From Winter’s Ashes – Book 2

FromWinter'sAshesKindle (FINAL)If you can trust your enemy with your life, what’s to stop him from stealing your heart?

Hopelessly unlucky in love and a target for tragedy, Joselyn Whyte hardly leads the charmed life you’d expect of an heiress. When she becomes the mark of an arsonist, the last person she expects to ride to her rescue is her nemesis—the man who sealed her fate as a frigid and lonely “Snow Whyte.”

Firefighter Finn Carson might talk a big game, but behind the swagger and the dimples is a man tormented by a mistake that cost a life. When a force stronger than his stubbornness pulls him off the bench and into a 5-Alarm fire for a miraculous save, Finn decides the key to his redemption lies with the Ice Princess he loathes. But the price to freedom from the guilt and nightmares might be too steep if it means bartering with Joselyn’s father by posing as her boyfriend—her safety and the ruthless billionaire’s Senatorial campaign hanging on the combustible edge of a decade old grudge.

When secrets from the past resurface, the ruse and reality collide and threaten to thaw their heated rivalry—turning hate into something that terrifies them even more than the cunning predator with a bent sense of justice.


Portrait of a Hero – FINN CARSON

Perhaps not in all genres of fiction but certainly when it pertains to romance, the portrait of the characters holds an inevitable importance.

Having an attractive hero or heroine doesn’t mean that you’ve created some super-human hunk or otherworldly goddess, but rather that they hold a certain appeal to their match in the story. Swoony me, he so dreamy 😉


Attraction! Sometimes it’s obvious, other times it’s inexplicable, but it often strikes without warning or consideration. Someone once told me that a character in my book seemed somewhat unreasonably attractive. I had to laugh. First, because these people are make believe and I can paint the portrait however I please. (Which is incredibly fun, I might add!) Second, because the interpretation of the details is at the discretion of the reader. And third, because most of the descriptions for each character come from the eye and bias of the beholder who is hopelessly falling and often in those initial stages of infatuation. So yeah, we’re lighting some torches here. Painting some pretty pictures. And letting our imaginations construct an ideal image. The result … smokin’!

I stand by my theory that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. And we all secretly hope we can find a match in life who doesn’t hold us to a particular standard of beauty, but who has made us the standard of beauty for which all others pale in comparison.

Many authors I know find it easier to cast their characters before they write. They search for an image or actor to portray their characters and fill in the details around that construct. For me, the image is always in my head but I can’t ever find a perfect match in real life. I often do my best to assign an assimilation after the fact, but when I’m painting the picture of my character, it’s much more abstract. I have fleeting glances of attributes. Some striking, some less than. But they always create an alluring image, even if they don’t reflect my own personal preference for a hero.

IMG_7042, finn carsonFor example, Finn Carson, tortured firefighter, a hothead, an outrageous flirt, and a befuddling mix of battle-scarred inadequacy and brazen cockiness, looks a bit like a cross between a surfer and a viking. He’s blonde. Blue-green eyed. Tall and brawny. Quite dreamy! But he looks like no one else. And certainly not like the dark haired, dark eyed man of mine.

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If you’ve read From Winter’s Ashes, I’d love to know how you imagined Finn. Did you have an actor in mind? A certain image? My final take away ended up loosely resembling someone like the late Paul Walker. But when I’m painting my portrait of my hero, there’s so much more hidden in his attitude. His actions. Even how he clothes and carries himself. It all paints a picture of the man underneath the good looks. But again, don’t forget…

I might paint a decent picture, but it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Think beautiful thoughts and you’ll see more beauty all around you!


What people are saying:

“A fresh new voice on the clean-with-steam romance scene … sassy and nervy.”Serena Chase, USA Today Happily Ever After

“Amy Leigh Simpson is a brilliant wordsmith. Wow. This author knows how to write fresh and feverish!” —Nicole Deese, Author of the Letting Go series and the Love in Lenox series

“The on-point dialogue, the heart-pounding suspense, and the strong narrative come together to make Simpson an author to watch. Her unique voice is compelling and easy to read. Best of all is Simpson’s artful display of romance. ‘Swoon,’ I can’t wait for more.”–Betsy St. Amant, author of Love Arrives in Pieces

“With snappy dialogue, great intrigue and mystery, wonderful sensory detail and depth, this is a book that will grab you from the first page and not let go until you finally find out how it ends. And I’m not telling.” –Catherine West, author of The Things We Knew and The Memory of You



From the book:

Passing what had to be at least a half an hour of sauna-worthy bliss, she threw on a slim cotton robe and twisted her long, raven-colored locks into a towel. The cool air from the hallway chilled the smog of moisture coating her skin as she crossed to her bedroom.

But something stopped her short. She leaned against the door frame, listening again.

And then she heard it. Were those … gun shots?

There was some sort of commotion and then bang, bang! Louder this time. And so close a tremor pulsed through the walls.

A scream trapped in her throat, and Joselyn lunged forward into her room, stumbling over her noncompliant size eights in an uncoordinated panic. She closed the door quietly in spite of the racket and twisted the flimsy lock. Stepping back shakily, she flattened herself against the wall. Think! Think!

She needed to call for help, but her phone had been a casualty of the fire and the landline was in the kitchen. Joselyn bit down on her lip, straining to hear. Voices barked garbled messages she couldn’t begin to untangle in her frazzled state.

Why were they yelling? How had they gotten inside? And what the heck were they shooting at?

Oh no! What if they’d shown up before Sadie and Archer left?

She touched a cold, quivering hand to her lips. Her fear was asphyxiating, every terrorizing scenario she could think of pummeled her from every side until she’d been bruised and beaten with the only sensible conclusion.

Whoever burned down her house had come back to finish the job.

Her weight sagged into the wall and the towel unfurled from her head, her wet hair now blotting through the lightweight fabric at her shoulders. The wall rattled with another barrage of gunfire. She shivered. For the second time in as many days the cold truth gripped her. This is it. I’m gonna die. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to breathe, tried to think past the consuming despair and helplessness.

      Sadie! If they had Sadie, Joselyn couldn’t cower in her room. She had to act.

Fortified in her decision, she felt a strange sense of strength and resolve fold around her body like a shield. A sense of déjà vu tingled down her spine, though she couldn’t say why. She stepped back out into the hall, belatedly realizing she was about to confront armed intruders without a single defense.

Halting in the shadowed hallway, Joselyn recalled seeing an old baseball bat propped inside the closet. Her fingers closed around the door handle, deftly cracking it enough to snake in her arm.


She gripped the wooden handle, wincing at the pull of her stitches, and raised the weapon to her shoulder. It was no match for a gun but somehow her confidence was overwhelming her common sense. Sadie. You’re doing this for Sadie.

The voices hushed in conversation as she tiptoed closer. She could almost make out what they were saying. John. She definitely heard the name John.

Almost there.

A few more steps brought her to the shadowed opening of the living room. She’d decided to take her first peek when a figure rounded the corner and slammed into her.

“Ahhh!” The sound of her scream punched through her illusion of confidence. The terror made her frantic, and she sent the seemingly weightless bat into attack mode.

“Hey! Oww!” Strong fingers immobilized her wailing arm and the rest became a blur of struggling limbs and smothered grunts. In a scant moment of clarity she consciously brought her knee up hard and fast.

The hand on her arm dropped away, and the man fell back into the light. Before Joselyn could initiate her escape she caught sight of her assailant. One she would recognize anywhere.

“Finn?” Releasing the bat, she sank to the floor beside him. “Are you okay?”

He’d gone fetal, hands cupping his groin, face scrunched in silent agony. With great hesitance she settled her hand on his side. He hissed out a breath and shrank back from her touch. “Umm, is there anything I can do?”

“Haven’t you done enough?” he growled.

Her spine whipped straight. “Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware you’d be prowling around the living room uninvited. What do you think you’re doing here anyway?”

Wincing, he propped himself up to a seated position. “Geez, girl, you sure do know how to show a guy a good time.”

It was obvious he was in pain. But after the start he’d given her she couldn’t muster a whole lot of remorse. It was his own fault, after all.

At this point she wasn’t even upset with him, only grateful she was still alive to laugh about the misunderstanding. Though she suspected Finn wouldn’t appreciate her laughter at the moment.