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No, not like that… I mean as in Vocal.Media, the online place for those of a creative bent to share their work.

I’ve had a few things up on Vocal.Media for a little while now. Sometimes I write about events in the news, or things on my mind. Sometimes I create short stories to share with others.

Either way, it gives people a chance to check out my work without buying one of my longer novels, and for free at that!

Looking for a short fiction work?

How about The Reward, Warrior Priestess, or The Walk?

Maybe something more down to earth…

There’s Diabetic and Confused, What’s Different, and The Digital Age.

Go over, check it out, and if you like it, leave a tip.

Want an excerpt? Here’s something from The Digital Age.

I know many of you have grown up in this digital age, where everything is available online, on your phone, or on your tablet. And I will admit, it can be extremely convenient when doing research, especially thinking back to all the hours I spent in the library before this digital age. College papers would have been so much easier if I could have researched them online.

The thing is, though, that we are now dependent on all things digital. At the moment, I’m having a real problem.

Want to learn more?

Check out my page at Vocal.Media!

Talk to you later, everyone.

And Don’t Forget…

...to Share the Romance…

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We’ve talked about Esperance and Lady Calloway, but what’s up next for Gambler’s Folly?

Old Flame

They were friends in university thirty years ago, though they never dated. They were simply friends with no strings, no desires beyond that. His family had money to burn while she struggled to make ends meet.

Who would guess that thirty years down the road, with him single and her a widow, they would meet on their way to Gambler’s Folly?

And who would have guessed an attraction, which had been absent in their university days, would suddenly blossom?

Meet Kort Behrens, multi-millionaire tycoon. His family made it big in electronics with the development of a new drive for interstellar shuttles, along with other inventions and developments along the way. After two failed marriages, he’s decided not to risk any more entanglements. Women only wanted to be with him for the money and prestige.

Elizabeth’s husband died four years ago and she has secluded herself in her little mountain home seeing only her Reiki clients and any neighbors who stop by. She has her cat, Puzzle, for company and hasn’t even considered dating, let alone remarrying.

During an altercation in the hotel the night before her flight to Houston to catch the shuttle, a voice from her past intercedes on her behalf. Warm strong hands on her shoulders comfort her as he deals with the situation. But she was not prepared to see her old friend, Kort, alive and in person. And since she rarely listened to the news or paid much attention to the society rags, she didn’t realize that the young man she’d known at uni was the powerful bachelor billionaire in today’s world.

Neither was Kort prepared for their meeting, or for the feelings he developed during their flight to Gambler’s Folly. But he is determined to show her a good time on one of his favorite worlds. If nothing else, he could help her come back out and learn to live again.

Old Flame hasn’t made it to the editor yet, but how about a brief excerpt?

OLD FLAME

Gambler’s Folly Book 4

Checking her reflection in the mirror, she decided she didn’t look bad for a woman of her age. Her hair was beginning to gray a little, but it didn’t show too much in her blond hair. With a final tug at the skirt of her black dress, she slipped on pumps and took the lift to the third floor dining room. She preferred a table which wasn’t out in the open, so it took her a minute to get situated. Once seated, she took a deep breath and began to peruse the menu. 

“Excuse me, Mrs. Murphy?”

Staring up at the stranger, she said, “I’m Elizabeth Murphy, yes.”

“It’s about time we met,” the man sneered.

“I don’t know you,” she answered. “What do you want?”

“You may not know me, but you have received several letters from my boss concerning a debt of $10,000. We haven’t received your payment yet.”

“You’re with them? I’ve written back and explained everything to your boss. I don’t know what the debt is for, and I can’t get the money to pay it.”

“May I remind you of a trust your late husband set up for you that you can borrow money against?” the man asked.

“How do you know about that? There is nothing I can do. Go and talk to the attorney who administers the trust. If your claim is legitimate, I’m sure he’ll do what’s right.”

“Mrs. Murphy, it isn’t wise to anger the people I work for. I suggest you find a way to get the money and pay us what you owe.”

“Look,” she said, beginning to panic. “I don’t know who you are, or who your boss is, but I’ve never owed anyone that kind of money in my life. And I can’t imagine Joe did either.”

“Mrs. Murphy,” he began again.

“No! Go away. Go talk to the attorney, but leave me alone.”

Her whole attention had been on the man across the table, but she suddenly felt warm, strong hands on her shoulders.

“Listen, friend,” a deep and vaguely familiar voice said. “You have the lady’s answer. Anything more from you is harassment. Call it a night.”

“This is none of your business. It’s a private affair. Go away.”

“Your private affair became my business when you shouted it across the dining room. You are bullying this poor woman, who I understand has lost her husband. Say good night.”

“Listen, buddy, I don’t know who you think you are, but I can make big trouble for you,” the man threatened.

One of the hands lifted from her shoulder and she heard the man behind her speak into his com.

“Security? Behrens here. I need to have someone escorted off the property from the third floor dining room. I’ve sent a photo.”

“You can’t do that!” the man across the table shouted.

“I think you’ll find I can,” he answered as his hand returned to her shoulder. Liz felt so much safer with him here.

Almost immediately, two security guards from the hotel came down and took the man into custody.

“Anything else, sir?” one of them asked.

“No, thank you. He was making a nuisance of himself and upsetting this lady. We were going to have dinner.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

As they took the man away, Liz felt drained and slumped into her chair. The hands left her shoulders, and the man came around to kneel in front of her.

“I’m sorry your stay here has been marred,” he said and then stopped abruptly, looking startled. “Liz? I mean, are you Elizabeth Stockton?”

Looking up into dazzling blue eyes that could belong to nobody else, she asked, “Kort? Is that you?”

“Yes. Liz, what are you doing in my neck of the woods?”

For some unknown reason, she sprang out of her chair and threw her arms around him. Tears she’d held back began to trickle down her face.

“Hey, it’s all right. I’ve got you. You’re going to mess up your makeup,” he told her softly.

Forcing herself to give him some space, she dabbed at the tears with the handkerchief he offered.

“I’m Elizabeth Murphy now. Our kids sent me tickets for my birthday, so I could come visit them.”

“How many kids do you have?” he asked.

“Two, a son and a daughter. Our daughter has two sons, who are eight and ten. What about you?”

“No. I married right after university, but it didn’t work out. A few years later, I tried again, and it lasted less than a year. I’ve been a bachelor most of the time since we last saw each other.”

“That’s a shame,” Liz said. “You were always such a sweet guy.”

With a hearty laugh, which was as delightful and sincere as she remembered, he said, “I know quite a few people who would disagree with you. Would you join me for dinner? We could catch up on old times.”

Seated comfortably at his table, she picked up the menu and began to look for something relatively inexpensive. She knew it was included in her holiday package, but she hated to waste money, even if it wasn’t coming out of her wallet..

“Liz, get whatever you like. It’s on me tonight,” Kort told her.

“Oh, no. I couldn’t,” she insisted. “Anyway, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do with your money.”

“Not really. I have loads of the stuff. Why not enjoy it?”

“Seriously? What do you do for a living?”

The look he gave her was part amusement and part surprise before he asked, “Do you watch the news?”

“Yes. Well, not watch. I listen to the news while I putter. Why?”

And then her mind put the facts together and she began to sputter.

“Oh! You’re that Kort Behrens–the billionaire who is always on TV?”

“Right in one,” he said with a smile. “How many Kort Behrens do you know?”

“Oh, Kort, or Mr. Behrens, you must have better things to do than entertain me. I’ll go order something from room service. Thank you for your help and everything,” she said as she began to push her chair away from the table.

“Liz, sit down. Please,” he insisted firmly. “I may be wealthy, but I love to visit with old friends. People who knew me before the media splashed my life all over the world.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I don’t even know how to talk to you. I can’t believe the Kort Behrens I knew became one of the wealthiest people on Earth.”

“Sit down. Forget the money. I’m Kort, Liz, the guy who almost lost you over a balcony one night.”

“Oh my gosh! I’d almost forgotten that dance.”

“It wasn’t one of my better moments,” he said.

“Nice save, though,” she added.

“Thank you.”

They talked over dinner and wine before he suggested a walk around the gardens. She had forgotten how big the man was. He towered over her. If he was anything like he’d been at university, there was no fat concealed under his three piece suit. It was all washboard muscle. It was a good thing he had such a mild mannered way.

“Are you headed back east tomorrow?” he asked her.

“It’s sort of funny, considering I don’t travel much, but I’m not. I’m headed to Houston.”

“What’s in Houston?”

“The kids bought me a vacation package—transportation and four weeks of vacation on Gambler’s Folly.”

“Five o’clock shuttle?” he asked with a curious look.

“Yes, as a matter of fact. Why?”

“This is quite a coincidence. I’m booked on the same shuttle.”

“To Gambler’s Folly? You’re kidding,” she said in amazement.

“What flight are you on tomorrow morning?” he asked.

“I’m on the ten o’clock Delta flight. Why?”

“I can call and have your money refunded if you’d rather fly with me. There are fewer lines and hassles when you fly corporate.”

“Seriously? Won’t I be in your way?”

“Not at all. Once I get to Gambler’s Folly I’ll have a couple things to check on for business, but for the rest of the time, I’m on vacation. Just plain old rest and relaxation.”

“I don’t know, Kort,” she said, hesitantly.

“Say yes, Liz. It’ll be fun.”

“If you’re sure,” she told him, not sure why she was agreeing.

“Perfect! I’ll have my driver get your luggage in the morning. We need to leave by nine-thirty, which will get us into Houston early enough to have a late lunch before we go on to the Spaceport. Do you have all your paperwork ready?”

“Yes, Kate and I made sure of that before she left the hotel.”

They chatted all the way back to the hotel, where they were besieged by people with cameras.

“Is this a new girlfriend, Mr. Behrens?” one of the reporters asked.

“No, Liz is an old flame from my university days. Say hello, Liz,” he said with a smile.

“Hello,” she managed as Kort turned away from the reporters and entered the hotel.

“Sorry about that. I hadn’t expected them so soon. I’m glad we’ll be off planet tomorrow night. By the time we get back, they’ll have something else to talk about, hopefully.”

“I hope so. I never thought about reporters,” she said, still a little shaken. “Old flame?”

He grinned widely at her expression, winked at her, and put his arm around her shoulders. When they got to her room, he looked deeply into her eyes for a moment.

 “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said before he pressed a warm, gentle kiss to her cheek. “Sweet dreams, Liz.”

It may be just a little while before this is ready to be published, but it is in the process.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

And as always

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance.

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In some ways, this year has gone by very slowly. In others, it has rushed by. I’m not sure I was ready for it to be December yet.

How about you?

Anyway, with the holidays right around the corner, let’s look at some excerpts from Gambler’s Folly! To begin with, let’s take a peek at the first book in the series, which gave its name to the series.

GAMBLER’S FOLLY is the first in a three book series—more to come in a while. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 1.

You can find Gambler’s Folly and the rest of the series at Amazon or at Smashwords.

And if you like merch associated with your books, check out my storefront on TeeSpring for totes, mugs, T-shirts and other items from the series and the books!

And for this weekend, the first Gambler’s Folly book will be on sale for $0.99–today through Monday morning!

Excerpt:

Trae wasn’t back yet and it was past time for dinner. Where was he? She slammed the brush down on the dressing table and dried her eyes, as anger overcame disappointment.

Wondering what to do, she heard the sound of his key card in the lock. “Where in the hell…” she began as Trae entered the room, followed by two well-built men in expensively tailored suits. “Trae, what’s going on? Who are these guys?”

“Hi, sweetheart. These men are associates of Mr. Leone. They’ve come to take you to him.”

“Take me to—Mr. Leone? The biggest mob boss on the planet?”

“Um, yeah. I kind of lost a bet. Sorry.”

“You lost a bet? What kind of bet? What have you done, Trae O’Brien?”

“Well, you won’t have to worry about the house anymore, or the car, or really anything. I lost all of it. Then, in order to get out from under that and a M1,000,000 debt, he insisted I put you on the table, as it were. Win or lose, one hand, and all my debts were gone. Just if I lost, he got you. And I lost. Sorry.”

“Sorry? Sorry?! You’re more than sorry, Trae. What the hell?” she shouted, as one of the impeccably dressed men took her arm.

“Come along, Mrs. O’Brien. Mr. Leone is waiting.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you. Get your hands off me!”

As she struggled with one man, the other one found her purse, and checked for her passport and papers. Speaking into what must have been a wrist communicator, man number two said, “We have the lady. Mr. O’Brien will be right down to sign the papers.”

“Papers? What papers, Trae?”

The older of the two men smiled and said, “The ones signing away his rights to you, love. Come along.”

“Trae? Trae!”

Downstairs, watching her husband sign away his debts, Karianna was numb. How could this even be legal? Did it matter when you were dealing with the mob?

Pushing the signed papers across the table, Trae said, “Well, that’s that I guess. You’re sure we’re good?”

“Mr. Leone was very clear about it. One hand, win or lose, all debts forgiven.”

“What about me?” Kari asked, in shock. “What am I supposed to do?”

The man in the shadows was quiet for a moment, and then said, “Go ahead and take her downstairs, to one of the special guest rooms. Mr. Leone will see her there and decide what to do with her.”

The man in the shadows was quiet for a moment, and then said, “Go ahead and take her downstairs, to one of the special guest rooms. Mr. Leone will see her there and decide what to do with her.”

Entering the elevator, one of her escorts used a pass card to select a private underground floor. From what she’d heard about the place, the lower-level suites were exclusive and outrageously expensive.

The suite they opened for her certainly bore that out. Stepping onto the lush carpet was like stepping onto a cloud. Hidden mood lighting around the perimeter of the ceiling lit the area evenly, while the trickling water in a small fountain created a gentle background sound. Live plants grew under specialized lights and the scent in the air was soothing.

“Just relax, have a drink if you wish. Mr. Leone will be here shortly,” one of the men told her. And then they were gone.

Turning back toward the door, Karianna tried the latch, just for the sake of trying. Locked. For all the creature comforts and beauty in the room, it was really just a cushy cell. But she didn’t intend to stay here any longer than she had to. Chances were good that, if she could reach the elevator, she could get back to the lobby. Usually pass cards were needed only to enter a floor, not to leave it. Now, what could she use as a weapon?

As the door opened, she tensed, ready to make her escape. Unfortunately, Mr. Leone had come prepared. The first bodyguard easily caught the floor lamp she swung at him and set it on the floor beside the door.

“Restraints,” she heard someone say. After a struggle with both bodyguards, Karianna found she was snugly restrained between two poles, clothes torn and disheveled. While she’d been looking over the room, she’d thought they were for in-room entertainment. She now saw they were equipped for hand and ankle restraints. Soft and cushioned, the restraints were nevertheless effective. Adjustable stops kept her from sliding the restraints up and down, holding her firmly in place, exactly as she was.

“Thank you, gentlemen,” she heard the voice say. It was a deep, dark, sensual voice which made her spine tingle. “We’ll be fine now.”

“Yes, Mr. Leone. Have a pleasant evening,” she heard one of the bodyguards answer. The door opened, closed, and she was alone with a man many had reason to fear.

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Who is Morgan?

She appeared for the first time in Jareth, First Lord, as one of the girls brought back from Clan Belfort. As the series progressed, I became intrigued by her story and decided to see where she’d come from and what Clan Brannach held in store for her.

She’d had a hard life before she moved to Clan Brannach and after she arrived, she was assaulted while making deliveries for her boss. She escaped being raped only because of two young men who came to her rescue.

Sure she’ll never find a happily-ever-after, she’s given up trying.

Until she meets James, who has also given up on love. But when he first sees Morgan, muddy, battered, and bloody though she was, it was love at first sight.

But his family has secrets of its own, which has scared off most of the women in his life. One woman he was dating took off running and was nearly trampled to death in the street when he gave her a glimpse of his Talent.

Can he win Morgan’s heart? And can she accept his unique gift as well?

MORGANThe Pixie and the Green Man–Esperance Book 3

Excerpt:

“Jamie, you’re up early this morning,” his dad called out as he strode down the path. “Got plans with a dark-haired pixie?”

“Sort of. Can I talk to you for a minute?”

Leaning on the rail fence in front of his parents’ house, he told his father what had happened the previous evening.

“I don’t see how you could have done differently, son,” his father said. “If you’re serious about her, she’ll have to know sooner or later.”

“But how can I know when to bring it up? I thought Gwen…”

“Don’t look back, James,” his father said seriously. “I was never sure about Gwen. I know you loved her and hoped things would work out, but that is all in the past.”

“I’m trying to look forward, Dad. But I couldn’t live with myself if I chased Morgan away.”

“Where are you going today?” his father asked.

“For a hike up the stream. It’s a nice warm day and it should be beautiful.”

“The stream isn’t far from the forest. Take her over and introduce her. See what the forest has to say.”

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