Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

Maybe it’s time this widowed rancher took another chance on love.
But is the spunky big-city redhead merely setting him up?

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.

Here’s a little sneak-peek.

By the time they finished eating and paid their tabs, Hunter was positive Poppy had to be feeling the effects of the alcohol. But she seemed determined to press forward independently.

Together, they made their way to the door of the bar. With all the noise and music inside, they had been blissfully unaware that a spring storm had rolled in. Rain pouring down in buckets was punctuated by jagged flashes of lightning and the percussion of thunder rolling through the valley.

He’d already decided that he’d be making sure she got back to her room safely. The storm just clinched the deal. He could barely make out the lighted walkway of the motel through the torrents blowing across the highway in waves.

Beside him, she stared out into the storm. “Well, shit!”

He rested a hand on the small of her back. “Don’t worry. I’ll take you back to the motel.” He took a couple of steps. “Stay right here. I’ll get the truck.” With that, he dashed out into the deluge.

When he pulled the huge black Expedition to the front door, he leaned over and pushed open the passenger door. Poppy launched herself into the truck and slipped, falling headfirst over the center console, her face landing smack in his lap.

“Whoa, now!” he laughed.

She scrambled backward, nearly falling out of the truck. “Um, sorry about that,” she gasped as she swung the door closed.

“It’s okay, just…get yourself settled.”

Sheepishly, she buckled herself in and clasped her hands in her lap. “Okay, I’m settled.”

Suppressing a grin and mentally shaking his head, Hunter turned the truck and headed toward the highway.

At this time of night in a town like McFall, there was no traffic to speak of. Anyone not already home was currently parked in the lot in front of the North Star. He paused anyway, peering through the rain in both directions before cutting across to the motel.

“Which room is yours?”

She pointed with an unsteady hand. “Lucky number 7.”

He pulled into the space beside the Range Rover she’d driven out to the ranch. “Hang on.”

Ducking, he hurried around and opened her door. She accepted his hand and slid down, clutching her shoulder bag with the other hand. Together, they dashed the ten feet to the covered walkway.

For a moment, they stood dripping, looking out into the rainy night. Poppy fished the room key out of her bag.

“Well, thanks for the ride.” She leaned down and closed one eye, her right hand weaving a bit as she aimed for the lock.

“Can I help?” he asked.

He took the key from her and unlocked the door, swinging it open.

“Thanks. I would have gotten it.”

He tried to stop the smile. “I know you would have.”

She peered up at him, red hair drenched from the rain. He stepped closer, and she reached around his neck, pulling him to her, pressing her red lips to his. Her intensity surprised him, but he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, giving in to her passion.

Gradually, she loosened her hold, and he released her. Gingerly, she touched her fingers to her lips. “Sorry about that. I’m a little drunk.”

“Not a problem. But you should go inside now.”

She nodded slowly. “Yeah. Thanks for everything, Hunter.”

“You’re welcome. Go on now. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

She headed into the room and peeled off the cardigan, dropping it on the floor. Then she gripped the bottom of the camisole and lifted it. Hunter realized that with the drapes open, she was about to put on a show for the entire North Star Bar & Grill, assuming they could see through the rain.

“Hold up there,” he said, hurrying inside to draw the curtains.

Giving up on the camisole for the moment, Poppy sank onto the edge of the bed. He squatted in front of her, taking her hands in his.

“I’m going to go now,” he said softly, “and I need you to lock the door behind me. Okay?”

She blinked as she tried to focus on his face. “Okay.”

“Okay, come with me,” he said, guiding her to the door. “After I go out, you lock the door.” Unable to resist, he pressed a light kiss to her forehead. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

He stepped out onto the sidewalk and pulled the door closed behind him, then stood listening. “Poppy?” He knocked lightly. “Lock the door, hon.”

From the other side, he heard the click of the lock, then the rattle of the chain. “Good girl. Okay, we’ll talk tomorrow. Goodnight.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

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 picked the town of Midnight Cove, South Carolina by closing her eyes and pointing to a random spot on the map. She doesn’t care where she goes as long as it’s away from her abusive former fiance. All she wants is a quiet place to finish writing her new novel and to live in peace.

As soon as she drives up to the cottage she’s renting for the next couple of months, she knows she’s not alone. But she learned long ago not to be afraid of things that go bump in the night.

What she didn’t count on was falling for the handsome local lawman who lives a few doors down. Jake Hanson is giving her hope that finding real love is actually possible. But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

If I’m being honest, I have to say that I LOVE October. First of all, it’s my birthday month. Add to that the cooler temps, the beautiful fall colors…it’s an irresistible season.

But in October, suddenly I’m in the mood for a ‘dark and stormy night in a haunted house’ kind of book. If you’re like me, MIDNIGHT COVE is just what you’re looking for.

Here’s a scary little snippet.

A flash of lightning lit up the downstairs of the lake house like an overexposed photograph.  The crack of thunder was instantaneous, and Bree ducked her head reflexively.  Murphy, never a fan of a thunderstorm, cowered beside her on the sofa. 

The power had blinked off nearly half an hour earlier, and now the den was lit only by the fire in the fireplace along with a few scattered candles Bree had brought down from upstairs.  She’d had a productive day of writing, and now she was content to watch the storm and read her Kindle for as long as the battery held out.

She patted the dog affectionately.  “You’re fine, don’t be such a baby,” she murmured.  “It’s nice and cozy in here, and I’m sure they’ll get the power back soon.”

The tiny digital clock in the corner of her tablet read 10:04, and Bree wondered if the power might be off until morning.  Certainly, no one would be climbing up any power poles until the storm was over.

Briefly, she considered heading upstairs to bed, but her phone rang before she could definitively decide.

“Hi,” she smiled.

“Hi yourself,” Jake said.  “How are you holding up in this crazy storm?”

