Showing posts with label Romantic Suspense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romantic Suspense. Show all posts

Friday, May 20, 2016

Don't Apologize for Calling a Spade a Spade

“What do you mean? This is good info.”
“I’m not saying it isn’t.  It’s about how it was acquired.” He paused pacing, and stared aimlessly at the back wall. “Unless a person who would have this information legally claims to have given it to you.” He threw up his arms dramatically.  “It can’t be used.”
“In a court of law,” she finished as she dropped her ever-tiring head into her hands.  Abandoning that she popped her head up causing her hair to cascade over her head, and resettle disheveled. “So all this really did was put me on the chopping block.”
Thomas made an odd negative sound that was between a growl, and a hum as he started pacing again.  “Not necessarily; it gives us more than we had before.”
Not seeing the bright side like he was Charlotte hissed, “That being?”
Her sharp tone made him stop pacing, and turn to look at her as an odd expression briefly crossed his normally passive features. “A path.  We can figure out what he is doing, and how he’s been doing it.” Thomas nodded to himself. “I can use it to make him incriminate himself.”
He then looked at her for only the second time since he had determined that she needed to relocate.  The hard lines of his face softened slightly.  The difference was almost undetectable.  Most people probably wouldn’t notice, but Charlotte had.  It made his lips soften, and the crinkles around his eyes lessen.
“You need to sleep.” The statement was more of an order than an observation. 
Thomas walked back to the SUV, and pulled out her gym bag.  With a head gesture he inferred that she should follow him.  Feeling like she was just tired enough not to argue, Charlotte lifted herself from the chair, and fell into pace behind him as he began clearing the space to the staircase.  They went upstairs, and he opened the door of the first room.  Charlotte followed him, and it was like she was at the Hyatt all of the sudden.
The room was like a hotel room.  The furniture was wooden and in solid colors.  Not great, but not bad.  It was mostly sterile, and looked like a man had picked out everything.  There were no knick-knacks, just basics.  An ugly pasty green couch, a matching chair, and some dull wooden end tables were the highlights of the decor.  In the corner was a kitchenette with a full sized fridge, stove, dishwasher, and microwave.  The sink was a single basin with a washrag, and dish soap nearby.  The second door in the room lead to a bedroom that housed a king-sized bed covered in a hideous beige comforter, and some more of the dull wooden end tables the living area sported.
“Bathroom is connected to the bedroom,” Thomas said as he threw her gym bag on the bed, and started for the door.
Charlotte stared at the room, and grabbed the arm of the brooding man as he passed her.  She almost hissed at the warmth of him through her fingertips.  The feeling was short lived as he stopped, and removed her hand from his arm by grasping her wrist.  The action made her snap her eyes to his, and they held for a moment neither of them blinking for the space of two breathes.
“You’re safe here Charlie.”
“Tommy—,” she stammered not really believing that she had addressed him so familiarly.  It had to be her exhaustion because he had not done anything that would make her assume such an air with him.  The look that danced in his eyes for a moment could’ve been shock or anger.  She wasn’t sure, but she was sure that she had crossed some invisible line with the name that had fell from her lips.
 “Thomas,” she quickly corrected looking up at him.  “I didn’t mean— on the phone—”
He whipped her body into his, and ducked his head to seal his mouth to hers.  Charlotte felt the burn of his lips against hers.  The abrupt entry of his tongue pushing between her teeth made her stiffen, then practically melt against him.  Her wrists were captured behind her back by one of his larger hands.  The other hand had taken possession of her left butt cheek pulling her against his body.  She moaned in a haze of adrenaline, pleasure, and fear as she kissed him back with just as much ferocity as he was kissing her with.  His hips were grinding into hers.  She could feel the length of his erection between them.  With that knowledge her knees nearly buckled.  What she wouldn’t give to get her hands on him.
What had started as rough tongue stabbing was dissipating.  The forays he took between her lips were becoming more leisurely as he explored her mouth with long slow licks that drug his tongue over all of the surfaces of hers.  He would pull away slightly, and then decide that he wasn’t done, and take her mouth again.  This happened a few more times before he pulled back, and slowly licked his lips.  Panting they held there breathing each other’s air.  He let his eyes roam over her face.  She watched as they settled on her lips then flew back to her eyes.

“Don’t apologize for calling a spade a spade,” his deep voice was rough, and his accent was dominating his pronunciation.
An excerpt from Charlotte's Chance on AmazonBarnes & Noble and Smashwords

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And Now the Running

Sandra had a corner apartment on the third floor.  They were the only units in the building that offered the large obnoxious roman bathtubs.  The only draw back, if you saw it that way, was that they were at the end of the living group for the hallway.  The closest thing to her door was the fire escape across the hall. It was open, and Sandra loved to climb it instead of taking the elevator or the interior stairs.  In her heart of hearts Sandra was really a recluse, and this suited her.
While musing over the oddities that comprised her best friend, Charlotte had locked the door, and had that feeling. As soon as she had turned the bolt, the sudden creepy crawly feeling of being watched covered her.  It had been in a split second, but her mind had yelled RUN!!  She hadn’t thought about it, she had just reacted.  She had run to the elevator of the long hall way as the door was closing.  Then she bolted for the stairwell at the end of the hall.  Charlotte hadn’t heard the footsteps, but she had felt the eyes.
Don’t look back.’  She heard her brother in her head yelling at her.  The self-defense pointers he had given her starting to play in her mind. 
Focus on what is in front of you.  Will yourself to that place.’  She flew through the doorway to the stairwell. 
If you get a chance, hide, don’t try and outrun them.’
She turned the stairwell, and went up instead of down.  The stairwell was a myriad of walled half flights, carpeted, and quiet.  She crouched on the other side of the wall facing the steps leading to the next level hoping her pursuer didn’t realize that she was there.  Charlotte pressed her back to the wall of the stairwell flattening her palms near her hips.  She balanced on the balls of her feet ready to spring because of the low heels on her black boots.  Her breath was coming out loudly almost panting. The air-conditioned area was musty like carpet that had been left wet.  There was a single oval recessed light on each landing right above the open space before you stepped through the door.
The creaking of the door on the landing beneath her as it flew open made her stop breathing.  Charlotte swallowed her gasp. Her heart was beating so loudly it could probably be heard from the street. She flexed her hands against the wall willing herself not to move. Even as the slight sound of padded footsteps receding reached her she waited before she let out the breath she had been holding.
Be patient. Don’t make a mistake now. You’re almost there.’
Charlotte slowly moved away from the wall, and made her way back down to the landing she had come from.  She walked slowly, fearful that her pursuer would get wise, and come bolting back up the stairs at any moment. When she reached the hallway she stood nervously in front of the elevator knowing that she couldn’t go down it alone.  She paced a few moments as a crowd of young adults made their way to the elevator.  A few of the ladies had hair like hers.
Don’t shy away from people.  Other people are your best cover if someone is looking for you to be alone.
She boarded the elevator with them.  They reached the garage under the building where she had parked her F-150.  Because of her brother’s diligent teachings, she always parked very close to elevators, and always under highly lit areas.  Charlotte streaked for her F-150, and got in locking the doors, and starting the truck in the same motion.  The creepy feeling returned, and for a split second she stared into the black eyes of a tall stocky man with a greasy look and feel to him.  His face snarled as she hit reverse, shifted to drive, and burned rubber pealing out of the parking lot.
It had all happened so quickly.  She had come home locked all her doors, closed all her blinds, and battled herself into not calling the police.  What would she say?  I think this guy was following me.  Oh yeah because my best friend and me have gotten ourselves into some serious trouble with a local oil baron.  And did I mention the CIA agent that kidnapped her off to Japan.

She had finally convinced herself that she would’ve sounded nuts.  At that time she most likely would have.  After all who was to say the guy didn’t need change or something.  Maybe he was a bill collector she had missed and was trying to find Sandra.  Charlotte had spent the night concocting an array of amusing, interesting antidotes that would explain what had happened at Sandra’s apartment.  Then it had happened again.

An excerpt from Charlotte's Chance on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Monday, May 16, 2016

Thicker Than Blood an excerpt from Charlotte's Chance

Charlotte started going into detail about doing Brenda’s house, which she had finished a week ago.  Badly.  It had been her worst work yet.  That had a lot more to do with her being a frazzled wreck than anything else.  It had all seemed like such a good idea taking care of Sandra’s things, looking in on her apartment, and seeing to Penelope at the kennel.  She had accessed her accounts, and opened online bill pay funneling the money directly from her account to her creditors.  She had needed to move several thousands from her savings to her checking.  But the woman had an almost trust fund balance in her savings from royalties from her grandfather’s shipping empire.   It hadn’t even put a dent in things.  Charlotte had gone by her apartment and watered her plants a week and a half ago, and that’s when things had started getting interesting.

Charlotte had left Brenda’s feeling pretty good about the way the room was going.  She had made a brief stop by Penelope’s kennel, which had been on the way, to pay the bill.  Sandra had given her an emergency ATM card years ago just in case.  Charlotte had locked it in the safe in the house. 

Sandra had the safe installed when she had first purchased the house eight years ago while she had been studying for her doctorate in Oklahoma.  According to Sandra Oklahoma City was dead on the weekends.  So she would travel to Dallas every Friday afternoon to stay for the weekend, and then head back to Oklahoma on Mondays.  Being tired of hotels she had spent her savings on a house in Richardson.  A few years after she had returned to Dallas by way of Scotland she had been ready to get rid of the house.

Only pure coincidence could explain just why Charlotte had been in the market for a house.  Her business had started going so well after she had met Brenda who would recommend her for all of the high money projects that she had worked on.  So it was time for Charlotte to get out of the one bedroom apartment in North Dallas, and put money into property.

Charlotte and Sandra had been casual friends from their initial meeting in the nightclub.  On weekends they would get together and talk about their pet project W.A.R.M. Soon Charlotte had brought in Brenda, and then Sandra had introduced them to Deborah and Rachel.  Suddenly Sandra had been selling her house, and their friendship had taken on a new dynamic.

It had been a funny scene because Sandra had put the house on the market. Charlotte had seen the ad, and called it up.  When she had met up with Charlotte, and not some stranger wanting to buy her house, Sandra had smiled and said she knew a sign when she saw one.  If Charlotte wanted the house it was hers.  Sandra had brokered the thing herself so that closing costs and realtor commissions wouldn’t make the house beyond Charlotte’s reach. 

This had led to she and Charlotte becoming even closer as Sandra helped Charlotte fulfill a dream she had since she had been small; having her own home.  They had been like sisters since.  Being an only child, Sandra had fancied the idea of having a younger sister, and always treated Charlotte like that.  She would tell Charlotte things first, secrets about herself, and what was happening in her life.  Asking her opinion on matters, something that the outwardly self-confident doctor didn’t like to admit needing help with.  At those times she could look at Sandra, and know that this woman would do anything for her without a second thought.

It was those kinds of things that had made Charlotte uncommonly loyal to Sandra.  As Charlotte knew first hand, sometimes your own family didn’t care about your happiness as much as they cared about their own personal gain. She loved all of her family dearly, but she could count on one hand the members of her family that would’ve moved heaven and earth to make her dreams come true; the ones who already had which were her mother, brother, and grandmother. The three of them together by begging, borrowing, and pleading had made sure that Charlotte had gotten through school at the Savannah School of Art and Design.

Her grandmother wasn’t a wealthy woman.  She and the late Dougal McConnell had come to America from Scotland with nothing but three shirts, two pairs of pants, a couple of dresses, and a few family heirlooms.  So the family had never had anything but a strong work ethic, and a desire to earn their keep.  Her mother and brother had individual trusts put in place by his father, her first husband Jonathan Clangston.  They weren’t plentiful, but they made it possible for her mother to retire two years ago, and for her brother to carry on his international affairs without much fuss.  Everyone had lived a little less than comfortable when they had decided together that Charlotte’s career goals were worthwhile; her mother even more so with the added burden of providing care for her elderly diabetic mother.

Her mother’s two sisters loved her, but they had children of their own.  Bernice and Carolyn were older than Anna Marie, and they balanced husbands, children, grandchildren, and helped Anna Marie care for their mother: children, and grandchildren that Charlotte only saw every few years at family reunions.  She always felt bad about the fact that she wouldn’t even recognize the whole lot of them if they met up somewhere, and she was quite sure that it was the same for them with her.

Her father’s family was a joke.  Just a clan of Irish and Welsh that found it nigh near impossible to conduct themselves within the confines of the law.  Even worse they would steal the shirt off of the back of a blood relative without batting an eyelash.  It seems that they had been in America for centuries robbing and cheating their way through life.  So bad that even the Irish mobs wouldn’t have them.  They had no honor at all. 

That aspect of Charlotte’s blood made her very aware of loyalty, and the importance of keeping your word no matter what.  It was one of her grandmother’s rules. Only on penalty of death should someone be forsworn, and Charlotte believed in that.  She had promised Sandra when she had helped her get her house that if there were ever a time that she should need help she would not need to look any further. 

Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble, and Goodreads

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Welcome to W.A.R.M. from Sandra's Social

“Second topic on the agenda.”  Sandra interrupted.  “I was offered a very interesting proposition today, and I wanted the board to vote on it.”
The ladies gave Sandra their undivided attention.
“I had an interview with the local news network today, and they showed interest in me having my own segment.”
“What would you talk about?”  Brenda squawked.
“That is the appealing aspect, whatever I want.”
A collective hum went up as the ladies digested that information.
“Whatever doesn’t always mean whatever.”  Rachel began, “They may want you to maintain a certain degree of political correctness”.
“That’s what I figured too so I made a clause that says that they get to review my discussions, but not edit them at all.  The station is hoping that it will become some kind of syndicated broadcast that the station gets the rights for of course.”
“Of course,” mocked Charlotte.
“So they want you to be like that quack Dr. Phil,” Deborah muttered under her breath.
“I’m nothing like Dr. Phil,” Sandra started indignantly. “I’m much shorter.”
“Will this show end up being a soapbox for W.A.R.M.?”  Brenda inquired showing her seldom seen serious side.
“I don’t know how much of one it can be.  I would have to branch out to other topics. Although I was thinking that my first guest could be a certain W.A.R.M. board member. Someone who has had their finger on the pulse of this movement; someone who has been there since day one.” Slowly the women started to look at Charlotte who was sitting quietly typing.  Then suddenly she popped her head up sending blonde hair flying then cascading softly to rest in slight disarray as she stared at Sandra in growing comprehension and horror.
“No way, I’m horrible at things like that.”
“It would be a good time to get over your performance anxiety.”  Deborah shrugged.
“No, I suck at public speaking.”  She looked to her left. “What about Brenda?”
“Not me love, being affiliated with a rogue social movement would most definitely put me out of the running for the new Collin County Arts Center project.  Any other time I’d love to, but I have to stay uncontroversial for another month or so.”
“Deborah,” Charlotte sang hopefully.
“I’m a hired county official that gets W.A.R.M. information from other county officials.  The fallout would be immense.”
Getting desperate. “Rachel, please.”
“No can do, I’m leaving tomorrow for an 18 month tour with Aerosmith.”
“It’s not like you perform, they could get someone else to do their tech.”
“Besides the fact that it’s always the best money I’ve ever made, they asked for me and my crew personally. I’d hate to let Steven and the boys down.”
Sandra elbowed her friend. “That just leaves you Charlotte.”
Charlotte stomped her feet in protest. “There has to be another way.”
The meeting room door opened, and a pretty brunette took a couple of steps in, and then stopped. “Dr. Dalianas.  Hi I don’t know if you remember me.”
“Michelle, of course I remember you.”  Sandra jumped up and shook her hand.  “I’m so glad you could make it.”
“Was I interrupting?”
Charlotte smiled devilishly at her. “Not at all, hi I’m Charlotte Rhoades, vice-president and secretary.” She put her hand out to shake.
Rachel stood. “Rachel Adams, operations and field management.”
Brenda smiled wide. “Brenda Margiani, treasurer, legal and basic training.”
“Dr. Deborah McKilligan, parliamentarian, case follow-up, and board counseling.”
Sandra laughed. “Since we’re being formal, Dr. Sandra Dalianas, president, founder, advanced trainer, and head recruiter of Women Assisting the Reclamation of Man.  Welcome to W.A.R.M.”

Available on AmazonBarnes & Noble and Goodreads

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Women of W.A.R.M.

Charlotte got up from her seat, and moved towards the window of the meeting room they were in.  Sandra had to give it to Charlotte.  She was looking absolutely stunning these days.  When she had met Charlotte she had been a healthy size 16.  Her 5’ 8” stature made most of it look really good, but you could tell she was unhappy with herself, and her appearance.  The blonde had gone from buxom to downright tempting in the next 3 years.  She was now a modest size 7, very happy there, and had kept to that size for the past year.  She had always been pretty with her big blue-green eyes and her wide expressive mouth, but she was alluring now.  Her cheekbones were defined and her nose was slimmer.  She had cut her hair to a long in front bob that showcased her long neck and ultra-feminine shoulders.  It also showcased a head of hair that went from light brown to golden blonde in a natural process that women paid hundreds of dollars for.
Charlotte had a women’s build.  She had become lean with modest sized breasts. She was slim, but not too so skinny you wanted to feed her constantly.  Her waist, shapely hips, and derriere made those low-rise jeans look fantastic on her.  Sandra had started feeling unattractive around her, and that made her feel shallow, and a slave to the very nature that she was trying to eliminate.  Sandra was exotic, but Charlotte was classic.  And unless you liked your women with big boobs, an abnormally narrow waist, giant hips, giant ass, and those oh so sexy linebacker shoulders, you probably wouldn’t want Sandra.
“Hello ladies.”  Brenda blew into the room in her usual fashion.  First the smell of Liz Taylor’s Black Diamonds, and then a whiff of Vanilla from her over coiffed naturally straight blue-black hair that was piled on top of her head.  She had a designer hairspray that smelled of Vanilla.  Her Gucci clutch landed on the table near Sandra as she took a prim seat in the chair next to her. A red plaid Liz Arden suit with gold toggles matching her black & gold Christian Dior pumps adorned her figure.
Brenda was not an attractive lady in the conventional sense.  She was average height, 5’ 6”.  Not too much leg; not too much torso; not too meaty; not too slender, and a real primo nice set of breasts though.  In her own words, ‘you don’t often see real ones this perky’.  Her intense ice blue eyes startled you in their paleness.  To maximize this affect she usually kept them fringed in heavy mascara and thick black eyeliner. Facial features that met you were sharp and blunt all at the same time, swimming heavily in her Italian ancestry, and merely wading in her Welsh.  The combination as a whole was stark and startling.  The oddity of her features was entrancing, and in the oddest way quite lovely. Add that with her healthy amounts of confidence, and the way she exuded power.  She held great beauty.
Brenda was a self-made woman.  She had graduated as an architect 12 years ago, and had instantly scored the biggest business venture ever.  It had taken sixteen months, but she had successfully designed and copyrighted the infamous bank building in Downtown Dallas that featured a most interesting architectural design that resembled a keyhole at the top of the building.  One of her graduation projects had been the interior of the city’s best symphony hall.  By studying the configuration of wind instruments she had figured out a way to stack the walls that caused sound to vibrate and bounce at a higher magnitude than most other symphonic halls.  Of course the architect she understudied for took all the credit.  He claimed who was better qualified to make such a discovery, him or his assistant, who was also a woman. Guess whom the board sided with.  Being completely miffed by this Brenda had reworked the layouts so that he ended up stacking the walls wrong leaving her to have to go in behind him and fix them.  This proved once and for all who had really been the mastermind behind the center’s design which was what actually scored her an arts center job.  From that day forward Brenda had resolved to stand behind no one.  Her projects would be her own, and the construction companies would deal with her and her alone.
Charlotte had been responsible for Brenda being in their lives.  Four years ago Charlotte had put her BA in interior design to good use and founded Not Just Ceilings and Walls. The company had designed the interior of Brenda’s first independent project, a restaurant in North Dallas called Avanti.  They had met and hit it off prompting Charlotte to tell her about W.A.R.M.  Brenda was instantly on board being sick of the male influence in her day-to-day life thanks to her career.  So Brenda got to soon add being an active member of W.A.R.M to her hobbies of being a clotheshorse, and a social butterfly.
“How are those red Prada sling backs I gave you?”  Brenda’s ice blue eyes lit up as she leaned over to pat Sandra’s hand.
“They are as wonderful as you said.”
“Worth the $350?”
“Every penny.”
Looking every bit like Jackie O in her prime, Brenda clucked as she started digging through her Gucci clutch. “I swear they are sexy. It’s a shame I could only wear them twice.”
Charlotte looked at Brenda questioningly, as usual confused by the woman’s sensibilities.  “Why only twice?”
“The dress that went with them, I wore it to the President’s Arts Gala last fall and to the TCU alumni anniversary dinner this past spring.  I was photographed at both occasions.  Anyone paying attention would notice.”  She put a dramatic hand to her forehead. “It would be so embarrassing; it’s not like I’m a pauper after all.”
Both Sandra and Charlotte simply looked blinkingly at Brenda.
Completely oblivious, Brenda huffed and continued.  “Speaking of galas, I’m hosting a fundraiser at the house in Willow Bend. Charlotte would you be my hero and update my living and dining rooms. Last time is still great, but—”
Charlotte interrupted, “I know, you wouldn’t want them to see it twice.  I’ll send Megan over in the morning, and I’ll look over her notes, and get back to you by Friday.”
“You are an angel.”  Brenda smiled as she refreshed her lipstick.
“You just don’t forget to mention my design company when those high society rags come through.” She smiled indulgently at Brenda.  She didn’t always understand the woman, but she really enjoyed her nonetheless.
Brenda gave her a brilliant smile. “Never darling,” she said in a droll self-mocking tone.
The door to the meeting room flew open and two women stood there, one glaring one laughing.  On the left, the glaring redhead turned flashing green eyes to Sandra, and then back to her companion.  The redhead’s normally pale skin tone was emitting tones of red in her fury.  She was dressed super business casual, as was her style; a basic white scoop neckline short sleeve top, and tan wide-legged slacks with no fuss no muss light tan flat sandals.  Deborah was the anti-Brenda if ever there were one.  She kept her outfits simple, and easy to maintain which was interesting since she was without doubt the one out of the group with the looks.  Her heart-shaped face, larger than life green eyes, her sharp pert nose, and pouty lips were a perfect picture framed by fire red hair that was laced with golden red strands and auburn highlights; all natural by the by.  She was definitely gorgeous in the drop-dead sense.  She kept her body fit and toned and stood about 5’ 2”, which most men found absolutely adorable.  Made her easy to physically manipulate Sandra had once jokingly explained to the group to get the little redhead’s ire up.
But the laughing lady to the right, Rachel, did something that Deborah’s beauty couldn’t.  She emitted sex. It was always unintentional, but potent, like Brenda’s “Black Diamonds” perfume.  It poured off of her when she walked into a room.  Her chocolate skin tone looked creamy, and her shoulder length curly ash brown hair whispered how soft it was. Dark brown eyes were always warm with invitation.  She stood a little intimidating at 5’ 9”, but it was fetching.  When she wasn’t on a job, RJ always wore long things, like the simple sleeveless turtle-necked black dress she was wearing that nearly touched the floor beneath her black strappy sandals.  Outfits like that showed off her long legs and smooth curves that practically beckoned for a man’s touch. Top this package off with an exquisite face. Not the pure beauty that Deborah was, but a more flamboyant look.  Her features were broad; her eyes, lips, her nose, and it made you stare without realizing that you were.  Right now those broad features were alight with mischief and humor.
“I can’t believe you did that,” exclaimed Deborah looking sidelong at Rachel.  “What is wrong with you?”
Sandra, welcoming the break from the drama that is Brenda, looked to Deborah and asked, “Did what?”
Deborah started shaking her head, her long red hair dusting her shoulders lightly as it continued down her back. Unforgiving, she pointed at Rachel who was looking unusually contrite.  Rachel’s eyes were downcast, and she continued to hiccup, which meant that she had been laughing very hard.  The ebony beauty raised her dark brown eyes to look at the room, and then turned to run out.
Charlotte rolled her eyes at the duo. “Well Debbie, what did she do?”
“She was being a bully is what.” She formed her face in a perfect pout as she glanced behind her to see Rachel bent over double laughing on the other side of the door.
“Do you remember her mark?” She finally started as she moved over to the other side of the conference table.
Everyone internally sighed as she began.  Deborah was one of those out-of-control redheads that you would find yelling bloody murder at a waiter who spilled coffee in front of her, not to mention how she would act had it been on her.  It took very little to get her angry, and she always held people responsible for their actions.  There were no mistakes for Debbie; there were just people who didn’t own up to their mistakes.  She was necessary for what they were trying to do, because she was like their blind lady of justice. Whenever there was a question of right and wrong she always knew where to look, and what questions to ask.  Deborah was a criminal psychiatrist who took her work into all aspects of her life.
Sandra had met Deborah while she had been consulting on a juvenile delinquency case three and a half years ago.  The case had involved a 13-year-old girl who had been caught prostituting.  Her mother had been a heroin addict who allowed her scummy boyfriend to pimp out her daughter for drug money.  Deborah had intentionally sought her out knowing that if anyone could help her get the 13–year-old exonerated, and away from her addicted mother, and most importantly her mother’s pimp boyfriend, it would be Sandra.  Whose reputation with the Dallas County DA’s office had become legend due to her key testimony in another trial involving child pornography. Most legal factions considered her a key expert in the subject because of her studies in gender sociology.
Debbie dropped her giant hemp purse in front of her on the table, and sat unabashedly down with her legs slightly ajar and arms on top of the table.  “Well miss audiovisual here decided that it wasn’t enough to teach him a normal lesson.”  She glared at Rachel as she began to make her way into the room.  “Instead he got a paranormal one.”
“A what?!”  Brenda as usual, cracked first.
“I can’t speak her techie mumbo-jumbo, so she’ll have to tell you.”
“He was a hard case.”  RJ giggled as she sat next to Charlotte.  “He wasn’t going to be broken with just a routine operation.”  She glanced deviously at the room as she folded her arms across her chest.  “So I stepped it up a notch.”
“Could we be sued?”  Sandra asked in all seriousness.
Rachel shook her head. “He’d be much too embarrassed to tell anyone, not even his therapist. Besides you can’t file charges against a person beyond this place.”
Charlotte’s eyes lit up completely intrigued. “Now you have to tell us what you did.”
Rachel made a smug face. “It was pretty simple really.  It turns out that Brian has a phobia about ghosts and such.  His mom would tell him these heinous stories when he was young to make him behave. Anyway, after our date a few nights ago I set-up some very convincing, not visible equipment to recreate his worst nightmare.  Last night he asked for sex, and I asked him for a commitment.  He refused so I set plan ‘nocturnal visitor’ into effect.”
Sandra felt her forehead crease. There was always one super dramatic ultra militant one in every group, and Rachel was definitely theirs.  Sandra didn’t blame her though.  When she had met Rachel she had been afraid to leave her house. The beauty had been mugged and raped 2 weeks prior to running into Sandra at a local grocery store 2 years ago.  She had visibly flinched when the male stocker had moved towards her to grab a box near her cart, thus dropping the can of ravioli she had in her hand.  Sandra had been in the same aisle for you guessed it, disgusting canned ravioli.  Sandra had picked up the can joking about how your body knew that this stuff was awful for it. Expecting a laugh at both their expense, Sandra saw the most painful look of horror she had ever seen.  So she had followed by asking her if she was okay, and the poor lady had immediately burst into tears.  The teachings of Ayita Sittingbull-Dalianas had taken over instantly. Sandra couldn’t keep to herself or mind her own business at that point.  She had been raised better than that.  Without a by your leave, she had bundled Rachel up, and got her out of there.

