Behind the Book: The Setting of FOR SPARROW: Next Stop, Jupiter

This is it!  The last weekend before the launch of FOR SPARROW, on Oct.3!

The third book in the Dream Dominant Collection is set in Palm Beach County, Florida, my home for over 25 years.  In this series of posts, I’m taking you on a tour of some of my favorite places.  This week, we’re going to the gorgeous beach-side town of Jupiter, the location of several scenes in the book.

The first place Judd and Jessi visit together is my favorite bar on the planet (okay, I have about five of those), Square Grouper.  It’s a casual, outdoor tiki bar on the Jupiter Inlet, across from the Jupiter Lighthouse.  It’s the place to go if you want to completely decompress and let your stress melt away.

A stone’s throw from Square Grouper, in fact you park in the same lot, are the two locations from this week’s excerpt, Guanabanas and Blueline Surf & Paddle.

Guanabanas is another outdoor tiki place, more restaurant than bar, but they serve a mean Cat 5 hurricane.  The food is Florida fresh, and there’s always a crowd.  It’s on a strip of land between A1A and the Loxahatchee River, and the river views are utterly tranquil.  There are docks, and some folks arrive in their boats.  It’s also a great place for stand-up paddle boarding, and you can put in right there at the restaurant.

Directly across A1A is the Blueline Surf & Paddle Company.  They sell surfing and paddle boarding equipment, but you can also rent from them and get lessons.  You walk across the street and put in at the Loxahatchee River.  Notice the paddle boarders directly in front of Guanabanas.

As Jessi’s Dominant, it’s Judd’s position to push her beyond her comfort zone.  In this scene, he does just that.

Here’s an excerpt from FOR SPARROW…

Back inside the house, Judd washed up in the kitchen sink.  Jessi handed him a dish towel to dry his hands.  He eyed the old dishwasher, then looked to Jessi.

“I don’t really feel like messing with a dishwasher today, do you?”

Jessi’s eyes widened.  “Oh, well, no, of course not.  I’m sure you have plenty to do.  Don’t worry about it at all,” she said quickly.

Judd shook his head.  “It’s a beautiful day.  Why spend it inside?”  He stood straight, hands on his hips.  “How do you feel about stand up paddle boarding?”

She worked her mouth for a moment, frowning.  “I don’t guess I’m opposed to it, as an activity, you know.  I’m sure people enjoy it.  Live and let live,” she giggled nervously.

“I mean,” he cupped her elbow gently, “how do you feel about going?  With me.  Today.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Judd.  I’m kind of the queen of klutz.”  Jessi’s face turned bright pink.  “I don’t know if I’d be any good at it.”

Judd’s eyes narrowed slightly.  “Not sure I like my little one putting herself down.  Besides, there’s nothing to be ‘good at,’ you just…stand and paddle.”  He pantomimed for her.

He saw the reluctance in her face and gave his best reassuring smile, eyes sparkling.  “Come on, Jessi, it’ll be fun.”

Slowly, her smile spread to match his.  “Okay.  Let’s do it.”  She went upstairs and quickly changed into her swim suit and beach cover up.

On the way to the surf shop, Judd stopped by his place to pick up his paddleboard and gear.  He let them both into the townhouse and Jessi waited as he bounded up to the second level.

“It won’t take me a second to load my stuff into the truck,” he called from upstairs.  Jessi clutched her hands together anxiously as she surveyed Judd’s living room.  Everything was neat and tidy.  She didn’t know why that surprised her.

You just think about the stereotypical ‘bachelor pad,’ she supposed.

Crossing the room, she saw that the view from the sliding glass doors was breathtaking.  She imagined what it would be to wake up with a view of the ocean every morning.

“Almost ready,” Judd said, returning downstairs wearing aqua board shorts, a white t-shirt, and a Marlins ball cap.  A pair of black Oakley sunglasses hung around his neck from a black strap.

He held up a small black cube.  “I want to try out my new GoPro while we’re out there today,” he grinned.

Five minutes later, they were on their way north, heading for Blueline Surf and Paddle on A1A.  They rented gear for Jessi and declined the offer of a lesson.  “I’ve got it, man,” Judd smiled to the clerk.

Jessi was surprised to find that they were going to put into the river right next to Guanabanas, a local outdoor dining hotspot just across the street from the surf shop.  “Afterwards, I’ll buy you a cocktail,” Judd promised.

After a brief orientation, Judd helped Jessi onto the board and gently pushed her out into the Loxahatchee River.  “Am I supposed to wear the life jacket?” Jessi called back to him, indicating the ocean blue PFD currently resting on the nose of her board.

“Can you swim?”

“Of course!” she returned.

“Then you don’t have to wear it.  But you do have to have it with you, it’s the law.”

Judd smiled as he watched her wobble slightly.  She looked hot in what was actually a modest blue tankini, her auburn hair clipped up and off her neck, the red highlights gleaming in the sunlight.  He could only imagine Jessi in a bikini.  Did imagine it.  Then tried to think of something else, before she noticed his arousal.

Sighing deeply, he clipped the GoPro to the bill of his cap and paddled quickly to catch up with her.

When their hour was up, they returned Jessi’s gear to the shop, and put Judd’s things back in the truck.  With Jessi’s white beach dress back in place, they wandered into Guanabanas and found a small high-top table in the bar area.  A lone guitarist was playing Jason Mraz covers on the tiki stage.

Jessi ordered a Cat 5 hurricane while Judd opted for a local brew, and they chose a few appetizers.  After the server left, Judd pressed the button on the GoPro.  “So, Jessi, what do you think of paddle boarding?”

Her grin was stunning.  “I loved it!  It was so much fun, and way easier than I ever thought.”

He leaned into her and held the camera at arm’s length.  “Well, you had a kick-ass teacher, so…”  They both laughed into the camera.

SPIN Pandora (1)

You still have time to get FOR SPARROW at the pre-order price of 99¢.
After launch day, it goes back to its regular $2.99.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW: Meet the Villain

Sparrow graphic Linz

FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, comes out October 3.  It’s the story of Jessi Crenshaw, whose husband Graham dies unexpectedly, leaving her mourning the loss of her husband, lover, friend, and Dominant.

As it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he made provisions for Jessi.  He tapped his friend and protege in the Lifestyle, firefighter paramedic Judd Farris, to step in as Jessi’s surrogate Dom, at least until she gets back on her feet.

They move forward in a platonic D/s relationship, but soon find it hard to resist their mutual attraction.  Unknown to them, however, is the fact that danger is heading in their direction.

FOR SPARROW marks the first time I’ve ever written a proper villain as a character.  Today, meet Gary Wayne Gentry.

Man holding gun with silencer over white

Gary Wayne Gentry is a nondescript little man with dreams of being someone important.  He’s the guy who’s always on the outside, looking in.

He yearns to do a job that requires a uniform, but he was unceremoniously drummed out of the army for attacking a fellow recruit.  And after they see the results of his personality inventory, he can’t land a job with either the police or fire department.

Tired of not being noticed, he embarks on a violent cross-country tour, targeting first responders along the way.  He’ll show them.

Here’s an all-new excerpt featuring the villain of the story.

Gary Wayne Gentry stood watching as firefighters fought to extinguish the blaze in Parson’s Hardware on the main street of Baker City, Oregon.  He was merely one in a crowd of lookie-loos that had gathered on the opposite side of the street, a guy so nondescript that no one would ever remark on the short, balding man with a slight paunch.  No one would even notice him.  Which used to bother Gary.

Used to.  But he’d learned that being unnoticeable could be an asset.

He watched as the supervisor barked out orders to the firefighters on the ground.  Hoses were deployed, plans were followed.  Soon enough, thick black smoke turned white.  Which meant the fire was out, there were merely a few hot spots that merited attention.

He knew this because Gary had always wanted to be a firefighter.  Or a cop.  Or a soldier.  Some damn thing with a uniform.

He’d actually been in the Army for a short time.  Until he’d been involved in an altercation with a fellow recruit.  It hadn’t been his fault.  Gary Wayne Gentry didn’t take shit off of anybody.  The cry baby had had his jaw wired shut for a few weeks, and everybody lost their mother-effing minds.  To keep the bureaucratic wheels running smoothly, they’ve given him a General discharge, and Gary was adrift once again.

He’d tried the police and the firefighters, and gotten damn close, too.  It was always when they saw the results of his personality inventory that they said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Watching the Baker City FD roll up their hoses and gather their other equipment, Gary snorted.  Always so GD superior, like their shit don’t stink.  Probably effing volunteer, sum’bitches.

He had a uniform, mind you.  Like that was hard to get.  There was a uniform store on every corner in America.  Sometimes he’d dress up and go to a bar.  It was usually enough to get a few free drinks.  Gary would spin some yarn about the fires he’d put out, and the people he’d saved.  That only lasted so long before people got tired of listening.

Firefighters probably got a lot of pussy, too.  Only so far, the fake uniform hadn’t yielded much of that.

And the problem with small towns was, although he was reasonably anonymous, people would notice a man with a gun.  That much he was positive about.  A crowd that small, someone would definitely notice if he tried to pick off a firefighter or two.

Which was a pain in the ass, because that was the whole point of starting the fire anyway.  What, did you think Gary Wayne Gentry was just a firebug, one of those pathetic bastards who got their rocks off watching fire?  Please.  The fire was simply a means to an end.

He used to listen to scanners and try to show up at fires and car accidents and such.  But who has time for that, really?  When you set the fire, you know exactly when and where they’re going to show up, it’s not rocket science.

Anyway, clearly, Baker City, Oregon was way too small for him to be able to indulge in his favorite sport.  But then, you live and you learn, don’t you?  He’d worked his way up the west coast with a moderate degree of success.  Los Angeles and San Francisco had been goldmines for his little pastime.  So crowded, so full of crazies.  When the odd firefighter here or there, and one cop, he was proud to say, ended up shot at emergency calls, the authorities always blamed gang violence or some such nonsense.  Sometimes he wondered if he should be offended, gangs getting the credit for his work.  But he wasn’t ready to stop, so the better for him if he remained unnoticed.

If someone, his mother for instance, bothered to ask him, “Gary, why do you do these things?” he knew exactly what he’d say.

Because they think they’re better than me, that’s why.  Because they think I’m not good enough, that’s why.  G.D. mother-effers.  I’m smarter than all of them.

As the last of the onlookers left the scene, Gary decided that remaining unseen was the best plan, so he mosied on back to his beige Chevy Impala and drove away slowly.  There was one thing he was sure of.  He sure as shit couldn’t go any further west.  He laughed, imagining himself driving into the Pacific Ocean.  So, east it was.

Heading off into the dark night, he considered his choice of hobbies.  It was unorthodox, maybe.  But it wasn’t his fault, not really.  His name was Gary Wayne Gentry.  Seriously, his mother should have known better.

SPARROW - OPTIMUS

FOR SPARROW is available at the special pre-order price of 99¢.
After launch day, October 3, it will return to the regular price of $2.99.
Reserve your copy today at books2read.com/ForSparrow.

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

FOR SPARROW comes out October 3, and I’m so excited!  Until then, you can reserve your copy for the pre-order price of 99¢.

Dream Dominant Book 3, this novel is the story of Jessi Crenshaw, a young widow, bereft in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death.  She’s lost her spouse, lover, friend, and Dominant.

But it turns out that her husband Graham had in inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped someone to take his place.  Enter sexy firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris.  He promised his friend and mentor Graham that he’d look after Jessi if it ever became necessary.

A platonic Dom/sub relationship.  It’s a temporary arrangement, just until Jessi gets back on her feet.  Surely Graham didn’t mean for it to be more than that.  But how long can they resist crossing that line?

Meet Jessi and Judd.

Now how about a steamy little teaser?

Flickering candlelight greeted them as they entered the bedroom, and Jessi saw various implements lined up on the bed.  She looked to Judd.

“I wanted to create the right mood, Angel.  Candles seemed the way to go.”

Slowly she approached the bed and lightly fingered what she saw there–a black leather crop, a rectangular paddle also of black leather, a black suede flogger, and a wooden spoon.  Judd stepped beside her and slid off his black leather belt, adding it to the assortment.

When she turned to him, his expression was bemused.  “Told you I went shopping,” he laughed.  “Now, you’ve been such a good girl, I’m going to let you choose what I’m using to spank you with tonight.  So what will it be?”  He stepped back and folded his arms across his chest, waiting to see her response.

Jessi blinked and looked back to the items on the bed.  Her head spun with possibilities, but suddenly she knew the answer.  Dropping to her knees, she grasped her wrists behind her back and bowed her head.  “Whichever one would please you, Sir.”

“Angel, you please me more than I can say.”  He stroked her hair lovingly, then removed his shirt, tossing it into the bathroom.

“I think…”  He reached down to help her stand, tugging at the dress gathered around her waist to pull it the rest of the way down.  “I think we’ll get the biggest bang for our buck…or your butt,” he grinned, “with the paddle.  I want you to stand at the end of the bed and lean over.”

Jessi complied, resting her torso on the bed, her head turned toward the slider overlooking the beach and the ocean beyond.  In the dim light, she could also see herself, naked and bent over the end of the bed, reflected in the white sheer-shrouded glass.  Her expression was wanton, needy.  And she felt immensely happy.

Judd smoothed his hand over her bare bottom, pausing to tweak the plug.  Jessi gasped at the sensation and felt the need in her core grow.  She yelped when the first smack surprised her, but after that, she gave herself over to the sensations, the whack on her cheeks, the vibration in her ass, the tingle in her pussy.

At some point, Judd put down the paddle and used his hands to smooth away the sting.  “Up on the bed and on your knees, Angel.”

Jessi complied, and he turned her to face the bank of glass.  “Head up.  I want you to watch as I fuck your cunt.”

She gasped, her eyes meeting his in the reflection as he impaled her with no further preamble.  He pounded into her, all the while fidgeting with the red-jeweled flange of the butt plug.  Jessi felt a release of fluid she was powerless to stop.

“Come when you’re ready, Angel.  You’ve earned it,” Judd coaxed.

Needing no further encouragement, Jessi cried out as ecstasy overtook her, starting in her drenched core and radiating throughout her body.

“Good girl,” Judd murmured as her shuddering subsided.  He leaned forward to kiss her shoulder.  “But we’re not done quite yet.  I’m still taking your ass tonight.”

Gently, he helped her down to her belly and slid her to the edge of the bed so that her feet rested on the floor.  Using his foot, he pushed her feet wide, and he carefully removed the butt plug, wrapping it in a waiting towel.  “What’s your color, Angel?”

She heard concern in his voice.  “Um, green, Sir.  I’m good.”

“Good.  Very good.”

Next, Jessi felt a cool dollop of lube at the top of her crack and Judd massaged it around the hole the plug had vacated.  That was followed by the pressure of Judd’s cock pushing at her entrance.  “Breathe, Angel.  Just relax and breathe.”

Jessi did just that, closing her eyes and focusing on the renewed sensation in her pussy as Judd pushed his way into her back hole.  When his head pushed past her taut ring, he stopped, giving her a chance to acclimate before he pushed forward.

Jessi raised her head, seeking out his eyes in the glass door.  She watched as he slowly pushed himself in to the root, and she saw his chest hitch as he forced himself to hold still again.  At the question in his eyes, she nodded, and he gave her the full force of him, withdrawing abruptly, then slamming back into her, pounding her tight passage.  He pulled her to her knees to gain better purchase, his balls slapping against her clit with every charge, and she felt her moment building again.

“Come with me, Jessi.  I want us to come together,” he grunted, as he released himself for the second time that night.

Jessi saw sparks and screamed out her pleasure, continuing to shake as he slid from her grasp and collapsed onto the bed.  Judd gathered her to himself, wrapping her in his arms as they both gasped for air.  She snuggled in to his chest and he lightly kissed her temple.  “I’m yours,” she whispered.

“Yes, you are.  You’re mine, Jessi.”

Get FOR SPARROW
at the special pre-order price
of just 99¢!
After launch day, it returns to the regular price.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

FOR SPARROW Cover Reveal!

Introducing the cover of FOR SPARROW, Book 3 in The Dream Dominant Collection!

FOR SPARROW joins LUKE & BELLA and LOST & BOUND as the third stand-alone light BDSM erotic romance novel featuring sexy Dominant men and the strong redhaired submissives who can’t resist them.

Here’s the description of FOR SPARROW.

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated.  He’s the only man she’s ever loved.  Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years.  Now she’s lost her friend, her lover…and her Dominant.

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet.

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend.  But it’s a damn odd arrangement—a platonic Dom/sub relationship.  With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her.  At her husband’s funeral.

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking.  But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi.  She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies.  In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive.  But that’s simply ridiculous.  He’s five years younger than she is.  He couldn’t possibly be interested in her.  Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom.  It’s perfect for the time being.  Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

And could it all end at the hands of a madman?

FOR SPARROW will be out October 3,
but you can pre-order now for just 99¢.
After release day, the regular price will be $2.99.

books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–RESISTING RISK

pandoraspocks2I am beyond thrilled!  This week, RESISTING RISK, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, received two more 5-STAR reviews!

The book has been out since December 2015, so I’m always happy when people discover it. Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.

Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan is great at what he does.  As the high-profile face of the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he dazzles juries and charms the press.  He’s also an inveterate player, shunning relationships in favor of shallow trysts with vapid blondes.

Enter smart redhead Maggie Flynn, the recent law school grad Michael hires to join his elite 50th floor team.  She’s been in love with him from the beginning, and she has no illusions about his character.  But she’s seen glimpses of the man he could be.  So for now, she’s content to work alongside him.  What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

For this week’s excerpt, here’s a little teaser from RESISTING RISK.

“Maggie, is the turkey ready?” Casey asked.

Maggie checked the clock and shook her head.  “No way, it has at least another hour, then it has to rest.  We can put in the beans and the stuffing when it comes out.  Nate, how do we reheat the red beans and rice?”

As Nate answered Maggie’s question, Ben wandered over to the window.  The buzzer rang again.  Ben glanced at Maggie in the kitchen.  “Somebody’s buzzing downstairs, Flynn.”

Casey was helping Maggie turn the turkey around in the oven.  “Well can you please buzz them in?  I’m a little busy here.”

Ben pressed the buzzer but made no move to open the apartment door.  About a minute later there was a knock.  The others were engrossed in the football game.  Ben stayed put.  “Somebody’s at the door, Flynn.”

“Oh for God’s sake, I’ll just drop everything and get it myself,” said Maggie, tossing down pot holders in exasperation.

Maggie flung open the door to find Michael standing in the hallway.  He grinned sheepishly.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

She blinked, confused.  “Michael, I…I mean, Merry Christmas.  But what…Shouldn’t you be in St. Bart’s?”

“I got snowed in.  My flight was cancelled.  I have a charter later on, but I thought I’d stop by here.  Do you have room for another orphan?”

A slow smile spread across her face.  “Of course, there’s always room.  Come on in.”

Maggie turned to find that everyone in the apartment was watching the two of them.  “Everyone, this is Michael.  Michael, everyone.”

“Hello, Merry Christmas,” he greeted the group.  To Maggie, “I brought wine.  I wasn’t sure…”

“Wine is perfect, thanks,” she told him.  Waving toward the kitchen she said, “Help yourself to something to drink.  We’ve been enjoying the munchies out of your gift basket.  Dinner will probably be another hour or so.”  She smiled at him.  “I’m so glad you’re here.  Shocked, but glad.”

After he dropped his coat and his suitcase in Maggie’s bedroom with the other coats, Michael got a beer for himself and settled in the living room, striking up a conversation with the guys watching football.  Casey sidled up to Maggie in the kitchen.  “You didn’t tell me Mr. Wonderful was coming.”

“I didn’t know Michael was coming.  He’s supposed to be in the Caribbean.  With someone, you understand, nobody goes to the Caribbean alone.”

“Maybe.  But he’s here now.”

Michael relaxed on the couch and looked around appreciatively at all the activity.  Maggie and Casey were in the kitchen along with a couple he didn’t know.  There was an older woman chatting with Nate from the firm.  Several others were watching football.  Everyone seemed happy and at home.

“This is nice,” he commented to Ben.  “It feels like a scene from Rent.”

Ben smirked.  “Viva la vie Boheme!” he raised his beer.

Michael chuckled and raised his beer as well.  “La vie Boheme.”

Dinner was served on three tables pushed together in the middle of the living room.  Plates were filled buffet-style in the kitchen.  Ben insisted that Maggie toast before they ate.

She raised her glass of wine.  “I feel like the luckiest girl.  I’m here celebrating the holiday with my most favorite people in the entire world.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.  Merry Christmas!”

After everyone ate as much as they could, the guys agreed to do all the clean-up.  Maggie supervised returning the tables to their proper places then sank onto the sofa, resting her feet on the coffee table.

“What about the dessert, Flynn?” Ben asked when the leftovers were packed up.

“Let’s be informal.  Grab some if you want some.  I want to do presents,” Maggie said.  Michael brought her a fresh glass of wine.  She looked up at him, grinning in appreciation, and patted the space beside her.

“I’ll sit on the floor, I don’t mind,” he said, sliding to a spot beside her feet.

“Now the way this works is, everyone takes a number.  We go in order starting at 1.  Number 1 picks first.  Number 2 can pick a new present or steal from Number 1.  Everybody got it?” Ben asked.  Maggie watched in amusement as some played shyly while others were cut-throat.

“What’s this?” Michael asked quietly.  She looked down to see him holding an ornament from the tree.  It was a small red glass ball held by a green paper cone.  Her name was spelled out in glitter.

“I think I was about six when I made that,” she smiled.  “The Christmas ornaments were some of the few things I took from my dad’s house.”

He grinned.  “I like it.”

When the gifts were over, Maggie had a new hand-crocheted toilet-roll cover.  Michael had a $10 gift card to Starbucks.  “Guess somebody didn’t get the memo,” he quipped so that only Maggie heard, and she giggled softly.

He winked and leaned close.  “Mags, I should be making my way to the airport.”

“Okay,” Maggie sighed.  “I’ll walk you out.”  She got her coat and hat while he said his goodbyes.  “I’ll be right back,” she said to Casey as they headed out of the apartment.  They walked down the stairs without chatting.

Once out on the sidewalk, Michael turned and faced her.  “I had a great time, Mags.  Thanks for inviting me.”  He glanced up.  “We have an audience, by the way.”  He waved at the crowd gathered in Maggie’s front window.

She looked up at them, scowling.  “Come on,” she said, turning right and heading down the sidewalk.  She stopped just around the corner.

Michael smiled.  “Thanks.  I just wanted to say goodbye privately.  I brought you a gift but I didn’t want to give it to you in there.”  He pulled a small flat box from his pocket.  It was light blue, tied with a white ribbon.

Maggie’s eyes widened.  “Sean Michael Rannigan, you did not!”

“How did you know the S stands for Sean?

She shrugged.  “Everyone knows it’s Sean.  I can’t believe you went to Tiffany…”  She stopped and looked up at him, smiling sadly.  “This wasn’t for me.  This is supposed to be for someone else.”

“No, Mags, this is for you,” he said earnestly.  “I mean, to be honest, I went there yesterday looking for something for Jana.”

“What, Toys R Us and GapKids were closed?” Maggie quipped.

“Ah-hah-hah, you’re very funny.  I found a little trinket to give to Jana, but then I turned and saw this.  All I could think was that you should have it.  It’s for you, Mags.”

Curious, Maggie slowly pulled the white ribbon and lifted the lid.  In the box resting on light blue velvet was a delicate silver bracelet.  It had a vintage look to it with large rectangular milky white cabochons alternating with trios of small round diamonds surrounded by platinum filigree.  She looked back up at Michael, eyes wide.

“Those are moonstones,” he said proudly.  “This was in the vintage case.  It was made in 1915.”  He gazed at the bracelet.  “It’s graceful and classy, just like you.”

“I don’t know what to say, Michael.  I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.  Will you help me put it on?”

He lifted the bracelet from the box and as Maggie held out her left hand he fastened it around her wrist.  She held it out and watched it catch the natural light.  As she did, she noticed a tiny platinum tag hanging from the clasp.  Peering closer she saw that it was engraved.  To Maggie, From Michael. 

“See?  I told you it was for you.”  She looked back up at him, eyes shining, and as she did, a gust of wind caught some stray hair, blowing it across her face.  Michael gently moved the errant strands, tucking them behind her ear.  Without planning it at all, he planted a tender kiss on her lips.

He moved back slightly as Maggie looked up at him, eyes shining with desire.  He leaned into her again, the kiss this time all heat and passion.  She brought her left hand up to cradle his right cheek, her desire matching his.  When he stopped kissing her, he pulled her close, tucking her under his chin and they stood like that for a moment.

Finally, he gently set her back from him.  She looked up, the sad glint once again in her eyes.  After all, he was leaving her to go to someone else.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

“Merry Christmas, Michael.”

RESISTING RISK is only $.99 and it’s available at this link:
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RR1 updated

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Weekend Excerpt–Just One Night

JON new coverIt’s the middle of July.  Which seems the perfect time to share an excerpt from my naughty little summer novella, JUST ONE NIGHT.

Teacher Katie Parker is on a Caribbean cruise with her best girlfriends from high school.  Fresh off a humiliating break-up, Katie is determined to forget about her disastrous love life by having an anonymous shipboard fling with a handsome stranger.

By chance, she meets Mac Coleman, traveling with his brothers to Mexico for a wedding.  He’s more than happy to go along with Katie’s plan.  But he soon realizes that what they’ve found is worth more than just one night.  Can he convince Katie to give them a chance?

Read a teaser…

Hours later, Michelle led the foursome as they made their way toward the main dining room.  “I’m starved,” commented Jayma.  “Who decided that we wouldn’t eat until the 9:00 seating?”

Michelle rolled her eyes.  “Don’t be so Nashville.  Civilized society doesn’t eat until late.”

“You live in Dallas, not Paris,” Katie quipped.

“Anyway, most of the families with little kids eat earlier,” Chelsea added.  “We should have a nice serene dining experience.”

“I just want some grub,” Jayma giggled.

Immediately before they reached their destination, they passed a small alcove where photos taken during the day were displayed for purchase.  “Hey, you guys go on ahead to our table.  I want to look at the pictures,” Katie said.

In the ten years since they’d graduated from high school and gone their separate ways into college and life, Katie had been the self-appointed documentarian of their annual outings, taking photos and gathering mementos, sending them off to be made into a photo scrapbook.

The one of us on the gangplank would be just right for the cover of this year’s album.  She scanned the hundreds of pictures already hanging on the racks, looking for the one of the four of them.

Finally, she saw it and reached for it, smiling.  As she did, her hand collided with a large masculine one reaching across in front of her.  Startled, she looked up.  “Oh, I’m so sorry!”

Soulful brown eyes gazed down at her.  “No, it’s my fault.  I was rudely reaching in front of you.  I was paying attention to the photos and not to what’s going on around me.”

Katie laughed lightly.  “That’s exactly what I was doing.  Again, I’m sorry.”  She felt her face redden as she reached again, snapped up the photo, and hurriedly turned away.  Quickly, she charged the picture to her cabin and left the alcove, glancing back over her shoulder as she did.  The man was still watching her.

I’m going to get laid, she says, Katie thought miserably.  Not like that I’m not.  What the hell just happened?  That was a perfect opportunity.  But she knew why she’d blown the chance meeting.  Casual sex was not who Katie Parker was, it wasn’t how she operated.  Flustered, she entered the dining room and found the others already seated at their table.

Jayma smiled as she sat down.  “Did you find it?”

“I did.  It came out great.”

“What’s wrong with you?  You seem all out of breath,” Michelle observed.

“I’m just starved,” Katie replied in mock seriousness.  “We’re eating in the middle of the night.”

Conversation around the table was about their respective years since the last time they’d been together.  Of course, they kept up on everyone’s latest via email, text messages, and social media so there was little news.  It wasn’t until halfway through dessert that Katie looked across to see the man she’d run into in the photo alcove.  He was seated about three tables away facing her direction.  And he was looking right at her.

She felt her eyes widen before she moved her gaze back to her plate.  A flush crept up her neck and across her cheeks as she tried to casually look across the room again, only to find him still watching her.  As their eyes met, he smiled.

Holy heaven.  If you looked up ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ in the dictionary, his picture would be there.  Topping the soulful brown eyes were expressive dark eyebrows.  Framing a gorgeous face was tousled dark brown hair.  There was a shadow of stubble over a strong, square jaw and lips that looked imminently kissable.  Katie reached for her wine and slugged back the remainder.

“More wine, madam?”

“You betcha!”

“So Katie, what’s new with you?  How’s your love life?”  Chelsea gazed at her expectantly.

Katie sipped her wine, stalling for time.  “Oh, well, you know…”

“No, we don’t know, that’s why we ask,” said Michelle.

Katie sighed.  “I dated a guy for a while and he turned out to be a shit.  I met him on a dating website and—“

“A dating site, really?”  Chelsea grinned.  “I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to try one of those.”

“Or desperate enough,” Michelle muttered.  She looked up at Katie, wide-eyed.  “Not that you’re desperate, that’s not what I meant, I just meant…”

Refusing to bail her out, Katie sipped her wine and narrowed her eyes, waiting to see how Michelle would untangle the mess she’d created.

Jayma came to her rescue.  “Oh, you know, as a teacher, Katie doesn’t have the opportunity to meet guys at work.  Honestly, I think meeting someone online is way better than picking up some guy in a bar.”

“You know what I think?” Michelle flagged down the waiter for a refill of her wine.  “I think that teachers should stay single.  You know, like Miss Beadle from Little House on the Prairie.”  She grinned before sipping her wine.  “Completely dedicated to the kids.”

Katie was sure she felt actual steam coming out of her ears.  “Really?”  She nodded sharply.  “That’s what you think?”  She could hear her voice growing louder.  “You think that teachers should just forego a personal life and live like nuns, nobly pouring out their lives for kids who don’t care, and parents and administrators who blame them for everything?  And for low salaries and shit benefits to boot?  Or maybe they should just work for free.”

Again, Jayma was the peacemaker.  “No, I’m sure that’s not what Michelle meant.”

Katie stood abruptly.  “I need some air.”  She turned and left the table heading for the same doors they’d entered.

***

Meeting a woman had been the last thing on Mac’s mind.  He was moving across the state just to get away from the last one he’d dated.  But the redhead in the photo shop intrigued him.  She’d been as startled as he’d been.  Truthfully neither of them had been watching what they’d been doing, as occupied with looking at the photos as they’d both been.  But when she’d looked up at him with those grey-green eyes, he’d felt a spark.

So when he’d realized that she was sitting a few tables away he couldn’t resist watching her.  She was unbelievably pretty, almost like a fairy or something with her red hair and her fair skin.  He wondered briefly how she’d fare for a week in the intense Caribbean sun.  She was chatting animatedly with the women at her table.  And don’t think he hadn’t noticed.  She was traveling with a group of women, not a man.

“So what’s the deal with this restraining order?”

Mac pulled his eyes from the gorgeous redhead and focused on his brother.  “It’s a long story.”  He shook his head.

“Well, we have a couple of days before we hit Mexico.  Will that be enough time?”  Danny had always been the sarcastic one.

Mac sighed, shrugging.  “I went out a couple of times with a girl from my apartment complex.”

“What was her name?” Tommy wondered.

Mac frowned.  “Erin.  What difference does it make?”

“I just wondered, is all.”

“Anyway, she seemed like a pretty nice girl but after a few dates, I knew she wasn’t the one for me.  I just didn’t feel that…I don’t know, spark.”  Instantly the redhead popped up in his mind, and he couldn’t resist a glance in her direction before he continued.

He looked from one brother to the other.  “So I very gently suggested that although we’d had a good time going out, I felt that we were not completely compatible and it would be better if we didn’t go out again.”

“And she didn’t take it well,” Danny summed up.

Images of his tires slashed to ribbons and a deep, jagged groove keyed down the side of his black Jeep popped into his head.  “No.  No, she did not.”

“I can’t believe you had to take out a restraining order.”  Tommy’s eyes were wide.

“Dude, I’m moving to a new city.  I have a new job and everything.  Do you really think a piece of paper will keep away a psycho?”

Danny shook his head.  “I assume you fucked her.”

Mac rolled his eyes.  “Well, yeah, we slept together.  Who knew she was batshit?”

“Ya see, this is why you need to settle down with a nice girl, get married, and have a family.”  Danny had married his college sweetheart and was now raising three little girls.  He was forever trying to persuade his brothers to join him.

“Well, that’s what Tommy-boy is doing.”  Mac playfully punched his baby brother’s arm.  “I’m happy for you, bro, really I am.  Gretchen is a great girl.”

“Thanks man, I appreciate it.”  Tommy grinned ear to ear.  “I love her, I truly do.”

As dessert was served, Mac’s attention was drawn back to the table across the room.  The redhead suddenly looked right at him and he felt his automatic smile, which widened as she snapped her eyes away.  He continued to watch as she raised her gaze casually as if to see if he was still looking.  This time he smiled deliberately.

At that moment, her head turned and she spoke to someone at her table.  Her face changed and she seemed to be speaking passionately, an angry flash in her eyes.  He watched as she removed the linen napkin from her lap and dropped it on the table, pushed back from the table, and stalked out of the dining room.

Impulsively, he knew he needed to follow.  “Gents, I can’t eat another bite,” Mac said as he pushed away from the table.  “I’m going to walk off a little of this dinner.  I’ll meet you two later.”

By the time Mac made it to the door of the dining room, the redhead had disappeared.  He glanced to his left and then to his right, trying to guess her more likely route.  The woman at the photo checkout cleared her throat discreetly and he looked in her direction.  She nodded meaningfully to her right and smiled.

He grinned at her wholeheartedly.  “Thanks!” he proffered as he hurried off in the direction the clerk had indicated.  Mac made his way through the door that opened onto the deck and he saw her leaning against the railing, looking out over the dark water.  Her skirt ruffled lightly in the breeze and the full moon overhead gave her hair a fire-like glow.

Ignoring the slight case of nerves he felt, he approached the railing, stopping by her left elbow.  “Hey, you,” he said casually.

She startled slightly, whipping her head to her left, eyes wide.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.  I just saw you standing here and I thought I’d say hello.”  He held his hands in front of himself in surrender, pasting on what he hoped was a charming smile.

The redhead continued to stare at him wordlessly.  “I don’t mean to bother you.  I can go if you’d like.”

She shook her head.  “No, I don’t want you to go.  I was just surprised, that’s all.”

Mac smiled gratefully.  “Well, it’s a beautiful night.  And dinner was fantastic.  I don’t know about you, but I had the lobster and it was amazing.”

She smiled back.  “I had the mahi and it was delicious.”

They stood awkwardly for a moment.  “Listen, would you like to get a drink or something?” Mac offered.

She looked out at the water, then back at him, nodding.  “I’d like that a lot.”

His grin was genuine.  “Good.  Great.  Let’s go find a drink.”

JON 99 cents

Originally a Kindle exclusive,
JUST ONE NIGHT
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Just use this Universal link: books2read.com/JustOneNight

Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

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Rannigan’s Redemption is an epic 3-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It’s the story of the complicated relationship between hotshot Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, the smart, talented redhead he hires straight out of law school to join his prestigious firm.

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is Book 3 of the trilogy.

[Beware: Spoilers ahead!]

Maggie is so far from Michael’s usual taste in women, the vapid bottle-blondes he keeps on speed dial.  He can’t figure what it is about Maggie that he can’t quite get out of his mind.  After a night of passion ends in disaster, the pair go their separate ways, each of them making questionable decisions both professionally and personally.

In the process, Michael burns all the bridges he had left, so when his world comes crashing down, he doesn’t know where to turn.  Only Maggie is willing to stand beside him.  Michael’s all wrong for Maggie, he knows that.  He could never be the man she needs.

But he’s met someone who might fit the bill.  If only Maggie will give him a chance.  Putting Maggie and Bobby together is part of Michael’s attempt at redemption.  But is it enough?

Here’s an exclusive new excerpt from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the third and final volume of Rannigan’s Redemption.

Spent, Bobby tenderly kissed Maggie’s temple, separated his body from hers, and collapsed beside her on the bed.  Following their union on the couch, they’d moved into the bedroom, making love for hours.

“Now the bed is much fucked-upon,” Maggie giggled.

He gave her a wry look and linked his fingers with hers.  “Lucky bed.  Lucky me,” Bobby murmured.

Maggie rolled onto her stomach and propped her chin on her hands.  “I’m pretty sure I’m the lucky one.  Sore, in a good way obviously, but lucky.”

“We’ll compromise and say we’re both lucky,” he said, lightly tracing the tiny sun tattoo on her hip.  A smile played on his lips.  “Tell me about this, cher.”

She glanced over her shoulder to the yellow and orange sun before looking back at him, a sly smile spreading across her face.  “Casey and I went to Daytona for Spring Break one year during law school.”

Bobby grinned as he imagined young Maggie on the loose for Spring Break.  “We were kind of drunk and I wanted to go back to the hotel, but on the way we passed a tattoo shop and she dragged me inside.  She got this really stupid unicorn.”  Maggie laughed.  “I can’t ever tell her it’s stupid.  She probably realizes it by now anyway.”

She looked back at Bobby.  “So there we were and I couldn’t decide what to get.  Then I saw this.”  A pensive look crossed her face.  “Casey didn’t realize that it was the anniversary of my father’s death.”

She breathed out and paused.  Bobby waited patiently.  “My dad used to sing this song to me when I was little.”  She looked up at him through her lashes.  “When I saw the sun, I knew.  It’s kind of weird, I suppose, getting a tattoo on my ass to remind me of my dad.”

“It’s your hip, not your ass.  And I think it’s a beautiful reminder of special times with your father.”  He gave her a look.  “I sing that song to Savannah.  Must be a father/daughter kind of thing.”

She watched him steadily, her eyes sparkling in the half-light.  “I never told anyone that before.  Even Casey doesn’t know why I chose the sun.”

“I’m honored that you shared it with me.”  He stroked her cheek, and she turned to plant a kiss on his palm.  “Speaking of sharing intimate things, you mentioned something over the phone that I found interesting.”  She waited, brow furrowed, to hear what he would say.  “You said you might be interested in having my cum on you?”

“Oh, God!” Maggie muttered, covering her face with her hands.  “I’d had some wine and you were far, far away.”

Bobby grinned, arching an eyebrow.  “Maggie Flynn is something of a kinkster,” he teased, twirling a lock of her hair around his finger.  “I love it.  Cum on your tits, don’t mind being a little sore…  What else might you be interested in?”

She blushed deeply.  “I don’t know, I was just talking.”  Uncomfortable, she chewed her lower lip.

He lightly stroked from her shoulder down to her tattoo and back up again.  “You can tell me.  Blindfolds?  Cuffs?  Toys?” he asked softly.

She chewed her lip harder and nodded sheepishly.  Bobby laughed.  “Oh, cher, you are such a hellcat.  Have you done those things before?  Why are you shy to tell me what you like?”

Her eyes widened and she pushed herself up, sitting on the edge of the bed with her back to him.  “Because I don’t want you to think…”

“Think what?”

“I don’t want you to think I’m a whore,” she whispered.

Baffled, Bobby sat up behind her, his hand on her back.  “Jesus, Maggie, why would I think that?  Is this about your fiancé?  You told me before that he wasn’t good to you.  I didn’t mean to open up old wounds.”

She waved him off.  “It’s no big deal.”

He pressed his lips to her shoulder.  “You can talk to me, cher.”

Maggie sighed and allowed him to pull her back against his chest.  They rested against the pillows and he wrapped her in his arms, tucking her under his chin.  Absently she stroked his chest.  “I met Mike when he was the arresting officer on one of my cases.  After I met with him and his partner at their precinct, he followed me out and asked me to have a drink with him that night.”

“Mm-hmm,” he encouraged.  She felt the vibration through his chest.

“Well, so I did meet him for drinks that night after work.”  She breathed out sharply.  “And I slept with him.”

Bobby waited but she seemed finished.  “And?  Cher, you met a guy you were attracted to and you had sex with him.  Consenting adults do it all the time.”

I don’t.  I don’t do it all the time,” she said.  “But I was lonely and he seemed nice.  The next thing I knew we were dating, and then we were engaged, for fuck’s sake.  I didn’t really even like him.  And he was crap in bed.”

She looked up at him trying to decide how much more to say.  “I never came with him.  Not once.  I tried to, you know, suggest a few things.  But he just shut me down.”

Thinking about the multiple times she’d come since they’d been together, he pulled her closer, kissing her forehead.  “So what made you finally end it?”

“We went to Rance’s wedding.  It turned out that Michael was there, too.  I was surprised.  I hadn’t seen him in over a year.  So he and I talked for a few minutes and that was it.  When Mike and I got home he went ballistic, practically accused me of fucking Michael right there at the wedding.”

Bobby’s mind went to his own insecurities that had been on display earlier in the evening.  He sighed as he lightly caressed her upper arm.

“He told me that nobody but a whore would sleep with a guy on the first date,” she whispered.  “I felt so ashamed.”

“Oh, ma ‘tite cher,” he hugged her tightly.  “Remember what you said earlier about scars?  You’re a sensual, passionate woman.  You enjoy making love.  That doesn’t make you a whore.  He’s an idiot.  You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.”

Maggie looked up at him solemnly, unsure whether or not to believe him.

“You scared him, cher.  He didn’t know how to handle a smart, hot blooded, sexy woman like you.”

She seemed thoughtful.  “Do you know how to handle me?”

He gazed at her lovingly.  “Learn what you like and give you a lot of it.  It’s not that complicated.”  Leaning down, he placed a chaste kiss on her lips.

rannigan3

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RANSOMING REDEMPTION
at this link:
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Better yet, the entire
Rannigan’s Redemption Collection
is available in one boxed set. books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

 

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