Welcome to our third week of celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we'll talk about the nine books in the Sanctuary series, plus a personal story RJ has chosen to share. Also, all the way at the bottom, there'll be another chance to win.
First up, Guarding Morgan
Morgan Drake is the only witness to a murder in an alleyway. Nik Valentinov works for Sanctuary, a foundation offering witness protection to anyone whose safety is compromised. Morgan discovers a bodyguard's arms can offer more than protection.
Morgan Drake witnesses a murder in an alleyway. He is the only person who can give evidence in prosecuting the cop responsible for the crime. When the FBI safe house where he's being held is compromised, he follows the instructions of the agent in charge and runs.
Nik Valentinov works for Sanctuary, a foundation that offers witness protection when FBI security is questionable.
When Morgan's handler sends him to Nik for safety, neither Morgan nor Nik could imagine that two weeks alone in a cabin in the woods would have their hearts racing with something much more than merely trying to keep Morgan alive.
"Twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie, twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie…" The words were on repeat in Morgan Drake's head, a litany, over and over, in case he forgot. His FBI shadow had drummed the words into him until he could repeat them in his sleep.
"Just in case, Morgan, okay? If there's any problem, you take these keys and the car I showed you in the next door basement parking, and you take Highway Twenty West onto the 166, head for Altamont, Western Street, find a bookshop called Black Cat Books. Someone will locate you there, and he'll have a password, okay? Lemon Pie. He's a guy I trust with my life, and his name is Nik. I'm writing his cell number on this paper. You need to memorize it in case I can't contact him. Can you repeat… twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie. After me…"
He lost the rhythm of the words as a dark sedan overtook him and then peeled away at high speed. Dread gripped him again and he fought hard not to hyperventilate. Taylor had told him this car would be safe in every sense of the word. Fueled, in good condition, and with plates linking to an elementary teacher in Queens. The convoluted route to the garage where the car was housed meant he would probably have not been followed. Probably. He couldn't stop the car. "Don't stop driving Morgan. Don't you stop for anything or anyone once you get on the road. Not FBI, not cops, no one." Taylor always finished his sentences with the simple question: "Do you understand?" No, Morgan didn't understand.
From the minute he had made the decision to be the designated driver for an after work party, everything had gone to hell. An hour of complete terror, in which his world was ripped apart, ended with him in an FBI safe house guarded by a gruff agent who played a mean hand of poker. Obsessive and compulsive about Morgan's safety, Taylor Mitchell, FBI, ruled the house with an iron fist, not letting Morgan slip into the role of victim for an instant. They talked about what could go wrong. Taylor gave Morgan worst case scenarios that literally blew his mind—shooting, mayhem, and possible death. Morgan wasn't sure his protector was supposed to do that. But he liked the guy and if a choice presented itself between Taylor and the other agent who split the shifts? He would take the warnings every time. Especially given the other guy had bad breath and a corny line in come-ons.
Taylor and Morgan had only been talking before bed. Morgan had been looking for the reassurances he remained safe, and Taylor had been only able to say he would do everything in his power to keep Morgan safe. Should anything happen, or go wrong, he knew of another man, another agency quite separate from the FBI, to help Morgan. A private agency called Sanctuary. Only brought in at the worst of times, it was there as an option if needed. A friend of his now worked for Sanctuary, an agency providing protection for people in need. Actually more than a friend. His ex-FBI partner. Morgan waved the information away, naively so it turned out later.
"How can anything go wrong? I'm with the FBI, the trial is in two weeks, and then everything will be normal again."
"Even the FBI can be compromised, Morgan. Don't you watch TV?" Taylor had a serious expression on his face. Now, with Taylor lying shot, and possibly dead, on the floor of the house, all Morgan could concentrate on was the list of directions he needed to remember, the promise of some mystical safety within his reach.
He waited for the sedan to make a U-turn and come at him with some bad guy hanging out of the window with a gun, but instead the indicators flashed and the car left the highway. Morgan's breathing stayed erratic and panicked sounding, despite how much he tried to settle it, fueled by the pain in his chest, his left arm, and his throbbing head. He didn't want to chance the radio. Music might help him find some composure, but shit, what if it meant he didn't remember the words in the right order? He'd probably end up in Canada or something, the bad guys chasing him down and taking him out of the equation in some blood and gore shootout.
Yes, Morgan watched the TV procedural cop shows with clever detectives or FBI suits who flouted the law and kept the little man on the street safe. He also saw the first witnesses in these shows were inevitably shot between the eyes, the last link in evidence on a high profile murder case. He'd also seen that sometimes the FBI agent was corrupt and a cop could end up on the wrong side of the law. He liked those shows. He simply didn't want to be in one of those shows.
"Twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie, twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie."
He struggled to keep from losing his shit and forced himself to unbend each finger of one hand away from the steering wheel. After he opened his window, the rush of cold early morning air cleared his eyes, and he breathed deeply, trying to gain control of his nerves. He checked the mirror. There was no one behind him; the road remained deserted, and he had a purpose.
Twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie…
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Also available, Books 2 through 6:
It is the day after New Years and Dale is en route back to Albany in a private jet with Emily Bullen. She is coming back home after turning states evidence on her husband Senator Thomas Bullen.
What no one factored in, not Sanctuary or the FBI, was the lengths Griffin Ryland would go to in the effort to protect himself.
Joseph finds out Dale is in trouble and it is only with the help of his team of SEALs that he can make sure Dale is safe and that Griffin Ryland can't cause any more trouble.
A snowy New Years, a deserted airport and a hostage situation with people already dead and suddenly the worlds of Sanctuary and the SEALs collide, with terrifying consequences.
Then, two weeks alone at a resort, falling deeper in love leave the two men with decisions to make and suddenly there is the chance to make forever a possibility.
Stephanie came back into the cabin and slid into her seat. She looked pale. Sick.
“You need to go and look,” she said carefully.
Edward frowned. “Why? What did they do? Jeez, how bad can it be?” She didn’t answer but there was something in her expression that had Dale following Edward to the uncovered wires over the right wing. Edward crouched down and peered into the hole.
“Fuck,” he cursed. Settling himself on his stomach, he shuffled forward to put his entire head down the hole. There was muttered cursing and then he slid back and up into a crouch. Gone was the laconic pilot and in his place was the ex-fighter pilot that had flown tours in Desert Storm. His expression was utterly focused and carved from stone.
“We need to call this in,” he said.
“What is it?” Dale asked immediately. Edward gestured for him to lie down as he had.
“Look at the rear of the panel with the K and 6 on it. Follow the wire back to the rear. You see the blinking?”
Dale looked closely. He wasn’t an expert in planes but he knew enough to see the wires and tubes for the hydraulics. Then he saw the blinking red light. He edged a little farther and the better view had him inhaling sharply. A timer. So small you could miss it. Wrapped to enough explosive that the jet wouldn’t stand a chance against the hole blown in its side. Letting out a curse, he pulled his cell from his pocket, which was awkward in this position, and snapped off a few shots of what he could see. The flash was bright and he hoped to hell the light was enough to help show decent photos so Jake could get a handle on this. Then he sat back upright.
“What do you know about explosives?” Dale asked Edward.
His expression remained impassive as he shook his head. “Nothing,” he said.
“Enough to get us all killed,” Stephanie said from the cockpit. Dale connected to comms and uploaded the photos and watched as they were sent slowly.
“Dale?” Jake answered immediately.
“A bomb, Jake. We have a bomb on the plane.”
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Books 8 and 9:
|Coming Feb 2017|
RJ's Personal Story (tissue-warning):
My dad died when I was eighteen, just shy of being nineteen. He went to bed on the Friday, and we’d lost him by the Saturday from a heart attack. He was only 47, younger than I am now. I’m not sure what is harder, losing someone young overnight so quickly you don’t have time to process, or losing someone young over many years to something like cancer (which is what happened to my husband’s father). I don’t think either way is easier. I just know that my life changed that day.
I had plans that summer and decisions to make, a place at University versus finding a job. My dad always said, *get a job in a bank, these are safe jobs*. He was right. In 1986 a job in a bank was still a job for life, and I wasn’t stupid, I had my exams and was fairly clever. He helped me write letters to various banks, I still have the original in his handwriting in the loft (attic). As an aside, our handwriting is very similar.
I had interviews offered to me from those jobs, one from the Bank of Scotland HO in London, and one from Lloyds Bank in my local town.
The interview for the Lloyds job was the Monday after my Dad died, literally two days later. I sat in the interview in my best skirt and blouse, and I answered every single one of their questions. I didn’t cry, I didn’t falter, and looking back I know I was in shock. They did all the right things, nodded their heads in the right places, I had all the perfect exams, I can talk for England. And then they asked me if I would be okay working on odd days in remote locations. In England we have a lot of small villages that have satellite branches of the big banks (or at least, we did in 1986 – not so much anymore!). These were tiny buildings, maybe with two cashiers, and catered to local farmers, business, pubs, that kind of thing. I said I was fine with that. And then they asked me if I could drive. Weirdly, I had my test a couple of weeks after the interview, but I knew I could pass if I sat the test enough times, I said yes.
Then they asked me, do you have a car.
I didn’t have a car. Our family had one car, a T reg Cavalier 1600L, my dad’s car. My mum didn’t drive, my sister is five years younger than me.
When I passed my test, I would be the driver in our family.
I had a car.
My dad’s car.
So I told them. Yes, I have a car now.
Is it new, they asked me with interest. Because, I guess I must have implied that by using the *now* part.
It was my dad’s car, I said, and then it hit me, right in the middle of an interview with two guys I didn’t know who held my future in their hands. My dad had just died. He was gone. I had his car. Which meant he had gone. Just. Gone.
Then that is when the tears started. And the inability to talk, and the need to run and get my mum, because you still need your mum at 18. They asked me what was wrong, and all I could say was that my dad died. They were sympathetic. When, they asked me.
Two days ago. Early Saturday morning.
I don’t remember anything after that. I do remember sitting on a bench in Market Square crying. I remember receiving the letter from Lloyds offering me a position as a trainee Manager because I showed moral courage.
Courage? I don’t think so. Shock, despair, grief, all these things and more, but not courage.
I draw on how I felt, on how I still feel, when I create my characters. People can be courageous, and still have a sea of emotions that they keep in check. Emotions that they hold back and push down, and then they carry on.Seems like all we can do sometimes, in this world, is to carry on and act courageous even though our hearts might be breaking under the skin.
More about RJ Scott:
RJ Scott is the bestselling gay romance author of over ninety MM romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.
RJ also writes MF romance under the name Rozenn Scott.
The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.
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Thanks for celebrating with us. Come back next week for our Grand Finale celebrations, with more of RJ's books, our Q&A, and one more chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!