Friday, February 11, 2011

And the Winner is...

The winner for today's giveaway of TRUST IN THE LAWE is:


If you missed the party, you can still enter to win the 2nd book to be drawn at the end of the month.  Just join my mailing list via the link on my website. 

Special thanks to everyone who stopped by to celebrate with me today!


Trust in the Lawe ~ 2nd excerpt

This scene takes place about half-way through the book.


After a picnic lunch along the shoreline of Black Lake, Kendra watched Colton reach for another brownie that she’d baked while everyone was at church. He’d been in a strange mood since earlier. Mellow, yet every so often when she snuck a glance, he wore a pensive look that made her wonder what was on his mind.

Not long after, Joel asked who wanted to go fishing, and the boys jumped up, along with Britt. Kendra watched Cody take a small container from Joel’s hand and then made a face when he handed a squirming worm to her younger brother. A disgusted shudder rippled across her shoulders. “Thanks, but no.”

Colton declined with a chuckle she suspected was directed at her. He lay stretched out on the picnic blanket in the sun. She closed her eyes for a moment, enjoying the warmth and the sound of water rushing over rocks in the stream that flowed from Black Lake.

A rustling noise brought her immediately up on her elbows, eyes sweeping the area in alarm, sure she’d see a mountain lion ready to pounce. Her fear eased when she saw it was just Colton. He’d risen to his feet and walked over to some large rocks along the shore. She relaxed but kept her gaze on him.

As he climbed the first rock, he noticed her attention. “Come with me and I’ll show you something,” he called.

She gave a skeptical half-smile and silently denied any interest. “I’m fine here.”

“It’s easier than it looks. Come on. It’ll be fun.”

Kendra gave in to her curiosity. It looked challenging, and she enjoyed challenges more and more these days. Who’d have thought?

When she reached the base of the rock, Colton stood some twenty feet above her, but the climb wasn’t as perpendicular as it appeared from a distance. Exhilaration assailed her when she made the final step and stood alongside him.

“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

She returned his grin, then looked for more to climb. Colton led the way and they scaled rocks and boulders until they were a couple hundred yards from their picnic area. A little out of breath, she wasn’t sure if it was from excitement or exertion; nor did she care. When they could go no further, they sat side by side on a ledge, surveying their accomplishment.

With one elbow resting on his drawn up knee, Colton tossed loose pebbles into the water some thirty feet below.

“Noah mentioned earlier that you aren’t real big on the outdoors. I find that hard to believe after the way you climbed up here.”

She grinned. “I hate it—or at least I used to. Bugs and dirt—no thanks. Two months ago, shopping on Fifth Avenue was the closest I got to the outdoors.” She laughed with a hint of wonder. New York seemed forever ago, and totally ridiculous when she considered her life now.

“Fifth Avenue?”

“Yeah, you know, Saks, Bergdorf’s, Tiffany’s? I suppose growing up here doesn’t really expose you to things like that.”

He snorted. “I’m not some poor, backwoods country hick.”

Kendra blinked at his offended tone. “I didn’t say that.”

“Of course you didn’t say it—you didn’t have to. Where I grew up has nothing to do with it. It’s the silver spoon you were born with that makes the difference.”

“I was not born with a silver spoon.”

“Did you not just hear yourself? Saks, Tiffany’s—I watch movies, I’ve seen Sex in the City. I’m not ignorant, Kendra. People who shop at those kinds of stores spend more money in a single year than I’ll see in a lifetime. It doesn’t mean they—or you—are any better than I am.”

“I never said that,” she protested indignantly. “And I certainly didn’t mean it that way.”

He didn’t believe her, she could tell by his face. She stared across the lake, wondering how things had gone from good to bad so fast. She’d enjoyed the afternoon, in part—a large part—due to his company. Imagine that.

“So, what are you doing here then?” he asked. She glanced at him, then looked away again rather than meet his probing, suddenly tense, gaze.

“Since we came to the ranch, it’s grown on me—the great outdoors, I mean.”

“I meant, what are you doing in Colorado? If you had that kind of money two months ago, why aren’t you shopping at Saks now?”

Tell him. It scared her how bad she wanted to. Scared her enough to prompt the words she seemed to say to him every time she turned around. “It’s none of your—”

“Business,” he finished, a razor sharp edge to his voice.

Kendra rose to her feet and glared down. “Well, why would it be? It’s my life—it has nothing to do with you.”

“It sure as hell does.”

“How?” She tilted her chin when he stood beside her. “We’re not related. You’re my boss, that’s it—we’re not even friends.”

“Believe me, Kendra,” he said in a low voice. “The last thing I want to be with you is friends.”

That hurt—until she met his stare. In the space of a heartbeat the air crackled to life between them.

Once again, thanks for reading!  If you now feel you have to have your own copy of the book *grin*, you can get it at:  The Wild Rose Press , Amazon and most other online booksellers.

Colorado Trivia and Fun Facts

One of my MANY scenic photos.
 If you've read my bio, or know me at all, you know that Colorado is my favorite state.  I spent two summers working out there because two of my best friends, Mickey and Tracy, ditched me my senior summer in high school.  Mickey was in Australia, and Tracy in Montana.  (Back then, I was annoyed with them.  These days...well, all you have to do is read the dedication for TRUST IN THE LAWE to see how I feel now.)  Last thing I wanted to do was stay home and work in WI all summer, so I applied for a job on a ranch resort in Colorado, got a job as a children's counselor, and days after graduation I boarded Amtrak on my way across the country.

I fell in love with the Rocky Mountains at first sight and to this day if you give me the choice of a warm vacation on the beach or hiking in the mountains, I'll choose the latter.  The pictures with this post are from a trip I took to the Rocky Mountain National Park with my husband in 1999.  I went back in 2006 with my son, and am thrilled that our whole family is taking a trip this summer!

The Colorado Trust Series is a result of my wonderful experiences in Colorado, so that's why I've compiled this post.  On to the trivia and facts:

Hubby and me on a hike.
 ~Colorado was the 38th state to join the union; in 1876 and is the 8th largest state in terms of land mass.

~Colorado is the only state in the US to reject an invitation to host the Winter Olympics (1976) because voters opposed the use of state tax revenues to finance the games.

~The name "Colorado" came from the Spanish, for the region's red-colored earth.

~The state goes from one extreme to the next, and everything in between. The eastern plains with desert-like conditions and the higher mountainous regions make for some fairly inhospititable living conditions and are sparsely populated.  1/3 of Colorado is made up of The Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the state's most populated area (Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Fort Collins). 

~Anheuser-Busch has a brewery in Fort Collins where visitors can view the world-famous Clydesdale horses.

The bare swath in is the result of a forest fire years earlier.
 ~Colorado has a thriving craft beer industry as well as it's own wine country in the Western Slope.

~Rivers on the east side of the Continental Divide, which bisects the state, eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico.  Rivers on the west side flow to the Pacific Ocean.

~Standing on the Continental Divide puts you on top of the lower 48 states.

~Colorado has 54 "Fourteeners"; that's 54 mountains that top 14,000 feet above sea level.

I even climbed one of those Fourteeners; Longs Peak, 14, 225 feet.

That's if for now--anyone have some facts about this great state they'd like to share?


Trust in the Lawe: Blurb and Excerpt

(Check out the post below this for party and chat info.)

Okay, what's the book about, you ask?  Here you go! 

Kendra Zelner has three brothers: Eight-year old Noah she's determined to protect, Joel who has no clue she exists, and Robert who wants her dead.

With reason to be distrustful of cops, she takes Noah and flees their Manhattan home for Joel’s ranch in Colorado. Under the pretense of needing a job, she plans to hide out until her twenty-fifth birthday, when she’ll inherit her trust fund and legally gain custody of Noah away from Robert’s greedy hands. Unfortunately, her brother’s sexy, infuriating ranch manager insists on demolishing her defenses and digging into her past.

Colton Lawe has good reason to suspect Joel’s beautiful, long-lost sister isn’t what she seems—the little liar stole from him! He silently vows to expose her secrets, but long hours together on the ranch fosters a closeness and fiery attraction neither of them expects.

Can Kendra trust Colton with the full truth before Robert finds them?

Excerpt:  (Note:  This takes place after the excerpt posted on my website.)

As the horse lipped at his palm for more treats, he spotted Kendra walking from the middle barn toward the guest house. Another look at her three inch heeled boots reiterated her growing list of lies. People with designer boots like that didn’t care about anyone but themselves—and people he cared about were the ones who’d end up hurt.

He realized right then he needed to raise the stakes in his current plan of action. Sally’s nose bumped against his chest and reminded him of Kendra’s reaction to Nobel that morning. Nobel was big. His brow rose. But he knew someone bigger.

Colton walked to the barn entrance and leaned a shoulder against the side. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Kendra jerked to a stop and pivoted to face him. “It’s almost four.”

Her chin lifted just enough to hint at defiance, and he rose to the challenge. “So?”

“I’ve put in my eight hours for the day. I’m done.”

That’s what you think, honey. “You’re done when I say you’re done. Joel may sign the paycheck, but he made me your boss.” Her small fists balled at her sides, but Colton continued before she could argue. “You got a problem with that, take it up with him later. For now, I want you to get Paelo out of his stall; he needs to be brushed.”

He kept a straight face with effort as she walked to the barn. This was going to be good. He’d bet money she’d be on her way back to New York before dinner.

When she located Paelo, her eyes went wide, and he saw her swallow hard.

Yeah, that’s right, sweetheart, Paelo’s a brute.

What she didn’t know is he’d chosen Paelo because, though he was big enough to scare the daylights out of someone who didn’t know horses, he was harmless as a lamb.

Colton went back by Sally and waited for Kendra to make the first move. Finally, she turned with an expression of dismay and fear. He squashed an unexpected flicker of guilt and concentrated on the fact that he’d won. After a day of her one-upping him, he couldn’t hold back a smile for this triumph.

In the blink of an eye, determination flared in her eyes, and she spun back to the stall. Colton’s smile faded. Hmmm, she had guts. Admirable. Just for a second, he’d give her that.

“Where’s his collar?”

Colton snorted in disbelief. “His what?”

“His coll—or h-halt—” She grimaced, squared her shoulders, lifted her chin again. “Where’s his

Grinning again, Colton pointed to a hook around the corner. She grabbed it and slid the stall door open. “Don’t I need a leash?” she asked.

There was no containing his laughter. “He’s a horse, not a dog.”

She whirled around to snap, “Laugh all you want, I can do this.”

“Go ahead then, let’s see you walk the puppy around the block.”

Her jaw clenched, and she spun back toward the stall. Paelo stretched his nose forward to bump against her cheek, a ‘kissing’ trick Britt had taught him years ago. Kendra’s panicked shriek echoed in the barn. Paelo’s head jerked up; Kendra scrambled back. Her boot heel hooked the edge of the cement at the base of the stall.

She went down, but caught herself before her head slammed the concrete. Paelo moved forward again, and Kendra began to scream and kick her feet.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Colton rolled his eyes as Paelo looked at him as if waiting for his help. Colton hurried over and knelt down on one knee next to Kendra, laying a hand on her shoulder. She shrieked all the louder, caught in her hysteria.

“Stop it.” She didn’t hear him, but who could hear anything above her yelping? Guessing Paelo’s ears were as strained as his, he gave her a sharp shake and commanded, “Shut-up already!”

Her gaze snapped to his, focused, and just like that, she quieted. Until she saw Paelo hadn’t moved, then she turned into Colton’s body. “Get it away.”

Her plea was downright pitiful. Half on his lap and tucked tight against his side, her body shook as much as her voice. He realized she was genuinely terrified. Forgetting his plan had been to do exactly that, he forced her to look at Paelo and spoke in a low, soothing voice. “He won’t hurt you.”

Paelo stretched his nose toward her, and she pressed closer to Colton. He took her hand and extended it toward the stallion’s soft muzzle. Halfway there, the uneven surface of her palm made him pause to turn her hand upward. Guilt stabbed hard at the sight of her raw, blistered skin. Stupid fool, he thought. Only he wasn’t sure if he was referring to her or himself.

He shook off the unwelcome attack of conscience, and laid her hand on Paelo’s nose. The stallion nuzzled her palm. She pulled back the moment Colton let go to fish a sugar cube from his shirt pocket. With his hand under hers, he held her steady as the horse gently lipped up the sweet.

“Paelo is Britt’s horse,” he explained softly. “She raised him from a foal. Both Cody and Dustin ride him.”

She touched the horse of her own free will now, so Colton lowered his hand to rest on her thigh, his arm curved around her. Her trembling stopped, and her breathing steadied.

“They ride him?”

He nodded. “I’ve seen them crawl under him as babies—he didn’t twitch his tail until they were safely out of the way.”

He watched her hand drift lightly over Paelo’s nose and was distracted by a thought of what that touch would feel like on his own skin. His hand flexed against her thigh.

All of a sudden, her whole body stiffened. She placed her hand on his leg to leverage quickly off  his lap. Through the material of his jeans, the warmth of her hand sent a kick of desire straight to his midsection.

Damn that knee-jerk reaction.

He assisted her the rest of the way up with a rough hand on her arm. She stumbled, making a sound of annoyance as she righted herself. Colton surged to his feet. He didn’t like the feelings she stirred; he needed to stay on guard so he could expose her to Joel for a thief and con artist.

Momentarily distracted watching her brush the dust from her jeans, he came up with, “You should’ve seen yourself.”

Her head jerked toward him in surprise.

He adopted a high, whiney tone. “Please, please, help me—he’s gonna smell me to death.” His forced chuckle of disdain succeeded in making her flush with embarrassment.

“He surprised me,” she defended quietly.

“If I’d had a camera, I’d be in the running for a hundred grand on America’s Funniest Videos.”

She turned to slam the stall door shut without taking Paelo out. “Fine, so I was a little scared.” A measured pivot brought them face to face again. Her gaze did not waver. “But whoever it was that gave you the idea it’s okay to make fun of someone’s fears is probably a son of a bitch…just like you.”

She stared him down, her chin tilted, her eyes full of indignant reproach. Guilt mushroomed and the only way for Colton to combat it was a full-on attack. As he advanced, her censure transformed into uneasiness. He clenched his jaw against her fear with grim determination and moved closer.

“I don’t have to be nice to you,” he stated. “You may have fooled Joel and Britt, but I’m going to figure out exactly what the hell you’re playing at.”

“I’m not playing at anything.”

“No?” He took another step, and she backed against the stall door. “You really expect me to buy your coincidence story any more than I buy your claim to be experienced with horses?”

“It’s not a story.”

“Bull,” he bit out, leaning close while bracing a hand on either side of her. She swallowed hard before lifting her chin with that aggravating defiance again, prompting him to promise, “I’m gonna expose you, Kendra. You’ll slip up again and I’ll be watching when you do. Might as well leave now.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she snapped.

“We’ll just see about that.”

“Your accusations are as tiresome as your Neanderthal act. Move.” She placed her palms against his chest and shoved. He took a voluntary step back, grasping her slim wrists at the same time. He applied just enough pressure to let her know he was in charge. Her eyes widened with  renewed apprehension.

“Don’t push me,” he warned. “And I don’t mean physically. Your best bet right now is to go home.”

She pulled against his firm hold. “I’m trying to.”

He gave a short laugh. “I meant New York, you thieving little con artist. Pack up that brother of yours and get the hell out of here. JBM isn’t your home.”

Her nearness was affecting his pulse again so he released her with an angry flick of his wrists. She gave him one last glare before stalking from the barn. He walked after her, but stopped at the doorway.

“I mean it, Kendra. Go home.”

Thanks for reading!  I'll post another excerpt from later in the book this afternoon. 

TRUST IN THE LAWE can be found at:


Welcome to the Party!

Today's the day!  It's been a year and three months since my last book, so I'm very excited to share this new release with all of you and I'm so glad you came to the party. 

I'll post a couple different excerpts through the day, along with some fun trivia on my favorite state of Colorado, where the book is set.  Plus I'll be here all day to chat and answer any questions you might have about TRUST IN THE LAWE and the next two books in what my good friend and critique partner Donna Marie Rogers dubbed: The Colorado Trust Series.

Here's the scoop:

1.  I'll be giving away 1 book today for the party, winner's choice of ebook or print.
     a.  everyone who comments on any of the blog posts today is entered into the drawing.

2.  Join my mailing list from my website to be entered into the drawing for a second book at the end of the month.  
But wait--you don't want to wait that long?  No problem!  If you buy a copy of TRUST IN THE LAWE today and then win at the end of the month, you can either have me sign it to a friend as a gift, or pick one of my other books instead.

So, to start out the comments, I have a few questions for you.  Answer one or all. 

1.  What's your favorite genre to read?  (romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, erotica, non-fiction, ect.)
2.  When and where is your favorite place to read?
3.  What's your favorite beverage of choice while reading?
4.  Do you have an e-reader, and if so, what kind? 

Thank you for stopping by!