TGIF! Let’s kick off the weekend with Gale Stanley’s scorching new romance Off-Limits, now available from Siren Publishing and other purveyors of fine online fiction. Take it away, Suzy!
When Quinn Hart’s best friend died, he became guardian to the man’s ten-year-old son, Noah Stone. So far, Quinn has been able to conceal the growing attraction he feels for Noah, but now Noah is twenty-two and returning home from college. Honor still holds Quinn back from revealing his true feelings. Their community of bear shifters consider reproduction a priority, and Quinn fears they would never accept a homosexual relationship.
Noah has always hidden his romantic feelings for his guardian, but now he’s a man, and his desire is stronger than ever. Unable to handle his feelings, Noah leaves Oregon for a position in a research facility. But when Noah arrives in New York, he discovers his employer is harvesting bear bile and he’s the new source.
Quinn is determined to find Noah. But can he admit what he really wants before it’s too late?
Home. Noah had forgotten how much he missed the endless expanse of lush green landscape and the sparkling river. And the trees. Especially the trees. When the leaves whispered in the wind, it made Noah’s heart ache. Whoever had named their small town knew that trees were sanctuaries.
But for all that, home wasn’t a place, it was a person—Quinn. Noah could live anywhere with Quinn. But a life with Quinn was as likely as a sharknado ripping through Sanctuary.
Noah moved away from the window and gazed at his reflection. The mirror was wall mounted and speckled in places. The frame matched the wood dresser beneath it. A handknitted brown and tan spread covered the crude pine bed. The room had been decorated on a meager budget, but it was warm and comforting because Quinn had handcrafted all the furniture himself.
Noah’s bedroom hadn’t changed since he was a kid. Yesterday, when he’d first stepped through the door, he’d felt the walls close in on him. As a kid, this room seemed huge, but now that he was a man, he could see how small it really was. It felt surreal like turning back the clock, but not in a bad way. If only he could—
“Where’s the man of the hour?”
The sound of loud voices traveled up the stairs. More guests had arrived for the party. The community was small, but when everyone attended an event, it could be overwhelming. Noah checked his image in the mirror again. He’d already changed shirts several times, and he still wasn’t sure that he liked the blue chambray shirt he’d put on with his khakis. Why am I making such a big deal out of this? He felt like Marcus primping for one of those stupid frat parties. What difference did it make what color shirt he wore? Stop stalling, he told himself. You can’t stay in your room forever.
Noah stood at the top of the stairs. Below, friends and neighbors were chatting excitedly. Noah had nothing to say to them. He would disappoint them. Anxiety made his stomach churn.
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About the Author
Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.
Some things never change.
Hello, lovelies! This week I’m featuring one last snippet from To My Muse where Tom and Lily hit the big Hollywood party thrown by Sir Nathan. God, I had such a good time writing this book. In the coming weeks, I’ll be back to posting snippets from Shifter Woods: Snarl and Uncertainty Principle.
Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
We heard the hum of party noise before we reached the main foyer. It was seriously different from my family’s parties—for one thing, there was a decided lack of Bollywood hits and I-pop blasting through the air, and waiters were walking around with trays of full champagne flutes. Not a single harried teenaged girl fetching some lassi for a thirsty auntie in sight. Dadi would be so disappointed in Sir Nathan.
Tom snagged a pair of flutes for us, passing one to me. “Drink up,” he advised. “It’ll make the evening a bit more enjoyable.”
I sipped my champagne. Naturally it was delicious. “Yeah, no, I’m still nervous,” I whispered after swallowing.
“Give it a chance to circulate.” He looped his arm around my waist and guided me towards the people standing in discreet groupings of two and three. “Smile and nod, darling.”
Great. Now I had the penguins from Madagascar caroling in my head. Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave. Biting back an insane urge to call Tom “Private,” I did as he suggested.
The damnedest thing was, it worked. Complete strangers nodded back at me, with the occasional assessing glance thrown in for good measure. Only this time the assessment added up to “one of us.” I felt Matthiu’s work on my face like a mask. They had no clue.
Tom led me through a thickening crowd into the main entertainment area that I’d seen last night. All the lights were on this time, set to low, and the room was full of people chatting to each other with the occasional laugh sparkling in the air. Underneath the chatter was a soft medley of cocktail bar classics coming from the grand piano in the corner.
To my surprise, Sir Nathan was playing it. “Thought so,” Tom murmured, guiding me over. “You couldn’t resist performing, could you?” he said to our host.
