My detective story, Detective Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas

Nitty Gritty Christmas coverIt’s been quite a while since I’ve posted as DD Symms. I’ve spent the last year-and-a-half working on detective fiction with my writing partner, Lon Casler Bixby and writing content for businesses.

What’s happened? Detective Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Christmas is now on the market initially on Amazon, the first of many Tom Stone stories to come.

Stone and his partner Jake Sharpe go to check out a single bullet hole in a window and go on a chase of cocaine-laden candy that causes a boy at a group home to fall ill and one to die.

A divorced father with two teenage girls that came second to his work, Stone sees an opportunity with the boy, Andrew, to offer his friendship in the midst of the chase.

Nitty Gritty Christmas takes place in several different neighborhoods around Los Angeles. Two more books are in this specific series with Sweltering Summer Nights next up.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Stone visits Andrew, the boy he befriends in the group home. Stone simply isn’t prepared for how a boy who has no family will react.


Stone hung up and his mood lightened. The office could wait. He could always sift through files later. He changed back into jeans and a knit pullover. After downing another cup of coffee, he made his way to Ivy Acres.

He reached the facility, parked, and got buzzed in through the security doors leading to the residential building. He checked in at the front window.

“Hello, may I help you?” A lanky man slid his chair to the window made of protective glass. A speaker was encased in it and that made it seem as much like the Department of Motor Vehicles as it was a place to live.

“I’m here to see Luke Gordon and Andrew. I’m Tom Stone.”
“Oh, yes. I spoke with you on the phone. Terrence Richardson. Come on in.” Richardson hit a buzzer and Stone entered into a world of cinderblock painted in bright colors with pictures of birds and butterflies and trees and mountains.

Richardson led Stone through the lobby to an adjoining room with a metal door. One large window let in the sunshine and a bookcase a few feet high ran along one wall. Two tables had small chairs for children and a couple for adults. A basket of stuffed animals and an exercise ball large enough for an adult to sit on was nearby.

Several minutes passed and Andrew, accompanied by a lanky man with shoulder-length sandy hair that reached his shoulders, walked in holding Andrew’s hand.

“Hey there. Detective Stone? I’m Luke. Merry Christmas.”

“Tom Stone. And same to you.” He stood and shook hands with Luke. Andrew stood to one side and looked at the walls and the ceiling and the floor. But not at either of the men.

“Thanks for coming by.” Luke smiled and looked like he’d be at home in a wetsuit and out on a surfboard. “Hey, I’m going to hang here with you guys for a bit. Okay?””Sure.”
“That way, Andrew will get used to you.”
“I understand. Makes sense.”
Luke knelt. “Hey, Andrew. Do you recognize him from the party?”
“I sat in the pudding. Remember?” Stone knelt a few feet away and smiled.
No response, but Luke continued.
“This is Detective Stone and he wanted to come by and say hello.”Then it dawned on Stone that he was simply another adult in Andrew’s life who had an official title like detective or social worker or judge. “Oh hey. Luke?”


“Just have him call me Tom.”

“Sure. That’s cool.” Luke knelt and held a stuffed dog in front of Andrew. “You got a friend here, Andrew.” Luke moved the dog like it was prancing and he barked and became the voice of the dog. “Hey, who’ve we got here? It’s Tom!” He tossed the dog to Stone who caught it.

Stone felt too self-conscious to play like Luke but he moved the dog around on the floor near Andrew. “Do you like dogs, Andrew?”

The boy waited and looked from Stone to Luke and then nodded. “They can be nice.” His face changed and he spoke in an ominous tone. “And they can snarl and bite.” Andrew grabbed the dog and growled in a low voice.

“Do they growl when they’re scared or angry, Andrew?” asked Luke.

Andrew let go of the dog, didn’t say anything for a few moments, and then spoke up. “Dogs run away from home.” Life seemed to vanish from his eyes after he spoke. His shoulders sagged and he sat and crossed his legs and looked at the floor.

A bookshelf was under the window on the far wall and Stone turned for it and grabbed a title.

“Hey, look at this. Frog and Toad All Year.” He settled on the industrial grade carpeting covering the floor. His legs were too tight for him to cross so he lifted one leg and kept the other one straight. “Do you like books Andrew?”

Andrew nodded and clutched it to his chest. Luke sat on the floor, managing to cross his legs.

“It’s a funny book.” Stone smiled. “I used to read this to my girls.” The cover showed Toad and Frog building a Frog made of snow and it made Stone chuckle. He opened to the first page. “Frog knocked at Toad’s door. ‘Toad, wake up,’ he cried. ‘Come out and see how wonderful the winter is!’

“‘I will not,’ said Toad. ‘I am in my warm bed.'”

The moment Stone finished reading the sentence, Andrew uncurled his legs and jumped straight up like he had exploded. “No. I don’t want to read.” He kicked the stuffed dog and grabbed the book that Stone was holding and threw it across the room.

“Hey, buddy. Hey, Andrew,” said Luke.

The boy started crying, ran toward the door, and grabbed the handle. Luke got to him in just a few strides and was at his side, kneeling and talking in a comforting tone. “Andrew, it’s okay. It’s okay.”

Stone felt embarrassed. The last thing he wanted to do was upset a kid on Christmas.


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Lady Constance on My Sexy Saturday

My selection for this week’s My Sexy Saturday is an historical snippet. I find Colonial America fascinating, always have, and sensuous. I think it’s the sophistication in the midst of hardships. There seemed to be a love of quality that we take for granted with our 21st century capabilities.

Rejoin the My Sexy Saturday blog hop here after reading the excerpt below.


Flames licked the logs and the moisture within hissed, crackled and sent a glow beaming from the hearth throughout the Governor’s sitting room. Lady Constance fixed her gaze on his tailored suit and shifted as though she were perching on the sofa. “I hear the contingent leaves Philadelphia next week?”

He raised the goblet of wine and sipped it. “Try not to think of parting, my dear.”

She reached behind, tugged a ribbon, and undid a fastener. “I’m not.” She stood, enjoying the pleased gleam in his eye. “I’m anticipating your return.” She moved her hands from behind and let the dress slide to her legs and made her way to the Governor’s side.


While this particular snippet has no home, I may make one.

Right now, I’m working very much in the present day Los Angeles with my new WIP In His Grip. Dalton Blake, the lead as it were in In His Sights, confronts a troubled teen and has his own life sent into turmoil.

In His sight is available on Amazon   Breathless Press   All Romance eBooks   Bookstrand

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I’m Too Sexy on My Sexy Saturday

Welcome to my weekly My Sexy Saturday blog hop. This week’s theme is I’m Too Sexy and taken from the opening of my novel Boarding. Jessie is a young fashion designer and is thrust into the meeting of her life.

Click here to rejoin the blog hop. And thanks for stopping by!


Torrey’s demeanor conveyed a deep consideration and his

thoughts seemed to lift him from his chair. “Interesting. Tell Veve

I’ll meet for drinks.”


Jessie gripped the armrests at the mention of the model’s

name. So damned close and possibly so damn far away. She inhaled

to calm her nerves and released her breath with the measured discipline

of an opera singer.


He faced the window and smiled. His legs were shoulderwidth

apart in a power stance that Jessie found alluring. His assistant

must have been overloaded with eye candy and probably

found every excuse in the book to frequently make her way into

his office.


Water droplets zigzagged along the window panes, bumping

into each other and creating gridlock like traffic snarled in intersections.

Jessie’s distorted reflection made her appear like she was

squatting in a shower stall. Her damp blouse clung to her breasts

like plastic wrap covering a vegetable platter. Raymond said he

liked the size of her breasts. Round, delicate, and not obtrusive.


“Hmm,” grunted Torrey, now looking out the window with

the phone pressed against his ear. “What?” He raised his eyebrows

and turned his sights to the storm over the city. He angled

himself so his back was more visible to Jessie, like he really didn’t

want to be having this conversation in front of a spectator. Little

did he know his ass was under the microscope, studied, and appreciated

for its toned firmness.


“Put her off,” he announced gruffly. And then he lowered

his voice. “It’s too damned early and the first reporter I’m letting

interview her is that one from the New Yorker.” Another pause.

“Why? Because it’s a classier publication. They agreed to talk to

her on her yacht.”


Jessie stifled a laugh. She occasionally breezed through Harlequin

romance novels where the hero was a tycoon and she always

imagined what his voice would sound like. Torrey fit the

role perfectly.


Check out my works on Amazon, Breathless Press and All Romance eBooks.



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Healing Inner Wounds in New Story In His Sights

The pain inside us can linger and cause us to withdraw if we don’t find the healing we need. This is especially true for those who have lived through trauma. I explore the topic in this week’s post for My Sexy Saturday.

Welcome if you’ve come from the weekly blog hop. Click here to return to My Sexy Saturday authors.

Dalton Blake feels responsible that an attack on the field of battle claimed his comrade and lover. Dalton is now stateside and about to finish his commitment but rage lives on inside.

In His Sights 267x400EXCERPT from In His Sights

His eyes welled up. Fuck the tears. If he could do it over again, he would. He wanted to tell Jerry that he’d find a way if there was another chance, some type of reset. Shit. The tears broke through and clouded his vision so he couldn’t find his car. “Goddamn it.” All he had to do was jump behind the wheel, take off into the desert night, and fly off the first curve into oblivion and maybe, just maybe, he’d be reunited with his first love. He fumbled in his pocket and couldn’t even grab the keys.


Shafter again. Dalton made his way to the edge of the parking lot, away from the streetlamps and the angle of the headlights beaming in and out of the bar’s parking lot, gravel crunching beneath the cars’ tires. “Go back in and fuck with someone else’s mind.” This sure as hell was no way to get another guy in bed. Maybe Shafter was an emotionally sick and twisted pickup artist.

“Talk to me.”

“Why the hell should I?” Dalton wiped his eyes.

“Because you need to.” Shafter’s voice was calm.

Dalton hated losing control of his emotions. That was for his college years and the giddy boy-in-love moments in the stupid frat house. Those days had vanished and his future was as bleak as the Mojave Desert in August. Finally, he composed himself and leaned against the tailgate of a pickup. He felt like a con man on the run and Shafter the good guy lawman unwavering in his quest for justice. Why fight?


In His Sights is available on Amazon and Breathless Press.

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Callan’s Encounter

Hey, fans of My Sexy Saturday. This week is a Halloween theme and I wrote what came to mind. Callan is a sexy character but I guess not in this excerpt. He appears in the novel Boarding and I’ve been playing around with him in a few different stories. He’s actually quite a loving guy and on his way home to a Halloween party with his significant other, Torrey, he gets delayed by a Halloween prank.

Enjoy the excerpt below. And click here to return to this week’s blog hop.

A sudden hard crackle hit the car roof, almost like a sound of rain but only harder. The noise shook Callan and he hit the brakes, glanced in the rearview mirror and pulled safely to the side. The moon lit the cornfields to the right and he noticed several silhouettes scrambling from alongside the road. He hit the button and lowered the window and thought he could hear giggling fade into the distance.

What goes around, comes around. It seemed like just yesterday that he had done the same thing. Shucking ears of field corn and tossing it at the cars passing by was practically a Halloween tradition in the small towns dotting upstate New York. Dangerous as hell, really. He shuddered to think what could have happened if he had panicked and veered into the oncoming lane. Fortunately, the road was quiet.

The fear turned into an idea. He smiled. Why not get out, act like a voice of authority and scare the kids—and tell them what seems like fun could turn into tragedy and that next year they’d be better off trick or treating? He opened the door and stood outside the car and closed it, extra hard, so they could hear the sound. The field housed a decaying barn, scrawny apple trees, and what seemed like an extra large chicken coop. He strained to listen and heard nothing. He almost got in the car but felt compelled to take several steps into the field. He’d call Torrey and Jessie and let them know he was on his way. Callan walked through grass that was above his ankles and moist from dew. Maybe he should go. What if it wasn’t just a bunch of rowdy kids but someone setting up an ambush?

He took a few more steps. What sounded like the brushing of pants legs came from around one of the trees and then it quieted. Callan felt like he was playing chicken with a phantom. “Who’s there?” Silence. He took another step and summoned up a voice that was as stern as he could possibly make it. “Look. Whoever’s there, come out now.” Callan waited and the same sound seemed to appear and then disappear. “You might think it’s just a game. I did, too, once.” Callan walked ahead. “But you could have caused an accident. A serious accident.” There was a noise, from behind the tree and a shadowy figure huddled by the trunk of the tree in what was certainly a vain attempt to hide. “Get over here.” Damn. I sound tough. “Come on.”

The figure rose and seemed to shake. Moonlight splashed over a boy’s face. His hair was wild like the brambles in the fields nearby and his clothes were caked with dirt. He looked up once and then stared at the ground. “Don’t hurt me. It wasn’t my idea. Honestly.” He looked up and Callan had never witnessed such depth of pain. “Please don’t hurt me, mister.”

“Of course not.” The plea surprised Callan. “Why would I hurt you?”


This is currently a stand-alone excerpt. See DD Symms’ work on Amazon  Breathless Press and All Romance ebooks.

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Sexy M/m thrills with Dalton and Captain Shafter

Yea! I’ve taken the time to be involved with another My Sexy Saturday! Thanks, Lynn Crain for week 64! Wow! So many great authors. Click here to return to the blog hop.

Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming male male romance In His Sights that has more of an emotional dip and thrill where one man saves the other from personal destruction. It’s a Flirt from Breathless Press.


The twang of the acoustic got the song rolling, but the shock of his lover’s death and the turmoil overcame the music and this time Dalton wanted to flee the happiness, take his mug, and smash it against the mirror.

Instead, he pushed it away, leapt abruptly off his seat, and made his way around the crowded tables and past the laughing and hugging patrons. He pushed the door and the flimsy piece of wood flew open.

His eyes welled up. Fuck the tears. If he could do it over again, he would. He wanted to tell Jerry that he’d find a way if there was another chance, some type of reset. Shit. The tears broke through and clouded his vision so he couldn’t find his car. “Goddamn it.” All he had to do was jump behind the wheel, take off into the desert night, and fly off the first curve into oblivion and maybe, just maybe, he’d be reunited with his first love. He fumbled in his pocket and couldn’t even grab the keys.


Shafter again. Dalton made his way to the edge of the parking lot, away from the streetlamps and the angle of the headlights beaming in and out of the bar’s parking lot, gravel crunching beneath the cars’ tires. “Go back in and fuck with someone else’s mind.” This sure as hell was no way to get another guy in bed. Maybe Shafter was an emotionally sick and twisted pickup artist.

“Talk to me.”

“Why the hell should I?” Dalton wiped his eyes.

“Because you need to.” Shafter’s voice was calm.

In His Sights will be released Nov 21 on:

Amazon, Breathless Press, All Romance ebooks


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Finding Sexy after Tragedy — male-male romance In His Sights

good looking man under man showerThis week’s My Sexy Saturday addresses those who feel sexy thanks to their significant other. If you came from the blog hop, you can return by clicking here.

But what happens if tragedy strikes and how does one recover? That’s a topic I address in the male-male romance In His Sights. Dalton Blake is in the military and during an assignment in Afghanistan he suffers guilt and blame for a roadside explosion that took the life of his lover who served on the same base.

In the story, we see Dalton at the Twenty Nine Palms base about to leave military life behind. A captain tries to befriend Dalton at a bar where Dalton has gone to find escape from his loneliness and guilt.

“So what part of it is going well?” Shafter brought the conversation back to Dalton’s original answer.

Dalton turned his gaze back to the mirror. “You’re pretty damned persistent.”

Shafter circled his finger in the condensation on the mug. “I like knowing how people are really doing.” He moved his face close to Dalton’s and spoke in a low voice. “I just want to make sure you’re fine.”

A flatscreen television showed a baseball game in the bottom of the fifth inning and the closed captions scrolling along the bottom showed the play-by-play narrative. Someone pumped money in the jukebox and an Eric Church tune blared. Nature abhorred a vacuum, the saying went, and noise in a bar was proof of that. If the live band took a break, a recording had to jump in its place. Maybe Shafter knew it as well. There really was no such state as simply okay in the life of a warrior.

Dalton took another sip of beer and didn’t try to craft a response. “I’m not fine.” Lying wasn’t going to get him anywhere. He had invisible wounds, like so many others.

Does Shafter find a way to ease Dalton’s turmoil? In His Sights is entering the final editing stage and will be out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.


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My Sexy Saturday. Check out a list of romantic authors.

My Sexy Saturday is a terrific way to connect with authors worth discovering and exploring. Each week, there’s a different “sexy” theme and the authors are allowed to make a post related to what they perceive as sexy whether it’s a kiss, the surrounding atmosphere, or much more.

I didn’t join the list this week since I was working hard on a non-fiction project and doing my edits for my new Male-male romance In His Sights.

Look for me next Saturday.

In the meantime, click here to see the author list for Saturday, September 20 and get acquainted with writers or become familiar once again with some past friends.

My Sexy Saturday takes place thanks to author Lynn Crain who writes extraordinary romance for extraordinary women and works hard for all of us to get seen and supported.

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Slipping Through the Crowd, excerpt from Arrival by DD Symms

It’s fun to be part of the Sexy Saturday blog hop. Thanks to Lynn Crain and all the authors who take part. Below is my excerpt from Work in Progress novel Arrival. It’s a follow-up to Boarding, available through Amazon, Breathless Press, and All Romance. We see Jessie Carter after she’s achieved a certain status in the design and fashion world, dancing at an awards dinner.

Enjoy. And click here for the blog hop.

The vintage wine might as well have been flat Seven Up. The four-piece string quartet could have been playing a funeral dirge and for all Jessie Carter cared she’d rather be stuck shivering in a crumbling European castle instead of a gala in New York celebrating her arrangement with retailer Toni B.

“Hey, Jessie. You’re missing something.” A chair scraped on the wooden floor and Callan DeLongpre squeezed himself along the wall and took a seat next to her.

“Oh, what’s that?”

“Your smile.”

Jessie raised an eyebrow. Her upturned lips looked like the grimace of someone who couldn’t digest the buttery Maine lobster or the cheesecake.

Callan touched her shoulder. His fingers were warm and light as a feather. “Let’s dance.”

“Oh.” She had played it safe sitting against the wall. Her bouquet of roses had already been presented and she was looking for a discrete exit, a quick ride to the hotel, and an early morning flight to Los Angeles.

Callan didn’t wait for her consent. Her chair tilted forward as he moved behind her and she couldn’t resist his grip on her hand. “No.” His momentum pulled her from her chair and almost cleared her lethargy. She wobbled on her heels and the hem of her dress seemed to tighten around her.

“Too late.” His tone had a happy lilt. Jessie found it annoying during those times of public scrutiny or deadlines that were impossible to meet. His positive nature was also endearing and by the time he had one arm supporting her back and the other leading her through the tune, the dour mood that engulfed her like a fog lifted. His touch was like magic. “You move quite nicely.”

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Happily Forever in the High Desert on My Sexy Saturday

rs-1I’m back to My Sexy Saturday with this imagining of a Happily Ever After from my story Riding Shotgun.

Enjoy reading below and click here to rejoin the My Sexy Saturday blog hop:

It wasn’t the lengthening shadows that turned Brianna bittersweet. The galloping horse carrying her daughter made her realize that time was passing. Maya was already eight and begging to compete in the local rodeo.

“Hey, you just going to stand there or are you going to give the cook a hand?” Andrew balanced a platter of chicken for the grill and a pitcher of iced tea.

“Hey, don’t break your back.” Brianna rushed to help.

“Twisting it is more likely.” He used a knee to save the chicken before it scattered on the dusty ground. Heat radiated from the grill.

What a simple routine and it was just the way Brianna liked it. Friday nights for the family to regroup after going their separate ways during the week. “Let me get Maya to come in and wash up.”

“I don’t think you need to.” Andrew winked. A car pulled up to the riding ring and a friend of Maya’s and the friend’s parents got out and walked to the ring.

“What are the Monroe’s doing here?” Brianna wondered but when Andrew walked behind her, and placed his arms around her waist, and pulled her close and nuzzled her ear the answer was clear enough. Maya had her friends to see so she and her husband could regroup. Brianna was pleased. “Thanks, babe.”


This is my imagined follow-up to Riding Shotgun, when Brianna’s car breaks down in California’s High Desert on her way to Tahoe for some R&R to escape the turmoil of her personal life. She meets Andrew, a handsome mechanic who has his own secrets.

Riding Shotgun is available through Breathless Press  Amazon and All Romance ebooks.

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