The second Diagnosis: Love Cover Reveal

 

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Coming July 28th . . .

He’s science and tradition. I’m nature and new age. We clash at every turn.

Emma

My first months on the oncology wing at St. Agnes Hospital were tumultuous. Between constant fighting with Dr. Deacon Girard–which led to some ill-advised passion in a break room–and losing a patient I’d come to care about too much, I’m beginning to wonder if moving down here was the worse mistake of my life.

But on the other hand, the friendships I’ve made in Harper Springs make the pain worth it. When one of those friendships begins to be more . . . well, maybe it’s time to move on and forget all about Deacon.

If only I can . . .

Deacon

I haven’t run away from a damn thing since I was a kid, but I’ll admit that’s exactly what I did after things got too intense between Emma and me. I took off for Eastern Europe, telling myself that I was there for kids who needed my brand of medical expertise. But the truth was that I needed to get away from Emma . . . because what I feel for her scares the hell out of me.

I’ve been down this path before, and I know the kind of pain love brings with it. I don’t need to do this again. So even when I go back to St. Agnes Hospital, I pretend nothing happened between us. I ignore my own heart.

For as long as I can . . .

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Are you ready for a little more Deacon and Emma?

I’m so excited! This is the second sneak peek excerpt of Informed Consent Book 1 of Diagnosis: Love. If you’ve been reading the serial Pretend You’re Mine, you already got a little taste of St. Agnes Hospital and Dr. Girard . . . and if you read the first excerpt, you know there are fireworks between Emma and Deacon. But now let’s check out Deacon’s point of view . . .

Preorder here! Coming July 21st


 

Deacon

The sun was setting as my truck bumped over the dirt road that my navigation app claimed was taking me to Emma’s house. I had my doubts. As far as I was aware, this area was completely undeveloped. I was all too familiar with the fields out this way. Unless she’d built a cabin in the woods that no one knew about, I would’ve heard some kind of buzz about it.

But I didn’t see anything . . . except, off to the east, an old trailer was set up among the weeds and grass. That couldn’t be it. Or could it? Squinting, I spied a blue sedan parked alongside the mobile home. There was definitely someone living there. It might be our naturopath . . . or it might be an anarchist with an arsenal who didn’t want to be disturbed. I figured I was going to have to take my chances.

I drove closer and squinted through my windshield, checking out the situation. There were curtains on the windows, and a small deck outside the trailer’s door boasted a bunch of potted plants. Yeah, this was a chick’s place, for sure. Anarchist, as a rule, didn’t care much about the niceties of life.

Still, I moved cautiously as I parked the truck and climbed out. And I stood near the front bumper as I called out before approaching.

“Emma! Uh, Dr. Carson!”

There was movement within the trailer, and within a few seconds, the door opened. Emma stuck her head out, and even from that distance, I could see her scowl.

“What are you doing here?”

I stalked over toward her, plowing through the weeds. “Is this where you live?”

She stepped outside onto the deck, closing the door behind her and crossing her arms over her chest. For just a moment, I let my gaze wander down her body. She’d changed from her work clothes into denim shorts that had definitely seen better days. But I wasn’t complaining since they showed off miles of long, tanned legs above an old pair of Keds. And the blue T-shirt she wore on top hugged her breasts like a lover.

“Hey. Eyes up here.” She pointed to her face. “What’re you looking at?”

“Sorry.” I dragged my focus up where it belonged. “Uh, I’ve just never seen you undressed. Not dressed, I mean. For work. You’re usually . . .” I made a gesture toward her legs. “You know. Fancy. Professional.”

“Good to know, because fancy professional is what I’ve been aiming for.” Her tone was arch.

“Do you really live here?” I repeated the question that she hadn’t answered.

She rolled her eyes. “No, this is my summer place. I come out here to get away from the hustle and bustle of my townhouse.” Sarcasm oozed from her words. “Yes, I really live here. I own this land. I’m in the middle of planning the house I’m going to build, which I hope to have started shortly.”

“Why here?” I knew it sounded wrong even as I said it. But I just didn’t get it. Why the hell would someone with her resources choose to live in a shack in the middle of nowhere? Housing wasn’t exactly plentiful in Harper Springs itself, but there were some decent neighborhoods in the nearby towns.

Emma’s tongue darted out to swipe across her lips, and I realized that I was making her uncomfortable. “I have plans.” She spoke softly but clearly. “I want to grow my own food, raise herbs and the plants I need for the oils and supplements I want to offer my patients . . . I want to put all of the research and learning I’ve done over the past years into practice here. I want this place to be a haven—not only for me, but for others.”

I could hear the banked passion and earnest longing coming through what she was saying. It was the first time I’d seen such vulnerability in her, and I was taken aback.

“The land’s good.” I cleared my throat and turned to stare off into the distance. “The soil . . . it won’t need much help.” I pointed toward the tree line. “I grew up on a farm just a mile or so over that way. My grandparents still live there. They grow tomatoes and corn and strawberries—it’s not a huge operation, but we did okay.” It had been enough to help me get through college and medical school, and for that, I’d always be grateful.

“I never would’ve pegged you as being a farm kid.” Emma sounded amused now. “Matter of fact, speaking of being out of uniform . . .” She paused and very intentionally trailed her eyes up and down me in an obvious imitation of how I’d checked her out. “Who knew that the impeccable Dr. Girard owned a pair of jeans?”

“Funny.” I took a step closer and braced one hand on a nearby patio chair. “Most folks around here are more surprised to see me in a suit, even now.” I angled my head down and peered through one of the trailer’s windows. “Do you have electric in that thing?”

Her eye twitched. “Not yet. Just gas and kerosene lights. I’m working on getting utilities out here, but I’m given to understand that it’s a process.” She gave the word air quotes and then shook her head. “Anyway, that doesn’t matter. What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to talk to you about Angela Spencer.” I dragged the chair back a little. “Can I sit down?”

Emma shrugged. “Sure. The bugs are going to get vicious pretty soon, but you’re probably okay for now.” She sank down to perch on the step, her eyes staying on me as though she expected me to make some kind of unexpected move. “What about Angela? If you hauled your cookies out here to yell at me again about the PICC line, you could’ve just waited until tomorrow.”

I eased gingerly into the porch chair, not quite certain it would support me. The wicker groaned a little, but I didn’t end up on my ass, so I decided I’d probably be okay.

“I didn’t come about the PICC line deal. Or—yeah, I guess I kind of did, but it was to tell you that I think you were right. I know I fought you about that whole thing, but I was wrong.”

Emma’s eyes widened dramatically. “Oh, my God, and here I am without a witness. The great and powerful Dr. Girard was wrong about something? Is this a first? Should I be filming it for posterity?”

I gritted my teeth. “I’m not the arrogant asshole you seem to think I am. Believe me, I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. I freely admit to that. And when I do, I own up to them.”

She stared at me, her expression inscrutable. “Okay. Good to know.” She shifted, leaning her hands back to rest behind her and stretching those endless legs forward. “Did you seriously drive out here to tell me that, or was there something else?”

There was something else. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of things I’d driven out to discuss with Dr. Carson tonight, but as twilight drifted over us and the crickets began to sing, I was tempted to just sit here with her and savor the peace for a little while. None of what I’d planned to bring up was going to make her happy. Maybe for once, it would be all right for us to enjoy a détente, no matter how tenuous and short-lived it might be.

As I brooded over this, Emma tilted her head, watching me, waiting for my response. A movement to her left caught my eye, and without stopping to think about it, I leaped to my feet and grabbed her arms, pulling her up and away from the trailer. Taken unawares, she teetered off-kilter, her hands gripping my shoulders to keep her from falling over.

I became painfully aware of several things at once. Emma’s long, lithe body was pressed up against me. Her full breasts rubbed my chest as she sucked in a quick breath. Her face was tilted up to stare into mine, and her lips were slightly parted in surprise.

And I wanted to kiss her more than I’d wanted anything in a very long time.

Preorder here! Coming July 21st

 

THE MUSTANG: A Sneak Peek

Duty. Honor. Country. 

Love. Romance. Passion.

Lark

Look, I don’t need a psychologist to tell me why I am the way I am. I grew up with a mom who was forever chasing her happily-ever-after, never considering the cost to herself–or to me. That’s why I’m not interested in fairy tales or in finding some elusive prince charming to solve all of my problems.

Until I meet him in the bar where I work. One night of fun somehow begins to mean more, and it scares the crap out of me.

Nolan

I joined the Army when I was just a kid, mostly because I didn’t know what else to do with my life. I never dreamed I’d love it enough to make it my career, but now here I am, an officer, stationed at West Point, leading a company of soldiers. What started as an escape has become my passion–and it’s one that doesn’t have space for anything–or anyone–else.

Until I meet her at my buddy’s bachelor party. I think I’m indulging in one meaningless night, but I can’t stop thinking about her. Remembering her. Wanting her.

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WARNING: This scene is H O T and contains sexual language. Read at your own risk! 

******

It was still dark when soft lips brushed over mine. 

“Lark.” A man’s voice roused me gently from sleep, and part of me wanted to panic before I remembered . . . Nolan. 

“Lark, baby, I gotta go. I have PT in about an hour, and I have to get back to quarters and change.” I thought I felt his hand stroke my hair, but I couldn’t force my eyes open. 

“Thanks for last night. It was—you were—you are—amazing. I’ll . . . see you again.” 

Much later, I opened my eyes to sunshine pouring in through my curtains. Pushing myself up in bed, I gazed around the room, smiling a little when I saw that my clothes from last night were now neatly draped over a chair instead of strewn across the floor. Clearly, Nolan had done that while he was finding his own clothes. 

He’d woken me at some point in the night by using his tongue on my pussy yet again as if he couldn’t get enough. And after that, I’d straddled his drool-worthy body and ridden that massive cock to yet another mind-blowing climax. I was sore, but in the best way possible.

I fell back against the pillows and sighed. He wasn’t wrong in what he’d whispered to me before leaving early this morning—last night had been incredible. It was definitely the best sex I’d had in . . . maybe ever. Not that I’d ever tell him that—not that I’d ever give myself a chance to tell him that. Nolan was like me—one and done. We’d had a good time together, but sex like that could far too easily be taken for something else, and I was not the woman who would allow herself to make that kind of mistake. 

If we happened to see each other again in passing—and it wasn’t impossible; West Point and Highland Falls were both small communities, and it was more surprising that we hadn’t met until now—we’d both be mature about it, I was sure. Hell, it was possible that he might not even remember me. Maybe I was just another in a long line of women he’d fucked, and though I might look familiar, it was entirely conceivable that after today, he wouldn’t remember my name. 

I was pretty sure, though, that he’d been right about something he’d boasted last night. I wasn’t likely to forget his name—or the way he’d felt inside me—any time soon.

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Coastal Magic 2020–in the books!

Last weekend marked my eighth year as a Featured Author at Coastal Magic Con, and it was better than ever! Check out these pictures from our Roaring Twenties weekend . . . and consider joining the fun next February!

Second Chance Romance: Love is sweeter the second time around

Last year, a friend let me know that she was putting together a proposal for Apple Books to do a second chance romance feature. She asked me to submit any of my second chance romance as part of that.

When I think second chance romance, I think a second chance at love–full stop. So my mind immediately went to The Posse, where Jude, a young widow who experienced deep and abiding love with her late husband, finds herself falling for their long-time best friend. She gets a second chance at love.

But apparently, this is not the generally accepted definition of second chance romance–what I learned was that this is a much narrower understanding, wherein the love must be between the same two people, both times.

Happily for me, I had a book like that, too. The First One is the second book in my Love in a Small Town series. It’s near and dear to my heart, because it’s actually a story I had had in my head for a long time before I wrote it.

The book was inspired by Tim McGraw’s song Everywhere. The very first time I heard those lyrics, a tale began to evolve in my mind . . . a young couple in a small town, both of them eager to escape together, until the day of departure arrives. Why didn’t she go with him? That was what made the story.

Ali is the youngest sister of Sam Reynolds, and when we meet her in The Last One, she’s the single mom of a feisty little girl named Bridget. Sam and Ali both reference the fact that she’s divorced, but neither of them says much more than that until one night when Ali spills her heart to her new friend Meghan, the woman who’s slowly winning Sam’s love.

Still, we don’t know what lies ahead of Ali until The First One, when Flynn, the boy who’d been hers back in high school, comes back to Burton for a sad occasion. As it turns out, there’s more awaiting Flynn than he expects.

The First One is on sale at Apple Books for only 99 cents through the end of January. Grab it now and find a second chance at love!

Since Amazon has price-matched the book, Kindle readers can also get in on the fun right here.