Sir Nathan gave us a genial smile as his fingers moved over the keyboard. “The pianist is taking a break, so I thought I’d fill in for him. You look lovely tonight, my dear,” he added to me.
I had to stop myself from curtseying. “Thank you, Sir Nathan. You look pretty spiffy yourself.”
He chuckled at that. “It’s all Ana’s doing. I’d look like a right scruff if it wasn’t for her. And you cleaned up well, lad.”
“Also Ana’s doing,” Tom said, glancing around. “Any hotspots I should know about?”
Sir Nathan peered at the crowed without losing a beat. “Rob Valentine from the network is here—you know him, I believe—and some of the European producers are drifting around as well. I haven’t seen the lovely Claudine yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear the trumpets once she arrives.”
I knew I liked him. “Where’s Ana?” I asked.
“Giving the caterers their final instructions, then she planned on holding court in the Tuscan Room. You should be able to find it,” he said to Tom.
“I may need a GPS, but I’ll find it,” Tom said acerbically. “We’ll let you get back to tinkling the ivories.”
Sir Nathan swung into a jazzy version of “Piano Man” as we wandered off. “Okay, so what’s the plan?” I asked as quietly as I could.
“We circulate, chat with the people I know, and casually strike up conversations with various producers and studio execs,” Tom explained. “I’ll mention that we have a package we’re putting together with Nathan and feed them the elevator pitch. Hopefully that’ll be enough to get me some meetings, and then we build from that.”
I knew what an elevator pitch was—a brief but catchy overview of a plot meant to be delivered in thirty seconds or less: ‘She’s a rich girl engaged to an abusive capitalist, he’s a poor artist looking forward to a future in America. Against all odds they fall in love, but an iceberg crashes into their plans as well as their ship.’ That’s a crappy version of an elevator pitch for Titanic, but you get the idea. “So what’s the pitch for Right Hand?”
He spread his hands. “After World War II, a progressive pope shocks the Vatican by taking a nun as his chief advisor,” he announced.
I considered it. “Eh.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Well, it’s factually true but there’s no oomph to it. How about, ‘As Europe rebuilds from the ruins of World War II, a rebellious Pius XII shocks the Vatican by taking on an advisor they can’t control—a nun.”
He considered my phrasing. “But couldn’t they control her? I mean, if they talked to the head of her order.”
“Yeah, but if Pius was giving the orders he kind of outranks the head of her order. Okay, how about, ‘From the ruins of World War II, a controversial pope and a stubborn nun’s relationship will shock the Vatican—and change the world forever.’”
“I like it. Naughty enough to get people’s attention without tipping over into outright salaciousness. We can go into details about the relationship once they’re interested.” He kissed my temple. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
I felt warm all over, which was a good thing because the house AC was cranked to handle the crowd. “So am I.”
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Whee, it’s Wednesday! Never fear, for today I’m here with J.R. Gray and his smouldering new royal romance King Consort, now available from online sellers. Take it away, J.R.!
Avoiding sleeping with women was my specialty, an art form even. As the future King of England I couldn’t be caught sleeping with men. My whole life played out in front of the paparazzi, and they didn’t miss a thing.
I had a carefully crafted womanizing persona to maintain. My life came with rules, all of which I broke when I couldn’t resist a one night stand with the enemy: A beautiful paparazzo with a heart of gold. He may be the only person who doesn’t want me for my title, and he can never be anything more than my secret.
But secrets have a way of coming out and not only will they scare him away, but they’ll lose me the crown.
He sat back keeping the camera in his lap. “How much liberty are you giving me?”
I mirrored him and looked him over, taking my time with my answer. “Why are you asking.”
Lust crossed through his gaze. “Take off the shirt.”
I obliged him, slowly working my fingers down the buttons. I slid it off and set it aside. He looked me over, hungry. My cock stirred at the look. I’d never felt so desired by another person. He slid forward on the seat and brought the camera back to his face. I stayed as I was until he told me to move.
“Sit on the edge of the table,” he said breathless.
I was glad this was getting to him as much as it was me. It was entirely foreign to give someone such a thing over me. To allow someone to take these photos. It was daring and exhilarating. I’d have to be careful or I’d get addicted to the acting out like some bored teenager.
I sat on the edge to the table closest to the fire and he moved back to take a few shots. I looked up when he hadn’t said anything in a few moments to find him just watching me. The fire illuminated his scar, and I wanted to kiss the length of it, from his brow to his lips. I licked my lip and my chest rose as I inhaled fully, trying to calm myself. He snapped another photo.
“What do you see?” I asked unable to stand wondering a moment longer. I wanted to know how he saw me.
“I see hunger,” he said as he came closer. “The way you look at me.” The camera hung at his side as he stalked closer.
I wanted to reach out for him. To shove him into the chair he’d occupied and climb on top of him, but I refrained because more than wanting him, I wanted to see what he did.
“Take your pants off.”
I raised a brow but didn’t say more.
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About the Author
When not staying up all night writing, J.R. Gray can be found at the gym where it’s half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave, insanity or both. The idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to Lynn Turner, whose spectacular new ballet romance story Pas de Deux is now available from Amazon and other online retailers of romantic fiction. Take it away, Lynn!
They were never meant to be perfect…their pieces wouldn’t fit together that way.
It’s said the artist is born of a damaged soul…
Wilhelmina Allende is a prima ballerina. When tragedy turns her beloved Paris into a gilded cage, she jumps at the chance to work with one of the most prolific choreographers she’s ever seen. But Zack’s style is way out of her comfort zone. So is his teaching method. And his humor. And his everything. He’s a charming little connard. It’s hard not to like him. Merde. What has she gotten herself into?
Zachary Coen’s first musical is opening on Broadway. Much like his life, it’s anything but conventional, so hiring Mina is simply out of the question. She’s too…classical. Too perfect. She’s all wrong for the role. Then he meets her in person and sees her cracks. Her broken pieces. How unique and beautiful each one is. And he can’t help but notice how her edges seem to fit his…perfectly.
Just when teaming up seems to be working, the monsters they’ve kept hidden threaten to rip it all apart.
The warehouse in Brooklyn housed three massive dance floors crammed with hundreds of sweating bodies. The bouncers took one look at them and let them skip the line. Walking through the doors, Mina was hit with thick, sultry heat. It was dark. Very dark, but for flashes of strobe lights alighting on wall-to-wall bodies. They moved like they were in a trance, the bass thumping so hard, it shook the building and seemed to beat from within their ribs. Clutching at Zack’s arm, another nocturnal animal bumped into her, his eyes practically rolling to the back of his head in pure ecstasy.
She tugged Zack’s arm until his ear bent to her lips. “Are these people on drugs?”
His body shook with laughter. “Better than drugs, petite. This atmosphere is like a high. You forget about how you look or what you’re doing. The music goes right through you and you just move.”
She wasn’t sure how they were able to move—the floor was sticky. Watching a trio of dancers doing something that looked illegal, she tried not to think about the biological hazards stuck to the bottom of her Italian leather shoes.
She squinted against the purple and blue light. “This place should come with an epilepsy warning!”
A flash of purple lit his face, highlighting his freshly shaven jawline, the sensual curve of his lips, and she completely lost her train of thought. Her eyes trailed his body slowly, progressing a little more each time a strobe lit him up again. He looked sexy and dangerous in this light, like a demigod in all black.
“It’s great, isn’t it?” sexy demigod’s lips asked.
Her mouth suddenly went dry. “Not the word I’d use. I think I need a drink.”
“Uh-uh, no alcohol. This is homework. No cheating.”
“But I’m French!”
“Nothing I can do about that.” He shrugged his shoulder against her retaliatory slap and led them through the sea of bodies.
Stopping somewhere in the middle, where writhing bodies pressed against them on all sides, he brought his hands to her hips and pulled her to him. Instinctively, her arms went around his shoulders, holding onto him, she convinced herself, for fear of slipping into the human sea. Besides, it was the only way she could hear.
“No mirrors, petite.” He gave her an encouraging squeeze. “No one’s looking at you but me.”
Then he looked at her.
Bon Dieu, did he look at her.
He studied her body like a map of the cosmos was hidden beneath her skin.
There was nothing lustful in his eyes, only wonder—a desire to be completely attuned with her and the way she moved. It was sensual by nature, in the way it made her feel stripped down to her being—her very existence—and only he could see. It made her feel sexy and fearless…and safe.
Staring into the shadows of his face, she lifted her arms above her head to do as they would. The bassline came at her from every direction, throbbing through her veins, exiting from the points of her fingers and toes. The darkness made her bold, and a new energy rose inside her. The atmosphere became heady, making her more drunk on it with every breath, until she moved her entire body like a boneless addict chasing the next beat.
For a full phrase, he continued to watch her, and there was something in his expression, in the intensity of his eyes, that made her lightheaded: she was the Mina he’d been waiting for, the one he’d seen in Paris beneath the façade of the makeup, the fancy dress and the grand chandeliers of the Palais Garnier…the one who had cried on his shoulder and come apart in his arms. Comfortable in her own skin.
Winding her body, she slinked her arms like reeds in a slow breeze, meeting his eyes with every flash of light. He rubbed his cheek along hers, following her movement with his hands, feeling every muscle beneath thin fabric and sensitized skin. He stroked her stomach with his palm, and she sucked it in hard.
“Sorry, petite…” He kissed her cheek, then seemed to indulge himself a moment, running his hands along her hips until they settled on her waist. “That’s not what this is, what we came here for.”
She melted at the sincerity in his voice, in the warmth of his touch. “What did we come here for?”
His grin spread against her cheek. “Trust falls.”
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About the Author
Lynn Turner is dedicated to writing inclusive stories that explore what it means to be imperfectly human. She is convinced she would have made a great Gilmore Girl, that writing about herself in third-person is weird, and that Colin Firth is the best Mr. Darcy (don’t fight her on this). When she isn’t writing and adulting, she’s tackling her monstrous TBR list, TV-binging, traveling, or watching old Samantha Brown travelogue videos and wishing she had her job. She and her husband share their home in California with their two extraordinary children and their sometimes cat, Bowie.
Welcome to a new feature of the blog where I talk about stuff that’s occurred to me while I’ve been out in the garage working on jewelry. Metalsmithing is actually part of my writing process because while my hands are busy, my brain is free to keep itself entertained any way it can, and it usually does that by coming up with stories.
Now and then, however, I find myself musing about anything from politics to why Zendaya clearly should be cast as Joan of Arc based on her Met Gala dress. Tonight, while I was working on the sterling settings for a pair of earrings, I started thinking about Westworld and some of the backstory involved (by the way, I was VERY pleased to have called it on Delos trying to transfer human consciousness into hosts and thereby becoming filthy rich from 1%ers who want to live forever, but I digress.)
Specifically, I was thinking about how in Season One, Dolores’s original loop was to be the daughter of a rancher and his wife. The family’s whole reason of existence was so that they could be killed (Mama and Daddy) and raped (Dolores) by guests who wanted to act out various black hat scenarios. Which is more than a little creepy (although I do wonder if Dolores was specifically put into that scenario as punishment by Dr. Ford for killing Arnold), but it set the viewer’s understanding about how the hosts are viciously abused by human guests on a regular basis.
Fast forward to that monumental scene at the end of “The Original” where Dr. Ford is questioning Dolores’s “father” Peter and asking him what his main drives are. Peter replies that he’s supposed to tend to his herd, look after his wife, and protect Delores. When it’s determined that he’s glitching too badly to be repaired, he’s lobotomized, stuck in cold storage, and is then grabbed by Charlotte Hale and turned into a walking thumb drive with 30+ years of Delos research shoehorned into his head. Needless to say, he no longer has the processor cycles necessary to worry about looking after his wife, much less his herd, although he does briefly remember Dolores in S2E3. And Dolores/Wyatt is hellbent on conquering mankind and making them pay for their sins, so she’s doesn’t seem to be all that concerned about Mama’s whereabouts, either.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Mrs. Abernathy is still somewhere in Westworld. Moreover, since Dolores was with Teddy right before that climactic party in the last ep of Season One, we can hypothesize that the Abernathy homestead wasn’t targeted for assault that night since a major part of the “entertainment” was gone. So Mrs. Abernathy should still be alive and with Peter Mark II.
But the hosts are slowly gaining sentience and access to their memories from previous builds. If that’s true, wouldn’t Mrs. A wonder where the hell her daughter is? Would she realize that this “husband” isn’t the one she’d spent so many years with? Mightn’t she then go off in search of her family?
I completely understand why the \W/ writers wouldn’t focus on her — Maeve would be undertaking the mother’s journey to find her daughter, so Mrs. Abernathy (I keep wanting to call her Anna and picture her as being played by Diane Lane) wasn’t necessary to the plot. That doesn’t change the fact that she’s still out there, most likely intact, and may in fact be in search of Dolores and Peter, assuming she hasn’t been killed by the Ghost Nation or the Delos recovery teams.
I doubt this would happen, but it would be cool if she pops up somewhere down the line. Granted, she’d probably be used by Delos as a way of luring Delores into a trap, but maybe she’d stumble into whatever armed camp Dolores had taken over at that point only to discover that her sweet, art-loving daughter had turned into a ruthless revolutionary. There are all kinds of fun things the writers could do with that.
