Good morning!  First and foremost, thank you so much to everyone who downloaded a copy of SAFE FROM THE DARK this weekend – it was such fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Today I’ve got a little SAFE FROM THE FIRE excerpt for you, and some new cover art for SHADOW OF THE RAVEN, the prequel novella for my HEARTS OF STONE series, which (fingers crossed) will be up at the end of the month, and then Book #1 in April.

Shadow of the Raven - SMALL

Like it?  It may change a little, but overall I’m happy with it – I love  her tattoos, which fit in perfectly with the story, and the birds give it this whole Hitchcock vibe, I think.  Not to mention the gorgeous, bare, muscle-y man candy above.  That’s Cal.  He’s inspiring in more ways than one…LOL…and actually gets two books, as he’s our hero in Book #1 as well.  The title is still eluding me, but I have a little time on that.

And now for your weekly dose of Matt & Grace.  Enjoy!  I’m going to disappear into my writing cave and hope to have their story for you, with a new chapter of SHINY THINGS, on Friday.

SAFE FROM THE FIRE

EXCERPT:

DID HE HAVE TO take up all the oxygen in the room?  Grace supposed that when a man was as big as Matt Harris, he was going to take the lion’s share of breathable air.  She assured herself that her sudden breathlessness was not a result of her impossible attraction to the hot firefighter.  He was objectively beautiful, that was all – all that hard muscle that clothing couldn’t disguise, the face carved by a divine hand, thick golden hair, and sky blue eyes that practically shone with honesty and goodwill toward mankind.

She wanted to climb him like a ladder and lick every inch along the way.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

Grace forced a cool smile.

“Hi, Matt.  You remember my brother Adam.”

Matt nodded, clearly curious, but didn’t comment on her brother’s sudden reappearance.  Adam had been a nightmare for the Bright’s Ferry Fire Department, and Grace couldn’t blame Matt for being un-thrilled to see him again.

“Adam’s going to be staying with me for a while, taking some classes.  Isn’t that great?” she went on brightly, squeezing Adam’s hand reassuringly.

Grace knew the second Matt spotted the scars on Adam’s wrists, but again, he remained silent, just raised a surprised eyebrow.

“Did you want something?”  Grace cringed internally as the words left her lips, because for the briefest moment, Matt’s eyes flared with heat, and she felt an answering tug low in her stomach.

Oh, he definitely wants something.

Though she tried to block it out, Grace was one-hundred percent certain that Matt Harris wanted her, had wanted her for months, if not longer.  The shy giant followed her with his eyes whenever she entered a room, went out of his way to make small talk when they were in groups, though she knew it made him uncomfortable, and always seemed on the verge of asking her out.  Which was why she fled nearly every time she saw him.

Clearly, I have issues.

It wasn’t that Grace thought that Matt was unapproachable or bad relationship material, if she were looking for a normal, run-of-the-mill kind of relationship.  If anything, he was too perfect – smart and funny and kind.  The man rescued cats from trees and saved lives on a daily basis, for Pete’s sake.  The problem was Grace.  She knew who she was and what she wanted, and there was no way this wholesome, handsome, All-American Boy Scout type was going to be able to give it to her.  He’d probably be horrified the first time she asked him to spank her.

The thought of his hands warming her ass had her clenching her thighs together.

No way.  God, his hands are huge.

She didn’t give a shit about her own reputation around town, but she definitely didn’t want to be the one who “ruined” Matt Harris by dragging him down into a world of kinky sexual delights where he most definitely didn’t belong.

And you couldn’t handle it if he broke your heart, the tiny voice whispered, but she pushed that thought away, swallowing hard.

“So, I wanted to ask you – ” he began.

Oh fuck, don’t do it.

“I noticed this new Italian place across the bay when I was visiting Mom last week.  Right on the water.  I was wondering if you’d like to check it out with me?  Maybe Saturday?”

The hope in Matt’s eyes sent warm tingles coursing up her spine, and Grace was shocked to find herself blushing under his scrutiny, even as her heart sank at what she had to do.  She stood, scarcely containing the shiver as she noted that she barely came up to his shoulder.

He could pin me to the bed with no effort at all, she thought, her clit throbbing.

“Matt, that’s so sweet, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

His face fell.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t sure – are you seeing somebody else?”

“No.  God, nothing like that,” replied Grace quickly, before realizing that that would have been the kinder lie, instead of making it sound like she found him unappealing.

Matt was trying to hide it, but he still looked like someone had kicked his puppy, and Grace was suddenly ticked at him for putting her in this position to begin with.  She knew Adam was watching them, along with the whole fucking diner.

I’m trying to protect you, you idiot.

The hurt on his face that he was trying to smother was unbearable, and Grace attempted to ignore the little voice that wondered if she really wasn’t just trying to protect herself.