I’m running about a week late with the release of Heart Sync. The book is finished but its these last minute pesky edits that are taking time. And, October has not been without its obstacles.  I think I really should start doubling my writing estimates, or quadrupling them at least …you know, to account for stuff like LIFE, and things that happen that I have no control over :-)

Anyway, please forgive me.  As a way of saying sorry for not having the book ready for you in October, here is an excerpt from Heart Sync. I hope you enjoy it:

Chapter 1
Michael Zimmerman hung up the phone and shook his head. He hadn’t liked any part of the scene he had witnessed this morning in Nadine Stefano’s office. He rubbed his index finger along his chin, and tapped the table with the fingers of his other hand. If there was one good outcome from this whole shoddy episode, it was that Sandra Donnelly had accepted his offer of taking time off with immediate effect.

The woman was a good example of the fine line between madness and genius. Most of the time she was a miniature hive of volcanic activity, simmering over with scorching disdain for people, processes and systems. Yet on the other hand, when he had been really stuck, or the business had needed a new pipeline of energy and ideas, she had been the person to produce.

But he realised that working with someone so unbalanced was not conducive to a successful and harmonious working environment. The showdown with Nadine Stefano had been proof enough.

He could see why someone like Nadine could push Sandra to the very limits of her tolerance. By going over Sandra’s head and selecting Tanya’s replacement himself, he felt he hadn’t helped the situation much either.

But getting rid of Sandra completely was not going to be a simple task. So for the time being, having her out of the office was the next best thing, until he decided what to do with her and where best to place her.

At a time in his life when he might have toyed with the idea of taking more of a backseat in his own company and grooming someone else to replace him, Michael Zimmerman had other ideas. In fact he had lofty ideas. None more so than expanding his bases and Paris and Rome. In time, he would set up a unit in London. But for the coming year, his focus would be on increasing the advertising capabilities of the existing two European offices.
It was time for a major overhaul of his company. The Zimmerman Group was thriving in a recessionary climate. He knew he could take it to greater heights. Where his competitors were being cautious, Michael knew he would do the opposite: he would take more risks, calculated risks no doubt, but he wouldn’t sit in his comfort zone enjoying the success. He could do more and he would.

However, before he could devote time on his medium to long-term strategy, which he needed the board’s backing on, he had immediate problems to resolve. First of all he had to find out what Sandra’s current projects were. Nadine would be back tomorrow. He felt reassured. She was someone whom he could rely on all the time, without fail. She was an asset to his organization and it was a blessing that she had turned up when she had.
He picked up his phone. “Melissa, please get me a list of all the projects that Sandra Donnelly is currently working on and all appointments involving her for the next six weeks please.”

“Sandra Donnelly? Yes Mr. Zimmerman. Right away.” Melissa hung up and stared blankly at her computer screen, her thoughts momentarily replaying the upsetting scene she had witnessed earlier on. Michael had already informed her that Sandra wouldn’t be returning to the office for a while and that Nadine would be back tomorrow. She had breathed a little easier on hearing those words.
At least Nadine would be back.
“Problems?” Matt from IT cruised up towards her, and rested against the edge of her desk.
“It’s been quite a day,” said Melissa, looking at him with tired eyes.
“Buy you a drink after work?” he asked in a lowered tone. Her gaze swept from his face down to his tight, well formed arms as he leaned towards her.
She nodded, suddenly cheerful. “I’d like that.”
“I’ll call you later.” He slid off the desk and winked at her before walking away.

Back at the workshop, Nadine slowly slid out of Ethan’s arms and looked around her, at the secret world that Ethan inhabited, completely unknown to her until now. She walked around in awe.
“This…is…yours?” She asked in wonderment. It was hard to believe that the man who had stripped off so readily like a pro in front of her at the bachelorette party, and the  man who had so completely claimed her heart at the Stormont, was also capable of creating such beautiful pieces of art from something as cold, hard and ugly as metal. Ethan nodded his head slowly. Nadine wandered around, running her hands over the tools that lay scattered everywhere. She stopped every now and then to examine the small panels he had prepared and placed on the tables, and then she would turn to look at Ethan, who continued watching her with amusement.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” She raised her eyebrows at him, accusingly.
“I tried to, but you didn’t believe me.”
She lowered her eyes, “I’m sorry. I was a fool not to.”
“Ask me any questions you want, Nadine. I don’t think we should have any more secrets between us.” He rested his hands on the table behind him, and her gaze flickered across his broad and powerful shoulders. She longed to rest her head against his chest and to let him hold her tight, as she knew he would. But they needed to talk, for now. There were still many unanswered questions.
She walked back towards the half-finished sculpture and ran her fingers gently along the dragonfly’s wings. “How did you do this?” she gasped, feeling the texture of the patterned wings against her skin.
“Tools, a lot of time, and patience.”
She glanced back at him. “Ethan, it’s beautiful. So beautiful. I never knew you were so talented. Will you sell this when it’s finished?” He walked over to her, and stood behind her as she examined the rest of the sculpture in fascination.
“Yeah, I’m making a duplicate of the model I sold before. The gallery owner, Douglas, really liked it and wants one to display here.”
“It’s a dragonfly, and an…airplane?” She felt his arms wrap around her arms and his hands locked together against her stomach. The fire in her belly electrified.
“The first one was supposed to be a light aircraft but it got badly injured. I had to salvage it, so I made it part dragonfly, part aircraft. The dragonfly was born out of the damaged side, you could say.”
Nadine’s eyes remained fixed on the model as she tried to come to terms with the idea that the man she believed to be only a male escort come stripper, was really a talented and creative artist instead. “You have a gift.” She murmured as she nestled against him. Her eyes were riveted to the sculpture but she was enjoying the feel of his whole body against her back.
“Thank you,” he whispered into her ear. The mere hint of his aftershave sent her senses into overdrive. She arched her back as his fingers gently moved her thick hair away from her shoulder. Her skin tingled for the touch of his lips.
“He says he’ll see you tomorrow?” asked Ethan, as his lips grazed the side of her neck.
“Ummmm hmmmm,” Nadine let out a moan as Ethan left a trail of kisses along her neck. She turned herself around, so that they stood face to face and she slipped her arms around his neck,  pulling him closer towards her.
It felt like coming home, to be with him again.
“And you don’t have to go back to work this afternoon?” he mumbled, his lips soft and wet against her mouth. Nadine moaned softly again, biting her lip. “No,” she whispered, hungry for his touch and loving every single bit of attention he was giving her.

Ethan lifted his head away and stared directly into Nadine’s eyes. “So we have the afternoon free?” There was hope in his voice.
Lost in his embrace, she had closed her eyes and was drifting off into her own slice of heaven. But his voice, so low, so sexy, spoke directly to her and she knew what he wanted. She wanted the same. Her eyes flew open and she stared back into his, losing all semblance of control as she saw the flagrant desire in his. “We have the afternoon free,” she whispered, her lips parted, waiting for his.
Ethan dropped his head down and kissed her on the lips hard, the full force of his mouth clamping down on hers and possessing it fully. Memories of their recent too-short encounter at the hotel were still fresh in her mind.  Her senses pulsed in anticipation as he moved his hands gently along her shoulders; he cupped her face with one hand and slid the other slowly down her side before resting it gently on her waist, waiting for her to take the lead.

She felt the blood rushing through her body and a slow, sensual ache set out deep in her stomach, sending out waves of heat all over her body. She moved closer still and fell deeper into his kiss. Wanting more, she slipped one hand under his t-shirt and touched his chest, letting her hand roam around his hot skin and feeling his hard muscles tense beneath the soft caress of her fingers. His breathing quickened as her fingers grazed up and down his naked skin, finally feeling what she had missed these past days.
Ethan stared down at her, his eyes dark with lust, before kissing her long and hard with unbridled passion. All at once she felt him hard against her stomach and she let out a low, gentle moan, enjoying the feel of him so close to her. “Here, Ethan. Now,” she begged.
He stopped kissing her and then tilted her head upwards with the index finger of his hand.
“Now?” His lips turned up at the corners in amusement.
“Yes,” she pleaded.

He smiled, running his thumb over her kissed-to-death lips. He was teasing her and she was beyond that point. She moved her head towards him and he kissed her again, his tongue dancing with hers for the longest time as his hand moved down the fabric of her skirt and cupped her bottom, giving it a gentle squeeze. She moved her thigh eagerly in response, willing him to take her now.
“Not here, Nadine. Not now.” He pulled away and she saw that his eyes were dark with desire.
“Ethan!” she wailed, her desperation for him driving her insane with desire as she tugged at his t-shirt, trying to lift it up and over his chest. But he was too broad and the t-shirt was too tight to come off easily.
He grabbed both of her hands gently in his. “For one, these metal shavings hurt if they end up in the wrong places.” He watched her face, looking deep into her eyes, “and secondly we don’t have any protection.” Her body was on fire and here he was, the voice of reason.
She wriggled her hands free and grabbed his wrist. “Let’s go back to my place. You can get what you need along the way.”
She noted that he didn’t even wait for her to finish her sentence.