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.

roman-kraft-208004

 

 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–LOST & BOUND

NEW Lost & Bound

In LOST & BOUND, Dream Dominant Book 2, spoiled Hollywood bad girl Shasta Pyke is sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario to cool her heels for a few weeks after she gets into trouble with the law.  She’s accustomed to getting her own way, but she’s met her match with Blake Walker.

Blake gave up his career to return home and help run his family’s remote guest lodge.  He’s none too impressed with the current sole client, but her bratty ways have him thinking that she might just be the baby girl his Daddy Dom soul has been looking for.

But seriously?  Shasta Pyke, the Hollywood star?  Is there any way she’d agree to gift him her submission?

               When they entered the Blue Moon Café, every head turned.  Rather than taking his usual seat at the counter, Blake led Shasta to a window table in the corner.  He seated her opposite himself as he sat with his back to the wall.

A waitress in a blue uniform greeted them with menus and glasses of water, and left them to decide on their lunch order.  “What looks good to you?” Blake asked.  “You should know, they make killer milkshakes.”  He grinned at her.

“Milkshakes?” she laughed.  “I haven’t had a milkshake in…forever.  I’m always in training for one role or another.”

He arched an eyebrow.  “You aren’t in training now.  You want a milkshake, don’t you?  Aw, come on.”  His face was mischievous.

“I don’t know…”

“Mm-hmm, let’s see.  Vanilla?”  He laughed.  “No way, my kitten’s not vanilla.  How about mint chocolate chip?”

Shasta chewed her lower lip as she tried to suppress a smile.

“Ha, mint chocolate chip it is!”  Blake smiled happily.  “I’ll order for you, kitten.  I like to do that.  I’ll get to know your tastes and make the choices, but for now, help me out a little.”

She giggled.  “Well, I guess a milkshake really doesn’t go with a salad.”

“Nope, I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of provincial law against milkshakes and salads being paired up.  I’m thinking a nice burger with fries.  Or maybe onion rings?”

Shasta laughed again.  “You are so bad!”

His chuckle was dark.  “You have no idea.”

“I think I have some idea.”

He grinned at that, taking her hand and kissing it.  “You do have some idea.  But I’ll keep you guessing.”

A different waitress approached their table.  “Hi, Blake.  Why are you way over here today?”  It was Donna, the flirt who worked the counter.

“We’re having a nice quiet lunch today.  Donna, this is Amy.  Amy, meet Donna.”  Blake watched the waitress’s eyes narrow.

“It’s nice to meet you, Donna,” Shasta murmured.

Donna just stared at her.

“Okay, we know what we’d like,” Blake plunged ahead.  “The lady will take a burger, well done, with provolone cheese, a side of onion rings, and a mint chocolate chip milkshake.  Make my cheese cheddar, a side of fries, and a chocolate fudge shake.”

Donna’s eyes flitted from Shasta to Blake and back again.  Shasta narrowed her eyes and leaned forward on the table, frowning.  The waitress hesitated for a moment longer, then turned and rushed away from the table.

“Don’t try to stare me down, bitch, because I will win every time,” Shasta muttered.

“Hey!”  Blake’s voice was low but stern.

“You saw her.  I don’t put up with that.”  She sat back and crossed her arms in front of her.

“She’s just jealous.  Donna flirts with me when I come in here.  I’ve never brought a woman in here before.”  Blake leaned across the table.  “She couldn’t be my kitten.  She’s not nearly strong enough.”

Reluctantly, Shasta smiled.  “No?  She’s not strong enough?”  She chewed her bottom lip again.  “And you think I am?”

“I know you are.”

Shasta giggled happily.  When their food arrived a short time later, it was brought by a different waitress.  Shasta groaned when she took her first sip of milkshake.  “Oh, my god, this is amazing!”

“Who’s your Daddy?” Blake laughed.

Shasta laughed, too.  They enjoyed their food without conversation for a few minutes.

“I appreciate you being willing to do the blood tests.  It’s just not safe to forego those.”

“I understand.”

He looked down.  “I’ve been with my fair share of women.  I’m a member of a club in Toronto.  Getting tested on a regular basis is required.  You really never know who will be there.  It’s rare to play with the same submissive more than once.”

“Submissive?  It’s a BDSM club?”  Her eyes were wide.

Blake nodded.  “You can imagine how difficult it is to find play partners out here in the boondocks.  The club makes it easy—everybody is there for the same reason.”

“So you…slept with…a lot of different girls?”

“We played, kitten.  Kind of like what you and I did last night.”

Shasta absorbed this information.  “Before you, I was with three other guys ever.”  He was watching her intently so she continued.  “I was sixteen when I lost my virginity to Jamie Duncan.”

“The pop singer?”  He leaned forward on his elbows.

Shasta nodded miserably.  “That was such a stupid idea.  I thought I knew everything.  Then, I dated Chip Felder, the guy from that crime show?  We were together for a little over a year.”  She sighed.  “And then, of course, there was Jeremy.”

“Do you ever go out with regular guys?”  His eyes sparkled with curiosity.

“I don’t meet regular guys.”

“Lucky me.”

“You’re not regular.”  She looked at him meaningfully.

Blake looked down at the table and laughed.  “No, I suppose not.”

Lost & Bound new cover 2

Get your copy of LOST & BOUND at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/LostandBound

Exciting News!

Hehehe, I’m so excited!  RESISTING RISK, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, is now LIVE, and for FREE, on a hot new platform.

bellesa

Bellesa is a classy, sex-positive website created exclusively with women in mind.  Looking for a little something to rev your engine?  And tired of those tacky, in-your-face porn sites for men?

Head on over to Bellesa.  They have HOT videos (and they’re FREE), and they have a library of erotic stories, which is where RESISTING RISK comes in.  I’m beyond honored that they deemed my story worthy of being included.

So check it out.  And pardon my happy dance!

Watch This Space–TELENOVELA by Sabrina Devonshire

Telenovela (eBook)11-11-17

Y’all, I cannot tell a lie.  I picked up my limited facility with Spanish while watching a hot telenovela out of Miami called Gata Salvaje.   And, well, the appeal is pretty obvious.

Steamy romance author Sabrina Devonshire just released a HOT new book called TELENOVELA.  Wondering what it’s about?

César is a famous Mexican Telenovela star. Women constantly throw themselves at him, and he’ll be into one for a short time before moving on. Long-term relationships spell danger for César. People he loves end up dead. That’s why Camila can never know she’s more to him than a one night stand. But he has to find a way to preserve their working relationship because the show must go on…

Camila nearly gave up her dream of becoming an actress. After three years of auditioning, all she has to show for it is a dead-end office job. Then, a business trip to Puerto Vallarta puts her in the right place at the right time. Suddenly, she’s a pampered star on The Sands of Time, one of Mexico’s hottest Telenovelas. Soon acting and reality become intertwined, as her co-star, César, is too hot to resist on set or off it. She knows César’s trouble, but what she doesn’t know is that her dalliance with him could be deadly.

Okay, I’m hooked.  How about a steamy teaser?

I’m walking barefoot close to the shoreline. The ocean waves crash and lap over my feet. The water’s cool, but refreshing. Even in March, it’s in the low 80s. The bright sun coats the endless stretch of sea with flickering diamonds. A few puffy clouds drift across the azure sky. I release a long, satisfied exhale. This is the best day I’ve had in so long. It feels amazing to be outdoors instead of confined to a windowless room.

People lounge in chairs under the bright blue umbrellas, sipping drinks from straws. Others stroll along the beach. Some of the children run across the sand, while others splash and play in the shallow water.

Like LA’s Venice Beach, here there are more male couples than heterosexual couples walking the beach. But on this Puerto Vallarta beach, they seem uninhibited and unconcerned that anyone will judge them. Wearing tight, colorful bikini briefs, the men openly kiss or hold hands with their partners. The energy of this place moves me. The tension that usually constricts my neck and shoulders has melted away. The slower pace of Mexico seems to be contagious. I feel happy and relaxed and so does everyone I see. The rushed pace of La La Land doesn’t exist here.

A Mexican guy greets me with a “Buenas tardes.” He probably thinks I’m a local.

I automatically answer in Spanish, glancing at him long enough to notice that he’s reasonably attractive. But then I notice the drop-dead gorgeous guy walking up behind him. Any woman’s gaze would be drawn toward him like a magnet. Wow. His beautifully shaped lips alone are enough to make me salivate. And I love his hair—shoulder-length and straight and thick enough to tangle your fingers in when you kiss him. Dios mío, what am I thinking. Giving his amazing body the once over doesn’t do a thing to help me clear my head. Maybe I should keep my gaze focused above his neck. His blue-green eyes, accented by thick brows, glance my way. My mouth falls open when he starts walking toward me. I look behind me to see if maybe there’s another woman there, but there isn’t. This is crazy.

Buenas tardes,” he says. “Cómo está?” He slows down. Not only is he greeting me, he’s trying to start a conversation with me.

My heart beats faster. Does he always talk to strangers? I guess if he wants to talk to random women on the beach, it should be easy enough. What woman wouldn’t talk to him? I’m surprised he doesn’t have a horde of them hovering, he looks so delectable. I clear my throat, not sure what to say. I stutter out a greeting. He continues speaking to me in Spanish.

“I’m César. Cómo se llama?”

Mucho gusto. I’m Camila.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Camila.” I like the sound of my name flowing off his lips. His full and very sexy lips. He extends a hand.

I reach out to shake it. Electricity shoots up my arm leaving me feeling lightheaded. My mouth must have fallen open. It’s been forever since I’ve felt attraction like this or even thought about a relationship or falling in love. There’s no time for men when your life is a non-stop financial struggle. I haven’t had a serious relationship since acting school.

“It’s great meeting you, too. Do you live here? Or are you visiting?” His voice is warm and inviting, his eyes so large and alive. The blue and green flecks in his irises remind me of the sea, the way they constantly change color.

“Visiting. I live in Los Angeles.”

“Oh, you live in America. Are you near Hollywood?”

I involuntarily clench my jaw. There’s no way I’m going to mention the seedy neighborhood I live in. “I live in a suburb not too far from there. How about you?”

“I grew up in Puerto Vallarta. Now I split my time between living here and in Mexico City.”

“I was born in Mexico City. My parents moved to the US when I was eight. Are you working here? Or are you on vacation?”

“I’m working as usual. We are here filming.”

“Filming? How interesting. The company I work for is here to film scenes for the American soap opera, Days and Nights of Desire.”

His eyes widen and when he smiles, I see a perfect row of sturdy white teeth. His smile ratchets his amazing looks up to a whole new level. The man’s gorgeous and he probably knows it. He must be an actor. Every woman in Mexico would die to watch whatever show he’s in.

César looks directly into my eyes. “I knew you were an actress. You have the look.”

My shoulders slump forward and I muffle my sigh. Wait until he finds out what I really am. “I wish. I studied to be an actress and auditioned for a part in this show, but I got offered a job as an office assistant.” I wait for him to politely end the conversation and make his escape.

He steps in closer and his brows draw together in disgust. “Office assistant? What were they thinking?”

More tingles race through my body at his nearness. His body is to die for. His black T-shirt stretches across his muscular chest and his rock-solid bicep and tricep muscles flex and bunch when he moves his hands expansively through the air as he talks. I shrug. “I didn’t fit their concept of evil seductress I guess.”

“The producer must be blind. You have what it takes to be a star, Camila. I recognized it the instant I saw you.”

He’s really laying it on thick. He must be trying to seduce me. Not that I mind all that much. At least he didn’t bolt when he heard I have a grunt job. “You’re very kind. How about you? Are you an actor?”

“Yes. I play the role of Juan in a Telenovela, The Sands of Time.”

“And you’re filming here?”

“Yes. We are shooting scenes of me meeting my next love interest.”

“That’s exciting.” I feel jealous just thinking about him entangled between the sheets with his co-star. Wouldn’t I like to have that job?

“It would be, but we have a very big problem. And I am thinking maybe you can help us solve it.” He gazes at me in a penetrating way that shows he’s analyzing not only my looks, but trying to see deeper. It takes my breath away.

There’s an awkward pause before I answer. “I-I’m not sure what you mean.”

“You’ll see in a minute. Please come with me.” He wraps his strong fingers around my forearm and gently tugs to urge me to come with him.

That touch sends another current of electricity ricocheting through my body. I want to be near him. Maybe I even crave the wild affair he seems after. But this is a very bad idea. César is a complete stranger. He could take me anywhere. “Oh, no, I really can’t. I don’t even know you.”

“I want you to meet some people. They’re under that row of umbrellas.” He points off in the distance. I’m not sure who he’s pointing toward because there are hundreds of umbrellas on this beach and almost every beach chair is full. But I shake off my fears. Meeting a group of people on this beach can’t be any more dangerous than taking a public bus in LA. César releases my arm and starts walking faster.

I speed up too, but my feet slip in the deep sand as I struggle to keep up with him. I manage to gasp out, “I don’t understand. Who do you want me to meet?”

“My movie crew, of course. You have the looks. And the personality we need. Your luck is about to change. You’re about to become the hottest new Mexican telenovela star.”

Telenovela Teaser 1 (PM)

Get your copy of TELENOVELA at these links:
Amazon
iBooks, Nook, Kobo & More

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

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

Weekend Excerpt–Luke & Bella

What’s the coolest job you can imagine?

Luke McGillicutty and Bella Grant were hired to jet all over the world and create a new television travel program.  With a virtually unlimited budget and free reign to find the stories in the cities they’re assigned to visit, it was the job of a lifetime.

Visiting places like Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Mykonos, staying in luxurious 5-star hotels, is it any wonder the veteran photographer and career journalist fall in love?

In this scene, Bella has had to travel back home to Birmingham to attend the funeral of her estranged father.  Unable to accompany her, Luke has agreed to finish up where they were, and to meet her at the next destination.  As it turns out, she’ll have a story to tell him when she gets there.

As Tre and Cornelia moved through the crowd, they were greeted with heartfelt wishes of condolence.  Bella and T-Nathan stayed on the outskirts of the crowd and made their way to the backyard, where the main gathering was meant to be.  The sky was bright blue and crystal clear, the temperature perfect for being outdoors.  Bella took a glass of wine from a passing server and sipped slowly.

“Well, kiddo, we’ve almost made it,” she said, winking at T-Nathan.  “When do you go back to school?”

He smiled at her.  “Next week,” he answered.  He seemed like he wanted to say more, so she waited, using her best interviewer arched eyebrow to encourage him.  “Hey Aunt Sissy, can I talk to you about something?”

“Of course,” she said, smiling warmly.  “What’s your old aunt for anyway?  What’s up?”

“Well, you know how I’ve been studying pre-law?  I’ve been thinking about changing my major.”

“Oh?” she asked, then waited.

“Yeah, um,” he said, blushing, “I’m thinking about journalism.  I want to do what you do.”  He looked at her directly.  “So what do you think?”

She thought, Your mother’s going to have a cow, but she answered, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do, travel and interview and that kind of thing?”  He nodded eagerly.

“Well, since you asked what I think…You should make journalism your minor, then continue with your pre-law or change to history or political science or economics or something else that you can bring to the table.  Any dumb ass can read the news.  You’re smarter than that.  And get involved with campus news in some way.  That’s valuable experience.”  She smiled at him.  “You know what, sometime when all the planets align, you need to come out with Luke and me, give it a try.”

“I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t be any good at it,” he said, blushing again.

“Are you kidding me?  Look at this mug,” she said, patting his cheek affectionately.  “All the girls will lose their mother-loving minds!”

“Aw, Aunt Sissy,” he laughed.  He hugged her clumsily and went to find his friends.

Bella smile as she watched him go.  He’s such a good kid, she thought.  A server walked by and she snagged another glass of wine.  Last one, she warned herself.  She began to make her way around the gathering, accepting kind words from the guests.  She was aware of more than one disapproving look at her dress from the matrons in attendance, and more than one leer from the husbands of said matrons.   She began to feel the need to get away.

It seemed ironic to go inside to get fresh air, but that’s what she did.  Beyond the kitchen, which was a beehive of activity, the house was quiet and she made her way to Tre’s study with its dark paneled walls and oxblood red leather chesterfield sofas.  She stood at the window sipping her wine and watching the scene outside.

“Well, pretty lady, I wondered where you’d gone.”

Bella whirled around to see Mitchell, he of the wake last night.  “You startled me,” she said.

“Oops,” he smiled.  “Didn’t mean to do that.”  He had an odd look on his face and Bella didn’t like the feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“I just needed to get away from the crowd for a minute.  I think I’ll go back now,” she said evenly.

“What’s your hurry?” he asked, eyes on her breasts.  “I was hoping we could talk about old times.”  He put down his glass and crossed the room toward her, blocking her from moving away from the window.

“Have you been drinking a lot, Mitchell, because you’re making me uncomfortable,” she told him.

He laughed darkly.  “Oh, no, I want to make you very comfortable.”  He reached out to stroke her arm, putting his other arm around her waist.  “You’ve just been through a difficult time and I want to comfort you,” he whispered.  She could smell the bourbon on his breath.

“Okay, Mitchell, I’ve really got to go now,” she said, trying to move past him.

With his hand on the small of her back, he pulled her closer and he moved the other hand, reaching inside her dress and fondling her breast.

Without thinking, she slapped his face hard.  “Let. Me. The fuck. Go!” she hissed at him.

“Baby, the fuck is just what I have in mind, and you are turning me on!” he growled, leaning in to kiss her.

“Will not happen!” she answered, and she brought up her knee as hard as she could into his groin.  Mitchell went down like a sack of hammers.  Bella stepped over him and left the room hastily.

In the hallway she met Tre.  “Sissy, we were looking for you,” he said.  “Are you alright?”

“I just needed some air,” she answered sharply.

“Are you ready to go to the airport?” he asked.

“Hell, yes, I’m ready,” she said.  “By the way, your friend Mitchell just groped me.  I knocked his balls up into his sinus cavity.  I hope he hurts for a long time.”

Tre shook his head and sighed.  “Always an adventure, Sissy.  Let me go throw out the son of a bitch, then we’ll go, okay?”

Luke & Bella new cover 1

LUKE & BELLA, the first book in the Dream Dominant Collection,
is available at this universal link:
books2read.com/LukeAndBella

Watch the official book trailer: