All through September, on Mondays, I’ll be sharing short excerpts from Ghost Phoenix, until publication on October 7th. You can preorder at Amazon at the link or click “Want to Read” on Goodreads.

Today, for the first post, I’m sharing Marian and Richard’s initial reactions to each other. Marian demonstrates her phantom ability while Richard demonstrates his ability to turn heads. :)

Marian:

Marian walked to the back of her desk to face the window. She held out her arms, as if to absorb the sun, and he watched, rapt, as she become, clothes and all, intangible. It all happened in seconds, until he could see the outline of her but he could also see right through her.

She floated several feet into the air. Oddly, she seemed to have more curls in her hair in this state. She slipped through the window and outside. He rose, fascinated, and walked closer. She hung in midair just outside the window, light streaming through her, looking like an angel captured in stained glass. He drew in his breath.

In the blink of an eye, she passed back through the window, into the office, and an ordinary mortal stood before him once more.
The healing ability that kept him from aging was subtle. Telepathic ability was similarly quiet. He had fought a firestarter to the death a few hundred years ago. That had been a spectacular battle.

But he had never seen any ability to match the sheer awesomeness of Marian Doyle becoming one with the light.

Richard:

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. He stretched his long legs out in front of him and relaxed into the wire mesh chair.

“You spend a great deal of time outdoors?” she asked.

“Yes. I live in California, near the ocean.” He would fit right in with the movie stars.

“Do you surf?”

“Every day. Do you?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never tried.”

“Not a particular interest, or do you hate it?”

“It’s never come up.” I would learn if you agreed to teach me, she thought. He must look gorgeous in
a wetsuit, on a surfboard, about to take a wave, the sun and wind at his back.

Thank God she hadn’t said that out loud.

Releases 10/7/2014

superhero novels, superhero romance, Phoenix Rising,

Coming Tuesday!

Phoenix Legacy, the third story in the Phoenix Institute series and the direct sequel to Phoenix Rising, releases Tuesday, November 13. So, with PR, Luminous, and Legacy, I guess I’m officially a series writer. :)

You can see the official blurb in an earlier post but I thought a short except might showcase the book somewhat better. This is because I’m the type of reader who ignores those blurbs when in the bookstore and flips right to the book to check it out.

Philip Drake pulled into the entrance of the bland suburban New Jersey condominium development just as many of his neighbors were leaving on their morning commute.

Feeling perverse, he gunned the ’67 Charger, making more noise than necessary. He might live here but he’d never be one of them.He smiled as the Charger took the corner on a dime. Old, but not feeble. Like him.

Though the car looked its age, standing out, not in style anymore. Unlike him.

He had wanted to experiment with the limits of his newfound conscious healing ability. Instead, he’d de-aged his body to at least a decade younger. Days of trying to reverse the process had convinced him he was cursed to look like this for a long time. Maybe until he died, whenever that was.

He was too damn old and cynical to look under thirty.He’d never get his gray hair back. He would never grow old, either, at least not naturally. Still, given what he was, it was always possible someone might kill him in the meantime. That was a comforting thought.

The book will be available at my publisher, Samhain. Just follow the links on the title or the cover. It’s also available at Amazon for Kindle and B&N for the Nook too. I’ll be posting a few more excepts over the next few days leading up to Tuesday!

I LOVE this cover. So excited for this book. And doing all the edits really helped as I work on the sequel.

What I love about it:

1. The subtle flash of power

2. That it says “urban fantasy” without screaming it.

3. That it says “The Phoenix Institute Series” just like I imagined a few years ago when I was trying to name it, not knowing if it would ever sell.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share the first kiss scene that I like best in all my work. It’s from Phoenix Rising, which I just sold to Samhain Publishing and will be out October 11th. (see how I snuck that sale in there…)

Alec is a firestarter and telekinetic. Beth is not. But they still turn each other on. :)

************************************************

He buckled on the body armor and walked over to her, so that they were only a few feet apart. He towered over her, even more than Lansing, but she didn’t feel the least afraid of him, not since their first meeting. He wouldn’t hurt her. Despite his work as a soldier, there was no meanness in him. She rubbed her arm, remembering Lansing’s anger. Alec wasn’t like him at all.

