Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

ipadmini_707x1018 (2)RANSOMING REDEMPTION is the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption, a three-novel epic contemporary erotic romance/law drama.

A warning before you read any further: Spoilers abound…

In the first book, RESISTING RISK, high profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan hires Maggie Flynn straight out of law school to join his prestigious criminal defense practice.  While they’re both attracted to each other, they resist the risk, knowing that nothing good could come of an office romance.

In RUNNING ROGUE, the second book, one night of passion has torn Michael and Maggie apart.  She’s left the firm to pursue a career with the District Attorney’s office.  With Maggie gone, Michael is simply running rogue, making one bad decision after another.  And without Michael, Maggie is making her share of mistakes as well.  One cold, rainy night, desperation brings them back together.

In the finale, RANSOMING REDEMPTION, there’s a new man in Maggie’s life.  It’s all thanks to Michael, who sees the writing on the wall and feels the need to find redemption for all the ways he’s failed Maggie.  But putting her together with Bobby wasn’t easy.  She’s reluctant to take another chance on love.

Here’s a steamy excerpt from RANSOMING REDEMPTION.  Phone sex, anyone?

While the tub filled with hot water and lavender-scented suds, Maggie padded to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of wine.  Returning, she turned off the water, lit a few candles, and switched off the overhead light.  As an afterthought, she set her phone beside the wine glass on a stool she carried in from the living room.  Maybe Bobby would call.  She didn’t want to miss him because she was in the tub.

Satisfied, Maggie slowly sank into the steaming bath, leaning against the back of the tub and sighing contentedly.


In the privacy of his room, Bobby dialed Maggie’s number.  It was after 11:00, he realized, but they always seemed to talk at that hour anyway.

She picked up on the third ring.  “Hi!”  He could hear the smile in her voice.

“Hi, yourself, cher.  How are you?”

“I’m so much better now.  It’s good to hear your voice.  How is Savannah?”

Bobby smiled.  “She’s fine.  Tonight she was running around all over the place.  How was your day?”

Maggie sighed.  “Work was work.  I was glad to be in the office all day, though.  Oh, by the way, my boss asked about you today.”

He frowned slightly.  “What do you mean?”

“Someone told him that we left together for lunch.  He seemed…amused.”

Relief replaced the frown.  “That’s good.  I wouldn’t want to get you in trouble.  How’s Michael doing?”

Maggie gasped.  “Holy shit, you’ll never believe it.  Michael shaved his head today.  He’s completely bald.”

“Bald?” he laughed.  “I can’t even imagine.  Why did he do that?”

“He said the hair was falling out anyway and he wanted to be in control of it,” she replied.  “I’ll tell you, it was a shocker.”

“I’ll bet,” he chuckled.  “You sound funny.  Where are you anyway?”

“I’m in the bath,” she giggled, “I put my phone next to the tub.  I had a hunch you might call and I didn’t want to miss you.”

Bobby felt his cock stirring and gave a low chuckle.  “So what are you wearing right now, cher?”

Maggie glanced down at herself and grinned.  “Well, I’m wearing bubbles but they’re starting to disappear.”

She heard him laugh again.  “Really?” he asked.

“Really.  So what are you wearing?” she asked.

“Hang on,” Bobby said into the phone.  Maggie could hear noise in the background and he spoke again.  “I locked the door and took off my shirt and jeans.  I’m down to grey boxer briefs.

“Mmmm,” Maggie cooed appreciatively.  “I love grey boxer briefs.”

“I’m more interested in bubbles that disappear.  What do you see now?”

“Well,” she grinned, “in this candlelight it’s a little hard to see but I’m pretty sure those are my nipples sticking up out of the water.”

Bobby stretched back on the bed and pressed the phone to his ear.  He could picture those nipples, feel them on his lips.  “Touch them for me, cher,” he purred.  The line went quiet for a moment before he heard her moan lightly.  His cock stood at attention, and he stroked himself there, closing his eyes.  “How is that?”

“It’s nice.  Not as nice as when you do it,” she said softly.

He smiled to himself.  “I wish I could be there right now.  Move your hand lower.  Touch yourself for me.”

Her hand wandered lower coming to rest between her thighs.  “Oh, that’s good,” she breathed into the phone.

