Weekend Excerpt–RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well, I…” the man floundered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Which case did you choose?” asked Michael.

“People v. Lawson.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE

With Maggie gone, Michael’s just running rogue.

RUNNING ROGUE is the second book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.

At the end of the first book, lawyer Maggie Flynn makes a heartbreaking decision. With her attraction to her boss, high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, all but hopeless, and her growing discontent with her work at the firm, she opts to walk away.

Devastated, Michael begins to make questionable choices, as does Maggie, both professionally and personally. One night of passion tore them apart. One rainy night will bring them together.

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.

Maggie 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 briefcase, 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, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 2 by Pandora Spocks

RUNNING ROGUE
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
Why not start at the beginning?
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION
It’s not going where you think it is.

High-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan has burned every bridge he ever crossed. Call it nature, call it nurture, he’s an inveterate player, and he’s always looked out for number one, first and foremost.

Meeting fellow lawyer Maggie Flynn impacted his life in ways he could never imagine, but even her love couldn’t change the man he’s always been.

Which is why, in RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption, Michael begins to feel the need for redemption for all the havoc he’s wreaked in his life, for all the bodies he’s left in his wake. If only he could make it up to Maggie in some small way, maybe he’d find some peace for the turmoil in his soul.

By the time readers get to this last chapter in the story of Michael and Maggie, they have different reactions. Many have suggested that I work some kind of deal with a tissue manufacturer, a way you can buy the book and get a box of tissues for free, LOL. One said that I broke the rules of romance, but she was willing to let it go because she loved the characters. I’ve also gotten a bad review or two simply because the reader didn’t like where the story went.

The truth is that Michael’s and Maggie’s journeys always were what they are. A just tapped it out on the keys of my laptop. My hope is that ultimately, readers are satisfied. I love Michael and Maggie so much. They’re forever in my heart. Why not let them into yours?

Here’s a snippet from the finale of Rannigan’s Redemption.

After work, Maggie stopped to pick up some more chicken soup.  She hated getting the same thing every day, but at least she knew Michael would eat it.  Yesterday, he’d had his last chemo appointment for this round.  She hoped that he’d be feeling a little better today.

As she let herself into his apartment she could hear baseball on the television and she felt a flash of annoyance.  Any time of the day or night, there’s always baseball.  Then she smiled to herself.  Baseball is only interesting if there’s a certain bayou boy involved.

Still smiling to herself as she rounded the corner into the living room, her gaze fell on Michael, and she stopped dead in her tracks. 

“Holy.  Fucking.  Shit.  Sean Michael Rannigan, what in the hell have you done?”

He grinned up at her.  “Hey, Mags!  I shaved.”  Michael was completely bald, his scalp pink and shiny in the afternoon sun that streamed in through the windows.  Speechless, she walked to him and smoothed her hand across the top of his head and down the back of it.

 “Why?  Why on earth would you do that?” she breathed as she sank beside him onto the sofa.

He looked down and she saw his jaw tighten.  “I woke up this morning and found loose hair on my pillow.  In the shower, it came out by the handful.”  He glanced back up at her.  “I just wanted…” he trailed off.  Maggie placed her hand on his arm.  “I just wanted to control something.  Since this whole thing started I haven’t had any control.”  He ran his hand over his head and grinned.  “Until now.  If I’m going to lose my hair, I’m going to lose all of it, and on my own terms.”

Maggie couldn’t help smiling.  “Well,” she said as she stood, “you have a very nice head.”  She leaned down and planted a light kiss right on top. 

“How are you feeling?” she asked as she headed into the kitchen.

“A little better, actually.  That soup smells good.”

She returned carrying a tray with his dinner.  “Glad to hear it.  Because guess what?  You will be joining us for Easter brunch on Sunday.”

“I don’t know, Mags.”  Michael shook his head doubtfully.  “Besides, you and Beau should enjoy it by yourselves.”

“Bobby is in Louisiana.  The ‘us’ to whom I refer means me, Ben and Nate, Rance and Jason, Kevin and whoever he’s bringing, and a few others.”

Michael looked doubtful.  “I’m not sure I’m up to going out.”

“You need to get out and get some fresh air, Michael.  You’ve been cooped up too long.  Take advantage of feeling better and come to brunch.  I’ll pick you up, and we can go together.”  She glanced at him sideways.  “You’d better find a hat, though.”

RANSOMING REDEMPTION by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 2

With Maggie gone, Michael’s just running rogue.

At the end of RESISTING RISK, the first book of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his associate (and recent lover) Maggie Flynn have gone their separate ways.

Left to their own devices, they’re each making questionable decisions, both professionally and personally. Michael has burned every bridge he ever crossed. Then he gets news that brings him to his knees.

Out of desperation, he turns to the only one who really understands him. Maggie is the one person still willing to give him the time of day, even after he worked her over like he’s done everyone else in his life. If only there was some way of giving back to her, maybe he could find…redemption.

Here’s a teaser from RUNNING ROGUE, Book 2 of Rannigan’s Redemption.

Maggie seemed nervous.  Bobby wondered if going along with Michael’s plan had been a good idea.  It seemed wrong to trick Maggie into having dinner with him.  He recognized the skittishness in her soul, probably because he had the same in his own. 

Somewhere along the way, someone hurt you, cher.  He could see it in her eyes.  And he knew that since the day he’d cleaned and bandaged her knee, he wanted, no he needed, to take care of Maggie.

He watched her settle on the huge leather couch and he sat beside her as they sipped their wine.  The only sound filling the huge room was the light jazz that played quietly.  Maggie fidgeted absently with the hem of her silver sequin skirt. 

“That’s a great skirt,” Bobby said.  “You look very pretty tonight.”  And she did.  But closer to the truth was that the skirt was maddenly short and combined with the clingy grey sweater that did nothing to camouflage her tight perky nipples, she was more than pretty.  She was sexy as hell.

She blushed furiously.  “I wasn’t sure what to wear.  I mean, Michael said…”  She stopped abruptly and looked up at him, eyes wide.  “Oh, I owe you such a huge apology!”

Bobby frowned at the unexpected turn in conversation.  “What do you mean?”

Maggie placed her wine on the coffee table and turned to face him.  “Yesterday at the hospital I said some amazingly stupid, ignorant things, and I want to apologize.” 

Bobby grinned as he recalled the conversation.  “I had no idea.  When we got back here last night, the first thing Michael did was turn on the television and there you were.  He told me that before you came to New York you played professional ball.” 

Maggie rolled her eyes.  “When I think of the stupid things I said…  Bobby, I am so sorry.”

He chuckled heartily.  “That was my favorite part of yesterday.  You don’t need to apologize for a thing.  You said exactly what you thought.”

“Yes, but I never would have said all those things if I’d known,” she gushed.  “You aren’t at all like the athletes I was talking about, by the way.  Maybe I’ve just had bad experiences.”

Bobby nodded, his blue eyes sparkling.  “That would be my guess,” he said quietly.

They chatted over the shrimp appetizers, making polite small talk.  While Maggie took the chicken out of the warmer and brought it to the table in the solarium, Bobby removed his jacket, placing it over the back of the couch, and refilled their wine. 

Out in the solarium he and Maggie sat across from each other at the elegantly set table, the candles and twinkling lights from the terrace bathing the room in a soft romantic glow.  They ate in silence for a few minutes appreciating the delicious dinner. 

Bobby was enjoying the dinner but nothing compared to simply watching Maggie.  She was so pretty in a completely unaffected way, almost as if she was unaware of her beauty.  He took in her petite frame with her delicious curves and wondered how she’d feel in his arms.  His gaze drifted to her pale pink lips and he ached to taste them.

Maggie glanced up to see Bobby smiling at her and her heart skipped a beat.  She felt herself flush and to cover for it she said, “I’m so sorry I didn’t know who you were.  I feel like a complete dumbass.”

Bobby used his napkin to dab at his mouth and he leaned back in his chair.  “I found it very refreshing, cher.  I come across a lot of women who meet me on purpose.  They’re interested in the famous ‘Beau’ Beaulieu.”  He made air quotes with his fingers.

Maggie frowned slightly.  “You told me your name is Bobby.”

“People started calling me Beau in high school.  It stuck through college and into the pros.  Only people who don’t know me call me that.  My family and close friends call me Bobby.”

She smiled at that revelation, happy to be in the minority.  He smiled back at her.  Maggie sipped her wine shyly. 

“Hell, even my ex-wife calls me Beau.  When she’s not calling me something less civilized.  Of course, we met at the stadium.  I should have known better,” he grinned sadly.

“You were married, then,” Maggie said.

Bobby nodded.  “Yep, I was for a few years.”  He sipped his wine.  “A marriage can’t really survive infidelity, at least in my experience.”

“Wow,” she said thoughtfully.  “I suppose that being on the road weeks at a time, tons of women throwing themselves at you…  That must present a lot of temptation.”

Amusement twinkled in his eyes.  “Is that what you think?  That I cheated on her?”  He laughed lightly.  “I came home off the road to find her in bed with the rookie we’d just drafted.”  He nodded at Maggie’s amazed look.  “Yep, she traded me in on a newer model.”

Maggie flushed deep red.  “Once again, I open my mouth and jump right in with both feet.  I am so terribly sorry for being such a sexist, for assuming…”  She shook her head.  “Please forgive me.”

“Your mouth is very endearing, cher,” he laughed.  “There’s no need to apologize, it was a natural assumption.  To be sure, in my younger days I took advantage of the chick buffet we found everywhere we went,” he smiled ruefully.

“Chick buffet?” Maggie laughed.

“Ah, yes, the veritable smorgasbord of warm and willing women who are attracted to guys who get in the papers every once in a while.  But when I married Deanna it was for keeps as far as I was concerned.”  He smiled sadly.  “She was in it until the next thing came along.”  Bobby sighed.

“I’m so sorry, Bobby,” Maggie said quietly.  “That must have been rough.”

“Yeah, my confidence took a real hit.  I don’t regret it though, being married.  My daughter is the light of my life.”

“Your daughter?” Maggie’s eyes widened.  Bobby has a kid?

Bobby watched her carefully.  “Is it a bad thing that I’m a dad?”

“No, of course not, it’s great.  It’s just…I never even thought about it,” Maggie shrugged.

“Would you like to see a picture?”

 “Yes, please,” she nodded.

Bobby took out his phone and scrolled for a moment.  “This is me and Savannah right before I left Arlington.  We went to the zoo.”  He passed the phone to Maggie and she saw Bobby with a smiling little girl with blonde hair and huge blue eyes.

She smiled too.  “She’s adorable.  Savannah?”  Bobby nodded.  “A beautiful name.  How old is she?”

He smiled proudly.  “Just turned five.  She’s a hot mess, is what she is.  That was a good day.”

Maggie passed back the phone.  “She has your eyes,” she observed quietly.

“How about you?” he asked.  “Any kids or former spouses?”

“None that I know of,” she quipped, laughing.  “Kids?  Not even close.  I was engaged briefly.”  Bobby watched a frown flit across her face.

“What happened?” he asked.

Maggie sighed.  “I realized I didn’t love him,” she said, glancing up at Bobby suddenly.  “It sounds bad, I know.  But I never did love him.”  She stalled, sipping her wine.  Bobby waited quietly for her to continue.  “He was…not very nice, actually.”

Bobby’s eyes narrowed.  “Did he hurt you, cher?”  He could feel his protective nature kicking into overdrive.

She shook her head.  “God, no, he never put a hand on me or anything.  He just…” she looked out into the night, “he said things that made me doubt myself.”  She looked at him, gauging whether to say more.  Bobby returned her gaze, his clear blue eyes filled with compassion.  “He said…not nice things,” her voice almost a whisper.

“Son of a bitch,” Bobby muttered under his breath.

“So you met his mother,” Maggie said to lighten the mood, and they both quietly laughed.

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

Rannigan’s Redemption is
RESISTING RISK
RUNNING ROGUE
RANSOMING REDEMPTION

It’s also available in one boxed set.
Treat yourself to epic contemporary romance today!

Weekend Excerpt–A Different Kind of Christmas

It’s Orphans & Misfits Christmas 2.0,
this time at Michael’s place.
My, how times have changed.

The RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION trilogy is the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart redhead he hired to join his elite law firm. The three books span nearly a decade of their lives, and in this snippet from the third book, RANSOMING REDEMPTION, life has taken some big detours.

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.

“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.”

Taking her hand, he kissed it gently.  “Let’s go get a breath of fresh air.”  He stood and held her hand, helping her up, and they let themselves out onto the terrace.  The cool air was a nice change from the warmth of the crowded apartment.  They walked to the railing and stood side by side looking out over the city with its sparkling lights and flurrying snow.

“It’s such a beautiful night,” Bobby murmured, and Maggie nodded, tucking her arm around his and resting her head on his shoulder.  “Such a beautiful lady.”

She looked up at him, and he kissed her lightly.  “When I think back on that day that your shoe broke,” he looked down and she giggled, “that seems like the luckiest day of my life.  I think of all the things that had to happen for us to meet at that moment.”  He gazed down at her.  “It’s like it was meant to be.”

He took both Maggie’s hands in his and faced her.  “I love you with all my heart.  I don’t ever want to know a day without you in my life.”  His eyes glittered with emotion and he slowly lowered himself to one knee.  Maggie’s jaw dropped, and her eyes widened.

“So I’m asking…Maggie, will you marry me?”

Maggie felt all the breath leave her body.  In a mad rush, memories from the last few years swirled through her mind, her infatuation with Michael, her engagement to Mike, her resolve to remain alone, that day she and Bobby had met. 

She looked down into Bobby’s eyes and saw a twinge of anxiety and realized she hadn’t answered.  Unable to formulate the words, she nodded vigorously as tears filled her eyes.  Two things happened simultaneously.  Relief instantly flooded Bobby’s face, and raucous cheers went up from the crowd who’d pressed up against the living room windows to watch.

“You had me worried for a minute there, cher,” he laughed.  He reached into his pocket and removed a small midnight blue velvet box.  Opening it, he removed something and slid it onto Maggie’s left ring finger.  “You’ve made me the happiest man in the world.”  He stood and gazed down into her eyes before lifting her chin and kissing her passionately.  Again, their audience cheered loudly.

“Bobby, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Maggie said.  “I love it!”

He laughed.  “You can’t even see it.  I hadn’t counted on it being so dark out here.  Come on, let’s go on inside.”

Hand in hand, they went back inside the apartment to the hearty congratulations of their friends.  In the light of a lamp beside Michael, Maggie and Bobby looked at the ring.  The band of delicate platinum filigree held a huge emerald-cut diamond surrounded by dozens of smaller diamonds. 

“Oh, Bobby,” she gasped.  “It’s unbelievably beautiful.  So delicate and vintage-looking.”  She turned and threw her arms around his neck.  “I love it!”

“Oh, for God’s sake, can we finally open the champagne?” Ben called out.  As champagne was poured and glasses were passed around, Maggie looked down at Michael who had a Cheshire grin on his face.

“This is the gift Bobby showed you?” she said, tilting the ring his way.  Realization dawned on her.  “And it wasn’t leftover champagne?  And this is why nobody would leave?”

“Everybody except you knew this was an engagement party, Mags,” he said quietly.

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I said yes,” she said.

“Oh, like you would have said no,” Casey quipped, and everyone laughed.

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION by Pandora Spocks

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION is:
RESISTING RISK
RUNNING ROGUE
RANSOMING REDEMPTION
The books are available individually or as a boxed set.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–Christmas With the Orphans & Misfits

Michael Rannigan had his life arranged
exactly the way he wanted it.
Meeting Maggie Flynn changed everything
in ways he could never even imagine.

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION is the three-novel story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the new lawyer he hires to join his elite firm.

She’s nothing like the women he dates. She’s way too smart, for one thing. And he prefers blondes, too, the more like Barbie, the better.

But there’s something about this spunky redhead he just can’t get out of his mind.

Maggie knows her crush on Michael is all but hopeless. For now, she’s content to work with him as they defend the rich and famous clients who rely on Michael and his team.

Here’s a holiday teaser from the first book in the trilogy, RESISTING RISK:

“Maggie, is the turkey ready?” Casey asked.

Maggie checked the clock and shook her head.  “No way, it has at least another hour, then it has to rest.  We can put in the beans and the stuffing when it comes out.  Nate, how do we reheat the red beans and rice?”

As Nate answered Maggie’s question, Ben wandered over to the window.  The buzzer rang again.  Ben glanced at Maggie in the kitchen.  “Somebody’s buzzing downstairs, Flynn.”

Casey was helping Maggie turn the turkey around in the oven.  “Well can you please buzz them in?  I’m a little busy here.”

Ben pressed the buzzer but made no move to open the apartment door.  About a minute later there was a knock.  The others were engrossed in the football game.  Ben stayed put.  “Somebody’s at the door, Flynn.”

“Oh for God’s sake, I’ll just drop everything and get it myself,” said Maggie, tossing down pot holders in exasperation.

Maggie flung open the door to find Michael standing in the hallway.  He grinned sheepishly.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

She blinked, confused.  “Michael, I…I mean, Merry Christmas.  But what…Shouldn’t you be in St. Bart’s?”

“I got snowed in.  My flight was cancelled.  I have a charter later on, but I thought I’d stop by here.  Do you have room for another orphan?”

A slow smile spread across her face.  “Of course, there’s always room.  Come on in.”

Maggie turned to find that everyone in the apartment was watching the two of them.  “Everyone, this is Michael.  Michael, everyone.”

“Hello, Merry Christmas,” he greeted the group.  To Maggie, “I brought wine.  I wasn’t sure…”

“Wine is perfect, thanks,” she told him.  Waving toward the kitchen she said, “Help yourself to something to drink.  We’ve been enjoying the munchies out of your gift basket.  Dinner will probably be another hour or so.”  She smiled at him.  “I’m so glad you’re here.  Shocked, but glad.”

After he dropped his coat and his suitcase in Maggie’s bedroom with the other coats, Michael got a beer for himself and settled in the living room, striking up a conversation with the guys watching football.  Casey sidled up to Maggie in the kitchen.  “You didn’t tell me Mr. Wonderful was coming.”

“I didn’t know Michael was coming.  He’s supposed to be in the Caribbean.  With someone, you understand, nobody goes to the Caribbean alone.”

“Maybe.  But he’s here now.”

Michael relaxed on the couch and looked around appreciatively at all the activity.  Maggie and Casey were       in the kitchen along with a couple he didn’t know.  There was an older woman chatting with Nate from the firm.  Several others were watching football.  Everyone seemed happy and at home. 

“This is nice,” he commented to Ben.  “It feels like a scene from Rent.”

Ben smirked.  “Viva la vie Boheme!” he raised his beer.

Michael chuckled and raised his beer as well.  “La vie Boheme.”

Dinner was served on three tables pushed together in the middle of the living room.  Plates were filled buffet-style in the kitchen.  Ben insisted that Maggie toast before they ate. 

She raised her glass of wine.  “I feel like the luckiest girl.  I’m here celebrating the holiday with my most favorite people in the entire world.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.  Merry Christmas!”

After everyone ate as much as they could, the guys agreed to do all the clean-up.  Maggie supervised returning the tables to their proper places then sank onto the sofa, resting her feet on the coffee table.

“What about the dessert, Flynn?” Ben asked when the leftovers were packed up.

“Let’s be informal.  Grab some if you want some.  I want to do presents,” Maggie said.  Michael brought her a fresh glass of wine.  She looked up at him, grinning in appreciation, and patted the space beside her.

“I’ll sit on the floor, I don’t mind,” he said, sliding to a spot beside her feet.

“Now the way this works is, everyone takes a number.  We go in order starting at 1.  Number 1 picks first.  Number 2 can pick a new present or steal from Number 1.  Everybody got it?” Ben asked.  Maggie watched in amusement as some played shyly while others were cut-throat. 

“What’s this?” Michael asked quietly.  She looked down to see him holding an ornament from the tree.  It was a small red glass ball held by a green paper cone.  Her name was spelled out in glitter. 

“I think I was about six when I made that,” she smiled.  “The Christmas ornaments were some of the few things I took from my dad’s house.”

He grinned.  “I like it.”

When the gifts were over, Maggie had a new hand-crocheted toilet-roll cover.  Michael had a $10 gift card to Starbucks.  “Guess somebody didn’t get the memo,” he quipped so that only Maggie heard, and she giggled softly. 

He winked and leaned close.  “Mags, I should be making my way to the airport.”

“Okay,” Maggie sighed.  “I’ll walk you out.”  She got her coat and hat while he said his goodbyes.  “I’ll be right back,” she said to Casey as they headed out of the apartment.  They walked down the stairs without chatting.

Once out on the sidewalk, Michael turned and faced her.  “I had a great time, Mags.  Thanks for inviting me.”  He glanced up.  “We have an audience, by the way.”  He waved at the crowd gathered in Maggie’s front window.

She looked up at them, scowling.  “Come on,” she said, turning right and heading down the sidewalk.  She stopped just around the corner.

Michael smiled.  “Thanks.  I just wanted to say goodbye privately.  I brought you a gift but I didn’t want to give it to you in there.”  He pulled a small flat box from his pocket.  It was light blue, tied with a white ribbon.

Maggie’s eyes widened.  “Sean Michael Rannigan, you did not!”

“How did you know the S stands for Sean?”

She shrugged.  “Everyone knows it’s Sean.  I can’t believe you went to Tiffany…”  She stopped and looked up at him, smiling sadly.  “This wasn’t for me.  This is supposed to be for someone else.”

“No, Mags, this is for you,” he said earnestly.  “I mean, to be honest, I went there yesterday looking for something for Jana.”

“What, Toys R Us and GapKids were closed?” Maggie quipped.

“Ah-hah-hah, you’re very funny.  I found a little trinket to give to Jana, but then I turned and saw this.  All I could think was that you should have it.  It’s for you, Mags.”

Curious, Maggie slowly pulled the white ribbon and lifted the lid.  In the box resting on light blue velvet was a delicate silver bracelet.  It had a vintage look to it with large rectangular milky white cabochons alternating with trios of small round diamonds surrounded by platinum filigree.  She looked back up at Michael, eyes wide.

“Those are moonstones,” he said proudly.  “This was in the vintage case.  It was made in 1915.”  He gazed at the bracelet.  “It’s graceful and classy, just like you.”

“I don’t know what to say, Michael.  I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.  Will you help me put it on?”

He lifted the bracelet from the box and as Maggie held out her left hand he fastened it around her wrist.  She held it out and watched it catch the natural light.  As she did, she noticed a tiny platinum tag hanging from the clasp.  Peering closer she saw that it was engraved.  To Maggie, From Michael. 

“See?  I told you it was for you.”  She looked back up at him, eyes shining, and as she did, a gust of wind caught some stray hair, blowing it across her face.  Michael gently moved the errant strands, tucking them behind her ear.  Without planning it at all, he planted a tender kiss on her lips. 

He moved back slightly as Maggie looked up at him, eyes shining with desire.  He leaned into her again, the kiss this time all heat and passion.  She brought her left hand up to cradle his right cheek, her desire matching his.  When he stopped kissing her, he pulled her close, tucking her under his chin and they stood like that for a moment. 

Finally, he gently set her back from him.  She looked up, the sad glint once again in her eyes.  After all, he was leaving her to go to someone else.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

“Merry Christmas, Michael.”

RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 3

Rannigan’s Redemption…
It’s not going where you think it is.

This weekend excerpt comes from the third and final book of the Rannigan’s Redemption series, RANSOMING REDEMPTION.

By this time in their story, Michael and Maggie have known each other for the better part of ten years. And although Michael has treated her the way he’s treated everyone else in his life, Maggie has chosen to stand by his side through the most daunting challenge he’s ever faced.

The fact that he owes her isn’t lost on Michael. So he begins to create a plan to repay her kindness. Maggie is the most selfless person he’s ever met. She’s content to make do with what she has while she makes sure Michael is alright.

In Book 2, RUNNING ROGUE, Michael seems to have been successful in making sure Maggie at least gives retired baseball legend Bobby Beaulieu a chance.

But he wonders…is that enough to gain redemption for all the wrong he’s done over the years? Is there more he could do?

So he sets a scheme into motion.

This snippet is from RANSOMING REDEMPTION.

Standing in the empty parlor three steps down from the entry, Maggie’s gaze traveled from the intricately designed hardwood floors to the crisp white crown molding, halting in amazement on the ornate stone federalist fireplace.  Winnie was giving a running narrative though Maggie only half heard her.  “Now you’ll notice lots of original details throughout this property.”
            “When was this house built?” Michael asked. 
            “Got to be late 1800s,” Maggie murmured thoughtfully.
            “1890 to be precise,” said Winnie sounding pleased.  “You know your architecture.  It’s believed that it was originally built to be the home of a gentleman’s mistress.  He set her up in grand style.”
            Maggie giggled.  “Ooh, how scandalous!  What an interesting history.”  She walked the perimeter of the room.  “Michael, do you see the wood inlay in the floor all around the edge?” she asked, stooping to lightly caress the design.  “This is just exquisite.”
            She turned to Michael suddenly.  “You’re not seriously considering moving?”
            He shook his head.  “Nah, this would be an investment.  I wanted your opinion on the place, though.”  Crossing to a bay window that overlooked the sidewalk and street, he sank onto the seat and put his oxygen back in.  “How about you look it over for me and see what you think.”
            Winnie nodded.  “If you go on back, you’ll see they’ve upgraded the kitchen while keeping the original style of the place intact.”
            Maggie continued down the hallway past a formal dining room and into the kitchen.  As Winnie had said, it was spacious and open, boasting high-end stainless-steel appliances and stone counter tops, but nothing overpowered the original stone floor and fireplace.  At the end of the room was a space for a breakfast table and beyond that, tall vintage French doors. 
            “Oh, Michael, there’s a yard back here,” she called, letting herself out into a small gravel courtyard dominated by a huge old oak tree and edged by landscaping beds.  There are probably tulip and daffodil bulbs that pop up in the spring, Maggie mused.  The brick walls of the garden were covered with ivy. 
            She returned to the parlor.  “Michael, this is absolutely amazing.”
            “You like it, then?” he asked, seeming pleased.
            “It’s beautiful.  Maybe you should think about moving,” she said.
            “You haven’t seen the upstairs yet,” Winnie reminded her.  “This house has four bedrooms and four and a half baths.  The master suite takes up the entire second floor.  Two bedrooms are on the third floor, and there’s a smaller attic bedroom at the top.  Oh, and the basement is finished.  It’s perfect for a home office or a gym.”
            Maggie had just started up the stairs when Michael called from the window seat.  “Hey, Mags?  Do you have a couple of dollars?”
            “A couple of dollars?”
            “Yeah.  I want to buy a newspaper.”
            “Michael, I’ll buy you a paper on the way home.”
            “There’s a little store on the corner,” he hooked his thumb toward the window, “I just forgot my wallet.  Can you loan me some money?”
            Maggie returned to the living room.  “Oh, for fu-,” she glanced at Winnie, “I mean, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered as she dug though her purse.  “Here’s five bucks.  Honestly, I would be happy to get your paper when we’re finished here.”
            Michael flashed his best grin.  “Thanks, Mags.  By the way, can you sign as a witness?  I’ve decided to buy the house.”
            Maggie frowned at the document in his hand.  “We haven’t even looked at the rest of it yet.”
            “I’ve seen the pictures.  And judging by the way you like this floor, I’m thinking this is a good deal.”
            She took the document from him, her brow furrowed in thought. 
            “Maggie, wait until you see the claw foot tubs in the bathrooms,” Winnie said.  “And they’ve maintained the vintage tile on the floors and walls.”  Maggie looked up from the contract.
            “Just sign below me, Mags,” Michael said, pointing to the line.  Distractedly, she took the pen from him and quickly signed her name as Winnie continued talking.
            “And the master suite has its own original fireplace similar to the one down here.  Let me show you.”
            Taking one last look at Michael, Maggie dutifully followed the realtor up the stairs.  Michael smiled smugly to himself.
            On the ride back to the east side, Maggie couldn’t stop talking about the house.  “Michael, it’s an amazing find.  A townhouse from the 1890s in such pristine condition?  It’s absolutely beautiful.”  She looked at him sharply.  “What about your newspaper?”
            Michael waved dismissively.  “Oh, I changed my mind.”
            Maggie shook her head.  “Unbelievable.  And I can’t get over you making an appointment to buy a house on Christmas Eve.  Who does that?”

RANSOMING REDEMPTION by Pandora Spocks

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

But you’ll want to start at the beginning.
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 2

It’s not going where you think it is…

Rannigan’s Redemption is a contemporary erotic romance law drama. It’s the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the new law school grad he hires to join his elite firm.

This excerpt comes from Book 2, RUNNING ROGUE. In the second book, things have changed. Michael and Maggie have gone their separate ways, and they’re each making questionable choices, both professionally and personally.

Here’s a teaser. **Warning–Spoilers abound.**

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.”

RUNNING ROGUE by Pandora Spocks

RUNNING ROGUE is available at Amazon.
You can also purchase the entire
Rannigan’s Redemption Boxed set.

Exclusively for Apple readers…

Rannigan’s Redemption is available at Apple Books under the titles
TEMPTATION, DESPERATION, and REDEMPTION.
Book 1 is even FREE!
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HOT Pre-Order from Lilah E. Noir!

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Title: Unorthodox Union

Series: The Unorthodox Trilogy, Book #3

Author: Lilah E. Noir

Release Date: December 15th, 2018

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No other woman could understand me like you. We know all we’ve been through, Lina, and I remember every scar on your body and soul.

LINA
We were together in the darkest pits of hell.
He cleansed me through the cruelty of pain and led me to my bliss.
I’m exactly where I belong.
A leader in the boardroom and a purring submissive for Thomas.
When the right chance comes along… do we dare reach for the stars?

THOMAS
I have the woman of my dreams and a chance for a new beginning.
Lina faced all of me, my dark, ugly and violent sides, yet she chose to stay.
She restored my lost balance and helped me find peace with who I am.
I’ve never been so happy… and that’s what scares me the most.
After all we have been through, can we have it all?

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Purchase Links

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU

Universal Link

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Do you want to get a taste of the trilogy?

Download its prequel for free today. It’s a limitless offer.

It can be read as a standalone.

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He was a Dominant on training wheels. She was a wild masochistic kitten and more than he bargained for.
Thomas has reached his breaking point.
Work, studies, lust for his sexy boss, his own kinky urges are driving him insane.
He’s sick of hiding.
In walks Kat. Sassy, creative, submissive to the bone and a hot mess of epic proportions.
The first girl who ever craved his punishing spanking, dominant touch and rough lovemaking.
What happens when her life begins falling apart?
Can Thomas put it back together with strict rules and iron discipline?
Is he strong enough to save her from herself?

Unorthodox Dom is 30,000 words erotic romance novella featuring hot, erotic action, a Dominant new to the lifestyle, a bratty submissive in need of a firm hand and a badass Dominatrix. Not a menage, no cheating. The story takes place four years prior the events in the Unorthodox Trilogy but it can be read as a standalone. Bonus material – Chapter 1 of Unorthodox Therapy.

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If the book is not free yet in your local Amazon store download it here.

(Your e-mail won’t be collected if you download it there.)

The #Giveaway Continues until December 15th

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The rest of the Unorthodox Trilogy

Unorthodox Therapy, Book #1

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She was his boss at work and his submissive at all times.
LINA
I’d never noticed him before.
He was just a lonely, scared boy when I hired him.
I was too busy to notice the lust in his eyes.
Now I’m at his feet begging for every bit of pleasure and pain he’ll unleash on me.
THOMAS
She enthralled me.
Her body. Her mind. Her wicked laughter and unreadable eyes.
She was out of my league yet I knew what she longed for.
I only had two months to kill her nicotine addiction and make her crave me.
I’d use every trick I had to claim her as mine.

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Purchase Links

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU

Universal Link

Unorthodox Chemistry, Book #2

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He was her Master, lover and the only man who truly knew her. She was his pet, best friend and the love of his life. Sometimes that’s not enough.
LINA
He’s gone.
His absence hurts more than any whip.
Thomas saw me for who I was.
Strong on the outside, fractured and vulnerable on the inside.
Every day I struggle to rebuild my life.
I miss him. His rough passion and his affection.
I know we’ll never be together again, I even tried to move on…
… and then one invitation changed everything.
Do I dare to say no to the greatest temptation?
THOMAS
I had to walk away.
Lina paid dearly for my mistakes.
She needs to heal and all that’s left for me is to wait.
In the dark, with nothing but my demons and sins to keep me company.
The memory of her is a bittersweet torture, one I didn’t think I could ever escape…
A year later, at the kinkiest club in town, I saw her. On the arm of another man.
May the seduction begin.

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Lilah E. Noir is an author of dark erotic novels and psychological stories. Her work has elements of taboo, seduction and different aspects of the BDSM lifestyle, with a touch of romance and tenderness. If you love flawed characters, submissive alpha females, unconventional dominant heroes, angst, emotional darkness, lots of kinky sex scenes her books might be your kind of pleasure.

Links

Visit my website – http://lilahenoir.com

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