I’m thrilled to announce that LOST & BOUND, Book 2 of the Dream Dominant Collection, has been named a 2018 Finalist (Erotic category) in the Colorado Romance Writers’ Beverley Contest. Winners will be announced July 15, so fingers crossed!
Making this even more exciting is the fact that I’m getting ever closer to finishing WARRIOR MINE, Dream Dominant Book 4, and a spin-off from LOST & BOUND.
Here’s a teaser from LOST & BOUND.
Blake carried the bucket to a board wedged waist-high between two birch trees. “How about I build a campfire and clean the fish? You can go get the skillet and some plates?” He nodded toward the cabin.
When she returned from the cabin carrying a large cast-iron skillet stacked with a pair of white-dotted blue enamelware plates and a variety of utensils, a fire was roaring in the stone ring and Blake was filleting the first fish. Shasta placed everything on a stump near where he was working and sank onto a log close to the fire.
Neither of them spoke. Somewhere further down the lake, a loon called and they heard it echo across the water. Blake’s attention was on the fish but out of the corner of his eye, he watched her assessing him.
“Have you always been a mountain man?” Her expression was earnest.
Blake’s head dropped back as he laughed out loud. “A mountain man? Is that what I am?”
Shasta smiled sheepishly. “Aren’t you?”
“Well, I grew up at the lodge. My grandparents built the place. My grandmother was Miranda. The lake is named for her. But I haven’t always lived here. I went away to college. After graduation, I worked for a while as a wilderness counselor. I was in the woods a lot, but I was based in Toronto.”
“A wilderness counselor,” she repeated thoughtfully.
“Yeah, you know, we worked with troubled city kids, took them out and taught them survival skills and self-reliance, that kind of thing.”
“You worked with bad kids?” she wondered.
He shook his head. “They weren’t bad, really. Just…lost. They needed help to find their way.”
“Why did you stop?”
Blake shrugged. “My folks ran the lodge for years until my dad’s stroke. They retired to Florida. My sister and her husband started running the place full-time. When that asshole bugged out, I came to help her.”
Shasta watched him appraisingly. “That was really nice of you.”
“She’s my sister. I’d do anything for someone I love.” He placed a grate over the fire and set the skillet on top. “Besides, I’m happy to be home. I drive past my old school every time I go into town. There are a lot of great memories. I don’t really miss the city.” He sat opposite Shasta on another log.
She laughed lightly. “It must be odd to come back to live where you grew up. I imagine you were the big football hero around here.”
He shook his head. “Football is for sissies. We played hockey.”
“Oh, excuse me, hockey,” she laughed.
“That’s right. Hockey. A man’s sport.” He reached into his mouth, and to her surprise, removed his right front tooth and the one beside it. “Where I come from, if you have all your teeth, you weren’t really trying.” He laughed at her shocked expression as he refit the teeth into his mouth.
Shasta grinned smugly. “I’ve got you beat, mountain man.” She stood and leaned toward him, parting her lips and baring her perfectly straight, whiter-than-white teeth. She ran her forefinger across them. “All of these are fake. I had them all capped. Can’t have uneven or discolored teeth in Hollywood. Nope.”
She sighed as she sat back down. “Nothing about me is real,” she murmured. He eyed her curiously. She gave him a sidelong glance, then ran a finger down her nose. “Nose job.” She waved a handful of hair. “Extensions.” She grabbed her tits. “Boob job.” She looked down at the dirt. “Even my name is fake.”
Blake had been watching her with interest. “Your name isn’t Shasta?”
She snorted. “Who would name their kid Shasta? Eddie gave me that name when I was five. He told my parents that nobody would hire Amy Malone. I needed a name with pizzazz.” She waggled jazz hands. “I think he has a list of names in a drawer someplace and you just get the next one on the list.”
“So your name is Amy.”
Shasta nodded. “But nobody’s called me that since my grandpa died. He thought all the acting stuff was stupid. He kept telling my parents to let me just be a kid.” She laughed. “He refused to call me Shasta. My grandpa was a pretty stubborn guy.”
His expression was soft. “Why would you get a nose job? Or breast implants?”
She shrugged and pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes. “Eddie said the boobs would help me transition between being a child actor and an adult.”
Blake could feel his protective nature surging. “Eddie’s that guy who brought you here? He made you get a boob job?”
“He didn’t make me. But I knew he’d be disappointed if I didn’t.” She used her toe to push a patch of pine needles back and forth.
The fish was done, and Blake was glad for the distraction. He plated the fillets, handing one to her and taking the other for himself.
“Oh, my god, this is amazing,” she moaned through her first bite.
He grinned. “Nothing like fresh bass, right out of the lake. Unless it’s fresh trout, right out of the lake. That’s pretty good, too.”
They enjoyed their lunch without conversation, appreciating the quiet of the wilderness. The silence was broken only by the crackling of the fire or the occasional call of a loon. Once again, Shasta felt a sense of peace settle over her.
Blake took her plate when she was finished. “Now, we’ll see about washing up these few things and then we’ll blow this pop stand.”
LOST & BOUND is available at your favorite online bookseller,
in both digital and paperback formats.
Watch the official LOST & BOUND book trailer!