Black Heart
Dangerous Beauty
Dare to Return
Diana by the Moon
Eyes of a Stranger
Heart of Vengeance
Lucifer’s Lover
Red Leopard
Reluctant Agent
Silent Knight
Solstice Surrender
Thief in the Night

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She's engaged to his best friend.

Eyes of a Stranger

Contemporary Romance.
Emma Darcy Award winner

Reviews. Outline. Excerpt
Casting the movie. 
Buy it.


"I just 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

But 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

4 Stars.

This book 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.

Kathy Boswell 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 intentions.

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 soul?

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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Chapter One

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 reach her.
     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 platform.
     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 felt deprived.
     "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 bird."
     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 back."
     "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 on you."
     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 opera.
     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 stranger.
     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 bundles.
     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, neat movements.
     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 go."
     "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 her cloak.
     "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, emotional...sensual...gorgeous.
     "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 instinct.
     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 breathed.
     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 minute."
     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.

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Author's note:

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!

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Casting the Movie...

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.

Casting call:

  Anastasia:  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.

David:  Alberta-born Paul Gross.  Hands down perfect. <sigh>

Christopher (Anastasia's father):  Christopher Plummer.          

Hugh.   Tony Goldwyn.

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