

The Sentries are territorial, guarded, and relentless in their duty to defend humanity from a secret, deadly menace. In order to remain vigilant, these semi-immortal men must remain aloof and solitary. No one, not even their true mate, will distract them from their mission to protect Earth from annihilation…

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKobo

Erotic Romance (MF), May/Dec, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Suspense
Word Count: 41,070
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

 

 

Teaser Excerpt:

Bruno stared at her hands. She was a tiny little thing, but he knew that her small stature was merely a mask for the strength she didn’t yet know she possessed. He stood up and walked over to her, giving into his desperation. He wanted to touch her skin. “Amy, I need you to help me.” He reached out and untwisted her hands. “I know you don’t understand, and I don’t want to frighten you.”

“You’re doing a crappy job of explaining this, Bruno,” she whispered, eyes going dark.

She wasn’t frightened. Bruno felt her arousal suddenly spike like a punch in his gut. He inhaled sharply. His brothers never mentioned the insane need that came with being in the presence of one’s paired mate. He’d thought it was bad earlier, when he’d given her his ring, but the attraction seemed to increase with every moment in her presence.

“I know,” he replied, sifting through a dozen explanations in his mind and discarding all of them. None of them mattered. He needed her for the power she would add to the Stronghold net when they paired, yes, but he needed her for himself even more. Suddenly, all the years he’d spent alone felt like an unbearable eternity.

“Just tell me the truth. It can’t be as bad as all that,” Amy murmured.

Bruno brought her hands up to his lips and kissed the backs of her fingers. She sucked in a breath. “This is the truth.” He slid his hands up her arms and took a step off the cliff he’d been holding himself back from for centuries. “I saw you in my dreams two hundred years ago.” He leaned down, watching the black of her pupils swallow the sweet brown of her irises. She smelled like roses and sugar. He licked his lips, desperate to kiss her. He’d never felt so overwhelmed with desire, not once, in his long life.

“Are you saying that you can tell your future?” she asked, voice barely above a whisper. “And I’m in it?”

“I can see this future,” he murmured, then leaned down and kissed her.

****

When his lips touched hers, Amy . She couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. He kissed her gently, and then he gathered her up and pressed in harder until she couldn’t do a damn thing except cling to his shoulders like some damsel in a romance novel. He tasted like spice and fire, and she must have made a sound in the back of her throat, because he groaned and dipped his tongue into her mouth. Amy shuddered, not understanding how she could go through life thinking that what she’d experienced before this moment was anything at all. Nothing could have prepared her for how it felt to kiss Bruno Day.

Amy dug her fingers into him, and then he abruptly broke away, panting as though he’d run a race. She wasn’t doing much better. She sucked in air, hands still locked around his biceps. “What just happened?” she asked, bewildered. Heat coursed through her bones. She couldn’t let go of him. If she did, she’d fall to the floor in a ridiculous heap.

Bruno swallowed. “What do you feel?” He slid his arms back around her waist, drawing her into his body.

“Confused. Hot.” She frowned at him even as she let him cradle her between his thighs. “This is insane.” She didn’t tell him that she’d dreamed of him kissing her since she was a teen. She didn’t want him to think she was some crazy fangirl. She lifted her hands to her cheeks. Her skin felt like it was on fire.

“Do you know what a paired mate is?”

Amy sucked in a breath. “What are you saying?” She thought about her friend Saige. When she’d eloped with Isaac, the connection between the two of them had been palpable. Amy didn’t quite understand it when Saige first explained it to her. But I think I understand it now.

“Sentries can sense things about people. Emotions,” he said.

That means he can sense my arousal. God. Amy licked her lips nervously. Bruno stared at her, obviously waiting for her to say something. She took a deep breath. “I know. Saige explained it to me. And she’s always been very intuitive, so I believed her, even though I didn’t understand. It’s easy to see how connected she is with Isaac, too.” She tilted her head, trying to ignore the heat of his body. She was so hot she ached, and trying to hold a rational conversation while she buzzed with need was proving difficult.

“We have the same kind of connection, Amy,” Bruno said, sliding a hand up to cup her cheek. “Can you feel it?” He kissed her gently.

Amy trembled. He thought she was meant for him? That they were meant for each other? “I don’t know.” She felt something, but lust had a way of confusing a person. She’d been down that road before.

Bruno lifted his head. “I can sense your emotions, Amy.”

Amy felt her skin flush hotter. If he could sense her emotions, he knew exactly how much she wanted him right now. “We don’t even know each other,” she said, wondering why she was arguing with him. Bruno Day had just kissed her! She had to be an idiot to keep protesting. I should just go for it. It’s not like I haven’t hooked up before, right? And he said he needed my help. It doesn’t have to mean anything.

Even as she thought that, she knew she was lying to herself. She’d had a thing for Bruno since the first press conference, when the Sentries had finally come out in the open and publicly explained who they were. She flexed her fingers against his muscles. He felt like a mountain: strong and immovable. “This isn’t how I expected my day to end,” she muttered, looking away from the intensity of his gaze for a moment. She couldn’t look away for long, though. Something compelled her to glance back up at him.

