Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The last Day

Hello! First things first. I've been interviewed at You Gotta Read today and would love some company.

Okay. Now to the business at hand. Get them in. What you say. Anyone that wants to leave a comment, like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Get to it. You have until 11:59 EST tonight. That's August 31. Up for grabs a $25 gift card to Amazon. September will begin another contest. I'm putting together a couple of gift baskets filled with coffee, candy and whatever else I can find. Also, I'm part of the Back to Smut tour so look for me there and a chance to win a bit of jewelry.

Until then, indulge your inner romantic.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Big Five

5 Things You Should Know Before You Indie Publish
By Laura Browning
  1. Writing might be a solitary endeavor, but publishing is not
I’ve been writing for a long time. I spent more than two decades writing in television news. I’ve been seriously writing fiction for about six years now. I’ve been very fortunate to have books picked up by The Wild Rose Press and Lyrical Press. I can tell you right now, the hardest thing I’ve ever done was publish one of my books on my own. 
In addition to the writing, there’s editing, formatting, designing a cover, figuring out how to market it and finding reviewers who are both willing to review an indie published book, and not so inundated with manuscripts that they’re willing to take a timely look at yours.
If you’re like many writers who also hold down full-time jobs, think carefully before you decide to don too many hats at once.
  1. You need a good editor
This one bears repeating. You need a good editor. I’m an English teacher, but I can tell you, I still need other sets of eyes on my work…and friends and family don’t count. This is a place where my advice would be to pay someone to edit your book, and make sure you pay someone who knows how to edit. A good editor is priceless. I firmly believe it takes as much (or more!) talent to edit someone else’s work than to write your own books. If you’re determined to Indie publish, then find an editor. Not only will they see the mistakes you’ve missed, but they—unlike your mom, friend, or spouse—won’t hesitate to point out where you sound like an idiot or have left a glaring hole in your plot.
  1. If you write it, they will come – maybe.
Plenty of folks out there made Indie publishing sound like some Field of Dreams fantasy, and it might have been if you were either one of the first to come out with the 99 cent book, or an already established author hawking your backlist to which you just regained rights. However, there are oodles and oodles of independently published books out there, and among them are lots of, shall we say, less than polished prose. Okay, I’ve seen some real crap. Whew. I feel better for having said that.
So, your future addition to the body of American Literature stands an excellent chance of being smothered among the…doo doo. This is where number four comes in…
  1. Know your Market
Decide if you’re going to be able to promote your books in places that will get it noticed. Some genres are overloaded. I’d tell you that right now, vampire stories fall into that area. You’ll need a really unique twist to your story to get it at the top of the heap, and some ins to get you reviews.
Word of mouth is a great marketing tool, but you’re going to have to get them talking first. Being able to hit the market in fairly frequent intervals with something like a series is a help, but not a guarantee of increased sales.
  1. Know Your Limits
The real bottom line before you make the leap into Indie publishing  is to be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Once you figure out exactly how much of your independence you’ll have to hire out, you may find submitting to publishers is still the better option.
Sure, the promise of being able to keep more of the profits is a tantalizing lure to be sure, especially when you see you made 12 cents off that paperback that retailed for 12.99. The costs of indie publishing are in more than money, it can be a huge drain on your time. Let’s face it, for most writers, our primary job is to write. If we don’t have the time to do that, then we’re missing the point. 

About me:
I am the author of two novels so far in my Sea Lovers series from The Wild Rose Press: The Silkie’s Call and The Silkie’s Salvation. In addition, I have a novella coming out in December from TWRP entitled, Santa’s Helper. 
Lyrical Press released my first full-length contemporary romance, Winning Heart, in July. Another contemporary, Bittersweet, will be out in December.
And yes, I have indie-published one novel so far, The Guardian Michel, part of a series I will continue to work on if I survive the birth pains. Lol.
If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my website:

Monday, August 29, 2011

And the Winner is...

Happy Monday All! Okay I know this announcement is late, but it's been that type of day. All right drum roll...Congratulations AJ NUEST! Woo-whoo!

I attended the Relay for Life walk this past weekend and I walked at night. Some of you who know me, would think was nuts considering I have no night vision. The experience was something I won't forget and will repeat next year. My family and I arrived in time for the memorial service and the lighting of the luminaries. I had no idea.

Cancer has touched us all in some way, whether it's a family member, a friend or a co-worker. Let's not forget.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Proof of Murder

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agely-Robert Burns, To A Mouse

Okay so things didn't go as I planned, but hey life goes on. I know you're all anxiously awaiting this week's winner and I hate to prolong the suspense, but I'll post the name a little later. The upcoming guests will be Laura Browning and Vonnie Davis, both are must read authors. I'm also excited about the upcoming blog tour with several other erotic authors. Some of you may have seen the Back-to-Smut graphic about halfway down the page. Yep. Yours truly will be hanging out with a lot of other great writers and giving away prizes. You'll get more deets later in the week.
So after much searching I came up with a short, short story. I've posted the first installment here, and I think I'll post the rest later this week. Don't forget to leave a comment. And always, indulge your inner romantic.

Proof of Murder
W. Lynn Chantale

Allyson Marshall tossed her ebony hair from her face and followed the rancor-filled voice down the long, linoleum hallway.  She shivered as distorted images flashed through her mind, much like an old TV on the fritz.  She breathed deep when another voice, deep and sensuous reprimanded the first.
Her hands shook as sin and smoke enveloped her heart, her vision momentarily blurring.  She exhaled. Not today.  She needed to help Will.  Smoothing a shaky hand down the front of her charcoal pinstripe skirt, she clutched the files in the other a little tighter.  The voices, became clearer as she neared the open door.
The staccato rap of her heels came to an abrupt halt and she knocked on the door.  She didn’t need to check the name. She had arrived. Now she waited to be invited in.  She wiped her sweaty palm on her skirt, peeled her fingers from the file and then repeated the motions, her plain platinum band glinting in the florescent light.
“Come in!” sin and smoke invited.
She curved her lips into a genial smile and entered the room.  “Ms. Banks, said you requested my presence, Mr. James?”
She remained standing, her gaze resting briefly on each man in turn.  The man to her right seemed older, maybe ten or fifteen years, than her twenty-eight.  His steel gray eyes, while intelligent swam with lust, greed and vileness.  She stifled a shudder of revulsion and held the file out to the man seated behind the desk.  His hot chocolate eyes held avid interest and amusement as well as a shade of concern. She stared out the window behind Will James.
“I did Allyson.  Please, have a seat,” Will waved a hand toward a vacant chair. Unfortunately it sat next to the older man.
She slid her gaze from the chair back to Will.  “Thank you, but I prefer to stand.”
Rough fingers scraped her calf. Allyson gasped when her vision clouded and swam.  A bloated, watery face flashed before her eyes.  Chlorine assailed her nostrils. Water filled her mouth and nose.  Darkness closed around her. Pinpricks of light exploded behind her eyelids. Pressure constricted her chest forcing the remaining oxygen from her lungs.  Cool air skittered across her face.
“You’re okay now,” he whispered.  “You hear me?  You’re safe.”
Allyson drew in greedy gulps of air.  She clutched the front of his jacket, inhaling his crisp clean scent.  “He killed her Will.  He held her under...”
“Shhh...” Will cradled her face, brushing her tears away with his thumbs.  “Open your eyes, honey.  I need to know you’re with me.”
Her eyes fluttered open and Allyson stared into Will’s handsome face.  She inhaled a shaky breath.  Pressing her palms to the backs of his hands, she lifted her head and glanced around. They stood just outside his office.  She nodded.
Will caressed her cheek before tunneling his fingers through her hair, resting his palm on the back of her head.  He lowered his head, caressing her lips with his.  She linked her hands behind his head, her vision momentarily forgotten.  Will rested his hands on the curve of her hips and with a sigh stepped away.
She gazed up at him.  “You should have warned me.”
He smiled, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.  “You know I couldn’t do that. Any information would have compromised your objectivity.”
She glanced at the door.  “Does he know?”
“When you stopped talking, I hurried you out.”  His eyes drifted over her face.  “Did you see anything I can use?”
“Jus-just give me a second.”  She walked away, pressing her fingertips to her eyes.  What had she seen?  She slowly inhaled, exhaling through the vision.  She squinted. Something flashed...something...She turned on her heel, pointing towards her throat, making a half-circular motion.  “A chain of some sort. H-he lost it.  She grabbed it in the struggle.”
Will tilted his head.  “Can you find it?”
Allyson nodded.
He put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a business card.  “That’s the address.  Call me the minute you find anything.”
When she turned to leave, Will grasped her hand.  He tangled their fingers, their wedding bands glittering in the glaring light.  She stroked his cheek.  “I’ll be careful.”
“Yeah, do that.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome Jill James

