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Thursday, January 29, 2009

O. M. G. !!!

Due on shelves in September...

On deadline finishing the book...

But, OH MY GOSH, look at my beautiful new cover!!!

Cover copy and description to come in February ;o)

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter Heat: Excerpt 3, and A Cool Video to Watch!

One final Winter Heat Excerpt, to brainwash you into going and buying the book if you already haven't ;o)

And for those clammoring in the comments and my inbox for more news on Dark Legacy--coming soon to a blog near you, I promise. Just as soon as I get the draft of the book into my editor... All 400 pages of it...

And so you'll know a little what the last few weeks of a deadline this big feels like, here's a fun look at what water does when a single drop hits a hard surface... It's kind of like trying to weave (read POUND) a single change or idea through 400 pages of a story, lol!


Wish me luck everyone! Dark Legacy cover and promo news and descriptions and all sorts of good stuff soon. Until then, enjoy a bit more of Felicia and Tony's story (and, by all means, read all of it, after you BUY THE BOOK ;o)

Winter Heat
Scenes Three and Four

"I've lost my mind," Felicia insisted several hours and twice as many second thoughts later, at the welcome dinner's cocktail reception.

"It's the altitude." Willard smiled up a passing waiter, then shamelessly checked out the guy's butt.

"It's your bad influence." Felicia straightened and re-straightened her fucia Versace minidress.

"Enjoy." He eyed the non-existent back of her outfit. "You fit in perfectly here. Forget about Rossi. It's very chic to—"

"Make an fool of myself?" First in front of Rossi, then the poor bell man.

"To wear your fabulousness with daring and pride, darling."

"Kind of like humiliation is the new black?"

"You're talking as if you went streaking through the lobby. You deserve to let loose a little."

"Is that what they're calling it these days?"

"You've come this far. It's just dinner, Fe."

"Yeah, and it was just a few sips of wine in the car. Just a dare to loosen me up. Just a kiss."

"No, honey. That was straight up sex with your clothes on. Whatever crawled up Tony Rossi's ass after you lifted your spell on him, that man's the hottest thing in pants I've seen in a long time—and you had him melting all over you."

Yeah, except who had been melting whom?

Willard had egged her into entering her sonnet in the contest in the first place, after he'd shown up at her door late one night on his way home from clubbing. She'd been in her rattiest guy pajamas—a pair of her ex's, actually—and that's when she'd finally gotten it. Her best guy friend had a sexier wardrobe and dated hotter men than she had in years. It had been time to stop wallowing in the efficient, business side of her personality that Phillip had found so boring. Time to mine for passion, before the well dried up.

But a secret part of Felicia wondered even now if it wasn't already too late.

"Don't throw in the towel!" Willard insisted. "I won't hear of it. Men will be crawling all over you and your couture tonight, gay or straight. If you're not going to work this fabulous makeover for you, the least you can do is be my arm candy, until I land myself a live one."

It was a beautiful dress. One of her favorite purchases for the trip. When she'd tried it on at Bergdorf's, she'd felt a forgotten piece of herself coming back to life. The same passionate piece that had kicked into high gear downstairs, in the arms of a man who'd left her feeling giddy, then completely forgotten—dismissed—once he'd decided she didn't suit his PR plans.

The judgmental bastard!

She was a guest for the weekend. She could quit this scene any time she wanted. But that would mean walking away with her designer tail between her supermodel-long legs.

Was she really going to prove her ex and her own subconscious right—by conceding that leave-them-panting sexy had never been her talent, and never would be?

Hell no!

She snatched a glass of champagne from a passing waiter's tray, and raised the flute to salute Willard.

"Let the games begin!"


Tony had heard of men buzzing around a woman like bees near a honey pot. And he'd spent the last twenty-four hours running interference between Maddy Lov and the hard-partying crowd that trailed after her. But he'd never seen anything like Felicia Gallo, wearing Versace's finest as if it were a second skin. Or the effect she was having on the rising testosterone level in the banquet room.

She'd wrapped herself up in his mother's favorite designer. She was wearing matching heels so high, every step she took without mishap was a triumph of fluidity and grace.

Versace was on the wilder end of the designer spectrum. But it was a must-have wardrobe staple for the adventurous socialite. Or so Tony's mother insisted every time she spent a new fortune on the label's newest line. Too bad Gabriella Rossi had never showered the same attention on her husband and only child. Not that Tony's father had minded.

The two still lived the same jet-set lives as when they'd relegated Tony to boarding school at too young an age—alternating their time between Aspen and Milan, Florence and Madrid. New York and Paris during fashion season. LA for the awards shows, which were the few months out of the year during which Tony sporadically saw them.

Their empty relationship was the envy of everyone they met, and his mother's glamorous, sophisticated façade was their crowning, glittering glory. A facade the romantic Ms. Gallo had obviously honed to her own advantage. Gone was Felicia's skin-tight snow suit, which he doubted had seen the first flake of winter ice. In its place were swirls of severely cut color and silk that invited a man to smooth his hands over every restless curve and valley.

She'd collected quite a bevy of admirers throughout the cocktail hour. A room full. And her friend, Willard, dressed to kill in what looked like Armani, was scoping things out for himself.

Actually, he was headed Tony's way!

"She's really something, our little poet, isn't she?" The man held up a copy of the program Tony had carefully designed, complete with a border of hearts and flowers that reeked of romance.
Tony had spotlighted Felicia's sonnet on the cover page. He glanced at the poem again, trying to match it to the woman sipping a cocktail and flirting with the besotted men standing on either side of her.

"She's...unexpected," was the best reply he could manage.

Wickedly complex and appealing in a primal way that he couldn't take his eyes off of. But, unexpected or not, she was nothing more than a principle player in his business plans for the opening. A means to an end, that it was his job to control.

"She's not the only unexpected distraction tonight." Willard sighed in response to Tony's scowl. "You're gorgeous. A young Paul Newman, but rough enough around the edges for some flavor. You clearly have a sense of style most heterosexual men refuse to own. But you're straight as an arrow, aren't you? Pity."

Willard was a straight-shooter. Right up Tony's ally. And he seemed to have a precarious hold on Tony's star poet's leash.

"It doesn't matter what I am." Or what he wanted outside the job. Tony's gaze tracked the way the curve of Felicia's bottom rounded against the hint of a skirt that finished off her dress. "I'm working. When I'm working, focusing on anything or anyone else is out of the question."

"Uh huh." Willard was watching Tony watch Felicia, his knowing smile almost as wicked as his friend's ass.

"Listen—" Tony turned his head to make it clear that he didn't have time for whatever games Willard wanted to play.

But out of the corner of his eye, he saw Felicia stumble—right into the waiting arms of one of the bachelors panting after her.


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Friday, January 16, 2009

"Heat" Sitings and Web Contest Prize Sneak Peak

There's always such a stir in the comments when I show off prizes ;o)

And I totally understand the excitement for new, beautiful things. To further oblige, I highly recommend you keep reading for a sneak peak of the new...direction...my website contest prizes are going to be taking this year. How's that for a teaser, bwahahahahaah...

But first, I had some excitement of my own on Wednesday.

First--and this is HUGE. I got out of my house, actually fashionably dressed and washed and brushed and everything, for an appointement. Even more excititng than that feat (because I'm mostly a cruddy, on-deadline writer these days), I gave myself permission to stop at a bookstore.

Usually, this creates potential for hours of lost time, as I'm prone to wander in such a heavenly environ. But I was a girl on a mission, and that was to see how my New York Silhouette editor and co. were handling the Jan. 13th realease of my new anthology. Would it be on the Sil. category racks? Would there be any push for sales?

Well...the pics sprinkled about this post are of WINTER HEAT ON A SHELF UP FRONT IN BORDERS!!! I didn't make it over to our B&N (but I will some time today/tomorrow). But at Borders/Waldenbooks, my publisher has spent what's called co-op money to place the book amongst the "Read This" sections of tables and shelves at the front of a chain store. A great thing for sales, because a lot of readers head to this section first.

So, yep, that's Winter heat, facing out (HUGE advantage, because readers love them a pretty cover), one shelf above Sherry Kenyon, and I must say our frosty blue cover pops just lovely next to all that black. And, yep, thats me/us next to Jeffery Archer and above Tim Dorsey.

Notice all the NYT Bestselling lead lines on the covers surrounding Winter Heat. I think we really look at home, don't you?

Just working with Vicky and Jade was such a treat, anthing over and above that is gravey. But this was quite a moment for little 'ol me, and I couldn't help snapping a few pictures. And... If you look closely enough at the number of copies of each book in the frame, I think...yes...yes I do believe there are only two copies of Winter Heat left (on the day it released) and, oh my, so many more of all the other titles...

That's just wishful thinking for good sales, I know, but a girl's got to dream, right???

Come back over the weekend for one final Winter Heat excerpt, BTW.

