Sunday Snippet 05.31.15 - Ashley Ridge

Today's excerpt comes from Ashley Ridge, the third book in my best-selling paranormal romantic suspense Haunted Hearts series.

About the book:

Trapped in an affair with a blackmailer...

After Ashley Rivers is involved in a hit and run accident, she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to move on, but the tragedy ruins her friendship with the two people most important to her. To fill the void, she falls into a psychologically abusive relationship with a sociopath.

Estranged from the man she has always loved...

Giving up her place in the North Arkansas Paranormal Society isn’t easy for Ashley. She longs to go back to the old ghost hunting days with her partners, Josh and Gray, but the hurt Josh inflicted on her is hard to forget. Distancing herself from him is even harder.

Entangled in a dark web of murder and revenge...

When a mysterious death on Ashley Ridge stirs up old haunting rumors, Lead Crime Scene Investigator with the Hill County Sheriff’s Office, Josh McCord, pulls Ashley into the investigation. Investigating the haunting draws Josh and Ashley together, but Josh fears Ashley will crush his heart again.

Can two wounded hearts repair the damage done by the past and find love on Ashley Ridge?

The digital version of Ashley Ridge is always priced at $2.99. Here's the excerpt:

The desire to get back up the tunnel to Terrance’s cabin and get far, far away from the prison she’d found inside the mountain twanged on every one of Ashley’s nerves until her whole system was practically pinging with urgency. A panic attack was only one more heartbeat away, one more breath, one more gulp of heavy air. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. The oppressive claustrophobia of being under tons of earth tore at her mind.

She finally made it all the way across the underground room and reached the entrance to the tunnel. Her heart pounded harder as she stared into darkness. Out of the pitch black, a shadow moved toward her. The shadow took shape, an amorphous blob of dark that was blacker than the darkness surrounding it. The figure shot past her, brushing her as it passed. A scream should have erupted but it stuck in her throat.

Deep in her soul, a warning echoed, almost as if someone had whispered to her heart instead of in her ear. Run, little girl.
She remained immobile, remembering the words that had terrified her long ago. Words that often woke her in the night, sweating and shaking from a nightmare. How had her worst fears followed her there?

She flicked her flashlight on and began a panicked rush through the tunnel. Coming down, she hadn’t realized what a steep downhill slope the tunnel had. Her calf muscles ached from the slant as she trudged higher and higher up the path. She skidded to a halt when a loud bang echoed the passage from above her. Another black form rushed passed her. Once. Twice. Three times it bumped her. You’d better run now.

She gasped and released her grip on the flashlight. It hit the ground with a hard clunk and switched off. She bent and reached for it, but it wasn’t at her feet. Clink clink clink echoed through the tunnel as the flashlight rolled further and further away down the path she had just traveled. She backtracked a few feet and dropped to the dirt, patting the floor with her hands, desperately searching for the light.

In the dark, her fingers found debris that felt like bones and skin and hair. Surely, that was just her imagination working her into a frenzy. If anything like that had been in the passage when she first traversed it, she would have noticed.

Ashley used the slimy walls to push up into a standing position. She closed her eyes and counted to ten. Sucked in several heavy breaths of air. Shook out her arms and legs to relieve some pent up nervous energy. She reached out and pressed her palm against goo on the rock surface. Her overactive brain imagined buckets of blood cascading down the tunnel walls.

Her mind kept conjuring intensely sick and horrid scenes from the last five episodes of Criminal Minds she’d watched. Why? She hadn’t really seen anything in the underground room so terrible that it should freak her out. No blood. No guts. No chain saws or meat cleavers. Just a makeshift bed and a fenced in area with a gate and a lock. Nothing really to incite this kind of terror. Surely, there was an explanation for what she’d found. Some other reason besides the possibility that Terrance was a psychopathic pervert who kidnapped women and held them captive for days or months, feeding them little bits of dried bread and an ounce or two of tepid water. And the feeling that something was harassing her by bumping into her? Just her imagination.

She forced herself to stop her hysterical thinking and logically consider her situation. There was a way out. It was above her. She just had to keep from going crazy before she could get to the exit. With some intense effort, she slowed her breathing and concentrated on doing what she needed to do. With the toe of her shoe, she searched the floor for the wayward flashlight. Finally, after several minutes of frustration, she gave up. No telling how far the stupid thing had rolled. She had no choice but to ascend to the surface in the dark. Rather than stare blindly ahead of her, she closed her eyes, braced on the wall beside her, and took a few tentative steps forward. The approach seemed to work, so she kept moving.

When Ashley had gone a few feet, she became more confident in her ability to travel the tunnel, find the stairs, and get away. With a renewed burst of adrenaline, she moved faster up the tunnel and banged her head on a protruding rock. Pain stabbed through her already aching head. She pressed her hand to forehead. Nothing liquid, so probably no bleeding, but she was going to have a nice bruise. Maybe even a bump.

With even more determination, she began again and kept going until she tripped and fell onto the bottom tread of the stairs. The pain in her knees hurt like crap, but she smiled to herself. She was doing it. She was rescuing herself. She didn’t need Gray or Josh or anyone else to come get her.

It took awhile, climbing steadily but very carefully upward, before she made it to a flat area that she believed was the top of the stairs. She relaxed a bit and flexed her cramped fingers. How long had she been clenching her fists? She’d bet there were little half moon grooves in the palm of her hand from where her fingernails had dug into her flesh.

Ashley laughed when she first glimpsed a small sliver of light glowing beneath the door to freedom. Relief bubbled up inside her. She pressed her hands against the wood and shoved, but the door met resistance. She pushed harder. The door only budged a few centimeters, if that much. She banged on the wood. Pressing her hands on either side of the narrow landing to balance and keep from falling backward down the stairs, she managed to slide into a squat so that she could study the slit of light at the bottom of the door. Tightly wedged underneath was the tip end of the crowbar.

She fell back on her butt and tilted toward the stairs, caught herself before she tumbled, and propped her hands on the sludgy floor behind her. Panic hit her full force again. Her knees began to shake. Sweat popped out on her forehead. A sharp pain cramped her side.

Her mind swirled at the implications of the tool wedged under the door. Had the crowbar fallen and wedged beneath the door…or had someone stuck it there to trap her underground?

Ashley Ridge is the third 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:


Thursday #YumYum - Chicken Enchiladas

It's been awhile since I've included this feature on Suspense, She Writes, but as my Daddy used to say, "It's so good it makes you wanna slap ya pappa." So I had to share.


1 (18.5 oz) can chicken and cheese enchilada soup
1 (10 oz) can mild green enchilada sauce
2 C cooked shredded chicken
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz) can green chilis
10 tortillas
green onions sliced


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Combine Soup and Enchilada Sauce in Medium Bowl

3. Spread 1 C of the Soup Mix in bottom of 
9 X 13 Baking Dish

4. Combine 1 C of the Soup Mix with the chicken, 
1 C of the shredded Cheddar, 
and the can of green chilis in a Large Bowl

5. Roll 1/4 C of the Chicken Mix in each Tortilla and place the Tortillas in Baking Dish seam side down

6. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining cup of Soup Mix and 1 C of shredded Cheddar

7. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted

8. Serve with sliced green onions.


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:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...