Category Archives: excerpt

Glinda and Mike – an ACTION HERO sneak peek

ACTION HERO is coming in three weeks. Are you ready?

**

“What’s the movie?” Mike asked their agent.
“A veterinarian studying endangered pandas discovers they’ve been infected with an incurable virus and creates a cure to save them from extinction,” Fiona said.
Glinda closed her eyes for a moment. She pictured herself as a blonde Sigourney Weaver a la “Gorillas in the Mist”, only with a Chinese setting rather than an African one. Lush green scenery, a heroic doctor battling to save an adorable yet doomed species. She could imagine exactly how it could play out. Then, remembering her luck, she reconsidered how it likely would play out. She opened one eye and stared at Fiona. “Mike would be the vet, wouldn’t he?”
“Yes, Glinda, Mike is the panda doctor. But I promise, you are nothing like a damsel in distress.”
“Rival scientist?” Glinda guessed.
“Black market panda procurer?” Mike offered.
“Traveller from the future sent back to save the species?”
“Panda shapeshifter?”
“Oh, good one,” Glinda said.
“You’re the bodyguard,” Fiona interrupted before they could get really imaginative.
“Whose bodyguard?” they both asked.
“The panda doctor’s.”
Not being the damsel in distress? That was something Glinda could work with. “Still in.”
Fiona’s smile returned. “Mike’s right. You should read it before you commit. I promise you, it’s a feature film, but it doesn’t have a blockbuster’s budget. Obviously, I think you should do it or I wouldn’t have brought it to you. But as I said, it’s the two of you or nothing, so you both need to agree.”
Glinda shared a look with Mike. “Give us the scripts.”

Entrap – sneak peek

entrap-21With a week to go before ENTRAP is released, I thought I’d be mean and give you just a little taste of Leandra and Mackie’s story.

****

Chapter One

Leandra

“Come on, Sergeant Mackie, give me one minute.” Leandra Northman trotted alongside her prey. She wasn’t short, but Sergeant Oliver Mackie was well over six feet, and it took her two steps to keep up with one of his.

“Miss Northman, I can’t comment on active cases. You know that. Talk to the Public Information Office,” Mackie replied without losing speed.

She had less than twenty metres to make him stop. Mackie was one of the most approachable detectives she’d dealt with since she began her career with Central and Western Canada Broadcasting. He’d never played shy before. “Don’t you want to tell the public that the Winnipeg Police Service is working hard to solve these horrible murders? Or that you are following up on all leads? Or how glad you are that the Calendar Killer’s latest victim is recovering from her brutal attack?”  A mutual friend of theirs, Bree Collingswood, was the first woman to survive an assault.

Mackie stopped in his tracks and then whirled on her. His usually pale face was tomato-red under his copper hair. Leandra didn’t want to piss off a potential source to the point where he blew his top, but getting anything on camera was better than going back to the studio empty-handed. He stared down at her and through grinding teeth said, “One, that was really low. And two, you need talk to the PIO about ongoing cases.”

Ten metres. If she wanted something to put on the air, she needed to switch gears. “Okay, I promise not to ask you about the Calendar Killer case. How do you feel about the rumours that the Crown is considering a significant sentence reduction for former WPS Sergeant Ryan Zane in exchange for his testimony in a case related to his own gun-smuggling conviction?” she asked.

“Excuse me?”

“I’ve been up to Stony Mountain Penitentiary twice, and I haven’t been his only visitor. Somehow I don’t think Crown Attorney Courtney Fournier is going up there for the scintillating conversation.”

That earned Leandra a reaction she didn’t expect. “I’ll have to get back to you on that one,“ Mackie said.

Mackie continued up the front stairs of the station, leaving Leandra standing in the middle of the sidewalk. Her cameraman, Gabriel Ocampo, lifted the camera off his shoulder. “That was a bust.”

“No, it wasn’t,” Leandra argued. Mackie had given her a lot with his non-answers. She couldn’t use any of it for broadcast but she had plenty to follow up on.

The Winnipeg Police Service was currently dealing with a matched set of public relations black eyes: the Calendar Killer, and Ryan Zane. The former was an ongoing case. The latter was supposed to be resolved, and the department wanted it to be swept under the carpet until it faded from the news and community memory.

Mackie should have been surprised by her question. Shocked, even. Nobody liked dirty cops.

Ryan Zane was no exception.

He had been the inside man for the Nasty Boyz, a local gang who’d run the illegal gun trade in Winnipeg for several years. Then Zane had blown his own carefully-constructed cover in a raid gone bad. He’d tried to get another officer to take the fall, but Sergeant Eric Parker had proven his innocence and taken him down instead. Leandra had covered Zane’s trial and subsequent conviction. All that was left was his sentencing hearing, which had been postponed twice. Leandra had tracked Crown prosecutors to Stony Mountain Penitentiary prior to both delays. She knew something was up, but she didn’t have the details. Yet. Which was why she was digging for more information.

But that problem was more or less contained. Zane wasn’t in a position to do any more damage. His was an interesting story, but it wasn’t the primary one on everybody’s mind.

The Calendar Killer was the man of the moment. With six attacks and five kills to his name, the whole city was on pins and needles waiting for him to strike again. That time was coming soon. The serial killer got his name from picking his curvy, brunette victims on the twenty-first of the month.

They had a week to go.

Leandra was safe, relatively speaking. Her blonde hair and thin, tall frame didn’t match his victim preferences. Knowing that didn’t make her feel any better, though, as the twenty-first drew closer.

With no other cops in sight who would be inclined to talk to her, Leandra told Gabriel to drive back to the studio while she made notes.

“Do you think Sergeant Mackie knows anything?” Gabriel asked.

“About what? The Calendar Killer or the Zane sentencing agreement?”

“Either.”

“Yeah, he definitely knows something,” Leandra said.

“Like what?”

She knew he wouldn’t spill his guts about the Calendar Killer case on the station steps. The police always held information back in cases like that. He was too good a cop not to. It bothered her that he hadn’t been upset to hear about Zane. It was like he’d already heard the rumours. It made her wonder what he knew, and what she could do to convince him to share his sources. “That’s what I’m going to find out.”

****

To make sure you get your copy as quickly as possible, get your pre-order at Amazon US, Amazon Canada, iTunes US, iTunes Canada, Kobo US, Kobo Canada, Barnes and Noble, and ScribD.

 

IT GIRL – Sneak peek #2

itgirl“I think I made a big mistake.” With three hours to go, it was too late to cancel.

Ashleigh whistled and twirled her finger as an order for Caitlin to spin and give her audience a 360-degree view. “No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you,” her friend said. “You look gorgeous.”

Sydney twirled her finger in the other direction and Caitlin obliged her with another turn. “Ash is right. You look perfect. Dammit. I wish I could wear that color.”

“It’s not the dress. It’s Sean,” Caitlin said. “I shouldn’t have said yes.”

“Why not?” Ashleigh asked.

“Because he’s a horn-dog who goes after anything in a skirt. He caught me in a moment of weakness.”

“He was wearing his toga, wasn’t he?” Sydney asked, as if she knew the answer.

“Yes,” Caitlin admitted slowly, although she hadn’t thought about it at the time.

“It’s always the toga,” Ashleigh said. “They’re like Kryptonite to women. We see the thighs and the chest and the arms—”

“Oh, the arms,” Sydney interrupted with a sigh.

“—and our brains shut down,” Ashleigh finished. “I think they know and use the togas against us.”

*****

Coming January 25th!

IT GIRL – Sneak peek #1

itgirlCaitlin Kelly took the outfit to the trailer beside hers and knocked on the door. “What on earth is this?” she asked Glinda Crawford, who played Aphrodite.

The blonde opened the door to invite her in, dressed in her own pink toga. “Aren’t they hideous?” Glinda replied with a laugh.

“What was wrong with good old white?” Caitlin asked.

“Apparently they’re tired of having to deal with the color problem in post-production editing. I heard the material they used for the togas last year didn’t come out well on camera so they want to try this instead.”

Granted, while Glinda’s explanation had sounded weird, it wasn’t completely unbelievable. Depending on lighting and other factors, blue could look white on screen, purple showed up as red, and green turned invisible.

Besides, the two of them weren’t the only ones with the new wardrobe. Caitlin turned when Glinda waved out the window to Chris, who was holding a similar outfit at arm’s length. She couldn’t hear him, but it looked like he was cursing up a storm. “I guess I’d better get changed then. We’re due on set in ten minutes,” Caitlin said.

“I need to finish getting ready too. See you there.”

Glinda smiled when she kicked her out. Caitlin thought nothing of it since the actress was always smiling. Caitlin buttoned herself into the costume and headed to the soundstage. She ran into Mike on the way. They snickered when they saw each other. She and Mike ignored the stares from the crew as they walked in. They had no idea they’d been thoroughly punked until they arrived at the set of Olympus’s banquet hall and found the rest of the cast decked out in regular white togas.

Sean stepped forward. Caitlin should have known. His reputation as a prankster was only beaten by his history as a ladies’ man. It was a shame because he was a good-looking man. Caitlin couldn’t understand why some women dismissed gingers; redheads were sexy as hell, even if one of them did set her up as part of a public spectacle. “Did you guys fall into a vat of Pepto Bismol or what?” he asked, not even trying to keep a straight face.

And that’s, as they say, when the fight started.

For an extended sneak peek, join my readers’ room THE NEXT CHAPTER

Coming January 25th from Liquid Silver Books. Get 20% off your pre-order here.

Screen Idol on sale for $0.99

SI FB 1Big news!  SCREEN IDOL is on sale this week. The e-book is only $0.99!  The paperback version is $5.99.  That’s about the cost of a cup of coffee. In fact you could get several copies if you buy your coffee at Starbucks. If you already have a copy of Chris and Sydney’s story, consider gifting a copy to a friend.

Amazon USAmazon Canada

Kobo US  —  Kobo Canada

Nook

iTunes US  — iTunes Canada

 

 

 

LEADING MAN – sneak peek #2

leadingmanLess than a week till you can be reading LEADING MAN. Let me introduce you to Ashleigh Jessup. She teaches dance, owns her own business, and will soon be limping after her first lesson with Nick.  Currently 20% off if you pre-order it from Liquid Silver Books.

Find the e-book at Liquid Silver Books, Amazon, , Kobo,and  Barnes & Noble.

****

Another dream ruined, squashed beneath her feet like a dropped Churro on the Santa Monica Pier. Ashleigh Jessup figured she should legally change her name to Goldilocks these days. She already had the blonde hair, and she’d seen every commercial building in a twenty-mile radius and found them to be either too big or too small. None of them were just right for her new location.

She had three months before she had to either renew her current lease or find a new and permanent home for Jessup Dance Studio. Ashleigh was still stunned her business had outlasted her lease. When she first opened her doors, she hadn’t been sure she’d make it a year. To have been successful for five shocked everyone, her most of all.

She picked up the real estate listing she’d dropped and studied it again. The strip mall property in front of her had the identical floor plan as her current place. Ashleigh wanted much larger. Ideally, with one main studio area and one or two smaller private rooms which were rentable as private classrooms. This one wouldn’t do.

“No go?” Caitlin Kelly yelled from the car.

“No go,” she replied. Ashleigh climbed back into Stella, her trusty little Nissan, and started her on the second try. She was sure the car would last until Lease Day. If Ashleigh didn’t move, she’d have the funds to buy a brand new one, making a major down payment and ending up with tiny monthly payments. If she moved her business, it would be the reverse. Either option was good so long as she got a new car out of the deal. Even Nissans didn’t last much longer than fifteen years; Stella was half as old as she was.

“Too bad. It’s a good location,” Caitlin sympathized.

“It’s not as good as the Duncan Building.” Ashleigh sighed as she recalled her dream studio. She’d made an offer on the perfect space four months ago but had been outbid at the last minute. Since then, nothing she’d viewed had compared.

“It’s gone. Move on.” Caitlin took a draw on her iced green tea. Her friend had a personal interest in Ashleigh’s potential new studio, being as she’d have first dibs on the private studio. Ashleigh had been Caitlin’s personal instructor for going on ten years, back from when the two had met in college. Caitlin had branched off into music and acting as well as dance but she continued to work with Ashleigh regularly. “Where to now?”

“Home. Tomorrow is another full day of classes.”

“Saturdays suck.”

“Saturdays pay the bills,” Ashleigh corrected. “Technically we could look at one more but honestly, I’m too wiped and it’s half an hour from here. I say we blow it off and order in some Pad Thai, unless you’re on a budget this week.”

“No budget, but it’ll have to be rice and veggies for me. I’m working next week.”

Ashleigh jammed the gear shift back into Park. “Excuse me.”

“I got the part!”

“You’re supposed to tell me stuff like that.”

“I got the call when you were checking out the building.”

Ashleigh beamed at her friend. College had been a lot of fun, but after graduation, Ashleigh and her group of friends settled in for a long haul to achieve their dreams. It was great to see everybody’s hard work finally paying off. “Call Sydney. Chris is working tonight. We’ll celebrate.”

Their mutual friend Sydney Richardson ran a charitable foundation which had gained public support since its inaugural gala back in February and was now doing well. Not to mention, she had a super-hot, super sweet boyfriend. Caitlin had another acting job, and they were beginning to come with near regularity. She also might have a super-hot boyfriend but she was being awfully cagey about it. Ashleigh’s own business was booming. There wasn’t much that could make things better for her. Except a super-hot boyfriend of her own.

It was a shame there weren’t listings for that.

LEADING MAN – sneak peek #1

leadingmanOnly twelve more days until LEADING MAN makes its way onto the world’s stage. Or, you know, the Internet. Here is your first glimpse of Nick Thurston, hero of the day, and leading man with a serious problem. Available March 16th from Amazon. Currently 20% off if you pre-order it from Liquid Silver Books.

***

“Naked is better.” Nick Thurston was deadly serious in his declaration. “I would rather have a scene with full-frontal nudity on an outdoor stage in January in Alaska than go to one more dance class with that—” Damn his parents for teaching him not to curse when referring to a lady, although the lady in question didn’t meet the moral definition of one.

“Woman,” his salt-and-pepper haired lawyer suggested.

“She is not a woman. She’s some kind of handsy, tap-dancing nightmare. The world may know I have two left feet but I swear she has at least four arms because one of them is pinching my ass while the other is picking my pocket.” He glanced over at the man who had shepherded both him and his parents from their first-roles to superstardom and was not impressed to find him laughing. “Brian, I mean it. This isn’t a little mutually fun flirting. It’s sexual harassment and regular harassment and I am done with it.”

“Nick, I believe you.”

“Then fix it. I’m one of the producers for ‘The Last Bachelor.’ I should have the ability to fire her for harassment, shouldn’t I? At this point I’d be willing to buy out her contract in order to be rid of her and take the financial hit to replace her. Find me a loophole, please. Or some Kevlar slacks if you can’t—my backside is one big bruise.” Nick ran his hands through his lightly gelled hair, which reminded him he needed to refresh the sun-streaked blond highlights he added for the summer. He leaned against the bookshelf along the wall. He winced and stood up straight again. He wasn’t kidding about the bruise.

As much as he griped, Nick wasn’t certain there was much the man could do. Brian had done his best to talk Nick out of hiring his then-girlfriend Sandrine Gold as their choreographer, insisting Nick had enough on his plate with his role and financial contribution in the production. Nick brushed aside Brian’s concerns, insisting he wanted to be involved in all aspects of the play, including hiring the stage hands and specialists. He wasn’t going to miss any part of the next phase of his career.

Nick loved playing Ares on Olympus and was thrilled the hit drama was heading into its fourth season. The Spartactus/Game of Thrones/Hercules mash-up was a lot of work and a lot of fun and he wouldn’t trade it for the world but the simple truth was he wanted a change from togas. The hiatus after the show’s thirteen-episode third season offered him the perfect opportunity to try something new. In this case, Colby Sinclair, one of his former co-stars from his Paradise Point days, had moved into directing and had called Nick with the offer of a lifetime—the title role in a revival of a Richie Washington play. Actors were fans too, and Nick was a huge admirer of the unfortunately short-lived playwright.

“You realize this wouldn’t even be an issue if you hadn’t signed up for a role which required dancing. You know I love you, Nick, but…”

Nick sighed. “But I’m lucky I don’t trip over my own feet. I know. Everybody knows.” It was a joke at this point. He could do many things. He could put on a passable Australian accent, and had for “The Year It Rained.” He could decorate a cake with bakery precision after “Sugar on Top.” He was an admirable tenor. But absolutely, in no way, shape, or form, could he dance. His brain and his feet had a feud which began at birth. They’d eventually hit a détente. His feet conceded on walking and running, but refused to cooperate beyond that. Nick had driven Russ Vukovich, Olympus’s former fight coordinator, to tears when it came to sword fighting footwork.

Brian was one of the highest paid contract attorneys in the city. If anybody was capable of finding a way to save Nick’s bruised ass, it would be him. Nick pulled out a stack of contracts and set them on Brian’s wide redwood desk.

“There’s got to be some way around this,” Nick pleaded. “It was bad enough when she kept hinting it was time to meet my parents after a month. Then I had to deal with her at work and to top it off, she’s a crappy teacher. I have no idea how she ever got her reputation for being the best instructor out there. I’ve had lessons for six weeks and I haven’t learned a thing. I don’t know a single step. I might even be dumber than when I started. We only have another month ’til the curtain rises. Colby and I are having fits.” Nick would eventually recover from a single career disaster in a medium he didn’t plan to return to. Colby, on the other hand, would likely never get another meeting with a potential backer if his first venture flopped as badly as they feared it would.

Nick wandered around Brian’s office while the other man lifted the stack of papers on his desk. He looked over the Los Angeles cityscape and solemnly vowed to the Our Lady, The Queen of Angels, he would never, ever do another production with dance numbers if she got him out of his current situation.

Brian flipped in a few pages, and stopped at a section Nick had marked with a Post-It. “According to this, you are paying Sandrine for choreography and instruction. I see no reason why you can’t be rid of her if you pay her fee.”

“Thank you, God.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Funny.”

“Of course, this leaves you with another problem. The curtain lifts in a month. Who can you get to teach you that quickly? Essentially, you’ll be starting from scratch,” Brian said. “I can make some calls but you’ll be paying through the nose at this late date. Does the production even have the budget for this?”

“I’ll cover the cost if I have to. Thanks for the offer but don’t worry about me. I have a line on somebody who is highly recommended.” Okay, “highly recommended” was a stretch but he wasn’t about to admit he needed more help on top of the contract extraction. Nick had already tried his next top seven choices and no matter how much money he threw at them, they remained unavailable for a short-term, last minute engagement. He was getting desperate and when he’d mentioned his situation to his Olympus co-star Chris Peck, he got an unexpected suggestion. Since he was desperate enough to consider it, Chris promised him a meeting which might lead to his salvation. He’d find out tomorrow but he was happier knowing he’d go into it with Brian’s blessing.

“Nick?”

“Yes?”

“What are you going to do before you offer your new choreographer a contract?”

Nick knew the answer to this one. “I’m going to have you look at it before, during, and after it’s signed.”

“Good boy.”

Now all Nick had to do was find a dance instructor to offer it to.

CANDY CANE KISSES is out!

Candy Cane Kisses coverI’m ahead of my time. You may not be ready to get into holiday activities but let me help put you in the mood.

My short romantic comedy CANDY CANE KISSES is now out exclusively on Amazon. It is the fourth and final book in the best-selling series, Forever Christmas. The western Washington town of Glenville is threatened with the possible loss of their 100 year old Christmas tree farm to an outside corporation. Four friends join together to keep the tradition alive and create new opportunities with the rebirth of the Forever Christmas tree farm.

****

All bakery-owner Lindsay Leeds wants for Christmas is for her former high-school crush Sheriff Keith “Bodey” Bodewell to quit playing games. The sheriff has been dancing around asking her out for months and Lindsay is tired of it. His “fake girlfriend” ploy was cute and it was sweet that he recruited her friends to find out what she likes, but enough is enough. She’s a busy woman and he needs to step up or he’s going to lose his shot.

How can a woman who runs two businesses be so clueless when it comes to managing her heart? Bodey has dropped more than enough hints that he’s interested, but Lindsay isn’t catching them. Just when the sheriff is running out of ideas on how he can convince her to be his for Christmas, Lindsay gives him a clue about what it will take for him to get a date. And the answer is pretty simple. At least, it was supposed to be. Christmas is days away and his plays keep failing on a spectacular level.

It’s going to take the jolly fat man to make this holiday romance happen.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Lindsay didn’t join in the teasing. Instead, she sent him a death glare. “It was you,” she accused.

“Me, what?” He knew damn well what. Margaret called him at the department to give him a heads-up. For such a bright woman, Bodey could not figure out how Lindsay remained oblivious that the entire town was helping him woo her.

“You, you, you… Wine thief!” she shouted.

“I didn’t steal anything,” he protested.

“No, you bought it, snatching it off the shelf from under my nose.”

“You said it was good.”

“It was mine!”

She was a little more attached to her Moscato than he’d anticipated.

Have the flowers wilted? A guest post by Daisy Banks

Valentine's Wishes-high-resMay I introduce fellow Liquid Silver author Daisy Banks.

****

The dawn of 15th of February can be a brutal event and bring all kinds of emotions, I know. The hype before Valentine’s Day can make you miserable if you’re not in the lovin’ game or if you’ve just broke up with the person you believe to be the love of your life. It can also turn you into a romance junky. The hearts and flowers, the grand gestures, we all love a man on one knee; it can all be overwhelming and sweep you away into your own compelling romance story.

You can also wake up on the 15th of February and find yourself in crazy situations, engaged to the guy you just couldn’t turn down in front of the flash mob he so thoughtfully set up, or you could find yourself having second thoughts about a different kind of cementing of a relationship. The glamour, magic and mystery from Valentine’s gifts and cards can all seem a little hollow.

If I look back at these, I can say apart from the flash mob, I have had February 15th’s very much like the examples up above. Scary! But thankfully, I survived them all.

If this year’s Valentine’s Day didn’t quite work out how you wished, if the flowers have wilted, the chocolate box is now empty, or the prospect of true love seems a very long way off, remember there is a whole year for romance and you have it all before you. This is something Poppy, my heroine in Valentine’s Wishes, finds out, though on her February 15th dawn she is probably as miserable as it is possible for a fairy to be.

Valentine’s Wishes is published by Liquid Silver Books and is available here. http://t.co/3eoWc0RdP3

You can also find the story at Amazon Kindle http://amzn.to/1bN68Cv

Blurb

Full of good intentions the novice fairy Poppy grants her first big wish at a Valentine’s Day party. The wish to bring her mortals love is powerful but misses its target and lands in the party punch.

All three of her sweet mortal girls take just a sip and each one falls for the wrong man.

There hasn’t been a fairy disaster this bad in centuries and Poppy has no idea how to put things right. Add to the catastrophe the arrival of Cedar Heartwood, the fairy of her dreams, who drinks the punch too, and Poppy’s dilemma grows.

Cedar loves her in ways she’s only dreamed about. Should she take back the wish from both the mortals and the fairy she adores? She must step with care or lose everything.

Excerpt

Warmth cocooned her this morning. Enjoying the delicious sensation Poppy turned over and opened her eyes. “Oh.”

Her stomach rolled. Icy trickles raced down her spine. Oh, what have I done?

Beside her, still asleep, rested the fairy she so well remembered from the court, and now, in a sudden heady stream of images, she remembered all of him from last night. A flush of heat rushed through her body.

What must he think of me? A tiny groan left her. The punch. The wish. He drank it and I drank it too. I so wanted him to love me. The mortals, they’ve drunk it as well.

Waves of nauseous guilt spread upward. The poor girls, all with the wrong men, and I’ve ended up with him beside me but not in the way I ever hoped or imagined it might happen.

She glanced at his perfect handsome face relaxed in sleep. Why of all the fairies there could be, did it have to be him who came to see me? What will he say to be wished into love with me? She wrinkled her nose as a fresh horror became possible. “Oh, by the moon’s bright beams!” She edged away from the enticement of his muscular body, though she ached to hold him again, to kiss him, and feel his arms around her. What of the wish’s power? Is it over? It must be or I’d not feel so guilty. But I still love him? How can I tell what’s real or not?

[A message from the author if you are feeling rather low today. Please note miserable as this extract may seem the situation in the story is resolved with a modest amount of mortal angst and fairy suffering.]

You can find Daisy Banks here:

Blog    http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/

Website http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/

Twitter @DaisyBanks12

Facebook http://on.fb.me/18iRC35

Pinterest http://bit.ly/16sF1XG

SCREEN IDOL now available

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopIt seems like it’s taken forever but I am thrilled to announce that SCREEN IDOL is now available for purchase for your e-reader!  Even better, it’s set on Valentine’s Day, so you get a sweet treat a little bit early!

Come meet Chris “Zeus” Peck, an actor who is going for the role of his dreams, and Sydney Richardson, a woman determined to leave her past behind her. Although sparks fly when these two meet, they must discover if their separate paths can lead to a future together.

Here’s a sneak peak.

Chapter One.

There shouldn’t be a six in the morning on a Saturday unless you stayed up for it after an exhausting, exhilarating Friday night. It was a rule somewhere. If a person were demented enough to get up before daybreak on a weekend, there were only three acceptable reasons: a newborn, a paycheck, or a fire alarm. Answering the door didn’t make the list. Nobody should ever knock on someone else’s door at such a perverse hour. It was uncivilized, but since the moron in question seemed to be unaware of this polite societal convention, it was up to Sydney Richardson to educate him. Possibly with a brick to the cranium.

She had planned this Saturday down to the minute, and she needed every second of it. Her precise schedule was supposed to start with her alarm going off at six fifty-two, allowing her a single eight-minute snooze cycle before she rolled out of bed at seven on the dot to hit the shower. This was the first weekend in a month that she hadn’t pulled an extra shift or two, and neither Saturday’s nor Sunday’s to-do list had “answer the door before sunrise” on it.

This was

the weekend. Months of blood and sweat and tears and migraines had gone into today’s events. She’d started her charity with the hope of raising enough money to help one or two people afford the same medical procedures that got her out of the hospital and back to her life. The snowball effect had caught her unaware. The more she raised, the more people got involved and the bigger things got, until the small fundraiser had become a multi-part, day-long fundraiser with dozens of volunteers who all looked up to her. She wasn’t going to let anyone down today—not her donors, not her volunteers, and absolutely not the people she was supposed to be helping.

But it wasn’t supposed to start yet.

Sure, now she was awake a whole hour early, but she’d stayed up half an hour later than she intended to the night before and watched an old

M*A*S*H re-run after she’d come home from a girlfriend’s birthday party at Yellow Fin Sushi. Sydney had told her body it could sleep until seven, and now it got back at her for lying by walking her into the open closet door. Dammit. After grabbing her robe and feeling her way out of the bedroom, she ricocheted off the wall between the framed Beverly Hills Cop and Raiders of the Lost Ark posters on the way down the hall. At this rate she might not make it to the door.

Her cupcake nightshirt didn’t matter, she thought as she limped through the house. Her red hair pulled into a Pebbles Flintstone-style ponytail on the top of her head didn’t matter. The plastic framed glasses she had to jam on to find her way down the main hall since she wasn’t stopping to put in her contacts didn’t matter. What mattered was making the pounding on her door go away so she only had to deal with the Japanese drumming group inside her skull. Sake was evil.

She peeked through the peephole and spied a man in a black tuxedo. A suit she would have ignored, but the shock of a tuxedo woke her up a little. She squinted and took a second look: tall, dark hair, light eyes. He was very handsome in a movie star kind of way. At least, Sydney assumed he was handsome. The fish-eyed view and lack of caffeine might have been coloring her perception. “Who are you?”

“Your slave for the day.”

It was much too early for this. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m Chris Peck.”

“You look like him. Kinda. Why are you at my house?”

“I’m really Chris Peck. I play Zeus on

Olympus. You entered the show’s sweepstakes on the network website and won first prize of a Greek slave for the day, namely yours truly. You got a confirmation call to expect your slave from sunrise to sunset today.”

Her synapses started to fire. Slowly.

Olympus was a hit primetime cable drama about a group of Greek gods on Mount Olympus during the decline of Greece’s golden age. It was part Spartacus, part Game of Thrones, and part Hercules. She had submitted a ton of entries to the sweepstakes. They were offering a $1000 DVD library of historically-based television shows and documentaries as second prize. The first place prize never even registered because she wasn’t a diehard fan of the show.

She watched it semi-regularly. She liked a lot of the actors but despised one in particular, so it came out a wash. To be honest, the only ones she made sure not to miss were the episodes where her favorite drama actor was guest starring as Dionysus. Seeing the defunct FBI show’s once team leader playing the god of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in a toga was a beautiful thing to behold. Sydney enjoyed splashing around in the shallow end of the pool on occasion, and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it.

She hadn’t paid much attention to the show’s lead actor. In hindsight, that might have been a mistake, because the king of the gods was standing on the other side of her front door, and—from what she could tell—he was heavenly.

Sydney flipped the deadbolt off and cracked open the door, leaving the security chain on. She rubbed her bleary eyes and repositioned her glasses. It was definitely him. Chris Peck. Zeus. The peephole didn’t do this guy any favors. He was much cuter in person than he looked on television. Taller too. And not in a toga. Whoever had said that a well-tailored suit was to a woman what lingerie was to a man hadn’t been kidding. His tuxedo was giving her some naughty ideas about going back to bed that had nothing to do with an extra hour of shut-eye. It had been a very long while, but she was pretty sure when a clean-cut, brown-haired, hazel-eyed Greek god magically appeared on a woman’s doorstep, sleep was not the first thought that should come to mind. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, tingles or no tingles, she had too much on her to-do list to waste any time on a toga party fantasy, let alone on an actual god at the door. Sydney tilted her head and stared at him. “Wow. You really are Chris Peck.”

She was rewarded with a blinding smile. “And you are Sydney Richardson. At least I hope you are, because if you aren’t this is really embarrassing.”

“What do you mean I got a call? Nobody called me,” she insisted. If she’d won a prize, they should have at least contacted her to make sure she’d be home for delivery. This was a hell of a delivery.

“Yes, they did. My assistant says she did. She left a message confirming the date and time. And she sent flowers.”

“No, she didn’t.”

“Yes, she did.”

Tuxedo Boy was going to argue with her before she’d had any coffee? “I’m pretty sure I would have remembered somebody telling me I was going to have a slave show up at the butt crack of dawn on a Saturday,” she snapped. There was no way in hell she

would have agreed to this Saturday. Next weekend, or the one after that, would have been much more convenient. Today was absolutely not an option.

The suicidal actor opened his mouth to defend himself again when Sydney waved him off. “Wait a minute.” It was difficult to push through the fog without any caffeine, but there was something there. “Is your assistant’s name Kristin?”

“Yes.”

“There was a message on my machine, on Wednesday, I think. Some girl named Kristin said she was cancelling my regular nine o’clock appointment on Saturday. She didn’t leave a number. Since I don’t know a Kristin, and I didn’t have any regular appointments scheduled, I didn’t worry about it. I think the message is still on my voicemail.” Sydney smiled in victory. She had a memory like a steel trap. A rusted trap, on occasion, but it was working fine this morning.

“Oh, crap.”

“What?”

“It sounds like my fight trainer got a dozen roses and a note saying I was looking forward to my day of servitude.”

She wasn’t pleased to be awake, and this whole waste of time was a pain in the ass, but that was pretty funny. “Maybe she likes roses.”

“His name is Russ, and he’s former navy. I’m thinking not. So how can I serve you this morning?”

Sydney stood corrected. This was hilarious. It was always good to begin the day with a laugh. It set the tone for what followed. Now that she was up she had the chance to get a jump start on her list. With some juggling, she could shift her first appointment of the day forward, which would gain her about half an hour. Her schedule had been tight to the point where a couple minutes could have cost a bus connection and thrown off her entire afternoon. This could work in her favor. All she had to do now was send Zeus on his way.

Sydney stifled a yawn. “You could leave. I’m sorry about the missed message confusion, but today isn’t going to work for me. Maybe you could have your assistant contact me again and we could reschedule. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

She shut the door in his face. If this was a regular hangover hallucination, she’d have to drink sake more often.

***

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