New From Nia Farrell! REAPER

Love HOT MC erotica?

Of course you do! Which is why you’re going to want to get your hands on REAPER, the latest from Nia Farrell, and Avenging Angels MC Book 4. It comes out January 18, and it’s even free with Kindle Unlimited!

The dark, gripping Season One finale is loaded with triggers.  Consider yourself warned.

Maureen “Mama Mare” McLanahan is the mother of five grown children and married to Patrick “Papa Bear” McLanahan, President of the Avenging Angels MC.  For twenty-eight years, she has kept secrets that could shatter her marriage and ruin their lives.  No one knows that her oldest son might belong to Reaper Rhodes, President of the rival Blackwater Demons MC.

Reaper has been obsessed with Mare since high school.  When his collection crew brings back her daughter Rose as a party favor, he decides to save her for his son.  The next girl kidnapped has a mob boss uncle.  The Visconti crime family joins forces with the Angels to rescue both girls.

Reaper’s son is killed in a retaliatory strike by the Viscontis.  Wrongfully blaming the Angels, Reaper kidnaps Mama Mare to use as bait, with plans to kill her daughter.  Mare is rescued before that happens but Reaper escapes. She spends the next three years fearing for her daughter and struggling with PTSD from her ordeal.

Reaper eventually resurfaces with a vengeance, taking and using two more women before he’s through. His heinous acts demand justice, but whose hand will wield the sword?

This book has adult situations and triggers. Written for Ages 18+.

How about a teaser?


“Remember that Fourth of July at the lake?” he rumbled.  “You couldn’t keep your hands off me, even when I warned you what would happen.”
 
“You were g-going away,” she stuttered, gasping at the feel of his hand.  “I wanted to give you a reason to come back.”
 
“You shouldn’t have.  You were too goddamn young and my best friend’s little sister.  I knew Jack would kill me if he learned that we were fooling around.”
 
“I was fifteen,” she reminded him.  “Old enough to know what I wanted.”
 
What she’d wanted was Patrick McLanahan, the boy she’d loved since she was twelve.  Let skeptics laugh, but it was God’s truth.
 
“You were a goddamn tease,” he rumbled.  “You’d worn your swimsuit under your clothes.  You peeled them off right in front of me.  Fuck if every guy there didn’t want you.”
 
“Except you,” she said, remembering his resistance.
 
“Oh, I wanted you, too, babygirl, but I had enough sense to wait until you were older.  You didn’t let me, though, did you?”
 
“No, Sir.”  She supposed that she should be sorry, but she wasn’t the least bit contrite.  She had wanted Patrick to be her first.  If she’d waited—
 
He added a third finger, stretching her out, preparing her for his possession.  “I remember you standing by yourself chest-deep in the water.  The sky was clear enough, you could see the Milky Way stretched out like a stairway to heaven.  There was only half a moon but it was enough to see your breasts when I came over and you took off your top for me.”
 
Despite her blatant invitation, he hadn’t reached for her.  Her whole body had ached for his touch.  Desperate, she had taken matters into her own hands.
 
“You came over to me,” Papa Bear rumbled, pumping his arm and hitting her hot spot.  “You wrapped your fingers around my cock and jacked me until I came in my briefs.”
 
She hadn’t known what else to do.  She’d been trying to get him to notice her, but he was so goddamn stubborn.  He’d kept his distance all night, talking to her brother and their friends and drinking beer that they’d snuck in.  When the first of them followed the girls into the water, Patrick had kicked off his shoes, peeled off his clothes, and waded out to her, wearing nothing but his white cotton underwear.
 
She had tried to get him out of his drawers, too.
 
“I wanted you to screw me.  You told me you wouldn’t.”
 
He had tried to shut her down with a tersely murmured string of swear words and a list of mumbled reasons why they couldn’t sleep together.  She’d given him a handjob, hoping that he’d change his mind and take what she was offering.
 
“And how long did that last?” he asked wryly.  “A month?”
 
“A month and three days.”  An eternity for a teenager teetering on the edge of spontaneous combustion.  “You were headed for boot camp in the morning.”
 
He was leaving, and she was desperate.  Dub Rhodes had been watching her… stalking her ever since his release.  She feared what would happen if he managed to catch her alone.  He was dangerous.  She knew that.  For whatever reason, he’d become fixated on her.  She had no doubt that he was capable of rape.  Given the chance, he’d steal her innocence and rob her of choice.
 
He would take what she had been saving for Patrick.
 
Patrick Seamus McLanahan was the boy of her dreams.  In her naughtiest fantasies, she had imagined him seducing her, deflowering her.  Despite her youth, despite her brother, despite his plans for a career in the military, she’d wanted Patrick to be her first.  On his last night home, she managed to make that happen.  There were things in the past that she wished she could change, but giving herself to Patrick wasn’t one of them.
 
“You were tight.  So fucking tight,” he rumbled, thrusting his hand and biting her neck in a claiming that betrayed his own tumult of emotions.  Outwardly today, he had stayed strong for her, for their family, for the club.  He needed to release his stress, to decompress, to reaffirm life and hope with sex, most basic of human needs.  “I thought I’d never work my way inside, even when I finally made it past your hymen.  Five kids and twenty-eight years later, and you still fit me like a glove.”  

REAPER by Nia Farrell

One-click REAPER here.
It’s even FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

About Nia Farrell

Nia Farrell is the author of one of The 50 Best Indie Books of 2016, a four-times Golden Flogger Finalist, and a founding member of the Wicked Pens.  A multi-genre writer published in nonfiction, poetry, music, articles, and children’s books, with one documentary screenplay under her literary belt, she’s an old soul and a period reenactor who’s been into corsets for centuries.  She started writing romance at her husband’s suggestion and has been published in erotic romance since 2015.

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Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

I’m still beyond grateful that the BDSM Writers’ Con honored Dream Dominant Book 3, FOR SPARROW, with 2018’s Golden Flogger Award for Best BDSM Book in the BDSM Light category. It means so much to me that they not only liked the story, they also approved of the portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle.

In the preface to the book, I talk about the way I write BDSM romance. There are tons of books about billionaire Doms who reveal their brand of Dominance to young, naive submissives. And I love those stories, don’t get me wrong.

But I’m more interested in exploring the lives of real-world people all around us who quietly live the D/s lifestyle and go about their day-to-day business. The deep intimacy involved in a power-exchange relationship is the stuff of romance, and that’s what excites me as a writer. And it’s what you’ll get when you read any of my Dream Dominant books.

Here’s a little snippet from FOR SPARROW.

Judd Farris scanned the room uncomfortably.  He didn’t belong here, not really.  The truth was, he had been friends with Graham Crenshaw.  Good friends.  But Graham was his only connection to this gathering, and Graham was dead. 

Judd had attended the funeral at the church, and then the burial out at the cemetery.  There’d been no need to follow up with the gathering at the Crenshaw home.  But he’d been asked for a favor, and he hadn’t yet completed it.  There hadn’t been opportunity at either the funeral or the burial.  Maybe he could find a moment here.

He took a glass of wine from a buffet table in the dining room simply to have something to do with his hands, then made his way to a vacant spot by the wall in the living room.  His position on the edge of the crowd afforded him a perfect place from which to people-watch.

He’d spotted Jessi in her simple black dress from the moment he’d entered the house.  She was hard to miss with her bright auburn hair, her air of tragedy.  Of course, he’d seen her at the other two places as well, but not up close.  There were dark circles under her green eyes, and she looked thin and drawn, not unexpected under the circumstances.  But she was pretty, too, in an unassuming kind of way.

Take care of Jessi for me. 

Graham’s words echoed through his mind.  He’d met Graham a few years earlier, and they’d struck up an odd friendship.  Graham was a good twenty years Judd’s senior.  Maybe that was why they’d clicked.  Judd had looked to Graham as a mentor, and the two had met for coffee about once a month.  The last time they’d gotten together, nearly three weeks earlier, the older man had seemed preoccupied. 

If something should happen to me, please take care of Jessi for me.  She’ll be lost at first.  

At the time, Judd had noticed that Graham seemed to have lost a little weight, and he was perhaps a bit pale.  Judd had promised that in the unlikely event something should happen, of course he’d be honored to look after Jessi, see that she got her feet under her.  Before they parted that last time, Graham had given him two envelopes.  One was labeled with Judd’s name.  On the other one, he’d written For Sparrow

Open yours if something happens to me.  The other one, you should give to Jessi.  You’ll know when the time is right.

She’s young for a widow, he mused.  Graham had said she was, what, forty-five?  That made her five years older than Judd, he calculated for no reason in particular.  He watched as she hugged her son and daughter.  They seemed close.  Graham had spoken proudly of Adam and Cara, both out on their own and doing well.  He knew Jessi was glad to have them here.  They’d eventually have to go back to their own lives, though. 

He imagined he could feel Jessi’s envelope in the inside pocket of his suit jacket.  He’d opened his immediately when he’d heard the news of Graham’s death.  He’d read it over and over until he knew it by heart. 

