Turning Point – Senator Keaston

At the end of TURNING POINT, book three in the series, Kathleen and Blane have a falling out after their engagement.  As I’ve promised those readers who follow the series, below is Part One of a “deleted scene” from that falling out, from Blane’s point-of-view. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Blane liked having Kathleen living with him.  Having her close — to be there in the morning when he woke and waiting for him when he came home at night — soothed the part of his brain that always worried about her.  Since he’d rescued Kathleen from when she had been taken by human traffickers, she’d changed.  It didn’t escape Blane’s notice that she had become more withdrawn, more careful, than she used to be.  As though she didn’t fully trust that she was safe now. She talked in her sleep, when she wasn’t having an outright nightmare.  Blane had woken to her screaming and drenched in a cold sweat, her entire body trembling.  It had gradually gotten a little better, enough to where Blane felt he could leave for a day or two at a time to campaign.  This morning he’d realized how wrong he’d been. Kathleen asleep on his couch, a gun at her elbow, her eyes swollen from crying. She’d been putting on a front for him, saying she was okay when it was clear she wasn’t.  Blane should have known Kathleen would never say that she needed him, especially not if she thought it would interfere with things he had to do for his career.  He wished she would.  He wished she’d tell him flat out that she needed him.  Blane would drop everything for her. Kathleen was on his mind all morning as he worked.  Though he was campaigning a lot for governor, he still had work to do at the firm when he was in town.  Trying to keep up with both was exhausting, and the election was still months away. Blane had resigned himself a long time ago to the kind of woman he’d likely marry.  She’d be cold, ambitious, as focused on his career as he was, be the perfect politician’s wife, have the requisite 2.3 kids, and would no more love him than he would her. Kathleen had changed all that.  She’d blown into his life like the breath of fresh air that she was, turned everything he’d known about women on its ear, and captured his heart.  It was almost too good to be true.  She was too good to be true. The thought made him uncomfortable.  Just because he was a cynical bastard didn’t mean Kathleen wasn’t everything she seemed.  She made...

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Turning Point – Blane Rescue

This is a “deleted” scene from the third book in the series – TURNING POINT.  In it, we see Blane Kirk’s point of view as he pursues and rescues her at the end of the book. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The man at Blane Kirk’s feet wasn’t dead yet, but that was just a matter of time. And Blane had made sure it would be agonizing. “Did you get it?” Blane turned to see Rico had come into the room.  Rico glanced at the guy on the floor, but didn’t bat an eye at the blood pooling on the ground or the man’s moans. “Yeah.  A description of the vessel and direction they were headed,” Blane said.  Anxiety, rage, and fear like he’d never known all battled for control of his mind.  “Did you find anything?” “They kept a few records here.  We’re sending them on to the FBI so they can try and track down the girls they sold.” The girls they sold. When Blane had first set foot on this godforsaken island, he’d been both hopeful and terrified of finding Kat.  What if all they’d found was her broken body, tossed aside like so many he’d seen?  Entering the shacks where they’d kept the women had made him physically ill.  Dried blood and semen stained the limp cots while the smell of urine and sweat permeated everything.  The mere thought of Kathleen being here, having to endure— He couldn’t finish the thought.  If he did, he’d lose it.  And she needed him.  Wherever Kat was, she needed him to find her, save her, bring her home.  After all, he’d failed to protect her, and now she was paying the price for that failure. The man on the floor gurgled, blood pooling in his throat.  His bloodied hands tried fruitlessly to put the entrails of his body back inside.  He jerked once, twice, then was still. Blane wiped the blood from the blade of his knife before sheathing it, stepping over the body to wash his stained hands in the decrepit sink.  They’d gotten what they came here for, and now it was time to go. The ring in Blane’s pocket seemed to burn.  Before he’d found it on the man, it had just been a rough interrogation.  After he’d found it…well, then it had gotten personal. “Let’s bug out,” Rico said, heading back out the door.  Blane followed, not sparing a glance back at the body left on the floor. * * * “You gotta put it aside, lock it down, man,” Todd said as he strapped on his body armor. “I know.”  Blane smeared more black grease on his...

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Turning Point – Blane at the Bar

It was late, but Blane couldn’t sleep.  Last night kept replaying inside his head.  The disastrous dinner with Kathleen. Could he have fucked things up any more? She’d thrown him out and he couldn’t blame her.  He’d been a dick. And now Kade was there.  Staying in her apartment.  He’d been in her bed, unconscious from the gunshot wound, when Blane had last seen him.  How long would Kathleen let him stay?  Was she there now with him, helping him? Jealousy ate at Blane even as he castigated himself for feeling that way.  Kade was his brother, for chrissake.  He wouldn’t make a move on Kathleen. Would he? Blane’s cell phone rang and he automatically picked it up from the bedside table.  Glancing at the caller ID, his heart skipped a beat.  Kathleen. “Kirk,” he answered. “Hello, is this Blane?”  The voice was male and much too loud. Blane frowned and turned down the volume, sitting up in bed.  “Yes, who is this?  Where’s Kathleen?” “Blane, you’re an asshole,” the man blustered. “If you want to stop being an asshole, you can come get your girl here. Poor thing’s all upset and you just let her go cry her eyes out in some bar with a bunch of strangers. Shame on you.” It took only a moment for Blane to process what the man had said, the important phrases being “your girl” and “bar with a bunch of strangers.”  He was already out of bed and pulling on a pair of jeans while the man continued to ream him. Blane listened with half an ear, sticking the phone on speaker so he could grab a shirt and pull it over his head.  The man’s Texas accent was thick, but Blane caught “purty little thing,” “drownin’ her sorrows,” “sumbitch like yew,” and “acting like a damn fool.”  Once his boots were on, he grabbed up the phone again. “Where is she?” he asked, cutting the man off. “She’s dancin’ with Jay, o’ course,” the man retorted. “I meant what bar?” Blane gritted out, holding on to his temper.  The man was severely trying his patience, but he got the name of a bar downtown. “I’ll be right there,” Blane said, ending the call.  He grabbed his leather jacket on the way out the door and prayed the cops weren’t patrolling Meridian tonight. His Jag ate up the miles and Blane was pulling up to the bar scarcely ten minutes later.  Kathleen’s SUV was parked outside.  The sight of it gave him a twinge.  Kade had gotten it for her, a “company” car. The bar wasn’t crowded and he spotted Kathleen...

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New Year’s Eve – Blane

Blane Kirk glanced at his watch as he slipped on his coat.  Nearly six.  Damn.  He’d hoped to get out of the office early tonight.  Grabbing his briefcase, he closed and locked his office door before heading for the elevator. Tonight was New Year’s Eve and he’d planned a special evening for himself and Kathleen.  After the tumultuous Christmas holiday, he hoped to regain some of the ground he’d lost with her. It was a difficult game, but he played it well.  Knowing when to advance, when to retreat, and when to stand his ground, but the stakes had never been higher. Once in his Jaguar, Blane punched a button on his cell.  In a moment, he heard the ringing of the call over the speakers as the Bluetooth connected. “Hello?” “Kat, it’s me,” he said.  “I’m running a little late.” “That’s fine. No worries.” Her easy reply made him smile to himself.  It was nice to not be harangued for doing his job. “Is Mona still there?” he asked. “No.  She and Gerard left a short while ago.  She didn’t make dinner, though.  You want me to start something?” Blane grimaced.  Kat was beautiful, sweet tempered, smart and kind.  But she could not cook.  A face she was a bit oblivious to.  “No, don’t do that,” he replied quickly.  “I’m making dinner for you tonight, we’ll just be eating a little later than I’d planned.” “You’re going to cook?” Blane smiled outright this time at the surprise in her voice. “I’m a man of many talents,” he teased. “I believe I can attest to that.”  Her suggestive reply, said in a husky tone, made Blane unconsciously speed up the car. A half hour later, he was juggling his briefcase, keys and grocery bags as he entered his kitchen.  Setting it all down on the counter, a forlorn meow had him glancing down.  Tigger, Kathleen’s cat, was winding his way around and through Blane’s legs. “Hey, buddy,” Blane said, bending to give the cat a scratch behind the ears.  “Don’t worry.  I got something for you, too.” As if he understood, the cat began to purr, the husky vibration loud in the room. “Hey!  Welcome home!” Blane looked up to see Kathleen standing in the doorway to the dining room.  The tiny knot of anxiety in his stomach eased at the sight of her.  Each day he wondered if he’d arrive home to find she’d left, moved back into her apartment.  He knew she would at some point, but he hoped to put it off for as long as possible. Kat was beautiful, but not in the flashy way...

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The Not-So-Secret Santa

Blane Kirk I stared at the slip of paper in my hand.  Surely this couldn’t be right.  Blane never participated in the law firm’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange. “Clarice,” I said, walking over to her desk, “are you sure this is right?”  Clarice should know – not only was she Blane’s secretary, she was also the office coordinator this year. She looked up from her computer.  “Of course that’s right.  Why wouldn’t you think so?” I just looked at her. “Okay, fine,” she sighed.  “He didn’t exactly say he wanted to participate – the partners never do.  I just thought with you and him dating….”  She did a hand wavey thing rather than finish her sentence. I stared at the slip of paper.  “What do you get the guy who has everything?” I wondered aloud. Clarice grinned.  “I’m sure you’ll think of something.” ***********************************   Monday Blane Kirk entered the firm’s lobby that morning in a rather foul mood.  A client had called, informing Blane that he’d been arrested for possession of narcotics, though he’d sworn to Blane that he’d quit.  He begged Blane to not let this offence – his third – send him to prison.  Although the law firm’s clientele were generally more business-oriented, they took on a certain percentage of indigent cases as a service to the community.  This client was one of them. “Good morning!” Clarice said cheerily to him as he passed by. “Morning,” he automatically replied as he unlocked his office door. Preoccupied as he was with thinking about his client, discarding his coat and unpacking his briefcase, it took him a moment to spot the small, gaily wrapped package on his desk.  Picking it up, he turned it over curiously, but there were no markings to indicate who had sent it.  He stepped to his door. “Clarice,” he said, holding up the small box, “do you know what this is?” She looked blankly at him.  “A present?” Blane bit back what he wanted to say to that, instead replying, “Yes, I can see that.  Do you know where it came from?” “Your Secret Santa left it.” “My what?”  Not much surprised Blane, but that had. Clarice looked a little nervous now.  “Um, I think your Secret Santa left it for you.” This day was getting worse by the minute.  “Please don’t tell me I’m someone’s Secret Santa.”  Picking out useless gifts for a generic employee – no doubt a female – and sneaking them onto their desk was not a task he wanted to undertake this week.  If Clarice had signed him up for that, he’d make her do it. “Oh...

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New Year’s Eve – Kade

The body at Kade Dennon’s feet was utterly still. Kade sucked in air, his side screaming in pain.  Probably a cracked rib.  Reaching down, he grabbed the gun that had been knocked from his hand, sliding it back inside the holster on his hip.  Turning to the side, he spat a mouthful of blood and swiped an arm across his mouth. God, he was sick of this shit. Thirty minutes later he’d checked in to the kind of motel where the clerk hadn’t batted an eye at Kade’s bloody face and bruised knuckles, wordlessly sliding the cash Kade had handed over into a drawer and dropping a key onto the counter. Kade stood under the scalding water from the shower, letting it ease the aches and pains as it sluiced over his skin, relaxing the abused muscles in his chest and arms.  He imagined he could still smell the man’s sweat tinged with fear as they’d fought in the alley.  Blood, grime and other noxious odors from things best left unidentified had hung in the air. Death rarely came in a pleasant package. The idea of being clean was a foreign feeling to Kade.  The water may have washed away the blood from his hands, but his soul would never be rid of it.  The only time he felt redeemed was when- Kade abruptly cut that thought off.  No sense thinking about things he couldn’t have. He didn’t turn off the water until it began to run cold. His numbing agent of choice, vodka, sat on the bedside table.  Kade pulled on a pair of jeans over his skin and sat on the bed.  He ripped the paper off a plastic cup and filled it with ice and vodka.  The headboard was cold against his back as he relaxed against it, staring at the blank television screen. Three glasses of vodka later and he could no longer keep her image at bay, so he flipped on the television.  Midnight had come and gone, but the channels still showed people dancing in revelry from coast to coast, welcoming the New Year.  He thought about where he’d been last New Year’s Eve and couldn’t remember.  The places and jobs blended together anymore.  New Year’s Eve was just another night. He wondered if he’d still be alive next New Year’s Eve, then thought it almost curious that he didn’t care overly much one way or the other.  Surely he should care, logically speaking. Blane cared, Kade knew that much, and he was grateful for that.  At least one human being on this miserable planet would notice Kade’s absence. He thought of her....

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An Interview With Blane

This interview originally posted on Cocktails & Books. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The coffee house is bustling this morning, even though it’s the middle of the week.  The sun is shining, which takes the edge off the bitter cold.  January in Indianapolis – not the warmest of climes. I curl my chilled hands around the warm, ceramic mug before taking a sip of the steaming coffee.  The heavy fragrance of ground coffee beans hangs in the air.  I watch customers come in, bundled up in coats and gloves, toting briefcases and satchels on their way to work, needing their caffeine fix before facing the day. I’m nervous, which seems slightly odd, but it’s not every day I get to quiz one of Indy’s most powerful, successful, and eligible men.  Though I wrote about his life on a daily basis, the inner workings of Blane Kirk’s mind were a fascination to me.  He’d consented to the interview only after being told Kade had already done this.  His inherent competitiveness refused to let even his own brother one-up him. He appears in the doorway, black overcoat over an expensive gray suit, his gloveless hands automatically holding the door open for a woman to walk out.  I watch her head turn, her eyes lingering on him as he enters the café.  He doesn’t notice, or if he does, he is so used to it that it doesn’t affect him. Spotting me, he makes his way over to the corner booth in which I sit.  Taller and broader than most men he passes, he makes an imposing figure.  He shrugs off his coat, hanging it on one of the nearby hooks before sliding into the seat opposite me.  His suit jacket moves slightly and I catch a glimpse of metal against his side before he readjusts his clothing, smoothing the jacket and silk tie into place. “Good morning, Blane,” I say, pushing a lidded cup toward him. Blane Kirk acknowledges me with a brief nod and half-smile.  “Good morning.  Thanks for the coffee.” “Black, right?” He nods, taking a drink of the dark brew.  I give an inward shudder.  How anyone could stand the stuff without a good helping of cream and sugar is beyond me. “I know you’re busy,” I say, “so I appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions from some interested readers.” “It’s not a problem,” he replies, his tone pleasant enough. His eyes give nothing away.  I can’t tell if he really sincerely doesn’t mind, or if he is counting the moments until he can leave.  I feel a pang of sympathy for Kathleen.  Men are notoriously hard to...

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An Interview with Kade (and Tiffany)

This interview was originally posted on Jennifer Starks’ website. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The bar isn’t very full, but I spot the two people I’m here to see in a back booth.  The woman is talking animatedly to the man, who seems to be mostly ignoring her.  As I get closer, I can see they each have a drink on the table – his a clear liquid in a highball glass, hers a startlingly pink martini.  He takes a drink, eyeing me as I approach. Wow.  He looks even better in person.  Ink black hair falls carelessly over his brow, his blue eyes watching me from under wickedly arched brows.  He’s wearing a charcoal gray shirt with the cuffs rolled back, exposing his forearms and hands more elegant than I had imagined.  I realize I’m staring at the hand that’s gripping the glass and jerk my gaze away.  He smirks at me. “Hi!” I say cheerfully, my smile slightly nervous.  “Kade and Tiffany, right?” The woman smiles back, and her friendliness sets me at ease.  “Yes!  And you must be Jennifer!  Have a seat!  We’re so glad to see you.”  Kade lets out a snort and Tiffany elbows him in the ribs, her smile growing strained. I slide into the booth and take out my legal pad and tape recorder.  “Thanks for agreeing to the interview,” I say, adjusting my bag on the seat next to me. “Absolutely,” Tiffany replies.  “We’re looking forward to it.”  She shoots Kade a look, but he remains quiet.  I smother a grin. A waitress comes by then, and I order a margarita, no salt.  Once she leaves, I sit back and take a look at my questions.  “I thought I’d alternate, a question for Tiffany, then one for Kade.  Does that work?” “Fire away,” Tiffany confirms, sipping at her pink concoction. “Tiffany, your main character, Kathleen Turner (I love how you named her and the story that goes with it, by the way) is a very motivated person. With two jobs, one of them at night, she has very little time for a love life. Or any life, really, until things in her world go all sorts of wrong. What personality/life similarities do you have in common with this ‘princess?’” “Hm,” she begins thoughtfully.  “I don’t know if Kathleen and I have a terribly lot in common, she’s quite a bit younger than I am for one thing-” “You got that right,” Kade interjects. “Don’t be rude,” Tiffany snaps back, then returns her attention to me.  “Sorry for the interruption.  Anyway, as I was saying, our similarities.  One thing that I think we have in common,...

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Most Wanted “Deleted” Scene #2

Originally posted on Cocktails & Books. I really enjoy writing in the first-person.  However, as a reader of first-person, it can sometimes be frustrating to not know what other characters are thinking or feeling.  In TURN TO ME, the second book in my Kathleen Turner Series, I write a prologue and epilogue that are each in the third person – one from each of the heroes’ perspectives – as a bit of a “present” to my readers.  Those chapters seem to have gone over very well, so I got the idea that it might be fun to fill in a “missing” scene from third-person point-of-view.  I put a poll up on my website with four choices of scenes readers would like to read, and this scene was the #2 vote-getter.  I hope you enjoy it.   By Request – Most Wanted “Deleted” Scene, Runner-up In NO TURNING BACK (book one in the “Kathleen Turner Series”), Kade takes Kathleen to a fleabag motel on the outskirts of Chicago.  Kathleen falls into an exhausted sleep and wakes to find Blane there – and Kade gone. Here’s what she missed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kade sat in a chair in the motel room, quietly watching the woman asleep on the bed. It was late, but Kade didn’t sleep, his mind in too much turmoil to consider slumber.  And the root of the turmoil was the slight form huddled under the sole blanket, her long, strawberry blonde hair spilling like a waterfall on the pillow behind her. After he’d gotten off the phone with Blane, Kade had gone to retrieve her suitcase from the hotel downtown and get his car.  Returning, he’d taken a shower and pulled on a pair of jeans from the duffel bag of clothes he always kept with him, Kathleen not once rousing from her deep sleep, despite the noise he made. Twisting off the cap of the cheap bottle of vodka he’d bought, Kade poured it over the ice he’d placed in the motel’s plastic cup, filling it to the brim.  Leaning back, he propped his feet on the chair opposite him next to the small, wood laminate table.  He took a long drink of the cold liquor, a drop of condensation dripping onto his chest and sliding down his stomach. Kade released a sigh, finally allowing his body to relax.  The mission was over.  The girl was safe.  Blane was on his way. Blane.  His brother.  A man with more honor and integrity than Kade knew he would ever have, though he tried to be worthy of his brother’s unswerving loyalty and affection.  Blane didn’t like his choice of career,...

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Most Wanted “Deleted” Scene #1

Originally posted on Just Romantic Suspense. I really enjoy writing in the first-person.  However, as a reader of first-person, it can sometimes be frustrating to not know what other characters are thinking or feeling.  In TURN TO ME, the second book in my Kathleen Turner Series, I write a prologue and epilogue that are each in the third person – one from each of the heroes’ perspectives – as a bit of a “present” to my readers.  Those chapters seem to have gone over very well, so I got the idea that it might be fun to fill in a “missing” scene from third-person point-of-view.  I put a poll up on my website with four choices of scenes readers would like to read, and this scene was the #1 vote-getter.  I hope you enjoy it.   By Request – Most Wanted “Deleted” Scene In TURN TO ME (book two in the “Kathleen Turner Series”), Kathleen calls Blane when she throws Kade out, but Blane doesn’t pick up and she has to leave a voice mail. Blane usually answers his cell, but wasn’t able to in this instance. This is why. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Blane cast one more penetrating glance behind him, assuring himself that he wasn’t being followed before silently sliding into his Jaguar.  He’d parked several blocks away from The Drop and had stayed to the shadows when he’d left after having reassured himself that Kathleen was all right. That had been the best part of the evening. The pseudo-date with Apryl had left a sour taste in his mouth – regardless of the fact that he and Kat had been putting on a show for whomever was stalking her.  Blane shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he recalled the anger on Kathleen’s face as she’d dumped what had seemed like a bucket of ice cold water in his lap. He hadn’t been able to resist going back to see her after the scene they’d made.  Apryl Gallagher – a woman he’d met a few times at the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce monthly meetings – had been none too pleased.  She’d had been unaware of Blane’s ulterior motive in asking her out tonight.  Thus she had filled his ear with a vitriolic diatribe as he’d driven her home telling him he was a “scum-sucking bastard” for using her to cheat on his now ex-girlfriend, what an utter waste of time he was, and how men like him didn’t deserve women like herself or Kathleen. Blane wasn’t sure he disagreed on that last part. When he’d finally pulled up to her house and made to get out of the car to...

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Strawberry Pie

Disclaimer:  Content not suitable for those under 18.  By reading, you acknowledge that you are over 18. Originally posted for Cocktails and Books Spring Into Romance Love Letter Event.   I was bored. It was after lunch and I’d done all the runs I’d had this morning.  I had a stack of typing on my desk to do, but couldn’t seem to muster the enthusiasm for it. Blane was at an Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce meeting this afternoon.  He despised going, but since Mr. Gage was no longer here, the duty for attendance fell to him and Derrick.  They took turns each month, though Blane still groused and was in a foul mood when he had to go.I played idly with my phone, sending another move in my Words With Friends game to Clarice.  She usually beat me by an absurd number of points, but I was getting better.  I thought I had a fighting chance of winning this round.I opened my text messages, looking for my conversation thread with Blane.  He hated texting, said it was rife with possible misinterpretations and misunderstandings.  If possible, he called instead.  I just thought he hated it because his fingers were too big for the little buttons, causing him to misspell words.  Misspelled words were a big no-no for Blane.I typed him out a message. Hey.  How’s the meeting going? To my surprise, it didn’t take long for him to reply. I’d rather pull out my fingernails. I smiled.  Of course I knew that even though he hated it, not one of the couple hundred people there would be able to tell.  His charm and politician’s smile were well-honed weapons in his arsenal. Look on the bright side – u don’t have to go back for 2 months.  🙂 I waited. The bright side is getting back to the office so I can see you. I flushed with pleasure, grinning as I typed back. Can’t wait 2 c u 2. I put my phone down, returning to my typing with a sigh.  To my surprise, my phone buzzed again a moment later. What are you wearing? I giggled.  He must be desperate to keep texting of his own volition.  I supposed I should make it worth his while. Bunny ears and a fluffy tail.  That’s all. I waited. Are you in my office?  Thinking about me? I was surprised.  I’d expected teasing, but I didn’t think that’s what Blane had in mind.  I reread the text.  Hmm.  Not even close on the first, but a definite yes on the second.  I hesitated before responding. Yes.  The leather of your chair is cold...

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