Weekend Excerpt–A TASTE OF SUBMISSION

It’s gonna be a long, HOT summer!

A TASTE OF SUBMISSION comes out Tuesday, June 11!
And it’s FREE!

12 of the hottest romance authors around are giving you the first book in their BDSM series. It’s a ‘thank you’ to all our loyal readers, and an introduction to readers we haven’t met yet.

I’m joined by C.P, Mandara, Felicity Brandon, Golden Angel, Kallypso Masters, Lilah E. Noir, Linzi Basset, Nia Farrell, Normandie Alleman, Ree L. Diehl, Renee Rose, and Skye Callahan.

My contribution to this collaboration is LUKE & BELLA, Book 1 of my Dream Dominant Collection. When television journalist Bella Grant lands the job of a lifetime, she’s paired with veteran news photographer Luke McGillicutty to create a new television travel show. Traveling to romantic cities, finding adventure at every turn, it’s no wonder they fall in love. But Luke hasn’t been completely honest with Bella. If he tells her now, he could lose her forever. Can he risk everything on the chance they could have it all?

Here’s a little sample…

They explored their way through the Amsterdam evening, shooting video here and there, stopping now and then to check footage or to look into a shop window. As Bella stood peering at the display in the window of an antique shop, Luke watched her, amazed once again at her simple beauty. He slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her to him. She looked up at him, smiling and stood on her tiptoes to plant a light kiss on his lips.

“Amsterdam is lovely, m’lady,” he said. “But I’m looking at you and thinking about being back at the hotel.”

She blushed slightly. “What are you thinking about the hotel, Cowboy?” she asked.

“I’m not sure whether or not you noticed,” he said kissing the corner of her mouth, “but there’s a big old tub in the bathroom.”

“Is there?” she asked innocently. “Are you feeling dirty?”

He grinned wickedly. “I’m feeling all kinds of dirty, m’lady.” She giggled softly. “God, I love that!” he growled.

“What?” she asked, genuinely confused.

“I love when you laugh,” he replied.

Bella rolled her eyes, laughing self-consciously.

They made their way back to The Toren, holding hands and talking quietly about nothing in particular. Once back in the suite, Luke smiled and said, “Someone thoughtfully sent a bottle of Scotch.”

Bella bowed theatrically. “That was thoughtful, wasn’t it?” she laughed.

“Would m’lady care for some wine?” he asked, grinning.

“I’d love some wine,” she answered. “How about you call for some and I’ll get the bath started?”

“I knew we made a great team,” he laughed. “Division of labor.”

Bella retreated to the bedroom as he picked up the phone. She started the bath water, tossing in some of the lavender bath beads, then returned to the bedroom to retrieve candles from her trunk and she placed them around the bathroom, lighting them. Finally, she stripped down and donned her pink satin robe.

When she returned to the sitting room, the steward who brought the wine was just leaving. Luke turned and saw her, letting out a long low breath. “Wow,” he said. He poured a glass of wine for her and one of Scotch for himself. “To a beautiful lady,” he toasted.

She crossed the room and put her arms around his neck. He put down the glasses and pulled her to him, kissing her lips, cupping her breast through the silky fabric.

“Hey, Cowboy,” she breathed into his kiss.

He reached down and untied the sash of her robe, allowing it to hang open, just revealing the inside curve of her breasts, her smooth belly, the V shape of her sex with its light swath of red hair. “Damn, girl, you take my breath away,” he whispered.

She shrugged her shoulders and the robe fell to the floor. “Come on, Cowboy,” she whispered back, turning to walk back to the bedroom.

He carried their drinks as he followed her into the bedroom, appreciating the view of her from behind. She turned and, pulling him to her by the front of his shirt, and kissed him deeply. Then she unbuttoned his shirt and helped him off with it. She stepped back to watch him undo his pants and step out of them. Taking his hand again she led him into the bathroom.

He held on to her as she stepped into the bath and then followed, sitting behind her, leaning against the back of the tub. She sat between his legs and eased back against him, sipping her wine, letting out a long sigh. This was exactly where she wanted to be. She rested her head back on his shoulder.

Luke drank in the feeling of her wrapped in himself, the sensuality of the moment; the warm water, the candlelight, the scent of the bath blending with her fading perfume, her soft skin, the contented smile on her face, the glow of her hair, her breasts, her nipples begging to be kissed.

He kissed her neck, just below the ear and slowly moved his hands down her body, stopping to fondle her breasts, to tug gently on her nipples causing them to harden and stretch. He gently parted her legs, finding her soft sex and softly he caressed her there.

She responded with a low, deep moan, pressing herself against his hand, begging for more pressure. He continued stroking her before sliding in first one finger then two, beginning a slow deliberate circle inside her. Feeling her release building, Bella gasped and moaned again. “Let go, babe. Lose yourself,” he hissed. “Come in my hand.” Orgasm thundered through her body starting in that small secret place and radiating from there as she cried out in release.

She took a moment to catch her breath, and then turned in the tub to face him. She moved onto his lap facing him, wrapping her legs around his waist, and reached down to stroke his erection, kissing him roughly as she did. She felt his gasp in her kiss and she moved closer, raising herself higher before sliding down to sheath him.

He began to move his hips and she matched the rhythm of his movements, clenching him with herself as she moved up and down. A low growl escaped from deep in his chest and he gripped her, holding her firmly in place, burying himself deep inside her. She began to moan as once again she neared climax, crying out as her body shattered with pleasure. He finished with a loud cry, “Unh, God, baby…” Afterward, he held her tightly, gently stroking her back, kissing her forehead.

Later, after they’d toweled off and slipped into bed, Luke watched as she fell asleep in his arms. He thought about the first time he saw her, red curls all sunlit, and he smiled as he remembered her nervous introduction. “I’m Bella. Isabella. Just Bella,” she’d stammered.

“I love you, Bella, Isabella,” he whispered. In her sleep, Bella smiled. He watched her until dreams overtook him.

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

A TASTE OF SUBMISSION will be available FREE at your favorite online bookseller. I’ll post here as soon as I have the links.

Cover Reveal!

Tah-dah! Here’s the smoking hot cover of what everybody will be reading this summer!

Welcome to the lands of whips, chains, and ecstasy…
and the first night is free.

A Taste of Submission

This is a collection of first-in-series books
from 12 of the hottest authors around.
There’s domination, submission, pleasure,
and punishment in every offering.
Get a taste of each of their worlds
and see if you’d like to stay awhile…

If you’re a fan of hot Doms and sexy subs, we have great news for you!. 

12 erotic romance writers have joined forces to bring you this collection of the
FIRST BOOKS in their steamy BDSM series.

We have USA Today and international bestsellers, Golden Flogger Award Nominees and Winners, and Amazon Bestsellers all giving you a taste of their best work.

Whether you like your BDSM dark or light, or you’re a fan of contemporary or sci-fi, there’s something here for everyone.  And if you enjoy what you read,
you can find the rest of the series at your favorite online bookseller.

A Taste of Submission introduces you to a dozen hot BDSM series by:
C.P. Mandara
Felicity Brandon
Golden Angel
Kallypso Masters
Lilah E. Noir
Linzi Basset
Nia Farrell
Normandie Alleman
Pandora Spocks
Ree L. Diehl
Renee Rose
Skye Callahan

Best of all, it’s FREE, but it’s only available this summer!
A Taste of Submission comes out June 11, and you will be able to download it FREE
everywhere you buy eBooks.
But it goes away August 31, so get your copy as soon as you can.
Keep watching here for buys links!

So you have to ask yourself…
Is it HOT enough for you?

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 2

It’s not going where you think it is…

Rannigan’s Redemption is a contemporary erotic romance law drama. It’s the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the new law school grad he hires to join his elite firm.

This excerpt comes from Book 2, RUNNING ROGUE. In the second book, things have changed. Michael and Maggie have gone their separate ways, and they’re each making questionable choices, both professionally and personally.

Here’s a teaser. **Warning–Spoilers abound.**

Michael?” Maggie asked into the intercom.
            “Hey, Mags.”  His voice sounded tinny over the ancient device.  “I know it’s late.  I’m sorry.  But when I saw your light on, I mean…  Can I come up?”
            Maggie hesitated, her finger hovering over the button.  “What do you want, Michael?”
            “Mags, I just…I just want to talk.”
            She shook her head, checking the time again.  What the hell?  And he’s probably drunk.  Standing out there in the rain like he’s got absolutely no sense. 
            She pressed the door buzzer.  “Don’t wake my neighbors,” she admonished him.
            Maggie pulled the wooly cream colored robe tighter around herself, tying the belt securely and she stalked to the door, opening it to wait for Michael.  She watched him coming up the stairs, his soaked hair matted to his head.  His wet shoes squeaked softly with each footfall.  She started to say something snippy but noticed the haunted look in his eyes, so she simply stepped back and let him into the apartment.  She closed the door behind him and walked to the kitchen counter where she leaned back, crossing her arms, head cocked at him expectantly.
            Michael stood just inside the doorway, rainwater pooling all around his feet.  He looked ill at ease and uncertain.
            “Well?” she finally said.
            He ran his fingers through his wet hair and sighed deeply.
            “Oh for God’s sake, Michael!”  She left him standing there and returned with a large blue towel.  “You’re soaked.” 
            She took his jacket from him and hung it over the back of a kitchen chair.  As he used the towel to dry his face and hair, she couldn’t help herself.  “Are you drunk?”
            He frowned and shook his head.  “I’m not drunk.  I had some bourbon.  I might be drunk.  A little.”
            Maggie rolled her eyes.  “Sit down.  I’m making you some coffee so we can send you home.  Have you eaten lately?”
            “I don’t know.”  Michael sank onto a chair at the kitchen table.  He glanced around as Maggie busied herself putting a kettle of water on the stove and taking a French press from a cupboard. 
            “I hope I’m not causing a problem with your fiancé.  Husband?  Whatever.”
            Maggie paused to look at him, her lips forming a grim line.  “Yeah, well, that didn’t work out so…no worries.”
            “I’m sorry.”
            “Don’t be.”
            She worked in silence breaking eggs into a bowl and putting strips of bacon into a skillet as Michael sat at the table and occasionally used the towel to swipe at his face.   On the stove, the bacon began to sizzle as the kettle whistled.  Maggie poured the boiling water into the press and let it stand for a moment as she chopped a small onion and part of a green pepper.
            “Did you know Stan Hodges died?” Michael finally asked.
            Maggie arched an eyebrow.  “I was at the funeral.  Where were you?”
            “I don’t know,” he answered vaguely.  He watched her grate cheddar into the eggs.  Then she pressed the plunger on the coffee and poured some into a cornflower blue mug with a white script ‘M’ on the side. 
            M for Maggie. Or Michael.  He shook his head to dismiss the inane thought.  Looking around the small apartment, he asked, “Why are you still here?”
            Maggie glanced over her shoulder.  “What, I should move uptown into one of your glass and steel monstrosities?”
            “I was just thinking that you could afford a bigger place, that’s all.”
            “This may be a tiny apartment but this building has soul.  Once upon a time, a family called this place home.  Maybe I can’t afford to own a whole townhouse but at least I can rent a small part of it.”
            Michael watched her for a moment.  “You could have bought your own townhouse if you’d stayed with the firm.”
            Maggie turned around and leaned against the counter, crossing her arms.  “If I’d stayed, I’d have been out of a job along with everyone else.  You really tanked everyone, you know that, right?”
            He looked down at his hands.  “I wouldn’t have pursued the television thing if you’d still been there.”
            She snorted, returning to her cutting board.  “Bullshit.  Being on the news every night is exactly your thing.  You can’t put that off on me.”       
            She set the coffee in front of him.  “What are you doing here, Michael?”
            He stalled, sipping the steaming hazelnut blend.  “This isn’t where I meant to be.  I went out and ended up down here in the Village.  I was at the Blue Note until they kicked everybody out.  I got a little lost and then realized I was across the street from your apartment.”
            Maggie turned back to her omelet, stirring in the vegetables.  The bacon had quieted down and she turned over the strips, causing them to erupt into loud sizzling once again.  “Why are you here?” she asked again.
            “I’m sick,” he said quietly.
            “I don’t doubt it.  It’s forty degrees outside and you’re soaked.  It’s a wonder you don’t have pneumonia.”
            “It’s cancer.”
            Maggie froze mid-stir.  “What?”  Slowly, she turned around.
            “Cancer.”
            “Shit.”  She crossed to the table and sank onto the chair across from him, gaping at him wide-eyed.
            “There was this spot.  And then they found out it was melanoma.”  Michael’s face twisted.  “Mags, you wouldn’t believe the chunk they cut out of my shoulder.”
            “Well, they got it then,” she said.  “Good.  That’s good, right?”
            “Bacon’s burning,” Michael said quietly.
            “Fuck!”  She jumped up and took the pan off the burner.
            “I like it that way,” he offered as she set the strips of bacon on a paper towel to drain and poured the omelet into the pan.
            “So after they took the hunk out of my arm they did a biopsy.  It was melanoma, just like the doctor said.  Then they had me get a PET scan.  Said they needed to see if it had spread.” 
            Maggie worked mechanically at the egg mixture in the pan, listening intently as he spoke.  “And?” she asked as she slid the omelet onto a blue ceramic plate.  She placed it in front of him and sat down again.
            “And they called this afternoon to say they have the results.  The doctor wouldn’t discuss it over the phone.  He wants me to come in tomorrow.”  He looked down at the plate.  “He said I should have someone with me.”
            “Oh my God.  Michael.”
            He nodded.  “I started making phone calls.  That’s how I found out about Stan.  Which was after I called Murph and then Jimbo.  They pretty much told me to go fuck myself.”
            Maggie watched him grimly.  I imagine they did. 
            “I called some of the women I go out with.  I guess everybody has a lot going on.”  He sighed.  “I thought about calling you.  But, I don’t know.  I’ve been an asshole.  Plus I figured you were busy with getting married and stuff.”  He met her eyes.  “I didn’t mean to come here, honest to God.”
            She watched him pick at the omelet.  “My agent’s pissed at me because I bailed on some appearances.  Asking her to come with me is out of the question.  She’s probably not in town anyway.” 
            Michael shook his head.  “I don’t know why they’re insisting that someone comes with me to that appointment tomorrow.  I should just go and find out what the scan shows, figure out where to go from there.  It’s just…”  His voice broke.  “Mags, I’m scared shitless.”  He put down the fork and held his head in his hands.
            Maggie could never have imagined a scenario in which S. Michael Rannigan would break down sobbing at her kitchen table.  She felt as though her heart would break. 
            “Michael,” she said softly, standing beside him, placing her hand on his shoulder.  His body shook as he let loose the emotions that had been building since the day the nightmare had started.  “It’s okay,” she murmured.  “It’s okay, everything’s going to be alright.”  She waited for him to quiet down.  “What time is your appointment?”
            Michael sat up, sniffing and using the towel to wipe his face.  “Shit.”  He coughed and took a sip of coffee.  “I have to be there at 1:30.”
            Maggie looked over to where her files still sat scattered in the living room.  She knew they probably represented ten hours of work for the following day and sighed heavily.  “Where is the doctor’s office?”
            “It’s on E. 80th between 2nd and 3rd.”
            She nodded.  “Okay.  I’ll tell Rance that I have to leave at lunch.  I’ll meet you there.”
            “I can’t ask you to do that,” Michael said quickly, but he looked at her with such gratitude she felt the sting of tears in her eyes and a huge lump formed in her throat.
            She coughed lightly.  “You didn’t ask, although you seem to have asked everyone else in your Contacts, and I’m going to try not to take that personally,” she said.  “I’m offering.  Take it or leave it.”
            Michael smiled thinly.  “I’ve missed your smartass.  I’d be so glad to have you with me.”
            Maggie nodded.  “Done.  But if for some reason I’m running late, you go on in.  I’ll be there.  I promise.”  She took his plate and warmed it in the microwave before placing it in front of him again.  “Now finish this up.  I’m calling you a cab and sending you on your way.”

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

RUNNING ROGUE is available at Amazon.
You can also purchase the entire
Rannigan’s Redemption Boxed set.

Exclusively for Apple readers…

Rannigan’s Redemption is available at Apple Books under the titles
TEMPTATION, DESPERATION, and REDEMPTION.
Book 1 is even FREE!
Get yours today!

Weekend Excerpt–Merry Christmas!

This final weekend before Christmas, I’m sending you warm wishes for a wonderful holiday!

And I’m posting one last Christmas excerpt, but this one comes with a warning:
There are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t read Rannigan’s Redemption from the beginning, you might want to stop right here.

This snippet comes from the third book of the Rannigan trilogy, RANSOMING REDEMPTION.

Afternoon blended into evening as dusk fell, and Maggie noticed that not only had no one left, they all looked as though they were settling in for a long stay, some even helping themselves to plates of leftovers.

“How are you feeling, Michael?” she asked, squatting beside him.  “Should I start shooing people out of here?”

“Don’t be silly, Mags,” he said, flashing his best Michael Rannigan grin.  “Everybody’s enjoying themselves.  This is the nicest Christmas I’ve had in a long time.”

She looked up at him and smiled, squeezing his hand.  “I’m really glad.”

As she made her way back to the kitchen, her phone buzzed in her pocket. Finally.  Bobby had called early in the morning and they’d chatted briefly, but they hadn’t had another chance to talk all day.

“Hey there, cher,” he greeted her.  “How’s my best girl?”

Maggie laughed into the phone.  “I’m better now.  I’ve missed you all day, but I know you were busy.  We’ve been busy here, too, come to that.”  She walked down the hallway for more privacy.

“Would you believe that everyone is still at Michael’s?” she whispered.  “Nobody has left yet.”

“No?”

“I asked Michael if I should start moving them along, but he seems happy to have them.”

Bobby laughed.  “It sounds like you throw a hell of a party.  Nobody wants to leave.”

“How was your day?  Did Savannah like her present?”  Maggie had sent Bobby with a portable artist’s kit to give the little girl.

“She just loved it.”  Maggie could hear the smile in his voice.  “That child had more stuff by the end of the morning than you would believe.”

Maggie laughed happily.  “Well, good.  I’m so glad.”  She sighed.  “I just wish you were here.”

“Me too, cher, believe me.”

“Do I need to let you go?” she asked.

“Yeah, I should probably get off the phone.”

“Okay, then,” she breathed.  “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Maggie.  I’ll see you soon.”

Maggie disconnected and made her way back down the hallway towards the living room which was as full of people as ever.  It seemed less than fair somehow that everyone had someone with them today.  Casey had John, Ben had Nate, Rance had Jason, hell, even Michael had Veronica   Whatever happened to the Orphans and Misfits?  She knew she was being petty and tried to shrug it off.

Across the room, Michael looked tired and he was using his oxygen again.  She wondered briefly whether she should just start moving people along in spite of what he’d said.  A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.

“Hey Mags, could you get that?” Michael asked.

Sighing to herself, she crossed to the door, wondering who’d locked themselves out.  She didn’t notice that as she swung open the door the room fell silent.

“Merry Christmas, cher.”

Momentarily speechless, she froze for second before launching herself into Bobby’s arms.  He had to take a step back to keep from falling.

“Well, I’m glad to see you, too,” he laughed.

Through tears, she sputtered, “But…I mean, what…How did you…”

“Calm down,” he laughed as he carried her into the room.  “Merry Christmas, everybody.”  Bobby gently set Maggie down, and she gripped his hand in hers, unwilling to lose contact with him.

Casey brought a plate of food from the kitchen.  “Hi, I’m Casey.  I figured you were probably hungry.”

Bobby bestowed on her his best lop-sided grin.  “Nice to meet you, Casey.  I’m Bobby.  And thanks, I am pretty hungry.”  He took a seat on the end of the sectional, nodding at Michael.  “Merry Christmas, man.”

Michael smiled, his eyes crinkling.  “Merry Christmas, Beau.  Glad you could join us.”

As Bobby ate, Maggie introduced him to those he hadn’t met.  While everyone went back to their own conversations, she peppered him with questions.  “What happened?  Did you really call me from the hall?  Why did you come back tonight?  I thought you were staying in Louisiana for a couple more days.”

“I wanted to surprise you,” he grinned.

“Well…you did.  I’m so glad.”

Taking her hand, he kissed it gently.  “Let’s go get a breath of fresh air.”  He stood and held her hand, helping her up, and they let themselves out onto the terrace.  The cool air was a nice change from the warmth of the crowded apartment.  They walked to the railing and stood side by side looking out over the city with its sparkling lights and flurrying snow.

“It’s such a beautiful night,” Bobby murmured, and Maggie nodded, tucking her arm around his and resting her head on his shoulder.  “Such a beautiful lady.”

She looked up at him, and he kissed her lightly.  “When I think back on that day that your shoe broke,” he looked down and she giggled, “that seems like the luckiest day of my life.  I think of all the things that had to happen for us to meet at that moment.”  He gazed down at her.  “It’s like it was meant to be.”

He took both Maggie’s hands in his and faced her.  “I love you with all my heart.  I don’t ever want to know a day without you in my life.”  His eyes glittered with emotion and he slowly lowered himself to one knee.  Maggie’s jaw dropped, and her eyes widened.

“So I’m asking…Maggie, will you marry me?”

Maggie felt all the breath leave her body.  In a mad rush, memories from the last few years swirled through her mind, her infatuation with Michael, her engagement to Mike, her resolve to remain alone, that day she and Bobby had met.

She looked down into Bobby’s eyes and saw a twinge of anxiety and realized she hadn’t answered.  Unable to formulate the words, she nodded vigorously as tears filled her eyes.  Two things happened simultaneously.  Relief instantly flooded Bobby’s face, and raucous cheers went up from the crowd who’d pressed up against the living room windows to watch.

“You had me worried for a minute there, cher,” he laughed.  He reached into his pocket and removed a small midnight blue velvet box.  Opening it, he removed something and slid it onto Maggie’s left ring finger.  “You’ve made me the happiest man in the world.”  He stood and gazed down into her eyes before lifting her chin and kissing her passionately.  Again, their audience cheered loudly.

“Bobby, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Maggie said.  “I love it!”

He laughed.  “You can’t even see it.  I hadn’t counted on it being so dark out here.  Come on, let’s go on inside.”

Hand in hand, they went back inside the apartment to the hearty congratulations of their friends.  In the light of a lamp beside Michael, Maggie and Bobby looked at the ring.  The band of delicate platinum filigree held a huge emerald-cut diamond surrounded by dozens of smaller diamonds.

“Oh, Bobby,” she gasped.  “It’s unbelievably beautiful.  So delicate and vintage-looking.”  She turned and threw her arms around his neck.  “I love it!”

“Oh, for God’s sake, can we finally open the champagne?” Ben called out.  As champagne was poured and glasses were passed around, Maggie looked down at Michael who had a Cheshire grin on his face.

“This is the gift Bobby showed you?” she said, tilting the ring his way.  Realization dawned on her.  “And it wasn’t leftover champagne?  And this is why nobody would leave?”

“Everybody except you knew this was an engagement party, Mags,” he said quietly.

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I said yes,” she said.

“Oh, like you would have said no,” Casey quipped, and everyone laughed.

The Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy is RESISTING RISK,
RUNNING ROGUE, and RANSOMING REDEMPTION.
It’s available as a three-book boxed set, or as individual novels.
Why not start at the beginning?
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

Weekend Excerpt–A Different Kind of Christmas

Rannigan’s Redemption is the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the talented redhead he hires to join his elite firm.

Michael is an inveterate player with a contact list of hot blondes at his beck and call.  Maggie is nothing like his usual type–she’s way too smart, for one thing.  So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Here’s a Christmas snippet from RUNNING ROGUE, Book 2.

Following the dinner party at Rance and Jason’s, Maggie felt a bit more comfortable in the new office.  At least she knew a few people to speak with, some to go out to lunch with, and those few introduced to her more.  She dived in to the cases that came her way and before she realized it, she’d been with the DA’s office for six months.

Suddenly she was making plans for Christmas.  The usual cast of characters was invited along with a few new orphans and misfits from work.  Rance and Jason promised to stop by on their way to Jason’s mother’s house in Connecticut.

Maggie wondered about Michael.  Since that first year, he’s arranged his vacation so that he could at least put in an appearance at Maggie’s before jetting off to some exotic locale for the rest of the Christmas holiday.

Should I formally invite him?  Surely he knows…  His status as an orphan and misfit hasn’t changed. 

But as Christmas day wore on, as guests arrived and dinner was prepared and consumed, gifts were exchanged and hugs were shared, Maggie kept an eye on her phone, her ear tuned toward the door buzzer.

By the time the last of her guests hugged her good night and headed out into the twilight of early Christmas night, there was still no sign of Michael.  She glanced at the lone gift still waiting under her tree, the bottle of Parker’s Heritage “Golden Anniversary” bourbon she’d snagged for Michael at the liquor store where the manager always called her around the beginning of December to tell her about the rare bottle he’d put away for her annual purchase.

She considered the gifts he’d given her over the years.  He always found something unique and beautiful like the moonstone bracelet which she adored and had tried to give back.  There had been interesting art pieces, a hand-made necklace, and once, tickets to a Broadway show.

She shook her head, feeling foolish at having assumed he would come.  I should have invited him.  It’s not like me to be so passive-aggressive.  I’m an idiot.  She turned away from the Christmas tree, figuring she’d have the gift delivered to the office sometime after the New Year.

Her phone blipped indicating a message.  She swiped at the screen to see a Snapchat notification.  Pulling up the app, she saw that the message was from Michael and her heart pounded.

“Hi, Mags,” Michael smiled into the camera from the couch in his living room.  “Merry Christmas.  I was thinking about you and the other orphans and misfits.  I hope you had a nice holiday.”  Maggie smiled sheepishly.  He had been waiting for an invitation.  She considered not replying then thought better of it.

“Merry Christmas, Michael.  We missed you today.  When you didn’t come I figured you were already out of town.  I hope you had a good holiday.”  She pressed Send before she could change her mind.

He replied a few minutes later.  “I leave tomorrow,” he grinned, looking away from the camera.  “I wasn’t sure I was still invited.  I had a peaceful day, no hassle or stress.  It was nice.”

Wasn’t sure he was invited.  Maggie sighed.  She decided to play it off with humor.  “You are an orphan and a misfit, Michael.  You qualify on both counts,” she laughed.  She looked directly into the camera.  “You’re always invited,” she said softly.

Michael smiled into the camera, his eyes crinkling in that singular Michael Rannigan way.  “I’m glad to hear it.”  He paused a moment.  “A messenger will be arriving at your door any time now.  I’m sending your gift.”

Instinctively Maggie looked out the window.  “Michael, you didn’t need to get me a gift.  Seriously, it’s not necessary, I just…”  She broke off as the buzzer sounded.  “That must be he.”  She sent the message and buzzed the front door.

A knock at her door told her the messenger had made it upstairs.  She opened the door to find a tall young man holding a small parcel.  “Maggie Flynn?” he asked.

Maggie smiled.  “That’s me,” she said, taking the parcel.  She signed for it, then, “Listen, can you take a parcel to the man who sent this?”

The young man grinned.  “He said you’d probably ask me that.”

Michael always thinks he knows me, she thought irritably.  She went to the Christmas tree to retrieve Michael’s gift.  “It’s fragile,” she told him.  “What do I owe you for delivering this?”

He shook his head.  “Mr. Rannigan already paid me,” he said.

Maggie nodded.  “Of course he did,” she muttered.  “Thank you again, and Merry Christmas,” she wished him as he turned to leave.

She took the box to the living room and sat on the couch in front of the tree.  She gazed at the gift for a moment.  He’s probably waiting to hear if I like it, she thought, carefully removing the wrapping.

Inside the brown paper was a pale blue box tied with white ribbon, Tiffany & Co. stamped in silver on the lid.  She removed the lid and gasped.  There was a pair of dangling silver filigree earrings set with moonstone cabochons.  They had to be the matching earrings to the bracelet.

Maggie crossed to a mirror on the wall and held up an earring to her ear.  They were absolutely exquisite.  She put them on and held up her phone.   “Michael, I don’t know what to say.  These are amazingly beautiful.”  She tilted her head from side to side to show them off.  “They go perfectly with the bracelet.  You shouldn’t have, really.”

Michael smiled into the camera again.  “I’m glad you like them.  I knew you would when I saw them.”  A serious look crossed his face.  “You should have beautiful things.”

There it was, that classic Michael Rannigan mixed message that had kept her bound to him for so long.  Maybe it’s just that he has no idea what he really wants.  Which is why I can’t wait around for him anymore. 

Maggie shook the ambivalence out of her head.  “I love them, Michael, I really do.  Thank you!”  She grinned at him.  “As you predicted, your messenger is on his way back to you.  I thought I was going to have to send your gift to the office when you got back.  Instead, you can have it now.”

He replied to her fifteen minutes later.  “Holy shit, Mags, you did it again.”  He held up the bottle of bourbon.  “I don’t know how you always manage to find a different rare bottle every year.  This is really something else!”  He looked directly at the camera.  “Now I have to find someone to share it with who will appreciate such a fine bourbon.”

Maggie rolled her eyes.  I’m not biting, Michael.  “I’m so glad you like it.  How I find great bourbon is my little secret,” she winked.  “And I have no doubt in your ability to find someone to share it with you.  No worries.”  She smiled and sent the video.

Michael felt unsettled as he watched her last message.  That’s it.  She’s over me.  She’s not mad, she still likes me.  But she’s not in love with me anymore.  The thought unnerved him more than he would have thought.  He keyed up Snapchat once more.  “Well, thanks again, Mags.  I love it.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

She replied one last time.  “Merry Christmas, Michael.  Have a great trip.  Happy New Year!”

Rannigan’s Redemption is available as individual novels RESISTING RISK, RUNNING ROGUE, and RANSOMING REDEMPTION.  It’s also available in one boxed set.

Click HERE to indulge in Rannigan’s Redemption.

Black Friday/Small Business Saturday SALE!

Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope your holiday was fabulous.

Now we’re ready for shopping season.  Black Friday deals are already underway, and Saturday is Small Business Saturday.

Did you realize that an Indie author is a small business?  Buying an Indie book is the literary equivalent of shopping local.

Before the holiday season gets out of hand with all the craziness, I have a great deal for you.  Why not treat yourself to the entire Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy for just 99¢?

The deal is only on Amazon, and it’s only good Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24.  After that, it returns to regular price.

Just click HERE to get your copy!