Friday, January 18, 2013

 This is the first chapter of my new book, An Imperfect Life.  This book I'm bringing out in three separate ways.  It will be available  at Amazon in chapters. And no, it one be one chapter at a time that would take much too long.  It will be about 4 chapters, at least 50 pages. The first segment is 4 chapters and will be available at Amazon in a couple of days.  Until then, I've decided to give you the first chapter to whet your appetite.
                                                    An Imperfect Life

The smell of lemon oil brought a grin to Dominic’s face.  Glancing around the courtroom he took pride in the tidiness of the place, including the gleaming, fresh polished desk he was sitting behind. All of it was part of his dream come true. He gave a light pat to the shoulder of the man sitting next to him. His client Antonio Remeris glanced at him, his gaze showing the fear of possibly not winning the lawsuit. Dominic gave the man another pat and a nod of confidence. When he saw his client was catching the win fever Dominic shifted his attention to his woman and co-counsel on this case. Sadie Hawkins
Desire instantly curled through him and he swallowed in an attempt to tamp it down. It was damn near impossible. From the moment he’d met Sadie she’d set his libido on overdrive and it had never changed. She had legs that stretched to heaven and back, long, silky, soft hair that he loved running his fingers threw. He especially loved when she’d used the curling iron to curl it and he’d coax her into a hot shower to make love, turning her massive ringlets straight once again. She’d fuss and complain about him making her have to get a perm twice as often as she should. But she’d yet to refuse to make love to him. Her skin was the exact color of warm honey and tasted even sweeter. And her big brown eyes sparkled with little flecks of gold when she was horny, and red flecks when she was angry. And the way she curled just right into his arms was nothing short of magical. She’d been put on this earth with the specific purpose to love him. He was eternally grateful to the creator. Glancing in her direction he moaned and the arousal came.
Catching Sadie’s eye as she sat on the other side of their client, Dominic’s grin widened.  Sadie was impatiently tapping a pencil on the polished desk, her trait when she was edgy. He knew it couldn’t possibly be worry over losing the case. Mr. Remeris had a strong discrimination case. So did the ten others they represented in this one lawsuit. The payoff would be a big haul for each of the clients and an even greater haul for the law firm. Both he and Sadie would be assured of bonuses. For Dominic it would put him one step closer to landing the junior partnership that would be handed out in a few months.
            While Sadie’s pencil tapping became more pronounced his grin grew wider. The side door opened and the jury filed in. He didn’t have to read their faces to know they’d won, but Sadie sure enough turned toward the jury.  A deep but soft chuckle was his way of letting her know he was aware of her actions. He knew she was scanning their faces. That was his woman, she liked to be sure of the outcome. Though confident, still Dominic listened as the jury Forman read the verdicts, each  in their client’s favor, each a multimillion dollar win against Novellan for blatant discrimination.
“Yes.” He heard the strong but softly spoken word from Sadie. That was her trademark each and every time they won. He wondered what she’d say if they ever lost. Why worry about that now, they’d never lost, not once since they’d been paired together, and he had all intentions of making sure they remained paired.
It was all planned out, every second of their lives. He’d make partner in December and on Christmas Day he would give Sadie the ring he’d bought for her months before and miracles of miracles he’d managed to keep hidden from her. He’d ask her to marry him. They’d marry in June and by the following Christmas they’d be working on their first baby. After the third baby He’d persuade Sadie to quit working. Then they’d buy a house in the suburbs and live happily ever after.  Their lives were perfect now and their future would follow suit.
            Snapping her fingers in his face Sadie pulled on Dominic’s arm to get his attention. “Why do you have that silly grin on your face? You didn’t hear a word I said.”
            He gave her a full grin feeling confident and a bit cocky. They were winners and this win was but another diamond in the collection. “I was thinking of our future.”
            “If you want that future you’d better take care of our present.  We won.”
            “Of course we won. You talk as though you had doubt.” Grinning broadly Dominic translated the verdict for his client then turned to the gallery where the remainder of the clients were seated and gave them two thumbs up and laughed.
            There was justice in the world after all and he was proud to be on the winning team that had secured it for so many of the firm’s clients. Shaking hands with his clients, accepting the hugs and thanks he tried unsuccessfully to keep his eyes from wandering over Sadie’s behind or glancing at her beautiful silk encased long legs. Her whispered 'stop it' had the opposite effect she wished on his libido. Yep, a hard on, right there in the courtroom. Sadie had that effect on him, add the huge win and there was no way that wasn’t going to happen. A raised brow from Sadie and he slid his briefcase into position
            “Is that better?” he asked her as they began walking out of the courtroom surrounded by their clients. “You know you’re feeling the same way. You’re just lucky enough that you don’t have outside proof. Why don’t we make a quick run to our apartment and have a special celebration before we head back to the office?”
            At that moment Sadie pulled a little away from him and took out her cell. She liked to play it professionally. But even she wasn’t immune to what this win meant for them. She wasn’t fooling him in the least, a stickler for details she was calling the boss to let him know of the win and that they were going to celebrate before returning to the office. He snickered wondering if she’d said they were going out for drinks or taking the clients to lunch. When she came back and faced the clients instead of him he knew the answer.  Not only had Sadie told the boss they were celebrating by taking the clients out for lunch, she was actually following through with it. With a growl and a smile he moved closer to Sadie in order to translate. Turning toward her he asked, “Do we get to celebrate privately?”
            “Of course. I explained to the boss that the two of us would be celebrating the rest of the day.” She smiled. “This was a big win for all concerned. No one cares that we’re not coming back to the office. We got the job done. Besides, Dom, you gave me what I’ve never been able to resist.  An offer to ah …” Sadie raised a brow and laughed teasing Dom, giving him the quick look that always turned him and her own. Why not give in and go home and make love?
            Keeping his hands to himself was a challenge but one he was sure he could handle.  Considering that Sadie had positioned herself between two of the clients he was left with little choice.  Every few second he’d catch her gaze, teasing and sensual and he fought his erection. A couple of hours celebrating with the clients would be worth it if it meant Dominic got to celebrate with Sadie alone for the rest of the day. Grinning he glanced at her and found her brown gaze set firmly on him. Everything he needed was in that look. The world was theirs and would only get better.

Sudsy water sluiced over them carrying the vanilla spice scent to the shower drain. What an absolutely perfect beginning to what would be a picture-perfect weekend. If their lovemaking last night was anything to go by they would be using the fragrant body wash several more times.
Lips, demanding, rough and soft all at the same time claimed her own. Dom pulled her even closer while using his free arm to provide a cushion for her back to lean into. His erection strummed with life making her stop at the wonder of it all, of them. They had always been good together a big win somehow always gave them an invisible extra boost. Accepting the knowledge without question Sadie smiled as her body was lifted and she was filled with Dom. 
“Um,” she breathed drowning in his kisses and his flesh. This man was her life, only one thing was missing, a wedding band that she’d have soon enough. Just a few short months and Dom would propose. He would be her biggest Christmas gift. No matter how perfect a relationship was, legalizing it for the world to see their commitment was always uppermost in a woman’s mind. In their case it had been Dom who’d first uttered the ‘M’ word.
Rational thought left her as magic invaded her body. God had created love and making love just so it would be perfected by them. With a guttural groan from Dominic, her cue to hold on tight Sadie allowed herself to let go. It felt as though she was flying without a net beneath her to catch her in case she fell. But that didn’t worry her. Dom was her safety net and would never allow pain to come to her. That was the last thought she had before bliss wiped out everything else. Pressed against his body they both trembled with the force of their release deciding to remain locked together.
Ever so slowly she uncurled her legs from around his back and smiled as Dom held her around the waist sliding her slowly down his torso creating delicious after waves of pleasure.
“Sadie, my love, you’re my oxygen.”
With a smile she glanced at him struck as always by the love in his gaze. “And you’re mine,” she finally answered. “Dom, sometimes I feel as though I should pinch myself. I’m so happy.  I hope it’s always like this for us.”
“Considering that I would not be able to stop loving you even under threat of execution, I don’t see things changing.” He laughed. “Sadie, I can hardly wait until December. I have never been more excited about Christmas in my life.”
“You think you know me so well, and maybe you do. But you’re not going to spoil Christmas for me no matter what you might think I’m getting you.”
“Would you like to know what I’m getting you?”
Curiosity pulled at him but he wouldn’t give in. Sadie only wanted him to admit to the fact that he was using the holiday to finally make things official. As much as he knew it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that he was asking Sadie to marry him, he still wanted to hold it to himself a little longer. After all he’d shopped for her engagement ring with her father. The man hadn’t told Sadie in actual words but the beaming smile on his face every time they were in his presence was a dead giveaway. Dom had threatened him that if he didn’t stop hugging him when they went over they would cease coming to visit until after he’d asked Sadie. He laughed softly to himself remembering Sadie’s looks after his father’s continued display of affection. She’d joked that her father was in love with him. True to his word her father had not told Sadie no matter how much she’d prodded him for the information. But being a woman, his woman, he already knew she knew. And unless he’d missed his guess she’d found the box.  But the wrapping was undisturbed and even if it wasn’t Sadie loved when he surprised her and would wait for him to present the ring at his own good time.
Sadie was holding out the bath gel. I don't intend to spend the entire day in the shower. At least let's have breakfast."
"And then?"
"And then we can continue the celebration."
Showering hurriedly Dominic turned Sadie so he could wash her back and other places, laughing when she swatted his hands away.

If the smile adorning Dom’s face had been any brighter Sadie would have needed shades to cover her eyes. She smiled standing a little to the side as her man took his victory stroll through the office.  She glanced at Paul noting that his head was tilted a tiny bit in her direction and he was observing her. When their gazes met they both smiled and he moved closer to her.
“Sadie, Santiago didn’t win those cases alone. Why aren’t you strutting?”
“That’s not my style.”
“You’re giving him the spotlight.”
“He looks good in it.”
“You’d look better.”
“Paul, you are definitely good for my ego and one day Dom is going to beat you to a bloody pulp because of that.” Paul’s easy smile turned into a laugh and Sadie found herself laughing right along with him. Naturally it had to be in that moment that Dominic turned toward her. He blinked as though he couldn’t believe what he was looking at and it only made the two of them laugh harder. Bad move.  “What did I tell you?” she grinned up at Paul. “If I were you I’d run for cover,” she whispered behind her hand as Dominic strolled up to the two of them.
“Okay what’s so funny that has the two of you laughing so hard?” Dom inquired irritably.
“We’re laughing at you,” Paul said without hesitation.
“That’s a lie,” Sadie objected. “I told Paul that one day you’re going to beat the crap out of him.” Dom stared at her for a moment longer than necessary she thought then he glared at Paul.
“Dom, we’re kidding around.”
“Santiago, I was asking Sadie why you get to do all of the boasting. There were two lawyers on the cases. You always strut and she always move to the side.”
Embarrassment colored Dominic’s cheeks surprising Sadie. Her man was cocky and he had reason to be. He was as he’d put it— a winner. It was time to put an end to the teasing. “Baby, don’t listen to Paul.  I love to see you do your victory stroll.” When he didn’t answer but gave her a questioning look instead, she could have kicked Paul and herself.
“Seriously, Dom. Paul just likes to annoy you. He’s teasing and wishing he was in your shoes right now.”
“Now that statement is true, Sadie. I do wish I were in Dom’s shoes, perhaps in his…” Paul drawled leaving the rest to the imagination. Though his playful leer at her gave no such out. Sadie took Dominic’s arms and turned from Paul before she laughed again.
“Dom, you have got to stop taking the bait every time Paul needles you. He does it just because you can’t take it.”
“I hate him flirting with you.”
“It’s harmless.”
“You like it.”
“Of course I like it. I’m a woman. But for God sake, Dom, when you get angry that’s another win for Paul. He loves it.  I’ll bet he spends hours thinking of new ways to make you explode.”
Dominic turned back to glare at Paul. “So, what’s your excuse for laughing with him?”
“He’s funny.  I like him and he’s my friend. He’s also your friend and even if he wasn’t you can’t tell me who to have as my friend. And you can’t tell me when to laugh. So stop trying.” Sadie stopped walking to look at Dominic. The hint of sadness she saw in the depths of his eyes prompted her to soothe his ruffled feathers.
“But you’re my man, Dom. Listen, if you want that partnership you’re going to have to put a lid on that temper of yours. You have to stop biting Paul’s head off every chance you get.”
“He makes me crazy.”
“Don’t let him.”
“Maybe I wouldn’t if I didn’t know how much you like him.”
Sadie smiled.
“You like making me crazy too don’t you?”
“There is no way I’m going to win this. Telling you, showing you how much I love you seems to have no effect on you. You’re more concerned with this pissing contest you have between you.”
Walking into the conference room Sadie thought for a moment not to sit in her usual spot next to Dominic. Paul was baiting her, laughing still. He was forever teasing that her man had her on a short lease. Sometimes it did look like it. But that wasn’t it at all. There was something about her and Dom being in close proximity to each other that gave each of them more power and confidence. She felt as invincible as her man when they were seated alongside each other, as if nothing and no one could ever come between them. With a smile and a slight negative shake of her head toward Paul Sadie slid into the seat next to Dominic. She held her breath on noticing Dominic had been watching her.
"You could at least stop encouraging him." Dominic growled then sighed and pulled out the chair next to his for Sadie
Turning on every ounce of charm she possessed Sadie smiled at Dominic. "When we get home I have something very special for you." She saw the flare of interest as he leaned toward her to whisper into her ear.
"The same special thing you did before we left home?"
"With a bit of extra." Running her tongue over her lips in a suggestive manner she touched his leg lightly making it appear to any observer that it was strictly an accident. Only she and Dom were aware of what she was doing. "There are conditions though. You have to behave for the rest of the day, like an adult, like a successful lawyer who’s about to become the next junior partner. Like the man I’m in love with, who is cocky and confident and knows he’s the only man I want in my bed."
"And Paul?"
"A friend baby, just a friend."
All eyes turned toward Mr. Secret and the folders in his hands. He was forever trying to keep the lawyers off balance. Some days he’d have folders and hand out random assignments, other times he’d put the cases in a basket tell them was what they were and allow them the opportunity to choose whatever interested them. Today was not going to go that way. He would be passing them out. Sucking up her feelings on all of the discrimination cases being given without questions to her and Dominic, Sadie waited. Her parents and Dom had said she shouldn’t complain. After all they always received hefty bonuses with their wins.
Still something niggled at Sadie. Dom wanted that damn partnership probably as much as he wanted her. She wished she could think he wanted her a bit more but that would be naive. Sure he loved her, but he was trying constantly to impress her father and in some ways her. The only impressing she needed from him was knowing how much he loved her.
The thought that they were practically excluded from most other cases didn’t bode well for Dom to make partner. She’d tried to tell him that over and over. She’d even brought it up several times to Mr. Secret, both in private and in meetings. All the lawyers at the firm were crossed trained in all manner of law. No one really specialized in any one type though they might do certain cases more than others. It was beginning to appear more and more that while the other lawyers at the firm were encouraged to take on cases outside their comfort zone, even  expected to do so, discrimination cases had been relegated to them. Sure they were good at winning them, but they could and should do more. That was all she was asking for her and Dom.
So now she sat with her fingers crossed beneath the table praying there were no new discrimination cases. When Mr. Secret turned in her and Dominic's direction and smiled Sadie's abdomen tightened.
"It looks like the two of you are in luck. You don’t have any cases."
"Excuse me," Sadie said, "we need billable hours. Pair us with another lawyer."
"There’s only one case that could possibly use a second lawyer." The boss turned slightly. "Paul might be able to use some assistant but you know the rules, the lawyer with the case choose who he wants to work with. The case definitely isn’t big enough to justify three lawyers. So you and Dom wouldn’t be working together."
"We’ve worked separately before." 
With a determined look she glanced at Paul.  He was watching her curiously. Dom touched her leg under the table pressing his fingers against her leg followed by a quick caress, a signal she'd said enough, and she had. Her face was burning making her feel embarrassed as though she’d done something wrong, cried foul when there was no problem.
For a long moment Sadie stared at her boss. She was making him and everyone else in the room uncomfortable and she should stop. But she didn’t. Then Paul gave her the tiniest of smiles and she knew with his next words he’d make things better and worse for her.
"Sadie, I’d love to have you help me with the case. We work so well together."
Paul glanced briefly at Dominic and Sadie swallowed. "Thanks, Paul." Defiantly Sadie turned her attention to her boss. "Problem solved?"
"Well, everything’s settled. Dominic, enjoy your free time. Believe me, you’ve earned it."
The meeting continued but the tension that she’d invoked was still felt. Sadie kept her eyes on her legal pad not looking across the table at Paul and definitely not looking at Dominic. He was no longer touching her, instead he was writing on his legal pad as well. Only he was writing in Spanish. She glanced over briefly, yep he was writing curse words.



Monday, January 07, 2013

Author's Spotlight:  Wendy Byrne

Happy New YearI know it's been a 'VERY' long time since I featured an author but you know how it is.  Life happens and things fall by the wayside. Needless to say I'm back with a bang and a fantastic author.  This isn't bull I'm giving you.  I've read her work and I do believe you're going to love her. Now without further ado I would love to introduce you to Wendy Byrne.  Wendy had her first two books,    Fractured (published Dec. 2011) and Mama Said (published  April 2012) from Genesis Press. This past Christmas Wendy self published  her first novella, The Christmas Curse.
Dyanne: Welcome, Wendy.  Thank you for the interview. I'd like to begin by giving the readers a bit of information about you. Would you tell us a bit about where you're from and a bit about your background, please?
Wendy: Hello, Dyanne. First I'd like to also wish a Happy New Year to the readers and to thank you for having me.  Now, about me. I grew up just outside Chicago in the south suburbs. I am the third of four girls in a very traditional family. My father was a teamster (truck driver); my mother was a stay at home mom. My two oldest sisters are eighteen months apart and then I was born nine years later; my younger sister five years after me.
I worked as a secretary for a law office until I got pregnant with my first child. At that point, I started to take classes to get my college degree. Twelve years later I graduated with a masters degree in social work. I worked in the child welfare field for twelve years (suddenly realizing I do things in twelve year increments) progressing from case manager to supervisor. The work was hard and exhaustive but the emotional component required sapped most of my creative energy.  When I decided to leave the field and go into education, I knew I could put more emphasis on my writing. That’s when I began in earnest with the goal of publication. I joined Windy City Writers and learned so much I can’t even begin to explain. I found many friends and like-minded people and was relieved that others had these characters running about their heads trying to get their stories told.

Dyanne: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer? And what was it that inspired you to start writing? 
Wendy: For the longest time I thought everyone had these people and their stories running throughout their head. At first I didn’t do anything with them, just let their story unfold in my head. Then I progressed to writing in down long hand, then later to a computer. I didn’t realize at the time I was writing a story about people I could change and make them perfect, and, above all, have a happy ending. I would watch a movie and think, no that should have been different. That’s not how people would react so I re-wrote it in my head as to how I would have done things differently.
Being around writers who’ve ‘made it’ helps aspiring writers realize that anything is possible and also their journey is never over. Every writer I know even those on the NY Times list still is striving to be better in their craft. Knowledge truly is power. The knowledge can come through books, or workshops, or just writing, writing and more writing.
Dyanne: LOL.  I should ask you if your characters reacted any better than the people you knew in real life but I won't.  I think I already know the answer.  Here's a safer question.  When did you write your first book?
Wendy: That depends on if you mean on paper or in my head. When I was young I can remember thinking about stories and talking to myself—a lot. Thankfully, my parents didn’t think I was crazy. Either that, or they were too busy since I was number 3 of four girls. I’m sure there was a whole lot of drama going on in my house at one time or another.
I started out writing down stuff in long hand in my twenties or so, then progressed to computer eventually. It didn’t occur to me that this was something I could actually try to do until later. I bought some writing books and started to research. I wrote my first book—which was absolutely horrible by the way—and sent it off to an agent. He wisely rejected it. I was devastated. Then I learned about Windy City RWA and that’s when the magic truly happened.
Dyanne: I am in total agreement with you about first books or at least about my first book. But no matter how bad the book is it shows a couple of things: Commitment, perseverance and a willingness to  learn how to do it.  Its definitely not as easy as many people think. And Windy City RWA. What can I say but, Thank God they were there. Wendy, how many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
Wendy: Probably 10-12. My favorite book will always be Mama Said… I love the character, Gabriella. She’s the woman I want to be when I grow up:  tall, gorgeous, with an incredible singing voice. Since that will never happen, I live vicariously through her and her relationship with her man, Shane. It’s the first book where I could feel Gabriella talking through me. I know that sounds a little crazy, but if a writer can get into their character’s head, that’s kind of how it feels. 
Dyanne: I absolutely love, Mama Said. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Wendy: Before I tell you I have to explain that my father—as much as I loved him—was very old-fashioned about his girls. He believed that girls needed to be taken care of by a man. As a result, I never really thought about career goals. We (my sisters and I) were never encouraged to attend college or think about future careers. As a result I assumed I would work in an office like my older sisters had done. It wasn’t until after I got married that I came to the realization that I wanted more out of a career and went to college.
Dyanne: Knowing about your time in social work and teaching I know your intuition was working. Both of those fields you're able to not only help but influence the lives of young people. Well done.  I'm always being asked this question so I'm going to ask you the same thing. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Wendy: It depends on the length of the book, but usually 4-6 months, although I have been known to write faster given an incentive like a challenge from a critique partner or if the story is flowing easily.
Dyanne: LOL.  I' always write much faster when my critique partner challenge me. Wendy, can you tell us where the ideas for your books come from?
Wendy: Usually from an interesting news story, or an overheard conversation (heads up—writers like to eavesdrop), just people watching or sometimes an idea pops up out of nowhere or after a dream when your subconscious is hard at work.
Dyanne:  ROFL.  You weren't supposed to warn people that we eavesdrop then make up stories. Where is your favorite place to write, where do you feel most creative?
Wendy: I sit on my couch with my laptop in the mornings. I’m always the first one up and the house is quiet free of distractions. I sit down with my cup of Chai tea and after checking emails, start to write. If I’m on a writing roll, I can keep the writing going all day. If not, I try to make a page count even if it kills me.
Dyanne: Do you have any role models? Have there been any other writers that have inspired you?
Wendy: I have some great friends who are writers. As a general rule, we tend to be more introverted than most others, but love to talk about stories when we get together. The vibe from being around like-minded people is contagious, even if you think your imagination has gone and left you and you’ll never think of another story, one night with writing friends gets the juices flowing again. So writers who’ve inspired me have been my critique partners. When we get together it’s magic.
Dyanne: You know Wendy, I think that's one of the reasons I'm always pointing aspiring writers toward RWA and Windy City in particular.  There is more than camaraderie in being around writers.  You feed each other creatively. There's an automatic cheering squad waiting there for you to succeed and crying with you over the rejections. Thank you, Wendy. I'm so glad you brought that up. So tell us, when you're not writing, what do you like to do for fun?
Wendy: Like most writers, I love to read. I read a lot of romances, but also other genres as well. Variety is a beautiful thing and makes reading less predictable, although I do require a satisfying ending.
I love to listen to music, everything from current stuff to blues. It makes me happy. My husband and I like to go to concerts either in Chicago or at an outdoor venue in the area called Ravinia. We’ve seen Diana Krall, John Haitt, Counting Crows and Van Morrison and way back when, Marvin Gaye—which was to-die-for.
I also quilt. I’ve sewn as far back as I can remember and used to make my own clothes and actually thought at one point I’d be a dress designer when I started classes at junior college. I quickly learned I didn’t want to do that for a living. Then I started making quilts and that’s pretty much all I sew nowadays.
Dyanne: Do you have anything that you'd like to say to your readers?
Wendy: My hope, as a writer, is that my book has allowed you the time and space to escape everyday life and enter a world that is full of twists and turns and always happy endings.

Dyanne: What kind of advice would you give to new writers?
Wendy: Write, write, write—every day—even when you don’t feel like writing. Set a daily page count and stick with it, even when the words you are putting out sound like crap, just keep writing, eventually it all comes together.
Be patient and don’t give up even when you feel like it will never happen. Believe me, I’ve been there—and still visit that place occasionally—if you’re a writer you won’t be able to quit.
No writer than I know of is an overnight success. They’ve worked hard at their craft for years before they’ve made it, even if it seems differently.
Find a supportive writing group and, hopefully, a great critique group that you can count on to help you weather the trials and tribulations of what being a writer entails. Everyone needs a support system and while your significant other can be a support, nobody like a fellow writer can both feel your pain and celebrate your joy. Only they know all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into your masterpiece.
Dyanne: Yeah!! Wendy has agreed to give us a little sample of her books. Thanks Wendy.

Fratured By Wendy ByrneFractured, Genesis Press, December, 2011
Isabella burrowed further into her jacket, and readied her gun. Despite the dark, she could sense their beady-eyed presence; hear them scurrying around in the over-full trashcans, and suppressed a shudder. No way no how would a bunch of rodents deter her.
Besides, they were the least of her problems. She fingered the worn edges of the handkerchief tucked into the pocket of her jeans for luck. Waiting in an alley, in this neighborhood at this time of night was dangerous. And stupid. Landry had taken down a gangbanger not even a block from here only about a week ago.
Landry Taylor . . .geez, thinking about him or anything remotely connected to him could only distract her. Right now she needed to focus. But every time she tried, he popped into her head. Why? Maybe because he’d tell her how crazy she was for taking this kind of risk. Maybe because it had been six months since they’d broken up. Maybe because he was tall, dark and sexy and she had a serious need to get laid.
The sound registered seconds before the bullet knocked her off her feet with the ferocity of an NFL linebacker. Searing pain spread through her chest and lungs leaking into her kidneys and abdomen.
 “What . . .the . . .he . . .?” Her chest hitched while she struggled to breathe.

Mama Said... by Wendy ByrneMama Said . . . Genesis Press, April, 2012
Gabriella shifted, clumsily finding the right gear. The Porsche responded with a lurch, the wheels spinning for a second or two before taking hold on the slick pavement. At three a.m. on a Thursday morning, I-294 North, the highway connecting Illinois with Wisconsin, was nearly deserted. After a glance in the rearview mirror, she drew in a long deep breath.
Her passenger moaned in his seat, excruciating pain etched onto his face. At least he was still alive. For a terrifying couple of minutes, she wasn’t sure he was still breathing.
Despite the circumstances, she nearly smiled as she envisioned the headline:   Gabriella Santos Saves Shane O’Neil
She imagined the details that would follow: Gabriella Santos, stiletto-wearing blues singer, courageously saves big bad Shane O’Neil, all six foot four inches and two hundred pounds of him. Then again, she shouldn’t get ahead of herself.
G.I. Jane she wasn’t. But still, by some kind of miracle, she’d pulled it off. At least for the time being.
Apprehensive after everything she’d gone through in the last several hours, she peeked at his still form. He definitely needed a doctor. But before he passed out, she had promised him no cops and no hospital. Since they had both been preoccupied dodging bullets at the time, she hadn’t asked for an explanation. For the time being, she felt obligated to honor his wishes. Fighting the urge to poke him just to hear him moan so she’d know he was still alive, she settled for finding a centimeter of skin not bruised or swollen and touched it. When he felt warm but not feverish, she let out a sigh of relief.
Since leaving Florida a month ago, she’d been followed, mugged, threatened and shot at. She wasn’t in law enforcement like her brothers. She wasn’t even gainfully employed most of the time. She was a blues singer, flitting from one gig to another, never quite knowing where she’d find herself.
But the very last place she would have expected to be during the early morning hours of August twenty-fourth was running from a carload of bad guys with a nearly dead man sitting next to her. How could she possibly take care of a half-dead guy when she couldn’t even take care of herself?
The Christmas Curse by Wendy ByrneThe Christmas Curse, November, 2012
Ten days until D-Day
Tessa Stevens grimaced as she fought to ignore the drunken carolers singing an off-key and rather lewd version of “Jingle Bells”. bahumbug.
Christmas was her Achilles’ heel. Her kryptonite. The mother of all curses. She was a menace to society and shouldn’t be out in public.
But to get this over with, she’d agreed to come to the home of her soon-to-be-ex Max, despite the warning bells ringing inside her head. With only ten days left until Christmas, she should be in hiding, not traipsing into the night to remedy this last little glitch in their divorce.
Max, of all people, should remember the curse that voodoo priestess cast on the women in her family, the one that was especially potent at Christmas. But nooooo, he had to have the papers signed tonight, not after New Year’s. He’d recited something about tax liabilities and a vacation to St. Mortiz, but she’d blocked out the details.
With the prospect of finally having this whole marriage fiasco behind her, she’d thrown her coat over her leopard print pj’s, stuffed her feet into her Uggs, started up her trusty Toyota and made the short drive to his brownstone. While she’d never been to his house, she knew the neighborhood well—upscale, trendy and uber expensive.
Max was a flashy kind of guy so his home choice wasn’t too surprising. She, on the other hand, liked to keep a low profile and had a home/artist’s studio on Printers Row in Chicago.
With the two of them being such polar opposites, she shouldn’t have married him in the first place. She’d never loved him. But then, not loving him was the point. The cautionary words of her great grandmother reverberated in her ears, ‘Never marry for love, or it will surely bring disaster.
Dyanne:  Wendy, thank you so much for the interview. This is the last thing I promise. Can I have your web address so readers can find you and a buy link for your latest work?

Lest Ye Be Judged

Lest Ye Be Judged
Adam Omega, returns vengeance