Wednesday, October 30, 2013



Club Splendor Book Two

Bridget Guthrie and Zander Hudson have worked at Club Splendor together for years, sharing smoldering glances, flirting, and building a friendship. Thanks to the club’s strict policy of no staff fraternization, they’ve resisted how much they truly want each another.

With Bridget leaving to explore her dreams, they no longer have to hide their passions. After hours, in one of the pleasure rooms at Club Splendor, they finally give in to the burning desire they’ve held at bay for too long. She has taken care of other people’s love lives for so long while at the club, can she find the courage to take care of her own needs and fantasies?



“I know following your dreams is important to you, Bridget. I’m happy for you.” Zander sidled closer, and massaged her stiff shoulders.

“Thank you. I know you are. It’s just—” she swallowed past the lump in her throat. “It is hard to think of leaving. I love this job. I’ll miss it.”

“You’ll miss me more though, right?” His light tone lifted her mood.

She laughed. “Of course. Who else will I get to boss around?”

He chuckled and pulled her in to his chest, aligning her against his stomach. Her breath hitched as his arms wrapped around her waist and squeezed her tight. Her nipples tingled and her heart rate accelerated.

Being this close to him, his long body behind her, the dreams she had about a moment like this…. She wished she could turn in his arms, press her lips to his and see where it led. But their friendship meant a lot to her. The fun flirting and teasing had never gone to the next level, but no other man in her life affected her more.

And now they would no longer be working together…but she wasn’t sure how deep his feelings for her ran.

“Damn, you smell good. What is that you’re wearing?” Zander asked, his face buried in her neck.

“Umm, something berry I guess.” Her words sounded breathless even to her own ears. He never held her like this before. She shivered.

“You cold?” He ran his palms over her stomach, then his arms tightened around her.

She shook her head, speechless, about to melt into a puddle at his feet. Relaxing into his embrace, she aligned with his front. “Zander--”

“You know I’ve always wondered something about you,” he murmured.

“What’s that?” she questioned, mouth dry.

“If any of what happens around this place excites you,” he whispered against her neck.

She reclined her head on his shoulder, sighing. Could she confess her innermost thoughts to him?

The air in the room heightened at least twenty degrees. The fire in her belly spread along her limbs to her fingertips. “Why is that important to you?”

Clasping her hands in his, he rasped, “I’ve always had the desire to know what makes you tick. I’ve watched you a long time, secretly wanting to know more about you. Finding reasons to be close to you.”

Excitement slithered along her body, her heart nearly leaping from her chest.

“We’ve been friends a long time, Bridget, but you know what? I want more.” He ran his lips along her neck, warming her skin until they reached her ear. “Tell me what turns you on,” he whispered, then captured her earlobe in his teeth.


Thursday, October 24, 2013



Just because you are a bondage slave for hire, do you deserve to die on Halloween night?...

Nothing satisfies Lilly. Not even working at The Dungeon BDSM Club as a bondage slave for hire. A slave looking for her true master. None have fit the bill so far. Until Terry. He spins her craving to fever pitch. And she might just fall in love with him, if she could only be his slave. Not just his. Julien and André’s, too. His gorgeous Creole lovers. Because they are the perfect Masters. But also keepers of the Black Room.

On Halloween, she’ll discover just how bad and dangerous their pain-lust game can really be. Will she be able to fulfill their true needs? Or will she perish in the attempt?



  “Ellie, get the **** out of here.”

Terry’s commanding tone seemed to come from another dimension. “Wash up and get ready for the night.”

On opening her eyes, Lilly noticed Ellie’s body bathed head to toes in the three men’s seed.

“And take our stuff downstairs.” More like an angry bark, Terry’s curt order made Lilly snap to full attention. “Leave them in my office.”

“Yes, Sir.” Jumping to her feet, Ellie picked up the men’s coats and their shirts, which they must’ve shed some time when Lilly hadn’t been looking.

Inevitable for Ellie to come up to Lilly’s coat, too. Not that she touched it. Far from it. She glanced at it with a sneer, then walked out of the room.

Lilly trembled. Something told her that her Master wanted to punish her and bad for having climaxed without his express consent.

But how could he possibly know?

He had been hammering Ellie’s ass so hard. Lilly was sure he hadn’t paid any attention to her.

Plus, she had not moaned. Not gasped. Not yelled. She had kept silent, in spite of the numerous orgasms shattering her body into a million pieces.

Still, he knew.

And he’d make her pay for it.

It would be of no use to try to explain that she had no choice. That in fact, it had been his kiss, along with Julien and André’s, to spiral her senses into a crazy and unbelievable vortex.

The Master wouldn’t give a damn about her poor excuses. Nor would he care to know she had glimpsed his true essence—the powerful, black and evil one. Or whatever it was, since that memory was fading fast.

Her best bet was to keep her mouth shut and take whatever he saw fit to dish out.

“André, please, bring me that…” Terry gestured her way. “Worthless piece of shit.” He paused as his friend got up. “‘Cause if I get my hands on her now, I might just kill her.”

“I told you she didn’t deserve your time and effort, Thierry-baby,” Julien mumbled softly.

Not enough that Lilly couldn’t overhear.

“She’s no good as a slave.” Rising, Julien went to the couch and plopped down on the plush cushions.

“She’s no good at anything else, either,” Terry spat. “Kelso had warned me about her, but…” He shrugged as though he had no choice in the matter. “I guess he felt sorry for her.”

“I wonder why.” At her side by now, André grabbed her, none too gently, and hauled her over his left shoulder. “She’s also as ugly as hell.”

That was really unfair. Out of all the disparaging things, true or false, they could’ve said about her, this really hurt.

“Tonight we’ll teach her some manners.”

It was Terry speaking with such self-assurance that Lilly became scared stiff.

“We’ll definitely help you.” Practically flinging her on the ground, André deposited her at Terry’s feet. “Won’t we, love?”

The question and the heart-wrenching look were for Julien.

“Can’t wait.” Reaching his friends at the center of the room, Julien kissed André lightly on the lips. Then he swung his head and his mouth closed on Terry’s, too. “I love it when you’re so angry, Thierry-baby.” He stroked the long hair briefly. “But you know you’ve gotta calm down if you want to punish her in any effective way.”

“I know.” Terry caught Julien’s hand and squeezed it tight.

For Lilly watching from below, their bond seemed stronger now than when they were exchanging the passionate kisses that were about to get her hide skinned to its bare essential.

“So, what did you have in mind?” André took a step forward, enough for Terry to kiss him, too.

“For starters, let’s hang her.” Terry peered up. “Then we can use just about anything that’s available here.” He spun to the table of toys. “There’s plenty to choose from.” He picked up a particularly heavy-looking paddle. “I suggest a combination of each.”

“Her ass will be a bloody red pulp when we’re through with it.”

There was such a cruel undertone to Julien’s comment that Lilly was sure she wouldn’t get out of the room alive.

“Then let’s get started.” André clutched a pair of cuffs and strapped them to her wrists.

The first thing they worried about was keeping her mouth closed, probably afraid she’d scream too loud. Hence a thick ball gag.

Next, Julien handed Terry a blindfold.

“No, I don’t want to make it easy for her.” Terry grinned as he caught her eyes, an icy grin that froze her blood. “I want her to see us as we beat the crap out of her.” The steel in his eyes gleamed maliciously. “I particularly don’t want her using the closed eyes to escape any of the pain.”

To hang her, Terry brought a leather belt. The two ends clasped one at each wrist, Terry had Julien lift her toward the hook. Thanks to André’s help, she was soon dangling in midair.

Julien looked her up and down skeptically. “How about we get rid of her pantyhose and thongs?”

“Yeah, the beating will be more effective if on her bare hide.” André nodded.

Next thing she knew, Lilly’s bottom half was stripped. Brutally. The three tearing her stuff off.

Suspended from above, Lilly pretended she didn’t have a body. Kind of hard to do, considering the force of gravity pulled her downward and stretched her arms until they ached unbearably. The fact her frame swung slightly, like a leaf prey to constant wind ruffle, contributed to her helplessness and to the strain of her muscles.

“Let’s start with this, Thierry-love.”

The voice sounded like André’s. Too bad she couldn’t see what he had chosen, for he had gone behind her back.

“Perfect,” Terry agreed readily.

Then Julien came up front and to her immense horror, she understood how they would go about it.

Julien gripped her hips and stopped her swaying. Soon after, the deafening thud of a flogger made her squirm to try and get away.

With Julien’s iron clutch, escape was not an option.

The trio had made sure of it. Blocking her body’s natural swing would increase the impact of the blows, making them ten times more painful than ordinarily.

And she couldn’t believe her Master would really go to such lengths simply because she had climaxed without his permission.

Just as the scorch of the first flogging was quelling, the paddle smacking her other buttock brought tears to her eyes.

Not that she had any time for crying.

The birch hitting her next was something so hurtful she would’ve screamed had her mouth allowed.

Then it was a cane, a whip, a belt, a crop before going back to the flogger, the paddle, the birch and so on.

Every hit was precise and fierce, even if the three men switched around often. In turn, André, Terry, then Julien again came up front to hold her hips.

This was the most bastardly thing of all. It fucking hurt like crazy. It fucking burned like hell.

Not content, they also targeted the back of her thighs, which hurt even more than her ass cheeks. A couple of blows also to her shoulders.

For nothing was spared to appease Terry’s rage.

How long did they keep at it?

Lilly didn’t have a clue.

First, it was pain. Then it was fire. Then it was neither. Finally, it was both.

Sensations blurred. Every beat, her flesh quivered. Her **** throbbed. Her ass tightened. Every beat, she wanted more.

It was all too intense that, at one point, her perception faded. Dulled away or she’d have fainted. The more they whacked her, the less she reacted. Blissful at last, she was about to step beyond the threshold connecting pain to pleasure when the most amazingly unexpected thing of all happened. Whoever was holding her hips darted his tongue and drilled her clit. Nailed it. Literally.

Her mouth would’ve dropped open had the ball gag not prevented it.

He didn’t just stop at the first few strokes. He continued in the most delicious brushing, which made her try to sway, despite the firm grasp on her hips and the face crushed to her ****.

Her attempt was soon blocked from behind. Two giant dildos shoved, one in her ass, the other in her ****. So forcefully, she feared both would hit the ball in her mouth. Then two blows to her buns in rapid succession and the orgasm wrecked her very core. Shook her to her very foundation.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CODE OF VENGEANCE by Melanie Atkins

CODE OF VENGEANCE by Melanie Atkins

Keller County Cops Book Seven

Sheriff Rick Blaylock relies on an anti-crime platform to win re-election, but with crime on the rise, his critics are relentless. Desperate to prove himself, he must either solve the county's latest murder, or face defeat.

Angry her sister's killer dodged a grand jury indictment, court artist Keegan Riley comes with a plan to avenge her dead sibling, but is thwarted when someone else stabs her intended victim. Still thirsty for revenge, she takes aim at another man who got off scot free, and is again thwarted. What's a girl to do?

Before Keegan can line up victim number three, Rick unearths evidence that puts her at the scene of the latest murder. Should she tell him the truth, or lie? Love is the last thing on her mind, but when he kisses her, she can't help but wonder if falling for him will get her off scot free.



Keegan tugged her new black turtleneck over her head, pausing only when the soft cotton caught on one of her new garnet earrings. She freed it, settled the shirt over her body, and tugged her hair out of the collar. Taking a deep breath, she pulled the long dark strands back in a tight ponytail. Her pulse raced as she dropped to her haunches to tie her heavy black combat boots. Her charcoal-colored yoga pants fit her like a second skin. Once she donned her matching knit cap and slipped inside that dark alley, she'd disappear.

Vengeance wrapped in shadows.

She strapped a serrated hunting knife to her waist, attached a smaller one to her ankle, and settled the paddle holster containing her brand new Sig Sauer P220 in the small of her back. As an extra precaution, she pocketed a container of pepper spray and picked up the black leather sap she'd ordered off the Internet. The weapon was illegal in Mississippi, but then... nothing about her plan was legal. So what did it matter?

I'm sick and tired of following the damned rules. Rules are why Jenny died. Hell, even after Dirk murdered her, the cops bought his flimsy alibi. Attending an AA meeting, my ass.

Well, that was then, and this is now. Dirk won't win this round. I'm going to see to it. Haley lost her mommy that night, and even though she has her grandma and grandpa now to keep her safe, she'll always have a gaping hole in her life. I'm going to make sure Dirk never has a say in anything, even though he's her father. He doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Keegan grabbed her bike helmet and melted outside into the night. The summer heat enveloped her, and she wished like hell she could shuck the turtleneck, but she didn't dare. Blending into the shadows was more important than not breaking a sweat.

She wiped her brow and hurried over to the detached garage. One flick of her wrist, and the hidden panel at the back of the building swung open to reveal the used Kawasaki motocross bike she'd bought from a kid over in New Orleans for a song. The teen had even agreed to paint it black for her after she'd offered to pay him extra, because he was desperate for cash to buy a car. A week later, she'd picked up the bike. Took her another three weeks of spills and scrapes before she conquered it, but conquer it she did... and now she rode like a pro.

A wide grin split her face as she donned her helmet, rolled the bike from its hiding place, and closed the hidden door. Every time she climbed onto the bike, a thrill shot through her. She'd always been adventurous, but readying herself to take care of Dirk had taken the term adventure to a whole new level. She'd doubled her number of martial arts classes, bought the Sig and learned to shoot, and studied with a local cop who specialized in self-protection for women.

Then, after a two-day computer search, she'd finally located the cruel rat bastard who'd murdered her sister. The skunk had left Hunter's Bayou for a couple of months and returned after he decided the coast was clear. Too bad he hadn't remembered Jenny had a sister. Or if he did, he didn't view her as a threat. The first time he'd put Jenny in the hospital and Keegan had vowed revenge, she hadn't been much of a menace to him. Now, however, she was.

Now, she was ready.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013



Two steamy full-length stories featuring two men skilled in the ways of seduction and two older heroines strong enough to resist them.


When Julia Westgard commissions a nude portrait of herself, the painting is much more than a rebellious act. It’s an attempt to regain her self-worth after years of a loveless, repressive marriage to her late husband. But the private portrait puts her directly in the path of Morgan St. Claire, one of the Marlborough Set’s most notorious seducers. A man who doesn’t take no for an answer.

From the first moment Morgan sees Julia’s portrait, he’s determined to have her. But the woman he meets is a far cry from the image on canvas. What starts out as a simple exercise in seduction quickly evolves into a quest to reveal the true Julia. With each sensual encounter, he employs every erotic weapon at his disposal in hopes of making Julia see she really is the woman in Love's Portrait. 


When Quentin Blackwell, Earl of Devlyn, discovered his fiancée had betrayed him, he broke their engagement. In retaliation, her father ruined Devlyn. When Sophie Hamilton, his ex-fiancée’s older sister comes to him with an unexpected offer, Quentin seizes the chance for vengeance. What he doesn't bargain on is how revenge could cost him the one thing he wants the most. Sophie's love.

All her life, Sophie's tried to earn her father's love to no avail. Even her one chance for happiness was crushed beneath his tyrannical thumb, leaving her firmly on the shelf at forty-one. Sophie accepts her fate until she impulsively uses her father's illicit activities to escape a life of servitude and righting a wrong at the same time. But she never really expected the Devil of Devlyn to actually accept her rash proposal, and she certainly hadn’t planned on falling in love with a younger man.



Beneath his gaze, Morgan saw the pulse in the side of Julia’s neck flutter. The delicate movement indicated she was aware of his stare, and from the rigid set of her shoulders to the way her fingers curled around the stem of her wine glass, her tension was plain to see. He liked knowing he unsettled her. It meant she wasn’t immune to him.
He stared at her lips for a long, drawn out moment. It was a tempting mouth. The wine had stained her lips a dark red, and a sudden urge to taste her latched onto him with all the force of a charging bull. He fought the desire clamping down on every inch of his body as he watched her take a bite of her salmon. Despite her attempt to present a calm composure, he knew she was anything but.
“You seem distracted, Mrs. Westgard.” He bit back a smile as she quickly looked away from him.
“Do I?” There was a catch in her voice before she regained that serene composure she’d consistently presented him with since their first meeting. “Forgive me. I’m simply savoring this delicious salmon. The hotel’s chef has outdone himself. Do you suppose he would send me the recipe?”
“Actually I have a personal chef who prepares all my meals, and I’m afraid Henri refuses to share his secrets.” He deliberately paused and offered her a secretive smile. “Even with me.”
“What a pity.” She took another bite of her dinner, and his gut tightened as he watched her mouth and suddenly wished they were alone. Her throat flexed slightly as she swallowed. “This salmon is a dish I could eat quite often.”
“Then come back for dinner again, next week,” he said as he leaned toward her, his voice dropping a level so that his invitation reached only her ears. The startled expression on her face made him smile, and he saw her hand tremble as she quickly laid down her fork.
“I think that would be unwise. One should never mix business with pleasure.”
He bit down on the inside of his mouth at having his own rule thrown back in his face. She was right, but it was too late to go back now.
“Perhaps.” He reclined back into his chair and lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Although I’m sure it would be quite—pleasurable.”
She immediately took another drink of her wine, this time more a gulp than a sip. If possible, her confusion made her even more beautiful. What would she be like tipsy? Relaxed and uninhibited with no barriers between them. He liked the idea.
“I’m glad to see that my Bordeaux is to your liking.” He grinned as a pink flush crested in her cheeks. She shot him a baleful look, which only made him chuckle as he lowered his voice even more. “You blush quite charmingly, Julia.”
“I don’t recall giving you permission to call me by my given name.” Her back ramrod straight, she attempted to stare him down with a haughty expression. It did little good, and he flashed another wicked smile in her direction.
“No? Forgive me, I thought you had.”
There was nothing remotely apologetic in his response, and they both knew it. She toyed with the necklace at the base of her throat before she tightened her mouth and met his gaze directly.
“Well, I didn’t, and I prefer to keep our relationship strictly a business one.”
“And if I don’t?” he challenged with a smile.
Dashing through the steady rain, she hurried into the hut. Although the interior was relatively clean, it was dark and lonely. She quickly removed her clothing down to her damp combination and drawers. Rubbing her hands up and down her arms in an effort to stay warm, she hurried to the fireplace.
The sight of a small stack of firewood and kindling next to the stone hearth made her sigh with relief. Now all she needed was a piece of flint. In the near darkness, she ran her hand along the mantle in search of a flint box. At the same moment her fingers grasped the starter, a loud crack split the air as the hut door flew open.
With a scream of surprise, she whirled around to see a dark figure in the doorway. Frightened, she stumbled backward until the fireplace’s stone mantle pressed painfully into the back of her neck. Lightning flashed outside, and the brief flicker of light revealed a familiar scarred face. Weak-kneed, she clutched at the mantle to steady herself.
“Quentin,” she breathed with relief.
“Damn it to hell, Sophie, what in god’s name were you thinking to come out in this kind of weather.”
Without looking at her, Quentin closed the door behind him. Still shaken, she swallowed her fright as she watched him remove his overcoat. He shook the garment out then hung it on a hook close to the door. When he turned to face her, she could just make out the harsh lines of his face. A low growl rumbled out of him as he closed the distance between them and grasped her shivering shoulders. The moment he touched her, he grew still as a statute.
Christ Jesus,” he choked out in a strained voice. “You’re soaked through.”
“Of course…I’m…soaked…it’s rain…raining.” She tried to sound amused, but her chattering teeth made her attempt an abysmal failure.
At her chattering response, Quentin frowned darkly. Whipping off his jacket, he covered her bare shoulders with it. The garment was relatively dry, and the warmth of it eased most of her discomfort immediately.
“Why the devil didn’t you stay at home?” he asked as he roughly rubbed her shoulders and arms in an attempt to warm her. “I would have thought you had more sense than to come out in this type of weather.”
“It wasn’t…wasn’t rain…raining….when I …left home,” she said between her chattering teeth. “And I could…could say the same to you.”
“I was at a nearby tenant’s farm, and came just to reassure myself that you weren’t mad enough to ride out in this weather.”
“Oh,” she said. The fact that he’d wanted to make sure she was safe warmed her.
“We need a fire before you catch a chill,” he growled as he looked down at the fireplace.
Her teeth still chattering, Sophie offered up the starter clutched in her hand. With a grunt of irritation, he snatched the flint out of her fingers and busied himself with making a fire. She quickly stepped aside and moved to the middle of the room. Quentin’s coat had warmed her a great deal, but she was still shivering as she watched him work.
One knee pressed into the stone hearth, he bent forward to arrange several pieces of wood in the fireplace. There was a suppressed strength about him that she was certain could be destructive or protective depending on his mood. With each movement of his arm as he picked up another piece of wood, the linen shirt he wore stretched taut against his back. Her eyes drifted down to where his riding breeches hugged his buttocks. He was beautiful.
Hypnotized, she noted the sleek, muscular build of his thighs as he leaned into the fireplace and blew gently on the small flame he’d created. His dark hair was wet from the downpour, and she wanted a towel to dry it so she could slide her fingers through it like she had yesterday. A deep ache suddenly pushed its way into her conscious mind. It drew her belly up tight then slowly spiraled downward until it settled in the apex of her thighs.
She wanted to see him naked.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

COME TO ME by LaVerne Thompson

COME TO ME by LaVerne Thompson

Confirmed bachelor Baron Munro doesn't believe in love, much less love at first sight. But what about love at first sound? It wasn't until he heard Jasmine Sandler's voice that he realized his life was missing something.

Jasmine didn't know what to make of the man who haunted her days and invaded her nights. She knew the sound of his voice as intimately as she knew her own.

But...they've never actually met. Dare she take the risk of a lifetime?

The mangled scents of perfume and sex teased Baron Munro’s senses as he turned his head and looked for a clock on the bedside table. There wasn't one. Didn't matter, it was time to go. He'd indulged them both long enough. Glancing at the tangle of long blonde hair resting on the pillow near his head, he hoped the owner would continue slumbering. The last thing he needed was to explain why he wasn't going to spend the rest of the night, or any other, with her. He should have been long gone already, but he'd been exhausted even before the sex marathon. And that damned near drained him. Yet, he still felt unsatisfied.

In the last few months, no matter how much he indulged, he'd roll out of bed feeling as empty as he had before he climbed in it. Even with his brief hiatus from casual sex, this time was no different from any of the others. A break was not what he had needed. Whatever he was looking for wasn't here either. He passed his hand over his face in exhaustion.

Shifting, Baron eased his body off the bed and picked up his clothes where he'd thrown them on the chair earlier in the evening. Naked, his things clutched to his chest, he carefully opened the bedroom door. He closed it behind him and released the breath he'd been holding. After dressing in the hallway, he made his way fully attired to the front door. When he reached the lobby, he dumped the card with the woman's name and number in the trashcan near a pillar. They'd been out a couple of times now, but he’d never saved her number in his contact listings. He wouldn't be calling her again. She was a mistake, another in a long succession of them he was damned tired of making.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

REDEMPTION by Rebecca Royce

REDEMPTION by Rebecca Royce

The Warrior Series Book Four

Rachel Clancy made a decision to erase herself from the lives of her friends and family. She did this, she believes, to free herself up to make some hard decisions. Only to realize out she was manipulated by a master into doing just what he wanted….

Now, she is alone with no one to turn to for help.

But fate isn't done with Rachel. When she is thrust back into the path of her former people—who have no idea who she is—she will find that life gives second chances. Will she gain redemption? Or is it too late…?


“I hate the nickname you’ve given me.”

Rolling over, I elbowed Jason hard in the chest. He grunted, more for show than actual pain, I suspected, and laughed. If my parents came home and found us lying in my bed together, there would be hell to pay. We only cuddled, but they wouldn’t care. All they would see was me, their sixteen-year-old daughter, Rachel, with her boyfriend, sprawled out together on my bed in my bedroom, a place they’d banned us from being alone in months ago.

I snapped my gum in my mouth and reread the text my best friend Kayla had sent me. She wanted to go to some club, wanted me to come out with her. If I went, I’d have to do so in secret. I’d never get permission to go, and Jason might actually lose his mind if I let him in on the plan. Sometimes he got really, really possessive. I hated when he did.

Most of the time.

“Why do you hate your nickname? Pixie-girl suits you.”

“Blah.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m way too old for fairy tales. I prefer to live in the here and now. The real world. Come up with something else.”

“I’ll call you whatever I want. End of story.”

I stood and made my way over to the window.

Why do I let him come into my bedroom if I’m just going to spend the entire time he’s here worrying about getting caught?

Apparently, he’d hadn’t finished talking. “Rachel, there’s lots of real things in the world. Things existing outside of your definition. Even some things found in fairy tales. Don’t be so closed-minded. I don’t like it.”

Jason’s voice had gotten low and sharp. I knew the tone well. Every once in a while, my sweet, gorgeous, blond, horribly popular boyfriend would seem like a different person. Where had the Jason I loved gone? Every once in a while he seemed entirely changed. I shivered and rubbed my arms. I pretended I had all the answers to life’s problems, but deep in my heart I knew I still had a lot to learn before I handled the kind of baggage Jason’s intensity spoke toward. Or so my mother said.

“Are you listening to me?” He banged on the wall as if his action might make me answer him faster.

What brought on these episodes? I mean, really, how much secret history did he have to hide to justify his darkness? He’d been born the upper-middle-class son of a prominent research physician. Jason’s troubles seemed pretty null and void to me. My family wouldn’t end up on some reality show for the deprived, either. My father, a science teacher with his summers off, who liked NASCAR, and my mom, an investment banker, managed to provide me with everything I needed or wanted. Unless something really awful happened behind closed doors, neither Jason nor I had much leg to stand on when it came to “issues.” Hence, why I had such a hard time understanding Jason’s dark, spooky side.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

THE CATALYST by Sandra K. Marshall

THE CATALYST by Sandra K. Marshall

The Riverboat Mysteries

 Dark revelations and secret love lead to personal resurrection. 

Carolyn Madison didn't kill her husband but didn't mourn him either. The rapist deserved to die, or at least she thought so. Beneath a myriad of family secrets, Carolyn drags the skeletons out of the closet and in the arms of her true love, learns to love again.

Walt Tollhouse has pined for Carolyn since she was a shy seventeen-year-old. Little did he know Robert Dubois would steal her away, and then destroy the beautiful spirit he still loved?
Beneath the guise of clean-up man, the martial arts instructor never pushes his battered love but gives her the silent support she deserves.


Chapter One

Where is the devil?

From the doorway, Carolyn Madison’s gaze sharpened as she scanned the room. Her traitor ex wouldn’t miss the opening of a new ballroom at his favorite riverboat casino in Kansas City. She couldn’t wait to tell him the Odyssey casinos were still hers. Great. He’s not here to ruin her evening.

Even after their divorce, Robert Dubois retained a position at the Odysseys. It galled Carolyn that her father had allowed her ex to remain on the board, although she knew Daddy wouldn’t have if he’d known the crime Robert had committed against her.

Unclenching her hands, she took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. She slid her moist palms down her black Halston evening dress.

Lanterns graced the walls, giving out a dim orange glow. Large, terra cotta pots of purple flowers and green shrubbery scattered throughout the area and a large fountain standing in the center added authenticity to the Mediterranean-style room.

Long tables were filled with hors d’oeuvres of Greek spinach and cheese pastries, spinach salads, and dishes of chicken, pork, and lamb. Ice sculptures of dolphins playfully cavorted at one end. The tantalizing smells of garlic, oregano, and basil from the serving pans conflicted with the guests’ perfumes as they enveloped her.

Women in elegant gowns and men in tuxedos stood in groups, chatting while sipping champagne. She’d created the perfect spot to entertain the high rollers, proving she was capable of running the casinos. The company was still hers despite Robert’s schemes.

Strolling into the room, she sidestepped people as she maneuvered through the crowd, waving and smiling when she heard her name.

The touch of a hand on her arm made her turn. Carolyn smiled at the tanned, prematurely white-haired man who was their head of security and board member, too.

“Hello, Walt. I didn’t think I would see you tonight.”

She’d always talked to Walt Tollhouse more than with other men. In the last month since he’d informed her of Robert’s treachery, she’d spent more time with him and grown to trust him.

He grinned. “I wouldn’t miss your party for anything.”

“Thanks. I know you hate crowds and don’t usually attend these shindigs, so I appreciate your coming.” Walt’s dark brown eyes crinkled with a softness she’d never seen before and brought back a memory of being in love with him as a teenager.

The CIA had grabbed him for covert operations in the Middle East, and when he had come back, she was married. Still, the last few weeks stirred a longing she hadn’t known in years. She regretted not having waited until he came home instead of jumping into a loveless marriage.

“Is the board meeting on for tomorrow?”

“Yes. Changes need to be made immediately.” Carolyn knew Walt worried about the company. Robert had sold out to a competitor by hiring one of their people. He’d made it necessary for her to run the company in order to protect it from a takeover when her father died a few months ago. She’d called a special meeting to let the other members know he’d been removed from the board.

“Good.” Walt patted her shoulder. “I’ll be there.”

“I’m grateful for your extra effort and support, Walt.” She reached out and embraced him, her cheek brushed the lapel of his gray tux, and she noted his wide chest and clean good-guy smell. “We would’ve lost the Odysseys if not for you and my father.” She gazed at him with gratitude. He’d helped her to find the courage to do what she was doing.

His arms enclosed her in a brief clasp, then he stepped back and dropped his hands to his sides. “I’d never let that happen.”

“I know you wouldn’t.” Carolyn squeezed his arm, touching solid muscle. She regarded him more closely. He was a handsome man even at fifty, and a good friend to her family as well as head of security. They’d met when he’d worked as a cashier at the casino while getting his college degree. Back then, their age difference had seemed enormous; today it wasn’t such a stretch. Five years didn’t seem as much now.

She’d avoided men since her divorce from Robert twenty years ago after six years of putting up with his affairs. It could be time for her to move on with her life. The thought made her decide she'd better go mingle because she didn’t know if she was ready to share her time with someone. Her fear of Robert shouldn’t deprive her of other relationships. Her existence since becoming a mother was devoted to her children. Now that they were grown, it was time for her to move on.

“I’ll see you tomorrow at the meeting, Walt.”

“Okay. I’ll stay awhile longer to make sure a crisis doesn’t pop up this evening.”

“Thanks.” Smiling, she started to walk away, but stopped in time to keep from bumping into a group.

A twinge of a headache settled in her temples, and she rubbed the right side of her head. After a few moments the pressure lifted. There were guests to be entertained.

Carolyn waved to several people, then she spotted her children and decided to join them.

She was proud of them for working their way up in the company. Her oldest, Alan, dressed in his usual conservative dark suit, and her oldest daughter, Jolene, were total opposites. She was a peacock in a multicolored gown. Her youngest, Melanie, at twenty-two, wore a simple black sheath similar to her mother’s.

Melanie resembled a younger version of Carolyn, petite and pale. She clashed with this daughter because they were so much alike but mostly due to Robert’s influence on Melanie. At sixteen, Melanie had become rebellious, and her father encouraged her mutiny. He'd thought it was funny to turn her daughter against her. Although Jolene and Alan had their father’s dark hair and his height, six feet, they were nothing like him otherwise.

She turned to invite Walt, but he was gone. A movement in the doorway attracted her attention and her gaze fell on her ex.

He’s here. A spurt of anger slashed through her brain, the headache of a moment ago now screaming. She sped toward the entry where Robert stood, noting several ladies waved at him. Why would anyone be interested in a thieving, no-good drunk? Even though appearance wasn’t everything, his
excessive drinking had put lines on his face and added pounds to his belly.

She wove her way around people while fury surged into her chest like acid at the memories of his deeds.

She saw that he’d spied her and he turned away. He’d run, of course. Usually, since their divorce, she avoided him, so he had to know she was onto him. She pushed through the exit. He wouldn’t get away. She would let him know she’d learned of his devious plan in time to foil him.

“Darn it.” She tottered on stilettos and grabbed the rail just in time to prevent a tumble onto the bridge of wooden planks between the boat and land. Panic seized her, and she wondered if she was doing the right thing by confronting Robert; he had a history of violence.

Yes, the time had come for her to beat down her fears. She glanced ahead at the tree-lined and dimly lit parking lot. The shadows scared her, but she still followed him and reached his assigned spot before he could pull away.

She banged on the window. “Robert. Stop! I want to talk to you now. Be a man for once.” A man? Not likely. He was a rat; a big fat rodent, who sniffed and hunted for his next female victim. The motor revved and tires squealed. She jumped back when the black BMW’s back fender grazed her hip.

“You’re despicable, Robert!” She banged her hand down on the fender of the car next to her.

“Carolyn, are you all right?” Walt ran toward her. He reached for her and pulled her close. He rubbed his hands up and down her arms. “You’re not injured, are you?”

“No.” She wobbled and leaned against him. She wanted to melt into his dark chocolate eyes, but instead pushed him away. Their contact alarmed her--she liked his touch too much. Carolyn didn’t think she was ready for intimacy but maybe...“I-I’m fine.” Her hip ached like the devil.

“I’ll get him for this. Robert won’t harm you again.” He patted her shoulder tenderly. “Go back to the party. I’ll take care of Robert.”

What did he mean? Carolyn stared after Walt as he dashed off. She touched her arms where he’d stroked her. They radiated heat like dice rolled between two palms.

Would this gentle man really harm Robert? Remembering the stories of how he’d saved people at great risk to himself while in the Middle East, she shuddered.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013



Breaking point. Everyone has one. For Dr. Cassidy Brannon it was discovering her husband, Phillip, in a compromising position with his best friend Max’s almost fiancée, Amber, while vacationing with the other couple. Angry and heartbroken, she and Max indulge in a night of drunken, vindictive sex. The next day, Cassidy returns home with one goal in mind—divorce. ...

However, nothing goes as planned. Phillip, hell bent on fixing their marriage, won’t agree to a divorce. What was only meant to be one, never to be spoken of again, night with Max is evolving into something much more complicated. Then Cassidy discovers she’s pregnant. With both Max and Phillip adamantly claiming to be the father, how much more can Cassidy take before she’s pushed beyond the breaking point?


Chapter One

A large hand, calloused from years of playing football and basketball, glided underneath the hem of the flimsy, baby-doll nightie she wore and worked its way to her breasts. "Wake up, beautiful. It’s baby making time." 

Groaning in protest, Cassidy Brannon rolled away from her husband’s touch, drew her leg up in her favorite sleeping position, and hugged her pillow closer to her. "Sleep. Vacation." 

Phillip, her husband of eight years, chuckled huskily. "I see I need to be a little more persuasive." 

He snuggled up so close behind her, she could feel the hard rod of his morning erection prodding the crease of her buttocks. Pushing her mass of unbound hair out of the way, he made a trail of nibbling kisses and love bites, beginning with the sensitive skin behind her ear, to her neck, and gradually worked his way down the length of her spine. As he maneuvered lower, he skimmed the palm of his hand up her thigh to the naked skin of her core. Probing fingers teased, touched, and tested her readiness to receive him. 

What Cassidy wanted most was more sleep. She cracked an eye open. The milky whiteness of extremely early morning or of a rain-clouded sky peaked around the edges of the large, wooden-blind covered window. Since today’s forecast called for clear sunny skies, Cassidy had to assume the sun hadn’t completely risen. 

"Roll over," he commanded, his voice low and aroused. 

Reluctantly, Cassidy did as instructed, knowing this morning’s opportunity to sleep in had just gone bye-bye. "Mmm, you’re really getting into this," she murmured, wrapping her arms around his neck as he kneed her legs open. Phillip lowered his heavier frame onto her lighter one, pinning her to the mattress. 

As she ran her hands up and down his muscular back, she mused that he still was just as big and muscular as he had been when he played collegiate football. Not surprising since he spent hours in the gym each week working on his physique. 

He gave her that smile she adored. "Darling, you know I’m always up," he nudged her sex with his penis, "for a challenge. The book said early morning was the best time for conception." 

He drew one nipple into his mouth, sucking deeply. Reaching between their bodies, he strummed her clit with his thumb. Cassidy moaned and arched into the knowledgeable hand stroking her body. Maybe morning sex wasn’t such a bad idea after all, she thought hazily as her body came alive. 

"You ready for me?" he asked, a hint of strain in his voice. 

Her "yes," came out on a sigh of anticipation. 

He withdrew his hand and guided his penis to her opening. Flexing his powerful hips, Phillip pushed steadily until he was deeply embedded. Then they began to move in a rhythm they’d perfected through years of practice. 

Phillip changed the angle of his thrust and hit a spot that caused her to jerk. "Ohh," she moaned. 

"Like that?" his deep voice rumbled. 

"Yes." It came out breathy. 

He did it again, and again. Cassidy canted her hips to take him deeper, and allowed her nails to dig into her husband’s damp, muscular back. There was nothing like a man who took good care of himself, she mused. She loved running her hands over his muscles. 

"That’s right, baby. Tighten that pussy around my cock. Make it good for me," he commanded. "Dig those nails into my back. Show me you like what I’m doing to you." 

Cassidy moaned, knowing she was getting close. She could feel it in the clenching of her abdomen muscles. "Feels…so…good," she panted. 

His dark-brown eyes stared into hers from inches away. "I love your pussy. It’s so hot, sweet and wet." He thrust faster, harder. "Come for me, baby. Let go. Let go now." 

Cassidy dug her heels into the mattress, stiffened, and on a strangled groan, let the orgasm take her. 

"That’s right, baby. Shit, you feel so good. Hold on. Hold on to me tight. I’m getting ready to let go." 

She wrapped her arms around him and held on to his slick body as he pounded into her. The mattress groaned its protest at the abuse and Cassidy had a moment’s concern, wondering if their condo mates could hear and know what they were doing. Then Phillip went rigid. His hips gave a few spasmodic jerks before he slumped on her, a complete dead weight. 

Cassidy gave him a few seconds to recover then poked him in the side. "Can’t breathe," she gasped. 

He hefted his upper body up a few inches and shifted his weight to the side before dropping again. Cassidy lay with her husband curled around her, his head on the pillow beside her. He breathed heavily in her ear, his muscled thigh still sandwiched between hers and his now flaccid, damp cock pressed against her body. 

She idly stroked his hair, loving the way his sweat-slicked, low cut felt against her hand. "They’ll be looking for us soon." 

He cupped her breast and toyed with the nipple. "We’re on vacation," he reminded her. "That means no schedules. Besides, you’re supposed to lie still and give my soldiers a chance to reach their target." 

She laughed. "Like your soldiers need any help." 

Philip propped up on an elbow. "You never know. You’ve been off the pill for six months. I thought we’d have seen some results by now." 

She cupped his strong, handsome face, allowing her thumb to play with his goatee. "Six months isn’t that long, considering. I wasn’t all that regular before I went on the pill and it took a few months for me to start ovulating after coming off. So in reality, we’ve only been trying about three months. The rest was really great practice," she told him, waggling her eyebrows. 

His lips smiled but the eyes remained serious. "I just really want a family with you." He shifted his hand from her breast and laid it on her stomach. "I want to see my child, children growing here. We’ve waited long enough." 

"You will," she assured him. "And thirty isn’t that old to be starting a family. Women can safely have children into their forties. We have time." 

"Just to be on the safe side…" Philip slid his hand from her belly to her mound and stroked her clit. "I’d better send in the reserves." 

"Go troops," she cheered as he dragged her down into another round of lovemaking. 



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