Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this teaser, Ali has left New York looking for a little advice from her mother.

Shivering against the chilling sea breeze, Ali gathered her jacket more tightly around herself and stared out over the sparkling blue Mediterranean. She heard the scuff of shoes on the stone terrace but didn’t bother to turn around.

“If you’re going to insist on being out here, you should at least bundle up. It’s January, for God’s sake.”

Wordlessly, Ali accepted the grey wool throw blanket her mother draped around her shoulders. She blinked when the woman stepped in front of her, blocking her view.

“Alison Renee Hart, look at me.”

Hands on her hips and her jaw set with determination, Michelle Schaeffer Hart Renaud radiated a toughness that belied her petite frame. Her jaw-length coif, once as brilliantly red as Ali’s, had morphed into a shade more golden than ginger, and it ruffled in the breeze.

Reluctantly, Ali met her mother’s eyes.

“Come inside.” Michelle’s voice was soft. “Let’s get some wine, sit by the fire, and you can tell me what this is all about.”

Back in the house and still wrapped in the throw, Ali sank into the deep grey sofa cushions and curled her feet under herself. She stared into the fire, grudgingly appreciating its warmth.

“Here.” Her mother thrust a glass of white wine into her hand. Then she turned with her own glass and settled in a crisp white overstuffed chair. “So spill. You’ve been sulking since you got here three days ago. Enough’s enough. Tell me what’s going on.”

Ali sighed deeply and looked at her wine glass, for the first time realizing that it was exceptionally full. Frowning, she glanced up at her mother, who raised her equally full glass and nodded.

“Talk to me, Ali.”

Ali opened her mouth to say something, then, not knowing where to start, closed it again, shifting her gaze back to the orange and red flames licking at the ash logs stacked in the fireplace.

“I’ll get you started,” she heard her mother say. “There was this boy…”

“He’s not a boy; he’s thirty,” Ali corrected softly.

“Ah-hah! Now we’re getting somewhere.”

Shaking her head miserably, Ali set down her glass and pulled the blanket more tightly around herself, more to keep herself from flying apart than to stay warm.

“I’ve always thought that the whole idea of love at first sight was a crock of shit,” Ali began. “But when I met Logan right before Thanksgiving, I just…” She waved expansively. “I just couldn’t think of anything else. The more time we spent together, the harder I fell for him. And he fell for me, too. Or so I thought.”

Michelle frowned slightly. “So, what happened?”

“We spent hours together, talking about all kinds of things, sharing some of the most personal stories of our lives. But it turns out, Logan neglected to tell me one minor detail–the fact that he was engaged.”

“Oh, boy.”

“Oh, boy, is right!” Pushing off the sofa, Ali clung to the throw around her shoulders and paced in front of the fireplace. “We met for lunch, for dinner, we called and texted all the time,” she glanced at her mother. “We slept together, for God’s sake, and the whole time he was engaged.”

She frowned slightly. “Part of the time, anyway. The whole thing has my head spinning. His wedding was supposed to be on Valentine’s Day, the same day as Shannon’s wedding, if you can believe it.”

“His wedding was supposed to be on Valentine’s Day? As in, it’s not anymore?”

Ali waved dismissively and stalked toward the enormous windows overlooking the sea. “He broke off the engagement on Christmas Eve. Which, at the risk of repeating myself, was after we’d already slept together.”

“The little shit! I’ll castrate him myself.”

Ali looked up to see her mother’s lips were pursed, her eyes sparkling with humor.

“I’m serious, Mother! I had no idea! Even after he broke it off, he didn’t tell me about his fiancée. I only found out about her when she tracked us down on New Years’. We’d just had the most fantastic time, and all of a sudden, this crazy woman was screaming in my face.”

“What did Logan do?” Michelle wondered.

Ali returned to stand in front of the fire again. “Well, at that point, he couldn’t exactly deny it.”

Michelle frowned again. “So… He was engaged when you met, but he ended his engagement when things started getting serious between the two of you. Do I have it straight?”

Flouncing back to the sofa, Ali sat down with a huff. “And he wasn’t honest with me from the beginning. And I ended up being the other woman without having a choice in the matter. Which if I’d been given a choice, I’d have said, No, thank you, because that’s not who I am.”

Feeling suddenly out of air, Ali sank back into the sofa again. Her mother watched her wordlessly for several minutes.

“So?” Ali finally demanded.

Michelle smiled softly. “So, what does Logan say?”

“What does Logan say? He admitted that she was his fiancée.” She frowned. “I think his actual words were former fiancée, but still. The fact remains that he lied to me by omission. I loved him, and he broke my heart.” Her last word was barely a squeak. Unbidden tears rolled down her face.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

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

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

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

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

Life on the road working with Bella is great. Nights spent in Bella’s arms are amazing. Should Luke just be satisfied with the way things are?

Or should he risk everything on the chance that they could have it all?

In this scene from LUKE & BELLA, Bella introduces Luke to a little Southern hospitality, Grant family style.

Pulling into the drive, they could see the house situated at the end of a long, straight lane shaded by centuries-old oak trees that were draped with Spanish moss. The white antebellum home was two stories tall and fronted by six white columns. There was a broad front porch running the width of the house with a matching veranda on the second floor.

Bella felt a perverse sense of pride. Bad memories and associations aside, the plantation house was undeniably beautiful. Still, she was glad that Tre and his family lived there. She was perfectly content in the townhouse.

Tre stopped, parking the SUV out front and they crossed the porch to the front door, entering a grand foyer. Tre called, “Cornelia, we’re home.” The smell of something good for dinner filled the house.

Cornelia came out to greet them, wiping her hands on her vintage apron, all Southern grace and gentle manners. She was petite and blonde with helmet hair that undoubtedly required a weekly salon appointment. Her delicate stature had always been a compliment to Tre’s tall lanky frame. Bella dutifully hugged her and introduced Luke.

