Monday.. er Tuesday Pick Me Up

Sorry guys, not only were all the kids sick, I got the ick too and I have edits due this week. Yup, it's a busy time in the Roberts household. But I do realize that's no excuse. To make it up to you, here's a few of my favorite Monday hotties.


Under the Covers with Dee Carney

I discovered Dee Carney when I first started playing around on Twitter. Since then, I’ve only grown in my respect for this talented writer. So it’s my please to welcome Dee under my covers so we can all find out what’s between hers.

First important question. Silk, satin, cotton, flannel. What is your sheet of choice?

I live where it’s hot. Definitely cotton. (BTW, no matter what anyone says, certain activities are practically impossible to perform on silk. Just sayin’)

LOL Shhh! That’s a trade secret! But Dee, slipping and sliding can be fun! It’s three o’clock in the morning. What are you wearing?

Depends. Am I with my husband, with someone who’s not my husband, or with my husband and someone who’s not my husband?

Ohh… now I have questions for off the air! ; ) It’s a slumber party! Calories don’t count. What snacks will you be munching on at midnight?

I’m a total cookie monster. Practically any kind. The best are those straight out of the oven, so gooey you can bend them in half and they won’t break.

Oh, and I’m addicted to making cookies. I know what we’ll be doing tonight. I’ll share my chocolate chip cookie recipe with you. But first a little business. How would you describe your writing style?

I really can’t describe it to you. The words people have used to describe my writing to me include “literary”, “eloquent”, “sophisticated” and “dark”. (Don’t ask me how that last one got inserted there. LOL) One of my publishers told me she can spot my voice within the first few sentences of a story. While intellectually I know what “voice” is, at the same time I’m a little flummoxed by what is my own voice and rely on others to tell me about it. I can tell you that in every one of my stories, either the hero or the heroine has, or is going to, suffer. Poor dears.

I’d take all those descriptions as compliments! I’m with you. I just write, I’m not sure what my style is. It may be that we’re too close to it. What inspired you to start writing?

I know it has its fans and its critics, but believe it or not, National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, prompted me to write my first novella. I knew I wanted to participate in the November-long project of writing a 50,000 word novel, but I didn’t want to jump in with both feet, never having attempted anything like it before. So, I decided during the October prior I would write a 25,000 word story. SOLDIER (Cobblestone Press) was the result of that effort.

Really? I’m neither a fan nor a critique, but I've often wondered if any of the books written go on to publication. I’ve been tempted a few times but it seems I’m always way deep in edits during November.What is the best piece of advice on writing you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received and the one I still hand out is finish the damned book. Authors don’t study their character’s astrology, or research the meanings of their names, spending so much time on their character’s history they can’t delve into the actual story. They don’t participate in exercise after exercise, but never complete a story. It doesn’t matter if you have twenty incomplete manuscripts sitting in a drawer. The difference between a writer and an author is one is published. You can only be published with a finished product.

That’s great advice! What kind of goals to you set for yourself when writing? Word count? Page count?

I work Monday through Friday, so by the time I get home from work, I’m exhausted. Typically during the week, I set my goal as zero. Anything over that is a win. LOL. On the weekends, however, I do aim for 5,000 words a day. Fortunately, I have a couple of online author friends with similar goals and we push each other into meeting or exceeding them.

I may have to join in. After work M-F, I don’t have much energy left to write but on the weekends, there’s the yard, and house, and soccer games, etc. Maybe if I had someone push me a little… : ) Do you listen to music while you write?

I don’t listen to music, but I do have the television on. I can’t concentrate in silence, so I keep it on for the noise. (Comes in handy when I need a secondary character name too. Just scroll through the listings and voila!) My dogs know when the television goes off on a weekend, it’s time for bed.

Where were you when you heard your first book was contracted. What did you do?

I will never forget it. I was working the dreaded 7 to 3 shift at the hospital on Christmas Day. I try to work these hours on this day so that people with children can spend it with them. Fortunately, it’s also usually a pretty relaxed day. Not having anything else going on, four weeks before I expected it, I received my contract offer from Cobblestone Books. None of my coworkers knew I work, so I kept mum, but the friends who did know received a forwarded copy of that email.

Tell us about your newest release.

If you follow me on Twitter (@dee_carney), you know I’m a huge Spartacus: Blood and Sand fan*. I would record it and watch the episodes over two time zones with a friend. We commented on Twitter all the while. Of course, watching all of that man-candy would inspire anyone so I started wondering about a former gladiator living in modern times. What would he be like? Thus, HUNGER AROUSED was born.

