Weekend Excerpt–New Teaser from FOR SPARROW

SPIN Pandora (1)

FOR SPARROW has been nominated for both the 2017 New Apple Book Award and the 2017 RITA Award in Erotic Romance.  It’s a contemporary light BDSM romance set in sunny Palm Beach County, Florida.

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated.  But it seems that Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend, Dominant firefighter paramedic Judd Farris to look out for Jessi until she gets back on her feet.

It’s a damn odd arrangment, though.  A surrogate Dom, in a platonic D/s relationship?  Judd’s determined to keep his promise to his friend.  But as time goes on, that line becomes harder to honor.  How long until Jessi and Judd give in to mutual attraction?  Could it be that Graham had something more permanent in mind all along?

Naked Body With Leather Handcuffs

Judd and Jessi watched for a few minutes, then Judd tugged gently on the lead and they moved along to another room.  A larger crowd had gathered in this doorway, but Judd made his way to an attendant supervising the black velvet rope separating the room from the hallway.

“Right this way, Master Judd,” the man said.

They squeezed past the other onlookers toward a collection of leather club chairs at the end of the room.  Judd was shown to a chair.  Jessi looked up at him questioningly.  “I made reservations for this one, Angel.  It’s something I want you to see.  You may kneel beside me.”  He sank into the chair and nodded to his left, indicating her place.

Jessi sank to her knees facing a raised dais in the center of the room.  A huge steel tripod stood on the dais.  It was tall enough for a man to easily stand beneath it with room to spare, and a large metal ring hung suspended from its apex.  She shivered in anticipation.

Soon most of the remaining chairs were filled by other Dominants, all with at least one sub kneeling at their feet.  One Domme had a male and a female submissive kneeling beside her.  The other guests had to content themselves with jockeying for position in the wide doorway.

Jessi couldn’t imagine what was about to happen.  A nude young female submissive approached Judd, eyes cast down.  “Excuse me, Master, would you care for a beverage?”

“I’ll have a glass of sauvignon blanc, sub, thank you.”  Before she could censor herself, Jessi’s head jerked up and she looked at Judd.  He winked at her and tugged on her lead.  She returned her eyes to the floor.  Her mouth suddenly felt like it was full of cotton.

What I wouldn’t give for a glass of wine right now.

The submissive quickly returned with a single glass of wine balanced on a tray.  She handed it to Judd without comment and bowed before backing away.  Jessi heard Judd take a sip of wine, and she coveted it so badly she could taste it.

“Would you like some wine, Angel?” Judd asked quietly.

Jessi looked up at him.  “Yes, please, Master Judd.”

Judd took another sip, then leaned down and pressed his lips to hers.  As she opened to him, the cool sweet liquid filled her mouth.  He kissed her sensuously and sat back up again, a smug smile on his face.  Jessi looked back down and smiled, too.

That was hot.

She heard the sound of feet approaching and cautioned a glance to her left where the last vacant chair had been.  She saw expensive black leather dress shoes and black slacks.  A familiar spiced musk scent wafted past her as a hand reached behind her toward Judd.

“Good evening, Master Judd.”  The voice was a rich baritone, the accent softly Spanish.

“Master Mateo.  It’s good to see you.  It’s a wonderful party, as always.”

“I am glad you are enjoying, my friend.  It’s so good to see you again.  And this is your lovely sub?”

Judd’s hand rested protectively on Jessi’s right shoulder.  “This is my Angel.  Angel, say hello to Master Mateo.”

Shyly, Jessi raised her eyes.  The man in the chair next to her was elegantly dressed in a black tuxedo.  Sharp brown eyes peered at her from behind the black and silver mask covering the top half of his face.  A neat dark beard and mustache framed the rest of his face, and his long dark hair was swept up in a stylish topknot.  His lips were pursed in an expression she couldn’t read.

She bowed her head again.  “Hello, Master Mateo.”

“So nice to meet you, queridita.”

A hush fell over the room and the lights dimmed as a fit bald man led a beautiful brunette out onto the dais in the center of the room.  Shirtless, he wore loose pants of black silk.  The woman was wrapped in a black silk kimono, her eyes covered in a blindfold of black lace.  She knelt in the center of the raised platform while the man returned to the door through which they’d entered.  Moments later, he was back with a basket full of red rope.  Wordlessly, he stepped up to the woman and pulled her head to his thigh.  Jessi sighed along with the woman, knowing what it was to kneel before the man she trusted.

After a moment, the man helped the woman to stand, and, cupping the back of her head, he kissed her passionately before removing her robe to the waist, where it was tied with a wide silk belt.  Using the red rope, the Dom wrapped her chest, both above and below her breasts, in an intricate pattern.  Placing a bamboo cane across her shoulder blades, he lashed her arms out to her sides, continuing to add to the pattern.  Occasionally, he paused to caress her cheek, or to place soft kisses against her neck.

Jessi watched with rapt attention, mesmerized by both the sensual scene, and the deep intimacy shared by the pair, Dom and sub.  Her feet began to tingle from lack of blood and she shifted slightly.  Judd gently squeezed her shoulder and when she looked up at him, he nodded, indicating his permission to sit on her right hip with her legs curled to her left side.  Jessi leaned against Judd’s left knee and continued to watch the performance.

Soon, the Dom ran ropes beneath the skirt of the woman’s robe, back and forth until he’d woven something resembling a thong, at which point, he removed the robe completely.  Before Jessi knew it, he’d run some rope through the ring overhead and the woman was now suspended, her legs tied in arcs extending out like a floating ballerina.

