Dare to Return
Diana by the Moon
Eyes of a Stranger
Heart of Vengeance
Thief in the Night
engaged to his best friend.
Eyes of a Stranger
Emma Darcy Award winner
Casting the movie. Buy it.
finished Eyes of a Stranger. I read several nights until my eyes
begged me to stop. I just about phoned in and played hookey from work. I
loved this book! When you read emotional scenes between two people and
your heart turns over, you know, that queer little ache in the region of
your heart, then you know the author has got it right!"
Reader Review from Bonnie Kyle
beyond a satisfying love story, Eyes of a Stranger is a
well-written book. The descriptions are rich and layered, adding texture
to the story. The pacing wasn't rushed or abruptly truncated. There is
attention to craft, an awareness that the words matter. It reminded me of
the way books used to be, when authors were allowed to tell their stories,
not just fit some arbitrary page count. And it reminded me of why I fell in love with reading
in the first place."
M.M. Gwynn for eBookConnections
was a wonderful read. The emotions that Ms. Cooper-Posey wrung out of her
characters were enough for me to keep turning pages to the very end. She
dangled the happy ending like a carrot until the very last page.
for Romantic Times Magazine
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It was bad enough that Anastasia had kissed a complete
stranger. Fate threw her a curve ball by making that stranger her
fiancé's best friend, David Morgan, and ensuring that her body
orchestrated its own peculiar responses to him despite her best
What was worse was David's outrageously blatant campaign
to win her over. His technique could hardly be called seductive, so why
was Anastasia beginning to find her tastes and preferences--her whole
life, in fact--evolving into an endless series of sensuous lessons for her
How could she fight a man who had brazenly declared to the
world at large his intention to steal her away from her fiancé? And what
did he plan to do with her if he did?
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It looked like the girl was being attacked.
Hot thick adrenaline leapt through him, and David
nudged the prow of his boat towards the bridge pylon where she stood
struggling. He opened the throttles on the engines, making the clean-lined
boat lift its nose and surge forward through the night-still waters.
He kept his eyes on the slight figure, willing
her not to succumb to whatever force was assaulting her until he could
Then he saw what had first caught his notice.
From either side of the girl came a white flash. Long, extended wings. He
saw her lunge forward, and her movement made her dress glitter and sparkle
under the harsh glare of the neon tubes that illuminated the underside of
the bridge. Again, the flash of wings. Then the boat drew close enough so
that he could see past the girl.
Her supposed attacker was an albatross.
David sagged a little against the wheel, as a
weak relief lifted some of the weight from him. Then he straightened, and
juggled the controls of the boat so that he could let it sidle up to the
platform. He cut the speed, ducked out of the wheel house, and tied the
boat up at one of the mooring rings thoughtfully embedded in the concrete.
His attention was free to deal with the little drama playing out on the
She had a heavy garment in her hands--her coat,
he assumed. It was a raw night, cold for late summer, and the black dress
she wore had little straps over her white shoulders, and that was all. She
was trying to drop the coat over the bird.
But the albatross was having none of it. Every
time she moved forward, the albatross reared back with a back-raking of
his wings, gave an alarming hiss and tried to peck her. As David watched,
holding his breath, she tried again. This time the bird shied back, and
almost overbalanced. It flapped its enormous wings a few times, trying to
maintain balance. The rush of air lifted his hair where he stood on the
prow of the boat, sizing up the situation.
He could see now what the problem was. Someone
had left their bait and tackle on the platform--the bridge pylons were
favorite spots for fishermen. The albatross had been drawn to the bait,
and had caught his feet and legs up into a helpless snarl of fishing line.
Now he was anchored to the iron pylon mounts.
"Throw your coat to me, and I'll drop it on
him from behind." David spoke quietly to avoid alarming the bird any
further, or startling her, either, although she couldn't have failed to
notice the arrival of the boat.
She didn't show any alarm or surprise. She merely
spared a single glance at him, and sea-green eyes raked him from head to
foot in one all-encompassing glance. It was like being stripped bare, but
he barely noticed the thoroughness of examination because he was too busy
dealing with the impact of her appearance. It was the first time he had
looked at her face.
She was beautiful. Under the unforgiving glare of
the neon, her face was alabaster white, clear, and the features were
balanced with perfect symmetry. Her eyes...her eyes were enormous jewels
framed with thick, assertive brows. Her eyes were simply glorious.
He remembered to start breathing again. His
heart, which had been slowing after the subsidence of his first alarm,
began to beat with an unusual agony. He couldn't pin down why she was so
beautiful and perfect, but he wanted her to look at him again, so he could
examine her face longer, more closely. She had only glanced at him, and he
"What's wrong with using your coat?"
Although her attention was fully on the bird, he could hear a touch of dry
amusement mixed with exasperation in her tone. He dragged his eyes away
from a visual tour of the sweet lines of her profile, and looked down at
his leather jacket.
"I'd be happy to play Sir Walter Raleigh,
but your coat has more material in it, and that albatross is a big
She considered the matter for another short
second, then conceded with a businesslike nod of her head. "Here,
then." She bundled up the coat and threw it to him, with slow
movements designed not to alarm the bird. "Hurry," she said
shortly. "That line is cutting into his legs every time he pulls
"I'm hurrying." He unrolled the coat
and shook out the folds so he could hold it like a matador's cloak. It
really was a cloak, he noticed. "Move towards him so his attention is
She didn't have to move much. With each movement
she made the swirls of silver beading on her dress glittered with
eye-watering intensity, and the bird's attention hadn't shifted from her.
David stepped forward, straddling the boat and
the pylon, lifting the cloak high, waiting for the best moment to drop it
over the bird.
The woman seemed to sense his readiness, for she
crouched, bringing her head down level with the bird's. The
non-threatening motion kept the bird occupied, and didn't alarm it, which
would have caused the bird to spread its wings again.
He dropped the cloak over the bird and lunged
forward to tuck his arms around the bundle before the bird could spread
his wings. He was surprised at the strength of the bird's struggles, but
after a few seconds it stopped, perhaps recognizing its cause was lost.
"Where do you keep your knife?" the
woman asked, preempting his suggestion that she climb aboard and get
something to cut the line.
"In the wheel house there's a Swiss army
knife hanging on a hook next to the wheel."
She nodded, and turned towards the boat, then
hesitated, looking down at her shoes. He'd noticed them before; strappy
black stilettos, the heels thin and elegant, complimenting the fine ankles
rising up from them. They would be murder on the soft wood of the deck. He
almost winced at the thought of the damage they would do.
She bent, unbuckled the shoes and stepped out of
them, then climbed over to the boat and swung herself up to the wheel
house with a flash of calves and knees from beneath the long hem of the
extraordinary dress, and was gone.
He admired her thoughtfulness, especially in the
face of such driving need to hurry. Where had she come from? The dress was
unusual, the sort of thing you saw at formal evenings, or the theatre or
She was back quickly, and the one glance he got
of her face before she crouched back down in front of him showed him a
closed expression. She was absorbed in the problem of freeing the bird,
and her focus was so tight that nothing would distract her from that goal.
The fierceness of her concentration intrigued him. It was as if she was
fighting off more than the awkwardness of having to work with a total
He tucked the ends of the cloak beneath the bird
and lifted it so she could reach the line tangled around its legs. She
unfolded the little scissors from the knife, and used them to snip at the
knots, gently tugging the line away and dropping it to the ground in
From his angle, he could only see the top of her
head. He enjoyed the way the light bounced off the mahogany curls and
waves of her hair, which fell almost to her waist. There was a rich, clean
scent rising from her, and a hint of an exotic, dark perfume which caused
his nostrils to flare and something to roll over slowly at the base of his
stomach, that weakened his muscles and sapped his mind.
He lost the passing of time.
She lifted her head to look at him. "It's
finished. You can let it go now." Her enormous eyes were grave. She
straightened, folding the scissors back into the knife case with precise,
There was some blood on her hands.
He stood awkwardly, keeping the bird tucked under
his arms, eyeing the blood. "The bird's hurt. I'll take it to a vet.
There's one just down the marina--"
There wasn't any compromise in her voice. There
wasn't room for any. He frowned a little, and tried to reason it out for
her. "It's hurt. The vet will just check it over, make sure it's
okay." Suddenly, he thought he understood. "It's all right.
They'll let it go again."
Her eyes narrowed. "No," she repeated.
Her whole expression had changed. Was it anger he could see? "Let the
bird go. It's only a small cut. The bird will heal by itself. Let it
"Are you willing to take that chance after
all the effort you've been through to free the bird in the first
place?" He tried to keep his tone reasonable.
His reasonableness seemed to infuriate her.
Suddenly real, unmistakable anger flooded her face. The glittering,
towering rage made her seem taller and astonishingly more beautiful, in an
earthy, far less surreal way than how her beauty had first struck him.
"You let the bird go! Do you hear me? You
let it go! Who are you to decide its fate? It was born free, and it should
be left free."
"Hey, I'm concerned for the thing, too, you
know. I didn't have to stop--"
"I didn't ask you to," she raged back.
She was holding her hands stiffly at her sides, clenched, her knuckles
white. "And now you can leave. But first let the bird go."
David stared at her, astonished. It wasn't just
her anger that had stolen his tongue. It was the sudden eclipsing of the
ethereal, still beauty with this raging, hot...passion. Was this what she
had been holding back, a while ago? Who was she?
An answer rose. It was prompted, he knew, from
the association of the operatic drama of her dress, and the passing notion
he'd had about tackling the bird matador-style with the cloak. The name
leapt into his mind: Carmen.
She was like Carmen; driven by her passionate,
sensual nature to behavior that went against sense.
Before he could gather his thoughts together to
formulate a response, the woman had grasped the sleeve of his jacket, and
turned him around to face in the other direction, looking out under the
bridge to the water on the other side. "See?" she demanded.
"That's his mate. She's waiting for him."
David saw the second albatross floating serenely
on the dark water, at the edge of the area lit by the bridge lights.
"Don't you understand?" she said.
"You have to let him go. Anything else is cruelty." Her fingers
were digging into his arm despite the leather between them. Her eyes were
wide, direct, trying to speak her urgency. David didn't need the message
from her eyes: Intense waves of feeling were radiating from her stance,
her expression, from every curve and angle of her body.
He found himself nodding, as her impassioned plea
made itself felt. It wasn't a matter of what was reasonable or logical,
but what was right. He lowered the bird to the concrete, and unwrapped the
cloak. The albatross stepped out and blinked. After a moment to orientate
itself and realize it was free, it waddled to the edge of the platform,
and took off awkwardly. Flapping steadily, it flew gracefully out along
the harbor. The mate gave a cry and took off from the water and joined the
first in the air.
It pleased him to have been instrumental in the
reunion, even though it had not been his idea. He found himself smiling,
and turned to tell the woman standing beside him that she had been right.
She was silently crying. Two large tears rolled
down her cheeks as she strained to watch the escaping birds.
The impact of her tears slammed into him with the
force of a train, and again he was left breathless and his heart
hammering. He knew instinctively that she wasn't solely empathizing with
the albatross. It was the symbolism of the bird's freedom that meant so
much to her.
He stared at her. It had been a long while since
he'd met anyone with the driving passions of this woman. She had scrambled
his senses and surprised him with her reactions at least twice already,
and that was...unusual. He'd grown used to dealing with business people
whose motives were logical. He could anticipate that sort of person.
She must have felt his stare for she scrubbed
hurriedly at her cheeks, and whirled to pick up her shoes. She reached for
"Thanks for your help." Her voice was
husky from the pressure of more dammed-back tears.
"Don't go," he responded without
thought, maintaining his hold on the cloak.
He wanted her. The thought stole into his mind
with the covert agility of the subconscious prompting it, but as soon as
the thought sounded he acknowledged it fully. It wasn't just her
beauty...that was only the beginning, the beckoning. He would have been
happy to give her beauty only a passing mental acknowledgment if he had
not seen it shift and slide to reveal what lay beneath. It was her. She
was romantic, empathetic, considerate, driven,
"Don't go," he repeated, trying to
soften his voice, to remove any command from it. He was too used to
commanding, damn it. Like the albatross, he knew she must be coaxed,
gentled. He didn't know where the certainty sprang from, but he obeyed his
She looked a little surprised...and alarmed. He
watched her eyes widen with surprise as she looked at him. This time she
really looked, and saw him, David, not the stranger who had helped her
with the bird.
And awareness filled her face.
He saw her expression change, and the same
painful pleasure speared his heart, made his throat tighten, and his
entire body came to stiff alertness, the nerve endings sensitized to a
painful degree. In the heartbeat of silence between them he could
hear--far away--the sound of traffic, and--loud in his ears--her unsteady
breath. The shimmering black panels of her dress moved a little as she
Now she was aware of him, just as he was of her.
He recognized her awakening, thanks to his own hypersensitivity.
He felt the touch of chill air on his warm face,
and it reminded him of more practical considerations. He hauled his
attention back to their whereabouts. "You must be freezing." He
unfurled her cloak. He inspected it for dirt and damage, then dropped it
around her shoulders, and pulled it close about her. He tried to let go,
but his hands wouldn't loosen. His mind was back on track, but his body
was obeying different rhythms.
He swallowed. His throat was very dry.
"Come on board for a minute," he said.
"You can clean your hands, and warm up before you go."
Her eyes were filled with puzzlement and the
unease in her expression had grown. He didn't know if it was a prudent
wariness of strangers, or fear at the swift unexpected impact on her
senses, but he knew either one would cause her to bolt for safety with
only a little more pressure. She began to protest hesitantly, and he knew
she was trying to act normally and sensibly despite scattered wits and
tingling nerve-ends. "No... I...."
"Just for a minute." He strove for a
reasonable tone. "You can't run around Seattle at midnight with blood
on your hands. They'll arrest you, or something."
The wariness eased. She nodded. "Just for a
David almost sighed. He felt like he'd just won a
major coup. As he helped her back onto the boat, he felt absurdly like
letting out a war whoop.
It was fitting that Eyes of a Stranger was the
first book I sold -- it was the first book I wrote that really felt like
I had achieved a little mastery over novel-writing. It had only taken five
books (and two of the previous four shall remain under dust forever).
However, the writing of Eyes was an emotional journey that resulted
in a novel that I am still, to this day, very proud of.
It was originally set in Perth, Western Australia, but was moved to
Seattle, Washington, to give the majority of readers who are North
American a setting they can readily picture. However even the final
published version of the book had some Australian terminology that crept
through the cracks!
I often get asked who I would cast in the movie of my book, if
it should ever come to pass, so just for fun:
Movie producer's pitch:
Gone with the Wind meets The Taming of the Shrew.
Marlee Matlin...but with black hair! ... or Catherine Zeta Jones as she
was in The Mask Of Zorro -- where she was just a touch more vulnerable
than she normally plays.
Alberta-born Paul Gross. Hands down perfect. <sigh>
(Anastasia's father): Christopher
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