Dear Judd,
If you’re reading this, I must be gone.  Dammit, I didn’t mean to leave this soon.  It shocks the hell out of me, really.  I want you to know that I appreciate your friendship.  You’re a good man, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.  Hopefully I’ve been able to pass along some things I learned the hard way. 

I respect you as a man and as a Dominant.  I know that you’ve worked hard to be the best of both that you can be.  That’s why I’m tapping you to be the one to look after my Sparrow for me.  Jessi is a smart, strong woman, but she’s a born submissive, and although I know she’ll be stubborn, she needs a Dominant to take her in hand, at least until she finds someone.  I can’t bear to think of her falling prey to some of those psycho ass-wipes out there posing as Dominants. 

The letter to her explains some of my thinking on this subject.  That and a few other things.  I’ll trust you to give it to her when the time is right. 
The other part of this letter is a to-do list of sorts, things that will need to be done around the house.  Things Jessi will never ask anyone to do, because like I said, she’s stubborn.  I’m also giving you the number to an account that I’ve set up to cover the expenses of these projects.  Please don’t use your own money to fix up the house.  I’d be awfully pissed off if you did. 

I appreciate you, Judd.  I hope that somehow some of the things we talked about will help you as you make your way in the world.  I hope that one day you find your own Sparrow, and that she makes you as happy as Jessi has made me.  You deserve every happiness.

So long, pal.  See you on the other side.
G.

The clatter of something dropped in the kitchen brought his thoughts back to the present.  He watched the new widow as people buzzed around her, pausing to murmur some heartfelt platitude before buzzing off again.  God, people said some stupid shit when they didn’t know what to say.

Judd saw a large woman in an ill-fitting black pantsuit lean over Jessi.  He’s in a better place?  What the fuck kind of thing is that to say?  Jessi was facing his direction, and he watched her eyes widen with disgust.  She simply excused herself and pushed past the ignoramus, retreating into the kitchen.

Thinking that this might be his chance, Judd set down his glass and followed her.  He made it into the kitchen in time to see her disappear through the back door.  He continued to follow her, but hesitated just outside.  Jessi crossed the pool deck and perched on the far side of the spa.  He watched her hunch over, and he realized that she was crying. 

Shit!  I’ll know when the time is right?  I sure as hell know when the time is wrong.

He waited a few minutes longer before beginning to slowly walk towards her.  His loafer scraped on an uneven paver, and she immediately sat up and looked his way. 

“I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to bother you,” he offered.

“I just needed some air.”  She wiped at her face, and seemed to be trying to hide the fact that she’d been crying.  As if someone would judge her for mourning.  “I buried my husband today.  That’s the first time I said that out loud.”  There was a haunted look in her eyes.

He felt his heart melting in his chest.  “I’ll leave you alone.  I just wanted to say,” he cleared his throat, “that Graham was a good man.  He was my friend and I’ll miss him.”

She smiled sadly.  “He’d be so please that you came.  Did you work with Graham?”

This is so not the right time to get into all that.  “No.  We were friends.  I’m Judd, by the way.”

She seemed to take in what he was saying, but he noticed that she didn’t introduce herself.  He decided to push forward.  “I thought maybe I would come back on Saturday, maybe help you with the lawn,” he said.

She gave a vague answer, and he felt that he’d done enough for one day.  “Alright, Jessi,” he said.  “Take care, now.”

–FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3

One-click your copy of FOR SPARROW today!

New Year, New Pre-Order–BRIDLING LUCY by Sierra Brave

A Spirited Girl. A Reluctant Dom. Fated Mates.

Stubborn, prideful and self-disciplined, Chance Locklear believes his way is always right, and he doesn’t like hiccups is in his strict routine so when the matriarch of his equine-shifter clan saddles him with a spoiled, twenty-one-year-old brat from out-of-town, he’s none too pleased.

While growing up as a member of a rogue-shifter clan, Lucy Tate didn’t have the luxury of an easy or predictable life, but she’s learned to live with her parent’s self-centered behavior causing problems for her or leaving her in the lurch. When her step-father’s latest hijinks force her to abandon her job as a blackjack dealer and skip town, she resents having to live with a stranger and work as a maid while hiding out. To make matters worse, she’s been placed in the care of an arrogant but sexy game warden/werehorse who demands her respect.

The first time Chance pulled her over his lap for a spanking, she was shocked and angry, but her body reacted to his touch in a completely different way. Just as the two begin to give into their shared attraction and admit they are fated mates, outside forces show up to pull them apart. Will destiny, love, and amazing sex be enough to save their relationship?

