Sneak Peek Saturday Things I Love

This Wicked Game Sneak Peek


It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Sneak Peek Saturday, and since Sneak Peek Sunday sounds just as good and THIS WICKED GAME comes out in only ten days, I figured I’d give you guys a little look.


The house was noisy, conversation and laughter coming from every direction. She moved unseen through the clusters of people, drifting down the stairs and into the front parlor.

People stood in groups, many with drinks in their hands, talking animatedly as children ran around them. One of them, a dark-haired boy, knocked a picture frame off an end table. A svelte woman in a linen suit smoothly reached out for his arm, her gaze steely. The boy dropped his eyes, picked up the frame, and returned it to its rightful place.

The woman smiled, patting his cheek. “There’s a good boy. Now go outside and play where you won’t do any damage.”

The boy ran off. Claire, in her dream state, followed him down the hall, through the dining room, and onto the back terrace.

Claire’s eyes were immediately drawn to a woman, standing with a drink in one hand, a loose dress flowing over her slender body. She looked different, with chunky shoes and her hair falling in waves down her back.

But it was definitely Pilar Kincaid.

Claire floated over the lawn, as invisible as ether, as she wound her way through conversations.

A loud clap sounded near the terrace doors, and Claire turned, her gaze resting on her father, holding a fancy black camera.

He smiled at the crowd. “Time for a picture!” he shouted. “Everybody get together over there, at the side of the house.”

The crowd began to move, Claire’s mother shepherding everyone to the grassy area at the side of the Kincaid property. The hands of the smallest children were grasped by parents or older siblings, the wriggling little bodies sometimes carried against their will.

There was some confusion as everyone moved into place, couples standing together with their children, the single people standing according to height.

Suddenly, there was a prickle of awareness, the sensation of being seen. Claire followed the energy, her eyes resting on a pale, dark-haired man at the edge of the crowd. He seemed to see her, though no one else did.

Claire recognized him immediately as Maximilian Constantin.

He stood in the back row, in front of a little girl in a wheelchair. The girl was pretty, with deeply black hair and sad blue eyes. Her gaze was fixed in the distance. She seemed to see something beyond the scene in front of her.

Claire’s dad—young, with a scruffy beard growing at his chin, though all the other men were clean-shaven—came forward, issuing instructions to the group, telling them to squeeze in. Everyone did, though some laughingly protested.

When everyone was finally in place, her dad backed up a few feet. “Everybody smile,” he instructed. “Ready.
. . . One . . . two . . . three.”

The crowd groaned as the flash went off in a blinding burst of light.

Claire turned, spurred forward by some instinct, an unseen but guiding hand that pulled her back across the lawn, up the stone steps of the terrace, through the dining room doors.

The noise of the party faded into the background until it disappeared completely.

Now it was night. Table lamps were lit around the house, the crowd long gone.

Claire drifted, finding herself in the study that was her father’s domain. Her dad was sitting at his desk, his hands busy under the focused light of the desk lamp. She moved closer, wanting a better look.

It was the photograph, the one she’d seen him take on the lawn. He was putting it inside a wooden frame, pressing it into place and locking the clasps at the back of the frame, a penknife at his side.

He turned the picture over, surveying it with studious eyes as he rose from the chair.

Walking across the room, he stopped next to the fireplace. The wall was already cluttered with photographs, but Claire could see that her dad had cleared a spot for the newest addition. He placed it on a hook, leaning back to analyze its placement. After making a few adjustments to make sure it was even, he turned and went back to his desk.

Claire floated out of the study, continuing toward the stairs. The house faded around her as she went, the edges of her dream-vision slowly fading to blackness.

Then she was in the place between wakefulness and sleep, her mind already trying to grasp the significance of what she’d seen.

Life The Little Things Things I Love

The Little Things – An Amazing Cup

It sounds crazy, but one of the things I love most about having coffee in a good hotel is the cups. They tend to be big, complete with a saucer and weighty feel that makes you feel like your breakfasting (I feel very British typing that and I don’t know why) at the Four Seasons even if you’re really at the Hilton.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the Hilton.

Anyway, I bought a set of these cups and saucers at a local auction a few years ago. They’re Hungarian porcelain, and I think I paid something like $10 for ten of them. Back then, I was selling antiques to make a living while I wrote Prophecy of the Sisters, and I spent many hours sitting at local auctions, bidding on things I loved and thought I could sell.

Problem is, when you buy things you love, you usually don’t want to sell them. Case in point; these cups. They sat in my “to be sold” pile for months before migrating to my cupboard, used only on special occasions.

But I’m not really a believer in “saving” things for a special occasion. Every day is – or should be – a special occasion, and like so many things I “meant” to sell, these cups became part of my daily repertoire. Now I use them for my morning coffee every day, and you know what? They make every morning a little special, even if I’m on the sofa instead of at the Four Seasons.

The best part about this “little thing” is that it’s a cheap way to give yourself a little luxury every morning of the week. And you don’t have to buy one from a store. Take your time and search yard sales, auctions, and flea markets for the perfect cup, one that makes you feel special every time you use it. It can be a dainty cup and saucer, a heavy hand-thrown mug, or old hotel porcelain (I suspect this is what my Hungarian cups are). Whatever speaks to you, the search is part of the fun!

What about you? What’s a “little thing” that makes your mornings nicer? Post in comments or tweet with #thelittlethings.


Things I Love

Things I Love – Night Time Tea

No, I didn’t upload the wrong picture. It’s not tea!

A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a Bath and Body Works package for my birthday that included a small bottle of this lotion. I kept it by my bed and used it on my hands every night before I went to sleep. By the time it was gone, I was thoroughly addicted. One of the first things I did at the start of winter was to treat myself to a full size bottle.

And since I’ve realized it’s the little things that make a difference in life – the little luxuries, added touches, small comforts – it scores the first spot in my new weekly feature, Things I Love. These will all be small, affordable things to which we can treat ourselves. Things that are easy on the bank account but big on enjoyment and/or comfort.

Night Time Tea is described as having “soft and soothing Cedarwood and Orange essential oils help calm and comfort like tea before bed,” but really, it’s like a blankie and a cup of tea that you can slather all over your body.

Or just your hands if you want to make it last.

It’s become one of those precious little things that make every night just a little bit better. A bonus? I’ve used it so much right before bed that now when I put it on, my nose tells my brain, “It’s time to sleep, dummy! Stop talking!”

The bad news? it turns out its a seasonal item for B&BW and they’re already out for the year. *cries* But this Amazon seller has a few, so if you hurry, you can snatch one up. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to get you through the rest of winter.

Now it’s your turn! Share your favorite bedtime things in the comments!


Music Things I Love

Let the Good Times Roll

This week’s thing I love is one of my favorite albums from the 80’s, The Cars self-titled LP.

Even after all these years, this album features some of the best music of all time. Between Let the Good Times Roll, My Best Friend’s Girl, and Moving in Stereo — to name just a few — it’s pure genius.

Proof that great music never gets old.

Here’s a sample for you! Happy Saturday!

Things I Love

Things I Love – Thrift Stores!

I have a secret; I’m not a fan of shopping. That is, I’m not a fan of the kind of shopping where you go to a generic mall and spend hours hoofing it through antiseptic stores with muzac streaming from the speakers.

I do, however, love shopping at thrift stores. It’s a totally different experience. You never know what you’re going to get and everything is more compact and concentrated. Plus, I always feel better about recycling clothes this way instead of consuming new stuff that ends up getting taken to the thrift store a couple of years later anyway.

And I’m totally not picky about the thrift store. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, hipster store. I’m perfectly happy with Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Case in point, Rebekah and I made a trip to our local Salvation Amry today and totally cleaned up for Rebekah. This is what we got for $50;

2 jackets, 2 dresses, 3 sweaters, 1 pair burgundy velvet pants, 2 skirts, 4 blouses, and 1 pair vintage Mary Janes.

Crazy, right?!

So, this week, thrift stores are what I love!


Reading Things I Love

Things I Love – The Fever Series

This week’s Thing I Love is the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. And actually, saying I love them is kind of an understatement.

More like I’m obsessed with them.

I read the first book in the series, Darkfever, because I kept hearing people talk about it in my Goodreads reading group (where I mostly lurk). These people were CRAZY for the Fever series, so I decided to check it out.

Now I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much. I figured they would be a quick, fun read.

And they are, but they’re SO MUCH MORE. The world building is incredibly detailed and fascinating, the characters are three-dimensional and experience genuine growth and change through the series, and the pacing is dead-on, grabs-you-and-doesn’t-let-go. Moning takes the story everywhere you DON’T expect, and that makes you think, “Oh! Right. That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. How could I not have seen it?!” Part of me is so absorbed in the story while I’m reading that I can’t stop and the other part, the writer part, is thinking, “How does she DO this? How am I on the edge of my sit with unexpected things happening every three pages?!”

Basically, I’m super impressed that a series can rate so high on the commercial enjoyment scale and still have such great writing. This is one of those VERY few series where I found myself ordering the next book before I was done with the one I was reading because I didn’t want to go ONE DAY without knowing what was next.

One word of caution; this is NOT a YA series. It’s very much adult, and there are a lot of sexytimes.


Things I Love

Things I Love

I’m bringing back one of our old features, Things I Love, mostly because it gives me a place to spread the word about cool stuff.

I love this gorgeous vintage locket because the colors are so deep and rich, and the design is one you’d be hard-pressed to find manufactured today. I love old things that speak to a different era or aesthetic, and I can totally see Helen from A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS carrying this (though her grandmother left her a locket of another sort).

You can view this piece here from Etsy store Mint Designs.

Hope you’re all having a good weekend!