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CONTESTS & FUN

with USA TODAY Bestselling Author 

Julie Miller!

 

 July Book Giveaway!
Entry Deadline June 25th

 



 

Congratulations to Lynn Brooks of Maryland! She won a newly released digital copy of ONE GOOD MAN in my June Book GiveAway Contest. Like many of you, she knew that ONE GOOD MAN was the first book I wrote for Harlequin Intrigue.

This month I’m giving away a special prize! A whole bag of books by me and other authors. Inside this cool bag from the Kickass Cops, Cowboys & Kisses event at the RT Convention in Dallas are books by me and several of my friends. And yes, there are more books inside the bag! (Because of the expense of mailing such a large prize, entries are limited to United States mailing addresses this month)

To enter,
read the excerpt from my July 21st release, KANSAS CITY SECRETS, the second book in my Precinct: Cold Case miniseries. Answer the easy question at the end. Then email me your answer, along with your contact information. My dog, Maggie, will put her nose to work and select a winner from amongst all the correct entries. Deadline to enter is July 25th.
 

 

 


 

 


 

 

   

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 www.juliemiller.org and 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.


MEET JULIE!

July 21 - 25

Romance Writers of America Annual National Conference, New York City  

Aug. 17 - 21

Monthly Mentor Discussion/Writing Q&A at www.Harlequin.com


 

Julie in San Antonia, TX at the 2014 RWA National Conference

 

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

 

BJ Daniels, Delores Fossen and me

 

Julie in Atlanta, GA at the 2013 RWA National Conference

Julie with good buddy B.J. Daniels

Delores Fossen, Julie Miller, B.J. Daniels


 

RECENT APPEARANCES

Julie Miller at the PRW 20th Anniversary

 
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, NE
 
Prairieland Romance Writers celebrates 20 years of excellence in romance fiction!

 

Author Julie Miller

Authors Scott and Julie Miller

Kearney, NE Booksigning, The Sequel Bookshop
Julie Miller, and Scott & Julie Miller

 

Independence, MO Booksigning
L-R Saranna DeWylde, Julie Miller, Janette Kenney, Sherri Shackelford, Cheryl St. John
 

 

 

 

KANSAS CITY SECRETS
Copyright ©2015 by Julie Miller
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
(Excerpt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(From Chapter Five)
 
            Max swallowed a drink of beer that had lost its chill and set the mug down on the rim of the pool table at the Shamrock Bar.  He leaned over, blinking his bleary eyes and lining up the shot, tuning out the drone of conversations around the room and the jingle of the bell over the bar’s front door.  “Six in the corner pocket.”
            He tapped the cue ball and grinned as the pink ball caromed off the rail and rolled into its target.  Finally.  Something was going right today.
            He’d circled to the end of the table to assess his best angle for dropping the seven ball before realizing the noise level of the thinning crowd had paused in a momentary hush.  Even his opponent on the opposite side of the pool table seemed to have frozen for a split-second in time.
            “She’s new.”  Hudson Kramer, a young cop with a shiny new promotion and the subsequent pay hike burning a hole in his pocket, lay down his cue stick and combed his fingers through his hair as glasses clinked and conversations started up again.  Was the game over?  Hud’s mouth widened with a lopsided grin as his eyes tracked movement behind Max.  “Wonder if she’s lost.  Maybe she needs a friend to help her find her way.”
            With a grumble of protest at having his shot at winning back the money he’d lost tonight interrupted, Max turned and saw the last person he’d ever expect to see in a bar.  “I’ll be damned.”
            Rosemary March’s copper red hair was pulled back in a bun that wasn’t anywhere as neat and tidy and screaming old maid as it had been this morning.  Fire and ice.  The unexpected metaphor buzzed through his head at the sight of several loose, wavy red strands bouncing against her pale cheeks and neck as she moved.  The idea of her letting all that hair flow freely around her shoulders and tunneling his fingers into a handful of it hit him like a sucker punch to the gut.  Max sat back on the edge of the table, propping his cue stick against the floor to hold himself upright as she approached.
            He must have had too much to drink and was conjuring up hallucinations.  He closed his eyes and muttered a curse, wondering why he wasn’t conjuring up images of babes on swimsuit calendars instead of Miss Priss with the sharp tongue and crazy ideas.
            He opened his eyes again.  Nope.  She was real.  And she was excusing her way past a couple of tables and a cocktail waitress, heading straight toward him and the pool tables.  She’d exchanged the dressy sandals for a pair of flip-flops, but she still wore that white, high-necked dress from this morning, looking as virginal and out of place in a bar at this hour as he’d felt at her house this morning.  Didn’t mean she didn’t look all kinds of pretty to a half-drunk, half-horny bastard like him.
            “Ah, hell,” he muttered again, wishing he’d said no to that last beer so he could control that little rush of misplaced excitement at realizing she’d come to see him.
            “Detective Krolikowski?”  She stopped a couple of feet in front of him, her fingers tightening around the strap of the purse she hugged in front of her.  Mistaking his dumbfounded silence for a lack of recognition, she tilted those dove gray eyes to his and introduced herself.  “Rosemary March?  We met this morning?  I’m not armed, I promise.”
            “I know who you are, Rosie.  You here for a drink?”  When the waitress slid between the redhead and the nearest table, Max automatically reached out.  Rosie pried at his hand when he tugged on the strap of her purse to pull her out of the other woman’s path.  Her hips jostled between the vee of his legs and his thigh muscles bunched in a helpless response to her unintentionally intimate touch there.  Max instantly popped his grip open and let her scoot around his leg into the space beside him.  Ignoring his body’s traitorous response to a warm, curvy woman, he held up two fingers to capture the waitress’s attention.  “Wait.  You probably want something fancier than a beer.  Wine?  One of those girly things with an umbrella?”
            “Nothing, thank you.”
            Oh, he was in a bad way today.  After waving off the drink order, he turned on the edge of the pool table and pulled a long, copper red wave away from the dewy perspiration on Rosie’s neck.  Warm from her skin, he rubbed the silky strand between his thumb and fingers.  ”So is this you lettin’ your hair down?  You go to a bar, but you don’t drink?  Or is this a temperance lecture for me?  Couldn’t get enough of puttin’ me in my place this morning, eh?”
            “No, I...  What are you doing?”  She jerked away, snatching her hair from his fingertips and tucking it behind her ear.  “This was a dumb idea.”
            Max pushed to his feet and thumped the tip of his cue stick on the table in front of her, blocking her escape.  “Hold on, Rosie Posy.  What are you doing here?”
            Her shoulders lifted with a deep breath and she turned, staring at the collar of his shirt before tilting her wary eyes up to his.  “You said this is where you’d be.  The Shamrock Bar.  I looked up the address in the phone book.”
            “Do you ever give a straight answer to a question?”  He hunched down to look her right in the eye.  “That’s how you found me.  Now tell me what you want.  Let me guess, you’re a pool hustler, and you’re here to win ten bucks off me to spite me for being such a prick this morning.”
            Hud Kramer walked up behind her before the shocked O of her mouth could spit out an answer.  ”I bet she could take you, Max.”
            Max bristled at the interruption.  Why was that kid grinning?  “Shut up.”
            Rosie turned to include both men in her answer.  Sort of.  If looking from one chin to the other counted.  What was that woman’s aversion to making direct eye contact?  With that tart tongue of hers, he couldn’t really call her shy.  But something had to be going on to make her subvert that red-haired temper and any other emotion she might be feeling.  “I haven’t played for a long time.  I used to be pretty decent back in college when I’d go out with friends, but, I don’t think I’d win.”
            “I’d be happy to give you a few tips, Red.”  The younger cop seemed to take any answer as encouragement to his lame flirtations.  “Aren’t you going to introduce us, Max?”
            But when Hud leaned in, Rosie flinched back, maybe sidling closer to what was familiar, if not necessarily what she considered friendly or safe.  Max shifted in an instinctively protective response and her hair tangled with the scruff of beard on his chin, releasing her warm summer scent.  His pulse leaped and he was inhaling a deep breath before he could stop himself.  Rosie March might a baffling mix of mystery and frustration, but she exuded a wholesome, flowery fragrance that was far more intoxicating than the beer he’d been drinking.
            Max growled, irritated by how much he noticed about this woman.  And he was even more irritated that the younger detective had noticed it, too.  “Get out of here, Kramer.”
            A soft nudge to the chest with Max’s pool cue backed Hud up a step, but the young hotshot was still smiling.  Yes, the woman had rebuffed him in favor of the older detective who needed a shave and an attitude adjustment.  But Hud wasn’t about to lose to him twice in one night.  “Our game isn’t finished, Krolikowski.  I have a feeling I’m about to make a comeback.”
            Groaning at the taunt, Max set his cue stick on the table and pulled out his wallet.  He reached around Rosie to hand a ten dollar bill to the young officer.  “Here.  Take it.”
            “You’re conceding defeat?”
            “I’m conceding that you annoy the hell out of me and I’m tired of puttin’ up with you.  Now scram.”
            “Yes, sir.”  Kramer took the sawbuck with a wink and a mock salute and headed straight to a green vinyl seat in front of the polished walnut bar to order a refill.
            With more room to avoid him now, Rosie quickly stepped away and moved around the corner of the table.  “I’m sorry you lost your money.  That wasn’t my intention.”  She pulled open the flap on her purse and pulled out her wallet.  “I only wanted to talk to a police officer.”
            Now she wanted to answer questions?  Max scanned the booths and tables around the bar.  “Take your pick.  The majority of the men and women here work in some kind of law enforcement.”
            “Could I talk to you?”
            He looked down to see her holding out a ten dollar bill.  Muttering a curse, he pushed the money back into her purse.  At this late hour, every young stud in the place was looking for any unattached females who might be interested in one last drink and a chance to get lucky.  They wouldn’t know that Rosie was a person of interest in a murder investigation.  They wouldn’t care about her eccentricities or that she could rub a man wrong in every possible way.  Like Kramer, they were noticing the outward appearance of innocence and vulnerability.  They were seeing the promise of passion in the red flag of Rosemary March’s hair.  Maybe they were picturing what it would look like down and loose about her bare shoulders, too.
            Even in his hazy brain, Max knew she didn’t belong here.
            “Let’s get out of here.  Robbie?”  He looked to the Shamrock’s bearded owner at the bar, and tossed some bills on the table to pay for his tab.  “Come on.”
            Grabbing Rosie by the arm, he turned her toward the door.  Whatever she wanted from him, he wasn’t about to go toe to toe with some young buck who wanted to pick her up just for the privilege of finding out.  Although she hurried her steps beside him to keep up, she tried to shuck off his grip.  But Max tightened his fingers around her surprisingly firm upper arm muscles and didn’t let go until he’d ushered her out the front door into the muggy haze of the hot summer night.
            He took her past the green neon sign in the front window so that curious eyes inside wouldn’t get the idea that she might be coming back before he released her.  He plucked a fresh cigar from his shirt pocket and leaned back against the warm bricks.  “Now talk to me.”
