Excerpt: A Cantata of Love (Regency Romantic Suspense)

Research is one of the reasons I love writing Regency-era romantic suspense. Digging into history is fascinating and these factual events often inspire my plots. A Cantata of Love, book 4 in the Code Breakers series, features spies that use music to transmit secret messages. Here is an excerpt for you to enjoy.

JackiDelecki_ACantataofLove_HR1-200x300About the Book

Napoleonic France is no place for an Englishman, especially Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, who is on a clandestine assignment for the Crown. Already injured and facing imminent discovery by Napoleon and Fouche’s men, Michael finds his escape made even more perilous when he is charged with the safety of a young boy who must be spirited out of Paris.
Desperate to escape the terrible fate that awaits her if she remains in France, Lady Gabrielle De Valmont must disguise herself as a boy and rely on the cunning of a virtual stranger—an Englishman, no less—to smuggle her out of the country. When the Earl’s injury becomes severely infected, rendering him gravely ill, Gabrielle realizes it is now up to her to save them both.

Excerpt – Prologue & Chapter One

1803
In the seaside town of Berck, France

Gabrielle De Valmont brushed back Lord Kendal’s blond curls and applied the wet cloth to his burning brow. His long, golden waves and eyelashes accentuated his fiery red cheekbones. In their days of hard travel from Paris, the earl’s gunshot wound had festered into a nasty infection.

At this moment, he rested. For days, when the fever spiked, he thrashed about, calling out about sending a code book to a woman named Henrietta.

Desperate to soothe him, Gabrielle discovered that he would calm with the French songs of her childhood.

They couldn’t hide much longer without being discovered by Napoleon’s or Fouché’s henchmen. When the earl’s condition had worsened to the point where he could no longer travel, Gabrielle had brought them, under cover of darkness, to her former mémé’s tiny village of Berck, south of Calais.

For eight long days and nights, she had cared for the feverish earl. Their presence in the tiny town couldn’t be kept secret much longer. They must leave Berck, and France, soon. But how could they flee with the French soldiers on high alert, inspecting every boat crossing the English Channel?

Monsieur Denby, Lord Kendal’s valet, had assured her that he had a plan to divert their attention.

Exhausted and despondent, she beseeched the Blessed Virgin for their safe escape and the earl’s recovery.

She also prayed that the earl would forgive her and Mother Therese for their deception. She had to believe that Lord Kendal would never abandon her to her terrible fate.

***

Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, woke to a soft voice and the delectable smell of a woman. She smelled like wildflowers. And her voice was soothing and sweet. Last night must have been one hell of a night of dissipation since he remembered nothing. But he had dreamed of his French mother crooning to him.

What was wrong with him? He had been in bed with a French woman, and he’d thought of his mother. His head ached as if horses had trampled over him. He tried to remember her name—Yvette? Or was it Mimi? He cracked open one lid. Big blue eyes the color of cornflowers stared down at him, and a lush, pink lower lip pouted. How could he have forgotten this angel’s name? Yvette. Definitely Yvette. “Yvette? Or maybe Mimi?”

He needed her again to refresh his memory. He raised his arms to pull her against him. He grabbed for her, but his arms felt weak. Thank God the rest of his body wasn’t that tired. She yelped when he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her on top of him. “Yvette, darling. Don’t fight me. I need you.”

Yvette gasped and tightened against him. He rubbed himself against her slender body. Not his usual type, he noted. Clearly not an opera dancer by the slender frame. What had he drunk last night that he couldn’t remember this delectable handful?

“Let go of me,” she hissed.

He whispered against her soft, tender neck, kissing her ear. “Were you this feisty last night?”

“Let me go, you brute.” She shouted in his ear, causing his head to feel as if it were cracking wide open. She jumped back, tripping on the bedclothes and knocking the water canister from the side table. The loud crash reverberated in his head.

Women didn’t fight him. He was a generous lover. Was he overlooking something from last night?

Michael looked at the disheveled, bewitching woman glaring at him. Hair the color of honey sparkled in the morning sunlight, but her bright eyes were now dark and stormy.

Damn, damn. She looked far too innocent and way too marriageable. What had he gotten himself into?

He rearranged the bedding to hide the obvious, then lifted himself to the head of the bed.

The mademoiselle didn’t look so much offended as just plain pissing mad. Her eyes had narrowed, and she glowered at him—the look of a woman who might impale him with the fireplace poker. He had gotten into a lot of scrapes, but this wasn’t how he imagined finding a wife.

The door to his bedroom swung open, knocking against the wall. The pain behind his eyes pounding like a son of a…

Denby, his valet, stormed into the room, swearing under his breath. “What the hell? Are you alright, Mademoiselle Gabrielle?”

She gestured with her hands and spoke in rapid French to Denby. Had she just called him, the Earl of Kendal, a “stupid horse’s ass”?

Denby took the irate woman’s arm. “I’ll clean up the mess. Now that he’s awake, you should prepare yourself to leave. We’ve a long journey ahead of us.”

With no word of farewell, the Mademoiselle Gabrielle huffed and left the room.

Denby chuckled. “Barely awake and already causing problems.” He bent to pick up the water container. “It is good to see you back, my lord. You scared the hell out of me. If it weren’t for Mademoiselle Gabby’s nursing, I’m not sure…”

“I’ve been sick?” He did feel a bit weak after his tussle with the delectable young woman.

“You developed a fever right after we escaped from Paris.”

The memory of fleeing Paris and Fouché’s men brought him totally awake. “My last memory is leaving Paris dressed as a nun.”

Denby handed him a glass that had survived the mademoiselle’s spirited response. “You developed a fever from your gunshot wound, and we had to hide out here. This is where Mademoiselle Gabby’s nanny is from and the people helped us.”

Gabby. He didn’t have any recollection of Gabby when they left Paris. “How long have I been out? And who is Gabby?”

“I’m glad you’re ready to travel. I’ve got a bad feeling if we don’t get out of here soon, all of Fouché’s and Napoleon’s men are going to descend.”

He only remembered Denby, and the boy, Pierre, fleeing for their lives dressed as nuns. He had stolen the code book from Le Chiffre, and everyone in Paris seemed to be after him. He wondered if Henrietta had received the book.

“Any news from England? Do we know if Henrietta received the package?”

“I haven’t been able to make any contact. We’ve been in hiding. I’ve arranged for a boat from Calais. They’ve been waiting for a signal that you’re able to travel. We go tonight with the tide. I want to get us out of France. I can’t breathe here.”

“Did you shake the villain who was posted at my house in Paris too?”

“Yes, but we can’t stay here any longer. I’ll change the bandages and get you some breakfast. You’ll rest up before we make the trip. We have to go by horseback, and I hope it won’t open your wound.”

He suddenly was assailed with the ignominy of the location of his wound. He had been shot in the arse by an unknown assailant while fleeing after he had stolen the code book. The code book, literally, was a pain in his arse.

He sure hoped to hell it gave England a tactical advantage against the power-hungry Napoleon.

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Excerpt: An Inner Fire (Contemporary Romantic Suspense)

If you are new to my contemporary romantic suspense series, here’s an excerpt from An Inner Fire, Grayce Walters Book 1.

JackiDelecki_AnInnerFire_300 (2)About the Book

Grayce Walters, animal acupuncturist, harbors a secret. She hides her intuitive gifts from the world until she becomes embroiled in arson on Seattle’s waterfront.

As a key crime witness, Grayce must convince the attractive, logical, by-the-numbers fire investigator, Ewan Davis,that the fire she witnessed is part of a larger criminal conspiracy. Grayce embarks upon a mission to gather proof of the dangerous threat. She enlists the help of her cross-dressing best friend, her street-wise assistant, and Davis’ poodle, to conduct her own investigation.

As her feelings for Davis shift between white hot passion and cold fear, Grayce must risk exposing her secrets to save Davis’ life. Davis must accept things, he can neither see, nor understand to solve the mystery and finally find the love he has stopped believing in.

With nudges from the protective poodle, Grayce and Davis confront shocking betrayal and international crime on the rain soaked streets of Seattle.

Excerpt – Chapter One

Grayce Walters’ left hand twitched. Her universe spun on an altered axis. Her instincts swirled. Her intuition flared.

Earlier today, a cranky feline had gouged her, a sneaky dog had nipped her, and now, late for dinner with friends, the parking gods were messing with her. Something was coming. Something strange.

Her headlights probed the mist, dissolving in the murk of Puget Sound fog. Her intuition acted like an inner GPS, directing her to the far side of Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal. The beams shone on a yellow heap between stacks of crab traps. A dog lay on its side, barely visible in the shadow of a fishing shed.

Stepping out of her car, she inhaled the musky smell of salt water. A horn blared from the Ballard Bridge. Grayce jumped at the sudden sound. She grabbed a flashlight and moved into the mist toward the large canine.

She knelt on the damp cement next to the golden retriever. Relieved to observe the dog’s shallow respirations, she released a slow breath Baxter was written in bold script on the dog’s red leather collar.

She gently ran her hand along Baxter’s inert body. Her cold fingers probed the crown of his head, locating an egg-sized lump on the back of his skull.

“Your head hurting, Baxter?”

The large retriever wagged his tail ever so slightly and then stilled.

Grayce scanned the cluster of corrugated fishing sheds. A deep foreboding flooded her senses. “Baxter, I need to get us away from here.”

She searched the waterfront, looking for the perpetrator of Baxter’s injury. The overhead lights on the docks cast an eerie halo on the boats bobbing in the black water.

Screeching hinges broke the silence. The sound raked her skin like dogs’ nails skittering across the metal exam tables in vet school. Her nervous system ratcheted into high alert.

The sound of a door opening in the next row of sheds echoed in the night’s silence. Then she heard footsteps on the cement, moving toward the water. The sound of the footsteps grew distant, swallowed in the darkness.

Under the dock lights she spotted him, a beefy man with a satchel slung over his shoulder. Wearing the slicker and boots of a commercial fisherman, he moved with an energized self-assurance toward the boats. Rage and elation radiated from him. Grayce was sucked into his dark violent energy. She fought the temptation to absorb his malevolence.

The footsteps stopped. He looked back in her direction. A raw chill penetrated Grayce’s body. She bent forward to shield the dog and tightened her hold on the flashlight, ready to protect Baxter.

Moving in and out of the shadows on the wharf, the overhead beams caught the top of his head. His hair shone a fiery red. He walked into the fog.

Baxter whined, breaking the tense silence. She ran her hands along the damp dog searching for further injuries. “You’re going to be all right, big guy.”

Nerves stretched taut, she twisted to look for the man. She studied the entire area searching for him. Every sound boomed in her ears.

She fumbled in her jeans pocket for her phone, then hesitated. Grayce hit favorites for James, her best friend.

Damn! Voicemail.

Peeling off her coat, she covered the dog.

“Baxter!” A woman’s voice, then a whistle.

The dog’s ears shot up as he bolted upright. He gave a high-pitched yelp, shook several times, and loped in the direction of his owner’s voice. Twenty feet away, a middle aged woman stood next to her Volvo station wagon with the hatch-back door open. Baxter jumped effortlessly into the car. The dog’s large head was silhouetted in the rear window as they sped away.

She bent to pick up her rain jacket when a massive blast shook the wharf causing the cement to sway beneath her. The harsh sound reverberated in her ears as the tremor traveled through her legs.

She whirled around, trying to locate the source of the explosion. Shock waves continued to pulsate throughout her body.

She heard the fire before she saw it, a slow hiss followed by a roar. Twenty-foot-high flames shot out of a shed less than a few car lengths away. Heat blazed across her face, hot enough to singe her eyebrows and eyelashes.

Primitive fear imploded in her chest. She ran, ran as if the flames chased her.

The fire’s heat penetrated her sweater to her skin. She sprinted, her feet and heart pounding.

When she reached the far side of the wharf and the far side of the inferno, she dialed 911.

The wail of sirens filled the night’s silence.

In the frenzy of noise and flashing lights, she spotted the red-haired man lurking in the shadows. He was crouched, half hidden by an industrial dumpster. As if he sensed her watching him, he turned and vanished into the darkness.

For more information and to keep reading, click HERE.

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New Series News

Woman Typing Madly

Thanks to everyone who entered my recent “Name That Heroine”  contest. I had great fun reading more than 350 suggestions from readers. I’ve narrowed the selection down to Zosia or Sophia/Sophie, another version of Zosia.

Congratulations to Ellen T. and Marcy B. who submitted the same suggestion. Both of you will be receiving $10 Amazon gift cards.

If you’d like to participate in exclusive contests and giveaways, be sure you are signed up for my mailing list.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to enjoy the except from my new contemporary military romance series, keep reading for a sneak peek.


“Move.”

Aiden, crouched behind the boulders in the predawn darkness, whispering into the commo mike, directing his unit to surround the mud hut huddled beneath the shadows of the Safed Koh Mountains. His skin prickled with awareness, reacting to every sound in the freezing, still December night.

This snatch-and-grab was straightforward—standard OPS for his Delta team. Minimize collateral damage to rescue the American doctor out of Afghanistan before he disappeared into Pakistan, never to be heard of again, or he appeared on a jihadist YouTube video and it was too late.

The urgency for an immediate rescue of the MD from the Doctors without Borders saddled his team with two volunteer SEALs. His men were obliged to play nice with the SEALs, but Delta Force, the top of the military food chain, didn’t have “play nice” in their manual. Not ideal to try to blend his well-oiled Delta unit. But when did he ever get ideal?

One last time, Aiden scanned the rocky hillside above and the perimeter of the hut. His calm heart rate and even breaths reflected intensive training to control the adrenaline spikes.

The quiet stealth of his operators slipping into their positions, guided by their night vision googles, was shattered by the clipped tattoo of automatic rifles. The SEALs were under fire.

After the eruption of the SEALs gunfight in the rear, two Taliban, robes flying, burst through the front door, their outdated but still deadly Russian AK-40s ready to fire.

Intel from the drone surveillance had reported ten men guarding the hostage, leaving at least five unaccounted-for jihadists. He liked the odds a lot.

Positioned behind a rocky mound, Tony Bam Bam, fired his Stoner Sr-25 sniper rifle, taking out the two at the front door, providing the cover needed for Aiden to breach the hut, with Lewis and Ross following.

Keeping his AR-15 at the ready, Aiden entered the small space. A lone enemy, his AK-40 pointed at a man on the ground, didn’t hear Aiden steal up behind him, since he was occupied hitting the man with the butt of his rifle and shouting in Pashto for him “to stand up.” The downed man had his arms and hands wrapped over his head, trying to protect himself. Aiden grabbed the enemy from behind in a choke hold—tightening his forearm around the man’s throat until he quit struggling. Aiden silently dropped his dead weight onto the dirt floor.

The man on the ground rolled to his feet and darted for the corner of the room. Not knowing whether he was a militant grabbing a gun or the hostage diving for cover, Aiden aimed his assault rifle at the moving man.

“Are you Doctor Wilson?”

The man hovered in the corner. “I am. And who are you?”

At the same moment the din of the gunfire—the strike, strike, strike concussion of the AR-15s and the AK-47—erupted outside the hut. Based on the heavy AK-47 rally, the Intel had been off by a few in their count. Lewis and Ross raced outside to even the odds.

Aiden grabbed the doctor and threw himself over him, protecting him from the close barrage which was blowing holes in the walls and showering them with chunks of mud. Amid the deafening chaos, Aiden quietly directed his voice to the shaking man underneath him. “We’re going to get you out of here. Are you able to walk?”

Dr. Wilson’s body continued to tremble underneath Aiden, but his voice was calm. “Yes, yes, I’m okay.”

Aiden focused on the front door from the ground, his rifle positioned to take out anyone who entered, waiting for his team to report that the perimeter and the rear had been secured. The silence reverberated in his ears now the gunfire had ceased.

Receiving the all-clear, Aiden assisted the doctor, extending a hand to lift him off the sand floor. The small, bespectacled man brushed off his dark pants, and wiped away the blood dripping from his nose, and pushed his glasses back up. Doctor Wilson’s light eyes inspected Aiden earnestly. “I’m fine, but you must find the children.”

For the first time since the beginning of this operation, Aiden’s adrenaline surged and his steady heartbeat sped up into double time. There had been no Intel on children. “What children?”

“My translator’s two sons.”

Aiden should’ve known this snatch-and-grab wasn’t going to be easy as he had been promised. Nothing was ever easy in this stark, dusty, dispirited country.

“Where are they?”

“I’m not sure.” The doctor shook his head. “They were in the car when we were taken.”

“Where are your driver and translator?”

“They killed my driver, but I don’t know about the children or their father.”

Aiden spoke into his mike to the SEALs. “Jenkins, did you hear that? You and Parker search the back for the two children. Once my package is on his way, I’ll join you.”

The doctor put his hand on Aiden’s arm. “I will help you find the children. They are very young and must be terrified.”

The chopper was on its way, but it would be at least a ten-minute walk from the hut and, although Aiden admired the doctor’s courage, the man was shaking, one eye was swollen shut, his nose was still bleeding, and his lip was split open and oozing blood.

“Sir, you need to go with my men to the helicopter. I won’t leave the children.”

Aiden nodded to Lewis and Ross, who had come back into the hut. “Take him to our rendezvous point. The SEALs and I will bring the children.”

Aiden circled the hut and found a small alley directly behind the building, a rocky path ending at a smaller hut with the same dome-shaped roof. He swallowed hard against the rage-induced bile experience had taught him to expect. The children, who had no social media value, were most likely already dead.

Finn Jenkins, a cocky but skilled SEAL, walked toward him. “I’ve heard movement in the hut. It could be a trap.”

Aiden stopped and listened. Had he heard a soft muffle?

“I can handle this, sir.” Jenkins whispered and starting moving to the door.

Aiden shook his head. “Not necessary. Follow me. And, Parker, circle around the back.”

Aiden took a slow, deep breath to clear his head of the flashes of the many—too many to forget—scenes of unspeakable cruelty he’d witnessed. Soldiers risked capture and torture every day. But seeing children tortured and murdered affected even the most hardened, experienced men, and he was one hardened bastard.

With his AR-15 poised to fire, he opened the door slowly, doing an immediate visual of the dimly-lit space. Mats were scattered on the floor where the guards must have rested. Two boys huddled in the corner, their hands and feet tied together and hitched to a post. Alive. A small ray of sunshine in this skewed world where children and women’s lives were considered expendable.

A still man lay at the children’s feet, immobile, possibly unconscious. Aiden’s heart pumped hard and his breath stalled.

Did the sick bastards plan to use the children to lure them into a trap? The Taliban wasn’t against booby-trapping their victims as bombs. With Jenkins behind him, Aiden signaled to cover him while he approached.

Moving deeper in to the dark hut, Aiden spoke in Pashto. “We are here to help. We won’t hurt you.”

Keeping his rifle pointed at the man on the floor, he walked slowly toward the children. “I’m here to take you home. You don’t have to be afraid.”

In his heavy armor and night-vision goggles, and his over six and half foot size, he must have looked like a monster out of a child’s worst nightmare. He’d been told often enough that was one scary-looking dude—great for intimidating the enemy and unintentionally traumatizing the entire civilian population of Afghanistan.

The bigger of the two boys spoke in English. “Don’t hurt our father. He’s…”

“Your father?” Aiden focused on the man on the floor. “This is your father?”

“They beat him until he stopped talking.”

A plaintive cry from the smaller boy, “Is he going to die?”

Aiden looked down on the thin man who didn’t have any obvious evidence of a wired vest underneath his filthy robe. His swollen eyes were closed and his mouth hung open.

Aiden did a quick inspection of the terrified children. Both trembled, from both fear and the cold, since they were wearing only thin robes, and the room was frigid in the early morning hours. “Did they hurt you, too?”

“No, they made us watch them beat our father to show us what would happen if we help Americans.” His high-pitched voice quivered and tears rolled down his dirt-streaked face.

Aiden heard Jenkins mutter as he moved closer with his rifle pointed still on the probably-unconscious man on the floor, “Wish I had a chance to shoot all the fuckers.”

Aiden kneeled down, shoved his night goggles to the top of his head, and untied the boys’ hands and feet, while Jenkins bent over the father to assess his status. He didn’t need to remind Jenkins that the jihadist didn’t follow the Geneva Convention of humane treatment, and might have rigged the father with explosives to blow them sky-high to the promised paradise of Jannah.

Jenkins looked up at Aiden with a shit-eating grin. “I can die a happy man. I’ve been on a mission with Delta.” Then gingerly opened the front of the man’s robes

Aiden released the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding when the unconscious man was clear. No devices, only major bruising and contusions on his chest.

To distract the children from their father’s injuries, Aiden spoke in a soft, re-assuring voice, “We’re going to make sure you and your father get home safe.” The older rubbed his wrists where he had been bound, than ran his hands up and down his scrawny arms to warm himself.

This wasn’t what he had signed up for when he had been inspired to fight Al Qaeda after 911.

Aiden pulled two Snickers bars from his jacket. Sometimes you needed good old American comforts to get through the shit storm of fighting bad guys. “You eat candy?”

The oldest watched Aiden warily. His younger brother’s lower lip wobbled, but his eyes widened in anticipation.

Aiden handed his secret stash to the boys. Tearing away the wrapper, the younger stuffed half the candy bar into his mouth. A boy after his own heart. Why take the time to chew?

The older boy examined the candy bar carefully before he took a large bite.

Jenkins stood after his exam. “He’s unconscious from the beating, but I find no obvious signs of bleeding. We need to get him to the chopper.”

“Then let’s get out of here.” Aiden nodded at Jenkins.

Parker, who’d been guarding the entrance, stepped in. “Sir, do you want me to carry the boys or walk point?”

When Jenkins lifted the father into his arms, the man gave out an agonized moan. Both boys jumped up and ran next to their father. The younger grabbed a hold of his father’s limp arm and pleaded in his high-pitched voice, “Father, wake up.”

Aiden leaned down to reassure the boys. “We’re going to take good care of him and both of you. We’re going to take you home in a helicopter.” Aiden pointed to Parker. “Take them to the bird.”

The oldest shook his head defiantly. “I don’t need to be carried. I’m eleven years old, but my brother needs help. He is only seven.”

His brother’s lower lip went out again. “I’m almost eight.”

Aiden nodded to Parker, who leaned down and lifted the slight boy into his enormous arms. “Works for me.”

Aiden had a sudden need to get the hell out of the hut. The little hairs on his neck lifted and his gut tightened. Aiden didn’t question his pressing need. He had learned many times over to trust his well-honed sixth sense.  “Let’s get out of here.”

Aiden, hyper-alert with the sudden and unexpected adrenaline burst, walked out first and searched the area before signaling the men to move out with their victims. He scanned the hills above him and the area ahead. The older boy kept close to Jenkins, who carried his father. He heard the laughter of the younger boy in Parker’s arms when they cleared the alley and the first hut.

Aiden couldn’t shake the heightened sense of impending danger running up and down his spine, the same damn sensation he always got jumping out of a Blackhawk at 14,000 feet into total darkness and the dangerous unknown. He looked up at the hillside and again scanned the path ahead. Nothing. He closed the door, ready to move.

The deafening explosion was immediate, catapulting him like a Stinger missile into the air. He had only a moment to hope his enormous bulk would help protect the children from the scorching heat and pain that flashed through him, separating his mind from his body.
***

A dark voice thundered through his head. “You’re one big son of a bitch. Just my luck get stuck rescuing the biggest Delta sucker.”

The word “rescue” shot alertness into Aiden’s numb brain with the impact of a frag grenade. Aiden tried to hoist himself up off his stomach to assess the damage to his team, but he was immobile under a pile of sand, rocks and rubble. He spit the grit out of his mouth while he wiggled his hands and feet. Everything was moving and still attached.

His head felt ready to split in two, and his back had been trampled by a herd of elephants. With each reverberating word from the dark voice outside the rubble, and with each excruciating movement, he concentrated on assessing the extent of his injuries and the need to get to the bird.

“Don’t move, sir. I’m working on getting you out from under these rocks.”

As if he could move. “Jenkins?” Aiden’s voice boomed in his head like Black Sabbath at full volume.

“None other.” And then Jenkins muttered under his breath again about his bad luck and Aiden being the size of a humpback whale.

Aiden shook the dust from his muddled brain. “The children?”

“Parker carried them and the father to the bird. Sir, can you tell if anything is broken?”

“Nothing is broken. Just get the damn rocks off my back.” Aiden said nothing about the crushing pain and the weight keeping his breath shallow, jagged and labored. Nothing broken—except for a few ribs. Since he could move his feet and hands, no spinal injury. Possible concussion based on the heavy metal beat pounding in his head and the double vision.

“Are you going to be able to walk to the bird? Cuz you’re going to owe me if I have to carry your big Delta ass over this terrain.”

If his head weren’t pounding out of the top of his head like an exploding RPG, he’d find the situation hilarious. Jenkins wasn’t exaggerating. Aiden was the largest man in Delta. His six foot six inches size was both noticeable and memorable, and almost got him shut out of Delta, since his conspicuous “presence” was a major deterrent to blending into enemy territory.

Even though his head and ribs felt as if they were cracking apart, a laugh burst out of him. “As I’ve always maintained, SEALs aren’t trained for ground operations.” He’d never admit that SEALs had easily matched his Delta team’s pace during the four-hour trek over the cold, mountainous terrain to get to this isolated valley.

“What the fuck would you call hauling rocks and saving the Delta unit’s commander?” Jenkins was breathless from the exertion of dislodging the last rock off Aiden’s back.

“And I thought the SEAL’s motto of ‘yesterday was the only good day’ would help you buck up.”

Jenkins snorted “Yesterday I didn’t think I’d be carrying your sorry ass.”

“You’re a jackass, Jenkins. I knew I liked you.”

“Likewise, sir. And don’t think I won’t be expecting payback.”

COMING 2017!

Preorder The Grayce Walters Romantic Suspense Series

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THE GRAYCE WALTERS SERIES: Grayce Walters, intuitive animal acupuncturist, finds herself drawn into danger in the name of protecting her animal clients. One extraordinary woman reluctantly battling evil on the streets of Seattle with an unconventional collection of crime-fighting accomplices: Her heart throb, alpha-macho hunk, Fire Investigator Captain Ewan Davis; her best friend James, a gay cross-dressing, karate master who can take bad guys down as long as he doesn’t ruin his hair; her office assistant Hollie, a street wise girl gamer; and Mitzi, a black standard poodle who’s anything but standard.

This four-book anthology from bestselling romantic suspense author Jacki Delecki includes:

An Inner Fire
Women Under Fire
Men Under Fire
Marriage Under Fire

Christmas, criminals and a wedding

Join Maddy and Hunter for a very special holiday wedding!

Marriage Under Fire, featuring an exclusive wedding scene never before released, is part of Criminal Christmas, a collection of 8 holiday suspense stories. The box set is now available for pre-order for just $0.99 and be the first to read these thrilling romantic suspense stories on November 9.

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| Amazon UK | BN | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Share in the anticipation as Grayce, Davis, Hollie, James and the entire Grayce Walters crew plan a ceremony overflowing with all the love, romance and fellowship of the season.

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Christmas isn’t all Peace on Earth this Holiday Season in 8 Outstanding Suspense Stories of Murderers, Stalkers, Terrorists, Thieves, and Kidnappers. Criminal Christmas puts the Danger in the season of Mistletoe, Christmas Trees & Goodwill. Snuggle up by the fire with our books and enjoy Christmas like never before. This fabulous set is comprised of 6 Novellas (including never before published!), 1 Short Story and 1 Full Novel!

Deadly Holiday – Novella

It’s four days before Christmas and the characters you grew to love in The Deadly Series are struggling with life-threatening problems. When a five-year old boy testifies against his father, then disappears without a trace, the town struggles to find him. But an impending blizzard threatens to halts the search just before Christmas.

Deadly Holiday is an action-packed thriller you don’t want to miss.

The Old Man’s Back in Town – Short Story

A sizzling, suspenseful SHORT STORY wrapped in a puzzling mystery that will leave you hungry for more.
**It’s “Groundhog Day” meets the modern day Old West!**

Holiday Justice – Novella

A Justice Team Holiday Novella!
When his Justice Team partners, Mitch Monroe and Caroline Foster, discover a Santa sneaking around behind the restaurant, Grey and Mitch uncover a theft ring that’s leaving kids without toys and families without a reason to celebrate.

Christmas Interrupted – Novella

Christmas in snowy Carnation, Washington seems like the idyllic get away until Jamey Dunn has a prophetic dream of his father’s house burning to the ground on Christmas Eve. Jamey and his wife Tina race to Carnation to prevent the tragedy that will take Pops’ life and discovers something is strange about the new neighbors.

Marriage Under Fire – Novella

Marine veteran Maddy Jeffers never expected her most demanding and daunting mission would come off the battlefield. Ordered to infiltrate a Seattle terrorist cell, Maddy must pose as a loving wife to Major Hunter Hines. The undercover role begins to feel all too real when Maddy falls hard for the rugged, macho Marine.

The Twelfth Day – Novella

Years ago, Sabrina Spencer was the lone survivor of a serial killer’s attack on her family, her testimony putting the killer behind bars. When she begins receiving daily packages containing bizarre gifts related to the Twelve Days of Christmas, Sabrina suspects her new love is behind the twisted countdown to the twelfth day.

Christmas 911 – Novella

When mother-to-be Corrine Landry stops off to purchase a gift for her niece on Christmas Eve, she finds herself in the middle of a crisis situation. Luke Oliver is about to end his final twelve-hour shift as a 911 dispatcher. After answering a desperate plea from a frantic pregnant woman, he suspects this particular call could change his life–maybe forever.

The Way Evil Does – Novel

When novelist Rebecca Reis interviews convicted serial killer, Thomas Eisenbrey in the Washington State Penitentiary she finds herself having strange feelings for the psychopath. Nicknamed the Hunter, Eisenbrey is crafty, aloof, and has somehow wheedled his way into her mind. When he escapes, Rebecca is terrified–who will he hunt next?

Cover Reveal: Marriage Under Fire

Deciding on cover art is a nerve-wracking process for authors. How do you capture 80K, 50K or even 20K words in a single image? Will the image engage readers’ attention? Will it inspire them to pick up the book or click through on Amazon for more information?

According to The Book Designer, fiction book covers have a variety of goals, including:

  • Convey genre (i.e. historical, contemporary, suspense)
  • Establish tone (i.e. gritty, flirty, humorous)
  • Generate excitement

Kim Killion of The Killion Group designs the cover for both of my romantic suspense series, The Code Breakers and Grayce Walters. I had the opportunity to meet Harvey Stables, one of Kim’s most popular cover models at a local conference.

Picture with Harvey Gaudan StablesThat clinch, delightful as it was, isn’t cover worthy, but Harvey and Kim still managed to get the job done when I needed a cover for MARRIAGE UNDER FIRE.

JackiDelecki_MarriageUnderFire2 (2)Look for MARRIAGE UNDER FIRE, Book 4 in the Grayce Walters contemporary romantic suspense series, September 12, at most online retailers.

 

 

Researching Seattle farmers markets for Marriage Under Fire

I’m currently working on MARRIAGE UNDER FIRE, Book 4 in the Grayce Walters contemporary romantic suspense series. One of the scenes is set in the Columbia City Farmers Market where Maddy and Hunter are working undercover.

Seattle has seven neighborhood farmers markets, each of which offers locally grown produce, artisan food products, meat and seafood, and other farm-fresh products. South Seattle’s Columbia City farmers market features one of the most diverse populations of all the markets.

I love incorporating actual Seattle locations into my books, both to lend authenticity to the storyline but also to introduce readers to neighborhood locales they may not be familiar with. Researching local farmers markets was no hardship because I had the opportunity to experience the local Pacific Northwest’s bounty.

fmPhotos from Columbia City Farmers Market Facebook page.

Now available ~ MEN UNDER FIRE

The release of a new book is always a thrilling event for an author, no matter how many other titles they’ve published. It’s with great excitement that I invite you to join me in celebrating the release of MEN UNDER FIRE, Book 3 in the Grayce Walters contemporary romantic suspense series.

JackiDelecki_MenUnderFire_HRHollie Thomas, the feisty, tattooed office assistant to Grayce Walters, has come a long way from living on the streets. Along with finding a job she loves, she’s found friends and safety. When her new life unravels, she faces dangers that dwarf her troubled past. Fighting to survive, she discovers that sometimes what you need the most might be found in the one person you failed to see coming.

Returning home from the war and struggling to find his way, Sergeant Nick Welby, and his bomb-sniffing golden lab, use their skill set in the last place he’d ever imagined—Seattle’s Waterfront. To protect the one woman who matters, Nick and his trusty canine partner will risk everything to rescue her and Seattle from disaster.

Embroiled in Grayce Walters’ most perilous case—a terrorist plot with the threat of deadly explosives—can Nick and Hollie work together to save themselves and each other before it’s too late?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FfYfRl
BN: http://bit.ly/1FakMhC
iBooks: http://apple.co/1KzAFWD
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1cixWSf
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/1J0UWUu

Seattle’s Pier 69

PicMonkey CollageI love Seattle! Not only is it my hometown, it is also the setting for my Grayce Walters contemporary romantic suspense series. The city, with all of its unique features and elements, is practically a character itself, alongside Grayce, Davis, Hollie, James and the assorted animal heroes.

One of Seattle’s most distinctive features is its waterfront. Even this element has different nuances. From the actual port—a hub for international trade, regional transportation and industries such as tourism and commercial fishing—to the downtown shoreline along Elliott Bay, Seattle’s waterfront is by turns dark and gritty, bright and glitzy, urban and trendy, quiet and pristine.

I have featured the Seattle waterfront in all of my Grayce Walters books, including MEN UNDER FIRE, which releases May 26. The diversity of this Pacific Northwest coastline provides a variety of locations, each suited to a different mood or event within the story.

Pier 69 is one such locality you can “visit” in my upcoming release, MEN UNDER FIRE. The Central Waterfront piers are numbered 46 (in the south) to 70 (at the north end). Pier 69 is the location for the Port of Seattle headquarters where the commissioners hold their public meetings, as well as the passenger ferry that carries folks to the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia.

There are many unique features that make Seattle the dynamic, vibrant city that it is. Read the Grayce Walters series and see how many well-known landmarks you recognize!

The Code Breakers Series box set special release price of $4.99

Don’t miss this limited offer to treat yourself to  CODE BREAKERS, The Series (Books 1-3) for just $4.99JackiDelecki_TheCodebreakersSeries_3DBundle2500[1]

Men and women from the class of privilege and rank risk their lives to defend England against the treacherous designs of Napoleon. They confront disaster, scandal, and passion as they pursue their code of honor and love.  

Book One: A CODE OF LOVE

Threatened by French spies, assassins, and calculating suitors, can Lady Henrietta Harcourt trust the infamous rake, Lord Cordelier Rathbourne, with her carefully guarded family secrets?

Book Two: A CHRISTMAS CODE

Lady Gwyneth Beaumont has long awaited the opportunity to show Viscount James Ashworth that she is no longer the impetuous child who dogged his footsteps. Now a much sought-after debutante, she is determined to prove to the hard-headed rake that she is a grown woman and a worthy participant in both the spy game and the game of love.

Book THREE: A CODE OF THE HEART

When Miss Amelia Bonnington unwittingly stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend, it is up to Lord Derrick Brinsley to save her. Can the disreputable rake and undercover agent prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon and find love with the only woman capable of redeeming him?

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