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Wicked Wednesday Reads: Bomber’s Moon

Oh, look — it’s Wednesday, which means you need a little something extra to help you over Hump Day. Never fear, for today I’m here with Raven McAllan’s amazing new historical erotic romance Bomber’s Moon, now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of erotic romance. Take it away, Raven!

I never thought, as a child and asking my mum, dad, gran (known as nan) and aunts to ‘tell me a story about the war’, that all these years later, I’d still remember those stories and use them as the basis for a book.

I’m so glad I did.

When I first had the idea for Bombers Moon, I just knew it would be set in Northamptonshire, where my mum as a teen was evacuated to, with her employment.

As much as the idea of a book set in London, in the blitz intrigued me, all mum ever said was ‘it was scary, noisy and as your granddad worked for the railways we got out own railway employees and families tube station to hide in’.

Then I remembered the tales of Northamptonshire. Of being locked out, getting stuck up a wall, although not knickerless—well I don’t think so *wink*. How they used charcoal or gravy browning to put ‘stocking seams’ up their legs, and bought wooden clogs and clacked around the draughty old stone-floored manor house they lived and worked in. The older ladies who worked with them, got so sick of the racket, they clubbed together and bought my mum and her friend a pair of slippers each.

My aunt went out with a Yank (as all American service men evidently were called), another relative fell off her bike and was rescued by a farmer, and evidently mum did dance with the local lord of the manor.

Thus, Bombers Moon was born.


RavenMcAllanBombersMoonWho gets caught by the man of her dreams bare-assed and halfway up a wall? Lady Chrissie Stride, of course.

It’s just her luck that she encounters Baronet Archie Duggan. On top of that, the house her London employers requisitioned to keep its staff safe from The Blitz is locked. Climbing the wall seemed like a good idea, until Archie turns up. At least he doesn’t seem to know it’s her.

Archie recognizes Chrissie almost immediately. He never expected to meet her again in deepest Northamptonshire. This time around he is determined to claim the woman he loved and lost. With the war on, priorities change, and love is too important to conform to niceties.

Will the star-crossed lovers finally find their happily ever after?

Story Excerpt

Chrissie gulped. He was big—everywhere. She looked downward, her vision drawn to his long thick cock, which stood out proudly from its nest of hair. She averted her eyes from the crisscross of scars on his leg and arm. Those she understood, he neither wanted to think or talk about just then.

And that’s going to fit in my daffodil? The euphemism used by so many of her friends seemed silly now, but there was no way she could use the words she heard bandied about so freely in the pub or by the older women at work.

Honey pot! That’s it. Merle’s expression came to her. My honey pot! Or Pussy. Okay I can live with that, but…cu… She couldn’t even think the word.

She looked at his body with frank regard. Who knew if she’d ever get a chance to see him like this again? Out of the corner of her eyes she saw the scars on his leg and arm were still red, angry-looking and pronounced. She bit her lips to stop her moan escaping and held back tears. It was hard not to cry for all he and thousands of others had been through and were still going through. But yet again, her eyes were drawn in one direction. His massive erection stood out stiff and proud. Chrissie gulped, her earlier fears resurfacing. That would really fit inside her? Oh, my.

Archie correctly read her expression. “Not only fit, but a perfect fit,” he assured her. “With room to move. Come and lie down here.” He walked to the bed and rolled back the sheet and blankets before kneeling awkwardly in front of her. “Hold on a sec, something needs doing first.”

It was on the tip of Chrissie’s tongue to tell him she’d do it, whatever it was, when it hit her that he didn’t want help or sympathy. He wanted to woo her. Her insides turned to mush. How perfect.

“Think we’ll have these off as well. Can’t ruin nylons, can we?” He rolled them down before putting one hand behind her, unhooking her brassiere, and putting the clothing on a chair. The pressure that moving the straps down had put on her chest immediately lifted, as Archie ran his thumbs over the swell of her breasts, and chuckled.

“God almighty, Chrissie you are so bloody receptive for a virgin. It’s marvelous. I’m going to enjoy showing you what we can do together.” He pinched each nipple in turn and kissed the nape of her neck as he kneaded her breasts.

She could tell he’d had plenty of practice. Her pussy clenched at the unwelcome thought of him doing all these things with someone else.

