Book Releases

Tempting Fate (Colorado High Country #4) —
Chaska Belcourt’s story will be out at the end of June. Head back to Scarlet Springs for more Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team adventures and more humor and sexy romance. The book will be available in ebook and paperback.


Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — The first book in my new Colorado High Country series is now on 99 cents! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and loves of members of an alpine search and rescue team.


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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

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

EXCERPT — Colorado High Country #3, Moretti's story



Hey! Remember me?

Sorry it’s been so long since I wrote a new post. It seems most people are on Facebook and Twitter anyway. I’m not really sure who reads this blog these days.

In the past few months, I’ve been very busy with guests and grandkids and holidays. I’ve also been doing some writing.

Jesse Moretti’s book (Colorado High Country, Book 3) is almost done. It will be out in ebook format on Feb. 21 and in paperback about a week after that.

That’s right. The next book in the Scarlet Springs series will be out in just two weeks.

I don’t have a title yet. I told myself I wouldn’t go to bed tonight without one, but I’ve written more than 4,000 words today. That’s all the words for today. There are no words left.

I will have a cover reveal by next Monday, and by then, yes, a title, too.

So what is this story about?

It’s a military romance tucked into a straight contemporary mountain adventure romance. It tells the story of a combat veteran who meets war widow with little twins.

Jesse Moretti is a member of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. He came to Colorado after serving in the Army Rangers during ten years of sustained combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He needed to get the war out of his head and fell in love with Colorado’s mountains. He learned to ski and climb and landed a coveted spot as a primary member on the Team. He works for ski patrol in the winter and a trails crew in the summer.

Ellie Meeks is mentioned in Barely Breathing (Book 1). She’s called Ellen Meeks. We learn that she had twins six months after her pilot husband was killed in Iraq. She’s a registered nurse with two almost-three-year-old twins — Daniel and Daisy —who is trying to get through life despite terrible loss and grief.

Jesse and Ellie are neighbors who finally connect one snowy night when Ellie and Daniel are sick and Ellie’s car won’t start. What happens next? Well, it’s a good thing that strep throat is contageous.

The two are on a long road to discovering that life sometimes does give people seond chances.

This story is not romantic suspense — I’ve tried so hard to let I-Team readers know that these books are not romantic suspense. but rather straight contemporary romance — but it is more emotionally intense than the first two books in the series. I like all of my books to be unique, based on the characters they’re about and not some kind of format that must be followed.

Is the story sexy? Yes. Absolutely. It has some humor, too, and it has some deep emotions. We’re talking about people who work in the life-saving business who have both suffered their share of loss. The chapter I wrote tonight made me cry my eyes out.

But this is a love story, and love triumphs in the end.

I thought I would share an excerpt — the very first glimpse I’ve offered of this book.

If you haven’t tried the Colorado High Country series, now is the perfect time to catch up. The first book, Barely Breathing, is only 99 cents. The second book, Slow Burn, came out in September and is $4.99. Both are available on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Smashwords. You can also order them in print via Amazon or Indiebound.

And without further ado, let me introduce Jesse and Ellie....

* * *

Jesse had turned off the water in the shower when his cell phone rang. He reached for a towel, strode naked into the living room, and grabbed the phone off the coffee table. His heart gave a hard knock when he saw the name on the display.

Ellen Meeks.

He answered. “Moretti.”

There was a moment of silence.

“Hi, Jesse. It’s Ellie. I hope I didn’t wake you.”

“It’s not quite my bedtime yet.” That wasn’t strictly true. He was filling in for Travis tomorrow, his normal day off, and had to get up at 4 a.m. 

“I wanted to thank you for helping me and my sister this afternoon.” The nervousness in her voice told him this was not why she’d called.

“I was happy to do it.”

“Also, I appreciated your honesty. I know it’s not easy sometimes—you know, communication and relationships. Not that you and I are in a relationship or anything. I didn’t mean to suggest that.”

Okay, this was funny. “I understood.”

“Anyway, I’m grateful we had a chance to talk today.”

“Yeah. Me, too.” 

