CONTEST ENDS: February 28th!
PRIZE: A signed copy of A FIERY SECRET
To be entered, just leave a comment here on any February post!
If the winner lives outside of United States or Canada, I’ll substitute a download of A FIERY SECRET instead of the signed print copy! Also if the winner already has purchased my mystery, I’ll substitute another one of my Samhain print books.
I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already. Tuesday night is movie night for us, and we saw “Extraordinary Measures” last night starring Brendan Frazer, Harrison Ford and Keri Russell. It’s based on a true story and very inspiring how the father, John Crowley, never gave up on finding medication to extend the lives of two of his children suffering from a genetic disease.
Today I’m posting two short excerpts from Chapter One of A FIERY SECRET.
Jake Michaels made me throw up on prom night ten years ago. I never really got over it. And now he was back in my life. Obviously, we weren’t the same people. Both of us graduated from college and have real careers. I was an investigative reporter for the local newspaper, The Messenger.
When the paper’s editor-in-chief and owner, Jane Gibbons, recently decided to have a larger sports section to increase circulation, she hired Jake as the new sports editor. We both worked now at The Messenger in Park City, Ohio, where we were born and raised.
My name is Catherine Steel, and I’m five-eight with pale blue eyes. Unfortunately, last summer being outdoors a lot had made a few freckles pop out on my face. But the sun had done something good by giving my light brown hair some natural blondish highlights. Gone were the days when I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and my work uniform consisted of dress pants with a boring pastel shirt. When Jake Michaels moved back and started working at the newspaper, I knew my wardrobe had to include tight, short skirts and stiletto heels so that picking up dropped pens by his desk would be sure to drive him wild with passion. He broke my heart in high school. What he did to me was deplorable and he ruined my sophomore year. Even so, I didn’t want to ruin him. Seeing him squirm like the snake he was seemed to restore my self-respect and take some of the pain out of our past history.
But at the moment, I wasn’t the one making Jake squirm. He was doing that to me. He stood next to me as I slurped water from the fountain in the hallway. He smelled so good I knew I had to take the longest drink in Messenger history. If I lifted my head and made eye contact, I’d be a goner. What was he wearing? Every man should use that aftershave.
“Well, water kid,” Jake said to me, “maybe I’ve been wrong about you all this time.”
I stopped drinking and licked the excess moisture below my lip. “What do you mean?”
“I thought you’ve been getting all these drinks so you could constantly walk in front of my office and show me what I’ve been missing out on.”
I shook my head, noticing how he still had a summer tan. He wore a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Jake had a rugged look but he pulled off appearing preppy at the same time. I saw the challenge in his brown eyes, daring me to deny his observation. “I try to drink lots of water every day. It’s good for you, flushes all the toxins out of your body.”
“I’ve tried to ignore you walking by my office for the past four weeks, but I can’t take it any more.” He pushed me against the wall, but I didn’t object. A tingling raced through me as his hands lingered on my shoulders. “And each time you’ve made your drink run, I’ve seen how you look at me, like you’re all hot and bothered. I have a suggestion. You say you’ll go out with me and then stand me up. We’ll be even. Then we can move on and get together. Like this.” He tilted my chin and lowered his jaw to mine. He covered my lips with a breathtaking kiss, then his mouth lingered sweetly against mine.
I gave him a shove. No way was he getting off that easy. His solution grated on my nerves. I retorted with cold sarcasm, “Oh yeah, even. You’re really something. You never showed up to take me to the prom. I waited for hours in my dress, which, by the way, I spent a fortune on, and I shelled out money to get my hair done.” I decided not to mention the further humiliation when I faced my friends at school. I’d told them I was going to the prom with popular Jake, so they’d wanted to know what happened.
“Catherine, I apologized years ago. And when I asked you to the prom, I told you I’d be late.”
“Being a bit late and never showing up is a little different.”
“The track meet took longer than I thought. And my parents wanted me to wait for my medals. I told you to go ahead if you didn’t want to wait on me.”
Walking back to my desk, I was proud of how I’d handled Jake’s kiss. He’d excited me, but I hadn’t given in. I broke it off quickly. He probably wondered how I could be so cool around him. I smiled, thinking how awesome I was with giving a little and pulling back. Even though Jake was a louse to me in high school, I did intend to go out with him sometime. With a definite chemistry between us, I couldn’t help myself. But I wasn’t going to rush it. The chase was too entertaining.
It might be fun to go to his parents’ Halloween party and wear an unbelievably sexy costume. I could kill the boyfriend off or say he had a death in the family. No. That wouldn’t work. Jake might think I was heartless not going with my boyfriend to the funeral. My mother was right. You should never lie.
I had just sat down at my desk in the middle of the newsroom when Jake appeared by my right side.
He held a paperback in his hand. “I believe this romance novel is yours. You left it in the meeting room.” He glanced at it before handing it to me. “So you like romances. I think I might be more interesting than you reading about a character kissing her man in a book.”
I grabbed my paperback, noticing several sets of eyes watching us. Sometimes I like being surrounded by other reporters and other times I’d like to have my own private office. “I’m researching romance novelists. We have several successful Ohio romance writers in our area, and I’m going to ask them how their novels are different now from several years ago.”
He grinned. “You’re just full of surprises. I never would’ve guessed you like investigating romances. If you need any help doing research, you know my number.”
I clenched my jaw as he walked away whistling. Although I made that up about interviewing romance writers, maybe I would. Jake didn’t need to know my reading habits. Truthfully, I loved contemporary and historical romances, especially ones by British authors. I did vary my reading and enjoyed mysteries a lot, but I always had a supply of romances to read.
Review from a reader (taken from Amazon):
January 26, 2009
By katteyes2 “katteyes2″ (Sonora, Ca)
This review is from: A Fiery Secret (Paperback)
I did like this story even though it was all in single person narrative. I liked how Cat basically went though her everyday life while falling in love and investigating a murder. Cat also makes mistakes and walks into a few issues of her own making, but that what makes her so likable.
Snippet from LASR review:
I enjoyed the tension and attraction between Catherine and Jake. Having been spurned in love before, by Jake no less, Catherine is determined to make a second chance difficult for him and she is bold and shameless in her flirting. It was refreshing to read a story where the main character was confident and smart, comfortable in her body and at peace with herself and her life. Catherine is looking for love, but not desperate for it. She is determined to live her life to the fullest.