What’s Cool About Assassins?

CircleofDesire mm cToday, I was thinking about assassins. Don’t know what my train of thought was that got me there. One of my problems with ADD. I start looking up one word like Muscular and before you know it, I’m looking at pictures of butterflies. You thought I was going to say naked men, didn’t you? Well, I’m sure I did that somewhere along the way to butterflies.

Going on, I Googled assassins — oh, I remember now — I was looking for the assassin movie that I watched a couple years ago and wanted to use as a reference in my current book. Anyway, I found this great article about the Top 10 Movie Assassins. I don’t necessarily agree with all his choices (Tom’s Collateral should be number 1) but I enjoyed his insight. The article is from 2010, so he doesn’t include Looper.

I love Bruce Willis in anything including that movie. And of course, as you know I have a thing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. No. Not a sexual thing. I like my men older, like Bruce. But then again I’m happily married. Whatever. Back to the subject.

Then I found this other list of assassin movies under Box Office Mojo called simply “Hitman/Assassin.” It lists all the movies for the last thirty years. Wonderful! I do love them.

That’s partly why I wrote my first published book, CIRCLE OF DESIRE. It’s about a female assassin. The opening scene is her waiting for a target.  In fact, I’ll place an excerpt for you.

Olivia St. Vincent typed the ammunition data into the keypad on the sniper rifle and then nestled her cheek against the stock’s custom-fit pad. She waited for the information to be processed and her target to come into view.

Keeping her attention on the boardwalk outside the open window, she caressed the silencer attachment and sighed. Powerful and lightweight compared to others, the rifle was her favorite and the only one of its kind. She wasn’t sure how The Circle got their hands on the prototype, and she knew better than to ask. She’d used it twice in the last eleven months and had no complaints.

She inhaled the fresh salt air coming in and watched the few early joggers trotting along the boardwalk next to Elliot Bay. Almost the whole length was visible from the empty fourth story apartment. A strong wind picked up and splattered water off the windowsill onto her hands and the rifle even though she sat a good three feet from the opening. She grabbed a soft cotton cloth and stroked off the liquid. It had rained for ten days straight since she’d arrived in Seattle, and only twenty minutes ago had it stopped. To the north, a break in the clouds showed deep blue sky. A miracle. Good grief, she couldn’t wait to get back home to Atlanta.

One moment, she was running her fingers across black metal, enjoying the bumpy finish. In the next, she was aiming at her target, taking a deep breath and then releasing it, relaxing, holding her trigger finger steady. He’d crossed the street and started down the boardwalk. Five foot eleven with a well-proportioned torso, he always wore the same dingy sneakers with orange Day-Glo stripes.

She squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds and inhaled. Time to concentrate on the job. The Circle had given her orders to eliminate him, and she was programmed to follow. Later she’d hear he was a child molester or a killer like herself. Why she should care one way or the other, she wasn’t sure. Maybe knowing helped her sleep at night. Not that it would matter otherwise; she was a killer and good at what she did. She never really had a choice.

She waited as he’d jogged a little past the half-mile mark. His feet pounded in a steady rhythm as the early morning light glistened on shifting muscles. Like clockwork every day, he hit the pavement at sunrise, jogging down the same area. Only thing about predictability, it could be deadly.

The area around him was clear, no one nearby. He turned down a short pier. Only a few feet more and he would be at the mark. She cleared her mind and inhaled, holding her breath for the fraction of a second. She squeezed the trigger. The jogger’s body continued straight ahead, propelled by the bullet’s trajectory, and then he toppled off the edge of the pier and splashed into the water as his god-awful shoes tumbled across the boardwalk. Perfect shot. That was why they sent her.

Once she pressed a couple buttons on the gun’s microcomputer, she scooted away from the tripod and stretched with arms up, bending her back, getting the kinks out. Her back popped. After an hour in one position, it was no wonder her body protested, no matter how much she worked out. She shook her head when the image of the body landing in the water tried to resurface. Think of the good she carried out. Her job eliminated those who preyed on the weak. She performed as a tool for the greater good.

Yes. That was it. She was a tool.

Thinking of tools, she smirked at the gun. The usual brutal recoil dampened by the hydraulic system always surprised her. The rifle worked like it should with little firing signature, a thump of air and only a small amount of flash at the end of the barrel. The suppressor did its job. Unless someone stared directly at her open window and caught the small flare, nothing gave away her location.

Damn! If she’d been a man, she would have a hard-on now. She loved her gun. Objects she could control. People were a different factor.

Yeah, yeah, violence and sex. Sex and violence. That’s what you’re thinking, and congratulations, you’re right. It is an erotic romantic suspense and not about her going around killing people. She will and does, but it’s more about the relationship she develops with her kidnapper/opposing competition.

Okay. Now I’m going back to that list and figure out what movie I haven’t seen. Surely, there are a couple.

[This was originally posted May 10, 2014. I just wanted to share again.]

AMAZON           BARNES AND NOBLE         KOBO          BOOKS A MILLION

 

 

Excerpt from Naked Heat

Naked Heat should be coming out in February. It’s Wolf’s story. Now you get to meet his heroine, Sofia Cruz, beloved cousin of Toro. Toro is the leader of the Thirty-Second gang and mortal enemy of the Mayhem Brothers. Think Westside Story with a happy ending. All my books have happy endings.

Sofia and Wolf are at the Brothers of Mayhem clubhouse.

~~~

They weeded their way through the crowd. A couple brothers slapped Wolf on the back and a few more nodded his way, but none paid her any attention. Were they used to him being handcuffed to a woman? They finally stopped at a bar that sat in one corner.

“What do you want to drink?” he asked.

“I’m not drinking a beer this early in the morning.”

“No alcohol is served an hour before church. So how about a soda or water?”

By the grin on his face, she felt silly for what she’d said. “Water would be nice.”

“Water for the lady, prospect.”

The man tossed a bottle his way. Wolf easily caught it one handed. His grin widened. His arms circled her as he twisted the cap and then handed the bottle to her.

“Thank you.” She took a large swallow.

“That’s one of the things I liked about you. Always so polite.” He brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

Sofia wanted to melt into his touch, and his sweet talking always caused her to blush. The way he looked at her with such tenderness had her heart pounding. She wanted to run her tongue up the side of his cheek. The man was dangerous to her self respect. He had been the one to dump her. Then again, any chance of them being a couple — what with the Mayhem versus Thirty-Second situation — was doomed.

“Who do you have here?”

The man with the deep voice had a crooked nose and deep scar across one high cheekbone, warning anyone who saw him that he knew all about pain. He leaned over the bar and grabbed a soda, his long braid swinging over a shoulder. With his black hair, tanned skin, and dark brown almost black eyes, he looked to be a Native American.

“Sofia, this is Cutter. Our VP.”

Without thinking, she reached out to shake his hand and came up short. The handcuffs stopping her. Heat seeped into her cheeks.

“What the f**k, man? Do you have to shackle your women now?” Cutter’s eyebrows lifted as he laughed.

Even if she could think of something to say, she doubted he or any Mayhem Brother would consider helping her if she asked.

“Long story. I’ll tell you after church.” Wolf nodded to where an older blond man walked down the stairs, stopping every couple feet to make a comment or point and laugh. “The asshole does love being president,” Wolf muttered.

“Yeah.” Cutter glanced her way before shaking his head at Wolf. “Later.”

The crowd started moving toward a door at the other side of the huge room.

Finally, he would have to un-cuff her. She lifted her arm.

“I’ll see you inside. The boss will be happy to see you made it.” Cutter slapped Wolf on the back and walked away.

“In a sec.” Wolf turned to her. The apologetic look alerted her that she wouldn’t like what he planned next. “Come over here.” She wasn’t sure why he thought it necessary to tell her that. It wasn’t like she had a choice.

He led her to the end of the bar where a thin pipe came out of the wall about eye level to Wolf and disappeared into the floor.

“No! Don’t you leave me chained up like a dog. You let me go.” With a simple click of a key, he attached his end of the handcuff around the pipe.

“I can’t risk you leaving. You’ll be safer here.”

“Are you crazy?” She leaned forward. “It’s like leaving out a bag of blow on a coffee table and not expecting a junkie to touch it,” she whispered.

His smile returned. That beautiful flash of white that always made her heart skip a beat. Damn him for being so sexy. With her emotions going from terrified to anger to desire, no wonder she felt dizzy every time he touched her.

“You’re no old bag, and I’ll break anyone’s hand if they touch you.” He caressed her cheek with the back of one knuckle. The sweet look he gave her brought warmth to her face.

She was in hell, and she had the hots for the devil himself.

~~~

Want to keep up with my new releases?  Then click here to subscribe to my newsletter for the earliest scoop. Plus you’ll be eligible to win a giveaway by just being on the list.

Here are the links to my other books including the Brothers of Mayhem novels if you want to check them out.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

Books a Million

Audio Book Favorites

Iphone-headphone-jackOn and off for many years I’ve listened to audio books from cassettes to iTunes to Amazon’s Audible. Overall, the narrators have gotten better. At one time, authors wanted well-known actors narrating their books. You can even see a few still do. But I have to say they are not always the best choice.

The ones I enjoy the best is 1) a female or male who can change their voice enough to sound like or make you think of the character they are speaking for.

My favorite audio books

I’ve actually listened to these more than once (partly because I enjoyed the story so much and partly for the savings. HA!)  You may notice some of the audio books below are repeats of my favorite books to reread. Goes without saying, I loved these stories.

Alex by Sawyer Bennett
Cris Dukehart did a great job on the female narration. The male narrator, Graham Halstead, has the kind of voice I love. Since the character is in his twenties, he has a young, but still mature, sexy voice.  He’s the narrator in all of Sawyer’s Carolina Cold Fury books. Smart move on Random House’s part. Hockey!!  Love hockey, but not all hockey books are equal. Just as the teams. Go, PREDATORS!

Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath
The narrator, Faye Adele, did a fascinating job. I completely forgot it was a woman talking during the male parts.

The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Ditto above, but the narrator is Angela Dawe. I don’t know how the women narrators do it.

Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren
I love it when they have female and male narrators. It appears they only do when it is first person. Grace Grant did a wonderful job narrating for the female voice. Jonathan R. Cole is the male narrator, and his British accent is perfect to me. Very sexy, and I quickly learned not to listen to the male narration in the dark, before going to sleep. It felt like I was cheating on my hubby.  LOL!

Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Kristen Potter did a great job of giving us a little of the Scottish accent but not overwhelming.

What am I listening to now

Easy Love by Kristen Proby; narrated by Sebastian York and Rachel Fulginiti.

I enjoyed the female narration most the time, except when she spoke with a “New Orlean’s accent” for the hero and his family. Horrible. She really shouldn’t try. The male narrator did not, thank goodness. As always for Sebastian, he has a sexy voice, but I cannot tell when it’s the hero’s thoughts or if the hero is speaking it. His voice doesn’t distinguish between the two.

The story was cute, hot, and laugh out-loud funny at times. Loved the Taylor Swift drinking game. The only problem I had with the story was the heroine was late often to work and never called in when she wasn’t going to show up at all (I don’t care if she was sleeping with the boss. Her co-workers were not to know.) Working in an office for most of my life, the girl would be fired before the month was out and her co-workers would resent her. They would have to do her “pretend” job. Someone had to. Plus I kept wondering how the heroine was going to find out who was stealing money from the company if she never worked? And how did she expect to keep her affair with the boss a secret if they were running around town?

I kept telling my inner, anal reader to shut up and enjoy the story. I did and I did. Besides, it is fiction and for pure entertainment. Certainly worth listening to one time. I bet if you’ve never worked in an office, you’ll enjoy it a hundred times more.

Side note about listening to Outlander.

