You wish you were different, but you can’t be. You never will be. You will just always be a shadow of the past. Watching over your shoulder. Distrustful of everyone. Wondering when the danger will come into your back yard, into your home, into your life.
When it will sneak between your shoulder blades and sink into your stomach.

When it will derail your life.

When that family friend will cross the line. When your own flesh and blood will. When someone you’ve placed your trust in—that person you least suspect—will crush life as you know it.

When we were kids, my dad asked, “Is there anything you need to talk about?” In fact, we’re all grown and he still asks. Over the years, the deep inflection in his voice and the concern covering every feature of his face has changed very little.

It took me until my early twenties to understand what he meant. That this was no easy question to ask, but one he felt was important.

You know why. Of course you do. Because nobody asked him until it was too late.

It took me until my thirties—and the birth of my daughter—to feel the crippling paralyzation that sentence embodied for him—and for so many parents.

We aren’t asking our kids if they need to talk about their typical day at school. Sure, we want to hear that too. What we want to know—what we can’t stand to know AND not know is far deeper and darker. It has the power to change everything.

Has some hurt you? Has someone done something you didn’t like? Has someone crossed the line? Getting those answers is such a delicate matter. Kids are young and impressionable. One wrongly worded question can change an answer drastically. It can open that huge Pandora’s box and ruin innocent lives on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

So we find a way to pose the question that sticks to the middle ground but leaves no argument on where we stand with our children. Let’s face it. We want to be the hero. When they are little that’s how they see us.

The infallible hero who always has the answers and never fails.

We know that changes with time. We go from hero to embarrassing, to annoying AND embarrassing, to slightly knowledgeable and so on until we go back to hero status in a whole new light. It all starts somewhere.

Is there anything you need to talk about?

I hope and pray the answer is always no. Not because you feel you can’t trust, but because you simply have nothing to give in response to that deep question.

I asked it for the first time. I asked it in gut-wrenching misery while feeling as if I might die from the unknown. Feeling as if I might lose my mind in an explosion of epic proportions. Feeling as if I’d failed. Hurting, bleeding inside for all those kids—people—who’ve been wronged. So wronged they sometimes don’t even realize they’ve been hit by an adrenaline-laced bullet.

We don’t know we’re bleeding. We think we’ve escaped. We think everything will be fine. All the while we are holding our chests. We feel the warmth seep between our fingers, the heavy throb of blood bringing gush after gush. And for a minute we’re comforted. We refuse the bandage—maybe we’ve never been offered one. Maybe we have, but the application was stilted by our need to control something that was never really ours to control.

Is there anything you need to talk about?

My dad, my husband and the Extremely Cute Toddler (ECT) in November 2015

Rachel is a military wife and the mother of the Extremely Cute Toddler (ECT). When she’s not working in the healthcare field you can find her writing irresistible fiction and having imaginary conversations with the characters she’s created. She’s lived all over the United States and currently calls California home–bring on the sunshine!

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Check out her novels on Amazon.



Smoke & Mirrors Summer Destination Blog Hop



Hello, my wonderful reader friends. I hope you’ve been enjoying the Smoke And Mirrors blog hop event. Whether this is your first stop on this immersive destination cruise or your last, WELCOME and thanks for stopping by.

For newcomers, the blog event is as follows:

There are seven blogs on which you CAN comment. We understand that not everyone likes to enter their two cents, but doing so on ALL blog posts sometime between May 25, 2016-May 30, 2016 (only ONE comment PER BLOG is needed before 5 PM on the last day)  will ensure your name is entered into our GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY (FREE STUFF, YES!).

What’s in this amazing giveaway?

  • Kindle Fire
  • $25 Amazon gift card
  • Signed softcovers13301262_10209315191774313_6545766320918096311_o
  • Ebooks13301252_10209315189294251_1012493807565333185_o

Who’s teamed up to bring you this suspenseful, romance-laden, the-characters-are-running-for-their-lives collection?

A little bit about me and the characters you  can’t get enough of. First off, I’m a military wife. My husband and I were both born and raised in central Minnesota, we’re die-hard Vikings fans and while all of our family still resides in the state, we’ve called one of the coasts home for nearly ten years.

Enter my passion for the beautiful state of North Carolina. We moved to Yorktown, Virgina as green eighteen-year-olds with the world in our hands and very little else. We met a lot of interesting people and forged friendships that have stood the test of time and distance. We spent quite a bit of time in the Raleigh area and when I needed a locale for my budding series, I didn’t hesitate to pick Charlotte.

The crew from The Bening Files love this city and protect it at all costs. Detective Amanda Nettles-Robinson and FBI Special Agent in Charge Baker Jackson Robinson team up for another edge-of-your-seat, high-octane ride in Obsession.

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A surge in crime has left two homeless women dead and Detective Amanda Nettles’ Alzheimer’s-riddled mother as the prime suspect. As his wife embarks on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek with a remorseless serial killer, FBI Agent Baker Jackson Robinson knows he can’t sit idly while the city of Charlotte destroys Amanda’s career a second time. Is her near decade-long obsession with protecting her hometown bigger than the needs of her family? Or are they one and the same?

While Amanda and Robinson are far too busy to vacation anywhere, my favorite vacation destination is a little closer to my current residence. Avila Beach is one of my favorite getaways. My husband and I like to stay at the Inn At Avila Beach and reserve one of their beachfront rooms. It’s a quaint little bed-and-breakfast type of hotel, with a full library of books (yes!), movies, and games at your arsenal. Forgot something? This place will make sure you have it! Our last trip was in December and even in the cooler weather the atmosphere was amazing. The room came equipped with a fireplace and balcony.


Can you say cozy by the fire while listening to the waves and enjoying fine wine? What’s better?

What’s better?


We grew up in towns with 500 people, but we’ve become big city people. We love having options close by, even if we don’t utilize them as often as we’d like. But Avila Beach… It’s a touch of heaven right on the beach. It’s filled with a perfect mix of tourists (like us) and local inhabitants. The pace is slower, the sunrises are amazing, the waves really call to you, and the food and wine is exquisite.

Tell us about your favorite vacation spot. Comment below for a chance to win that GRAND PRIZE. Winners will be announced after our Facebook Party starting May 30th-June 6th. Join us there for a week-long, casual meet and greet. You’ll get to ask the authors questions, engage in book-related polls, and get a backstage pass into the making of Smoke and Mirrors.


Thanks again for stopping by. Onward to Alexa Verde’s blog stop.

A small-town cop puts her life and her heart on the line in order to find her missing twin. Will trusting the dashing and eager-to-help senator’s son prove her fatal mistake? Find out.

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Want to become a part of Rachel’s Launch Crew? What’s in it for you? Prizes, advance reader copies (in exchange for an honest review) and much more. Fill out the form below.





Christian Fiction Friday: February 19, 2016

It’s Friday Blog Hop time.  A lot of authors join together and post short snippets of their current Work In Progress. Here’s mine. It’s from a romantic suspense/thriller novella set to release in May 2016 in a collection with seven other talented authors.

By popular request, I’m bringing back the Amanda Nettles/Baker Jackson Robinson duo, plus some quirky side characters. Enjoy! Happy Friday!

The chamber was still spinning in the roulette game. One bullet. A lot of bad luck. It was time Robinson made it stop. Reached out and kicked the gun from sight. Or better yet, he’d remove the bullet and disassemble the mechanism. End of story.

“Rough morning?”

Paige wiped a hand across her face. Tucked it under one thigh. “Amanda’s so mad. And Grandma’s locked up. And scared. Probably doesn’t even know what’s going on right now. And it’s my fault.”

The anger came from fear. And worry. It sat in Robinson’s gut, too. Nestled in the thorns. And Eileen? The confusion was nothing new, but it stung all the same. “How is this your fault?”

“I couldn’t help her.” The words were a whisper. She gripped the brown bag. Released it. “It doesn’t make sense. Grandma was… She wouldn’t…” Another sob broke through. The gut-wrenching kind that came from knowing terrible tragedy and trying to erase it. Instead of going through it, one day at a time.

It tugged at the dying thorns. Pulled them down until his heart was raw. And surrounded by the heated edge of anger.

Eight months ago she’d been like any other teenager. And then she wasn’t. She’d survived when over a dozen others hadn’t. He couldn’t imagine the weight of it. Would never insult her by insinuating that he could.

“There was a knife. And blood.” The words were soft, but filled with agony.

What? No. He glanced around them. If they had a weapon, the overall buzz of the station would be different. Eileen would be in cuffs. Killian would have boasted about it. Would never have let Amanda one-up him in that department.

Robinson had heard wrong.

The younger version of Amanda glanced up at him, wet amber eyes begging him to do something to make the insanity stop. And then, like the first time he’d ever worked with his wife, and discovered how she looked at life and death often meant closed cases—and that there’d never be a dull moment for anyone close to her—he knew. Whatever Paige had said, was saying, was very, very real. Not imagined. “I didn’t know what to do.”

Not a byproduct of psychological issues stemming from events she refused to discuss.

Which meant… “You have it?”

Comment for a chance to win a #FREE ebook copy when this bundle releases in May.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post short (400-word or less) snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.

Missed the other books in The Bening Files series?




Okay, friends. Here’s a fun game. With a few days until Aftermath is released, I’d love to host a little contest. Winner will get a signed copy of Aftermath (print version of course) and a $50 Amazon gift card. (Facebook is in no way affiliated with this contest).

Here’s all you have to do.

1) Take a a creative picture with the words HELP ME LAUNCH. (Could be on a sticky note with you or a friend hanging from a tree). Post them on my fan page (

2) Show proof of preorder purchase of Aftermath (only $0.99). You can PM me with these.

It’s simple AND fun! Contest ends 9/27/15 at midnight PST.