Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated.  She’s lost her husband, best friend, father of her grown children…and her Dominant.

But it turns out that Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protege in the BDSM lifestyle, firefighter paramedic Judd Farris, to be the one to look after Jessi, at least until she finds her footing again.

But a platonic Dom/sub relationship is a damn odd arrangement.  Jessi finds herself increasingly attracted to Judd.  He’s determined to keep his promise to his friend.  Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary arrangement?

Here’s a sneak peek from FOR SPARROW.

In the quiet of the morning, Jessi poured herself a cup of coffee and sipped carefully.  The kids were still asleep, a fact that didn’t surprise her in the least.  Glancing at the clock on the stove, she figured she’d give them another hour or so before she tried to tempt them awake with the smell of homemade waffles.

She heard the slam of a car door out front.  That, combined with Buddy’s beeline to the front door, let her know that Judd had arrived.  Smiling to herself, she carried her coffee with her, opening the door to let Buddy tear across the lawn to greet his favorite human.

Judd set down his tool box and stooped to ruffle the puppy’s ears, then stood, grinning broadly.  “Good morning, Jessi!”

She felt herself grinning back.  “Hi, there.  How are you this morning?”

“I’m great.  Am I too early?”  He frowned slightly.

“Not for me, you’re not.  The kids are all still asleep.  Can I get you some coffee?”

He nodded.  “Coffee sounds great, actually.”

Judd followed Jessi into the kitchen and stood leaning against the center island.  “So everybody got in okay?”

“They did.  We didn’t get to bed until after 1:00,” she handed him a light blue mug of steaming coffee, “but I woke up about 7:00 and couldn’t sleep anymore.”

He accepted the mug and sipped gratefully.  “This is good.”

She smiled at him.  “I’m planning on making waffles for breakfast.  Are you hungry?”

Judd’s eyes widened.  “Waffles?  I had a granola bar on my way over, but there’s no way I’d pass up homemade waffles.”

Jessi patted the counter.  “Have a seat, then.  Waffles are coming right up.”

Judd sank onto one of the high stools and sipped his coffee, watching Jessi expertly measuring ingredients into a large yellow mixing bowl.  Soon the aroma of freshly cooked waffles filled the kitchen.

“There you are,” said Jessi, sliding a pair of crispy golden waffles in front of him.  “Syrup?  I have maple and strawberry.”

“Oh, man, I’m never going to get to that pool pump today.”  He laughed as he lifted the bottle of maple syrup and poured a generous helping all over his breakfast.

Jessi sat with him and nibbled on a waffle of her own as they chatted amiably about their week.  Soon enough, Judd was finished.

“That was delicious,” he said, carrying his plate to the sink, where he rinsed it and placed it in the dishwasher.  “Thank you!”

Jessi blushed slightly.  “Oh, it’s just waffles, but I’m glad you liked them.”

“I did.  Very much.”  He held her gaze for a moment.  “Well, off to the pool pump, then.”

“Thanks so much, Judd.  I’ll send Adam out there after he eats.”

From the back door, Judd waved, and headed out to the pool deck.

Jessi stood watching him through the window, Buddy snuffling around his feet as he set to work.  She smiled to herself, happy to have Judd there at her house.

“Ummm, what smells so good?”

She turned at the sleepy voice of her son.  “Good morning, sweetie.”  Crossing the kitchen, she hugged him tightly, kissing his cheek.  “Are you hungry?”

“For your famous waffles?  Always!”  Adam claimed the stool recently vacated by Judd.

As Jessi ladled more batter onto the waffle iron, Adam’s brow furrowed.  “Um, Mom?  There’s a guy out by the pool.”

She glanced out the window.  “Oh, that’s Judd.  He’s working on the pool pump.  I told him you could help him in a while.”

“Sure,” he shrugged, taking a bite of his breakfast.

Cara came down the stairs followed closely by Trevor.  Both were dressed in shorts and casual shirts, ready for the day.

“Good morning, you two.  Did you sleep okay?” Jessi asked, dropping more batter onto the hot appliance.

“Hi, Mommy,” Cara murmured as she sank onto a stool beside her brother.  She yawned sleepily.

“I slept great, Mrs. Crenshaw, thanks.  And something smells delicious,” Trevor added as he sat beside Cara.

“Good, I’m glad.  I thought I’d do a homemade breakfast this morning.  Maybe we can go to brunch tomorrow before you leave.”  She eyed the three of them.  “So, what plans do you have for the day?  It looks like a perfect beach day.  You can pack a lunch and take it up to Juno.  It’s breezy, so there might be kite boarders today.”

Jessi noticed that Adam and Trevor both looked to Cara uneasily.  Cara sat up straight.  “Well, Mom,” she hesitated.

Suspicious, Jessi narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms and leaning back against the counter.

Cara cleared her throat and continued.  “We wanted to talk about Dad’s stuff.”

“Dad’s stuff?”

Cara nodded.  “His clothes and tools and things.  You haven’t started doing anything with them yet?”

Jessi sighed.  “No.  I haven’t packed up Dad’s things.”

“That’s why we’re here.  I figured you hadn’t done it yet.  That’s what we’re going to do today.”  Cara’s face, so precisely a mix of Graham’s and Jessi’s own, was determined.

Feeling panic rising, Jessi took a slow breath.  “No.  We’re not packing your dad’s things today.  If that’s the only reason you came home this weekend, you’re going to be disappointed.  I will pack up your father’s belongings when I’m ready to do it, and not a moment before.”

“Look, Mother,” Cara slid off the stool and came around the island toward Jessi.  Her short auburn hair hinted at her stubbornness as her light blue eyes glinted sharply.  “It’s been long enough.  You have to let go.  I read an article, and…”

“I don’t care what you read, you do not decide for me when to get rid of my husband’s belongings.”  Jessi knew her voice was getting louder and she didn’t care.  Adam and Trevor looked like they wanted to crawl into a hole.

“Denial!  It’s called denial.  Dad’s dead.  And hanging onto his things won’t bring him back!”

Adam, ever the peacemaker, tried to intervene.  “Maybe we should just drop it, Cara.”

“Shut up, Adam!” she snapped.

“It’s not denial, it’s a process.  I’ll clean out his things when I’m ready.  Don’t push me on this, Cara!”

Outside, his focus on the inner workings of the pool pump, Judd became aware of raised voices.  Glancing up, he could see Jessi and her daughter squaring off in the kitchen.  He gnawed his lower lip thoughtfully.  It really wasn’t his business.  But his position was to protect Jessi.

Even from her kids?  He debated another moment before setting down the wrench in his hand and heading to the kitchen door.

“Someone has to, Mother.  Someone has to help you when you can’t seem to help yourself.”

“Everything okay in here, Jessi?”  Judd’s tone suggested quiet authority.

Cara whirled around.  “And who in the hell is this?!”  Dramatically, she flung her hand in Judd’s direction.

Judd started to answer.  “I’m…”

“What the fuck makes you think you can come into my house and speak to my guests like that?!” Jessi shrieked.

The kitchen fell silent.  Neither Adam nor Cara had ever heard their mother use profanity.  Eyes wide and mouths open, they both stared at Jessi.

She took a calming breath and continued softly.  “This is Judd.  He’s a friend of your father’s, and he’s here today fixing the pool pump.”  She met Judd’s eyes with a grateful look.

Adam recovered first.  Proffering a hand, he introduced himself.  “Hi, man.  I’m Adam, that’s my sister, Cara, and this is Cara’s boyfriend, Trevor.”

Judd nodded to them all.  “Nice to meet you.”  He looked to Adam and Trevor.  “Gentlemen, maybe you can help me out back while the ladies sort this out, what do you say?”

“Sure thing,” Trevor answered, glad to have an excuse to scuttle out of the line of fire.

The silence in the kitchen was deafening.  Neither Jessi nor Cara had moved, and they stood, arms crossed, facing each other.  Finally, Jessi spoke.

“Look, Cara…I’m trying to receive this in the spirit I’m sure you meant it to be.  I know you care and you’re trying to help.  But I’m not ready to go through all of your dad’s things.  I’m just not.”

Cara tossed her head impatiently.  “You’re not even aware of your level of denial.”

Jessi’s eyes flashed angrily.  “Don’t talk to me like I’m some senile old woman.  I’m forty-fucking-five!  I run my own successful business!”

Cara flinched at her mother’s use of the F-bomb for the second time in as many minutes.  “But Mom!

“No buts.  This is my decision, not yours.”  Jessi crossed the kitchen and sank onto a stool at the counter.  “If there’s something in particular of your father’s that you’d like to have, just let me know.  I’ll be sure to put it aside for you.”

“Mother…”

Jessi shook her head definitively.  “That’s my final word on the matter.”  She held her daughter’s gaze challengingly.

Finally, Cara looked away.  “Okay.  I didn’t mean to start a whole thing, I just thought…”  She wrapped her arms around Jessi.  “I’m sorry.  I just miss him so much.”

Jessi felt the sting of unwanted tears.  “I know you do, baby.  I miss him, too.”

FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, is the 2017 New Apple Award Medalist in Literary Erotica, and it’s the 2018 Golden Flogger Award Winner for Best BDSM Book in BDSM Light.

You can get your copy at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

Now that I have your attention…  😉

FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, is the 2018 Golden Flogger Award WINNER for Best BDSM Book (BDSM Light).  I love saying that, LOL!

Judd Farris, the hero of the story is a hot Dominant firefighter paramedic.  But do you wonder why I made him a first responder?

A few years ago, Mr. Spocks and I were invited to a quinceañera for the daughter of a friend.  We had a great time, and as we were leaving, we stopped just outside the event hall to chat with some friends.

While we were standing there, a little old lady missed the curb and tripped and fell on the concrete driveway.  Mere minutes later, a West Palm Beach fire rescue truck pulled up and out jumped the hottest guys you ever saw.  All I could think was, Holy cow, do they only hire male models?  

Don’t worry, the lady was okay, she was just a little banged up.  But that was when I decided that Judd was a paramedic.  And that incident became a scene in the story.

Here’s a brand-new teaser from award-winning FOR SPARROW.

Following the dinner service, the music came up and teens crowded the dancefloor.  Jessi went to the kitchen to compliment the smooth service and give everyone a short break.  The birthday girl wasn’t scheduled to cut the cake for another half hour.

Sarah was organizing the cake area, making sure that plates and flatware were ready.  Jessi gave her a nod, and headed out the front door to catch a breath of fresh air.

The night was warm but there was a gentle breeze stirring.  A few guests were chatting together on the front sidewalk, and Jessi wandered a few yards further away.  She gazed up and wondered at the mostly full moon and the handful of stars overhead.  Happy that the night was going well, she sighed contentedly.

Maybe we’ll get a couple of referrals before the night is over. 

Jessi watched as a couple returned to the party, holding the door open for a pair of older ladies who appeared to be leaving.  She had just decided it was time for her to go back inside when everything suddenly shifted into slow motion.  One of the ladies missed the step off the curb and went down hard on the asphalt, her head striking the driveway with a thud.

Without hesitating, Jessi ran toward the fallen woman, leaning over her.  “Ma’am, are you alright?”

The woman moaned weakly as her friend stood wringing her hands and whimpering softly.  Jessi turned to a man who’d just come out the door.  “Call 911!  Hurry!”  She knelt beside the woman and bent down to look at her face.  The woman had definitely hit her head, Jessi had seen it happen.  Now a large knot was forming on the woman’s forehead.

“It’s okay, ma’am, it’s going to be alright.”  The woman tried to sit up but Jessi stopped her.  “Just be still, help is on the way.  We don’t want you to hurt yourself further.”

Jessi held the older woman’s hand as the mother of the birthday girl came outside.

“What’s going on?  Tia, what happened?”

Ai, mija, your tia fell off the curb,” the other older woman said.

Jessi smiled reassuringly.  “I think she’ll be okay.  Help is on the way.  Maybe you can both go back inside and relax.  I’ll come and let you know what’s happening.”

Si, tia, you look pale.  Come and sit down.  I’ll come back out and stay with her,” the mother said.  She escorted her aunt inside, and quickly returned.  A small crowd started to gather on the front sidewalk.

“Maybe we could get a bag of ice,” Jessi suggested, and a guest raced into the building, soon returning to hand Jessi a small plastic bag of ice.  She leaned over and as she gently pressed the ice to the growing knot, the woman moaned again.  “It’s alright, hon, help is on the way.”

Even as she said the words, she saw the flashing lights of a bright red fire/rescue truck pulling into the parking lot.  “Oh, thank God,” she murmured.

