Weekend Excerpt–Tropical Dreaming…

Tired of winter yet?
You need a sexy Caribbean getaway.

All she wanted was just one night.

Katie Parker is a woman on a mission. On a Caribbean cruise for her annual girlfriends’ getaway, she’s determined to forget about the man who betrayed her. All she wants is to find a man for just one night of anonymous, no-strings-attached passion.

Mac Coleman needs to get away. For now, that means accompanying his brothers on a cruise to Mexico for his younger brother’s wedding. After that, he’ll be changing jobs and cities, all to get away from his stalker ex-girlfriend.

When the pair meet on board the ship, the chemistry is instant. Can Mac convince Katie that what they have deserves more than just one night?

Here’s a teaser from JUST ONE NIGHT.

“So where is your redhead going?” Tommy wondered as he and his brother watched the women leave the dining room.

Mac shrugged lightly. “She said something about karaoke tonight.”

Danny watched him for a moment. “Aren’t you going after her?”

“Nah, she wasn’t really up for getting together.”

“Dude, that dress is killer. She’s all dressed up for somebody,” Tommy observed.

“Yeah, well…” Mac sipped his water for an excuse to stop talking. “Hey, aren’t we hitting the casino tonight?”

Seated between his brothers at the roulette wheel, Mac watched the tiny white ball skitter around and come to rest on the thirteen. Of course, he’d bet on the twelve. After three rounds, he’d lost forty dollars. Tommy had the best luck, winning with every spin.

“Gents, I’m going to have to stop while I’m behind,” Mac said, pushing back from the table.

Tommy gathered his chips and Danny joined them. “What do you want to do now on your last night as a free man?”

Tommy grinned impishly at Mac. “I’m kind of in the mood for karaoke.”

Mac’s expression was dubious. “Karaoke? Since when are you into karaoke?”

“Since my older brother started mooning over some sexy redhead whose name he doesn’t even know.”

The brothers pushed their way through the crowded lounge searching for an empty table. Not finding one, they lucked out with three stools at the bar. Settled on his stool, Mac scanned the room and found her nearly immediately at a table fronting the stage. Her red hair stood out in the crowded room.

She looked up and her eyes widened in surprise before her lips curled in a suppressed smile. He raised his beer that had just been served and she smiled wider, lifting her shot glass and overturning it dramatically.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the emcee announced, “up next, we have the Heartbreakers!”

A squeal rose from their table and the four women made their way onto the stage. Mac watched in fascination as they took their cordless mics and stood with their backs to the audience. Wondering what they might sing, he heard the opening disco beat and bass of Hot Stuff and laughed out loud as the women began a slinky choreographed dance routine. He watched as the four took turns singing lines. When it was her turn, she locked eyes with him.

“Dude, your girl is hot!” Tommy commented.

“Yes, she is,” Mac agreed.

“I’m guessing they’ve done this before,” Danny opined. “God bless’em!” He raised his beer in salute.

***

Much like that first time back in high school, the end of the song was met with thunderous applause and the four friends returned to their table flushed with the exertion. “That never gets old,” Michelle laughed. “Do you remember the look on old man Adams’ face? He couldn’t decide whether to kick us out of the talent show or give us first prize.” The women laughed at the memory.

“It took forever for our turn,” Chelsea commented. “I want to go blow some money in the casino. Are you in?” She looked around the table.

“You guys go on. I’m enjoying the music,” Katie hedged. “Maybe I’ll just stay here a little longer.”

“Yeah, her mystery man and his brothers are here,” Michelle laughed. “She wants to blow something, just not money.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake!” Katie blushed furiously.

“Come on girls,” Jayma said, “let’s give Katie a little space.” She kissed Katie’s cheek gently. “Good luck, hon. Have fun!”

Katie waved goodbye to her friends as they left. Another group was on stage, working their way through Paradise by the Dashboard Light. She saw his brothers stand and leave the bar. He sat smiling at her and she smiled back.

Taking a cocktail napkin, she wiped the water rings from the table in preparation for his joining her. Except that he didn’t join her.

When Katie looked again, he was watching the singers with rapt attention, even swaying a bit on his stool.

She frowned a bit. His brothers left. He saw the girls leave. What gives? She crossed her right leg over her left and jiggled her foot restlessly. No way am I going over there. If he thinks I’m going over there, he’s got another think coming.

She glanced his way again. He was watching her with that same amused expression. The one that made the butterflies in her stomach go bungee jumping. Oh, fine!

As the group onstage finished and another singer was announced, Katie left her table and made her way to the bar, relieved to see an empty stool beside him. As she approached him, the corner of his mouth curled slightly and his eyes sparkled with the smile he suppressed.

“Hey, you. Would you mind if I joined you?” Katie asked.

“Hey, you. I’d mind if you didn’t.”

She accepted his hand and he helped her onto the stool next to his. “Thanks!”

“My pleasure.” He surveyed her appreciatively. “That’s a really nice dress.”

She flushed with pleasure. “Thanks. I wanted to be dressy for Formal Night. You look very handsome yourself.” She reached to touch the cuff of his shirt sleeve, pushing back his jacket. “Cuff links?” She fingered the textured silver squares.

He watched her with curiosity and nodded. “Is that okay?”

She looked back to his face. “I love cuff links. They’re so…civilized.”

Mac laughed out loud. “Something I’ve never been called: civilized.”

Katie’s brow furrowed. “So why? Why didn’t you come to my table?”

His eyes smiled. “Because you said ‘one night only’. I respect your boundaries.”

“Yeah.” She idly fidgeted with a cardboard coaster. “About that…” She looked up at him through her long lashes and began to lightly caress the inside of his wrist as it rested on the bar.

He watched her another moment, a knowing gleam in his eyes. “You can’t resist me.”

She looked back down to his hand. “You’re pretty cocky.”

He gave an exaggerated snicker. “You said ‘cock’.”

Katie giggled and rolled her eyes.

The next singer came on and began a spot-on version of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. They both laughed. Mac grinned and joined in, his cheek brushing hers as he sang along softly. Katie felt goosebumps as he crooned into her ear. “Let’s get it on…” Lightly, he nibbled her earlobe. He planted a gentle kiss on her bare shoulder.

Katie took his hand and he looked back up. “Come on, let’s go,” she said softly.

–JUST ONE NIGHT is just 99¢ every day!

JUST ONE NIGHT by Pandora Spocks

JUST ONE NIGHT is 99¢ every day!
books2read.com/JustOneNight

Weekend Excerpt–For Sparrow

A platonic Dom/sub relationship?
It’s a damn odd arrangement.

