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

My photo
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.


Seductive Musings

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Special treat from BREAKING POINT

Jenn J from Sapphire Dreams is an amazingly sweet and talented person. When I approached her about making a series of trailers for Breaking Point, she got to work tracking down images. I lamented that what we needed was a photo of Zach MacBride, the hero, in chains and that we weren't going to find one.

But Jenn took an image of the model I have in my mind's eye for Zach and painted him in chains. She sent the image to me and, having no idea what I was opening, I downloaded it, opened it and stared.

I decided to share it with you, together with a bit of an excerpt from the beginning of the book. I've posted an earlier version of this before, but I thought you probably wouldn't mind reading it again, particularly given now that you've got visual aids. It has been tweaked a bit from the first time I posted it.

From Chapter 1 of Breaking Point:

It was pain and thirst that woke him.

For a moment Zach MacBride thought he was back in Afghanistan, lying at the top of that canyon wall in the Hindu Kush mountains, a bullet in his back. He opened his eyes to see pitch black — and then remembered. He wasn’t in Afghanistan. He was in Mexico. And he was a captive — blindfolded and chained to a brick wall.

He raised his head and realized he was lying shirtless on his right side, his hands shackled behind his back, his skin resting against the filthy stone floor. His mouth was dry as sand. His wrists were blistered and bloody where the manacles had rubbed them raw. His cracked ribs cut into his left side like a blade.

He tried to sit, but couldn’t.


He was weaker than he’d realized.

Then something hard and multi-legged brushed his chest as it skittered by, bringing him upright on a punch of adrenaline. Pain slashed through his side, breath hissing between his clenched teeth as he bit back a groan. He wasn’t afraid of the mice or the spiders, but they weren’t the only creatures in here with him. The one time the Zetas had removed his blindfold, he’d seen scorpions. And the last damned thing he needed was a scorpion sting.

Dizzy from hunger, his heart pounding from sleep deprivation and dehydration, he leaned his right shoulder against the brick wall and tried to catch his breath, the chain that held him lying cold and heavy along his spine.

How long had he been here? Five days? No, six.

And where exactly was here?

Somewhere between Juárez and hell.

They were giving him only enough food and water to keep him alive, his hunger and thirst incessant, mingling with pain, making it hard to sleep. Only once in his life had he been this physically helpless. Only then it had been even worse.

If he survived, if he made it out of here alive, he would track down Gisella and kill her — or at least hand her over to D.C. The little bitch of a Mexican INTERPOL agent had set him up, betrayed him to the Zetas. She’d known what would happen to him—the Zetas were infamous for their brutality — and still she’d handed him over to them with a smile on her lying lips.

At least you didn’t sleep with her, buddy.

Yeah, well, at least he could feel good about that. It would suck right now to have her taste in his mouth or her scent on his skin, knowing that she’d put him through this. Long ago he’d made it a rule never to have sex with women he met on the job, and despite Gisella’s persistent attempts to get him to break that rule, he’d kept his dick in his pants.

Hell, they should carve that on your headstone, MacBride.

If he got a headstone.

Would they put up a grave marker for him if they didn’t have a body to bury? Barring one hell of a miracle, he’d soon be scattered across the desert in small pieces. A year or two from now, someone would spot a bit of bleached bone in the sand and wonder what it was. No one would ever know for sure what had happened to him.
Besides, who was there to buy a grave plot or erect a headstone? His fellow DUSMs? Uncle Sam? His closest friends were dead. His mother was gone, too. He hadn’t spoken to his father in five years. And there was no one else in his life — no girlfriend, no wife, no kids.

You’re a popular guy, MacBride.

He’d always thought he’d get married one day and do the family thing. He’d imagined a pretty wife, a couple of kids, a house near the ocean. But life hadn’t turned out that way.

He’d met lots of girls in college, but none who’d held his interest. Then a confrontation with his father had sent him into the Navy. He’d tackled Officers Candidate School and then SEAL training. The only women who’d been available during his short periods of leave were either professionals or women who were so desperate to marry a Navy officer that they slept with every officer they met, getting passed from man to man. Call him strange, but he’d never found the idea of paying for sex or being used appealing. He’d wanted a woman who loved him for himself and not his uniform. But war had interfered, and he’d never found her.

Something tightened in his chest, a wave of regret passing through him.

Feeling sorry for yourself?

No. He’d made his choices. He’d done what he thought was right. And although his life hadn’t turned out the way he might once have hoped, it was better this way. He’d seen firsthand what happened to women and children when the men they loved and depended on were killed in action. At least he wouldn’t be leaving a grieving wife and children behind.

Okay, so no headstone.

Mike, Chris, Brian and Jimmy were in Arlington resting beneath slabs of white marble, but for Zach it would be saguaro and open sky. That was okay. He liked the desert. And even if he didn’t, it wouldn’t make one damned bit of difference once he was dead.

Which will be soon if you can’t find a way out of this.

Not that he was afraid to die. He’d expected his job would catch up with him one day. In fact, some part of him had been counting on it.

But not yet. And not like this.

He’d been about to wrap up the biggest covert operation of his career when Gisella had called him and asked him to meet her at a nightclub in downtown Juárez, claiming to have intel vital for catching Arturo Cesár Cárdenas, the head of Los Zetas, who was wanted in the United States for the murder of Americans on U.S. soil. So Zach had grabbed his gun and fake ID — he never carried revealing documentation when he was working a black bag job like this — then crossed the border and headed straight to the club, where he’d found Gisella, dressed to kill, sitting at the bar. She’d bought him a Coke, walked with him to a table near the rear exit, and started telling him something about a shipment of stolen coke. And then…

And then — nothing.

The drink had been drugged. When Zach had awoken, he’d found himself here, surrounded by pissed off Zetas demanding to know whom he worked for and where he’d hidden the cocaine. He couldn’t answer the first question because it would imperil the entire operation, putting the lives of others at risk. And he couldn’t answer the second because he hadn’t stolen any coke and had no idea where it was. But his refusal to talk had only angered the Zetas more.

So they’d brought in a specialist — a man who knew how to inflict pain while keeping his victims alive. Electric shock was his area of expertise. He’d gone to work on Zach two days ago, and so far the two of them were at an impasse. He’d been able to make Zach pass out. He’d made him bite his own tongue trying not to scream. He’d made him want to cry like a baby. But he hadn’t made him talk.

Zach had the Navy and SERE training to thank for that — Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. Designed to help SEALs survive behind enemy lines, his training had been a godsend, helping him through hour after excruciating hour. Even though he was no longer in the military, he’d instinctively fallen back on that training, silently reciting bits and pieces of the military code of conduct, using it to stay strong.

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense… I will never surrender of my own free will… If I am captured, I will resist by all means available… I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability… I will make every effort to escape…

As weak as he was, he knew he didn’t stand much chance of escaping. And that meant there was only one thing left for him to do — keep his mind together long enough for his body to give out, long enough for him to die as he ought to have done six years ago.

Raucous laughter drifted into his cell from across the courtyard, voices drawing nearer, boots crunching on gravel.

Zach stiffened, dread uncoiling in his stomach, rising into his throat.

They were coming for him again.


He drew as deep a breath as his broken ribs would allow, swallowing his panic with what was left of his spit.

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. I will never surrender of my own free will.


Great artwork, Pamela! Can't wait to see the cover - and read the scene where poor Zach is freed.

Diane W. said...

WOWSA!!!! Beautiful artwork and a powerful first scene. Exactly how fast can you write the rest of this.....because I REALLY can't wait much longer to read this book.

Sigh....and Jed is just the PERFECT Zach.

Lovely way to start my morning! Thanks, Pamela!!

Sonya said...

I love that excerpt.

The picture - in its various forms - is certainly doing the rounds these days. I think the guy's becoming everyone's favourite man!

Anonymous said...

Great artwork!

Poor Zach. :( I can't wait to get the book and start loving him.

Hope you're well, Pamela -- have a great day!

Beanbag Love

Ronlyn said...

Way to go Jenn J!! Love it!

RitaSV said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I actually have goosebumps. What an amazingly strong personn Zach is. He sounds like a man of absolute integrity personally AND professionally and I find that incredibly attractive....I cannot wait to read this book, Pamela. I am so glad that you are in this world sharing your stories with us! The artwork is excellent, too, my compliments to Jenn J!

Hope your healing up and feeling better. {{{{{{Pamela}}}}}}

Nissie said...

I can't wait to read this Pamela! And the artwork is beyond fabulous!! Hope you're doing well!

KarLynP said...

Wow! The photo is hot, but the teaser blurb from chapter 1 is soooo good. I almost didn't read it because it will drive me nuts waiting for the full book to be available, but I can see now the wait will be worth it. Thanks for sharing, and hope you are healing and on the mend too! I read all of your updates and am glad that the surgery went well.

Hi, Jennie — Thanks! Jenn is very talented. I can't wait to see the cover art, either. When I have it, you know I'll post it.

As for Zach being freed... Well, who knows what happens to him? ;-)

Hi, Diane — Well, I'm a notoriously slow writer, according to my readers, so not very fast. I hope to have it done by Oct. 15, actually. But it won't be out till July. So glad you enjoyed the art AND the excerpt.

I read the excerpt and thought, "EGADS! That needs some polish!" So you see WHY I'm a very slow writer.

Hi, Sonya — So glad you enjoyed it. Yes, he is popping up everywhere, isn't he? And there's a reason for that. He's hawt! Gosh, I can't wait to see the cover art!

Hi, Beanbag — I can't wait for you to be able to read the book, either. That will mean it's done. LOL! I hope you adore him as much as I do. Poor guy knows a lot about pain.

I'm doing pretty well. Still have good days and bad days, but the bad days are much better and the good days are starting truly to feel good.

Hi, Ronlyn — I hope she sees your post. Glad you love it. It made me knees weak. One of my editors suggested I explore my penchant for having heroes who at one point or another end up tied up somewhere. LOL!

Thanks so much for your very sweet words, Rita. I'm so glad I'm in this world, too. :-)

And I'm so glad I have you to share the stories with. Writing them would mean very little without someone to read and enjoy them.

I'm doing better day by day. I'm so glad to be on this side of things.

I love men who have a strong sense of duty and honor, and Zach has that for sure. In that way he reminds me of Iain or Morgan.

Hi, Nissie — Thanks! I'm doing pretty darn well these days. No more allergic reactions or weird stuff like that. I'm so glad you like the art and the excerpt. Thanks for stopping by.

Karen! Hello! So glad to see you here. Thanks so much for the good wishes. I am definitely on the mend. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, as well. I know it's kind of like torturing people to post them, given how long it is till the book is released. Perhaps I have a sadistic streak, at least when it comes to fiction. Wonderful to hear from you! I hope all is well on your end.

JennJ said...

Awwwwwww Thank you Pamela and all of you for the wonderful comments on my lil painting of Zach. You guys are too sweet thank you.

It was a lot of fun to work on but having that sexy of a subject to start with how could one not enjoy it right! ;)

Pamela have I told you lately what a true honor it is for me to work with you my dear! You are the best! And getting to know you and work with you has been more than a true blessing in my life it has been a treasure! :)

Elise said...

No, no, no , I won't even have a look at the first scene because i KNOW that I will not be able to wait until the book is out.
That's mental cruelty!!!
Just kidding!!
(Let me just take a quick peek!!!...)
Thanks Pamela!

Hi, Jenn — You're so welcome! I appreciate all that you do, both the things that involve my books and the more personal connections we've made. So thank you!

Hi, Elise — You sweetheart! I finally made it to my PO Box for the first time since my surgery and discovered among the get-well cards a box — from France! Thank you SO much for the seeds. They'll be blooming in my garden next some absolutely. I LOVE hollyhocks. I e-mailed Benjy immediately and told him we'd have French hollyhocks in the flowerbeds next summer. He thought that rocks. He is a total francophile, you know. Loves France. Speaks good French, too. Merci, Elise! And thanks, too, for the photos of your family. Your boys are très adorable. And the landscape... Oh, what I wouldn't give to be on those beaches! It was nice to learn a bit more about you. So thank you again. :-)

Just FYI, my dears — I'm taking a break from the Internet. I likely won't update the blog for a while.

Not that it hurts to look at Zach or anything, but still...

Thanks so much for understanding!


Diane W. said...

Take your time and get all the rest you need!! Looking at "Mr. Easy on the Eyes" for awhile is NOT a problem, I assure you. ;)

Kristin said...

Wow, I'm WAY behind on your blog! Had to just catch up on your Natalie post and of course, MTM. :)

That artwork is great, really helped paint more of a picture in my mind while I read the post. And thanks so much for the amazing excerpt! I'm so sad for Zach in every snippet you post! Will we ever get a happy snippet? I love to see my I-Team men to be happy. lol.

Hope you're feeling better these days, and are still on the road to recovery.


Elise said...

Hi Pamela,
Very glad you received and liked the package! Hope to hear from you soon! Take a good care of yourself.

Elise said...

HI Pam,

I was jsut surfing the internet.
Does this cover reminds you of something???
It surely does ring a bell to me

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Favorite Writing Quotes

"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale