Sunday Snippet 05.24.15 - Victoria House

Today's excerpt comes from the second book in my best selling paranormal romantic suspense Haunted Hearts series.

About the book:

Haunted by a dark mystery in her family’s past...

When Tori Downing takes possession of the abandoned Hamilton estate on the longest peninsula on Lake Jefferson, Arkansas, she avoids revealing her connection to the ill-fated Hamilton family. Is the glowing image that shimmers in the second-floor window of Victoria House the ghost of Victoria Hamilton?

Tormented by a scandal she thought she’d left behind...

Until she leaves her career at the Arkansas State Crime Lab behind, she never even considers moving to Lake Jefferson, but the fallout from scandal gives Tori a very good reason to escape to Hill County and refurbish and restore the old family mansion. She settles into her new life...until the old accusations from her past start resurfacing.

Attracted to a man haunted by secrets of his own...

Drawn together to solve the murder of Jared Crenshaw, Tori and Lt. Grayson of the Hill County Sheriff’s Department dive into a tangled web of jealousy, deceit, and revenge as they attempt to solve both crimes, Jared’s death and the mysterious death years ago of Victoria Hamilton. Grayson’s past keeps interfering with his present, causing turmoil in both his professional life and his personal life.

Can love survive revealing the truth—from both the past and present—surrounding the tragedies at Victoria House?

Victoria House is always available in digital format for only $2.99. Here's the excerpt:

The house had obviously been a showplace in a former life. If she could just clean it up, she might manage to tolerate living there, or if she couldn’t, it might actually bring her a decent sales price. Someone had already approached her about buying the property with plans for turning the house into a wedding destination. She had politely ignored the inquiry, but maybe she should have given it more consideration.

Without electricity, she wasn’t going to explore the upper floor. Once again, she turned to leave, but her feet refused to move toward the door as if glued to the ratty, threadbare red carpet. A cold wave passed through her, not over or around, but straight through her. Nausea rolled in her stomach and the room began to wobble. She blinked to clear her fuzzy vision. Shivering and wrapping her arms around her middle, she tried to force her heavy limbs to take the first step. Panic swept over her as a sharp pain sliced across her throat.
Her hand flew to her neck and she withdrew it quickly. No blood. Was the sensation just her overactive imagination? No. The pain was real. She was very familiar with the sharp sting of a knife wound. Her hands began to shake. Her fragile psyche couldn’t endure the horror of being attacked again.

She forced herself to draw in a deep calming breath. If her throat had been cut, she wouldn’t be having an internal discussion. Would she? She’d be unconscious or dead.
Whatever was happening to her wasn’t normal, if the word could even be applied to the situation. Paranormal was a better word. On a deeper, instinctive level, she sensed the house was trying to hold her captive...or worse, trying to hurt her. She attempted once again to move, but she still couldn’t budge her legs.

“Let go of me,” she shouted as if someone could hear her, and she immediately realized how silly her demand might seem to an observer, not that there was anyone around to hear her scream.

As if she’d been suddenly released from an invisible grip, she broke free and nearly tripped over a wrinkle in the carpet. She glanced over her shoulder, fearful of what might be looming in the darkened house behind her. Movement caught her attention. Just a flash in the corner of her eye. Her gaze shifted to the top of the stairs. For an instant, she could have sworn something blacker than the darkness moved on the upstairs landing.

She didn’t want any part of something that even appeared paranormal. Once in a lifetime was enough. From a past littered with inexplicable experiences, she had learned that some things were better left unexplained.

She rushed to escape the oppressive heaviness of the house, shaking off the weird, unexplained feeling that had enveloped her. This time her feet cooperated. She burst onto the smooth stone of the front porch, banging the heavy front door shut behind her. Pressing her hand against her chest, she stopped to catch her breath. Then she held her shaking hand in front of her. The urge to flee grew in intensity with each beat of her hammering heart. She raced across the yard to the pebbled driveway, yanked open the door of her car, and climbed into the driver’s seat, clicking the lock as if that could keep something unnatural away from her.

Once inside the relative safety of her vehicle, she turned her gaze on the house. A light flickered through a second-floor window. It grew brighter and then dimmed before moving from one window to another. In turn, it glowed for just a moment in every window on the second floor. She puzzled over the phenomenon. Surely, the house had multiple rooms on that floor. How could the light move from room to room, seemingly passing through interior walls? Unless...

She fumbled in her purse, grabbed her key and jammed it into the ignition, and then gripped the steering wheel. She shuddered as she drew in a shaky breath. Before she slammed the shift into drive, she glanced up at the second-floor windows once again. The house appeared completely dark. Not even a glimmer of light.

Then a bright figure appeared in the nearest window, the translucent form of a woman. Tori blinked and the image disappeared. The glass shimmered as if she were looking at it through an energy field.

The urge to escape overwhelmed her. She couldn’t explain her odd feeling, but she sensed the house didn’t approve of her intrusion. Like it had lain silent for years and was happy with its dormant state. Like her presence had stirred up things that preferred to remain at rest.

The fear she’d been holding in erupted, and she screamed like someone was committing bloody murder. 

Victoria House is the second book in my Haunted Hearts series.

Please check out my published works at:

You might also enjoy my free short story, Ghost In the Garden, available here:


Snippet Sunday 05.17.15 - Laurel Heights

Today's excerpt comes from my best selling paranormal romantic suspense Laurel Heights.

About the Book:

A dark cloud of deceit hovers over her family tree...

Left an estate by an aunt she’s never met, Laurel Standridge takes possession of Laurel Heights, hoping it will be the safe haven she needs to recuperate from her ill-fated relationship with Rand Peterson. Secrets long buried rise to the surface when her cousin James is murdered and dumped on the highway just outside the gates of Laurel Heights.

Her past trails her to the mountains of Arkansas...

Caught in an obligation Chase Peterson feels he cannot ignore, he agrees to help his brother Rand take back the property he believes Laurel stole from him, but Chase remains at Laurel Heights after he discovers Laurel took nothing of Rand’s away with her except nightmares, fading bruises, and a broken rib.

Unexplained disturbances shatter her hopes of a normal life...

Are the strange bumps, thumps, and bangs reverberating through the night caused by the murderer of Laurel’s cousin James, someone Rand has sent to exact his revenge, or a disturbed soul existing in another dimension, trying to communicate with the living? Drawn together by the intrigue surrounding Laurel Heights, Chase and Laurel become hopelessly entangled in a relationship that goes deeper than lust.

Can their love survive the haunting of Laurel Heights?

The digital version of Laurel Heights is always priced at just 99¢. Here's an excerpt:

She had wanted to come back alone ever since the cop searched the garage. A piece of furniture stored in the far corner that had a bright blue tarp dangling from the top, half on, half off, had caught her attention. Why had Celeste put such a priceless antique in the garage? It wasn’t the pricelessness or the antiquity of the armoire that had drawn her attention though. The armoire—or one just like it—had been a central element in her dreams many times. No, in her nightmares. She opened the door and peeked inside. Three small drawers clustered at the bottom left just as she remembered from her dreams. She pulled the bottom drawer out and gasped in surprise.

She withdrew first one picture and then another—the same pictures that inhabited her dreamscape. It was as if they had dropped from her nightmares into her hands, but she knew she wasn’t dreaming. In shock, she watched as the pictures fell onto the floor of the garage. She wasn’t sure how long she stood there, staring at nothing in particular.

Night had fallen before she bent to retrieve the photos from the dusty floor. The shaking began in her extremities. How long had she been in shock? Too stunned to move? Would she start screaming in terror soon? Her cries for help always shook her out of the nightmare.

The urgent need to escape pulsed in every fiber of her being. She turned to leave just before the garage door slammed shut. The loud bang caused her to jump. The only illumination in the room wavered from the flashlight. Suddenly, it didn’t seem like enough. She willed her stubborn legs to move toward the door and the relative safety outside in the waning evening light, longing for the warmth of her kitchen and the sound of Chase’s off-key caterwauling. She couldn’t get to the garage door fast enough. To her dismay, it wouldn’t budge. In a frenzy, she pushed on the flimsy wood, losing control quickly. Panic seized her from the inside out.

Memories long buried rushed her—kicks, punches, and slaps—things that only happened in locked garages. She felt the pain as surely as if someone was beating her, even though she was alone. Her fears wouldn’t stop pummeling her overwrought psyche. She crumpled to the floor, whimpering and covering her head with her hands. “Don’t hit me.”

Chase’s voice seemed to come from a far off place, low and indistinct. “Laurel.” He reached for her, but his touch pushed her further into hysteria. “Laurel, it’s me, Chase.” She pushed his hands off, backing away from him in terror.

“Stop…hitting…me.” She gasped a ragged breath with each word.

“I’m not hitting you. Stop screaming.”

Her eyes finally focused, and her mind cleared. “Chase?”

He was kneeling beside her, a concerned look on his face.

“I…I…” She couldn’t get her words past her swollen throat. “Panic attack.”

He pulled her into an embrace. “What are you doing out here alone?”

“I wanted to…” She didn’t want to talk about the armoire, the pictures, or the dreams. “I needed to see for myself.” A cryptic comment, considering she hadn’t explained anything to him.

“Come on. Stand up.” He pulled her to her feet. “Are you all right? You’re not hurt?”

“I was just remembering…”

The alarm on his face almost made her forget the tension between them. Sudden understanding erupted in his eyes. “Did something bad happen to you in a garage?”

She shook her head. Not because he was wrong, but because she couldn’t face his questioning gaze. The memories surfacing sent waves of shock through her. Rand wasn’t the first to lock her in a garage and beat the crap out of her. Who had done that to her? The trauma tried to emerge, but perhaps too many years of repressing the pain had driven the event deep into her subconscious. The almost recollection receded and dimmed.

Laurel Heights is the first book in my Haunted Hearts series.

Please check out my published works at:

You might also enjoy my free short story, Ghost In the Garden, available here:

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