My Lady Faye

My Lady Faye

This year has flown past, and just keeps flying. On September 1st this year, I released the second in the Sir Arthur’s Legacy Series. Here’s a small taste from that book, My Lady Faye.

 

My Lady Faye Cover

The Lady

The fair Lady Faye has always played the role allotted her. Yet the marriage her family wanted only brought her years of abuse and heartache. Now, finally free of her tyrannical husband, she is able to live her own life for the first time. But someone from the past has returned. Someone she has never been able to forget.

 

 

The Warrior

After years of servitude as a warrior for King and Country, Gregory is now free to pursue his own path: to serve God by becoming a monk. The only thing stopping him is Faye. Gregory has loved Faye since the moment he saw her. But their love was not meant to be. How can he serve God when his heart longs for her? He can neither forsake God nor the woman he loves.

 

The Promise

When Faye’s son is kidnapped, Gregory answers her family’s call for help, only to find that even in the most dangerous of circumstances, neither can fight their forbidden attraction. An attraction that now burns brighter than ever before. And it is only a matter of time until it consumes them both .

 

The ache in Gregory’s knees brought him closer to God. Hunger gnawed at his belly and reminded him of his connection with the Lord. For three days he had fasted and prayed, waited for God to show him the way to enter into service.

God remained silent.

He must pray harder and keep at it until he had his answer. God’s way was not always the way of man and His divine timing did not always answer the impetuous call of sinners.

Something clattered through the bars of his cell.

Gregory started, but kept his eyes closed. He could afford no distractions in his wait for God to deign to speak with him. Sweat broke out on his brow. He bowed his head. “Dear Father in Heaven…”

Another skittering across the floor and Gregory opened his eyes.

A pebble lay almost within reach at his knees, a pale interloper against the dark stone floor of his bare cell. A thin pallet rested against one wall, stripped of linen except for a rough blanket. On the opposite wall a tiny barred window overlooked the fields were they worked each day. Above it a stark wooden cross served as a reminder that all here was by Grace alone. Beneath the casement stood a plain wood table and a bench.

The Abbey bell tolled Terce over the undulating chant of the monks reciting the second of the Little Hours of the Divine Office. Father Abbott had understood his need for private meditation, but he would be expected at Lauds.

“Psst!”

Not God at all, unless the Almighty had grown a set of large hands and gripped the bars of his cells so tightly His knuckles turned white.

A dark head popped over the lip, followed by dark eyebrows and the sharply drawn planes of a face many a lass considered handsome.

“Garrett?” Gregory’s knees creaked as he rose. Sharp pain lanced through his long frozen muscles. Three days, most of which spent on your knees, would turn any man’s limbs into a grandfather’s. “Is that you?”

“Aye?” Garrett blinked away a sweat droplet that snaked down his brow and into his eye. His face turned redder . “Only could you come down, I am not sure how much longer I can hang on.”

“Did you climb the side?”

Garrett’s teeth clenched. “Aye and I am about to go tumbling on my ass, so get down here.”

Garrett’s head disappeared from view as he scrabbled down the side of the two-story dormitory.

Alarm spiked through Gregory, if Garrett was here, something was amiss at Anglesea. Sir Arthur might have sent him with news.

My Lady Faye.

 

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Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Hello from sunny California! It’s fitting that it’s my turn to give you a taste of a forthcoming release. Set in Hollywood, Falling Stars is book one in a series that began life as a web serial on my Tumblr blog. Every chapter I posted about Sam Newman and Val Saunders, co-stars on a steamy new drama that find their on-screen romance blossoming into something far more complicated off-screen, seemed to ensnare more and more readers. Much to my delight and surprise, they couldn’t seem to get enough. Two years later, I finally have a chance to release it in larger installments. I’m nerv-cited, to say the least. [Read more…]

Just a Taste From Rhenna Morgan

Just a Taste From Rhenna Morgan

Gah! Can you believe we’re halfway through AUGUST!!! I’ve got a major school supplies and wardrobe mission for two little girls dead ahead of me and God only know how many back-to-school meet-the-teacher nights. Bleh!

On the bright side, book two from The Eden Series, Healing Eden, is due out in just four months!!! Yippee!

The official release date is December 8th, but it’s up for pre-order at all the major outlets. I’ve listed the links for you below, but figured today would be a good one to give you a sneak peak. Healing Eden was a much different story for me. It’s all about redemption, and Reese’s personality is far quieter than most of my heroes.

Still, he’s pretty awesome. And watching as Galena came into her own was beautiful.

In this outtake, Reese has been taken prisoner. Lucky for him, he’s got Galena for a healer. And when she comes to check on him, things get heated in a way neither one of them imagined would happen. I hope you enjoy it and you’ll snag a pre-order for my December release.

Oh! And before I go, Book One in The Eden Series, Unexpected Eden, is on sale NOW for only .99 cents. It’s a great time to grab a copy and get grounded in the fantastic realm of Eden.

Love,

Rhenna Morgan

With only the candle’s glow her hair gleamed more chestnut than auburn. She dipped her head and the flowery scent he’d struggled to name registered with a kick. Lotus flower. A fitting match for her exotic eyes, like water off a white, Caribbean shore.

He’d never dreamed he’d get this close to her. Not even when he’d visited the castle with Ramsay all those years ago. “I used to watch you.” Probably not his wisest confession. Then again, he’d be dead in who knew how many days. As repercussions went, they couldn’t get much worse.

Her gaze met his and her lips parted.

“It was a long time ago,” he said. “When I trained with Ramsay. Did he tell you about me?”

She ducked her head and studied his wound with extra focus. Not a yes, but not a no either.

“I didn’t come to the castle often, but when I did I’d watch for you. You were barely past your awakening. I thought you were perfect.” He cupped her cheek. “Still do.” He traced her cheekbone. “Your skin’s just like I’d imagined it. Warm. Soft.”

She leaned into his touch. Not much. Probably didn’t even realize she’d done it. Her eyes softened, lids dropping, and her hair slicked against his knuckles. “Reese.” A whisper. Nothing more.

“You see the good in me, but your brother can’t pardon what I’ve done. Nor should he. I’ll die for my actions in days, if not hours.” Was he really going to do this? Could he live with the humiliation if she refused his request?

Absolutely. He traced her lower lip and her breath skittered against his finger. “I always imaged what your lips would feel like. Will you give me that gift?”

Galena froze. “You want…”

“A kiss.” He chanced another glide along her mouth and the tip of her tongue trailed the path he left behind. “Just one.”

She swallowed and her eyelids fluttered shut as she pressed a kiss into his palm.

He braced, ready for her shutdown.

Her eyes opened and he jolted beneath the passion in her gaze. “One.” So much emotion. Need. Urgency. Fear and shame. All rolled into one power-packed word.

He leaned forward and curled his free hand around the side of her neck. A decent man wouldn’t follow through, but a far more primal part of him was in charge now, instinctive and not at all gentle. Her lips were close enough his own tingled. He held himself there, soaking in the sensation. Something to remember.

“Please,” she whispered.

Tightening his fingers, he angled her face for his advance. Slow. Careful.

Her mouth gave way, soft and sweet, parted just enough to lick along the lower one. She moaned and edged closer, opening to the bold sweep of his tongue.

He growled at her taste, mint and something that reminded him of long lazy mornings and sunshine. Her breath mingled with his, hot and heavy between each slick glide of their lips. Fuck ordinary air. This. This was what he wanted to live on. In his lungs, day in and day out.

Her fingers splayed across his pecs, blowtorch hot. He wanted them lower. To feel them slide down his abs and curl around his straining cock. Splaying his hand at the small of her back, he tucked her between his thighs so her hips nestled tight against his hard length.

She flexed her hips and a sweet, needy mewl vibrated against his lips.

He nipped her lower lip and slanted deeper, sweeping the plush texture of her tongue with his. Lost. No worries and no fears, just sweet, perfect abandon.

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Just a Taste from Sarah Hegger

Just a Taste from Sarah Hegger

Good morning from New York City, where I am attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. I’m sharing a taste with you of my upcoming new release, Nobody’s Fool #2 Willow Park Romance.

1978477_326714900859339_7243473038906140942_oJosh winced around a mouthful of lukewarm beer. Time to go. He’d been nursing this beer for the last hour and his new book on Sir Isaac Newton was calling him. Age or boredom—who the hell knew?

He’d only come here for a quiet beer to unwind from his day. Granted, this particular bar was a shitty choice, but it was close to his condo, the beer was cold, and the bartender friendly.

A woman pushed through two slick broker types and fumbled a cell phone out of a pair of baggy GAP jeans. Her burgundy University of Western Ontario sweatshirt sneered like a rescue pound mongrel at the expensive Armanis flanking it.

Her brow puckered into a vicious frown.

She could be lost, or in disguise, but she did have the whole I-have-no-idea-exactly-how-hot-I-am thing going for her. A light lurking under a bushel, a diamond in the rough, a girl with an air of do me, bad boy she seemed oblivious to.

Not so clueless was every red-blooded male in her vicinity. More than one covert eye went her way.

Dark eyes, gleaming with intelligence and ringed by thick lashes, met his gaze.

A promising start—if he was looking for a pickup, which he wasn’t—but still…There was something familiar about this girl.

Diminutive and with her face devoid of makeup, she could have passed for fourteen. The air of determination marked her as older, however. Closer to his age, which meant old enough to drink, old enough to drive, and old enough for all sorts of interesting games.

Ten years ago, five even, he’d have cruised right over and worked his smolder. He knew better now.

The woman ducked her head and took a call. A mane of long wavy hair obscured her face.

The sort of hair a man liked to curl his fingers in.

Her gaze flickered up and over him. Angry eyes under a pair of lowered brows, giving him the eye so evil he almost looked over his shoulder for the true beneficiary.

Whoa!

Women, as a rule, didn’t look at him that way. Women dressed like bag ladies with … pencils? No kidding. It was definitely a couple of standard number twos holding her hair tightly against her head. Women like her almost never gave him the hairy eyeball.

His feelings might be a bruised.

Nope. Feelings intact but ego definitely grazed. She kept her hostile glare going. Those things could smoke a hole right through him.

Maybe she was gay. Josh winced behind his beer, glad he wasn’t voicing any of this out loud. He would sound like an egotistical prick. Okay, women didn’t often turn him down, but it happened. Sometimes.

Her glance shifted away. She was aware of him and doing her best not to show it.

He knew her. It hit him out of the blue and he stopped to think. She had the sort of face it was hard to forget. Not pretty, exactly, more compelling, and a blank canvas for every thought running through her head.

And right now she was not aiming happy thoughts in his direction.

She hunched over her phone to hear better.

The love ’em and leave ’em style of his early twenties hadn’t left many warm and fuzzy feelings behind him. Still, he came up blank. He was reasonably sure she wasn’t one of the bodies littering his youth, but this lady did not like him.

“Hey, Jo-osh?” His name was singsonged at him.

And speaking of his youth, right on cue. The timing nearly made him bust out laughing.

His mystery lady stuck her cute nose in the air. The amber glow from the lighted bar counter turned her skin to butter cream and picked out the tiniest golden freckles across her upturned nose,

The disdain rolled across the distance between them in waves.

“Hey, Josh, like, hello.” A pair of breasts intruded into his line of sight, right beneath his nose. He faced the owner of the pair.

There were three of them and all looking at him expectantly.

Ah, shit, here we go.

Over the newcomers’ shoulders the mystery lady shook her head in disgust. Her eyes raked over him and the posse in front of him and rolled.

Now, that was not entirely fair. He might even be getting a little pissed at her and her attitude. Girls like the trio facing him were knee deep in trendy Chicago bars, which this one happened to be. They were voracious hunters and he’d only been standing here minding his own business. She needn’t act like he’d encouraged them.

In the meanwhile, Bambi, Barbie, and Bubbles—or whatever—posed and primped in front of him. Their cheeks pink with a combination of alcohol and excitement.

His heart sank. He could almost script what was coming. It was his own damn fault, ultimately, but there had to come a point when the ghosts of the past went toward the fucking light or something.

“So, like, we were wondering…” Bambi/Barbie/Bubbles pursed her frosted mouth at him and stuck out her breasts.

As if he could have missed them the first time around.

Two and three were providing the flanking action, mirroring her movements and throwing in some freestyle hair tossing.

“Hi, girls.” His skin prickled. Was he really going to have to do this now? Mystery lady with the judgmental eyes was going to get her money’s worth tonight.

SarahSig

 

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Today I’m sharing a wee snippet from the follow up to my debut novella, The Calum. In Calum Me Maybe, the bloom is definitely off the rose as Lovie and Duff navigate the choppy waters of their long distance relationship. Shifting priorities and startling revelations will either push them together, or tear them apart. Here’s a peek! [Read more…]

Just a taste of Maybe Forever – the Maybe… series

Just a taste of Maybe Forever – the Maybe… series

 

Maybe Forever 200 x 300

Maybe Forever – Book 3 in the Maybe… Series by Kim Golden

Purchase links

Kindle: http://bit.ly/KindleMaybeForever

Nook: http://bit.ly/NookMaybeForever

Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboMaybeForever

iBooks: http://bit.ly/iBooksMaybeForever

 

Excerpt from Maybe Forever
At some point I remember we lost our way. We could not remember which street would lead us back to our bed and breakfast. It was late and we’d had far too much chianti classico with our bistecca fiorentina. We ducked down alleys and side streets, looking for the entrance to the house but never finding it and that early spring night…when the air was so warm it felt like summer, though the Florentines were still bundled in down jackets… Mads gathered me in his arms in a deserted side street and kissed me so long and hard my knees buckled. I remember telling him how I wanted him to be the last man I ever made love to… and the smile that spread across his lips—so quick, so intense—made me fall even harder. His hands slid along my hips, gathering the folds of my skirt and spreading my legs with his thigh… I managed to stop him before we went too far… but I was so far gone, every fiber of me was attuned to this longing and wanted nothing more than for him to push me against a wall and lock my legs around him so he could take me… but I stopped him and laughed as I straightened my skirt and led him down one twisting street after another until we finally managed to find our little inn.
That night, we hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door and we made love until our bodies were sore and too sensitive… and still we wanted more. I remember how we tried to be quiet whenever someone passed our room. I’d bite my lip and try to hold in the brazen longing, Mads buried his face in my neck as his fingers dug into my hips and held me still. The brass bed squeaked and groaned with each thrust… and all I knew was that my body screamed out to be touched and stroked and penetrated. His hair was longer then, and I remember how I raked my fingers through those red-gold strands and gripped him and we kept our eyes locked on one another… I came so hard, and a few minutes later so did he…and when afterwards I twined my arms around him and he was murmuring to me in Danish that being inside of me was like coming home, I had this sensation that something monumental had just happened… I wasn’t sure what, but I remembered how my body felt so attuned to Mads’s and how I almost felt like I could read his thoughts. My body was singing, I love you, I love every inch of you, I love you…and his body responded in kind.
Will love tear them apart...?

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Just a Taste of “Cookie Cutter” by Jo Richardson

Just a Taste of “Cookie Cutter” by Jo Richardson

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Chapter 1. Iris

 

I breathe.

I count.

One, two, three . . .

“Allison Rose Alden! It. Is. Time. To. Go.”

I swear, if I had a nickel for every time I was late to work because of this child . . .

“Um, I have nothing to wear, Mother!” Her voice booms from upstairs.

She has plenty to wear. It’s October for Christ’s sake. We just went school shopping last month.

“I did your laundry yesterday.” I open the front door to give my daughter a hint. I’m not waiting for her.

Mom.”

“Good luck hitchhiking.”

I remember one more thing I meant to tell her this morning as I check to make sure I have everything. “And please stop using my tampons, Ally; I’m more than happy to pick some up for you but-”

I stand, shell-shocked, when I look up to see my path is blocked by a very tall, very dark-haired and bright-eyed, hard-body.

And he’s very blatantly chuckling. At me.

“Rough morning?” His brown eyes reflect amusement. His grin is wide. And cocky.

Hmph.

What is this strange man doing here, on my doorstep at zero dark thirty? And why is he laughing at me?

This is the last thing I need first thing in the morning when I haven’t even had my coffee yet.

I mean seriously, why does he have to smirk like that?

“I . . .” Where are my words? Use your words, Iris.

“I’m Carter,” he says. “Blackwood.” He hooks a thumb over his shoulder, still grinning ear to ear. “I moved in a few days ago.” He looks like he recently walked off of a photo shoot for some sort of construction worker of the year award.

His words sink in and I don’t want to look. Don’t look. But I do it anyway.

As I lean slowly to one side, I recall a conversation I had with my friend and realtor, Carl Burbanks, the other day. He told me all about how the new owner of Cindy and Sam’s old place got quite the deal and that it was his understanding that the gentleman planned to flip it for profit.

Cindy would cry if she knew. Sam would roll over in his grave.

It’s him, alright – the night owl home renovator that does not seem to know the meaning of the phrase quiet time. And is also, apparently, a morning person.

I stand upright again.

“Iris,” I tell him, hesitantly.

He peeks around me, into the house. “Your husband home, Iris?”

I put myself directly in his line of vision. This way, he has no choice but to pay attention to what I have to say next. I don’t want him to misunderstand me. “There is no husband, Carter,” I give him the same touch of sarcasm he threw at me.

His brown eyes flicker with interest and I question myself for a moment.

Should I have let that tidbit slip?

For all I know he could be a mentally unstable human being who flips houses as a cover for murdering innocent single mothers.

He’s not a murderer, Iris. This is Spangler, after all. Note to self, stop binge watching Dexter on Netflix.

“Got a hammer I could borrow, then?” His eyebrows bounce and his smile is wider now, if that’s even possible. His teeth are ridiculously white. I mean, like, fake white. There’s no way that’s a natural white. He must be paying thousands to keep his teeth that perfect. And who has eyelashes that thick? I blink when I realize I’m gawking at the man. Then it strikes me that what he’s asked for is odd. If I wasn’t seriously wary before, I am now.

“You remodel homes and you don’t have a hammer?”

“How did you— ?” his brow pulls together, then he shakes his head as though he wants to forget whatever it is he thought. “Never mind. Mine broke.”

The splintered tool is held up for me to see he’s not lying and I narrow my eyes at it. I know for a fact there’s a hardware store within ten minutes of here. Everything is within ten minutes of Spangler.

“Can’t you just go buy a new one?”

He sets it down, gently, onto my entryway table, as though he plans to stay a while. He’s definitely not staying a while. I don’t have that kind of time. Ally’s about to be late for school, therefore making me late for work and that’s simply not acceptable.

I’m still staring at the hammer when he answers. “I’d rather not.”

Then I point at my neighbor’s house. “What about—”

“They weren’t home.”

His grin is annoying. Way too annoying to be a murderer. And yes, I realize how nonsensical that sounds. I snarl. I don’t mean to. It’s a knee jerk reaction I have to pushy people. Especially pushy people who have an answer to everything. I have a choice to make here. I can, a) stand here arguing with him over it while debating whether or not he’s a murderer when in all actuality, if he was a murderer, he probably would have killed me already, or b) I could go get my damn hammer for him. Since battling him will do nothing but make me later than I already am, I opt out of an early morning, pre-caffeine argument and spin on my heels. I hurry toward the garage, and as I pass the stairs, I holler up to my daughter again.

“Five minutes!”

She groans in dramatic pain and I shake my head. I cannot wait for this “phase” to be over.

“Got yourself a handful there, I take it,” my temporary neighbor jokes from behind me.

“None of your business,” I say under my breath.

His voice is closer than it should be, so I stop and turn. He’s following me. Why is he following me? I put a hand to his chest. And holy. It’s actually hard as a rock. I didn’t think that was a real thing.

I force my eyes away from his pecs and look up at him.

“You – stay here.” Just in case.

Carter puts his hands up in defeat and stays put.

I finish my strut to the garage and open the door only wide enough for me to slip through without him seeing past me. I don’t need him making a tick list of all the things in here. Or judging my hoarder tendencies. They aren’t really my hoarder tendencies, to clarify. My ex managed to pack all his things, but never managed to pick them up after the divorce. I somehow cannot bring myself to get rid of the boxes that litter my garage now.

Call me sentimental. Or maybe I’m a glutton for punishment.

When I flick on the light, I sigh deep and heavy. I have no idea where I put the hammer last. Hell, I don’t remember the last time I used the hammer. I step down the three deep stairs into my overcrowded garage and walk around. I glance inside boxes as I pass them to see if I can figure out which one might have some freaking tools. The first is full of papers that look like they date back to the nineteen eighties. The second and third host an array of knick-knacks my ex has collected over the years. Football memorabilia, college player bobble heads, things like that. And then, I see it, finally. The box, that is. And only because it’s clearly marked. It’s in a bin on the highest peak of the tallest shelf.

Figures.

I check the time on my watch. It’s getting ridiculously late, now, so I throw myself into overdrive.

I really don’t have time for this.

I grab the ladder from its corner. It’s not in the best of shape. I’m pretty sure we bought this thing right after we were married and that was a good seventeen or eighteen years ago. As I open it up and prop it against the wall, I’m not so sure this is a good idea but I find myself climbing up the rickety steps, regardless. At the top, I struggle to open the box and keep my balance at the same time but finally find a hammer buried inside. I grumble all the way down the ladder and leave it be, which might have been a good decision except that I trip over the corner leg and stub my toe.”

“Mother effffffff.” Ohmygod that hurt that hurt that hurt.

“Ow.” I curse the ladder. I curse my toe. I curse the hammer and the man who came to my house asking for it all the way back to the steps leading back into the house. I limp the first two but on the third, I misjudge my footing and slip off the step. I try to regain my balance but I can’t. The hammer goes soaring and my eyes widen. My scream sounds like a wild banshee as I fly backwards. I frantically attempt to decipher the best way to land that will cause me the least amount of pain when suddenly . . . I’m not falling anymore.

The hammer clangs against the concrete floor as I’m jerked forward and for a moment I think someone is helping me up from behind. It’s not until I’m pressed firmly against a warm, solid, body, which smells like saw dust, do I realize I’ve been pulled, not pushed. He holds my wrist tightly while my arm wraps itself around his waist to hold on. When my senses return, I look up.

Perfect, dark chocolate irises stare back at me.

Soooo not a murderer.

“Gotcha.” The corners of his luscious mouth lift just slightly. Enough to make me lose my breath.

“Yes.” I’m mesmerized with the sound of his voice. “You do.”

 

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Thanks so much for checking the story out today!

Big Love,

Jo xoxo 6

Just a taste of Damned Sinner – The Jayne Series

Just a taste of Damned Sinner – The Jayne Series

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Damned Sinner. Book 3 in The Jayne Series by Jami Denise

Buy Link: goo.gl/RLqTDa

Excerpt from Damned Sinner:

 

Her lips were glossy and covered with a thick sheen of red. I stared at her mouth while dragging a finger across them and let the paint follow a path down her chin, over her neck, and down her chest. The stain coated the light fabric of the white dress—spoiling it, just like I was spoiling her.

“You can see right through this,” I said roughly and dragged a finger underneath the neckline of the dress. Your little pink nipples are pushing right through it—aching and ready for someone to bite them.”

I let my teeth snap in her ear and then sucked the soft skin into my mouth. “A man like me sees a woman in a dress like this, and that’s what he wants. To touch the nipples you so willingly show off, to bite, pull, tug, and suck on them. He wants to pull those sweet little tits into his mouth, let his tongue run over them until your nipples are so hard they hurt.

She was shaking, but I wasn’t going to stop there. As if to show her exactly what I was talking about, I moved the palm of my hand over her shoulder and down to her chest. I cupped one of her ripe tits in my hand, squeezing softly at first, and then wrapped my fist around it tightly and pulled.

She whimpered, and her knees shook. I was testing her, and so far she failed. As badly as she thought she wanted what I had to give, she had no fucking clue what it meant. She wasn’t ready.

I released her from my grasp and ran my hand over her clavicle, smearing the rotten red mess all over her chest and the top of the dress before moving it down over her belly.

“I could see the valley between your legs when you walked down the hallway,” I growled in her ear. “I could see your little pussy, the sweet V where I’d sink my cock. All I could think about was your long, skinny legs wrapped around my back while I fucked you right there in the hallway.”

She whined. “Please, oh God.” She grabbed the collar of my shirt and tried to pull me closer. “Fuck me, Vince.”

My cock jumped in reply, but I ignored her and went on with my ministrations. I reached the hem of her skirt, and with a swift rip, I yanked it up over her hip. There wasn’t much of it there in the first place, so it was no big task. That pissed me off even more. There were maybe three inches of lift and I could see her pussy.

Rubbing my coarse finger over her soft, silky mound, I stood back and watched her face. I was testing her, but I wasn’t going to push her. If she showed an ounce of regret, I was done. But I had to see where she stood once and for all.

Her eyes fluttered open as if she could read my thoughts. They were as wide as a newborn chick, scared and astonished, but surprised and exhilarated.

But definitely not ready to leave the nest.

I gave her pussy one more swipe of my finger and then a light slap. The shock showed clear in her eyes, and her mouth fell slack with pleasure. I could feel that she was into it, slick and warm and malleable in my hands.

“That’s right, baby,” I said gruffly. “I want to tear this pussy up. I want to make this pussy cry. You have no idea what I want to do to you, and if you don’t stop teasing me, you’re bound to find out.”

She bucked her hips stubbornly, and I narrowed my eyes. Folding my fingers, I gave her clit a hard flick with enough force to knock a dog on its ass.

“You’re not ready for this—or me,” I said, lowering my voice. “I want to defile you in so many ways, but that’s not what you want.”

“Yes,” she said. Her voice shook, and I could feel her heavy heartbeat through her dress.

“I care about what happens to you, Kelsey,” I said as evenly as I could. “That’s why I took you home—where you belonged. If you think walking around in Jayne’s clothes will do you any good, you’re completely wrong. What I want to do with your body is the same thing every other man out there wants. The only difference is, they won’t stop.”

“Don’t stop,” she said weakly, tears sprouting from her eyes. “I can handle anything from you. I love you, and you damn well know it.”

She dropped to her knees abruptly and raised her hands to undo my fly. I had a brief moment of euphoria. This was a regular fantasy of mine to have her on her knees with her mouth on me. It was too fresh and way too clear for me to think straight.

I jerked her up by her shoulders and pinned her back against the wall. “Stop!”

She snarled and fought against my hold on her. “If you don’t want me, why do you care if someone else does?”

I slammed her lightly against the door and leaned forward again so we were eye to eye. “I do want you—that’s not the problem. I want to fuck you. There’s a difference.” 10731092_762780400459953_967587681697264555_n

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Just a taste of “Rekindled”

Just a taste of “Rekindled”

Just in time for the start of baseball season…

Rekindled

Chapter One

Gemma Norwood shivered in her sweatshirt and glanced at the lake. The winter wind whipped blasts of icy cold air in stinging, tingling shots. Four years of living in Los Angeles had softened her tolerance of the harsh New York winter in the Catskill Mountains. Snow-dusted pine trees and calm waters set up a picture-perfect backdrop to the excited chatter and colorful bathing suits of the dozens and dozens of people milling around the embankment.

Beside her, Jocelyn pointed a gloved finger to the snow covering parts of the ground and gave an exaggerated shiver. “What idiot decided that jumping into a lake at the end of January would be a smart idea?”

“Well, actually, you did.” She laughed and dodged her best friend’s swat. The foreign laugh was something she hadn’t experienced in a long time. Life wasn’t funny while a career, and a dream, floundered like a fish suffocating on dry land. Twenty-four hours ago, she’d stood staring at palm trees, wondering if she’d ever see the West Coast again. Hopefully, a dip in the nearly frozen water would shock an answer into her system.

Murmuring about hypothermia and frostbitten toes, Jocelyn stamped her fur-lined boots against the ground. “My dad and brother decided this would be a good thing. If it were up to me, we’d hold a bake sale instead.”

Gemma sidestepped two little girls twirling in circles, giggling over the chance to wear their bathing suits in the middle of winter. “Your charity will raise a lot of money this way.”

“I’m thrilled about that part, but I’ll leave the jumping in the lake part to you crazy people. I’ll stick with my duties of organizing the event, helping out with pre-plunge participant check-in, and handing out hot drinks at the refreshment stand after the plunge.”

“I’m happy to help you pass out the hot chocolate.”

Amid banners promoting Hudson Contractors’ Caring Home Repair Fund, people were jumping around in creative attempts to keep warm. But there weren’t any signs of Mr. Hudson or his first-born son.

“Are your dad and brother here?” Straining to keep her voice casual, she peeled her sweatshirt over her head. Goosebumps seemed to pop out on top of goosebumps. The warm temperatures of L.A. had never seemed so far away.

“Dad’s probably checking to see if the mic’s working for his speech. He’s bummed about not jumping in the water this year. The cold weather is too hard on him.” Jocelyn’s smile dimmed. “Ever since his heart attack, he just doesn’t have the same stamina.”

The heart attack and triple bypass surgery that followed had taken a toll on Jocelyn’s entire family. Gemma squeezed her hand. From three thousand miles away, she hadn’t been able to offer more than prayers and a sympathetic ear. “What about your brother?”

In the whirlwind rush of packing her bags and arranging for the dog’s travel and flying home to Hunter’s Peak, she deliberately hadn’t asked Jocelyn about Adam, preferring to put off the conversation for as long as possible. A decision she now regretted. If he showed up, she’d have to rely on her acting skills to help her get through the encounter.

“Adam is supposed to be here but I don’t see him. You know, I just realized something. The first time we held the plunge was the first time you two met.” Jocelyn’s voice took on the extra-cheerful tone she always used when talking to Gemma about Adam. Being her ex-boyfriend’s sister could have meant an awkward end to their friendship, but Jocelyn seemed just as determined as Gemma to maintain their relationship. And when she occasionally hinted at trying to get them back together, Gemma ignored her and changed the subject.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m doing this for me. Not anyone else.” Her hands shook as she shimmied out of her yoga pants. She dreaded seeing Adam now that she’d reached her lowest point. Her stomach clenched, and she searched the crowd. No sign of him. A deep breath eased her nerves.

Jocelyn glanced at her and shivered. “This isn’t exactly the welcome home I’d choose, but to each her own.”

She needed to do it. Maybe it was stupid. Maybe she would regret it. But maybe, just maybe, she’d get her wish and figure out what to do next.

She handed the shirt and pants to Jocelyn, and they slowly shuffled into the crowd of people waiting for the Polar Plunge to begin.

“Do you think someone will recognize you and ask for an autograph?” Cradling the clothes and a few towels, Jocelyn tugged her hat tighter onto her head.

“I doubt it.” Four years of landing bit parts in B-movies didn’t translate into a large fan base. Heck, it hardly translated into any fan base. And while four years of catering countless parties had improved her culinary skills and paid the bills, it didn’t guarantee loyalty.

Frosty chaos? Yeah, that was her life for the past three days. A job lost. A rejection from the last production company she could find. Both had dumped a bucket of icy water onto her acting dream and thrown her into a tailspin. Admitting her exhaustion, frustration, and fear to her parents resulted in a plane ticket home. They didn’t care if she had her name in bright lights, but she sure did.

Jocelyn’s dad, wearing a Hudson Contractors jacket, stepped onto a wooden platform on the shore. The crowd’s noise lowered to murmurs as he gave a speech about the charity. When he finished, Jocelyn nudged Gemma’s arm. “I’ll wait for you by the fence near the parking lot. Don’t turn into an icicle out there.”

An air horn’s wail blared. The crowd surged and swept Gemma to the water’s edge. She forged ahead, splashing into the lake. Frigid water slapped her skin. Some enterprising soul dove into the water headfirst. His belly flop sent a swell of water over Gemma’s chest and chin.

Sucking in a breath, she stiffened her muscles. She had known it would be cold, but she wasn’t prepared for the frigid temperature. She should have been. She’d done this before. But back then, she’d had Adam’s hand to hold. And being in love with him made the entire world seem warmer, safer, more comfortable.

But that ended when he boarded a plane bound for major-league baseball in Northern California and left her behind.

Teeth chattering, body shaking, she fought the bone-numbing chill seizing her system. The stark cold was a sharp reminder of her lonely reality. All around her, people grabbed onto each other. Shrieks and screams accompanied laughter. Someone shouted an idea to swim across the lake. The couple next to her shook their heads and headed back to shore. Chill turned to an ache. Her toes hurt, her legs hurt, but she kept moving, determined to stay in the water just a little longer.

When the water level reached her chest, she turned back. Her foot slipped on a rock, and she pitched forward. Water rose up to meet her and closed over her head. It flowed into her nose and into her mouth. The shock of cold seized her muscles. She sank further. Heart pounding, she kicked out and felt for the lake floor. She pushed up and broke the surface, sputtering and coughing.

A large hand curled around her elbow. “Are you all right?”

The rough gravel of his voice, sharp and sexy, pumped fresh adrenaline into her system. Continuing to cough, she regained her balance and looked up the muscled torso and into the face of Adam Hudson. His firm mouth, straight nose, and intense brown eyes were just as she’d remembered.

The small scar running through his left eyebrow hadn’t been there before. He’d earned the mark eight months ago, but not being a part of his life meant she didn’t have the right to check up on him.

News of Adam Hudson, starting pitcher for the Sacramento Storm, getting hit by a line-drive that fractured his skull, had made national news and scared her enough to drive six hours up I-5 North to see him for herself. Heavily medicated, he hadn’t known she was there. And the cool blonde who slipped into the room when Gemma stepped out, solidified the notion that Adam had moved on. In the months that followed, the only way she’d been able to keep informed of his recovery had been phone calls with Jocelyn or scouring sports news sites.

His brows lifted, and his fingers loosened and then tightened their hold. “Gemma.”

The surprise in his voice cut through her discomfort. They stood in the crowded water, staring at each other. A rush of memories crashed into her like a tidal wave. Emotions jumbled together—longing, regret, wanting, need.

“Are you hurt?” He stooped, and his gaze searched her face. His other hand gently tapped against her back.

“I’m okay.” She stammered through trembling lips and coughed a few more times. Why did he have to find her at such a disadvantage? So much for her plan to appear cool and collected if they met.

“What are you doing here?”

“F-f-f-freezing.” Attempting a smile was difficult when frozen cheeks and frozen lips wouldn’t cooperate.

Something passed over Adam’s features, too quickly for her to name it. “Your lips are blue. Come on, mermaid, time to get out of the water.” His hand gripped hers, and he led her through the crowded water to the shore.

Feet like blocks of ice couldn’t feel the lake floor. She curled her hand more securely in his and followed his lead, saying a silent prayer that she wouldn’t slip under again.

When they reached dry land, his grip remained firm around her fingers. “Where’s your towel?”

“Jocelyn’s holding my stuff.” Her arms trembled. Shaking fingers formed fists in a useless attempt to keep warm. “She was supposed to wait for me by the fence, but I don’t see her.”

People darted around them, scrambling into dry clothes while a few brave souls ventured back into the icy waters. She pulled her arms in close to her body. She’d forgotten how painful the cold could be.

“You can use mine. Come on.” He pulled her through the throng and over to a grassy patch of land spotlighted by sunlight. After rummaging in his gym bag, he handed her a towel. “My sister didn’t tell me you were in town.”

“I arrived last night.”

“I thought your parents were in Florida this time of year.”

“They are.”

For a moment, they locked eyes and the chaos and noise surrounding them faded. He didn’t smile, just watched her with a neutral expression. “They usually have someone rent their house when they’re away.”

She nodded and wrapped the towel around her waist. Was he happy to see her? Angry? Anything? “I’m staying with Jocelyn.”

His mouth hardened. “How long are you staying?”

“I haven’t decided.” Clutching the towel tighter, she took a step back and drew in a deep breath to ease the tightness in her chest.

Goosebumps dotted his skin. “Let’s get you dry, and then some hot chocolate. You’ll warm up.”

“What about you? Your lips are blue, too.”

“I’ll be fine.” He rubbed his hand through thick, dark brown hair, dripping rivulets of water down his skin. His response echoed their last conversation, when they’d ended their relationship. If he remembered it, he didn’t let on. Instead, he pulled another towel from his bag and draped it around her shoulders. “I’ll look for my sister. Wait here.”

Gemma watched Adam stride into the crowd and rubbed the towel over her skin. The shock of the water was nothing compared to the shock of seeing him again. In all the ways she imagined they’d meet again, a sputtering half-rescue in an icy lake hadn’t made the list. But he’d been more than civil, he’d been kind. Maybe they could end up being friends.

The hollow feeling in her gut eased but didn’t disappear. Being this close to him again only reinforced how much she’d missed him over the last four years.

She wrapped the towel more securely around her body and stamped her feet and wiggled her toes, willing warmth to return. Workout clothes hung out of his open gym bag. She longed to pull on the socks and sweats.

Within a few minutes, Jocelyn and Adam strode toward her. Heat glittered in Adam’s eyes. A smile beamed across Jocelyn’s face. With a flourish, she held out Gemma’s clothes. “Sorry, I was helping set up the refreshments.”

Gemma tugged her sweatshirt over her torso, then wriggled out of her bikini top. With her towel wrapped around her waist, taking off the bottoms was nearly impossible, but she managed to slip them off and shimmy into her pants and sneakers without giving anyone a glimpse of something they shouldn’t see.

“No coat?” Adam stood in front of her, dressed in sweats and a jacket. His fingers brushed hers when she handed him the towels.

She shrugged and pretended the barb of heat hadn’t jolted her senses. “I gave away a lot of stuff before I moved to L.A. I didn’t anticipate needing a wool coat anymore.”

His gaze fixed on her chest and a muscle in his jaw jumped. “You kept my shirt.”

She glanced at the scarlet logo of his minor league baseball team emblazoned across the fabric. Heat flooded her cheeks. Keeping his sweatshirt after the breakup was one thing, but now he knew that she’d kept it. No way would she mention how many times she’d worn it or slept in it over the last four years. Why, why, why, did she have to wear it today?

What could she say? Before she could open her mouth, Adam unzipped his coat and placed it over her shoulders. She shook her head. “I can’t take your jacket.”

“Wear it. You’re still shivering.” His mouth finally lifted into a half smile. “Don’t fight me, or I’ll sic Jocelyn on you.”

“Just wear it, Gem. Adam’s tolerance of the cold is as tough as his head is hard. Let’s get some hot chocolate. I have to run back to help, so I’ll see you there.” Jocelyn turned away and broke into a jog.

Gemma gripped the coat against her body and turned to Adam. Warmth seeped into her system. “Thanks.”

People swarmed around them. He gestured in the direction his sister had ran. “Let’s get there before they run out.”

Walking side by side brought back a rush of memories of their first meeting at the plunge. She glanced sideways at Adam. Was he thinking about that, too?

Two little boys cut in front of her. She stopped short and Adam’s arm jerked out, blocking her from impact. His arm grazed her shoulder. Barely touching, but she could feel it. His chocolate brown gaze met hers. The spark of electricity that had always crackled between them flared to life so quickly, her breath caught in her lungs.

No. Not now. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

Murmuring her thanks, she lowered her gaze and stepped away.

They reached the refreshments. His jacket smelled like him, a familiar mix of soap and cologne. Surrounded by warmth, Gemma gathered her courage. So much needed to be said. When they both had hot chocolate in hand, she faced him. “I’m sorry about your accident.”

He lifted his brow. “Thanks. I survived.”

“I’m glad you’re okay now.”

His eyes hardened, and he stared at the lake. “There’s a difference between surviving and being okay.”

 

Available on Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

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Just a taste of “The Blarmling Dilemma.”

Just a taste of “The Blarmling Dilemma.”

 

A long time from now, in a galaxy…well, this galaxy:Teaser

The Blarmling Dilemma by S. C. Mitchell

 

Excerpt:

Rigel sighed. Without the full rap sheet, he didn’t even know exactly what she’d stolen. It could be anything from a subatomic particle to a Ramuligan Horned Calophant. He’d hoped she’d just hand him the merchandise. Maybe a bluff?

 
“You know I’ll be searching your ship.”

 
The woman nodded, but her eyes never left his. “You will find no stolen biological specimens on this ship.” Her gaze never wavered.

 
The statement, and the honesty behind her words, floored him. Rigel wanted to believe her. Her sincerity and defeated attitude made him feel like a pirate. Deep in his soul, something knotted.

Should I let her go?

 
Realization of what he’d been tempted to do hit him like a gut-punch and new resolve flowed through him. Oh yes, this woman was dangerous. With just one look in those incredible emerald eyes, he’d almost melted.

 
Phoebe Callista was possibly the most dangerous criminal he’d ever faced.

 

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Blarmling-Dilemma-Hearts-Orbit-Book-ebook/dp/B00QHND71S/

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