It’s my debut release with Carina Press and I’m very proud of this vampire romance. Jasmine, the heroine, has been accidentally made into a vampire. Corin, as vampire executioner, is sent to eliminate her.

*Best wishes to Andy Whitfield and family as he battles non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Let’s hope he recovers quickly! I’m also a huge Spartacus: Blood and Sand fan. If you haven’t watched it, I believe Hulu is still airing episodes. And Dee, now I want to read HUNGER AROUSED even more! Do you have anything else in the works?

Although I never write a book with any intentions of creating a series, somehow I’ve managed to talk myself into writing a sequel to HUNGER AROUSED. Right now, I’m working on PASSION AROUSED, which was inspired by one of the secondary characters in the original story. For now, I’m not saying who.

Tease! You’ve already said you work a day job, so what do you do when you’re not writing about hot characters?

I work as a nurse full-time, so I spend my weekends writing. If I had to count up the hours in a week, I’d say I spend roughly 30 hours a week writing or doing writing-activities. Whew! No wonder I’m tired.

Where can we find you?

I’m everywhere!

My site:

My blog:

My books:


My Twitter:

Time for Truth or… well, truth. ; ) Have you ever had a one-night stand?

Um, yeah. Who hasn’t?

What is the craziest or most unusual place you’ve had sex?

*blush* In the walk-in freezer of a grocery store. (See previous question.)

LOL! Did you defrost the ice cream? What would you consider a romantic date?

(Don’t look at question #2) I’m really one of those gushy types who loves any effort a man puts forward to show me a romantic time. I think some of my best dates were sunsets at local parks, just walking and talking while watching the waves come in. I’m not impressed by material things and so relaxed times like this call to me.

That does sound romantic! What is the best pick-up line someone has ever tried on you? Did it work?

I was working the information booth when this guy walks up and says “Please, I need you to call 9-1-1!” When I asked him why, hand over his heart he said “Because you’ve taken my breath away.” *rolls eyes* No, it didn’t work. It’s perhaps one of the oldest lines in the book.

Okay, I'm getting hungry. What is your favorite thing to eat?

Cookies. All kinds. Homemade are best. Not too sweet. Cookies. Just cookies. Did I mention cookies? Can’t go wrong with cookies. Yes, cookies. Mmmm…cookies.

LOL. You're certainly passionate about cookies. Do you have a  favorite color?

Purple. (It’s the color of my aura too. Neat!)

Could be connected. What is your favorite time of day?

I’m a night owl. Any time after dark, especially during a full moon, calls to me.

Maybe that's why you write paranormal. ; ) Out of curiosity, what is your favorite season?


Mine too! Until spring, and then that’s my favorite season. It’s hot where I live so the transition seasons are the best! If you could have any car, which would it be?

For PASSION AROUSED, my hero drives a Ferrari Scaglietti. MSRP: $372,000. I’m not impressed by material stuff, but really, I’d love to know what exactly could be so great about a car that costs more than my house.

What is a movie you could watch over and over?

I don’t know that I have a single favorite movie, but one I’ve seen easily a thousand times and can still find something to laugh at with each viewing is The Fifth Element. Bruce Willis and Chris Tucker are a hoot!

What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Because it’s so calorie-laden I rarely have it, but I love a virgin Pina Colada. Yum!

Well, today is a special occasion! So while I slide The Fifth Element into the DVD player, I’ll get the chocolate chips out for cookies and you mix up the Pina Coladas!

Here is a blurb for Dee Carney’s newest release HUNGER AROUSED:

Jasmine is sick in bed when a sexy stranger breaks in and reveals she’s suffering an irreversible case of vampirism. And because her turning wasn’t approved by the Council, he must kill her once the transition is complete. In the meantime, the executioner offers to ease her torment with chocolate, hot peppers or sexual release. Fortunately for them both, Jasmine’s kitchen is bare…

Corin’s honor demands he do his duty, but he cannot execute the lovely woman while any part of her humanity remains. He must also find—and kill—her sire. Jasmine denies ever having contact with a vampire, causing Corin to question the justice of his orders. Sensing his hesitation, the Council dispatches another executioner, forcing the pair to make a run for it.

Every hour they spend together—every sensual encounter they share—finds them growing closer. Now Corin will have to choose: kill the woman he loves, or go against everything he believes to set her free

And while we munch on my secret recipe chocolate chip cookes, here's an excerpt:

“You know of vampires?” he asked finally.

“Vampires? You mean…like garlic-hating, cross-avoiding, destroyed-by-sunlight vampires?”

“Truth.” The corner of his mouth lifted. “Vampires, as in Bram Stoker and the like.”

“Are you trying to tell me,” her eyes narrowed, “that someone bit me and I’m becoming a vampire?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

“I see.”

Corin could almost hear the wheels of her mind spinning. Definitely anticipated the way her body tensed. In her position, he expected nothing less. When she vaulted from the bed, he was already two steps ahead of her.

The first thing he realized as he wrapped his arms around her waist and hauled her against his body was how incredibly soft she was. The second thing, as pain exploded against his side, was how determined she was to get away.

Jasmine threw her elbow against him, again and again, ramming into him with the strength of a Mack truck. “Fucking lunatic!” she screamed.

More pain centered in his shin, where she used the heel of a bare foot to deliver a bruising kick. Ignoring the throbbing, he maneuvered around her and made her turn, putting her chest against his. Feisty little thing. If he thought her anger turned him on before, this side of her just about brought him to his knees…literally.

“Wait!” He wrestled one arm behind her back, doing his damndest not to hurt her, but quickly about to lose if she didn’t stop wriggling. “Gods damn it, wait and let me explain.”

“Instrument of death, my ass,” she ground out between clenched teeth. Somehow Jasmine managed to slip her hand between his shirt and skin to dig her nails into his


Oh, he liked this woman a lot.

Wrenching her hand away from his abdomen, possibly losing inches of meat in the process, he rushed forward. Together they slammed into the wall, Jasmine taking the brunt of the impact. It wouldn’t break any bones, but it would stun the hell out of her.

Breathing harshly, he hissed into her ear. “Listen to me. Cool your ire now.” When she began to thrash, Corin pulled back and slammed into the wall again, eliciting a grunt from her. “Get your emotions under control or you'll regret it in a matter of minutes.”

“Tough guy, huh?” she panted out. “Gonna hurt a woman half your size?”

Already the cinnamon scent began to waft from her pores. “Physiology, remember that?”

Her breath sawed in and out of her nose. “Yeah?”

“Oxytocin and endorphins. Pleasure hormones.” She still struggled, but with a little less force. “The change— yes, you are being transformed—is like fire inside you. Oxytocin or endorphins are like water. You keep letting your fear or your anger ratchet up, and the endorphins I helped you generate will dissipate, and you will burn from the inside again. Calm down.”

She’d been wearing medical scrubs before and he prayed it meant she had some knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. With her arms behind her back, her delicate wrists locked in his hand, he thought he felt some of the fight leave her body. His cock had been like steel from the moment he pleasured her, and now it came surging back with a vengeance. If he didn’t get himself under control as well, things would become very complicated later on.

“Why me?” she muttered after a few moments. “How did this happen to me?”

Corin took a chance, released her wrists and stepped back. She glared at him, but didn’t charge. “Sometime recently,” he explained, “in the past week, you encountered a vampire. And he or she changed you.”

“Is that what you are?” She inclined her head, studying him.

“Yeah.” He resisted the urge to lift his lip to show her the evidence.

“It’s daylight.”

“Most of the fiction out there is untrue. Some of it is very true, however. What you need to recognize and accept is that you are becoming one of us. I need your help in figuring out how that happened.”

Jasmine dropped her head, her gaze now landing on the floor, and wrapped her arms around her waist. “You said you’re the instrument of my death. What did that mean?”

Swallowing hard, he took another chance. Moving closer, he reached out and stroked her face. Her soft skin temptation. “You don’t want a life like mine, Jasmine. This isn’t for you.”

She glanced up to pierce him with another one of those death looks. “You don’t even know me.”

“You’re right.” His voice was shakier than he would have liked. “In another lifetime, I would have liked to have known you. In this one, I can’t. Help me find your sire and in three days, I’ll reward you with a swift, clean death.”

That one little question

“What’s your book about?”

Are there any more terrifying words in the human language?

Well, you may be one of those people who loves to talk about your work… and I generally do too… until someone asks me this question.

Well, you see. Um, there’s this girl and um… she um… it’s kinda complicated. Um. She runs a tavern and there’s this guy and well, a long time ago….

Yeah, that painful.

*disclaimer* that's not a description of a real book.

If I can skip around it, I’m good. You know, talk about the characters… and then what the characters face… but ask me to answer head on and I’m like a deer in the headlights.


Staring at oncoming headlights knowing my time to exit gracefully is almost over, but unable to articulate a single word…

I know it’s something that I need to get over. I know if I ever hope to pitch to an agent, the deer act won’t work. I know… but still. I’ve even memorized my tagline. Yup… ask me what my book is about and you’ll pretty much get my query letter.

