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Monday, September 29, 2014

Guest Post with Author Denise Moncrief and Giveaway

Suspense, She Writes

Where the road to happily ever after takes a suspenseful detour. Fast paced twists and turns that keep you turning the pages. Romantic happily ever after moments that take your breath away. Paranormal romantic suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Want to know a little bit more about Denise? She's a Southern girl who has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking.

Accounting is a skill she has learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote her first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she had read. She's been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down.

Find Denise at:

Do you believe in ghosts? I’m not sure that I believe in hauntings, either residual or intelligent, at least as defined by popular culture. However, I do believe in a supernatural spiritual realm, that there are things that normally can’t be seen with the human eye or heard with a human ear. On rare occasions, something on the other side breaks through the barrier and we humans experience a paranormal incident. It’s creepy to think about and my gut instinct screams, “Stay far away from that.” I’m reluctant to confront what I don’t understand.

Now romance? That I understand. I’ve been writing romantic suspense for a while now. I love the ah-ha moment when the hero and heroine realize they can’t live without each other. Happily-ever-afters are a sweet fiction treat. The best romantic fiction increases the anticipation of romance until the pivotal moment when the stars align and the hero and the heroine become inseparable. If the writer can make my eyes water, or grab for the tissues, then that’s a good read.

But I found I couldn’t write romance without adding a bit of suspense beyond boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy kisses girl until she swoons... Inevitably, a villain would creep into my carefully laid out plot lines, someone that didn’t want the hero and heroine to live happily ever after. When intrigue and danger collide with the passion of romance...well, I think that’s combustible. Two plot lines merge, and when well done, the result is breath-taking, heart-pounding romantic suspense.

So what happens when the writer adds a paranormal element to a romantic suspense plot line? Instead of only two plot lines merging, a third thread has to be woven into the plot. What’s the saying? A cord of three is not easily broken. Combine one woman running from her horrifying past, one hero who might not be who he seems, and a ghost determined to make life miserable for them, and you have romantic suspense with a paranormal twist.

The temptation to add a paranormal plot line to Laurel Heights was too much to resist, and so the concept became book number one in the Haunted Hearts series. The added tension of the haunting ratcheted up the suspense until the final moment when... No I’m not going to tell you. That would be a spoiler. Okay, okay, I will tell you one little thing the ghost did that I think is so...sweet. This ghost is a trickster, and apparently, she wanted the hero and the heroine to be together. So she pushed the hero Chase into the heroine Laurel, and the moment increased not only the paranormal suspense, but the anticipation of romance.

Suspense, romance, and a paranormal element. For me it a perfect trio.

A dark cloud of deceit hovers over her family tree...

Left an estate by an aunt she’s never met, Laurel Standridge takes possession of Laurel Heights, hoping it will be the safe haven she needs to recuperate from her ill-fated relationship with Rand Peterson. Secrets long buried rise to the surface when her cousin James is murdered and dumped on the highway just outside the gates of Laurel Heights.

Her past trails her to the mountains of Arkansas...

Caught in an obligation Chase Peterson feels he cannot ignore, he agrees to help his brother Rand take back the property he believes Laurel stole from him, but Chase remains at Laurel Heights after he discovers Laurel took nothing of Rand’s away with her except nightmares, fading bruises, and a broken rib.

Unexplained disturbances shatter her hopes of a normal life...

Are the strange bumps, thumps, and bangs reverberating through the night caused by the murderer of Laurel’s cousin James, someone Rand has sent to exact his revenge, or a disturbed soul existing in another dimension, trying to communicate with the living? Drawn together by the intrigue surrounding Laurel Heights, Chase and Laurel become hopelessly entangled in a relationship that goes deeper than lust. Can their love survive the haunting of Laurel Heights?

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Since Laurel had moved into her aunt’s house, she hadn’t fallen asleep once without pharmaceutical help. The sleeping aid usually lulled her into lullaby land, but the drug seldom got her through the night without a nightmare. She was quickly running out of the prescription and would have to resort to over-the-counter antihistamines soon. The doctor she had seen in Fairview wouldn’t renew her prescription. He hadn’t wanted to prescribe it anyway. She wouldn’t be going back to him.

She lay still beneath her comforter, listening to the unusual sounds coming from the lower floor. The house made a lot of noises, especially at night. She sucked in a ragged breath when it made a few more. Thuds and bumps sounded like footfalls. Was someone in the house or was she being paranoid? Every shadow reminded her of Rand. He was in prison and would be incarcerated for a very long time, probably the rest of his life, but he could easily send one of his loyal subordinates to find her.

She wrapped her fingers around the grip of the baseball bat she kept next to her bed and hoped she wouldn’t have to use it. Confronting an intruder with a hollow piece of aluminum seemed like a lame defense. She had been considering purchasing a gun, but hadn’t done so yet. Maybe it was time. She’d have to buy one under the radar because she didn’t want anyone doing a background check on her. Acquiring a shotgun shouldn’t be too hard. It seemed everyone in Arkansas owned a firearm of some sort.

She threw off the comforter, rose from the bed, slipped across the room with the bat over her shoulder, and opened the door to peer down the hallway toward the front stairs. Nothing moved. The house was quiet. Maybe a little too quiet. Only moments before, a symphony of strange noises had disturbed the night. It was as if opening her bedroom door had turned off the sound.

She stared at the back stairs directly across from her bedroom and considered going down to the first floor to check the door locks, but nixed the idea. Locked doors wouldn’t keep someone out of the house if they really wanted to get in. Better to barricade herself in her bedroom and keep the bat close by. She slammed the door shut.

No moonlight filtered through the flimsy fabric covering the window. The moon hid behind a thick cloud cover. She tugged at the curtains, pulling them tighter to keep out the night. Before she stepped away, she caught a glimpse of something not quite right. Peeking between the curtain panels, she stared across the backyard. On the other side of the grimy window, a dim light flitted back and forth inside the detached garage.

She shivered with apprehension. The structure was derelict, unlike her garage in California. The four-car garage had been attached to Rand’s half million-dollar house. They had been living in the two-story, five-bedroom house for at least a year, but the place had never seemed like home to Laurel. Everything belonged to Rand. By the end of their disastrous relationship, he had treated her like a possession as well. Actually, maybe he had all along.

Comparing her life then to her life now brought up memories of the beating Rand had given her and his attempt to attack her again. If Foster hadn’t shown up when he did, she’d probably be dead.

She glanced at the clock beside her bed. It was nearly four in the morning, the darkest hour of the night. Who could possibly be snooping around her place in the dark? Who would be in her garage at any hour? She contemplated calling the local Sheriff’s Office, but decided against it. She didn’t want cops involved in her personal business. No. She would find out who was messing around her property without involving local law enforcement. Eventually the intruder would show himself, and she would be ready for him.

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 $5 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 Signed copy of Laurel Heights

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Denise.
  • US/CA shipping ONLY.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Denise Moncrief for sponsoring this tour-wide giveaway.
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  1. Yes, I once lived in a house with a ghost. It was so scary so I didn't live there very long.

  2. This sounds amazing, Denise. I'm not much of a "ghost" person, but I can't resist this one! Good luck.

  3. Yes, I saw an out stretched hand coming towards me, the night before I lost someone I loved deeply.

  4. I'm not sure that it counts, but I had a strange sensation during my infant son's open-heart surgery. I got spooked and so I looked down at the bible in my lap and opened to a random page in the book of Matthew (my son's middle name), and the passage "Let the children come to Me..." seemed to jump out at me. At that moment, the surgeon was standing over me, crying and just shaking her head "no". My son had passed just moments before. This probably doesn't count as a "ghost story", but I'd like to think it was his way of saying goodbye.

  5. I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight just from reading the excerpt! YIKES! (Should I say thanks for sharing??? LOL.)

  6. Can't say that I have, and can't say that I want to either.