10/15/13

More with Janis Flores

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Janis Flores
SWEETER THAN WINE.
Musa Publishing




Tagline: Love is sweeter than wine, but so is…revenge.

Blurb: Terra Cavanaugh has buried the past deep in her mind. She doesn’t remember, even when her dying father calls called to ask her to save Coeur du Vin, the family’s century-old winery, from bankruptcy. This is her last chance to rescue her inheritance—and to confront disturbing visions she doesn’t understand.

Jake Vreeland has suffered unspeakable loss. When nightmares haunt him, he braves mortal danger to save others. He and his search dog are among the best rescue teams in the world—but at a high price. For Jake is searching for something he can’t find. He needs rescue himself—from dreams that torment him, and from guilt that weighs him down.

Terra and Jake meet when she returns to Coeur du Vin. They don’t know that they are both searching for rescue, until it becomes clear that someone wants to stop her from saving Coeur du Vin, someone with… murder in mind.


EXCERPT:
Terra was asleep when she heard Royal whine. She looked at the clock. It was just after two.

“What is it?” she whispered. “Did you hear something?”

It was pitch dark outside, with not even a splinter of moon. All was silent.

Creak.

Royal looked toward the bedroom door. Her pulse leaped. Was someone out there? She wasn’t sure. Royal would bark at an intruder. Why wasn’t he barking?

Creak.

Royal whined again.

She couldn’t just sit here. She got up and tiptoed to the bedroom door. Carefully, she put her ear to it.

Nothing.

Her hand tight on the doorknob, she inched open the door. Royal slipped through and headed toward the stairs.

“Royal!” she whispered in dismay.

She had to follow. Halfway down the stairs, she remembered the flashlight in her bedside table. She was about to go back and get it when she heard another creak—outside.

She froze. After a tense moment, she continued down to the first floor.

Royal was scratching at the front door. Every nerve taut, she put her ear to the panel.

Silence.

She looked at the dog. If someone was outside, why wasn’t he barking?

Maybe he wants to go out.

Jake had made her promise to call him about anything suspicious. But tonight was the first night he hadn’t patrolled, and he’d only agreed to get some rest because Royal was here. She couldn’t wake him for this, not if the dog just wanted out.

She unlocked the door. She almost expected someone to hurl it back in her face, but nothing happened. She took a deep breath and opened it about six inches. Royal slipped out, put his nose to the ground and took off.

She forgot to be quiet. “Royal!” she cried.

The dog disappeared into the darkness. She called again, but he didn’t return. She ran to the phone.

Jake picked up on the first ring. When she told him what had happened, he said, “Stay there. Don’t go out for any reason.”

“But Royal—”

“—can take care of himself. I mean it, Terra, stay inside—please. I’m on my way.”

She was dressed in jeans and a sweater, haunting the porch when she saw his headlights. He was out of the truck almost before it stopped, Mano beside him.

“Has he come back yet?”

“No, he went that way before I could stop him. Oh, Jake, what if something happens to him?”

“Nothing’s going to happen to him.”

“Why did he take off like that?”

“I don’t know. But while Mano and I look for him, you stay in the house and lock the door. Don’t come out for any reason.”

“No, I’m going with you!”

“It’s too dangerous.”

“It’s dangerous for you too!”

“But no one’s after me.”

“But it’s my fault Royal’s gone!”

“Don’t argue with me, Terra. For once, can you just do as I say?”

“No! If something has happened to Royal, I’ll never forgive myself. I’m coming with you, and that’s final. We’re wasting time arguing about it, so let’s go.”

He sighed. “All right, but stay behind me.”

“Whatever you say. Let’s just do it!”

Jake looked down at Mano, who was quivering, eager to go. “Mano, find Royal!”

Without hesitation, Mano took off. Standing behind Jake, Terra saw the gun tucked into the back of his jeans.

“You didn’t tell me you had a gun!”

He was grim. “Let’s hope I don’t have to use it.”

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