Weekend Excerpt–Making Out Old-School

She was the perfect combination of princess and warrior.

After the release of LOST & BOUND, Dream Dominant Book 2, some readers were interested in hearing the story of two supporting characters. Jackie Walker, sister of Blake from Lost & Bound, and Scott Nielsen, Blake’s best friend, were clearly in a relationship by the end of that book, and people wanted to know the steamy details.

So I wrote WARRIOR MINE, Jackie and Scott’s story. Jackie is a tough single mom, working hard to run the remote Canadian guest lodge that has been in her family for generations. When her brother’s friend Scott shows up one day hoping to base his new wilderness survival school at Lake Miranda Lodge, Jackie is immediately attracted to the tall nordic outdoorsman. And he likes her, too.

But he’s Dominant. Is there any way this fierce, independent woman will gift him with her submission?

Here’s a teaser from WARRIOR MINE:

Forty-five minutes later, they drove into Fairson, the next town north of Eliot Lake. As they drove past darkened shop windows, Scott glanced at Jackie, enjoying the fact that she had no idea where they were going. Just outside the town limits, Scott turned onto a small road leading out through the forest.

Before long, they came to a place where the countryside opened onto a broad field beside a small lake. Rows of vehicles were parked in the field, facing a large inflatable screen. Jackie’s expression was quizzical.

Scott had to laugh. “I saw a flyer in Manitoulin today. I couldn’t resist.”
They drove through the gate and followed instructions to the next open space, where Scott backed in.

“You’ll never guess what they’re showing tonight,” he said as he opened his door. “Stay right there, I’ll come around.”

Pleased that she did as she was told, Scott opened Jackie’s door with a flourish. “My lady?” Jackie accepted his hand and allowed him to help her out of the truck.

From behind the seat, he retrieved the black duffel bag, then closed the door.

“Are you going to tell me what they’re showing?” Jackie asked.

“Nope.” With a smug grin, he led her to the back of the truck, where he lowered the tailgate. He unzipped the bag and removed a wool blanket with a large red and black plaid pattern. With a shake, he unfurled the blanket in the truck bed.

He hoisted himself up, then helped Jackie climb up, too. They settled, leaning against the truck’s cab. From the bag, Scott produced a bottle of white wine and a pair of plastic wine glasses. Jackie held the glasses as he poured.

"And if you'll hold mine for just a second..." Scott reached into the bag, this time withdrawing a bag of popcorn. This he placed between them.

"One last thing," he said, holding up a finger. He took a small black device from the outer pocket of the bag. "FM receiver," he said.

"You thought of everything, didn't you?" Jackie observed. He gave her a wink. "I wanted to impress you."

She sipped her wine and smiled, gazing out over the field. Scott wondered what she was thinking.

Beyond the crowd at the end of the field, the screen lit up and the opening credits began to play. Scott watched Jackie carefully.

She gasped lightly. “The Birds!”

Scott grinned. “See? When I found out, I couldn’t resist.”

**

As flocks of homicidal avians descended on Bodega Bay, Scott rested his arm on the back of the truck’s cab with Jackie nestled against him. Though he was as much a Hitchcock fan as the next guy, he couldn’t have cared less about the movie. Having his arm around Jackie drew his thoughts in a completely different direction.

With his middle finger, he drew lazy circles on her exposed shoulder and watched as she kept her eyes on the movie screen and pretended to ignore the goose bumps that appeared on her arms. He leaned down to press soft kisses where he’d drawn circles, lingering to drag his goatee across her skin. When she finally looked up at him, he fixed her with a heated gaze, watching as she unconsciously caught her lower lip between her teeth.

Lowering his head, he stopped just short of touching his lips to hers. He heard her breath hitch and watched as she closed her eyes and parted her lips just slightly. Then he dipped his head, accepting her invitation, claiming her mouth. Jackie let out a low moan and Scott increased his intensity as they slid down onto the blanket.

His hand resting on her hip, he slowly drew it up her side, pausing to cup her right breast, the one he’d glimpsed that night when she’d come to him. Easily, he located her pert nipple, capturing it between his thumb and forefinger. Jackie broke their kiss to gasp as he pulled it taut. He gazed down at her, assessing the heat in her eyes before renewing his assault on her lips.

Captured once again by his kiss, Jackie slid her hand between them to stroke the rigid shaft held hostage by his jeans, and this time, it was Scott who moaned. Knowing better than to let her tempt his cock for much longer, he gently slid her hand around to his ass, while he eased his knee between her thighs, parking it against her sex. He felt the heat there as she ground against him.

Determined to keep a cool head, Scott slowly began to pull back, shifting to light kisses along the side of her neck and returning his knee to a more neutral perch, gradually bringing them back to their surroundings. Straightening their clothes, they were still catching their breath as the movie ended.

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

WARRIOR MINE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/WarriorMine

Weekend Excerpt–Skinnydipping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Lost & Bound

LOST & BOUND is the second book in my Dream Dominant Collection. The series is currently four stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels featuring sexy Alphas and the smart, strong redheads they can’t resist, all with a healthy dose of light BDSM.

In Lost & Bound, spoiled Hollywood actress Shasta Pyke is sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario for a few weeks following a brush with the law. When she encounters bush pilot Blake Walker, she assumes she can manipulate him the way she does everyone else in her life.

But this Daddy Dom’s not falling for her act. In fact, as Blake spends time with her, he begins to see the frightened little girl she hides from the world. Could she be the baby girl he’s been looking for?

Here’s a teaser from Lost & Bound.


Blake went outside, needing space, needing to breathe.  She followed along behind him.  “What do we need to do now?” 

“Are you hungry?” 

She frowned slightly.  “I guess I am.  I hadn’t thought about it until now.” 

“How about I catch us some fish for lunch?” 

Her expression was doubtful.  “Just like that, you can catch some fish?” 

“Just like that.”  He winked at her and headed for the plane to get his rig. 

While Blake took his fishing rod a few yards down the shore, Shasta sat tailor-style on the dock and watched him.  He flicked his wrist and she heard a whirring sound as his line flew out over the lake and plopped into the water.  Then he slowly reeled in his line, the lure bobbing along the top of the water as it moved closer to him.   

His open tackle box sat beside her on the dock and she began to look through all the items it held.  There were lures of all sizes, shapes, and colors.  In the bottom was a clear plastic box full of lead balls of various sizes.  And one small compartment held a pink rubber worm that sparkled in the sunlight.   

Curious, Shasta picked up the pink worm and grinned as she squeezed it. 

From the shoreline Blake called to her.   

“Hey!  Are you touching my tackle?” 

She looked up at him, surprised.  While the aviators hid his eyes, there was no mistaking the smug curve of his lips.  She matched it with a sassy smirk of her own.  “Do you want me to touch your tackle?”  Her giggle echoed across the water, and he grinned broadly. 

“Here we go,” he murmured, reeling halfway through his third cast.  He jerked up on the line and reeled faster. 

Shasta jumped up.  “Did you get one?” 

“Yup.  He’s not a huge one; we’ll need at least one more.”  He reeled the fish closer to the shallow water and scooped it up with a blue net before depositing it into a large bucket filled with water.   

Shasta ran over to look.  The fish in the bucket was pond-scum green, mottled with streaks of brown.  “Ooh, he’s kind of ugly.” 

“Ugly?  That’s a smallmouth bass right there.  He’s good eating.”  She eyed him skeptically.  “Would you like to try?” 

“Really?” she grinned, wide-eyed. 

“Really.  Go pick out something from the tackle box and I’ll put it on a line for you.”  While Shasta returned to the tackle box, Blake retrieved another fishing rod from the plane. 

“I don’t know what to pick.  What if I pick the wrong thing?” 

Guilt gnawed at his gut as he remembered the way he’d criticized her earlier in the day.  “You can’t get it wrong.  Pick anything you like.” 

She grinned up at him, and he felt his heart melt.  “I like the sparkly ones.  I think I want the pink worm.  He’s nice and squishy, plus, he sparkles.”   

Blake nodded.  “The pink worm it is.”  Quickly he attached it to her line and handed her the rod.  “Now, all you do is…”  He stood behind her, reaching around to help her hold it properly.  “Just bring it back and flick it forward, holding your thumb on this button on the reel.”   

Shasta watched as the pink worm sailed out over the water.  “Now just slowly reel it back in.”   

She did as he said.  Blake stepped back to watch as she concentrated, absently chewing on her bottom lip as she turned the reel.  When the worm lifted out of the water, she turned to him, frowning.  “I didn’t catch anything.” 

“Just keep doing it,” he chuckled.  “It takes time.”  He returned to his place on the bank and cast out his own line again.   

On her fifth cast, Shasta felt a tug on her line.  “Ooh, I think I have something.” 

Blake dropped his rod and hurried back to her.  “Good.  You’re doing fine, just reel him in.”  She gripped the rod like her life depended on it, reeling as quickly as she could, her rod bending dangerously toward the water.  “You’ve got it, bring him a little closer and I’ll get him in the net.”   

As soon as the fish was within reach, Blake used the net to scoop up their second smallmouth bass.  He took it off the hook and placed it in the bucket with the other one.  Shasta peered into the bucket before grinning cheekily at Blake.  “My fish is bigger than yours.” 

He laughed out loud.  “Yes, yours is bigger.” 

She nodded proudly.  “Yep, me and the sparkly pink worm, we rocked this.” 

She circled her fists around in front of her, performing an impromptu “cabbage patch.” 

“Do you want to clean yours by yourself?” 

Shasta immediately frowned.  “No.” 

“Well, don’t go getting too big for your britches, then.”  Blake carried the bucket to a board wedged waist-high between two birch trees.  “How about I build a campfire and clean the fish?  You can go get the skillet and some plates?”  He nodded toward the cabin. 

When she returned from the cabin carrying a large cast-iron skillet stacked with a pair of white-dotted blue enamelware plates and a variety of utensils, a fire was roaring in the stone ring and Blake was filleting the first fish.  Shasta placed everything on a stump near where he was working and sank onto a log close to the fire.   

Neither of them spoke.  Somewhere further down the lake, a loon called and they heard it echo across the water.  Blake’s attention was on the fish but out of the corner of his eye, he watched her assessing him. 

“Have you always been a mountain man?”  Her expression was earnest. 

Blake’s head dropped back as he laughed out loud.  “A mountain man?  Is that what I am?” 

Shasta smiled sheepishly.  “Aren’t you?” 

“Well, I grew up at the lodge.  My grandparents built the place.  My grandmother was Miranda.  The lake is named for her.  But I haven’t always lived here.  I went away to college.  After graduation, I worked for a while as a wilderness counselor.  I was in the woods a lot, but I was based in Toronto.” 

“A wilderness counselor,” she repeated thoughtfully. 

“Yeah, you know, we worked with troubled city kids, took them out and taught them survival skills and self-reliance, that kind of thing.” 

“You worked with bad kids?” she wondered. 

He shook his head.  “They weren’t bad, really.  Just…lost.  They needed help to find their way.”   

“Why did you stop?” 

Blake shrugged.  “My folks ran the lodge for years until my dad’s stroke.  They retired to Florida.  My sister and her husband started running the place full-time.  When that asshole bugged out, I came to help her.” 

