Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas at Sinners Part 2 of 3 by Rolynn Anderson

Christmas at Sinners Part 2, by Rolynn Anderson

Mitch Newton's mood improved as soon as the woman strolled into the bar. Tall and model-slim, she wore a filmy t-shirt, tucked into long, baggy khaki pants. Her carelessly trussed-up hair and casual clothing had Mitch imagining she'd arrived for a quirky photo-shoot. Every single man in Sinners watched her enter the saloon and slip into a chair at the bar, guessing she’d order a chardonnay. When the bartender delivered a highball with an inch of amber liquid in it, Mitch had to smile. She sipped her drink and observed the people in the room by looking into the mirror behind the bar, surprising him further. To say she didn’t belong in Sinners was an understatement; the fact she seemed unfazed by not fitting in intrigued the hell out of him.

Better? Her presence gave him the hope he’d been seeking for hours.

“I was praying for a distraction,” Mitch said, climbing onto a stool two seats away from her. “And you are definitely a distraction, ma’am.”

She said nothing, but waggled her finger at the bartender for water.

“In the Samaritan spirit, I’ll sit here so you don’t get hit on by nineteen guys.” He took a swallow from his bottle of beer. “Don’t suppose you’ve got a room.”

“Nope. No vacancy. Internet and phones are down. I need a tow more than a room. You?”

“Same. I got stuck about a quarter mile down the road.”

“Did you try to get help from the men in this bar?”

“Yup. No luck.” Mitch squinted at her. “There’s more to your story.”

“I’m marooned by the storm.” She stared at him with enormous doe-brown eyes, luminous in the subtle light of the lounge. 

“You going to tell me what else you’re doing here?”

She sipped her drink.

“You’re wearing the wrong shoes. Service grade. Built for kicking a perp in the balls. Your pants are regulation ranger. Bet you have a gun in your sock.”

Her cheeks reddened, charming him. He pointed to her belt. “You’re in the habit of touching the place where your holster should be.”

She glared at him. “As if your ‘tells’ aren’t obvious. It’s plenty warm in here yet you’re wearing a jacket. I presume your gun’s in a shoulder holster.”


She swallowed water and tapped his arm. “Takes one to know one. I’m a new L.E. at Rainier. Low on the totem pole, pulling the holiday shift. Why are you in Ashford on Christmas Eve? You local law? I’m told they’re helping us with our case.”

With the shake of his head he said, “Washington’s my territory. Private Investigator-bounty hunter.”

“Your perp’s in here?”

“Maybe. Told someone he was ‘going to paradise.’ My take was Paradise Road, highway 706. Name’s Freddy Canto, a small-time crim whose bail-jump made his capture worth $10,000. Money I need for my sister's medical bills.

“Noble cause.”

“I heard Canto was hanging out in Enumclaw, heading south to look for easy money and a lay, so that put me at Sinners. I have a fuzzy surveillance pic of the guy, but he’s known to use disguises. I’ve talked to everyone who might fit his description, but I don’t think he’s in this bar, damn it.”

“I’m looking for an armed robber. A 10-32. Maybe an 11-24. He grabbed a couple thou at Mt. Rainier visitor center.”

He nodded, eyes on his beer bottle.

“Is Santa lurking nearby?”

He blinked in surprise. “What?”

“Just think, if you and I are after the same guy and we catch him tonight, Santa says we’re nice.”

Mitch shook his head. “Need the money more than the kudo.”

“Obligations.” She scanned the mirror. “You have a dossier on your man? We could help each other.”

“My perp's medium height and medium build. Barely a southern accent and a right-eye-twitch when he’s tense. Bright fellow and a good actor. Meticulous about changing his look, including clothes, hair, mustache. He’ll wear make-up and he favors old guy disguises.”

“Better intel than I have. My UNSUB wore a mask and a hoodie. Careful not to show anything. He could be most men in this room.”

“Half of the guys here could be Canto.”

“You know his ride…his car make?”

“Nope. What are you looking for?”

“A Camry. Covered in snow somewhere.”

Mitch drew in the strawberry scent of her. Eyes the color of jasper, mesmerizing. Her focus and fearlessness pleased him…and made his gut hurt. “We’re a team, then?”

She smiled for the first time and her face was transformed. Mitch gaped at her beauty, his words gone. Hope gone. He wasn’t a match for this woman.

Her expression morphed to irritated and Mitch swore the temperature around them dropped a few degrees.

“A strategy, Mitch?”

“Uh. I…” What was he thinking? Partnering with a woman like Sable was a pipe dream. 


He struggled to offer a plan.  Any plan. "Uh...I..." Thoughts of her smile helped him find the words. "One by one, you visit the men in this room. Smile first, explain your plight, ask for help.”

“What kind of help?”

Taking a swallow of beer, Mitch said, “You need a bed for tonight.”

Sable jerked back on the stool. “Instead of a tow?”

“You're looking for a conversation starter, not a stopper. Even if they could tow you, not one of these guys is foolish enough to try it until the morning plows come through.”


“Ask for a bed. No strings. Kindness of their hearts. As you beg, you're alert to guilt and disguises.”

She frowned. “And what are you doing while I look for your twitchy, disguised guy? What about my UNSUB?”

Mitch shrugged. “I’ve got a description for my man; might as well start with him. And like you said, we may be looking for the same guy. I’ll sit here, drink my beer, and use the mirror to watch for the reactions of each man you question. My smile isn’t nearly as powerful as yours.”

Sable was quiet.

“Do you need an incentive?”

She scoffed. “I’m a ranger. It’s my job to catch criminals.”

“Let's fatten the pot.”

“With what?”

Mitch grinned as he scrubbed at his forehead. “If we work in tandem, we'll collar a bad guy and snag us a bed for the night.”

Thanks for reading Part 2 of my story. Tomorrow comes the conclusion for "Christmas at Sinners."  

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Christmas at Sinners Part 1 of 3 by Rolynn Anderson

Christmas at Sinners-Part 1 By Rolynn Anderson

She peered through the snow-spattered windshield at the neon sign and hoped like hell there was room at the inn. Did the sign say ‘Inn’? Maybe. The snow fell so thickly that her windshield wipers stalled and she could barely distinguish the road from the shoulder, much less read snow-draped marques. Worse? She’d only made it to Ashford, Washington, when her destination was Elbe.

Looking for an UNSUB, an unknown suspect, in a surprise snowstorm, was a challenge for L.A. native, Sable Chisholm. She was a Law Enforcement Ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park, a newly assigned L.E., and her first job in terrible weather was to find a guy who’d robbed the tourist center. A masked man waved a gun at two terrified clerks, took money, but didn’t fire his pistol. Might have taken off in a gray Camry. No license number. Where the hell did he go?

Since it was eight o’clock on Christmas Eve, only a few rangers were on duty. Chief Randle had sent Sable and four other L.E’s out before the storm hit, singly in their Tahoe trucks, each assigned different towns in search of the gray sedan. Local cops were on the hunt, too, but they were understaffed this holiday season. Now stuck in traffic in Ashford, Sable got orders via her car radio: “Stand down. 10-13. Wait out the storm. Report your location.”

Sable was not an agent who liked to wait, and she wasn’t afraid to skid down slick roads looking for a criminal. In fact, if her boss hadn’t ordered her to desist, she would have continued her pursuit, because an on-duty brain injury made her a relentless ranger. She’d been poisoned a year ago by carbon monoxide seeping into a motel room where she and her partner ran a stakeout. Billy had died; Sable’s amygdala, the part of the brain controlling fear and flight/fight responses, was damaged. Weeks of acting out, absent fear, had ruined her reputation in L.A. Months of work with a therapist got her back to active duty and assigned to Mt. Rainier.

The chief’s orders were firm and since a layer of ice under the snow-pack was yanking her car all over the road, she gave in. She might be alarmless, but she’d learned how to check recklessness. “If I’m stopping; let’s hope the perp will do the same.” Sable turned right, sliding through the parking lot to a slot in front of the motel. Other cars, swathed with snow so they looked like moguls on a ski slope, rested in silence on her right and left. Was one of the autos a Camry belonging to the robber? No way to tell.

