Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink tulle bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

In this teaser, Ali has left New York looking for a little advice from her mother.

Shivering against the chilling sea breeze, Ali gathered her jacket more tightly around herself and stared out over the sparkling blue Mediterranean. She heard the scuff of shoes on the stone terrace but didn’t bother to turn around.

“If you’re going to insist on being out here, you should at least bundle up. It’s January, for God’s sake.”

Wordlessly, Ali accepted the grey wool throw blanket her mother draped around her shoulders. She blinked when the woman stepped in front of her, blocking her view.

“Alison Renee Hart, look at me.”

Hands on her hips and her jaw set with determination, Michelle Schaeffer Hart Renaud radiated a toughness that belied her petite frame. Her jaw-length coif, once as brilliantly red as Ali’s, had morphed into a shade more golden than ginger, and it ruffled in the breeze.

Reluctantly, Ali met her mother’s eyes.

“Come inside.” Michelle’s voice was soft. “Let’s get some wine, sit by the fire, and you can tell me what this is all about.”

Back in the house and still wrapped in the throw, Ali sank into the deep grey sofa cushions and curled her feet under herself. She stared into the fire, grudgingly appreciating its warmth.

“Here.” Her mother thrust a glass of white wine into her hand. Then she turned with her own glass and settled in a crisp white overstuffed chair. “So spill. You’ve been sulking since you got here three days ago. Enough’s enough. Tell me what’s going on.”

Ali sighed deeply and looked at her wine glass, for the first time realizing that it was exceptionally full. Frowning, she glanced up at her mother, who raised her equally full glass and nodded.

“Talk to me, Ali.”

Ali opened her mouth to say something, then, not knowing where to start, closed it again, shifting her gaze back to the orange and red flames licking at the ash logs stacked in the fireplace.

“I’ll get you started,” she heard her mother say. “There was this boy…”

“He’s not a boy; he’s thirty,” Ali corrected softly.

“Ah-hah! Now we’re getting somewhere.”

Shaking her head miserably, Ali set down her glass and pulled the blanket more tightly around herself, more to keep herself from flying apart than to stay warm.

“I’ve always thought that the whole idea of love at first sight was a crock of shit,” Ali began. “But when I met Logan right before Thanksgiving, I just…” She waved expansively. “I just couldn’t think of anything else. The more time we spent together, the harder I fell for him. And he fell for me, too. Or so I thought.”

Michelle frowned slightly. “So, what happened?”

“We spent hours together, talking about all kinds of things, sharing some of the most personal stories of our lives. But it turns out, Logan neglected to tell me one minor detail–the fact that he was engaged.”

“Oh, boy.”

“Oh, boy, is right!” Pushing off the sofa, Ali clung to the throw around her shoulders and paced in front of the fireplace. “We met for lunch, for dinner, we called and texted all the time,” she glanced at her mother. “We slept together, for God’s sake, and the whole time he was engaged.”

She frowned slightly. “Part of the time, anyway. The whole thing has my head spinning. His wedding was supposed to be on Valentine’s Day, the same day as Shannon’s wedding, if you can believe it.”

“His wedding was supposed to be on Valentine’s Day? As in, it’s not anymore?”

Ali waved dismissively and stalked toward the enormous windows overlooking the sea. “He broke off the engagement on Christmas Eve. Which, at the risk of repeating myself, was after we’d already slept together.”

“The little shit! I’ll castrate him myself.”

Ali looked up to see her mother’s lips were pursed, her eyes sparkling with humor.

“I’m serious, Mother! I had no idea! Even after he broke it off, he didn’t tell me about his fiancée. I only found out about her when she tracked us down on New Years’. We’d just had the most fantastic time, and all of a sudden, this crazy woman was screaming in my face.”

“What did Logan do?” Michelle wondered.

Ali returned to stand in front of the fire again. “Well, at that point, he couldn’t exactly deny it.”

Michelle frowned again. “So… He was engaged when you met, but he ended his engagement when things started getting serious between the two of you. Do I have it straight?”

Flouncing back to the sofa, Ali sat down with a huff. “And he wasn’t honest with me from the beginning. And I ended up being the other woman without having a choice in the matter. Which if I’d been given a choice, I’d have said, No, thank you, because that’s not who I am.”

Feeling suddenly out of air, Ali sank back into the sofa again. Her mother watched her wordlessly for several minutes.

“So?” Ali finally demanded.

Michelle smiled softly. “So, what does Logan say?”

“What does Logan say? He admitted that she was his fiancée.” She frowned. “I think his actual words were former fiancée, but still. The fact remains that he lied to me by omission. I loved him, and he broke my heart.” Her last word was barely a squeak. Unbidden tears rolled down her face.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink tulle bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

In the still of pre-dawn, Logan gazed up at the ceiling of Ali’s bedroom and sighed contentedly. Her head rested on his shoulder as his right arm cradled her. His left arm curled beneath his head on the pillow.

At the sound of her steady breathing, he smiled. When he’d invited her to lunch, he’d had no thought of ending up in her bed.

He shifted his lips thoughtfully. Well, to say no thought wasn’t entirely accurate. He’d allowed the occasional notion or two to blossom into full-blown fantasy, fodder for a private jerk-off session in the shower here and there. And there had been a stray thought or three when she’d shucked her coat at the restaurant earlier in the day, that form-fitting sweater dress clinging to every curve most deliciously. His cock had certainly taken notice.

He allowed himself a silent whistle.

Still, he would never have broached the subject. Not on a day like today, with the drama of her father being lost. It would have felt manipulative, somehow.

But it had been Ali who had brought it up, Ali with that heated gleam in her soulful brown eyes, and he’d been helpless to respond in any other way than he had.

There on the sofa in the den, they had made out like two starving souls, each practically clawing at the other, lips desperately seeking and finding, until Logan thought he’d explode right there. With a knowing smile, Ali had stood up and taken his hand, leading him to her bedroom, where she shut and locked the door behind them.

In the privacy afforded in her room, Logan had shed all pretense of self-control, hurriedly tugging first at her clothes and then his own until they stumbled toward the bed in a tangle of discarded garments. He scarcely waited for her to retrieve a condom from her bedside table before he plunged himself into her.

He closed his eyes and replayed the moment in his mind, relishing her gasp in his ear as he took her that first time. He hadn’t lasted long. He had known he wouldn’t. It had been a long time.

Catherine usually couldn’t be bothered, and when she acquiesced, he usually ended up feeling like he’d had to talk her into having sex with him. Which was why he hadn’t bothered in months, preferring his own hand and a vibrant fantasy life.

That first time on the bed had been followed up in the shower, where he and Ali had adjourned to clean up. The memory of her perky tits, water dripping from her luscious, imminently suckable nipples, her water-slick, shapely ass… Softly, he whistled again as his cock stiffened at the memory of taking her a second time against the marble wall of the shower.

The third time had been different, much slower and more sensual as he’d gradually brought her to climax twice, each time with Ali whimpering softly as she attempted to stifle her orgasm.

Note to self, he thought. Next time, we go to a hotel. The thought pleased him. He wanted to hear Ali’s pleasure unfettered by the presence of other people in the house.

Next time.

Pressing a light kiss to the top of her head, his thoughts strayed back to when they had first arrived at the Hart’s apartment. Taking care of Ali’s father had involved a flurry of activity. Logan had stayed in the background as much as possible, grateful when Mrs. Smith offered him warm, dry clothes in place of the damp, clammy ones he had worn in the snow. While changing in the hallway bathroom, he had taken the opportunity to call Catherine to apprise her of his missed flight.

She had taken it as he’d known she would, anger reducing her conversation to short, clipped responses. No doubt there would be hell to pay when he returned home.

Of another thing, there was no doubt, as well. Logan couldn’t marry Catherine. He didn’t love her; it was as simple as that.

Honoring their hair-brained pledge had been a bad idea from the get-go, but at that low point in his love life, it had seemed like a reasonable consolation.

A hell of a reason to get married, he chided himself.

Ali shifted slightly, sighing softly in her sleep. Logan gazed down at her and held her closely, appreciating the sense of warmth that flooded his soul.

No, he couldn’t marry Catherine. He didn’t love her. He loved Ali. He knew it as surely as he knew his own name. And if he were honest, he’d known it since he’d first seen her in the subway station. He was utterly in love with Ali Hart.

The only thing to do was to call off the engagement. Logan resolved to do it as soon as he got home.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

A handsome rancher with a tragic past,
determined to hang on to his inheritance.
A spunky young corporate lawyer
ready to make her mark in the world.
A sinister plot against them both.

Hunter McFall is a fifth-generation Idaho cattle rancher. He’s been approached to sell a small fraction of his land to a big-city real estate developer. Something he has no intention of doing. He’s agreed to hear out the firm’s lawyer, but that’s the end of it. To his surprise, it’s just the beginning.

Red-haired Manhattan business attorney Poppy Chastain is determined to make the most of her first opportunity to show her bosses what she can do. Slade & Howell have sent her to the boondocks of Idaho to convince the hard-headed rancher to part with a tiny plot of his property. She didn’t count on the sizzling attraction between them.

Together, they find a passion they weren’t even looking for. But their love is threatened by a covert scheme to separate Hunter from his land by any means necessary. When he finds out, he’s sure Poppy has played him for a fool. Can she convince him otherwise, that what they’ve found is real?

If you love hot cowboys, sassy redheads, and steamy, romantic happily-ever-afters, you’ll love Hunter’s Pride.

In this first chapter, Hunter gets a lesson in making assumptions when he meets big-city lawyer P.K. Chastain for the first time.

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. “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 a 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 the 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.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

HUNTER’S PRIDE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/HuntersPride

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE

Michael Rannigan is running rogue.

At the end of RESISTING RISK, Book 1 of Rannigan’s Redemption, Maggie Flynn abruptly left the law firm she joined right out of law school. Since Maggie’s abrupt departure from the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, Michael has been in a tailspin. As he limps along in the new normal, he misses her more than he ever imagined.

Maggie misses Michael as well. But she makes the best of her new job at the District Attorney’s office. Occasionally they cross paths in court, each assessing the other. Like Michael, she finds herself making questionable personal choices.

When opportunity knocks for Michael he leaps at it, maybe as much to avoid Maggie’s absence as anything else. The fact that his decision impacts everyone else at the firm doesn’t slow him down at all.

Then comes news that shakes him to his core. Now that he’s burned all his bridges, who will be there to help him pick up the pieces?

In this scene, Maggie gets a better glimpse into the character of her new love interest, retired MLB pitcher turned sports broadcaster Bobby “Beau” Beaulieu.

Bobby pulled away from the curb in front of Maggie’s apartment. He’d donned a pair of mirrored aviators when they’d gotten in the car. He glanced at her and, seeing her watching him, he winked. “We’ll just get this taken care of and be on our way.”

“Is this a work thing you have to do?” Maggie asked.

Bobby pursed his lips. “Sort of, I guess. There’s a family from Dallas, and they have a son with leukemia. They’ve been flown into town for the weekend to see all the sights and stuff. I believe they’re going to tonight’s exhibition game. Anyway, this is a kind of ‘meet and greet’ out at the stadium. I’ll hang out with the kid for a while, toss a ball around. It probably won’t take too long, I wouldn’t want to drag you to something that would take all day.”

Maggie frowned thoughtfully. “Is this a ‘Make-A-Wish’ kind of thing?”

Bobby nodded. “Um-hmm. The foundation made all the arrangements, sent me the letter from the dad. The boy’s name is Tyler, and apparently, he’s a big fan.”

Maggie smiled slowly, turning towards him. “You mean, out of all the things this boy could ask for, he wanted to meet you?”

He shrugged uncomfortably. “It’s a hell of a thing, isn’t it?”

“I think that’s pretty special,” Maggie said. “Have you ever done this before?”

Again, he tilted his head uncomfortably, eyes straight ahead, and he sighed. “I think this is my twelfth one.”

Maggie straightened back in her seat, smiling out the front window. “Pretty amazing.”

The guard at the stadium gate directed Bobby to the players’ parking area where they were met by a pretty young woman wearing a headset and carrying a clipboard.

“Hi, Beau, welcome. I’m Natalie, we’ve been chatting back and forth all week. I’ll be working to make today’s event smooth.”

“Thanks, Natalie,” he said, blasting her with his high-wattage grin, “This is Maggie. She’s kindly consented to tag along with me today.”

Maggie smiled and said hello. Bobby stepped closer to Natalie. “That thing we talked about? Did that stuff get delivered?”

Natalie smiled. “It did indeed. We’ve got you set up in the locker room.” She checked her watch. “Okay, now the family is supposed to arrive in about fifteen minutes. Do you want to go get changed?”

Bobby nodded. “Yeah, we’ll head in that direction. Thanks, Natalie.”

He led Maggie through a series of doors and passages and finally into a huge locker room. The first thing Maggie noticed was the navy carpet sprinkled with the white NY logo with a huge white NY in the center of the carpet. All around the perimeter of the room were stations comprised of honey oak cabinets, a low counter, and a clothing rack. In front of each station was a white cushioned folding chair, again featuring the NY logo.

At the far end of the room, Maggie saw a seating area made up of a large tan leather sofa flanked by a pair of matching leather armchairs. A low coffee table completed the seating group but it was draped in a navy blue cloth covering something on its top.

Maggie followed Bobby to the only station that seemed occupied. On the clothing rack hung a single uniform. “Here we go,” Bobby said. “I’ll just get changed.” He gripped the bottom of his sweater and pulled it over his head. Maggie stood clasping her hands, uncertain of what to do. Bobby grinned and unbuckled his belt and unbuttoned the fly of his jeans.

“Oh, hey now,” Maggie exclaimed, turning away from him. “I’ll just wander over here.” She heard Bobby’s low chuckle and felt her cheeks flush.

“Hey, what’s over here?” she asked, lifting the corner of the blue drape on the coffee table.

“What it should be,” replied Bobby as he pulled on his uniform pants, “is a bunch of Little League uniforms. Why don’t you take off the cloth so we can make sure?”

Maggie carefully lifted the drape from the table to reveal stacks of red child-sized jerseys and white baseball pants. There were also red socks and boxes of cleats. She noticed some cartons on the floor between the table and the sofa. “There are some boxes over here, too.”

Bobby came over, tucking in his blue jersey as he walked. “They look good,” he nodded approvingly. “And these,” he said, opening one of the cartons, “should be balls, bats, and gloves.” He frowned slightly, checking the other box. “Oh, and caps. Good, it’s all here.”

Maggie looked up to ask about the uniforms but found herself distracted. She was unable to stop what she knew was a goofy smile spreading across her face. Bobby grinned wryly. “What?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I’ve never seen you in a uniform before. It’s…” she stopped, blushing furiously. Bobby waited, eyes twinkling with amusement. “Well, I suddenly find myself strangely drawn to baseball,” she said, chewing absently on her thumbnail.

Bobby laughed. “We’ll make a convert of you yet.”

Maggie remembered her question. “What is all this for?”

“When I read the information about this kid, Tyler? The dad is the coach for his Little League team. He mentioned that most of the kids on the team come from single-parent families, the kind that don’t have the money for uniforms and stuff. I ordered a bunch of things for them. Figure we’ll have to ship it all back to Texas but I wanted to be able to give it to them today.”

Maggie gazed up at him in wonder. “You bought all this equipment and stuff?”

Bobby shrugged. “You can’t play baseball without the essentials. And uniforms mean a lot. I know they did when I was a kid. It was a small thing to do.”

“You are a good man,” she said simply, leaning up on her tiptoes to place a kiss on his cheek. He blushed uncomfortably and she laughed softly.

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

RUNNING ROGUE,
Book 2 of Rannigan’s Redemption,
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RunningRogue

Weekend Excerpt–WARRIOR MINE

She’s the perfect combination of princess & warrior.

Scott Nielsen and Jackie Walker.
Their attraction is instant from the moment they meet.
But he’s Dominant.  And no way is she submissive.
Is it a missed connection?  Or a divine appointment?

Scott Nielsen is ready for change.  He’s walked away from his career as a wilderness counselor, planning to start his own outdoor survival school.  He looks up his old friend and former colleague Blake Walker, intent on leasing space at Blake’s family’s remote wilderness guest lodge.  That’s where he meets Blake’s sister Jackie, who runs the lodge with her brother’s help.  Her strength and independence intrigue Scott.  A single mom, Jackie has no intention of being anyone’s submissive.

In his personal life, Scott is tired of casual sex in the BDSM club scene.  Envious watching his buddy Blake fall head over heels for his own submissive, Scott thinks he might be ready to take the plunge himself.  As he and Jackie spend time together, he’s enchanted with her inner Warrior Princess.  But Jackie’s been burned before.  And she has two children who are her priority, not to mention the business to run.   As independent as she is, she can’t see relinquishing her power to a man, not even one she’s falling for.

Scott’s heart aches at the idea of not having Jackie in his life.  Can she take another chance on love, or will she insist on ignoring her submissive soul?

If you enjoyed LOST & BOUND, you’ll love this spin-off stand-alone story.

Read a snippet now.

“It’s a gorgeous day,” Scott commented.

“It really is. I haven’t been out in the woods like this in a long time.”

Scott watched her appraisingly. “Are you much of a camper?”

“I can hold my own.” She lifted her chin, and he saw a glint of challenge in her eye.

“I imagine you can,” he smiled to himself.

He watched her dig the toe of her boot into the soft black earth and push it into a small heap. “So let’s talk, Jackie.”

She exhaled loudly, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw her grip her hands so tightly together, her knuckles were white.

“This makes you nervous,” he observed.

“Well, yeah! You’re over here wanting me to agree to be some kind of…I don’t know what…slave, I guess. That’s so not me.”

“You’re right, it’s not. I see in you a submissive soul, but a slave is not remotely what I have in mind. Jackie,” he straddled the log to face her, “you’re a strong, smart, sexy lady. I admire the hell out of you.”

“So why do you want me to give all that up?”

“I don’t want you to give anything up. I love all those things about you.” He laughed softly. “I love that you challenge me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Jackie’s expression was dubious. “I don’t understand what you want from me. Am I supposed to run and jump into your arms like Amy does Blake?” She rolled her eyes.

Scott had to laugh. “You’re not a slave, and you’re definitely not a baby girl like Amy, either.” He gave her a side-long glance. “Amy’s a sweet girl, but she’d drive me nuts. A Daddy Dom I am not.”

“Good, because there’s no way I’m calling you Daddy.”

“Our dynamic would be more King and Princess. You’d call me Sire.”

He was pleased when he saw her reluctant smile. “All I want is for you to let go and allow me to lead you, to help you be free to be your true self. You can depend on me, Jackie.”

Restlessly, Jackie got up and paced back and forth. “It’s not like it’s just me, Scott. I’m a mother. I have two kids to care for, and they have to be my priority. I can’t decide I’m going to just go off and do whatever I want. Plus, there’s the business…”

She stopped pacing and faced him. “I’m a whole ‘package deal’. You don’t need all that. You should be out meeting women who aren’t so tied down.”

Scott couldn’t stop the smirk as the image of a nude Jackie tied to the posts of a bed flashed through his mind. She must have realized it, because she blushed bright red. “I’ve met my share of women, Jackie. Women who don’t mind being tied down.” He chuckled. “I’ve done the club scene, and I’m tired of casual sex. When Blake told me he’d found someone, I have to admit, I felt envious. I took a hard look at my life and I realized it was time to make a change. I had no idea I’d meet someone so quickly.”

He considered going to her, but changed his mind, allowing her space. “I’m attracted to you, Jackie, in a way I haven’t been to anyone else. You have no idea how hard it was for me to resist you that night you came to my room. Hell, to resist you last night. You’re beautiful, Jackie, in case no one’s told you in a while. That one perfect exposed breast? I’ve had dreams about that.”

Jackie blushed, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Together we have an explosive chemistry. I know you feel it, too. I’m dying to take you to the next level.”

Arms still crossed, she shrugged. “Yeah, we have physical chemistry. Maybe it’s because it’s been a long time for me, I don’t know. And I appreciate the things you’ve done, like taking care of things when Emma was sick, and Jesus, you saved Grant’s life.”

She started pacing again. “And you washed my hair. I couldn’t believe you did that. So when you say, Now be my submissive,” she deepened her voice to imitate Scott, “it’s like I owe you.”

“You don’t owe me, Jackie. I washed your hair because it was what you needed. That’s what a Dom does.” He gazed out through the woods and exhaled sharply. “I think you’ve read too many so-called BDSM books about sadist Dominants. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about safe, sane, and consensual. Always.” He looked back to her. “You can depend on me, Jackie. I’ve got you.”

She walked to the edge of the clearing, her back to him. Her voice was small. “What if I depend on you, and you leave? I don’t think I could survive that. Better to be on my own and know what I’m getting.”

“Jackie, I’m not him. I’m not that guy.” Scott approached her, tentatively reaching out to touch her shoulder. “I’m this guy, right here, asking you to let me share your burden, to lighten your load, and set you free.”

She reached up to put her hand on his. Her voice was small. “I don’t know if I can do that.”

Leaning down, he kissed her hand. “Fair enough.” Ignoring the ache in his heart, he cleared his throat. “Are you about ready to go?”

Jackie nodded. Scott returned to the log to retrieve his backpack and together, they headed along where the trail continued beyond the clearing.

Almost immediately, the path led downward, although not as steeply as the way up had done. Before long, the forest ended at a rocky bluff about thirty feet above the lake.

“Is this where the trail ends?” Jackie asked.

Scott nodded. “I saw it on the map. It seemed like a good possibility for some of my more advanced clients, so I wanted to check it out. I figured we’d rappel down to the lake.”

Jackie’s eyes widened. “What?”

“Have you done any rappelling?” Scott already knew the answer, having asked Blake about it earlier.

“No, I haven’t done any rappelling.” Jackie eased forward and peered over the edge. “Would you seriously send your students here?”

“Only those with the right kind of experience.” He set down the backpack and removed a coil of black nylon rope. Watching Jackie out of the corner of his eye, he uncoiled the rope and loosely wrapped the center of it around the base of a sturdy young spruce not far from the edge of the bluff. He released the ends over the drop-off. Peering over the edge, he realized the rope was several feet too short.

“Okay, Princess, it’s not optimal, but we’re going to make this work. Watch how I do it.”

Scott stepped between the two sides of the rope and wrapped them behind his waist, bringing them forward and stepping through them to create a temporary harness. He had Jackie practice it, too, until she was able to do it herself.

“I’ll go down first, then it will be your turn.”

Scott rigged himself again and back stepped to the edge. “Now when you go, just lean back and start walking.” He leaned back and began letting himself down the bluff. About twenty feet down, he came to the end of the rope.

He looked up to Jackie who lay on her stomach peering down over the edge. “The rope’s a little short. For the last few feet you’re going to have to fall.”

Before Jackie could respond, he released the rope and dropped the final eight feet, landing on his feet. “Okay, Jackie, it’s your turn.”

“This is crazy.”

“Like I said, it’s not optimal, but it’s not so bad. Go ahead and get the rope situated. I’ve got you.”

Jackie worked the rope liked she’d practiced and backed to the cliff’s edge. “This is crazy,” she repeated.

“You’ve got this, Jackie,” Scott encouraged.

Slowly, Jackie leaned back like she’d seen Scott do, and she took a faltering step backwards. Her foot slipped, and she banged against the granite.

“It’s okay, just get your footing and keep coming.”

From below, he heard her huff, but she set her feet and leaned back again, taking a step at a time until she was about eight feet above his head.

“Now Jackie, this is where you’ll let go and drop the rest of the way.”

She froze on the cliff face. “I can’t do it. I’m going to fall.”

“I’ve got you, don’t worry.”

He watched as she debated with herself. She finally shook her head. “I can’t. I’m terrified.”

“You know, Jackie, sometimes you just have to let go and fall. But I promise I’ll catch you.” Watching her carefully, he stood on the shoreline below, arms outstretched.

He heard her huff again. “You’ll catch me?”

“I promise. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Okay. Here goes.” With that, Jackie released her grip on the ropes and plunged into Scott’s waiting arms. Automatically, he hugged her tightly as they sank onto a boulder on the shoreline. He felt her heart pounding.

“Admit it,” he murmured, nuzzling her neck, “it was kind of a rush.”

“Oh, my God, I thought I was going to die. That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

“Would you do it again?”

Jackie peered up at him and smiled reluctantly. “Maybe.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

BROKEN HARTS is now LIVE at your favorite online bookseller!

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.

But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink tulle bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

*****
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

Here’s a brand-new snippet from BROKEN HARTS.

Taking Logan’s hand, Ali led him back to the den where their drinks waited. They settled on the sofa, and Ali used the remote to click on the television. It was tuned to a nature documentary, and she turned the sound all the way down.

Logan handed her a mug and picked up the other one for himself. “Cheers,” he smiled, and they clinked glasses.

Ali closed her eyes as the hot, fragrant liquid rolled down her throat. The spices tickled her tongue while the whiskey warmed her chest. With another sip, the chill of the evening and the panic she had felt began to slip away.

“This is delicious.” Logan gestured with his mug and took another sip.

“It’s the best, especially on such a cold, nasty day,” Ali agreed. “I don’t have much need for a hot toddy in Florida, although sometimes we do get a cold snap in winter.”

Logan pressed his lips together as though suppressing a grin. “How cold does it get?”

“On a really cold day, it can get all the way down into the forties.” She shivered at the memory.

Logan laughed out loud. “Oh, the horror, how can you stand it?”

“Well, for there, it’s frigid,” Ali defended sheepishly. “It usually comes with a biting wind that goes right through you.”

He arched an eyebrow mischievously. “You realize, of course, that I’m from the Windy City, right?”

They both laughed softly. Then Ali sighed.

“Yeah. You were supposed to be back in the Windy City right now.”

Logan shrugged lightly. “Ah, well, things happen. It’s all good.”

“Were you supposed to be back for a reason? You said that this was just a quick trip.”

He waved vaguely. “There was a charity thing I was planning to attend. But again, there was no way I would leave you to deal with your dad lost out there in the cold. No way.” He shook his head definitively.

“So now what?” Ali asked with a soft sigh.

“I don’t know. I suppose that once my clothes are dry, I’ll go to a hotel. I found a flight that leaves first thing in the morning.”

Debating with herself, Ali chewed her lower lip in thought. She sipped her drink for some liquid courage and looked up at Logan. “You could stay here.” She watched to see his reaction.

He blinked slowly as if deliberating this new idea.

“We have a guest room, of course,” Ali added quickly. “But I wondered if you’d want to stay with me.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she wished she could bite them back.

“I mean, if you want to. But a hotel is always nice. Or whatever. Just…” Mentally, Ali cursed the blush that heated her face.

Logan pursed his lips and tilted his head slightly. “Did you know that when you blush, your freckles kind of stand out?”

Embarrassed, Ali fidgeted with her glass and looked away.

“And did you know,” he murmured as he leaned closer, “that you’re stunning?”

Reluctantly, Ali looked back up at him.

“Ali Hart, are you inviting me to spend the night with you?” He arched an eyebrow, and mischief sparkled in his blue eyes.

Feeling emboldened by his response, Ali suppressed a smile. “Well, you know, you’re a pretty great kisser. Now I’m wondering what else you’re good at.”

*****

In the still of pre-dawn, Logan gazed up at the ceiling of Ali’s bedroom and sighed contentedly. Her head rested on his shoulder as his right arm cradled her. His left arm curled beneath his head on the pillow.

At the sound of her steady breathing, he smiled. When he’d invited her to lunch, he’d had no thought of ending up in her bed.

He shifted his lips thoughtfully. Well, to say no thought wasn’t entirely accurate. He’d allowed the occasional notion or two to blossom into full-blown fantasy, fodder for a private jerk-off session in the shower here and there. And there had been a stray thought or three when she’d shucked her coat at the restaurant earlier in the day, that form-fitting sweater dress clinging to every curve most deliciously. His cock had certainly taken notice.

He allowed himself a silent whistle.

Still, he would never have broached the subject. Not on a day like today, with the drama of her father being lost. It would have felt manipulative, somehow.

But it had been Ali who had brought it up, Ali with that heated gleam in her soulful brown eyes, and he’d been helpless to respond in any other way than he had.

There on the sofa in the den, they had made out like two starving souls, each practically clawing at the other, lips desperately seeking and finding, until Logan thought he’d explode right there. With a knowing smile, Ali had stood up and taken his hand, leading him to her bedroom, where she shut and locked the door behind them.

In the privacy afforded in her room, Logan had shed all pretense of self-control, hurriedly tugging first at her clothes and then his own until they stumbled toward the bed in a tangle of discarded garments. He scarcely waited for her to retrieve a condom from her bedside table before he plunged himself into her.

He closed his eyes and replayed the moment in his mind, relishing her gasp in his ear as he took her that first time. He hadn’t lasted long. He had known he wouldn’t. It had been a long time.

Catherine usually couldn’t be bothered, and when she acquiesced, he usually ended up feeling like he’d had to talk her into having sex with him. Which was why he hadn’t bothered in months, preferring his own hand and a vibrant fantasy life.

That first time on the bed had been followed up in the shower, where he and Ali had adjourned to clean up. The memory of her perky tits, water dripping from her luscious, imminently suckable nipples, her water-slick, shapely ass… Softly, he whistled again as his cock stiffened at the memory of taking her a second time against the marble wall of the shower.

The third time had been different, much slower and more sensual as he’d gradually brought her to climax twice, each time with Ali whimpering softly as she attempted to stifle her orgasm.

Note to self, he thought. Next time, we go to a hotel. The thought pleased him. He wanted to hear Ali’s pleasure unfettered by the presence of other people in the house.

Next time.

Pressing a light kiss to the top of her head, his thoughts strayed back to when they had first arrived at the Hart’s apartment. Taking care of Ali’s father had involved a flurry of activity. Logan had stayed in the background as much as possible, grateful when Mrs. Smith offered him warm, dry clothes in place of the damp, clammy ones he had worn in the snow. While changing in the hallway bathroom, he had taken the opportunity to call Catherine to apprise her of his missed flight.

She had taken it as he’d known she would, anger reducing her conversation to short, clipped responses. No doubt there would be hell to pay when he returned home.

Of another thing, there was no doubt, as well. Logan couldn’t marry Catherine. He didn’t love her; it was as simple as that.

Honoring their hair-brained pledge had been a bad idea from the get-go, but at that low point in his love life, it had seemed like a reasonable consolation.

A hell of a reason to get married, he chided himself.

Ali shifted slightly, sighing softly in her sleep. Logan gazed down at her and held her closely, appreciating the sense of warmth that flooded his soul.

No, he couldn’t marry Catherine. He didn’t love her. He loved Ali. He knew it as surely as he knew his own name. And if he were honest, he’d known it since he’d first seen her in the subway station. He was utterly in love with Ali Hart.

The only thing to do was to call off the engagement. Logan resolved to do it as soon as he got home.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is available at your favorite online bookseller.
For a limited time, you can still take advantage of
the 99¢ special price.
books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Weekend Excerpt–One Final Christmas Scene

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

BROKEN HARTS is my new Valentine’s Day novella, and it’s coming out Februry 12, 2021. Until then, it’s on Pre-Order for only 99¢. books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Here’s the official blurb:

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink chiffon bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

How about an exclusive first look at this (unedited) Christmas snippet?

“What do you think, Dad?” Stepping back, Ali surveyed their handiwork and smiled. The woodsy scent of pine hung in the air as the ten-foot-tall Frasier fir towered over the pair of them. For the last two hours, they’d unboxed cartons of ornaments from Ali’s childhood and lovingly placed them on the dark green boughs, all while being serenaded with classic holiday vinyl courtesy of Jackson’s ancient turntable.

“It’s beautiful, Ali-gally,” her father grinned. “It looks like Christmas in here.”

“I think so, too,” Ali smiled. “In fact, I think we picked the best tree on the lot.” She hugged her father tenderly. “Let’s get a photo.”

Standing in front of the tree, she removed her phone from the back pocket of her jeans, cued up the camera, and held it out at arm’s length. She wrapped her other arm around her father’s waist. “Smile, Dad!”

Heads pressed together, the pair smiled into the camera lens and Ali snapped several shots. 

“Dinner in ten minutes,” Mrs. Smith commented from the doorway. “Oh, my, what a lovely tree!”

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Ali grinned. “Dad, why don’t you go get washed up? I’ll take care of all these boxes and meet you at the table.”

While Jackson shuffled off in the direction of the bathroom, Ali skimmed through the photos she’d just snapped and sent the best one to Logan. 

Throughout the day, she’d kept him up to date with a photographic journal of their adventures, from brunch at a nearby deli, to their foray into the tree lot, to their struggle in getting the tree up to the apartment. The doorman had been invaluable in that effort. 

Then once the tree was up, she’d snapped a few pictures along the way, ending with the final result, Ali and her father smiling with the tree sparkling behind them.

Beautiful, Logan texted in response. And the tree is nice, too.

LOL! she texted back.

Holy shit! Your dad is Jackson Hart!

At this, Ali laughed heartily. Unable to resist, she pressed the video chat icon.

“Hi, Ali,” he answered, grinning into the camera. “Your tree turned out great.”

“I know, right? We haven’t had a fresh-cut tree in ages. When we got back with it, we dug out the old ornaments from when I was a kid.” She sighed happily. “I just love it.”

“Judging from the pictures, it looks like you had a good day,” he observed with that lop-sided grin she was beginning to adore.

“We really did. Dad is doing so well today. You know, maybe he’s not as bad as we were thinking. Maybe if we just get someone to cover the night shift so his housekeeper doesn’t have to sleep with one eye open,” she ventured, “he might be alright.”

“That would be great,” Logan agreed.

The sight of her father shuffling to the dining table jogged Ali’s memory. “Oh, crap, I forgot that we’re about to sit down to eat. From the smell of it, I’m guessing Mrs. Smith has made chicken curry.”

His eyes widened. “Wow, I’d better let you go, then.” He frowned slightly. “So Ali, I’m checking my schedule for next week and it looks like I’ll be in New York on Friday, but only for the day. Is there any way you’d be free to have a late lunch-slash-early dinner with me?”

“A week from today,” Ali said thoughtfully. “Yes, I’ll make sure I leave Friday afternoon open. That sounds great! I can’t wait.”

Eyes shining, Logan nodded. “Me, too. I’ll see you then, but we’ll probably chat before Friday.”

“We will definitely chat before then,” she agreed. “Alright, Logan, I’ll talk to you soon. Have a great night!”

“You, too, Ali.” He held up his hand in a wave and they signed off.

**

After he hung up with Ali, Logan scrolled back through the photos she’d sent throughout the day, a thoughtful smile playing across his lips. He loved each picture documenting her outing with her father and their Christmas tree adventure. Something that felt a lot like envy lurked at the edges of his consciousness and he willed it away. 

In his favorite photo, Ali smiled up at him with those sparkling cognac-colored eyes. Behind her was a sea of evergreen, with Jackson Hart himself off to her right, appearing to inspect one of the trees just as she snapped the frame. 

God, she’s pretty

And she was, but not just physically. Something about Ali was vital and authentic, as though she hadn’t a care in the world about how other people viewed her. She knew who she was and what she wanted out of life. 

What Logan would have given to have accompanied her on that outing today. That. That was what he envisioned in a relationship with a lover, a wife, a partner. Leaning back in his chair, he exhaled slowly. He’d tried to capture that aesthetic with Catherine by suggesting that they, too, go out Christmas tree shopping. And he’d been resoundingly shot down. 

Asking Ali to meet him on Friday had been impulsive. Although he had business to attend to in New York, Friday night was Catherine’s big charity gala, and he absolutely had to be back in time to attend. Which meant that he’d fly in early Friday morning, then leave by mid-afternoon.

Originally, when he’d realized that he’d only be in the city for a few hours, he’d decided not to even mention it to Ali. The only other time they’d gotten together, they’d chatted for hours over coffee. It seemed cruel, and maybe a little unrealistic, to plan to get together for what would be such a very brief time.

But as they were saying their goodbyes, the invitation had just popped out of his mouth before he could pull it back in. And if he was honest with himself, he was happy it had. He couldn’t wait to spend time with her, even if it was only a little while.

At the nagging sense of guilt pulling at him, he rolled his eyes. 

It’s just lunch. Lighten up.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

THIS STORY IS A PART OF THE FOREVER YOURS HOLIDAY COLLECTION.
ALSO IN THIS COLLECTION:
* Bella’s Wish by International Bestselling Author Linzi Basset
* All’s Fair in Love and Spells by Victoria Escobar
*My Italian Valentine by the USA Today & International Bestselling Author Diana Nixon

Until February 12,
each book is on Pre-Order for just 99¢.
So hurry! You’ll want the whole collection.

Weekend Excerpt–WIP Sneak Peek!

When your back is against the wall,
how far will you go to provide for the ones you love?

Three years ago, Charley Weatherly walked away from a nine-to-five she hated to take a chance on her dream, running her own boutique bookstore. Unfortunately, business hasn’t been good. Whether it’s the location or the fact that most folks seem to prefer to buy their books online anymore, the remainder of Charley’s 401k might be enough to keep her afloat for another six months, tops.

Between trying to keep the business going and caring for the grandmother who raised her, Charley’s lovelife is nonexistent. It’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make, at least for the time being. She’s too tired to think about men anyway.

But when her grandmother nearly burns down the house while Charley is work, it becomes obvious that Nana needs more care than Charley can provide. So rather than propping up the business for one last try, Charley realizes that she has to use that money to get Nana into a quality memory care program.

Here’s an unedited snippet from what I’m tentatively calling THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

“Okay, Nana, that about does it.”  Charley placed the last stack of clothes into the large suitcase on the bed.  “You’re all set to go tomorrow.”

Celeste smiled vaguely.  “Where am I going again?”

“You have a new room at Pacifico Manor.  Remember your friend Mary?  And Cole Porter?”

“Oh, yes,” her grandmother said.  “That’s just lovely.”

From the back pocket of her jeans, Charley’s phone rang.  “Hello?”

“Yes, Ms. Weatherly, this is Ruth Allen at Pacifico Manor.”

“Oh, hello!  We were just getting Nana all packed.”

The other woman hesitated for a moment.  “Yes, well, we have a bit of a problem.  I’m sure it’s just a simple oversight, but your grandmother’s auto-draft for her first month with us was declined due to insufficient funds.”

Charley frowned as she stalked away from Celeste’s bedroom.  “Insufficient funds?  There must be some mistake.  There was more than $30,000 in that account.”

“Like I said, I’m sure it’s just an oversight of some kind.  But we need it sorted out before Mrs. Martin can move in.”

“I understand.  I’ll check into it and get back with you.  Thank you so much.”

She returned to the bedroom where Celeste alternated between hovering over the bags and bewilderedly peering into the empty closet.  “Come watch some TV, Nana.  Then we’ll go out for a little dinner.”

With Celeste settled on the sofa watching a Golden Girls rerun, Charley took her laptop to the kitchen table and fired it up, heading for the bank website.  Pulling up the new account, she quickly found the balance and blinked unbelievingly.  

$0.00.

Her heart pounded.  How can that be?  Last week I moved $30,000, the last of my 401k.

Hand covering her mouth, she stared at the screen.  I’ve been hacked.  It’s the only thing that makes sense.  

It had happened before.  The contents of her checking account had been drained a few hundred dollars here and there from several ATMs in Toronto, a city in which she’d never set foot.  The matter had been resolved in about a week, but it had been stressful nonetheless.

But $30,000 certainly raised the anxiety factor.  She pulled up the account details to see if she could determine the location of the withdrawals.

The most recent activity was when Pacifico had attempted to draft Nana’s first monthly payment.  But that had been declined.  There was only one other transaction.

Charley’s mouth dropped open.  The entire $30,000 had gone to the Universal Church of the Apostolic Divine.  “Son of a…” she breathed.  “That shady TV preacher.”

How?  How did they get their hands on that account?  Charley wracked her brain.  The day she’d moved the money, she’d left the checkbook in the kitchen.  She’d been certain she’d left it on the table, but later, she’d found it on the counter.  

On shaky legs, she walked into the living room.  Celeste had changed the channel and was now engrossed in yet another sermon from Pastor Pompadour.  Charley drew a deep, cleansing breath and focused on keeping her voice even.  

“Nana?”  She used the remote to mute the television.  Celeste looked up at her expectantly.

“Nana, did you give money to that man?”

Celeste glanced back at the television.  “God told him he was going to die if he didn’t buy a new airplane.  We had to help.”

Charley squeezed her eyes shut and roughly scrubbed her lips with the palm of her hand.  She followed her grandmother’s gaze to the screen where the man silently moved his lips and waved his hands.  A telephone number was emblazoned across the bottom of the screen.  

We have to get the money back, that’s all there is to it.  She retrieved her phone from her back pocket and tapped in the number.

Handing the remote to Celeste, Charley stalked out the front door and into the mild evening.  The phone rang twice, then was answered by a woman with a strong southern accent.  

“Thank you for calling our love line.  I hope you’re having a blessed day.  How much would you like to give?”

“Um, yes, I need to speak to someone about getting back a donation?  My grandmother inadvertently gave some money that was meant for another purpose.”

“You need financial help?  I’m sorry, this is the wrong line for that.  This is the line for giving.”

Charley pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger.  “No, what I’m saying is that my grandmother gave $30,000 that she shouldn’t have.  I just need it refunded.”  

“Oh, no, ma’am, we don’t do that.”

With more patience than she felt, Charley forged ahead.  “I need to speak with someone in charge.  Do you have a supervisor I can talk to, please?”

With a humph, the operator responded with a “Just one moment, please,” and didn’t bother to put Charley on hold.  “Yeah, Dot, we’ve got a live one.”

Another cheery southern voice came on the line.  “Hello, I sure hope you’re having a blessed day.  What seems to be the trouble?”

Feeling her temper rising, Charley took a deep cleansing breath.  “I was explaining to your colleague that my grandmother donated a very large sum of money that was meant for something else.  She suffers from dementia and she didn’t realize what she was doing.  I’m just asking that her donation be refunded.  Please,” she tacked on for good measure.

“Mm-hmm.  And is your grandmother’s name on the account she used?”

Charley thought for a second.  “Yes, it’s a joint account with both our names on it.”

“Okay, then.  Your grandmother made a generous love offering out of her own bank account.  She’s a grown adult and as such, is free to do as she pleases.  And it pleased her to give of her tithes and offerings to the Lord.  Far be it from us to stand in the way of her blessing.  And shame on you for trying.  Have a blessed day!”  The last sentiment sounded more like a curse just before the woman disconnected.

Bewildered, Charley looked at the phone in her hand.  Then she looked back at the house.  What are we going to do?

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks (unedited excerpt)

Watch for more about this WIP in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, why not read RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION,
my all-time fan favorite?

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

LUKE & BELLA is Dream Dominant Book 1, and it’s where it all began for me. It’s the first book I ever published, so in many ways, it’s a sentimental favorite. It’s about an ace television reporter and a veteran photographer who are thrown together to create a new television travel program. Traveling the world, finding adventure at every turn, is it any wonder they fall in love?

I orginally started writing it just for myself. Then I began posting a chapter at a time on Tumblr, and much to my surprise, it gained quite a following. Shout out to Kinky Tinkerbella, LOL!

About halfway through, I stopped writing for a while, only to pick it up much later, and I posted it chapter by chapter here on WordPress until it was finished. By then, I’d met many writers who self-published their work and I started thinking, why not?

The Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels featuring light BDSM themes, is now four books strong. In addition to LUKE & BELLA, there is LOST & BOUND, 2018 Golden Flogger Award Winner FOR SPARROW, and WARRIOR MINE. At least one more book is planned, hopefully to be released in 2020.

For now, here’s a little snippet from the book that started it all.

While Luke showered, Bella went online to make hotel reservations for their next destination. Never a fan of huge corporate places, she located a nice boutique hotel near the city center. Still feeling a bit sheepish about her little tantrum when they arrived in Scotland, she debated over reserving one room or two.

Obviously we want the best suite or suites available. Does the nicest suite really have to have that name? Bella sighed in exasperation.
The cheeky part of her smirked in delight. What should I do? she wondered. One room or two?

This is not how you were raised, her father’s voice reprimanded sternly.
Her finger wavered over the touch pad.

“All yours, m’lady,” announced Luke, startling her and causing her to jump.
He’s always doing that, she thought.

You’re too jumpy, her cheeky self said. You know what’s good for that…
Bella shook her head and clicked, her decision made. “Great! I’ll try to be quick,” she said.

“Take your time,” he smiled, heading out onto the terrace in his bathrobe to smoke a cigar.

Bella hurried anyway, anxious to get on with the evening. Why did I agree to a ‘date’? she wondered.

Cheeky self was quick to answer: You know exactly why.

Her father’s voice was harsh: This will not end well.

“Oh, shut up,” she said aloud.

After showering, she quickly did her hair and make-up, dressing at last in a form-fitting sleeveless black sheath with sheer lace at the neckline.

Checking herself in the mirror she decided that she looked decent enough. She wondered what Luke would wear, smiling as she imagined the two of them entering the award winning restaurant, she in semi-formal attire and he in the khaki cargo pants and chambray shirt he seemed to favor.

Handsome, yes, but not appropriate for the occasion. Maybe she should suggest another restaurant. Hmm…

“All ready,” she called out as she opened the bedroom door. Luke wasn’t in the sitting room. She walked out onto the terrace but he wasn’t there, either. She looked around.

You always were stupid, her father’s voice condemned. You gave him what he wanted. Now he’s at McTavish’s, laughing at you.

Bella’s heart sank. He’s ditched me, she thought, feeling foolish. Why would he want to go out with me anyway? Threatened tears stung her eyes and the sudden lump in her throat felt as big as a pineapple.

A knock at the door broke into her thoughts. Bella cautiously opened it to find Luke standing in the hallway, mischievous smile on his face and a bouquet of pink and white roses in his hand. He was stunning in a black suit, crisp white shirt, and a black silk tie.

“Good evening, m’lady,” he said. “I’m here to pick you up for our dinner date.”
She was too surprised to say anything but she stepped back to let him in the room.

“You look beautiful, by the way,” he said as he walked past her.

“Um, thanks, so do you,” she stammered. “I mean…” she laughed lightly, dabbing at the corner of her eye with her pinky finger. “Where in the world did you get that suit?”

He turned and hit her with a dazzling smile. “I keep it in my ghetto luggage,” he smirked. “Because a guy never knows when he might wanna get all gussied up.”

She laughed again. “Well, you look really…nice.”

“I brought you these,” he said, gesturing with the roses.

“They’re so pretty, thanks!” she replied, blushing. “You didn’t have to, really, I mean…It’s a super nice thought, it’s sweet, actually, but like I said before, I don’t have any expectations, just because…you know…” she trailed off, trying to interpret the meaning of the look on his face.

Luke smiled patiently waiting for her to finish speaking. “They’re just flowers, Bella,” he said softly. He found a glass pitcher and put them in water. “Are you ready?” he asked.

“Yes, ready,” she answered.

As soon as they were seated at a table for two at Hadrian’s, Luke ordered a bottle of sauvignon blanc. They ordered the shellfish bisque for their starter. For their main course Luke had the filet and Bella, the salmon. After the waiter left them, she looked at him across the flickering candle in the center of the table. Luke winked at her and her breath caught in her chest.

I can’t understand this effect he has on me, she thought.

“You really do look beautiful,” he said. “The candlelight and your hair…” he just smiled.

She could feel herself blushing. “You’re sweet,” she deflected.

“I’m truthful. Always,” he said firmly.

Their wine arrived and Bella was grateful for the distraction. The sommelier poured and left, and they sipped appreciatively.

“So…you were married a long time ago to a douche bag,” Luke summed up. “You never took the plunge again? Never even other long-term relationships?”

Bella sipped and shook her head. “No, I was too glad to get out of that mess. I’ve dated some, but never felt serious about anyone. I think I run guys off.”

Luke laughed.

“No really! I’m particular and I work all the time…if there’s overtime to be had, I’m the one who asks for it. I’d rather keep busy than have down time.”

She sipped again. “There was this stalker once,” she admitted. He looked at her across the table, concerned. “It was kind of bad,” she continued. “This was in Asheville. I met him in a bar, and, well…It became obvious that going out with him was a mistake. Turns out he met me on purpose. I ended up filing a restraining order. The station had to hire extra security. I was working the 11:00 show, always coming home around midnight.”

She paused, watching his reaction. “I got home one night and, I know this sounds weird, but something felt off. Maybe it was that my front mat was just a little crooked, I don’t know. Anyway, I turned around, got back in my car, and called the cops. They found the guy in my bedroom, under my bed, naked.”

“Holy shit, Bella!” Luke gasped. “I’d kill a motherfucker…”

“Yeah, that was a little freaky,” she said quietly. “He went to jail, of course. I got out of Asheville as quickly as I could.”

Dinner arrived and their conversation slowed as they enjoyed their food. After a few moments, Bella ventured, “Now the former Mrs. McGillicutty…Did she get tired of your being gone all the time?”

“Um, no, she got tired of being poor all the time,” he replied. “She went and found a sugar daddy.”

“You’re kidding,” Bella said. “She left you over money?”

“Yep, that’s it exactly,” he said ruefully.

Bella shook her head. “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard,” she said thoughtfully.

“Says the Ivy League debutante,” Luke said softly.

She gave him a sharp look. “I’m just saying, if I found a great guy, money wouldn’t even enter into it,” she said decisively.

“A great guy, huh?” he smirked, knowing he’d be rewarded with another stunning blush. He was not disappointed.

“Oh, you know what I’m saying,” she stammered.

Boldly, Bella countered. “How about you? Besides your marriage, did you have other long-term relationships?”

Luke set down his fork for a moment. “Well, I went right into a five-year relationship after my divorce. Big mistake, but at the time I’d lost my confidence, so…”

Bella looked at him sympathetically. Luke continued, “It was a bad situation I should have ended much sooner than I did. Hell,” he chuckled, “it was a situation I should never have started, but you live and learn. Then, shortly before I retired, I was with a woman for about two years. She left me for an eighty-year-old man.”

He laughed at Bella’s shocked expression. “He had money. What can I say?”

“Again with the money,” Bella murmured, shaking her head.

They continued enjoying their meal, moving their conversation toward the work they’d done and away from their personal stories.

During dessert, after a pause in conversation, Luke voiced, “So, you’re really not telling me where we’re going tomorrow?”

Bella smiled. “Nope.”

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

LUKE & BELLA is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/LukeAndBella1

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