Vote for Me! Vote for Me! Vote for Me!

Pretty please, with sugar on top?

Oh, you want to know what I’m asking you to vote for! Well, it’s a book. One of my favorites. Okay, yeah, they’re all my favorite in one way or another.

This one is special because it’s about a sexy billionaire, which, true confession, is not a trope I’m particularly fond of. But I wrote it, because my co-author, Misti Murphy, and I came up with what we thought was a funny and adorable way to write this story. Crazy enough, the fact that the hero is a billionaire isn’t even significant to the plot.

Handsome man or muscular macho

And if the review of SEXY BAD BOSS from InD’tale Magazine is any indication, we nailed it.

The review I’m referring to is what got SEXY BAD BOSS nominated for a RONE Award.

(Psst: I won a RONE Award in 2016 for my book, UNDERCOVER HEAT. Isn’t it pretty? It sits on my mantel in all its fingerprint-covered glory.)

Rone Award

Now it’s three years later and I have a chance to give my adorable (and pride-inducing) RONE a partner up there above the fireplace.

I NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

I need your vote to move SEXY BAD BOSS to the final round!

Oh, speaking of, here’s what InD’tale Magazine’s reviewer thought was so awesome about this book:

“This steamy romance is hilarious and absolutely unique in that the big, sexy, rich boss man has no clue of his own allure. He is not a playboy, nor does he even have a clue that his own gorgeous assistant is in love with him. Myra is driven and talented and knows what she wants. The connection between the two sizzles, yet communication was somewhat lacking in a few parts. James was a little too straight-laced in the beginning, but once he opens up, he is all fire and passion and when he thinks he has lost Myra for good, he goes to any length to win her back. Add in an adorable little girl, a goat, a duck and a cat, and you have yourself a smoking hot, witty, adorable and heartwarming romance!”

On that note, if you could spare a moment, I’d love your vote so this [potentially] award-winning book can move on to the final round of judging!

Here’s how to do it:

1. Click the link that’s below all these pesky instructions. You must register on the website in order to vote (their rules, not mine).
2. Click ‘login’ at the top right of the page.
3. Click ‘I want to create an account.’
4. Fill in all necessary info. They do nothing with your email address so don’t worry – no spam!
5. Once you’re registered, you will need to actually log in.
6. Go to the menu and click IND’SCRIBE/RONES.
7. Select ‘2019 RONE Awards’ then week six.
8. First category is Contemporary Steamy – that’s where SEXY BAD BOSS is located!! Select my book then select VOTE!
9. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! 💖💖

https://www.indtale.com/2019-rone-awards-week-six

Handsome man or muscular macho

Tami Lund writes romance books that are sometimes nominated for awards. But they can only win if YOU vote. So, thank you for your vote!
PS – here’s her website if you want to check out her other books:

 

DC From My Perspective

My husband and daughter were recently gone for five nights and four days. My daughter is in eighth grade and we live in Michigan, and it’s an eighth grade “thing” here to go to Washington DC.

Since my husband is a history buff and also can survive on less than seven hours of sleep per night, he was a chaperone for this trip.

Which meant the dog and I were home alone for FOUR GLORIOUS DAYS.

Oops, who added that extra word in that sentence?

Here’s how the Washington DC trip went from my perspective:

I arrive home from work on Wednesday evening and my husband says, “Will you be able to pick us up on Monday morning?”

Me: “What in the world are you talking about?”

Him: “The bus is leaving tonight and is scheduled to arrive back at the school [which is a Catholic school – this will be important in a moment] at 8:30 Monday morning. Can you pick us up?”

Me: “You have a perfectly well-functioning vehicle. Why would I pick you up?”

Him: “I don’t want to leave my truck there for four days.”

Me: “In a church parking lot?” [See, told you it would be important!]

Him: “I mean, I guess, as a last resort, I suppose I’ll have to…”

Me: “I typically arrive at work at 8:15. To a job that is an hour away. If I pick you up and take you home I won’t get to work until 10 am. What, again, is your issue with leaving your truck in a church parking lot for a few days?”

Him: “I just don’t want to. But if it’s an inconvenience for you…”

Me: “It’s an inconvenience for my employer. Who pays half our bills.”

Him: …

Me, accompanied by an eye roll: “In case you forgot, your mom is retired and generally loves to help out with pretty much anything.”

Him, texting away to Mom but speaking to me: “So this means you’ll drop us off tonight at seven?”

Cue drop off. Followed by a stop at grocery store for weekend provisions. Read: wine.

Then bedtime. After putting fresh sheets on the bed. And then I lie down, spread eagle in the middle of the bed, and enjoy the utterly heavenly lack of snoring.

Single people don’t know how awesome they have it

Day two of Washington DC trip:

Go to work. Get there early because, no school drop off. Hope I can wrap everything up and leave a little early since otherwise the dog will be stuck home alone for ten hours.

10 am, mother-in-law texts: Do you think your dog would like a play date with mine?

Me, texting back: YES.

Later that evening, after work: I think I’ll have a couple of drinks instead of walk the dog…

Day three of Washington DC trip:

Go to work. Get home from work. Walk the dog. Best friend calls.

Her: “What are you up to?”

Me, pouring wine: “I’m home alone at the moment.”

Her: “Me too!”

Conversation proceeds for two hours and half a bottle of wine. Okay, okay, maybe more than half.

Day four of Washington DC trip:

It’s Saturday. My favorite writing day, usually. Except I committed to participating in a 5k race. (By participate I mean walk.) Which then leads to lunch, drinks, a visit to a nearby wine store.

Me: Single people really have no idea how great they have it.

Day five of Washington DC trip:

The house is clean, the dog is walked, the grass is mowed, the laundry is done and holy shit I still have six hours before Game of Thrones. This has been a glorious DC trip.

I suppose I do miss them a little, but damn, it’s nice to have a clean house and no snoring. I haven’t slept this well in twenty years.

Day six of Washington DC trip:

It’s Monday. Alarm goes off. That was my last night with the bed all to myself. Also, no snoring.

I’m gonna miss the no snoring.

My phone vibrates with a text.

Husband: “Bus is early. We should be there around 7:30. Can you pick us up?”

Me: Ugh. Grimace. I don’t do well with last minute changes of plans on Monday mornings, even if it means I’ll get to see them before I head to work. “I suppose.”

Him: “Great! See you soon!”

Seven-twenty-five: I pull into my parking space at the church, where a whole bunch of other vehicles are parked and appear to have been there for the last five days, and a moment later, the bus pulls up and starts belching out exhausted looking kids and parents.

Me: Heart gives a funny little lurch when hubby and then daughter step off the bus.

Okay, maybe I did miss them.

But I still didn’t miss the snoring.

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Tami Lund writes romance, drinks wine, and really does love her husband and daughter. Although she could definitely do without the husband’s snoring. Check out her website for the latest release: https://tamilund.com/

PS – This book right here is on sale for only 99c right now, and it’s the first in a great new dragon series. And book three, Dragon in Denial, is releasing soon…

Docu-Diet, Twitter-Style

Yeah, I just made that word up. What do they call that? Click-bait. I wanted you to check out my blog post, so I came up with something to entice you into clicking. That’s it. The only purpose for the word, Docu-diet.

Well, maybe not the only purpose. I mean, I really did start a diet last week, and I am documenting it on Twitter, so maybe I just created a new word? Hmmm….

Anyway, what the hell am I talking about and why do you care that I’m dieting? Well, I’m sure you don’t, other than my dieting woes may create a few chuckles for you. Because let me tell you, the only way I’m going to make it through the next seven weeks is by using a lot of sarcasm. Dieting is not my thing. Wine and too-large portions are more up my alley, and those are apparently big, fat no-no’s in the dieting world.

Let me explain, via my Twitter feed:

Side note: Based on her reading preferences, this is the series I recommended she start with: TWISTED FATE SERIES ON AMAZON

 

 

Wait, you aren’t following me on Twitter? Click HERE or any one of those tweets above and remedy that, asap.

I’ll wait.

Also, another side note: Guess what I learned today? HOW TO EMBED TWEETS INTO BLOG POSTS. May not be a big deal to you, but I feel a little bit like BuzzFeed right now.

So anyway, back to dieting… Yes, I’m doing it, or at least making more of an attempt than I ever have before. Which likely isn’t saying much compared to real dieters. But I truly do want to lose an inch or so around my waist so all those cute little skirts fit me again, and I figured joining a challenge with other people who are much more aggressively competitive than I am will at least encourage me to try harder than the average Tami.

So if you enjoy watching someone in misery or maybe you actually find my sense of humor amusing, head on over to Twitter and cheer me on. I need all the encouragement–and likes–I can get!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, award-winner, and, apparently dieter. She’s also still a wine drinker, and is trying really hard not to keep Napa Valley in business, at least for the next seven weeks. Until she wins that prize. And then all bets are off.

PS – Yes, this pic is a few years old, and no, Tami isn’t updating it.

It’s My Husband’s Birthday & I Have No Plan

Today is my husband’s birthday. Some would say my family is lucky in that our three birthdays are spread throughout the year—mine is in January, my husband’s is, well, today, and my daughter’s is in June.

Except each date comes with its own set of challenges.

Take my birthday, for instance. It’s in January, on the downside of the holiday season. In the words of that Oklahoma City woman who is meme-famous, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Everyone’s still recovering, financially, physically, emotionally. Our livers are in rehab after an arduous and impressive showing during the previous month. Our pocketbooks have taken a hiatus and are threatening never to return.

your-birthday-ain39t-nobody-got-time-for-that-meme-27994

Add to that this very real fact: I don’t particularly like to celebrate my birthday. I’m clinging to youth like Kate and Leonardo clutching on to that piece of floating debris in the Titanic movie, and each birthdate is a stark reminder that I am not, in fact, twenty-five anymore.

And haven’t been for a coupla decades. Damn it.

Then there’s my husband’s birthday. Occasionally, it falls on Easter, and when the kids were younger, the Easter bunny and egg hunts and baskets filled with treats trumped whatever celebration he might have hoped for. Until this year, it was also spring break (new principal, so now spring break coincides with Easter, which means for this year in particular, it’s more like “just before school ends break”). We always headed south for that week, which meant his birthday was all but forgotten until we arrived at our destination and, oops, had a late celebration.

And then there’s the daughter’s birthday, which, of course, we are going to figure out a way to celebrate no matter what. Kids deserve to have their birthdays acknowledged. It’s still fun at her age (almost 14). Getting older is actually exciting. Plus, birthdays mean presents.

So despite the fact that it falls one week after our wedding anniversary and despite the fact that three of her cousins also celebrate birthdays within a week of her own, and despite the fact that it’s the end of school and we’re always trying to figure out what the hell to do with her all summer long, and despite the fact that there are half a dozen graduation parties to attend and weddings and prepping (or at least dreaming about) our summer vacation in July; we always carve out time to celebrate her big day.

Because that’s what you do for kids.

So now, back to my husband, whose birthday is today. I didn’t make any plans because, well, honestly, it snuck up on me. I have a book release coming up tomorrow (yay! Freed from the Mob will finally be available to read!), and I had to get the third dragon book to my editor (have you read my Taming the Dragon series yet? Expect the third to release in late April or early May, depending on how extensive the edits are.). My co-author, Misti Murphy (who also released a new book this week—and Dating Dutch is fantastic too, BTW) and I are working on the first book in a new series, and we have a month to get it finished and off to the editor. Plus, there’s all the everyday stuff going on in my, um, real life.

And the hubs wasn’t making any noise about wanting anything special, so I sort of gave myself permission not to do anything at all.

To be honest, he thinks I’m the world’s worst gift-giver, and he’s the world’s worst at hiding his displeasure when he opens a gift he doesn’t want (“Seriously, this is what you got me for my birthday?”), so really, if anything, he should be dreading the idea that I may have thought even one second about his day. He should be hoping and praying that I’ve completely forgotten.

Right?

Right?

Well, I’ll let you all know how it goes. Cross a few fingers and toes for me, would ya?

Tami Lund – author, wine drinker, award winner. Here’s a link to the slew of books she’s published for your reading pleasure: https://www.amazon.com/Tami-Lund/e/B00AXJH5MY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1553649671&sr=1-1

Let’s Talk Vampires

According to Wikapedia, “A vampire is a being from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital force of the living.” Also according to Wikapedia, they weren’t particularly attractive in the beginning: “they wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy…countenance…”

My how things have changed.

Don't say no to a sexy vampire

Today, vampires are sexy. Thank God they’ve moved beyond “bloated,” because nobody wants a gassy hero.

Wikapedia also says this, in case you were looking for early (sexy) vampire reads:

“The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of “The Vampyre” by John Polidori; the story was highly successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century.[4] Bram Stoker‘s 1897 novel Dracula is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of the modern vampire legend, even though it was published after Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu‘s 1872 novel Carmilla.”

But enough about Wikapedia’s interpretation of vampires. Let’s talk about mine.

The first vampire movie I recall watching was Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. And thus a giant crush as only schoolgirls can accomplish was born. I loved them equally, although between this movie, Legends of the Fall, and Thelma and Louise, Brad most certainly and quite quickly became a frontrunner. Sorry, Tom.

Anyway, back to vampires. I also read Anne Rice’s book, of course, although I can’t remember which went first—book or movie. Probably book because I remember watching the movie on television, not in the theatre, and back then, I tended to pick up the book first whenever a movie was made from it. (Which, by the way, often led to disappointment, because it’s all too common for the book to be so much better than the movie. In the case of Interview with the Vampire, there was no disappointment because refer to beautiful men above and yes, I am shallow like that.)

Throughout my rather lengthy reading career, I’ve read plenty of vampire books, including the Sookie Stackhouse series (which admittedly I started reading because they were based near Shreveport, Louisiana, a place I called home for a decade). I also adore Katie McAlister’s Dark Ones, which I picked up because after devouring all of her dragon books I obsessively needed more and so became one of those fans who stalks an author’s backlist and snags everything she can get her hands on. And then there were the Queen Betsy books, and now, as I read back through this list, I realize there is a definite trend in my vampire reading material.

I like humorous vampire stories.

Hiding Shirts

Of course, I like sexy ones too, but hey, it’s pretty clear we can have both, right?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone?

Buffy sexual tension meme

I suppose this reading and watching material explains why the vampires I write tend to be both sexy and funny. (Although, to be fair, all of my books tend to have humor woven throughout.)

Now that I’ve snagged your interest with those sexy and funny memes, here’s the plug: I’ve written two vampire novellas. They are a pair; you should read Resist first, then Eternity. And Resist is currently discounted to 99c for only a few more days, making it terribly easy and tempting to get started on these two books.

Here’s the quickie 411:

Resist – our heroine hates vampires, with good reason. Our hero is a vampire who happens to save her life – which was threatened by a couple of punk humans, by the way. Oh yeah, our hero is also starving, but refuses to feed from her in an effort to prove not all vamps are bad guys. Also, there’s lots of sexual tension, which makes not feeding even more of a challenge. Oh, and humor. Cam’s a pretty funny vampire, if I do say so myself.

Eternity – our hero (vampire) and heroine (human) fell in love during Resist, and at the end of that book, our hero cuts all ties and sends our heroine back to her human life because he wants her to be happy and live out her full human life, something he missed out on and has always regretted. She’s pissed because he’s making this decision against her will, so she takes off to go lick her wounds and try to forget…and ends up in some seriously hot water. Our hero needs to rescue her, which is a challenge because she’s trapped on a Caribbean island, which, you know, tends to be a bright, sunny place on the regular, with little options for places to avoid the sun’s burning rays. And yeah, there’s plenty of funny, as well as some seriously sexy moments in this book.

A little about the author: Tami Lund likes to write funny, sexy vampires, as we’ve already established above. She also writes about dragons and witches and the mafia and sexy neighbors and the list goes on and on. This is where you can see the full library: https://tamilund.com/. Happy reading! 

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/