She pulled on boots and plowed through two feet of snow. Even though she kicked piled-up snow away from the door, opening it took all her strength. As she shook flakes off her ranger hat and brushed off her shoulders, she was surprised to be standing in a dark vestibule, walls painted black, the room lit with a giant pink neon sign: ‘SINNERS.’

“Oops,” she said at the same time a burly guy emerged, his shiny baldhead colored peach by the neon.

“Ranger,” he said in a not-happy-to-see-her tone. “What’s up?”

“Law Enforcement Ranger Chisholm. You are?”

“Spike. Taylor. Partner of Sinners.”

She winced. “I thought there might be room in the ‘inn,’ until I read the whole title of your establishment. I suspect this is more than a motel, or…perhaps, less?”

“No vacancies at Sinners.”

She peeked behind the entry wall. A smoky bar, full of men. The smell of French fries tinged with beer and Pine Sol wafted her way, reminding her she’d skipped dinner. Her stomach growled and Spike’s eyebrow went up at the sound.

“Where are the women?” Sable asked.

Spike’s expression tightened. “Asleep? Watching The Christmas Story in their rooms?”

“We’ve got a criminal on the loose, with a gun,” she said. “Nobody can drive these roads, not even a desperate man. Which guys came in recently?”

“These men are here for the same reason you are. All but a couple regulars showed up in the last hour.”

She surveyed the foyer and considered the lounge she’d seen behind the wall. “You retrofitted the motel caretaker’s house into a bar, motel rooms attached.”

“Full service on Highway 706.”

“Right now I don’t care what’s going on in your motel rooms unless my guy’s in one of them. He robbed the park visitors’ center, armed.”

He stared at her.

Sable was quiet for a moment, considering her options. She couldn’t leave the premises because of the crappy weather and neither could the criminal if he was hanging out in the bar or in one of the rooms. Her cop feelers hinted her UNSUB was here, but how was she going to find him?

A small Christmas tree artfully designed out of coat hangers, stood on the counter, its tiny lights blinking green, urging a soft strategy. She stuffed her hat on a shelf under the tree. Next came her Kevlar vest and equipment belt. Once she’d tucked her gun into her sock, she said, “Don’t touch my belt.”

“Wait,” Spike said, eyes rounding when she began to unbutton her ranger-issue shirt.

Sable threw the shirt in the shelf and straightened her t-shirt. “You keep your mouth shut about who I am or I close your business for months. Today, I don’t want you, I want my gun-toting UNSUB.”

Spike nodded slowly, open-mouthed.

She swept up her shoulder-length hair and crunched it into a hair clip. “I’m going in there. Story is: My car’s stuck in a snow bank and I need a tow.”

He nodded again. “I won’t say who you are, but I’m not going to save your ass in there.”

“No problem.” A smile, then: “Let’s see what songs a room full of trapped drunk men will sing.”

Spike flipped a hand at her. “Have at it, ranger.”

Thanks for reading Part 1 of my Christmas story. Part 2 comes tomorrow...stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Melt My Heart (A Warrior Wolves Holiday Novella) Chapter Three by Christine DePetrillo


Chapter Three

   “You mean a room for you to stay in, lass. By yourself.” Flynn’s cheeks flamed almost as red as that crop of hair atop his head, and Brooke had never seen anything quite that adorable. A light dusting of red whiskers covered his jaw, encircling a set of lips that grew sexier each time he called her lass. Couple that Irish accent with the warm brown eyes that stared back at her and Flynn Callister might just be the hottest guy she’d seen in a long time.
And where had he gotten those arm and chest muscles? Her body still remembered how he’d plucked her from the snow bank with ease and held her against that solid torso of his. The hot cocoa was warming her nicely, but not half as well as looking at Flynn was.
“I will check with Gran and get you a room.” He disappeared and came back a few minutes later, waving a keycard at her. His blush was gone, but Brooke couldn’t forget that his mind had traveled down the path of him thinking she’d wanted to see his room.
Maybe that wasn’t so ridiculous. She hadn’t been with anyone since Mr. Can-We-See-Other-People. She definitely had a little pent up… energy.  
“Thanks,” she said as she put down her cocoa and took the keycard.
“Aye. No problem.” He arrowed a thumb toward the window where snow still fell. “Do you have bags you’d like brought in?”
“You wouldn’t mind getting them?” The thought of going out there again made a shiver ripple through her.
“Not at all.” He winked. “I’m not from Texas.”
“Snow is no match for you?” Judging by the over six-foot height of him and the broadness of his shoulders, she’d bet not much was a match for him. “Where are you from?”
“Ireland, originally, but I’ve lived in Vermont for a few months now. I’ve almost earned my membership card.”
“What brings a guy like you from Ireland to Vermont?” What makes a guy like you pant like a dog? Brooke clasped her hands in front of her, focusing on the feel of the keycard between her palms instead of wondering what Flynn looked like shirtless.
“Music. I’m in a band and our lead singer decided to move here after she met her soul mate. So the rest of us moved here too.”
So he believes in soul mates. Good to know. “What’s the band’s name?” She should have figured he was in a band. He had that sexy musician air about him.
Brooke’s mouth dropped open. “Hendrake! Wait a minute!” She jumped to her feet and immediately regretted it as her back rebelled. “Flynn Callister. Oh my God, you’re the drummer!”
Flynn’s cheeks pinked again and he dropped his gaze to his boots. “Aye, that’s me.” Man, he did bashful well.
Really well.
“Holy cow! You guys have a great sound. So different than that other junk on the radio that’s all the same. After I heard Hendrake, I downloaded a bunch of your songs. I run a nightclub in Texas and sometimes before opening—when I’m alone and have free reign over the club’s sound system—I play Hendrake. Your drums sound amazing on those speakers.” She was gushing. She had to stop. Like now. “The drums are my favorite part.” Seriously. She needed to shut up.   
A slow grin slid across Flynn’s lips. “The drums are my favorite part too. Emma and the guys should be back right before Christmas. We’re doing a holiday concert for Canville Children’s Home which helped us get our big break.” He backed out of the room. “I’ll be right back with your bags.”
Brooke reminded herself to stay right where she was. Clearly the man thought she was a nutball. Why couldn’t her mouth have stayed frozen so she could have kept her fangirling to herself? She swigged the last of her hot cocoa and by the time Flynn reappeared with her bags, she was feeling… toasty.
For a number of reasons.
“Thank you for going out there.” She walked toward him—slowly so as not to aggravate her back—and brushed snow off his shoulders. Stop touching him! She let her arms drop to her sides. “Sorry.”
“Beautiful lasses never have to apologize for brushing snow off me.” He set one of her bags down as he sent her a smile. “Give me your keycard and I’ll bring these up for you.”
“I probably should turn in as well,” she said, massaging her lower back with one hand. “That’s the only way this will settle down.”
“Does it hurt a great deal?” He led them to the stairs, which Brooke assumed led to the guest rooms.
“Not as much as it first did. Those magic pills are already doing their thing.” A massage from a hot Irish drummer was probably the best remedy though. Biting her lip, she followed him up the stairs, enjoying the back view of him as much as the front. “I’ll have to call my family and say I can’t make it to the ski lodge on time because I can’t drive.”
Flynn stopped in front of a door and turned to face her. “I… I could drive you to the ski lodge tomorrow. If you’d like. I could get Gran to give us some of her famous snickerdoodles for the trip.”
Brooke put her hand to her heart. “I can’t refuse a man who promises me snickerdoodles, but are you sure you don’t mind driving me?”
“Not at all. I welcome the chance to get to know you, lass.”
She never refused a man with an Irish accent, drummer’s biceps, and snickerdoodles. “Then I will accept your very generous offer. You’ll be saving my Christmas.”
Flynn pushed the keycard into the lock and opened the door. After letting her pass first, he brought in her bags and set them in the room’s small closet. “I hope you’ll enjoy your stay.”
“I already am.”
He reached out a hand and traced her jaw with his index finger. Somehow she felt that touch absolutely everywhere. “Good night, lass.” He headed for the stairs.
Brooke had to grip the door frame to keep from throwing her arms around him and planting a kiss on those tempting lips. Didn’t Gran believe in decorating with mistletoe? Where was a sprig when you needed one?
He turned around, his hand on the banister to the stairs. “Aye?”
“Do you ski?”
Grinning, he came back to her door and took her hand. He dropped a light kiss on the back of it that was somehow both gentlemanly and sexy as hell. “Only with lasses from Texas.”
“I probably won’t be skiing with this back,” Brooke said, “but I will need someone to cuddle with by the fire.” She looked down at their still joined hands, not wanting to let go just yet. “You look as if you would be a good cuddler.”
“Actually…” He tugged her into an embrace—one that didn’t feel like a stranger’s. “I’m an expert.”
Apparently Flynn Callister would be saving more than her Christmas. He’d be melting her heart too.

Come back tomorrow for a holiday tale from Rolynn Anderson! Happy Holidays!

Want more of the Warrior Wolves Series? Check it out HERE!


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Melt My Heart (A Warrior Wolves Holiday Novella) Chapter Two by Christine DePetrillo

Chapter Two

Flynn Callister burst into the main sitting room at Deer Creek Inn and set the womansicle he’d pulled from the front yard onto the couch. He pulled his jacket from her shoulders then unzipped her own coat. Tossing them to the floor, he grabbed the thick quilt on the back of the couch and draped it around the lass. Next he pulled his phone out of his back pocket.
“I’m calling 911,” he said, though he wasn’t sure if the woman was with it enough to understand him. Her cheeks were so red from the biting cold, her lips nearly blue, and her clothes were soaked. “Gran!”
Aideen Rhodes, owner of Deer Creek Inn and grandmother to Flynn’s friend and bandmate, Emma, came into the sitting room. As soon as she saw the woman on her couch, her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, dear, what’s happened?”
“I found her outside. She must have fallen trying to get to the front door. She might be hur—” He stopped when the 911 operator answered. After explaining the situation, he hung up. “An ambulance is on the way, but do you have some dry clothes. She drenched and freezing.”
“Of course.” Gran scurried from the room and Flynn turned his attention back to the woman.
“Hey.” He kneeled beside the couch and used his index finger to move aside strands of wet, golden hair. “Can you hear me?”
The woman nodded, but it appeared to sap her energy to do so. Poor lass. How long had she’d been out there? Just how hurt was she? Who was she?
“I’m Flynn Callister and we’ll get you all warmed up, aye. Don’t worry.”
Good thing he’d come to the inn tonight. Every other member of their Celtic rock band, Hendrake, was in a relationship and Emma, Torrin, and Blaithin had taken their mates on romantic getaways as Christmas presents. They’d, of course, invited him to come along, but what was more pathetic than being the seventh wheel? So he’d elected to stay behind and help Emma’s grandmother run the inn for the week before Christmas. In exchange, Gran had promised to make him all the snickerdoodles he could eat.
Which was an unholy number.
When he’d heard the howling earlier, he’d opened the front door, concerned that wild animals were getting a bit too close to the inn. He’d been prepared to fire off a couple of warning shots with Gran’s rifle, but then he’d thought he’d heard a voice out there in the blizzard.
Thank heavens he’d checked it out. This lass could have died out there tonight.
Gran bustled back into the sitting room and shooed him out so she could help the woman change her clothes. When he was allowed back in, the lass was sitting up and looking… hot. She made the gray sweats Gran had given her look like something a supermodel would wear.
That golden hair, though still wet, fell around her shoulders in long waves. She was petite, all her features delicate and feminine. Rich green eyes searched the sitting room before settling on Flynn and making something magnetic inside him pull him farther into the room. Closer to the couch.
Closer to her.
“I… I’m Brooke Myers,” she said after clearing her throat. There was a slight southern twang to her words that enchanted Flynn. “Are you the one who pulled me out of the snow?”
Flynn nodded, too caught up in her to form words.
“Well, thank you. Thank you so much. I was about two seconds from becoming a permanent ice sculpture.” She coughed, a wince scrunching up her face.
“Are you hurt?” He navigated himself to the coffee table in front of the couch where Gran was already standing.
“Her back,” Gran said. “Wrenched it trying to get out of the snow bank. I’m so sorry, lass. Usually everything is cleared, but the snow was falling too quickly to stay ahead of it and I wasn’t expecting any new guests tonight.”
Brooke held up a hand. “I totally understand. I didn’t expect to be a guest. I’m supposed to be at a ski lodge an hour from here with my family.” Her gaze shot to Flynn. “I’m meeting my parents and siblings for Christmas.”
Not a boyfriend or husband? Good to know, and had she wanted him to have that information?
The doorbell rang and Gran went to answer it while Flynn lowered to sit on the edge of the coffee table. “Can I get you something to drink?” He was glad that question came out and not do you want to run away with me?
“Something hot would be wonderful,” Brooke said in a soft, scratchy voice. A rather sexy voice. “I’m so cold.”
“Aye. Coming right up.” Flynn met Gran and two EMTs in the foyer. “Aside from hurting her back and being out in the cold, she appears to be okay.”
“We’ll check her out,” one of the EMTs said.
“Help me get her something to drink, Gran?” Flynn angled his head toward the inn’s kitchen.
“I know just the thing.” Gran led the way and moved around the kitchen as if she could do so with her eyes closed. “What a way for a lass to start her holiday.”  
A dozen other ways Flynn could start Brooke’s holiday flashed through his mind as he leaned against the threshold and watched Gran. As he let a few of those scenarios play out in his mind, he grew heated beneath his flannel shirt and jeans. How could he let his mind wander into that territory? The woman had suffered a frightening ordeal being stuck outside and hurting her back during a blizzard. She didn’t need some guy trying to put the moves on her.
Does she? She had pointed out that the family she was meeting included her parents and siblings. Not a significant other. Why would she specify if she wasn’t interested?
Flynn was totally ready for some excitement. He’d grown so tired of being the only one not in a relationship. Emma had Kole, Blaithin had Vix, and Torrin had Kari. And while he could have hooked up with any number of lasses at Hendrake concerts, eager to score with the band’s drummer, that wasn’t what he was looking for in his life right now. At thirty-four years old, he wanted something like his friends had. Something real. Something more. Something with the potential for forever.
A loud snap in front of his face made him blink and focus on Gran standing in front of him. She held up a mug with steam curling from the hot cocoa it contained.
“Earth to Flynn.” She smiled. “Can you take this to our guest?”
“Aye.” He took the mug and carefully made his way toward the sitting room. With a quick peek around the doorway to make sure he wasn’t interrupting an examination, he entered and set the cocoa on the coffee table.
One of the EMTs shook a bottle of pills at him. “She’s pulled a muscle in her back. Some of these, coupled with rest, and she’ll be as good as new. No signs of frostbite, but she does need some warming up.”
“Which you’re already on top of with the cocoa,” the other EMT said.
But that’s not the only way to warm up a lass…
Flynn shook that thought from his head as he accepted the bottle of pills from the EMT.
“She shouldn’t drive or operate any heavy machinery while she’s on these,” the first EMT said.
“Darn.” Flynn shot her a quick smile. “I was going to have her snowblow out there.” He gestured out the window where the storm was still raging.
Brooke offered him a grin that made her entire face radiant. “Snowblowing is not on my resume. I’m from Texas.”
Picturing her dressed as a cowgirl made Flynn have to bite back a groan. What was wrong with him tonight? He’d pulled one gorgeous woman from the snow and his hormones were all high-fiving each other, ready to get into the game.
He thanked the EMTs and walked them out. When he returned to the sitting room, Brooke had her hands wrapped around the mug. He wiggled the pill bottle. “Want some of these?”
“Yes, please.” She held out her hand and he shook two pills into her palm. After taking them, she looked up at Flynn. “Please tell me you have a room here.”
He certainly did.

Come back tomorrow for the last part of Melt My Heart!

Want more of the Warrior Wolves Series? Check it out HERE!