Day (Stronghold 4) Teaser Excerpt!

DAY is releasing on September 22!

Scroll down for a teaser excerpt.

 

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

 

 

Teaser Excerpt:

Bruno stared at her hands. She was a tiny little thing, but he knew that her small stature was merely a mask for the strength she didn’t yet know she possessed. He stood up and walked over to her, giving into his desperation. He wanted to touch her skin. “Amy, I need you to help me.” He reached out and untwisted her hands. “I know you don’t understand, and I don’t want to frighten you.”

“You’re doing a crappy job of explaining this, Bruno,” she whispered, eyes going dark.

She wasn’t frightened. Bruno felt her arousal suddenly spike like a punch in his gut. He inhaled sharply. His brothers never mentioned the insane need that came with being in the presence of one’s paired mate. He’d thought it was bad earlier, when he’d given her his ring, but the attraction seemed to increase with every moment in her presence.

“I know,” he replied, sifting through a dozen explanations in his mind and discarding all of them. None of them mattered. He needed her for the power she would add to the Stronghold net when they paired, yes, but he needed her for himself even more. Suddenly, all the years he’d spent alone felt like an unbearable eternity.

“Just tell me the truth. It can’t be as bad as all that,” Amy murmured.

Bruno brought her hands up to his lips and kissed the backs of her fingers. She sucked in a breath. “This is the truth.” He slid his hands up her arms and took a step off the cliff he’d been holding himself back from for centuries. “I saw you in my dreams two hundred years ago.” He leaned down, watching the black of her pupils swallow the sweet brown of her irises. She smelled like roses and sugar. He licked his lips, desperate to kiss her. He’d never felt so overwhelmed with desire, not once, in his long life.

“Are you saying that you can tell your future?” she asked, voice barely above a whisper. “And I’m in it?”

“I can see this future,” he murmured, then leaned down and kissed her.

****

When his lips touched hers, Amy . She couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. He kissed her gently, and then he gathered her up and pressed in harder until she couldn’t do a damn thing except cling to his shoulders like some damsel in a romance novel. He tasted like spice and fire, and she must have made a sound in the back of her throat, because he groaned and dipped his tongue into her mouth. Amy shuddered, not understanding how she could go through life thinking that what she’d experienced before this moment was anything at all. Nothing could have prepared her for how it felt to kiss Bruno Day.

Amy dug her fingers into him, and then he abruptly broke away, panting as though he’d run a race. She wasn’t doing much better. She sucked in air, hands still locked around his biceps. “What just happened?” she asked, bewildered. Heat coursed through her bones. She couldn’t let go of him. If she did, she’d fall to the floor in a ridiculous heap.

Bruno swallowed. “What do you feel?” He slid his arms back around her waist, drawing her into his body.

“Confused. Hot.” She frowned at him even as she let him cradle her between his thighs. “This is insane.” She didn’t tell him that she’d dreamed of him kissing her since she was a teen. She didn’t want him to think she was some crazy fangirl. She lifted her hands to her cheeks. Her skin felt like it was on fire.

“Do you know what a paired mate is?”

Amy sucked in a breath. “What are you saying?” She thought about her friend Saige. When she’d eloped with Isaac, the connection between the two of them had been palpable. Amy didn’t quite understand it when Saige first explained it to her. But I think I understand it now.

“Sentries can sense things about people. Emotions,” he said.

That means he can sense my arousal. God. Amy licked her lips nervously. Bruno stared at her, obviously waiting for her to say something. She took a deep breath. “I know. Saige explained it to me. And she’s always been very intuitive, so I believed her, even though I didn’t understand. It’s easy to see how connected she is with Isaac, too.” She tilted her head, trying to ignore the heat of his body. She was so hot she ached, and trying to hold a rational conversation while she buzzed with need was proving difficult.

“We have the same kind of connection, Amy,” Bruno said, sliding a hand up to cup her cheek. “Can you feel it?” He kissed her gently.

Amy trembled. He thought she was meant for him? That they were meant for each other? “I don’t know.” She felt something, but lust had a way of confusing a person. She’d been down that road before.

Bruno lifted his head. “I can sense your emotions, Amy.”

Amy felt her skin flush hotter. If he could sense her emotions, he knew exactly how much she wanted him right now. “We don’t even know each other,” she said, wondering why she was arguing with him. Bruno Day had just kissed her! She had to be an idiot to keep protesting. I should just go for it. It’s not like I haven’t hooked up before, right? And he said he needed my help. It doesn’t have to mean anything.

Even as she thought that, she knew she was lying to herself. She’d had a thing for Bruno since the first press conference, when the Sentries had finally come out in the open and publicly explained who they were. She flexed her fingers against his muscles. He felt like a mountain: strong and immovable. “This isn’t how I expected my day to end,” she muttered, looking away from the intensity of his gaze for a moment. She couldn’t look away for long, though. Something compelled her to glance back up at him.

