Please welcome romantic suspense/romantic thriller author JD Faver to the blog. JD is here to talk about her newest release BAD VIBES which is part of her romantic thriller series THE EDGE OF TEXAS. Read on for a chance to download a free copy of BAD MEDICINE the first book in the series. It is free October 15 – 17. You won’t want to miss it. I believe that JD has a gift or two for someone who leaves a comment for her, but I’ll let her tell you about that in the comments section.
Thanks so much for inviting me to post on your blog, Laurie. I am so excited to announce the release of BAD VIBES, the third novel in my romantic thriller series: THE EDGE OF TEXAS.
I fell in love with the area of Texas known as the Rio Grande Valley when I used to travel down there from my home in Corpus Christi to deliver nutrition education programs through the school districts. The setting for this series is about 25 miles north of the Mexican border on the lower Texas coast. South Padre Island is a beautiful semi-tropical resort separated from the mainland and the small coastal village of Port Isabel by the two-and-a-half mile Queen Isabella Causeway spanning the Intracoastal Waterway. This area is a paradise for everyone who loves the water and water-related sports, nature and just relaxing.
BAD MEDICINE was the first of THE EDGE OF TEXAS romantic thrillers and it’s FREE October 15 through 17th, 2012. I hope everyone has a chance to download it.
The second in the series, BAD KARMA, continues with the same characters and introduces a pair of sisters, one of whom is hiding out from a serious stalker bent on killing her. BAD VIBES picks right up where BAD KARMA leaves off, plunging one of the most charming characters into danger. Deputy Darla Calhoun is suffering a major heartache. She’s lonely and angry over her husband’s financial betrayal and suicide. Darla is carrying on in her usual plucky manner, holding her head high and trying to be the best mom to her twin 4-year-old sons as well as a valuable member of the tight-knit law-enforcement team under the leadership of Sheriff Rafael Solis.
Darla arrests a vagrant, hanging around the marina, but after he’s cleaned up, she discovers a hunky, hard-body with a smoldering gaze hidden beneath the filthy rags. He turns out to be a federal agent working undercover. He’s after a gang of human traffickers using the Intracoastal Waterway to bring sex slaves into the United States from Mexico. Rafael assigns Darla as liaison officer to work with the feds, bringing her face-to-face with the “Iceman”, Mike Burke, the undercover agent she arrested. Darla, Mike and his partner, Freddy, tear up and down the Intracoastal Waterway in pursuit of the human traffickers, but when two local women disappear, the search becomes personal.
The following excerpt takes place in an attempt to rescue the human traffickers’ victims. The tension has been building between Mike and Darla. He is a man’s man…a loner who has been working solo or with a team of agents out in the field. He is incapable of expressing his growing feelings and relates everything to his own frame of reference.
The night was warm and muggy. Mike’s black tee shirt was damp, he thought from the moisture in the air, but it could have been his own sweat. The wind wasn’t blowing at all, giving him the sensation that he had been wrapped in plastic.
Reggae music wafted across the water, emanating from The Bait Camp Bar. Calvin had been right about the party. The place was packed with revellers, some of them spilling out onto the docks below. It was after one in the morning and little else was open. A few bars scattered along the strip were aglow with neon lights.
The rest of the town remained quiet.
“That’s our boat!” Freddy said. Aerial surveillance had confirmed that this vessel was being used to transport individuals who had been offloaded from a larger craft lying offshore out in international waters. Whether the passengers were a group of illegals or the kidnapping victims would be revealed shortly.
The Maria Elena entered the jetties and made a wide, slow arc, heading north up the Intracoastal Waterway. They appeared not to be in any hurry; just a boat cruising north.
Mike felt the tingle of anticipation gathering in his gut. It was all coming together. He could smell the adrenalin crackling in the air. The rush almost made him feel giddy. He grinned, looking at his team. His gaze fell on Darla. His stomach clenched.
“Go below and get your body armor on,” he barked.
She complied, wordlessly, ducking below deck.
Mike met Freddy’s frown. “I don’t want her to get hurt.”
Freddy leaned close. “If you could just get your head outta your ass and stop thinking about doing her, we might be able to catch some bad guys.”
Mike felt the back of his neck get tight. His jaw clenched and his fists did too. He expelled a lungful of air and shook his head. “God! Is it that obvious?”
Freddy slapped him on the shoulder and made a guttural sound in the back of his throat as he strolled to the boat box in the bow. He took out his Kevlar vest and tossed one to Mike.
Mike slipped the protective garment on and topped it with a black ICE jacket. “So, if you know, that means that she knows.”
Freddie made a scoffing sound in the back of his throat. “You’ve been like a bird dog on point since she came aboard. Give it a rest.”
“I don’t know what’s the matter with me.”
Freddy snorted in the darkness. “You’ve been out in the field too long, Mike.”
Darla came on deck clad in black body armor, her copper top hidden under a black Sheriff’s Department cap with the bill turned backwards. She had her M-14 slung over her shoulder and a pack of extra magazines.
Damn! She looks so hot! Like Badass Barbie…
An explosion of anger went off in Mike’s chest. This is an assignment, damn it!
He grabbed her thickly padded vest and dragged her to him. He gripped the vest and spoke through his teeth. “Listen to me, little girl,” he growled. “I don’t want you to get hurt. I don’t want to worry about you getting hurt. For the purpose of this operation, I am your boss. You will do exactly as I say when I say it. Got that?”
He had expected her usual resistance, but was surprised when she tilted her face up to him, moonlight bathing her in a soft glow, and whispered, “Yes, sir.”
He swallowed. “All right then. There were four men visible on that boat. There may be more. I want you to keep to the stern of this craft. Do not under any circumstances step aboard that boat.”
She nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Freddy and I will board them and if we both get shot and we’re lying on deck bleeding, I order you not to engage them, but to get the hell out of there. Got it?” He could feel her pulse throbbing under his fingers where he gripped the vest.
He drew a breath. “Well, all right then. Let’s rescue the victims and get some bad guys.” He released her vest and she stepped back, casting a backward glance at him as she joined Freddy.
He called instructions to the helicopter pilot who was standing by to support them.
Freddy turned the ignition and the twin engines roared to life, churning the water as the Long Shot was set into motion. The bow lifted slightly as he picked up speed.
Freddy was running full throttle up the channel with two intense spotlights washing the water in front of them.
The suspect’s boat was now speeding north, up the Intracoastal with no running lights.
The helicopter buzzed by overhead staying just ahead of them, bathing the area with a bright light.
Mike’s heart pounded. He sighted the suspect boat. Excitement buzzed in his chest, knowing that they would soon overtake it. The ICE helicopter pulled ahead and circled around hovering as they hailed the boat with a loud speaker audible over the roar of the rotors. The suspect’s craft slowed, their motor sputtering to a stop.
Mike glanced at Darla. She held her weapon as though she meant business. He’d given her strict orders to stay on the boat. He hoped she’d obey them.
As they pulled alongside the Maria Elena, Freddy directed the bright floodlight at the men on deck while Darla held her M-14 on them. Mike threw a grappling hook and boarded the vessel.
“Levante sus manos, ahora!” Darla shouted.
The men complied, raising their hands high above their heads.
Mike glanced back at Darla. She was transformed.
Freddy climbed on board the suspect’s boat and ordered the men to their knees with their hands raised.
Mike started to go below when a single shot rang out. He whirled around as one of the men crumpled in a heap. A revolver fell from his hand, the one he’d been prepared to fire.
Darla had shot him.
A chill ran down his spine as he thought what would have happened had they left her behind.
His heart still racing, he stepped below deck and found the door to the cabin padlocked. He pried off the lock. When he pushed the door open his stomach twisted. He smelled the sharp metallic odor of blood before he saw them. Four women with their throats slit. They looked like a collection of macabre dolls strewn around, their eyes staring vacantly.
The bastards killed them.
Mike went topside, fighting his gag reflex, his stomach quaking.
Freddy took one look at his expression and ducked below, returning momentarily with his fists clenched, his jaw tight as a war of emotions played out on his face.
With that distraction, one of the captured crewmen made a dash to escape. He brandished a weapon and fired a shot in the general direction of his captors before he leapt to the railing, only to be brought down by a head shot and collapse back onto the deck.
Mike glanced at Darla. Damn! He was both in awe and in terror of a woman who could shoot that well.
After Mike and Freddy had secured the remaining prisoners and called for a transport, Mike stepped back on the Long Shot with Darla. “That was some great shooting, Darla. You did a good job.”
She gave him a questioning look. “What about the kidnapped women? Weren’t they on board after all?”
Mike swallowed hard, dreading what he had to tell her, dreading to admit that he had failed his objective and lost the victims. “They were there. The kidnappers must have had orders to kill them if they got caught.”
She looked as though she was going to be sick, but pressed her lips together. “Sorry,” she whispered. “I know that you wanted to save them.”
Mike nodded. Understatement of the year.
The next few hours were spent gathering information from the surviving prisoners and processing the scene.
Freddy accompanied the prisoners, shepherding them to be interrogated, after which he would get some rest and return to the cabin cruiser the next day.
When Mike brought the cabin cruiser back down the Intracoastal, It was almost four in the morning. Both Port Isabel and South Padre Island had shut down.
Darla removed her body armor and stowed her weaponry. He suggested that she go below and get some rest, but she remained on deck seated close to him at the wheel.
He reflected on her presence, wondering why having her nearby gave him such comfort. He motored down the channel to the populated area where the resort of South Padre Island lay to his left and the sleeping town of Port Isabel was nestled on the banks to his right. A few lights denoted all-night convenience stores, but other than those, the islanders slept.
They passed the darkened house where Darla’s parents lived, the Sunfish tethered to the end of the pier.
Mike spotted the Bait Camp Bar up ahead on the right, located just before the Intracoastal Waterway spilled out into the Gulf of Mexico. He surveyed the dock area, noting the quiet and that all the partiers had called it a night.
The bar was dark. The hulls of the boats tied up below rubbed erratically against the old tires lining the pier, creating a squeak to contrast with the gentle lapping of the water.
Mike turned off the motor and dropped anchor across from the bar. Darla rolled to a standing position and stretched. Although it had been a long time since they had eaten, neither of them seemed to have an appetite. There were no bad guys to guard so they opted to turn in.
Mike went below and removed his shirt. He stripped down to his boxers before stretching out on his bunk.
Darla returned from the head, tucking her toothbrush into her duffle. She glanced at Mike and then turned out the light.
He heard her remove her outer clothing, a zipper opening and the sound of cloth sliding over her smooth skin. Mike could envision it all.
She turned over several times, trying to get comfortable in the bunk.
Mike closed his eyes, acutely aware of the woman on the other side of the boat.
Darla called his name in the dark.
He sat up in the bunk. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. I can’t sleep…You know, thinking about those women.”
He took a breath. “Me neither.” He heard her heave a long sigh. “Are you crying?”
“No!” she snapped. “I don’t ever cry.”
“Never?” he asked.
She sighed again. “No. It doesn’t solve anything and it makes my eyes puffy.”
Mike lay back in the bunk. “That’s good because I was feeling pretty sad and it wouldn’t do for both of us to be crying.”
He heard her get out of bed and creep across the cluttered floor.
“Mike?” she said close to him. “Will you…?”
“Yeah!” He reached for her and drew her into his arms, pulling her down on top of him. He figured she needed to be held, that it wasn’t personal, that anyone would do. But, when her body made contact with his, it was a whole different matter. Mike felt as if a fragmentation grenade had gone off inside his chest.
Enflamed, He rolled her underneath him, cradling her head with his hands as he sought her mouth. His kiss was that of a starving man at a feast, hot, desperate and thorough. Her arms circled his torso, opening an aching chasm, considering that he couldn’t recall the last time he’d been held.
She arched toward him. Her breasts, warm and taut, grazed his ribs through her thin knit undershirt.
Mike reached under the camisole. He let out an unexpected groan when his fingers made contact with her skin, her nipple tightening at his touch. The shirt has to go. He released her long enough to strip it off over her head, then caressed her breasts with his fingers and his mouth.
She made a little whimpering sound as he removed her panties. She was wet and ready.
Mike had never made love while on assignment. Never made love to a fellow operative. He swallowed hard. “Darla, I…”
“Don’t stop,” she whispered.
With no further hesitation, he was inside her, stroking her, moving with her as though they’d been doing it for years. She reached a climax quickly, crying out one sustained note.
Mike was glad Freddy was ashore. He’d probably think she was being killed.
Damp and breathless she relaxed back against the bunk.
“Noooo,” he crooned. “I’m not through with you yet.” He kissed her, this time slow and tender. He slowed his rhythm, grinding against her with each stroke. Her little cries of pleasure urged him on. Her legs wrapped tight around his hips.
This time, her climax was long and drawn out. His felt like a volcano erupting. He held himself off of her, yet didn’t want to let her go.
He realized that she was crying. “Aw, honey, did I hurt you?”
She giggled and then sobbed. “N-no. You’ll think this is stupid, but I’ve only been with one other man.”
Mike digested this, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. “I’m honoured.”
Damn! What a stupid thing to say. She’s fragile.
The irony of this thought hit him, since earlier in the evening he’d seen her shoot two men dead without flinching.
He cleared his throat. “I mean, it was real special to me.”
She expelled a long breath. “You don’t have to say that. I know that you’ll be leaving and you won’t even remember my name…and that’s fine with me, but I needed you tonight. Is that okay?”
Mike swallowed hard. “Yeah, I guess that’s okay, but Darla honey, I promise I’ll never forget your name.”
I hope everyone has a chance to visit South Padre Island and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In the meantime, you can visit through my series and keep up with the happenings. My goal is to entertain…and keep you up nights.
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