I’ve set a date for the fourth Livi novel:
August 27, 2019
I’m not where I wanted to be with the fifth novel, so it might be six months or more between them, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I lost two kittens in April and I am very tired. But Shiva’s Bow has been done forever and I’m excited for y’all to get to read it.
It’s up for preorder several places. Amazon only allows preorder three months before release, so it’ll be there by the end of May.
For once, life is looking good for single mom and adventurer Livi Talbot.
Work is steady, her team is dependable, her daughter is thriving. And then there’s deadly operative Dale West—who sometimes turns into a tiger and always throws her off her game. Just as she’s ready to confront her growing feelings for him, he invites her on a mission for his agency that will take her team to Nepal. A recent earthquake has revealed a mysterious temple deep in the Himalayas, and the secrets within could be fatal in the wrong hands.
A supernatural weapons dealer and his army of mercenaries are at their heels to complicate things, as is someone from West’s past who makes Livi question their potential future. She’s always been slow to trust, but believing in West might be the only way they survive.
If his lies don’t get her killed first.
Want a quick excerpt? Here you go! It’s Livi in Nepal.
As I stepped up to the balcony, my phone vibrated in my back pocket, and I answered to see a request from Denny for some face time. I accepted and a moment later I was treated to Emaleth pushing her way in front of him, her shiny dark hair swinging and eyes big despite the fact that they should be getting sleepy.
Um… “Is it not ten o’clock at night there?” I utterly failed at raising my eyebrow sternly, but tried anyway.
Em just giggled.
“I’ve been sending her back to bed for the past hour but she insisted,” Denny said, his head bouncing back and forth as he tried to see past her. She’d insinuated herself directly in front of the phone’s camera, however, so all I glimpsed was some wide brown curls and a slice of his cheek.
He was about as immune to her wishes as I was. And I couldn’t fault him for it—it was summer, after all, and if she wanted to stay up until midnight for once, so be it. He was left to deal with her being grouchy in the morning, after all—not me or Pru.
“Did you get me a present yet?” she asked immediately, and leaned forward practically salivating.
Brat. “I don’t know if I get presents for little girls who don’t go to bed when they’re told to.”
“I think I should have pretty jewelry.”
“Oh, I bet you do.”
“But…I also haven’t looked for a gift shop yet. Long flight.”
Em wiggled some more, officially sitting right on Denny, who held the phone, and only when she leaned back did it make room for his face to join hers. I caught a grunt, likely from one of her sharp little elbows hitting him in the gut as she fidgeted, and then she seemed settled. “What’s it look like there?”
This place had far better reception than I was used to; normally I just gave her photos later. But my phone had four strong bars and the images seemed clear. “Let me show you.” I hit the button to flip the camera and leaned against the wood railing, which was solid but squeaky, offering a panoramic view of the mountains in the distance.
Em gasped. Denny was silent but his eyes were huge, taking it all in. I did a slow pan of the area, showing glimpses of the town below and then the mountains again. Even on the small display, there was no hiding the beauty of the place—the vastness, the peace. Though in terms of living arrangements, the villa was perfect in that it kept us both grounded but still private, a wanderlust was never far from my heart and part of me longed to just pick up my kid and travel the globe.
After one more scan of the area, I flipped the camera back to me.
“Why can’t I go?” Emaleth asked at last. “I wanna go on a trip.”
“Maybe we can go to Disneyland—”
“Noooo,” she drew the word out, but it was cut off by a sudden yawn. She blinked her large dark eyes for a moment and focused on me again.
“You went to Tokyo. And Melbourne.”
“That was like a million years ago.”
“Months. Barely seven months, Em.”
“I wanna go someplace cool, like you. It’s not fair.”
“Sweetheart, the places I go are dangerous.”
“It’s not fair. I wanna see mountains and forests.”
Only an almost-seven-year-old can draw that word out like it is never going to end. “We’ll see.”
She slumped back and frowned. “That always means no.”
“Today it means we’ll discuss it after you’ve been good and gone to bed when you’re told to.”
“There’s a naked man behind you again,” she said matter-of-factly with a cocky little look I was certain she got from me.
I opened my mouth to reply.
West interrupted. “I’m not naked.” He walked behind me, shirtless and shoeless but wearing loose khaki pants that hung low on his trim hips. My gaze skimmed downward involuntarily, along the trail of dark, downy hair pointing below the belt, and then I swiftly glanced back at the screen, blinking and grateful it wasn’t Pru on the other end.
“West!” Em continued, thankfully oblivious, though Denny’s silent, emotionless stare suggested he wasn’t. “Make Mommy take us on a trip next time she goes. Me and Denny and Pru.”
He settled beside me, his bare muscled upper arm brushing mine. “I’m not sure I could make your mom do anything.”
“But Pru says—”
“Okay, bedtime for you, or no souvenirs,” I snapped.
Emaleth sat up straighter and Denny winced again as she drove her elbow into his chest. “Okay, I love you, Mommy. And I love necklaces.”
Subtle as a brick. I ignored that. “Love you too, baby.” I ended the call and tucked the phone back in my pocket.
West lifted a steaming mug of coffee to me, which I gratefully accepted with another quick scan of him. His black hair was rucked up messily but that could’ve been intentional given the cut, and he didn’t have the exhausted, jetlagged look about his eyes that I did; his were clear and sharp, ready to work. A chilly wind sliced through the balcony from the mountains, one that I fought not to shiver against while West stood there like he didn’t feel it.
The scar on his chest from when I’d shot him last October was gone. Completely. I still carried reminders of everything I’d been through—the slice on my arm from a bullet grazing, and a band of bumpy, twisty burn scars were pale around my middle finger from the Seal of Solomon.
But West didn’t scar. Not permanently, not like the rest of us mere mortals. I’d seen glimpses of his agency file, or at least the parts not redacted. There was evidence, when found at age fifteen, of the abuse he’d endured in the North Korean prison camp where he was born. Bones that had been broken and healed over and over, burns and cuts and gashes that should’ve killed any other kid. But there was nothing now. Pristine light brown skin always tanned bronze, giving no indication of what that body, mind, or spirit had been through.
I consciously tucked those thoughts aside.
West had coffee as well, lifted the cup to his lips, and raised a winged black brow at me. “What’s this Pru was saying?”
My lips fought a grin. “I don’t remember.”
“So you and Pru talk about me often enough that you wouldn’t remember a particular conversation?”
I leaned a hip against railing, facing him. “You’re not nearly as charming as you think you are.”
He mirrored my stance, grinning down at me. “Yes, I am.”
I shook my head, avoided another visual skim of his physique, torso and arms all shaped muscle cut smooth and deadly, and instead looked over the town as I sipped my coffee. It was searing, fresh, and full-bodied. Not freeze-dried crap—they had excellent coffee at this small hotel. And he’d observed me enough over the past few months to clearly remember how I took mine—I’d mix in cream and sugar if in company, but generally preferred it black in the morning. “Are you really strutting around here shirtless?”
“I hardly strut.”
“I did my homework—it’s bad manners in Nepal. They like people clothed.”
“Oddly, I received no objection from the manager’s wife, who brought me the coffee.”
His superhuman magnetism worked across even the most conservative cultures, apparently. “What’s the plan today?”
“We’re waiting on a guide still, who might not be here until the afternoon. So we’ll hit the town, find supplies, and see what we can pick up locally in terms of what we’re getting into in the desert.”
“I was thinking, too, it would be worth getting a handle on any other possible teams in the area—they might not know about what we’re going after yet in this village, but I’d rather be prepared for trouble.”
“I had the same thought.”
“That scares me, actually.”
“It should.” He finished his coffee. “I’ll get dressed and we can head to town.”
I batted my eyelashes at him. “However will I recognize you with clothes, Mr. West?”
“You are not nearly as funny as you think you are.”
“Yes, I am.”