She glanced at Murphy and shook her head.  “Oh, we’re fine.  Some of us are better than others.”

“Murphy’s not digging the thunder?”

“You guessed it.  I, however, am enjoying the light show over the lake.  I wish the power were on, though.  It feels very 19th century.  I’m so spoiled,” she laughed.

There was a slight pause.  “We don’t have any reports of power outages.  How long has it been out?”

Bree raised her eyebrows.  “Maybe half an hour?”

“Can you see if mine’s out, too?  I left my dock light on.”

“Okay, hang on.”  Bree slipped off the sofa and padded to the back door.  Through heavy rain, she could just make out a dot of light several houses down.  “Yeah, I think I can see your light.  The rain is so heavy, it’s hard to tell.”

Lightning flashed again, for a microsecond illuminating a dark figure standing directly in front of Bree, mere inches away on the other side of the glass.  She shrieked, scrambling backward so fast, she tripped on the rug and ended up on her behind.  Her phone landed beside her.

“Bree!  What’s wrong?”  Jake’s tone was urgent.

She snatched up the phone.  “Holy shit!  I thought I saw someone on the deck.”  Bree’s heart pounded.

“Is someone out there?”

She shook her head.  “No, that’s crazy, nobody would be out there.”  Another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the darkness, and she saw it again.  Someone in a dark hood was peering in at her from the deck.  She gasped and crab-crawled backward to the end of the sofa, hiding herself from view.  Murphy leaped off the sofa and charged the back door, barking for all he was worth.

“Bree?  Bree!”

“He’s…he’s there!  Somebody’s out there!  I thought maybe it was just my own reflection, but he’s out there!”  Bree felt hysteria rising.

“Bree, where are you right now?”

“I’m hiding behind the sofa,” she whispered.

“Is there someplace you can go, a closet or something close by?”

With Murphy still barking, she looked wildly around the room.  From her vantage point behind the sofa, she could see the hallway that led to the foyer.  She knew there was a closet about halfway down. 

“Yes, yes,” she hissed.  “The coat closet.”

“Stay low and get there.  I’m on my way.  Don’t come out of the closet.  I’ll call you once I know it’s safe, okay?”

Phone pressed to her ear, Bree nodded.

“Bree, did you hear me?  Hide in the closet and don’t come out for anything.”

Her teeth chattered, and she nodded again.  “In the closet.  You’ll call me.”

“I will.  Everything’s going to be alright.  I’ll be there as soon as I can get there.”

*******

Jake doubted he’d ever made the trek from town as quickly as he did that night.  Dan Roebuck, also on duty that rainy night, followed Jake in his own patrol car.  Blue lights flashing as the storm’s fury began to subside, Jake skidded to a stop in the gravel driveway and jumped out into the steady rain that still fell. 

Heavy black Maglight in one hand and service revolver in the other, he nodded to Dan.  They split up, cautiously searching around opposite ends of the house and meeting at the back deck. 

Jake glanced down the lake toward his house and saw the light illuminating the end of his dock, just like Bree had said.

“Hanson.”

He turned to Dan, who aimed his flashlight on the wooden steps leading up to the deck.  “Muddy footprints.  Somebody was out here.”

Stepping carefully to avoid ruining the tracks, the men followed the trail up the steps and all the way to the back door, where they ended.  Inside the house, Murphy continued to bark.

“It’s okay, Murphy, good boy,” Jake called to him.

As soon as the dog heard Jake’s voice, the barking was replaced by tail-wagging.

The two men crouched to examine the muddy prints.  Jake’s lips pressed into a grim line.  “The guy stood here for a while.” 

He looked up, past the yellow lab who was now whining at him, into the den where the fire still burned in the fireplace.  A half-glass of wine sat on the end table beside the place Bree would have been sitting on the sofa.

Jake felt a ripple of rage.  Someone had stood out here watching Bree.  He shook his head abruptly.  “Hey, Roebuck, want to keep looking around?  I need to let her know we’re here.”

Dan nodded and moved further down the deck, shining his light as he did.  Jake took out his phone and carefully headed back down the stairs. 

She picked up on the first ring.  “Where are you?” she whispered.

“I’m here,” he answered as he rounded the end of the house.  “I’m heading to your front door now.  Come let me in.”

At the front door, he tapped lightly, exhaling deliberately as he tried to tamp down his anger.  That someone had been prowling around the house, had been peering in at Bree, was more than he could stand.  As she tentatively opened the door, he pasted on what he hoped was a reassuring smile.  When she saw him, she threw herself into his arms. 

“Hey, it’s okay, everything’s okay.”  She shook uncontrollably as he held her.  He pressed a kiss to the top of her head.  “Come on, let’s go inside.  I’m getting you all wet.”

“I-I don’t c-care,” she told him.  “I was so scared.”

“I know, babe, but you’re safe.  I promise you’re safe now.”  He walked her to the sofa where she sat.  He took a seat on the coffee table across from her.  “Now, tell me what you saw.”

Her eyes were wide, and she still shook.  He took her icy hands between his own.  “Bree, describe what you saw.”

“A-a man was just standing there.  It was so dark.  I only saw him for a second, when the lightning flashed.  At first, I thought I had scared myself, that it was just my own reflection.  Or maybe–” 

She looked up at him like she was surprised to see him, and she shook her head again.  “But when the lightning flashed again, he was still there.  I was so scared,” she squeaked as tears began to fall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

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

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.

Here’s a teaser from WARRIOR MINE, Dream Dominant Book 4.

Early the following morning, grey light filtering into the tent and the soft chirps of purple finches outside roused Jackie. Scott and the children were still fast asleep, but feeling the call of nature, Jackie quietly wriggled out of her sleeping bag and slipped out of the tent.

