Watch This Space–ANGEL OF EL CAPITAN by M.S. Tarot

MS Tarot

I have great news!  Sexy erotica author and ginger pirate M.S. Tarot’s new book, ANGEL OF EL CAPITAN, is out TODAY!  I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy, and it’s an absolute must-read.

Here’s the blurb.

For Gabriel, there was only ever one place he called home, and where he was currently living wasn’t it. 
With a childhood filled with more new schools and new places to live than any dozen kids should have to endure, to lose that one place … that one real home … well, it tore him apart inside. But, mostly, it was losing the friendship of Alex and Mary Muhlenbury – his rock climbing next door neighbors and only real friends – which was even more devastating.
Hurt beyond telling. Bitter over his lack of choices. His long-term plans betrayed or ignored by his family. He became again “The New Kid.” The strange one. The boy who no one called a friend for long.
Even in a crowd, Gabriel was always alone.
Only now high school is passed, his father’s plans for him are in place, and what is Gabriel to do? Allow himself to be dragged along into yet another thing he has no choice about? One more step in a life he would never have chosen for himself, doing a job he already despises? Shall he meekly accept his Father’s opinion that college is his only real choice and that what Gabriel wants to do is madness?
Or can this “Angel” find the wings to truly soar on his own? 
And will Mary, that long-estranged friend, be the one to help him reach those heights?
I loved everything about this story, from the heartfelt angst of a young man trying to find his place in the world, to his youthful infatuation with his idol’s much older widow, to her internal struggle with her unexpected attraction to someone she thinks of as a boy.
Add to that the excitement of a climbing adventure, and you have a hard-to-put-down read.  Kudos to Tarot for never dumbing down the technical aspects of climbing, trusting the reader to keep up.  And, as always, he brings just the right amount of heat.
How about an excerpt?
I wonder if I slipped a roofie to Mary she would leave me alone so I can sleep?
Her hand pounding on the side of my van door jerked me awake. Sitting up, rubbing at my head – and the crick in my neck I had acquired in the night – I knee walked to the door and threw it open.
“What?”
“Don’t what me, it’s time to go.” She shook her head reprovingly. “Lord, but you’re grumpy in the morning.”
I looked up at the star-filled sky, not even a hint of pink dusting the darkness. “Are you always insane in the morning? Why do we have to be up at this ungodly hour?”
“Well, we don’t.” She shrugged but gave me that smirk. “I can go back inside, get me some coffee, have a nice Continental breakfast.They have great waffles, by the way. Then, let’s say in a couple of hours, we can slowly ease our way down there to Yosemite Valley and then sit parked behind all the tourist’s cars, in the line-from-hell, for the next three hours.” Mary steppled her fingers upside down by her navel and began to twiddle her thumbs. “So which is it going to be?”
Reaching back, I picked up my jeans and fished out my keys. “You drive.”
“Oh, hell yes I’m driving. I don’t want to die because you fell asleep at the wheel. Here, have an apple.” Startling me, she tossed a waxy red orb at me and closed the side door in my face. When she opened the driver side door, she chucked her bag into the back on top of me and fired up the van while I was cussing – and trying to get my pants on – with a damn bag of clothes on top of me. Then she half slung me through the windshield when she dropped the van into reverse and then I was tumbled into the rope bags a second or two later. “You alright back there?”
Stepping past the engine hood, an apple between my teeth, I shot her a look and sat down on the passenger side with a shake of my head. “You’re fucking nuts, Mary. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Most people that have known me for more than a day.” She shrugged. “Can’t say I care. I’m a climber, we’re all crazy. I mean how sane is it to climb a vertical rock face?”
Munching my way through my scant breakfast, I watched the stars becoming dimmer and the Eastern sky behind the mountains starting to slowly – oh so achingly slowly – begin to grow brighter. By the time we eased our way into Yosemite Valley and paid for our seven day passes, I was fully awake and more than ready to climb. That first look at El Cap, however … oh, holy shit what was I thinking? The closer we got to it, and the taller it looked, the more I began to agree with Mary about sanity because I knew that I was going to go up it. I had spent too much money to get to this point for me not to try it, but dear god that thing is … fucking huge!
“Afraid or excited?” she asked, pulling the van into the parking lot for a camping area.
“Both.”
“Good. That’s what you should be, Angel.” She parked the van and shut off what had to be a tired engine. It had crossed the country and then climbed mountains. “Let’s go talk to a few climbers and get some more recent data than what I know. My knowledge is almost a decade old.”

ANGEL OF EL CAPITAN is available at Amazon for $2.99.

Get it at this LINK.

Weekend Excerpt–Mystery Package from Spain

For this weekend’s excerpt, I’m pulling from the old Teasers tab.  The Teasers are a collection of the first chapters of ‘to-be-written’ stories I haven’t gotten around to yet.  This one is tentatively called Callie’s Freedom, and I got the idea for this heartfelt contemporary erotic romance from a magical trip I once took to France and Spain.

See what you think.

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 Standing in line at the post office has to be the fourth circle of hell

Callie shifted her weight to her left foot and leaned her hip against the railing around which the line of fellow postal customers snaked.  Look, only three more back-and-forths then it’s my turn, she thought sardonically. 

She frowned to herself.  Whose inner monologue is sardonic?

“Next,” called the clerk at the second station.  Everyone in line took a step forward clutching their parcels all wrapped in brown paper and packing-taped into infinity, or their very important looking overnight-air envelopes. 
Callie glanced down at the peach square of paper in her hands.  We REdeliver for you! the paper promised.  She shook her head.  She wasn’t waiting for redelivery.
Another clerk called out and the line shifted again.  A sextet of antique ceiling fans whirled ineffectively over their heads as a bead of sweat trickled down her spine.  She wondered if the air conditioning was out or if the USPS was simply economizing.  Either way, you could tell it was summer in south Florida.
She made it to the turn-around and felt a bit encouraged.  Not much longer now.  She gazed at the receipt once again, her forefinger lightly tracing the address of the sender.  Sevilla.  She inhaled sharply.  She knew one person in Seville.  She couldn’t imagine what he’d sent in a parcel.
Raised voices interrupted Callie’s thoughts.  She looked up to see a well-dressed middle-aged woman shouting at the clerk at the third station.   
    
“What do you mean, I have to get in a different line?  I’ve been standing here all day!”
“Ma’am, I don’t have the form that you need.  Would you like to get in the other line?” the clerk asked patiently.  The man was an older black gentleman with sloping shoulders and an air of resignation.  Callie idly wondered if he’d delivered mail on foot back in the day.
“Well if you won’t give me the form I guess I’ll have to!” the woman snapped as she vacated the station and toddled off to the the correct line. 
Callie shook her head.  Why do people have to be such assholes?  She ran into her fair share of them as a teacher but she recalled her college days when she’d worked as a server in a busy restaurant.  People have no idea…
 She found herself suddenly only two people behind the head of the line, and she felt her heart begin to pound.  Finn.  She looked back at the peach scrap of paper.  After all this time.
 In truth she was shocked that he’d sent anything at all.  She’d known him for all of what, fifteen days?  The flush began in the center of her being and flowed up her neck to her cheeks.  Those fifteen days had changed her irrevocably.  She could never go back to the pre-Finn Callie.
Vaguely she heard a clerk call for the next customer.  “Excuse me, ma’am?” said the guy behind her.  Callie looked up, startled.  “You’re next.”

She murmured an apology and walked to the vacant station.  The same clerk who’d had the misfortune to deal with the nasty customer surveyed her with gentle eyes.  Callie was determined to be kind, to make up for the woman who’d been so unpleasant.  She smiled broadly.  “Yes, I’m picking up a parcel.”  She presented him with the peach scrap and her driver’s license.

The man smiled kindly as he took the slip of paper and disappeared into the back.  He reemerged moments later carrying a package about the size and shape of a hardcover book.  Callie’s pulse pounded in her ears.
“Here you are, ma’am,” he said as he handed her the box.  It was lighter than she’d expected.  Her eyes zeroed in on the return address.  Finn Cooper, 54 Calle Montevideo, Sevilla, Espana. 
She smiled again and thanked the man, wished him a pleasant day, and walked out into the heat of the summer day.

