Category Archives: Evernight Publishing
Whee, it’s Wednesday! Which means it’s time to feature the lovely Elyzabeth M. Valey and her hot new paranormal romance Seamus’s Mate (Alpha Protectors 2), now available from Evernight Publishing, Amazon and other online retailers of fine erotic romance. Enjoy!
When Seamus discovers Kaila is in danger he sets out to save her. He couldn’t care less that she doesn’t want him there. His objective in life is to love and protect her. Besides, she might refuse to be with him, but her body knows better. With both their lives on the line, she can’t say no to his aid, can she?
For years, she has ignored her feelings. Kaila’s mission was supposed to be easy: enter the demon’s lair and save her sister. Then, he came along. For close to twenty years she has been fighting against the mating pull. She has avoided Seamus at all costs, but now they’re both trapped in hell and she has nowhere to run, except, maybe, into his arms.
“Wait up, Kaila.”
She didn’t acknowledge him, and he rushed to catch up with her. He grasped her wrist, spinning her around with force.
“Didn’t you hear me?” he asked.
Kaila’s gaze narrowed. Her lips pursed into an ugly grimace.
“Let go of me, Seamus. Why don’t you let this weak human die already?” She poked him in the chest with her index finger. “I didn’t ask for your help.”
Seamus scrubbed a hand over his face. “What is wrong with you? You’re not making any sense. I know you didn’t ask for my help. I gave it freely, but you aren’t going to deny that we are different, are you?”
Blinding rage took over him. Seamus dug his fingers into her arm. He was tired of all this nonsense. He pulled her closer. Her arm shot out to keep him away, but not fast enough. He swooped down and claimed her lips. She gasped, and he seized the chance to push his tongue into her warm recess. He groaned. She tasted better than he remembered. For a brief moment, she grappled with him, attempting to break lose, but he grabbed her arms with ease and held them behind her back.
He twisted his tongue around hers, drawing it out from its reluctance and forcing it to battle with his. Something in his chest tightened as she responded. Yes. He sucked and tugged and demanded more. She gave it to him. Her body arched against his, her mouth seeking his with almost as much desperation as he possessed. His hold on her slackened. He wanted to touch her everywhere. To press his lips to her body and taste every inch of her. His hand trailed to the curve of her ass, then to her waist. Then, bang! Her knee slammed against his leg. He released her, cursing. He’d probably be incapacitated for life if she’d hit her mark.
“Fuck you, Seamus.”
“Whenever you want, babe. I know you’ve got the hots for me, even if you just tried to castrate me and failed miserably.” He laughed.
Kaila spun and walked away from him again. She was probably not trying to be sultry, but her hips swayed in that way that drove a man to stare. She lifted her arm and gave him the finger. He grinned. She was pissed and sexy. He loved it.
Seamus took in a shaky breath. Watching her back on her feet, her spirit alive and surging, was soothing. He rubbed at the spot where she’d kneed him. It hurt, but it was proof that she was herself again, not lying in a puddle of blood, shredded to pieces by a monster. He glanced at the Dream Catcher’s skeleton out of the corner of his eye. He hadn’t told Kaila the details of what he’d suffered inside the beast. The images of her dead body, broken, destroyed. He didn’t wish his worst enemy a fate like that.
He stretched his wings and snapped them back into place. Even they ached. He adjusted his now-flaccid cock and shuddered. He hurried after Kaila. The place appeared deserted. There were no scones in the wall giving off light. Instead, the walls themselves seemed to pulse with energy. They glowed from the inside as if behind them a relentless flame burned. He frowned. He extended his arm and placed his pinkie on the rock. It burned.
“Damn it.” He put the digit in his mouth, hoping to sooth the sting. “Don’t touch the walls, babe. They’re hot.”
Kaila didn’t reply, but she moved a little closer to the center of the path.
Where to Buy
About the Author
Elyzabeth M. VaLey is a writer of sizzling, sexy romance who firmly believes in happy ever after. From paranormal to contemporary, fantasy, or historical, she enjoys exploring her characters’ darker side and writing stories about tortured heroes, strong heroines, and all that comes between them and their love.
When she’s not writing, she can be found walking in the Spanish countryside with her black Lab, exploring castles, or enjoying some tapas with her friends.
Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, angels! Today I’m here with Lydia Michaels and Allyson Young’s smouldering new ménage romance Lost Together (Degrees of Separation 2), now available from purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, ladies!
December has vanished. Rejected by her troubled husband, Austin, and pushed, at his insistence, into the arms of his best friend, Cord, she’s uncertain what the future holds. She loves her husband, regardless of his addiction, but she also loves his best friend. At odds with everything she believed to be her traditional reality, she flees the only home she’s ever known.
Heartbroken, Cord does the right thing and confronts his reluctant betrayal of Austin after losing the woman they both love. He takes charge, dragging Austin back from the edge of oblivion, only to find himself plunged deeper into a life of heartache.
On a path to redemption, Austin must not only confront personal truths, but consider the sacrifices necessary to save his marriage and his friendship with Cord.
An unexpected reunion and exposed secrets will either derail or establish their future as one.
The second she was gone the asshole in the room spoke up. “You’re wasting your time fighting it.”
His fork clattered to his plate. “What the fuck is wrong with you? Stop shoving me at your wife!”
Austin stared past Cord, his face filling with concern.
Shit. Ember stood in the doorway, eyes wide, frozen in place, clutching a white frosted cake heaped with strawberries.
Goddamn Austin and his stupid ideas. “Ember—”
“I…I forgot the knife.” She quickly placed the dishes on the table, her steps faltering, and fled to the kitchen.
“Great,” Cord snapped, bunching up his napkin and tossing it on the table. “Enjoy your fucking cake. I’m out of here.”
Austin opened his big mouth, but Cord was done talking to him. Reasoning with Austin was like trying to discuss physics with a chimp. “Shut it, Austin.”
He detoured to the kitchen, unable to take his rage out on her. “Ember, I didn’t mean—”
“It’s okay.” Her fingers twisted into a dishcloth and then she dashed away a tear.
Fuck. Tears. Not tears! His concern shifted into panic. “It’s not okay. I don’t know what Austin told you—”
“I know what he’s up to. I told him not to do this.”
She fucking knew her husband was messing with him? It didn’t make any sense. “Why is he doing this?”
Now she shrugged. “He’s Austin. Once he gets something in his head…”
Cord rubbed his palm over his face and squeezed. “What does he expect to gain from this? He’s just making an uncomfortable situation worse.”
“He’s trying to fix it. He doesn’t understand, because he wasn’t there. He thinks if we put everything out in the open the guilt will go away. He thinks it’s best to deal with it.”
“Deal with it how?” He wasn’t a fucking puppet Austin could place in whatever position he wanted.
“I don’t know. I barely understand what I’m feeling right now. I can’t pretend to understand what he’s going through. Or you, for that matter.”
All thoughts of her husband vanished as he focused on the ‘f’ word, for his sins. “What are you feeling?”
Her face tightened and her hand pressed into her chest, her eyes betraying her show of bravado. “Here. It hurts. I don’t know how to make it stop, Cord.”
“Hurts how?” He took a slow step closer, keeping his voice low.
Eyes pleading, she looked up at him, her mouth tight with worry. “When I’m near you, my heart beats so fast I’m afraid it’ll explode. But I know I can’t… I can’t express what’s inside of me. Then this unbearable ache takes hold. It just…hurts.”
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About the Authors
Lydia Michaels is the award winning author of 30 romance novels. Her novels from the darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy were iBooks Bestsellers and her work has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Happenings Magazine two years running [2015 & 2016]. She is a four time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award. Her books are intellectual, emotional, haunting, always centered around love.
Allyson lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada with her husband of many years and numerous pets. She has written for many years and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one. A best selling Amazon author, she has now published three series and several stand alones in contemporary, sci fi, fantasy and suspense genres, as well as several novels under a different pen name. Allyson will write until whatever is inside is satisfied, until the heroes man up and the heroines get what they deserves. Love isn’t always sweet, and Allyson favours the darker side of romance.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to the darling (and muy prolific) Doris O’Connor, whose sizzling new shifter romance Claiming His Human (The Projects 6) is now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. And now, here’s Doris!
Thank you so much for hosting my new release on your blog today. Claiming his Human is book 6 in The Projects series, and readers will meet many a familiar face from the previous books.
Don’t worry, though, you do not have to read the previous books in the series, unless you’d like to, of course.
Darius knows Holly is his from the first whiff of her scent in the air. Holly needs some convincing… especially when she finds out that the man she’s been lusting after turns into a huge grizzly bear.
Bear shifter Darius Longton never expected to find his mate in his favorite coffee shop, but one sniff of her scent in the air is all it takes for his bear to know the truth. This delicious, sinfully curvy redhead is his.
Too bad she’s human and far too fragile for his volatile bear.
Holly Trent cannot understand the instant attraction she feels for this man. One look from his heavy-lidded eyes is all it takes to set her knickers aflame with lust. However, she will not be another notch on his bedpost, no matter how much his voice alone makes her want to sink to her knees.
But when a customer gets heavy with her, everything changes. Darius’s defense of her places them both in terrible danger. Thrown headfirst into shifter council politics, it falls to Holly to save her mate.
Darius’s eyes flashed from golden to brown and back again, and she lost herself in the intensity of his gaze.
“Holly, what are you doing?” he asked. The gravelly timbre of his voice shot straight to every one of her erogenous zones, not least because his scent increased and wrapped her into a cocoon of his earthy, spicy presence.
“I don’t know. I just want … please … I need.”
A hiss escaped him when she lowered herself back down on his lap and ground her by now sodden crotch over his cock.
Another one of those earth-shattering deep rumbles came from the man she was dry humping like some sort of wanton hussy, and in the next instant, his large fingers dug into her hips with enough force to leave bruises. Shivers of apprehension, or excitement, she wasn’t sure which raced down her spine.
Darius lowered his head so that their foreheads touched. Their breaths mingled, and the world stood still, as she waited for him to move, to do something, anything.
She couldn’t get her voice to work past the huge lump of emotion which clogged up her throat, so she simply breached the distance between them and pressed her lips against his. His groan rumbled through her, and then he took charge of the kiss. Just like before, their surroundings faded into the background, as he deepened the kiss, and she gave herself up to the myriad of sensations that immediately assaulted her. With his hands firmly clamped around her hips, she couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but tug at the strands of his hair which had come loose from his ponytail. The action seemed to incite his bear, because he broke the kiss, and ran his nose along her neck, inhaling deeply.
“Fuck, Holly, you better be sure, because all I want to do is push those panties away and bury myself deep inside your sweet cunt until you have no doubt who you belong to.”
He yanked her up slightly while he traced one hand along her hip until he could cup her pussy.
“So fucking wet for me, little one.”
Incapable of uttering anything but incoherent moans, Holly rubbed herself against that hand.
“Oh, yeah, I can smell your need. Tell me this pussy is mine. Ask me for my cock. I need to hear you say the words, my sweet.”
His voice, full of heated promise, didn’t sound like him at all, more animal than human, and she responded to the almost desperate tones in kind.
“Just fuck me already, will you?”
A sharp tug on her hair brought tears to her eyes, and she whined her disappointment when he pulled back to study her. Try as she might she couldn’t close the distance between them.
“Ask me nicely, girl, or I’ll stop this instant.”
Holly’s flippant reply stuck in her throat when she properly looked at him because the determination edged in his hungry features told their own story. He meant what he’d said, and despite the massive erection tenting his suit trousers, which must cost him dearly, he would get up and leave her wanting. His thighs flexed under hers, and Holly swallowed hard when he released his grip on her hair and grasped her wrists instead. She was no match for his superior strength, even if she had tried to resist him, as he slowly pulled her hands away from him, and pinned them behind her back. The action thrust her breasts out at him, and her breathing sped up when his gaze slowly dipped lower until it rested on her straining cleavage. Her nipples pushed against the fabric of her lacy bra, hard little beacons of lust pointing straight at Darius, positively begging for his attention. Darius transferred both her wrists into one of his large hands and then slowly brought his free hand into view. His knuckles skimmed across the hypersensitive tips of her nipples, and Holly whimpered her need.
A wicked grin flashed across his features, and he repeated the action several times until Holly was pretty sure she would self-combust if he didn’t do something else. Incomprehensible sounds spilled from her lips, and she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the sight of his large, tanned hand against her pale flesh.
“Hmm, so beautifully responsive, my sweet. I bet you could come from this alone.”
Holly gasped in fascination as one of his fingernails formed into a wicked-looking claw, and he used that lethally sharp appendage to run ever tightening circles around first one nipple and then the other until Holly thought she would scream. When he added another claw to lightly score her skin the pleasure pain acted like a livewire of electricity connected her clit to her boobs.
Her hips took on a life of their own, and her pussy muscles clenched and released desperate for his cock to fill her.
“Please, I need to … please, Sir, I want your cock.”
The words were out of her mouth before her brain had even cottoned on to what she was saying. Darius stilled, his eyes flashed fire at her, and for the first time since she’d initiated this, a trickle of fear snaked up her spine. Not enough for her to put a stop to this, whatever this insanity which seemed to hold her in its grip would amount to, but enough to make her already far too fast heartbeat turn into a sledgehammer inside her chest.
Her vision dimmed, and all reasoning fled her brain in a puff of smoke because Darius looked more animal than human. He looked as though he wanted to eat her alive, and before she could even fathom his intention, her hands were free. The audible rip of her knickers giving way, as he tore them off her sounded far too loud in the quiet room, and then his fingers slipped inside her pussy and she groaned in need. Her head fell forward on his shoulders, even as she instinctively spread her thighs wider apart to give his questing digits better access.
“You’re so fucking wet, my sweet. Come for me, baby.”
Where To Buy
About the Author
Doris is a writer of sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, Sci-fi, BDSM, F/F, M/M, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.
Happily married for the last twenty-five years, she lives with her husband and their brood of nine in a far too small house filled with love, laughter, and chaos.
TGIF! Let’s kick off the weekend with Ravenna Tate’s new book Relentless (Tortured Love 3), now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, Ravenna!
For years, Blake the Snake, as he was known to his Alpha Chi Gamma brothers, took pictures of the conquests of auction winners having sex with their “prizes” at the fraternity’s annual Spring Bacchanalia. It was all in fun, until he stopped a young woman from being raped by the football player who had won her.
From that moment on, Blake Bombay’s life changed forever. He became obsessed with Kendra Kensington, and worked tirelessly to keep her safe. While watching her from afar, he plotted and planned for the day when she would be his. Trouble was, she didn’t know it. She never saw his face that night or learned his name. But that didn’t matter to Blake. She was his. She had always been his, and one day she would be his forever.
“Oh, wait. What have we here?” He turned her around so her back faced him, and brushed his hand across her soaking wet slit. “Oh, Kendra…”
There was no answer. She couldn’t even moan. She was lost in the heady sensations once more of his hands on her, caressing her in exactly the right way to bring an orgasm close. He played with her clit, teasing it until Kendra’s moans grew loud, and she pushed back against him, wanting more.
“What should I do with you, you naughty girl?”
Oh, what a question! “Anything you want.”
His soft chuckle sent a thrill racing through her. “You might regret saying that.”
“Not a chance.” Every cell in her body tingled with desire.
When he lifted her skirt, he brushed his hand over her ass cheeks, alternating them. “You really do have a beautiful ass.”
“Thank you.” She was out of her mind with need. Nothing existed except his touch on her skin.
The swats on her ass were light at first, but Kendra had to hang onto him once he began. She’d never been so turned on in her life. Her clit contracted in tiny spasms as the strikes grew harder, burning now each time he hit her. But at the same time, Kendra didn’t want him to stop. Her climax inched closer when she flexed her Kegel muscles, sending shockwaves of desire racing through her groin and out to her fingers and toes.
“Let’s see how much you like this.” He brushed his fingers over her labia. “Oh, wow. I’d say a lot.”
The giggles turned to moans when he pushed two fingers into her pussy. Blake kissed her neck as he finger-fucked her, his thumb now rubbing her clit in time to his thrusts. She clutched his arm for support as a crazy orgasm began, and when he realized what was happening, he bent her over the table until her she rested face down on the surface. Her torso was supported, but her ass was bare.
“Please don’t stop, Blake.”
“I won’t, sweetheart.” He continued moving his fingers in out of her until the climax finished. She was so wet, Kendra heard slurping sounds when he finally removed his digits from inside her pussy.
“Oh, fuck.” Blake spanked her a few more times on each cheek, harder this time, before she heard the sound of a zipper. “I can’t wait, Kendra. I’ve never done anything so fucking sexy in my life.”
The tip of his dick rubbed her ass cheeks, and Kendra was certain she’d go out of her mind long before he got it inside her. He ran one finger along the crack of her ass.
“I’m going to fuck you right here, on this table. What do you think about that?”
“Oh, Kendra…” He grasped her right hip and slid his cock into her pussy, groaning loudly. Kendra cried out in pleasure as he slammed into her. His thrusts were quick and powerful, and she loved it. Being taken like this, still fully clothed and bent over the dining room table, was the kinkiest thing she’d ever done.
While David Bowie sang about his China girl, Blake fucked her like a runaway train. When he massaged her clit again, another climax tore through her, making her dizzy with its intensity.
“Kendra … oh my God, this feels so damn fantastic!”
Where to Buy
About the Author
Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, pumpkins! Today I’m featuring Lynn Burke and her hot new ménage novel The Playboy Bachelor. And now, here’s Lynn!
Dubbed Boston’s bachelor of the year, Blake Harper knows how to make the North Shore’s women sigh and say yes…except for the studious Wren Shipman. The more she resists, the more he’s compelled to pursue the little birdie, conquer her, and flee to save himself from a fall he’s never wanted.
Wren would love nothing more than to dig her fingernails into Blake’s back and squeeze the life from him with her thighs. But she’s not interested in being another notch in the billionaire bachelor’s string of shapely sweethearts—not when she’s so close to earning the precious college degree that will help her rise above the trailer-trash stench she was born into.
With his best friend’s help, the playboy’s persistence wears on the young co-ed, until he has the little bird soaring from every fantasy he fulfills. What goes up must come down, and when Wren finds herself falling hard and fast towards a bitter reality, she’ll do anything to save her heart from shattering. Even if it means walking away from the only man who had the passion to make her fly.
“Dance with me,” he said, pushing to his feet and holding out his hand.
I’d rather get right to the fucking, I thought, but I took his hand anyway, cursing myself with every erotic sway of our tightly pressed bodies. His hard cock pressed against my belly, his large hand palmed my ass.
I dug my fingernails into the back of his neck, closed my eyes, and leaned my forehead against his rock-like chest. He smelled ten times better than chocolate; woodsy, sexy man … I wanted a bite. “You drive me insane.” I heard myself whisper.
Blake’s other hand palmed my ass, and he lifted me higher.
My legs wrapped around his waist and squeezed as our mouths crashed together. His groans filled my ears as his fingers dug into my backside. I’d bruise for sure, I thought, pulling his hair to angle his head so I could bite his lower lip.
“Fuck,” he gasped as I bit harder. He ground his cock against my soaked core, and I repeated his curse over the fact clothing separated our bodies. His mouth released from my hold, Blake kissed along my jaw, down my neck, and back up to my ear as I squirmed in his hold. He bit my earlobe, and I winced, my panties useless to contain my arousal.
“I want to fuck you, Wren. Right here. Right now.”
I shimmied out of his arms, and he tugged my tank top off. In my rush to get his shirt open, I heard a few buttons ping off the furniture as they flew. Holy shit, his bare chest. I licked across one pec and bit the hard nub on the other.
“Goddamn it, woman.” He all but ripped off my skirt, the material floating to the floor.
Panting—heaving for breath—we stepped apart, hungry gazes drinking in the other. His eyes set my skin aflame, and I swallowed, nails digging into my palms, as I studied every curve and indent of his sinful upper body. The luscious V of muscle disappearing beneath his jeans flooded my mouth with drool and my pussy with cream.
“Lose the jeans,” I said, my voice raspy and low.
“Lose the bra and panties,” he replied, reaching for his zipper.
A quick rustle of clothing and we both stood naked, his jutting cock drawing my gaze. “Condom,” I whispered, every inch of my body thrumming.
Blake fished one from the back pocket of his jeans, ripped it open, and rolled it on. Two steps forward, and he tangled a hand in my hair, his other hand gripping my thigh to hoist me up.
I wrapped my legs around his waist and wiggled around, trying to line up his cock with my dripping core. He attacked my mouth, striding across the room.
My back slammed into a wall, ripping a gasp from me, but Blake swallowed the noise and thrust into me, balls deep and perfect.
Where to Buy
About Lynn Burke
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to Naomi Clark and her smouldering new shifter book In Cold Blood. Take it away, Naomi!
Hi there! Thanks for having me today and letting me share a bit about my new release, IN COLD BLOOD. This is a spin-off from my Urban Wolf series, set in the same world but featuring new characters. My goal with every entry in the Urban Wolf series is to open the world up a little bit more. SILVER KISS gives us a good, solid starting point with werewolves. BLOOD HUNT introduces vampires. PHANTOM FEARS teases the idea of ghosts, and COLD NIGHT MOON gives us fae creatures (or one, at any rate). With IN COLD BLOOD, my idea was that, well, someone had to be noticing all these weird and wonderful creepy beasties. And someone would be keeping notes…This will tie directly into the plot of the next Urban Wolf book, which will take us back to Ayla and Shannon. The circle of life, etc.
IN COLD BLOOD is the first of a planned trilogy about Phoebe, Aisling, and the Luporum. I already have book 2 mostly planned out (in my head, anyway), but my aim is write that Ayla and Shannon book first. So if you enjoy IN COLD BLOOD, rest assured that there’ll be more from my socially awkward werewolves in love – and the Urban Wolf series in general! – in the future 🙂 Happy reading!
You can find the complete Urban Wolf series, in reading order, at my blog here – http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.co.uk/p/urban-fantasy.html
Phoebe Fairley wanted to be a librarian. Somehow, she’s become a vampire hunter. Women are dying across the country and the police are baffled. Phoebe’s just supposed to be gathering information on the deaths, but as the body count mounts, she can’t help but break the rules and get involved. She knows what the killer is—and catching and containing it is vital. If she can persuade the police to believe her, and keep her secretive bosses happy, she stands a chance of capturing a very real, very deadly vampire. Not bad for a werewolf who can’t shapeshift.
Aisling is happy living as a feral wolf. She’s got no time for human affairs, until a mysterious creature attacks her and leaves her in human hands. Now, if she wants her life back, she’ll have to join Phoebe’s hunt. There are just a couple of snags. One, she hates humans. And two, she’s falling hard for Phoebe. With a monster to catch and her own past to protect, will Aisling trust her head or her heart?
The scene inside the barn was surreal. Two big floodlights overhead lit the barn in glaring white. Half the huge space was taken up with sheep, penned off from the drama but still hysterically bleating and milling together. A grizzled man in a tattered dressing gown and Wellington boots – surely the farmer – leaned into the pen, talking non-stop to the frightened animals. Bales of hay were piled high around the rest of the barn, looking to Phoebe like they might come toppling down any second. They formed a rough arena for the main drama. Two more men held down a naked woman. She thrashed in their grip, tossing her matted red hair and snarling with a viciousness that made Phoebe’s wolf cower. This was their victim, this mad, wild thing?
Spalding hurried over to the farmer and Gibbs ran to the paramedics. They had to be wolves, from the strength they were displaying, but the woman was making them work to keep her still. Phoebe hesitated before following Gibbs – at a distance. Observe, Spalding had said. That was fine. Observing was all she was meant to do. The question was, what exactly was she seeing? The victim of a vampire attack or a feral wolf gone mad? She couldn’t help but lean towards the latter. Perhaps the woman thought the sheep would be easy pickings, but something had gone wrong. Maybe she’d been startled by the farmer or a guard dog. Phoebe had noticed a kennel outside the barn, although there was no sign of a dog now.
As she got closer, she saw the woman’s hands and feet were caked in mud, and there were thin red scratches all over her pale skin. Dried blood on her chest, too, although her endless thrashing made it hard to see where the original wound was. She stopped a few feet away, watching as Gibbs crouched down before the woman and – daringly, Phoebe thought – gripped her chin firmly. She was surprised he didn’t get his fingers bitten off.
The woman growled but couldn’t pull free of Gibbs’ hold. He growled right back, with a force and venom that made Phoebe quake. Did they teach that in training?
For a minute, the pair seemed locked in battle, the woman struggling against all three men in vain while she snarled at Gibbs. He didn’t flinch or loosen his grip, and kept his own domineering growl rumbling on, rising in pitch. The sheep grew more frantic and both the farmer and Spalding yelled at them with a mixture of anger and desperation. Phoebe felt battered, all the noise and tumultuous emotion like an assault. She wanted to run. She forced herself to stay, watching as Gibbs tried to inflict his will on the woman.
As much as pop culture got muddled with myth, some things were always true, just as much for wolves as humans. Some people were simply more dominant than others. Gibbs’ laid-back, clownish persona was all gone now as he pinned the woman down with both his body and his eyes. Phoebe would have caved already, if she’d even had it in her to resist. The woman, whatever her mental state might be, was not so easily dominated. But after what felt like an age, she slumped, stopped fighting, and went still.
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About Naomi Clark
Naomi likes writing, perfume, fancy tea, and unfathomable monsters from the dark spaces between the stars, not necessarily in that order. She has been writing stories ever since she learned how to write, but is still trying to master the art of biography writing. When she’s not dealing with werewolves, demons, or sea monsters, she’s hanging out with her cat and probably watching a documentary about Bigfoot. If the cat isn’t available, she’s with her fiancé watching cookery shows and silently plotting her next book.
Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, angels! Today I’m featuring April Zyon and her hot new shifter romance A Mate For the Sheriff (Shifters Match.com 4). Take it away, April!
Jessica Morris has a secret that could get her killed. Hiding in plain sight, pretending to be normal, is all she’s ever known. And even though she’s been lucky so far, she knows that she can’t hide in Shifter Falls forever. Getting involved with the town sheriff is the last thing she needs, but lately it’s all she can think about.
Novak Porter has watched Jessica since the first day she came into town. He suspects that, like everyone else in Shifter Falls, she’s got a skeleton or two in her closet. She’s nervous around him, and for years he’s forced himself to give her time. But when a chance encounter throws them together for more than five minutes, Novak decides he’s tired of waiting. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her around. Convincing her to work for him is easy, but getting her to believe in happily ever after might be a little more difficult.
Jessica turned to the voice in the darkness. The sexiest voice on the face of the planet. “Sheriff,” she said, her pulse increasing when she turned to look at him.
He looked as if he had been built of stone, and again she wondered just exactly what sort of shifter he was. No one seemed to know, or be willing to share, which was very strange in a town like Shifter Falls. Then again, she didn’t let anyone know what she was, either, so it could just be a privacy thing.
“I’m not sure what’s going on, but suddenly all the electronics inside the car went completely dead. The lights, dash, everything. I’m afraid it’s the alternator, since it has a brand-new battery.” She might be a lot of things, but she wasn’t completely stupid. “And I think that Jagger’s cub swiped my cell phone, again, so do you think you could maybe call a tow for me?” She shook her head. “That little guy gets me every single time. I swear he’s taken more cell phones off of me than I can count. Phi is never able to find them, so there’s no telling what he does with them.” She was snickering as she said that. She didn’t know why she was talking so much, but she was.
The sheriff was watching her intently and didn’t seem all that bothered by her random rambling. He merely pulled out his cell and put in a call for a truck. “Mick will come get your car. He said to leave the keys on the passenger front tire since he might be a while. They had to pull a couple cars from a slough after some young twits decided that drag racing with their parents’ cars was a good plan. Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.”
She whistled. “Oh boy. I bet there are going to be some kids in serious trouble about right now. Thanks for the offer of the ride.” She grabbed her purse, locked the car, and put the keys on the front passenger tire as she had been instructed. “You’ll probably be going out of your way a bit. I live at twenty-nine Forest Acre Road.” It was a dirt road surrounded by forest and she loved it. Nature called to her, and at least there she didn’t have to worry about nulling any abilities as she typically did when she was near other witches.
“No worries at all. It keeps me out of the station until the parents have finally wound down to a dull roar and the kids have had a few minutes for everything to sink in. Anyhow, I think that an hour’s worth of stewing before I arrive to come up with some interesting charges might help the situation. By then I’ll know if the lawyers have actually been called in or not and can figure out how to play this to keep the kids from doing something worse down the line.” The sheriff held her door for her, then shut it when she settled into her seat. A minute later he was setting out reflective markers behind her car before sliding in behind the wheel to take her toward town and home.
“You are a good man. Too bad you can’t keep a secretary to save your gorgeous ass.” She felt her face turn red from heat when she realized she’d blurted that out. “Crap, ignore me. I don’t know what I’m saying.” She cringed, but then shrugged. Since it was too late to take her candid observation back, she pressed on. “Well, from what I understand, you have gone through thirteen of them inside of three months. That’s outstanding right there.”
He leveled a look on her she couldn’t read. She was only thankful he seemed to ignore her initial comment and it allowed her cheeks to cool. “I have a specific way I expect things to be done. And, I admit, my temper can get the best of me. Everything we do can be called into question inside a courtroom. If even one I isn’t dotted right, or a T was missed being crossed, that is potentially a dangerous offender being allowed out on the street due to clerical error. Unacceptable in my book so, yes, I have some impossibly high standards I expect to be carried out by every man and woman in the department.”
“No, not impossibly high standards. They are perfectly reasonable. The way that everyone made it sound you were seriously a neat freak nut job, but what you’re saying doesn’t sound like that at all.” She understood the importance of perfect record keeping, of ensuring that everything was where it should be at all times. “When the council took me on as their secretary, I had to redo a hell of a lot of stuff because the person before me couldn’t seem to understand that paperwork is filed by number then letter. Idiots.” She smirked and looked over at him. “I guess I have high standards as well. Then again since I’m a witch without abilities, I have to be able to contribute somehow, right? Especially with my mother’s coven proclaiming me to be nothing but a human.” That’s what all of Shifter Falls thought of her, and she was happy to keep it that way. When she’d first started out on her own, she’d wondered if it wouldn’t have been smarter, and safer, to try to hide even the fact that she’d been born into a witch family. Ultimately she’d decided that it was better to stick as close to the truth as possible. So she never tried to hide the fact that she had been born to witch parents. It was unlikely that she would ever run into anyone from her old coven, but on the off chance that she did, she didn’t want to arouse suspicion by being caught in a lie. Besides, being known as a witch without powers—therefore, more or less, human—kept her just as safe as if she’d tried to pass herself off as a normal human.
“I’m glad you understand. Few do,” he muttered. “I think the council foisted their rejects my way for some form of payback. They all loved the idea when the mayor had me run for office and I won by a landslide, but the minute I arrested the first council member and wouldn’t take a bribe, they started to wonder. Told them the same thing I told the mayor when he hired me—I was going to run things my way, and if they found someone that could run against me and get elected that would be the only way they’d get me out of that seat. They haven’t had any luck yet.”
Jess knew it was because the sheriff was respected by every citizen in the Falls as well as the other two cities that made up their exceptionally small county. While not everyone agreed with his methods and strict by-the-book ways, they liked how he’d cleaned up and kept the area protected from a drug problem several years back when he’d first taken the position.
“You cleaned up the area. No one would run against you. You’re too good at your job, so it is what it is.” She shrugged. “You are strict and you can be an ass from what I’ve been told, but then again there are a lot of falsehoods that fly through Shifter Falls, aren’t there?” she asked with a smile.
“True enough. The trick is determining what’s truth and what’s lie in everything that goes around town. It’s amazing what one can discover the moment they find that tiny thread and give it a tug. After all, there’s not a soul in this town that is exactly who they appear to be on the surface once you dig down a little further.”
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About April Zyon
Having been a lover of the written word all her life April has always wanted to expand her horizons and write something that could be shared with the world. Only one thing held April back, the fact that the letters and numbers mixed and jumbled more often than not. Diagnosed with Dyslexia when she was eight years old April had to work her butt off just to be able to keep up with the other kids in reading and writing, so her love for fictional writing was tossed to the wayside for the moment.
Time marched on, as it always does, and she forgot her childhood dream of becoming an author and instead focused on what she had to – creating a career for herself. As the endless waves of time passed the shores became less rocky and more sandy, a place where she could find an even foot. That and Microsoft invented Word. Hallelujah. This is where April began her journey into the written world, the world that her imagination had been ceaselessly creating for her entire adult life.
Now she has been given a chance to let her literary wings unfold and fly, thanks to the amazing publishers with Evernight Publishing and Secret Cravings Publishing. Now its time to let the dream take flight and watch it soar!
Today’s Sunday Shoutout goes to Kacey Hammell and her smouldering new book Guarding His Anchor (Canadian Muscle 2), is now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, Kacey!
Thank you so much for sharing my latest release, Guarding His Anchor, with your readers! Frank and Charlie haven’t had an easy road, but their journey is romantic and adventurous.
Charlotte Weber is no stranger to heartbreak. FBI agent Frank Shaw has swept in and out of her life as though she’s a revolving door, stomping on her heart in the process. Now that she’s finally had enough, he’s back again and seems determined to spin her life out of control.
Frank knows Charlie is the anchor for his lost soul, even though he can’t risk settling down. The demons of his past are too great, and he won’t run the risk of hurting her. This time, his only objective should be locating Charlie’s brother, Sean. But Charlie’s a complication, and not just because she refuses to believe Sean is guilty.
As Frank and Charlie fight for what they believe in, they also try to resist their powerful connection. The future is unclear, but when danger surrounds them, they are each other’s only anchor.
Frank watched Charlie intently.
That name was for a young girl, not for a woman like her.
To him, she was all Charlotte. Confident, virile, elegant, intoxicating. A vixen who turned a man on with one sultry glance and then brought him to his knees with one heady taste of her. He hated calling her by such the tomboy-ish name everyone else called her.
Others didn’t see what he did. Which was a good thing, too; he didn’t want her sharing that part of herself with anyone else. Especially not with this Numbnuts Neal that Jonas had told him about last night. Another guy was sniffing around his lady, and he didn’t like it. Not one fucking little sliver.
“So.” Charlotte interrupted his thoughts. He’d deal with Numbnuts later. “Tell me”—she shoved the file aside—“in your own words, everything my brother has allegedly done. And sugarcoat nothing on my behalf. I’ll read the report later.”
There was the woman he cared for. The brook-no-argument heat in her eyes. Her deep, sea-blue gaze sliced deep and offered no mercy.
“Your brother actually went undercover five years ago. You knew he was changing jobs and would be out of the country for a long time. You told me that yourself, remember?” Charlotte nodded but said nothing. “Through my contacts and the agent in charge of the case, it’s been almost eighteen months since his handler’s spoken to him.”
Her eyes widened and she shifted, but remained silent.
“I tracked him down in the most desolate area of Tel Aviv and to a branch in a drug cartel he’d started investigating years ago. The minute details are in the file, but to make a long story short, I got too close. Breached a compound to look for evidence of your brother being there and anything else I could use in the case.” He ran a hand down his face, the skin itchy from not having shaved in days. “Only sparse personnel were to be on the grounds, less eyes watching, but the Intel I got had been wrong. Before I knew what was happening, I was getting shot at from every direction.”
“So Sean might not be the one who shot you.” Her eyes were eager, hopeful. Of course she’d latch on to the fact multiple bullets were aimed at him.
He shook his head, wishing he could answer her pleas. “I managed through the worst of it and found my way to an empty garage where I ran into your brother. And before you ask, yes, I am certain it was him. He appeared confused at first, then said, ‘Charlie’s Frank?’ So he knew who I was. Then voices and more gunfire rang out and coming toward us. Before I could react to anything, he suddenly raised his gun and shot me.” Frank rubbed his wound, still surprised he’d survived. The doctors had said a couple inches left or right, depending on travel of the bullet and bone fragment concerns, and surgery wouldn’t have been an option either.
“How’d you get out of there?” He hoped the concern in her eyes was true and for him, not just her brother.
“One of the other agents with me pulled up in a jeep. I ran out as fast as possible, and he hauled our asses out of there.”
Charlotte scoffed. “Okay Rambo-slash-John McClane, you still watch too many action films. Unless I hear it from Sean, I won’t believe he’d shoot you for no reason.”
She’d always been pigheaded, but Frank couldn’t believe she’d question it. “What reason would I have to lie to you? Hell, Charlo—ie, I latched on to the case to prove his innocence.”
“Why? Why did you want to get involved? You left Vikki and high-tailed it on the first plane out with barely any notice. You didn’t tell me much before you left. And you were on your way to partnering up with Gavin and Marc with the security stuff. But you dropped everything and left. Why was Sean’s case that important to you?”
“For you!” he bellowed, confused why she didn’t see that. “He is your brother, Gavin’s best friend, and I’d have access to the whole case to help him.”
“Don’t pretend that you were doing me any favors. I never asked you to get involved, Frank.”
“Well, of course not,” he growled low. “You’d never have found out any of it if I had my way. I was hoping to get Sean out of trouble and bring him home to you. But you overheard Gavin and I talking before I left. And as far as leaving Vikki, she and I discussed it. She needed space and was only too eager to see me go. She didn’t need my hovering at that point and wanted to stand on her own, or try to. Gavin watched over her for me.” He smiled. “You all did, and I appreciate it very much.”
“We’ve become great friends.” He loved the way Charlotte’s eyes softened as she talked about his cousin. “It is an honest friendship. And it has nothing to do with you.”
Months had turned her hard, distant. He only had himself to blame. They hadn’t left things on a positive note, but he’d hoped she’d understand one day.
Hell, he’d foolishly hoped that she would come to appreciate having him on Sean’s case rather than a stranger. Their personal relationship aside, he assumed she’d trust the agent he was, and how long and hard he’d continued searching for Vikki. What other proof did she need to trust him?
How wrong he’d been.
“I don’t want to think about Sean doing this.” The worry on her face tore at his heart. “Was he undercover too long? Is that a reason people believe he’s capable of such violence?”
“There are many cops and agents that have gone so far undercover they get caught up in the lifestyle and it’s impossible to find their way back.” Sadness crept across her face. “Sorry, Charlie, that’s as honest as it gets.”
“None of this makes sense.” She stood and piled paperwork on the file cabinet. “It goes against who Sean is, and not who Norris raised. I can’t wrap my head around it. My brother isn’t a monster.”
Her voice broke, breaking his heart in the process. Frank stood and crossed the room, then rested his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry, hon. I know you’re scared, and I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
Charlotte turned, surprising him, and burrowed her face in his chest. Sobs tore from her, shaking her strong yet delicate frame. He wrapped her in his arms, resting his cheek on her head, and let her cry.
It had been so long—too long—since he’d inhaled her sweet scent of fruity shampoo and the coconut butter body wash she used every day. He’d barely made it through any meal that served any of the combinations, the memories of her too fervent to let him eat in peace. Soft, warm, and the tranquility that came to him whenever he held her close were all potently his Charlotte.
Home. Being this close to her again was like coming home. But he wasn’t a man looking for one place to settle down. And it puzzled him why he returned time and time again.
You know exactly why. You have an addiction, buddy. And she’s in your arms right now.
Yes, he supposed his conscience was trying to tell him something, but it was wrong. He kept returning here because of his friends, the security business. But Charlotte pulled him back in like a reel catching a fish every single time.
“No. Fuck no.” Her high-pitched squeal surprised him. He fell back on his feet, shocked at her strength to shove him so hard.
“Shut up. No. Damn it.” She glared at him, fists tight. “Get out. Don’t coddle me. Don’t console me. You won’t use me. Get. Out.”
“Use you? Coddle you?” He huffed. “You turned to me,” he yelled, frustration gnawing at him.
“Guess I’m an idiot, but I won’t fall for it. I won’t let you close enough to betray my brother. If I even hear from him again.” Her chest heaved and sweat dotted her forehead and cheeks. Frank had never seen her so out of control, seething and yet so stunning. How ferocious she was in battle.
Frank’s head whipped around to the intruding voice in the doorway.
“Charlie, are you all right?”
“We’re having a private conversation. Get lost, buddy.”
“Shut up, Frank. Come on in, Neal. He and I are finished.”
So this was Numbnuts Neal. Dark hair, squinty eyes, tanned skin. Dressed to the nines in a suit and tie, with a cute little handkerchief in his breast pocket, and a pair of round glasses in his right hand. Jesus, what a nerd. Frank wanted to pick him up and chuck him back out into the hallway.
“I, um, just came to see if you wanted to catch up. Maybe dinner?” Numbnuts eyed Frank with caution. Good. Frank wanted the guy scared shitless of him.
But the little prick stepped forward and extended his hand to shake.
Frank eyed the small limb with the urge to break it but wanting to be an adult.
“Oh, for cripes sake,” Charlotte groused. “Neal Simmons, Frank Shaw. And vice versa. Whatever.” She pushed a pile of folders into a shoulder bag then her phone and grabbed another smaller bag she slid under her arm. “I’ll call you later, Neal. I need a time out.”
“Hey, wait a second,” Frank called out, following her into the hall.
“No, I’m done here. I can’t do this right now.” She turned and rushed away.
Frank watched, jaw clenched. Anger and frustration filled him as Charlotte and Numbnuts disappeared. He strode back into her office for his cell phone he’d set on her desk earlier. Frank eyed the landline phone sitting there.
After extracting a small case from the front pocket of his pants, he opened it and pulled out the tiny device and lifted the dial-phone. He placed the electronic bug underneath it and set it back down.
If Sean contacted his sister, this would be one number he might call. As much as Frank disliked going behind her back like this, he had a job to do. No matter how much he cared about her, he’d do whatever it took to bring bad guys in. He wasn’t bred any other way.
Where To Buy
About Kacey Hammell
Avid Reader. Romance Author. Redhead…
Canadian-born author Kacey Hammell is definitely a book-a-holic. A romance reader from a young age, she fell in love with happily ever afters. These days, as a multi- published erotic romance author, she enjoys adding a lot of heat, sass, and emotion to the many genres she writes.
Mom of three, Kacey lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada.
Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, angels! Today I’m featuring Kacey Hammell and her delicious new May/December romance Cover Me. Take it away, Kacey!
Thank you so much for sharing my new release with your readers! I hope everyone enjoys the story as much as I did writing it.
Jay Savage is one of the most sought after models in the business who seems to have it all. He’s the face of romance novel covers from coast to coast, and has expanded his brand to an executive role. Despite the endless possibilities in his life, Jay doesn’t have the one woman he wants most. She is everything he needs, and everything he can’t have. Their age difference isn’t the only obstacle standing in the way of convincing her they were made for one another. Leanne is also his best friend’s mom.
On Nita Lake to celebrate the marriage of her son, Leanne Hogan is faced with the most delicious temptation she’s ever encountered. Their smoldering heat burns down her defenses, and Leanne finds herself giving in to the only man who tempts her banked desires. They shouldn’t work. Can’t work. So why does it feel so right when she’s in his arms?
Leanne finished tying the strap of her bikini top, stomach rioting with butterflies, a permanent grin on her face.
Oh, you besotted fool. Chill the fuck out.
In the bathroom mirror, she scrutinized the red bikini and the small stretch marks across her tummy that she still loved because they reminded her of Beau. She cringed at the darker and more prevalent marks across her hips and over her ass. Not the perfect markings a man might want his lover to have.
What the hell. Jay hadn’t minded them last night, and she didn’t want to dwell on them now. He’d promised lighthearted fun and having a good time. Those were two things she needed in her life right now. Thoughts of tomorrow, a week away or six months down the road, weren’t to be discussed or pondered. The here and now was what mattered.
And what woman in their right mind wouldn’t love to have one of the hottest and sexiest models on her arm wherever she went? Leanne laughed, a foreign sound to her, but happiness bloomed inside her.
After admiring herself once more, she turned the doorknob and strode into the living room. Jay’s eyes lit up seeing her. Her breath caught in her throat as his gaze darkened and heat arced its way through the air, surrounding her. Body tingling, she lifted the sundress in her hands and drew it over her head. While she didn’t mind his eyes following her, or lounging on a beach, there was no way she’d stroll through the hotel on full display for everyone to see.
“Damn, had to cover that glorious skin, didn’t you?” Jay wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her lips.
“The hotel guests won’t want to see me half-naked, thank you very much.” She grinned up at him, her fingers brushing his chin. “As much as I love you looking at me, I’m not that adventurous.”
“Hm.” He hauled her in tight. So tight, the hardness in his shorts poked against her. She smiled, thrilled she had such an effect on him. “Yes. Good idea. But my reasons are selfish. I don’t want other men setting eyes on your hot bod.” He slid his hands down her spine and cupped her ass. “I claim it as all mine.”
She kissed his chin, loving the fun and his sexy words, then stepped back. “Well, a man has never claimed me like that. I kinda love it.” She winked, grabbed her shoulder bag off the hook, and strode to the door.
Jay followed close behind. He slung an arm over her shoulder as they walked to the elevator and kissed her cheek. “I need to stop in my room, change, and grab beach stuff.”
Leanne pressed the down button and nodded. “Why don’t I meet you in the lobby? I’d like to grab water and snacks, unless you need a huge breakfast? Or a few snacks from the kitchen?”
He led her into the elevator when the doors opened and pressed the button for the third floor. “Sounds great. I shouldn’t be long. Just make sure you’re waiting for me, woman.”
Leanne snickered as he backed her into the wall and crowded against her. Her nipples tightened behind her bathing suit, and it almost hurt to breathe. It was as if her body were on fire, stoked and raring to go, and his touch was nearly too much while it soothed her deep.
“I’ll definitely be waiting for you,” she said breathlessly.
Jay groaned and lowered his head to claim her lips. She gripped his biceps as he took her into the decadent abyss of his taste and passion. As though they’d never spent last night making love, her body strained against his; she was more than eager to be with him again. The image of her climbing his body with her legs, settling around his hips, invaded her thoughts.
Leanne clutched his shirt in her fists, desperate to keep him this close as he swirled his tongue inside her mouth, giving all his passion to her. The walls of her pussy clenched. Maybe they should go back to her room for a few hours. Urgency filled her and made her want to sate herself in everything he had to give. Who was she kidding? Even a few hours wouldn’t be enough to satisfy her.
He lifted his head, his breathing deep as he laid his forehead against the wall beside hers. “Jesus, woman, you’re going to fucking kill me. My cock’s so hard, I swear these shorts just grew two sizes too small.”
As if to convince her, his hips shifted, and the length of his dick was very noticeable.
The ding of the elevator rang loud in her ears, and Jay drew away.
He opened both arms, holding the doors apart. His lips red and swollen, he was mussed like a man well loved. Leanne grinned at him.
“Don’t look so pleased with yourself.”
She winked and glanced down at the tent in front of his shorts, then licked her lips.
Where to Buy
About the Author
Canadian-born author Kacey Hammell is definitely a book-a-holic. A romance reader from a young age, she fell in love with happily ever afters. These days, as a multi- published erotic romance author, she enjoys adding a lot of heat, sass, and emotion to the many genres she writes.
Mom of three, Kacey lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada.
Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, angels! Today I’m featuring Shari Elder and her new SF romance Race to Redemption. Take it away, Shari!
Thank you so much for hosting me. I’m thrilled to be here and have the chance to share my story. Race to Redemption (Green Rising Book #1) is science fiction romance jam-packed with action, one panty-melting hero, sexy alien races, and a kickass heroine. In the story, a pilot and a doctor race across the desert to prevent a deadly plague while fighting the pull of their own hearts.
Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all – fame, wealth, men – until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet.
A man desperate for redemption.
Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine and flames his body to ash.
A planet at risk.
When the outpost is attached, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon As a fragile trust blossoms between two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.
Elaina and Fintarl transferred the meds from the craft to the supply hut. This was her last stop today. Her routes varied daily her first month on the job. Someone was either trying to ramp up her knowledge of the terrain and facilities quickly, or prevent her from finding out too much. The collections of mysteries and snippets of information she’d gathered made her head hurt. All she wanted was a bath to wash away the stink of too much desert driving and a nap to give her mind a few minutes to turn off. Fintarl’s toothy scowl warned her that wasn’t on the agenda.
“Boss man. Want.”
She raised an eyebrow at the Ranharran and took a deep breath before heading to Erik’s office. He kept their exchanges to a minimum during her regular drop-offs at this facility. She was getting under his skin, she knew it. A meeting had to mean she pissed him off somehow. Good. It gave her another opportunity to ramp up the heat. Anger was close enough to lust to wedge open a door.
Shoulders pulled back, head high, she barged into his office. She’d always been good at bravado and she liked to keep him off balance. “Hey farm boy, you wanted me?” She flashed him a flippant smile to push the double entendre right into his face, and all she got was a grimace in return.
I’m only getting started, Dr. Johansen.
Settled on the mud blocks that passed for seats, she arced her back to offer up breasts wrapped to perfection in a tight white tank. The perspiration worked in her favor. It molded the top around her so she was as good as naked, maybe better. Her bare legs, firmed by countless hours in the gym, crossed in front to put all that toned flesh on center stage. Take a good long look, boss man.
Days of beard growth and a rumpled shirt signaled erratic hours and insufficient sleep. It seemed to have gotten worse since the last time she’d seen him. Was it only days ago? The world of secrets and hurt he dragged around on his shoulders was devouring him from the inside out. Why he avoided her when he could benefit from the physical release she offered confused her. He didn’t even have to like her to screw her. Still, he stayed away.
Erik pushed his too-long hair off his face with one hand and a package across his desk toward her with the other. The flicker of lust that darkened his eyes when she ran her hand from breast to thigh, he quickly buried. Droplets of sweat glistened along the carved muscle of his forearms. A tattoo—a yellow sphere sitting on a black line encased in a blue circle—peaked out from his shirtsleeve. Like Saskia. How odd.
“One of my better ideas, yes?”
“Ms. Carter.” Stiff formality. “On the job for a month and you’re already messing with the medical packaging? Until you show me a pharmacology degree, don’t do it again.”
“Seriously, Erik? It’s the Ranharran equivalent of string and paper. No harm done to the medicine, and I can increase the load by thirty percent. The more I move the better for everyone.”
“You’re missing the point.” He enunciated each word like it hurt to say. “The meds are volatile. Any shift, no matter how small… Damn it, Lainie, do you have any idea how dangerous this stuff is? You could get someone killed.”
“I’m trying to save lives.” Her eyes closed, she swallowed hard, trying to keep her frustration from spilling out. A raised voice wouldn’t get her very far. She already tried that. “I don’t get you, Erik. This compound is thirty miles from the Karas border. Your medical supply closet’s always running on empty, the transportation infrastructure on this planet is deteriorating and rumors that the Den Vedran Corporations are arming the Ranharran mercenaries are escalating. With unpredictable storms that can close transit corridors at any time, I’d think you’d welcome ways to move more medicine.”
His faced blanched at one point through her tirade, but was now back to its normal grim. “Not. The. Point. I won’t have my orders questioned by anyone. Without some discipline, I can’t ensure the safety of everyone under my protection. I’ll make it easy. Don’t tamper with my meds, or I’ll get a different pilot.” His lips thinned so tight they trembled. She wanted to kiss them calm after she beat him with a stick.
“You don’t want to get rid of me. Whose face would you use for target practice?” Her voice lowered, forcing him to lean closer. “And whose body would you think about when you jack off in those late hours when you’re crawling for relief?” She was guessing, but the way he struggled to suppress those flashes of longing when she got close to him convinced her she was on the mark.
“You’re trying to annoy me. Okay, it worked. No tampering, no arguments. Meeting over.” He ran his hands through his hair and pulled at the roots. His eyes looked haunted and decades older than his thirty-six years.
This was not about packaging or her rule-breaking proclivities. Whatever he kept sealed down tight was driving him to an early grave. Without thinking, she leaned over the desk and traced a finger along a blond eyebrow. He recoiled like he always did when she touched him.
“Yes, I do it to piss you off. You’re wound up so tight, farm boy, you’re going to snap.” Her finger slid down his cheek to his chin. “Let me in, Erik. I could help you reduce all that tension, but you stay so far away. So I poke.”
She pressed her breast against his arm to make her offer clear. “No commitment required. Just two people trying to get through the long, lonely nights.”
He pulled back. “I said we’re done here.”
She swallowed her anger and flipped him a bow. “Your highness. I’ll visit Sen and Qirta before I head back to Mendasa.”
Sen’s favorite treat were hidden in a secret pocket in her bag. What Erik didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
Where to Buy
About Shari Elder
Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.
At night, the other Shari emerges. I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination). As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.
In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction.
Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.