Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Share: Golden Opportunity, by Donna Marie Rogers & giveaway!

Today I'm very happy to host my good friend and critique partner, Donna Marie Rogers!  She is a great writer, and if you like 'em hot, you'll definitely want to check out Donna's work.  Can't you tell by her gorgeous cover?  (We work with a great cover artist!)

Donna will post her 'Buy Links' in the comments section as soon as they're available.  Plus, leave a comment and you might win your own copy!

Golden Opportunity

by Donna Marie Rogers

Genre:  Contemporary Western
Heat level:  Hot 

James McMillan is a third generation owner of the most prosperous horse ranch in Golden, Colorado. When a gorgeous little filly shows up at his door waving what she claims is the deed to half his ranch, James tries to send her packing. But the document is authentic, according to his lawyer: Reese McMillan sold the little opportunist his half of the Double M during a poker game in Atlantic City. So not only must James find a way to buy those shares back, he needs to fight his growing attraction to his luscious new business partner—who turns out to be a lot more than just a pretty face.

Angela Roberts, having been on her own since she was a teenager, has never wanted anything more than the security of a real home. Her dreams come true when the chance to own half of a Colorado horse ranch falls into her lap. If Reese McMillan is too blind to appreciate what he has, that's his loss. Only she hadn't counted on the hostile reception she receives from his brother. Surly as a bear, James McMillan is also much too handsome for her peace of mind. Refusing to be intimidated, Angela sets out to win him over by proving she has what it takes to help him run the ranch—and ends up losing her heart to both.

Chapter One

“I’m telling you I bought it fair and square. This deed proves it.”

James McMillan glared down at the crazy woman waving a document under his nose. So his fool baby brother had finally done it—he’d gambled away his half of the ranch. James’ biggest fear had come true, and she barely reached his shoulder.

He blew out a silent breath and thumbed his Stetson back. “Look, Miss...?”

“Roberts. Angela Roberts.”

“It’ll take me a few days to raise the funds to buy it back. In the meantime, there are several hotels in downtown Golden—”

“Sorry, Cowboy, but you’re not getting rid of me that easily. I’m staying right here at the Double M. Reese said—”

“Reese is an idiot, and I don’t give a damn what he said. I’ll be dipped if some gold-digging opportunist is gonna set one foot inside the home my great-grandparents built with their own hands. Now, I’ll pay for your hotel room if you can’t afford one, but either way, you’re leaving.”

She huffed out a sigh of frustration and crossed her arms over her ample chest. Big blue eyes clear as the Colorado sky gazed up at him, and for a brief moment, James became lost in them. He gave himself a mental shake, ignoring her full pouty lips and shiny auburn hair, which hung in loose waves down to her waist. Lord, did he love long hair on a woman.

Damn you, Reese.

“I told you, I’m not going anywhere. I own half this ranch, whether you like it or not. And if you insist on making me leave, I promise you I’ll be back with the sheriff.”

Great. Just freakin’ great. Sheriff Martin would pounce like a mountain lion on a chance to make James miserable. And if she got that vindictive old cuss involved, the story of Reese’s stupidity would be all over town by nightfall.

His frustration must have shown on his face because a knowing smile curved those luscious lips. James propped his hands on his hips in defeat and took a step back. “Fine. You wanna play house, lady, be my guest. Just don’t get too comfortable.”

With a toss of her head, she picked up her suitcase, her high heels clicking on the tiled floor of the foyer as she strode past him. It took all James’ self-control not to give her denim-clad ass a swat as she passed by.

* * *

“What the hell do you mean it’s legal and binding? It’s written on a hotel letterhead, for chrissakes.”

“I’m sorry, James,” his lawyer said with an audible sigh. “It would be legal if it were written on toilet paper. It’s spelled out to the letter, and both parties signed it, as well as two witnesses and a notary republic. I’m afraid Miss Angela Roberts owns forty-nine percent of the Double M Ranch.”

James blew out a hard breath. “Thanks, Cal.” He tossed the receiver in its cradle and leaned back in his leather armchair. Bitterness ate at his soul until he thought he might choke on it. Reese’s resentment of James had been going on for so long he could barely remember how the hell it got started. Over something minor, no doubt. And each year the rift between them had grown wider.

Until Reese stepped over the line and lost James’ respect for good.

He shot to his feet and paced the floor for a few seconds, then headed to the sideboard to pour himself a bourbon. The welcoming burn blazed a path straight to his gut. He downed a second and was about to pour a third when someone knocked on the study door. Shit, the last thing he wanted to do was sit through one of Meara’s lectures. He set his glass down with a thunk, then stalked over and yanked open the door.

Only it was Angela standing there in the dim light of the hallway, gazing up at him with those big blue eyes. She wore an oversized New York Giants T-shirt that hung down to just below her knees, and she’d pulled her thick auburn hair up into a ponytail. She looked vulnerable and uncertain and more beautiful than any woman had a right to.

And the bourbon was suddenly warming more than just his stomach.

* * *

James didn’t say one word during breakfast, but wolfed down a mountainous plate of scrambled eggs and toast, and gulped down two cups of black coffee. Not wanting to provoke him since she was pretty sure he had a hangover, Angela kept her mouth shut as he tossed his napkin down and muttered, “Let’s go.”

She followed him out back and into the barn closest to the house, then all the way down to the last stall.

“The first thing you need to learn is how to muck a stall.” He grabbed a pitchfork and handed it to her. “Clean out all the old shavings, and replace ’em with new. There’s a wheelbarrow outside next to the manure pile, which is where you dump the old. The fresh shavings are in there.” He pointed to the stall directly across from the one he wanted her to clean, then turned and strode away.

Angela watched him leave with a sense of panic. She took a couple of deep breaths and forced herself to calm down. Really, it sounded easy enough. And heck, if she could clean bedpans in a nursing home, she could muck out a horse’s stall. The smell was pretty bad, but she supposed she’d better get used to it.

She retrieved the wheelbarrow from behind the barn, grabbed the pitchfork, and got to work. Once she had it as full as she possibly could, she grabbed the handles, lifted it, and started forward, dismayed by how wobbly the stupid thing moved. Maybe ten feet from the pile, she bumped a rock and lost control of the wheelbarrow. The sucker pitched sideways dumping her entire load on the ground.

Cursing a blue streak, she forked everything back into the wheelbarrow, kicked a few more rocks out of her path, and steeled her resolve. She’d get that damn stall cleaned if it killed her—which, she feared, it might. Forty-five minutes later she stood leaning on the pitchfork, a sense of pride swelling her chest. Holy crap, who’d have thought so much work went into cleaning out one freakin’ stall?

“Not bad, although you might want to pick up the pace if you plan to finish in time for lunch.”

Angela spun around at the sound of that familiar deep voice. She hadn’t heard him approach. “Oh, I’m finished. And you might have warned me how hard those things are to steer.” She gestured toward the wheelbarrow.

James grinned and propped his hands on his hips. “Sorry, never thought about it.” He stepped forward and peered inside the stall. “Good job. When you finish with the other five, let me know and we’ll break for lunch.”

* * *
James whistled a happy tune as he strode away. No doubt about it, little Miss Gold Digger would be begging him to buy her out by the end of the week. Hell, maybe even by the end of the day. The sooner the better, as far as he was concerned. A man could only take so much temptation. And Miss Angela Roberts was temptation with a capital T. He couldn’t get within five feet of her without wanting to pull her into his arms and kiss her breathless.

Christ, there he went again, letting her monopolize his thoughts.

"Hey, there you are. I was afraid I’d have to search every corner of this place, like last time.”

James turned to see his lawyer, Calvin Henderson heading his way. The older man watched the ground as he walked, bringing a grin to James’ face. “You don’t have to worry about stepping in anything back here, Cal.”

“Sorry, but last time I had to toss my shoes. And they were Italian loafers.”

The two men shook hands and James gave him a thump on the back. “I told you to bill me for ’em.”

Cal shrugged that off. “I’d be happy if you just remembered to carry your cell phone.”

Before James could respond, Cal’s attention was stolen by something behind him. James turned to see Angela maneuvering the wheelbarrow over to the manure pile. Even handling horse shit the woman was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen. He swung his gaze back to Cal. Seemed the older man agreed.

“Don’t suppose she’s single?”

James hated the twinge of jealousy that clenched his gut. “Christ, the ink is barely dry on your divorce papers.”

“But it’s dry.” Cal turned back to James. “Unless, of course, you have dibs?”

James snorted. “What are you, sixteen?”

Cal grinned, his eyes narrowing perceptively. “You want her.”

God, yes. “Hell no. I want her shares of the Double M back, and I want her conniving ass gone.” With that, James spun around and stalked toward the house. Chuckling, Cal followed.

Once they were seated in his study, James slapped the papers into Cal’s hand. “She’s got two weeks to play rancher, then her ass is gone.”

Cal perused the contract with amused interest. “You know, that’s the second time you’ve mentioned her ass in what, five minutes?”

“And I’m gonna kick yours if you don’t get serious here.” James swiped a hand through his hair, his frustration mounting. Cal was as perceptive as they came, which was why he ranked as one of the top attorneys in the state.

Cal gave him a quizzical look and tossed the contract on the desk. “It looks fine, James. But if this Angela Roberts is truly nothing more than a gold digger, why would she suggest such a thing,” he gestured toward the contract, “let alone make it legal?”

James had been asking himself that very same question since the moment his head hit the pillow last night. But the bottom line was it just didn’t matter. The last thing he wanted or needed in his life right now—in any capacity—was a woman. And with this being a busy month for the ranch, he wasn’t exactly happy about having to babysit one for the next two weeks.

Never mind the fact he’d been walking around at half-mast all morning. He just couldn’t get the intoxicating smell of her out of his mind. When she’d squeezed in close last night to read the contract, the sweet scent of apples had wrapped around him like a silk scarf, and all he’d wanted to do was lean forward and bury his face in her glorious auburn mane.

Jesus, there he went again. Focus, you bonehead!

“Hell, I don’t know. Maybe she figures she’ll have me wrapped around her little finger by then.”

Cal’s grin returned. “She’d be wearing me as a diamond necklace by then.”

James shook his head, a reluctant smile tugging at his lips. “Buy yourself a little black sports car, Cal. In the long run, it’ll be a whole lot cheaper.”

The older man’s eyes twinkled. “But not nearly as much fun to ride, my friend.”


Thanks for sharing with us today, Donna!  Best of luck with Golden Opportunity!  I already know it's a great read.

**Donna is sharing a copy with someone this make sure you comment!**

You can find Donna online at:

Sizzling Romance~Small Towns~Simply Irresistible

Stacey Joy Netzel

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wacky Wednesday: Fun in Colorado! & surprise giveaway

Returning to my regularly scheduled post after last week's storm...

Back from our family vacation in my favorite state of Colorado, I thought I'd share a few pictures with you.

**I'm also going to do a surprise giveaway this week.**

Leave a comment about the Wackiest thing in this post and I'll draw a winner on Friday evening for a FREE download of my brand NEW release DITCHED AGAIN.  (Feel free to share with all your reader friends via email, FB, Twitter, ect. Pretty please.  *grin*)

The family.
The beautiful Rockies.

Family again at Alberta Falls
Roof Top Rodeo in Estes Park.  SO much FUN!
Rodeo clown's 'Pink Cadillac"
Bull elk on the Tundra

Golden mantled ground squirrel my daughter loved!
River rafting on the Cache la Poudre River.  That's me in the middle at the top of the picture--coasting to new fashion heights!
A1 Wildwater Rafting Co. did a great job and our guide Becky was so fun.  So was the guy who gave out instructions prior to the trip, but I don't remember his name.  He had a cold, so I hope he's feeling better by now.

Can't beat a view like this! (The mountains, not us.)
Or this.  Yes, the kids threw some snowballs in July!
This is the rock where we ate lunch our first day hiking.
Just can't get enough of the moutains!

As you can see, we have all kinds of pictures.  I believe we took just over 400, and my oldest son had his own camera clicking away, too.  The further we get away from the trip, the easier it is to forget the whining the younger kids did and say what a great time we had!  LOL

It would be a dream to live out there.  Someday.  When I make my first million...anyone want to buy some books? :)

Don't forget to comment to be entered into the drawing for a copy of my brand new release:


Summer Clark:  Yes, I’m excited for my ten year class reunion—I flew all the way from Florida to Wisconsin so I could rub my success in Josh Nelson’s face.  I know it sounds vindictive, but the jerk ditched me at the Snowball dance, left me to find my own ride home, and never apologized.  He’s got it coming…if I can get a tow truck to come out in this freak May snowstorm and pull my rental car out of the ditch.
Josh Nelson:  No, I’m not looking forward to the reunion.  Just hearing the name Summer Clark brings back memories of a night I buried long ago and never talked about again.  Seeing her means skirting the truth while trying to deliver a way-too-late apology.  No, with this storm, I think I’ll head home…as soon as I help this car sunk in the ditch.

Clearly, there are two sides to every story.

Stacey Joy Netzel

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ditched Again available now!

My high school reunion story Ditched Again is now available in all ebook formats:

"I absolutely loved this story...Ms. Netzel’s characters showed deep emotions throughout this story and you just can’t help but become fully engrossed in the storyline. I loved how she wrote the story from both Summer and Josh’s point of view which made it fresh and unique. If you’re looking for a great read that has a wonderful storyline, than look no further." ~ Diana Coyle, NOR

You can click here for an excerpt in Summer's POV.  Below is the beginning scene from Josh's POV.


I drove down the two lane state highway away from Silver Falls wishing I’d never replied to my ten year class reunion invitation.  What the hell was I thinking?

It’d been a long, cold day at work unloading trucks, I was already running late, and now that the day was here, I really didn’t feel like sitting around with the people I went to school with reminiscing about the good ol’ days.  My last two years of high school weren’t all that good and there was certainly nothing worth talking about.  In fact, there were definitely a few subjects I much preferred to avoid.

And by subjects, I meant Summer Clark.

And her cousin, Jenna, who hated me as much as Summer had a right to.

My cell phone rang on the seat beside me and I debated answering.  Huge, wet snowflakes slapped onto my truck’s windshield, cutting visibility to less than a quarter mile.  I turned my wipers on high to keep up, and figured probably not a good idea to mess with the phone.  Especially if it was my mom, who’d only aggravate me with questions like, “Are you dating anyone special?”, or “When are you going to meet a nice girl and give Zach a cousin to play with?”

With my sister Meg happily settled into marriage and parenthood, and since the last of my cousins got married before this past Christmas, mom had made it her mission to stick her nose into my love-life every chance she got.

Not that I had a love life.  Hell, I didn’t even have a sex life, but no way in hell I was telling my mom that.  And I avoided the subject of myself and kids whenever possible.

The incessant ring of the phone made me glance over and I caught Meg’s number.  Meg I could deal with.

I tightened my grip on the wheel with my left hand and grabbed the phone with my right.  “Hey, brat, what’s up?”

“Little brothers are brats, not older sisters,” she retorted.

I laughed.  “I like the older part of that.”

“Oh, shut up.”

“Well, what do you want?  I’m on Highway 32, and in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s snowing.”

“That’s why I called.  I mopped today, and you have a mudroom for a reason.  Use it.”

“It’s my house.”

“You have three options, brat.  Clean it yourself.  Pay more.  Or take off your boots.”

“Mudroom it is.”

“That’s what I thought.”

I ignored her smug tone, especially when she added, “I left a couple servings of lasagna in your freezer, and Zach sent over some new pictures—they’re on your fridge.”

“Mmm, thanks.  And tell Zach his favorite Uncle says hi.”  I loved my little three-year-old nephew more than anything.  In fact, I needed to head over to Meg’s soon so I could get my fix of the little tyke.

“I will,” Meg promised.  “Bye.”


I set the phone down on the seat, only to have it ring about ten seconds later.  Meg.  “Now what?”

“Isn’t your class reunion tonight?”

She would remember that, wouldn’t she?  “Yeah,” I confirmed cautiously.

“Any old flames going to be there?”

I immediately pictured the one person I didn’t want to think about, wearing an emerald green dress the night of the Snowball Winter Formal.  Thanks, Meg.  “I don’t know.”

“Ah-ha!  So you do have someone from high school besides crazy Lyssa.”

“Everyone’s got old crushes from high school, Meg.”

“Check out their ring fingers, okay?  I’d like to be an aunt before I hit thirty-five.”

“Oh, God, you’re as bad as Mom,” I grumbled.

“Well, you’re not getting any younger, and it wouldn’t kill you to actually try and go on a date every so often.  Or for that matter, just have sex once in awhile.”

“God, Meg, shut up.  My sex life is fine, thank you.”

“That’s not what Tony says.”

“Your husband doesn’t know shit,” I retorted.

She snorted.  “Then how come you haven’t bought any new condoms in over a year?”

I nearly choked.  “Wh--!  How the hell do you know that?  Quit snooping in my drawers!”

“Oh, relax, it was last spring.  Tony stopped by for lunch when I was cleaning one day, and we didn’t want any ‘oops’ so close to Zach.”

My jaw tightened, along with my fingers on both the steering wheel and my phone.  Two years between kids was not that close, but I focused on the other issue at hand.  “You better have used the guest bed.”

“Who said we used a bed?” my sister said in a low voice she should only ever use with her husband.

“Gross.  I’m hanging up.”


“What?” I growled.

“You shouldn’t talk on your phone while you’re driving.”

I hung up on her chuckle and shook my head as I slid the phone in the chest pocket of my flannel jacket.  Should’ve let the damn thing go to voicemail.  Bad enough our mom hounded me, now my sister knew I had no sex life, and I wouldn’t be able to walk through my house without wondering where she and her husband had done the nasty.

My truck wheel got caught in a rut and I hauled the wheel to the right.  Maybe with this weather I could just avoid the whole reunion.  Thinking of Summer put a rock in my stomach heavy enough that I’d rather deal with sister issues at home.

Besides, the weather man had said six to ten inches and at five-thirty there was already at least three on the ground, maybe four.  Just a couple more miles to my house and then I could take a hot shower before watching the action movie I bought last week.  A couple beers and Meg’s lasagna might relax me enough to forget about the x-rated things other people were doing in my house that I wasn’t.

Chicken shit.

I gripped the steering wheel in protest, powering my truck through the slushy mess obscuring the road to the point where I couldn’t even see the center line.  I didn’t know if Summer would even be at the reunion, so I was not chickening out.  A major winter storm on the fifth of May was more than reason enough to stay home.

 Besides, last time I saw Jenna she’d taken extreme pleasure rubbing in the fact that Summer had moved on.  Summer now lived in Florida and was engaged to be married.  She was happy and completely over my asshole mistake the night of the Snowball dance.

I’d always liked Summer in school, and though we were friends, she intimidated the hell out of me.  Pretty, smart, funny…and just shy enough to be mysterious.  On the other hand, my girlfriend at the time was anything but mysterious.  Not to mention, Lyssa knew exactly how to play a typical teenage guy who was easily led around by the fly of his pants.  Every time we broke up and I considered asking Summer out, Lyssa would unzip me back in.

The Snowball dance couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.  Lyssa and I had been broken up for almost a month and I was voted the Junior representative for the court.  I had to choose a girl from my class to stand up with me, so I took the opportunity to ask Summer.  She said yes, and then spent the next couple weeks blushing every time I said “hi” in the hall.

The night of the dance, I waited on her porch with my stomach flipping like crazy, fingering the petals of a pink corsage.  Summer opened the door and nearly took my breath away.  Her green dress brought out the color in her hazel eyes, and she’d curled her dark hair.  I couldn’t tell you what else she’d done, but pretty was out the window and beautiful had taken its place.

“Wow,” I managed.  “You look great, Summer.”

“Thanks.”  She smiled and blushed before dropping her gaze.  “So do you.”

I relaxed with the realization she was as nervous as me.  After sliding the corsage onto her wrist, I held out my arm so she wouldn’t slip on the snow covered walkway.  The night flew by, and before I knew it the Grand March was over.  I was off to the side with a couple friends discussing where to go after the dance when Lyssa walked into the gym wearing a barely-there dress and fuck-me heels.  I recognized them because she’d worn them before and told me exactly what they were for.

From all the way across the gym I saw Summer’s smile disappear.  Shit.  I was going to need some help getting through this one.  I headed straight to the punch bowl and downed two full glasses, thankful a couple of seniors had spiked it earlier.  Then I found Lyssa and dragged her out into the hall before she could ruin the rest of my night.

She dropped a bomb and ruined it anyway.

Just thinking about that night and what followed pissed me off and shamed me at the same time.  I usually dealt with the memories by blocking them out and continuing my life as if it’d never happened.

And I would do that again by skipping the reunion.  I wasn’t a coward; I just didn’t need another in-my-face round of reminders.

My front tires hit a dip in the road and threw slush in all directions just as a low pair of headlights cut through the falling snow.  I realized the car was half in my lane only seconds before the other vehicle jerked to the right and avoided a head-on collision.


Talk about a reality check.  Attention on the road, man.
Heart thumping, I applied the brakes, because no way that vehicle had avoided the ditch. 


Thanks for reading!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Share and book giveaway: A Lonely Sky, by Linda Schmalz

A Lonely Sky, by Linda Schmalz

Genre: Women's Fiction
Heat Level: Mild

Buy Links: (Kindle)

Julia Steele's world changes forever when she meets and falls for actor, Sam Lyons. But when they are forced to separate, their love secretly lives on. Can a chance reunion bring them back together, or will buried secrets, scheming spouses and a devastating illness destroy any hope for love?


As Julia lifted her arm to knock, the door swung open. Sam stood before her, dressed in beige chinos, a white polo shirt and a nervous smile. From somewhere in his suite, a phone rang and rang.

“Don’t you want to answer that?” She nodded in the direction of the ring, hoping Sam would turn to answer it. His distraction would allow her to run back to the elevator and leave. Seeing him reminded her of the many reasons she should not be there.

Sam glanced over his shoulder but did not move. “No, that’s okay. I’m not taking any calls right now. I should have called the desk. I’ll take it off the hook.” He stood aside. “Please come in. I heard the elevator and hoped it was you. I’m relieved you didn’t change your mind.”

“I did about a hundred times.” Julia walked hesitantly into the lavish room. She inhaled sharply; it smelled of luxury and money.

“Fancy place, no?” Sam seemed almost embarrassed as he closed the door. He walked to a bar. “Drink?”

“No, thank you.”

“Soda then?” He pulled out two different cans, one in each hand. “I have a variety.”

Julia shook her head. “No, really. I can’t stay long.”

“Oh.” Sam put the sodas away, coughed, and grabbed a pack of cigarettes from his pants pocket. “Mind if I smoke?”

“No. You still smoke?”

“I quit at least once a day.” Sam smiled and motioned to a dark, floral settee. “Would you like to sit?”

She sat on the edge of the sofa, placing her purse on her lap. Sam sat across from her on a matching chair. After removing the receiver from the phone, he reached for a lighter on the coffee table and lit his cigarette. She watched him, unsure of what to say, unsure of what she was doing here.

“You had no trouble getting away then?” Sam watched his cigarette smoke rise into the air.

Julia looked away. “John can barely move yet. I told him I was going shopping.”


She shifted in her seat. Sam cleared his throat as if to speak, but then sat there, smiling and smoking. She rose. “I probably should be shopping.”

Sam’s smiled faded. He jumped up. “No, sorry. Please.” He stubbed out his cigarette and glanced around the room as if waiting for someone else to entertain them. His eyes returned to her. “I thought this would be easier. I thought I would know what to say.”

Julia nodded. There were so many things she wanted to say as well, like how she missed him, how mad she was, how he hurt her, what it felt like to be left with a child and nowhere to turn; but words just wouldn’t come.

Sam walked over and touched her arm. “I’ve I thought about you every day of my life, wondering how you were, what became of you.”

Julia tried to ignore the flame that ignited inside her at his touch. Her voice betrayed nothing. “I went on with my life. What did you expect me to do?”

His eyes searched hers for something she tried not to show. “We were supposed to be together, Julia.”

Julia’s eyes widened as she took a step backwards and out of his reach. “We went over this yesterday. You married Deirdre.”

Sam shook his head. “I swear, Julia. It was a farce.” He motioned toward the couch. “Please. Please sit down.”

Julia slowly sat, secretly allowing him three minutes to speak his peace.

Sam sat next to her, folding his hands in front of him and staring straight ahead. “I never meant to stay married to her. I don’t love her and I never have. Polly died and left the McTeel estate in debt. I was broke and couldn’t get a loan. I couldn’t let Polly’s name be ruined by the scandal. I couldn’t lose the home she loved so dearly. Deirdre promised me money on marriage. That money, as you might recall, was mine to begin with. So we struck a deal. I’d marry her and she’d give me the money. Only she didn’t know that I was going to have the marriage annulled and I didn’t know she was lying.”

“But you didn’t have the marriage annulled.” Julia looked him square in the eye, her jaw set. “At least according to the articles I read. You see, that’s how I learn about you. I read about it in fan magazines. That’s how I knew you got married. I saw it on television the summer you promised to be with me.”

“I left messages trying to call you and explain it all. I loved you, Julia. I never loved Deirdre.”

Julia steeled herself from buying into his story. “Well, you appear quite content in the photographs I’ve seen. You have an amazing career. You’re a famous, talented actor with a beautiful socialite wife, living the charmed life in England. If that’s a life worth wallowing in self-pity about, it certainly bodes well for you.” She didn’t bother to curb her sarcasm, the pain and humiliation of eleven years rising inside her and threatening to boil over. She hadn’t realized the anger she buried. She thought she simply missed him, but being with him caused a wall of denial to crumble; behind it, she found a fortress of feelings ignored for too long.

Sam remained calm, but his voice grew tired and hoarse. “Julia. I called to explain about the marriage and your father said you were getting married.” His hazel eyes bore into her, but she found no malice there, just searching and sadness. “You seem angry with me, but how much did you love me if you ran off and married John without even waiting to hear from me?”

“I waited!” Julia’s throat tightened as she choked back hot tears that dared reveal her pain from the memories of that awful time.

His eyes remained fixed on hers, as he reached for another cigarette. “You told me, in England, that you didn’t love John.”

“This isn’t about what I did,” Julia said, unnerved by his verbal volley of blame. “This is about what you did, or rather what you didn’t do.”

“And what was that? I tried to call and explain and I heard you would marry John.”

“Sam.” She willed her voice to steady. “Let’s not do this. Let’s not rehash the past. What’s done is done.”

“Is it?  Then why do I still love you?  Why did you come this afternoon?  Could it be you might possibly still love me?”

Author Bio: 
Wife, mother, and women's fiction author. Interests include: reading, writing, movies, television, music, health, walking, English history and Renaissance Faires. I live in Madison, Wisconsin with hubby, child and dog. Watch for my second novel "What Dead Women Want", a fun and quirky paranormal romantic comedy, to be released soon!

Where to find Linda:

Follow on Twitter: "Mattsma", or on Facebook (Linda Siedelmann Schmalz)
Follow her blog! 

Linda's also sharing a free book, so please comment for your chance to win a copy of A Lonely Sky.

Good luck everyone, and thank you for sharing with us today, Linda!  Can't wait to see if your cover for What Dead Women Want is as lovely as A Lonely Sky's

Stacey Joy Netzel 

Saturday, July 23, 2011


My first time with Sample Sunday, and I'm sharing a sample of my upcoming release.  Hope you like it!


Summer Clark:  Yes, I’m excited for my ten year class reunion—I flew all the way from Florida to Wisconsin so I could rub my success in Josh Nelson’s face.  I know it sounds vindictive, but the jerk ditched me at the Snowball dance, left me to find my own ride home, and never apologized.  He’s got it coming…if I can get a tow truck to come out in this freak May snowstorm and pull my rental car out of the ditch.

Josh Nelson:  No, I’m not looking forward to the reunion.  Just hearing the name Summer Clark brings back memories of a night I buried long ago and never talked about again.  Seeing her means skirting the truth while trying to deliver a way-too-late apology.  No, with this storm, I think I’ll head home…as soon as I help this car sunk in the ditch.

Clearly, there are two sides to every story.

This sample is from Summer's POV:

A thick wedge of slush pulled my rental car into the center of the road, jolting me back into the here and now.  I struggled with the wheel and tried to discern the gravel shoulder on the right side through the heavy curtain of wet, blowing snow.  Headlights cut through the gloom.  The sight of a huge black pickup heading straight toward me catapulted my heart up into my throat.

I wrenched the wheel to the right.  Slop from the truck’s tires slapped onto my windshield.  The wipers swished it away, but I barely had time to be thankful I’d made it past the large vehicle before my right tires were sucked in by the mucky shoulder.  Cranking the wheel back to the left only dug me deeper as my rental lurched down the embankment and then slid to an abrupt stop.  Muddy slush splattered in all directions.

I took a deep breath, assured myself I was unharmed, and leaned my head back against my seat with a low groan.  Gotta love Wisconsin.  Truthfully, I was envisioning the warm, sandy beach only minutes from my condo.

A knock on my driver’s side window made me jump.  Through the fogged glass a tall figure motioned for me to roll down my window and I thumbed the power button.

“Are you okay?” the man asked.

“Um…I think so,” I replied.  Then I lifted my gaze and sucked in a stunned breath.

Josh Nelsen.

He hadn’t changed at all.  I blinked and stared.  Yes he had.  He’d matured.  Gotten better looking.  It wasn’t fair.

He didn’t look at me as he checked out the situation with my car.  “I don’t think you’re getting out of here without a tow truck.”

“Great,” I muttered and reached across the seat into my purse for my cell phone.

“Don’t bother.”

I glanced up to see a phone already to his ear.  While he waited for someone to answer on the other end, he shot an absent smile in my direction and explained, “My buddy Dave owns the local towing service.”

Must be Dave Bensen, they’d been best friends in high school.  After a brief conversation without consulting me at all, Josh made arrangements to have my car towed into Silver Falls and then stuffed the phone back in his pocket.

“His guys are booked up on calls until at least eight.  I can give you a ride to town, if you’d like to wait at the diner, or until you can call someone to come get you?”

Transferring my gaze from the dashboard clock that read five fifty-six, I peered through the windshield at the whirling snow.  What choice did I have?  I sighed and faced Josh again, only to realize his stained, ripped jeans and ratty looking flannel jacket didn’t quite fit the dress code for the coming evening.

“Aren’t you going to the reunion?” I asked.

“Yeah, how did you—”  He broke off as he leaned down and actually looked at me for the first time.  His brown eyes widened.  Summer?

I gave a weak smile, and instantly chastised myself.  Successful business woman.  My next words came out a tad more pointed than I intended.  “You remembered.”

Guilt flashed in his eyes and I was sure it wasn’t just my wishful imagination.  “Of course, how could I not?”  His gaze shifted toward the road as a maroon car crept past.  He lifted a hand to the driver and said to me, “What’s it been, like…?”

“Ten years,” I supplied with just the slightest hint of sarcasm.

“Yeah.  Wow.”  His gaze returned, somber and intense.  “You look great.”

“Thanks.”  I failed to suppress a shiver over the déjà vu moment but blamed the heavy, wet snowflakes whirling through my window on currents of cold air.  I did look great, thank you very much.  Because I’d also matured, and though I didn’t expect to win Miss America, I knew I could turn heads on a good day.
I’d made sure today was a good day.

Available now for only $0.99 at:

I'd be ever so grateful if you would tweet this post and share with your friends with hashtag #SampleSunday.  Thank you!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wacky Wednesday: Not so Wacky Storm...

I was going to share Colorado family vacation pictures today, but now that'll be next week Wednesday.  See, Sunday night we had a thunderstorm blow through Northeast Wisconsin.  My son had to take a friend home about 10p, but I asked him to wait until the storm had passed and when he came back, he asked if I'd seen the willow tree.  We had the biggest one in our yard blow over about 7-8 years ago, and since then, my son has cried 'wolf' about the willow trees more than once, so I figured this was the same thing.  Nope.

Cool picture, hey?  I love that I got a lightning strike in the background!  And no one was getting through this puppy.  By now it was 11:30p, so we called the county sherriff's department, who informed us they'd add it to the list and get to it as soon as they could.  I set the alarm for 6am, figuring we'd get started clearing if they hadn't showed up yet, but when I checked out the window, it was pushed into our yard already.  Either by the work crews or a neighboring farmer.

Then my hubby came in and told me about the garden.  A little background: This year I had to replant my beans three times and I still don't have as many as I'd like to can enough for a whole year; out of 24 tomato plants, only 4 or 5 are growing really well; my cucumbers had about 5 plants come up so there won't be many pickles to can; pepper plants aren't doing so well; and the weeds took over a good portion of the rest of the garden.  Lettuce, carrots, onions, spinach.  The best thing growing was the popcorn and brussel sprouts.  Well, as you can see in the picture below, the storm did a number on my corn as well.  (plus you can see the downed tree in the background.)

I'm really bummed about this.  I tried to stand the stalks up and get dirt around them to help, but don't hold much hope they'll survive.  Many of them have broken roots, and they're calling for more storms today.  Guess this is the year of the crappy garden.

I'm holding out my last hope for the brussell sprouts.  And praying we don't get any hailstorms in the next couple months. LOL

Have a great rest of the week everyone!  If you're in Wisconsin, stay cool!  (Supposed to hit 95 degrees today.)

Stacey Joy Netzel

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Digi Books Cafe Win a Kindle Summer Hunt!

I'm a participating author in the Digi Books Cafe Win a Kindle Summer Hunt from July 19 - August 22. 

Prizes: 3 months; 3 hunts; 3 Kindle eReaders

How to enter: There are two ways to enter the Summer Hunt Giveaway.

  1. Visit the 12 author’s websites and locate the unique word. Collect the words and email them to Put Summer Hunt in the subject of your email. *The unique words are in blue. the words are book related such as paranormal, romance, and ebooks
  2. Every purchase at enters you into the drawing.
So, search for the Digi Books Cafe graphic on my website with a large, blue word...It's only one click away from this page--IF you guess the right page!

(Click the Digi Books Cafe graphic above for list of other participating authors.)
Good luck and have a great month!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Sunday Share: Shadow On The Floor, Book I, by Jane Toombs

I’m thrilled to have multi-published, award-winning author Jane Toombs here to share** with you this Sunday.  Lucky for us, Jane gave me and Donna Marie Rogers our first ever cover quote for the original Welcome to Redemption anthology a few years back.  She has quite the backlist (90 novels and novellas!) so please check out her website to look at all the books she has to offer.

Shadow On The Floor, Book I in the DANGEROUS DARKNESS SERIES
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Paranormal suspense romance
Heat level: Contains some sensual sections 
Buy link: Shadow On The Floor

What does an ex-special ops agent turned lawyer have in common with a woman hiding from an ex-husband who means to kill her?  Can it be a ghost?


Special Ops 7 Devlin Longridge hated jungles. He’d been in too many and hadn’t liked any. This Central American one was usually as noisy as the rest, croaking and chattering, weird bird calls—you name it. Today was sticky hot as usual, but silent, which he mistrusted. The four of them, on a scouting mission, had been halted, waiting, for all of ten minutes now. Finally Dev heard a guttural bird cry, and then the monkeys, high in the tree canopy overhead, began to chatter again. His buddy, Cy, in the lead, started off again, and soon they were all slogging along a primitive path though the thick foliage.

No more silence, but a bad feeling began to build in Dev, a sensation that had twice saved his life. His pace slackened, causing Mal and Joe, in back of him, to slow as well. Cy, now several yards ahead, raised his right hand, only his thumb and forefinger showing, meaning all clear, but use caution. Dev shook his head. Something was wrong. Since no-talk was in effect, he’d have to jog up to Cy and…

An overwhelming sense of evil sliced through him. Without conscious thought he yelled, “Drop flat! Roll to cover!” As he threw himself down and rolled, he heard the two behind him do the same. But just before the green foliage closed around him, he saw Cy had turned around to look instead of dropping. Then the telltale death rattle of MK47’s shut out all other sound…

Chapter 1

Natalie West drew her jacket closer around her before she lifted the heavy bronze door knocker and let it fall on the plate again. Chill wind for May—wasn’t this supposed to be spring? Mr. Barker had told her he used a cane, but she’d expected the nephew he’d told her about would be with him when she arrived for the interview. Apparently not. She was reaching for the knocker one more time when the door opened.

“Thought maybe you’d changed your mind,” the elderly man with the cane said. “Wouldn’t blame you, not a bit, gal. I’m a cantankerous old fart.”

At that, most of her trepidation left her. Charles Barker, her possible future employer, was not at all the helpless oldster she’d been expecting to see.

“Since you got here, you may as well come in.” He stepped aside so she could enter.

He waved her on to a moderately disordered room to her right, saying, “My den,” and followed her in. She avoided a dark spot on the parquet floor as she headed for a chair. When they were seated, he asked, “Why in hell would you want to come to this old place out in nowhere to help me?”

She chose her words carefully, telling a part of the truth. “I don’t have many skills, Mr. Barker, but I believe I’m able to cook, clean and help you with whatever you need done, as long as it doesn’t involve nursing care. I’ve never been trained in that area.”

He nodded. “That’s just what I don’t need. Some kind of nurse hovering over me, thinking she knows what’s good for me better’n I do. So what d’you say we give it a try, Natalie? No need to be formal. Call me Charles. You can start right now, far as I’m concerned.”

What a relief. With barely any money left, she’d checked out of the motel, planning to sleep in her car if she had to. “My things are in the car, so I can move in, if that’s all right.”

He positively beamed. “Looks like I got me a winner on my first try. Never could stand wishy-washy gals. Go get your stuff. You can pick out any room you want upstairs, except the master bedroom in the front of the house. Not that I use it—I can’t even get up those damn stairs any more. Dev—he’s my nephew—wanted to buy some contraption that’d slide me up and down the banister rail, but I vetoed that.  Got a perfectly good bedroom down here.”

“Makes sense to me.”

“By the time you get settled in, I expect Dev’ll be here. He insists on meeting whoever I hire, and there’s no putting a lawyer off, is there? But I’m the one paying your salary, so you can be sure you’ve been hired, no matter what.”

“On a trial basis.”

“That’s what we agreed, but I suspect I’ll get along with you a damn sight easier than you’ll get along with me.”

Natalie grinned at him. She’d truly loved her grandfather and had been the only one he tolerated. Cantankerous Charles, she believed, would be no trouble at all. The bonus was that he lived in this isolated old mansion outside of the town. A perfect hideaway.

She rose to head for her car. As she started to cross the floor on her way out, she saw the dark spot she’d avoided was just a shadow, but she still hesitated to step on it, so detoured around again. Behind her, Charles said, “You’re perceptive as well. Used to be a jeweler. Haven’t lost the touch—still can spot a real gem from a fake one.”

Natalie exited without replying. Was he referring to her avoidance of the shadow? She shrugged. So Charles might be a bit kooky. No problem. Grandpa Ivar had been, too.

After carrying her two suitcases and overnight bag upstairs, she settled on a spacious room next to the bathroom. All the furnishings were old fashioned, but in reasonably good condition. After hanging up the clothes that needed it on old wire hangers in a huge closet, and putting the rest in dresser drawers. She found clean bed coverings in a hall linen closet and made up the bed.

She’d heard a car arrive and someone enter the house, so she figured the lawyer nephew had arrived. Time to go back down and face him. She doubted he’d approve of her, but Charles had more or less said it didn’t matter. Hoping that was true, she took a deep breath and marched down the stairs.


Shadow on the Floor is the start of a four books series about the men in the prologue when each of them returns to civilan life.  Watcher At The Door is Mal's book and will be out soon. Terror From Before is Joe's book and under construction.  Stranger On The Shore is the last and is Cy's book, even though the other three men believe him dead.

**Jane has graciously offered to share a FREE ebook of Shadow On The Floor with one lucky commentor, and anyone who’d like an excerpt CD of her other books can contact her at: jtoombs (at) jamadots (dot) com

Jane Toombs, the Viking from her past and their grandcat, Kinko, live in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness across the road from the south shore of Lake Superior.  Jane has ninety published novels and novellas to her credit and hopes to reach one hundred before she leaves this planet.  

Author website: 

Thank you again, Jane.  Have a great week everyone!

Stacey Joy Netzel