Quite often readers ask me what my husband is like. My answer is always the same --If you'd like to know what my hubs is like, look to my heroes. I put a little bit of hubs, aka The Silverback, into all of my heroes.
In Justin, I placed his protectiveness. My husband would do anything to protect me, even take a bullet for me.
In Noah I placed his patience. My husband is calm and quiet when needed, listens and doesn't judge. He has broad shoulders and can handle the 'tough stuff'.
In Dominic I placed his honesty. Don't ask Dom (or hubs) a question you don't want the answer to, because he's going to give you the truth. Neither man has tolerance for BS or lies.
And in Thomas Sr...well, Thomas is older, built, and tends to scare people who don't know him -- as does my husband. But the irony of people being a bit uneasy around the big guy is: he's a teddy bear inside. Squishy, with a heart as big as his muscles.
I'll probably always place pieces of my husband into my heroes. I mean, he's my real life hero, right?
I'm absolutely thrilled and honored to learn that Midnight Heat has made it onto the Top 100 Indie Books of 2015! OMG, thank you so much for voting for Dominic! From here they're going to whittle the list down to the Top 50 - a list I admit I would love to make. If you've read Midnight Heat and are willing to give it a vote, that would be incredible. If you haven't read it yet, you can check it out under the BOOKS tab, Black Phoenix Series.
The last thing Dominic wanted to do was have this conversation with Rebecca. He never had this conversation. Not with interviewers, the other members of the band. Not with anyone. Talking about that time in his life would be equivalent to exposing a festering wound that never healed, then handing the person a knife to add another.
No. No way. Not going to happen.
He looked at her and had no idea what to say. No bleedin’ clue how to get her off this topic and onto one that didn’t require revisiting a place he tried very hard never to go. She didn’t want to hear about his childhood. That he’d been raised by his grandmother, a sweet woman who on more than one occasion had gone without in order to provide for him. That he went commando, something she’d once confessed to finding sexy, not based on comfort, but because food had been of greater importance than underpants.
Dom didn’t care to see the look of pity she would surely have if he admitted he’d been a loner, not by choice, but circumstance. Kids didn’t want to be friends with the poor kid, the one whose clothes were always a bit too big, a bit too small, or a bit too ratty. It was far more fun to make that kid the butt of jokes and ridicule.
“Dom,” she said with terrifying gentleness.
Well shit, there it was. Compassion. She knew there was something behind his silence and had already softened to it. “Like I said, I don’t remember.”
The soft look vanished beneath a mask of frustration.
He let out a long, slow breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
She shifted away from the article, then wandered over to the wall of sales certificates, more commonly referred to as gold records. Hung in chronological order from their first album, Awakening, through Ascension and ending at Immortal. Three albums, three levels of success. The sales numbers and awards themselves didn’t seem to hold her attention, which shifted to the album art and corresponding official group photo. At each photo she would stop, lean closer, then run her finger over his image.
And each time, he felt it like a physical touch.
She turned to the wall opposite and once again he found himself letting out a long breath. This wall was safer territory. Much safer.
“Those are Isabeau’s.” Her awards, platinum and double platinum discs, for each of her four albums.
“She told me she used to play, but I never made the connection.” She tapped one of the awards. “I have this one.”
He did his best to keep his voice neutral so she wouldn’t pick up on his inner turmoil. “Most everything she owned was lost in a fire. Those were at her father’s place along with her piano. She tried to lock them away in a closet when she moved here, but Noah wouldn’t have any of it.”
“Why would she want to lock these away?”
The same reason he didn’t like talking about his past. “Bad memories, I suppose.”
“Hmmm.” She kept moving, circling the room, finally stopping in front of the collection of guitars. “Which is yours?”
There were a few of his there, but the one he preferred was, “On your left.”
“This one? It’s beautiful.” She settled her hand on the headstock, trailed it over the tuning pegs and down the strings. She dipped the tips of her fingers into the cutaway not once, but twice before circling the neck and sliding back up.
Dominic shuddered, his mind conjuring images of her stroking something other than his bass.
“I thought basses only had four strings?”
He had to clear his throat to speak. “Traditionally yes, but you can get them with five, six, or more. It all depends on the range required, mode of playing, or just personal preference. That one is my favorite.”
“Because of the number of strings or the instrument itself?”
“Both. The small string spacing makes it a bit difficult to slap, but the neck is incredibly fast, and the tones I can crank out of it are bloody spectacular.”
She locked her gaze with his and gave him the ghost of a smile. Then slid her hand back down the neck, easing the tip of her finger between the strings and teasing the fretboard.
