Weekend Excerpt–Happy Thanksgiving!


Here in the States, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week.  It’s a great time for family, friends, and good food.  It’s a time to stop and consider all the things for which we’re grateful.

This weekend excerpt features a Thanksgiving scene from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption.

They arrived at the Beaulieu’s home after eight o’clock that night having driven from the airport in the silver pickup truck Bobby had reserved at the rental agency.  “A truck?” Maggie had questioned.  Bobby had just winked at her.

Jerilyn chased Savannah who bounded out of the house as they pulled up into the circular driveway.  “Daddy!” cried the child as she threw herself into Bobby’s arms.

“Well hey there, June bug,” he said, hugging his daughter tightly.  “Look who I brought with me.  You remember Maggie, don’t you?”

“Welcome, cher,” Jerilyn said as she wrapped Maggie in a huge hug.  “Come on in.  Are y’all hungry?”

“I’m always hungry,” laughed Bobby.  He put Savannah on the ground.  “Come on, you can help us get our bags.”

“This is such a beautiful home,” Maggie told Bobby’s mother.

“Why thank you, hon,” she smiled.  “Of course, you know Bobby had it built for us when he signed his first contract with the majors.”

Maggie’s eyes widened and she looked to Bobby who seemed uncomfortable.  “No.  I didn’t know that.”

Ro-bert, y’all are up in your room,” Jerilyn tossed over her shoulder as she headed back into the house.  “Get freshened up and come on down to the kitchen.”

With Bobby leading the way, Savannah carried Maggie’s cosmetic case and Maggie followed with her suitcase as they went upstairs.  They traveled down a long hallway to a bedroom on the back of the house with a huge bay window overlooking the marsh beyond the expansive lawn.

“Okay, sweetie,” Bobby said to Savannah, “how about you go help Nana in the kitchen and we’ll be right there.”

“Okay, Daddy,” the little girl said.  “Are you coming downstairs, Maggie?”

Maggie smiled.  “I sure am.  I’ll see you in just a minute.”

“You can sit by me,” Savannah said as she left the room, closing the door behind her.

Bobby pulled Maggie to him and held her for a moment, kissing her neck.  “Thank you so much for coming home with me, cher,” he murmured against her neck.

“I’m happy to be here,” she said.  “I’m surprised your mom has us sharing a room, though.”  He looked at her quizzically.  “I just figured we’d be in separate rooms, that’s all,” she shrugged.

“You realize, cher,” he arched an eyebrow, “they know we have sex.”  He whispered the last three words, and Maggie blushed furiously while he chuckled.  “You’re so pretty when your face is pink.”

Thursday was a blur of activity at the Beaulieu home.  Bobby’s sisters and their families arrived throughout the morning beginning around seven o’clock.  One by one, Maggie was introduced to them, and she made a concerted effort to remember everyone’s names and at least which kids belonged to which adults, if not the names of the kids.  She happily pitched in with the preparations in the kitchen while Bobby worked outside to set up the large outdoor fryer in which the turkey would be cooked.

“Have you ever had deep-fried turkey, Maggie?” asked Bobby’s sister Jenny.

Maggie shook her head.  “I never have, but I’ve always wanted to try it.”

“You should go outside and watch,” youngest sister Nancy told her.

Taking a beer from the giant ice-filled galvanized tub on the back deck, Maggie walked down the steps to the area on the end of the driveway where Bobby and his father had set up the fryer on its sturdy platform.  The other men were keeping an eye on the kids playing behind the house.

“If it’s not the prettiest girl I know,” Bobby said, smiling.  “And she brought me a beer.”  He took it from her and kissed her cheek.  “How are you doing, cher?”

“I’m great!  I came to see the turkey fry.”

“Once you have it fried, you’ll never go back to roasted,” Justin told her with a wink.

