Ammunition & Protection

In my work-in-progress suspense novel/book, the heroine handles a quantity of guns and various types of weaponry. I love research, so my friend, Liz, and I packed our guns and went to The Well Armed Woman Shooting Club. A barn like structure (the size of half-an-acre, maybe a little exaggeration) was filled with ladies of all ages, races, backgrounds and skill levels. The most interesting aspect of the evening was the number of women who were seeking knowledge of how to use a gun: beginners.

IMG_1390

It frightens me that women in our society don’t feel safe on a daily basis. The desire to carry a gun or at least have one at bedside is becoming prominent.

I wrote down the reasons women attended the meeting and listed some of them below:

  1. Most women answered PROTECT SELF
  2. Learn more about guns and safety
  3. Not shoot with boys
  4. Living alone for the first time: Nervous
  5. Become more proficient with skills
  6. Comfortable shooting a gun
  7. Hobby
  8. Work at night and want to protect self
  9. Self-defense
  10. Want to be in a community of other women who want to protect themselves

As time goes on I wonder if more and more women will seek to gain life-altering protection. Will we revert to the days of our Western ancestors of carrying weaponry on our hips or in a shoulder holster?

On my way out of the range I crossed paths with an armed women entrepreneur who sold earrings, bracelets and necklaces made from old shells. What better way to recycle used ammunition? I bought some dangles. What do you think?

img_1389.jpg

Liz just shook her head. “Only you would go to a shooting range and leave with jewelry.”

Until next time,

jj

Fantasies with spice and humor.

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GOODREADS:

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The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love

Shadow of the Hawk/Dark Sun. He’s almost an angel and she’s pure temptation.
http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jjkeller.htm
Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED.  www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint.
All rights reserved.

 

 

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Promote like a Food Network Star

I love to write a story, its especially thrilling to get the characters and their tale out of my head. But marketing…ah that is a beast I’ve yet to conquer.

Food Network Star is a program I’m becoming addicted too, not because of hot Bobby Flay or even the eye-rolling Giada De Laurentis, it’s because of their marketing tips. Food Network Star provides cooking information and marking ideas…how can you go wrong with recipes and promotion suggestions.

During the show a contestant must cook an impressive original food and get in front of the camera to try and convince people to eat said dish. The producers create many scenarios, like Beauty and the Beast dinner party, Flashback Dinner (recreate a old staple into a yummy contemporary) and All-Terrain Eats, an experiential restaurant experience.

My favorite star hopeful is Jason Smith. He has a charming Kentucky accent and clever euphemisms. As winner of Holiday Baking Championship, he has certified cooking abilities, but the camera segments each week are new. He’s adapted well and adds his sweet personality to sell his dish.

Like the food network star hopeful, an author must sell his or her book. Even if the author has an outstanding, interesting, story, if the book doesn’t wow the public with the possibility of what’s between the covers the book won’t sell and make the top one hundred.

The chef presents his/her dish, making it as attractive as possible. The book cover needs to draw the attention of reader.

Once the dish is in place the chef describes what the person will taste. And the author needs to create a tagline and blurb to entice the reader farther into desiring the book.

Presence, visual beauty, description and taste are key to becoming a Food Network Star. Bobby told a contestant to keep the film bit simple, the same concept should apply for the virtual presence for an author.

An author’s marketing plan should include presence in the venues where fans/readers might hang out. A writer should include a cover visually attractive to a reader, a blurb that draws the reader to add the book to the cart and check out. The book, like the dish, must have substance and flavor so the reader will get a sublime experience.

As Jason from Kentucky said, “It’ll make your tongue slap your brains out.”

Add a little something-something to your summer fun:Trade Agreement

tradeagreement_w278_120

TRADE AGREEMENT
ISBN: 1-60154-491-X 8.15.09

Falling in love with the next door neighbor—impulsive. Kidnapped by her ex-husband—startling. Traded for contraband on the high seas—unbelievable.
Photo-journalist, Georgina Barrister, realizes she has little time left in this world when her ex-husband hands her over as partial payment for a shipment of illegal imports. Apparently being the perfect wife, the perfect hostess, and the perfect lover hadn’t been enough for him. What did he expect of her now, to be the perfect token? As a captive on a freighter, how will she escape?

Special Agent Jake Callahan believes love at first sight is impossible, until he meets Georgina Barrister Kaplan. However, his assignment on a high-seas trafficking case must overrule his feelings when Georgina becomes the prime suspect.

In search for the truth will they lose their one chance at happiness?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxf1tPBXdSY

Trade Agreement

Available in Print and eprint:

jj Keller

Chapter 1

Atlantic Ocean

Shivers cascaded over Georgina’s body, the November cold penetrating her thin dress. She braced herself against the bumpy jolts as the speed boat hit rough water. The night was moonless, deep black ink surrounded them. The closer they got to the freighter, the faster her heart beat, a quick cadence to match the waves hitting the side of the vessel.

Georgina drew in a shaking breath and tried to lessen her grip on the rail of the boat as they pulled beside the ladder. Her fingers ached with the chill of tension. She glanced at the freighter. It was oh-so tempting to simply fall into the water, but she’d freeze to death or get eaten by sharks. No, the only logical means of escape was catching a ride on the gray metal whale floating in the dark night, on a black ocean, surrounded by a mysterious fog.

She glanced at Kandi, her ex-husband’s current femme-de-jour, dressed in a sleek strapless azure dress and spiked heels, then to Tristan himself. She’d loved him once, but now even looking at him made her colder. His fingers wrapped around the rail of the freighter’s ladder. He grabbed her hand and tugged her from the seat.

No.

Her spine tingled with dread. Tristan couldn’t be trusted. She knew better.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Georgina said. “You can let me off at the next port.”

Tristan gripped her hand tighter and pulled her toward the ladder. “Can’t.”

“Why not?” Georgina jerked Tristan’s arm, ready to throw him overboard. Did demons sink? Her stomach tumbled. Getting on that freighter would be a mistake.

Kandi slid beside Tristan and snarled, “Just get on the ship, Georgina, or I’ll throw your spoiled ass overboard and you can swim back to Virginia.”

Shocked at Kandi’s language and the threat, Georgina glared.

“It’s too late. There’s no going back…not for Gemma either,” her ex-husband spewed.

Damn him for using her best friend as a pawn.

Georgina’s heart rate went tachycardia. She blew slow breaths trying to slow the pace. She released his forearm, sat down on the padded boat seat, and crossed her arms.

“Georgina, climb the ladder.” Tristan’s jaws snapped together.

Kandi sighed and tapped her foot on the metal rail of the rocking boat.

Had Tristan really kidnapped Gemma? He had to be bluffing, but Georgina’s heart rattled against her chest. What if Gemma wasn’t safe? She’d already lost one baby, she couldn’t lose another. “I decline.”

Tristan gripped her arm and jerked her upright. She reached up with her other hand and dug her nails into the tender skin of his palm.

“She’ll go,” Kandi said.

Georgina sneered at the two, pivoted, and clutched the nearest brass rung.

The three-inch heels clipped the metal, and she slipped on the third rail of the ladder. Determined, she tightened her hold and stepped to the next rung.

Homeward bound. A precarious scramble on steps or fear of the unknown wouldn’t prevent her from returning to her little house and Jake. Thoughts of the sleepy little town of Nero intruded. She’d often complained about the boredom and photographing nothing but dog and garden shows. Well, she’d trade her current situation for some of that routine any day.

Jake, her lover. Her heart clutched a little in her chest. Was he searching for her? She maneuvered up one more rung. In the back of her mind, she hoped Jake would come to her rescue.

A wintery breeze blew up her dress and she shuddered. She was beyond chilled in the clingy little dress. She clutched a metal bar and pushed the hem down. Her foot slipped, and her spiked heel dug into Tristan’s fingers. She applied as much pressure as possible.

Tristan roared. He slapped her rear with such force she pressed flush against ladder. “Keep going, Georgina. Move it.” Bastard. She stepped to the next bar, releasing his hand.

Finally, she reached the top. Two goons, heavyweight bookends with matching blank expressions, hauled her over the rail. Tristan crawled on deck and helped Kandi onto the platform.

“Come.” One of the goons, with a melodic Russian accent, motioned with his head.

It didn’t sound like a request.

The men led them down a staircase, through a corridor, and into a square, frigid room. A stainless steel table and two metal chairs were the only furnishings. One seat was occupied by a man she assumed to be Aleksandr Stypopas, the captain of this fine vessel. Like the gentleman he was, Tristan sat down on the other chair. A bottle labeled IKON Russian vodka sat in the middle of them like a referee. Kandi stood behind Tristan, her hand resting easily on his shoulder. Georgina stood to the side, as close to the door as possible.

While the men talked, in Russian or Ukrainian, Georgina deliberated how to convince Aleksandr to return her to the States. He was as dark and mysterious in appearance as the freighter. His shaggy black beard seemed blacker as a result of the elegant gray shirt and pants covering his thin body. Would this nightmare ever end? It had to be a dream, because Aleksandr was wearing Armani for God’s sake, at midnight, on a freighter, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He didn’t look like a man who did favors out of the goodness of his heart. Would he want money? She didn’t have anything to offer. Or did she? She shuddered at the thought. A raised voice captured her attention. What had she missed?

There was a palpable sense of menace in the air.

Had they walked into a trap? Would they all be killed?

TRADE AGREEMENT
ISBN: 1-60154-491-X
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxf1tPBXdSY

 

One of the Long and the Short of Its Best Book 
Every year, The Long and the Short of It likes to reward the best of the best, and this year your story TRADE AGREEMENT is a finalist.
 http://www.longandshortreviews.com/promo.htm

Excerpt 2:

Aleksandr’s voice was oily and his smile– insincere. “Kaplan, we’ve been comrades for almost a year. Why the mistrust?”

“Do we really trust one another, my friend?” Tristan took a sip of vodka.

From Georgina’s viewpoint, Tristan’s hand appeared to be trembling. Damn. There were some underlying messages being sent back and forth that caused her alarm radar to go off. She glanced at Aleksandr. He was smiling. Like a crocodile.

Okay, Tristan, it’s time to leave—now! You’ll have to drop me off at the next port.

“Are you calling me a thief?” Aleksandr’s deep, heavily accented voice filled the tiny room like a sonic boom. He bolted to his feet and his chair clanged to the floor. The angry red glow on his face, either from the heated argument or from the drink, accentuated his gray appearance. His lips virtually disappeared into the mass of black facial hair as he sneered.

Tristan’s face remained calm. “Of course. Aren’t we all? We take items and sell them for a profit. The buyers are not important, nor the nationality, nor the cause, nor how illegal the goods. We steal them for the thrill of making a deal. For money.” His blond cropped hair, light crystal-blue eyes, and winsome smile widened, giving him the appearance of the boy next door.

Georgina stared at his devilish dimples while trying to get a grasp on the situation. She’d fallen in love with his dimples, before she’d fallen in love with the man. Now she looked past the façade and wondered how she’d been so foolish.

“I’ve never cheated anyone in my life, and I resent the implication, Kaplan.” Aleksandr nodded his head to one of his henchmen at the door. Georgina’s fight or flight urge was strong. She tensed and glanced at the exit, calculating whether she could get to it before the goons caught her. What she would do after reaching the entrance, she didn’t know. But she desperately wanted to go through that door.

“Please accept my apology. I meant no offense.” Tristan calmly lifted his half-empty glass of liquid fire and held it out to Aleksandr, for a customary salute.

Aleksandr stared at Tristan, a long, intense, soul-searching glare. “Ah, none taken. However, I do insist the whore be given to me as a fair trade agreement.”

Aleksandr slid his black-eyed gaze down Georgina’s body and came back to stare into her eyes. His thoughts about her were as clear as the vodka between them: brown hair, heart shaped face, an ordinary body, and not worth his time. The brunt of his perusal landed on Kandi. Georgina’s heart rate slowed from its marathon speed. Aleksandr lifted his chair and lowered to the seat.

Kandi gasped, edged closer to Tristan, and reached toward her diamond and jade bejeweled bodice. She tossed her long auburn locks out of the way and pulled the limited blue silk material of the strapless dress higher, trying to cover her endowments as much as possible. Her nipples protruded further as a result of her efforts. She folded her shaking hands at her waist.

“Consider it done,” Tristan said, the words ice cold.

“Tristan!” Kandi screeched, her voice, shrill and full of shock. Her pale pink lips quivered, and her bare shoulders twitched back and forth. Tristan had offered her as a door prize.

Could this be happening? The scene was a Saturday B-movie event. People in real-life did not trade off their friends or family to get a shipment of…of…of whatever obviously illegal thing they were exchanging. The goods had to be contraband to make Tristan sweat. Georgina knew him well enough after six years of living together to recognize the signs of his anxiety. Regardless of how calm he appeared, he wasn’t in control of the situation.

Aleksandr’s eyes glittered with dangerous ecstasy. He turned his cold, calculating stare onto Tristan and leaned back in his chair. His jacket gaped, revealing an old fashioned .44 revolver in a gray holster strapped to the side of his chest. Her father had one just like it in his gun cabinet. The racketeer’s don’t-mess-with-me attitude made him the perfect bad guy for any mafia movie.

Georgina tried to ignore the chills running through her body. She pushed a dry wind-blown strand of hair behind her ear. In an effort to appear to be in command of her emotions, she clasped her hands in front of her and waited.

Kandi’s brown gaze turned toward Tristan. She reached over and grabbed his arm, spilling vodka onto the table top. He peeled her fingers loose one by one.

“You can’t do this!” Georgina didn’t care how much she angered either man. Part of the reason she had filed for a divorce concerned Kandi and all of the Kandis before her. But she was still a human and Aleksandr, regardless of his designer suit, was scum.

“Shut up, Georgina,” Tristan barked.

Aleksandr’s glance took in the clear pool of vodka, and a scowl formed on his hairy face.

Apparently he valued his alcohol.

“How barbaric. Stop this right now, Tristan,”

Georgina reasoned, hoping he’d understand this was illogical and perverse.

The oppressive atmosphere grew weighty and thick. Sympathy coursed through Georgina. The black Russian wouldn’t give Kandi the spa treatment on this tub as she’d had on Tristan’s yacht. Tristan had to do something. Why didn’t he act?

“It’s done. Take her away,” Tristan spoke softly, as if the words were for his ears alone. He lifted his hand to his mouth and sucked the alcohol off. The goons started toward the door.

Georgina glanced at Tristan and witnessed the truth in his eyes.

TRADE AGREEMENT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxf1tPBXdSY

jj KELLER

Fantasies with spice and humor.

All rights reserved.

 

Road Trip to Old Stone Fort

The setting for Mystic Love was created from a road trip my family took a few years ago.

We were driving to Florida for spring break and took a rest stop in Tennessee. I’d been reading about ley lines and how the underground alignments of places hold a mystical power. And what do you know–Old Stone Fort Park was at the next exit.

Fee paid and car parked we shed our over coats and embraced the warmer temperature. The boys wanted to go to the site and get it over with

Instead we walked the trail that looped around. At the entrance of the ceremonial site were two mounds of soil, perfectly formed. The park had been created during the Woodland period so pedestal mounds…much like Native American burial grounds found in the northern Indiana area of my parents homestead… were typical in a religious place.

I stood in the center of the religious area and closed my eyes. I let the sounds of rushing waters from the Duck Rivers and the birds cooing in the leafless tree branches surround me. Earth scents from the warm fresh breeze, mixing with the fallen leaves and pungent waterfalls took me to another place. Peacefulness beyond anything I’d experienced before set over me. I could almost feel the magic in the area.

Until, my eldest son shouted into my ear.

The spell was broken, but I’ve never forgotten the special emotions I experienced.

Do ley lines hold mystical powers?

Mystic Love

Ericka Gilmore dabbles in life and death when she tries to conjure a ghost lover. But when flesh and blood, Joe Reeves appears on her doorstep in the midst of a storm, she has to rethink her destiny.

A car accident left the former cop with the ability to foresee death. No longer willing to watch people he cares about die, Joe goes in search of a shaman to remove his “gift”. His remedy until then is to avoid all relationships. But like a lightning strike, he experiences a strong connection with Ericka. A nearby mystical ley line could be Joe’s solution if he and Ericka combine their gifts. But her secret past and his fear of seeing her death keep them at odds.

Rating: Spicy 
Page Count: 282 
Word Count: 68692

978-1-5092-1060-2 Paperback 
978-1-5092-1061-9 Digital

Excerpt

She threw herself against her dream lover, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His lips were cold, but perfect in form. At first, his mouth didn’t move, but after a couple of seconds, he pressed into her. She flicked the tip of her tongue over his mouth, outlining the curves, and then slid it between his lips. His tongue played with hers. Sharp, decadent longing powered through her.

Wait a minute, he didn’t taste like she’d imagined. He tasted like mint and human. She touched whatever smooth cool skin she could find available between the coat and his neck and shoulders. Strong and virile hot body. She inhaled, taking in his scent; fragrant late fall wind and the odor of male sweat.

Sweat? Wet skin? She licked her lips, savoring the zest. A spear of lightning brightened the sky. Six foot three. Left ear piercing. Broad chest. Wrangler posture, with one knee bent.

Her heart thumped harder, pounding strong in her chest.

Whom had she kissed?

****

Joe supported her, keeping her in an upright position. Definitely a her as supple breasts snuggled tight against his chest. Her robe opened, and he fought the urge to remove his own garments to feel her warm body against his, flesh to flesh.

Lips tasting of wine connected with his, insistent and passionate. Six months ago, he embarked on his solo quest, but it hadn’t been so long that he couldn’t remember previous intimacies, and those encounters didn’t compare to her lavish kisses. Whew, hot, he’d go with the flow for a little longer.

She jerked, and then shoved him away. Sadly, the kiss had been a mistake, and from the flash of surprise crossing her face, she’d realized it as well. The pale blue, almost white, towel came loose from her head. She snapped the cloth off. Sexy dark ringlets fell in twisted disarray to her shoulders.

Joe had been lucky enough to catch a joyful kiss and snuggle. He’d delighted in the touch of her lips, the scent of her womanhood, and her wonderful nipples piercing into his thin, sodden shirt. Enjoying the mistake and resulting benefits, he grinned.

The gleam in her eyes went from surprise to anger. With a shaking hand, she wiped her luscious pink mouth.

He stood in a quandary and debated how to explain. Under the circumstances, she wouldn’t accuse him of a forced entry.

“Sorry. No lights. I didn’t hear a security system buzz. I would’ve shouted.” He took a step. “Instead of coming inside.”

She retreated.

Damn. He’d be sleeping in the rain after all.

 

Mystic Love

 

Last Chance at Love

LatChanceAtLove-150x225

When Alyson McLeod returns to Jove, she never expects her high school sweetheart to knock on her front door. Sam’s arrival stirs memories she thought she’d banished long ago and awakens a fiery need no other man has been able to conjure.

The phoenix tattoo on Sam Crown’s arm immortalizes the woman he loved—and lost—long ago. Alyson’s return should excite him, but instead, she awakens a guilt he’s not sure even love can overcome.

Can these star-crossed lovers finally find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart forever?

Last Chance at Love

Review:
I just finished reading Last Chance at Love. I truly enjoyed it.
I loved that sexy cupid at the start,
the gorgeous art work Sam and Alyson made,
Tina’s growing understanding,
and the depth of the emotion as the story built to resolution.
A feel good factor of 10.

Daisy Banks
A Gentleman’s Folly

Last Chance at Love

The Tarot Card

thetarotcard_w1816_680

A stalled elevator.
A sexy gypsy.
A Straight-laced CEO.
Fate has a sense of humor.
Kerry McClure must secure her future as head of her father’s corportation. She needs to sign a contract with Rune Technologies to ward off a hostile takeover. When Kerry’s mistaken for a fortuneteller, she plays along, but could one night of fun jeopardize her CEO confirmation.
Stein Laxdale needs the business deal with McClure Ventures, or he’ll lose control of Rune Technologies to his ex-partner. He discovers Kerry McClure was the gypsy he gambled with and must decide if she is his biggest threat or his promise of a happily-ever-after.

Buy it today print or e-print: The Wild Rose Press 

Amazon:Print copy of The Tarot Card at Amazon

 

Excerpt:

Stein Laxdale walked down the corridor reviewing his notes. He spun around to find the elevators. Damn, somehow he had gotten lost in the maze of Yellow Fever. Who named a hotel, Yellow Fever? Who would arrange a high-level meeting at a hotel called Yellow Fever? Kerry McClure, that’s who.
Rune Technologies would not succeed without the deal with McClure Ventures. Everything he and Ian had worked for depended on this one business contract. So, if the man wanted to meet in a casino, then Stein would meet him in the casino. He’d meet him in the kitchen, if needed, to get the agreement signed.
He had to secure this deal.
A service elevator door swished open. He shoved the notes into his swim trunk’s pocket, folded the shirt over his forearm, and stepped inside. He’d never get used to jet-lag. He punched the dim yellow button, and took a step back as he ran a hand through his hair. He had to get some normalcy in his life.
“Stop,” a woman’s voice said, as a small hand pressed against his back.
He turned and took a pace back. A gypsy stood before him, a sexy gypsy wearing a long flowing orange and gold skirt, with a white off-the-shoulder blouse and no bra. He had to look, it was Vegas after all and he was a man in need of creature comforts. He guessed her to be about five-foot-six with breasts that didn’t appear to be silicone-based. They were full, smooth and pliable as they rose and fell as she breathed, pushing against the tiny bit of supportive elastic of the see-through blouse.
He raised his gaze, her head remained bowed. She smelled like an exotic flower. He placed two fingers under her chin and lifted her face. She pulled back. Startled from his touch? In the next blink, her eyes softened. When he lowered his hand to hang limp at his side, her stance relaxed. Magnificent dark brown eyes stood out on her beautiful, delicate face. The gold scarf wrapped around her head hid most of her light brown hair, but added a glint to her eyes. She shifted from foot to foot as she straightened her blouse and tightned the belted scarf around her tiny waist.
“I’m sorry… Magda?” he nodded toward her name badge.
She shoved her blouse up onto her shoulders, closing off the gap which had allowed him full view of her breasts. “Quite all right. You didn’t see me.”
Kerry didn’t correct him. Her name badge sported Magda because she would perform as a gypsy in the Magda tent for the library fundraiser. She ran her glance from his eyes to his bare chest to his tight swim trunks, keeping her gaze there a little too long. “Are you with the Chippendales?”
She clamped her teeth on her quivering lip to hold the nervous laughter inside. Goodness, he was gorgeous. His swim trunks weren’t the typical boxer style, but tight fitting, with bulging pockets. Bits of white paper peeked out of one and the imprint of a cell phone outlined the other.
“No.” He unfolded his shirt and slid it over his head. The elevator jerked to a stop.
She crashed into him and grabbed at his waist with both hands. He’d pushed his arms through the sleeves, but the cloth hadn’t dropped into place before her fingers slid over the heat of his stomach. The cords of his slim waist and muscular stomach made her want to explore. Her heart pounded against her ribcage.
Chart the unknown.

Larkspur at Long and Short Reviews had this to say: Holy Cow what a great read! Ms. Keller gives us a love at first sight story. Stein and Kerry make a great hero and heroine.
I loved the characters, they were well developed and enjoyable to get to know. The writing style was great and was a credit to the author telling such a well written story confined in 148 short pages.For more visit: buy

TRS
August 30, 2009

A true-to-life Kerry McClure had this to say:

“J.J.,
I just finished the book and I absolutely loved it!! I felt like I (Kerry McClure) was on a little vacation! I have told many friends about it so I hope they purchase it too!! My middle name is Jessica and my Maiden name was Cameron so the part about the limo driver and Jessica – I was seeing my ‘names’ everywhere! I really liked the end! Great twist and it explained so much! Thank you and good luck on your next novel!
Sincerely, Kerry McClure”

I must say, I don’t think a review could make me as happy as this one. Thank you!

Best Selling for over two months!

Trade Agreement

tradeagreement_w278_120

Falling in love with the next door neighbor–impulsive.
Kidnapped by her ex-husband–startling.
Traded for contraband on the high seas—definitely unexpected.

 

Photo-journalist, Georgina Barrister, realized she had little time left in this world when her ex-husband handed her over as partial payment for a shipment of illegal imports. Apparently being the perfect wife, the perfect hostess, and the perfect lover, wasn’t enough for him. How would she escape, while on the high seas?

Special Agent, Jake Callahan has always believed love at first sight is impossible, until he meets Georgina Barrister Kaplan. His assignment, to follow a high seas trafficking case and she was a prime suspect. 
Will he rescue her from the Russian pirate or will they lose their lives and a chance at happiness?

 

Larkspur/LASR said: She is a first class storyteller with a unique way of telling it. Her love scenes are evocative, sensual and sizzle on the page, while her romance between our hero and heroine is sweet and sensual.

BEST BOOK: Long and Short Reviews

Chapter 1

Atlantic Ocean

Shivers cascaded over Georgina’s body, the November cold penetrating her thin dress. She braced herself against the bumpy jolts as the speed boat hit rough water. The night was moonless, deep black ink surrounded them. The closer they got to the freighter, the faster her heart beat, a quick cadence to match the waves hitting the side of the vessel.

Georgina drew in a shaking breath and tried to lessen her grip on the rail of the boat as they pulled beside the ladder. Her fingers ached with the chill of tension. She glanced at the freighter. It was oh-so tempting to simply fall into the water, but she’d freeze to death or get eaten by sharks. No, the only logical means of escape was catching a ride on the gray metal whale floating in the dark night, on a black ocean, surrounded by a mysterious fog.

She glanced at Kandi, her ex-husband’s current femme-de-jour, dressed in a sleek strapless azure dress and spiked heels, then to Tristan himself. She’d loved him once, but now even looking at him made her colder. His fingers wrapped around the rail of the freighter’s ladder. He grabbed her hand and tugged her from the seat.

No.

Her spine tingled with dread. Tristan couldn’t be trusted. She knew better.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Georgina said. “You can let me off at the next port.”

Tristan gripped her hand tighter and pulled her toward the ladder. “Can’t.”

“Why not?” Georgina jerked Tristan’s arm, ready to throw him overboard. Did demons sink? Her stomach tumbled. Getting on that freighter would be a mistake.

Kandi slid beside Tristan and snarled, “Just get on the ship, Georgina, or I’ll throw your spoiled ass overboard and you can swim back to Virginia.”

Shocked at Kandi’s language and the threat, Georgina glared.

“It’s too late. There’s no going back…not for Gemma either,” her ex-husband spewed.

Damn him for using her best friend as a pawn.

Georgina’s heart rate went tachycardia. She blew slow breaths trying to slow the pace. She released his forearm, sat down on the padded boat seat, and crossed her arms.

“Georgina, climb the ladder.” Tristan’s jaws snapped together.

Kandi sighed and tapped her foot on the metal rail of the rocking boat.

Had Tristan really kidnapped Gemma? He had to be bluffing, but Georgina’s heart rattled against her chest. What if Gemma wasn’t safe? She’d already lost one baby, she couldn’t lose another. “I
decline.”

Tristan gripped her arm and jerked her upright. She reached up with her other hand and dug her nails into the tender skin of his palm.

“She’ll go,” Kandi said.

Georgina sneered at the two, pivoted, and clutched the nearest brass rung.

The three-inch heels clipped the metal, and she slipped on the third rail of the ladder. Determined, she tightened her hold and stepped to the next rung. Homeward bound. A precarious scramble on steps or fear of the unknown wouldn’t prevent her from returning to her little house and Jake. Thoughts of the sleepy little town of Nero intruded. She’d often complained about the boredom and photographing nothing but dog and garden shows. Well, she’d trade her current situation for some of that routine any day.

Jake, her lover. Her heart clutched a little in her chest. Was he searching for her? She maneuvered up one more rung. In the back of her mind, she hoped Jake would come to her rescue.

A wintery breeze blew up her dress and she shuddered. She was beyond chilled in the clingy little dress. She clutched a metal bar and pushed the hem down. Her foot slipped, and her spiked heel dug into Tristan’s fingers. She applied as much pressure as possible.

Tristan roared. He slapped her rear with such force she pressed flush against ladder. “Keep going, Georgina. Move it.” 

Bastard. She stepped to the next bar, releasing his hand.

Finally, she reached the top. Two goons, heavyweight bookends with matching blank
expressions, hauled her over the rail. Tristan crawled on deck and helped Kandi onto the platform.

“Come.” One of the goons, with a melodic Russian accent, motioned with his head.

It didn’t sound like a request.

The men led them down a staircase, through a corridor, and into a square, frigid room. A stainless steel table and two metal chairs were the only furnishings. One seat was occupied by a man she assumed to be Aleksandr Stypopas, the captain of this fine vessel.

Like the gentleman he was, Tristan sat down on the other chair. A bottle labeled IKON Russian vodka sat in the middle of them like a referee. Kandi stood behind Tristan, her hand resting easily on his shoulder. Georgina stood to the side, as close to the door as possible.

While the men talked, in Russian or Ukrainian, Georgina deliberated how to convince Aleksandr to return her to the States. He was as dark and mysterious in appearance as the freighter. His shaggy black beard seemed blacker as a result of the elegant gray shirt and pants covering his thin body. Would this nightmare ever end? It had to be a dream, because Aleksandr was wearing Armani for God’s sake, at midnight, on a freighter, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He didn’t look like a man who did favors out of the goodness of his heart. Would he want money? She didn’t have anything to offer. Or did she? She shuddered at the thought. A raised voice captured her attention. What had she missed?

There was a palpable sense of menace in the air.
Had they walked into a trap? Would they all be killed?

Aleksandr’s voice was oily and his smile– insincere. “Kaplan, we’ve been comrades for almost a year. Why the mistrust?”

“Do we really trust one another, my friend?” Tristan took a sip of vodka.

From Georgina’s viewpoint, Tristan’s hand appeared to be trembling. Damn. There were some underlying messages being sent back and forth that caused her alarm radar to go off. She glanced at Aleksandr. He was smiling. Like a crocodile.

Okay, Tristan, it’s time to leave—now! You’ll have to drop me off at the next port.

“Are you calling me a thief?” Aleksandr’s deep, heavily accented voice filled the tiny room like a sonic boom. He bolted to his feet and his chair clanged to the floor. The angry red glow on his face, either from the heated argument or from the drink, accentuated his gray appearance. His lips virtually disappeared into the mass of black facial hair as he sneered.

Tristan’s face remained calm. “Of course. Aren’t we all? We take items and sell them for a profit. The buyers are not important, nor the nationality, nor the cause, nor how illegal the goods. We steal them for the thrill of making a deal. For money.” His blond cropped hair, light crystal-blue eyes, and winsome smile widened, giving him the appearance of the boy next door.

Georgina stared at his devilish dimples while trying to get a grasp on the situation. She’d fallen in love with his dimples, before she’d fallen in love with the man. Now she looked past the façade and wondered how she’d been so foolish.

“I’ve never cheated anyone in my life, and I resent the implication, Kaplan.” Aleksandr nodded his head to one of his henchmen at the door. Georgina’s fight or flight urge was strong. She tensed and glanced at the exit, calculating whether she could get to it before the goons caught her. What she would do after reaching the entrance, she didn’t know. But she desperately wanted to go through that door.

“Please accept my apology. I meant no offense.” Tristan calmly lifted his half-empty glass of liquid fire and held it out to Aleksandr, for a customary salute.

Aleksandr stared at Tristan, a long, intense, soul-searching glare. “Ah, none taken. However, I do insist the whore be given to me as a fair trade agreement.”
Aleksandr slid his black-eyed gaze down Georgina’s body and came back to stare into her eyes. His thoughts about her were as clear as the vodka between them: brown hair, heart shaped face, an ordinary body, and not worth his time. The brunt of his perusal landed on Kandi. Georgina’s heart rate slowed from its marathon speed. Aleksandr lifted his chair and lowered to the seat.

Kandi gasped, edged closer to Tristan, and reached toward her diamond and jade bejeweled bodice. She tossed her long auburn locks out of the way and pulled the limited blue silk material of the strapless dress higher, trying to cover her endowments as much as possible. Her nipples protruded further as a result of her efforts. She folded her shaking hands at her waist.

“Consider it done,” Tristan said, the words ice cold.
“Tristan!” Kandi screeched, her voice, shrill and full of shock. Her pale pink lips quivered, and her bare shoulders twitched back and forth. Tristan had offered her as a door prize.

Could this be happening? The scene was a Saturday B-movie event. People in real-life did not trade off their friends or family to get a shipment of…of…of whatever obviously illegal thing they were exchanging. The goods had to be contraband to make Tristan sweat. Georgina knew him well enough after six years of living together to recognize the signs of his anxiety. Regardless of how calm he appeared, he wasn’t in control of the situation.

Aleksandr’s eyes glittered with dangerous ecstasy. He turned his cold, calculating stare onto Tristan and leaned back in his chair. His jacket gaped, revealing an old fashioned .44 revolver in a gray holster strapped to the side of his chest. Her father had one just like it in his gun cabinet. The racketeer’s don’t-mess-with-me attitude made him the perfect bad guy for any mafia movie.

Georgina tried to ignore the chills running through her body. She pushed a dry wind-blown strand of hair behind her ear. In an effort to appear to be in command of her emotions, she clasped her hands in front of her and waited.

Kandi’s brown gaze turned toward Tristan. She reached over and grabbed his arm, spilling vodka onto the table top. He peeled her fingers loose one by one.
“You can’t do this!” Georgina didn’t care how much she angered either man. Part of the reason she had filed for a divorce concerned Kandi and all of the Kandis before her. But she was still a human and Aleksandr, regardless of his designer suit, was scum.

“Shut up, Georgina,” Tristan barked.

Aleksandr’s glance took in the clear pool of vodka, and a scowl formed on his hairy face.

Apparently he valued his alcohol.
“How barbaric. Stop this right now, Tristan,” Georgina reasoned, hoping he’d understand this was illogical and perverse.

The oppressive atmosphere grew weighty and thick. Sympathy coursed through Georgina. The black Russian wouldn’t give Kandi the spa treatment on this tub as she’d had on Tristan’s yacht. Tristan had to do something. Why didn’t he act?

“It’s done. Take her away,” Tristan spoke softly, as if the words were for his ears alone. He lifted his hand to his mouth and sucked the alcohol off. The goons started toward the door.

Georgina glanced at Tristan and witnessed the truth in his eyes. 

 

Trade Agreement can be purchased at: THE WILD ROSE PRESS or any other reputable book vendor.

 

Voted #3 best of the best books of 2009 by LASR.