2018 GOLDEN FLOGGER AWARD WINNER–Best BDSM Book, BDSM Light!

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years. Now she’s lost her friend, her lover…and her Dominant.

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet.

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend. But it’s a damn odd arrangement—a platonic Dom/sub relationship. With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her. At her husband’s funeral.

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking. But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi. She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies. In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive. But that’s simply ridiculous. He’s five years younger than she is. He couldn’t possibly be interested in her. Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom. It’s perfect for the time being. Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

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

FOR SPARROW is a contemporary erotic romance novel with a light BDSM theme. It’s the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.

Read an excerpt from FOR SPARROW.

I buried my husband today.

The thought tumbled through Jessi’s mind over and over, like clothes in a dryer. Voices around her sounded oddly muted, as though she were underwater. Occasionally, someone touched her, a simple grasping of her hand, a gentle pat on her shoulder, and the sensation felt like burning embers showering down over her.

Following the graveside service, mourners had gathered at her home. Hers and Graham’s.

Only Graham isn’t here. We left him at the cemetery. I buried my husband today.

Food had appeared in her kitchen. Casseroles, desserts, salads. There was even a brisket. An army of women had set up a command post and were making sure guests had plenty to eat and drink. Jessi wondered briefly if there was enough ice for the drinks. Maybe she should ask Graham run to out and get some more.

I buried my husband today.

Since that day, her phone hadn’t stopped ringing. Friends and neighbors hadn’t stopped calling and dropping by. “How are you?” “What can we do?” “What do you need?”

Her business partner, Sarah Reid, had been her rock, taking over the events they had scheduled for the week, returning calls Jessi didn’t have the strength to deal with.

“You take all the time you need, hon,” Sarah had told her. “We’ve got it under control.”

Since that day.

“Sparrow, I need to get the oil changed in my car. Why don’t you drive to the mechanic’s and I’ll meet you there? I’ll drop you at your office, and then we can do the reverse this afternoon.”

Jessi had waited at the mechanic’s shop. After an hour had passed, she’d tried his phone. A stranger had answered.

“This is Officer Brooks. The owner of this phone has been in an accident. Are you the wife of Graham Crenshaw?”

A police car had picked her up and driven her to the hospital. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Crenshaw. It appears your husband suffered a fatal heart attack behind the wheel of his car. When the car hit the utility pole, he was most likely already deceased.” The doctor had had an air of resigned sympathy. Jessi had wondered how many people he pronounced dead on an average day.

Sarah had met her at the hospital and had driven her home. Jessi wasn’t sure how her own car had gotten back to the house. She’d somehow made the calls to Cara and Adam. “Something has happened. Your dad died.”

Cara, age twenty-three, had made her excuses at her job with the Weather Channel, and had taken the first available flight from Atlanta to West Palm Beach. Adam, age twenty-one, had driven from Orlando where he worked as a video game animator.

Jessi and the kids had gone to the funeral home the following day to see to burial arrangements. The funeral director had neatly folded his hands on top of his huge mahogany desk and smiled kindly.

“Mrs. Crenshaw, your husband has everything prearranged. You don’t need to worry about a thing, it’s all taken care of. He has requested that he be buried in a navy suit, with a white shirt and a blue and red paisley tie. Do you know the things he means?”

Jessi had nodded dumbly. What he’d described was her favorite suit of Graham’s. He always looked so handsome, and he’d worn it when they’d celebrated their anniversary a few months back.

He had it all planned out. But when? Did he do it after the heart attack a few years ago? Why didn’t he mention it?

“We’re just so sorry for your loss.” The statement shook Jessi from her thoughts, returning her to the morbid gathering in her living room. It was a neighbor couple from down the street.

“Thank you,” she murmured, not meeting their eyes. She sipped her wine to have something to do, and wandered into the kitchen.

“Hey, hon, how are you holding up?” Sarah asked.

Jessi shrugged and gave a weak smile. “I’m okay.”

“Can we get you something to eat?”

Jessi shook her head and headed back to the living room.

I buried my husband today.

“Jessica. I was just chatting with your lovely daughter and son,” said Rev. Lyman. “Graham was a good man, taken before his time.” He looked at Jessi with slight reproof. “I hope we’ll be seeing you and your family on Sunday.”

“Maybe, Reverend,” Jessi replied softly. “If you’ll excuse me and my children.”

“Of course. Family has to pull together at a time like this.”

They watched him work his way across the room. “I’m not lovely?” quipped Adam.

Jessi smiled at her son. “You’re lovely to me. And you’re welcome for getting the good reverend to move along.”

“Do you love the way Rev. Lyman tried to get in a plug for going to church?” commented Cara.

“My personal relationship with God is exactly that. Personal,” replied Jessi. “How are you two doing?”

“It’s hard,” said Adam, his voice breaking.

“I know. You don’t have to stay for all of this. I have no idea when people will decide to leave.”

“I’m here until Friday,” Cara said. “I don’t want to leave you alone to deal.”

Jessi kissed her cheek and then Adam’s. “Thank you both. I love you so much. Your dad loved you, too.” She felt tears forming again. She felt as though she’d cried out her very soul, and yet tears were always near.

Cara’s here until Friday. What day is it again?

Cara and Adam moved out to find their friends. Jessi turned to look for a place to sit. She was so weary. She was stopped by a woman she vaguely recognized.

“Jessica, I’m Harriet. From church?”

“Oh, yes, Harriet. It was good of you to come.”

“Sweetie, I just want to remind you that Graham is in a better place.” She beamed at Jessi, as though her words bestowed onto the new widow some sort of miracle.

Jessi felt a twitch begin at the outer corner of her left eye. If I don’t get out of here right now, I’m going to scream.

“If you’ll excuse me, please,” she murmured, pushing past the woman. She hurried through the kitchen, ignoring Sarah as she called to her, and slipped out the back door.

The lanai and pool deck were blissfully quiet in the early evening twilight. The sun had set and the lights had come on automatically. She crossed to the far side of the pool, and sat on the raised edge of the spa with her back to the house. Finally alone, she leaned forward with her elbows on her thighs and let the tears flow.

She’d only been there a few minutes when she heard a sound, the soft scuff of a leather shoe against the brick pavers. She sat up abruptly and whirled around.

“I’m so sorry. I don’t mean to bother you.” The man was tall and muscular, his dark hair in short waves framing a handsome face, his dark suit cut slim. Large brown eyes were soft and sympathetic.

Jessi sniffed and stood, swiping at the tears on her cheeks. “I just needed some air. I buried my husband today.” She looked up at him, shocked. “That’s the first time I said that out loud.”

He smiled kindly. “I’ll leave you alone. I just wanted to say that Graham was a good man. He was my friend and I’ll miss him.”

“Thank you. Did you work with him?”

“No. We were friends. I’m Judd, by the way.”

Jessi nodded. “Thank you for coming, Judd. I’m sure he would have appreciated it.” She began walking back towards the house. Judd fell into step beside her.

“I thought maybe I would come back on Saturday, maybe help you with the lawn,” he said.

Jessi was only half-listening, wondering if Harriet had gotten the hell out of her house yet. “Mm-hmm,” she murmured.

“Alright, Jessi,” he said. “Take care, now.”

She nodded and went to find her children.

–From FOR SPARROW, 2017 New Apple Medalist for Literary Erotica and 2018 Golden Flogger Winner for Best BDSM Book–BDSM Light.

FOR SPARROW by Pandora Spocks

FOR SPARROW is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–Christmas at Michael’s

Michael and Maggie?
It’s complicated.

Brilliant Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan has his life arranged exactly the way he likes it. As a founding partner at the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he can let his underlings do the legwork on the high profile defense cases his exclusive 50th floor division handles. He prefers to simply breeze in and do what he does best: dazzle juries and charm the press.

His private life is well-ordered, too. Michael doesn’t have the time or the patience for relationships. Instead, he has a contact list of hot blondes who meet his needs at any given moment, whether it’s a date to a gallery opening or awards show. Or he just wants to get laid.

Some people would call him shallow. But they’re just envious.

Maggie Flynn has her life mapped out as well. After she graduates from law school she plans to take a job with the Prosecutor’s Office where she interned. But when she attends a job fair and meets Michael Rannigan, her plans change. She’s studied his cases, even heard him speak once. He’s smart and sexy and she can’t resist interviewing with him.

Michael hires Maggie and has her assigned to his elite 50th floor team. He knows smart when he sees it. He also sees the spark in her eyes. She wants him. And having her nearby strokes his ego. It’s not like anything will come of it, she’s so far from his type. But there’s something unsettling about Mary Margaret Flynn, like she can see through his bullshit in a way no one else ever bothered to do.

Maggie realizes that her crush on Michael is all but hopeless. He’s a self-absorbed womanizer. But beneath that cool exterior, she’s seen the man he can be and she’s sure that love can bring that out. In the meantime, she’s content to work with him.

What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

In this teaser from RESISTING RISK, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, a surprise guest has crashed Maggie’s annual Orphans & Misfits Christmas celebration.

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.

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.”

RESISTING RISK, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 1 by Pandora Spocks

RESISTING RISK is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

Weekend Excerpt–LUKE & BELLA

Luke hasn’t been completely honest with Bella.
If he tells her now, he could lose her forever.

Accomplished television journalist Bella Grant has been offered the job of a lifetime–touring the world and creating a brand new travel show. She’s been paired up with seasoned news photographer Luke McGillicutty, freshly lured out of early retirement by his best friend in the world.

Traveling to exotic locations, staying in the best hotels, is it any wonder the pair fall in love? But everything happened so fast, Luke didn’t take the time to mention the fact that he’s Dominant.

Should he keep it to himself and maintain their vanilla relationship? Or can he risk everything on the chance that they could have it all?

Here’s a snippet from LUKE & BELLA.

Pulling into the drive, they could see the house situated at the end of a long straight lane shaded by centuries-old oak trees that were draped with Spanish moss. The white antebellum home was two stories tall and fronted by six white columns. There was a broad front porch running the width of house with a matching veranda on the second floor. Bella felt a perverse sense of pride. Bad memories and associations aside, the plantation house was undeniably beautiful. Still, she was glad that Tre and his family lived there. She was perfectly content in the townhouse.

Tre stopped, parking the SUV out front and they crossed the porch to the front door, entering a grand foyer. Tre called, “Cornelia, we’re home.” The smell of something good for dinner filled the house.

Cornelia came out to greet them, wiping her hands on her vintage apron, all Southern grace and gentle manners. She was petite and blonde with helmet hair that undoubtedly required a weekly salon appointment. Her delicate stature had always been a compliment to Tre’s tall lanky frame. Bella dutifully hugged her and introduced Luke.

Cornelia grasped his hand in that Southern lady not-quite-a-handshake way and drawled, “So nice to meet you, y’all come on in.” As she turned away Bella caught Luke’s eyes and made a face.

“So how was Daddy?” Cornelia asked.

“Nasty as ever,” Tre answered.

“Oh dear, he’s been difficult since he got sick,” Cornelia began.

Bella interrupted, “Longer than that. You and I both know it.”

Cornelia cooed, “Still, we can’t speak badly about the ill.”

“Just telling the truth,” Bella countered. “Do you have any wine around? I’ve waited about as long as I can.”

Cornelia gave her a pinched look, then smiled, all charm. “Why, of course. Y’all make yourselves comfortable in the living room. Tre, get your sister some wine.”

They heard a shout from the direction of the kitchen. “Hey, is that Aunt Sissy?” A tall lanky boy of about twenty came bounding into the room. He looked like Tre had time-traveled backwards, the resemblance was so strong.

“‘Hey’ is for horses, son,” Cornelia corrected quietly.

Bella squealed with delight. “T-Nathan! How are you?” She gave him a huge hug. “And ‘hey’ is just fine with me,” she grinned, smirking at Cornelia. “So your dad says you’re home from school?”

T-Nathan grinned. “Yep, I took my exams early so I could come home.”

Bella smiled up at him. “It’s so great to see you! I can’t believe you’re a college man now! Holy sh…cow!” she said, glancing at Cornelia, who was making her way back to the kitchen.

T-Nathan laughed. “Nice save.”

Tre handed Bella a glass of white wine then poured bourbon for Luke and himself.

“Well, my boy, the night is young, and I am way sober. Just wait!” Bella laughed. “Luke, this is my favorite nephew, T-Nathan.”

T-Nathan smiled. “Ha! I’m your only nephew! Nice to meet you, sir.” Luke gave Bella a startled look as he shook hands with the young man.

Bella laughed and said, “It’s a Southern thing,” winking at Luke.

Tre took them on a brief tour of the downstairs showing them the kitchen, family room, and his office. Bella was surprised to see some of the updates they’d made.

“Y’all have done some nice things with the house, Bubba,” she commented.

“It’s pretty much all Cornelia’s doing,” he said. “She decided when we moved in that the place was too dark and sad.”

“There’s been plenty of sad,” Bella mused quietly, sipping her wine. She looked out the window into the back yard. “Hey, what’s going on out back?” she asked, referring to the large white tents set up on the lawn.

“Oh! The annual picnic is tomorrow. I hope y’all are coming,” Tre said.

Bella looked at him in surprise. “Really. I thought they stopped having that when Grandaddy died,” she said.

“Well, Daddy stopped it,” he admitted. “I started it again when he retired and I took over five years ago. He was pissed as hell, but it seems to mean so much to everybody.” Tre grinned at them.

“You did a really good thing, Bubba,” she said quietly.

They made their way back to the family room and sat chatting about previous picnics and the plans for tomorrow’s event. Cornelia appeared in the doorway and announced, “Dinner, everyone.”

They all took their places at the table in the formal dining room. After Tre led the grace, Bella chugged the remainder of her wine and poured a second. They passed around platters of chicken cordon bleu and scalloped potatoes, fresh vegetables and homemade rolls.

Dinner was delicious and everyone made polite small talk. Tre encouraged Luke to talk about his time in the Navy and as a news photographer.

After a brief lull in conversation, Tre said, “By the way, we watched your show last night. I thought it was interesting.”

T-Nathan said, “Hey Aunt Sissy, did you really smoke weed in Amsterdam?”

Cornelia glared at him. “T-Nathan, I don’t think that’s appropriate dinner conversation.”

Bella, ignoring Cornelia, smiled ruefully. “Yes. Yes I did.” She drained her third glass of wine. “It wasn’t all that. I can’t see doing it again.”

“And that’s your job?” T-Nathan marveled. “That is so cool! And you sat in that prostitute’s window?”

Bella nodded. “I did, for a little while.”

“Unbelievable,” Cornelia muttered under her breath.

Bella, pouring her fourth glass, drawled, “Reckon I’m gonna get my ass kicked clean out of the Junior League.”

“And here we go,” Tre said quietly.

“Here, Cornelia. Have some fucking wine,” Bella said, all exaggerated Southern accent, and getting louder with every word. “You know, a drink. Might loosen up that cooter of yours and give my brother a break.”

T-Nathan did a spit-take. Cornelia quietly cleared her throat, neatly placed her napkin beside her plate and left the table. “If y’all will please excuse me for a moment,” she murmured quietly.

Luke watched the whole scene, unsure whether to be embarrassed or amused.

“Sissy, why do you do that?” Tre sighed, shaking his head.

“Because it’s easy,” she replied, draining her glass.

LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Thanksgiving!

Artist Petey Cavanaugh has no idea the handsome businessman she’s falling for is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

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?

In this snippet from CHASING ORDINARY, Nik is ready to celebrate his first Thanksgiving.

After they’d showered and dressed for the day, Petey and Nik collected the casserole dishes from the refrigerator and placed them in the bed of a yellow wire-mesh wagon Petey retrieved from the garage. Together, they carried the wagon down the front steps and then headed off in the direction of Jane and Eli’s house.

The late November air was crisp and cold, their breath creating fog as they trudged along. As they approached the house, Cherry opened the front door and the aroma of roasting turkey wafted toward them. “Happy Thanksgiving!” she called.

“Happy Thanksgiving to you,” Nik returned as Petey waved. “We come bearing foodstuffs.”

Cherry’s brow furrowed. “Hunh?”

Petey laughed. “We have potatoes and dressing.”

“Oh. Come on in. It’s cold outside.”

Leaving the wagon on the front porch, Petey and Nik carried the dishes through the large living room to the kitchen, which was abuzz with activity. Mary Pat, decked out in a fall-themed apron, was leaning down to peer into the oven. At the kitchen counter, Jane was briskly working a fork through a large pot filled with something white. She looked up as they approached.

“Welcome! Happy Thanksgiving!” she smiled. “I’m just working the lumps out of the mashed turnips.”

Petey, sliding the potatoes into the fridge behind Jane, turned and made a face at Nik, who stifled a chuckle.

“Thank you for making me feel so welcome. I’m thrilled to be celebrating my first Thanksgiving,” Nik replied with an infectious grin.

“You never had Thanksgiving before?” Cherry asked, aghast.

“No, dummy, they don’t have Thanksgiving in Beruvia. It’s about the Pilgrims, remember?” Thomas chided.

“And the first time-out of the day goes to Thomas, who has been reminded repeatedly not to call his sister names. Ten minutes, pal. Starting when you get to your room. Now scoot,” called Eli, entering the kitchen from the back door. He nodded in greeting to Nik and Petey.

“Aw, dad!”

“We could make it twenty.”

“Geez, I’m going.”

Eli watched his son stomp upstairs. “Cherry, it’s time for the woolly to eat again.”

“Alright, Daddy.” The child turned to Nik. “Wanna come help me feed my lamb?”

Nik beamed at her. “I’d be honored to help. But you have to teach me how.”

Cherry was shrugging into her puffy hot-pink down coat. “Okay, but it’s pretty easy.” She pulled a knitted pink beanie with bunny ears down over her head. “Let’s go. We’re keeping him in the g’rage.”

With a wink to Petey, Nik followed the little girl into the garage.

“He doesn’t have to do that,” Jane whispered to Petey with a smile.

“I think he’s happy to tag along,” Petey replied.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Petey,” Jorgen greeted her as he entered through the same door Eli had come through moments earlier.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Jorgen. How are you today?”

The older man smiled. “I’m most well, thank you.” He turned to Mary Pat. “Is this what you meant?” He handed her three tins of spices.

Mary Pat smiled. “Yes, those are exactly the ones.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe I forgot them. Thank you so much for getting them for me.”

“It was sincerely my pleasure,” Jorgen said, bowing politely.

Jane rolled her eyes at Petey, who responded with a silent, “What the fuck?”

Eli had settled on the large sectional in front of the television. The Cowboys were just about to take the field. With his mission for Mary Pat accomplished, Jorgen joined Eli.

Petey was setting the long table in the dining room when Nik and Cherry came back into the house. The little girl was talking a mile a minute, with Nik nodding and replying when it was appropriate.

While Cherry continued into the kitchen, Nik stopped to give Petey a quick kiss. “Is there anything I can do?”

Petey shook her head. “I think it’s pretty much under control. Did you get the lamb all sorted out?”

“We did. I even got a chance to hold the bottle before Cherry decided I was doing it wrong.” Nik’s eyes sparkled with amusement. “I believe it’s the bluntest criticism I’ve ever received.”

“Yeah, she’d kind of straightforward,” Petey laughed. “The guys are watching football if you want to go relax.”

Nik nodded. “I think I will. I’m a bit knackered from too much sex,” he whispered.

Petey gave him a playful push and sent him on his way. Thomas, having paid his ten-minute penalty, made his way downstairs and joined his father and the others in front of the television.

Finally, everything was ready, with platters and bowls arranged down the center of the table. Everyone took their places, with Eli at one end and Nik at the other. Sitting to Nik’s right, Petey gave his thigh a quick squeeze beneath the table. Eli gave a thoughtful grace, and the food was passed.

Petey cleared her throat meaningfully as she handed Nik the bowl of mashed turnips. When he glanced her way, she arched an eyebrow. Stifling a chuckle, he passed the bowl to Jorgen, who heaped the concoction on his plate. Petey grinned at Nik, happy to share an inside joke.

The conversation was cheery, at times raucous and funny, punctuated by plenty of laughter. From time to time, Petey glanced to Nik, who seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly. The thought of him being happy and at ease squeezed her heart with emotion.

At that moment, she realized that what she wanted more than anything was for Nik to be happy. That’s what love is, isn’t it?

When dinner was over, Jane stood up. “Okay, gentlemen, since the ladies cooked, you’re on clean-up detail.” She leaned over and kissed Eli on the cheek. “I’ll check on the barn,” she told him softly.

As Petey stood, Nik and Jorgen began gathering up the dishes and utensils. She sidled up to Nik. “You don’t really have to do this, you know,” she said softly. “It’s kind of Jane’s rule, but…”

“I don’t mind at all.” His tone was earnest. “I’m happy to help. It makes me feel delightfully ordinary.”

Petey pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Well, just so you know.”

“Go, relax,” he winked at her. “I believe that odd game you Yanks call football is still on television.”

“I heard that,” Eli said. “And it’s just plain football.” His tone was serious, but there was a twinkle in his eye.

“And why don’t they use their feet to play it, hmm?” Nik jibed, as both men laughed.

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

CHASING ORDINARY is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

Weekend Excerpt–Rannigan’s Redemption

She’s nothing like the women he usually goes for.
So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Rannigan’s Redemption, the best-selling of all my books, is the story of the complicated relationship between sexy high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and sassy red-haired fellow lawyer Maggie Flynn.

When I started writing Rannigan’s Redemption, it was intended to be one book, but as it went along, the story was just too long. It covers nearly ten years of Michael’s and Maggie’s lives, so there seemed no way that a single book could do it justice.

In the beginning, Michael and Maggie meet at a job fair, where he hires her practically on the spot. She’s smart and good her job. But there’s more to it than he’s willing to admit. He’s attracted to her. Which doesn’t make sense. She’s nothing like the women he dates. She’s way too smart, for one thing.

And Maggie’s in love with him, too. Realizing the situation is all but hopeless, she contents herself with working with him.

One night of passion tears them apart. And from that point they’re both just running rogue, each making questionable decisions in their professional and personal lives.

A moment of desperation brings them back together. After Michael has burned all his bridges, Maggie’s the only one willing to stand by him.

And he’s grateful. He knows he needs to make it up to her, to somehow find redemption for himself.

Here’s a (spoiler-filled) snippet from RUNNING ROGUE, the second book in the trilogy.

*Spoiler Alert!*

“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 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.”

RUNNING ROGUE, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 2 by Pandora Spocks

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–So I Did a Thing…

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

So I did a thing…

I’ve been hard at work on my newest project, THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE, but I’m setting that aside for a bit while I work on something else.

I was recently offered a spot in a group project, a special Valentine’s Day anthology collection and I just couldn’t say no. I can’t give you a lot of details at this point, but I can share a little about my contribution to the effort, a steamy little contemporary romance called BROKEN HARTS.

It that sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote the first chapter a few years ago, and it’s been sitting in the Teasers tab of this blog ever since. This new project is giving me the opportunity to flesh out this mysterious little snippet.

Here’s the blurb:

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

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

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

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

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

***

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect. 

Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

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

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

Here’s that first chapter of BROKEN HARTS.

Ali Hart tightly gripped the pole as the subway jostled along the tracks.  She grimaced as she caught her reflection in the window, her red hair hanging in loose waves around her shoulders, her brown eyes looking tired from the strain of the past week.  The car was surprisingly packed for this time of day and she shifted in an attempt to move away from the man who’d stepped on her toes for the third time.  I hate the city.

“But Alison, it’s not like you have a real job.  You can’t possibly expect Brendan and I to just drop everything and run to New York to deal with Dad.”

Ali replayed the conversation in her head.  “I do have a real job.  I just happen to do it from my home.  In Florida, I might add.”

Her sister Megan had rolled her eyes.  “You write kids’ books.  Big woo!  Anybody can do that.  And you don’t have a family like we do.”

It was true.  Ali lived a solitary life in her condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on Juno Beach.  It wasn’t as though she never dated, she’d simply never found anyone she could see spending forever with.  It could be that she’d never met anyone who matched up to her idea of the perfect man.

Ali had always been her Daddy’s girl.  Jackson Hart, Pulitzer prize-winning author, had never been an easy man to live with but by the time Alison was born, age had mellowed him a bit.  The fact that she’d turned out to be a writer had pleased him endlessly, much to the disdain of her older brother and sister, Brendan and Megan.

So when the old man had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Hart sibling consensus was that Ali was the natural choice to deal with the fallout.

As the train pulled into the station, Clumsy Feet stepped on her toes for the fourth time and  Ali glared at him.  “Oh, thank God,” she muttered to herself, allowing the sea of commuters exiting the train to wash her out onto the platform.

Ali was pushed along as everyone hurried on their way until the crowd thinned enough for her to see the 86 on the wall.  “Eighty-sixth? Shit!”  The Alzheimer’s care center she’d been headed to was on 96th.  She turned just as the doors closed and the train moved out of the station.

“Great!  Just fabulous.”  Walking ten blocks wouldn’t normally be a problem.  But the temperature was an unpleasant thirty-eight degrees and there was a nasty sleet coming down. There was nothing to do except wait for the next train and hope she’d still be on time for her appointment.   I hate the city.

***

“My God, Logan, the wedding’s in six months!  We have to make these decisions!”

Logan Pryce rolled his eyes as he juggled his phone, his brown leather messenger bag, and the rolls of plans while he walked down the stairs into the 86th Street subway station.  “I know, Catherine, but honestly, I trust your taste.  Pick what you like.”

“Sometimes I’m not sure you really want to get married,” she pouted into the phone.

Sometimes I’m not sure myself.  He rolled his eyes again.  “Catherine, I’m working.  My client wants to build some retail space in the subway station.  That’s where I am right now.”  He aimed for patient and reasonable.  “Listen, pick the flowers you like or wait until I get back to Chicago tonight.  Either way will be fine.  I promise.  But I’ve got to go.”

He disconnected with Catherine and looked around for the clients he was meeting.  Winning the bid for the subway retail space was a big coup for his architectural firm.  Pryce Designs was highly successful in Chicago but this job would open the doors to the lucrative Manhattan market.

As he scanned the crowded station, his gaze was drawn to a woman who’d just gotten off the train.  The first thing he noticed was her brilliant red hair.  Even in the dim white light of the platform, her hair gave off a golden glow and he had the sudden urge to see it in the bright sunlight.

She reversed direction as if to re-enter the train but the doors closed and the train left.  Even from his distance he could see her annoyance.  He wondered what was wrong.  Perhaps she’d forgotten something.  Or she’d gotten off at the wrong stop.  Goodness knows, he’d gotten off at the wrong stop a time or two.  He grinned at the memory.

Then, as if she felt him watching her, she looked up straight into his eyes and he felt a jolt of electricity.  He watched her brown eyes widen as she looked back at him.  It felt as though everything in the busy station stopped as they gazed at each other across the heads of hundreds of passersby.  Logan felt his breath leave his body.

Suddenly, a large man barreled into the woman and she went down.  Logan was by her side in an instant.  “Are you alright?”

“I think so,” she answered shakily.  She was sitting on the filthy floor of the platform.

“Let me help you up.”  He took her hand and gently helped her stand.  “Are you sure you aren’t hurt?”

Again, those deep brown eyes bore into his.  “No, I think I’m alright.”

They stood that way, lost in each other’s eyes.  “Can we…” Logan began as the next train arrived.

The woman moved her gaze to the train.  “I have to go.  I’m late for an appointment.  This wasn’t my stop.”  She seemed apologetic.

Logan stepped back to allow her past him and onto the train.  She stood just inside the doorway and as it closed, she placed her palm on the glass.  Logan pressed his palm to the outside of the glass and they stared at each other until the train left the station.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

The Valentine’s Day anthology collection will be out this February. Stay tuned for more details, including the amazing cover reveal!

Weekend Excerpt–RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION

Maggie is far from Michael’s usual type.
So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Rannigan’s Redemption is the story of the complicated relationship between sexy high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and sassy red-haired fellow lawyer Maggie Flynn.

Michael and Maggie meet at a job fair, where he hires her practically on the spot. She’s smart, and good at her job. But there’s more to it than he’s willing to admit. He’s attracted to her. Which doesn’t make sense. She’s nothing like the women he dates. She’s way too smart, for one thing.

And Maggie’s in love with him, too. Realizing the situation is all but hopeless, she contents herself with working with him.

One night of passion tears them apart. And from that point they’re both just running rogue, each making questionable decisions in their professional and personal lives.

A moment of desperation brings them back together. After Michael has burned all his bridges, Maggie’s the only one willing to stand by him.

And he’s grateful. He knows he needs to make it up to her, to somehow find redemption for himself.

Here’s a peek at the moment Michael and Maggie meet.

Michael Rannigan dry gulped three ibuprofen tablets as the car from the service weaved its way through mid-day Manhattan traffic. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a hangover. The previous night had been exceptional. At an art gallery opening, he’d met twin flight attendants who matched him drink for drink before going home with him for an extended threesome adventure.

I’m getting too old for this shit. Should have called in sick today.

As a partner at Murphy, Rannigan, there was no one to question his absence. But it was his turn representing the firm at the job fair at NYU. Brian Murphy was out of the country on vacation. And James Metheny was recovering from surgery. Tonsils or some shit, Michael mused. Didn’t everyone have their tonsils out when they were five?

Sure, the firm needed new talent. But why did he need to be there? He knew exactly why. Without his presence, John Hemphill would be the senior man there, and that couldn’t happen. Hemphill’s an idiot, he thought.

The car dropped him at the entrance to Vanderbilt Hall. He knew it well. After all, NYU was his alma mater. He took a moment to straighten his tie before entering the building. As expected, the hall was full of fresh young faces, soon-to-graduate litigators who needed jobs. Unconsciously his eye roved, looking for nubile young female candidates. Not necessarily for the firm, mind you. He was always on the lookout for his next conquest. He passed a group of girls who giggled as he walked by.

“Ladies,” he greeted them, flashing his mega-watt smile. Just get this over with, he begged as he zeroed in on the Murphy, Rannigan table.

Already seated at the table were John Hemphill, Stan Hodges, and Ellen Standifer. The trio were associates from the elite 50th floor of Murphy, Rannigan. They were good enough at what they did, which was mostly research and legwork, with the occasional foray into the courtroom when necessity called. Each had a laptop and on the table was a spreadsheet they’d worked out back at the office. Of course, they’d vetted possible candidates before they ever set foot at the university. Preparation saves time in the long run, they knew.

Michael took a bottled water from the table and sipped, standing behind the three and continuing to scan the room. “What’ve we got?” he asked.

Hemphill gave him a brief rundown. “We’ve interviewed five candidates so far, five of the ones we were interested in. We’ve turned away about a dozen others that didn’t meet our standards,” he related in his adenoidal drone that so grated on Michael.

“You’re turning away interviewees who aren’t on your candidate list?” Michael snapped. “How sure are you that your list is accurate? Paper and data don’t always tell the story.” Hemphill reddened a bit.

“Well, I…” the man floundered.

Michael grinned to himself. It’s the little pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile, he thought. He watched as a young woman crossed the floor, seeming to make a beeline for their table. She was petite, with red hair, and she was wearing a grey suit paired with a green silk blouse. What have we here, he wondered.

“Hello,” said the young woman. “I’d like to interview with your firm.” She reached across the table to shake hands with the attorneys seated there.

“And you are?” Michael asked, still standing behind the others.

