A little something from Near Enough to Hold

A little something from Near Enough to Hold

Happy 2018! Last year I published a four-part serial love story called Near Enough to Hold, available exclusively for Kindle. Here’s a taste of it. Hope you like it! 

An excerpt from part four of Near Enough to Hold.

Something changed between us on Election Night. That night, we could have easily made love. We lay there in his bed, but we settled for holding one another.  “I’m almost scared to kiss you,” he’d admitted to me as we lay facing one another. His eyes were closed. I willed him to open them, to see me laying there topless and touch me. He’d tucked one hand under his pillow, the other lay still on my hip. His fingers pressed into my flesh, lightly at first.

“Look at me, Nick…”

He did as I asked. I knew he worried about what would happen to our friendship. In a way, I worried too. I didn’t want anything to disturb the balance…and yet, what I wanted most was to share my days and nights with him. I sometimes imagined what my life would have been like if I’d known him when I lived in New York, when my every waking hour focused on dance—on sewing elastic bands and thick ribbons to my pointe shoes, maintaining my flexibility and pushing myself to the limits to impress creative directors on the lookout for their next batch of principal dancers.

If I’d known him then…or if we’d met in London, would we have liked one another?

Would he want me in his life still?

Maybe all that mattered was the here and now. I didn’t need to know if he’d been a jerk in his past if he’d learned from his mistakes. Maybe he didn’t care that I’d been one of those dancers who didn’t care about anyone else as long as I got the roles I wanted. Maybe we’d both fucked up and learned from every single mistake we’d ever made.

But now, when he looked at me with those eyes that sometimes revealed so much of the sadness and the joy and the fear inside him…all I wanted was to crush my lips against his and lose myself in his touch.

 

 

 

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Just A Taste of Risking the Vine

Just A Taste of Risking the Vine

I’ve got a little secret … I love wine. So much that I’m writing a series set in and around vineyards. The research was fun and informative as I started. Risking the Vine features Jacqui Bishop and Luke Rossi, who have been sent to Team Vino, a team building camp in wine country. They’s met each other before, in Medford where they are from. But now, they are really going to get to know each other. Enjoy!

 

As the wait staff placed baskets of bread on the table, Luke asked, “So we met at a hospital happy hour, but you aren’t an employee. Where do you work?”

“MedServices. We’re a medical records management firm,” she replied.

“Hate to say it, I think we use your competition.”

“I know. Bella’s told me on numerous occasions.”

His eyes darkened. “Bella’s okay. We’ve worked together to settle a couple of issues with the nurses’ union. She strikes me as one of the sane ones in the HR department.”

“Hmm. Well, I’ve never heard her described that particular way.” Jac smiled at the idea of her zany friend being sane.

“In my experience the entire department thrives on a witch hunt.” Luke’s tone was glum. “They are constantly looking for a scapegoat to pin the latest trouble on, instead of considering the source of the trouble.”

“I think that’s the case with most organizations.” She reached for a piece of bread. Time to change the subject. “Where did you move from?”

“Most recently from Tampa. I’ve always lived in the southeast, so this is an interesting change.”

“How so?”

Luke spread butter on the piece of sourdough bread he’d selected. “The climate in Oregon is cooler and more temperate. Still terribly humid. There are a lot of rainy days in the northwest.”

“So right,” Jac replied, tugging on her hair, closer to straight than curly today. Humidity sucked, which was why she typically wore her hair up. She never had trouble making small talk, so why were they talking about the weather?

“Why are you here? And by here I mean at team building camp.” The expression in Luke’s eyes seemed open and curious. But something else lurked and smoldered, more than mere friendliness.

Low in her body, Jac experienced an answering heat. She cast about, trying to recall his question. “Oh . . . um, I’m up for a promotion and since I’ve never supervised people before, the owner wanted me to learn some tricks to boost cooperation between my department and other internal clients. Although, being out of the office hasn’t stopped the calls from coming in. I guess it’s nice to be missed.”

“Trouble?”

“Nothing I can’t handle. I’m in client services and sometimes our customers can be demanding. Medical billing, records and privacy concerns, all can be a bit of a nightmare.”

“Tell me about it,” Luke sympathized. His gaze clouded. “Probably a lot like personnel and budget management.”

Jac leaned to her right as the waiter put a bowl of stew in front of her. Her shoulder brushed Luke’s. Warm, welcome heat from the contact thrilled her. Even though she sort of already knew the answer, she asked, “What brought you here?”

Luke fisted his hand on the table, tapped it a couple of time, while a muscle in his jaw popped.

Oops, sore subject.

“Let’s not talk about work anymore, okay? Honestly, I’d rather talk about the weather or baseball than my job. Or whether or not you have a husband.” He lifted one brow and tipped his head to the side.

A small sizzle raced across her belly. “Uh . . . no, no husband. Not even a boyfriend in sight.” And she hadn’t been heavily involved with anyone since her college sweetheart. Damn him.

He nodded. “Good. I didn’t have a chance to get to know you at happy hour. I’m glad to fix that now.”

The slow lift at the corners of his mouth drew her in. Made her believe he really did think it was good she didn’t have a significant other.

Just a Taste of More Than Words

Just a Taste of More Than Words

more than words

My other job, aside from being a romance author, is being a voiceover artist. I absolutely love it and it was the perfect job for my heroine Skye. I also gave something I love to my hero Aidan. He plays hockey in a men’s rec league. I heart hockey so much. But that’s a post for another day… Please meet Aidan and Skye below. 🙂

This excerpt is from Chapter One:

 

Aidan MacKay prided himself on staying cool under pressure. His army days taught him the importance of an even-temper and self-control which served him well in civilian life, too—at work as the head of HR and at play, guarding the net for his hockey team.

But even Zen masters had a limit.

Waking up to a sick dog, followed by a dead car battery, two employee emergencies, then a showdown with the new payroll company had him clock-watching. At three o’clock, he’d barely made a dent in the pile on his desk, wading through seventy-five resumes for only three job openings, two of them temporary. Aidan teetered a breath away from his breaking point.

His head pounded. His mind swam with his never-ending to-do list. And his muscles ached from too many hours hunched over a desk.

Email after email appeared in his inbox and frustration mounted again. Blood pounded in his temples. He forwarded what could wait into Angie’s inbox, and then glared at the rest.

“Might as well get started,” he mumbled, scrolling down.

A name popped out at him from the mass of emails. A pleasant surprise. He lifted his fingers and sat back, staring at the screen.

Sky Galen.

The voiceover artist had been working with the company for the past six months, voicing sales training tutorials and workplace safety videos. Her friendly emails always made him smile. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair and hit play on the sound file.

Her voice glided out of the speakers, enticing him to open his eyes as if he expected her to be standing in front of his desk. Calming. Soothing. Like a spring rainfall cooling his hot skin. His heartbeat slowed. Breathing eased and his taut muscles loosened.

The recording ended all too quickly.

Holy shit.

He sat up straight, staring at the sound file on the screen, and hit repeat.

Wonderfully modulated.

Slightly husky.

Completely sexy.

Her voice contained magic. Real magic. No recording had ever affected him like that before.

He hit repeat again. Then, continual repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Perfection.

Her voice possessed the same relaxing effect as an hour’s worth of yoga, or several minutes of deep breathing, or time spent playing with his dog. Instant, utter peace.

Heartbeat quickening, he clicked on the link for her website below her email signature. A background in swirly shades of blue as peaceful as her voice, countless testimonials, and demos showcasing a broad range of projects, including a few for Kallis, filled his screen. Her About page spoke of a previous career in radio before pursuing voiceovers full-time. He’d known she liked music; they’d had an interesting email exchange on rock bands when he’d mentioned his hockey team listened to eighties hair metal bands in the locker room before games.

He clicked through each page. Unfortunately, no photo. He would have loved a face to place with the name and voice. They’d emailed back and forth, quite a bit during her last few projects. He’d learned that she loved scary movies, Italian food, and lucky for him, hockey—even though they rooted for two rival professional teams. Hell, he knew more about her than the last three women he’d dated—combined. And when was that last date?

She was funny, sweet, and now, he was eager, more than eager, to get to know her even better.

Screw it—why wait?

He jabbed his fingers at the keypad and dialed the number listed in her email.

Two rings later, she answered, “Hello?”

“Skye?”

“Yes?”

“It’s Aidan. Aidan MacKay. With Kallis Toys.”

“Aidan, hello. It’s nice to hear from you.” Her voice flowed around him like a gentle breeze. The way she said his name… He wanted her to say it again.

He shifted the phone to his other hand and relaxed against the back of his chair. “I wanted to let you know how happy we’ve been with you.”

“Thank you. I’m so glad. I love working with you. Kallis is one of my favorite clients.”

Damn. He was consumed by the urge to see her. Hearing her voice live only heightened his craving for more. Nothing short of face time would do. “I’d love to meet you sometime.”

“Yes, well—” A blast of hard rock music echoed through the speaker, drowning out her voice. Two feminine voices mixed in before he could hear her close a door. Quiet returned.

He glanced at the phone, wishing he could see her through it. “Uh… Are you okay?”

“I’m sorry. My sister is here visiting, and she accidentally turned on my sound system. In hindsight, having a universal remote wasn’t a smart decision.”

“Good taste in music. Can’t go wrong with The Fury. Great band.”

“I’m so embarrassed—not about the band—I saw them in concert twice, and they were amazing. I’ll be hiding the remote from Terri for the rest of her stay.” Skye spoke louder, over the other voice profusely apologizing in the background, strong enough to penetrate the closed door.

He chuckled, more relaxed that he’d felt in ages. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll let you get back to your sister.”

“Wait. Did you need something specific?”

She seemed flustered. And he didn’t want to continue the conversation when she had a captive audience. “It can wait. I’ll be in touch with more projects soon.”

“I look forward to them.” Her voice softened, and he smiled.

He was still grinning like a fool a full minute later.

He returned to her website and played the various demos. Her voice changed from friendly to informative to concerned, but each one had the same effect on his system—utter peace.

He’d give anything to bottle that up. And maybe, with Skye, he’d find something more than the words filling the air.

 

More Than Words is Book 2 in my Holiday Hearts series. It’s available at all retailers. You can find the links, and lots more, by visiting me at susanscottshelley.com.

Happy Reading!

Susan-Sig

 

A little taste of Maybe Tomorrow

A little taste of Maybe Tomorrow

MaybeTomorrowCoverMaybe Tomorrow is a standalone novel in my Maybe… series. This time the story focuses on Henrik–Mads’s cousin–and Eddy–Laney’s cousin–and what happens when sparks fly between them one Sankt Hans aften in Copenhagen. Maybe Tomorrow will be available later this spring (I promise). Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads.  

 

“You know, we’ve met before,” he said as he lit my cigarette for me. “Twice before, actually.”

He had the most beautiful hands I’d ever seen. Long, elegant fingers. They looked as though they could just as easily play a piano sonata as sculpt a work of art.

“Have we?” I took a quick drag from my cigarette and pretended to watch the other wedding guests. Really I was giving him a quick once-over. Of course, I remembered him. How could I forget someone so tall and attractive? Especially after our Midsummer weekend. But I’d pretended all day I hadn’t remembered, that the alcohol and the crushing hangover that followed had erased every trace of that weekend.

“When Laney had Liv. We met at the hospital.” Now he paused to light his own cigarette. He took a long, slow drag and then exhaled as if he were savoring every ounce of smoke sliding from between his parted lips. I glanced away. “Granted, I wasn’t there long. I had to leave for the airport—”

“Where were you going?”

“What? Oh! To Spain. My parents moved there when they retired, and I’d promised I’d spend part of Christmas with them.”

“I don’t remember us meeting there.”

“No, well, Mads introduced us very quickly before he rushed off to be with Laney and the baby.”

I nodded, but it didn’t ring a bell. I remembered waiting in the hall with Mads’s grandmother. She was so excited—she kept telling me about how it had been the night Mads was born, how his father had sat with his head in his hands and sobbed, unable to digest the reality that he was now a father. I’d held Alma’s hand and smiled at her reminisces. I could still remember how she beamed when Mads came out to tell us the baby was okay, that she was breathing on her own but that she would have to be in ICU for a while. When I asked him about Laney, he was still shaking and he had to sit down. I could barely hear him when he murmured, “Min elskede Laney er okayj. Jeg troede, jeg kunne miste den begge…Åh gudskelov, hun er okay.” I have a vague recollection of other people being there, of crying and the all-consuming relief that Laney and the baby had made it through, but I couldn’t remember anyone else than Mads and Alma.

“Were you there when Mads told us about the emergency C-section?”

“I was…” Henrik flicked some ashes on the pale gravel. He laughed and shook his head. “I was sitting right beside you.”

“And the second time?”

“Midsummer…you stayed at my house. We…” He paused as if considering his next words. I wanted to apologize for pretending not to remember him when we both knew I was lying. But he saved me by nodding in the direction of the party and saying, “I think our bride and groom are going to have their first dance.”

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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.

 

If you’d like to find out more, here are some handy little links for you:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

 

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…]