Unconsciously, Jessi rested her cheek against Judd’s thigh and wrapped her right arm around his calf.  Unable to look away, she absently caressed his ankle with her fingertips as the performance continued.  Finally, the man gently untied the woman’s legs and lowered her to the floor.  He restored the robe around her waist and continued removing ropes until there were none.  At his nonverbal command, she again knelt at his feet and he caressed her hair tenderly.

The audience, who’d been holding their collective breath, burst into applause.  Jessi smiled up at Judd and he leaned down to kiss her tenderly.  “What did you think, Angel?”

“That was beautiful,” she replied, eyes shining.

Judd stood and helped Jessi rise on unsteady feet.

“It was indeed beautiful.  Master Jeremy is an expert in Kinbaku.  We are privileged to have him here tonight.”

Jessi heard the deep voice behind her, but more than that, she felt the presence of Master Mateo, though he was not standing close enough to touch her.  Instinctively she bowed her head.

“Thank you for making sure we had a seat for this performance,” Judd said.  “I wanted my Angel to see it up close and personal.”

“It was my pleasure.  I’m very happy you both enjoyed it.”

“I think we’ll go outside for some fresh air.  See you later.”  Judd gave a slight tug on the lead and led Jessi toward the door.

“I am sure of it,” came the reply.

For Sparrow promo 1

FOR SPARROW  is the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.
Get you copy here: 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

Behind the Book–The Setting of FOR SPARROW: First Stop–Howley’s

FOR SPARROW, my new contemporary erotic romance, and the third book of the Dream Dominant Collection, is set in my home, Palm Beach County, Florida.  For this Behind the Book series, I want to take you on a tour of some of my favorite local places, places I love so much, I had my characters go there.

The first stop on our tour is a funky diner called Howley’s.  Their catch phrase is on the sign: Cooked in sight…must be right.  I love Howley’s for a lot of reasons.

Built in 1950, it’s a nostalgic throwback to a simpler time.  The business was purchased in 2004 by a group who appreciated what Howley’s was, and they lovingly restored its iconic terrazzo floors and tin ceilings.  The furnishings are retro, from the long counter to the awesome mid-century tables.

I love the staff at Howley’s, too.  They’re all young, and rather gender-fluid, with lots of piercings and tattoos.  A nose ring seems to be standard equipment.  And they’re all super nice.

The food is fantastic as well.  The last time I was there, I enjoyed a mimosa over a delicious breakfast.

Unsurprisingly, they’re very arts-positive at Howley’s.  The paintings displayed on the walls are for sale.  But my favorite artwork is the mural on the outside, done by local artist Amanda Valdes.  Check her out if you’re interested.  When I’m rich and famous, I’m going to commission her to paint the huge blank wall in my kitchen.

As I thought about my story line, I wanted just the right place to serve as the backdrop for where Judd might have spent time with Jessi’s husband, Graham.  Howley’s seemed like the perfect place for the two men to get together for coffee once in a while.

Here’s a little sample of FOR SPARROW.

“Does being a paramedic keep you safer than being a firefighter?”  Her brow furrowed with worry.

Judd smiled.  “I suppose.  I don’t run into many burning buildings anymore.  We wait for the guys to bring victims out of the fires.  And we respond to heart attacks, injuries, car accidents, that kind of thing.”

He watched Jessi’s eyes widen.  “No,” he shook his head.  “I didn’t get the call for Graham’s accident.  I was off that day.”

“How did you know…“

“Jessi, your eyes show everything you’re thinking,” he said gently.  “It’s the damnedest thing I ever saw.”

Jessi immediately looked down at her plate, concerned about what else her eyes might give away.  Judd went back to eating and she picked at her burger some more.  Looking back up, she spoke again.  “How did you know Graham?”

Judd looked back up at Jessi, swallowed his bite of burger, and cleared his throat.  “I followed his blog for quite a while.”  Jessi blinked, trying to make the leap from following a blog to being friends.

He sighed, wiping his mouth and setting down his napkin.  “I told you my marriage ended because we wanted different things in life.  As things started going south, I realized that one problem was that both of us wanted to be in control.  And it didn’t work.  There was no yin to the yang, you know?”

Jessi nodded, frowning.

“I started looking online for anything that could help, some kind of advice to help me save my marriage.  The more I looked, the more I realized that in my core self, I’m Dominant.”

Judd paused to let that sink in.  Jessi was listening raptly.  “I found a few websites about being Dominant, you know the kind of thing, ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’.  When I started going out again after the divorce, I tried some things, some really stupid things.  I made a few dates through FetLife and they were disastrous.”  He shook his head, half smiling.  “Graham’s writing was a revelation.  I thought, here’s a guy who knows what it is to be Dominant, to lead a submissive in the right way.”

She still didn’t say anything so he pushed on.  “I became something of a stalker,” he laughed, “reading every article, digging through his archives…  I commented on his posts and asked questions, and he was always nice, he always took the time to answer me.”  Judd took a break, nibbling on a handful of fries.  Jessi sipped her beer and waited.

“When I realized he was local, I worked up the nerve to ask him to meet me for coffee, and he agreed.  We met at Howley’s, and we talked for hours.”

“Howley’s,” Jessi repeated.

Judd grinned wryly.  “Cooked in sight…”

“Must be right,” she finished, smiling sadly.

He nodded.  “We met about once a month after that.  He was my mentor, but he was also my friend.”

Sparrow graphic Linz

FOR SPARROW launches October 3, but for a limited time you can
reserve your copy for the pre-order rate of 99¢.
After launch day, the price goes up.

books2read.com/ForSparrow