            She took a couple more steps once he released her and turned.  “You smoke?”
            “Not exactly.”  He tore off the wrapper and stuffed the plastic into his pocket.  Then he held the stogie up to his nose, breathing in the rich tobacco scent until he could rid the distracting memory of fresh summer sunshine from his senses.  Light from the street lamps and green neon sign in the window reflected off the oily asphalt of the street behind her, making her seem even more out of place in the dingy surroundings.  At least he didn’t have to deal with Kramer or anybody else hittin’ on her out here.  Max set the cigar between his teeth and chomped down on it.  “Make sense, and make it fast, okay?”
            He watched the reprimand on her lips start and die.  Good.  He wasn’t in the mood for one of her lectures on the evils of swearing and smoking--one of which he hadn’t done for years.  She seemed to consider his request for brevity and nodded.  “Actually, I want you to come to my house.  I had a trespasser tonight.  I don’t know how long he was there before he started vandalizing my front porch.  He broke the lights and left a message in my mail box.  It’s... disturbing, to say the least.”  She reached into her purse and pulled out a folded sheet of white paper with just her thumb and forefinger and held it out to him.  “It’s typed like the one I found on the back patio.  No signature to say who it’s from.”
            Straightening from the wall, Max snatched the paper from her fingers and unfolded it.  “Somebody threaten your dogs again?”
            Her chin shot up and her cheeks dotted with color.  “He’s not after my dogs.  He just knows they’re a way to get to me.  To scare me.”
            “You keep saying he.”
            “Or she.  I don’t know who it was.  All I saw was the shadow on my porch and the damage after the dogs’ barking scared him away.”
            Max squinted the words on the note into focus.  Murdering whore.  Justice will be done.  Anger surged through his veins and he swore around the cigar.  “You should have reported this ASAP to 911 instead of taking the time to track me down.”
            “I don’t want to be brushed off with another phone call, and I certainly don’t want to be accused of making it up again.”
            “What makes you think I’m gonna believe you?”
            Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips, and his pulse leaped with a response that told him he was already far too interested in this woman to remain objective.  Probably why he was such a growly butt around her.  He didn’t want to like her.  It didn’t make sense to like her.  And yet, she was doing all kinds of crazy things to his brain and libido.
            “To look at you, and listen to the way you talk...  You’re military, aren’t you?  Or you used to be?  Not just the haircut.  But, the way you stand.  The way you move.  You recognized Dad’s gun as Army issue, and you remind me of him when he was young.  Except, he was shorter.  More patient.  And he didn’t smoke.”  Hell.  Where was she going with this?  Suspicion tried to move past the fog of alcohol and put him on alert.  “Dad was in the Army.  A career man who retired as a colonel.  Isn’t there some band of brothers code I can call on for you to help me?  Without treating me like a suspect in a murder case?”
            Max tilted his face to the canopy of cloudy haze reflecting the city lights overhead.  He’d spent the day mourning his fallen band of brothers, cursing his inability to save them all--to save his best friend.  He couldn’t do this.  He couldn’t call on that part of him to do his duty and fail again.  Not for this woman.  Not for a comrade in arms or superior officer he’d never even met.  With a self-preserving resolve, he lowered his gaze to hers and handed back the note.  “You should have called Trent.  He’s the reasonable one.”
            “No one will listen to reason.”  Her hands fisted in frustration.  “I need someone who’ll help me out of blind faith in my innocence... or out of a sense of duty.  Or honor.  Besides, I don’t know where your partner is.  But I remembered you said you were coming here for a drink.”
            “That was this morning.  What made you think I’d still be here?”  A little frown dimple appeared between her eyebrows when she wrinkled up her nose in an unspoken apology.  Oh.  Her opinion of him was that low, huh?  He supposed he’d earned it.  And yet she’d sought him out instead of Trent or one of the other off duty detectives and uniforms inside the cop bar.  Maybe he shouldn’t alter her opinion of him by telling her he’d gone back to his desk at the Precinct and put in his full shift before grabbing a burger and heading to the Shamrock.  “How will me going to your place prove you didn’t put this note there, too?”
            The soft gaze that had held his for so long dropped to his chin.  Her skin blanched to a shade of alabaster that absorbed the harsh green color of the neon sign.  He didn’t like it that unnatural color on her.  He didn’t like feeling like a first class rat for blanking the color from her skin.
            “Hey, I...”  Max pulled his cigar from his mouth with one hand and reached for a red tendril with the other.  Although she startled at his touch, she didn’t immediately pull away this time.  Instead, she watched his hand as he sifted the silky copper through his fingers.  “I’m sorry, Rosie.  I’m having a really sucky day.  It’s hard to see the good in anything or anybody tonight.”
            “You’re not always like this?”
            He chuckled at the doubtful face she made.  “Some say I am.  But on this one day every year, I’m an extra sorry SOB.”
            “I wish you wouldn’t swear like that.  I get that you’re angry, already.”  Oh, he was angry, all right.  At himself.  At friends who died.  At failing to save them.  “I get that you’re hurting.  Did something bad happen?”
            “Yeah.  Something very bad happened.  To a friend of mine.”  She’d tilted her eyes up to his, bravely held his gaze.  Maybe it was a trick of the lights and shadows, but from this angle, standing this close, her eyes filled with compassion, maybe even a little of that same odd awareness he’d been feeling about her.  A man could lose himself in the deep, soft shadows of her eyes if he wasn’t careful.  As uncomfortable with her intuition about him as he was with the male interest stirring deep inside him, he pulled his fingers from her hair and retreated.  “You said your daddy served?”
            She nodded, retreating a step herself.  “He flew troop transports and cargo planes until he retired from active duty.  Later, he commanded a local unit in the National Guard.”
            Max thought of the unseen pilots and navigators who’d flown him, Jimmy and the rest of their battered squad from the Middle East into Germany.  Another transport had finally brought them and the caskets of their fallen friends stateside.  The world was a mighty small place in some ways.  “He flew soldiers home?”
            “Sometimes.  Is that important?”
            Those pretty, intuitive eyes snuck right past his survival armor.  An image of Jimmy’s frozen dark eyes blipped through this thoughts.  Never leave a man behind.  He crushed the memory that left him reeling and grabbed her arm, pulling her into step beside him and striding down the sidewalk.  “Where’s your car?  I’ll walk you to it and then follow you back to your house.”
            But when he stepped off the curb he stumbled.  His momentum pulled her against his chest for a split-second, imprinting his body from neck to thigh with her warm curves, filling his head with that damnable clean scent he wanted to bury himself in.
            “On second thought, maybe you’d better drive.”
            She was the one who grabbed a fistful of shirt and his shoulder to steady him and guide him back to the sidewalk.  “You’re drunk, aren’t you.”
            There was that snappy, righteous tone again.  Her eyes had gone cold.  “That was my goal, honey.  It helps me forget.”
            Rosie didn’t waste any time pushing away.  “This was a mistake.  I thought you were different.”
            “You are the most confounding woman...”  With his emotions off the chart, his hormones twisted up in a mix of lustful curiosity and a craving for the peaceful solace he’d read in her eyes--not to mention the four beers he’d drunk since dinner--Max tossed his unlit cigar into the gutter and stopped her from walking away.  “Did something scare you tonight or not?”
            He spun her around and pulled her up onto her toes, bringing her lips close enough to steal a kiss if he wanted to.  And, by hell, he wanted to.
            Shifting his hands to the copper bounty of her hair, Max tunneled his fingers into the silky waves and pulled her mouth to his.  With a gasp of surprise, her lips parted and Max took advantage of the sudden softening of that preachy mouth by capturing her lower lip between his.  He drew his tongue along the supple curve, tasting something tart and lemony there.  Her lip trembled at his hungry exploration.  He felt the tiny tremor like a timid caress and throttled back on his blind need.  Another breath whispered across his cheek, and he waited for the shove against his chest.  But her fingers tightened in the front of his shirt, instead, pressing little fingerprints into the muscles of his chest, and she pushed her lips softly against his mouth, returning the kiss.
            Something twisted and hard, full of rage and regret, unknotted inside him at her unexpected acceptance of his desire.  Frustration faded.  Anger disappeared.  The wounds of guilt and grief that had been festering inside him all day calmed beneath her tender response.  He threaded his fingers into the loose twist of her bun, pushing aside pins and easing the taut style until her hair was sifting between his fingers and his palms were cupping the gentle curve of her head.  “Your hair’s too pretty to keep it tied up the way you do, Rosie.  Too sexy.”
            “Detective Krol--” He kissed her temple, her forehead, reclaimed her lips once more.  He’d reached for her in a haze of frustration and desire, but she was holding on with a gentle grasp and angling her mouth beneath his.  It wasn’t a passionate kiss.  It wasn’t seductive or stylized.  It was an honest kiss.  It was the kind of kiss a man was lucky to get once or twice in his life.  It was a perfect kiss.  Beauty was taming the Beast.
            Or merely distracting him?
            Detective?
            Ah, hell.  He quickly released her and backed away, his hands raised in apology.  “Did something scare you tonight... besides me?”
            “You didn’t scare me,” she lied.  Her fingers hovered in the area for a few seconds before she clasped them around the strap of her purse.
            Max scraped his palm over the over the top of his head, willing his thoughts to clear.  “Just answer the damn question.”
            She nodded.
            She wasn’t here for the man.  She was here for the cop.  He’d like to blame the booze that had lowered his inhibitions and done away with his common sense, but fuzzy headed or sober, he knew he’d crossed too many lines with Rosie March today.  “I think this is where you slap my face and call me some rotten name.”
            Her eyes opened wide.  “I wouldn’t do that.”
            “No, I don’t suppose a lady like you would.”
            Her lips were pink and slightly swollen from his beard stubble.  Her hair was a sexy muss, and part of him wanted nothing more than to kiss her again, to bury his nose in her scent and see if she would wind her arms around his neck and align her body to his as neatly as their mouths had fit together.  But she was hugging her arms around her waist instead of him, pressing that pretty mouth back into its tightly controlled line.  When had he ever hauled off and kissed a woman like that?  With her history, she’d probably been frightened by his behavior, and had given him what she thought he wanted in hopes of appeasing him, counting the seconds until he let her slip away.  She had to be terrified, desperate, to come to him after this morning’s encounter.  The fact that she wasn’t running away from him right now had to be a testament to her strength--or just how desperate she was to have someone from KCPD believe in her.  And for some reason she’d chosen him to be her hero.
            Max scrubbed his palm over his jaw.  He hadn’t played hero for anybody in a long time.  He hadn’t been any good at it since Jimmy’s suicide.  He did his job, period.  He didn’t care.  He didn’t get involved.  This woman was waking impulses in him that were so rusty from lack of use that it caused him pain to feel himself wanting to respond to her request.  “What do you need from me?”
            She tucked that glorious fall of hair behind her ears and tried to smooth it back into submission.  “I think I’m in real trouble.  And I don’t know what to do.  KCPD thinks I might be a killer, so they’re not taking me seriously and won’t look into these threats.  But I thought that you... maybe you’d set aside your suspicions and do it for my dad.  I know it’s an imposition, and I know you’d rather be investigating me for murder than deal with some unknown stalker you think I made up, but--”
            “You’re right, Rosie.  I was a soldier.  Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army.  A man like your dad brought me and my buddies home from a hell of a fight where we lost too many good men.”  For the first time in a lot of months, on that flight across the Atlantic, he’d been able to close his eyes and sleep eight hours straight, knowing he and his men were safe from the enemy as long as they were on that plane.  “What was your daddy’s name?”
            “Colonel Stephen March.”
            “Maybe I don’t owe the colonel personally.  But I owe.”  She’d appealed to the soldier in him, tapped into that sense of duty he’d once answered without hesitation.  She had him pegged a lot sooner than he was figuring her out.  “And, I owe you for putting up with me on my worst day.”
            “Is there something I can do to help?  Besides...”  She ran her tongue around her lips, maybe still tasting some of the need he’d stamped there.  “I’m a very good listener.”
            He grumbled a wry laugh.  So no offer to repeat that kiss, eh?  “Just give me a chance to be a better man than the one you met today.”
            “So you’ll come look?  You’ll help me?”
            Either he was the world’s biggest sucker, or Rosie March was in real danger and she believed he was her best chance at staying safe.  Whether he was doing this for her or her dad or to atone for all the mistakes he’d made today--all the mistakes he’d made in the past eight years--he was doing it.  “Yes, ma’am.”  Wisely keeping his hands to himself this time, he gestured for her to lead the way to her car.  “Let’s go find this low-life.”

 

Question: What color is Rosie’s hair?

 

 

 

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