Tell the readers a little about yourself.
I'm a published author of contemporary romance as Jill James at The Wild Rose Press. I'm married for 23 years to Mr. Cop and have a beautiful daughter, handsome soldier son, and gorgeous grandson. I've been seriously writing since 2004 and got published this year. I live in beautiful California.
As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
I read between 4 and 5 books a week. I learned speed reading in the sixth grade and I devour books. My faves alternate between the Queens of romance; Joanna Lynsey, Jennifer Blake, Virginia Henley, and Jude Deveraux and my friends; Allison Brennan, Karin Tabke, Virna Depaul, and TWRP authors. Right now I'm on a zombie kick; I know zombies and romance? So I'm checking out some known names and a lot of indie authors.
If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
I love the ocean, the waves crashing, the salt air, the ocean breezes. I would love a deserted island, my honey, and a million books.
If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
I would love to be the long-legged heroine Yvette of Tempting Adam. I'm 5'2" on a good day so my heroines are always very tall. LOL She wears designer suits and flashy clothes.
The tag line on my blog is 'Indulge Your Inner Romantic.' What do you do to indulge?
To be romantic we will get dressed to the nines; me in a dress and pantyhose, him in dress slacks, dress shirt and go to an outrageously expensive dinner and a show. Afterwards --- very romantic.

Lynn, thanks for this chance to be on your blog.  Jill

You can find Jill James @         

Tempting Adam Blurb

They both want the same thing – St. Eden Studios.
Corporate raider Yvette Giardino intends to bring St. Eden Studios to its knees. It’s a job. One her grandmother’s health depends on. That Adam St. Eden will suffer isn’t personal. Until he awakens her sympathy and stirs her body in ways she can’t explain. 
Adam wants one thing and one thing only – to protect the dream his grandfather began. But when the board demands he work with stunning Yvette, a woman he’d mistakenly indulged with in a little after-hours play, his world turns upside down. Missed meetings, unhappy clients, and nights of intense pleasure – he can blame one person.  Yvette. 
With his corporation crumbling around him, can Adam rise above the fallout and see his sexy temptress for what she really is – a victim of manipulation and a woman who desperately needs his love? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Going HOME with Calisa

Thank you so much for being here today Calisa.

If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?

I think it would be romantic to sail to Ireland and tour the entire island coast to coast. Of course, I’d have my loving husband with me.

Share your first sale story.
I submitted a short story to The Wild Rose Press on May 3rd this year. I was thrilled when, on May 11th, they wanted to buy it. I think the sale email went something like “So it looks like I can send you the contract as soon as (the higher ups) approve my request to buy HOME.” I stared at the email wondering just what my lovely editor was saying. As more of a literal type at times, I’m not very good at reading between the lines. I asked my hubby, my cps and other writer friends what they thought she was saying. Finally, when I could breathe again, I emailed her back with, “So... are you saying you want to BUY my book? Shouldn’t there be a process, revisions, something between submitting and selling?” I can still hear Nan laughing at my naiveté. She said that~ I’m so damn awesome and got it right the first time!~
Actually- what she said was that I’d soon find out how picky she could be once I returned the contract. By that time I couldn’t have cared less. I SOLD! I’m still waiting for a release date but it’s getting close now so watch my blog for a contest.

The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge?What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Chocolate. And I read. I limit my reading while writing or revising because it’s all I’d do if I allow myself to. I find a book that is eating at me to read it more than any other, and I force myself to save it as my reward after a finished project. In down time, after a day’s goal has been met, at break times I love to watch or play with my granddaughters. They grow up so fast.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
This sounds so cliché but WRITE. Keep writing even when you may begin to wonder why you’re bothering. Get  a critique partner, or a group of them. I’d been writing seriously for five years and getting rejections all along. In January ’10 I found a wonderful group of eight unpublished writers and we started Chapter By Chapter. In July ‘10 our first member sale came in. Just this week our fifth member sold her first book. I don’t think I’ve even heard of another critique group making first sales so fast, but without them I know my writing wouldn’t be where it is now.

How do you stay motivated when the Muse is uncooperative?Why do you write what you do?
That’s hard because it’s easy for me to let the muse have her way. But sometimes when I feel the need to write and don’t have the inspiration I usually open something else to work on. I have several stories sitting on the back burner that never leave my mind. I love my paranormal wolf shapeshifter series, so I open one of them first. If that doesn’t do the trick I might just play around with a new idea until I get the muse in the mood to get down to business again. But I try to write- something, anything- I might go days without working if I don’t. 

Why do you write what you do?
I guess I just enjoy seeing two people overcome any obstacle to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Their Happy Ever After. I could also say I enjoy torturing the hero and heroine to make that HEA sweeter. ;) I love putting words together and creating a love that will last forever. Mostly- like most writers- I just have to. I can’t NOT write and I need the satisfaction of a happy, love-filled ending.
Thank you for having me here Lynn. It’s been a fun interview! If any readers want to know what I have cooking in the author fire, feel free to visit me at my website and check out my blog while you’re  browsing. Or follow me on Twitter/Calisa_Rhose. I’m also on Facebook/Calisa Rhose. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Ramblings

First order of business this week, is to announce the weekly winner. Congratulations Ebony Dreams! You are my lucky winner this week! As always, thank you everyone who stopped by and visited last week’s guests bloggers. Don’t forget to say hi when you stop by to visit with this week’s guests. Calisa Rhose and Jill James will be spending a little time with me.
 This has been somewhat of a stressful week for me. Personal life has decided to go a little wonky. Kids are fine, but the in-laws are having issues and that translated into stress for the hubby and then me. Which in turn leaked into my writing. Yep. It’s difficult to write when someone is pacing back and forth, or hovering over your shoulder. Thankfully I got through the second round of edits. They were cool. I think my new editor is great. She pointed a few things out to me that were missed early on and so made the story stronger. I’m so excited.
So here I sit on a Sunday morning, taking the day off. No hubby. No kids. The house is quiet except for a re-run of John Doe playing in the background. Oh and let’s not forget the crickets, cicadas, and intermittent traffic.
As I close this particular post I’m thankful for the solitude. I can clear my head, reset my circuits and get back to the business at hand. Living and writing. School starts soon. I can’t wait. Until next time, indulge your inner romantic.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Presenting Emma Lai

I'm very excited to have Miss Emma Lai at my blog. She is one of my critique partners and a super awesome writer. Her characters are so vivid and rich I wish I could crawl between the pages and stay awhile. So with no further ramblings from me, here's Emma.

This week, I’m marking the two year anniversary of the release of my first published story, His Ship, Her Fantasy: Mates of the Guardians, Book 1, in a couple of ways. 
First, I’m contemplating re-branding and offering a $25 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or The Wild Rose Press--winner’s choice--to one lucky commenter who leaves a helpful suggestions or comments at my blog under the post “It’s All in the Branding” (
Second, I’m offering winner’s choice of one of my published stories as well as ARCs of upcoming releases to random commenters this week at any blog at which I am a guest, including this blog, or the host (Emma Lai Writes).
Now, onto the topic du jour. As I contemplated what to write, I covered a broad range of ideas: synopsis of my career to date, analysis of time invested, and commentary on publication process. However, all of these things are completely subjective. Every writer has their own process, their own speed of writing, and their own ups and downs on the road to publication.
So, today I’m going to share with what I believe to be virtues that benefit authors...
Courage: It takes courage to put your work out there for others to criticize.
Humility: While it is important to celebrate accomplishments (like releases and anniversaries), it’s also important to remember those who helped you reach your goals. A good critique partner, an excellent editor, supportive family members and friends, and the ever important readers, who grant you your success.
Integrity: Everyone gets helpful hints or ideas from somewhere, so give credit and acknowledgements where appropriate. (This also means don’t plagiarize or pirate others’ works.) 
Respect:  Not everyone shares your opinion. People may not like your plot, your character, your writing style, or whatever. That’s okay. They have the right to their own opinion and it should be respected, no matter if they don’t show respect in return.
Patience: It takes time to craft a quality story. It takes time for critique partners to critique. It takes time for editors to respond. It takes time for the entire publishing process. (Disclaimer: While I think patience is beneficial to have, it’s not one of my virtues. :) )
Now, for those of you who like puzzles, you might have realized my list of virtues is ordered to spell C-H-I-R-P. Why is that? Because I want you to sing out the virtues you find important. Remember, I’m giving away prizes to people who leave comments!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Love and Dairy-Michelle Explains

I'm pleased to have Romance Author and fellow Kiss of Death Member Michelle Cary visiting with me today. So without further ado, take it away Michelle.
 Tell the readers a little about yourself.
    I always cringe when people ask me that question, mostly because I never know what to say.   I guess I should start by saying that I'm probably like most of my readers.  I work a full time job, have two great kids, one loving husband and never seem to have enough time in my life to get all the laundry   I've always been creative, even as a child and have a vivid imagination.  My artistic endeavors have spanned many years and many media.  Since I'm a romantic at heart, it seemed only natural that I should move into story telling as it is simply another form of art.  So I started writing eight years ago after my youngest was born and am still going today.
 As an author, do you take time to read?  If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
    Absolutely I read.  I love to read and have been know to absorb an entire book in one sitting when it's really good.  Though I have to admit it's been years since I've done nothing but read for 6 hours.  My favorite author is of course Nora Roberts.  It was her stories that inspired me to start writing.   Then there is Janet Evanovich...I absolutely adore her numbers series and like most of her fans anxiously awaited the release of Smokin Seventeen in June.  Then there is erotic romance author and queen of the BDSM stories Ms. Cherise Sinclair.  Her Masters of the Shadowlands Series has to be some of the best writing I've read in a long time.  Her characters are layered and deep and she is able to portray the lifestyle in a way that you don't ever think the work porn.  There of course is others that I read, but these three ladies are always on the top of my list.
 If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
I don't believe anyone has ever asked me this question.  Hmmm...let me see.  I know most people would probably say a deserted island, but I think I'd rather rent a cabin the mountains, probably in the fall when the leaves are turning vivid colors and the evenings bring with them a slight chill.  Besides snuggling close by a warm fire, I'd probably want to go for horseback rides, maybe canoe on a lake and go for walks in the woods.  Venturing out, I would most definitely want to check out the local scene and what types of food, crafts and such the surrounding area had to offer.  
If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
Actually, one of my favorite characters and the one I would probably choose comes from a book that currently isn't available.  Vanessa Beaumont from my novel Ransomed Heart, is a strong willed, knows what she wants, all-be-it slightly naive woman who consistently thinks of others.  While her background is somewhat checkered, she doesn't bare scars like so many of my other heroines do.  Due to poor sales and lack of publisher support, I felt it best to pull the story once my contract was up.  With any lucky, I will have this book back in print with a new publisher by the end of the year .
The tagline on my blog is 'Indulge Your Inner Romantic.' What do you do to indulge? 
My therapy for either romance or just to relieve stress both fall along the same lines.  
1. Find a good book
2. Draw a nice hot bubble bath
3. Light some candles
4. Pour something nice and relaxing to drink (my favorite is a mudslide).
5. Enjoy!
Thanks. And to learn more about Michelle you can visit her at her website
My latest book release is Shelter me from Loose-ID.  I came out in late June and is the sequel to Midnight Clear which came out Christmas of 2009.  I've attached the book cover and blurb and excerpt.
Here's my links.
My contact info is as follows.
Michelle Cary 
PO Box 1792
Laurel Springs, NJ 08021
Blurb and Excerpt 

As head of the Werner Dairy Farm empire, Teagan Werner has no time for nonsense in his life and even less time for love. When a sexy sable-haired vixen shows up demanding he sell some of his land to her non-profit organization, he's both incensed and intrigued by her display of strength and determination. Quickly it becomes apparent that ignoring his attraction to her won't work, but does he really know enough about the woman to trust her with his heart?
A former victim of domestic abuse, Kyrie Hart has seen her share of hardship and she's determined to give others the same opportunity for escape she had. Leery of men but stern in her convictions, she wants not only the property Teagan Werner owns, but the handsome millionaire too. When her resolve to help abused women collides with her need to follow her heart, Kyrie is forced to choose between her cause and her love. Her decision isn't easy and in the end might very well prove to be the biggest mistake of her life.
Teagan Werner leaned back in his chair and pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to control his building headache. The recent days of stress and frustration seemed to pick today to culminate into one nasty migraine. If he thought about it, the past year had been a roller coaster filled with both highs and lows that had left him emotionally drained. Right now all he wanted was a few days’ vacation. With his brother, Talon, now a full-time paid fireman and his new sister-in-law, Abby, running her own business in town, he was once again left to head the family farm. Taking time off was out of the question.
Not that he minded being in charge. He loved the farm and even before his parents’ deaths had begun taking on the task of keeping it successful. What bothered him more than the endless schedules of breeding cows, calves being born, and equipment breakdowns was a newfound loneliness plaguing him.
Ever since Talon and Abby had married in August, the melancholy hung over him like a persistent rain cloud. For the moment, his brother and sister-in-law still lived in the sprawling mansion where he’d been raised. They’d decided to put off having children until Abby’s new business venture took off, but that hadn’t stopped them from toying with baby names or planning for their future.
It was only a matter of time before they bought their own place and moved out, leaving him to rattle around in the big ole house all alone. He didn’t begrudge his brother the happiness he’d found with Abby. Even back in high school, he’d known Abby and Talon were made for one another, even if neither of them had a clue.
He simply wished he could find the kind of love they shared. That wasn’t to say they left him out completely. He tipped his lips into a grin as he thought about the last time the three of them were tangled in the sheets together.
He reached down to adjust the growing bulge in his slacks as he remembered the way Abby had gone down on him. She’d placed a small ice cube in her mouth before she’d laved his dick with such fervor he nearly came within seconds. One thing was for sure: Talon was one lucky son of a bitch.
Though that had been back before the wedding. They’d assured him there would be more, but three months later, he was still waiting. There wasn’t any use in fooling himself. He’d known the moment they’d said their “I do’s” that their rendezvous would no doubt end.
Facts were facts. Abby might be adventurous, but she wouldn’t want to play around when it came to the father of her child. He sighed as his cock deflated at the thought of losing what he’d come to accept as the norm.
He turned back to the papers spread out on his desk and struggled to focus on his work. Two of his tanker trucks had fallen victim to engine problems, causing a serious gap in transporting his product to the processor. A load of moldy hay came in the day before, and he needed to address the issue with the supplier. No way was he going to pay for tainted feed.
“Mr. Werner?” He glanced up to see the housekeeper, Millie, standing in the doorway, a look of remorse on her face. “I know you didn’t want to be disturbed, but Mr. Fletcher is here with a guest.”
Teagan barely refrained from rolling his eyes. What in the world does Earl want? “Fine, let him in.” His Realtor, Earl Fletcher, was the last person Teagan wanted to deal with this morning.
An aging man close to sixty shuffled through the door, followed by a vixen with long black hair, wearing what would best be described as conservative sexy in her gray pencil skirt and white pleated blouse. Her high heels clicked across the hard wood as she entered the room and had Teagan taking pause at the shapely legs attached to those shoes. She stopped and cleared her throat. The sound caused Teagan to zip his attention back to her face.
Heat slowly crept into his face as he realized she’d caught him gawking. He smiled and, never breaking his gaze with her, asked, “Earl, who’s your friend?”
Earl beamed as if he were introducing the queen herself. “Teagan, this is Ms. Kyrie Hart.”
“Pleased to meet you.” Teagan stood and extended a hand to shake.
“Likewise,” she replied as she accepted his hand. The initial contact sent zings of electricity shooting up his arm, and Teagan would have sworn the floor moved beneath his feet.
Holy hell, what was that? He broke contact, pulled away, and motioned for them to sit. “What can I do for you, Mrs. Hart?”
She started to speak only to have Earl cut her off. “She’s here looking for properties to purchase and is interested in the land you have on Amber Mill Road.”
Really? Wouldn’t it be a pleasure to have her as a new neighbor? Teagan pondered the idea of having this beautiful woman living so close by. “Really. Well, Mrs. Hart—”
“Ms. Hart,” she corrected, and Teagan sent up a silent thank-you.
“Um…Ms. Hart. Even if the property was still for sale, which it isn’t, you should know that the house burned down some time ago, so there is only land.”
She nodded. “Mr. Fletcher told me about the house, but I’m really only interested in the property.”
“Like I said, it’s no longer for sale.”
Her face contorted in confusion as she glanced from Teagan to Earl and back. “As of last month, it was still listed. Has it already been purchased?”
Teagan shook his head. He should have expected Earl’s continued push to sell even after he’d removed the property from the market. “No, ma’am. I simply decided not to sell it after all.”
“Well.” She frowned. “I’m sure you had good reason to put the place on the market to start, and I am extremely interested in the land. Isn’t there any way we can work out a deal?”
“I’m sorry, but the land is no longer available.” Teagan shot Earl a disgruntled look. “Mr. Fletcher should have told you that instead of wasting all our time dragging you out here for no reason.”
“Now, Teagan, I’m sure you can at least hear what Ms. Hart has to say.”
“Fine.” Teagan folded his arms over his chest and leaned back. There wasn’t anything she could possibly say that would change his mind, but if hearing her out would make them both go away faster, he’d do it. “Why are you so interested in the land, Ms. Hart? What exactly do you plan to do with it?”
“I want to build a retreat and spa for battered women.”
That certainly wasn’t what he’d expected her to say. Confused, Teagan frowned. “I’m sorry. I don’t quite follow you. Battered women aren’t going to have the money to spend on a retreat and spa.”
The indignant look she wore told Teagan he’d just dug his first hole with the beautiful lady. “Well of course not,” she retorted. “The retreat will work much like a woman’s shelter, only on an entirely different level. It would be for those women who are not only willing to leave their abusive relationships but who need to leave everything behind and start new elsewhere due to the level of violence.”
“So it would kind of be a halfway house for women in need of a protection program of sorts. New look, new identity, new town.”
The incredulous look she wore slipped into a grin. “That’s a very good way to describe it, Mr. Werner.”
“Please, call me Teagan.”
“All right, Teagan. The idea is to bring women to the retreat to heal. While there, they’ll be counseled, offered schooling or job training before being given a fresh start in another state.”
He eased back until he sat on the edge of his desk and crossed his legs at the ankles. “That sounds awful ambitious for one person, Ms. Hart.”
“I’m heading up the project and eventually will run the place once it’s open, but I do have a team helping me get the proper funding in place.”
“And how does this spa factor into all that?”
“The spa will pamper these women in a way they haven’t been treated before. They’ll receive a complete makeover, exercise classes, lessons on dealing with stress, and a place to just spend some downtime while they work through their issues. Essentially it will give women the chance to recuperate, rehabilitate, and prepare for their new identities and new lives. While I was in Colorado, I saw a similar spa in action, and they had a fantastic success rate.”
“And you want to put all this on the property on Amber Mill Road?”
“That’s the plan.”
“And you’d be heading up the project and then staying on to run the facility?”
Her gaze narrowed. “That’s what I said. Why? Do you have a problem with a woman running a construction project, Mr. Werner?”
Geez, she was a touchy one. He held his hands up in defense. “No, not at all. I was just making sure I understood everything. No disrespect intended.”
“Disrespect taken,” she snapped. “Now about this property.”
“Not. For. Sale.” He stood and returned to his chair behind the desk. “Not that I have to share my reasons for keeping the land, but I’ve had serious issues with my grain supplier lately and have decided to use the land to grow some of my own feed. Thus the reason for pulling it off the market.”
Her eyes widened at his explanation, and she leaned forward, placing a hand on his desk. “You want to use the land to feed a bunch of cows? You can’t be serious.”
“I’m completely serious. Werner Farms is one of the major dairy producers east of the Mississippi, and I’m not going to risk our reputation by feeding my cattle tainted food.”
“There must be more than one supplier for feed, Mr. Werner.”
“Even if there are, I have the right to choose how I use my land, Ms. Hart. Besides, there are other pieces of property available for sale in the area.”
“Yes, but I’m interested in your land. Now I’m sure for the right price you could be persuaded to change your mind?”
She was a persistent one. “What kind of price are we talking?”
A smug smile tipped her lips, and despite her combative nature, Teagan had the sudden urge to kiss it away. “Four thousand an acre.”
The urge died with her offer as the businessman took over. “You have to be joking.” He shook his head. “That land is worth a minimum of six, even with all the wooded acreage.”
“Now who’s joking?” she shot back. “Haven’t you bothered to keep up on the news? The entire housing market is down. Nothing is selling for full value right now.”
“All the more reason for me to keep the land and put it to use.”
Obviously put out by his statement, she shot up from her chair. “You’re being completely unreasonable, Mr. Werner. In these hard economic times, you’d be a fool to pass on such a lucrative offer.”
“Then I guess I’m a fool because the answer is still no. As I said before, there are several other plots of land for sale in the area. Why don’t you try one of them?”
Her look turned hard as stone for the briefest of moments before she schooled her features into a polite smile. “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time.” She turned to Earl. “Since we’re obviously done here, I’ll be in the car.”
With that, she turned and stomped out of the room.
“Teagan, be reasonable,” Earl urged. “The woman is here on a mission of mercy. Besides, think about what it would do for the Werner name to be involved in such a charitable endeavor.”
“Charity doesn’t pay my bills,” Teagan shot back.
Earl shook his head and turned to leave. “I think you’re making a huge mistake, but it’s your land. Do what you want with it.”
No sooner had Earl left than Talon entered the room. He angled a thumb toward the door. “Hey, who’s the sexy chick in the suit I saw storming out of here a minute ago?”
“That, my dear brother, would be Ms. Kyrie Hart.”
Talon plopped down in the chair and arched a brow. “And just who is Ms. Kyrie Hart to you?”
“Apparently she is the latest thorn in my side.” Teagan reclined in his chair and considered the sexy-as-hell sable-haired beauty with attitude to spare. He had a strange feeling he hadn’t seen the last of her.
© Michelle Cary, June 2011
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