Another pause.

“I wondered whether you’d like to come over for a glass of wine. The kids are asleep. I have some scotch if you don’t like wine. I could make tea or coffee if you don’t drink alcohol. I just thought maybe we could ... get to know each other. You know, talk. And, just to be clear, I’m not suggesting anything else.”

So fucking was probably out. “Got it.”

“Would you like to come over?”

Hell, yes, he would. “Give me ten minutes to get dressed, and I’ll walk down. You caught me getting out of the shower.”

“Oh! Oh. Okay.” She cleared her throat. “See you in ten minutes.”

He ended the call and walked back to the bathroom, feeling a foot taller and energized. He towel-dried his hair, then slathered his face with shaving cream, and shaved away two days’ growth of beard.

Was it the kiss that had gotten to her? Had she been thinking about it all day the way he had?


You’d like to think so, wouldn’t you, dumbshit?

Forget kissing anyway. She’d said just talking.

Yeah, okay. He could respect that.

He finished shaving, rinsed his face, and walked off to his bedroom to get dressed. He stared into his closet at the broad assortment of battered blue jeans, T-shirts, flannel shirts, sweaters, and climbing clothes he owned, and he found himself wondering what a classy woman like Ellie Meeks would like to see on a man.

She was married to an army pilot, remember?

Okay, right. She wouldn’t be expecting a skinny tie or pleated slacks. Besides, he didn’t own anything like that anyway.

He pulled on a black T-shirt and slipped a gray flannel shirt on top of that. A clean pair of boxer briefs, some jeans without holes, and a pair of wool socks, and he was good to go. Just to be on the safe side, he tucked a condom into his pocket. 

Yes, he’d heard what she’d said. Yes, he would respect her limits. But sometimes sex just happened. If it did, he wanted to be ready.

He slipped into his parka, grabbed his keys, and stepped out into the night.


# # #

Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!

Ellie stared at her mirror in horror. She had invited a man over to her house—and not just any man, but a sexy man who had kissed her today, her freaking neighbor!

What in God’s name was she supposed to wear? 

Unable to decide, she scurried from her bedroom to bathroom, brushed her hair, washed her face, and put on mascara. She was ready from the neck up, at least.

She hurried back to her bedroom and stared into her closet. Casual. She should keep it casual. It was nine o'clock on a weeknight, and they were getting together in her living room. What could be more casual than that?

She put on a clean pair of panties and her sexiest, pushiest push-up bra, then yanked her skinny black jeans off their hanger, put on a lace camisole, and pulled her heather blue V-neck cashmere sweater over her head. She’d just smoothed her hair back into place when a knock came at the back door.

Shit!

She gave herself a quick once-over in the mirror—and froze. Dan had given her this sweater for Christmas one year.

Panic shot through her.

What the hell had she been thinking to invite Jesse over like this?

Another knock.

It was too late to change her clothes—too late to change what she’d set in motion.

She flicked off her bedroom light, hurried to the back door, and opened it. Every thought in her head vanished.

He smiled down at her, clean shaven and smelling of shampoo and fresh air, snow clinging to his jeans up to his knees. “Hey.”

“Hey.” She might have stood there staring at him if the air hadn't been freezing cold. She stepped aside to make room for him. “Please, come in."

He did his best to stomp the snow off his boots outside, then stepped inside onto the little doormat. “The snow was a little deeper than I thought.”

While he took off his boots, she grabbed a dish towel. “You can probably brush most of it off with this.”

“Thanks.” He set the dish towel on the table and slipped out of his parka, revealing a blue flannel shirt layered on top of a black T-shirt that stretched across the muscles of his chest. 

You’re staring.

She retrieved two red wine glasses from the cupboard, set them on the counter, and chose a bottle of shiraz from her little wine rack, her mind racing for something conversational to say. “Did the rest of your day go well?”

She was amazed by how calm and collected she sounded. She hadn’t felt this nervous around a man since … well, she didn’t know when.

She glanced over her shoulder, saw he was brushing snow off his jeans.

 “A kid hit a tree.”

What was he talking about? Oh, yes. She’d asked him a question.

 “Ouch,” she managed to say. “Was he okay?”

She reached into the drawer where she kept the wine opener.

“Head injury. We evacuated him via helicopter.”

She turned around, wine and corkscrew in hand, to find him standing a few feet away, his gaze fixed on her. Her pulse skipped. “I forgot how big you are.” 

An image of the bulge in his boxer briefs flashed into her mind. 

Her cheeks burned. “Tall… I mean, tall. You’re very tall.”

Without breaking eye contact, he took the wine from her. “Let me.”


# # #

“Why did you join the Rangers?”

Jesse sat on one side of the sofa, while Ellie sat on the other, looking good enough to eat, her jeans and that fuzzy sweater hugging sweet curves, pink polish on her toenails, her hair hanging thick and blond to her shoulders. Until tonight, he really hadn’t seen her without a bulky winter coat. He certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Wine had taken the rough edge off her nerves. She’d been so edgy when he’d arrived that he’d made extra sure to keep his distance. And so here they were, on opposite ends of the sofa, just talking.

Not that he was complaining...

 “I grew up in a tiny town in Louisiana. My grandfather, my uncles, my dad— they either worked on fishing boats or in the refineries. I just couldn’t do that. I wanted to get away, see the world, be a part of something bigger. I’d always been stronger and faster than the other boys, so I figured I’d join the army, try for my Ranger tab, and kick some terrorist ass for Uncle Sam.”

It was the truth, though not the whole truth.

“How did your family take that?”

“My mom yelled and cried and threatened to shoot me in the knee cap. Her son was not going to go overseas and die in some stupid war. My father took it as a rejection. He and I have never been close.” The truth was darker than that, but he didn’t want to ruin the mood. “I haven’t talked to him since I moved to Colorado.”

She smiled, shook her head, giggled.

“What?”

“You wanted to escape from your small town—and you ended up in Scarlet.”
He could see the irony in that. “Except that Scarlet is the gateway to the mountains, and there’s nothing small about them.”

She took a sip of her wine. “What brought you to Colorado in the first place?”

“After I left the Rangers, I went to New Orleans to live near my sister, but I had a hard time getting back in to the swing of civilian life.” That was an understatement. He’d come back with a head full of death and grief and rage and started drinking. He’d tried to get help at the VA, but the wait times had lasted longer than his patience. “I’d seen pictures of the Rockies and came out to Colorado to try to get Afghanistan and Iraq out of my head. I fell in love with the mountains at first sight.” 

He could still remember that moment when he’d caught his first glimpse of the high peaks with their glittering white summits. “I got my first climbing lesson a couple of days after seeing climbers in Eldorado Canyon State Park, and I was hooked.”

Climbing cleared his mind, cut through the wall that seemed to have grown up around his emotions, made him feel whole and human again.

Ellie gaped at him. “You’ve only been climbing for a couple of years—and you made the Team?”

He nodded. “It was hard work. I climbed every day, no matter the weather. When I realized I needed a job if I wanted to stay, I took a job on the trails crew at Ski Scarlet and then learned to ski that fall, hoping to land a spot on ski patrol.”

She stared at him through wide eyes. “You must be a natural athlete.”

“I guess we all have to be good at something.” Jesse was tired of talking about himself. “Why did you become a nurse?”

She shrugged. “Growing up with a father who was a doctor gave me an interest in the medical field. I didn’t want to go through years of med school and all of that, so I decided to be a nurse. I worked as a surgical nurse until … ”

A shadow passed over her face.

“It’s okay, Ellie. You can talk about him.”

“I was a surgical nurse until Dan was killed. I had just learned that I was carrying twins. He was so excited. I was happy and a little scared. We talked about names over Skype. He liked Otis for a boy’s name and Daisy for a girl. I told him no way could I name a child Otis.” She laughed at this. “The Internet connection was lousy, but he had to go anyway. And then a few days later ... he was gone. Just like that.”

Jesse knew the crushing weight of grief, knew how deeply it cut. And it occurred to him that this was why he’d kept his distance from her all this time. He’d had his own grief to bear and had been certain he couldn’t shoulder any part of hers. 

But now, sitting close to her like this and seeing the pain on her sweet face, it seemed as simple as reaching out and taking her hand.


# # #

“It must have been really hard.” Jesse’s voice was soothing, his hand warm.

Ellie twined her fingers with his and held on. “I just drifted for a while. I took leave from work. Claire came out to stay with me. If it hadn’t been for her…”

She hadn’t meant to talk about this. She didn’t’ want to dump this on Jesse. But now that she had started, she couldn’t stop. “I had him buried at Arlington. I felt he deserved that honor. My sister helped me sell our house and move back to Scarlet. I knew I would need help during my pregnancy and after the twins were born. But nothing felt real to me, not even the babies. I would go to my prenatal appointments, listen to their little heartbeats, and it all felt…”

“Like it was happening to someone else,” Jesse finished for her.

Her gaze snapped to his in surprise. “Exactly.”

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him that he was empathetic for a man, but even with the two glasses of wine she’d had, she knew that sounded wrong.

“When I reached thirty-six weeks, I started having contractions. I chose a C-section. I was so afraid something might go wrong. I couldn’t lose them, too. One minute I had a huge belly, and the next there were two crying babies. Daniel looked so much like his father. I wish Dan had lived to see them.” Her throat went tight, and she blinked back tears. “Sorry. I didn’t mean … ”

Jesse leaned forward, wiped a tear off her cheek. “Hey, don’t apologize.”

She looked up, saw the concern in his eyes—and slid into his embrace.

For a time, he just held her, his strong body a refuge, one big hand caressing her hair. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was his scent. Maybe it was the feel of him. Ellie couldn’t say. Slowly her grief faded, replaced by an altogether different emotion.

She looked up, ran her thumb over the fullness of his lower lip. From there it was so easy. She leaned forward and lifted her lips to his.

He sucked in a quick breath, but he didn’t pull away. “Ellie. You said talk only.”

“I changed my mind. Kiss me.”

He drew back, and for a moment she thought he was leaving. Instead, he took the wine glass from her hand and set it beside his on the coffee table. Then he was back, his eyes looking into hers, so serious. He cupped her cheek. “Are you sure?”

Hell, yes, she was sure. “Kiss me.”

Before she could draw another breath, his lips claimed hers, the fingers of one big hand sliding into her hair, his other arm hauling her against his chest.

Oh. God!

At first contact, her senses reeled, arousal jolting through, making her instantly wet. She was overwhelmed by him—the burn of his lips on hers, the hard feel of his body, the spice of his skin. This is what it felt like to be held by a strong man.

It had been so long, so long.

He caught her lower lip between his, teased it with his tongue, then released it, his mouth covering hers again. When his tongue sought entry, she yielded, his tongue teasing hers with slick strokes she felt all the way to her womb. She stole control of the kiss from him, nipping first his upper and then his lower lip. He moaned, reclaiming his dominance, kissing her deeper and harder, the fingers in her hair clenching into a fist. Then, the kiss grew gentler, until he broke contact and started to pull away.

She caught his face between her palms, her words a whispered plea. “Please don’t stop … unless… unless you want to.”

“Are you kidding?” In a blink, he had her on her back, his weight pinning her to the sofa. “I could kiss you all night.”

Copyright (c) Pamela Clare 2017
All rights reserved

7 comments:

DFoley said...

Wowdy!
Can't wait!

Vic said...

I am not on twitter or facebook so I do appreciate your blog posts which I keep up with through feedly. Looking forward to this book. :)

Rachel said...

My Facebook feed is an absolute mess lately so I rarely bother logging in anymore. I really appreciate the blog post, thank you!!

I'm not on Twitter or Facebook, but I still live!

Cannot wait to get this book!
Another WINNER for sure.
Thank you for writing the books I LOVE to read.
Please keep them coming.

Amazing excerpt...as always your words are amzing !

I can’t wait to read this! I love all your books 😃

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