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
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NU8M0QQ
Nook UK: http://bit.ly/1wzgsFw
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00NU8M0QQ
I recently had a reviewer ask me if I favored bad boy heroes. Here's my reply:
Dominic is a huge success with your readers, where did his character come from? Do you favor the "bad boy" heroes?
Thursday, January 29th marks the release of
Book III in The Golden Key Legacy...
The homecoming celebration held in honor of Princess Faedrah is fraught with perilous frustration. Her nightmares have returned thricefold and, to her horror, a horrendous blight has spread like a plague throughout the kingdom. Compounding her worries, Rhysâ arrival in her world has been welcomed with the exact horror-filled reaction she expected. Her beloved has been cast into the dungeons, and no amount of arguing with the king and queen will prove heâs her fated love.
Magical powers were supposed to be a gift, or so Rhys McEleod had always believed. Too bad the second he landed in Faedrahâs world the legacy he inherited slammed into his body like a weight. Heâs got zero control and his constant visions of Faedrah fighting an evil entity arenât helping. At least her parents made the right decision and stuck him away someplace safe. Until he can figure out his next move, prove himself an ally and uncover the clues to stopping Faedrahâs nightmares, heâs got no choice but to waitâ¦and learn exactly what heâs become.
It's a $0.99 SALE!!!
The entire The Golden Key Legacy
is sale priced!!!
A Furious Muse, Book I...
One face. The image of one defiant, relentless woman has been stuck in Rhys McEleodâs head ever since he was old enough paint her luscious curves on the canvas. But the day she walks into his life off the streetâsexier than hell and itching for a fightâheâs not convinced sheâs the same women heâs envisioned since childhood. That is, not until he spots the golden key around her neckâan object heâd never fully shown in any of his paintings.
Now if he could just persuade his lovely muse heâs not the enemy. Unless the elusive Faedrah Austiere learns to trust him, heâll never have her in his bedâthe one place heâs convinced she belongs.
~ * ~
The Sacrifice, Book II...
Though certain their fates are bound by more than the golden key Princess Faedrah wears around her neck, it is paramount Rhysâ true identity be kept secret. Should news of his bloodline ever reach her kingdom, their entire quest to save her people could be lost. Their only hope to prove his loyalty is to steal the map to the dark lordâs Crystal Crypt. Yet her a plan endangers her beloved more than the accusations he faces in her kingdom and, to escape evilâs grasp, she and Rhys must take a leap of faith beyond her wildest imagination.
Pre-Order the Final Installment in this epic time travel fantasy romance!
Releases February 26th!
Rhys had one job to do. One measly errand that shouldnât have been a problem, given the nature of his powers. But when an old enemy reappears, detailing the result of his actions, Rhys is forced to make a choice between a future with Faedrah or dying before his time. Frustrated and out of options, he agrees to her suggestion they to leap forward in time to the futureâ¦even though a good chance exists his powers will be nothing but a memory in his world. Flying blind on a wing and a prayer, they prepare to fight for everything they love against a wizard of insurmountable power.
Faedrah does her best to gather their closest allies. The sides are squared in a war to control the future of both worlds. With the stakes so high, only one advantage has been cast in their favor. The sigil of utmost protection inherent in Rhysâ signature. If not enough to thwart the evil awaiting at the Austiere gates, she could find herself imprisoned in the future, while her kingdom and all those she has sworn to protect are lost to the mists of time.
~Join the Party on Facebook~
On Thursday January 29th, we'll be celebrating the release of
A Wizard Rises on Facebook!
Prizes, Contest, Author Giveaways!
Don't miss out! Click HERE to join in the fun!!!
When I was writing After Midnight—Black Phoenix book 1—I honestly had no intention of creating a series. I had one story in my head, one where in the midst of wrapping up the hero and heroine’s happily-ever-after with a bright red bow, I would also give secondary character Dominic Price his. Then he walked onto the page and instantly stole my heart. I knew immediately he would need his own book. He was blunt, didn’t believe in lying and often said whatever he was thinking. He was funny—I’m a sucker for a man who makes me laugh—but also…wounded. There was a sadness to him. A deep sadness tied to a woman he loved desperately, but had walked away from: Rebecca Dahlman. I had to explore this—had to—and so Midnight Heat was born.
Writing Dominic’s story wasn’t easy. At times I was an interviewer asking questions of him, then rewording them when he wouldn’t give me an answer. At times a psychologist, studying his mind and behavior, digging for the reasoning behind his actions. Dom was afraid to trust me with his backstory, just as he was afraid to trust Rebecca, but eventually, I got it out of him. Then, I had to figure a way to help him win Rebecca back. In the end, he didn’t need my help after all.
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.
Survival demands sacrifice. Healing requires forgiveness.
After losing her lover and then her mate, Victoria Storm builds a new life in Sierra Pines, California. When the Norse Fates predict the she-wolf will destroy the world to save her unborn child, her duties as Freya’s priestess conflict with her responsibilities as Odin’s Valkyrie.
Sawyer Barrett has hunted Victoria so passionately, he doesn't know whether he loves or hates her. Desperate to end the fighting, he will take chances with everything—except his heart. This hunter harbors a deadly secret he can't reveal without risking the tentative ceasefire and his father’s continued disapproval.
Men revere him; monsters fear him. Jake Barrett—the notorious Hunter King—values loyalty to family above all else. When he believes his eldest son was murdered by a wolf ally, he releases a chain reaction of violent destruction that claims the lives of both wolves and hunters.
An ancient vampire plots the destruction of wolves and hunters alike. If the embittered rivalry doesn't end quickly, there is no hope for the Hunters, Victoria's pack, or the mortal world.
Short excerpt (PG):
Shadows enshrouded Skuld, and her voice manifested upon the air, thick and oppressive, closing in from all sides. "Your daughter will not grow to adulthood in Midgard."
Victoria's heart slammed against her breastbone. Her breath expelled in a horrified gust. The bowl dropped from her hands which flew to protect her abdomen. "What do you mean?"
"Your daughter will be taken from you on the eve of her third birthday," Skuld said. "The one you trust most, a member of your own pack, will give the child over to your greatest enemy."
A growl trembled in Victoria's throat, and her entire body shook under the dual assault of fear and rage. The suggestion of betrayal from within her own pack filled her with disbelief to the core of her being. It was unthinkable. Gritting her teeth, she sought a solution, refusing to dwell on it. "How am I to prevent this?"
"We speak of what will come to pass," Verðandi said in a sympathetic tone.
"Your predictions are not carved in stone," Victoria said. Arguing with Fate was a foolish endeavor, but she refused to accept their prophecy.
The old woman, Urðr, smiled with a frightening gleam in her eyes. "Predictions, carved into the trunk of the World Tree, carved into the spiritual fabric of the world."
Stubborn determination settled over Victoria like armor. Her mother had taught her there was no absolute fate, just as there was no absolute free will. Life consisted of a wide range of possibilities between the two extremes. She refused to allow her daughter to die at three years of age. She would move worlds, alter fate, slay gods.
Whatever it took.
"Do you wish to save your child?" Skuld asked.
Victoria answered without thought. "Yes. I'll do anything. Tell me. Please."
"The final days are upon us," Verðandi said.
Skuld took over speaking. "To save your daughter, you will side with Loki against the Aesir. You will use your enchanted dagger to cut the binding of the great wolf Fenrir. You will be responsible for freeing the beast that kills Odin."
Victoria's stomach turned. Her head shook in automatic denial. "When the gods imprisoned Fenrir, my people pledged fealty to the Aesir. We have served them loyally ever since. Even when we were driven from the homeland, almost a millennium ago, we remained faithful. I will never cut Fenrir's bonds. To do so would end the world we live in and doom us all."
Skuld's gaze held steady. "You will."
Victoria snarled her denial. "No. I will never become the servant of the Trickster or willingly take part in bringing about Odin's death."
Skuld turned her head and pinned Victoria with one black eye that rolled in its socket like a liquid marble. "To save your daughter, you will."
Connect with Melissa Snark:
Email: melissasnark at gmail.com
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Congratulations go out to Sharon Extine!
Random.org chose you as the winner of my December Newsletter contest.
For everyone who played along and shared your favorite holiday traditions with me, thank you. They'll be more newsletters and chances to win!
For those of you who hadn't heard,
AFTER MIDNIGHT, book 1 in my Black Phoenix series is
FREE for a limited time.
Get your copy TODAY!