Weekend Excerpt–For Sparrow

FOR SPARROW received more great news this week.  Named the 2017 New Apple Medalist for Literary Erotica, it’s now also a Golden Flogger Nominee for Best BDSM Book of the Year.

The third Dream Dominant novel, it’s the story of new widow Jessi Crenshaw and her unconventional relationship with hot Dominant firefighter paramedic, Judd Farris.

When Jessi’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s shocked to find out that he made provision for her, asking his friend Judd to step in as a surrogate Dom until Jessi is back on her feet.

A platonic Dom/sub relationship is a damn odd arrangement, and they find their mutual attraction growing.  Could it be that Graham had something more permanent in mind?

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

Here’s a little snippet:

It was 9:30 on Saturday morning when Judd pulled up in front of Jessi’s house in his beat-up F-150.  His main focus today was to fix the driveway gate that opened onto the street.  It had apparently been rusted open for the last few years.

That was his main focus.  Then there was the other thing.  He rolled his eyes and tried to mentally prepare himself for Jessi’s reaction.  He breathed out sharply.  “Here goes nothing,” he muttered.

It was about half an hour later that Jessi glanced out her front window and noticed Judd on a ladder at the end of her driveway.

“What the…?”  She marched out the front door and down the driveway.

“Excuse me,” she said, feeling like she was stuck in a time warp to the previous week.  At least she hadn’t awakened on the pool deck.  And a quick glance down confirmed that she was indeed dressed.

“Good morning, Jessi,” Judd answered, swinging down off the ladder.  He couldn’t help noticing that she looked much more put together today, dressed in a green sleeveless top and jeans that fit oh, so right, her auburn hair shining in the sun.  “It’s a beautiful day.  You look nice, all dressed and everything.”  He grinned at her.

“Yes, well, be that as it may,” she said blushing.  “Is this supposed to be an ‘every Saturday’ kind of thing?”

“No, not every Saturday.”  He shook his head.  “I’m working next Saturday so I’ll be here on Friday next week.”

Jessi crossed her arms in front of her.  “Look.  Judd.  I don’t mean to seem ungrateful.  But I’m just not comfortable with you being over here, working on my property like this.”

He squinted at her thoughtfully.  “Not comfortable.  Why not?”

His question surprised her.  “Well…just…because,” she spluttered.

His grin was accompanied by a twinkle of amusement in his brown eyes.  “No worries, Jessi.  I’ll be finished with your gate soon.”  As he turned to climb the ladder again, there was a small yipping sound from around the hedge.

Curious, Jessi moved closer.  In a small grey plastic corral made of some kind of toddler barrier, a brown and white puppy with long floppy ears looked up at Jessi, tail wagging furiously.

“Well, hello there, cutie,” she said.  Glancing up at Judd she said, “You brought your dog?”

Judd climbed back down again.  “It’s kind of complicated,” he said.  He reached in and lifted the puppy out of the corral, cradling him in his arms.  “Look at this face,” he cooed to the puppy.

He turned to Jessi.  “A friend of mine called me from the animal shelter, said they had a litter of beagle puppies that needed homes.  When I got down there, this little guy was the only one left.  If I didn’t take him, they were going to have to put him down.”

Jessi looked at him, aghast.  “I know,” he agreed to her silent protest.  “I had to take him.  The only thing is,” he looked at her with soft brown eyes, “I work twenty-four hour shifts at the station, sometimes back to back.  I can’t take care of a puppy.”

“At the station?”

“Fire station.  I’m a paramedic.”

“Oh.  I didn’t know that.”

“Anyway, I was sort of hoping…”  He looked at her meaningfully.

Jessi raised a hand in front of her.  “Oh, no, no way.  I can’t have a puppy.”

Friendly smile in place, he handed off the puppy to her quickly and went back up the ladder.  “Why not?”

She hugged the dog to her chest and swayed as if he were an infant.  “Well, just…I can’t, that’s all.”

“Why not?  You work regular hours, right?  You have enough room for him.”  Judd glanced down at her.  “If you can’t, I’ll have to take him back to the shelter and they’ll put him down.”

Jessi looked back down at the puppy and he licked her chin.  “Well, nobody’s going to put you down.  He can stay.”  She looked back up at Judd.  “For now.  But remember, he’s yours.  What’s his name, anyway?”

Judd grinned.  “Buddy.  His name is Buddy.”

“Well come on, Buddy.  Let’s see if we can find you something to eat,” Jessi cooed as she made her way back into the house.

“I’ve got some puppy kibble in my truck.  I’ll bring it to your door when I finish with the gate.”  Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her walk away making baby talk to the puppy.

He laughed to himself.  That was not as hard as I thought it would be.

For Sparrow promo 1

One-click your copy of FOR SPARROW.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–And Great News for FOR SPARROW!

I’m so thrilled to announce that FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, was named the New Apple 2017 Medalist Winner for Literary Erotica!

The book is special to me for a number of reasons.  First, it’s set in my home of Palm Beach County.  Many of the places Jessi and Judd go, beaches and restaurants and other places, are some of my local favorites.  I also dedicated the book to two lovely subbie friends of mine who inspired the story.

So for it to receive recognition is really the cherry on top!

FOR SPARROW, like all my Dream Dominants, features a light BDSM theme.  In this story,  when Jessi’s husband and Dominant, Graham, dies unexpectedly, she discovers that he’s made provision for her in the form of a surrogate Dom.

Sexy firefighter paramedic Judd promised his friend Graham he’d be happy to look after Jessi until she gets back on her feet, in the unlikely event that something happened to Graham.  But a platonic Dom/sub relationship is a damn odd arrangement.

Could it be that Graham had something more permanent in mind?

Here’s a little teaser from FOR SPARROW.

Slowly, Jessi became aware of the drone of some sort of lawn equipment.  Damn neighbors.

She tentatively cracked open one eye and wondered at the gecko staring back at her.  Holy shit, I slept outside. 

She carefully peeled her cheek from the seat cushion and pushed herself to a sitting position on the lounge chair, immediately regretting the sudden movement.

“Oh, my God,” she groaned, reaching to hold her head.  Still, the relentless sound of trimmers echoed in her ears.  From her position at the edge of the pool deck she could see past the end of the house, and to her surprise, a stranger was in her yard.

Ignoring the pounding in her head, she stood and walked toward the source of the sound.  A tall muscular man with short brown hair was trimming her hedges.  He was dressed in an orange Dolphins t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts, and worn brown leather work boots.

“Excuse me!” Jessi shouted, the effort sending pain shooting through her head.  The man didn’t respond.

Moving closer she tried again, holding her head with both hands to prevent it from blowing apart.  “I said, excuse me!”

Startled, he jumped and turned off the offending machine, his brown eyes made larger by surprise.  “I’m sorry, did I wake you?” he asked.

“What are you doing here?” Jessi asked.

“I’m trimming these hedges.”

Jessi frowned.  “Yeah, I can see that.  I mean, why are you on my property, trimming my hedges?”

The man frowned as well.  “Um, I mentioned to you that I’d be here today to help out with your lawn.”

“Who are you?  When did we decide that you’d come here to do my hedges?”

He smiled in a friendly way.  “I’m Judd.  Farris.  We spoke at the funeral?  I said that I’d be over today to help out.”

Jessi blinked at him, trying desperately to recall ever having had a conversation with this…Judd person.

“Out by your pool?  I know, there were a lot of people here.  It probably all runs together.”

You have no idea, she thought.  Then her memory stirred.  “Oh, you were friends with Graham?”

He grinned broadly.  “Exactly.  Graham and I used to go for coffee every once in a while.”

Jessi aimed for a kind smile.  “Well, look Judd, I appreciate your thoughtfulness.  But you really don’t need to come over here and trim the hedges.  It’s very nice of you, but I’ll be okay.”

Judd shook his head.  “I promised Graham I’d check in on you, take care of things like this.”

“That’s great of you, but there’s no need.  I release you from your promise,” Jessi said, her patience wearing thin.

“It was a promise I made to Graham.  You have nothing to do with it,” he said reasonably, and he prepared to continue with his work.

“I have everything to do with it.  Graham isn’t here.  You’re dealing with me, now.”

Judd let the trimmer hang down at his side and looked at her intently.  “You look like shit, if you don’t mind me saying so.  When is the last time you combed your hair?  You have little leaves in it.”

Jessi’s eyes went wide and she started to reply, but he cut her off.  “You do realize you’re standing in your yard wearing only a stained men’s undershirt, right?  I was trying to ignore it, but damn.  A guy can only keep his eyes averted for so long.”

Jessi glanced down to see Graham’s undershirt, which barely covered her panties, and clung to her breasts like Saranwrap in the humidity of the morning.  “Shit!” she swore.

“No worries, Jessi.  I’ll be out of your hair as soon as I’m done with these hedges,” Judd said as he started the trimmers again and returned to his work.

Jessi hurried back to the pool deck and into the house.

For Sparrow promo 1

Use this link to get your copy of FOR SPARROW:
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY Releases Tuesday, Feb. 13

My new ‘spicy vanilla’ modern-day adult fairy tale, CHASING ORDINARY, comes out Tuesday, February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day!  It’s the dreamy romance I’ve always wanted to read.

Until release day, you can
reserve your copy
for the special pre-order rate of 99¢!

Here’s the official description:

Red-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a sculptor who welds steel and glass creations. A young widow, she lives on her in-laws’ sheep ranch in Montana where she helps out during the day, working on her art at night.

Looking to raise money to expand the ranch’s business, she gratefully accepts her art school roommate’s offer of a gallery show in Manhattan. It’s been years since she was in the city, and she’s happy to visit her old friend.

Nik is in New York on business. He’s been traveling for nearly a month, enduring endless meetings, attending obligatory dinners, and battling jet-lag. On his way to yet another business dinner, his world collides with Petey’s one rainy Manhattan night.

Their mutual attraction is immediate, but Nik’s skeptical. Could it possibly be that this gorgeous, enchanting artist has no idea that he’s Europe’s most eligible prince?

Spending time with Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she finds out the truth?

Check out the official CHASING ORDINARY book trailer.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, how about a steamy excerpt?

Magnum?  Seriously?”

Bedroom mess with lingerie shoes and condom quick sex conceptHe pulled her closer, gently running his thumb across her lips.  “So pretty,” he breathed before plunging his mouth to hers.  She responded to his fervor, reaching to stroke his cheek, to tangle her fingers in the hair behind his ears.

Wrapping an arm around her waist, he pulled her astride his lap, never breaking their kiss.  Gripping her ass, he pulled her closer, aware of his burgeoning erection.  She rested her hands on his shoulders, grinding against him as she deepened the kiss.

The car stopped and the driver cleared his throat.  “We’re here, sir.”

Breathless, they froze.  In a husky voice, she said, “Do you want to come in?”

Eyes locked on hers, he nodded.  “Yes.  I would definitely like to come in.”

When the car door was opened, Petey stepped out onto the sidewalk in front of Jules’ apartment.  Nik followed, murmuring something Petey didn’t catch to the driver, who nodded, closed the door, and returned to the driver’s seat.  Petey looked to Nik questioningly.

“I told him I’d call when I’m ready to return to the hotel.”

Together, they made their way up the steps to the front door.  Nik paused, putting a hand on Petey’s shoulder.  “I don’t have…“  He raised his eyebrows.  “I didn’t have the thought that I’d need…“

Petey’s eyes widened.  “Oh,” she said, as she got his meaning.

He hooked a thumb in the direction of the car.  “I could have Lars go—“

“God, no!” she exclaimed, mortified.  “I’m sure Jules will have condoms.”

Red-faced, she unlocked the front door and let them into the entry.  Taking his hand, she led him to the steps he’d climbed earlier in the evening.  Four flights of stairs later at Jules’s apartment, she glanced up at him, blushing again as she unlocked the door and they quietly went inside.

A small lamp in the far corner and the light over the stove prevented the living room from being completely dark.  Glancing around as she closed the door, she saw Jules’ black overcoat hanging over the arm of a chair in the living room, and her bedroom door was closed.  Jules is home, she thought.

She turned to Nik, who took her hand and drew her closer, planting a soft kiss on her lips.

“Would you like some wine?” she whispered.

He nodded, so she carefully set her bag in the chair by Jules’ coat and crossed to the small refrigerator.  She took out a nearly full bottle of sauvignon blanc, and retrieved a pair of wine glassed from the cupboard over the fridge.  These she handed to Nik, nodding to the black iron spiral staircase.  “Go ahead upstairs,” she whispered.  “I’ll find the…”  She raised her eyebrows and nodded toward the bathroom.

Taking the wine and glasses, he kissed her again and softly padded up the stairs.

When she heard his footfalls on the loft above, Petey slipped off her ankle boots and tiptoed to the bathroom.  Gingerly, she opened the door to the medicine cabinet, but didn’t see what she was looking for.  Squatting, she opened the cabinet beneath the sink and frantically sorted through the various items there, with no luck.

“Shit!”  She wondered if she should have let Nik ask the driver to go to the 24-hour pharmacy down the street after all.

“Psst!”

Petey froze.  She heard it again.

“Psst!”