Davina Porter is the narrator. I have to say, if not for her, I would’ve never gotten through the whole book. Well, her and Jamie. The author did great on him. But so many stretches were so boring with unnecessary details and don’t get me started on Claire. That review/comment post will be for a later time. It’s written, but I prefer letting it sit for a while. So far it’s been over a year. Anyway, Davina is a wonderful narrator and deserves every dime she receives.

Excerpt from NAKED HEAT

I thought you might be interested in a little excerpt from NAKED HEAT.

A scene when the heroine remembers meeting Wolf Savalas for the first time.

~~

Calling him adorable was like calling a grizzly cuddly.

He’d noticed her standing a couple feet away with her hand over her mouth, trying to hide her laughter.

“What the hell’s the difference between a glaze, rub, and brine? I told them not to send me. What the hell? Thanksgiving isn’t for another two weeks.” He shook his head, tossing black hair into his eyes while the rest fell over his ears and straight around the nape of his neck.

His pale blue eyes peeked between the dark strands. God, they were almost otherworldly as he watched her. She guessed him to be taller than her cousin. That would make him easily six-three. The plain beaten-up brown leather jacket looked perfect for his olive skin and that gorgeous hair, giving him a bad boy look. She did have a problem being attracted to bad boys. She really needed to stay away from men like her soon-to-be ex-husband.

Turning on her heel, she made two steps before a hand reached out and lightly touched her arm. “Sorry, beautiful, but I have a feeling you know the difference. Could you help?”

Unable to say no when asked so nicely, she faced him and smiled. No one had called her beautiful before, and she didn’t care he was lying to assure her help. She blushed. He smiled back, and she knew she was screwed.

If she hadn’t been in the final stage of an ugly divorce, he would’ve had her panties off that afternoon when they met for coffee.

That had been the beginning of the most exhilarating time of her life. They’d seen each other almost everyday for the first three weeks though most times it had been only an hour or so. They talked about their childhood and their plans for the future, but never about their current life. Except on their second week together, she did mention she was going through a divorce, and her voice had cracked. His eyes had filled with compassion. Later, when he walked her to her car, he’d kissed her. It had been heaven.

Brothers of Mayhem Ride Again

Release date July 19, 2016 in ebook only.
Full Heat_Swafford

From the author of Hidden Heat (“Filled with action, deception, and emotional and sexual tension.”—Publishers Weekly), the Brothers of Mayhem MC rides again in an explosive novel of wounded hearts and undeniable heat.

Forget shining armor. Motorcycle shop owner Mary Jane Parker could use a knight in black leather right about now. A local gang has been extorting her for protection money, and standing her ground would be a lot easier with the Brothers of Mayhem at her back. She just needs to convince the club’s new president to take the job. The powerful, brooding biker claims he’s not interested—but if his version of tough love is supposed to be punishment, Mary Jane would gladly misbehave for the rest of her life.

Storm Ryder has no interest in rescuing anyone but himself. He spent three agonizing years in prison, and there’s no way in hell he’s going back, not over a spoiled rich girl who’s flirting with trouble. So why does he find himself craving Mary Jane’s lips—and holding her close when he should be pushing her away? Deep down in his tortured soul, Storm knows she’ll be there for him. And when Mary Jane needs him most, he’ll find the courage to give her everything he’s got.

 

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Kobo    Random House

Look for Carla at the following places.

Twitter     Facebook     Pinterest     Instagram    Website

Coming Tuesday, July 19

A teaser for you.

!Full Heat ad

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Kobo    Random House

Look for Carla at the following places.

Twitter     Facebook     Pinterest     Instagram    Website

MM910001135

Be sure to LIKE my Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaSwaffordAuthor/

!FB meme

I will be sending out an excerpt in my next newsletter – probably tonight – so be sure to go and sign up to receive a copy. Oh, and I do giveaways too.

Click here for the form.

Let’s Party Like It’s July 11!

PrintI couldn’t resist using that title.

Anyway, on July 11, I will be with a group of writers on Facebook giving away all kinds of goodies. My giveaway/post slot is 9 to 9:30 p.m. central time USA. (10-10:30 eastern; 8-8:30 mountain; 7-7:30 p.m. west coast).

I will be giving away Brothers of Mayhem cups (US only) and gift cards (US or International). So be sure to type it on your calendar and show up. Of course, I’m sure you’re wondering who are the other authors?

Jade Chandler (it’s her party)
Gillian Archer
Christi Barth
Claudia Connor
Ja Dena
Sarah Leyton
Carla Swafford (Me!!)

Considering what we all write, I have a feeling there will be lots of pictures of good looking men.

Go to the link below and click on Going or Interested.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1647867522203540/

Hope to see you there!

Recommendations

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. In the past, I’ve done a few blog posts on books I’ve loved but nothing consistently. In fact, the few I’ve done are on my old blog if I remember correctly. So I thought every once in awhile, I’ll recommend books and let you know what I’ve recently read.

But first, I’ll start with a few favorites of mine that I love to re-read. I was talking with some readers the other day and was actually shocked to hear a couple say they never do. Too many other books out there to read the first time they said.

Oh, well. I do know that I find a new book at least once a year that I enjoy re-reading. I guess because I learn something from each one that can hopefully improve my writing.

So here are a few.

The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory (aka Candace Camp) 1989 – a bad boy wanting to improve his life and he falls for a good girl. Yet, the girl believes she’s not so good as she’s in love with her brother-in-law. I love wounded misunderstood bad boys and good girls who are not quite good.

The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie by Jennifer Ashley 2011 – an man with autism (I believe) who pursues a widow. So well written and oddly because of his extreme concentration on the heroine, it’s quite sexy. And unique. I love unique.

All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard 1999 – A super spy asks for help from a former female associate and during their new mission they fall in love. Doesn’t sound exciting, but the hero is awesome and Linda has a wicked sense of humor that comes out in her books. This book is the one that encouraged me to write Circle of Desire. My female assassin book. I love spy/assassin/mercenary books.

It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips 2002 – A ditzy blonde (smarter than everyone thinks) inherits a football team. The coach isn’t happy but finds love with the new owner. It’s funny and unique. At the least, that’s what I think.  If you get a chance, read the first line. It’s a hoot!

Ryker by Sawyer Bennett 2015 – A goalie and the team’s female manager fall in love. This book has so much heart. Ryker is the near perfect man and the heroine isn’t no wimp. Strangely, I’ve listened to this at least three times. So it edged out the true favorite of this series, Alex. Alex is the bad boy of the series and you know how I love bad boys.

There are more, but it’s getting late and I need to go to work tomorrow.

Hope you’ll check them out. Just remember the older the book, the older the style and some people don’t care for them. Then again, I consider them classics even if they’re a year old.

A Real Deal

My book, HIDDEN HEAT, is on sale for 99 cents. Presently, it’s on sale at Amazon and Kobo. Probably by Wednesday, it will be on sale at B&N and elsewhere. Remember that it only comes in e-format.

Hidden Heat_Swafford

Here’s a small excerpt.

Her gaze moved over the hood of the car and skidded to a stop on the man leaning against the bar’s outside wall facing the car. He inhaled on a cigarette and continued to watch her. Thorn. That was what Stonewall called him.

His eyes squinted against the bright sun. No sign of embarrassment in being caught staring, he remained there, one foot flat against the brick and a thumb hooked on a belt loop, taking another long draw. Silver rings on long fingers glistened in the sun. How long had he been there?

With a flick of his finger, the cigarette stub sailed over the hood to the asphalt parking lot.

Please go away.

Happenings

I had so much happen lately, and there is a lot going to happen in the next few months. Like the following.

June 4, Saturday, I will be signing books at the Athens-Limestone Public Library.

Since I have so many announcements, I thought you might want to be the first to hear about it. So be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I plan to include an excerpt from FULL HEAT, and as a thank you, I will be giving away two $10 gift cards (Amazon) to some lucky newsletter recipients (in U.S. or international).

Click here to sign up. Then be sure to add me to your contact list.

Thanks bunches!