Cornelia grasped his hand in that Southern lady not-quite-a-handshake way and drawled, “So nice to meet you, y’all come on in.” As she turned away, Bella caught Luke’s eyes and made a face.

“So how was Daddy?” Cornelia asked.

“Nasty as ever,” Tre answered.

“Oh dear, he’s been difficult since he got sick,” Cornelia began.

Bella interrupted, “Longer than that. You and I both know it.”

Cornelia cooed, “Still, we can’t speak badly about the ill.”

“Just telling the truth,” Bella countered. “Do you have any wine around? I’ve waited about as long as I can.”

Cornelia gave her a pinched look, then smiled, all charm. “Why, of course. Y’all make yourselves comfortable in the living room. Tre, get your sister some wine.”

They heard a shout from the direction of the kitchen. “Hey, is that Aunt Sissy?” A tall lanky boy of about twenty came bounding into the room. He looked like Tre had time-traveled backwards, the resemblance was so strong.

“‘Hey’ is for horses, son,” Cornelia corrected quietly.

Bella squealed with delight. “T-Nathan! How are you?” She gave him a huge hug. “And ‘hey’ is just fine with me,” she grinned, smirking at Cornelia. “So your dad says you’re home from school?”

T-Nathan grinned. “Yep, I took my exams early so I could come home.”

Bella smiled up at him. “It’s so great to see you! I can’t believe you’re a college man now! Holy sh…cow!” she said, glancing at Cornelia, who was making her way back to the kitchen.

T-Nathan laughed. “Nice save.”

Tre handed Bella a glass of white wine and then poured bourbon for Luke and himself.

“Well, my boy, the night is young, and I am way sober. Just wait!” Bella laughed. “Luke, this is my favorite nephew, T-Nathan.”

T-Nathan smiled. “Ha! I’m your only nephew! Nice to meet you, sir.” Luke gave Bella a startled look as he shook hands with the young man.

Bella laughed and said, “It’s a Southern thing,” winking at Luke.

Tre took them on a brief tour of the downstairs, showing them the kitchen, family room, and his office. Bella was surprised to see some of the updates they’d made.

“Y’all have done some nice things with the house, Bubba,” she commented.

“It’s pretty much all Cornelia’s doing,” he said. “She decided when we moved in that the place was too dark and sad.”

“There’s been plenty of sad,” Bella mused quietly, sipping her wine. She looked out the window into the backyard. “Hey, what’s going on out back?” she asked, referring to the large white tents set up on the lawn.

“Oh! The annual picnic is tomorrow. I hope y’all are coming,” Tre said.

Bella looked at him in surprise. “Really. I thought they stopped having that when Grandaddy died,” she said.

“Well, Daddy stopped it,” he admitted. “I started it again when he retired and I took over five years ago. He was pissed as hell, but it seems to mean so much to everybody.” Tre grinned at them.

“You did a really good thing, Bubba,” she said quietly.

They made their way back to the family room and sat chatting about previous picnics and the plans for tomorrow’s event. Cornelia appeared in the doorway and announced, “Dinner, everyone.”

They all took their places at the table in the formal dining room. After Tre led the grace, Bella chugged the remainder of her wine and poured a second. They passed around platters of chicken cordon bleu and scalloped potatoes, fresh vegetables, and homemade rolls.

Dinner was delicious and everyone made polite small talk. Tre encouraged Luke to talk about his time in the Navy and as a news photographer.

After a brief lull in the conversation, Tre said, “By the way, we watched your show last night. I thought it was interesting.”

T-Nathan said, “Hey Aunt Sissy, did you really smoke weed in Amsterdam?”

Cornelia glared at him. “T-Nathan, I don’t think that’s appropriate dinner conversation.”

Bella, ignoring Cornelia, smiled ruefully. “Yes. Yes, I did.” She drained her third glass of wine. “It wasn’t all that. I can’t see doing it again.”

“And that’s your job?” T-Nathan marveled. “That is so cool! And you sat in that prostitute’s window?”

Bella nodded. “I did, for a little while.”

“Unbelievable,” Cornelia muttered under her breath.

Bella, pouring her fourth glass of wine, drawled, “Reckon I’m gonna get my ass kicked clean out of the Junior League.”

“And here we go,” Tre said quietly.

“Here, Cornelia. Have some fucking wine,” Bella said, all exaggerated Southern accent, and getting louder with every word. “You know, a drink. Might loosen up that cooter of yours and give my brother a break.”

T-Nathan did a spit-take. Cornelia quietly cleared her throat, neatly placed her napkin beside her plate, and left the table. “If y’all will please excuse me for a moment,” she murmured quietly.

Luke watched the whole scene, unsure whether to be embarrassed or amused.

“Sissy, why do you do that?” Tre sighed, shaking his head.

“Because it’s easy,” she replied, draining her glass.

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s fair warning: Spoilers abound in this excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE, the second book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.

“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.”

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

RUNNING ROGUE, and the entire Rannigan’s Redemption Trilogy, is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

The Amazon #1 Best-Selling first book, RESISTING RISK,
is FREE exclusively at Amazon.
https://amzn.to/3lkPSSr

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this teaser from FOR SPARROW, Jessi receives a letter from the love of her life from beyond the grave. Now, she has a decision to make.

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

For Sparrow

Jessi’s eyes filled with tears.

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

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

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

My dearest Sparrow,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your loving husband and Master, G.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, Master.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR SPARROW by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–LOST & BOUND

Hollywood bad girl Shasta Pyke
is used to getting her own way.
She’s met her match
in Dominant mountain man Blake Walker.

Blake Walker is no stranger to tragedy. Immediately following a horrific event years earlier, he was lost for a while until he embraced his Dominant nature and found his true calling. But things change, and now he’s back where he started, helping to run his family’s secluded lake lodge.

When pampered Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law, she’s sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario to cool her heels for a few weeks. There she meets sexy bush pilot Blake, who is tasked with seeing to her needs as the sole guest at the lodge.

Initially, Blake isn’t impressed with the spoiled actress, but he’s happy that her visit allows for his sister Jackie and her kids to go on a much-needed vacation. Try as he might, he can’t figure out what the hell Shasta Pyke is doing so far out of her element.

Shasta is attracted to Blake’s obvious good looks, but there’s more to him than that. He sees through her armor to the vulnerable little girl she hides from the world. The Daddy Dominant in him craves to shelter her, to make her his own.

Is there any way Shasta will agree to submit to Blake’s Dominance?

If you can’t resist a hot Daddy Dom, you’re going to love LOST & BOUND.

In this scene, Shasta meets the Dominant side of Blake for the first time, and for good reason.

When the power went out, Blake wasn’t surprised in the least. If anything, he was surprised it had lasted as long as it had. This was undoubtedly the worst storm so far in what had been a very dry summer. Angry lightning streaked across the dark sky, with thunder booming almost instantaneously. For microseconds, the flashes illuminated the entire lake like mid-day.

He slid open the sheer drapes that shrouded the glass doors overlooking the lake and settled in, book in one hand, a second bottle of Lebatt Blue in the other. Leaning back, he rested his feet on the battered leather ottoman, content for the moment to watch the storm’s fury.

His eyes moved to the dark shape in the middle of the lake. He knew from experience that a wild storm like this one was a dicey proposition in the tiny island cabin. For one thing, because it was situated on the crest of the island, the wind howled mercilessly around the structure. And being on the highest point, with thirty-foot pines towering over it, the cabin was a natural lightning rod. The thunder would be deafening.

He wondered how Shasta was faring. As he watched, another jagged bolt etched a path across the sky. He chuckled lightly, picturing her, eyes wide, with the covers pulled up over her head.

I should check on her first thing in the morning.

Eventually, he lit the oil lamp beside him and began to read. Bear paced anxiously back and forth in front of the huge window. He’d never been a fan of storms, not since he’d been a pup. Suddenly the dog stopped pacing and whimpered softly.

“What’s wrong, boy? You’re okay, it’s just a summer storm.”

Bear whimpered again and woofed softly. Frowning, Blake set down the book and stood beside the dog, looking out into the stormy night. “What is it? Is something out there?”

Then he saw it. A tiny point of light between him and the island. It bounced and tossed as it…

Blake shook his head. “No way. No way is she in a boat in the middle of this storm.”

In the next instant, lightning flashed and he saw her clearly, Shasta, huddled against the wind and rain, steering the tiny skiff toward the lodge’s dock. She was battling against the ferocious gusts of wind and white-capped waves on the lake that threatened to capsize the boat.

“Son of a bitch!” Blake growled. “No more sense than a…” He threw on his boots and shrugged into his rain slicker, pausing to don his headlamp before pulling up the hood. “Son of a bitch!”

He kept his eyes on Shasta as he stalked out to the dock, crossing to the end to wait for her. When she was close enough, he held out an old wooden oar and she grasped the end of it, allowing him to pull her the rest of the way to the side of the dock. Blake reached down to cut the motor and grasped her by the upper arms, pulling her out of the boat.

She stood in front of him, eyes wide with terror, and she was soaked to the skin, not having bothered with a raincoat. He shouted above the storm. “God-dammit, Shasta, what the hell were you thinking?”

She just blinked up at him, shaking either from fear or cold, or both. “Come on, let’s get you inside.” He easily scooped her up in his arms and she buried herself against his chest.

Blake was shaking too, but it was from anger. She’d recklessly endangered herself. If he hadn’t seen her, if the boat had swamped… It was beyond his comprehension. He carried her straight into his cabin, kicking the door closed behind them. He set her down in the kitchen and stepped back.

“Explain yourself.” He crossed his arms and watched her expectantly.

Shasta stood shaking, her red hair plastered to her head, her soaked white camisole completely sheer, her pink pajamas clinging to her legs. She crossed her arms, too, but the gesture was self-protective rather than angry. It only served to push up her breasts, punctuated by hard-tipped nipples, made harder by being cold and wet. He worked to ignore them, trying to understand what she’d been thinking.

“Well?”

“I…” she stammered, “I was so scared.” She was shivering constantly now, and a trickle of blood ran down the side of her face.

Blake lifted her chin gently. “What happened? Why are you bleeding?”

Her head shook slightly. “I don’t…” her teeth chattered, “I don’t know.”

Peering closely, he saw a cut at the hairline above her right temple. Swiping the hair back, he spied a sliver of glass and carefully removed it. “Come with me,” he commanded.

She followed him through the living room as he picked up the oil lamp and carried it into the bathroom, where he lifted her up and sat her on the counter. The cut on her head had begun bleeding in earnest when the glass had been removed. Blake used a gauze pad to apply direct pressure on the cut. Shasta sniffled softly as tears ran down her face.

“What’s wrong?” he growled.

“You called me Shasta,” she sobbed.

He snorted. “What you did was a very ‘Shasta’ thing to do. That’s the least of your worries right now. Hold this.” He moved her hand to hold the gauze in place and he reached around to turn on faucet in the bathtub.

She sat shivering, watching the tub fill with hot water. Clouds of steam filled the room. He left for a moment, returning with a flannel shirt of dark red plaid, which he hung on a hook on the back of the door. Next he turned off the water.

“Let me see how it’s doing,” he murmured, carefully peering under the gauze. The bleeding had slowed. He took a bandage from the medicine cabinet and applied it over the cut. Shasta was still shaking like a leaf.

“You’re almost hypothermic. I want you in the tub. Strip.”

Shasta blinked up at him.

“Don’t make me tell you twice.” His voice was quietly intense as he lifted her off the counter and stood her in the middle of the floor.

Shakily, she pulled the camisole over her head, dropping it to the floor. Blake watched unblinkingly, a hard expression on his face. She hooked her thumbs into the top of her pants and slid them, panties and all, down her legs. She nearly tripped stepping out of them, and Blake reached to steady her.

Naked, she stood trembling as he devoured her with his eyes, starting with her perfect round tits and their tight pink points, her narrow waist and the flair of her hips, the bare cleft at the junction where her legs met. After all, she’d been on display on the dock, surely she wasn’t shy now. He knew he was being an ass and he didn’t care. Anger still thrummed through his veins.

“Get in the tub. I’ll set a timer for fifteen minutes. After that, the water will cool off too much to help.” He disappeared, returning moments later with a kitchen timer which he set on the bathroom counter.

“Why aren’t you in the tub? Was I unclear in some way?” he snapped.

Shasta touched the wall for stability as she dipped one foot into the tub. “It’s hot.”

“It’s supposed to be hot. We have to warm you up.” He watched her step in with the other foot and ease herself down. She looked like a drowned rat, peering up at him all wide-eyed.

“When the timer goes off, get out and dry yourself. You can put this on,” he indicated the flannel shirt he’d hung on the door. “You will go into the bedroom and sit on the edge of my bed. You will wait until I come back. Is that clear?”

Shasta nodded silently.

“I said sit. You will not lie down, you will not get into the bed. You will sit. If you’re cold, there’s a blanket you can use to wrap around yourself. Do you understand?”

Again, she nodded. A look of annoyance crossed his face, and then passed. He nodded sharply. “I’ll be back.” He closed the bathroom door behind him and she heard him speak to Bear. “Stay here, boy, keep an eye on her. I need to think.”

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

LOST & BOUND is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/LostandBound

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

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

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

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

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

In this snippet from ANNA’S HEART, Wyoming rancher Anna meets world-famous movie star Angus.

After lunch, Anna led her first beginners’ riding class of the new session. This time around, she had six eager young riders between the ages of five and twelve, and for two hours, she led them through their paces. By the end of the following week, each student would be able to groom and saddle his or her own horse, and they’d be competent enough to participate in the overnight trail ride and camp-out with their families.

When her riding class was over, Andy helped her untack her horses, and they worked together to feed and water the entire stable of fifteen equines.

“Guess that actor guy isn’t coming,” he commented as he and Anna left the barn and headed for the lodge.

Anna shrugged. “I guess not.”

“Simone was really looking forward to meeting him.”

“Maybe you should be relieved,” she grinned at her brother wryly. “Sounds like she might decide to just ride off with Angus McGregor.”

Andy held up his hands in mock surrender. “I just want to keep the pregnant lady happy.”

“Hang in there, not much longer now,” Anna observed. “Just a few more weeks.”

When they entered the lodge, several of Anna’s new students ran to greet her.

“Anna! Anna! This is my mom and dad!” cried the youngest of her students, a tiny towhead blonde named Ariel.

Anna grinned broadly. “Hi, Mom and Dad. It’s nice to formally meet you.”

The mother smiled. “She can’t stop talking about riding Rocket.”

“We named him Rocket kind of ironically. He’s really slow,” Anna laughed, thinking affectionately of the old bay.

“Well, Ariel had a good time. We’re excited about the camp-out at the end of next week,” the father said.

Anna nodded. “That’s usually the highlight of everybody’s stay.”

Across the room, Vanessa waved to Anna. “If you’ll excuse me,” she offered before heading off to find out what her mother wanted.

“A flyer came in the mail today. Founders’ Day is next week.”

Anna frowned slightly at the brightly colored page her mother thrust into her hands. The bulk of the page was a vintage photo of Main Street in Crystal Springs, overlayed with jaunty graphics declaring the annual Crystal Springs Founders’ Day celebration.

Back in the late 1860s, the nearby town of Crystal Springs had sprung up practically overnight as a mining boomtown. The coal vein had played out by the middle of the following century, but the small town was proud of its heritage. Each summer, they celebrated what they thought of as Founders’ Day with a parade down Main Street followed by a giant picnic, and capping off the evening with a family-friendly town dance.

There was a time when Anna looked forward to the annual event. Now, she scowled at the announcement.

“I’d like that put on the bulletin board on the front porch,” Vanessa said. “I’ll mention it at dinner, but I want to make sure all the guests know they’re invited to attend.”

Anna nodded and headed toward the front door.

“And Anna?” her mother called after her.

She stopped and turned around.

“I expect you to go this year.” Vanessa arched an eyebrow, daring her daughter to argue.

Anna stalked back to the reception desk. “I don’t want to go. Why do you insist that I go?”

“Because it’s time you started getting out, meeting people.”

Swallowing her rising irritation, Anna gritted her teeth. “I meet people.” She waved toward the guests wandering through the lodge’s lobby. “They’re all people.”

“You know what I mean.”

Huffing in frustration, Anna turned on her heel and headed back toward the door.

“You will go. I don’t want to hear any more about it.”

Wordlessly and without turning around, Anna waved the flyer in the air and marched out the door. Opening the glass front of the bulletin board, she silently fumed at her mother.

For fuck’s sake! I’m twenty-fucking-six years old! I don’t need to be told what to do and how to do it, where to go and when. I make my own decisions. Besides, there are always things that need to be done around the ranch. Everyone can’t go gallivanting into town. Somebody has to stay back and hold down the fort.

Part of her told her she was making way too much out of her mother’s request that she attend the celebration in town. But the rest of her was in no mood to be reasonable. She tacked up the flyer and closed the protective glass door, deciding she’d go remind her mother about the need for someone to stay behind during the festivities.

She turned abruptly and ran headlong into something solid. The next thing she knew, she and a tall red-haired man landed in a tangled heap on the front lawn.

“Oof,” he managed as he lay gasping for air.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you standing there.” Anna scrambled to her feet and reached down to help the man stand.

Slowly, he allowed her to pull him up. Green-tinted Rayban aviators askew and a pair of bags strewn on the grass, he coughed slightly as he straightened to his full height.

Anna figured he had to be well over six feet tall, maybe as much as six and a half feet, judging by the way he towered over her five-foot-four frame.

“Are you okay?” she asked him.

He nodded, reaching to straighten his sunglasses and run his fingers through his red hair. “Aye, had the wind knocked out of me is all. And that’s a fine welcome, I must say,” he replied in a thick Scottish brogue.

Feeling her cheeks color, Anna reached to brush the dirt off the man’s sleeve. “I’m really sorry! It was totally my fault. I should have been watching where I was going.”

“Aye, you should have,” he grinned wryly, “but then I’d have missed being tackled by a bonnie lass such as yourself. Do you play rugby, perchance?” His laugh was hearty, almost infectious.

Mortified, Anna started to gather up his belongings, but he stopped her with a gentle hand on her arm. “I’ve got my bags, thanks.” He hoisted a large leather duffel bag onto his broad left shoulder and picked up a matching suitcase. “I have a reservation for McGregor. Do I check in here?”

“Um, yes,” Anna nodded. “Just this way.” Still blushing, she led the way up the front steps and into the lobby. With a pair of tortoiseshell-framed readers perched on the bridge of her nose, Vanessa Graves stood at the check-in desk efficiently tapping something on a keyboard. When she looked up and saw her daughter with their new guest, she smiled brightly.

“Mr. McGregor is checking in,” Anna said meekly, wishing she could melt through the floorboards.

“I’d be happy if you’d just call me Angus,” he said quickly.

“I’m Vanessa Graves. Welcome to Sweetwater Ranch, Mr. M–Angus,” Vanessa greeted him. “We’re happy to have you here.”

“I’m happy to be here. You have a lovely ranch, from what I’ve seen so far.” He glanced Anna’s way and she blushed furiously.

Mrs. Graves turned and retrieved a brass key from an old-fashioned wooden key rack behind the front desk. “Here you are. Cabin 6. Anna will take you there.”

She handed him the key and smiled cordially. “You’ll find a folder in your cabin with this week’s schedule. Once you settle in, I hope you take the opportunity to explore the ranch. And dinner is here in the dining room at 6:00.”

While Anna silently shot daggers at her mother, Angus’s full-wattage grin was charming. “That sounds perfect. Thank you, Mrs. Graves.”

He turned and looked at Anna expectantly.

“Oh, um, right this way.” She turned, shooting one last glare at her mother, and led their new guest back outside.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this snippet from BROKEN HARTS, writer Ali Hart reflects on the unusual day she’s had on her visit back to New York City.

The elevator deposited Ali on the 4th floor of the 12-story 1920s brick apartment building. She made her way down the hallway to the door of 4D, the place she had always considered her home.

Using her old brass key, she let herself inside and headed through the foyer toward the living room. “Dad? I’m home,” she called softly, hoping not to disturb her father in case he happened to be napping.

His live-in housekeeper met her in the living room. “Good afternoon, Miss Alison. Your father is in his study. He’s been a bit…unfocused today,” Mrs. Smith related in her crisp British accent.

Mrs. Smith had been a fixture in the Hart home since Ali could recall. When Jackson and Connie had divorced during Ali’s junior year in high school, Mrs. Smith had been a steadying presence.

Ali frowned, trying to decipher the woman’s polite description. The sound of papers shuffling and a deep unintelligible muttering drew Ali’s attention toward Jackson’s office down the hallway.

She smiled reassuringly at Mrs. Smith. “Thanks! I’ll go see what’s going on.” She was positive she saw relief in the older woman’s eyes.

“Dad?” she called as she walked down the hall. She popped her head in the doorway of her father’s small office.

Backlit by the window behind him, he stood in the center of the room clutching a sheaf of papers in each hand. His shaggy gun-metal grey hair stuck out wildly in all directions, giving him the air of a deranged madman. He was also naked from the waist down.

“Aw, geez, Dad, you have to wear pants. Seriously, now, Mrs. Smith is going to quit if you keep doing this.”

“I can’t find it,” he said urgently. “I can’t find it anywhere. Someone broke in and stole my manuscript.”

“Let’s go get you dressed and I’ll help you find what you’re looking for,” Ali said patiently.

**

“I’m really sorry about Dad,” Ali apologized. “I had no idea things had gotten so bad.”

Following a dinner of Mrs. Smith’s famous pot roast and roasted green beans, Jackson had wandered into the den to watch the news on cable. Ali insisted on helping the housekeeper clean up in the kitchen.

“You know I consider you and your father family,” Mrs. Smith smiled kindly. “It’s just that I’m not as young as I used to be. I worry that I won’t be able to keep Mr. Hart safe.”

Ali shook her head. “It wasn’t your fault that he got lost that time.” She raised a knowing eyebrow. “I know Brendan and Megan probably told you that it was.”

The elderly housekeeper gave something of a Mona Lisa smile and said nothing.

“It’s not your job to keep him from leaving the apartment.” Ali sighed deeply. “I looked at that care home today. It was really awful.”

She frowned sharply. “Well, it wasn’t awful, exactly, it just…wasn’t for Dad. He’s so independent. I’m thinking of seeing if we can’t hire a full-time nurse-slash-companion for him, someone who’ll stick with him and keep an eye on him. That way he can keep his independence and still be safe.”

Mrs. Smith’s eyes twinkled with kindness. “You’re a good daughter,” she said simply. “I know you’ll make the right decision.”

When they’d finished with the kitchen, Ali bid the housekeeper goodnight and joined her father in the den. Together they watched a documentary until the old man began to nod off in his chair.

“Come on, Dad, let’s get you to bed,” Ali said softly.

She helped him change into a pair of plaid flannel pajamas and waited while he performed his bathroom tasks. Then she tucked him into bed.

“Goodnight, Dad,” she murmured, kissing his scruffy cheek.

“Goodnight, Ali-gally,” he returned, invoking his favorite nickname for her. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Me, too,” she smiled, giving him another kiss. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

After a quick shower, Ali found herself comfortably ensconced in her own bed, staring up at the ceiling of her childhood bedroom as light and shadows from the city street outside formed familiar shapes. The day had been so hectic that she hadn’t had time to consider the man she’d met when she’d gotten off at the wrong subway stop.

Well, met? That might be a strong word, she decided. They hadn’t exactly exchanged names. They had barely exchanged words. And yet…

She linked her fingers together and cradled her head as she sighed deeply.

And yet, the man’s image was burned into her brain. In her imagination, she watched him materialize. First were those sea-blue eyes, alight with life and soul and passion. Or did she just imbue him with those qualities in the absence of actual knowledge?

Next came those utterly kissable lips, quirked in a lopsided sort of way as though he were privy to a joke no one else had yet heard.

In her mind’s eye, his square jaw formed, defined by dark stubble that made her want to cup his cheek. The stubble matched his dark wavy hair that seemed slightly mussed on purpose, as though he might be due a haircut any day now.

In her bed on Park Avenue, Ali closed her eyes and heard his voice in her imagination.

“Can we…”

Ali’s eyes popped open.

Can we what? She pursed her lips in thought.

Can we share a cab downtown? Run off together to Rome? Drop right here and do it doggy style?

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered, feeling herself blush. Again, she cursed herself for being in such an all-fired hurry to leave.

It had been on impulse that she’d flattened her palm on the inside of the subway window. And he’d followed suit on the outside. He’d been as intrigued as she’d been.

She mulled the idea for a moment, then shook her head. Because ultimately, what difference did that make? She didn’t know his name, where he lived, whether he was single or married…

There was one thing she did know. She wanted to know more about him.

Sighing again, she shifted onto her side and willed herself to meet him in her dreams.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

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?

In this snippet from CHASING ORDINARY, Petey and Nik get a second chance at a first impression.

Petey stared into the dressing room mirror. “Oh, my God, I look like Alice Cooper on a three-day bender!”

“And we’re getting a picture of it, too,” Colin said, snapping a photo with his phone before she could protest. “Because this is going to be a hell of a ‘before and after.'”

Colin clapped his hands loudly. “Okay, people, we have an extreme makeover. STAT. Let’s see…” He circled Petey, brow knit in concentration. “First, we ditch this horrid dress. Honey, I don’t know what you were thinking.”

“Unh, this was my friend Jules’ idea,” Petey snapped back.

“Well, what did you do to make her hate you, because this thing is a nightmare. Arms up,” he directed.

“This from a guy in orange pants,” Petey snarked, as she raised her arms. Two female assistants gripped the hem of the dress and pulled it over her head.

“These are harvest rust, and they’re Prada.”

“Dude, they’re orange.” Uncomfortably, she clutched her arms in front of herself in a vain attempt to cover her panties and bra.

Colin barked with laughter. “I like you. You’re feisty.” He continued to peruse her closely. “And you have great tits.”

He reached to cup one of her breasts and she batted his hand away. “Hey! Watch it!”

He just rolled his eyes. “Honey, please! Tits are not my thing, except the way they fill out couture.”

To one of the assistants, he snapped, “Elaine, go to the stash of Agent Provocateur and find something in a, what? 34D?” Petey nodded mutely.

“And Zoe? I’m seeing her in that pink Solace London. The one with the mock turtleneck?” The two women hurried off, presumably to find what they’d been sent to get.

Colin turned back to Petey. “Get out of your wet undies and slip on a robe. We’ll get you cleaned up, and then we’ll polish you until you sparkle. Don’t worry about a thing.” He winked at her and sent her on her way.

For the next twenty minutes, an entire team worked to put Petey back together. Her hair was washed and her face was cleaned. While someone worked on her makeup, another person gave her a pedicure, while a third did her nails. Finally, her hair was blown out.

Colin returned to inspect their handiwork. Nodding approvingly, he smiled at Petey. “Okay red, in the dressing room, you’ll find new lingerie, a dress, and a pair of shoes. Get dressed and come on out.”

Petey stepped into the dressing room and closed the door. The mirror was covered with paper, and she’d only seen a maddeningly brief glimpse of herself in the makeup chair. A plush chair held a cardboard box lined with tissue paper. Inside were a pretty bra and panty set. A pink dress hung on a hook on the wall, and she saw a shoe box on the floor.

Lifting the bra from the box, she admired the sheer burgundy fabric, embroidered with peach and deep pink flowers. The tag still hanging from the garment announced its price–$215. Petey gaped. The matching panties turned out to be a thong, priced at $130.

Her most extravagant lingerie purchases had been a few bras from the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale. It had taken over an hour to find something she liked, and she’d had a sneaking suspicion they’d made a stack of ugly bras just so they could discount them.

Shaking off her reservations, she dressed quickly, careful to pull the dress over her head without looking at the tag. It seemed better not to know.

The shoebox held a pretty pair of mauve velvet ankle-strap stilettos. She sank onto the chair and fastened them on her feet. God, what I wouldn’t give for a mirror right now.

Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was exactly twenty-five minutes since he’d left her to go upstairs. He. She had no idea of his name. In all the chaos, she hadn’t thought to ask.

When she opened the dressing room door, a crowd was waiting, with Colin smack in the middle. There was a collective gasp as he snapped a photo. The group burst into applause, and Colin took a bow. “That, ladies and ladies, is why they call me the ‘miracle worker’.

He took Petey by the hand. “Come look,” he said. He led her to a tri-fold mirror at the top of a small dais. “Go ahead,” he nodded.

Petey carefully climbed the three steps to the top, and stopped short. Gazing back at her was the most beautiful self ever to greet her from a mirror. Her long red hair was blown out silky and smooth, her makeup, including false eyelashes, expertly applied. The pastel pink dress fit her like it was made for her, the mock turtle collar hugging her neck, leaving her shoulders and arms bare. The clingy knit hugged her curves, and the hem hit just below her knees. The color complimented her hair and skin flawlessly.

Colin stepped up behind her. “Naturally, the dress is meant to be shorter. But because you’re such a shorty, it hangs longer on you. If we had the time, I’d have it taken up.”

Petey turned to him, eyes shining. “Thank you so much. I can’t possibly afford these things. I’ll take them to the one-hour cleaner first thing tomorrow and return them.”

The man gave a friendly chuckle. “Don’t worry about it, sweetie.”

“Hello? Is she ready?” a male voice called.

Petey turned around. Her rescuer had returned. For the first time, she noticed his British accent. Their eyes met and she gasped lightly. He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed, a thin scruff of beard defining the contours of his chiseled square jaw. Deep blue eyes gazed back at her, wide with apparent surprise.

Certainly, she’d looked different when last he’d seen her. As had he, to be honest. He was now dry, his hair neatly back in place. While the suit he’d worn earlier had been blue, the current one was a deep charcoal.

They stared across the room for what felt like an eternity. Finally, she broke the ice. “Hi.”

“Hello,” he replied softly. “Are you ready?”

Petey looked to Colin, then back at him. “Yes, I think so.”

“Before I send you back out into the monsoon, I’m putting a coat on you. No more getting drenched.” An assistant appeared with a trench coat in a black and white chevron pattern. Colin helped her into it.

She threw her arms around him. “Thank you! Thank you for everything.”

“My pleasure, red. You come back and see me anytime. I mean that.” He kissed both her cheeks. “Have fun.”

She headed to the doorway where he waited. He called across to Colin. “Thank you. You’re a lifesaver.”

Colin laughed and waved. As the pair left, he shook his head. “Well, kids, I think we just witnessed history.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

A traumatized young woman held hostage for years.
The rancher who comes to her rescue.
The crime boss who will kill them both if he finds them.

Jenny Stone’s voice was silenced the horrific day ruthless crime boss Victor Sorkin executed her parents in cold blood and took her as his personal good luck charm. Now she’s his pet, at his mercy when he summons her to warm his bed. Or the beds of his more esteemed business associates.

When she sees her chance to escape, she takes it, hitching a ride with an unsuspecting cowboy, horse trainer Cole Caldwell. Cole’s stunned to find the terrified young redhead hiding in his horse trailer. She’s as skittish as some of the horses he works with, and she’s apparently mute. But the nurturer in him wants to shelter her, to protect her. He’ll do his best to ignore the attraction he feels, content to help her know she’s safe with him.

When Jenny first escaped, her only thought was to get away. But now she’s worried. She’s put Cole in unspeakable danger. Should she leave before Victor finds them? Could it already be too late?

If you like your romance filled with hot cowboys, suspense, and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love JENNY’S VOICE.

In this snippet from JENNY’S VOICE, Jenny works to overcome crippling fear as she finds her way back to a normal life.

After Cole left, Jenny aimlessly wandered around the house. She gazed again at the photos hanging in the hallway, making a mental note to ask Cole about them sometime.

In the kitchen, she found the chicken he’d mentioned, a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. She chewed her lip thoughtfully, then opened an upper cupboard. There she found flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a small container of dried parsley. She frowned. Dried would do if he didn’t have fresh parsley.

In the fridge, she found butter, grated Parmesan, a lemon, and a partial bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She surveyed everything on the counter, frowning.

Capers. If only he has capers.

Dragging a chair from the table, she climbed up and peered into the upper cabinets once more. Shoving aside all the items in the front, she leaned up on her tiptoes, straining to see what else might be in there. All the way in the back, she spied a small round jar. She had to climb onto the counter to reach it.

Capers! Yes! Gleefully, she pumped her fist in the air.

Now that she had everything she needed, she filled the sink with water and submerged the package of frozen chicken. Cole had said he’d be gone a couple of hours. That should be plenty of time to prepare chicken piccata.

Before, Jenny hadn’t done a lot of cooking. She’d always been busy with school and her friends. Her mother hadn’t much of a cook herself, preferring to pick up take-out on her way home from work. That was before.

After, alone in her little room, sometimes she was given old magazines to pass the time. Never anything with news, mind you, but magazines about home décor and cooking, issues that someone else had thumbed through and gotten tired of, always months out of date. But to Jenny, they’d been a tiny window onto the outside world.

Hour after hour, she’d pore over the articles and recipes, even creating the dishes in the kitchen of her imagination, following step after step. Eyes closed, she’d mixed seasonings, sautéed the beef or chicken or whatever the directions called for, and at times, she’d have sworn she actually smelled the dish she was cooking.

A recipe for chicken piccata had particularly interested her, and she’d read it so many times, she had memorized it. And with all the ingredients, she was finally going to bring the dish to life here in Cole’s kitchen.

While she waited for the chicken to thaw, she gazed out the kitchen window. Across the yard was another pasture she hadn’t noticed before. She couldn’t see any horses there, but waving in the gentle March breeze were scores of wildflowers.

They’d look beautiful on the table with dinner. Anxiously, she wrung her hands. Could she risk going outside? Cole wasn’t home. There would be no one to protect her.

Her stomach flipped at the thought of Victor or his men watching her. That was stupid. He had no idea where she was. No way to trace her. How could he?

She shook her head. I will not let Victor run my life. Not anymore.

With determined steps, she walked to the front door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Glancing around, she saw no one. The horses were still out in the pasture, although Minnie had returned to the gate as though she wanted to go back to the barn.


The only sound Jenny could hear was the wind whispering through the oak trees along the drive. She glanced to her left and saw the flowers she’d seen from the window. Blue sat at her side and looked up at her questioningly. She patted his head.

Twenty steps. Twenty running steps will get me to the flowers. Then twenty steps back. She breathed in deeply and glanced down at the dog.

Heart pounding, she took off sprinting across the sideyard, ducking under the fence rail and into the field. Blue barked happily and chased along beside her, unsure of the game but pleased to be playing anyway. Jenny stopped at a large patch of bright yellow poppies and grabbed a handful. She was about to run back when she spied tall purple lupines further into the field. Glancing around to reassure herself that no one was around, she darted to the lupines and snatched a few before running back to the house.

She slammed the front door closed and leaned against it, panting. Ears up and tail wagging, Blue grinned up at her as if to ask if they could do it again. Jenny smiled and patted his head, then went to find a vase for the flowers.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/JennysVoice

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 for his business 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 came about as a follow-up to LOST & BOUND. While readers enjoyed Blake and Shasta’s story, they were eager to know what happened with Blake’s sister Jackie and his best friend, Scott. From the get-go, Jackie was strong and independent. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to write a submissive who rescues her Dominant?

Here’s a snippet from WARRIOR MINE.

Wringing her hands in front of her, Jackie paced back and forth by the windows as cold fear thrummed through her veins. The storm seemed to have increased in intensity, but she wondered whether it was just her imagination.

She’d received Scott’s text half an hour earlier, and she’d forced herself to walk away from the computer where his GPS location was being tracked on a map of the lake. Watching minute by minute wasn’t helping anything, and she had guests to attend to.

A glance showed her that Emma and Grant were still playing quietly, unaware of the danger Scott faced alone in the snow. Perhaps it was that, to them, strong and larger than life as he was, he was simply invincible. She envied them, she realized.

“He’s fine, Jacks.” Blake materialized beside her, handing her a mug of coffee.

Jackie accepted it, nodding her thanks. “I know. I just…” She shrugged, not knowing what else to say.

A loud bang from the reception area startled them, and a whoosh of cold air swirled into the room.

“Oh, thank God!” Jackie ran to the dining room door, several others following behind her. Across the reception area, the lodge’s front door had swung all the way open, banging against the wall. Snow swirled wildly on icy gusts around a lone figure in a black parka.

Jackie grabbed his arm and pulled him further into the room, then battled the wind to close the door. Hadley Pierce tugged down his hood and stomped to shake off the snow from his boots and clothes.

“C-c-cold,” he shivered, pulling off his heavy gloves.

“Come on, bud,” Dan Spinelli said. “Let’s get you by the fire.” He helped the man out of his coat and guided him into the dining room.

Jackie hung the coat on a hook and followed. “Where’s Scott? Putting away the snowmobile?”

Pierce pulled off his black knit beanie, uncovering his shaggy dark hair which stuck out in all directions. He dropped the cap to the floor and held his hands out toward the fire. “So fucking cold,” he muttered.

“Scott! Where’s Scott?” Jackie grabbed the young man’s arm and spun him around.

He blinked down at her.

“Dammit! Where is Scott?”

“How should I know?” he shrugged, turning back to the fire.

Jackie grabbed him again, whirling him around and slamming him against the stone of the fireplace. “You should know because he went out looking for your sorry ass when you went out in the middle of a fucking blizzard,” she growled.

Blake placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Easy, sis.”

Indignance flashed in Pierce’s eyes. “Look, all I know is, your piece of shit snowmobile broke down, and I had to walk all the way back here. I don’t know anything about Scott.”

He shoved past Jackie to return to the fire. “He’s a sorry excuse for a wilderness expert, you ask me,” he muttered.

Before Blake could stop her, Jackie spun the young man around once more and slapped him hard across the face. A second crack rang out before Pierce could recover from the first.

“You listen to me, you snot-nosed motherfucker.” Jackie waved her finger in his face.

Blake gently wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her away from the young man.

“He’s out there looking for you after you ignored his instructions. He told you not to go out in a blizzard. He’s risking his life for you, you sorry sack of shit!”

Pierce opened his mouth to reply, but Jackie raised her hand as if to slap him a third time. “Not another word. You keep your mouth shut, and you stay away from me. As soon as this storm’s over, I want you out of here, and I never want to see you again.”

She turned on her heel, heading to the office. Blake followed close behind her. “Jacks, we’ll just text him and tell him to come back.”

“Yeah, but it still infuriates me that one idiot created such a mess. And the snowmobile didn’t ‘break down.’ He wrecked it on the rocks at the end of the lake. Scott found it.”

She tapped in the password and the screen lit up with a topographical map of the lake. Leaning closer, she blinked. The blip that had been Scott was gone. She refreshed the page, but there was no red path leading from the lodge to the end of the lake.

“What the…” Blake clicked a few things, but nothing changed the map.

On her phone, Jackie sent a quick text.

The douchebag just showed up. Hurry back now.

The message was immediately returned with an error notification. Receiving device unavailable. Try again later.

Jackie looked up at Blake, who shrugged slightly. “Something must be wrong with his sat-com.” He scrubbed a hand across his mouth as he sank into a chair. “So, we don’t know where he is, and we can’t communicate with him.”

“I’m calling the police,” Jackie said, determination in her voice. She tapped the number into the office phone.

After a trio of rings, someone answered. “Eliot Lake Police, Ned Hart.”

“Ned, thank God! This is Jackie Walker at Lake Miranda Lodge. One of our survival school students went AWOL in the storm, and Scott went out after him. The thing is, the guy wandered back, but Scott’s still out there. We can’t get ahold of him on the sat-com, and I’m frantic. Can you send someone out to look for him?”

There was a pause on the other end. Then, “Jackie, I can’t send anyone out in the middle of a blizzard. Now I’m looking at the radar, and it looks like this might all be past us in another couple of hours, but I’m sure you understand, I can’t risk the lives of my team in the middle of a storm like this.”

Jackie felt as though she’d been gut-punched. She fought to breathe.

“Jackie?”

She pulled herself straight and tall. “Fine,” she said softly, “I’ll just go find him myself.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

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