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

Rannigan’s Redemption–RANSOMING REDEMPTION: Michael, Maggie, & Bobby

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

RESISTING RISK, Book 1, set up the whole tale of Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn.  In the second book, RUNNING ROGUE, their world was rocked by tumultuous change.  RANSOMING REDEMPTION brings resolution to their story.  [WARNING: Spoilers abound.]

Michael has suffered a serious setback, and Maggie has agreed to stand by him through his journey.  And he’s grateful.  Beyond grateful, really.  He realizes that he needs to make it up to her, to find redemption for all the ways he’s failed her.

Which is why he’s determined to make sure she gives his new neighbor, retired baseball star Bobby ‘Beau’ Beaulieu, a chance.  Maggie’s attracted to the handsome athlete with his soft Cajun accent, but she’s tired of getting burned.  She’s determined to stay focused on her work and on caring for Michael until he’s back on his feet.  But Michael has other plans.

Here’s a teaser from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the 5-STAR finale of Rannigan’s Redemption.

Maggie did something completely out of character when she got home that night.  She intentionally tuned her television to sports.  There sat Bobby discussing baseball with a handful of other guys, the disassociation of television doing nothing to diminish the blue of his eyes or the sexy lilt of his voice.  Now that she knew about the subtle Cajun accent, she couldn’t not hear it.  There was no stopping the smile as it spread across her face.

Bobby was dressed in a charcoal suit with a blue shirt and a coordinating tie, and he chatted and laughed with his colleagues.  Maggie watched in fascination.  He really is handsome.  I’ve never seen him dressed up before.

In her mind, she replayed their conversation in the hospital cafeteria and she groaned miserably.  He has to think I’m an absolute idiot.  If he doesn’t think I’m just a bitch. 

“I’ll have to apologize when I see him, that’s all there is to it,” she said aloud.

The next morning, Maggie got up early and hit the internet, researching the best foods for people on chemotherapy and compiling a list of things to look for at the organic market.  She was surprised when Michael called.

“Hey, what’s up?” she greeted him.  “I’m working on a shopping list for you.”

“Thanks, Mags,” he said.  “But don’t go overboard with the organic shit, okay?  I don’t know if I’ll eat all that anyway.”

“You have to eat, it might as well be healthy foods,” she returned.  “Just try the things I get.  You might even prefer them, free of all the artificial crap.”

“We’ll see,” he said doubtfully.  “Listen, I want to thank Beau for all his help yesterday.  We’re having him over for dinner tonight.”

Maggie frowned.  We?

“Tonight?” she asked.  “Michael, I don’t know what I’m making for you, yet.  How am I supposed to pull together a nice dinner?”

“You’re not pulling together anything.  I’ve already placed the order, it’ll be delivered by 6:00 tonight.  I talked to Beau, he’s getting here at 7:00.”

Maggie couldn’t think of a response.

“Don’t you think we should thank him for everything he did yesterday?” Michael prodded.

“Well of course I do,” Maggie sputtered.  “But it’s just so…short notice.”

“I know, but luckily he’s working an early show today.  You don’t have to worry about anything for dinner tonight, I’m making sure everything is taken care of.  Truthfully,” he added, “dinner tonight is to thank you, too.  You’ve been my rock from the get-go.  I appreciate you, Mags.”

Maggie felt a lump forming in her throat.  “You don’t have to thank me, Michael.  It’s what friends do.”

“I’m still grateful,” he said.  “So don’t worry about anything.  Go on about your business of hooking me up with sprouts and wheat germ.  Dinner is under control.”

She sighed.  “Okay, Michael.  I’ll see you when I finish shopping.”

“See you then,” he said.  “Oh, and Mags?  Wear something pretty.”

Wear something pretty.  Seriously? 

Maggie frowned irritably as she disconnected.  It’s not enough I’m hauling my cookies all over town to get you healthy food to eat.  You’re throwing a last minute dinner party at me and telling me how to dress?  Some kind of nerve… 

Even so, her thoughts went to her wardrobe.  She began sliding her clothes back and forth on the bar in the closet.

Humph…it’s supposed to be cold, might even snow.  Wear something pretty.  Gahhhh!

Two hours later Maggie returned to her apartment, having purchased three bags of organic food and two dozen plastic containers with lids.  No way am I carrying all this uptown on the subway, she decided.

Especially not while I’m wearing something ‘pretty’.  She had no idea why Michael’s comment chapped her butt so much, but it did.

She spent the next couple of hours putting together single serving portions of organic kale salads with red and yellow peppers, spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, and poached salmon with carrots and broccoli.  These she stacked in their sealed containers in one of the shopping bags.  In another one she put her other purchases like the organic peanut butter, green tea, and lentil soup.  She decided that just before she left, she’d pack the third bag with the organic Greek yogurt she’d found.

Then she headed off to shower and get dressed.  Glancing out the window, she saw the sky filled with heavy grey clouds.  “Great,” she said aloud.  “Ten bucks says it snows before I get back home tonight.”

Dressed and ready to leave, Maggie stopped to check her image in the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door.  She’d chosen a long heather grey sweater over a short silver sequin skirt with black opaque tights and black ankle booties with heels.  The neckline of the sweater was wide, revealing her collar bone and the thin straps of her grey camisole.  At the ends of the long sleeves, the cuffs rolled a little around her wrists.

Turning this way and that, she decided she liked the way the sweater clung to her curves.  Her red hair she’d left down, sort of tousled and free, and it brushed past her shoulders.  “Humph!  You wanted pretty.  This is about as good as it gets.”  Shrugging into her coat, she scooped up her shopping bags and headed out front to meet the cab she’d ordered.

When she arrived at Michael’s, he greeted her at the door wearing a black t-shirt with grey sweat pants.  He gave a low whistle.  “Very nice, Mags,” he commented.

She rolled her eyes.  “Pretty enough for you?” she snipped, looking him up and down.  “Is that what you’re wearing?”

He grinned.  “Company isn’t coming for a couple of hours.  I’ll change later.”

Company, Maggie thought.  You mean Bobby.  In all her irritation with Michael, she’d almost forgotten that they’d be having dinner with Bobby.  Her mind flashed to her image in the mirror.  Maybe dressing pretty wasn’t such a bad idea.

Not that I’m trying to impress him, she considered.  She flushed slightly.  Michael watched her carefully.

“Come let me show you everything I brought you,” Maggie told him.

The delivery from Ithaka, a Greek place down the block, arrived promptly at 6:00.  Maggie put the Kota Stakarvouna, sealed with foil, in the warming oven to keep the chicken at the correct temperature.  The house salad and Garides Psites she placed in the fridge, planning to reheat the shrimp for them to enjoy as an appetizer.

Finished in the kitchen, she headed into the living room to relax for a few minutes and was surprised to find that Michael had been busy, arranging a table in the solarium on the terrace with crisp black table linens and three white place settings.  Smooth jazz quietly filtered through an unobtrusive sound system.  He’d put candles on the table and strung tiny white lights among the greenery out on the terrace.

“Michael, this looks beautiful,” she said.

He smiled proudly.  “Like I said, this dinner is to thank you, too.”

Maggie hugged him gently.  “How are you feeling?”

“Truthfully, I’m a little tired,” he answered.  “I think I’ll go lie down for a while.”

Alarmed, she checked her watch.  “Bobby will be here in half an hour.”

“Just give me a few minutes,” he said over his shoulder as he headed down the hall toward his room.

Maggie set the alarm on her phone for 6:55 and when it sounded she went to wake Michael.  “Come on, you’ve got to get up.  He’ll be here any minute.”

Michael groaned.  “I’m really tired,” he mumbled.  “Let me have a little longer.”

She heard a knock at the front door.  “He’s here!  Get up now!” she said, going to answer the door.

Maggie swung open the door to find Bobby standing there, the boyish grin firmly in place.  “Hi, Maggie,” he greeted her.  “You look beautiful tonight.”

