Oops! I Did It Again…

JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1 is out and doing great! And I’m nearly 30k words into the second book in the series, HUNTER’S PRIDE.

So…
The other day, a wild hare struck and I started a new project that has nothing to do with ranchers. It does feature a redhead, because, have we met?!

Take a little sneak peek at the (unedited) first chapter of what I’m tentatively calling Desperate Times.

Two pink lines.
Behind the locked bathroom door, Charley stared in disbelief at the plastic stick in her hands.  Her heart pounded, and she felt tiny beads of sweat forming on her upper lip.
This is really happening, she thought.  Holy shit!

Chapter 1
(six months earlier)

At the tinkling of the bell over the door, Charley Weatherly looked up from the well-worn Charlotte Bronte novel she’d been perusing behind the counter at Once Upon a Bookshop, the dream into which she’d poured her heart and soul and most of her 401k.  

“Hi there, Charley!”  Reggie Baxter had been walking the same mail route since before Charley was born.  The space currently occupied by the bookstore had had numerous incarnations during that time, including a bar and a dry cleaner, among other things.

“Hi, Reggie!  What’s the good news?”  She smiled at the old man.

“The good news is, next Friday is my last day.  I’m retiring.”

“That’s great, Reggie, congratulations!”  Charley accepted the stack of mail he proffered.  “What are your plans?”

“Oh…” With a far-off look in his eye, he leaned back on his heels, shifting the mailbag that was slung over his shoulder.  “First off, I’m going fishing in Florida. After that, who knows?”

Charley grinned good-naturedly.  “Do you really have to go all the way to Florida to go fishing?”

The letter carrier shrugged.  “Never did like the Pacific too much.  Florida fishing is a lot more relaxing.  California’s too uptight.”
Charley had to laugh.  “I’ve never been fishing either place, so I’ll have to take your word for it.”

Grinning, Reggie opened the door and paused.  “How’s your grandmother doing?”

Consciously forcing back a grimace, she smiled.  “She’s doing well, thanks.”

“Tell her I said hello.”

“I will, Reggie.”  She waved as he walked out the door, headed past the front windows of the shop, and passed out of sight.

Enveloped in silence once again, Charley breathed a deep sigh.  Her grandmother hadn’t been doing well for months now. But that wasn’t something she wanted to talk about.  Talking about things made them more real somehow. And she wasn’t ready to face what was happening to her grandmother.

Anymore than she was ready to face the stack of bills Reggie had dropped off.  If she flipped through the pile of envelopes, she’d see ‘Final Notice’ stamped across the fronts of most of them.  But that would ignite the pain in the pit of her stomach, so she opted to sweep them into a drawer beneath the counter, the better to deal with them later.

She gazed around the shop recalling the day three years earlier when she’d first seen the space.  It had been empty for some time, abandoned when a psychic palm reader had gone out of business.

But in the empty and crumbling space, Charley had envisioned shelves full of her favorite books.  She’d majored in English literature at Cal State and following graduation had landed a job as a copywriter with a marketing firm.  

Which she’d hated.  But it had afforded her to save up enough money to walk away three years later and start her dream business, a small boutique bookstore.

She’d created a cozy space with a comfortable seating area near the front windows, places for book lovers like herself to relax and try before they buy.  She’d even scheduled live readings and a few book signings, too, all to try to drum up more business.

But unfortunately, downtown Modesto wasn’t exactly a mecca for the literati.  Those who did like to read tended to head to the Barnes & Noble out on Highway 219.  Or to order their books online.

Which Charley couldn’t fathom.  Walking around the counter, she wandered down the 19th-century romance aisle, dreamily dragging her fingers across the spines of the stories she knew by heart, including a full complement from her namesake Bronte sister, Charlotte.  

How could you tell whether you wanted to read a book without touching it, hefting its weight, flipping the pages to release that divine fresh-paper scent?  
And ebooks?  Charley snorted.  Please! Talk about the Big Macs of the literary world.

Apparently, though, not everyone saw it the way she did.  Foot traffic in the downtown area wasn’t sufficient to bring in the hoards of customers she desperately needed.  She had her regulars, but the reality was that she’d lost money every quarter since she’d been open. Her savings had gone to the purchase and renovation of the storefront, and now her 401k was seriously depleted.  The bills Reggie had brought were all long past due.

Reluctantly, Charley realized it might be time to let go of her dream.  Nana wasn’t getting any better. It had started with little things, misplaced reading glasses and socks put away in the refrigerator.  Now, there were times when she didn’t recognize Charley, or she mistook Charley for her mother, calling her Denise.

Gently, Charley would remind her.  “No, Nana, remember, Mama died a long time ago.”  

The old woman’s face would crumple and she’d break down in tears.  “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“You were there at the funeral, Nana.  Remember? That’s when I came to live with you.”

“Oh, yes, that’s right.  You’re Charley, Denise’s girl.”

“That’s right, Nana.”

She was grateful that the next door neighbor had agreed to check in on her grandmother during the day while Charley was at work.  But that was not a sustainable arrangement. Charley had done some checking into an assisted living facility with a memory care program.  And while it wasn’t cheap, the portion of her 401k she’d squirreled away, along with Nana’s social security, should be enough to get her in.  But to stay long-term?

She rolled her eyes.  That would require Charley to sell the business and go back to work for a company that paid an actual salary and benefits.

Sighing heavily, she turned around and headed back to the counter.  If it stayed quiet for the rest of the day, maybe she’d tweak her resume and upload it to one of those job websites.

DESPERATE TIMES (working title) by Pandora Spocks

There’s no timetable for the release of Desperate Times. I’m still busy working to finish HUNTER’S PRIDE and the third Redheads & Ranchers book, HANNAH’S HEART.

But if you haven’t nabbed your copy of JENNY’S VOICE, it’s available at your favorite online bookseller. One-click yours today!
books2read.com/JennysVoice

Weekend Excerpt–Warrior Mine (WIP)

I’m still hard at work on WARRIOR MINE, which will be the 4th book in the Dream Dominant Collection.  Here’s a little synopsis.

Dominant Scott Nielsen has left his job as a youth counselor in the Canadian wilderness to pursue a new dream–starting his own outdoors survival school.  He visits his friend Blake Walker to propose leasing part of Blake’s family’s remote guest lodge property as a base of operations.  That’s where he meets Blake’s sister Jackie.

Now that Daddy Dom Blake has found his own baby girl, Scott wonders if maybe it’s time to give up casual Dom/sub scenes played at the BDSM club in favor of finding a permanent submissive.  And he can’t stop thinking about Jackie–she’s strong and smart, nobody’s baby girl.  But maybe a warrior princess is exactly the submissive he’s been looking for.

Here’s a little (unedited) snippet from WARRIOR MINE.

Facing south, the small log cabin sat at the crest of the tiny island.  Jackie figured that in total, the island was about an acre, but it was long and thin, narrowing to points on either end.  Situated at the widest part of the island, the cabin had been there longer than the lodge had been, and it held happy memories for Jackie.

She walked to the west side, where a huge fallen tree still rested.  While she’d been away, it had blown over in a storm, crashing into the small bedroom where Amy had been sleeping.  Although Scott and Blake had replaced the window a few days ago, Jackie hadn’t been to the island since the accident.

“That could have been really bad.”  She lightly touched the new window frame.  “You guys did a nice job,” she observed.

“I was happy to be useful.”  He smiled at her.

Jackie unlocked the cabin door and walked inside.  Clearly, Blake had cleaned up the mess from the storm.  Everything in the living area with its fireplace to her right was in order, and the kitchen area to her left was neat and tidy.  She peered into the cabin’s tiny bedroom, noting that the ruined mattress hadn’t been replaced, and making a mental note to speak with Trina about rectifying the situation.

Scott rested his backpack on the kitchen table in the center of the room and dug out a thick spiral notebook and a pen.  “Now here’s what Blake and I talked about,” he said.  “This area will be perfect for making meals and hanging out.  We might need a few more chairs, but you get the idea.”

He walked to the back wall, where a cast iron wood-burning stove stood.  “And I had this idea.”  He looked back to Jackie, brow furrowed a bit.  “Suppose we move this wall back another fifteen feet?”  He waved his arms demonstrably.  “That would create room for bunks, two sets on each side, for a total of eight beds.  We place tall cupboards on the back wall, so everyone has a place to store their stuff.”

Jackie tried to imagine how the cabin would look at twice its current size.  On the one hand, she was hesitant to see it changed at all.  But what Scott said made sense.  She walked toward him, seeing his vision.  “With the stove where it is, it would be a great source of heat for the extra space,” she allowed.

“Right!  I thought so, too.”

Absently, she chewed the corner of her thumb.  “To move the wall back, we’ll have to take down a handful of trees that are in the way.”

Scott nodded.  “They’ll become the logs that extend the east and west walls.  We’ll take apart the existing back wall we’ll and reassemble it in the new location.”  He hooked a thumb toward the front door.  “Add those trees we have to remove to the tree that’s already down out front, and we’re nearly there.”

Jackie walked back to the cabin’s small bedroom.  “Will you be staying here?”

“I thought we might use that space for storing all the equipment we’ll be needing.  You know, hatchets, climbing ropes, that kind of thing.”  He took a few steps towards her.  “I was hoping to rent one of your cabins or even a room in the lodge.”

“Don’t be silly.  You don’t need to rent anything.  You’re welcome here.”  Jackie crossed her arms uncomfortably, Amy’s comment about Scott moving in resurfacing in her mind.

“Well I aim to earn my keep.  And obviously, the cabin remodel is my expense.  I wanted to make sure that everything was okay with you first, though.  We need to discuss how much you’d like for room and board for my students.”

Jackie frowned.  “Room and board?  I hadn’t even thought about it.”

Scott walked out the door and she followed.  “Part of the tuition is to cover the school itself,” he explained, “but they’re staying on your property, eating the supplies provided to the cabin, so it’s significant.”

Hands on her hips, Jackie shook her head.  “Scott, I’d have no idea what to ask for.  I imagine you’ve researched the business, so whatever you think appropriate is fine.”

A slight smile played on his lips.  “You see, Jackie?  Do you see how simple it is?”

She frowned.  “How simple what is?”

“Releasing control.”  He watched her expectantly.

Feeling embarrassed, she dug into the soft soil with the toe of her shoe.  “Oh.”

“Again, Jackie,” he sank onto one of the quartet of green Adirondack chairs flanking the stone fire pit in front of the cabin, “I’m not trying to talk you into anything.”

Not knowing what else to do, she sat in the chair opposite Scott.  “I just don’t know what you think you see in me,” she shrugged.

“You’re such a strong lady.  You take care of everybody, and everything.”  He leaned forward, his forearms resting on his thighs.  “I’d like the chance to take care of you.”

Jackie snorted.  “Take care of me.  And for that, I’d be expected to give up my power?”

“I’m not talking about a 24/7 arrangement or anything.  But it’s a power exchange, yes,” Scott nodded, “and you don’t give up anything.  Rather than losing your power, you gain mine.  As a Dominant, it’s my position to protect, to care for, and, when necessary, to correct my submissive.”

“Correct?”  She laughed humorlessly.  “Why on earth would I agree to be beaten?”

“Not beaten.  Corrected.”  He watched her for a moment.  “You’d be surprised how sensual a spanking can be.”

Feeling unbalanced and confused, Jackie abruptly stood and stalked back into the cabin.  Facing the wall beside the fireplace, she heard him come in.

“Jackie,” he said softly.  When she didn’t turn around, he came up behind her, lightly stroking her shoulders.  “I don’t mean to scare you.”

She turned around.  “You don’t scare me.  I just don’t think I want the same things you want.  I don’t think it’s for me.”

He nodded.  “Fair enough.”

And there he was, standing there, looking down at her with those clear blue eyes that seemed to gaze into her very soul.  She couldn’t stop herself from reaching up to cup his jaw, run her thumb across those soft lips she knew to be a perfect fit to hers.  He waited, though, allowing her to lean up on her tiptoes to kiss him.

Placing his hands on her hips, he deepened the kiss, slowly backing her to the wall, where he pressed into her.  Reaching up, he moved her arms from his shoulders, raising them over her head against the wall.

“Jackie,” he murmured against her lips.

“Mm-hmm…”

“I’d like to touch you.  Would that be okay?”

Surprised, she leaned back to look up at him.  Desire made his eyes sparkle, and she knew her own eyes matched his.  She bit her lower lip and nodded.

Permission given, he plunged his mouth to hers, while pressing her arms against the wall overhead.  His other hand snaked down her body to between her thighs.  As he pressed at the juncture there, she moaned into his mouth.

Slowly, he increased the pressure, beginning a circular motion over her jeans, and Jackie felt a flood of arousal.  Her breath hitched, and she released his lips.  “Oh, God,” she moaned.

“It’s okay, Jackie, just enjoy,” he encouraged, amping up his movements.

She struggled to move her arms, but he firmly held them in place as he continued to stroke her.

“Oh, shit, I’m so close,” she whimpered.

“Just let go, Princess.”

He leaned forward to nip along the side of her neck and Jackie fell apart, crying out in release.

As she panted, trying to catch her breath, Scott gently lowered her arms and scooped her up.  He walked them over to the sofa facing the fireplace and sat, gathering her onto his lap and holding her against his chest.

Coming down from her orgasm, Jackie burrowed against him, adoring the feel of his broad chest against her face.  She breathed in deeply, relishing his clean masculine scent.

He rocked her, murmuring to her softly, lightly stroking her long dark hair.  In that moment, Jackie realized she’d never felt safer or more cared for.  She released a deep sigh.

“How are you doing, Princess?” he asked.

She struggled to sit up a bit.  “I’m, well…  Wow.  That was—” she glanced up at him through her lashes, “unexpected.”

Brow furrowed, Scott lightly stroked her cheek.  “But okay?  I didn’t overstep?”

Jackie shook her head.  “No, you asked, and I said yes.  It was nice.”  She pressed a kiss to his jaw.  “Maybe I can return the favor?” she asked, sliding off his lap.

“No.  This was for you.”  He stood and took her hand.  “But thank you.”  He lifted her hand to his lips and left a gentle kiss there.

Jackie blinked, not knowing what to think.

Like all my Dream Dominant books, WARRIOR MINE is stand-alone, BUT it is a spin-off from LOST & BOUND.  You can read that while you’re waiting for the early summer release of Dream Dominant Book 4.

books2read.com/LostandBound

Lost & Bound new cover 2

Weekend Excerpt–So I Started a New WIP

ashlan green dress

WARRIOR MINE, the spin-off from LOST & BOUND, is still in the works, as is another book tentatively called VOICES.  But this week, I had to chase a new wild hare, and it’s different from anything I’ve written before.

Working title LADY ASHLAN’S RETURN, it’s a medieval erotic romance.  While it seems like a big challenge, I’m really excited about this story.  Briefly, it’s about a noble woman who was shipped off against her will as a teenager, and who returns after eighteen years, seeking vengeance on those who wrecked her life.

Here’s the first chapter of LADY ASHLAN’S RETURN.

A warm sea breeze ruffled her worn grey habit, and her once-white wimple fluttered behind her as Ashlan’s eyes were drawn to the shoreline and the city growing on the horizon.  She gripped the wooden railing and nodded to herself. Eighteen years is a long time.

“Is that Haedleigh, Sister Anne?”

Ashlan turned to see Luella standing beside her.  “It is.  Isn’t it the most beautiful sight you’ve ever beheld?”

Luella’s expression was skeptical.  “If you say so, my lady.”

Ashlan gazed across the blue water once again as the sun began to descend in the distance.  “Dash it all, by the time we land it will be nearly dark.  Finding proper lodgings will be difficult.  We should have arrived a week ago.”

If she wanted to be fair, the delay hadn’t been the captain’s fault.  Stormy weather had caused them to veer out of their way.  But Ashlan had waited long enough and she wasn’t in the mood to be fair.

“Come, Luella.  It is time that we got ready to introduce ourselves to Haedleigh.”

Below deck in their tiny cabin, Luella helped Ashlan remove the whimple and faded habit.  Freed from the confines of the modest ensemble, Ashlan shook out her thick red locks and sighed deeply.

“The purple, I think, Luella,” she directed.

“Yes, my lady.”  From the large trunk Luella removed the necessary underthings and the sleek purple silk gown before helping her mistress dress.  While the girl brushed out Ashlan’s long red hair, Ashlan watched herself in the small mirror they’d managed to bring with them.  Her mind drifted to that night so long ago when she’d worn a similar gown for Lord Howell’s tournament banquet.

“Hurry, Arabella, we’re going to be late!”

            “Ladies are supposed to be late, don’t you know that?”  Young Lady Arabella Stewart rolled her eyes for effect.

            “I don’t want to miss anything,” Ashlan insisted.  At age sixteen, she was a lady-in-waiting to Lady Arabella, who was promised to Lord Alistair Risley. 

            But she, Ashlan, was promised to no one.  Her father, Lord Mereck Balleroy, hadn’t bothered himself to make arrangements for his only daughter, instead focusing his attention on her older brother, Andrew, who would one day be his heir.

            “Did you see Lord Henry?” Ashlan prattled.  “He’s ever so handsome.”

            “And promised to Catherine Addington,” her friend reminded her. 

            “Well they aren’t married yet,” Ashlan countered.

            “You really are so naughty,” Arabella giggled.

            Hand in hand, the pair left their chambers and made their way to the enormous banquet hall of Bexley Keep.  They stopped just inside the door to get their bearings and gaze in wonder at the sight.  The cavernous room, hung with floral garlands and lit with thousands of candles, was filled with knights the girls recognized from the tournament, as well as the noble lords and ladies who’d attended the spectacle.  On the far side of the hall, a group of musicians played music for dancing.

Heads turned their way as they entered, with revelers staring at the pair, Arabella, dressed in a forest green silk frock that matched her eyes, her blonde hair cascading in ringlets down her back, and Ashlan, her long red curls nicely set off by her deep purple gown. 

            Arabella had been the one to choose purple for Ashlan.  “It goes with your eyes,” she’d told her friend as the dressmaker had fawned over both girls. 

Once dressed, Ashlan had checked her image in the looking glass and she’d been inordinately pleased.  The deep purple silk of the gown accented her violet eyes, a trait shared by the majority of Balleroys down through the generations. 

            In the entry of the banquet hall, while Arabella seemed unaware of the stares they garnered, Ashlan reveled in them.  She wasn’t so bold as to think of herself beautiful, but she knew that she attracted the attention of the men in the room. 

There were those who considered red hair a curse but Ashlan adored it, knowing that paired with her violet eyes, her ginger locks made her quite unique. 

            She also knew that she’d been blessed with a plenteous bosom that caused no end of stares, particularly in the scoop-necked ball gown skillfully sewn by Arabella’s dressmaker.  Ashlan furtively glanced down at her creamy mounds bulging from top the snug bodice and stood straighter, pressing them out further. 

            “There you are, you two,” exclaimed Arabella’s brother, Lord Bryce Stewart.  Older than his sister, he was of similar coloring, and quite handsome, a thought Ashlan hadn’t shared with Arabella.  “Come sit at table before you give the older lords heart failure.”

“Pardon, my lady.  What shall I do with these?” Luella asked, bringing Ashlan back to the present.  The maid held out the threadbare garments.

Ashlan wrinkled her nose.  “Toss them overboard for all I care.  Sister Anne is gone.  Lady Ashlan Balleroy has returned.”

I have no timeline for the release of LADY ASHLAN’S RETURN.  The next book out will be WARRIOR MINE.  But until there’s a new release, be sure to stop by my Amazon Author Page.  You just might find something you’ll love.

Weekend Excerpt–Work In Progress: Warrior Mine

Fun Fact: Initially, the working title for my current Work In Progress was LOSTer & BOUNDer, LOL.  That’s because it’s a spin-off from Lost & Bound, the second book in the Dream Dominant Collection.  Warrior Mine tells the story of Scott Nielsen, Blake’s friend and mentor in the Lifestyle, and Jackie Walker Fox, Blake’s sister.

The Dream Dominant books are all stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels with a light BDSM theme, and they feature sexy, Dominant Alpha males and the strong red-haired submissives they can’t resist.

Warrior Mine will still be stand-alone, although the story of Scott and Jackie does intersect with that of Jackie’s brother Blake and his baby girl, Shasta.  It also breaks rank with a typical Dream Dominant in that Jackie is a sexy brunette.

For this weekend’s excerpt, here’s a little (unedited) teaser from Warrior Mine.

As Scott circled Lake Miranda, he felt an odd sense of the familiar.  He’d never been there before, as much as he and Blake had talked about it over the years.  But he supposed that one lake was pretty much the same as the others in this part of the country.

This particular lake was uninhabited, save for the lodge he’d spied as he’d flown over.  He supposed the cabins Blake had described were hidden beneath the thick forest of trees.  One unique feature Lake Miranda had was the small island about a third of the way between the lodge and the western shore.

He made his descent to the surface of the lake, carefully avoiding the island.  As he motored toward the lodge, he saw two women walk out onto the dock, watching his approach.  One of the women, the brunette, spoke, and two children he hadn’t noticed stood and went into the house.

The other woman had bright red hair.  That must be Blake’s Amy, he reasoned.  Which would make the brunette Blake’s sister Jackie?

He cut the engine and instantly the world was quiet once more.  He hung up his headphones and opened his door, stepping carefully onto the pontoon below.  Jackie, hands on her hips, continued to stare in his direction.  Scott used a paddle to move the plane closer to the dock.

“No.”  Jackie’s voice was adamant.  “You can’t be here.  Just go on back to wherever you came from, this is a private dock.”

“But,” Scott began.

“Nope, no buts.  You’ll have to go now.”  Jackie planted her feet shoulder-width apart and crossed her arms.

“I talked to Blake a couple of weeks ago, told him I’d be stopping by.”  He tried his most reassuring smile.

“Wait are you Scott?” the redhead asked.

“I’m Scott Nielsen,” he grinned.  “I used to work with Blake.  You must be Amy?”

Scott watched as Jackie moved in front of Amy.  For her part, Amy seemed a bit surprised.  “Um, yes,” she frowned.  “Blake told you about me?”

Scott laughed.  “We’re pretty tight, Blake and I.  He’s like the little brother I never knew I wanted.”  He laughed again, trying to ease the tension.

“And I guess that makes you Jackie.”  Holding the line to the plane, he stepped onto the dock, moved the sunglasses to the top of his head, and offered his hand.  “Scott Nielsen.  Sorry I just barged in on you like this.  I sort of thought Blake would be here.”


Ten minutes later, Scott was seated at the kitchen table.  He gratefully accepted the glass of iced tea Jackie offered.  “So there was some trouble?” he prompted.

“Oh, that, well…”  Jackie cautiously looked to the other woman.

“Someone was here trespassing yesterday,” Amy explained.  “Blake had gone to pick up Jackie and the kids at the airport.  I was here alone, but I’d taken Bear and gone across the lake.”

Scott knew Blake’s dog from the many photos he’d seen.  He frowned slightly.  “Did they steal anything, or what?”

Again, Jackie looked to Amy as if posing a silent question.  The redhead nodded.  Jackie turned to Scott.  “We think they were photographers trying to get to Amy.”

Scott assessed Amy thoughtfully.  He’d thought she looked familiar.  “You’re Shasta Pyke, the actress,” he said softly.

The redhead nodded.  “I’m Amy, really.  Shasta’s just…  Well, it’s just a stage name.  Anyway, we think they might have been looking for me.  That’s why, when you pulled up, we thought you might be them.”

He turned to Jackie, eyeing her with renewed respect.  “You weren’t going to let just anybody roll up in here, were you?  You’re a pretty tough lady.”

Jackie colored slightly.  “I felt responsible to keep her safe.  I guess we’re all a little on edge over the trespassing.  It’s never been a problem before.”

Just then, they heard the front door open.  “Hello?  Amy?  Jackie?  Where is everybody?” Blake called.  A moment later, he strode into the kitchen.

Scott looked up from the kitchen table where he sat between Jackie and Shasta.  “What’s up, my brother?” he grinned.  “I’ve just been getting acquainted with your lovely sister.  And your lovely lady.”

“Holy shit, I couldn’t imagine whose plane that was.”  As Blake closed the distance between them, Scott stood, and the two embraced each other.  “It’s been too long, man.”

“That it has.  That it has.”  Scott grinned mischievously.  “Wanna see my new ride?”

I’m aiming for a May release for Warrior Mine.

Until then, you can get Lost & Bound at this link:
books2read.com/LostandBound

Lost & Bound new cover 2

Weekend Excerpt–Unintentional Work In Progress

With my newest book Chasing Ordinary officially launched and doing well, I’ve started my next one, the fourth Dream Dominant tentatively called Warrior Mine.  It’s a spin-off from Lost & Bound, and already 20k words in, I’m getting excited about this book.  It’s the story of Blake’s friend Scott, and his romance with Blake’s sister, Jackie.

I don’t own these images, they’re from Pinterest, but they’re from my Warrior Mine board.  Follow me there to get insight into my inspirations for my stories.

But…

For the last week or so, I’ve had a different story in my mind that I just can’t let go of, so I’ve begun writing a new story I’m calling Voices for now.  I added it to my Teasers tab, but for some reason it doesn’t show up.  I thought I’d share the first chapter.

RUN!  Every fiber of her being screamed at her, willing her to shake off the fog that veiled her mind, willing her to save herself. 

bigstock--209735947 Jenny Danvers shakily pushed herself into a sitting position in the back seat of the black SUV, ignoring the pulsing of her swollen left eye, trying desperately to focus with her right one as she peered through the dark-tinted windows.

Her minders, Slater and Wilcox (she had no idea of their first names, nor did she care to know) had left her in the back seat of the SUV when they’d gone into the truck stop for a bite to eat.  They’d assumed she was unconscious, which she had been, momentarily knocked out by Slater’s right jab to the right side of her face.

This after backhanding her across the mouth.  Tentatively, she pushed her tongue toward her puffy lip, her mouth filled with the harsh metallic tang of her own blood.  Her teeth seemed to be intact, no thanks to Slater’s meaty blow.

All because she’d fought him.  And she’d do it again.  Every time.

She might have no say when it came to Victor Sorkin, when he summoned her in the middle of the odd night, or when he gifted her to certain esteemed business associates.  But she’d be goddamned if she’d allow Victor’s slimy minions to presume to take their fill of her.

The trio been on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  An arms dealer with whom Victor wanted to do business was staying at the Four Seasons.  Jenny was meant to be a good-will offering for the weekend.

Currently, she had a bigger problem, though.

“Now what are you going to do?” Wilcox had whined.  Jenny, her head pounding, had feigned unconsciousness.

“She’s all beat up.  We can’t take her to San Francisco like that.  And we can’t take her back to Mr. Sorkin, either.  He’ll want to know what happened.”

“She’s not going to tell him anything,” Slater had snarled.

“But what will you tell him?” Wilcox had wondered.

Slater had growled and punched the dashboard.  “Stupid retard cunt!  Kicked me in the balls so hard, I still can’t breathe right.”

“What are we going to do?”

Squinting through her good eye, Jenny had seen Slater turn to look at her.  “We’ll have to kill her.”

“We?!  What the hell are you talking about?  I didn’t touch her,” Wilcox had squeaked.

“What happens if we take her to San Francisco?  Hauer calls Sorkin to complain about the merchandise.  And Sorkin kills us.” 

He’d glared at Wilcox, daring him to contradict him.  “What happens if we take her back to LA like that?  Sorkin kills us.” 

He’d shaken his head.  “It’s the only way.  We drive all the way to San Francisco.  Because he’ll be tracking us on GPS.  We stay in front of the hotel long enough to have taken her upstairs.  Then we go to our hotel.  We’ll rent a car, take her out into the boondocks, and get rid of her.”

“But Hauer will call to complain that she never got there,” Wilcox had reasoned.

“We’ll say he’s lying.  We’ll say we delivered the girl.  Then it’s all on Hauer.”

Wilcox had nodded slowly.  “It might just work.”

“Come on,” Slater had said, with one last glance into the backseat.  “Let’s go get something to eat and work out the details.  The bitch is out cold anyway.”

After the pair had left, Jenny had forced herself to remain motionless, counting to a thousand before opening her eyes.  By now, her left eye was swelled completely shut, and her lip felt as though it was ten times its normal size.

She had to get out.  They’d be back any minute.  If she rode with them to San Francisco, there would be no escape.  This was her only chance.  She supposed she should count her lucky stars Victor had decided for them to drive rather than fly.

The cloudy day threatened rain, but so far, the day had been dry.  With the midday sun obscured by clouds as it was, Jenny wasn’t certain of the time, but she’d guess early afternoon.  The truck stop was busy, with semis and all sorts of vehicles entering and leaving constantly.

Across the lot, she saw a cowboy in a straw hat checking on a horse in a vintage turquoise and white horse trailer pulled behind a silver pick-up truck.  Seemingly satisfied with the horse’s well-being, he turned and walked across the lot, passing her as she watched from the SUV, and headed inside the restaurant.

GO! her brain screamed at her.

She looked down at herself.  She was not dressed for walking around a truck stop.  In her slinky club dress with its halter top and micro-mini skirt, she was more suited for the function she was expected to perform.

Not any more, Victor.  She kicked off the silver stilettos and glanced toward the restaurant.  She couldn’t see Slater or Wilcox in the window booths.  It seemed safe to assume they were seated further inside.

Carefully, she opened the door and stepped barefoot onto the pavement.  The day was cool, and she instantly felt chilled.  She closed the door quietly, and head down, she moved in the direction of the horse trailer.

Once she got there, she looked around the parking lot.  Everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own business.  On her tiptoes, she peered into the trailer.  Only one of the two stalls was occupied.  She tried the tailgate hopefully, but it was locked.  Glancing around again, she saw that the lot was briefly empty of people.  She stepped up onto the bumper, reached the top of the tailgate, and pushed herself up.  With one last glance over her shoulder, she leaned forward, tumbling headfirst into the trailer.

The horse, a large brown and white spotted Appaloosa, whinnied in protest, stomping her feet and pulling at the rope tethering her to the front of the trailer.

Carefully avoiding the stomping hooves, Jenny crab-scrambled backwards to the front wall of the trailer.  A large black jacket hung from a hook, and she jerked it down, slipping it on and zipping up the front.

The jacket was huge, probably meant for someone the size of the cowboy she’d seen, but it was warm.  She tucked her knees under her chin and pulled the jacket down over her bare legs and feet, pulling the hood over her head.

Come on, come on.  She willed her heart to stop pounding as she waited for the cowboy to come back and drive them away from the truck stop.

So apparently, I’m currently writing two books, LOL!

Chasing Ordinary, and my other books, including Lost & Bound,
are available at my
Amazon Author Page.

Weekend Excerpt–WIP: Chasing Ordinary

Sexy portrait of a young confident businessmanRed-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a sculptor who welds steel and glass creations.  A young widow, she lives on her in-laws’ sheep ranch in Montana where she helps out during the day, working on her art at night.

Looking to raise money to expand the ranch’s business, she gratefully accepts her art school roommate’s offer of a gallery show in Manhattan.  It’s been years since she was in the city, and she’s happy to visit her old friend.

Nik is in New York on business.  He’s been traveling for nearly a month, enduring endless meetings, attending obligatory dinners, and battling jet-lag.  On his way to yet another business dinner, he meets Petey.

The mutual attraction is immediate, but Nik’s skeptical.  Could it possibly be that this gorgeous, enchanting artist has no idea that he’s Europe’s most eligible prince?

Spending time with Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary.  What will happen when she finds out the truth?

Chasing Ordinary is my current work in progress.  I had hoped to have it ready for release by now, but it won’t be much longer.  This week’s excerpt gives you a little glimpse.

Howard had been talking nonstop for twenty minutes.  Each time Petey thought she’d found the opportunity to extricate herself, he continued his rambling, while edging ever closer, invading her personal space, and chatting about his work and his home in New Jersey.  He seemed to be one of those individuals who was completely inept at picking up on social cues.

She’d just worked up the gumption to simply excuse herself the next time he came up for air, when she heard a familiar voice.

There you are, darling!”  Nik swooped in, handing her a glass of wine.  “I’m so sorry I’m late.  Will you ever forgive me?”  He wrapped an arm around her waist and kissed her cheek.

Stunned, Petey stammered a bit.  “Um, yes.  Well…darling, yes, you certainly are late.  What’s up with that?  I’ve been waiting for you.”

“I know.  But traffic was a nightmare, what with the rain.  You just wouldn’t believe it.”  Nik turned to Howard.  “Who’s your friend?”  He smiled pleasantly at the confused man.

“Oh, sorry.  Nik, this is Howard.  Howard, meet Nik.”

Howard worked his mouth, but was blissfully silent.

Nik reached to shake his hand.  “So nice to meet you.  If you’ll excuse us, I need to make up for lost time.  Come, darling.”

He grasped Petey’s hand and led her to the opposite side of the gallery.  When they reached a quiet corner, he turned and smiled at her.

She gave a relieved laugh.  “Oh, my God, for the second time tonight, you saved my bacon.”

Nik laughed, too.  “The exasperation on your face said that you needed rescuing.  Who was he anyway?”

“Some guy that my friend Jules thought I should meet.  I mean, he’s nice enough, but he had absolutely no sense of personal space.  And he would not stop talking.  Sheesh!”

“He’s probably just shy in the presence of such a pretty woman.”  Nik’s blue eyes sparkled.

Petey rolled her eyes.  “Yes, I’m sure that’s it,” she said sarcastically.  “I guess you ditched your business dinner?”

Nik nodded. “I did.”

She eyed him curiously.  “What kind of business are you in?”

He paused a beat.  “I’m in international finance and development.”

Warmth flooded her face, and she knew she was blushing.  A sheepish smile curled her lips.  “I have no idea what that means.”

He smiled, too.  “I travel and meet with business people, mostly, occasionally politicians, and we discuss ways to improve our national economies, and ways to assist developing economies as well.”

“Oh.  I’m sure Jules would understand completely.  She has a sharp business mind.  I’m just so,” she gave a self-deprecating chuckle, “right-brained.”

She fanned herself lightly with her hand.  “So, you’d had enough of finances and development for one night?”

Nik nodded agreeably.  “I’ve worked all day.  As I sat listening to more business conversation, all I could think was that I’d like to attend the gallery opening of a promising young sculptor.”

Petey’s eyes sparkled mischievously.  “Well, if I hear of any, I’ll let you know.”  They both laughed together.

“I just watched your video.  Such an interesting way to introduce yourself to patrons.”

“Oh, that.”  Petey blushed.  “Jules flew out to Montana a couple of months ago.  She hired a film crew to follow me for a day, do interviews and stuff.  Then they just put it together.”

He regarded her curiously, eyes sparkling.  “What are the chances you’d give me a guided tour of this incredible exhibit?”

She pretended to consider his request.  “Well, you did see to it that I was put back together after being blasted by that tidal wave.   And, you rescued me from being talked to death by a close-talking dentist.  I’d say your odds are pretty good.”  She laughed.  “I think bringing me a glass of wine put you over the top, though.”

Nik laughed, too.  “Lucky for me, then.”

“Lucky for you.  Okay, let’s take a tour.”

Want to keep up on the latest news about the release of Chasing Ordinary?  My Passionistas hear everything first.  You can join Pandora’s Passionista Paradise on Facebook.

Weekend Excerpt–Mystery Package from Spain

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

See what you think.

roman-kraft-208004

 

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

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

She frowned to herself.  Whose inner monologue is sardonic?

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

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

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

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