Friday, June 28, 2013

JEWEL by Veronica Tower

JEWEL by Veronica Tower

Jewel’s family fortune is entirely dependent on the continuation of a multitrillion-dollar business relationship—a relationship to be cemented by an arranged marriage to Kole Delling, a man Jewel has no reason to love. Desperate to secure her freedom, Jewel joins the crew of the tramp freighter, Euripides, and passes her time on the outskirts of the Fringe and in the arms of Erik Gunnarson.

Erik calls to Jewel in every way Kole doesn’t. An honest worker scratching out a living he may be a little rough around the edges but there’s no question how much he wants Jewel—in his bed, against the bulkhead or in the shower. He can’t get enough, and he’s not too frigid to admit it. With Erik at her side, Jewel finds it easy to forget the opulence of her home world and the advantages of her birth.

But an accidental discovery near an abandoned planet threatens Jewel’s newfound happiness. Driven by greed, the crew of the Euripides is taking an awful risk, one that could jeopardize not only Jewel’s freedom, but the lives of every crewmember on board—including hers.



“Come on, Jewel. Is that all you’ve got?”
Erik Gunnarson, Executive Officer of the tramp freighter, Euripides, drove in hard with his left hand, making lightning jabs to Jewel’s cheek. She had her faceguard on but Gunnarson was a large and powerful man, nearly sixteen standard years her senior. He was also in excellent shape, packed with muscles Jewel had only recently begun to build. His blows rocked her head backward. Using his damned tyzat techniques against her again. It was a fighting style she’d never even heard of before she’d accepted a berth aboard the Euripides—grounded in kickboxing with a host of additional elements thrown in. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he’d mastered three different martial arts on top of that and knew a smattering of at least six others. He constantly changed things up against her so that she never knew what he was going to hit her with.
And that was the reason she loved to spar with Gunnarson. Back in the day when she’d had to depend on her father to find her teachers, the martial artists she’d trained with were always more afraid of hurting her than interested in teaching Jewel anything. None of them had ever understood why she might want to learn to defend herself. Wouldn’t her parents always be able to afford security for her?
She threw her arm up to block the next punch but Gunnarson anticipated her, stepping inside her defense, twisting about and tripping her over his artfully extended leg.
Jewel hit the mat hard—an experience she’d become all too familiar with lately.
Gunnarson stepped back out of reach of her feet. His blue eyes shone clearly from behind his protective mask. “Your mind isn’t focused today,” he warned her. “Are you sure you don’t want to quit now? I know we’ve got the mats reserved for another twelve minutes but really, how much punishment do you want to take?”
Jewel figured that after ten weeks serving together, the exec ought to know she wasn’t the kind of woman who quit. But if he was foolish enough to ask the question, she was perfectly willing to try to take advantage of him over it. “I guess you’re right. I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.”
She raised her slight, brown hand to Gunnarson in silent request for him to help her stand.
He came forward easily enough, standing lightly on the balls of his feet and slipped his pale fingers around hers. His muscles flexed and he began to effortlessly haul her up to her feet. It was the obvious moment for Jewel to strike back, but she hadn’t figured out how to escape the long reach of her family by doing the obvious. She let the exec finish helping her to her feet, then reached to the back of her head and unfastened her mask. Veronica 5
The moment Gunnarson lifted his hands to do the same, Jewel circled her foot around his calf and knocked him on his ass. By the time the exec realized what was happening, Jewel was sitting on top of him, thighs astride his broad chest and grinning in triumph. “Now who’s lost their focus?” she teased him.
Gunnarson finished removing his mask before answering her. He had a cute little lock of blond hair that liked to fall free across his forehead, making him look a lot younger than he was. He smiled up at her. “Who’s to say that this isn’t exactly what I wanted to happen?”
Jewel wasn’t going to let him get away with that crap. “Don’t think you can talk your way out of this. I’ve got you exactly where I want you now.”
Gunnarson’s large hands encircled her waist. “That’s very good because I like this position too.”
With a sudden twist of his arms he flipped Jewel to the side and rolled over on top of her. “Of course, I like this position even better.”
Jewel tried to roll out from under the exec, but Gunnarson was ready for her now and easily pinned her against the mat. She struggled some more with increasing futility—something he clearly enjoyed—before she finally conceded defeat. “Okay, you’ve got me. What are you going to do next?”
“How about this?” He lowered his face and surprised Jewel with a kiss.
She didn’t know what to do. After weeks of imagining this moment—even dreaming about it—he still caught her unprepared. She hadn’t really expected him to try. He was the exec after all, her superior officer. And while he didn’t know it because she’d lied about her age when she applied for this job, he was nearly old enough to be her father.
Gunnarson kissed her again, keeping her hands pinned above her head while his lips went to work on hers—nibbling, sucking, bruising them open so his tongue could thrust inside her mouth.
This time she remembered to kiss him back, thrilling in the adventure of it. In about ten seconds she’d kissed him longer then she’d ever been permitted to mess around with all of her schoolmates and the wealthy sons of her parents’ friends combined.
Gunnarson—make that Erik since they were kissing now—released her hands so he could slide his long fingers into her hair and cradle her head as they kissed. Then he rolled them over so that Jewel was suddenly on top, letting his larger body support, rather than crush hers. She knew she should probably stop them from going any further, but she was too excited to do that. Besides they only had another eight or nine minutes in this chamber. That deadline built in definite limits as to how far they could go today.
Kole Delling’s image invaded her mind—dark where Erik was blond and even taller and more muscular—but Jewel pushed his visage out again. She wasn’t going to let Kole spoil this moment with Erik.
A bulge began to grow between Jewel and Erik’s bodies, distracting her from the thoughts of Kole. Once, when Jewel was still in school, Knum Ezbet had gotten hard while he danced with her, but her chaperones had quickly stepped in and separated them. Dirty dancing might be permissible for all the other girls, but Jewel had always been made to understand that a different set of rules applied to her. She’d been engaged to be married since she was six standard months old. The continuation of a multitrillion-dollar business relationship depended on her staying pure for her future husband. So her chaperones had intervened before things could get too exciting and screw up Mama and Papa’s fortune. But her parents’ minders weren’t around anymore and Jewel was free to do exactly what she wanted.
Erik’s fingers slipped out of her hair and down to her shoulder where he hesitated a moment before gliding lower, onto her gi. Jewel’s heart stuttered, missing a beat as his thumb brushed the upper slope of her breast. Then it dipped lower, tracing her curves through the white fabric before spiraling upward to find her nipple. He wiggled it back and forth, encouraging it to grow hard. His mouth left her lips to kiss the surgically enhanced cleft in her chin—another improvement her parents had insisted upon.
Jewel realized her eyes were closed as she lay perched passively above Erik, wondering what he would do to her next. His fingers were light and dexterous like a thief’s but strong and forceful like an ancient warrior’s. In very little time he had her nipple fully engorged and straining against her shirt.
He rolled the two of them over again so that Jewel’s back was on the mat and Erik was positioned above her. His lips moved down to her neck where his tongue flicked out to taste her pulse. Jewel’s whole body began to tremble. Heat rose in her cheeks and neck, not to mention lower in her loins. She knew that she should stop him, but they only had a few more minutes before they lost the room. How much further would Erik try to go? How much further did she want him to go?
Erik drifted farther south and the universe abruptly turned inside out.
Jewel cried out in pain as a feeling of intense nausea racked her stomach. Evidently Erik felt the same sensation for he shouted something incoherent while he violently twisted away from her. The contents of her stomach wrenched violently up her throat to spew out across the exercise room. The pain was as intense as the vomit was revolting. The muscles in Jewel’s abdomen cramped impossibly tight, bending her double as she forcefully regurgitated again.
Out of the corner of her eye, Jewel saw Erik fighting to move. Like her, he was vomiting all over the floor. Yet that didn’t incapacitate him as it did her. Somehow he started moving, crawling toward the wall.
Jewel couldn’t move like that, but she managed to force herself to speak between projectile heaves. “What’s…happening?”
Erik forced three words of explanation out of his throat in the brief moments between the efforts by his stomach to propel his intestines up his esophagus. “Slide…space…translation!”
Jewel’s already rapidly beating heart shot into overdrive. How could something like this happen?
The Euripides was only fifteen days slide out of Thimble—what the hell could cause them to break slide early and shift back into normal space?
She vomited again, expelling mostly bile in her body’s continued efforts to rid itself of even the lining of her stomach. Then, as abruptly as it had begun, the pain eased, leaving only the overwhelming sense of nausea and the foulest of tastes and smells behind it. As quickly as it appeared, the crippling tension drained out of Jewel’s body and she collapsed against the mat like a marionette dropped by her puppeteer. She landed in a pool of her own vomit, but she was too dizzy and exhausted to move to a clean spot.
Over by the wall, Erik somehow forced his way up to the com unit. He was a strong man, but acting now was more a measure of character and willpower than it was of physical muscle. She didn’t understand how he was doing it, but his actions inspired her.
“Bridge,” Erik said in an abbreviated address that violated basic shipboard protocols. “Stars, Captain! What just happened?”
Jewel didn’t want to move, but she couldn’t appear weak in front of Erik. Gritting her teeth against a wave of vertigo, she forced herself upright. She simply refused to appear less strong and capable than he. She wanted his respect as much as his love.
Once seated on her ass, she put out a hand to steady herself. Her whole body shuddered with queasy uncertainty and utter exhaustion—a textbook reaction to enduring slide space translations without the proper drugs in her system.
“Bridge!” Erik repeated, snarling the words in anger and probably fear. Was the bridge crew still alive up there? “Answer me!”
“This is…Everson, Mr. Gunnarson,” a shaky female voice finally answered. “You’d better—”
Everson paused as the sounds of renewed retching filled the speaker. “Sorry…about that. You’d better get up here right away. The Captain’s unconscious and it’s…it’s a real mess, Sir. We’re in a real mess.”
“On my way,” the exec responded before switching off the unit. He leaned back against the wall, resting a moment, trying to catch his breath while Jewel struggled to get her feet beneath her. “Nice of her to tell us that last bit, wasn’t it?” he asked. There was no glint of humor in his eyes, but Jewel still thought he was trying to make a joke. “I’d have never guessed that we’re in a mess right now.”
Jewel finally managed to stand. Her legs were shaky. Perhaps she was pushing too hard and too fast, but she was stubborn and proud and she had no intention of looking weak beside Erik. She didn’t think he’d like a weak woman. She knew she wouldn’t respect a weak man.
The Exec took a deep breath and pushed himself off the wall. “I’ve got to get going. Would you like to come with me? I’m sure I could use your help.”
Jewel nodded, then braced herself as the simple action triggered another wave of vertigo.
“Good,” he said. “Let’s go.”


Thursday, June 27, 2013

CRYSTAL COMPANIONS by Marion Webb-De Sisto

CRYSTAL COMPANIONS by Marion Webb-De Sisto

The Use of the Mineral Kingdom within Modern-day Metaphysics

An innovative look at how crystals and crystal skulls are being incorporated into various modern-day metaphysical pursuits by the author and other practitioners in order to improve their performance. The effect crystalline energy has on therapies, spiritual pursuits and divination techniques is highlighted in this book, together with brief outlines on the histories of these various practices.

Such disciplines as Past Life Regression, Reiki, Yoga, Shamanism and Crystal Therapy are documented and discussed in detail. Divination strategies of the Tarot, the Runes, Scrying and Dowsing are also combined with the properties of the mineral kingdom, and the resulting outcomes are explored. In addition, helpful exercises, recommendations and crystal ‘know-how’ are included for both the professional and the novice.

The author is a qualified Crystal Healing practitioner and her examination of various crystal-enhanced procedures is a valuable handbook for anyone interested in discovering the powerful crystalline world and its impact on healing, spirituality and divination.

This book has been placed more than once in the top 100 of the US and UK Amazon's Category Sales Ranks for books about Crystals, Divination and Disciplines & Techniques.



A Dowsing Exercise with a Ring Pendulum


·    Decide upon a number of questions that you or someone else would like to have answered.

·    Choose a silver or gold ring. Even if it has no gemstones, it was created from a mineral.

·    Tie a piece of thread to the ring. It should be no more than 7” long.

·    Sit down comfortably and practice holding your ring pendulum in your dominant hand {right if you are right-handed, left if you are left-handed}. The official position is known as “the eye of the cobra,” which means holding your forearm in an upright position and slightly away from the body. The end of the thread is held between the thumb and first finger with the other fingers following the curve of that finger. The pendulum should be hanging straight down and parallel to your arm.

·    Take time to establish how this pendulum will indicate “Yes” and “No” answers.*

·    When you feel ready, give the pendulum a slight swing.

·    Now ask your first question and wait for an answer.

·    Once it is given, hold the ring still for a moment, and then give the pendulum a slight swing once again.

·    Ask the next question and wait for an answer.

·    Continue in this manner until all of the questions have been asked and answered.

·    Thank the ring and cleanse it by visualization.**


* If a pendulum is being consulted for “Yes” and “No” answers, you will need to establish, before you begin to dowse, how your pendulum will show you these answers. For some people a pendulum will swing clockwise for “Yes” and anti-clockwise for “No.” For others it will show the affirmative by swinging up-and-down, and from side-to-side for a negative response. Take time before attempting any dowsing exercises to become familiar with how your pendulum indicates its answers to you.


** Imagine Divine golden light is radiating throughout the ring and its beams transform all negativity into positive energy.


N. B. If the ring pendulum should become still when you ask a question and does not indicate a “Yes” or “No” answer, then you are being told that it is not right to be given an answer at this time. If it appears undecided, in other words, it keeps alternating between clockwise and anti-clockwise, or between up-and-down and from side-to-side, then consider this to be a “Maybe” answer.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

HARD TO HANDLE by Desiree Holt

HARD TO HANDLE by Desiree Holt

Rawhide Series

The chemistry between horse wranglers Bailey French and Hondo Labar was hot enough to singe the air even before their unexpected meeting at Rawhide, a private bondage club.

Their extreme edge play at the club feeds their sexual needs, but Hondo wants a relationship outside the club and Bailey refuses to acknowledge him as more than a fellow wrangler. When a riding accident puts her in his care, can she finally trust her heart as well as her body to a man who would Master her forever?



Bailey shredded the hunk of bread in her fingers. “You heard me turn down Hondo and Dan today, right?”

Liz nodded. “That’s why I thought it would be a good idea for us to have dinner and discuss the situation.”

Bailey frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“This isn’t an easy life you’ve chosen. You work hard. You need time to play. If not here, then someplace where you feel comfortable. It took me a long time to figure that out.”

Bailey fiddled with her wine glass, trying to decide exactly how much she could tell this woman. Liz was easy to talk to but she was, after all, the boss. And she didn’t feel comfortable just blurting out that she was a hard-core sub looking for a Dom who didn’t abuse the privilege. Or run away from it.

“I hear you,” she finally said. “But finding the right people isn’t always that easy.”

The other woman studied her. “I know you came here from Phoenix, but I guess I thought you had friends in the area. Something that drew you here. I probably should have asked at the time.”

“Why would you?” Bailey took a fortifying sip of her wine. “My personal circumstances aren’t your worry.”

Something dark flared in Liz’s eyes for a moment. But it was gone so fast Bailey wondered if she’d imagined it. Did Liz come here to get away from a problem, too?

“Maybe I sense a kindred spirit.” Liz said the words quietly, almost tentatively.

Bailey lifted an eyebrow. “In what way? Were you—I mean—“

“Running from something? In a way.”

The waiter appeared with their salads, momentarily interrupting their conversation. Bailey forked up a piece of lettuce and chewed it slowly, waiting for Liz to continue. They chewed in silence for a few seconds before Liz spoke again.

“There were—are—things in my life that I had a hard time handling. Even understanding. Needs that I had.” She paused, took a moment to chew another bite of salad. “It made my life…complicated.” The direct look she gave Bailey was honest and assessing. “I sense you might be dealing with the same thing, Bailey. If I’m wrong, I apologize, and we can pretend this conversation never happened.”

“You mean in isolating myself?”

“I mean,” Liz said, “in the things that enrich your life. Not just friendships but sex. People talk about men’s needs all the time, but they never think that could apply to women.”

Bailey stared at her, stunned that Liz brought the subject up.

Sex? She’s talking to me about sex? What do I say to that? How do I answer her?

All she could do was repeat the word. “Sex. You think I need sex.”

Liz Wright burst out laughing, a friendly sound, not a belittling one.  “Bailey, almost everyone needs sex of one kind or another. It’s part of the human psyche.” She leaned forward again. “Unless you have a problem of some kind, it’s really not healthy to go without it for a long time. And I don’t see you as the kind of woman who doesn’t enjoy it.”

 Bailey’s eyes widened. “Do I have some kind of sign on my back? You think I’ll do something to embarrass the ranch? And you?”

Liz shook her head. “No. That’s not it at all. I’m doing this very badly.” She sighed. “I went without for a long time after I was hired at the Lucky L. Not because the opportunities didn’t present themselves. As with you, every one of the hands eyed me with a lot of speculation. And I think the single men in town were making bets who would be the first one to break the ice.”

“Holy crap!” She shook her head, as much at the bluntness of the conversation as at the realization that the so-in-control Liz Wright had suffered the same things she did. “I guess I never…” She stopped, not wanting to be discourteous.

“Thought I was in that situation?” Liz smiled. “Or that I had sex?”

Bailey’s face heated. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—’

“It’s okay. Let yourself off the hook, Bailey. I understand what you’re saying.” She took a swallow of her wine. “Sometimes,” she said slowly, “it isn’t just the sex but the kind of sex that keeps you isolated.”

Bailey froze. Was it possible… “Kind of sex?”

Liz nodded. “I’m not sharing this with you lightly, Bailey. I’m doing it only because I sense a similar spirit here. I hope I won’t regret this.” She paused. “Some people might say my sexual needs are dark. Off the beaten path. Even unacceptable. For me and many others with the same desires, the elements of the BDSM lifestyle are as normal as breathing. But in a conservative community like this, one can’t exactly go out and ask where the nearest dungeon is or who’s into bondage.”

Bailey almost swallowed her tongue. Liz Wright was into BDSM?


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

REDEEMED by Indigo Sin

REDEEMED by Indigo Sin

 The Passion Series Book Three

Heartbreak drives Hadley to move on and forget the man who destroyed her hopes of love, no matter how much it hurts.

Colton will do anything to gain her forgiveness, if only he can convince her to believe his side.

With their future teetering perilously on the edge of disaster, can they redeem what they had before it’s too late?


 Redhead purred as her hand wandered again, but this time he caught her wrist, shaking his head. “Not interested, Doll. Go find someone else to molest,” he drawled, hoping it was the last time he’d have to tell her.

That earned him a shitty look and an un-ladylike snort, but she slid from the stool, and stomped away. Thank God for small miracles.

As he swirled the liquid in the glass, ice clinking against the sides, the door opened to admit a new patron, but he was beyond caring. The more he drank, the better he felt, and after a while he had forgotten what he was there to forget anyway, so his plan was working out swimmingly. Knocking back the rest of his drink, Brad, the bartender, gave him that look that said he’d had enough. Fuck that.

“Need a refill, Brad,” Colton demanded, belching as he pushed the glass toward the man.

Brad sighed, but put the bottle to the glass anyway. “Last one, Colt, and then I’m calling you a ride.”
Colton gave him an un-amused look, waving his hand through the air. “What the fuck ever, MOM.”

Brad narrowed his eyes as he finished pouring and set the bottle back on the bar, before crossing his arms like he had something to say. Oh great, here it comes…the speech. He had known Brad since they were boys. They grew up on the same street, chased the same girls, and raised more than a little hell together. The look on Brad’s face said that he knew exactly what the issue was, but Colton was in no mood to discuss it.

Colton put his hand out as Brad opened his mouth to speak. “Don’t go there, Brad. I don’t want to discuss it.” His speech slurred the slightest bit at the end and he cleared his throat in an attempt to cover it. Fuck, discuss was hard to say after half a bottle of Jack, that was for sure. Brad flipped him the bird as he made his way back across the bar to do…whatever shit it was that bartenders did, and Colton’s head found its way back into his hands.

Colton swung his gaze over the room once more, trying to stay on his stool when the room spun slightly. Mister loner in the corner had a woman with him now. They looked to be having a good conversation. Whatever, good luck, buddy. Rubbing at his eyes with both hands, he stopped dead still when a soft feminine laugh drifted across the bar. He knew that laugh. Turning his head as lines creased his brow, he blinked his eyes to focus on the couple in the back of the bar with a lot more interest.

“Ugh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” He groaned, running a hand through his hair. It was Hadley sitting there with the douche in the fancy duds. Of all the places she could have ended up tonight, it had to be here. Shaking his head, he clenched his jaw as her laugh pierced the quiet once more, and for the first time since arriving he found himself wishing the juke box was playing something to drown it out.

He was pissed. He didn’t realize he was holding his glass in a white knuckle grip until Brad broke his concentration.

“Dude, ease up. I’m not in the mood to clean up blood.”

Colton’s eyes snapped to Brad, and then followed his gaze to his hand. Shit.

Colton conjured up every ounce of self-control he had to let go of the glass, and not shatter it against the nearest wall. Fuck he was a mess. Turning his head once again, he watched as the man leaned in, listening intently to Hadley’s every word. She was laughing at whatever he was saying, and it killed him that he wasn’t the one she was laughing with. That was his Hadley over there.

Well shit, that had sobered him up real quick. Doing his best not to stare, he seethed in his own self-loathing, watching as the man made his girl smile. Pushing his glass back toward the bartender, he shook he head when Brad gave the ‘no fucking way’ look. “I’m done, man.”

Brad gave him a speculative glance, but took the glass with a nod. “Good call.”

Risking another glance back, he watched as Hadley got up from the table to make her way toward the back hallway leading to the restrooms. He knew it well. He and Hadley had made use of the dark hallway more than once when visiting this particular establishment. He groaned as his cock hardened in response to the memories and had to shift on his stool to relieve the pressure before he had a permanent zipper brand on his dick.

When he had discreetly adjusted his junk well enough to be reasonably comfortable, he turned back to find the table that Hadley had been sharing with Mr. Wonderful…empty. That didn’t bode well.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013



Viking Vengeance III

Can a Viking forgive the woman who cheated him of his vengeance?

All Dráddor has to do is kill the Earl of Caithness, wed the man's daughter, and vengeance would be his and the oath to his father would be fulfilled. But when he arrives at Caithness, the earl is already dead, poisoned by own wife. And when he finds the earl’s daughter, the Lady Xára, he find she’s unable to speak. Unwilling to be thwarted, Dráddor marries her anyway to claim the earl’s lands and title, knowing King Kenneth could not fault him for later casting her aside.

Desperate to protect her family, Xára willingly weds the Viking. She must win Dráddor to her side before he discovers the secret that will destroy all. But the Saracen warrior, Niketas, has other plans. He needs the blood of two virgin half-immortals to win eternal life and the powers of the gods. Until the god Heimdallr, Xára's true sire, makes it clear he has other plans for his beloved daughter…



Vengeance lost.

Fate had cheated him. Dráddør fingered the runes carved into his weapon, the enormous steel mallet he’d named Hefnd Hamarr, Vengeance Hammer, in anticipation of the day he would fulfill the oath made to his dying father. Disgust, crippling and oppressive, banded his chest as he surveyed the smoke-infused, empty great hall.

“’Twas an easy victory.” His friend and ally, Tighe, Earl of Dalriada, heaved a long sigh. “Not a fitting one, mayhap…”

“Arnfinn died by his wife’s hand. Not by mine.” Dráddør snorted. “I cannot fulfill my vow of vengeance.”

“Nay, I beg to differ. You have in your hand the ultimate revenge. Once you wed and bed his daughter, the title is yours, all that he ever owned is yours, and his line is erased. Think you, Arnfinn, Earl of Caithness, will rest easy knowing that your blood prevails? That his daughter will sire your son?”

Tighe rested a booted foot on the fireplace’s lintel and prodded the half-charred mound of logs with a metal rod. Bright orange sparks sprayed in a wide arc and the fitful flames blossomed into long plumes.

“The notion of swiving Arnfinn’s spawn holds no appeal.” Dráddør scowled.

Tighe shrugged. “One prick and you are Earl of Caithness. Shite man, you have gained a region as vast as Dalriada with no effort. The castle is intact and the keep secured. Take your nose out of your arse and do what must be done.”

Since his third and tenth summer, Dráddør had dreamed of killing the man who’d murdered his father and pictured the sweet vengeance of watching the life drain from Arnfinn’s eyes. But he knew better than to hold on to regret and self-directed rage. Too many of his friends had died because they’d lost focus on the ultimate goal—victory. He shook his head and shot Tighe a rueful grin. “Enough. I am done brooding. ’Tis time to take what is due me. Though ’tis not the pristine treasure the king boasted of.”

“I but hope the state of this hall does not extend to the rest of the castle. E’en the women of the barbarians see fit to pass a mop on occasion. I vow I have seen cleaner pig styes.” Tighe jabbed the poker into a half-full slop bucket. Steam hissed tight gray spirals. The putrid aroma of stale vomit penetrated that of burning pine.

Dráddør scanned the great hall and grimaced. “I have ne’er set eyes on a chamber in such a state. The floors are ankle-deep in discarded meat bones, dung, and rat droppings. Every table and bench is broken or scarred. The destruction we see here was wanton and deliberate.”

“Aye. You have an enemy, mayhap more than one at Lathairn Castle. The stench is powerful.” Tighe pinched his nose. “’Twill take much work to make this hall fit for living in, my friend. I, for one, will not sleep within these walls this eve.”

“Agreed. We will camp in the bailey. Mayhap the ocean breezes will mitigate the hall’s stink.”

“What of those who reside within the keep?” Tighe used a linen square hanging from his belt to wipe a smudge from the gleaming blade of his sword.

“I ordered Egron to gather all of Lathairn’s people at the bailey. Before the sun sets, each and every man, woman, and child swears fealty to me or they take their leave. But, first I will meet with the woman who cheated me of my revenge.” Dráddør glanced at the stone stairs carved into the left corner of the hall.

“Hear Lady Jennie’s tale first. Do not condemn her out of hand.” Tighe re-sheathed his sword.

“Lady Jennie poisoned her own husband, the father of her daughter.”

“The woman may have had good reason for what she did. Forget not that she also drank the brew and lies dying above stairs.” Tighe squeezed Dráddør’s shoulder.

“What would cause a woman to forfeit her own life in order to kill her husband?”

“Lady Jennie must have been desperate, Dráddør. Methinks she must have committed the deed because her daughter was threatened. Think on Skatha and how protective she is of her bairn. She would die for her son in an instant. Mayhap ’twas the only choice Lady Jennie had to save her daughter. Remember Lady Jennie was forced to wed the man who’d killed her family to gain her lands and the title.”

Tighe argued well in Lady Jennie’s favor. Skatha, his brother’s wife, would not hesitate to kill any who tried to harm her child. As would he when he had his own sons and daughters. In truth, he could not comprehend how a woman could live with the man who’d murdered her father. But poison? And to drink the brew? Who then would protect the daughter?

“I will listen and then make my judgment. ’Twill not take long. See you to the unloading of the langskips?”

“Aye. I will await you in the bailey.” Tighe spun around, cursing when a scrawny rat jumped down from a bench to the floor. He kicked the rodent out of his way, and stalked to the castle’s open doors.

Dráddør took a deep breath, marched to the stairs, and climbed them two at a time. He wanted this meeting over and done with and had already decided to banish Arnfinn’s wife, the Lady Jennie, to a distant abbey, if she lived. By King Kenneth’s and King Harald’s command, he must wed Arnfinn’s daughter to claim Lathairn Castle, its vast lands, and half-dozen villages, but that did not mean he had to suffer her mother’s presence.

Could Tighe have the right of it? Did Lady Jennie kill Arnfinn to protect her daughter? No matter. His path was clear and he would not hesitate. Before the sun set, the vows would be said, the consummation done, and the stained sheets hung as proof. But he would have answers first.

