Book Releases

Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

In ebook and soon in print!


About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Saturday, December 15, 2018

CHASING FIRE is out!


Chasing Fire (An I-Team/Colorado High Country Crossover Novel) is out! That has to be the fastest turnaround time ever. The ebook publishers were on top of things yesterday.

What kills me is that so many people have finished the book already. What? I know! The first reader finished it before I had even finished getting all the links together.

The story brings together the cast of the I-Team series and the Colorado High Country series for a battle against a devastating fire. Inspired by the Cold Springs Fire (2016) here in Colorado, I wanted to bring my favorite heroes together and see what they would do in a crisis.

They won’t disappoint you.

If you haven't read either series, this isn’t the story for you. People's backstories are discussed, so it would ruin the ending of pretty much every novel in both series. Also, we move from person to person, and if you don't know these folks, you’re going to be overwhelmed.

Fortunately, Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country, Book 1) is FREE at ebook retailers, so you can kick off your reading with Lexi and Austin's story and get to this book eventually.

What can I tell you about this book?

1. It’s very high octane. Some readers who've already finished it say it should come with a warning label, "Not for the faint of heart" or "I didn't even get up to pee while reading this story." (I like that!)

2. I-Team heroes + Scarlet Springs heros = A lot of sexy running around in the mountains.

3. Unlike the guy in the photo, the firefighters are wearing brush gear. No one fights the fire shirtless. I know. Bummer.


Here are the links:

Kindle US 
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
Kindle AU
Kindle DE
Nook
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords

I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It has all the tension of Dead By Midnight and my romantic suspense books, but the enemy this time is fire.

Here’s the blurb from the back cover of the print edition:

For fans of Pamela Clare’s acclaimed I-Team and Colorado High Country series…

An I-Team/Colorado High Country Crossover Novel

Fire chief Eric Hawke knows it’s only a matter of time until the next big wildfire. He’s done everything he can to prepare his crews for the inevitable. When high winds turn a small blaze into a raging crown fire that threatens Scarlet Springs, he, Brandon Silver, and the rest of Scarlet FD put their lives on the line to save the town and its citizens. But the one thing Hawke hadn’t planned for was bureaucratic red tape and waffling from higher-ups that could turn this crisis into a catastrophe. When his requests for support go unheeded, he’s faced with the prospect of watching the town he loves burn to ashes.

But sometimes help comes from unexpected places.

Marc Hunter, Julian Darcangelo, and Zach McBride are in the mountains above Scarlet Springs for an interagency training exercise when they see a single wisp of smoke to the west. What begins as a fun day of playing cops and bad guys soon becomes a battle against time, as they join forces with Hawke and members of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team to save friends trapped by the fire.

Together, they pit their strength and courage against a terrifying and unforgiving force of nature. Will it be enough? Or will the ravenous flames claim lives—and leave the people of Scarlet Springs forever scarred?


I am about to disappear, as I'm having my right knee replaced with a slinky or something on Monday. Total knee replacement. Not excited about it, but I am looking forward to walking normally again. I injured my knee in 2014 during chemo, and it never healed because of the chemo drugs. Getting this behind me at last feels like a step forward away from the nightmare of 2014.

Thanks so much for your support throughout the year! If I don’t get back to you before Dec. 25, then Merry Christmas to all my readers around the world. You are the best!


Friday, December 14, 2018

CHASING FIRE — A Crossover novel with EXCERPT



Hey, it's almost Christmas already. How did that happen?

Since I last posted, I've gone on two vacations — the American Southwest Tour of Awesome and a two-week trip to France to commemorate the end of World War I. In between, I've been putting together something special for you — an I-Team/Colorado High Country crossover novel.

Crazy times.

I don't know about you, but I have always wanted to see what happens when you put the hotness that is the I-Team heroes together with the sexy athleticism of the Scarlet Springs guys. So, I lit the forest around Scarlet Springs on fire. Yep, that's what I did.

It’s action-packed like Dead By Midnight, but the enemy is fire this time, not terrorists. Like Dead By Midnight, it is not a stand-alone novel, but a story written for readers of both/either series. It gives you a chance to hang with your favorite characters, even if they've already gotten their happily ever after.

It has been an adventure trying to bring as many people from both series together as possible, while still having an organic-feeling narrative. These characters are so much fun, and when they're together, it's double trouble.

Here’s the back blurb:

For fans of Pamela Clare’s acclaimed I-Team and Colorado High Country series…

An I-Team/Colorado High Country Crossover Novel

Fire chief Eric Hawke knows it’s only a matter of time until the next big wildfire. He’s done everything he can to prepare his crews for the inevitable. When high winds turn a small blaze into a raging crown fire that threatens Scarlet Springs, he, Brandon Silver, and the rest of Scarlet FD put their lives on the line to save the town and its citizens. But the one thing Hawke hadn’t planned for was bureaucratic red tape and waffling from higher-ups that could turn this crisis into a catastrophe. When his requests for support go unheeded, he’s faced with the prospect of watching the town he loves burn to ashes.