“Oh, sorry,” she said, clearly flustered. She opened her folio to remove copies of her resume and several slipped out, sailing across the floor. Michael watched in amusement as she scrambled to gather them up again. “Sorry,” she repeated, as she handed a document to each of them.

“Mary Margaret Flynn,” Michael read from the top line of the resume.

“Um, Maggie, actually,” the young woman corrected.

“Have a seat, Ms. Flynn,” Hemphill directed as they read over her resume. Standifer pulled up Mary Margaret Flynn on their database and Hodges located her name on their spreadsheet. There were two stars beside her name. How have we not spoken with this one yet?

Michael took a seat directly across from her. He was impressed with the resume, and he’d found her name on the spreadsheet before

Hodges had. He looked from the document back up to her face. Her green eyes were wide and as she sat, she fidgeted nervously with the atrocious vinyl folio containing her resumes.

“So Ms. Flynn, your resume is impressive. It says that you interned with Rance Stockwell at the DA’s office. I’m surprised he hasn’t offered you a job.”

“Oh, he has,” Maggie replied. “I just haven’t accepted yet.”

“Looking for better offers, are you?” Michael asked, arching an eyebrow.

“I have a great deal of student loan debt,” she confessed. “It makes sense to me to look around and find my best options.”

Michael leaned back in his chair. “Are you familiar with our firm?” he asked.

“Yes, actually,” Maggie answered. “I heard you speak once at a charity luncheon. You said that everyone is entitled to the best defense possible, regardless of the circumstances of their charges.”

Michael tried to suppress a smile. “I said that, did I?” The others at the table snickered.

Maggie’s face reddened a bit as she glanced down the line of lawyers. “It really resonated with me,” she said quietly. “I also tried one of your cases as a mock trial project.”

“Which case did you choose?” asked Michael.

“People v. Lawson.”

The other three snickered louder and Michael looked down at his notes, suppressing another grin. “Well, Ms. Flynn, if you were going to try one of my cases, you might have chosen one I actually won.”

Maggie glared indignantly at the panel. “I, well, I tweaked it a little. I uncovered evidence that you overlooked.” Michael sat up straight; she had his undivided attention. “Testimony in the deposition was contradicted on the witness stand. The victim stated in the deposition that she’d met the defendant two weeks prior to the incident. On the stand she said she’d just met him that night. It was enough doubt for the mock jury. I won your case.”

Michael looked at the other three. If someone had dropped the ball on the case, he or she was currently seated at the table. They all looked down, suddenly intensely interested in their notes.

He cleared his throat. “It seems, Ms. Flynn, we have everything we need. We’ll make a decision by the end of the week and let you know.”

Maggie stood and reached out her hand. “Thank you for your time.”

“Thank you,” Michael nodded, shaking her hand. He watched her walk back across the room and disappear in the crowd.

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION, Book 1, Resisting Risk by Pandora Spocks

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION
is available, book by book or in one boxed set,
at your favorite online bookseller
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

When Jenny got away from her captors and hid in Cole’s horse trailer, escape was all that had been in her mind.
But has she put him in unspeakable danger?

Jenny Stone is a survivor. In fact, she’s the only surviving member of her family, the unwilling witness to their brutal execution at the hands of the crime boss who’s been keeping her for the last two years. Traumatized beyond imagination, she hasn’t spoken a word since that fateful day.

When she sees her chance to break away, she takes it, hiding in the horse trailer of an unsuspecting cowboy. She didn’t mean to put horse trainer and former Marine Cole Caldwell in danger. But she has. So now what?

Here’s a teaser from JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1.

Jenny gazed unseeing out the kitchen window as she beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Her thoughts strayed back to Saturday when she and Cole had ridden up the ridge overlooking the ranch. Looking back, she’d known there was something going on, something he’d been holding onto. Heightened radar was a survival skill she’d mastered over the last couple of years, one that, to her way of thinking, had kept her alive.

She couldn’t have foreseen, however, that Cole knew about that day. It was her own damn fault, though. Leaving her search in his History like she had. What a stupid, careless thing to do.

Hearing him say her full name, Jennifer Stone, had been a gut-punch. Reliving the moment now, her stomach churned with shame. She liked Cole, really liked him. She hated that he knew her dark and dirty secrets.

She could have predicted the return of the nightmares. It seemed Cole had seen them coming too, because when she’d tiptoed into his room in the dead of that night, cold sweat dotting her brow, the cot was ready and waiting. His steady breathing was quietly reassuring, and she’d quickly fallen back to sleep.

For now, she was thankful that she hadn’t suffered another episode. That was really embarrassing.

Cole, for his part, had moved forward as though the truth about her didn’t phase him or cause him to view her differently. But of course, it did. It had to.

Over days of working with him in the barn and sharing meals with him in the farmhouse kitchen, she’d been foolish enough to begin entertaining notions of falling in love with the handsome rancher. But now that he knew the truth about her, there was no hope of some storybook happily-ever-after.

She beat a room temperature egg into the mixture and nodded to herself. This was how she’d get on her feet. Cole had negotiated a price for her cupcakes for the baby shower. After she repaid him for the ingredients, she’d save the rest of the money, and hopefully continue to get more orders until she had enough saved to move out on her own. That way she could leave Cole to his life. He deserved someone without her ugly past.

When the batter was ready, she scooped some into the paper-lined muffin tins and put the first batch into the oven. While it baked, Jenny wandered into the den and looked out the window. Cole had Dahlia in the round pen and he was putting her through her paces.

From what he’d told her, the horse had about another week and a half before she returned to her owner. Jenny sighed deeply. She loved that horse. She knew she’d miss her more than she cared to acknowledge.

By the time Cole returned to the farmhouse, Jenny was just starting to apply pale blue frosting to the cooled cupcakes.

“Mm-mmm, something smells good in here, doesn’t it, Blue?”

Pleased at hearing his name, the dog wagged his tail and grinned up at the humans.

“I don’t suppose you have one I could taste, do you?”

Suppressing a smile, Jenny plucked one from the end of her workspace and handed it to Cole.

He peeled back the paper and took an enormous bite, then shook his head. “Oh, that’s terrible.”

Frowning, Jenny snatched up a second cupcake and sniffed it carefully.

He shook his head. “You can’t send these over to Alida. To get rid of them, I’ll just have to eat them all myself.” He gave Jenny an exaggerated wink, and she relaxed, shoving him playfully.