Bobby slid off his boxer briefs, kicking them to the floor.  “Make yourself come, cher.  I’ll do the same.”

“I’m putting you on speaker,” Maggie told him.  Moments later he could hear heavy breaths occasionally interrupted by soft moans.

Bobby gripped his cock and slid his hand up and down, remembering how it was to be inside her.  “Come on, cher, we’ll do this together,” he urged softly.  “Are you touching your pussy?”

“Yes,” she breathed.  Maggie worked her clit feverishly with one hand and pulled her nipples with the other, feeling herself nearing the edge.  “Oh, shit, Bobby, I’m so close…”

“Do it, cher, come for me, baby,” he breathed as he neared his own climax.  When he heard her call out loudly, he couldn’t hold off any longer, his release exploding across his stomach and chest.  “Oh, baby,” he murmured into the phone.

Maggie dried her hands on a towel and picked up her phone, taking it off speaker.  “Bobby, that was…” she panted.

“It was indeed,” Bobby agreed.  “You should see me, cher, I’m a mess,” he chuckled.

She giggled.  “I don’t mind a mess. In fact,” she continued, feeling emboldened by the combination of wine and their long-distance connection, “if you ever wanted to pull out and come on me, I kind of like that sometimes.”

His eyes rolled back in his head as he cock sprang to life again.  “Is that a fact, cher?”

“Mm-hmm,” she replied.  “You know, cum across my belly, dripping off my tits, off my chin…  I’m naughty like that.”

“Are you, now?  I need to get myself back to the city,” he growled, and she laughed lightly.

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Weekend Excerpt (And a Spoiler Alert)–RUNNING ROGUE

RUNNING ROGUE is the second book of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.  Michael Rannigan is a founding partner and the handsome but arrogant face of high-profile Manhattan law firm, Murphy, Rannigan, and Metheny.

In Part One, RESISTING RISK, Michael hires smart, red-haired Maggie Flynn straight out of law school to join his elite 50th floor division.  Maggie had other plans, but her all but hopeless crush on Michael leads her to toss aside the offer of a job with the DA’s office for the chance to work with the inveterate player.  Over the years, the pair forge a strong friendship as they determinedly resist the risk of more.  Until one night of passion tears them apart.

RUNNING ROGUE opens where the first book ends.  Maggie has decided to leave Murphy, Rannigan to join her former mentor at the DA’s office.  From that point, both Maggie and Michael are running rogue, making questionable decisions in both their professional and personal lives.  One rainy night, desperation will bring them together.

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.  Warning: Spoilers Ahead

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.”

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

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

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Weekend Excerpt–Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  I hope you’re having a great weekend.  This week’s excerpt features an Easter scene from RESISTING RISK, the Finale of the Rannigan’s Redemption series.

In the last book of Rannigan’s Redemption, Michael watches as Maggie’s relationship with Bobby blossoms.  He’s pleased with himself, knowing that putting the pair of them together is merely one part of his plan to find redemption.

Bobby relished the time he spent with Savannah.  It occurred to him that maybe Deanna had made a bigger deal than necessary of the little girl’s illness.  His mood was thoughtful as he sipped his beer and watched Savannah running and playing with her cousins after a delicious meal on Friday evening.  The entire family had gathered at his sister Michelle’s house for a Good Friday dinner.  Now the adults relaxed on the patio as the children played on the lawn.

Everyone would be at Jerilyn and Justin’s on Sunday for the big holiday meal and traditional Easter egg hunt.  If Bobby knew his mother, she’d have been scrambling since he’d called to say the New York trip was off, putting together eggs at the last minute.  It would probably be up to him, his brothers-in-law, and his father to hide about half a million plastic eggs all around the outside of the house bright and early on Sunday morning.  He smiled contentedly.

“Bobby, can I get you anything?” his sister Michelle’s husband Russ asked.

Bobby shook his head.  “I think I’m just about fine.”

“Just about…” Russ repeated, grinning.  “Sounds like something is missing.  Rumor has it you have a new girlfriend.”

Bobby glanced around realizing that all other conversations had stopped.  The only voices were those of the children who ran squealing across the lawn.

Ro-bert has found himself a city girl,” his mother said.  There was friendly laughter all around.

“Maggie’s not a city girl.  She’s originally from North Carolina.  She lives in New York now, just like I do.”  He dug his phone from his pocket, queuing up the photo of the two of them he’d taken at the Red Lantern Inn, and he passed it around.

“What does she do?” asked his sister Renée, who was pregnant with her second child.

“She’s a lawyer.  Works for the prosecutor’s office.”

“We were supposed to meet her this weekend but we couldn’t go, what with Savannah being sick,” Jerilyn elaborated.  “Ro-bert, tell them how you met her.”

Interested eyes were on Bobby.  He sighed.  “We met in the elevator in my building.  She was visiting someone who lives on my floor.  Her shoe broke when she stepped out of the elevator and she fell into the hallway.  I helped fix up her knee.”  He grinned at the memory.

Russ hooted.  “Oh, yeah, he’s got it bad!”  Everyone else laughed, and Bobby joined in good naturedly.

Later back at his parents’ house, Bobby tucked Savannah into bed and wandered back to the kitchen.  Jerilyn was putting together potato salad for Sunday’s dinner.  Bobby sank onto a stool at the counter and watched.

“How are you feeling, bébé?” his mother asked.  “You looked so tired this morning.”

“I’m good, maman.”  His phone blipped indicating a text message.  Checking it quickly, he saw that it was Maggie.

Jerilyn smiled knowingly.  “Is that your little girl?”

“It’s Maggie,” he said, smiling.

“What’s going on there, cher?” she asked softly.

Bobby sighed.  “She makes me happy.”  He looked up at his mother.  “She’s pretty, obviously.  And she’s smart and kind and funny and genuine…”  He trailed off.

Jerilyn crossed her arms.  “Is she another one of those little girls looking for a rich, famous man?”

He looked his mother squarely in the eye.  “No, maman.  Maggie had no idea that I’d played ball.  She couldn’t care less about sports or money.”  He laughed.  “She gave me eight pounds of shit, I mean crap,” he edited in response to her raised eyebrow, “when I bought her an antique dresser last week.”

Bobby gazed through the kitchen windows at the moonlight reflected on the marsh.  “She sees me.  Not some has-been retired pitcher.  I know that we haven’t been going out very long but…”  He looked down at his hands before meeting her gaze.  “I think I’m in love with her.”

A slow smile crept across his mother’s face.  “You’d better go give your little girl a call, then, bébé.”

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is available at this link: books2read.com/RansomingRedemption

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Weekend Excerpt–RESISTING RISK, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 1

Happy Weekend!  I hope your week was great.  Mine was looooong, so I’m thrilled for a couple of days to chill.

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance set in Manhattan.  Michael Rannigan is a founding partner and the handsome face of the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, and Metheny.  When he meets spunky redhead Maggie Flynn at a job fair, he hires her to join his elite high-profile criminal defense team.

Maggie changes her mind about the job she’s already been offered at the District Attorney’s office, taking the opportunity to work with Michael, the object of her all-but-impossible crush.

Michael isn’t unaware of Maggie’s feelings for him.  He sees that look in her eye.  And it feeds his insatiable ego.  But she’s so unlike his usual choice of vapid bottle-blondes, the ones he calls when he wants a little company for a few hours.  He’d never consider her dating material.  She’s too smart, for one thing.  On the other hand, there’s something about Mary Margaret Flynn that he can’t quite ignore.

This weekend’s excerpt is from RESISTING RISK, the first book of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.

“Mags,” she heard out of the shifting fog.  “We’re back in town.  I need you to tell us where to go.”

She opened her eyes and realized that she’d been sleeping with her head on Michael’s shoulder.   “Oh, God, I’m so sorry.”  She sat up abruptly.  “I didn’t realize…  I wish you’d awakened me.”

“No worries.  But we need to know exactly where to take Ben and where your place is.”

Maggie could see the driver watching her in the rear view mirror.  “My place.  Right.”  She gave the address and the driver thanked her, the partition whooshing back into place.  “Ben can sleep it off on my couch.  It won’t be the first time.”

The car came to a stop in front of Maggie’s apartment.  “Nice building, Mags.  Is the whole thing yours?”

