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I finished a book last week and sent it to my editor. I always feel a little bit like a dog that's been straining against a chain and suddenly finds the chain has broken and she's free to run. I don't know where to run or what to do, so I zigzag a bit. I clean my office, make notes for other stories, open up old manuscripts and wonder if they can be saved. I go to the grocery store, do some laundry, and meet friends for lunch. I lollygag a bit, but I always have it in the back of my head that I have more work to do. The work is never, ever done when you write for a living.

One of the things I love to do, however, is read. I always buy way too many books with the hope that I'll read them all on my short break. I never do, but the nice thing about books is they don't expire. Happy sigh. Lately, I've been thinking back to the wonderful days I spent at the beach reading books. When I lived in Hawaii, every day was a beach day if you wanted it to be. Mr. Harris and I would load up the Jeep with chairs, towels, cooler, umbrella, sunscreen, and books. For me, lots of books.

I once spent about a week reading T. H. Lawrence's The Seven Pillars of Wisdom at the beach. There's still sand in the book when I open it now. I love that. Of course I didn't always read giant tomes like Lawrence. I also read plenty of romances and other literature. One of my best memories of Hawaii is all that beach reading. I sat in the shade whenever possible and read book after book. It was glorious, with the sparkling ocean, the green Ko'olau Mountains in the background, the sound of the surf, the white clouds scudding overhead, and the company of friends who also sat and read.

In fact, little aside, but the beach in Hawaii is where I reconnected with the Presents line after not having read it for a few years. I'd just met Jane Porter and thought she was so smart and articulate that I had to read her books. I bought her latest Harlequin and dived in. And then I went and bought more. Presents are great beach reads!

This summer, I have my own beach read for you. Captive But Forbidden is a July release from Harlequin Presents. It's full of all the passion and emotion you've come to expect from the line, but there's also a bit of a twist. The heroine is the newly-elected president of her tiny nation. When there are threats against Veronica St. Germaine's life, she needs a better bodyguard than the official ones she has already. That's where Raj Vala comes in. He's tall, dark, handsome, rich, and just as arrogant and powerful as you want a Presents hero to be. And he's not about to take any crap from Veronica.

The sparks are sparky. The sex is hot. Stuff happens.

I loved writing this book, with my half-Indian ex-Special Forces hero and a heroine who used to be a very, very bad girl. I keep hearing from readers that it's different, that it's not what they were expecting. I like that! I call this book my special snowflake book, and it is. I hope you'll give it a try! Read it on the beach. Or by the pool. Or even in the comfort of your home. If you've already read and enjoyed the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or both!).

And now, to help at least one of you have a nice beachy time, I'll give away one copy of Captive But Forbidden today, along with a beach towel, a tote, a pair of flip flops, some goodies from me, and a $5 Starbucks card (so you can get an icy latte on the way to the beach/pool!). Leave a comment to be entered to win. I'll announce a winner on Friday. πŸ™‚