I need to get back to this story one day.  For now, check out my other books at my Amazon Page, or your favorite online bookseller.

Weekend Excerpt–New Teaser from FOR SPARROW

SPIN Pandora (1)

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

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

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

Naked Body With Leather Handcuffs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was hot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“So nice to meet you, queridita.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judd stood and helped Jessi rise on unsteady feet.

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

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

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

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

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

“I am sure of it,” came the reply.

For Sparrow promo 1

FOR SPARROW  is the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.
Get you copy here: books2read.com/ForSparrow

Hot New Place for Readers and Authors to Meet!

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Have you heard about a great new romance readers and authors community, Book+Main Bites?  (https://bookandmainbites.com)

Your favorite romance authors, and lots who will be new to you, are posting up to three excerpts (bites) every day, to give you a little taste of their work.  You can ‘Like’ their posts, comment on them, and you can even share your favorite bites for others to see.  Best of all, readers join for FREE.

Here’s a screen grab of one of my recent Bites.

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Enjoy Book+Main on your pc or your mobile device.  The mobile app is available for iOS and Android.  Follow me on Book+Main: @PandoraSpocks.   Can’t wait to see you there!

 

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Thanksgiving!


Here in the States, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week.  It’s a great time for family, friends, and good food.  It’s a time to stop and consider all the things for which we’re grateful.

This weekend excerpt features a Thanksgiving scene from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption.

They arrived at the Beaulieu’s home after eight o’clock that night having driven from the airport in the silver pickup truck Bobby had reserved at the rental agency.  “A truck?” Maggie had questioned.  Bobby had just winked at her.

Jerilyn chased Savannah who bounded out of the house as they pulled up into the circular driveway.  “Daddy!” cried the child as she threw herself into Bobby’s arms.

“Well hey there, June bug,” he said, hugging his daughter tightly.  “Look who I brought with me.  You remember Maggie, don’t you?”

“Welcome, cher,” Jerilyn said as she wrapped Maggie in a huge hug.  “Come on in.  Are y’all hungry?”

“I’m always hungry,” laughed Bobby.  He put Savannah on the ground.  “Come on, you can help us get our bags.”

“This is such a beautiful home,” Maggie told Bobby’s mother.

“Why thank you, hon,” she smiled.  “Of course, you know Bobby had it built for us when he signed his first contract with the majors.”

Maggie’s eyes widened and she looked to Bobby who seemed uncomfortable.  “No.  I didn’t know that.”

Ro-bert, y’all are up in your room,” Jerilyn tossed over her shoulder as she headed back into the house.  “Get freshened up and come on down to the kitchen.”

With Bobby leading the way, Savannah carried Maggie’s cosmetic case and Maggie followed with her suitcase as they went upstairs.  They traveled down a long hallway to a bedroom on the back of the house with a huge bay window overlooking the marsh beyond the expansive lawn.

“Okay, sweetie,” Bobby said to Savannah, “how about you go help Nana in the kitchen and we’ll be right there.”

“Okay, Daddy,” the little girl said.  “Are you coming downstairs, Maggie?”

Maggie smiled.  “I sure am.  I’ll see you in just a minute.”

“You can sit by me,” Savannah said as she left the room, closing the door behind her.

Bobby pulled Maggie to him and held her for a moment, kissing her neck.  “Thank you so much for coming home with me, cher,” he murmured against her neck.

“I’m happy to be here,” she said.  “I’m surprised your mom has us sharing a room, though.”  He looked at her quizzically.  “I just figured we’d be in separate rooms, that’s all,” she shrugged.

“You realize, cher,” he arched an eyebrow, “they know we have sex.”  He whispered the last three words, and Maggie blushed furiously while he chuckled.  “You’re so pretty when your face is pink.”

Thursday was a blur of activity at the Beaulieu home.  Bobby’s sisters and their families arrived throughout the morning beginning around seven o’clock.  One by one, Maggie was introduced to them, and she made a concerted effort to remember everyone’s names and at least which kids belonged to which adults, if not the names of the kids.  She happily pitched in with the preparations in the kitchen while Bobby worked outside to set up the large outdoor fryer in which the turkey would be cooked.

