Friday, September 24, 2010

Blogging on Intrigue Authors

I'm blogging today on the Intrigue Authors Blog. The topic is a fun one: a Q & A with Melissa Draper and Aaron Cooper from Bachelor Sheriff. That's right—they're doing the Q & A together! Banter, baby.

I also recently got a very nice review of my September 2008 book Cowboy Alibi from The Long and the Short of It Reviews. My favorite blurb from the review? "Paula Graves is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors because she consistently writes a thrilling, sexy, solid book." Aww, shucks. ::blush::

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Launch: Bachelor Sheriff!

Before we get into the business of celebrating the official "on sale" date for my eighth Intrigue, Bachelor Sheriff, I need to do a little clean up from the last launch part, back in August. I drew winners of $10 gift cards from the book store of your choice--and if I'm not mistaken, nobody responded! What is with y'all not claiming your prizes? :)

So again, the winners from the One Tough Marine launch were Genia, Carla, Laryssa and Lisa G. I need y'all to email me at paulagraves (at) (delete spaces and use the @ sign) to let me know which online bookstore you'd like a $10 eGiftcard from.

And now, to the new book...

I've been preselling Bachelor Sheriff quite a bit (see here, here and here), so you know it's out this week, and many of you have probably already purchased it through Amazon or eHarlequin. (Thank you!) It hits the shelves today, but its already a national bestseller—Bachelor Sheriff hit #7 on the Borders Group series bestseller list.

So, with all that good news, let's get this party started!

Bachelor Sheriff features a couple of former high school classmates who didn't exactly run in the same circles: he was a star football player with an exciting college and maybe pro career ahead of him, and she was the socially awkward braniac hiding a dark family secret. She had a crush on him he never knew about, but ten years later, the playing field between them is suddenly a whole lot more even. She's an up and coming lawyer, while his bright future in football blew up with his knee, leaving him to make his way in life as a sheriff's deputy.

If you think there's a little bit of myself in this book, you'd be right. I was quite the nerd in school, the go-to girl for homework help but definitely not the girl you'd take to the prom. And yeah, I had my share of crushes on star athletes. So it was easy to get into Melissa's head for that aspect of the story.

But I also explored an issue I've never had any personal experience with—domestic violence. Melissa's past is tainted with abuse, and one of her passions is providing legal and emotional support for battered women. In doing research for this story, I was surprised to find that not all abusers are a lost cause. Yes, recidivism is rampant, but men who truly seek help and deal with the sources of their abusive behavior can and do change. Not as many as we would wish, but I found it interesting my assumption that abusers never change isn't entirely the truth. This discovery affected how I dealt with Melissa's family situation. (How's that for a teaser?)

So, let's talk about Bachelor Sheriff! I'll give two commenters chosen at random a $20 eGiftcard to the online book store of your choice, and all you have to do is answer this question: if you were going to pull from your past to create a book character or story situation, what would it be? A traumatic childhood experience? A lost lost love? A road never taken? Dish, folks!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blogging today on Running with Quills

The lovely and talented Jayne Ann Krentz invited me to guest blog on her group blog, Running with Quills. My post is up today and I'd love for you to join me in the comments. We're talking about nerds. That's right, nerds. I believe I've mentioned that I'm a nerd, and I channeled some of my nerdiness into Melissa Draper, the heroine of Bachelor Sheriff.

So drop by and tell us--were you cool in school? Or was nerd the word?

(Did I really just write that lame rhyme? Told you I was a nerd).

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Blogging today on Pink Heart Society

Talkin' bout bad boys as heroes.

How bad can you go? Let's discuss it!

Or you can just stay here and stare at Josh Holloway. Whichever.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Blogging on Writerspace

I like bad boys as much as any red-blooded American girl, but I love me a complicated good guy, as I discuss in further detail on my guest blog on

Do you have a thing for good guys who don't always walk the straight and narrow but usually end up doing the right thing? Drop by and discuss it with the rest of us.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Want a little preview of Bachelor Sheriff?

As most of you know, my fourth Cooper Justice book, Bachelor Sheriff, comes out this month from Harlequin Intrigue. The hero is the youngest Cooper brother, Aaron, who you met in the first and third Cooper Justice books. Aaron is a former high school football star turned deputy sheriff. When the story starts, he's recently been promoted to an investigative role after doing time on patrol and later on a joint DEA task force.

The heroine, Melissa Draper, was a high school classmate of Aaron's. But if you're thinking high school sweethearts reunited, um, well, no. Melissa may have nursed a secret crush on Mr. Popular, but Aaron's memories of Melissa are a little hazier.

Funny that it turns out the girl he barely remembers from high school is quickly becoming the girl he can't get out of his head...

Anyway, for your reading pleasure, here's an excerpt from the beginning of the book, just to whet your appetites:

Jasper's low whine jarred Melissa Draper awake. Blinking to clear the sleep from her eyes, she peered into the inky gloom at the foot of her bed, where the Beagle-mix puppy usually slept. But Jasper wasn't there.

Her heart quickening, she sat upright. "Jasper?"

She kicked off the bedcovers and shivered, surprised to find the room had grown frigidly cold during the night. From the doorway, Jasper whimpered softly.

Melissa turned on the bedside lamp. Nothing happened. The digital alarm clock on her bedside table was also dark.

The power must be out. That explained the cold.

Outages weren't unusual where Melissa lived. Fallen tree limbs, lightning strikes—any number of events could cause a break in her power supply. She'd bought a gasoline generator last year for that very reason.

She kept a flashlight in the bedside table drawer. She found it and turned it on. A beam of light sliced the darkness, bouncing off a light haze.

Then the acrid smell of smoke hit her nose.

"Come, Jasper." She grabbed her robe and entered the narrow hallway. The puppy kept pace as she headed for the stairs.

As the smell of burning wood and plastic assaulted her in a bitter cloud, her heart rate soared. Now she could hear the faint shriek of the smoke detector going off downstairs.

Her house was on fire.

The hallway smoke detector went off right over her head, making her jump. Leaning against the wall, her hand over her galloping heart, she tried to think what to do next.

The phone in her room depended on electricity, but her cell phone usually worked, even this far out of town. It was in her purse downstairs. She had to get to it.

Gagging on the acrid haze, she crouched low and hurried to the top of the stairs. She paused there, peering down the steep stairs, her head swimming. She hated heights, even in full daylight when she could see each step down. With the bottom floor barely visible through the smoky haze, the dizzy sensation was that much worse.

Clinging to the rail all the way down, she reached the first floor unscathed. The smoke seemed to be coming from the back of the house, near the kitchen. Had she left the stove on?

She dropped to her knees, crawling through the thickening smoke toward her purse on the foyer table. Purse in hand, she groped her way to the door, reached up and twisted the dead bolt.

Nothing happened.

She tugged at the dead bolt again, but the lock didn't turn.

Beside her Jasper started to bark wildly, startling her. "It's okay, buddy, we're going to be okay." She could get out through the windows, breaking one if it didn't open.

First, she had to stay calm and think, while she still had time. What could she save before the fire consumed it?

Her pro bono files were in a metal file cabinet down the hall, but there were copies of those on disks in a safe-deposit box at the bank, plus digital copies of vital records on her laptop as well. The work files in the cabinet were just copies of files stored at the law office. There were some photos she didn't want to lose, but she wouldn't risk her life going back upstairs for them. Clothes, food and appliances could be replaced by the insurance check. All she had to save were her purse, her notebook computer and her dog.

She swung the long strap of her purse over her neck and grabbed the attaché case containing her notebook computer. "Let's go, Jasper."

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted movement outside. Turning her head, she saw what might have been a shadowy figure disappear past the far window facing the front porch.

She froze for a second, until a popping sound coming from the kitchen spurred her into action again. She dug her phone from her purse and dialed 911, reaching out to calm her frantic dog. "Jasper, shh…"

A female voice answered. "Chickasaw County 911."

"This is Melissa Draper. I live on Tuckahaw Road, south of the bridge. My house is on fire." Reaching up, she tried the door again. The lock wouldn't budge. "I'm also having trouble getting out of the house."

After a brief pause, the woman replied, "We've got units on the way. Is there a first floor window you can open?"

Melissa peered up at the windows that looked out on the porch. The memory of the mysterious shadow gave her a moment's pause. Had someone set the fire deliberately? Maybe cut the power to the house?

Was he outside, waiting for her?

She'd have to take the risk.

She pushed to her feet. "I'm putting the phone in the pocket of my robe. Just a minute." She swept the window drapes aside. Moonlight washed the front porch outside with cold blue light, dimmed by a light haze from the fire at the back of her house. From her vantage point, she saw nothing and no one moving outside.

She unlocked the window and tugged at the sash. Decades of old paint put up a fight, but she finally heard a soft crack over the wail of the smoke alarm, and the window rattled open. She unlatched the screen and pushed it onto the porch. It fell with a soft clatter.

"Come on, Jasper." She picked up the trembling dog and lowered him out the window onto the porch. Pulling up the hem of her robe, she crawled out the window in a hurry, hauling her purse and attaché over the sill with her. She landed with an awkward thump on the porch beside her frantic, barking puppy.

"We're out," she said into her cell phone, her gaze sweeping the front lawn for any sign of intruders. All she saw was winter-browned grass spreading twenty yards square, hemmed by woods on both sides and the narrow lane in front.

"You need to get away from the house. Head to a neighbor's house if it's too cold to wait outside," the 911 operator suggested.

Melissa's Volkswagen GTI sat in the driveway, a safe distance from the house. She and Jasper could wait there.

On her way to the porch steps, she paused by the door. Shining her flashlight on the dead bolt, she caught her breath when she spotted a small stick wedged into the keyhole. That's why she hadn't been able to unlock the front door.

Had someone put the stick there on purpose?

In the distance, wailing sirens broke the silence of the dark night. Melissa kept moving, clicking her fingers at Jasper and hoping he was unnerved enough by their current ordeal to follow her rather than haring off in all directions the way he usually did when he was off his leash. To her relief, he stayed close, hopping right into the car when she opened the door.

The car's interior was frigidly cold, making her wish that she'd considered her warm winter coat one of the necessary things to save from the fire. She doubted the cold engine would generate enough heat to make a difference before the firemen arrived, so she didn't risk it, huddling close to Jasper, grateful, for once, to have his warm puppy breath in her face.

A column of thick black smoke roiled from the back of her house. No flames visible yet, but a faint glow tinted the rising smoke and she tried not to think too hard about what parts of her house might be burning to the ground while she waited for the firemen to arrive.

She checked the car door locks one more time. Someone had stuck that twig in the dead bolt. Might have been a prank, but what if it wasn't? If Jasper hadn't started whining when he did, she might not have awakened until fire had engulfed the entire house. The time wasted trying to open the sabotaged door could have been the difference between living and dying.

But who would have done such a thing?
Ready to pick up your copy of Bachelor Sheriff? You don't have to wait for it to
show up in your bookstore. Click the link to the right and buy your copy from
eHarlequin right now.

(Full disclosure--I receive a commission for any sales resulting from the click-through).

Text Copyright © 2010 by Paula Graves. Cover Art Copyright © 2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. © and ™ are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.