Sneak Peek (Chapter 1 of WIP, COLD FEET FEVER)

I’ve been hard at work writing my first draft of COLD FEET FEVER sequel to FUR BALL FEVER, and am now about three-quarters finished. This week, I thought I would give readers a sneak peek at Chapter 1. I would appreciate any comments you might have about this excerpt, and offer a free copy of FUR BALL FEVER to one lucky commenter, my gift to you.


Katie Deluca stared at the closed door, hoping her ears were deceiving her. They weren’t. That silky bourbon-and-cream voice spoke again. “You surely do have magic fingers, sugar dumplin’. That feels real good . . .” The words trailed away into nothingness. Seconds later, she identified a masculine growl underscored by a feminine giggle. The sounds definitely originated from Sam Jackson’s office.

Che cavolo? She snatched her hand away from the handle.

For the third time, she verified the gilded nameplate beside the door. It still read: “Samuel Beauregard Jackson, M.B.A., CEO of Kinki, Atlantic City’s First Paranormal Nightclub.”

Right place? Check.

In the remote possibility she’d arrived at the wrong time, a quick glance at her Timex told her it was exactly 11:29 a.m.

Right time? Check.

To be on the safe side, she edged as close to the door as possible without actually pressing her ear against it, and tilted her head to listen.

Did she detect a whimper?

After a while she gave up. A host of odd-looking individuals lining Kinki’s second-floor corridor were creating so much racket it was impossible to isolate sounds. This crowd must be attending the job fair she’d read about. According to the hasty Internet research she’d conducted on her Smartphone, the two owners had purchased the fetish club with their gambling proceeds, and were revamping it into a nightclub for vampire and zombie wannabes, complete with paranormal costumes. The inspiration for the club was a computer game called Last Ghoul Standing, designed by one of the owners, who was reputed to be something of a computer genius as well as a deadbeat and womanizer.

Katie studied the applicants. Everywhere she looked, ghosts, ghouls, and goblins rehearsed their spookiest sounds. Several candidates sprouted vampire teeth, while others dripped gore from neck wounds she hoped were fake. On spotting a couple of semi-rotted zombies in the crowd, she suppressed the desire to flee.

Crap, crapity-crap. Accepting this contract had been a huge mistake. Kinki was even creepier than the family funeral parlor she’d left behind. Her new job had “Trouble” with a capital “T” written all over it, especially if Sam Jackson was conducting one of his famous seductions behind closed doors. She shuddered at the thought of sharing an office with a womanizer whose fondness for gambling, carousing, and Jack Daniels was legendary. If rumors were true, Sam, as he liked to be called, was afflicted by several addictions, all wrapped up inside one gorgeous package. Then again, what other choice did she have? She’d been hired to organize a kick-ass grand opening for his club, and she always followed through on her commitments.

Truth be told, if someone had asked her to gnaw off her own hand at the wrist to score this contract, she would cheerfully have chowed down.

Katie assessed Sam’s door again. Surely no man in his right mind, even a renowned playboy, would attempt a seduction in the middle of a job fair. She identified a particularly vocal ghoul who was testing various blood-chilling wails as the most likely source of the whimper.

A quick pat of her hair verified her neat bun was still in place. It had taken her half an hour to spray her unruly hair into submission. Fortified with the knowledge of her smart and professional appearance in her best suit and black leather shoes, she sucked in a deep breath before tapping the door.

Inside the office, an odd clacking noise became audible, grew louder, then stopped. Chalking up the sound to office equipment, she knocked again using more force.

She swore she heard a faint panting, before silence descended once more.

She tried the handle. It didn’t budge. Using the key Hiram had given her, she opened the door and tip-toed inside.

The German shepherd leaped to its feet, skidded on the hardwood floor until it gained traction, then shot forward, aimed in her direction.

Rex (Relaxed & Smiling)“Nice Rexy,” she said, trying to calm the dog she recognized from their first encounter. With a joyous yelp, Rex sprang. Enveloped in fur, excited whimpers, and doggie breath, her knees threatened to buckle under the strain of one hundred-plus pounds of eager dog. She staggered backward, propelled across the corridor and mashed against the opposite wall.

After a brief wrestling match, she managed to dislodge the massive paws from her shoulders. Rex dropped to the floor, circled twice, and licked her feet.

“Cut it out, Rex,” she said. “You’ll ruin my panty hose.” She gave the hairy mountain a shove. Puffs of loose fur filled the air and clung to her black suit. Warm slobber trickled into the sensible shoes she always wore in the workplace.

Katie made a grab for the collar, but Rex danced away, golden eyes gleaming at the new game. She solved the problem by extracting her brown bag lunch from her purse. A good event planner was always prepared.

