Saturday, November 29, 2014

99 Cent Deal Today!

For anyone with a suspense lover on their Christmas list, Relative Evil by Debra Erfert is on sale until Dec. 3rd!  Don't miss this one!

Here's the back copy:

Inspired by her father and his pretty young wife, novelist Claire Abney allows her imagination to run wild and pens a best-selling thriller. However, as Glen Abney suffers multiple freak accidents, she wonders exactly where the prose stops and reality begins.

Claire screens her family from the prying eyes of success with a masculine pen name and her handsome editor, her shill for photo ops and book signings. But her father’s unexpected death, and bungled attempts on her own life, force her to admit the strategy may have backfired. Now, with the help of her brother and Max, her dreamy frontman, she must separate truth from fiction. Before life imitating art becomes deadly.

And you can click here for my review of it.

Click hereto download your Kindle copy

And here's the trailer for it! *shivers*  So creepy, yet awesome.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday is The Princess and the Prom Queen by Jaclyn Weist.  It looks like a fun YA read.

Here's the back copy:

Jenny’s had it with her life. Six siblings in an overstuffed house are enough to drive anyone crazy, and sometimes she dreams of escaping to some fantasy world. When she suddenly wakes up to find herself being kissed by a strange—but very handsome—prince, Jenny knows her life just got a lot more exciting. Now stuck in a medieval land of castles and royalty, when Jenny learns that the queen has agreed to marry her off to the prince, it’s time to take matters into her own hands. She goes on a quest to find out who dragged her to this time while trying to keep from falling in love with either of the boys vying for her attention.

Princess Genevieve has only known life under her mother’s rule. She wants to do more than go to battle or deal with suitors. She wakes to find herself in a new world filled with gadgets, electricity, and moving carriages. She finally has the freedom to be who she wants to be with a family who cares deeply for her and a boy worth any sacrifice. It’s more than everything she always wanted.

As Jenny and Genevieve settle into their new lives, they face an unknown evil which threatens everything they care about and makes them face tough questions—like who they are and what they really want their lives to become.

If this looks interesting to you, download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is filled with friends, family, and really really yummy food. I'm so grateful to have all of you as my friends and for all of your support this past year.


photo credit: Tostie14 via photopin cc

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What I'm Reading Now, Writing Now, & Looking Forward to on Thanksgiving

Last night I met with my critique group and discussed the first three chapters of my new project. I'm so excited to share this with you! Of course it won't be released until sometime next year, but so far it's shaping up really well.  It's fun doing something completely different, although I know I will come back to the Hostage Negotiation Team series eventually.  I still have Jake's story to tell! How did you do with word count this week?

I just got Rachel Nunes new book Blinded and since I've been following her series with Autumn Rain for quite some time, I was thrilled to see a new book out!  I've hardly been able to put it down for a second.  Are you reading anything fun right now?

Of course it's Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Are you getting everything ready for your feast?  Any special dishes you have to have?  I like mashed potatoes and gravy.  Boring, I know.

So . . . *pulls up chair* tell me all about your books, word count, and Thanksgiving.  We've got a bit of time, right?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Esposito is Kidnapped on Castle & Why I'm Not Reviewing H50 Right Now

Last night's Castle was so intense. I loved it, especially since it gave Esposito a chance to shine.  Jon Huertas is a great actor from the emotional to the kick butt.

We start out with a murder in the park.  Just a guy, sitting on a park bench drinking his coffee, when he's shot in the head.  The team starts digging around about the victim and find out he's a GAO investigator, so he investigates fraud with government contracts.  Ryan finds a mysterious phone call made from a pay phone to the victim right before he died and the police tech gets some footage of the man who made the call. Jared Stone.  The boys go to pay him a visit, but see him on the street while they're in traffic.  (And they were talking about marriage and kids while they were driving there.  Will Espo propose to Laney? Or is she truly happy with how things are? When Espo says his biological clock is ticking, I had to laugh.)  Esposito follows Jared into the subway, keeping Ryan on the phone, but all that does is give Ryan a front row listen to Esposito and the rest of the people in the subway car being taken hostage.

Back at the station the captain is yapping about giving her all the info so she can give it to HRT. (They do show an awesome looking HRT team, though.)  The tech girl (I can't remember her name!) finds a feed that Jared doesn't know about, so they can all see that the hostages are okay for now. And no one really seems too freaked out until the hostage taker reveals he has a bomb strapped to his chest with a kill switch. Uh oh.

Beckett has Ryan leave the hostage situation scene to go to Jared's apartment (he's feeling so horribly guilty poor guy) but he goes.  They find a shredder and go back to the precinct to put it all together. (Which would be a nightmare of a job.) The bomber asks for a girl named Erin Wilson to be released from prison.  Everyone looks into her background and find that the fellow hacker is his girlfriend. Then the bomber says he wants her flown to the Maldives, a non-extradition country.  Right around then, Ryan assembles some of the shredded docs and find out that the bomber had a playbook for this little terrorist activity.  And he was headed to some wealth conference and hadn't planned on the subway thing.

It's not adding up for Castle who is wondering how a hacker gets involved in becoming a bomber.  Erin claims she doesn't know anything about this, so the team starts searching for the mastermind.  Meanwhile, the HRT team gets a message to Espo through a pizza box, (so clever!) and it's go time.  They're going to breach the subway car on the second flicker of lights.  Only the bomber hears them on top of the subway car. Oops.  Espo is noticing how much sicker the bomber is getting and that he's sucking on his inhaler like a lollipop.  Espo tells the transit cop next to him (who was young and pretty and former Army!) that on his count, they were going to take the bomber down.  Which they do.  Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief until Espo gets the news that the bomber was infected with a twisted strain of H1 N1 and they were probably all infected. (Thanks to Laney's observations of his illness on the secret feed they were watching.) Dun, dun, dun.

That helps the team put it all together. Their murder victim was investigating a company that made vaccines.  When they examined the company's records, there was an order for ten million vaccines made for this particular strain of flu.  And guess who invested a whole lot of money in that company? Our murder victim's boss.  If they could use Jared to start an epidemic, she would be rich, but our little nosy investigator found out about it so he had to be killed.  Poor Jared was just a patsy.  Caskett go visit him in the hospital and pretty much just tell him he was used.  It was sort of odd, actually.

Thankfully, Espo and the others are all treated and even though there was a cute scene with Espo and the transit cop in the hospital room, she pushes him into Laney's arms.  And Laney looked pretty happy that Espo wasn't dead or had a terrible disease.  The team decides to celebrate and go to the old haunt for drinks. So sweet. This episode had lots of emotion, tenseness, and lots of Espo. A really great episode!

Did you watch? What did you think?

Why I'm Not Reviewing Hawaii Five-O Right Now

This is me watching Hawaii Five-O lately

Now, for a little aside to explain why I haven't been reviewing Hawaii Five-O for the last couple of episodes.  I'm so disappointed in the direction the show is taking that each review ended up being more of a rant than anything else and I thought I should probably take a step back.  Now that Wo Fat is dead (which is a huge mistake in my book.  Why take out the main nemesis on the show?) And add to that that there was no great reveal for WHY Wo Fat hated Steve or wanted to destroy his family.

He says two things, that Doris killed his mother when he was a baby so she took care of him until he was four, and that he thinks his father might still be alive.  I was all, what the what? THAT'S why you hate Steve? Really? Cuz, dude, that's lame.  That's why Steve has been hunted, tortured, nearly killed, his father's death ordered, his life made miserable, because his mommy took care of Wo Fat for four years? Wo Fat wouldn't even remember much of what happened at that young age! *shakes head*

Not to mention the torturing of Steve at Wo Fat's hand was gruesome, but another retread.  (Alex O'Loughlin played the emotion and anger so well, though. He has a great range of acting skills). But Wo Fat tortured Steve before in North Korea when everyone wanted to know what Shelburne was, so it felt like, hey, I've seen this before and I don't want to see it again.  (And yeah, Shelburne was a lame reveal, too.)  Anyway, there's so much retread of former storylines and scenes that I'm truly starting to wonder if the writers realize they've done this stuff before. (Like Chin having the illegal money issue again.)  *deep breath*  I'm getting rant-y again so I'll stop there.

The other reveal was that Catherine has left Steve and instructed him not to wait for her so she can stay in Afghanistan and teach. Are you kidding me right now?  They tell each other they love each other after all those years, after everything they've been through and Catherine just shrugs her shoulders at the end and is all, yeah, whatevs. I'll just stay here in Afghanistan instead of be with the man I love. SO. DUMB and a slap in the face for McRoll fans.

Yeah, yeah, Aunt Deb was on and all, but these two lame reveals have just stuck in my throat.  It's like the writers are trying to reboot the reboot by adding Jerry, dumping Catherine, and killing Wo Fat. It's not working for me and it's even killing the enjoyment I got of the Hawaiian scenery.  Sigh.

So, I'm taking a little break from reviewing Hawaii Five-O so I can not be so rant-y when I talk about it.  It's all for you, my gentle readers, honest.  Maybe after the break, you will get a happier reviewer and there will be some better episodes to talk about!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: Silver Bells Collection

Today's Christmas review book is the Silver Bells Collection in the Timeless Romance Anthology.  I've read all of the other anthologies and really enjoyed them.  This one had some of my favorite authors in it as well as some new ones.

I cuddled up with my hot chocolate and a warm fuzzy blanket, with a fire in my fireplace, and started this book.  I was not disappointed.  There was all kinds of Christmas cheer in every story, with romance around every twist and turn.  I loved so many things about each story, but Sarah Eden's Irish romance really stuck out, especially in how the hero and heroine met.

Of course I had my favorites with authors I know and love, but I was also excited to discover new authors to look for. I think my only disappointment was in how short the stories felt.  I read each one in half an hour or less and a few authors struggled a bit to provide a depth in the story with so short a word count.  Overall, however, it was a sweet way to pass an afternoon with Christmasy romantic fluffiness.  They all left a smile on my face and got me excited for Christmas.

If you're interested, you can click hereto buy your copy for $4.99

Here's the back copy:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical romance novellas, all centered around the Christmas season.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision. As the Christmas season approaches, Margie realizes that being a “modern girl” might not be all she had dreamed of and Henry might have more to offer than she ever imagined.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Freebie--The Christmas Catch

Today's Friday Freebie is The Christmas Catch by Ginny Baird.  I've never read this author before, but this fun holiday novella looks good! And it's a clean romance, so it's even better!

Here's the back copy:

Sometimes the best gifts are unexpected...

Since the death of her military husband two years ago, single mom Christine White has struggled to get by. By throwing herself into her work as a Chicago copywriter, she's managed to keep food on the table but has gradually lost sight of what really matters, like building a bond with her four-year-old son. When Christine's best friend insists she spend Christmas in Vermont so she can get her life in order, Christine initially resists. Little does she know she's in for a memorable holiday that will reignite her faith and reawaken her heart.

Bachelor professor John Steadman has given up on finding the right one. Spending time with his friends while keeping up with his job seems satisfying enough. Then one day close to Christmas, a beautiful woman from Chicago nearly runs him off the road during a snowstorm. What's more, she's got a kid in her car. It's only natural that John and his trusty golden retriever want to help drag them out of a ditch and steer them toward their destination. What John doesn't expect is that soon he'll be hoping Christine and her son will be staying in Vermont - for more than just a little while.

If this one looks good to you, click hereto download your free Kindle copy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One More Set Of Book Reviews---Brenda Novak

I swear this isn't going to become a review blog.  I've simply been on such a reading binge lately.  I finished two Brenda Novak books that I wanted to tell you about.

The first one is The Heart of Christmas.  It's from Ms. Novak's Whiskey Creek series and it's Eve's story.  I've always felt a little sorry for Eve because she's so sincere and just wants a husband and family so much, and is especially melancholy as the holiday season approaches.  She finds herself going out on her birthday and that's sort of the last thing she truly remembers. When she wakes up the next morning she has a strange man in her bed.  Things progress from there the more Eve learns about this guy.  And he is a puzzle.  He's going by an assumed name, he's running from something, and puts Eve in danger even by being around him.  But they can't stay away from each other.  There was quite a bit of angst and longing going on that really built the tension as we find out who Rex really is.

