Monday, June 14, 2010

Available Now!

Today sees the release of my Carina Press book SEA OF SUSPICION.
This was one of those stories I wrote from the heart, that I didn't think would sell, that my then agent didn't like, that the hero was too dark and the heroine too nice.   But I loved the characters and the setting so much I just couldn't not finish it.  So when Carina Press opened I figured 'why not?'  And the rest, as they say, is history.

So I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!



BLURB

Marine biologist Susie Cooper traded her life in America for a dream job on the rugged Scottish coast. Now all she lacks is the right man to start a family with. After their first meeting, she knows sexy Detective Inspector Nick Archer isn’t what she’s looking for. He’s the type of guy whose idea of commitment is staying the whole night.


Nick has returned to St. Andrews for one reason only—to fulfill his vow to find his wife’s killer. Relentless in his twelve-year quest for justice, he has no problem using Susie to get close to his primary suspect: her boss. But the passion between them smolders, and as it ignites, Nick finds himself torn between his past and his present—with Susie.

When one of her boss’s students is murdered, Nick’s investigation draws Susie into a web of madness and betrayal. They will have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to catch a killer…and come out of this alive.
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Excerpt...


They turned into her drive and a security light flooded the gravel yard, revealing the beautiful old stone cottage flanked by patches of heather and herbs.
Home. Thank God.

Grabbing her purse, she shoved open the door before they’d stopped. Dormant wheat fields stretched behind the cottage, which bordered a golf course. Emily and Lily’s cottage topped a low rise three hundred yards away, tall hedges giving both houses seclusion and privacy.

Nick stood beside the car door, one foot on the sill, hands on the roof, looking delicious. His eyes darkened as they met hers. “Still want me to call a taxi?”
The air between them crackled with possibility, but Susie nodded. She wasn’t some easy lay for a stranger. She needed to believe she was worth more than that.

“Can I at least walk you to your door?”

Susie looked over to the French doors twenty yards away up three uneven stone slabs. Nick’s request was a baited trap, but he wasn’t that irresistible. She nodded.

Fog billowed along the lilac hedge that marked her property, enfolding them in a soft mystical silence. He fell into step beside her and handed her the key fob. She moved ahead up the steps, brushing an old lavender bush that released its fragrance through the night air. Fumbling, she dropped her keys and Nick bent to retrieve them before she had chance.

“Nice place,” he commented. “Secluded. Wouldn’t have to worry about upsetting the neighbors with loud music or screaming sex.”

Her skin sizzled and every sense felt electrified as if someone had plugged her in and flipped a switch. Her eyes widened, her chest tightened. This was dangerous. She was too aware of him, too interested in the idea of screaming sex, and too damn drunk to run as fast as she should.

And he knew it.

She pressed back against her door, her shoulder blades drawn up tight together. Nick slipped the key into the lock and took a step forward, bringing him close enough to touch if she so much as took a breath. So she didn’t. The lock clicked and he took a step back with a grave expression on his face.

“I’d kiss you goodnight if you didn’t look so scared,” he said softly.

“I’m not scared.”

“Good.” His eyes sparkled as he lowered his mouth to hers.

Mistake! Her mind screamed but it was too late. The breath whooshed out of her as he pressed the gentlest kiss to her lips—as fine a sensation as the stroke of a feather across sensitive skin. And the world stopped. Then every sense climbed to high alert as he took a half step closer, the bulk of his shoulders blocking the wind, and heat coming off his body like rays from the sun. He smelled spicy and male, the leather of his jacket creaking as he shifted his stance. He took her by surprise as he slipped one hand beneath her coat, resting it possessively on her hipbone. Startled, she opened her eyes.

But he kissed her again, this time less gently. Sliding his hand to the base of her spine, the burning impression of each finger pressing through the cotton of her T-shirt, brushing bare skin. His lips were teasing and coaxing, not what she expected from a man who screamed danger. Her palms braced against the muscles in his chest, but they weren’t exactly beating him off. He eased her toward him, enticed a trembling response from her body, but all of a sudden he jerked away and stuck his hand in his pocket.

“Bloody hell.” He pulled out a cell phone, adjusting it to read the display in the poor light. Swearing, he looked at her with an apology in his eyes. And regret. Because she was a sure thing. “I’ve got to go.”

“You’re on call?” Susie couldn’t believe the disappointment in her voice. Go! Please go.

His smile was a slash of white. “Criminals always know when I have a night off.” His eyes slid to her car. “Can I borrow your Mini?” He gripped the back of his neck, looking up at her from under heavy brows. “I’ll get it back to you before morning.”

“Take it.” Susie wouldn’t be accused of getting in the way of law and order, plus it would get him away from her faster. Next time she saw him she’d be sober and prepared. “I’m not planning on going anywhere tomorrow so there’s no rush to drop it off.”

She opened the front door, pulled the keys out of the lock and twisted off the ignition key from her octopus key fob.

“Here.” She threw it to him, not surprised when he snatched it out of the air without even moving his gaze. His intensity was unsettling.

“Susie…I’m sorry.”

She dashed inside and closed the door. Locked it. He could have her car, no problem. But he couldn’t have her. She wanted a relationship, a future, a family. Nick Archer was a lousy bet for anything except orgasms and heartbreak, and not even the orgasms were guaranteed.
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Available for download from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and all good online bookstores

5 comments:

  1. Great excerpt, Toni. Had to laugh at the last line. And best of luck with the release!

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  2. I agree with Kaz! Awesome excerpt, stellar last line. Exactly like the rest of the book! :-)

    I have my copy of Sea of Suspicion and can't wait to dive into it! Happy Release Day, Toni!! Mega congrats! I'm so happy to see all of your hard work pay off!

    big hugs,
    Kathy

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  3. Thanks so much, Kathy! I wouldn't get anywhere without you!!!

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