Rex froze to the spot and stared at her chicken sandwich with pickle, lettuce, and tomato on whole wheat bread. His nose twitched. Saliva dribbled from jaws massive enough to crush a mastodon bone. The dog pointed his nose at the ceiling and gave an eerie and prolonged howl.

The sound was so mournful, it caused the hair on the back of her neck to stand at attention. The poor beast was obviously ravenous. After unwrapping her sandwich, she tossed it inside the office. Rex galloped after it with Katie close behind. While the dog gobbled her lunch, she closed the door, and looked around.

Except for Rex, the enormous office appeared empty.

Breathing a sigh of relief, she leaned against the door, wondering when she would meet her office-mate.

A moment later, her nose twitched at the familiar scent of pepperoni, cheese, and spicy tomato sauce. She scanned the room again and noticed a Meatza Pizza box, jumbo takeout coffee, and family-sized bottle of painkillers on top of a tall filing cabinet. Sam must have stepped out for a minute. No doubt, he’d be back soon.

Mysterious rustlings followed by a soft groan of pleasure caused Katie to turn around slowly. Except for the dog, no one was there. Hunkered down in front of the filing cabinet, Rex was eyeballing the pizza. He issued another mournful howl. The long and quavering sound reverberated through the office, ending in a sharp bark.

A man’s voice yelled, “Shut up, Rex, or as God is my witness, I’ll return you to the pound. Lie down.”

Rex lay down with a throaty grumble, his gaze focused on an alcove she’d overlooked.

Katie crept toward the alcove and peeked around the corner.

Someone had kicked off a pair of cowboy boots and left them in the middle of the floor. A shirt puddled beside them, a silky heap of cloth. The back of the sofa prevented her from getting a good look at the occupants, but very few seconds, a woman’s head made a rhythmic appearance.

She was obviously on top, and focused on the task at hand.



TJL - 225 px High (72 pxpi)

A reporter on a mission to salvage her career and save her mother’s life …
With her reputation in tatters, acclaimed journalist Charley Underhill invades a remote archaeological dig, determined to unravel rumors of an ancient curse. If it means avoiding hairy, hungry predators or lying to a charismatic archaeologist with a sexy Scottish accent, brilliant scientific mind, and gaudy Hawaiian shirts, she’s up for the challenge. She needs the money to pay for her mother’s life-saving treatment.

A brilliant archaeologist determined to safeguard his discovery …
Hell-bent on guarding the secret of a ruined Olmec city hidden deep in the Mexican jungle, Dr. Alistair Kincaid fears a premature press leak will destroy his last chance at success. He won’t let a snoopy reporter, even one with a quirky sense of humor, smarts, and a heartwarming smile, ruin his career. Or steal his heart.

But ancient danger stalks the jungle on velvet paws …
Secrets collide as strands from past lives intertwine with the present, drawing Charley and Kincaid into a legacy of danger and murder, shape-shifting and mysticism, romance and redemption. Is history doomed to repeat itself or is a new path possible?

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Fur Ball Fever (96dpi - Grey Border)

An impulsive pet spa owner loses her client’s prize pooch …
After a lifetime of impetuous mistakes, Jersey Shore pet spa owner Grace Donnelly outdoes herself when a client’s prize poodle, a shoo-in to win the annual Fur Ball, goes AWOL while in her custody. With money, careers, and lives in jeopardy, Grace is not afraid to strap on the leather to go undercover in a fetish club looking for clues. Too bad her helpers consist of an aging hippie aunt, a renegade schnauzer, a drag queen, and a dominatrix or two. Worst of all, the only man truly qualified to help is her former flame, the most domineering male on the eastern seaboard.

A smokin’ hot bodyguard with his own agenda …
Texas-born security specialist Nick Jackson faces his worst nightmare when Grace’s amateur investigation nearly blows his covert operation. Unless he nails the con-artist who scammed his home-town’s seniors and whacked a witness, his homicidal granddaddy will take justice into his own liver-spotted hands. To salvage his case, his sanity, and his ex-lover’s velvety skin, Nick joins forces with the sassy crusader who rubs him the wrong way–and so many right ways too.

Together, they weather an explosion of murder, mayhem, mystery, & smokin’ hot romance …
Action bounces from the upscale Shore community of Saltwater Estates to a beach harboring washed-up corpses, a fancy yacht no honest preacher could possibly afford, and the bawdiest nightclub in Atlantic City. Hazards multiply like bunnies, culminating in fun, danger, romance … and a Fur Ball extravaganza the locals will never forget.

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I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment, let me know you’ve read this post, tell me what you thought of the excerpt. One lucky commenter will win a free copy of FUR BALL FEVER, my gift to you.

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