This book was fairly suspenseful and kept me turning pages to see how it would all turn out and how Eve would react when she finally got the whole truth about Rex.  For my gentle readers, there were several sex scenes, but they were brief and easy to skip over.  Cheyenne's story and what she's doing behind her husband's back is still going on in this book, which was sad for me.  I just don't like it at all and it's more sad because Cheyenne and Dylan's story was a favorite of mine. Sigh.  All in all, I was glad that Eve finally got her story and it was centered around the holidays.  Not to mention we were able to catch up with everyone from the Whiskey Creek gang.

The second Brenda Novak book I read was A Matter Of Grave Concern.  This one caught my eye because it's unlike any historical romance I've ever heard of.  It's about a surgeon's daughter, Abby, who is buying corpses from "resurrectionists" (people who dig up the recently deceased) to use for medical purposes.  Her father's medical college is suffering at the shortage of bodies to dissect so she arranges to buy some under the table.  Only she gets in trouble with a gang who steals her entire purse and the last gift her mother gives her.  And then to add insult to injury, they steal the cadaver back.

She decides to follow after them and steal her money back since that purse contained the funds the college needed to keep going for the next few months.  And she gets caught by the gang, but not before the handsome and seemingly cultured de facto leader decides to put her under his protection.

And that's where the story got good.  You see, our hero, Max, is really a member of the nobility disguising himself in the resurrectionist gang to find his half-sister Madeline.  Of course, Abby presents a big problem to Max if he doesn't want to compromise his cover.  There are so many great twists and turns as they try to find out what happened to Madeline and figure out what to do about the growing attraction between them.  Again, there are several sex scenes in this one as well, but thankfully they are brief and easy to skip. The best part, of course, was the happy ending (I'm a sucker for those) and while some don't like neat and tidy endings, I do and really enjoyed this one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Saving Grace

Since I'm not really writing right now, I thought I'd tell you about the book I just finished reading.

This new historical romance by Michele Holmes caught my eye right away.  Our heroine, Grace Thatcher, is on a husband-finding tour to satisfy her gambler father's wishes that she marry well, but she's doing everything she can to make sure no gentleman will offer for her.  For example, she puts on breeches and rides on a fox hunt and gets thrown from a horse and pays a doctor to say she can't bear children.  Her master plan is to buy some time until her inheritance from her deceased grandfather, a duke, comes through, and she can take her brother and sister far away from their father and live quietly in a cottage by themselves.

Grace's plans go awry when she's in a carriage accident on a dark and stormy night and becomes desperately ill.  She finds refuge in the house of Lord Sutherland, but because of a big misunderstanding, he thinks she's trying to trap him into marriage.  Grace becomes embroiled in a love triangle that had me turning pages to see how it all turned out. (Those are the best kind of love triangles, when it could go either way!)  I loved Lord Sutherland's transformation, the reveal of the family secrets and her relationship with Samuel, but most of all I loved Grace.  She was a wonderful heroine who rose above her circumstances and did the best she could to help those around her, even when it probably wasn't the best idea.

I'm anxiously looking forward to more of the Hearthfire romances from this author.  Well worth the read!

Here's the back copy:

From Whitney Award Winning Author, Michele Paige Holmes, comes SAVING GRACE, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series:

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.

If you want to download your own copy, it's $3.99 on Amazon.  Click hereto buy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Thoughts On The Castle Honeymoon

Last night's Castle was so full of awesome.  Seeing Caskett in a different environment was refreshing and fun.  They still had all their skills and chemistry, but looked like they were having fun doing something outside of New York.

We started off with a girl being brought in to a hospital and she says "Diamondback" before she dies. Cut to Castle and Beckett announcing to Laney, Espo, and Ryan that they got married without them. It went over like a ton of bricks.  They were upset, and rightly so. It seemed so odd that they weren't invited, last minute or not.  That was one of the glaring things that took some shine off the wedding we'd all waited for.  The guys aren't cutting Castle any slack at all, and bring it up at every turn throughout the show.  I thought it was justified, personally, but Captain Gates calls them out as whiny girls who didn't get invited to the dance.  Um, your closest friends didn't invite you to their wedding. I say let them whine a little bit!

Castle and Beckett go down to Arizona to find out why the Diamondback girl was given an overdose of digoxin while staying at a dude ranch.  They even request to have her room in a bunkhouse with a tiny twin bed.  (The looks on their faces when Castle carries her over the threshold to that little bed was so funny.)

Castle is so in his element with the cowboy outfits and buying a his and hers six shooter. Oh man, so funny.  They find out from their naked neighbor that Whitney (the murder victim) was having an affair with a married ranch hand, so Castle immediately figures out a way to find out which ranch hands were married.  (And the best line of the night was easily, "we don't approach this like cops, we approach this like writers." "So we procrastinate and make stuff up?"  HAHA. So true.)  Beckett has to go to hog-tying class and Castle goes to harmonica class (because it was his idea so he gets the good classes, haha) to get close to the different ranch hands.  Castle finds the married guy at a poker game who says he didn't have an affair with Whitney, she just stole a shed key from him.  Caskett goes to the shed and figure out she stole dynamite. Dun, dun, dun.

Long story short, this all leads to a treasure hunt from a robbery of gold bars committed in the 1800s by the Peacock brothers.  I thought it was a nice twisty wild west case, with rattlesnakes, runaway horses, awesome outfits for both Rick and Kate, and a gunfight to boot.  (Castle walking into the saloon and having those swing doors come back on him made me laugh. Hard.  I know that would happen to me if I ever did that, too. Haha!)

I loved the honeymoon episode and the fact that the boys donated vacation days to Caskett so they can stay a little longer.  And whether they think it was their honeymoon or not, that was a really fun episode.

Did you see it? What did you think?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review: Sam's Christmas Wish

Today's Christmas book review is a beautifully illustrated story called Sam's Christmas Wish.  I think this one has become a new Bellon family favorite.  It shows the true meaning of Christmas and makes me tear up every time I read it!

It's the story of Sam who is having a hard time providing a Christmas for his family, but he doesn't want "charity" from his neighbors.  He sits up with a shotgun across his lap to  make sure nothing gets dropped by, but somehow gifts and a Christmas dinner are left anyway.  Sam doesn't let his family touch any of it and instead calls the sheriff.  Surprisingly, the sheriff comes out and talks to Sam, pointing out that there's no footprints in the snow.  How would any of his neighbors hide that? Sam finally accepts the gifts and thinks about the scripture given of doing our alms in secret.  He then turns his life around to start doing his own "alms in secret" and longs for a time when he can pay it forward at Christmas to someone else's family.  That opportunity comes and boy, I didn't expect the ending.  A sweet story that will definitely put some Christmas spirit into your home.

Here's the back copy:

Sam Edwards isn't looking forward to Christmas, at least not this year. Since losing his job six months before, he hasn't had any luck in finding a new one. He isn't sure how he can give his family a merry Christmas, and the last thing he wants is charity from his neighbors. But when he falls asleep in his living room with his shotgun across his lap just to make sure no one attempts to visit him he wakes up to find his front porch laden with Christmas goodies. But when he tries to find out who left the presents, the freshly fallen snow reveals no footprints.

Years later, Sam's wife has passed away and his children are grown. Old and sick, Sam remembers the kindness of the anonymous stranger from long ago and wishes for an opportunity to bless another's life. So on Christmas Eve, when he sees his neighbor's house on fire, he hopes that he can be the means for another anonymous miracle. Sam's Christmas Wish is a story of love, service, and sacrifice.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Freebie Friday---Three Free Books Today!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the Fall Into Cash $250 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway.  Don't miss this one! With Christmas coming, you could use that money, right?  Click here for the details.

Today I have three free books to tell you about!

The first one is Dancing with Black by Laura Bingham.

Here's the back cover copy:

Dancing is Cami's escape from her dark home life. It's the only thing that gives her hope - until she meets Adam Black. A talented dancer in his own right, he asks Cami to be his partner, and she gains strength and confidence as he unlocks whole new possibilities for her.
When Cami's abusive mother overdoses and her already-broken family falls to pieces around her, dancing with Adam helps Cami pull through. But he has secrets of his own, and someone wants him found at any price. Cami gets dragged into a web of danger and deceit. Now she must make a choice between familiar darkness and uncertain light.

If this looks interesting to you, download your free Kindle copy here

The second one is Against the Odds by J. Adams.

Here's the back copy:

Tired of dealing with an unfaithful husband after seven years of marriage, Raine Edmunds finally gets a divorce. Wanting to start over, she leaves her successful modeling career behind and goes to a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico to stay with her best friend. The ranch is the perfect place for her to take stock of her life and all she's accomplished.

Then Raine meets Hayden, her friend's brother-in-law, and the opposite of all the other men she has ever known. As their friendship blossoms, so does her love of ranch life. She discovers that what she wants most-what her heart truly desires-is right in front of her.

Everything about Raine and Hayden's love is against the odds. Now they must prove to each other and to themselves that no matter what trials assail them, their love will be strong enough to overcome any obstacle.

If this looks interesting to you, you can download your free Kindle copy here

The third one is a middle grade story called The Secret Sisters Club by Monique Bucheger.

Here's the back copy:

Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie and Tillie, want to be sisters. Tillie's divorced mom plus Ginnie's widowed dad could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie form a secret club. They come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’.

Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’ Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about.

When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out what the big mystery is before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.

If this looks interesting to you, you can download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Which Project Should I Choose? I Need Your Help

So, as I've mentioned the last few days, I've been taking a break from writing and reading like crazy. I'm definitely on track to have read 114 books this year and that excites me.  I've read lots of great books and some not so great, but it's been a good reading year for me.

The thing is, my stories are starting to call to me again, but I'm having a dilemma that I hope you can help me with.

I have three projects that I can do, but I can't decide which one to go for next!  Tell me your vote:

1.  I have started a completely fresh mystery novel with all new characters and I'm about five chapters in.  I love this story and the characters.

2.  I have an idea for a novella for Claire and Rafe, showing more of what happened after they came home from Afghanistan.

3.  I've started Jake's story, the Homeland Security agent that appeared in Ring Around the Rosie and am about two chapters in.  Such an interesting character and the situation he's in during this novel keeps my mind turning with possibilities.

So, help a girl out?  Which one do you vote for?  What would you like to see from me next?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Word Count Wednesday---Sort Of

Well, I haven't done any writing at all this week. I've been reading like crazy instead! I'm currently reading Saving Grace by Michele Holmes and loving it!  I have the new Sarah Eden one to read when I'm done. Can't wait!

Have you been writing this week? Doing Nano?  Read any good books lately?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Castle Wedding

First of all, I want to take a moment and remember the veterans who have served honorably in our military to protect our freedom.  I have many relatives and people close to me who served and I'm so glad we have today to step back and honor all the sacrifice our men and women in the armed forces give for us.

Last night was the Castle wedding.  It was amazing, almost everything I'd ever wanted for them.  But let's start from the beginning.

The first scene is of some guy in the back seat of a car with a briefcase handcuffed to his arm.  He's sleepy and the driver says they have a ways to go yet, so he could go to sleep.  But before the guy can close his eyes, another car cuts them off and guys get out and start shooting.  When the driver and passenger are dead, they hack off the arm attached to the briefcase.  Ew.

Cut to Castle's loft where Beckett is making breakfast.  He sees a wedding invite from her old FBI flame and he says he rescued her from that.  That leads to a conversation with Castle about where they would be if they'd never met.  She says she'd probably be Captain of her own precinct and he says he'd be working on his second Pulitzer.  It's a really cute conversation, but of course the phone rings and they're headed to the murder scene.

They're standing around gathering clues, wondering where Esposito and Lainey are, haha, (they show up all flustered) and they're trying to decide how to start the investigation.  Castle recognizes that the footprint on the dead passenger's chest has coal dust in it.  (He used that in a book once).  Castle knows there's an abandoned power plant that used to use coal nearby, and Kate gives in and says they'll go investigate it on their way back to the precinct.

They head there and Castle asks her if she's going to go to her old flame's wedding.  She says no, she's not ready to witness someone else's perfect day and the look on Castle's face after she said that was heartbreaking! He feels terrible that he left her at the altar and wishes he could change it.  They search around the old plant and eventually find the getaway car and the briefcase.  Castle touches the golden artifact inside it and an alarm goes off.  People start shooting and throw a canister filled with gas so Castle and Beckett dive for cover.  He goes through a door and when he comes back, there's no Beckett.  Heading back to the precinct, he sees the guys and says he thinks Beckett is in trouble.  Captain Beckett comes out and says she doesn't know him. Dun, dun, dun.

What follows is an awesome alternate universe.  Castle starts talking about the case and they know he couldn't know those details unless he was involved so they take him to interrogation.  They pull up Castle's rap sheet (his mug shot is hilarious!) and he starts denying jumping on a parade float to sing Let it Go, landing a hot air balloon, oh man, it was so funny.  Beckett comes in to question him, but he can't convince her that they ever knew each other.

His mother Martha, now a famous Broadway star, comes down to rescue him (Ryan is a fan boy of hers) and she takes Castle home.  Where his loft is decorated like a strange mixture of Martha and her crazy whims with a touch of normal on the side. Alexis has dark brown hair and is aloof.  Castle finds out that he wrote a terrible book instead of Nikki Heat and the critics all panned it and he lost his money.  He tries to wake himself up from this nightmare by plunging his face into ice water, but to no avail.  Alexis mentions alternate universes so he surfs the net looking for evidence of it.  That's when he sees the artifact that he was touching.  And right after that he gets a midnight visitor in the form of a young woman who really wants him.  He finally gets rid of her and decides that he has to find that artifact.

Back to the precinct, where he tries to convince Beckett that he's sane and can help with the case. She lets him go with the boys to the address they've found.  Esposito keeps confronting "writer boy" about how he knows so much.  I seriously laughed.  I wonder how many takes it took to get those scenes down without them laughing.  Castle "helps" them bring in a suspect, but he gets on Beckett's bad side for not staying in the car and he's sent home.  Of course he doesn't go home and skulks around the precinct to get to where he can listen in on the interrogation of the suspect.  That was a funny scene, too.

Beckett catches him and puts him in lockup, but springs him when his mom won't come down and get him.  She tells him they had met before, that she'd gone to a book signing for his Derrick Storm books and I seriously had an aww moment over that. I'd wondered if they were ever going to tie up that loose end.  So sweet.  He invites her to drinks, and she goes, but he takes her to a hangout where he thinks the shooter will be.  She seems cranky about that until she sees the guy and takes him in. When he tells her he thinks they make a good team, I had so many season one feels! It was awesome.

Back at the precinct Beckett is counting this as a win since they found the murder weapon and the murderer.  Castle wants her to go further in finding the artifact, but she stands firm.  He goes home and tries to talk to Alexis about why they had a falling out.  They talk and hug (awww) and he decides to make sure Beckett knows in both worlds that she's not better off without him.  He goes to get her a cup of coffee, but before he makes it to the precinct, he's taken at knifepoint back to that abandoned power plant.  The rich owner waxes on about the power of the artifact and wants Castle to show him how it works.  Before they can force Castle to tell them anything, Beckett comes in and saves the day.  She tells him she thought about what he said before, that she wouldn't just give up. He barely gets a chance to reply before another shooter comes out of the shadows and Castle takes a bullet meant for Beckett.  She's leaning over him, asking him why he did it, and he weakly says, "I love you Kate."

Of course he's transported back to real time right then and to "his" Kate.  Come to find out the team has wrapped up the case while Castle and Beckett were separated.  Kate is amused when Castle tells her about his "dream" and he stops her and says, "will you marry me?" Kate smiles and says she already said yes, but he replies with, "will you marry me right now?"

Then we are witnessing the ceremony with the minister, Martha, Alexis and Castle watching Kate come down the aisle on her father's arm.  (In front of a hideous green screen, but I digress).  Kate's wearing a pantsuit, which I didn't like actually. I wish she would have at least had a dress, but whatever.  She looks so happy and they exchange very personal vows to be each other's partner in crime and in life and he tells her he wants her to be the mystery he spends his life exploring.

*sniffle*  I love them.  It was almost perfect and so worth the wait! The alternate universe was so cleverly done.  It was amazing.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, November 10, 2014

FOUR Book Reviews Today! AND A Giveaway!

So, you know how I released a new novella today?  I have to say, ever since I've been done with that, I've gone on a reading binge.  I have FOUR books to tell you about today!  And there's a giveaway at the bottom, too, so scroll all the way down!

The first one is in keeping with my goal to read books in November that will help me get in the Christmas spirit come December.  I was really looking forward to reading this book, too, because I think I might incorporate it into our family traditions.

It starts out in the introduction with the author and her daughter driving down the road and her daughter says, "Mom, you believe in Jesus and I believe in Santa Claus." That makes the author think back to all the traditions and everything they'd been doing to get ready for Santa's visit and how they may have missed the most important reason for the season.

The thing I liked best about this book is that Ms. Freeman's idea (that she tells how to do in the book in order to have a Christ-centered Christmas) is easily adaptable to my family.  Anyone can do this and it's simple and sweet and meaningful.  She goes through and explains how she makes her family Christmas truly special by using the figurines in a Nativity scene.  Each one has the author's perspective and thoughts, an activity, story, and scripture in the book that could be read and pondered before you put the figurine in its place as you build the nativity.  I loved how easy it was and how relatable the stories were.  I can definitely envision myself doing this and making it a Bellon family tradition.  This is a short and sweet book that touched me and I know you'll want to have it, too!

If this looks like something you may be interested in, you can buy it here

And here's the video based off the traditions discussed in the book:

The second book I want to tell you about is also a Christmas story, called Peace and Goodwill by Lee Strauss.  I've really enjoyed her Minstrel series, and this novella is part of it, but you don't have to have read the books to understand the characters in this one.  

Peace and Goodwill tells the story of two women, Anna and Belle, who aren't looking forward to the Christmas season ahead.  Anna is dying of cancer and is about to get kicked out of her apartment for being unable to pay rent.  All she has is her dog until she meets Rhys Williams, who is in town to visit family.  It was so sad and poignant, but also funny and sweet.  It really made me think about the people around me and what the holidays might mean to them when they are alone or suffering.

Belle works in a used bookstore and has no family.  She's dreading the holidays until a soldier on leave comes in to buy a book.  Their love story kept me turning pages to see what would happen and because the two characters made me smile. The dialogue between them was really well done and I thought the characters were given a depth that is sometimes hard to find in short novellas.

I kept wondering how these two stories would intersect and if they even would, but when it finally came I was surprised.  It will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit, but be sure to have some tissues nearby when you read this short, but sweet story!

If this looks interesting to you, you can download it herefor $1.99!

The third book I want to tell you about is Carla Kelly's new one, Softly Falling.  I really enjoyed the depth of this one.  Lily is sent to the Wyoming wilderness to be with her father, but he's not really equipped to take care of her because of his alcoholism.  There is a man named Jake from the next ranch over that works hard to help Lily and her father.  I have to say, Jake was one of my favorite characters in this book right from the very beginning. He's just so complex.  He's got his own hopes and dreams, but those seem to be slowly changing to maybe include Lily as he gets to know her and sees the circumstances she faces.  Lily was also high on my list of things to like about this book. She was so easy to like, even in her most difficult moments.  She's strong because of the circumstances and prejudice she's had to face, but she's also vulnerable and easy to relate to. 

The romance was sweet and slow, but the story itself is so riveting as these people try to survive through a horrific winter.  Nothing is sugar-coated here and while there is loss and heartache, there is also hope and a sort of redemption in a way. I better not say too much so I don't spoil it for you!  Let's just say it was very well-written, with a great setting and two main characters that pull on your heartstrings as they suffer through, triumph over, and try to figure out where life is going to take them.

The last book I want to tell you about today is The Match Maker by Karey White.

Match Maker

Blog Tour hosted by I Am A Reader November 4th to 21st 

As you all know, I wasn't happy with the ending to The Husband Maker, the first book in this series, because of it's abrupt cliffhanger ending.  This one, The Match Maker, also has a cliffhanger ending, but I was expecting it this time.  While I didn't necessarily like it, because not much is really resolved per se, I knew it was coming and was prepared for it so it made it a little better.

Other than the ending thing, though, I thought this story was really well done.  I love this author's style.  She does great dialogue, has wonderful characters that make all kinds of mistakes that everyone makes when they're dating, and has the story set partly in San Francisco and Scotland that made me want to visit both places!

I like the growth I'm seeing in the main character, Charlotte, as she figures out her personal life.  I loved Flynn and how sweet and patient he is.  I could totally imagine his Scottish accent every time he talked!  This was a great addition to the series and I'm looking forward to the third and final one so we can get some resolution.  

Be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Match Maker Book Cover

The Match Maker by Karey White (The Husband Maker #2) (Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker) It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart. In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever--at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.

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The Husband Maker by Karey White

Husband Maker Cover

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Coming Spring 2015
The conclusion to The Husband Maker Series
The Wife Maker by Karey White
Wife Maker 2

    $25 Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My New Novella Is Live!

I know I never post on Sundays, but my new novella, From the Ashes (Hostage Negotiation Team #2.5) went live on Amazon a day early and I couldn't wait to share!  (And it's only 99 cents right now!)  Click hereto download your copy.

This book is a continuation of Colby and Sophia's story from Ashes Ashes (Hostage Negotiation Team #2)

Here's the back copy:

As a suspect in Senator DeMarco’s murder, Sophia Naziri worked hard to bring the true killer to justice and prove her innocence. But she pays a high personal price trying to clear her name when she’s held hostage and nearly killed---and Sophia can’t put it behind her just yet. 

Matters get even more complicated when classified information regarding the murder is leaked.  Sophia is besieged by the press and trapped even further by the memories that won’t let her move on.  In order to escape the situation, Sophia heads to a secluded cabin with Detective Colby Black so they can lay low and figure out who the leak is.  But can Sophia find the peace she craves?  Or will the circumstances that brought her and Colby together now drive them apart?

(To read the first chapter click here)

I can't wait to hear what you all think of it!  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Freebie---Losing Logan

Today's Friday Freebie is Losing Logan by Sherry Ficklin.  It's a YA paranormal romance and sounds interesting!

Here's the back copy:

"What if the one thing you never meant to hold on to, is the one thing you can't let go of?"

Normally finding a hot guy in her bedroom wouldn’t irritate Zoe so badly, but finding her childhood friend Logan there is a big problem. Mostly because he’s dead.

As the only person he can make contact with, he convinces Zoe to help him put together the pieces surrounding his mysterious death so he can move on. Thrust into his world of ultra popular rich kids, Zoe is out of her element and caught in the cross-hairs of Logan’s suspicious ex-girlfriend and the friends he left behind, each of whom had a reason to want him dead. The deeper they dig to find the truth, the closer Zoe gets to a killer who would do anything to protect his secrets. And that’s just the start of her problems because Zoe is falling for a dead guy.

If this sounds like something you're interested in, click hereto download your free Kindle copy!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: God Bless Us Every One

This book is an illustration of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas program and has a DVD included with it that has features John Rhys-Davies.  (I could listen to him all day long! I love his voice.)  He is telling the story, but there are also people acting it out and the choir adds the music that gives it just the right emotional touch.  Incredibly well done.

I loved this book.  It's the "story behind The Christmas Carol," and talks about how Mr. Dickens could have felt when he realized that he was heading for a financial crisis, his books weren't selling, and his wife was about to deliver their fifth child.  The illustrations are beautiful and really kept my children's interest.  The story is engaging and it definitely leaves you with the spirit of Christmas.

This is a must-have for your Christmas reading this year, especially because of the DVD.  I think reading this one (and watching it!) might become a Christmas tradition at our house! If you want to grab your copy, you can click here

Here's the back copy:

In creating stories for others, we sometimes end up revealing truths to ourselves. Such was the experience of the beloved Charles Dickens, master storyteller and honorary champion of Christmas. But Dickens was not always the purveyor of yuletide wisdom we know today—he too had to discover for himself the true spirit of Christmas and how best to keep it all the year through.

It was 1843, and winter was fast approaching. Times were tough for Charles Dickens and his family. He needed to publish something that would earn enough money to meet his many obligations. Pondering his predicament, Dickens set out to write a quick Christmas story that would be sure to sell. Little did he know that his writing—and the genial ghost he would bring to life—would take him on an incredible journey of the heart.

This beautifully illustrated volume tells the story behind the writing of Dickens's most famous work and reveals how he discovered the spirit of Christmas for himself—with a little help from his own literary characters. Originally presented by acclaimed British actor Joh Rhys-Davies at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2013 Christmas concert, the book also includes a DVD with footage from the event.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Word Count Wednesday & The Swoony Awards

Well, even with just doing revisions this week, I still got in a thousand words. I'm pretty proud of that one!  I love it when projects come together.

I also found out that my novel Ring Around the Rosie was nominated for a Swoony award.  It's a new award this year and anyone can go vote, so go look over the list and vote for the book that you thought was awesome this year!  Click here for the list.

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I'm still working on a new novel.  And thinking about a novella for Claire and Rafe.  Anyone else out there doing NaNoWriMo?  How was your word count this week?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

From The Ashes---First Chapter Reveal of My New Novella!

Since there was no new Castle last night for me to talk about, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek into my new novella!  I am so excited for you all to read this one. (And in case you forgot, this is a novella that continues Colby and Sophia's story from Ashes Ashes.)  Tell me what you think!

From the Ashes

by Julie Coulter Bellon

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2014

Chapter One

      Colby Black rolled over in bed to look at the clock.  Who would be ringing my doorbell at 7 a.m.? He ran a hand over his face and pushed the covers back.  He knew he wasn’t due at the police station for another hour.  If there was a situation someone would have called him, they wouldn’t be at his house.  He quickly pulled on a t-shirt and sweats before he padded to the front door.  Glancing out the little window to the side of the door he could see a well-dressed woman on his front porch.  With a cameraman at the ready.  What was going on?
He opened the door, but not all the way.  “Can I help you?”
“Are you Detective Colby Black?”  She took a step toward him, and Colby tightened his grip on the door handle.
“And you are?” he asked, without answering her question.
“I’m Laura Northam from Channel 2 news.  Do you have any comment about Sophia Naziri? I’m told you were part of the mission to Bulgaria that got her out of a murder charge in Senator DeMarco’s case?”
Colby tensed at her words.  How would any news agencies have this story?  And how did they find out where he lived?  He forced his face to look impassive. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure what you mean.”
She didn’t have time to answer as two more news vans pulled up in front of his house.  In Colby’s limited experience with the press, things like this got out of control really fast.  “No comment,” he said quickly, before shutting the door.
He walked back to his bedroom and got his smart phone.  Quickly scrolling through his news tabs, he found several articles with Sophia’s name in them detailing her participation in the Bulgaria mission to bring down Viktor Dragonov.  They definitely had one thing wrong, though.  Bulgaria hadn’t been something that got Sophia out of a murder charge.  It had always been about bringing Philip DeMarco’s killer to justice and she’d paid a high personal price to do it.  He ran a hand through his hair.  Sophia didn’t need this.  She was already going through so much trying to put her life back together. 
His phone buzzed and fellow detective Claire Michaels’s face flashed across the screen.  He pushed the accept button, hoping they didn’t have a hostage case. He wanted to talk to Sophia before he went in to work and see if she’d heard any of this yet. “Hey, Claire.”
“Have you seen the news this morning?” she asked, without even a hello.
Colby’s jaw clenched.  “I got it up close and personal with a reporter at my door.”
“It’s not looking good for Sophia.  Whoever is leaking information is making her look as bad as possible.  Have you talked to her yet?”
“I was just about to call her.”  He sat down on the edge of his bed.  “Stories like this can take on a life of their own.  Sophia is having such a hard time recovering as it is.”
“Is she doing any better?” Claire asked, concern in her voice.
“Some.  It’s going to take time.”  On his last visit to see her, she’d nearly jumped out of her skin anytime a door slammed too hard and she’d been trying a little too hard to put on a happy face for him.  He knew she was suffering emotional fallout from witnessing Philip’s murder, then being held hostage herself.  She’d nearly been killed trying to escape and was still trying to process everything.  It was difficult for Colby to have to watch her go through this and not be able to do anything to help her.
“She’ll get through it.  Tell her I’m thinking about her and if she ever wants to talk, I’m here.”  Claire paused.  “Are you coming in to work or are you going to take a personal day to deal with this?”
“I need to come in.  I took so much time off for the Bulgaria mission, I don’t want to risk the captain making my vacation permanent, you know?”  He pushed off the bed.  “See you in a few.”
He hung up from Claire and immediately dialed Sophia’s number, but it went straight to voicemail.  Without leaving a message, he grabbed some clothes and headed for the shower.  The doorbell rang again, but there was no way he was going to answer it.  It rang twice more, accentuating the fact that this day could only get worse from here.  With a grimace he shut the bathroom door and turned on the water to drown out the sound.  So many things were running through his head, but his first concern was Sophia.  Was she okay? Had anyone been bothering her?  How was she handling it?
Colby finished his shower in record time and got dressed in his favorite blue button down shirt and comfortable dress pants.  Grabbing his shoulder holster and gun, he slipped that on and then threw his tie around his neck, but didn’t tie it up yet.  Heading downstairs he took a glass out of the cupboard and poured himself some cold milk from the fridge.  Getting out of his driveway would be a problem, he mused, unless he took his motorcycle to get through the crowd.  With that decision made, he tied his tie, then took his jacket off the chair and put it on.  He was ready for this.
He opened the door to the garage and took a deep breath.  Usually a ride on his bike would relax him, but this one was going to be anything but that. Hopefully he could get away with minimal fuss.  He grabbed his bike and braced himself for the barrage of people as he pressed the garage button.  Jamming on his helmet, he backed out quickly and shut the garage door.  Within seconds, people surrounded him, just as he’d expected.
“What really happened in Bulgaria?”  “How many men were killed?” “What kind of deal did Sophia Naziri get?”  “Was she an accessory to murder?”
He turned at that last one.  “You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”  He backed up a little more.  “Get out of my way.”
The reporter shoved the microphone closer to Colby.  “Why don’t you tell the story and set me straight?”
“No comment.” Colby started the bike and turned toward the road that would take him into the city.  “That’s all you’ll get from me.”  And with that, he weaved in between the last of the crowd near his lawn and sidewalk and sped away.
When he got into work it wasn’t any better.  Another crowd had gathered in the parking lot and around the entrance of the police station.  With a groan, Colby parked his bike.  This was worse than he thought.  Maybe they wouldn’t recognize him.  Thinking this might be the last bit of privacy he’d get before work, he grabbed his phone to call Sophia again, but a determined looking man with a microphone had spotted him and was headed his way. 
