In the 23rd century, after a virus has killed off a large portion of all females and nearly every male, continuing the human race has become a government concern. Healthy males are enslaved and kept as “breeders”. “Healer’s Garden” is the journey of a woman who’s empty heart finds love in the most unlikely of people. Please enjoy this excerpt …
Patience. That’s what was required of him. But damn, he’d been treading water a hell of a long time while he waited for destiny to change the course of his life.
Brenimyn didn’t enjoy these monthly exhibitions any more than he liked copulating with Kylie. Though she’d never admit it, she detested his touch. He didn’t mind. It was less confusing without emotions getting all tangled in their peculiar relationship.
Since arriving at the Garden three years ago, Brenimyn had become accustomed to arrogant women who thought they were the only intelligent creatures walking this earth. Kylie was a prime example of that conceited attitude personified.
To the women before him, he was nothing more than a stud. Stupid, beastly and-inhuman. Oh, if only they knew what he could do, they wouldn’t think themselves so superior, now would they? But the time had not come to travel that particular road. Preparations still needed to be made. In the meantime, he would swallow his pride and let the mauling begin.
“Their physiques are quite different from ours, not all cushy and round. Rather ugly if you ask me.” Kylie pulled off Brenimyn’s tunic and smiled up at him. “Sorry, Brenimyn. I know the truth stings.”
Forcing his lips to lift, he bent and kissed her cheek. “Nothing is as beautiful and sweet as a woman, Kylie. Not even the flowers in the gardens.”
“Thank you.” She callously patted his stomach with a cold hand.
“Now, Brenimyn is going to take off his breeches. Though you all studied anatomy in school, the first look at a man’s genitals can be shocking.”
Brenimyn untied the cords at his belly slowly, seductively. This was the only time he had control and he stretched the moments out until the females before him leaned forward in breathless anticipation. His eyes locked on the only woman in the room who seemed less interested in this whole charade than him. The raven-haired beauty actually looked lost despite the maturity lining her face. Her hand caressed her cheek even as he thought of her. Her eyes shifted uncomfortably around the room, not watching as the fabric pooled at his bare feet and the inevitable gasp of awe echoed off the walls.
“Please come up and have a closer look,” Kylie said. Her hand fondled his buttocks. Touch but don’t desire, this one is mine, her caress communicated to the breeders even as her lips curved into that plastic smile he’d come to despise. “My mate is a wondrous specimen.”
Brenimyn resented Kylie. He belonged to no one. Least of all her.
On shaky legs, the dark-haired woman approached with all the others. Her gaze searched everywhere but the one place he willed her to look-his face. For some reason, he wanted her to see him, not as a supplier of sperm, but as a man.
Like all the others, her eyes focused only on his physique. Her gaze slid over his well-defined chest he worked hard to maintain. She followed the small line of blond curls around his navel then lower. From her frank appraisal, he wondered if she had ever seen a human male as natural as the day he was birthed. This woman was no different from all the others. Disappointment slumped his shoulders.
Winding her fingers into the yellow mass of curls, Kylie’s fingers cradled Brenimyn’s testicles. “Touch everything, it’s all right.”
At Kylie’s tone, Brenimyn dropped his gaze to the floor. He worked to block out the uncomfortable flurry of fingers petting his skin. He thought again of the Governmental Body of the Garden and wondered how much longer they would keep him as head of the male breeding population if Kylie didn’t conceive soon. As much as he abhorred this display, he needed to be here. He was desperate to meet all the new women entering the Garden. After the mating ritual with Kylie, he’d circulate through the other instructing rooms under the pretense of checking his breeders. Surely the woman he sought would be among this breeding class. Although the girls currently giggling and fondling his body couldn’t really be classified as women, now could they?
Lost in his own thoughts, Brenimyn wasn’t prepared for the shock wave tearing through him like a jolt of electricity. He stared at the fingers trembling along his forearm then into the amber pools that had held his gaze since he entered the room. He wasn’t supposed to meet the women’s eyes when they were this close, but the unexpected tingle of awareness had broken his usually stoic concentration. The beautiful brunette looked at him through thick lashes as if she recognized him. Her mouth trembled with a smile. Did she feel it too? He studied her, trying to discern if she sensed the flow of knowledge rushing between them.
Since Healer’s Garden just got it’s release date. I thought I’d share an excerpt with you from Chapter One …
Jahara Hriznek’s life was over. The evidence weighed heavy in her hands. In the time it had taken to do the retinal scan, her future had been stolen from her.
As she stood at the tall bank of windows, staring at the distant mountains, Jahara knew nothing could change this new course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obviously as the barren expanse of desert stretching between her and the horizon. There was nothing to break up the monotony of the landscape. Nothing to take her mind off the inevitability of the days to come. Nothing to bring back the future she’d thought lay before her when she woke this morning.
No helo-vehicles were out this time of day. It was still much too hot for people to leave the climate-controlled confines of the buildings in the city on the other side of the mountains. It would be a few more hours still before the sun sat low enough to make the commute across the blistering sands a safe one. Then the nearly empty roadway, three stories below, would bustle with solar powered helo-vehicles and buses.
She wouldn’t be among the commuters winding their way from the Eastern Territory’s capital city of Lexington into her little village. Jahara had taken a much-needed day of rest from the healing facility.
The city’s new government expansion had brought with it careless male workers whose stupidity forced them to the hospital in droves for emergency services. Those healers not completely repulsed by the men’s presence were forced to work overtime to treat the injuries. Jahara had been fielding complaints and filling in for overworked healers for weeks.
For one day she’d wanted to think about nothing more taxing than what music selection she would pull from her computer files. She’d planned on using some of her monthly water allotment and soaking in a hot bath rather than her daily chemical wash. Jahara had even considered calling Merenith and convincing her to take the day off from the animal clinic and lounge around with her. She had no doubt her current lover and she could find ways to entertain each other.
But none of that had happened.
The messenger service had shown up at her door early this morning, delivering the wretched news. Had she known they were making their way to her, Jahara definitely would have worked at the hospital today and long hours into the night. Using her hands to heal males was preferable to holding this retched projection disk.
Now, as Jahara glared at the palm-sized disk, fear burned the back of her throat and trembled along her chin. Hot tears of anger welled in her eyes. She shouldn’t be so upset. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t known this was coming. Her twenty-eighth birthday was next month. It was law. Her birth-mother, the Dame of her family, had held off the inevitable as long as possible. Jahara’s position as medical director had, up until this day, kept her from fulfilling the horrid obligation. But no woman, no matter how prestigious her position, ever ran from it. The thought soured in her stomach.
She’d known what the packet contained the moment she’d opened the door to find the government currier standing in the hall. Jahara had wanted to flee, to shut the door and hide from the responsibility, but instead she calmly leaned forward and let the android do the eye scan that proved the disk had found its way into her hands. She stared down at the official government seal over her Dame’s image on the disk. Even offspring of the chief administrator of the Eastern Territory weren’t exempt from this law enacted by Congress nearly a century and a half earlier.
Throwing the disk at the wall, she let out a feral sound of frustration.
As if chastising her, the bells chimed at her door. The normally soft chirp sounded loud in the silent womb of her living abode where she’d closed herself away. Jahara didn’t want to answer it. Didn’t want to know there was more to fulfilling her obligation. When it rang again, the sound almost persistent, she reluctantly skirted around the couch and slammed her hand on the touchpad, retracting the pneumatic door.
“Having temper tantrums, I hear.” Merenith leaned in for a quick kiss. “I heard you all the way down the hall.” The short crop of blonde swished about her chin as her lover shook her head in disbelief. Her pouty lips were pulled tight between her teeth to mask-humor? Concern? Jahara couldn’t be sure.
“You have no idea what kind of a day I’ve had.” Jahara stepped back and invited the willowy beauty through the door. “The worst day of my life, as a matter of fact.” As she passed, Jahara marveled as always at the beauty of Merenith’s body. A descendent of the Olakuma clan, Merenith’s ancestors had long ago lost any semblance of body hair. It was unnecessary in their life in the desert heat. Merenith’s skin was all tawny satin, save for the velvety blonde eyebrows and thick lashes that once protected her people from the harsh sand thrown up in the hot winds.
The woman stared at her, arching one of those elegant brows, the skeptical expression marring the flawless contours of her face. “Worst? I think you’re exaggerating just a bit.” Merenith bent to brush the dust of the desert from her heavy work boots.
“You have no idea.”
Straightening, Merenith tenderly pressed her lips to Jahara’s and wrapped her in her arms. The comforting scent of jasmine, hay and the animals Merenith tended filled Jahara’s nose. She pulled Merenith in tighter, wishing they could stay this way forever and ignore the projection disk.
Merenith might be four years her junior, but Jahara wanted to believe that what they shared was the stuff made of fairytales. At her age, Jahara was desperate to find the woman who would complement her in every sense of the word-a woman who could be the sun to her moon, the color on her drab canvas, the shadow that moved in synchronized harmony with her-a woman who would satisfy every part of her. She had hoped Merenith would become that person. But their relationship was still so new. There was no doubt fulfilling her obligation would have some affect on her career, but that she could rectify. Jahara just wasn’t sure she would survive if it stole from her the one thing she wanted most-true love.
I love this book. I actually did a bunch of research to get details about vineyards and wine making. It was a ton of fun. And then when Nick and Frankie’s chemistry became combustible … well, I was completely smitten.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt …
Having Nick present while she visited with Joseph wasn’t really in her plans. Frankie had tried to talk Nick into taking the motorcycle to the hospital later in the morning but Margaret had come running down the granite steps swinging a picnic basket as Frankie was climbing into the truck. She handed it to Nick with two quick kisses on his cheeks and stood watching as he climbed into the passenger side of the cab and they pulled from the driveway.
Now they were headed into town, the midmorning sun hanging in an azure sky, its rays dancing on Seneca Lake. Normally Frankie would have loved a day like this but the cab seemed claustrophobic with Nick Gradin’s surly attitude sitting between them.
“It’s not my fault you didn’t know who I was,” she said quietly.
Turning to her, he cocked a skeptical eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest.
“You knew your father had a stepdaughter.”
“And a child bride,” Nick remarked coldly. “I expected my stepsister to have pigtails and braces.
Not…” His hand motioned up and down her torso.
“Well, you didn’t seem to mind the package yesterday.”
“Yesterday I thought you were Joseph’s assistant.”
“Funny, yesterday I thought you were a womanizing pig of a manwhore.” She shot him a patronizing smile. “Guess one of us was right.”
He frowned. “If you’ll recall, I wasn’t the one who came on to you in the field.”
“As I recall, it was you who was ready for action in the wine cellar.”
“I was simply reading the signals you were sending out.”
“Then you have a faulty GPS.”
“My wiring is just fine thank you.”
“I suppose you think it is, with all the woman you have tumbling into your posh Philadelphia bed.”
“Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Oh, as if you don’t know.”
“I have no idea what you’re…oh, this is stupid. Pull over here.” Nick motioned to a dirt road that led to a small alcove near the lake.
She’d been parking there once in high school.
“I’m not going to see Joseph until we clear this up and can at least be civil to each other,” he said.
Frankie acquiesced. He was right. It wouldn’t do Joseph any good to have them bickering in front of him. She turned the truck into the trees, their pumpkin and gold leaves floating passively on the gentle breeze. They bumped down the dirt tracks, the center lane overgrown with the dried weeds of summer. Frankie felt as if she was entering the lion’s mouth. Anger surrounded Nick like the cloud of dust trailing behind them. She had no idea why he was so pissed when she’d only spoken the truth.
Recently Ambrosia from Whipped Cream Reviews gave “Hearts Afire-May” a 5 cherry review. This anthology includes my vampire novella “Shadows of Fire”. This is part of what she had to say …
“It was a pleasure to read such an alarming, hot tale of the flames of desire, sparked by such an awesome set of characters. The other characters in the story lent a gamut of emotions from joy, to pain, to love, and hatred as the story licked the edges of Alex’s world.
A definite must for those who love a good suspense and hot read of fabulous frisky firemen and a feisty female. This story deserves its own 4.5 rating for the exceptional writing. One can only fall into the heat of well written prose with glee.”
Click HERE for the full review.
Yep, I’m smiling all over with that review! And to celebrate I’d like to share with you a new from my novella, Shadows of Fire. Please enjoy …
Clouds shrouded the moon as the vampire moved through the abandoned field. Some caring neighbor had probably come in today and no doubt sheltered the wayward animals. Just as well. After tonight, pig’s blood would no longer be needed for that heinous concoction that passed as vampire sustenance. Glenn’s death had solidified that.
Vampires were nocturnal creatures, born of blood, they lived by blood. To hell with modern views to the contrary. Ridding South Kenton of the contemptuous vampires who had weakened themselves had been necessary. Though the professor’s death should have been the end, the realization that one more fire would complete the purification spurred the beast forward.
Under the cloak of darkness the vampire searched Glenn’s house, but found nothing. Obviously, Glenn had hidden whatever he’d found in the professor’s office well. Had there been more time last evening, it would have been a pleasure to coax the information from his bloody lips. But misdirection required precision. The setup left in the barn fire could not have been more perfect. Killing the kid after Glenn resurrected the poor bastard had been an added pleasure. Staking the body to the pentagram was nothing short of pure genius. Already gossip of Glenn’s occult practices had begun to spread. Small towns survived on grist from the rumor mill. The lies had been whispered in the man’s own tavern tonight, for chrissake.
Now, the murderer needed to finish destroying the professor’s work. But the evidence Glenn had stolen from the man’s office-information that would no doubt spur others to follow in his footsteps-needed to be found and destroyed. Time was running out.
Standing on the back steps of the farm house, the monster listened to an owl cry a victory song in the darkness and its prey scream a death wail. It was a haunting sound that called to the vampire heart. “Life taken to give life.” The creed rode in the gentle breeze.
The rain had slowed around midnight and now, nearly an hour later, had finally stopped. It would make the long walk back to the bridge where the car was parked a pleasant stroll. The heavy boots clomped down the stairs and across the driveway. Clouds skittered across the sky and opened. The full moon beamed in all its glory upon the blackened barn, the rays of light stretching to illuminate Glenn’s vehicle. An obvious sign that couldn’t be ignored
With a gentle push of air, the vampire stood at the cab of the truck. The moon glittered off a metal ring hanging on the shifter. Opening the door, the vampire leaned in to retrieve the key, and found the leather satchel hidden beneath the seat.
Fate had smiled down once again.
Don’t be jealous, but today I’m in Richfield, Ohio at Romanticon, Ellora’s Cave 1st annual reader/writer conference! And you bet there are some very sexy cover models walking the hall. Now don’t despair. I will have some pictures when I return, but until then, enjoy the cover of Divine Deception and a short excerpt.
Please enjoy this excerpt:
The moment he’d arrived on the property, Nick had lived up to his playboy reputation, letting Frankie hit on him in the field. The lame excuse about Joseph had been as obvious as the erection tenting his Levis. Frankie had no doubt he knew the man was terribly ill. Well, she’d gone for broke and melted in his presence like some love-struck teenager drooling over her first crush. It had been almost too easy. Everything was moving in the right direction. It pissed her off that her body hadn’t gotten the memo about remaining aloof. Though her lips had barely feathered over his, he’d left her panting and weak-kneed as he strode back to his Harley.
She turned back to her lab table and the grapes that needed to be assessed for sugar content. “Well, at least he’s not too hard on the eyes.”
She wheeled around at the sound of Nick’s voice. As if her thoughts had conjured him, he stood there, all six feet of solid danger wrapped in black leather, sucking the air from the room.
“Mr. Gradin, I didn’t hear you come down the stairs.” She was pleased the words were delivered evenly and without a nervous stutter.
“Please, call me Nick.” He slipped his hands into his back pockets and tipped back on the well-worn heels of his biker boots. A silver hoop earring winked at her from below the short crop of hair. Dark spikes, highlighted with bronze framed a strong face and accented the growth of beard shadowing his jaw. He oozed confidence. A sense of superiority sparked in the gold of his eyes but she needed to ignore it or it would just piss her off. Anger wasn’t the angle she was looking for here.
“Have you come to assess the wines?” she asked coyly. “I was just going to do that myself.” Frankie shot a quick glance at the grapes in the baggie then back to him. “Well, after I do the sugar levels on the fruit from the vineyard. I’m thinking we can begin the harvest next week. The pinot noirs are right on schedule. I’m planning on getting the netting out in the next couple of days to protect the grapes from the hungry birds.” The words were tumbling out too fast for comfort and she bit down hard on her tongue to keep it still. A seductress shouldn’t be nervous.
The man stared at her, a smile curving his arrogant mouth. A mouth accented by full lips that could probably bring hours of sinful enjoyment to a woman’s flesh. Well at least her business would also be pleasure. That thought brought a smile.
“There should be a shiraz we’re looking to bottle in the next couple of weeks?” His gaze traveled slowly up the tall rubber boots, over the stained apron covering her thighs and tummy and lingered on her breasts. She held her breath not wanting him to see how hard she was finding it to fill her lungs. With tantalizing seduction, he dragged his eyes to meet hers. “If you wouldn’t mind, I’d love to have a sample.” He arched a thick brow. The double entendre was not lost on Frankie. He was making this so damn easy.
The third book in the Tilling Passions series got a wonderful review last week. But I thought I’d share an excerpt from the first book in the series, Blind Love.
He’s a shock jock looking to reform. She’s an accountant hoping to cut loose. Can love open their eyes to forever?
Please enjoy this excerpt …
Julie had no idea what was happening. The whole evening had been an overwhelming discord of sensual overload. The music had stroked her body like the bow of a violin, sending her taut muscles quivering with every pulse. She had danced with women and men, sometimes both. Their hands and mouths wandered her body without inhibition.
Their intimate touches had startled her at first. She’d bolted from the dance floor, too chicken to do anything but sip at another iced tea and watch. Other people’s clothes had disappeared as the night wore on and so had her reticence. No one knew her here. No one cared that Monday she would go back to boring Julie, CPA. Tonight, she could be anyone. And tonight she wanted to be Julie, wanton pinup girl.
So she’d pushed her way back in the crowd, enjoying the pleasant thrumming in her head and belly. She didn’t know how many people had touched her–at the moment, didn’t really care. She hadn’t been able to return their affections, but others had. She wasn’t sure how many orgasms she’d witnessed, couples having intercourse on the dance floor or women pleasured to climax by partners of both sexes, but she’d become increasingly aroused as the night wore on. Although her body was heavy with desire, she hadn’t allowed anyone to satisfy her in public. Even she had her limits.
At that moment, the spotlight illuminated her, cast all eyes on her, taking away her anonymity. Heat rose from the soles of her feet to settle in her cheeks. Julie swiveled her head, not understanding the chanting coming from the crowd. They wanted her to dance. Hands coaxed her from behind to join the small group gathered in the center of the dance floor. A man grabbed her hand and pulled her against his bare chest. The smell of musk and sweat assaulted her nose–completely masculine, completely erotic. His lips crushed down on hers, stealing what little air was in her lungs. He spun her away from him, and just as quickly, twirled her back into his arms. They both laughed. The crowd surrounding the intimate group of twenty began to chant.
It was only a dance contest. This, she could enjoy.
Her partner pulled her tight to his body, his thigh parting her legs. She felt his erection against her hip, and jolts of current spiked down her center. He laid his cheek against her temple, his breath hot on her ear. He pulsed his hips in time with the music, rubbing her swollen sex against the soft leather of his pants. She was overwhelmed by the myriad sensations rippling through her. For a moment she didn’t think about where she was, didn’t worry about the people around her. She thought only of what her body yearned for, what she’d been craving all night. Release. She closed her eyes, hearing only the music, enjoying the way her muscles clenched as her need built to a crescendo.
The supple body of a woman molded to Julie’s back and joined in the rhythmic movement of their bodies. The woman’s heated fingers trailed embers down Julie’s shaky thighs.
Another person? She wasn’t alone with this man? The realization snapped her back from a place she hadn’t wanted to go. A place Julie promised herself she wouldn’t go. What was she thinking? It was not the first time that night Julie had been in this position, but it was the first time she’d actually thought about giving in to the release of sexual tension knotting her gut. Later, in a more private place–like her shower–she’d tame the horny beast, but not now, not in front of all these people. Even this new person she’d become had her limits. With a delicate shimmy and twist she’d perfected, Julie extricated herself from the couple. Unaffected by her departure, the two seamlessly closed the gap between them.
Relief flooded over her as one of the cocktail waitresses motioned for her to come out of the spotlights. She cast a glance over her shoulder. Clothes were being removed from the remaining ten contestants as quickly as dancers were being pulled from the contest. Despite her outfit’s inability to completely cover her breasts, Julie’s clothes had remained intact. She intended to keep it that way. For the third time that night, she lost herself in the multitude.
Besides, she still had work to do.
Bonded by Need continues where Blue Moon Rising stopped. Veterinarian, Jayda Kynslan has found her wolf mate, but a polyshifter who is both wolf and cougar can’t be satisfied with only one mate.
Please enjoy this Excerpt:
She looked up the side of the mountain, down into the ravine and back up the rock wall, anywhere to avoid looking at him. “Yes, well, I guess we need to find a way to get out of here. And quickly.” Jayda used the wall to get to her feet, but her head spun again and she swayed. She slumped into Zane’s embrace and he held her while she retched.
“Really, Jayda, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion.” He brushed the hair from her face, his gaze raking over her features. The upturned nose fit perfectly with the rounded cheeks and full lips. Christ, she was beautiful.
Whoa, back up. What the hell was wrong with him? He had just been named head of the cougar shifters. Even considering getting involved with a wolf shifter was just a bad idea all the way around. And here he was, thinking lusty thoughts about the mate of the head honcho. Down, boy, down. He mentally refocused his libido. “There’s no hurry. We need to take this slow. Getting up the ridge may prove a little trickier than coming down.”
Once again she realized how close their bodies were and pushed from him. “Yeah, well, I think there is a reason to hurry.” She shot a glance over her shoulder. “Let’s just get out of here. You can take me back to the clinic and you and your cougars can come back and find the kits.”
The kits. He’d forgotten all about them. Zane went down on one knee and purred low in invitation. They popped out of the small crevice one at a time.
Jayda cooed. “Oh, you found them!”
“No, Jayda, you found them.” He picked one up by the scruff of the neck and smiled. “Not that I’d recommend this method again, but we have them.” Zane looked up the wall. “Now we just have to figure out how to get everyone back up to the truck.”
“Well, how did you get down here?” Jayda looked up, shading her eyes against the noonday sun. “I’m not sure I can climb.”
“I came down in cougar form. But I came in from that direction.” He turned and looked at the slope, trying to work out a solution. “I could carry you on my back.”
She didn’t respond. He turned to see her appraising him and his cock immediately stirred under her probing gaze. Embarrassed, he bent and let the kit join his sibling. “Stupid idea. Why don’t we both shift and we can each carry a kit in our mouths.” He shot her a look over his shoulder. “Do you feel well enough to shift?”
Her face flushed. “Yeah, but…” She looked from his ass to her body. “But then there’re no clothes for me when we get to the top.”
His fingers dug through his hair and he blew out a breath. Driving home with a naked Jayda next to him was definitely more than he could handle. “How about you wear my shirt and I wear my pants?” He stood, giving her a view of his shoulder, his hands covering his over-anxious cock. In all his life, Zane was sure he’d never been naked in front of woman and tried to keep his interest in her a secret. “We just need to get the hell out of here. You shift and I’ll follow.”
“Well, turn around. I’m certainly not getting naked in front of you.”
“Oh sorry.” He turned his back to her. Zane heard the rustle of clothing and imagined that tight little tank top coming off and her bra falling to the ground, leaving her full breasts exposed. He bit back a groan when the zipper of her jeans rasped, but he couldn’t control the surge of blood to his cock. He was slime. The woman had nearly lost her life trying to save the tiny cougars and all he could think about was her curvaceous, naked ass.
“Okay, I’m shifting.”
He waited a heartbeat and turned, expecting to see a wolf. But the form before him rolled and shimmied in an odd mix of human, wolf and cougar parts. The kits cried and backed away from Jayda. Zane wasn’t sure how to help her. Tears welled in eyes that were surrounded by the round nose of a cougar then the full shape of a wolf and finally she gave up, her naked form appearing on her hands in knees in front of him. Her breasts hung seductively and her ass curved ever so provocatively toward the sky. Shit.
Furry, Fluffy & Wild is a wolf shifter anthology available through Liquid Silver Books and includes my novella Blue Moon Rising which actually kicks off the “Shifting Bonds” series. This is the story where I first fell in love with Jayda Kynslan, a veterinarian who hasn’t yet met the shifter within…
Please enjoy this excerpt:
Jayda Kynslan sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern wanting only two things: a cold beer and a hot c**k. The first she hoped would ease the heavy ache in her chest. The second would be attached to a good-looking man who would replace the images of the jackass who’d broken her heart. This whole road trip to the high mountains of Montana had been a knee-jerk reaction to the asshole’s selfishness. Jayda shook her head, clearing away thoughts of the friggin’ pig of a manwhore. She didn’t want to go there tonight. This night was about getting a little buzz and a lot of sex.
Her first objective was only as far away as the bar on the other side of the room. But weaving her way through the handful of empty tables, her red cowboy boots crunching on the peanut shells strewn on the marred floor, Jayda realized finding someone to fulfill the second thing on her wish list wasn’t going to be as easy. She’d picked a bad night to go cruising for male flesh in a nearly empty bar that seemed to cater to the college crowd.
Plunking her voluptuous ass on one of the padded barstools, Jayda lifted her hand to the bartender. Some might consider Jayda fat, but she liked to think of her size-sixteen frame as curving in all the right places. Why men would go for the little waifs with nothing to hold on to, like the petite blonde behind the bar, was beyond her understanding.
“Bud Lite,” she said to the female bartender, who looked only slightly less bored than she felt at the moment. Except for football season, which had already passed, Jayda figured Monday nights, even in a cowboy town like Lonesome Fork, weren’t really big tavern nights for most people.
The woman’s ponytail swayed as she set down the bottle, offered a glass, which Jayda refused, and slid over the bowl of peanuts. Jayda hadn’t eaten since lunch–just before leaving the clinic. Anticipation had kept her driving through the mountains, but now her stomach rumbled, reminding her she hadn’t bothered to fix herself dinner before leaving the cabin, either. Grabbing a handful of nuts, she scanned the reflections of the patrons in the mirror behind the bar, searching for possible targets.
Tonight, she decided, would be her last go-around with the opposite sex–unadulterated, uncomplicated coitus with a complete stranger. A nice memory to hold onto in the quiet of the night when she was alone in her bed. She didn’t want to need a man. She was a successful vet in a big practice–it should be enough.
After tonight, she’d spend the week in solitude at her friend’s mountain cabin, mending her shredded heart, and planting her feet solidly on the path to celibacy. Obviously, two weeks drowning her sorrows with tears hadn’t helped. Men, she’d come to believe, were nothing but scumbags of trouble on the garbage heap of misery. The sooner she cleared them from her mind, the happier she’d be.
Jayda had chosen this evening’s outfit to accent her best features. Her ass was swaddled in her favorite pair of soft Levi’s, and her cleavage was displayed quite nicely in the white cashmere sweater. Her clothes definitely announced, “I’m yours for the taking.”
She hadn’t wanted to mess with the corkscrew curls of her hair while traveling the ninety minutes from her condo in Blackfish Springs to the cabin in Lonesome Fork, so she’d pulled the whole mess into a long French braid. The thick tail of black curled over her shoulder and draped invitingly over her breast.
Unable to make out faces in the murky light of the tavern, Jayda gave up on her sly inspection of the clientele and kicked the stool a half turn. Leaning one elbow on the padded edge of the bar, she casually sipped her beer, assessing her chances of getting laid.
This week I’d like to share another excerpt from my futuristic erotic suspense novel, The Healer’s Garden. Currently available from Liquid Silver Books
He understood she was his destiny. She never knew a man was in her future …
The sound from the crowd rolled up from the grass. The noise engulfed Brenimyn like a thunderous storm. He had never delivered the words with such enthusiasm and confidence. Putting his arm around Jahara, he was showered with the strength flowing from her. He kissed her passionately, barely able to control the impulse to run his hands down her body and feel her respond to his touch. She melted into him and he held her until the noise diminished, satisfied in the minimal contact.
Knowing the next step would be the hardest, he hugged Jahara close to him. Her body tensed. She understood what was coming. “Most honorable friends.” He raised his arm, waiting for the din to subside. “The time has come. We have waited and now it will begin.” Pausing a heartbeat, Brenimyn let the suspense hang in the air. “Men, no longer will we submit to the domination of the female species.” The breeders whooped and raised their fists. “No more will we be treated as animals good only for increasing the female population.” Some men jumped to their feet. “We will no longer accept that we are not worthy of gifts and education.” Even with the amplifier, Brenimyn had to shout to be heard over the celebrating crowd.
“Women, you will no longer be forced to procreate for the sake of continuing humankind. Mating will be a choice, one’s body freely given to another for the sake of love, not obligation for reproduction.” Everyone was on their feet. “The time has come to stop ripping your children from your womb and your hearts.” He watched the pregnant women cradle their swollen stomachs. “We have waited long enough, the time is now.”
He let the crowd have their moment before lifting his hand. The crowd settled back into the grass. The murmurs of approval still rippled over them like a pebble dropped in water.
“The prophecy says: two great warriors, a woman and a man shall join together to ready an army for a monumental battle. It will not be fought with weapons as our ancestors had done, but with intellect and cunning. This war will oppose all common beliefs and bring about a new world order where men and women, as equals, shall reign.” Jahara went slack in his arms. She braced her hand on his chest, her gaze flicking wildly about the people below. Holding her quivering body, Brenimyn knew only his arm kept her from collapsing. This was a burden anyone would find difficult to shoulder.
“Many visionaries have confirmed the prophecy. As you know, from a young age, I understood I was the chosen one. I accepted the responsibility many years ago and have prepared the way, waiting anxiously for the woman who would stand at my side.” The crowd stilled, holding a collective breath, already knowing the words he would speak. Unsure of her reaction, Brenimyn looked down at Jahara. He watched her transformation in rapt fascination.
Stepping away from him, she stood with her feet planted, pulling herself up tall. She filled her lungs, her barebreasts held high. The dark triangle of her womanhood was visible through the gossamer fabric of her breeches billowing in the breeze. She looked so feminine. Yet, under the lifted chin and unpretentious set of her mouth, he could see the fierce warrior the visionaries had promised. She held her arms casually at her side, not at her hips in defiance as many would.
All this happened in a matter of seconds.
“I present to you today, my mate–the honorable Jahara Hriznek. She is the one sent to save us from the tyranny of the Governmental Body of the Garden.”
Bowing before the thunderous crowd, she accepted the accolades with humility. Brenimyn was sure his heart would burst with love for the brave woman standing not above him like so many other females, but at his side.
Divine Deception is my novella set in Western New York. It’s part of Ellora Cave’s succulent series that included stories with fruit as their central theme. This story involves grapes and more specifically … wine. It’s meant to be a fun little read. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from chapter one.
Obtaining his life’s dream may very well destroy hers …
Nicholas Gradin III splashed three more fingers of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the mahogany desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage. He needed straight up, balls-to-the-walls bravery for the weekend ahead. Even though it was all of his making, Nicholas didn’t really want to face the huge obstacle that stood between him and freedom. Gulping a generous portion of the scotch, he turned and stared out the study window. He’d chosen this room on the east side of the mansion specifically so he didn’t have to stare at the goddamn ugly vines that tortured his very existence.
One month, six weeks at the most and the last of the grapes would be harvested and the vines left to wither. Nicholas could only hope all the lies would die along with them.
Nicholas watched the lush lawn sway in the early autumn breeze, hoping it would soothe the frayed ends of his nerves. He laughed derisively and swallowed his resentment with a hefty shot of alcohol. Who was he kidding? It wasn’t lush-it was overgrown and unkempt. Without the benefit of the lawn service that he’d fired last spring, it looked like shit. Perhaps he should be staring at the vineyard. At least a skeleton crew still meticulously tended the vines.
No, even that thought slid him deeper into a morass of self-pity.
In his youth, the vineyard had been his playground full of fertile soil that not only nurtured the grapes but a foolish boy’s vivid imagination. As he’d grown it had become his gym, offering hours upon hours of backbreaking work that honed his muscles and allowed him to dream of a different life. Now, he was a middle-aged man imprisoned by its incessant demands. As happened to his late parents, the vineyard was sucking the very marrow from his bones and leaving him wilted and apathetic. He had no doubt it would kill him one day. He figured drowning himself in the intoxicating oblivion of liquor was a preferable path to death.
Nicholas finished the scotch and turned to stare at the bottle taunting him from the desk.
“You worry too much, my love.”
Turning to the comforting sound, Nicholas stared at his young wife lounging elegantly against the open door. Her ebony hair curved over her bare shoulder, the ends nestling in her plentiful cleavage. The white top she wore was sheer enough to show off the pink lace beneath. Black patterned leggings hugged her hips and her legs to just below her knee. He had no doubt she wore nothing beneath the exotic second skin.
Even after seven years of marriage, the woman was a walking hard-on.
Knowing the spell she cast over him, Carmine smiled and lifted the bunch of red grapes in her hand to her full lips. Curling her tongue around one, her mouth made love to it before she sank her teeth into its flesh. Juice dripped down her chin and she gathered it up with flick of her tongue before she spoke. “Two and half days. You can do anything for two and a half days.”
Grapes, the fruit of hell itself. Most of the time, he hated the damn things-the smell, the texture, the sight. But when Carmine held them, Nicholas remembered all the reasons they were known as the fruit of gods. Even she could turn the despised globes into a delicate food of seduction.
Capturing his gaze, Carmine stared intently at him as the pink tip of her tongue caressed the dangling fruit. In and around each swollen berry, her tongue darted and tasted. A low moan keened from her throat as she snatched another and took it into her mouth with a loud “pop”. “Really, I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as you’re anticipating.”
Nicholas swallowed hard, trying to find his voice. “I’m not anticipating anything more than a quiet family weekend.”
With a doubtful arch of her brow, she pushed from the doorway and walked to him. Black stiletto heels clicked softly across the hardwood floor. Carmine slinked up to him, her lithe body molding to his. Her breasts pressed against his chest and his body sprang to attention. Sliding her palm across his shoulder, she looked into his eyes. “The tension rides on your shoulders…” A long, red nail dragged up his neck and over his jaw. “It knots right here…” Her nail continued its journey across his forehead, the other fingers tickling across his face. “And it leaves deep lines on your brow.” She came up on her toes and her teeth grazed his chin. “But I know how to help take your mind off the homecoming.”