#SampleSunday - Hometown Hero (2)

#SampleSundayMontana BornThe Russian's AcquisitionHometown HeroHomecoming

More from Marietta. Lot's more!

alt

In my last post, I mentioned that Hometown Hero was one of a series. It is, in two ways. It's part of a series of linked books that I am writing, but it's also part of a series written by a variety of award-winning authors.

Tule Publishing's Montana Born imprint publishes themed mini series, like Cowboys, Brides, and most recently Fall Fair stories. Hometown Hero is part of their new Homecoming series.

Here's the line-up of authors who collaborated on this series along with the release dates for their titles:

No Amazon links yet. They appear when the book releases and these will be exclusive to Amazon initially. But if you buy within the first two days, you'll get mine at 99c! I believe the first two will be free for the first couple of days. Don't quote me, though. I could be wrong.

Now, onto #SampleSunday.

In my first post, Chase caught an eyeful of Skye. Then he said something stupid. Now he's gonna get an earful.

~ * ~

Skye was trying very hard to pretend she wasn’t on pins and needles. Chase Goodwin was back. Dear God she’d had a crush. Such a deep, terrible crush. One so everlasting that whenever she crossed paths with Flynn, his half-brother, and Flynn smiled his good-natured Goodwin smile, she always wanted to ask, How’s Chase? Like she and Chase had been friends or something.

Oh how she’d ached to be something with him.

But he’d been a year ahead of her, dating a cheerleader, and focused. So incredibly determined to play ball. And he’d done it. Like everyone in town, she was incredibly proud of the local boy done good, drafted out of high school and playing for the majors, doing stints on talk shows and even cheesy sketches on Saturday Night Live. Chase Goodwin had been a legend in high school. The full package of brains, brawn, and backbone. Now he was epic and even further out of her reach. Well beyond her small-town after-school league.

No, she’d gone after good, solid, comfortable Terry. Who’d had orientation issues he hadn’t confronted until she had begged him to start a family. That’s when he’d finally admitted he wasn’t in her league either. He was playing for the other team.

After a loss that big, she’d quit the game.

But when she’d heard whispers that Chase was back in town, her inner teenager had tingled back to life, hoping to catch a glimpse of him, just like old times. Then she’d walked into the gym, caught sight of his muscled silhouette against the strobing colors of the dancing bodies and a whoosh of excitement had nearly knocked her off her feet.

Nothing wrong with going to the stadium to watch, right? It wasn’t like she actually wanted to take the field with him.

Except she couldn’t resist getting close to him. It had taken supreme concentration to walk naturally as she crossed to Chelsea and tried to hold a normal conversation, all the while aware she was reverting to high school tactics, using her friend to put herself in a particular male’s line of sight. It was juvenile and she felt immature and uncertain, yet so thrilled to be near him again.

Aware. Chase Goodwin had energy so intense it practically gave her a tan, filling her with warmth and making her heart race with excitement.

Not that she expected him to notice her. He’d rarely made eye contact with her back in the day, never mind actually talked to her. She had always frozen like a bunny whenever he had arrived at his locker beside hers. He had usually acted like he didn’t even see her.

This moment of regression was silly and she didn’t need to look a bigger fool than she already did, given how the last two years had gone, but she stood there aching for him to notice her and—

The music stopped. Chase Goodwin’s deep voice stated in his confident way, “—not interested either. Especially if she has the power to turn men gay.”

The rest of the world stopped.

Chelsea’s face fell in shock before her. She reached out, like she was trying to catch Skye from falling off a cliff.

It was Skye’s worst nightmare, the acknowledging of the elephant that had been running amok in this town since Terry had come out. Sure the talk shows could tell people that being gay wasn’t a choice, but there were still plenty of folk who believed that Terry had chosen to become a homosexual and Skye must have done something to drive him to it.

Why it had to be Chase Goodwin who brought it all to the surface she didn’t know, but it was the final straw. Her wall of I’m Fine crumbled. All the whispers, all the suspicions, all the lies Terry had told her over the years as he denied something he didn’t want to admit, all the minutes of all the hours she’d spent holding his hand, telling him it was okay while she died a death of a thousand cuts, all of the tears and years empty of the babies he refused to give her… It all detonated under that one flippant comment by Chase Goodwin.

Chase Goodwin, with his perfect life, his money and smarts and stupendously wrong summation of her life, was the final kick from life that made her turn and fight back. She spun and charged toward him.

“What the hell do you know?” she choked.

“Hey—” he started, holding up forestalling hands. “I—”

“You what?” she demanded raggedly, fists pounding into the air beside her hips. Distantly she recognized he was a lot bigger than her. She shouldn’t pick a fight with a guy this big, but the toxic spew wouldn’t stay inside. “You have a tiny dick to match your tiny mind! I didn’t turn him gay, okay? He was always gay, but jocks like you kept him in the closet, afraid to tell me or anyone else in case of ignorant statements like that. Terry and I don’t blame each other, but I blame you—” She stabbed a finger in his direction, “—and you—” she pointed at Max, ready to condemn every straight man in the room for her pain, “—and every other prejudiced asshat who made him afraid to admit who he is. That kept me in a marriage doomed to fail and all because you enjoy being cruel to someone who can’t help being who he is. Go to hell, Chase Goodwin. Go to hell and rot there.”

A familiar arm came around her, mashing her into commiserating softness. Chelsea’s kindest tone, the one that had been Skye’s lifeline through the breakup, murmured, “Okay, Skye. That’s enough. Let’s go home.”

She firmly steered Skye’s wilting body out of the gym. They left a silence so profound that the one whispered, “Holy pajamas,” was like a shout.

In the office, Chelsea got Skye’s purse out of her desk drawer and said, “Give me your keys.”

Beginning to shake, Skye protested she could drive herself, but Chelsea assured her Jasper would help her get her car later. She picked up a bottle of wine on the way to Skye’s place even though it was a school night. Then she stuck around to share it with her and, one more time for the cheap seats, fed Skye tissues while Skye cried her eyes out over a dream that had been seared into a pile of ashes.

~ * ~

Be sure to drop by next week for the hangover. Things get worse before they get better.

Do you want to know the minute this book comes out, so you can take advantage of that 99c intro price? Join my newsletter! I'll not only send it out to you the moment this book goes live, but I always draw for a signed copy of my next print book from my subscriber list. You could win a copy of The Russian's Acquisition.

I've set up a Goodreads Giveaway for The Russian's Acquisition, but it doesn't start until Sept 23rd. Here's the widget, though, just in case you stumble across this post while the contest is live:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Russian's Acquisition by Dani Collins

The Russian's Acquisition

by Dani Collins

Giveaway ends October 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Fans of my Makricosta Series will be stoked to know I've sorted all my author copies and I have set aside ten sets of the first three books for giveaways sometime next year, when the fourth book comes out. I'm as excited as you are, believe me!

Okay, I really have to concentrate on clearing my desk and writing my next book(s). Here's a round up of my most recent titles, which are still at all the lovely retailers listed below:

alt

All my Harlequin titles are available on Mills & Boon UK, eHarlequin and Mills & Boon Aus.

Prefer Amazon?
US | Canada | UK | India | Germany | Brazil | Spain | Italy | Japan | Australia 

These other fine retailers have my books too:
Nook | KoboARe | BooksaMillion | ChaptersIndigo | iBooks

Want to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest...etc? Click here for Dani's Social Media links and take your pick.

I'm not sure if or what you'll see posted this Tuesday, but I will start a #TeaserTuesday for the Xmas book, gosh, sooner than later. It comes out Oct 13th! I'll probably start it on the 23rd of Sept. And I'll have #SampleSundays from The Russian's Acquisition right after Hometown Hero releases. So lots of new stuff coming up. Hope to see you back here for it.

Have a great weekend.