Monday, May 22, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap & Review--The Season Finale

Yes, I know it's been ten days since the finale aired. I was under some deadlines and my son got engaged so things have been crazy at my house! But now that I'm coming up for air, let's review what happened to the team on the last episode.

We get a quick recap of the sex trafficking episode (you can read my recap/review of it here) and then we see a room full of girls sleeping on the floor, being forced to get up and get into a semi-truck with Pukelani Pineapple on the side, driven by a really cranky man. Viewers are given a little time stamp that it's 5:43 a.m.

But then we go back to fourteen hours earlier when Danny is bringing Charlie to work and showing him his office. He also shows him Steve's office which is in the corner, like a "time out." Charlie says Steve is a bad boy and Danny agrees that he's the worst. (Danny's negativity is really starting to grate. Sigh.) Charlie is given an "area" on the floor to play in (are there boundaries for this area? That was odd to me.) Steve comes in with a gift for Danny, but after finding out Charlie is there so Rachel can go to the divorce lawyer meeting, he gets down on the floor to play with the little boy. He announces he's hungry and Steve offers to take him to the vending machine, but Danny objects. There's nothing nutritious there! Steve says he eats there three times a week. (I sort of loved that he allows himself cheat days. Haha.) He also mentions that Snickers must be healthy because there are nuts in them. (I agree!) Charlie and Steve head for the vending machine with the conversation topic being why Danny is a poopy head. (I'm starting to think whoever wrote this scene was working out their small child/family issues onscreen. Oy!)

But then we cut to Chibby getting it on at Chin's house since Sara won't be back for hours. Abby says he could come back to HPD and he says she could come back to H50. Both of those are terrible ideas

Kono is at the store with Sara getting party supplies for Jerry's "Yay I got a badge" party. Kono lets Sara ride the cart to simulate surfing? I don't know, it was weird. (But then again, they're wasting screen time getting napkins and plates.) Kono leaves Sara unattended to grab a pregnancy test. (I mean, the girl's only been kidnapped by cartel members recently, but hey, whatever. With how many kidnappings Kono has worked, you'd think she'd be more aware than that.) Anyway, Sara put a bunch of candy in the cart that shouldn't be there. Yawn. (Cute kid, but this scene was too long when all we needed to know was Kono needed a pregnancy test.) Thankfully, Moani calls Kono and she heads over to meet her. (I guess that means she's ditching Sara. Somebody better tell Chin and Abby! haha)

Kono is walking with Moani, complimenting her dress, talking about her artwork, and Moani is asking whether Emilio has said anything. He hasn't. So Moani pulls out a picture of someone who worked with Emilio. It's the pineapple truck guy!

Danny is refusing to open McG's gift because he thinks it's a gag gift. *rolls eyes* McG asks why he tries to be nice and I agree. Why is he nice? Kono knocks on the door. They got info on PineappleGuy! His name is Deon Miller and he was popped for assault, also owns a private trucking company. They're going to go to his house, and McG says it's got to be surgical. (My thought at this point was, all right, we'll finally get some action!)

They break in, guns drawn, but all they find is a messy house, a lot of mattresses on the floor, and a doll. The coffeemaker goes off, since it's 6:29 a.m. (They were 45 minutes too late! Sad.) Kono stares at the doll. (Wouldn't the episode have taken a different turn if the doll's head had started spinning or something? Ha!) Grover wants to know how they knew Five-O was coming? (They never really tell us the answer to that either. Just spidey senses I guess.)

Kono is looking angry in the car, says she can feel the girls' pain, fear and trauma in the room. Grover tries to comfort her and talks about how his daughter was accepted to Northwestern, but the thought of sending her to the place where all the cops hate him and there are monsters out there is hard. Can't separate job from being a parent. (I didn't really find that comforting at all). He does say Kono is right where she needs to be. (I disagree. She's too emotionally invested and that clouds your judgment. With her job, you can't let that happen.)

Jerry got a hit on PineappleDeon's truck. It's on the H1, so they call Duke to get a helicopter in the air who can give them thermal confirmation. There's one person in the cab, eleven in the bed. And they also monitor PineappleDeon's communications to see who he's talking to. The HPD get a roadblock together, but with the way it's set up against a semi-trailer? I can already see it won't work. Abby poses in her tight pants and high heels, holding her badge out to PineappleDeon, but he just smashes through it all. Abby jumps to the side and doesn't appear hurt, but appearances are deceiving! Chin rushes over, worried about her and she has a scrape on her arm! (Even though she was wearing long sleeves that didn't appear to be ripped, but oh well. Chin was cute to be worried.) He wants her to go to the hospital for it, but she declines and they go after PineappleDeon.

Danny and Steve are behind PineappleDeon's truck, (with the two or three other police cars that weren't smashed in the roadblock),and Danny is being negative and sarcastic, wondering where PineappleDeon is going to go since he's on an island. Steve finally has had enough and tells him that he knows he's stressed out about Rachel, but maybe tone it down. That gets Danny, who protests that he's just helping Rachel with the kids and comes over to put Charlie to bed sometimes and they talk. (Sounds cozy to me!) Steve laughs about "talking" with the ex-wife and says Danny is like a ten year old with a crush who's happy about the divorce because then he'll have a shot to make things right with Rachel. Steve wants him to admit it and says, "by the way, I get it." (What does he get exactly? Wanting a shot to make things right with an ex? Hmmm)

Jerry gets PineappleDeon's number and Steve calls to threaten him that if he doesn't pull over Steve is personally going to throw him in prison, etc. PineappleDeon is not impressed and just growls into the phone that he'll just go over the cliff. (I mean, PineappleDeon has been up since 5:30 a.m. and didn't get his coffee, it's no wonder he's grumpy.) I know you will be shocked, but Danny criticizes Steve for being too aggressive, that people don't like to be threatened, and Steve asks if he's the perp-whisperer now. He also tells Danny that he doesn't know the one about catching more flies with honey, but he does know the one if you don't have anything nice and positive to say, keep your hole shut. Can his next gift for Danny be to have this framed and put on Danny's office wall? Please? (And is this the show's way of addressing Danny's issue?)

Jerry is our info-dumper this ep and interrupts with the details that PineappleDeon has 300 gallons of fuel and gets five miles to the gallon so he could drive around for days. (Unless he has to pee. Or, sleep.) Can't do spike strips in case the semi goes out of control, so Steve orders everyone back to the palace for his new plan. (And almost takes out an HPD car while turning around.)

Steve's plan is so complicated for the team to understand, that he has to get Charlie's toys to explain it to them. (Talk in small words and very slowly, Steve.) The team will force the semi into some tunnel. Steve will jump onto the truck from the overpass, the driver won't know anything is going on, and the girls will be rescued. That's the plan. No one is thrilled with his plan, (obviously it's dangerous) but of course no one has any other ideas. Danny is quiet and I think maybe he'll offer some support this time, but no, he just waits until Steve is getting ready in his office to come in and spread more negativity around. Ugh. He asks if Steve is whacked out of his head? But again, Steve asks for a better idea. Nope. Danny is distracted for a moment and asks why Steve is still taking pills, and Steve dodges the question asking if Danny has something better to do. (Please have something better to do.) Danny gets in one more dig and says he was trying to put off watching Steve commit suicide. (Honestly, Danny is so off-putting and negative now. I really enjoyed the McDanno banter in early seasons, but this is just painful to watch. It's not banter. It's just bad.)

Per plan, the team forces the truck to the tunnel, Steve is getting to the ledge, making sure the cell phone signal is jammed so PineappleDeon can't see what's going on. Danny gets on comms to tell Steve if he dies today he's okay with it. (Seriously? Not cool.) Steve asks if he could tell him good luck and Danny says there isn't any luck, that luck would be Steve is paralyzed instead of dead. (I have no words at this point). Steve tells him the gift he bought him is a chef's hat with his name on it, so he can use it for Steve's. (Awww. He's a good friend.) Danny says his restaurant won't be named Steve's and Steve will be there to see that because he's not dying today. He says he's only negative because he wanted to talk Steve out of it. (Okay, really? Not an excuse. At all.) PineappleDeon is in the tunnel now, so Danny wishes him good luck. Finally.

Steve jumps (amazing stunt work!), makes it, and starts cutting a hole in the ceiling. But there's a shooter inside! Thankfully he's a terrible shot, (as are all terrorists/cartel members on this show), but now Steve is hanging off the side of the truck! He climbs back on (no problem for this guy, since his spidey-climbing abilities were revealed last week) and jumps down into the truck.He fights with the shooter and takes a few shots before he throws the shooter out the back. (Where the police nearly run him over.)

Chin is coming up fast behind PineappleDeon on a horizontal fireladder type contraption. Danny is driving close enough that Steve can open the semi-door and offload some of the girls. Sadly, the truck moves into protected airspace and the cell signal is back so the news is streaming. And they're showing the rescue. (Anyone reminded of the movie Speed at this point? I loved Keanu in that role.) PineappleDeon sees the rescue and speeds up. Steve closes the door with the other five girls still unrescued.

Danny asks him if he has any more bad ideas (not that Danny has any ideas at all, but whatever) and Steve tells him he's going to uncouple the trailer. I was not shocked when Danny says that's a stupid idea, but Steve has to do something. (Danny does thank him for the hat. So there's that, I guess.) Steve tells the girls he's going to get them out and to huddle close together. He miraculously jumps up to the hole in the ceiling (I have no idea how, it looked pretty high) and drops down to uncouple the trailer. He stays with the cab while the trailer careens right into a convenient hill without tipping over. PineappleDeon jumps out and is confronted by Steve, who promptly shoots him when PineappleDeon rashly raises his gun in Steve's direction. Steve runs to the girls, everyone is okay, Danny and the team arrive in time for cleanup duty as always. Danny calls him insane and Steve says that hurts his feelings, he feels labeled. Danny insists he's not trying to hurt his feelings, the last thing on earth he wants is to hurt Steve's feelings. (Uh huh. Sure.) Steve says it's his tone and how he says it, but they agree to a reset. (Can we all get a reset to a few seasons ago when Danny had a balance of negative/positive, so we didn't cringe so badly at what comes out of his mouth? Please.)

Back to the Chatting Table where they all talk about how they got PineappleDeon's burner phone and they traced his destination through a text to a chartered plane headed to Carson City. They don't know who sent the text, but PineappleDeon's contacts are all over the country. Steve will pass on their intel to law enforcement in those areas and hope they follow up. Kono is all angry/mopey/anxious, wondering if it will make a dent since the girls are constantly moved and departments don't have resources. Steve points out ten girls went back to their parents today. (Focus on the win, Kono!) She still looks upset, though, as everyone sort of just walks away.

Cut to the party for Jerry at Steve's. They even have a large poster with him holding his badge. (What do they do with that after the party? Hang it in his office?) Charlie needs to use the bathroom and Steve comes out looking sick. He confides to Danny that he actually has radiation poisoning from that dirty bomb a couple of months back and he's taking pills for that. There will be side effects down the road, but he's fine today. Danny stands there in his chef hat, looking concerned. (Flashback to last season when Steve needed a new liver. I'm disappointed they couldn't have thought of something more original than making the lead sick again, you know?)

Anyway, Chin calls Kono, but she doesn't answer. She's on a plane headed to Carson City. To do what, we're not sure, and she obviously hasn't told anyone. Oh, and she might be pregnant, so it seems unwise to go rogue right now, but whatever. She's got a very eye of the tiger look on her face and that's how the season ends!

For me, I wish this episode would have followed up with the government conspiracy teased from the last episode. This felt a bit out of sequence. There was a great stunt, though, jumping down onto the semi-trailer, that will make this episode memorable.

This season went by so quickly. Did you watch the finale? What did you think? Any predictions for next season?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday is a western romance by Liz Isaacson called, The Seventh Sergeant. I've enjoyed her books and am looking forward to this one!

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Can a devastating injury actually be a blessing for Reese and Carly?

Life has finally started to settle down for Sergeant Reese Sanders after his devastating injury overseas. Discharged from the Army and now with a good job at Courage Reins, an equine therapy center at Three Rivers Ranch, he’s finally found happiness. Then down-on-her luck Carly Watters becomes his veteran care coordinator and wants to assist him with tasks he most definitely doesn’t need her help with—until a horrific fall puts him right back where he was years ago: Injured and depressed.

Carly dislikes small towns almost as much as she loathes cowboys. But she finds herself faced with both when she gets assigned to Reese's case. Because of his injury, she moves to Three Rivers to help him full-time, and her unhappiness follows her around like a dark cloud.

Reese will need to let go of his embarrassment and pride to allow Carly to help him—and love him. And Carly will have to admit that living in small-town Three Rivers is actually a blessing—because it led her to Reese. Do they have the humility and faith to make their relationship more than professional?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Romance Deal Today!

I just noticed Traci Hunter Abramson's romance, Chances Are, is on sale today for only .99 cents! I've never seen her books offered for such a low price, so I thought I'd pass the deal along.

You can download your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Maya Gupta is a survivor. After escaping an impending arranged marriage in India as a teenager, she has thrived in America. But now she faces her greatest challenge yet—cancer has invaded her life, and unless she finds a way to participate in a clinical trial in Washington, DC, this may be one battle she loses. When Maya’s best friend Kari offers Maya the lifeline of a place to stay—her brother’s currently vacant DC apartment—the young woman eagerly accepts and goes to meet her fate . . . 

Ben Evans’s plans have changed, and he’s heading home for some much-needed rest and relaxation during his off-season in the major leagues. Upon arriving at his DC apartment, however, Ben is shocked to find Maya—his sister’s friend, who he hardly knows—in residence. He soon finds himself trapped between protecting his above-reproach reputation and searching for a way to help a woman he is coming to admire. When Maya’s fight to survive her disease becomes more complicated than ever, she and Ben scheme an extreme solution to her predicament that tests to what lengths they’re willing to go together to save Maya’s life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Second Chapter of The Capture

Everything is on track for my new novel, The Capture, to be released at the end of the month. I've worked so hard on this one and am excited to have you read it! I thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek into the second chapter. Tell me what you think!

(You can read the FIRST chapter here)

The Capture
by Julie Coulter Bellon
Copyright 2017
All Rights Reserved
Chapter Two