Are there any other deer-in-the-headlight authors out there? If so, got any advice? How do you overcome that moment of panic? And for you authors that have no trouble with pitches… You have my undying admiration… and jealousy. ; ) How do you do it?

Monday's Pick-me-up

Don't you just love his... tattoo?

Under the Covers with Brindle Chase

A big welcome to Brindle Chase! Congratulations on being the first man to join me under the covers. I’ll scoot over *pats mattress* I promise not to bite, well, unless you ask nicely.

How about nibbling? Nibbling is good. Especially if chased by a soft, warm and wet dabs of a tongue… =oP … I so bad!

Yes, you are. Behave. First important question. Silk, satin, cotton, flannel. What is your sheet of choice and why?

For sheets, I like flannel. I like to be very warm and snug at night. I wrap myself up like a mummy half the time. *lol*

A flannel-wrapped mummy. ; ) It’s three o’clock in the morning. What are you wearing?

This sounds boring as hell, but a tee shirt and sweat pants. Nothing fancy.

There’s nothing boring about comfort. Calories don’t count. What snacks will you we be munching on at tonight?

Pringles! Original flavor!! This is not a paid endorsement. *lol*

I love Pringles! When playing truth or dare, would you pick truth or dare?

It depends on who I’m playing with. And if there’s a six pack of Mike’s Cranberry (again, not a paid endorsement! Hehehe) involved, the more likely I am to pick dare.

Okay. Dare! What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

The most daring thing I’ve ever done was actually like a cut scene out of Jackass. I was dared to jump off a freeway overpass without looking to see if any traffic was coming. Luckily, no traffic, but I twisted my ankle something fierce. I was young and stupid…

Good thing you weren’t hurt! Okay, as dares are out—you’ve maxed out!—how about a truth: Have you ever had a one-night stand?

Yes. Far too many. I was a complete male slut as a teen. I often wonder how many of them I would take back if I could. There was one girl, who I was best friends with. We crossed that line and I was too embarrassed and ashamed to talk to her again. Obviously, that was petty and immature. I was young and stupid and ruined a great friendship. I regret that one for sure.

What is the best pick-up line someone has ever tried on you? Did it work?

It wasn’t a line, but a girl who I ended up dating for awhile, came up to me and took off her sunglasses and cleaned them using the leg of my shorts. This was back in the 80’s when even guy shorts were short. *lol* So it was in that region that young men pay the most attention too. She got my attention.

I guess she would! If you could have any car, which would it be?

A 70 and a half hemi Cuda. *drools uncontrollably* Google it… you’ll fall in love too!

Who is your favorite band or singer?

I’ll stretch it to the top five. Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Abba, The Beatles and Mozart.

I can never pick just one either. Abba, huh? Well, we have 4 out of 5 in common. What is your favorite song?

It’s hard to say. I have three that I consider to be the greatest songs ever written. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Hallowed be thy Name by Iron Maiden and Ghost Love Score by Nightwish.

What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

There is nothing like a greyhound.

Now that you’re under my covers, lets get under yours. How would you describe your writing style?

My stories are character based. I concentrate on making my characters very real, with strong dialogue to carry the action. Once I get them in my head, they act out the story for me and I simply type it.

1. How did your friends/relatives react when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

No one was surprised when I became an author. People know me as having a creative and overactive imagination. That I became a romance writer was a little shocking.

There aren’t many male romance writers. What kind of feedback do you get from other writers and readers.?

2. What is the best piece of advice on writing you’ve ever received?

That the rules of writing are not rules. The best writers learn to write without rules. That rules are for those who can’t write, but would like too. I don’t know how true it is in general, but it’s very true for me.

3. Do you listen to music while you write?

Oh yes! From Iron Maiden and Nightwish to Garth Brooks and the London Symphony Orchestra. I’m embarrassed to confess I even have Miley Cyrus in my playlist. I like all kinds of music and it blocks out background noise so I can get into my character’s heads and tell their tales.

4. I promise I won’t tell a soul about Miley Cyrus. Do you have anything in the works?

I’m working on several. I have 7 novels and 7 shorts in progress. In between revisions on my upcoming release, I’m trying to focus on an experimental piece. It’s a romance written strictly from the hero’s POV instead of the heroine’s. No head hopping. Part of my style is, I don’t head hop hardly at all. In this experiment, it’s to see if I can still live up to romance reader’s expectations, while conveying the romance from a realistic man’s point of view. I have a couple publishers interested in the outcome, so it’ll get out there I think. How it’s received will be interesting.

5. Wow, that’s a lot of WIP! Do you write full time or part time?

Way part time. My job takes up 60-70 hours every week. Then I’m daddy to my 2 daughters and hubby to my wife. I don’t write at home. I write for about 15-20 minutes before I start work and then for a half hour on my lunch break. That’s the only time I get to write. I have to make it count. I write regardless of my mood, because I can’t put it off for later.

6. Who is your favorite character in your novels?

I only have one novel released, so it would be from Gothic City Lights. From that, I definitely love Lilith. She is so fun to write. She’s an insatiable succubus, but tries so hard to be a good girl. She’s only half-demon, so her two halves fight for control.

What is a movie you could watch over and over?

Saving Private Ryan, Last of the Mohicans, Underworld, Pulp Fiction. See, I can never just pick one!

Ohh, lets watch Underworld! Before I turn on the movie, where can we find you after you leave here?

I make my home at and can always be found on my facebook,


Taryn Blaze is the reigning queen of rock-n-roll. An ultimate diva who's never been refused anything or anyone--until the hunky security guard doesn't show at the prescribed time, dressed in the white silk boxers her assistant had delivered to him. Outraged, Taryn does what she always does when she doesn't get her way--she throws a tantrum.

Derek Abrahms, a locally hired security guard, is thrilled when Taryn notices him, but instead of recognizing him from her past, she orders him to her hotel room for a night of lusty passion. Determined to teach the diva a lesson, he does what no man has ever done before--he denies the goddess.

When Taryn unleashes her prima dona temper, can Derek remind her of the sweet girl she once was? Or is his Diva-Licious just too wild to tame?


From Diva-licious from The Wild Rose Press

With considerable effort, she fought off the need to snarl. Instead, she'd slice away at his undeserved sense of superior intellect. She was a lot smarter than people gave her credit for. The perfect witty retort came to mind and she couldn't resist a smug grin as she unleashed it.

"You should—"

"Oh for the love of God...Shut up." He grabbed her hand. Before she knew what was happening, he dragged her down the hallway, through her open door, and kicked it shut behind them.

"What the hell do you think—"

His mouth captured hers. His kiss was fiery, hungered, and brutal. He just took her, possessively searing his lips to hers. She thought hers might bruise, even bleed from the roughness. It was sheer bliss. His mouth was wet and warm, his tongue wild in its exploring flicker. Her body was on fire. Shivers of erotic need surged down her spine and her skin pebbled with excitement.

"Shut up," he repeated in a raspy whisper. His hand slid around her neck and gripped her nape tight and hard, while the other traced a finger along her jaw. A trail of fire followed his touch, adding fuel to the fires bursting all through her body. Her head felt dizzy. With rage and with want.

"Don't tell me to—"

He yanked her wrist hard, forcing her to follow him into the living room. A twist of his hand forced her face down across his lap. One of his hands had both her wrists pinned behind her and held at her hip to give him complete access to her ass. Her legs were pinned in the curl of his knee. He was so strong, and she couldn't get loose.

What the hell?

He shoved her thick robe up, exposing her ass. His hand swatted an explosion of stings across her backside. Hard, but not viciously. It stung, and the pain reverberated throughout her pelvis and pooled liquid heat in her pussy. The fury flooded her lust-fueled body. He was actually spanking her. Spanking her! Taryn Blaze!

"You son-of-a-bitch—"

The Power of Punctuation

Okay, you've probably already read this but it bears repeating. ; )

A professor walked up to the chalkboard and wrote:

"A woman without her man is nothing"

He then asked his students to punctuate it correctly.

All of the males in the class wrote:

"A woman, without her man, is nothing."

All the females in the class wrote:

"A woman: without her, man is nothing."

Punctuation is powerful.

Monday Pick-Me-Up


Sloan McBride has posted the winners from her Halloween blog tour! Cathy M, you won!


Welcome P.A. Brown to Under the Covers with Lynne!

Welcome, P.A. Brown. It's so nice of you to drop by! First important question. Silk, satin, cotton, flannel. What is your sheet of choice and why?

Cotton in summer and flannel in winter. Silk and satin are a waste of money and time, I live alone. In the winter I like my bedroom very cold and I pile 4 or 5 blankets on top of the flannel sheets. I bundle.

I like to snuggle under warm sheets too! I’ll scoot over *pats mattress* Here's a warm flannel blanket. It gets cold at night, even here in California.

It’s three o’clock in the morning. What are you wearing?

Track pants and either sweatshirt or T-shirt.

Sounds comfy! It’s a slumber party! Calories don’t count. What snacks will you be munching on at midnight?

Chocolate, especially semi-sweet. If not that then I love winegums.

I’m a chocolate kinda girl, but I’ve never heard of winegums.

A winegum is a little bit like a dense jujube. They're not super sweet, but I find them addictive.

I'll be on the lookout for them. When playing truth or dare, would you pick truth or dare?

Dare. I like daring myself and others

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Coke in a bar bathroom with a guy. I think it was the girl’s bathroom. Hey, I was young.

We’ve all been young and foolish. ; ) Okay so truth! Tell us something not very many people know.

I sleep naked.

That should make things interesting. ; ) What is the craziest or most unusual place you’ve had sex?

Bathroom, see above. Or maybe the pool table in a UAW pool hall (Empty except for us – I’m not that crazy)

LOL My next release involves some bathroom sex! I should have had you read it for authenticity. If you could take a date anywhere in the world, where would it be?

The floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

I’ve seen pictures of that! It looks awesome! What is your favorite thing to eat?

Bacon, mushroom and green pepper pizza on thin crust.

Done! How did your friends/relatives react when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

They told me it would be a nice hobby. But no one really took it seriously.

I bet they are now! What is the best piece of advice on writing you’ve ever received?

Write the stories you want to read. Don’t try to write to the market or what someone tells you to write.

That is good advice. Do you have anything in the works?

I have several stories in the works or finished but with no publisher. One is a mainstream historical novel set in 1929 L.A. Another is a gay dragon shifter story, a contemporary gay story set in the gang world of L.A., plus a gay historical, also set in L.A. I’m playing around with a mainstream police procedural set in modern day L.A. and I’m doing NanoWriMo this year so who knows what I’ll end up at the end of that.

A gay dragonshifter... that sounds interesting! I’ve never participated in NanoWriMo, but I’ve heard good things! If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

That’s easy. Los Angeles. I fell in love with it when I lived there years ago and I was back this spring and fell in love with it all over again. I thought going back would show me reasons to change my mind. It didn’t. I plan to go back next year and stay longer so I can do some in-depth research.

Los Angeles is only a few hours from me! Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. Where can we find you?

I’m online at 2 sites, one for my gay fiction

The other is for my mainstream fiction

I also have 2 blogs, again one for my gay blogs

The other for my mainstream blogs

Wow, you must be busy! Last question: What movie would you like to watch?


Oh, I love that one too. Warning, I’ll cry. While P.A. and I watch Avatar and munch on pizza, you can read the blurb from P.A's latest release. BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT, is available now.

Downtown Los Angeles' old financial district is the heart of this thrilling murder mystery and the unwanted love that grows between a cop with a dark secret in his troubled past and an up and coming world class artist. LAPD homicide detective Russell Hunter. A shadow man, an enigma. He is a man who has purpose but no goal. A figure who walks between the darkness and the light in search of salvation from the terrible mistakes of his past.


Chapter 1

Monday, South Spring Street, Old Financial District, Los Angeles, 3:00 am

The woman was dead.

I could see that even before I laid my fingers along her cool throat to feel for a pulse that was no longer there.

Even before I saw the surprisingly small, almost bloodless hole nearly hidden behind the screen of the blood matted bottle-blond hair hiding her face.

Behind me Danny shouted at the 911 operator who must have been wishing this was the night she called in sick and stayed home with the kids.

He was hyperventilating and gasping out words like "Body! Blood! Oh my God, she's dead! She's dead. Oh, God, you have to come--"

I took the iPhone from him and clamped my hand down over his slender shoulder, forcing him to look at me. The blue eyes that met mine were nearly as empty as the dead woman's. I was tempted to slap him, but knew that would only put him over the edge, a place I didn't want to go. Instead I squeezed his shoulder gently, stroking his collar bone.

"I've got it, Daniel," I said, wondering as I did how I could stay so calm when Danny was freaking out. Didn't I feel anything except annoyance this would happen tonight, after such a successful gallery showing? The night spent schmoozing up art patrons on the Art Walk suddenly seemed so distant. Maybe even unimportant.

"Take a deep breath. You're going to be okay." I stroked his back, all too aware of the tension riddling his slim body. "Breathe, baby, breathe."

Danny moaned, but did as he was told. Always such an obedient boy, my Daniel Ordstrom. It made him so wonderful in my bed.

I turned away and gave the 911 operator my name and address. She said a patrol car was on its way. Would I stay on the line until they arrived? Ignoring her, I disconnected and shoved the phone back into Danny's cold hand.

"Put that away." He obeyed again and huddled close to me. I put my arm around his shaking shoulders, patting his still rigid back, wishing I could take him away from this place. Danny was too fragile to endure much more of this, but there was nothing I could do. This was a matter that had to take its course now.

I knew we'd only get into trouble if we entered my loft penthouse. I studied the dead woman who had made it to my front door before being gunned down. I didn't recognize her... wait. I stepped up beside her and crouched down, ignoring the squeak of my new Italian leather shoes on the marble foyer. I stared past the screen of hair, at the face so curiously devoid of life. Her eyes were open and her mouth gaped as though protesting the misfortune of her current state. She reminded me of a figure in a macabre wax museum. Hard to believe this had ever been human, breathing life.

Behind me, Danny still gasped for breath.

I bent down to look at the woman, and he moaned. "Oh God, Steve, please don't..."

I ignored him and peered more closely at the woman's face, trying to see beyond the mass of brassy hair. I refrained from the temptation to brush it off her face, knowing that would totally freak Danny out. I studied the pale skin and wattled flesh under her chin. The fire-stop red lips and garish blue eye shadow. Then I realized what I had thought was blood in her hair was in fact some other red liquid that had partially dried there. I had seen that combination earlier this evening, hadn't I? I sat back on my heels. Shit, I did know her. And I knew where that stain on her hair came from, too. Not blood. Alcohol and cranberry juice. The remnants of Danny's Cosmo. Shit.

"It can't be," I muttered. But I knew I was right. It was Stella Gold, the vitriolic art critic for the Silver Lake rag, The Lake. She'd been at my show, hadn't she? I remembered her poison tongue going on about how I had sold out and couldn't be trusted to give an honest showing any more. "This is just peachy," I muttered.

After her verbal assault had gone on what seemed like forever Danny had flipped on her and thrown his Cosmo in her face. I could still see the sticky strands of cranberry and alcohol in her hair she clearly hadn't bothered cleaning off before she'd stormed out of the gallery swearing she was going to get both of us. Well I guess not any more. Someone had got to her first. But here? That made no sense at all. Stella had no reason to visit me here, or anywhere, for that matter.

Did she come here right after the show, looking for me? Not even stopping to clean herself up. She must have. But why? What had brought her here? Stella and I were hardly on friendly speaking terms. I'd never seen her outside of the few shows we attended at the same time. I couldn't believe she had meant to continue the fight on my home turf. Even Stella couldn't be that stubbornly obtuse, could she? What more could she have said that she couldn't put into the scathing review I knew she was going to write?

The press was going to have a field day with this. One of their own gets snuffed: news at ten. What a fucking sorry mess.

As though in response to that thought, the ancient elevator clanked and groaned into life. I knew even before the copper doors screeched open it would be a pair of uniformed LAPD cops, with their suspicious eyes and nosy, probing questions.

I sighed and pulled my bomber jacket closer around my shoulders, otherwise ignoring the sudden chill that flashed through me, raising goose bumps all over my flesh. Any way you looked at it, it was going to be a long, miserable night.

Mutt and Jeff clearly thought we were up to no good being out of bed at this time of night, standing over a dead woman. The dynamic duo separated us. I was led over to the far wall, by the mullioned window overlooking downtown L.A., awash with lights. The officer I was with asked a lot of pointed questions about where we'd been that night and why we were stumbling home at one in the morning smelling of booze and sushi.

From across the lobby Danny's voice rose until we could all hear his answers to the same questions. Neither cop seemed impressed when Danny informed them haughtily that I was Stephen J. Fischer, up and coming rising star in the Los Angeles art world, just recently off a whirlwind tour of Chicago and points east where I had sold out every show and netted enough money to pay for my new digs back home in L.A. Clearly they weren't art aficionados.

"What happens now?" I asked when the older of the two snapped his report book closed and eyed me with disdain, while I tried to sooth Danny's fragile nerves. Poor Danny. He had made a special effort to impress tonight. New suit, blush and even some mascara. It had been a sweet gesture, but now with his bloodless skin, it just made him look like a clown. It was obvious Mutt and Jeff thought so.

"Detectives will be along to ask you some more questions. It will be up to them to decide the next course of action."

Oh good, we were a course of action now. I wanted to take Danny someplace where people weren't going to stare at him like he was a freak. I sighed. "Can we at least wait for them inside?"

"I'm sorry sir. You need to wait here for the detectives."

"Of course I do."

Once the cops finished their questioning, Danny rushed back to my side. I hugged his shoulder to let him know I was with him and he threw me a sad, lost soul look. The older of the two cops threw us a stern look and I knew they wouldn't tolerate us talking about what had happened. So neither Danny or I spoke. We just took comfort in each other's presence, wishing this mess was over. Knowing it was never going to be over. Not really.

Cops must be like larks, they travel in pairs and they wake up way too early. Probably bonded for life. The first detective off the elevator was a pasty-faced fat man who wheezed and grunted as though he'd walked up the twelve stories to my loft penthouse. I wondered if I knew enough CPR to save him when he went into cardiac arrest.

Detective Lark number two was another ball game. And I wasn't talking baseball.

He strode off the elevator after his partner like he'd been coming here for years. His dark, piercing eyes took in everything in the crowded foyer in one sweeping all-encompassing glance, glancing over the potted ficus and single stalk of phalaenopsis orchid, nodding at the uniformed officers and dismissing them at the same time. Then his gaze turned toward me and I swear every evil deed I had ever committed or even thought about flashed before me. He could see each one of them and was not impressed.

Mutt and Jeff gave their report then went their merry way, leaving Danny and me to face the larks. The pair introduced themselves: pasty face was Detective Doug McBride, and his dark, observant partner was Detective Russell Hunter.

Interestingly enough, they both ignored the body on the floor, focusing their attention on Danny and me. I wondered if that was a calculated move to unnerve us. If it was, it worked. I wanted to tell one of them to have the decency to cover her up or something, but I knew my words would be ignored. They were in charge tonight. We were witnesses, maybe even suspects. I watched enough Law and Order to know the person who found the body was always seen as a likely suspect. Knowing the victim would also make them more suspicious. And the circumstances of our last meeting were not going to go over with this pair. I scrubbed my hand over my face, smoothing my fingers over my goatee. Wishing I could be anywhere but here. McBride led a shivering Danny back over to the elevators and glanced at Hunter who took me to the other side, opposite from where the body lay. I did my best not to look down at Stella.

I watched Danny, hoping he wasn't going to fall apart in front of these two. So far he had held on by his manicured fingernails, but I knew how close he was to the edge of hysteria. And an hysterical Danny would be a handful for anyone. I couldn't imagine what these two would make of it.

Then I was pulled back to the moment by my interrogator. "I need to ask you a few questions. Let's start with the basics, Mr..." Hunter pulled out a small spiral notebook and a pen, glanced at his watch and wrote something down, then waited for me to answer. I'd already told the other officers this, but I knew I had to answer anyway. God knows how many times we would have to go through this before this nightmare day ended.

"Stephen Fischer."

Pen poised. "Is that your full name?"

"Stephen Jeremy Fischer." I grimaced at my hated middle name, cursing my father who had carried the name and forced it and his memory on me.

Hunter went on to ask all my personal information: address, where I worked, phone, who was my next of kin, my mother's name, my father's name, my height, eye color and weight. He left the door open on my latest tax return and underwear size.

"Well, Mr. Fischer, what time did you discover the body?"

I rubbed my chin and tried not to look at Stella sprawled untidily on my front step.

"We left the show around twelve-thirty."

"What show was that?" He wrote something on the first page.

"Art Slave on Spring Street held a showing of my latest work over the weekend."

"You're an artist?"

"Six years now."

By the time Hunter's partner returned with a still upset Danny whose mascara had by now smeared into a raccoon mask, the coroner had arrived and a host of other people filled my outer foyer. They crowded us in and I found myself next to Danny, who was shivering uncontrollably.

I took his hand, trying to let him know everything was going to be okay. That earned us a couple of glances from the two detectives. McBride looked contemptuous. Hunter seemed torn between bemusement and disgust, most of it aimed at Danny. I was used to that. Even guys who didn't have a problem with gay men had serious issues with the overtly effeminate ones.

Under the curve of my eyelashes I studied Hunter. He was tall, but not as tall as my six-two. Maybe six even and one-eighty and not an ounce looked like fat. He wasn't what I would call handsome in any conventional sense, but he had a ruggedness about him. Black Irish, I thought. Short, black military-cut hair, almost black eyes, an incipient beard told me he shaved a couple of times a day at least. He had a strong chin and full red lips that hadn't smiled the whole time he'd been in my building. Occasionally, when his hounds-tooth jacket would flip open I would get a glimpse of his gun in a holster under his left arm. A chilling reminder these guys weren't here on a social call.

Monday Pick-Me-Up

Happy November!