To show you how my writing process goes, this was originally the first scene in Phoenix Inheritance. It’s now scene #3, as Renee has just picked up her autistic son, Charlie, after an incident at school.

A storm’s coming, quite literally.


Renee’s hand-knit scarf rippled in the wind as she wrestled the last patio chair toward the open garage. The sky overhead had already turned from bright blue to a foreboding shade of gray. The colorful fall was now more like a moving, shifting Ansel Adams photograph.

Charlie trailed behind her, but she kept watch on him all the same, especially since he was particularly afraid of storms. She didn’t want him panicking inside while she was busy outside.

“Almost done,” she said.

“Can I help?” Snowflakes dotted his dark hat and he looked so sweet in that instant that she wished she could bottle it. He was a great kid. There had to be a way to help him cope. There had to be.

“Nah, I’m good. Just keep me company and remind me next time not to buy such heavy patio chairs.” She’d bought them so the winds wouldn’t knock them around. She’d forgotten about the part where she needed to drag them inside for the winter.
She glanced at the huge oak trees that dotted the borders of her yard. Their branches were still laden with leaves, making them vulnerable to the weight of the falling snow.

Charlie tugged at her sleeve. “When will it be time for hot chocolate?”

“Right about now, soon as we get the chair set and go inside.”


Thor and Loki barked from the inside of the house. They didn’t like her being out
without them. Silly boys. Too cold for them to romp outside now. The temperature must have dropped twenty degrees in the last two hours.

She turned the corner and slid the chair into her garage. There. Done. Nothing left now but hunker down and hope for the best.
Her son tapped her hip and pointed. “Mom! Look! The cat’s back! I have to get him!” Not that stray cat again. “He’ll be fine. Cats can survive storms.”

“But he says I have to come get him. He wants my help.”

The problems at school were bad enough. She’d hoped this insistence on talking to animals was just a phase. Could he really be hearing voices?

“I’ll walk over there to see how he is. You stay here,” she said.

“No, he said I have to come!”

Renee reached out to grab Charlie’s sleeve, anticipating what was coming, but he was too fast for her and she missed. He took off at full speed across the lawn, toward the trees and the edge of the forest. She sped after him, yelling at him to stop but he ignored her. She ran full out, the cold air stinging her lungs.

Just before she caught up to Charlie, her feet slipped on the wet leaves. She stumbled, went down to one knee and saw him plunge into the woods, helpless to stop him.

“Wait!” she yelled again but the only response was the sound of leaves crunching far ahead. She scrambled to her feet.

Oh, God, oh God. There was a nasty drop-off only about ninety yards into the trees. Visions of Charlie going over the edge had her stomach in knots. She might have thrown up if she wasn’t so busy running after him. Here she’d been pissed at the school for letting him out of their sight and she’d made the same damn mistake.

She leapt over a bush and hit the brambles at a run. Branches swatted her face and prickers grabbed at her pants. The snow fell harder and faster. The trees seemed to all meld together, obscuring visibility. She couldn’t see Charlie at all, and she wasn’t sure she heard him anymore either. She wanted to rage, to slam against the nearest tree in frustration.

But panicking would be the absolutely wrong thing to do. She halted.


Her throat was so closed up in fear that her yell came out as a whisper. She drew a deep breath and tried again. This time, his name came out as a scream. Still no answer.

Everything she’d learned in her search-and-rescue work told her panicking would get her nowhere. Yeah, that training worked awesomely when it wasn’t her own kid. She cupped her hands around her mouth and screamed his name again. Answer me!
Silence. Where could he have gone so fast? She had visions of him going over that edge and hitting the bottom hard. She blinked away tears.

“Mom! Help!”

Oh, God. That came from the direction of the drop-off.

“Coming, Charlie!” She tried not to run because she couldn’t see more than two feet in front of her, but the fear in her son’s voice drove her.

“Mom, I’m gonna fall!”

“I’m right here!”

Her lead foot pushed against empty air. She grabbed the nearest branch before she went
over the edge, only just halting her fall.

“Charlie!” Where was he? She dropped to her knees to peer over the edge, trying to see
through all the fat, wet snowflakes. This was the only place he could be. But where? All the way to the bottom? No, no. Dammit…


The voice came from directly below, and she finally spotted him. He smiled, but she fought not to collapse in terror. The only thing keeping him from plunging to the bottom was that he was hanging on to the exposed roots of a white birch tree that was growing half sideways out of the cliff.

After the birch tree, it was a thirty-foot drop.

Oh, and a little arm porn for you all.

To save their son, they might have to sacrifice their love--and their lives.

To save their son, they might have to sacrifice their love–and their lives.


Those of us who carry the banner for science fiction romance look forward to the annual SF Romance Galaxy Awards, organized by Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express.

This year, I’m thrilled to have the Phoenix Institute as one of the award winners. And I can’t resist quoting the award post in full.

ETA: And Ghost Phoenix is now out in paperback. Check it out at Amazon, B&N, and Samhain Publishing!

“This series is kind of an X-Men/Batman crossover, if everyone is not just gender-bent but also talent-switched. And even that Batman analogy requires that Batman’s gifts be more super and less obsessed-neurotic based. But still awesome.

The Phoenix Institute starts out as “The Resource” run by one of the very definitely bad guys. His mission is to find people born with super talents and train them to be super soldiers obedient to his every whim. His evil plan is foiled by supers that got away, aided and abetted by one of his own. If Professor Xavier was a firestarter married to a telepath, you get the Phoenix Institute. Pun is intended, the Phoenix Institute rises from the ashes of the Resource and reaches out to supers everywhere, while righting the very big wrongs perpetrated by its predecessor.

On the main series, we have a telepath who rescues the firestarter, and a self-healer who finds his way back to the woman he left behind, who just happens to be in a long line of charismatics. We end with an invisible woman who falls for her clean cop in a dirty city, and a teleporter thief who saves an immortal queen. The alternate history angle in Ghost Phoenix is surprisingly twisty and results in a happily ever after that may just really mean “ever after”. This is paranormal romance with a delightful superhero twist, made even better by continuing into 2015.”

–From Marlene Harris.

Add that to the Patriots victory last night and that I hit 50,000 words on the “cliff-jumping” work in progress and it was an excellent weekend.

That next work coming? Phoenix Inheritance, coming out March 3, already up for pre-order.


Out March 3.

To save their son, they might have to sacrifice their love—and their lives.

Phoenix Institute, Book 4

Ex-Navy SEAL Daz Montoya and rescue dog handler Renee Black have made a career out of saving people. But when their whirlwind affair resulted in pregnancy, Daz’s verbal fumble tore their budding relationship apart.

It’s been a tough eight years for Renee, raising Charlie alone with his autism-fueled impulsiveness, but she’s managed—until now. When she has to chase him to the edge of a cliff in a snowstorm, seeing the face of their rescuer is just the rotten cherry on top of an already rough day.

In the close confines of a snowbound cabin, Renee and Daz rediscover the heat still simmering between them. But while Renee welcomes Daz’s renewed determination to help Charlie however he can, she’s reluctant to trust him with her heart.

With the Phoenix Institute’s help, Renee and Daz discover their son’s gift for animal telepathy is real. And that to save him from old enemies that would kill to control him, they must join forces—and risk losing everything they’ve ever loved.

Warning: This novel contains explicit reunion sex and characters used to mixing a little danger in with their romance.

Releases 10/7/2014

Today’s excerpt is from the first meeting of Marian Doyle and Richard Genet, aka immortal Prince Richard Plantagenet. New York is such a modern city, always moving, always changing, that I was curious what Richard would think of it.

Ghost Phoenix is out on 10/7/14 and now available for pre-order on Amazon, B&N, and my publisher, Samhain Publishing.

And you can click “want to read” on Goodreads.


Marian decided, whatever her frustrations with her work, the last few years were worth it for the look on her grandfather’s face as Richard Genet put him in his place. Twice.

And Richard’s whisper of Angel in her ear was a nice bonus.

He radiated enough charm and presence enough to be an immortal royal, though he certainly didn’t look like a lost medieval English prince. No, he looked like a California beach god kissed by the sun.

Even on the streets of New York City, even dressed in a simple light-blue T-shirt, hoodie and khakis, he was turning heads.

He offered her his arm as they crossed the street. She took it, flattered when she should be wary. He was a client and she barely knew him. Instead, she was tongue-tied and off balance.

After several blocks of silent companionship, Richard stopped at the bottom of the steps to the New York Public Library. He tucked his hands into his pockets and stared at one of the stone lions, intent, as if the animal could stare back at him.

“Have you been here before?” she asked.

“A few times.” He shifted his gaze to the steps that led up to the main entrance of the library.

“If you tell me you helped construct the building or sculpted the lion, I’ll know you’re pulling my leg,” she said.

“It’s not my style of lion.” He smiled, apparently accepting her tease in good humor. “It does always amaze me that people keep building these kinds of monuments. At least this is one is devoted to institutional memory.” He shook his head. “Let us go sit in the park.”

It was early on a weekday morning. Bryant Park, an oasis of calm in the midst of the midtown skyscrapers, was nearly deserted. The restaurant was closed, the carousel silent and the public tables and chairs almost completely empty.

Richard chose a table in the middle of the park and pulled out a chair for her. “Thank you. I seem to be thanking you a lot today.”

“You are quite welcome for all of it.”

He folded himself into the chair. The sunlight streaming in from behind them caught the blond bleached into his hair by the sun and wind. No wonder he wanted to take a walk. He needed to be outdoors, not inside a stuffy office. His tanned face contained some age lines, primarily around his eyes. If he were an ordinary person, she would have guessed his age between thirty and forty.

Richard Genet wasn’t ordinary.

superhero novels, superhero romance, Phoenix Rising, A man too dangerous to live. A woman whose survival depends on forgiving him.

The Phoenix Institute, Book 2

Philip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.

When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.

One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.

Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.

Warning: This novel contains fast cars (that are driven), numerous guns (that are shot), a hero who prefers pain over love, and a heroine determined to fight for those she loves.