“I like doing this,” Alec said. “I make a difference. It’s what I’m trained for.”

“Yes, I know. But you never had a say in any of that training. You’ve told me that.”

“Fighting the bad guys is family tradition,” he said, straightening. “Lansing’s too old now, so it’s my turn. It happens all the time. Daz has the same deal, on both the American and the Filipino sides of his family.”

“Daz didn’t grow up isolated in this place.”

“Yeah, well, Daz didn’t have to worry about accidentally burning down the schoolyard as a kid. I did.” He shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you seriously trying to talk me out of going tonight? C’mon.”

“I’m trying to get you to reconsider what you’ve been forced into doing for your entire life. There’s a whole world out there you haven’t seen.”

She walked over to the coffee table, reached down, and brushed her fingertips over the gun. Her hand trembled. The gun looked like the same kind that her kidnappers had used, years ago. If he stayed with the Resource, Alec might become like those men, using any ends to justify the means.

“Hey! What’s with the nerves? Where’s my competent, no-nonsense counselor?”

The gun rose from the coffee table, floating in air. She turned and followed its flight. He snatched the gun out of midair with a smile and holstered it.

“See?” he said. “I control the guns, not the other way around.”

“And who controls you?”

“I know someone in this room who’s trying to control me. What’s wrong, Beth?” He walked to her and lifted her chin with two fingers, his dark eyes crinkling around the edges.

“This is not a life you chose, this is a life that’s been imposed on you, from birth.”

“And?” His fingertips moved along her jaw, in a soft caress. I should move away. It feels too good. But he’s listening.

“I’m scared. About this mission, about your being locked up inside the Resource forever.” Deathly afraid, so afraid her stomach felt like a heavy lump of coal. “There’s so much you don’t know about the Resource and about Lansing, so much you don’t understand. And you need to know it before it kills you.”

“Hey, I know that Lansing can be a bastard. And that he’s overprotective and controlling. I’m working on it. But it doesn’t change the fact that this is my job.” Alec leaned closer to her face. “We can talk about that another time.”

“Do you really think there’s going to be another time?” Her voice rose, almost panicked now. She wasn’t getting through. “What if you get hurt tonight?”

“Look, this cell might have a dirty bomb, they need to be stopped, and I’m the one who can do it. I have to do this, right now.”

“Just that simple?”

“Yep. I walk away, people get hurt. I do my job, people are saved. That’s the deal, that’s my life. You analyze things too much.” He cupped her face in her hand. “But if it took this mission to find out you care, then good.”

She shuddered. Wrong, wrong, she shouldn’t let him touch her like this. Yet it felt like he touched her somewhere far deeper than her skin. A shiver, like the one from their first meeting, traveled from her neck to her toes, setting her nerves jangling. “This is wrong.”

“The mission isn’t wrong,” he said, misunderstanding her. “Easy.” His face was less than an inch from her lips and his breath fell on her cheek. Her skin felt inflamed, sensitive to the slightest movement of his hands.

He kissed her.

His lips were softer than she had expected, tender, not at all like his casual, even macho, confidence. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him against her, intensifying it, even as her mind screamed in protest. This is not what I came for!

Her body became enveloped in that strange energy, alive as never before. It was like the kiss had a second level, one which her body responded to instinctively, creating a living connection between them. He drew her lips apart with his tongue, still tender, still allowing her the chance to back away. But she opened her mouth to him instead, her whole body consumed with wanting to touch him, her face flushed with desire. She grabbed the buckles of his body armor for balance, her equilibrium lost along with her reason.

He crushed her against him, no longer tender, a bruising kiss demanding conquest. She allowed him full control, despite the buckles digging into her shoulder. He lifted her completely off her feet and brought her up to his eye level.

“Beth,” he breathed, brushing his lips against her neck before moving back to her mouth.

Her mind whirled, too lost to remember that she should stop him. She wanted him too much. The air heated up, warming them. The papers on the coffee table began to smoke.