Thursday, June 7, 2012


By Jeannie Watt and Ellen Hartman

It's Snippet Time! I'd like to thank my buddy Ellen for coming up with this great idea while we were hashing out the details of our next showdown--which happens to be on June 21st. I'm going to start by posting a snippet from my December 2012 book Crossing Nevada. Please feel free to post snippets of your own, either from your own writing or from a book you particularly enjoy.

Here's mine: 
[Background:Tess O’Neil had a successful modeling career until her face was slashed by a vengeful relative who promised to keep taking pieces off her until he gets the money he thinks she has. Now she’s hiding out in a remote Nevada community, afraid of being recognized and trying to avoid her overly friendly neighbors who keep showing up with casseroles and trying to get her to join quilt club.  Widower Zach Nolan lives with his three daughters on a ranch across the road from reclusive Tess, whose barn was struck by lightning the night before and burned it to the ground.] 

Tess‘s eyes flashed open as the dogs started barking. A split second later someone else pounded on her door. It had to be another fireman, but that didn‘t keep her heart from knocking against her ribs as she went into the living room and looked out the window to see Zach Nolan standing on her porch.
Feeling relieved that it was at least someone she was vaguely familiar with and that he wasn‘t carrying food, Tess opened the door a few inches.
“I have to check the remains of the fire and I wanted to let you know.” He sounded utterly ticked.
“Thank you,” Tess said. What else could she say?
He didn‘t respond. Didn‘t move, didn‘t do anything except stare her down with cold blue eyes. Tess shifted uncomfortably and was about to close the door in his face again when he said, “What‘s wrong with you?”
“Pardon me?” she asked, startled. Was he asking about her face? Which she thought she was keeping out of sight.
“I said, what‘s wrong with you?” He planted a hand against the wall and leaned closer to the open crack between the door and the jamb, so close that she could feel the warmth of his body. Or was it her imagination? “Have you always been like this?”
“Like what?” Scarred?
“Like what?” he asked on a disbelieving note. “Like being a person who slams doors in people‘s faces, chases away grandmothers with food and scares little girls.”
Tess pulled back at the unexpected attack. “I just want to be left alone.”
“That shouldn‘t be a problem, lady.” He pushed off from the door frame and started down the porch steps, reaching the sidewalk before he muttered a few words she probably wasn‘t meant to hear.
Well, she had heard—or at least she thought she’d heard. Regardless of the words, there was no mistaking the tone. Tess stepped out onto the porch, no longer caring about hiding her injury from him. She‘d had been through hell last night. No, make that more hell. Who was he to judge?
“I don‘t see how my interactions with other people in this community is any business of yours.”
Zach came to a dead stop, and then he turned toward her. “Oh, it‘s my business.”
His certainty perplexed her. “How so?” she demanded. “Because I won‘t let your ruddy cows onto my land?”
“No. Because that little girl you scared off your property two days ago happens to be my youngest daughter.”
That's it. Now please, snippet away!  


Ellen Hartman said...


I don't know why, but when Zach called her "lady," I got all hot and bothered. I love the dynamic you have set up here, plus that title is fantastic.

Now that I have the niceties out of the way, I also want to say I can't wait to triumph over you in our blog contest on June 21st. Last time we battled for a beer...I think we need to raise the stakes this time.

I'm mulling options, but so far I'm thinking...two beers.

NO! That's a joke.

How about the loser has to hand craft a mosaic glass mirror for the winner. See sample:

That's how confident I am of my second straight win.


P.S. I love the cowboy boots one. <---To help you plan.

Ellen Hartman said...

Here's my snippet. It's from Out of Bounds (Sept. 2012)

The hero, Wes Fallon, is just waking up in the hospital.

"Wes? You're awake?" His brother stood and bent over the bed. He touched Wes's hair gently and then dropped his hand to rest on his arm. "God, it's good to see you, man."
"What happened to the dog?" Wes asked.
"Little white one.” The details were fuzzy, but he remembered the dog. “It was in the street."
"I don't know anything about a dog." Deacon squinted at him. "You were chasing a dog?"
"It didn't listen. Didn’t speak English." Wes said. "Was going to get hit by a car."
A deep ache down the left side of his body reminded him that he'd been the one who got hit. There'd been an impact and then that awful crack when he landed. The memory of the cracking sound almost made him pass out again. He winced and his brother’s hand tightened on his arm. Deacon's dirty blond hair was limp and his eyes were shot with red behind his glasses.
“You need a shower.”
Deacon rolled his eyes. “Sorry. I’ve been distracted. My brother got hit by a beer truck.” Then he continued, "This were trying to save it?" He hooked the chair behind him with his foot and pulled it closer so he could sit down, all without moving his hand from Wes's arm. Which was strange. Deacon wasn't the most demonstrative guy and, while he'd been the only real parent Wes ever had, he'd never been the motherly, hovering type. Growing up, Wes had been clipped on the back of the head way more often than he'd had his hand held.
"I didn't want it to get hit."
Deacon pushed his glasses up on his forehead and rubbed his eyes. He readjusted his glasses. "Oh. That's good then." He patted Wes's arm.
Why the hell was Deacon patting him?
"No, it's not--" His mind finally cleared enough for him to realize what was wrong with his brother. "Why are you here, D?"
"You got hit by a truck--"
"You think I walked in front of it on purpose."
Deacon's denial came a second too late. "No. But Victor did say you were upset--"
Wes groaned and not from pain this time. If he could have moved his right arm without passing out, he’d have punched his brother.
"Upset, yes." Deacon was watching him was too closely. "I wouldn't kill myself over basketball. Come on."
Wes realized then that his brother had been worried precisely because Deacon could imagine killing himself over basketball. It was a fundamental difference between them.

Mary Preston said...

Wonderful thank you!!

Snookie said...

Wow, can't wait to read both of those books!

Um, Ellen, wasn't it a tie the last time you and Jeannie went head to head?

Snookie said...

Wow, can't wait to read both of those books!

Um, Ellen, wasn't it a tie the last time you and Jeannie went head to head?

Ellen Hartman said...

Hee Snookie. Shh. Don't tell Jeannie. I'm hoping she forgot.

Ellen "Tie Schmie" Hartman

liztalley said...

Snippets! Fun! So here's a short one from my upcoming Christmas book which is a modern day retelling of A Christmas Carol set in New Orleans. I intentionally made this one light and sweet...the perfect read for de-stressing :) In this scene Mary Paige is wearing a skirt a bit too snug and it keeps riding up when she walks. The book is The Spirit of Christmas.

Brennan ignored his grandfather’s donning of Christmas-colored glasses and gestured toward the door, allowing Mary Paige to slide through before following. He couldn’t help himself from watching her really nice backside.
She spun around and caught him looking as he closed the boardroom door. Her face went all pink again as her mouth dropped open slightly. She pointed a finger at him. “If you think I’m sleeping with you, you’re nuts. This is a business meeting.”
He shook his head. His reconnaissance skills on the opposite sex weren’t usually this rusty. Besides though many in New Orleans thought him a playboy, he didn’t sleep around that much. He was no walking hormone even as visions of Mary Paige in sexy Santa lingerie had him tilting that way. “Since when is going for coffee code for sex? Jump to conclusions much?”
She narrowed her eyes. “So what were you looking at just then?”
“Whatever you're wearing that keeps showing under your skirt. Is that a pair of Spanx?”
Her eyes widened right before a vivid red swept up her neck. She jerked down the skirt riding high on her thighs. “Oh my God. I can’t believe…”
She didn’t finished, but instead turned and stalked ahead of him holding her purse like it was the last parachute on a plane.
He followed not because he had to, but because something inside him wanted to follow her.
Which didn’t make a damn lick of sense.

Jeannie Watt said...

Liz-Lol at the Spanx. Love it! Of course, I love all of your books.

Right now I'm reading Linda Warren's Rita finalist The Texan's Bride, and if I wasn't swamped today, I'd type in a big snippet from it. What an excellent book!

Ellen--It had to be a beer truck! I'm still smiling over that one. Little secret--I might post a snippet from Just Desserts later today, so maybe you could post a little something from The Long Shot.

Now, down to business....Snookie, you are absolutely correct. It was a tie and if my people, who showed up late, as is our way, were counted, I would have won.

A mirror, eh? Well, I hope you have your glass nippers ready, because I want a mirror with a beer truck on it.


Pamela Hearon said...

These are so enticing! You ladies rock--and I'm so not going to take sides:-) This is a snippet from my August release, Out of the Depths. Kyndal Rawlings is a down-on-her-luck photographer. She has been arrested for trespassing at a cave where she went to take photos.

The door to the office opened wide. The sheriff took his time, stopping to peer into the vacant cells before he finally unlocked hers.
“Go on out into my office. We have some questions we want to ask you. Made your call yet?”
Kyndal nodded and handed him the telephone. She took deep, calming breaths as she made her way down the narrow hall and through the door into the sun-brightened office. She squinted at the figure standing by the window.
Not a deputy, unless he was clothed for undercover work. Jeans and a cashmere crewneck? Expensive taste. Her eyes moved up his frame. Tall. Dark. And, from what she could see of his profile, handsome indeed.
She blinked.
He turned and her eyes met the steeliness of his rock-hard gaze. Her heart made a quick jaunt into her throat and then plummeted to the bottom of her stomach. The face was a bit fuller. The jaw a tad firmer. The hair several inches shorter. But the eyes hadn’t changed one iota.
“Chance?” Had the sheriff called her a lawyer? Was her situation that serious? She locked her knees to keep them from buckling. “Why are you here?” The words came out startled and clipped — harsher than she would have used in more congenial circumstances.
A number of emotions crossed his features and she read them like subliminal messages. Confusion. Understanding. Amusement.
So he found her predicament amusing? She challenged the smile of recognition and greeting that had been on the edges of her lips, keeping her face neutral and composed.
Chance gave a chuckle, and her mind did a quick one-eighty to the deep voice she’d been hearing — the one she thought belonged to a deputy. Chance’s. How could she not have recognized it?
His dark eyes danced, and his full mouth turned up slightly at one end as he walked over to her and extended his hand. “It’s good to see you too, Kyndal.”

mary sullivan said...

GREAT snippet, Jeannie!

Oh, Ellen, that push-pull of affection, such a great dynamic between brothers who don't show tenderness.

Liz. love the Spanx!

Pamela, intriguing reunion ;-)

Here's my snippet from my February 2012 release IN FROM THE COLD.

Background: Gabe is a wounded warrior living as a recluse on family land outside of Accord, Colorado. Callie is here to convince him to sell the land on which he runs his dogsledding business.

Gabe was ignoring Callie. She might as well not be there.
His disregard bothered her. “What are you doing?”
Over his shoulder, he looked at her as though she had a screw loose. “Feeding my dogs.”
“I can see that,” she snapped. This interview wasn’t going as planned. “Why are you ignoring me? Can you please stand still long enough for us to have a conversation?”
“In five minutes.” A glint appeared in his eyes. Was it—? Was he laughing at her? As quickly as it appeared, it was gone, and she wasn’t certain she’d truly seen it.
“You need good clothes.” In the silence of the snow-shrouded forest, his voice boomed.
She glanced down at her leather jacket and boots. They were right on trend. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”
He picked up a couple of empty dog bowls. “You’re shivering.”
Yes. She was frozen. “I didn't think I'd need heavy clothing inside the house.”
After taking a moment to digest her sarcasm, he said, “Buy a warm jacket. Boots. Gloves.” He glanced at her red hair and she touched it self-consciously. “Get a hat. Don’t go to the Willow Branch or that other fancy boutique. They’ll sell you useless shit. Go to the Army Surplus. Noah will give you the right stuff.”
“A speech. I’m honored.”
That humor gleamed again-she hadn’t imagined it-and just as quickly disappeared.
“For a recluse, you sure know a lot about Accord.”
He stopped walking across the clearing and his innate stillness deepened. “Who said I’m a recluse?”
“Everyone in town.”
“Most people,” she amended. He didn’t respond. “Well? Are you one?”
He dumped the last bowl into a pot of hot water. “I’m myself. No more. No less.”
He approached her, moving in too closely, taking her breath and hovering over her to intimidate her. Fat chance.
“Back off, Chewbacca. You’re in my space.”
Another glimmer of amusement in his eyes. It didn’t reach his lips, though. Or did it? Hard to tell with that much mustache.

Jeannie Watt said...

Two more great entries! Thank you, Mary and Pamela. The only problem with snippet day is that my TBR pile grows.

Mary Brady said...

So wish I could do this today. My favorite is ... great snips everybody

Darlene Gardner said...

Great snippets, everyone! Here's mine. It's from my September Superromance The Turth About Tara. The hero has just stopped the heroine while she's walking to school, where she's a PE teacher.

“My name’s Jack DiMarco. I’m visiting from Kentucky.” His accent was minor, evident only in the slight rounding of his vowels. He rubbed a hand over his mouth and shook his head. “I’m not real sure how to say this.”
“How to say what?”
He opened his mouth, closed it, then withdrew a piece of paper from the back pocket of his jeans and unfolded it.
“Maybe this will help you understand,” he said, holding the paper out to her.
Tara had a premonition that she didn’t want to see whatever was on the paper. She didn’t know what had gotten into her this morning. She wasn’t normally so skittish. Careful not to touch him, Tara took the paper. On it was the photo image of a young woman with golden-brown hair, a high forehead, wide-set eyes and an oval face with a rounded chin.
Tara’s free hand flew to her mouth. “This looks like me.”
“I think so, too,” the man – Jack – said. “Except for the hair. Yours is more reddish brown.”
It made no sense. Why would this stranger have a drawing of her? She waved the paper at him. “Where did you get this?”
“It’s a computer-generated photo done by a forensic artist,” he said. “My sister pushed for an updated version of it. She’s a private investigator.”
Tara only caught the first part of his answer, because she was re-examining the photo. Underneath it in large block type was the name Hayley Cooper. The smaller print below the name blurred as she belatedly recalled his last two words. Her chin came up. “You’re a private investigator?”
“I’m not,” he said. “My sister is. Since I was coming to the Eastern Shore anyway, she asked me to check out a lead on one of her cases to see if it was worth pursuing.”
“What case?”
“A missing-person case.”
Tara’s shoulders relaxed. She breathed in air that carried the familiar smell of salt water and late-spring blooms. Without reading the rest of the print, she held the sheet of paper back to him. “There’s been a mistake. I’m not Hayley Cooper and I’m not missing.”
“You don’t understand.” He nodded down at the piece of paper. “That’s an age progression. It’s an approximation of what the missing person would look like.”
Tara’s stomach tightened as the tension returned. She remembered a magazine article a few years back about Jaycee Dugard, a missing child who’d been found after being held against her will for eighteen years. The magazine had run Jaycee’s current photo and her age progression side by side. They’d looked remarkably alike.
“What does this have to do with me?” Tara asked.
“Maybe nothing.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Here’s the deal. My sister is investigating the case of a three-year-old who was abducted twenty-eight years ago from a shopping mall in a little town outside of Louisville.”
“And?” Tara prompted.
His mouth twisted. “Is there any chance you could be her?”

Anonymous said...

Whoa. I am loving these, ladies! Hermit heroines, brotherly love and beer trucks, runaway Spanx, jailhouse reunions, Chewbaccas and long-lost children--that's a lot of awesome!! But seriously, I ask you, how kind is it to post these snippets when we have to wait so long to read the books?! ;-) I can't wait to dive in!

Kristina Mathews said...

Should not have read these posts today. I'm now suffering from inferiority complex. Hello Writer's Block.

Beth Andrews said...

I love snippet day! These are all so fantastic, ladies! Thanks for sharing them with us *g*

Here's a snippet from In This Town, my October release. Walker, a detective, runs into Tori at her son's football game.

“Good morning, Detective Bertrand,” an all-too-familiar voice said from behind him. “This is a surprise.”
Unease. Yeah. That’s what he felt when he sensed Tori Mott was near. When he heard her husky tones, when he inhaled her spicy scent.
Unease. Attraction. Lust. And way too much interest. He’d thought of her, last night when he was lying in bed, her image had floated through his mind. That sharp grin, those long legs, that lush body. He’d thought of her. It pissed him off.
He carefully squirted the mustard before facing her. “Mrs. Mott.”
She waved that away. “Call me Tori.”
He held back a snort. “I think it’d be best if I continued to call you Mrs. Mott.”
“Do you?” she asked with a grin that made him wonder what she was up to, what she was thinking. “Why? After all, we’re good friends now. And you know all about me. I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew all my deep, dark secrets.”
He didn’t. Doubted any man could ever know her, not really.
Walker bit into his hotdog. Chewed and swallowed. “You don’t strike me as a woman who’d let that happen.”
Now she laughed, the sound causing the couple ordering next to Walker to turn toward her, the man with a smile, the woman with a sneer. If Tori noticed, she gave no indication. She just stepped closer to Walker, lightly brushed her hand over his arm despite the light coat of sweat on his skin.
“What kind of woman do I strike you as?” she asked softly.
Wishing he hadn’t left his sunglasses in his motel room, he skimmed his gaze over her. Dark, tight jeans. Black, high-heeled, over-the-knee boots. A red sweater that clung to her breasts. Her hair was tousled, her cheeks flushed and every time she moved, her long, dangling earrings—resembling layers of gold leaves—swayed, catching the sunlight.
He raised his eyes, met hers. The sounds of the announcer calling the play-by-play, the crowd’s cheers and clapping faded. She was close enough touch, to feel the warmth of her skin. All he had to do was shift, just a few inches, and he could brush his hip against hers.
He didn’t move. “You want the truth?”
“Could there be anything less between us?”
She was messing with him. Provoking him. Challenging him.
“You strike me as a woman used to getting what she wants,” he said slowly, “and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure she does. You always hold something back, some small piece of yourself in the name of self-preservation and you’re rarely honest about who you are or what you want.”

Jeannie Watt said...

Thank you, Darlene and Beth! Excellent entries.

Kristina--I know the feeling you are describing. We all get it. Just start pounding out words and keep at it. Writer's block will go away if you face it down.

Kathy--I was thinking the exact same thing--so long until we can read these books! Uh, do feel free to add a snippet of your own Kathy...just a hint...

Jeannie Watt said...

Here's a brief snippet from my February book Just Desserts:

Layla Taylor wasn’t drunk enough to be hallucinating, which meant that Justin Tremont was not a figment of her imagination. Her childhood nemesis and the sworn enemy of all she held dear was indeed standing in the doorway of the Lake Tahoe lounge, scanning the room.
She ducked her head, hoping he wouldn't see her drowning her sorrows, alone, as she waited for her sister to come pick her up. The lounge was dimly lit and crowded. There was no reason he should notice her, but less than a minute later she felt the vinyl bench give way beneath his weight as he sat beside her.This evening just kept getting better.
"Hi, Layla," he said, when she cut him a sideways glance. "I'm here to take you home."
"Over my dead body."
Layla leaned her head back against the black vinyl booth cushion, noting with some alarm that when she closed her eyes, the room began to spin.
"Why are you here?" she asked without opening her eyes, certain that if she concentrated hard enough, she could make the spinning stop. Besides, she didn't need to see to know exactly what Justin was doing— smirking at her. Just as he'd smirked at her for her entire life. Well, not all of it. Only the ten years they'd lived down the street from each other, and her younger brothers and Justin, who were all a year behind her in school, had enjoyed some kind of an outlaw bond. The three of them had made her life miserable whenever possible.
"Sam called," Justin said, bringing her back to her very real problem at hand—him. "She asked me to take you home when I got off shift."
She'd called her sister to rescue her, and Sam had got Justin to come. Was no one in her entire family responsible?
Easy answer there. No.
She was going to kill her sister.

Rogenna Brewer said...

I love snippit days! And those little bits that make me want to buy everyone's books. Sorry, I'm so unprepared to share.

linda s said...

You all are just too good. Thank you. My book budget is going to be decimated. I enjoyed these.

Kaelee said...

It's 12:30 and i'm stiff and sore from gardening but I just couldn't stop reading the snippets. I have lots of books to look forward to and one, Just Desserts, to recall. I know all of them will be just as excellent as Just Desserts is.

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