A New Release & an Excerpt from Tami Lund

 

Naked Truth Cover-indie

He’s a playboy FBI agent, working undercover as a male stripper. She’s a burned divorcee, struggling to make ends meet and embarrassed by how her marriage ended.

They both insist it’s a no-strings-attached affair.

Until she gets caught up in his case.

Now, both their hearts and lives are in danger.

 

Released: 10/8/2019

AMAZON

 

Other books in the series:

Undercover Heat – releasing 10/15/2019

Delicious Deception – releasing 10/22/2019

Excerpt from Naked Truth:

 

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Hitting on you. Is it working?”

“Um…”

“Want to go somewhere more private?”

“Umm…”

He twirled her away, pulled her back and caught her, squeezing her more tightly than he had been a moment before. Kennedy forgot to breathe. She was distantly aware of the fact that he was backing her off the dance floor. She knew she should, but she made no move to stop him. Sabrina’s warning echoed in her head, but all she could think was, I deserve to have fun tonight. I can handle a one-night stand.

I want a one-night stand.

A few minutes later, he led her up a set of stairs that climbed from a hallway near the kitchen to the second floor.

“How did you know these stairs were even here?” she wondered as she held his hand and followed.

“I scoped out the place when we first arrived. Force of habit,” he admitted. She knew he was talking about his job, not his past liaisons, which she appreciated. For the moment, she wanted to pretend she was the only one. Otherwise, she might back out.

At the top of the stairs, he paused to flash her a grin over his shoulder. She gave him a wobbly smile in return. He tugged her hand, leading her to the bride’s room.

Where they found Cullen and Sabrina, prematurely sealing their wedding vows.

“Guess they can’t get it annulled now,” Jack remarked as he quietly pulled the door closed.

She shook her head, the reality of this decision finally pushing through the haze of alcohol and lust. “This is a bad idea. Sabrina says I’m supposed to stay away from you.”

“I’m going to have a talk with Sabrina about interfering with my sex life,” Jack muttered. “Why did she say that?”

Kennedy shrugged. “You’re a player.”

“Are you looking for forever, Kennedy?”

She gasped and vehemently shook her head. Been there, done that, didn’t work out the way it was supposed to, she almost said out loud.

“Me neither. So how is this a bad thing again?”

“Umm…”

“I’m usually pretty good with the intuition thing. And my intuition is telling me that you are attracted to me.”

Kennedy cleared her throat. “I–I think your intuition is correct.”

Jack grinned. “I thought so. And I’m sure it’s pretty damn obvious that I’m attracted to you.”

To prove his point, he backed her up to the wall, pressed his palms against the wallpaper and dipped his head to nibble at her throat. She made a small, strangled noise and grabbed his shoulders to keep herself from falling when her knees buckled.

Jack sucked her earlobe into his mouth. “I promise, babe, you won’t regret it. I’m a very attentive lover.”

“Oh God.”

“I want to hear you scream that.”

“Limo,” she managed to say on a gasp, and she grabbed his hand and dragged him back down the hall to the stairs. She had no idea what caused her to think of the stretched vehicle out in the parking lot, all she knew was that three years of self-enforced celibacy had pushed her libido to the limit. She wanted to break her fast, and she wanted to do it right now, with this man.

Whatever happened tomorrow didn’t matter. Whatever happened in two hours wouldn’t matter. She just needed right now, and she needed it to involve she and Jack and a distinct lack of clothing.

The driver sat in the front seat, reading a newspaper and tapping his foot to the beat of a country song blaring from the speakers. Jack handed him a wad of cash and tucked Kennedy into the back of the limo. As soon as they were inside, the car lurched into motion, sending her tumbling into the groomsman’s lap. He pushed the button to raise the darkened glass that separated them from the front.

“We aren’t really doing this, are we?” she asked as Jack smoothed her skirt up her legs so she could straddle his lap without tearing her dress.

“Hell yes, we are. You don’t want to know how much I just paid that guy to drive around in circles for half an hour.”

“Half an hour?”

“Trust me, babe.”

AMAZON

***

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, a wine drinker, an award winner, and a lover of romance. She writes happily ever afters of both the contemporary and paranormal kind. There’s probably a new release coming soon. You should sign up for her newsletter so you know when: http://www.subscribepage.com/Tami_Lund

 

Social Media:

Facebook   ~   Twitter   ~   Instagram    ~ Website

 

 

 

 

Tough Love is Back (Soon!)

There once was an aspiring author who wrote five-and-a-half manuscripts in a romantic suspense series that she eventually called the “Tough Love series.” As was typical when an idea formed in this author’s head, secondary characters from one book spurred story ideas for another book and then another, hence the five-and-a-half books, written over the course of only a few months. (She was laid off from her day job at the time, which provided ample time for writing.)

With three of the books completed in rough draft format, the author began querying, hoping a big bad publisher with lots of clout would realize how fabulous this series was.

At the same time, this author had discovered Twitter, and on Twitter were these “pitch wars,” where you post a line or two from your book, and if a publisher likes it, they, well, “like” it, and then you reach out and send them your manuscript and then start praying and praying and praying that this is finally your big break.

