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

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

They say still waters run deep.
In the tiny lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

Doesn’t September put you in the mood to read something suspenseful and romantic? You know, a steamy ghost story with a happily-ever-after ending?

Take a creepy lakeside town, add an eclectic cast of characters with secrets and a haunted house, and you have MIDNIGHT COVE, my spooky, sexy Halloween romance novel.

In MIDNIGHT COVE, writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

Here’s a teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Sand feels cool beneath her bare feet, and a light breeze ruffles her long red hair. Turquoise water sparkles in the sunlight as foam-edged waves rush up the sandy slope. Normally, the beach would make her nervous, but this isn’t her beach. It’s just a dream.

Bree relaxes in the knowledge that she’s tucked safely in bed. She’ll just enjoy the serenity of the imaginary shoreline. Smiling to herself, she looks down past her flowing white dress to the footprints she’s leaving in the soft wet sand. She wonders if this is Fiji. She’s always wanted to go there.

Further down the beach, she sees a figure and she stiffens, hoping this isn’t turning into one of those dreams. Maybe she should wake up now. She squints, raising a hand to shade her eyes.

The figure is closer now. It’s a man with light hair. Bree relaxes again. She doesn’t know who the stranger is. She simply knows who he is not.

Bree drags her toes through the shallow tide, playfully kicking up water in front of her as she approaches the stranger. To her left, a trio of dolphins leap joyously. Nevermind that the water is too shallow. That’s how it is in dreams.

She raises her hand in a wave. “Hello!”

The stranger stops a short distance away, a bemused expression on his face. He’s nice-looking, she notices. His blonde hair is a little shaggy, but his light blue eyes sparkle with intelligence. He’s dressed a bit oddly in her estimation. He’s wearing faded blue jeans that flair toward the bottom and his blue Superman T-shirt looks vintage. A strand of puka shells encircles his neck. Like Bree, his feet are bare and he’s wading along the edge of the water.

“Hello,” he returns.

“Hi.’

He grins broadly. “You said that already.”

Bree shrugs lightly and twirls in a circle, swinging her skirt around. “I know. Did you see the dolphins?”

He nods and looks toward the water. “I did. They’re cool.”

“This is a cool dream,” Bree agrees.

He smiles again. “What’s your name?”

“Bree. Bree Blaylock. What’s yours?”

“I’m Steven.”

She holds out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Steven.”

He stares at her outstretched hand and hesitates before reaching to take it. Static electricity pops slightly as their skin touches.

“It’s nice to meet you, Bree.”

“Do you think this is Fiji?” Bree asks.

Steven glances around and shrugs. “I’m not sure. Do you think it is?”

“Maybe. It’s not Clearwater, that’s for sure.” Bree wraps her arms across herself and shudders.

“Is Clearwater bad?” he asks.

“This is a happy dream. Let’s not talk about Clearwater.”

Steven shrugs. “Fine by me. We can just enjoy the beach.”

Bree nods happily and slips her arm through his. Together, they wander along the shoreline, stopping occasionally to examine a shell or two. Steven stoops, picks up something, and hands it to her. “Here, this is for you.”

It’s a tiger cowry. She knows this because as a child, she had a book of shells and she’s seen the picture.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.”

He nods, looking pleased. “Keep it so you can remember this beach. So you can remember me.”

Bree turns to him frowning. “Will I see you again?”

Steven shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“I hope so,” she says fervently. “This is the nicest dream I’ve had in a long time.”

“I’ve liked it, too.” There’s a hint of sadness in his eyes.

***

Sniffing loudly, Bree rolled onto her right side and curled around her extra pillow. Her eyes fluttered briefly before she was fast asleep once again.

From the corner of the bedroom, Steven watched her in wonder. He had no idea how he’d ended up in this woman’s dream. But for the first time in a very long time, he hadn’t been alone.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is now available in wide release
at your favorite online bookseller!
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

She’s his first-ever taste of ordinary.
And everything he ever wanted.
If he doesn’t blow it.

When international businessman Nik met sculptor Petey, it was a first for him. She’s smart, gorgeous…and she has no idea he’s Europe’s most eligible prince.

He knows he needs to tell her the truth. But for now, he’s enjoying spending time with a woman who sees him, not some title or inheritance.

Too bad the paparazzi beat him to the punch.

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY.

The moment Petey closed the apartment door behind herself, she burst into hot tears. Jules, who had been relaxing in the living room with her Kindle, immediately jumped up and came over to her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, reaching for her hand.

“I’m just so…fucking stupid,” Petey growled through her tears.

“But what happened?” Jules frowned deeply. “Did Nik hurt you? Because I will kick his ass!”

Petey was crying too hard to answer, so Jules put an arm around her and led her to the kitchen counter. While Petey settled onto a stool and continued to sob, Jules poured them both a shot of Cuervo Silver. “Here,” she said, handing a glass to Petey, “suck this down and tell me exactly what happened.”

Sniffling, Petey tossed back the tequila and coughed as it hit her throat. Jules downed hers quickly and repoured for both of them. “So talk,” she urged her friend.

“H-he lied to me,” Petey stuttered, trying to calm her voice.

Jules gasped. “He’s married! That son of a bitch.”

Petey shook her head miserably. “No. That’s not it. He told me he was in international business.”

“And he’s not?” Jules asked.

“No! He’s the fucking prince of Beruvia!” Petey’s tears started anew.

Jules blinked. “He’s the prince of Beruvia? Nik?” She shook her head. “Pete, that doesn’t even make sense. The prince of Beruvia is Prince Stefan. He’s all over the tabloids all the time. Here, I’ll show you.”

Cueing up Google Images on her phone, she chose a headshot of a handsome blonde man with stormy blue eyes, and she held it up to Petey.

“Hon, this is Prince Stefan of Beruvia.”

Petey peered at the image and bawled anew. “I know! He lied to me!”

Realization began to dawn on Jules. “This? This is your Nik?” Her eyes widened. “You fucked the prince of Beruvia in my guest room?”

She watched as Petey crossed her arms on the counter and rested her head on them, her back shuddering with sobs. Jules rubbed her back soothingly. “Petey, seriously, how did you not know he was a prince? I mean, everybody knows who he is. He’s like, Europe’s most eligible divorcé.”

Petey raised up her head slightly to scowl at Jules. “Well, thanks, because I wasn’t feeling stupid enough already.”

Jules shook her head and gazed out over the living room. “Geez, Pete, he’s always in the tabloids and on the gossip shows.”

“I live on a sheep ranch. In my spare time, which is precious little, I work on my sculptures. I don’t have time or patience for stupid celebrity gossip.”

“So how did you find out?” Jules wondered.

Petey, calmer now, sat up and swiped at her face with her hands. “We were jumped by a bunch of photographers outside of Paddy’s. Nik’s—” She paused, scowling. “Whoever’s people, they pushed us into a car and drove us away.”

“Paparazzi?” Jules glanced at Petey. “You realize you’re probably online right now.”

“Stop it!” Petey gasped.

Pushing away from the kitchen counter, Jules padded into her bedroom and retrieved her laptop. She returned to the counter and fired up the device. “Let’s see,” she murmured.

Watching over her friend’s shoulder, Petey watched as Jules entered Prince Stefan into the search bar. Immediately images of the man who’d introduced himself as ‘Nik’ filled the screen. Jules refined the search to ‘most recent’ and there she was, Petey Cavanaugh, gaping wide-eyed as she and Nik were pushed into the back of a black Mercedes.

“Motherfucker,” Petey breathed.

From deep within her purse, her phone began to ring. Jules glanced at her. “Are you going to get that?”

Petey shook her head. “It’s probably him.”

The ringing continued. Jules pursed her lips. “I think you should get it.”

“I’m not answering,” Petey said, crossing her arms defiantly.

“Then I’m going to get it.” Grasping Petey’s bag from the floor where she’d dropped it, Jules rooted around until she found the device. She showed Nik’s image to Petey before swiping to unlock the phone. “Hello?”

“Oh, thank God, Petey, I’m so sorry. Please allow me to explain,” pleaded a deep voice with a British accent.

“No, this isn’t Petey, this is Jules. Petey’s very upset. She doesn’t feel up to talking right now.” Quietly, Jules pressed the button for ‘speaker’.

“I beg your pardon,” replied the voice. “I know she’s upset, and I know she feels that I deceived her, but I need to explain everything. Is there any way she’ll talk to me?”

Jules looked to Petey, who flashed double middle fingers and mouthed a silent, “Fuck you!”

She frowned into the phone, “Yeah, Nik, that’s not looking too good right now. Tell you what, give me a few minutes and I’ll see what I can do.”

Jules watched as Petey stalked to her bag, dug around, and produced a small notebook and a pencil. She couldn’t quite make out what she was sketching on the paper, but the pencil flew.

The relief in his voice was palpable. “Jules, I’d so appreciate your help. I know she may not forgive me, but I have to at least have the chance to explain.”

“I’m not making any promises, but I’ll try to talk to her. I’ll call you back soon,” Jules promised, before disconnecting.

While Jules was finishing her conversation with Nik, Petey put down her paper and pencil, and busied herself searching the internet for more on the enigmatic Nik/Prince Stefan. Clicking a link, she waited for a news item to pop up. When it did seconds later, she gasped, clapping a hand over her mouth.

Filling the screen was one of the series of images snapped between the back door of the pub and Nik’s car. She wondered how many frames could be snapped in the span of half a second. She stared, absorbing the photo. In the still frame, Nik was in profile, facing her as he held onto her hand. Her own face was turned full into the camera, her expression, stunned.

But it was the headline over the photograph that stopped her heart.

Prince Stefan’s New Bimbo!

“Oh, my God!” She turned to Jules. “My family is going to see this.”

Jules took a look and whistled softly. “Wow. That’s…harsh.”

Petey buried her face in her hands. “What am I going to do, Julesy?”

“I don’t know, sweetie,” Jules murmured, wrapping her arms around her friend. “I mean, maybe you should give him a chance.”

Petey whipped up her head. “Are you kidding? He lied to me. He made a fool out of me.” She chewed her lip pensively. “He’s probably laughing at me right now, him and all his…entourage.”

“He didn’t sound like he was laughing, Pete. He sounded miserable,” Jules pointed out. “Let’s look at something.” Turning the laptop towards herself, Jules tapped a few keys.

“Now, let’s see what we find…” She’d pulled up the Wikipedia page for Prince Stefan of Beruvia. “It says here that his full name is Nikolai Stefan Torbjorn von Bahr.” She laughed lightly. “That’s a mouthful. But see, his first name is Nikolai. Nik is his real name.”

Reluctantly, Petey peered over Jules’ shoulder.

“It says that he’s the second son of the King and Queen of Beruvia. He has an older brother…” She paused, reading silently. “Here it is, Eirik Magnus Otto von Bahr, known as Prince Magnus…” She skimmed further. “Oh, who died seven years ago in a boating accident.”

“He told me about that,” Petey murmured.

“Petey, I’ve got to be honest with you. Everything he told you seems to be true. He just neglected to tell you about the whole prince thing. You need to at least give the man the chance to explain.”

“He made a fool out of me, Jules.” Petey shook her head adamantly. “Besides,” she said reasonably, “You know me. I spend my days up to here in sheep shit. What the hell would I do with a prince?”

“You were okay with him when you thought he was a rich businessman,” Jules pointed out.

“Well, I wasn’t comfortable with it. With his fancy dinners and his helicopters. Which is why, for today, I planned all sorts of normal things.”

“What did you guys do today? Before all hell broke loose?”

Petey sighed deeply. “We went to the park and had a little picnic. We watched a Little League game. We got dinner from a food truck. Then we were having pints at Paddy’s when we had to leave.”

“And you had a good time.”

“We had a great time.”

“And you planned to spend the night with him.” Jules folded her arms across her chest.

“Well, yeah, before,” Petey admitted.

“So, when Nik was just a businessman, you were okay with him, but now that he’s a prince, you don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Of course not. The whole…prince thing. It’s too ridiculous for words.”

“Then you, my friend, are a snob.”

Petey gasped. “I am not a snob. You take that back!”

“I won’t take it back,” Jules shrugged. “If you won’t go out with a guy, based on what he does for a living, that makes you a snob.”

“That’s just…absurd,” Petey sputtered. “There is no way I am a snob.”

“Then prove it. Give Nik a chance to tell you his side of this thing.”

Petey nodded angrily. “You don’t think I will, do you? You think I’m a snob. That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. I’m a snob.” She rolled her eyes dramatically. “Please!”

“So just give him a call then,” Jules dared her, pushing Petey’s phone across the kitchen counter.

“Just give him a call,” Petey muttered. “Okay, I’ll do it, if only to prove to you that I am not,” she jabbed her finger at Jules, “a snob.”

Snatching the device from the counter, she swiped it open and stabbed in Nik’s number.

It rang exactly once before he picked up. “Hello, Jules?” he answered anxiously.

“No, it’s me,” Petey replied flatly.

“Oh, thank God, Petey, I need to tell you—”

“Shut up!” she snapped. “I agreed to call you just to prove to my good friend,” she glared at Jules, “that I am not a snob.”

“I’m glad to hear your voice under any circumstance. Please, I need to talk to you in person. I have to make things right.” His voice was desperate. Earnest. “Can you come over? I’ll send a car right away.”

“I’m not going anywhere tonight,” she said defiantly. “It’s late, and I’m about to get shitfaced until I pass out. When I’m conscious tomorrow, I’ll give you a call.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–WARRIOR MINE

She’s the perfect combination of princess & warrior.

When single mom Jackie Walker meets her brother’s best friend, wilderness survival expert Scott Nielsen, she’s instantly attracted to the tall, blond outdoorsman. But she has no idea that he’s Dominant.

As Scott works to set up his new outdoors school at the Walker family’s remote lakeside guest lodge, he sees in Jackie the submissive she’s positive she’s not. And maybe the one he’s been waiting for.

Can strong, independent Jackie let go enough to allow Scott to show her a whole new world?

Here’s a wintry teaser from WARRIOR MINE.

Wringing her hands in front of her, Jackie paced back and forth by the windows as cold fear thrummed through her veins. The storm seemed to have increased in intensity, but she wondered whether it was just her imagination.

She’d received Scott’s text half an hour earlier, and she’d forced herself to walk away from the computer where his GPS location was being tracked on a map of the lake. Watching minute by minute wasn’t helping anything, and she had guests to attend to.

A glance showed her that Emma and Grant were still playing quietly, unaware of the danger Scott faced alone in the snow. Perhaps it was that, to them, strong and larger than life as he was, he was simply invincible. She envied them, she realized.

“He’s fine, Jacks.” Blake materialized beside her, handing her a mug of coffee.

Jackie accepted it, nodding her thanks. “I know. I just…” She shrugged, not knowing what else to say.

A loud bang from the reception area startled them, and a whoosh of cold air swirled into the room.

“Oh, thank God!” Jackie ran to the dining room door, several others following behind her. Across the reception area, the lodge’s front door had swung all the way open, banging against the wall. Snow swirled wildly on icy gusts around a lone figure in a black parka.

Jackie grabbed his arm and pulled him further into the room, then battled the wind to close the door. Hadley Pierce tugged down his hood and stomped to shake off the snow from his boots and clothes.

“C-c-cold,” he shivered, pulling off his heavy gloves.

“Come on, bud,” Dan Spinelli said. “Let’s get you by the fire.” He helped the man out of his coat and guided him into the dining room.

Jackie hung the coat on a hook and followed. “Where’s Scott? Putting away the snowmobile?”

Pierce pulled off his black knit beanie, uncovering his shaggy dark hair which stuck out in all directions. He dropped the cap to the floor and held his hands out toward the fire. “So fucking cold,” he muttered.

“Scott! Where’s Scott?” Jackie grabbed the young man’s arm and spun him around.

He blinked down at her.

“Dammit! Where is Scott?”

“How should I know?” he shrugged, turning back to the fire.

Jackie grabbed him again, whirling him around and slamming him against the stone of the fireplace. “You should know because he went out looking for your sorry ass when you went out in the middle of a fucking blizzard,” she growled.

Blake placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Easy, sis.”

Indignance flashed in Pierce’s eyes. “Look, all I know is, your piece of shit snowmobile broke down, and I had to walk all the way back here. I don’t know anything about Scott.”

He shoved past Jackie to return to the fire. “He’s a sorry excuse for a wilderness expert, you ask me,” he muttered.

Before Blake could stop her, Jackie spun the young man around once more and slapped him hard across the face. A second crack rang out before Pierce could recover from the first.

“You listen to me, you snot-nosed motherfucker.” Jackie waved her finger in his face.

Blake gently wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her away from the young man.

“He’s out there looking for you after you ignored his instructions. He told you not to go out in a blizzard. He’s risking his life for you, you sorry sack of shit!”

Pierce opened his mouth to reply, but Jackie raised her hand as if to slap him a third time. “Not another word. You keep your mouth shut, and you stay away from me. As soon as this storm’s over, I want you out of here, and I never want to see you again.”

She turned on her heel, heading to the office. Blake followed close behind her. “Jacks, we’ll just text him and tell him to come back.”

“Yeah, but it still infuriates me that one idiot created such a mess. And the snowmobile didn’t ‘break down’. He wrecked it on the rocks at the end of the lake. Scott found it.”

She tapped in the password and the screen lit up with a topographical map of the lake. Leaning closer, she blinked. The blip that had been Scott was gone. She refreshed the page, but there was no red path leading from the lodge to the end of the lake.

“What the…” Blake clicked a few things, but nothing changed the map.

On her phone, Jackie sent a quick text.

The douchebag just showed up. Hurry back now.

The message was immediately returned with an error notification. Receiving device unavailable. Try again later.

Jackie looked up at Blake, who shrugged slightly. “Something must be wrong with his sat-com.” He scrubbed a hand across his mouth as he sank into a chair. “So, we don’t know where he is, and we can’t communicate with him.”

“I’m calling the police,” Jackie said, determination in her voice. She tapped the number into the office phone.

After a trio of rings, someone answered. “Eliot Lake Police, Ned Hart.”

“Ned, thank God! This is Jackie Walker at Lake Miranda Lodge. One of our survival school students went AWOL in the storm, and Scott went out after him. The thing is, the guy wandered back, but Scott’s still out there. We can’t get ahold of him on the sat-com, and I’m frantic. Can you send someone out to look for him?”

There was a pause on the other end. Then, “Jackie, I can’t send anyone out in the middle of a blizzard. Now I’m looking at the radar, and it looks like this might all be past us in another couple of hours, but I’m sure you understand, I can’t risk the lives of my team in the middle of a storm like this.”

Jackie felt as though she’d been gut-punched. She fought to breathe.

“Jackie?”

She pulled herself straight and tall. “Fine,” she said softly, “I’ll just go find him myself.”

WARRIOR MINE by Pandora Spocks

Find WARRIOR MINE, Dream Dominant Book 4,
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/WarriorMine

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

She’s a rancher with a heartbreaking secret.
He’s Hollywood royalty,
poised to take a chance that risks his reputation and his career.
Now that they’ve found each other, can he win her heart?

The third book in the Redheads & Ranchers series, ANNA’S HEART, came out Tuesday.

It’s the story of rancher Anna Graves, a young woman who helps run her family’s Wyoming guest ranch. Since the tragic loss of her firefighter fiance some years earlier, she’s content to teach horseback riding to tourists by and read smutty romance novels by night.

When Hollywood royalty Angus McGregor books a month at Sweetwater Ranch, Anna’s world is turned upside down. He’s there to learn the basics of horsemanship and to prepare for the new Western film he’ll be shooting at the end of summer.

Neither counted on a romantic entanglement, but somehow, love always finds a way.

Here’s a steamy snippet from ANNA’S HEART.

After they finished eating, Angus wandered back over to the edge and sat with his feet dangling over the side.  He held out his hand toward her.  “Come sit with me.”  His tone was soft.  

Anna shook her head.  “Nope.  Un-uh, no way.”

“Come on,” he encouraged softly with a roguish grin. 

Torn between her abject fear of heights and the desire she felt for him that she was only now beginning to acknowledge to herself, Anna debated what to do.  Ultimately, Angus’s bright blue eyes won out. 

On shaky legs, she made her way toward him, grasping his hand in hers as she sat on the rock and scooted the last couple of feet to the edge.  When she was beside him, he wrapped a protective arm around her waist while she continued to clutch his other hand.

“Holy shit,” she muttered.

“See, yer safe as houses.”

Anna laughed in spite of herself.  “Safe as what?”

“Safe as houses,” he repeated with the exaggerated brogue that tingled her nether regions.  “I willna’ let anythin’ happen to ye, I promise.”

Nodding distractedly, she gazed out across the valley.  From this height, the cattle in the pasture below looked like ants, and the guest cabins, like shoeboxes.  She mentally counted from the one nearest the lodge to find her own home. 

As though he read her mind, Angus gestured with his elbow.  “I can see my cabin from here.  And yers, too, come tae that.”  He turned to smile down at her.  “This is a beautiful place.  So much better than simply riding around the ring.”

“I’m glad you like it,” she said happily.

Anna’s eyes were once again drawn to his full, soft lips, and she almost forgot that she was sitting on the edge of the steep drop-off. 

When she pulled her gaze back up to his eyes, she saw heat there and knew that he probably saw the same in her own eyes.

“Anna,” he whispered, gently cupping her cheek.  He drew his thumb across her lips, and she kissed it. 

She reached to stroke his jaw, smiling as he turned his head to press a kiss to her palm.  Leaning forward, she kissed the space just below his ear lobe, feeling the prickle of his stubble against her lips. 

Wrapping a protective arm more tightly around her waist, Angus pulled her toward himself and met her lips with his own.  Her fear momentarily forgotten, Anna opened to him, softly sucking his lower lip, reveling in the scratching of his stubble against her chin.  She ventured forward with her tongue, shyly seeking his.  A low growl emanated from his chest as he pulled her closer and deepened the kiss.

“D’ye want tae move away from the edge,” he murmured.

Anna nodded breathlessly.

Carefully, Angus stood, offering a hand to Anna.  They walked back to the blanket where they’d enjoyed lunch. 

Anna nervously cleared her throat.  “Do you want some more pie or some water or something?”

Angus shook his head, the flicker of heat still sparkling in his eyes.  He sat on the blanket and patted the space beside himself.

Heart pounding, Anna sat beside him, biting her lower lip anxiously.

“Now, where were we?” he asked softly as he reached for her.

Again, Anna lost herself in his kiss, so deep and intimate and knowing.  This time, his right hand crept up her side, stopping at the top of her rib cage.  Angus broke the kiss, his eyelids heavy with desire.  “Is this alright, Anna?” he whispered.

“Yes,” she breathed fervently.

Lips curled in a relieved smile, Angus returned his lips to hers while his hand continued its migration to cup her breast, to knead it, seeking out the nipple that was now pert with his attention.

Anna arched into his hand, moaning lightly when he found his target. 

Gently, he lay her on the blanket, breaking the kiss again to gaze down at her with a mixture of lust and admiration.  “Och, Anna, yer breathtaking.”

He tugged down the neckline of her pink scoop-neck t-shirt to reveal one cup of her pale-pink bra.  Leaning down, he trailed a line of kisses down the side of her neck to her collarbone.  Anna closed her eyes and raised her arms over her head, giving herself over to the sensation of Angus’s lips on her skin.

Peeling back the cup of her bra, he teased her tight pink nub with the tip of his tongue.  Anna gasped in pleasure as he pulled it into his mouth and suckled voraciously.  She felt a rush of moisture in her core, and recalling the magnificent cock she’d inadvertently seen the day she had walked in on him, she suddenly wanted nothing more than for him to bury himself deep inside her.

“Angus,” she breathed, sliding her hand up his thigh to where his erection strained against the confines of his blue jeans.

He gasped and reached for her hand.  “Och, Anna, ya canno’, I’ll never be able to stand it,” he half-whispered, half growled.

Wide-eyed, she blinked up at him as she felt her face flush.  “But…why?” she whispered, her throat tight.

His smile was gentle, and he pressed a kiss to her forehead.  “Because I dinna come prepared, if ye know wha’ I mean.  I don’t suppose yer on birth control?”

Anna shook her head ruefully.  “Not since…”  She trailed off, unwilling to think about Sawyer while she ached with desire for Angus.

He nodded, his smile resigned.  “Then I reckon we’ll hae to make do with m’ hand for now.”

A jolt of pure lust surged through Anna’s veins at the thought of Angus touching her so intimately.  She actually moaned softly, and he laughed.

“I take it that’s okay wi’ you,” he chuckled.

Anna tried unsuccessfully to suppress a grin as he leaned down and lifted the hem of her shirt, pressing kisses from just below her navel to the waist of her jeans.  With his hand, he slowly traveled up the inside of her thigh until he came to the space between her legs, where he began to rub slow, languid circles.

“Holy shit,” she moaned softly, tilting her face up toward the sun, and squeezing her eyes shut.

Angus chuckled against her belly then moved up to hungrily kiss her again.  When he removed his hand, she groaned in disappointment.

“Patience, love,” he chuckled.  “I need tae be closer.”

He unbuttoned her jeans and lowered the zipper.  When Anna risked a look down, he grinned up at her mischievously.  “Och, Anna, the things I want tae do to ye.”

Eyes locked on hers, he placed his hand flat on her belly and slowly slid beneath the waist of her pink lace bikini panties to her needy space that was now soaked with her arousal.  As three strong fingers cupped her sex, Anna gasped again.  “Holy shit!”

“Just enjoy, love,” he murmured as he began to repeat the same slow circles he’d done over her jeans.

Anna’s breath came in ragged gasps as she felt the sensation building in her sex.  She felt a renewed rush of arousal just as he reached inside with a finger, gently seeking her secret space.  Almost immediately, her release rolled over her in waves, and she cried out her pleasure.  With her body still shuddering, she shakily reached for his hand.

“S-stop, I can’t…  Shit!  I can’t take…” she panted.

Gently, Angus withdrew his finger and popped it into his mouth.  At Anna’s shocked expression, he laughed.  “I couldna’ resist a taste.” 

He reached into the backpack for a napkin and wiped his hand before using it to clean her as well.  Then he straightened her jeans and lay beside her on the blanket, pulling her to himself.

Eyes closed, Anna reveled in the warmth of his body, his steady pulse, the strength of his embrace, his spiced musk scent.  She felt him press a kiss to her forehead, and she sighed deeply.

“So ya liked it, then?” he murmured, and she felt his smile against her forehead.

“I did, it was amazing.  It seems like it’s your turn now.”  She reached between them, searching for his cock, but he stopped her again.

“No, I want to wait for the real thing,” he said softly.  “When we get back to the ranch, I’ll go to the pharmacy in town.  That way, I’ll be ready for next time.”

Anna frowned slightly.  “I thought you were planning to get some work done this afternoon.”

His chuckle was low and throaty.  “Tha’ was before I became acquainted with Anna Graves, sex goddess.  M’ priorities have changed.”

“Have they?” she giggled.

“Aye, they have.”

“Then maybe we should head back.  I wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining your career.”

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

Watch the ANNA’S HEART Official Book Trailer.

ANNA’S HEART is out now at your favorite online bookseller.
It’s available in both digital and paperback formats.
books2read.com/AnnasHeart

ANNA’S HEART–99¢ Pre-Sale!

ANNA’S HEART is out Tuesday, June 16!
Reserve your copy for just 99¢.
books2read.com/AnnasHeart

When world-famous movie star Angus McGregor booked four weeks at her family’s Wyoming guest ranch, Anna Graves had no idea her life would be forever changed. There’s no way the handsome red-haired actor with the panty-melting Scottish accent could ever be attracted to her, right?

Determined to make the most of an opportunity to advance his career, Angus arrives at Sweetwater Ranch on a mission to become the best cowboy Hollywood has ever seen. The last thing he needs is a romantic complication. But Anna is different from any woman he’s ever met. If only she’d let down her guard around him.

Here’s a little teaser from ANNA’S HEART.

As the last of the stragglers left the dining room, Anna left her mother and Simone to finish breakfast cleanup. A huge stockpot of hearty beef stew simmering on the stove would be ready for lunch in a few hours. Simone and Mrs. Graves would eventually make their way upstairs to join Lana in freshening up the handful of guestrooms located in the main lodge.

Anna would see to the cabins by herself, a job she’d insisted on as Simone and her baby bump had grown more and more unwieldy. Sweetwater Ranch wasn’t a hotel, really, so the day-to-day housekeeping was fairly light. While fresh sheets were available upon request, staff didn’t make beds or change the sheets on a daily basis.

On the other hand, between riding horses, working with cattle, and practicing outdoors skills, guests tended to get grubby as they participated in ranch activities, so daily fresh towels were a must. Anna also preferred to spot-clean the bathrooms and kitchens, straighten anything out of place, and remove the trash each day.

It was definitely easier when she split the duties with Simone, but over the past few months, Anna had worked out a routine that allowed her to finish her housekeeping duties in about an hour. And that left her plenty of time to make sure she was ready for her afternoon riding session before she headed back to the kitchen to help with lunch.

As usual, she started with Cabin 1 and worked her way back. The first five cabins, the newest of the bunch, were nearly always occupied for every session, summer and winter alike. When they had a larger-than-normal group of guests, the older cabins were used, beginning with number 6.

She herself occupied number 7, then numbers 8 and 9 were available to guests. Ross lived alone in Cabin 10. Andy and Simone had an apartment on the top floor of the main lodge, while Anna’s parents remained in the family quarters just off the lodge kitchen. It was where Anna and her brothers had grown up, and their father before them.

The newer cabins had been built when Anna was in high school. They were nicer than the older ones, but they were smaller. As she drove the golf cart from Cabin 5 to Cabin 6, she wondered what movie star Angus McGregor thought of his rustic accommodations. On the one hand, his cabin was larger than the others. But on the other hand, it was older. The amenities weren’t as new and the bathroom and kitchen hadn’t been updated.

Fresh towels folded over her arm, Anna snorted as she walked up the front steps of Cabin 6. Angus McGregor, cooking for himself in the little cabin kitchen!

Right! I’m still surprised he deigns to show up at mealtime, she thought to herself. Figured he’d call the front desk expecting room service.

Pausing at the door, she knocked lightly. “Housekeeping!” She knew that at that time of the morning, he was in Andy’s riding group. It was why she did these chores right after breakfast. Everyone had someplace to be, and it was a rare instance when someone was actually in their cabin.

Still, it was better to be on the safe side. She knocked again, then unlocked the door and let herself in. A quick scan showed the open living room/kitchen combination to be neat and tidy, save for a bunch of index cards spread all over the kitchen table.

She craned her neck to look at them briefly as she made her way to the kitchen trash can. Quickly, she removed the bag and replaced it with a fresh one, placing the old bag beside the front door. Everything else in the kitchen looked in order so she carried the fresh towels down the short hallway to the bathroom. Still envisioning the famous actor trying to cook something on the older-model gas stove, she smirked as she opened the bathroom door.

Clouds of steam rolled over her as a very naked Angus McGregor, towel in hand, froze stock-still.

“Anna?” Eyes wide, he moved the towel down to his waist, but not before Anna got an eyeful of a most impressive cock.

“Holy shit!” she gasped, stumbling backward into the hallway wall.

As she turned and rushed down the hallway, she heard his bare feet padding along behind her.

“I’m so sorry,” she offered without bothering to turn around. “You’re supposed to be riding right now.”

“Aye, about that,” he answered, “I switched to a different session.”

“I knocked, I swear I did.” Clutching the towels, she still faced the door. “I didn’t mean to just barge in on you.”

“I’m just back from a run. I didn’t hear ye over the shower. Anna?” His tone was soft.

Slowly, she turned around, willing her eyes to stay away from the bulge beneath the towel around his waist. She allowed her gaze to skim up his rippled abs to his muscular chest and wide shoulders. Water still dripped from his hair and he swiped a hand across his face.

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely better than staring at his package.

“It’s okay, really. Just a miscommunication is all. No worries.”

Utterly humiliated, Anna nodded mutely and turned back toward the door.

“Anna? Can I have the fresh towels?”

She rolled her eyes and turned back, handing over the towels. “Oh, yeah, of course. I just…well, I usually exchange them for the old towels.”

“Do ye want this one?” His grin was wry.

“No! Holy shit, no keep that on,” she squeezed her eyes shut and waved her hand. “I’ll get it tomorrow.”

She opened the door and let herself out onto the cabin’s covered porch, then stopped.

“Wait a second! You switched to what different riding session?” Turning back around, she placed her hands on her hips.

Lips pursed as though he were suppressing another grin, he leaned his shoulder on the doorway. “I’ve never ridden a horse before. I requested tae be placed in the Beginners’ group.”

“But that’s my group.”

“So I was told. I didn’t think ye’d mind.”

Anna worked her mouth, unable to come up with the proper words.

Blue eyes sparkling, he watched as though to see what she’d come up with.

Finally, her articulation skills gained traction. “But it’s a kids’ group. They’re all kids.”

He nodded. “Aye, I was told that, too. And they’re beginners, just like me.” He tilted his head thoughtfully. “If ye don’t want me in the group, just say so.”

“No, it’s not that, it’s just…” Anna’s heart pounded and she felt her head spinning. She willed herself to be anywhere except where she was. “Fine. It’s just fine. If you don’t mind riding with the kids, I’m sure they won’t mind.”

She hurried down the steps and got into the golf cart. “Well, again, sorry for…” She trailed off, feeling sheepish. The amusement sparkling in his eyes didn’t help at all.

“I’ll see ye at lunch,” Angus said, chuckling.

“See you,” Anna nodded, pressing the accelerator and speeding off down the trail.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

Through release day, ANNA’S HEART is just 99¢.
Reserve your copy today!
books2read.com/AnnasHeart

Weekend Excerpt–LOST & BOUND

Has Hollywood bad girl Shasta Pyke met her match
in Dominant mountain man Blake Walker?

When former child star Shasta Pyke finds herself in trouble with the law, she’s sent to cool her heels for a while in the wilderness of northern Ontario. For the next few weeks, she’s the sole guest at the Walker family’s remote lodge.

Blake Walker is glad that the exhorbitant fee she’s paying allows for his sister and her kids to go on a much-needed vacation. He’s happy enough to stay behind and tend to their VIP guest. At first glance, he’s none too impressed with Shasta. She’s rude and demanding. Nevermind that the red-haired spitfire is hot as hell.

But as he spends time with her, he begins to glimpse the frightened little girl she hides from the world. Could it be that this spoiled brat is the baby girl his Daddy Dom soul has been waiting for?

Here’s a snippet from LOST & BOUND.

When the power went out, Blake wasn’t surprised in the least. If anything, he was surprised it had lasted as long as it had. This was undoubtedly the worst storm so far in what had been a very dry summer. Angry lightning streaked across the dark sky, with thunder booming almost instantaneously. For microseconds, the flashes illuminated the entire lake like mid-day.

He slid open the sheer drapes that shrouded the glass doors overlooking the lake and settled in, book in one hand, a second bottle of Lebatt Blue in the other. Leaning back, he rested his feet on the battered leather ottoman, content for the moment to watch the storm’s fury.

His eyes moved to the dark shape in the middle of the lake. He knew from experience that a wild storm like this one was a dicey proposition in the tiny island cabin. For one thing, because it was situated on the crest of the island, the wind howled mercilessly around the structure. And being on the highest point, with thirty-foot pines towering over it, the cabin was a natural lightning rod. The thunder would be deafening.

He wondered how Shasta was faring. As he watched, another jagged bolt etched a path across the sky. He chuckled lightly, picturing her, eyes wide, with the covers pulled up over her head.

I should check on her first thing in the morning.

Eventually, he lit the oil lamp beside him and began to read. Bear paced anxiously back and forth in front of the huge window. He’d never been a fan of storms, not since he’d been a pup. Suddenly the dog stopped pacing and whimpered softly.

“What’s wrong, boy? You’re okay, it’s just a summer storm.”

Bear whimpered again and woofed softly. Frowning, Blake set down the book and stood beside the dog, looking out into the stormy night. “What is it? Is something out there?”

Then he saw it. A tiny point of light between him and the island. It bounced and tossed as it…

Blake shook his head. “No way. No way is she in a boat in the middle of this storm.”

In the next instant, lightning flashed and he saw her clearly, Shasta, huddled against the wind and rain, steering the tiny skiff toward the lodge’s dock. She was battling against the ferocious gusts of wind and white-capped waves on the lake that threatened to capsize the boat.

“Son of a bitch!” Blake growled. “No more sense than a…” He threw on his boots and shrugged into his rain slicker, pausing to don his headlamp before pulling up the hood. “Son of a bitch!”

He kept his eyes on Shasta as he stalked out to the dock, crossing to the end to wait for her. When she was close enough, he held out an old wooden oar and she grasped the end of it, allowing him to pull her the rest of the way to the side of the dock. Blake reached down to cut the motor and grasped her by the upper arms, pulling her out of the boat.

She stood in front of him, eyes wide with terror, and she was soaked to the skin, not having bothered with a raincoat. He shouted above the storm. “God-dammit, Shasta, what the hell were you thinking?”

She just blinked up at him, shaking either from fear or cold, or both. “Come on, let’s get you inside.” He easily scooped her up in his arms and she buried herself against his chest.

Blake was shaking too, but it was from anger. She’d recklessly endangered herself. If he hadn’t seen her, if the boat had swamped… It was beyond his comprehension. He carried her straight into his cabin, kicking the door closed behind them. He set her down in the kitchen and stepped back.

“Explain yourself.” He crossed his arms and watched her expectantly.

Shasta stood shaking, her red hair plastered to her head, her soaked white camisole completely sheer, her pink pajamas clinging to her legs. She crossed her arms, too, but the gesture was self-protective rather than angry. It only served to push up her breasts, punctuated by hard-tipped nipples, made harder by being cold and wet. He worked to ignore them, trying to understand what she’d been thinking.

“Well?”

“I…” she stammered, “I was so scared.” She was shivering constantly now, and a trickle of blood ran down the side of her face.

Blake lifted her chin gently. “What happened? Why are you bleeding?”

Her head shook slightly. “I don’t…” her teeth chattered, “I don’t know.”

Peering closely, he saw a cut at the hairline above her right temple. Swiping the hair back, he spied a sliver of glass and carefully removed it. “Come with me,” he commanded.

She followed him through the living room as he picked up the oil lamp and carried it into the bathroom, where he lifted her up and sat her on the counter. The cut on her head had begun bleeding in earnest when the glass had been removed. Blake used a gauze pad to apply direct pressure on the cut. Shasta sniffled softly as tears ran down her face.

“What’s wrong?” he growled.

“You called me Shasta,” she sobbed.

He snorted. “What you did was a very ‘Shasta’ thing to do. That’s the least of your worries right now. Hold this.” He moved her hand to hold the gauze in place and he reached around to turn on faucet in the bathtub.

She sat shivering, watching the tub fill with hot water. Clouds of steam filled the room. He left for a moment, returning with a flannel shirt of dark red plaid, which he hung on a hook on the back of the door. Next he turned off the water.

“Let me see how it’s doing,” he murmured, carefully peering under the gauze. The bleeding had slowed. He took a bandage from the medicine cabinet and applied it over the cut. Shasta was still shaking like a leaf.

“You’re almost hypothermic. I want you in the tub. Strip.”

Shasta blinked up at him.

“Don’t make me tell you twice.” His voice was quietly intense as he lifted her off the counter and stood her in the middle of the floor.

Shakily, she pulled the camisole over her head, dropping it to the floor. Blake watched unblinkingly, a hard expression on his face. She hooked her thumbs into the top of her pants and slid them, panties and all, down her legs. She nearly tripped stepping out of them, and Blake reached to steady her.

Naked, she stood trembling as he devoured her with his eyes, starting with her perfect round tits and their tight pink points, her narrow waist and the flair of her hips, the bare cleft at the junction where her legs met. After all, she’d been on display on the dock, surely she wasn’t shy now. He knew he was being an ass and he didn’t care. Anger still thrummed through his veins.

“Get in the tub. I’ll set a timer for fifteen minutes. After that, the water will cool off too much to help.” He disappeared, returning moments later with a kitchen timer which he set on the bathroom counter.

“Why aren’t you in the tub? Was I unclear in some way?” he snapped.

Shasta touched the wall for stability as she dipped one foot into the tub. “It’s hot.”

“It’s supposed to be hot. We have to warm you up.” He watched her step in with the other foot and ease herself down. She looked like a drowned rat, peering up at him all wide-eyed.

“When the timer goes off, get out and dry yourself. You can put this on,” he indicated the flannel shirt he’d hung on the door. “You will go into the bedroom and sit on the edge of my bed. You will wait until I come back. Is that clear?”

Shasta nodded silently.

“I said sit. You will not lie down, you will not get into the bed. You will sit. If you’re cold, there’s a blanket you can use to wrap around yourself. Do you understand?”

Again, she nodded. A look of annoyance crossed his face, and then passed. He nodded sharply. “I’ll be back.” He closed the bathroom door behind him and she heard him speak to Bear. “Stay here, boy, keep an eye on her. I need to think.”

LOST & BOUND by Pandora Spocks

LOST & BOUND is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/LostandBound