Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

Because who doesn’t love a modern-day adult fairytale?

When Montana sculptor Petey Cavanaugh returned to New York City for an exhibit of her work, she didn’t plan on meeting the man of her dreams. Too bad she doesn’t realize that the handsome businessman is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

Petey is everything Nik ever wanted. He’ll have to tell her the truth eventually. But for now, he’s enjoying his first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she learns his true identity?

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY.

Petey stared into the dressing room mirror.  “Oh, my God, I look like Alice Cooper on a three-day bender!”

“And we’re getting a picture of it, too,” Colin said, snapping a photo with his phone before she could protest.  “Because this is going to be a hell of a ‘before and after.’”

Colin clapped his hands loudly.  “Okay, people, we have an extreme makeover.  STAT.  Let’s see…”  He circled Petey, brow knit in concentration.  “First, we ditch this horrid dress.  Honey, I don’t know what you were thinking.”

“Unh, this was my friend Jules’ idea,” Petey snapped back.

“Well, what did you do to make her hate you because this thing is a nightmare.  Arms up,” he directed. 

“This from a guy in orange pants,” Petey snarked, as she raised her arms.  Two female assistants gripped the hem of the dress and pulled it over her head. 

“These are harvest rust, and they’re Prada.”

“Dude, they’re orange.”  Uncomfortably, she clutched her arms in front of herself in a vain attempt to cover her panties and bra. 

Colin barked with laughter.  “I like you.  You’re feisty.”  He continued to peruse her closely.  “And you have great tits.” 

He reached to cup one of her breasts and she batted his hand away.  “Hey!  Watch it!”

He just rolled his eyes.  “Honey, please!  Tits are not my thing, except the way they fill out couture.” 

To one of the assistants, he snapped, “Elaine, go to the stash of Agent Provocateur and find something in a, what?  34D?”  Petey nodded mutely. 

“And Zoe?  I’m seeing her in that pink Solace London.  The one with the mock turtleneck?”  The two women hurried off, presumably to find what they’d been sent to get.

Colin turned back to Petey.  “Get out of your wet undies and slip on a robe.  We’ll get you cleaned up, and then we’ll polish you until you sparkle.  Don’t worry about a thing.”  He winked at her and sent her on her way. 

For the next twenty minutes, an entire team worked to put Petey back together.  Her hair was washed and her face was cleaned.  While someone worked on her makeup, another person gave her a pedicure, while a third did her nails.  Finally, her hair was blown out. 

Colin returned to inspect their handiwork.  Nodding approvingly, he smiled at Petey.  “Okay red, in the dressing room, you’ll find new lingerie, a dress, and a pair of shoes.  Get dressed and come on out.”

Petey stepped into the dressing room and closed the door.  The mirror was covered with paper, and she’d only seen a maddeningly brief glimpse of herself in the makeup chair.  A plush chair held a cardboard box lined with tissue paper.  Inside were a pretty bra and panty set.  A pink dress hung on a hook on the wall, and she saw a shoe box on the floor. 

Lifting the bra from the box, she admired the sheer burgundy fabric, embroidered with peach and deep pink flowers.  The tag still hanging from the garment announced its price–$215.  Petey gaped.  The matching panties turned out to be a thong, priced at $130. 

Her most extravagant lingerie purchases had been a few bras from the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale.  It had taken over an hour to find something she liked, and she’d had a sneaking suspicion they’d made a stack of ugly bras just so they could discount them.

Shaking off her reservations, she dressed quickly, careful to pull the dress over her head without looking at the tag.  It seemed better not to know. 

The shoebox held a pretty pair of mauve velvet ankle-strap stilettos.  She sank onto the chair and fastened them on her feet.  God, what I wouldn’t give for a mirror right now

Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was exactly twenty-five minutes since he’d left her to go upstairs.  He.  She had no idea of his name.  In all the chaos, she hadn’t thought to ask. 

When she opened the dressing room door, a crowd was waiting, with Colin smack in the middle.  There was a collective gasp as he snapped a photo.  The group burst into applause, and Colin took a bow.  “That, ladies and ladies, is why they call me the ‘miracle worker’.

He took Petey by the hand.  “Come look,” he said.  He led her to a tri-fold mirror at the top of a small dais.  “Go ahead,” he nodded.

Petey carefully climbed the three steps to the top and stopped short.  Gazing back at her was the most beautiful self ever to greet her from a mirror.  Her long red hair was blown out silky and smooth, her makeup, including false eyelashes, expertly applied.  The pastel pink dress fit her like it was made for her, the mock turtle collar hugging her neck, leaving her shoulders and arms bare.  The clingy knit hugged her curves, and the hem hit just below her knees.  The color complimented her hair and skin flawlessly. 

Colin stepped up behind her.  “Naturally, the dress is meant to be shorter.  But because you’re such a shorty, it hangs longer on you.  If we had the time, I’d have it taken up.”

Petey turned to him, eyes shining.  “Thank you so much.  I can’t possibly afford these things.  I’ll take them to the one-hour cleaner first thing tomorrow and return them.”

The man gave a friendly chuckle.  “Don’t worry about it, sweetie.”

“Hello?  Is she ready?” a male voice called.

Petey turned around.  Her rescuer had returned.  For the first time, she noticed his British accent.  Their eyes met and she gasped lightly.  He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen.  His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed, a thin scruff of beard defining the contours of his chiseled square jaw.  Deep blue eyes gazed back at her, wide with apparent surprise. 

Certainly, she’d looked different when last he’d seen her.  As had he, to be honest.  He was now dry, his hair neatly back in place.  While the suit he’d worn earlier had been blue, the current one was a deep charcoal. 

They stared across the room for what felt like an eternity.  Finally, she broke the ice.  “Hi.”

“Hello,” he replied softly.  “Are you ready?”

Petey looked to Colin, then back at him.  “Yes, I think so.”

“Before I send you back out into the monsoon, I’m putting a coat on you.  No more getting drenched.”  An assistant appeared with a trench coat in a black and white chevron pattern.  Colin helped her into it.

She threw her arms around him.  “Thank you!  Thank you for everything.”

“My pleasure, red.  You come back and see me anytime.  I mean that.”  He kissed both her cheeks.  “Have fun.”

She headed to the doorway where he waited.  He called across to Colin.  “Thank you.  You’re a lifesaver.”

Colin laughed and waved.  As the pair left, he shook his head. 

“Well, kids, I think we just witnessed history.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

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

Release Day! With Love From Dublin

WITH LOVE FROM DUBLIN
Series: Voyages of the Heart, Volume 3
Cover Designer: T.E. Black with T.E. Black Designs
Release Date: September 26, 2019
Genre: Multi-Genre Romance
Only 99 cents for a limited time!

VOYAGES OF THE HEART
Cities around the world have their own charming allure which pulls you in, allowing you to enjoy their secrets. They offer love, passion, laughter, healing, and even heartache. 
The authors have penned these emotions and more into their stories one page at a time. Pack your luggage to join us on our voyage of the heart. Our next destination: Dublin!
WITH LOVE FROM DUBLIN
This voyage of love encompasses romance with an Irish twist that will have you kissing the Blarney Stone for a chance at true love. Being the perfect city to explore, each story is bound to bring you surprises along the journey. Ancient, present, and future combine when hearts mend together, forming their own traditions of song and dance. Known for its culture, power, and intelligence, Dublin will lure you into its magical grasp. Are you ready to risk your heart in Dublin?

Allison LaFleur, Alyssa Drake, Amy Cecil,
Amy McKinley, Ashlee Shades, Bella Emy,
Brian Miller, Erin Lee, G. L. Finch,
Gracie Wilson, Jade Royal, Katherine LE White,
Maria Vickers, Nia Farrell, Rosie Chapel,
Roux Cantrell, Samatha Harris

PURCHASE NOW FOR ONLY 99 CENTS!!
With Love From London
AVAILABLE IN KU! 
With Love From New Orleans
AVAILABLE IN KU!
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Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

A few months ago, I was invited to join an anthology of fall romantic suspense novels. I jumped at the chance to write a story that has been swirling around in my brain for a while. Here’s the official blurb for MIDNIGHT COVE.

They say still waters run deep.
In the tiny lakeside town of Midnight Cove, still waters harbor dark secrets.
Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath. 
Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  
From the moment she arrives, she realizes that
she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake. 
But she’s okay with that.
In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.
Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar. 
Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  
But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

MIDNIGHT COVE was a chance to stretch my writing into contemporary romance with a paranormal twist. How about a teaser?

When the battered white pickup disappeared around a bend in the long gravel drive, Bree Blaylock kept her foot steady on the gas pedal of her 1975 Beetle.  Mr. Meyer would wait. 

After her long drive, she wanted to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the ancient live oaks that lined the way from the highway to the house she planned to rent for the next two months. 

Grey-green tendrils of Spanish moss dripped from the broad branches that arched over the gravel driveway.  Though the September air was crisp, brilliant sunlight filtered through the moss-hung trees and dappled the ground in patches of gold.

Beside her on the passenger seat, Murphy whined.  Bree glanced at him and smiled.  “It’s okay, boy.  We’re almost there.”

While for her the 8½ hour drive from Tampa to western South Carolina had seemed long, for her three-year-old yellow lab, it must have seemed interminable.  Although for his first big road trip, Murphy had done remarkably well. 

As the yellow VW curved around the next bend, the house came into view.  It was the 1920s Craftsman-style house she’d discovered online, a charming vintage structure of pale-green clapboard, two stories high with an additional narrow attic perched in the center at the top. 

The covered front porch ran beyond the width of the house to form a carport on the left side.  Wide front steps led up to the porch, its arched supports perched on cream-painted columns that were wider at the bottom than they were at the top. 

Ahead, Mr. Meyer had parked his truck and stood waiting for her.  She pulled up beside him and opened her door.  Before she could get out, Murphy scrambled across her and ran happily snuffling around the front lawn.

“This is the house,” the man said, hooking a thumb over his shoulder.

Bree nodded.  “It looks exactly like it did online.”  She glanced up at the front of the house.  A hint of movement in the attic window caught her eye, and she frowned slightly.

“I took the pictures myself,” Mr. Meyer informed her.  “My rental’s on the up and up.”

“I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t, I just meant that it looked familiar.”  Bree flicked a glance back up to the attic, then followed the man up the front steps.

As he unlocked the heavy front door, Bree noted the beveled glass panes in the top third of the wood panels.  She loved everything about the vintage home.  It was exactly what she’d been looking for when she’d decided to leave Florida.

The door swung open, and Mr. Meyer preceded her inside.  While Bree took in the high ceilings and dark wood trim in the living room, he launched into his tour narrative. 

“You can see the parlor,” he commented over his shoulder as he continued toward the back of the house.  “Back here’s the kitchen and the den.  ‘Course, you’ve got lake views from any room on the back of the house.”

Mesmerized by the tranquil sight of the lake, Bree approached the bank of windows that ran along the back wall of the open-concept kitchen and den.  She sighed deeply. 

This.  This was exactly what she needed.

He led her upstairs, showing her four bedrooms in total, two overlooking the front of the house, and two, including the master, overlooking the lake.  A large bathroom featured vintage tile and an antique clawfoot bathtub.  Off the master bedroom, a terrace doubled the deck downstairs off the den.  A door in the hallway led up a narrow flight of stairs to a small attic that ran front to back like a spine across the top of the house.

Mr. Meyer led the way back down to the first floor.  Bree couldn’t resist returning to the windows overlooking the lake. 

“What was it you say you do?” he asked.

She turned and smiled softly.  “I’m a writer.”

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, he nodded.  “It’s unusual, is all, you wanting to rent the cabin this late in the year.”  He nodded toward the lake.  “Folks like to come in the summer to swim and fish and that.  In the fall now, it’s quiet.  Only a handful of people live on the lake year-around.  Most people live in town.”

“Quiet sounds perfect to me.  I have a deadline, and I need to get busy writing.”

The man nodded again, pursing his lips.  “And we agreed on a price?”

Bree rummaged through her leather shoulder bag and produced a white envelope.  She held it up.  “We did.  And you accepted my cash offer.”

He shrugged slightly.  “I don’t usually discount my cabin…”  He let his comment hang.

“Like you said, it’s late in the year.”  Bree straightened her five-foot-four frame and looked him square in the eye.  “And I’m paying you cash, in advance, for two months’ rent.”

After a moment, the old man nodded.  “Cash, in advance.”  He accepted the envelope, briefly peering inside.  Then he handed her the key and headed toward the front door.

Out on the lawn, Murphy was still exploring along the edge of the woods.  Mr. Meyer stopped at the driver’s side door of his pickup.  “You need anything, you can call.  And I’m at the hardware store every day.”

Bree pictured Meyer Hardware on the main street of Midnight Cove.  It was where they’d arranged to meet when she’d called to make her reservation two days earlier.

“I live up over the store,” he continued.  “So if anything breaks, you can let me know right away.  If I can’t fix it, I’ll find someone who can.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” she murmured.

Meyer glanced up at the house, then looked at Bree.  “Just so we’re clear, though.”  He held up the envelope.  “No refunds.  You decide you’re not staying, you can’t get your money back.”

Bree drew a ragged breath, thinking about where she’d just left.  “I’ll be staying,” she said firmly.

The old man nodded.  “Alright, then.  I suppose I’ll see you in town.  Not too many redheads living in Midnight Cove.”

With that, he climbed into his truck, backed around, and headed down the driveway.

When he was out of sight, Bree called Murphy.  “Come on, boy.  Let’s go get settled.”
 
**
 
From the attic window, he watched as the old man drove away, leaving the redhead and her dog standing on the driveway.  A dog.  That was a development.  Might be good, could be bad, he considered. 

On the one hand, animals usually seemed to see him, or at least be aware of his presence.  The family dog or a cat staring into a seemingly empty corner was sometimes enough to freak out its owners.  The dog’s attention could, however, make it difficult for him to move about undetected. 

Didn’t matter, he shook his head.  He’d concentrate his energy, knock over a few things, and send the woman and her dog skittering back to wherever they’d come from.

Out on the driveway, the woman retrieved a pair of black bags from the front of the yellow Beetle and carried them inside.  From the corner of the master bedroom, he watched as she unpacked some clothes and hung them in the closet. 

Another trip to the car produced a big blue dog bed and a large tan leather shoulder bag.  When she returned inside, to his surprise, she rearranged the den, placing a small table against one of the back windows then adding a chair.  From her bag, she removed a thin electronic gadget and placed it on the table. 

Although in life, he’d never known anything like it, he’d seen other summer folk with the same kind of thing.  It was like a typewriter, but you didn’t put paper in it.  He couldn’t figure out the purpose of the gizmo, but it really didn’t matter. 

She put the dog bed in the corner beside the newly created workspace, and the dog happily launched himself onto it, burrowing into the soft cushion and lolling gleefully.  The woman smiled at the dog.  “Who’s my good boy?” she asked softly.

She squatted to briefly rub the dog’s belly, then crossed to the French doors that opened onto the back deck.  As she stood gazing out over the lake, he glanced around the room, assessing what might give him the biggest bang for his buck. 

An empty rocking chair moving on its own accord was always a good bet.  If he could slam shut her typing gadget, that might be a nice touch as well.  As he made his way across the room to the rocking chair, the dog let out a low growl. 

Good, he thought.  Now she’ll be paying attention.

Concentrating intensely, he reached for the back of the rocking chair.  With effort, he managed to push it forward once.  It rocked forward and back a handful of times before slowing to a stop. 

The dog woofed once, then whined.  The woman watched as the chair settled.  Then she covered her face with her hands.

Unsure, he wavered for a moment before he made his way to the desk.  He was just reaching out to slam shut the device when she spoke.

“You should know that I’m not going anywhere.  I just gave the owner all the money I have in the world.  I don’t have anywhere else to go.  You’re stuck with me until the middle of November.”

Shocked, he froze.  No one had ever addressed him before.  But his surprise was quickly replaced by determination.  This was his house.  Where she went was her problem.  Forget closing the lid of her electronic device.  He’d shove the damn thing right off the table.

He was just gathering his strength when he heard a sound.  Turning, he saw that she’d sunk into the rocking chair, the very object that should have sent her running.  Holding her face in her hands, she sobbed like her heart was breaking. 

Immediately, he felt his resolve melting away.  He didn’t mind scaring people.  It was just good, clean fun, really.  But causing her to cry made him feel like a shit. 

He sighed to himself and watched her for a moment.  It looked like he might be stuck with the redhead and her dog for a bit longer than he’d thought.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

Although eventually I plan to publish it under my own Bratty Ginger Books imprint, MIDNIGHT COVE is currently part of DARK SECRETS, an anthology of 9 steamy, suspense romance novels you’re going to love.

DARK SECRETS comes out October 11,
just in time for your Halloween reading pleasure.
It’s only 99¢, and it’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Reserve your copy today!
https://amzn.to/2kppsTN

In the Mood for Something Spooky…

🎃 Just in time for Halloween… 👻

DARK SECRETS

A collection of suspenseful, steamy romance novels from 9 of your favorite authors,
including me!

It’s only 99¢, and it’s even FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

It’s your first chance to get your hands on my spooky new novel, MIDNIGHT COVE.

Coming October 11–Reserve your copy now!

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Weekend Excerpt–Skinnydipping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Rannigan’s Redemption Book 1

“… The journey of Michael and Maggie will carry you through a gripping narrative of suspense and enticement. The world of defense law surfaces as dark and decadent, driving the main characters to the fringes of heightened intensity. The character motivations are easy to understand, but as the story unravels, highly charged emotions plunge the characters into uncharted territories…” –5-Star Amazon Review

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel epic contemporary steamy law drama. It’s the story of the complicated relationship between slick New York attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, the smart redhead he hired straight out of law school to join his highly specialized 50th-floor practice.

The two are attracted to each other from the beginning, but Maggie realized her crush on Michael is all but hopeless. He prefers shallow liasons to relationships, and she’s too smart to settle for that. Still…

Here’s a teaser from RESISTING RISK, Book 1 of Rannigan’s Redemption.


Michael and Maggie applauded with the rest of the guests following the finale of the fireworks display before returning to the table to collect Ben.  She shivered a bit as they walked.   

“Are you cold?” Michael asked, running a hand down her bare arm.  “You are!”  When they reached the table he removed his suit coat from the back of the chair where he’d left it and draped it over her shoulders.  “Here, that should be better.” 

Maggie pulled the coat around herself and as she did, his scent enveloped her.  “Thanks!  I didn’t realize how chilly it had gotten.” 

Ben was conscious and blinking in confusion.  “Holy God, I thought we were being invaded,” he said.  “Where is everybody?” 

Maggie laughed.  “Yes, we were invaded by aliens and they beamed up everyone except us.  Come on, it’s time to go.  We’ve dodged a bullet.  Michael has kindly offered for us to ride back to the city with him rather than taking the train.” 

Ben cocked his head and looked adoringly at Michael.  “Somehow I knew you were my knight in shining armor.  What, more wine?  Don’t mind if I do,” he cooed, downing a half-full glass that was in front of him. 

“Laying it on a little thick there, chief,” Maggie cautioned quietly, but Michael just laughed. 

“Enjoy some more wine for a few minutes, I’ll call my driver to come to the front,” he said.  He completed his call and poured more wine for himself and Maggie. 

They sat chatting about the fireworks and the music, leaving out their time on the dance floor.  Maggie wasn’t sure how she felt about it.  Being in Michael’s arms had been glorious.  Wearing his coat, surrounded by his seductive scent, the memory of his voice in her ear…  She furtively glanced at him, desire causing her pulse to pound.   She knew that she wanted him.  She also knew that she was a little tipsy and that she might not be making the best decisions.   

“What is your cologne?” she blurted out.  Case in point of reckless decisions, she thought. 

He grinned in amusement.  “It’s Bleu de Chanel.” 

“It’s heavenly,” she said before she could stop herself.  “It’s just that, well, your jacket smells like you, which is good, really.  I mean it’s very nice.” 

“You’re drunk, Mags,” he observed quietly. 

She made a valiant attempt to look at him squarely.  “Maybe just a tiny little bit.” 

Michael checked his phone.  “The car’s out front.  Are we ready?”  Between the two of them, they managed to get Ben to his feet and across the expanse of lawn to the driveway where a medium sized stretch limousine waited, driver holding open the back door for them. 

Wide-eyed, Maggie looked around Ben to Michael.  For his part, Michael looked a little embarrassed.  “Jana likes to ride in a limo,” he shrugged.   

Ben had fallen asleep again and together they maneuvered him into the car, laying him gently onto the black leather couch that ran down the driver’s side of the passenger compartment before they settled back into the plush leather seat at the rear of the car. 

“Traffic is heavier than usual, Mr. Rannigan,” the driver told him.  “The drive may take a couple of hours.” 

“Thank you, Mason.  And thanks for taking care of Ms. Hansen.” 

“Of course, Mr. Rannigan.  Happy to help,” the man replied before closing the door. 

Michael turned to Maggie as the car began moving away from the house.  “Hope you don’t mind a bit of a drive.  I hadn’t counted on traffic.” 

“Please!” Maggie said.  “This beats the hell out of public transportation.  And traffic or no, we’ll still get back before we would have on the train.  Thank you for the ride.” 

He smiled.  “My pleasure,” he said.  And meant it, he was mildly surprised to realize.  Impeccable manners had been instilled in him by the aunt with whom he’d lived after his mother had died.  At the time, he’d resented it, but they had served him well.  On the other hand, he often found himself mouthing words he didn’t mean.  Not this time, he thought to himself. 

“Can I offer you a drink?” he asked, motioning to the bar that was opposite the couch on which Ben lay snoring.  Loudly. 

“There’s bourbon and pink champagne.”  Maggie frowned quizzically.  “Pink champagne is Jana’s favorite,” he elaborated somewhat apologetically. 

“I’ll take bourbon if it’s all the same to you,” Maggie responded, trying not to smirk and hoping that she was successful.  Michael turned over two glasses and began to carefully pour bourbon from a crystal decanter.   

“Boy, renting a stretch limo, stocking it with pink champagne,” she muttered to herself.  “She must be some kind of lay.”  Michael glanced at her, shock registering on his face.  “Shit, was that out loud?” she asked. 

“It was,” he answered, handing her a glass of bourbon as he settled back into the seat.  “And truthfully, she’s not all that.” 

It was Maggie’s turn to look shocked.  Michael gave her a wry smile and clinked his glass to hers.  “To nights that turn out differently from the way you expected.” 

They sipped their bourbon wordlessly, occupied with their own thoughts for a few miles.   

“I know it’s none of my business,” Maggie began. 

“Those words are always followed by a ‘but’,” Michael interjected, shaking his head. 

“BUT,” Maggie continued, “I don’t know how you do that.” 

“Do what?” 

“How do you sleep with someone that you don’t even like?  I could tell from the moment we sat at the table that you didn’t like that girl.” 

“Okay, I don’t want to have in-depth conversations with Jana, but did you see her?  Like I said before, it was just the wrong event for her.  She’s great at Nets games, music awards, things like that.” 

“I just couldn’t sleep with someone that I wasn’t attracted to intellectually, that’s all I’m saying.” 

“Is that what’s wrong with Dan?” he probed, happy to be talking about someone besides Jana. 

“He’s a nice guy.  He’s smart and articulate, and not bad looking,” Maggie conceded.  “I just don’t feel that…spark, that’s all.  If I went out with him it wouldn’t be genuine.” 

“You’re picky,” Michael concluded, shaking his head. 

“I deserve to be,” she said quietly.  “You do too.” 

They passed another few miles in silence. 

“You know,” Maggie said, “I hear Disney’s coming out with a new princess movie soon.  And you could take her out for ice cream after.”  She gave Michael a mischievous look. 

Michael gave a reluctant grin and his eyes sparkled in the lights of passing cars.  “You, Mary Margaret Flynn, are a smart ass.  It’s kind of endearing.” 

She grinned at him.  “You’re welcome!” she teased. 

He poured them both more bourbon.  “In a pain-in-the-ass sort of way.” 

They both laughed. 
*************************
“Mags,” she heard out of the shifting fog.  “We’re back in town.  I need you to tell us where to go.” 

She opened her eyes and realized that she’d been sleeping with her head on Michael’s shoulder.   “Oh, God, I’m so sorry.”  She sat up abruptly.  “I didn’t realize…  I wish you’d awakened me.” 

“No worries.  But we need to know exactly where to take Ben and where your place is.” 

Maggie could see the driver watching her in the rear view mirror.  “My place.  Right.”  She gave the address and the driver thanked her, the partition whooshing back into place.  “Ben can sleep it off on my couch.  It won’t be the first time.” 

The car came to a stop in front of Maggie’s apartment.  “Nice building, Mags.  Is the whole thing yours?” 

She fairly snorted.  “In my dreams!  One day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have my own brownstone.  For now I’m happy with a tiny part of the second floor.”  She smiled gratefully.  “Thanks again for the ride.  You are a life saver.”  She moved to open the door but the driver was there first. 

“Let me help you get him inside,” Michael offered.  They both glanced at Ben, who hadn’t so much as shifted during the entire ride. 

She looked back at Michael.  “Probably a good idea.  I won’t be able to get him up the stairs by myself.”  They succeeded in rousing Ben enough for him to put his arms around their shoulders and they moved him to the sidewalk. 

Michael spoke quietly to the driver, who nodded before returning to the driver’s seat and slowly driving away.  Maggie looked at him questioningly.  “I told him to find a place to park.  I’ll call him after we get your date settled.” 

They managed the stairs and Michael leaned Ben between himself and the wall as Maggie unlocked the door and let them into her apartment.  “Let’s just lay him on the couch,” she said, cocking her head in the direction of a large grey velvet sofa with navy blue accent pillows.   

They worked together to get the unconscious and snoring Ben safely onto the couch, Michael studiously ignoring the way his jacket gapped open, inviting views of Maggie’s breasts as she leaned over to place a pillow under Ben’s head. 

“Thank you so much, Michael,” she said as she removed his jacket and held it uncertainly.  “Can I offer you a beer or coffee or something?  Or do you need to go?” 

“Coffee sounds good,” he answered. 

Maggie smiled brightly as she gently placed his jacket over the back of a kitchen chair and set about making coffee.  Michael wandered around the living room area to the bay window and looked out over the street.  He turned back around to take in the view of the room.  It was small, of course, but nice in a quirky sort of way.  She’d left on a dim lamp near the window that gave enough light to the space without being intrusive.  “This is a nice place,” he commented. 

She smiled at him from the kitchen counter.  “Thanks.  And again, I really appreciate your giving us a ride.” 

“Mags, you’ve thanked me about a thousand times,” he said gently. 

She blushed slightly.  “Well, I didn’t want to forget,” she said sheepishly. 

He watched her as she worked in the kitchen, measuring out coffee into a French press, putting a kettle of water on the stove, little mundane domestic tasks.  His mind skipped to flashes of her from throughout the night.  Slowly it dawned on him what it was about Maggie that made him uncomfortable. 

She’s real.  She has no hidden agenda.  She isn’t playing some game, she doesn’t want anything from me.  He sighed deeply. She’s the kind of girl who could make you forget your own rules. 

Michael slowly crossed the room and stood by the kitchen counter.  “Can I help with something?” 

“No, it’s all done.  We’re just waiting for the water to boil.”  She leaned back resting her hand on the counter. 

He gently placed his hand on hers.  “You…are very dangerous,” he whispered, lifting her hand to his lips and kissing it softly, his deep brown eyes peering into hers.  Her brow furrowed, perplexed. 

Gently, he tilted up her chin with his fingers and leaned down, meeting her lips with his own, lightly at first, and then more urgently.  He ran his other hand down the smooth fabric of the back of her dress coming to rest on her firm ass as he probed her mouth with his tongue, seeking hers.   

Maggie responded, matching the heat of his kiss, reaching up, tangling her fingers in the hair behind his ear, giving herself over to his embrace.  Michael’s hand left her ass and smoothed its way back up to her side, her ribs, stopping just under her breast.  Reluctantly he pulled himself away. 

Maggie breathlessly gazed up at him.  He smiled gently.  “We’re both a little drunk,” he said.  “Which is why I’d better go.”  Tenderly, he kissed her once again and walked out the door. 

RESISTING RISK, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 1 by Pandora Spocks

Start Rannigan’s Redemption at the beginning.
RESISTING RISK is available at Amazon:
mybook.to/ResistingRisk

And don’t miss the rest of the story: RUNNING ROGUE and RANSOMING REDEMPTION.

Great news for iBooks fans!
Rannigan’s Redemption is available at the Apple Store.

Wild Hearts Romance has published Rannigan’s Redemption at the Apple Store. They’ve given them hot new covers and renamed them TEMPTATION, DESPERATION, and REDEMPTION.

And…Book 1, REDEMPTION, is FREE! Get your copy today. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/temptation/id1448348565?mt=11

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE, Out February 12, 2019!

JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1,
comes out February 12!

Jenny Stone survived the brutal murder of her parents only to be taken by the ruthless crime boss responsible for their deaths. Nearly two years later, when she sees her chance to escape, she takes it, slipping into the horse trailer of an unsuspecting cowboy.

Cole Caldwell leads a quiet life as an in-demand horse trainer, able to charge high fees from his wealthy clients to support his non-profit activities. When he discovers a terrified young woman hiding in his trailer, he’s beyond shocked.

She’s been beaten, and apparently, she doesn’t speak. Cole is determined to see that no one ever lays a hand on Jenny again.

But she’s convinced dangerous men are looking for her. What will happen if they find her?

Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter of JENNY’S VOICE. And don’t miss the book trailer following the excerpt.


RUN!

Every fiber of her being screamed at her, willing her to shake off the fog that veiled her mind, willing her to save herself.

Jenny Stone shakily pushed herself up into a sitting position in the back seat of the black SUV, ignoring the pulsing of her swollen left eye, trying desperately to focus with her right one as she peered through the dark-tinted windows.

Her minders, Slater and Wilcox (she had no idea of their first names, nor did she care to know) had left her when they’d gone into the truck stop restaurant where the truck sat parked.  They’d assumed she was unconscious, which she had been, momentarily knocked out by Slater’s right jab to the left side of her face.

This after backhanding her across the mouth.  Her mouth was filled with the harsh metallic tang of her own blood, and she tentatively pushed her tongue toward her puffy lip.  Thankfully, her teeth seemed to be intact, no thanks to Slater’s meaty blow.

All because she’d fought him.  And she’d do it again. Every time.

She might have no say when it came to Victor Sorkin, when he summoned her in the middle of the odd night, or when he gifted her to certain esteemed business associates.  But she’d be goddamned if she’d allow Victor’s slimy minions to presume to take their fill of her.

The trio had been on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  An arms dealer with whom Victor hoped to do business was staying at the Four Seasons.  Jenny was meant to be a good-will offering for the weekend.
At the moment, she had a bigger problem, though.

“Now what are you going to do?” Wilcox had asked.  Jenny, her head pounding, had feigned unconsciousness.

“She’s all beat up.  We can’t take her to San Francisco like that.  And we can’t take her back to Mr. Sorkin, either.  He’ll want to know what happened.”

“She’s not going to tell him anything,” Slater had snarled.

“But what will you tell him?” Wilcox had wondered.

Slater had growled and punched the dashboard.  “Stupid retard cunt! Kicked me in the balls so hard, I still can’t breathe right.”

“What are we going to do?”

Squinting through her good eye, Jenny had seen Slater turn to look at her.  “We’ll have to kill her.”

“We?!  What the hell are you talking about?  I didn’t touch her,” Wilcox had squeaked.

“What happens if we take her to San Francisco?  Hauer calls Sorkin to complain about the merchandise.  And Sorkin kills us.”

He’d glared at Wilcox, daring him to contradict him.  “What happens if we take her back to LA like that? Sorkin kills us.”

He’d shaken his head.  “It’s the only way. We drive all the way to San Francisco.  Because he’ll be tracking us on GPS. We stay in front of the Four Seasons long enough to make it look like we took her upstairs.  Then we go to our hotel. We’ll rent a car, take her out into the boondocks, and get rid of her.”

“But Hauer will call to complain that she never got there,” Wilcox had reasoned.

“We’ll say he’s lying.  We’ll say we delivered the girl.  Then it’s all on Hauer.”

Wilcox had nodded slowly.  “It might just work.” He’d sounded somewhat less than convinced.

“Come on,” Slater had said, with one last glance into the backseat.

“Let’s go get something to eat and work out the details. The bitch is out cold anyway.”

After the pair had left, Jenny had forced herself to remain motionless, counting to a thousand before opening her eyes.  By now, her left eye was swollen completely shut, and her lip felt as though it was ten times its normal size.

She had to get out.  They’d be back any minute.  If she rode with them to San Francisco, there would be no escape.  This was her one chance. She supposed she should count her lucky stars Victor had decided for them to drive rather than fly.  Something about the private jet being grounded for routine maintenance.

The cloudy day threatened rain, but so far, it had been dry.  With the midday sun obscured by clouds as it was, Jenny wasn’t certain of the time, but she’d guess early afternoon.  The truck stop was busy, with semis and all sorts of vehicles constantly entering and leaving.

Across the way, she saw a cowboy in a pale straw hat checking on a horse in a vintage turquoise and white horse trailer pulled behind a silver pick-up truck.  Seemingly satisfied with the horse’s well-being, he turned and walked across the parking lot, passing right by her and into the restaurant as she watched from the SUV.

GO! her brain screamed at her.

She looked down at herself.  She was not dressed for walking around a truck stop.  In her slinky club dress with its halter top and micro-mini skirt, she was more suited for the function she was expected to perform.

Not anymore, Victor.  She kicked off the silver stilettos and glanced toward the restaurant.  She couldn’t see Slater and Wilcox in the window booths. It seemed safe to assume they were seated further inside.

Carefully, she opened the door and stepped barefoot onto the pavement.  The day was cool, and she instantly felt chilled. She closed the door quietly and, head down, she moved in the direction of the horse trailer.  

Once she got there, she scanned the parking lot.  Everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own business.  On her tiptoes, she peered into the trailer. Only one of the two stalls was occupied.  She tried the tailgate hopefully, but it was locked. Glancing around again, she saw that the lot was briefly empty of people.  She stepped up onto the bumper, reached the top of the tailgate, and pushed herself up. With one last glance over her shoulder, she leaned forward, tumbling headfirst into the trailer.

The horse, a large brown and white spotted Appaloosa, whinnied in protest, stomping her feet and pulling at the rope tethering her to the front of the trailer.

Carefully avoiding the shuffling hooves, Jenny crab-scrambled backward to the front wall of the trailer.  A large black jacket hung from a hook, and she jerked it down, slipping it on and zipping up the front.

The jacket was huge, probably meant for someone the size of the cowboy she’d seen, but it was warm.  She tucked her knees under her chin and drew the jacket down over her bare legs and feet, pulling the hood over her head.

Come on, come on.  She willed her pounding heart to slow down as she waited for the cowboy to come back and drive them away from the truck stop.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

Check out the official book trailer for JENNY’S VOICE.

You can pre-order your copy of JENNY’S VOICE at your favorite online bookseller, but the 99¢ special deal is exclusively at Amazon.