The truck pulled to a stop, and Jessi heard feet scrambling on the pavement and vehicle doors being opened and shut.  She kept her eyes on the older lady who seemed to fade in and out of consciousness.  “They’re here, it’s going to be okay.”

“What happened here?”

Jessi’s head jerked up at the familiar voice.  Judd stood beside the truck dressed in his uniform navy pants and a grey fire/rescue polo that gloved his muscular shoulders.  Before she could formulate her thoughts, he spoke.

“Jessi?”

“Hi, Judd,” she said shyly.  “I saw the whole thing.  She missed the step off the curb and fell pretty hard.  I saw her head hit the pavement.  I kept her still and we’ve put ice on the lump.”

Judd nodded.  “Okay, thanks, we’ll see what we can do.  Hello, dear, I’m Judd.  It looks like you took quite a spill.  Let me just take a look at your head.”  Another man came around the truck with a box of equipment.

Jessi backed away from them as they went to work checking the woman’s vitals and speaking into their radios.  Sarah came out and stood by Jessi.  “I heard we had an accident.  How is it going?”

“I don’t know,” Jessi shrugged.  “It was pretty scary to watch, I’ll tell you.  We’ll wait and see what they say.”

“Tell you what, I’m going to get the cake going and hopefully most of these people will go back inside.  You don’t need an audience out here,” Sarah said.  She turned to the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the guest of honor will be cutting the cake in just a minute.  Come on inside so we can sing to her.”  Thankfully, most of the onlookers followed Sarah inside.

One woman, a relative of the injured woman, stayed.  “Tia, let them do their job,” she said as the older woman insisted on sitting up.

Ai, dios mio,” she exclaimed.  “I’m just a silly old woman who didn’t watch where she was going.  I’m fine.  I want to go back to the party.”

Judd, noticing the worried look on Jessi’s face, gave her a quick wink.  “I’d feel more comfortable if you’d let us take you to the hospital and have the doctors take a look at you, dear.  That was quite a fall.”

“No,” she said defiantly, “I want to go inside.”

Judd looked at his partner and shook his head.  The other paramedic spoke softly to the woman in Spanish, but she remained determined to stay at the party.

“We can’t make you go,” Judd sighed.  “If you’re staying here, someone needs to keep an eye on you.  If you have a concussion, there could be problems later on.”

Si, I’ll watch her,” said the woman who’d stayed outside with Jessi.  “Come on, tia, let’s get you back to your seat.”

Jessi watched as the younger woman helped her aunt back inside the building.  Then she turned to Judd.  “I’m so sorry you came out here for nothing.”

He smiled his patently kind Judd smile.  “It wasn’t for nothing, that lady really hurt herself.  I wish she’d let us take her in, but older folks can be stubborn sometimes.”  He looked to the other man.  “Jessi, this is my partner Alex Gomez.  Gomez, this is Jessi Crenshaw.”

Alex flashed a bright white smile.  “Nice to meet you, Jessi.”  He was dressed in the same uniform as Judd, but he was a bit shorter, with wavy black hair and sparkling brown eyes.

“It’s nice to meet you, too.  You know, since you don’t have to make the run to the hospital, do you have time to come inside?  The birthday girl should have just cut the cake.”

“How could we say no to birthday cake?” Alex laughed, slapping Judd on the back.  “You’ve been holding out on me, Farris,” he said under his breath as they followed Jessi into the party.

FB image Golden Flogger

FOR SPARROW is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

FOR SPARROW–2018 Golden Flogger Award WINNER for Best BDSM Book (BDSM Light)

I’m thrilled that the third Dream Dominant book, FOR SPARROW, was selected for this honor!  The Golden Flogger is awarded every year by the BDSM Writers Con, which is why it means so much.  They not only like the story, they approve of the way the book portrays the BDSM lifestyle.

FOR SPARROW is near and dear to my heart–it’s set here in Palm Beach County, my home for the past 25 years.  Throughout the story, I take the characters to some of my favorite places.

As a teaser, here’s the first chapter…

I buried my husband today.

The thought tumbled through Jessi’s mind over and over, like clothes in a dryer.  Voices around her sounded oddly muted, as though she were underwater.  Occasionally, someone touched her, a simple grasping of her hand, a gentle pat on her shoulder, and the sensation felt like burning embers showering down over her.

Following the graveside service, mourners had gathered at her home.  Hers and Graham’s.

Only Graham isn’t here.  We left him at the cemetery.  I buried my husband today.

Food had appeared in her kitchen.  Casseroles, desserts, salads.  There was even a brisket.  An army of women had set up a command post and were making sure guests had plenty to eat and drink.  Jessi wondered briefly if there was enough ice for the drinks.  Maybe she should ask Graham run to out and get some more.

I buried my husband today.

Since that day, her phone hadn’t stopped ringing.  Friends and neighbors hadn’t stopped calling and dropping by.  “How are you?”  “What can we do?”  “What do you need?”

Her business partner, Sarah Reid, had been her rock, taking over the events they had scheduled for the week, returning calls Jessi didn’t have the strength to deal with.

“You take all the time you need, hon,” Sarah had told her.  “We’ve got it under control.”

Since that day.

“Sparrow, I need to get the oil changed in my car.  Why don’t you drive to the mechanic’s and I’ll meet you there?  I’ll drop you at your office, and then we can do the reverse this afternoon.”

Jessi had waited at the mechanic’s shop.  After an hour had passed, she’d tried his phone.  A stranger had answered.

“This is Officer Brooks.  The owner of this phone has been in an accident.  Are you the wife of Graham Crenshaw?”

A police car had picked her up and driven her to the hospital.  “I’m sorry, Mrs. Crenshaw.  It appears your husband suffered a fatal heart attack behind the wheel of his car.  When the car hit the utility pole, he was most likely already deceased.”  The doctor had had an air of resigned sympathy.  Jessi had wondered how many people he pronounced dead on an average day.

Sarah had met her at the hospital and had driven her home.  Jessi wasn’t sure how her own car had gotten back to the house.  She’d somehow made the calls to Cara and Adam.  “Something has happened.  Your dad died.”

Cara, age twenty-three, had made her excuses at her job with the Weather Channel, and had taken the first available flight from Atlanta to West Palm Beach.  Adam, age twenty-one, had driven from Orlando where he worked as a video game animator.

Jessi and the kids had gone to the funeral home the following day to see to burial arrangements.  The funeral director had neatly folded his hands on top of his huge mahogany desk and smiled kindly.

“Mrs. Crenshaw, your husband has everything prearranged.  You don’t need to worry about a thing, it’s all taken care of.  He has requested that he be buried in a navy suit, with a white shirt and a blue and red paisley tie.  Do you know the things he means?”

Jessi had nodded dumbly.  What he’d described was her favorite suit of Graham’s.  He always looked so handsome, and he’d worn it when they’d celebrated their anniversary a few months back.

He had it all planned out.  But when?  Did he do it after the heart attack a few years ago?  Why didn’t he mention it?

“We’re just so sorry for your loss.”  The statement shook Jessi from her thoughts, returning her to the morbid gathering in her living room.  It was a neighbor couple from down the street.

“Thank you,” she murmured, not meeting their eyes.  She sipped her wine to have something to do, and wandered into the kitchen.

“Hey, hon, how are you holding up?” Sarah asked.

Jessi shrugged and gave a weak smile.  “I’m okay.”

“Can we get you something to eat?”

Jessi shook her head and headed back to the living room.

I buried my husband today.

“Jessica.  I was just chatting with your lovely daughter and son,” said Rev. Lyman.  “Graham was a good man, taken before his time.”  He looked at Jessi with slight reproof.  “I hope we’ll be seeing you and your family on Sunday.”

“Maybe, Reverend,” Jessi replied softly.  “If you’ll excuse me and my children.”

“Of course.  Family has to pull together at a time like this.”

They watched him work his way across the room.  “I’m not lovely?” quipped Adam.

Jessi smiled at her son.  “You’re lovely to me.  And you’re welcome for getting the good reverend to move along.”

“Do you love the way Rev. Lyman tried to get in a plug for going to church?” commented Cara.

“My personal relationship with God is exactly that.  Personal,” replied Jessi.  “How are you two doing?”

“It’s hard,” said Adam, his voice breaking.

“I know.  You don’t have to stay for all of this.  I have no idea when people will decide to leave.”

“I’m here until Friday,” Cara said.  “I don’t want to leave you alone to deal.”

Jessi kissed her cheek and then Adam’s.  “Thank you both.  I love you so much.  Your dad loved you, too.”  She felt tears forming again.  She felt as though she’d cried out her very soul, and yet tears were always near.

Cara’s here until Friday.  What day is it again?

Cara and Adam moved out to find their friends.  Jessi turned to look for a place to sit.  She was so weary.  She was stopped by a woman she vaguely recognized.

“Jessica, I’m Harriet.  From church?”

“Oh, yes, Harriet.  It was good of you to come.”

“Sweetie, I just want to remind you that Graham is in a better place.”  She beamed at Jessi, as though her words bestowed onto the new widow some sort of miracle.

Jessi felt a twitch begin at the outer corner of her left eye.  If I don’t get out of here right now, I’m going to scream.

“If you’ll excuse me, please,” she murmured, pushing past the woman.  She hurried through the kitchen, ignoring Sarah as she called to her, and slipped out the back door.

The lanai and pool deck were blissfully quiet in the early evening twilight.  The sun had set and the lights had come on automatically.  She crossed to the far side of the pool, and sat on the raised edge of the spa with her back to the house.  Finally alone, she leaned forward with her elbows on her thighs and let the tears flow.

She’d only been there a few minutes when she heard a sound, the soft scuff of a leather shoe against the brick pavers.  She sat up abruptly and whirled around.

“I’m so sorry.  I don’t mean to bother you.”  The man was tall and muscular, his dark hair in short waves framing a handsome face, his dark suit cut slim.  Large brown eyes were soft and sympathetic.

Jessi sniffed and stood, swiping at the tears on her cheeks.  “I just needed some air.  I buried my husband today.”  She looked up at him, shocked.  “That’s the first time I said that out loud.”

He smiled kindly.  “I’ll leave you alone.  I just wanted to say that Graham was a good man.  He was my friend and I’ll miss him.”

“Thank you.  Did you work with him?”

“No.  We were friends.  I’m Judd, by the way.”

Jessi nodded.  “Thank you for coming, Judd.  I’m sure he would have appreciated it.”  She began walking back towards the house.  Judd fell into step beside her.

“I thought maybe I would come back on Saturday, maybe help you with the lawn,” he said.

Jessi was only half-listening, wondering if Harriet had gotten the hell out of her house yet.  “Mm-hmm,” she murmured.

“Alright, Jessi,” he said.  “Take care, now.”

She nodded and went to find her children.

FOR SPARROW is available in both digital and paperback
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

FOR SPARROW, Dream Dominant Book 3, is a 2018 Golden Flogger Award Finalist for Best BDSM Book in the BDSM Light category.  It’s a wonderful honor for a book that’s so close to my heart.

This heart-felt story grew out of my thoughts regarding a couple of dear submissive friends of mine.  And I set it in my home of Palm Beach County, Florida, taking the characters to some of my favorite places.

Here’s what it’s about in a nutshell:

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband died, she lost her friend, her lover…and her Dominant. 

But it turns out that Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter/paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant just until she gets back on her feet. 

Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

FOR SPARROW is also the 2017 New Apple Medalist for Literary Erotica.

Here’s a little peek.

“Have you always been a paramedic?” she asked.

“After I graduated from Florida State, I started out as a firefighter,” he said.  He laughed at her automatic grimace.  “Don’t tell me, you’re a Florida graduate.”

Jessi laughed lightly.  “Go, Gators!”

He chuckled with her.  “Anyway, after a few years I went to EMT school, and then later I completed my paramedic training.”

“Does being a paramedic keep you safer than being a firefighter?”  Her brow furrowed with worry.

Judd smiled.  “I suppose.  I don’t run into many burning buildings anymore.  We wait for the guys to bring victims out of the fires.  And we respond to heart attacks, injuries, car accidents, that kind of thing.”

He watched Jessi’s eyes widen.  “No,” he shook his head.  “I didn’t get the call for Graham’s accident.  I was off that day.”

“How did you know…“

“Jessi, your eyes show everything you’re thinking,” he said gently.  “It’s the damnedest thing I ever saw.”

Jessi immediately looked down at her plate, concerned about what else her eyes might give away.  Judd went back to eating and she picked at her burger some more.  Looking back up, she spoke again.  “How did you know Graham?”

Judd looked back up at Jessi, swallowed his bite of burger, and cleared his throat.  “I followed his blog for quite a while.”  Jessi blinked, trying to make the leap from following a blog to being friends.

He sighed, wiping his mouth and setting down his napkin.  “I told you my marriage ended because we wanted different things in life.  As things started going south, I realized that one problem was that both of us wanted to be in control.  And it didn’t work.  There was no yin to the yang, you know?”

Jessi nodded, frowning.

“I started looking online for anything that could help, some kind of advice to help me save my marriage.  The more I looked, the more I realized that in my core self, I’m Dominant.”

Judd paused to let that sink in.  Jessi was listening raptly.  “I found a few websites about being Dominant, you know the kind of thing, ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’.  When I started going out again after the divorce, I tried some things, some really stupid things.  I made a few dates through FetLife and they were disastrous.”  He shook his head, half smiling.  “Graham’s writing was a revelation.  I thought, here’s a guy who knows what it is to be Dominant, to lead a submissive in the right way.”

She still didn’t say anything so he pushed on.  “I became something of a stalker,” he laughed, “reading every article, digging through his archives…  I commented on his posts and asked questions, and he was always nice, he always took the time to answer me.”  Judd took a break, nibbling on a handful of fries.  Jessi sipped her beer and waited.

“When I realized he was local, I worked up the nerve to ask him to meet me for coffee, and he agreed.  We met at Howley’s, and we talked for hours.”

“Howley’s,” Jessi repeated.

Judd grinned wryly.  “Cooked in sight…”

“Must be right,” she finished, smiling sadly.

He nodded.  “We met about once a month after that.  He was my mentor, but he was also my friend.”

“He never told me this.  I never knew that he was meeting someone, mentoring someone.”  Jessi gazed out over the water.

“That last time,” Judd began, “he was preoccupied.  He kept talking about what would happen to you when he was gone.”

“Why?” Jessi quietly pleaded.  “Why did he think something was going to happen?  Why didn’t he tell me if he thought something was wrong?”

Judd shook his head.  “I don’t know.  I think maybe he was feeling like something was off, and he didn’t want to worry you.”  He looked at Jessi and sighed.  “Graham asked me to promise I’d look out for you, make sure you were alright.  Those things I work on at your house?”  Jessi nodded.  “Before we left Howley’s that day, he handed me an envelope with my name on it, said in the event something happened to him, I should open it.”

“It was a list of chores around my house?” Jessi asked.  Judd nodded solemnly.

Jessi frowned.  “Was the dog on that list?”

Judd laughed.  “Yes.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to make that happen.”

He looked down for a moment.  “The list was the second page.  The first page was a letter outlining how he wanted me to make sure that you were okay.  He worried about you, Jessi.”

She looked away and swiped at a lone tear with the heel of her hand.  “I just don’t understand,” she said quietly.

“There’s more, Jessi.” She looked back at him expectantly.  “Graham gave me two envelopes that day.  The one for me…and one for you.”

Jessi’s eyes widened.  “You mean you’ve had—“

Judd put up a hand to stop her.  “He told me to give it to you when the time was right.  Jessi, I had it in the pocket of my jacket on the day of the funeral.  But you were surrounded by assholes saying really stupid things, and you looked like you’d been hit by a bus, and it didn’t seem like the right time to give it to you.  I’ve had it in my truck every time I’ve come by.”

He placed his hand over hers.  “I think it’s the right time tonight.  I’ll give it to you when we get back to your house.”

The drive back to Jessi’s was accented by tense silence.  Judd watched out of the corner of his eye as Jessi wrung her hands together anxiously, her face tight.  When they pulled into the driveway, she unbuckled her seatbelt.

“Hang on a second,” he told her.  “I’ll get your door.”

*****

Standing at the kitchen island, he handed her an envelope.  Her heart ached at the sight of Graham’s familiar left-handed scrawl across the face of the envelope.

For Sparrow.

Jessi’s eyes filled with tears.

Judd spoke softly.  “I’ll be out back when you’re finished, and we can talk about it if you like.”  He squeezed her shoulder gently.  “Come on, Buddy.  Let’s go outside.”  Happily, the puppy followed Judd out the back door.

FOR SPARROW is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

 

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years. Now she’s lost her friend, her lover…and her Dominant. 

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet. 

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend. But it’s a damn odd arrangement—a platonic Dom/sub relationship. With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her. At her husband’s funeral. 

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking. But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi. She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies. In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive. But that’s simply ridiculous. He’s five years younger than she is. He couldn’t possibly be interested in her. Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom. It’s perfect for the time being. Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution? 

And could it all end at the hands of a madman?

FOR SPARROW, the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection, is the 2017 New Apple Medalist in Literary Erotica, and it’s a 2018 Golden Flogger Nominee for Best BDSM Book (BDSM Light).

It’s also special to me because I set it where I live, in Palm Beach County, Florida.  I loved being able to send my characters to some of my favorite places.  In the story, Dominant firefighter paramedic Judd lives in a townhouse on Juno Beach, which is one of south Florida’s best kept secrets, and my favorite beach anywhere.

In this scene, Judd and Jessi try a little surfing.

Before heading out the front door, she made one last check.  The party supplies were already in the Volvo.  She’d packed a bag for Buddy with his bowls, a Ziploc bag of food, his treats, his favorite toys, and a small blanket for him to use as a bed.

“I haven’t had to pack a diaper bag in years,” she laughed to herself.

As she pulled up to the front of Judd’s, she noticed a small piece of paper taped to the door.

I’m out back.  J

Jessi shifted the straps of Buddy’s bag higher on her left shoulder and tugged his leash, urging the dog away from Judd’s front step and around the side of the building.  A white PVC gate blocked her path, but the latch easily opened and she headed down the sidewalk in the direction of the beach.  As she got to the corner of the building, she saw Judd, shirtless in a black pair of board shorts, leaning over a red surfboard that was resting on top of a rectangular teak wood table.

His back was to her as he moved his right hand in circles across the board.  Eyes wide, she took a moment to appreciate the way the muscles rippled just beneath the bronze skin of his broad back and shoulders.  The sight was utterly male, and Jessi sighed.

Buddy gave an excited yip and Judd turned around, smiling.

“You made it,” he grinned, dropping a pale lavender cake of wax.

“Yeah, we’re here,” she answered, suddenly nervous.

“I was just,” he hooked a thumb over his shoulder, “getting the board ready.”

Jessi moved to look at the board, dropping her bag into a chair at the table.  Picking up the wax, she read the label and frowned.  “Sex Wax?”  She looked up at Judd.

He laughed.  “Mr. Zog’s.  It’s the best.”  He laughed again at her blank look.  “It helps you stick to the board.”

“Why do they call it ‘sex wax’?” she wondered aloud.

“I don’t know.  Probably to sell more wax,” he laughed, admiring the blush that graced her cheeks.

“Okay, well,” she gathered her thoughts.  “Here’s Buddy’s stuff.”  She held up the navy-blue tote bag.  “Hopefully you won’t need anything else.  But call me if you do.”

“Jessi,” he suppressed an amused grin, “you’ll be gone a couple of hours.  I’m sure killer and I can batch’ it for that long.”  He winked at her, reveling in the way her blush deepened.

“Of course, I didn’t mean, well, I just…”  She looked at him helplessly.

He threw his head back and laughed.  “It’s all good, Jessi.  Don’t worry.  Go do what you need to, and then we’ll get you up on a surfboard.”

*****

A few hours later, Jessi and the grandmother-to-be loaded the last of the gifts into the back of a huge black SUV.  Back inside, the guest of honor sank into a chair at the head table.

“That was fun,” she said, “but I’m exhausted.”

Jessi smiled warmly.  “I’m happy you enjoyed your day.  You two head on home.  I’ll take care of everything else.  Congratulations again to you and your family.”

After they left, Jessi settled with the hotel and carried her supplies to her car.  She was tired, too, but she felt a flutter of excitement.  Throughout the party, her mind had drifted to the picture of Judd leaning over his surfboard.  She couldn’t deny her attraction, but she felt silly at the same time.  He was at least five years younger, and clearly, he dated on occasion.

Still, leaving romance out of the equation, she’d loved paddle boarding, and today she’d give surfing a whirl.

Undoubtedly, my children will be impressed, she grinned to herself.

As she pulled up to Judd’s again, the note was gone from his door, so she knocked lightly.  A moment later, Judd opened the door, grinning broadly.  “Hey, Jessi.  How was your party?”  He stepped back to let her in.

“Oh,” she sighed, “it went well.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  And I got a referral for a bridal shower, so that’s always good.”

“Good.”  He motioned with his head toward the back.  Jessi followed him to the combination kitchen and den.  Buddy lay curled on his blanket, eyes slammed shut and snoring loudly.  “Killer wore himself out playing in the surf,” Judd laughed softly.

Jessi smiled affectionately.  “I imagine he had a wonderful time.”

Judd nodded.  “Now it’s your turn.  Go get changed.  The water is perfect.”

Using Judd’s powder room off the main entry, Jessi quickly changed out of her sundress and into the same blue tankini she’d worn paddle boarding.  Hesitating, she held up the beach cover-up and decided against it—they were going straight to the beach, it seemed like a waste of time.

Returning to the den, she met Judd’s soft brown eyes, which sparkled with excitement.  “Let’s go,” he said.

Jessi followed him through the glass sliders and out onto the patio.  The red surfboard she’d seen earlier was now leaning against the wall.  Judd tucked the board under his arm, grabbed a small red and white cooler, and headed out across the sand toward the aqua water of the Atlantic.  Jessi picked up the folded towels sitting on the corner of the table and hurried to catch up with him.

Stopping short of the water, Judd lay the board on the sand, pointing it toward the townhouse.  “Now, what you’re going to do is, you’re going to rest on your belly until we find the right wave.  Then I’ll let go and you can ride into shore.  After I let go, you can pop up on your feet.”

Jessi grimaced.  “Eek!  Are you sure I’m ready to ‘pop up’?”

Judd laughed kindly.  “You’ve got this, little one.  It might take a few tries, but I promise, this is something you can do.”

He had her practice a few times with the board on the sand, gently coaching her into the proper position.

Taking her hand, he helped her stand.  “Are you ready?”

Jessi breathed out, absently wiping her palms on her suit.  “Let’s do this.”  She grinned up at him, a glint of determination in her eye.

“That’s my girl,” he said proudly.

Before they took the red surfboard into the water, Judd secured his GoPro to the front tip.  “We’re going to get your first time surfing on video.”

“Oh, boy,” she replied, rolling her eyes.

When they were knee deep, Judd placed the board in the water and had Jessi lie on top.  “The wax is what helps you stick,” he explained.  “Normally, you’d paddle yourself out, but I’ll pull you for now.”  He gripped the rail, guiding the board past the breakers.  Now waist deep, Judd rotated the board so that Jessi faced the beach.  Standing behind her, he held onto the back of the surf board.  “All we have to do is wait for the perfect wave.”

Bobbing up and down, Jessi held herself as Judd had prescribed—feet together, hands beneath her chest, head up.  Anticipation pinged through her veins, her earlier tiredness forgotten.

“Okay, Jessi, this is the one,” Judd called.  “I’m letting go.”

Jessi squealed as she rode the crest of the small wave all the way to shore.  When she reached the shallow water, she jumped off to see Judd wading along behind her.

“You didn’t pop up,” he grinned.

“I got so excited, I forgot,” she laughed.

“Do you want to try again?”

“Hell, yeah!”

“Okay,” he turned the board around, “let’s do it again.”

For the next hour, Jessi tried wave after wave, attempting to stand and losing her balance, surfacing to splutter and cough, before trying again.  Finally, after about a dozen tries, Judd let go and watched as Jessi pushed herself to her feet, and knees bent, rode all the way to shore.

“I did it!  Did you see me?  I totally did it!”  Her expression was jubilant.

“I did see you!”  Judd wrapped his arms around her, twirling her in a wide circle.  “You nailed it!”

The pair sank onto a towel spread out over the sand.  Lifting the lid of the small cooler, Judd offered Jessi a cool bottled water, taking one for himself as well.  They drank thirstily, watching the waves continue to gently crash onto the sand.

After a moment, Judd turned to Jessi.  “Want to go again?”

She shook her head.  “I’d rather watch you do it the way it’s supposed to be done.”

He nodded happily, handed her his water bottle, and headed out into the water with the surfboard.  As he paddled out, Judd realized that he wanted nothing more than for Jessi to watch him.  The idea of impressing her thrilled him more than he could say.

On the beach, Jessi watched as Judd paddled himself out further than they had been.  As he turned to face her, she shielded her eyes with her hand, squinting against the brilliant sunlight reflecting off the surface of the water.  A swell approached him from behind and Jessi saw him paddle to catch it, popping up just as the wave broke.  He cut back and forth across the white foam until the crest dissolved, and he twisted the board to head back out and wait for another wave.

Jessi hugged her knees, watching Judd’s surfing expertise over the next half-hour.  Finally, board under his arm, Judd grinned as he returned to where she sat, leaning over her to shake water all over her.

They both giggled as he flopped down beside her.  Jessi offered him another bottled water, and he accepted, chugging gratefully until the bottle was empty.

“That was amazing,” she gushed.  “How long have you been surfing?”

Judd leaned back on his elbows.  “I tried it as a kid.  We’d come down to Florida from North Carolina on vacation, and I always tried to surf.  But I didn’t really get into it until college.  And of course, when I moved here,” he nodded at the townhouse.  “I always wanted to live on the beach.  Surfing helps me wind down after work.”

Jessi thought of the patients he’d mentioned, the horrible work week he’d had.  “You work hard,” she observed softly.  “It’s good that you take time for yourself.”

FOR SPARROW is available
in both digital and paperback formats
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ForSparrow

Behind the Book–The Setting of FOR SPARROW: First Stop–Howley’s

FOR SPARROW, my new contemporary erotic romance, and the third book of the Dream Dominant Collection, is set in my home, Palm Beach County, Florida.  For this Behind the Book series, I want to take you on a tour of some of my favorite local places, places I love so much, I had my characters go there.

The first stop on our tour is a funky diner called Howley’s.  Their catch phrase is on the sign: Cooked in sight…must be right.  I love Howley’s for a lot of reasons.

Built in 1950, it’s a nostalgic throwback to a simpler time.  The business was purchased in 2004 by a group who appreciated what Howley’s was, and they lovingly restored its iconic terrazzo floors and tin ceilings.  The furnishings are retro, from the long counter to the awesome mid-century tables.

I love the staff at Howley’s, too.  They’re all young, and rather gender-fluid, with lots of piercings and tattoos.  A nose ring seems to be standard equipment.  And they’re all super nice.

The food is fantastic as well.  The last time I was there, I enjoyed a mimosa over a delicious breakfast.

Unsurprisingly, they’re very arts-positive at Howley’s.  The paintings displayed on the walls are for sale.  But my favorite artwork is the mural on the outside, done by local artist Amanda Valdes.  Check her out if you’re interested.  When I’m rich and famous, I’m going to commission her to paint the huge blank wall in my kitchen.

As I thought about my story line, I wanted just the right place to serve as the backdrop for where Judd might have spent time with Jessi’s husband, Graham.  Howley’s seemed like the perfect place for the two men to get together for coffee once in a while.

Here’s a little sample of FOR SPARROW.

“Does being a paramedic keep you safer than being a firefighter?”  Her brow furrowed with worry.

Judd smiled.  “I suppose.  I don’t run into many burning buildings anymore.  We wait for the guys to bring victims out of the fires.  And we respond to heart attacks, injuries, car accidents, that kind of thing.”

He watched Jessi’s eyes widen.  “No,” he shook his head.  “I didn’t get the call for Graham’s accident.  I was off that day.”

“How did you know…“

“Jessi, your eyes show everything you’re thinking,” he said gently.  “It’s the damnedest thing I ever saw.”

Jessi immediately looked down at her plate, concerned about what else her eyes might give away.  Judd went back to eating and she picked at her burger some more.  Looking back up, she spoke again.  “How did you know Graham?”

Judd looked back up at Jessi, swallowed his bite of burger, and cleared his throat.  “I followed his blog for quite a while.”  Jessi blinked, trying to make the leap from following a blog to being friends.

He sighed, wiping his mouth and setting down his napkin.  “I told you my marriage ended because we wanted different things in life.  As things started going south, I realized that one problem was that both of us wanted to be in control.  And it didn’t work.  There was no yin to the yang, you know?”

Jessi nodded, frowning.

“I started looking online for anything that could help, some kind of advice to help me save my marriage.  The more I looked, the more I realized that in my core self, I’m Dominant.”

Judd paused to let that sink in.  Jessi was listening raptly.  “I found a few websites about being Dominant, you know the kind of thing, ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’.  When I started going out again after the divorce, I tried some things, some really stupid things.  I made a few dates through FetLife and they were disastrous.”  He shook his head, half smiling.  “Graham’s writing was a revelation.  I thought, here’s a guy who knows what it is to be Dominant, to lead a submissive in the right way.”

She still didn’t say anything so he pushed on.  “I became something of a stalker,” he laughed, “reading every article, digging through his archives…  I commented on his posts and asked questions, and he was always nice, he always took the time to answer me.”  Judd took a break, nibbling on a handful of fries.  Jessi sipped her beer and waited.

“When I realized he was local, I worked up the nerve to ask him to meet me for coffee, and he agreed.  We met at Howley’s, and we talked for hours.”

“Howley’s,” Jessi repeated.

Judd grinned wryly.  “Cooked in sight…”

“Must be right,” she finished, smiling sadly.

He nodded.  “We met about once a month after that.  He was my mentor, but he was also my friend.”

Sparrow graphic Linz

FOR SPARROW launches October 3, but for a limited time you can
reserve your copy for the pre-order rate of 99¢.
After launch day, the price goes up.

books2read.com/ForSparrow

Weekend Excerpt–FOR SPARROW

pic3I’m so excited to tell you that Dream Dominant Book 3, FOR SPARROW, is finished and currently in edits.  This cover is just a mock-up I made when I first began the project over a year ago.  Erotica author and fellow Wicked Pen Linzi Basset is currently at work creating a hot new cover.  Stay tuned for news of the official cover reveal and for release day.

Set in my hometown of West Palm Beach, FOR SPARROW is about Jessi Crenshaw, recently widowed and mourning the loss of her husband, lover, and Dominant.  But it turns out that her husband Graham had had an inkling that his health was on the decline, and he tapped a temporary replacement for himself.

Enter tall, sexy, and Dominant firefighter/paramedic Judd Farris.  He’s agreed to watch over Jessi, to give her knee time when she needs it, and to give her the boundaries she craves.  But it’s a damn odd arrangement, platonic Dominance and submission.  How long can the keep this up?

So for this weekend’s excerpt, I wanted to give you a little teaser from FOR SPARROW.

They enjoyed dinner on the patio, the sky shifting from the orange and pink Jessi had noticed upstairs to a deep indigo twilight, the stars blinking on over the gentle swells of the ocean.  The teak table was lit with a pair of citronella candles against the odd mosquito, and Judd had built a fire in the pit just off the patio.

Conversation over their grilled mahi dinner and sauvignon blanc centered on their adventures over the past couple of weeks.  The mood was light and happy, and Judd, for one, was glad for Jessi’s company.  Her face lit up as she recounted her surfing attempts and the pair laughed easily.

Buddy devoured his bowl of kibble and promptly passed out again.  Judd and Jessi carried their dishes into the house, quickly restoring order to the kitchen.  Jessi glanced at her watch and decided that she should be leaving soon.

“Do you have to go?” Judd asked, noticing her checking her watch.

“Oh, you know, I should probably head home.”

“We haven’t had dessert yet.”

Jessi chuckled.  “I’m so stuffed from that delicious dinner.  I don’t think I could take another bite.”

“Come on, Jessi, there’s always room for dessert,” he coaxed.  “Wait til you see.”  Judd opened a cabinet, removed a few items, and placed them on the counter.

Watching curiously, Jessi had to laugh.  “Chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows.  S’mores?”

Judd nodded proudly.  “S’mores.  You can’t resist s’mores.  Nobody can.  It’s a known fact.”

Laughing again, Jessi followed Judd back outside.  “I haven’t had s’mores since…  Well, probably not since that time I took the kids camping.”

“Then you’re long overdue.  This stuff is left from when my sister and niece were here.”  He took two steel barbecue skewers, placed two marshmallows on the end of one, and handed it to Jessi.

“One, please.  I just want one marshmallow.”

He grinned, sliding a single marshmallow onto the other skewer, and they traded.  “Lightweight,” he teased.  “Now, let me show you how it’s done.”  He held the marshmallows a distance away from the flames, allowing them to slowly begin to warm.

“Careful there, you might accidentally roast those guys,” Jessi jibed.  She poured more wine for him and for herself.

“Kid if you must,” Judd replied, “but these bad boys are going to be perfection.”

Jessi sipped her wine, watching as the marshmallows began to slowly expand while remaining pristinely white.  “I have a different method,” she commented.

“Oh, you do, do you?”

“Yup.”  She prepared a graham cracker, breaking it into two pieces and placing a square of chocolate on one of them.  “Watch and learn, fire boy.”

Taking her skewer, she fixed him with an arched eyebrow before plunging her marshmallow directly into the flames.  When she pulled it out again, the round white confection was engulfed in blue flame.  Gently, she blew out the fire to reveal a charred marshmallow.

“You burned it,” Judd observed.

“It’s crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside.  Pure perfection.”  She lay the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and used the other graham cracker to slide it off the skewer.

She waved her hand over the top of her dessert with a triumphant flourish.  “Tah-dah!”

By this time, Judd’s marshmallows had tripled in size and were just beginning to turn a toasty golden brown.  “See, this is how you make a s’more.”  Carefully, he carried his marshmallows to the table where Jessi had prepared his graham crackers and chocolate.  He slid the marshmallows off the skewer and pressed the top cracker on, gooey marshmallow running over the sides.

Judd motioned for Jessi to sit, and he perched on the stool at an angle to her, their knees just brushing under the table.  He lifted his s’more and held it out to her.  “To adventure!”

Jessi picked up her own dessert and touched it to Judd’s, laughing lightly.  “Adventure.”

He continued to watch her thoughtfully as she nibbled her s’more.  “Thank you, Jessi, for such a great day.”

In the candlelight, his eyes flickered and Jessi felt the tingle in her belly.  And lower.

“It was fun.  It really was,” she murmured, hoping the dim light hid her blush.

Judd bit into his s’more with gusto, leaving a trail of marshmallow down his chin that dripped onto his shirt.

Jessi giggled happily.  “I knew that was too much for one s’more.”

“It was just the right amount,” Judd returned, sweeping the errant goo off his shirt and licking it off his finger.  “The graham cracker just couldn’t hold all the awesomeness.”

Jessi laughed again, pointing to his chin.

“What?”

“You missed a spot.”

He cocked his head, trying to see his chin.  He aimed his tongue at the corner of his mouth.  “Now?”

She shook her head and slid off her stool.  “I’ll get it.”  Stepping closer, she swiped her finger up his chin, removing most of the white confection.  Without thinking, she popped her finger into her mouth, but she didn’t miss the heat in his eyes.

Impulsively, she leaned forward and lapped at the corner of his mouth.  He tasted of chocolate, marshmallow, salt water, and sin.  A low groan emanated from Judd’s chest.  Jessi leaned back to look him in the face.

“Little one,” he whispered.

Stepping deliberately closer, she straddled his right knee and leaned in again, planting light kisses where the marshmallow had been.

Judd placed his hands on her hips and moved her back a bit.  “Are we crossing this line?”  His voice was soft, hopeful.

Jessi blinked and nodded.  “Yes.  Please.”

He didn’t wait for further permission.  He wasted no time in claiming her lips, devouring them as he pulled her closer, raising his knee to meet the warm needy place between her thighs.

Jessi gave herself over completely to his kiss.  She’d craved it for longer than she was willing to admit to herself.  She’d loved Graham.  But Graham was gone.  And he’d given her permission to move on.  It was time she gave herself permission.

Judd broke off the kiss and stood her back from him, steadying her when she wobbled a bit.  He fixed her with his best Dominant glare.  “You will be kneeling at the foot of my bed in two minutes.  You will be dressed.  I will undress you.”

Jessi immediately bowed her head.  “Yes, Sir.”

Again, FOR SPARROW is still receiving the finishing touches.  As soon as the cover reveal is scheduled, I’ll let you know.

For now, though, I want to invite you to join my fun new Facebook group, Pandora’s Passionista Paradise.  It’s about fun, friends, and hot books.  Today, I even had a little giveaway, just saying…  I’m there everyday, so come and say hello!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PandorasPassionistas/