So this particular aspiring author checked the first three manuscripts of this series she’d been working on and found what she thought was a clever line from not the first book, but the second. So she put it out there in Twitter-land.

And a publisher liked it.

Let me repeat: A. Publisher. Liked. It.

Naked Truth, which was supposed to be the second book in the Tough Love series, was published through Crimson Romance on June 30, 2014. That was followed by Undercover Heat on January 19, 2015, and Delicious Deception on August 3, 2015. When this author sent the fourth book to the acquiring editor at Crimson Romance, they turned it down, and since this author had already started to self-publish at that time, she decided not to offer any more books to publishers, because keeping all her royalties made a hella lot more sense than sharing with someone else, especially since she was making enough by that point to cover the costs of covers and editing.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, that author is me. This is the short version of the creation of my Tough Love series. And the reason I’m sharing this info is because I have now gained my rights for the series from the publisher, so that I can self-publish what was my debut as a published author.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been re-reading the books in the series, updating a few things, cleaning up the writing that has obviously improved over the last five years (although I will say, these books were well-edited from the get-go!). This process has made me realize a few things…

  1. My writing has changed. Improvement is obvious. It better happen. If a writer doesn’t improve, well…But aside from improvement, my style is different now. I definitely included a lot more sex five years ago. These books are heavy on plot, but also heavy on steam. I’ve noticed recently, my books have been heavy on plot and the steam has been coming more slowly. There’s more anticipation and buildup now, whereas five years ago, my characters most definitely dove into the sack as quickly as they could.
  2. I still really like this series. A lot. Of the three, I love Undercover Heat the most, but I adore all the characters from all the books, and I was a little bit sad when I finished Delicious Deception and realized I had to say goodbye to these old friends…again.
  3. That made me realize that I cannot wait to (re)share this series with you all! There’s a strong likelihood that you haven’t read it, because once Crimson was acquired by a much larger publisher a few years ago, their titles basically quit getting marketed. They were also published at a higher price-point than I usually set my books. And since I had plenty of self-published titles to market to you all, I didn’t spend much time pushing these books that were going to make someone else money and not me.
  4. Even though I’m so excited to get these babies back out there for the world to read, it looks like it will be October before they get published. There are a lot of factors that went into this decision. First and foremost, I have to wait for the current publisher to take them off sale everywhere. Even though I have my rights reversal letters in hand, it takes time for distributors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.) to pull the original copies. And since these were available in print and ebook format, I imagine that only increases the amount of time it takes. Additionally, I already have a new release scheduled for September (the fourth book in my Taming the Dragon series, for those of you interested, comes out on September 24!), and I’ve run myself ragged trying to do too much promotion at one time in the past, and I learned my lesson. Thus, October it is!
  5. Re-reading these three books has spurred ideas for other characters who play roles in these stories. Naked Truth starts at Cullen and Sabrina’s wedding, and they are characters from the original first book in the series, which I never published. I don’t know why I didn’t, other than the decision to try to sell Naked Truth to the publisher instead of that one. So I’m definitely going to dig out their manuscript and see if it’s worthy of publication, too. Additionally, there’s a character named Court from Undercover Heat who I’d forgotten how much I adored, and I know I have at least a half-written book for him, too. And then there’s Connor’s sister from Delicious Deception. (It was her story that was rejected by the publisher, but I have an idea for tweaking it that I think will make all the difference in the world!)
  6. What’s really cool about this (to me) is that it has stirred that creative pot in my head and now I’m excited about writing more romantic suspense! It’s been a few years since I’ve written in this genre. I’ve been focused on paranormal and romcom, because that’s where my head has been. And honestly, I think that initial rejection, after the publisher accepted three other books from me, got in my head and maybe caused a little bit of writer’s block for that genre. But I’m back now, baby!

So get ready. Stay tuned for…

New covers! Ohmigod, I love what my cover artist is doing with the covers! I can’t wait to share!

Teasers. I love the teasers. When a scene makes me laugh out loud, I immediately want to share with the world!

And, eventually, links to grab the books, so you too care share my love of this series.

Oh, and if you aren’t following me on Facebook, that’s the best place to get all this info: TAMI LUND AUTHOR PAGE.

Talk to you soon!

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author who writes romance in various sub-genres, including paranormal, romcom, and (once again) romantic suspense! Here’s her website: https://tamilund.com/

 

 

No Jerks On Monday

“No, no, no. This is all wrong,” a woman’s shrill voice penetrates the quiet of the cellar. The normally echo-y building has been peaceful to this point. I lift my gaze from the emails I’ve been going over and glance around.

“This is not what I wanted. The linen is the wrong shade of white, the flowers aren’t pink enough, and you haven’t changed the menu despite my express wishes. The spot you picked out for the ceremony just won’t do. You’re ruining my wedding.”

I roll my gaze to the ceiling. Bloody drama queen.

“I’m sure we can figure this out,” Sarah, our new cellar manager, says. “How about we sit and talk about the changes you would like, and then I can show you several more spots on the property where you might prefer to host the ceremony.”

I go back to reading. Sarah was Evan’s assistant for the last few years, and while she isn’t quite where I would have liked her to be training-wise before I promoted her, she’s been part of Anders long enough that she should have this handled.