Warning: Bridling Lucy is a smoking hot, stand-alone romance with graphic sexual language. If you are offended by corporal punishment/adult discipline or sizzling, put-you-in-the-moment love scenes, you might want to look for another book.

SEXY TEASER

He stood, taking hold of her arm before leading her back over the carpenter’s horse.

“I’m going to give you five on the bare.”

“Yes, Sir.” Her voice was barely a squeak.

He stood back for a better look. “Spread your legs.”

“Sir?”

“I warned you I’d see everything.”

“Yes, Sir.” She parted her legs as far as she could with her underwear still around her knees. “Is that good?”

“Perfect.” He swallowed hard as he eyed her swollen pussy, glistening with wet arousal. His cock twitched and his head swam as her heady scent intoxicated him. “Ready?”

BRIDLING LUCY is out January 11, 2019!
Be sure to read all the way to the end of this article for a GIVEAWAY!

CLICK TO PRE-ORDER BRIDLING LUCY ( US)
PREORDER (UK)
PREORDER (Canada)

Sierra Brave is a multi-published author of smoking hot romance. She writes across genres, dabbling in a little bit of everything, including ménage and BDSM.  Her love of erotic fiction started in her last year of high school when she first read the sensual classic, Fanny Hill. She felt so naughty yet liberated with her copy tucked away in her book bag and hopes her work will have the same delicious effect on her readers.

AUTHOR’S LINKS

Website: http://sierrabrave.rocks/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sierra-Brave/e/B00YZEU9PI/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sierra-brave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sierra-Brave-1422713414692067/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BraveSierra
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sierrabraveauthor/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFbGbBXRdOvfHOZ6i_Zg6Cg

GIVEAWAY
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Out TODAY From Maggie Carpenter!


Does an ancient hourglass hold the key to their happiness,
or is their fate in the hands of random coincidence?

TIMELESS OBSESSION, a contemporary fantasy romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Maggie Carpenter, is out today!

What’s it all about? See for yourself.

MASON
She’s all I can think about. 
Am I obsessed? 
That’s not the kind of man I am, but every time I see her with some hot new guy it makes me crazy. 
I want to own her.
Possess her.
Take her down a path I know she’d love…if she dared to travel it. 
If she dared to trust me.

CHLOE
Why can’t I shake him?
Why do I ache for his kiss and his arms wrapped around me? 
Why does my stomach churn when I see a woman draped over his tall, muscular frame?Why must I endure this suffering?
WHY? WHY? WHY?
I barely know him, but he’s all I want.
He’s all I’ve ever wanted.
Am I obsessed?
I must be. 
I hate him.
And I love him. Desperately. 

* * *(NOTE: This novel was previously released under the title The Hourglass. The book has been rewritten and re-edited. It contains scenes of consensual power exchange.)

One-click TIMELESS OBSESSION today!

Weekend Excerpt–New Year, HOT New Series!

I’m so excited about the New Year! 2019 is bringing my brand new series, Redheads & Ranchers, a three-book collection of stand-alone novels featuring gorgeous redheads and the ranchers they can’t resist. First up is JENNY’S VOICE, due out early this winter.

Upon returning to his ranch after picking up a new client’s horse, gifted horse trainer Cole Caldwell is shocked to find a terrified young woman hiding in his horse trailer. She’s been beaten, and beneath his old barn jacket, she’s barely dressed. She’s not even wearing shoes.

Mute since the violent day she was taken, Jenny Stone saw her chance to escape the thugs who’ve been holding her for the past two years, and she took it. Hiding in the horse trailer seemed like her only option. Now, how can she explain to Cole that dangerous criminals will be out there looking for her? How long can she hide at the ranch? And can she ever recover her voice?

Here’s a little sneak peek at JENNY’S VOICE.

After Cole left, Jenny aimlessly wandered around the house. She gazed again at the photos hanging in the hallway, making a mental note to ask Cole about them sometime.

In the kitchen, she found the chicken he’d mentioned, a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. She chewed her lip thoughtfully, then opened an upper cupboard. There she found flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a small container of dried parsley. She frowned. Dried would do if he didn’t have fresh parsley, she supposed.

In the fridge, she found butter, grated Parmesan, a lemon, and a partial bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She surveyed everything on the counter, frowning.

Capers. If only he has capers. Dragging a chair from the table, she climbed up and peered into the upper cabinets once more. Shoving aside all the items in the front, she leaned up on her tiptoes, straining to see what else might be in there. All the way in the back, she spied a small round jar. She had to climb onto the counter to reach it.

Capers! Yes! Gleefully, she pumped her fist in the air.

Now that she had everything she needed, she filled the sink with water and submerged the package of frozen chicken. Cole had said he’d be gone a couple of hours. That should be plenty of time to prepare chicken piccata.

Before, Jenny hadn’t done a lot of cooking. She’d always been busy with school and her friends. Her mother hadn’t much of a cook herself, preferring to pick up take-out on her way home from work. That was before.

After, alone in her little room, sometimes she was given old magazines to pass the time. Never anything with news, mind you, but magazines about home décor and cooking, issues that someone else had thumbed through and gotten tired of, always months out of date. But to Jenny, they’d been a tiny window onto the outside world.

Hour after hour, she’d pore over the articles and recipes, even creating the dishes in the kitchen of her imagination, following step after step. Eyes closed, she’d mixed seasonings, sautéed the beef or chicken or whatever the directions called for, and at times, she’d have sworn she actually smelled the dish she was cooking.

A recipe for chicken piccata had particularly interested her, and she’d read it so many times, she had memorized it. And with all the ingredients, she was finally going to bring the dish to life here in Cole’s kitchen.

While she waited for the chicken to thaw, she gazed out the kitchen window. Across the yard was another pasture she hadn’t noticed before. She couldn’t see any horses there, but waving in the gentle March breeze were scores of wildflowers.

They’d look beautiful on the table with dinner. Anxiously, she wrung her hands. Could she risk going outside? Cole wasn’t home. There would be no one to protect her.

Her stomach flipped at the thought of Victor or his men watching her. That was stupid. He had no idea where she was. No way to trace her. How could he?

She shook her head. I will not let Victor run my life. Not anymore.

With determined steps, she walked to the front door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Glancing around, she saw no one. The horses were still out in the pasture, although Minnie had returned to the gate as though she wanted to go back to the barn.

The only sound she could hear was the wind whispering through the oak trees along the drive. She glanced to her left and saw the flowers she’d seen from the window. Blue sat at her side and looked up at her questioningly. She patted his head.

Twenty steps. Twenty running steps will get me to the flowers. Then twenty steps back. She breathed in deeply and glanced down at the dog.

Heart pounding, she took off sprinting across the side yard, ducking under the fence rail and into the field. Blue barked happily and chased along beside her, unsure of the game but pleased to be playing anyway. Jenny stopped at a large patch of bright yellow poppies and grabbed a handful. She was about to run back when she spied tall purple lupines further into the field. Glancing around to reassure herself that no one was around, she darted to the lupines and snatched a few before running back to the house.

She slammed the front door closed and leaned against it, panting. Ears up and tail wagging, Blue grinned up at her as if to ask if they could do it again. Jenny smiled and patted his head, then went to find a vase for the flowers.

–JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1

Keep watching right here for the official cover reveal of JENNY’S VOICE, and for information about its release date.

In the meantime, who doesn’t love a modern-day adult fairy tale?

See why CHASING ORDINARY is the
2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Medalist in Literary Erotica.
Get your copy here:
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

Watch This Space–BLOODLINE: The Beginning by April Fitts

If Werewolf/Wiccan/Fantasy/Dark Adult Romance is your thing, you are SO in luck!

Award-winning author April Fitts is all set to release BLOODLINE: The Beginning in February, but she’s giving us a sneak peek now.

Hidden in a cave; deep in the dark forest from the most vicious rogues, you will find a woman starving and alone, Amelia Dawn.  Amelia has only but her diary and a few berries to survive.  As her sources and sanity run low, she is forced out of her haven only do discover an inviting lake nearby.  Her desperate attempt for a bath and a quick taste of heaver come with a price, Alpha Marcus Calister and the thirsty Rowlers that both crave her enchanted soul.

Here’s a little teaser:

The Rowler starts to cough profusely as the color of its skin pales with every struggled breath.  The Rowler ask, “Why do you care so much about her? She is a simple human after all.”

Without letting go, he turns and faces me for the very first time.  As we look at each other, my tearful emerald eyes lock into this blazing blue eyes.  His breath hitches in shock as he utters one single word,

“MATE!”

BLOODLINE: THE BEGINNING comes out in February, but you can use this LINK to read it now on Wattpad.

April Fitts is the winner of an impressive list of awards:

1st place The Unity Awards
1st place The Chaos Awards
1st place The Fallen Angel Awards
1st place The Night Time Awards
1st place Jo Awards
2nd place The Rose Awards
3rd place Best Plot–The Fallen Angel Awards
3rd place The Chaos Awards: 2

Find out more about April at her website.

 

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