Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Now Entering The Twilight Zone



On Friday, June 15th I’ll be celebrating the release of my latest novella, La Mirage.
Part of Samhain Publishing’s Midsummer Night’s Steam anthology series, La Mirage is a spicy contemporary romance with a paranormal twist, sort of in the tradition of the Twilight Zone. {Cue the eerie music here and do your best impression of Rod Serling.}

Picture a couple...lost on a lonely highway...

Is their passion real, or only a mirage?

On a lonely stretch of I-95 in the middle of the Nevada desert, journalist Savanna Blaine and photographer Ben Lantano find themselves stranded by engine trouble on their way back from an assignment. Their quest for a gas station leads them to La Mirage, a beautiful resort nestled in a secluded canyon where they are the only guests.

Invited to spend the night in lush accommodations, passion flares between Savanna and Ben who have suppressed their hidden desires long enough. A single touch ignites an unforgettable night in each other’s arms, but the next day, they’re left to wonder, is their newfound intimacy real or nothing more than a trick of the summer heat?

Here’s a short excerpt:

“How come it doesn’t look any closer?” Savanna stopped dead center in the middle of the highway in the blank space between one painted white dash and the next and put her balled fists on her hips.

Three strides ahead of her, Ben stopped walking. He turned around, arms wide, his expression sarcastic. “Because it’s a big rock. It’s a trick of perspective.”

“Trick of perspective, my ass. We’ve been walking for…” She glanced at her watch. “Fifteen minutes? How can it only be fifteen minutes?”

“We’ve been walking more than fifteen minutes.” Ben checked his own watch, blinked some sweat out of his eyes, and checked again. “I’ve got twelve-fifteen.”

“Me, too.”

“My watch stopped.”

“Mine, too.” Savanna twirled around and took a long look down the very empty highway behind them. Delilah was just a dark spot at the side of the road, shimmering in the waves of heat rising off the blacktop. When she turned back, Ben was next to her. He lifted her wrist and checked his own watch against hers.

“The second hands on both watches stopped in the same spot,” he said.

“That’s impossible.”

“Twelve-fifteen and twenty seconds, exactly.”

“That’s when my phone went dead.” A cold tingle swept up Savanna’s spine and raced back down. She might have been grateful for the sudden internal chill, but the weight of Ben’s hand on her shoulder ratcheted the mercury back up to sweltering barely a second later.

“It’s nothing. Just a coincidence.”

“Right.” She gave him a skeptical look. “I’m a journalist. There are no coincidences.”

“Come on, let’s keep walking.” He tugged her towards him and reluctantly she forced her tired feet to move. In the distance, the sun glinted off something and the sound of a revving motor reached them on the dead air.

“Is that a car?” Ben shielded his eyes and squinted at the bright glimmer racing toward them.

Savanna did a victory hop. “It’s Roadside! Three hours, what a crock.” She applauded as the silhouette of a small car grew larger on the shimmering horizon. After a second, her grin faded when the approaching vehicle picked up speed, its engine rumbling low enough that she could feel it in her belly. It hurtled right toward them, bearing down fast and straddling the median line on which they stood.

“What the hell?” Savanna only had time to register that the low-slung silver Camaro had all-around privacy glass and mag wheels. It had to be doing ninety.

The next thing she knew, she lay beneath Ben on the blistering macadam. He’d pushed her out of the way barely a second before the speed demon sailed over the spot on which they’d been standing.

The revved-up engine roared into the distance while the two lay panting in each other’s arms.

“Are you all right?” Ben’s concerned face obscured the scorching sun for a moment and the worry in his eyes made Savanna’s stomach somersault a little. They lay pelvis to pelvis, one of his legs interposed between hers. One of his hands rested just above her left breast and his other cupped the back of her head. If the backs of her legs hadn’t been on fire from contact with the sizzling road surface, she’d have gladly stayed in this position forever.

“I think I’m okay. You?” She wondered if he could feel her heart ramming itself against her rib cage. She could certainly feel his, not to mention the pressure of a very solid ridge in the area of his button fly.

“I’m good. Did you happen to get the license number?” He grinned as he rolled off her.

“I don’t think there was one.” Savanna hid her frown as he pulled her to her feet.

“Maybe we should walk along the side of the road, rather than down the middle.”

“Do you think that would have made a difference to that maniac? He was out for blood.”

“And he got some, too.” Ben showed her his elbow, rubbed raw and oozing where it had connected with the blacktop.

“Ooh.” She sucked in a sympathetic breath. “I’m sorry.”

He shrugged and shook it off. “I’ve had worse. Are you sure you’re all right?”

She managed a shaky smile. “Well, my butt hurts, but I’ll live.”

When Ben took her hand and laced his fingers through hers, Savanna caught her breath. The protective gesture made her heart race just a little faster, as if that were possible. Nevertheless, she reminded herself, it was only a gesture. Ben was a gentleman, after all. It was one of the things she liked about him, most of the time. Even when he managed to infuriate her, he always treated her with respect and professional courtesy. Savanna knew she was safe with him, and for once, that thought brought her absolutely no comfort.

Be sure to stop by Samhain Publishing on Friday to check out La Mirage and don’t forget any questions or comments posted to me about La Mirage or any of my books will enter you in Bernadette’s Backlist Bonanza Book of the Week Contest. For details visit the Contest page of my website. There will be a winner every month all summer long!

5 comments:

Rhonda Stapleton said...

OOOOH okay, this was a GREAT excerpt...NICE!!!

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Thanks, Rhonda!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Great excerpt and I love the cover! Very nice!

Annalee Blysse said...

Looking forward to this one. :)

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Thanks, Lynda and Annalee!