Shasta watched him appraisingly.  “That was really nice of you.” 

“She’s my sister.  I’d do anything for someone I love.”  He placed a grate over the fire and set the skillet on top.  “Besides, I’m happy to be home.  I drive past my old school every time I go into town.  There are a lot of great memories.  I don’t really miss the city.”  He sat opposite Shasta on another log. 

She laughed lightly.  “It must be odd to come back to live where you grew up.  I imagine you were the big football hero around here.” 

He shook his head.  “Football is for sissies.  We played hockey.” 

“Oh, excuse me, hockey,” she laughed.  

“That’s right.  Hockey.  A man’s sport.”  He reached into his mouth, and to her surprise, removed his right front tooth and the one beside it.  “Where I come from, if you have all your teeth, you weren’t really trying.”  He laughed at her shocked expression as he refit the teeth into his mouth. 

Shasta grinned smugly.  “I’ve got you beat, mountain man.”  She stood and leaned toward him, parting her lips and baring her perfectly straight, whiter-than-white teeth.  She ran her forefinger across them.  “All of these are fake.  I had them all capped.  Can’t have uneven or discolored teeth in Hollywood.  Nope.” 

She sighed as she sat back down.  “Nothing about me is real,” she murmured. 

He eyed her curiously.  She gave him a sidelong glance, then ran a finger down her nose.  “Nose job.”  She waved a handful of hair.  “Extensions.”  She grabbed her tits.  “Boob job.”  She looked down at the dirt.  “Even my name is fake.” 

Blake had been watching her with interest.  “Your name isn’t Shasta?” 

She snorted.  “Who would name their kid Shasta?  Eddie gave me that name when I was five.  He told my parents that nobody would hire Amy Malone.  I needed a name with pizzazz.”  She waggled jazz hands.  “I think he has a list of names in a drawer someplace and you just get the next one on the list.” 

“So your name is Amy.” 

Shasta nodded.  “But nobody’s called me that since my grandpa died.  He thought all the acting stuff was stupid.  He kept telling my parents to let me just be a kid.”  She laughed.  “He refused to call me Shasta.  My grandpa was a pretty stubborn guy.” 

His expression was soft.  “Why would you get a nose job?  Or breast implants?” 

She shrugged and pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes.  “Eddie said the boobs would help me transition between being a child actor and an adult.” 

Blake could feel his protective nature surging.  “Eddie’s that guy who brought you here?  He made you get a boob job?” 

“He didn’t make me.  But I knew he’d be disappointed if I didn’t.”  She used her toe to push a patch of pine needles back and forth. 

The fish was done, and Blake was glad for the distraction.  He plated the fillets, handing one to her and taking the other for himself.   

“Oh, my god, this is amazing,” she moaned through her first bite. 

He grinned.  “Nothing like fresh bass, right out of the lake.  Unless it’s fresh trout, right out of the lake.  That’s pretty good, too.” 

They enjoyed their lunch without conversation, appreciating the quiet of the wilderness.  The silence was broken only by the crackling of the fire or the occasional call of a loon.  Once again, Shasta felt a sense of peace settle over her. 

Blake took her plate when she was finished.  “Now, we’ll see about washing up these few things and then we’ll blow this pop stand.” 

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

LOST & BOUND is available at this universal Amazon link:
mybook.to/LostAndBound

Weekend Excerpt–WARRIOR MINE

When WARRIOR MINE, the 4th book in the Dream Dominant series, came out a few months ago, it was to 5-STAR reviews. Like all Dream Dominants, it’s a stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novel featuring a hot Dominant and a strong, smart submissive.

But unlike other Dream Dominants, it’s actually a spin-off from an earlier work, LOST & BOUND, Dream Dominant Book 2. Readers of that book suggested that a pair of supporting characters deserved their own story, and WARRIOR MINE was born.

Single mom Jackie Walker is the older sister of Blake Walker, hero of LOST & BOUND. She’s strong because she’s had to be. When her husband abandoned her and their two children in favor of greener pastures, Blake gave up his job as a wilderness counselor and returned to Lake Miranda to help her run the remote guest lodge that’s been in the Walker family for generations.

Now, his best friend and mentor Scott Nielsen has left the same youth camp to start his own wilderness survival school. Hoping to base his school at Lake Miranda Lodge, he looks up his old friend.

Blake has mentioned that he has found the submissive of his dreams. And while Scott’s happy for him, he feels a nagging sense of envy. What would it be to give up random encounters at the BDSM club in favor of his very own sub?

Jackie fascinates Scott. She’s strong and capable, determined to make a go of the business, even in the face of extreme setbacks. Is there any way she’d accept him as her Dominant, any way she’d agree to just let go and allow him to care for her?

Read an excerpt from WARRIOR MINE.


While Jackie got the children tucked in with an extended bedtime routine, an allowance made due to Emma’s illness and Grant’s injury, Scott made a few preparations.  By the time Jackie closed Grant’s door, Scott was waiting for her in the hallway. 

She gave him a tired smile.  “All I wanted was to wash my hair today, and now I’m so tired, all I can think of is to fall into bed.” 

He nodded.  “I know.  Come with me.”  She gave a puzzled frown and he gestured.  “Come on.” 

She followed him to her bedroom door, which he opened, allowing her to precede him.  The first thing she noticed was that her bed was made, in stark contrast to the disorganized heap she’d left that morning.  She looked at him sharply. 

“As long as I was making the bed anyway, I gave you fresh sheets,” he explained. 

Her mouth flew open.  “You didn’t have to do that,” she said quickly. 

He tilted his head toward her.  “I know.”  He gestured further.  “Come.” 

He led her into her bathroom, where he’d placed a kitchen chair backed against the bathtub.  Jackie stopped and frowned again.  “What’s going on?” 

“I’m going to wash your hair.” 

Jackie looked up at him in disbelief.  “No, Scott, seriously, you don’t have to do that.  I’ll just wash it tomorrow.” 

“Jackie,” he said softly, “sit.” 

She wrung her hands.  “Well, I…” 

He pointed to the chair.  “Sit.”  His tone was quiet but intense. 

Reluctantly, Jackie sat in the chair and looked up at him. 

“Good girl.  Now hold on, because I’m going to lean you back.”  While Jackie gripped the sides of the seat, he carefully tilted the chair, so it leaned against the side of the tub.  He rolled a towel and gently placed it under her neck. 

“How’s that?” he asked. 

“Um, it’s good, but really, Scott, you don’t have to—” 

“Enough.  I want you to just relax.  I’m going to cover your eyes.”  He folded a washcloth and lay it over her eyes. 

Jackie breathed out heavily and clasped her hands tightly in her lap.  Scott started the water, allowing it to reach just the right temperature.  Then he pulled the knob, diverting the water to the hand-held shower head, which he used to soak her long dark locks. 

Scott spoke in gentle, hushed tones.  “Okay, Princess, it’s time to clear your mind.  Just let everything go.  Concentrate on what you feel.” 

“See, the thing is, you really don’t have to do this—” she began. 

“Jackie, if you don’t stop talking, I will gag you.” 

Her mouth formed a tight O, and she clamped her lips closed.  Scott grinned as he worked fragrant lavender-scented shampoo through her hair.  When the lather was thick, he gently massaged her scalp, earning a soft moan. 

“That’s right, Princess.  Relax.  I’ve got you.” 

He thoroughly rinsed her hair and followed up with conditioner, treating her scalp to another massage.  Jackie released the death-grip on her hands, her arms now dangling loosely beside her.   

After Scott rinsed her hair for the final time, he wrapped her head in a cottony blue towel and gently sat her up again.  Jackie blinked against the harsh bathroom light as the cloth covering her eyes fell into her lap.   

“Now, sit tight.  I’m going to dry your hair,” Scott told her. 

Jackie started to object, and he silenced her with his best Dom look.  “Not a word, Princess.  We’ve come this far.  Don’t make me gag you now.” 

She pressed her lips together and crossed her arms, and he had to laugh. 

Sectioning off her hair, he used a large round brush to dry each part until her long dark hair was glossy.  He put down the dryer and checked to see that her hair was completely dry, running his fingers through her tresses, and not missing the way she closed her eyes and sighed.   

“Okay, Jackie, I think we’re done.  Now,” he fixed her with an arched brow, “do what you need to do to get ready for bed.  I’ll be tucking you in tonight.” 

He left her in the bathroom and crossed to her bedroom door.  “I’ll be back in ten minutes.  When you’re ready, you can wait for me right there.”  He closed the door behind him before she could answer. 

Out in the hallway, he released a heavy sigh.  Washing Jackie’s hair had been a deeply sensual experience, and he knew that she felt it, too.  Heading over to the island for the time being was the right call.  Aside from the obvious benefit of freeing up one more guest room, it would give her the distance she needed to consider the things he’d told her about entering a Dom/sub relationship. 

And it would give him the distance he needed to stop daydreaming of having her in his bed, having her on her knees at his feet.   

He snorted.  There wasn’t enough distance on the planet to get those thoughts out of his head.  Still, moving out of the lodge was the right decision.  He’d get busy with the cabin renovation and hopefully, things would sort themselves out.   

A glance at his grandfather’s watch showed him that ten minutes had elapsed.  He returned to her bedroom door and knocked lightly before letting himself in.   

As she’d been instructed, Jackie was seated on the chair in the bathroom.  She’d changed out of the jeans and t-shirt she’d worn all day, and was now wearing an oversized white Mickey Mouse t-shirt, which she self-consciously pulled as far down her thighs as she could. 

Scott nodded approvingly.  “Good girl.  Come,” he held out his hand, “I’ll tuck you in.” 

Jackie stood, reaching for his hand.  He led her to the bed where she waited while he turned down the covers, then she sat on the edge and pulled her feet up.  Scott fluffed the pillows and patted them gently.  Jackie lay back and allowed him to pull up her covers.   

Tenderly, he gazed down at her.  “Okay, Princess.  It’s been a long day.  I hope you have sweet dreams.”  He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead.  “Good night.” 

He started to go, and she reached out to take his hand.  “Scott?”  He turned to her.  “Thank you.  I really appreciate everything you did today.  Especially for saving Grant.  I don’t know—” Her voice hitched.  “I don’t know what I would have done.” 

He leaned down to kiss her hand.  “You’re more than welcome.  I’m so happy I was there.” 

He crossed to the door, pausing to turn.  “Good night now.  Sweet dreams.”  He clicked off the light and closed the door. 

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

One-Click WARRIOR MINE today!
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Weekend Excerpt–I’ve Been Busy

Have you ever had one thing in mind and suddenly it morphs into something completely other?

I’ve been hard at work on my new book, which I’d been tentatively calling Voices, knowing that ultimately that title would change.  Well, that has turned into what is now Book 1 of a three-book series, Redheads & Ranchers.

With that first book, which I’m now calling Rescued by the Rancher, well underway at over 42k words so far, I’ve jumped headlong into the second book, Romancing the Rancher.

In Romancing the Rancher, corporate lawyer P.K. (Poppy) Chastain heads to Idaho to try to convince 5th generation rancher Hunter McFall to sell a small parcel of his land to the developers intent on building a mountain resort nearby.

This is from the (unedited) first chapter of Romancing the Rancher.

Hunter McFall squinted his hazel eyes at the dust trail on the horizon and shook his head in annoyance.  He didn’t have time for this.  He had 1,500 head of cattle that needed moving to new pasture.

Not that it made this day any different from any other day.  Cattle need to be rotated to fresh grazing land.  The herd had spent yesterday down on the flood plain beside the bend of Deer Creek.  Today he wanted them moved into the foothills.

But he had Rolly Stevens to head up moving the beeves.  Rolly had been with the McFalls since before Hunter ever sat on a horse.  And the younger hands listened to the old man, respected him.

And if Hunter was honest with himself, he didn’t mind a day off the trail too badly.  Except he wasn’t looking forward to this appointment.

The dust trail was closer now.  Hunter sighed deeply and nudged the bay beneath him, gently pulling the reins to the right.

“Let’s go, Cheyenne,” he muttered.  The horse tossed her head and turned to the right, heading back toward the house.

P.K. Chastain.  Just the name irritated him.  The notion of a grown man going by his initials struck him as pretentious as fuck.  The fact that P.K. Chastain was a lawyer representing Slade & Howell didn’t engender him to Hunter anymore than his name did.

He’d received the letters and emails from this Chastain fellow, the ones making all kinds of shiny promises on behalf of Slade & Howell.  But Hunter didn’t care.  He wasn’t interested in selling any McFall land to some developer who wanted to build a mountain resort.  Keep that shit over by Sun Valley if that’s what you had in mind.

Here in Deer Creek Valley and the Boxroot Mountains, McFalls had raised cattle for five generations, and by God, he intended to continue the family legacy until his last breath.

A vehicle came around the bend just as Hunter loosely wrapped Cheyenne’s reins around a rail in the shade of a large cottonwood.  From beneath his wide-brimmed hat, he glowered at the silver Range Rover as it pulled to a stop along the side of the gravel drive.  City people always fancied themselves rugged outdoorsmen when they came out to this neck of Idaho.  Yet another reason he wasn’t interested in having a luxury resort anywhere near McFall.

He set his mouth in a firm line and walked toward the SUV.  The driver’s door opened, and a shiny black high-heeled pump emerged, followed by a shapely calf.  Surprised, Hunter stopped, watching as a petite redhead stepped out of the car.  Her hair was done up in one of those fancy, efficient updos with a few loose wisps around her face, which was obscured by large designer sunglasses.  Hunter’s eyes zeroed in on sensuously shaped ruby-red lips.

The woman leaned back into the SUV, affording Hunter a view of a nicely rounded ass, neatly packaged in a black pencil skirt.  She emerged a moment later holding a tan leather satchel.  Closing the car door, she marched toward him.

“Mr. McFall?”  She stuck out a well-manicured hand, her nails painted the same red as her lips.  “I’m P.K. Chastain.  We’ve emailed back and forth?”

Slowly, Hunter reached out and took her tiny hand in his own, suddenly aware of how rough and calloused ranch work made them.

You’re P.K. Chastain?”

The redhead tilted her head and removed the sunglasses, revealing deep chestnut eyes in a shade he wasn’t sure he’d ever seen before.  “You were expecting a man, I suppose.”  Her tone was defensive.

“I guess when I heard that a lawyer was coming out here, I just assumed.”

P.K. Chastain narrowed her eyes at him.  “Maybe the news didn’t make it this far out in the boondocks,” she said, one hand holding the satchel, the other a fist on her hip.  “But it’s the 21st century now.  Women get to vote and everything.”

Hunter suppressed a grin, his mustache shifting with the effort.  “Seems I heard tell about something like that,” he drawled for effect.  “Maybe it was the fact that you go by your initials.  What does P.K. stand for, anyway?”

He watched her cheeks color slightly as the woman squared her shoulders.  “That’s neither here nor there.  Is there someplace we can sit and discuss the generous offer being made to you by Slade & Howell?”

He pursed his lips and watched her for moment.  Then he nodded.  “We can meet in my office.”  He gestured toward the huge log home that had been in his family for generations.  When he’d been a boy, his grandfather had added an extension to the north end of the house, creating an office from which to run ranch business.

“If we’re going to have a business, my boy, we’d better treat it like one,” the elder Hunter McFall had told his young namesake.

That Hunter McFall had been the first of his family to attend college, and his son and grandson had followed in his footsteps.  They’d taken what had been a rough and tumble ranch and turned it into a successful cattle business, acquiring extra acreage along the way as some of their neighbors failed to keep up with the times.

P.K. Chastain, leather satchel in hand, clipped purposefully across the gravel drive and up the steps to the covered porch that ran the length of the front of the house and around its southern side.  Hunter followed along behind, amused by the turn of events.

At the door, she stopped, allowing him to open it and usher her inside.  Just inside the door, he paused to hang his black felt hat on a rack beside the door.  His mother had always been firm: “No hats in the house.”  He supposed that extended to the office as well.

Hunter imagined he could see the office from his guest’s point of view as he inhaled the familiar scent of leather and wood.  Behind the huge reclaimed wood desk, antique branding irons hung in a row from an old board on the wall above a barnwood credenza.  Opposite the desk were a pair of leather wingback chairs.  The chairs matched twin oxblood leather chesterfield couches that flanked an antique trunk turned coffee table in the center of the room.

On the opposite end from his desk sat a long wood conference table surrounded by leather club chairs.  Western art from his grandfather’s collection accented the walls and the entire space was crowned by an enormous iron chandelier hung from the peaked roof.

The lawyer glanced around appreciatively.  “It’s lovely,” she murmured.

Hunter nodded.  “Thank you.  The original cabin is over a hundred years old, but it’s been added to over the years.  My grandfather added this office extension when he took over the business over forty years ago.”

“Lovely,” she repeated.  She gestured with her satchel.  “Where would you like me to set up?”

Set up?

He shrugged slightly.  “Anywhere you’re most comfortable is fine.”

He watched as the woman’s gaze flitted all around the room before it settled on the conference table.

“That looks good,” she said, and moved in that direction, her high heels clipping against the wide plank floor.

She placed the satchel on the table and opened it, rooting around until she found what she was looking for.  She handed Hunter a glossy-covered booklet, a gorgeous shot of the Boxroot Mountains gracing the front with Boxroot Mountain Resort declared in bold, rustic letters.

“Please, have a seat,” she gestured to the chair at the head of the table.

Hunter suppressed a smirk at the city woman telling him where to sit in his own office.  Curious to see where this was all leading, he sank into the chair and watched as she dug into the bag once again.

“If you’d like to flip through the prospectus while I get my presentation ready,” she said.  “I won’t be long.”  She looked up at him.  “You do have wi-fi?”

He nodded.  “Yes, ma’am,” he drawled.  “All the way out here in the boondocks, we have wi-fi and the interwebs.  Why, hell, we even have the dot com.”

She paused her movements to purse her lips at him.  Then she went back to her digging, tucking a few stray red hairs behind her left ear.  From her bag, she extracted a small black cube about the size of a baseball.  This she set up on a small tripod on the table, then she went back to rooting around in the satchel.

Hunter tried unsuccessfully to look away from the way her wispy white blouse gapped in the front every time she leaned over the bag.  Ms. Chastain had stellar cleavage.  That paired with the nicely rounded ass he’d appreciated outside made her an intriguing distraction from the ordinary.

He didn’t look over the prospectus.  He didn’t need to.  He wasn’t interested in selling.  But he’d hear her out.  It beat the hell out of rounding up reluctant Herefords.

I’m hoping to release Rescued by the Rancher, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1, before Christmas.  Romancing the Rancher should be ready in early 2019.  And the third book will be well on its way by then.

In the meantime, 2018 Golden Flogger Award Winner FOR SPARROW is currently on sale for 99¢ through October 8, exclusively at Amazon.  Use this LINK to one-click your copy now.

 

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR SPARROW, the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection, is the 2017 New Apple Medalist in Literary Erotica, and it’s a 2018 Golden Flogger Nominee for Best BDSM Book (BDSM Light).

It’s also special to me because I set it where I live, in Palm Beach County, Florida.  I loved being able to send my characters to some of my favorite places.  In the story, Dominant firefighter paramedic Judd lives in a townhouse on Juno Beach, which is one of south Florida’s best kept secrets, and my favorite beach anywhere.

In this scene, Judd and Jessi try a little surfing.

Before heading out the front door, she made one last check.  The party supplies were already in the Volvo.  She’d packed a bag for Buddy with his bowls, a Ziploc bag of food, his treats, his favorite toys, and a small blanket for him to use as a bed.

“I haven’t had to pack a diaper bag in years,” she laughed to herself.

As she pulled up to the front of Judd’s, she noticed a small piece of paper taped to the door.

I’m out back.  J

Jessi shifted the straps of Buddy’s bag higher on her left shoulder and tugged his leash, urging the dog away from Judd’s front step and around the side of the building.  A white PVC gate blocked her path, but the latch easily opened and she headed down the sidewalk in the direction of the beach.  As she got to the corner of the building, she saw Judd, shirtless in a black pair of board shorts, leaning over a red surfboard that was resting on top of a rectangular teak wood table.

His back was to her as he moved his right hand in circles across the board.  Eyes wide, she took a moment to appreciate the way the muscles rippled just beneath the bronze skin of his broad back and shoulders.  The sight was utterly male, and Jessi sighed.

Buddy gave an excited yip and Judd turned around, smiling.

“You made it,” he grinned, dropping a pale lavender cake of wax.

“Yeah, we’re here,” she answered, suddenly nervous.

“I was just,” he hooked a thumb over his shoulder, “getting the board ready.”

Jessi moved to look at the board, dropping her bag into a chair at the table.  Picking up the wax, she read the label and frowned.  “Sex Wax?”  She looked up at Judd.

He laughed.  “Mr. Zog’s.  It’s the best.”  He laughed again at her blank look.  “It helps you stick to the board.”

“Why do they call it ‘sex wax’?” she wondered aloud.

“I don’t know.  Probably to sell more wax,” he laughed, admiring the blush that graced her cheeks.

“Okay, well,” she gathered her thoughts.  “Here’s Buddy’s stuff.”  She held up the navy-blue tote bag.  “Hopefully you won’t need anything else.  But call me if you do.”

“Jessi,” he suppressed an amused grin, “you’ll be gone a couple of hours.  I’m sure killer and I can batch’ it for that long.”  He winked at her, reveling in the way her blush deepened.

“Of course, I didn’t mean, well, I just…”  She looked at him helplessly.

He threw his head back and laughed.  “It’s all good, Jessi.  Don’t worry.  Go do what you need to, and then we’ll get you up on a surfboard.”

*****

A few hours later, Jessi and the grandmother-to-be loaded the last of the gifts into the back of a huge black SUV.  Back inside, the guest of honor sank into a chair at the head table.

“That was fun,” she said, “but I’m exhausted.”

Jessi smiled warmly.  “I’m happy you enjoyed your day.  You two head on home.  I’ll take care of everything else.  Congratulations again to you and your family.”

After they left, Jessi settled with the hotel and carried her supplies to her car.  She was tired, too, but she felt a flutter of excitement.  Throughout the party, her mind had drifted to the picture of Judd leaning over his surfboard.  She couldn’t deny her attraction, but she felt silly at the same time.  He was at least five years younger, and clearly, he dated on occasion.

Still, leaving romance out of the equation, she’d loved paddle boarding, and today she’d give surfing a whirl.

Undoubtedly, my children will be impressed, she grinned to herself.

As she pulled up to Judd’s again, the note was gone from his door, so she knocked lightly.  A moment later, Judd opened the door, grinning broadly.  “Hey, Jessi.  How was your party?”  He stepped back to let her in.

“Oh,” she sighed, “it went well.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  And I got a referral for a bridal shower, so that’s always good.”

“Good.”  He motioned with his head toward the back.  Jessi followed him to the combination kitchen and den.  Buddy lay curled on his blanket, eyes slammed shut and snoring loudly.  “Killer wore himself out playing in the surf,” Judd laughed softly.

Jessi smiled affectionately.  “I imagine he had a wonderful time.”

Judd nodded.  “Now it’s your turn.  Go get changed.  The water is perfect.”

Using Judd’s powder room off the main entry, Jessi quickly changed out of her sundress and into the same blue tankini she’d worn paddle boarding.  Hesitating, she held up the beach cover-up and decided against it—they were going straight to the beach, it seemed like a waste of time.

Returning to the den, she met Judd’s soft brown eyes, which sparkled with excitement.  “Let’s go,” he said.

Jessi followed him through the glass sliders and out onto the patio.  The red surfboard she’d seen earlier was now leaning against the wall.  Judd tucked the board under his arm, grabbed a small red and white cooler, and headed out across the sand toward the aqua water of the Atlantic.  Jessi picked up the folded towels sitting on the corner of the table and hurried to catch up with him.

Stopping short of the water, Judd lay the board on the sand, pointing it toward the townhouse.  “Now, what you’re going to do is, you’re going to rest on your belly until we find the right wave.  Then I’ll let go and you can ride into shore.  After I let go, you can pop up on your feet.”

Jessi grimaced.  “Eek!  Are you sure I’m ready to ‘pop up’?”

Judd laughed kindly.  “You’ve got this, little one.  It might take a few tries, but I promise, this is something you can do.”

He had her practice a few times with the board on the sand, gently coaching her into the proper position.

Taking her hand, he helped her stand.  “Are you ready?”

Jessi breathed out, absently wiping her palms on her suit.  “Let’s do this.”  She grinned up at him, a glint of determination in her eye.

“That’s my girl,” he said proudly.

Before they took the red surfboard into the water, Judd secured his GoPro to the front tip.  “We’re going to get your first time surfing on video.”

“Oh, boy,” she replied, rolling her eyes.

When they were knee deep, Judd placed the board in the water and had Jessi lie on top.  “The wax is what helps you stick,” he explained.  “Normally, you’d paddle yourself out, but I’ll pull you for now.”  He gripped the rail, guiding the board past the breakers.  Now waist deep, Judd rotated the board so that Jessi faced the beach.  Standing behind her, he held onto the back of the surf board.  “All we have to do is wait for the perfect wave.”

Bobbing up and down, Jessi held herself as Judd had prescribed—feet together, hands beneath her chest, head up.  Anticipation pinged through her veins, her earlier tiredness forgotten.

“Okay, Jessi, this is the one,” Judd called.  “I’m letting go.”

Jessi squealed as she rode the crest of the small wave all the way to shore.  When she reached the shallow water, she jumped off to see Judd wading along behind her.

“You didn’t pop up,” he grinned.

“I got so excited, I forgot,” she laughed.

“Do you want to try again?”

“Hell, yeah!”

“Okay,” he turned the board around, “let’s do it again.”

For the next hour, Jessi tried wave after wave, attempting to stand and losing her balance, surfacing to splutter and cough, before trying again.  Finally, after about a dozen tries, Judd let go and watched as Jessi pushed herself to her feet, and knees bent, rode all the way to shore.

“I did it!  Did you see me?  I totally did it!”  Her expression was jubilant.

“I did see you!”  Judd wrapped his arms around her, twirling her in a wide circle.  “You nailed it!”

The pair sank onto a towel spread out over the sand.  Lifting the lid of the small cooler, Judd offered Jessi a cool bottled water, taking one for himself as well.  They drank thirstily, watching the waves continue to gently crash onto the sand.

After a moment, Judd turned to Jessi.  “Want to go again?”

She shook her head.  “I’d rather watch you do it the way it’s supposed to be done.”

He nodded happily, handed her his water bottle, and headed out into the water with the surfboard.  As he paddled out, Judd realized that he wanted nothing more than for Jessi to watch him.  The idea of impressing her thrilled him more than he could say.

On the beach, Jessi watched as Judd paddled himself out further than they had been.  As he turned to face her, she shielded her eyes with her hand, squinting against the brilliant sunlight reflecting off the surface of the water.  A swell approached him from behind and Jessi saw him paddle to catch it, popping up just as the wave broke.  He cut back and forth across the white foam until the crest dissolved, and he twisted the board to head back out and wait for another wave.

Jessi hugged her knees, watching Judd’s surfing expertise over the next half-hour.  Finally, board under his arm, Judd grinned as he returned to where she sat, leaning over her to shake water all over her.

They both giggled as he flopped down beside her.  Jessi offered him another bottled water, and he accepted, chugging gratefully until the bottle was empty.

“That was amazing,” she gushed.  “How long have you been surfing?”

Judd leaned back on his elbows.  “I tried it as a kid.  We’d come down to Florida from North Carolina on vacation, and I always tried to surf.  But I didn’t really get into it until college.  And of course, when I moved here,” he nodded at the townhouse.  “I always wanted to live on the beach.  Surfing helps me wind down after work.”

Jessi thought of the patients he’d mentioned, the horrible work week he’d had.  “You work hard,” she observed softly.  “It’s good that you take time for yourself.”

FOR SPARROW is available
in both digital and paperback formats
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–LOST & BOUND

I’m thrilled to announce that LOST & BOUND, Book 2 of the Dream Dominant Collection, has been named a 2018 Finalist (Erotic category) in the Colorado Romance Writers’ Beverley Contest.   Winners will be announced July 15, so fingers crossed!

Making this even more exciting is the fact that I’m getting ever closer to finishing WARRIOR MINE, Dream Dominant Book 4, and a spin-off from LOST & BOUND.

Here’s a teaser from LOST & BOUND.

Blake carried the bucket to a board wedged waist-high between two birch trees.  “How about I build a campfire and clean the fish?  You can go get the skillet and some plates?”  He nodded toward the cabin.

When she returned from the cabin carrying a large cast-iron skillet stacked with a pair of white-dotted blue enamelware plates and a variety of utensils, a fire was roaring in the stone ring and Blake was filleting the first fish.  Shasta placed everything on a stump near where he was working and sank onto a log close to the fire.

Neither of them spoke.  Somewhere further down the lake, a loon called and they heard it echo across the water.  Blake’s attention was on the fish but out of the corner of his eye, he watched her assessing him.

“Have you always been a mountain man?”  Her expression was earnest.

Blake’s head dropped back as he laughed out loud.  “A mountain man?  Is that what I am?”

Shasta smiled sheepishly.  “Aren’t you?”

“Well, I grew up at the lodge.  My grandparents built the place.  My grandmother was Miranda.  The lake is named for her.  But I haven’t always lived here.  I went away to college.  After graduation, I worked for a while as a wilderness counselor.  I was in the woods a lot, but I was based in Toronto.”

“A wilderness counselor,” she repeated thoughtfully.

“Yeah, you know, we worked with troubled city kids, took them out and taught them survival skills and self-reliance, that kind of thing.”

“You worked with bad kids?” she wondered.

He shook his head.  “They weren’t bad, really.  Just…lost.  They needed help to find their way.”

“Why did you stop?”

Blake shrugged.  “My folks ran the lodge for years until my dad’s stroke.  They retired to Florida.  My sister and her husband started running the place full-time.  When that asshole bugged out, I came to help her.”

Shasta watched him appraisingly.  “That was really nice of you.”

“She’s my sister.  I’d do anything for someone I love.”  He placed a grate over the fire and set the skillet on top.  “Besides, I’m happy to be home.  I drive past my old school every time I go into town.  There are a lot of great memories.  I don’t really miss the city.”  He sat opposite Shasta on another log.

She laughed lightly.  “It must be odd to come back to live where you grew up.  I imagine you were the big football hero around here.”

He shook his head.  “Football is for sissies.  We played hockey.”

“Oh, excuse me, hockey,” she laughed.

“That’s right.  Hockey.  A man’s sport.”  He reached into his mouth, and to her surprise, removed his right front tooth and the one beside it.  “Where I come from, if you have all your teeth, you weren’t really trying.”  He laughed at her shocked expression as he refit the teeth into his mouth.

Shasta grinned smugly.  “I’ve got you beat, mountain man.”  She stood and leaned toward him, parting her lips and baring her perfectly straight, whiter-than-white teeth.  She ran her forefinger across them.  “All of these are fake.  I had them all capped.  Can’t have uneven or discolored teeth in Hollywood.  Nope.”

She sighed as she sat back down.  “Nothing about me is real,” she murmured.  He eyed her curiously.  She gave him a sidelong glance, then ran a finger down her nose.  “Nose job.”  She waved a handful of hair.  “Extensions.”  She grabbed her tits.  “Boob job.”  She looked down at the dirt.  “Even my name is fake.”

Blake had been watching her with interest.  “Your name isn’t Shasta?”

She snorted.  “Who would name their kid Shasta?  Eddie gave me that name when I was five.  He told my parents that nobody would hire Amy Malone.  I needed a name with pizzazz.”  She waggled jazz hands.  “I think he has a list of names in a drawer someplace and you just get the next one on the list.”

“So your name is Amy.”

Shasta nodded.  “But nobody’s called me that since my grandpa died.  He thought all the acting stuff was stupid.  He kept telling my parents to let me just be a kid.”  She laughed.  “He refused to call me Shasta.  My grandpa was a pretty stubborn guy.”

His expression was soft.  “Why would you get a nose job?  Or breast implants?”

She shrugged and pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes.  “Eddie said the boobs would help me transition between being a child actor and an adult.”

Blake could feel his protective nature surging.  “Eddie’s that guy who brought you here?  He made you get a boob job?”

“He didn’t make me.  But I knew he’d be disappointed if I didn’t.”  She used her toe to push a patch of pine needles back and forth.

The fish was done, and Blake was glad for the distraction.  He plated the fillets, handing one to her and taking the other for himself.

“Oh, my god, this is amazing,” she moaned through her first bite.

He grinned.  “Nothing like fresh bass, right out of the lake.  Unless it’s fresh trout, right out of the lake.  That’s pretty good, too.”

They enjoyed their lunch without conversation, appreciating the quiet of the wilderness.  The silence was broken only by the crackling of the fire or the occasional call of a loon.  Once again, Shasta felt a sense of peace settle over her.

Blake took her plate when she was finished.  “Now, we’ll see about washing up these few things and then we’ll blow this pop stand.”

LOST & BOUND is available at your favorite online bookseller,
in both digital and paperback formats.
books2read.com/LostandBound

Watch the official LOST & BOUND book trailer!