Weekend Excerpt–LOST & BOUND

lost-bound-cover-jpegIn LOST & BOUND, spoiled Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke is sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario for a few weeks after getting into trouble with the law.  It’s there that she meets mountain man Blake Walker, a former wilderness counselor and current bush pilot who’s helping run his family’s remote guest lodge.

Sparks fly almost immediately, but not the romantic kind.  Shasta behaves like an entitled brat, and Blake’s only too happy to stay out of her way.  But there’s something about her petulance that appeals to his Daddy Dom nature.

Could she be the baby girl he’s been looking for?  And is there any way she’d ever agree to be his?

Here’s an excerpt from LOST & BOUND.

Blake had heard the car pull up.  He dawdled, swiping at imaginary smudges on the passenger door of the de Havilland Beaver that rested at the end of the dock.  He had no desire to get caught up in whatever celebrity fanfare accompanied their new guest’s arrival.

The voices faded after everyone went inside and still Blake waited a few minutes longer before making his way back up the dock toward the front of the lodge.  He was surprised to see a young woman standing alone in the clearing in the center of the cabins.  Her back was to him and he took a moment to watch her.

His first impression was that she was sexy as hell.  Her shoulder-length hair was bright red, and expensive-looking sunglasses sat perched on top of her head.  She was wearing a white halter blouse with a very short black skirt.  Her high-heeled shoes were bright pink suede and they wobbled precariously as she marched around holding her mobile phone in front of her like a divining rod.

When he told her about the lack of signal, she whipped around, giving him a glare that would freeze lava.  Fine, lady, have it your way, he thought.

Thankfully, Jackie came out with a smarmy-looking older guy in an expensive Italian suit.  Blake busied himself retrieving a mountain of bags from the trunk of the black Lincoln.  He noticed that the guest of honor grabbed the suit’s arm and pulled him off to the side for a little chat.  He wondered if her tone was any friendlier with him, and he figured that it wasn’t.

He’d just finished loading all the bags into the front of the red aluminum skiff when Pink Shoes came tapping down the dock.  His gaze started at the shoes and slid up shapely legs to the tight skirt and curved hips.  The deep V in the halter top hinted at stellar tits and her lips were a deep red.  She wore too much makeup in his estimation, but there was no denying that Shasta Pyke was hot.

“Are you ready to head over to the island?”

He watched her grip her huge black leather shoulder bag, hiking it higher up on her bare shoulder.  “Um, yes, please.”

Blake wasn’t sure, but she seemed embarrassed by her earlier behavior.  He offered her his hand and she took it, gingerly stepping into the boat.  She sat on the center bench, facing forward, away from him, and clutching her bag like it was a life preserver.


They didn’t speak during the ten-minute ride across the water to the small island in the middle of Lake Miranda.  It would have been difficult over the roar of the small outboard motor, even had she been facing him.

Blake expertly angled the small boat to rest beside the tiny dock and killed the motor, tying off his end before jumping out and tying the front end as well.  Then he again offered his hand, helping Shasta climb out of the boat and onto the dock.

She stood taking in the view as he unloaded her things.  The lodge was visible across the water, seemingly closer than it actually was, judging by the ten-minute ride.  If she hadn’t been in such a foul mood, she would have found the place beautiful.  The only sound she could hear was the wind in the tops of the countless pine trees covering the island.  It would be a short climb up to the crest of the island where a log cabin sat.  She could see a stone-surrounded fire pit flanked by a quartet of dark green wooden Adirondack chairs and further away, stretched between two large pines, was a white canvas hammock.

When all her things were on the dock, Blake turned to her.  “Let me take you to the cabin.  There are a few things I need to show you.”

He took off up the hill and Shasta teetered along behind him, carefully avoiding large rocks that were in the way.  “Are you making it?” he called over his shoulder.

“I’ve got this, don’t worry about me,” she muttered.

Blake turned away and grinned to himself.  He was waiting for her when she finally made it up the hill.  “I hope you brought other shoes.”

Out of breath, Shasta put her hands on her hips and nodded.

He unlocked the door and held it open for her to enter the cabin.  She stepped into an open room featuring a seating area in front of a fireplace immediately to her right.  Further into the room, a kitchen was arranged in the back left quarter of the space with a cast iron stove on the back wall and a kitchen table pushed against the right wall down from the fireplace.  Between the fireplace and the kitchen table was a small desk that held some sort of radio equipment.  Shasta peered into an alcove to her left and saw that it was a tiny bedroom.

“Now,” Blake was saying, “the lights run on propane.  You turn this little lever and you can light them with a lighter.  The fridge and the cooktop also run on propane.  Same thing, you turn the knob and then light it with the lighter.  I already lit the pilot on the fridge and it should be fine.”  He indicated a small metal box beneath the kitchen counter.

Wordlessly, Shasta followed him around the room, trying to take in all his instructions.  “Now if you want to bake, or if you’re just cold, you can build a fire in the stove.”  He showed her where to put the wood.  “And there’s always the fireplace.  Wood is stacked outside against the back of the cabin.  I can always bring you more, too.”

He waved at the few kitchen cabinets.  “We’ve stocked the cabinets and the refrigerator but if you need anything, just let me know.”  He headed for the door.  “Water comes from a spring near the front of the island.”

“Wait.  What?”

“Water.  You know, to drink?”

Desperately, Shasta searched the room, making a beeline to the sink.  Instead of a faucet, there was a green-painted old-fashioned hand pump.  She worked the handle a few times and a spurt of water came out.  She looked back to him, bewildered.

“Well, you can’t drink that.  Not without boiling it for about ten minutes.  It comes straight out of the lake.  Use it for dishes and things.  You can drink the spring water right out of the ground.”

“Wait a second.  Where’s the bathroom?”

“I was just going to show you.  Follow me.”

Blake headed out the door and Shasta followed along behind him.  He turned down the right side of the cabin, following a narrow trail through the trees.  Shortly, the path opened onto a small clearing and to the right of the clearing was a tiny log structure.  “Here’s your bathroom,” he pointed.

She began to shake her head.  “Oh, no, no, no, no, no,” she murmured.  “There must be some mistake.  I don’t do outhouses.  Does Eddie know about this?” she demanded.

“Who’s Eddie?” Blake returned, picturing the smarmy suit guy.

“No.  Absolutely not.  This is completely unacceptable.  Besides,” she breathed deeply, trying to regain her composure, “where is the shower?”

“Well, some guests bathe in the lake.”  He took in her incredulous expression and continued.  “On the other hand, we do have a solar shower.  I’ll show you.”

Shasta followed him down the other side of the cabin, to the place where the tiny bedroom jutting out from the main cabin made a little sheltered corner.  A post was situated in the corner with a pulley rigged to the top.

“This is a solar shower.”  Blake held up a large flat rectangular vinyl pouch that was clear on one side and black on the other.  The clear side had a large round valve and there was a handle on one end.  The other end had clear tubing attached and at the end of the tubing was a tiny shower head.

“You fill this up with water, seal the valve, and lay it out in the sun.  The dock is a good place.”  He watched as Shasta held her forehead with the palm of one hand, gaping at him in disbelief.  “Anyway, when you’re ready for a shower, you hang it up here,” he indicated the pulley, “and just shower away.  The spruce trees right here make for privacy, although you shouldn’t have any folks out on the lake, seeing as how you’ve rented out the whole place.”

Wordlessly, Shasta turned and hobbled back to the front of the cabin, sinking into one of the Adirondack chairs.  Blake followed, hands in his pockets, uncertain whether or not to continue the tour.  She glanced up at him, deciding to change tacks.

“Listen,” she smoothed, “we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot.”  She pasted on her dazzling Shasta Pyke smile.  “Obviously, there’s been some kind of mistake.”  Standing, she approached him, pushing her glasses back up onto her head and fixing him with soft brown eyes.

“Here’s the thing.”  She reached out to stroke his arm, biting her lower lip provocatively.  “I can’t stay here.  And you don’t want me here, not really.  The place is already paid for.  Just,” she stepped closer, brushing her breasts against his arm, “maybe you could drive me someplace where I can get a cab or an Uber or something, and I’ll be out of your hair.”  She wrinkled her nose and winked.  “What do you say?”

A slow smile spread across Blake’s face.  “What do I say?”  He laughed lightly, shaking head.  “I say, you’re a piece of work, lady.”  With that, he turned.  “I’ll leave you to it, then.”

“Wait!” she shouted after him.  “You can’t just leave me here!”

He waved over his head and didn’t turn around.

“Come back here!  You come back here right now!”

Wordlessly, he cast off from the dock and pushed the boat away from the shallow water.

“What about my bags?  They need to be taken to the cabin!”

“And it will be dark soon.  So you might want to get on that,” Blake chuckled.

Shasta was on the dock by now and she stomped her foot, fists balled at her sides.  “Do you know who I am?” she screamed.

“You look to me like a little brat who needs her ass tanned,” he fired back.

She shrieked unintelligibly and threw a rock at the boat.  She missed by a mile and the rock plonked harmlessly into the water.

Blake laughed again, started the engine, and headed back to the lodge.

Lost & Bound is out promo2

LOST & BOUND is Book 2 of the Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone erotic romance novels featuring a light BDSM theme.  You can find it at this universal link:
books2read.com/LostandBound

And don’t miss LUKE & BELLA, Dream Dominant Book 1.
books2read.com/LukeAndBella

Watch This Space–Destiny by Holly J. Gill

Erotic Romance author Holly J. Gill has a new book out and I have to tell you, just the guy on the front of Destiny has my complete and undivided attention.  See what you think.

*´¨💕) Release Day💕

¸.•´¸.•*´¨)¸.•*¨💕)

💕(¸.•´‪💕 💕

Title: Destiny

Series: Destiny BK 1
Author: Holly J. Gill
Genres: #Romantic #Erotica #Billionaire #sweet #adult #HollyJGill #Destiny


💕✶ BLURB ✶💕

Are you ready for Mr. Wright?

She is his addiction—his misfit.

She has got under his skin, opened his heart and forced herself in.

Luke Wright sits under his father running a multinational company ‘Wrights Enterprisers’. Much to his frustration, he is called to sort out a department, forcing him to miss a trip to New York. However, when he walks in, he sees a young woman and becomes powerless, losing his morals, and begins breaking his own rules.

Can she be his Destiny?

Destiny Love is young and wants for nothing and is determined to make it in London. Things aren’t quite going to plan, though, and to top it off there’s a new bossman, meaning new rules. Will Mr. Wright give her a chance to prove herself?

Why can’t she stop fantasizing about him?

Warning: Destiny ends in a cliffhanger.

💕✶ EXCERT ✶💕

“I still need to speak with you,” he said, leaning across me to get a spoonful of coffee.

“Yes.”

“The sooner the better, Miss Love.”

I was hypnotised by his presence, with thoughts from last night troubling me.

“Nice view.”

I instantly pulled the material together. He reached across me as I noticed his Rolex Daytona in gold with a black leather strap watch.

“My office, Miss Love,” he said, moving around me for the hot water, and then poured a little milk in his mug, feeling his breath on my face.

“Of course,” my voice broke, so small, if he heard me.

I heard him inhale a deep breath, taking in my fruity aroma. “Cerruti 1881, by Nino Cerruti, I believe?”

“Yes, yes, it is,” I said, appreciating the fact he knew my fragrance.

“The fresh, floral scent for such an incredible young woman, excellent choice.”

I became lost in his entrapment of seduction, closing my eyes.

“My office, Miss Love,” he reminded me, losing all sense of anything, lost in his words, lost in his closeness.

“Shit.”

My mind and body went mental for him, eager to just reach out and have him…explore him, rip away that suit and bare all, have our nude bodies pressed erotically together.

I hadn’t noticed he’d left my side, too lost drowning in him, the boss.

“Flipping heck, Destiny, stop it.” I turned, looking at the office door, aware he was behind it, waiting no doubt for me to go in and listen to whatever else he had to say.

Come on, Destiny, get it over and done with.

Standing at his office door, I sucked in a deep breath and moved my hair from my face that had fallen loose. I knocked, anxiously.

“Enter,” his voice ordered.

I stepped in with severe knots in my tummy. I grinned.

“Mr. Wright.”

“Please shut the door,” he informed me, sitting behind his desk, and leaned back staring at me, watching my every move.

💕✶ ORDER LINKS ✶💕

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Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

ipadmini_707x1018 (2)RANSOMING REDEMPTION is the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption, a three-novel epic contemporary erotic romance/law drama.

A warning before you read any further: Spoilers abound…

In the first book, RESISTING RISK, high profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan hires Maggie Flynn straight out of law school to join his prestigious criminal defense practice.  While they’re both attracted to each other, they resist the risk, knowing that nothing good could come of an office romance.

In RUNNING ROGUE, the second book, one night of passion has torn Michael and Maggie apart.  She’s left the firm to pursue a career with the District Attorney’s office.  With Maggie gone, Michael is simply running rogue, making one bad decision after another.  And without Michael, Maggie is making her share of mistakes as well.  One cold, rainy night, desperation brings them back together.

In the finale, RANSOMING REDEMPTION, there’s a new man in Maggie’s life.  It’s all thanks to Michael, who sees the writing on the wall and feels the need to find redemption for all the ways he’s failed Maggie.  But putting her together with Bobby wasn’t easy.  She’s reluctant to take another chance on love.

Here’s a steamy excerpt from RANSOMING REDEMPTION.  Phone sex, anyone?

While the tub filled with hot water and lavender-scented suds, Maggie padded to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of wine.  Returning, she turned off the water, lit a few candles, and switched off the overhead light.  As an afterthought, she set her phone beside the wine glass on a stool she carried in from the living room.  Maybe Bobby would call.  She didn’t want to miss him because she was in the tub.

Satisfied, Maggie slowly sank into the steaming bath, leaning against the back of the tub and sighing contentedly.


In the privacy of his room, Bobby dialed Maggie’s number.  It was after 11:00, he realized, but they always seemed to talk at that hour anyway.

She picked up on the third ring.  “Hi!”  He could hear the smile in her voice.

“Hi, yourself, cher.  How are you?”

“I’m so much better now.  It’s good to hear your voice.  How is Savannah?”

Bobby smiled.  “She’s fine.  Tonight she was running around all over the place.  How was your day?”

Maggie sighed.  “Work was work.  I was glad to be in the office all day, though.  Oh, by the way, my boss asked about you today.”

He frowned slightly.  “What do you mean?”

“Someone told him that we left together for lunch.  He seemed…amused.”

Relief replaced the frown.  “That’s good.  I wouldn’t want to get you in trouble.  How’s Michael doing?”

Maggie gasped.  “Holy shit, you’ll never believe it.  Michael shaved his head today.  He’s completely bald.”

“Bald?” he laughed.  “I can’t even imagine.  Why did he do that?”

“He said the hair was falling out anyway and he wanted to be in control of it,” she replied.  “I’ll tell you, it was a shocker.”

“I’ll bet,” he chuckled.  “You sound funny.  Where are you anyway?”

“I’m in the bath,” she giggled, “I put my phone next to the tub.  I had a hunch you might call and I didn’t want to miss you.”

Bobby felt his cock stirring and gave a low chuckle.  “So what are you wearing right now, cher?”

Maggie glanced down at herself and grinned.  “Well, I’m wearing bubbles but they’re starting to disappear.”

She heard him laugh again.  “Really?” he asked.

“Really.  So what are you wearing?” she asked.

“Hang on,” Bobby said into the phone.  Maggie could hear noise in the background and he spoke again.  “I locked the door and took off my shirt and jeans.  I’m down to grey boxer briefs.

“Mmmm,” Maggie cooed appreciatively.  “I love grey boxer briefs.”

“I’m more interested in bubbles that disappear.  What do you see now?”

“Well,” she grinned, “in this candlelight it’s a little hard to see but I’m pretty sure those are my nipples sticking up out of the water.”

Bobby stretched back on the bed and pressed the phone to his ear.  He could picture those nipples, feel them on his lips.  “Touch them for me, cher,” he purred.  The line went quiet for a moment before he heard her moan lightly.  His cock stood at attention, and he stroked himself there, closing his eyes.  “How is that?”

“It’s nice.  Not as nice as when you do it,” she said softly.

He smiled to himself.  “I wish I could be there right now.  Move your hand lower.  Touch yourself for me.”

Her hand wandered lower coming to rest between her thighs.  “Oh, that’s good,” she breathed into the phone.

Bobby slid off his boxer briefs, kicking them to the floor.  “Make yourself come, cher.  I’ll do the same.”

“I’m putting you on speaker,” Maggie told him.  Moments later he could hear heavy breaths occasionally interrupted by soft moans.

Bobby gripped his cock and slid his hand up and down, remembering how it was to be inside her.  “Come on, cher, we’ll do this together,” he urged softly.  “Are you touching your pussy?”

“Yes,” she breathed.  Maggie worked her clit feverishly with one hand and pulled her nipples with the other, feeling herself nearing the edge.  “Oh, shit, Bobby, I’m so close…”

“Do it, cher, come for me, baby,” he breathed as he neared his own climax.  When he heard her call out loudly, he couldn’t hold off any longer, his release exploding across his stomach and chest.  “Oh, baby,” he murmured into the phone.

Maggie dried her hands on a towel and picked up her phone, taking it off speaker.  “Bobby, that was…” she panted.

“It was indeed,” Bobby agreed.  “You should see me, cher, I’m a mess,” he chuckled.

She giggled.  “I don’t mind a mess. In fact,” she continued, feeling emboldened by the combination of wine and their long-distance connection, “if you ever wanted to pull out and come on me, I kind of like that sometimes.”

His eyes rolled back in his head as he cock sprang to life again.  “Is that a fact, cher?”

“Mm-hmm,” she replied.  “You know, cum across my belly, dripping off my tits, off my chin…  I’m naughty like that.”

“Are you, now?  I need to get myself back to the city,” he growled, and she laughed lightly.

RR3 promo

You can get RANSOMING REDEMPTION here:

books2read.com/RansomingRedemption

1

Save when you buy the entire

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION COLLECTION

in one boxed set.

books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

I’m Hooked!

I’m write steamy love stories.  I read steamy love stories.  So obviously, I love romance.  But I never thought I’d get hooked on a new reality show.

Have you seen the new NBC show, First Dates?  I never intended to become a fan, I promise.  But it happened to be on one night, and after a few minutes, I couldn’t look away.  The premise is that couples meet at a trendy Chicago restaurant for a blind date.  The hopeful romantics are diverse in age, race, and sexuality, and watching them struggle through awkward introductions is both funny and heart-warming.  I can’t look away, and even my love is hooked, much to his chagrin.

Airing Friday nights on NBC, it’s the Americanized version of the British program of the same name.  Ellen DeGeneres is the executive producer, and the episodes are narrated by Drew Barrymore.

Here’s the official description from the First Dates website.

Everyone can relate to the experience of a first date: the promise of potential love when it goes well and the hilariously awkward moments if it crashes and burns. From Executive Producer Ellen DeGeneres, narrated by Drew Barrymore and based on the hit U.K. format, this new series offers a voyeuristic look at a variety of real first dates happening throughout one night at the same restaurant in Chicago. The daters are of all ages, backgrounds and from across the U.S. The audience comes along for the ride in a refreshingly authentic viewing experience that plays like a real-life romantic comedy. At the end of each episode, we find out if the participants want to see each other again for a second date or if they head back to love’s drawing board.

Here’s a little clip.

And good news–you can watch entire episodes at www.nbc.com/first-dates.

Seriously, how can you resist?  I love LOVE.  Sigh.

Weekend Excerpt (And a Spoiler Alert)–RUNNING ROGUE

RUNNING ROGUE is the second book of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.  Michael Rannigan is a founding partner and the handsome but arrogant face of high-profile Manhattan law firm, Murphy, Rannigan, and Metheny.

In Part One, RESISTING RISK, Michael hires smart, red-haired Maggie Flynn straight out of law school to join his elite 50th floor division.  Maggie had other plans, but her all but hopeless crush on Michael leads her to toss aside the offer of a job with the DA’s office for the chance to work with the inveterate player.  Over the years, the pair forge a strong friendship as they determinedly resist the risk of more.  Until one night of passion tears them apart.

RUNNING ROGUE opens where the first book ends.  Maggie has decided to leave Murphy, Rannigan to join her former mentor at the DA’s office.  From that point, both Maggie and Michael are running rogue, making questionable decisions in both their professional and personal lives.  One rainy night, desperation will bring them together.

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.  Warning: Spoilers Ahead

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 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.”

You can find RANSOMING REDEMPTION at this link:

books2read.com/RunningRogue

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

LUKE & BELLA begins with a pair of journalists being presented with the job of a lifetime–traveling the world and producing a new television travel show.

Bella is a smart, sassy redheaded television host with a passion for adventure.  Luke is more jaded, having spent years covering war and mayhem as a news photographer.  He left television behind to spend his days living on a rented boat in Florida.  The promise of producing his own show is intriguing enough to coax him out of retirement.  The fact that he’s paired with a sexy redhead is an added bonus.

Throughout the story, Luke & Bella visit cities like Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Mykonos, Mumbai, Buenos Ares, and many other romantic places.  As I wrote the book, I did a great deal of research into every destination.  And when possible, the hotels and restaurants the couple visits are actual places.

Above are photos of some of the settings for scenes in LUKE & BELLA.  I also included the photo that was my inspiration for Bella’s huge suitcase, the one she affectionately calls her “big-ass Louis,” which was a gift from her grandfather.

Here’s a scene from LUKE & BELLA.

It was 8:00 am local time when they landed in Edinburgh.  They moved quickly through customs and headed down to Baggage Claim.  A short man in a driver’s uniform held a sign lettered “McGillicutty.”  Luke strode up to him, right hand out.  “I’m Luke McGillicutty.”

“Yes, sir, my name is Stewart.  I’m here to take you to the Balmoral,” the driver replied.  “Shall we collect your bags?”

Luke lifted his battered duffels.  “These are my bags, but I believe the lady has a cargo container or something.”

Bella smirked at him.  “Ha-ha!  Maybe you could make yourself useful and get some footage.”  She wandered in the direction of the baggage carousel and Stewart followed, cart in tow.

Good idea, Luke thought to himself.  Since the moment he’d first seen her in the airport lounge, he’d been itching to see her through his lens.  Life itself was all too often neither contained nor controlled.  Things in his camera lens were precisely contained and exactly controlled, separated into manageable segments.    It was how he preferred to see the entire world, really, although he didn’t want to analyze that too deeply.   He felt that images in his camera lens appeared in their true form.  And he wanted to see Bella.

As she stood near the carousel chatting with the driver, Luke zoomed in on her.  A good photog always zooms completely in on his subject, focuses, and then slowly backs off.  Only he didn’t back off.  He started at her feet, clad in jeweled leather thong sandals.  And fuchsia nail polish.  He moved up to her ankle peeking out from under the long grey (or was it silver?) lace skirt she was wearing.  Since when was an ankle so sexy?

Traveling up he paused as she leaned over to retrieve a cosmetic case.  The skirt hung from her curved form in just the right way.  The bottom of a white tank top covered the top of the skirt before disappearing under the short denim jacket she was wearing over it.  Again, all curves.  Now Bella had turned toward him, her attention on the driver who was still waiting for her luggage.  From this angle he trailed up her body, watching her take off the jacket and fold it over her arm.  Full, perfect breasts filled out the tank top and for the first time he noticed a sprinkling of light freckles that trailed off into her cleavage.

Unconsciously, Bella reached up to tuck some stray red curls behind her ear.  That face.  And that amazing hair.  God, she was beautiful.  “Careful, Cowboy,” he whispered to himself.

He hurried to get some video they could actually use and tried not to dwell on what Bella might think if she saw what he’d just shot.

She flashed him a triumphant smile as she and Stewart returned to him, her things loaded onto the cart, including what could only be the fabled “big-ass Louis.”

“Geez, is that all?” Luke quipped.  “Aren’t you afraid you might not have everything you need?”

“McGillicutty, you and your ghetto bags are just jealous!” Bella returned, and she led them all out into the Edinburgh morning.

LUKE & BELLA is available at this link:

books2read.com/LukeAndBella

luke-bella-updated-cover

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Because I Couldn’t Resist…

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame had its annual induction ceremony earlier this month and some great bands and artists were honored that night.  Included in this year’s roundup were Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Journey, ELO, Yes, Joan Baez, and Nile Rodgers.

Tonight, HBO is airing the special event and I can’t wait.  I wrote a little snippet about the show on my other (more vanilla) blog, and I added a track from ELO.  But here, I thought a sexier little song was in order.  Enjoy Journey, with Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.