Hard to Hold – Sneak Peek #2

Okay, so you’ve got the Hard to Hold long excerpt (basically all of Chapter 1 except for a few first paragraphs that were actually excerpted in the back of Hot Nights, Dark Desires.  And then I gave you a sneak peek in early July that dealt with the three brothers.  And because they’re so much fun, I’m bringing them back again for a command performance.

And yes, this book does have a heroine – she and Jake spend a lot of time together.    But, you know, the brother thing…

Sneak Peek from HARD TO HOLD:

“Does Cal know Isabelle’s moved in here – with you?” Chris asked when Jake walked into the kitchen, still half in a daze.

“She’s moved in here with us. And yeah, Cal knows.”  Jake drank the last of the orange juice directly from the bottle and forced himself to act as normal as possible.  Because when you lived with two human radars like his brothers, you pretty much couldn’t get away with having any secrets.

“I like her,” Chris stated emphatically, then glanced at Jake.  “Not like that.”

“Good,” Jake muttered.

“Good because you like her?”

“Because she’s Cal’s goddaughter.”

“Yeah, all right.  We’ll go with that explanation for now,” Chris drawled.  Jake looked for something to throw at Chris’s head while the man continued, “Still doesn’t really explain why she’s here, though.”

“She needed a place to stay.”

“You don’t usually move in women you like after one date.”

“We didn’t have any dates.”

“I can’t think of a woman he’s liked enough to spend more than a few hours with in recent months.  Years, even,” Nick said.  He’d come into the kitchen and poured and drank a glass of milk with his ulcer medication as Jake and Chris stared on. “What?”

“You’re drinking milk instead of coffee,” Chris said.

“You’re actually taking your ulcer medication,” Jake said.

“Yeah, your girlfriend’s bossy,” Nick mumbled.

“She’s not…forget it.”  Jake knew it was stupid to argue and give them any more fodder, a fact he remembered both in real life and military situations, and one that got blown away when he was around his brothers.

“The admiral gave us the whole, be nice to Isabelle, speech yesterday,” Nick said. “I guess that’s the one he gave to you too.”

Jake nodded.

“I don’t think he meant you had to move her in,” Nick continued.

Jake played with the empty orange juice bottle.

“Are we going to talk about this?” Nick asked.

“No,” Jake said, and usually, that would end it.  A maybe was code for, I’ll let you pull it out of me, but a no meant Nick would shut his mouth until – if ever – Jake decided to talk.

But yeah, what the fuck was he doing?  This bodyguard-hero- all-encompassing savior bullshit was grating on every last nerve he had.  A lot of people saw him like that, sure.  He didn’t want Isabelle to.

He’d voiced his concerns to Cal again last night about how his brothers were going to get suspicious quickly, which was why the Admiral had casually mentioned to Chris and Nick that he’d be doing them a big favor too if they’d keep an eye out for Isabelle.

Jake had been voicing his concerns to himself ever since he’d encouraged her to take off her clothes.

Out of control.

Bantam/Ballantine New Book Giveaway at Dear Author

Could the title of the post be any longer?  Maybe…  

Anyway, head over to Dear Author and comment for a chance to win some of Bantam and Ballantine’s upcoming releases!  My editor, Shauna Summers, gives you the lowdown on each book to help you choose.  And yes, I’m excited because HARD TO HOLD is up there 🙂  Very cool  – it’s getting close to release day!

But it makes me so proud to be among such good company at Random House!  And speaking of, I have a title for book 4, LIE WITH ME.  It’s perfect for Cam’s book.

In other news, a daddy longlegs tried to kill me last night in my bathroom while I was washing my face.  I’m so serious…it was like, ninja longlegs.  I know there are more lurking, waiting for revenge.  *shudders*

Hard to Hold Sneak Peek

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably familiar with Jake, the SEAL whose been visiting me for as long as I can remember – he and his brothers were regular visitors on mine and other blogs, until I seriously started writing their stories and then, well, I kept them too busy to play.

Anyway, this special sneak peek from Hard to Hold, which releases November 24th, 2009, focuses on the three brothers the trilogy centers on – Jake, Nick and Chris, and also introduces their father, Kenny.  It’s told from Nick’s point of view, which always seems to include…sex, whether it’s talking about it or thinking about it or…well, you know.  But some of my favorite scenes to write focus on the three brothers, something my editor knows and indulges me on, to a point 🙂

Sneak Peek Excerpt from Hard to Hold – a scene from Chapter Three

Nick hadn’t been with a woman since he’d gotten back on U.S. soil from Afghanistan, which was some kind of record he never wanted to have to beat.  It had been nearly forty-eight hours, thanks to Jake’s gunshot wound and the subsequent paperwork that needed to be handed in immediately, plus the debriefings and the physicals and right now Nick craved the kind of release only hot sex – or a good demolition – could bring.

Of course, being out with the man you called Dad could put a severe cramp in both those options.

“I didn’t want to come here to watch the battle of the fucking bands in the first place,” Jake was complaining to Chris.

“I need to get laid,” Nick told his brothers.

“Go for it,” Chris said, then downed another shot.

“It’s not like I can leave with someone – not with Dad here,” Nick said.

“Like he didn’t know about all the other times, starting with freshman year in high school,” Chris said and Jake and Nick groaned in unison at that image.

“Freshman year wasn’t my first time,” Nick said at the same time Jake asked, “Are you trying to make sure I can never have sex again?”

“Dad probably gets more ass than any of us combined,” Chris said, and Nick and Jake groaned again.  Chris just laughed.  Tonight, he wore a white T-shirt, which made the fact that his eyes were two different colors stand out even more.  One was bright blue, the other an intense green and they gave him an unbalanced, slightly crazed look.  Once people got to know him, they realized that it wasn’t just a look.

“He’s got to stop with the mind-reading bullshit,” Nick muttered.

“Just don’t start a fight tonight,” Jake warned and Nick immediately figured that a good, old-fashioned fight could work to distract him for a while, since the band about to take the stage looked like Motley Crue gone wrong.  Until he felt the tap on his shoulder and turned to see Kenny Waldron, the man he’d called Dad since he’d been fourteen, staring all of them down.

“I’m here to show off the new band, not my sons’ excellence at bar fights,” he said.

All three men held up their hands in silent surrender.  Like they were being put under house arrest.

“Hey, we don’t start them,” Chris protested, and that much at least was true.  There were guys who knew they were SEALs and who wanted to pick fights with them just because of that.  Sometimes it was because other men’s girlfriends looked at them a little too long, and hey, they couldn’t help that either.

Kenny rolled his eyes at them, and then his stare stayed on Jake for a few minutes too long.  He opened his mouth like he was going to say something, but the band started in and he got distracted.

Score one for Jake.  And speaking of score, Jake should be chomping at the bit, worse than Nick was. Jake was definitely tense, but he appeared off the market tonight – not looking around for any kind of action the way he normally would.  Which could only mean that Jake was already in some kind of major trouble.

He looked around and his eye caught on one woman who looked familiar. It took him a minute, but he was finally able to place her.  “Hey – Dr. Markham’s here.”

“Who’s that?” Kenny asked.

“The woman Jake pissed off today,” Chris said and Jake shot him a look, which he ignored.

“You saw her today?” Nick asked.

“It’s a long story,” Jake mumbled and Nick knew there was more to it than that.  A lot more.  But he was content to let Jake shrug it off if he wanted.  He’d get the full story from Chris later on.

“Were you rude?” Kenny asked.

“I was the way I always am,” Jake said.  Chris choked on his beer, Kenny started lecturing Jake in Cajun French and Nick figured that this was a perfect time to slip away.


Want more?  Read an excerpt from the prologue of Hard To Hold here!

return of the SEAL

“What are you doing here? And where are the rest of your clothes?”

The three year old fell asleep at 7:30 pm and I figured I could get a really good night’s sleep. Once again, I was wrong and now the SEAL is sitting on the side of my bed again.

I wonder if Cece knows he’s gone.

“I snuck out for a while.” Jake reads my mind, dangles the cuffs from his finger and rolls his eyes. “I’ve been humoring her, since she’s getting a kick out of it. She claims she’s editing now but she’s mumbling other men’s names. Some guys named Zack and Ty.”

“Funny, I’ve never seen you as the jealous type.”

“Don’t try and change the subject,” he grumbled.

“I’m not doing any more on your book until Nick’s is finished.” I consider the benefits of appeasing him and decide to go for it. “But I’ve found you someone.”

“I know. Her name’s Cece and I’ve got to get back before she finds out I’m gone. Gonna have to do something to make her forget about that Ty person. I’ve got a reputation to uphold.”

why I write

The legend that characters run away from their authors-taking up drugs, having sex operations and becoming president-implies that the writer is a fool with no knowledge or mastery of his craft. The idea of authors running around helplessly behind their cretinous inventions is contemptible. -John Cheever

“So, I hear you’re involved in this WORD challenge,” he says patiently. I turn over and sigh, still not wanting to think about it, since a) it’s not November 1st yet and b) I still haven’t decided which of the four books I’m working on. So I just keep my eyes closed and pretend I didn’t hear. After all, it’s 2am and I’m tired and I know the three year old will be up in a few short hours.

“Hey, I’m talking here,” he says again. “I just want to know what your goal is. You need a goal, you know.”

I know, I know, I mutter internally. A goal that’s realistic, a goal that won’t make me panic and force Cece to push smelling salts under my nose every few seconds.

“You’re too competitive for a realistic goal,” he says and I wonder when he began to be able to read my mind. I guess it’s only fair, since I can read his. And not only is he reading my mind, he’s reading correctly, something I haven’t even considered.

It’s not that I’m competitive about the WORD group. Those are my writing friends. Sylvia’s already given the whole non-panic pep talks, but it’s comforting to know that Sasha and Larissa have already started hyperventilating. But since I won’t join the NaNoWriMo Challenge, in my mind I know I have to beat the word count I would need to win that challenge. So it’s a competition for myself. I even checked on the calculator just how many pages I would need to write to exceed NaNoWriMo’s challenge. And then I threw it back in the drawer and did anything non-writing related, like bills and laundry.

“You wrote fast for Chris’s book. Really fast. You had over 50,000 words in ten days,” he reminds me.

That had to be a fluke, really. I’d preplanned and replayed scenes from that book in my mind for almost a year before the whole thing came spilling out last December. It’s never been that easy again, even though I’ve managed to write four single titles since last September plus get halfway through about three others, and first chapters on several more. I like having a lot going on at once, and even when I try and concentrate on one project, the other characters call me, tug impatiently at my sleeve and demand my attention.

Which is exactly what’s happening now.

“It’s just that it’s taking so long to get to my book,” Jake reminds me. “And I’ve got a lot to say. Always have. But it’s time for me to get along with my life, get moving, fall in love and maybe even have a family.” He looks at me hopefully, defiantly, and his grey eyes look like smoke rising. “Besides, I want to get laid,” he says loudly.

“Sshhh,” I tell him. “You’ll wake my husband and the three year old.”