Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday: Gateway To Release Week for "A Patient Heart"

It's Monday and as I force my eyes open, struggle to wake up, I'm excited because this week is special.
It's release week for my new contemporary romance with a Valentine's Day theme from Rebel Ink Press, A Patient Heart. Depending on just how I count, it marks either my tenth full length novel release or my 12th novel release or my fourteenth if you can all the short ebooks I have out there.  At any rate, it's a milestone for me.

I always greeted the birth of each of my kids with joy and anticipation - the same holds true for my new novel releases.  I can't imagine ever not being excited and happy  - no matter how many more I produce.  So far for the rest of 2012, I already have almost as many lined up for this year as last - through June so I'm looking for a good year.   Later in February, my time travel/ghost/contemporary romance In Love's Own Time will be out from Rebel Ink Press, Miss Good Samaritan (April 3), In The Shadow of War (May 17), Guy's Angel (June 3), Heart of the Ozarks (TBA), What Fills The Heart (Astraea, follow up to The Marriage Cure, TBA), and a novella from Champagne in May, Long Live The King.

Here's the blurb for this week's release, A Patient Heart:

As a little girl, Catherine dreamed she'd marry Connor Donavan one day and as teenagers, that dream seemed within reach. Until Connor ended their relationship, leaving town and breaking Catherine's heart. Ten years later, far from the old hometown, Catherine reports for work as a nurse one snowy January evening and learns that her new patient is none other than her old love, Connor. When he recognizes her, all the old feelings stir but a few sparks fly, too. As Connor recovers from an accident, Catherine realizes she loves him more than ever and he seems to love her as well. But after he leaves the hospital and convalesces at her home, his real life intrudes into their quiet time together. Then Connor leaves Catherine behind and she stays until a message sends her speeding to Kansas City, to Connor's club... On Valentine's Day.
Rebel Ink Press and Carl J. Franklin's 100th cover!


“Kiss me,” he said, those dark eyes steady like a star in the night sky. Their pull drew her in like the tide on a beach, irresistible and powerful. Catherine couldn’t resist so she maneuvered in and put her mouth over his. As if weighted with magnets her lips attached to his and he kissed her back, strong for a man in the hospital. The deep mouth caress made her tingle and her body revved, answering the intensity with the same. She broke away first, still skittish about being caught.
“Is that better?” she asked.
“A lot,” Connor said, “I’ll be here when you get back but hurry or I might starve.”
Catherine laughed. “I doubt it.”
When she returned with a bag from one of the fast food places out on Neosho Boulevard in hand, she found him back in the chair. He sniffed at the aroma wafting out of the sack when she opened it and sighed with happiness when she handed him his double cheeseburger.
“Thank you,” he said, appreciative. “It smells so good.”
She opened her single burger. “Go slow, Connor. You haven’t eaten much yet and I don’t want to make you sick.”
“I’ll be fine,” he said as he bit into the thick burger. He devoured it but with such slow precision Catherine found no fault. She finished hers at the same pace and removed the trash then sat back on the edge of the bed since he had the sole chair.
“That was awesome,” Connor said, looking somnolent after his meal. “I think it made me sleepy, though.”
Always a nurse, she asked, “Would you like to go back to bed?”
He turned his head so he could face her. “I don’t unless you want to climb in with me.”
All of sudden, he evoked the past, revived memories that sent a fever racing through her blood with warp speed. Whether he kidded or meant it, Catherine’s heart race increased, so much she was glad she wasn’t hooked to any monitors. Her breath caught somewhere between lungs and throat and then he winked.
“Scared you, didn’t I?” Connor said, laughter enriching his voice. “I’d love to just cuddle with you but somehow I figure they wouldn’t like it here.”
“No, I don’t think they would. You got my attention, though.”
“Did I really?” One minute he seemed tough, the next vulnerable and she couldn’t read him, decide which was real or if both were.
“Oh, you do,” Catherine said. “But you might want to lose the Foley first, heal a bit more and get some strength back before you invite me into bed, here or anywhere.”
He shifted in the chair, winced and with a wry smile replied, “Point taken, lady. So if we can’t go to bed, what are we going to do?”
 Somehow she doubted they were going to play checkers but she laughed. “Tell me what’d you be doing right now if you were back home and not in the hospital.”
“What time is it?”
She checked her watch. “It’s almost seven.”
Connor sighed. “I’d be at my club and the early crowd would be there. We’d be serving drinks half price right up until seven and then we’d have an hour before the band, if we had one tonight. If not, I’d tend a little bar, keep an eye on everything, stroll through the place doing a meet and greet and keep everything rolling.”
“You do all that?”
“Yeah, I do most of the time.”
“Don’t you have any employees? You make it sound like a one-man operation.”
He chuckled. “It was when I started the place but I’ve got a couple, a guy named Larry who tends bar, Lupe, who works in the kitchen, and King, my bouncer. They handle a lot. Then I have three waitresses, Trixie, Lisa, and Jen.”
Catherine counted six, four of which were women. Green jealousy reared up, ugly and potent but in a mild tone she asked, “Are they running things while you’re gone?”
“I hope the hell they are,” he said, and then dismay clouded his face. “I hadn’t thought about it. How many days have I been here? Two?”
“This is the evening of the third full day,” she told him. “If you feel up to calling, I’ll loan you my cell phone.”
He wrinkled his nose. “Maybe I should call up there tomorrow. Tonight, they’ll be busy or they should be. What day of the week is it, anyway?”
“This is Tuesday.”
Connor nodded. “They should be able to handle it. I bet they wonder why I haven’t called by now – I planned to check in every day. Did you cancel my reservation or did I just dream you were going to do that?”
“I haven’t,” she said, “It slipped my mind but I can do it whenever you want.”
His eyelids drooped to half mast. “I’m tired tonight. Maybe you can take care of it tomorrow.”
“Okay. Now, seriously, do you want to lie back down? I can help you crawl back in bed without tangling the IV lines and the Foley cath.”
“Maybe in a few minutes,” he said. “I want to get my strength back and get out of here as soon as I can.”
Fatigue touched his face but under it she saw determination and stubborn will. On impulse Catherine rose from her seat on the bed and came behind the chair. She plucked a comb from her purse and fluffed out his shoulder length hair. “Then will you let me comb your hair? It’s a mess.”
“Yeah,” he said soft-voiced. “I’d like it.”
She laughed. “It may hurt – some of it is tangled. I’ll try to be gentle.”
She ran the comb through his hair, lank now from his hospital stay but she thought under normal circumstances it would be just as soft and thick as she remembered. Catherine worked the knots out of his locks with careful hands and he grunted with pleasure more than once.
“Don’t quit,” he said, eyes shut. “That feels nice.”
“Good.” Catherine teased the comb through his hair again. “Tomorrow maybe you can get a shave.”
“Maybe I should just let you shave it all,” he said.
A frisson rippled down her spine, delicious and cold as she imagined how he might look without facial hair. Curiosity warred with an inner appreciation of his moustache and beard which gave him an exotic flair and desire to restore him to the clean shaven look she recalled.
“It’s your call,” Catherine said and he grinned.
“My people at the club would crap,” Connor laughed, “It itches so I think I’ll let you shave it all. They won’t recognize me.”
But I did whiskers and all.

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