What happens when a landscaper finds herself tangled up in a drug ring and the only man who can save her believes she’s guilty as sin?
Please enjoy this new excerpt from Love’s Bounty the second in the Tilling Passions series available from Liquid Silver Books.
“So, Miss Tilling, tell us again what happened.”
“Do I need a lawyer?”
“You’re welcome to call one, if you’d like.”
“But I didn’t do anything. The drugs aren’t mine. I don’t know how they got in my truck. I was just headed back to Delmont to dump the refuse. I’m a landscaper, and I have a job here in Cutler. I’ve told you all that.”
Ayden paced the little room, watching Deirdre through the window. He had all he could do not to storm into the interrogation room and pull her into his arms. Over the past half hour, she seemed to be shrinking into herself. She’d told the same story a half dozen times, never once wavering about her innocence.
Did he believe her? Or was his opinion colored by their evening together? He scrubbed his hands over his face. This is why you never got involved with women when you were on a case.
“I demand to see her,” a man’s voice bellowed.
The commotion in the hallway happened only seconds before the door of the interrogation room flew open. Shawn Jameson shook off the officer trying unsuccessfully to detain him.
“Mr. Jameson … what are you doing here?” The chief stood up so fast he toppled the chair. It fell with a thunderous clatter.
“This woman is an employee of mine.” He put his arm around Deirdre’s shoulder.
“Shawn, I…” She looked up at him as if her savior had just arrived riding a white horse.
“Don’t say another word, Deirdre. My lawyer is on his way.”
“An employee? We weren’t aware. I don’t think the lawyer is necessary, Mr. Jameson.” The chief sputtered out the words. “We haven’t charged her with anything yet.”
“And yet you continue to interrogate an innocent woman?”
What the fuck? Ayden sat down hard in the closest chair, feeling like he’d just been kicked in the gut.
* * * *
Ayden leaned over the steering wheel of the Saab in the back lot of the precinct. Dark had descended hours ago, and night hadn’t been far behind. He’d been trapped in the little room for an hour, watching the chief fawn over Jameson. But that had been only half the show.
Jameson’s blustery lawyer showed up, shouting and pontificating, and the Cutler police’s big arrest had turned into a circus act, with Deirdre sitting center ring. In the end, they’d charged her with only a misdemeanor possession, no intent to traffic, no court date or jail time. A simple fine that could be paid through the mail.
Who was he kidding? She had pulled the wool over his eyes and led him around by his dick. All fluttery lashes and innocent smiles. “Innocent, my ass.” Ayden slammed back into the seat, banging his head against the leather. “Jameson came to your rescue and offered to post bail a little too quickly for my taste, Deirdre, m’dear. Methinks you’re more than his landscaper.”
He started the engine and backed out of the lot.
“And to top it off, I’m beginning to wonder if the chief’s on his payroll as well. Obviously someone tipped Jameson off about the arrest.” He looked in the rearview mirror. No headlights behind him. He would take a circuitous route back to the 7-Eleven just to be sure.
For the last forty-five minutes, Ayden had been grilling the chief about the citizens of Cutler. He hadn’t let on that Jameson was the suspected drug trafficker the DEA was after, but he’d steered the conversation in his direction several times. The chief assured him he knew Jameson only as a legitimate real estate mogul. It was his business to know the townspeople of Cutler. And Jameson was just that, a citizen who had purchased the rundown estate up on the hill.
Ayden wasn’t sure he believed the story. Not after the way Lafflin had tripped all over himself to make Jameson happy and cut Deirdre loose. It bothered him more than he wanted to acknowledge, when Deirdre walked out of the interrogation room huddled against Jameson. He had no idea where the woman was now.
“Probably cozied up with Jameson at the estate.” Ayden was such a fool.
He floored the pedal of the Saab, racing through the darkness, trying to outrun the prickly unease that had settled itself on the back of his neck.
The night had turned cold, and the thin sports jacket did nothing to keep the chill from penetrating straight to Ayden’s bones as he ran through the house lots back to his condo. The timer had tripped the lights as usual, and Ayden hoped whoever was watching him believed he’d been tucked in since late this afternoon when he’d parked the Jag out front. Slipping through the glass slider, he headed straight for the fridge and a cold brew. He flipped a couple CDs in the stereo just as the knock came at the front door.
Start with one polymorphic shifter female, add two hot alpha male leaders, mix generously and watch the passion ignite!
BONDED by NEED was released yesterday at Ellora’s Cave. This story begins the the new “Shifting Bonds” series. Lonesome Fork, Montana holds many secrets including the cougar and wolf shifter populations, but nothing is as mysterious as one woman who can transform herself into both!
Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One …No. This night would not end with her death.
With one last Herculean effort of kicking, her head broke the surface, and Jayda yelped, her mouth filling with more water and choking her. She managed another strangled cry. Could he hear her?
Her body slammed into a rock and pain seared through her ribs. Jayda had no idea how long she could continue to fight. Rolling away from the boulder, her body twisted and turned in the current, pulling her into its depths again.
When a muzzle came up under her belly, she knew immediately he had found her. He pushed at her body, and when Jayda’s head broke the surface, she gulped in the sweet night air, filling her lungs, waiting for the water to envelope her once again. But it didn’t. Her feet paddled furiously and she tried desperately not to kick him. But her limbs seemed to have a mind of their own. Her back claws raked his skull and Jayda prayed she wouldn’t drown them both.
The large wolf abandoned that idea and came up beside her. His muscular body pressed to hers, lifting her from the moving water. His powerful shoulder muscles bunched as he swam, redirecting her flailing body toward the shore. Briefly, Jayda slipped below the surface. His muzzle came up under hers, lifting her nose from the water. She churned her paws at twice the speed of his more effective pulls. Her breath whistled with her efforts.
When her paws bumped a rock, Jayda wanted to weep with relief. The marshy grass of the shore swayed placidly in the gentle breeze. It had never looked sweeter. Not until all four feet found purchase on the sandy bottom did the wolf beside her relax. She dragged herself to the grass and lay whimpering. The soft fronds cushioned her belly and Jayda took a moment to enjoy the sturdy feel of the earth beneath her.
Her lungs screamed in agony as Jayda worked to fill them. Relaxing, she willed her body to shift. Muscles rippled and bones warped. Her wolf gave way to her human form. Fur receded, leaving the damp satin of her skin. As her muzzle shortened and she became fully human, she rolled on her back, trying to find him.
The wolf strode over to her, fury sparking in his narrowed eyes. Anger rippled over his lips curled back in a snarl. Moonlight flashed off hungry fangs just above her face. Though his breathing was labored, his chest heaving with the effort, he managed a low growl that rumbled through Jayda’s heart. Fear and relief warred inside her, rendering her unable to apologize.
With ease borne of years of shifting, the wolf before her rippled and shuddered until it too became human. The man towered over her, his fists planted firmly on his narrow hips. The wild mane of dark hair framed the scowl on his face and stuck to his wide shoulders. She couldn’t stop her eyes from traveling down his furred chest and lower still over his flat belly to his sex. A primal need pulled at her womb. Even angry, this man, her lover, was a powerful aphrodisiac.
The lump in her throat became an acute throb of lust that nearly swallowed her voice. “Cole, I’m-”
Without warning he pulled her to her feet, wrapped his arms around her and covered her mouth with a fierce kiss. His tongue swept her lips and she opened for him, tasting the familiar flavor. The heat of him exploded in her mouth. His hands wound into her damp hair as he changed the angle and deepened the kiss until she was breathless from the assault.
Cole pulled from her, his gaze raking her face. “Christ, Jayda, what the hell were you thinking?” His hands cupped her face, his thumbs skimming her jaw.
She read the anger in the deep lines of his face, but it was fear riding on his words.
“I couldn’t find you. All that black fur in the river,” he said, pulling her tight to him again, his heart thumping loudly against her cheek. “Don’t do that again. Winning isn’t that important.”
She laughed. He was right of course. Their little race through the woods had nearly turned deadly because of her competitive streak. She had only wanted to beat him to the ridge, not nearly drown them both. “I assumed swimming as an animal was instinctual.” Jayda looked up at him, his features softening.
“Only one thing’s instinctual, Jayda,” he whispered.
Julie and Damon don’t know what hit them. She’s a CPA looking to cut loose and he’s a shock jock looking to reform. Neither of them is happy with their life at the moment. But when Julie begins looking into the suicide of her friend from high school that begins to look like murder, she worries that Damon is somehow involved.
Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the “Tilling Passions” series …
Damon walked behind Julie. He should be focused on her friend’s connection to Elvis, but the intoxicating sway of her hips hugged with leather made his cock throb and spiraled his thoughts in another direction. Watching the couples in the basement had been the initial impetus for his blood-pounding erection, but Julie’s luscious curves beckoned, and now his dick pressed uncomfortably against his jeans. All he could think about at the moment was burying himself in her silken heat.
Unlike Julie, this evening’s tour hadn’t taken him by surprise. Elvis had been the one to coax Damon to Maine and get him the DJ spot at the radio station. When funds had become tight two months ago, and Damon couldn’t make rent, it had been Elvis who offered to hook him up with an acting gig. Damon might have prostituted himself with the shock jock performances, but there was no way in hell he’d get his rocks off while others watched on the Internet. He’d go without food before he’d stoop that low. And that’s what it had come to. Now the radio show was paying him bonuses, and the extra appearances it brought netted him a nice living. It just wasn’t what he wanted to do. Damon had had other plans when he’d arrived in Maine.
Despite what she’d just witnessed, he knew the woman bouncing up the stairs in front of him wasn’t thinking about her sex life. He needed to get his head out of Julie’s pants and wrapped around the conundrum of Jason’s death. Damon was beginning to think Julie’s worries about her friend’s death weren’t as unfounded as they’d first appeared. It seemed Jason had tangled himself in an interesting spider’s web of deceit.
“I’m not sure it’ll help seeing one of the rooms we rent to our more passionate patrons, but knowing all of this business can’t hurt.” Elvis stopped halfway down the hotel-like hall and slid the card key into the door lock.
The room they entered looked like something out of a honeymoon brochure. The heart-shaped bed, covered in plush black velvet, dominated the space. Mirrors on the walls and ceiling reflected the red lights, settling on them like a sultry summer night. Sheer fabrics in rainbow shades looped from the ceiling and down the walls, adding to the fantasy.
“We even have cable for erotic channels and video cameras available.” Elvis pointed to the flat screen TV mounted on the near wall. “Of course, our patrons have no idea the feed for the pornography comes from one floor down.” He turned abruptly and stared down at Julie. “And before you even ask, Miss Tilling, the only taping that goes on these rooms are the movies the patrons make themselves.”
Tension eased out of Julie’s shoulders, and a smile flitted across her lips.
Elvis walked over to the wall and opened a door that revealed an opulent bathroom. “Every room comes with a Jacuzzi bathtub. Optional amenities are available for an additional fee.”
Damon didn’t even want to speculate on what other services Elvis provided.
A cell phone chimed. Julie’s autopilot sent her searching, only to come up empty. He forced himself not to dodge the daggers flying from her eyes when they locked on his. It had been selfish when he insisted she leave the phone. But no man would blame him for wanting this sexy woman all to himself.
Elvis answered the device and spoke briefly before snapping his phone shut. “Sorry, I’m needed upstairs. Seems some patrons are asking to speak with the owner.” Elvis pressed his cheek next to Julie’s and kissed the air. “I miss Jase terribly. But maybe we’re both looking for something that isn’t there.” He shook hands with Damon. “Forgive me, friend. I should never have doubted your intentions. Sometimes love and sadness warp the images right in front of us. I should have known you’d never betray me. Not with Jase or anyone.”
Damon pulled Elvis into a fierce hug before the man left them alone. Sometimes kinship had nothing to do with blood relations.
“Well, we should be going.” Julie wiped her palms down the leather molding her thighs.
“I think Elvis intended for us to enjoy the privacy.” Damon held up the keycard Elvis had slipped into his hand.
“Damon, really, it’s late and…”
Damon stood over her, the heat of his lips branding hers. “And you’re going to turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight?” He pressed his body into the supple curves of her. “That happened over an hour ago, Julie. What I see in front of me is no garden flower.” He dipped his fingers into the silken strands of the wig she’d slipped on before leaving the house and grazed her parted lips with his thumb. “I see a beautiful woman who invaded my body and thoughts less than twenty-four hours ago, and now every breath I take is filled with her scent.”
That did it. He’d been grilling her for the last half hour about the events of last evening and now he was accusing her … of what? A switch clicked and pushed away her confusion. He was accusing her of killing Glenn? She may not be telling him everything, but to think she’d bring any harm to the man who’d loved and protected her dropped indignation over her wounded heart like a shield. Alex jumped to her feet, the metal legs of the chair scraping loudly. She barely noticed. “What the fuck, Reese?” Her hand pointed in the general direction of Glenn’s farm. “Do you think I shoved a stake through Glenn’s heart and started that fire?”
His eyes grew dark, the corner of his mouth curving in a malicious smirk. He straightened and held his palms out, inviting her to rebuke his theory. His silent recrimination filled the air and Alex could hardly draw breath.
She had come here thinking Reese was one of the few people who would understand the pain burning through her veins. She hadn’t expected him to accuse her of murder. “Fuck you, Reese.” The whisper was barely audible through the tension. “I loved him like a father.” Sorrow ripped open the raw wound, bringing a fresh sting of tears behind her eyes, but she refused to give in to them. Alex didn’t need this. Didn’t need him. And she sure as hell didn’t need his accusations–or pity. She’d come seeking solace in Reese’s arms–and his bed. She’d wanted one day of lust to take with her when she left. That had been something else Alex had decided on her way here. She needed to leave and take her secrets with her. “I thought you knew me. All these months … yesterday…” The last word choked out with a sob. Alex turned, intent on leaving the cabin, leaving South Kenton. She’d been mistaken thinking there was something left for her here.
Reese’s hand was on her shoulder before she took more than a few steps. He turned her and pulled her tight to the solid plane of his chest. His mouth came down hard on hers. No soft exploration. No gentle probing. Just raw male lust devouring her mouth. His hands fisted in her hair and she opened herself to him, wanting to fill the void Glenn’s death had left in her heart. She needed to feel alive in the midst of so much death. Her lips parted and welcomed the heat of his tongue. It tangled and danced with hers, teasing and tasting.
“Alex, I’m sorry.” Reese whispered in her ear. “Glenn … the fires … you … it’s all too much.” His lips wandered her face, kissing her lids and her nose, trailing fire down her neck.
She felt the scrape of his teeth as his fangs drew across the tender flesh of her throat. The sensation sent sparks of desire straight to her sex. Despite what he might believe of her, the anger couldn’t keep her heart from wanting this man. “Reese, I’m yours. Take me.”
Her world spun and shifted as he lifted her into his arms and covered her mouth with his. She was dizzy with need and had no idea where he was taking her until his body shifted and his foot kicked closed a door. Without preamble, Reese laid her on the soft mattress of a bed and came down heavy on top of her. Reveling in the sensation of his hands on her body, she didn’t open her eyes. The essence of him permeated the air. The pillows around her head were filled with the thick male scent of him. She wanted to drown in its heady aroma.
Their hands were everywhere at once, tugging at clothes, ripping away buttons. The desperate need to have flesh searing flesh was all that drove them until they lay naked and gasping in each other’s arms. Their lips, teeth, and hands moved in frantic hunger to taste and touch. She couldn’t get enough of him.
Alex’s palms slid down the hard muscles along his spine, pressing into the well of his low back before curving up the rounded arch of his taut ass and digging her nails in deep. Air hissed through Reese’s teeth, a low moan vibrating through the heat of his mouth at her neck. His teeth dragged down her throat and his lips replaced his hand at her breast. His mouth suckled and bit first one aching nipple then the other. The sharp thrill of pain shot straight to her core, clenching her muscles. The thick heat of lust leaked onto her thighs. No man had ever made her so wet.
Divine Deception was so much fun for me to write. This couple doesn’t want to like each other, but when their sex becomes hot and heavy, their hearts can’t help but tangle in the deceit.
EXCERPT:The moment he’d arrived on the property, Nick had lived up to his playboy reputation, letting her hit on him in the field. The lame excuse about Joseph had been as obvious as the erection tenting his Levis. She 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.”“What?”
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.
Grabbing two glasses and the wine syringe, Frankie invited him to follow her to the back room. Recessed lighting ran under the edges of the low-hanging ceiling, washing the room in its golden hue. Wine casks lay on their side in the metal framework. These barrels held the wines she had nurtured for years, mixing and tasting until the blend was smooth and full bodied. Now she’d see them bottled and never know the satisfaction of another wine well aged in her own cellar. Frankie swallowed the sadness before turning back and handing the glasses to the man behind her. She pulled the stopper from one of the casks, inserted the thief into the hole, pulled back the syringe and extracted a generous amount of wine.
“How long have you been working with Joseph?” The question was casual but the condescending smile Nick flashed pissed her off.
Frankie released wine from the oversized syringe into a glass rather than over his head and the cocksure asshole in front of her offered the second. “A few years,” she said sweetly.
“It took me years to work the thief. I’m not sure I could do it today without having wine all over the floor.” Nick swirled the wine in the glass and brought it to his nose. “Joseph’s a good teacher. You’re lucky he took you under his wing. He doesn’t open his cellars to just anyone.”
Oh, she wanted to hit him. He acted as if she wasn’t good enough for Mill Tavern wine cellars. Frankie set the thief on the barrel and took the glass from him. Lifting it to her nose, she took a slow, steady breath as if savoring the shiraz’s bouquet but actually using the moment to tamp down her irritation. “He’s been gracious sharing his knowledge.”
