Yes, today is the big double 4. But since I’ve always been a fan of the 11’s times table (who doesn’t love the fun of 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, etc.?), I’m embracing the additional tally on my age column with good humor.
And since I’m in such a good mood, I thought – Why not give away 2 copies of my brand new release? Couldn’t think of any reason not to, so here we go.
I will choose two winners at random from those who leave comments below. (US addresses only.) And since it’s my birthday, let’s go with a theme question.
- What is the craziest birthday gift you ever received? (It can be crazy good, crazy awful, crazy funny, or just crazy bizarre.)
And in the meantime, I thought I’d give you all a taste of A Worthy Pursuit. So here’s a excerpt from Charlotte and Stone’s story. In this scene, Stone Hammond has been knocked out, trussed up, and is being dragged to Charlotte Atherton’s doorstep. Having regained consciousness on the way, Stone decides to feign insensibility to covertly learn more about his target – the woman who abducted three children from their school in the dead of night. Only she’s not the cold-hearted kidnapper he expected to find.
“Mr. Dobson? What on earth . . .?”
Fabric snapped back and forth in a rapid staccato as Miss Atherton hurried to see what her guard dog had drug in.
“He was up on the ridge, miss. Spying on you and the young’uns. With these.”
Ah. Well, at least Stone knew where his field glasses had ended up. The evidence they presented was rather damning, though. He could practically feel her gaze wandering over him, assessing the threat.
Then she was touching him. Her cool hand skimmed over his face until her fingertips rested against the pulse point at his neck. His blood surged at the contact.
“He has a vigorous pulse. I suppose we should be thankful for that.”
Too vigorous for an unconscious man. She didn’t say the words, but Stone heard the suspicion in her tone. The woman was no fool. He willed his breathing to slow, hoping to compensate for his unplanned reaction to her touch.
“I don’t see any blood. You didn’t shoot him, did you?”
“No, miss. Just knocked him a good one. He’ll rouse afore long. What do you want me to do with him?”
An excellent question, Stone thought. Time to see just how far the teacher was willing to go to keep her ill-gotten gains.
“You’ll have to help me get him into the house. I can’t tend to him properly out here in the yard.”
“Get him into the . . .” Dobson sputtered. “Have you lost your mind, woman? You can’t take him into your house. That ain’t what I was askin’. I was askin’ if you wanted me to cart him into Madisonville to the sheriff or take him out back and work out a more permanent solution. Sure as manure stinks, he’s Dorchester’s man.”
“Probably. But we don’t know that for certain. Perhaps he’s simply a cow hand with a penchant for bird watching.”
Bird watching? Stone nearly jumped to his feet to defend his manhood against the foul slur. Only sissified dandies wasted time on—
Her palm pressed against his chest.
As if signaling him to stay down. Had she read his mind?
“Bird watching?” Dobson’s incredulous voice soothed Stone’s pride. “What a load of bunkum. Look at him. He ain’t no bird watcher. He’s a mercenary.”
Retriever, Stone silently corrected. Not mercenary. His brain was for hire, not his gun.
“Even so,” the teacher said, “I can’t condone violence against him. The Bible instructs us to love both our neighbor and our enemy, so no matter which category this man falls into, it is our place to offer assistance. Now, help me carry him into the house.” Her hand finally slid from his chest, but Stone was too stunned to move a muscle.