Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

LUKE & BELLA is Dream Dominant Book 1, and it’s where it all began for me. It’s the first book I ever published, so in many ways, it’s a sentimental favorite. It’s about an ace television reporter and a veteran photographer who are thrown together to create a new television travel program. Traveling the world, finding adventure at every turn, is it any wonder they fall in love?

I orginally started writing it just for myself. Then I began posting a chapter at a time on Tumblr, and much to my surprise, it gained quite a following. Shout out to Kinky Tinkerbella, LOL!

About halfway through, I stopped writing for a while, only to pick it up much later, and I posted it chapter by chapter here on WordPress until it was finished. By then, I’d met many writers who self-published their work and I started thinking, why not?

The Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels featuring light BDSM themes, is now four books strong. In addition to LUKE & BELLA, there is LOST & BOUND, 2018 Golden Flogger Award Winner FOR SPARROW, and WARRIOR MINE. At least one more book is planned, hopefully to be released in 2020.

For now, here’s a little snippet from the book that started it all.

While Luke showered, Bella went online to make hotel reservations for their next destination. Never a fan of huge corporate places, she located a nice boutique hotel near the city center. Still feeling a bit sheepish about her little tantrum when they arrived in Scotland, she debated over reserving one room or two.

Obviously we want the best suite or suites available. Does the nicest suite really have to have that name? Bella sighed in exasperation.
The cheeky part of her smirked in delight. What should I do? she wondered. One room or two?

This is not how you were raised, her father’s voice reprimanded sternly.
Her finger wavered over the touch pad.

“All yours, m’lady,” announced Luke, startling her and causing her to jump.
He’s always doing that, she thought.

You’re too jumpy, her cheeky self said. You know what’s good for that…
Bella shook her head and clicked, her decision made. “Great! I’ll try to be quick,” she said.

“Take your time,” he smiled, heading out onto the terrace in his bathrobe to smoke a cigar.

Bella hurried anyway, anxious to get on with the evening. Why did I agree to a ‘date’? she wondered.

Cheeky self was quick to answer: You know exactly why.

Her father’s voice was harsh: This will not end well.

“Oh, shut up,” she said aloud.

After showering, she quickly did her hair and make-up, dressing at last in a form-fitting sleeveless black sheath with sheer lace at the neckline.

Checking herself in the mirror she decided that she looked decent enough. She wondered what Luke would wear, smiling as she imagined the two of them entering the award winning restaurant, she in semi-formal attire and he in the khaki cargo pants and chambray shirt he seemed to favor.

Handsome, yes, but not appropriate for the occasion. Maybe she should suggest another restaurant. Hmm…

“All ready,” she called out as she opened the bedroom door. Luke wasn’t in the sitting room. She walked out onto the terrace but he wasn’t there, either. She looked around.

You always were stupid, her father’s voice condemned. You gave him what he wanted. Now he’s at McTavish’s, laughing at you.

Bella’s heart sank. He’s ditched me, she thought, feeling foolish. Why would he want to go out with me anyway? Threatened tears stung her eyes and the sudden lump in her throat felt as big as a pineapple.

A knock at the door broke into her thoughts. Bella cautiously opened it to find Luke standing in the hallway, mischievous smile on his face and a bouquet of pink and white roses in his hand. He was stunning in a black suit, crisp white shirt, and a black silk tie.

“Good evening, m’lady,” he said. “I’m here to pick you up for our dinner date.”
She was too surprised to say anything but she stepped back to let him in the room.

“You look beautiful, by the way,” he said as he walked past her.

“Um, thanks, so do you,” she stammered. “I mean…” she laughed lightly, dabbing at the corner of her eye with her pinky finger. “Where in the world did you get that suit?”

He turned and hit her with a dazzling smile. “I keep it in my ghetto luggage,” he smirked. “Because a guy never knows when he might wanna get all gussied up.”

She laughed again. “Well, you look really…nice.”

“I brought you these,” he said, gesturing with the roses.

“They’re so pretty, thanks!” she replied, blushing. “You didn’t have to, really, I mean…It’s a super nice thought, it’s sweet, actually, but like I said before, I don’t have any expectations, just because…you know…” she trailed off, trying to interpret the meaning of the look on his face.

Luke smiled patiently waiting for her to finish speaking. “They’re just flowers, Bella,” he said softly. He found a glass pitcher and put them in water. “Are you ready?” he asked.

“Yes, ready,” she answered.

As soon as they were seated at a table for two at Hadrian’s, Luke ordered a bottle of sauvignon blanc. They ordered the shellfish bisque for their starter. For their main course Luke had the filet and Bella, the salmon. After the waiter left them, she looked at him across the flickering candle in the center of the table. Luke winked at her and her breath caught in her chest.

I can’t understand this effect he has on me, she thought.

“You really do look beautiful,” he said. “The candlelight and your hair…” he just smiled.

She could feel herself blushing. “You’re sweet,” she deflected.

“I’m truthful. Always,” he said firmly.

Their wine arrived and Bella was grateful for the distraction. The sommelier poured and left, and they sipped appreciatively.

“So…you were married a long time ago to a douche bag,” Luke summed up. “You never took the plunge again? Never even other long-term relationships?”

Bella sipped and shook her head. “No, I was too glad to get out of that mess. I’ve dated some, but never felt serious about anyone. I think I run guys off.”

Luke laughed.

“No really! I’m particular and I work all the time…if there’s overtime to be had, I’m the one who asks for it. I’d rather keep busy than have down time.”

She sipped again. “There was this stalker once,” she admitted. He looked at her across the table, concerned. “It was kind of bad,” she continued. “This was in Asheville. I met him in a bar, and, well…It became obvious that going out with him was a mistake. Turns out he met me on purpose. I ended up filing a restraining order. The station had to hire extra security. I was working the 11:00 show, always coming home around midnight.”

She paused, watching his reaction. “I got home one night and, I know this sounds weird, but something felt off. Maybe it was that my front mat was just a little crooked, I don’t know. Anyway, I turned around, got back in my car, and called the cops. They found the guy in my bedroom, under my bed, naked.”

“Holy shit, Bella!” Luke gasped. “I’d kill a motherfucker…”

“Yeah, that was a little freaky,” she said quietly. “He went to jail, of course. I got out of Asheville as quickly as I could.”

Dinner arrived and their conversation slowed as they enjoyed their food. After a few moments, Bella ventured, “Now the former Mrs. McGillicutty…Did she get tired of your being gone all the time?”

“Um, no, she got tired of being poor all the time,” he replied. “She went and found a sugar daddy.”

“You’re kidding,” Bella said. “She left you over money?”

“Yep, that’s it exactly,” he said ruefully.

Bella shook her head. “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard,” she said thoughtfully.

“Says the Ivy League debutante,” Luke said softly.

She gave him a sharp look. “I’m just saying, if I found a great guy, money wouldn’t even enter into it,” she said decisively.

“A great guy, huh?” he smirked, knowing he’d be rewarded with another stunning blush. He was not disappointed.

“Oh, you know what I’m saying,” she stammered.

Boldly, Bella countered. “How about you? Besides your marriage, did you have other long-term relationships?”

Luke set down his fork for a moment. “Well, I went right into a five-year relationship after my divorce. Big mistake, but at the time I’d lost my confidence, so…”

Bella looked at him sympathetically. Luke continued, “It was a bad situation I should have ended much sooner than I did. Hell,” he chuckled, “it was a situation I should never have started, but you live and learn. Then, shortly before I retired, I was with a woman for about two years. She left me for an eighty-year-old man.”

He laughed at Bella’s shocked expression. “He had money. What can I say?”

“Again with the money,” Bella murmured, shaking her head.

They continued enjoying their meal, moving their conversation toward the work they’d done and away from their personal stories.

During dessert, after a pause in conversation, Luke voiced, “So, you’re really not telling me where we’re going tomorrow?”

Bella smiled. “Nope.”

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

He didn’t count on falling for the New York lawyer
sent to broker a land deal.
But has she betrayed him?

Hunter McFall had no intention of making a deal with New York land developers for a parcel of his Idaho cattle ranch. But when their lawyer Poppy Chastain showed up, he pondered whether he should reconsider.

He never thought to fall in love a second time, but then, he never counted on a smart, spunky, sexy-as-hell redhead to grace his ranch again.

But behind the scenes, someone is working against both of them.

Here’s a snippet from HUNTER’S PRIDE:

When Hunter caught up with Rolly and the others, they had just rescued a calf that had gotten stuck in the muck at the edge of the river.  A quick check confirmed that the wayward little bovine was none the worse for the wear and he was sent scurrying back to his mother who’d observed incident from a concerned distance. 

Rolly assured Hunter that they had everything under control, so Hunter decided to head toward the fenceline near the gate.  On the way back from Ketchum, he’d noticed three posts not far from the gate that were in need of attention.

With Cheyenne nibbling grass nearby, Hunter inspected a loose fence post, wiggling it to assess how bad it might be.  A light honk from the highway drew his attention, and he looked up to see Bill Albright, the local sheriff, in his official SUV.  Hunter raised a hand in a wave, and the other man waved back as he turned through the open gate and into the drive.

“Hey’ya, Bill,” Hunter called as he strode toward the truck.

Albright opened his door and got out, nodding as he did.  “Hunter.  How’s the ranch?”

“Not bad.  We’ve got a healthy bunch of new calves so far this season.  What can I do for you?”

The sheriff’s face was grim.  “I’m here on some unpleasant business, I’m afraid.”  He turned and reached into the truck where he retrieved a bundle of papers stapled to a legal-sized piece of blue cardstock. 

Hunter frowned as he took the document from Bill.  “What’s this?  I’m being sued?”

The lawman shrugged slightly.  “Not sued, exactly.  It’s eminent domain.  The state is taking part of your land.”

“Taking part of my land?”  Quickly, Hunter scanned the front page, trying to make sense of the legal-speak. 

“Well, they’ll pay you for it, but between you and me, it’s pennies on the dollar.  It’s legalized theft if you ask me.  But they don’t ask me, they just make me serve you the paperwork.”

Realization dawned on Hunter as he turned the page.  “Son of a bitch!  This is the land Slade & Howell has been trying to buy from me.  They offered me just short of a king’s ransom to sell, and I said no.  Can they claim eminent domain on my land?” 

“This comes all the way from Boise.  If I had to guess, I’d say those resort developers cozied up to the Governor, or somebody on his staff anyway, and got him to sign off on this.  Undoubtedly promised them something in return, but good luck proving it.”

Hunter suddenly thought of Poppy, and he cut his eyes in the direction of the house.  “They never intended to buy the land from me.  They were just biding their time until they could take it.”

The sheriff lowered his eyes and exhaled sharply.  “I’m sorry as I can be, Hunter.  Of course, you’re entitled to get your own lawyer and fight this.”

Hunter laughed humorlessly.  “But who has deeper pockets?  Me or some international real estate developer?” 

He scrubbed a frustrated hand across his mouth.  “Son of a bitch!”

Bill clapped him on the shoulder.  “Again, Hunter, I’m sorry.  Next time I see you at the North Star, I’ll buy you a drink.”  With that, he climbed back into his vehicle. 

After Bill drove away, Hunter stood anchored to the same spot, shaking as adrenaline thrummed through his veins. 

She knew.  All along, she knew they were just going to take my land.  That’s why she didn’t fight harder to get me to take the deal.  It never mattered.

Brusquely, he grabbed Cheyenne’s reins and swung himself up, his head spinning as he pushed the horse into a gallop.  Visions of Poppy streamed through his mind, Poppy smiling at him across the dinner table, naked by the fireplace in his bedroom, her excitement at the birth of the new calf, on her knees in the mountain cabin. 

She played me.  I was dumb enough to think I was falling in love, and the whole time, I was falling for a liar and a cheat.  How stupid can I be?
By the time he reached the barn, he was livid.  He stopped Cheyenne short and jumped down, leading the horse into the barn.  He didn’t expect to see Poppy by the calving pen watching the twin calves that had arrived overnight. 

When she saw him, she smiled happily.  “Are they just the cutest things ever?  I’ve already named them.  This one is–”

He dropped Cheyenne’s reins and reached her in three angry strides.  “What the fuck is this?” he spat, whipping the papers at her.

Awkwardly, she caught them, frowning as she did.  “What’s wrong?  What do you mean?”  She unfolded the document and tilted her head, squinting at the print. 

“Eminent domain?”  She looked up at Hunter.  “Where did this come from?”

He folded his arms.  “You tell me.  The sheriff just brought me this little Valentine.”  He stalked over to a stack of feed bags and kicked them angrily.

“I don’t understand,” Poppy murmured, “this is crazy.”  She flipped through the pages.

“Slade & Howell never meant to pay me anything for my land.  You came here as a distraction until they could get this little baby pushed through the state offices.”  He snatched the papers out of her hands.

Eyes wide, Poppy shook her head.  “No, they told me to offer you the terms in the agreement.  Mr. Slade himself authorized me to offer you ten percent more.”

“Because they never intended to have to follow through with it.  Hell, why pay for land when you can just steal it?”

Poppy shook her head.  “No, this isn’t right.  I’m going to call them and find out what’s going on.”

“Just stop the bullshit, Poppy!  Stop with this innocent act.  You knew exactly what you were doing.” 

“What?  You can’t possibly think I had anything to do with this.”

Hunter nodded angrily.  “I suppose this is how big business operates, right?  Just lie, cheat, and steal until you reach the top.”

“No, Hunter, I never–”

“Stop lying!” he shouted.  “You come in here like sex on legs, looking like my dead wife,” he spat, “and like an idiot, I fall for your act.  Hell, I was even stupid enough to imagine I was in love with you.”

Tears streamed down her face, and she took a step toward him.  “Please, Hunter, I had nothing to do with this, you have to believe me.  If they lied to you, they lied to me, too.”

Hunter looked away, shaking his head.  “Out.  I want you out.  Now.”  His voice was chillingly calm.

She took another step toward him.  “Hunter, please–”

“Now!  Or do I have to start throwing your shit onto the driveway?  I want you gone!  Go the hell back where you came from.  Congratulations.  You got what you wanted.”  He turned on his heel and stalked out of the barn.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Making Out Old-School

She was the perfect combination of princess and warrior.

After the release of LOST & BOUND, Dream Dominant Book 2, some readers were interested in hearing the story of two supporting characters. Jackie Walker, sister of Blake from Lost & Bound, and Scott Nielsen, Blake’s best friend, were clearly in a relationship by the end of that book, and people wanted to know the steamy details.

So I wrote WARRIOR MINE, Jackie and Scott’s story. Jackie is a tough single mom, working hard to run the remote Canadian guest lodge that has been in her family for generations. When her brother’s friend Scott shows up one day hoping to base his new wilderness survival school at Lake Miranda Lodge, Jackie is immediately attracted to the tall nordic outdoorsman. And he likes her, too.

But he’s Dominant. Is there any way this fierce, independent woman will gift him with her submission?

Here’s a teaser from WARRIOR MINE:

Forty-five minutes later, they drove into Fairson, the next town north of Eliot Lake. As they drove past darkened shop windows, Scott glanced at Jackie, enjoying the fact that she had no idea where they were going. Just outside the town limits, Scott turned onto a small road leading out through the forest.

Before long, they came to a place where the countryside opened onto a broad field beside a small lake. Rows of vehicles were parked in the field, facing a large inflatable screen. Jackie’s expression was quizzical.

Scott had to laugh. “I saw a flyer in Manitoulin today. I couldn’t resist.”
They drove through the gate and followed instructions to the next open space, where Scott backed in.

“You’ll never guess what they’re showing tonight,” he said as he opened his door. “Stay right there, I’ll come around.”

Pleased that she did as she was told, Scott opened Jackie’s door with a flourish. “My lady?” Jackie accepted his hand and allowed him to help her out of the truck.

From behind the seat, he retrieved the black duffel bag, then closed the door.

“Are you going to tell me what they’re showing?” Jackie asked.

“Nope.” With a smug grin, he led her to the back of the truck, where he lowered the tailgate. He unzipped the bag and removed a wool blanket with a large red and black plaid pattern. With a shake, he unfurled the blanket in the truck bed.

He hoisted himself up, then helped Jackie climb up, too. They settled, leaning against the truck’s cab. From the bag, Scott produced a bottle of white wine and a pair of plastic wine glasses. Jackie held the glasses as he poured.

"And if you'll hold mine for just a second..." Scott reached into the bag, this time withdrawing a bag of popcorn. This he placed between them.

"One last thing," he said, holding up a finger. He took a small black device from the outer pocket of the bag. "FM receiver," he said.

"You thought of everything, didn't you?" Jackie observed. He gave her a wink. "I wanted to impress you."

She sipped her wine and smiled, gazing out over the field. Scott wondered what she was thinking.

Beyond the crowd at the end of the field, the screen lit up and the opening credits began to play. Scott watched Jackie carefully.

She gasped lightly. “The Birds!”

Scott grinned. “See? When I found out, I couldn’t resist.”

**

As flocks of homicidal avians descended on Bodega Bay, Scott rested his arm on the back of the truck’s cab with Jackie nestled against him. Though he was as much a Hitchcock fan as the next guy, he couldn’t have cared less about the movie. Having his arm around Jackie drew his thoughts in a completely different direction.

With his middle finger, he drew lazy circles on her exposed shoulder and watched as she kept her eyes on the movie screen and pretended to ignore the goose bumps that appeared on her arms. He leaned down to press soft kisses where he’d drawn circles, lingering to drag his goatee across her skin. When she finally looked up at him, he fixed her with a heated gaze, watching as she unconsciously caught her lower lip between her teeth.

Lowering his head, he stopped just short of touching his lips to hers. He heard her breath hitch and watched as she closed her eyes and parted her lips just slightly. Then he dipped his head, accepting her invitation, claiming her mouth. Jackie let out a low moan and Scott increased his intensity as they slid down onto the blanket.

His hand resting on her hip, he slowly drew it up her side, pausing to cup her right breast, the one he’d glimpsed that night when she’d come to him. Easily, he located her pert nipple, capturing it between his thumb and forefinger. Jackie broke their kiss to gasp as he pulled it taut. He gazed down at her, assessing the heat in her eyes before renewing his assault on her lips.

Captured once again by his kiss, Jackie slid her hand between them to stroke the rigid shaft held hostage by his jeans, and this time, it was Scott who moaned. Knowing better than to let her tempt his cock for much longer, he gently slid her hand around to his ass, while he eased his knee between her thighs, parking it against her sex. He felt the heat there as she ground against him.

Determined to keep a cool head, Scott slowly began to pull back, shifting to light kisses along the side of her neck and returning his knee to a more neutral perch, gradually bringing them back to their surroundings. Straightening their clothes, they were still catching their breath as the movie ended.

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–New WIP–Midnight Cove

Still waters harbor dark secrets.

After the release of HUNTER’S PRIDE, I’m taking a brief break from cowboys before I go back to finishing ANNA’S HEART, Redheads & Ranchers Book 3.

I’m working on a spooky, steamy new novella that will be part of a top-secret anthology coming out just in time for Halloween. For this weekend’s excerpt, I’m giving you a sneak peek at MIDNIGHT COVE.

Here’s the blurb:

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

Read the (unedited) Prologue of MIDNIGHT COVE.

He wasn’t sure just when he’d known that he was dead. 

That realization had taken a while, although the precise concept of time was now rather nebulous in his conscious thought, more a collection of seasonal impressions than an actual awareness of the passing of days and months and years.  But the knowledge that he had somehow slipped his mortal coil had been an adjustment, to say the least.

He had no idea how he’d arrived at this state.  He’d been going along, living his life and then he simply…wasn’t.  

His current existence seemed to be limited to the house in which he’d grown up.  Although there were times when he wasn’t anywhere at all. He wasn’t sure which situation he preferred.  

On the one hand, he’d been happy to be near his family.  But they couldn’t see him or hear him. Not even when he screamed in their faces.  

That was when he’d known.  He’d loved his parents and brother dearly. Seeing them, being near them, but being unable to connect with them was frustrating as hell. 

 Always nagging him was the question of what had happened.  He’d been a healthy, strong 23-year-old man, one with no bad habits like smoking or drugs.  Okay, yeah, the occasional beer, maybe, but nothing that should have led to his death.  

It seemed odd, too.  Although he was stuck in his family home, he was almost certain he remembered living on his own, in an apartment, maybe.  That part of his before was foggy to him.

At first, knowing he was dead was terrifying.  But after a while, he’d settled into a sort of non-routine.  He’d watched as his family moved on, his parents and his brother, all eventually abandoning the family home.  Maybe they were dead too, his parents anyway, but if they were, he hadn’t seen them. Apparently, the afterlife didn’t work like that.

After his family was gone, it seemed to him like the house sat empty for a long time, and he’d enjoyed the solitude. The way he saw it, if he was going to be alone, he might as well actually be alone.

But then he’d watched as one day, a slightly stooped man with white hair had arrived.  The man had thrown the doors and windows wide open, carried out piles of useless old things, and spruced up the place, top to bottom.  

The next thing he knew, the house was overrun with strangers.  They just came tromping in with their suitcases and their inflatable rafts and their bathing suits.

Summer folk.  He’d recognize them anywhere.  While his family had been permanent lakeside residents, most of the other houses were used as summer rentals, vacation retreats for families who spent the rest of their year somewhere in busy cities like Columbia or Greenville or Charlotte.  The kind of people whose idea of a perfect vacation was a week or two spent in a cottage by the lake.

He hadn’t been happy to share his space, and he’d made his position known.  And he’d sent more than one family scrambling back to wherever they’d come from, dropping snorkels and beach towels in their hurry to leave.

Of course, there had also been the ones who’d been too absorbed with themselves to notice they were shacked up for the week with an unhappy spirit.  That was annoying. During those times, he did his best to just stay out of the way. Because eventually, the seasons would turn and he’d be alone again.

Gazing out the attic window at the oak leaves that were just beginning to take on a kaleidoscope of fall colors, he sighed with satisfaction.  If he couldn’t be happy about his existence, he could at least be content.   

The crunching of gravel caught his attention and he saw a work-worn white pickup truck pull up the long drive and stop in front of the house.  An older man, the one he’d seen before, got out of the truck and stood staring down the driveway. The man reminded him a bit of his grandfather, he mused. 

A minute later, a pale yellow Volkswagen beetle puttered up to the house, pulling alongside the pickup.  The driver’s door swung open, and a pretty redhead stepped out, pulling a dark green hooded sweatshirt more tightly around herself against the cool of the fall afternoon.

She moved her sunglasses to the top of her head and glanced up in his direction.  For a moment, he’d have sworn she saw him. Alarmed, he stepped away from the window.

What was this?  Another renter? It wasn’t summer.  Cautiously, he peered out the window, checking to see if the seasons had switched on him again without notice.  No, the trees were just beginning to shift into their fall hues. Days were getting shorter, and before long, the whole lake would be a riot of color.

Now he heard voices downstairs.  This was an unforeseen circumstance.  What now?

He shrugged to himself and smiled.  A woman alone? He would have her out by nightfall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

Keep watching right here for details about the upcoming anthology.

While you wait, why not catch up on the Redheads & Ranchers Series?
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE are available now.
ANNA’S HEART is due out by the end of the year.

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

What would happen if you met the man of your dreams, but had no idea that he was actually Europe’s most eligible prince?

That’s the premise of CHASING ORDINARY, my modern-day adult fairy tale.

When sculptor Petey Cavanaugh went to New York for a gallery show of her work arranged by her best friend from art school, she had no idea she’d meet a hot, wealthy businessman. The young widow had no thought of meeting any man at all. But now that she has, maybe her friend Jules is right–maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.

Petey is Nik’s first ever taste of ordinary. He’s never met a woman who didn’t already know who he was, and didn’t have designs on being a queen one day. Petey sees him as a man, not merely a title or a prize to be won.

He realizes that eventually, he has to tell her the truth. But for now, he’s enjoying a little slice of ordinary. What will happen when she finds out who he really is?

Here’s the scene where Nik and Petey first meet.

Nik peered grimly out the window at the passing grey tableau as the Mercedes made its way uptown toward the exclusive Empire Club.  Dalton Rigby’s great-great-grandfather had been a founding member, as the man had been careful to point out every time Nik had ever met him.

At least the food will be good, he consoled himself.  Mentally, he went over his talking points as the city passed by in a gloomy blur. 

A flash of color on the sidewalk caught his focus.  Ahead, a woman in a bright red dress was attempting to hail a cab in the pouring rain.  As his car pulled alongside her, he watched in slow motion as a spray of water completely doused her. 

“Stop the car!” he shouted.

The driver eyed him in the rearview mirror.

“Stop the car,” he repeated.

“But sir,” Jorgen protested from his seat beside Nik.

Shrugging, the driver stopped, causing the car behind them to slam on its brakes and honk loudly. 

Nik was already halfway out of the car.  “Go around the block,” he called over his shoulder as he stepped out into the rain, slamming the door behind him.

The woman was still standing where she’d been when the Mercedes’ front wheel had torn through a deep puddle, spraying her with filthy runoff.  Nik made his way to her, ignoring the rain that pelted him as he walked.

“I’m terribly sorry.  Are you alright?”

She stood shaking from cold, red hair matted to her head, black streams of mascara running down her face like cracks in fine china.  “I’m s-s-s-soaked!” she shrieked.

“Again, I’m so sorry.”  Nik’s expression was contrite.  He shrugged out of his suit jacket and wrapped it around her.  She was tiny, and the jacket nearly swallowed her whole.  He glanced around.  “Is your apartment near here?”

She shook her head.  “I’m locked out.  And I’m unbelievably late.  I can’t go like this.  And I can’t get back into the fucking apartment!  Fuck!”

“My car is coming back around the block.  I’ll give you a ride to wherever you need to—“

At that moment, a boxy delivery truck hit the same puddle, spraying them both.  They gasped in unison.  Momentarily blinded by the wall of water, Nik sputtered and swiped at his face.  “Bloody hell!” 

He looked down at the woman whose eyes were impossibly wide with surprise.  “Here comes my car now.  Come with me.  I’m staying at the Plaza.  We’ll call ahead and have the stylist meet us.  Once we’re both cleaned up, I’ll take you where you need to go.”

She looked up at him in alarm.  “I’m not going to your hotel with you!”

“No, I don’t mean…  I realize how inappropriate it sounds, but I promise, I only mean to help.”  He held up his hands in surrender.  “Clearly you can’t stay here.  And you can’t go to wherever it is you were going, not like this.” 

He aimed for a reassuring smile.  “The services of the spa and salon will be at your disposal.  And I know St. James will have something for you to wear.” 

He watched as she considered her options.  “I feel responsible.  Please let me make things right.”

The black Mercedes pulled up to the sidewalk and the driver walked around to open the back door.  “Please,” he pleaded softly.

The woman drew a shaky breath.  “Okay.  Thank you,” she said quietly.

Jorgen slid out of the back seat and moved to the passenger side of the front.  Nik motioned for the woman to get in, and he climbed in beside her.  The driver returned to his seat and pulled out into traffic.

“Jorgen, call St. James and tell him to meet us at the underground entrance.  Ms.—“ He looked to the woman.

“Oh, Cavanaugh.  Petey Cavanaugh.”  At his befuddled expression, she added, “It’s a long story.”

Nik frowned.  “Ms. Cavanaugh is to have whatever services she needs.  When she’s ready, we’ll take her where she needs to go.”

“Yes, sir,” Jorgen responded, taking his phone out of his pocket.

“Thank you,” Petey said sheepishly.  “I’d better call my friend.” 

She dialed a number.  “Yeah, it’s me.”  There was a short pause.  “No, I’m not almost to the gallery.  I’ll tell you all about it when I get there.” 

Another pause.  “I know, seriously, I do!  Nobody would rather be there right now than I would, but I forgot the umbrella, and I forgot the key, and I’m a total wreck right now, completely soaked to the skin.”

She seemed to listen for a moment.  “I know, but I can’t help it.  I’m headed to the Plaza.  I’ll get cleaned up, and then I’ll be right there.” 

Nik watched as she eyed him quickly.  “I don’t know.  Some guy,” she whispered.  There was another pause, and Nik could hear an agitated voice on the other end, although he couldn’t make out the words.

“Okay, Jules, I’m hanging up now.  I’ll let you know when I’m on my way.”  She stabbed at her phone and put it back in the small silver bag she was carrying.

She looked back at him sheepishly.  “My friend.”

“I truly am sorry.  You said you’re late?”

She nodded.  “It’s a gallery opening.  I’m supposed to be there,” she glanced at her watch, “twenty-two minutes ago.”

“I’m late for dinner myself.  At least gallery openings usually run for several hours.  Surely it won’t matter if you’re a bit late,” he said reasonably.

“It’s my show.  It looks kind of bad for the guest of honor not to be there.”

Nik was intrigued.  “You’re an artist.  What is your medium?”

“Sculpture.  I do welded steel and glass pieces.” 

He squinted, picturing the petite, feminine woman using a welding torch to bend steel to her will. 

“We’re here, sir,” Jorgen announced, interrupting his thoughts.  The car pulled through a security gate into an underground garage.  As it eased up to a pair of double glass doors, Colin St. James stepped out to greet them. 

“Holy crap on a cracker,” he exclaimed as first Nik, then Petey climbed out of the back of the car.  “What on God’s green earth happened to you?”

“It’s raining,” Nik replied succinctly.  “This is Ms. Cavanaugh.  She’s late to her own gallery opening, and obviously, she can’t go like that.  Please see to it that she’s ready in about twenty minutes.  Will that be possible?”

“Twenty minutes?  Are you kidding me?  They don’t call me ‘the miracle worker’ for nothing.”  He scanned Petey up and down.  “Although this might be my greatest challenge yet,” he said under his breath.

She glared up at him through wet lashes.

Nik turned to Petey.  “I’m going upstairs to get cleaned up.  I’ll check on you when I’m ready.”

She nodded shyly, shrugging off his suit jacket and handing it to him.  “Um, thank you.”

He nodded to Colin and turned to head to the elevator.

Colin took Petey by the hand.  “Okay, sweetie, let’s see what we can do.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend contemporary grown-up fairy tales for their patients who read in the summer.

No, I made that up. But here’s what an Amazon reviewer has to say:

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

Weekend Excerpt–Skinnydipping

When spoiled Hollywood bad girl Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law, she’s sent to cool her heels for a while in the wilderness of northern Ontario. That’s where she meets Dominant mountain man Blake Walker.

Blake’s none to impressed with the sole VIP guest at his family’s remote wilderness lodge. But as he and Shasta spend time together, he begins to see the frightened little girl she hides from the world. And that stirs his Daddy Dom soul.

Is it possible that the Shasta Pyke is the baby girl he’s been looking for?

Here’s a teaser from LOST & BOUND, Dream Dominant Book 2:

When Shasta finally woke up the following morning, she felt worlds better. And she was famished. Donning a pair of jeans, a Joan Jett t-shirt, and a hot pink hoodie, she made her way once again to the kitchen cabinets. She moved around a few boxes and jars as she looked through the provisions, finding a thin rectangular blue box. Macaroni and cheese. A slow smile spread across her face.

Many years ago, she’d done a commercial for the stuff. Of course, when you make a commercial, you can’t actually eat the product. After every take, she’d been required to spit it into a bucket. But it had tasted good, and when she’d told her grandfather about it, he’d made her a box of her very own. She remembered it being one of the best things she’d ever tasted.

Shasta wasn’t a cook. She couldn’t remember ever cooking anything for herself beyond warming up left-over pizza. Turning over the box, she quickly read the instructions. “How hard can this be?”

Following the directions step by step, she lit the stove top and put a pot of water on to boil. Unsure if she could cook with the lake water, she used the spring water just to be on the safe side, realizing that she’d have to make a trip to the spring sooner than she’d anticipated.

When the allotted time had elapsed, she drained the macaroni and stirred in the milk and butter from the tiny fridge. Then she tore open the foil packet and poured it over the mixture. “Orange powder? What the hell?”

She stirred and stirred until most of the lumps had disappeared, then sat down at the table to eat right out of the pot. She took her first bite and her eyes rolled back in her head. “Oh, my God, this is so good!” she moaned around a mouthful.

After she’d eaten as much as she wanted, she put the rest into a plastic container she found and placed it in the fridge. Holding the empty pot, she looked around for the best way to clean it. She finally settled on filling it with lake water and putting in back on to boil, dripping a few drops of dishwashing liquid into it for good measure.

When the pot was cleaned, dried, and returned to its hook on the wall, Shasta stripped out of the hoodie and wandered outside. The sun was bright overhead and the sky was a brilliant blue. She closed her eyes and listened to the breeze rustling in the tops of the trees, breathing in the scent of pine straw warmed by the sun. Opening her eyes, she shook her head. Under different circumstances, this would be an amazingly beautiful place.

Carefully, she picked her way down the slope to the dock and walked to the edge. The water was crystal clear and she could see huge boulders and the ghosts of long-ago fallen trees resting on the bottom of the lake. A light breeze rippled the water in a mesmerizing way, and she stood for a moment feeling a sense of peace settling over her.

When she looked up, she saw movement across the lake. Someone was walking along the water’s edge. Blake. Has to be. Everyone else left yesterday. He stopped and seemed to be looking her way. She sighed, remembering their last exchange, when she’d screamed and thrown a rock at him. “Sometimes, you are such an idiot,” she muttered to herself.

She watched him for a moment, watched him watching her. She wished he would come over. Shouldn’t he check on me? I’m a guest. The only guest right now. I mean, what if I needed something?

She sat on the dock, removed her shoes, and rolled up the legs of her jeans, dangling her feet in the cool of the lake. The sun was hot and the water felt good. She realized that once again, she’d failed to get her solar shower going. There probably wasn’t enough time for the water to heat up now.

Of course, I could always go for a swim. It would do until I can get the hang of this shower thing. She grinned mischievously in Blake’s direction. Maybe she could entice him to come over.

Giving an exaggerated stretch, she pulled the t-shirt up over her head and dropped it on the dock. Then she stood, shimmying out of the jeans, placing them on top of the shirt. She flicked a quick glance back across to water to make sure he was still watching and turned to reach behind her and unhook her bra.

Topless, she turned back towards the lodge. Blake was still there. Slowly, she hooked her thumbs into the top of her white lace panties and slid them down her legs, kicking them off to rest with her other clothes.

At the edge of the dock, she paused to smooth her fingers through her hair before executing a shallow dive, surfacing a dozen yards from the dock. Treading water, she turned herself toward the lodge. Blake was walking away from the lake in the direction of the main lodge.

“Well, shit,” she muttered to herself. “Maybe he’s gay.”

She swam until she felt cool and clean, then climbed back onto the dock. The sun felt good on her skin, so she stretched out on her back and dozed.

*****

Blake woke up that morning feeling slightly guilty for not checking in on Shasta the previous day. It was odd that she hadn’t had lights on since she’d arrived. He couldn’t shake the feeling that she was trying to play him, though. He figured he’d get on with a few of his chores and keep an eye out for her. He could always head over in the afternoon if he still didn’t see any sign of her on the island.

He busied himself with checking the guest cabins, making notes of repairs he could begin making over the next few weeks. He’d just finished with the last cabin and was thinking about stopping for lunch when he glanced across the lake and saw her. She was standing on the dock apparently watching the water. Immediately, he felt a sense of relief. At least she hadn’t asphyxiated herself in the night.

Making his way towards his cabin, he took the route along the edge of the lake rather than the central path. Now she was sitting on the dock, with her feet in the water. He stopped to watch her, wondering what she’d been doing up until now.

Maybe trying to rig her phone to work, he chuckled to himself. He realized she’d noticed him and thought to wave, but at that moment she stood and removed her top. Then she performed a striptease, dropping her clothing item by item onto the dock. Even from this distance, he could appreciate the curves of her tits and hips, offset by her narrow waist. Dumbfounded, he watched as she wiggled out of her panties and paused seductively on the edge of the dock before plunging into the water.

He shook his head, willing his cock to go back to sleep. Nope, I’m not biting, princess. He turned and made his way back to his place.

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

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