Books, Writing

Stones, Squire Hayseed Excerpt

“I wanted you to be better.

“I’m not!” Hayley shrieked, saltwater smothering her eyes as she whipped her hand through the air. “I’m a pickpocket! A street rat! You scooped me out of the gutter and no…no crest on my clothing, or-or alphabet reciting, or sword training will fix that!”

“Why? Why steal? You had everything you could possibly need here.”
Hayley snorted at that. Everything came with strings attached. He was the one to tell her and now he acted as if she should have just smiled with a jolly pat on her head for the kindly Duchess not letting her starve on the doorstep. Gavin raised up higher, his shoulders squaring him into place for Hayley’s indignity. He looked about to say something, probably scream her stupid, but she beat him to it.

“They have everything! Every cursed thing they could ask for. That stuff,” her voice gurgled with the mass of anger and tears in her gut, “all that I stole, they didn’t even notice. Didn’t care. It was like a-a god damn fly to them for all they care. So what if I stole it? That would…would feed someone like me for a year. And they don’t even care!”

Her rambling words echoed through the small house, pinging off of pots she washed and hung up, through the small bookcase where Hayley would run her fingers over the covers to find the words. It wasn’t her home. It was never her home. People like her didn’t have homes, they had stones. Stones for beds, stones for food, stones for graves.

Books, Writing

Pride, Prejudice, and Snow

I’m embroiled in working on a new book that came to me like a bolt of lightning. (Sorry Fallen Cupid and Sexy Assassin’s Creed ideas, you have to wait). It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m calling it Pride & Prejudice & Snow. Beth Cho is a reporter given the task of trying to get ex-teen heartthrob musician Tristan Harty to open up. The two start off on every wrong foot, planning to flee, when a snowstorm traps them together in a cabin. Alone.

Read an excerpt below where the two first meet:

Pausing before the bedroom door, Tristan pulled in a calming breath. He’d run the gauntlet of reporters before his first chin hair sprouted, learning quickly to guard his words and freeze his emotions. But…it had been years since anyone wanted to know what passed between his ears.

A cough startled him and he turned towards the manager glaring at the top of his head. With a start, Tristan found his hand running roughshod over his scalp. The carefully styled locks crunched between his nervous fingers, dry gel raining down. Shake it off, Harty. It’s just another reporter.

Not even a reporter, he assured himself while opening the door. She was…

A solitary chair sat in the middle of the room encircled by darkness. The blinds were drawn, letting only a hint of the snow-speckled haze puncture past the curtains. Light beamed onto the seat as if aliens were about to abduct it. Tristan’s mind instantly scrolled through the interrogation scenes in every movie.

Movement drew him away from the hot seat to the would-be reporter. Even in the muted light of the closed shades, her eyes sparked like flint. Nearly filling her face, the size gave her an innocent and pure look. He’d dismissed the snow-bedraggled woman out of hand as she stood shivering in her coat. But then those flint eyes caught his and he nearly stumbled backwards into the fireplace.

“Mr. Harty,” she said, her hand extending from the darkness, “Beth Cho with Thorn.”

Accepting her fingers in his, it surprised him how warm they were. He gave a quick shake, and said, “Pleasure.” 

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Books, Writing

Exculsive Squire Hayseed Excerpt

Read an exclusive excerpt before Squire Hayseed drops on Amazon on May 14th:

Not a hero. Not a chosen one. Hayley is only a survivor.

At fourteen she finds herself with a choice — hang for being caught stealing or become a squire. She knows nothing about the world of knights, chivalry, swords, and horses, but she knows a lot about death. In this coming-of-age tale, Hayley discovers there’s more to not only the Order of Knights, but the world around her and the strength that lurks inside her heart.


She was dead. A rotting corpse hanging out of a gibbet. Mulch chewed up to fertilize some mayor’s favorite begonias. Deader than the flattest nail in the kingdom.

The others huddled around the weapons rack, eyes peeled as all the nobs in shiny armor began to bicker over who got the best pig at market. Hayley originally thought this wouldn’t be too hard. A little smooching of the backside, some indiscriminate bowing, and she’d be able to hightail it out from under the Knights’ eyes before sundown.

With one hand cradling the massive welt puffed off her shoulder, she felt the narrowed eyes of guards standing at the only exit to this arena. They looked calm, as if they had all the time in the world. The others paid them no heed, either used to having a few armored men around or thinking it a compliment, but Hayley’s palms itched at the sight. On instinct, her stomach churned if she smelled armor polish.

Out of ideas, her head tipped back towards the wall. Even if her shoulder wasn’t shredded pork at this point, she’d have no chance to climb it. Smooth as a waterfall, the dingy grey stone gave no one trespass. Hayley bit on her lip, about to turn away when she noticed a crack in the bricks. Peering closer, a splash of dirty brown-crimson stood out against the not as flat wall.

Shit.

Whipping her head back to the scene, Hayley did her best to not imagine all the ways one could wind up smearing blood into a cracked section of stone. There were a lot of options because people were creative when push came to shove. In swallowing down the lump she caught Larissa huffing in a breath and raising her head higher.

She’d been moping since putting her staff back, acting as if Hayley somehow pissed on her family gravestone. Sure, she was the one wronged — the one without any bruises, any abrasions, and somewhere to go back to when this was over. Poor Larissa. Hayley’d offer to light her a candle for her suffering, but she doubted she’d be trusted anywhere near a church…unless it was in a coffin.

Did people like her even get funerals? Or coffins?

Her teeth chattered like vengeful squirrels at the thought. She’d never wondered before, but now she couldn’t stop trying to picture what would mark her grave.

Books, Writing

Power Excerpt

A never before seen excerpt from the new sci-fi, fantasy book Power.

Pinching into her nose, Jaya said, “I don’t think you need me, but I’ll wait outside just in case.”

The male agent shrugged, and the female one nodded, but for a brief window Naiya stared at her as if the woman’s last lifeline was being tugged back into the boat. I’m sorry, I wish I could help. Biting her tongue, Jaya rushed out the door and heaved her back against the wall. Inside she could overhear the agents making plans with the mother, telling her when they’d come for the boy, how much of his things he could take with. They made a promise of when she’d be able to see him again — two months. It was always two months, for resettling purposes. To give the child a chance to adjust. It was never two months.

When the door to the room closed, Jaya staggered up to find the female agent swiping a hand over her pad and shuffling off the paperwork for a clerk to finish. “Thank you for your help in there. I hoped it wouldn’t come to violence.”

She should smile, thank the woman as well, then return to the office. They were the SK. It was one thing to thumb your nose at the state, that was practically coated in snot, but challenging the SK could wipe out your life.

“What the hell were you doing confronting the woman in the hospital?!” Jaya hissed. So much for having a life.

The woman waved a hand over her pad, barely lifting her perfectly sculpted eyebrow, “My job. The child was near death. Nearer to death than you can understand. We feared she would attempt to abscond with the boy.”

“Her boy,” Jaya tacked on.

“Yes, her child, whom she nearly killed through negligence. And I am uncertain why I am suddenly defending myself to you as if I am the bad guy.”

“It…” She scrunched up her eyes and sighed. “Forget it, forget I even…”

The woman’s soft pink fingernails landed upon the upper arm of Jaya’s leather coat. “The emotion was high in that room. I shall overlook your outburst given how it would have an effect upon anyone.”

The thank you clung to her tongue, but all she could do was limply nod and turn away. Jaya waited until she was near the lounge to lift up a portal, wanting to crawl into her basement office and face nothing for a day. A few people glanced over, no doubt they were waiting on information about their loved ones in surgery. Realizing she was no one important, they all returned to staring glumly at the ground.

Her hand parted through space, aiming directly for her office. Jaya was about to step through when she heard the male agent speak behind her. “When the shit are they going to pass that stupid law already? Let us take ‘em the second their jewel turns blue. Giving ‘em a chance, hope, only leads to this shit. It’s the humane thing to do.”

Not bothering to glance back, she stepped through her tear in space.