Thursday Thoughts: Nerdgasm (and more) News

So there’s this book I’m writing, called Nerdgasm. I may have mentioned it once or twice. Anyway. Judy and Max are almost through the first round of revisions. Meaning I’ve gone through all but the last 3… 4? scenes and have transcribed them into a Google Doc, at which point, I let a buddy read them and make a couple comments, and then transcribe — again — into a Word document.

This seems to be working for me. Right now. I still need to post all these refreshed scenes/chapters to Scribophile for further critique from my pals there to really nail this thing down. But I’m SO CLOSE! I’ll still have this baby available in ebook and print on Black Friday.

When I can’t concentrate enough on Judy and Max, I have this other thing that popped up. I said, “I just want to get the idea down.”

Right. Uh-huh. At the moment, I’m calling it Cameo. But I hate the title.

Hiddles Kiddo Hug.gifPrompted by this gif (seriously, I could watch it all day), I’ve had the idea in my head for a while to have a well-known celebrity (made up, of course) who is acosted by a preschool-aged fan who takes off on Mom when she’s not looking so they can go meet the celeb.

Celeb then has to go find the panicking parent. And… there’s chemistry, and sparks fly, and in the end, they’re together.

Now… I love Tom Hiddleston, don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t want to base my actor on him. And when I started writing, it came out that the parent with a missing kid was actually a man. My brain defaults to het couples. But then the kid showed up, tugging on “Misser Low-kissed’s” shirt. Oh. Okay. I guess we’re writing gay romance this time. Cool beans. (My characters do their own thing.)MMC1 & MMC2.JPG

And then we got around to the bit where the kid is actually his niece. Okay, so why does he have his niece? He’s going to a business lunch… Oh, the sitter is out sick, and his other options are out of town. Okay, so why does he have custody of the kid? Oh… Mom & Dad are no longer with us. Which of the parents was his sibling? Mom? Okay — OH! She’s his twin sister? Oh crap. It was a Christmas morning home invasion gone horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. How long ago was that? Was that this past Christmas? Or the one before? This kid is only four. Scratch that — she’s three. Yes, this is pretty much my thought process. But then…

Okay, so those are my character inspirations for Oliver and Parker. Here’s Coby, without whom these two might not ever have found each other…FMC

 

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Tuesday Tease: Deal with the Devil

51bMhhFklTLAnyone can make a Deal with the Devil. But what would it take to break one? Becca Patterson weaves a twisty-turny short-story tale about exactly that!

Thirty years ago, Delia sold her soul to the devil. It worked out well for her, and she still has ten years left to enjoy the fame and wealth she got from the deal. Now he’s come back and wants to renegotiate.

With a deep breath she plunged into the pool and surfaced about halfway down. The sunny day had become shadowed, though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The air felt frozen and not a single bird or critter broke the silence.

“You’re early,” she said before she saw the one responsible. “I still have ten years on my contract.”

“You have nine years, three hundred days, give or take a couple hours.” The man walked up to her in his always pristine suit that looked better than any designer had ever managed. They said only Jesus could walk on water. Maybe they were right, because the devil stood about an inch above the surface. “I remember how precise you were in that aspect of our contract, Delia Amber Rosso.”

The way he said her full name gave her the shivers. She swam to the side of the pool and levered herself out. “You’d think someone like you would heat the world rather than chill it. Aren’t you the one behind global warming?” Delia didn’t fear the devil. That contract bound him as tightly as it did her. She got luxury and fame for forty years then he got her soul. Not such a bad deal, but he couldn’t do anything to her for ten… no… nine years three hundred days. “Do you think you could tone it down a bit? I’m not dressed for hell freezing over.”

He scowled at her, but the warmth of the sun returned.

“So, since you can’t take me yet, what brings you around?” It never hurt to remind the devil of his limits. Those contracts of his were something to reckon with. She could attest to the power they had to grant wishes.

“I want to change our deal.” Delia stopped with the towel halfway to her hair. She had to have misheard that. The deal couldn’t change, he’d made that perfectly clear before she signed.

“No use begging or crying or trying to banish me by spiritual means.” He laughed that horrid nasally laugh. “Once you sign, that’s it. You get forty years to live with the benefits of a popular book then you come to me.”

“I said,” He pronounced the words with excessive precision, “I want to change our deal.”

“It’s a contract.” Delia turned to face him. “I’ve dealt with plenty of those over the past thirty years, even human made contracts are nearly impossible to break. You said it yourself that the contract couldn’t change.”

He laughed as he dropped into one of the lounge chairs. Still that horrible high pitched nasal laugh. “Precise as always. I did say that, because the thing you need to break a contract is an agreement to break the contract.”

*****

Sci-Fi and Fantasy are just two of Becca Patterson’s preferred genres. An author hailing from Minnesota, she has been writing for as long as she can remember, and takes much of her inspiration from the teenagers she works with. In her spare time, Becca enjoys making her husband laugh, and playing string with her three cats.

Website – https://becca.mreauowpublishing.com

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Becca-Patterson

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Mreauow

 

Tuesday Tease: French Kissed

What happens when an aspiring erotica author writes the story of Drew and Rachel for a “how to write erotica” class? You get French Kissed, by Sammie Maxwell, that’s what!

01 French Kissed

Auto mechanic Drew likes the rough-and-tumble bad-boys, but lately, her spark plugs have been misfiring. Giving in to a blind date, she meets the sophisticated Ray for coffee after work. But there’s more beneath the Frenchman’s tailored coat of polish than she’s ever driven before.

 

 

 

Standing on the sidewalk in front of my motorcycle, I bit the inside of my lip. Normally, I would have been the one to go for the kiss. I swallowed. I really liked him. “Gorgeous n—”
Ray cut me off without a word. His hands framed my face before claiming me on the sidewalk. My lips parted, and his tongue slid against mine, his fingers tangled in my hair, holding me captive.
I explored Ray. The shape and feel of his mouth – firm but gentle, teasing but confident. He tasted of the chocolate mousse we’d shared, with a hint of the coffee he’d sipped. His cologne, sharp and musky, was intoxicating, drawing me in deeper without a word.
He pulled me closer, one hand splayed across my back. My breasts pressed against his chest, my nipples tingling—aching—for his touch. Angling his head, he deepened the kiss. Our tongues clashed, writhed, danced. A hand slid down to my butt and squeezed, drawing a low moan.
A horn honked and someone whistled from a passing car.
“It would appear we have an audience,” Ray commented, his breath hot against my neck.
I pressed my lips to his ear. “Let ‘em watch.”
Ray pulled back to look at me. “Come home with me.”
I pressed myself against him again, and kissed him hard before breaking it off and tracing a finger over his lips. “I’ll be right behind you.”

*****

Sammie Maxwell writes erotic short stories and steamy flash fiction while the rest of the house sleeps. She survives on coffee and wet dreams somewhere in the US.

https://sammie2themaxx.wordpress.com/blog/

https://twitter.com/Sammie2theMax

https://www.facebook.com/Sammie2theMaxx/

https://www.amazon.com/Sammie-Maxwell/e/B01M0NZRNE/

Tuesday Tease: Forbidden Kisses

Being that it’s the Fourth of July here in the U.S., I thought I’d go with something patriotic. So this week’s featured excerpt is from Sha Renée. The Navy veteran weaves us through the courtship of Ethan and Layla, and steams up the room with their Forbidden Kisses.

51dPXlGA7WLWhen Navy pilot, Ethan Parker falls for the woman he met at a coffee shop, he knows she’s the one he’s waited his entire life for. She’s sensual, sassy and smart. What he doesn’t know is she’s also in the Navy, and her enlisted rank means a relationship with her could potentially get him discharged from military service.
While on leave from teaching at a top Naval facility, Layla Matthews tumbles head-over-heels for the sexiest man she’s encountered in a long time. The fact that he can hold an intelligent conversation is an added bonus. Her world is turned upside down when she later discovers he’s a Navy lieutenant. A senior officer. Her new bossDefinitely off-limits.
Continuing their relationship could ruin their military careers. Ending it would break both their hearts. Do they end their sizzling romance or keep it a secret… and pray no one finds out?

For the next forty-five minutes, my coworkers spoke, but I hadn’t a clue what any of them said. My mind was busy replaying the events of the day I first met Ethan. Piercing blue eyes. Beautiful dimples. Coffee. Bathroom. Flirting. Not once had he said anything about the Navy. He had mentioned his new position, but never revealed that he was third in command at an aviation training facility… Had he?

At the conclusion of the staff meeting, everyone emptied the room, but I remained seated, waiting for a chance to confront Lieutenant Parker. I pulled my cell from my pocket and studied the screen, pretending I had a reason to linger. The message notification on my phone startled me.

Ethan: My office. Now.

Me: Are you kidding? I can’t just walk into your office.

Ethan: We need to talk. Wait a few minutes, and then knock on my door.

He stood and left the room without a glance in my direction. My heart beat faster at the sight of him in uniform. Images of the days and nights I’d spent in Ethan’s arms flooded my consciousness. How could neither of us know the other’s military status? How could neither of us think to ask? DAMN.

I walked nervously to the other side of the building where the officers’ offices were. But not before stopping in the head to smooth my hair and blot the oil from my face.

The door to his office was ajar. Should I just go in? Should I knock? I figured I’d better follow standard procedure just in case anyone saw me. I knocked on the door and spoke immediately after. “Request permission to enter, Sir.”

“Granted.” He rose from his desk, walked past me, and shut the door.

Tension radiated through every muscle in my body. We stood for a beat, staring at each other. He had to be thinking the same thing I was: What the f-?

“Layla, what the hell is going on?”

Was he accusing me? Did he think I somehow planned this shit? “You tell me. You never said you were in the Navy. That you were an officer! That you work here. Do you know what this means?”

“Of course, I know what this means. I thought you were a student.”

“I am. I was.”

“You didn’t say you’re also an instructor.” He started to pace. “Here.”

“It didn’t come up. I had other things on my mind.”

“Like what?” Those vivid blue eyes held my gaze.

He was too smart to be that clueless. “Like you.”

His expression softened.

“You didn’t tell me you were the new Director of Training at one of the Navy’s best training facilities.”

“We’ll talk about this later at the hotel.”

“What are you? Crazy? We can’t meet at the hotel. We can’t talk. We can’t text. We can’t anything.”

“We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”

“What we’re going to do? There’s nothing we can do. This is it for us. I finally meet the perfect guy… and I can’t have him.”

A knock at the door startled us and we quickly backed away from each other. My heart beat wildly as the Commanding Officer swung the door open and came right toward us.

*****

Sha

Sha Renée is a native New Yorker who joined the US Navy right after high school. She now lives in New Jersey where she creates stories on the pages where duty, honor and passion unite.
A true nature lover, Sha enjoys spending time outdoors, usually with a camera in her hands. She’s has a passion for motorcycles and sports cars and is a fan of auto racing, military air shows and The X Games – pretty much any activity with fast wings or wheels.
She hates cooking, loves music and believes every day should include a cup of hot coffee and a glass of chilled wine.

www.sharenee.com

www.facebook.com/shasplace

www.twitter.com/ShaShaRenee

www.amazon.com/author/sharenee

Tuesday Tease: Londemonium

9i9rquptxsg-lionello-delpiccolo.jpgThis week, I’m featuring an excerpt from Londemonium, an urban fantasy work in progress by Fanni Sütő.

Hell is a multicultural, global enterprise, sprawling in its own dimension like an infernal version of London. Gregor and Molly end up in a flat share with Demi, the demon who abducted their friends. Aiko meets a majestic fox demon who helps her deal with her rage. The same Rei is Raphael’s superior who tries to help him get his naturalisation. Continue reading “Tuesday Tease: Londemonium”

Sunday Sit-Down: Renee Grace Thompson

Author of all things romance, Renee Grace Thompson, um… graced me with her presence!

MG: Let’s start with an easy one! How do you relax?
RGT: Haha! Well, I suppose it’s obvious that I would read a book. That’s probably true for any writer. And I like to soak in a bubble bath in the dark with nothing but candle light. Other than that, I love hanging out and goofing off with my kids. They always make me happy.

MG: Where is your favorite place to write?
RGT: It probably sounds silly, but I like to sit on my bed and write. It’s the only place I can shut myself off from the rest of the world, and my family. I can close the door and feel comfy and cozy in my room. I have two big windows on adjoining walls that I can stare out into the woods when I’m struggling to find just the right word. I can’t really explain it, but my bedroom is my haven. It’s where I’m the most comfortable and the most creative.

MG: Have you ever written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so, why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales?
RGT:

MG: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
RGT: 
Sure. The reader would have nothing to lose, so they’d be more enticed to try it. If they don’t like it, they can always toss it aside. At least that’s how I feel about it. And then the reader who likes that writer’s style will be apt to seek out more work from that writer. To me, it’s a great tactic.

MG: What do your fans mean to you?
RGT: 
Having readers follow you because they enjoy your work is an incredible feeling. To me, that’s more exciting than any paycheck from the work. It means you’ve touched someone and made them laugh or cry, or maybe both. You’ve made a connection with them. And that’s pretty awesome.

***

Renee lives in the Midwest with her husband and four kids. She worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist for many years, but now manages her family-owned business. Her spare time is spent hovering over her laptop, trying to transcribe the romance novels playing out in her head. There are several going on at once though, so keeping up with them is hard. She hopes to have her first novel published sometime this winter.

***

Renee can be found:

On her Website
Twitter
And Facebook!

Tuesday Tease: Shear Luck

Shear LuckToday, I bring a tease from the entertainingly witty Sue Seabury’s newest book, Shear Luckwhich promises to be a fun read.

It’s sheer luck when the Queen of Coiffure books the wrong flight and meets Mr. Mane Attraction.

 

The mussed section of the gentleman’s careful comb-over is positively heartbreaking. Only a churl could refuse assistance. I use a subtle hand signal to indicate the problem. He gets it. Hair is smoothed; crisis averted. His cane is jutting out in the aisle and hits my sandal. The cane slides to the floor.  “Allow me.” I retrieve it, then place his rolling suitcase in the overhead bin for good measure.    “Thank you, erm, miss.” His squint seems mistrustful, although I use the utmost care. I hope I didn’t insult his manhood. He must be as old as my Grandpa Kimball. It’s only right for the able-bodied to lend a hand. “You’re welcome.”  On the way to my seat, I stow luggage for an over-processed permanent wave, a shaggy mullet, and a bowl cut. Is this flight going to Florida or 1982?   The thanks I receive may be lukewarm, but the universe repays me by placing the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen outside Fresno’s Sixth Annual Wig Convention in my row. A luscious black curtain that falls to his waist. Now that’s what I call serendipity.

***

Sue invented the internet, the selfie stick and sliced bread. When she’s not working on the solution for cold fusion and wireless power transfer, she makes up stories.

***

Blog: https://thetechnopeasant.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SueSeaburyAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SueSeabury

Tuesday Tease: Dragon Splendor (Immortal Dragons Book Three)

Okay, so I’ve read one of Ophelia’s dragon series. And wow, was it hot! The tease this week is from Dragon Splendor (Immortal Dragons Book Three), and promises everything I love about everything of hers I’ve already read!

Dragon Splendor

Nobody said finding your fated mates would mean an instant happily ever after. But for Aurum, an immortal gold dragon gifted with the power of psychic empathy, love has never been simple.

Night after night, she has endured prophetic dreams about her pair of lovers, but finding them brings her no respite—the beautiful satyr, Calder, abandons her upon their first meeting, forsaking love for revenge, while royal ursa Nicholas…

Well, he looks nothing like the dark-haired man Fate promised her. So why does she find him so irresistible?

 

As war between ancient allies darkens the horizon, Aurum realizes the long-lost prince may hold the key to solving both her and Calder’s problems, bringing together the fated mates for good—as long as he doesn’t get them all killed first.

 

Their Fated connection doesn’t make things easy. But for Aurum, Calder, and Nicholas, victory might just go hand in hand with surrender where matters of the heart are concerned.

 

Aurum waited as still as possible, debating whether to leave and fly solo, or make herself known and go sit beside her sister. She itched for some kind of physical activity to alleviate the ever-growing craving for sexual energy, and a good, long fly would do wonders.

Nicholas’s masculine musk reached her, and her mouth watered at the scent. He smelled fertile, his aroma promising an abundance of energy if she had any inclination to take him to bed.

She didn’t, of course. The heat pulsing between her thighs was just evidence of her waning power, which she was sure would last long enough for her to reach the male who still regularly haunted her dreams even after finally seeing him in the flesh.

Males, she reminded herself. There was a second male in her dreams besides Calder, but she had begun to doubt Fate’s message, because that second dark-haired man had yet to appear. Still, that he continued to be a regular presence in those nighttime visions gave her some hope. She’d first believed that he was an ursa male, though she was more inclined to think he might be another satyr with the way he kept appearing at the river’s edge in her dreams, and was more convinced than ever that getting into the Haven was how she would find him. Maybe Calder had a brother or friend who was fated to be her second mate? And if he was indeed an ursa, then passing through the Sanctuary would give her more opportunities to meet him.

Closing her eyes, she could remember the scent of that second male, as wet and fertile as Nicholas, but the difference was that the stranger from her dream was hers as much as Calder was, and he was most certainly dark-haired and green-eyed with golden, sun-drenched skin and an aura that drew her own energy to it like a seedling reaching for the sun.

The thoughts made her cravings even stronger and she shifted on her seat, squeezing her thighs together to ease a bit of the pressure in her core.

Through the branches, she saw Nicholas rake his fingers through his hair and turn his head slightly, lifting his chin and inhaling as though savoring his freedom.

In a low, deep voice, he said, “I know you’re there, Goldilocks. And I’m guessing it isn’t watching your brothers that has you so worked up. Do you know you smell like sunshine when you’re excited? It’s the oddest thing, because I only pick that up from you. Your sister’s not shy, but she’s also nowhere near as worked up whenever I’m around her. Not at all, in fact.”

Aurum tensed, irritated by the fact that he’d sensed her presence. She shouldn’t have been surprised—he was an ursa prince, after all, being the firstborn son of Maia Stonetree. She’d just rather not have to have a conversation with him again after their failed first interaction.

“It isn’t you, I assure you,” she said. “My sister and I simply have different thresholds …”

His booming laugh stopped her and her eyes widened as he turned. His pale silver gaze bored into her as he stalked over, ignoring the scratch of branches against his bare chest. He was uncomfortably close when he bent over, his nose millimeters from hers. She leaned back, scooting as far as she could, her heart pounding. He inhaled again and grinned.

“Sunshine, Goldilocks. I bet if I spread your thighs, light would pour out from between them the same way water gushes from Gaia’s Source. Yet you seem intent on locking it up for a man who abandoned you.”

“Us …” Aurum whispered, barely able to get the word out past the tightness in her throat. Nicholas inundated her senses, heat pouring off him in waves along with that unbearably delicious aroma. He leaned closer to her, hands braced on either side of her thighs.

“What was that? I couldn’t quite hear you over the sound of that rushing river between your legs.”

“He abandoned us, Nicholas. You said so yourself.”

His jaw clenched and his irreverent, playful look vanished. “No … for him to have abandoned me, I’d have had to belong to him. But I don’t. You’re the one who does. Unlike you, I am free, for the first time in my life. Free to choose …”

He trailed off, and the flecks of green in his eyes seemed to burn with inner light, like his irises were a pair of opals filled with verdant fire. He swallowed thickly and swept his gaze over her again before shaking his head as if to clear it. He stepped back so abruptly, Aurum blinked in surprise. His eyes widened for a second, then he turned and crashed away through the brush, not even caring that there was an easy path not two steps away.

Aurum sat staring after him, her mouth agape and her pulse racing in her throat. She stood on wobbly legs, her vision swimming for a moment before she made her way out onto the sparring platform where her brothers and sister had stopped what they were doing to stare off in the direction of the ruckus of the huge ursa’s retreat.

“What the fuck is up with him?” Gavra asked. “Thought he still had a few rounds left in him. He has more energy than Kris on a good day.”

“I don’t know and don’t care,” Aurum said. “I need to fly. Are you three with me?” She spread her arms out and called on her powers to shift. Without waiting for the others, she launched herself into the air, aiming directly for the giant, glowing orb in the sky.

Sunshine, Goldilocks.

She closed her eyes and let the winds buoy her as she soared into the light. Nicholas’s voice reverberated in her ear, sending a shiver through her entire body, though her core heated even more. She inhaled the cold wind, seeking to flush the scent of him out of her head and the lust out of her body.

He wasn’t the one. So why couldn’t she stop thinking about him?

***
Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren’t apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don’t mind being with a woman who’s in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.

Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.

If you’d like to receive regular updates on Ophelia’s publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe/

***

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Sunday Sit-Down: R.A. Winter

This week, I sat down with well-traveled romance author R.A. Winter.  Let’s get down to it, shall we?

MG: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
RAW: Hmm. There are so many historical people that I would love to meet. From a caveman, a Neanderthal, Cleopatra, Methuselah, a ruler of Anchor Watt, a ruler of Teotihuacan, DaVinci, George Washington, Christopher Forts (my gggrandfather), Tecumsah, Sitting Bull, a slave, an alien (If they exist), all the way to Clint Eastwood and Johnny Depp. Everyone, no matter whether they were famous or not has a story to tell.
Yeah, I have lots of interest. But, I’d like to know about each of their lives, their thoughts and actions. I’ve always hoped and dreamed that when I die that I’d be able to ‘see’ history from the beginning. I mean, you have eternity, right? What could be better than reliving history? Chose and average Joe, follow him through life. See his choices or lack there of and their consequences.
Ok, sounds odd, I know. But, people interest me and there are so many fascinating things about history that we don’t know about.

MG: Do you ever get Writer’s Block, and do you have any tips for getting through it?
RAW: Walk away for a while and read other works. I’ve also finished a round on Bootcamp and joined the Ubergroup on Scribophile. These groups force you to write and putting down words on paper, no matter how bad it is, it can give you an idea on how to continue.
Sometimes I’ll work on the cover. Once you have a cover to your work, it adds an element of excitement. It pushes you to finish.

MG: Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
RAW: Computer and longhand. I keep a pad by my bed and write in the dark as ideas come to me. Some of my best one-liners have come at 4 am!

MG: Would you or do you use a PR agency?
RAW: I’ve never used one. Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind.

MG: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
RAW: Contact reviewers and bloggers in your genre. Look up books similar to your own and ask them for reviews in exchange for a free copy. I also love onlinebookclub.org but they no longer offer free reviews but they do have a large following. Another resource is bookvetter.com. There you have to read five or six books to ‘unlock’ your reviews which are then posted on Goodreads. Another great place is ReadersGazette.com. They tweet your books for you! Wonderful site. Also, if you are doing a promo try AskDavid.com. Wonderful site and they had a large following too.

MG: That’s all the time we have for today! Thanks for sitting down with me today, R.A.!

***

RA 1RA Winter, began her writing career under her married name, writing genealogy books. However, her love for reading romance novels intruded in on her daily activities. She started writing “Little Sparrow” and fell in love with her characters and is writing many more books in the Romantic Western series, ” A Kiowa in Love”. Each one of Grandfather’s grandchildren will have their story told, as will Grandfather himself.RA 2

RA spent many years travelling the world and has lived in many different countries. Turkey, Egypt, Germany, and Jordan, have all been called “home” at one time or another. She’s even been employed as a Federal Agent. Now you can find her quietly living in Pittsburgh, Pa, with her husband, writing her next novel.

https://wordpress.com/post/rawinterwriter.wordpress.com/289
amazon.com/author/bywinter

Tuesday Tease: Waiting for Tuesday

It’s that time again, ya’ll! This week, I’ve got an excerpt from Waiting for Tuesday, by Taylor Sullivan. I first met Taylor on a site for writers, and she’s never failed to entrance me! Here’s another great one!

18678845_854123644742340_106408813_nThe night I met John Eaton I felt that stability crumble. His smile, a mixture of little boy and pure devil. I knew his type, knew the sort of games that came with men like him, so I pushed. But he pulled harder. I tried to fight it, to shove away the connection that clawed at my heart, but it was too late. Roots dug in, grew deep, and twisted. I was his. But a secret is a dangerous thing. Held too long, it can rip a life apart.

When we got to the double doors, I held them open, stepping aside to let her enter the kitchen first. The room was empty, clean for the night except for the tools I’d left on the ground earlier. She slipped past me, her wild hair brushing my arm as she clutched the bag that was almost as big as she was.
“Right this way,” I said, leading her to a doorway on the left.
She paused when she saw the staircase and glanced over her shoulder. For a second I thought she might change her mind, come to her senses, and realize she was a tiny girl, and I was the man who’d had librarian fantasies about her all night. But she didn’t. She lifted her chin, adjusted her bag, and started climbing.
I frowned. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t like this one bit. All of a sudden, I wanted to lecture her about strangers. She looked like a strong woman, but I had no doubt I could snap her like a twig. My brows furrowed, and I remembered the guys who’d cornered her in the hall earlier. I followed behind her, my eyes locked on the slight sway of her hips noticeable even from under her baggy overalls, and I shook my head. When we made it to the top of the loft, my jaw ached from clenching so hard. Of course I have jumper cables.
What self-respecting man doesn’t have jumper cables?
I walked past her, set my drawer on the desk, and gestured to the phone. “Do you always follow strange men you just met?” I couldn’t quite explain my anger. This was exactly what I wanted, but now I was pissed she wasn’t making wiser choices. Why I felt so protective over a woman I just met was beyond me, but there was something primal about how I felt about her. Maybe my response stemmed from finding her cornered by those assholes, or the fact I grew up with three sisters, or maybe it was because she reminded me of Bambi—a deer caught in headlights, who couldn’t get out of her own way.
I turned around and met her heated stare. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t as much of a Bambi after all. Her stance was wide, her cheeks red, and her eyes were as bright as a brush fire.
“Do you always try to bed two women in one night?”
What the hell?
My brows drew together and I grinned. “Bed two women?” It shouldn’t have been so amusing, but this wasn’t the reaction I’d expected. “What are you talking about?”
She hoisted her bag high on her shoulder and half laughed, half scoffed. “It doesn’t matter.” She picked up the phone and began dialing.
I cringed and gripped the back of my neck. I wanted to laugh at how ridiculous this was, but at the same time, I knew without a doubt that would be the wrong thing to do. I opened the lock box and tried to focus on my job, but her words bothered me and I couldn’t keep quiet. “Is that what you thought? That I was bringing you up here to sleep with you?”
She shrugged then turned to face me. She was beautiful. Maybe even a little hotter when angry.
“Does that mean you wan―” But my question was interrupted by her doubling over with laughter.
Fair enough.

***

Taylor is a contemporary romance author who loves writing stories about real people. Ones with hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, and flaws. She loves to read as much as she loves to write, and is trilled to share her stories with you. When Taylor isn’t writing, she can often be found with her nose in a book, her face behind a camera, or spending time with her husband and three young children.

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