Day (Stronghold 4) Cover Reveal!

DAY is releasing soon!

Scroll down for a peek into the weeks right after DAWN (Stronghold 3), before Bruno Day meets his match in DAY (Stronghold 4).

 

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

*****

Coffeehouse Peek

Bruno stopped just inside the coffeehouse. “This is a bad idea.” The midmorning crowd filled the small space, and he winced as their emotions battered against his mental walls. Sometimes, being an empath was more of a liability than a gift.

“Doesn’t matter. I’m in desperate need of caffeine.” Isaac pushed past him into the crowd and got in line. Solomon followed.

“He didn’t even try to disguise his appearance,” Bruno muttered.

“You know how Isaac gets without his coffee in the morning.” Greyson scowled as he hung back at Bruno’s side.

Bruno jammed his baseball cap further down on his head. He usually wore a suit and tie in public, but today his worn jeans and leather jacket might keep him from being recognized. He saw people staring at Solomon and Isaac, but so far, he and Greyson seemed to be escaping attention. “We could have made our own coffee. We didn’t have to come here.”

“When Eva gets an idea in her head, it’s best to listen. They wanted to put together a picnic, and they took over the kitchen.” Greyson shrugged. “It is what it is.”

“Isaac could have convinced Saige to let us—” Bruno broke off as Greyson laughed. His gruff younger brother rarely displayed that much emotion.

“You think any of us can argue with our paired mates? You are delusional.” Greyson’s eyes twinkled. “You’ll see.”

“I don’t think so.” Bruno frowned. He knew who his paired mate was, and he had no intention of dragging her into his life. “No woman deserves to wake up every day knowing that the entire world is watching her,” he told his brother. “Ah. Our brothers have been discovered.” He lifted an eyebrow at Greyson, watching Isaac and Solomon slowly back away from the counter as a cluster of young people accosted them. “We are next, you realize.”

Greyson sighed noisily. “Eva really wanted that latte I promised her.”

Bruno shrugged. “It’s not going to happen.”

“Oh my God! It’s Bruno Day,” a girl screamed, grabbing her friend’s arm. “Holy crap, he’s wearing leather,” she added, voice rising.

Greyson winced. “You should have worn a ski mask over your face, not that stupid cap.” He stepped behind Bruno as if to hide.

“Coward.” Bruno removed his hat as the girls rushed towards them. He ran his hands through his hair and straightened his shoulders. It wouldn’t do to appear anything less than supremely in control of himself.

“I’m going to slip out the back,” Greyson said.

“Don’t you dare,” Bruno replied, grabbing his arm. His brothers thought they could wander around in public with impunity, but he knew better. A practiced smile slid over his face. “Smile, Greyson. It is time to earn your pay.”

“You don’t pay me,” Greyson said, but he stepped forward to help.

“This is also part of our job,” Bruno told him.

“When you meet your woman, I’m going to tell her you are a cruel man,” Greyson said.

“You seem very sure that I am going to meet someone,” Bruno signed the notebook one of the girls thrust at him, then posed for a selfie.

“It happened to me, and you know how long I fought it,” Greyson replied. “Fate is a stubborn mistress.”

Bruno glanced at his brother. Greyson tried to stare him down, but Bruno had centuries of practice at looking inscrutable. The only way he would ever claim the woman he knew was destined to be his was if the fate of the entire world was at stake. “Fate can be fooled,” he finally said.

Greyson frowned, but he looked away. Bruno signed another notebook. He smiled for another selfie. He very carefully did not think about the woman he’d spent his entire life ensuring he would never have to meet.

Work in Progress means I #amwriting #WIP

 

WIP

Evernight Publishing accepted DAY, Stronghold 4, and it will be releasing soon!

Right now I’m working on a brand new standalone MM romance. Why? Because it makes me happy. If there’s one thing I’ve learned writing full time for the past seven years it’s that I can’t push the words out unless I love my characters and story. MM, for some reason, hits all the happy buttons in my life. Here’s the blurb for my latest WIP, The Nullifier:

Felix Zamaro is tired of his job and ready for a career change. There’s just one problem: once a man gets a reputation for excellence in his business (and Felix is the best there is), retirement is not an option. He’s the one who “retires” others. The moment he tries to quit, someone else will retire him. Permanently.

Nick Banner just wanted a coffee. That’s it. He didn’t want any snacks. He didn’t need any gas. Unfortunately, the mini mart where he stops for his caffeine fix is notoriously prone to theft, and that’s where he sees Felix for the first time. Meeting the man of his dreams in the midst of a violent robbery was not on his agenda for the day.

They say that sometimes lightning strikes, and the heart never recovers. Nick is about to find out that sometimes an assassin strikes, dead bodies hit the ground, and nothing in his life will ever be the same again.