During that time Sandra had a house in the middle of Richardson.  She had gotten rid of it, and settled for a small one bedroom apartment because of how lonely the modest sized house had made her feel. The house in Richardson was where Sandra had shuffled Rachel off to.  The frightened woman had fought her every step of the way.  Finally she got her settled in the guest room with a large cup of tea and a very good book talking about how to cope with rape.  Rachel didn’t come out for 3 days.  Sandra had left her be, and left food and water outside of the door for whenever she was ready. She and Sandra had been close ever since.

Available on AmazonBarnes & Noble and Goodreads

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The W.A.R.M. Front Series 5 Book Projection

Sandra’s Social (Book One of the W.A.R.M. Front Series) 
Currently Available Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords
Dr. Sandra Dalianas is a woman that almost has it all. She has a loving family, good friends, and a thriving feminist movement. Which she feels helps her deal with her historically lack luster love life. On a divergence from her normal path, Sandra meets a dark stranger that intrigues her more than any man ever has. Her gorgeous, arrogant, and disarmingly charming mystery man seems to be at the right place, always at the right time. Almost too right because her feminist shadow life unfortunately puts her in the wrong place at the wrong time. A fact she may live to regret. That is if she lives.

Charlotte’s Chance (Book Two of the W.A.R.M. Front Series) 
Currently Available Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords
Charlotte Rhoades had to stand back, and watch her best friend flee for her life with a mystery man that no one even knew she was seeing. Like any good friend she does everything in her power to keep her best friend’s life from falling apart only to realize that the bad guys have mistaken her for her best friend. So she starts running in circles fast to try and throw them off of her trail without letting them know where Sandra is. And just when she thought she was caught, her assailants would disappear. In the mists of all of this political intrigue it took her a while to notice the man that had been following her for weeks now. 

But she knew this man. It was Thomas Glendel, the golden-eyed friend of the man Sandra had left with. He was always there in the background never close enough to touch, but just close enough to affect her. Always right beyond her reach. The problem was that she desperately wanted to reach him.

Brenda’s Bounty (Book Three of the W.A.R.M. Front Series)
Coming January 2017 
Brenda had always admired her W.A.R.M. front founders Sandra and Charlotte.  She saw them as take charge kind of women and completely supported their efforts to retrain men.  So when it was time to step up and take one for the team Brenda didn't hesitate. Hell it should be fun. She figured Jeffrey Aames would be easy to corral, he was a man after all.  If none of the conventional worked she'd go to tried and true tactics to get him to give Sandra the time she needed to let her big bad wolf of a guy settle her problems.  However Jeff was nothing like Brenda thought he would be and offered her a proposition she could not say no to. Even so she wasn't so distracted by the man with the cloud cover eyes and desert cowboy good looks to not notice that she had a lot of company wherever she went. No slouch in the hard to wrangle department Brenda makes plans to keep herself safe in light of the current climate for the women of W.A.R.M.

Rachel’s Resolution (Book Four of the W.A.R.M. Front Series)
Coming November 2017
Rachel Adams had a deep dislike for men that had more to do with being raped a few years prior than anything else.  Even if she hadn’t been, she would’ve been drawn to W.A.R.M. because of the many injustices paid to women she knew that weren’t considered ‘good girls’.  But the rogue feminist group had suited her ‘hands on’ personality. She had been shocked at the message from Deborah stating that W.A.R.M. activities had been officially halted.  Then terrified when Sandra hadn’t returned her phone call.   The very next day a stranger had started working security for the 18-month concert tour she was working. 

When Rey Serrano received a phone call from CIA inside man Thomas Glendel his first response was to hang up.  He had learned the hard way that doing favors for the CIA was bad business.  Then Glendel had said the magic words. The man he owed his life to needed his help.  That had changed everything. Protect Rachel Adams.  But he soon finds out that the only person she is in danger of, is him.

Deborah’s Dilemma (Book Five of the W.A.R.M. Front Series)
Coming March 2018

Dr. Deborah McKilligan Dallas county criminal psychiatrist had been a loner from day one. Somehow Sandra had broken through that and convinced her to be involved in something.  Now as she watched that woman get married it was her job to continue the fight by heading up W.A.R.M.  A year later an odd closed case lands on her desk.  Quickly Deborah realizes that this case was a scam.  Someone high up was trying to cover their tracks.  Looking for some insight into this mystery case she had asked Sandra’s husband for some advice.  He had reintroduced her to Major Carlos Guerrero who she had met at their wedding reception.  Major Guerrero for the life of himself couldn’t figure out why of all the people he could send the ferocious redhead to, he had chosen him.  What he did know was that the little lady was going to get herself into a hell of a lot of trouble if she didn’t send this case on it’s way.  He just had to make sure that the maniac she was dealing with didn’t get to her before he did.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sandra's Social Sunday Teaser

The odd yet fascinating habit of meeting him in a previously discussed location, and returning to his loft for the night had become the highlight of Sandra’s existence after a couple of months.  It was so odd how much you could know about a person without knowing their name.  Their conversations were intelligent, political, and sometimes inane.  They talked about relationships with parents and with friends, always describing them in terms that didn’t require mentioning names.  Sandra’s thoughts wavered as she stepped into Maguire’s with a slick and confident smile on her face.  She would’ve been surprised if she could have seen it.  
The elegant and coiffed hostess took in Sandra’s mahogany Calvin Klein slip dress and matching Chanel pumps with handbag, and smiled her approval.
“One Ma’am”, the severe looking redhead quickly added, “Or perhaps you are meeting someone.”
Sandra smiled back.  Her fake business smile while she tried not to choke on the overpowering scent of Liz Arden’s Red Door. “Just the bar please.”  She and all the ladies of W.A.R.M. had endured Brenda’s ‘I need a new scent’ month where she ran the gambit of designer colognes from Giorgio Armani to Yves Saint Laurent before settling on Liz Taylor’s Black Diamonds.  Without doubt the day of Elizabeth Arden had been the toughest to take.
The “Of course” from the hostess was clipped as her demeanor changed as she began to figure that Sandra was a high classed prostitute.  Nonetheless she led her to the bar, and quickly left it.  Sandra gratefully breathed in the fresh air that was left in her wake.
 “You’re late,” the deep voice rumbled behind her as Sandra got settled.
Sandra slowly turned her stool to face him.  He was Monsieur Arrogance tonight for sure.  She smiled haughtily at him.
“Late, I didn’t know we had a date,” she said breathily. Every freaking time her first words to him were like that.  She might as well have called him Mr. President.
He sat next to her without saying another word, and signaled the bartender.  She noticed that the sleeves of his pale green shirt were rolled up, cufflinks gone, and a $10,000 Rolex sat on his wrist.  She only knew the price of that model because her Grandpa Samath had bought one for her father years ago for a birthday present, and he had bragged about the price for 6 months afterward.  She knew that the one she sported as a graduation present was quite pricey, and so whenever Brenda tried to tell her how much it was worth she would always stop her.  It was better not to know how much of a fortune the damn thing cost.  After all it was just a watch.  
Sandra was under the opinion that you didn’t spend more than $50 for an accessory that was designed to be annoying. But her Grandpa Samath always said, “A good timepiece is very important Sandra.” His bushy grey and white eyebrows would bunch together, and he would draw his wide featured face up for maximum impact.  Samath Dalianas was a tall man, being the bearer of Jiri’s overwhelming height.  His gray and white hair was still thick and worn a touch long.  Proudly he sported a slight bulge around the waist, but that didn’t detract from broad shoulders and toned arms since he still boated quite a bit himself with his brother Tomas.  “The difference between success and failure can be measured in seconds. You must always know what time it is.”  
“Jack and Coke for the lady, Chivas rocks for me.” The tone was matter of fact as his eyes dared Sandra to contradict him.
Uncharacteristically Sandra let him be high handed.  For some odd reason it felt wonderful to have a man know her well enough to order for her. Her Greek half would be thrilled.  Since Jiri had shattered tradition, they didn’t mince over her being with a Greek man.  It was still preferred, but at this point in the game she was considered well past a decent marriageable age. Any man that would have her would do. Grandma Jasmine and G’pa Chase on the other hand would tease her unmercifully.  Both knew that in her heart of hearts Sandra thought she would be the one to avoid all of this male female nonsense. She grimaced to herself that the training in women to be dependent on the approval of men was ingrained deep.  Even she was susceptible it seemed.  
After a questioning and searching glance, he entreated,   “I hope you don’t mind.  I was recalling your position on the role taken by today’s woman in opposition to the role forced onto women in the past.  I wouldn’t want to offend your feminist nature with my brass, barbaric, and controlling one, but I must be true to myself.” His look was amused. “I am a bastard.”
Sandra took a sip of her drink, and regarded him in silence. With keen interest he turned to face her, one arm on the bar, the other resting on his black clad thigh. Then with another small smile, and an almost scholarly look she was beginning to recognize, he continued.  Sandra smiled in anticipation, story time.
“There was a fisherman once.  He had one cormorant that he trusted, and two that he didn’t.  Without fail everyday he would take all three out into his little boat and set them free to fish for him as he sat and waited.  As expected the two cormorants that were untrustworthy would eat more than they would bring back to the boat choosing to greedily fill their bellies before returning any of what they caught.  When full they would hunt for sport, and bring what was left for the fisherman.  The third was a very different creature. This bird would bring all he caught back to the boat without thought or hint of treachery choosing to fill his master’s belly before filling his own.” He paused for dramatic affect only, one of his many story telling habits.  
She had confessed that she loved to hear him tell a story.  He had explained that in Japan it was an art, not just anyone was allowed to tell a story.  Men had been slaughtered for less than telling a bad story, and that was a quote.  When you were an oddity in a place like Japan, the people who viewed you expected to be entertained.  So he had learned how to tell wonderful stories.  It was the only way the smaller Japanese children would play with the giant grandson of the white haired gaijin.
He continued, “I will remind you that this would occur every day.  The fisherman didn’t eat all that he caught.  He sold much of his catch to others, and feed countless people whether they paid or not.”
He was a hand talker depending on the seriousness of the story.  Because he was proving a point he had very few hand gestures to accompany this story.  So it stood out when he raised his hand from his thigh slightly dropping his head signaling a pause.
“But this story is not about the honor of the fisherman, it is about the honor of his birds. So when they were done the two less loyal cormorants would spend the night punished for their greed without food or drink. Their treacherous ways returned to them the way the fisherman saw fit.  They would watch as the third was gifted with all the luxuries of a kept bird; unlimited food and drink, a safe place to sleep, and freedom to eat and drink at his leisure.  All for a couple of hours of selflessness each day.”
His pause was once again dramatic, but carried a hint of being thoughtful.  He could make his face and voice so very expressive when he wanted to.  A by-product of all the control he exerted over his features and emotions constantly.  “Sometimes the choices of a caged bird are only seen by the caged bird.  And the hunger of a bird that doesn’t allow itself to be tamed only felt by the hungry.  All of the birds contain the same spirit, yet all are caged.  Wouldn’t it be safe to say that it is then left up to the bird whether the cage has bars or not.”
“And the bird that is free?” Sandra inquired sweetly.
His narrowed eyed look wasn’t him being cross with her.  She happened to know that he enjoyed these debates with her very much.  He narrowed his eyes to try and distract from how much fun he was having so he could concentrate on giving as good as he got.
“Is filled with the uncertainty of a free wild thing.  Uncertain food, uncertain that tomorrow will even be seen.  If the cage is chosen, why fight that which wants to reward and care for you.” He shrugged as if the question was unseemly.
At Sandra’s doubtful sound he continued in a musical tone, “Not all masters are uncaring.”
“Not all masters are caring,” she amended in a flat one. “It’s foolish to choose a cage over the uncertainty of unyielding freedom.” Sandra mused. “Then all that is caught belongs only to the bird.”
He now watched her in the oddest way as if her answer had just told him all the secrets of her being. It was very disconcerting as he sat across from her holding the side of his face in his hand resting his elbow on the bar.  The other on his thigh idly turning his half filled glass of Chivas rocks. His unusual eyes were focused intently on her noting everything.
“That’s an easy choice for one that is not a bird.  Why risk unfed nights when the kept birds have already captured all of the fish and are joyous and full.”
Silently they contemplated each other, and Sandra got the feeling that this conversation was about much more than birds and fish or an argument that had started weeks ago.  She was answering whatever he was actually proposing unknowingly.
Sandra thought back. The argument had started during their week three meeting.  He had posed the question, ‘What was the purpose besides political for women to have a revolution when in fact they have always had the world at their feet depending on the man that they laid with.’  Instantly engaged and enraged Sandra had cited several instances of women’s inequality resulting in death and wrongful treatment at the hands of men.  To which he had responded that this treatment would happen in a totally equal world as well.  The nature of man was to destroy in most instances, and whether women were considered equal or not was of little to no regard. There were men who would destroy, and those that would fight the urge and not. To which she had responded that she had expected no less an answer from a man raised Japanese. The argument had taken place at least once between them as each thought of counter points to support their position.
After several moments he broke the silence, “If the cage is chosen which will you choose to be, one that hunts for itself and is left as such, or one that hunts for another trusting that the generosity of your spirit will be returned?”
“Neither. The cage will never be my choice,” Sandra replied confidently.
“Never is a permanent word that the nature of life does not support.” Almost mockingly he began to sip his drink. “The fates conspire against those that use that word with such conviction.”
“Never say never?” she asked coyly.
“Never say never without a thought for maybe,” he clarified. “Life and people are ever changing, never does not allow for that.  Simple bravado filled statements that one can only hope to live up to are all that do.”
He sat his drink on the bar, and took hers from her hand, and did the same with it. Holding that hand in his he inquired, “What do you think of when you meet someone?” This was seemingly very honest from him, naturally curious.
“How they see me.” She spoke lowly, trying to ignore how good it felt to have her hand in his so she could read what was behind his untimely question. “How they see life, and where their place is in it.”
“And you? How do you see life? Where is your place in it?”
Sandra hesitated as she realized that he was leading to another point.  Nervously she clenched her hand, and he returned the squeeze as she decided to give him a bland answer. “I see numbers, facts and figures. A testimony to the nature of man, and his slow and gradual evolution.  I am a humanity mathematician.”
Laughing that enigmatic laugh of his, he barely got out, “You are a woman. A beautiful, intelligent, woman.” Quick as lightening his long warm fingers snared her other wrist. His index finger was tapping her pulse as he placed it over his chest right above his heart.
“Count this,” he implored her gently.
Sandra’s lips parted, and she let herself feel his heartbeat beneath her fingers. The world around them blurred as her heart sped up its pace pounding heavily in her ears. ‘Rushing blood,’ she thought, ‘take deep breathes’.  For a countless number of seconds nothing existed but the insistent building of their heartbeats; the rhythms starting to come together and echo each other. The penetrating warmth of his body was burning through his shirt in counterpoint to the comfort of his hand holding hers to his chest. Her eyes were pinned to his chest where they touched.  He squeezed her hand causing her eyes to shift to his. They exchanged a pointed look between the two of them.
“What is that supposed to mean to me? It’s a heartbeat.” Sandra started breaking the hold his eyes had on hers because it made her much too aware of where her hands were. “We all have them, men, women, murders and saints.  It’s the purpose that lies behind it that concerns me.  Man has had a history that shows a desire to subjugate the weak, and to enslave those not in power for fear of their strength.”
Sandra felt an unnamed emotion course through him as his hand tightened over hers. His perfect blue eyes grabbed hers again.
“And a need to protect the weak and live life as it is, not in a matter of facts and figures that only tell the tales of those willing to be judged and tested.  This place has a balance. One cannot exist without the other.”
“So their honesty must be true. Why lie about such ugly things?” The air of disbelief lay thickly between them.
Resigned finally he sighed. “So this argument shall continue.”
She nodded. “Until you can convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt that your view is correct, yes.”
“So be it.” The aggressor conceded.  “Will you come home with me?”
Despite herself Sandra smiled. “You’re asking; how modern of you.”
“The barbarian in me would prefer it another way.” He shrugged. “But I realize that this course would be unsuccessful in accomplishing my goal.”

“You are a smart man.”