She fairly snorted.  “In my dreams!  One day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have my own brownstone.  For now I’m happy with a tiny part of the second floor.”  She smiled gratefully.  “Thanks again for the ride.  You are a life saver.”  She moved to open the door but the driver was there first.

“Let me help you get him inside,” Michael offered.  They both glanced at Ben, who hadn’t so much as shifted during the entire ride.

She looked back at Michael.  “Probably a good idea.  I won’t be able to get him up the stairs by myself.”  They succeeded in rousing Ben enough for him to put his arms around their shoulders and they moved him to the sidewalk.

Michael spoke quietly to the driver, who nodded before returning to the driver’s seat and slowly driving away.  Maggie looked at him questioningly.  “I told him to find a place to park.  I’ll call him after we get your date settled.”

They managed the stairs and Michael leaned Ben between himself and the wall as Maggie unlocked the door and let them into her apartment.  “Let’s just lay him on the couch,” she said, cocking her head in the direction of a large grey velvet sofa with navy blue accent pillows.

They worked together to get the unconscious and snoring Ben safely onto the couch, Michael studiously ignoring the way his jacket gapped open, inviting views of Maggie’s breasts as she leaned over to place a pillow under Ben’s head.

“Thank you so much, Michael,” she said as she removed his jacket and held it uncertainly.  “Can I offer you a beer or coffee or something?  Or do you need to go?”

“Coffee sounds good,” he answered.

Maggie smiled brightly as she gently placed his jacket over the back of a kitchen chair and set about making coffee.  Michael wandered around the living room area to the bay window and looked out over the street.  He turned back around to take in the view of the room.  It was small, of course, but nice in a quirky sort of way.  She’d left on a dim lamp near the window that gave enough light to the space without being intrusive.  “This is a nice place,” he commented.

She smiled at him from the kitchen counter.  “Thanks.  And again, I really appreciate your giving us a ride.”

“Mags, you’ve thanked me about a thousand times,” he said gently.

She blushed slightly.  “Well, I didn’t want to forget,” she said sheepishly.

He watched her as she worked in the kitchen, measuring out coffee into a French press, putting a kettle of water on the stove, little mundane domestic tasks.  His mind skipped to flashes of her from throughout the night.  Slowly it dawned on him what it was about Maggie that made him uncomfortable.

She’s real.  She has no hidden agenda.  She isn’t playing some game, she doesn’t want anything from me.  He sighed deeply. She’s the kind of girl who could make you forget your own rules.

Michael slowly crossed the room and stood by the kitchen counter.  “Can I help with something?”

“No, it’s all done.  We’re just waiting for the water to boil.”  She leaned back resting her hand on the counter.

He gently placed his hand on hers.  “You…are very dangerous,” he whispered, lifting her hand to his lips and kissing it softly, his deep brown eyes peering into hers.  Her brow furrowed, perplexed.

Gently, he tilted up her chin with his fingers and leaned down, meeting her lips with his own, lightly at first, and then more urgently.  He ran his other hand down the smooth fabric of the back of her dress coming to rest on her firm ass as he probed her mouth with his tongue, seeking hers.

Maggie responded, matching the heat of his kiss, reaching up, tangling her fingers in the hair behind his ear, giving herself over to his embrace.  Michael’s hand left her ass and smoothed its way back up to her side, her ribs, stopping just under her breast.  Reluctantly he pulled himself away.

Maggie breathlessly gazed up at him.  He smiled gently.  “We’re both a little drunk,” he said.  “Which is why I’d better go.”  Tenderly, he kissed her once again and walked out the door.

RESISTING RISK is where it all begins.
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Weekend Excerpt–Ransoming Redemption

We’re a week away from Christmas and there’s a festive feeling in the air.  I’m sending warm holiday wishes your way.  May you enjoy your time with family and friends.  And may you find a little time for yourself in the midst of all the merriment.  Maybe time to indulge in some sexy romance.

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This weekend’s excerpt is from Ransoming Redemption, the final novel in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.  And I couldn’t resist this Christmas scene.  I hope you enjoy!

Michael glanced around his living room and sighed deeply as an unfamiliar wave of contentment washed over him.  He’d missed the Orphans and Misfits since he and Maggie had parted ways and had forgotten how much he’d enjoyed being in the midst of all the joyful chaos.

After their late-afternoon buffet-style dinner, the handful of children in attendance opened their gifts.  Then Ben headed up the annual gift exchange, handing out numbers and presiding over the picks and swaps.  Maggie and some of the others set out dessert on the dining room table and made sure that the bar was stocked with plenty of cups and ice so that everyone felt free to help themselves.

Ensconced in his spot close to the windows at the far end of the huge leather sectional, Michael realized that everywhere he looked, he saw people who were connected in some way to himself or Maggie or both.  Rance, Jason and a few more were out on the terrace taking in the view.  A handful of others watched a football game on television.  Across the room, Nate and Ben chatted with a petite blonde woman.

That’s Casey, Maggie’s friend from law school, he reminded himself.  Casey’s husband John was on the floor in front of the Christmas tree with their little boy, putting together something with Legos.  Closer to Michael, sitting on the floor leaning against the sectional, Maggie was playing a game of peek-a-boo with a toddler who was sitting on her lap.

That must be Casey’s daughter, he thought, judging by the little girl’s nearly white blonde hair.  In his mind’s eye, he saw Maggie playing the game with a red haired child, and he smiled contentedly.  It’s all coming together.  

Veronica slid onto the sofa beside him.  “You’re looking awfully pleased with yourself.”

Michael grinned.  “That’s because when you’re good, you’re good.  And I’m good.”  He winked at her.

“And oh, so humble,” she purred, fixing him with a mocking exasperated smirk.

Casey joined Maggie on the floor.  “How’s Princess Nastypants doing?” she asked, taking her daughter from Maggie.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, this is the sweetest child,” Maggie said, laughing.

“Well, she’s momentarily charmed by her Aunt Maggie, but don’t let her fool you.  We’re up to our eyeballs in the ‘terrible twos.’ ”

Afternoon blended into evening as dusk fell, and Maggie noticed that not only had no one left, they all looked as though they were settling in for a long stay, some even helping themselves to plates of leftovers.

“How are you feeling, Michael?” she asked, squatting beside him.  “Should I start shooing people out of here?”

“Don’t be silly, Mags,” he said, flashing his best Michael Rannigan grin.  “Everybody’s enjoying themselves.  This is the nicest Christmas I’ve had in a long time.”

She looked up at him and smiled, squeezing his hand.  “I’m really glad.”

As she made her way back to the kitchen, her phone buzzed in her pocket. Finally.  Bobby had called early in the morning and they’d chatted briefly, but they hadn’t had another chance to talk all day.

“Hey there, cher,” he greeted her.  “How’s my best girl?”

Maggie laughed into the phone.  “I’m better now.  I’ve missed you all day, but I know you were busy.  We’ve been busy here, too, come to that.”  She walked down the hallway for more privacy.

“Would you believe that everyone is still at Michael’s?” she whispered.  “Nobody has left yet.”

“No?”

“I asked Michael if I should start moving them along, but he seems happy to have them.”

Bobby laughed.  “It sounds like you throw a hell of a party.  Nobody wants to leave.”

“How was your day?  Did Savannah like her present?”  Maggie had sent Bobby with a portable artist’s kit to give the little girl.

“She just loved it.”  Maggie could hear the smile in his voice.  “That child had more stuff by the end of the morning than you would believe.”

Maggie laughed happily.  “Well, good.  I’m so glad.”  She sighed.  “I just wish you were here.”

“Me too, cher, believe me.”

“Do I need to let you go?” she asked.

“Yeah, I should probably get off the phone.”

“Okay, then,” she breathed.  “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Maggie.  I’ll see you soon.”

Maggie disconnected and made her way back down the hallway towards the living room which was as full of people as ever.  It seemed less than fair somehow that everyone had someone with them today.  Casey had John, Ben had Nate, Rance had Jason, hell, even Michael had Veronica   Whatever happened to the Orphans and Misfits?  She knew she was being petty and tried to shrug it off.

Across the room, Michael looked tired and he was using his oxygen again.  She wondered briefly whether she should just start moving people along in spite of what he’d said.  A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.

“Hey Mags, could you get that?” Michael asked.

Sighing to herself, she crossed to the door, wondering who’d locked themselves out.  She didn’t notice that as she swung open the door the room fell silent.

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“Merry Christmas, cher.”

Momentarily speechless, she froze for second before launching herself into Bobby’s arms.  He had to take a step back to keep from falling.

“Well, I’m glad to see you, too,” he laughed.

Through tears, she sputtered, “But…I mean, what…How did you…”

“Calm down,” he laughed as he carried her into the room.  “Merry Christmas, everybody.”  Bobby gently set Maggie down, and she gripped his hand in hers, unwilling to lose contact with him.

Casey brought a plate of food from the kitchen.  “Hi, I’m Casey.  I figured you were probably hungry.”

Bobby bestowed on her his best lop-sided grin.  “Nice to meet you, Casey.  I’m Bobby.  And thanks, I am pretty hungry.”  He took a seat on the end of the sectional, nodding at Michael.  “Merry Christmas, man.”

Michael smiled, his eyes crinkling.  “Merry Christmas, Beau.  Glad you could join us.”

As Bobby ate, Maggie introduced him to those he hadn’t met.  While everyone went back to their own conversations, she peppered him with questions.  “What happened?  Did you really call me from the hall?  Why did you come back tonight?  I thought you were staying in Louisiana for a couple more days.”

“I wanted to surprise you,” he grinned.

“Well…you did.  I’m so glad.”

Ransoming Redemption is available as a single novel at books2read.com/RansomingRedemption.

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All three novels are available as one complete collection at books2read.com/RannigansRedemption.

 

Weekend Excerpt–Running Rogue

Last week, the first of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, Resisting Risk, was available for free on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, as part of a holiday romance promotion.  It’s back to normal now, but I hope you were able to take advantage of the giveaway.

This week’s excerpt features a snippet from the second book, Running Rogue.  Michael and Maggie have parted ways, only to find themselves drawn together again a few years later after he receives some devastating news.  Doubting her judgement when it comes to men, Maggie decides that she’s probably better off alone.

rannigan2Maggie strode purposefully across the lobby of Michael’s building.  It had been a shit week and knowing that she had to work all weekend to make up for what she’d missed, all she wanted to do was to check in on Michael, deliver his soup, and head home to a nice hot bath and a large glass of wine.  Ahead of her a man was just stepping into the elevator and she increased her pace, hoping to make it before the doors closed.  He turned and their eyes met just as the doors slid shut.

“Well, shit!” she muttered, juggling her purse, her brief case, and the bag from the deli.  Just then the doors slid back open.

“Sorry about that,” the man said, “I didn’t realize you were right behind me.”  He held open the door as she stepped in and turned around.  “What floor?”

Maggie glanced up at him.  He was tall with broad shoulders, muscular without being muscle-bound, with wavy brown hair and sparkling blue eyes framed by the longest lashes she’d ever seen on a man.  She’d noticed a bit of a drawl when he spoke.  Dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants, he’d apparently been working out in the gym.  He stood beaming at her with a boyish grin on his face and he seemed to be waiting for her.  She realized she was staring.

Oh, shit!  What floor?  “Oh, sorry, um, twenty-one, please.”

He grinned again.  “Twenty-one.  That’s my floor, too.”  He held out a hand.  “I’ve only been here a couple of months.  We haven’t met yet.  I’m Bobby.”

Maggie shifted the deli bag and grasped his hand.  “Um, I’m Maggie.  I don’t actually live here.  I’m visiting a friend.”  She paused.  “Do you know Michael in 2101?”

Bobby’s eyes widened and he took a step back.  “Oh.  You’re one of Michael’s girls.”

Maggie frowned.  “No.  I am absolutely not one of Michael’s girls.  Nope.  Not me.  No way.”  She shook her head emphatically.

Bobby grinned wryly.  “So you’re not one of Michael’s girls.”

She felt her face flush.  “I’ve known Michael for a long time.  We used to work together.  He’s a little…under the weather, and I told him I’d stop by, bring him some soup.”  She held up the deli bag for emphasis.

He flashed the boyish grin, blue eyes sparkling with amusement.  Maggie felt her pulse race and a warm flush crept up her neck.  What the hell?

“So you’re a lawyer.”

She nodded.  “Yep.  Sorry.”

“Why sorry?”

“Everybody hates lawyers,” she replied as the elevator doors opened on the twenty-first floor.  She stepped out into the hallway and immediately went down hard on her left knee.

“Motherfucker!” she cried out.

Bobby was beside her instantly.  “Are you alright?  What happened?”

Maggie looked around.  “My shoe.”  The heel of her right shoe was caught in the space between the elevator and the hallway.  It had snapped off as she stepped forward.  Bobby grabbed it before the doors closed, then gently took her arm and helped her up.

“Did you hurt yourself?” he asked, concerned.

“I’m alright, really,” she replied shakily.  Blood was dripping from her knee and running in rivulets all the way down her shin.

“You banged up your knee.”

“But I saved the soup, so there’s that,” she quipped.

He placed a hand on the small of her back and walked her down the hall, stopping at a door.  “This is me,” he said.  “Come in and let me at least bandage you up.”  Maggie regarded him warily.

“I’m not an axe murderer, I promise,” he laughed.

She frowned.  “Isn’t that exactly what an axe murderer would say?” she said as he unlocked the door.

“Tell you what–we’ll leave the door open.  You can sit right here.”  He pointed to a bench in the foyer.  “If I make any sudden moves you can run for it,” he chuckled.

Sheepishly, Maggie sank onto the bench.  Truthfully, her knee hurt.  She set down her things and glanced up at him.  “Thanks,” she said quietly.

Bobby smiled and gestured to his right.  “I’ll just…go get my axe.”

She could hear him in another room rummaging around through something.  She removed her broken shoe and held up the dismembered heel.  It had come clean off the sole.  An image flashed through her mind of the shoe repair shop just around the corner from her apartment.

“I can fix that for you.”  Startled, she looked up.  Bobby had returned with first aid supplies.

“Oh, you don’t have to do that,” she said quickly.  “There’s a shop near my place.”

He poured alcohol on some gauze and knelt beside her.  “It won’t take me two seconds,” he murmured, dabbing at her knee.

Maggie breathed in sharply.  “Ouch!  Ow ow ow!” she protested softly.

Bobby looked up at her.  “Sorry, cher,” he said, “we’ve got to get it cleaned out.”  Gently he grasped the back of her calf and raised her leg, wiping away the streaks of blood.

Maggie stared at him, scarcely breathing.  There was something electric about his touch, so strong yet so tender.

He finished cleaning her shin and returned to her knee, carefully placing a large bandage over the scrape.  “There you are, good as new.  Well, almost,” he smiled.

He took the shoe and heel from her.  “I really can fix this for you.  I’d just have to find my tools,” he nodded his head toward the other room.  “I should really unpack anyway,” he smiled ruefully.

Maggie rose from the bench and stood lopsided on one heel.  “I don’t want to be more trouble than I’ve already been.”

            Something tells me that you’re all kinds of trouble, cher.  “It’s no trouble.  Besides, I’d be worried about you limping along like Quasimodo on your way home,” he laughed.

She laughed, too.  “Well, alright then.  Thank you.  And thanks for…”  She glanced down at her knee.

“It’s my pleasure, cher,” he said quietly.

Maggie felt as though suddenly all the air had gone out of the room.  She stared up into his amazing blue eyes.  She opened her mouth but no words came out.

He spoke.  “Just stop by when you’re finished at Michael’s.  If I have to leave before that, I’ll bring you your shoe.”

Running Rogue is available at books2read.com/RunningRogue.

Or get the whole trilogy in one boxed set: books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

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Snuggle Up! It’s A #Thanksgiving #Romance Blog Hop!

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Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m so excited to extend a little holiday love with everyone, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share one of my favorite holiday recipes.  You’re shocked, I know.  Because if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t cook.  I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who loves to cook, and truthfully, he spoils me rotten.

But I digress.  At our house, we’re not fans of cranberry, so instead, we like a strawberry salad on our Thanksgiving table and it couldn’t be easier to make.  I mean, if I can do it…

Strawberry Salad

Mix: 1 1/2 C. crushed pretzels, 1/2 stick melted butter, 1/4 C. sugar.  Press mixture into a 13×9 pan and bake at 350 for 10 min.  Cool.

Mix and spread over cooled crust: 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 C. sugar, 1 lg. Cool Whip. Refrigerate  these two layers.

Mix: 1 3-oz. strawberry jello mix, 10 oz. frozen strawberries, 1 C. boiling water.  Pour over cream cheese layer.  Chill until it’s set.

Now for a little Thanksgiving excerpt to put you in the mood.  This one is from Rannigan’s Redemption: Resisting Risk.

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Thanksgiving at Casey’s new house was a busy, cheerful affair.  John and Casey had bought the three bedroom, two bath house a few months earlier and had finished furnishing it just in time for the holiday.  She and John had invited Maggie and Ben, Kevin, and Des and Jacob to stay for the weekend.

Sleeping arrangements had been studiously organized.  Obviously Des and Jacob were in the guest bedroom.  Ben and Kevin shared the living room, one on the sofa and one on the floor.  Maggie was given an air mattress on the floor of the home office, but she didn’t mind.  She was grateful that she had a private space; anyone seeing her neck would undoubtedly require information she didn’t feel like giving.

Both Casey’s and John’s parents were invited for Thanksgiving dinner.  Early that morning, Maggie heard Casey moving around in the kitchen and she smiled to herself.  She knew her friend well enough to know she’d want this day to go perfectly.  Maggie got up too, happy to pitch in with preparations.  She carefully dressed, making sure the scarf she wore completely covered the angry marks John had left on her neck.

The day before, when she’d left the office, Michael had insisted that she ride to the airport in the car from his service.  His flight to the Bahamas would be later in the evening so his car was available.

When Ben arrived at the airport, he’d had been too preoccupied with his own concerns to notice Maggie’s reticence.  He’d prattled about work and his new boyfriend, who he still refused to name, throughout the entire flight.

The Thanksgiving meal was a huge success.  The turkey was perfectly done, and the stuffing made from an old family recipe was delicious, as were the yams, green beans, and cranberry sauce.  Casey had made certain that the dining room had been tastefully furnished and decorated for the holiday and dinner was enjoyable, everyone talking about their experiences now that they were out in the real world.

Snow began falling in late afternoon and by dark the ground was covered with a beautiful white blanket.  After dinner, the men adjourned to John’s man cave.  The women discussed Casey’s wedding plans as she showed them fabric swatches and photos of cakes, flowers, and wedding dresses.  After John’s and Casey’s parents left, the women joined the men downstairs for a pool tournament.

Maggie, however, begged off.  “I have a little headache.  I think I’ll just go to bed,” she said.  Alone in the office, she unwrapped her neck and checked it using a mirror from her purse.  It really was ghastly.

She put away the mirror and checked her phone.  A notification indicated that she had a Snapchat message from Michael.

“Hey, Mags,” he smiled ruefully into the camera.  “I don’t want to interrupt your holiday.  I was just thinking about you and hoping you’re okay.”

Maggie smiled in spite of herself.  He was thinking about me.  She held her phone in front of her.  “Hey back, Michael.  You aren’t interrupting.  I’m doing alright.  You must be having fun in the Bahamas.  Is it warm?  We have snow here.”

Moments later Michael replied.  “It’s in the 80s in the Bahamas.  Are you having fun?  How’s your neck?”

In the 80s.  Maggie rolled her eyes.  I’ve got to get my passport.  She pressed record again.  “Temps in the 80s sounds amazing.  Send pictures of the water.  My neck is okay, I guess.”  She held the camera so that her neck showed in all its bruised glory.  “I’ve been keeping it covered with scarves.”

Michael grimaced.  Maggie’s neck looked bad, all black and blue and purple.  “Scarves and turtlenecks seem the way to go,” he said into the camera.  “Take an extra day, Mags.  We don’t have to be in court until Wednesday.  Come back on Tuesday, you’ll have plenty of time to get up to speed.”

She considered this.  “I don’t know, Michael.  There’s so much to do,” she said.  “You know, again, it would be easier to have this conversation over the phone.”  She arched one eyebrow.

On video, Michael laughed.  “But I like doing it this way.  You’re the only account I follow.”  He smiled and nodded.  “Take an extra day on Monday.  Rest up and feel better.  We’ll manage without you for a day.”  Maggie reluctantly agreed and they said their goodnights.

You can get your copy of Resisting Risk, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy here.

books2read.com/ResistingRisk

And use this link check out the other great romance authors on this Blog Hop!

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