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I’m thrilled to announce that Christmas in Tahoe has a gorgeous cover. Heroes & Heartbreakers has done the official, exclusive cover reveal, but I wanted to share it with you here, too:ElisabethBarrett_ChristmasinTahoe_1600px

You like? I love. (You can click on the picture to make it bigger). I was very, very lucky to have Shawntelle Madison‘s expertise with this cover, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out.

I’m a little bit in shock at how real this all feels. There’s nothing like getting the book cover to help you get in the right mindset of a book launch, and here we are, only a week away!!

So in honor of the cover reveal, I thought I’d tease you all with an excerpt from the book. A little set up: Chase and Ann are on their way to Tahoe, but they get stuck in Auburn thanks to a road closure. Chase has procured Ann a hotel room, but he’s sleeping out in his truck because the hotel doesn’t allow pets, and Chase is traveling with his black lab named Roxy. I love this scene because it showcases their personalities so well.

“Chase?” a soft voice called. “Chase, are you still awake?” Ann.

He rolled down the window and ran a hand through his hair. “I am now.” She was standing outside in the dim light, shivering in the pouring rain, one of those plastic hotel ice buckets held over her head like a demented rain hat. “Oh man, Ann, get in the truck.”

He unlocked the doors as she ran around the back and climbed in the cab. Water dripped onto the seat and floor.

“Please come inside with me.”

He blinked. Not what he was expecting. “Roxy,” he said, using his head to indicate his companion.

“Bring her. She can’t stay out here, either.”

“You’re allergic,” he pointed out, testing her.

“I have medicine, remember?”

“We’re fine.”

“It’s freezing in here. I happen to know the temperature is going down to thirty-five degrees tonight, which technically isn’t freezing but is really close, and it would just be cruel for you to stay out here when I have a warm room only a hundred yards away.”

“You’ve thought everything out, haven’t you?”

“Please say yes.”

“All right.” She’d done all the rationalizing for him, anyway.

Relief flashed across her face. “I thought you’d say no. Okay, we have to go around the back way.”

He raised his seatback and turned on the engine. “Can’t believe you, of all people, are offering to sneak me and my dog into the last hotel room in Auburn,” he said. “You’re pretty much the last person I’d ever expect to be a rule breaker.”

“That’s not really fair. You’ve known me all of,” she glanced down at her watch and wiped the rain off it with a damp sleeve, “six hours.”

“Oh, I had you pegged from the moment I saw you.”

She looked affronted by that. “I can break the rules if the situation warrants it,” she said. “And I have never met a man who is so quick to judge a book by its cover. It’s right there,” she said, pointing to a door with a single bulb hanging from an attached overhang.

He pulled into a nearby parking spot. “I judge everyone by their covers,” he said. “It cuts through a lot of crap.” Because he’d been burned, and he wasn’t going to make that mistake again. “Anyway, you did, too. You assumed I’d say no.” Ann had no response to that. “So tell me how you really got us in,” he prodded.

“It wasn’t a big deal. I simply spoke with the front desk clerk.”

Chase turned to her and raised an eyebrow. She was staring at the dashboard.

“Where’s my GPS?”

“I put it in a safe place. And you’re dodging the question.”

Her gaze snapped back to him. “I am not. I appealed to his humanity,” she said. “It’s so cold out here.” As if on cue, she shivered.

Chase was silent, watching her watch him.

“He has an English bulldog named Frank Sinatra at home.”

Chase just stared at her.

“Okay, fine! I gave him fifty bucks and he promised not to tell his boss. Happy now?”

(c) 2013 Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett

One week one week one week! I’ll be back on November 11th (release day!) with a giveaway!! I’d also love it if you added the book to your Goodreads TBR pile! Finally, if you made it this far, Slow Summer Burn is on sale for 99 cents everywhere, so please spread the word!!

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ButtonsMom2003 is the winner!

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Fall is so different in NorCal than it is in New England. It starts later, for one. And it just doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t smell the same, either. No wood burning fires, no damp, crushed leaves underfoot–at least not for a long while. But the autumn winds are starting to blow and our neighbor has wind chimes. A little taste of home.

But we really need to get down to business because release day for Christmas in Tahoe is coming up fast! Last week I shared the back cover copy, and this week, I have an excerpt for you. But first, a little set up:

Our heroine, Ann Smith, is an actuary. Yes, an actuary. And our hero, Chase Deckert, is a snowboarding instructor. Her job is to calculate risk, and you can probably guess that as far as living goes, she’s quite risk-averse. He risks his life every time he carves up the avalanche-prone backcountry slopes. A match made in heaven, right?

Well, kinda, yeah. Because she’s not as risk-averse as she seems, and he’s not as risky as he appears, and together, they just work. Trust me on this.

So back to that excerpt. As you know, when I’ve done first excerpts in the past, I like to start at the beginning. And without further ado, here we go!

Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett

Chapter 1

“Mandy, please don’t do this to me,” Ann Smith muttered to herself as she scanned One World Insurance’s well-maintained parking lot for her ride. “Not right before Christmas.”

But Mandy Aligheri’s little blue Prius was nowhere to be seen. Just the usual panoply of sedans, minivans and SUVs.

And a handsome guy sporting a beard, leaning on a huge truck.

Definitely not her ride.

Her gaze slid over him and toward the entrance to the parking lot. Still no Mandy. It was just like her friend to be late, a pattern since college. They used to joke that if they combined Ann, who was always early, and Mandy, who was always late, they’d make one person who was always perfectly on time.

Oh no. One of her colleagues—a guy named Nick who frequently worked on her team—was approaching, and Ann held her breath. With her monstrous pocketbook and her skis in one arm and a giant roller bag on the other, there wasn’t a lot of room to maneuver on the path leading up to her office building.

Of course, Nick came right up to her. “You okay?”

“Yes.” Short and sweet, the way she always answered.

“Going to Tahoe?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Nick sidestepped her and her bags, gave her a nod, and said, “Glad you’re getting away for the holiday. Have a great trip, and Merry Christmas.”

Releasing her breath, she nodded back. “Thanks. Same to you.” Nick disappeared into the building. And thanks for not dragging me into a ten-minute-long discussion about how I’m doing.

Just as she was pulling her phone out of her voluminous bag to see if she’d missed any messages, Huge Truck Guy peeled himself off his truck and started walking directly towards her.

“You Ann?” he said. Even from twenty feet away his voice carried, a deep masculine rumble.

She nodded stiffly.

“I’m Chase,” he said, holding out a hand. “Mandy asked me to come pick you up.”

Reluctantly, she shifted her skis to her left side and took his hand. Rough fingers slid over hers and gripped her palm. Strong. And warm.

And it wasn’t just his fingers that were rough. It was the whole package. He had on worn jeans and a crewneck sweater, and he was wearing a pair of hiking boots. His hair was a thick, midnight black and so was his beard—somewhere between a five-o’clock shadow and full-on lumberjack, but short enough to display his strong jaw and lean cheekbones to perfection. His eyes were almost as dark as his hair, and they were filled with intelligence.

A crazy pattern of heat played a samba on her skin. When she closed her eyes to get her bearings, kaleidoscope colors flashed behind her lids. Was she having a stroke? The likelihood of that happening given her age, sex, and overall health was less than one percent, as were the odds that she was having a heart attack. Tumor was another possibility, but that was ever rarer, clocking in at zero-point-fifty-five percent probability.

Dawning awareness crept over her and, shocked, she blinked once. Then twice. For this was something that couldn’t be predicted with any probability whatsoever. Something so creaky and rusted from disuse she couldn’t even recognize it for what it was.

Desire.

Excerpt from Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett (c) 2013

What do you think?

There’s a lot more coming. Next Monday, the cover will be revealed on Heroes & Heartbreakers, and if you sign up for my newsletter, there’s going to be an exclusive excerpt. Maybe even the whole first chapter!

And of course, there must be a giveaway! Because I am SO excited about this book, I will send one lucky commenter an official, digital copy on November 11th (release day)! Just let me know what risk have you taken, and why (and whether it turned out well, if you want to share that much) and you’ll be entered to win. Contest ends Thursday, October 31st at midnight Pacific time (boo!), and the winner will be announced on Friday. No geographical restrictions since the winner will be receiving a digital copy of the book.

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Last week was very work and writing-heavy for me, and it was a good, productive week. I worked through the final round of line edits on Slow Summer Burn, and I finished the first draft of my Tahoe book, which ended up close to 50,000 words – short for me, but a heck of a lot of fun to write. We’ll see what my beta readers have to say about it. Over the weekend, it’s virtually impossible for me to work, except at night when I’m so bone-tired, I can’t really contemplate working unless I actually have to. Still, that doesn’t mean I didn’t *do* anything. Here are the highlights. This weekend, I:

*Marched in a big parade with my three children in ninety-degree weather

*Went to a birthday party with one of my children and played in the sandbox

*Did five loads of laundry (and it wasn’t even laundry day)

*Swam with my children and Mr. B in a lovely, warm pool

*Made homemade guacamole and orzo salad to go along with my grilled chicken and corn-on-the-cob for our Sunday night dinner (not very Cinco de Mayo of me, but the fam loved it anyway)

So, yes, I did a lot. In other news, later this summer, I will be heading to the big RWA national conference. What this means is that I really need to clear the decks of swag from last year’s conference to make room for the inevitable swag I will get from this year’s. So one lucky commenter will receive one audiobook of your choice from my stash (I’ll give you a choice). Just let me know what you did this weekend! Also, I know Friday seems to be the giveaway day of choice for most folks, but Monday works for me for a bunch of different reasons so I’m thinking I’ll keep the giveaways going on Mondays, at least for a while.

Finally, in just one short week, my third book, Long Simmering Spring will be released! So far, people have been saying some very nice things about the book (thank you, thank you!) and my blog tour for Long Simmering Spring starts this Friday. I hope you’ll join me for giveaways and fun over the next few weeks to celebrate! I also have a little excerpt for you to whet your appetite. Just to give you a bit of set-up, Cole and Julie are on their first date and the past starts to bleed into the present.

“After what I’ve done, I can guarantee I’m not the same guy I used to be.” He shook his head. “Maybe not all my change is for the better, but it’s no surprise you’ve turned out to be someone incredible.”

It seemed that it was confession time. “There was another reason I slapped you.”

“Yeah?” he asked, his gaze steady, as if readying himself to take whatever she dished out. “What’s that?”

“I thought if I gave you the chance—if I let you in, even for a second—you’d break my heart. And I couldn’t let that happen. Not then. Definitely not now.”

A terrible look of sadness flashed across his face for just a moment, before he composed himself. “That isn’t me and that isn’t you. Not anymore.”

Long Simmering Spring (c) 2013 Elisabeth Barrett

Like it? Order it!

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There are only two weeks left until Long Simmering Spring hits the (virtual) shelves on May 13th, and I realize that I haven’t been doing my part to whet your appetite. Because it’s a crazy, crazy week for me, I’m just going to get to the good stuff (i.e. an excerpt) and leave it at that. I will give you a little set-up, though. Our hero, Cole Grayson, has a past which colors the way others perceive him, and most definitely colors the way he perceives himself. Here’s Cole, thinking about Julie Kensington, a high-school acquaintence who’s now the local doctor:

Forget about who he was now; all she probably remembered was the guy he used to be. Bad. There was no other way to put it. He and his brothers had raised some serious hell in high school, and he’d been the worst of them all. The pranks, the drinking, the girls—God, it was embarrassing to even think about. Yet he’d come so far. He might still be one of Star Harbor’s notorious Grayson brothers, but instead of a cocksure hellion, he was a decorated military hero who worked every day to improve his community.

Maybe Julie didn’t care. They’d run in totally different circles—he with the bad boys and she with the good girls. He’d done nothing to distinguish himself to her back then until he’d confronted her—and himself—the afternoon he’d run into her behind the track at the high school. He’d made a play, and she’d turned him down, taking him apart with a few choice words. And then, bonehead that he was, he’d gone in for the kiss anyway. He’d gotten what he deserved that day—a slap so hard it had rattled his teeth, and a lecture on making something of himself.

Words he hadn’t heeded until years later.

Long Simmering Spring (c) 2013 Elisabeth Barrett

I s’pose I should put up the buy links. Here they are: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Other

And just because you’re awesome, I’m doing a giveaway! In honor of my release, give me your best spring memory, and I’ll send you one lucky commenter will win a copy of Fatal Justice by the excellent Marie Force (U.S. only, please). Stay tuned for another excerpt and giveaway next Monday!

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Oh, my, my, my. The good folks at Random House posted an excerpt from Long Simmering Spring on Scribd, and you should go read it. Right now. Unless you are at work.* Because it is verrrah dirty. Ahem.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Okay, I was shooting for sexy and emotional, but I’m okay with dirty.

Go. Go now. Unless you are at work.*

Also, I want to give you a heads-up that you should check this space on Tax Day, aka April 15, aka Monday, aka my birthday because I’ll be doing something very special and you will want to be here. Trust me on this one.

*At an office. If you work at home, do whatever you want.

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Happy day after April Fool’s day. I had this post ready to go yesterday, but I worried that whatever I posted on April 1 might be taken as a joke, so I decided to hold off! Today, I’m back in the saddle. I turned in my line edits for Slow Summer Burn to my awesome editor yesterday (not a joke!), and today I’m catching up on everything I’ve neglected over the past few weeks.

First, I can hardly believe it, but Long Simmering Spring, Cole and Julie’s story, is coming out in just over a month(!!!) and I owe you some excerpts. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

The telltale sound of the metal-on-metal rigging clanging above deck was a clear indication that Cole Grayson wasn’t inside a stifling-hot canvas tent in Kunar Province. The gentle pitch and roll under his back and the aromas of salt and sea could mean only one thing: he was on his brother’s houseboat in Star Harbor, thousands of miles from Afghanistan. His eyeballs were sticking to his lids, but for once, waking up early didn’t bother him.

He’d finally slept through the night. It had taken him only seven years, three months, and nineteen days.

Not that he was counting.

(c) Elisabeth Barrett 2013

Cole Grayson, featuring his abs.

Cole Grayson, featuring his abs.

First page, first glimpse of our hero, and yes, I really love this man—his whole tortured, repentant, honorable, sexy self. I hope you enjoy reading about him as much as I enjoyed figuring out what made him tick! Pre-order links are here, if you’re so inclined.

Oh, and if you want more, sign up for my newsletter, where I promise to give more tantalizing excerpts and sneak peeks of my upcoming books! If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late. Just go to the bottom of www.elisabethbarrett.com and follow the prompts. I’m non-spammy and infrequent—I swear!

Next, believe it or not, the fact that my third Star Harbor book is coming out next month isn’t even the main point of this blog post. The main point is to give you a glimpse into my research for my WIP—a Tahoe-based book about a scientist and an actuary. No, no—it’s not boring—really! See, the scientist is really a snowboarder, and the actuary is really a skier and together their chemistry is off-the-charts hot. Like burning up a snowy mountain hot. Trust me on this.

I’m calling the book Tahoe for now, even though I have another working title in my head because the working title is long and kind of confusing. So, yes, it may change.

I’d been thinking about writing a California book for some time and hoped to set it in Silicon Valley. Then I had a great idea about opposites attracting, and somehow the Tahoe angle came into play. Only problem was I’d never been there. And there was only one solution to this problem: ROAD TRIP!!! The first person I called was Spence, my BFF, to see if she’d join me. She didn’t even hesitate. Yes! We wanted another friend to come, but she was in Mammoth Lake that weekend. She tried to get us to come to Mammoth Lake with her instead, but I was undeterred. Tahoe it needed to be, and so Tahoe it was!

It was a whirlwind trip. Spence and I left Silicon Valley on Friday morning after I dropped the Barrett Pack off at school and we were on our way! On the drive up, we stopped at the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield. We didn’t take a tour, but we did indulge in some jellybeans!

Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly

And after a 4-hour drive, we were in Tahoe!!! We saw the lake. It was so blue.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

We climbed a mountain in the snow.

Spence on the backside.

Spence on the backside.

We checked out some of the ski resorts.

Squaw from the approach.

Squaw from the approach.

And we found this sign:

Star Harbor!!!

Star Harbor!!!

YESSSSSS!!!!!

Okay, we knew the sign existed because when Deep Autumn Heat was released, my friend told me about the Star Harbor sign up in Tahoe. Obviously, Spence and I made a pilgrimage to check it out.

We also ate some great food, checked out the local watering holes (no pics, sorry!) and had a blast driving around. We were back home by 6 p.m. on Saturday. See? Whirlwind!

So there you have it folks: Tahoe in photographs! I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and I promise to share some snippets from Tahoe soon. Have you been to Lake Tahoe? Tell me about your experiences!!

One more thing. If you are in the Bay Area this weekend, on Satuday, April 6 at 10 a.m., I’m speaking at the Monterey Bay RWA chapter. Information about the meeting can be found here. It’s only $5 (cheap!) at the Watsonville Community Hospital and you get to hear me talk! Yay!

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Happy New Year!

I wish I could tell you that I was a total slacker and had a completely relaxing holiday, but alas, it was just not to be. I worked my little kazookies off. Writing, editing, work…it all came to a head the last two weeks in December and the first week in January. Throw in some inclement weather and some kids home from school, and well, you know how it went….

I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. Work is tapering off, and will continue to taper more through the end of the month. I’ve completed my line edits on Long Simmering Spring, and after one last look tonight, I’ll be sending it back to my editor. And I’ve kickstarted my work on my fourth Star Harbor Book, Slow Summer Burn. I also got super inspired for another book – this one a stand-alone, I think – which is Silicon Valley-Tahoe based. I’m going to try something totally new for me which is to try to write two books simultaneously, as I’m excited to get back to my Connecticut Contemporary series I started in mid-2012.

This all makes for a very inspiring start to the year!

I don’t have any goals this year except to push myself hard. There are so many things I want to write, that I’m inspired to write, and I’m just raring to go!

I thought I’d whet your appetite, though, with a little excerpt from Long Simmering Spring. Let me just give you a little background.

The characters:

Cole Grayson - ex-military, smoking hot, and kind of tortured, now Sheriff of Star Harbor

Julie Kensington - straight-arrow family doctor trying to keep her practice afloat and doing her best not to get drawn in by said smoking hot sherriff

The plot:

Cole and Julie work together to ferret out bad dudes doing bad things in Star Harbor while falling in love. Plus, the hottest sex scene I’ve written (to date).

This 5-sentence snippet is from Cole’s point of view after he’s had a run-in with Julie and she’s still dodging him:

What he wouldn’t give to run his fingers through her hair, crush her to his body, and see how high he could make her fly. See how far he could push her until she unraveled in his arms. But, clever woman that she was, she hadn’t given him an opening. She’d shied away from him since he’d returned, dodging him for months, and always with the same excuse: work. He took a deep drink of his lager, pushing back against the nostalgia, coupled with a smidge of bitterness.

From Long Simmering Spring, (c) Elisabeth Barrett 2013

Like it? Preorder links are here!

I’m looking forward to a great 2013! Hope your year is everything you hope it’ll be!

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