Julian sat at the makeshift command center at the now deserted Bastion Air Base. Not long ago, thousands of British soldiers had made this their base of operations, but now it was more like a ghost town, except for the team Julian had brought in. They were all holding their breath as they listened to the rescue team’s radio transmissions. Augie, their computer tech, sat next to him chewing on his thumbnail and glancing nervously at Julian every few seconds. He knew better than to talk to him right now. Julian’s heart was in his throat. He wanted to be there in that prison, rescuing Zaya himself, but knew he was too close emotionally. Letting himself near the people who had taken her would not be a good idea. And he couldn’t risk anything that would blow the mission to get her back.
The radio was pressed to his ear, though, and he strained for any information about her condition. She’d been gone six months and eighteen days. Vanished as if she’d never existed. Nazer had taunted him with the knowledge that he was holding her captive, and if Julian and his task force didn’t back off, he’d send Julian the footage of Zaya being murdered in a horrific way. Even with that threat, Julian had done everything he could to find her and, at the same time, try to stop Nazer from hurting anyone else. But every time Julian got close to finally bringing him down, the more he worried that Zaya would pay for this cat and mouse game with her life.
In the end, it was the money trail that led them to her. Julian followed all Nazer’s accounts himself, meticulously picking through the transactions to shell corporations and known government officials. But when they’d found a financial rabbit hole that finally linked a large payment to Saif Taraki, Nazer’s known enforcer, it had been easy to find his whereabouts and follow him to the makeshift prison in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. It was a desolate desert area, mostly populated by native Pashtun tribes, which made it harder to run covert ops, but Griffin Force had managed to get it done. When the intel came in that a female prisoner was being held there, Julian had the first glimmer of hope that they might have located Zaya.
His stomach clenched as the transmission crackled over his radio. The only words he wanted to hear were “the package is secure.” But it was too soon for that. It was too soon to hear anything. Something must be wrong. “Heading for the exit point. Coming under fire,” Jake’s voice said, his breath coming in huffs. “Make sure Bones is waiting for us.”
Bones. That was their nickname for medic Elliott Burke. Zaya’s injuries must be bad. The thought squeezed Julian’s chest until he couldn’t breathe. Part of him had expected as much, but he’d held out hope that Nazer wouldn’t hurt her, that she was merely a bargaining chip. He should have known better. Nazer al-Raimi and his men had no problems at all hurting anyone who got in their way.
“Sir, can I get you something?” Augie asked tentatively, his fingers paused over his keyboard.
“No.” Julian paced the small room, needing to burn off his anxiety. He hated feeling helpless. The months he’d spent searching for Zaya had been the worst of his life. He’d stopped sleeping for any length of time, reduced to closing his eyes for power naps when his body finally succumbed to exhaustion. But, no matter how long he closed his eyes for, the nightmares were always there– Julian running after her, hearing her scream his name, but never being able to catch up, to save her. It got to be too much, so he’d just lived on black coffee to stay awake as much as possible and prayed to find her.
Even with that, he knew nothing he’d gone through would compare to whatever Zaya had suffered. His mind often jumped to worst-case scenarios until he thought he’d drive himself crazy. His fists clenched. He shouldered all the blame for her capture and he’d never be able to forgive himself. It was his new– and only– goal in life to do everything he could to earn Zaya’s forgiveness now.
If they could get her out of there alive.
The radio crackled again, and he sucked in a breath. Nate, Jake, and Colt were three of the best men on Griffin Force. That’s why he’d sent them after Zaya. But sending in a small extraction team had its risks, especially when Nazer was on his home turf. He seemed to move about Afghanistan as if it were his own kingdom. Stealing Zaya back would be a huge coup, and Nazer would most likely come after them harder than before, but Julian couldn’t care about any of that. He just needed the words that she was safe.
He pressed the radio closer to his ear, not wanting to miss any part of the incoming transmission.
“Package is secure.”
It took a moment for the words to sink in.  Had he dreamed them? But when they finally registered, he sagged against the wall, finally slumping to the ground, unable to stand the mountain of relief pouring over him. Zaya was on the helo. Safe.
“Your plan worked! They got her out.” Augie’s slid down the wall to sit next to him, pointing at his lucky plaid shirt. “I’m telling you, every time I wear this shirt, the mission ends in success.”
“Then you should never take it off.” Julian could hardly speak. His mind was racing ahead. Getting Zaya back would only be the beginning. Dealing with what had happened would take a lifetime. What had she been forced to endure? Could she come back from it?
Suddenly the air in the command center was too stifling. He had to get out of this room. Pulling himself up, he jerked open the door. The air outside wasn’t any more breathable– its dryness made his throat itch– but he sucked in a few breaths anyway and tilted his face skyward. It was too early for there to be any sign of the rescue helo, so all he got was a faceful of sun. Temperatures had been more comfortable with winter coming, but the days could still be hot. He wouldn’t be sad to leave Afghanistan behind.
Thinking back, his last day with Zaya had been warm and bright like today and full of so much hope. Late spring in Morocco was beautiful and when he knew he’d be there with Zaya, he’d contacted his jeweler friend Nabil– not because he would help with their assignment, but because Julian was ready to choose an engagement ring for Zaya. They’d been discussing marriage and Julian was planning the perfect proposal. The Moroccan mission was supposed to have been a quick pick-up of one of Nazer’s associates to take him to a black site for questioning, and there would be plenty of time to pick out a ring. They should have been back in England within seventy-two hours, but Julian hadn’t considered the idea the pick-up was a trap. He’d been too preoccupied with the ring, how he would propose, and what her answer would be.
The loop of their last movements together that day ran through his mind as it had thousands of times before. That last morning when they’d left the hotel, on their way to the counter-terrorism facility where Nazer’s associate Mbarek Bahnini was being held. Laughing and chatting about the little man on the sidewalk who’d tried to cheat them out of eighty dirhams to be their “tour guide.” Julian had held her close, glad she was his to love, and anxious to make his proposal.
They’d been a little bit early to the counter-terrorism facility, but it hadn’t taken long before Bahnini was secure in the transport vehicle, and Julian had told Zaya he’d meet her at the airport. Nabil’s jewelry shop was five minutes away, and he wanted to have her ring in his pocket before they got on the plane. Zaya had raised an eyebrow, but smothered her curiosity, just nodding. Looking at her trusting, beautiful face, he’d wanted to drop to one knee and ask her right then, but there was no way he would have lived down proposing marriage to her in front of a Moroccan counter-terrorism office. Instead, he’d kissed her goodbye and watched her get into the back of the van.
That was the last time he’d seen her.
As near as he could guess, the motorcade had been attacked at the same moment he was putting her emerald engagement ring in his pocket. He’d been on his way to the airport in a little blue taxi when he’d seen the smoke just ahead. Blindly, he’d jumped out and ran for the scene. It was bloody carnage everywhere. No one had been spared. Their prisoner was shot execution-style, still handcuffed in the back of the van. The second guard from the back of the van had been lying half in and half out of the door, and when Julian approached him, he’d still been alive. Julian held his head, knowing from the rattling breaths, he didn’t have much longer. “Zaya?” Julian had asked, praying she wasn’t dead.
“Taken,” the man had whispered. “Nazer.”
Those two words shook him to his core and from that moment on, the ring box in Julian’s pocket was like a cannonball of regret. There was no doubt Nazer had been after him, as the head of Griffin Force, and Julian would have been there if not for the ring. Instead, one of the most wanted terrorists in the world had gotten Zaya. The guilt was crushing.
Julian had been driven in his hunt for Nazer before, but from that day on, he was relentless. He called in every favor he was owed and used every penny at his disposal to find Zaya.  
And now he had.
It was impossible to stand still. He strode back and opened the door to the communications building he’d exited. Augie was at the computer, monitoring the helo. From the little blip on the screen, Zaya was about ten minutes out. Good.
“I’m going down to the landing zone,” Julian said to Augie, pushing down his jitters. After all these months of waiting, Julian needed to make sure he was there the moment she touched down. Augie nodded and Julian walked away. Several Griffin Force soldiers who were guarding the perimeter eyed him as he passed by, but no one approached. He was glad. Explanations, or small talk, were beyond him right now.
Camp Bastion had a lot of empty space, but as soon as he’d received the go ahead to use the buildings on the far edge of the camp, the first thing he’d done was secure a makeshift airstrip. His steps slowed and he began to pace the length of landing zone, waiting for the helo. Finally, he heard it in the air. Shading his eyes, he watched the descent. Sand briefly obscured the aircraft as it landed and Julian took a step forward, letting the rushing granules sting his face, reminding him this was real. She was here. His stomach was in knots, but the moment the aircraft was safe to approach he was running, needing to see her.
The helo door opened, and Jake Williams, still in his tactical gear, put up his hand. “Wait. Give her a minute.”
But Julian had waited six long months. He pushed Jake to the side. Elliott was there in the middle of the floor, his entire focus on the woman lying very still before him. A woman that looked nothing like the Zaya Julian remembered.
Her long, brown hair was now short and matted. She looked filthy, but underneath the dirt, it was obvious her skin was pale and waxy-looking, as if death had claim on her, but hadn’t quite received its due. Her cheekbones were more prominent than they had been six months ago, and her one visible wrist looked like it could be snapped in two with only a touch. His heart wrenched hard, twisting his insides and making it difficult to breathe.
He looked at Elliott, whose eyes were full of compassion. “You probably have a lot of questions, but right now we need to get her inside,” he said just loud enough for Julian to hear. “She needs treatment for an infection on her foot.”
“Her foot?” Julian held on to the edge of the door, trying to steady himself. Standing there, frozen in place, wasn’t how he imagined their reunion. He wanted to be strong, able to comfort her, but it was as if his body could only stare dumbly and try to process the scene in front of him.
“Some deep lacerations that haven’t healed properly. She’s got a fever, and we need to get that under control.” His tone was brisk as he started to move the stretcher into position for transport. “Once she’s settled, we can talk about where to go from here.”
Julian nodded. That was reasonable. But he didn’t feel reasonable. He wanted to take her in his arms. To tell her how sorry he was. To beg her to forgive him. Instead, he stepped back and watched as they lowered the stretcher from the helo. She didn’t move. Was she unconscious? Sleeping? 
As if Zaya had heard his unspoken question, she opened her eyes, squinting at the sun. Julian leaned over and took her hand carefully in his, feeling the raised skin of scars on her palms. What had they done to her? “Z, it’s me, Julian.”
For one brief moment, she squeezed his hand and brought it to her cheek. But then her brown eyes locked on his and he couldn’t hide his shock at her obvious pain and misery. His breath seized at how naked and raw the emotions were swirling between them.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured, not knowing what else to say, but needing to say something.
She turned away without a word, her light tugging on his hand forcing him to release her.
“We’ve got to treat her now,” Elliott said, as they moved her into the triage area. “You’ll have time to talk later.”
Julian folded his arms and watched them take her inside, trying to calm the feelings inside him. It felt like his soul had been raked over the coals, the hot trail of guilt and regret leaving a path that burned through his body. The agony of being separated from her had multiplied at seeing the result of her captivity. And from her reaction, she blamed him, just as he blamed himself.
He started toward the hospital, but quickly detoured back to the command center where he’d spent the morning waiting for news. He wrenched open the door. Augie was inside, engrossed in whatever was on his computer screen. He glanced over to see who’d come in, a puzzled look on his face.
Julian managed to get eight words, “I need to be alone for a minute,” past the lump in his throat. Augie didn’t ask any questions, just closed his laptop and scurried past him immediately.
Once Julian was alone, he locked the door and slid to the floor, his head in his hands. A groan escaped from deep inside and, after that, he couldn’t stop the anguish flooding over him like an avalanche. Silent tears coursed down his face. He knew he would need to be strong for her in the days ahead, but he gave himself this window of time to mourn for everything she’d suffered and the fact that nothing would ever be the same again. For either of them.
He didn’t know how long he sat like that, but a knock at the door jolted him back to the present. “Sir? Sir, you’re needed at the hospital. They’re calling for you to come immediately.” Augie’s voice was agitated, more so than usual. That meant trouble.
Julian scrambled to his feet. The only reason the hospital would call was if something had happened to Zaya. Remembering how fragile she’d looked, his heartbeat picked up as alarm raced through him.
“On my way,” he said, as he pulled the door open. She wasn’t going to die now. Not if he had anything to say about it.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I Need Your Vote!

I was notified by the RONE Award committee that my novel, Love's Broken Road, has made it through the first round of the award process and is moving on to the second! The second round is where the public votes for their favorite book. There are quite a few books that are on the list (and I'm so honored to be among them!) so I could really use your vote.

All you have to do is click here and you'll be taken to the InD'Tale website. Once you log in (creating an account is free and they never sell your email) then scroll down to week five and find Love's Broken Road in the sweet romance category. Click on it and voila! You're done.

As you all know, Love's Broken Road, is my first contemporary romance and I would be thrilled to make it through this round and on to the last one where a panel of judges would read it.

So, could you take a moment and vote for me?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Double Book Review AND a Giveaway!

If you got a gift card to Deseret Book or Amazon for Mother's Day yesterday, you need to use it and get a book called, Once There Was A Mom, by Emily Watts. It is a short book, but so full of emotions that will make you laugh and cry and just feel good about all your efforts in the motherhood department. We are all different in how we approach motherhood, but at the same time, we're all in this together! You will love this one. Beautiful illustrations and timeless truths make this a book you will read again and again.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

'Mom'' was the biggest word in her world. It made her want to dance, and it made her want to hide. And on some nights, when the house was dark and still and the moon peeked through the window, it made her wonder.

For every mom who has ever wondered if all the little things she does in a day made a difference, Once There Was a Mom offers hope and encouragement. Take it from someone who, like you, has read story after story, sung lullaby after lullaby, and even taken the batteries out of the toys once in a while! The truth is, little things are much more important than we may think. With contemporary, stylized illustrations by artist Destin Cox, this charming gift book will bring a smile to the face of mothers of any age.

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Jenny Proctor's new book, Wrong For You. I've enjoyed her stories in the past, but I was a little nervous about this one. A woman in love with two brothers? You know that isn't going to end well. But I was pleasantly surprised with how the author handled the subject matter.

Lane Bishop has moved back to Chapel Hill to try and start over again. She has a job she really loves and is living near her beloved grandmother. She doesn't really want to join the singles' scene again, but some well-meaning girls from the LDS singles ward drag her to a soccer game where four "untouchable" Hamilton brothers are playing a soccer game. They are all good looking, but one is engaged, one is heading out on a mission, and the other is in a relationship. That leaves one single one who never dates. But Lane is never one to back down from a challenge and decides she's not going to sit on the sidelines and watch the game, she's going to participate. When Jamie Hamilton, the only single one of the brothers, tells her she'd be in over her head, she goes to the captain of the other team and he lets her play---and they win! Of course Jamie Hamilton wants to know more about her, but he's too busy wallowing in the loss. His older brother Simon comes over to congratulate them on the win, and specifically Lane. And so begins the love story, but who will it be with? Lane and Jamie? Or Lane and Simon? The road to love is definitely never easy.

I thought the author did a great job with the setting of Chapel Hill, and included so many wonderful details about food and family traditions and childhood memories, it really fleshed out her characters and made them feel real. I loved how both the heroes and heroine came from strong families and while they'd had their trials, they were like anyone else, trying to find love and the person you'd want to spend the rest of your life with. Of course, having a romance with one brother while trying to squash the spark you feel for the other brother is complicated and messy and that kept me turning pages to see who Lane would end up with for sure. I definitely wished we would have gotten a tiny bit more in the payoff at the end after wading through all the struggles for love, but it was still a book I closed with a smile and a sigh. A great afternoon read.

You can get your copy here

Don't forget to scroll all the way down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the back copy:

Lane Bishop is a hardworking, intelligent, beautiful young woman. And with her recent move to Chapel Hill, she is determined to leave behind the drama and effort of keeping up with the dating scene. Even so, Lane somehow manages to get dragged out by a gaggle of girls to watch a bunch of guys play soccer. But just watching is not Lane’s forte, so she joins in the fun and leads her team to victory. Rather than feeling intimidated by the vivacious beauty on the opposing team, Jamie Hamilton is intrigued. Risking his “untouchable” dating status, he decides to pursue Lane—with a little help from his older brother Simon. With Simon’s behind-the-scenes assistance, Jamie proves irresistible, even to a disillusioned dater like Lane. But as she gets to know both brothers, Lane can’t help but wonder—beneath the grand gestures and romantic words, is she falling for the wrong guy?

Here is the blog tour schedule:


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Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Freebie--Historical Romance!

Today's Friday Freebie is Saving Grace by Michele Paige Holmes. I really enjoyed this one!

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.

As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.

Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.