“The only good thing about this awful place is the wine,” the woman snaps. “If you can’t do the job I’m paying you for, I want my deposit back. And don’t expect that I’ll keep quiet about your ineptitude. I’ll contact every bridal magazine and tell them not to bother with this place.”

Well, that would be fine by me. The wine’s all that matters.

Except my mother would be heartbroken, and the business that comes in from weddings might suffer if the bride follows through with her threat.

I blow out a breath and shut my laptop before joining them. Sarah doesn’t have it handled. In fact, her eyes are a wide as a bunny’s, her breath speeding like she’s caught in a spotlight, and this bridezilla in her tacky orange spray tan and teensy tiny white dress is holding the rifle with her candy-colored talon resting on the trigger.

Not good.

“How’s everything going, ladies?”

They both turn their gazes on me; Sarah’s full of worry, our bridezilla shooting me a look from under heavy mascara that could intimidate someone other than myself. It sweeps over me and lights up as I take her hand. I don’t know why, but women seem to like me on first meeting. Most of them. Except one in particular.

“I’m Jake Anders. And you must be…”

“Candy St. James,” she says, the shrill replaced by a huskier tone.

“Sarah, could you please go get us a bottle of…” I scan Candy from head to toe. American. Likes to think she’s sophisticated, but I doubt that she’s as refined as she thinks she is. Definitely a bubbly drinker. Probably a three-dollar bottle of Passion Pop kind of girl, but I’m not about to suggest it. “Moscato. Sparkling. The batch from 2012.”

Candy’s lips sweep open on an “oh.”

“Are you sure?” Sarah asks. That wasn’t our best year. But her asking probably makes it sound like it’s better than it is, which works in our favor.

“Absolutely,” I say.

Sarah leaves us to search out a bottle, and with a hand to her elbow, I guide Candy toward a table at the front of the building with a panoramic view of the sprawling emerald lawn surrounded by rows and rows of vines. It’s a pretty view. One that never fails to make my chest swell. “Why don’t we take a seat and you can tell me what we can do to make your day perfect.”

“Well…” Candy pulls a binder out of her Mary Poppins-sized tote, places it on the table, and starts flipping through the pages. And then she rattles off a list of grievances so long I zone out.

I have never understood the fascination of weddings. Women become downright swoony at the idea of a white dress and vows. Obsessive. Lithe, hungry demons really. I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t get a far-off look in her eye when it comes to weddings.

But it’s the commitment after that matters. Not whether it’s fucking sunny on that particular day or if the flowers are the right color. Pink is pink, for Christ’s sake.

Hell, my mother spent thirty years with a man who not only put work above her but didn’t tell her he was sick until he found out it was terminal. And my sister is trying to get a divorce from a man she never should have married in the first place.

And the one time I considered it…

Sarah comes back with the wine and glasses. I pour one for the bride and hand it to her. “Okay, let’s start with the biggest issue. Location? What would you need to make it perfect?”

“I want it outside. With the vines in the background. Your planner showed me your usual spots, but the one that would work is next to a pond. There are ducks. I don’t want water fowl waddling around, crapping everywhere.”

Is Monday the kind of girl who falls for this whole cock and bull? Probably. I shift in my chair. Who gives a shit if the auditor is a romantic at heart? It’s none of my business.

“Okay, I have a couple of ideas for you.” I gesture for Sarah to bring the photo album of locations at the vinery. “Let’s have a look at your options and then we can take a tour and check them out before you make your decision.”

“Mmm,” Candy says, sipping her sparkling wine. “One thing I know for sure is, this wine is incredible. How’d you know?”

“Call it my wine sense. It’s sort of a sixth sense for pairing people with wine.”

“Whatever it is, you nailed it. We absolutely must serve it at the reception.”

“Of course.” Whatever the bride wants, she gets.

It’s a good two hours before we finally have all her issues rectified. Sarah joined us to take notes as we went through every little detail. Now Sarah’s walking the bride-to-be to her car.

I head behind the bar to filch the bottle of scotch I keep stashed there. Wine is my world, but after that meeting, I need a proper drink. I pour two fingers into a glass and settle in front of my laptop.

Sarah joins me at the bar a few minutes later. “I’m sorry. Evan always handled the difficult cases.”

“He had a way with the bridezillas,” I agree.

She smiles and tucks a tendril of brunette hair behind her ear. “He learned from the best. Your mum is brilliant with all this stuff. I’m just…”

“It’s fine. I’ve thrown you in the deep end with this one. And that woman is a bridezilla if I’ve ever seen one.”

“Well, at least she left happy,” Sarah says, collecting the glasses and the leftover wine.

“Yeah.” And I didn’t have a drink tossed in my face.

I roll my gaze to the beams overhead. Monday wasn’t happy at our meeting. Neither was I. And I’m pretty sure I acted like a tosser during it.

Perhaps I should try to make peace with her since my business is in her hands. A little light-hearted banter ought to bring her around. Grinning, I pull out my phone and tap out a quick text.

 

Me: Clearly not all American women think I’m an arse.