All the doors to the chambers of the castle stood open on his orders. Dark shadows filled the wide hallway on the fourth level, though the sun shone in a cloudless sky outside the keep’s walls. A stiff wind whistled through an open window at the far end of the passageway. He skirted a heap of broken porcelain and paused when a female speaking burr-accented Gaelic rushed out of a doorway to his left.

The little sprite could not have seen more than nine summers. She froze as if turned to stone at the sight of him, her mouth hanging open, eyes wider than saucers, thin arms stiff at her sides.

“Where is the lady of Lathairn Castle?”

The girl’s pinched features paled. Her throat worked. Raising her hand, her fingers trembling, she pointed to the room she had just vacated.

Dráddør nodded, then, sorry for the obvious death-fear he engendered, said, his voice low, his tone gentle, “I intend no injury to you or your mistress. Go to the bailey.”

She bunched up her grubby skirts, edged to the opposite side of the hallway, gave him one last glance over her shoulder, and raced past him. For a moment she reminded Dráddør of his sister, Hjørdis.

He waited until the girl disappeared around the bend leading to the stairs, hardened his resolve, and strode into the chamber. Bright sunlight streamed through two open windows on the far wall. He blinked the room into focus and frowned for ’twas the chamber of a servant and not that of the lady of the castle.

Wooden shutters clung to windowsills. Smoke rose in weak curls from a hearth in the north corner of the narrow, but long room. To the right of the struggling flames lay a straw-stuffed pallet.

The room smelled of pending death, a foul aroma that spoke of internal organs rotting, a scent all too familiar to a warrior. He stifled a grimace and shallowed his breathing. Sporadic gusts rattled the shutters, but did naught to alleviate the finality of death’s heralding stench.

A woman so thin as to be skeletal lay on a coarse, moth-holed blanket of indeterminate color. Another female, shoulders hunched, face propped in ash-stained hands, sat on a three-legged stool at the head of the makeshift bed.

Dráddør cleared his throat.

The seated female cocked her head and looked in his direction. The rays streaming through the room reflected off the whitewashed wall behind her and he could not make out the girl’s features. He took three long strides and halted when his booted feet met the pallet’s jagged corner.

He studied the woman on the bed. Eyes closed, sparse hair plastered to gaunt, sallow cheeks, she groaned when a shiver racked her emaciated body. He winced when she coughed, the rasping, dry hack painful to hear. He would not have to banish the lady of the castle, for her hours were numbered.

All at once, her lids flickered, and her eyes opened. He expected them to be glazed with pain and suffering, instead they shone with intent and lucidity. She met his gaze directly, and the corners of her mouth lifted.

“You have come. My time is short.” Her hoarse voice cracked and she broke into a coughing fit.

The girl attending the lady dabbed a ragged piece of linen to the blood spittle produced by the coughs. She kissed the woman’s cheek, shot him a fierce scowl over her shoulder, and reached for a jug on a low table behind the stool.

“Lady Jennie, I presume?” Dráddør stifled a curse at his stupidity. The woman clung to life by not even a spider’s web, and the last thing she needed was to have to answer questions. He held up a hand. “Nay. Do not attempt to speak. Mayhap your maid can answer my queries.”

He glanced to the girl who had poured water into a goblet and was attempting to ease Lady Jennie’s parched throat. “This is no fit chamber for the lady of the castle. Where is your healer?”

Mayhap a healer could dose Lady Jennie with some sleeping potion and ease her last hours.

The girl shot him a look that would haunt him to his grave. Sorrow dulled the brilliance of her startling turquoise eyes. Her lips trembled but she bent again to her task and held the cup to Lady Jennie’s mouth.

“Nay.” Lady Jennie struggled to lift onto her elbows.

Immediately the girl set the cup on the table and tried to press Lady Jennie gently back onto the pallet.

“Nay. Xára…daughter. Cannot speak.” The effort to whisper the words exhausted Lady Jennie and she collapsed onto the straw, but held his gaze with hers. Again the clarity of her brown eyes when death was nigh upon her disconcerted him.

He frowned. “My lady, I understand you are unable to speak—”

“Nay.” She crooked a shaking finger.

Bracing himself, he held his breath, dropped to one knee, and leaned in close to Lady Jennie.

“Xára. Daughter.” She nodded her head toward the young female. “Cannot speak.”

It took a moment for the meaning of her words to penetrate. Dráddør met the dying woman’s anxious stare. “This girl is your daughter. She is called Xára and she cannot speak. Is this what you want me to know? A simple nod or shake of your head is all that is necessary.”

Relief shone in Lady Jennie’s chestnut eyes, she dipped her chin. “Waited…for you.”

What could she mean? The plan had been for a surprise, swift attack. No word had been sent of Arnfinn’s condemnation of treason or his death sentence.

“Hefnd Hamarr…” Beads of perspiration clung to her faded gray brows.

He drew back to stare at her. “You know of me?”

She nodded and twisted one arm from under the sheet covering her from neck to toes. Her hand trembled, but she latched onto his wrist. “Xára…wed her.”

For a woman who could weigh no more than a small child, she had a surprisingly strong grip. He understood now. Lady Jennie wanted her daughter settled before she succumbed to the grim reaper. “Aye, my lady. The king himself has commanded our vow saying. I am ordered to wed your daughter and take charge of Lathairn Castle. Be at ease.”

Her overlong nails bit into his skin. “Before the…sun sets.”

The saliva in his mouth bittered. He had hoped to prolong the vow saying until he knew why the Lady Jennie had poisoned her husband. But ’twas clear there would be no questioning of Lady Jennie, and he could gain no knowledge from a female incapable of speech. So be it. He would wed the girl before night fell.

He stole a glance at the girl, Xára. She looked to be as pleased about the prospect of a wedding as he. Did she even comprehend the situation?

As if she read his thoughts, Lady Jennie tugged on his wrist, and rasped, “Xára is no imbecile. She understands all. She hears.”

The coughing took hold of her again. Deep, wracking hacks that drew up scarlet-tinged foamy spittle.

Xára elbowed him aside, swiped at the bloody droplets, and plied her mother’s chest with damp cloths pungent with the aroma of angelica.

Dráddør lurched to his feet. He moved to the window, leaned his head over the sill, and inhaled. The sweet tang of brine filled his lungs, the sun warmed his cheeks, and the raw fury he had held in check since learning of Arnfinn’s death dissipated. The hypnotic undulation of the waves pounding the rocky coast vanquished the lingering remnants of his angry frustration.

A sudden silence captured his attention. He set his back to the window.

Lady Jennie had either swooned or fallen asleep exhausted. Xára tidied her mother, swept the matted locks of hair away from the papery, yellowed forehead, tucked the linen sheet under her shoulders, and kissed the hollowed cheeks.

Xára pushed off the bed, stood, and turned to him, her manner aggressive, her chin lifted. She waved at the entrance to the room.

Dráddør quirked a brow and then realized the futility of the gesture.

She pointed to the hallway.

What harm could it do to follow her silent command? He nodded, rose, and slipped out of the chamber. She followed him into the passageway. For a long moment, they gazed at each other, Xára searching his face for what he knew not. Then she touched his bare forearm, pointed in the direction of the stairs, spun around, and halted, waiting.

He scratched the bearded stubble on his chin. Xára obviously wanted to take him somewhere. The female appeared to have her wits about her. For cert, she did not appear to be touched by madness or disease. But was her inability to speak one that was inherited? Would she bear children with no voice?

If ’twas the case, he could refuse the marriage. Neither King Kenneth nor Harald Bluetooth could fault him for that.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PERFECT STRANGER by Kerri M Patterson

PERFECT STRANGER by Kerri M. Patterson

Left at the alter and crushed, Chloe Burgesse only thought her life was complicated before she embarked on her should-have-been honeymoon, alone. She had no idea how much worse it could get when a Special Forces soldier takes a leap onto her car. She didn’t see the Pandora's box she'd opened for herself by offering aid. She didn’t see the attraction to Jericho coming, nor did she intend to fall in love with a perfect stranger. 

Master Sergeant Jericho Eden is in Brazil doing recognizance work on a suspected terrorist compound when his team becomes scattered. On his way to his execution, a woman unwittingly offers aid. Together they are thrust into a world of duplicity and danger. Nothing new for Jericho, but Chloe's only chance of survival relies on his instincts, skill, and discipline—something he is having a hard time getting a grip on with his new distraction.


Jericho dropped himself at the base of the twin kauri tree again and patted the spot of forest floor beside him. "Time to rest."

Chloe turned from the little pool, where he had unknowingly left her contemplating what it would be like to kiss him. Her brow pinched as her stare fell on Jericho. She looked him up and down, pausing.

The last time she had been kissed was over Fourth of July weekend at a country club where she and her ex had celebrated their wedding shower. It had been a short peck, over all too quickly. Now thinking back, the kiss had also been slightly cold. She had thought so then, too, she supposed, but had chosen to ignore the tiny pang of hurt.

He had kissed her goodbye at his car. She remembered following him there as he left early, supposedly for a forgotten meeting with a client. After he left her at the curb, she'd watched him drive away and wondered why he hadn't wanted to kiss her more deeply. He is my groom, after all. Shouldn’t he be in love with me? she'd thought.

Chloe snorted now.

She wished her ex's lips had never touched hers. If she had the power, she would erase the entire relationship.

And so, there was something she wanted to do before she died, in case she met her end tomorrow or even during the night.

Chloe hesitated, chewing at her bottom lip nervously. She wasn't even remotely sure how to approach a man she intended to kiss without being invited to do so. She had always let the man lead.

She took a deep, steadying breath and crossed over to the tree, feeling brave as she approached, but grew timid as she sat down.

"Is everything all right?" Jericho asked.

Chloe sighed, shutting her eyes briefly.

Oh, hell, what did she have to lose anyway?

Chloe gathered her nerve.

It wasn't as if rejection would be anything new to her.

Chloe reached out quickly, cupped Jericho's cheek with her palm, and before he could stop her or protest, she tilted her head and claimed his lips in a gentle kiss.

A hot spasm of desire struck her harder than she'd anticipated.

Chloe pulled back to view his surprise, expecting to find astonishment, and she did.

All the blood in her body seemed to rush to her head in an instant as she waited for what seemed like forever for him to respond.

He blinked and shook his head, confused. "What was that for?" he murmured dazedly.

Chloe bit her bottom lip, dropping her stare back to his mouth. "If I die, I don’t want that asshole to be the last man I kissed," she said in a whisper, offering a smile and a nervous little shrug. She started to turn away, but he caught her by the arm.

Jericho chuckled low, the deep richness of his voice sending electrifying quivers though Chloe. He reached to brush the side of her face with his palm, and his hands quickly deepened into her hair, tangling his fingers at the back of her nape as he pulled her to him.

"If that’s the case," he said against her lips, "then we should do a kiss justice." Jericho dragged her body against him, enveloping her in his strength. His lips sealed over hers.


Monday, June 17, 2013

TURN ME ON by Faye Avalon

TURN ME ON by Faye Avalon

Brighton Heat, 3

Recognizing the groom and best man as men she once enjoyed a ménage, Lissa Delaney’s attempts to avoid them during the wedding drive her straight into the arms of the groom’s cousin. Getting involved with Reed Fitzgerald is bad news, especially since the two men dislike each other, but the attraction is too powerful and soon Lissa is sharing Reed’s bed.

With an ex-lover determined to hold him to a drunken promise, Reed Fitzgerald thinks Lissa might well be his out-clause, especially since she’s up to her pretty neck in debt. His unlikely proposition will solve both their problems and, considering the explosive sex they enjoy, promises to provide plenty of recreational benefits along the way.

But what started as a temporary agreement soon develops into something more meaningful, until a chance meeting sends Reed into a jealous rage and threatens to destroy what they have been building.


He rested his hands on the counter edge and leaned forward as he watched the coffee percolate. Shit. What was it about Lissa that stirred him up like it did? His fingers still tingled in the aftermath of cupping those fabulous breasts, of brushing her hard nipples through that lace. He’d wanted to rip the damn bra away and feast his mouth on her.

One brush of his fingertip against her hot slit—he’d managed one measly brush before she’d stopped play—and he’d wanted to drive his fingers, his cock into all that burning heat.

Fuck it to hell and back. He wanted her stretched out for his pleasure, screaming his name as he thrust into her over and over.

The gurgle from the coffee maker seemed to heighten his heated deliberations, and his hard-on throbbed in response. It was his own damn fault, he thought as he poured coffee. Only a fool would work himself up into a sexual frenzy when there was no way to get relief. Since she’d vetoed sex, there was no damn way he’d get to satisfy his prurient desires other than a hand job in the shower after she’d left.

When he took their coffees into the living area, she was sitting on the sofa perusing the development brochure. Her straight back, ladylike posture, and the large notebook on her lap indicated her intention that they keep the conversation strictly on business. In fact, she couldn’t have made it clearer if she’d yelled it from the rooftop.

“Thanks.” As he set her drink down on the side table next to her, she pointed to the sketch plan of the development on the oval glass-topped coffee table. “Which part is yours?”

Deliberately, although he might curse himself for a fool for doing so, he sat next to her on the sofa. Why the hell was he intent on torturing himself?

Her scent wafted to him and he felt a responding awareness shiver along his flesh. “Casino and night club right here,” he said in a tone like gravel as he pointed to the plans and his cock continued to throb. “Cinema and restaurant here.”

“I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so big.”

Neither did he, but then he wasn’t referring to the development. He had to swallow. “Biggest one in the south.” And still, he wasn’t talking about the development, although that would indeed be the largest leisure complex along the coast.

“How far along are you?”

About ready to blow, he thought. Ready to shoot my load into my pants and embarrass myself, that’s how far along. “Diggers are in.” He had to clear his throat as his gaze lost the battle and he found himself staring at her milky thighs. “Starting to prepare the groundwork.”

She reached forward for her coffee, the action making her breasts jiggle. He thought of that white lace. Hell, such a thin barrier between him and paradise.

“You obviously want photographs of that?” She scribbled in her notebook. “Of the ground being prepared?”

He needed a moment to get his thoughts back to focus on business. “Like I said, I want a record of the whole process. Start to finish.”

“It’ll be exciting to watch it grow.”

Baby, you have no idea.

Shit. What was he? Sixteen? Couldn’t he keep his mind off his throbbing cock for two damn seconds?

“How do you want to play it?” She turned to look at him and for a moment he was distracted by the pleasure sparkling in her hazel eyes. “Would you give us a heads up when you want photos, or do you want us to come on a regular basis, say once a week?”

Once a fucking week wouldn’t do it. He’d want her to come every damn time he—


“Regular basis,” he managed, giving himself a mental shake as he reached for a fortifying swig of caffeine.

There was no damn way he was going to be able to wait for her. What if she never gave in to him? What if she really didn’t mix business with hot, rampant pleasure?

Well, he just might have a plan to ensure that didn’t happen.


THE PROMISE OF STEEL by Lilith Duvalier

THE PROMISE OF STEEL by Lilith Duvalier

The Promise Series, 3

After years of watching uniformed men bring bad news to her neighbors' doorsteps, and fearing the day they might come to hers, Harriet’s husband Joshua has been returned to her. He’s not whole, still haunted by the trenches and recovering from mental and physical injuries, but he’s home.

To help ease the lingering effects of shellshock, Harriet brings Joshua to her sister’s seaside cottage. The trip doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect on his ravaged soul—until Harriet finally coaxes her husband into divulging a close-guarded secret and proposes a thoroughly unorthodox solution.


Joshua’s scar was long and still, after many months of healing, livid. But comparatively, it was hardly ugly.

His fingers set to either side of the scar, pressing gently as though afraid it would open up under his touch. Harriet set her fingertips under his chin and tipped his head back to look at her.

He moved instantly forward, kissing her with all the fervor he used to have. She moved closer to him, scooting up his thighs to press their bodies together. His arm pushed at her back, bringing her tight to his body. Her hands found themselves in his hair, moving of their own accord.

The only sound in the room, in the world, was their breathing. Joshua’s deep and fast, under his control, but still strained. Harriet could feel her own breath catching in her throat as she struggled to keep each one from becoming a moan.

Being kissed like this was like a salve on a wound, each gasp and new press of flesh making her desperate for more. She wanted to feel Joshua’s body against her without impediment, wanted to feel his bare, warm flesh against her, his thick cock inside her, buried in her, arms around her as he worked into her, as close as two people could be. But she had to restrain herself, slowly coax Joshua out of his mood, out of his memories.

Out of his clothes.

She pressed her hips down against him, experimental at first, then with more urgency as the need for more, more skin, more touch, justmore became unbearable.

She rocked down against him, the moans she had been holding in pouring out as he pressed up against her and she felt the hard line of his cock through her bloomers. So close, not nearly close enough.

Joshua’s hands scrabbled against her back, seeking out her corset strings, tugging them too hard and too erratically when his fingers did grasp them.

She pulled back, set her palms at his elbows and pushed down.

“Shh, you’ll cinch me in so tight I’ll never get out,” she said gently. “Here, here.”

She carefully moved off his lap and turned her back to him.

“Go ahead, love, undress me,” she said.




Hannah Monroe’s best friend, Chris Worth, is the one guy she can depend on- and sexy! He's an all-American good guy, and they've been through thick and thin together. But now he’s thinking about being with her—naked.

A Valentine’s Day pact and a few drinks too many find the friends spending a night together neither one can forget. Hannah wants to pretend it didn't happen. Chris doesn’t.

Chris is determined to break through the cracks he’s put in Hannah’s walls to give them a shot at romance. She’s resistant to all his efforts.

But when Hannah thinks Chris has betrayed her in the worst way, will she run or can she give their new passion for each other a chance?


“Hannah. What’s the matter? You’re never this … shy with me. What the hell’s wrong?” He didn’t really want to know the answer, but he couldn’t live without it.

She sniffed and buried her face in his neck. “I don’t know, Chris. It’s you, you know? I feel so … exposed. It shouldn’t be this way, right?”

The brick sank lower. He wrapped his arms around her and rubbed with his hands up and down. What was he supposed to do?

Hannah pulled back and looked at the floor. “Maybe I should get going.”

The brick ignited into flames, and his stomach burned in fear. Now that he finally had Hannah in his bed, he didn’t want to lose her. He couldn’t let her walk out. There had to be a way past the wall she’d slammed up. He’d deal with why she’d slammed it up later.

“No. We’ve been drinking. You’re not driving. Come on.” He took her hand and blew out a breath when she didn’t resist following him into his bedroom.

He turned on the light and moaned. Hell, he wished he’d taken the time to clean up. He hadn’t known this was going to happen, but from now on, he would make sure his clothes made it into one pile instead of several scattered all over. And the empty beer bottles lining the nightstand and dresser just looked sad.

He cleared his throat. “So, obviously I wasn’t expecting company. Sorry ‘bout the mess in here.”

She snorted. “I’ve seen it much worse, Chris. Everyone knows you’re a freakin’ slob in your room.”

Heat rose to his neck, but he couldn’t feel too embarrassed. If she was teasing him, then she wasn’t completely freaked out over what they’d just done.

He strolled to the bed, grabbed handfuls of clothing and tossed them towards the farthest corner of the room. She still avoided making eye contact, and he put his hands on his hips.

“Hannah. Seriously? We’ve known each other forever. You don’t have to be self-conscious in front of me. You’re beautiful.”

Pink flushed to her cheeks. She shuffled to the bed and sat down on the edge still clutching the towel.

“When I’m with some guy I don’t know, it’s somehow easier. I don’t worry about how I look. I know we’re both there to get off and go our separate ways.” She bit the inside of her right cheek. “God, that sounds so bad. I’m pretty fucked up. But you knew that already.”

“Do you trust me?”

She glanced at him. “What?”

“I asked you if you trust me, Hannah.”

She didn’t answer right away and bit her cheek again. “You know I do, Chris.”

He went to his closet, slid the door aside, pulled out a tie and settled behind her on the bed. “I’m going to make you stop thinking about yourself and just feel. Are you okay with that?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Are you sure you trust me?”

She nodded slowly and tried to turn to face him, but he grabbed her shoulders to hold her still. “I need you to just focus on what you feel. This is going to help you.”

Hannah let out a tiny yelp as he blindfolded her with his tie.


TELL ME NO LIES by Vanessa Devereaux

TELL ME NO LIES by Vanessa Devereaux

Aiden McDermott returned to Spring Valley to pursue his dream job of being the town’s sheriff. When he’s woken in the middle of the night and told some remains have been unearthed, he knows the only outstanding missing person case is that of Ruby Connolly.

Aiden has a history with the Connolly family, some good and some bad. One of the bad things included hurting Christina Connolly in the worse possible way. Christina is now an attorney and also back in Spring Valley. Can they put their differences aside and work together to find a killer who’s been walking free for a decade? And while doing so can they rekindle their love and prove that everyone deserves a second chance?


Aiden suddenly walked over to her, pulling her in close to him, taking her by complete surprise. In fact, it almost knocked her off her feet.

“You wanted me to kiss you that night, didn’t you?” he whispered.

She didn’t have to ask him what night he was referring to because she knew.

“Why didn’t you?” she asked.

“Because I was an asshole. And I want to make it up to you, right now. That’s if you’ll let me.”

He pulled her in even closer, his belt buckle nudging her navel, his erection spearing the bone above her sex. If she let him kiss her then it could be the start of something she might regret…probably would.

She’d get involved with him only to figure out that his dad had been right, they weren’t really suited to one another because their worlds were so far apart. Neither of them could run away this time, and it would be embarrassing bumping into one another for what could be the rest of their lives.

That was the rational side of her having its say. The irrational side also wanted to put in its two cents' worth.

It would be downright fun, and she wanted him to kiss her like nothing else she’d ever craved in her life. And after all, it was just a kiss, right?

She outlined his lips with her finger, anticipating how sweet and soft they’d be on hers. He edged toward her. This was it. The kiss she’d waited for what had seemed like a lifetime to get.

He put his arms around her, his cock cutting into her belly as his lips brushed hers, and then with more urgency, he pressed them harder against her mouth.

Christina wrapped her arms around his neck, wanting to, no, having to, because she was suddenly dizzy, not believing that this was finally happening.

All the time she’d just been Bree’s best buddy and while she’d hung out at the McDermott’s house she’d seen him, watched him with his friends, spied on him watching a movie and eating popcorn, even crept up the stairs to see him heading out of the bathroom with just a towel wrapped around his waist. She’d always gone home and fantasized that one day he’d see her for more than just his sister’s friend. A potential girlfriend; wife even. That’s why she’d agreed so willingly for him to take her into the summer house that night and for them to have sex.

It wasn’t until they’d gotten down to business that she’d realized that he was very drunk and that sex and making love were two very different things. He’d just wanted to fuck her and she’d never gotten that kiss…until now.

And it was everything she knew it would be as his tongue glided over her bottom lip and then sneaked into her mouth that she’d opened a few seconds ago for him to explore. Their tongues dueled, her pants grew damp and her pussy throbbed. She ran her fingers over the back of his shirt collar and the ends of his hair.

She playfully bit his tongue, making his cock jerk against her tummy. He tugged at her blouse, pulling it out from his jeans she was wearing. His hand instantly crept up inside it, its palm resting flat against her skin. She did the same with his shirt, repeating his action with her own hand, longing to pull down his fly, wanting to do what she hadn’t been given the opportunity to do that night. To feel his cock and see how hard she could turn it with just her touch.

He took her by surprise yet again by pulling away.

Aiden placed his hands either side of her face.

“Not like this, not in some manure laden stable,” he whispered. “Let’s not repeat my previous lack of judgment.”

Christina came back to earth with a jolt. She wanted him to take her right here, right now, but he was correct in thinking this wasn’t the place or time.

“I’m going to buy myself a horse, we’re going to drive back to my place, and if you let me, I’m going to make love to you,” he said.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

SMOKING HOT by Karen Kelley

Today on our Cyber Launch Party Blog, we're celebrating Karen Kelley's sexy new paranormal release!

SMOKING HOT by Karen Kelley

"Kelley burns up the pages...this book is witty, sexy, and a lot of fun."—RT Book Reviews

Everything She Wants...

Working the night shift at the sheriff's office has given deputy Raine McCandless more than enough time to fantasize about the kind of man she'd like to take prisoner, so when she arrives home to find a sexy intruder waiting for her, she's pretty sure she must be dreaming.

...Can and Will Be Held Against Her

But Dillon Taylor, with his stunning blue eyes and killer tan, is 100% real, just not 100% human. Half-man, half-angel, he'd love to answer every naughty prayer Raine has ever had. But Raine is in serious danger. And Dillon can only fulfill her every fantasy if he can keep her alive.


Excerpt from Smoking Hot:

A rush of adrenaline surged through Raine. The exhaustion she’d felt when she turned off Old Red’s engine was gone the instant she came inside and sensed someone else in the house. Every fiber of her being was on high alert.

"Show yourself!"

He stepped out of the darkness.

Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open, then snapped closed. She’d expected an unbathed drifter with a scraggly beard, not a cowboy who looked like he was made to fulfill any woman’s fantasies. He wore his clothes as if the black T-shirt and dark jeans had been made to fit his broad shoulders and muscled thighs. She hadn’t seen anything so delicious since being talked into going to that male strip show in Fort Worth.

She quickly regained her composure. He might be easy on the eyes, but he was still trespassing. "Who are you?" she asked. When he continued to stare, she wondered if he had a few missing brain cells. "Do you understand what I’m asking," she said, speaking slowly.

His eyebrows drew together, then relaxed as a lazy smile formed, as though he realized exactly what she was thinking and the joke was on her.

She bristled. He stood in the middle of her living room as if he belonged there and then had the audacity to smile, completely disregarding the fact she held him at gunpoint. She aimed the gun lower.

His smile vanished.

That was better. He wouldn’t think the situation was so damned funny if she blew his balls off. "I never miss what I aim at," she added for good measure.

"The bank is going to be robbed," he blurted.

Robbed? Yeah, right. Why would anyone want to rob the bank? The risk would be higher than what they could steal.

He suddenly closed his eyes.

What the hell? He acted as if he was about to leave. Was he planning to plow right past her? She tightened her grip on the gun. "How would you know the bank is going to be robbed?"

He opened his eyes, looking put out that she’d guessed his intentions and foiled his plan to escape. "Trust me," he said.

"You break into my home, then tell me to trust you. I don’t think so, cowboy. Turn around and put your hands on the wall." It was a shame the guy was a few bricks shy of a load because he was damned attractive. Not that his appearance would influence her. She’d met her fair share of good-looking criminals who tried to talk her out of handcuffing them. Their charm never worked.

"The Randolph bank is going to be robbed tonight," he repeated his warning.

Okay, she’d play his game and see exactly what he was up to. "And how do you know this?" He crossed his arms. She tightened her grip. "Don’t make me nervous." She motioned for him to lower his arms.

The slow smile appeared again, but this time it reached all the way to his eyes, crinkling them at the corners. The stranger was starting to piss her off. Their gazes locked and she found it difficult to look away. His eyes were an intense blue, mesmerizing. He broke the connection. His gaze slowly drifted downward as if he mentally removed everything she wore.

Her body began to ache with a need that burned low in her belly. When he finally raised his head, he wore an expression that said he knew exactly what effect he had on her and that she’d stopped thinking about shooting him. Maybe, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t start up again. She raised her chin, daring him to try something and see what she was capable of doing.

"You’re not willing to trust me?" he asked with a slow Texas drawl. He slipped one thumb into his pocket, his fingers tapping lightly against the denim.

Against her will, she watched, mesmerized by the motion of his fingers tapping, then brushing lightly against his pocket. With supreme effort, she forced herself to concentrate on getting him in handcuffs. She stifled a groan. That thought created a wealth of unwanted images.

Somewhere between Fort Worth and coming home she’d lost her edge. A month ago she would’ve had this guy in custody by now and be reading him his rights.



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