One corner of Nick’s mouth curved. “Not blending the grapes I hope.” He swirled the wine in the muted light and watched its fat legs descend the sides of the glass. “I mean, those are family secrets.”
Either he had no idea who she was, or Nicholas Gradin IV thought family had to do with blood rather than sweat, tears and love. She opted to believe the former. “That’s true.” Frankie sipped the wine, tasting nothing but resentment. Sharing her thoughts would get her nowhere, so she opted to focus on the superb vintage in her hands and save the confrontation for another time. “What do you think?” She lifted the glass.
Pulling the burgundy liquid into his mouth, the man closed his eyes and savored it on his palate. She hadn’t known tasting wine could be so sensual, but as he swallowed, Frankie couldn’t take her eyes from the pulse in his throat.
“Full bodied with a rounded flavor of plum.” He paused and sucked his bottom lip into his mouth.
Frankie pressed her thighs together against the heavy ache in her womb. What she wouldn’t give to have that mouth on her.
This excerpt is from Arranging Love, the third book in the Tilling Passions series. Meghan and Peter are engaged, but looking for something just a little hotter …
Meghan held Peter’s gift in her lap, sipping at the wine, which was going down faster than she’d anticipated. Now that she’d been staring at it for several hours, she had to admit it was a beautiful book.
Artistic nudes of women, bound in different positions and photographed in a myriad of locations, filled the pages. Every one of them was a tribute to the power and joy of human sexuality. There was nothing sordid or deviant about the images. They were beautiful–and sensuous.
Meghan sat on the couch in the office at home, the feeble glow of the lamp wrapping her in a soft cocoon of light. She flipped through the images until she found the picture that continued to draw her attention.
A young woman lay prone on her back in a wine cellar. Candles flickered in the crevices of the cement room. Sunlight sifted through a small window, shafting light on her body curved gracefully over two wine casks. Her arms were bound to a post behind her head while ropes secured her ankles. Her legs were pulled wide, exposing labia that were swollen and glistening with moisture. Her bottom lip was clenched tightly between very white teeth as if holding back a moan of pleasure.
A deeply tanned man stood beside her, the muscles of his chest lean and well-defined. A partial leather mask shielded his identity. The lower half of his body was hidden by the barrels, leaving the observer to speculate on his nudity and level of arousal. But if the steepled points of their nipples were any indication, both partners were sexually charged. In his left hand he held a whip-like instrument made of many tails of leather.
The woman’s heavy-lidded eyes stared up at him, anticipating the next move of his right hand currently splayed on her inner thigh. The soft smile on the man’s face spoke of love and tender lust. This was not a couple intent on pain and amoral behavior. This was a woman surrendering herself to her lover and allowing him to bring her to that sacred place of euphoria.
Her fingers grazed over the picture as if touching the couple would reveal their innermost desires. Peter chose that moment to come slamming through the front door, the chill of the evening swirling around him as he stamped his feet on the Aubusson rug.
“Damn that friggin’ garage door opener.”
Setting down the wine glass, she padded into the foyer. “I couldn’t get it to work, either.” Her voice was soft in the darkness. “No snow’s coming tonight. The cars’ll be fine in the drive. We can mess with it tomorrow.” She hugged the book to her chest, wondering how they would break through the wall of tension that had been erected that morning.
Peter focused on hanging his coat in the closet. “I pressed the button, but the stupid thing doesn’t move.” He shut the door and stepped toward her. “I just need to check and see if it needs batteries, rewiring, or replacing.” Resting his hands on her shoulders, he bent and brushed his lips across hers. There was no heat, just routine. “A mechanical engineer should be able to figure out his own garage door, for chrissake.”
She had to agree. It had been working sporadically for at least two weeks, but Peter hadn’t been home long enough to know that and pointing it out at this moment didn’t seem like it would help span a chasm of disagreement.
Peter looked over her shoulder at the half bottle of wine and the empty wine glass. “You started without me?”
She pointed behind her at the second glass. “Actually, I was waiting for you.”
“Meghan, I…” Peter pulled the book from her hand. “You’ve been looking at it?” His gaze roamed from the book to her eyes.
Her fingers moved on their own volition, reaching up to caress the firm muscles of his chest. “Peter, I’m sorry. It was very shortsighted of me not to listen to you this morning.”
“No, Meggie. I shouldn’t have jumped you like that.” He held the book up. “This isn’t something couples just plunge into. It should be discussed and negotiated and discussed some more.”
“Well, then, I’d like to discuss page seventy-eight.” Meghan stretched up on her toes and pulled his bottom lip into her mouth, grazing it with her teeth.
“You don’t have to…”
“No, I don’t have to do anything, but after I calmed down and thought about it, I realized there are probably a lot of couples who find this very satisfying.” She kissed his goofy grin. “And Jules said she and Damon…”
“You talked to your sister about it?” He laughed even as he pulled her to him. “How we men face each other, knowing nothing is sacred among the Tilling sisters, is beyond me.”
Meghan ground her pubic bone against his growing erection. “As I was saying, Jules said it can be fun and add a little spice to things.”
The room spun pleasantly as Peter scooped her into his arms. “Well, if your older sister gave her blessing, who am I to deny my fiancée the thrill of domination?”
This week I’d like to share with you an excerpt from Love’s Bounty, the second book in the Tilling Passions series:
The night air blowing in from the ocean was cool, but not unpleasant, even as the sun slipped lower. The mild September weather was prolonging the usually short Maine summer. Deirdre inhaled a great gulp of the briny mix as she crossed the stately front porch.
“Excuse me, miss, I need to pat you down.” One of the bald twins flanking the massive front doors laid a thick hand on her shoulder, impeding her progress.
“Oh, what the heck, pat away.”
Deirdre threw her arms out wide, feeling every bit as naughty as the glint in the man’s hazel eyes. What was up with the body inspection? She ventured a guess as to what roaming hands was looking for. Weapons? Drugs? Wires? She laughed at her own musings. What, did she think she was in some crime novel? This was Maine, for goodness’ sake, not New York or Miami.
As the broad fingers lightly brushed over her breasts, then down her back, his hand lingered longer than necessary on her ass, and she wondered if he was looking for sex toys and laughed again.
He flashed her a million-dollar smile. She might have stayed to chat, if she was into him. But his biker charm did nothing for her simmering libido, so she batted her long lashes flirtatiously and moved over the threshold into the throng of revelers already enjoying the evening.
The foyer she entered was open. A crystal chandelier cast shimmering light on the partygoers standing at the foot of the stairs and spilling in all directions. The curved banister snaked up to the second floor in a graceful arch that opened to a balcony. People moved about on both levels.
“It’s about time.” Emilio strode up to her. “We’ve been watching for you. Weren’t sure you were going to come.” The collar of his silk shirt fluttered as he walked toward her. Open nearly to his navel, it exposed the bronzed musculature of his torso and the gold chain he habitually wore. Strong pecs covered in silken black tufts accented a well-sculpted abdomen.
He gave Deirdre a hug. “I told you she’d come,” he said, and he elbowed the raven-haired beauty standing next to him. Dressed in a turquoise wrap barely covering the essentials, the woman smiled first at Deirdre, then up at Emilio. They made a handsome couple, or would have if they didn’t bat for the same team.
“Dee, sweetie.” Rachel leaned in and kissed the air on either side of her face.
They both laughed. She’d done it as a joke. Normally, neither one of them acted this high society or attended these types of soirees. Saturday nights usually found them at Duane’s Bar and Grill in Delmont. Relaxed in their jeans and T-shirts, they usually spent the night drinking brews and shooting pool with the rest of the hometown crowd. Maybe do a little bump and grind to the country tunes blaring out of the juke box. But not this night. This night was about hooking up with a total stranger and letting nature take over.
Rachel leaned in close. “It’s about time you allowed yourself to relax and stop mooning over that two-timing bi…”
“Rachel.” Emilio cut her off with a flick of his wrist. Stopping a passing waiter, he snagged them each a flute of champagne off the silver tray. “Tonight is about forgetting and letting go of all our inhibitions.”
“Oh, as if you ever had any, Emilio.” Deidre laughed.
“Okay, not me, but you two.” He pointed a finger at them. “I promised you both a night of fun and fantasy. It will all be at your fingertips if you’re brave enough to let go and fly.” His ebony eyes shimmered with mischief.
“Deirdre, I think the man just issued a dare.”
“I do believe you’re right, Rach.”
The three of them had been friends since grade school. They’d gotten in plenty of trouble over the years, pressing each other to break the rules. It had been a long time since Deirdre had let them goad her into doing something outrageous. But this night, she wanted to forget about the rules, forget about Brianna and all the pain that woman had caused her.
“Only a chump turns down a dare.” Deirdre lifted her glass in a mock salute, before gulping the bubbling liquid like a whiskey shot.
From my novella Blue Moon Rising in the Furry, Fluffy & Wild anthology. Since I recently signed a new contract for a new shifter menage novel I thought I’d give you a taste of my first shifter story.
“You all right?” Cole bent to scratch behind the dog’s ears before untying his hiking boots and toeing out of them.
Jayda lifted a shoulder and fought to control the tears burning to be set free. “I’ve never seen a dead person, let alone one…” She didn’t want to remember how the man had died so violently.
“I hate to have you go through it all, but I need you to tell me everything that happened from the time you left the tavern last night…” He sat in the chair next to the couch. Too far to be of any comfort. “Until you found the body this morning.”
She wanted to have Cole hold her and tell her it would be all right, but the kind face that had made her swoon last night had become a hard mask of professionalism. Jayda sank onto the couch and told him everything.
“That’s it?” Cole asked.
Jayda looked at him. “What else would there be?”
“You don’t remember seeing the kid at the Bull?”
“I already told you I didn’t.” After thirty minutes of repeating her story, Jayda watched Cole tuck away his notepad. When he turned back to her, his features softened.
“I believe you, Jayda.” He reached for her hand, still gripping the coffee mug like a life preserver. “You got more of that?”
“In the kitchen.” On autopilot, Jayda stepped around the couch and through the dining area to the kitchen nook. Only the ticking of Lady’s nails on the wood floor followed her. She hoped Cole was also there.
The smell of burned coffee assaulted her nose. “It’s old. Let me make some more.” With shaky hands, she reached for the pot, the decanter bumping several times against the machine.
“Don’t.” Cole came up behind Jayda, his hand covering hers, and he guided the coffeepot back into place and snapped it off. The solid planes of his body were warm against her back. Jayda leaned against him, wanting nothing more than to fall under his spell again.
He turned her to face him, and she looked up into the compassion filling his eyes.
She touched the bruise on his cheek.
“Gift from the kids’ brawling last night. I forgot to duck.” Cole took her hand and kissed her fingertips. “It’s going to be all right,” he said.
“Is it? Is a person ever the same after finding a human being slaughtered?” The tears she’d held at bay trailed rivulets down her cheeks.
Cole sandwiched her face in his hands and wiped the tears with his thumbs. When he bent close, she closed her eyes, anticipating the softness of his lips on hers. He didn’t disappoint. The heat of his mouth seared through her, and she opened to him, inviting his tongue to delve in to taste and explore. He tasted of fresh mountain air and something uniquely his. And it was there again–flowing over her with the power of a tidal wave–the feeling of being swaddled by the quintessence of Cole. It wasn’t just the heat of his arms around her, or the solid wall of him pressing against her from breastbone to knee, but the complete meshing of her life force with his. The thought was insane. Lust did not bond you to another.
She wanted him only because he was there and familiar and obviously willing to partake in another interlude if that’s what she wanted. Whatever Cole felt for her didn’t matter. All she wanted at the moment was to feel alive, and since men just didn’t turn down sex, she’d enjoy whatever Cole offered.
“This is wrong, to want you so badly, but I can’t help myself. Tell me to stop now, and I will.” His teeth nipped at the juncture of her neck and shoulder. “I’ll die a slow, agonizing death, but I’ll stop,” Cole whispered.
This excerpt is from my erotic suspense novella Blind Love book I of the Tilling Passions series available from Liquid Silver Books.
Damon strode along the back of the bar on his way to Elvis’ office, trying to avoid the crowd. He and Elvis were good friends. He liked the man. Elvis was one of the few people who knew the real Damon Corey.
He stopped when he saw the black-haired beauty from the dance contest staring down the bouncer. She stood defiantly with her hands on her hips. Her breasts pushed forward, brushing Joe’s barrel chest.
“Well, I guess I just don’t understand. You’ve let all kinds of people go through that door behind you. I’ve seen them coming and going. Why not me?”
Twenty minutes ago, this woman had acted like she didn’t understand what was going on when the spotlight flooded over her. Damon had seen lots of women appear all innocent until they were nearly naked, gyrating in front of the crowd. Not this one.
He’d watched as she’d ridden her partner’s thigh, her lids hanging heavy with desire. Damon thought she’d be like all the rest, slithering out of her clothes and satisfying herself in public. But she wasn’t. She’d done some kind of slink and roll and extricated herself quite gracefully from the writhing bodies on the dance floor. Then disappeared.
“As I told you, only members can go through, or guests on the list.” Joe looked down his crooked nose at her, the strobe lights reflecting off his bald head. He pounded his stubby finger on his clipboard. “Ma’am, if you’re not on the list, you’re not going in.”
“Ma’am? Do I look like a ma’am to you?” she asked, poking Joe in the sternum.
She was feisty. Joe intimidated most patrons of Starry Knight, but not this one. Damon’s c**k throbbed behind his zipper. Maybe he could save Joe, give the woman what she wanted and get a little something on the side as well. A man couldn’t watch people getting it on all night, and not be looking for a little piece of action for himself.
“Hey, Joe.” Damon stepped out of the shadows, getting a closer look at the sexy brunette. “How’s it going?”
“Hey, Demon. It’s going just fine. Nothing I can’t handle.” He inflated his chest and stepped between Damon and the woman. “You going back to see Elvis?” Joe reached for the door handle behind him.
“Yeah, and I’d like to take the lady with me.”
“This one?” Joe’s face wrinkled in confusion. Quarrelsome women weren’t usually Demon’s style, but tonight a little intellectual stimulation might be an interesting mix with some slap and tickle.
“Yeah, she probably didn’t mention she was waiting for me.” He took the woman by the arm and pulled her around Joe’s sizable bulk. “I guess we got our signals crossed, babe.” He leaned in and gave her a gentlemanly peck on the cheek. “I wanted you to wait by the bar, not the door.” He winked at her.
She flipped her hair and batted her lashes. “I just can’t keep anything straight.”
Damon bit back a laugh as the woman sent Joe a smug look and filled her lungs, no doubt to tell Joe exactly where he could go. Not wanting to referee another confrontation, Damon hustled her through the door Joe reluctantly held open for them.
So, I’m going to start a new weekend blog post. Saturday selections. I rarely post excerpts from my books. So for the next few months I’ll offer snippets from my various books. This week’s selection is from my futuristic erotic suspense, The Healer’s Garden. Please enjoy …
She slammed into the bathroom behind him. He hadn’t seen this much fight in a woman in a long time. He tried to rein in the hope blossoming in his chest. Calmly he shut the door and turned the faucets on at the sink and tub.
“Now, there may not be cameras in here, but the audio amplifiers in the other room are very sensitive,” he said. “The water will help drown out our voices, but I suggest you keep that raging storm of yours to a dull rumble.” He settled himself on the edge of the tub, crossing his arms and feet.
She wrung her hands and sputtered under her breath. The picture she created made him laugh. The rolling sound echoed off the tiles.
She stopped moving and stared at him. “What on earth could be so funny? I don’t think any of this is humorous.”
“You, Jahara. Just you.”
“What about me?”
“You’re fluttering around as if you’ve got bugs crawling on your skin and I find your nervousness over your first mating … cute.” Concern softened his voice even as his eyes searched and penetrated. “You’ve never been with a man have you?”
“I don’t believe that’s any of your business.”
“Oh, but it is my business.” He dropped his hands to the edge of the tub, hoping the relaxed posture would ease the tension sluicing off her in waves. “I’m the primary breeder responsible for training, and leader of the male breeding stock. When one of the partners for the first mating isn’t available, I take their place. It’s part of my responsibilities.” Of course Ishawny’s partner wouldn’t be home puking his guts out if Brenimyn hadn’t laced the man’s food with the vile medicine he’d stolen from his friend’s bag of herbs.
But Brenimyn had needed to meet this woman. He needed to know if the connection he’d felt arc between them yesterday had been real or a figment of his overzealous imagination. He’d put his plan in action the moment he’d found out she’d requested a breeding guide.
“But you’re Kylie’s mate. Even I know I can’t usurp another woman’s claim on a breeder,” she said, her doe eyes full of confusion and fear. “Why have you come to me?”
Now that was a loaded question. One he couldn’t answer without scaring her. She wasn’t ready for complete honesty. “I’m responsible for making sure the first copulation is pleasant.”
She turned from him, her voice barely above a whisper. “Perhaps we don’t need to do this tonight? You see, I’m already committed to another.” Jahara waved her ring finger in the air. “I didn’t choose to come here.”
“Jahara, few choose the Garden.” Least of all the breeders forced into slavery, he wanted to add, but knew it wasn’t prudent. “You realize you can’t put off the inevitable. Tonight, tomorrow, next week, eventually you will be expected to mate in front of the cameras.” Brenimyn wanted nothing more than to take this frightened woman into his arms and show her the strength of a man. But she wasn’t ready for what he wanted to give her.
He couldn’t resist reaching out to her with his thoughts.
Her hand fluttered to her cheek. “I…” She turned and fear flashed across her brow.
“Jahara, being with a man isn’t so horrible.” He rose and walked to her, his hand stroking the spot his mind had touched. “Don’t you feel the chemistry between us?” A frisson of awareness sparked from her cheek up his arm. His suspicions were confirmed. Jahara was the one who’d been sent to fulfill his destiny.