“Have you ever had deep-fried turkey, Maggie?” asked Bobby’s sister Jenny.

Maggie shook her head.  “I never have, but I’ve always wanted to try it.”

“You should go outside and watch,” youngest sister Nancy told her.

Taking a beer from the giant ice-filled galvanized tub on the back deck, Maggie walked down the steps to the area on the end of the driveway where Bobby and his father had set up the fryer on its sturdy platform.  The other men were keeping an eye on the kids playing behind the house.

“If it’s not the prettiest girl I know,” Bobby said, smiling.  “And she brought me a beer.”  He took it from her and kissed her cheek.  “How are you doing, cher?”

“I’m great!  I came to see the turkey fry.”

“Once you have it fried, you’ll never go back to roasted,” Justin told her with a wink.

The holiday dinner around the family table was a raucous affair.  Following the grace, the passing of heaping platters and bowls was accompanied by loud conversation punctuated by frequent laughter.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed, Maggie sat back and took it all in.  Bobby rested his free hand on her thigh and grinned at her reassuringly from time to time.

“Well what do you think, Maggie?”  Bobby’s oldest sister Michelle smiled kindly.  “Are you coming back for Christmas or have we scared you off?”

“Oh, well,” Maggie began, “actually I have a gathering at my place every Christmas.  It’s sort of affectionately known as the Orphans and Misfits Christmas.”

“Being without family, Maggie invites her friends who don’t have anybody either.  She makes sure that nobody’s alone on Christmas,” Bobby elaborated proudly.

“Well, she has family now,” Bobby’s sister Renée said, and Maggie blushed as threatened tears stung her eyes.

RR3 review

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/RansomingRedemption

Rannigan’s Redemption–RANSOMING REDEMPTION: Michael, Maggie, & Bobby

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

RESISTING RISK, Book 1, set up the whole tale of Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn.  In the second book, RUNNING ROGUE, their world was rocked by tumultuous change.  RANSOMING REDEMPTION brings resolution to their story.  [WARNING: Spoilers abound.]

Michael has suffered a serious setback, and Maggie has agreed to stand by him through his journey.  And he’s grateful.  Beyond grateful, really.  He realizes that he needs to make it up to her, to find redemption for all the ways he’s failed her.

Which is why he’s determined to make sure she gives his new neighbor, retired baseball star Bobby ‘Beau’ Beaulieu, a chance.  Maggie’s attracted to the handsome athlete with his soft Cajun accent, but she’s tired of getting burned.  She’s determined to stay focused on her work and on caring for Michael until he’s back on his feet.  But Michael has other plans.

Here’s a teaser from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the 5-STAR finale of Rannigan’s Redemption.

Maggie did something completely out of character when she got home that night.  She intentionally tuned her television to sports.  There sat Bobby discussing baseball with a handful of other guys, the disassociation of television doing nothing to diminish the blue of his eyes or the sexy lilt of his voice.  Now that she knew about the subtle Cajun accent, she couldn’t not hear it.  There was no stopping the smile as it spread across her face.

Bobby was dressed in a charcoal suit with a blue shirt and a coordinating tie, and he chatted and laughed with his colleagues.  Maggie watched in fascination.  He really is handsome.  I’ve never seen him dressed up before.

In her mind, she replayed their conversation in the hospital cafeteria and she groaned miserably.  He has to think I’m an absolute idiot.  If he doesn’t think I’m just a bitch. 

“I’ll have to apologize when I see him, that’s all there is to it,” she said aloud.

The next morning, Maggie got up early and hit the internet, researching the best foods for people on chemotherapy and compiling a list of things to look for at the organic market.  She was surprised when Michael called.

“Hey, what’s up?” she greeted him.  “I’m working on a shopping list for you.”

“Thanks, Mags,” he said.  “But don’t go overboard with the organic shit, okay?  I don’t know if I’ll eat all that anyway.”

“You have to eat, it might as well be healthy foods,” she returned.  “Just try the things I get.  You might even prefer them, free of all the artificial crap.”

“We’ll see,” he said doubtfully.  “Listen, I want to thank Beau for all his help yesterday.  We’re having him over for dinner tonight.”

Maggie frowned.  We?

“Tonight?” she asked.  “Michael, I don’t know what I’m making for you, yet.  How am I supposed to pull together a nice dinner?”

“You’re not pulling together anything.  I’ve already placed the order, it’ll be delivered by 6:00 tonight.  I talked to Beau, he’s getting here at 7:00.”

Maggie couldn’t think of a response.

“Don’t you think we should thank him for everything he did yesterday?” Michael prodded.

“Well of course I do,” Maggie sputtered.  “But it’s just so…short notice.”

“I know, but luckily he’s working an early show today.  You don’t have to worry about anything for dinner tonight, I’m making sure everything is taken care of.  Truthfully,” he added, “dinner tonight is to thank you, too.  You’ve been my rock from the get-go.  I appreciate you, Mags.”

Maggie felt a lump forming in her throat.  “You don’t have to thank me, Michael.  It’s what friends do.”

“I’m still grateful,” he said.  “So don’t worry about anything.  Go on about your business of hooking me up with sprouts and wheat germ.  Dinner is under control.”

She sighed.  “Okay, Michael.  I’ll see you when I finish shopping.”

“See you then,” he said.  “Oh, and Mags?  Wear something pretty.”

Wear something pretty.  Seriously? 

Maggie frowned irritably as she disconnected.  It’s not enough I’m hauling my cookies all over town to get you healthy food to eat.  You’re throwing a last minute dinner party at me and telling me how to dress?  Some kind of nerve… 

Even so, her thoughts went to her wardrobe.  She began sliding her clothes back and forth on the bar in the closet.

Humph…it’s supposed to be cold, might even snow.  Wear something pretty.  Gahhhh!

Two hours later Maggie returned to her apartment, having purchased three bags of organic food and two dozen plastic containers with lids.  No way am I carrying all this uptown on the subway, she decided.

Especially not while I’m wearing something ‘pretty’.  She had no idea why Michael’s comment chapped her butt so much, but it did.

She spent the next couple of hours putting together single serving portions of organic kale salads with red and yellow peppers, spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, and poached salmon with carrots and broccoli.  These she stacked in their sealed containers in one of the shopping bags.  In another one she put her other purchases like the organic peanut butter, green tea, and lentil soup.  She decided that just before she left, she’d pack the third bag with the organic Greek yogurt she’d found.

Then she headed off to shower and get dressed.  Glancing out the window, she saw the sky filled with heavy grey clouds.  “Great,” she said aloud.  “Ten bucks says it snows before I get back home tonight.”

Dressed and ready to leave, Maggie stopped to check her image in the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door.  She’d chosen a long heather grey sweater over a short silver sequin skirt with black opaque tights and black ankle booties with heels.  The neckline of the sweater was wide, revealing her collar bone and the thin straps of her grey camisole.  At the ends of the long sleeves, the cuffs rolled a little around her wrists.

Turning this way and that, she decided she liked the way the sweater clung to her curves.  Her red hair she’d left down, sort of tousled and free, and it brushed past her shoulders.  “Humph!  You wanted pretty.  This is about as good as it gets.”  Shrugging into her coat, she scooped up her shopping bags and headed out front to meet the cab she’d ordered.

When she arrived at Michael’s, he greeted her at the door wearing a black t-shirt with grey sweat pants.  He gave a low whistle.  “Very nice, Mags,” he commented.

She rolled her eyes.  “Pretty enough for you?” she snipped, looking him up and down.  “Is that what you’re wearing?”

He grinned.  “Company isn’t coming for a couple of hours.  I’ll change later.”

Company, Maggie thought.  You mean Bobby.  In all her irritation with Michael, she’d almost forgotten that they’d be having dinner with Bobby.  Her mind flashed to her image in the mirror.  Maybe dressing pretty wasn’t such a bad idea.

Not that I’m trying to impress him, she considered.  She flushed slightly.  Michael watched her carefully.

“Come let me show you everything I brought you,” Maggie told him.

The delivery from Ithaka, a Greek place down the block, arrived promptly at 6:00.  Maggie put the Kota Stakarvouna, sealed with foil, in the warming oven to keep the chicken at the correct temperature.  The house salad and Garides Psites she placed in the fridge, planning to reheat the shrimp for them to enjoy as an appetizer.

Finished in the kitchen, she headed into the living room to relax for a few minutes and was surprised to find that Michael had been busy, arranging a table in the solarium on the terrace with crisp black table linens and three white place settings.  Smooth jazz quietly filtered through an unobtrusive sound system.  He’d put candles on the table and strung tiny white lights among the greenery out on the terrace.

“Michael, this looks beautiful,” she said.

He smiled proudly.  “Like I said, this dinner is to thank you, too.”

Maggie hugged him gently.  “How are you feeling?”

“Truthfully, I’m a little tired,” he answered.  “I think I’ll go lie down for a while.”

Alarmed, she checked her watch.  “Bobby will be here in half an hour.”

“Just give me a few minutes,” he said over his shoulder as he headed down the hall toward his room.

Maggie set the alarm on her phone for 6:55 and when it sounded she went to wake Michael.  “Come on, you’ve got to get up.  He’ll be here any minute.”

Michael groaned.  “I’m really tired,” he mumbled.  “Let me have a little longer.”

She heard a knock at the front door.  “He’s here!  Get up now!” she said, going to answer the door.

Maggie swung open the door to find Bobby standing there, the boyish grin firmly in place.  “Hi, Maggie,” he greeted her.  “You look beautiful tonight.”

She blushed furiously.  “Wow, that’s nice of you to say,” she murmured.  “Come on in.  You look nice yourself.”  And he did.  He wore nicely fitting jeans with a white dress shirt and a navy jacket.  Her eyes drifted to his ass as he walked past her into the apartment and she breathed in the masculine scent of his cologne.  She shook her head, attempting to refocus.

“Thanks,” he said.  He lifted a small shopping bag.  “I brought some wine to contribute to the cause.”

“Great!  Michael ordered from Ithaka.  I have to admit, it smells heavenly,” she said.  “Let me just…” she began.  “Michael went to lie down.  I’ll just go get him up and moving.”

“No problem.  Can I pour you a glass of wine?” he asked.

“Yes, please, that would be great,” she answered.  “There are glasses in the bar.”  She pointed in that direction.  “We’ll be right out.”

Maggie hurried down the hall.  Michael was lying on his side facing away from the door.  “Sean Michael Rannigan!” she hissed.  “You get your ass out of bed this instant!”

He rolled onto his back and faced her.  “I’m staying put,” he yawned sleepily.  “Go and enjoy.  Bobby’s a good guy.  You could use a nice dinner with a nice man.”

She gasped as realization dawned on her.  “No way!  You’re doing this on purpose?!  Don’t you do this to me!  Don’t you embarrass me like this!”

“What embarrass?  Two adults having dinner.  What’s so hard about that?” he asked reasonably.  “I overextended myself today.  I’ll stay here and rest.  You’ll go and have a great evening with a great guy, who likes you by the way.”

Maggie stood staring at him wide-eyed.

“You’re leaving your guest unattended.  That’s kind of rude, Mags.”

She nodded angrily.  “This is so not the end of this conversation,” she said firmly and she turned to leave.

“And Mags?” he called.  “You’re welcome.”

RR3 review

RANSOMING REDEMPTION
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
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The entire Rannigan’s Redemption Collection
is available in one complete boxed set.
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Rannigan’s Redemption–Meet Maggie Flynn

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

In my last post, we met Michael Rannigan, the irresistible bad-boy title character.  Today, meet Maggie Flynn, the woman who causes Michael to question the way he lives his life.

About to graduate from law school, Maggie has her life all mapped out.  But when she sees Michael taking interviews at a job fair, she takes a chance, and he hires her nearly on the spot.

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

In this excerpt, Maggie meets Michael for the first time.

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.

RR1 review

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You can also find the entire trilogy in one complete boxed set.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption