July 8, 2008

Win a copy of Dragonfly Dreams!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and thank you, Anna, for having me! I said in my interview that Dragonfly Dreams was inspired by a story a guy told at my parent's rummage sale last Memorial Day weekend, but I took a little creative liberties in my version. A revolutionary war rifle became Loral's Dragonfly brooch, and the pawn shop owner who ripped off the 10-12 yr old (?) kid became Jake the antique store owner who's in need of some money himself. Does he rip Loral off? You'll have to read it to find out. Below is an excerpt for Dragonfly Dreams that isn't on my website--hopefully you'll like it. (If you don't win the download today and choose to purchase a copy from The Wild Rose Press, you can then enter the contest to win a FREE Sony e-Reader!)

Loral hunched her shoulders and jogged toward the bus stop. Despite the December chill biting through her coat, humiliation still burned her cheeks. It was bad enough that she knew he knew she was desperate enough to sell their family heirlooms piece by agonizing piece, but to have him offer her money outright?
The first time she’d met Jake, her heart hadn’t stopped racing until after she’d left the antique shop and driven half-way home. She’d noticed his dark good looks the moment she first walked in. He’d smiled that sincere, casual smile that reached all the way to his amber eyes. It was his smile that kept her coming back, even though it became harder and harder to face him with her head held high.
The worst part was she always wondered if he paid more for the items she brought than they were worth—or more than he should in order to make a profit, anyway. But, unable to resist the lure of seeing him again and again, she’d pushed aside her suspicion instead of finding another dealer.
Now she knew. She didn’t have to touch the sixteen one hundred dollar bills stuffed deep in her jeans pocket to know they were there. One thousand dollars for the dragonfly. She snorted with annoyance.
Sure, it was beautiful, but she’d have seen through that ridiculous offer even if he hadn’t tried to give her a handout moments earlier. Pain had sliced through her, because while she melted inside from the heat of his electric touch on her hands, he’d only felt sorry for her.
Well, at least it was over. She’d sold him the last of what she and her mother owned that would bring in the amount of cash they needed. She had no clue what they’d do next month, but now she had no reason to see Jake Coburn again.
A lump formed in her throat. She swallowed it down and increased her stride as fat, wet snowflakes began to float down around her. Turning the corner, she saw the blue bus at the end of the block, accelerating away from her stop.
She ran faster, but it was no use. The taillights grew smaller and smaller until they became a blur, blending with other vehicles and the Christmas lights twinkling along the street.
Loral came to a defeated halt, lungs burning, her breath pluming out to mingle with the snow as she braced her hands on her knees. Another bus wouldn’t come for forty-five minutes, and given the fact that she needed every dollar in her pocket, a cab wasn’t even a consideration; she’d have to wait.
Headlights flashed behind her. After a quick glance at a black sedan driving toward her, she straightened and shoved her hands into her pockets.
She’d wait, just not out here on the street. Walking briskly down the block, she waited for the car to pass. Anxiety rippled along her spine with the realization that it’d slowed to keep pace with her. Her numb fingers curled around the can of pepper spray at the bottom of her coat pocket.
"Loral? What are you doing?"
Jake’s disapproving voice made her spin around. Her heart pounded loud in her ears. Not wanting him to see she was cold, she hugged her arms across her middle to stop her shivering as she peered into his car. He watched her from his leather seats with the street light above casting light onto his head through the moon roof. Great—nothing like adding insult to injury.
She resumed walking. "What does it look like I’m doing?"
The engine of his car revved as he caught up with her again. "Did your Tahoe break down? Do you need me to call someone?"
Okay, just shoot me now. She glanced in the direction the bus had disappeared, and lifted her chin while keeping her voice indifferent. "I sold it two months ago."
"You’re not walking home, are you?" The tone of his voice conveyed his disbelief. "It’s below freezing."
A snowflake caught on her eyelashes, she blinked it away. "I missed my bus and the next one isn’t until eight. I can hardly just sit here and wait."
"Can’t you call someone?"
She didn’t answer, unwilling to explain further. Like she needed more of his pity tonight.
"No family?" He paused. "A boyfriend?"
She shook her head sharply, still walking as he idled alongside.
"Let me give you a ride, then."
Two years ago she would’ve gladly accepted, following her desire to spend some time with him. Now she forced a smile to her stiff lips. "Thanks for the offer, but I’ll just wait for the next bus. There’s a coffee shop a few blocks from here." A horn blasted behind them. Loral flinched, and then waved Jake away. "Go. Seriously, I’ll be fine."
Jake stepped on the gas and his sleek black car surged forward. She fought disappointment until he swerved sharply into an empty parking spot halfway down the block. Her step slowed as the impatient driver zoomed past. Jake swung from his car and strode toward her with those long legs of his that made him tower over her five feet five inches.
"That coffee shop closes at six," he told her. "Not enough evening traffic."
Just her luck. The unfairness of it all threatened to overwhelm her, but she forced it down. Things wouldn’t change until her mother was better, and until then, she’d just deal with missed buses and closed coffee shops.
She lifted her head to meet Jake’s gaze, noticing how quickly the snow gathered on his dark hair. Her own hair must be covered. She reached up a hand to brush it off, and then wished she hadn’t as the moisture made her fingers even colder and frigid air rushed under the bottom edge of her coat. A shiver shook her shoulders.
Jake muttered under his breath, shrugging out of his black leather jacket. Before she realized his intent, he stepped forward and draped it around her. Immediate warmth permeated her somewhat threadbare coat, lethally combined with the scent of leather and man. Her senses sharpened even as the rest of the world faded away, leaving her unable to do anything more than stare up at him.
He stood close enough to make her knees weak, a hand on either lapel, tugging the jacket tight so she was wrapped in a cocoon. His eyes reminded her of the warm caramel her grandmother used to drizzle over ice cream.
"Let me take you home, Loral."
For another excerpt, check out my website. Post a comment for a chance to win a free e-copy today!

Thanks! Stacey Joy Netzel


Tessy said...

Wonderful excerpt!!!! It's great, can't wait to get a copy!!

Cherie J said...

Great excerpt! Sounds like a wonderful story!

Eva S said...

Who could resist him!? I'd love to

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Thanks everyone! If you pick up a copy (or win the one today) I'd love to hear your thoughts on the whole read. It's told entirely from Melanie's POV, and every once in awhile I get an itch to add an extra chapter from Andrew's POV. Once you read the end line, you'd know why. :)

DawnM said...

Great excerpt, Stacey. Jake seems like a peach of a guy.

CrystalGB said...

Sounds great. :)

flchen1 said...

Thanks for the excerpt--this sounds like a great story!

Carol Ericson said...

Hi Stacey, I already read Dragonfly Dreams, and it kept me warm on a cold winter's night (at least a cold winter's night in Southern California!).

Jane said...

Jake sounds like a great hero.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

I was going to say that Jake is one of my favorites, but honestly, I fall in love with every one of my heroes as I write the stories. It helps that most of them have the good qualities of my husband in them. :)

Carol, I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks! One comment that seems to come through on the reviews, for each of my stories, from different review sites, is how heartwarming they are. They inspired my tag line: Rugged Heroes ~ Resilient Heroines ~ Heartwarming Romance. :)

Estella said...

Sounds like a great story!

Beth Caudill said...

OOOO such a gentleman. Even more stuff I have to add to the TBR pile.

LuAnn said...

This contest has sure been fun. I'm enjoying all these excerpts.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Jake doesn't stop there, Beth. He's a definite keeper!

Glad you're having fun LuAnn! :)

I've had a lot of fun today too, meeting new people and checking out your profiles, some blogs, and websites.


Michelle said...

Great excerpt...love how you came up with the story idea.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

What can I say, Michelle, the guy had a great story. :)

I checked out your profile--so cool to see someone else who likes Better Off Dead. "I want my two dollars!" LOL I was just thinking the other day I should rent that for my almost 15yr old to watch with me. He loves the Back to the Future movies, and we all love the Indiana Jones series. And Independence Day. :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Virginia said...

Great excerpt, I think I would really enjoy this book.