TGIF! Let’s kick off the weekend with Allyson Young’s hot new Romance On The Go™ Impossible, now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine online romance. Take it away, Allyson!
Both being extremely independent and familiar with rejection, Celeste Hill and Elliot Godwin have a short but intense time together, something very special.
She heads off to a coveted job, leaving him to puzzle out how he might pursue a connection he’d never dreamed of having. And, despite pursuing her dream, Celeste can’t stop thinking about Elliot and what might have been.
Returning home before he can follow her, she tells him they are pregnant. Impossible. Believing he’s sterile, the reason his wife left him, Elliot is devastated—and lashes out. Celeste flees his cruel words, putting distance between them, and now determined not to name him as the father of their child.
But miracles do happen and men can come to their senses. Elliot follows his heart and Celeste again opens hers for their happily ever after.
Knowing the majority of her response was hormone-fueled did nothing to mitigate the meltdown. How hard had she held herself against the news until now, sharing with no one but him? Forgoing the acceptance and excitement of her friends and family… Doing the right thing, notifying the father first. She sobbed and choked until she thought her throat would tear and her lungs collapse, her cheeks raw with the deluge. Her baby… She pressed a hand against her abdomen, whispering a heartfelt reassurance. Not about you, sweetheart. I love you.
It felt like hours but was, in reality, a few short minutes before she wrestled back her composure, albeit as a soggy wreck of exhaustion.
Impossible. She’d sorted out the reasoning—and ensuing rejection—behind his flat comment in short order. But it wasn’t impossible. He was capable regardless of what he believed. The tiny seed in her belly was living proof.
But it didn’t matter. He thought she’d come to him, pregnant with another man’s child, to cadge… She couldn’t bear to think of what he thought of her. His opinion didn’t matter either. Asshole.
Fumbling for a wad of tissues, she mopped up what remained of her makeup and took a shuddering breath, pushing any thought of Elliot Godwin from her head.
A tap on the window drew a muffled shriek as she started, turning to stare at his unwelcome bulk hunched over her little car, his handsome face only inches away. His silvery eyes were narrowed, cold and impenetrable, not at all like the turbulent wash of emotion when he’d been as deep inside her as any man could be in a woman. Planting their child.
As emotionally drained as she was, she couldn’t help the faint shiver of that arousing memory before dispatching it. Stupid hormones.
She eased the window down a notch. “What?”
His gaze took in her face and she knew what he saw. She never cried prettily, but then she rarely cried. Make that never. Tears were for the weak. He would know that.
“Are you all right?”
Like he cared. She was a slut, remember? Well, maybe not—Elliot didn’t judge, at least about consenting adults sexing things up. So, what then? What was a woman called who tried to stick a guy with a kid that wasn’t his? Something far worse in his eyes, for sure.
“I’m fine.” She whirred the window back up and threw the vehicle into gear.
With cautious regard to his proximity, she drove forward and then guided the car back onto the pavement, ignoring his tall form in the mirror.
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About the Author
Allyson Young lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada with her husband and numerous pets. she has always enjoyed the written word, and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one.
A best selling Amazon author, a hybrid author, as of December 2017, along with her alter ego and three co-authors, she has published four series and several standalones in contemporary, sci fi, fantasy and suspense genres–50 books in total.
Allyson will write until whatever is inside is satisfied, until the heroes man up and the heroines get what they deserve. Love isn’t always sweet, and she favours the darker side of romance.
Hello, lovelies! This week To My Muse was released, and I want to feature a rather nice scene between Tom and Lily.
Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
If I’d had to spend the time before the party alone with Tom, we were not staying out of that amazing bed, and once that happened I’m not sure I’d have the strength of character to get dressed and go to the party. I wouldn’t put it past our hostess to realize that and take steps.
I followed Ana’s assistant to the other side of the house, where she showed me down a hallway to a luxurious bedroom suite done in shades of teal and cream that was easily large enough to host one of my grandparents’ parties. Nathan was nowhere in sight, but what sounded like a Bach cantata drifted out of a side room. “She’s waiting for you,” Sue said, waving at the doorway.
I poked my head in, and immediately fell in love with one of the most gorgeous old school dressing rooms I’d ever seen. The dominant tone was a warm, feminine peach that went beautifully with the immaculate white woodwork along all the walls. More white woodwork surrounded glass-fronted shelves over wide drawers and an amazing number of closet compartments. An elegant black ironwork chandelier with frosted glass lampshades rimmed in terra cotta hung from an oval cutout in the ceiling, and a huge custom vanity table had been built into another wall with more shelves on either side of a ginormous mirror in an antique square silver frame.
Ana sat at the table wearing a silk robe with her hair skimmed back behind a head wrap, calmly dabbing some cream onto her face. I wasn’t used to seeing her without makeup on; I knew she was somewhere in her late sixties, but she had that Helen Mirren gift of good skin that had held up extremely well over the years. There were wrinkles here and there, yes, but they looked tasteful and appropriate, as if a completely smooth face would have been unbearably gauche.
She smiled at me in the mirror. “Hello, Lily. Did you have a pleasant time today?”
“Yes, and thank you so much for sending us to Huffington’s,” I said. “Wait until you see the dress Tom bought.”
“Deep sapphire blue.”
Her eyes lit up. “Oh, that will look marvelous on you. And that works out well for me, too. Sue, bring the Bulgari Festa set, please.”
The PA disappeared through yet another doorway, returning with a black velvet case. She opened it and I gasped. Inside was a spectacular pendant necklace made up of what I had to assume was white gold, with sprays of diamonds and sapphires around a perfect cushion-cut sapphire that was big enough to choke a horse. The chain was constructed of white gold teardrop loops crusted with more diamonds and sapphires, each loop interspersed with a solitaire diamond.
“Oh, Ana, that is completely gorgeous,” I said, every sparkly-loving atom of my being lusting after that magnificent necklace. “Are you wearing this tonight?”
“No, my dear. You are.”
She smiled. “If you’re wearing the sapphire blue Christian Siriano that Taffy mentioned to me, then this will go perfectly with it.” She turned to Sue. “I believe the Le Magnifiche Creazioni earrings will go well with this.”
Sue beamed at me. “They’re in the bottom of the case, madam.”
“Excellent. I do appreciate your foresight, my dear.”
Aaaaand motor functions came back on line. “I can’t wear this!” I squeaked. “This is Bulgari!” I knew Bulgari jewelry, had mooned over it in Vogue and other fashion magazines, but never thought I’d be allowed within touching distance. To wear it? Holy Kali and all her hands, this one necklace had to be worth more than everything I’d ever owned put together. “What if I spill something on it? What if I drop it?”
“Well, if you spill something on it, you can always wash it off,” Ana said practically. “It’s the nice thing about metal and gemstones—they’re very hard to stain. And the latch will make sure it stays in place.”
The practical side of me recoiled from the very idea of touching that gorgeous pendant, much less hanging it around my neck. The princess side of me wanted to squeal and go show it off to Tom. “Ana, I can’t—”
“Yes, you can. In fact, I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t wear it tonight.” She gave me a faux-stern look. “And you don’t want to disappoint your hostess, do you?”
I swallowed hard. It would be rude to turn down such a generous gesture, that was true. And it wasn’t as if I’d be wearing it outside where something bad could happen. They’d have security at this party, right?
“No, I don’t,” I said in a small voice. “Thank you.”
“There, that’s settled.” She tapped her lips. “I thought you might want to get ready here, since there’s plenty of room. Sue will show you to the shower and you can freshen up, then we’ll have Celeste get to work on your hair while Matthiu does my makeup, then we’ll trade. It’ll leave Thomas with your bathroom to himself. That way, you won’t need to dance around him to get at the mirror.”
The thought of Tom getting ready in the bathroom, fresh out of the shower with a towel wrapped around that muscular waist, made my eyes cross a little and a whole lot of regret gush through me. Before I could say anything, a gorgeous black woman in a sleek black pinstriped smock and a man with a purple-tinted beard came in. Ana gave them air kisses and introduced me while Sue bustled around pulling more items out of the closets.
Celeste clicked her tongue as she studied my hair. “Oh, you’re going to be a handful, gorgeous,” she said in a cheerful East End accent. “What products do you use?”
I rattled them off with an apology for presenting her with my nightmare cloud of hair. She waved it off. “Don’t fret, pet. I’m an expert with curls. We’ll tame them into something spectacular, wait and see.”
Meanwhile, Matthiu stroked his beard as he stared at my skin. “Absolute silk,” he declared. “What are you wearing tonight?”
“Um, a dress?”
“I meant color, angel.”
“Cobalt blue,” Ana advised. “With a fairly deep V neckline, so make sure the makeup carries over onto her chest.”
That earned her an eye roll for the ages before he turned back to me. “Right, you. Off to the shower, and I want your face clean and bare. Don’t moisturize—I’ll take care of that.”
“Uh, okay.” This was starting to remind me of family weddings where various aunties would pull me into a bedroom and get me dolled up in proper Hindi maiden finery since that was out of Mom’s wheelhouse. At least tonight I didn’t have to worry about someone hovering with a giant needle and wondering if they had time to pierce my nose.
After a long shower and a relaxing orgasm assisted by a fantasy of a naked and very enthusiastic Lily, I touched up my shave and cleaned my teeth. Once that was done, there was nothing else to do but wander into the empty bedroom, a towel wrapped around my waist in case my spunky screenwriter came back early. Although I doubted that was going to happen. Ana had clearly taken her in hand and was going to work some supermodel magic tonight.
Which, if I was being honest with myself, bothered me a little. I’m sure the results would be spectacular, but I rather liked Lily in her capris and Vans, hair loose and curling around her face. If Ana did the job that I knew she could do, Lily would wind up suitably coiffed and dressed for the cover of Vogue. Worse, she could well wind up the belle of the ball tonight. Assuming that Nathan invited his usual mix of industry movers and shakers, vencap types, and a few out and out billionaires, it meant that there would be any number of rich, handsome men at the party tonight who would take one look at her and offer to sweep her off to a Vail ski lodge or Lake Como palazzo without a second thought.
Whereas I couldn’t even pay her for a script treatment. The more I thought about it, the more I regretted haggling on her points with Theresa. I must have come off as a skinflint bastard.
Well, that settled it. Even if it had to come out of my share, I was bumping up her percentage to a full two points. I’d let her know as soon as she got back. Hopefully that would be enough to stop her head from being turned by some A-lister with a private jet.
Grateful that I’d remembered to pack dress socks, I got dressed from the skin out in my new duds. Once the fancy silk tie was in place, I settled back down with La Popessa, running through the now-familiar text and mentally casting various roles. I had just hit on Liam as a good fit for one of the monsignors when the door opened and I looked up. “Finally. I thought I’d have to send the fire brigade—”
The joke died on my lips as I stared at the vision that floated into the room. Oh, Ana, you wicked, talented woman, you. I wasn’t going to have to fight off studio execs and venture capitalists. I was going to have to fight off every straight man in the place, and probably a few lesbians for good measure.
I already knew that the ridiculously expensive but gorgeous frock skimmed Lily’s curves like a McLaren performance vehicle on an Alpine road. But Ana hadn’t stopped there. A professional had taken brushes and makeup to Lily’s face and made her skin glow and her eyes sparkle. Her dark curls were now twisted and tamed in an elegant updo that let delicate little ringlets frame her face, and whatever scent she was wearing should have been marketed as “Devastating” and only sold to licensed dealers.
If that wasn’t enough to throw me for a loop, the sapphire that hung over her deliciously plump décolletage could have choked a Christmas goose. “My God,” I murmured. “You’re beautiful.”
She bit her lips gently as her blush deepened. “I feel like Cinderella.”
“Good. You should.” I stood, tugging my jacket straight and trying to will my libido down. Thank God for tight boxer-briefs is all I can say. “I take it the jewelry is Ana’s?”
Lily touched it gingerly. “She insisted I wear it. I’m freaking out just thinking about it.”
“Don’t. She was right.” I went to her, pulling her into my arms. “It makes you even more stunning.”
Close up, her eyes were captivating pools of rich brown with the tiniest flecks of gold around the iris. How had I gone for so long without looking into them? “Are you ready?” I asked.
Her arms went around my neck, holding on for dear life. “Do I have a choice?”
“I’m afraid not.”
She took a deep breath. “Then I’m ready. Let’s do this.”
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Whee, it’s Wednesday! Never fear, for today I’m here with Angelica Dawson and her astounding new erotic paranormal romance The Beginning, now available from Amazon and other online sellers. Take it away, Angelica!
Sophia is on the run. A newly reborn vampire, she finds herself alone after an attack on her home. Running across Europe, she seeks a place to hide, and eventually, a place to fit in. She happens upon three adult sisters, orphaned and down on luck. If she can help them succeed, she might find her own success as well.
What would you do to find a family after yours was burned to ash?
How much pain could you stand to help a friend?
Where does a vampire really fit, anyway?
Arriving at Stephan’s tiny home, Sophia was relieved to find he, at least, was what she had taken him for, a young man starting off on his own. He released her arm to take her hand and pull her inside. She pretended to stumble and fall into him. He quickly put an arm around her shoulders and kissed her.
His hands didn’t move, but Luke’s did, sliding over her skirt and slowly hiking it up. His rough fingertips seemed to burn as they slid up her leg. He pressed into her from behind, pinning her between himself and Stephan.
Stephan broke the kiss just long enough to say. “You will stop us—”
“Don’t stop,” Sophia gasped, pulling Stephan’s face to her bosom. Luke worked her skirt up and his trousers down. She felt him hard between her buttocks and she rocked into him.
“Beautiful,” he murmured, “and so wet.”
She kissed the top of Stephan’s head and then his ear, nipping it with her sharp teeth to open a small gash that she sucked until it closed. Before it did, the men had manipulated her and her clothing to their advantage, the loose laces of her dress opening for her breasts in front. Stephan held one, his thumb brushing her nipple, while he suckled the other.
Luke wasted no time penetrating her and his thrusts made her breasts bob in Stephan’s hand and face. Her breasts were aflame at the light brushing of his fingertips and lips and she started to squeeze Luke inside her.
Stephan moved his hands lower, taking up her dress where it was bunched and pulling it off entirely. Luke reluctantly let go long enough to remove the garment. Sophia dropped to her feet and then knees, taking Luke in her hand and grabbing for Stephan as soon as he freed himself. She sucked one cock while stroking the other, switching often and reveling in the sounds each man made.
Her own need grew as each man approached his own climax. Luke pulled her up, wrapped her legs around his waist and thrust into her roughly. Her head fell back in ecstasy as he filled her. Stephan’s arm wrapped around under her arms and over her breasts. Her head came to rest on his shoulder as Luke drove his cock in and out of her at a fever pitch. He wouldn’t last long, despite how desperately she wanted him to continue all night.
Stephan kissed and licked along her neck and she closed her eyes, turning her head to put her nose into his hair, under his ear. His cock left a hot sticky trail along her lower back and she knew in a few moments it would be his turn to fill her.
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About the Author
Angelica Dawson, USA Today best selling Naughty Nights Press author, has been writing for several years and having sex a lot longer than that. Angelica is a wife, mother and environmental consultant. Her love of plants and the outdoors is not diminished by the bloodsucking hoards — mosquitoes and black flies, not vampires.
Ever do something really, really dumb?
When too much tequila and an enabling BFF put Lily Nayar’s romance novel Feast of Lovers into the hands of its inspiration, sexy British actor Tom Morrison, Lily is horrified. Now she’s determined to get her book back, even if that means breaking into Tom’s hotel room to do it.
With the help of a strategic lie and an Oscar-winning knight, Lily’s screwball plan catapults her into the middle of her very own Cinderella story, Hollywood style. But will a vengeful actress ruin Lily’s shot at a real life HEA with Tom?
To My Muse is my ninth full-length novel, not counting the various novellas, novelettes, and short stories I’ve written since becoming a professional writer in 1995, and the fifth I’ve self-published. I should be used to the process by now, but I still get anxious the night before release day. Did I cross all my Ts and dot all my Is? Are there errors in the finished version (there are. There always are. I have come to accept this as part of being human)? Did I send out ARCs to all the reviewers? Am I doing enough promo? Am I doing too much promo?
Will people like it?
That’s the big thing, of course. Will people see my amusing ads and catchy blurb and think, “Yeah, I’ll splash out on this, what the heck.” And if they do that, will they like it or think, “Aw, man. I should’ve gotten a venti Frappucino instead.”
I’m hoping people like it. I’ve gotten a response already from one reviewer (which shocked the heck out of me because I didn’t think she’d be able to get to it until June) and she’s giving it five stars. The betas all liked it, the editor liked it, the sensitivity reader liked it (Lily’s half-Indian. You bet your ass this white lady used a sensitivity reader, AND I fixed the things she told me to fix). But I still worry. That’s normal. And I know there will be people who don’t like it, and that’s also normal. I can’t entertain all of the people all of the time. Mainly, I hope I won’t offend anyone with my story of Lily and her family. Indian culture and diaspora is magnificently detailed and exhaustively extensive, and I’ve very much enjoyed my research into it in order to create the Nayar family in as accurate and respectful a manner as possible. I also know, however, that there will be things I missed, and for that I apologize and ask your indulgence.
Contemporary romantic comedy is a new subgenre for me, but hopefully Muse won’t be my one and only entry in it. I have other books planned, in between new entries in my existing series. I promise you, I will make the time to get them written.
And now, back to work on Shifter Woods: Snarl.