Buy a book and help a cat or dog!

SECOND TO NONE, the kick-off novella for my Second Glances series, is available now! My new book features a hot billionaire, a single mom, and rescue dogs.

Between now and September 26th (including all pre-orders!), I will donate 50 cents for every copy sold of SECOND TO NONE to Frankie’s Friends, which provides low-cost medical care for cats and dogs. This is the organization my daughter, the veterinary student, volunteers for in Pittsburgh, so I know firsthand how amazing the work they do is. Frankie’s Friends also brought me my beloved and deeply-mourned cat, Pie. I miss my little gray fur-girl so much!

So this donation is in honor of both my vet student daughter and my sweet kitty.

If you’d like to find out more about Frankie’s Friends–or make a donation of your own–click here.

Why do I do it?

Note: I wrote this a month ago when my cat, Pie, died, but I didn’t have the heart to post it. Yesterday, I let my Yorkshire terrier, Rocky, go. Somehow I feel like it’s time to explain why I regret nothing, even though I’ve experienced the pain of losing two much loved pets in a month. Although this post is about Pie, it speaks to my feelings for Rocky as well.

Pie and Rocky

 “Why do you do it?”

A friend asked me that when my little gray cat, Pie, passed away, and I was visibly heartbroken. My friend couldn’t understand why I would choose to adopt an animal whom I knew would die and leave me grieving. “Why would you willingly open yourself up to that kind of pain?” he wanted to know.

Yes, I knew Pie was elderly and had lots of health issues. But she gave me so much in the two and a half years I was lucky enough to have her company. She sat in my lap every chance she got and purred. In fact, she purred almost any time I touched her. Her fur was a satiny gray, her eyes a gorgeous green-gold with black and white eyeliner. She had dainty little white paws.

 

And Pie had attitude. During her first two days in my house, she put my 90-pound golden retriever and my very feisty Yorkshire terrier firmly in their places. She was the queen; they were her serfs. When my daughter’s cat dared to come visit, Pie went into velociraptor mode, banishing the invader to the third floor. Yet she never once bared tooth or claw to a human.

Pie and one of her serfs, coexisting peacefully

Pie was a survivor. She had escaped being euthanized at one shelter by engaging the affections of a volunteer there, who shifted her to another shelter, in the hope she might be adopted. That was where my daughter met her. Pie persuaded my daughter to foster her by just being Pie: purring, affectionate, and determined to charm a human into keeping her. So the little gray cat came to my house for Christmas…and stayed, even though I didn’t want a cat. Turned out she was the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received.

Because of her journey through multiple shelters, we knew nothing of Pie’s history. But it was clear she needed medical attention. Through the efforts of my wonderful vet, we found a combination of medications that kept her stable and comfortable. Then the cancer struck. But Pie was a fighter. She went through several operations and came out purring. Until finally, a second kind of cancer reared its ugly head. Then all I could do was make whatever time she had left the best possible.

So I treasured every day of her company and loved her even more for her indomitable spirit. Until she let me know that it was time, and I made the heartbreaking decision to put her to sleep. She died peacefully in my arms. And now I have a gaping hole in my heart.

So, why do I do it?

It’s because I choose to love. And love always, always contains the seeds of loss. Because we are all mortal and our death will inevitably cause someone pain. But life cannot be lived fully without allowing others into your heart. The fact that I choose to embrace not just humans but other creatures makes my life so much richer, even as it guarantees that I will experience more grief and loss.

Yes, today I am grieving, but I think of all the days I had the delight of Pie’s sweet presence in my life. All the days her purring lightened my heart. All the days she soothed my soul by curling her independent little self up on my lap of her own free will. All the days she chose to be with me. She gave me far more than I gave her.

Pie on my lap, her favorite place

For me there is no question of why, but only when I will joyfully adopt an animal again.

R.I.P. Pie and Rocky. You are no longer by my side but forever in my heart.

 

Pie is a real cat

Many readers have fallen in love with Pie, the little gray cat in my latest release The VIP Doubles Down. What folks don’t always know is that Pie is my cat in real life. I thought I would share the story of how she came to live with me (originally posted on the wonderful Happy-Ever-After blog at USAToday).

The cat who came for Christmas…and stayed.

I have two dogs. I didn’t need a cat.

However, Darling Daughter worked at a homeless cat shelter in Pittsburgh where she found Pie, the little gray cat whom no one would adopt because she had multiple health issues and didn’t get along with other cats.

Pie was no dummy. She curried Darling Daughter’s favor by greeting her with loud, enthusiastic meows, purring every time she was touched, and showing a decided preference for D.D.’s company. Pretty soon Pie had moved into to D.D.’s apartment as a foster until someone was found to give her a permanent home.

When Darling Daughter came home for Christmas, of necessity, Pie came with her…only for the holidays. When D.D. returned to Pittsburgh after the holidays, Pie somehow remained behind. And thus their goal was achieved: Pie found a forever home.

We were concerned that Pie wouldn’t get along with our golden retriever and Yorkshire terrier but she quickly showed them who was boss by hissing and swatting at them with claws bared. They now treat her with great respect, and all is peaceful.

To my surprise, Pie decided she is a writer’s cat. I acquired a soft, furry companion in my writing office which the dogs almost never visit because it requires climbing two flights of stairs and they’re lazy creatures. It’s amazing how much warmer and cozier my third-floor space feels when Pie is curled up in her Amazon box under the chair.

Or in the cubby where I keep my tote bags.

Or right under the wheeled table beside my desk chair (her favorite place).

The last position has caused some trauma in the past when I forgot she was there and rolled either the table or my desk chair too near her tail. However, she has trained me well; I no longer move in any direction without checking to see if she’s lounging nearby.

Now when I’m tearing my hair out over a plot hole or a marketing glitch, I take a break to stroke the soft, satiny coat of my little gray cat. I’m rewarded with a rumbling purr and a blink of contented eyes. And suddenly my stress level plummets, and all those silly problems melt away.

Pie is the perfect illustration of a profound truth: Sometimes we don’t know what’s missing from our lives until the universe sends it our way. Turns out I did need a cat.

Sad news. It is with great sorrow that I report that Pie lost her battle with cancer on June 5, 2017. She died peacefully in my arms. I am heartbroken but, at the same time, feel so fortunate that I had this sweet little gray cat in my life. 

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

 

 

The VIP Doubles Down is available now!

The last of my lonely billionaires gets his happily-ever-after in THE VIP DOUBLES DOWN. This is a book of my heart since Gavin Miller is a writer whose muse has deserted him. Find out how he discovers a new muse in Allie Nichols, a sassy physical therapist from West Virginia (my home state). There’s lots of banter and the sparks fly. Hope you love reading Gavin’s story as much as I loved writing it! Here’s where you can buy it:

 


 

I’m having a party!

Celebrate the publication of THE VIP DOUBLES DOWN with me on April 19th from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. EDT on Facebook. Join the fun by clicking on the “Join the party” button.

There will be all kinds of giveaways, Facebook Live video where you can ask me anything, and teaser quotes. We’re going to have a blast.

If you can’t attend the party, make sure to check my Facebook profile where I will be giving away even more goodies from April 18th (Release Day) through the next six days.

Make sure to pre-order THE VIP DOUBLES DOWN now, so it will be on your doorstep or your Kindle the day it launches.

Not sure what it’s about? Here you go:

In the witty, sizzling finale to award-winning author Nancy Herkness’s Wager of Hearts series, a haunted writer conquers his demons with the help of a feisty muse and a passion that doesn’t play by the book.

Gavin Miller, the billionaire author of a bestselling thriller series, struggles with a grim secret: he hasn’t written a word in over a year.

Writer’s block is killing his spirit and jeopardizing his contracts with his publisher and his Hollywood producers. Prodded by his agent, Gavin reluctantly agrees to see Allie Nichols, a sassy physical therapist tasked with treating the novelist’s severe neck and shoulder pain—and maybe his writer’s block, too.

The tempestuous Gavin and no-nonsense Allie soon find themselves entangled in a steamy affair that sparks Gavin’s creativity again. But their manipulative ex-lovers and Gavin’s lingering childhood scars threaten their happily ever after. Can Gavin and Allie find their way to love when the stakes are high and the obstacles are overwhelming?

 

 

UK Sale on A BRIDGE TO LOVE. Just 99p.

For my readers in the UK:

If you love my Wager of Hearts billionaires, you’ll enjoy Randall Johnson in A BRIDGE TO LOVE. He’s rich, he’s got a sexy Texas accent, and he’s falling for a single mom who only wanted a one-night stand. Only 99p on Kindle in the UK until April 24th, so grab it while it’s on sale!

UK only!

Here’s the whole story summary:

Widowed a year ago, Kate Chilton struggles to raise two young sons alone, drawing on memories of her happy marriage to help her through the tough times.  When she discovers that her marriage was not what it seemed, the foundation of her world is shattered.  Wounded and angry, Kate decides to spend one night with a man and then forget him.  She finds the perfect candidate in notorious womanizer Randall Johnson.  Magnetically attractive, he has a reputation for loving and leaving.  But Randall’s reputation is about to change….

Driven to escape from his dirt-poor childhood in rural Texas, Randall claws his way up the ladder of success on guts and ambition.  He has no time for love and chooses only women who understand his rules.  Kate Chilton is definitely not his type, no matter how the electricity crackles between them.  When she invites herself to dinner, his curiosity is piqued.  When she kisses him, his self-control goes up in flames.  And when she tells him he’s just a one-night stand, he refuses to take “no” for an answer.

Kate must build a bridge from her shattered past into her future.

 Randall must bridge the gulf of distrust between himself and the one woman who can reach his heart.

My new website is up!

Stop by to check out the fresh, new look of my website! Please let me know what you think! If you see any problems or typos, I especially want to hear about those.

While you’re there, make sure to sign up for my New Book Alert. You might win a prize and you’ll get special freebies from time to time as a thank you for subscribing.

Wager of Hearts books on sale for $2.00!

You can get both my current Wager of Hearts full-length novels, THE CEO BUYS IN and THE ALL-STAR ANTES UP, for just $2.00 each on Kindle!  They are regularly $3.99 and $4.99. Add the Wager of Hearts novella, THE IRISHMAN’S CHRISTMAS GAMBLE for just $1.99.

While you’re thinking about it, don’t forget to pre-order the final book in the Wager of Hearts series, THE VIP DOUBLES DOWN.

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Get all four Whisper Horse books for under $4.00!

A new year, a new deal! Each one of the books in my award-winning Whisper Horse series is on sale for 99 cents on Kindle for the month of January. That means you can buy the whole series for just $3.96. Wow!

Check it out here!

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150+ free romances plus over $1,000 in prizes!

To celebrate the holiday season, I’ve teamed up with more than 150 fantastic romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS over $1,000 in prizes!

You can download my Whisper Horse novella, A DOWN-HOME COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, for free, plus 150 more books. Enter the giveaway by clicking here.

It ends December 26th so join the fun right away!

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Good luck, and enjoy!