Monday, July 06, 2009

Contest Winner

Just had Monster #2 pull a winner for my 24-Hour "What Happened" Contest . . . and the winner is . . .

Rhonda Wolf!

Rhonda, drop me an email at linda_winfree at and tell me what format you'd like Uncovered in and I'll get it to you ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered and I hope to see you all tomorrow for the release of Uncovered.

One-Day Contest: UNCOVERED

Want to win a copy of UNCOVERED (or the choice of my backlist in ebook)?

Then here's how to enter.

Read the chapter one excerpt at . Send me your best, wildest guess at what you think is the answer to "What happened?"

Email your guess with "What Happened" Contest in the subject line to linda_winfree at before 9:00 PM EST on Monday, July 6. I'll announce the winner here at the Cafe then.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

July TTD

More list than month, I'm afraid.


1) Reread articles/chapters from graduate work
2) Revise management plan
3) Revise units, write new units, break down to daily level
4) Clean out file cabinets
5) Make new 9th/11th notebooks for the year
6) One Act plan


1) Paranormal (20K -- eek!)
2) Make headway on something


1) Help Monsters organize their closets
2) Clean out my closet, make Goodwill run
3) Landscaping. Lots and lots of landscaping . . .

Throw in all the grand jury stuff, too.

What's July look like for you?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's Official

My senior babies are gone . . . I'm going to miss them sooooo much!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I Realize . . .

. . . I must be the world's most boring blogger. The most interesting thing I'm involved in at the moment, I can't talk about. School is school -- I'm stressing the EOCT next week like I never have before. I'm already making plans for next year, which will surprise no one who actually knows me. Monster #2 and I are both jonesing for a beach trip, but have agreed that once we actually have the pool installed, that might work as a substitute.

There are only twelve more days of school!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


There are frogs everywhere! Little hoppy mini-frogs. A miniature plague. I'm hoping they grow up to eat mosquitos.

School is sooo close to being over. I'm ready. Next week is EOCT testing -- I'm not confident about it at all.

Turned in assignment one for my last grad course. Connie is laughing at me because now my portfolio has shown up to bite me.

No writing tonight. Grand jury committee meeting, then . . . oh, yeah. I read the new Lorelei James novella.

What's new with you?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Print galleys on Fall Into Me finally done -- this is why I am NOT a procrastinator.

Only 15 more days of school. I am soooo thankful. I need summer.

Still in a reading slump. Of course, I've been reading my own work the last week, so that might be why. I don't want to read much of anything. Except Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living.

Starting week one of my final master's level course. Scheduled to graduate in June or July. Still haven't made a decision about post-master's work. The idea of being further in student loan debt when Monster #1 is going to college in a few years scares me.

What are you up to on this Sunday evening?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Popping In

Working on print galleys for Fall Into Me.

Booksigning for Memories of Us went relatively well -- my mother and sisters always come to hang out and I did sell several copies as well as copies from my backlist. One lady bought my entire backlist -- that was really cool.

Need to be working on Gone as well as my anthology novella. See print galley note above. ;-)

Came home with three books today. Had the hardest time picking them out. Leigh and I talked about both of us being in a reading slump. Not sure what's going on with me, but nothing seems to appeal. Maybe once school is out . . .

Friday, May 01, 2009


Dr. Partridge, I presume?


Monday was a teacher in-service day. Some of those, I get tons accomplished. Some of those, not so much. Monday was so-so, as I did get plans ready for the week and all junior poetry folders checked off. I did spend an hour simply gabbing with Connie and Wayne and Joey (who eloped over spring break!).

So Connie, the big tease, leans back in her chair and says, "I read this book on the way back from Disney . . ."

She grins and I just knew. I knew. She'd finally read Fall Into Me, which has been loaded on her Sony reader since she bought one just to torture me. I pounced. "What did you think?"

Wayne and Joey are clueless, of course, but Connie grins and says, "I loved it."

High praise, I'm telling you. Connie reads a lot and her praise is sparing. As she told me, she's read all my books except Memories of Us, Hearts Awakened and Facing It, but FIM was the first one to stay with her after it was over. She loved Troy Lee, loved his background, etc. and she liked that Angel was an independent woman.

I've been dying for Connie to read this book because I wanted to ask her what she thought of the resolution. So for the past six weeks or so, she's kept me waiting while she worked on her doctoral portfolio. (BTW, I'm not even allowed to mention said portfolio in her presence -- she is NOT making me want to work on my doctorate!)

At that point, we proceeded to confuse Joey and Wayne even further as we talked about the ending, her opinion of it, the options I had, the Georgia law that could have been my easy way out but which would have been all wrong for the characters, reader feedback I've received, etc. I'm pretty sure Joey and Wayne were happy when we finally shut up (we continued the conversation over lunch, at least until we got into the unique ways Connie solves power struggles . . . I'm going to steal her life for a book one day.).

Finally being able to discuss the book with her was worth it, though, because I can always count on totally honest feedback and a depth of discussion with her. I can talk and even argue with her and it's okay, because at the end of it all, we're still friends (although we're still arguing her reader response to What Mattered Most two years later . . .).

I wonder what would happen if I texted her the word "porfolio" . . .? :-D

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday Morning Check-In

I am sooo ready for summer. Only about a month and a half! I would say I'm ready for spring break, but someone has jury duty that week.

What I need to accomplish this week:

1) Make senior board speeches run smoothly (Tues, Wed., Thurs.)
2) Stay on top of junior poetry anthology checkpoints
3) Teach poetry to freshmen
4) Somehow get derailed Canterbury Tales unit back on track (thanks, bad weather!).
5) Grade revised junior research papers
6) Write week 7 and week 8 essays for EDUC 6657 (I'm trying to finish early)
7) Get to proposal point with Gone
8) Maybe begin working on laying out Layla's story . . .???

What's on your plate for the week?

Samhain Cafe Chat Tonight

Book Chat: Linda Winfree's Hearts of the South

Date: Saturday April 11, 2009
Time:8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Come hang out with Linda and chat about the books in her Hearts of the South series. Get behind-the-scenes info, ask questions about your favorite book and characters, or be introduced to the world of fictional Chandler County, Georgia. Hope to see you there!

Because Jenn Asked

I know, I know. I'm over here on a very spotty basis, but there's been a computer virus, bad weather, and some personal stuff I had to deal with. I'm trying to get life (and thus blogging) back to normal.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to offer congratulations and comments on the debut of Facing It. (It's hit the top ten at My Bookstore and More! Whoo!)

Jenn asked in the comments what was up next . . . the answer is Uncovered, now in final line edits and set for a summer 2009 release. Here's the blurb:

After nearly twenty years, her career in possible ruins, homicide detective Madeline Holton returns to her hometown for a temporary stint working with the local sheriff's department. Everywhere she turns, the demons of her teen years lie in wait, rising once more in the form of a cold case she must solve . And when it comes to a handsome farmer who’s making good on her family’s former land, she can’t seem to keep her foot out of her mouth—or her hands off him.

Agricultural businessman Ash Hardison won't lie to himself—despite Madeline's obvious issues, he's more drawn to her than any woman he's ever known. He's already laid the ghosts of his past to rest, and he's determined to help Madeline purge hers. Whether she likes it or not.

Because he knows it’s the only way they have a chance to forge a future together.

Here's an edits-in-process excerpt:

“I’m going to see if Cait’s ready to go.” Tick jerked a thumb toward the back door.
Once it closed behind him, Ash slanted a sideways glance at Stanton. “He’s wound pretty tight.”
Stanton huffed a humorless laugh. “No kidding. I thought having Madeline here, taking some of the pressure off him would help. Guess I was wrong.”
“He’ll be fine. He always is.” Ash rested both hands on the counter’s edge and let his gaze travel to the window once more. On the deck, Tick leaned down to lift the baby from Caitlin’s arms and waved Autry to stay seated. Madeline darted another of those secretive looks at him. Ash frowned. Something was…off…there, something he didn’t get.
Was that attraction or dislike that kept her so focused on Tick?
“I hope so. I need him back on his game.” Stanton came to stand beside him. Madeline unfolded from her chair, and as Caitlin and Tick came in the back door, her voice carried in with them.
“I think I’m going to head out as well.” That indefinable strain tightened her words. “Thanks for dinner.”
“You don’t have to go yet.” Autry followed her sister into the room. “It feels like you just got here.”
“It’s been a long day.” Irony laced Madeline’s voice. Tick looked up from placing the baby in his carrier. Palpable tension vibrated between them before he dropped his gaze.
He hefted the infant seat. “Cait? You ready?”
At her nod, they exited in a small flurry of thank-you’s and good-night’s. Autry turned to Madeline. “I wish you’d stay a little longer.”
She shrugged into her jacket. “I have an early day tomorrow.”
“I’ll walk out with you.” Ash pulled his keys from his pocket and leaned down to kiss Autry’s cheek. “Dinner was awesome.”
Madeline eyed him, wariness coloring her features. “You don’t have to.”
He put on an easy grin. “You’re not the only one with an early day ahead of you.”
Outside, a hint of cool air kissed the unseasonable warmth. His truck waited beside her compact sedan and the gravel walk crunched under their feet as they walked toward the vehicles. She glanced back once at the house, a strange hurt flickering over her features before she straightened her shoulders to a near-impossible angle. Unhappiness hung around her like a pall, a loneliness that stopped him from cutting his losses, especially after everything Tick had said, and walking straight to his driver’s side door.
He leaned against the truck’s hood while she unlocked her car. “What do you like to do during your free time?”
With the door partially open, she froze and confusion glinted in her hazel gaze before disappearing beneath shuttered contempt. “You don’t give up, do you?”
“What are you so afraid of?” He spread his elbows to a more comfortable position.
She slammed the door and came to stand before him. Outrage rolled off her in waves. “I’m not afraid of anything. I’ve told you I’m not interested and you won’t back off. End of story.”
Bravado. Lots of ballsy bravado that still didn’t quite cover the soul-deep isolation that shrouded her and called to him. Pushing wouldn’t work with her, though. “If that’s the way you want it.”
“It is.” Her chin lifted to a challenging angle, daring him to dispute her statement.
“Good night, then.” He inclined his head and stepped away from the truck. She backed up, stumbling a bit in her haste. He didn’t reach to steady her, but let her regain her footing alone. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Madeline.”
She snorted. “Sure it was.”
He lifted a hand and strode around to the driver’s side. The old Ford rumbled to life, reliable as ever, and while the cold-natured engine warmed, he patted the gas pedal a couple of times. His wrist draped over the wheel, he watched in the rearview as Madeline reversed hard and flew down the drive. He shook his head and reached for the gearshift.
Confident and breezy, then prickly and wary. Obsessed? Lonely and afraid of connecting.
Like he could walk away from that puzzle without a second thought.


For excerpts and info on Facing It, available now, visit

Monday, April 06, 2009

Only a Few More Hours . . .

Until Facing It releases!

There are worse things than facing your greatest fear.

Facing It by Linda Winfree
A Hearts of the South story.

Tired of living a nightmare, Ruthie Chason takes her courage and her children in hand to flee her husband’s brutality. Yet she’s no fool. She knows he’ll come after her once he discovers she possesses criminal evidence that will put him away for good—and seal her deadly fate if he ever catches up with her.

Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Parker offers emotional refuge, a safe place to begin to reclaim her life…if she can let herself trust the strong, quiet cop that far.

Chris surprises himself when he agrees to act as guardian for Ruthie and her children. He does it as a favor, then finds something about her calm strength soothes his battered soul. Now if only he can silence the demons from his past that make him cautious of falling too fast for any woman.

Their need explodes into a heart-stopping night of passion that exposes their deepest vulnerabilities. But just as they begin to explore how healing love can be, violence tracks them down. And backs them into a desperate corner…

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Things I'm Currently Holding Against Connie

1) The RED Sony PRS-505.

2) The Mexican food.

3) The shoe shopping.

4) The pedicure.

I could probably add to this. You know, stuff like that the seniors are all math nerds and love Calculus better than the Canterbury Tales.

But you know I lurves you, Connie-gurl.

And I'll forgive you the Sony reader since the first book you bought was Troy Lee's.

The pedicure, though? Still holding onto that one.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 19

*Note: Now that life has stopped trying to eat me whole, I'll begin posting real content soon. Thanks for sticking with me, y'all.


“Don’t worry about us, Lorna.” Ruthie pinned on her brightest smile. “We’ll be fine.”
The housekeeper looked doubtful. “But Mr. Chason—”
“Will be out of town until Friday.” If her luck would only hold. Lord, please let him stay gone until then. No “surprise” early returns. “I assure you, I can handle the house while you see to your mother. Please, Lorna, go take care of her.”
Lorna twisted her neat white apron in both hands, the wrinkles by her mouth deepening. “If you’re sure…”
Ruthie smiled so widely her face hurt. “Positive.”
An answering expression bloomed on Lorna’s weary face. “Oh, thank you, Mrs. Chason. I did so want to be with her, but I know Mr. Chason doesn’t like for you to be alone.”
She bestowed a fierce hug on Ruthie, who returned the embrace despite her surprise. When was the last time anyone other than the children had touched her with affection? What she endured from Stephen didn’t count.
Ruthie pulled away, blinking back a rush of silly tears. Crying wasn’t her style, hadn’t been for a very long time now. All crying did was give her a puffy face and burning eyes. It didn’t change a darn thing.
She gave Lorna tiny push toward the back door. “Tell your mother I asked about her.”
After another round of reassurances and goodbyes, she locked the door and rested against it. She couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. With her legs shaking beneath her, she slipped from the kitchen with its to-die-for granite countertops and professional stainless appliances she was never allowed to use. Late-afternoon sunlight shone through the tall windows of the foyer and splashed on the Italian tile floor. She hurried up the stairs, holding on to the banister, questions and doubts beating in her head.
What if he came home? What if he caught her? What if he didn’t? What if she managed to get away?
The latter was the only one that mattered, the one that spurred her on. This might be her only chance and she meant to take it.
She found the children in the spotless playroom where she’d left them. As always, they were too quiet, John Robert on the window seat with his nose buried in a book, Camille dancing a pair of dolls through the dollhouse, Ainsley curled into the rocker with her stuffed bunny on her lap and her thumb in her mouth. Studying them from the doorway, Ruthie longed for the noise and laughter of her childhood home, for that warmth and joy for her children.
Three more reasons to escape while she could.
She walked to the center of the room and sat cross-legged on the rug. John Robert glanced at her over his book; Camille didn’t look around. Ruthie reached up and pulled Ainsley onto her lap, rubbing her chin against the soft dark hair. “How would you like to go on an adventure?”
Camille dropped the dolls and stared, lips parted, a glimmer of excitement in her eyes. John Robert closed his book. “Is Daddy coming?”
Ruthie sucked in a breath. “No. This is a mommy and kids adventure.”
Ainsley hugged her rabbit. “Will there be pirates?”
“Maybe.” Ruthie kissed her youngest daughter’s cheek. “But we need to leave today. Are you ready?”
“Can I take Bun-bun?” Ainsley clutched the lovey harder.
“Yes, and John Robert can take his book and Camille can pick something to take along. But we must hurry.”
She took Ainsley with her to the master suite, aware John Robert trailed her, his small face set in worried lines. “Don’t we need to pack, Mama?”
“I have what we need here.” Standing on her shoe shelf, she tugged the small tote from its hiding place. “I thought we might pick up new clothes along the way.” She needed the house to look as normal as possible, for there to be as few clues as possible to her destination once Stephen returned. “John Robert, we will need Ainsley’s go-bag. Can you get that for me? You can add some juice and snacks, if you like. I’ll be right back.”
He nodded, his eyes still troubled, and her breath caught. Already, he looked so much like her brothers, nothing like Stephen. Please, please, let it not be too late to get him away from his father’s influence. She didn’t want her firstborn, the joy of her heart, to grow up like her husband. She didn’t think she could bear it.
She deposited Ainsley in the playroom again and slipped down the backstairs into Stephen’s office. For once, his absolute arrogant faith in her obedience was going to come back to bite him. She slid open the unlocked credenza and removed the three leather-bound ledgers there. With them securely tucked into the tote, she gathered the girls and went in search of John Robert.
He sat at the island in the kitchen, the plaid monogrammed bag they’d termed Ainsley’s “go-bag” since her infancy, in front of him. Ruthie smiled softly and forced a note of gaiety into her voice. “Ready?”
She secured them in their booster seats, lifted the garage door via remote and backed down the drive. The neighborhood was deserted and she sent another grateful prayer heavenward. Just to be safe, she took a circuitous route downtown and left the luxury SUV in a high-rise parking garage. Carrying the stylish tote and Ainsley’s bag, she should appear as if she were merely going shopping, children in tow, if and when anyone looked for them on the garage security cameras. With the children gathered around her, she took the back exit and walked two blocks over to a second long-term storage garage.
There, she settled the children in the aging minivan. She cranked it, thankful when it started on the first try. With her fingers wrapped around the steering wheel in a painful grip, she looked over her shoulder at the children. “Okay, first stage of the adventure. We’ll stop in Atlanta for something to eat.”
Once Charleston faded behind her, she relaxed her death grip on the wheel. She’d done it. There was no going back now. Exhilaration mixed with a banked sense of dread.
She drove straight through, making only brief stops for food and restroom breaks, at shabby locations not likely to have the latest security camera systems, taking care to pay using small bills. Ainsley was asleep by the time they reached Jonesboro. Camille dozed around Macon. By Cordele, John Robert had finally nodded off.
Ruthie drove and didn’t relax until she saw the sign for Chandler County. With the ease of familiarity, she navigated the back roads. There’d been changes since the last time she’d been here, just before John Robert’s birth seven years before, but not so many that the intimacy of home didn’t bring tears to her eyes. This time, she didn’t blink them away. They slid silently down her face.
She made a right onto a gravel turnoff. The long drive opened up to a large yard and an old frame farmhouse glowing white under the moon and a bluish mercury light. A sweet sigh of relief escaped her. She’d be safe here. Her children would be safe. The house, too, had changed—a large sundeck now gracing the area next to the back porch, new plants joining the ancient azaleas and oak hydrangeas her grandmother had lovingly tended.
Ruthie stopped the van behind a dusty white Chevrolet Z-71. A Volvo sedan sat next to it. She glanced over her shoulder. The children slept quietly, peacefully. Not wanting to disturb them, she slipped from the driver’s seat, her lower back and legs protesting the hours spent behind the wheel. Leaving the interior light on so they wouldn’t wake in the dark in an unfamiliar location, she hurried up the brick walkway, another change. When she’d been a child here, visiting her grandparents, a packed clay path had led to the back porch.
This late at night, the house was mostly dark, but squares of soft golden light spilled from the keeping-room windows. Nerves twisted in her stomach. It had been so long since they’d really talked. She didn’t know him anymore, not really. What if he wasn’t happy to see her, willing to help her? What would she do then?
She squared her shoulders. If that turned out to be the case, then she’d find a way to do this herself. Taking the first step necessitated that she not fail. The stakes were too high.
At the back door, she rang the doorbell and waited. Behind her, crickets and frogs sang in the dark night and beneath their song she could hear the distant whisper of the river. Oh, she’d missed this, missed the softness of these Georgia nights and the pure safety of this place.
Long minutes passed and she was preparing to push the bell again when a dark silhouette appeared at the door, backlit by the interior lights. The door swung inward.
“Ruthie?” Shock colored Tick’s deep, drowsy drawl.
She blinked away more of the silly tears. His black hair sleep-mussed, clad in navy pajama pants, he held the door open with one hand, his other behind his back, securing his handgun there, she was sure.
Suddenly blinking didn’t work anymore and the tears rushed free as she threw herself against his chest. “Oh Lord, Tick, I’m so glad to see you. I couldn’t go to Mama’s, didn’t want to risk that, because I’m sure he’ll look there first…”
She felt him falter once before he closed his arms around her, and sure enough, the weight of a gun in his left hand rested against her. “Ruthie, my God, what are you doing here? Are you all right?”
With an effort, she tried to pull herself together. He was married now, a father, although she hadn’t even attended his wedding, hadn’t seen the little boy named for him. He pulled back and used his free hand to brush the damp hair from her face. “Honey, talk to me. Come inside—”
“I c-can’t.” Her voice cracked and she caught his start of surprise. Oh, heaven above, he was going to think she was crazy. Maybe she was now. Maybe Stephen had driven her insane and she simply didn’t know it. A half-hysterical giggle escaped her and she clamped her lips closed, took a deep breath. She waved over her shoulder. “The children…I can’t leave them in the van.”
“Of course not.” He darted a quick look beyond her and spun to place the sleek semi-automatic in a kitchen drawer. “Come on, I’ll help you get them inside. Have you eaten?”
She nodded. “In Atlanta, then a snack in Perry.”
Thankfully, he didn’t ask any further questions but followed her to the van and gathered John Robert into an easy hold while she lifted Camille. Her son, cradled by the uncle he didn’t know, never stirred. Inside, Tick stopped in the kitchen with an uncertain expression.
“Do you think they’ll wake up?” he whispered. She shook her head and he nodded. “Let’s put them in the guest room upstairs and we can put your little one in the nursery with Lee.”
“I’m sorry I woke you,” she murmured, trailing him up the staircase, cataloging the changes in the house. Their grandmother’s outdated decorating was gone and the home now bore the distinct stamp of Tick’s strong personality, probably tempered somewhat by his wife’s tastes as well. The sister-in-law who was merely a face in a photograph, a signature on a Christmas card.
“You didn’t. I was up with Lee, had just put him back to bed when you rang.” He nudged open the first door on the right off the landing. He grinned over his shoulder as he settled John Robert beneath the covers on the double bed. “My night to get up.”
She slipped Camille beneath the sheets on the other side. Stephen had never gotten up with their children. That had always been her job, taking care of them, keeping them quiet.
“Tuck them in.” Tick brushed his knuckles over her cheek, his dark eyes concerned. “I’ll get the little one.”
She did, tucking the sheet and thin coverlet around them, kissing them, sending up silent prayers for them. She left the small lamp burning on the dresser and eased into the hall, just as Tick topped the stairs with Ainsley cradled to his chest. He tilted his head toward the room opposite and Ruthie opened the door.
It was definitely a boy’s room, with deep blue walls and wide white trim. A pine crib with white bedding stood against one wall, and a twin bed shared the space, outfitted in a quilt embroidered with an array of boats. As she flipped the quilt back for Tick to settle Ainsley down, she glimpsed a dark-haired baby snoozing in the crib, his arms laid out by his head, his lips pursed.
After she’d repeated her bedtime ritual over her daughter, Tick laid a hand on her back and ushered her toward the door. “Come on.”
Her stomach knotted all over again.
In the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, he gestured toward the kitchen. “Want something? I can make some coffee or there’s milk or juice—”
“Coffee would be great.”
The few minutes it took him to secure his gun and start the coffee brewing gave her a chance to pull herself and her thoughts together. She leaned against the kitchen island, a new addition to the keeping room area, and glanced around. The green linoleum was gone, replaced by shining hardwood. A rustic pine table graced the dining area and in the living room, a red couch and comfortable leather chairs provided a conversation area. Pine tables held baskets for magazines and books. Photos covered the walls in neat arrangements. A play yard and infant swing sat near the living area and another basket held baby toys.
She cupped her elbows and rubbed at her arms. “It looks like you. The house, I mean.”
A grin lit his face but didn’t dispel the seriousness of his chocolate gaze. “That’s what Cait says.”
At the mention of his wife, she darted a look at him. “She won’t mind, will she, us being here?”
“No, of course not.” His eyebrows winged upward. He poured coffee into two mugs and slid one across to her. “Black, right?”
She nodded and lifted the warm cup. He indicated the living room. “Come on. Let’s get comfortable and you can tell me what’s going on.”
Oh, she couldn’t wait. Clutching her mug, she took one chair and he waited for her to sit before he sank into the other. Silence dragged between them and she sipped at her coffee, the rich liquid doing little to settle her nerves. She laughed, a short, humorless sound. “God, Tick, I don’t know where to start.”
“The beginning?”
At this gentle prompting, she laughed again. “Do you have all night?”
“I have however long you need.”
She pressed her fingers against her brow. “I’ve made such a mess of things. Stephen…I thought he was a great catch, a good man, and he’s not. He’s…”
How to tell her brother she’d married a crook and a monster?
“Ruthie?” Tick covered her knee, his touch strong and warm. “Does he hurt you?”
“Not physically.” She lifted her head. “That’s not his thing. He…controls me. Where I go, who I see, what I do. And the children too. I don’t want that for them, Tick, I don’t. I want them to have what I had, what we had…” Her voice broke and she swallowed against the tightness in her throat. “Verbally, he’s vicious when he’s angry, when things don’t go the way he likes. I’ve been planning to leave for a while, but I needed a plan and an opportunity, and I wasn’t sure where to go, what to do… I’m sorry for showing up like this, dumping this all on you—”
“No, don’t be sorry.” His voice hardened. “Don’t you dare be sorry, Ruthie. Holy hell, I should be apologizing to you, for not—”
“Don’t.” She knew what he was thinking. “It’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault but mine. And Stephen’s, for being the absolute monster he is. But I need your help now, Tick.”
“Don’t say that yet. You don’t know what I want.” She looked at her brother, who’d been awarded the FBI award upon his graduation from Quantico. He was all about integrity and what she was going to ask would test that.
“Ruthie, just ask, honey. I’ll do whatever I can.”
She took a deep breath. “I want you to help me disappear.”

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 22 and Counting . . .

A nondescript blue Jeep Cherokee sat in the driveway under the just-rising sun. As she and Tick stepped onto the porch, a tall man clad in jeans and a T-shirt unfolded himself from the driver’s seat. His face set in serious lines, he moved up the walkway, his stride one of proud bearing and easy authority. Close to Tick’s side, Ruthie studied him—muscular arms and shoulders, trim waist above long legs, square jaw shadowed by a couple days’ growth of stubble, short brown hair, a tan highlighting ice-blue eyes.
That cool gaze flicked over her as he mounted the steps and took Tick’s outstretched hand in a brisk shake. “Tick.”
“Hey, Chris, thanks for coming. I really appreciate it.” His palm warm at her back, Tick drew her forward. “This is my sister, Ruthie Chason. Ruthie, Chris Parker.”

Sunday, March 15, 2009

23 Days . . .

“Chris.” Relief vibrated in Tick Calvert’s deep voice. “Glad I caught you before you left. I need a huge favor.”
Why wasn’t Chris surprised? Visions of his vacation spiraling down the tubes danced through his mind. He rested his forehead on the doorjamb. “Yeah?”
“Do this for me and I’ll make it worth your while—equal to full pay this week and I’ll schedule you another week off whenever you want.”
“Who am I covering?” He slumped into a chair and reached for a pad and pen to jot down the shift times. Hell, he should have ignored the damn phone. He would have been out of the driveway by now, headed for his version of paradise.
Tick cleared his throat. “I don’t need you to work.”
Suspicion tickled Chris’s spine. “What do you want then?”


Are you ready?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cover Art Goodness: FACING IT

Chris and Ruthie's book, due out in April.

Now Bree can mosey over here and go "Eeeeee!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Y'all, I'm Such a Nerd

I really am. I have confirmation from my students. (I'm also a nag, but that's another story . . .)

Anyway, I am a nerd. I love to read, I love to learn new stuff, I get excited about knowing things and I want to share. I'm guiltiest when it comes to stuff I'm learning with my grad degree, and my colleagues are too kind to tell me to shut up when I get going at the lunch table about some new strategy I'm learning. But I can hear the mental, "Oh, Lord, here she goes again."

So I'm showing my seniors a series of documentaries on the history of Britain. Some of it is really interesting (to me, at least -- to them, I'm not so sure). I'd mentioned to them this morning that we were skipping the section on conquests, as when the DH and I were previewing the films, he turned to me and said, "You can't show them this. They'd be out, fifteen minutes, tops."

One of them looked at me, horrified. "You made your husband watch this?!"

Well, yeah. He's a history nerd. He's in the living room now, tuned into the History Channel.

So yeah, I'm a nerd. I'm all excited about going to the charter school conference next week because I know I'll be learning new stuff and that means I'll have more stuff to torture people with at the lunch table.

But y'all will tell me if I become an obnoxious nerd, right?

I'm Here!

Long story, but our DSL has been down forever. It's finally fixed, although I can't say the same for the landline. I'm seriously thinking of just not having a landline, as we don't use it anyway.

Anyway, this is a quick drive-by, as I need to get dressed for school. I have cover art for Chris and pics of the house to show you, though.

Back soon. Missed y'all!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Fall Into Me, Available Today!

She’s finally falling for the right man…at the worst possible time.

Fall Into Me
A part of the Hearts of the South series.

After two back-to-back romantic disappointments, bar owner Angel Henderson isn’t looking for love. In the past month, she’s been passed over twice by men she’d pinned her hopes on, both times in favor of a younger woman. She’s ready to swear off men for life. The only problem? A certain younger man determined to prove he can be her right man.

Sheriff’s deputy Troy Lee Farr is tired of being the department screw-up. The harder he tries to prove himself, the worse it gets. The only thing that’s gone right recently is getting a second chance with Angel. Except she’d rather jam on the brakes than rush into a new relationship. Now he has to work hard to prove his worth as a romantic prospect.

Troy Lee is a patient man, and it isn’t long before Angel is falling into him as hard as he’s fallen for her. Just as Angel begins to think of him as more than a fun date, her past—and Troy Lee’s dangerous reality—threatens the tentative happiness they’ve found in one another.
Reminding them both that security is tenuous…and unconditional love is the biggest challenge of all.

Warning: Cops who talk like cops, explicit older woman-younger man lovin’, and two-boxes-of-tissues emotion.


Outside, the sultry promise of the sunny day had dipped into a damp chill and she was glad to have his warm presence at her back, blocking the slight breeze, while she locked the door.
Guitar case in hand, he strolled across the parking lot at her side to where his Jeep waited next to her Mustang. He tossed the case into the passenger seat and she eyed the Wrangler’s bikini top. “You’re going to freeze.”
He cast a quick glance at it. “Nah. It’ll be nice to cool off after being under the lights.”
She fiddled with her keys, turning them between her fingers. “Well, good night then. Thank you for walking me out.”
“You’re welcome.” His gaze lingered on her face. With a lazy movement, he rested a hand on the roof of her car, bringing his long body into her personal space and filling her with breathless intensity.
She should speak, should laugh, should do something. Instead, all she could do was stare into those lash-fringed baby blues and imagine all the wicked possibilities suddenly trembling between them.
He lifted his other hand and sifted the fingers through her hair at her temple, rubbing a couple of strands together. One corner of his mouth hitched up. “About that kissing thing.”
Oh, this was so not like her…hadn’t she always been a take-charge kind of girl? And here she was, her back pressed against the driver’s side door, keys clenched in one hand, watching those beautiful eyes draw closer as he took the initiative and leaned in.
She closed her eyes before his mouth touched hers. Oh please, don’t let it be any good. It would be so much easier to walk, to let him go if—
Warm lips, a hint of lime and Corona. Pliable flesh, a bit of pressure, a suggestion of persuasive seduction, her bottom lip sucked lightly between his. Breathless, giddy desire plunging through her, swirling in an achy spin lower in her belly, pulsing to life between her thighs.
He lifted his mouth, caressed the corner of hers, then sought her lips once more. She rested her hands against his chest, over his thudding heart, and offered her mouth up to him, allowing his tongue to tease her lips apart.
Oh, this was good, playful strokes, a light tangle of tongues and lips. He moved closer, hard thighs brushing but not pressing to her own, both hands braced now on the car roof, his body holding her prisoner and providing shelter all at the same time.

More info:

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I'm under deadline on revisions. Today. I'm still polishing transitions and layering. I've been working, I swear -- I even have photos of me at the computer at five 'til midnight on New Year's Eve (just too swamped to upload them here right now...later, I promise).

Today is Monster #1's b-day. He's FOURTEEN. How can my baby be fourteen?!

Trying to finish revisions before the tree guy comes. Last time, I had to go rescue him three times because the motor kept cutting out on his truck and he couldn't get down from up in the air. Hopefully today, he won't need rescuing.

Tree-guy-not-damsel-in-distress. Now there's a new trope for you.

Hope you're having a good day!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Where to Find Me Today

1) At my computer, revising madly.

2) In the laundry room, washing mounds of clothes

3) At Greta's blog (go comment -- you could win a book):

4) At the Samhain blog:

Happy birthday to my brother Lionel!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Best Review Line EVER

Fall Into Me is a Recommended Read over at Fallen Angel Reviews. Here is my favorite line from the review:

"To my delight Troy Lee proves to be a whole lot more than sweet. This guy could talk the panties off a nun without her noticing and poor Angel had no hope of escaping his seduction..."

I love it. Just love it.

You can read the entire review here:

Thanks to Rachel for making my New Year with a lovely review. Fall Into Me releases in ebook next Tuesday, January 6. You can find an excerpt HERE.