Hi, I’m Incy Black. I met up with Annie when she visited London, and she is every inch one of the strong women celebrated below. Being in Annie’s company is like taking tea with the Queen (we did that at the Mayfair Hotel). She’s regal. She’s also knowledgeable, supportive, hilarious…and majorly Aussie hospitable. She extended an invite to visit her in Oz anytime I wanted, graciously promising she’d open her home to me... Lovely lady. It was an absolute bloody privilege to meet her.
Ode to a Strong Woman
Major Jack Ballentyne, mega alpha-hero in Hard to Forget (just released), tends to grab most attention, because when he’s being a dick, his behavior seemingly knows no bounds. However sexy, he’s still a man without conscience. A man in denial. And it was always going to take one hell of a woman to bring about this British Intelligence Agent‘s redemption. Enter disgraced Lowry Fisk—the woman Jack shot, then had court marshaled.
Fragile on the surface, Lowry’s backbone is made of steel; her inner strength sets her apart. Buried within her are the qualities all women share, to whatever degree, though they may not realize it.
· She’s a survivor. Life cuts, she recovers.
· She knows when to advance, and when to retreat. When to battle, and when to negotiate—most of the time. (She’s not perfect).
· She tempers compassion with humor, and practical action.
· She has an instinctive map to getting her own way. (Detours allowed)
· Forgiveness can be earned, but she never forgets.
· Her inner war cry is, ‘No Surrender’.
Lowry wasn’t easy to write, at times it felt impossible. But then I looked to women in the media, women sharing on line, and above all, to my friends (yes, you included, Annie), each was ‘making a difference’, quietly, in their own inimitable way. And, in each one of them, I saw strength. So, high-five to being female!
Extract from Hard to Forget
The absurdity of the situation struck, she started laughing. “Do you have to intimidate everyone, Ballentyne?”
“If it gets the job done.”
Her laughter stopped at the word ‘job.’ “And to hell with the consequences?”
She flexed and wriggled against him. He released her. She stepped away to give them both some distance before turning to face him, appalled by the sob stuck in her throat. She wouldn’t cry. She never cried. She might never stop. “You should have asked your stupid questions and listened to my answers four years ago, Jack, because that was your job,” she said quietly.
His hands cupped the curves of her shoulders. “I’m asking, and listening, now.”
“I think you might have left it too bloody late. Patient Peter’s invincible, and he knows it. You and—”
The kiss he brushed across her lips was as unexpected as it was shockingly inappropriate for its timing. But not as shocking as his second pass, his mouth now more certain. Firm and more insistent. Transforming from casual to demanding as if her surrender was not just inevitable, but worth the risk and what the hell.
And nowhere near as shocking and inexplicable as her response. Feral and urgent. Like a wild animal caged for too long and suddenly released.
It was she who closed the distance. She who raised her arms to clasp him closer. She who hung on tight. She who opened to allow him a deeper taste. And she who all but climbed his body in need.
He was the one who pulled back. Unwinding her legs from around his waist, he set her firmly aside.
“I kissed you to shut you up about Patient Peter, Lowry, not to start anything,” he said softly. “Think twice before you beckon me down that road, because I won’t apologize later for taking what’s freely offered.” A calm warning. A slap in the face.
She returned the favor.
Her palm made contact with the flat of his cheek with enough force to knock his face from front to profile.
A spurt of bullets riddled an uneven line in the plaster above her head.
Free, Full Chapter 1 available here: Entangled Publishing
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