In the early morning chill, she pulled her blue hoodie around herself and headed into the woods behind the tent.

Minutes later, she returned, for the first time, looking out toward the water. Early morning fog shrouded the surface of the lake, but what caught her attention was the black bear curiously nosing around the skiff at the edge of the water.

Following dinner the previous night, they’d placed the cooler back in the boat to keep from having it at the campsite, and Jackie realized that even from inside the large plastic cube, the smell of hot dogs was probably extremely enticing. But the fact that her children and Scott slept mere meters away pushed her into action.

“Nope! No way!” she shouted, waving her arms wildly. “This is not working for me. Get out, bear! Go on, get!”

The bear looked up in surprise. Jackie stepped closer, continuing with waves and shouts. Stooping, she picked up a rock and lobbed it in the bear’s direction, plinking the side of the aluminum boat with a resounding thunk.

Opting to search for an easier meal, the bear turned and splashed through the water before loping up a hillside further down the shore.

Jackie turned to see Scott standing outside the tent, barefooted and hair askew, his jeans and red long-sleeved cotton t-shirt wrinkled from sleep. His expression said that he wasn’t happy. Wide-eyed, Emma and Grant peered around his legs from inside the tent.

“What was it, Mom?” Grant asked.

“Just a bear, but don’t worry about it; he’s gone now. You can go back to sleep.”

“A bear?” Emma echoed shrilly.

“He’s gone, baby, it’s okay.”

“You guys rest for a little while longer,” Scott said. “We’ll get you up for breakfast.”

Squatting, he withdrew his boots, then zipped the tent. After slipping on the boots, he marched toward Jackie, finger-combing his hair and tying it in a loose knot at the back of his head.

Sensing his anger, Jackie crossed her arms and squared her shoulders.

When he reached her, he took her gently by the elbow and led her further down the beach. “That was not safe, Jackie. What were you thinking? No way should you have approached that bear on your own,” he hissed.

“What was I supposed to do, let it get into the boat? Into the cooler? All I wanted to do was scare it away.”

Scott shook his head and exhaled in exasperation. “When I think about what might have happened…” He looked back at her. “Jackie, you have to keep yourself safe.”

She raised her chin indignantly. “I needed to keep you and the kids safe. That’s what I was thinking.”

“Careful with your tone, Princess. You’re in enough trouble as it is.”

“Oh, please, are you serious right now? I scared away a fucking bear. What should I have done? Gotten you up so you could scare it away?”

“You should have let me help you. That’s what you should have done. And I’m keeping track. Going after the bear by yourself, the tone, the sass. And the language on top of it all? Your ass is going to be so red.” He leaned over her, eyes flashing with a mixture of anger and desire.

Jackie wanted to stay angry, but she felt her core melting at the promise of a spanking. Still, she couldn’t resist pushing back. “Is that so?”

A low growl rolled up from his chest, and he grasped the front of her shirt, pulling her to himself and capturing her lips in a rough, demanding kiss. When he released her, she was breathless. “That’s so, Princess. Mark my words. Your ass is mine.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–LOST & BOUND

Blake Walker is none too impressed with the bratty actress who is the sole guest at his family’s remote wilderness lodge.
Could she be the baby girl this Daddy Dom’s been looking for?

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’s 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?

Here’s a steamy little snippet from LOST & BOUND.

It was the third night in a row she’d shared a bed with Blake, and for the third night in a row, Shasta’s sleep was blissfully dreamless. Consciousness dawned slowly, and before she opened her eyes, she heard the twitter of birds outside. Breathing deeply, she inhaled the scent of him, all musk and spice and man.

Lifting one eyelid, she grinned happily at the sight of Blake sound asleep on his back with one arm tossed over his head, the other one resting across his belly. His mouth was open, and he snored softly. Peeking beneath the covers, she was delighted to find his cock at the ready, large and erect.

Shasta shifted cautiously, careful not to wake him, until she was able to slide her right leg across him, straddling his waist. Blake stirred, opening his eyes to see her mischievously grinning down at him. “Good morning, Daddy!” she giggled.

His smile was sleepy. “Mmm,” he stretched his arms, then folded them behind his head, “good morning, kitten. What have we here?”

She giggled again. “We have Daddy under my control.” Her eyes sparkled impishly.

Blake chuckled. “Is that so?” She nodded. “So what are you going to do?” He suppressed an indulgent smile.

“You have to do what I say. First of all, no talking.” Shasta watched to see his reaction. At the amused sparkle in his eyes, she continued. “Then, your hands need to be over your head. Pretend like they’re tied to the top of the bed.”

Blake moved his hands, clasping them together and resting them above his head on the pillow. “Like this?”

“Yes, but you’re not supposed to talk.”

“Oh, sorry about that.”

“It’s okay, only you did it again.”

“Oops!” He winked gleefully.

“Daddy!”

Exaggeratedly, he clamped his lips together and blinked up at her expectantly.

“Now,” she continued, resting her hands on his shoulders, “I’m going to kiss you. But don’t even think about kissing me back.” Her lips curled in an impish smirk.

Blake nodded with mock seriousness, distracted by her breasts swaying enticingly close to his chin. Shasta leaned forward and touched her lips to his, nibbling on his lower lip before invading his mouth with her tongue, seeking and finding his. His moan rumbled up from his chest as his hands made their way down to fondle her delectable mounds.

“Daddy!” she pouted.

“Sorry, kitten, they’re just right there. My hands have a mind of their own.” He grinned mischievously. Shasta leaned over to replace his hands over his head, and he took the opportunity to cover her left nipple with his mouth.

She sat back up and arched an eyebrow. “Somebody wants some stripes.”

Blake just grinned up at her. “What are you going to do with me now?”

Shasta shifted lower, placing his hardness at her entrance. “I’m going to fuck you now.” Slowly, she lowered herself all the way down onto his straining erection.

Again, a moan rolled up from his chest as his eyes closed. “Holy…oh, kitten…”

Pleased with herself, she ground her hips, riding up and down in a slow rhythm, all the while keeping her eyes on his. Leaning forward, she rested her hands on his shoulders once again.

“Okay, enough,” Blake growled, gripping her hips and flipping them so that he was on top. “Kitten wants a morning fuck, be careful what you wish for.”

Shasta’s giggles turned to moans as he plowed into her, hard and fast. The change in angle had him hitting directly on her pleasure spot. “Oh, shit, oh, Blake…” Her moment came hard and fast, and Blake followed closely behind, collapsing to her side in a gasping heap when he’d emptied himself once again.

He pulled Shasta close and she rested her head on his shoulder. “Well, that was a hell of a good morning.” He lightly kissed her forehead.

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION

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

Rannigan’s Redemption is 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 at 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.

Here’s a peek at the moment Michael and Maggie meet.

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

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

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

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

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

“Ladies,” he greeted them, flashing his mega-watt smile. Just get this over with, he begged as he zeroed in on the Murphy, Rannigan table.

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

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

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

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

“Well, I…” the man floundered.

Michael grinned to himself. It’s the little pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile, he thought. He watched as a young woman crossed the floor, seeming to make a beeline for their table. She was petite, with red hair, and she was wearing a grey suit paired with a green silk blouse. What have we here, he wondered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael took a seat directly across from her. He was impressed with the resume, and he’d found her name on the spreadsheet before

Hodges had. He looked from the document back up to her face. Her green eyes were wide and as she sat, she fidgeted nervously with the atrocious vinyl folio containing her resumes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Which case did you choose?” asked Michael.

“People v. Lawson.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION, Book 1, Resisting Risk by Pandora Spocks

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION
is available, book by book or in one boxed set,
at your favorite online bookseller
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

When Jenny got away from her captors and hid in Cole’s horse trailer, escape was all that had been in her mind.
But has she put him in unspeakable danger?

Jenny Stone is a survivor. In fact, she’s the only surviving member of her family, the unwilling witness to their brutal execution at the hands of the crime boss who’s been keeping her for the last two years. Traumatized beyond imagination, she hasn’t spoken a word since that fateful day.

When she sees her chance to break away, she takes it, hiding in the horse trailer of an unsuspecting cowboy. She didn’t mean to put horse trainer and former Marine Cole Caldwell in danger. But she has. So now what?

Here’s a teaser from JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1.

Jenny gazed unseeing out the kitchen window as she beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Her thoughts strayed back to Saturday when she and Cole had ridden up the ridge overlooking the ranch. Looking back, she’d known there was something going on, something he’d been holding onto. Heightened radar was a survival skill she’d mastered over the last couple of years, one that, to her way of thinking, had kept her alive.

She couldn’t have foreseen, however, that Cole knew about that day. It was her own damn fault, though. Leaving her search in his History like she had. What a stupid, careless thing to do.

Hearing him say her full name, Jennifer Stone, had been a gut-punch. Reliving the moment now, her stomach churned with shame. She liked Cole, really liked him. She hated that he knew her dark and dirty secrets.

She could have predicted the return of the nightmares. It seemed Cole had seen them coming too, because when she’d tiptoed into his room in the dead of that night, cold sweat dotting her brow, the cot was ready and waiting. His steady breathing was quietly reassuring, and she’d quickly fallen back to sleep.

For now, she was thankful that she hadn’t suffered another episode. That was really embarrassing.

Cole, for his part, had moved forward as though the truth about her didn’t phase him or cause him to view her differently. But of course, it did. It had to.

Over days of working with him in the barn and sharing meals with him in the farmhouse kitchen, she’d been foolish enough to begin entertaining notions of falling in love with the handsome rancher. But now that he knew the truth about her, there was no hope of some storybook happily-ever-after.

She beat a room temperature egg into the mixture and nodded to herself. This was how she’d get on her feet. Cole had negotiated a price for her cupcakes for the baby shower. After she repaid him for the ingredients, she’d save the rest of the money, and hopefully continue to get more orders until she had enough saved to move out on her own. That way she could leave Cole to his life. He deserved someone without her ugly past.

When the batter was ready, she scooped some into the paper-lined muffin tins and put the first batch into the oven. While it baked, Jenny wandered into the den and looked out the window. Cole had Dahlia in the round pen and he was putting her through her paces.

From what he’d told her, the horse had about another week and a half before she returned to her owner. Jenny sighed deeply. She loved that horse. She knew she’d miss her more than she cared to acknowledge.

By the time Cole returned to the farmhouse, Jenny was just starting to apply pale blue frosting to the cooled cupcakes.

“Mm-mmm, something smells good in here, doesn’t it, Blue?”

Pleased at hearing his name, the dog wagged his tail and grinned up at the humans.

“I don’t suppose you have one I could taste, do you?”

Suppressing a smile, Jenny plucked one from the end of her workspace and handed it to Cole.

He peeled back the paper and took an enormous bite, then shook his head. “Oh, that’s terrible.”

Frowning, Jenny snatched up a second cupcake and sniffed it carefully.

He shook his head. “You can’t send these over to Alida. To get rid of them, I’ll just have to eat them all myself.” He gave Jenny an exaggerated wink, and she relaxed, shoving him playfully.

Cole’s laughter rang through the house as he made his way upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

She’s a rancher with a tragic past.
He’s Hollywood royalty.
It’s a match made in heaven. Maybe.

When world-famous action-movie star Angus McGregor books a full month at her family’s Wyoming guest ranch, Anna Graves is pretty skeptical. What could the Hollywood pretty-boy with his panty-melting Scottish accent be doing, slumming it in the boondocks?

It turns out that Angus is putting everything on the line. He’s set to produce, direct, and star in his next big film, an historical western. But he’s never even touched a horse before. So his people have arranged a four-week stay at a working guest ranch, the better to gain some cowboy skills before he flushes his entire career down the toilet.

He’s intrigued by Anna from the moment she tackles him when he first arrives at Sweetwater Ranch. Why won’t she even give him the time of day?

Here’s a snippet from ANNA’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 3.

When he’d finished singing, there was a breathless silence before Vanessa Graves broke into applause. “That was beautiful,” she said. “Absolutely beautiful.”

Everyone else clapped as well, including Anna, and Angus seemed a bit embarrassed. “It’s a very old song,” he said almost apologetically. “An old folk song I learned as a boy.”

“Well, it’s lovely,” Vanessa smiled. “Thank you for sharing it with us tonight.”

Conversation around the campfire ventured on to other topics but Anna didn’t hear any of it. Angus’ song echoed through her mind. Her mother had been right–it was hauntingly beautiful. And not simply the tune or the words, but his voice, or maybe all those things combined. It had been a magical moment in time and she couldn’t help stealing glances at him across the dying fire. He happily joined in the conversation with the other guests, laughing and joking when it was appropriate, all the time expressing interest in whomever might be speaking at the time.

And then there were those moments when he looked directly at her, when his eyes seemed to bore into her very soul, and his lips curled at the corners in an almost knowing way. Although what he knew about her, or what he thought he knew about her, she couldn’t say. What she did know was that in those moments, her pulse raced just a bit faster.

Gradually, moms and dads began to gather children and make their way back to their own cabins. Anna’s parents bid everyone goodnight as did Andy and Simone before they headed to the main lodge. Angus helped Ross extinguish the fire as Anna sat lost in thought.

“See you guys in the morning,” Ross said, then he moved off down the path toward the cabins.

Anna continued to stare at the smoldering fire pit. She knew she needed to think about turning in for the night but she couldn’t seem to make herself move.

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, Angus walked around the circle and sat in the chair beside her. “It’s a beautiful night,” Angus observed softly.

Anna nodded. “It is.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many stars.” He gestured upward with his chin. “Ye sure as shite don’t see them in the city. I thought the best stars were over the ocean from my beach house but this place has it beat by far.”

She glanced up at the black velvet sky dotted with a jumble of constellations, the names of which she’d long ago forgotten. “I’ve never seen the ocean,” she commented matter-of-factly.

“Och, that can’t be true,” he murmured.

Anna shrugged. “We’ve always been busy here. Not much time for traveling. I mean, we might go to Oklahoma or Colorado to buy livestock, but they don’t have an ocean.”

She chuckled lightly to dislodge the discontentment she always tried to ignore. “I’ve thought about moving to Florida. There’s a horseback program for special-needs kids. And I could go to the beach on my time off. But I don’t know. The ocean is probably not all that, anyway.”

Angus was quiet and Anna risked a glance his way. He was watching her closely, his gaze uncomfortably intimate. “Do you want to leave the family business?”

“I don’t know,” she shrugged again, crossing her arms. “I was going to a while back, but then things got busy here, and now with Simone, and the new baby coming, it’s just…” She trailed off wishing she hadn’t said so much.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him sit back in his chair and tilt his head back to look at the sky. “The ocean is beautiful,” he said reverently. “But this sky rivals it.”

Anna looked up too, just in time to see a small blaze streak across the sky. Her gasp was involuntary.

“A shooting star,” Angus whispered, turning to her with a grin. “Ye have tae make a wish.”

Anna smiled, too. “So do you.”

He nodded in mock-seriousness. “Aye. We both have tae make a wish. It’s the only proper thing.”

She looked back to the stars and sighed. Since Sawyer had died, she’d only had one wish–to be able to take back the angry words that were the last ones she’d spoken to him. When she looked back at Angus, he was watching her carefully.

“Yer wish makes ye sad.”

Scowling, she stood abruptly. “No it doesn’t. Did you make your wish?”

Angus stood, too. “I did. Are ye going back to yer cabin?”

She nodded. “I’m beat. I had this new riding student today who kept insisting on going the wrong way.”

He laughed good-naturedly. “Och, he’s a hot mess. Probably needs private lessons.”

“Hah, he wishes.”

Angus looked down at her, his eyes sparkling in the half-light. “Aye, he might at that.”

Feeling flustered, Anna headed down the path that would take them to their cabins. Angus walked beside her, his hands in his pockets.

As they passed his cabin, she wasn’t surprised when he continued on to hers. At the base of her front steps, she turned to face him. “Thanks for…I mean, you realize you don’t have to walk me…But I do appreciate it. But you don’t have to, so…anyway…”

“Ye keep reminding me that I’m a guest. But as such, am I no’ entitled tae do as I please? I want tae help out.” His voice was soft and deep.

She looked up into his mesmerizing blue eyes and felt her heart stop as he reached to tuck a few stray locks of her hair behind her ear.

His eyes were locked on her lips.

He’s going to kiss me.

She was surprised to realize it was exactly what she wanted. Then he looked down and sighed deeply. He stepped back with a soft smile. “I suppose we should call it a night.”

Anna nodded shakily and reached for the porch railing to steady herself.

He started to walk away, then turned around. “Do ye have yer mobile with ye?”

She frowned. “My mobile? Oh, my phone!” She reached into the back pocket of her jeans and held up the device.

Angus returned and took her phone. He opened it and keyed in a number before pressing ‘Call’. At her puzzled expression, he laughed. “I called meself. Now ye have my number. And I have yers. Just in case we need to get in touch.”

Anna frowned down at her phone, trying to wrap her head around the fact that world-famous movie star Angus McGregor had just given her his number.

“Goodnight, then,” he said as he walked away.

“Goodnight. See you tomorrow.” She made her way to her front door.

“And Anna?”

She turned to look at him.

“I’ll try to be fully clothed when ye pop by tomorrow,” he grinned mischievously.

“Oh, God!” she muttered as he laughed all the way to his cabin.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

Doesn’t September put you in the mood to read something suspenseful and romantic? You know, a steamy ghost story with a happily-ever-after ending?

Take a creepy lakeside town, add an eclectic cast of characters with secrets and a haunted house, and you have MIDNIGHT COVE, my spooky, sexy Halloween romance novel.

In MIDNIGHT COVE, 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?

Here’s a teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Sand feels cool beneath her bare feet, and a light breeze ruffles her long red hair. Turquoise water sparkles in the sunlight as foam-edged waves rush up the sandy slope. Normally, the beach would make her nervous, but this isn’t her beach. It’s just a dream.

Bree relaxes in the knowledge that she’s tucked safely in bed. She’ll just enjoy the serenity of the imaginary shoreline. Smiling to herself, she looks down past her flowing white dress to the footprints she’s leaving in the soft wet sand. She wonders if this is Fiji. She’s always wanted to go there.

Further down the beach, she sees a figure and she stiffens, hoping this isn’t turning into one of those dreams. Maybe she should wake up now. She squints, raising a hand to shade her eyes.

The figure is closer now. It’s a man with light hair. Bree relaxes again. She doesn’t know who the stranger is. She simply knows who he is not.

Bree drags her toes through the shallow tide, playfully kicking up water in front of her as she approaches the stranger. To her left, a trio of dolphins leap joyously. Nevermind that the water is too shallow. That’s how it is in dreams.

She raises her hand in a wave. “Hello!”

The stranger stops a short distance away, a bemused expression on his face. He’s nice-looking, she notices. His blonde hair is a little shaggy, but his light blue eyes sparkle with intelligence. He’s dressed a bit oddly in her estimation. He’s wearing faded blue jeans that flair toward the bottom and his blue Superman T-shirt looks vintage. A strand of puka shells encircles his neck. Like Bree, his feet are bare and he’s wading along the edge of the water.

“Hello,” he returns.

“Hi.’

He grins broadly. “You said that already.”

Bree shrugs lightly and twirls in a circle, swinging her skirt around. “I know. Did you see the dolphins?”

He nods and looks toward the water. “I did. They’re cool.”

“This is a cool dream,” Bree agrees.

He smiles again. “What’s your name?”

“Bree. Bree Blaylock. What’s yours?”

“I’m Steven.”

She holds out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Steven.”

He stares at her outstretched hand and hesitates before reaching to take it. Static electricity pops slightly as their skin touches.

“It’s nice to meet you, Bree.”

“Do you think this is Fiji?” Bree asks.

Steven glances around and shrugs. “I’m not sure. Do you think it is?”

“Maybe. It’s not Clearwater, that’s for sure.” Bree wraps her arms across herself and shudders.

“Is Clearwater bad?” he asks.

“This is a happy dream. Let’s not talk about Clearwater.”

Steven shrugs. “Fine by me. We can just enjoy the beach.”

Bree nods happily and slips her arm through his. Together, they wander along the shoreline, stopping occasionally to examine a shell or two. Steven stoops, picks up something, and hands it to her. “Here, this is for you.”

It’s a tiger cowry. She knows this because as a child, she had a book of shells and she’s seen the picture.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.”

He nods, looking pleased. “Keep it so you can remember this beach. So you can remember me.”

Bree turns to him frowning. “Will I see you again?”

Steven shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“I hope so,” she says fervently. “This is the nicest dream I’ve had in a long time.”

“I’ve liked it, too.” There’s a hint of sadness in his eyes.

***

Sniffing loudly, Bree rolled onto her right side and curled around her extra pillow. Her eyes fluttered briefly before she was fast asleep once again.

From the corner of the bedroom, Steven watched her in wonder. He had no idea how he’d ended up in this woman’s dream. But for the first time in a very long time, he hadn’t been alone.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is now available in wide release
at your favorite online bookseller!
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–WIP Sneak Peek!

When your back is against the wall,
how far will you go to provide for the ones you love?

Three years ago, Charley Weatherly walked away from a nine-to-five she hated to take a chance on her dream, running her own boutique bookstore. Unfortunately, business hasn’t been good. Whether it’s the location or the fact that most folks seem to prefer to buy their books online anymore, the remainder of Charley’s 401k might be enough to keep her afloat for another six months, tops.

Between trying to keep the business going and caring for the grandmother who raised her, Charley’s lovelife is nonexistent. It’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make, at least for the time being. She’s too tired to think about men anyway.

But when her grandmother nearly burns down the house while Charley is work, it becomes obvious that Nana needs more care than Charley can provide. So rather than propping up the business for one last try, Charley realizes that she has to use that money to get Nana into a quality memory care program.

Here’s an unedited snippet from what I’m tentatively calling THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

“Okay, Nana, that about does it.”  Charley placed the last stack of clothes into the large suitcase on the bed.  “You’re all set to go tomorrow.”

Celeste smiled vaguely.  “Where am I going again?”

“You have a new room at Pacifico Manor.  Remember your friend Mary?  And Cole Porter?”

“Oh, yes,” her grandmother said.  “That’s just lovely.”

From the back pocket of her jeans, Charley’s phone rang.  “Hello?”

“Yes, Ms. Weatherly, this is Ruth Allen at Pacifico Manor.”

“Oh, hello!  We were just getting Nana all packed.”

The other woman hesitated for a moment.  “Yes, well, we have a bit of a problem.  I’m sure it’s just a simple oversight, but your grandmother’s auto-draft for her first month with us was declined due to insufficient funds.”

Charley frowned as she stalked away from Celeste’s bedroom.  “Insufficient funds?  There must be some mistake.  There was more than $30,000 in that account.”

“Like I said, I’m sure it’s just an oversight of some kind.  But we need it sorted out before Mrs. Martin can move in.”

“I understand.  I’ll check into it and get back with you.  Thank you so much.”

She returned to the bedroom where Celeste alternated between hovering over the bags and bewilderedly peering into the empty closet.  “Come watch some TV, Nana.  Then we’ll go out for a little dinner.”

With Celeste settled on the sofa watching a Golden Girls rerun, Charley took her laptop to the kitchen table and fired it up, heading for the bank website.  Pulling up the new account, she quickly found the balance and blinked unbelievingly.  

$0.00.

Her heart pounded.  How can that be?  Last week I moved $30,000, the last of my 401k.

Hand covering her mouth, she stared at the screen.  I’ve been hacked.  It’s the only thing that makes sense.  

It had happened before.  The contents of her checking account had been drained a few hundred dollars here and there from several ATMs in Toronto, a city in which she’d never set foot.  The matter had been resolved in about a week, but it had been stressful nonetheless.

But $30,000 certainly raised the anxiety factor.  She pulled up the account details to see if she could determine the location of the withdrawals.

The most recent activity was when Pacifico had attempted to draft Nana’s first monthly payment.  But that had been declined.  There was only one other transaction.

Charley’s mouth dropped open.  The entire $30,000 had gone to the Universal Church of the Apostolic Divine.  “Son of a…” she breathed.  “That shady TV preacher.”

How?  How did they get their hands on that account?  Charley wracked her brain.  The day she’d moved the money, she’d left the checkbook in the kitchen.  She’d been certain she’d left it on the table, but later, she’d found it on the counter.  

On shaky legs, she walked into the living room.  Celeste had changed the channel and was now engrossed in yet another sermon from Pastor Pompadour.  Charley drew a deep, cleansing breath and focused on keeping her voice even.  

“Nana?”  She used the remote to mute the television.  Celeste looked up at her expectantly.

“Nana, did you give money to that man?”

Celeste glanced back at the television.  “God told him he was going to die if he didn’t buy a new airplane.  We had to help.”

Charley squeezed her eyes shut and roughly scrubbed her lips with the palm of her hand.  She followed her grandmother’s gaze to the screen where the man silently moved his lips and waved his hands.  A telephone number was emblazoned across the bottom of the screen.  

We have to get the money back, that’s all there is to it.  She retrieved her phone from her back pocket and tapped in the number.

Handing the remote to Celeste, Charley stalked out the front door and into the mild evening.  The phone rang twice, then was answered by a woman with a strong southern accent.  

“Thank you for calling our love line.  I hope you’re having a blessed day.  How much would you like to give?”

“Um, yes, I need to speak to someone about getting back a donation?  My grandmother inadvertently gave some money that was meant for another purpose.”

“You need financial help?  I’m sorry, this is the wrong line for that.  This is the line for giving.”

Charley pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger.  “No, what I’m saying is that my grandmother gave $30,000 that she shouldn’t have.  I just need it refunded.”  

“Oh, no, ma’am, we don’t do that.”

With more patience than she felt, Charley forged ahead.  “I need to speak with someone in charge.  Do you have a supervisor I can talk to, please?”

With a humph, the operator responded with a “Just one moment, please,” and didn’t bother to put Charley on hold.  “Yeah, Dot, we’ve got a live one.”

Another cheery southern voice came on the line.  “Hello, I sure hope you’re having a blessed day.  What seems to be the trouble?”

Feeling her temper rising, Charley took a deep cleansing breath.  “I was explaining to your colleague that my grandmother donated a very large sum of money that was meant for something else.  She suffers from dementia and she didn’t realize what she was doing.  I’m just asking that her donation be refunded.  Please,” she tacked on for good measure.

“Mm-hmm.  And is your grandmother’s name on the account she used?”

Charley thought for a second.  “Yes, it’s a joint account with both our names on it.”

“Okay, then.  Your grandmother made a generous love offering out of her own bank account.  She’s a grown adult and as such, is free to do as she pleases.  And it pleased her to give of her tithes and offerings to the Lord.  Far be it from us to stand in the way of her blessing.  And shame on you for trying.  Have a blessed day!”  The last sentiment sounded more like a curse just before the woman disconnected.

Bewildered, Charley looked at the phone in her hand.  Then she looked back at the house.  What are we going to do?

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks (unedited excerpt)

Watch for more about this WIP in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, why not read RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION,
my all-time fan favorite?

Weekend Excerpt–And The Winner Is…

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

When FOR SPARROW, the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection, won the 2018 Golden Flogger Award for Best BDSM Book in the category of BDSM Light, I was beyond thrilled. I felt validated that A) the folks at the BDSM Writers Con liked my book, and B) they approved of the way I portrayed the lifestyle.

That second part was important to me, because with Sparrow, I wanted to do something different. We’ve all read and loved those billionaire Dom/poor little sub books. But with this book, I wanted to write something more realistic in honor of the regular couples out there who happily live out their power exchange lifestyle in quiet anonymity.

In the book FOR SPARROW, Jessi Crenshaw is devastated when her Dominant husband Graham unexpectedly dies. But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he has made arrangements for Jessi in the event of his death. He has asked his young friend and mentee in the lifestyle, firefighter paramedic Judd Farris, to look after Jessi if the need ever arises.

It’s a responsibility Judd takes very seriously, and he’s determined to honor his friend’s unorthodox request, at least until Jessi finds a new Dom of her own. But as time goes by, Judd realizes he’d like to be that man.

Here’s a snippet from FOR SPARROW.

Back inside the house, Judd washed up in the kitchen sink. Jessi handed him a dishtowel to dry his hands. He eyed the old dishwasher, then looked to Jessi.

“I don’t really feel like messing with a dishwasher today, do you?”

Jessi’s eyes widened. “Oh, well, no, of course not. I’m sure you have plenty to do. Don’t worry about it at all,” she said quickly.

Judd shook his head. “It’s a beautiful day. Why spend it inside?” He stood straight, hands on his hips. “How do you feel about stand-up paddleboarding?”

She worked her mouth for a moment, frowning. “I don’t guess I’m opposed to it, as an activity, you know. I’m sure people enjoy it. Live and let live,” she giggled nervously.

“I mean,” he cupped her elbow gently, “how do you feel about going? With me. Today.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Judd. I’m kind of the queen of klutz.” Jessi’s face turned bright pink. “I don’t know if I’d be any good at it.”

Judd’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Not sure I like my little one putting herself down. Besides, there’s nothing to be ‘good at,’ you just…stand and paddle.” He pantomimed for her.

He saw the reluctance in her face and gave his best reassuring smile, eyes sparkling. “Come on, Jessi, it’ll be fun.”

Slowly, her smile spread to match his. “Okay. Let’s do it.” She went upstairs and quickly changed into her swim suit and beach cover up.

On the way to the surf shop, Judd stopped by his place to pick up his paddleboard and gear. He let them both into the townhouse and Jessi waited as he bounded up to the second level.

“It won’t take me a second to load my stuff into the truck,” he called from upstairs. Jessi clutched her hands together anxiously as she surveyed Judd’s living room. Everything was neat and tidy. She didn’t know why that surprised her.

You just think about the stereotypical ‘bachelor pad,’ she supposed.

Crossing the room, she saw that the view from the sliding glass doors was breathtaking. She imagined what it would be to wake up with a view of the ocean every morning.

“Almost ready,” Judd said, returning downstairs wearing aqua board shorts, a white t-shirt, and a Marlins ball cap. A pair of black Oakley sunglasses hung around his neck from a black strap.

He held up a small black cube. “I want to try out my new GoPro while we’re out there today,” he grinned.

Five minutes later, they were on their way north, heading for Blueline Surf and Paddle on A1A. They rented gear for Jessi and declined the offer of a lesson. “I’ve got it, man,” Judd smiled to the clerk.

Jessi was surprised to find that they were going to put into the river right next to Guanabanas, a local outdoor dining hotspot just across the street from the surf shop. “Afterwards, I’ll buy you a cocktail,” Judd promised.

After a brief orientation, Judd helped Jessi onto the board and gently pushed her out into the Loxahatchee River. “Am I supposed to wear the life jacket?” Jessi called back to him, indicating the ocean blue PFD currently resting on the nose of her board.

“Can you swim?”

“Of course!” she returned.

“Then you don’t have to wear it. But you do have to have it with you, it’s the law.”

Judd smiled as he watched her wobble slightly. She looked hot in what was actually a modest blue tankini, her auburn hair clipped up and off her neck, the red highlights gleaming in the sunlight. He could only imagine Jessi in a bikini. Did imagine it. Then tried to think of something else, before she noticed his arousal.

Sighing deeply, he clipped the GoPro to the bill of his cap and paddled quickly to catch up with her.

When their hour was up, they returned Jessi’s gear to the shop, and put Judd’s things back in the truck. With Jessi’s white beach dress back in place, they wandered into Guanabanas and found a small high-top table in the bar area. A lone guitarist was playing Jason Mraz covers on the tiki stage.

Jessi ordered a Cat 5 hurricane while Judd opted for a local brew, and they chose a few appetizers. After the server left, Judd pressed the button on the GoPro. “So, Jessi, what do you think of paddle boarding?”

Her grin was stunning. “I loved it! It was so much fun, and way easier than I ever thought.”

He leaned into her and held the camera at arm’s length. “Well, you had a kick-ass teacher, so…” They both laughed into the camera.

Deciding that he had enough footage for the day, Judd shut off the camera, and he and Jessi chatted companionably about the day’s adventure.

During a lull in the conversation, Judd wrinkled his brow thoughtfully. “Was Graham much of an outdoor kind of guy?”

“Graham?” Jessi chuckled. “No. He wasn’t really into sports and things. He was something of an academic.”

Judd looked thoughtful. “What about you?”

“Me? Oh, I don’t know.” Her gaze was far off. “I remember once I took the kids camping. They wanted to go so badly, but Graham just wasn’t about sleeping outside, you know?”

She laughed lightly. “Not when there are perfectly good air-conditioned rooms available.” She stirred her drink with her straw.

“But you enjoyed yourself today?” His gaze was earnest.

“Oh, God yes. I’d love to do this again.”

Judd gnawed the edge of his thumb thoughtfully. “What other things have you always wanted to try, but never have?”

Jessi shrugged and rolled her eyes. “I don’t know.”

He watched the flush creep up her neck, but stayed quiet, waiting for her.

She sighed when she realized he was going to remain silent. “I guess…I’ve always sort of wanted to try scuba diving.” She looked at him out of the corner of her eye.

Judd grinned broadly. “We can make that happen. I’m certified, and I know an instructor. We can get you out there in no time.”

“I don’t know, I mean… Maybe I should try snorkeling first.” Jessi blushed and slugged back the remainder of her hurricane.

He nodded. “We can do that, too. Anytime. You know, we don’t have to just work all the time. We can get together for fun.” He lowered his voice. “As your Dom, I’m supposed to push you, to help you grow.”

Jessi looked up at him shyly. “Yeah, I know. It’s kind of exciting.”

His grin was dazzling. “This is good. This is really good.”

FOR SPARROW by Pandora Spocks

FOR SPARROW is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow