Weekend Excerpt–COVER REVEAL!

They say desperate times call for desperate measures.
Charley Weatherly is about to realize that it’s true.

Life isn’t working out exactly the way Charley Weatherly imagined it might when she walked away from her steady paycheck as a copywriter to start her own business. But as it turns out, not everyone in town is knocking down the door of her tiny independent bookshop. She has lost money every quarter since she opened.

Now, with her grandmother in need of more care than Charley can provide, some difficult decisions have to be made. The rest of her 401k plus the proceeds from selling the bookstore might keep Nana in Pacifico Manor for about a year. That would give Charley time to figure out her next move.

But when that money is irretrievably lost, Charley is faced with an impossible decision. Being a gestational surrogate for a couple who can’t have a baby on their own will bring in the kind of cash she needs. Can she really follow through?

Between trying to keep her small business afloat and caring for her grandmother, Charley’s personal life has been nonexistent. But when she moves to the city for a few months, she finds she enjoys the freedom of her part-time gig at Bravo Java. She especially enjoys chatting up the handsome local artist who spends his mornings there. Now that her life is taking an unexpected turn, has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Artist Ben Campbell has had his fair share of romantic disasters. For the time being, he’s content to follow his self-imposed schedule: gym, coffee, work, repeat.

But the new barista at his favorite coffee shop piques his interest. In fact, if he’s honest with himself, she looks a lot like the elusive redhead who haunts his dreams.

She seems to be attracted to him, too. So why does Charley insist on keeping him at arm’s length?

Prefer your romance with plenty of heat and tons of heart?
You’ll love The Girl in the Guesthouse!

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE comes out December 14, but for a limited time, you can take advantage of the special 99¢ pre-order.

Here’s a teaser…

Seated across from Drew and Alex Shepherd-Wang at the center of a long conference table, Charley struggled to focus as her head swam. Voices came to her as if she were underwater. In front of her was a stack of paper that constituted the agreement between herself and the couple on the other side of the table.

“What do you think about Item 15, Charley?” Jacqueline asked, bringing her out of her fog. “If the implantation of multiple embryos results in more than one fetus, are you willing to carry multiples?”

Charley blinked hard. “Multiples?” A glance across the table showed Alex and Drew watching her anxiously.

Jacqueline’s smile was kind. “Twins or triplets? On the off-chance, you realize. It’s not actually all that common. It’s just that implanting more than one embryo increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.”

Exhaling slowly, Charley nodded. “I understand. Yes, that’s fine.”

“Excellent.” The lawyer gave a satisfied nod. “Okay, everyone, initial Item 15. Obviously, Charley, in the unlikely event of multiple fetuses, your fee increases per baby.”

Charley nodded again and swallowed hard. Holy shit!

“Now if everyone can turn to page 5,” Jacqueline continued over the shuffling of paper. “Charley, the Shepherd-Wangs have a rather unusual offer. You can peruse it, but maybe it would be best to let them explain their thoughts.”

Frowning, Charley skimmed the item in question. …San Francisco…guest house… When Drew quietly cleared his throat, she put the paper back on the table and looked up at him.

“Charley, we’d like to ask you to move to the city. I mean, once you’re pregnant, of course.”

Frown deepening, she tilted her head. “What?”

Alex slipped his hand through the crook of Drew’s elbow. “We’re just a little concerned, that’s all,” he said. “There you are, living all alone in Modesto, at least an hour and a half away, having to schlep all the way here every time you have a doctor’s appointment. Plus, what if something happened? Or there was some kind of emergency?”

“We have a guest house out back,” Drew offered earnestly. “It’s not huge but it’s very comfortable.”

Alex leaned forward. “And I’ve been itching to redecorate it for ages. What’s your favorite color?”

Head spinning, Charley leaned back in her seat. “I’m always drawn to purples and blues, I guess,” she murmured. “But I can’t just move to San Francisco.”

“Why not?” asked Alex bluntly.

“Well,” Charley spluttered, “because.”

With amused expressions, the pair watched her expectantly.

She gestured in front of herself. “For one thing, there’s the house. I can’t just…board up the house for months on end.”

“So rent it out,” Alex suggested reasonably. “I’m guessing your grandmother paid it off a long time ago, right? So that income would be profit. Which helps with your goal of keeping her in quality care.”

Charley blinked, picturing the vintage white bungalow. It was a good idea, she had to admit to herself. She considered what she might be able to charge and figured it would go a long way toward adding to the Pacifico Manor account.

Then she thought about the marketing firm she’d left to take a chance on her own business.

“Plus, I was just about to see if I can get my old job back,” she said with a sigh.

Alex leaned forward on his elbows. “Is that your dream? Going back to a job you walked away from?”

“Of course not,” Charley frowned. “But what choice do I have?”

Drew’s smile was soft. “Rent out your place. We have a really comfortable life in Pacific Heights. Come stay with us in the guest house. Take the time to figure out your next move.”

“Besides owning your own bookstore, what is your wildest dream?” Alex gently prodded.

Charley blinked hard, attempting to slam shut the window on her most secret aspiration.

“It was right there,” Alex observed softly.

Charley rolled her eyes and shrugged softly. “It’s ridiculous, really.” She blew out a breath. “I’ve sometimes puttered around with writing a gothic romance novel, you know, like Jane Eyre or something. I know, it’s beyond–“

“Brilliant,” Alex finished for her. “You’re Charlotte, as in Brontë.”

She nodded as her face reddened. “My mom was a big fan, and she passed that passion on to me, I guess.”

“So come to our guesthouse and write your book.”

Sighing deeply, she shook her head slowly. “I don’t know. I mean, even if I did, I’d need to have a job. I can’t just…” she waved her hands again, “not work.”

“I own five companies. We can find you a job, if you insist. We want you to be happy. And we’d feel more comfortable if you were close by.” Drew watched her curiously.

Charley pushed back from the table and stood, walking over to the window where she looked out over the busy city. She was afraid to admit to herself that their offer sounded like the dream vacation she hadn’t had the luxury to take since she’d quit her full-time job. To not have to worry about the house other than to collect the rent payment, maybe occasionally see to some minor repair or other? To not worry about paying any bills other than her phone and the insurance on her ancient Honda?

But what about Nana?

She sighed. That was an issue.

Why, though? She could still drive out to see her grandmother anytime she pleased. She’d probably have more time to do it than she did now, certainly more time than she’d have if she worked full-time.

Doing a job she hated. At a place where everyone would know that she’d risked chasing her dream and gone down in flames.

Maybe this was her second chance. Inhaling deeply, she turned back to the table.

“I’ll do it,” she nodded.

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE
comes out December 14.
Reserve your copy now for just 99¢!
books2read.com/TheGirlInTheGuesthouse

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

She’s a rancher with a heartbreaking secret.
He’s Hollywood royalty,
poised to take a chance that risks
his reputation and his career.
Now that they’ve found each other, can he win her heart?

Anna Graves works hard helping to run her family’s Wyoming dude ranch. Still reeling from the tragic loss of her smokejumper fiancé in a horrific wildfire, she is content to hide from the world as she teaches horseback riding lessons to tourists by day and reads smutty romance novels by night.

When world-famous Scottish actor Angus McGregor needs to brush up his cowboy skills in preparation for his starring role in a new Western, he heads to Sweetwater Ranch in the boondocks of Wyoming. He is immediately fascinated by Anna, who won’t give him the time of day. Can he break down the self-protective wall she has built?

If you like hot cowboys, Scottish accents, and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love ANNA’S HEART, the third book in the Redheads & Ranchers series!

Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation? In this scene from ANNA’S HEART, rancher Anna Graves finds herself wishing she could melt through the floor.

As the last of the stragglers left the dining room, Anna left her mother and Simone to finish breakfast cleanup. A huge stockpot of hearty beef stew simmering on the stove would be ready for lunch in a few hours. Simone and Mrs. Graves would eventually make their way upstairs to join Lana in freshening up the handful of guestrooms located in the main lodge.

Anna would see to the cabins by herself, a job she’d insisted on as Simone and her baby bump had grown more and more unwieldy. Sweetwater Ranch wasn’t a hotel, really, so the day-to-day housekeeping was fairly light. While fresh sheets were available upon request, staff didn’t make beds or change the sheets on a daily basis.

On the other hand, between riding horses, working with cattle, and practicing outdoors skills, guests tended to get grubby as they participated in ranch activities, so daily fresh towels were a must. Anna also preferred to spot-clean the bathrooms and kitchens, straighten anything out of place, and remove the trash each day.

It was definitely easier when she split the duties with Simone, but over the past few months, Anna had worked out a routine that allowed her to finish her housekeeping duties in about an hour. And that left her plenty of time to make sure she was ready for her afternoon riding session before she headed back to the kitchen to help with lunch.

As usual, she started with Cabin 1 and worked her way back. The first five cabins, the newest of the bunch, were nearly always occupied for every session, summer and winter alike. When they had a larger-than-normal group of guests, the older cabins were used, beginning with number 6.

She herself occupied number 7, then numbers 8 and 9 were available to guests. Ross lived alone in Cabin 10. Andy and Simone had an apartment on the top floor of the main lodge, while Anna’s parents remained in the family quarters just off the lodge kitchen. It was where Anna and her brothers had grown up, and their father before them.

The newer cabins had been built when Anna was in high school. They were nicer than the older ones, but they were smaller. As she drove the golf cart from Cabin 5 to Cabin 6, she wondered what movie star Angus McGregor thought of his rustic accommodations. On the one hand, his cabin was larger than the others. But on the other hand, it was older. The amenities weren’t as new and the bathroom and kitchen hadn’t been updated.

Fresh towels folded over her arm, Anna snorted as she walked up the front steps of Cabin 6. Angus McGregor, cooking for himself in the little cabin kitchen!

Right! I’m still surprised he deigns to show up at mealtime, she thought to herself. Figured he’d call the front desk expecting room service.

Pausing at the door, she knocked lightly. “Housekeeping!” She knew that at that time of the morning, he was in Andy’s riding group. It was why she did these chores right after breakfast. Everyone had someplace to be, and it was a rare instance when someone was actually in their cabin.

Still, it was better to be on the safe side. She knocked again, then unlocked the door and let herself in. A quick scan showed the open living room/kitchen combination to be neat and tidy, save for a bunch of index cards spread all over the kitchen table.

She craned her neck to look at them briefly as she made her way to the kitchen trash can. Quickly, she removed the bag and replaced it with a fresh one, placing the old bag beside the front door. Everything else in the kitchen looked in order so she carried the fresh towels down the short hallway to the bathroom. Still envisioning the famous actor trying to cook something on the older-model gas stove, she smirked as she opened the bathroom door.

Clouds of steam rolled over her as a very naked Angus McGregor, towel in hand, froze stock-still.

“Anna?” Eyes wide, he moved the towel down to his waist, but not before Anna got an eyeful of a most impressive cock.

“Holy shit!” she gasped, stumbling backward into the hallway wall.

As she turned and rushed down the hallway, she heard his bare feet padding along behind her.

“I’m so sorry,” she offered without bothering to turn around. “You’re supposed to be riding right now.”

“Aye, about that,” he answered, “I switched to a different session.”

“I knocked, I swear I did.” Clutching the towels, she still faced the door. “I didn’t mean to just barge in on you.”

“I’m just back from a run. I didn’t hear ye over the shower. Anna?” His tone was soft.

Slowly, she turned around, willing her eyes to stay away from the bulge beneath the towel around his waist. She allowed her gaze to skim up his rippled abs to his muscular chest and wide shoulders. Water still dripped from his hair and he swiped a hand across his face.

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely better than staring at his package.

“It’s okay, really. Just a miscommunication is all. No worries.”

Utterly humiliated, Anna nodded mutely and turned back toward the door.

“Anna? Can I have the fresh towels?”

She rolled her eyes and turned back, handing over the towels. “Oh, yeah, of course. I just…well, I usually exchange them for the old towels.”

“Do ye want this one?” His grin was wry.

“No! Holy shit, no keep that on,” she squeezed her eyes shut and waved her hand. “I’ll get it tomorrow.”

She opened the door and let herself out onto the cabin’s covered porch, then stopped.

“Wait a second! You switched to what different riding session?” Turning back around, she placed her hands on her hips.

Lips pursed as though he were suppressing another grin, he leaned his shoulder on the doorway. “I’ve never ridden a horse before. I requested tae be placed in the Beginners’ group.”

“But that’s my group.”

“So I was told. I didn’t think ye’d mind.”

Anna worked her mouth, unable to come up with the proper words.

Blue eyes sparkling, he watched as though to see what she’d come up with.

Finally, her articulation skills gained traction. “But it’s a kids’ group. They’re all kids.”

He nodded. “Aye, I was told that, too. And they’re beginners, just like me.” He tilted his head thoughtfully. “If ye don’t want me in the group, just say so.”

“No, it’s not that, it’s just…” Anna’s heart pounded and she felt her head spinning. She willed herself to be anywhere except where she was. “Fine. It’s just fine. If you don’t mind riding with the kids, I’m sure they won’t mind.”

She hurried down the steps and got into the golf cart. “Well, again, sorry for…” She trailed off, feeling sheepish. The amusement sparkling in his eyes didn’t help at all.

“I’ll see ye at lunch,” Angus said, chuckling.

“See you,” Anna nodded, pressing the accelerator and speeding off down the trail.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

ANNA’S HEART is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/AnnasHeart

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

They say still waters run deep.
In the tiny lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

If you love your romance with a little bit of spooky, MIDNIGHT COVE is for you!

Read a little teaser.

A flash of lightning lit up the downstairs of the lake house like an overexposed photograph. The crack of thunder was instantaneous, and Bree ducked her head reflexively. Murphy, never a fan of a thunderstorm, cowered beside her on the sofa.

The power had blinked off nearly half an hour earlier, and now the den was lit only by the fire in the fireplace along with a few scattered candles Bree had brought down from upstairs. She’d had a productive day of writing, and now she was content to watch the storm and read her Kindle for as long as the battery held out.

She patted the dog affectionately. “You’re fine, don’t be such a baby,” she murmured. “It’s nice and cozy in here, and I’m sure they’ll get the power back soon.”

The tiny digital clock in the corner of her tablet read 10:04, and Bree wondered if the power might be off until morning. Certainly, no one would be climbing up any power poles until the storm was over.

Briefly, she considered heading upstairs to bed, but her phone rang before she could definitively decide.

“Hi,” she smiled.

“Hi yourself,” Jake said. “How are you holding up in this crazy storm?”

She glanced at Murphy and shook her head. “Oh, we’re fine. Some of us are better than others.”

“Murphy’s not digging the thunder?”

“You guessed it. I, however, am enjoying the light show over the lake. I wish the power were on, though. It feels very 19th century. I’m so spoiled,” she laughed.

There was a slight pause. “We don’t have any reports of power outages. How long has it been out?”

Bree raised her eyebrows. “Maybe half an hour?”

“Can you see if mine’s out, too? I left my dock light on.”

“Okay, hang on.” Bree slipped off the sofa and padded to the back door. Through heavy rain, she could just make out a dot of light several houses down. “Yeah, I think I can see your light. The rain is so heavy, it’s hard to tell.”

Lightning flashed again, for a microsecond illuminating a dark figure standing directly in front of Bree, mere inches away on the other side of the glass. She shrieked, scrambling backward so fast, she tripped on the rug and ended up on her behind. Her phone landed beside her.

“Bree! What’s wrong?” Jake’s tone was urgent.

She snatched up the phone. “Holy shit! I thought I saw someone on the deck.” Bree’s heart pounded.

“Is someone out there?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s crazy, nobody would be out there.” Another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the darkness, and she saw it again. Someone in a dark hood was peering in at her from the deck. She gasped and crab-crawled backward to the end of the sofa, hiding herself from view. Murphy leaped off the sofa and charged the back door, barking for all he was worth.

“Bree? Bree!”

“He’s…he’s there! Somebody’s out there! I thought maybe it was just my own reflection, but he’s out there!” Bree felt hysteria rising.

“Bree, where are you right now?”

“I’m hiding behind the sofa,” she whispered.

“Is there someplace you can go, a closet or something close by?”

With Murphy still barking, she looked wildly around the room. From her vantage point behind the sofa, she could see the hallway that led to the foyer. She knew there was a closet about halfway down.

“Yes, yes,” she hissed. “The coat closet.”

“Stay low and get there. I’m on my way. Don’t come out of the closet. I’ll call you once I know it’s safe, okay?”

Phone pressed to her ear, Bree nodded.

“Bree, did you hear me? Hide in the closet and don’t come out for anything.”

Her teeth chattered, and she nodded again. “In the closet. You’ll call me.”

“I will. Everything’s going to be alright. I’ll be there as soon as I can get there.”

*******

Jake doubted he’d ever made the trek from town as quickly as he did that night. Dan Roebuck, also on duty that rainy night, followed Jake in his own patrol car. Blue lights flashing as the storm’s fury began to subside, Jake skidded to a stop in the gravel driveway and jumped out into the steady rain that still fell.

Heavy black Maglight in one hand and service revolver in the other, he nodded to Dan. They split up, cautiously searching around opposite ends of the house and meeting at the back deck.

Jake glanced down the lake toward his house and saw the light illuminating the end of his dock, just like Bree had said.

“Hanson.”

He turned to Dan, who aimed his flashlight on the wooden steps leading up to the deck. “Muddy footprints. Somebody was out here.”

Stepping carefully to avoid ruining the tracks, the men followed the trail up the steps and all the way to the back door, where they ended. Inside the house, Murphy continued to bark.

“It’s okay, Murphy, good boy,” Jake called to him.

As soon as the dog heard Jake’s voice, the barking was replaced by tail-wagging.

The two men crouched to examine the muddy prints. Jake’s lips pressed into a grim line. “The guy stood here for a while.”

He looked up, past the yellow lab who was now whining at him, into the den where the fire still burned in the fireplace. A half-glass of wine sat on the end table beside the place Bree would have been sitting on the sofa.

Jake felt a ripple of rage. Someone had stood out here watching Bree. He shook his head abruptly. “Hey, Roebuck, want to keep looking around? I need to let her know we’re here.”

Dan nodded and moved further down the deck, shining his light as he did. Jake took out his phone and carefully headed back down the stairs.

She picked up on the first ring. “Where are you?” she whispered.

“I’m here,” he answered as he rounded the end of the house. “I’m heading to your front door now. Come let me in.”

At the front door, he tapped lightly, exhaling deliberately as he tried to tamp down his anger. That someone had been prowling around the house, had been peering in at Bree, was more than he could stand. As she tentatively opened the door, he pasted on what he hoped was a reassuring smile. When she saw him, she threw herself into his arms.

“Hey, it’s okay, everything’s okay.” She shook uncontrollably as he held her. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Come on, let’s go inside. I’m getting you all wet.”

“I-I don’t c-care,” she told him. “I was so scared.”

“I know, babe, but you’re safe. I promise you’re safe now.” He walked her to the sofa where she sat. He took a seat on the coffee table across from her. “Now, tell me what you saw.”

Her eyes were wide, and she still shook. He took her icy hands between his own. “Bree, describe what you saw.”

“A-a man was just standing there. It was so dark. I only saw him for a second, when the lightning flashed. At first, I thought I had scared myself, that it was just my own reflection. Or maybe–“

She looked up at him like she was surprised to see him, and she shook her head again. “But when the lightning flashed again, he was still there. I was so scared,” she squeaked as tears began to fall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–WARRIOR MINE

She’s the perfect combination of princess & warrior.

Scott Nielsen and Jackie Walker.
Their attraction is instant from the moment they meet.
But he’s Dominant.  And no way is she submissive.
Is it a missed connection?  Or a divine appointment?

Scott Nielsen is ready for change.  He’s walked away from his career as a wilderness counselor, planning to start his own outdoor survival school.  He looks up his old friend and former colleague Blake Walker, intent on leasing space at Blake’s family’s remote wilderness guest lodge.  That’s where he meets Blake’s sister Jackie, who runs the lodge with her brother’s help.  Her strength and independence intrigue Scott.  A single mom, Jackie has no intention of being anyone’s submissive.

In his personal life, Scott is tired of casual sex in the BDSM club scene.  Envious watching his buddy Blake fall head over heels for his own submissive, Scott thinks he might be ready to take the plunge himself.  As he and Jackie spend time together, he’s enchanted with her inner Warrior Princess.  But Jackie’s been burned before.  And she has two children who are her priority, not to mention the business to run.   As independent as she is, she can’t see relinquishing her power to a man, not even one she’s falling for.

Scott’s heart aches at the idea of not having Jackie in his life.  Can she take another chance on love, or will she insist on ignoring her submissive soul?

If you enjoyed LOST & BOUND, you’ll love this spin-off stand-alone story.

Read a snippet now.

“It’s a gorgeous day,” Scott commented.

“It really is. I haven’t been out in the woods like this in a long time.”

Scott watched her appraisingly. “Are you much of a camper?”

“I can hold my own.” She lifted her chin, and he saw a glint of challenge in her eye.

“I imagine you can,” he smiled to himself.

He watched her dig the toe of her boot into the soft black earth and push it into a small heap. “So let’s talk, Jackie.”

She exhaled loudly, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw her grip her hands so tightly together, her knuckles were white.

“This makes you nervous,” he observed.

“Well, yeah! You’re over here wanting me to agree to be some kind of…I don’t know what…slave, I guess. That’s so not me.”

“You’re right, it’s not. I see in you a submissive soul, but a slave is not remotely what I have in mind. Jackie,” he straddled the log to face her, “you’re a strong, smart, sexy lady. I admire the hell out of you.”

“So why do you want me to give all that up?”

“I don’t want you to give anything up. I love all those things about you.” He laughed softly. “I love that you challenge me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Jackie’s expression was dubious. “I don’t understand what you want from me. Am I supposed to run and jump into your arms like Amy does Blake?” She rolled her eyes.

Scott had to laugh. “You’re not a slave, and you’re definitely not a baby girl like Amy, either.” He gave her a side-long glance. “Amy’s a sweet girl, but she’d drive me nuts. A Daddy Dom I am not.”

“Good, because there’s no way I’m calling you Daddy.”

“Our dynamic would be more King and Princess. You’d call me Sire.”

He was pleased when he saw her reluctant smile. “All I want is for you to let go and allow me to lead you, to help you be free to be your true self. You can depend on me, Jackie.”

Restlessly, Jackie got up and paced back and forth. “It’s not like it’s just me, Scott. I’m a mother. I have two kids to care for, and they have to be my priority. I can’t decide I’m going to just go off and do whatever I want. Plus, there’s the business…”

She stopped pacing and faced him. “I’m a whole ‘package deal’. You don’t need all that. You should be out meeting women who aren’t so tied down.”

Scott couldn’t stop the smirk as the image of a nude Jackie tied to the posts of a bed flashed through his mind. She must have realized it, because she blushed bright red. “I’ve met my share of women, Jackie. Women who don’t mind being tied down.” He chuckled. “I’ve done the club scene, and I’m tired of casual sex. When Blake told me he’d found someone, I have to admit, I felt envious. I took a hard look at my life and I realized it was time to make a change. I had no idea I’d meet someone so quickly.”

He considered going to her, but changed his mind, allowing her space. “I’m attracted to you, Jackie, in a way I haven’t been to anyone else. You have no idea how hard it was for me to resist you that night you came to my room. Hell, to resist you last night. You’re beautiful, Jackie, in case no one’s told you in a while. That one perfect exposed breast? I’ve had dreams about that.”

Jackie blushed, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Together we have an explosive chemistry. I know you feel it, too. I’m dying to take you to the next level.”

Arms still crossed, she shrugged. “Yeah, we have physical chemistry. Maybe it’s because it’s been a long time for me, I don’t know. And I appreciate the things you’ve done, like taking care of things when Emma was sick, and Jesus, you saved Grant’s life.”

She started pacing again. “And you washed my hair. I couldn’t believe you did that. So when you say, Now be my submissive,” she deepened her voice to imitate Scott, “it’s like I owe you.”

“You don’t owe me, Jackie. I washed your hair because it was what you needed. That’s what a Dom does.” He gazed out through the woods and exhaled sharply. “I think you’ve read too many so-called BDSM books about sadist Dominants. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about safe, sane, and consensual. Always.” He looked back to her. “You can depend on me, Jackie. I’ve got you.”

She walked to the edge of the clearing, her back to him. Her voice was small. “What if I depend on you, and you leave? I don’t think I could survive that. Better to be on my own and know what I’m getting.”

“Jackie, I’m not him. I’m not that guy.” Scott approached her, tentatively reaching out to touch her shoulder. “I’m this guy, right here, asking you to let me share your burden, to lighten your load, and set you free.”

She reached up to put her hand on his. Her voice was small. “I don’t know if I can do that.”

Leaning down, he kissed her hand. “Fair enough.” Ignoring the ache in his heart, he cleared his throat. “Are you about ready to go?”

Jackie nodded. Scott returned to the log to retrieve his backpack and together, they headed along where the trail continued beyond the clearing.

Almost immediately, the path led downward, although not as steeply as the way up had done. Before long, the forest ended at a rocky bluff about thirty feet above the lake.

“Is this where the trail ends?” Jackie asked.

Scott nodded. “I saw it on the map. It seemed like a good possibility for some of my more advanced clients, so I wanted to check it out. I figured we’d rappel down to the lake.”

Jackie’s eyes widened. “What?”

“Have you done any rappelling?” Scott already knew the answer, having asked Blake about it earlier.

“No, I haven’t done any rappelling.” Jackie eased forward and peered over the edge. “Would you seriously send your students here?”

“Only those with the right kind of experience.” He set down the backpack and removed a coil of black nylon rope. Watching Jackie out of the corner of his eye, he uncoiled the rope and loosely wrapped the center of it around the base of a sturdy young spruce not far from the edge of the bluff. He released the ends over the drop-off. Peering over the edge, he realized the rope was several feet too short.

“Okay, Princess, it’s not optimal, but we’re going to make this work. Watch how I do it.”

Scott stepped between the two sides of the rope and wrapped them behind his waist, bringing them forward and stepping through them to create a temporary harness. He had Jackie practice it, too, until she was able to do it herself.

“I’ll go down first, then it will be your turn.”

Scott rigged himself again and back stepped to the edge. “Now when you go, just lean back and start walking.” He leaned back and began letting himself down the bluff. About twenty feet down, he came to the end of the rope.

He looked up to Jackie who lay on her stomach peering down over the edge. “The rope’s a little short. For the last few feet you’re going to have to fall.”

Before Jackie could respond, he released the rope and dropped the final eight feet, landing on his feet. “Okay, Jackie, it’s your turn.”

“This is crazy.”

“Like I said, it’s not optimal, but it’s not so bad. Go ahead and get the rope situated. I’ve got you.”

Jackie worked the rope liked she’d practiced and backed to the cliff’s edge. “This is crazy,” she repeated.

“You’ve got this, Jackie,” Scott encouraged.

Slowly, Jackie leaned back like she’d seen Scott do, and she took a faltering step backwards. Her foot slipped, and she banged against the granite.

“It’s okay, just get your footing and keep coming.”

From below, he heard her huff, but she set her feet and leaned back again, taking a step at a time until she was about eight feet above his head.

“Now Jackie, this is where you’ll let go and drop the rest of the way.”

She froze on the cliff face. “I can’t do it. I’m going to fall.”

“I’ve got you, don’t worry.”

He watched as she debated with herself. She finally shook her head. “I can’t. I’m terrified.”

“You know, Jackie, sometimes you just have to let go and fall. But I promise I’ll catch you.” Watching her carefully, he stood on the shoreline below, arms outstretched.

He heard her huff again. “You’ll catch me?”

“I promise. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Okay. Here goes.” With that, Jackie released her grip on the ropes and plunged into Scott’s waiting arms. Automatically, he hugged her tightly as they sank onto a boulder on the shoreline. He felt her heart pounding.

“Admit it,” he murmured, nuzzling her neck, “it was kind of a rush.”

“Oh, my God, I thought I was going to die. That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

“Would you do it again?”

Jackie peered up at him and smiled reluctantly. “Maybe.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

Find WARRIOR MINE at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/WarriorMine

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

They traveled the world looking for excitement.
But love is the ultimate adventure.

Strong-willed ginger Bella Grant is a take-charge television journalist with an appetite for adventure. Handsome and sexy Luke McGillicutty is a world-weary photographer coaxed out of premature retirement with the promise of traveling the world with a smart, spunky redhead. They’ve been paired up to create a new brand of television travel program.

Traveling to romantic destinations, staying in first-class hotels, finding adventure at every turn, it’s not surprising that the two fall in love. Luke is stunned to realize that Bella is the woman he’s looked for his whole life. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, and courageous.

The only thing is, Luke hasn’t been completely up front with her. He hasn’t told her that he’s into BDSM. He could play it safe, keep the relationship going exactly the way it is. But Luke wants more. As a Dominant, he craves the intimacy that a Dom/sub relationship provides. And he knows without a doubt that Bella is the perfect submissive. How will she react if he approaches her about submitting to him as a Dominant? Maybe she’d be intrigued by the idea. On the other hand, he could lose her forever.

Life on the road working with Bella is great. Nights spent in Bella’s arms are amazing. Should Luke just be satisfied with the way things are? Or should he risk everything on the chance that they could have it all?

The Dream Dominant Collection is a series of stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels featuring sexy, Dominant men and the strong, red-haired submissives they find irresistible. Each story centers around a light BDSM theme. Here’s a teaser from LUKE & BELLA, Dream Dominant Book 1. But beware…Spoilers abound!

The bedside clock blinked 5:12 am. Bella couldn’t wait any longer. What little sleep she’d gotten had been fitful, troubled.

She looked over at Luke who was snoring softly and her heart skipped a beat. She loved him so much. He’d been kind the night before, not mentioning her breach of protocol, recognizing her need to be at his feet. After her knee time, he’d taken her to bed, holding her tenderly to his chest, allowing her to let go of her concerns for a short while. She knew he assumed she was having her period and she hadn’t bothered to correct him. Plenty of time for that, she thought.

Quietly, she got out of bed and went into the bathroom, carefully closing the door behind her. She switched on the light and located the brown paper bag she’d gotten from the pharmacy the day before. Opening the box, she removed the flat plastic stick from its wrapper. She reread the instructions, then followed them meticulously, knowing she couldn’t bear to get this wrong. She placed the stick carefully on the counter of the vanity and set the timer on her phone.

Don’t look until the time is up, she instructed herself. Thirty seconds in she broke her own rule and glanced at the test. A blue plus sign in the circular window near the end of the stick appeared to her like a neon sign.

Her pulse pounded in her ears. It does that at first, she thought desperately. Then the plus disappears when it’s negative.

You know better than that. She hadn’t heard her father’s condemning voice since she’d left his grave weeks before. Now he was back, Nathan Epperson Grant, II, as the voice of Reason.

The timer chimed and with a shaky hand she picked up the stick. The plus sign was still there, only now it was a darker blue. That’s it, she thought. I’m…Shit! She stuffed the test back into the box, the box back into the paper bag, and shoved the whole thing into the drawer of the vanity.

She met her own terror-stricken gaze in the mirror. I need air, she thought. I can’t breathe. Panicked, she hurriedly threw on black yoga pants, a white t-shirt, and a jacket. Luke didn’t stir as she quietly opened the door and left the room, heading for the hotel lobby. In the elevator, she realized she hadn’t left him a note. I’ll be back before he even wakes up, she decided. Then, we’ll have to talk. She felt nauseated and her eyes filled with tears.

The elevator doors opened to the lobby and she strode purposefully toward the revolving door to outside.

“Good morning! You’re up early,” she heard a familiar voice say. It was Ann, one of their dining companions from the previous night. She and the other women were dressed for the gym.

Bella tried to pull herself together. “Um, yeah, I was in the mood for a walk,” she replied, smiling brightly.

“Are you alright?” Tanya asked.

“Oh, yes, needed a little air is all,” Bella said. “I’m just heading out…” she indicated the door.

Tanya spoke quietly to the others, “You go ahead. I’m going to see what the matter is.” She followed Bella out into the early morning.

“What’s wrong, Bella?” she asked sympathetically. “Did you and Luke have a row?”

Bella turned and looked at her in surprise. “God, no!” Bella answered quickly. “He’s not even up yet. It’s nothing, really, just…”

Tanya gave her a quizzical look.

“I’m pregnant,” Bella said quietly, a tear rolling down her cheek. “I just did the test.”

“Congratulations! That’s brilliant,” said Tanya. She hesitated for a moment. “Isn’t it?”

Bella sighed. “It’s just so…unplanned.” She wiped away a tear. “Luke doesn’t know yet. I don’t know…”

Tanya put her arm through Bella’s. “Come. Let’s go find some tea and have a chat.”

They ended up across the street from the Hotel Miramare, in a tiny cafe, one of the few open so early in the morning. The historic district was stunning in the light of the sun rising over the water. Bella sat at a heavy antique wooden table near the front window while Tanya ordered for them at the counter.

She returned to the table shortly with a pot of tea and two cups. They sipped in silence for a few minutes.

“So you’re having a baby?” Tanya said, breaking into the silence.

Bella breathed deeply. “Yeah. I guess so.”

“Or not,” Tanya probed.

Bella looked at her. “Unplanned as it is, I’m having this baby. Definitely!” she said determinedly. “As to whether or not Luke will be involved…” she trailed off. “He made it pretty clear that he wasn’t interested in marriage. I can’t think he’d be interested in a baby. I owe it to him to tell him, I suppose. But I’m afraid he’ll think I did this on purpose, to trap him or something.” The tears were back again.

Tanya reached for her hand. “That man loves you. He may surprise you, you know.”

Bella was about to reply when her phone rang. “Speak of the devil,” she said nervously.

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

LUKE & BELLA is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/LukeAndBella1

Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

Michael Rannigan sees the writing on the wall.
And he’s determined to find redemption.

He knows he’s spent his life keeping everyone at arm’s length. He’s burned bridges and destroyed friendships, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. But he thinks he’s found a way to make things right. At least for the one person who’s never given up on him.

Maggie Flynn’s life is changing quickly. Just when she’s decided make work her focus and to be content with being single, she has a new man in her life. Thanks to Michael and his interference, anyway.
Bobby is almost too good to be true, with his tall good looks, his sexy Cajun accent, and his irresistible lop-sided smile. He’s head over heels for Maggie. She knows she’s found the real thing.

Together, can they face the biggest challenge they’ve ever endured.

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is the third and final book of fan-favorite 5-Star reviewed Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.

Here’s a teaser.

Michael sat back in his chair at the large oak conference table and relished the feeling of being in control.  It had been too long since he’d done real casework.  He’d forgotten how it felt, the rush of knowing that he held all the right cards.  His charcoal grey suit hung a little loose due to the weight he’d lost, but he still knew how to project a confident presence.  Figuring it would negatively impact his intimidation factor, he’d left his oxygen in the rental car.

 Bobby sat quietly beside him, tension radiating from his body.  Michael had thoroughly prepped him.  “Don’t say anything.  If they speak to you, look at me.  Above all, don’t let them bait you.”

Across the table, Deanna in her white blouse and navy blue knee-length skirt with her honey blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, looked more the sad abandoned single mother than the scheming opportunistic gold-digger that she was.  Her gaze flitted nervously between Michael and Bobby.  Beside her sat her attorney, a stocky middle-aged man with a sad brown comb-over who tried and failed to stare down Michael. 

Oh, you poor uninformed little man.  I used to eat guys like you for breakfast.  Michael slid his benign poker face into place.

On the other side of Deanna sat Gary Olsen, formerly a Rangers outfielder, now headed to Seattle.  He wore an aqua polo shirt with jeans, and he radiated anger as he absently cracked his knuckles, his eyes drilling into Bobby with unconcealed hostility.

“Well,” said Michael, “Mr. Beaulieu and I have come an awfully long way to just sit here and look at each other.  Let’s get down to business.”  He let his gaze drift across the three seated on the other side of the table.  “I know we can settle this thing today, without some prolonged trial.  Here’s the deal; we don’t want full custody just for now, just until you change your mind.” 

He spoke directly to Deanna as he slid her a set of documents.  “If you walk away now, it’s for good.  My client is ready to give you a very generous settlement in exchange for your giving up full parental rights in perpetuity.  You’ll also be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, obviously.”

The other attorney cleared his throat.  “I’m not sure that’s what Mrs. Beaulieu has in mind.”

Deanna shook her head, her ponytail swinging at odds with her head.  “No way.  We want to go to court.  He owes me more money than that.”

Michael smiled coldly.  “I’m reasonably certain that Mrs. Beaulieu would prefer to avoid a prolonged trial.  I’ve done a little research.”  He removed a file from his briefcase. 

“You know a Mrs. Silvia Avelar, right?  Isn’t she your housekeeper?  We have a sworn affidavit by Mrs. Avelar stating that on more than one occasion she heard you and Mr. Olsen arguing about Savannah.  According to Mrs. Avelar, you both referred to the child as…” he pretended to scan the document, “a brat.”  He looked back up at Deanna.  “And this was in the presence of the child.”

“What I said was,” interjected Gary, “I’m not going to be suckered into raising this fucker’s brat offspring.”  He pointed at Bobby emphatically.

Michael saw Bobby look down at the table, his jaw shifting tightly.  The other lawyer cautioned Gary to be quiet.  Michael turned his gaze back to Deanna. 

“I have another sworn statement by Gloria Stevenson who says that you once arranged for her to babysit Savannah for the evening and that you failed to return home that night, instead calling her the next day from Mexico?”  He allowed an amused twinkle in his eyes.  “Wow.  That’s not exactly responsible parenting, is it?” 

Michael started to put the paper down but immediately picked it up again.  “Oh, and it was Mrs. Stevenson who came to pick up Savannah when you were arrested under suspicion of DUI and the little girl was in the car with you.”

Bobby’s head jerked up and he looked from Deanna to Michael and back again.  Michael chewed his lip to keep from smiling.  Sam Mainor had discovered a wealth of information that even Bobby didn’t know.  His priceless reaction helped shepherd Deanna where they needed her to go.

“We’re not here to beat up on Mrs. Beaulieu.  She just wants to make sure that she’s not cheated in this process,” the other lawyer said.

Michael smirked.  Finally this guy jumps in. 

“Unbelievable,” Bobby muttered, his gaze returning to the grain of the table.

“Really?  You’re going to judge me?”  Her face twisted with anger.  “Let me tell you something.  I thought if I married you, I’d be happy, and we’d have a fabulous life.  I wasn’t ready to be a mother.  I got pregnant on purpose because I didn’t think there was any other way.”

Bobby slowly raised his eyes and spoke softly.  “I always knew that.  I didn’t care.  I loved you and I love my child.  I won’t stand for you to mistreat her.  Walk away, Deanna.”

“Now, you have our terms, which I think you’ll find are more than generous,” Michael said.  “Understand, it’s a limited time offer.  If you refuse to sign today, the offer is off the table, and we take it to court.” 

He smiled sympathetically.  “In court, I present all this testimony, plus some more I didn’t bother with today.  You lose Savannah, and you lose the settlement we’re offering.  Hell, you’ll end up paying my client child support.”

***************      

At the airport, Michael and Bobby were greeted by a few photographers snapping their pictures and shouting questions.  “Beau!  Why do you want sole custody of your daughter?”

Mirrored aviators in place, Bobby kept his head down and followed Michael to the first-class lounge.  There they found a quiet corner and sank gratefully into a pair of large leather chairs.  Casually, Michael turned on his small oxygen tank and placed the cannula in his nose, inhaling deeply.

“How did those reporters know to be at the airport?” Bobby asked, his voice resigned.

Michael shrugged slightly.  “Somebody always talks.  I doubt it was Deanna.  She has too much to lose.”  He glanced up at Bobby.  “Listen, you may want to take Maggie and Savannah away for a few days until people lose interest.”

Bobby looked grim.  “Maybe you’re right.  We could go sailing around the Keys for the rest of the week.  God knows I could use a vacation after all this.”

Michael nodded.  “Call Mags.  Get her to meet you at the airport.  I’ll make some arrangements for you while you do that.”

Taking his phone from the pocket of his jacket, Bobby called Maggie.  “It’s over.  She signed the papers.”  He sounded tired.

“Good,” Maggie said.  “I’m glad it’s done.  How are you doing?”

He sighed.  All he could think of was being in Maggie’s arms.  “I just want to be where you are.  I need you.”

“I’m here for you, babe.  Come on home.”

“There’s a change of plans.  I want you to pack enough things for a few days and bring Savannah to the airport.”

“What?  Why?” she asked.

“Because even though we had Deanna sign a nondisclosure, somehow the word has gotten out.  There were reporters here at the airport.”

Maggie blew out a long breath.  He could hear her anxiety.  “I suppose Rance will understand.  What about your work?”

“They’ll get it.  They don’t need this publicity any more than I do.  When we get back I’ll just have to make it up to the people who cover for me.”

“Okay, then.  We’ll see you at the airport.”

“I can’t wait.  And Maggie,” he added, “pack tropical.”

RANSOMING REDEMPTION by Pandora Spocks

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RansomingRedemption



Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink tulle bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

In this steamy scene, Logan realizes that it’s time for him to make a choice.

In the still of pre-dawn, Logan gazed up at the ceiling of Ali’s bedroom and sighed contentedly. Her head rested on his shoulder as his right arm cradled her. His left arm curled beneath his head on the pillow.

At the sound of her steady breathing, he smiled. When he’d invited her to lunch, he’d had no thought of ending up in her bed.

He shifted his lips thoughtfully. Well, to say no thought wasn’t entirely accurate. He’d allowed the occasional notion or two to blossom into full-blown fantasy, fodder for a private jerk-off session in the shower here and there. And there had been a stray thought or three when she’d shucked her coat at the restaurant earlier in the day, that form-fitting sweater dress clinging to every curve most deliciously. His cock had certainly taken notice.

He allowed himself a silent whistle.

Still, he would never have broached the subject. Not on a day like today, with the drama of her father being lost. It would have felt manipulative, somehow.

But it had been Ali who had brought it up, Ali with that heated gleam in her soulful brown eyes, and he’d been helpless to respond in any other way than he had.

There on the sofa in the den, they had made out like two starving souls, each practically clawing at the other, lips desperately seeking and finding, until Logan thought he’d explode right there. With a knowing smile, Ali had stood up and taken his hand, leading him to her bedroom, where she shut and locked the door behind them.

In the privacy afforded in her room, Logan had shed all pretense of self-control, hurriedly tugging first at her clothes and then his own until they stumbled toward the bed in a tangle of discarded garments. He scarcely waited for her to retrieve a condom from her bedside table before he plunged himself into her.

He closed his eyes and replayed the moment in his mind, relishing her gasp in his ear as he took her that first time. He hadn’t lasted long. He had known he wouldn’t. It had been a long time.

Catherine usually couldn’t be bothered, and when she acquiesced, he usually ended up feeling like he’d had to talk her into having sex with him. Which was why he hadn’t bothered in months, preferring his own hand and a vibrant fantasy life.

That first time on the bed had been followed up in the shower, where he and Ali had adjourned to clean up. The memory of her perky tits, water dripping from her luscious, imminently suckable nipples, her water-slick, shapely ass… Softly, he whistled again as his cock stiffened at the memory of taking her a second time against the marble wall of the shower.

The third time had been different, much slower and more sensual as he’d gradually brought her to climax twice, each time with Ali whimpering softly as she attempted to stifle her orgasm.

Note to self, he thought. Next time, we go to a hotel. The thought pleased him. He wanted to hear Ali’s pleasure unfettered by the presence of other people in the house.

Next time.

Pressing a light kiss to the top of her head, his thoughts strayed back to when they had first arrived at the Hart’s apartment. Taking care of Ali’s father had involved a flurry of activity. Logan had stayed in the background as much as possible, grateful when Mrs. Smith offered him warm, dry clothes in place of the damp, clammy ones he had worn in the snow. While changing in the hallway bathroom, he had taken the opportunity to call Catherine to apprise her of his missed flight.

She had taken it as he’d known she would, anger reducing her conversation to short, clipped responses. No doubt there would be hell to pay when he returned home.

Of another thing, there was no doubt, as well. Logan couldn’t marry Catherine. He didn’t love her; it was as simple as that.

Honoring their hair-brained pledge had been a bad idea from the get-go, but at that low point in his love life, it had seemed like a reasonable consolation.

A hell of a reason to get married, he chided himself.

Ali shifted slightly, sighing softly in her sleep. Logan gazed down at her and held her closely, appreciating the sense of warmth that flooded his soul.

No, he couldn’t marry Catherine. He didn’t love her. He loved Ali. He knew it as surely as he knew his own name. And if he were honest, he’d known it since he’d first seen her in the subway station. He was utterly in love with Ali Hart.

The only thing to do was to call off the engagement. Logan resolved to do it as soon as he got home.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 2

One night of passion tore them apart.
Desperation will bring them back together.

Michael Rannigan is running rogue. Since Maggie’s abrupt departure from the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he’s been in a tailspin. As he limps along in the new normal, he misses her more than he ever imagined.

Maggie misses Michael as well. But she makes the best of her new job at the District Attorney’s office. Occasionally they cross paths in court, each assessing the other. Like Michael, she finds herself making questionable personal choices.

When opportunity knocks for Michael he leaps at it, maybe as much to avoid Maggie’s absence as anything else. The fact that his decision impacts everyone else at the firm doesn’t slow him down at all.

Then comes news that shakes him to his core. Now that he’s burned all his bridges, who will be there to help him pick up the pieces?

In this scene from RUNNING ROGUE, the proverbial shit hits the fan. Where can Michael and Maggie go from here?

*Warning: SPOILERS*

On Friday afternoon, Michael took the elevator to the 50th floor. He’d ended his vacation a couple of days early. Two weeks is really too long to be gone, he reflected. He figured he’d check up on what had happened in his absence then join the gang at Docs. He had Maggie’s bracelet in his pocket, figuring on returning it to her.

The first person he saw when he stepped off the elevator was Stan. “Hey, good, you made it for Maggie’s party,” Stan said, smiling.

Michael frowned. “Maggie’s party? It’s not her birthday already, is it?” How did that sneak up on me?

Stan tilted his head. “Her going-away party. You came back for her last day, right? She’s going to the DA’s office?”

Michael’s mouth fell open. “Her last…” He glanced around. “What the fuck?!”

He strode purposefully toward Maggie’s open office door. She was behind her desk, her back to the door. “What the fuck, Mags?!”

Maggie whirled around, her eyes wide. “Michael!”

“Explain to me what’s going on here,” he demanded.

She opened and closed her mouth, her face flushed. “I, well I, uh… I gave Brian my two week notice. I took a job working for Rance.”

“You gave Brian your notice?!”

“You weren’t here,” she said reasonably.

Michael began to stalk back and forth in front of her desk. “What the fuck possessed you to take a new job? And you couldn’t wait for me to get back? I would have offered you a raise.”

Maggie shook her head. “It’s not about the money. I hated what I did to win the LeRoi case. You know that really ate away at me. I can’t do that anymore. I feel…dirty, like I need redemption. I have to do something different, something good.”

Michael stopped pacing and placed his hands on her desk, leaning closer and speaking in a low tone. “Is this about us? About the fact that we slept together?”

She crossed her arms and leaned against the credenza. “News flash, Michael. Not everything in the world is about you.”

He stood straight and nodded his head angrily. “So it’s like this, is it? You’re just going to leave the firm.”

“I’ve been here five years. It’s time to move on.” She hung her bag over her shoulder and picked up her box, walking around the desk.

“Let me call security,” Michael told her coolly. “They can escort you out and see that you don’t take any property belonging to the firm.”

Maggie’s eyes bulged. “Are you serious? You want to make sure I don’t steal anything?!” She walked back to the desk and put down the box. “Fuck it. I don’t need any of this shit.”

She glared at Michael. “You worried about my purse?” She unzipped the bag and upended it, dumping a wallet, three pens, loose change, hand lotion, a lipstick, and two tampons all over the floor before dropping the bag.

She snatched up the wallet. “If you don’t mind, I’ll need my ID and my Metro card.” She turned on her heel and stalked out into the hallway.

Michael interlaced his fingers on top of his head and sighed. “Wait, Mags, I was out of line,” he said, following her.

“Out of line? You were out of line?” she shrieked. “Fuck you, Michael!” She jabbed the elevator button and entered it as soon as the doors parted, pressing the close door button even before the car was all the way open.

Action on the 50th floor had ground to a halt at the sound of raised voices and as Maggie disappeared, people remained frozen, staring at Michael.

“Fuck!” he growled, and retreated to his office, slamming the door behind him.

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

RUNNING ROGUE, Book 2 of Rannigan’s Redemption, is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RunningRogue

But you might want to start at the beginning,
RESISTING RISK, Book 1.
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

Weekend Excerpt–WARRIOR MINE

She is the perfect combination of princess and warrior.

Scott Nielsen and Jackie Walker.
Their attraction is instant from the moment they meet.
But he’s Dominant. And no way is she submissive.
Is it a missed connection? Or a divine appointment?

Scott Nielsen is ready for change. He’s walked away from his career as a wilderness counselor, planning to start his own outdoor survival school. He looks up his old friend and former colleague Blake Walker, intent on leasing space at Blake’s family’s remote wilderness guest lodge. That’s where he meets Blake’s sister Jackie, who runs the lodge with her brother’s help. Her strength and independence intrigue Scott. A single mom, Jackie has no intention of being anyone’s submissive.

In his personal life, Scott is tired of casual sex in the BDSM club scene. Envious watching his buddy Blake fall head over heels for his own submissive, Scott thinks he might be ready to take the plunge himself. As he and Jackie spend time together, he’s enchanted with her inner Warrior Princess. But Jackie’s been burned before. And she has two children who are her priority, not to mention the business to run. As independent as she is, she can’t see relinquishing her power to a man, not even one she’s falling for.

Scott’s heart aches at the idea of not having Jackie in his life. Can she take another chance on love, or will she insist on ignoring her submissive soul?

If you enjoyed LOST & BOUND, you’ll love this spin-off stand-alone story.

In LOST & BOUND, the second Dream Dominant book, protagonist Blake Walker’s sister Jackie meets Scott, Blake’s best friend and mentor in the BDSM lifestyle. Naturally, Scott and Jackie find an instant attraction, but Jackie’s a strong, independent single mom. No way is she about to cede power to anyone, let alone a handsome Dominant outdoorsman.

WARRIOR MINE came about when readers of LOST & BOUND demanded to know the rest of Scott and Jackie’s story. Here’s a little teaser from that follow-up novel.

“It’s a gorgeous day,” Scott commented.

“It really is. I haven’t been out in the woods like this in a long time.”

Scott watched Jackie appraisingly. “Are you much of a camper?”

“I can hold my own.” She lifted her chin, and he saw a glint of challenge in her eye.

“I imagine you can,” he smiled to himself.

He watched her dig the toe of her boot into the soft black earth and push it into a small heap. “So let’s talk, Jackie.”

She exhaled loudly, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw her grip her hands so tightly together, her knuckles were white.

“This makes you nervous,” he observed.

“Well, yeah! You’re over here wanting me to agree to be some kind of…I don’t know what…slave, I guess. That’s so not me.”

“You’re right, it’s not. I see in you a submissive soul, but a slave is not remotely what I have in mind. Jackie,” he straddled the log to face her, “you’re a strong, smart, sexy lady. I admire the hell out of you.”

“So why do you want me to give all that up?”

“I don’t want you to give anything up. I love all those things about you.” He laughed softly. “I love that you challenge me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Jackie’s expression was dubious. “I don’t understand what you want from me. Am I supposed to run and jump into your arms like Amy does Blake?” She rolled her eyes.

Scott had to laugh. “You’re not a slave, and you’re definitely not a baby girl like Amy, either.” He gave her a side-long glance. “Amy’s a sweet girl, but she’d drive me nuts. A Daddy Dom I am not.”

“Good, because there’s no way I’m calling you Daddy.”

“Our dynamic would be more King and Princess. You’d call me Sire.”

He was pleased when he saw her reluctant smile. “All I want is for you to let go and allow me to lead you, to help you be free to be your true self. You can depend on me, Jackie.”

Restlessly, Jackie got up and paced back and forth. “It’s not like it’s just me, Scott. I’m a mother. I have two kids to care for, and they have to be my priority. I can’t decide I’m going to just go off and do whatever I want. Plus, there’s the business…”

She stopped pacing and faced him. “I’m a whole ‘package deal’. You don’t need all that. You should be out meeting women who aren’t so tied down.”

Scott couldn’t stop the smirk as the image of a nude Jackie tied to the posts of a bed flashed through his mind. She must have realized it, because she blushed bright red. “I’ve met my share of women, Jackie. Women who don’t mind being tied down.” He chuckled. “I’ve done the club scene, and I’m tired of casual sex. When Blake told me he’d found someone, I have to admit, I felt envious. I took a hard look at my life and I realized it was time to make a change. I had no idea I’d meet someone so quickly.”

He considered going to her, but changed his mind, allowing her space. “I’m attracted to you, Jackie, in a way I haven’t been to anyone else. You have no idea how hard it was for me to resist you that night you came to my room. Hell, to resist you last night. You’re beautiful, Jackie, in case no one’s told you in a while. That one perfect exposed breast? I’ve had dreams about that.”

Jackie blushed, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Together we have an explosive chemistry. I know you feel it, too. I’m dying to take you to the next level.”

Arms still crossed, she shrugged. “Yeah, we have physical chemistry. Maybe it’s because it’s been a long time for me, I don’t know. And I appreciate the things you’ve done, like taking care of things when Emma was sick, and Jesus, you saved Grant’s life.”

She started pacing again. “And you washed my hair. I couldn’t believe you did that. So when you say, Now be my submissive,” she deepened her voice to imitate Scott, “it’s like I owe you.”

“You don’t owe me, Jackie. I washed your hair because it was what you needed. That’s what a Dom does.” He gazed out through the woods and exhaled sharply. “I think you’ve read too many so-called BDSM books about sadist Dominants. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about safe, sane, and consensual. Always.” He looked back to her. “You can depend on me, Jackie. I’ve got you.”

She walked to the edge of the clearing, her back to him. Her voice was small. “What if I depend on you, and you leave? I don’t think I could survive that. Better to be on my own and know what I’m getting.”

“Jackie, I’m not him. I’m not that guy.” Scott approached her, tentatively reaching out to touch her shoulder. “I’m this guy, right here, asking you to let me share your burden, to lighten your load, and set you free.”

She reached up to put her hand on his. Her voice was small. “I don’t know if I can do that.”

Leaning down, he kissed her hand. “Fair enough.” Ignoring the ache in his heart, he cleared his throat. “Are you about ready to go?”

Jackie nodded. Scott returned to the log to retrieve his backpack and together, they headed along where the trail continued beyond the clearing.

Almost immediately, the path led downward, although not as steeply as the way up had done. Before long, the forest ended at a rocky bluff about thirty feet above the lake.

“Is this where the trail ends?” Jackie asked.

Scott nodded. “I saw it on the map. It seemed like a good possibility for some of my more advanced clients, so I wanted to check it out. I figured we’d rappel down to the lake.”

Jackie’s eyes widened. “What?”

“Have you done any rappelling?” Scott already knew the answer, having asked Blake about it earlier.

“No, I haven’t done any rappelling.” Jackie eased forward and peered over the edge. “Would you seriously send your students here?”

“Only those with the right kind of experience.” He set down the backpack and removed a coil of black nylon rope. Watching Jackie out of the corner of his eye, he uncoiled the rope and loosely wrapped the center of it around the base of a sturdy young spruce not far from the edge of the bluff. He released the ends over the drop-off. Peering over the edge, he realized the rope was several feet too short.

“Okay, Princess, it’s not optimal, but we’re going to make this work. Watch how I do it.”

Scott stepped between the two sides of the rope and wrapped them behind his waist, bringing them forward and stepping through them to create a temporary harness. He had Jackie practice it, too, until she was able to do it herself.

“I’ll go down first, then it will be your turn.”

Scott rigged himself again and back stepped to the edge. “Now when you go, just lean back and start walking.” He leaned back and began letting himself down the bluff. About twenty feet down, he came to the end of the rope.

He looked up to Jackie who lay on her stomach peering down over the edge. “The rope’s a little short. For the last few feet you’re going to have to fall.”

Before Jackie could respond, he released the rope and dropped the final eight feet, landing on his feet. “Okay, Jackie, it’s your turn.”

“This is crazy.”

“Like I said, it’s not optimal, but it’s not so bad. Go ahead and get the rope situated. I’ve got you.”

Jackie worked the rope liked she’d practiced and backed to the cliff’s edge. “This is crazy,” she repeated.

“You’ve got this, Jackie,” Scott encouraged.

Slowly, Jackie leaned back like she’d seen Scott do, and she took a faltering step backwards. Her foot slipped, and she banged against the granite.

“It’s okay, just get your footing and keep coming.”

From below, he heard her huff, but she set her feet and leaned back again, taking a step at a time until she was about eight feet above his head.

“Now Jackie, this is where you’ll let go and drop the rest of the way.”

She froze on the cliff face. “I can’t do it. I’m going to fall.”

“I’ve got you, don’t worry.”

He watched as she debated with herself. She finally shook her head. “I can’t. I’m terrified.”

“You know, Jackie, sometimes you just have to let go and fall. But I promise I’ll catch you.” Watching her carefully, he stood on the shoreline below, arms outstretched.

He heard her huff again. “You’ll catch me?”

“I promise. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Okay. Here goes.” With that, Jackie released her grip on the ropes and plunged into Scott’s waiting arms. Automatically, he hugged her tightly as they sank onto a boulder on the shoreline. He felt her heart pounding.

“Admit it,” he murmured, nuzzling her neck, “it was kind of a rush.”

“Oh, my God, I thought I was going to die. That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

“Would you do it again?”

Jackie peered up at him and smiled reluctantly. “Maybe.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

WARRIOR MINE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/WarriorMine

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

They say still waters run deep.
In the tiny lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

In this teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE, Bree learns that she’s not the first to notice something paranormal in the cottage by the lake.

Glancing around, Bree saw that the island was larger than it looked from her place. The pair of oak trees were much larger and much older than she’d realized, and both were strewn with Spanish moss just like the oaks that lined her drive and dotted her front lawn. Scrubby low shrubs clustered here and there, but the rest of the ground was a mix of soil and sand, and Bree wondered if the summer traffic simply trampled any other vegetation that might have the temerity to spring up.

At the crest of the island, the ground leveled off. A half-dozen chairs similar to hers stood scattered around a giant stone fire ring, their owners opting to stand around in small groups for the time being. The large fire crackled and popped, its light augmenting the fading sunset.

Jake set his cooler beside two others, then returned to Bree, handing her the red chair. He set up his own blue chair, then placed hers beside it.

“Everybody, this is Bree. She’s renting old man Meyer’s cottage for a while. Bree, this is everybody.”

Conversations stopped and Bree felt every eye on her as waved shyly. “Hi, everyone.”

She was greeted with smiles and friendly welcomes, but she suddenly felt out of place. She wondered if it was too soon to ask Jake to take her back.

When she looked up, Jake was watching her, his bright blue eyes filled with understanding. “How about a drink?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yes, please.” Following him to the cooler, she handed him the corkscrew from her bag. Deftly he popped open the wine and poured some into a plastic cup. Then he replaced the wine in the cooler, pausing to grab a brown bottle of beer for himself before he closed the lid again.

Jake gently placed his hand on the small of her back. “Want to take a little tour of the island while it’s still light enough to see?”

“Sure,” she laughed, deciding that it couldn’t possibly take very long. The tiny spit of land was so small, it would be like taking a tour of a studio apartment. Still, wine in hand, she followed him away from the fire. A trio of dogs brushed past them with Murphy trailing along behind, tail wagging happily.

“He’s having a good time,” Jake observed.

Bree laughed softly. “He’ll sleep like a log tonight.”

They came to the water’s edge on the opposite side of the island. “Here on the west side,” Jake explained, “the water’s deeper. A few feet out, the bottom just drops off and in those reeds over there, you can catch some serious bass.” He glanced at Bree. “Do you like to fish?”

She shrugged slightly. “I like to hold the fishing rod. I don’t like to mess with bait, or heaven forbid, I catch something, I don’t want to have to take it off the hook.”

He laughed lightly, his eyes sparkling. “Fishing is kind of my therapy. I love to stand still and watch the water and just listen to the quiet.”

Imagining the peace he described, Bree sighed. “That does sound nice.”

Jake quirked a dark eyebrow. “You could come over sometime and give it a try. I promise, I’ll take care of all the messy parts. You can just hold the rod. Of course, you’d need a license. Wouldn’t want to get in trouble with the police.” He winked and she felt herself blush.

“Pro tip: Get the annual license. It’s $20. The license for a week is $25.”

“Uh! Why is that?”

He laughed. “Because tourists on vacation for the week don’t question it. They just go back home and show everyone photos of the lunkers they caught.”

“Wow!” Bree shook her head and sipped her wine.

“How long until you go back home?” he wondered softly.

Rolling her eyes slightly, she took a large swig of wine. “I’m renting the cabin until the middle of November, but I’m not going back.”

Brow knitted in the fading light, Jake watched her expectantly.

Bree huffled softly. “I came here from Clearwater, Florida, but I’m not going back there.” She shook her head dismissively. “Suffice it to say, it’s a bad situation. But I’m not sure where I’m going when I leave here. I write,” she shrugged, “so I can do it anywhere. I was thinking maybe I’d go to New York. My publisher is there, so…”

She trailed off and glanced up to find him watching her intently.

“I’m sorry about the bad situation.” His eyes radiated sincerity. “Would you like to sit?” he asked quietly.

Smiling gratefully, Bree nodded, and they made their way back around to the campfire, where clusters of people, beer in hand, stood talking together. A young couple stood near the fire roasting marshmallows.

Together, Bree and Jake sank into their camping chairs. “I suppose this crowd can be a little overwhelming,” Jake said quietly, “but they’re really nice. You’ll see.”

Bree sipped her wine and watched as people shared embraces like long-lost friends, chatting and laughing as they did.

The whine of outboard motors announced that another couple of boats had pulled up onto the beach. Bree recognized the cashier from the market among the new arrivals. Despite the cool fall evening, the young woman wore denim cut-offs so short, her ass cheeks hung out. In the thin white camisole she wore, her pronounced nipples attuned everyone to the fact that she was cold.

Immediately, she zeroed in on Jake. “Hey, there,” she drawled, eyes locked on his. “I’m glad you made it.”

“Hi, Darlene,” he answered, his tone friendly. Bree watched him carefully, but he didn’t seem impressed by Darlene’s obvious display. “You remember Bree from the other day.”

The woman flicked her gaze in Bree’s direction, her lips pressed together in contempt. “Oh, yeah, hi.”

“Hello.” Bree tried for friendly, but she felt her irritation rising. It was the second time she’d met this Darlene, and the second time the woman had both dismissed her and fawned all over Jake. It was sickening.

“There’s plenty of beer over there,” Jake nodded toward the collection of coolers. “Help yourself.”

“In the Publix bag, there’s everything you need for s’mores if you like,” Bree offered helpfully, smiling.

Darlene looked at Bree for a second then returned her attention to Jake. “I believe I will have a beer. Talk to you later.”

During the exchange with Darlene, another boat had arrived. Dragging their own chairs and a cooler, a ragtag assortment of people approached the others. Bree recognized the young woman from the bookstore.

Her smile was friendly. “Hey, how are you? I’m Whitley, from the Peacock. How’s the book?”

“Yes, I recognized you. I’m great, thanks, and I’m loving the book.”

Space around the fire was filling in, and Whitley slid her chair into a small gap at about Bree’s three o’clock. “It’s one of her best, if you ask me,” Whitley said. “How do you know Jake?”

Eyes wide, Bree looked to her left at Jake.

“We’re neighbors,” Jake said quickly. “Bree’s a writer. She’s renting old man Meyer’s place for a couple months.”

“Wait!” Whitley leaned forward in her chair and squinted in Bree’s direction. “You’re not Bree Blaylock, are you?”

Bree nodded. “I am, actually.”

“Holy shit!” Whitley squeaked. “Bree Blaylock! I should have recognized you the other day. I mean, your red hair should have given it away. Holy shit! I loved your book!”

Blushing, Bree glanced over to see Jake watching her. “Wow, thanks so much. I’m really glad you liked it.”

“No, seriously, Nothing Much, are you kidding me? It was life-changing. I read it three times.”

Aware that conversation around the fire had paused as Whitley gushed on and on, Bree felt herself blush even deeper. “That’s really nice of you to say.”

“Oh!” Whitley popped up out of her chair, waving her hands expressively. “We should do a book signing! My bosses are always looking for ways to get more customers in the door. A signing with Bree Blaylock! That would be amazing.”

Sheepishly, the young woman looked to Bree and sank back into her seat. “If you were interested in doing it, of course.”

Bree smiled warmly. “I’d be happy to do a book signing, if the owners of the store wanted to do it.”

Whitley grinned from ear to ear. “They’d love it. I’ll ask them as soon as they come back.”

“So, Bree Blaylock, what’s it like staying in a haunted house?” The disdainful drawl came from directly across the fire ring.

“Come on, Darlene,” Jake objected softly.

Darlene dismissed him with a wave of the Budweiser her hand. “We’ve all heard the stories. There’s a ghost in that cottage. How many summer renters have come running out of that place like a bat out of hell, never even bothering to look back?”

Determined not to let the woman get the best of her, Bree leaned back in her chair and smiled. “I’m very comfortable in Mr. Meyer’s house. It’s nice and quiet, and I’m able to get a lot of writing done.”

Eyes wide, Whitley leaned forward. “Have you seen a ghost?”

“Oh, come on,” Jake objected. “You two can’t be serious.”

“There are stories, Jake,” Rusty commented. “Years ago, they supposedly found a dead girl out here floating near the island. They say they never caught her killer.”

“Every summer, a handful of Meyer’s renters leave before their week is up,” someone else added. “They tell some weird stories.”

“That’s what it is,” Darlene purred, narrowing her eyes at Bree. “It’s the ghost of the murdered girl, looking for revenge on the one who killed her.”

Picturing Steven, Bree tried to suppress a smile. “Again, I’m very happy at the house. And by mid-November, I’ll be finished with my book and out of your hair.”

Determined, she held Darlene’s stare until the other girl finally dropped her gaze. Keeping her outward expression neutral, inside, Bree rejoiced. You’re being ridiculous, she chided herself. You just won a staring contest with a local grocery clerk.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove