Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

pic3I’m so excited to tell you that Dream Dominant Book 3, FOR SPARROW, is finished and currently in edits.  This cover is just a mock-up I made when I first began the project over a year ago.  Erotica author and fellow Wicked Pen Linzi Basset is currently at work creating a hot new cover.  Stay tuned for news of the official cover reveal and for release day.

Set in my hometown of West Palm Beach, FOR SPARROW is about Jessi Crenshaw, recently widowed and mourning the loss of her husband, lover, and Dominant.  But it turns out that her husband Graham had had an inkling that his health was on the decline, and he tapped a temporary replacement for himself.

Enter tall, sexy, and Dominant firefighter/paramedic Judd Farris.  He’s agreed to watch over Jessi, to give her knee time when she needs it, and to give her the boundaries she craves.  But it’s a damn odd arrangement, platonic Dominance and submission.  How long can the keep this up?

So for this weekend’s excerpt, I wanted to give you a little teaser from FOR SPARROW.

They enjoyed dinner on the patio, the sky shifting from the orange and pink Jessi had noticed upstairs to a deep indigo twilight, the stars blinking on over the gentle swells of the ocean.  The teak table was lit with a pair of citronella candles against the odd mosquito, and Judd had built a fire in the pit just off the patio.

Conversation over their grilled mahi dinner and sauvignon blanc centered on their adventures over the past couple of weeks.  The mood was light and happy, and Judd, for one, was glad for Jessi’s company.  Her face lit up as she recounted her surfing attempts and the pair laughed easily.

Buddy devoured his bowl of kibble and promptly passed out again.  Judd and Jessi carried their dishes into the house, quickly restoring order to the kitchen.  Jessi glanced at her watch and decided that she should be leaving soon.

“Do you have to go?” Judd asked, noticing her checking her watch.

“Oh, you know, I should probably head home.”

“We haven’t had dessert yet.”

Jessi chuckled.  “I’m so stuffed from that delicious dinner.  I don’t think I could take another bite.”

“Come on, Jessi, there’s always room for dessert,” he coaxed.  “Wait til you see.”  Judd opened a cabinet, removed a few items, and placed them on the counter.

Watching curiously, Jessi had to laugh.  “Chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows.  S’mores?”

Judd nodded proudly.  “S’mores.  You can’t resist s’mores.  Nobody can.  It’s a known fact.”

Laughing again, Jessi followed Judd back outside.  “I haven’t had s’mores since…  Well, probably not since that time I took the kids camping.”

“Then you’re long overdue.  This stuff is left from when my sister and niece were here.”  He took two steel barbecue skewers, placed two marshmallows on the end of one, and handed it to Jessi.

“One, please.  I just want one marshmallow.”

He grinned, sliding a single marshmallow onto the other skewer, and they traded.  “Lightweight,” he teased.  “Now, let me show you how it’s done.”  He held the marshmallows a distance away from the flames, allowing them to slowly begin to warm.

“Careful there, you might accidentally roast those guys,” Jessi jibed.  She poured more wine for him and for herself.

“Kid if you must,” Judd replied, “but these bad boys are going to be perfection.”

Jessi sipped her wine, watching as the marshmallows began to slowly expand while remaining pristinely white.  “I have a different method,” she commented.

“Oh, you do, do you?”

“Yup.”  She prepared a graham cracker, breaking it into two pieces and placing a square of chocolate on one of them.  “Watch and learn, fire boy.”

Taking her skewer, she fixed him with an arched eyebrow before plunging her marshmallow directly into the flames.  When she pulled it out again, the round white confection was engulfed in blue flame.  Gently, she blew out the fire to reveal a charred marshmallow.

“You burned it,” Judd observed.

“It’s crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside.  Pure perfection.”  She lay the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and used the other graham cracker to slide it off the skewer.

She waved her hand over the top of her dessert with a triumphant flourish.  “Tah-dah!”

