Do you like romantic suspense? Want to curl up and get caught up in a story? Today I have an excerpt from "Deadly Valentine" by Jenna Harte, and as you have no doubt realized, it's a romantic suspense. I also reviewed it if you want to see what I thought of it.
Jenna was a wannabe mystery writer, who like many other writers who had good feedback from agents and publishers but no contract, decided to publish her stories herself. It’s terrifying and exciting, and thankfully, people have enjoyed her books! Here are some interesting (or maybe not so interesting) factoids about her:
1. Writing always terrified her, so she's baffled as to how she got here.
2. She first started writing fiction in sixth grade by writing about characters on her favorite television show (the term fan fiction hadn’t been invented yet. Neither had the Internet.)
3. Her favorite fiction involves mystery and romance, but she prefers a mystery with romance as opposed to a romance with mystery, if that makes any sense.
4. Her favorite authors are J.D. Robb, Janet Evanovich, Sandra Brown and Carl Hiaasen. She also loves Jane Austen, but tends to stay away from literature unless she knows it will end well.
5. Currently, she's finished book one in the Valentine Mysteries and has rough drafts of books two and three.
6. Both the Valentine and Delecoeur Mysteries pay homage to one of her favorite movies, "The Thin Man" and to Nick and Nora Charles’ more modern day (if the 1980′s can be considered modern-day) counterparts, Jonathan and Jennifer Hart.
7. She has another series idea rattling around in her head that pays tribute to another favorite old movie, "Topper".
8. She's not as old as jer love of old movies would suggest. She is as old as her love of "Hart to Hart" suggests.
9. Like her character Tess, she loves good chocolate and old R&B tunes. She's still working on getting some Carine Gilson underwear to see if she’d love them as much as Tess does. A set can cost several hundred dollars so she has to wait until more books sell.
10. Jenna Harte is not her real name. When she's not making up stories that put happy couples into danger, she lives in the “real world” using her “real name” working as a freelance writer and blogger.
I think I'm going to puke. Tess studied her face in the nineteenth-century Louis XV style mirror in Asa Worthington's foyer. Pale but not green. Still the rolling in her stomach told her things could get worse. Why she'd let Daniel Showalter talk her into attending his uncle's dinner party she didn't know. It had disaster written all over it even before her stomach threatened to embarrass her in front of the town's most elite family.
Recently, Daniel's actions suggested he wanted more than friendship. Not that Daniel was a bad guy. He was handsome, down to earth and Tess loved his parents as if they were her own. But she was as committed to celibacy as one could get short of joining a convent. She'd given up on the idea of love ever after, preferring the sensual delights of chocolate, Marvin Gaye tunes and couture French underwear instead.
But it wasn't Daniel's affection for her that threatened to ruin the night. It was his uncle. Asa Worthington was a volatile, intolerant, self-serving man whose gatherings usually involved patronizing or humiliating everyone in attendance. Even Asa's sister, Helen, found him so distasteful that she hadn't been to a family function in over twenty-years.
The night was proving worse than Tess anticipated when Daniel's cell phone rang calling him back to duty as a police detective just as they arrived. So she stood abandoned and stranded in the foyer hoping her lunch didn't reappear and mess up the beautiful Italian marble floor. The things one did in the name of friendship.
She pushed a tendril of chestnut hair out of her face and hoped that the glass of water the butler was bringing would settle her stomach until she could figure out how she was going to get home.
"You look beautiful."
Tess lifted her gaze to find a pair of brilliant blue-green eyes reflecting back at her through the mirror. She hadn't thought the night could get worse. She'd been wrong.
Was it too much to hope to go through the rest of her life never seeing those eyes again or anyone else from her old life? After all, Jefferson Tavern, Virginia was a long way from Washington, D.C., not so much in distance as in social importance. There was no reason for him to be so far from home. Perhaps the man whose reflection she watched move toward her was an apparition. Maybe the mirror was one of those commonly found in historic homes in which ghosts appear through the reflection. The only problem with that idea was that most ghosts in Virginia were from the revolutionary or civil wars. This man was very modern.
So maybe her brain was as addled as her stomach and conjured up the vision. Her head was feeling a little foggy. The only way to find out for sure was to turn around and face him.
Gawd! He was even more stunning than she remembered. "Jack."
He grinned displaying a single dimple. "I was beginning to think you forgot who I was."
That was laughable. No one ever forgot Jack Valentine. Particularly women. Even a woman like Tess who'd given up on men. He was a romance novel's alpha male come to life; gorgeous, rich, arrogant, and yet somehow endearing. There was a time she would have liked to indulge her attraction to him. That time was long gone.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
His brows drew together. Clearly he expected a different reaction. He probably thought she'd throw herself at him like she did the last time they were together. She wouldn't make that mistake again.
He gave her an affable smile. "I'm doing well. Thanks for asking. You look good. Really good."
"Still a charmer, I see."
"You don't believe me?"
She smirked at him. He should have been a politician the way he could talk and make you feel it was genuine. She didn't look good compared to when she last saw him nearly three years ago. Aside from the fact that she felt like the crypt keeper, she'd also put on ten pounds, which on a five foot three inch frame was significant. "I think you're being nice to an old friend."
"I'm glad to hear you still think of me as a friend. I was worried you were still mad about the last time we -"
"What are you doing here?" she asked again impatiently.
She saw a flash of annoyance on his face. It was so fast that she would have missed it if she wasn't staring at his mesmerizing eyes.
"Asa invited me."
"I didn't know you knew Asa.”
“I don't very well. It's business.”
“You're doing business with him?”
"Not yet. I probably won't." He shifted, moved closer. "Are you here alone?"
One dark brow lifted.
"I came with someone, but he was called away," Tess clarified.
"Too bad for him."
"He'll be back."
"Too bad for me."
He was standing close, too close. He was studying her and she did her best to hold his gaze without giving away her unease. Or worse, blushing. He didn't need to know that after all these years he still made her insides flip-flop.
"There you are!" Asa Worthington’s booming voice echoed through the foyer followed by his immense body. "Appointed yourself the official greeter of beautiful women, eh?"
"Only this one," Jack said maintaining his gaze on Tess.
Asa laughed and like everything else about him it was large and loud. His blue eyes twinkled with delight as he reached out and slapped Jack on the back. "That’s what I like about you. You see what you want and you go after it."
"Tess! You’re here. Good. Where's Daniel?" Tom Showalter asked of his son as he came to stand next to Asa. The two men were complete opposites. Asa’s presence in a room remained even after he left while Tom could go unnoticed in a crowd of two. He was average in every way from his lackluster mud-colored eyes, to thinning brown hair. It always struck her as odd that as different as they were, Asa and Tom were good friends. Perhaps Tom being married to Asa's sister, Helen helped. Or maybe it was that Tom was Asa's lawyer.
"He got called away as we got here," she said.
"Oh. Well hopefully he won't be long. I see you’ve met Jack Valentine," Tom said.
"Jack is thinking of expanding his business in this area in anticipation of a joint venture we’re negotiating," Asa said. "He’ll certainly want someone local to represent him when he does. If Ms. Madison is as good a lawyer as you say she is Tom, perhaps she’d be up to handling Jack here.“
"I’d enjoy being handled by Ms. Madison," Jack said, his gaze still on her.
Tess' eyes grew large, then narrowed with suspicion. It wasn't unusual for Jack to be brazen. What was disturbing was that it was directed at her. "Have you ever been handled by a woman, Mr. Valentine?" she said with bravado she didn’t feel.
A wicked smile spread on his face. "Not one like you."
Author: Jenna Harte
Publisher: Moxie Vie
Genre: Romance, Mystery
Format: ebook, paperback
Length: 622 KB, 334 pages
Release Date: August 5, 2012
Jenna is giving away an ecopy of her novella, "Endangered" to a lucky commenter. Enter using the rafflecopter widget below.
"Endangered" is 21,000 words, approximately 50 pages. It's perfect for someone wanting fast, sexy, suspenseful entertainment. Max and Madeleine are happily married and do what happily married couples sometimes do, which means the story contains strong romantic elements including mild sex scenes.