 

I don’t get a response until much later in the evening while I’m in the shower. Dripping wet, shampoo still in my hair, I stumble out of the bathroom half-blinded by soap to pick up my phone. Who does that? Me. I’ll do anything for the winery, including trying not to irritate the gorgeous blonde who holds the power to stop the largest distributer in the US from dealing with my business. A deal I need if I want to grow Anders Valley Vineyard as aggressively as I plan to.

 

Monday: Sorry. Who is this?

 

I have her number and she has mine, but I suppose it would make sense that she doesn’t have my information stored in her cell phone. I consider telling her, but where’s the fun in that? I reply on my way back to the bathroom.

 

Me: The jerk.

Monday: Which jerk?

 

I raise an eyebrow as I study those two words on the lock screen through the glass shower paneling. So it’s not just me then? Either she has a thing for jackasses or she’s uptight and judgemental. It’s hard to tell. I wash out the shampoo and take a moment to dry off before responding again.

 

Me: You know more than one?

 

Dot. Dot. Dot.

Those little dots go on forever. Long enough for me to clean up the bathroom and stretch out in bed. One hand tucked under my head, I glare at the dots. Is she writing a damn essay on how all men are dicks? If so, that would explain a lot. Sure, I wasn’t having a great night when we met, but her reaction was over the top. If this is a standard thing for her though… Maybe she just needs someone to show her we’re not all arseholes.

 

Me: All women like my wine. This one drank it like a civilized being though instead of tossing it in my face.

Monday: Jake Anders????

 

That wasn’t so hard. My lip tugs up on one side. I’m never going to let her live it down. The experience was unforgettable.

 

Me: That’s the one. Knew you’d be able to figure it out.

Monday: Why are you telling me this?

 

Good question. I guess I want to prove I’m not as big a jerk as she thinks I am. It’s as a good excuse as any to text her. And come on, it’s funny.

 

Me: Thought you might like to know most women don’t find it necessary to douse me in rosé.

 

I wait for her to respond. Or send a laughing emoji or a winky face or something to suggest she finds it as funny as I do. I get nothing.

What if she didn’t find it funny at all?

No Jerks on Monday

 

^^^That is a tidbit from my latest release, NO JERKS ON MONDAY.

Here’s what it’s about:

Jake Anders looks like he should be on the cover of an Australian firefighters calendar;

instead he owns a winery that makes a fabulous rosé.

The first time I met him, he was a jerk.

And then he became my client.

And he started acting distinctly non-jerky.

So I set out to prove it was all a ruse.

My ploy didn’t work.

And now, we’ve slept together.

If this is nothing but a one-night stand, I am so screwed.

You can grab it on Amazon. Happy reading!

~Tami Lund & Misti Murphy

Wine Country and Wine Books

I’ve just returned from a trip to northern California, where I visited both Sonoma and Napa Valley. My trip can be summed up in one word: Fantastic. Maybe one more word: Wine.

However, blogs were not meant to be short and sweet, so let me expound.

IMG_3919

It was my twentieth wedding anniversary (I know! Can you believe it? Yeah, we were babies when we tied the knot. Babies, I tell ya!). My husband joined me, of course. (Might have been a tad awkward if I’d gone for our anniversary without him.) The best man from our wedding (and his wife) and my bestie-in-the-whole-wide-world, aka maid of honor (well, she was technically matron since she got married first, but that term sounds lame, so we stuck with maid) and her husband, and the parents of our flower girl and ring bearer (Who are also super amazing besties of ours–the parents, I mean. The kids are cool, too, though.) all joined us.

(Side note – yes, another one – we suggested the ring bearer and flower girl join us for the next trip, since, crazy enough, they’re of age, which is so weird considering they were these two totally adorable toddlers walking–and maybe a little bit of running–down the aisle at my wedding. But then again, I guess that whole thing did happen two decades ago!)

Anywhooooo, so we vacationed in Cali, these four couples who have known each other for far more than two decades. Which is crazy, because are we even old enough to have friends that long? Okay, okay, maybe I’m referring to the way we act. But hey, if you can’t have fun with your besties…

I won’t bore you with every single detail (not that a single detail was remotely boring–not even that morning three of us woke up early and went hiking, legit hiking, on a mountain that just happened to be at the end of the street on which the house we were renting was located. Of note, we are not from states in which hiking on mountains at the end of the road is a thing, so yeah, we may have been a tad excited.)

I will tell you that it was magnificent, every single aspect, from the wine to the food (we highly recommend Brix in Napa Valley and the Depot Hotel Restaurant in Sonoma) to the company (the laughs, oh my gosh, the laughs!) was utterly and spectacularly perfect.

I will also leave you with a funny story from our trip (and a reminder that I just wrote a book about wine country–okay, okay, it’s based in Australia, but it’s still about a winery, specific a super hot guy who owns a winery, and it’s well worth the read if you’re into, well, wine country, and also romantic comedy or maybe just my books in general. It’s called No Jerks on Monday in case you want to check it out.).

No Jerks on Monday

So here’s the story: My bestie and her husband started their vacay early–they flew into San Francisco on Monday and on Wednesday, when the rest of us arrived, we picked them up and headed north to Wine Country. While we were at dinner on Wednesday, they told us a story about a food tour they’d gone on in downtown SF. It was quite the pleasant experience, until a presumably homeless man stepped in the middle of their group while the tour guide was giving details about whatever building they happened to be standing in front of.

She didn’t miss a beat, keeping her cool and nodding at the guy as he talked gibberish while gesturing wildly. She carried on as if this was a completely normal part of the tour. And then, after he muttered something about someone named “Steven,” she said, “Oh, yes, I know Steven.”

At which point the homeless guy shouted, “STEVEN IS A BITCH.”

And the tour guide, still without missing a beat, said, “And we’re walking,” and herded her group down the sidewalk and on to the next stop.

We found this story outrageously hilarious, and proceeded to insert “Steven is a bitch” into every conversation we possibly could. It became our “That’s what she said” of the weekend.

Oh, but it gets better.

Thursday morning, we went on the Sonoma Food, Wine & History Tour (if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it, and ask for Abby because she’s amazing, as you’ll learn in just a moment).

Our tour guide, as I just noted, was Abby. Friendly, bubbly, made a point to get to know every person in the group. We were comfortable with her in probably less than twenty minutes.

IMG_3780

The tour started right outside the Depot Park Museum in downtown Sonoma. Abby was giving us a bit of history about the area, including the fact that the now-defunct tracks we were standing next to used to carry a train full of basalt (which was excavated from the mountain right there in Sonoma) into San Francisco to be loaded onto boats to be carried who knows where in the world.

An elderly woman who clearly worked or volunteered at the museum happened to be walking by at the precise moment Abby mentioned San Francisco, and the woman snapped, “No, that’s not where it went. It went to blah blah blah [I don’t even know what she said, to be honest]. You should come into the museum so you can learn something.” And then she stuck her nose in the air and stomped away.

At which point someone in our group muttered, “Annnnd Steven is a bitch.”

And then we collapsed against each other, laughing hysterically, while poor Abby looked on, quite mystified. Until we filled her in on the joke.

Which she proceeded to use to her advantage for the duration of the tour.

So, yeah, we had a marvelous time. I can’t wait to go back.

~*~

No Jerks on Monday

 

Tami Lund is an author and wine drinker who writes books about sexy winery owners. Take a peek at No Jerks on Monday HERE.

Too Much Fun Scheduled…

It’s graduation/wedding/end of school season. For me personally, it’s also wedding anniversary-slash-daughter’s birthday season. Oh yeah, and summer; trying to get in every single possible second of glorious sunshine-filled days because I live in Michigan and fully understand how few and fleeting those days are.

This summer, so far, I’ve only received one wedding invite; scheduled for the last day of my vacation, no less. But I do have plenty of high school graduations. In fact, I had two invites for last weekend and two more for this upcoming one. There’s also my brother-in-law’s birthday party and my niece’s horse show, my daughter’s last day of school, and prepping (mentally and literally) for the vacation my husband and I are taking for our twentieth wedding anniversary (!!). And as soon as we return, it’s my daughter’s birthday, and after that, I think summer slows down for a few weeks until our annual family vacation (and that wedding) toward the end of July. Thank God.

Oh crap, and I just realized Father’s Day falls in there, too!

Meanwhile, I’m riddled with guilt as I try to juggle two jobs, a teenager, nurturing my garden so I can have fresh salsa by the end of summer, attempting to lose a few pounds so I actually don’t hate the way I look in my swimsuit; on top of all those obligations listed above. Which, by the way, ultimately, will be fun, so honestly, calling them obligations isn’t the correct term, but that’s how I feel at the moment.

Because it’s too much. And yet I want to—or at least feel obligated to—do it all. Two of the grad parties are for children of cousins whose parents are brothers, so optimally I’d like to only do one, but is that really fair? Truthfully, I may not be able to do either, which only adds yet another layer to my constant companion, Guilt.

And then there’s the reality that my husband and I chose to get married on Father’s Day weekend all those years ago, so we have to figure out how to celebrate that special event, honor three fathers (my husband and both our dads), as well as make my daughter feel special on her birthday, which is also right there in the mix. Oh, and three of my five nieces have birthdays all that same week as my daughter. This summer in particular, I am so grateful we enrolled my daughter in the school she currently attends if only because they end their school year a week before her old one does; otherwise, that grand event would be happening right smack in the middle of everything else listed in this paragraph.

Oy, we should have planned out our lives better!

I know, I know, that isn’t how it works, but that comment makes me chuckle because I am, while not strictly Type A, most definitely a planner, and I need to make everything fit, everything work; find order on the chaos that has become my June calendar. (Yes, I still use a paper calendar. Two of them, as a matter of fact. Because I don’t care what you say, it’s just easier.)

And so, up front, before the event-filled weekends even arrive, I have to mentally make the decisions: What will we do? What will we decline? And those decisions are, admittedly, made with my coveted writing time in mind.

If I go to the work event on Friday, the graduation on Saturday, the dinner party on Saturday, and the graduation on Sunday, when will I have time to write?  And so I start trimming obligations, so that I can sit on my backporch and work on yet another novel for your enjoyment.

Because I enjoy it too. And I don’t feel obligated to do it; I simply want to. Which is how writing ultimately is the winner in the end.

Rather, you are.

 

Dragon in Denial Cover FINAL

Tami Lund writes books and drinks copious amounts of wine to combat the guilt of choosing writing over all that fun stuff she should be doing. This book just released on May 31, if you want to check it out!

DRAGON IN DENIAL

 

 

How A Book Is Born

This isn’t about all that technical stuff, like uploading documents and JPEGs and choosing key words and all that not-exciting stuff authors have to deal with in order to bring you great reads.

Nope.

This is about the inner workings of an author’s mind.

This is about how the idea for a book comes about.

Fair warning: it’s not normal. It’s not typical. In fact, it’s probably a bit weird.

You’ve been warned.

So anyway, about five years ago, on a random Friday, I was heading into the day job later than normal. I can’t remember why, but if I had to guess, I probably worked really late the day before and needed an extra hour of sleep.

Anyway, this particular section of my commute is down a long, two-lane road that cuts through a swampy area. There are eight-foot cattails on either side of the street for about a quarter of a mile, then, on the left, there’s a dirt road, which is really just a driveway shared by a handful of houses. The house closest to the road is the largest, and then the ones behind it are smaller. I don’t know if it’s all one family or if maybe the big house sold the land at some point, but in my mind, I decided that the smaller house directly behind the big one was a cottage that the owners rented out to one of the key secondary characters in the book that was forming in my head.

On this day that I was late heading into work, there was a little girl standing at the end of that dirt road. She was kicking pebbles and her thumbs were hooked into the straps of her backpack, and I remember thinking, She’s young, like maybe kindergarten or first grade, and she’s standing next to this street where cars zoom past at 45-50 miles per hour. Seems like there’d be a parent hovering around such a small child.

And then a car slowed down and turned onto the dirt road where she was standing, and my overactive imagination kicked into gear.

What if that driver is about to kidnap that little girl? (For the record, that’s not what happened in real life.)

Okay, who’s the heroine? Will it be the mother? No, an innocent bystander. Someone jogging down the road. And if that person dives into the cattails for some reason, the kidnapper won’t even notice that he has an eyewitness.

What would be a good reason for a jogger to hide in cattails? Checking out animal tracks? Lost something?

Sick? Puking?

Yeah, it’s Friday, and lots of people start the weekend on Thursday, and what if our eyewitness-slash-heroine got drunk last night and decided to go for a jog to sweat it out and ended up getting sick to her stomach?

Okay, so now, why would someone kidnap this little girl? What’s the motive? And how is the jogger going to get sucked in?

I continued on my way, and probably about a mile and a half down the road, I passed a small row of shops, including a dry cleaner.

And while I was at work that day, a co-worker told me a story about her husband’s family, who own a dry cleaner.

Her husband’s family is Italian.

Another one of my co-workers is Italian, and he tells stories about his mom’s recipes (she makes an amazing tiramisu, for the record) and how he took his now wife to Italy to propose and how his family is very authentically Italian…

All weekend, this book percolated in my mind. I was still trying to work out the key details.

Who’s the bad guy? Why is he the bad guy?

Who’s the hero? How is he going to meet the heroine?

How does the little girl play into it all?

On Sunday afternoon, my husband lounged on the couch and binge watched The Godfather movies. I didn’t sit with him; by default I’ve seen them a hundred times anyway and I’m not one of those people who likes to sit around and watch the same shows over and over again. But it was on, and the voices drifted through my head and…

Monday morning, I drove that exact same commute, and when I cruised through that swampy area, there was no little girl waiting for the bus.

And I thought about this story idea that wouldn’t stop bouncing around in my head.

This road.

Little girl waiting for the bus.

Kidnapped.

Jogger sees it.

Little girl’s mother is angry but not frantic. Why?

Dad is the kidnapper. Why?

DAD IS A MAFIA BOSS.

Boom. That’s it. That’s the missing puzzle piece to pull it all together.

But I didn’t want the actual boss to ultimately be the hero; no, he needed to be the bad guy. Because mafia bosses have to be damned ruthless to keep and maintain their power, right? So someone on his crew or in his family has to be the hero.

His brother.

But I didn’t want the hero to be someone who kills or abuses other people. No, he needs to be someone behind the scenes.

The money man.

And they need a front, a legit business, behind which they can launder money and evade the IRS.

A dry cleaning chain.

Boom.

And the jogger, she’s going to be a random person, someone with a heart of gold, someone who would never, ever become involved with a man who is associated with a dirty business like the mob. Because of course, our hero is going to fall for her, and if she ever finds out he’s connected to the mob, well…

THERE’S OUR STORY.

And now it’s finally ready for your reading pleasure. Trapped by the Mob releases tomorrow, 2/28/2019. Buy it or read it in KU, your choice.

Happy reading!

AMAZON

Trapped by the Mob Cover

Tami Lund writes all sorts of romance. Suspense, romcom, shapeshifters, demigods, vampires, and now, mafia. Check out all those others on her website: https://tamilund.com/

Tami Lund Makes Mafia Romance Funny

Trapped by the Mob Cover

I posted this on my personal blog last week and decided to reblog it here… Enjoy a sneak peek at my latest release!!

~~~

Why yes, I did take a beloved trope and put my own spin on it. Because that’s what authors do, right? That’s why you keep reading; because we keep introducing new stories, new ideas, new ways to enjoy a storyline you’ve read before.

Such as the mafia. Or better yet, mafia romance. Like this one. Which is mafia romance a’la the Tami Lund special. What does that mean?

It’s means this book is gonna make you chuckle.

Here’s the premise:

TRAPPED BY THE MOB

Sure, Antonio Sarvilli is the money man behind his brother’s criminal empire, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. He’s not the one out there killing people. All he does is make greenbacks and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

That attitude changes when his brother assigns him to get to know Phoebe Cavanaugh, a Good Samaritan who witnessed something she wasn’t supposed to.

Now, all Antonio wants is to get out so he can be with Phoebe.

Except that’s not how it works when you’re part of the mob.

 

And here’s the first chapter, even before Amazon will offer it to you:

Chapter One

THE GOOD SAMARITAN

 

“I swear, I’ll never do that again,” Phoebe Cavanaugh muttered to her reflection, which stared back at her with mussed hair—and not the sexy bedhead kind, either—and bags the size of Lake Michigan under her eyes, accentuating a horribly pallid complexion.

“I am not a bad girl,” she added before shoving the toothbrush into her mouth and attempting to scrub away the cotton and lingering taste of tequila. Or maybe that was worm. God, the end of the evening was hazy, but she suspected her evil co-workers had convinced her to eat the damn thing when the last shot had been poured.

“Why did I think I could keep up?” She hadn’t been a heavy drinker when she had been in college, let alone in the five years since graduating. “And on a weekday, no less.”

She trudged back to her bedroom and huffed out a sigh. The digital clock on her bedside table flipped to 8:02.

Phoebe should have been to work an hour ago, and she hadn’t even showered yet. Hell, she was still wearing the jeans and boatneck, striped shirt she’d worn to the bar last night.

Not to mention the roiling in her stomach. Ugh. How the heck did one cure a weekday hangover?

She kicked a running shoe out of her way, and for the first time since dragging herself out of bed, something inside her body perked up. “I’ll sweat it out.”

She nodded, stripping out of last night’s clothes and reaching for her favorite pair of running shorts. “Thirty-minute jog, ten-minute shower, bare minimum makeup, and I’ll stop at McDonald’s on the way to work. I’ll be two hours late, but at least they won’t be able to say I couldn’t hang.”

Hell, she was feeling better already.

A swath of oak trees with massive, sprawling branches lined up on either side of a narrow, winding drive that separated Phoebe’s apartment complex from the main road. The natural barrier helped cut down on the city noises that slammed into her as soon as she hit the sidewalk, running along the road that normally took her to her job, the grocery store, the nearby bar she never intended to step foot into again.

She passed a gas station and hung a left, running along the gravel shoulder of a residential road that cut through a swampy area, which meant it was underdeveloped and thus much quieter with far less traffic. Lots of school buses, though. Usually she was already at work by this point, so she didn’t have to share road time with the big yellow vehicles with their flashing red lights and the stop signs that popped out from the side every time the gears ground to a halt to take on yet another kid.

The bout of nausea hit when she was jogging through a particularly quiet stretch. A wall of eight-foot tall cattails swayed in the gentle breeze to her left, and a gravel path jutted from the main road to her right. A two-story house with dust-covered, white siding stood sentinel, with a smaller cottage tucked behind it, like maybe it was a servant’s quarters or, more likely, a guesthouse. A dark-haired girl stood at the end of the dirt road, presumably waiting for the bus. She kicked pebbles while fiddling with the straps on her purple backpack.

“Oh God.” Phoebe’s stomach had about two seconds before she expelled whatever contents were left from last night, so she dove through the wall of cattails. She preferred to puke in private, thankyouverymuch. Her running shoes sank into muck as she bent at the waist and hacked up what looked like she might very well have eaten that damn worm from the bottom of the tequila bottle.

Sucking in deep breaths and wiping the snot from her nose with the back of her hand, she remained doubled over at the waist until the sound of a car door caught her attention. Glad for the distraction from the grossness at her feet, she gingerly pulled her shoes from the mud and separated the foliage with her hands so she could look out at the road.

A newer model black town car had stopped near the young girl still standing across the street. That was weird. Phoebe glanced up and down the road, but there were no other cars. Or buses. She didn’t see someone who might resemble a parent either. And that guy climbing out of the driver’s seat didn’t look like any father Phoebe would want. Not that she knew her own father or believed they all should look a certain way, but this guy, he would be a better fit in a mafia movie than in, say, a Disney princess book.

Unless the story was about kidnapper dads.

“Holy shit!” She stared through the gap she’d made in the cattails as the guy walked around the car, grabbed the kid by the strap of her purple backpack, and tossed her into the backseat of his car. Okay, maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that, but that little girl had definitely not intended to go with that guy. She was waiting for the bus, wasn’t she?

“Ohmigod, he’s kidnapping her!” Phoebe leaped from her hiding place, waving her arms and shouting, “Stop! Stop! Help! Police! Somebody call the cops!”

The kidnapper’s head snapped up, and for a second she was afraid he was about to pull out a gun and aim it at her. Maybe she watched too many movies. Except the guy was kidnapping that kid, for crying out loud!

Instead of shooting her, he hustled around the car and hopped into the driver’s seat, the tires spinning and kicking dirt and pebbles at her as she raced across the street like she thought she was going to be able to stop him.

“Nina?”

Phoebe jerked her attention to the woman jogging toward her on the dirt road. She must have come from the smaller house tucked behind the big one. The woman wore a pale pink, scoop neck T-shirt and a pair of khaki capris. Her hair was dark, pulled back into a ponytail, and her features were dainty and elfin. Just like the little girl who was speeding away in the backseat of a black sedan with some creepy mob guy.

“Nina,” the woman said again when she reached Phoebe. “Did the bus come?” She sounded on the edge of panic, like she needed Phoebe to lie to her.

“Some guy just kidnapped her,” Phoebe said. “At least, I think so. That was your daughter, right? Dark hair, purple backpack, looks just like you?”

The lady twisted her head back and forth, looking up and down the road. “Yes. Nina. What do you mean, some guy just kidnapped her? Who?”

Phoebe tugged her phone from her shorts pocket and dialed 9-1-1. “How the hell do I know who he was? But I can describe the car and him, although damn it, I didn’t think to get the license—hello? Yes, this is an emergency. I just witnessed a kidnapping. Yes, I’ll—”

“No!” The woman jerked the phone from Phoebe’s hand and pressed the red button on the screen to disconnect the call. “Don’t involve the cops.”

“Don’t what? Are you crazy? Some mafia-looking guy just kidnapped your daughter, lady.” She enunciated the words the way people did when they were speaking to someone who didn’t understand English very well.

“Which is why you can’t involve the police.”

Phoebe’s phone rang. Emergency dispatch flashed on the screen. She took a couple steps away from the crazy lady and answered the call. “Yes, hello? Yes, I did just call and yes, I did witness a kidnapping. I’m at” —she glanced up at the street sign—“the corner of Hiller and Dirk Avenue. Yes, I’ll stay here until the police arrive. Thank you. Uh-uh. Bye.”

She disconnected the call and glanced at the woman who was now frowning at her like she’d done something wrong instead of try to help her get her daughter back. “Are you going into shock? Is that the problem?”

The lady flung out her hand and stormed away, heading down the road that, now that Phoebe got a good look at it, was actually a long, winding driveway. The mother of the year muttered as she walked. Something about ruining everything and now Gino was going to be a complete ass and probably punish her even though she wasn’t the one who called the cops and why couldn’t people just mind their own damn business.

“Hey,” Phoebe said, chasing after her. “If I hadn’t noticed that guy taking your kid, you wouldn’t even know she was gone until she didn’t get off the school bus this afternoon.”

The lady sighed and turned around. “Yes, I would have. I’m sure Gino will call, probably within the hour. He didn’t take her because he actually wants to see her; he took her because I went out on a date last night. Apparently he can screw anyone he damn well pleases, but I can’t even go on one lousy date. And that’s the best part: It was a lousy date.”

Phoebe canted her head and furrowed her brow. “What are you talking about?”

The lady flapped her hand again. “Gino. My ex-husband. I’m sure that’s who took Nina. Well, one of his minions, at any rate, since he never does his own dirty work.”

“Oh. I take it he’s her dad?”

“Of course he is,” she snapped, like the answer was obvious.

“So he won’t hurt her?”

“Doubtful. I mean, I’m pretty sure Gino isn’t actually capable of love, but whatever passes closest to it in his mind is what he feels for Nina. So no, he won’t hurt her. He only did this to torment me.”

“Yeah, you said that. Because you went on a date last night. But didn’t you say he’s your ex-husband?”

“Yes, thank God.”

“Then how is it he has any say over your life whatsoever?”

“Trust me, once you get caught in Gino Sarvilli’s web, you never truly get out again. Even though he granted me the divorce two years ago, the ground rules were clear. I’m only allowed to do whatever Gino says I can do. And having a life, enjoying the company of another man, isn’t on that list.”

“That makes no sense.”

She shrugged. “It does in Gino’s world.”

“You make the guy sound like a dictator or something.”

“You said it,” she said as a police cruiser slowed and turned onto the dirt road, inching toward them. “And this”—she pointed at the cop car— “just made it ten times worse.”

Thanks to an unfortunate situation last fall—which, by the way, hadn’t been her fault—Phoebe had lost her job as a wedding planner. One career change later and she wasn’t quite to the ninety-day mark in her current position. Now she had no idea if she’d even be able to make it in today.

Not the way to impress the new boss.

~~~

And here’s the link to keep reading when it releases on February 28, 2019: PRE-ORDER. 

PS – It will be available in KU!

PSS – The sequel, FREED FROM THE MOB, is scheduled for release on March 28, 2019.

Happy reading!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes all sorts of tropes, from dragons to witches to demigods to contemporary suspense and romcom. All all sexy, all are funny, and all will satisfy your need for a happy ever after… https://tamilund.com/