Update and CHANGELING Snippet

Cross-post from my blog.


So I've been quiet lately, and I know I kind of left folks hanging a little with my last Organized Chaos post. I want to start by saying thank you to everyone for your kind words and support of the Dreg City books. It means a lot to know there are readers out there clambering for more of Evy and her friends.

The good news is that I will, in all likelihood, self-publish the rest of the series. I can't tell you when, because I have other projects in the pipe right now, but I hope to have something new for readers, even if it's just a short story, by the end of the year. Maybe the first of 2013. I will keep y'all posted as that develops.

The Sekrit Project is also finished and in the hands of both my agent and my crit partner. I'm pretty excited about this trilogy, because it is centered around my favorite supernatural creature: shifters.

I'm also gearing up for the release of CHANGELING (MetaWars #2) on June 26, so to round out the post, I'm going to offer another snippet from the book.

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A little set-up: The team has purchased an abandoned mansion in Beverly Hills and are fixing it up as their home base. Dahlia "Ember" Perkins has been saddled with the task of hiring an electrician so their home improvements don't accidentally burn the place down. She finds herself at Scott & Sons, a place now run by someone she went to high school with--and who may or may not have had a crush on her once upon a time.

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From Chapter Four


Dirty sneakers descended from the darkness, followed by tight, ripped jeans, and a T-shirt clad torso. An unbuttoned flannel shirt, sleeves rolled up, flapped in the wind he created as he charged forward. I looked up, past a narrow jaw, and into the brightest green eyes I had ever seen on a human being (except for Marco, but his eyes weren't quite natural).

If he wasn't Noah Scott, he was definitely related. He was about my age, with spiky auburn hair and a light smattering of freckles on his sharp nose. He stood about my height, thin-waisted, muscles rippling beneath his tight T-shirt. A runner, maybe, or a swimmer. Nothing like the skinny, gangly boy I remembered from high school. That boy had enjoyed loose clothes, kept his hair shaggy and long, and he couldn't possibly have been so handsome. Even his eyes seemed a brighter green than before.

Of course, a distance of six years can change your perception of a person.

Slim eyebrows arched as he studied me back. Wide lips puckered into a silent question, and he tilted his head to one side.

"Can I help you?" he asked. His voice had a rough quality, like sandpaper.

I licked my lips, trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach. "Yes," I said. "I, um, need lights." I could have slapped myself. Obvious and stupid.

His smile broadened, baring bright white, but somewhat crooked teeth. Some small amount of recognition had crept into his eyes—it could have as easily been knowing me as Ember as remembering me from school. "You're in luck, because that's all we sell here," he said.

I laughed, feeling like an idiot, and walked confidently up to his counter and squared my shoulders. His eyes dropped briefly to my chest, and I had the sudden, irrational urge to flee this shop and never look back.

"What kind of lighting to do you need?" he asked.

"All kinds. We're, um, remodeling an older home and a lot of the ceiling fixtures need to be replaced. That's our biggest need right now. And installation. Ethan's not so good at it."

"Your boyfriend?"

"My what?"

"You said Ethan isn't good at installation. Is he your boyfriend?"

Laughter bubbled in my chest, but I tamped it down. Maybe-Noah was much more Ethan's type than I was. "No, he's not my boyfriend. One of my roommates. A bunch of us are fixing up the house together."

He walked around the counter and stopped an arm's length away. I liked that we were the same height; I didn't have to strain my neck to stay under his intense gaze. His eyes roamed all over. Most days, I would have walked off in a huff after being openly appraised like that. With this maybe-not-a-stranger, I rather enjoyed the attention. Even living with five other people, I was often lonely.

"Do you see anything you like?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah." His eyebrows shot up, and I realized what I just said. "I mean, I haven't really looked at your lights." Eyebrows higher. "What you have to offer, I mean." Lordy, there was nothing coming out of my mouth that didn't sound like innuendo. Teresa would kill me if I screwed this up.

"How about some track lighting?" he asked, indicating the wall behind me. "Brightens up a room pretty quick, and you can set it on a dimmer switch. How many rooms?"

"Quite a few." Good, simple answer to a simple question. I was back on track to having an intelligent conversation. "We don't need all of them done at once, but there are half a dozen rooms downstairs, and at least six upstairs."

"The house sounds huge."

"It's in Beverly Hills."

His lips parted in surprise. "Wow, that's an interesting neighborhood to pick. Few people can afford those houses."

Dollar signs danced between us, taunting. It was a social barrier that I'd never dealt with growing up—at least, not from the rich side of the line. I never wanted money from my father, and I ignored my trust fun when I turned eighteen. Mom's insurance paid most of her medical bills. Everything I had, I earned on my own. I was no different than this man in front of me, self-made and struggling to be independent. But the squint in his eyes, the harder line of his mouth, indicated he didn't know that. He just knew I had money. Money he could make.

"It's a group effort," I said. I wanted him to understand and didn't know why. "We needed a big place with good security. A bungalow in Inglewood wasn't going to do it for us."

"So you're looking for at least a dozen fixtures," he said, as though I hadn't spoken. "Plus installation and any necessary rewiring. Some of those old places can have exposed wires that cause shorts. Fires. You should definitely have a thorough inspection."

I bristled. Yeah, he was milking those dollar signs. Ass. "Do you provide those services?"

"As a matter of fact, we do. Why don't—?" Footsteps thumped down the back stairs, cutting off his train of thought. We both turned toward the sound.

A girl appeared behind the counter, maybe eighteen or twenty years old. She had long black hair and equally long legs that disappeared beneath a short, white skirt. "Hey, Noah, how come I always—?" Her almond-shaped eyes landed on me. "Oh, sorry. Didn't realize you had a customer."

Okay, so he was definitely my old schoolmate. Someone I obviously hadn't made an impression on, since he'd yet to indicate he remembered me.

Noah eyed the girl's outfit, from the pencil-heeled white sandals to the low-cut orange tank top barely reigning in her breasts. "Are you going out in that?"

"Sure." She twirled, the flared skirt riding up a little too high for decency. "Why the hell not?"

"You look like a hooker."

She belted out the perfect flirtatious giggle. "You think I'm going to go out and pick up some strange man to bring home? Be serious."

"Just be careful." He sighed, and I wondered if he'd had this conversation before.

She blew a kiss and flounced out the front door.

"Sorry about that," Noah said.

I shrugged. "What were you saying?"

"I was going to suggest I make an appointment to inspect the property. I'll be able to get a better idea of your needs, see the wiring as it is, and know where things are going to fit. Then I can order what I don't have in stock, and we can start getting you guys set up."

"Sure. What's good for you?"

"How about right now?"

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