Awhile back, I participated in an author auction to raise money for a friend of mine's sister who was battling breast cancer. During this, I auctioned off the ability to have a character named in my next book. I had not one, but two, fabulous people win the auction. So, here is the introduction of the first auction character: Shane!


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Mark rolled his neck as he entered the police department, a harsh sigh escaping from his lips. This certainly was not the way he wanted to start his day, particularly since he wasn’t even supposed to be working today. His mind raced with images of curly dark hair, sleepy eyes, bright smiles, stacks of pancakes, and a room full of laughter and he slammed his eyes shut before the longing to return home became more than he could bare.

“Mark!” A strong voice broke through his reverie, yanking him back to reality. “You’re here early. And on a Sunday to boot. What gives?”

“Frick and Frack, Shane. Frick and stupid Frack.” Mark tossed his file onto the desk and flopped down into the chair. “Don’t get me wrong, they’re good cops, both of them. But, man, they make me tired. Were we ever that young and inexperienced?”

Mock shock filled his friendly face as laughter flowed through his eyes. “You saying I’m old man?” I can still take you out.” He joked while flexing his right bicep.” Sighing loudly as he heard no response, Shane swung his chair around to study his partner, noting the fatigue in his eyes. He kicked his booted feet up onto the desk separating them, crossing one ankle over the other. “They were in here earlier. Those two still have a lot to learn. But why were you even dealing with them? You weren’t working last night.”

“Nope. Well, I wasn’t supposed to, but the Captain called me in early this morning.”

Shane lifted an eyebrow. “How in the world did he get involved at 2 in the morning?”

“No idea, Buddy.” Mark pressed his fingers to his temple, moving them in circles, feeling the caffeine from his early morning coffee disappear but not quite motivated to get up and get another cup. “But when he calls and asks us to go…”

“We go,” Shane finished. 
 
 
Here's a smaller teaser this week. I'd love to know your thoughts!
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She rose to meet him, her finger poking him in the chest. “And you don’t know that I am!” Almost immediately, she pulled her hand back and he wondered if she felt the same jolt of energy in that tiny touch that he had. “Look,” she continued. “I’m not a novice when it comes to danger.” He couldn’t help but raise his eyebrow at the thought of her anywhere near the things he had seen. “There’s a lot about me now that you don’t know. I’ll keep an eye out. I’ll report anything unusual. But, I want to go home.”

He opened his mouth to insist on an escort but she beat him to it. “Alone, Mark. I want to go home alone. If anything happens, your department will be the first to know.”

Hastily, she grabbed her few belongings. “Mandy, get your stuff.” She stalked to the door and turned, practically challenging him. “I assume we’re free to go.”

Without waiting for an answer, she stormed out of the small room leaving Mark to watch her walk away from him for the second time in his life. 

 
 
Here's the second teaser from ALWAYS TRUST - Book 1 of the series, Teaching the Heart. Hope you enjoy!

Mark wanted to reach forward and grab her twisting hands, partially to calm the nervous witness in front of him and partially to comfort the beautiful woman from his past. Reluctantly, he did neither. “You said he called out?” his voice broke the silence.

“Mm hmm,” she nodded. “He said he would find her.”

His fingers moved over the pages in the report looking for the exact wording. “He said specifically that? Called her by name?”

“No.” Melissa’s eyebrows scrunched in a way Mark had seen hundreds of times before and he had to bite back a smile. “He said, ‘I will find you. I promise you that.’”

His chest faltered for a moment, the breath caught deep inside. Mark knew this guy, better than he ever wanted to admit and there was no way Mann was talking about the victim. Without even thinking about it, he dropped the professional tone. “Melissa, did he see you?”

“Of course he did.”

“No,” urgency laced his command. “Did he see you? Did he stare at you long enough to see what you look like?”

“He stared down the alley, but I’m sure he was just looking for the woman, Karen. She’s the one he was talking about.” Mark closed his eyes and forced out a breath as the naivety of her words hit him. “Right?” he barely heard her ask.

There were moments Mark knew he was destined to be a cop, moments like this when his gut was practically screaming at him. They had a problem; every fiber of his being told him Johnny Mann had picked a new target. Stalking to the door, he flung it open calling for the two rookies. “I want any information of surveillance in and around the club.”

“Sure thing, Detective,” Officer Landrum replied. “But we all know there weren’t any cameras in the back. There’s no way he would have been there otherwise.”

“I’m not looking for that,” Mark ground out. “Just get me the information.”

The door was cool against his back but it couldn’t seem to battle the fire raging in his veins.

“Hey! Detective Cheat!” Mandy called out from behind him and he turned just in time to see Melissa softly backhand her friend in the arm as she bit back a smile. “You gonna fill us in or do we not get to know what’s making you pace like a crazy man?”

“Lis,” he practically whispered as he walked back towards both ladies.

“Don’t,” Melissa’s hardened voice ground out.

“Don’t what?”

“You don’t get to call me that anymore. You lost that right a long time ago.”

Mark raised his eyebrows in confusion. He was so caught up in concern for what he was afraid would be a horrific nightmare for her, he hadn’t even realized his old nickname for her slipped out. “I’m sorry, Ms. Smith. I meant no disrespect.”  She nodded her head and the vinyl of the chair crinkled under his weight as he returned to his seat. “I’ll be honest. I think you’re in danger.”

Both women exchanged quick glances “Of what?” they asked at the same time.

“Johnny Mann.”

 
 
Here's the first teaser from ALWAYS TRUST - Book 1 of the series Teaching the Heart. Hope you enjoy!

Turning on her heel, Melissa headed out of the club through the back entrance. The alley she stepped into was darker than she anticipated, and she was surprised to find herself shiver in the heat of the Houston August night. Hugging her arms to herself, she vowed to stand there for just a moment, grab a few breaths of fresh air, and head back inside. She’d had enough unwanted moments in dark places to last her a lifetime and she certainly did not desire another.

However, as she began to turn around, Melissa heard the unmistakable whimper of a young woman. Torn between the safety of the club and the unknown of the dark alley, Melissa headed towards the sound. She certainly refused to help someone if they were in need.

Cautiously, she approached the sound, noting as she did that the whimper was getting louder, as were other voices that surrounded it.

“This is the best there is, sir. I assure you.” She heard a voice laced with a thick Spanish accent.

“It better be,” a second voice chimed in. This voice, she noted, sounded American, possibly Texan. “If I’m going to be working with your boss, he’d better understand that I want the best, only the best, and that I always get what I want.”

“Si, senor. He knows. I assure you.”

Stepping lightly, Melissa placed her back against a wall so she could inch closer and get a better look. She knew it was stupid; but she believed she didn’t have a choice. She could still hear the small, choked out mysterious sounds and felt a pull to help the woman making them.

Peering around the corner suddenly brought the scene into full view. A black Chevy Suburban with deeply tinted windows was backed into the alley, blocking the entrance, its back doors open and a case of money resting in plain view in the back. An intimidating, large man stood to the left of the vehicle, arms folded across his chest, eyes scanning the alley. The moment Melissa saw him, she forced herself even closer to the wall, if that were even possible.

“What the hell is that sound?” the man with the Texas accent demanded. As the men surrounding him drew their guns and prepared to search the alley, Melissa stifled an intake of breath as she took in his appearance. Dark, chin length hair framed his face and in the moonlight she could see the outline of a tattoo climbing his neck, drawing even more attention to the scar running from his left eye to his chin.

“You assured me this was a safe location!” Instantly, he pulled out what Melissa could only surmise was a handgun, and forced it to the trembling man’s temple. She shut her eyes in haste wanting to block out every possible image of what she feared was coming.

“Si, senor. It is. We meet…” but the sentence was never finished as the sound of a silenced shot rang through the alley, followed by thud of what she could only assume was of the man falling to the ground; the entire incident seeming to take only seconds and at the same time, seeming to last forever.

Immediately, weapons were drawn from all men in the alley, no one knowing quite where to point.

“Man, what the hell is your problem?” Another Hispanic man screamed as he looked at the conniving white man in front of him. “There was no sound and there was no need to kill him.”

“I told you before,” he replied. “I am not a man who enjoys being made a fool of. You mess with my business, or with me, and I guarantee you will not live to tell about it.”

Guns still drawn, the white man stepped menacingly closer to the one who dared to question him. “What do you think you are going to do to me, ese?” he asked, purposely mispronouncing the Spanish word. “Are you going to shoot me? Do you think your friend here would do that for you if he were in your place?”

He glanced down the alley, satisfied for the moment. “Put your guns away and let’s leave,” he ordered the men around him.

At that very moment, the woman whom Melissa had initially been drawn to help whimpered once again. Quickly, Melissa reached her, crouched behind the dumpster and slammed her hand over the woman’s mouth, forcing her to be quiet. “That’s got to be Karen,” one of the other men whispered to the scarred man.

“She shouldn't be alive and she shouldn't be here! Do I need to finish your job before I finish you?”

“No sir.” He turned in the direction of Melissa and the woman but didn't make it two steps before all hell broke loose. Melissa wasn't sure where the shooting started, she only knew the chaos in the alley allowed her to stand and pull the woman with her back towards the club.

Immediately though, her green eyes met the coldest black eyes she had ever seen. For a moment, they stared at each other, memorizing the other’s face and in that brief second, Melissa felt her efforts were to be in vain. ‘Part of me died in the darkness before,’ she thought to herself, ‘and the rest of me is about to die now.’ But instantly, a glorious sound edged into her mind as she heard sirens in the distance.

“I will find you, I promise you that!” He shouted, pointing at Melissa before grabbing the bag of money. “Grab the stuff,” he yelled to his men, getting in the backseat of the suburban. Staring at the other men in the alley, he continued. “Tell Montez he will get no money from me until he can find healthier places to conduct business.”

The sirens grew louder as the unmarked vehicles drove away and Melissa turned her attention to the woman she joined on the ground.

 

 
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