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

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