Fall in the Berkshires is always a celebration of beauty and life. The nights are cool, the leaves are beginning their miraculous transformation, and the apples are ready to pick! This is my favorite time of year for hiking, biking, kayaking, and all things prepping for the long winter ahead. It's also the time of year I prepare for our annual harvest fair.
Granville, our sister town, is an idyllic community that sits at the foothills of the Berkshires and offers a glimpse of country living at its best. Every year on Columbus Day weekend, crafters and artisans from all over New England gather to display their wares at the GRANVILLE HARVEST FAIR. It's an opportunity for families to get out in the fresh fall air and enjoy a day or two (or three) perusing booths that include all kinds of homemade crafts such as jewelry, wood works, pottery, quilts, soaps and herbal cleaning products, chocolate, baked, goods, and yes...books!
This will be my sixth year in attendance and I'm always excited to see familiar faces come back year after year, many of whom are looking for the next book in one of my series. This year, I'm happy to have a couple of new novellas to offer. Lost Boys, the second book in the Savage Cinderella Novella Series and Sami's Christmas Wish List, a Girls of Thompson Lake novella will be front and center. I'll be hanging out next to the library. I hope to see some familiar faces and meet some new readers this year!
I know some of you have been waiting for the third novella in the Savage Cinderella series, SACRED GROUND. I appreciate your patience. I'm working on it diligently, but I want to get it right, so I'm taking the time I need to do my research. The book involves Brinn and her friends heading to Wyoming to find someone they thought had been lost, only to find themselves embroiled in a battle between the local Native American people and a mining company determined to exploit what could be a sacred burial site. This topic touches on current events, Native American culture, and some complex issues that I want to address with clarity and compassion. I'm hoping to release the finished product by year's end but in the meantime, I'd love to share the cover and a short excerpt with you!
Here's a first chapter excerpt:
I blasted off eight rounds in a row, each “pop” causing me to tighten my grip. When I counted the last shot, I lowered the weapon, released the empty magazine into one hand, and followed the target as it sped toward me on the rail.
Cody pulled the square sheet down and studied the orange and black bulls-eye. “At least you landed a couple of shots on the paper this time.” A sandy brow lifted, along with one corner of his mouth, revealing slightly crooked canines and accentuating a faded scar on his upper lip.
“A lot of good that will do me when I have to take my firearms test again next month.” I had completed my training at the police academy and passed every test—except for marksmanship—and despite daily practice, my shooting was still what my friend and new roomie, Detective Daniella Hernandez, would call, pathetic.
“You just have to get past the flinch factor, said Cody, loading a new target and sending it zinging twenty-five feet down the indoor range—still an entry-level distance.
It didn’t matter how many times I fired the 9 mm M&P Shield, the anticipation of the loud discharge made my hand falter. I set up for another try, loading a fresh magazine and chambering a round. I readied my stance and released the safety, but before I took aim, Cody came around behind me. At a few inches over six-feet, he towered above me. For all I’d been through, I should have been threatened by his proximity. Instead, an odd and confusing attraction kept me rooted.
He took control of the gun—laying his hands over mine around the grip—and raised it toward the new target. With my back pressed against his large, solid body, and his arms essentially locking me into place in front of him, my pulse sped to a ferocious flutter in my ear. The scent of him, a mix of spearmint gum and some earthy soap that sparked a flood of heat to my cheeks, made it impossible to concentrate on anything.
“I’m not sure this is helping,” I said, sounding breathy.
“Relax, Brinn” he said, a smile in his voice. “Loosen your grip. Create only enough push-and-pull tension between your hands to steady your aim.”
I complied, but the distraction of his proximity and his warm breath in my ear had the hair on the nape of my neck standing at full attention. What Justin would think if he could see us sent a renewed shard of guilt through me. The two men had enough challenges to their friendship without me being confused and being caught between them. It was bad enough I’d moved out of Justin’s apartment and into a flat with Dani, but the amount of time Cody and I were spending together was a source of tension that was only complicating my already ridiculously complicated life.
What do you think? Team Cody...? Or team Justin? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. One randomly chosen commenter will be awarded a prize pack of three of my books...readers choice!
Yes, Brinn continues to struggle with her recovery, the complexity of relationships, and feelings that seem to have a life of their own--all new territory for a girl who survived unspeakable abuse and grew up in isolation in the wilderness. As complicated as things get, she has found a purpose in life that she is determined to pursue--that of law enforcement and helping others who are being victimized. Follow Brinn's journey as she continues to heal, grow, and thrive, despite the daily challenges of fighting crime and learning to follow her heart.
If you haven't read the original SAVAGE CINDERELLA, it's now available for only .99 cents!
Eighteen-year-old Brinn Hathaway has survived on her own in the Northwest High Country of Georgia since she was left for dead in a shallow grave by the man who kidnapped her as a child. When a young nature photographer, Justin Spencer, catches the wild girl on film and the two form a tentative friendship, Brinn must decide if coming out of hiding is worth the hope—and the danger—that may await her.
FINDING HOPE (Book one in the Savage Cinderella Novella Series)
FINDING HOPE, Book One of the Savage Cinderella Novella series, picks up a year after Brianna Hathaway’s return from the wild. As she and Justin struggle to work through her recovery, Brinn must come to terms with who she is and discover her place in this strange new world. When Cody asks for her help in solving a kidnapping case for the FBI, it brings her worst nightmares to the surface. But will it be what she needs to finally put it all behind her and move on? Or will it lead her down a path into a dangerous world? A child is missing...and time is running out.
LOST BOYS (Book two in the Savage Cinderella Novella Series)
Justin’s friend Cody has disappeared, and Brinn is determined to find out why. Despite an escalation in the tensions between them over Cody and Brinn’s complicated friendship, Justin agrees to join her on a journey that leads to the mysterious jungles of Colombia, where whispers of human trafficking bring them face to face with an old enemy.
Brinn and Justin join forces with friends to do the unthinkable—enter the dangerous jungle on a rescue mission, sparking a battle for the lives of nine young boys and a fight for their own survival. Brinn’s haunted past rears its ugly head as she is forced to once again take on a brutal killer. But in risking her life to save her friend, will she lose the one man who has sacrificed everything for her?
That's it for this month! I hope you all get out and enjoy some of this lovely weather while it lasts. As we've seen in recent weeks with the hurricanes and extreme weather events across the world, each day that we can enjoy warm days, cool nights and the safety of a sound home, we should appreciate the gift. Let's not forget to send love and prayers (and any financial assistance we can give) to our neighbors in need.
Peace and blessings,