Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Share: A Fool's Fool, by Sandra Marshall + Giveaway

Welcome to Sandra K. Marshall today, who's sharing a copy of her short contemporary romance, A FOOL'S FOOL.  I read it this Spring and enjoyed this light, fun story.

A FOOL'S FOOL, by Sandra K. Marshall

Genre:  Sweet contemporary romance

Pranks are carried too far.

Kathy O'Reilly, a strong-willed woman doesn't allow men to walk over her or anyone else.  When one of the co-owner's of Gagsters, Norm Jokes, is allowed to get away with playing pranks, she speaks up to her boss.

Jason Barrone, co-owner of Gagsters is attracted to his assistant and will not allow his best friend to cause him to lose her.  Jason wants them to be friends because he doesn't want to have to make a choice of who goes and who stays. 

Excerpt:

Kathy O'Reilly walked softly behind Norm Jokes as he crept up the aisle between the cubicles, making sure he didn't know she was near. It was obvious he was planning to sneak up on someone to either scare or do something worse.

Norm was as obnoxious as any guy she'd ever met, but for some reason her friend, Allyson Metzl, thought the joker just needed attention.

Uh oh—Norm sped up, and she saw the reason why.

Allyson stood just a few feet away, waving her hands as she leaned in a cubicle to talk to a co-worker. Her friend’s back was to him; Allyson's long dark hair covered the derrière of her diminutive figure.

Her pal had just gone through a divorce, and was feeling frail. There was no way Kathy would let anyone hurt her friend again. Kathy called out, "Allyson."

Allyson wheeled around, her mouth opened in a big O when she almost smacked into Norm.

He put his hands on Allyson’s shoulders. Don’t move so suddenly. You almost knocked me down, and I would’ve fell on top of you.‛ He glanced over his shoulder at Kathy.

With an inward laugh, she joined them. "Stopped you from being an obnoxious ass.‛ She watched him, knowing by his grin that he’d enjoyed himself. "You're going to get into big trouble one day." His right eye ticked knowing he'd been caught in the act. Too bad fellow.

"Did someone want me?" Allyson asked; her black lashes fluttered as she glanced between Kathy and Norm.

His face reddening, Norm stuttered, "I wanted to tell you how pretty you look in your outfit."

"Thank you for noticing, Norm." Allyson peeked up at him. "It's new."

The skunk, he hadn't even noticed her friend's lime green outfit until he needed to get his ass out of a jam. "Allyson, I wanted to talk to you a moment."

"Uh, I'll leave you two to it," Norm muttered.

Kathy glared after him as he slinked toward his office. He had nerve pretending to have noticed Allyson other than her butt. She hoped her friend didn't fall for his Mr. Nice Guy act.

Allyson's cherry red lips turned up, laughing she showed perfect white teeth and her milk chocolate gaze focused on Kathy. "The way you're scowling at Norm he must've been up to no good."

"He almost got you, but I managed to save you."

Allyson laughed, her eyes sparkling. She shook her head, her long straight hair swaying from side to side. "Thanks, but who knows? Maybe I would have liked it.‛

Her friend hadn’t dated since her divorce, and she constantly defended Norm to the other girls in the building. Why? Kathy couldn’t understand unless Allyson secretly had a crush on him. Kathy hoped not, because in truth, the man terrorized all of them. They were afraid to say anything for fear of losing their jobs. Luckily, she wasn’t in the same circumstance since she worked for the head boss.

"Next time I’ll let him get you.‛ She grimaced. You need to get out more if that guy interests you.‛ He almost pinched her friend’s bottom. He liked to pinch the other girls and play pranks on them.

Now you’re just being mean.‛ Allyson’s perfect white teeth chewed her bottom lip. I think he’s cute.‛

"To each their own, but something has to be done to stop him from picking on all the women."

Allyson giggled. I might be able to help. We could play a trick on him. April Fool’s Day will be here soon and it would be an appropriate time to do something to him.‛

"Great. I would like nothing better than to get revenge on the skinny runt."

Her dark brows rose and Allyson asked, "Has he done anything to you?"

"He better not or I’ll make his life miserable." If Norm ever pinched her, she would bring a harassment lawsuit against him and the company, Gagsters, Incorporated.

"You won't do anything to hurt his feelings, will you Kath?" Allyson’s brows knit together slightly.

Well, on second thought not against Gagsters, just Norm. She didn't want to hurt her boss, Jason Barrone. As his administrative assistant, Kathy was treated courteously and as an equal. Not only was he a perfect gentleman, he was a very handsome one. She liked his cleft chin and green brown-flecked eyes. Besides, he often told her he couldn't do without her— she was his right arm.

For some reason, she was drawn to Jason even though normally, she went for the tall, dark, and dangerous bad boys. Jason was the exact opposite with his light brown hair streaked blond from the sun. The one time she accidentally bumped into him he was solid as a rock and just as dependable.

A veil lifted from Allyson’s face and a light shone in her eyes. Her friend’s hound dog nose twitched on the scent of a mystery. She’d better say something quick.

"Feelings. I doubt if Norm has any, he's such a dope. His antics have to be stopped." She leaned toward Allyson with her hands fisted, but at the widening of her friends eyes, Kathy drew back, took a deep breath, and relaxed her hands. 

"You know the other girls won't step out of their cubicles when he's around, and when they go to the lunchroom or bathroom they're constantly looking for him over their shoulders."

Allyson nodded. "I know. Some of the younger girls have even talked to me about it."

"Then you’re completely with me on this?"

"I have an idea of something we can do that would get the message across without hurting him."

"What?" Kathy watched excitement build on her friend’s face.

"I’m an artist. I could make a poster to put in his office or hang overhead somewhere."

Smiling, Kathy said, "Okay."

"Later. My phone is ringing." Allyson hurried away to answer the call.

Kathy wondered what kind of drawing Ally would come up with. She hoped Norm could take a joke. After all, he dished out plenty of them. It was time for him to have some pranks pulled on him. Besides, it was going to be April Fool’s Day in a week.

* * * * *

Jason stood in the doorway of his office pretending to read some papers while covertly watching the women scurrying excitedly from one cubicle to another. They whispered for a few minutes, giggled, and looked nervously around as if afraid of being caught.

He'd been traveling on business for a month, and when he came back from his trip he’d noticed a difference in the office. He’d watched the women for days and the ringleader appeared to be assistant's friend, Allyson.

His gaze turned to Kathy, noting the freckles sprinkled across her pale cheeks while a couple more dotted her nose. She tried to hid them with makeup, but he thought they were cute. She seemed immune to the activity outside her window.

Ever since she'd started working for him, he'd wanted to grab a handful of the thick red, blonde-streaked hair that fell around her shoulders. He wanted to rub his face in the strands. Whenever he was near her he would inhale her fresh citrus scent, and he wanted to get closer to her, nibble on her neck, and see what she would look like naked.

There was something about this matter-of-fact woman that fascinated him. She drew him to her on a sexual level. He couldn't help wondering what she was like away from work or in bed.

She looked fantastic in anything she wore but this top fit her lovely shaped breasts like a second layer of skin. Would the buds be pink or brown, he wondered.

Kathy raised her head and turned to look intently at him. "Do you want something?"

Oops, he'd been caught staring. He gazed into her topaz eyes then turned to look out her window before saying, "I'm wondering what the girls are up to."

Her eyebrows rose and her head tilted to one side. "What makes you think they're up to anything?"

Ah ha, he'd surprised her. She glanced at her desk, and he realized he was right, she knew more than she would admit. "They're all abuzz about something. Kind of like a bunch of busy bees in their hives."

Lowering her chin, she gazed at him with a smile on her lips and in her light yellow-brown eyes. "Well, you know a special day is coming up for us."

"Ah." Jason leaned more comfortably against the doorframe. "You're referring to April Fool’s Day." Just as he thought, they were planning a practical joke for one of them, either Norm or himself. He hoped it wasn't his friend.

Jason didn't know how Norm would react to someone pulling a stunt on him. He'd always been a jokester. He used it to defend himself against school bullies and to hide the fact that he didn’t have a normal family. If he thought they were tormenting, him, he'd get even.

Kathy nodded her head. "The girls thought it might be time to take a more active part developing pranks, and what better way to start than on April 1st?"

"Just as long as no one gets hurt," he said, turning back into his room. Jason knew Norm was sensitive, even though he didn’t show that side of himself at work. He needed to understand that other people might have those same feelings.

"Oh, not likely," she said.

Her annoyed tone warned him that there was more going on than Kathy was telling him. He just hoped it was nothing that required him to fire someone.

~*~

Sandra grew up in the mid-west in a small farming community where she belonged to 4-H. When she was thirteen, her family moved to, Lawrence, Kansas, the town where the University of Kansas thrived.  After high school, she traveled to California to live with a friend and to find a job. She became very homesick and returned home.

She worked for a major airline for thirty-six years and did extensive travel during that period. It was a lovely time in her life working for a wonderful company.   In 1999 she retired to write full time and worked seriously toward publication. 

In 2008, she had her first book published, and then her second one in 2009. Shortly after her publisher closed their doors, and she immediately moved to a new publisher. She is still with the publisher and has had three books and a short story published with them.  She's working on another short story and a mystery romance. 

~*~

Thank you for allowing me to be on your blog today, Stacey.  The premise for A Fool's Fool came from a situation my youngest daughter found herself in.  In my story, I put the situation in a work environment involving bullying.  I hope you'll be curious to know what happens.


Places where A Fool's Fool can be found:


Barnes and Noble, Amazon, CoffeeTimes Romance,

All Romance Ebooks and many others. 

Sandy
~*~

You're welcome, Sandy, thank you for your gracious offer to share a copy of A FOOL'S FOOL with one of the commenters!  We'll keep the comments open until Wednesday when Sandy will pick a name and post the winner for her ebook.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day everyone!

Stacey

Friday, November 25, 2011

Win a Kindle Nov 25th - Dec 1st. #Christmaskindle

Welcome to the #ChristmasKindle event sponsored by Independent Inklings and 55 Fine Indie Authors.

Runs Nov. 25th-Dec. 1st.  Good luck!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

If Tombstones Could Talk, by Stacey Joy Netzel

A short paranormal romance inspired by an event listing in my local newspaper.  Previously published with The Wild Rose Press in 2007, I've re-edited and added scenes from the hero's point of view to enhance the story.  Hope you enjoy!

IF TOMBSTONES COULD TALK
by Stacey Joy Netzel


Genre:  paranormal
Heat Level:  sweet

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other online retailers where ebooks are sold.

ebook only:  $0.99

Available at: AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsARe

Had someone asked Melanie Sparks if she believed in ghosts, she’d have laughed before voicing an emphatic “No.” Then she takes a walking tour of the cemetery in her new hometown of Lindeman’s Crossing, Colorado and meets one of the residents face to face.

The story behind Andrew Lindeman's tragic death after the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in 1859 triggers dreams in which she relives his last moments. Drawn to the handsome ghost, attraction builds, and she resolves to clear his tarnished name. A passionate kiss sets his spirit free, but will Melanie lose her heart forever? 

~*~

Excerpt:
She started with the trail next to the river behind her cottage. The walk along the South Platte River settled her nerves until she realized it’d looped through the park and led her back to the cemetery. Her feet rooted to the spot outside the gate as she stared intently at that one specific shaded gravesite.

Everything looked normal. No shadow figures. No shimmering air. No voices in her head.

Most likely her subconscious had been playing with her yesterday. Her imagination had been in overdrive after all the wonderful history she’d learned.

Still hesitant, Melanie entered the deserted grounds and followed the path John had led the senior group along the day before. Every so often she snuck a glance toward the black granite, until at the end, she once again stood in front of the stone.

Deep breath. Let it out slow. Everything’s fine.

Squatting down, she reached to touch the old, worn stone sunk in the earth.
Cold. As it should be.

Her gaze rose to the other one looming in front of her. Nervous anticipation mixed with dread, raising goose bumps on her arms like yesterday. Much as she didn’t want to touch its smooth surface, she had to make sure. Her hand trembled slightly as she extended her arm.
Cool.

Relief tingled through her entire body.

With one finger, she traced the A in Andrew, then flattened her palm over the name.

In a single instant, the granite warmed, almost to the point of burning her flesh. She yanked her hand back with a gasp, then nearly jumped out of her skin when a male figure materialized out of thin air right before her eyes.

Dark, glittering eyes locked on her. A scream froze in her throat and she found she couldn’t breathe.
If she stayed still, would it go away?

Her lungs burned. She needed oxygen or she’d faint. Rising slowly, she drew in a deep breath of air, then concentrated on repeating the process until her legs steadied. All the while, her mind registered details.

The man of her dreams. Tall. Dark, wavy hair, worn long enough to hang over his forehead and brush the collar of his black shirt. Eyes that at first glance appeared black but now she saw were a sexy slate gray. His thick eyebrows shadowed them, making them seem darker. A hint of a five o’clock shadow lent a sinister air, yet she wasn’t truly afraid of him.

“You can see me.” The husky accusation washed over her.

~*~

Thanks for reading!

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, ARe

Stacey Joy Netzel

Lost In Italy, by Stacey Joy Netzel

This book was inspired by a personal experience where my brother and sister drove off without me in Italy. Took them ten minutes to realize I wasn't in the car, and another almost twenty to find their way back on the one way streets around Lake Como. I've since forgiven them, and we enjoy a good laugh about the incident.

Pick up a copy of the book and you can enjoy my therapy session over the experience, in about 112,000 words.

 

Nominated LASR 2012 Book of the Year 

"Don’t you just love it when the first book of a series has you itching to buy the second? And the third? Lost in Italy is that kind of book. With likeable, believable characters who find themselves in extremely extraordinary circumstances, this is my favorite Stacey Joy Netzel book to date." ~ Water Lily, BEST BOOK, LASR review site

Lost In Italy
Amazon Top 10 Bestseller

“…starts off right away, and every page that follows is packed full of excitement that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” Danielle The Book Whore Blog ~ 5 Hearts—Could not put down amazing

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Heat level: Hot

Available at Amazon US UK CA DE IT FR IN JP BR ES, Apple, BN, SW, ARe, Kobo

Audio book

The best laid plans…

Halli Sanders spent two years planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Her itinerary did not include being stranded by her siblings, kidnapped by a sexy American movie star, dodging bullets, or fleeing criminals in a car chase around Lake Como. And that’s just in the first three hours.

…often go awry.

Trent Tomlin put his movie career on hold to investigate his brother’s murder-ruled-suicide at his Italian villa. He’s closing in on the suspects when an American tourist unwittingly films the murder of the retired cop helping him. The killers will stop at nothing to get the evidence—including holding Halli’s family as collateral.

Life’s a little different unscripted.

Thrust into the role of real-life hero, Trent finds himself falling for the Plain Jane whose beauty blossoms with every challenge they face. But how can he keep the evidence from falling into the wrong hands and get justice for his brother and friend without betraying Halli and her family?

~*~
 
A lone swan near shore reminded her of the camera still clutched in her hand. The red light on the front reminded her she was still recording. Ironically, the camera was part of the reason she was sitting here alone, and yet she’d completely forgotten about it.

She stopped the video and swiveled to take a seat on the cool ledge of stone that held the lake water at bay. It was the perfect vantage point to keep the loitering man across the street in sight. A glance over her shoulder located where the other swans had landed a good distance from the villa’s dock.

She frowned and faced the lake. Strange how that person had burst so suddenly from the villa.

The noon sun sat at a point that she had to squint and shade her eyes to see the structure’s stone walls across the small inlet of water. Even then, it was too far away for the naked eye. Flipping open the viewfinder as she lifted the camera, she waited for it to focus, then tried to zoom. The low battery indicator flashed as she maxed the zoom.

She studied the picture. Something was different—one of the windows looked odd. Her attention snagged on a tall figure in the corner of the pane. Longish dark hair above a square jaw with a severe slash for a mouth. He raised a pair of binoculars to look across the bay. Her pulse jerked when he zeroed in and stared straight at her—

Tires squealed and an engine revved loud to her right. Halli jumped about a foot. Ben and Rachel! An uncharacteristic spurt of anger doubled her anxiety as she whirled around.

“I can’t believe you guys left—”

Words disappeared with the heart-stuttering realization that the shiny blue convertible half pulled onto the cobblestone sidewalk was not her brother and sister. And the man in the driver’s seat most certainly was not her brother.

Plain was the first word that came to mind when Trent Tomlin got a good, close-up look at the girl dressed in baggy black pants and an oversized black T-shirt. Except for her eyes. Almost the exact color of his car, they blazed with anger—if the shrill tone of her voice were any indication.

Because he couldn’t afford to waste a second, he slipped into his carefree, celebrity character while pushing up his Ray Bans to flash his trade-mark, million dollar grin past the two day’s worth of camouflaging scruff on his jaw.

“Hi.”Usually that’s all he needed. One…two…

Astonishment replaced anger.

…three.

“Oh my God. You’re Shain West.”

“Only in the movies, darlin’.”

That always got ‘em, too, the good-ol’-boy, southern drawl. Didn’t matter he’d been born and raised in northern Oregon, he had a natural talent for mimicking any accent. After just a few words, he easily placed her in mid-west United States. American tourist. Perfect. It also explained why she’d been video taping in the wrong place at the wrong damn time. The opposite of his brother, and if he could help it, the opposite outcome.

Her cheeks flushed. “Of course. I know your real name. Sorry. It’s just—I’m…ah…I’m…”

Hell, he’d better speed this up.“Can I give you a lift?”

“W-what?”She craned her head around, as if he might be speaking to someone else.

Resisting the urge to check over his shoulder, he kept his gaze trained on her.“You look lost. Hop in and I’ll give you a ride.”

Her throat convulsed, and though he wouldn’t have thought it possible, her blush deepened to crimson. A fleeting smile revealed even, white teeth.

“Oh, no. I mean, um, thank you, but no.”

She lifted a hand to tuck a strand of straight brown hair behind her ear as she searched back and forth along the road.

Trent cast his own quick glance in the rearview mirror, pressure squeezing his body like a starving boa constrictor as he searched for the men who’d spotted her and her camera across the bay. By his amateur calculations, he figured he had about three more minutes. If they were lucky.

Pushing up to sit on the headrest, he prepared to turn on the superstar charm that had brought him such success at the box office.

“I’m waiting for my brother and sister,” she said before he could speak.

So that’s who’d driven off as he watched the scene unfold from one street above and behind her. He lifted a tense shoulder in a careless gesture. “Quick spin around town, and I’ll bring you right back. They’ll never know you were gone, sugar.”

Her eyebrows drew together above those deep blue eyes. Damn. He fought his own frown. Based on previous experience with star-struck women, she should’ve jumped in at the first invitation. Wasn’t it just his luck, this one had common sense.

Leaving the car running, he swung his legs over the door and rounded the front of the convertible. His heart thumped with each step as he tried to figure out the best way to get her out of this mess. It was one thing when he was following a script, but how the hell did one orchestrate a rescue in real life when the rescuee wouldn’t cooperate and he had no time to explain the danger? It’s not like he could play her the recording tucked in his pocket.

The girl backed away from his approach. He fought back rising apprehension and forced an easy smile.

“Look, I appreciate the offer, Shain, but—”

Trent.”

“Right.”Her blush deepened.“I know. Trent. But I—”

“I need you to get in the car.”As an afterthought, he added, “Please.”

“Um…”

He used her glance down the road as cover for his own. Still time, yet his control slipped.“Seriously. Get in.”

The sharp command widened her eyes. Suspicion darkened them to navy, and she took another step backward. Then her shoulders squared while her gaze narrowed with determination.“No.”

The right taillight on his Alfa Romeo exploded. Trent ducked reflexively as bits of plastic flew in all directions. Adrenaline spiked through him, but other than a sharp reactive jerk, the girl just stood there holding her camera. Trent lunged forward, grabbed her arm and hauled her toward the car.

“Hey—let me go!”She pulled back with surprising strength.

He picked her up and shoved her head first into the passenger seat, then vaulted over her to slip behind the wheel. Heartbeat thundering in his ears, he gunned the gas with a sickening grinding of gears before the convertible shot out into traffic amidst screeching tires and blaring horns.


~*~

Click here to read Trent and Halli's character interview.

Pick up your copy today to finish the wild ride! 


Thanks so much for reading and reviews are always greatly appreciated!

***Available July 2013:  Italy Intrigue Series, Book 2, RUN TO ROME

Stacey Joy Netzel


Starting October 2013
Buy the PRINT BOOK and get the ebook for $0.99