Christ. She was driving him crazy. He’d much rather experience her touch on his skin, the tips of her fingers slipping along the length of his erection.
There was only a few feet separating them and Dominic closed it. He covered her hand with his.
She rolled her eyes. “Are you one of those guys?”
“The ones who get all over protective about their possessions. Especially their cars.”
“It’s not my car you’re stroking, Rebecca.” No, it was him. Literally and figuratively.
The instrument beneath their hands is what made him who he was. Saved him from poverty, a miserable childhood, and a lonely existence. Maybe not that exact instrument, but one like it. It woke him up to the skill he could have never imagined he had—a natural ability to create music and make people happy. It took him away. Made him forget.
It was an extension of himself. A part of him that no one, no one, was allowed to touch. Yet here she was. She’d picked up his guitar much like she’d picked him up. Without hesitation.
Dom stared at her, his heart pounding hard and fast in his chest as he was struck with the realization that she’d touched more than his bass. She’d touched a place deep inside him, filling a void he’d spent years pretending didn’t exist.
Dominic comes to an eye-opening realization and moves one step closer to sharing his pain-filled past with Rebecca…
I hope you enjoyed this week long sneak peek into Midnight Heat. If you like what you've seen, you can find purchase links HERE. As always, thanks for reading!
After an eye opening conversation with friends, Dominic goes to Rebecca to show her he’s there for her, no matter their pain-filled past. Tired of fighting her feelings, Rebecca begins to soften…
Rebecca pulled into her driveway to find Dominic leaning against the post of the front porch. It’d been a lousy week and the last thing she needed, the last possible thing she could deal with right now, was him. Yet here he was. Looking as sinfully gorgeous as ever.
His long black hair was messy, like he’d been running his fingers through it. Her own twitched with the need to bury her hands in his hair and pull him to her. Pull him in tight, setting aside everything that stood between them. Trusting this time would be different.
For a long moment the temptation was so great she couldn’t breathe. She walked past him, used her key to unlock the door but didn’t open it. Exhaustion pulled at her, made her limbs heavy and her eyes burn. The double shift she’d just come off had been difficult, made more so by the arrival of Mr. Masters – the little boy’s father. He hadn’t said anything, just stood against a light pole outside the emergency entrance. In a fashion eerily similar to the way Dominic stood now.
It had taken her the entire drive home to shake off the trickle of alarm from between her shoulder blades.
Unable to summon the most basic of manners, she sighed. “Not tonight, Dom.” Tonight she felt far too exposed and vulnerable. “Honestly, I don’t have the strength for another go around with you.”
He looked her over slowly, studying her without a word. She knew what she looked like, had seen her reflection in the mirror after getting cleaned up at the hospital. Dark circles of fatigue beneath bloodshot eyes, her naturally pale skin more drawn than normal. She couldn’t hold her tongue when she was tired. No doubt he’d use that to his advantage.
“Are you okay?”
The fact that he asked, after everything they’d said to each other, nearly brought tears to her eyes. No. “Yes.”
He was quiet a moment, then blew out a breath. “I was hoping to have that talk you wanted, but I can see tonight’s not the night.”
She allowed herself to relax a bit. “It’s really not.”
“Just so you know, I’ll go home tonight, but I’m not going away.”
“What does that mean?”
Dominic gazed deep into her eyes. “I want a second chance, Rebecca.” His tone was a dark promise that curled around her and had her pulse kicking hard. “A chance to show you how much I’ve changed. To be what you want me to be; a lover and a friend.”
Heart in her throat she could only whisper. “For how long?”
“As long as you’ll have me.”
She closed her eyes and swallowed back the ache, the longing. Yes, cried her heart. Oh please, yes. Her head refused to believe. “Dom,” she murmured.
He didn’t speak. Nor did he walk away. Instead, he stepped closer. So close his breath brushed her temple, his body heat warmed her. She opened her eyes, tipped her head up to see into his. He stood close enough to touch her, only he didn’t. “Your best friend’s name is Karmen.”
Confusion scattered her thoughts. “How?”
“You’re wrong. I met her once – the same night I met you. She’s Latina, pretty but…I barely remember her.” His eyes darkened to mirror the night sky. “I was too blinded by you.”
“Dominic.” She lifted a hand and settled it in the center of his chest, feeling the hard muscle as well as the heat—traced her fingers over one pec and his body tightened.
Still, he didn’t touch her.
“You listen to classical music all the time. So much it used to drive me bonkers. But only if you’re happy. When you’re sad, you listen to the blues.”
Or his. She’d grown quite fond of Black Phoenix’s music over the years.
“I don’t recall what make or model your car was, just that it was a bit dodgy and smelled like cheese.” His chuckle vibrated up her arm.
God, how was she supposed to resist this? He was giving her everything she’d demanded of him the other night. All the answers she’d accused him of not caring enough to have. Rebecca leaned in, pressing closer, absorbing his scent, his proximity, and still his arms remained at his sides. He wasn’t going to make it easy on her. Anything that might happen, everything was being left up to her.
“I had a kink in my ass for a week after that first night.” His gaze fell to hers as she laughed. “I would do anything to make you laugh.” His voice was low, raw, as he reverently touched her cheek. “I would do anything to make sure I never make you cry again. I don’t want to be what makes you cry, Rebecca. Not anymore.”
Her body wouldn’t stop shaking. “Dominic.”
“I miss you so much. I miss us. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t regret walking away from you.”
It was too much to take in at once. Rebecca couldn’t move, and her vocal cords seemed to be temporarily useless. She ended up just standing there, as her heart took a hard leap against her ribs and hope blossomed.
Life has taught Dominic a few hard lessons. The biggest: that the things you loved most could be lost or taken away so it’s best to keep your distance. However, Rebecca, is worth fighting for. He has to make things right between them. Clueless as to how to go about it, he turns to some old friends…
“So, you do want to work things out with her?” Isabeau asked. “Because, we’ve talked about this before and still you never called her. I take it staring down a semi and winning made you realize something was missing?”
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Dominic had come up from the basement looking for a woman’s point of view. He’d wanted to speak with Isa alone, but instead found her and Noah together in the oversized lounge chair that fit the two of them perfectly. Noah’s arm was around her, Isabeau leaning against him as much as the chair back. “I knew something was missing before the accident,” he admitted. “But seeing her again…cemented it.”
Isabeau smiled, effectively but silently telling him she was pleased. “You want Rebecca, go get her.”
He rolled his eyes. “Wow, thanks. I’ve never heard that before.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“Tell me…I don’t bloody know! Tell me the secret.”
She looked up at him with a confused stare that failed to reassure. “What secret? What makes you think I know a secret?”
Dominic gestured to the chair, the two of them sitting as one. Connected. “This secret! How do I get to this?” Honestly, it was a little painful to look at them. “You two…you make it seem so easy.”
“Sure, it’s easy now, but getting here? You were there with us, how can you think it was easy?” Isabeau scooted to the front edge of the chair, separating herself from Noah, moving closer to the couch where Dominic sat. “Dom, you shared things with me once, things I don’t think you’ve ever shared with anyone before. About your childhood fears.”
She went straight for the jugular, didn’t she?
“Why did you tell me? Why me?”
He’d wanted to tell someone. As a way to let loose, to exorcise the demons in his head that never let up. Never went away no matter the passage of time. Why he’d chosen her, remained a mystery. “I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do. It wasn’t that I’m safe. I could leave you, just like everyone else in your life has done at one time or another, even Noah.”
Dominic opened his mouth, prepared to defend his friend, then shut it. Noah had left him. At a time when he’d needed him most.
Noah startled. “I’ve never—”
“Yes you did, Noah,” Isabeau said, cutting off his argument. “After Danny died. You didn’t plan to, but you did, you left them all. Didn’t he, Dominic? He abandoned the band. He abandoned you.”
“Jesus,” Noah muttered.
Shit. This wasn’t the conversation Dom had in mind when he’d searched out Isabeau tonight.
“You wanted to trust someone,” she said, her expression softening along with her tone. “You wanted to trust me, so you did. I love you, Dom, like the brother I always wanted. But the person you need to open up to is Rebecca.”
All he could do was stare at her, his thoughts in a whirl.
“I know what you’re running from. I also know you’re tired of running.” He was. God, he was. “So, stop. Stop running, please. You want what Noah and I have, and you deserve it. But you can’t have it, you’ll never have it, until you stop running and talk to her. Trust her, Dom.”
He was just a musician who’d clawed his way out of the shit he’d been born in. Rebecca was smart, educated, with a good job, good breeding and a family. She deserved a guy who stayed in one place, with a home, a career, stability. She deserved the white picket fence.
He wasn’t that guy. He didn’t know how to be that guy.
After surviving the automobile accident and seeing Rebecca again after three years apart, Dominic decides he has to win her back and shows up on her doorstep. Rebecca isn’t ready to forgive and forget…
His level of pain could be gauged by the way he held himself, and his careful indrawn breaths. The doctor in her wanted to reach out and comfort. The woman in her wanted to reach out for a completely different reason. She’d never had such an irresistible urge to touch anyone the way she wanted to touch him. It had been there right from the beginning, their first meeting, and was still just as strong now.
She fisted her hands to keep from acting on the impulse.
“Can I come in?”
Definitely not. Even injured and surly, he still emanated so damn much testosterone he made her teeth sweat. Her heart did a little flutter whether she wanted it to or not. “That’s not a good idea.”
“Have dinner with me.” There was the arrogance that had been missing a few moments before. His tone wasn’t commanding, but left no doubt in her mind that for him there was only one answer.
Too bad she couldn’t give it. “I already ate.”
His brow furrowed. “Why the bleedin’ hell not? Are you involved with someone?”
“I’m not seeing anyone, no.”
At her admission, he stepped closer, invading her space. Heat emanated off him, and although he did not touch her, she felt surrounded by him. “Take a drive with me?”
The low, soft timbre of his voice thrilled her, washed over her skin like a caress, and she fought a tremor. The heat of his body warmed her through her clothes. Wanting to step closer, to press against him and inhale his all too familiar scent, Rebecca stepped away. Physically distancing herself from him. She only wished emotional distance was as easily achieved. “Drive where?”
“Does it matter?”
Not really, since there was no way on earth she was getting in a car with him tonight. Not when just the sight of him had her hormones standing at attention, one whiff of him, her body thrumming. Not after spending the entire day thinking about him.
Did he still hurt over the loss of what could have been? Did he still dream of her, of them? Had he ever?
Dominic blew out a breath and shook his head, his frustration clear. “It’s just a damn drive, Becca.”
It was so much more. Acceptance would be the first crack in the barrier she’d built around her heart after he’d walked out. With only the smallest encouragement, he would stop by on a regular basis, invite her to spend time with him. Which would, even if she kept her wits about her and turned him down, lead to more heartache. Just seeing him again made her yearn. Spending time with him was not an option.
She didn’t know why he was back in California. The why didn’t matter. What mattered was that he would be gone again soon. Dominic Price wasn’t the type to hang around. And she wasn’t stupid enough to believe she could change him. “Dominic.”
He let the silence hang between them a minute, then slowly straightened, and turned away. “Forget it.”
She watched him for a few paces, his steps slow, a bit too carefully placed, as if the simple act of walking caused him pain. The memory of him immobilized, his face covered in blood flashed into her mind. Hot on its heels was the confusion and pain that had colored his gaze as he’d stared up at her from the ER gurney. Her stomach hollowed. “Dom, wait.”
When Midnight Heat (Black Phoenix book 2) first released I had a fabulous promotion opportunity where I shared 5 different excerpts from the book for 5 days. Since I just stumbled upon the excerpts once again - and in celebration of the book's RONE awards final - I've decided to share them with you here.
“Forty-year-old male MVC victim,” the medic shouted as he and his partner pushed the stretcher through the doors and into the emergency department. “SUV versus semi. SUV rolled multiple times before stopping to land on its passenger side.”
Adrenaline surged through Dr. Rebecca Dahlman’s system, revving her pulse, pushing away the fatigue of an overly long shift. It worked better than the half pot of coffee she’d already consumed.
“Upon arrival at the scene, patient was unresponsive. We were able to get the c-collar on him right away, but had to wait for the Jaws of Life to extricate.”
Gown and gloves in place, Rebecca ran her gaze over the unconscious man strapped to the backboard with orange belts as they swung into room one and transferred him to the ER’s gurney. Her team, already assembled in the trauma room, moved efficiently around the patient, cutting off his clothes with trauma shears, starting large bore IVs and getting vital signs.
The medic continued feeding her pertinent information as she began her assessment. “Blood pressure is one-twenty over seventy-five, pulse ninety-five. Pulse ox is one hundred percent on room air. Pupils—dilated, equal, and reactive.”
The guy was a mess. Blood covered his face, soaked the left side of his head and shoulder of his shirt. He had a laceration on his left upper arm; deep enough to require sutures, and some bruises were already beginning to form at his left shoulder and right hip from the seatbelt doing its job of holding him in place. Even more troubling was the bruise forming on his right side, a sign of rib trauma. Ribs weren’t the only common injuries from impact with the center console. The ones she couldn’t see were what caused her the most concern.
“I want an ultrasound of the abdomen,” Rebecca stated automatically as she shifted closer and listened to her patient’s chest. Lungs clear, respirations even and non-labored, heart tones audible not muffled and no abnormal rhythm. Good, no internal chest trauma. She looped her stethoscope around her neck and leaned in, searching the man’s scalp for head trauma. “Get me a cross-table C-spine, chest and pelvis x-ray. Draw a full trauma panel, type and cross, and a urine tox screen.”
Karmen Williams, Rebecca’s best friend and charge nurse for the night, pulled the man’s wallet from the pile of clothes on the floor. “Rebecca.”
Directly above his left ear Rebecca uncovered the source of all the blood. Pushing her fingers into his hair, she palpated the injury site. The wound immediately began to bleed again. “No skull fracture that I can detect.”
“I’ll want a CT scan of the head and neck.”
“Rebecca.” Karmen’s voice was tight and pulled her attention. “It’s Dominic.”
For a moment, a heartbeat really, the words didn’t make sense. Then, she looked closer at the lifeless man on the gurney. As if in slow motion, Rebecca dragged her gaze up the torso, locked it onto the face partially hidden behind long, blood-soaked black hair. Her breath snagged in her throat and she froze, the echo of her pulse beating in her ears. It was a struggle to keep her hand steady as she pushed his wavy hair away from his face and focused on his mouth, those lips, the bottom one slightly fuller than the top, the thin, straight nose.
“Stud,” she whispered, her voice torn.
His eyes were closed, ringed in thick black lashes. Were they open they would be the color of the sky just after a cleansing rain.
Her world tilted.
No. It couldn’t be. This wasn’t him. Dominic didn’t have a goatee or a scar across his right clavicle. Dominic wasn’t in California, he was in London. Safe in London.
Not unconscious and bleeding in the middle of her ER.
My contemporary rock star romance, MIDNIGHT HEAT - book 2 in the Black Phoenix series, has made it into the finals of the RONE awards.
Thanks so very much to everyone who voted.
If you haven't already you can check out MIDNIGHT HEAT here.
Does Your Villain Measure Up? by Jannine Gallant
For me, the villain in romantic suspense ranks right up there with the hero and heroine when it comes to character development. The trick is to make him believable without giving away his identity. I want my readers to be kept guessing who the crazy stalker is right along with my heroine until the big reveal. However, I also want readers to get to know him and see what makes him tick. To do this, I get inside his head. A little uncomfortable at times, but I truly believe a few scattered scenes from the villain’s POV makes any suspense book stronger. Here’s a glimpse of my stalker’s motivation.
He rose from the shadows and walked down to the canoe. Pulling out a blanket, he buried his face in the soft folds. It smelled of sex. Jordan had betrayed him. After all these years of waiting, she’d betrayed him. His face crumpled.
No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more waiting for her to realize they were meant to be together. Obviously, she wasn’t as sensitive as he’d thought if she believed Lafferty was the right man for her. Or maybe she didn’t care. Maybe she just wanted sex. If that were the case, he’d be the one to give it to her.
He was through being patient. Jordan didn’t deserve such thoughtfulness. Obviously, his concern for her feelings had been misplaced. If she was going to act like a slut, he’d treat her like one.
What do you think? Does it creep you out just a little? I hope so!
No matter where she goes, he knows her every move…
Long ago, Rachel Carpenter was a glamorous soap star. She gave it all up to move to Napa Valley with her daughters to open a bookstore near her family vineyard. Her life is safe and dependable, until she encounters Kane Lafferty at a wilderness camp in the rugged High Sierra. A burned-out police detective struggling with his own demons, Kane is instantly attracted to Rachel. And like Rachel, he isn’t sure if he’s ready to open his heart. But everything is about to change…
Someone is watching from the darkness. A fanatic obsessed with Rachel for years has decided to claim what he believes is his. It will be up to Kane to not only protect his new love and her family, but to uncover the identity of the stalker before it’s too late for all of them…
Barnes & Noble
About the Author:
Write what you know. Jannine Gallant has taken this advice to heart, creating characters from small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors. She grew up in a tiny Northern California town and currently lives in beautiful Lake Tahoe with her husband and two daughters. When she isn’t busy writing or being a full time mom, Jannine hikes or snowshoes in the woods around her home. Whether she’s writing contemporary, historical or romantic suspense, Jannine brings the beauty of nature to her stories. To find out more about this author and her books, visit her website at janninegallant.com.
Limited Time Sale! Have you met Dominic Price yet?
Now is the perfect time to spend the night with this sexy rocker! Only 99¢!!
The unconscious man wheeled into Dr. Rebecca Dahlman’s ER is sexy—devilishly sexy—and injured. This isn’t just any patient in need of medical help. He is the only man she’s ever loved—the one who still haunts her dreams.
Black Phoenix bassist Dominic Price made a mistake three years ago when he walked out on Rebecca. A mistake he plans to rectify. But first he has to convince her to open her heart to him again.
One touch of his calloused hands reignites their passion. Can they rekindle their trust as easily, or will her fears cause her to lose him again…this time to a man bent on revenge?
Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B00NU8M0QQ
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