Weekend Excerpt–For Sparrow

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a little snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“At the station?”

“Fire station.  I’m a paramedic.”

“Oh.  I didn’t know that.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One-click your copy of FOR SPARROW.
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The Wait is Over! UNORTHODOX CHEMISTRY is Out TODAY!

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Title: Unorthodox Chemistry

Series: The Unorthodox Trilogy, Book #2

Author: Lilah E. Noir

Release Date: February 18th, 2018

Facebook party: Feb 18th, 2pm-5m at the NuRomantics Group (you must be a member of the group so join here)

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He was her Master, lover and the only man who truly knew her. She was his pet, best friend and the love of his life. Sometimes that’s not enough.
LINA
He’s gone.
His absence hurts more than any whip.
Thomas saw me for who I was.
Strong on the outside, fractured and vulnerable on the inside.
Every day I struggle to rebuild my life.
I miss him. His rough passion and his affection.
I know we’ll never be together again, I even tried to move on…
… and then one invitation changed everything.
Do I dare to say no to the greatest temptation?
THOMAS
I had to walk away.
Lina paid dearly for my mistakes.
She needs to heal and all that’s left for me is to wait.
In the dark, with nothing but my demons and sins to keep me company.
The memory of her is a bittersweet torture, one I didn’t think I could ever escape…
A year later, at the kinkiest club in town, I saw her. On the arm of another man.
May the seduction begin.

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I pressed her cheek against the hard, metal door and whispered in her ear, “Remember, Lina, you’re the one who came here tonight. You were the last person I expected to see here.” My lips brushed against her sensitive earlobe. She shuddered at the contact. Her eyelids fluttered and she shut them tight. “You must’ve known I wouldn’t miss Allie’s birthday. Don’t play innocent… I know exactly what you’re doing.”
“The world doesn’t revolve around you,” she hissed and tried to hide her face.
“Open your eyes and look at me,” I said softly and ran my free hand down her spine. I traced its curve with my fingertips, found her weak spot, right below the base of her neck, and caressed it with my lips. When she stood still and closed her eyes, I raised a palm and landed it on her ass. It wasn’t the strongest smack she’d ever received from me. The dress protected her bottom so my palm probably didn’t even leave a mark.
Still, she snapped her eyes open and turned to me. She had her ferocious mask back on, without a trace of vulnerability.
“What do you want from me?” The hard notes in her voice shot at me like bullets.
“Me?” I chuckled and took her by the wrists. “I’m the one who should ask that question because I suspect you don’t have the slightest clue what you want, Miss Riley.”
“Let me go.” Weakness crept back into her tone. “I can’t think when you pin me down.”
“Maybe it’ll do you good not to think. Maybe then you’ll be sincere.”

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Have you read Book 1 of The The Unorthodox Trilogy?

Get it now for FREE for a LIMITED time.

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She was his boss at work and his submissive at all times.
LINA
I’d never noticed him before.
He was just a lonely, scared boy when I hired him.
I was too busy to notice the lust in his eyes.
Now I’m at his feet begging for every bit of pleasure and pain he’ll unleash on me.
THOMAS
She enthralled me.
Her body. Her mind. Her wicked laughter and unreadable eyes.
She was out of my league yet I knew what she longed for.
I only had two months to kill her nicotine addiction and make her crave me.
I’d use every trick I had to claim her as mine.

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After some hesitation, I gathered my hair and stared at him with nervous expectation. He smiled warmly and placed the leather against the front of my neck. Powerful shivers went through me as his deft fingers clasped the metal buckle from behind and fastened the collar around my neck. It was wrong on so many levels, such a symbolic act of dehumanization. So why did my pulse race with excitement? At that moment, another, more powerful, awareness stood side by side with the excitement taking control of my mind. Pride and intimacy. As if I truly was a treasured, protected pet who could put her trust and submission in the person holding the leash. Complicated emotions overpowered any resistance in my brain and a lump got stuck in my throat.
Thomas slid his fingers down the inner sides of my wrists. Then he gently pulled them away, letting my hair cascade down my back. He picked up the leather extension of the collar and moved one step back to look at me.
“You look great like this, boss. Consider it part of your uniform while you’re here with me.” When I squirmed with slight discomfort, he tugged on the leather and chuckled. “I know you like it. I saw how your eyes lit up.”
I did. I felt like someone had lifted the burden of the entire week from my shoulders. My mind was overfilled with emotions raging from relief to lust. Shame had no chance to creep in, but how could I put it all into words when my own body still dominated me, demanding release from the fire of my lust?
I hadn’t realized my vision was blurred with tears until Thomas brushed his thumb below my eyelid and wiped them away. He stroked my cheek with a sympathetic expression and whispered,
“There’s no need to say anything, Lina. You’ll figure it out in the process. Just allow yourself to feel now.”

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Lilah E. Noir is an author of dark erotic novels and psychological stories. Her work has elements of taboo, seduction and different aspects of the BDSM lifestyle, with a touch of romance and tenderness. If you love flawed characters, submissive alpha females, unconventional dominant heroes, angst, emotional darkness, lots of kinky sex scenes her books might be your kind of pleasure.

Links

Visit my website – http://lilahenoir.com
Like my page on Facebook – http://facebook.com/lilahenoir
Follow me on Twitter – https://twitter.com/lilahenoir
Follow me on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lilahe.noir/
Subscribe to my YouTube channel for book trailers and audio samples –
Go to Amazon and check the rest of my books – https://www.amazon.com/Lilah-E.-Noir/e/B016D4Z1XW
Join my Facebook Advanced Reads Club – https://www.facebook.com/groups/lilahsadvancedreadclub/

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY Releases Tuesday, Feb. 13

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

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

Here’s the official description:

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the official CHASING ORDINARY book trailer.

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

Magnum?  Seriously?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Would you like some wine?” she whispered.

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

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

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

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

“Psst!”

Petey froze.  She heard it again.

“Psst!”

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

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

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

“Thanks!” Petey whispered.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Utterly breathtaking,” he murmured.

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

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

“Yeah?”

“Oh, yeah.”

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

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

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

“Oh, God,” she gasped.

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

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

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

Chasing Ordinary 7

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

 

Red-haired sculptor Petey Cavanaugh is in New York to attend the opening of her gallery exhibition.  While in town, she meets Nik, a sexy businessman who happens to be Europe’s most eligible prince.

Not that Petey would know that.  Between helping out on her family’s Montana sheep ranch, and working on her art, she has little time or patience for silly celebrity gossip.

Nik’s not offended in the least.  On the contrary, he’s charmed by the fact that she treats him as a man rather than an institution.  But she’ll find out eventually.

And when she does, she feels betrayed by the man she thought she had feelings for.  Reluctantly, she agrees to meet him at his hotel and give him the chance to explain.

CHASING ORDINARY comes out in February, and the cover reveal will be very soon.  For now, though, here’s a little sample.

Petey wasn’t surprised when the car took them to the hotel’s underground entrance.  She was surprised to see Colin St. John waiting there.  Her stomach knotted.  She’d thought of him as a friend.  But he’d known the truth all along, too, and hadn’t bothered to mention it.

When the car stopped, the woman in the front passenger seat quickly got out and opened her door.  “Ms. Cavanaugh,” she murmured.

Petey glanced at her but said nothing.  Jorgen joined her and they made their way toward the door, where Colin waited.

He smiled her sadly.  “Hi, red.”

Petey bit her lip, willing away the tears that threatened.  Not trusting her voice, she nodded curtly.

“You know I couldn’t say anything.  Your friend and his family have been guests here for years.”

She shrugged, and cleared her throat.  “You didn’t owe me anything.”

“Not true.  I owed you honesty.  And for my part, I apologize.  I meant it when I said that you’re welcome here anytime.  With or without the prince.”  He winked kindly.

She nodded and followed Jorgen into the building.  Wordlessly, they went to a bank of elevators, where he used a key card to enter a car marked ‘Private’ by a small brass sign placed discreetly by its door.

Petey was surprised when they only went up a few floors.  For some reason, she’d pictured a huge suite on the top floor of the hotel.  A pair of security guards greeted them when the doors slid open.  Jorgen nodded to them and they stepped aside, allowing Petey and the secretary to move past them and down the hall.

They stopped in front of a pair of antique white double doors.  Another small brass sign declared that they had arrived at the Royal Plaza Suite.  Jorgen used his key card once again to unlock the door, which he swung open to reveal a small but elegant foyer.  The narrow hall opened onto a much larger circular foyer, anchored in the center by a small round table topped by an extravagant arrangement of white flowers arranged in a silver urn.

Moving past the flowers, Jorgen led her to the left, where the foyer opened onto a luxurious sitting room, that was, at the moment, abuzz with activity.  Petey counted at least seven people, not including herself and Jorgen.  One man was setting up enormous lights on stands, while another appeared to be coordinating three cameras on tripods.   A couple of the people were wearing headphones, and a woman with a clipboard seemed to be directing the action.

“Petey,” called a familiar voice.

She turned to see Nik purposefully striding toward her.  Dressed in a dark grey suit, he had tissues tucked into the collar of his blue dress shirt, and a woman with a makeup brush was hurriedly following him.  He turned to the woman.  “Could you give us a moment, please?”

Nodding politely, she returned in the direction from which they’d come.  When he reached her, he softly repeated her name.  “Petey.”

She crossed her arms in front of her and chewed her lower lip.  “Hi.  I said I’d come.  Now I’m here.”  She glanced around.  “You seem kind of busy, so…”

He rolled his eyes miserably.  “I have to do this interview.  But after that, I’m free.  Will you stay?  Please?”

Her heart hitched at the sadness in his deep blue eyes.  She’d fallen for this man.  There was no sense in denying it to herself.  But she couldn’t stand to be made a fool of.  She swallowed the lump in her throat.  “I’m here, so, I suppose I might as well stay.”

Relief flooded his face.  “Thank you.  I’ll make this as quick as I can, I promise.”  He cupped her elbow and squeezed gently before heading back to the makeup woman.

“Ms. Cavanaugh,” Jorgen said, “you’re welcome to sit here and watch the interview.”  He indicated a sofa upholstered in dark tan brocade.  On shaky legs, she crossed to the sofa and sank onto its soft cushions.

“Would you care for something to drink, Ms. Cavanaugh?” a woman asked, materializing out of nowhere.

Petey looked to Jorgen.

“Perhaps a glass of wine?” he suggested.

She nodded gratefully.  “That would be nice, thank you,” she managed.

From where she sat at the end of the sofa, she noticed a pair of blue upholstered chairs set before a nonworking fireplace, and that area seemed to be the focus of the cameras.  She supposed Nik would sit there with an interviewer.  Unconsciously, she slipped off her shoes and pulled her feet up, sitting cross-legged as far into the corner of the sofa as she could squeeze herself.  When the woman returned with a glass of white wine, Petey softly thanked her.

CHASING ORDINARY comes out February 13, 2018.
You can pre-order it NOW for just 99¢.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

Fun Fact: The Royal Plaza Suite is an actual suite at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.  Click the video to take a little tour of Nik’s hotel home.

 

Maggie’s Orphans & Misfits Christmas–Holiday Excerpt from Rannigan’s Redemption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Maybe.  But he’s here now.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He grinned.  “I like it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How did you know the S stands for Sean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Couple in love on the background of the spring city.

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

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

“Merry Christmas, Michael.”

Treat yourself Rannigan

Use this universal link to get the complete
RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION boxed set
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Watch This Space–ANGEL OF EL CAPITAN by M.S. Tarot

MS Tarot

I have great news!  Sexy erotica author and ginger pirate M.S. Tarot’s new book, ANGEL OF EL CAPITAN, is out TODAY!  I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy, and it’s an absolute must-read.

Here’s the blurb.

For Gabriel, there was only ever one place he called home, and where he was currently living wasn’t it. 
With a childhood filled with more new schools and new places to live than any dozen kids should have to endure, to lose that one place … that one real home … well, it tore him apart inside. But, mostly, it was losing the friendship of Alex and Mary Muhlenbury – his rock climbing next door neighbors and only real friends – which was even more devastating.
Hurt beyond telling. Bitter over his lack of choices. His long-term plans betrayed or ignored by his family. He became again “The New Kid.” The strange one. The boy who no one called a friend for long.
Even in a crowd, Gabriel was always alone.
Only now high school is passed, his father’s plans for him are in place, and what is Gabriel to do? Allow himself to be dragged along into yet another thing he has no choice about? One more step in a life he would never have chosen for himself, doing a job he already despises? Shall he meekly accept his Father’s opinion that college is his only real choice and that what Gabriel wants to do is madness?
Or can this “Angel” find the wings to truly soar on his own? 
And will Mary, that long-estranged friend, be the one to help him reach those heights?
I loved everything about this story, from the heartfelt angst of a young man trying to find his place in the world, to his youthful infatuation with his idol’s much older widow, to her internal struggle with her unexpected attraction to someone she thinks of as a boy.
Add to that the excitement of a climbing adventure, and you have a hard-to-put-down read.  Kudos to Tarot for never dumbing down the technical aspects of climbing, trusting the reader to keep up.  And, as always, he brings just the right amount of heat.
How about an excerpt?
I wonder if I slipped a roofie to Mary she would leave me alone so I can sleep?
Her hand pounding on the side of my van door jerked me awake. Sitting up, rubbing at my head – and the crick in my neck I had acquired in the night – I knee walked to the door and threw it open.
“What?”
“Don’t what me, it’s time to go.” She shook her head reprovingly. “Lord, but you’re grumpy in the morning.”
I looked up at the star-filled sky, not even a hint of pink dusting the darkness. “Are you always insane in the morning? Why do we have to be up at this ungodly hour?”
“Well, we don’t.” She shrugged but gave me that smirk. “I can go back inside, get me some coffee, have a nice Continental breakfast.They have great waffles, by the way. Then, let’s say in a couple of hours, we can slowly ease our way down there to Yosemite Valley and then sit parked behind all the tourist’s cars, in the line-from-hell, for the next three hours.” Mary steppled her fingers upside down by her navel and began to twiddle her thumbs. “So which is it going to be?”
Reaching back, I picked up my jeans and fished out my keys. “You drive.”
“Oh, hell yes I’m driving. I don’t want to die because you fell asleep at the wheel. Here, have an apple.” Startling me, she tossed a waxy red orb at me and closed the side door in my face. When she opened the driver side door, she chucked her bag into the back on top of me and fired up the van while I was cussing – and trying to get my pants on – with a damn bag of clothes on top of me. Then she half slung me through the windshield when she dropped the van into reverse and then I was tumbled into the rope bags a second or two later. “You alright back there?”
Stepping past the engine hood, an apple between my teeth, I shot her a look and sat down on the passenger side with a shake of my head. “You’re fucking nuts, Mary. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Most people that have known me for more than a day.” She shrugged. “Can’t say I care. I’m a climber, we’re all crazy. I mean how sane is it to climb a vertical rock face?”
Munching my way through my scant breakfast, I watched the stars becoming dimmer and the Eastern sky behind the mountains starting to slowly – oh so achingly slowly – begin to grow brighter. By the time we eased our way into Yosemite Valley and paid for our seven day passes, I was fully awake and more than ready to climb. That first look at El Cap, however … oh, holy shit what was I thinking? The closer we got to it, and the taller it looked, the more I began to agree with Mary about sanity because I knew that I was going to go up it. I had spent too much money to get to this point for me not to try it, but dear god that thing is … fucking huge!
“Afraid or excited?” she asked, pulling the van into the parking lot for a camping area.
“Both.”
“Good. That’s what you should be, Angel.” She parked the van and shut off what had to be a tired engine. It had crossed the country and then climbed mountains. “Let’s go talk to a few climbers and get some more recent data than what I know. My knowledge is almost a decade old.”

ANGEL OF EL CAPITAN is available at Amazon for $2.99.

Get it at this LINK.

Exciting News!

This is the time I usually post a Weekend Excerpt, but I’ve posted several snippets this week, all in the name of promoting Rannigan’s Redemption.

So instead of another excerpt, I want to tell you some exciting news.  LOST & BOUND, the second novel in my Dream Dominant Collection, has been nominated for a 2017 Reader’s Choice Award for Romance.  I’m just thrilled!

In LOST & BOUND, spoiled Hollywood badgirl Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law and is sent to cool her heels for a few weeks in the wilderness of northern Ontario.  That’s where she meets Dominant mountain man Blake Walker, who is none too impressed with the sole guest at his family’s remote lodge.  But there’s something about her petulance that calls to his Daddy Dom soul.  Could she be the baby girl he’s been looking for?

Now I’m asking for your help.  I need votes.  If you would take just a moment, I’d be forever grateful.  Here’s the LINK for voting.  Once you get there, you’ll see a gray bar that says ‘1/16’.  (I’ve included a screenshot for reference.)  Click the arrow on the right side of the bar to get to 7/16, Romance.  The books are listed in alphabetical order by title.

I’d really appreciate your support.  Voting closes Dec. 10.  If you haven’t read LOST & BOUND yet, it’s available at your favorite online bookseller at this universal link.
books2read.com/LostandBound