Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Share: Smokescreen, by Carol Ericson and book giveaway!

Today I'm thrilled to share an excerpt with you from Harlequin Intrigue author Carol Ericson.  She has a wonderful Brothers in Arms series with Harlequin, and most recently, two self-published romantic suspense titles that are receiving great reviews.  Smokescreen and Dead Air.

Carol, welcome and thank you for sharing with us.**  Love that cover! 

Smokescreen, by Carol Ericson
Category:  Romantic suspense
Rating:  sensual
Buy Link:  Amazon

 LAPD Homicide Detective, Fenn MacGregor, is not looking to rescue another damsel in distress. His wife died of an accidental overdose of drugs and booze, and despite his best efforts he was powerless to save her. He’s not going to get caught in that trap again. Then he meets Deirdre Kelly, a witness to the murder of a transient...and all bets are off.

But Deirdre, a sultry rock singer with a hard edge, is no damsel in distress. She’s been fighting her own battles ever since she'd failed her parents’ expectations by choosing rock over opera. Now she’s ready to take on a killer.

As a web of murder and betrayal weaves around Deirdre, Fenn's protective instincts shift into high gear and sparks fly as their attraction grows stronger. But will a killer douse the flame before it turns into an inferno?


Clutching the mike like a lethal weapon, Deirdre strutted and shimmied through the heat of the sizzling set.  She struck a pose, legs apart, the tough girl rocker growling out her lyrics.  She twirled around her band mates, a fun party girl singing just to them.  The steamy seductress crawled across the stage, pumping her hips in a mock sex scene. 

The audience loved it all, and just for that moment, she loved them back. 

Her band, One Thin Dime, slowed the pace for the last song.  Beneath the glare of the hot lights, Deirdre swiped at the tendrils of hair clinging to her damp forehead as sweat trickled down her bare midriff.  Her voice echoed soft and low to the final strains of the music.  The stage darkened completely.  The crowd roared its approval. 

Ah, she loved that sound. 

She vaulted from the stage and made for the ladies’ room.

Benny, the bartender, thrust his thumb in the air.  “Hot water, Deirdre?” 

His shaved head, multiple earrings, and tattoos couldn’t hide Benny’s sweet nature.  As soon as he’d learned she preferred hot tea with honey during her breaks, he’d stashed a supply of honey behind the bar.  One less thing to bring to a gig at The Underbelly.

She waved her hand in assent and forged a path to the restroom, wading through the accolades. 

Women in various combinations of leather, lace, silver studs, and tattoos to rival Benny’s, crowded the vanity.  The air reeked of desperation–the mingled scents of hair spray and too much perfume.

A statuesque blonde in a short leather skirt caught Deirdre’s eye in the mirror.  “Wow, you can really sing, girl.”

Deirdre soaked up the praise.  Too bad her family couldn’t hear the compliments.  Some people appreciated rock just as much as others did opera.  She made a face at her reflection and stuck out her tongue.  Why did she care?

She yanked a paper towel from the dispenser.  After drenching it with cool water, she lifted her hair and blotted the back of her neck.  The warmth of the little bathroom suffocated her–almost as hot as the stage. 

Deirdre shoved open the door, and the tall blonde held up a pack of cigarettes.  “Smoke?”

Deirdre’s eyes lingered on the white package with the gleaming gold stripe.  The plastic caught the light over the mirror and winked at her.  She drew a long breath into her lungs, and then released it through clenched teeth.  Shrugging, she stuck the cigarette between her lips allowing the blonde to light it for her. 

Just one. 

Smiling her thanks, Deirdre swept out of the bathroom. 

Her band mates slouched at the bar.  Gus, Reggie, and Twink had placed bets on how soon she’d be back on the demon tobacco.  In no mood to make anyone richer, she slipped into the alley behind The Underbelly.  Before she let the door slam shut, she unlocked it and then settled her shoulders against the cool metal, inhaling the night air before inhaling her secret cigarette.

One Thin Dime cranked out a great set, but she always crashed after the high.  The life of a would-be rock star exacted a heavy toll.  These late nights dragged her down and limited her relationships to other rag-tag night owls.  Even the smells of the bars and clubs—smoke, booze, and puke—sickened her.

She eyed the glowing end of her cigarette and grinned.  She’d let most of it burn down.  Hmmm, maybe three drags didn’t count as cheating.  She flicked it to the ground and flattened it with the pointed toe of her stiletto.

Her head jerked up at the sound of footsteps.  A big blue Dumpster to her left blocked her view of the alley and the approaching intruders.  They halted on the other side. 

A man’s voice rose above the dull hum of traffic from the street out front.  “I told you not to show your face until we needed you again.  Are you stupid?  We’re not going to blow this deal because of some drugged out, lowlife bum.”

“I-I didn’t mean to do it b-boss, and I don’t d-do drugs.”

The hard voice continued to rain down like pebbles.  “My mistake.  You’re just a common drunk.  We should’ve never gotten involved with you.  You’re trouble.”

“I’m no trouble, boss, I swear.”

Deirdre gripped her hands together, her muscles rigid.  She bit down on an instinct to come to the drunk’s rescue.  Not her business.  She turned to go back inside the club, leaving them to their disagreement.

The cold voice stopped her.  “Not anymore.”

A grunt. 

A gasp. 

A gurgle. 

She froze. 

A sucking sound and then a thump choked the night air.  She clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle the scream gathering in her lungs.  Footsteps drew closer. 
She spun toward the metal door and grasped the handle, giving it a soft shove with her hip.  The footsteps slowed down behind her.  Don’t look.  Don’t turn around.


Get your copy at Amazon--you know you want to find out if she turns around!

BIO:  Best selling series romance author Carol Ericson suffers from a lack of privacy.  She always has a few characters floating in her head as well as snippets of dialogue and several “what if” scenarios.  She periodically purges all these voices and images by writing stories of romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and recently for self publication.  When she’s not writing, Carol is busy reading other fabulous stories or running to her teenage sons’ soccer matches, water polo games and basketball games.  Carol and her family live in Southern California near the beach, where Carol is now officially the shortest person in her household.

**Carol is sharing more than an excerpt today.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a download one of her books!  Carol will stop by and the winner will be announced on Monday in comments.

You can find about all of Carol Ericson's other titles at her website.  I especially recommend the Brothers in Arms Series, Navy SEAL Security and Mountain Ranger Recon.

Thank you for reading!

Stacey Joy Netzel


  1. Ooh, sounds awesome, Carol!! But then everything I've read of yours is a keeper! :-)

  2. Carol, love all your books. Can't wait to try your self-published ones. Good luck in this new adventure.

  3. Great excerpt, Carol. And as for being the shortest in your're not alone!

  4. Sounds great! I love your bio, too!

  5. Carol -

    My TBR pile is insane, but I definitely want to add one of your books to it! I'll check out both of them on Amazon this week!

    Kelsey Browning

  6. Everything you write is great Carol. I haven't read a bad book from you. Can't wait to read this one.

  7. Thanks for checking out the excerpt, ladies! I've been at a pool all day in Huntington Beach watching my son's water polo tournament - 8 games! Whew. (See, I wasn't lying in my bio!)

  8. Sounds terrific. Congrats! Can't wait to read these two.

  9. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! Carol will post the winner and be in touch.

    Have a wonderful week!

  10. Thanks for checking out the excerpt, everyone!

    The winner is...valclarizio

    Please send me an email with your book preference (e-book or Intrigue)at

  11. Super, thanks Carol! I'll send an email.