Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Send #Ebooks to Your Kindle or Kindle App Without Going through Amazon #MyWANA #amwriting

Welcome back to Through Stephanie's Eyes. I've been hard at work finishing DANGEROUS MEDICINE and turn it over to my editor. With luck and more hard work, it should be ready for release in the beginning of the New Year. I know. I know. I had hoped it would be done in time for a Christmas release, but the latest from the vendors is that unless we have a finished product to them within the next two weeks, there is no way they could guarantee a release date before the end of the year. In fact, many of them are CLOSED from Christmas Eve through January 1st. 

If we hadn't had to spend the last three months getting ready for and then moving to the Seattle area, I would have had everything ready in time. No worries! Now I can be sure I'll have the best story I can give these characters. My editor, Amber Lea Easton will see to it. She ROCKS!

Now for the other reason for today's post. This week I decided to revisit a subject that many Kindle users need a lesson on...

How to send ebook files to their Kindle or Kindle app without the "one click" purchase from the Amazon site.

I know some of you are staring at the screen and shaking your head. "How the hell can you do that? I thought I could only get books from Amazon because my Kindle can't open files from any other source."

You all have been misinformed. Amazon is NOT the only place to find books for your Kindles. Same goes for NOOK, KOBO and any other device. Once you know the process, you can get your books from any other REPUTABLE and LEGAL retail site and publisher's site. (I'm in no way talking about the pirate sites and file sharing sites. Those are illegally sharing files. Don't use those. Support your favorite authors and publishers through legitimate venues.)

It's a really easy process and it will enable you to purchase your ebooks from sites other than Amazon if you wish. Yes, there are more sites out there that sell mobi format ebooks. Here are a few:

and coming soon...Sassy Vixen Publishing

Not only can you get ebooks at fabulous prices from these sites, you can also win them during blog hops and other giveaways. Authors and other groups routinely giveaway free copies of their work to promote themselves and to introduce new readers to their stories. You can even take one file type and convert it to a Mobi file for your Kindle...that's a topic for another post, but you get my point.

If you know how to send files to your ereader, you won't be tied down to just using Amazon for everything. You do need the Kindle email address assigned to you when you registered with Amazon for an account. You have one even if you only have the Kindle App for your phone or iPad.  It should look something like stephryan@kindle.com

Now that's not my actual kindle addy but you get the picture. This is the email address you have to send all files TO.  Now what email account or accounts are accepted by your Kindle is up to you as well. Go into your Amazon account and choose the tab that says: Manage Your Kindle.  In there you'll find a spot where you can add all the sites that are allowed to send you material. In mine, I have my gmail account and Bookstrand's email. By allowing Bookstrand to send me stuff, I get an INSTANT upload to ereader. That's about as close to a "one click" shopping you can get!

Now if someone were to send me a ebook file, in MOBI or PRC format...or even PDF format, I can download the file to my computer.  I don't open the file yet. Instead, I send it as an attachment from my gmail account to my kindle address.

That's it. Within five minutes I have the file on my ereader. 

If you'd like more detailed instructions, here's a step by step on how to do it straight from Amazon

So go on and get used to sending files to your Kindle. You'll be able to receive ARCs from your favorite authors, become beta readers for others, read the ebooks you've won in contests, read PDF files for your job...anything you can think of, you'll eventually be able to do it. Go on. Give it a go!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fighting Through the Self Doubt, Fears, Tears and Writer's Block #amwriting #MyWANA

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry about that. Life got in the way again...big time. It's not easy juggling a full time job as a veterinarian and writing under four pen names. As Stephanie, I am supposed to have my debut romantic suspense out at the end of October. Unfortunately, that may not go as planned.

My husband is now retired from the Coast Guard. After twenty years of service, he wishes to move back to his home state of Washington. For many people, the idea of moving is overwhelming in itself. Add on to that jumping through all the hoops and the sea of paperwork to get my license to practice veterinary medicine, pack up the house, purge the unwanted stuff, sign the new contract with my employer (same group of hospitals, just a different state), write not one, but FOUR stories for three different publication dates. At this point only one may go out on time. My debut may squeak by in time, but the last one will be delayed by two weeks.

Of course this is the time to be thankful I'm my own publisher. That's right, not only am I the same person as Tammy Dennings Maggy, Lia Michaels and Tawny Savage, I'm also Sassy Vixen Publishing. All of these "hats" have kept me busy but now it's causing some serious writer's block.

You would think I wouldn't have an issue. If one of my stories isn't working out, I can switch to another and keep going. That's the beauty of having four pen names. It has worked for me in the past, but now it's not. I'm so afraid of failing that my mind won't move forward...on anything.

I know I shouldn't compare myself to other authors, but that's much easier to say than do. Why can't I have those same successes others appear to have with their first books. Why can't I seem to get my groove and find friends and fans out there who want to take a chance on my stuff? It never fails that when I'm feeling this way, I get an email from Authorgraph telling me the low ranking of one of my earlier books. 

Nothing like a kick in the gut when you're already thinking of quitting. Why should I go through with the publication of Dangerous Medicine if it will simply sit there, unnoticed in a sea of other new releases? I'm not able to devote the time it takes to promote it properly and not spam the hell out of social media with it. It feels weird for me to be involved in book clubs where we choose a book a week to help promote by reading it and giving honest reviews. There are other genres in there I'm not interested in and don't enjoy reading. I don't think it's fair of me to read those or expect the others to read my romance.

Nice pickle I have myself in, huh?

It's even harder for my erotica and erotic romance. Amazon continues to "fine tune" their algorithms and slap ADULT CONTENT labels on books so they're essentially hidden from general searches. So much for being discovered by new readers who love to browse through the categories!

I know many of you may look at this post as just one more from a whiny author who really doesn't want to succeed bad enough to keep going. You're entitled to your opinion, but until you go through a day in my shoes, deal with life and death of your patients, deal with groups of people going through Amazon and Goodreads tagging all your books with 1 stars just because they can, take care of your health and that of your family AND find time to write, edit, create book covers and promote all four pen names...(taking deep breath) then and only then can you make an INFORMED opinion on whether or not I'm whining.

I don't want to quit writing. I want to go back to the time when it was FUN to write and share my stories. I want that excitement of waking up in the middle of the night just to jot down a plot point or a bit of dialogue before it flies out of my head forever. I want the JOY of writing back again.

Yes, writing should be viewed as a full time job in order to succeed at it. I think this is my problem. I've been trying to be successful at THREE full time jobs: wife, veterinarian, and author. I've thrown in there publisher, editor, cover artist, public relations/marketer, social media technician, beta reader and reviewer...oh and don't forget blogger.

There's not enough time in one day to accomplish a third of those tasks and yet I push myself to do them all. No wonder I'm blocked! LOL

I'm taking this weekend to enjoy some time away with my hubby and forget about the move, the deadlines, laundry and housework. When I get back, I hope to have cleared my mind enough to pick a few things from my To Do list and complete them. I'll not look at the rest of the list until those are done. It's the only way I'll get through it.

If Dangerous Medicine isn't a best seller right out of the gate...so what? It's still going to be published. I owe it to myself to finish this one. I started it in 1999. Maybe it's time I took Journey's advice and enjoy the blessings I have in my life instead of allowing all the other "stuff"  to weigh me down. 

Don't Stop Believin',

Friday, July 25, 2014

#FridayFantasy: Cover Reveal for #RomanticSuspense DANGEROUS MEDICINE

Welcome back and happy Friday! Today is an extra special day here. We've finalized the cover for Dangerous Medicine. It wasn't easy. At first I wanted to go simple and not put a couple on the cover. This one isn't an erotic romance like the others I've written under other pen names. It's a romance, but the concentration of the story is more on the suspense aspect. The steamy love scenes are there, but you have to wait for them just like the characters. LOL!

I poured through more photos but then went back to the bunch I'd saved for inspiration. BINGO! I got my red head heroine and the smokin' hot hero in a sensual clinch. It's steamy without giving you the impression it's erotica.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

**99¢** Party For the #Anthology Featuring a #SneakPeek of DANGEROUS MEDICINE by @StephRyanAuthor

Welcome back to Through Stephanie's Eyes. I'm Stephanie Ryan and today I'd like to give you a head's up about the special my publisher is running right now. 

The new anthology Sweet, Sultry, and Oh So Taboo is only 99¢ for the next three days only. It's made it into the top 100 paid Kindle anthologies and it features the first six chapters of my debut romantic suspense Dangerous Medicine.

As you recall, Sassy Vixen Publishing decided to offer this anthology up as a special release in time for RomCon in Denver. It was such a hit, they decided to continue with it and release it to everyone on all retail sites. Right at this moment it is 99¢ on ALL sites including iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kobo. If you love to get your eBooks form All Romance...it's there too.

Here's the BLURB:

The “Sweet” from Stephanie Ryan’s Dangerous Medicine (M/F): Detroit based veterinary surgeon Miranda Jacobs puts her fast-paced career on hold in order to be with her family at her brother's bedside. It's on the way to the hospital that she literally collides with Detective Jake Martinelli. Sparks fly between them, and Miranda finds herself fiercely attracted to Jake even though she knows very little about him. 

The “Sultry” from Tammy Dennings Maggy’s Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (MF): Coast Guard Steve Sanders is called to assist a sinking vessel. His pregnant wife Jolene waits for his return when the rescue mission has goes horribly wrong. Will a miracle bring him back to meet his wife under the mistletoe?

The “Taboo” from Lia Michaels’s Have a Naughty, Naughty Christmas (MFMM): Candice, Alexander and Gabriel own Candy Kisses, the place to be in Detroit. The business partners have kept their desires hidden. When a wealthy playboy extends an offer that allows them to indulge their wildest fantasies, they embark on a very naughty Christmas. 

If you prefer the print version, it's available through Createspace, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other outlets. From Amazon, if you purchase the print book, you get the eBook at a reduced price. 

So what are you waiting for? Grab this collection now to help you get ready for my full novel, and the next installments of Tammy and Lia's tales. So many more stories are coming up throughout the rest of the year. You don't want to miss a single one!

Until next time,

Friday, June 6, 2014

#CoverReveal and Getting Ready for #RomCon2014 #amwriting

I'm so excited to show off the cover for Sweet, Sultry and Oh So Taboo. Sassy Vixen Publishing decided to put out the first six chapters as a sneak peek for the readers at RomCon 2014. I know you've all read them here on my blog, but they've been edited and now PUBLISHED in this book along with two novellas by my alter egos, Tammy Dennings Maggy and Lia Michaels.

At the book signing on Friday June 20th, we'll have copies of this collection as well as a few other Sassy Vixen Publishing books available for purchase. During the convention, multiple copies of this one and others will be given away for prizes and in gift baskets. "We" will be involved in the Erotic Authors Panel (Tammy Dennings Maggy...well, me since we are one and the same! LOL), Karaoke and Dance with the Decades with the 70's games Hungry Hungry Hippos and Kerplunk, Get Crafty with the Authors at the sewing table demonstrating how to make a cool quilted book cover, and running the Naughty Bingo during the Chocolate Mangasm. We'll have all sorts of candies, swag and baskets for prizes at each event. 

Another thing we've put together is a large basket for the Breast Cancer Awareness/Research raffle. In it will be print copies of all our books, swag and a hand made knitted prayer shawl along with a decorated framed poem from Follow Me: Poetry from the Heart and Soul by Tammy Dennings Maggy.

Another framed poem will be given away during the Get Crafty with the Authors event.

On July 1st, the special editions released at RomCon will be made available on all retail outlets in both print and eBook formats. I hope you join me in making their releases extra special and get them to the top of the charts!

See you in two weeks!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Reflections of the World of Publishing from @StephRyanAuthor

Happy Mother's Day to all those caregivers out there. I don't have any human children of my own, but my fur babies are more than enough for me at this point in my life. My hat is off to those who are able to juggle everything and raise kids in the crazy world we live in today.

Speaking of crazy...

You know how I love the Real Housewives shows. They're so over the top and allow me an escape of what's going on in my life. Watching these crazy women go at each other is so entertaining that at times I forget that they are real women. Sure some of it may very well be staged, but there are times when those fights are all too real and too close to home.

When I first entered the world of publishing, never in my wildest dreams would I ever think there would be so many incidents of backstabbing, sabotage, fighting among authors in the same genre and among those in varying heat levels of the genres, fights between author and reviewers/bloggers...and on and on. If I would have known this profession would be as cutthroat as it is, I'm not sure I would've ever jumped in and submitted my first book to Siren Bookstrand under another pen name.

Maybe it's better that I didn't know. I've learned a hell of a lot in the last four years. Some of which isn't very pretty and I'm not proud of all of my actions at times, but I own up to them and have moved forward to try to be a better person and treat others accordingly. Unfortunately, part of those lessons learned have been at the hands of a few who had disguised themselves as friends—people to lend and ear or shoulder to cry on when things were rough.

What a crock. This is where I have to remind myself and all of you to listen to your inner voice. If the situation sounds too good to be true, it will turn around and bite you in the ass when you least expect it.

My adventure as an author and publisher has now become like the Real Housewives. I can't declare any city as part of the name as the ensemble are from all over the country. Maybe we could call it "The Real Housewives of Indie Publishing" or "The Real Housewives of Amazon." No matter the title of the thing it all ends up the same—into a nightmare of lies and half truths.

The only way out of the quagmire is to walk away. Even if you know you are telling the truth and you feel betrayed, let it go. The others involved in the mess may feel the same. If it's meant to work out, it will in good time. You can't force it. You have no control over whether people believe you or not. What you do have control over is whether or not you allow others to take you from your chosen path.

Some of you may be here to see if I'm going to spill any dirt on what has been happening between me and some others. You won't find it here. Those issues are between us and no one else's business. One day the whole truth will come out. Until then, all of us have lives to lead, books to write and readers to meet.

Speaking of books to write, I'll have chapter 7 of Dangerous Medicine up in two weeks. It will be the final chapter of the free read portion of the novel. Make sure you catch up on the rest of the story before then. 

See you soon,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chapter 6 of DANGEROUS MEDICINE by @StephRyanAuthor #FreeRead #romanctic #suspense

Welcome back to Through Stephanie's Eyes! After just a little delay, I have the sixth chapter of the free read from my debut romantic suspense novel Dangerous Medicine. I'm to the point in my rewrites where I have to decide how many more chapters I'll offer as a free read. The response so far has been amazing! If you'd like to see the story continue on here, let me know. I still have plans to release the entire novel by the end of the summer/fall but my question is whether or not to offer the entire story here one chapter at a time or leave something as a surprise?

Let me know your vote in the comments below. For now, here are the links to the previous chapters so you can catch up if you've missed any. 

Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

In Dangerous Medicine, you meet Dr. Miranda Jacobs, a veterinary cardiothoracic surgeon in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Thefts of one of the most common veterinary anesthetics are on the rise resulting in the sale of it on the street as "Special K." Miranda comes face to face with the devastating effects of ketamine when her brother is slipped some at a fraternity party. He has a severe allergic reaction that ultimately puts him into a coma. 

Miranda puts her fast-paced career on hold in order to be with her family at her brother's bedside. It's on the way to the hospital that she literally collides with Detective Jake Martinelli. Sparks fly between them, and Miranda finds herself fiercely attracted to Jake even though she knows very little about him. 

Jake Martinelli is nearly knocked off his feet when he meets Miranda for the first time. Normally he'd avoid headstrong, career oriented women like her, but something drew him in like a moth to a flame. She awakened feelings he thought dead a long time ago. He tried to ignore his growing attraction for her  while he concentrated on finding the person responsible for putting her brother in the coma, but his mind continued to wonder what it would be like to have her in his bed.

And now this week's free chapter...

Chapter 6

Miranda took a deep breath and let it out as she entered Matthew’s room. She pulled on of the chairs closer to the bed, careful not to disrupt any of the monitors. The machines cast an eerie glow over the room and enabled her to see her brother clearly even though the overhead lights had been turned off.

She reached for his right hand and entwined her fingers with his. Her heart wrenched but her eyes remained dry, spent of every tear her body could spare, He appeared so small in the bed with all the tubes and wires tangled around his well-muscled body. She ignored the noises of the machines that tracked his vital signs, and concentrated on his face. “What the hell have you gotten yourself into now, little brother? If you wanted to get me home for a visit, you could’ve called.” She imagined his voice in her mind chastising her for not picking up the phone herself.

A sudden burst of anger flooded through her body. “Damn it, Matt! You can’t leave me now. There’s so much I have to talk to you about.” Miranda swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat and tried another tactic. “I sit for my board exams soon and MVS wants to bring me on as the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Pretty go, huh? And you! Ma told me you want to be a cop. When on earth did you decide that? Thanks for leaving me out of the loop on that one.”

Miranda squeezed his hand tighter. “Matty, please wake up. There’s so much going on that you need to be a part of around here. Melody is going to give you another niece any day now. You can’t miss that. And little Billy—he’s just lost without you. I’m lost without you. Please, please heal fast and come back to us.”

Madeline entered the room with the night nurse. “Darlin’, vising hours are over. The staff has been kind enough to allow me to camp out with Matt for tonight, only on the condition that the rest of you go home and give them some peace and quiet.” Madeline’s eyes glistened with tears.

Miranda let go of her brother’s hand and vacated her seat. “I’ll be back first thing in the morning. Is there anything else you want from the house?”

“No, I think you brought all I’ll need for tonight and the next few days. You go and get some sleep, and make sure Jake goes home too.”

“The Detective is still here?” Miranda had forgotten all about asking him to stay with Billy. Her stomach fluttered and she felt her cheeks start to burn.

Her mother didn’t miss it either. “He’s a handsome man, that Jake. Besides, the way he explained everything to Billy was amazing. He found the words to help the boy understand. Billy even pulled him into a prayer circle with the rest of the family.”

She’s really smitten with him that’s for sure. “Ma, I know what you’re doing. Don’t start.”

Madeline chuckled. “I’m not starting anything. Looks to me like the two of you have something brewing all on your own. Now don’t give me that shocked look, Randi. I’m a mother and I miss nothing.”

Miranda smiled and waved as she backed out of the room to avoid any further conversation about Jake. She made her way to the ladies room across the hall. She locked the door, thankful for a few moments alone to gather up her nerve to face the rest of her family. She kept her eyes closed, and took in several deep, cleansing breaths. Once her heart rate returned to normal, she opened her eyes and gazed at her reflection in the mirror. “Whoa, you could scare the hell out of Freddie Krueger.”

She stuck her tongue out at the mirror image then ran the cool water to wash her face. Her eyes were puffy from crying, and what little mascara she wore, now pooled under her lower lashes. Her hair refused to be tamed by the clip. She finally gave up on it and let it fall free around her face and down her back. “I guess that will have to do for now.”

As she approached the waiting room, she heard her father’s voice as he corralled the family up to leave the hospital for the night. She squared her shoulders and strode into the room, ready to help round up the children. She froze in her tracks. In the far corner, near the television, she found Jake and Billy curled up together fast asleep.

Marah approached her with Billy’s coat draped over her arm. “They’ve been that way for almost a half hour now. I’ve been afraid to bother them. They look so peaceful. God knows Billy could use the rest, and from the looks of it so could the Detective.”

“I’ll get Billy ready. You go ahead with the others.”

Marah’s eyes twinkled. “I bet you’ll get Billy ready.”

“Don’t you start on me too.”

“Hmm. So Ma is trying to fix the two of you up now? Not a bad idea.” Marah barely stifled a giggle. “He is one fine looking specimen of a man.”

Miranda’s eyes flew open and her jaw dropped to her chest. “You and Ma are hopeless. Quit trying to set me up and get the gang ready to hit the road.” She didn’t wait to hear anymore of her sister’s teasing remarks and made her way toward the sleeping duo.

Jake’s eyes snapped open as she came within a foot of the couch. “What time is it?”

Her knees weakened at the sound of his voice, deep and husky from sleep. “It’s time to go home. They’re kicking up out for the night.” Miranda combed through Billy’s hair with her fingers. He barely stirred. “Time to get this cowboy back to his own bunkhouse for the night. He’s got school tomorrow.”

Jake took Billy’s coat from her hands and wrapped it around him. He stood up and kept the boy in his arms.

Billy snuggled closer to him, mumbled incoherently and appeared to drift back into a deep slumber.

“If you’ll show me the way, I’ll get him to your sister’s car. We shouldn’t jostle him around unnecessarily. He needs his sleep. He’s pretty much exhausted from worrying about Matt.”

“You look like you could use a date with the pillow as well, Detective.” Miranda stood up on tiptoes and kissed Jake’s cheek. “Thanks for staying with Billy and for explaining everything to him. Ma told me you went above and beyond. For that I’ll be forever in your debt.”

Jake flashed the crooked smile that took her breath away when they first met. He bent over and softly kissed her on the lips. “Any time, Doc. Any time.”

Miranda flushed from head to toe and her head spun. Never before had a kiss sent her mind reeling and her body aching for more—not like this. “We…we should get him to the car before he wakes up.”

“Too late.”

“What?” She peered down at her very awake, smiling nephew. 

“How long have you been awake?”

Billy’s grin spread from ear to ear. “Aunt Randi and Jake. Sitting in a tree. K—I—S—S—I—N—G.”

“Oh you!” Miranda tickled him. “That will be enough of that nonsense.”

“I kind of like that tune. Now how does it go? K—I—S— Jake dodged Miranda’s right hand, and flung Billy over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “What do you say we make a run for it, Billy?”

Miranda rolled her eyes up to the ceiling and followed them to the elevator. “Heaven help me, I think I’m falling for this man.”
Jake spun around and smiled. “Did you say something, Doc?”

Miranda startled. God, did I say that out loud? “Um…it was nothing. Let’s get downstairs before the nurses call security to escort us out of here. And quit calling me Doc.”

“Only if you stop calling me Detective.”

Billy giggled and continued to hum the kissing song.

Miranda pulled her lips between her teeth to prevent herself from smiling. Yeah, I could use a little more of the kissing part and less of the singing. I wonder what his lips would feel like all over my body…

* * * *

Christ, I can’t believe I kissed her. She must think I’m some nut job hitting on her in the hospital. To be fair, she kissed me first, but I couldn’t resist. With her hair down like that, and her cheeks all rosy pink she looked like a Celtic goddess. That’s it. She put a spell over me. I’m not responsible for my own actions. He sat in his jeep and watched the Jacobs family caravan pull out of the hospital parking lot. He smiled and waved as Billy passed by his window making smooching motions.

Then there was Miranda staring back at him from the front seat of her father’s car. She brushed her hair back from her face and waved goodbye with just her fingertips.

His heart raced and his palms sweat. He wiped his hands on his jeans and then started up the jeep’s engine. This was an entirely new experience for him. Even his ex-wife never brought out this kind of reaction. Something about the red haired veterinarian turned his insides to mush. When around her, his mind kept wandering to fantasizing about her, holding her in his arms and comforting her through this ordeal with her brother. Her subtle perfume only added to his attraction. To him she smelled like fresh baked cookies—of home.

This is the one he’d been searching for his whole life and now he may lose her before ever having a chance to see where their attraction might lead. He wasn’t one to believe in love at first sight, but what coursed through his body now had to be more than simple lust.

Lust he could handle. The feelings Miranda stirred up in him tonight threatened to overwhelm him and make him forget the job he had to do. If only Matthew hadn’t taken matters into his own hands with the investigation of the attack on his friend. He wouldn’t be fighting for is life now and Jake wouldn’t be distracted from taking down the man responsible for the Ketamine on the street.

He cranked up the radio as he pulled into traffic and headed for his empty apartment. With everything going on that evening, he’d forgotten the Lieutenant ordered him to take some leave. For the next few weeks he had to relax and let the rest of his team continue the investigations. He owed it to Matthew to rest up and be at his best in order to bring those who did this to him and attacked his friend are all brought to justice.

He smiled and touched his lips. If I didn’t have that boy in my arms when I kissed her, I don’t think I would have been able to keep my hands off her when those elevator doors closed. She can deny it all she wants but I know I heard her say she was falling for me. Maybe she was only joking, but I’d love to put it to the test.

Matthew had told him about her on many occasions and he’d seen pictures of her, but he had to admit he wasn’t prepared for their first face to face meeting. Now that he had the pleasure, he wanted more, even if it meant butting heads all the time. Jake recognized a kindred spirit when he saw one. Career driven and bullheaded appeared to be traits they had in common based on Matthew’s initial descriptions of her but Jake had been completely surprised by her soft side around her family. He’d admired how she held herself together to be strong for them when he could tell all she wanted to do was collapse in a heap. To him, that vulnerability combined with her strength made her so much more desirable.

Of course she had many other traits that appealed to him as well. Her porcelain skin with a hint of freckles over her nose and cheeks, her emerald eyes with flecks of gold, her soft ruby lips made for kissing, and those curves she tried to hide under a football jersey all came together to make one irresistible package crowned with a thick mane of auburn curls. The self-proclaimed loner and bachelor had to admit he never stood a chance.

He resigned himself to spending another sleepless night alone in his king sized bed. It wasn’t the stress of his job that would keep him up tonight, but visions of the firecracker veterinarian asleep in his arms.

* * * *
All Rights Reserved ©Stephanie Ryan 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chapter Five of the #FreeRead From DANGEROUS MEDICINE by @StephRyanAuthor #romantic #suspense

Welcome back! I hope the last few weeks have been kind to you. It's still a bit hectic in the Ryan household, but there's finally light at the end of the tunnel as they say. I've had a few messages from folks looking for the next installment in my romantic suspense novel Dangerous Medicine. Wait no longer. It's here!

Chapter five finds our heroine Miranda Jacobs at the hospital waiting to hear more about her brother's condition. He'd been slipped a potent veterinary drug in his beer at a fraternity party. Unfortunately, he suffered a seizure from it and had fallen down a flight of stairs. He's currently in a coma while his family holds vigil in the hospital waiting room. 

Our hero, Jake Martinelli appears to be well known by the Jacobs family—much to the bewilderment of Miranda. Not only has she found herself fiercely attracted to the sexy police detective, she figures out her family may be doing a bit of matchmaking on her behalf. If it was any other time, she'd go with it, but not while her brother's life hang in the balance.

For those of you who need to catch up, here's the links to the previous chapters.

Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Now let's continue on with Dangerous Medicine...

Chapter 5

The doors of the elevator opened and Miranda stepped out into the hallway with Jake close behind her. She bit her lip, unsure where to go to find her family.

He placed his right hand on the small of her back and gently guided her toward the waiting area to their right. 
“The neurology patients have their own wing and waiting area.”

She’d initially stiffened at his touch, but then relaxed as if the two of them together was the most natural thing in the world. It was as if knowing he was there with her—for her, gave her renewed strength. “Thanks. I have to admit I didn’t hear one word of the directions from the nurse on the first floor.”

“It’s understandable. You have a lot on your mind.”

“Aunt Randi!” Her eldest nephew, Billy, ran toward her with his arms wide. “I knew you’d come. Nobody’ll tell me what’s going on with Uncle Matt. They treat me like a baby.” Billy squeezed her waist with his arms and locked his fingers together behind her back.

She loosened his death grip and then knelt down to his level. She gazed into the seven-year-old’s hazel eyes. He appeared frightened and torn with his need to be held and to be treated like a grown up. “Hold on there, cowboy. We’re all worried. No one’s keeping things from you. The doctor’s haven’t told us what they found on his last round of tests yet. I’ll help explain everything as soon as I know. Okay?”

Billy nodded and threw his arms around her neck. As she stood up, she lifted him into her arms. “Let’s see about finding your parents, huh?” She looked over her shoulder and noticed Jake grinning from ear to ear.
He shook his head. “You continue to surprise me, Doc.”

“Is that good or bad?” She searched his face for some clue as to what he meant by his comment. “I hope you’re prepared, Detective. You’re about to be mobbed by a very emotional, loud, but loving family. Did I mention loud? Can you handle it?”

Jake chuckled. “We’re about to find out. By the way—it’s a good thing.”

Miranda’s cheeks burned. “I’ll keep that in mind, Detective…uh, Jake.”

“There’s my girl.” Michael Jacobs Sr. stopped his pacing and strode over to where she and Jake had been consoling Billy. “I was about to send out a search party and then remembered you were with Jake. Had to remind your mother you were safe if you were with him. How are you, son?”

Jake smiled and shook his hand. “As good as can be expected. How are you and Madeline holding up?”

“Ah, you now the Missus. She’s the strong one of this family. It would take World War III to rattle that woman’s revolve. It’s something my dear daughter here picked up.” Mr. Jacobs hugged her before she had a chance to protest.

Jake nodded and smirked. “So I’ve noticed.”

Rattled by the turn of the conversation, she’d forgotten to ask how the hell Jake fit into her family. They talk as if they’ve known each other for years. I’ve been away for far too long. The fact it had taken a family tragedy to open her eyes filled her with guilt. She patted Billy on the back and hugged him again.

“There’s my mom now.” He squirmed out of her arms, grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the woman in question.

His mother, Marah, the second born of the Jacobs clan, greeted her with a bear hug. “I’m so glad you’re finally here. If anyone can make sense out of this thing, you can.”

“Where’s Bill?”

Marah ruffled Billy’s hair and shooed him back toward his grandfather. “He drove the rest of the kids to McDonald’s. Billy here didn’t want to go. No sense arguing with him when he gets like that. He’s as stubborn as you and Ma.” She laughed in spite of the tears that threatened to spill down he rosy cheeks. “He’s been such a brave boy through this whole thing. He’s helped out with his brother and sister and the cousins. We’re so proud of him.

“It’s going to be all right. It has to be. Hold on to that for Ma and Pop.”

As they settled back in the chairs to wait for more news about Matt, Miranda glanced around the room and counted heads. Michael Jr., the third born, appeared to be in deep conversation with Jake. She raised her eyebrow and made a mental note to talk to her brother later. The whole idea Jake suddenly stopped by her parents’ house took a different twist if her brother or father had something to do with it. That’s the more likely story. As at ease as he is with my folks, he would’ve known they were here holding vigil.
Michael’s wife, Jennifer sat quietly on a large couch and nursed her baby. Next to her was Miranda’s youngest sister, Melody. She and her fiancĂ©, Philip were expecting their first child. They were to be married that Christmas, but knowing the young couple, they would postpone it if need be to be there for the family. They’d already done so twice because of the passing of Phillip’s father the year before. Those two need some happy family event. They’ve already put their lives on hold too many times.

Miranda excused herself from Mara and joined the other ladies. “How are you guys holding up?”
Melody rubbed her very pregnant stomach. “As well as can be expected at the moment. The baby is kicking the hell out of my spleen—at least that’s what I think it is. She’s going to be athletic like her Uncle Matt. I think I’ll sign her up for soccer lessons now.” She giggled and grabbed Miranda’s hand to place over her stomach.

Three more swift kicks pummeled her hand. She leaned over and whispered toward Melody’s stomach. “Hey there, sweetie-pie. It’s your favorite aunt. You had better let up on your ma’s spleen for a while. How about going for her bladder? You know how she loves to get up fifty times an hour to go to the bathroom.”

Melody slapped Miranda’s arm. “You devil!”

“Phillip go with Bill to McDonald’s?”

“Yes. As you know, hospitals aren’t one of his favorite places to be so he jumped at the chance for a change of scenery. He didn’t think one man should be left alone with four kids all under the age of six. You should have seen them. They left here singing ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’. It was quite a site. Phillip loves kids and can’t wait to be a dad.”

“Well, he’ll get lots of practice before your daughter comes into the world. What is it? Less than two months away now?” That old familiar stab of jealousy pierced her heart. She’d wanted a family of her own more than anything, but even now she found it hard to admit to herself she’d give up all hope of being a mother while she was in vet school.

Melody placed her hand over Miranda’s and squeezed. “I know that look. There’s still time for you yet. Just because you didn’t get to experience this first as our big sister, doesn’t mean it will never happen.”

“Have to have sex for that to happen.”

Melody laughed. “Well that’s the fun way to do it, but there’s always the turkey baster.”

Miranda snorted. “There’s always that!”

Madeline Jacobs, the family matriarch, walked into the room. Her normally porcelain complexion appeared ghostly white. She tried to be strong in front of her children, but Miranda could tell she was barely holding on. Madeline caught her daughter’s eye and attempted to smile.

Miranda stood and crossed the room in four strides. She embraced her mother and struggled to hold her composure.

Madeline pulled back and brushed the hair from Miranda’s forehead. “Stop blaming yourself, girl. You couldn’t have prevented this even if you tried. You know your brother. He’s always in the thick of things. 

Did you know he wanted to be a police officer?”

While her mother’s soft Scottish brogue normally eased her anxiety, this time the words she said raised more questions. She hated being so far out of the loop where her family was concerned, but she only had herself to blame. She’d moved away. She’d made her career her focus and made less time for the people that meant the world to her. No more. I’ve missed so much. Phone calls and hit or miss weekends just aren’t enough. “When did he decide on that? The last time we spoke he still hadn’t settled on a major.”

“Not too long ago, darlin’ He’s been working close with our friend, Jake over there. He’s been a good influence on your brother and kept him out of trouble as best he could. Like you, Jake’s feeling guilty over not being able to protect him from this.”

Miranda’s stomach churned. The bitter taste of bile hit the back of her throat and she swallowed several times to force it back down. “What do you mean? I thought his accident happened at a frat party. How would Detective Martinelli been able to prevent it from happening?”

Madeline’s green eyes blazed. “Well, it seems your brother was going off to do his own investigative work on a case. The police believe someone deliberately tried to harm him because he had been snooping around. If I ever get my hands on the low-life who did this—”

“Stop, Ma. No point getting all fired up before we know for sure. We have to let the police handle it.” She’d said the words out loud for her mother’s benefit as well as her own. The urge to strike out and make someone pay for hurting her brother grew to frightening levels inside her. Calm down. No need to make things worse. You need to be strong and keep a cool head for the family.

The doors to the waiting room opened and a group of doctors approached. Miranda scanned their faces in an attempt to read their mood, but came up empty. This can’t be good.

Miranda took her mother’s hand and together they joined her father, her brother Michael and Jake. The rest of the family gathered around them. Madeline found her voice first. “Well, what did you fine gentlemen determine with all your fancy tests? Is my son going to be all right?”

Dr. Moriarity, the Jacobs’ family physician, cleared his throat. “We have found the swelling of Matt’s brain has stopped and is in fact decreasing. It’s occurring much faster than we had originally anticipated, so there’ll be no need for surgery at this time. You’d asked me to be straight forward and not sugar coat anything for you.”

“Go on, Doctor. We can take whatever you have to say.” Madeline’s grip tightened on Miranda’s hand to the point she lost feeling in her fingers.

“We have no idea how much damage the brain tissue sustained from the fall. The fracture in his skull is stable and shouldn’t contribute to any further trauma to the delicate tissue. As far as we can tell, Matt had an allergic reaction to the Ketamine itself. It triggered the seizure center of his brain and caused him to lose consciousness before he fell down the stairs. I wish we had more for you, but we won’t know the full picture of what happened until he wakes up. If he wakes up.

Miranda held her tongue long enough. “Are you saying if he doesn’t come out of the4 coma soon, there may be a chance he’ll never do it?”

Dr. Provost, the neurosurgeon, shook his head. “Not exactly. Even if he wakes up within the next hour, he may still be mentally and or physically impaired. I’m sorry, but we can offer very little hope at this point other than to wait and see. We simply can’t determine anything more at this time. We’re doing all we can. The rest is up to him.”

She refused to acknowledge the words ‘no hope.’ “Is he on a respirator?”

“No. He’s breathing well on his own. He also responds to some stimuli at this point. Quite a few of his reflexes are intact, but slow.”

Her analytical mind took over and kept her rooted to the spot when all she wanted to do was jump for joy. There is hope! “Thank you. I’m sorry to be so abrupt with you. I know you’re doing everything you can for my brother. I need to see him for myself to believe this is actually happening.”

Dr. Moriarity’s brown furrowed with concern. “I must prepare you. He’s hooked up to a lot of machines. I could come as a shock—”

Her blood boiled. “You’ve known my family for over thirty years and you know me. I won’t waste time reminding you I’m still as stubborn as I was when I was a teen. I need to be alone with him for a few moments if you don’t mind.”

He nodded and gestured for her to follow him.

Miranda moved to join him but stopped short because of a gentle touch on her arm from Jake.
“I’ll be right here if you need me.”

Her stomach jolted at his unexpected kind words. She’d forgotten he was there. She had so many questions for him about his relationship with her brother, but what really caught her by surprise was her desire to rush into his arms and forget about everything except the two of them. Good Lord! Get a grip. You just met the man.

Instead of acting on her fantasy, she put her hand over his. “Thanks. Would you mind sitting with Billy for a bit? I think he could use you a little more than me at the moment.”

“Sure, anything to help, Doc.”

She smiled. “Randi.” Although the way he says Doc, I could get used to it.

* * * *

Jake squeezed her hand once and pulled his away. “You got it, Randi.” He watched her square her shoulders and fall in step behind Dr. Moriarity. Their footsteps echoed down the hallway. Jake turned back toward the lounge and found Billy off in the corner by himself, crying.

He approached the boy and sat next to him. “Hey, your Aunt Randi asked me to talk to you while she goes in to see Matt. We know more about what happened. Do you want to hear it?”

Billy looked up. Tears streamed down his red cheeks. “You don’t think I’m too young to understand?”

“Nope.” Jake reached out. Billy turned and collapsed into his arms. He pulled him onto his lap and rocked the boy until his sobs slowed. He waved off Marah and signaled the two of them were okay. “You see, someone put a drug in Matt’s drink at a party. They did it to hurt him. I know you probably can’t understand why someone would do that, but there are some very bad people out there; people who don’t care if they hurt anybody else or not as long as they get what they want.”

Billy wiped his eyes with the handkerchief Jake handed to him. “I know there are bad people out there. I know Uncle Matt is a good person and doesn’t deserve to have things like this happen to him. Grandpa said you’re trying to find the person who did this. Are you?”

Jake hugged the boy to his chest. “You bet. I’m not going to stop until I find out who did this and make sure he goes to jail for a long, long time. Okay?”


“Now you know Matt is in a deep sleep. They call it a coma. That means he can’t wake up on his own yet because his body had to work so hard to heal itself. What the doctors just told us is they don’t know when he’s going to work up.”

“I’m scared he won’t ever wake up.”

“Me too, Billy. It’s okay to be frightened, but you have your family to help you be strong. We have to do the best we can and send happy thoughts to Matt. I believe he can hear us when we do that.”

“Even if we can’t tell him in person? They won’t let me in to see him.”

Jake nodded. “Our prayers are taken to him right away. It’s like your mind is connected to his. He can’t answer back yet, but he hears every single word. How about we say a prayer together for him?”

“Can we do a family circle?”

Marah approached. “I think that’s a great idea, honey.” She beckoned the rest of the family. All joined hands with Billy and Jake. They prayed to give Matt the strength to come back to them.

Jake added his own silent prayer to theirs. Please help me find the people responsible for this so no other family has to go through this kind of pain ever again.

* * * *
All Rights Reserves ©Stephanie Ryan 2014