By this time, Judd’s marshmallows had tripled in size and were just beginning to turn a toasty golden brown.  “See, this is how you make a s’more.”  Carefully, he carried his marshmallows to the table where Jessi had prepared his graham crackers and chocolate.  He slid the marshmallows off the skewer and pressed the top cracker on, gooey marshmallow running over the sides.

Judd motioned for Jessi to sit, and he perched on the stool at an angle to her, their knees just brushing under the table.  He lifted his s’more and held it out to her.  “To adventure!”

Jessi picked up her own dessert and touched it to Judd’s, laughing lightly.  “Adventure.”

He continued to watch her thoughtfully as she nibbled her s’more.  “Thank you, Jessi, for such a great day.”

In the candlelight, his eyes flickered and Jessi felt the tingle in her belly.  And lower.

“It was fun.  It really was,” she murmured, hoping the dim light hid her blush.

Judd bit into his s’more with gusto, leaving a trail of marshmallow down his chin that dripped onto his shirt.

Jessi giggled happily.  “I knew that was too much for one s’more.”

“It was just the right amount,” Judd returned, sweeping the errant goo off his shirt and licking it off his finger.  “The graham cracker just couldn’t hold all the awesomeness.”

Jessi laughed again, pointing to his chin.

“What?”

“You missed a spot.”

He cocked his head, trying to see his chin.  He aimed his tongue at the corner of his mouth.  “Now?”

She shook her head and slid off her stool.  “I’ll get it.”  Stepping closer, she swiped her finger up his chin, removing most of the white confection.  Without thinking, she popped her finger into her mouth, but she didn’t miss the heat in his eyes.

Impulsively, she leaned forward and lapped at the corner of his mouth.  He tasted of chocolate, marshmallow, salt water, and sin.  A low groan emanated from Judd’s chest.  Jessi leaned back to look him in the face.

“Little one,” he whispered.

Stepping deliberately closer, she straddled his right knee and leaned in again, planting light kisses where the marshmallow had been.

Judd placed his hands on her hips and moved her back a bit.  “Are we crossing this line?”  His voice was soft, hopeful.

Jessi blinked and nodded.  “Yes.  Please.”

He didn’t wait for further permission.  He wasted no time in claiming her lips, devouring them as he pulled her closer, raising his knee to meet the warm needy place between her thighs.

Jessi gave herself over completely to his kiss.  She’d craved it for longer than she was willing to admit to herself.  She’d loved Graham.  But Graham was gone.  And he’d given her permission to move on.  It was time she gave herself permission.

Judd broke off the kiss and stood her back from him, steadying her when she wobbled a bit.  He fixed her with his best Dominant glare.  “You will be kneeling at the foot of my bed in two minutes.  You will be dressed.  I will undress you.”

Jessi immediately bowed her head.  “Yes, Sir.”

Again, FOR SPARROW is still receiving the finishing touches.  As soon as the cover reveal is scheduled, I’ll let you know.

For now, though, I want to invite you to join my fun new Facebook group, Pandora’s Passionista Paradise.  It’s about fun, friends, and hot books.  Today, I even had a little giveaway, just saying…  I’m there everyday, so come and say hello!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PandorasPassionistas/

Weekend Excerpt–Finding Callie

Happy Weekend!  Is it me, or is the summer seeming to fly by?  How can it be August already?  I’m still hard at work on FOR SPARROW, which will be the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.  Sexy and talented author (and fellow Wicked Pen) Linzi Basset is hard at work on the cover, and she may or may not have another couple of surprises up her sleeve.  Stay tuned here for more new about that.

callie

For this weekend’s excerpt, I’m sharing another snippet from the Teasers tab on my website.  Tentatively titled FINDING CALLIE, this story idea comes from experiences I had some years ago when I had the chance to travel to France and Spain for a couple of weeks.

Here’s the first chapter…

Standing in line at the post office has to be the fourth circle of hell

Callie shifted her weight to her left foot and leaned her hip against the railing around which the line of fellow postal customers snaked.  Look, only three more back-and-forths then it’s my turn, she thought sardonically. 

She frowned to herself.  Whose inner monologue is sardonic?

     “Next,” called the clerk at the second station.  Everyone in line took a step forward clutching their parcels all wrapped in brown paper and packing-taped into infinity, or their very important looking overnight-air envelopes. 
Callie glanced down at the peach square of paper in her hands.  We REdeliver for you! the paper promised.  She shook her head.  She wasn’t waiting for redelivery.
     Another clerk called out and the line shifted again.  A sextet of antique ceiling fans whirled ineffectively over their heads as a bead of sweat trickled down her spine.  She wondered if the air conditioning was out or if the USPS was simply economizing.  Either way, you could tell it was summer in south Florida.
     She made it to the turn-around and felt a bit encouraged.  Not much longer now.  She gazed at the receipt once again, her forefinger lightly tracing the address of the sender.  Sevilla.  She inhaled sharply.  She knew one person in Seville.  She couldn’t imagine what he’d sent in a parcel.
Raised voices interrupted Callie’s thoughts.  She looked up to see a well-dressed middle-aged woman shouting at the clerk at the third station.   
    
     “What do you mean, I have to get in a different line?  I’ve been standing here all day!”
     “Ma’am, I don’t have the form that you need.  Would you like to get in the other line?” the clerk asked patiently.  The man was an older black gentleman with sloping shoulders and an air of resignation.  Callie idly wondered if he’d delivered mail on foot back in the day.
     “Well if you won’t give me the form I guess I’ll have to!” the woman snapped as she vacated the station and toddled off to the the correct line. 
     Callie shook her head.  Why do people have to be such assholes?  She ran into her fair share of them as a teacher but she recalled her college days when she’d worked as a server in a busy restaurant.  People have no idea…
     She found herself suddenly only two people behind the head of the line, and she felt her heart begin to pound.  Finn.  She looked back at the peach scrap of paper.  After all this time.
     In truth she was shocked that he’d sent anything at all.  She’d known him for all of what, fifteen days?  The flush began in the center of her being and flowed up her neck to her cheeks.  Those fifteen days had changed her irrevocably.  She could never go back to the pre-Finn Callie.
     Vaguely she heard a clerk call for the next customer.  “Excuse me, ma’am?” said the guy behind her.  Callie looked up, startled.  “You’re next.”

     She murmured an apology and walked to the vacant station.  The same clerk who’d had the misfortune to deal with the nasty customer surveyed her with gentle eyes.  Callie was determined to be kind, to make up for the woman who’d been so unpleasant.  She smiled broadly.  “Yes, I’m picking up a parcel.”  She presented him with the peach scrap and her driver’s license.

     The man smiled kindly as he took the slip of paper and disappeared into the back.  He reemerged moments later carrying a package about the size and shape of a hardcover book.  Callie’s pulse pounded in her ears.
     “Here you are, ma’am,” he said as he handed her the box.  It was lighter than she’d expected.  Her eyes zeroed in on the return address.  Finn Cooper, 54 Calle Montevideo, Sevilla, Espana. 
     She smiled again and thanked the man, wished him a pleasant day, and walked out into the heat of the summer day.
I hope you liked this little teaser.  FINDING CALLIE joins a long list of stories I’ll eventually get to.   In the meantime, browse my Amazon Author Page for your next steamy read.

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
is available for only $.99 at your favorite online bookseller.

Just use this Universal link: books2read.com/JustOneNight

Cover Reveal–Italian Playboy by Holly J. Gill

    *´¨💕) COVER REVEAL💕

 

¸.•´¸.•*´¨)¸.•*¨💕)

💕(¸.•´‪ 💕 💕

Title: Italian Playboy

Standalone
Author: Holly J. Gill
Genres: #Romantic #Erotica #BDSM  #adult #HollyJGill #Italianplayboy

 

Can A Playboy Ever Be Tamed?

 

 

💕✶ BLURB ✶💕

 

I’m an arrogant, self-righteous Italian guy who

only thinks through one thing… I never see the same woman twice – it’s my rule.

I throw the most outrageously wicked and sexy parties for my own satisfaction

and relish on women like I do my fine dining. I’m a playboy by day and a

playboy by night. They call me the Italian Playboy and I love it! Only, all of

that changed one night when a dark haired beauty stepped into one of my sex

parties. From the moment I laid eyes on her, I had to have her. But no sooner

than my eyes had met her naked body, she was gone. I had to find her. And I

wouldn’t stop until I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve Got (Kink) Mail!

There are subscription boxes for everything these days.  Every month, you can get the perfect outfit.  You can get treats for your dog.  But what about kink?

20170612_173836

KinkCrate.com has you covered.  Can you just imagine?  Erotic fantasy boxes shipped directly to you every month?  Always with a theme?  Here’s the description from their website:

KinkCrate is the #1 Kinky Subscription Box!

Each month it’s packed with the sexiest, naughtiest toys we could find.  Dildos, vibrators, nipple clamps…oh my!

Every month, your KinkCrate will be packed with 5 to 9 items, a kinky new theme, as well as the KinkCrate Handbook. The KinkCrate Handbook will guide you through what’s inside, and give you some ideas as to what you can do with them, too.

You’re not going to find another subscription box like this on the web – we have searched the world over for the most provocative and highest quality sex toys and goods around. This means you’re going to see medical-grade silicone vibrators and medical-grade silica glass dildos, delicious lubes, erotic reads, and so much more.

What’s the difference between our singles and couples crate, you ask?

Our singles crate is geared more towards vibrators and items where you do not need a parner.  With some creativity all these items can be used with a partner too.  The goal though is to allow you to use this box to help you please yourself better than you ever have before!

The couples box will include more BDSM related items and will always be more enjoyable with at least one partner.  Each item we choose is to help you take your orgasms to the next level.  Let go of your inhibitions and enjoy sex to the fullest!

I snagged this video from their YouTube channel.

They have plenty of options, too.  Check it out.

COUPLES SUBSCRIPTION BOX

Couples, it’s time to break out the kinkiness. Forget about going to a sex store or shopping online. All you need will be delivered to your door monthly, allowing you to escape into a new theme each and every month. You will always find 5 to 9 items, ranging from blindfolds, paddles, cock rings, and vibrators to cuffs, lubes, candles, and more.

This is your chance to try something different in the bedroom (or the kitchen, the living room, or anywhere else you like to go to get down)! We’ll include a complete guide to introduce all the items and give you an idea as to what you can do with them. It’s a great way to turn up the heat with your partner and show each other what you like!

Total crate value will be between $55 & $75 per month

Take a deep breath, the boxes always arrive unmarked, so no one will know that there is kinkiness inside until you do the big reveal behind closed doors.

Boost your date nights.  Head over to their website to get KinkCrate delivered right to your door.

WIP It Up Wednesday–Invisible

Ever have a wild-hare idea and you just knew you had to follow it?  That happens to me sometimes, usually when I’m busy trying to concentrate on something else.  But sometimes, a story just comes to you, or at the very least, a nugget of an idea.  If I can, I try to write it down before I forget.  Eventually, I plan to write the whole story.

This snippet comes from a project I’m tentatively calling Invisible.  My love is dying for me to finish this story.  One day…

invisible

Henry sat across the table watching her devour his hamburger and fries.  When he’d asked, she’d said she wasn’t hungry, but when his food arrived, she hadn’t been able to take her eyes off of it.
     The impromptu meal started when he’d asked if he could buy her a coffee.  It seemed a small thing, seeing how she’d rescued him from an embarrassing predicament.  He never should have tried to go after Joanne.  He’d been a fool.  She hadn’t just now decided to break up with him, it had been brewing for a while.
     He’d found himself trapped in the door of her building, the sleeve of his overcoat caught when it slammed shut.  He’d pulled and tugged, kicking at the door, but to no avail.  He couldn’t even manage to take the damn thing off and the driving rain was soaking him anyway.
     That’s when she’d appeared.  “Are you stuck?” she’d called to him up the steps.
     “No, I enjoy standing in the rain!” he’d fired back.
     She’d shaken her head and bounded up the steps, pulling her soaked black fleece hoodie tighter around herself.  “No reason to be an asshole,” she muttered. 
     She began pressing all of the buttons beside the door.  “Let me in!  It’s rainin’ out here!”  The door buzzed and he was free.  She gave an exaggerated bow and hurried down the steps, stopping under the awning of the building next door.
     Sheepishly, Henry followed, standing beside her under the awning.  She glanced down at him then resumed looking out at the rain.  “I’m sorry,” he said.  “I didn’t mean to be an asshole.”  She continued staring toward the street.  “Can I buy you a coffee?  My way of saying thanks.”
     She looked back at him again seeming to think for a moment.  Finally she sighed.  “I guess I’m not goin’ anywhere until it stops rainin’ anyways,” she said.  That was when he noticed her drawl.  She certainly wasn’t from around here.
     She must be homeless, he guessed.  He figured her to be in her early twenties, twenty-three tops.  She was pretty, too, as far as he could tell.  Her long wet hair was plastered to her head, but it seemed to be red.  She had huge blue eyes that were watchful, flitting all around the room as she ate.  He’d never seen a woman eat like that.  And she was skinny, too. 
     “I’m Henry, by the way,” he told her.
     She paused, french fry halfway to her mouth.  “I’m Shelby.”  She chewed thoughtfully and swallowed.  “What were you doing stuck in that door, Henry?”
     He looked down at his hands.  “Acting like a fool, I suppose.”
     She smiled knowingly.  “It was a girl,” she said definitely.  Henry declined to answer.  “So what do you do, Henry?”
     “I’m a professor of English Literature at Columbia,” he answered.
     Shelby’s already large eyes grew bigger.  “No shit?” she said softly, and she laughed to herself.
     Henry felt his temper rising.  Having been born with dwarfism, he’d faced ridicule all his life.  “What, is it so unbelievable that someone like me could be a university professor?” he demanded.
     Shelby stopped laughing.  “That’s a hell of a chip on your shoulder, there.  A chip that big ought to have its own name.”  She shook her head.   
     “What I meant was, who would have thought that someone like me would ever meet a professor, let alone sit and have dinner with him?”
     “What do you mean, someone like you?” he asked, realizing that he owed her another apology.
     She shrugged.  “I’m not very smart,” she said simply.  “I never finished the eighth grade.  I don’t even know anybody who went to college, let alone anybody who teaches there.”
     Henry let that thought sink in.  I’m not very smart.  “Where are you from, Shelby?”
     She shook her head, grinning.  “You never heard of it.”
  
     “Try me.”
     “I’m from Pine Grove, West Virginia,” she said, watching him carefully.
     Henry smiled slowly.  “You’re right, I never heard of it.”
     She laughed.  “Count yourself lucky, then.  It’s smack in the middle of nowhere.  Everybody there works in the Hastings plant, processing natural gas.  They actually have red lights to stop the cars about a mile away from the plant, just in case the shit hits the fan.”
     Henry nodded.  “Is that why you left?  You didn’t want to work in the plant?”
     Shelby looked him dead in the eye.  “I left in the middle of eighth grade because I was tired of getting fucked by my mama’s boyfriends.”  She paused.  “I figured if I was going to be doing it anyway, I might as well be getting paid for it.”
     Henry’s eyes widened.  “You’re a…” he stopped.
     She narrowed her eyes.  “Now who’s judgin’?” she asked.
     Henry backpedaled.  “No, I mean, I just…”

     “I don’t do that anymore.  I quit three years ago.  I have a new gig,” she said.  “I take pictures.”  Henry noticed that she pronounced it pitchers.  “I have a friend who sells postcards and shit to the tourists.  He sells my postcards and splits the profits with me.”

     “Really?” Henry said thoughtfully.
     “I have a nice camera,” she said, for the first time opening up her jacket to reveal a small camera bag.  She placed it on the table, opening it carefully.  “It’s mine, I bought it at a pawn shop,” she said, slightly defensively.
     Henry looked over the camera appreciatively before handing it back to her.  “It’s very nice,” he said.
     “That’s why I came uptown.  Somebody told me that I’d like to take pictures at Columbia.  Said there’s cool buildings there.  I was pissed off and not thinkin’ straight.  It was dark by the time I got here.  Plus I didn’t know it was going to rain.  I wasted a whole damn trip for nothing.”
     “Where do you live?” Henry wondered.
     Shelby rolled her eyes.  “Long story,” she said, “but when I’m in between places, I usually stay at Grand Central.”  He thought of the train station.  “It’s pretty clean, and you can leave your stuff in a locker for two weeks before you have to move it.  There’s a guy who lets me clear tables for a few dollars.  Plus, you can eat what people leave on the trays.  You wouldn’t believe how much food people just waste.”
     Henry listened, astounded.  He’d never known a moment when he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from.  “So you came uptown to take pictures at the university?”

     “Yeah,” she said around another mouthful.  “Kind of stupid, I guess.  It was too late to begin with and then when I came out of the subway, the bottom just fell out of the sky.”

     “So are you going to go back to Grand Central?” he probed.
     Shelby shrugged.  “I guess so.  I’d better hurry, though.  The good places get taken early.”
     Henry sat back in his seat, picturing Shelby stalking through the train station dripping wet, trying to find a good place to settle down for the night.  His own words surprised him.  “You could stay with me for the night.  I’ll take you to the university in the morning, give you a tour.”
     Shelby’s eyes narrowed.  “I don’t fuck for a place to sleep.”
     Henry blushed furiously.  “God, no!  That’s not what I meant at all,” he stammered.  “I just thought, you’re all the way here, you’re soaked, it’ll take you, what, another hour to get back to Grand Central.  What if you can’t find a place?”  He cleared his throat.  “I’m just saying you could stay on my couch, go with me to work tomorrow.  You can get your pictures and get back at a reasonable time.”
     Shelby popped the last bite of hamburger into her mouth, gazing steadily at
Henry.  “Okay,” she finally said.

Finishing this story isn’t on my radar at the moment,

but check out my Amazon Author Page for other great reads.

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA Anniversary Celebration

luke-bella-updated-coverLUKE & BELLA was first published two years ago this week.  In celebration, this week’s excerpt is from that book, the first of the Dream Dominant Collection.  Wondering what it’s about?

Television journalist Bella Grant lands the job of a lifetime–travel the world and create a new television travel program.  She’s been paired up with co-producer and cameraman Luke McGillicutty, who’s been coaxed out of premature retirement with the promise of creative freedom and the chance to work with a gorgeous redhead.

Visiting exotic cities, staying in luxurious hotels…  Is it any wonder that the two fall in love?  But Luke hasn’t been completely honest with Bella.  He’s Dominant.  What’s more, he believes she’s the perfect submissive.

If he tells her the truth, he could lose her forever.  On the other hand, can he risk the chance that they could have it all?

Here’s a new excerpt from LUKE & BELLA.

They walked the two blocks to McTavish’s.  Holding open the door as he allowed Bella to precede him into the pub, Luke instinctively placed his hand on the small of her back and at once felt a charge of electricity.  He looked at her curiously, wondering if she felt it as well.

Bella appreciated Luke’s old-school manners.  Who says chivalry is dead? she asked herself, smiling.  She didn’t at all mind that he held the door for her as they entered the pub. It was funny, though.  As she passed him in the doorway, his hand grazed her back innocently enough, but she felt a shiver that went from her head to her toes.  Focus, girlfriend, on the task at hand.

Glancing around, she saw that the interior was all dark wood and looked like a classic pub.  Bella noted that the crowd seemed local.  They were headed toward the bar when they heard a roar.

“Luke mother-fucking McGillicutty!  You son of a bitch!”  Luke moved toward the source of the roar, a tall man with shaggy grey hair, warm brown eyes, and huge smile.  The two men embraced then stepped back to shake hands.

“How are you Nevin?” Luke laughed.

“I’m grand, Luke, very well,” said Nevin, but his eyes were on Bella.  “Terribly sorry for my foul language,” he apologized, bowing.  “Who is this lovely lady?”

Bella stepped forward, hand out and offering her best smile.  “Hello!  I’m Bella Grant.  I’ve heard so much about you.”

Nevin ignored her hand and instead wrapped her in a huge bear hug.

“Nevin, Bella.  Bella, Nevin,” Luke smirked.

“Bella, it’s lovely to meet you.  What in bloody hell are you doing with this loser arsehole?” he demanded.  “Come, sit, drink,” he said, leading them to the bar.

“Um, actually, we work together,” Bella replied, a bit overwhelmed for once in her life.  She observed, with a smile, that the foul language was back.

Luke noticed she did not dispute his status as a loser or an arsehole, but followed the two of them anyway.

“How do you and Luke know each other?” Bella asked.  Nevin launched into the story of how they met during a joint exercise back in their special ops days.

“Haven’t seen him since he was here covering that horrible explosion about five years ago,” Nevin finished solemnly.

Bella looked questioningly at Luke.  “Yeah, that time that whole block went up in a natural gas explosion,” he muttered.  “I was in London and they sent me here.”  He blinked his eyes trying to unsee what he’d seen.

“How is it we came to Edinburgh and you didn’t mention that?” Bella asked quietly.  Luke ignored the question.  She looked at him, wondering.

Nevin immediately moved behind the bar and asked what he could pour her.

“I wouldn’t mind a glass of white wine,” Bella replied.

“Aren’t you going to take my order?”  Luke asked.

“I know your poison,” Nevin laughed, and poured Luke a glass of Three Labels Scotch.

Pointing at the bottle, Luke told Bella, “This is it.  This is Nevin’s family label.”

“Really?” asked Bella.  “I’d try it, but I’d rather get my work done first.”

“So, Nevin, we’d like to shoot your place then have a chat with you.  Would that be okay?” Luke proposed.

“Of course, especially if that is the desire of the lovely Miss Bella,” charmed Nevin.

She giggled in spite of herself.  “Yes, please,” she answered.

“It’s settled then.  And McGillicutty, be sure to get my good side,” joked Nevin.

Bella set about ignoring Luke as he worked his camera and she engaged Nevin in conversation, which was very easy since clearly Nevin liked to talk.  They discussed the pub and the clientele.  Her first impression had been correct—most of the patrons were locals.  Nevin spoke lovingly about the pub and the business.  Bella asked Nevin to talk about how life in Edinburgh had changed over the years.

When he’d finished, she changed the subject.  “I’d love to visit the distillery.  Would that be possible?” she asked.

“Of course, we’d love to have you,” was Nevin’s warm reply.

Bella looked at Luke.  “I think we’ve got it,” she said.

“Yep, looks good,” Luke agreed.

“So is work done, then?  Let me give you the best table in the house and the serious drinking can commence,” said Nevin, grinning gleefully.  He led them to a high top table next to the back wall with a view of the entire pub.  Luke and Bella sat across from each other while Nevin disappeared.

“That was good,” Luke said.

She smiled at him.  “I think it went well, too.”

Nevin returned with a new bottle of Three Labels and three glasses.  He proceeded to pour them each a shot.  They all lifted their glasses and Nevin toasted, “To friends!”  They all tossed back the Scotch.

Bella coughed a little and the men laughed.

“That’ll put hair on your chest,” Nevin grinned.

Luke’s eyes immediately went to her cleavage which was fully on display in the deeply v-cut black sweater.  “Careful, Cowboy,” Luke whispered to himself.  Bella glanced at him, unsure she’d heard him clearly.

“Well, friends, I need to take care of my customers.  I’ll stop by later to see how you’re doing.”  They watched him move away greeting people like long lost family.

“He’s quite the force of nature, isn’t he?” Bella commented.

“Yeah, he’s good people,” Luke replied.  He poured himself a second shot and offered one to Bella, not expecting her to take it and surprised when she did.  He tossed his back and watched her do the same, without coughing this time.

“You didn’t tell me you’d worked here before.  I’m wondering why,” Bella said, looking at him intensely.

“It’s not a very good memory, actually.  Not one I like to discuss,” he replied, pouring for himself again. She still had him fixed with that fierce gaze and he realized she wasn’t going to let the matter drop.

Luke sighed.  “What do you want me to say, Bella?  I’ve seen a lot of shit in my time.  The explosion here?  It was bad.  Took them three days to put out the fire.  Debris was scattered for two miles in every direction.  They found charred body parts…” he trailed off.

“You still have nightmares.”  It was not a question.

He set his mouth in a grim line, finished with the topic.

“Well, we’re interviewing a survivor of that fire tomorrow at 10:30,” she countered, and poured herself another shot.

“That’s our appointment tomorrow?” he asked.

Bella nodded.  “Are you going to be alright with that?”

“Sure, no worries,” he replied, draining his shot.  She tossed back hers as well, looking him straight in the eye.  He watched her but didn’t say anything.  She had to be feeling that Scotch by now.

He poured again for himself and she pointed to her glass.   Somebody has a competitive streak, he thought.  He poured for her as well, but questioned the wisdom of doing so.

A server approached their table balancing a small tray carrying a single glass of white wine.  “This is for the lady from the gentleman at the bar,” she said.  Luke looked toward the bar and saw a short young man standing at the bar staring at Bella.

“Tell the gentleman the lady says No, thank you,” Luke growled, surprising Bella.

“Oy, pal, Nevin says the lady isn’t with anybody,” called the man at the bar.

“Clearly, she’s with me,” Luke countered, and started to get up.  Nevin rushed in to diffuse the situation, offering a free drink to the man at the bar and shooting an amused glance at Luke.

Draining her fourth shot, Bella commented, loudly, “Clearly, McDude isn’t paying attention.  We’re drinking Scotch over here.”  She dissolved into giggles.

“Alright, Princess.  Let’s get you back to the hotel,” said Luke, protectively.  He helped her to her feet and they moved toward the bar.  “See you tomorrow, Nevin.  Around 2:00?” Luke said.

“2:00 it is,” Nevin replied.  Bella waved goodbye and turned unsteadily toward the door.  Nevin winked at Luke and turned back to his customers.

Luke steadied Bella as they stepped out onto the sidewalk.  She waved him away.  “I’ve got this,” she said stubbornly.

“Okay, you’ve got this.  I’ll just help a little,” he smiled.  They made it back to the hotel and up to the suite.  He led her into the bedroom.

“Come on, Princess.  We’ll get you into bed.”  He sat her on the side of the bed and helped her off with her shoes.

“Arms up,” he said, and pulled the sweater off over her head.  She was wearing the same bra from earlier.  He felt part of him stiffen.

“Okay, now lie back,” he said gently, and slid off the gray skirt.  Her panties matched the bra.  Of course they do, he thought, mentally rolling his eyes.

Pulling up the covers he leaned down to kiss her gently on the forehead.  “Good night, Princess,” he whispered.

“Luke,” she called quietly.

He bent over her.  “What?”

She leaned up and pressed her lips to his, kissing him hungrily, probing his mouth with her tongue.  Abandoning his resolve, he kissed her back for a long moment before reluctantly pulling himself away.

Sighing deeply, he brought her a glass of water from the bathroom and placed it next to the bed.  “See you in the morning,” he whispered before retiring to the couch for the night.

To celebrate LUKE & BELLA’s second anniversary, both Dream Dominant books are available for just $.99 each for a limited time.  Hurry and get your copies now!

Anniversary Sale1

Use these universal links:

LUKE & BELLA (Dream Dominant Book 1)

LOST & BOUND (Dream Dominant Book 2)