ILLUSIONS -- A new exciting release from Kacey Hammell!
I'm thrilled to have my friend and one heck of a talented lady on my blog today. Her latest release, Illusions, just debuted from Decadent Publishing. You'll find the blurb below, as well as an excerpt that I guarantee will leave you hungry for more!
Protection. Adventure. Love.
It's all found within The Arms of the Law...
Detective Isabella Knowles, a tough-as-nails cop, lives by the law, and knows what she wants out of life. And it doesn't include marriage or all that comes with it. Everything Isabella has ever known seems like an illusion when a new relationship makes her feel more alive than ever before. She isn’t happy about it and fights it every step of the way.
Burned by his fiancée years ago, seer and P.I., Brady Jacobs never wants another commitment in his life. But his bachelorhood and heart are threatened when he has one of his visions and see a killer striking too close to the woman he has recently come to love.
Danger lurks close to home and neither Brady nor Isabella like that they can’t control every situation…especially matters of the heart.
Kacey Hammell, © 2012
“Cat got your tongue, or what?”
Her head came up as Alicia’s voice chased away her meandering thoughts. Ali stood behind her desk with hands on her hips, a very familiar stance. It was her ‘I want some answers now’ pose.
Taking a deep breath, Isabella fought to regain the air that had suddenly left her body and tried to ignore the light-headedness from the photo she had just seen.
“For God’s sake, Alicia. You know Brady and I are friends. We joke around and have a great time. People, a lot of them, naturally assume we are a couple. You’ve thought it yourself. You also know it’s complete bullshit.”
Isabella floundered, afraid to look her cousin in the eye and explain away the lie she was telling her. Heading to the window overlooking West Street, she wished she had an easy answer. Brady Jacobs was one of the men she trusted with her life and had great respect for.
When he came home from the Marines ten years ago, he had changed. A different man from the one she’d known in high school, he had lost some of the humor and laughter she had come to identify with him. While in the Marines, he’d fallen in love with a woman named Sandy. They’d met in Thailand and had become engaged. But once she learned the truth about his abilities, Sandy had dumped him and remained overseas, declaring she never wanted to see him again.
He had come home a harsher, more abrupt man. One Isabella didn’t care to know at first. But as she trained hard for her detective’s shield, he was suddenly a rooting supporter who hoped she would ace the exam and obtain her dream.
It was as if he’d known long before she did she’d aced the exam. If it hadn’t been for him, she might never have kept after it as she had. There were times when she had wanted to give up her dream, but he wouldn’t let her. His ability to see things—visions of death, abuse, and other acts—made him an asset to the police, and to her during her struggles. But there was the odd time when Brady would see something great, something to make the gruesome visions he had seem small in comparison.
Looking out into the bustling street, Isabella spoke quietly. “Sometimes Alicia, you forget. I don’t need a man in my life. Least of all romantic entanglements. That’s your area. One you can gladly have all to yourself.”
“What a load of crap. You and your stupid belief about marriage and love not being for you. It’s just ridiculous,” Alicia said adamantly. “And you know what, it’s getting old. Hell, the excuse will be written on your tombstone the day you bite the dust.”
Chuckling and feeling some tension leave the room, Isabella had to rib her cousin just a bit. “Bite the dust? What the hell are you talking about? You saying my time is coming? You know something I don’t? I plan to live for decades yet. Alone!”
“Whatever. Your father now thinks Brady Jacobs is the boyfriend who will be coming to the party next month. He’s very happy you’ve chosen a hometown boy, a celebrity himself, and an upstanding kind of guy. I think he’ll be picking out china patterns for you next.” Disgust was clear in Alicia’s voice.
“So what will you do? I told you before to come up with someone to take with you. A pretend boyfriend if you will, just to gain you some time and get your dad off your back about babies and leaving this job behind.”
“I won’t do that, Alicia. Lying to my father is not an option. He’ll get over it. There is no man in my life now, nor ever. At least not one for a happy ever after. It’s just not possible.” Her voice cracked as she spoke of the impossibilities. She only hoped her cousin didn’t catch it. Her mother’s death was never far from her thoughts. She would never put a man through what her father had gone through, nor did she ever want to feel such pain herself over a husband.
To her, it wasn’t worth it. To love and then lose them just didn’t seem worth it.
“Forget it, Alicia. I don’t want to discuss this anymore. I’ll deal with my father and will call the Gazette to find out about this photo. We are hardly newsworthy. Especially when there is no story.”
God, don’t strike me down.
“Sometimes, I think you have your priorities all wrong,” Alicia said sadly.
“Maybe I just need to get laid. Whatcha think?” Isabella hoped to see a smile on her face, but as she looked over her shoulder, all she saw was sadness. A look she had become accustomed to, as her cousin wanted her to find Mr. Right.
Mr. Man for the Night sounded much better to Isabella.
“Laid, Izzy? What’s that? I don’t think either of us remembers what it’s all about,” Alicia uttered, amusement finally percolating through her voice.
“Well, isn’t this an enlightening discussion, ladies? Shall I throw my last sexual encounter into the ring and we can share in the misery?”
Isabella jumped and spun around at the sound of Ethan Carter’s voice as he entered the office.
Blushing with embarrassment, she could barely look him in the eye. “Hey, Ethan. How you doing?”
“Obviously better than you.” Ethan’s eyes cut to his partner’s desk, where the newspaper still rested, open to page four and the photo of her with Brady. His gaze flickered her way, making her feel lower than dirt. He set his coffee down on his desk, pasting a false smile on his face. “You two always commiserate together or what? Kinda early for sex talk, isn’t it?”
She could see he was only pretending he didn’t care about the photo on the desk, but as always, Ethan’s face conveyed every emotion he felt.
“You know us girls, Ethan,” Alicia ribbed her partner, obviously picking up on the tension. “Sex, sex, sex, we talk about it all the time. We want it all the more, too.” She chuckled.
Laughing authentically now, Ethan ribbed her in return. “Sugar, I tell you daily, all you have to do is call me. Day….” He lifted his stare to Isabella. “Or night.”
She shifted her gaze to Alicia, only to see a look of frustration and hurt cross her face.
Oh, God. Don’t tell me….
“What’s this? A party and no one told me?”
At the newest addition to the conversation, Isabella’s pulse accelerated double-time. She looked toward the door.
Man, I don’t need this today.
Brady Jacobs walked—no, sauntered—into the office and heading toward Ethan, spared her not a glance.
Black denim jeans encased his firm, shapely ass like a second skin. His black T-shirt with sleeves rolled over his beautiful biceps showed off his sexy, muscular build. He looked good enough to eat. A flood of heat coursed through her body. This was a man who was confident in himself and when he entered the room, there was a ripple effect. Everyone sat up to take notice of him and women practically swooned, eager to catch his eye. But Brady rarely gave any one woman the time of day. He was adamant about keeping his personal life private, and his no-commitment rule was always in full force.