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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Looking back and looking forward

It was the best of times. It was a challenging time. And sometimes it was just stupid.

When I look back on 2013, I’ll think of a lot of things. Struggling every day for what seemed an eternity to finish Striking Distance (I-Team Book 6). Being a RITA finalist for Defiant (MacKinnon's Rangers Book 3). Meeting actor/voice artist Kaleo Griffith, who narrates my audiobooks. Having a little party with I-Team group members in Atlanta.

Raging wildfires across the state. Coffee and sushi with Jenn LeBlanc. Epic flash floods that turned my neighborhood into an island and left friends bereft of their homes and property. Watching my younger son get on a plane for eight months in Europe. Hitting the USA Today best-seller list with Striking Distance. Writing two novellas — First Strike, the erotic prequel to Striking Distance, and Upon A Winter’s Night, the MacKinnon’s Rangers Christmas novella that picked up where Defiant left off.

It was a big year.

I am grateful beyond measure for the friends and family who supported me through the highs and lows — and there were plenty of both — that made up 2013. A special shout-out goes to my sister Michelle, for always being there, and to Jenn LeBlanc, who is one of those friends who understands why I’m pissed off or sad (or both) without my needing to explain and who periodically shows up with a latte just when I need it most. Seriously, how many people do that?

My two sons, Alec and Benjamin, have been there for me at every turn, as well. Alec finally talked me into watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel this year, and we’ve spent a lot of nights sitting up way too late just to watch one more episode.

I’m also grateful to my readers, whose devotion to me and to the I-Team series landed Striking Distance on the best-seller lists. I couldn’t do any of this without you. Thank you!

Did I meet all my goals this year? Hell, no. Not even close. I didn’t meet a single deadline for Striking Distance, caught between compulsive perfectionism and the emotional difficulty of writing a story that deals with such gritty and complicated material. I didn’t lose 50 pounds, though I did make it to the gym — sometimes. I didn’t overcome my absolute loathing for cooking — and I’m pretty sure I never will. In fact, it’s really impossible to overstate how much I hate to cook.

But some things I did do better than in the past.

I consciously made time for a “weekend” — hey, other people have them — and used that time for fun. Benjamin and I visited a number of museums and state historical sites, including Bent’s Fort near Las Animas (below). We also hiked at beautiful Mud Lake and in Rocky Mountain National Park (above), enjoying some fresh air and time away from computers and work. I saw my first wild moose after living in this state all my life. No, none of this helped me meet deadlines, but it helped me recover from writing Striking Distance and enabled me to enjoy my life more. By the time Benjamin left to go abroad, we both agreed it had made for a very memorable summer.

Lesson learned: You can’t have memories if you don’t actively make them.

It was a year of experimentation on so many levels, and I learned a lot about myself. I tried all kinds of new techniques to help myself write faster, ultimately coming up with one that enables me to be more creative and worry about the perfectionism part later. I also played around with different schedules for getting to the gym, a process that proved to me that, deep in my heart, I’d rather skip the gym and go hiking. And I would — if all my favorite trails weren’t still closed due to the floods. Thus, I am resigned to unenthusiastic trips to the gym.

I also had to face months without Benjamin at home. That might seem silly to some of you, but the whole empty nest thing is a real challenge for me. It’s not that I just want company; I want my kids’ company. Facing a Christmas with one son overseas was tough. I found it hard to get into the spirit of the season at all and probably wouldn’t have given a fig for Christmas if it hadn’t been for Alec and his girlfriend, who helped me find new ways to reconnect with the holiday. I will give myself credit for taking hold of those opportunities, rather than pouting my way through box after box of Puffs.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I take New Year’s pretty seriously. It’s never been a party holiday for me. I usually spend it with close friends or my kids doing something quiet and focusing on the aspects of myself and my life that I want to improve.

For 2014, I’m going to focus on acceptance.

I made a big decision this month and decided to spend two months next year visiting Benjamin and reuniting with friends and family in Denmark and Sweden. I’d been waiting for the magic moment when I would be thin and rich and caught up on book deadlines. And then it hit me rather out of the blue that I should probably make this trip now, while I and all my friends and family are still alive in case that magic moment never comes. I bought the tickets that very morning.

So, imperfect and low on funds as I may be, I am nevertheless heading off to Europe for a trip that will include an event in Paris and possibly a signing in Madrid, in addition to lots of time with Benjamin and my old friend and family in Denmark, where I feel so at home.

One thing became pretty clear to me this year amid all this experimentation and trial and error: Now is all I have, and I need to do what’s important to me today. That means writing the books I want to write, being with the people whose company I enjoy, going to the places I want to go.

Oh, yes, I’m still going to try to live a healthier life style with more exercise and less sugar, but I’m not going to do it with any goal in mind apart from feeling better, being healthier and more energetic. I will never look like my 30-year-old self again, so I need to quit trying. My 30-year-old self was the self that fell off the mountain. She had things pretty easy before that moment when idiocy met gravity.

Like I said, 2014 is ultimately about acceptance — accepting who I am today, deciding what I want out of life, and then taking action to accomplish those things.

A friend told me shortly before she passed on that her 80s were the happiest years of her life because she truly quit giving a shit what other people thought about her or what she did. She quit doing things that people expected her to do and started doing what she wanted to do. We should all take her advice now and not wait for our 80s.

Also — and this may seem contradictory — I want to spend more time putting my life into service for others through volunteering somehow, perhaps at the homeless shelter or a women’s shelter. I’ve considered volunteering at the county jail, too, where I would love to work with women inmates, perhaps starting a reading group. I’ve always believe we live up to our fullest potential when we live for our fellow human beings. As my kids move on with their own lives, I need to find meaningful ways to give. That desire to nurture is, I think, part of what makes having an empty nest so difficult, at least for me.

I also want to spend more time with my fellow Colorado authors — Jenn, Courtney Milan, Thea Harrison, Tara Janzen and others. There’s nothing like an afternoon with them to make me laugh. Somewhat immoderately and loudly.

Having said all of that, I am still experimenting with plotting and writing techniques and am excited to see if I can meet my goal of writing at least THREE full-length novels and a novella this year. I’d like to work a historical into the mix soon, too. My biggest challenge as an author has always been productivity. Whereas some writers can crank 3,000 words a day or even more, I have plenty of days where I managed to write only 500 words. I intend to change this without sacrificing quality.

So what’s does all of this mean for you as a reader?

Right now, I’m plotting my next I-Team book — probably Holly’s story. So far it’s going well. I hope to have a draft written before I leave for Europe so that you can get it late in 2014 or early 2015.

I also want to start a new contemporary series set in a Colorado mountain town — not a sweet town, but a real Colorado mountain town with its marijuana shops, old hippies, rednecks, ranchers, miners, powder hounds, rock climbers, Buddhist ex-record execs, hunters, and ordinary folk.

I am excited for this coming year!

What was the most memorable part of 2013 for you? And what goals do you have for 2014?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of my friends and readers around 
the world a Merry Christmas! 

May the spirit of the holiday stay in our hearts 
throughout the coming year.
Saturday, December 07, 2013

The 2013 I-Team Charitable Donation Campaign

This is Isla Fordyce. She’s five months old. Here she is on Thanksgiving, sleeping with her oxygen, her IV pump, and a little plush turkey toy. Her grandmother, Pat, one of my readers and a member of my Facebook I-Team group, posted this photo online. Pat was grateful to be enjoying Thanksgiving with her baby granddaughter. It’s a near miracle that Isla made it to this moment.

Isla was born prematurely, and though she seemed to thrive, she caught a cold when she was just four months old that resulted in her being almost unable to breathe. Her worried parents took her to the doctor, who ordered some tests then sent them on to Children’s Hospital in Denver, where specialists delivered a devastating diagnosis — Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension.

Pulmonary Hypertension, sometimes called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, is high blood pressure in the lungs. It is a chronic condition that can lead to heart failure. It is not like ordinary hypertension. It has nothing to do with weight or lack of exercise or smoking. The disease carries a high mortality rate. At the moment, there is no cure and no real approved treatments for pediatric patients.

Little Isla spent her fourth month of life in the the Intensive Care unit of Children’s Hospital here in Denver. For a part of that time — a good week or so — Isla was in an induced coma after she contracted pneumonia. Doctors wanted her tiny body to devote all its energies toward fighting the pneumonia.

Amazingly, treatments worked, and this tough little baby girl made it through the pneumonia, gaining enough strength to be sent home with her parents for Thanksgiving.

At this point, Isla has to remain on oxygen. She also has to remain on non-stop IV medication. Her grandparents and parents are hoping for a breakthrough that will enable their daughter to live a long, healthy, normal life. For that to happen, we need more treatments.

Ultimately, we need to find a cure.

Every year, I make a charitable donation on behalf of my readers to an special organization that does outstanding work on behalf of women and/or children. The past few years, those donations have gone to International Midwife Assistance, an organization that delivers prenatal and birthing services to women in Uganda, where pregnancy is too often a death sentence. But this year, because of Isla, I’m making a donation to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s Robyn Barst Pediatric Research and Mentoring Program. 

A 501(c) 3 nonprofit, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the one place families can turn for in-depth information and support when someone they love is diagnosed with this frightening disease. Though one can donate to the PHA’s general programs, I want to help fund the research that has to happen to help Isla experience a full life with things like riding a bicycle, chasing butterflies, and hiking.

The holiday season is typically a time when we struggle to pay for all of the good times and gifts we plan for our family and friends. A big holiday meal. Lots of fun baking. Wine for get-togethers with friends. Gifts for our family members. Travel to see kin far away. It can be a challenge to find the mental space, the time, or the money to make a donation.

But I am asking you please to do just that. I believe that you and I can raise a significant amount of money for PH research, not by giving our last dime, but by each of us giving just what we can afford.

I know for a fact that small donations add up. When I was editor-in-chief of a local paper, I wanted to do something about the fact that homeless people were freezing to death on the streets of Boulder, my hometown. The local homeless shelter and churches were overflowing, turning people away each night. The most they could do was to hand these people a blanket and some food and send them on their way.

I decided to come up with a fundraiser that was simple. I asked the people of my community to donate a $10 and an old blanket to the homeless shelter. It was easy. All they had to do was grab $10 in cash or write a check and drive to the shelter. Local churches got in on it, announcing my blanket drive during Sunday services.

At the end of December, the homeless shelter had a storage space the size of a two-car garage filled floor to ceiling with blankets and $6,000 specifically in ten-dollar bills. (They had no way to track exactly how many people donated money. Some people may have donated more. But they did have a stack of tens 600 high.)

Giving works when we all do our part. All that is required is the determination to act.

I’m asking for a donation of $10 from all my readers — more if you can afford it, less if you can’t. Ten dollars is less than the cost of two venti lattes at Starbucks. It’s $2.01 more than the cost of the average mass market paperback. But what it represents to Isla and her family is hope — a chance that an effective pediatric treatment or maybe even a cure will be found.

If every single person who follows my author page, this blog, Goodreads and my personal Facebook page were to donate just $5 — almost everyone has $5 to spare — we would raise more than $40,000 for pediatric research. But that means each of us has to join in. It’s not how much we donate that matters; what matters is that we each donate something. If each of us contributes a pebble, we can become a landslide.  So take a deep breath, let the holiday stress go, and donate now. 

Let’s give Isla’s parents, Matt and Ellie, and her grandmother, Pat, hope for Christmas. 

PLEASE REMEMBER to make the donation In Honor of Isla Fordyce at the bottom of the online donation form where it says Tribute Information. Also, PLEASE check the box to mail a letter announcing your donation.

The address to enter is my PO Box:

Isla Fordyce c/o Pamela Clare
PO Box 1582
Longmont, CO 80502

If your business offers matching donations, please email me through the Guest Book on my website to work out the details. The PHA does have a letter you can present to your employer.

I will collect the letters at the end of the campaign — Jan. 8, 2014 — and announce the total raised for research before passing the letters on to Isla’s parents as gifts from strangers who are keeping their daughter in their thoughts and prayers. Can you imagine the look on their faces when they see the letters or how it will feel to them to know so many people they’ve never met care what happens to their little girl?

To those of you who take the time to donate, I offer my sincere thanks. I hope your kindness comes back to enrich your life in the New Year.

Photos courtesy of Pat Fordyce
Monday, December 02, 2013

A Week of Christmas Giveaways, Deals, and Fun!

I hope everyone had a peaceful and satisfying Thanksgiving. I enjoyed spending time with my sister, who is now back home in Sweden. The time passed far too quickly!

Good thing that Christmas is on its way — my favorite time of the year. I’ve got a week of giveaways and special deals for you this week to help kick the Christmas season into high gear. I’ve got something both for fans of my historicals and also my I-Team series.

Here’s an overview of the events that will be taking place all week on my Facebook Author Page.

Cyber Monday — To celebrate the release of Upon A Winter’s Night, I’ll be giving away a signed copy of all three full-length MacKinnon’s Rangers novels — Surrender, Untamed and Defiant to one lucky winner *and* the friend of her choice. That's a cool way to score a fun gift for a friend who reads romance.

In case you haven't checked it out yet, here are the links for Upon A Winter’s Night:

Amazon Kindle:
Barnes & Noble #Nook:
Amazon Canada:
Amazon UK:
Amazon Australia:

It will be out in print, iBooks and on Kobo soon!

Box Set TuesdayThe Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga Box Set, which includes long historical romances Sweet Release and Carnal Gift, has been marked down on Amazon and B&N from $6.99 to $3.99 for this week only! The individual novels have been marked down to $2.99 each from $3.99, a deal that is also limited to this week.

Hump Day Hotness — I’ll be giving away two signed copies of Striking Distance, featuring His Seal Hotness Javier Corbray to people who share their favorite I-Team quotes.

Audiobook Thursday — I’ll be giving away two signed audiobook copies of Striking Distance, featuring Kaleo Griffith and his fabulous narration, to two lucky winners who comment and share.

Freebie FridayFirst Strike is available for free in all e-reader formats on Smashwords. Downloading is easy!

So make yourself some hot chocolate or a cup of hot cider, head over to my author page, and have some holiday fun! You might walk away with a prize. But remember — this is all taking place on my Facebook author page, not here on this blog.

Have a great week!
Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

May the peace and gratitude of this day stay in your heart all day and throughout the coming year!

THANK YOU for being the most wonderful readers on this earth! I am so grateful to you all for your friendship and your support.

From me and my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

A holiday surprise!

I have a holiday surprise for you!

UPON A WINTER’S NIGHT is a MacKinnon’s Rangers Christmas novella. I haven’t had anything for my historical readers since Defiant in July 2012, so it only seemed right that I end the year with a historical treat just for them. I didn’t say much about this because I wasn’t sure I’d finish it in time. But I have, and it will be out on Nov. 27. 

That’s this coming Wednesday! I wanted you to have it in time for your Thanksgiving Weekend, and I’m high-fiving myself for making it happen.

The most important thing to say about this book is that KARL is on the cover. OK, maybe that’s not the most important thing, but it feels very important. You will remember him as the mostly naked star of the Defiant trailer. He was the one running around the forest carrying a musket. I am posting a gratuitous photo of Karl from the trailer shoot to jog your ovaries ... er, your memories.

In fact, the image for the cover was being shot by Jenn LeBlanc at Studio Smexy™ while I watched in the background, waiting to film the Connor/Lord William sequence for the trailer. Karl got up off the model, put on a shirt, picked up my musket, and filmed that scene right after this sequence of photos was taken. 

Good times. So what was I talking about? Oh, yes!

This 26,000-word novella picks up one day after the epilogue of Defiant. It is a week before Christmas, and Lord William surprised them all the night before by leaving a letter and the cracked marble chess piece on the doorstep to Iain and Annie’s cabin. The story carries us through that week to Christmas and on to Hogmanay (New Year’s).  Here’s the blurb:

Reunite with the MacKinnon brothers and their wives for Christmas—and a tale of love, new life, and redemption.

The war between Britain and the French is finally at an end, and the MacKinnons are looking forward to celebrating their first peacetime Christmas in five long years. While Iain and Annie have discovered that the pleasures of marriage grow deeper with time, Morgan and Amalie find themselves at bitter odds. Meanwhile, Connor and Sarah have a newborn son to cherish. 

The family’s preparations for the holidays are interrupted when Iain learns that Britain has not paid the Rangers for the summer’s victorious campaigns. Unwilling to let men who fought under the MacKinnon name suffer deprivation at Christmastime, Iain, Morgan, and Connor leave the warmth of their frontier farm for Albany. There, they find their happy Christmas, and even their freedom, at risk at the hands of a ruthless British officer who holds a grudge against them.

With the men gone, Annie, Amalie, and Sarah do their best to prepare for the festivities despite differing traditions, a raging bull—and the gnawing fear that their husbands won’t make it home for Yule. 

Events begin the day after the epilogue of Defiant ends. The story includes Joseph, Killy—and revelations about the fate of Lord William Wentworth.

It was a lot of fun to visit with these characters again and to move some of their story threads forward. There is a wedding at the end, but I won’t tell you whose it is. The story started as a 3,000-word mini-story that ran on a blog last year for a holiday contest. I’ve taken that blurb and transformed it, expanding it and bringing other characters into the story.

Upon A Winter’s Night will be out no later than Nov. 27 in all ebook formats via Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords, iBooks and Kobo. And here’s some good news for those of you who hate ereaders: The novella will also be available in trade paperback through Amazon, though that may take an extra week or so. Stay tuned for updates!

In the meantime, thanks for all of the emails and messages about Striking Distance. What a whirlwind this has been — from release day to learning the book was a nominee for RT’s Best Romantic Suspense of 2013 to making the USA Today best-seller list. I was trying to write in the midst of that excitement, and, on top of everything else, my sister is visiting from Sweden.

Who said the holidays are crazy?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

STRIKING DISTANCE hits the USA Today list!

Things have been pretty crazy at Casa Clare. Let’s see...

I had a major book release, a MacKinnon’s Rangers Christmas novella deadline, and got a lot of really fabulous news. My sister, who is a dual US/Swedish citizen, arrived from Stockholm to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday and spend Thanksgiving with us. And in the middle of all of this, my poor blog went without an update for a very long time.

Sorry about that!

I’ll start with the good news.

I learned the Unlawful Contact has been picked up by J’ai Lu and will finally be published in French. This comes as good news to my French readers, who’ve been waiting forever for the I-Team.

Also, BookPages, a national publication for librarians and booksellers, featured Striking Distance (I-Team 6) as Christie Ridgeway’s top romance pick for November. That was a huge honor.

Publishers Weekly featured Striking Distance in its article about the popularity of military romance. (I’d post a link, but unless you have a subscription, it wouldn’t do you any good.)

Close on the heels of that announcement, I found out that Striking Distance was nominated by the reviewers at RT Book Reviews for Best Romantic Suspense of 2013. RT had given Striking Distance a 4.5-star Top Pick review in its November edition, and I was thrilled to see the story in such fabulous company.

And then today, I learned that  Striking Distance made the USA Today Bestseller list!

As Javier would say, “¡Wepa!

I got the news from New York Times bestselling author and friend Thea Harrison, whose book Kinked, also made the list. She tweeted me, beating my editor and agent to the punch. Within seconds author superstar and friend Jill Shalvis, whose novel Rumor Has It hit both USA Today and the NYT, sent me the link. Then author/photographer Jenn LeBlanc, my bestie, posted on Facebook, and I knew it was real.

I was, of course, ecstatic. Squealing may or may not have occurred.

I immediately tried to call the two people who’ve done the most to support me — my sister, Michelle, and my younger son, Benjamin — but couldn’t get a hold of either of them. That’s exactly how it would work out, right? I had always imagined telling them to their faces. In the end, Benjamin, who is in Europe, saw it on Facebook before I could reach him. I did manage to tell my older son over the phone and then caught my sister later in the afternoon.

It means so much to me to hit the list with this novel. As most of you know, this story was very personal for me and took pretty much everything I had. It’s the first time I really explored the inner landscape of surviving trauma, in particular sexual assault. Sometimes we choose which stories we want to write, and sometimes those stories choose us. This was definitely the latter. It wasn’t easy to write, forcing me to dig deeper into myself than perhaps any other book I’ve written.

Ultimately I wrote something that I, as a survivor of childhood sexual assault, physical violence, and PTSD know to be real — while doing my best to give both Laura and Javier all the love and happiness they deserve.

I feel incredibly grateful to have had the chance—and to have had so much support along the way.

Thanks to my sister, Michelle, and my son Benjamin, for their encouragement, weeks of handholding and long hours of listening me bounce the story off them.

Thank you to Arlene and Beatrice Rios and Wilson Cruz for the 15 months they spent working with me to help me get the Puerto Rican aspect of Javier’s character right. Any time they swear in their mother tongue, they will think of me.

Thank you to Officer Bryan Bartnes of the Loveland Police Department for his help in understanding explosives, the work of EOD teams, and the way authorities investigate bombings. Is it wrong that I was amused by people’s nervous glances as we talked about how to blow stuff up?

Thanks to Diane Grimaldi Whiting for walking me through the world of broadcast journalism. I’ve been interviewed on television, but I’ve never been on the other side of the camera. She helped me understand how a studio operates, essential information for a key scene in the story.

My heartfelt thanks to the active-duty SEAL who spent time between work-ups and deployments helping me understand the work and life of a special operator. His input and perspective over a period of almost two years were so essential to Javier’s part of the story. How he found time to answer all my questions and read the manuscript, I don’t know. But I am so very grateful both for his help and his service. I dedicate the book to him and feel honored to know he has a copy.

And, of course, a huge weepy thank you to the wonderful members of the I-Team Facebook group and all of my fabulous reader friends who have sent emails, posted on Facebook and tweeted to let me know how much Laura and Javier’s story mean to them. You make it all worthwhile!

I celebrated this evening by watching Raylan Givens get into trouble in Justified and enjoying some European chocolate with my dear sister — truly precious time for me.

As for that novella...

I hope to have a sweet MacKinnon’s Rangers Christmas story ready for you by the day before Thanksgiving. But more on that in my next post.

Monday, October 28, 2013

STRIKING DISTANCE — The Last Excerpt! Plus a coupon for FIRST STRIKE

I promised one last excerpt before the Nov. 5 release of Striking Distance, and I am an author of my word. I’ve been a little stingy with excerpts because it’s been hard to find section of the story I can share that don’t contain spoilers, either for First Strike or for this book itself.

Many of you have read First Strike by now, and so you know how Laura and Javier meet. You also know about the connection between Javier and Nate West, the hero from Skin Deep. If you were paying attention, you also got a little time with Nate prior to the IED blast that left him so horribly scarred.

But before we go there, just a reminder that the ebook version of Breaking Point (I-Team 5) is on sale for $1.99 through tomorrow only! That’s only 2 days left on this special deal. Get it for Kindle, Nook,  Kobo and at iTunes.

So how does Javier meet the I-Team guys? Let’s check it out...

From Chapter 4 of Striking Distance

Javier shook Zach McBride’s hand.  “It’s an honor to meet you.  It’s not every day a man gets to drink beer with a Medal of Honor recipient.”

Javier had read about McBride’s heroism and the catastrophic mission that had claimed the lives of McBride’s men and left him for dead.  Every SEAL had.

Tall with short dark hair and a strong handshake, McBride met Javier’s gaze through sharp gray eyes.  “The honor is mutual.  West told me how you were there for him, how you pulled him out of the burning debris, stayed with him.”

And Javier knew that McBride and Nate were close.  That wasn’t a story Nate shared with everyone.

Javier grinned.  “He talks too damned much.” 

McBride chuckled.  “How long have you been with the Teams?”

“Fourteen years.”

“Going for twenty?”

“That’s the plan.”  

For a while the two of them traded stories—instructors they’d both had in BUD/S, the joys of eating sand with their MREs in Iraq, the scorching heat and freezing cold of Afghanistan.  It was always like this when Javier met another SEAL.  Each and every one of them was like a brother, the bond between them forged from the unique challenges, risks, and deprivations that came with wearing the Trident. 

And for a moment Javier forgot about Laura.  

Women’s laughter drew McBride’s gaze.  He gestured with a nod of his head toward a pretty dark-haired woman who was sitting next to Megan, the two of them reading something.  “That’s my wife, Natalie.  She’s decided she wants to write fiction—romance novels.  I hope that means I get to help with the research.”

Two heads came up, and Natalie glared at McBride.  “The books are not just about sex.”

Javier lowered his voice.  “I guess you said the wrong thing, man.”

The doorbell rang again, and Megan rose to answer it.

Javier’s pulse skipped.

You’re excited to see her, chacho.  Admit it.

Sure, he was.  Not a day had gone since the night he’d helped rescue her when he hadn’t thought of her.  Yeah, he was excited to see her again.  And more than a little tense.

When Megan returned, it wasn’t Laura walking beside her.  Instead, Javier was introduced to Julian Darcangelo, a tall son of a gun with a dark ponytail who’d once worked with the FBI but was now head of Denver’s vice unit.  He’d brought his family—his wife, Tessa, a sweet thing with long, curly blond hair and a mother’s soft curves, a little girl and a baby boy.

The doorbell rang again.

This time it was Reece Sheridan, the state’s newly sworn-in lieutenant governor, his wife Kara McMillan, and their three school-aged kids.  They were followed not two minutes later by Kat James, a pretty Navajo woman, her husband Gabe Rossiter, and two little ones under the age of two.  Then Nate’s brother-in-law, Marc Hunter, Denver’s SWAT captain, and his wife, Sophie, arrived with their two kids. 

Between the adults talking and children running and squealing, it was chaos.  It might have bothered some guys, but Javier felt right at home.  He came from a big family with two brothers, three sisters, six nephews, and nine nieces, not to mention aunts, uncles and a few dozen cousins, most of whom had kids.  When they got the whole family together—which they did whenever Javier was on leave—the laughter, music, and conversation were loud and lasted late into the night.

He found himself on the deck shooting the shit with Hunter and Rossiter, while everyone got ready for an afternoon of skiing, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides.  

Rossiter, who was a climber and former park ranger, was talking about his grand plan for the afternoon.  “You can ski some incredible places with a paragliding sail strapped to your back.  It’s like flying, base jumping, and skiing combined.”  

Ski paragliding wasn’t a sport that interested Javier, in part because he couldn’t see the point.  He shook his head.  “I don’t know—strapping some kind of ’chute to your back and letting the wind pull you down the mountain?  Either ski or jump.”

Hunter chuckled, pointing to Rossiter.  “You wouldn’t believe the sick shit I’ve seen this guy do.  If a sport involves gravity, snow in any form, and a high likelihood of death, he’s in.”

A flash of short platinum blond hair—and a body that could kill.  

It wasn’t Laura Nilsson, but…

Javier gave a low whistle.

Hunter and Rossiter looked over their shoulders, then back at Javier.

Hunter shook his head.  “Oh, no. No, no.  Don’t even think about it.”

“He’s human.  He’s male.  He’s going to think about it.”  Rossiter grinned.  “That’s Holly Bradshaw.  She’s one of the paper’s entertainment writers.  She’ll chew you up and spit you out.”

That didn’t sound so bad.

Hunter looked over at her.  “What she needs is to fall for a man who refuses to sleep with her.”

Javier was about to say a guy would have to be gay as a daisy to turn down a woman like Holly, when suddenly she was there. 

His heart skipped again—and gave a thud.

Wearing jeans and a white blouse beneath a blue angora cardigan, Laura shook hands with Nate and McBride, then Natalie, her pale blond hair catching the light, the smile on her face hitting Javier in the gut.  She shook Megan’s hand, knelt down to talk to Emily, giving the little girl her full attention.

¡Ea Diablo!  She was beautiful. 

Hunter and Rossiter saw her, too.

“Oh, hey, she came.”  Hunter sounded surprised to see her.  He lowered his voice.  “Sophie said she didn’t think Laura was going to make it.  Derek Tower—the asshole who owns the security company that was supposed to have kept her safe in Pakistan—accosted her in the parking lot outside the paper last night.  He forced his way into her car.  She drew on him—a double-deuce—but he tore the weapon out of her hands, even left bruises.  She filed a report with DPD last night.  Uniforms went looking for him, but haven’t found him.”

Javier had heard of Derek Tower, hadn’t known what to think of him.  Now he hated the bastard.  His gaze snapped back to Hunter.  “Doesn’t she have protection—a bodyguard?”

Hunter shook his head.  “Sophie says the FBI doesn’t believe she’s in any real danger, and she can’t afford to pay for protection herself.  Sophie wants me to talk to Old Man Irving—Denver’s chief of police—and have our local boys fill in.”

“Not a bad idea.”  Javier had never understood how the federal agencies worked.  It all seemed like red tape and bullshit to him.

“Let’s go say hello.”  Hunter opened the sliding patio door and walked inside, Rossiter behind him.

Javier followed the two men indoors, but hung back, watching while the others introduced themselves. 

She probably doesn’t even remember you.

“Welcome to the Cimarron.  It’s a real pleasure to meet you.  Make yourself at home.”  Jack pressed her hand between both of his.  “Can I get you something to drink—wine, beer, scotch, soda, some overpriced bubbly water?”

Laura smiled, a genuine bright smile that put dimples in her cheeks.  “Overpriced bubbly water would be lovely.  Thank you.” 

Jack turned back to the kitchen.

Hunter stepped forward, held out his hand.  “Marc Hunter.  I’m Sophie’s husband. Sophie has said great things about you.”

“Thank you.  She’s said good things about you, too.”

“All true, I’m sure.”  Hunter grinned.

 “I’m Julian Darcangelo.  I head up the DPD’s vice squad.  My wife, Tessa, is a big fan of yours.  She’s an investigative journalist herself and has written a few books.  She used to be on the I-Team before she went freelance.  I can’t believe she hasn’t found some excuse to visit Sophie at the paper so she can meet you.”

“Sophie has mentioned her.”  Laura’s eyes narrowed.  “You say she’s written books?  Wait—is her name Tessa Novak?”

Darcangelo nodded.  “That was her maiden name.  She still uses it for journalism.”

“I’m a fan of hers.  I read the two books she wrote about human sex trafficking.  She inspired me to look into the issue in Pakistan and India.”

“Hearing that is going to make her day—hell, her entire year.” 

Rossiter pushed his way forward.  “Gabe Rossiter.  I’m Kat’s worse half.”

Laura took Rossiter’s hand, smiled that beautiful smile of hers.  “I’ve heard about some of your adventures.”

“He’s the most famous one-legged extreme athlete in the world,” Hunter quipped.  “Just ask him.”

That made her laugh.  

Her gaze shifted to Javier.  The color drained from her cheeks, and her eyes went wide, her lips parting as she stared up at him.  “It’s... It’s you!”

So there you have it — the last excerpt before the release of Striking Distance on Nov. 5.

Here are the links to preorder. The mass market paperback version is still $4.79 on Amazon at the moment. Not sure how long that will last.

Barnes & Noble
Powell's Books 

And don’t forget First Strike! As a special treat for readers of this blog, I am offering a coupon for a free download  of First Strike in the e-reader format of or your choice from  If you already have the story, you can gift a copy to a friend for free.

Go to Smashwords and use Coupon Code RP24W.

The coupon expires on Nov. 4!

Just remember that First Strike is an erotic short story and ends with a big cliffhanger.


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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