Monday, March 31, 2014



A marriage of convenience…full of inconvenient secrets.
Jocelyn Townsend’s life as a courtesan bears no resemblance to the life she envisioned in girlish dreams. But it allows her and her eccentric mother to live in relative security—until her protector marries and no longer requires her services.

Desperate to find a new benefactor, one kind enough to accept her mother’s increasingly mad flights of fancy, Jocelyn is nearly overwhelmed with uncertainty when a lifeline comes from an unexpected source.

Leo Sherbourne’s requirements for a wife are few. She must mother his young daughter, run his household, and warm his bed. All in a calm, dignified manner with a full measure of common sense. After his late wife’s histrionics and infidelity, he craves a simpler, quieter life.

As they embark on their arrangement, Leo and Jocelyn discover an attraction that heats their bedroom and a mutual admiration that warms their days. But it isn’t long before gossip regarding the fate of Leo’s first wife, and his frequent, unexplained absences, make Jocelyn wonder if the secrets of Merrivale Manor are rooted in murder…


London, 1758

“M-married?” Jocelyn Townsend clamped her hands in her lap and frantically sought the right words for the occasion. “Congratulations.”

Tobias Sherbourne, the Earl of Melburn, beamed. Happiness lit his craggy face, taking it from ordinary to compelling. His eyes sparkled, the bright blue emphasized by his snowy white wig. “I’ve offered for the Neville girl.”

“I wish you happy, Melburn.” Jocelyn’s spine pressed against the back of the damask sofa, the squeeze of her stays grounding her again. Gossip and rumors had circulated for months now. Yes, she’d known Melburn’s declaration would come, but hearing it still hurled her into panic. She wanted to vent her frustration for everyone to witness, but of course, she didn’t. Her mother was the only person who shrieked in this household.

She picked up the teapot. “Tea? Or would you prefer something stronger?”

“Brandy, please.” Melburn straightened from his casual lean against the mantle.

A raucous feminine screech pierced the air and tea sloshed from the spout. Jocelyn sighed inwardly, forcing her smile to remain intact while she set the china pot down. Not again. “Perhaps we would both benefit from something stronger.”

She rose and maneuvered her skirts around her mahogany table and a square-backed chair to ring for a maid. The high-pitch scream repeated, louder and closer to the parlor. Jocelyn flinched, shooting a pained look at the closed door.

On her return, Melburn took possession of the seat opposite her, his large frame dwarfing the delicate furniture. “How is your mother?”

One would think the ear-piercing shrieks were nothing out of the ordinary, given his calm demeanor but, after two years as her protector, her mother’s peculiarities no longer disturbed him.

A maid appeared, and Jocelyn relayed her request for a bottle of brandy and two glasses. It mightn’t be the thing for a woman to drink strong spirits, yet if ever there was a time for her to imbibe, it was tonight. The maid’s face blanked, although she curtseyed in acquiescence and hurried off to complete her errand.

“My mother is having a bad turn. She insists someone is watching the house and spying on us.” It was a relief to share the latest drama with Melburn.

“Have you investigated to allay her concerns?”

Jocelyn resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “We have been more vigilant than usual. I haven’t noticed anyone suspicious and neither has Woodley or Tilly, but Mother is steadfast in her charges.”

Her butler and her mother’s nurse were equally adamant no one lurked in the alley outside their Cork Street house. While it wasn’t the best location in London, a night watchman patrolled the surrounding streets, and lamps chased away most of the gloomy shadows once evening fell.

The maid returned with a tray bearing the requested brandy.

“Would you like to adjourn to the bedroom, Melburn?”

“No, Jocelyn. I—”

Jocelyn leaned closer and covered his hand with hers, halting his refusal. “It’s a love match. I understand.” His bergamot and spice scent washed over her, familiar and comforting. He was a good man and a spurt of envy chased through her. Silently, she acknowledged her loss and the difficulties she’d experience in finding another protector of his caliber—someone she could trust not to abuse her.

“Ashleigh is a wonderful woman. I wouldn’t see her hurt by spiteful gossip.”

“I’d expect nothing less from you. It was a lucky day for me when you won me from Boynton.” And even better he’d become a friend as well as her lover.

Melburn’s eyes narrowed. “The man is a brute. The minute I saw the bruise on your cheek, my course of action was clear. Besides”—the tension in his upper body eased—“I like your red hair.” He reached over to tug on an unfashionable red ringlet, grinning at her like an errant boy.

“Thank you.” Her words acknowledged far more than the compliment. He’d rescued her from a bad situation and, for that, she’d always be grateful. She poured a measure of brandy and handed it to him before taking a smaller portion for herself. An abrupt ear-piercing shriek right outside the parlor made her wince. “Perhaps I should attend to my mother.”

Melburn set his glass on the mahogany table. “Let me. I’ll take a lantern and check outside in the alley. Help set her mind to rest.”

Reality crashed over Jocelyn as she watched him stride from the parlor and disappear into the hall, the door shutting behind him. This really was the end of their relationship. She’d miss his caring ways and passionate lovemaking. The Neville girl was lucky, and Jocelyn tamped down her envy. She fingered her gold locket and fought her growing agitation. A shiver crawled down her spine when she considered a search for a new protector.

No one could call her beautiful, and the last thing she wanted was to make another mistake, yet time would be of the essence because living in London was expensive. She was certain Melburn would give her a parting gift, yet even so, she’d have to tighten her purse strings until she found a suitable replacement.

The rise and fall of an emotional diatribe pierced the door. Jocelyn sipped her brandy and pulled a face at the harsh bite. At least the burn pierced the chill inhabiting her body. Her mother’s crying ceased, and a reassuring masculine voice filled the silence. She couldn’t decipher the words but knew Melburn would offer comfort. It was his way. The respite allowed Jocelyn to ponder her predicament. Even if she located a protector, finding one who accepted her mother’s presence would prove nigh on impossible.

She could approach her sisters… No, Georgina and Charlotte barely acknowledged her these days. They wanted to send their mother to Bedlam. Jocelyn hated to think of her one remaining parent incarcerated in the hospital, treated like an entertaining exhibit for those who possessed the price of admission. Her mind raced, attempting to fashion a workable solution. She drank more brandy, allowing the spirit to chase away her growing disquiet.

Ten minutes later, the door opened, and the earl entered the parlor. His cheeks were ruddy from the nippy spring evening.

“Did you discover anything unusual?” Jocelyn asked.

“Not apart from an old tomcat lurking in the alley. I informed your mother of my findings.” He sent her a rueful grin. “She decided she’d scared the spy away with her warning cries.”

“Thank you.” Another burst of fancy on her mother’s part.

Melburn sat again, a man with something on his mind, given the way he darted a searching look at her and toyed with his brandy. “What will you do now?”

“I don’t know. I suppose I’ll look for your replacement.” She pulled a face, then let him know she bore no malice by adding a smile. After all, their involvement was basically a business proposition. She’d offered the use of her body in exchange for his financial support. The easy camaraderie between them had come as a bonus. “It won’t be easy to find someone who suits my situation.”

“I might have an answer to your problem.” He hesitated as if he was unsure about his solution.

“Tell me. I’d like to think we’re at least friends after all this time.”

Melburn paused a fraction longer before appearing to come to a decision. “My cousin, Leo Sherbourne, requires a wife.”

A shocked gasp escaped her. “But I’m a courtesan. I—”

“You’re not a courtesan by choice.”

“Well, no but—”

“Think about it. Marrying Leo would give you an opportunity to start afresh.”

Most men wanted to distance themselves from their ex-mistresses. Jocelyn frowned at his quiet insistence, questions flying through her mind. “I see the benefits for me, but what about your cousin? What does he gain from such a match? Why would you want me to join your family? What if your betrothed learns of our shared history?”

“Leo lost his wife last year. He has a daughter, and he finds himself in want of a wife.”

Jocelyn’s brows rose. “Surely he could hire a nursemaid?”

“There are unusual circumstances that make a wife the better solution.”

“What unusual circumstances?” Jocelyn wasn’t sure she liked Melburn thrusting her into the middle of a mystery. “How can I make a decision if you don’t give me the full facts?”

“Jocelyn, it’s not my story to tell. I’m merely acting as Leo’s agent in this matter, gauging a sense of your interest. What I can tell you is that my cousin is a good man. He’s trustworthy. He won’t beat or degrade you.”

The chance of a new start wasn’t something that occurred every day. “What about my mother? Where does your cousin live?”

“Leo knows of your situation.”

“That wasn’t what I meant. Is your cousin willing to give my mother his protection?”

“He wants to meet with you tomorrow morning,” Melburn said. “If you’re agreeable, you can ask your questions then.”

Jocelyn drank the last of her brandy and set her glass aside. She laughed lightly. “Very well, you wretched man. You’ve piqued my interest with your suggestion, and you know it. I’ll meet with your cousin here at eleven tomorrow morning.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

AFTERSHOCK by Desiree Holt

AFTERSHOCK by Desiree Holt

Determined to shake off her past, Sydney Alexander plans to seize the day when it comes to handling PR for Lightin’ the blazing star rising on the rock scene. Rick Trajean, Lightnin’s lead, torches her all business all the time mantra when the sizzling chemistry between them ignites brighter more than the band’s popularity.

As Lightnin’ scorches the charts, Rick and Sydney burn up the sheets. But can their passion handle the pressure of the music business? Not everyone is happy with Lightnin’s success and when the vindictiveness so common in the business threatens to destroy the band, their tour and the love Rick and Sydney found in each other, their powerhouse may come crashing down. What’s left when it does?



She was still buzzed from the evening when she checked into the hotel. Lightnin’ happened to be at registration at the same time and their excitement was palpable. Even Danny and Garrett came over and gave her a hug. They all rode up in the elevator together, the guys still high on excitement, laughing and bumping fists. Except for Rick, who was strangely silent.

They got off at the same floor she did and she discovered they were in the same section of the hallway. She was shocked to discover Rick’s was right next to hers. She slid a glance at him, stunned to see him watching her, a ravenous look in his eyes. She couldn’t mistake the desire in his gaze. Did he want her to join him? Should she ask him if he wanted to come into her room? What was the protocol here?

Unsettled, she fumbled with the key card and dropped it in her nervous haste to get inside. She wasn’t aware he had moved until he was beside her, taking the card from her fingers. He slid it into the slot and, when the lock light turned green he pushed the door open.

“Here you go.” He held the door back with his body and waited for her to enter.

“Th-Thank you.”

She moved past him, rolling her suitcase in and turned to him. Before she had time to say a word he grabbed her arms, turned her to face him and pressed her against the door.

“I’ve been wanting to do this all day.” His voice was heavy with a combination of emotion and desire. “I think tonight calls for a celebration, don’t you?”

Speech deserted her and all she could do was nod. She wanted him, this man who had exploded into her life. More than she wanted her next breath. She was hungry for him with a passion that never seemed to leave her. Sydney cupped the roughness of his late night beard with her hands, loving the scratchy feel of it.

She tilted her face up just the least little bit to accommodate him as his mouth came down on hers. The minute their lips met, heat surged through her, as if someone had lit a match to her blood. She clutched at his shoulders to steady herself, knowing she should break away even as her body cried for more. She was drowning in him, his heat and scent invading her. And all she could think was more, more, more.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

HEARTS AND MINDS by Marie Treanor

HEARTS AND MINDS by Marie Treanor

The Gifted Series Book Two

Darkness and light in one dangerous, irresistible stranger...

Down to earth psychologist Jenna Hunt arrives in obscure Zavrekestan to find her missing friend, Nell, last seen with notorious gangster Rodion Kosar. But nothing goes the way Jen intended. Complete strangers want to harm her. She shoots one man and travels with another who may or may not be the elusive Kosar, but who's constantly pursued by armed secret police. Dangerous attraction flares, adding excitement as well as unexpected fun to her search.

But Jen's dark, mysterious travelling companion is both gifted and cursed. A powerful healer with blood on his conscience and a terrible tragedy in his past, he's now suffering agonies whenever he exercises his gift, and in this he's not alone. As Jen is drawn deeper into his world of radical dissidents and the paranormally gifted, she discovers the terrors of a ruthless government which will stop at nothing to hold onto power. She finds herself risking all to help the very people she came to rescue Nell from, and neither common sense nor principles can keep her from the arms of the sexy, tormented Nikolai.



Nikolai’s world was blood. It ran in crimson rivers before his eyes. He could feel its thick, sticky wetness on his skin and clothes as he ran, roaring, into the prison guards beyond his cell door. His gory handcuffs hung from one wrist, and he swung them like a mace, tearing more flesh, creating more blood. He didn’t care how many there were. He wanted more to fight, more to kill.

“Bring him down, now!”

Although the order penetrated his ears and his understanding, it didn’t slow him up. One of the guards, too close to shoot him, tried to hit him with the butt of his gun instead. Nikolai snatched it from him, felled him with a much more brutal blow of his own, and kicked him into his fellows. He increased his speed. He didn’t really know why—he was in hell, and wherever he ran to would still be hell. All he could do was kill and fight and yell his way along passages of prison guards and police, forcing his way through with as much violence as he could wreak.

Gunfire exploded in his head as he wielded the cuffs and his feet, using his whole body as a battering ram when necessary. But then there was no one to fight now, only guns firing where he couldn’t reach them, so all he could do was run. His body jerked sometimes, as if he’d been shot, but he didn’t feel the bullets, didn’t care. They didn’t slow him up.

Blood ran into his eyes, dripped from his body. He only wanted more.

“Draw him toward the door!” yelled the commander, his voice penetrating the chaos, as daylight began to pierce the dark, red mists through which Nikolai ran. “Units both sides! We’ve got him!”

Have you fuck.

It was his first conscious thought for a long time. They’d actually opened the heavy prison door to be sure he went in that direction. They thought it was a trap. He charged right through, jerking, swinging his cuffs and his fists, kicking, spinning, beating, breaking his way through bodies to fresh air.

Although the noise deafened him, none of it—not his own roars or the gunshots or yells of agony filling his ears from every direction—could drown out the screaming in his head. Even then, in the midst of the blood-madness, he knew it was the kind of screaming that went on forever.


She breathed a sigh of relief, dumped the food on the side table, and took off her leather jacket, throwing it on the bed. She turned to wish him a cordial good-night and discovered he was inside, closing the door and locking it.

Never, ever make assumptions.

“Shit, I thought we’d have one each,” she blurted.

He glanced at her. “Sorry. I didn’t have enough money.”

She had enough money. But that wasn’t the point. For the first time since she’d met him, he sounded almost…humble. About money, for God’s sake.

“It doesn’t matter,” she muttered. It spilled out more ungraciously than she intended, but God, she’d really been looking forward to that shower and bed and properly relaxing for the first time since she’d parted from her guide at the border and turned the hired car toward that dreadful pub…

“You’re quite safe,” he drawled. “I believe I can control myself to the extent of not raping you.”

Memory flooded back. Her knees gave way, and she sank onto the bed, and suddenly he was there beside her, his arm around her shoulders.

“Fuck, I’m sorry. Ignore my stupid mouth. I’m sorry I didn’t get there quicker.”

“He didn’t hurt me. He didn’t.” She pinched the skin of her throat where her would-be rapist’s hand had gripped her.

“There are many kinds of hurt,” he said, taking her pinching fingers in his. “And Yegor’s a total fucker who should have been shot years ago.”

A sob that was half laughter rose up her throat and came out as a watery smile. She found herself holding hard on to his fingers. “How do you manage to make me feel better by saying stuff like that?”

It was true. The sudden panic attack, the remembered fear and horror had faded again into manageable memory.

“Magic,” he said, and without thought, she lifted the fingers she held to her cheek, a gesture of warmth and gratitude. Only she glanced at his face as she did so, and felt the shock of attraction hit her in the stomach like a blow. His face was much too close, his dark, velvet eyes intent on hers. For an instant, they looked bewildered, almost desperate, mirroring her own vulnerability. His other arm was warm and suddenly heavy around her shoulders. She could feel the hardness she’d always known lurked beneath his shabby hoodie, and instead of frightening her, she wanted more, to be closer.

She was afraid to breathe. The only sound seemed to be the beating of her heart. His gaze dipped to the region of her mouth, and everything inside her seemed to turn over. It would take so very little just to close the distance between, touch his lips with hers, taste him…

What would it be like to kiss him, this stranger? In every sense of the word.

“Don’t look at me like that,” he whispered. “I’m only human.”

God, yes, let me tempt you. Lose your strong, superior self in me…

His arm tightened. The fingers she still held moved, brushing her cheek, making her gasp. His breath kissed her lips, and he hauled her against his chest, hard and arousing. But his lips pressed only to her forehead, and then he released her.

“You’re shattered. Eat, shower, bed.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014



Historical Romance (Love's Great War)

Belgium is overrun.

Lieutenant Lucien Duplan is wounded and trapped behind German lines. To reach the Dutch border and freedom, he needs Madeline Thevenet—a woman who eases his pain but is destined to become a nun.

Aiding the man responsible for her parents' death is the last thing Madeline wants to do. But to get her young brother safely to Holland, she will do anything to avoid being caught by the Germans and tried for treason, including putting her heart on the line.

Madeline and Luc must stay one step ahead of the enemy. But the war around them is nothing compared with the battle raging inside. For honor and duty demand one action; and love requires another.

Love’s Great War: Belgium, 1914


October, 1914

A shadow stretched across the yard before twilight snuffed it out. The distinct spiked helmet could only belong to a German soldier. Twenty-one year old Madeline Thevenet dropped her valise and raised her hands. Under three layers of clothes, her arms shook and her knees trembled. Please, Almighty God, don’t let him shoot me. Give me a chance to speak to Papa. To explain.

“Pew! Pew!”

She blinked. Pew? Guns didn’t say pew; little boys did. Her knees shook, not a soldier at all. Lamps glowed in her home’s window, cutting a patch of light in the yard and sparking off the liquid in the trough near the water pump.

The blunt tip of a stick emerged from the corner of the house and prodded the dim light. “That’s for King Albert. That’s for Queen Elisabeth.”

Her seven-year old brother, Mathieu, goose-stepped into the glow. The spike-tipped helmet tilted recklessly to the side. He raised the stick and his arms, as he alternated the parts of prisoner and soldier. “Don’t shoot. I’ll go back to Germany.”

A bark of laughter burst past Madeline’s lips. Her knees buckled and she dropped to the ground. Alive. Her brother was alive. Surely that meant her parents were too. Dead grass crunched under her knees and clung to the coarse wool of her skirt.

Her brother dropped the stick to his shoulder. Looking down the crooked ‘barrel’, he pointed the ‘muzzle’ in her direction. “What’s the password?”

“Mathieu.” She opened her arms wide.

“Maddy!” Tossing aside the makeshift carabine, he leapt the two meters separating them.

Her arms wrapped around him. Underneath his thin shirt and overalls, she felt the slide of bone. Her chest constricted. He was so very thin. Had he been sick again? She buried her nose in the crook of his neck and inhaled the scents of little boy, sweat and sunshine.


She was home. As long as her family was together, they could survive this invasion. They could survive anything.

Sniffling, she held him at arm’s length. Despite the dim lighting, she checked him over.

Roses bloomed in his cheeks and vitality crackled in his green eyes. “I’m glad you’re back, Maddy. My soldiers need nursing.”

“They do, do they?” Lifting the helmet by its point, she smoothed his cowlick. “Well, I hope they like needles because wounded soldiers need lots of shots.”

She poked his belly with her finger.

Giggling, he clasped his stomach and twisted away. “I’m not wounded.”

“That’s because you’re getting your injections.” She lunged for him again.

Batting her hands away, he danced toward the door. “I’m serious, Maddy. My soldiers—”

“Mathieu!” Her father trudged around the corner, dragging a vee-shaped wagon half full of wheat.

Madeline stiffened. She had known returning home wouldn’t be easy. But she’d hoped the war would smooth the way. Make her father see the importance of family.

And forgiveness.

Mathieu spun on his bare heel and bounced across the grass. “Papa! Maddy has come home to nurse my soldiers.”

Papa raised one muscular arm and pointed to the door to the house. Disappointment carved deep grooves in his round cheeks. “Inside, Mathieu. Eat your supper.”

“But Papa—”

“At once!”

Mathieu’s thin shoulders bowed. Without another word, he slogged across the yard and disappeared inside.

Inhaling deeply, Madeline rose to her feet and wiped her damp palms on her skirt. Words of apology and contrition stuck to her tongue. “Hello, Papa.”

Time counted in heartbeats.

He shrugged off the harness lashing him to the cart. Sheaves of wheat half-filled the vee-shaped bed. Stooping, he struck a match against the bottom of his shoe. The yellow light deepened the lines mapping his face until it disappeared into his pipe bowl. His eyes narrowed as smoke swirled around his head. With a flick of his wrist, he tossed the match in the trough of water near the water pump. “You should not have returned home, Madeline.”

“I could not stay away.” Swallowing the lump in her throat, she raised her chin.

Papa glanced to the left then right. “You were safe in Brussels.”

“But I didn’t know if you were safe, Papa.” She peered into the darkness, seeing only the familiar shape of the house, stable, trees and scrubs. Of course, the Boches were everywhere. The cabbageheads listened, oversaw and interfered in everything.

And Belgian traitors were only too eager to help the Germans.

She’d learned that at the hospital. Odd how she’d forgotten it, just because home looked the same.

“Now you care about your Papa?”

Her stomach plummeted to her knees. “I’ve always cared, Papa.”
But she’d wanted to have a life of her own. One in the city, without the constant drudge of farm work. One with friends and trips to the moving pictures, luncheon at a cafe.

“You’ve lied. Taken money meant for your dowry to the church.” Removing his pipe stem from his mouth, Papa jabbed it in her direction. “And you’ve had a nun, your own aunt, lie to cover your sinful lifestyle.”

“It wasn’t sinful.” She fisted her skirt in her shaking hands. Why couldn’t he see she deserved the same opportunity for education her older brother received before he’d died of the fever? “I was training to be a nurse.”

And she’d been the most promising in her class. Madame had said so, but then the foulBoches had barged across the frontier and ruined everything. The deep-throated cannonading rumbled in the distance, sowing Bible-black clouds on the blood-soaked sunset.

“I treated our soldiers, Papa. Our Jas.”

“That is the work of nuns.” Father’s jaw thrust forward. “For an unmarried woman to see men in such conditions is wrong.”

Madeline retreated a step. So many thought secular nursing could only be done by whores since they often saw men unclothed. But the school she’d attended was nearly a decade old, founded on the British tradition where secular nursing had been established during the Crimean war. Her school’s students worked at many respected hospitals and cliniques. “I healed men, women and children, Papa. Surely that is God’s work even done by one not of the cloth.”

“You will return to the convent in the morning. If you must do this God’s work, you will do so in the habit as is proper and not bring dishonor to our family.”

Return? Clasping her shaking hands in front of her, she stepped toward her father. “I cannot return to the convent.”

“Then you are not welcome here.” His voice dropped to a soft whisper.

She winced and studied her wooden shoes. She knew he loved her, knew he wanted the best for her. But her aunt had counseled her to follow her true calling. Her aunt had not foreseen this war. Or the yearning Madeline had for her family. In the poor light, she examined the mud caking her sabots. Bits of it flaked off exposing the yellow wood. “Please, Papa…”

“If you will not do this one thing for your family, then you are as dead to me as your older brother.” His calloused hands fisted. His leathery skin had the folds of a winter apple but his bald head shone like fresh picked fruit. A fringe of white hair crowned his head like fine lace.

“The Germans…”

“Are everywhere.” He cocked one bushy eyebrow. “Their rules apply here as well as Brussels. Return to those like you and do not return again.”

She blinked rapidly. The Boches loved their notices. The avis were posted on every post and spare wall still standing in the villages she’d passed. “The Germans closed our hospitals and sent everyone home. Only German nurses may tend the wounded and our injured soldiers have been sent to camps far away.”

He puffed on his pipe until the tobacco glowed like an angry red eye. “The Belgian Red Cross?”

“Is under the German boot heel.” She spat into the dead grass then shuddered. Herclinique had sent the wounded with the army before the city fell, but other nurses had told such tales of horror as the officers brutally inspected the wounds of the soldiers. “Even the convents and churches are not safe from the Boches. Between the refugees and the displaced sisters and priests, the ones that still stand are full. Please, Papa, let me stay.”

He closed his eyes and swayed on his feet. “We too have been distressed at what they have done to our men and women of the cloth.”

Hope fluttered inside her. She tucked a lock of hair underneath her head scarf. “Papa?”

“If you promise to return to the convent after our Jas chase the Boches back to Germany, you may stay until the enemy leaves.”

Could she make such a promise? Could she keep it? Blinking, she cleared her vision. She had no choice. She couldn’t leave her family now. “I promise.”
He opened his arms.

She fell into them. The sweet, spicy scent of pipe tobacco enveloped her. “Thank you, Papa.”

After kissing her forehead, he released her and picked up her valise. Throwing his free arm over her shoulder, he reeled her against his barrel chest. “We will speak no more of your lies. The village must never know.”

She held him close. Her tongue fused to her palate. She would not tell him about being asked to leave the order, about her unsuitability as a nun.

“We can use a nurse.” He steered her toward the door. “We are helping to provide for the soldiers.”

Madeline’s wooden soles dug into the dirt. She checked over her shoulder, clawed the shawl off her head to see the road. Empty. She could not have heard her father correctly. Her voice dropped. “You have Jas? Here?”

Papa jerked to a stop. The pipe clicked against his teeth. His chest swelled. “Yes. We have two who arrived the night before last. Gaston Cocard brought them before returning to his home. One is English. Calls himself Tommy. Can’t speak a word of French or Flemish. When we asked if he understood Walloon, he thought we spoke of the German sausages. Balloon.”

Freeing her, her father pointed at the star studded sky.

She looked up, searched for a zeppelin. Thankfully, no airship sailed the skies. She shook her head. What was she thinking? The danger was on the ground, hiding in her house. Didn’t her parents know that anyone aiding the Jas would be executed? Hadn’t they heard the stories and seen the proclamations? She swayed on her feet. “You have to make the soldiers go, Papa.”

“They will, once the others arrive.”

Others? More soldiers were coming? Her heart thudded heavily in her breast. The enemy could appear at any moment, could discover the hidden men, and could line up everyone and shoot them dead.

Papa patted her hand. “The two stragglers are wounded.”

A tremor traveled up her spine—symptoms of the war within. She could show her father her skills as a secular nurse, and maybe sway him into releasing her from her promise, or she could protect her family.

The Boches made it so she could no longer do both.

But how could she choose?

Papa drew himself up to his full height. “We will return these men to the King, to Antwerp. They will chase the Boches back to Germany.”

“Antwerp has fallen.” The news tumbled from her numb lips. She’d known when she’d left Brussels, but saying it made it real. Horribly real.

“Who says this?”

“It was in the newspaper this morning.”

“Bah.” Father waved his hand. “The Boches control the papers. The Boches lie.”

“The guns were silent in the west, Papa.” Horribly silent. She’d clapped her hands over her ears once the guns had stopped. There could be only one explanation. According to the papers, the Germans occupied the National Redoubt after leveling many of the outlying forts.

Some said King Albert had been taken prisoner. Others that he had fled to France.

Her heart would not beat if that were so. And she would bite off her lips before telling those tales.

Papa sighed, scratched at his fringe of white hair. “We must restore the soldiers to our king for his return. Then and only then will we have done our duty as Belgians.”

“You must not tell the villagers.” Madeline had seen what happened to those suspected of working against the invaders. From her window in Brussels, she’d seen men, women and children dragged across darkened streets to stand before a table of officers. While the drumhead tribunal proceeded in the cafe, a handful of soldiers marched into the alley. Always, always the Belgian followed them. Then came the volley of bullets and…

“The villagers are helping us.”

Her head began to throb. Every person increased their risk of discovery, of execution. She glanced at the house. Shutters thrown open. Kerosene lamps smoking in the windows. Anyone could see inside, which was why the Boches had ordered it so. Surely she could do something to reduce the risk of discovery. “I shall tend their injuries.”

“I’m very happy to hear that.” A man’s voice died in time for her to hear the distinctive click of a revolver.

Monday, March 24, 2014



They say a man can always come home. So after doing hard time, Sage Redding heads to his family’s northeast Texas ranch to help his ailing daddy with the cutting horses. 

Adam (Win) Winchester is a county deputy and the cousin of one of the men killed in the incident that sent Sage to prison for almost a decade. While Win's uncles, Jim and Teddy, are determined to make Sage and the entire Redding family pay for their loss, Win just figures Sage has paid his dues and maybe needs a friend. Maybe he needs more than a friend. In fact, Win’s counting on it.

No one’s denying Sage is an ex-con who went to prison for manslaughter. Regardless of the love he has for his father, he’s returned knowing things will likely go badly for him. Maybe a man can always come home, but he may not be able to stay.

Chapter One

“SON, I need to talk to you.”

Sage sighed but kept it soft enough that no one could possibly hear. Momma didn’t call often—once a week—and she talked to him for exactly fifteen minutes. Hell, he wasn’t sure if the calls were habit for him or for her, but it was what it was, and it kept the costs on his pay-as-you-go phone low. If she called on a Saturday morning, when she knew he’d been working on the docks all night, it had to be important.

“Sure, Momma. What you need?”

He leaned back on his bed, looking out the little window. His eyes followed the hairline crack that climbed through the glass. Some days he thought maybe that weird, crookedy little line wanted to be a word or something. A picture. Not today. Today it was only a place for a tiny spider to climb. God, he was tired. The trucks had been filled with hundreds of small heavy boxes, and his muscles were screaming for rest. Not sleep, not yet. That wouldn’t come ’til eleven or so. It wasn’t like he came home and crashed once his feet found their way back through the mess in the streets and the little pockets of nighttime assholes on the corners, waiting for the bolder daytime assholes to spell them. This was his primetime, after all. He had a cup of coffee and a Louis L’Amour book he hadn’t read, which he’d found in a dumpster on his way to work a couple of days ago. It was all good.

“Are you listening to me, Sage Marlowe Redding?”

“What? Sorry, Momma. I must’ve dozed some. Long night. Say again?”

“I need you to come home.”

He sat up and frowned, his heart doing that sickening little hiccup and roll that meant something shitty was going down. “What happened?”

“Well, nothing that you’d think was an emergency, really. Your daddy, though, his hands…. He can’t work the horses as much.”

Sage closed his eyes. Fucking Parkinson’s. Daddy’d been fighting it for damn near eight years, but it was a losing battle. “Momma, I….”

“Son, that Teddy Dale, he’s going to take the land. You know he will. He’s waiting. I need you to cowboy up and come on. Now.”

“Teddy Dale’s the reason I ain’t come home, Momma. That man hates the sound of my name.” Not that Sage blamed the crusty old bastard. Angelo, the man’s only son and the apple of his momma’s eye, had died in Sage’s company ten years ago. Leastways that was the story and what was taken as God’s honest truth.

Ten years, ten months, fifteen days and… fourteen and a half hours ago.

“Well, we need to be able to train these horses. Your daddy has a contract. If he can fill it on time, we can pay for six months of bills. Sister’s took pregnant on me, Son. Her and that ass hat she’s married to caught like a pair of hounds.”

“I don’t even have a car, Momma, and I sure don’t have the cash to bus it right now. I get paid in two weeks.” A baby? Rosie? Christ, when had he gotten old? He looked at the calendar. “I can get on a Greyhound then, if I clear it with my parole officer.”

They had rules for men like him, and he followed them because he wasn’t going back in.

He couldn’t.

“I can wire you the money.” She sighed, lowering her voice. “It would kill your daddy to lose this place.”

“I know. I’ll come. I have to make arrangements, Momma. You know that.”

“I know that you paid your debt to society already, baby, for something that shouldn’t have all been on your shoulders.”

“I paid my stupid tax, for sure.” He smiled a little. “Let me see what my parole officer says, and I’ll call.”

“Okay. They… they’ll let you come home, right?”

“I’ll have to go in front of a judge. You know that.” It sucked, but it was what it was.

“I know, Son. Maybe you’ll get Judge Shannon. He’s not in anyone’s pocket, leastways in my memory.”

“Maybe. You’ll need to send me doctor’s information so I can start everything.”

“I can send it overnight unless you have one of those Kinko’s places. I can fax there.”

“I’ll have to call you, Momma. I don’t know. There should be a phone book down in the management office.”

“Okay. I-I’m sorry, Son.” He could hear the tears, right there in her throat. He hated for his momma to cry.

“Shit, what for? You didn’t make me a fuck-up, you didn’t make Daddy sick, and you didn’t make Rosemary decide to have children that her crazy fuck of a husband can’t feed. Seems to me like we should be apologizing to you.”

She sniffled, but the chuckle was just as strong now.

“I’ll call you with the Kinko’s number. Later. I got to work all weekend, but I’ll get in to see Jack on Monday.” If he could.

“Thanks, baby. I’m sorry. I know it’s borrowing more trouble for you, but I need your help.”

“I got your back, Momma. I won’t let you down.” The again was there, unsaid and implied.

“I love you, Son.”

“I love you, Momma. Talk to you later on.” He hung up and sat there, his head pounding, feeling swole as a rotting melon. Much as he hated California, he hated the thought of begging some Texas judge to let him come home even more.

God, what a mess.

“Damn you, Angel. You and me, we fucked everything up, and you had to up and die and get out of everything.”

Angel never answered back, which was good, since the man was dead. Would make it awkward if he hung around.

Sage chuckled, rubbed his forehead, and set his alarm. He’d get a couple of hours of sleep, then get to work.

He had a feeling he was fixin’ to have a lot to do.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE THREE SISTERS SERIES by LaVerne Thompson and Stephanie Williams

THE THREE SISTERS SERIES - Boxed Set by LaVerne Thompson and Stephanie Williams

The Three Sisters Series
What won’t these sisters do? Or the men whose hearts they've captured.

RINGSIDE- Atlanta Reese is the baby of the family and on a quest to find herself. Only she ends up in New Mexico and whips up a chili recipe that leaves the restaurant owner, Hank Gaines: hot, bothered, and begging for more.

Hank knew he was in trouble the moment he tasted her heat. But he had a secret he could never let Atlanta find out about or he'd lose it all.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE- Brittany loves the cold and adventure. She now finds herself near the Artic Circle trying out remote control panties with a Finn she met on a nude beach.

Sebastian had been waiting for a chance to get the beauty he'd seen around to himself. Now that he holds the controls, he's not giving them back.

MASQUERADE - Sydney as the big sister was always the responsible one, she always did the right thing. Until one night she puts on a disguise and goes after her fantasy man.

Caine knew the moment he held the masked woman in his arms she was the one for him, yet why was it when he held Sydney he never wanted to let her go.




Atlanta took a long sip of her beer and placed it on the napkin in front of her. Taking her book out of her bag, she began to read as she waited for her food. She was on the section, Don’t Settle for Less than you Deserve, for the third time. Right on! Atlanta’s men issues were no different than the other stuff going on in her life. She’d yet to meet one she wanted to keep, or hang around long enough to find out if he was even worth keeping.

“Welcome to Ringside. Are you finding everything to your liking?”

Atlanta moved the book from her face and looked into the light blue eyes of a striking looking man. He was tall, a little over six feet, and very well built. That was evident in the way his black shirt seemed painted on his body. His biceps screamed to get out, but he didn’t look like a body builder prepped on steroids. Just nice tight lines.

His face could have been sculpted from the finest marble; the only thing keeping his features from being too perfect was a little bump in the middle of his slender nose, like it may have been broken at some point in his life. But it only added to his overall appeal. The color of his hair drew her attention next; it was blacker than anything she’d ever seen. Thick and wavy, it hung just to his collar. She wanted to run her fingers through it and see if it felt as soft and silky as it looked.

This man was a walking orgasm, and she was not shy about her appraisal of him. She might have to keep this one for a while.


Helsinki was unusually warm this August with temperatures hitting about sixty degrees. But Brit didn’t mind; it was a welcome relief. She had been cooped up in her room since her arrival, so seeing the sun out and actually heating the earth was refreshing.

Now she could hit the clothing-optional beach.

Brit was always of the opinion that instead of wearing string that cut into your butt crack and strips of fabric that scratch your nipples, you might as well go naked. In Europe, no one really looks at you anyway.

Brit strolled down to the beach with her umbrella, magazine, blanket and iPod. She set up her spot and got comfortable on her blanket. She placed the magazine over her face, stuck the ear buds in her ears, and listened to the glorious voice of Luciano Pavarotti. Ten minutes later, she was on her way to dreamland.
This was the life. No worries. No nagging parents. No annoying, geeky ex-boyfriend. No drama.

“Hello there.”

At first she didn’t respond. She was in that state of sleep between deep REM and half awake.

“Hello? Miss?” The voice was insistent, deep and masculine.


It wasn’t until she felt a nudge on her shoulder that Brit threw off the magazine, and sat up on her elbows. What she was looking at could only be described as mythical beauty.

He was large, muscular, gorgeous and…nekkid! Oh God!


Sydney didn’t know what had possessed her, maybe Annie nudging her in the ribs, and practically pushing her toward the tall man with the broad shoulders and blond hair. Even in a room full of similarly clad men, he stood out. She had been watching him from the balcony the moment he entered the room. Annie was at her side and had pointed him out to her, but by the time her friend had spotted him she had already been watching him for five minutes make his way around the room.

From a distance, he looked like a walking fantasy, but up close his six-feet-two or more presence invited and enticed her into engaging him in pure unadulterated sex.

Eyes, the blue of the Caribbean Sea looked out at her from behind a dark mask. The black satin provided an intense contrast to his thick blond hair streaked with varying shades of gold and curled around the nape of his neck. The unmasked skin around a full sensual mouth appeared slightly tanned, like he had recently gotten a little sun. His strong squared jaw line shifted slightly as he stared at her. She couldn’t take her eyes off his face, what she could see of it. Then he smiled, showing beautiful straight white teeth and a small dimple appeared on one side of lips.

A smile of her own answered his.

Without a word, he raised his arms away from his sides, as though opening them for her to walk into. The movement brought her attention to his sculptured chest. Was that a six-pack? Maybe there was something to be said for shirtless.

Friday, March 14, 2014

NOBODY'S ANGEL by Kallypso Masters

MASTERS AT ARMS and NOBODY'S ANGEL by Kallypso Masters

Rescue Me Books 1 and 2


Masters at Arms begins the journey of three men, each on a quest for honor, acceptance, and to ease his unspoken pain. Their paths cross at one of the darkest points in their lives. As they try to come to terms with the aftermath--forging an unbreakable bond--will they ever truly become masters of their own fates? Or would fate become masters of them? (Book One in the Rescue Me series.)


When Marc rescued Angelina from an abusive Dom at his fetish club, he never imagined she'd upend his safe, controlled life. But his SAR partner, Luke, a widower, thinks Angelina has been sent to him by his dead wife. Marc knows only he can fulfill her sexual needs, but won’t hurt his friend. When the abusive Dom stalks her, she turns to Marc for help and learns a submissive has power too.



Chapter One

Marc D’Alessio put on the eye mask to maintain some anonymity. What Italian men didn’t do for their mamas. No one he knew from his earlier life in Aspen had ever shown up at his club, but he’d promised Mama he wouldn’t be blatant about his alternate lifestyle. Shit, just having her find out about his interest in BDSM had been bad enough. If his little brother Sandro had just kept his mouth shut….

He wished he’d chosen a different mask, though. The damned wolf one just brought him attention from unattached subs and bottoms he really didn’t want these days.

Marc donned the black leather vest over his bare chest and ignored the familiar hitch in his breath caused when he overstretched the adhesions in his side. He checked to make sure the vest pockets included the safety and first-aid items he may need while on duty tonight. The yellow armband he placed over his right bicep identified him as the club’s dungeon monitor supervisor tonight.

Marc stepped out of the dressing area and walked down the short hallway to where the great room at the Masters at Arms fetish club opened before him. The scent of sweat and sex filled the air tonight. The club appeared to be at capacity, so he knew he’d have to stay alert. He also was about an hour late and needed to find co-owner Adam Montague to get the lowdown. He scanned the room looking for the retired Marine master sergeant.

Fellow Iraq War veteran Damián Orlando, the youngest of the club’s three owners, wore his trademark black-and-orange Harley leather vest and had a petite blonde chained to the center post where he delivered evenly placed lashes with his single-tailed whip. The center of the room had been roped off sufficiently to keep onlookers out of range, but many watched the demonstration with rapt attention.

Marc recognized the bottom as one of Damián’s regulars, the expression on her face one of pure ecstasy, despite the red welts he could see on her back, ass, and thighs. No blood. His friend sure was popular with the masochists; Marc didn’t get off on delivering that level of pain.

The tattoo on Damián’s flexing bicep showed the rippling tail of a dragon, the body hidden by his vest. But Marc knew it covered a good portion of his chest and back because he’d gone with him for some of the sessions at the tat parlor. With his shoulder-length hair pulled into a queue, and his goatee and moustache, Damián had the look of a real badass.

Marc couldn’t help but remember the shy kid he had been when they’d met at Camp Pendleton. Or that trip to the L.A. fetish club the week before they’d deployed to Fallujah. No, if he didn’t know it for a certainty, he’d never believe this was the same man. The kid sure had come home from Iraq messed up. Marc and Adam had almost lost him during his deepest depression. Apparently, with BDSM he’d found a way to regain some level of control over his life again, even if it did mean he’d chosen to delve deeply into the sensual-sadist range of the lifestyle’s spectrum.

Marc loved Damián like a brother, realizing he’d become closer to this kid from his Marine Corps training days than he was to his own brother. The two of them had gone through some serious shit together in Fallujah. Damián had come out the worse for it. Marc wished he’d been able to do more, but was thankful that, as his Navy corpsman, he’d been able to keep him alive. His buddy’s limp was hardly noticeable now and he seemed to be getting his life back on track.

Well, on track as well as any of the three co-owners had been able to since the war.

Continuing to look for Adam, Karla Paxton’s final preparations for tonight’s set caught his eye. She flinched each time Damián’s whip struck the woman’s bare and sweating skin. When Marc had first met Karla, he hadn’t expected her to last more than her first weekend’s performances. She sure as hell didn’t care much for the lifestyle, even the milder stuff.

But Karla sure did care for Adam—not that his former master sergeant noticed. Shit, the man whose instincts and wisdom had kept a lot of men and women alive on the battlefield was totally clueless when it came to Karla.

“You’re here.” Well, speak of the devil, he turned to find Adam approaching him. After all these years of retirement, his friend still kept his hair trimmed to near-Marine regs. Not a high and tight, but close enough. There was a heavy mix of gray among his friend’s dark brown hair now.

“Sorry. Got held up on…a mission.”

Adam’s intense stare bore through him saying he knew Marc wasn’t being honest, which niggled at his conscience. Adam had gone back for him on that rooftop in Fallujah. He’d visited Marc in the hospital until they could ship him out of Iraq, often spending his nights watching over Marc as he slept. Most importantly, he’d helped ease some of Marc’s guilt over the loss of his big brother, Gino, who had served under Adam in Afghanistan. He owed the man so much. Why was he trying to distance himself from him now?

Because you distance yourself from everyone.

No, that’s just women. He did keep women at arm’s length emotionally, but knew Adam would take a bullet for him before he’d ever hurt him. So, why didn’t he let him in? Adam had been nudging him for months to tell him what was going on in Marc’s head after he’d quit scening, opting to volunteer as a DM or DMS most nights, well, when he showed up at the club. One thing was certain. Marc would continue as a co-owner of the club with these men; their band-of-brothers bond would never be broken.

Shit, he couldn’t explain what was going on himself, much less tell his friend. He was just…unsettled since he’d left Pamela last year. She had been the first woman he’d gotten close to since Melissa all those years ago.

He had let Adam believe Pamela had dumped him, but he was in no mood yet to talk about what really happened. Marc deflected the man’s unspoken questions. “So, what’s the situation?”

Adam narrowed his eyes, paused a moment, then stood down, rubbing the back of his neck. “Keep an eye on Room Eight. They’re new to the scene and I don’t get the feeling they know each other very well.”

The recent surge in erotic BDSM books had couples coming out of the woodwork to try out with their partners, some of them nearly strangers, what they had discovered in those romanticized stories. Too bad. Most of them should have stuck with the romantic version. They got off on the idea of BDSM, but not the actual experience. Besides, most of their “Doms” had no clue. Too many used this as consent to abuse rather than any type of consensual power exchange.

Until the last few months, Marc had held a series of weekend training sessions when he wasn’t on a mountain-rescue call and didn’t have any wilderness expeditions planned with his outfitter company. Those Doms who truly wanted to learn to please their partners in the BDSM lifestyle signed up, but they’d represented a small fraction of the couples he saw coming in to experiment on the equipment at the club. Of course, he hadn’t given a class for quite a while.

“I’ll keep an eye on them,” said Marc. Adam filled him in on how many dungeon monitors were on duty tonight and where each was stationed. “Anything else?”

“No, pretty routine.” They shared a grin. There was nothing routine about the Masters at Arms, now one of Denver’s hottest fetish clubs. They’d become so popular since hiring Karla to sing that they’d just started opening on Wednesdays, in addition to Fridays and Saturdays.

As Karla sang “Song to the Siren,” Marc’s and Adam’s gazes were drawn to the young woman commanding attention on the stage. Her wardrobe sure had improved since she’d first started; tonight, she wore a black satin and sequin number that concealed her shoulders, but left a large oval expanse of her chest open, showing off the swell of her breasts. Her arms were bare except for lacy black gloves covering her forearms and wrists. The hem of the dress was mid-thigh, showing off her sexy long legs encased in black mesh stockings. Definitely hot.

Marc turned back to Adam to finish up before getting to work. Shit. The look of intense longing on his friend’s face bordered on pain. If Adam wanted her so badly, why didn’t he just go after her? They shared some kind of history with each other from what he gathered, but Adam was doing his damnedest to treat her like a daughter. Hell, anyone with eyes could see that the looks Karla gave him were anything but those of a daughter’s. Sure, there was a significant age difference, but she sure as hell didn’t act twenty-five. She was mature, almost somber sometimes. Not that his fifty-year-old friend noticed—when he allowed himself to get anywhere near her. Maybe he was still holding onto the memory of his dead wife, but, after nine years, and with a beautiful woman like Karla wanting him, the man needed to wake up and smell the vino.

Like you’re the expert on relationships. Marc sighed. “I’ll make the rounds.”

“Hang around for a drink later on,” Adam said. “I have Birra Moretti in stock.”

Marc knew Adam didn’t drink alcohol, but just wanted an opportunity to grill him for information. Adam wasn’t going to take much more of Marc’s shit before he kicked him in the ass.

“Let me take a rain check. It’s been a helluva long day. Now, I’d better go check on Room Eight.”

Adam nodded and let him go, more because he was worried about the couple in the private theme room than that he wanted to let Marc off the hook. Marc maneuvered around some couples gyrating on the dance floor near the bar, almost tripping over a sub kneeling on the floor beside her Dom at one of the tables.

The Italian woman, looking too damned much like Melissa for his taste, gave him a come-on with her eyes, then smiled. Totally disrespectful to her Dom, who seemed not to even notice as he spoke with Grant, another Marine vet, who stroked the head of the malesub at her side. Marc bent down to instruct the Dom to please keep his sub out of the walkway, then continued toward the theme rooms. He and the other dungeon monitors were spread thin tonight with a crowd this size.

The hallway to the rooms was painted red from the floor to the black ceiling. Flickers from the simulated-fire wall sconces caused his shadow to dance against the walls and gave the feeling you’d just walked into a sinister place. Not as bad as the dungeon, but… Marc approached the fourth room on the right and stopped at the large window that gave DMs and voyeurs a vantage point over the scene inside the room.

Each of the theme rooms was set up with specific equipment. Some provided furniture and items that conjured up popular fantasies—the office, the medical examination room, the office. He’d hired Luke Denton, now his Search and Rescue squad partner and the carpenter who helped renovate the club, to make the specialized BDSM equipment.

Room Eight focused on a number of spanking and whipping paraphernalia, including a spanking bench, a leather love seat, a sling, and the St. Andrew’s cross. A muscular Dom dressed in black leather vest and pants held a leather flogger. His sub was tied spread-eagle on the cross, naked except for the blindfold. Her long black hair hung in waves halfway down her back. Thankfully, her hair stopped short of the gorgeous curves of her ass.

Focus, man. You aren’t here to get off on the scene.

The blindfold impeded his ability to assess her condition. He switched on the intercom button to listen in. Her ass was red, and he heard her whimpers. Nothing out of the ordinary, except she was new to the BDSM scene and might not remember she could stop the scene if it went beyond her limits.


The flogger struck her upper thighs, a particularly painful place to strike a novice.

“Acckkkkk!” Her lower body arched against the cross in an effort to escape the lash of the leather strips.

“Stop your crying, bitch,” the blond man shouted at her.

Marc cringed at his tone. Was she into verbal abuse and humiliation? He’d monitor the scene a little longer and try to determine whether she was getting off on the scene. If not, maybe he’d take the inexperienced Dom aside and give him some suggestions for making the scene better for her. Perhaps he would permit a demonstration on how to maximize her pleasure. Marc felt his cock come to life at the thought of working with this sub and her luscious curves. Shit. What was wrong with him tonight?


More red stripes appeared across her upper thighs.

“Ow! Stop! …enough.”

Marc couldn’t make out all of her words. He became more alert.

“Don’t top from the bottom, pain slut. You know you wanted to be punished. You made me wait so damned long.”

Marc cringed. She didn’t appear to be loving anything about the scene, unless her pleas and tears were part of her kink. Hell, it was hard to tell with someone he didn’t know. He needed to check in with her, though, to make sure she wanted to continue. Marc turned off the intercom and slowly opened the door, slipping inside without a sound and keeping his distance as he tried to further assess her condition. Wrapped up in his scene, the Dom didn’t even notice Marc. He delivered two more sharp blows, this time to each of her tender inner thighs.

“Mio Dio! Stop!”

Italian? Well, shit.

Not taking time to analyze why that should make a difference to him as a dungeon monitor, because he wanted nothing to do with another sub, he motioned to get the Dom’s attention. Keeping his voice calm and low, he asked, “May I have a word with you a moment, Sir?” The man sighed heavily, but knew he had no choice but to obey a DM or DM supervisor. Not wanting the sub to overhear their conversation, Marc guided him to a corner of the room.

“I understand you’re both new to the club,” Marc whispered, “and I just wanted to make sure she understands about using her safe word.”

“She’s fine. She hasn’t used her safe word.” The Dom glanced away, making Marc suspicious as to whether he spoke the truth. “She just needs to get used to the flogger. This is her first time.”

Damn. Adam was right. But the Dom was riding her awfully hard for a first experience.

Marc noticed her feet straining on tiptoe because of how high he’d cuffed her hands on the cross. She clenched her fingers open and closed, as if trying to restore circulation. “I just came on duty. How long has she been on the cross?”

He looked at his watch. “About an hour. We reserved the room for ninety minutes.”

Faccia di merda. This asshole was a real piece of…work.

“I need to check in with her before you can continue this scene. Then you might want to consider providing some aftercare during the rest of the time you have in here. It’s pretty hard for a first-timer to have her body stretched and beaten like that for such a long time.

“She’s fine.” He ground the words out between his teeth. Now Marc understood why Adam was so worried about this couple. They’d both seen his type before. Thought he knew everything and wasn’t one to accept advice. Abusive, to boot.

“Excuse me.” Marc left him and walked over to the woman. The rules forbade him from touching her without her Dom’s permission, unless and until he put an end to the scene. He couldn’t see her eyes, but the blindfold was soaked from her tears. She sobbed quietly. Was she in subspace? This could be serious for such a novice, but he couldn’t really tell for certain until he saw her eyes.

Turning around to the man, he asked, “Permission to remove the blindfold and evaluate her condition?”

“I guess so.”

Marc reached up and pushed the loosely tied sash up to her forehead. He stood in front of her face, wishing he could cup her chin and brush the tears away. Focus. What the fuck had gotten into you? Would she follow his command?

“This is the Dungeon Monitor Supervisor. Look at me.”

Her eyes remained closed as she mumbled incoherently. No response. Damn. She was in too deep. Health concerns trumped no-touching rules. He pulled the flashlight from his pocket and lifted each eyelid in turn. Pupils unresponsive.


“She’s in deep subspace. This scene is over.” Marc bent down and unbuckled her ankles as fast as possible.

“What’s deep subspace?”

Asshole bastard. Her Dom would be fucking clueless about how to bring her back down safely, even if Marc were willing to let him anywhere near her. Which he wasn’t.

He doubted these two would continue in the lifestyle together, but felt responsible for trying to explain the seriousness of this situation to Sir Asshole here, hoping to save the man’s next unfortunate partner from a similar fate where there might not be a DM with medic training nearby to rescue her.

Marc reached up to undo the clips that held her cuffed wrists to the cross. Her hands felt cold. As he worked to free her, he provided a lecture to the jerk. “For whatever reason, she didn’t say her safe word when she reached her limit. Experienced submissives might have subspace as a goal, but she’s too new to scening for that. Her mind disassociated from the pain when she could stand it no longer.”

Turning his attention back to the now whimpering woman, Marc wished she’d had her first experience with a Dom who knew what the hell he was doing. With me.

Now, where had that thought come from?

“She agreed to this.” The Dom went on the defensive and walked over to the dark leather loveseat in the corner to pick up a piece of paper that looked like the club’s contract.

Sorry, Sir Asshole, but read the fine print about my right to shut your scene down.

After the last cuff clip was undone, she moaned as he lowered her right arm from its over-stretched position. Her body collapsed into his waiting arms with a grunt, and he carried her to the loveseat.

Marc pulled an aftercare blanket from the nearby basket and wrapped her naked body in the micro fiber cloth to quickly bring up her body’s temperature. He covered her full breasts as quickly as possible, quashing an errant desire to bend down and take one of the delectable peaks into his mouth.

Shit. He hadn’t been this attracted to a woman since…well, a very long time. Why the fuck did she have to be Italian?

Marc held her tightly against him. So soft. Her curves molded against his body. His breathing hitched as his cock sprung to attention for the first time in a long while without the use of his fist.

Regaining some self-control, he continued his lesson for Sir Asshole. “Then the endorphins kicked in to the point where she could no longer engage her brain to make the decision to speak her safe word.” He glanced up at the man in time to watch him look away once more. Guilt? Maybe he should double check. “Did she speak her safe word?”

The man didn’t meet his gaze. “Well, I’m not sure…”

Goddamned bastard ought to be flogged himself—but with a cat-o-nine tails instead.

Sir Asshole moved toward the loveseat. “Here, I should be doing that…”

When he reached down, as if to wrest her away, Marc growled. Remembering him role, he forced himself to speak in his calm DMS voice, but in no uncertain terms. “Don’t touch her. If you want to learn how to administer aftercare properly, watch.” But don’t think I’m letting you put your fucking hands on her again as long as I’m here to stop you.

“I still have thirty minutes reserved on the room!” he wailed, waving the contract in his hand.

Obviously, he had no concern for her welfare. Marc knew there wouldn’t be any reasoning with the man—and no membership refund coming, either—but really wanted to get rid of this asshole so he could focus on the woman. “Go discuss it with Master Adam.”

When the wannabe Dom puffed out his chest and stomped from the room, slamming the door behind him, Marc texted Adam and told him what had happened in here—and that he should kick the sonuvabitch out of the club and ban him for life. Looking around the room and not seeing any bottled water, Marc sent another message, asking Adam to send over a bottle. As an afterthought, he added, “and a dark Hershey bar.”

Putting the phone beside him on the loveseat, he looked down at the gorgeous woman in his arms. Olive skin, dark hair. He remembered her eyes were a rich chocolate brown. Yeah, definitely Italian. His cock throbbed, surprising him yet again. He’d avoided Italian women for years. Too close to home. Too emotional. Too strong-willed.

Too much like Melissa.

Marc wiped away the hot tears still flowing from her eyes. “You did well, cara. Shhhh. Just rest now.” He kept his voice soft, soothing. Her body shook in response, or perhaps from chills. He pulled her head against his shoulder and laid his chin on the top of her head to keep more heat in her body. The scent of lavender surrounded him. “Shhhh. It’s over. You were so brave, cara,” he crooned.

He held her in his arms, for several minutes longer, savoring her weight in his lap, her delicious scent… Suddenly, her mind and body reintegrated.

“Accckkkkkk!” The woman screamed and fought him, trying to pull away, to escape the pain, the blanket, him. He knew the more she struggled, the more her back and ass would burn from the friction, so he took his hand and pressed her cheek against his chest to hold her still.

He needed to break through to her. What name had Sir Asshole called her? Oh, yes.

“Angie, lie still. You’re safe now.” He used a firm Dom voice, hoping to engage the sub’s instinctive desire to please.

Her nipple beaded to a hard point against the underside of his forearm. She moaned—definitely not from pain this time.


Oh, shit.

The newbie sub was going to come. His more experienced submissives had been able to reach orgasm in subspace without his touching their clits at all. This one would probably need a little help, though. Hell, if she were his little sub, he wouldn’t hesitate to help her reach that level of satisfaction.

But she wasn’t his.

She grabbed his vest and moaned in frustration, tilting her hips upward as she sought release. His cock bobbed against her ass. Oh, hell. Why not? She’d earned some degree of pleasure after all the pain she’d suffered with Sir Asshole. Why not salvage something from the disaster that was probably her first scene? Maybe then she wouldn’t give up completely on exploring the submissive lifestyle with a responsible Dom someday.

With me.

Ignoring that stray and totally absurd thought, Marc’s hand slipped inside the blanket, seeking the folds of her pussy and what he knew would be an erect clit. She wouldn’t need much stimulation to fly apart for him.

No, he corrected himself. Not for him.

For her.

Monday, March 10, 2014



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A grand passion in an apocalyptic world. A love beyond reason and without boundaries.
He’s a warrior, a bounty hunter in a world turned upside down. She’s a target, a creature of dark magic. His job is simple. Kill the target. Her goal is more complex. She must stay alive until she finds and destroys the source of death magic staining the twenty worlds. But the passion burning within them may be their undoing. It’s going to take an apocalyptic will to overcome the distraction their bodies are creating…and not lose themselves in the process.


Yeira clawed her way across the floor, her limbs locking and clamping as horrific pain racked her slim frame. A fresh blade of agony speared through her as she struggled to crawl just another sliver of space. The pain jolted her to a stop as she sucked in a breath, sending her into a coughing spasm. Blood sprayed the floor as she crawled. Her dazed, blue gaze stared down at the bright droplets arrayed before her over the oily stone and she knew a stark moment of pure fear.

What if she didn’t make it in time?

Beyond the thick, concrete walls of her hideaway, the sound of explosions and chaos were a constant drone, an unrelenting impetus pushing her ever forward.

With a monumental effort of will, Yeira gritted her teeth and dug her fingers into the rough surface beneath them, dragging herself another inch.

She barely noticed the spark of pain as her soft, exposed belly was ripped open by shards of debris on the battle-ravaged floor. Her goal was a mere five inches away.

She thought she could make it.

She had to.

Yeira closed her eyes as agony washed through her again and lunged another inch. Her fingertips stretched…strained…mere inches from the leather strap.

The world beyond the door exploded and Yeira’s head snapped around. The blast had sounded close. Too close. Panic made her heart pound. “No!” Tears filled her eyes as something heavy hit the door. He’d found her.

With a cry of desperation, Yeira dug her toes into the stone and shoved. The pain erupted in a burst that made her vision gray. She screamed as agony gripped her gut with icy needles, tearing and dislodging the ordered cells of her flesh.

Yeira fell onto her back, her fingers clenching against the torment. Warm, thick blood drenched her lips, dripping down her chin.

The door blasted inward, sending smoke and shrapnel through the room and driving the razor-sharp projectiles into her flesh.

On some level, Yeira felt the pain of the tiny missiles piercing her skin. But she was in the grip of a misery so complete that her mind could barely form a thought. All she could do was scream, her fingers closing convulsively around the thin strap of leather she’d been fighting to reach.

Yeira’s gaze slid to the large shape framed in the door. He was nothing more than a gray haze behind the smoke. A vision of massive male, whose form all but filled the ragged hole that had once been the door.

A fine vision.

Yeira shook her head, offended by the thought even in her tortured state. No! The man was there to kill her. She couldn’t lose sight…

The enormous figure shimmered and she realized he was moving closer. On some level Yeira knew she needed to move. But the pain had finally receded as her body gave out. It felt good not to be consumed by it. For just a moment she longed to lie there, enjoying the numbness, and let her life slip away.


Her fingers moved along the leather strip in her hand. Oblivion would be bliss. Yeira slipped her hand inside the bag, feeling for a smooth, oblong shape.

The sound of his footsteps across the littered floor was like a series of canon blasts, and she winced under every one. His massive arms arched from his sides as he walked, the huge hands loosely fisted. He held a long knife in one hand. Thick, muscular legs stuck out from underneath a bloody and tattered kilt, the burgundy and black pattern barely visible under the filth of an extended battle.

Yeira noted the blade in his hand, knowing it was meant for her.

He stopped a foot away, his intense, dark-blue gaze sweeping over her. “My god, woman. You look like hell.”

Yeira’s lips opened and something gurgled in her throat. She thought it might be a death rattle, but it emerged as a laugh. She licked her lips as he cocked his head. “Bite me, Sorceri.”

Amazingly his wide mouth turned upward in a smile. “I don’t swing that way, zombie.”

A dense cold crept up her legs, slipped along her spine. In another minute she would be completely numb. She wouldn’t even feel the knife he held down at his side as it sliced her head from her body. But though she was a breath away from dying, Yeira couldn’t help tweaking him one last time. “You haven’t got what it takes anyway, Kord.”

His smile slipped. The sexy gaze darkened. Yeira realized the smoke was clearing and she could see him in all his glory…a dark avenging angel sent to rip her from the living world. He inclined his dark head, the silky strands of black hair framing a square chin, dark with shadow even when cleanly shorn. “You could be right, woman. But…” He seemed to swallow. “There was a time I would have wished for a different outcome.”

Her eyes widened. A different kind of pain ripped her chest apart. She swore, her fingers closing over the slick, oblong object she sought.

So it was to be a death of a thousand cuts—the first cut deeply severing her heart?

She licked her dry lips. “I never wish, Sorceri. Wishing is for children and fools.” Holding his gaze with her own, she clutched the ancient bluestone in her fist and envisioned her lair. The air above her thinned, turning glossy, and her nemesis started to blur.

As his sexy gaze widened in realization, Yeira was brutally ripped from the battered castle. Her lips open in a silent scream as the ascension tore her apart at a cellular level and sent her plummeting through the void between time.

But all was good. The last thing she heard as her earthly form disintegrated, was the rage-filled roar of the deadly sexy Sorceri warrior as he realized she’d escaped him again.

Who doesn't love an ALPHA male? We certainly do! Which is why these 10 bestselling romance authors banded together to create the Tall, Dark and Alpha box set for your reading pleasure! Here's what you'll get in this wonderful and sexy set:
He makes your heart pound and melts your resistance away. He promises you a world of passion and you find it impossible to resist his dark charm. When he catches your eye across the room, you know he means business. He could be an executive, cop, shape shifter, or a bad boy looking for a little fun. Once he has you in his sights, you can't get away—and after one sizzling night in his arms, you won't want to. He’s Tall, Dark & Alpha. The alpha male is the ultimate indulgence…the richest dark chocolate…and we’re offering him to you in abundance.
Delve into the sensual worlds of award-winning authors: Randi Alexander, Koko Brown, Sam Cheever, Delaney Diamond, Eve Langlais, Afton Locke, Dawn Montgomery, Farrah Rochon, Paige Tyler, and Eve Vaughn. Immerse yourself in the alpha male experience.

Other Stories include:
Afton Locke - Rock My Boat
Dawn Montgomery - Silver Tongued Devils
Delaney Diamond - Fight For Love
Eve Langlais - Crazy (Vampire Love)
Eve Vaughn - Sex With an Ex
Farrah Rochon - In Her Wildest Dreams
Koko Brown - Player's Challenge
Paige Tyler - Two Cops, a Girl and a Pair of Handcuffs
Randi Alexander - Chase and Seduction, Book 1 of the Hot Country Series

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SEA STORM by LaVerne Thompson

SEA STORM by LaVerne Thompson

Children of the Waves Series

Bring on the lightning.

For so long Des’ life was a lie. She had to hide who she really was from the world. Her survival and that of her family depended on her continuing those lies. But it was never harder than when she had to lie to the man she loved.

She was lying to him. Zek knew the woman in his house, in his arms was the bride he’d searched for all of his existence. But as a son of Poseidon nothing and no one would stop him from claiming that which was his.



The fluttering sensation coursing through his soul had Ezekiel swinging his chair around and standing up. He took two steps and stood in front of the bay windows, covering the entire back wall of his office. His view from his Cayman Island office home looked out over the blue green waters of the Caribbean. He watched several dolphins leap out of the water and he heard their song above the roar of the waves in his head. While he couldn’t exactly talk to the pod or they to him, this message all the Children would understand.

They brought him tidings. His brother Xavior had found his bride.

“Lucky bastard,” he mumbled. Then, he chuckled. At least one of them had mated. Zek ran his blunt fingers through dark shoulder-length hair. While he loved his brother, he disagreed with him. He didn’t believe just because Xav now sat as a king on Poseidon’s throne, the unrest in their world would stop. Xav didn’t really understand, or factor in, even the Children needed to evolve and they couldn’t do it while isolated beneath the seas.

The world on land had changed and they must, too. They were the children of gods, but not gods themselves.


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