First of all I’d like to send a big “Thank you” to Raine for having me today to tell you a little bit about my new release Always Hope. This is my first forage into the world of self-publishing and I’m equal parts excited and terrified!
I searched my teeny brain for something wise and witty to share with you all, but thought you might like a little free read to whet your appetite…
The Bear in the Snow
The wind whipped through the mountains as he drove down the snow covered road; the snowflakes so big the wipers could barely clear the windscreen fast enough. Mack had spent the last half an hour hunched over the wheel with his nose practically pressed against the glass, and he could still see less than a foot in front of the car.
What the hell was he doing driving in the mountains in a blizzard? Good question. It had something to do with true love, he knew that. Shame it hadn’t been his own. His sister had talked him into driving her to her boyfriend Andy’s family’s cabin, where they were going to spend the holidays. Of course, when they’d set out yesterday, there’d been no snow on the ground and everything had been plain sailing. He’d spent the night with her boyfriend’s family and then began the drive home.
The journey had started out like any other. Andy’s mom had handed him a bag laden with sandwiches and chips and even a square of Christmas cake wrapped in tinfoil, along with a few bottles of water for his trip—just in case he got peckish. Mack had smiled and dropped a kiss on her cheek, thanking her for her kindness and hospitality, and thinking that if he ate everything in the bag, the car would probably only reach thirty miles an hour. He hadn’t known at that point that he’d be grateful for that bag of goodies when forty minutes into the drive, there was six inches of snow on the ground and visibility was practically nil.
Rounding the bend, he cursed loudly and swerved to avoid the shape crossing the road. “Fucking Christ!” he sputtered, stamping his foot on the brake and turning the wheel into the inevitable spin the car skidded into. Snow kicked up all around him and when the car finally stopped, the nose of his Prius was in a ditch and his back wheels were no longer on the ground, turning on air.
Mack laid his head on the wheel, unable to remove his fingers from where they were clenched around the leather covering of the ring. His heart beat so hard against his breastbone he was sure it was going to flop out of his chest onto his lap. Then it picked up pace again when there was a loud bang on the rear window. Holy shit! Is it a bear? Can bears write? Mack looked in the mirror and a wave of nausea hit him when he read what was being frantically outlined in the snow on the glass, the bear having to write them several times as fresh snow kept covering the indents he’d made.
Sixty foot drop!
“Are you fuckin’ kidding me?” Mack choked on his own intake of breath and gazed out into the blanket of snow before him… not that he was sure what he expected to see, a big cartoon sign floating in mid air saying sixty feet in big red letters? He slowly eased his weight into the back seat and crawled towards the door the bear had opened. The car teetered and he half-launched himself and was half-dragged out just as his brand new Prius disappeared into the sea of white.
“Are you okay? Say something for God’s sake! Are you hurt?”
The bear was yelling at him, which pissed Mack off, considering it was the bear’s fault for walking in the road in the first place. “My car!” he screamed back, trying to be heard above the whistling wind. “You moron! What were you doing in the road?”
Mack shook his head at the bear, not understanding the growls coming out of its mouth. The bear pointed to Mack’s forehead and he lifted his hand to his temple. “Oh my God, I’m bleeding’!” He could have sworn the bear rolled its eyes but the snow blowing in his face was too thick to be sure. Not that he had a chance to say anything else, because the bear hauled him to his feet and began to drag him along the road, with a huge arm slung around his waist. “Wait, what are you doing? My car! Oh, God, you’re gonna take me to your cave and eat me, aren’t you?” I never thought I’d be going out this way. Is it gonna hurt? Will he knock me out first?
After what seemed like a lifetime walking through the driving snow, Mack squinted at the shadow of a building up ahead. He was pulled up the steps and pushed against the wall next to the door by the bear, who reached out and pushed the door open before nudging Mack inside.
“Come on, man,” the bear said, “let’s get you out of these clothes before they freeze to your body.”
“Make it quick,” Mack said, swallowing past the lump in his throat.
“When you eat me.” Mack’s eyes widened when the bear stepped back and pulled a zipper beneath its snout to reveal white blond hair, big blue eyes and a strong square jaw. “Oh… you’re not a bear.”
“Nope, I’m Micah Stevens, this is my house,” the man grinned, stepping out his salopettes and kicking them to one side. “You hit your head pretty hard on the wheel.”
“I thought you were a bear.”
“I got that,” Micah said on a chuckle. “But…” his gaze travelled over Mack, sending a pleasant shiver of anticipation down Mack’s spine, “if you’re really lucky, I might still eat you.”
I hope you enjoyed it and here is a little taste teaser of Always Hope which is available on the20 February 2012 at Amazon.Com and All Romance Ebooks.
AshWattshas his life exactly how he wants it: burgeoning career, gorgeous boyfriend, and an apartment with a fabulous view of LA. But his perfect world comes crashing down around his ears when he learns of his only sister’s untimely death. A small town isn’t all he finds when he lands in Freedom,Alabamafor Annie’s funeral. This small town is brimming with secrets; secrets that could change Ash’s life forever.
Kaleb Gibson, honest-to-God cowboy, and native of Freedom, born and bred, found his best friend the moment Annie Watts breezed into town. Her death left a gaping hole in his heart, and while Annie’s brother may have her same dark hair and green eyes, Kaleb refuses to lose his heart all over again, and he can’t forgive the man for neglecting his sister when she needed him most.
Revelations from Annie’s Will throw Kaleb and Ash together in ways they never imagined. Will Kaleb be able to carry out Annie’s last wishes without killing her beloved brother and without revealing a secret from his own past that could destroy everything? And will Ash stick around long enough to see that Freedom may hold an even more perfect life than he could have imagined?
The clock on the dashboard indicated it was almost four and theCaliforniasun was high in the sky when Mason pulled into the underground parking lot of Ash’s condo. Their arms full of backpacks and camping paraphernalia, the two men rode the elevator up to the fifteenth floor and then walked down the hall to Ash’s apartment. Inside, they dumped everything in the hall and Ash headed to the kitchen in search of beer before they attempted anything else. Mason had already made himself comfortable on the sofa, his legs over the arm as he flicked through his blackberry and checked the myriad of messages, from clients and colleagues alike, he’d received while they’d been away.
“Here you go, hot stuff,” Ash drawled, flopping down on the cushion Mason wasn’t occupying and let his fingers drift through the soft strands of Mason’s strawberry blond hair. “Jesus, couldn’t those rich bitches survive without you?” he asked, noting the number of messages his boyfriend still scrolled through.
“You said it yourself,” Mason grinned, tilting his head to look at Ash, “hot stuff, in demand.”
“Oh, right.” Ash shook his head and said sarcastically, “Must be such a curse.”
“I’m glad to see you’re noticing all the sacrifices I make,” Mason countered, then swore loudly. “Listen to this. Marianne Wheatley, you know she’s on that long running soap thing, I don’t even remember what it’s called, piece of crap is so dire—anyway, she needs me to call desperately because her ex took the dog for the weekend as per their agreement and he failed to return him. Fucking thing’s a cocker-poo for God’s sake, not a kid.” Tossing his blackberry onto the soft carpet, he shifted so that his head rested on Ash’s lap. “Remind me why I deal with these people?”
Ash smoothed his fingers over the frown Mason was now sporting and smiled softly. “Because they pay you ridiculous amounts of money so that you can keep me in a manner I am totally unaccustomed to,” he said without missing a beat, leaning down to capture his lover’s lips.
“Oh yeah,” Mason replied, “I knew there was a good reason.”
Ash kissed him again and sighed into the kiss as Mason’s tongue teased along the seam of his lips, and Ash gladly opened to him, licking his way into Mason’s mouth, chasing his tongue back into its dark cavern. He slid a hand beneath the hem of the other man’s T-shirt and his gut tightened at the low growl coming from Mason’s throat. Sliding his hand higher, his fingers found the flat disc of Mason’s nipple and pinched the sensitive flesh between a thumb and forefinger.
He didn’t find out what else Mason had planned to say, because of the loud banging at the front door. “Come on,” Ash complained with a whine. “We’re still on vacation until tomorrow, for crying out loud.”
With a rueful smile, Mason pressed a quick kiss to Ash’s lips and pushed himself up, “I’ll go, you stay there and look as sexy as hell.”
A few moments later, the front door closed and Mason’s bare feet slapped on the wooden flooring of the hallway as he returned to the living-room. Ash waited with his eyes closed and his head tipped back on the sofa cushion, a smile playing around his mouth. “Come on, hot stuff. I’m waiting,” he said in a parody of a come hither tone.
The way Mason said his name gave Ash the immediate feeling that he shouldn’t open his eyes. Every fiber of his being told him not to move. Whatever had caused Mason to sound like that couldn’t be good.
Ash didn’t recognize the second voice and he forced his eyes open, a fist tightening around his heart as he gazed up into the far too sympathetic gaze of an LA cop. He swallowed past the lump in his throat which may well have been his heart, he wasn’t sure. Ash nodded, unable to vocalize a response—this is bad, this is very bad. The way Mason sank onto the cushion beside him and gripped his hand tightly, wasn’t helping.
“I’m sorry, Mr Watts. I have some difficult news. There’s been an accident.”
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