Weekend Excerpt–RESISTING RISK, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 1

Maggie is the complete opposite of Michael’s usual type.
So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Brilliant Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan has his life arranged exactly the way he likes it. As a founding partner at the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he can let his underlings do the legwork on the high profile defense cases his exclusive 50th-floor division handles. He prefers to simply breeze in and do what he does best: dazzle juries and charm the press.

His private life is well-ordered, too. Michael doesn’t have the time or the patience for relationships. Instead, he has a contact list of hot blondes who meet his needs at any given moment, whether it’s a date to a gallery opening or an awards show. Or he just wants to get laid.

Some people would call him shallow. But they’re just envious.

Maggie Flynn has her life mapped out as well. After she graduates from law school, she plans to take a job with the Prosecutor’s Office where she interned. But when she attends a job fair and meets Michael Rannigan, her plans change. She’s studied his cases, even heard him speak once. He’s smart and sexy, and she can’t resist interviewing with him.

Michael hires Maggie and has her assigned to his elite 50th-floor team. He knows smart when he sees it. He also sees the spark in her eyes. She wants him. And having her nearby strokes his ego. It’s not like anything will come of it, she’s so far from his type. But there’s something unsettling about Mary Margaret Flynn, like she can see through his bullshit in a way no one else ever bothered to do.

Maggie realizes that her crush on Michael is all but hopeless. He’s a self-absorbed womanizer. But beneath that cool exterior, she’s seen the man he can be, and she’s sure that love can bring that out. In the meantime, she’s content to work with him.

What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

RESISTING RISK is the first book of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy. It regularly bobs around the top of several Amazon charts, and it’s available FREE, exclusively at Amazon. In this scene, Michael and Maggie come perilously close to the line.

“Mags,” she heard out of the shifting fog. “We’re back in town. I need you to tell us where to go.”

She opened her eyes and realized that she’d fallen asleep with her head on Michael’s shoulder. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry.” She sat up abruptly. “I didn’t realize… I wish you’d awakened me.”

“No worries. But we need to know exactly where to take Ben and where your place is.”

Maggie could see the driver watching her in the rearview mirror. “My place. Right.” She gave the address, and the driver thanked her, the partition whooshing back into place. “Ben can sleep it off on my couch. It won’t be the first time.”

The car came to a stop in front of Maggie’s apartment. “Nice building, Mags. Is the whole thing yours?”

She fairly snorted. “In my dreams! One day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have my own brownstone. For now, I’m happy with a tiny part of the second floor.” She smiled gratefully. “Thanks again for the ride. You are a lifesaver.” She moved to open the door, but the driver was there first.

“Let me help you get him inside,” Michael offered. They both glanced at Ben, who hadn’t so much as shifted during the entire ride.

She looked back at Michael. “Probably a good idea. I won’t be able to get him up the stairs by myself.” They roused Ben enough for him to put his arms around their shoulders and they moved him to the sidewalk.

Michael spoke quietly to the driver, who nodded before returning to the driver’s seat and slowly driving away. Maggie looked at him questioningly. “I told him to find a place to park. I’ll call him after we get your date settled.”

They managed the stairs, and Michael leaned Ben between himself and the wall as Maggie unlocked the door and let them into her apartment. “Let’s just lay him on the couch,” she said, cocking her head in the direction of a large grey velvet sofa with navy blue accent pillows.

They worked together to get the unconscious and snoring Ben safely onto the couch. Michael studiously ignored the way his jacket gapped open, inviting views of Maggie’s breasts as she leaned over to place a pillow under Ben’s head.

“Thank you so much, Michael,” she said as she removed his jacket and held it uncertainly. “Can I offer you a beer or coffee or something? Or do you need to go?”

“Coffee sounds good,” he answered.

Maggie smiled brightly as she gently placed his jacket over the back of a kitchen chair and set about making coffee. Michael wandered around the living room area to the bay window and looked out over the street. He turned back around to take in the view of the room. It was small, of course, but nice in a quirky sort of way. She’d left on a dim lamp near the window that gave enough light to the space without being intrusive. “This is a nice place,” he commented.

She smiled at him from the kitchen counter. “Thanks. And again, I really appreciate your giving us a ride.”

“Mags, you’ve thanked me about a thousand times,” he said gently.

She blushed slightly. “Well, I didn’t want to forget,” she said sheepishly.

He watched her as she worked in the kitchen, measuring out coffee into a French press, putting a kettle of water on the stove, little mundane domestic tasks. His mind skipped to flashes of her from throughout the night. Slowly it dawned on him what it was about Maggie that made him uncomfortable.

She’s real. She has no hidden agenda. She isn’t playing some game; she doesn’t want anything from me. He sighed deeply. She’s the kind of girl who could make you forget your own rules.

Michael slowly crossed the room and stood by the kitchen counter. “Can I help with something?”

“No, it’s all done. We’re just waiting for the water to boil.” She leaned back, resting her hand on the counter.

He gently placed his hand on hers. “You…are very dangerous,” he whispered, lifting her hand to his lips and kissing it softly, his deep brown eyes peering into hers. Her brow furrowed, perplexed.

Gently, he tilted up her chin with his fingers and leaned down, meeting her lips with his own, lightly at first and then more urgently. He ran his other hand down the smooth fabric of the back of her dress, coming to rest on her firm ass as he probed her mouth with his tongue, seeking hers.

Maggie responded, matching the heat of his kiss, reaching up, tangling her fingers in the hair behind his ear, and giving herself over to his embrace. Michael’s hand left her ass and smoothed its way back up to her side, her ribs, stopping just under her breast. Reluctantly he pulled himself away.

Maggie breathlessly gazed up at him. He smiled gently. “We’re both a little drunk,” he said. “Which is why I’d better go.” Tenderly, he kissed her once again and walked out the door.

RESISTING RISK by Pandora Spocks

Amazon #1 Bestselling RESISTING RISK is FREE
exclusively at Amazon.
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

It was the job of a lifetime.

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?

Read Chapter 1 of LUKE & BELLA.

Bella Grant checked her trunk again.  Three months was a long time. 

What have I forgotten?  She frowned. Don’t be stupid.  You can get anything you need.  You aren’t going to the Amazon rainforest.

After calling down to the front desk for bell service, she made one last tour of the suite to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything.  Hearing the knock, she opened the door to find the bellman waiting in the hallway.  She stepped back and admitted him to the suite.  “It’s just these,” waving her hand to indicate her trunk, cosmetic case, and camera bag.

The bellman hesitated when he saw the trunk.  Inwardly, Bella smiled.  It was huge, a vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk that had once belonged to her grandfather.  She jokingly referred to it as her ‘big-ass Louis.’  Fortunately, the bellman was too well-trained to complain, and he managed to get her things on the cart.

Bella didn’t wait but went ahead and took the elevator to the lobby.  Stopping at the desk, she returned her key and checked out.  The bill was covered, of course, by the network.  Her new employer.

She’d been in television for the last fifteen years, always in local news as a reporter in several places, but most recently as a morning show anchor in Akron.  She’d hated Ohio but had taken the job in order to add ‘Anchor’ to her resume.  But this was different.

When she’d seen the posting in the trade magazine, she knew this was the opportunity she’d been waiting for.  She’d be hosting a new travel show for TLC.  According to the executive producer, Charlie, who’d hired her, she would have carte blanche to do what she wanted.  He’d tell her where to go, and the rest would be up to her.  Fill the time.  Make it interesting.  Make it unique.  Which was just what she intended to do.

The bellman loaded her things into the cab.  She thanked him and gave him a generous tip before stepping into the back of the taxi.  Her thoughts raced as they made their way through thick Manhattan traffic toward the airport.  She didn’t even know where her first assignment would take her.  They would find out at the ticket counter.

They.  She’d meet her photog at the airport.  Her mind wandered there.  She didn’t even know his name.  What would he be like?  Young?  Old?  Experienced?  She was sure Charlie wouldn’t hire someone with no experience.

A small smile played across her face.  It wouldn’t suck too badly if he were attractive.  Her social life was virtually nonexistent.  Who had the time?  Still…

Her thoughts came back to the present as the taxi pulled into the Departures lane of the airport. 

“Which airline, miss?” the driver asked. 

“Virgin Atlantic,” she replied. 

He stopped at the appropriate curb.  Skycaps jumped into motion unloading her bags.  “I’d like them stored, please.  I need to go to the ticket counter,” she told them.  One man handed Bella the luggage receipts, and she walked into the terminal.

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

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

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 scene from BROKEN HARTS, Logan and Ali spend a cold rainy afternoon in a Manhattan coffee shop getting better acquainted.

Logan produced his smartphone. “Ali Hart,” he murmured aloud as he cued up his search engine.

“I write as Alison Hart,” she murmured, sipping her tea.

“Alison Hart.” Logan frowned at his screen, using his finger to scroll down. Then a satisfied smile stretched his lips. “Here you are. Alison Hart…Pepper Twine Mysteries…Wow, you do have a lot of books here. And there are the Fulton Family books…”

He looked up with a grin. “Here’s your official bio.”

Alison Hart was writing stories before she could speak. To date, she has published more than twenty-five novels for preteens, and more are on the way. She says she owes her love of the written word to her father, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jackson Hart–

He broke off and looked up at her, his eyes wide. “Your father is Jackson Hart?”

Ali wrinkled her nose. “Wait! It says that?” She snatched his phone and scanned the bio. “Son of a…”

She handed his phone back. “I try to keep that quiet. I guess my publicist thought it might sell more books.”

“Why keep it quiet?” he wondered as he clicked off the device and returned it to the inner pocket of his suit jacket.

“Just…well…lots of reasons,” Ali shrugged, idly stirring her tea. When Logan waited for her to say more, she exhaled sharply and rolled her eyes.

“Okay, for one reason, I don’t want to feel like I didn’t earn my way into publishing. I don’t want people to think I just rode in on my father’s coattails. And second,” she stalled, sipping her drink.

“When people find out,” she cut him a glance, “when men find out, I generally get one of two responses.”

Logan suppressed a grin. “Which are?”

Ali gestured with her right hand. “Either A, they want me to introduce them to my father, maybe get him to autograph a book, or B,” her left hand waved, “they have no idea who he is, in which case I completely lose all respect for them, because for Pete’s sake, how culturally illiterate can you be?”

Leaning toward her on his elbow, Logan laughed out loud. “Life is rough, is it?”

“Seriously, though,” Ali protested, “imagine that the entire planet was required to read your father’s work in high school. I had to read it in my junior year. And then come to class and discuss it. It’s…I don’t know…weird.”

Logan settled back in his chair again and chuckled. “I read Lessons from the Fog in high school. I think I was one of the few who actually enjoyed it.”

Ali slid him a sideways glance, and he laughed again.

“No, seriously, I liked that one. To me, it sort of encapsulates the way society shifted from the fifties to the sixties and beyond, but in an allegorical way. I really did like it, honest. I would never just say something and not mean it.”

Searching his eyes, Ali only found sincerity, and she smiled reflexively. “Yeah, that’s always been Dad. He likes to tell a story that for him has one meaning, but it’s always open to interpretation.”

Logan sipped his coffee and watched her thoughtfully. “It must have been something growing up with such a famous father.”

Ali shrugged, privately proud of her father’s accomplishments. “He’s brilliant, actually, but I don’t know that he was always the best father, especially if you’re asking my half-sister and brother. In his younger days, he was gone a lot, always protesting one thing or another. He was even a Communist for a while,” she chuckled softly. “but I think that was mostly for the shock value.”

She sipped her tea and glanced at Logan, wondering if he had heard enough. He still watched her in fascination, so she opted to continue. “My mother was his third wife. He was never big on fidelity. Megan and Brendan, my half-siblings from his first marriage, were in their twenties when I came along. By then, Dad had settled down a little. I have great memories of spending time with him. He loved that I wrote from an early age.”

Ali sighed, thinking of her sister and brother. “Megs and Bren always kind of resented me, but you know, as a kid, you don’t realize things like that.”

She looked at Logan and shivered slightly. “Anyway, you didn’t need to know all that Hart family history.”

Logan shook his head. “I want to know anything you want to tell me. Are your parents still together?”

Ali chuckled. “No. Dad could never say no to his wandering eye. During my senior year in high school, my mom finally had enough. She moved to the south of France. I stayed here with Dad, finished up school, then went to university in the UK. Which was kind of nice because sometimes, on holidays, I took the train to Provence to visit Mom.”

“Then after college, you came back here?” Logan asked.

“Nope,” Ali grinned, “I was tired of cold, grey winters. One spring break, I went with some girlfriends to south Florida, and I was hooked. Sunshine and 80 degrees in March, are you kidding me? I have a condo on the beach.”

Brow furrowed, Logan swiped a thumb across his lips. “So, you don’t live here in New York?”

Ali shook her head. “I just flew in last week. I’m staying with Dad. He still lives in the apartment where I grew up.”

Logan nodded. “And you’re here for Thanksgiving?”

“And Christmas. Plus, I figured I would stay at least through the middle of February. I mean, I can do my thing from anywhere, right? So, I’m checking on Dad, plus the holidays, plus…” Ali rolled her eyes.

He grinned encouragingly. “Plus?”

“My niece. Who is only two years younger than me.” She frowned. “I think twenty-three is too young to get married if you want to know the truth, but nobody asked my opinion. Anyway, Shannon’s getting married on Valentine’s Day, for Pete’s sake, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. It’s cheesy as hell, but how can I say no?”

As he leaned back in his chair, a slightly guarded look settled on Logan’s face. His tone was light, though. “What’s cheesy about it?”

Ali gestured with her right hand. “Well, getting married on Valentine’s Day, for one thing. I mean, don’t you think? How original is that?” She snorted derisively.

“Plus, you wouldn’t believe the bridesmaid’s dress she’s making me wear. It’s all frothy pink tulle from head to toe. Just…” She shook her head piteously.

“So, you wouldn’t choose Valentine’s Day for your wedding? Or frilly pink dresses for your bridesmaids?” Elbows resting on the arms of his chair, Logan steepled his fingers in front of his chest. His lips twitched as though they held back an amused grin.

Ali raised a red eyebrow. “I wouldn’t choose to have a big wedding, period. From where I sit, it’s kind of a losing proposition.”

“Ouch,” Logan chuckled lightly. “That’s just a tad cynical, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know that it’s cynical, exactly,” she lifted a shoulder, “I’m just realistic. What are the stats about divorce? My dad was divorced three times. And had countless affairs that all ended badly.” She looked at him pointedly. “Are your parents still together?”

The corners of his mouth turned up slightly as he nodded. “They are. They have been together for the last thirty-three years. And not to sound all pie-in-the-sky, but they’re happy. I’ve never known them to argue.”

Ali raised her eyebrows as she scanned the coffee shop. “Good for them. And you, for that matter. Maybe they’re the exception that proves the rule,” she said softly.

Logan leaned toward her again, amusement sparkling in his eyes. “So, you’re staunchly anti-marriage?”

“I wouldn’t say that,” she frowned. “I just don’t see spending an unholy amount of money for some huge shindig. I think it sets up unrealistic expectations. It can all be done much more simply.”

She raised a finger. “If I were going to get married, and admittedly, that’s a big if, I’d do it on a much smaller scale. I certainly wouldn’t force anyone to wear pink tulle, that’s for damn sure.”

She shifted a glance in his direction. “They have weddings on the beach by my condo all the time. I mean, I see them down there, all hopes and dreams and happily ever after. But how realistic is that? I always wonder how long they end up staying together. But I suppose if I were going to take the plunge, so to speak, that’s the way I’d do it.”

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE

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!

In this brand-new, never-before-shared excerpt from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE, the desperation to provide care for her ailing grandmother leads Charley to consider an outlandish idea.

“I understand, thank you.”  Numbly, Charley ended the call and set her phone on the counter.  Using a short, yellow pencil textured with gnaw marks, she drew a line through the last phone number at the bottom of a piece of notepaper.  Across the shop, Celeste relaxed in a leather chair and thumbed through a gardening book, unaware of her granddaughter’s growing despair.

The call had been to the final law firm on Charley’s list.  Although all of them had been sympathetic to her plight, each would require a hefty up-front retainer to take on the task of getting the money back from the television ministry. 

“What are we going to do, Nana?” Charley murmured.

**

That night, long after Celeste had gone to bed, Charley sat curled up on the sofa in front of the television.  As exhausted as she was, she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep, and she dreaded staring at the ceiling all night.  She considered sleeping late the following day, opening the shop late, if at all.  It wasn’t like anyone would be knocking down the door, desperate for a copy of Sense and Sensibility

One late-night talk show faded into another, but she really wasn’t paying attention.  Half-buzzed on tequila, she mentally rehearsed what she planned to say when she called a commercial realtor in the morning to discuss selling the bookstore.  She needed enough money to pay off her debts and still have some to replace what her grandmother had given away. 

But what about when that money ran out?  Even assuming she could get what she needed from the sale of the shop and its contents, the money would only go so far.  What then?

Knowing it was irrational, Charley worked hard to tamp down the irritation she felt toward her grandmother.  Celeste hadn’t intentionally set out to ruin everything.  In so many ways, she was like a child. 

Why does everything have to be so goddamn hard? Charley wondered miserably.

She picked up her glass and swirled the remaining tequila before taking another swig.  On television, a studio audience broke into applause as a famous actress stepped out from behind a blue curtain, took a bow, and crossed to a host who waited on a raised platform.  After greeting the actress with a hug, the man gestured to a chair before taking his place behind a large desk.

“How are you?  It’s been a while since the last time you were here.”

“I know,” the actress nodded.  “I’ve been keeping busy, for sure.”

“I understand life has changed quite a bit recently.”  The host leaned forward with a knowing smile.

“It has, it really has.”  The actress looked out at the studio audience with a giddy smile.  “I’m a mom!”

In the quiet of her darkened living room, Charley smiled.  While for her, life might be heading straight into the shitter, it was sort of nice to know that good things still happened for other people.  She was just buzzed enough to hope that maybe something might eventually turn around for her and Nana as well.

“Tell us about that,” the host prompted.

“Well,” the actress said, tucking a long leg beneath her, “we’d been trying to have a baby for a long time, but we had one heartbreak after the next.  Then someone told us about a surrogacy center called Ohana.  We were matched with a wonderful young woman who carried our baby for us.”

Behind the actress, a screen lit up with a photo of a tiny red-faced newborn swaddled in a fluffy white blanket and wearing a soft pink headband, and the audience applauded.

“She is adorable,” the host commented.  “What’s her name?”

Beaming, the actress glanced over her shoulder at the image on the screen.  “This is Natalie Grace, and she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”

The audience cheered again.

“I know we’re very blessed,” the actress continued.  “Not everyone has access to surrogacy services.  It’s a costly process.  But, I mean, the woman had a baby for us, for God’s sake.  She earned every penny.  Just look at that little face!”

As the audience applauded, Charley blinked at the television.  Surrogacy. 

She shook her head.  It’s crazy.  Crazy to even think about it. 

Absently, she chewed the corner of her thumbnail.  How much do you suppose…

The talk show went to commercial as Charley typed s-u-r-r-o-g-a-c-y into the search window of her phone.  Scrolling through the results, she found the question she had in mind.

How much money do gestational surrogates earn?

Charley clicked the link and waited as the page loaded.  When she found the information she was looking for, her eyes widened.  Even on the low end of the scale, the money would be enough to keep Nana in Pacifico Manor for a year without having to sell the bookstore.  If Charley sold the business, they might be able to stretch it to a year and a half, by which time she would no doubt be out of debt and gainfully employed, with a salary that would solve all their problems.

She resolved to research the Ohana Surrogacy Center in the morning.

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/TheGirlInTheGuesthouse

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

A platonic Dom/sub relationship?
It’s a damn odd arrangement.

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years. Now she’s lost her friend, her lover…and her Dominant.

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet.

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend. But it’s a damn odd arrangement—a platonic Dom/sub relationship. With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her. At her husband’s funeral.

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking. But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi. She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies. In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive. But that’s simply ridiculous. He’s five years younger than she is. He couldn’t possibly be interested in her. Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom. It’s perfect for the time being. Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

And could it all end at the hands of a madman?

FOR SPARROW is the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection, and it’s a Golden Flogger Award Winner for Best BDSM Book in the BDSM Light category.

In this scene, Dominant firefighter/paramedic Judd finally has the opportunity to give young widow Jessi a letter her husband Graham entrusted to Judd before he died.

Standing at the kitchen island, Judd handed Jessi an envelope. Her heart ached at the sight of Graham’s familiar left-handed scrawl across the face of the envelope.

For Sparrow

Jessi’s eyes filled with tears.

Judd spoke softly. “I’ll be out back when you’re finished, and we can talk about it if you like.” He squeezed her shoulder gently. “Come on, Buddy. Let’s go outside.” Happily, the puppy followed Judd out the back door.

Jessi’s hands shook. With her the tip of her index finger, she traced the writing on the front of the envelope. She glanced out the back door to see Judd kick off his shoes and lower himself to the edge of the pool, sinking his feet into the water. Buddy flopped down beside him and rolled over, wanting his tummy scratched, and Judd obliged.

She turned her attention back to the envelope. Her irrational self told her that if she didn’t open it, somehow everything could go back to normal. But curiosity won the moment, and she slid her thumb under the flap, carefully opening the letter.

My dearest Sparrow,

I’m so sorry I’m not there with you. I can feel my heart beginning to wear out. Please don’t be angry with me for not telling you; I know how you worry about things. We’ve had a good life together. I’ve told you before, and I’m telling you again, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. The fact that you are the mother of my children amazes the hell out of me. What did I ever do to deserve such a terrific family?

Jessi reached up to wipe a silent tear from her cheek. Self-consciously, she flicked her eyes out to the pool deck to find that Judd was watching her intently, and he flashed her a sympathetic smile. Sniffing, she read on.

It would be pointless, I suppose, to tell you not to mourn. Just don’t do it too long. And don’t you dare wear black. God, I hate all that maudlin bullshit. Now, Sparrow, you and I know that you are a natural submissive. I don’t want you to feel lost without a Dominant in your life. I want you to find one, a true Gentleman who will cherish you in the way you deserve. One who will nurture the sexy, sensual woman you truly are. Don’t you go back to some kind of vanilla half-existence. That would really piss me off.

Tears still streaming, she laughed because she could almost hear Graham’s voice.

If you have this letter, you’ve met Judd. I’ve known him for several years now, and he’s a solid Dominant. I’ve asked him to check in on you and to take care of some things around the house. I’ve also asked him to help you out until you find a Dominant of your own. Judd is willing to give you knee time, Sparrow, to help you settle your mind and find peace. I don’t mean sex and kink. He would be a sort of ’emotional Dominant,’ just until you get back on your feet.

On the other hand, if you found yourself attracted to Judd, it would make me happy knowing that you’d be in good hands. He’s a good man, Jessi, a gentle man, and a Gentleman. He would be a perfect sexual Dominant for you. I worry thinking about the dangers out there, Sparrow. You and Judd could make your own way.

Mortified, Jessi glanced out the back door. Thankfully, Judd was staring out across the pool. “I can’t believe you’re telling me these things,” she murmured to herself.

Anyway, I trust you, Sparrow. You’re smart and strong, and I’m so proud of you. Never forget that you are absolutely the love of my life. I’m forever grateful to you for taking my hard, stuffy heart and helping me to be a better man than I ever dreamed about being. Be sure the kids know how much I love them. I love you, my Sparrow, with all my heart. Live happy. Find love and cherish it.

Your loving husband and Master, G.

Jessi was completely undone. Sobbing, she folded her arms on the counter and rested her head on them. She cried until she felt she had no tears left. Moments passed, and she raised her head. It hurt, and her eyes felt puffy. With a glance at Judd and Buddy still sitting by the pool, she went into the powder room and splashed water on her face.

Taking a deep breath, she forced her feet out the back door and across the pool deck. Judd smiled up at her kindly. “How are you holding up?”

Jessi shrugged as she stepped out of her sandals and sat beside him, slipping her feet into the cool water. They sat without speaking, each gently sliding feet through the water, watching the ripples cross the pool and return to them. Judd moved his foot under her leg and raised her foot to the surface. The fuchsia nail polish was chipped and peeling.

“How long since you had a pedicure, Jessi?” he asked gently.

She moved her foot away and looked at him sharply. “What exactly did your letter say, Judd?”

He exhaled forcefully. “Like I said, he was worried about you. He said that you’re submissive and that you might need somebody in your life until you find your way.” He glanced at her knowingly. “When was the last time your mind was quiet, little one?”

A tear slid down Jessi’s cheek, and she swiped at it roughly. “So, you’re my appointed Dominant, is that it?” she asked testily.

“It’s not like that.” Judd looked at her steadily. “Graham and I were friends. We talked about Dominance and submission for hours over the years. He trusted me. Trusted me with the one thing that meant the most to him in the world.”

He paused, gazing at her thoughtfully. “He didn’t want you to run into the wrong kind of man while you’re looking to ease your mind, to fill that emptiness that I see in your eyes.” Jessi stubbornly looked away and swiped at her cheek again.

“You know, it’s entirely up to you. I’m going to complete the list of things around your house. I promised him I would. But whether you accept me as a surrogate Dominant? Only you can decide that.”

He ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “You miss knee time; I know you do,” he said softly. “A chance to just let go of all the concerns that weigh you down.” Jessi turned back to look at him, her expression softer. “I’m not talking about kinky sex, tying you up, and all that. I’m offering you a chance to clear your mind of everything; let me carry your burdens for a while.”

“Why? Why would you do that?” Her voice was strained.

Judd shrugged. “I’m Dominant. It’s what I crave, to be needed, to take care of a submissive.” He laughed lightly. “I’m a Dominant without a submissive, and you’re a submissive without a Dominant. For the time being, it works out well.”

He gazed at her steadily, kindness in his brown eyes. “Just say the word. Do you want knee time, little one?”

Another tear rolled down her cheek. And she nodded. “Yes,” she whispered. “I want knee time.”

He smiled patiently. “Yes, what, little one?”

“Yes, Master.”

Judd shook his head. “I’m not your Master, little one. Yes, Sir will do.”

Unconsciously, Jessi bowed her head submissively. “Yes, Sir, may I please have knee time?”

“Yes, you may,” he responded gently. “There is a big leather chair in your den. Be kneeling beside the chair in two minutes. Your eyes will be closed, and you will clear your mind. Do you understand, little one?”

“Yes, Sir.” Jessi stood and started to walk away but then turned and looked at him anxiously. “My clothes, Sir?”

“Your clothes are fine the way they are,” he answered. “Hurry. I’ll come to you shortly.”

“Yes, Sir,” she said, and she hurried into the house.

FOR SPARROW by Pandora Spocks

Golden Flogger Award Winner FOR SPARROW
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

A handsome rancher with a tragic past,
determined to hang on to his inheritance.
A spunky young corporate lawyer
ready to make her mark in the world.
A sinister plot against them both.

Hunter McFall is a fifth-generation Idaho cattle rancher. He’s been approached to sell a small fraction of his land to a big-city real estate developer. Something he has no intention of doing. He’s agreed to hear out the firm’s lawyer, but that’s the end of it. To his surprise, it’s just the beginning.

Red-haired Manhattan business attorney Poppy Chastain is determined to make the most of her first opportunity to show her bosses what she can do. Slade & Howell have sent her to the boondocks of Idaho to convince the hard-headed rancher to part with a tiny plot of his property. She didn’t count on the sizzling attraction between them.

Together, they find a passion they weren’t even looking for. But their love is threatened by a covert scheme to separate Hunter from his land by any means necessary. When he finds out, he’s sure Poppy has played him for a fool. Can she convince him otherwise, that what they’ve found is real?

If you love hot cowboys, sassy redheads, and steamy, romantic happily-ever-afters, you’ll love Hunter’s Pride.

In this spoiler-laden snippet, Hunter heads to New York to try to win Poppy back. He’s in for a big surprise.

*Warning–Spoilers!

A cool gust chilled Poppy as she headed back to the apartment. Shifting a mesh shopping bag over her left shoulder, she closed the flowy beige cardigan more tightly around herself. Her shift at Cuppa Joe’s had seemed long today, and she was tired. The thought of resting her feet on her coffee table and watching something mindless on television was tremendously appealing.

Necessity had required a stop by the market on her way home from work. Since her departure from Slade & Howell, she’d put herself on a strict budget. The bunch of sunflowers in her bag alongside a few grocery items was an extravagant treat.

She crossed at the corner with a dozen other pedestrians, each preoccupied with his or her own thoughts. In her own mind, she pictured the steps of her first-floor walk-up. “Thank God it’s the first floor,” she muttered to herself.

Halfway down the block, she gazed up toward her brownstone apartment building and saw a familiar figure standing on the stoop. As she approached, he removed his black felt Stetson.

“Poppy.” His voice was soft, and his eyes seemed to plead with her, although for what, she couldn’t say.

“Hunter?” She pulled her sweater protectively around herself.

“I just…” He twisted his hat in his hands. “I need to talk to you. I need to apologize.”

Rattled to her core, she tried not to show it. “Let’s go inside. I don’t need the neighborhood knowing my business.”

Moving past him, she unlocked the front door and pushed her way inside, leaving it up to Hunter to follow. She stopped at her apartment door and closed her eyes, willing her pulse to slow down.

Across the hall, a brown face in a hot pink turban peered out his door. “Everything okay, lovely?” Roxy asked, giving Hunter the stink eye.

Poppy forced a smile and nodded. “Yeah, it’s good.”

Roxy arched an eyebrow and scanned Hunter from head to toe. “Well, you just let me know,” he said. “Not sure how I feel about cowboys just showing up out of the blue. Where are gentlemen with manners, that’s what I’d like to know.”

He turned back to Poppy. “You need anything, you just holla, girl.”

“Thanks, Roxy. We’ll be fine.”

“Mm-hmm, well he sure is fine, and that’s the God’s truth,” he murmured, half to himself. “Wouldn’t mind climbing that tree myself sometime.” With another glance in Hunter’s direction, he winked at Poppy and closed his door.

With a shaky hand, she unlocked her door and went inside. Again, Hunter followed. While he closed the door, she set the mesh shopping bag on the kitchen counter and shrugged slightly. “Sorry. My neighbor is kind of protective.”

Standing just inside the door, he nodded, still twisting his hat. “We met earlier.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, have a seat,” she said, gesturing to a stool at the kitchen bar. To have something to do, she rummaged beneath the sink and found a tall square glass vase, which she filled with water.

“What are you doing all the way in New York?” She focused on the vase, afraid to look at him, but she watched him shrug out of the corner of her eye.

“Like I said, I want to apologize.”

“For what?” Her tone was flippant, even to her own ears. From a drawer, she withdrew a pair of heavy shears and lopped off the ends of the sunflower stems.

He sighed heavily and pushed up from the counter. “Poppy, could you just listen to me for a minute?”

She plunked the flowers into the vase and faced him, pulling her sweater closed and leaning back against the kitchen counter. Even with the hat resting on the counter, he continued to fidget with it. She’d never wanted to whip something out the window more in her life.

He shifted his jaw tightly. “I’m so sorry, Poppy. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I should have listened to you.” He scowled, running a hand restlessly across his lips. “I should have known.”

Pursing her lips, she nodded. “I suppose. But then, you didn’t really know me at all, did you?” She echoed his words, the ones he’d hurled at her before he’d ordered her away. “I mean, after all, we knew each other for what, a week?”

He blinked at her words, and she knew they’d hit their mark. Unable to take him full force, Poppy turned her back and busied herself arranging the flowers. “Does anybody ever really know anybody?”

Hunter didn’t reply, but she heard his steady breathing.

Unable to stand the silence, she gave an exasperated sigh. “You know I lost my job, right? I’ve been looking for a new one since I got back to the city. And in the meantime, I’m waiting tables at a coffee place a few blocks from here. All I can do right now is try to keep my head above water. Tiny as this place is, it’s not cheap.”

He sank back down onto the stool. “You lost your job at Slade and Howell?”

Poppy rolled her eyes. “I suppose technically, I quit. After I told them to go fuck themselves, I couldn’t exactly work there anymore.” She risked a glance his way.

A glimmer of humor shone in his eyes. “You told them to go fuck themselves?”

“After what they tried to do to you? After they used me to do it? What do you think?”

“How did the settlement come about? How did they decide to give me that mountain property? Did you have something to do with that?”

She exhaled sharply. “I was waiting for them to call my flight at the gate in Sun Valley, and I started scrolling through my photos.” She cut her eyes toward him. “Don’t ask me why, because I was pissed as hell. Anyway, I saw something in a few of the pictures I took the day we went riding in the mountains.”

“Ground squirrels,” Hunter nodded.

“Which, as it turns out, Slade & Howell knew about. I had a friend of mine at the firm dig up the emails.” She gave a satisfied nod.

“Believe me, they were happier to settle by giving you the land than they were to go to trial and have to explain why they conspired to proceed with a project that they knew would destroy the known habitat of an endangered species. And as it turns out, that was just the tip of the iceberg.”

She looked at Hunter. “I figured that if the land went to you, you would ensure that it was never developed. Kind of a win-win. Even Slade & Howell wins. The insurance money made sure they could just build their resort someplace else.”

You didn’t win,” he observed.

Heart pounding, she shrugged but said nothing.

He shook his head. “I should have trusted you. I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life.”

Again, he stood. “Please forgive me, Poppy. Even if you don’t love me anymore. Even if you’ve found someone else. I can’t go back to Idaho until I know that we’re okay.”

She couldn’t miss the anguish in his eyes. Focusing on the flowers was an exercise in self-preservation.

“And there’s more to it than that. I came to do more than just apologize.” He pushed back from the kitchen counter bar and stood, his head nearly touching the underside of her loft bedroom. “I want to tell you that I love you. Since you left Idaho, I’ve been a miserable son of a bitch.”

He shook his head miserably. “I know we only knew each other for a week. But damn it, sometimes a week is enough.”

She heard him take a step closer. His voice was softer. “I love you, Poppy. And I know you love me. Or at least you did. Before I let my ego make an ass of me.”

She squeezed her eyes shut against the emotions that swept over her. Steeling herself, she turned to face him. “What am I supposed to do with that?” Her tone was biting.

His eyes widened, and he looked like she’d punched him in the gut. “I just…wanted to tell you.”

“Words, Hunter. Just…words.” Thinking of all she’d been through in the last several months, she shook her head. “Maybe in the movies, that makes everything okay. But this is real life.”

Her heart pounded in her chest. I have to do it. He deserves to know. “You mentioned that I didn’t win. Well, I didn’t exactly walk away empty-handed.”

Feeling like she was in a warped dream, she opened the oatmeal-colored cardigan and slipped it off. She’d recently had to give up her favorite Levis in favor of maternity jeans with a wide stretchy waist.

Hunter’s jaw went slack as he took in the four-month baby bump just noticeable beneath her long white three-quarter-sleeve t-shirt.

“How did… When did…” Looking gut-punched, he sank back onto his stool.

Crossing her arms defensively, she shrugged lightly. “I like to think it was that first time, the night we were stranded in the cabin on the mountain. Although it could have been any of the other times, too.”

He frowned slightly, and she launched herself toward him, planting her palms on the counter. “If you dare question whether it’s yours, I’ll slap the face right off the front of your head. You’ll be looking up at yourself from the ground.”

Hunter said nothing, but his eyes glinted with amusement.

Softening a bit, she opened a drawer and produced a paper strip of ultrasound images, sliding it across the counter. “It’s a boy, by the way.”

Motionless, he blinked in shock, all amusement gone. Wordlessly, he stared at the grainy black and white images. “Were you going to tell me?” he finally asked softly.

“I don’t know,” she huffed. “I mean, if I tell you, then you feel some kind of responsibility, right?”

She eyed him sharply. “Think about it. When I lost my job, I lost my insurance. To save money, I’m seeing a midwife for prenatal care and crossing my fingers I can deliver at home. I’m counting every penny, and let me tell you, I would fucking kill somebody right now for some deep-dish pizza from Pronti’s.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

HUNTER’S PRIDE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/HuntersPride

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE

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?

RUNNING ROGUE is the must-read follow-up to Amazon #1 bestseller, RESISTING RISK. It’s the second of three novels in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy. In this scene, Michael seems to have some ulterior motives.

The next morning, Maggie got up early and hit the internet, researching the best foods for people on chemotherapy and compiling a list of things to look for at the organic market. She was surprised when Michael called.

“Hey, what’s up?” she greeted him. “I’m working on a shopping list for you.”

“Thanks, Mags,” he said. “But don’t go overboard with the organic shit, okay? I don’t know if I’ll eat all that anyway.”

“You have to eat; it might as well be healthy foods,” she returned. “Just try the things I get. You might even prefer them, free of all the artificial crap.”

“We’ll see,” he said doubtfully. “Listen, I want to thank Beau for all his help yesterday. We’re having him over for dinner tonight.”

Maggie frowned. We? “Tonight?” she asked. “Michael, I don’t know what I’m making for you yet. How am I supposed to pull together a nice dinner?”

“You’re not pulling together anything. I’ve already placed the order, it’ll be delivered by 6:00 tonight. I talked to Beau, he’s getting here at 7:00.”

Maggie couldn’t think of a response.

“Don’t you think we should thank him for everything he did yesterday?” Michael prodded.

“Well, of course I do,” Maggie sputtered. “But it’s just so…short notice.”

“I know, but luckily he’s working an early show today. You don’t have to worry about anything for dinner tonight; I’m making sure everything is taken care of. Truthfully,” he added, “dinner tonight is to thank you, too. You’ve been my rock from the get-go. I appreciate you, Mags.”

Maggie felt a lump forming in her throat. “You don’t have to thank me, Michael. It’s what friends do.”

“I’m still grateful,” he said. “So don’t worry about anything. Go on about your business of hooking me up with sprouts and wheat germ. Dinner is under control.”

She sighed. “Okay, Michael. I’ll see you when I finish shopping.”

“See you then,” he said. “Oh, and Mags? Wear something pretty.”

Wear something pretty. Seriously? Maggie frowned irritably as she disconnected. It’s not enough I’m hauling my cookies all over town to get you healthy food to eat. You’re throwing a last-minute dinner party at me and telling me how to dress? Some kind of nerve…

Even so, her thoughts went to her wardrobe. She began sliding her clothes back and forth on the bar in the closet. Humph…it’s supposed to be cold, might even snow. Wear something pretty. Gahhhh!

Two hours later, Maggie returned to her apartment, having purchased three bags of organic food and two dozen plastic containers with lids.

No way am I carrying all this uptown on the subway, she decided. Especially not while I’m wearing something ‘pretty’. She had no idea why Michael’s comment chapped her butt so much, but it did.

She spent the next couple of hours putting together single-serving portions of organic kale salads with red and yellow peppers, spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, and poached salmon with carrots and broccoli. These she stacked in their sealed containers in one of the shopping bags. In another bag, she put her other purchases like the organic peanut butter, green tea, and lentil soup. She decided that just before she left, she’d pack the third bag with the organic Greek yogurt she’d found.

Then she headed off to shower and get dressed. Glancing out the window, she saw the sky filled with heavy grey clouds. “Great,” she said aloud. “Ten bucks says it snows before I get back home tonight.”

Dressed and ready to leave, Maggie stopped to check her image in the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door. She’d chosen a long heather grey sweater over a short silver sequin skirt with black opaque tights and black ankle booties with heels. The neckline of the sweater was wide, revealing her collarbone and the thin straps of her grey camisole. At the ends of the long sleeves, the cuffs rolled a little around her wrists.

Turning this way and that, she decided she liked the way the sweater clung to her curves. Her red hair she’d left down, sort of tousled and free, and it brushed past her shoulders. “Humph! You wanted pretty. This is about as good as it gets.”

Shrugging into her coat, she scooped up her shopping bags and headed out front to meet the cab she’d ordered.

When she arrived at Michael’s, he greeted her at the door wearing a black t-shirt with grey sweatpants. He gave a low whistle. “Very nice, Mags,” he commented.

She rolled her eyes. “Pretty enough for you?” she snipped, looking him up and down. “Is that what you’re wearing?”

He grinned. “Company isn’t coming for a couple of hours. I’ll change later.”

Company, Maggie thought. You mean Bobby.

In all her irritation with Michael, she’d almost forgotten that they’d be having dinner with Bobby. Her mind flashed to her image in the mirror. Maybe dressing pretty wasn’t such a bad idea.

Not that I’m trying to impress him, she considered. She flushed slightly. Michael watched her carefully.

“Come let me show you everything I brought you,” Maggie told him.

The delivery from Ithaka, a Greek place down the block, arrived promptly at 6:00. Maggie put the Kota Stakarvouna, sealed with foil, in the warming oven to keep the chicken at the correct temperature. The house salad and Garides Psites she placed in the fridge, planning to reheat the shrimp for them to enjoy as an appetizer.

Finished in the kitchen, she headed into the living room to relax for a few minutes and was surprised to find that Michael had been busy arranging a table in the solarium with crisp black table linens and three white place settings. Smooth jazz quietly filtered through an unobtrusive sound system. He’d put candles on the table and strung tiny white lights among the greenery out on the terrace.

“Michael, this looks beautiful.”

He smiled proudly. “Like I said, this dinner is to thank you, too.”

Maggie hugged him gently. “How are you feeling?”

“Truthfully, I’m a little tired,” he answered. “I think I’ll go lie down for a while.”

Alarmed, she checked her watch. “Bobby will be here in half an hour.”

“Just give me a few minutes,” he said over his shoulder as he headed down the hall toward his room.

Maggie set the alarm on her phone for 6:55, and when it sounded, she went to wake Michael. “Come on, you’ve got to get up. He’ll be here any minute.”

Michael groaned. “I’m really tired,” he mumbled. “Let me have a little longer.”

She heard a knock at the front door. “He’s here! Get up now!” she said, hurrying to answer the door.

Maggie swung open the door to find Bobby standing there, the boyish grin firmly in place. “Hi, Maggie,” he greeted her. “You look beautiful tonight.”

She blushed furiously. “Wow, that’s nice of you to say,” she murmured. “Come on in. You look nice yourself.”

And he did. He wore nicely fitting jeans, a white dress shirt, and a navy jacket. Her eyes drifted to his ass as he walked past her into the apartment, and she breathed in the masculine scent of his cologne. She shook her head, attempting to refocus.

“Thanks,” he said. He lifted a small shopping bag. “I brought some wine to contribute to the cause.”

“Great! Michael ordered from Ithaka. I have to admit, it smells heavenly,” she said. “Let me just…” she began. “Michael went to lie down. I’ll just go get him up and moving.”

“No problem. Can I pour you a glass of wine?” he asked.

“Yes, please, that would be great,” she answered. “There are glasses in the bar.” She pointed in that direction. “We’ll be right out.”

Maggie hurried down the hall. Michael was lying on his side, facing away from the door. “Sean Michael Rannigan!” she hissed. “You get your ass out of bed this instant!”

He rolled onto his back and faced her. “I’m staying put,” he yawned sleepily. “Go and enjoy. Bobby’s a good guy. You could use a nice dinner with a nice man.”

She gasped as realization dawned on her. “No way! You’re doing this on purpose?! Don’t you do this to me! Don’t you embarrass me like this!”

“What embarrass? Two adults having dinner. What’s so hard about that?” he asked reasonably. “I overextended myself today. I’ll stay here and rest. You’ll go and have a great evening with a great guy who likes you, by the way.”

Maggie stood staring at him wide-eyed.

“You’re leaving your guest unattended. That’s kind of rude, Mags.”

She nodded angrily. “This is so not the end of this conversation,” she said firmly, and she turned to leave.

“And Mags?” he called. “You’re welcome.”

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–JUST ONE NIGHT

Hot Caribbean days.
Even hotter nights.

Katie Parker is a woman on a mission. On a Caribbean cruise for her annual girlfriends’ getaway, she’s determined to forget about the man who betrayed her. All she wants is to find a man for just one night of anonymous, no-strings-attached passion.

Mac Coleman needs to get away. For now, that means accompanying his brothers on a cruise to Mexico for his younger brother’s wedding. After that, he’ll be changing jobs and cities, all to get away from his stalker ex-girlfriend.

When the pair meet on board the ship, the chemistry is instant.

Can Mac convince Katie that what they have deserves more than just one night?

In this teaser from JUST ONE NIGHT, Katie lets Mac know exactly what she’s looking for.

The pair parked themselves at a tiny table at the edge of the piano bar, the first place they’d come to in their search for a cocktail. Katie watched him as he approached the bar and ordered for them. She couldn’t get over how handsome he was, how he’d come outside looking for her. This was exactly what she needed to take her mind off of her man problems back home.

She smiled up at him as he returned to their table, carrying a margarita for her and a Scotch for himself. “Cheers,” he said, raising his glass to hers.

“Cheers,” she murmured in return, and she sipped gratefully, counting on the liquid courage her glass offered.

“You know, we’ve gone about this all backward.” He rested his drink on the table and offered his right hand. “My name is–“

“No! No names,” Katie quickly interrupted.

Mac blinked in surprise. “No names. Why no names?”

“Just…because,” she stammered. “No names, no personal information, we’ll just…keep it casual.”

“Keep it casual.” Mac frowned. “Okay.” He gave her a curious look. “Do you want me to leave?”

She shook her head, red curls swinging. “No, I’d like you to stay.”

He gave a relieved smile. “Good, because I’d like to stay. So…no personal information. Do you want to talk about work?”

“Oh, hell no!”

“Um, how about that weather? That’s some pretty great weather out there tonight.”

Katie laughed lightly. “I don’t mean to be a pain.”

Mac smiled back. “You’re not a pain, exactly. I just have to figure out the rules. And you’re here with three other women?”

“You could see that in the dining room. Where you were staring,” Katie observed.

“You know that because you were staring back,” he countered.

“And you’re here with two other men.”

Mac nodded. “My brothers. Oops! Was that personal?”

“Now you’re making fun.”

He smiled ruefully. “Maybe just a little bit. This is kind of a bachelor party. My kid brother is getting married.”

“A bachelor party?” Katie laughed lightly. “Shouldn’t you be getting back to the debauchery?”

Mac laughed. “Not much debauchery with those two. My older brother’s been married for years, and Tommy’s head over heels for his fiancée.” He glanced up at Katie. “Oops! More personal information.”

Katie sighed and sipped her drink. “My friends and I get together for a week every summer. We’ve known each other since high school.”

“There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Katie nodded firmly. “We’re even, that’s all.” She rested her forearm on the table and toyed with her glass. Mac did the same, and his arm brushed against hers as he did. She made no effort to move away from him. He intentionally rested his arm against hers, noting the electric charge he felt, wondering if she felt it, too.

Glancing up, he saw that she was watching him intently. “So…you don’t want any personal information. You don’t want to talk about work. You don’t want me to leave.”

Katie shook her head.

“Okay, well, we’ve got that settled. What do you want?” He watched her expectantly.

She stared at her glass as she swirled the remainder of her margarita. Her buzz from the dinner wine combined with the icy cocktail made her feel bold. She looked back up at Mac.

“Do you really want to know what I want? I want just one night. Just one night of anonymous, no-holds-barred, red-hot, no-strings-attached sex. That’s what I want.” She fixed him with a challenging stare.

“Whoa,” he breathed, eyes wide.

Katie looked down at her glass again. “Too blunt?”

Mac leaned back in his chair, lips forming an O. “That was blunt, all right, but I can respect that. I’ve gotta ask, though.” He sought out her eyes. “Is there some guy at home waiting for you to come back?”

Katie shook her head. “I’m not cheating on anybody. You?”

He shook his head, too, and laughed humorlessly. “What was it you said earlier? Oh, hell no.”

She lightly stroked his arm as it rested on the table, delighting in the goose bumps that appeared there. Her gaze traveled from there to his lap, which seemed to be taking an interest in the proceedings if the growing mound there was any indication. She shifted her focus, sliding her gaze up his torso to those lips she’d noticed earlier. God, I just want to suck on that lower lip.

She met his eyes again, saw the fire there, and knew it matched her own. “So, what do you say?”

“I say, have another margarita. I just need to run to the little shop and pick up some… Well, I didn’t actually expect that I’d need…” He smiled apologetically.

Her voice was soft. “I’ll wait right here.”

He took her hand, gently brushed his lips across her knuckles, gave her a wink, and left the bar.

JUST ONE NIGHT by Pandora Spocks

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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 scene from MIDNIGHT COVE, sexy local cop Jake introduces newcomer Bree to some of the Midnight Cove locals.

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 that 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 standing still, watching the water, and just listening 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 mid-November, but I’m not going back.”

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

Bree huffed 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 that 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 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 of 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 at 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 in 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

Love your romance with a little spooky?
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Weekend Excerpt–RESISTING RISK

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Amazon #1 Bestselling RESISTING RISK is the first book of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy. And you can have it FREE, exclusively at Amazon. Keep reading for the link!

Brilliant Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan has his life arranged exactly the way he likes it. As a founding partner at the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he can let his underlings do the legwork on the high-profile defense cases his exclusive 50th-floor division handles. He prefers to simply breeze in and do what he does best: dazzle juries and charm the press.


His private life is well-ordered, too. Michael doesn’t have the time or the patience for relationships. Instead, he has a contact list of hot blondes who meet his needs at any given moment, whether it’s a date to a gallery opening or an awards show. Or he just wants to get laid.


Some people would call him shallow. But they’re just envious.


Maggie Flynn has her life mapped out as well. After she graduates from law school, she plans to take a job with the Prosecutor’s Office, where she interned. But when she attends a job fair and meets Michael Rannigan, her plans change. She’s studied his cases, even heard him speak once. He’s smart and sexy, and she can’t resist interviewing with him.


Michael hires Maggie and has her assigned to his elite 50th-floor team. He knows smart when he sees it. He also sees the spark in her eyes. She wants him. And having her nearby strokes his ego. It’s not like anything will come of it; she’s so far from his type. But there’s something unsettling about Mary Margaret Flynn, like she can see through his bullshit in a way no one else ever bothered to do.


Maggie realizes that her crush on Michael is all but hopeless. He’s a self-absorbed womanizer. But beneath that cool exterior, she’s seen the man he can be, and she’s sure that love can bring that out. In the meantime, she’s content to work with him.


What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

In this teaser from RESISTING RISK, things begin to get heated between Maggie and her boss, Michael.

“Mags,” she heard out of the shifting fog. “We’re back in town. I need you to tell us where to go.”

She opened her eyes and realized that she’d been sleeping with her head on Michael’s shoulder. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry.” She sat up abruptly. “I didn’t realize… I wish you’d awakened me.”

“No worries. But we need to know exactly where to take Ben and where your place is.”

Maggie could see the driver watching her in the rear view mirror. “My place. Right.” She gave the address and the driver thanked her, the partition whooshing back into place. “Ben can sleep it off on my couch. It won’t be the first time.”

The car came to a stop in front of Maggie’s apartment. “Nice building, Mags. Is the whole thing yours?”

She fairly snorted. “In my dreams! One day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have my own brownstone. For now I’m happy with a tiny part of the second floor.” She smiled gratefully. “Thanks again for the ride. You are a life saver.” She moved to open the door but the driver was there first.

“Let me help you get him inside,” Michael offered. They both glanced at Ben, who hadn’t so much as shifted during the entire ride.

She looked back at Michael. “Probably a good idea. I won’t be able to get him up the stairs by myself.” They succeeded in rousing Ben enough for him to put his arms around their shoulders and they moved him to the sidewalk.

Michael spoke quietly to the driver, who nodded before returning to the driver’s seat and slowly driving away. Maggie looked at him questioningly. “I told him to find a place to park. I’ll call him after we get your date settled.”

They managed the stairs and Michael leaned Ben between himself and the wall as Maggie unlocked the door and let them into her apartment. “Let’s just lay him on the couch,” she said, cocking her head in the direction of a large grey velvet sofa with navy blue accent pillows.

They worked together to get the unconscious and snoring Ben safely onto the couch, Michael studiously ignoring the way his jacket gapped open, inviting views of Maggie’s breasts as she leaned over to place a pillow under Ben’s head.

“Thank you so much, Michael,” she said as she removed his jacket and held it uncertainly. “Can I offer you a beer or coffee or something? Or do you need to go?”

“Coffee sounds good,” he answered.

Maggie smiled brightly as she gently placed his jacket over the back of a kitchen chair and set about making coffee. Michael wandered around the living room area to the bay window and looked out over the street. He turned back around to take in the view of the room. It was small, of course, but nice in a quirky sort of way. She’d left on a dim lamp near the window that gave enough light to the space without being intrusive. “This is a nice place,” he commented.

She smiled at him from the kitchen counter. “Thanks. And again, I really appreciate your giving us a ride.”

“Mags, you’ve thanked me about a thousand times,” he said gently.

She blushed slightly. “Well, I didn’t want to forget,” she said sheepishly.

He watched her as she worked in the kitchen, measuring out coffee into a French press, putting a kettle of water on the stove, little mundane domestic tasks. His mind skipped to flashes of her from throughout the night. Slowly it dawned on him what it was about Maggie that made him uncomfortable.

She’s real. She has no hidden agenda. She isn’t playing some game, she doesn’t want anything from me. He sighed deeply. She’s the kind of girl who could make you forget your own rules.

Michael slowly crossed the room and stood by the kitchen counter. “Can I help with something?”

“No, it’s all done. We’re just waiting for the water to boil.” She leaned back resting her hand on the counter.

He gently placed his hand on hers. “You…are very dangerous,” he whispered, lifting her hand to his lips and kissing it softly, his deep brown eyes peering into hers. Her brow furrowed, perplexed.

Gently, he tilted up her chin with his fingers and leaned down, meeting her lips with his own, lightly at first, and then more urgently. He ran his other hand down the smooth fabric of the back of her dress coming to rest on her firm ass as he probed her mouth with his tongue, seeking hers.

Maggie responded, matching the heat of his kiss, reaching up, tangling her fingers in the hair behind his ear, giving herself over to his embrace. Michael’s hand left her ass and smoothed its way back up to her side, her ribs, stopping just under her breast. Reluctantly he pulled himself away.

Maggie breathlessly gazed up at him. He smiled gently. “We’re both a little drunk,” he said. “Which is why I’d better go.” Tenderly, he kissed her once again and walked out the door.

RESISTING RISK by Pandora Spocks

Amazon #1 Bestselling RESISTING RISK
is available for FREE, exclusively at Amazon.