Thursday, February 20, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY--Introducing Gideon, the hero of SAVAGE ANGEL

Oh, that first glimpse of the hero in a new book.  Just saying it makes me all tingly. :D  As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the more important moments in a story, and one of my favorite scenes to write.  The hero-introduction scene in SAVAGE ANGEL was particularly fun to put together, since I wanted to display not just the hero, but the heroine’s skills and mindset right out of the gate.  No one can out-soldier a descendant of the Seraphim, as Gideon quickly finds out…

The paved drive leading from the main road was as smooth as glass and nearly a mile long. Eventually it ended in a graceful loop in front of a three-story Victorian house that seemed to go on forever. It looked like something out of a sugar-sweet storybook, complete with wide verandas, twin turrets on either side of the impressive structure and a whimsical cupola that sat like a cherry on top. The fairy tale façade crumbled the moment she climbed out of the car and the barest sweeping movement of security cameras caught her razor-keen attention. With a professional eye she counted eight remote camera locations in all, set in such a way there was only one minor blind spot coming up from the east through what appeared to be a rose garden. Deep-throated howls from dogs kicked up off to her left, past a carriage house that had been converted into a massive garage. She swiveled her head in that direction, the same direction that the breeze was blowing. Recognition that her scent was being carried to an unseen dog run sent up another mental red flag. Unless she was mistaken, there were at least four full-grown dogs alerting to her presence the way any trained guard dog would.

Armed guards at the gate, plus multiple security cameras, plus a pack of guard dogs. If she did the arithmetic right, it all added up to a grand total of something nasty.

Nasty wasn’t a problem. Hell, nasty was her specialty. But still the question nagged at her. Why had Noah Mandeville specifically asked for her?

The blazing heat of the late summer sun hammered down on her. She never noticed it. Nor did she think of the discomfort of wearing her usual black leather jacket to conceal the butterfly-backed shoulder holster she preferred. Her senses heightened further still, absorbing every aspect of her surroundings—the hum of gears of the automated cameras sweeping back and forth, the sound of the wind rustling through the fragrant rose bushes, the dogs jumping over each other to slam against what had to be a chain-link fence.


It was faint. Stealthy. Far back in the tree line where there was no path or outbuilding. Just sneaky movement where there shouldn’t be any.

Her footsteps were as soundless as a cat’s as she moved back down the drive, seemingly away from the sound of something alive in the trees. But as soon as she rounded the bend, she left the paved road to dart into the tree line, avoiding the random twig or pecan without conscious thought. She moved more quietly than the wind, her breath shallowing out so that even its sound was no louder than that of the rustling of the leaves above her. A flicker of motion, something that shouldn’t be there, dropped her into a crouch, and she focused on the spot past the clumps of purple sage and red-tipped photina growing amongst the trees.


Sara’s eyes narrowed. It was possible to be trained in such a way that surprise never got the better of her. Her father and Marcel, her lifelong sparring partner, had drummed that into her. Expecting the unexpected was the hallmark of not just the warriors born into the Savitch bloodline, but of every agent in Lynchpin. Surprise was the one reaction that could never be allowed.

She had to admit, though, the last thing she’d expected to find lurking in the bushes was a commando straight out of Call of Duty.

Through the trees she could see him—fully decked out in fatigues and camo war paint smeared over every inch of exposed skin. This wasn’t some deer like she’d been hoping, or a wayward gardener harvesting pecans. Whoever this was, he was serious about keeping himself concealed.

Too bad for him very little could be concealed from the Savitch senses.

It was second nature to move when her target did, covering what sound she might have made with his movements. She circled behind a reedy clump of photina and ditched her sunglasses for a better view. With the camo war paint covering his face and his hands encased in field gloves, she had no clue what race the intruder was, but if the breadth of his shoulders was anything to go by he was one-hundred-percent, testosterone-driven male. Though he was hunched over in a stance of obvious concealment, she suspected he was at least as tall as her Amazon-like six-foot frame, and there was no way to tell what color hair he had under the military-style brimmed cap he had pulled low over a face she couldn’t see from her vantage point. What she could see was a pair of binoculars being lifted to his face aimed toward the house, and that was all she needed. If this guy was part of the property’s existing security detail, he wouldn’t have to camouflage himself and hide in the bushes.

This guy was trouble.

With calm efficiency, Sara slid a hand under her jacket for her custom-made clip-point eight-inch combat knife lying snugly against her back. A well-practiced flick of her thumb worked the snap, and in less than a heartbeat cold steel filled her hand like an old friend. Of all the fighting styles she had mastered over her lifetime, Filipino escrima and its flexibility in the use of handheld weaponry was by far her favorite. It fit her personal style, just as surely as the grip of her knife was made to fit the curve of her hand.

Now to find out if her opponent approved of it as much as she did.

Marking the sun so she wouldn’t throw a shadow over the intruder to warn him of her presence, Sara rounded the bush and snuck up behind him in a fluid movement no ordinary human could ever hope to beat. She pressed her front to his back, hooking her left arm under his to lock her hand behind his nape, while the hand holding the knife went right for the throat, laying the flat of the blade against the jugular. He jumped and struggled, then hissed when a flick of her wrist stood the deadly edge of the blade against his skin to slice it like butter.

“Hey, soldier boy.” Once again pressing the flat of the blade to the wound to show him just how much in charge of the situation she was, Sara spoke into the ear closest to her. “If you’re looking for somebody to play war with, I’m available. Wanna have some fun?”

A disdainful grunt was the intruder’s answer before he threw his head back, butting it against her cheekbone. Stars bloomed like fireworks before her eyes even as the world went end over end.


Time slowed to a crawl as Sara focused hard. Damn it all, she’d already screwed up, underestimating this guy by not keeping her vital areas out of striking range. Frigging rookie mistake if there ever was one. No way was she going to follow up that boneheaded move with any more noob idiocy. Her heightened proprioception had always been one of her greatest strengths, knowing where every part of her body was at all times—even when she was upside down and flying through the air. Agility went hand in hand with that, and she had her ceaseless training to thank for her well-oiled response. No one could outdo her when it came to this sort of fighting. No one.

Soldier-boy had gotten her good by flipping her O goshi-style over his back. He did it at the expense of his own neck as she managed to slice him again, this time more deeply, as she went airborne. But the moment she cleared him and his hold loosened, she executed an acrobatic half-twist that wrenched her free from his grasp and enabled her to land, catlike, facing him and ready to spring.

“Bad move,” she breathed, expertly flipping the now-bloody knife to lie flat against her forearm for easier, close-quarters slashing. “You’ve now officially pissed me off. I think I’ll take your scalp to make me feel better.”

“You talk too much, Sara.”

The stone-cold beat of her pulse stumbled like a dojo beginner. There was only one person who could halt her heart by doing nothing more than saying her name.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday--6 weeks to go! Take a peek at Kyle's hidden power

Wow, is it really only six weeks before DANGEROUS ANGEL releases? Holy cats, time is flying by! :D

When Kyle first showed up in WOUNDED ANGEL, I had a good idea of who he was going to be--a happy, laid-back beach bum/bounty hunter. But as his character progressed, I was as surprised as anyone by how mercurial he was. His quirky, oftentimes unbalanced way of looking at things caught me off-guard, yet no matter what I did to tame this dude, he flat-out refused to behave himself and act... well, normally.  

Then I researched his angelic progenitor in-depth. There are no words to describe how thrilled I was that Kyle's personality dovetailed perfectly with the root of his heavenly genetics.  The only thing I can't figure out is how my imagination knew it was important to make Kyle so, shall we say, changeable. I almost think it was divine inspiration.

Care to get a glimpse of what it is that makes Kyle so special? Here's a tiny peek of his true power, from Chapter Three in DANGEROUS ANGEL:

Despite the houseboat’s sturdy moorings, Kyle still detected the faint motion of the water in North Bay Village Marina. The squall that had crept in last night after sunset was trying its best to drown Miami, intensifying as it hit the summer-heated ground. Still, as rain-heavy as this thunderstorm was, it had nothing on the big daddy of a storm he sensed lurking behind it, further out to sea but gaining in strength. Its sullen whisper was faint but steady, promising to make today’s bad weather seem like nothing more than a gentle mist.
Hurricane season in Florida. Gotta love it.
With nothing more than the foul weather to keep him company, he sat crossed-legged and naked on the pale blue rubber matting that covered the security-glassed, panoramic-windowed exercise room. But instead of watching the sheets of rain chase across the water to slam inland, his eyes were closed against the pearlescent light.
With his eyes closed, it was easier to drift with the squall’s frenzied life.
He loved it when it rained. Stormed. Raged. He loved the energy of it, how it thrummed through him like a living thing, singing a song of euphoric delight that was just for him. If he focused enough, he’d be able to see the weather system’s energy patterns. Or, he could do something far more dangerous and guide it to his will. Instead, he simply floated with it for the sheer exhilaration of the out-of-body experience, riding its mercurial spasms of released electrical energy. Only when he sensed it meandering farther north did the enjoyment dim, and reality bobbed to the surface.
Is Nikita out in this mess?
Lightning had licked the earth countless times since sunrise. He’d felt every single strike as if it had come from him personally. If he opened his senses to it, the explosion of raw power would be enough to get intoxicated on, but he was the only one who got that much of a kick from it. To everyone else, lightning was a killer, not a negative ion joy-buzzer.
Nikita wouldn’t be stupid enough to go gallivanting around in a storm for some clothes and a piddling little paycheck. Would she?
Yes, came the immediate answer. Without a doubt, yes. When it came right down to it, Nikita lived just as dangerously as he did.
          With the greatest reluctance, Kyle lowered his inner defenses and sank that hidden part of himself into the storm. Slowly, carefully, he tugged at the roiling energy until he owned it. 

For a closer look at DANGEROUS ANGEL, feel free to take a look at its storyboard on Pinterest.

Buy links for pre-ordering DANGEROUS ANGEL:

Monday, February 17, 2014

First Draft of Coe's Story, NOT-SO-SHINING ARMOR, is done!

Coe Rodas, a secondary character in STARTING FROM SCRATCH, finally has a story all his own—yay! It was only supposed to be a novella, around 40K, but as I kept writing, a much larger story line evolved.  Before I knew it, the end-of-November deadline I gave myself came and went.  December was full of holiday travel, ice skating Christmas shows and promo for SfS, so I couldn’t finish it then. January rolled around and I made huge progress on Coe’s Story… until a 2nd re-titling paper and Developmental Edits came in for the book now known as ONE HOT SECOND.  I began to think I’d never see the end of Coe’s story.

But I did it.  This past weekend I finished the first draft—YES!  I still have a lot to do, like adding a kissing scene and a ridiculous texting conversation between the heroine and her sister, but these are little things.  For the most part, it. Is. DONE.

As always, I’ve written up a blurb for it. Blurbs help me see what’s important in a story, and what should be hacked away as dead weight. Its working title is NOT-SO-SHINING ARMOR, but this is me we’re talking about, after all.  No doubt this book will have at least half a dozen changes in its title before the perfect one gets chosen. 

Hope you like the sound of it. :)

NOT-SO-SHINING ARMOR—A Bitterthorn, Texas Novel

Miranda Brookhaven is in Bitterthorn for one reason only—to return patent rights to their rightful owner, Coe Rodas. Years earlier, her father callously used her relationship with Coe to steal the design of an ingenious fuel valve. Now her father's dead, and she’s stuck with righting a wrong that lost her the two men who had once meant the world to her.
Coe’s learned that life never goes according to plan. His dreams of hitting it big were gutted when Miranda, a little princess if there ever was one, stabbed him in the back and stole his valve. But to his surprise, Miranda is the one who feels she was wronged. To add to his confusion, the once-pampered princess can’t afford to buy milk, lives in a condemned trailer in that hellhole where he grew up, Garden Court… and everything he thought he knew might be completely wrong.

It’s irrelevant to Miranda that Coe believes her superpower is the ability to hold a grudge. What matters is that while she fights to get him the patent rights to the valve—the only thing of value he’d once had—he can no longer get under her skin. But as Thanksgiving rolls around, the spirit of the season threatens to open her ferociously closed-off heart. Or maybe it's not the season at all.  Maybe it's Coe, who seems determined to play the role of knight in not-so-shining armor.

I've not yet put together an official Pinterest storyboard for NSSA. I did, however, collect all the images and articles I used in writing this book, in case you're interested. :)  Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 14, 2014

I have news on the re-titling!


I was so involved in wrapping up my latest project yesterday (Coe's story!) that I forgot to get the post up for Throwback Thursday. Ack! Oh well, I’ll be sure to hit it next Thursday, but in the meantime…


The book releasing from Carina Press in August, formerly known as SECRETS SO DEEP, finally has a new title!  It went through not one, but TWO re-titling meetings, with no one being able to agree on what it should be called.  But at last they’ve decided on a name. Yay! *happy dance*

Ready?  The next Bitterthorn, Texas release is now known as….


(And the crowd goes wild! *cheers*)

As I said, it'll be out this August.  Perfect timing, since the book takes place in summer during a terrible heatwave, so just about everyone will need a cool drink while reading this book (not to mention this is the hottest book I have EVER written, heh).

This is the blurb I put together for it, so it's as unofficial as you can get:

When Thorne Mansion burned down, Chandler was forced to watch his family’s proud history go up in smoke.  It's taken over a year, but he now has everything in place to rectify that tragedy, from funds and permits, to finding a world-renown conservation architect who will rebuild the Mansion to its former glory.  But when he lays eyes on Parker Radclyffe, he realizes he’s getting much more than he paid for.

As a military brat, Parker has lived all over the world.  Now that she’s an adult her nomadic lifestyle continues, thanks to her work as a specialist in historical architecture.  From dachas in Russia, to half-forgotten plantations in Jamaica, she roams the globe breathing life into buildings that would have otherwise been lost to the ages.  She’s intrigued by the Italianate castle that had been built in an unassuming Texas town a century and a half ago.  It’s an improbable building created in what was the Wild West by an unknown master, and that’s a combination she can’t resist.  Yet no matter how breathtaking Thorne Mansion once was, its perfection pales in comparison to its owner, Chandler.

To get to the heart of the Mansion’s stunning mystery, Parker uncovers secrets buried so deeply that not even Chandler is aware of their existence… or of his true bloodline.  The only secret he’s concerned with is how to get a woman who’s the living equivalent of a tumbleweed to hold still long enough to put down roots.  He does have one thing going for him—he’s a Thorne in every sense.  He won’t stop until he gets what he wants.  And what he wants is Parker.

Also, to get a much more in-depth look at my mindset while writing ONE HOT SECOND, please feel free to check out its storyboard on Pinterest.  Thanks for reading!

My vision of Chandler Thorne, editor of the Bitherthorn Herald. YUM.

Inspirational pic for Parker Radclyffe, professional rolling stone. She's finally met her match!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday--Another peek at DANGEROUS ANGEL!

I’ve got a quick little excerpt from DANGEROUS ANGEL today to highlight how well Nikita and Kyle work together despite their obvious differences.  And, of course, there has to be a touch of Kyle’s insanity, because… well, that’s just how he is. :)  Enjoy! (18+ only, please.)


“You found something out, didn’t you, Nikita? You’re never in this good a mood.”
“What are you talking about? I was born chock-full of glitter and rainbows.” Nikita squinted against the sun and followed Kyle to where they’d left his dark cranberry-red muscle car, a ground-hugging tank that was as custom-made as her own SUV. While he didn’t have a steel grate separating the backseat from the front the way hers did, there was a heavy steel ring embedded into the backseat that hooked into the handcuffs his fugitives always wore. “But you’re right. As it happens, I did manage to find out your bail jumper is in all probability an iron-clad social climber, and she’s doing it the oldest way known to womankind.”
“You don’t say.”
She nodded. “Apparently her disappearance isn’t some ominous mystery to be solved. If you believe her roommate—and I have no reason to doubt her since she seems to have a thing about lying and liars—Bambi’s simply too busy entertaining a richer, younger sugar daddy to remember things like work and court dates.”
“That’ll break Dibby’s heart.” Kyle unlocked the car with the press of a button, then leaned against the hood. “The poor guy’s convinced he’s the number-one star in Bambi’s sky.”
“According to her roomie, Dibby was a distant second behind Floyd Hardy’s wayward son, Paul. Not only has little Paul got the bucks to bankroll the life Bambi wants to become accustomed to, but apparently he also likes it wild.”
“Who doesn’t?”
“Nothing wrong with a little kink every now and again.” She settled next to him, the sun-warmth of the car hood seeping through the flouncy material of her dress. “I also found an address in Bambi’s locker. It might not be anything, or it might be everything.”
“We won’t know until we check it out. Let’s have it.”
“I don’t think so.”
“What?” Maybe it was because he seemed so relaxed as he slouched against his car, but Nikita couldn’t stifle a little squeak when he suddenly moved so that he was face to face with her, propping his hands against the car’s hood on either side of her hips. He stood between her knees, their faces so close together the delicious threat of his breath feathered across her lips. With that sensual menace to her peace of mind hovering so near, her heart decided it was time to play out the Great Escape by knocking a hole through her chest. “Sorry, but I didn’t quite catch that. I could’ve sworn I just heard you say no. You didn’t tell me no, did you?”
Her brain had to be sun-fried. Having her personal space invaded should have filled her with indignation, not feverish excitement. “What if I did?”
“I thought we were working together on this one. Combining our resources, using teamwork. You know, like Sherlock and Watson, or Laverne and Shirley.”
“I don’t want to be Laverne, and have you noticed how close you are?”
“No one wants to be Laverne, she had bad posture and a funny accent. And nothing’s escaped my notice—especially that part about you telling me no.” He loomed closer still, until every breath was filled with the scent of him—like an exhilarating rush of fresh air after a wild storm. “Denying me like that for no good reason makes me want to spank you for being a bad girl. You don’t want me to spank you, do you, Nikita?”
Oh my God, yes. “Depends. Over the panties or bare-butt?”
“Bare-butt’s the only way to go.”
         “This is so true.” It was nice they agreed on something.


Buy links for pre-ordering DANGEROUS ANGEL:

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | ARe | Kobo

(For another look at DANGEROUS ANGEL, please feel free to check out my Pinterest storyboards.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014


When SAVAGE ANGEL released last February, I wasn’t sure how readers would react to a heroine who played the role of kickass warrior.  Of all the Nephilim in The Earth Angels, Sara is the only one directly descended from a specialized group of warrior angels called the Seraphim (angels created to guard the Throne of God—think angelic Secret Service and you'll be in the ballpark).  That means of the four Nephilim, she’s the no-nonsense soldier who doesn’t have a lot of experience when it comes to relationships. I had a lot of fun showing how this expert in combat could also be utterly inept when it came to handling personal matters, and I wanted to illustrate that aspect of Sara from the very first scene…

Chapter One

If Sara didn’t know better, she’d swear she was having a heart attack.

Swallowing the last of the piece of chocolate she’d been nursing along, she glanced at the GPS to make sure she was on the right track. With less than two miles to go through the sun-baked, oak-shrouded hills outside of Dallas, the readout told her she would reach the Mandeville estate in five minutes.

Oh, man. Five minutes?

Her palms became slick against the steering wheel of the armor-plated, custom-made luxury sedan, the standard ride for Lynchpin Security International’s executive agents. Perspiration prickled along her brow despite the whisper of the car’s air conditioning. Her lungs malfunctioned until they were incapable of pulling in an adequate supply of oxygen, and her pulse went from normal to hot-box of crazy in less than a second.

Damn. Maybe she really was having a heart attack.

Before Sara could decide whether or not she should hit the abort button on her mission and check into the nearest clinic, the no-nonsense blip of her ringtone sounded, loud enough to make her jump. Cursing her uncharacteristic edginess, she thumbed the appropriate button embedded in the steering wheel to activate the hands-free system.

“Go for Sara.”

“I was hoping to catch you before you made it to Noah’s,” came the voice of her father and current head of Lynchpin Security International, S. William Savitch. “How close are you?”

Too close for any amount of comfort. “I’m almost there. For the record, I’m still hazy as to why I’m the one meeting with Noah Mandeville. He’s always been your client, not mine. I barely know the man.”

“LSI doesn’t individualize its clientele. When one of us is on the job to protect and defend, we’re all on the job to protect and defend.”

Sara knew that, in the same way she knew the sky was up and water was wet. It didn’t make her any happier. “Usually I have background information regarding security problems when I meet with a client, but Macbeth swore on his bag of CheeZee Puffs that there was none to give. He only said Noah wanted to meet with me, face to face. Has he given you any hint as to what’s going on?”

“No, though that’s not surprising. Noah’s always had a flair for the dramatic.”

“A flair for the dramatic is the one thing a bodyguard doesn’t need.” Out of sorts and wishing she could give into the childish desire to tell her father she didn’t want to be a part of Lynchpin anymore, she glanced again at the GPS.

One mile.

She sucked in a breath and held it before she could hyperventilate. “Maybe he’s planning another trip down to Mexico, and he’d like to make it out without being kidnapped this time around.”

“Noah swore he’d never again cross the border after that fiasco. Since he’s kept that promise for fifteen long years, I don’t see him getting itchy feet to do it now.”

“Someplace else, then?”

“Could be, but again that would surprise me. Even if he wasn’t getting on in years, he’s only six months out from major heart surgery. I wouldn’t expect for him to suddenly get the yen for a young man’s adventure.”

“Then I’m at a loss what this meeting could be about.” Visions that had nothing to do with personal security bubbled to the surface, visions that had haunted her for a year and had her heart trying to pound a hole through her chest. Perhaps this visit with Noah Mandeville wasn’t related to personal security at all. Maybe it had to do with his son.


“Just be on your toes from here on in,” her father advised. “As soon as you’re done at the Mandeville place, call in with a report. I’m on my way to the airport now, but I’ll keep my phone on for as long as I can. I’ll admit I’m as curious as you to find out what Noah’s got cooking, especially at this point in his life.”

Sara didn’t have to ask what William meant as she hung up. Six months earlier, her father’s friend had been at death’s door with congestive heart failure, saved at the last second by a heart transplant that had been nothing short of a miracle. With both her father and Noah’s son out of the country, Sara had stepped in to sit by Noah’s bedside until he was out of the woods.

Thankfully no one had considered it odd that she, a virtual stranger to Noah, chose to be there for him in his hour of need. The plain truth was she’d done it because she could do nothing else. It was the only thing she could think of to keep his son from worrying himself to death. As an Army doctor stationed in one of the worst hellholes Afghanistan had to offer, the one thing Gideon Mandeville hadn’t needed at that time was a distraction.

“You have reached your destination.”

“Shut up.” Sara punched a finger at the touch screen to turn the system off before guiding the car onto a well-maintained cement drive leading to a high wrought-iron gate.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Teaser Tuesday-Favorite dialogue from DANGEROUS ANGEL

DANGEROUS ANGEL releases 8 weeks from now! WHEEEEE!

From the beginning, the hero of DA—Kyle Beaudecker—has been unconventional.  He likes cracking jokes even when a demonic apocalypse is staring him right in the face, and Sara of SAVAGE ANGEL usually has to beg him to shut up.  Most heroes are the strong, silent type, but not Kyle. That’s why I love him—everything about this hero is unexpected.  Here’s one of my favorite conversations in DANGEROUS ANGEL, because it underscores just how, er… different his brain works. :D

 “Yo! Nikita! You home?”
With a snarl she bolted upright, only to remember the bikini top in her favorite neon yellow was somewhere off to her right. She wasted a few precious seconds tying it back in place over her oil-slick breasts, all the while cursing under her breath. What the hell was Kyle doing in her private heaven when he knew she hated visitors? He’d be lucky to hop away from here with only one broken leg.
“Yo, Nikita! Wakey, wakey.” He pounded on the door hard enough for her to feel each impact.
“I am awake, you idiot.” With full-blown murder in her eyes, she gripped the foot-high metal railing that ringed the top of the silver Airstream and glared down at the man on her doorstep. Though a simple metal pull-out step wasn’t much of a doorstep, she’d be the first to admit, but it didn’t matter. She adored her chrome-shiny silver bullet of a trailer, a vintage ’60s camper fully refurbished with all the twenty-first-century bells and whistles. Its greatest asset, however, was that her tiny, compact home on wheels could be parked wherever the best surfing was. The only problem with where it was parked now was that it was obviously too accessible. For a moment she glared back up toward where she’d parked her SUV. Another reason she had such a big vehicle was to haul her home in and out of its various spaces without getting stuck, but she never took chances when she was on this particular property. Maybe it had been a bad idea to build a simple slab for her portable home so close to the water, only to leave the actual parking for vehicles—like Kyle’s muscle car—a good hundred feet away on the hard-packed, unpaved road. At that distance she was almost guaranteed not to hear anyone approach. Definitely not the greatest setup for a bounty hunter, now that she thought about it.
Dressed in casual navy plaid shorts and a cotton gauze shirt buttoned just to his sternum, Kyle shaded his eyes and squinted up at her. “Oh, there you are. With your board leaning against the trailer, I figured you’d be around here somewhere. Glad I didn’t wake you.”
Any pissed-off cat would have been proud of the hiss she unleashed. “Why would I be asleep at this time of day? It’s after noon.”
“Don’t you believe in naps? Wow, I don’t know if we can be friends if you don’t believe in naps. What are your thoughts on naps, now that we’re on the subject?”
She dragged a hand through the wild tangle of her ocean-salted, now-dry hair. When Kyle was in this bouncy-playful kind of mood, he was too delicious to be resisted. Her last line of defense against losing control over the situation could only be one thing—making death threats. “Don’t make me come down there and kill you, cabrón.”
“Did you know that with your hair flowing all over the place like that, you sort of look like my idea of a Cuban Rapunzel?”
ADHD, thy name is Kyle. “You know I don’t like to be disturbed. Remember that night when you knocked on my window to bug me about catching that slimy wife-beating jump? Remember how I Tased you for your efforts?”
“Yeah, that was a lovely jolt of electricity you gifted me with. Made me so tingly I felt like I was walking on air. Or maybe that was just seeing you in a nightie.”
“I don’t wear nighties, I wear big T-shirts to bed.” Or nothing at all, but no way in hell was she going to let that cat out of the bag.
“Are you sure?” His brows drew together doubtfully. “I distinctly remember a nightie with lots of frills and lace. You looked great in it, by the way.”
Oh, my God. “The way your brain works is one of the great mysteries of life.”
“Thank you.”
“It wasn’t a compliment. What are you doing here?”
He pouted. “You say that like you’re not happy to see me. I’m always happy to see you, especially when there’s so much of you to see. Is your top coming off? That’s so awesome.”
She shot away from the camper’s edge and out of sight, cursing again as she retied her top before clambering down the ladder at the back. “This is my happy place, cabrón,” she said, trying to appear imposing. But that was difficult to do when her daisy-covered flip-flops smacked against her heels as she closed in on him. “You’re messing it up with all your cuckoo Hurricane-Kyle vibes.”
“You’re just as crazy as I am, Sparkle, and stop calling me an asshole. If you’re not careful I’m going to start thinking you don’t worship the ground I walk on.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, we wouldn’t want that, now would we?”
“I know I wouldn’t.”
She would not face-palm. She would not face-palm... “How did you know where I’d decided to park my house?”
“You own three properties in Florida—one north of Jacksonville, one close to your aunt’s place, and this little spit of land here. After I checked with the weather service and found out the waves were six feet here after yesterday’s storm, I deduced you’d be closest to the best surfing.”
She pursed her lips. “That’s…actually pretty impressive detective work.”
“That, and I called your aunt to see where you were.”
         The smack of her palm hitting her face was louder than she’d expected.


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