Cole’s laughter rang through the house as he made his way upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/JennysVoice

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

She’s a rancher with a tragic past.
He’s Hollywood royalty.
It’s a match made in heaven. Maybe.

When world-famous action-movie star Angus McGregor books a full month at her family’s Wyoming guest ranch, Anna Graves is pretty skeptical. What could the Hollywood pretty-boy with his panty-melting Scottish accent be doing, slumming it in the boondocks?

It turns out that Angus is putting everything on the line. He’s set to produce, direct, and star in his next big film, an historical western. But he’s never even touched a horse before. So his people have arranged a four-week stay at a working guest ranch, the better to gain some cowboy skills before he flushes his entire career down the toilet.

He’s intrigued by Anna from the moment she tackles him when he first arrives at Sweetwater Ranch. Why won’t she even give him the time of day?

Here’s a snippet from ANNA’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 3.

When he’d finished singing, there was a breathless silence before Vanessa Graves broke into applause. “That was beautiful,” she said. “Absolutely beautiful.”

Everyone else clapped as well, including Anna, and Angus seemed a bit embarrassed. “It’s a very old song,” he said almost apologetically. “An old folk song I learned as a boy.”

“Well, it’s lovely,” Vanessa smiled. “Thank you for sharing it with us tonight.”

Conversation around the campfire ventured on to other topics but Anna didn’t hear any of it. Angus’ song echoed through her mind. Her mother had been right–it was hauntingly beautiful. And not simply the tune or the words, but his voice, or maybe all those things combined. It had been a magical moment in time and she couldn’t help stealing glances at him across the dying fire. He happily joined in the conversation with the other guests, laughing and joking when it was appropriate, all the time expressing interest in whomever might be speaking at the time.

And then there were those moments when he looked directly at her, when his eyes seemed to bore into her very soul, and his lips curled at the corners in an almost knowing way. Although what he knew about her, or what he thought he knew about her, she couldn’t say. What she did know was that in those moments, her pulse raced just a bit faster.

Gradually, moms and dads began to gather children and make their way back to their own cabins. Anna’s parents bid everyone goodnight as did Andy and Simone before they headed to the main lodge. Angus helped Ross extinguish the fire as Anna sat lost in thought.

“See you guys in the morning,” Ross said, then he moved off down the path toward the cabins.

Anna continued to stare at the smoldering fire pit. She knew she needed to think about turning in for the night but she couldn’t seem to make herself move.

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, Angus walked around the circle and sat in the chair beside her. “It’s a beautiful night,” Angus observed softly.

Anna nodded. “It is.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many stars.” He gestured upward with his chin. “Ye sure as shite don’t see them in the city. I thought the best stars were over the ocean from my beach house but this place has it beat by far.”

She glanced up at the black velvet sky dotted with a jumble of constellations, the names of which she’d long ago forgotten. “I’ve never seen the ocean,” she commented matter-of-factly.

“Och, that can’t be true,” he murmured.

Anna shrugged. “We’ve always been busy here. Not much time for traveling. I mean, we might go to Oklahoma or Colorado to buy livestock, but they don’t have an ocean.”

She chuckled lightly to dislodge the discontentment she always tried to ignore. “I’ve thought about moving to Florida. There’s a horseback program for special-needs kids. And I could go to the beach on my time off. But I don’t know. The ocean is probably not all that, anyway.”

Angus was quiet and Anna risked a glance his way. He was watching her closely, his gaze uncomfortably intimate. “Do you want to leave the family business?”

“I don’t know,” she shrugged again, crossing her arms. “I was going to a while back, but then things got busy here, and now with Simone, and the new baby coming, it’s just…” She trailed off wishing she hadn’t said so much.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him sit back in his chair and tilt his head back to look at the sky. “The ocean is beautiful,” he said reverently. “But this sky rivals it.”

Anna looked up too, just in time to see a small blaze streak across the sky. Her gasp was involuntary.

“A shooting star,” Angus whispered, turning to her with a grin. “Ye have tae make a wish.”

Anna smiled, too. “So do you.”

He nodded in mock-seriousness. “Aye. We both have tae make a wish. It’s the only proper thing.”

She looked back to the stars and sighed. Since Sawyer had died, she’d only had one wish–to be able to take back the angry words that were the last ones she’d spoken to him. When she looked back at Angus, he was watching her carefully.

“Yer wish makes ye sad.”

Scowling, she stood abruptly. “No it doesn’t. Did you make your wish?”

Angus stood, too. “I did. Are ye going back to yer cabin?”

She nodded. “I’m beat. I had this new riding student today who kept insisting on going the wrong way.”

He laughed good-naturedly. “Och, he’s a hot mess. Probably needs private lessons.”

“Hah, he wishes.”

Angus looked down at her, his eyes sparkling in the half-light. “Aye, he might at that.”

Feeling flustered, Anna headed down the path that would take them to their cabins. Angus walked beside her, his hands in his pockets.

As they passed his cabin, she wasn’t surprised when he continued on to hers. At the base of her front steps, she turned to face him. “Thanks for…I mean, you realize you don’t have to walk me…But I do appreciate it. But you don’t have to, so…anyway…”

“Ye keep reminding me that I’m a guest. But as such, am I no’ entitled tae do as I please? I want tae help out.” His voice was soft and deep.

She looked up into his mesmerizing blue eyes and felt her heart stop as he reached to tuck a few stray locks of her hair behind her ear.

His eyes were locked on her lips.

He’s going to kiss me.

She was surprised to realize it was exactly what she wanted. Then he looked down and sighed deeply. He stepped back with a soft smile. “I suppose we should call it a night.”

Anna nodded shakily and reached for the porch railing to steady herself.

He started to walk away, then turned around. “Do ye have yer mobile with ye?”

She frowned. “My mobile? Oh, my phone!” She reached into the back pocket of her jeans and held up the device.

Angus returned and took her phone. He opened it and keyed in a number before pressing ‘Call’. At her puzzled expression, he laughed. “I called meself. Now ye have my number. And I have yers. Just in case we need to get in touch.”

Anna frowned down at her phone, trying to wrap her head around the fact that world-famous movie star Angus McGregor had just given her his number.

“Goodnight, then,” he said as he walked away.

“Goodnight. See you tomorrow.” She made her way to her front door.

“And Anna?”

She turned to look at him.

“I’ll try to be fully clothed when ye pop by tomorrow,” he grinned mischievously.

“Oh, God!” she muttered as he laughed all the way to his cabin.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

ANNA’S HEART is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/AnnasHeart