Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated.  She’s lost her husband, best friend, father of her grown children…and her Dominant.

But it turns out that Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protege in the BDSM lifestyle, firefighter paramedic Judd Farris, to be the one to look after Jessi, at least until she finds her footing again.

But a platonic Dom/sub relationship is a damn odd arrangement.  Jessi finds herself increasingly attracted to Judd.  He’s determined to keep his promise to his friend.  Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary arrangement?

Here’s a sneak peek from FOR SPARROW.

In the quiet of the morning, Jessi poured herself a cup of coffee and sipped carefully.  The kids were still asleep, a fact that didn’t surprise her in the least.  Glancing at the clock on the stove, she figured she’d give them another hour or so before she tried to tempt them awake with the smell of homemade waffles.

She heard the slam of a car door out front.  That, combined with Buddy’s beeline to the front door, let her know that Judd had arrived.  Smiling to herself, she carried her coffee with her, opening the door to let Buddy tear across the lawn to greet his favorite human.

Judd set down his tool box and stooped to ruffle the puppy’s ears, then stood, grinning broadly.  “Good morning, Jessi!”

She felt herself grinning back.  “Hi, there.  How are you this morning?”

“I’m great.  Am I too early?”  He frowned slightly.

“Not for me, you’re not.  The kids are all still asleep.  Can I get you some coffee?”

He nodded.  “Coffee sounds great, actually.”

Judd followed Jessi into the kitchen and stood leaning against the center island.  “So everybody got in okay?”

“They did.  We didn’t get to bed until after 1:00,” she handed him a light blue mug of steaming coffee, “but I woke up about 7:00 and couldn’t sleep anymore.”

He accepted the mug and sipped gratefully.  “This is good.”

She smiled at him.  “I’m planning on making waffles for breakfast.  Are you hungry?”

Judd’s eyes widened.  “Waffles?  I had a granola bar on my way over, but there’s no way I’d pass up homemade waffles.”

Jessi patted the counter.  “Have a seat, then.  Waffles are coming right up.”

Judd sank onto one of the high stools and sipped his coffee, watching Jessi expertly measuring ingredients into a large yellow mixing bowl.  Soon the aroma of freshly cooked waffles filled the kitchen.

“There you are,” said Jessi, sliding a pair of crispy golden waffles in front of him.  “Syrup?  I have maple and strawberry.”

“Oh, man, I’m never going to get to that pool pump today.”  He laughed as he lifted the bottle of maple syrup and poured a generous helping all over his breakfast.

Jessi sat with him and nibbled on a waffle of her own as they chatted amiably about their week.  Soon enough, Judd was finished.

“That was delicious,” he said, carrying his plate to the sink, where he rinsed it and placed it in the dishwasher.  “Thank you!”

Jessi blushed slightly.  “Oh, it’s just waffles, but I’m glad you liked them.”

“I did.  Very much.”  He held her gaze for a moment.  “Well, off to the pool pump, then.”

“Thanks so much, Judd.  I’ll send Adam out there after he eats.”

From the back door, Judd waved, and headed out to the pool deck.

Jessi stood watching him through the window, Buddy snuffling around his feet as he set to work.  She smiled to herself, happy to have Judd there at her house.

“Ummm, what smells so good?”

She turned at the sleepy voice of her son.  “Good morning, sweetie.”  Crossing the kitchen, she hugged him tightly, kissing his cheek.  “Are you hungry?”

“For your famous waffles?  Always!”  Adam claimed the stool recently vacated by Judd.

As Jessi ladled more batter onto the waffle iron, Adam’s brow furrowed.  “Um, Mom?  There’s a guy out by the pool.”

She glanced out the window.  “Oh, that’s Judd.  He’s working on the pool pump.  I told him you could help him in a while.”

“Sure,” he shrugged, taking a bite of his breakfast.

Cara came down the stairs followed closely by Trevor.  Both were dressed in shorts and casual shirts, ready for the day.

“Good morning, you two.  Did you sleep okay?” Jessi asked, dropping more batter onto the hot appliance.

“Hi, Mommy,” Cara murmured as she sank onto a stool beside her brother.  She yawned sleepily.

“I slept great, Mrs. Crenshaw, thanks.  And something smells delicious,” Trevor added as he sat beside Cara.

“Good, I’m glad.  I thought I’d do a homemade breakfast this morning.  Maybe we can go to brunch tomorrow before you leave.”  She eyed the three of them.  “So, what plans do you have for the day?  It looks like a perfect beach day.  You can pack a lunch and take it up to Juno.  It’s breezy, so there might be kite boarders today.”

Jessi noticed that Adam and Trevor both looked to Cara uneasily.  Cara sat up straight.  “Well, Mom,” she hesitated.

Suspicious, Jessi narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms and leaning back against the counter.

Cara cleared her throat and continued.  “We wanted to talk about Dad’s stuff.”

“Dad’s stuff?”

Cara nodded.  “His clothes and tools and things.  You haven’t started doing anything with them yet?”

Jessi sighed.  “No.  I haven’t packed up Dad’s things.”

“That’s why we’re here.  I figured you hadn’t done it yet.  That’s what we’re going to do today.”  Cara’s face, so precisely a mix of Graham’s and Jessi’s own, was determined.

Feeling panic rising, Jessi took a slow breath.  “No.  We’re not packing your dad’s things today.  If that’s the only reason you came home this weekend, you’re going to be disappointed.  I will pack up your father’s belongings when I’m ready to do it, and not a moment before.”

“Look, Mother,” Cara slid off the stool and came around the island toward Jessi.  Her short auburn hair hinted at her stubbornness as her light blue eyes glinted sharply.  “It’s been long enough.  You have to let go.  I read an article, and…”

“I don’t care what you read, you do not decide for me when to get rid of my husband’s belongings.”  Jessi knew her voice was getting louder and she didn’t care.  Adam and Trevor looked like they wanted to crawl into a hole.

“Denial!  It’s called denial.  Dad’s dead.  And hanging onto his things won’t bring him back!”

Adam, ever the peacemaker, tried to intervene.  “Maybe we should just drop it, Cara.”

“Shut up, Adam!” she snapped.

“It’s not denial, it’s a process.  I’ll clean out his things when I’m ready.  Don’t push me on this, Cara!”

Outside, his focus on the inner workings of the pool pump, Judd became aware of raised voices.  Glancing up, he could see Jessi and her daughter squaring off in the kitchen.  He gnawed his lower lip thoughtfully.  It really wasn’t his business.  But his position was to protect Jessi.

Even from her kids?  He debated another moment before setting down the wrench in his hand and heading to the kitchen door.

“Someone has to, Mother.  Someone has to help you when you can’t seem to help yourself.”

“Everything okay in here, Jessi?”  Judd’s tone suggested quiet authority.

Cara whirled around.  “And who in the hell is this?!”  Dramatically, she flung her hand in Judd’s direction.

Judd started to answer.  “I’m…”

“What the fuck makes you think you can come into my house and speak to my guests like that?!” Jessi shrieked.

The kitchen fell silent.  Neither Adam nor Cara had ever heard their mother use profanity.  Eyes wide and mouths open, they both stared at Jessi.

She took a calming breath and continued softly.  “This is Judd.  He’s a friend of your father’s, and he’s here today fixing the pool pump.”  She met Judd’s eyes with a grateful look.

Adam recovered first.  Proffering a hand, he introduced himself.  “Hi, man.  I’m Adam, that’s my sister, Cara, and this is Cara’s boyfriend, Trevor.”

Judd nodded to them all.  “Nice to meet you.”  He looked to Adam and Trevor.  “Gentlemen, maybe you can help me out back while the ladies sort this out, what do you say?”

“Sure thing,” Trevor answered, glad to have an excuse to scuttle out of the line of fire.

The silence in the kitchen was deafening.  Neither Jessi nor Cara had moved, and they stood, arms crossed, facing each other.  Finally, Jessi spoke.

“Look, Cara…I’m trying to receive this in the spirit I’m sure you meant it to be.  I know you care and you’re trying to help.  But I’m not ready to go through all of your dad’s things.  I’m just not.”

Cara tossed her head impatiently.  “You’re not even aware of your level of denial.”

Jessi’s eyes flashed angrily.  “Don’t talk to me like I’m some senile old woman.  I’m forty-fucking-five!  I run my own successful business!”

Cara flinched at her mother’s use of the F-bomb for the second time in as many minutes.  “But Mom!

“No buts.  This is my decision, not yours.”  Jessi crossed the kitchen and sank onto a stool at the counter.  “If there’s something in particular of your father’s that you’d like to have, just let me know.  I’ll be sure to put it aside for you.”

“Mother…”

Jessi shook her head definitively.  “That’s my final word on the matter.”  She held her daughter’s gaze challengingly.

Finally, Cara looked away.  “Okay.  I didn’t mean to start a whole thing, I just thought…”  She wrapped her arms around Jessi.  “I’m sorry.  I just miss him so much.”

Jessi felt the sting of unwanted tears.  “I know you do, baby.  I miss him, too.”

FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, is the 2017 New Apple Award Medalist in Literary Erotica, and it’s the 2018 Golden Flogger Award Winner for Best BDSM Book in BDSM Light.

You can get your copy at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Just in Time for Halloween!

Sexy pirate and steamy author M.S. Tarot has released the second collection of his EROTIC SHIVERS series just in time for Halloween!

Like some sexy with your scares?  This collection includes eight erotic horror stories that range from the macabre to the horrifying. Tears and chills, or nauseated and aroused. All are possible with this collection.

I had the privilege of beta reading one story from this anthology, and you’re going to LOVE it!  Just keep the lights on.  Word to the wise.

EROTIC SHIVERS 2 is available at Amazon,
and it’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

And as long as we’re talking about it, why not check out the first volume of EROTIC SHIVERS?  I’ve read this whole collection, and I absolutely loved it!

So I have one question for you…
TRICK OR TREAT?

Weekend Excerpt–Chasing Ordinary

Who doesn’t LOVE a modern-day adult fairy tale?

They met by accident one rainy Manhattan night.

Sculptor Petey Cavanaugh has no idea that the handsome businessman she’s falling for is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

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

Here’s a teaser from CHASING ORDINARY.

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,
the 2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Medalist
for Literary Erotica,
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary