Weekend Excerpt–It’s the Holiday Season!

Happy December!
I’m in the mood for holiday stories, so this teaser is from WARRIOR MINE, Dream Dominant Book 4.

When Blake and Amy returned to Lake Miranda the week before Christmas, snow blanketed the compound.  After the lake froze solid, and Scott’s students either hiked to the island or were shuttled by snowmobile.

His last session before the holidays ended just before Blake and Amy came home, but the lodge had guests scheduled throughout Christmas and New Year’s.  Trina and the restaurant staff came up with a festive holiday menu, and Walker’s on the Lake was completely booked for both holidays.

When Jackie called her parents to ask about their holiday plans, she was surprised to find out that the elder Walkers had reservations for a Christmas cruise to the Caribbean.  “Your father just couldn’t stand the thought of all that snow,” Ann laughed.  “You all have a wonderful holiday!”

Blake and Amy agreed to spend Christmas at Jackie and Scott’s house, the better to enjoy the kids’ excitement on Christmas morning.  The day after they returned, Scott and Blake took Grant and Emma snowmobiling in the forest to find a proper Christmas tree to set up in the window of Scott and Jackie’s family room.

On Christmas Eve, after the kids had gone to bed, the adults gathered around the enormous festively-decorated white spruce.  Light Christmas jazz played in the background, and outside the floor to ceiling windows, snow swirled lazily in the half moonlight.

Jackie handed Amy a mug of warm mulled cider and settled beside her on a leather sofa with a mug of her own.  On the floor, Scott and Blake sat amid the scattered pieces of a pink Barbie house ‘Santa’ had found on sale months earlier and had put away until now.

Winking at Amy, Jackie suppressed a smile.  “Did you guys read the instructions?”

“We don’t need the damn instructions,” Blake huffed, pushing a stray lock of dark hair out of his eyes.  “We’re two intelligent, grown men.  We can figure out how to put together a dollhouse.”

The women clinked their mugs and giggled gleefully.

Amy looked from Blake and Scott to the twinkling Christmas tree, and to Jackie.  “I love this.”  Her voice was soft, and though she smiled, a tear was in her eye.  “This is the Christmas I always wanted.”

Jackie’s heart melted, and she reached for Amy’s hand.  “I’m so happy you’re here.”

Blake pushed up from the floor and pressed a tender kiss to Amy’s temple.  “This is our life, kitten.  This is our family, your family.  You belong here.”

Jackie smiled across the room at Scott, who winked at her, and she felt a familiar tummy flutter.  She loved the man more than she’d thought humanly possible.  And when summer came, she’d marry him.

After Blake and Amy retired to the guest room, Scott and Jackie went to bed, quietly making love, then holding each other until late into the night.

They awoke to a bright sunny day, the sky crystal cerulean, the sun reflecting brilliantly off the sparkling snow.  Emma and Grant squealed excitedly as they saw the mountain of gifts under the tree.  Scott sat at the end of the sofa and Jackie snuggled up beside him, each of them sipping steaming mugs of coffee.  Blake and Amy sat opposite them on the sofa’s twin, smiling as they watched the children tearing into their gifts.

Once they were finished, the kids had fun delivering gifts to the adults.  Finally, all the gifts were opened.  Blake and Amy gave each other a conspiratorial look.  “We have a few more gifts,” Amy said.

“More?” Jackie echoed, thinking of the extravagant handbag for her, and the top of the line boots for Scott.  “You’ve done so much already, seriously.”

Blake reached behind the sofa and picked up four identical shirt boxes wrapped in metallic red paper.  He glanced at the tags and handed one to each of the children and to Jackie and Scott.

Amy leaned forward excitedly.  “You have to open them all together.  Ready?  One, two, three!”

With a bemused glance at Scott, Jackie carefully opened her box.  Grant and Emma ripped theirs open.  “It’s a shirt,” Emma said, holding up a pink t-shirt.

Grant peered into the box.  “Thanks, Aunt Amy,” he said, making an effort to sound enthused about a shirt.  “It sure is…pink.”

Scott tilted his head as he looked at his, then elbowed Jackie lightly.  She looked at his, then gaped at hers.  In sparkling letters across pink cotton, she read, World’s Greatest Aunt.

Jackie gasped.  “I knew it!  I knew you were pregnant!  I’m so excited for you!” she squealed, rushing over to give Amy and Blake a big hug.

“We didn’t want to tell anyone until we knew everything was going to be okay,” Amy explained.

“Cool,” Grant said, pulling his new shirt over his head, “we’re going to be cousins!”

“Aunt Amy, are you having a boy baby or a girl baby?” Emma asked.

Blake grinned.  “It’s a little girl.  That’s why we gave you pink shirts.”

“Congratulations, man!”  Scott grinned as Blake stood and the two embraced.  “That’s great news.”

“I can’t believe it.”  He shook his head.  “I’m going to be a dad.”

Jackie sank onto the sofa beside Amy.  “A little girl,” she shook her head smiling.  “That’s fantastic.”

Amy nodded, eyes shining.  “Do you want to see the ultrasound pictures?”

“I’ll get them,” Blake said, heading in the direction of the guest room.

Grant and Emma returned to their new toys.  Scott perched on the arm of the sofa next to Jackie.  “I’m so happy for you two,” he told Amy.  She laughed happily.

From the direction of the guest room, they heard a tiny yip.  Jackie frowned.  “What was that?”

Eyes wide, Amy gave an exaggerated shrug.  “I have no idea.”

“Uh oh,” Blake called from the guest room.  “I think I found another present.”

Jackie looked up to see a shaggy black puppy with a huge red bow come running into the room.  He ran straight to the kids, yipping excitedly.

“A puppy,” Emma squealed.

Grant squinted at the tag on the big red bow and gasped.  “Mom!  It’s for us, from Santa!”

Blake leaned against the doorway looking pleased with himself.

“From Santa, huh?”

“I think Grandma and Grandpa might have mentioned it to the big guy,” Blake grinned.

Oh, for f—” Jackie glanced up at Scott.  “Did you know about this?”

He raised his hands in surrender.  “I promise, I knew nothing about a puppy.”

“They love Bear so much, they need one of their own,” Amy said, smiling.

“So, what are you going to name him?” Blake asked.

Brow furrowed, Grant watched the Newfie puppy for a moment.  “Max.  He looks like a Max to me.”

Ruffling the puppy’s ears, Emma nodded enthusiastically.  “Yeah.  Max.”

Jackie shook her head.  “He’s cute, I’ll give you that.  But I still want to see those ultrasound pictures of my niece.”

One-click WARRIOR MINE at Amazon.

 

Weekend Excerpt–LOST & BOUND

LOST & BOUND is the second book in the Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone erotic romance novels featuring hot Alphas, sassy redheads, and light BDSM themes.

Here’s the official blurb:

Blake Walker is no stranger to tragedy. Immediately following a horrific event years earlier, he was lost for a while until he embraced his Dominant nature and found his true calling. But things change and now he’s back where he started, helping to run his family’s secluded lake lodge.

When pampered Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law, she’s sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario to cool her heels for a few weeks. There she meets sexy bush pilot Blake, who is tasked with seeing to her needs as the sole guest at the lodge.

Initially, Blake isn’t impressed with the spoiled actress, but he’s happy that her visit allows for his sister Jackie and her kids to go on a much-needed vacation. Try as he might, he can’t figure out what the hell Shasta Pyke is doing so far out of her element. 

Shasta’s attracted to Blake’s obvious good looks, but there’s more to him than that. He sees through her armor to the vulnerable little girl she hides from the world. The Daddy Dominant in him craves to shelter her, to make her his own.

Is there any way Shasta will agree to submit to Blake’s Dominance?

How about a little teaser from LOST & BOUND?

Blake went outside, needing space, needing to breathe.  She followed along behind him.  “What do we need to do now?”

“Are you hungry?”

She frowned slightly.  “I guess I am.  I hadn’t thought about it until now.”

“How about I catch us some fish for lunch?”

Her expression was doubtful.  “Just like that, you can catch some fish?”

“Just like that.”  He winked at her and headed for the plane to get his rig.

While Blake took his fishing rod a few yards down the shore, Shasta sat tailor-style on the dock and watched him.  He flicked his wrist and she heard a whirring sound as his line flew out over the lake and plopped into the water.  Then he slowly reeled in his line, the lure bobbing along the top of the water as it moved closer to him.

His open tackle box sat beside her on the dock and she began to look through all the items it held.  There were lures of all sizes, shapes, and colors.  In the bottom was a clear plastic box full of lead balls of various sizes.  And one small compartment held a pink rubber worm that sparkled in the sunlight.

Curious, Shasta picked up the pink worm and grinned as she squeezed it.  From the shoreline Blake called to her.

“Hey!  Are you touching my tackle?”

She looked up at him, surprised.  While the aviators hid his eyes, there was no mistaking the smug curve of his lips.  She matched it with a sassy smirk of her own.  “Do you want me to touch your tackle?”  Her giggle echoed across the water, and he grinned broadly.

“Here we go,” he murmured, reeling halfway through his third cast.  He jerked up on the line and reeled faster.

Shasta jumped up.  “Did you get one?”

“Yup.  He’s not a huge one; we’ll need at least one more.”  He reeled the fish closer to the shallow water and scooped it up with a blue net before depositing it into a large bucket filled with water.

Shasta ran over to look.  The fish in the bucket was pond-scum green, mottled with streaks of brown.  “Ooh, he’s kind of ugly.”

“Ugly?  That’s a smallmouth bass right there.  He’s good eating.”  She eyed him skeptically.  “Would you like to try?”

“Really?” she grinned, wide-eyed.

“Really.  Go pick out something from the tackle box and I’ll put it on a line for you.”  While Shasta returned to the tackle box, Blake retrieved another fishing rod from the plane.

“I don’t know what to pick.  What if I pick the wrong thing?”

Guilt gnawed at his gut as he remembered the way he’d criticized her earlier in the day.  “You can’t get it wrong.  Pick anything you like.”

She grinned up at him, and he felt his heart melt.  “I like the sparkly ones.  I think I want the pink worm.  He’s nice and squishy, plus, he sparkles.”

Blake nodded.  “The pink worm it is.”  Quickly he attached it to her line and handed her the rod.  “Now, all you do is…”  He stood behind her, reaching around to help her hold it properly.  “Just bring it back and flick it forward, holding your thumb on this button on the reel.”

Shasta watched as the pink worm sailed out over the water.  “Now just slowly reel it back in.”

She did as he said.  Blake stepped back to watch as she concentrated, absently chewing on her bottom lip as she turned the reel.  When the worm lifted out of the water, she turned to him, frowning.  “I didn’t catch anything.”

“Just keep doing it,” he chuckled.  “It takes time.”  He returned to his place on the bank and cast out his own line again.

On her fifth cast, Shasta felt a tug on her line.  “Ooh, I think I have something.”

Blake dropped his rod and hurried back to her.  “Good.  You’re doing fine, just reel him in.”  She gripped the rod like her life depended on it, reeling as quickly as she could, her rod bending dangerously toward the water.  “You’ve got it, bring him a little closer and I’ll get him in the net.”

As soon as the fish was within reach, Blake used the net to scoop up their second smallmouth bass.  He took it off the hook and placed it in the bucket with the other one.  Shasta peered into the bucket before grinning cheekily at Blake.  “My fish is bigger than yours.”

He laughed out loud.  “Yes, yours is bigger.”

She nodded proudly.  “Yep, me and the sparkly pink worm, we rocked this.”  She circled her fists around in front of her, performing an impromptu “cabbage patch.”

“Do you want to clean yours by yourself?”

Shasta immediately frowned.  “No.”

“Well, don’t go getting too big for your britches, then.”  Blake carried the bucket to a board wedged waist-high between two birch trees.  “How about I build a campfire and clean the fish?  You can go get the skillet and some plates?”  He nodded toward the cabin.

When she returned from the cabin carrying a large cast-iron skillet stacked with a pair of white-dotted blue enamelware plates and a variety of utensils, a fire was roaring in the stone ring and Blake was filleting the first fish.  Shasta placed everything on a stump near where he was working and sank onto a log close to the fire.

Neither of them spoke.  Somewhere further down the lake, a loon called and they heard it echo across the water.  Blake’s attention was on the fish but out of the corner of his eye, he watched her assessing him.

“Have you always been a mountain man?”  Her expression was earnest.

Blake’s head dropped back as he laughed out loud.  “A mountain man?  Is that what I am?”

Shasta smiled sheepishly.  “Aren’t you?”

“Well, I grew up at the lodge.  My grandparents built the place.  My grandmother was Miranda.  The lake is named for her.  But I haven’t always lived here.  I went away to college.  After graduation, I worked for a while as a wilderness counselor.  I was in the woods a lot, but I was based in Toronto.”

“A wilderness counselor,” she repeated thoughtfully.

“Yeah, you know, we worked with troubled city kids, took them out and taught them survival skills and self-reliance, that kind of thing.”

“You worked with bad kids?” she wondered.

He shook his head.  “They weren’t bad, really.  Just…lost.  They needed help to find their way.”

“Why did you stop?”

Blake shrugged.  “My folks ran the lodge for years until my dad’s stroke.  They retired to Florida.  My sister and her husband started running the place full-time.  When that asshole bugged out, I came to help her.”

Shasta watched him appraisingly.  “That was really nice of you.”

“She’s my sister.  I’d do anything for someone I love.”  He placed a grate over the fire and set the skillet on top.  “Besides, I’m happy to be home.  I drive past my old school every time I go into town.  There are a lot of great memories.  I don’t really miss the city.”  He sat opposite Shasta on another log.

She laughed lightly.  “It must be odd to come back to live where you grew up.  I imagine you were the big football hero around here.”

He shook his head.  “Football is for sissies.  We played hockey.”

“Oh, excuse me, hockey,” she laughed.

“That’s right.  Hockey.  A man’s sport.”  He reached into his mouth, and to her surprise, removed his right front tooth and the one beside it.  “Where I come from, if you have all your teeth, you weren’t really trying.”  He laughed at her shocked expression as he refit the teeth into his mouth.

Shasta grinned smugly.  “I’ve got you beat, mountain man.”  She stood and leaned toward him, parting her lips and baring her perfectly straight, whiter-than-white teeth.  She ran her forefinger across them.  “All of these are fake.  I had them all capped.  Can’t have uneven or discolored teeth in Hollywood.  Nope.”

She sighed as she sat back down.  “Nothing about me is real,” she murmured.  He eyed her curiously.  She gave him a sidelong glance, then ran a finger down her nose.  “Nose job.”  She waved a handful of hair.  “Extensions.”  She grabbed her tits.  “Boob job.”  She looked down at the dirt.  “Even my name is fake.”

Blake had been watching her with interest.  “Your name isn’t Shasta?”

She snorted.  “Who would name their kid Shasta?  Eddie gave me that name when I was five.  He told my parents that nobody would hire Amy Malone.  I needed a name with pizzazz.”  She waggled jazz hands.  “I think he has a list of names in a drawer someplace and you just get the next one on the list.”

“So your name is Amy.”

Shasta nodded.  “But nobody’s called me that since my grandpa died.  He thought all the acting stuff was stupid.  He kept telling my parents to let me just be a kid.”  She laughed.  “He refused to call me Shasta.  My grandpa was a pretty stubborn guy.”

His expression was soft.  “Why would you get a nose job?  Or breast implants?”

She shrugged and pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes.  “Eddie said the boobs would help me transition between being a child actor and an adult.”

Blake could feel his protective nature surging.  “Eddie’s that guy who brought you here?  He made you get a boob job?”

“He didn’t make me.  But I knew he’d be disappointed if I didn’t.”  She used her toe to push a patch of pine needles back and forth.

The fish was done, and Blake was glad for the distraction.  He plated the fillets, handing one to her and taking the other for himself.

“Oh, my god, this is amazing,” she moaned through her first bite.

He grinned.  “Nothing like fresh bass, right out of the lake.  Unless it’s fresh trout, right out of the lake.  That’s pretty good, too.”

They enjoyed their lunch without conversation, appreciating the quiet of the wilderness.  The silence was broken only by the crackling of the fire or the occasional call of a loon.  Once again, Shasta felt a sense of peace settle over her.

Blake took her plate when she was finished.  “Now, we’ll see about washing up these few things and then we’ll blow this pop stand.”

One-click LOST & BOUND here.

And while all Dream Dominant novels are stand-alone, WARRIOR MINE, Book 4, is actually a spin-off from LOST & BOUND.

Why not read about Blake’s sister Jackie, and his best friend, Scott Nielsen?

One-click WARRIOR MINE here.

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

It was the job of a lifetime.

Have you ever stopped to think about your idea of the perfect job?

For Luke McGillicutty and Bella Grant, they know they’ve landed the best gig possible.  They’ve been tasked with touring the world in search of excitement and adventure as they create a new television travel show.

Traveling to exciting destinations, staying in luxurious hotels, is it any wonder they fell in love?

But Luke hasn’t been completely honest with Bella.  It all happened so fast.  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 snippet from LUKE & BELLA, Dream Dominant Book 1.

Luke arrived at the airport slightly hung over.  Should have known better than to go out drinking with Charlie, he thought.  The two men had barhopped for a while, finally landing at Luke’s favorite Manhattan pub, Paddy Reilly’s on the lower east side.  They’d been in luck and caught the Prodigals’ set at eleven.

Charlie had been in chat mode all evening.  “So tell me about the dame you were with when I called you that day,” he probed.

Luke rolled his eyes.  “Just some chick from a bar.  I don’t know.  What do you want me to say?”

“What you need is to find a nice girl, settle down,” Charlie slurred.  “Bella is a nice girl.”

“Bella?” Luke asked.

“Aw, dammit, I didn’t mean for you to know her name before you met her,” Charlie shook his head.  “Bourbon loosens my lips.”  He blew a raspberry for emphasis.

Luke had felt a flash of irritation at the notion of settling down.  “I’ve been married, and you saw how that turned out.”

“You married a girl named Tiffany.  That’s a stripper’s name.  You shoulda known that would go down in flames,” Charlie reasoned with boozy confidence.

“How about this?  How about you find a nice girl and settle down.  Elizabeth’s been gone for, what, five years?”  Luke regretted the words as soon as they left his lips.  Charlie’s wife Elizabeth had been the nicest person, bar none, Luke had ever met.  He still donated to breast cancer charities in her memory.

“Nope,” Charlie shook his head.  “Elizabeth was the love of my life.  There will never be anyone else for me.  That’s what you need, my boy,” Charlie stabbed a bony finger into Luke’s chest.  “You need to find the love of your life.”

Some night, last night.  As soon as Luke entered the airport lounge, he ordered a Scotch.  Hair of the dog and all that.

Now he was sitting here waiting for some travel show host chick.  To go, he knew not where.  They were supposed to meet in the first-class lounge and await Charlie’s call.

What the fuck?!  Why all the bullshit cloak and dagger business?  Luke checked his watch.  It wasn’t too late to hop a plane back to Tampa.  He could be wasted away and looking for his lost shaker of salt by happy hour.

Women are always late, he fumed.  Why did I agree to this?  Dragging some whiny-ass princess around the world for three months?  He imagined a prissy female voice complaining, “I broke a nail!  Where can I plug in my blow dryer?  I’m not eating that!”

I must have lost my mind…

The door to the lounge opened and in walked a stunning redhead.  The sunlight streaming into the room from the high windows across the way just caught her from behind, lighting up her auburn curls as if they were on fire.  He watched her glance around the room, soft brown eyes searching for someone.  She walked past without looking his way, then stopped, unsure.

“Bella?” he asked, before he could stop himself.  She turned, surprised, then she smiled, reaching to shake his hand.

“Hello!  Bella.  Isabella. Um, just Bella. Grant.  And you are?”

Love your romance with a sexy side of BDSM?
One-click your copy of LUKE & BELLA today!

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

Weekend Excerpt–Where It All Began

LUKE & BELLA, Dream Dominant Book 1, is the first book I ever published.  It’s where it all began.

The idea for the story started with this question:  What  would be your dream job?

For Luke McGillicutty and Bella Grant, it’s jetting all over the world to create a brand new television travel show.  Thrown together as co-producers, visiting exotic cities, staying in luxurious hotels, is it any wonder they fall in love?

But it all happened so fast, Luke hasn’t had the time to be 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 steamy little teaser from LUKE & BELLA.

Landing smoothly on Mykonos, they were treated to a radiantly sunny afternoon capped by a sparkling blue cloudless sky.  They moved effortlessly through the customs checkpoint and collected Bella’s bags at the luggage carousel.

“Ever think of simplifying, m’lady,” Luke joked, gesturing with his duffle bags.

“In your dreams, Cowboy!” she retorted.

“Oh, baby girl, my dreams are made of different stuff,” he growled suggestively.

She laughed lightly, rolling her eyes in mock exasperation.

He hailed a cab and Bella told the driver the name of their hotel.  They enjoyed a scenic late afternoon view of the island as they made their way to the Cavo Tagoo.  The pair checked in and were escorted to the Honeymoon Suite by an older bellman who pulled their bags on a brass cart.

“Congratulations!” he said to them as he opened their door with a flourish.

Bella breezed past him impatiently and Luke thanked the man, amused at his misunderstanding and at Bella’s reaction.  “Well, m’lady, once again, you have booked us into heaven.”

She was already opening the doors to the pool deck.  The view of the infinity pool hanging over the crystal waters of the Aegean was utterly breathtaking.  And Bella in her blue dress seemed to be part of the scene.  Turning to him, she said breathlessly, “Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?”

“No, I never have,” he replied, not meaning the pool or the sea.

“I’m going swimming,” she announced, and she disappeared into the bedroom, emerging ten minutes later in a sheer purple sarong.  Before Luke could say anything, she walked to the edge of the pool and, facing him, untied the sarong to reveal black bikini bottoms…and nothing else.

She dropped the sheer fabric onto a chaise lounge and executed a shallow dive, emerging at the infinity edge.  She held on to the edge with one hand and smoothed back her wet curls with the other.  She looked at him, eyes dark and intense.  “Well, Cowboy, are you joining me, or what?”

“I’ll be right back.”  He retreated into the room and returned with his personal Rebel DSLR.  Bella’s face registered alarm.  “These will be just for us.  I promise.  Do you trust me?” he asked quietly, holding the camera down.

She swallowed and nodded slowly.  “I do trust you, Cowboy.”

He took some amazing shots of Bella. She was a natural beauty and the pool only accentuated the fact.  She gave him casual poses, seemingly unable to be other than herself.

He could feel his erection growing as he focused on her half naked body.  Her nipples were sharp pebbles, just begging for his attention.  Little droplets of pool water glistened on her beautiful skin.  Her hair was slicked back framing her beautiful face.

When his arousal became consuming, he pulled off his shirt, his pants, and his boxer briefs and slowly entered the pool.  He swam to her and pinned her against the infinity edge.  Kissing her deeply, he first touched those nipples that had called to him from across the pool, taking them between his finger and thumb, causing them to stretch into hard erect nubs.  She tilted her head back and moaned softly.  Then his hand moved down to her bikini bottoms.

“You’re a little overdressed, m’lady.”  Hooking his thumbs into her bikini bottoms, he easily slid them off.  He lifted her legs, wrapping them around him, before urgently pushing his erection deep into her core.

She gasped and tightly gripped his shoulders.  “Oh, Cowboy,” she breathed against his neck.  “It’s our first time making love outside.”

“Something tells me it won’t be our last,” he said, and she kissed him passionately.  He kissed her back, matching her intensity.  Thrusting into her hard, then harder, he pulled out and forcefully spun her around so she was facing the wide expanse and he took her from behind.  Watching himself enter her, he groaned with pleasure.  He ran his hand through her hair then gripped it, pulling her head back to him and growled into her ear, “Baby girl, I’m so gonna come inside you.”

LUKE & BELLA
is available in both eBook and paperback formats
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/LukeAndBella1

Exciting News and an Incredible Deal!

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  • LOST & BOUND, Dream Dominant Book 2
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Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

Now that I have your attention…  😉

FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, is the 2018 Golden Flogger Award WINNER for Best BDSM Book (BDSM Light).  I love saying that, LOL!

Judd Farris, the hero of the story is a hot Dominant firefighter paramedic.  But do you wonder why I made him a first responder?

A few years ago, Mr. Spocks and I were invited to a quinceañera for the daughter of a friend.  We had a great time, and as we were leaving, we stopped just outside the event hall to chat with some friends.

While we were standing there, a little old lady missed the curb and tripped and fell on the concrete driveway.  Mere minutes later, a West Palm Beach fire rescue truck pulled up and out jumped the hottest guys you ever saw.  All I could think was, Holy cow, do they only hire male models?  

Don’t worry, the lady was okay, she was just a little banged up.  But that was when I decided that Judd was a paramedic.  And that incident became a scene in the story.

Here’s a brand-new teaser from award-winning FOR SPARROW.

Following the dinner service, the music came up and teens crowded the dancefloor.  Jessi went to the kitchen to compliment the smooth service and give everyone a short break.  The birthday girl wasn’t scheduled to cut the cake for another half hour.

Sarah was organizing the cake area, making sure that plates and flatware were ready.  Jessi gave her a nod, and headed out the front door to catch a breath of fresh air.

The night was warm but there was a gentle breeze stirring.  A few guests were chatting together on the front sidewalk, and Jessi wandered a few yards further away.  She gazed up and wondered at the mostly full moon and the handful of stars overhead.  Happy that the night was going well, she sighed contentedly.

Maybe we’ll get a couple of referrals before the night is over. 

Jessi watched as a couple returned to the party, holding the door open for a pair of older ladies who appeared to be leaving.  She had just decided it was time for her to go back inside when everything suddenly shifted into slow motion.  One of the ladies missed the step off the curb and went down hard on the asphalt, her head striking the driveway with a thud.

Without hesitating, Jessi ran toward the fallen woman, leaning over her.  “Ma’am, are you alright?”

The woman moaned weakly as her friend stood wringing her hands and whimpering softly.  Jessi turned to a man who’d just come out the door.  “Call 911!  Hurry!”  She knelt beside the woman and bent down to look at her face.  The woman had definitely hit her head, Jessi had seen it happen.  Now a large knot was forming on the woman’s forehead.

“It’s okay, ma’am, it’s going to be alright.”  The woman tried to sit up but Jessi stopped her.  “Just be still, help is on the way.  We don’t want you to hurt yourself further.”

Jessi held the older woman’s hand as the mother of the birthday girl came outside.

“What’s going on?  Tia, what happened?”

Ai, mija, your tia fell off the curb,” the other older woman said.

Jessi smiled reassuringly.  “I think she’ll be okay.  Help is on the way.  Maybe you can both go back inside and relax.  I’ll come and let you know what’s happening.”

Si, tia, you look pale.  Come and sit down.  I’ll come back out and stay with her,” the mother said.  She escorted her aunt inside, and quickly returned.  A small crowd started to gather on the front sidewalk.

“Maybe we could get a bag of ice,” Jessi suggested, and a guest raced into the building, soon returning to hand Jessi a small plastic bag of ice.  She leaned over and as she gently pressed the ice to the growing knot, the woman moaned again.  “It’s alright, hon, help is on the way.”

Even as she said the words, she saw the flashing lights of a bright red fire/rescue truck pulling into the parking lot.  “Oh, thank God,” she murmured.

The truck pulled to a stop, and Jessi heard feet scrambling on the pavement and vehicle doors being opened and shut.  She kept her eyes on the older lady who seemed to fade in and out of consciousness.  “They’re here, it’s going to be okay.”

“What happened here?”

Jessi’s head jerked up at the familiar voice.  Judd stood beside the truck dressed in his uniform navy pants and a grey fire/rescue polo that gloved his muscular shoulders.  Before she could formulate her thoughts, he spoke.

“Jessi?”

“Hi, Judd,” she said shyly.  “I saw the whole thing.  She missed the step off the curb and fell pretty hard.  I saw her head hit the pavement.  I kept her still and we’ve put ice on the lump.”

Judd nodded.  “Okay, thanks, we’ll see what we can do.  Hello, dear, I’m Judd.  It looks like you took quite a spill.  Let me just take a look at your head.”  Another man came around the truck with a box of equipment.

Jessi backed away from them as they went to work checking the woman’s vitals and speaking into their radios.  Sarah came out and stood by Jessi.  “I heard we had an accident.  How is it going?”

“I don’t know,” Jessi shrugged.  “It was pretty scary to watch, I’ll tell you.  We’ll wait and see what they say.”

“Tell you what, I’m going to get the cake going and hopefully most of these people will go back inside.  You don’t need an audience out here,” Sarah said.  She turned to the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the guest of honor will be cutting the cake in just a minute.  Come on inside so we can sing to her.”  Thankfully, most of the onlookers followed Sarah inside.

One woman, a relative of the injured woman, stayed.  “Tia, let them do their job,” she said as the older woman insisted on sitting up.

Ai, dios mio,” she exclaimed.  “I’m just a silly old woman who didn’t watch where she was going.  I’m fine.  I want to go back to the party.”

Judd, noticing the worried look on Jessi’s face, gave her a quick wink.  “I’d feel more comfortable if you’d let us take you to the hospital and have the doctors take a look at you, dear.  That was quite a fall.”

“No,” she said defiantly, “I want to go inside.”

Judd looked at his partner and shook his head.  The other paramedic spoke softly to the woman in Spanish, but she remained determined to stay at the party.

“We can’t make you go,” Judd sighed.  “If you’re staying here, someone needs to keep an eye on you.  If you have a concussion, there could be problems later on.”

Si, I’ll watch her,” said the woman who’d stayed outside with Jessi.  “Come on, tia, let’s get you back to your seat.”

Jessi watched as the younger woman helped her aunt back inside the building.  Then she turned to Judd.  “I’m so sorry you came out here for nothing.”

He smiled his patently kind Judd smile.  “It wasn’t for nothing, that lady really hurt herself.  I wish she’d let us take her in, but older folks can be stubborn sometimes.”  He looked to the other man.  “Jessi, this is my partner Alex Gomez.  Gomez, this is Jessi Crenshaw.”

Alex flashed a bright white smile.  “Nice to meet you, Jessi.”  He was dressed in the same uniform as Judd, but he was a bit shorter, with wavy black hair and sparkling brown eyes.

“It’s nice to meet you, too.  You know, since you don’t have to make the run to the hospital, do you have time to come inside?  The birthday girl should have just cut the cake.”

“How could we say no to birthday cake?” Alex laughed, slapping Judd on the back.  “You’ve been holding out on me, Farris,” he said under his breath as they followed Jessi into the party.

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FOR SPARROW is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow