Friday, May 2, 2014

Sneak Peek of the Cover for Girl Takes The Oath

Well, it's here--no not book 5, Girl Takes The Oath, that'll be a few more weeks--but the cover, freshly devised, created, and designed, by Suzie O'Connell of Wellman Creek Books. You can't believe how wonderful it is to work with Suzie, and how amazing a design genius she is.

And so as not to disappoint, here's an excerpt from the book itself (sorry, not an action scene--We've got to save some surprises for the actual release):

“C’mon, hothead,” he heard Emily coo into Padgett’s ear. “You don’t want to give up this easily.”
The monitors beeped and flashed quietly, and something dripped into an IV, and Padgett’s chest rose and fell, but nothing else seemed to have changed. A dog-eared copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost lay on the blanket at the foot of the bed. Other than the monitors, his room was empty—no flowers, no pictures of loved ones, nothing personal.
“The nurses say he should come out of it,” Braswell said. “They just don’t know when.”
“Doesn’t he have anyone?”
“He’s a bachelor, and his parents live in a retirement home in Florida. I don’t think they’re strong enough to make the trip up here. And how’d you get in here anyway?”
“Apparently the nurses think I’m his fiancĂ©e.”
She leaned over Padgett, one hand on his cheek and whispered something in his ear, then kissed his forehead. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it back here until today.”
“Don’t sweat it, sister,” he said, trying to sound gruff. “We’re not your responsibility… but it is sweet of you,” he admitted after a moment.
And before he could prevent it, the girls skidded in to the doorway, Kiki peeking around his bathrobe, Haru standing boldly just inside the room, exceedingly pleased with herself. “Dad, this is my friend, Michiko.”
Tomoko stepped through a second later, and stood staring at an apparition—tall, strong, pretty in an exotic sort of way, with short black hair framing a face not quite fully Japanese in cast and shape, and not quite not; is this how her daughters would turn out?—until it occurred to her to ask the girl’s name: “Hajimemashite. O-namae wa nan desu ka?”
Watashi wa Tenno Michiko to moshimasu,” Emily replied with a little bow.
“It is very nice to meet you, Tenno-san,” she replied in English, returning the courtesy. “My daughters do not speak Japanese, I am sorry to say. What an interesting name you have.”
“I told you she’s way cool,” Haru whispered.
“C’mon everybody,” Ed growled, and tried to usher them out, without letting go of the doorframe. “I need a moment alone with Miss Tenno.” Once Tomoko had managed to direct the girls down the hall, he took an uncertain step into the room. “Help me get into a chair.”
“You look weaker than I expected, Ed,” she said, with one arm around his waist
“It’s just the stitches. I’ll be fine in a day or two. But never mind about that. I wanted to tell you… remember that extradition order?” Emily nodded. “You don’t have to admit anything, but there’s no way it’s not you they’re after, not after this last episode.”
She didn’t say anything, not that anything she said would make a difference.
“It’s just that I’ve been thinking about this past month, and it doesn’t make sense.”
“My life has never made much sense,” she said, “at least, not to me.”
“That’s harsh, but it’s not what I’m thinking. I mean, the Chinese are clearly interested in you, but… you know, first they’re trying to extradite you, then they chase you through town, but no weapons. Next, it’s a gang of thugs who attack you with clubs and knives, and then this, a full-on assault team. Either they can’t make up their minds what they want from you…”
“Or it’s different groups.”
“At least two,” Braswell said. “You know what at least one of them wants, don’t you?” He couldn’t help but see the wheels turning behind her eyes. And yet, the strange thing is that she didn’t seem shaken by the reflection going on in her heart. Her eyes grew hard and dark—could they get any darker than they already were? Too dark for a co-conspirator, much darker than that.
Before Braswell could press his speculations any deeper, a tap at the door got his attention: two NCIS investigators flipping open badges, which they hardly needed, since he recognized them from a meeting in the Commandant’s office at the Naval Academy a few weeks earlier, and she must have, too—agents Graham and Everett.

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