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Close to Heaven: A Colorado High Country Christmas (Colorado High Country #5) —
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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.


Seductive Musings

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book News! Sweet Release is FREE, plus an excerpt

May has been such an incredibly busy month. I can’t believe it’s almost over! Is anyone else’s head spinning?

My big news for this morning is that Sweet Release, my first historical novel, is FREE for a short time on, iTunes and That means anyone with a desktop, laptop, ereader or tablet can read it for FREE.  It’s my hope that those of you who’ve never read one of my historicals or who’ve never read my books at all will give it a try.

The story is set in 1730 Colonial Virginia and took me seven years to write, partly because my kids were little and partly because that was the time in my life when I was deeply involved in hardcore investigative journalism. The stuff you read about in the I-Team books was happening during the time I was writing this book and the few that followed.

For some of my readers, Sweet Release remains their favorite. The heat between Alec and Cassie is strong, and story has a bit of flipped power dynamic with the hero being owned by the heroine. When my readers talk about the story, they inevitably bring up “the shackling scene,” in which Cassie starts a little role-playing sex game with Alec involving, well, shackles.

Here’s a sexy excerpt:

Cassie stifled a giggle at the thought of what she was about to do. When she’d told Alec she would punish him for defying her, she’d been jesting. Then an idea had begun to form in her mind—a startling, irresistible idea. Over the course of the evening, the idea had become a plan. She’d decided at least a dozen times not to go through with it. It was, she knew, not the sort of thing young ladies from good families did with men — even after they were married. It was positively indecent, which made it all the more enticing. In the end, curiosity — and the desire to give Alec the surprise of his life — had won out over propriety, and she had decided to stick with her plan.

She glanced nervously into her mirror and smiled conspiratorially at her reflection. Her hair was twisted stylishly upon her head, a few curls tumbling down her temples and at her nape. Her cheeks and lips were touched with rouge, her eyes lined with color. She wore the same ivory silk-and-lace gown she’d worn to Geoffrey’s birthday party — the one she’d worn when she’d first called Alec by his real name. She looked ready for a ball — except, of course, there was nothing beneath the gown.


She smoothed her skirts and looked around the room one last time. He’d arrive any minute. The candles on her bedside table cast a warm glow over the room. The covers of her bed were already turned down. In the middle of the bed lay the only pair of shackles she’d been able to find on the plantation. Though old and unused for years, they still worked. The key hung on a silken cord between her breasts.

The creaking of footfalls on the stairs told her he had come. She smoothed her skirts nervously, her heart pounding. Could she really do this? She felt herself start to smile, but forced it away. A quiet knock came at the door. The handle turned. Alec stepped in and turned to close the door. He looked so handsome, dressed in a clean linen shirt and breeches. She had to fight the urge to rush forward and fall into his arms.

“Cassie, love, I . . . ” He turned toward her, staring. “You look beauti—”

“You’re on time, convict.” It took every ounce of determination she had not to smile or giggle. “That’s good. It will go easier on you.”

Cassie could see in his eyes the moment he understood her game. His look of confusion was replaced by surprise and then amusement before his gaze grew cold and hard. “I’m to be punished, then?”

“I can no longer tolerate your insolence, convict. I mean to teach you a lesson.” It was good she had rehearsed her lines. It would have been impossible to say them else. Was she really going through with this?

He leaned against her bedpost nonchalantly, crossing his arms. Defiant and confident, he reminded her so much of the man he’d been when she’d first purchased his indenture. “And what makes you think I’ll cooperate, mistress, when I could just as easily break your pretty neck?”

“You’ll find what I have in mind far more pleasant than what you’ll receive if you disobey.”
“I see.” His gaze raked over her body in blatant sexual appraisal, and she shivered in anticipation. “And just what do you have in mind?”


He raised an eyebrow, then untied his shirt and slowly pulled it over his head. It fell, forgotten, at his feet. Candlelight cast the bronzed muscles of his arms, chest, and abdomen in glorious high relief. He reached for the opening of his breeches and began to untie them, his muscles shifting beneath sun-bronzed skin.

Cassie felt desire flow like warm brandy through her veins. “Slowly, convict.”

His gaze locked with hers again as ever so slowly he pulled on the ties, undid his breeches, and let them drop to the floor. He was rock hard, his sex thick and heavy.

She found she could scarcely breathe. “Your hair. Remove the thong.”

Not breaking eye contact, he reached back with one hand, and his dark hair slid free, falling just below his shoulders. He looked untamed, primally male, and, with his lash scars, not a little dangerous. He stepped toward her.

She stepped back and pointed to the bed. “Stop! The shackles. Lock one end around your right wrist, then pass the chain behind the bedpost, lie down, and lock the other end around your left wrist.”

He looked at the bed and saw the shackles. She heard his quick intake of breath and saw a shadow pass over his face. Then it was gone.

“Don’t you trust me, fair mistress?” His voice was dark as sin and soft as velvet. His eyes held the allure of every man who’d ever tried to beguile a woman into a false sense of sexual safety.
“Never.” She smiled and spoke in a rich, seductive voice she didn’t know she had. “But I will have your complete cooperation.”

“I see.” Naked, he walked to the bed, picked up the shackles, and closed one end around his right wrist. It locked with a click. He sat and moved backward across the bed, then reached behind his head and passed the chain behind one of the bedposts. “What makes you think these chains will protect you?”

“Do it, convict.”

He lay down, then reached back to cuff his left wrist. Click. He lay diagonally across the bed, completely vulnerable. His arms were stretched over his head. His chest rose and fell with each breath. His rigid sex stood defiantly against his abdomen. His legs, spread slightly, stretched the length of the bed, his feet hanging just over the edge. A tremor passed from Cassie’s belly to her sex.

His gaze, cold and menacing, bored through her. “Do you like what you see?”

“Aye, convict. And it’s good for you that I do.” Almost trembling with excitement, she loosened her bodice until her breasts were visible. Then she moved to the bed and began to caress him, first his feet, then his ankles and calves. Where her hands touched, her lips and tongue soon followed. She heard his breath quicken, felt his muscles tense, and reveled in his response. She worked her way up his muscular legs and over his powerful thighs, but, although she touched the sac that carried his seed, she did not touch his shaft. “You’ve a remarkable cock.”

He groaned in frustration. The chains caught on the bedpost, clinking as he strained against them. “Is this to be my punishment then? To be tortured with kisses, soft hands and words?”

Some part of her she’d never known awoke within her, and she felt herself grow more daring. Like a cat toying with its prey, she stretched across the bed beside him. She ran her fingers teasingly on his abdomen, outlining his erection.

“Your punishment is that you shall see, but you shall not touch. You shall want, but you shall not receive—not until it pleases me.”

This is your chance to download the book for free. Please help me spread the word. And if you haven’t already read it, I think you’re in for a treat. Originally released in 2003, it got a 4.5-start Top Pick review from RT Book Reviews and Alec was the recipient of their KISS Award.

You can download Sweet Release for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo and other formats, including Nook.

If you don’t have an ereader, you can download a PDF version from Smashwords (the third link above), or you can download a free Kindle or Nook application from Amazon or B&N that will enable you to read the story on whatever computer you’re using to be online now.



I would like to thank all of you who helped make the release of Skin Deep so much fun. It seemed like the book had been available for all of two hours by the time people were posting reviews. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, both for the main story and for the short story “Marc & Julian Make a Beer Run.”

This is my first 100-percent self-published book, so I was thrilled to see the response. I was away at my younger son’s college graduation last weekend, but I found myself laughing every time I logged on because so many readers flipped straight to the back to read the short story.

Thanks to everyone helped push Skin Deep up to No. 18 on B&N and into the low 200s on And huge thanks to all of you who tweeted and posted on Facebook and your blogs. I announced the contest winners for the three free copies of Skin Deep in the last comment on my previous blog, so if you posted and were hoping to win, please check. Maybe you did. I’ve only heard from one of the prize-winners so far.

 It’s available right now on for Kindle, B&N for Nook, and Smashwords for everything else. It’s not yet available in iBook format because it takes such an extraordinarily long time for ebooks to get through the system and up on iTunes. I’ll let you know when it’s posted there. Some readers download the free Kindle app to their iPads so they can read Kindle versions and not wait for iTunes.

If you haven’t yet read Skin Deep, I hope you’ll give it a try. If you enjoyed it, I hope you’ll share that with your reader friends.

Other news:

Benjamin and his girlfriend Lucy pose for the parental paparazzi immediately after the ceremony.

Benjamin graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ithaca College last Sunday in a ceremony that had me in tears several times. I was so proud of him and his friends — Lucy, his girlfriend, and Del, his wonderful roommate from freshman year. Benjamin now has a B.S. in Cinema and Photography and already has a job in his field, working as an assistant editor for Sender Films in Boulder. They do climbing porn — rock, alpine, ice — which is fun for him, given that he comes from a climbing family. He pulled his first all-nighter this week, helping them get a film ready for a festival and sleeping on the couch after crashing at 4 AM.

Our flower garden is in full bloom at the height of its beauty, and it really is spectacular this year. Everything is about a month ahead of schedule, with white irises already past their bloom and my rose bushes exploding with scenterrific color. All you have to do to be wafted in the scent of roses is stand on my porch. We’ll be sharing photos soon!

The countdown to the release of Defiant, the third book in my MacKinnon’s Rangers series is about to begin. The book — the longest story I’ve ever written — will be out on July 2, so we’ve got a lot of fun and celebration ahead. I’m so excited to be sharing Connor’s story with you! I cannot tell you want this book means to me.

I’m working on the next I-Team novel now — that’s the as-of-yet untitled I-Team Book 6.

Stay tuned!


landin said...

I'll definitely have to tell me cousin about sweet release, I'm trying to get her into more genres of books instead of just whats the 'it' book at the moment (cookie for those that can guess it lol)

Congrats to Benji! I know that had to be one of the proudest moments of your life,and his too!

So excited for Defiant, seriously ,july is going to be an awesome month for reading, as another book I'm looking forward to is coming out then too! I'm so looking foward to finally flipping my calender over to july, if only we could just skip june.

And dang, already working on the next I-Team book? You're a workhorse woman!

Pat F said...

Oh MY GOSH!!! It's a colonial erotic novel! You actually think you can post that preview, and people won't run to download? I'm off to download....Thanks!!!!

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