I love to watch people and am fascinated with psychology—two key components to great character development in my mind. It’s fun to sit at a mall, airport, restaurant, or any of the other various places people surround us in everyday life and observe. Creating compelling characters is a true skill and one I find great joy in. It’s such a thrill to meet my characters and discover what really drives them. While writing Falling for Sarah, I found myself diving into dark and disturbing depths to bring the main villain to life. On more than one occasion he disturbed me so much I brought my laptop to bed because I was too afraid to stay up alone after my husband and children had gone to sleep for the night.
Falling For Sarah Behind the scenes:
After completing Morgan’s Hunter, Ethan and Sarah begged me to share their story, but I didn’t know where I wanted to take them. I had the end result in mind, but there are a lot of pages to fill between a beginning and an end. That all changed one night when I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. As I turned off the faucet I looked up and caught a glimpse of our porch pillar through the window. For a moment, I’d thought someone was there. I had the ‘spooks’ after watching a particularly disturbing documentary on serial killers. Of course, I laughed it off but I asked myself, ‘What would it feel like to be watched? What would it be like to look up and see someone in the window that didn’t belong?’ My imagination took over and the ideas started flowing. The next day, I started my research on the inner workings of a true sociopath. Falling for Sarah quickly came together not long after.
Morgan Taylor, D.C. socialite and wildlife biologist, leads a charmed life until everything changes with a phone call. Her research team has been found dead—slaughtered—in backcountry Montana.
the dangers of a murderer still free, nothing will stand in her way, not even the bodyguard her father hires, L.A.’s top close protection agent, Hunter Phillips.
endless search for answers proves hopeless—until Hunter discovers the truth.
September 24, 2010
Sarah Johnson turned the key and opened her front door. She crossed the threshold, breathing in the familiar scent of fresh-cut flowers and the hint of low tide blowing in from the Pacific. “It’s so nice to be home. Welcome home, sweet baby girl.” She stared at her sleeping newborn and smiled, brushing her lips over the soft skin of her baby’s forehead.
“Look out, coming through,” Ethan Cooke said, loaded down with balloons and vases overflowing with cheerful blooms. “I had no idea bringing a baby home from the hospital required movers.”
Sarah stepped aside, chuckling. “I know. Kylee has quite a fan club already. Let me help you with some of this stuff.”
“I’ve got it. You gave birth yesterday, for God’s sake. The nurse told you to take it easy.” He set the vase on the entryway table and released the balloons to the ceiling as he dropped the diaper bag from his shoulder to the floor. “Besides, Jake would kick my ass if he knew you were hauling things in.”
Sarah’s smile widened as she thought of her husband. “Yes, you’re probably right, but I also know he would be grateful you were able to help me out. My mother wasn’t expecting to run her shop today. Dana called in sick, so that was that.”
Ethan moved closer to her side, staring at the baby. “I’m happy you called. I wanted to come visit you ladies again last night, but things got a little crazy while I was on duty.” He brushed a finger down Kylee’s tiny nose. “She really is beautiful, Sarah. She looks just like you.”
Sarah’s blue eyes twinkled. “Thank you, but I definitely see some of Jake in her too.” She wrapped her free arm around Ethan’s waist and rested her head against his shoulder as he returned her embrace. “I’m so happy right now, Ethan, so absolutely happy. Twenty-nine more days and my family will be whole again. I can’t wait to hug Jake and watch his face when he holds her for the first time. I could tell he wanted to crawl through the screen yesterday and touch her tiny fingers and toes.” She looked down at Kylee. “No more deployments for your daddy. He’ll be all ours.”
“He’ll be mine too.” Ethan grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. “I’ve been waiting just as eagerly for Jake’s return. It took me two years to convince him to join my firm. Now I need to get Hunter on board, and the crew will be together again.”
“Getting yourselves into as much trouble as ever I’m sure. You’ll have to wait a little longer for your new security expert. He’s not leaving my side for at least a week.”
“I think I can live with that.” He kissed her forehead and started toward the door. “Let me get the rest of the stuff from the truck. Then I’ll set up Jake’s surprise.”
“I can’t wait for him to see it. I’ve nixed the big-screen TV idea for so long, I’m pretty sure he’s stopped hoping for one.”
“It’s a beauty, all right. He’ll love it. I’ll have everything hooked up in no time.” He gave her a gentle squeeze and headed for the door.
“Great.” Brimming with joy, Sarah kissed her daughter again and took the baby to the nursery she’d painstakingly painted on her own. The pale yellow stripes looked wonderful with the touches of pink scattered about the room. Sitting in the rocker, she put Kylee to her breast and listened to the door open and slam shut as Ethan brought their items in from his Range Rover. Minutes later, she smiled when she heard him rummaging through the cupboards in the kitchen. If Ethan was anything, it was always hungry.
Kylee’s mouth went slack as she fell back to sleep.
Sarah fastened her nursing bra and fixed her shirt. She settled Kylee against her shoulder and walked out to the kitchen while she rubbed her daughter’s back, burping her.
Ethan stood in front of the open refrigerator, mumbling his excitement about her stocked shelves. He glanced up, grinning, and she itched for her camera. “Hey, I’m going to make myself a sandwich before I get started on the TV. Want one?”
“No, thanks. Do you want me to make it for you?”
“Nah, you don’t have to do that.”
“Why don’t you let me because I have another favor to ask of you.” She smiled. “The least I can do is make you something to eat.”
He went to the pantry, grabbing a loaf of bread. “Why don’t you tell me what you need?” He pulled open a cupboard and took out a plate.
“A shower.” She smiled again, nibbling her lip.
His eyes zeroed in on Kylee, and he took a step back. “Geez, I don’t know, Sarah. I’ve never held a baby before. What if I drop her?”
A laugh bubbled in her throat at the sheer horror in his eyes. Even after he’d helped her through hours of labor, watched her deliver Kylee, and cut the cord in Jake’s honor, he’d refused to hold her.
“You’re not going to drop her,” she said, walking to where he stood. “Fold your arm like this.” She held out her arm, bending at the elbow.
He cleared his throat, following her lead, and she placed Kylee in the crook of his rigid arm. Kylee squirmed, and he grabbed Sarah’s hand. “She’s moving, she’s moving. She’s going to fall. Shit, Sarah, I really think this is a bad idea.”
“I think it’s a great idea. Trust me on this one.” She adjusted the baby slightly, moving his arm closer to his body, making sure his hand held Kylee under her diapered bottom. She backed away from them, grinning at the discomfort and mild panic all over Ethan’s face. “You’re a natural. Look at you two. I need my camera.”
He groaned as she moved to the pile of bags outside the kitchen door and grabbed her case, pulling her Nikon D3 from the bag. She held up the camera and looked through the lens, focusing on Ethan’s arresting face for a test shot. Sharp cheekbones and straight black eyebrows accentuated his long, thick eyelashes and bold gray eyes. She zoomed in on the clear gray pools surrounded by dark, smoky rings and pressed the shutter closed in rapid succession. His firm, full lips and muscular torso showcased a man perfectly comfortable with his masculinity. She tightened her focus on his big hand holding Kylee’s little body and clicked away again, moving in closer, getting lost in her passion for pictures.
“Sarah, do you want that shower or not?”
She pulled the camera back, focusing on Ethan’s raised brow and lips pressed firm in annoyance. “Sorry. I got a little carried away. You two make excellent subjects. The camera loves your face.”
“So you’ve told me—more times than I can count.”
She placed the Nikon back in the bag and zipped it closed. “You’re doing a great job with her.”
He glanced down at Kylee. “I guess this is okay.”
“See? I’ll be quick. She just ate so she should sleep. Here’s the burp cloth just in case she spits up.” She draped the cotton towel over Ethan’s shoulder and turned to leave.
She stopped, turning back.
“Um.” He took a step toward her and stopped. “What if—what if she starts to cry?”
Amused by his distress, she couldn’t help but smile. The man standing before her dealt with the scum of the earth every day, yet a seven-pound infant brought him to his knees. “Just jiggle your arm a little bit. She’ll fall right back to sleep.” She turned and walked toward the bathroom, calling over her shoulder, “Oh, and relax. Babies feel tension.”
Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards.
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