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Guest Blog with Katie Reus and Free Read Wednesday!

Today I have with me the wonderful Katie Reus, who also writes as Savannah Stuart. Katie is sharing an excerpt from her latest romantic suspense novel, DANGEROUS SECRETS. I don’t know about you, but I love romantic suspense and can’t wait to add this to my TBR pile.

Just a quick thing before we get to read from DANGEROUS SECRETS. Did you know that every Wednesday during February you can download a free book at Carina Press. Yes, this is one four letter word you can love: FREE. Just click here to check out what’s available for download.

Also, leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win a copy of Katie’s RUNNING FROM THE PAST or another of her backlist titles. Without further ado, here’s Katie!

A little about me: I’ve been reading romance since I was a kid and the addiction stayed with me into adulthood. I write sexy paranormal romance and fast-paced romantic suspense. Dangerous Secrets (2/7/11) is my first release from Carina Press and I have another romantic suspense, Deadly Obsession, coming out from Carina late this summer. And in February 2012 my first book in a paranormal trilogy will release from Signet Eclipse (NAL/Penguin). If you’d like to learn more about me please visit my website, my blog, or find me on twitter @katiereus.

by Katie Reus

Adam kicked his truck into gear and followed Izzy out of the parking lot. The back of her silhouette was outlined by his headlights. Not that it mattered. He saw her face every time he closed his eyes.

The vision of her interrupted his sleep on a nightly basis. She usually kept her wild curly hair pulled back at work, but the few times he’d seen it down left him imagining what her long hair would look and feel like against his skin as she rode him.

He rolled his shoulders once, trying to alleviate the tension, but nothing worked. With her dark brown eyes and high cheekbones, she had almost exotic features. The smattering of freckles across her nose only added to the innocent quality about her. If it wasn’t for her fair coloring, he would doubt she was even Edward Ballantine’s daughter.

Edward. He cursed the day he’d ever made that ridiculous deal with him. It had seemed so simple at the time. Keep an eye on Isabelle without her knowing his true identity. Five weeks. That was how long his contract was. It was icing on the cake if he could convince the rich daughter to return to Savannah, but as long as he did his job and she was safe, he and his brother would land the Forester deal.

Not so simple once he met her. Watching out for her certainly wasn’t a chore. Unfortunately convincing her to return home was impossible without getting to know her. And he still didn’t understand why she was working in a bar barely making ends meet when she had a father like Edward Ballantine. Her father had been fuzzy on those details, but he planned to find out.

And soon.

As he steered into the parking lot of her place, he pushed those thoughts away. He needed to focus on the present and convince her that Savannah, Georgia, was a much better option than Coconut Bay.

Parking wasn’t numbered, so he chose a spot next to her. By the time he’d rounded his truck she was still sitting in her car. Leaning against his vehicle, he waited until her door finally opened. Sinfully long legs emerged first. His breath caught. It seemed no matter how often he saw her, he still fantasized what it would be like to have those slim legs wrapped around his waist…and shoulders. Damn, and she was wearing pants. He hadn’t even seen a hint of skin and his cock was already raring to go.

A shudder racked his body. Now was not the time. Hell, there was never going to be a right time for his thoughts. He’d been hired to protect her, not drool over her.

“Sorry, I was talking to Carolyn.” Izzy shut the door behind her.

“No problem. Is she okay?”

“I guess so. She wouldn’t tell me what was going on, but she apologized for not showing up tonight.” Izzy tucked her phone back in her purse, but kept her keys in hand. “Thanks for making sure I got home safe.”

He ignored the comment and took a few steps toward the three-story building, forcing her to follow. After what had happened tonight, he was walking her to the door. Her place was on the second floor, but technically he wasn’t supposed to know that. He knew a lot about her that she hadn’t told him. Like the fact that she had a bachelor’s in business development, but a master’s in medieval literature.

To say the woman was a mystery would be a sore understatement.

“I’m on the second floor.” She motioned straight ahead with her hand as they walked down the short sidewalk. “Are you working tomorrow morning?” He already knew the answer, but didn’t want her to know he’d checked her schedule. This had to appear impromptu.

“No. I am tomorrow night though.”

“Do you want to get some breakfast after the staff meeting?” Something primal inside him sparked to life when her eyes flashed with desire. If she was anyone but Edward’s daughter, he had a feeling they’d already be inside her place and naked by now. Not because that was his style, but because it was obvious she wanted him as much as he wanted her.

She turned to face him as they stopped in front of her door. “Sure.”

“I’ll pick you up tomorrow so we don’t have to worry about leaving your car at work.”

Her brown eyes widened slightly, but she nodded. “Sounds great.”

He guessed she was surprised because up until now he’d kept his distance. Without thinking—or maybe not caring—he reached out and tucked a wayward curl behind her ear. The overwhelming need to touch her sometimes scared the shit out of him. Being close to her sometimes wasn’t enough. Her work uniform consisted of black pants and a black tank-top. Something so simple shouldn’t be sexy, but with her long legs and lean frame anything she wore was guaranteed to drive any man with a pulse crazy.

When she sucked in a deep breath, he realized he was practically cupping her cheek. And the heated look in her dark eyes told him she wanted him as badly as he wanted her. Warmth spread throughout his abdomen. Things could get out of hand so quickly if he let them.

All he’d have to do was lean down a fraction… He dropped his hand and took a step back. “See you tomorrow.” Instantly his body mourned the loss of touching her.

If the way her mouth pulled into a thin line was any indication, she felt the same. Wordlessly she turned away from him and let herself inside her apartment. Only when he heard the lock slide into place did he leave.

Once he was back in his car, he let out a long breath. What the hell was the matter with him? He had to be all kinds of stupid to touch her like that. Getting involved with Izzy—Isabelle Ballantine—was not an option. Not only was she so far out of his league that it was beyond laughable, she wasn’t the sort of woman a man had a fling with. She was the forever kind of woman, and a woman like her wouldn’t settle down with a man like him. He was straight blue-collar working boy and she was class and money. It was just the way of the world.

Creativity and Chaos and Rubber Duckies

Many years ago I shared a meal with a friend at a legal conference and we got on a discussion of my writing as well as my firmly held belief that as a creative type I was allowed a little slack in the organization area. Mind you, clutter was something with which I grew up since my mother loved her little things.

In retrospect, that aspect of our lives was probably shaped by our departure from Cuba and leaving so many loved things behind. The two things I was able to bring with me were my gold Caridad del Cobre medal (my patron saint) and my little doll Pepito. He sits on the top edge of the sofa in my office in a place of honor.

But back to the clutter which invariably can lead to chaos and disorganization. In my mind I was entitled to some slack in the organization department because of my creative bent (and also a decided lack of time due to multiple jobs).

My friend looked at me and said, “Do you ever lose time trying to find something you need?”

The answer was an immediate “Yes” which was followed by, “And that was time that you could have spent being creative, right?”

At which point I was feeling rather embarrassed because she was totally right. If I spent half-an-hour searching for paper or something else that I needed, it was half-an-hour that I could have spent writing or relaxing.

Armed with that new insight, I took steps at home to clean up the clutter and get better organized. Not only did it make cleaning the house easier, but things looked neater and less oppressive. The one place I have yet to totally re-do is my home office.

There my doll Pepito sits, eyeballing the clutter, but I have started getting rid of the mess. And once a month, whether I like it or not, I get things organized. Now my goal is to just make it organized right away so that the once a month toss is not necessary. Get my ducks in a row which is in part why I chose that picture for today’s blog.

The other reason is that next week I’ll be at the RWA National Conference so you may see me be a little absent from the blog, although I am hoping to provide you with updates on what’s happening at the conference and some fun photos and videos!

If you happen to be going or if you’ll be in the Orlando area, please drop by the Literacy Signing which is taking place on Wednesday, July 28, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Walt Disney World® Dolphin Resort, Pacific Exhibit Hall. This signing is open to the public.

If you’re attending the conference, also look for me at the Grand Central Publishing signing on Saturday, July 31, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Walt Disney World® Dolphin Resort, Southern Hemisphere, Salon 1. We’ll have copies of books for you as well as some special bookmarks and fun Jesse Bradford football duckies (hence the ducks also) in honor of the hero in STRONGER THAN SIN!

Jesse Bradford Football Rubber Duckie
(I swear the rubber duckie is bigger than this!)

Free Friday Goodies

booksurpriseFor today’s Fun Friday, I’ve got a bunch of links for you to download some free books!

Harlequin is having its 60th anniversary celebration and you can click here or cut and paste this link to download the novels:

Mills & Boon is celebrating the anniversary of their e-book program by offering a number of free downloads. You can click here or cut and paste this link to download the novels: http://www.everyonesreading.com/

While you’re at Mills & Boon, also click on COMPETITIONS to sign up for the SONY E-reader contest!

For Harlequin and Mills & Boon you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions (download is free at www.adobe.com)

Barnes & Noble has a number of free audio books and short stories that you can download! You can click here or cut and paste this link to download the novels: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/cdsii/cdsPageTransfer.asp?uid=379001389&key=Free-Audiobook-MP3-Downloads&rv=1

Barnes & Noble also has a number of free e-books to celebrate the launch of its new e-book store. You can click here or cut and paste this link to download the novels: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/Free-eBooks/379001668/?cds2Pid=28339&linkid=1461021. The Harlequin books here may duplicate those at the Harlequin site, so doublecheck. Also, you will need the B&N e-reader which you can click here to get.

Looking for the classics and don’t mind reading online? Try www.pagebypagebooks.com for collections of classic literature.

Hope this helps you not bust the budget! Have a great weekend.

Rockin’ Day at RWA!

Starting to feel a little pooped with all the running around!

Breakfast with friends and the goody room. Ran into tons of people in the halls and chatted with them about all kinds of writing things and how they were doing. Hit the Harlequin book signing to get some books for research and my buddies at work.

Lunch was wonderful! My buddy Eloisa James did a marvelous talk at the luncheon. Go Eloisa!

Then after the signing, I started to prep for my first ever Grand Central Publishing signing. It was so exciting to get there and see the galleys of SINS OF THE FLESH (Nov 2009)!! Here’s a photo of me at the signing.

After the excitement of the signing, I dropped some excerpts off at the Goody room and went back to my room where I did some plotting with my friend and fellow author Rayna Vause.

Helped her with a story idea and she helped me refine the concepts for books 3 and 4 in the SINS series! Really excited about writing a proposal for them (once I finish book 2 in the series!)

Then it was time to relax. Had a great dinner with some friends before headed off to the Harlequin party. Harlequin really does it up! Great DJ (the same one as last year) and everyone had a blast. Started up the fun with an intro and then everyone hit the dance floor for “We are Family” and it really is. All those women and the Harlequin people really make you feel like a part of a huge sisterhood at these parties.

Here’s some shots from the party. Harlequin did a fun thing with covers from the past and also, drinks and food that were for particular decades so I thought I’d give you a retro look to match that theme.