Monday, July 22, 2013

Now Available at Barnes and Noble!

A STONE UNTURNED is now available on Barnes and Noble!  Get your copy here.

To celebrate, here's a new EXCERPT


“Can you wash my back?” Mo asked.

Nia gritted her teeth. No doubt he’d try to yank her in the tub to wet her clothes so she’d have reason to stay longer.


She’d deliberately used more scented bath wash. Mo would have liked nothing more than to show himself to her. But the fluffy white mounds of bubbles allowed her to see no further south than his pecs. She neared the tub with as much anticipation as a prisoner heading to a cell.

Without a word, he handed her the washcloth. Bending, she drew the fluffy, white Egyptian cotton across his shoulders. Suds dotted the intricate circles of the tattoo covering his right shoulder and part of his back and chest. Every male in his family possessed it. She gritted her teeth as the memory of tracing the black symbols with her tongue broke free from her memory banks.

“Feels good.” His voice, deeper than its normal tones, shocked her back to the present.

Refocusing on the task at hand, she washed his back, determinedly not paying attention to the intricate markings. She straightened and handed the towel to him.

He took it, but held onto her wrist.

His fingers heated her skin like a hot poker. “Mo,” she warned, “you promised.”

“Hear me out.”

She sighed. “What?”

“Thanks for the rescue. I know it was the last thing you wanted to do.”

She glanced at the decorative wall sconces, determined not to answer the call of his wet glistening skin, begging her to remember how her fingertips skated across it. He didn’t need to know how personal the mission was for her. “You’re welcome.”

His lips thinned and his grip on her wrist tightened. “I never meant—”

“Can you hurry and finish?” She didn’t want to talk about them. Their time together fit perfectly in the corner of her mind allotted for past mistakes.

“Nia, I was wrong,” he said. “I’m sorry for what I did.”

Swallowing past the lump that lodged in her throat, she nodded. “I didn’t know this was a wash-your-conscience-clean bath. I’m fine. You’re fine. No worries. Finish the dang bath.”

He released her. The man weighed over two hundred pounds of mostly muscle. Despite whatever floated in his system, she was free only because he let go of her. She returned to the spot of safety near the shower. Behind her, water sloshed and then the sound of a towel rubbing against skin.

Moments later, he cleared his throat. “You can stop hiding. I’m out of the tub.”

She wasn’t falling for his tricks. “You decent?”

“I’m wearing briefs.”

Without looking at him, she headed to the door.


She paused, but didn’t turn around.

“Come here.” A strand of pleading wove through his command.

She shook her head. “I’ll tell Ryder you’re finished.”


She shifted from one foot to the other, hands clenched at her sides.

“I need you.” The words were low, filled with longing.

Anger whirled inside her. She met his reflection in the mirror. “For how long? Until you decide I’m not good enough?”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Don’t be a fool twice. “What’s done is done, Mo. You can’t change the past.”

He gripped the wall for balance as if he needed help staying vertical. “Reassure me that you’re okay?” He stepped from the tub. “Did the rogues hurt you?”


He let go of the wall. He shuffled toward her. “I want confirmation.”

She watched his progress in the mirror. “Why?” She shot back.

“Want to feel you.” The words sounded gruff as if he didn’t intend to utter them.

She recognized the need to reaffirm life by grabbing onto the familiar. Near-death situations prompted such actions all too often. She couldn’t let him touch her. After seeing him lying on the floor, she wasn’t certain her body wouldn’t wrap itself around him and refuse to let go.

He shuffled closer.

She didn’t move.

Finally, he stood behind her. He traced a forefinger down her left cheek. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it, Nia Rose.”

With the sound of her name spoken in his baritone, the weight of the past crashed around her like shards of broken glass leaving too many wounds, too much blood, and too little time to heal. Before he could touch her, she squared her shoulders and left the room.

She closed the door with a click. Funny, it rang with the same finality as it had a year ago. Only this time, Mo was the one on the other side of the door, and she was the one walking away.