Colby put his phone back in his pocket before he took off his helmet.  After making sure his bike was secure, he wasted no time heading toward the station entrance. 
“Sir, are you Colby Black?” the reporter asked, running to catch up to him.
Colby didn’t answer, but kept walking.  The reporter followed him, trying to match his stride to Colby’s.  “I’d like to interview you about what happened in Bulgaria.  How high does this cover-up go?” He dogged his steps, but Colby was faster, so he was able to stay ahead. 
“I have no comment,” he said as he turned his head toward the reporter.  The people loitering near the entrance now converged upon them and he was getting swallowed up in the mass of people. 
“Don’t you think the American people deserve to know how the government is offering assignments on dangerous missions in exchange for dropping possible accessory to murder charges?” the first reporter shouted over the larger man that had elbowed his way in front of him.
Colby opened the door, a retort on the tip of his tongue about exactly what Sophia had done for her country, but when he turned back to address them all, he knew it wouldn’t make a difference.  They were after a specific quote to support this ridiculous rumor of a story and he wouldn’t give them anything to twist to their own agenda.  “No comment.” 
The crowd surged toward him, like a wave about to crash the shore, but Colby ducked inside and walked behind the security doors.  He rolled his neck.  Maybe he’d have to stay at the precinct tonight.  It was crazy out there.
He walked to his desk, but didn’t even have time to take his jacket off before Captain Reed called him into his office.  “Colby, can I see you a minute, please?”
Colby nodded and joined his boss in his office.  The captain held out his desk phone.  “It’s for you.”
“Sir?” He took the receiver.  “Hello?”
“Colby, it’s Skip Michaels. I’m sure you know by now about the leak on the Bulgaria task force mission.  I’ve been called in to consult on this case since I was part of it. I don’t know who the leak is yet, but I want you to know that mission was classified and we’re going to find out who’s giving out the information.” He paused and Colby could hear some papers rustling in the background.  “Here’s what we need you to do.  Keep your head down and don’t give any statements about what happened on that mission.  If we can pinpoint exactly what information the press has been given, maybe we can figure out who’s giving it out.”
“Okay.  As long as you keep me apprised on the search for the leak. I want to know who this is as well.”  He took a breath.  “Have you heard from Sophia? I can’t get hold of her.”
“I just talked to her.  She’s pretty much pinned down in her house with the press staking out her place.  She said she was going to call you with an idea on what to do until this dies down.”
Colby’s shoulders tensed at hearing she was pinned down.  He was all ears if she had an idea on how to get out of this mess.  “Thanks, sir.  I hope to hear from her soon then.”
“You’ve got a good woman there.” Skip’s voice was gentle for a second before it turned gruff again.  “I’ll let you know when I’ve got something.”
Colby said goodbye and hung up.  He was more anxious to talk to Sophia now and get her out of there somehow. Fast. 
“Is there anything I can do, Colby?” the captain asked.  He folded his arms and leaned one hip against his desk. It looked casual, but Colby knew that was his no-nonsense stance.  He also knew the Captain would do anything for him if he asked.
“I don’t think so.  Skip says they’re searching for the leak and I’m supposed to hold tight.  Sophia has some sort of an idea on how to wait out this thing.”  Even as he spoke his cell phone rang.  He looked down and saw with some relief that it was Sophia.  “May I take this, sir? It’s Sophia,” he said to the captain. 
Captain Reed nodded and Colby accepted the call.  “Hey, are you okay?”
“I’m fine, just stuck in my house.”  She sounded stressed and upset.  Anger at whoever was leaking the information ratcheted up a notch in Colby’s gut.  “Did Skip talk to you?”
“Yeah, he said you had an idea for riding this out.”  He pressed the phone closer to his ear like it would draw him closer to her.  It had only been two days since he’d seen her, but he missed her.  It was good to hear her voice.
“Carina DeMarco is going to spread Philip’s ashes up at his family cabin near Candlewood Lake.  She invited us up to be part of that since we’re nearly family.” Sophia’s voice caught and Colby knew she was thinking of the senator.  His public funeral had happened right before they’d all returned from Bulgaria and she’d had to miss it.
“So you’re going to go up there then?” He squelched a sigh.  There’s no way he’d be able to see her anytime soon if she was up in some cabin.  But at least she’ll be safe and away from the reporters.
“She said I could invite you, too.  From the little I could gather this morning, the press is hounding you just as badly.  You can come hide out with us until the next news cycle and the press forgets they ever heard of me.”
A cabin.  With Sophia. Now that made everything look a lot better. “That sounds great.”
She must have heard the enthusiasm in his voice because she laughed. “Don’t get too excited.  Remember my dad will be there with us, as well as Carina and her son John.”
Colby looked over at the captain.  “I’ll have to clear taking more time off.”
The captain waved his hand.  “Done.  There’s no way you can work until this is taken care of.”
“Looks like it’s all set.  Where should I meet you?”
“I’ll text you the directions.”
Colby gripped the phone, a light seeming to appear over the black-cloud way this day had started.  “I’ll see you later then.”
“See you soon.” 
He disconnected the call, suddenly anxious to get home, pack a few things, and get out of there.  Who wouldn’t with Sophia waiting at the end of the trip?
Putting his phone in his pocket, he glanced up at his captain.  “Thank you, sir.”
“Keep in touch with me, Colby.  I can only give you a few days at the most, so hopefully this will all go away by then.”  He clapped Colby on the shoulder.
Colby nodded.  “Let’s hope.”  He opened the door.  “Do you want to break it to Bart or should I?”
“I’ll leave that to you.”  The captain grimaced.  “We’ll be nearly doubling his caseload.”
“I’ll owe him, that’s for sure.”  He paused at the door.  “The sooner Skip finds this leak, the better. Then we can all get our lives back.”
“Exactly.  Let’s get this taken care of so we can get you back on the job sooner, rather than later.”
“Thanks again, Captain.”  With that, he walked out the door.  He spied Bart heading toward his desk and erased the smile he’d had on his face at the thought of spending a weekend with Sophia at a cabin.  Bart was as close to him as a brother would be and Colby knew he would cover for him, double caseload or not. Hopefully, though, he wouldn’t have to leave Bart hanging for long and Colby could figure out a way to make it up to him.  His plan was that by the time the weekend was over, the leak would be found, Sophia could work on her recovery, and Colby’s life would be back to normal. 
And he’d do everything in his power to make that come true.