Remember this date!!

Ladies and gentlemen, set your calendars!

Monday, March 18th, the next #AHW serial “Anything He Wants: Castaway” will be released to all major ebook retailers!!!

I just received the first concept cover for the new serial and OMG, pretty!!! Can’t wait to show it off!!

Now to work on the next part, set for an April release. 😀 😀

Snippet Saturday #3…er, Snippet Sunday?

Contrary to what people might think, I didn’t forget about Snippet Saturday! I just…put it off for a little too long? I’ve had a busy week, not the least of which was making the decision to begin releasing the serials again, so have been editing, figuring out cover art, and various other life decisions (like, w00t, finding a house!). There hasn’t been as much new writing as I would have liked, but I hope what I have is juicy enough to make up for the otherwise lack of content! 😉


From the AHW6 bonus story:
Lucy. He couldn’t even say her name without gasping for breath. All he wanted to do was tear apart the car, make it give up its secrets, but that would do no good. Impotent rage beat through him; there was nothing he could do until he knew more. His men were good – he wouldn’t hire anything less than the best – but they needed time and even another minute was too much.

Every decision of the day came crashing down on him at once. How he’d left Lucy alone in his bedroom; ignoring the calls to his phone; being so arrogant as to believe the danger was past. He was a coward, running from three little words. Now look what his stupidity had wrought.

Lucy. He could still smell her on his skin. She’d given her trust, shyly admitted her true feelings for him, and he’d thrown her to the wolves. God…

He couldn’t breathe. While his men were focused on the limo, Jeremiah moved around the far side and struggled for control. Forcing himself to take deep breaths, he clung to the door handle, leaning his forehead against the window. His fists tightened as he sucked in air, the wrenching emotion in his gut almost too much to bear. Her face filled his vision; those big blue eyes radiating a confidence in his character Jeremiah never even realized he needed. Gone. All gone.


“What are you doing in my room?” I demanded as I moved into the large living room.

Lucas raised a glass to me. “You have a bigger suite than ours,” he said lightly, gracing me with a trademark grin.

I rolled my eyes, not in the mood to deal with either man. “You two can head to your own rooms,” I snapped, folding my arms. “I need to take a shower and change clothes.”

“Great, I’ll join you.”

I couldn’t do anything more than stare in shock, but Jeremiah stopped pacing at his brother’s glib statement. “Loki,” he growled, clenching his fists.

“You know, I can always tell when you’re angry,” Lucas said, pointing at his brother. “It becomes ‘Loki this’ or ‘Loki that’, which I think translates to ‘I want to wring your neck.’ No, seriously, tell me I’m wrong.”



My hand smacked across Jeremiah’s face, stopping whatever he was about to say. The blow startled him; Jeremiah blinked down at me a few times before releasing my arms. “Do you feel better now?” he said, lips pursing into a thin line.

My slap had been from a bad angle, with barely any force behind it. The callous disregard in his tone fired me up again. “No,” I answered, and, balling up my fist, I threw my arm into a hook, landing right in his jaw.

Former indie author Jamie McGuire penalized for self-publishing?

Earlier this evening, during a break between edits for AHW6, I saw something on a Facebook page “What To Read After Fifty(50) Shades Of Grey” regarding Jamie McGuire, author of the indie (and now traditional) bestseller Beautiful Disaster:

** SPECIAL NOTE: Please Read This!! **

From Author Jamie McGuire:

I have looked into this as best I can, but being a Saturday, Amazon isn’t responding.

It appears that Amazon has sent a mass email to everyone who’s ever purchased the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster. They are encouraging readers to request a refund. When asked why they are offering this refund, Amazon customer service has given several different reasons, the most common is problems with content. THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH THE CONTENT OF BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, and it makes no sense for them to encourage a refund for a book that has already been read and enjoyed 6+ months later, but that is the only information I have for now.

Customer service admits that if you do NOT get the refund, your copy of BD will NOT be affected. If you get a refund, they are offering to reimburse the $4+ difference it costs to purchase the $7.99 version, but what they aren’t telling you is that **I** am paying for every refund.

Last week, I sent an email to Amazon asking why the self-published version of my book is still experiencing returns. Returns are only allowed for up to 7 days after purchase. 6 months after the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster went off-sale my account was still seeing negative amounts for returns. I’m not going to assume the reasons behind this mass email, but it appears that Amazon customer service is now encouraging these returns.

I was not notified of this. This email has nothing to do with my publisher Atria books. If you do not get a refund, your copy of BD will not be affected. If you do, the refund will show as a negative amount in my Amazon KDP author account. Because BD is no longer available, this money will be taken out of my Providence sales.

In other words, this is very bad, and I have no idea why this is happening. Please do not return your copy of BD, and please help me spread the word to not return your copy of BD.

I will let you know what else I find out from Amazon. In the meantime, your support has brought me to tears. I love you all. ♥

Well, you can imagine my shock at reading this. While I have yet to meet Ms. McGuire, she and I were fortunate enough to share similar career choices around the same time when our bestsellers were picked up by (separate) publishing companies. I won’t lie, I found this story difficult to believe; Amazon surely wouldn’t be this stupid, would it? I purchased BD as an indie book in 2011, long before the author signed a contract allowing the novel to receive a wider, worldwide distribution.

Yet, an hour ago, this is the email I received in my inbox:

Hello from,

We want to let you know that the edition of Beautiful Disaster that you purchased is no longer available. You can order a new version that is now available here:

You can also request a refund on your original purchase by responding to this email. After the refund is issued, you will no longer be able to access this item.

Thank you,

The Kindle Team


Alright, be prepared for a long post, because I’m going to deconstruct this email for you, then educate you a little on how self-publishing works. If I go off on a tangent I apologize in advance; I’m a little worked up about this, not only on Ms. McGuire’s account but also on account that many people, myself included, have moved from the self-publishing world into traditional publishing. The two worlds, in many ways, don’t mix perfectly, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a confusing and underhanded attack on an indie author.

First off, let’s start with this line:
“We want to let you know that the edition of Beautiful Disaster that you purchased is no longer available.”
No longer available where? On my Kindle, or in the Kindle store? Because if Amazon decided to erase a story I’d already BOUGHT AND PAID FOR almost two years ago, I’m gonna get a little pissy. Nobody steals books from me – that’s a grave sin where I come from!!

“You can order a new version that is now available here: “
Let me tell you something kids: the new version is no different than the old version. Oh, I’m sure a few lines have been cleaned up, maybe some new front matter detailing which publisher is offering the “new” version, etc. But, let’s be honest, THE STORY IS THE SAME. Even the cover is the same one the book was graced with when Ms. McGuire signed the traditional contract. So, why do we need a new version Amazon? Please, enlighten me.

“You can also request a refund on your original purchase by responding to this email.”

Oh no they didn’t! Oh no, no no no. Amazon, didn’t you read your own rules and TOS? Don’t you understand how this stuff WORKS? Let me pull from the above statement by Ms. McGuire herself:

Customer service admits that if you do NOT get the refund, your copy of BD will NOT be affected. If you get a refund, they are offering to reimburse the $4+ difference it costs to purchase the $7.99 version, but what they aren’t telling you is that **I** am paying for every refund. Last week, I sent an email to Amazon asking why the self-published version of my book is still experiencing returns. Returns are only allowed for up to 7 days after purchase. 6 months after the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster went off-sale my account was still seeing negative amounts for returns. I’m not going to assume the reasons behind this mass email, but it appears that Amazon customer service is now encouraging these returns.

Alright, education time!! Sit around my chair kiddies and let Ms. Fawkes give you a little lesson on how self-publishing works. When an author and a book love each other very much, they… oh wait, wrong speech. *sheepish look around* Alright, other formats and ereaders not withstanding, when you purchase an ebook from Amazon, the sales is automatically (barring some lag from servers) calculated to the author’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account. This, let me tell you, is an AWESOME service – a self publishing author gets to see in real time (!!!) how many sales they have.

There is a catch to this however, and while it’s in the reader/buyer’s best interest it has the potential to be abused by some people: when you purchase the ebook, you also have a 7-day window in which you are able to refund the book. If, say, there’s a formatting problem, or some other type of error with the file (or, in most cases, if the buyer just really dislikes the book), you have the option to return it for a refund. Most self-published authors learn to accept that they will have a certain number of returns. Such returns are par for the course, and normally not something we authors go around discussing because, as I guess you can imagine, wider knowledge can lead to wider abuse of this option. However, in this case, to understand why this is a problem, you need to know the root cause.

Like I said, this is a 7-day window, and once that window is closed the sale is final. Except, um, not in the case with Ms. McGuire. According to records, I purchased the original novel in spring of 2011, yet now, two years later, I’m being urged by Amazon to ask for a return so I can get the new version.

So, essentially, what’s going to happen is that Amazon will be logging returns via KDP in Ms. McGuire’s self-publishing account, giving her a negative number of sales. Negative sales numbers work against an author just like they would in any other business: instead of being paid for the sale, YOU ARE PAYING FOR THEM NOW. If Ms. McGuire has any other books for sale via KDP, whether under another pen name or this one, the negative sales from the unpublished, older copy of her book (WHICH IS NO LONGER FOR SALE!) will penalize positive sales for other stories. If not, and all the books she has available are no longer through KDP… That’s going to be one heck of a bill. Because the email I received went out to literally THOUSANDS of people who, in the last 2+ years, have purchased BD from Amazon. Before it was a bestseller through Atria Publishing, BD was a bestseller through Ms. McGuire’s own hard work.

*takes a deep breath*

I don’t know what Amazon’s goal is for this move. I don’t know how many returns Ms. McGuire has accumulated so far. I don’t know how Amazon will bill her for these negative sales. And I don’t know what this says about my own experience: I too sold my rights to another publisher, have left my previous stories unpublished, but had hundreds of thousands of sales before St. Martin’s Press took over my serials. What’s going to happen to people like me, or Amanda Hocking, or any of the other indie bestsellers who turned to traditional publishers so they could get wider audiences? The whole thing is pure and utter bullshit – Amazon should NOT have sent out that email, Amazon should NOT be putting their hands in our cookie jars previously purchased Kindle library. We indie authors had the rights to our stories at the time these sales took place; the fact that another entity holds those rights NOW doesn’t change THEN.

So if you receive any emails like this for a book you loved, from an author you care about, please disregard them. Do NOT return an indie book because you think the traditional publishing book might be “better”. I love my SMP editor, but even though she went over my previously-released serials we didn’t change much, if anything, about them except the copyright and legal script. Jamie McGuire deserves the same – don’t take money from her pocket, ESPECIALLY if you loved the book!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw the initial Facebook post about this, and REALLY couldn’t believe when I saw the above email in my inbox. Shame on you Amazon, this is totally beyond the pale!

ETA: Indie hangout Kindleboards’ Writer’s Cafe has a post already started about this with more logical information than my emotional response. Included is one person’s confusing response from Amazon when they DID return the book, as well as TOS guidelines quoted for posterity’s sake. It gets more and more confusing…

ETA2: Early this morning, I received another email from Amazon regarding Beautiful Disaster:

You may have received an e-mail from us yesterday stating that the edition of “A Beautiful Disaster” you purchased is no longer available. This e-mail was incorrect, and there is no action required to continue enjoying the book.

If you are having any problems with the book, please feel free to contact us by replying to this message, and we will be happy to help you.

We apologize for any misunderstanding our e-mail caused.

The Kindle Team

From Ms. McGuire’s Facebook and blog posts, it seems all she’s interested in is moving past this and focusing on the release of her next novel. Amazon has a history of silence over controversial decisions, so we may never know what prompted the mass emails. Given the magnitude and how many people were emailed the original memo, this doesn’t seem like an over zealous employee but a combined, higher-level tactic, and it sucks that we may never know why or how this mystery started…

Freebie alert of AWESOME!!!!!

HEE!!! I got the happiest surprise yesterday when a friend pointed it out to me that the first serial of “Anything He Wants” was FREE on Amazon! So imagine my surprise when I get an email from the publisher that the story is free on several of the ebook sites!!

Can we say Best Wake-up EVAR?! 😀

I’ve always been proud of part 1, it starts the story off with a bang (hah, literally!) and FREE is a fantastic way to get more eyes on the series!! *bounces all about* Yes, I’m really excited by this – I’ve been pushing St. Martins Press to get that first part free and they TOTALLY came through, and with so many different online retailers. According to the publisher, the sale should run until April 5. GLEE!! So if you know anyone you’ve been itching to tell but didn’t want to seem pushy, now would be a cool time to mention a free short story you happened to come across that might lead into this nifty book you read… 😉

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble


Apple iBooks

(Looks like the first story is also free in Amazon-Brazil, but as the individual serials were never translated the story is in English, not Portuguese. Sorry!)

If you find any other sites that list it free, let me know and I’ll add the links. *geeks out* I’m so stoked, and with part 6 coming out this month the timing couldn’t be more perfect! More details coming soon on THAT, I promise!!! 😀

Expectations, and AHW2 future plans


Expectations can be tricky.

For example, when I first published a short story titled “Anything He Wants”, I never expected it would start this rollercoaster journey through the realm of publishing. I figured, hey, a couple people might read my story and that would be cool – now it’s in languages like French and Portuguese, on shelves across the world. Wow! I never expected that I’d get such an awesome publisher like St. Martin’s to allow me to expand my audience, and yet that’s exactly what happened. I never expected people would be at all interested in a serialized novel, or be so excited about the sequel.

If I’d planned this whole writing thing…wow, I’d never have guessed where I’d be now! The journey has absolutely blown my mind so far.

I had some expectations on how the AHW sequel would be released, but I’m super excited to tell you that the continuation will be coming to you sooner than even I anticipated. Many of you know that AHW was originally released as a serial, or, in other words, a short story/part at a time. This allowed me to get the story out to you as I wrote it. My lovely editor Delta fixed and edited for me as we went, but essentially as I finished each part, I released it to you. I won’t lie, I really enjoyed doing this. Serials, or something very much like it, are commonplace in fan fiction, and I used to avidly follow my favorite authors with baited breath, desperate for the next part. AHW was an experiment to see if a format I loved was viable on the open e-market and, to my pleasant surprise, many of you seemed to enjoy it. So this time, I’ve opted to do the same thing: release each part as it’s finished, then later release it as a novel, both in electronic and paperback format.

Now, a promise to my readers before I go any further.

One of the mistakes I made the first time around was not being transparent enough that the individual parts would eventually be bundled together into a novel. I received many reviews, usually on the novelized version, about how people felt cheated that they’d bought each part of the series when they could have had the book altogether. So I’m going to tell you now, and will remind you in the coming months as each part is put forth: there will be a “novelized” sequel. Each of the individual parts released over the next few months will be bundled together into a “true” sequel, a complete paperback and ebook novel that you can, eventually, hold in your hands (or on your Kindle/Nook/Kobo/etc). So if the thought of having to wait for each part is too difficult, or you only want to pay for the story once, I totally understand. Please don’t feel pressured into buying each individual part as the novel WILL be available, hopefully as soon as this summer.

Another issue I feel obliged to discuss regarding each part: length. The very first serialized part of AHW topped the word-count scales at just over 8k words. Given that a manuscript page is roughly 250 words (Amazon’s ebook calculations are closer to 300 words per “page”), that was only 32 pages. Now, almost a year later, this length isn’t enough for me. The final serial released, AHW5, was a hair over 20k words, two-and-a-half times the length of the first part (~80 pages) and closer to a typical novella-length work like you see in anthologies. I am making a promise to you now that anything I put out story-wise from now on will be at least that long, if not longer. Cross my heart.

I’ve no doubt there will be some people who still don’t approve of this method, and I understand. That is why I’m being as up front as I can regarding the certainty of a novel at the end. AHW2 (which yes, will eventually have its own name lol) will be out in ebook and (in English, I’m not sure yet about the translations) print format by this summer. As we get closer to the end of the book and I know a bit more, I’ll be sure to announce novel release dates and other schedules.


I’ll try to answer any questions you might have in comments. As before, Facebook and Twitter are the best ways to get ahold of me, but I’ll answer any blog questions sent my way as promptly as I can. There is a good chance you may not see the paperback sequel in stores this summer but it WILL be available online.

Questions? Thoughts?

Slow and steady

This last week hasn’t been too stellar on the writing front. For one, my days have been taken up by this jury selection process, which is ruining my schedule (and, if I’m chosen, will REALLY ruin it). On another note, however, we’ve been looking for a new home, and yesterday made our first (ever!) offer on a local property. Keeping our fingers crossed!!!

It’s no secret that I am a pantser not a plotter when it comes to my stories, but I do understand how a novel should be divided up. I’m reaching that dreaded middle section with AHW2 where subplots, new characters and drama steer the story, and I’m suddenly finding myself having to plan ahead. This is a Very Good Thing – it helps to keep me on track as I write – but the middle of a book is where an author can so easily go off track. Internal pressure to get it “right”, guilt that I’ve added only a handful of words over the weekend, and the external pressures of potential jury duty and home buying are making me a bit anxious.

Or maybe that’s just because I haven’t had breakfast this morning. 😉

The lawn guys are right outside my window as I lay in bed, reminding me why I’m looking forward to moving. I’m not in a “bad” area by any means but I’m looking forward to a mortgage instead of rent, for the money I put into a house to be an investment and not paying for someone else’s Caribbean vacation. To each their own indeed, but we’re pretty excited for what the future holds.

Last night, I mapped out the next section of story, introducing key (new) characters and subplots, so at least that pressure has receded a bit. Lots to do, and I’d hate to miss out on a Snippet Saturday because life didn’t let me write anything. 😀 Hope all is well on your end!!

Snippet Saturday #2

This week has been busy with us looking at homes in (and not in) our area. The Dude and I made the joint decision it’s time to buy, but we’re stuck now on WHERE, so the last few days has had a lot of driving around, finding and speaking to realtors, etc, trying to find the “perfect” home within our budgets.

That said, I haven’t forgotten about you. 😉 Today is Snippet Saturday Part the Second, and I dug around for some meaty bits to the story so far. I’ll probably kick myself for giving away so much beforehand (you’ll know how it all turns out at this rate! 😀 ) but hopefully these make your weekend a teensy bit brighter.


Always before, Jeremiah had been in control, but somehow this was different. He didn’t try to restrain me in any way; his kiss wasn’t an assault or struggle. His lips caressed mine like a lover, making no demands other than for permission to continue. When I opened to him, still he held back, tongue dancing and teasing. I tightened my grip around his neck, pulling him close and wanting more, but he took his time, lips and tongue a gentle torment that was nothing like I’d experienced in his hands.

He broke off the kiss, leaning his forehead against mine. Firelight danced in his eyes and, my breath catching, I traced his beloved face with my fingertips. His eyes searched mine, holding back none of what he was feeling. I read him like an open book, and the knowledge was intoxicating.

“Lucy,” he murmured, my name a benediction on his lips. Desperate longing shone through his eyes as he kissed me again before asking softly, “Stay with me tonight.”

I shut my eyes, licking my lips, then looked back up at him. Desire ached in me, alongside a bleak loneliness, and ever fiber of my being screamed for his touch. He shifted, running a hand down the side of my neck and arm. A cool island breeze brushed against my hot skin, and I shivered as he whispered my name again, lips moving across my forehead.


Both of Jeremiah’s hands clenched into fists atop the table. “I spent years fighting against people like you in the Army…”

“Then you quit that life to take over mine.” Lucas’ lips kept their upward tilt but lost what humor was left. “I was pushed out of the only existence I knew by my own brother. He took over the gilded throne and let me fall to the wolves.”

“You didn’t fall,” Jeremiah said, voice as cold as ice, “you jumped. You kept jumping, and now you’re trying to drag me down with you. Our father…”

Your father gave you everything and left me nothing,” Lucas hissed.

“I didn’t want this!”

“But you took it anyway, didn’t you?”

“Hey,” I snapped, aware that the two men looked poised at any point to leap over the tables at the other’s throat. Peering around the room, we didn’t seem to be attracting any attention in the empty outside area, but if the conversation continued that would change. “Can we stay on subject here?” I asked in a low voice.


“You say I’m yours, but I’m not allowed to love you. So what am I? A responsibility? A liability?”

His chin came up. “I swore to protect you.”

I gaped at him. Surely he understood what I was asking. “I don’t care about my safety,” I snapped, “that’s not important right now…”

“It is to me.”

“Why?” My last word was a shout, and Jeremiah straightened up. I waved my hands around my head, unable to contain my energy. Giving an exasperated grown, I turned away, rubbing a hand over my face. When I looked back, that stoic mask was back over his face, and I suddenly wanted to cry. “Why do you think you can claim me, yet reject my love?” I murmured brokenly. “What gives you that right?”

He didn’t answer for a long moment, and I almost turned to leave when he finally spoke. “Love isn’t a happy ideal in my family.” The mask threatened to crumble for a moment before clamping back in place. “I don’t wish for the…complications love might bring.”

My shock at his short speech faded quickly. “That may be so,” I conceded, trying to make him understand, “but my parents were happily married for twenty-four years before they died. My grandparents, fifty-two. The words mean something to me.” I sighed. “I never asked for you to reciprocate, I only wanted to tell you how I feel.”

But Jeremiah just shook his head. “That word is a mere platitude. If the affection is there, why does it need to be named?”

Platitude. That word again. Oh, how I hated that word. My hands balled into fists, insides quaking at the sudden rage it induced. “You won’t even try to see my side, will you?” If it didn’t fit in with the way he believed, it was wrong. Was this the real Jeremiah? Had I been so blind this entire time?


I skittered across the floor away from the body, then beat at the hands that tried to help me up. “What the hell,” I screeched, pushing away from Lucas. Adrenaline coursed through my body and all I could do was pace, heart racing and body jittery. “Why does this always happen to me,” I demanded, unable to stand still. I dug my hands into my hair, pulling at it in frustration.

Then Lucas was in front of me, blocking any escape. “Hold still.”

I fought him for a minute, so he grabbed my shoulders and gave me a shake. “You’re bleeding, let me take a look.” His eyes narrowed shrewdly. “Stop fighting. I doubt you’d take kindly to being slapped right now.”

Damned right. The threat did however calm me down enough for him to press a dishrag that I hoped was clean against the wound. “I have a first aid kit in my bathroom. Kolya, take care of the body and figure out how he got onto this ship.”

I slapped away his hands, determined to walk by myself, then screeched again as he lifted me up in his arms. All I wanted to do was be left alone, but he carried me kicking and screaming back to the room, dumping me on the bed before shutting the door. He rummaged through the bathroom, then came out holding a big red box. “Hold still, I want to look at that.”

Grumpy, I complied reluctantly, flinching away with a hiss when the alcohol stung. “My life was so boring before I met you and your brother,” I muttered. “Is this some sort of cosmic payback for being the dullest girl on the planet for so long?”

“Perhaps,” Lucas quipped, and at my dark look he laughed.


“Then I’m to believe your visit here was totally by chance?”

Lucas sounded like he was talking about the weather, but like his brother I sensed something dangerous behind the words. Niall on the other hand didn’t seem quite as tuned in to the Hamilton universe. “I saw a chance, I took it?” he said, shrugging.

Rage suffused Lucas’ face, taking me by surprise. Gone was the happy-go-lucky persona; like flipping a switch, Lucas looked ready to kill. He advanced on Niall, the gun pointing at the Australian’s head.

“Son.” At Matthews’ gruff call, Lucas hesitated. The grizzled sea captain was watching the younger man closely. “Don’t do it.”

For a handful of seconds it looked as though Lucas wasn’t going to listen, then the switch was pressed and a smiling mask came over him again. “You’re lucky that I’m a nice person,” he said, raising the gun so it pointed at the ceiling. He signaled behind him. “Let his man take him downstairs, then lock them both in the hold with a first aid kit.”

“You’re going to pay for this,” Niall muttered as his man helped him to his feet. It looked as though Jeremiah had only shot him in one leg both times. “I know people on the outside, and they won’t take kindly when I tell them…”

Lucas lowered his gun again, casually firing at the good leg, and Niall collapsed into his bodyguard. “Okay, so I’m not that nice.”


Snippet Saturday #1


Inaugural test spin of a (hopefully weekly) new blog feature! For those of you who are keeping up with me on Facebook, most of these small snippets, cookies, excerpts etc are probably familiar to you. Even there however some of these bits were added in comments and may have been overlooked, so here they all are, in one place for easy reference!

(Funny fact: this was supposed to be Snippet Sunday but, hah, I couldn’t wait until tomorrow. 😉 )


I cringed back as he reached for me, prepared to fight tooth and nail, but Lucas stepped forward between us. He moved so quickly I didn’t even see him pull the gun until it was already under Niall’s chin. The big Australian jerked to a stop, rage and sudden fear bursting from his face as he glared at Lucas.

“Ms. Delacourt stays with me.” There was nothing jovial about Lucas’ voice now as he leaned in close to the other man’s face. “My ship, my rules. Do I make myself clear, Mr. Jackson?”

Niall looked like he was sucking on a lemon. Behind him, his men had their guns trained on Lucas and I, and I prayed the gunrunner knew what he was doing.

“They’ll kill you and the girl,” Niall hissed, then grunted as Lucas pushed the gun harder against the tender flesh of his chin.

“Perhaps.” Lucas smiled, a hint of amusement in his tone. “But you’ll still be dead.”


“I’m curious,” Lucas said as if I hadn’t spoken, “what my brother saw in you.”

My smile vanished, as did any patience for dealing with the man in front of me. “You can leave now,” I said, marching across the room and opening the door. “I’d like…”

I broke off in surprise as I turned to see him standing only inches behind me; I hadn’t even heard him move. Startled, I moved back a step and came up flush against the wall between the bathroom and bedroom doors. Lucas stepped forward, far too close for my comfort, and I put a hand against his chest to keep him back.

It was a curious thing, having a man this beautiful standing so close. The smell of alcohol coming from his direction was more like a faint cologne, not at all the cloying odor I would have expected. Beneath my hand, I felt the play of muscles beneath warm skin and silk, and I swallowed.

Fingers pushed a strand of hair out of my face, running along my brow, and I shivered. I pressed back against the wall and he followed, my hand the only thing keeping him at bay. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured, dipping his face down near my temple. Warm breath flowed against my cheek. “And smart. And fearless. Is that what my brother saw?”


A high pitch shrieking woke me from a fitful slumber.

Jolted awake, I scrabbled at my sheets, groping for the edge of the bed. The ground was further away than I thought and I almost tripped as I leaped to my feet, but managed to stay upright as I stumbled to the doorway. Ripping it open, I immediately smelled smoke, and raced toward the stairs, not knowing what to expect.

Lucas looked up at me from the kitchen. Sunglasses covered his eyes, but he gave me a bright smile. “Good morning, sunshine. I’m making some breakfast, care to join?” He had a fork in one hand and an unplugged toaster, the reason for the fire alarm, under his other arm. He set the chrome appliance back onto the counter at my incredulous stare. “How about eggs?” he said, moving over to the refrigerator.


It amazed me how different the two men were. Jeremiah had the broody, tortured thing going for him, while Lucas… I wasn’t sure. He held a different type of mask in place, one that I found hard to pierce. There wasn’t much brooding here, at least not on the surface; his lips seemed locked in a Joker-like smile, as if sarcasm and pleasantries could keep people away.

As much as I enjoyed puzzles, the Hamilton men were a bit out of my league.


“Did you love her?” I asked bluntly, aware of the awkward direction our conversation was taking.

He started to say something, then paused. “Maybe once,” he murmured, not appearing to think this was an odd discussion topic given our current situation. “When I first met her, she was young and naïve. I was angry and selfish; stealing her away from my brother was a way to get back at him for taking over my life.” He sighed, staring blankly beside me. “Times change. People change. I didn’t do enough to keep Anya sheltered from this lifestyle, and now she’s dead.” He met my eyes again. “What about Jeremiah? Do you love him?”

“I…” My heart clenched painfully. “I thought I did.” Right now, my opinions about Jeremiah were all jumbled, due in no small part to the man lying atop me. “He saved my life.”

“I saved your life too. Twice.”

I winced at the reminder, hand going to the bandage at my throat. “Yeah.” A lump formed in my throat and I screwed my face up against tears. “That was the first time I’d said those words to anyone since my parents died,” I mumbled, “and he called them “platitudes”.” The memory was powerful enough to pierce my heart again.

“My brother is an idiot.” Lucas said it in a matter of fact way, like he was talking about the weather. Then he sighed. “Love is a fickle and cruel mistress. Confusing as hell too.”


Jeremiah grunted, and when he shifted I became aware of his proximity. As much as I wanted desperately to touch him, there might as well have been a wall between us. He was less than five feet away from me, but neither one of us would take that first step. Finally, Jeremiah spoke. “When I heard they’d found one of my drivers tied up in the bunkhouse, I knew something had happened. When I was told you weren’t in the house, then Jared was found unconscious, I couldn’t…”

Jeremiah cut himself off, and I saw a myriad of emotions race across his face. The stoic mask was gone, and he seemed to struggle with his next words. “By the time we started tracking the car, it had already stopped moving, and when we got there everyone inside was gone. You were gone.”

“So what did you do?” I whispered, scarcely able to breathe.

He stared down at me, green eyes bright in the dim light. “Moved heaven and earth.”


Stay tuned for more next week!! 😀

Live your life

Oh, but this made me cry! An illustrated talk with Maurice Sendak, one of his last interviews before his death last year. Heh, I’m getting all teary-eyed again thinking about it.

This month, Maurice Sendak’s last posthumous story “My Brother’s Book” came out. I haven’t read it yet, but I will. “Where The Wild Things Are” was one of those childhood memories that inspired me to dream, to create worlds and characters with my imagination. The world is a dimmer place without his creative genius.

Valentine’s Day special – Romance author interviews enigmatic CEO


USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Sara Fawkes recently sat down with the enigmatic Jeremiah Hamilton, CEO of Hamilton Industries and heir to one of the most powerful New England families. Before all the recent hints of scandal and wrongdoing, Ms. Fawkes was granted the rare opportunity of an interview with the billionaire at his family estate in the Hamptons.

How does a romance writer manage to get an interview with THE most eligible bachelor in New York City? Well, your guess is as good as mine, because when I was told by my publisher that I’d been assigned to speak with Jeremiah Hamilton, CEO of Hamilton Industries, I fell out of my chair.


To not know the Hamilton name and be a NYC resident is akin to not recognizing Donald Trump or Paris Hilton. The billionaire family has made a name for itself in the recent decades, ever since patriarch Rufus Hamilton ruthlessly climb his way to the top of the financial and business ladder, paving away for his continuing legacy today. Readers from elsewhere, however, have a good reason to be unfamiliar with the name: the current Hamilton leader, estimated by Forbes magazine last year to be worth in the low double-digit billions, is notoriously private about his life. Interviews are as rare as a true tabloid scoop, which is why when this author was told to be in the Hamptons at a certain date and time, I had to make triple sure the assignment wasn’t a practical joke.

The limousine that showed up outside my house that morning certainly seemed real, however.

The first time you see Jeremiah Hamilton in person, the man can seem intimidating. A former Army Ranger, the man still exudes the control and stoicism you’d expect from a military man. Impeccably dressed in a business suit and tie that probably cost more than my monthly salary, he was still a gracious host. I was treated to a tour of his Hamptons estate, one of the oldest in the area, and was suitably impressed by everything I saw.

Including Jeremiah himself.

Ladies, for those of us who have swooned over the beautiful man in magazines and Internet pictures, I am here to tell you a secret: he’s even more stunning in person. Pictures do not do him justice; when he walks into a room, he commands attention. Realizing that this man remains single and unattached sounds like a fairy tale, especially once I began speaking with him. Rumors circulate about his private life, as they do for any celebrity or bachelor of his status, but those rumors are kept low and, except by the truly stupid, unpublished. He will ruthlessly tackle any publications that threaten to expose, hint or in any way reveal details of his private life. The practice has earned him a fair share of enemies, but also serves to add to the mystique.

We sat down inside his living room overlooking the water and boathouse behind the house. Three panels of glass were missing, a remnant of the home invasion events that had been lightly reported in the news only one day prior. Jeremiah declined to comment on the matter, but it was obvious that the household was still reeling. On several occasions he was forced to step away to take a call, for which his personal assistant apologized to me. But fortunately, I was able to ask the enigmatic CEO a few questions, and managed to get some real answers (although not nearly as many as I would have liked).

2726a945a0d8b5f15f0ca8eaeb2b7b6d_zps11cd4a92Sara Fawkes: Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. The limo to my front door was a nice touch!

Jeremiah Hamilton: You’re welcome. I prefer punctuality, but also wish for my visitors to be comfortable.

SF: I was shocked when my editor told me you had agreed to this interview. Why me?

JH: My assistant is a fan of your work, and my publicist insisted I make an effort to be in the public eye. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and had my men approach your editor.

SF: Oh, the blonde woman I spoke with earlier? Lucy? I’ll have to send her a signed copy of my novel.

JH: She would appreciate that, thank you.

SF: Now on to business. You’re a tough nut to crack, an enigma to much of my reading audience. I’m certain that my readers would appreciate a little information about your private life?

JH: Next question.

SF: Tough crowd! Very well then, perhaps you can tell us anything new about when you transitioned into Hamilton Industries after the Army?

Ladies, getting this man to talk about ANYTHING was like trying to pull a tooth. I went through several questions, ranging on topics from personal to business, with nary a response besides “Next question, please.” Well, at least he said please right?

That is, of course, until his assistant came back into the room. I may be a purveyor of fiction perhaps, but I know how to read people. His eyes were riveted on the woman anytime she was in the room, obviously aware of her presence. His tongue also miraculously loosened when he was distracted by the young woman, so I backtracked a bit to my original question.

JH: When I joined the Army, I expected to make a career out of it. Military life suited me; I found the strict regime comforting. Unfortunately, my father had separate plans, and even from beyond the grave knew how to ruin my life.

Ooh, juicy! I wish I could play back my recording, ladies, you should have heard the bitterness in this statement! Unfortunately, right after that he seemed to come to his senses, and skipped the next three of my questions. Meanwhile, he kept his attention on the little assistant, who always came into the room, so I redirected my questions to her. After she gushed a bit about my book and proved excited by the prospect of a signed copy, I asked her what kind of boss Jeremiah was.

The blonde woman gave me a bright smile, then told me that the man with us had pulled her from a difficult life, and she couldn’t believe her luck that such a man had noticed her. She then went on to say talk about his charities and how he recently agreed to fund a medical center down in Borneo, and I quickly realized that the young woman wasn’t only a fan of myself! Jeremiah seemed content to let her speak, but I did notice the silent communication between them. I knew that unseen bond was real when she declined to answer one of my questions, and Jeremiah brushed his hand along her arm.

photoMy goodness, you should have seen the poor girl blush! Her infatuation with the man before me was plain to see for all the world, and totally understandable. Jeremiah had been known, on several occasions in prior years, to use his assistants as pseudo “dates” to private functions, although he staunchly denied any personal connection to these ladies. But, my goodness, the look he gave her. Subtle though it was, I was melting into a puddle.

Once the young woman had left the room again, the stone wall was back up.

SF: You don’t seem interested in answering any of my questions, Mr. Hamilton. Let me make a wild guess: your public relations person threatened you on pain of death to do this interview “or else.”

JH: (this question managed to spark some humor, although I wouldn’t quite call the look he gave me a smile) Nobody threatens me, Ms. Fawkes. However, both he and my assistant made compelling arguments for your selection. I thank you for your time, the car outside will take you anywhere you need to go.

And just like that, the interview was over! Jeremiah, still the gracious host, accompanied me to the limousine. Whew ladies, you don’t quite understand the power of this man until you’re standing next to him. Not only is he tall, but he seems to radiate power. Shaking his hand was even interesting; these were no businessman’s hands, but the calloused hands of a working man. The kind you dream about touching, caressing your skin…

Oh ladies, I’m fanning myself here at the memory alone!

I turned and give the mansion a quick look back as the car drove us down the driveway. Watching the house disappear was like watching a cloud cover the sun. For a brief moment, I’d been in the presence of a great man, and while it ached to leave I knew the memory would stay with me. How I envied his little assistant her position in that household – perhaps it was time for me to look for some temp work!


imageSince this interview, so many things have happened, it’s scarcely possible to keep track of everything!

Amidst rumors of the billionaire CEO skipping the country, officials have revealed that Mr. Hamilton is under investigation, although few details are known at this point. Sources indicate that it has something to do with the alleged home invasion, which may have been something much more sinister. Also circulating is the news of a corporate shake-up at Hamilton Industries, where Celeste Taylor announced her resignation as COO of the corporation. Stock in the business, which you my lovely readers may not care to read about, has also plummeted after the vague investigation announcement.

Media outlets too, emboldened by his sudden disappearance, have begun releasing very interesting tidbits about his life that had previously been kept hidden. Family ties to an arms dealer, hints of a broken home, and a tie to two recent murders! Goodness, you would think this was pulled straight from one of my own novels!

… Come to think of it, Jeremiah WOULD make a lovely hero. If you go for the tall, dark and broody type. ~waves hand furiously~

So what do you think? How “personal” do you think that assistant was? Fill me in on all the juicy gossip you may have heard, or sound off in the comments section on the hotness of the man! Meanwhile, I’m going to go Google some more pictures and drool for a while. Toodles ladies!