Speaking of working with dream people you'll feel lucky for having worked with for the rest of your life, you should go check out this amazing woman I've been priviledged to meet and began creating with the final few months of '08--Marci Fried:


I met Marci at the High Museum of Art here in Atlanta, where she's shown numerous times, as well as at other locations in and around the South East. Her jewelry is not only museum quality, it's amazingly creative and unique, and brings together the old and the new and surprises you with symbolism in ways I couldn't help but stop and admire, and then chat with her about and then meet with her for lunch to chat about some more... Take a look at some of the beautiful things Marci Fried does:



I'm so excited to be planning to tell you more in the coming months--about a custom line of jewelry we're working on together, to represent/promote symbols in my upcoming "Legacy" series with Dorchester. See--I really am a tease, beacause that's all I'm going to tell you about that for now.

Except so say that Marci needs coaxing, so coax her in the comments so she'll come out and play. Then go check out out her fashion blog, too, and watch for her great ideas over there (I've already subscribed).

Now, getting back to my website prizes: I'm going to be spotlighting Marci's jewelry a lot this year, because she inspires me. I find myself wearing her creations when I need to feel that hopeful, positive vibe that makes the writing flow...

So, the blue butterfly necklace to the left is someting she designed for me--to match my website butterfly... That's right, it's mine--MINE!!!

I wear it a lot while I write, and get raves when I take it out to play in the real world.

But THIS beauty is the necklace I've chosen for my next big website contest prize. You didn't think I'd forget my online buddies, did you?

I'll have details up on the site (and much, much more about Marci and our collaboration together) after Dark Legacy goes into my editor.

Until then, drool and oooh and aaaahhh and say hi to Marci in the comments, and dream of all the exiting, beautiful things to come this year ;o)

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cute Kitten Videos and Contests...

Because, a girl writing the end of her psychotic, psychic twins novel needs something to rip her back from the darkness... Like kittens and lots of prizes ;o)



Now that we're all smiling and feeling all cozy, wozy, let me point you toward two Fresh Fiction contests I'm running this month (one for their Valentine's feature, the other just 'cause I couldn't resist), to celebrate Winter Heat being on the shelves TODAY!!!!!:




And for those of you visiting from FF, here's the matching wallet I promised for the XOXO purse (I have one more I'll be offering later in the month, so keep checking back in). Old and new blog friends alike, leave a comment throughout the month to be in the running for this little beauty (it's not a kitten, but then again, it won't miss the litterbox or yack up a hairball ;o)

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Working Late for Me--Good for You!!!

Those of you who've been through a deadline or two with me know that the final month before a deadline is the chained to my keyboard part of the process. I have rough-cut rewrites to do, an ending to pound out (which I can't do until I get the rough draft squared away and go back and figure out all I didn't know before I wrote the ugly stuff), and then targeted edits to weave through the last two weeks or so. Finally, the last two or three days are 24/7 reading and rewriting through the entire manuscript as a whole, one more time.

And since I'm 11 days into the final month of my Dark Legacy deadline (I might have a cover for you guys sometime soon, and I CAN'T WAIT to share what Dorchester's working on), you'll find me blogging at odd hours and frequently and not always coherently, because I need a break sometimes and there's just so much televisionwithoutpity.com a girl can read before she starts feeling like a sarcasm junky.

And if you're wondering why there are pics of tornadoes throughout this post--they're visual aids, in case you were wondering what my brain feels like on deadline ;O) Yep, the funnel clouds and the lightening and the destruction about to happen and even the rainbow. That's my happy little mind at the moment...

Each post this month will be entertaining, no doubt. And some even rewarding beyond the mere experience of sharing in my sleep deprivation (I'll start chatting about new contests tomorrow, so keep coming back--I'll even be sending you to other fun sites for multiple chances to win, and we all like fun, so you'll go, because I say so, and if you know what's good for you, you'll do what the girl with tornadoes in her brain says).

Where was I??? Oh, right, fun.

Tonight, in honor of a quick trip to New York I'm planning in Feb. to speak at a new writing organization I've just joined (more of them coming soon, too) and hopefully to meet with some publishing-type people at Dorchester and Harlequin, I give you...

The best NYC Midtown Lunches...I wonder how many I can fit into a three-day visit?


Check it out...do it...because I say so, and if you know what's good for you... Oh, just go, and have some fun while you drool over all the yummy food pics. I defy anyone to tell me there's not something on this list you're dying for a taste of RIGHT NOW!!! Or maybe that's just my stomach growling...

Which one's my favorite, you ask. Anyone want to take a guess what a girl on deadline craves???

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Winter Heat: Excerpt 2--Meet Felicia, And I'm "Raising the Bar"

I loved opening Weekend Meltdown in my hero's point of view.

That's not how my first draft started out, but my Silhouette editor asked me to throw the reader more into the story right off the bat (I only had 100 pages to work with), and I loved the result. And it sounds like from your comments, the hook did it's job just fine ;O)

But, now you have to meet Felicia. Well, you already met her, and Tony REALLY met her. But get inside her head a litte in this next excerpt. I think you'll like the ride, LOL!

Oh, and since the new TV season's coming on strong--those of you who haven't watched "Raising the Bar" yet, make sure to get you some this month. Do it. Yes, it looks a lot like Law and Order from the outside, and it is gritty. But the writing. The anti-heroes you still want to root for. The new twist on what's good and what's bad and what is grey and in between and we just have to accept it that way or go mad... Yeah, I like it. If feels more St. Elsewhere to me, than modern legal drama. Scrapping and scraping and no real heroes to light the way, except maybe for some of the clients. I promised I'd share more of what I watch and read, so there you have it. My start. Can't wait to raise the bar some more. Make sure you listen to the dialogue. Really. Just close your eyes and listen to what they're saying. It's amazing stuff.

Oh, and I can't wait for "Mad Men," too. Weird little show, but not so little, and really not that weird, since they're focusing on human beings, once you get past the amazing sets and wardrobe and the kick ass acting. The human element. Flaws. Redmeption. My kind of stuff, I guess.

So, here's more from my Winter Heat anthology, due out on Jan. 13th. There are chats and guest blogging coming up to help us celebrate it's realse next week. But for now, you get to read what's not even on shelves yet ;o)

Weekend Meltdown
Chapter Two

"You're drunk, Ms. Gallo."

Felicia was drunk all right, swimming in a golden, sensual haze. But not from the few glasses of expensive wine she'd imbibed between the airport and the lodge. Blinking, she tried to clear the dazzling glare from her vision. Glare that had nothing to do with camera flashes.

"Ms. Gallo?" prodded the sinfully-sexy man holding her.

His mouth was near her ear, so no one but her would hear. The wash of his breath over her sensitive skin wrecked her balance even more.

"I'm per...perfectly fine," she insisted.

And just to prove it, she didn't shamelessly throw herself at Tony Rossi again. No matter how badly she wanted to.

This was Willard's fault. All of it.

"Of course you're fine, darling," insisted the mastermind behind her humiliation. Willard hitched a supportive arm under her elbow, then batted his lashes at Rossi's Steve McQueen glare. "I'm sure this fine specimen has a valet at his disposal, to fetch our bags away while we get you checked in."

"Everything's exactly as described in your prize package." Rossi stared down the photographer who was still snapping away, until the poor guy gave up and got lost. "If you think you can manage, Ms. Gallo, I'll help you register, then take you to your suite so you can...rest. I'm sure you'll want to be at your best for tonight's activities."

And Felicia's best clearly wasn't good enough at the moment.

Steve McQueen seemed to have forgotten his enthusiastic participation in her Willard-inspired naughtiness.

No fear this weekend, Willard had insisted ever since they'd jetted away from Manhattan. Willard and her, and the brand new wardrobe she'd purchased to ramp up her battered sexual confidence. No holding back.

She was a goddess, she reminded herself. Not a woman so wrapped up in her high-powered career that her fiancé had dumped her for the coat check girl at Willard's East Village trattoria, Viva!

Too kiss-wobbly on her fuck-me platform sandals to make another scene by stomping away—but determined to remind Rossi that it had been his tongue inspecting every inch of her orthodontist's handiwork—Felicia sidled closer. She ran an acrylic nail down the yummy fabric of his expensively distressed shirt. Batted her own heavily massacred lashes.

"I think you'll find that I'm always at my best, Mr. Rossi."

Willard's wicked chuckle was a dear thing, no matter how pissed she was at him. She let him lead her into the lodge. He'd pay later, when they were alone and she'd reclaimed enough brain cells to punish him for baiting her into embarrassing herself. But for now, she needed his sass to feed her own.

Head high, adding extra sway to the undulation of her hips, she tossed her hair over her shoulders and left a frowning Rossi at the curb.

"Well played, my dear." Willard lead her into the luxurious lobby that wasn't exactly the tranquil, Gatsbyesque scene she'd expected. "How come you never put that weenie Phillip in his place like that?"

"You promised never to say that name to me again." She fake-smiled through her teeth at a passing couple.

"Well, your Big Mistake of 2007 didn't deserve you. And you haven't deserved beating yourself up over the asshole for two years. How did it feel, propositioning the first hunk of a man you saw, then leaving him in your dust?"

"Mortifying." And unsatisfying.

It had to be the sparkling wine they'd found waiting for them in the Town Car, making her crave more.

Two glasses of champagne?


That's why she felt so woozy.

Rossi, the real culprit behind the buzzing in her brain, had a backside as amazing as his front. And of course, she couldn't keep her eyes off him. He flanked the bell man and their cart of bags as far as the elevators. Then he headed Felicia and Willard's way, oozing such intoxicating intensity, she realized she was panting for air.

"Why did I let you talk me into this?" she whined.

"Because it's a freaking dream weekend, girlfriend. And you're going to take advantage of every second. You're more in need of a winter meltdown, than any woman I know—including myself."

"You just want to swap lip gloss secrets with Maddy Lov." She ignored her gay husband's wounded moue. Out of the corner of her eye, she tracked Rossi's approach, and every amazing thing his body did to the tailored slacks he wore. "This farce is about you storing up tidbits to share with your divas in Manhattan."

"You're the only diva I care about this weekend, love." Willard caught her tugging at the fur-trimmed neckline of her top. His eye-roll destroyed the last of her champagne's golden glow. "You're wearing Cloe played with Blahnik. Very, Shut your mouth, I'm not an uptight lawyer freaked out about being the main draw at the party of the season! Now own it. Take some chances. Let me see you slinking back into your lawyer's shell, and mama's going to slap your hand—or some other part of your anatomy."

The threat came with another affectionate wink.

Felicia laughed.

Even being annoyed with Willard called to creative, exuberant parts of her. The parts she usually draped with classic Chanel suits and St. John dresses, when what she secretly lusted after was Prada and Cavalli.

"How are we doing?" Tony Rossi asked at her side.

Speaking of lusting...

"Never better." She focused on her surroundings, rather than the impulse to run her hands through the guy's caramel-brown hair again.

Romantic couples cuddling by firelight would have been a bit much, she supposed. But Winter Pass' aura was more like Manhattan's high-energy dating scene, than a quaint venue for the poetry readings, elegant dinners, and the wine and cheese cocktail hours described on the lodge's Webpage. Willard was right. It was going to be the party of the season.

He drew her to the registration desk, an arm draped supportively about her waist. A whoop went up from the lobby's wood-paneled bar. Gales of laughter followed. Felicia glanced toward the mayhem, the skin on the back of her neck tingling at Rossi's nearness.

Maddy Lov was one of her father's law firm's top celebrity clients. At one firm VIP function, Felicia had watched Maddy drink men twice her size under the table, daring her besotted admirers to keep up. And Rossi thought Felicia needed a nap so she could rein in her inner wild child?

The kind of alluring wild child she'd let her ex-fiancé's rejection convince her she'd never be.

Suddenly fed up with years of weak second-guessing, she left Willard to handle things with the registration attendant and turned on Rossi. She thrust the plunging neckline of her halter top out and smiled her best siren's smile.

"This place isn't exactly how things were described in the prize package," she challenged. "I must say, I'm a little disappointed."

"I know exactly how you feel." Rossi stopped checking out her cleavage and consulted what looked like a vintage watch. Then he took in her over-the-top ensemble again, making her even more determined not to let him know how unsettled she felt in her risqué fashion. "Why don't I show you to your suite, while your friend finishes taking care of the particulars. I'm already late to help set up for the welcome reception, and—"

"No need." Willard took her hand and kissed her fingers. "But once I help this lovely creature freshen up, maybe you and I can get better acquainted."

Rossi's answering annoyance went no further than the chill in his gaze.

"I'll look forward to it." He sounded as if eating dirt would be more appealing, but his congenial smile was rugged perfection. "Especially since Ms. Gallo's due to recite her grand prize winning poem after dinner."

"I'll try extra hard to make it a memorable moment." She pushed past Rossi, annoyed by this all-business side of him. Where was the passion and lust from before? "I'll look forward to your critique afterwards."

Critique? Willard's raised eyebrow asked as they neared the elevator.

Eat shit!, she smiled back, feeling Rossi track their progress toward their third floor suite. Once inside the elevator, she turned and met his gaze, shivering.

What kind of man made even blatant disapproval look sizzling hot?

The doors whooshed shut. Willard watched her rub at the chill bumps skittering up and down her arms.

"The first man wasn't the old guy at the concierge desk," he quipped. "That's a plus."

She punched him as a reward, nearly missing his forearm while her body shivered in awareness. He'd dared her to seduce the first unsuspecting guy she saw. And like a fool, she'd played along, just for fun. What could it hurt?

The elevator slowed, then stopped.

"I just sexed up the most obnoxious man in the place," she reminded her friend as the exited. "The guy's acting like he's ready to toss us both out, when he was crawling all over me outside. I'm an asshole magnet. What's wrong with me?"

"Absolutely nothing, except you need to relax and enjoy the ride. Stop worrying. I wouldn't mind finding someone that obnoxiousof my own to spar with this weekend."

"He's all yours." Felicia needed someone less...everything, to test her battered self-esteem on.

"Ah, good." Willard ushered her toward their suite. The cart with their things on it was positioned outside the open door, the bell man still unloading. "See, darling. We get to stay the night, despite you shamelessly making the most fantastic man I've ever seen your love slave."

"I did not make Tony Rossi my love slave!" Felicia turned into the suit in time to catch the shocked expression on the bell man's face as he screeched to a halt in front of her...

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Winter Heat: Excerpt 1, And A Monday Chance to Win

I'm including an excerpt below from Winter Heat--my Jan 13th Silhouette release that's already hitting the Amazon best seller lists, on pre-orders alone.

Pretty cool, huh? And I always share the good stuff with my online friends ;o)

And speaking of really good online friends who love sharing, make sure to visit Michelle Buonfiglio's birthday party tomorrow (Monday the 5th) on her myLifetimeTV.com blog--Romance B(u)y the Blog:


She's going to be hosting great fun and giving away great prizes. You don't want to miss out.

And here's a touch of Winter Heat to warm up your chilly night ;o) Keep checking back. I'll be teasing you with more, off and on, until the release date--and I'll be posting a pic soon of the the AMAZING prize I'll be drawing a winner for, from thise who leave comments through the end of the month.

Enjoy the excerpt and Michelle's party!


Winter Heat

Chapter One

"You'll have the romantic getaway reputation you're paying me for." Tony Rossi flashed Tom Walker a confident smile. "I guarantee it."

A whoop heckled him from the lobby's oak bar, where rock star Maddy Lov was holding court. Lov was A-List Publicity's problem for the weekend. Not Tony's, thank God. But the lodge's floundering PR firm had figured what better way to grab Winter Pass an Internet full of tabloid attention, than to leverage the latest pop princess du jour for all the viral press they could get.

The ensuing chaos was dangerously close to running off the romantic couples the Walkers wanted drawn to their lovely jewel in the mountains.

"A Weekend of Poetry and Romance, huh?" Walker asked.

The theme had been his and his wife's brainchild. So was the online sonnet contest, the winners of which were the weekend's guest of honor. Now Tony's job was to promote his ass off at the eleventh hour, to counter A-Lists' missteps. He was a one-man show, an insanely-expensive PR gun for hire, and he never let a client down.

Walker's attention shifted to a buxom ski bunny prancing by. The party girl's snow suit was unzipped so close to nirvana, Lov's contingent of paparazzi had her under round-the-clock surveillance.

"Well." Tom clapped Tony on the shoulder. "You're our closer. Get it done!"

With a glad I'm not you glance, he headed behind the Tucson-inspired registration desk and disappeared into the lodge's offices.

"No luck to it," Tony reminded himself.

Luck had revealed its mercurial ways to him at a tender age. He'd made his own success ever since, screw the odds against him. Winter Pass might be a mess, but it was his highest profile account yet. His professional future was riding on delivering on the promise he'd just made.
Maddy Lov had been watching Tony's exchange with his anxious client. She smiled from the epicenter of her sea of admirers, as if she'd heard every word and relished the trouble her girls-gone-wild approach to ski resort chic was causing Tony.

The day kept getting better and better.

Liz Song, the author of one of the contest's winning poems, was snowed in somewhere not Colorado. The second contest couple, whom Tony had wanted settled in before that afternoon's welcome festivities began, was MIA. At least Felicia Gallo and her guest were on their way in from the airport.

She and her amazing poem were the real deal the Walkers needed to show the lodge off. And Tony, and the events schedule he'd created and subsequently leaked to the press, was determined to make sure that's exactly what happened.

He'd gladly left classic literature behind after high school. But poetry was the language of lovers. And twenty couples were arriving at Winter Pass, expecting the luxury poetry weekend the Walkers had dreamed up. A romantic vibe he wasn't letting Lov's full-tilt-boogie mania tarnish.

The Walkers would have their dream, despite A-List's bungling. He'd organized a flurry of expensive, last-minute publicity on every available travel magazine Website. Couples bookings had quickly surpassed the flurry of singles coming to Party with Lov. The sonnet contest winners were going to romance the socks off the guests. That's just the way it was going to be.

He jerked at his lapels, resettling his black wool sports coat on his shoulders. Or as settled as the jacket could look, considering the distressed finish of the shirt he'd thrown on beneath it—without a tie. Appearance was an essential part of the PR game. He did his job and kept the wrinkles at bay. But dawning a conservative shirt and tie every day wasn't going to happen. Neither was getting excited about the arrival of a hard-core romantic like Gallo.

But as he headed for the carved wood and stained glass doors that opened onto the lodge's portico, he caught himself smoothing the front of his tailored slacks.

Damn, man!

Felicia Gallo's coming with the date the Walkers urged her to bring. Get her settled, give her weekend her itinerary, then get back to Maddy Lov before one of her groupies torches the lobby!

Except all day, while Tony had been keeping an eye on Maddy's boom-baby curves, it was Gallo's soft features he couldn't get out of his mind. He'd studied her head shot as he'd designed and distributed a flurry of press releases. Soft waves of dark blonde hair. Sparkling, princess-blue eyes. Her smile was sugar-sweet.
So why did it make him think of wicked sex and satin sheets? Why did he keep imagining the warmth radiating from her expression, smoldering into nuclear waves that could melt even a frigid Colorado January?

She made him think of sex and drama, and he never let his sex life get anywhere close to dramatic.

Standing at the curb, Tony checked the time on his Tag Heur Manaco. Then he checked himself. Gazed at the snow-covered landscape he'd spent the last three weeks hyping to anyone who'd listen.

Felicia Gallo, and the warm intelligence dripping from every word of her poetry, was arriving any minute. He'd work her pedigreed business success and romantic heart to the resort's advantage. If a part of him wanted to sample any of her warmth for himself, he'd deal with it. The same way he dealt with the few things that ever managed to surprise him. He'd ignore the impulse to indulge in weak feelings that would only bring him trouble, then he'd get back to work.

A speck on the frozen horizon crept closer—one of the Town Cars Tony had reserved for the weekend's VIP's. The corporate lawyer with a lover's soul would be inside, along with the man she'd invited to share her romantic prize package.

But the poet from Ms. Gallo's poignant biopic didn't emerge from the luxury car. Out teetered a high-maintenance fashionista instead, wearing four inch heels and the kind of severe style he'd seen firsthand on Madison Avenue.

Nothing turned Tony off more, than the brittle kind of bombshell striding toward him.

Her hips swayed as if she was on a mission to captivate every man in sight—because she knew she could. Gallo's smile zeroed in on Tony, as if she were playing a role, and his part in her production was to do her bidding. She wrapped a hand around the back of his neck, meeting him eye-to-eye—a woman who had no intention of being ignored.

Then she leaned in to whisper, "Hello," with both her wicked perfume and a husky, sensual voice.
Turned off or not, Tony's body instantly helloed back.

He found himself sipping the taste of champagne from her lips, groaning while she licked, then sucked, at his tongue. Her bottom wiggled beneath the vibrant purple of the catsuit-come-snowsuit she'd worn with her skyscraper stilettos.

Actually, a firm cheek had found it's way beneath each of his palms.

His hands skimmed across the softest female flesh he'd ever touched, and kept right on skimming, encountering not the barest trace of panties.


His fingers clenched, and her breath hitched. A rough sound that brimmed with wicked promise. Then she jerked away, shock vibrating through her body, her pupils expanding, her head slowly shaking.

Tony's body screamed for more. A spark of reason argued that his hands were better off in his pockets. His palms settled the matter by pulling the enticing globes of her ass closer. She squirmed, but in the next second her body brushed his hardness, and her resistance evaporated. She burrowed her head against his neck, her teeth nipping. Lost in the rush, he settled her tighter against his straining flesh and lost what was left of his mind.

Wrapping a fist in her wildly curling hair, he pulled until he had her lips again. Her taste.

"Good Lord, Fe," a masculine voice chided. "Get a room before you devour the beautiful man for dinner."

Tony opened one eye, then the other. The woman in his arms panted, her legs sliding down his thighs and calves until the toes of her outlandish shoes touched the sidewalk, then the heels. A wave of uncharacteristic protectiveness had him pulling her head to his shoulder, shielding her face, while she pulled together whatever wits she still possessed.

It took him longer than it should have to do the same. Then he took stock of the man the wanton in his arms had arrived with. A man dressed as expensively, and as vividly, as Felicia Gallo herself.

Tony made his hands drop to his side.

"I suppose," he rasped, "that this is the muse for your words of enduring love. The date you were encouraged to invite to share your romantic getaway with?"

"Wh... What?" Afternoon sun shone fire-red in the deep blond of Gallo's hair. Her features softened in confusion. Something of the woman in the picture Tony had studied emerged.
"Your new boy toy wants to know if he has competition for the weekend." Gallo's flamboyant friend winked, his gaze skimming from Tony's laced-up dress shoes to his untamable hair. "And I want to know if you plan to share the wealth."

A strobing flash of light momentarily blinded them.

"Kiss her again, Rossi," demanded one of the photogs constantly cruising the lodge. "That was hot!"

More flashes followed, attracting the attention of passers by who otherwise might not have noticed Tony's insane reaction to the kind of female he wanted nothing to do with. The nexus of his wholesome PR plans for the Walkers.

"Rossi?" The hard-core sex goddess who'd been mauling him blushed from the diamonds winking in her earlobes, to the tantalizing cleavage spilling from her top's plunging neckline. "Oh-My-God!"

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Friday, January 02, 2009

I'm on LifetimeTV (.com)!!!

Touching something amazing every day, remember!

I wanted to share a fun surpise. Last April, at the 2008 Romantic Times Conference, I was interviewed by good friend, journalist and romance advocate Michelle Buonfiglio, who blogs about all things romance over at for LifetimeTV.com:

It was fun, if a little terrifying to be on camera beside a professional journalist and former beuty pagent winner (Michelle's a former Miss Penn. and a Top 10 finalist in the Miss America contest, bless her beautiful heart, and it is beautiful, just like the rest of her). Her film crew put me at ease, even though they had me squinting into direct sunlight because they needed it to keep the shadows at bay. So, I survived without hyperventilating and pretty much figured that's the last I'd hear of the experience. Michelle had so many other wonderful, better known authors on her call sheet. My twenty minutes or so would no doubt be cut--what a relief!

Well, fast forward to a friend sending me a link last night, and, woops! So much for relief. Seems I managed to say something intelligent, after all--about loving to hear reader responses to my stories, and staying in touch with fans over the information superhighway.

So, here they are--my first "national" interviews. Really amazing things, actually. Once I got past the feminine hygiene ad--which evidently is intended to score with the romance target market (always happy to help, any way I can). And once i got over the way I sound (that's not my voice), and how tense my face is (did I mention the staring directly into sunlight part, while a tinfoil thingie reflected even more of it into my peripheral vision?). Once I watched it a few times and relaxed enough to listen to what I was saying.

Michelle and I have known each other for years, both professionally and as friends, and she knew just the right questions to get me to open up. And I really seem into what I'm saying--in a tense, squinty way--and most of it's not half bad, even though there are a few rough cuts where they spliced one part of the interview into another. In the end, I even managed to make me feel a little more excited about this career I've been lucky enought to build a presence in. I'm a lucky girl. Jan. 2nd, 2009: amazing thing--check.

So, take a look and chuckle amongst yourself. And--just to show you I'm a team player, all the way around--go buy sanitary pads, for heaven sake!!!

Follow this link to my LifetimeTV video page (that's a very cool thing to type, BTW ;o) Thanks, Michelle B.!!!


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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

At least twice a week, every week...that's my goal for cardio and blogging in 2009 ;o)

And there's so much to share. New publishers and new books and new genres and new creative partners and new obsessions and the same compulsion to share it all... So check back every week, more than once, and you won't be disappointed. My Silhouette Special Release anthology, Winter Heat, is out in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

Of course, we'll be having release parties and contests, just like the good 'ol days. All winners from 2008 who contacted me with the snail mail addresses should have received their goodies. If you didn't get yours for some reason, email me one more time and I'll set things a right.

Today, I'm trying to slow down from a fast-paced holiday so I can sink back into the manuscript due on Feb. 1st. You know, that paranormal romantic suspese about the psychic twin sisters and their psychotic dreams I've been teasing everyone about??? Yep! I sold it--actually, I sold it and it's sequel--and I'll be sharing all the details soon.

But for now, I've watched Looney Tunes this morning with my son, chatted the mid-day away with my husband, and now I'm rewatching Double Jeapardy on the DVD. A great contemporary suspense I'm hoping will get me in the mood for a night of writing and rewriting ;o) Next in the line up... Watching Blue Crush because it's a girl-power movie and the photography of surfing the Pipeline in Hawaii is amazing. And I want a touch of amazing in every 2009 day.

Settle deep into your life, too, wherever you are. It's the beginning of a great new year. 2008 was full of a lot of hard work that I allowed to take me too far away from the things I need to feed my creativity. I'll be working even harder in 2009, but I'll be working smarter, too. And I'll be cherishing the things in this new year that nurture me--a long list, of which all of you are most definitely part.

Don't be gone long. I'll be waiting here for you!

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