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Calisa Rhose presents ~ Ilona Fridl and Prime Catch

Calisa Rhose ~ Friday FanFare welcomes ~ Ashantay Peters

Calisa Rhose has Silver Blade!

Osiyo~

Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.

I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today, Charlotte Copper who is here to share her new book, Silver Blade with us!

Please show ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Charlotte some real Ranch love!

CharlotteCopperThank you for having me!

Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.

This was probably the hardest question because I was trying to think of something other than my standard “from Canada, second marriage, one daughter, two step-daughters” and then I realized there is something very important about me that I haven’t really mentioned…I’m a breast cancer survivor.  I was diagnosed in 2001 at the same time I was going through a divorce. I’ve got a clean bill of health now, but having cancer changes you.  I find myself thinking more often “life is too short not to (fill in blank)” Since then I’ve gotten remarried, have three tattoos (celebrating one, five & ten years cancer free), and have the wonderful honor of having Silver Blade published.

That is definitely something mention-worthy, Charlotte! Huge celebratory congratulations on beating the demon all women fear will come breathing down on us! Thank you for sharing that and I love the idea of your tats. Very cool idea.

Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones.

My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room though I do have a room I can go to. What does your writing space look like?

I have an office in my house since I work from home, but because I spend all day in there at my “real” job, I tend to find myself sitting on my bed with my laptop when I’m writing.  In the winter, I let the cats in to snuggle and keep me warm. In the summer, they’re locked out of my bedroom.

LOL I have one cat I started locking out of the bedroom when I had my hysterectomy in 2000, the year after I got her.

For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?

I hate to rub it in, but both come naturally. For names, I keep a list of names in my notebook, and I often pair my H&H as soon as the names come to me.  For titles, I like to have a color + word, like my name, Charlotte + Copper.

They both come naturally to me also. 🙂

What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?

Although creativity should be allowed to flow, there really is a lot of structure around writing a book, and if you don’t know the basics then take some courses before you start. I don’t mean you need a 4 year degree in English, but some basic courses in writing can help a lot.

The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?

I think acceptance of non-print books is needed by both writers and readers. I think the e-movement is great for a lot of authors because if you get the right momentum (blog tours, reviews, etc), you can hook new readers versus trying to get prominent shelf space in a book store. For me as a novella-length writer, e-readers are a blessing but I’m still amazed at the number of friends and family that only read paper.

Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?

I wish my fellow Roses (Wild Rose Press authors) lived closer.  I’d love to do regular lunches with them to learn and share.

So would I! I’m making a bucket list for when I win the lottery. This just became #6 LOL

It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆

Favorite animal? Giraffe (but don’t tell my cats!)

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Summer

Favorite food? Tie: Coke & chocolate

Well done! 🙂

Okay, Flash four. Ready?

What are you working on now?

I’m struggling with whether I re-work a recent story I received back from my editor, or put it aside and focus on another project.  (I’ve wasted a lot of time “struggling”, and haven’t moved forward on either side for awhile.)

I think a lot of us have been where you are. I know I have! 😀

What are you sharing today?

perf5.000x8.000.indd

I’m keeping it simple, and this is the cover blurb from my recent release Silver Blade. It is a paranormal-romance, e-novella.

Oscar McAvoy hunts demons. Chosen to rid the world of evil, he nevertheless condemns himself as a murderer. When saved by the beautiful Angela Knight, he judges himself undeserving of love.

Angela Knight is on the way back from her brother’s funeral when she stops to help a fallen motorcycle rider. Her body responds to the handsome stranger, a man whose scars and tough exterior suggest a rough and dangerous life. When she can’t stop thinking about him, Angela must decide if she is willing to give the sexy, mysterious stranger a chance.

Love chooses us; we do not choose who we will love or who will love us.

Where can we find you and your books?

website & blog: http://charlottecopperauthor.com or  http://is.gd/cNnXmx
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/charlotte.copper.52 or  http://is.gd/C05P6o

Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/10EnetM

Amazon (UK):  http://amzn.to/13aL6oH  

Wild Rose Press:  http://bit.ly/14E2JUg

Where will you be next?

Angela & Oz are going to be answering some of their own questions in August. Angela will be visiting Babette James (www.babettejames.com/posts) on August 2nd.  And Oz is being interviewed by Wild Women Authors (http://wildwomenauthorsx2.blogspot.ca) on August 12th.  Come check him out…I  mean, check out what he has to say.

I’m biased because Silver Blade is a novella, but I’ve been reading a lot of these shorter (less than 100 page) books lately. I think the novella offers a perfect escape that you can download onto your e-reader and read over lunch or on the bus to work. I’d like to end by asking what other readers think about the increased availability of the shorter book/novella? Are they worth it? 

I’ll be giving away a pdf copy of Silver Blade to two readers randomly selected from all of those who leave a comment for me on the blogs I visit during my tour. (Visitors can have multiple entries if they comment at more than one blog. Dates & sites for my tour can be found on my website.)

Thank you again, Calisa, for allowing me to visit.

Thank you so much for playing along Charlotte! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.

Dodadagohvi~

Calisa Rhose presents ~ Anne Ashby

Kathleen Gallagher’s back with Calisa Rhose!

Calisa Rhose presents ~ Diane Burton with Switched Resolution

Calisa Rhose presents ~ What a Texas Girls Dreams by Kristina Knight

Calisa Rhose presents ~ A Small Degree of Hope by Lyndi Alexander

Osiyo~

Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.

But before we get started today I wanted to announce that as of April 20th the Ranch is now a .com site! That’s right, I finally purchased my domain name so if you noticed the ‘wordpress’ part missing in my URL, only http://calisarhose.com, that’s why!! Now back to business.

I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today. Lyndi Alexander is sharing her book, A Small Degree of Hope, with us!Alana_Barb_Lyndi Lyndi also just happens to be a new Lyrical sister.

Please show ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lyndi some real Ranch love!

Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.

I’m so pleased to be here! In my day job, I’m a family law attorney (not nearly as glamorous as it looks on TV), and at night I’m a wife, and a mother to two children on the autism spectrum and a Japanese exchange student. I’ve lived all around the country, in Montana, in tropical Florida and now in Pennsylvania. I wrote my first novel at age 14, worked as a journalist for several years before law school, and finally, I’ve been fortunate enough to have nine of my novels published.

You sound like a very busy, hands-on mom. It’s great you work in time to write though! Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones.

My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room. What does your writing space look like?

Because my kids required therapy/services for their younger years, I’ve had my law office in the house for the benefit of the therapists. I write there at the same desk, wishing I could let the phone go to voicemail sometimes, but I just can’t! It’s like an obsession. If the phone rings I’m compelled to answer.

LyndysofcSo writing is sometimes a hit-and-miss session. After several of my novels were published, though, I got the idea to have the covers made into posters, like movie promos. They’re all framed up on the wall next to the desk, so they provoke me to keep on writing. Or else.

I. LOVE. These! How awesome! It’s something I do, but on a smaller scale. *thinking I need to go BIGGER!*

For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?

Character names are a breeze for me. I love looking through baby name books, discovering names just a little off the beaten path, especially in the foreign derivations.

Titles, though, I have a harder time with. I usually search through quotations to see if I can find something that fits. The title for this book I found there. But I try not to get too attached to titles, because almost always I get the request from an editor for something different anyway.

What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?

Persist.

No, really, that’s it.

Like I said, I wrote my first novel when I was 14, and I got a contract for my first published novel when I was 53. I wrote all through that time, for a newspaper, for the law school paper, as a blogger, wrote tv reviews for an online company, published short stories and submitted every chance I got. At the same time, I took writing classes every year, at conferences or online, continuing to build my repertoire of writing skills. Since 2009, I’ve received 18 contracts for novels. Sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on.

The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?

Continuing to produce work, no matter what’s shifting in the industry. The question of who’s going to publish it may constantly be up in the air, and it may be that, like many of the pros now, after a writer builds a following he or she can begin to self-publish and actually make a living at this. I’m thinking of authors like C.J. Lyons, who’s been on the bestseller lists for both her traditionally published and self published books.  The other thing I believe is that authors should appreciate the readers, and interact with them in a positive way. Without our audience, we couldn’t share our stories.

That’s very good and true advice, Lyndi. Something I’m sure a lot of writers learned early on, and new writers will too. With that said, who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?

I’d love to have met Anne McCaffrey, who wrote such wonderful science fiction/fantasy with strong women characters. We shared a birthday—April 1– which is a whole category of wacky in itself. But she really had a gift for drawing characters, and I would love to have learned from her about it.

How cool to share a birthday with someone you look up to!

It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆

Favorite animal? Giraffe

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter?  Spring!

Favorite food? So hard!  Um… veal marsala?

Giraffes and veal…interesting! Well done! 🙂

Okay, Flash four. Ready?

What are you working on now?

I’ve got several books in various stages of production, so I’m going back and forth between making a first draft, editing the final copy, and doing promotion. Some days my head spins a bit. 🙂

My head spins most days! 😆 What are you sharing today?

A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is science fiction romance, coming out June 3 from Lyrical Press.

Here’s the story:  Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.

Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.

When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

asmalldegreeofhope_LyndiThis excerpt is after the first full day Kylie spends autopsying a mutated woman, and she’s spending it in a cop bar, letting the alcohol and atmosphere erase some of the memories for her:

As Kylie took another drink, she noticed a man at a table near the door stared at her, dissecting her in a way that felt not like he was undressing her, but more like he looked past her skin, into her psyche, or perhaps her soul. Kylie stared back, putting a forbidding expression on her face. Usually, that was enough to scare off a would-be masher. But it didn’t seem to faze this one.

The man’s persistence triggered a defensive response, and she lost interest in the alcohol. She left half a dozen plat coins on the counter, enough to cover her tab and something for Lin, and then headed for the door.

As she approached the man’s table, he stood up. “Please join me,” he said.

“No, thanks, I’m on my way out.”

“Please,” he said firmly. She stopped to look at him. That glance froze her steps. His eyes were the exact yellow tone of the dead woman’s. Exact.

She surveyed the room, but no one seemed to be paying attention. One gesture from her would have garnered assistance, but those eyes compelled her to wait. “Why should I?”

His voice softened. “I have information that could be of use to you.”

“Then perhaps you should come to the Cendiary. That’s where SIRT’s camped while this investigation is going on.” Her mind clicked along frantically trying to reject the half bottle of alcohol she’d consumed. There was something about this man, something about him. His eyes, but more than that. Taller than most men, and broad-shouldered. Hair, perfectly combed, his skin, without a blemish. Not even the hint of an old scar. Clothing, unremarkable. Hands, not quite perfectly proportioned, his fingers a little long, the nails even but lengthy for a man.

“No. I need to talk to you now.” His gaze continued to dance with hers.

She blinked and looked away. “This isn’t a good time, friend.”

He cocked his head, a, thin eyebrow raised. “You consider me your friend?”

His hesitation made her miss a beat, too. “No, I don’t consider you my friend.” She frowned. “Come to the Cendiary in the morning.” She turned to go, but her wrist was suddenly caught in an iron grip.

Tugging on her captured hand, she looked over her shoulder. He held no apology in his eyes, and his expression was grim. He nodded to the empty chair beside his. “I need to talk with you, Investigator Kylie Sanderson. Please hear what I have to say before any more females are damaged or killed.”

* * *

Where can we find you and your books?

http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/a-small-degree-of-hope-coming-soon/  is the page for this specific book, and we’ll have more detailed information next month, but my other science fiction and fantasy books, many of which have romantic storylines as well, are also listed there.

Where will you be next?

I’m currently teaching a local fiction-writing class, but in July, I’ll be teaching a fiction seminar at the Ligonier Valley Writers Conference in southwestern Pennsylvania (http://www.lvwonline.org/lvwCon2013.html).

Thanks so much for having me, Calisa. The Ranch is certainly beautiful this time of year.

Thanks for the kind words about my ranch. It’s about time for some spring décor. Don’t you agree? I thought the blue diamond theme suited April, but it is awfully busy so I hope you like the new background in honor of the Ranch’s new status. 😀

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As a bonus for your readers, I’ll give away an ARC of my fantasy novel THE ELF QUEEN to one lucky commenter. We’ll choose from those who answer this question: 

Do you believe that true love can overcome any obstacle, even if your potential match is of a different faith, race, or in this case, alien species?

That’s a great question you ask. I think I’ll sit back and see what others say. A free book? Who doesn’t love that?!

Thank you so much for playing along, Lyndi! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.

Dodadagohvi~

Vonnie Davis says ~ Rain is a Love Song ~

Oh my, I’m thrilled to have the illustrious, incomparable and totally cool Vonnie Davis back again! 🙂

Calisa, I’m thrilled to be back on the ranch. Today I want to talk about a FREEBIE on Amazon this week. Free, ya gotta love it!

Oh, I love free, too! Tell us about the book, V. What sub-genre is it?

This is book two of my romantic suspense trilogy and is entitled RAIN IS A LOVE SONG. Each of these books begin in Paris and then move to other locales. This book takes place in Paris, Budapest and Asheville, North Carolina. Each book in the series involves a different romantic couple, yet all are fighting or running from the same band of terrorists—The Red Hand.

I would love to visit Paris. I know you’ve been. Can you see my green? Why choose this city for the series?

The City of Light is my favorite place in the whole world next to wherever my six grandchildren are. You know how that is, Calisa. Nothing measures up to our grandkids. In my heart I feel they are God’s way of showing us the world needs to go on—and we need to protect Mother Earth for their sakes.

Oh, I so agree. I keep threatening to get the heck out of Oklahoma with the tornadoes, but the kids are here… I know what would be fun! Tell me three facts about your grandchildren.

Three? But…but there are so many things to share… Okay. Three, it is. Josh, the second to the oldest of my grandchildren, recently returned safely from serving in Afghanistan. Eleni, my oldest granddaughter, is a freshman in college and majoring in psychology—so she can figure out her grandma, no doubt. Ryan, my scholar-athlete, can do square roots in his head. And although Lauren was born with only one hand, she is an excellent swimmer. Yes, I know that’s more than three, but I’m a romance writer not a mathematician. <cheesy grandma grin>

I know. I could never stop at just three either. Let’s try again. Tell us your three favorite movies of all time.

Because I love conspiracy theories, I’d have to say “JFK.” Another favorite is “The Great Debaters” with Denzel Washington. All of the Bourne movies because there’s the underlying thread of conspiracy and political intrigue. And since I’m a James Bond nut, all of the 007 flilms. Oops, I almost forgot my favorite romance, “Pretty Woman.” Oh, and “The Blues Brothers” just because it’s so dumb, yet full of music I love.

I am so shaking my head at you. You killed the three with Bond alone. I’m giving you one more try with this counting business.

Tell us three facts each about your hero and heroine in this romantic suspense book. Three! In bullet form, so we can see you’re counting properly.

Why, Calisa, you act as if I can’t count. I’ll gladly do whatever you say. This is your ranch, after all. <bats eyes demurely>

Uh-huh *rolls eyes* You’re not foolin’ anyone. Start counting. <hides cheesy grin>

  1. Jean-Luc LeFevre, with a father from Paris and a mother from Budapest, is an agent with the French counterterrorism unit and is also an ex-Maritime Commando, the French equivalent of our SEALS.
  2. He enjoys books on history, seeing to the safety of those he cares about and black lace on his women, of which there have been many until he meets an annoying American woman whom he finds too aggressive and damn annoying.
  3. Working undercover is his forte (pun intended), yet he financially supports an orphanage in Budapest because of his fondness for children and to atone for his sister’s abduction while he was supposed to be watching her.

~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~

  1. Gwen Morningstar lost her husband, her best friend since childhood, while he served in Iraq when their daughter, Rhiannon, was only two.
  2. A control freak, Gwen is a crime scene photographer for the North Carolina State Police and also takes classes in things like karate, plumbing, car maintenance and pole dancing.
  3. Her sister Alyson—heroine in book one of the series—lives in Paris, so when Gwen visits she sees Jean-Luc, a man she takes a perverse pleasure in picking on just to see the tick in his eye worsen.

Didn’t think I could do it, did you?

So…we’re not counting that extra little tidbit you sneaked in? Yeah, that’s right. I noticed how you slipped her added little fact in Jean-Luc’s three… Really, just check out the second part of #2.

I’m afraid to ask if you brought along an excerpt.

Of course I did. I’m afraid it’s kinda long though…but I wanted to share the opening scene.

RainIsALoveSong _w7354_300 (2)

It wasn’t the hardened man who eased his motorcycle to the curb that snagged Gwen Morningstar’s attention. Nor was it the wide spread of his shoulders or the way his black jeans hugged his muscled thighs like a pair of lover’s hands. For sure, it wasn’t the long scar on his right cheek or the small silver cross that dangled from his ear. No, it was his pristine-white angel wings that dragged on the pavement.

Odd that Parisians hurried past without so much as a second glance. As if seeing a mountain of a man riding a Harley with angel wings flowing down his back was as common as citizens carrying unwrapped crusty loaves of bread in their hands. No one gawked as their feet tattooed a staccato beat on the busy pavements of the City of Light. Few things fazed Parisians, it seemed.

“Mommy, look, it’s Jean-Luc.” Her daughter, Rhiannon, breathed in childhood hero worship before she exploded from her sidewalk café chair and rushed toward the man in angel wings.

“I’m not quite sure how I feel about her attraction to him.” Gwen watched over the rim of her demitasse, sipping the espresso’s strong brew and inhaling the richness of its aroma. Jean-Luc LeFevre scooped Rhiannon into his arms and slowly circled, laughing that deep rich laugh Gwen so enjoyed. God, the man was glorious decked out in perilous black and angelic feathers.

“Why? You’re certainly attracted.” Her sister, Alyson, shifted in her chair, her hand over her swollen abdomen. “You date him each time you come to Paris.”

“Yes, and we always end up rubbing each other the wrong way.” Gwen set her cup on the saucer. “Rhiannon wants a father more than anything for her sixth birthday next month.” She expelled a long sigh. “I’m afraid she’s fostering hopes. I don’t like the idea of her being disappointed.”

“Aren’t you fostering hopes?” Her sister laid her hand over Gwen’s and smiled her soft smile. “I see how you look at him.”

Jean-Luc removed his feathered wings, and evidenced by Rhiannon’s bubbling excitement, he was going to let her try them on. Gwen tugged her camera from her bulky shoulder bag at her feet to snap pictures of her daughter in angel wings—not that her daughter wasn’t already an angel with her halo of blonde curls and sweet personality.

“Hopes?” She adjusted the shutter speed on her old camera and shook her head. “No. I have no illusions where he’s concerned. This is my third trip to Paris to see you, and he gets more abrupt toward me with each visit.”

Alyson gazed at the man for a second. “He’s never been anything but polite toward me.”

“Yeah, well, not to me. Tell that husband of yours he needs friendlier agents working under him.” She pressed the Nikon to her eye and snapped a few shots of Rhiannon.

“Yet you keep flirting in that bodacious way you have. Maybe if you toned it down a notch, he’d relax around you more.”

“Can’t do it. I enjoy rattling his he-man cage too much. He gets that twitch in his eye. Makes him twice as appealing.” She winked at Alyson. “Personally, my sister-the-matchmaker, I think you’re the one harboring hopes. You want Daddy married to your widowed mother-in-law and me married to Jean-Luc. One heck of a stretch since the man hasn’t spoken to me since we went dancing a two nights ago. Besides our lives are back in the States. My job. Rhiannon’s school. Our home.”

 “Mommy! Mommy, look, I’m an angel.” Gwen’s attention pivoted to her daughter.

“Indeed you are, sugar pie.” She centered her angelic child in the frame and adjusted the lens before she snapped more shots while her daughter preened and turned, glowing that effervescent radiance her Rhiannon possessed. How nice to take pictures of living beings and beautiful surroundings instead of the horrific scenes she recorded as a crime scene photographer.

If only that white van wasn’t parked there, she could get the unusual architecture of the Pompidou Museum in the background. Still, with her trained eye, she knew the pictures would be enchanting—an excited child, a pair of huge angel wings and a smiling government agent. If only he’d aim one of those smiles at me. Once, just once.

“You’re mumbling again.” Alyson shot her a gotcha look and laughed. Goodness, had she expressed her wish out loud?

After Jean-Luc reattached his wings and approached their table, he knelt in front of Alyson. “How are you feeling?” His large hands wrapped around her sister’s baby bump. “How’s my goddaughter today?”

Lord, just the sound of his deep voice and thick French accent made her stomach do twitchy things. Of course, he would pointedly ignore her—the jerk. He’d make over Rhiannon, Alyson and the baby, but not one word for her. She had a hunch as to why, too. She scared him. This was a man used to doing the chasing, not being chased. Not that she was determined in her pursuit, but she did enjoy his discomfort at her flirting.

She raised her demitasse again and motioned to him with it. “So, why the wings, handsome? Doing your impersonation of a Hell’s Angel?”

Jean-Luc blinked twice as he regarded her with cold grey eyes. The thin scar that ran from his cheek to his jaw only added to the fierceness of this austere man. Red slowly crept up his thick neck. His eye twitched, which pleased her.

“When one is undercover, one makes himself a part of his surroundings.” He gave that arrogant French shrug Parisian men used as if it were a part of their DNA. “Here in the land of the avant-garde, anything shocking works.” Then, as if to indicate he was through with her, he looked at Alyson once more. “Where’s Niko?”

“He went for tickets to the museum so I wouldn’t have to stand in line. Oh, here he comes now.”

Jean-Luc stood and turned. Somehow the angel wings running the length of his back to his calves made him look two degrees more lethal, which perplexed Gwen. What a strange paradox he was. Muscles and macho attitude blended with a fondness for children.

Alyson was right; she was definitely attracted. Wasted dreams where he was concerned. Another week and their trip would be over. She, Rhiannon and her father would return to the States.

Rhiannon sidled up to Jean-Luc and leaned against him. His arm wrapped around her narrow shoulders; a natural move on his part, but another endearing one for Rhiannon who glanced up at him with worshipful eyes. Maybe she needed to squelch her desires for this man and focus on keeping an emotionally safe distance between her daughter and him.

“Rhiannon, come sit by Mommy and eat the rest of your pastry.” The girl reluctantly obeyed.

“Problems?” Niko, Jean-Luc’s immediate supervisor at the French counterterrorism unit, asked before he bent to kiss his wife’s upturned face.

“Yeah, we need to talk. I learned some things from the man I met at that café off Place Pigalle.”

Niko nodded. “You’ve got five minutes, and then I’m taking my ladies to the museum.” The two men walked toward a quieter area down the street.

Gwen’s gaze followed them, their conversation obviously intense by their body posture. They certainly made the testosterone level in this artsy neighborhood rise, especially Jean-Luc’s very masculine bearing. Even those wings couldn’t detract from the man’s sexual aura.

“You’re drooling.” Alyson reached across the table and dabbed at Gwen’s chin.

“Oh, I am not.” She batted at Alyson’s hand, and both of them laughed. “Oh, honey, I miss you so much. Why did you have to fall in love with a Frenchman and move here?”

“Fifi! Fifi, come back! Little girl, grab his leash, please.” A frantic dog owner ran toward them, pointing to her runaway poodle.

Rhiannon scampered toward the dog, making clicking noises with her tongue to attract the dog’s attention just before snatching its leash.

Gwen tensed. Something was off. How did this woman know her daughter spoke English and not French? True, many Europeans spoke English, but she had this ominous feeling. Mother’s intuition.

“Rhiannon, stop. Come back.” She stood, her heartbeat pounding in her ears.

“Oh, merci beaucoup!” The dog’s owner stopped beside the van, one hand on it to steady herself and her other pressed to her chest, as if catching her breath. “You are a dear child. Could you bring her to me, please? I’m so out of breath.”

She didn’t sound out of breath.

A chill sprinted down her spine and Gwen started to run, intent on reaching her daughter. “Rhiannon, stop!” In her haste, her foot got tangled in the strap of her bag and she tripped. Air whooshed out of her when she hit the sidewalk. She scraped her chin and bit her tongue. Her eyes watered in response.

To her horror, the side door of the white van flew open. Outstretched hands like tentacles from the vehicle’s dark interior grasped her daughter and yanked her inside.

“Mommy!” Her child’s wail of fear tore at her soul.

Bile rose in Gwen’s throat. My God, this can’t be happening. “No! Stop!” Panic, searing hot, yet bitter cold, tornadoed through her system. Rhiannon!

Alyson screamed for Niko.

Gwen scrambled to untangle her foot from her bag. “No! Not my daughter! Stop them! They’ve taken my child!” She flung the offending bag aside and dashed for the van as it sped away. The vehicle took aim at Jean-Luc’s motorcycle and crushed its back wheel in the process, then careened into the street.

Heavy footsteps pounded behind her. A blur of white feathers sprinted by. The vehicle, trying to weave through traffic on the two-lane street, slowed. Jean-Luc’s long legs ate up the distance. He leapt onto the back bumper and scrambled for the top. The van spun around the corner with an avenging angel clinging to its roof.

* * *

THIS IS A FREE DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON UNTIL SATURDAY. DON’T MISS OUT!!! HERE’S THE LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Love-Song-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B00BK9QV3K/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_1_NMZE

You brought an excellent selection, Vonnie. I forgive all the others! And you brought Niko back too, can’t go wrong with that! 🙂 Thanks for hanging and entertaining (as is your perfect style!) and I can’t wait to get my copy!

What a Texas Girl Needs (for sure!)