Check out SECOND CHANCES at the Romance Lives Forever blog, and learn about Army veteran Kurt Lowdon….
Family law attorney Suzanne Taylor understands her clients’ problems–her own husband left her with two babies to raise alone. Now that they’re teenagers, her life is full. The last thing she wants is the romantic attentions of a police lieutenant, no matter how good-looking.
Lt. Nick Sansone is juggling the demands of a new promotion and doesn’t need complications either. But when he sends a councilman’s battered wife to Suzanne for help, he realizes he wants to connect with the lovely, prickly lawyer on more than a professional level.
They are soon confronted with a different battle when the abused woman’s husband threatens retribution. The powerful, well-connected councilman can damage both their careers–not to mention hurt those they love. Can they bend enough to admit they need each other in a time of crisis? Or will a husband’s revenge take them down before they ever get a chance?
For more information on the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series: https://alana-lorens.com/the-pittsburgh-lady-lawyers/
Excerpt: (from the first date)
“You went to Pitt? My alma mater, too.”
“Not in the same class, I’m sure.” Nick was forty-five; he’d always thought of Suzanne as at least ten years younger.
The fingers of her left hand ran lightly over the fork, cushioned in the folded white napkin on the table. “Well, I went for law school. We wouldn’t have seen each other anyway.”
“Probably not. It was twenty years ago, before I joined the force.”
She looked up, surprised. “I was just finishing up. But I was sure you were older than I am.” She hesitated, bit her lip. “I just turned forty.”
“Not so much. I’m forty-five.” There, he said it.
He hated thinking about the passing of the years. So many of them, so many alone. An awkward silence between them preceded the arrival of the wine, as well as hot bread with the strong aroma of garlic and cheese. He uncorked the bottle with a well-practiced hand, then poured them each half a glass. He suppressed the urge to ask about her love life. “Where’d you go for undergrad?” he asked instead.
“Penn State.” She took a sip of the wine, holding the cool edge of the glass against her lip for a moment.
“Business major?” he guessed.
“Oh, no! Sociology. Headed for a career involving ‘Would you like fries with that?’” She laughed. “Graduate school was pretty much a given.”
“So you’ve been bent on saving the world all along.”
She shrugged. “Some of it, at least.”
He could understand the sentiment. “I believe that’s what I do, too. God knows there isn’t much other reason to be on the street some days. I want to know I’m making a difference for some man, woman
or child every time I step out on the street.”
He waited for her to mock him, as other women had over the years. Many women wanted to date a police officer. Some found it a ticket to an “E” ride, great benefits, good pay, the opportunity for them to hang out with the girls at the outlet malls all day and get their nails done. Some, with violent men in their pasts, thought being with a cop would protect them. Some just were cop groupies, taking the thrill and excitement of the profession by proxy. But most denigrated his genuine need to serve as corny and fake.
Suzanne didn’t poke fun. She skewered him with a dissecting gaze. After a few silent moments, she ostensibly accepted him at face value. “Did you always want to be a cop?”
“Sure. I mean, the family history and all. Guess I never wanted to be anything else. Except an astronaut.” He grinned.
“You? Roger Ramjet? Hard to believe.” She laughed softly, and he thought the cool distance in her eyes mellowed. Maybe he had a chance with her.
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Thanks, Cynthia Terelst, for being with us today! First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you live? Do you have pets that are your loves? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?
I live in Queensland, Australia with my two cats, Kimmy and Possum. Kimmy was adopted from a local refuge and Possum was a foster fail through a rescue. I foster kittens, and have had five in my home at one time. That was pure craziness, and I will be sticking to two or three from now on. It is rewarding to know that you are saving lives and preparing them for a wonderful forever home.
I do not have any formal training in writing, in fact my degree is in commerce, which is funny really when you think that numbers and words are opposites. I don’t think you need an education in writing to be a good writer. Although, having an understanding of structure, flow and grammar helps. I find editing the hardest part of the process. Like most writers my first draft is about getting ideas and words on the page. Editing is perfecting those words and takes a lot of effort. You need to consider the plot, subplots, character arcs, flow, tension and much more.
Tell us about your most recent publication.
What inspired you to write this story?
What’s your favorite thing about the book? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
The Cat’s out of the Bag is my first published novel. It is a contemporary romance set in Australia. The two main characters are what some would consider tortured souls; Jesse is a billionaire from America who is trying to escape his empty life and Evie has rebuilt her life after escaping a bad relationship.
