Wonder Boi Writes

Fire and Ice: Early Release

Fire and Ice is out! Well, the eBooks are available on my publisher’s website, that is. The print books will still launch at Womencrafts during Women’s Week in Ptown, but if you can’t be there, then what are you waiting for? Go get your eBook copy of Fire and Ice today!

That’s it. That’s the end of the blog. Why are you still reading this when you could be reading Fire and Ice?


October 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fire and Ice: The Book Box!

Hello Folks,

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Fire and Ice countdown.

Shit is starting to get real now, as not only have I heard rumors that the ebooks might be available a few weeks early, I know for a fact that early print run is starting to roll off the presses because I got my copies this week!

This is my 16th full length novel and let me tell you, the arrival of the never gets old!

My whole family gets excited about it, bless their hearts. My son found this box first and ran in shouting, “You got books!” And, after fixing my hair a little bit, my wife grabbed the camera to document the opening. I always feel a bit embarrassed, but then again why not make a fuss? I started working on this book a year ago!

The moment when I finally see the new baby my heart always gives a little skip. I mean a years worth of work on screens and in clouds and emails and PDFs, followed months out of my hands, and then it’s there, and more real than ever, and beautiful!

And I’m proud. And happy. And a little wistful. And a little in awe of it all. I feel so grateful to be able to do this work, and so appreciative of everyone who supports me along the way. This moment always feels like the completion of a journey for me. My work here is done. I am holding my reward. Now the only thing I can do, is pray that some one you enjoy it, too.

You can pre-order your copy of Fire and Ice today or if you’re going to Women’s Week this October in Provincetown, you can pick up your copy at Womencrafts, a week before it’s available in any other stores!

September 26, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fire and Ice: The Basics

Hey Friends,

First of all, the book sale is still going on, so you can check that out here, but I am down several more copies from last week, so don’t wait too long, or the ones you want might be gone!

But it you’ve already got all the Rachel Spangler backlist you can handle, please read on, because I’m already looking ahead to next month and my Women’s Week Release: Fire and Ice!

Last week I shared this awesome Ann McMan cover with you.

I am totally in love with it. And really, what’s not to love. I mean, I am totally a leg person, so, check!

And she’s on a bed, which sends all the right messages here, but lest we think this is some straight up erotica, look at that heart in the coffee cup, and together we all say, “Awwww,” ’cause we just know it’s going to be sweet. And possibly cozy, because look at those leg warmers and that oversized sweater.

But wait? What’s with the computer and the rules of curling? That’s not the type of light reading someone just snuggles up with on a lazy Saturday morning. By golly, is this woman working? What is her job, and how do we all get gigs like that?

It seems as though this cover has a lot of feels to it, and yet also so many questions. I think it’s time to start teasing a few answers for you. Not all the answers, mind you. I still have to hold your interest long enough to keep you coming back for more until Fire and Ice is released next month. Unless of course you want to go pre-order it right here.

So, in my attempt to string you along until it’s time for the big release, here’s the official blurb of Fire and Ice.

Will the heat building between a disgraced reporter and a rising curling star melt the already thin ice they each are on?

Max Lauren made a mistake that shattered her pride, her heart, and her career in one fell swoop. Relegated to covering the lowly game of curling, she already resents the so-called “sport,” and then she steps onto the ice, where things get infinitely worse. She’s been knocked down before, and she’s always gotten back up, but a frosty resolve goes only so far in a world of people who thrive on ice.

Callie Mulligan is the amiable skipper of America’s second-place curling team. Upbeat, optimistic, and with a fiery passion for an icy sport, she has both the mental and physical skills to become Team USA’s top contender. What she doesn’t have is the fame or the funding. Coverage from a journalist of Max’s caliber could be the answer to both problems if only Max wasn’t so cold to the idea. As Callie tries to warm her to the sport, a little bit of heat grows into a fire neither of them can contain.

Passion, competition, ambition, redemption, and raw need collide as the bright lights of success and celebrity grow hotter, but can the fire between Max and Callie be sustained when it’s put on ice?

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fire and Ice

Hey Friends,

First of all thank you to those of you who have ordered books from my book sale. We’ve put a little dent in my stock, but I’ve still got plenty left, so if you haven’t had a chance to place your orders yet, it’s not too late.

And for those of you who did look at my sales deals, you got a little hint of things to come because you saw that one of the incentives for buying a copy of everything I’ve written was the chance to get a sneak peek at my next release; Fire and Ice.

It’s hard to believe that autumn is nearly upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is, and with the change of the global seasons comes a shift in the sports seasons as well, which leads me right into the wide world of curling.

Yes, I said curling. No, I am not curling my hair. I mean the sport of curling. If you are someone who is excited by that news, boy, have I got the book for you! And if you are someone who wrinkled up your nose and thought “Curling isn’t a sport!” boy, have I got the book for you!

Fire and Ice, which will be launching officially at Women’s Week in Provincetown, follows a professional curler who is passionate about the sport, and a sports reporter who thinks that curling is a silly game and quite beneath her. And of course, since I wrote it, the two of them are about to embark on an epic romance!

In the weeks leading up to our big release celebration, I’ll be sharing some insights into the book, the main characters, and my own connections to the world of curling, but for today I am going to leave you with two things:

This Link to pre-order Fire & Ice on Amazon.

And this fantastic cover from the fabulously talented Ann McMan.

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Sale!

Hey folks,

First a little bit of housekeeping…not the boring kind, the fun kind! I have been remiss in sharing reviews of Spanish Surrender, but I hope you know how much I appreciate every single one of you who has taken the time to write one on Amazon, Goodreads, or other outlets. This week I got my first big write up from one of the LesFic community’s biggest review site, The Lesbian Review. Thanks goes to them, especially Anna Gram, who made my heart swell with comments like this:

“This book is hot in every way you can imagine. From the passionate arguments to the passionate love making. You’ll be entranced as you follow Simone and Loreto on their journey to discover the truth about Spain and the truth about each other. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn as they do that sometimes you have to surrender to truly embrace life and love as it was meant to be enjoyed.”

You can read the full review right here, but let me tell you, it’s just about everything a writer could want to hear.

And that puts me in a great mood, and when I’m in a great mood, it makes me want to share more books with y’all, which brings me to the main point of this blog: I’m having a book sale!

I’ve got at least a few copies of every single one of my books on hand, and I’m selling them off at below the cover price, with a few extra bonuses along the way.

Each book is $15. Here’s a list of what I have available:

Learning Curve (2 Copies)
Trails Merge (4 Copies)
The Long Way Home (A Darlington Romance) (4 Copies)
LoveLife (2 Copies)
Spanish Heart (2 Copies)
Does She Love You? (2 Copies)
Timeless (A Darlington Romance) (4 Copies)
Heart of the Game (4 Copies)
Perfect Pairing (4 Copies)
Close To Home (A Darlington Romance) (2 Copies)
Edge of Glory (7 Copies)
In Development (3 Copies)
Love All (7 Copies)
Full English (9 Copies)
Spanish Surrender (10 Copies)

Now for the extras:
I will autograph each book, either with a personalized inscription to you or with my name and the date, depending on your preference. I will autograph each book you buy.

Shipping is $3 a book in the continental US, but if you buy more than one, I will combine shipping. The more books you buy, the cheaper the shipping gets per book. I make no money on shipping and I am willing to get price quotes for you ahead of billing. Same goes for international shipping: I can check the price, and you pay only what I pay in shipping and packaging.

And in keeping with the theme of buying more saves you more…

If you buy 5 books, I’ll throw in a 6th one for free.

If you buy 9 books, I’ll throw 2 in for free.

If you buy 13 books, I’ll throw in the two free print books, plus a free eBook copy of my upcoming release, Fire and Ice, before its wide release! (Obviously there are only 2 copies of a couple of these, so only two people have a shot at the 13-book offer. If you want it, move quickly! First come, first served.)

Email all orders to Rachel_Spangler@yahoo.com. Put something like “Book Sale” in the title, because if you don’t, I might think it’s spam and delete it. Also in the email, be sure to tell me your PayPal address, your shipping address, and how you want me to autograph your books.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Spanish Surrender: Winners!

Hey Friends,

I know I am a week past my giveaway deadline, and I am sorry about that! The last week has been another trying one for our family. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say, this has not been our finest summer!

That being said, I didn’t forget about you all, and I am ready to give away some books! Thank you to everyone who reached out with comments, tweets, FB and Insta posts, etc. You all rocked my socks off, and I appreciate every single one of you!

So without further ado here are the winners.

Winner number one: Dorothy Hermes wins a free autographed copy of Spanish Surrender!

Winner number two: Stephanie Autry wins a free copy of any one of my books in print or ebook.

Winner number three: Sue Robinson wins a free proof ebook of my next release, Fire and Ice, months ahead of its October release!

If you are one of the winners, send me an email at Rachel_Spangler@yahoo.com, and I will get those out to you as soon as I reasonably can (Just be sure to say something like “I won the book” in the email title so I don’t accidentally delete it).

And if you didn’t win, don’t worry; you can still get your own copy of Spanish Surrender here!

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spanish Surrender: Giveaway!

Hey Friends,

I’m feeling extravagant! I want to run not one, not two, but three giveaways!

I want to get as many copies of Spanish Surrender out there as possible, but I also want to reward the people who have already supported me and this books that means so much to me.

So, here’s what we’re going to do:

1) IF you haven’t yet purchased Spanish Surrender, comment on here or on social media (be sure to tag me) and tell me why you want to read it. If you do that, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a free, autographed copy of Spanish Surrender.

2) IF you have already bought Spanish Surrender, post a picture on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram of you with your print or ebook and tagging me and you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a free, autographed copy of any one of my books!

3) IF you have done the Holy Grail of author support and bought and read Spanish Surrender AND posted an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads, you can share a screen shot or link to that review here or by tagging me on social media, and you will automatically be entered to win a “read- it-before-you-can-buy-it”, proof eBook of Fire and Ice, which won’t even be available until October!

I will keep all three giveaways open until August 15 to give you all plenty of time to level up if you want to. And yes, you can enter both contest 2 and 3 simultaneously if you want! Multiple social media posts get multiple entries, up to 1 per day, because you all rock like that!

And in the meantime, thank you for being awesome. I hope you know how much I appreciate you!

August 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Spanish Surrender: The Photo Blog

Hey there friends,

If you’ve been following along for the last couple weeks, you already know that Spanish Surrender is out and widely available. You also got to read an excerpt from the first chapter in my last blog. I really hope that was enough to pique your interest for you to go buy it, and I’ve actually even heard from a few of you who’ve so graciously posted reviews on Amazon or taken the time to post on social media.

First of all, thank you!

Second, one of the comment trends starting to pop up repeatedly is something along the lines of “Spanish Surrender made me want to visit Spain.” A couple folks have mentioned googling places described in the book, and a handful of you have asked whether or not some specific restaurants or businesses actually exist. This blog is to assure you they do!

While my previous novel Full English was heavily inspired by my time living in England, I had to make a few adjustments, both out of respect for the privacy of people who live there, the legal issues involved with writing about a real dukedom, and the need to make a few scenes flow more smoothly. I am here now to tell you the same was not true for Spanish Surrender. Every single location described in the book was portrayed with all the painstaking accuracy I could muster, from hotel layouts to menus to driving routes, and even some of my family’s own experiences.

And of course I say all of this as an elaborate excuse to show you our vacation photos. You will notice that we are wearing jackets and hoodies because we were there in winter as opposed to summer, but the scenery is largely the same, starting with this night time shot of Calle Larios, the upscale shopping area that Simone loves and Loreto hates. In this photo the area is decked out for Carnival, but you can see it’s a pretty busy and trendy place.

And staying with the theme of places Simone loves, especially early in the book, here’s a photo of my wife and son at the Starbucks Simone visits on her first morning with Loreto. Can’t say that it’s authentically Spanish, but as far as Starbucks goes, it’s not a bad view.

That being said, given the choice between frappachinos and something a little more Spanish for breakfast, we’ll always chose the latter, and that’s why by the very next morning we’d located a tastier option just down an little offshoot of the same plaza where we found the Starbucks. Anyone who’s already read Spanish Surrender knows what I’m talking about, right? Churros!

Loreto’s love of churros con chocolate mirrors our own adoration of this Spanish breakfast dish. We ate them in every city we visited, but few could compare with the ones we had in Málaga.

And before we leave that city, I want to share one more photo, this one from the Alcazaba. This site doesn’t make it into the book, but I wanted to include it here for two reasons. 1) I don’t want you to think Málaga is all polished and gentrified, and 2) I just love this shot of my wife atop the old Moorish fortress.

From Málaga, our protagonists Simone and Loreto head northwest, away from the coast and up through the Sierra Nevada mountain range. They have a serious discussion I won’t spoil here. I’ll just say they begin to set the stage for some encounters that prove every bit as dramatic as this scenery.

Once up in the mountains, Simone and Loreto begin their Andalucian cultural lessons in earnest, starting at La Alhambra.

In the photo above, I’m standing in the gardens at the Generalife, and below is a shot of Jackson in a courtyard that features one of my favorite scenes of Spanish Surrender because it’s one where the temperature begins to really tick up between the two main characters. After you read that scene by the courtyard pool, come back and look at this photo again.

And no trip to the Alhambra would be complete without the obligatory photo of the Lions Fountain, so here’s one of those. Aren’t they adorable?

Then last but not least, there’s a scene in which Loreto relays a legend about a family who literally lost their heads while staring up at a particularly ornate ceiling…here it is! You can see where that might capture someone’s attention long enough for them to be snuck up on.

After Granada and La Alhambra, our protagonists head to Cordoba where, without any spoilers, things start to get tense again as world views collide. What better place to show clashing world views than the Great Mosque of Cordoba, a stunning example of Moorish ingenuity and devotion with a Catholic Cathedral cut right up through the middle of it.

This photo is of me standing in the infinity forest of columns and arches that make up the mosque.

And this one, for contrast in style, is some of the dark wood carvings at the center of the gothic-style cathedral.

After the intensity of the mosque/cathedral (and the things that happen there), Loreto finally gets the more uptight Simone to do a little day drinking in the form of local wine and fruits…aka sangria.

I am not a drinker. I don’t generally consume alcohol more than 4-5 times a year, and never in excess. One glass is generally enough to wipe me out, but when we were in Spain, a friendly waiter comped Susie and I each an extra glass of sangria, so just to prove how good it really is, here’s a photo of me well on my way to being toasted…let’s say it was all in the name of research.

And while we’re on the subject of local delicacies, Loreto convinces Simone to try a dish that takes a bit of bravery for most of my American audiences. Pulpo!

Don’t feel bad if that doesn’t look super appetizing to you. Even as an enthusiastic pursuer of all things Spain, I wasn’t eager to jump on board the pulpo bandwagon, but that’s something I regret now! Don’t let the little suction cups fool you: It’s not slimy! And when rubbed in paprika and olive oil or sprinkled with roasted almonds, it’s actually quite tasty.

After shit gets real for Spanish Surrender‘s dynamic duo in Cordoba, they move on to Sevilla. The first thing they do (after the pool of course) is visit the Plaza España. Interesting side note, the Plaza España is also featured in Spanish Heart, and even makes an appearance on that cover.

In Spanish Surrender, however, Simone and Loreto hone in on the moat surrounding this famous landmark, and even more so on the people who rent the rowboats on the moat. This exchange comes directly from my family’s experiences of doing just that. This was not Susie and I’s first time in a rowboat. We knew how to sit, how to work the oars, and which direction to face/pull in order to go the direction we wanted to. You wouldn’t think that would be setting a very high bar, but turns out it put us well ahead of everyone else in the moat that night! We saw people doing some of the most absurd things in wildly unsuccessful attempts to even navigate away from the dock area. They were sweating and swearing, and several of them nearly ended up in the water. It was the biggest collection of inept numpties we’d seen in ages, so we dubbed the place “Numpty Cove.” And there you have it: When Loreto uses that term, you’ll know we earned the right to do so by weaving our way through them all!

The Plaza España was also the only place we actually got to see flamenco. Since we were traveling with a kid in tow, unlike my characters who can go out to clubs at 10:30 at night, we had to make do with street performances of this powerful and passionate dance, but even on that front, we were not disappointed!

From Sevilla, my characters travel back toward the coast and up the Rock of Gibraltar. Again, this is a spoiler-free blog, so you will have to see what end ups in the story, but I will tell you about my own family’s experiences of taking a trip up “The Rock.” For over a year, Jackson had wanted to go see the monkeys that live there. As we neared the top, our tour guide informed us that while the monkeys were friendly, curious, and vaccinated, they were not by any means tame, and they would bite if they felt threatened. He told us to secure our belongings, put away food, and not to make any sudden movements. Then he asked who would like to hold a monkey. Every single person in the group raised their hand…except for my wife. Anyone care to guess who the monkey jumped on first?

This is one of my favorite shots of the whole trip. No worries, the money soon climbed onto Jackson’s head, much to his (Jackson’s, not the monkey’s) delight, and Susie was no worse for the experience. She simply declared that monkeys were merely cats with opposable thumbs.

Finally, as Simone and Loreto complete the circle of their journey in Malaga, they visit an establishment I am very happy to report really does exist. The Hammam Al Andalus is heaven on earth in my opinion. While my personal experience was vastly different from my characters, I still had one of the most luxurious experiences of my life here. The various rooms my characters visit are all real, and I did my best to describe them in luscious detail, but here are a few photos to better illustrate my point.

I think it’s pretty clear why I loved this place enough to put it in my book completely unaltered, but if you want to find out what my characters do in these rooms and why it matters, you’ll have to read Spanish Surrender!

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Spanish Surrender Excerpt

Hola Friends,

Spanish Surrender has been out for one week, and I am starting to recover from the death-warmed-over-style plague I came down with at GCLS, so let’s get the ball rolling for real now!

I can’t think of any better way to get you all interested in this book than to give you a peak at this book. Seriously, I know that might sound a little vain, but I honestly believe these characters speak best for themselves. So what do you say? Want to play hooky from work for the next few minutes and read the first chapter of my sexy, new travel romance?

Of course you do!

Spanish Surrender – Chapter 1

Simone sighed dramatically and tapped the tips of her high heeled shoes against the terra-cotta tile of the hotel lobby floor. The lone woman working the registration counter had been on the phone for six minutes and forty-three seconds. Simone checked her watch again, mentally preparing her strongly worded complaint to this woman’s supervisor. The clerk turned to Simone, giving her a little smile and shrug before laughing at something the person on the phone said and turning away once more. Simone’s jaw tightened, but she didn’t blow her top. Her temper simmered, slow and exacting, liquid nitrogen in place of fire.

Perdoname, señora,” someone said behind her, but Simone didn’t turn around until the person added in unexpected English, “excuse me, ma’am.”

“Yes?” Simone spun on her three-inch spike of a heel, hoping for a manager, but the sight of a short, unassuming woman caught her off guard. She couldn’t be more than mid-twenties, with a broad, easy smile that didn’t seem consistent with management material.

The woman scanned her up and down before giving her a knowing smile. “I’m sorry, señorita.”

Simone was vaguely aware that the title made some sort of comment on her age, or her marital status, but she got enough of those speculations in English that she wasn’t going to indulge them in Spanish, too. “Can i help you?”

“May I buy you a cup of tea?”

Simone was exhausted from her red-eye flight from Milan, but she examined the woman more closely. Her chestnut hair wisped deliberately across her forehead, and her bright blue polo shirt that read ‘Corazones Española Tours’ made her cornflower eyes stand out against her golden tan. Even without having slept in twenty-four hours, Simone recognized a tempting little dish when she saw one. Had she been on the vacation she was supposed to be on, she would’ve accepted. However, the vacation had turned business trip, and she hadn’t gotten where she had by mixing business with pleasure.

“Thank you, but I need to get checked in, and if that doesn’t happen in”—she glanced at her watch again—“the next thirty seconds, heads will roll.”

“Spain has seen a few beheadings over the years,” the woman said, not seeming the least bit intimidated, “but it seems a shame to get blood on those fancy shoes.”

Simone arched an eyebrow but didn’t budge.

“Fine,” the woman said with a grin, “would you like some company while you wait?”

“I really don’t think that’s—”

“I’m Ren, by the way.” She extended her hand.

Simone accepted with a quick firm shake, her frustration slipping despite her effort to maintain it. “Ren, you are persistent.”

“You really have no idea, Americana.”

“Simone. I’d love to chat, but I don’t have the time.

“I doubt that.”

“Which part?”

“Both,” Ren said, her grin disarming despite the comment. “But we can focus on the latter, because I’ve been in this hotel every two weeks for the last two years, and I can tell you with authority, no one’s getting into any of the rooms until at least noon.”

“We’ll see about that,” Simone said, causing Ren to laugh softly.

She didn’t appreciate the humor. drawing herself up to her full height and folding her arms across her chest, she fixed Ren with a steely glare, but the smaller woman continued conversationally.

“The clerk doesn’t speak English, and I take it you don’t speak Spanish?”

“I speak with a visa platinum card.”

“Ah, so this your first time in this part of Spain?”

“I’m an experienced traveler.”

“Good. So, tell me this, experienced traveler, what do you notice about that sign?” Ren pointed to a white sheet of paper in a wooden frame that said, “wait your turn.”

“It’s shoddily made.”

Ren laughed outright this time. “What about the fact that you can read it?”

Simone read the sign again, then contrasted it quickly with the other signs in the hotel lobby. This was the only one in English, and it was written only in English, with no Spanish counterpart.

“You, Ms. impatient Americana, are that sign’s audience,” Ren said. “And you’re not the first of your kind to be in this predicament, so you have two choices: continue to stand here fuming, only to be summarily told there’s no room available yet, or have a nice, soothing cup of tea with me while my wife finishes up in our room. Then I’ll ask the clerk, in Spanish, to give it to you.”

Impatient American? Simone’s anger at Ren’s presumptuousness warred with her practical side, which recognized a useful partnership when she saw one. She glanced once more at the clerk, who was still chatting happily on the phone with little sign of wrapping up, and decided that, despite the well-timed mention of a wife, Ren was clearly the more enticing option for getting what she wanted right now.


Loreto opened one eye enough to see that the clock read nine. She mentally reviewed her schedule. It was a free day for her current tour group, so she didn’t have any responsibility to the students until dinnertime. She should be entitled to sleep off whatever it was she did last night, so why was her boss yelling at her from the other side of her hotel room door?

“Loreto, open the door, por favor.”

Lina didn’t sound like she was here for a fun chat, and Loreto tried a little harder to remember the fuzzy parts of the previous night as an arm snaked over her shoulder and slid down her chest. The details came back to her. She rolled onto her back, allowing herself to look at the owner of the hand, who was now drawing circles around her nipple. La Señora Markus.

Loreto smiled. She always loved finding out one of those deliciously studious teacher types by day turned into a hellcat by night.

La Señora bit loreto hard on the shoulder and sucked her skin. Apparently, she could be a hellcat during the day, too.

“Loreto, if you don’t open this door right now, I’m going to get the housekeeper to open it for me,” Lina called, her voice holding both annoyance and amusement.

Mierda.” Loreto groaned and disengaged herself from La Señora Markus’s lovely mouth. “I’m coming.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Lina said dryly, and Loreto laughed. She loved her boss’s dry sense of humor, and if she was wielding it so early in the morning, odds were good Loreto wasn’t in that much trouble.

She pulled on a pair of boxer shorts but left her chest bare and opened the door. Lina stood in the hall with three of the girls from their current tour group. “Buenos dias, chicas.”

All three students immediately turned bright shades of red and averted their eyes, while Lina took the chance to give Loreto a warning glare, then shook her head.

“Loreto, the ladies are worried because they can’t find their teacher. She usually meets them for breakfast and then spends some time on the phone with her husband back in London, but she wasn’t in the restaurant, and her husband has been calling for her.”

“Her husband, you say?” Loreto rubbed the bite marks on her shoulder

“She went out with you last night,” one of the girls cut in. “Do you know where she is?”

Lina shook her head almost imperceptibly, and the little lie rolled naturally off Loreto’s tongue. “After dinner I suggested she take in the sunrise on the beach, and then maybe walk through the markets back up through the old town. I’m sure she’ll return within the hour.”

“See, girls, I told you Loreto had likely played tour guide to La Señora Markus,” Lina offered soothingly. “She’s always eager to introduce people to the finer experiences Spain has to offer.”

“Well if you see her, tell her we’re going shopping in Larios this morning,” the same girl said, her tone infinitely more relaxed.

“If i see her, i’ll let her know,” Loreto said, and the girls hurried off, but Lina stayed put. “yes, boss?”

“What do i have to say to make you understand we have a responsibility to the people on our tours?”

“A responsibility to introduce them to the finer experiences Spain has to offer?”

Lina rolled her eyes. “We’ve talked about this, Loreto.”

“No, we talked about not sleeping with the students, you never said anything about the teachers.”

“Then put on your pants and come downstairs so I can clarify the company policy.”

“Right now?” Loreto whined. “I have plans.”

“Your plans have to call her husband back.”

Loreto’s stomach tightened just a bit. “Oh yeah.”

Lina tapped lightly on the large hickey on Loreto’s shoulder.

“And wear a shirt with sleeves.”


Ren set a small kettle of tea on the table between them. The hotel’s restaurant was more of a café or collection of tables on a patio off a small kitchen. Simone had no idea why her boss’s secretary had booked her in a place like this. Something about a film festival, and last minute. The excuse hardly seemed acceptable.

“What brings you to España?” Ren asked, pouring the tea through a small mesh sieve and into a baby blue mug.


Trabajo,” Ren said, then added, “Just in case you wanted to pick up a little Spanish.”

“I’d rather pick up a good translator. Are you interested? I’d be willing to pay well above the going rate.”

“I’m a tour guide, not an interpreter.”

“I could use a guide, too. I have an important meeting this time next week, and I need to pick up some conversation topics between now and then that make me seem in tune with Spanish culture. If you want the job, I’ll gladly compensate your employer for your time.”

Ren’s smile faded. “Make you seem in tune with Spanish culture, not actually help you get in tune with it?”

Before Simone had the chance to dismiss that idea, a sexy, young woman with long, dark hair and olive skin sidled up next to Ren and placed a sweet kiss on her cheek. “I’m so sorry to interrupt, but Loreto is on her way down.”

Ren snorted softly. “Down on who?”

La Senora Markus, but then down here for a talking-to before we head home.”

“This day just keeps on getting better.” Ren sounded tired for the first time, but she regained her smile quickly enough. “Lina, this is Simone, una Americana with money to burn and in need of a tour guide to help her fake an affinity for Spain.”

Hola Simone. Forgive my wife. Spain has softened her edges, but she hasn’t lost all her American bluntness yet.” Lina ran her fingers through Ren’s hair and gave it a loving tousle.

Simone sipped her tea. “I can respect bluntness as long as it’s paired with efficiency.”

Excellente,” Ren said with a mischievous grin. “Then I’ll go tell Marcela to turn over our room so you can get some rest. After the siesta we’ll meet back here, and I’ll introduce you to your guide.

“Introduce me? i made the offer to you, or maybe to your employer.

Lina slipped an arm more possessively around Ren’s shoulder. “Her employer isn’t willing to share her.”

Corezones Española is your company?” Simone asked coolly, refusing to show the hint of disappointment that pricked her chest.

“It’s our company,” Lina corrected, exuding pride, “and between school trips and family holidays, the summer is our busiest time, but if Ren thinks we can spare one of our guides, I’ll trust she has a good reason.”

“I’m certain her reason is better than good,” Simone said. “It’s platinum.”

Lina bit her lip as if trying not to smile. “Be careful. The last time I underestimated her, I ended up wearing this.” She pointed to a gold band on her left ring finger.

“Thankfully, that’s not something I have to worry about.” Simone stood. “Now if you’ll be so kind as to show me to my room, I’ll freshen up and meet you back here at one o’clock?

“Three o’clock,” both women said in unison.

Simone sighed. She was used to setting the schedule. Why was everyone in this country so contrary?


Loreto checked her coal-black hair in a mirror she passed on her way down the hotel’s wrought-iron staircase. Not that she minded looking disheveled. If anything, she preferred it. Women like La Senora Markus seemed to prefer it, too. The fact that her white T-shirt and cargo shorts weren’t exactly business attire didn’t bother her either. Lina and Ren had always been lax about stuff like that, though judging by the stern look on their faces when they saw her, that may be about to change.

Loreto was not what anyone would call a morning person, so she bypassed the table in the café and ordered a café cortado, a strong, black coffee with just a kiss of milk, before joining them and laying her arm, palm up, across the table. “Okay, here’s my wrist, boss. Go ahead and give it a little slap.”

Lina shook her head. “We’ve been through this before.”

“Not exactly this. You said no university students, and I listened. La Señora Markus is a teacher, and she crawled into my lap, not the other way around.”

Lina showed no sign she found this logic any more compelling than she had earlier, so Loreto changed tactics. “And wasn’t Ren one of your clients? Can you honestly say if she’d showed up in your room wearing nothing but a bath towel, you’d have just said, ‘Sorry, my boss wouldn’t like that?’”


“It’s the truth,” Ren said wistfully. “It took me days before she even let me kiss her.”

“You’re not helping, amor,” Lina said, but the bite drained from her tone, leaving her sounding more tired than angry. “And we aren’t talking about us. We’re talking about a habit that’s getting out of hand.”

Loreto sighed, finding the topic as tedious as Lina now seemed to. “You can’t tell me not to sleep with a grown woman on my own time. It’s my business.”

“No, it’s my business. Your meeting a woman and taking her back to your place is not the same thing as one of my guides taking one of my guests back to one of the rooms I’ve paid for, leaving my underaged guests unattended overnight . . .”

Loreto slumped in her chair resignedly. Lina obviously had a speech prepared, and Loreto had sat through worse. Ultimately, she’d learned she didn’t have to win every argument. She didn’t even have to engage them if she didn’t care to, and she didn’t care about much. besides, a stern talking-to was a small price to pay to keep a job as good as this one. Still, she wondered how long this was going to take. Lina seemed to be on quite a roll.

“. . . but it’s not only bad for our business. I’m starting to worry about you, too. I know you’ve been through a lot, and it’s probably hard to have faith in people, but you’ve moved past irreverent and into self-destructive. Are you even listening?”

, you’re irreverent and self-destructive.”

Ren set her forehead down on the table with a thud. “Uh-oh

Lina threw up her hands. “Clearly, nothing I can say is going to change anything.”

“It’s good we realize we can’t change each other. No use going on about it.”

“No, we’re done talking. You’ve forced me to take action. You’re relieved of your next tour.”

Loreto sat up straight. “What? you’re firing me?”

“Not firing, just a leave of absence.”

I don’t have an apartment, or income. What about my papers?

Dios mio.” Loreto turned to her other boss. “Ren, help.”

“Why do people always think you’re the nice one?” Lina asked.

“Sorry, Loreto. This was my idea,” Ren acknowledged. “you’ve worked nonstop for three months. You need a break. or maybe you need a new challenge to pull yourself out of this rut you’re in.”

“Living ten days without a paycheck will be a challenge all right. What am I supposed to do? Lay on the beach? Go to the clubs? No offense, but that’s not exactly the way to get me away from women.”

“We thought of that. Obviously, we care about you.”

Loreto snorted.

“We don’t want anything to jeopardize your status,” Ren continued, “and the choice is yours. You can mope around if you need a break, but there’s another option.”

“Why do i have the feeling I won’t like this other option?”

“It’s a private tour.”

“I didn’t think you did private tours.”

“You don’t work for us for the next ten days,” Ren explained.

“The client doesn’t seem very interested in playing tourista, so you’ll likely do a lot of driving and translation, maybe offer context and cultural insight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she expects you to carry her bags while you’re at it.”

Loreto started to understand. “So, the tour’s not the challenge, the client is?”

“Nicely put,” Ren confirmed. “An Americana on business for some important meeting next week. She’s willing to pay heavily for what I can only assume will be a very long seven days.”

“She wants a pack mule?”

“Pretty much, so if you want to sleep in hostels for the length of your suspension, no one would blame you, but personally, I think the job will be good for you.”

“Lina, you think working for this woman is what I need to do my penance?”

“No, I think one of you is likely to arrive at our next meeting in a box,” Lina deadpanned, “but if it’s you, just remember you dug your own grave.”

“Ouch.” Loreto had enough experience to know Americans with money could be a high-maintenance breed, and she had a particularly low tolerance for them. “So, it’s a test?”

“Consider it a contest,” Ren offered cheerfully. “You versus the naysayers.”

Loreto rolled her eyes. Nothing about this sounded promising, but she did have a competitive streak, and virtually no cash. Ten days of no plans and no money didn’t exactly appeal to her either. “Fine. i’m in.”

Ren grinned and Lina sighed again.

“When do I meet this woman?”

“Two-thirty,” they both said in unison and then laughed,

Loreto assumed at one of their inside jokes. Then Ren added, “Go get some sleep.”


“Thanks,” she mumbled and headed up the stairs. If this client was as bad as they were making her out to be, she’d need all the rest she could get.

Simone woke up to the familiar ring of her cell phone. It was two o’clock in the afternoon, which meant it was morning in New York, though she was too foggy to figure out what time. She’d had four hours of sleep, which was more than enough to function, but not enough to thrive.

“Hello,” she said, instantly sounding professional even if she didn’t feel it yet.

“I take it you’re on the ground,” Henry Alston said without introduction. he was used to being instantly recognized.

“Yes, sir. I arrived in Málaga this morning. I’m checked into the hotel your secretary suggested, and I have a meeting with a potential guide in an hour.”

“Good girl. I know I don’t have to tell you to do your home-work on Liberdad. I want this fish mounted on my wall by this time next week.”

Simone grimaced, both at being called “girl” and at her senior vice president’s absurd fishing metaphor. They were talking about a small publishing company, not a large-mouth bass. “Have I ever let you down?”

“Never,” He laughed, “Which is why I wrecked your first vacation in over a year, but you know I’ll make it up to you.”

He’d make it up to her bank account, which to him was the same as making it up to her, and generally it was. “Of course. I had a chance to glance at the specs on the flight from Milan, and it looks like an insanely generous offer, given their limited assets.”

“Asset. They only have one, Juanes Cánovas. He’s a fucking god with a pen, and American women are going to think he’s sex on a stick, but Liberdad Press has everything from translation rights and movie rights to right of first refusal on future works.”

“No one has everything. There’s no way their lawyers can stack up to ours. Why not poach him?”

“Already tried. He’s got some misguided loyalty to that little mom-and-pop shop in Málaga. They’ve fed him some line about his artistic integrity being compromised. He says they are quintessentially Spanish, whatever the hell that means. They’re all afraid we’re going to Americanize Juanes and sex him up.”

“Are we?”

“Of course.”

“If they won’t sell him, what makes you think they’ll sell the company?”

“Two reasons. One, we’re going to make sure the owners never have work again, and two, I sent you, and you never let me down.”

“Both very good points.”

“Wine them, dine them, hell, tattoo a Spanish flag on your ass. I don’t care how you do it, but get the contract on my desk without giving me any more headaches.”

Simone realized her window for asking questions had ended. “I’ll be in touch.”

She ended the call and got out of bed, mentally making a list of what she needed to do to get going on this project. powering on her laptop, she perched it on the bathroom counter while she hopped in the shower. There wasn’t time to luxuriate under the warm water. In a matter of minutes, she was drying her long, blond hair with one hand while she googled “ebooks on Spain” with the other. She picked out one on history and one on the country’s economic development, as well as a guidebook to southern Spain. She had them downloaded by the time she slipped into a pair of gray linen slacks and a white oxford shirt, a move she regretted the moment she stepped onto the hotel patio.

It had to be one hundred degrees outside, and the humidity made her hair seem to double in both volume and weight. She stopped to pull an ink pen from her leather business satchel, and winding her long locks into a bun, she stuck the pen through the center to hold it up off her neck.

“Nice,” someone said in a suggestive tone. Simone turned to see a rakish boy laying on his stomach on a lounge chair by the pool. He wore ratty shorts and beat up sandals. His dark hair was a mess, cascading over dark aviator glasses as he propped his chin atop his folded arms.

“You wish.”

The boy shrugged and resumed his nap while Simone headed inside to find a table in the lobby. Was there anything in this country that wouldn’t annoy her? The café was closed, and there was no one working the front desk. The entire place was empty and quiet in the middle of the day. What kind of establishment was this?

She took the seat that put her back to the wall, giving her a view of both the front door and the entrance to the patio. She was in control of this meeting, and she wanted to situate herself as such. She pulled out her ipad and checked the time. While the meeting wasn’t scheduled until three, anyone who wasn’t at least five minutes early was late. It was 2:40, and her tour guide was now on the clock.

She was tapping her toe like a ticking clock ten minutes later when Ren and Lina pushed through the front door to the lobby.

Hola, Simone,” Lina said, her smile more welcoming than earlier. “I hope you got some rest.”

“I did, but i’d really like a bottle of water, and I can’t get any service in this hotel. It’s like no one works here.”

“It’s siesta time. No one works from one to three in the afternoon.”

Ren had said the words clearly enough, but they made so little sense she might as well have spoken Spanish.

“Siesta? Surely that’s not a serious thing.”

“I know it’s probably a little jarring, but we do things differently in Southern Spain.”

“I don’t care where we are. You can’t shut a business down for two hours in the middle of the day. You can’t run a company like that.”

“And yet this city has thrived exactly like that for centuries. You’ll find billion-dollar homes less than three miles from here, and Michelin-starred restaurants, and upscale boutiques to rival New York or Milan. They’re all doing just fine. Spain sets her own tempo. It’s best to go with it.”

“It’s best to do what you’re paid to do. I’m being paid to work, and my guide will be expected to do the same. I hope that won’t be a problem.”

Ren sighed. “You can negotiate your terms with Loreto when she gets here.”

“I thought i’d be contracting her services through you.”

“No,” Lina said quickly. “We don’t do individual tours. Loreto’s completely free to accept or deny any terms she sees fit. We’re merely offering an introduction.”

“Why?” Simone eyed her suspiciously.

“Why what?”

“Why offer an introduction? Why give up your room early? Why provide one of your guides to a stranger if you aren’t going to accept payment?”

Ren shrugged. “Spanish hospitality.”

Simone didn’t buy that. No one did something for nothing, and she was about to say so when the door from the patio opened and the boy from the pool came strolling in, only upright and facing forward. Without the sunglasses, he was most definitely a she, and a very good looking she at that.

Her baggy shorts now hung off of the feminine curve of her hips, showing a tantalizing glimpse of tanned midriff, and her plain white T-shirt barely concealed her pert breasts. The style was grungier than Simone usually went for, but despite her disheveled appearance, the woman exuded a confidence anyone would find appealing. Most alluring, though, were her eyes. Deep brown irises swirled so dark, then almost melted into her pupils.

“Good afternoon, Loreto.” Ren rose to meet the newcomer. “This is Simone. Simone, meet your guide, Loreto Molina.”

“My guide?” Simone was caught off guard, a feeling she detested. This woman may be a fine candidate for eye candy, but she didn’t appear to have an ounce of professionalism. Shouldn’t tour guides look like, well, she didn’t know, closer to zoo docents or the retirees who sat on stools in art galleries, rather than some sort of sexy skateboard model or a latina boi band front man?

Hola, Señorita.” Loreto extended her hand, and Simone accepted it, sneaking a peek at her watch in the process. It was two minutes until three, so technically she wasn’t late.

“I don’t speak Spanish.”

“That’s not a problem. I’m a native English speaker,” Loreto replied with little more than a wisp of an accent, proving she couldn’t be discredited on the basis of a language barrier.

“How long have you been a guide?” Simone asked, as they took a seat.

“This is my third season working for Lina and Ren. Before that, I spent a few years traveling through the country on my own.”

“We can vouch for the fact that Loreto is one of our most knowledgeable guides. She consistently gets very high satisfaction ratings from our clients.”

Loreto’s grin flashed something more smug, and Lina gave an almost-imperceptible shake of her head. The move may have gone unnoticed by someone who didn’t watch for tells, but Simone wasn’t one of them.

“If she’s one of your best guides, why are you willing to part with her?”

All three of the women exchanged another quick look before Ren stepped in diplomatically once more. “She just finished with a group from England this morning. She’s got the next week off, and we thought she might be a good fit for you.”

“but if you want to shop around, feel free,” Loreto added quickly. “It’s only peak travel time, school holidays, and film festival week on short notice.”

Simone’s jaw tightened at the challenge in Loreto’s voice, but again, she only chose battles she expected to win, and she didn’t have enough information on viable alternatives to dismiss this woman’s points. She’d had plenty of practice swallowing her resistance over the years, but it still tasted bitter as she tried to hedge her bets. “I’m on a tight time frame. I’m willing to give you a trial on your employer’s recommendation.”

Loreto nodded, as if she were neither impressed nor offended by the tepid offer.

“We can come to terms on a price per day, but I reserve the right to terminate the agreement with payment made only for services rendered. does that make sense?”

Loreto shrugged. “I don’t work, I don’t get paid. I piss you off, I don’t get paid. You find a better offer, I don’t get paid.”

Simone fought the urge to defend herself against an accusation of unfairness that hadn’t actually been spoken. The harsh summary of terms wasn’t exactly false, so much as blunt.

Lina shook her head. “That’s very one-sided. There should be some sort of neutral metric put in place for the possibility—”

“Nah.” Loreto cut her off. “I’m good. She wants me gone, I’ll go.”

“Reto,” Lina said, dropping her voice. “Make sure it goes both ways.”

Simone smiled slightly as she realized what Lina was suggesting. “She’s right. Some people find my standards too high. If that turns out to be true of you, you also have the right to terminate the agreement at the end of any day without financial obligation.”

Loreto seemed to ponder the offer, lowering her chin and closing her eyes so that her full, dark lashes rested on smooth skin for a second, then opening them, she said, “No commitment. I like that.”

Simone pursed her lips as the feeling the comment should have inspired in her butted up against the ones it actually did. “So, we have a deal?”

Loreto nodded once more, this time resolutely. “deal.”

They sat staring at each for a long, heavy moment before Ren broke the silence by pushing back from the table. “All right then, we’ll leave you two to hash out the details.”

Lina didn’t jump up so quickly, instead looking from one to the other. Her eyes narrowed as she seemed to inspect each of them, but whatever thoughts spun in her head were silenced before they reached her lips as Ren laid a hand on her shoulder.

“All right,” Lina said and rose. “you’re right.”

Simone shook her head slowly, not understanding who or what the comment referred to.

“It’s not you,” Loreto whispered conspiratorially. “They just do that sometimes.”

“Do what?”

“Have conversations no one else can hear.”

“We do,” Ren said, without a hint of chagrin, “and now we’ve decided to leave you to your own devices.”

Simone found the choice of words a bit odd, but everything about this country had been odd so far. She thanked them both and tried not to examine the minute twist of wistfulness in her stomach as she watched them walk away hand in hand.


And there you have it! Your introduction to Loreto and Simone. What do you think? Want to see what happens next? Want to see where they go? If they kill each other? When they jump each other’s bones? Why not go get your copy of Spanish Surrender today and find out?

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spanish Surrender is out!

Hey Friends,

So, my back up release for Spanish Surrender went about the same as my original release in that I managed to get sick at GCLS, too. Great, fine, whatever, I’m not bitter at all.

The bottom line though is that Spanish Surrender is now available wherever great books are sold, and you can get your copy today in print or eBook.

I am really proud of this book. I do my very best with each and every book I write, but this one goes to a level of meaning for me that I’ve rarely let myself go to in my writing. I really hope you’ll give it a chance, and more than that I hope you love these characters the way I do.

July 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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