Weekend Excerpt–It’s December!

Michael and Maggie.
It’s complicated.

Rannigan’s Redemption is December’s Featured Book at Pandora’s Passionista Paradise on Facebook. It’s the story of the complicated relationship between sexy high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and sassy red-haired fellow lawyer Maggie Flynn.

Michael and Maggie meet at a job fair, where he hires her practically on the spot. She’s smart and good her job. But there’s more to it than he’s willing to admit. He’s attracted to her. Which doesn’t make sense. She’s nothing like the women he dates. She’s way too smart, for one thing.

And Maggie’s in love with him, too. Realizing the situation is all but hopeless, she contents herself with working with him.

One night of passion tears them apart. And from that point they’re both just running rogue, each making questionable decisions in their professional and personal lives.

A moment of desperation brings them back together. After Michael has burned all his bridges, Maggie’s the only one willing to stand by him.

And he’s grateful. He knows he needs to make it up to her, to somehow find redemption for himself.

In the final book of the trilogy, Michael Rannigan sees the writing on the wall. And he’s determined to find redemption. He knows he’s spent his life keeping everyone at arm’s length. He’s burned bridges and destroyed friendships, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. But he thinks he’s found a way to make things right. At least for the one person who’s never given up on him.

Maggie Flynn’s life is changing quickly. Just when she’s decided make work her focus and to be content with being single, she has a new man in her life. Thanks to Michael and his interference, anyway.

Bobby is almost too good to be true, with his tall good looks, his sexy Cajun accent, and his irresistible lop-sided smile. He’s head over heels for Maggie. She knows she’s found the real thing.

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

Ransoming Redemption is the third and final book of the 5 Star reviewed Rannigan’s Redemption series.

In this spoiler-filled bite, it’s almost Christmas…

It was on a Saturday morning, exactly a week before Christmas, when Michael was rushed to the hospital.  When she’d come to check on him, Maggie had found him barely conscious and she’d called 911. 

Doctors discovered that the tumors were now causing breathing difficulties, and once Michael was put on oxygen, his color improved dramatically.  A few hours later and at his insistence, Michael was sent home, albeit with oxygen tanks and the information for a home nursing agency.

“Stop looking at me like that,” Michael complained.  Bobby and Maggie had accompanied him home and were trying to help him get settled in.

“Maybe you should have at least stayed overnight, man,” Bobby said.  “That was a pretty close call.”

“I’m fine.  I’ve got the oxygen, I’ll use it when I need it.  Plus, they’ve got some fucking nurse coming in here.”  Michael glared out the window.

“Do you want me to call Veronica?” Maggie asked.

He shook his head.  “I’ll call her later.”

“What can we do for you, Michael?” Maggie asked.  “I don’t want to just leave you here.”

Michael turned back to them with a sharp remark on his tongue.  But when he looked at their faces, at the concern he saw there, he softened a bit. 

“You know what I’d like?”  They shook their heads.  “I want a Christmas tree.”

Maggie blinked.  “A what?  A Christmas tree?”

“Do you want us to go get you one?” Bobby asked.

Michael looked from one to the other.  “Yeah.  I want a Christmas tree.  With those decorations from your tree, Mags.”

“The ones currently hanging on my tree?” she clarified incredulously.

He frowned a bit, seemingly uncertain.  “Is that asking too much?”

Maggie looked up at Bobby.  “Uh, no, I guess not.  So, we’re going out to get a tree?  And to denude mine?”  Bobby nodded at her and smiled.

“Also,” Michael continued, “I want to have the Orphans and Misfits here this year.”

She stared at him.  “You want to have everyone here?  Seriously?”  Michael nodded, eyes sparkling defiantly.  Maggie exhaled forcefully.  “Okay, Michael.  We can do that.  I’ll start letting everyone know.  You’re sure?”

He nodded again.  “I want this.”

**

That evening as snow peppered down outside, Michael sat on his sofa, oxygen in place, as he watched Bobby and Maggie set up the huge blue spruce in front of the floor to ceiling windows of his living room.  Once they had it level, they added lights, garland, and decorations.  Maggie smiled at Michael as she hummed along to the holiday music that played quietly in the background. 

“You realize we had to buy more ornaments, right?  The stuff from my little tree wouldn’t cover a fraction of this bad boy.”

“It looks great, Mags.  I really appreciate it.”

“It looks so great, I’m sad I won’t be here,” Bobby said as he crossed over to the bar.

“Yeah, me, too,” Maggie said wistfully.  “We’ve decided to have our Christmas when you get back from Louisiana, right?”

Bobby winked at her as he put three glasses on the bar and poured.  “Until last week I thought I was going to be in Texas.  In our custody agreement, Christmas is supposed to be Deanna’s holiday this year, but she decided at the last minute that she’s going on a cruise and wants me to take Savannah.  If I’d known earlier, I’d have brought her here.” 

Bobby handed Maggie and Michael each a glass of bourbon.  “Merry Christmas, everybody,” he toasted.

They each raised their glasses before sipping.  As Christmas music played softly in the background, the trio silently appreciated the decorated tree and its reflection as it twinkled in the night.

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION by Pandora Spocks

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION is
available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–WARRIOR MINE

She is the perfect combination of princess and warrior.

Scott Nielsen and Jackie Walker

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

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

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

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

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

In this snippet, the usually confident and independent Jackie is way out of her comfort zone.

Jackie found a place to park a block or so down from Kink Ink. She’d never been to the shop before. The owners, Eve and Sam, were friends of Blake’s. She’s met them a few times, including when they’d come to the lodge before Amy’s arrest, but if she was honest, she found them a bit intimidating. Eve was a little Goth spitfire, covered in piercings and tattoos. Sam was tall and quiet, a mountain of a man of First Nation descent, his black hair long and flowing.

“Come on,” Amy said, grabbing Jackie’s hand and pulling her down the street.

Say what you will about Shasta Pyke, Jackie mused privately, but I don’t think she was ever intimidated by anyone.

As they approached the tattoo shop, Jackie could see Sam through the front window. He was sitting on a low stool, working on a design on the wrist of a female client.

Overhead, a bell tinkled as Amy pushed open the door. Eve looked up from the computer at the reception desk and smiled at the two of them. “Ladies! How are you today? Are we getting ink?”

She walked around the desk and hugged Amy, then Jackie.

“Nope. No ink today. Jackie and I were interested in doing a little shopping.” Amy grinned mischievously.

Eve arched an eyebrow. “Two subs out on the town,” she laughed. “What could go wrong? Follow me, girls.”

Eve made her way toward a black curtain dividing the front of the shop from the back. Amy and Jackie followed.

“I’m not actually…” Jackie began.

Eve stopped at a heavy wooden door and leveled a curious look at her.

Jackie blushed deeply. “I mean, I’m not a sub, actually.”

The dark pixie-like woman watched her for a nanosecond, then threw back her head with a hearty laugh. “Yeah, okay, kitten. You keep telling yourself that.”

She opened the door and gestured dramatically. “Knock yourselves out, ladies. Let me know if you need any help.” She turned and made her way back toward the front of the shop, laughing lightly as she did.

Jackie felt her face redden again. Maybe this was a bad idea.

“Eve has an uncanny sense of intuition,” Amy said. “She’s a Domme, you know.”

Jackie’s eyes widened. “Eve? A Domme? Who’s her sub? Sam?”

Amy nodded sagely.

“Get out of town! She Dominates him? He’s ten times her size.”

“I know. She invited me to play with them once. But she was teasing me.” Amy frowned. “I’m pretty sure she was teasing me. Anyway, come on, let’s find you a vibe.”

Amy took her hand again and pulled her into a room filled with all kinds of kink gear. Everything was displayed as items would be in a department store, with racks of clothing and shelves of smaller items. Amy pulled her toward a lighted display case of dildos of various sizes, shapes, and colors.

“Ooh, I have one of those. They’re nice.” Amy pointed to a small pink vibrator.

Jackie shrugged uncomfortably. “I don’t know, Amy. I don’t really think I need anything.”

“Yes, you do. I want you to enjoy that bath bomb I gave you. Anyway, Daddy says I can pick out a new vibe, and I’m not going to waste that.”

“I can’t believe you call him that,” Jackie scowled. “I could never do that.”

“That’s because you’re not a baby girl.” She laughed lightly. “But that’s me in spades. Calling Blake Daddy was weird at first, but now it’s just natural.”

“A baby girl,” Jackie repeated thoughtfully.

“Yeah, there are different kinds of subs, you know. You’re more of a…” She cocked her head, and Jackie waited to hear what she’d say. “I don’t know, like a warrior princess. You’re badass, Jackie.”

With that, Amy turned her attention back to the business at hand. Thirty minutes later, she and Jackie were back in the car, each with a bag containing a new vibrator, along with a bottle of cleaning solution and a satin drawstring storage bag.

When Jackie pulled up to the lodge, Scott and Blake were relaxing on the covered front porch. Scott flashed her a panty-melting smile, and she couldn’t help smiling back. As she and Amy approached them, the men walked down the steps to meet them.

Amy jumped into Blake’s arms, wrapping her legs around his waist and kissing him affectionately. Sheepishly, Jackie smiled at Scott, embarrassingly aware of the contents of the shopping bag in her hand.

“Kink Ink,” Scott read on the side of the bag. “Did you two get tattoos today?”

Jackie felt her face turn four shades of red. “No, we just… I mean…” Her face felt like it was on fire. “No. No ink for us today.”

He chuckled, and Jackie realized Blake had undoubtedly told Scott the reason for their trip into town.

Let me just sink into the earth right now, she wished feverishly.

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Thanksgiving!

Petey is Nik’s first taste of ordinary.
And everything he ever wanted.
If he doesn’t blow it.

Red-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a sculptor who welds steel and glass creations. A young widow, she lives on her in-laws’ sheep ranch in Montana, where she helps out during the day, working on her art at night.

Looking to raise money to expand the ranch’s business, she gratefully accepts her art school roommate’s offer of a gallery show in Manhattan. It’s been years since she was in the city, and she’s happy to visit her old friend.

Nik is in New York on business. He’s been traveling for nearly a month, enduring endless meetings, attending obligatory dinners, and battling jet lag. On his way to yet another business dinner, his world collides with Petey’s one rainy Manhattan night.

Their mutual attraction is immediate, but Nik’s skeptical. Could it possibly be that this gorgeous, enchanting artist has no idea that he’s Europe’s most eligible prince?

Spending time with Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she finds out the truth?

Love your romance with a little royalty and a lot of happily-ever-after? Download CHASING ORDINARY today!

In this scene, Beruvian prince Nik is about to celebrate his first Thanksgiving.

After they’d showered and dressed for the day, Petey and Nik collected the casserole dishes from the refrigerator and placed them in the bed of a yellow wire-mesh wagon Petey retrieved from the garage. Together, they carried the wagon down the front steps and then headed off in the direction of Jane and Eli’s house.

The late November air was crisp and cold, their breath creating fog as they trudged along. As they approached the house, Cherry opened the front door and the aroma of roasting turkey wafted toward them. “Happy Thanksgiving!” she called.

“Happy Thanksgiving to you,” Nik returned as Petey waved. “We come bearing foodstuffs.”

Cherry’s brow furrowed. “Hunh?”

Petey laughed. “We have potatoes and dressing.”

“Oh. Come on in. It’s cold outside.”

Leaving the wagon on the front porch, Petey and Nik carried the dishes through the large living room to the kitchen, which was abuzz with activity. Mary Pat, decked out in a fall-themed apron, was leaning down to peer into the oven. At the kitchen counter, Jane was briskly working a fork through a large pot filled with something white. She looked up as they approached.

“Welcome! Happy Thanksgiving!” she smiled. “I’m just working the lumps out of the mashed turnips.”

Petey, sliding the potatoes into the fridge behind Jane, turned and made a face at Nik, who stifled a chuckle.

“Thank you for making me feel so welcome. I’m thrilled to be celebrating my first Thanksgiving,” Nik replied with an infectious grin.

“You never had Thanksgiving before?” Cherry asked, aghast.

“No, dummy, they don’t have Thanksgiving in Beruvia. It’s about the Pilgrims, remember?” Thomas chided.

“And the first time-out of the day goes to Thomas, who has been reminded repeatedly not to call his sister names. Ten minutes, pal. Starting when you get to your room. Now scoot,” called Eli, entering the kitchen from the back door. He nodded in greeting to Nik and Petey.

“Aw, dad!”

“We could make it twenty.”

“Geez, I’m going.”

Eli watched his son stomp upstairs. “Cherry, it’s time for the woolly to eat again.”

“Alright, Daddy.” The child turned to Nik. “Wanna come help me feed my lamb?”

Nik beamed at her. “I’d be honored to help. But you have to teach me how.”

Cherry was shrugging into her puffy hot-pink down coat. “Okay, but it’s pretty easy.” She pulled a knitted pink beanie with bunny ears down over her head. “Let’s go. We’re keeping him in the g’rage.”

With a wink to Petey, Nik followed the little girl into the garage.

“He doesn’t have to do that,” Jane whispered to Petey with a smile.

“I think he’s happy to tag along,” Petey replied.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Petey,” Jorgen greeted her as he entered through the same door Eli had come through moments earlier.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Jorgen. How are you today?”

The older man smiled. “I’m most well, thank you.” He turned to Mary Pat. “Is this what you meant?” He handed her three tins of spices.

Mary Pat smiled. “Yes, those are exactly the ones.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe I forgot them. Thank you so much for getting them for me.”

“It was sincerely my pleasure,” Jorgen said, bowing politely.

Jane rolled her eyes at Petey, who responded with a silent, “What the fuck?”

Eli had settled on the large sectional in front of the television. The Cowboys were just about to take the field. With his mission for Mary Pat accomplished, Jorgen joined Eli.

Petey was setting the long table in the dining room when Nik and Cherry came back into the house. The little girl was talking a mile a minute, with Nik nodding and replying when it was appropriate.

While Cherry continued into the kitchen, Nik stopped to give Petey a quick kiss. “Is there anything I can do?”

Petey shook her head. “I think it’s pretty much under control. Did you get the lamb all sorted out?”

“We did. I even got a chance to hold the bottle before Cherry decided I was doing it wrong.” Nik’s eyes sparkled with amusement. “I believe it’s the bluntest criticism I’ve ever received.”

“Yeah, she’d kind of straightforward,” Petey laughed. “The guys are watching football if you want to go relax.”

Nik nodded. “I think I will. I’m a bit knackered from too much sex,” he whispered.

Petey gave him a playful push and sent him on his way. Thomas, having paid his ten-minute penalty, made his way downstairs and joined his father and the others in front of the television.

Finally, everything was ready, with platters and bowls arranged down the center of the table. Everyone took their places, with Eli at one end and Nik at the other. Sitting to Nik’s right, Petey gave his thigh a quick squeeze beneath the table. Eli gave a thoughtful grace, and the food was passed.

Petey cleared her throat meaningfully as she handed Nik the bowl of mashed turnips. When he glanced her way, she arched an eyebrow. Stifling a chuckle, he passed the bowl to Jorgen, who heaped the concoction on his plate. Petey grinned at Nik, happy to share an inside joke.

The conversation was cheery, at times raucous and funny, punctuated by plenty of laughter. From time to time, Petey glanced to Nik, who seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly. The thought of him being happy and at ease squeezed her heart with emotion.

At that moment, she realized that what she wanted more than anything was for Nik to be happy. That’s what love is, isn’t it?

When dinner was over, Jane stood up. “Okay, gentlemen, since the ladies cooked, you’re on clean-up detail.” She leaned over and kissed Eli on the cheek. “I’ll check on the barn,” she told him softly.

As Petey stood, Nik and Jorgen began gathering up the dishes and utensils. She sidled up to Nik. “You don’t really have to do this, you know,” she said softly. “It’s kind of Jane’s rule, but…”

“I don’t mind at all.” His tone was earnest. “I’m happy to help. It makes me feel delightfully ordinary.”

Petey pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Well, just so you know.”

“Go, relax,” he winked at her. “I believe that odd game you Yanks call football is still on television.”

“I heard that,” Eli said. “And it’s just plain football.” His tone was serious, but there was a twinkle in his eye.

“And why don’t they use their feet to play it, hmm?” Nik jibed, as both men laughed.

CHASING ORDINARY is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

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-filled excerpt, Hunter gets some shocking news.

*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–WARRIOR MINE

She is the perfect combination of princess and warrior.

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

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

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

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

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

WARRIOR MINE is November’s Featured Book at Pandora’s Passionista Paradise. In this scene, Jackie is busted on her ‘boat ride of shame.’

Jackie shifted, her eyes blinking open. Misty grey light filtered in from outside. A large log beam loomed overhead, the underside of a wooden roof rising to a peak above it.

The cabin. I must have dozed off.

Beside her, Scott, eyes still closed, turned to his side, reaching to gather her to his chest. “Good morning, beautiful,” he murmured.

“Hi.” Her voice was soft, and she pressed little kisses to his collarbone.

“I think we fell asleep.” His bleary eyes were half-open.

Jackie nodded. “It’s getting light. I need to go deal with breakfast.”

Scott inhaled deeply. “I was just wishing you could stay a little longer.”

She lightly kissed his jawline. “Me, too, but hungry guests will be up soon.” She slid out from beneath the blankets and tiptoed across the room to pick up the dress she’d discarded the night before.

With a content smile playing on his lips, Scott propped himself on one elbow and watched as she slid the straps over her arms and buttoned the dress. “I could watch that all day.”

Jackie rolled her eyes. “Unfortunately, there’s work to be done. Plus, won’t the workers be here in a few hours?”

“I’m sure they wouldn’t mind either,” he chuckled. Jackie shot him a look, and he laughed harder. “Hang on, Princess, I’ll walk you down to the dock.

When he tossed aside the blanket, Jackie took full advantage of the view. The cabin had been dark the previous night, and she’d been bent over the stove anyway, so she hadn’t had the opportunity to take in the masterpiece that was Scott’s body.

Her eyes naturally traveled to his semi-erect cock. He’d apparently awakened with morning wood, and she thought it was a pity they didn’t have the time to take advantage. She knew that last night, he’d filled her completely and then some, and in the light of day, he was as well-hung as she’d imagined.

As he leaned over to step into his jeans, she watched his firm bare ass, knowing she wanted another opportunity to explore his body. Jeans up and zipped, he turned to find his shirt, giving her the chance to appreciate his muscular back. Broad shoulders at the top, then angling to a trim waist before a slight flair of ass.

Lowering his shirt, he turned, giving her a brief glimpse of nicely defined abs before the blue fabric fell. His eyes smoldered. “You were watching me.”

She felt herself blush slightly, and she nodded. “I was.” She raised her chin slightly, feeling cheeky. “I’d do it again.”

His chuckle was more of a growl. “We’ll have to make that happen.”

She crossed to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He leaned down to meet her, pressing his lips to hers, taking the opportunity to slide his hands down her back and grope her bare ass beneath the dress.

Reluctantly, she stepped back, sighing. “I really need to go.”

Hand in hand, they walked down the slope to the dock. The glass-like lake was shrouded in early morning fog, and although the sky was lightening, the sun had yet to peek up over the eastern horizon. From down the lake, a loon trilled a lonely call.

“What are your plans for tonight?” Scott asked as he helped her into the boat.

She shrugged slightly, but her stomach performed a little flip. “I don’t really have any plans.”

“Good,” he winked. “How do you feel about Round 2?”

A tingle began in her nether regions and spread from there, and she couldn’t stop her smile. “That sounds great.”

He nodded, pushing her boat away from the dock. “Alright, then, it’s settled. I’ll be over later with the details.”

She gave a little wave and pressed the start button on the electric motor. As she headed across the lake in the hush of early morning, Jackie felt enveloped by a warm glow she was almost certain would show, if anyone was around to see it. Furtively, she glanced up at the lodge’s back deck and was surprised to see someone there watching her.

She squinted, trying to make out who it was. The red hair was a dead giveaway. Amy? Seriously?

When she arrived at the mainland and looked back, Scott was still standing on the island dock. She waved again, and he waved back before heading up the slope to the cabin.

Jackie tied up at the side of the dock and climbed out, mentally cursing her luck that Amy stood on the deck, sipping coffee and watching her. She was halfway up the stairs before the younger woman spoke.

“This is the first ‘boat ride of shame’ I’ve ever seen,” she giggled.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Halloween!

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

Happy Halloween! In the mood for a haunted house/dark and stormy night/steamy romance kind of book? I’ve got you covered!

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 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?

Spoilers abound in this revealing Halloween snippet from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Bree glanced around, but Jake was nowhere to be seen.  Reluctantly, she joined April and Rusty in line.  Ten minutes later, they each held a black plastic bucket containing a fruity alcohol concoction.

“Thirty-two ounces of different kinds of rum with a tiny splash of juice.” April giggled. “Any other day, it’s called a voodoo bucket, but on Halloween, they call it Witches Brew.”

Bree sipped hers, deciding the combination of different rums and juice was an enjoyable mixture. 

“Okay, what now?” Rusty asked.

“I really need to find Jake,” Bree responded.

“I thought we could work our way over to the nachos.”  April sounded a bit disappointed.

“You guys go ahead,” Bree told her.  “I’ll catch up with you in a little while.”

April looked to Rusty and rolled her eyes comically.  “The girl has the serious hots for your best friend,” she told him.

Bree laughed with more patience than she felt.  “Really, I’ll find you again.  And thanks for the drink.  Next round is on me.”

Now you’re talking.  Okay, go find Jakey-boy,” Rusty teased.  “We’ll see you in a while.” 

Bree watched the pair make their way to one of the food tents.  Then she turned and headed back toward the other end of the street.  Her sense of unease growing, her gaze flitted around as she scanned the crowd searching for Jake. 

She finally spotted him just as he was leaving the children’s game area.  Before she could reach him, he was stopped by Darlene Bright, who was sporting a very short plaid skirt and a white blouse tied around her bare midriff.  Her long blond hair hung in pigtails, and she wore white knee socks and black stilettos. 

Nodding at something Darlene said, Jake looked up and saw Bree coming toward them.  Grinning broadly, he excused himself and met Bree in three long strides.

“Hello, beautiful!  You make just about the sexiest witch I ever saw.”  He leaned down to kiss her lightly.  “And I see you found the official Halloween libation.  Where are Rusty and April?”

Bree hooked a thumb over her shoulder.  “They went to get something to eat.  I wanted to find you, though.”

“The festival’s going really well,” he commented, looking out over the crowd.  “The weather is perfect, and everyone’s having a great time.  Are you hungry?  The onion rings are to die for.  My treat?”

Shaking her head, she put her free hand on his arm.  “I need to talk to you.”

At her urgent tone, he frowned.  “Is everything okay?”

She sighed deeply.  “It’s just…”  She looked around.  “Can we talk someplace quiet?”  She dropped her drink into a nearby trash can.

He nodded.  “Sure.  Come with me.”

Taking her hand, he led her through the crowd to the police station.  The front doors were unlocked, and he led her through a swinging wooden gate into the inner office.  Brow furrowed, he turned to face her, leaning a hip on one of the desks.  “What’s the matter, Bree?  You’re worrying me.”

She exhaled sharply and paced a few steps away.  “This is going to sound nuts.  But I need you to believe me.”

Jake crossed his arms and nodded.  “Just tell me what’s going on.”

“Mr. Meyer killed that girl all those years ago.  Christie.  And he killed his brother, Steven, too.”  She wrung her hands together, desperate for Jake to believe her.

His frown deepened, and he swiped his hand across his chin.  “What makes you think so?”

Bree chewed her lip, hesitating.  “I saw him do it.”

She watched his eyes widen.

“You saw him.”  He shook his head.  “Bree, that murder happened forty years ago.  How could you have seen it?”

“I know how this sounds, Jake.  But I saw him.  Out on the island.  I don’t think he set out to do it, but he strangled Christie, then he hit Steven in the head with a rock.  He buried Steven in the basement of the lake house.”

Pushing away from the desk, he approached her, taking her hands in his.  “Bree, I just don’t understand.  What do you mean, you saw him do these things?”

“It was a dream.”  Her voice was nearly a whisper.

Relief flooded Jake’s face.  “A dream.  Bree, you just dreamed you saw Meyer do those things.”

Frustrated tears threatened to spill down her cheeks, and she swallowed hard.  “Jake, I need you to believe me.  It’s true.  The murderer has been here the whole time.  People should know the truth.  Steven and Christie deserve justice.”

He watched her for a moment, then pulled her to himself, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.  “It’s not that I don’t believe you, babe.  But let’s say I do believe you.  I can’t act on something you saw in a dream.  I need concrete evidence, something irrefutable.  I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to–”

With a grunt, Jake went limp and slid to the floor.  Where he’d been, Eric Meyer stood glaring at her, a heavy glass paperweight in his hand.

“See what you made me do?” he said to Bree.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–A Halloween Surprise

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!

Read a Halloween scene from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

The late-model Camry eased to a stop in front of the historic mansion at 2219 Prescott, and Ben swung open the rear passenger-side door.

“Thanks, man,” he nodded to the Uber driver as he grabbed the black tricorn hat on the seat beside him and stepped out onto the sidewalk. Straightening his deep-red brocade pirate coat, he slid the hat over the red scarf covering his head and glanced up at the house. The place was lit up like Christmas, but knowing the party would be out back, Ben headed toward the narrow driveway around the end of the house.

Gravel crunched beneath his black leather thigh-high boots as he made his way around the house. He had opted to take an Uber to the party to avoid having to scramble for a place to park his beloved VW van, something he was sure other party guests had done as well. And he had considered walking the dozen or so blocks between his loft and the Shepherd-Wang’s but Halloween or not, he’d decided that he’d rather not traipse through Pacific Heights dressed as a buccaneer of the high seas.

As he made his way down the driveway, the sound of happy conversation mixed with music grew clearer, though it was certainly not loud enough to cause the neighbors to complain.

Besides, he smiled softly to himself, if I know Drew and Alex, they’ve invited the closest neighbors, so nobody is home to complain.

He came around the corner of the house and stopped to take in the view. By his estimate, the party had been going for about an hour, and by now, costumed party guests had taken advantage of the open bar and the trays of appetizers being circulated by professionally attired servers.

The atmosphere was festive and pausing to listen, Ben realized the current song was Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. He shook his head and grinned. Leave it to Alex and Drew, and his money was on Alex specifically, to create an entire Halloween playlist.

Charley would have enjoyed this. He sighed to himself. Ah, well.

Scanning the crowd, he spotted the hosts themselves holding court on the far side of the patio, all decked out as characters from Hamilton, complete with wigs and all. Deciding that he’d say hello to them later, he made his way to the bar and ordered a shot of Captain Morgan, smugly pleased to match his drink to his costume.

Drink in hand, he headed back the way he’d come, pausing to say hello to a few familiar faces before claiming a spot at the edge of the crowd.

The better to people-watch, he considered. Maybe it was just him, or maybe it was artists in general, but Ben had always been more of an introvert, preferring to observe most of the action rather than be the center of it.

Between where he stood and the guesthouse at the back of the courtyard, Ben wasn’t surprised to spot Roxane, the manager of the coffee shop beneath his apartment. Instead of her usual Bravo Java attire, she shimmered in a long purple and silver sequined gown complimented by a fluffy purple feather boa, bringing to mind Donna Summer from back in the day.

Ben knew that many of tonight’s guests were in some way affiliated with Drew’s businesses or Alex’s real estate business. With their genuine kindness and generosity, the couple made friends wherever they went. It was something Ben could attest to as he flicked a nostalgic glance toward the tiny guesthouse.

As he did, the door opened, and a woman in white emerged. Her long red curls were pulled away from her face and as she turned to close the door, he saw that her hair nearly reached her waist. His fingers instinctively flexed, itching to sketch those long curls.

When she turned to face the crowd, she paused, lightly swiping both hands down her skirt before taking a few tentative steps toward the party. Suddenly, a smile broke across her face and her pace quickened.

Holy shit, it’s Charley. How had he not recognized her immediately? He sipped his rum again, privately acknowledging that he didn’t look much like himself tonight, either.

He watched as Charley approached Roxane. The pair greeted each other with a hug and Roxane gestured toward a tall man with a large afro and dressed as if he’d stepped straight out of the 70s. Charley smiled, shaking the man’s hand and saying something in greeting.

Unable to resist any longer, Ben began to make his way toward the trio.

As Charley and the other man made small talk, Roxane glanced his way and she laughed out loud. “I figured we’d see you here! How are you, Ben?”

Mid-sentence, Charley stopped, her jaw dropping as she recognized him.

He gave her a warm smile. “Hi, Charley,” he offered softly.

Mouth agape, she merely blinked.

“Hey, Ben! Long time, no see.” Roxane’s husband reached to shake his hand.

Ben grinned. “It was probably about this time last year. How are you, Daymon?”

“Can’t complain. Or I could, I suppose, but who would listen?” Both men laughed congenially.

“Listen, I’m off the clock and at a party, so I’m going to head over to that bar and find myself an adult beverage.” Roxane grasped Daymon by the elbow. “Come on, husband, buy me a drink.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he grinned. “See you all later. Charley, it was nice to meet you.”

Ben watched them for a moment, then turned back to Charley. “Hi, Charley,” he repeated, grinning.

“Um…Hi! I just…I mean…” She leaned closer peering up at him. “That’s some kind of guy-liner you’ve got going there.”

Surprised, he frowned. “Is it too much?”

She giggled nervously. “Not if you’re going for a real pirate-of-the-Caribbean kind of vibe.”

Scanning him up and down, she giggled again. “Seriously, you look like a real pirate. It’s…”

Pursing his lips in amusement, he waited to see what she would say.

“Well, it’s creepy and sexy, all at the same time.”

Ben laughed out loud. “I’m sexy?”

“And creepy. Don’t forget creepy,” she said, fidgeting with the sash around her waist.

“Well, you look amazing. This is a great costume. I’m loving all the red curls.”

“Yeah, most of them aren’t mine, though. A team of professionals put all this together.” Blushing again, Charley looked across the yard. “I’m supposed to be Christine from Phantom of the Opera. It wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t know what to choose.”

“It was Alex, am I right?” Ben nodded knowingly.

Her mouth popped open again, her eyes wide. “How did you guess?”

Ben had to laugh. “He always knows exactly what he wants. I’m going to be in big trouble tonight. Wait till he sees me in the same costume for the second year in a row. I was a pirate of the Caribbean last year. This year, I’m from Pirates of Penzance. Ten bucks says he won’t be able to resist calling me out before the night’s over.”

Charley chuckled, too. “Do you really think so?”

He nodded confidently. “One hundred percent. Wait and see.”

Remembering the drink in his hand, he gestured toward Charley. “Hey, can we get you a drink?”

She shook her head. “Thanks, I’m good right now.”

Just then, the music changed to Thriller and a happy gasp went up from the crowd. Guests scurried to the large open area in front of the stage to form a line dance.

Ben leaned closer to Charley. “You know, this is the party I invited you to.”

“I kind of wondered when I realized you were here. It makes sense. Your ‘good friends’. A Halloween party.”

“And here you are anyway. It’s kind of an interesting turn of events, isn’t it?”

Charley nodded, looking vaguely uncomfortable. “It kind of is,” she agreed.

“So how do you know Drew and Alex?”

She glanced around. “I, uh…well–“

“Oh, yay! If it isn’t two of my most favorite people on the planet! And they’re chatting together!” In his white knee-breeches and blue revolutionary-era coat, Alex looked like he’d stepped off the Broadway stage. His brown wig was immaculate. He gave Ben an affectionate hug.

“And don’t think I didn’t notice your recycled costume,” he fussed, raising an eyebrow. “Do you know Charley?”

Ben laughed and nodded. “We’ve met. I’m pretty much a regular at Bravo Java every morning.”

“What?” Alex asked in exaggerated surprise, pressing his fingertips to his chest. “I had no idea. It must be kismet, the two of you kids meeting like that.”

Suddenly certain that meeting Charley at the coffee shop had been no accident at all, Ben suppressed a smile.

“Listen, doll,” Alex said to Ben, “I need to borrow Charley for just a sec or two, okay?”

Stepping back, Ben nodded. “Sure, no problem.” His eyes met Charley’s. “See you later?”

He was sure he saw her gulp. “Yeah, see you later.”

Frowning slightly, he watched as Alex led Charley toward the stage.

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–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

October’s Featured Book in Pandora’s Passionista Paradise is spooky, steamy romantic suspense, MIDNIGHT COVE. What’s it all about? I’m glad you asked.

In the book 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 novel.  

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, Bree’s beloved yellow lab, Murphy, plays matchmaker as Bree meets handsome local lawman Jake for the first time.

Bree stretched luxuriantly, her bare arm catching the warm sunlight that streamed in through the bay window across from the bed. Last night had been the best sleep she’d had in as long as she could recall. She stretched again, smiling to herself as she recalled vague snippets of a dream she’d had. She’d been on a peaceful, tropical beach. And there’d been a hot guy.

She pursed her lips, considering the blonde young man with sparkling blue eyes. Having dreams about hot guys? She needed a man in her life right now like she needed an extra hole in the head. She was still trying to recover from the one she’d just left.

Sighing deeply, she shook her head. He wasn’t real, the man from her dream. Steven. She frowned slightly. That was kind of specific, wasn’t it?

She had to smile at herself. He hadn’t been any more real than the dolphins she’d seen. Just a pleasant dream. And wouldn’t she love to have more of those?

Canine feet click-clacked across the wood floor, and a large yellow head appeared at the side of the bed.

“Good morning, Murph. Do you need to go potty?”

Soulful brown eyes pleaded with her as the dog whined softly.

Bree laughed. “Okay, buddy, let me put some clothes on.”

Warm sunlight or no, the room itself was cool in the fall morning. She quickly made the bed, then padded to the closet to grab a pair of faded jeans and a white v-neck T-shirt. When she was dressed, she slipped on her favorite pair of white low-topped Chucks and shrugged into a long pink cardigan.

“Come on, Murph, let’s take you outside. Then we’ll figure out the rest of our day.”

On her way out the bedroom door, something caught her eye. Frowning, she slowly approached the bay window that overlooked the lake, its stained-glass accents casting reds and browns across the wood floor. In the center of the brown velvet cushion sat a glossy shell about the size and shape of an egg. It was tan, with spots of light and dark brown.

Heart pounding, she reached to pick it up. The shell felt smooth and cool in her hand. Turning it over, she saw the opening, a narrow slit running the length of the shell, looking like a crooked, serrated grin.

Unconsciously, she gripped the shell lightly. Her dream last night. The stranger–Steven–had given her a shell. This shell.

What had he said? “Keep it so you can remember this beach. So you can remember me.”

Wide-eyed, she slowly turned, scanning the room. No one was there. She closed her eyes and tried to get a sense of a presence, but she felt nothing.

Murphy whined again, bringing her to the present. Distractedly, Bree slipped the shell into her pocket. “Come on, boy. Let’s go.”

Downstairs, she opened the back door. The yellow lab bounded across the wide back deck and down to the lawn that gently sloped to the lake. Lost in her thoughts, Bree followed along behind him.

Her dream had been just that, right? A dream. But could it be that the mystery man, Steven, was the presence she’d noticed in the house?

It was beyond ridiculous, really. She’d half convinced herself that she’d merely imagined the flutter in the attic window, the chair that rocked itself.

But how do you explain the shell? Riddle me that one.

She chewed her lip thoughtfully. Should she be alarmed? Steven had seemed nice enough. He’d almost seemed surprised that she’d spoken to him. If he was in the house, maybe he needed help moving on.

Sighing deeply, she kicked at a clump of colorful leaves on the ground. It was a lot to contemplate, and she had work to do. Rita Pearlman, her editor at Bonne Nuit House, expected the first draft of her new novel by the middle of November. So far, she had managed to write the first ten thousand words.

Not bad, she snorted, only about eighty thousand to go.

But writing with Greg around had been next to impossible, especially right there at the end.

She shook her head to dismiss the dark thoughts. Greg was a non-issue now. And she was on her second day of two months of peace and quiet in her cabin by the lake.

House, not cabin, she corrected herself. Still.

The sound of distant barking drew her back to the present. The yellow lab was nowhere to be seen. Rushing down the hill to the water’s edge, Bree glanced down the shoreline in both directions.

“Murphy!”

She heard barking again, clearly from her left. She took off in that direction, calling again. “Murphy! Come here!”

Trudging along the shoreline, Bree ignored the house next door and the one after that, intent on finding her dog. Mr. Meyer had said that most of the lake houses were closed until spring anyway. So when she spied a tall, dark-haired man fishing at the end of the third dock, she was surprised. Tail wagging furiously, Murphy stood beside the man looking out over the water.

“Murphy!” she called sharply as she headed down the dock.

The dog turned and whined sheepishly, clearly reluctant to leave his new friend.

The man reeled in his line and set the fishing rod down on the dock. As Bree approached, he grinned.

“I’m so sorry he’s bothering you,” Bree rushed, grabbing the dog by his blue web collar. “Let’s go. You’re in big trouble.”

The man laughed, revealing perfect white teeth. “Don’t be too hard on him, Mom. He just got excited when I reeled in a nice fat bass.” His deep blue eyes twinkled with humor.

Bree’s gaze slid from his wavy dark brown hair to his square jaw, nicely defined by dark stubble and zeroes in on his sensuous lips. His dark blue long-sleeved Henley clung to his muscular shoulders, and the sleeves were pushed up to reveal strong forearms lightly sprinkled with dark hair.

She felt herself blush. “Well, we just went out to go potty, and he got away from me. I didn’t realize anyone was around. I promise I’ll keep him on a leash from now on. I’m so sorry.”

The man took a step toward her and held out his hand. “Don’t keep him on a leash on my account. I love dogs. I’m Jake Hanson.”

“Oh, sorry. Bree Blaylock.”

He pursed his lips as though he were suppressing a grin. “Welcome to Midnight Cove, Bree Blaylock. Are you staying at the Meyer place? I heard Old Man Meyer had rented out his lake house.”

Bree nodded. “Yes, for the next couple of months, anyway. Mr. Meyer told me that most of the lake houses sit vacant until spring.”

Jake glanced around and nodded. “Most of them do.” He hooked a thumb toward the one-story brown craftsman-style bungalow up the slope from the dock. “But I live here year-round. It’s quieter than in town.”

He tilted his head slightly, his smile warm. “So, where are you visiting from?”

“Oh, we’re from Clearwater. Florida.” Bree patted Murphy to have something to do with her hands. She nodded and tugged on the dog’s collar. “Well, it’s nice meeting you.”

“Jake.” He grinned.

Bree felt her face heat up again. “Jake. It’s nice meeting you, Jake. I’ll see you later.”

Blue eyes sparkling, he nodded. “I expect you will. It’s a small town. And a small cove. It’s nice meeting you, Bree. See ya later, Murphy. Behave yourself and mind your mom.”

Face burning, Bree held Murphy’s collar tightly and marched him back down the dock. As they made their way back down the shoreline toward the house, she risked a look over her shoulder. Jake Hanson stood watching them, and he waved. With her free hand, Bree waved back.

“You are in so much trouble,” she hissed to the dog.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

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

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

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

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

If you love your romance with a little bit of spooky, you’ll love MIDNIGHT COVE!

Read the Prologue:

He wasn’t sure just when he’d known that he was dead. 

That realization had taken a while, although the precise concept of time was now rather nebulous in his conscious thought, more a collection of seasonal impressions than an actual awareness of the passing of days and months and years. 

But the knowledge that he had somehow slipped his mortal coil had been an adjustment, to say the least.  He had no idea how he’d arrived at this state.  He’d been going along living his life and then he simply…wasn’t

His current existence seemed to be limited to the house in which he’d grown up, although there were times when he wasn’t anywhere at all.  He wasn’t sure which situation he preferred. 

On the one hand, he’d been happy to be near his family, at least at first.  But they couldn’t see him or hear him.  Not even when he screamed in their faces. 

That was when he’d known.  He’d loved his parents and his brother dearly. Seeing them, being near them, but being unable to connect with them had been frustrating as hell.

 Always nagging him was the question of what had happened.  He’d been a healthy, strong 23-year-old man, one with no bad habits like smoking or drugs.  Okay, yeah, the occasional beer, maybe, but nothing that should have led to his death. 

It seemed odd, too.  Although he was stuck in his family home, he was almost certain he remembered living on his own in an apartment, maybe.  That part of his before was foggy to him.

At first, knowing he was dead was terrifying.  But after a while, he’d settled into a sort of non-routine.  He’d watched as his family moved on, his parents and his brother, all eventually abandoning the family home.  Maybe they were dead too, his parents anyway, but if they were, he hadn’t seen them.  Apparently, the afterlife didn’t work like that.

After his family was gone, it seemed to him that the house sat empty for a long time, and he’d enjoyed the solitude. The way he saw it, if he was going to be alone, he might as well actually be alone.

But then he’d watched as one day, a slightly stooped white-haired man had arrived.  The man had thrown the doors and windows wide open, carried out piles of useless old things, and spruced up the place, top to bottom. 

The next thing he knew, the house was overrun with strangers.  They just came tromping in with their suitcases and their inflatable rafts and their bathing suits.

Summer folk.  He’d have recognized them anywhere. 

While he and his family had been permanent lakeside residents, most of the other houses were used as summer rentals, vacation retreats for families who spent the rest of their year somewhere in busy cities like Columbia or Greenville or Charlotte.  The kind of people whose idea of a perfect vacation was a week or two spent in a cottage by the lake.

He hadn’t been happy to share his space, and he’d made his position known.  And he’d sent more than one family scrambling back to wherever they’d come from, dropping snorkels and beach towels in their hurry to leave.

Of course, there had also been the ones who’d been too absorbed with themselves to notice they were shacked up for the week with an unhappy spirit.  That was annoying.  During those times, he did his best to just stay out of the way.  Because eventually, the seasons would turn, and he’d be alone again.

Gazing out the attic window at oak leaves that were just beginning to take on a kaleidoscope of fall colors, he sighed with satisfaction.  If he couldn’t be happy about his existence, he could at least be content.  

The crunching of gravel caught his attention, and he watched a work-worn white pickup truck pull up the long drive and stop in front of the house.  An older man, the one he’d seen before, got out of the truck and stood staring down the driveway. 

A minute later, a pale-yellow Volkswagen beetle puttered up to the house, pulling alongside the pickup.  The driver’s door swung open, and a pretty redhead stepped out, pulling a dark green hooded sweatshirt more tightly around herself against the cool of the fall afternoon.

She moved her sunglasses to the top of her head and glanced up in his direction.  For a moment, he’d have sworn she saw him.  Alarmed, he stepped away from the window.

What was this?  Another renter?  It wasn’t summer.  Cautiously, he peered out the window, checking to see if the seasons had switched on him again without notice.  No, the trees were still just beginning to shift into their fall hues.

Now he heard voices downstairs.  This was an unforeseen circumstance.  What now? 

He shrugged to himself and smiled.  A woman alone?  He would have her out by nightfall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

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

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