I felt it was an important story to write because it touches on family bullying and domestic violence. There is a lot of hope in this story and it is important for people to know there is always hope.
As it is set in Australia, I wanted to include different Australian scenes. Many of the places visited in my novel I visited with my daughter when we travelled around Australia with out cat and dog. Some of the places, like the Fairy Garden, needed research. It was fun to learn about things I didn’t know before.
I added some comedy in there as well to lighten the mood.
How would you best describe your books?
My books are full of love and hope. Even though I deal with some tough subjects I like to add some comedy in. It is amusing to write characters’ reactions to Australian English and Australian culture.
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
Gosh, I like to read just about anything. I have been reading a lot of romance recently to help with my writing. I am particularly fond of young adult dystopian. I have just started to read a space opera series because I wanted to know what I was missing out on.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I like creating life and watching it play out on the page. I wrote a scene recently where I cried and I hope the reader feels the same emotion I did.
I wanted to be a writer from a young age. My grandfather thought I might be a journalist like his father was. But young dreams have a way of changing. I even wanted to be a lawyer when I was thirteen. I had it all planned out. I would have a career and then have children when I was thirty-five. That didn’t eventuate either.
I wrote my first full length novel when I was sixteen. Life interrupted and I put writing aside for over twenty years. Now I am back at it and I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I belong to Queensland Writers Centre. They send out a newsletter weekly. Another association I am a member of is Romance Writers Australia. I am not a member of any groups where we get together to write or discuss writing.
I don’t find any one website useful. I google a lot when I get stuck.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
No. I am lost in the zone, so it wouldn’t matter what I listened to. Sometimes I prefer silence; other times I like some background noise.
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?
I have written one contemporary romance, The Cat’s out of the Bag, which is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. I have written a young adult novel which is yet to be published. I would like it to be traditionally published so it can be available in schools.
What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
I am writing my second novel in the Love Down Under series, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. It is a contemporary, second chance romance.
On April 4 I will be joining two other authors for an author talk at Hervey Bay Library. I am hoping to do some other local signing as well.
What would you like to tell readers?
I would like to thank readers for their support.
One van. Two hearts. Thousands of kilometres.
Jesse’s a self-made billionaire who yearns to get away from his empty life and the money-hungry parasites who inhabit it. The plan? Go to Australia, tell no one about his money and find himself. Instead of finding just himself, he finds Evie, who is everything anyone should aspire to be. Now, what he aspires to be, is hers. But to be hers, he needs to tell her everything.
Evie has left her past behind. She has rebuilt herself, and her life, into one of happiness. After she meets Jesse, while volunteering at a cat shelter, memories of her past filter back in. She is stronger now and wants to trust him. But after all she has been through, is trust even possible?
The quest to find a cat a forever home leads them to travel across the country together. Can the close quarters drive them to open up to each other? Or will it drive them apart?
The wave petered out, and I paddled back to the line-up. Sitting, watching, waiting. The constant breeze in my ears and the sound of waves breaking relaxed me. Lulled by the gentle rise and fall of the swells, I thought about Evie.
She was one of the most complicated people I’d ever met. Whatever she had been through had made her strong and independent. But underneath, she was all doubt. I could see her trying to be brave, but that could change in an instant as her insecurities took over. I felt like it was a fight between Nick and me, and I didn’t even know the guy. I didn’t know how to beat a ghost. But I would. I would figure it out, and I would gain Evie’s trust, bit by bit.
Her. Me. That’s what I would strive for.
CYNTHIA TERELST is a project officer by day and a writer by night. She is a contemporary romance writer who likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian sceneryu and a whole lotta love. Cynthia does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.
Social Media Links
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/cynthiaterelst
Check out my feature of SECOND CHANCES at the blog home of Alicia Dean today, talking about heroine Inessa Regan’s passion for helping victims of domestic violence! https://aliciadean.com/2020/02/11/hobbycareerpassion-it-happens-to-nice-men-and-women-too-by-alana-lorens/
Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.
Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.
Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?
Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”
She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.
A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.
Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.
A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”
She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”
Series: Deerbourne Inn (book 4)
Narrator: Georgia Allens
Audiobook Rights Holder: Amber Daulton with Daulton Publishing
Audiobook Release Date: January 23, 2020
Ebook Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Ebook Release Date: February 11, 2019
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Heat Rating: 3 Flames
Want to hear a sample?
Audio Buy Links (US)
Audible – https://adbl.co/36q03LL
iTunes – https://apple.co/2RlLmVH
Audio Buy Link (UK)
Amazon – https://amzn.to/38DbXUc
Audible – https://adbl.co/2uxsN8g
Interested in the ebook instead? You can grab a copy here:
Books2Read – http://books2read.com/u/m0MYaV
About the Author
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.
Social Media Links
Facebook Author Page – http://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Street Team – https://www.facebook.com/groups/572204316296198/
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton
Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton
The Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/authors/amber-daulton
As several of my Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers did, I worked for many years with survivors of domestic violence. It happens to women and men, to poor and rich, to unknowns and even the most famous. Mostly the question is, how much it costs to hide what’s happening and what’s at stake.
I feel like people have been trying to educate the general public for so long about DV and the reasons why it happens and the reasons why people stay in relationships that could threaten their lives. It baffles me that it’s not generally understood. Especially by the person affected.
Usually, physical abuse isn’t what comes first. The abuse can creep up slowly. A putdown here or there. An odd excuse to keep you away from family or friends. The violence often ramps up once you’ve been cut off from other people. By then, you feel trapped.
Having been married more times than I’d like to confess, I admit there are lies one tells oneself to keep moving forward. It’s not so bad. At least he doesn’t (smoke, drink, stay out all night, hit me, stalk me). Sure, there are people who have it worse than you. But why shouldn’t you want better? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. You don’t get a second take at this life if you wasted too much of it settling for second, third or fourth-best.
In the current political climate, when women’s rights are being threatened or at least disregarded, some abusers are trying to make the subjugation of women a new “normal.” DON’T LET THEM.
How do YOU feel about you, in your relationship?
, describes a list of symptoms a victim may have:
Victims of an abusive relationship may experience some of the following emotions and behaviors:
- Agitation, anxiety and chronic apprehension
- Constant state of alertness that makes it difficult for them to relax or sleep
- A sense of hopelessness, helplessness or despair because the victim believes they will never escape the control of their abuser
- Fear that one cannot protect oneself or one’s children. This person will turn down the assistance offered by relatives, friends or professionals.
- Feeling paralyzed by fear to make decisions or protect oneself
- A belief that one deserves the abuse
- A belief that one is responsible for the abuse
- Flashbacks, recurrent thoughts and memories of the violence and nightmares of the violence
- Emotional reactions to reminders of domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence can also have physical symptoms that aren’t directly caused by physical abuse. These symptoms are instead caused by the constant stress and tension of living in an abusive relationship. These symptoms include:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Chronic pain
- Restless sleep or inability to sleep
- Genital soreness
- Pelvic pain
- Back pain
Does any of this sound familiar? For you or someone you love? Help is available at every income level and social standing. Find a public computer, do some research and reach out for that help. Start at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at thehotline.org. Start at your local shelter. START.
Another resource sent in by the Pixelprivacy company–https://pixelprivacy.com/resources/spying-on-your-cell-phone/
Today I’m featured on the Romance Lives Forever blog!
In CONVICTION OF THE HEART, attorney Suzanne Taylor is a single mother of teen girls who hasn’t really considered dating much–until she meets police sergeant Nick Sansone. It has been years since she’s gone on a date other than something super casual, so she’s anxious as hell over every detail. What to wear. Where to go. How sexy to look. She doesn’t know what Nick’s expectations are, and she’s not going to take her daughters’ advice (which was something along the lines of “woo woo momma’s got a boyfriend. Is he gonna see your tattoo?”
Here she is getting ready to go:
Her hair wasn’t right.
She stood in front of the mirror in the frou-frou restroom that served the office and the rest of the tenants on the floor. She hadn’t decorated it. The ruffled pink curtains and wallpaper practically bleeding fuchsia butterflies were not to her taste at all.
She took her hair down again. Pinned it back up.
How is it her clients always managed to begin the dating life without difficulty or reservation whatsoever? For Suzanne, it was a major trauma.
She held her hair left, right, her eye critical. The Moody Blues were a sixties band. The Age of Aquarius. Hippies. Free love.
She took her hair out of its band, brushed it, then fluffed it with her fingers.
She’d chosen a feminine silk blouse, black with turquoise medallions, and black dress slacks instead of jeans, since they were going to the Benedum. If the concert had been at Star Lake, they’d have lawn seats and a blanket, and more casual would have been appropriate.
Suzanne thought about Nick, and a blanket, listening to music under the stars…going from zero to sixty pretty fast along that imaginative track. A long time since she’d made love with a man.
She shook her head to clear her mind. Focus.
The overnight bag she’d brought to the office held a pair of black pumps with a mid-height, chunky heel. She slipped them on, then looked in the mirror again.
Satisfied with her clothing, she dabbed on a hint of makeup, nothing garish, and added small dangle earrings, blue gemstones wrapped in silver, and a spritz of Opium, her favorite perfume. A deep breath gave her a moment to examine her appearance. A little less than professional, a little more than Sunday church. It would do.
What do you thinking about dating after forty? Easier or harder than at twenty? What special considerations have you made or seen others make to present a good first impression on a date?
I’m on the Romance Lives Forever blog today with an introduction to Inessa Regan from SECOND CHANCES!! Thank so much, Kayelle Allen! Come by, check it out, and get a copy for your Mother’s Day reading!!
Inessa’s gaze flicked to the opening in the fence. The man waiting there stepped through, approaching with apparent reluctance. When he wavered at the steps, Ann took his arm and helped him onto the porch.
“Inessa Regan, this is Kurtis Lowdon. Kurt, this is Inessa Regan, the lawyer I told you about. She is fabulous! She can draft up what you need in no time at all!”
Inessa studied the man, taking in his thin frame, shadowed brow, and very close-cropped blond hair. Something about him wasn’t right. She set her wine glass aside and waited for one of them to explain.
“Sorry to disturb you,” he said. His apology was followed by a boyish grin, and that’s when the oddity of the picture came together. He moved and stood like an old man, but he had to be less than thirty, perhaps just college age. “Annie insisted.”
“It’s her way.” Inessa managed an answering smile, shreds of courtesy tugging at her conscience. “I usually don’t see clients outside the—” Realizing she was about to say “office,” the irony stopped her. “Well, seeing as I don’t have an office, I’ll have to make different arrangements.”
“No office?” Ann’s brow twitched, but she hesitated only a moment before barreling right on. “You can help him, though, can’t you, Nessa? Kurt’s just finished his second round of chemo. He wants to make sure his life is in order—just in case, you know? I told him not to worry, that everything’s gonna be perfectly fine, but he’s so stubborn, you know, like men are, and thinks it all has to be written down in black-and-white…”
Ann babbled on, but Inessa didn’t really listen. She looked into Kurt’s blue eyes and recognized there knowledge of his imminent mortality. His smile, however, was undimmed in spite of it. She felt like an ass for indulging her self-pity over an employment setback.
“Nice to meet you,” she said at last, leaning forward to shake his offered hand.
“Same here.” The warmth of his regard jolted through to her toes as their hands met. He glanced down at her feet. “Never met a barefoot attorney before. I guess I thought you were all born wearing wingtips.”
Nonplussed, Inessa finally laughed.
“Aha! My new marketing brand. ‘The Barefoot Attorney.’”
“It could work.” A mischievous streak sparkled in his eye. “When can I meet with you? Time is of the essence, as you people say.”
“I don’t know. I’m not even sure where.”
“Nothing wrong with right here, if you ask me. How about tomorrow? I’ll bring breakfast?”
That smile. Hard to resist. He and Ann together were like an oncoming city bus. Best get on, or get run over.
“Umm, well, all right. Sure. Nine a.m.?”
“Perfect. Thanks.” He squeezed her hand again and stepped back.
“Great!” Ann gushed. “I just knew this would work out! And so convenient, too. You’re a saint, Nessa.” She stamped a foot on the porch as the gray cat poked its head up out of the bushes. “Moonbeam! Get your butt back home now!” The animal vanished into the growing darkness. “Come on, Kurt, honey.”
She took his arm, and they walked away, Ann talking a mile a minute. The young man paused to wave before he closed the gate.
After he was gone, his smile lingered with Inessa, stirred something deep within her. She tried to get hold of herself. Inessa Lin Regan, that’s nonsense. You’re old enough to be his mother.
Well. Maybe an older sister.
An unexpected bubble of joy trickled up inside her. As night settled in and the stars flicked into visibility one by one, she finished her glass of wine slowly, looking forward to breakfast for the first time in years.
SECOND CHANCES, by Alana Lorens, from Zumaya Embraces; Trade paperback, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-61271-080-8, 236 pp.; Ebook, $5.00, ISBN 978-1-61271-081-5 (Kindle), 978-1-61271-082-2 (epub)
Available wherever fine books and ebooks are sold.)