The third and final chapter of Rannigan’s Redemption, Ransoming Redemption, drops on April 18. But the truth is that it’s been a while since I finished writing Rannigan last September. Being somewhat neurotic, as the end of a book begins to draw closer, I begin to feel a sense of panic. What would I do if I didn’t write? So I usually start something new before I finish up my current project. I actually began Rannigan before Luke & Bella was finished.
Before Rannigan was finished, I started a new project tentatively called For Sparrow. You can click here to read the first chapter on the Teasers tab of my website.
And while I’m still working on Sparrow, I got a little sidetracked. My pal erotica author Patient Lee suggested a project for this coming summer and I got all inspired. The result is going to be a very naughty novella which will be published, one way or another, before the fall.
Here is an excerpt for this WIP Wednesday.
Just One Night
As dessert was served, Mac’s attention was drawn back to the table across the room. The redhead suddenly looked right at him and he felt his automatic smile, which widened as she snapped her eyes away. He continued to watch as she raised her gaze casually as if to see if he was still looking. This time he smiled deliberately.
At that moment, her head turned and she spoke to someone at her table. Her face darkened and she seemed to be speaking passionately, an angry flash in her eyes. He watched as she moved the linen napkin from her lap and dropped it on the table, pushed back from the table, and left the dining room.
Impulsively, he knew he needed to follow. “Gents, I can’t eat another bite,” Mac said as he pushed away from the table. “I’m going to walk off a little of this dinner. I’ll meet you two later.”
By the time Mac made it to the door of the dining room, the redhead had disappeared. He glanced to his left and then to his right, trying to guess her more likely route. The woman at the photo checkout cleared her throat discreetly and he looked in her direction. She nodded meaningfully to her right and smiled.
He grinned at her wholeheartedly. “Thanks!” he proffered as he hurried off in the direction she’d indicated. Mac made his way through the door that opened onto the deck and he could see her leaning against the railing looking out over the dark water. Her hair and her skirt ruffled in the breeze and the full moon overhead made her hair seem to glow.
Ignoring the slight case of nerves he felt, he approached the railing, stopping by her left elbow. “Hey, you,” he said casually.
She startled slightly, whipping her head to her left, eyes wide.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you. I just saw you standing here and I thought I’d say hello.” He held his hands in front of himself in surrender, pasting on what he hoped was a charming smile.
The redhead continued to stare at him wordlessly. “I don’t mean to bother you, I can go if you’d like.”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t want you to go. I was just startled, that’s all.”
Mac smiled gratefully. “Well, it’s a beautiful night. And dinner was fantastic. I don’t know about you, but I had the lobster and it was amazing.”
She smiled back. “I had the mahi and it was delicious.”
They stood awkwardly for a moment. “Listen, would you like a drink or something?” Mac offered.
She looked out at the water, then back at him. “I’d like that a lot.”
His grin was genuine. “Good. Great. Let’s go find a drink.”
The pair found themselves seated at a tiny table at the edge of the piano bar, the first place they’d come to in their search for a cocktail. Katie watched as he approached the bar and ordered for them. She couldn’t get over how handsome he was with his dark mahogany hair and his molten brown eyes. And he’d come outside looking for her. This was exactly what she needed to take her mind off of her man problems back home.
She smiled up at him as he returned to their table, a margarita for her and a Scotch for himself. “Cheers,” he said, raising his glass to hers.
“Cheers,” she murmured in return, and she sipped gratefully, counting on the liquid courage her glass offered.
“You know, we’ve gone about this all backwards.” He rested his drink on the table and offered his right hand. “My name is—“
“No! No names,” Katie quickly interrupted.
Mac blinked in surprise. “No names. Why no names?”
“Just…because,” she stammered. “No names, no personal information, we’ll just…keep it casual.”
“Keep it casual.” Mac frowned. “Okay.” He gave her a curious look. “Are you sure you don’t want me to leave?”
She shook her head, red curls swinging. “No, I’d like you to stay.”
He gave a relieved smile. “Good, because I’d like to stay. So…no personal information. Do you want to talk about work?”
“Oh, hell no!”
“Um, how about that weather? That’s some pretty great weather out there tonight.”
Katie laughed lightly. “I don’t mean to be a pain.”
Mac smiled back. “You’re not a pain, exactly. I just have to figure out the rules. And you’re here with three other women?”
“You could see that in the dining room. Where you were staring,” Katie observed.
“You know that because you were staring back,” he countered.
“And you’re here with two other men.”
Mac nodded. “My brothers. Oops! Was that personal?”
“Now you’re making fun.”
He smile ruefully. “Maybe just a little bit. This is kind of a bachelor party. My kid brother is getting married.”
“A bachelor party?” Katie laughed lightly. “Shouldn’t you be getting back to the debauchery?”
Mac laughed. “Not much debauchery with those two. My older brother’s been married for years and Tommy’s head over heels for his fiancée.” He glanced up at Katie. “Oops! More personal information.”
Katie sighed and sipped her drink. “My friends and I get together for a week every summer. We’ve know each other since high school.”
“There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”
Katie nodded firmly. “We’re even, that’s all.” She rested her forearm on the table and toyed with her glass. As Mac did the same, his arm brushed against hers. She made no effort to move away from him so he intentionally rested his arm against hers, noting the electric charge he felt, wondering if she felt it, too.
Glancing up, he saw that she was watching him intently. “So…you don’t want any personal information. You don’t want to talk about work. You don’t want me to leave.”
Katie shook her head.
“Okay, well we’ve got that settled. What do you want?” He watched her expectantly.
She stared at her glass as she swirled the remainder of her margarita. Then she looked back up at Mac. “Do you really want to know what I want? I want just one night. Just one night of anonymous, no-holds-barred, red-hot, no-strings-attached sex. That’s what I want.” She fixed him with a challenging stare.
“Whoa,” he breathed, eyes wide.
Katie looked down at her glass again. “Too blunt?”
Mac ran a restless hand through his dark hair. “That was blunt, all right, but I can respect that. I’ve gotta ask, though.” He sought out her eyes. “Is there some guy at home waiting for you to come back?”
Katie shook her head. “I’m not cheating on anybody. You?”
He shook his head, too. “What was it you said earlier? Oh hell, no.”
She lightly stroked his arm as it rested on the table, delighting in the goose bumps that appeared there. Her gaze traveled from there to his lap, which seemed to be taking an interest in the proceedings if the growing mound there was any indication. She shifted her focus, sliding her gaze up his torso to those lips she’d noticed earlier. God, I just want to suck on that lower lip.
She met his eyes again, saw the fire there, and knew it matched her own. “So what do you say?”
“I say, have another margarita. I just need to run to the little shop and pick up some… Well, I didn’t actually expect that I’d need…” He smiled apologetically.
“I’ll wait right here.”
He took her hand and gently brushed his lips across her knuckles, gave her a wink, and left the bar.
Well, it’s a work in progress. In the meantime, you can pre-order the finale of Rannigan’s Redemption, Ransoming Redemption at these fine online booksellers.