The holiday dinner around the family table was a raucous affair.  Following the grace, the passing of heaping platters and bowls was accompanied by loud conversation punctuated by frequent laughter.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed, Maggie sat back and took it all in.  Bobby rested his free hand on her thigh and grinned at her reassuringly from time to time.

“Well what do you think, Maggie?”  Bobby’s oldest sister Michelle smiled kindly.  “Are you coming back for Christmas or have we scared you off?”

“Oh, well,” Maggie began, “actually I have a gathering at my place every Christmas.  It’s sort of affectionately known as the Orphans and Misfits Christmas.”

“Being without family, Maggie invites her friends who don’t have anybody either.  She makes sure that nobody’s alone on Christmas,” Bobby elaborated proudly.

“Well, she has family now,” Bobby’s sister Renée said, and Maggie blushed as threatened tears stung her eyes.

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

Weekend Excerpt–Luke & Bella

What’s the coolest job you can imagine?

Luke McGillicutty and Bella Grant were hired to jet all over the world and create a new television travel program.  With a virtually unlimited budget and free reign to find the stories in the cities they’re assigned to visit, it was the job of a lifetime.

Visiting places like Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Mykonos, staying in luxurious 5-star hotels, is it any wonder the veteran photographer and career journalist fall in love?

In this scene, Bella has had to travel back home to Birmingham to attend the funeral of her estranged father.  Unable to accompany her, Luke has agreed to finish up where they were, and to meet her at the next destination.  As it turns out, she’ll have a story to tell him when she gets there.

As Tre and Cornelia moved through the crowd, they were greeted with heartfelt wishes of condolence.  Bella and T-Nathan stayed on the outskirts of the crowd and made their way to the backyard, where the main gathering was meant to be.  The sky was bright blue and crystal clear, the temperature perfect for being outdoors.  Bella took a glass of wine from a passing server and sipped slowly.

“Well, kiddo, we’ve almost made it,” she said, winking at T-Nathan.  “When do you go back to school?”

He smiled at her.  “Next week,” he answered.  He seemed like he wanted to say more, so she waited, using her best interviewer arched eyebrow to encourage him.  “Hey Aunt Sissy, can I talk to you about something?”

“Of course,” she said, smiling warmly.  “What’s your old aunt for anyway?  What’s up?”

“Well, you know how I’ve been studying pre-law?  I’ve been thinking about changing my major.”

“Oh?” she asked, then waited.

“Yeah, um,” he said, blushing, “I’m thinking about journalism.  I want to do what you do.”  He looked at her directly.  “So what do you think?”

She thought, Your mother’s going to have a cow, but she answered, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do, travel and interview and that kind of thing?”  He nodded eagerly.

“Well, since you asked what I think…You should make journalism your minor, then continue with your pre-law or change to history or political science or economics or something else that you can bring to the table.  Any dumb ass can read the news.  You’re smarter than that.  And get involved with campus news in some way.  That’s valuable experience.”  She smiled at him.  “You know what, sometime when all the planets align, you need to come out with Luke and me, give it a try.”

“I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t be any good at it,” he said, blushing again.

“Are you kidding me?  Look at this mug,” she said, patting his cheek affectionately.  “All the girls will lose their mother-loving minds!”

“Aw, Aunt Sissy,” he laughed.  He hugged her clumsily and went to find his friends.

Bella smile as she watched him go.  He’s such a good kid, she thought.  A server walked by and she snagged another glass of wine.  Last one, she warned herself.  She began to make her way around the gathering, accepting kind words from the guests.  She was aware of more than one disapproving look at her dress from the matrons in attendance, and more than one leer from the husbands of said matrons.   She began to feel the need to get away.

It seemed ironic to go inside to get fresh air, but that’s what she did.  Beyond the kitchen, which was a beehive of activity, the house was quiet and she made her way to Tre’s study with its dark paneled walls and oxblood red leather chesterfield sofas.  She stood at the window sipping her wine and watching the scene outside.

“Well, pretty lady, I wondered where you’d gone.”

Bella whirled around to see Mitchell, he of the wake last night.  “You startled me,” she said.

“Oops,” he smiled.  “Didn’t mean to do that.”  He had an odd look on his face and Bella didn’t like the feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“I just needed to get away from the crowd for a minute.  I think I’ll go back now,” she said evenly.

“What’s your hurry?” he asked, eyes on her breasts.  “I was hoping we could talk about old times.”  He put down his glass and crossed the room toward her, blocking her from moving away from the window.

“Have you been drinking a lot, Mitchell, because you’re making me uncomfortable,” she told him.

He laughed darkly.  “Oh, no, I want to make you very comfortable.”  He reached out to stroke her arm, putting his other arm around her waist.  “You’ve just been through a difficult time and I want to comfort you,” he whispered.  She could smell the bourbon on his breath.

“Okay, Mitchell, I’ve really got to go now,” she said, trying to move past him.

With his hand on the small of her back, he pulled her closer and he moved the other hand, reaching inside her dress and fondling her breast.

Without thinking, she slapped his face hard.  “Let. Me. The fuck. Go!” she hissed at him.

“Baby, the fuck is just what I have in mind, and you are turning me on!” he growled, leaning in to kiss her.

“Will not happen!” she answered, and she brought up her knee as hard as she could into his groin.  Mitchell went down like a sack of hammers.  Bella stepped over him and left the room hastily.

In the hallway she met Tre.  “Sissy, we were looking for you,” he said.  “Are you alright?”

“I just needed some air,” she answered sharply.

“Are you ready to go to the airport?” he asked.

“Hell, yes, I’m ready,” she said.  “By the way, your friend Mitchell just groped me.  I knocked his balls up into his sinus cavity.  I hope he hurts for a long time.”

Tre shook his head and sighed.  “Always an adventure, Sissy.  Let me go throw out the son of a bitch, then we’ll go, okay?”

Luke & Bella new cover 1

LUKE & BELLA, the first book in the Dream Dominant Collection,
is available at this universal link:
books2read.com/LukeAndBella

Watch the official book trailer:

Exciting News!

This is the time I usually post a Weekend Excerpt, but I’ve posted several snippets this week, all in the name of promoting Rannigan’s Redemption.

So instead of another excerpt, I want to tell you some exciting news.  LOST & BOUND, the second novel in my Dream Dominant Collection, has been nominated for a 2017 Reader’s Choice Award for Romance.  I’m just thrilled!

In LOST & BOUND, spoiled Hollywood badgirl Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law and is sent to cool her heels for a few weeks in the wilderness of northern Ontario.  That’s where she meets Dominant mountain man Blake Walker, who is none too impressed with the sole guest at his family’s remote lodge.  But there’s something about her petulance that calls to his Daddy Dom soul.  Could she be the baby girl he’s been looking for?

Now I’m asking for your help.  I need votes.  If you would take just a moment, I’d be forever grateful.  Here’s the LINK for voting.  Once you get there, you’ll see a gray bar that says ‘1/16’.  (I’ve included a screenshot for reference.)  Click the arrow on the right side of the bar to get to 7/16, Romance.  The books are listed in alphabetical order by title.

I’d really appreciate your support.  Voting closes Dec. 10.  If you haven’t read LOST & BOUND yet, it’s available at your favorite online bookseller at this universal link.
books2read.com/LostandBound

Rannigan’s Redemption–RANSOMING REDEMPTION: Michael, Maggie, & Bobby

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

RESISTING RISK, Book 1, set up the whole tale of Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn.  In the second book, RUNNING ROGUE, their world was rocked by tumultuous change.  RANSOMING REDEMPTION brings resolution to their story.  [WARNING: Spoilers abound.]

Michael has suffered a serious setback, and Maggie has agreed to stand by him through his journey.  And he’s grateful.  Beyond grateful, really.  He realizes that he needs to make it up to her, to find redemption for all the ways he’s failed her.

Which is why he’s determined to make sure she gives his new neighbor, retired baseball star Bobby ‘Beau’ Beaulieu, a chance.  Maggie’s attracted to the handsome athlete with his soft Cajun accent, but she’s tired of getting burned.  She’s determined to stay focused on her work and on caring for Michael until he’s back on his feet.  But Michael has other plans.

Here’s a teaser from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the 5-STAR finale of Rannigan’s Redemption.

Maggie did something completely out of character when she got home that night.  She intentionally tuned her television to sports.  There sat Bobby discussing baseball with a handful of other guys, the disassociation of television doing nothing to diminish the blue of his eyes or the sexy lilt of his voice.  Now that she knew about the subtle Cajun accent, she couldn’t not hear it.  There was no stopping the smile as it spread across her face.

Bobby was dressed in a charcoal suit with a blue shirt and a coordinating tie, and he chatted and laughed with his colleagues.  Maggie watched in fascination.  He really is handsome.  I’ve never seen him dressed up before.

In her mind, she replayed their conversation in the hospital cafeteria and she groaned miserably.  He has to think I’m an absolute idiot.  If he doesn’t think I’m just a bitch. 

“I’ll have to apologize when I see him, that’s all there is to it,” she said aloud.

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 one 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 collar bone 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 sweat pants.  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 on the terrace 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,” she said.

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, going 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 with 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.”

RR3 review

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

Box1

The entire Rannigan’s Redemption Collection
is available in one complete boxed set.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Rannigan’s Redempton–RUNNING ROGUE: My How Things Have Changed

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

In previous posts, you’ve been introduced to Michael and Maggie.

If the first book, Resisting Risk is the set-up for the story, the second book, RUNNING ROGUE, is about change.  [WARNING: Spoilers ahead!]

For years, Michael and Maggie resisted the risk of love.  But one night of passion tore them apart, and now they’re just running rogue, making questionable choices in both their professional and personal lives.

When Michael receives devastating news, he’s shaken to his core.  And having burned all his bridges, there’s no one willing to stand beside him.  In desperation, one cold, rainy night, he finds himself outside Maggie’s apartment.  Is there any way she’ll forgive him?

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.  Be forewarned, it includes spoilers.

Michael?” Maggie asked into the intercom.

“Hey, Mags.”  His voice sounded tinny over the ancient device.  “I know it’s late.  I’m sorry.  But when I saw your light on, I mean…  Can I come up?”

Maggie hesitated, her finger hovering over the button.  “What do you want, Michael?”

“Mags, I just…I just want to talk.”

She shook her head, checking the time again.  What the hell?  And he’s probably drunk.  Standing out there in the rain like he’s got absolutely no sense. 

            She pressed the door buzzer.  “Don’t wake my neighbors,” she admonished him.

Maggie pulled the wooly cream colored robe tighter around herself, tying the belt securely and she stalked to the door, opening it to wait for Michael.  She watched him coming up the stairs, his soaked hair matted to his head.  His wet shoes squeaked softly with each footfall.  She started to say something snippy but noticed the haunted look in his eyes, so she simply stepped back and let him into the apartment.  She closed the door behind him and walked to the kitchen counter where she leaned back, crossing her arms, head cocked at him expectantly.

Michael stood just inside the doorway, rainwater pooling all around his feet.  He looked ill at ease and uncertain.

“Well?” she finally said.

He ran his fingers through his wet hair and sighed deeply.

“Oh for God’s sake, Michael!”  She left him standing there and returned with a large blue towel.  “You’re soaked.”

She took his jacket from him and hung it over the back of a kitchen chair.  As he used the towel to dry his face and hair, she couldn’t help herself.  “Are you drunk?”

He frowned and shook his head.  “I’m not drunk.  I had some bourbon.  I might be drunk.  A little.”

Maggie rolled her eyes.  “Sit down.  I’m making you some coffee so we can send you home.  Have you eaten lately?”

“I don’t know.”  Michael sank onto a chair at the kitchen table.  He glanced around as Maggie busied herself putting a kettle of water on the stove and taking a French press from a cupboard.

“I hope I’m not causing a problem with your fiancé.  Husband?  Whatever.”

Maggie paused to look at him, her lips forming a grim line.  “Yeah, well, that didn’t work out so…no worries.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

She worked in silence breaking eggs into a bowl and putting strips of bacon into a skillet as Michael sat at the table and occasionally used the towel to swipe at his face.   On the stove, the bacon began to sizzle as the kettle whistled.  Maggie poured the boiling water into the press and let it stand for a moment as she chopped a small onion and part of a green pepper.

“Did you know Stan Hodges died?” Michael finally asked.

Maggie arched an eyebrow.  “I was at the funeral.  Where were you?”

“I don’t know,” he answered vaguely.  He watched her grate cheddar into the eggs.  Then she pressed the plunger on the coffee and poured some into a cornflower blue mug with a white script ‘M’ on the side.

M for Maggie. Or Michael.  He shook his head to dismiss the inane thought.  Looking around the small apartment, he asked, “Why are you still here?”

Maggie glanced over her shoulder.  “What, I should move uptown into one of your glass and steel monstrosities?”

“I was just thinking that you could afford a bigger place, that’s all.”

“This may be a tiny apartment but this building has soul.  Once upon a time, a family called this place home.  Maybe I can’t afford to own a whole townhouse but at least I can rent a small part of it.”

Michael watched her for a moment.  “You could have bought your own townhouse if you’d stayed with the firm.”

Maggie turned around and leaned against the counter, crossing her arms.  “If I’d stayed, I’d have been out of a job along with everyone else.  You really tanked everyone, you know that, right?”

He looked down at his hands.  “I wouldn’t have pursued the television thing if you’d still been there.”

She snorted, returning to her cutting board.  “Bullshit.  Being on the news every night is exactly your thing.  You can’t put that off on me.”

She set the coffee in front of him.  “What are you doing here, Michael?”

He stalled, sipping the steaming hazelnut blend.  “This isn’t where I meant to be.  I went out and ended up down here in the Village.  I was at the Blue Note until they kicked everybody out.  I got a little lost and then realized I was across the street from your apartment.”

Maggie turned back to her omelet, stirring in the vegetables.  The bacon had quieted down and she turned over the strips, causing them to erupt into loud sizzling once again.  “Why are you here?” she asked again.

“I’m sick,” he said quietly.

“I don’t doubt it.  It’s forty degrees outside and you’re soaked.  It’s a wonder you don’t have pneumonia.”

“It’s cancer.”

Maggie froze mid-stir.  “What?”  Slowly, she turned around.

“Cancer.”

“Shit.”  She crossed to the table and sank onto the chair across from him, gaping at him wide-eyed.

“There was this spot.  And then they found out it was melanoma.”  Michael’s face twisted.  “Mags, you wouldn’t believe the chunk they cut out of my shoulder.”

“Well, they got it then,” she said.  “Good.  That’s good, right?”

“Bacon’s burning,” Michael said quietly.

“Fuck!”  She jumped up and took the pan off the burner.

“I like it that way,” he offered as she set the strips of bacon on a paper towel to drain and poured the omelet into the pan.

“So after they took the hunk out of my arm they did a biopsy.  It was melanoma, just like the doctor said.  Then they had me get a PET scan.  Said they needed to see if it had spread.”

Maggie worked mechanically at the egg mixture in the pan, listening intently as he spoke.  “And?” she asked as she slid the omelet onto a blue ceramic plate.  She placed it in front of him and sat down again.

“And they called this afternoon to say they have the results.  The doctor wouldn’t discuss it over the phone.  He wants me to come in tomorrow.”  He looked down at the plate.  “He said I should have someone with me.”

“Oh my God.  Michael.”

He nodded.  “I started making phone calls.  That’s how I found out about Stan.  Which was after I called Murph and then Jimbo.  They pretty much told me to go fuck myself.”

Maggie watched him grimly.  I imagine they did. 

“I called some of the women I go out with.  I guess everybody has a lot going on.”  He sighed.  “I thought about calling you.  But, I don’t know.  I’ve been an asshole.  Plus I figured you were busy with getting married and stuff.”  He met her eyes.  “I didn’t mean to come here, honest to God.”

She watched him pick at the omelet.  “My agent’s pissed at me because I bailed on some appearances.  Asking her to come with me is out of the question.  She’s probably not in town anyway.”

Michael shook his head.  “I don’t know why they’re insisting that someone comes with me to that appointment tomorrow.  I should just go and find out what the scan shows, figure out where to go from there.  It’s just…”  His voice broke.  “Mags, I’m scared shitless.”  He put down the fork and held his head in his hands.

Maggie could never have imagined a scenario in which S. Michael Rannigan would break down sobbing at her kitchen table.  She felt as though her heart would break.

“Michael,” she said softly, standing beside him, placing her hand on his shoulder.  His body shook as he let loose the emotions that had been building since the day the nightmare had started.  “It’s okay,” she murmured.  “It’s okay, everything’s going to be alright.”  She waited for him to quiet down.  “What time is your appointment?”

Michael sat up, sniffing and using the towel to wipe his face.  “Shit.”  He coughed and took a sip of coffee.  “I have to be there at 1:30.”

Maggie looked over to where her files still sat scattered in the living room.  She knew they probably represented ten hours of work for the following day and she sighed heavily.  “Where is the doctor’s office?”

“It’s on E. 80th between 2nd and 3rd.”

She nodded.  “Okay.  I’ll tell Rance that I have to leave at lunch.  I’ll meet you there.”

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Michael said quickly, but he looked at her with such gratitude she felt the sting of tears in her eyes and a huge lump formed in her throat.

She coughed lightly.  “You didn’t ask, although you seem to have asked everyone else in your Contacts, and I’m going to try not to take that personally,” she said.  “I’m offering.  Take it or leave it.”

Michael smiled thinly.  “I’ve missed your smartass.  I’d be so glad to have you with me.”

Maggie nodded.  “Done.  But if for some reason I’m running late, you go on in.  I’ll be there.  I promise.”  She took his plate and warmed it in the microwave before placing it in front of him again.  “Now finish this up.  I’m calling you a cab and sending you on your way.”

RR2 review

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Rannigan’s Redemption–Meet Maggie Flynn

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

In my last post, we met Michael Rannigan, the irresistible bad-boy title character.  Today, meet Maggie Flynn, the woman who causes Michael to question the way he lives his life.

About to graduate from law school, Maggie has her life all mapped out.  But when she sees Michael taking interviews at a job fair, she takes a chance, and he hires her nearly on the spot.

Attracted to him from the start, 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.

In this excerpt, Maggie meets Michael for the first time.

Michael Rannigan dry gulped three ibuprofen tablets as the car from the service weaved its way through mid-day Manhattan traffic.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a hangover.   The previous night had been exceptional.  At an art gallery opening, he’d met twin flight attendants who matched him drink for drink before going home with him for an extended threesome adventure.

I’m getting too old for this shit.  Should have called in sick today.

As a partner at Murphy, Rannigan, there was no one to question his absence.  But it was his turn representing the firm at the job fair at NYU.  Brian Murphy was out of the country on vacation.  And James Metheny was recovering from surgery.  Tonsils or some shit, Michael mused.  Didn’t everyone have their tonsils out when they were five?

Sure the firm needed new talent.  But why did he need to be there?  He knew exactly why.  Without his presence, John Hemphill would be the senior man there, and that couldn’t happen.

Hemphill’s an idiot, he thought.

The car dropped him at the entrance to Vanderbilt Hall.  He knew it well.  After all, NYU was his alma mater.  He took a moment to straighten his tie before entering the building.  As expected, the hall was full of fresh young faces, soon-to-graduate litigators who needed jobs.  Unconsciously his eye roved, looking for nubile young female candidates.  Not necessarily for the firm, mind you.  He was always on the lookout for his next conquest.  He passed a group of girls who giggled as he walked by.

“Ladies,” he greeted them, flashing his mega-watt smile.

Just get this over with, he begged as he zeroed in on the Murphy, Rannigan table.

Already seated at the table were John Hemphill, Stan Hodges, and Ellen Standifer.  The trio were associates from the elite 50th floor of Murphy, Rannigan.  They were good enough at what they did, which was mostly research and legwork, with the occasional foray into the courtroom when necessity called.  Each had a laptop and on the table was a spreadsheet they’d worked out back at the office.  Of course, they’d vetted possible candidates before they ever set foot at the university.  Preparation saves time in the long run, they knew.

Michael took a bottled water from the table and sipped, standing behind the three and continuing to scan the room.  “What’ve we got?” he asked.

Hemphill gave him a brief rundown.  “We’ve interviewed five candidates so far, five of the ones we were interested in.  We’ve turned away about a dozen others that didn’t meet our standards,” he related in his adenoidal drone that so grated on Michael.

“You’re turning away interviewees who aren’t on your candidate list?” Michael snapped.  “How sure are you that your list is accurate?  Paper and data don’t always tell the story.”  Hemphill reddened a bit.

“Well, I…” the man floundered.

Michael grinned to himself.  It’s the little pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile, he thought.

He watched as a young woman crossed the floor, seeming to make a beeline for their table.  She was petite, with red hair, and she was wearing a grey suit paired with a green silk blouse.

What have we here, he wondered.

“Hello,” said the young woman.  “I’d like to interview with your firm.”  She reached across the table to shake hands with the attorneys seated there.

“And you are?” Michael asked, still standing behind the others.

“Oh, sorry,” she said, clearly flustered.  She opened her folio to remove copies of her resume and several slipped out, sailing across the floor.  Michael watched in amusement as she scrambled to gather them up again.  “Sorry,” she repeated, as she handed a document to each of them.

“Mary Margaret Flynn,” Michael read from the top line of the resume.

“Um, Maggie, actually,” the young woman corrected.

“Have a seat, Ms. Flynn,” Hemphill directed as they read over her resume.  Standifer pulled up Mary Margaret Flynn on their database and Hodges located her name on their spreadsheet.  There were two stars beside her name.  How have we not spoken with this one yet?

Michael took a seat directly across from her.  He was impressed with the resume, and he’d found her name on the spreadsheet before Hodges had.  He looked from the document back up to her face.  Her green eyes were wide and as she sat, she fidgeted nervously with the atrocious vinyl folio containing her resumes.

“So Ms. Flynn, your resume is impressive.  It says that you interned with Rance Stockwell at the DA’s office.  I’m surprised he hasn’t offered you a job.”

“Oh, he has,” Maggie replied.  “I just haven’t accepted yet.”

“Looking for better offers, are you?” Michael asked, arching an eyebrow.

“I have a great deal of student loan debt,” she confessed.  “It makes sense to me to look around and find my best options.”

Michael leaned back in his chair.  “Are you familiar with our firm?” he asked.

“Yes, actually,” Maggie answered.  “I heard you speak once at a charity luncheon.  You said that everyone is entitled to the best defense possible, regardless of the circumstances of their charges.”

Michael tried to suppress a smile.  “I said that, did I?”  The others at the table snickered.

Maggie’s face reddened a bit as she glanced down the line of lawyers.  “It really resonated with me,” she said quietly.  “I also tried one of your cases as a mock trial project.”

“Which case did you choose?” asked Michael.

“People v. Lawson.”

The other three snickered louder and Michael looked down at his notes, suppressing another grin.  “Well, Ms. Flynn, if you were going to try one of my cases, you might have chosen one I actually won.”

Maggie glared indignantly at the panel.  “I, well, I tweaked it a little.  I uncovered evidence that you overlooked.”  Michael sat up straight; she had his undivided attention.  “Testimony in the deposition was contradicted on the witness stand.  The victim stated in the deposition that she’d met the defendant two weeks prior to the incident.  On the stand she said she’d just met him that night.  It was enough doubt for the mock jury.  I won your case.”

Michael looked at the other three.  If someone had dropped the ball on the case, he or she was currently seated at the table.  They all looked down, suddenly intensely interested in their notes.

He cleared his throat.  “It seems, Ms. Flynn, we have everything we need.  We’ll make a decision by the end of the week and let you know.”

Maggie stood and reached out her hand.  “Thank you for your time.”

“Thank you,” Michael nodded, shaking her hand.  He watched her walk back across the room and disappear in the crowd.

RR1 review

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Rannigan’s Redemption–Meet Michael Rannigan

I’ve been so busy promoting my Dream Dominant Collection, that I feel I’m neglecting my sexy law drama, Rannigan’s Redemption.  So that stops now.

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

I’ll just come right out and say it.  Michael is not a nice guy.  He’s an inveterate player, and he’s always looking out for number one.  He avoids emotional attachments, preferring to surround himself with vapid blondes who are as shallow as he is.

He hired Maggie because he can see how smart she is.  She’s a great addition to his team.  But there’s something irresistible about Mary Margaret Flynn, something that he can’t quite shake, no matter how hard he tries.

In this excerpt, the first chapter from the book, meet Michael Rannigan.

Fucking her had been inevitable, he reasoned.  After all, Maggie was not unattractive with her thick red hair, bright green eyes shaded by long red lashes she darkened with mascara, the smattering of freckles across her nose.  Beneath those inexpensive business suits she favored, her body wasn’t bad.  Don’t think he hadn’t noticed.

It was an odd line of thought for a man on vacation.  He stretched out his legs on the chaise and gazed past his tanned bare feet to the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean.  His travel agent had assured him that he’d love the Maldives.  He raised his glass of bourbon in a toast to Nancy at East Coast Travel, but his thoughts returned to Maggie.

He’d actually been surprised at the firm, full, round tits he’d unearthed beneath that conservative grey blouse.  They were much larger than he’d realized, in a natural, homegrown sort of way.

Obviously, she wasn’t his usual taste. He preferred bottle blondes with tiny waists and store-bought tits, the bigger the better.  In fact, if a woman resembled Barbie, it was a plus.  Not that he’d turn down a hot brunette, either.  He gravitated toward socialites, models, or occasionally actresses, the more successful the better.  Less successful women tended to be needy, emotionally speaking.  Flight attendants were his among his favorites.  They could never stay.

He glanced to his right at Vivian, the chosen one accompanying him on this trip. She wore only the tiniest black bikini bottoms, having removed the top to avoid tan lines.  Her white blonde hair was swept up in a knot on top of her head.  Expensive designer sunglasses shaded eyes he knew were violet, albeit artificially so, thanks to purple contacts.  Plumped pouting lips were precisely situated beneath her perfect designer nose.  Had she told him that she’d had her lips done again just before they left New York?  He couldn’t seem to remember.  His gaze fell to her enormous tits.  They really are her best quality, he thought.  Later, he’d fuck those tits.  She could always shower before dinner.

She noticed that he was looking her way.  “Hey, baby,” she simpered, fingering her left nipple provocatively.  He winked at her then looked away without answering.

As a fellow attorney, Maggie was much too bright for his liking as well.  He wasn’t in it for the conversation, after all; he was never interested in what they had to say.  And boning a colleague was usually a bad idea.  But she’d liked him.  She always had, since she first was hired at Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny.

There were those who called Michael Rannigan shallow.  He shook his head.  Fuck them, and the horse they rode in on, he thought.

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