CONTESTS & FUN
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
My monthly Book GiveAway Contest is back! This month, enjoy
the exciting beginning to my October 21st release, CROSSFIRE
CHRISTMAS, my 50th Book for Harlequin! To enter, simply
excerpt from CROSSFIRE CHRISTMAS, answer the easy
question at the end of the excerpt and email me your answer
along with your name and contact info. I'll give away a copy
of a book from my backlist (digital or print, winner's
choice--print versions dependent on availability) to one
lucky entrant. My dog Maggie will select the winner from
amongst the entries with the correct answer. Deadline to
enter is September 24.
Rules for Julie's Contests
- One entry per person.
- By entering, entrants grant
permission for their name to be posted on the Julie Miller web site at
in Julie's newsletter.
- Winners will be chosen by random
drawing from among all entries.
- The odds of winning depend upon the
number of participants.
Void where prohibited.
Julie in San Antonia, TX at the 2014 RWA National
50 Book pin
presentation is Craig Swinwood-CEO Harlequin
Enterprises, Dianne Moggy-Editorial Director, HQ
Ent, Moi, Leslie Kelly-fellow 50-book award
recipient, Lorianna Sacilotto-VP, HQ Ent
Sitting beside me
at the Harlequin party is Linda O. Johnston
Delores Fossen and me
Julie in Atlanta, GA at the 2013 RWA National
Julie with good buddy B.J. Daniels
Delores Fossen, Julie Miller, B.J. Daniels
Julie's local writing group, the Prairieland
Romance Writers, celebrates 20 years of
excellence in romance fiction at an
anniversary Open House in Grand Island,
||Prairieland Romance Writers celebrates 20
years of excellence in romance fiction!
Kearney, NE Booksigning, The Sequel Bookshop
Julie Miller, and Scott & Julie Miller
L-R Saranna DeWylde, Julie Miller, Janette Kenney,
Sherri Shackelford, Cheryl St. John
New York City at the 2011 RWA National Conference
View of Times Square from
Julie's hotel room
Julie at the Transformers movie
premiere (Hi, Bumblebee!)
Times Square and Broadway
My roomie, Elle James, Brenda
Jackson, and my agent Pattie Steele-Perkins at the RWA booksigning
The massive Literacy
Autographing at RWA
Los Angeles, CA, at the 2011 RT BOOKreviews Convention
""The Do's & Dont's of
Series Romance " workshop with Judy Duarte, Candace Havens, Julie Miller
and B.J. Daniels.
Party! the Series Romance Way" Reader Event
Back row: Kira Sinclair, HelenKay Dimon, B.J. Daniels, Lynn Raye Harris
Middle row: Judy Duarte, Crystal Green, Rebecca York, Candace Havens,
Janette Kenney, Jan Hambright, Delores Fossen, Brenda Jackson
Front row: Kathleen O'Reilly, Kimberly Lang, Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons, Carol
Erickson, Julie Miller
At the Booksigning
View from my hotel The Westin Bonaventure
in downtown L.A.
Went to hear Dean Koontz speak.
Delightfully witty and educational! (and one of my fave authors!)
Barn View from my hotel, the
Hollywood sign in the distance up in the Hollywood Hills.
“You’re a dead man, Nash!”
DEA Agent Charlie
Nash slammed his back against the metal shelves that had blocked the
spray of bullets and saved his life. One step slower and he’d be
bleeding out on the floor like the young man in the suit and long
coat lying in the open aisle beside Thug One.
“Kid?” He wasn’t
really expecting a response.
He didn’t get one.
Check one more black mark in the loss column of his soul.
Yet there was no
time for guilt or regret or even grief. He’d spotted the trap the
moment he’d pulled into the parking garage and would have backed out
then, evading the threat that had trailed him seven hundred miles
from Texas to Kansas City, Missouri. But with the rookie handler
climbing out of his car without a clue, Nash had been left with no
choice but to stay put and warn the young agent back into his
to the three goons lying in wait hadn’t made a damn bit of
The kid was still
And he was still
the Graciela cartel’s most wanted man.
The cop who’d put
together the plan to stop them.
Nash pulled a
bandanna from the back pocket of his jeans and tied it around his
left thigh, trying to slow down the blood weeping from the wound
there. As he tightened the makeshift bandage, he listened to the
clomp of running feet, pinpointing the locations of the two
remaining assailants as they tried to flank him. He ignored the
throbbing burn in his leg and fought to calm his labored breathing
so the clouds of stress and exertion in the open warehouse’s wintry
air wouldn’t give his position away. He figured he had about two
minutes--three if he was lucky--to find a way out of this mess.
The desk agent
who’d met him in this rundown auto-parts warehouse near the Missouri
River to try to help him reestablish his undercover persona hadn’t
been so lucky. He’d wager most of the car parts in this place
weren’t legal, and that Tommy Delvecchio had never been in the
middle of a real firefight before. Stupid kid must not have been
wearing his flak vest, judging by the size of that puddle of blood
seeping out beneath him.
If Delvecchio had
been one of Nash’s operatives, he’d have trained him better than
that. Hell. If he’d been one of Nash’s undercover operatives, he’d
probably still be dead. Just like the other imbedded agents whose
covers had been blown.
Glancing over at
the still figure crumpled on the floor between storage racks, Nash’s
gut twisted with anger and remorse. “Damn it, Tommy. Told you I
didn’t need backup,” he muttered. All he’d asked for was cash and a
new i.d. to be sent to a P.O. box. He hadn’t needed a personal
delivery. He hadn’t wanted the kid to come all the way to K.C.
“You should have stayed at the office.”
“You can’t risk
hiding out for more than forty-eight hours, boss. And you said you
can’t trust anyone in the field. You need someone who isn’t part of
the Graciela-Vargas turf war to do this for you.” Nash could
imagine Agent Delvecchio rising to attention beside his computer,
eager to get on the next flight to KCI and prove himself. “I’m
not a field agent. They don’t know me. I can help.”
Smart kid. Good
logic. Still dead. Just like Torres and Richter were back in
Harlingen and Houston. Nash’s team was another man down, he had no
i.d. on the traitor who’d marked them as cops, and he was on his own
in this nightmare.
Pushing aside the
distracting emotions that could get him killed, too, Nash quickly
evaluated his options. The stinging smell of sulfur in the air told
him the three shooters--down to two now--had used up a lot of their
bullets coming after him and Delvecchio. But that didn’t give him
the advantage it should have.
He kicked out the
magazine from his Smith & Wesson and checked his own ammo supply
before reloading the clip. Three bullets left. The rest of the
ammunition, backup weaponry and supplies he needed were in the go
bag lying on the floor beside Delvecchio. The only chance of a
getaway was his truck, parked a good thirty yards from his
position. And as far as he could tell, there were still two of
Berto Graciela’s thugs in the warehouse with him.
Unless these were
Santiago Vargas’s men. Vargas had been loyal to Berto’s older
brother, Diego. Ever since Diego’s death two years earlier, the two
had been vying for power within the organization. What did a few
cops mean to either of them? Just collateral damage in a war to
control a drug trafficking pipeline that funneled cocaine, pot and
an assortment of designer concoctions from Isla Tenebrosa into
Mexico and across the border--or straight into the U.S. at import
traffic hubs like Houston, K.C. and Chicago.
But Nash’s team had
been making progress. They’d fed the DEA precious intel, helping
the agency shut down some key distribution centers. Now, Nash and
his men were dying.
How did they find
him here in Kansas City? Who had found him? He was over ten hours
away from his last encounter with Graciela’s men in Houston. Had
they followed the kid? If so, how had they connected computer geek
Thomas Delvecchio to him? Was there a hidden tracking device on his
Ford 250 he’d missed? Unlikely. He’d gone over the thing with a
fine-tooth comb at a truck stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the last time
he’d checked in with his captain in the Houston office and made the
arrangements with Delvecchio.
There had to be a
leak somewhere in the system. One of the DEA’s confidential
informants wasn’t keeping things so confidential. Torres or Richter
had let something slip in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or
worst case scenario? One of Graciela’s or Vargas’s men had
infiltrated the Houston office and Nash’s men were at the mercy of a
That had to be the
answer. A team didn’t lose three agents in a week unless someone
was leaking inside information.
outnumbered, Seńor Nash!” one of the thugs taunted, his accent
rolling his r’s and making the gibe sound like a joke instead of a
promise of death. “You are the mouse and we are the gatos.
When you come out of your hole, we’ll be waiting to pounce.”
So at least one man
had taken up position near the open garage door.
Down to one minute
before they closed in. Two, if he was lucky.
Time to stop
speculating about who had betrayed him and deal with the threat at
hand. Nash craned his neck to peer through a stack of sports car
bumpers to gauge the distance and amount of open ground he’d have to
cover before reaching his truck.
On a good day, he
could do it in a matter of seconds. But this was far from a good
day. And he didn’t have a location on the second shooter.
Time to go old
After slipping off
the black felt Stetson that the years had shaped so perfectly to his
head, he kissed the crown and set it on the shelf beside him,
nudging it into clear view near the end of the row. Then he pushed
to his feet and pulled down the stack of bumpers, creating a noisy
diversion while he ducked into the next aisle and ran for his truck.
hat flew off the shelf, giving him a twenty on Thug Three. The
angle of that last shot told Nash the man was running parallel
through the stacks with him.
was a relative term. Thug Three was a big, overweight man who moved
with the grace of a lumbering buffalo, while Nash was hobbled by the
wound on his leg.
But Nash was still
Sorry, kid. I
owe you one. He scooped up the heavy nylon go bag from the
floor beside Delvecchio and limped toward the open garage area with
a galloping gait. Twenty yards. Fifteen. He could feel the blood
running down his leg and filling his left boot. Thank God the shot
hadn’t taken out his knee or ankle.
The damp wind and
flakes of blowing snow pelted his face as he broke into the open
Thug Two stepped
out from behind a rolling tool box and shot at him. Either the guy
had piss poor aim or Nash was lurching on his gimpy leg more than he
thought. One bullet smacked into the side of the truck bed,
punching a hole through the black metal. The second shot went wide
and shattered the driver’s side window.
Nash raised his gun
and squeezed the trigger.
Thug Two didn’t get
off a third shot.
Nash swore when
Thug Three stumbled out from shelves near the dead body by the
garage door. Couldn’t a guy catch a break? Nash swept the broken
glass off his seat, tossed the bag into the truck and climbed in
behind the wheel. The big man, silhouetted against the sunny glare
of the snow outside, was panting hard. But he wasn’t relying on
perfect aim to stop Nash. He pulled out a second hand gun and fired
both in a smoky barrage of sparks and firepower.
Nash started the
engine and stuck his left hand out the broken window. Bracing his
wrist on the mirror to steady his aim, he pulled the trigger. With
a flurry of Spanish curses, Thug Three dropped one of his weapons
and shook his fingers. Lucky shot. Nash must have hit the gun and
stung his hand.
But two shots and
he was done. No way could he reach his bag on the floor boards
across the truck and reload in time. Dropping the gun into his lap,
Nash shifted the truck into drive. He’d only irritated Thug Three.
The big man clasped both hands around his remaining weapon and
Nash stomped on the
accelerator. A bullet smacked the windshield on the passenger side,
splintering the glass into a web of cracks. The wheels spun and
skidded until they found traction on the smooth concrete. A second
bullet took out his side mirror. The truck lurched forward and
barreled toward the exit. A third bullet found the open window and
ripped through his left shoulder, spinning downward through the
muscle, oblivious to the protective vest he wore.
The explosion of
pain in his shoulder and back was instant and intense. Damn lucky
shot robbed him of breath and jerked his grip on the wheel, sending
the truck into a sideways skid. Squeezing his elbow to his side,
Nash collapsed into the steering wheel, hugging his right arm around
it--regaining control of the truck and making his broad shoulders a
smaller target. He was close enough to see the yellowed teeth of
Thug Three’s smile as the man steadied the gun and took aim at
But what good-ol’
Texas boy didn’t know how to play chicken?
“For Tommy,” Nash
wheezed, stomping on the accelerator. Before Thug Three could pull
off the kill shot or dive out of the way, Nash plowed into him.
With a sickening
double jolt, the truck bounced over the body and burst into the
sunshine of the clear December afternoon. Nash skidded into a sharp
turn and raced away from the warehouse, clipping a couple of junker
cars and jumping the curb out of the back alley and pulling onto the
Nash,” he muttered through gritted teeth, as he slowed to merge with
a line of cars. His entire left side was on fire and the pain
doubled every time he tried to catch a deep breath. No way to tell
yet if the bullet had gone through and lodged in the back of his
vest or had even clipped a lung and was bouncing around inside him.
But he knew from the lightheaded haze he kept having to shake off
that he was losing a lot of blood. Delvecchio was dead and, like
him, any hope that Nash had escaped to Kansas City undetected had
literally been shot to hell. He was no closer to finding out the
identity of the traitor who had exposed his men as undercover cops
and marked them, and now him, for death.
Copyright ©2014 by Julie Miller
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
Question: What color is
Back To Top
1 1/2 months later
“Reitzie.” Annie lifted the lazy Siamese from the domino
tumble of picture frames on the mantel where he was lounging while
Nick carried up their overnight bags from their weekend getaway to
St. Louis. She set the cat on the floor and shooed him off to
find where his counterpart, G.B., was hiding.
In between unbuttoning her coat and untying the pink scarf that
Grandma Connie had knit for her, she straightened one beloved
picture after another. When she reached the mutilated photo
from the Baseball Hall of Fame, she smiled. Without feeling
one pang of regret, she opened up her paisley messenger bag and
pulled out one of the souvenir post cards she’d bought on their trip
and quickly swapped out the old picture for the new one. She
crumpled the memory of her ex-fiancé in her fist and tossed it into
“There.” Annie was admiring the new picture of Busch Stadium
in St. Louis, and the new memory it represented, when Nick came in.
He locked the door behind him and hung up their coats. She
pulled the new picture on the mantel to a more prominent position.
Nick came up behind her to wind an arm around her waist and doff a
salute to the statue of Stan ‘the Man’ Musial. “Much better.
Maybe Stan and your dad are up in heaven playing some catch right
Feeling a pang of melancholy, Annie leaned back against his solid
warmth, and found even more comfort when he slipped the other arm
around her as well, and pressed a kiss against her cheek. The
sadness quickly passed and she folded her hands over his, soaking in
all the miraculous changes in her life since that fateful New Year’s
She had a reason to celebrate the holidays now.
She had a family--one that was bigger, crazier, more accepting and
loving than any she could have imagined for herself.
She wasn’t alone anymore.
She had Nick.
On New Year’s Day, Nick Fensom had promised her seventy-two hours of
personal protection and free chauffeur’s service. Now, he’d
promised her a lifetime together.
Annie held up her left hand and marveled at the beauty and symbolism
of the simple diamond solitaire he’d given her on Valentine’s Day.
He cupped her outstretch hand in his, angling it to catch the light
in each facet. “Happy?”
She nodded. “More than I have been in...” She laced her
fingers with his and pulled his arm back to complete the snug warmth
of the embrace. “...I don’t know how long. You gave me a
family, Nick. You make me feel like I belong somewhere, like I
belong to someone, like I’m never going to feel alone again.
“Yeah, but do you love me?”
“Of course, I do.”
“Well, a guy wonders, you know, because, um... technically, you
never said yes.”
Annie spun around in his arms, mortified. “I didn’t?”
Despite the grin, he was shaking his head as he twirled a lock of
her hair between his index finger and thumb. “As I recall, you
burst into tears, blubbered some stuff about how happy your dad
would be that I asked you to marry me in front of Musial’s statue,
and then you started kissing me.” Annie arched a skeptical
brow as his handsome blue eyes met hers and the Irish bluster
continued. “Now, while I’m not opposed to that sort of
activity, sometimes you’re hard to read--and it can be a little
tricky on a man’s ego not to be entirely sure.”
Annie caught his face between her hands. “Do you really have
any doubts about how much I love you? What was it you once
told me? You’ll know when I make a promise to you.”
“Pretty pithy stuff, huh?”
She pulled his face closer to hers and stroked her thumb across his
mouth. “Then let me make this promise to you, Nicholas
Fensom--I love you. I need you in my life. I want to be
your wife.” She stretched up to press a kiss to his lips
before standing back to raise her right hand and lay her left over
his heart. “In front of Mom, Dad, Stan and the cats... my
answer is yes.”
Nick’s grin was devilish as he wound his arms around her and pulled
her hips up against his. “I liked all the kissing better.”
“You...” She smacked his shoulder, taking care to avoid the
newly healed wound that could have killed him when he saved her
life. The crime lab building was under repair as well, and
both the detective and the lab were back at work. “You’re
With a laugh, Nick’s mouth covered hers, ending the teasing,
demanding that she prove with her heart and body what her words had
already confessed. And Annie willingly accepted the challenge.
Nick slid his deliciously warm hands beneath her sweater and dipped
his tongue into her mouth. Annie’s fingers went to the hem of
Nick’s shirt, untucking it from his jeans, taking the same liberties
to stroke and touch and grab that he took with her.
His thighs crowded against her, driving her back into the arm of the
sofa. Annie wrapped her arms around his neck and turned,
steering him around the couch. He pulled her along with him a
couple of steps, drawing his tongue along that sensitive bundle of
nerves beneath her ear. “I love the way your mind thinks.”
“I love the way your--” He gently nipped the spot and Annie
gasped, shuddering with desire.
She tugged on his belt buckle as Nick’s seductive assault backed her
into the wall. His hands were under her sweater again, making
it difficult to recall the rest of her sentence. But the power
of his kiss, the need of his hands, the hardness of his body made
her realize that words were no longer necessary. The tension
that had simmered between them from their very first meeting blazed
into white-hot passion. They were yin and yang.
Opposites attracting and completing each other. Perfectly in
sync. Perfect together.
Nick pulled her away from the wall to sweep the sweater off over her
head, exposing her torso to the chilly air of her apartment.
But he palmed her bottom and lifted her up against him, singeing her
body with the solid heat of his. Annie wrapped her legs around
his hips as he reclaimed her mouth and stumbled to the bedroom.
There, in a flurry of dropping clothes and stolen kisses, they fell
onto the bed together.
There was no more teasing, no more debate, no more doubt about the
unexpected love they’d found together. Nick sheathed himself
and settled between her legs as Annie impatiently drew him down on
top of her. There was nothing wounded about his compact,
beautifully toned body beyond the scar on his shoulder. He was
fit and fine and sexier than than the box score of a perfect game as
he began to move inside her.
His fingers tangled into her hair as he thrust himself in to the
hilt and whispered against her ear. “I love you, Annie.
I love you.”
Believing that promise with all her heart, she let go and flew over
the edge into pure bliss with him.
The cats had joined them in bed, anchoring the quilt around Annie’s
toasty feet, when stereo pagers went off sometime later. She
startled awake, pushing aside cats and covers to reach for her phone
on the bedside table while Nick rolled to sit up on his side to
retrieve his phone from his jeans on the floor.
“It’s work.” They announced in unison.
“I’ll call in.” Nick pulled on his shorts and jeans and tossed
her the pants she’d worn earlier. “You get some clothes on
before you distract me again.”
As alert and worried as she’d been replete and content moments
earlier, she quickly dressed. A call from Dispatch before the
sun was up could never be a good thing. The grim look on
Nick’s face echoed as much as he called his partner’s number.
“Spence? It’s Nick.” Annie tiptoed around the bed and
Nick circled his arm around her, drawing her close. “Yeah,
we’re both here.”
Annie caught most of the conversation with the task force commander,
and was glad she’d packed her spare kit in the back of Nick’s Jeep.
The men the Cleaner had blackmailed into killing Annie and
destroying evidence were either dead or jailed. The only one
who’d survived the assault on the crime lab had been unable to give
them a usable description of the woman who’d recruited him because
all the arrangements, from impersonating police officers to
infiltrating the lab, had gone through Raj Kapoor. But, thanks
to her and Nick, they had a trace sample to identify the rapist’s
blood type, and a fingerprint they could match to the Cleaner--once
they got the right suspect in custody. It was evidence that
could help put them both away in prison for a very, very long time.
But the grim report from Spencer Montgomery reminded them both that
there was more work to be done. Nick ended the call and
pressed a kiss to Annie’s temple.
“Time to go to work, slugger.” He strapped on his gun and his
badge. “The Rose Red Rapist has struck again. We’ve got
another crime scene.”
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