Peeking out the bathroom door, she saw that Jules’ bedroom door was cracked open and an extended hand proffered a box of condoms.

Petey took the box, scanning it quickly.  “Magnum?  Seriously?” she whispered.

Jules lifted her upturned palm in a one-handed gesture.

“Thanks!” Petey whispered.

Jules formed a circle with her thumb and forefinger, flashing the ‘okay’ signal, then quietly closed her door.

Breathing out nervously, Petey made her way back to the spiral staircase.


Wine and glasses in hand, Nik reached the top of the stairs and paused, taking in the scene.  The room was small, dominated by a king-sized bed covered with a white duvet.  A steel-grey velvet-upholstered headboard rested against a white wall, a gold-framed pair of botanical prints hanging over the bed.  Opposite the bed was a wall of white shelves, housing hundreds of books and the occasional objet d’art.

But he was drawn to the wall of glass beside him.  He let himself out onto the wooden deck, set the wine on a tiny bistro table, and crossed to the far side where a steel railing guarded the edge of the outdoor space.  He peered down at the street four floors below.  At this time of night, all was quiet in the residential neighborhood.  He knew from experience that the neighborhood around the Plaza was busy day and night.  He hadn’t thought to find such a quiet space within the city.

He turned to look back at the apartment, where he saw Petey reach the top of the stairs, her gorgeous red hair reflecting the moonlight shining in through the skylight.  He smiled as he watched her pause, looking around the room in puzzlement.  Then she turned and met his eyes, smiling in relief.

“Hello,” she said as she let herself out onto the deck.  “I wondered where you’d gone.”

Nik approached her, gesturing to the table.  “I couldn’t resist this lovely terrace.  It’s still such a beautiful night.”  He poured wine for both of them.

Petey accepted the glass he offered her, and they both sipped quietly.  She glanced at him shyly.  “I, um, found what I was looking for,” she said.

“Did you?” he smiled.  “No sending Lars to the chemist?”

She shook her head.  “No, we’re good to go.”

Nik stepped closer, wrapping his free arm around her waist and pressing his lips to hers.  She tasted of wine and desire.

Petey took a step back, taking his free hand.  “Let’s go inside.”

Taking their glasses with them, they returned inside to the bedroom.  Nik noticed the box she’d left on the bedside table.  They were, indeed, all systems go.

Petey set her wine glass on the table beside the box of condoms and took his glass, too.  She pressed her body to his, reaching up to grip his shoulders.  He leaned down to meet her, and she hungrily claimed his lips, her intensity surprising him.  Then he tightened his arms around her, meeting her heat with his own.  His erection pressed into her belly, and he slid his hands down to grip her firm ass.

She broke the kiss to trail light nips along his jaw line, then down his neck to his collarbone.  Stepping back, she looked up with a gleam in her eye, and began to loosen his tie.

Nik smiled indulgently as she draped the tie on a chair beside them, before going to work on his shirt.  As she exposed his chest, she kissed her way to each succeeding button, while sliding her hand down to the front of his trousers, where she massaged his iron shaft.

When his shirt was unbuttoned, she lightly kissed her way down the happy trail that disappeared at this waistband.  Nik heard a groan and realized that it had come from himself.

She slid the shirt from his shoulders and was momentarily foiled when the sleeves were caught at his wrists.  Fumbling, she discovered and unfastened platinum cuff links, placing them carefully on the bedside table.  “Oops,” she giggled softly.

Nik chuckled too, pulling her to him and kissing her again.  He reached down, grasping the hem of her dress, and slid it up, breaking his kiss to pull it over her head.  Beneath the dress was a matching bra and panty set of silver lace.  As he slid his gaze over her appreciatively, she did a slow twirl to show off the thong.

“Utterly breathtaking,” he murmured.

She smiled sheepishly.  “This was part of what Colin sent.”

“I wholeheartedly approve,” he nodded.  “I will definitely have him send more.”

“Yeah?”

“Oh, yeah.”

She turned, sending a smoldering look over her shoulder, as she reached behind her to unhook the bra, allowing it to slide to the floor.  Slowly, she turned back to face him.  Through the skylights, the moon bathed her breasts in silver light.  Her nipples were tight pink points, and whether from the coolness of the evening or from arousal, he couldn’t say.  For the moment, he simply stared.  “You’re so beautiful.”

Reaching slowly, he cupped her breasts, brushing the erect nibs with his thumbs.  He earned a whimper which he muffled with another deep, languid kiss.  Slowly, he moved them both, gently laying her across the bed.  He lowered himself over her, capturing her lips with his for another brief kiss before wandering lower, unable to resist the temptation of her tight points.

She arched into him as he suckled, lavishing her peaks with his tongue.  As he did, he slid his hand slowly up the inside of her thigh to her sex, cupping it, feeling heat rising from there.  He pressed down with the heel of his hand and Petey gasped, arching once again.  Emboldened by her responsiveness, he pulled aside the grey lace thong and massaged her pussy for a moment before sliding a pair of fingers between her slippery folds.

“Oh, God,” she gasped.

He continued to finger her for a few moments before he withdrew his digits, popping them into his mouth, his stormy blue eyes smoldering.  “Du smager så godt,” he murmured.  “You taste so good.”

CHASING ORDINARY will be available at your favorite online bookseller at this universal link: books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

Don’t forget to take advantage of the 99¢ pre-order until Tuesday.

Chasing Ordinary 7

Watch This Space–SPY by Maggie Carpenter

SPY
His Mission. His Orders. His Promise

cover

I’m doing the happy dance, you guys!  That’s because award-winning erotic BDSM romance author, and my hero, Maggie Carpenter has a brand new release, and I can’t wait to read it!  Here’s the blurb:

HEARTBREAK AND HEALING. SIZZLING SUSPENSE. SMOKE AND MIRRORS…!

Natalie Freeman, a headstrong, talented art historian, is staring in shock at the man who has broken into her hotel suite. He also broke his promise and her heart two years before. Her fury at his betrayal still burns in her soul, but she’s never stopped craving his decadent desires and take-charge passion.

Oliver Barton, a spy for a secret organization, has been searching for the red-headed spitfire since circumstances ripped them apart. He has finally found her, and to his dismay she’s working for a ruthless Russian gangster, Victor Pichenko.

But Oliver is on assignment, and though he can rescue her from the clutches of the murderous mobster, the perilous mission will put them both in grave danger.

SPY stars an edgy British tough guy, a wily willful woman, salacious sex and sizzling suspense. If you enjoyed the best selling Motorcycle Master and Cowboy by this author, you’ll love this riveting romance.   

 

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Here’s where you can get your copy of SPY:
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2C3vpJF
APPLE: https://tinyurl.com/y8set4lv
KOBO: https://tinyurl.com/yae4ueyu

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 Wouldn’t you love to read a steamy excerpt from Spy?  I knew you would.  Here you go…

Half-naked and nervously waiting, Natalie wondered why she’d purposely disobeyed Oliver’s orders. The way he’d outlined her actions had shone a light on her reckless behavior, yet she’d known she was being an idiot even as she’d watched the garage door roll up and she’d rolled down the drive. She’d also known he’d be furious and put her over his knee. Is that why she’d done it?

“So, bad girl, you look deep in thought,” he declared, entering the room.

“I suppose I am.”

“Pondering your misdeeds?”

“Exactly.”

“Trying to understand why you did what you did, knowing all the while this is where we’d end up? How am I doing so far?”

“One-hundred percent.”

“I could offer theories, but only you know what lives in your heart and head, though one thing is clear. You need to be reminded of my authority and what comes with it. Protection and love.”

“Maybe, yes, I do.”

“And the stinging heat of my hand.”

“Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir.”

“Good. Let’s begin,” he said firmly, settling next to her. “Sit on my lap with your back to me.”

Puzzled, she shifted across and sat on his thighs, and as he placed his hands on her shoulders she felt a slight push.

“Tilt forward.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You’re going to bend all the way over and place your hands on the floor, then move your legs out behind you. Imagine you’re a wheelbarrow.”

“WHAT? But, uh, that’s impossible.”

“No it’s not! Do as you’re told!”

His instruction had been delivered in his brisk British accent, the one that told her he meant business, and tentatively leaning down she squirmed into the awkward position. But she suddenly realized it wasn’t just awkward. It left her vulnerable and exposed.

“You know why I’m going to spank you, you know it’s deserved, and you know why you need it. You also know what I expect you to say next.”

“Please, Sir, will you punish me?”

“I certainly will. I said it before but it bears repeating. You will never, ever, put yourself at risk like that again. Correct?”

“Never, Sir.”

Gazing down at her curvaceous backside and fully revealed charms, he decided when the mission was over he’d immerse her into his decadent world. When he’d discovered her submissive soul he’d started her down the path, and he’d planned a variety of salacious surprises at the remote mountain cabin, but that dream had been shattered by a spray of bullets. As his mind had wandered, he’d been caressing her full plump cheeks, but it was time to spank his beautiful, willful woman.

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A BIT ABOUT MAGGIE

Award-winning and best-selling author Maggie Carpenter has published over fifty romance novels, and is the recipient of a number Romance Reviews awards spanning a variety of genres. Her readers describe her work as, romantic, funny, suspenseful, beyond a five-star read, and exciting romance with a ton of surprises.

Her work includes a best-selling twelve-book contemporary cowboy series, Cowboys After Dark, (http://amzn.to/2ihCNtp), a warrior fantasy trilogy, Warriors After Dark, (http://amzn.to/2iE0cDa) contemporary love stories, and several Victorian romances. His Willful Bride was a #1 best-seller for many weeks and a BookBub Feature Deal. Her most recent series, Alpha Male Masters, (http://amzn.to/2vyj5go) offers undercover agents, bodyguards, cowboys, barbarians, Harley riders and billionaires. Her smart, witty, strong-willed heroines bring unexpected challenge, mystery and humor into the lives of passionate, take-charge men.

Maggie has a history in show-business both in front of and behind the camera, but moved from Los Angeles to live in the Pacific Northwest to pursue her writing. She is an equine enthusiast who rides every day, and writes until the wee hours of the morning when her eyes close only because they must.

This author loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through her website: http://www.MaggieCarpenter.com. Find her on Amazon at http://www.Amazon.com/author/maggiecarpenter. To sample her work for free and subscriber to her newsletter go to www.3FreeBooks.com.

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MAGGIES SOCIAL MEDIA

http://www.MaggieCarpenter.com

https://www.Amazon.com/author/maggiecarpenter

https://www.facebook.com/MaggieCarpenterWriter

YouTube Channel: https://tinyurl.com/y9styy9q

 

Spanking Romance Review Awards

 Best BDSM Contemporary Romance
The British Billionaire Bachelor (Runner up 2015)

Best Regency/Victorian Romance 

His Willful Bride 2015

The Wanton Widow 2016

Best Contemporary Western Spanking Romance

When A Cowboy Loves A Woman 2015

Her Forbidden Cowboy 2016

Best Paranormal Spanking Romance

Warrior and the Mischievous Witch

Best Medical BDSM Romance

Her Doctor in Charge

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Weekend Excerpt–Christmas At Michael’s

RR Christmas

Merry Christmas!  Here’s wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays!

This weekend excerpt is a Christmas scene from RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION, a three-novel contemporary erotic romance.  Inveterate player Michael Rannigan is a founding partner and the public face of the Manhattan law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny.  Hiring smart redhead Maggie Flynn to join his elite 50th floor team changes his life in ways he never imagined.

Enjoy this holiday teaser, but beware…SPOILERS abound.

Michael glanced around his living room and sighed deeply as an unfamiliar wave of contentment washed over him.  He’d missed the Orphans and Misfits since he and Maggie had parted ways and had forgotten how much he’d enjoyed being in the midst of all the joyful chaos.

After their late-afternoon buffet-style dinner, the handful of children in attendance opened their gifts.  Then Ben headed up the annual gift exchange, handing out numbers and presiding over the picks and swaps.  Maggie and some of the others set out dessert on the dining room table and made sure that the bar was stocked with plenty of cups and ice so that everyone felt free to help themselves.

Ensconced in his spot close to the windows at the far end of the huge leather sectional, Michael realized that everywhere he looked, he saw people who were connected in some way to himself or Maggie or both.  Rance, Jason and a few more were out on the terrace taking in the view.  A handful of others watched a football game on television.  Across the room, Nate and Ben chatted with a petite blonde woman.

That’s Casey, Maggie’s friend from law school, he reminded himself.  Casey’s husband John was on the floor in front of the Christmas tree with their little boy, putting together something with Legos.  Closer to Michael, sitting on the floor leaning against the sectional, Maggie was playing a game of peek-a-boo with a toddler who was sitting on her lap.

That must be Casey’s daughter, he thought, judging by the little girl’s nearly white blonde hair.  In his mind’s eye, he saw Maggie playing the game with a red haired child, and he smiled contentedly.  It’s all coming together.  

Veronica slid onto the sofa beside him.  “You’re looking awfully pleased with yourself.”

Michael grinned.  “That’s because when you’re good, you’re good.  And I’m good.”  He winked at her.

“And oh, so humble,” she purred, fixing him with a mocking exasperated smirk.

Casey joined Maggie on the floor.  “How’s Princess Nastypants doing?” she asked, taking her daughter from Maggie.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, this is the sweetest child,” Maggie said, laughing.

“Well, she’s momentarily charmed by her Aunt Maggie, but don’t let her fool you.  We’re up to our eyeballs in the ‘terrible twos.’ ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Me too, cher, believe me.”

“Do I need to let you go?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Merry Christmas, cher.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I wanted to surprise you,” he grinned.

“Well…you did.  I’m so glad.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rannigan’s Redemption is available at your favorite online bookseller.
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Maggie’s Orphans & Misfits Christmas–Holiday Excerpt from Rannigan’s Redemption

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Maggie Flynn, smart red-haired lawyer from Rannigan’s Redemption, was raised by her father after her mother abandoned them both when Maggie was small.   When he died while she was in college, she found herself alone in the world.

Rather than indulging in self-pity and despair, she forges ahead, gathering a collection of friends who, like herself, are alone.  And at Christmas, she makes sure no one spends the holiday by themselves, creating a tradition called the Orphans and Misfits Christmas.  If someone has nowhere to go for Christmas, they know they’re welcome at Maggie’s.  Occasionally, someone surprising shows up.

This excerpt is from RESISTING RISK, Book 1 of Rannigan’s Redemption.

“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.

Couple in love on the background of the spring city.

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.”

Treat yourself Rannigan

Use this universal link to get the complete
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Watch This Space–TELENOVELA by Sabrina Devonshire

Telenovela (eBook)11-11-17

Y’all, I cannot tell a lie.  I picked up my limited facility with Spanish while watching a hot telenovela out of Miami called Gata Salvaje.   And, well, the appeal is pretty obvious.

Steamy romance author Sabrina Devonshire just released a HOT new book called TELENOVELA.  Wondering what it’s about?

César is a famous Mexican Telenovela star. Women constantly throw themselves at him, and he’ll be into one for a short time before moving on. Long-term relationships spell danger for César. People he loves end up dead. That’s why Camila can never know she’s more to him than a one night stand. But he has to find a way to preserve their working relationship because the show must go on…

Camila nearly gave up her dream of becoming an actress. After three years of auditioning, all she has to show for it is a dead-end office job. Then, a business trip to Puerto Vallarta puts her in the right place at the right time. Suddenly, she’s a pampered star on The Sands of Time, one of Mexico’s hottest Telenovelas. Soon acting and reality become intertwined, as her co-star, César, is too hot to resist on set or off it. She knows César’s trouble, but what she doesn’t know is that her dalliance with him could be deadly.

Okay, I’m hooked.  How about a steamy teaser?

I’m walking barefoot close to the shoreline. The ocean waves crash and lap over my feet. The water’s cool, but refreshing. Even in March, it’s in the low 80s. The bright sun coats the endless stretch of sea with flickering diamonds. A few puffy clouds drift across the azure sky. I release a long, satisfied exhale. This is the best day I’ve had in so long. It feels amazing to be outdoors instead of confined to a windowless room.

People lounge in chairs under the bright blue umbrellas, sipping drinks from straws. Others stroll along the beach. Some of the children run across the sand, while others splash and play in the shallow water.

Like LA’s Venice Beach, here there are more male couples than heterosexual couples walking the beach. But on this Puerto Vallarta beach, they seem uninhibited and unconcerned that anyone will judge them. Wearing tight, colorful bikini briefs, the men openly kiss or hold hands with their partners. The energy of this place moves me. The tension that usually constricts my neck and shoulders has melted away. The slower pace of Mexico seems to be contagious. I feel happy and relaxed and so does everyone I see. The rushed pace of La La Land doesn’t exist here.

A Mexican guy greets me with a “Buenas tardes.” He probably thinks I’m a local.

I automatically answer in Spanish, glancing at him long enough to notice that he’s reasonably attractive. But then I notice the drop-dead gorgeous guy walking up behind him. Any woman’s gaze would be drawn toward him like a magnet. Wow. His beautifully shaped lips alone are enough to make me salivate. And I love his hair—shoulder-length and straight and thick enough to tangle your fingers in when you kiss him. Dios mío, what am I thinking. Giving his amazing body the once over doesn’t do a thing to help me clear my head. Maybe I should keep my gaze focused above his neck. His blue-green eyes, accented by thick brows, glance my way. My mouth falls open when he starts walking toward me. I look behind me to see if maybe there’s another woman there, but there isn’t. This is crazy.

Buenas tardes,” he says. “Cómo está?” He slows down. Not only is he greeting me, he’s trying to start a conversation with me.

My heart beats faster. Does he always talk to strangers? I guess if he wants to talk to random women on the beach, it should be easy enough. What woman wouldn’t talk to him? I’m surprised he doesn’t have a horde of them hovering, he looks so delectable. I clear my throat, not sure what to say. I stutter out a greeting. He continues speaking to me in Spanish.

“I’m César. Cómo se llama?”

Mucho gusto. I’m Camila.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Camila.” I like the sound of my name flowing off his lips. His full and very sexy lips. He extends a hand.

I reach out to shake it. Electricity shoots up my arm leaving me feeling lightheaded. My mouth must have fallen open. It’s been forever since I’ve felt attraction like this or even thought about a relationship or falling in love. There’s no time for men when your life is a non-stop financial struggle. I haven’t had a serious relationship since acting school.

“It’s great meeting you, too. Do you live here? Or are you visiting?” His voice is warm and inviting, his eyes so large and alive. The blue and green flecks in his irises remind me of the sea, the way they constantly change color.

“Visiting. I live in Los Angeles.”

“Oh, you live in America. Are you near Hollywood?”

I involuntarily clench my jaw. There’s no way I’m going to mention the seedy neighborhood I live in. “I live in a suburb not too far from there. How about you?”

“I grew up in Puerto Vallarta. Now I split my time between living here and in Mexico City.”

“I was born in Mexico City. My parents moved to the US when I was eight. Are you working here? Or are you on vacation?”

“I’m working as usual. We are here filming.”

“Filming? How interesting. The company I work for is here to film scenes for the American soap opera, Days and Nights of Desire.”

His eyes widen and when he smiles, I see a perfect row of sturdy white teeth. His smile ratchets his amazing looks up to a whole new level. The man’s gorgeous and he probably knows it. He must be an actor. Every woman in Mexico would die to watch whatever show he’s in.

César looks directly into my eyes. “I knew you were an actress. You have the look.”

My shoulders slump forward and I muffle my sigh. Wait until he finds out what I really am. “I wish. I studied to be an actress and auditioned for a part in this show, but I got offered a job as an office assistant.” I wait for him to politely end the conversation and make his escape.

He steps in closer and his brows draw together in disgust. “Office assistant? What were they thinking?”

More tingles race through my body at his nearness. His body is to die for. His black T-shirt stretches across his muscular chest and his rock-solid bicep and tricep muscles flex and bunch when he moves his hands expansively through the air as he talks. I shrug. “I didn’t fit their concept of evil seductress I guess.”

“The producer must be blind. You have what it takes to be a star, Camila. I recognized it the instant I saw you.”

He’s really laying it on thick. He must be trying to seduce me. Not that I mind all that much. At least he didn’t bolt when he heard I have a grunt job. “You’re very kind. How about you? Are you an actor?”

“Yes. I play the role of Juan in a Telenovela, The Sands of Time.”

“And you’re filming here?”

“Yes. We are shooting scenes of me meeting my next love interest.”

“That’s exciting.” I feel jealous just thinking about him entangled between the sheets with his co-star. Wouldn’t I like to have that job?

“It would be, but we have a very big problem. And I am thinking maybe you can help us solve it.” He gazes at me in a penetrating way that shows he’s analyzing not only my looks, but trying to see deeper. It takes my breath away.

There’s an awkward pause before I answer. “I-I’m not sure what you mean.”

“You’ll see in a minute. Please come with me.” He wraps his strong fingers around my forearm and gently tugs to urge me to come with him.

That touch sends another current of electricity ricocheting through my body. I want to be near him. Maybe I even crave the wild affair he seems after. But this is a very bad idea. César is a complete stranger. He could take me anywhere. “Oh, no, I really can’t. I don’t even know you.”

“I want you to meet some people. They’re under that row of umbrellas.” He points off in the distance. I’m not sure who he’s pointing toward because there are hundreds of umbrellas on this beach and almost every beach chair is full. But I shake off my fears. Meeting a group of people on this beach can’t be any more dangerous than taking a public bus in LA. César releases my arm and starts walking faster.

I speed up too, but my feet slip in the deep sand as I struggle to keep up with him. I manage to gasp out, “I don’t understand. Who do you want me to meet?”

“My movie crew, of course. You have the looks. And the personality we need. Your luck is about to change. You’re about to become the hottest new Mexican telenovela star.”

Telenovela Teaser 1 (PM)

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