She blushed furiously.  “Wow, that’s nice of you to say,” she murmured.  “Come on in.  You look nice yourself.”  And he did.  He wore nicely fitting jeans with a white dress shirt and a navy jacket.  Her eyes drifted to his ass as he walked past her into the apartment and she breathed in the masculine scent of his cologne.  She shook her head, attempting to refocus.

“Thanks,” he said.  He lifted a small shopping bag.  “I brought some wine to contribute to the cause.”

“Great!  Michael ordered from Ithaka.  I have to admit, it smells heavenly,” she said.  “Let me just…” she began.  “Michael went to lie down.  I’ll just go get him up and moving.”

“No problem.  Can I pour you a glass of wine?” he asked.

“Yes, please, that would be great,” she answered.  “There are glasses in the bar.”  She pointed in that direction.  “We’ll be right out.”

Maggie hurried down the hall.  Michael was lying on his side facing away from the door.  “Sean Michael Rannigan!” she hissed.  “You get your ass out of bed this instant!”

He rolled onto his back and faced her.  “I’m staying put,” he yawned sleepily.  “Go and enjoy.  Bobby’s a good guy.  You could use a nice dinner with a nice man.”

She gasped as realization dawned on her.  “No way!  You’re doing this on purpose?!  Don’t you do this to me!  Don’t you embarrass me like this!”

“What embarrass?  Two adults having dinner.  What’s so hard about that?” he asked reasonably.  “I overextended myself today.  I’ll stay here and rest.  You’ll go and have a great evening with a great guy, who likes you by the way.”

Maggie stood staring at him wide-eyed.

“You’re leaving your guest unattended.  That’s kind of rude, Mags.”

She nodded angrily.  “This is so not the end of this conversation,” she said firmly and she turned to leave.

“And Mags?” he called.  “You’re welcome.”

RR3 review

RANSOMING REDEMPTION
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RansomingRedemption

Box1

The entire Rannigan’s Redemption Collection
is available in one complete boxed set.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Rannigan’s Redempton–RUNNING ROGUE: My How Things Have Changed

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

In previous posts, you’ve been introduced to Michael and Maggie.

If the first book, Resisting Risk is the set-up for the story, the second book, RUNNING ROGUE, is about change.  [WARNING: Spoilers ahead!]

For years, Michael and Maggie resisted the risk of love.  But one night of passion tore them apart, and now they’re just running rogue, making questionable choices in both their professional and personal lives.

When Michael receives devastating news, he’s shaken to his core.  And having burned all his bridges, there’s no one willing to stand beside him.  In desperation, one cold, rainy night, he finds himself outside Maggie’s apartment.  Is there any way she’ll forgive him?

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.  Be forewarned, it includes spoilers.

Michael?” Maggie asked into the intercom.

“Hey, Mags.”  His voice sounded tinny over the ancient device.  “I know it’s late.  I’m sorry.  But when I saw your light on, I mean…  Can I come up?”

Maggie hesitated, her finger hovering over the button.  “What do you want, Michael?”

“Mags, I just…I just want to talk.”

She shook her head, checking the time again.  What the hell?  And he’s probably drunk.  Standing out there in the rain like he’s got absolutely no sense. 

            She pressed the door buzzer.  “Don’t wake my neighbors,” she admonished him.

Maggie pulled the wooly cream colored robe tighter around herself, tying the belt securely and she stalked to the door, opening it to wait for Michael.  She watched him coming up the stairs, his soaked hair matted to his head.  His wet shoes squeaked softly with each footfall.  She started to say something snippy but noticed the haunted look in his eyes, so she simply stepped back and let him into the apartment.  She closed the door behind him and walked to the kitchen counter where she leaned back, crossing her arms, head cocked at him expectantly.

Michael stood just inside the doorway, rainwater pooling all around his feet.  He looked ill at ease and uncertain.

“Well?” she finally said.

He ran his fingers through his wet hair and sighed deeply.

“Oh for God’s sake, Michael!”  She left him standing there and returned with a large blue towel.  “You’re soaked.”

She took his jacket from him and hung it over the back of a kitchen chair.  As he used the towel to dry his face and hair, she couldn’t help herself.  “Are you drunk?”

He frowned and shook his head.  “I’m not drunk.  I had some bourbon.  I might be drunk.  A little.”

Maggie rolled her eyes.  “Sit down.  I’m making you some coffee so we can send you home.  Have you eaten lately?”

“I don’t know.”  Michael sank onto a chair at the kitchen table.  He glanced around as Maggie busied herself putting a kettle of water on the stove and taking a French press from a cupboard.

“I hope I’m not causing a problem with your fiancé.  Husband?  Whatever.”

Maggie paused to look at him, her lips forming a grim line.  “Yeah, well, that didn’t work out so…no worries.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

She worked in silence breaking eggs into a bowl and putting strips of bacon into a skillet as Michael sat at the table and occasionally used the towel to swipe at his face.   On the stove, the bacon began to sizzle as the kettle whistled.  Maggie poured the boiling water into the press and let it stand for a moment as she chopped a small onion and part of a green pepper.

“Did you know Stan Hodges died?” Michael finally asked.

Maggie arched an eyebrow.  “I was at the funeral.  Where were you?”

“I don’t know,” he answered vaguely.  He watched her grate cheddar into the eggs.  Then she pressed the plunger on the coffee and poured some into a cornflower blue mug with a white script ‘M’ on the side.

M for Maggie. Or Michael.  He shook his head to dismiss the inane thought.  Looking around the small apartment, he asked, “Why are you still here?”

Maggie glanced over her shoulder.  “What, I should move uptown into one of your glass and steel monstrosities?”

“I was just thinking that you could afford a bigger place, that’s all.”

“This may be a tiny apartment but this building has soul.  Once upon a time, a family called this place home.  Maybe I can’t afford to own a whole townhouse but at least I can rent a small part of it.”

Michael watched her for a moment.  “You could have bought your own townhouse if you’d stayed with the firm.”

Maggie turned around and leaned against the counter, crossing her arms.  “If I’d stayed, I’d have been out of a job along with everyone else.  You really tanked everyone, you know that, right?”

He looked down at his hands.  “I wouldn’t have pursued the television thing if you’d still been there.”

She snorted, returning to her cutting board.  “Bullshit.  Being on the news every night is exactly your thing.  You can’t put that off on me.”

She set the coffee in front of him.  “What are you doing here, Michael?”

He stalled, sipping the steaming hazelnut blend.  “This isn’t where I meant to be.  I went out and ended up down here in the Village.  I was at the Blue Note until they kicked everybody out.  I got a little lost and then realized I was across the street from your apartment.”

Maggie turned back to her omelet, stirring in the vegetables.  The bacon had quieted down and she turned over the strips, causing them to erupt into loud sizzling once again.  “Why are you here?” she asked again.

“I’m sick,” he said quietly.

“I don’t doubt it.  It’s forty degrees outside and you’re soaked.  It’s a wonder you don’t have pneumonia.”

“It’s cancer.”

Maggie froze mid-stir.  “What?”  Slowly, she turned around.

“Cancer.”

“Shit.”  She crossed to the table and sank onto the chair across from him, gaping at him wide-eyed.

“There was this spot.  And then they found out it was melanoma.”  Michael’s face twisted.  “Mags, you wouldn’t believe the chunk they cut out of my shoulder.”

“Well, they got it then,” she said.  “Good.  That’s good, right?”

“Bacon’s burning,” Michael said quietly.

“Fuck!”  She jumped up and took the pan off the burner.

“I like it that way,” he offered as she set the strips of bacon on a paper towel to drain and poured the omelet into the pan.

“So after they took the hunk out of my arm they did a biopsy.  It was melanoma, just like the doctor said.  Then they had me get a PET scan.  Said they needed to see if it had spread.”

Maggie worked mechanically at the egg mixture in the pan, listening intently as he spoke.  “And?” she asked as she slid the omelet onto a blue ceramic plate.  She placed it in front of him and sat down again.

“And they called this afternoon to say they have the results.  The doctor wouldn’t discuss it over the phone.  He wants me to come in tomorrow.”  He looked down at the plate.  “He said I should have someone with me.”

“Oh my God.  Michael.”

He nodded.  “I started making phone calls.  That’s how I found out about Stan.  Which was after I called Murph and then Jimbo.  They pretty much told me to go fuck myself.”

Maggie watched him grimly.  I imagine they did. 

“I called some of the women I go out with.  I guess everybody has a lot going on.”  He sighed.  “I thought about calling you.  But, I don’t know.  I’ve been an asshole.  Plus I figured you were busy with getting married and stuff.”  He met her eyes.  “I didn’t mean to come here, honest to God.”

She watched him pick at the omelet.  “My agent’s pissed at me because I bailed on some appearances.  Asking her to come with me is out of the question.  She’s probably not in town anyway.”

Michael shook his head.  “I don’t know why they’re insisting that someone comes with me to that appointment tomorrow.  I should just go and find out what the scan shows, figure out where to go from there.  It’s just…”  His voice broke.  “Mags, I’m scared shitless.”  He put down the fork and held his head in his hands.

Maggie could never have imagined a scenario in which S. Michael Rannigan would break down sobbing at her kitchen table.  She felt as though her heart would break.

“Michael,” she said softly, standing beside him, placing her hand on his shoulder.  His body shook as he let loose the emotions that had been building since the day the nightmare had started.  “It’s okay,” she murmured.  “It’s okay, everything’s going to be alright.”  She waited for him to quiet down.  “What time is your appointment?”

Michael sat up, sniffing and using the towel to wipe his face.  “Shit.”  He coughed and took a sip of coffee.  “I have to be there at 1:30.”

Maggie looked over to where her files still sat scattered in the living room.  She knew they probably represented ten hours of work for the following day and she sighed heavily.  “Where is the doctor’s office?”

“It’s on E. 80th between 2nd and 3rd.”

She nodded.  “Okay.  I’ll tell Rance that I have to leave at lunch.  I’ll meet you there.”

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Michael said quickly, but he looked at her with such gratitude she felt the sting of tears in her eyes and a huge lump formed in her throat.

She coughed lightly.  “You didn’t ask, although you seem to have asked everyone else in your Contacts, and I’m going to try not to take that personally,” she said.  “I’m offering.  Take it or leave it.”

Michael smiled thinly.  “I’ve missed your smartass.  I’d be so glad to have you with me.”

Maggie nodded.  “Done.  But if for some reason I’m running late, you go on in.  I’ll be there.  I promise.”  She took his plate and warmed it in the microwave before placing it in front of him again.  “Now finish this up.  I’m calling you a cab and sending you on your way.”

RR2 review

RUNNING ROGUE is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RunningRogue

Box1

You can also find the entire trilogy in one complete boxed set.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–New WIP

FOR SPARROW, the third Dream Dominant book, launched on Oct. 3 to some really nice 5-STAR reviews.

For now, I’m taking a break from the Dream Dominants, and I’m about 22k words into the next book, a spicy vanilla novel that I’m tentatively calling CHASING ORDINARY.

Briefly, redhaired sculptor Petey meets handsome businessman Nik by accident on a rainy night in Manhattan.  Their mutual attraction is instant, but not everything is as it seems.

I don’t want to tell you too much more than that, but the photo collage may give you a few hints.

Here’s a little (unedited) snippet from my new work in progress, CHASING ORDINARY.

Nik peered grimly out the window at the passing grey tableau as the Mercedes made its way uptown to the exclusive Empire Club.  Dalton Rigby’s great-great grandfather had been a founding member, as the man had been careful to point out every time Nik had ever met him.

     At least the food at dinner will be good, he consoled himself.  Mentally, he went over his talking points as the city passed by in a gloomy blur.

A flash of color on the sidewalk caught his focus.  Ahead, a woman in a bright red dress was attempting to hail a cab in the pouring rain.  As the car pulled alongside her, he watched in slow motion as a spray of water completely doused her.

“Stop the car!” he shouted.

The driver eyed him in the rear-view mirror.

“Stop the car,” he repeated.

“But sir,” Jorgen protested from his seat beside Nik.

Shrugging, the driver stopped, causing the car behind them to slam on its brakes and honk loudly.

Nik was already halfway out of the car.  “Go around the block,” he called over his shoulder as he stepped out into the rain, slamming the door behind him.

The woman was still standing where she’d been when the Mercedes’ front wheel had torn through a deep puddle, spraying her with dirty water.  Nik made his way to her, ignoring the rain that pelted him as he walked.

“I’m terribly sorry.  Are you alright?”

She stood shaking from cold, red hair matted to her head, black streams of mascara running down her face like cracks in fine china.  “I’m s-s-s-soaked!” she shrieked.

“Again, I’m so sorry.”  Nik’s expression was contrite.  He shrugged out of his suit jacket and wrapped it around her.  She was tiny, and the jacket nearly swallowed her whole.  He glanced around.  “Is your apartment near here?”

She shook her head.  “I’m locked out.  And I’m unbelievably late.  I can’t go like this.  And I can’t get back into the fucking apartment!  Fuck!”

“My car is coming back around the block.  I’ll give you a ride to wherever you need to—“

At that moment, boxy delivery truck hit the same puddle, spraying both of them.  They gasped in unison.  Momentarily blinded by the wall of water, Nik sputtered and swiped at his face.  “Bloody hell!”

He looked down at the woman whose eyes were wide with surprise.  “Here comes my car now.  Come with me.  I’m staying at the Plaza.  We’ll call ahead and have the stylist meet us.  Once we’re both cleaned up, I’ll take you where you need to go.”

She looked up at him in alarm.  “I’m not going to your hotel with you!”

“No, I don’t mean…  I realize how inappropriate it sounds, but I promise, I only mean to help.”  He held up his hands in surrender.  “Clearly you can’t stay here.  And you can’t go to wherever it is you were going, not like this.”  He aimed for a reassuring smile.  “The services of the spa and salon will be at your disposal.  And I know Colin will have something for you to wear.”

He watched as she considered her options.  “I feel responsible.  Please let me make things right.”

The black Mercedes pulled up to the sidewalk and the driver walked around to open the back door.  “Please,” he pleaded softly.

The woman drew a shaky breath.  “Okay.  Thank you,” she said quietly.

Jorgen slid out of the back seat and moved to the passenger side of the front.  Nik motioned for the woman to get in, and he climbed in beside her.  The driver returned to his seat and pulled out into traffic.

“Jorgen, call St. James and tell him to meet us at the underground entrance.  Ms.—“  He looked to the woman.

“Oh, Cavanaugh.  Petey Cavanaugh.”  At his befuddled expression, she added, “It’s a long story.”

Nik frowned.  “Ms. Cavanaugh is to have whatever services she needs.  When she’s ready, we’ll take her where she needs to go.”

“Yes, sir,” Jorgen responded, taking his phone out of his pocket.

“Thank you,” Petey said sheepishly.  “I’d better call my friend.”

She dialed a number.  “Yeah, it’s me.”  There was a short pause.  “No, I’m not almost to the gallery.  I’ll tell you all about it when I get there.”

Another pause.  “I know, seriously, I do!  Nobody would rather be there right now than me, but I forgot the umbrella, and I forgot the key, and I’m a total wreck right now, completely soaked to the skin.”

She seemed to listen for a moment.  “I know, but I can’t help it.  I’m headed to the Plaza.  I’ll get cleaned up, and then I’ll be right there.”

Nik watched as she eyed him quickly.  “I don’t know.  Some guy,” she whispered.  There was another pause, and Nik could hear an agitated voice on the other end, although he couldn’t make out the words.

“Okay, Jules, I’m hanging up now.  I’ll let you know when I’m on my way.”  She stabbed at her phone and put it back in the small silver bag she was carrying.

She looked back at him sheepishly.  “My friend.”

“I truly am sorry.  You said you’re late?”

She nodded.  “It’s a gallery opening.  I’m supposed to be there,” she glanced at her watch, “twenty-two minutes ago.”

“I’m late for dinner myself.  At least gallery openings usually run for several hours.  Surely it won’t matter if you’re a bit late,” he said reasonably.

“It’s my show.  It looks kind of bad for the guest of honor not to be there.”

Nik was intrigued.  “You’re an artist.  What is your medium?”

“Sculpture.  I do welded steel and glass pieces.”

He squinted, picturing the petite, feminine woman using a welding torch to bend steel to her will.

“We’re here, sir,” Jorgen announced, interrupting his thoughts.  The car pulled through a security gate into an underground garage.  As it eased up to a pair of double glass doors, Colin St. James stepped out to greet them.

“Holy crap on a cracker,” he exclaimed as first Nik, then Petey, climbed out of the back of the car.  “What on God’s green earth happened to you?”

“It’s raining,” Nik replied succinctly.  “This is Ms. Cavanaugh.  She’s late to her own gallery opening, and obviously, she can’t go like that.  Please see to it that she’s ready in about twenty minutes.  Will that be possible?”

“Twenty minutes?  Are you kidding me?  They don’t call me ‘the miracle worker’ for nothing.”  He scanned Petey up and down.  “Although this might be my greatest challenge yet,” he said under his breath.

She glared up at him through wet lashes.

Nik turned to Petey.  “I’m going upstairs to get cleaned up.  I’ll check on you when I’m ready.”

She nodded shyly, shrugging off his suit jacket and handing it to him.  “Um, thank you.”

He nodded to Colin and turned to head to the elevator.

Colin took Petey by the hand.  “Okay, sweetie, let’s see what we can do.”

CHASING ORDINARY has a tentative release date of January 2, 2018.
Until then, head over to my Amazon Author Page
to find your next sexy read.

Two More Days!

You still have two more days to get your hands on FOR SPARROW for the pre-order special of 99¢!  Have you seen the book trailer yet?

FOR SPARROW is just 99¢ through release day, October 3!
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Behind the Book: The Setting of FOR SPARROW: Next Stop, Jupiter

This is it!  The last weekend before the launch of FOR SPARROW, on Oct.3!

The third book in the Dream Dominant Collection is set in Palm Beach County, Florida, my home for over 25 years.  In this series of posts, I’m taking you on a tour of some of my favorite places.  This week, we’re going to the gorgeous beach-side town of Jupiter, the location of several scenes in the book.

The first place Judd and Jessi visit together is my favorite bar on the planet (okay, I have about five of those), Square Grouper.  It’s a casual, outdoor tiki bar on the Jupiter Inlet, across from the Jupiter Lighthouse.  It’s the place to go if you want to completely decompress and let your stress melt away.

A stone’s throw from Square Grouper, in fact you park in the same lot, are the two locations from this week’s excerpt, Guanabanas and Blueline Surf & Paddle.

Guanabanas is another outdoor tiki place, more restaurant than bar, but they serve a mean Cat 5 hurricane.  The food is Florida fresh, and there’s always a crowd.  It’s on a strip of land between A1A and the Loxahatchee River, and the river views are utterly tranquil.  There are docks, and some folks arrive in their boats.  It’s also a great place for stand-up paddle boarding, and you can put in right there at the restaurant.

Directly across A1A is the Blueline Surf & Paddle Company.  They sell surfing and paddle boarding equipment, but you can also rent from them and get lessons.  You walk across the street and put in at the Loxahatchee River.  Notice the paddle boarders directly in front of Guanabanas.

As Jessi’s Dominant, it’s Judd’s position to push her beyond her comfort zone.  In this scene, he does just that.

Here’s an excerpt from FOR SPARROW…

Back inside the house, Judd washed up in the kitchen sink.  Jessi handed him a dish towel to dry his hands.  He eyed the old dishwasher, then looked to Jessi.

“I don’t really feel like messing with a dishwasher today, do you?”

Jessi’s eyes widened.  “Oh, well, no, of course not.  I’m sure you have plenty to do.  Don’t worry about it at all,” she said quickly.

Judd shook his head.  “It’s a beautiful day.  Why spend it inside?”  He stood straight, hands on his hips.  “How do you feel about stand up paddle boarding?”

She worked her mouth for a moment, frowning.  “I don’t guess I’m opposed to it, as an activity, you know.  I’m sure people enjoy it.  Live and let live,” she giggled nervously.

“I mean,” he cupped her elbow gently, “how do you feel about going?  With me.  Today.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Judd.  I’m kind of the queen of klutz.”  Jessi’s face turned bright pink.  “I don’t know if I’d be any good at it.”

Judd’s eyes narrowed slightly.  “Not sure I like my little one putting herself down.  Besides, there’s nothing to be ‘good at,’ you just…stand and paddle.”  He pantomimed for her.

He saw the reluctance in her face and gave his best reassuring smile, eyes sparkling.  “Come on, Jessi, it’ll be fun.”

Slowly, her smile spread to match his.  “Okay.  Let’s do it.”  She went upstairs and quickly changed into her swim suit and beach cover up.

On the way to the surf shop, Judd stopped by his place to pick up his paddleboard and gear.  He let them both into the townhouse and Jessi waited as he bounded up to the second level.

“It won’t take me a second to load my stuff into the truck,” he called from upstairs.  Jessi clutched her hands together anxiously as she surveyed Judd’s living room.  Everything was neat and tidy.  She didn’t know why that surprised her.

You just think about the stereotypical ‘bachelor pad,’ she supposed.

Crossing the room, she saw that the view from the sliding glass doors was breathtaking.  She imagined what it would be to wake up with a view of the ocean every morning.

“Almost ready,” Judd said, returning downstairs wearing aqua board shorts, a white t-shirt, and a Marlins ball cap.  A pair of black Oakley sunglasses hung around his neck from a black strap.

He held up a small black cube.  “I want to try out my new GoPro while we’re out there today,” he grinned.

Five minutes later, they were on their way north, heading for Blueline Surf and Paddle on A1A.  They rented gear for Jessi and declined the offer of a lesson.  “I’ve got it, man,” Judd smiled to the clerk.

Jessi was surprised to find that they were going to put into the river right next to Guanabanas, a local outdoor dining hotspot just across the street from the surf shop.  “Afterwards, I’ll buy you a cocktail,” Judd promised.

After a brief orientation, Judd helped Jessi onto the board and gently pushed her out into the Loxahatchee River.  “Am I supposed to wear the life jacket?” Jessi called back to him, indicating the ocean blue PFD currently resting on the nose of her board.

“Can you swim?”

“Of course!” she returned.

“Then you don’t have to wear it.  But you do have to have it with you, it’s the law.”

Judd smiled as he watched her wobble slightly.  She looked hot in what was actually a modest blue tankini, her auburn hair clipped up and off her neck, the red highlights gleaming in the sunlight.  He could only imagine Jessi in a bikini.  Did imagine it.  Then tried to think of something else, before she noticed his arousal.

Sighing deeply, he clipped the GoPro to the bill of his cap and paddled quickly to catch up with her.

When their hour was up, they returned Jessi’s gear to the shop, and put Judd’s things back in the truck.  With Jessi’s white beach dress back in place, they wandered into Guanabanas and found a small high-top table in the bar area.  A lone guitarist was playing Jason Mraz covers on the tiki stage.

Jessi ordered a Cat 5 hurricane while Judd opted for a local brew, and they chose a few appetizers.  After the server left, Judd pressed the button on the GoPro.  “So, Jessi, what do you think of paddle boarding?”

Her grin was stunning.  “I loved it!  It was so much fun, and way easier than I ever thought.”

He leaned into her and held the camera at arm’s length.  “Well, you had a kick-ass teacher, so…”  They both laughed into the camera.

SPIN Pandora (1)

You still have time to get FOR SPARROW at the pre-order price of 99¢.
After launch day, it goes back to its regular $2.99.
books2read.com/ForSparrow