But sometimes help comes from unexpected places.

Marc Hunter, Julian Darcangelo, and Zach McBride are in the mountains above Scarlet Springs for an interagency training exercise when they see a single wisp of smoke to the west. What begins as a fun day of playing cops and bad guys soon becomes a battle against time, as they join forces with Hawke and members of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team to save friends trapped by the fire.

Together, they pit their strength and courage against a terrifying and unforgiving force of nature. Will it be enough? Or will the ravenous flames claim lives—and leave the people of Scarlet Springs forever scarred?

This full-length novel is a high-octane emergency adventure that should get your adrenaline, your pulse, and your tear ducts going — sometimes at the same time. The book will be out on Kindle tomorrow. It will be available on Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords very shortly after that. It has already been uploaded. We’re just waiting for it to process.

How about an excerpt, you ask? Here you go! Watch for the print edition in a week or two.


 ~ ~ ~ ~ 

From Chapter One of Chasing Fire 





thunkwoke Eric Hawke.
Beside him, Vicki moaned and stretched, the sheet slipping below her bare breasts. “He’s awake already?”
As much as Eric would have loved to start his day with a little sex, the toddler was loose in the house again. And that was the irony. The sex act produced children, which, in turn, made it hard to find time to have sex.
Eric glanced at his alarm clock, saw that it was just before six in the morning. “Go back to sleep. I need to get up anyway.”
He didn’t mind being the first one out of bed. He’d worked in search-and-rescue all his adult life and had been fire chief for the past seven years. He was used to odd hours and early mornings, and he loved this time of day. Besides, given how often he was away from home, he enjoyed the time with his son, and Vicki deserved a break.
He kissed her cheek, climbed out of bed, and pulled on a pair of boxer briefs and shorts.
Another thunk sent him hurrying down the hall to Caden’s room, which he found empty, a wet diaper sitting in the middle of the wooden floor together with a pair of pajama bottoms. It figured. At twenty-three months, Caden was a world-class escape artist and, apparently, a budding nudist, as well.
Eric hurried downstairs past the living room with its big fireplace and cathedral ceiling toward the kitchen, his heart skipping a beat the moment he saw. “Jesus!”
Caden had pushed a chair over to the kitchen counter and now sat on top of the refrigerator, naked from the waist down, a box of graham crackers in his hands. “Tookie.”
 “Hey, little man, what are you doing up there?”
No wonder people got gray hair after having kids.
“Tookie,” Caden said again.
“No cookies before breakfast.” Hawke took away the box of graham crackers, lifted his son into his arms, and headed back upstairs. “We need to get you dressed.”
While Caden chattered about Thomas the Tank Engine, Eric dressed him in a pair of dry training pants, shorts, and a little T-shirt that read, “I’m proof my mommy can’t resist firefighters.
Eric wouldn’t lie. He liked that T-shirt.
“You’re all set.” He tousled his son’s dark hair. “Try to keep your britches on, okay?”
Back in the kitchen, he settled Caden in his high chair with some loose Cheerios and got busy scrambling eggs, making toast and coffee, and washing fruit. He enjoyed this morning routine, his life richer now than he’d imagined it could be. Vicki had entered his world, and everything had changed.
“Want some blueberries?” He put a few berries on Caden’s tray and couldn’t help but smile at the look of concentration on his son’s face as he picked up each berry to put it into his mouth. “You like those, don’t you?”
“He loves them.”
Eric glanced over his shoulder to find Vicki leaning against the door jam in her white bathrobe, her shoulder-length dark hair tangled, a smile on her sweet face. “Do you know where I found him?”
“On the table?” 
Eric shook his head. “On top of the refrigerator.”
Vicki’s eyes went wide. “Good grief! We have to do something. He can’t have the run of the house when we’re asleep. If he had fallen…”
Eric had been a paramedic for as long as he’d been a firefighter. He knew what even a short fall could do to a small child. They lived in a huge, two-million-dollar multi-level house—a wedding present from Vicki’s gazillionaire father—and there were so many ways for an unsupervised toddler to hurt himself. They’d tried a dozen different kinds of baby gates, but Caden had climbed them all. They had a baby monitor, of course, but the little stinker was quiet when he got up to things he knew he shouldn’t be doing.
“I’m not sure what to do. Put iron bars over his door? Install a motion detector?” 
Why did children gain mobility before they acquired sense?
Vicki’s eyes narrowed. “He takes after you, you know. Robin says you used to climb out of your crib, too. She says you climbed everything.”
Eric’s mother lived in a cabin on their property and watched Caden when he and Vicki were both at work. It was a convenient arrangement for everyone, but his mother talked too much. He opened his mouth to defend himself, but what she’d said was true. “Hey, it’s all good. I turned it into a career, didn’t I?”
His love of climbing had become serious when he was a teenager, landing him a coveted spot on the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team straight out of high school. Rescue work had led him to wildland firefighting and then the Scarlet Springs Fire Department. Eventually, he’d become the youngest fire chief in the history of Scarlet Springs.
He got breakfast on the table and went back for the coffee, pouring half-and-half in Vicki’s and leaving his black. When he turned toward the table again, he found a small gift bag sitting beside his plate. “What’s that?”
Shit.
Had he forgotten an anniversary or something?
Vicki smiled, an excited sparkle in her eyes. “Open it and see.”
He handed Vicki her coffee, took a sip of his own, and sat. “Is it a new cam?”
Vicki laughed as if he’d said something stupid. “No. You don’t trust me to buy you climbing gear, remember?”
“Oh. Right.” He took the bag, reached inside, and searched through the tissue paper, his hand closing around something small and oblong that was made of hard plastic. 
He drew it out—and stared. 
Heart thudding, he met Vicki’s gaze, saw the joy in her eyes. “This is… Are you?”
She nodded. “I’m pregnant.”
A pang of tenderness filled his chest. She’d had such a rough time with Caden, twenty-six hours of labor ending with an emergency C-section. Eric wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d refused even to consider having another baby and demanded he get a vasectomy. 
“But … how?”
She laughed. “You know how. You were there.” 
That’s not what he’d meant. “It took so long with Caden, and you only went off the pill last month. I thought it would take six months, maybe a year.”
“I guess we’ve gotten better at making babies because we nailed it on the first try.”
“Well, that takes some of the fun out of it.” Eric meant that as a joke, but the moment his words were out, he saw that Vicki hadn’t taken it that way. 
Good job, dumb shit. Any other stupid things you’d like to say?
“That was just a stupid joke.” He reached across the table and squeezed her hand. “How are you feeling?”
She’d had terrible morning sickness with Caden. 
“Fine so far.” Her smile returned, but there was a hint of vulnerability in those brown eyes now. “Are you happy?”
“God, yes! I’m elated, stunned. I’m so excited that I’m acting like an idiot.” Eric got out of his chair and knelt before her, taking her hands in his, and kissing them. “I love you, Vicki. Because of you, I’m the happiest man on earth. Never doubt that.”
Behind him on the counter, his pager went off.
He got to his feet, crossed the room, scrolled through the message, not liking what he read, but not surprised either.
 “What is it?” Vicki asked.
“Another red flag warning.” They’d had red flag warnings every day for the past ten days thanks to this endless dry, hot, windy weather.
The mountains that surrounded Scarlet were in prime condition to burn.

# # #


Marc Hunter toweled his hair dry, wrapped the towel around his waist, and stepped out of the bathroom into the bedroom. He headed to the walk-in closet he shared with Sophie and tossed a navy-blue Denver Police Department polo and a pair of dark green tactical cargo pants onto the nearby chair. 
Today, he and Julian Darcangelo were heading up to Scarlet Springs, a weird little mountain town known for its good beer, to take part in a joint training exercise with the US Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies. The exercise was intended to foster interagency cooperation or some shit, but Marc had signed on as a way to escape the heat and spend a day in the mountains with friends.
He and Darcangelo had known each other for eight years now, both of them employed by the DPD—Darcangelo as head of vice and Marc as SWAT captain. Okay, so that’s not how they’d met. Marc had been an escaped convict at the time, and Darcangelo had hunted his ass down and brought him in. 
It had been the start of a beautiful friendship.
The bedroom door opened and Sophie stepped in, still wearing that lavender silk robe he loved so much, her strawberry-blond hair damp. She closed the door behind her and locked it, her lips curving in a sexy smile. 
She walked over to him with slow, seductive steps, took hold of his towel, and yanked it from his body, letting it fall to the floor. “The kids are still asleep.”
He liked the way her mind worked. “We shouldn’t let that go to waste.”
God, he loved her—her mind, her body, her big heart. She was a wonderful mother to their two kids, Chase and Addy, and no man could ask for a better partner. She’d stood by him when the rest of the world had condemned and forsaken him, risking her career and her life to save his. Without her, he’d have rotted in prison—or died with a shank in his back. 
What a damned lucky thing it was that he’d given her a ride home from that stupid high school graduation party all those years ago. He’d wanted to protect her from a group of asshole guys who’d been hopped up on meth, but in the end, it was she who had saved him.
He’d given up worrying about whether he was worthy of her and focused instead on being the man she thought he was. He’d made it his life’s work to please her, both in and out of bed. He knew her moods, her fears, her dreams. He knew how to make her laugh, how to comfort her. He knew what made her scream, how to make her come fast, how to hold her on the edge until her nails dug into his back and her every exhale was a plea for release.
He watched as Sophie took his cock in hand and stroked him to readiness, desire naked on her beautiful face.
His gaze locked with hers, Marc grasped her wrist, drew her hand from his aching cock to his lips, and kissed her palm. Then he gave her a little shove, toppling her backward onto their queen-sized bed. 
She gasped as she hit the mattress, her robe falling open to reveal paradise.
Without breaking eye contact, he dropped to his knees, forced her thighs wide apart, and stroked her just where she needed it most. “Mmm. You’re wet.”
“Get inside me already!”
Her impatience made him chuckle. “What’s the rush?”
He lavished attention on her clit, watching with satisfaction as she raised one clenched hand above her head, her eyes drifting shut.
“Oh, yes.
He kept up the rhythm until his fingers were drenched and she was writhing on the bed. Then he lowered his head, drew her swollen clit into his mouth, and suckled. 
Her hips jerked, her hands flying to fist in his hair. “Marc!
She’d always been passionate, the most responsive woman he’d known. She’d been only sixteen the night he’d taken her virginity, and still, she’d blown his eighteen-year-old mind. Somehow, sex with her just kept getting better. 
She was close now, the tension in her bodybuilding, her clenched fists pulling almost painfully at his hair, her breathing ragged.
He withdrew his mouth from her, laughing at her moan of protest, her scent filling his head, her taste in his throat. Then he settled his hips between her thighs, the breath rushing from his lungs as he entered her with a single, slow thrust. “Sophie.”
She drew her knees up to her chest, opening herself to him fully. “Fuck me.”
“Hell, yeah.” There was no need to take it slow, no need for subtlety or finesse. He drove into her hard, her body gripping him like a fist, pleasure making his balls draw tight.
She bit back a cry as she came, bliss shining on her sweet face. He rode through it with her, then let himself go, his body shuddering as climax burned through him, white-hot and incandescent. They lay there together for a moment, breathing hard, hearts pounding.
Sophie smiled, laughed, her eyes still closed.
Marc pressed kisses to her bare breasts, smiling, too.
Then Chase’s voice came from the hallway outside their bedroom, and the doorknob jiggled. “Mommy, are we going to the Cimarron today to see the horsies?”
Chase was seven years old now and fancied himself a cowboy, due to the influence of his Uncle Nate, who’d married Marc’s younger sister, Megan. Nate and his father, Jack West, owned the Cimarron Ranch, where they ran black Angus cattle and bred champion quarter horses. They also spoiled the hell out of Chase and Addy.
The plan was for Sophie and Tessa, Darcangelo’s wife and Sophie’s closest friend, to take the kids up to the Cimarron for a day of fun. After the training, Marc and Darcangelo would join them for cold beer and grilled steaks.
No one could grill a steak like Jack West.
Sophie bit back a laugh. “Yes, honey. Get yourself dressed, okay? I’ll be right out.”
Marc pulled out, got to his feet, and drew Sophie up with him. He took her into his arms and held her close, the love he felt for her glowing inside his chest. “You sure got my day off to a good start.”
She drew back, looked up at him, worry darkening her blue eyes. “You’ll be safe up there, won’t you?”
His wife was one of the strongest people he knew, but his last brush with death had left her grappling with post-traumatic stress. She’d watched terrorists drag him away to kill him, had heard a gunshot, and had believed him dead for long, agonizing minutes. She was doing much better now, nineteen months later, but she still worried every time he left home.
He smoothed a strand of hair from her cheek. “This is just a training exercise. We’re going to run around in the forest pretending to chase bad guys—just a bunch of boys playing with toys.”
What could possibly go wrong?

###

Naomi Belcourt stepped out of the women’s staff bunkhouse and walked toward the Dining Hall, rubbing the ache in her lower back. She’d never been seven months pregnant before and hadn’t realized how uncomfortable it would be to sleep in a bunk. But there were only four days left before this second session ended. She could deal with it.
The day was bright and sunny, the sky overhead blue, the air fresh with the scent of ponderosa pines. Ahead of her, groups of campers ran, hopped, skipped, and jostled their way to breakfast with their counselors, their happy laughter making her smile.
This was her dream.
Naomi had grown up not knowing who she was. Abandoned in an alley as a newborn by her birth mother—a teenage white girl—she’d been adopted by a family of religious extremists who had raised her with warped ideas about women and “heathen Indians,” beating her when she dared to challenge them. She’d run away from home at the age of sixteen when her adoptive father had tried to marry her off to a much older man against her wishes. She had waited tables to put herself through art school, but she hadn’t known anything about her true heritage until she’d met Chaska. 
Chaska and his sister Winona had saved Naomi’s life after a couple of escaped cons had attacked her while she’d been camping not far from Scarlet Springs. As she’d recovered, Chaska had helped her uncover the truth about her past, finding her biological father, teaching her about Lakota traditions, and sweeping her off her feet. He’d married her in a traditional Lakota ceremony, giving her father a bride price of twenty-two horses—or rather, a 22-horsepower riding lawnmower.
She’d spent time on the reservation with Chaska, had learned to speak Lakota, and had gotten to know her blood family—her father Doug, his wife Star, and her half brothers and sisters—Mato, Chumani, Chayton, and Kimímila. 
Somewhere along the way, the idea for this camp had begun to form in her mind. She had held several fundraisers and written dozens of grant applications to get the start-up money. Once she and Chaska had gathered the funds, they’d bought this old summer camp, repaired the cabins and dining hall, erected a tipi in the center, hired a crew to build an archery range and ropes course, and recruited Lakota counselors to run the day-to-day operation. 
Now, Camp Mato Sapa—Camp Black Bear—was in its second year with three, two-week sessions that served 120 kids each summer. It was a place where Lakota children could come at no cost to their families to learn about their culture and traditional values, have fun in the outdoors, build their confidence, and escape the hardship that many of them faced at home.
Naomi served as the camp’s director and taught art classes, while still running her shop, Tanagila’s. She had never imagined that her life could be so rich and full.
She looked for Chaska but didn’t see him. He was an early riser and had probably beaten her to the Dining Hall. Then Naomi spotted Kat James. Kat, a Navajo, was there with her husband, Gabe Rossiter, and their three children, Alissa, Nakai, and Noelle, who rode on her father’s shoulders. They had spent the night in one of the guest cabins so that Gabe could be here to help Chaska supervise the kids on the ropes course this morning. The two men knew each other through the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team—called the Team by locals—and both were world-class rock climbers. Hanging on ropes was their idea of a good time.
Naomi waved. “Was the cabin comfortable?”
“It was great. Thanks.” Gabe swung little Noelle to the ground.
Kat took the toddler’s hand. “It was really windy last night.”
“Did it keep you awake?”
“Oh, no. I kind of like it.”
Naomi and Kat talked about odds and ends as they walked the rest of the way to the Dining Hall—how Naomi was feeling, how fresh the air was high in the mountains, how vital it was for children to spend time in nature. 
Naomi watched Gabe as they walked, amazed at how confidently he moved on his prosthesis. He’d lost his left leg below the knee in a desperate attempt to save Kat’s life many years ago, but it hadn’t slowed him down. 
“I heard we’ve got a red flag warning again today.” Gabe, who’d once been a park ranger, reached out to open the Dining Hall door for them, the mingled scents of bacon and coffee making Naomi’s stomach growl.
“Let’s hope we get rain soon. The land needs it.” She followed Kat through the door into the Dining Hall—and stopped short.
Chaska and another camp counselor were breaking up a fight between two of the older boys, the other children watching with wide eyes from the food line. 
Gabe hurried to help, stepping between the two boys.
Chaska caught hold of Dean, the bigger of the two, and held him back.
“Let me go!” Dean struggled to free himself. 
Dean had been a problem since he’d arrived, breaking the rules, using rough language, and bullying the other children. Naomi could have expelled him, but she suspected that what they saw in his behavior was only a reflection of the violence he experienced at home. She didn’t have the heart to send him back to that.
“He punched me!” Mervin, the smaller boy, got to his feet, fists clenched.
Iníla yaƞká po! Quiet!” Grandpa Belcourt bellowed.
The room fell into startled silence.
“Let’s talk about this like human beings.” Grandpa looked sharp in his white shirt, beaded vest, and bolo tie, a single eagle feather in his long gray hair. “I saw you hit this boy.”
Dean’s face was still flushed, and he was breathing hard. “He called me stupid.”
“No, I didn’t!” Mervin’s lip was swollen. “I said, ‘Don’t be stupid.’”
Grandpa held up a hand for silence and turned to Dean. “This is what you do when someone says words you don’t like? You hit them?”
Dean’s chin came up. He probably looked like a delinquent, a troublemaker, to most of the adults. To Naomi, he seemed like a scared little boy. “My father raised me to be a warrior.”
“You think hitting another boy makes you a warrior?” Grandpa Belcourt chuckled, moving toward the center of the room. “Listen, children, all of you. Too many of our people have forgotten what it means to be a true warrior, so I will tell you.”
Chaska released Dean. “Listen to Old Man now.” 
Naomi got a knot in her chest. God, she loved Chaska. He was a mechanical engineer who spent his workday building satellites, not a camp counselor or referee. Still, he’d jumped headlong into this whole summer camp adventure because it was important to her.
After waiting a moment to let the tension build, Grandpa spoke again. “A warrior isn’t a man who hits people or fights with other men. A warrior is someone who sacrifices himself—or herself—for the well-being of others.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right.”
“Listen.” Chaska rested a hand on Dean’s shoulder.
Grandpa continued. “A man who protects the sick and the weak is a warrior. A woman who has a baby is a warrior because she suffers to bring life into the world. A boy who watches over his little brothers and sisters is a warrior. You want to be a warrior? Shovel snow from your grandma’s sidewalk and carry her groceries without being asked. Watch over those who are younger and weaker than you are—two-legged, four-legged, and winged ones. Think of others before you think of yourself. Then you will be a true warrior and worthy of respect.”
Aho.” Chaska nodded.
Dean’s gaze dropped to the floor.

Copyright (c) 2018 Pamela Clare
Friday, August 03, 2018

BARELY BREATHING is free!




For a limited time, BARELY BREATHING (Colorado High Country #1) is free in ebook everywhere my books are sold — and, yes, that includes Australia and New Zealand.
BARELY BREATHING is the first of six books in my ongoing series about the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. It's straight contemporary romance with elements of adventure and suspense, NOT romantic suspense like the I-Team series. If you haven't yet given the series a try, now is your chance to get caught up while saving a little money.
Lexi Jewell left Scarlet Springs twelve years ago, vowing never to return to the small Colorado mountain town where she grew up. Now, here she is—over thirty, out of a job and with little choice but to move back in with her eccentric father. Lexi knows it’s just a matter of time before she runs into Austin Taylor, her first boyfriend and her first heartbreak. She’s determined to show him she’s over him—until he steps out of a pickup truck and back into her life, looking sexy as hell in his mountain ranger uniform.
As far as Austin is concerned, Lexi can turn her snazzy little convertible around and drive back to Chicago. After all, she ripped his teenage heart to pieces and turned her back on the town he loves. But from the moment he sees her again, he can’t get her out of his mind. Even her smile messes with his head.
When an evening of conversation turns into something else, Lexi and Austin agree to be friends—with benefits. But as Lexi starts making plans to return to the big city, Austin realizes he’ll lose her a second time unless he can show her that what she’s searching for has been right here all along.
The other books in the series are only $4.99 each — a $4-per-book savings over typical New York ebook prices.
The series includes (in order SLOW BURNFALLING HARDTEMPTING FATECLOSE TO HEAVEN: A Scarlet Springs Christmas, and my new release HOLDING ON.
Now is your chance to catch up with the series before the release of Book 7, which brings the I-Team heroes together with Scarlet Springs heroes in a struggle for survival.
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Other book news

The audiobook of DEADLY INTENT is currently in production with Kaleo Griffith narrating as always. I have no word yet on a release date, but I promise to keep you posted.
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Happy reading!
Thursday, June 28, 2018

HOLDING ON is out!


Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) is out in ebook today on! Watch for Kenzie and Conrad’s story in print next week.

Here are the links:

Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle AU
Kindle CA
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Print: Coming next week!


A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

Visit my website for an excerpt, or read the excerpt in my last blog post.

I hope you enjoy Kenzie and Conrad’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It was especially fun to write about a search-and-rescue dog trainer because PUPPY!

As always, thanks for sharing and for caring!
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cover Reveal and EXCERPT for HOLDING ON (Colorado High Country #6)


It’s written and being proofread right now. By Thursday at the latest, Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) should be available at ebook retails, with the print release following in about a week.

Yes, the book will be out THIS WEEK — just in time for your Fourth of July weekend.

Holding On tells the story of Harrison Conrad, the elite alpinist whose climbing team was killed on his last expedition to Mt. Everest. He left Scarlet Springs in Falling Hard (book 3) and hasn't come back. Haunted by what happened on the mountain, he holes up in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal looking for peace.

The story opens as he makes the decision to come home.

Conrad's love interest is search dog trainer Kenzie Morgan. He shuts himself away when he gets back to Scarlet, but Kenzie cares deeply about her friend and comes up with an idea to bring him back to the world of the living. It weighs about eight pounds, has creamy fur, and needs constant attention. Oh, yes, and it isn't housebroken.


Gabby, the little golden retriever puppy Kenzie asks Conrad to foster, is a shaft of light in the darkness of his life. But brighter still is the attraction he feels toward Kenzie.

All the locals from Scarlet Springs are back in this story of puppies, love, and redemption.


Here’s an excerpt...

From Holding On 


Conrad was asleep when the knock came at his door. Who the hell would bother him so early in the morning? He raised his head, looked at the clock. 

It was almost noon. “Shit.”

He shoved the blankets aside, stepped into the pair of jeans that lay on the floor, and strode out to the living room to open the door. “Kenzie.”

“Hey.” She stood on his porch looking beautiful in a peach V-neck T-shirt and jeans that made the most of her curves, her long hair drawn back in a ponytail. In her arms was a tiny, squirming puppy. “I hope I’m not bothering you.” 

“Not at all. I was just … uh… ” He ran a hand through the tangled mess of hair on his head, wondering when he’d last had a shower and hoping he didn’t stink. “I was just about to jump in the shower. Come in.”

He glanced around at the mess—pizza boxes, beer bottles, piles of unopened mail from his PO box. “Sorry. I need to clean this place up.”

She stepped inside, set the puppy on the floor. It bounded over to a pizza box and sniffed. “I came to ask you a really big favor.”

It was then Conrad noticed the worry on her face. He gestured toward the sofa. “Have a seat. What’s wrong?”

Kenzie sat on the sofa. “It’s the puppy. Her name is Gabby.”

Conrad glanced down at the little thing. “Hey, Gabby.”

The puppy pawed at the pizza box, her little tail wagging.

“Gizmo is six now—that’s about forty-two in golden retriever years. He’s still healthy, but it takes a while to train a dog for SAR work. So I got little Gabby here. She’s ten weeks old—the perfect age to start training—but Gizmo doesn’t want her around. She’s got so much energy. She’s always hopping on him and trying to play with him. She gets on his nerves.”

Gizmo had always seemed like a friendly dog to Conrad, one that got along well with dogs and people. But what did Conrad know?

Kenzie went on. “I think he’ll have an easier time dealing with her when she’s a little older. I was really hoping you could foster her for me—just for a month or so. It’s essential that she begins her training now if she’s going to get certified, but the situation with Gizmo is making that hard for me. He’s jealous.”

Conrad must have misunderstood. “You want me to foster the puppy?”

“Yes, please. Just for a little while. I’ll tell you everything you need to know. She’s a really good little girl.”

“Isn’t there someone else?” The last thing Conrad needed in his life right now was some little creature depending on him. 

Hadn’t he vowed never to take responsibility for another life again?

Kenzie shook her head. “Most of the people I know work all day or have new babies or dogs. There really isn’t anyone else I would trust with her.”

Well, shit. 

“I don’t know how my landlord would feel about my having a pet. She might pee on the carpet or something. He’s trying to sell the place.”

Kenzie glanced down at the worn green shag carpeting. “Anyone who buys this house is going to want to replace this carpet before they move in anyway.”

Yeah, that was probably true.

Conrad was running out of excuses.

“Besides,” Kenzie added, “there are ways to prevent accidents. Puppies aren’t rocket science.”

“I’m not really in a great space now.” He hated having to admit that. 

“Neither is Gabby.”

Damn.

The puppy had wandered over to Conrad’s feet. She sniffed, looked up at him through big, brown eyes, a creamy ball of complete innocence.

Fuck.

He was screwed.

He bent down, picked up the furball, and held her. She was small enough that he could hold her in one hand. 

She licked his face, her little tail wagging.

Kenzie smiled. “I think she likes you.”

“She probably likes everyone.” Conrad reluctantly set her down again. “I’d like to help, but I have to find a job.”

“How’s the job search going?”

What could he say? It wasn’t going. He hadn’t filled out a single application.

“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do.”

Kenzie nodded as if this made sense. “How about this? If you have a job interview, you can always drop her by the kennel.”

He supposed that would work. “What about training her? I don’t want her to be a search-and-rescue dropout because of me.”

Kenzie laughed. “Training a puppy this age isn’t very involved, and Gabby is super smart. I’ll help.”

Conrad watched the puppy bound around his living room, stumbling over a pile of mail and sending letters scattering around the floor. 

“Please, Conrad. It would be such a huge help to me.” 

Conrad met Kenzie’s gaze, about to tell her that he wasn’t the man for this job, but the pleading look in those blue eyes stopped him. “Okay, but don’t hold it against me if she flunks out of rescue school.”

Kenzie jumped up, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed his cheek. “Thanks so much, Harrison! You’re a life-saver.”

No. No, he wasn’t. But he could at least help Kenzie with this.

“Can you help me carry her stuff inside?”

“Yeah, okay.” How much stuff could a little puppy have?

 ~ ~ ~

Kenzie hated lying to Harrison. Not that this was a bad lie. She was trying to help him. Still, what she’d told him wasn’t true. 

She carried a box of puppy toys and the bag of puppy food inside and set them down in the kitchen. Then she went out to grab the bag of groceries she’d bought for him and put the salad veggies, meat, seafood, cheese, milk, and eggs in the prehistoric mint-green fridge. “Does this thing even work?”

Harrison saw what she was doing. He glanced into the bag from Food Mart, a frown on his face.  “What’s all this?”

“It’s called ‘food.’ Most people keep it around.”

“You didn’t need to do that.” 

“I can’t have you eating Gabby’s kibble.”

“Funny.” Harrison glanced around, the sight of him without a shirt almost enough to make Kenzie drool. “I had no idea a puppy needed so many things.” 

Those hairless pecs. That six-pack. His shoulders and biceps. Silky, tanned skin.

She swallowed. “You think that’s a lot?”

There wasn’t that much—just Gabby’s crate, her car carrier, her training harnesses and leads, her grooming supplies, her food and water bowls, her toys, her treats, her puppy food, her favorite blanket.

He grinned. “You don’t?”

It was the first real smile she’d gotten from him since he’d come back, and it put a flutter in her belly. “I guess I’m used to it.”

She’d written down instructions for Gabby’s care—everything from feeding and crate training to basic obedience and SAR training. She pulled the pages out of the bag of puppy food and was about to go over them with Harrison when he decided it was time to gather up the pizza boxes and take them out to his recycling bin. He disappeared outside, a stack of pizza boxes in his arms, returning a minute later. 

“That’s better.” He scooped Gabby up and sat at the table with her on his lap. “Okay, go ahead.”

But Kenzie was in the middle of a hormonal meltdown, the sight of little Gabby against Harrison’s bare chest making her ovaries squeal. 

How was she supposed to get through this?

She forced her gaze onto the page and read the sections about feeding and crate training first, fighting to stay focused. “Give her a treat every time she goes into the crate. She’ll sleep there at night. She might cry a bit, but she’s okay. Don’t take her out and put her in your bed. That will only make the problem worse.” 

“Got it.”

“When you let her out of her crate, always take her straight outside to go potty. That way, she’ll come to associate leaving the crate with going outside to do her thing.”

“Won’t she just go potty in the crate?”

Kenzie shook her head. “She’ll try very hard not to. That’s why you have to pay attention. Little puppies can’t hold it very long. I’ve been taking her out right before I go to bed at night and then putting her in her crate with a treat and her toy afterward. She usually wakes me up at about four in the morning, needing to go out again, and then she lets me sleep until about six or seven.”

“Six or seven? So she’s your alarm clock.”

 Kenzie laughed. “A furry clock that doesn’t come with a snooze button.”
Harrison gave a slight frown, clearly not certain how to feel about the fact that he’d be getting up early for the foreseeable future.

“It’s important never to use the crate to punish her. Also, no hitting or kicking her or… ” She stopped at the horrified look on Harrison’s face. “You would never do that anyway, I know.”

“Never.” He kissed the top of Gabby’s head. 

This time it was Kenzie’s heart that squealed. She had a soft spot for men who loved animals. “Do you want to learn how to train her to follow?”
“Sure.” Harrison set the puppy down.

Kenzie took hold of Gabby’s leash and grabbed a few treats. “I hold her leash in one hand, and I hold a treat in the other and bend down like this so that I’m keeping the treat at her face-level next to my leg while I walk. She wants the treat, so she goes right where I want her. Use the command ‘Follow.’ It’s a little awkward to walk like this, but they learn quickly.” Kenzie took a few steps. “Gabby, follow.”

Gabby trotted along at her heel, taking the treat from her fingers.

“Then you praise her.” Kenzie knelt. “You’re a good girl, Gabby. Yes, you’re just so smart.”

“How often do you want me to do that?”

“I’d say a few times a day. She already knows how to sit.” Kenzie grabbed another treat. “Gabby, sit.”

Gabby looked up at her, then plopped her little bottom onto the floor.

Kenzie gave her the treat. “Make sure to praise her. Good puppy! What a good puppy you are!”

“I thought dog trainers use those clicker things.”

“I’ve taught clicker training in classes, but I don’t any longer. Whether you use a clicker or not, it’s all about rewarding desired behavior. If I’m consistent, my pups will learn to be consistent.”

“So be consistent. Got it.”

He looked so serious that Kenzie had to smile. “Exactly. I wrote it all down in case you forget something.”

She glanced at her watch, saw that it was just before noon. “The last thing I should show you is puppy runaways. That’s the first step in training her for SAR work.”

“Puppy runaways? You want her to run away?”

“No, I want you to run away.”

“Me?” A dark eyebrow arched.

Kenzie knew she was taking a chance here, but things had already gone far better than she’d imagined. She gave Gabby credit for that. Harrison had always been fond of Gizmo, and it was clear that he’d fallen in love with the puppy at first sight. Kenzie couldn’t blame him. So had she. “Why don’t we put her in her car carrier and drive to that new park near the library?”

“Scarlet Springs has a library?”

Oh, God. He didn’t know.

“Joe Moffat built a library and donated Silas Moffat’s journals and a bunch of historic photographs. The town had a big book drive. Now we have our own library. They built it on the site of the old schoolhouse. The school became part of the library, and the playground became a pocket park.”

“Cool. Okay.” He glanced down at his bare chest. “I guess I’d better get dressed.”

Bummer.

Well, all good things must come to an end.

~ ~ ~

Watch for the story on ebook retailers later this week! 

(c) Copyright Pamela Clare, 2018

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