Grow up. He’s almost thirty, and there’s a war on.

“Now, let me see. What have we here?” Once again he kissed one nipple, then the other. “Time to itemize I think. Two breasts perfect to fit my hands. Two nipples to suckle.” He moved his hands to let his fingers play with her clitoris, teasing her hairs, and her navel. “One cunt all for me.”

Chrissie blushed. Why could he say that with such insouciance and she not even think it? It must be a man thing. However, emboldened, Chrissie licked her lips, heard him groan and then reached out to touch Archie’s manhood. His skin was warm and soft and he jolted and moaned as she feathered her fingers over him. One step further than she’d ever taken. Only once had she dared rub him through his trousers, and his groan had her moving her hand in a hurry.

She mimicked his movements, kissed his nipples, and then, heartened by his response, bent double to put the tip of his penis in her mouth and taste the juices there. They were salty and thick. Chrissie rolled them over her tongue as she remembered a leaflet one of the girls at school found in her brother’s room and brought to class to show them. Crudely written and badly produced, the drawings had them all giggling and blushing for weeks. She wondered just how many of her peers had tried what it suggested. Chrissie moved and circled Archie’s tip with her tongue again.

I could get used to this. The more I do this, the bigger he gets. A thought crossed her mind. Would he get too big for her? It wasn’t a question she felt she could ask.

Archie groaned, and she tried to pull back, scared she was doing something wrong. “Hell, Chrissie, that’s so damned good, I’ll come,” he said in a strangled tone. “For the Lord’s sake, get onto the bed and give me a chance to get inside you.” He moved over her, his tip barely touching her curls.

“Archie, what if I don’t want to, you know…” She didn’t know how to put her fears into words, and flapped her and in the air like a demented owl flapping its wing. It was lucky he understood her incoherent beseeching.

“No problem, darling. I’ll come like a gentleman.” He indicated the towel laid in readiness beside him. And moved again, nearer and nearer, and waited. “Yes?”

Chrissie held her breath. This was it. “Oh yes.”

His cock twitched, and without conscious thought, Chrissie opened her legs wide, ready to welcome him. This was it. Soon she, Chrissie Stride, would no longer be sweet and innocent but a woman of the world.

There was a loud hammering on the farmhouse door.

“What the bloody hell?” Archie stopped mid movement. His position looked precarious as he kneeled half on and half off her.

A voice, gruff and urgent, was shouting.

“Mr. Archie, Mr. Archie. Come quick. The rick’s on fire!”

Saved by the bell, she thought hysterically as she watched Archie scramble into his clothes, his cock being most reluctant to be treated in such a way. Not that she’d wanted saving. In fact, she felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t right. She’d at least climaxed. Goodness knows how Archie felt, still unreleased so to speak.

Where to Buy

Evernight Publishing
All Romance eBooks
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Bookstrand

About Raven McAllan

Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.

Her very understanding, and long-suffering DH, is used to his questions unanswered, the dust bunnies greeting him as he walks through the door, and rescuing burned offerings from the Aga. (And passing her a glass of wine as she types furiously.)

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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15It’s Wednesday? Well, we all know what that means! Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, I’m sharing another teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my delightfully kinky historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. Here’s a flashback sequence where an 18-year-old Kat learns what her uncle’s Parisian friend Giselle really does.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

BtIC_coverNaNoDinner had been just as splendid as predicted, and Giselle had promised to take Katherine out at some point for tea and shopping. But Uncle William had run into some company owners at dinner and was inveigled into an impromptu business lunch the next day. Bart had slipped out of the hotel at a ridiculously early hour (or simply hadn’t come back in the first place, Katherine guessed). Her lady’s maid/chaperone Alice was pleasant enough (a huge improvement on the unfortunate Jane), but the poor woman was also a martyr to migraines. One of the dreadful headaches had struck just that morning, and Katherine had insisted that Alice go lie down in her room with a damp rag over her eyes until the dratted thing had run its course.

Which left Katherine at loose ends. She mused over the idea of visiting Notre Dame or the Louvre, but neither idea held much appeal. It wasn’t until she found one of Giselle’s letters in her trunk that a wonderful idea came to her.

It had been even easier than she’d thought. The doorman of the hotel had been more than happy to summon a large black taxi cab for her, giving the address in the ninth arrondissement to the crabbed driver. Feeling wonderfully daring, Katherine had made sure to tip the doorman, and the driver when he finally pulled up in front of the beautiful cream stone building with green shutters and black ironwork balconies full of greenery.

Surely visiting times in Paris didn’t differ that much from Bridgeport, Katherine reasoned as she went up to the large green door with its immaculate paint and gleaming brass trim. And Giselle had invited her out, after all. If the Parisian woman was otherwise occupied, the arrondissement’s collection of shops and galleries looked intriguing enough for an afternoon’s browse.

The door opened, revealing a maid in the classic black French uniform. She gave Katherine an oddly bold look, scrutinizing her from head to foot. “May I help you?”

“I’m here to see Madame Giselle, if she’s available.” Katherine held up the envelope with Giselle’s address on it in lieu of a calling card.

The maid smiled, her manner relaxing a bit. “You must be the new girl. Come in. But make sure you use the rear entrance from now on.”

Katherine frowned. The new girl?

Before she could say anything the maid stepped back, waving her through into a pretty little foyer tiled with a black and white chessboard floor and decorated with a huge arrangement of fresh flowers on a polished wooden table. The delicious scent of the flowers perfumed the air, but Katherine barely had time to appreciate it as the maid turned on her heel and headed up a flight of wide marble stairs. She had to hurry to keep up, grabbing her skirts as gracefully as possible and lifting them as she followed the maid to the second floor.

“Excuse me, I think I should explain—” Katherine tried to say as the maid stopped in front of a polished oak door.

“No need,” the maid said cheerfully. “Madame Giselle pays me very well. What happens here is no business of mine.”

Katherine tried to make sense of the words as the maid swung the door open, ushered Katherine into a little office that overlooked the boulevard. “Madame is busy with a client at the moment, but I’ll tell her you’re here as soon as they’re finished.” With a nod, she closed the door.

Boggled, Katherine turned in a circle to study the room. It held the unmistakable stamp of Giselle’s taste, from the comfortably upholstered green velvet chair behind the Louis XIV desk to the Tiffany lamps that would light the room at night. What it didn’t hold was an answer to the maid’s nonsensical phrases.

Madame is busy with a client. Katherine had assumed that Giselle, who always wore the most stylish gowns in a variety of greys and blacks, was a rich widow of one of Uncle William’s business partners. Now, however, she realized that she didn’t know very much about the elegant Parisian woman at all. Perhaps she teaches piano, or is a singing teacher. With Giselle’s warm honey voice, Katherine could easily imagine her as a retired opera singer who only took the most promising pupils. Did she think that we would look down on her for being an instructor? I can’t think of anything more wonderful and romantic than being an opera singer.

A muted sound, almost a cry, came from the far end of the office. Curious, Katherine headed there, studying the bookcases that lined the wall. After a moment she puzzled out that the central bookcase was actually a door painted to match the bookcases on either side. At eye level was a little circular flap attached to a small screw.

A brief touch revealed that the flap swiveled up, revealing a peephole. Katherine put her eye to it.

And gasped.


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

Guess what? I’m not posting anything from Behind the Iron Cross this week! I know, I know, but it’s because I’m deep in edits for Deep Water and I decided I wanted to mix things up a little bit. So here’s a tease from a WIP I’m calling Pharaoh’s Desire, in which hunky grad student Kellen Fox accidentally summons a time-traveling pharaoh and his queen and winds up being pressed into personal service between the pair. In this scene, Kel thinks he’s hallucinating, but Pharaoh Senekenre is about to set his mind straight (so to speak) about that.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Mid Week Tease button“I know this is going to be a weird question, but has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Pharaoh Senekenre?” Kel said.

The man smiled. “Well, yes, seeing as I am Pharaoh Senekenre.” His smile widened, becoming a thing of sexy delight. “Who did you think I was, young scholar?”

Kel found himself grinning back at the handsome man. “Well, a hallucination, to be honest. So you’re telling me you’re Senekenre. Fourteenth king of the 17th Dynasty. You’re a genuine Egyptian Pharaoh, and you’re standing in front of me. Alive.”

Something flickered in Sekenenre’s eyes, sharpening them. He gazed around the chamber, finally spotting the deconstructed bed, and went pale under the bronze tan. “Gods above and below,” he whispered. “It worked?”

“What worked?”

The pharaoh spun back to Kel. “Amhemet’s plan,” he said, fear and excitement warring in his expression. “Have I traveled to the future as he promised?”

Kel blinked. “Uh…”

“He said he would use his magic to send us to another time for a single night.” Senekenre stepped to the display case holding the hematite scarab, pressing his palm against the glass. “It was the only way to secure a future for my queen and myself. He said that when the right man found the spell and invoked it, the bridge would be formed, and we would be transported.”

The words hidden inside the scarab blazed through Kel’s mind. Amhemnet, first advisor to Pharaoh Senekenre, calls on you, O Ra. Help me build a bridge for Pharaoh and his Queen.

His brain blipped into neutral for a moment. “Wait. You’re telling me this Amhemnet guy used magic to send you to another time? To this time?” he managed.

“Yes, thanks to you. I take it you invoked the spell?”

“If you mean I read it out loud, yeah. I didn’t know it was a spell.” Swallowing hard, Kel forced himself to reach out and touch Senekenre’s arm. It was warm under his fingertips. “Oh, shit,” he whispered. “I’m not hallucinating. You’re real. You’re really here!”

“Yes, I know.” Senekenre came closer, stopping just a foot away from Kel. At this distance, Kel could see the dark five o’clock shadow under the other man’s tan skin, and Senekenre’s thick, sooty eyelashes. “You thought I was a dream, young scholar?”

“Uh, yeah.” The logical part of Kel’s brain screamed at him to step back, get the hell away from the exhibit space and its time-traveling visitor. The rest of his brain just wanted to ogle Senekenre’s broad shoulders, cut abs, and sleekly muscled legs. The man wasn’t bulked out like a gym rat, but he was definitely in prime condition. “I mean, we don’t get a lot of visitors from the 17th Dynasty, you know?” He winced at how idiotic he sounded. “I’m sorry. This is all a big shock to me. Could we start over again, sir? Sire? Your majesty?”

“Sire will do, young scholar.” Senekenre’s head tilted to one side, openly considering him. “But what land is this, that produces such beautiful men?”

Aaaand the long-dead pharaoh is flirting with me. Holy shit. Kel couldn’t remember anything in the research materials about Senekenre being gay or bi. But that didn’t make it impossible, either. His pulse sped up at the pharaoh’s jaw-droppingly sexy smile. “Uh, you’re in the United States of America, sire. It’s a country far to the west of your kingdom, across a large ocean. It didn’t exist in your time.”

“Oh. And are all the men here like you?” Senekenre said, stepping closer. He reached out to stroke the line of Kel’s jaw. “Such pure, smooth skin, and your hair, the color of a winter sunset. If you were of my time, I would make you a member of my court, simply so that I could look upon you every day.”

Kel licked dry lips, willing his cock to behave itself. “Just look?”

Senekenre smiled. “Hmm. Perhaps … kiss?” He leaned forward, brushing his soft full lips against Kel’s.

Oh, holy God, yes. Kel relaxed, letting himself sink into the kiss. The pharaoh’s lips were masculine, but full and very warm. Senekenre’s tongue slipped between his lips and he met it eagerly, licking and teasing. Senekenre devoured him in return, sending shocks of need along Kel’s nerves and straight to his groin. His arms slid around the pharaoh’s waist, fingers playing along the hard, ridged small of Senekenre’s back.

They both pulled back at the same time, panting and grinning. “Wow,” Kel said. “If that’s how royals kiss, I can understand the interest in William and Harry.”

“Who?”

“Never mind.” He dove back in, sucking one firm, full lip between his own, then the other. The pharaoh chuckled against his mouth, tongue darting in and out in an achingly sensual tease. One hand came to rest on Kel’s chest, then trailed down his body, brushing against his hardening cock.

Kel gasped softly, twitching. “Oh.”

Senekenre made an approving noise. “You like that, I take it?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Good. I have never seen this type of clothing before. How does it come off?”


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15It’s Wednesday? Well, we all know what that means! Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, I’m sharing another teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my delightfully kinky historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. Yay — sex!

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

BtIC_coverNaNoThe Fräulein wiggled past him and sat, hands resting on the chair arms. She’d taken off her tailored suit in the bathroom, and was only wearing a grey silk chemise now. He could smell her perfume and the scent of her skin, and a hint of something warmer, more intoxicating underneath.

She peered down at him, bistre eyes revealing nothing. “Have you ever kissed a woman between her legs, colonel?”

The idea was dizzying. “No,” he confessed.

“Good. I can teach you the proper way to do it, then.” Her hands moved to her lap, sliding the grey silk up her thighs in a slow, teasing movement, like a curtain rising. His mouth went dry when he saw the tops of her stockings and the black satin garters revealed, and then the dark curls he’d fantasized about.

She spread her thighs, revealing the glistening flesh there. The warm scent intensified, wafting into his brain and lighting it up with desire. “Isn’t it pretty?” she murmured, running a slender finger down and up the dark pink lips, catching on the tiny nub that crowned them. She rolled her fingertip around it, humming at the sensation. “Oh, that feels so nice. I want you to kiss me here, on my clit.”

She eased closer and he stretched until he could feel her heat on his lips, smell that rich, earthy scent that was the core of a woman. Hesitantly, he brushed a kiss over the tiny nub, catching it between his lips a little and dragging them across it. A louder hum was his reward.

“Do that again,” she purred, “then lick it.”

He followed her orders, surprised at the salt-sweet flavor of her. He tried running the flat of his tongue across the nub, flicking it with the tip of his tongue. This time, she gasped.

“Initiative. I like that,” she laughed. The instructions continued; mouth the supple outer lips, tease the delicate frilled inner lips with little sucking nibbles, slip his tongue deep inside her and press hard against the upper wall. He did it all, feeling his face grow wet with her juices as he licked, sucked, and kissed her.

He returned to her clit, stroking it now with his tongue and listening to her little encouraging whimpers and moans. He almost gasped into her when a warm, wet finger stroked between the cheeks of his ass, carefully pressing against the furled muscle there until it was allowed in.


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, I’m sharing another teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my delightfully kinky historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. There’s no sex in this one, but we do get to see a peek into Kat’s kinky past.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

MWTease15In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

Kat leaned back in her chair, keeping her expression as bland as any of the men seated around the table. Inside, though, she was triumphant.

The meeting with Tracy Electrics’ latest acquisition, Borchard Maschinenfabrik, had gone like clockwork. The company’s board, none of them fools, had seen the wisdom of accepting the buyout proposal that would save their crumbling company. One of them, a Heinrich Arnö, wasn’t present but the other members assured her that his vote would be the same as theirs.

Next to her, Arthur made a few last notes in his files, before closing the folder with a snap. “We’ll have the papers drawn up and messengered over to your office this afternoon, gentlemen,” he announced, getting to his feet. “Tracy Electrics looks forward to working with your company.”

The other men followed him with some alacrity, and Kat made sure that she was the last to rise. She’d taken the colonel’s advice this morning, selecting a smart jacket in a quasi-military cut this morning and pairing it with an equally smart dress in dark grey. The reaction from the board members had been subtle but noticeable, reacting less to her as a woman and more as a potential business partner.

Even Arthur had given her a thin, approving smile when he saw her, and now he leaned closer as the other men moved out of the conference room. “I hope you have more outfits like this one,” he murmured.

She pursed her lips to hide a smile. “I will by tomorrow.”

“Good. Not that I don’t like your other frocks, but this one is more…”

“Authoritative?”

“Very much so.”

The board members who had filed out of the conference room ahead of them were gathered in groups of two and three, quietly talking amongst themselves. Kat gave them polite nods as she and Arthur passed. Ahead of her, flanked by two of the older board members, she spotted a tall, handsome man in his late forties. Grey streaked his temples, giving him a wonderful gravitas that was tempered by the amused gleam in his hazel eyes.

They focused on her now, widening. “Fräulein…Tracy?” he said, stumbling a bit over her last name.

Kat’s heart leapt as she recognized him. Heinrich, her first pet, from that wonderful week in Paris when Madame Giselle had helped her explore her desires. One week of rigorous, intense, absolutely delicious training in the art of dominating a man, before Uncle William had spoiled it all and whisked her back to Bridgeport.

It was hardly surprising that Heinrich had hesitated on the Tracy. The last time they met, he’d known her only as Maîtresse. And to be honest, she wasn’t even sure if Heinrich was his real first name, either.

Taking a deep breath, she came forward. “I am. And you are?”

He gave her a little bow. “Heinrich Arnö, fräulein. You have my apologies for missing the meeting. My auto decided to pick this morning to be recalcitrant, and then there was an accident that required my driver to reroute us along a rather convoluted path.”

“Quite understandable, Herr Arnö.” She forced herself to calm, to treat the man standing before her as if he was yet another business partner. “We’ve concluded our business and will be sending the acquisition papers to your headquarters this afternoon. The other board members gave us the impression that you would be in agreement about this.”

Heinrich’s gaze sharpened, but never lost their humor. “Quite so. I’m not so foolish as to pretend that we don’t need Tracy Electrics.”

The double meaning of his words weren’t lost on her. “It will be Tracy Electrics’ honor to work with your company and help restore it to its former capacity,” she said sweetly. “Would you care to review the agreement while you’re here?”

“If that wouldn’t be too much of a bother.”

“Not at all. Arthur, I’ll speak to Mr. Arnö in the conference room.”

“Of course, Miss Tracy. I’ll have Horst bring the car around,” Arthur said, handing her his files with full deference. His body language said something else again.

Folder in hand, she waited for Heinrich to open the conference door for her. As soon as it was safely closed she leaned against the large oak table, considering him. “So Heinrich really is your first name?”

“Yes it is, Maîtresse.” He clasped his hands behind his back as she’d taught him in Paris so long ago. “I apologize for not kneeling, but there’s no lock on the door.”

“That’s all right. I have no wish to embarrass you. The years have been good to you, pet.”

Color rose in his cheeks, and his eyes twinkled. “They haven’t done a thing to you except enhance your beauty, Maîtresse. I’m very happy to see you again.”

“I’m happy to see you as well.” The thing that had pricked her conscience for so many years surfaced. “Did Madame Giselle explain why I left so suddenly?”

He sobered. “She said it was a family issue and you wouldn’t be able to return to Paris. I was…disappointed. But she said you’d had no choice in the matter.”

“I didn’t. But I apologize anyway. If it had been up to me I wouldn’t have left you like that with no word of explanation.” She moved closer, holding out one hand. He took it with reverence, bringing it to his mouth and laying a respectful kiss over the knuckles.


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

Mid Week Tease buttonCourtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, I’m sharing another teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my rather dark and delicious historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. This teaser takes place during a masked ball with a Roman orgy theme, as Friedrich learns he’s been played for a patsy by his former commanding officer Hauptmann.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

BtIC_coverNaNoFriedrich glanced into the grotto, then did a double-take. Inside, dressed in a Roman toga that Caesar himself would envy, was Hauptmann, sitting next to the American businessman. They laughed over drinks, all the while caressing what he could only assume were three whores dressed in flimsy tunics and vaguely Roman hairstyles, all piled curls and wrapped ribbons.

“Come on.”

He felt Sam’s hand on his arm and let himself be tugged away, back to their grotto. Sam plopped down next to the Fräulein, managing not to spill a drop of their drinks. “Guess who’s here tonight?” he said.

She rolled her eyes. “Darling, half of Berlin is here tonight. You’re going to have to be a bit more specific.”

“You’re right. Guess who’s here tonight whose head you’d really like to see on a pike?”

Her expression dimmed. “Brayburn?”

Sam grimaced. “The one and only. Looks like he’s entertaining, too. Some big blond with one of those military mustaches.”

The Fräulein put down her drink. “Going grey at the temples?” she asked. “With a small scar on his right cheek?”

“Yes, that’s the man,” Sam said, puzzled. “You know him?”

She shook her head. “Arthur warned me about him,” she said. “His name is Gerhard Hauptmann. He was a German army general until he got cashiered for almost beating a corporal to death. According to Arthur, he’s become quite the eminence grise for the Black Arrow — taught them military tactics for fighting the other gangs, how to rig an ambush, things like that.”

And just like that, time stopped, trapping Friedrich in a clear block of ice that froze him to the marrow. The Black Arrow, the gang that Oskar had worked for. The one that had killed Oskar, raped Lilli, caused Rudi’s premature birth.

His stomach turned over. And he had been working for them through the good graces of former General Gerhard Hauptmann. Oh, Christ, no. Please, no.

He dredged up saliva, make himself ask, “How long has Hauptmann worked for the Black Arrow?”

The Fräulein glanced at him. “For well over a year, now, according to Arthur. Brayburn supposedly hired him as a sort of local guide, but Arthur thinks Hauptmann’s been using his gang connections to bully various executives into signing their companies over to Brayburn.”

Friedrich realized he’d folded his fingers around the edge of the tiny table, gripping it until his knuckles whitened. The Fräulein’s warm hand covered one of his, bringing him back. “Colonel, what’s wrong? Do you know this man?”

His emotions were a whirlwind, impossible to explain and colored now with a rising red film of purest rage. He shook his head, sucking in a deep breath. “I — please excuse me, Fräulein.”

He stood and lurched out of the grotto, ignoring their questions. Fury pounded in his head, driving him through the decadent crowd. He wanted to find Hauptmann, strangle the traitorous bastard with his own hands, rip his throat out of what he’d done to Oskar and Lilli. What he’d persuaded Friedrich to do.

Oh, you stupid bastard. And you believed him, and you gave him everything he wanted.

As he approached the Brayburn grotto, he could only see the American businessman and his whores lounging on the purple couches there. Friedrich turned, pushing through the heaving throng, scanning for his prey. Ahead, he saw a familiar head disappear into a door labeled HERREN.

He followed.


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

Okay, I’m back from Sarasota and ready to write! Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, I’m sharing another teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my delightfully kinky historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. Since last week’s teaser was an encounter between Sam and Friedrich, I thought I’d tease you this week with Friedrich and his Fräulein.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

MWTease15In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

The Fräulein wiggled past him and sat, hands resting on the chair arms. She’d taken off her tailored suit in the bathroom, and was only wearing a grey silk chemise now. He could smell her perfume and the scent of her skin, and a hint of something warmer, more intoxicating underneath.

She peered down at him, bistre eyes revealing nothing. “Have you ever kissed a woman between her legs, colonel?”

The idea was dizzying. He’d watched the Italian dancer performing this service for the Fräulein and had wondered how it tasted, smelled, felt. “No,” he confessed.

“Good. I can teach you the proper way to do it, then.” Her hands moved to her lap, sliding the grey silk up her thighs in a slow, teasing movement, like a curtain rising. His mouth went dry when he saw the tops of her stockings and the black satin garters revealed, and then the dark curls he’d fantasized about.

She spread her thighs, revealing the glistening flesh there. The warm scent intensified, wafting into his brain and lighting it up with desire. “Isn’t it pretty?” she murmured, running a slender finger down and up the dark pink lips, catching on the tiny nub that crowned them. She rolled her fingertip around it, humming at the sensation. “Oh, that feels so nice. I want you to kiss me here, on my clit.”

She eased closer and he stretched until he could feel her heat on his lips, smell that rich, earthy scent that was the core of a woman. Hesitantly, he brushed a kiss over her clit, catching it between his lips a little and dragging them across it. A louder hum was his reward.

“Do that again,” she purred, “then lick it.”

He followed orders, surprised at the salt-sweet flavor of her. He tried running the flat of his tongue across the small nub, flicking it with the tip of his tongue. This time, she gasped.

“Initiative. I like that,” she laughed. The instructions continued; mouth the supple outer lips, tease the delicate frilled inner lips with little sucking nibbles, slip his tongue deep inside her and press hard against the upper wall. He did it all, feeling his face grow wet with her juices as he licked, sucked, and kissed her.

He returned to her clit, stroking it now with his tongue and listening to her little encouraging whimpers and moans. He almost gasped into her when a warm, wet finger stroked between the cheeks of his ass, carefully pressing against the furled entrance until it was allowed in.


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

Mid Week Tease buttonHappy Hump Day from the now-sweltering clavicle of Texas! Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, I’m sharing another teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my delightfully kinky historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. This teaser takes place after an unexpected meal reveals some truths between Sam and Friedrich.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

BtIC_coverNaNoPaying for the meal, leaving the restaurant, and summoning a taxi was a blur. They stumbled into the Adlon, barely able to stay apart in the elevator. The moment the suite door closed behind them Sam threw his cane to the floor and lunged at Friedrich, pushing him back against the elegant panel door and devouring his lips.

Friedrich didn’t so much yield to Sam’s assault as meet it head-on, tongues battling with each other while they yanked blindly at buttons and buckles. Sam slid a greedy hand into the German’s open trousers, finding hardening flesh and squeezing it. Friedrich moaned under his mouth, thrusting blindly into his grip.

Sam tore his mouth away and panted. “Hands over your head,” he ordered.

Something lit in those blue eyes as Friedrich obeyed, crossing his wrists and splaying his fingers against the paneled wood. For a moment Sam saw the appeal in Kat’s games of dominance and submission.

He locked his free hand around Friedrich’s wrists, holding them tight. “It’s just us now,” he breathed, loosening his grip on Friedrich’s cock and tracing along the veins and ridges. The German made low, hungry sounds, his hips bucking at each teasing caress. “I know what you want from me. I’ll give it all to you, I swear.”

Friedrich sucked in a stuttering breath. “I don’t know what I want.”

Sam kissed him again, catching Friedrich’s lower lip between his teeth and tugging it gently before releasing it with a soft pop. “You do. You will. Trust me.”

Friedrich’s pupils were blown, the blue of the iris a slender ring around pools of black desire. “Please.”

Sam waited but nothing else came. He stepped backward, careful to balance on his false leg as he tugged Friedrich from the door. “Come on,” he whispered. “We’re going to bed.”


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Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Happy Hump Day for the soggy clavicle of Texas! Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino, today I’m sharing a teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. This teaser sets up an important scene for my hero Friedrich von Bader, who has to make a difficult decision about loyalty. The sexy stuff will be back next week, promise!

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

BtIC_coverNaNoJust before Friedrich reached the bus stop at Alexanderplatz, he noticed a well-appointed car trailing him on the street. For a moment, he wondered if it was someone trawling for a prostitute, then bristled at the thought of someone trying to pick him up on one of Berlin’s central streets. Christ in heaven, they can’t smell it on me, can they?

The car pulled up alongside him. “Excuse me? Colonel von Bader, isn’t it?” a gravelly voice said.

Friedrich stumbled in shock. He turned to the man leaning out the car window, just stopping the automatic salute. “General Hauptmann?”

General Reinhart Hauptmann had been one of his father’s colleagues and, briefly, his own commanding officer just before the end of the war. He had a reputation for being clever, both on the field and in the political arena that was the upper echelons of the German military. “Ha. Yes, I thought that was you,” Hauptmann said, giving Friedrich an approving smile. “What are you doing wandering around Unter den Linden at this time of night?”

Trying to deal with the fact that a strange man fucked me and I enjoyed it. “I’m heading home,” Friedrich said instead, stepping to the curb. He noticed the other man wore his army uniform, replete with medals pinned along the breast front. “I take it you’re still in the army, sir?”

“For my sins,” Hauptmann said easily. “Apparently they needed an old war horse around to march out in front of the damned French every now and then. I almost didn’t recognize you out of uniform.” He sniffed the air, grimacing a bit. “Rather chilly out, isn’t it? If you’re heading home, my driver would be happy to take you there.”

Friedrich felt a flush of shame at the thought of Hauptmann seeing where he lived now. “I’m sure it’s out of your way, sir. I don’t mind taking the bus—”

“Nonsense, man,” Hauptmann said briskly. “Christ knows I’m in no hurry to get home. Get in, please.”

He opened the door, moving to the far side of the seat. Friedrich forced a smile and climbed into the car, trying not to wince as he sat down. “Thank you, sir,” he muttered.

“Where do you live?”

“Friedrichschain. Tilsiterstrasse 5, across from the St. Georgen cemetery.”

“Ah, I know the area.” Hauptmann leaned forward to give the address to his driver, and the car rolled forward. “For God’s sake, von Bader, sit back,” he added, chuckling. “You’re not on review here, I assure you.”

Friedrich made himself relax. “Thank you, sir. Force of habit.”

“Old habits die hard, eh?” Hauptman said. “I heard through the grapevine that you were discharged. Damned shame, that. You were a fine officer—I was proud to have you in my command.” He sighed, shaking his head. “That blasted treaty was a complete and utter farce. Too many of our best men were cashiered, and now the rest of us are left trying to run an army on a shoestring, with the French peering over our shoulders if we so much as twitch.”

Friedrich tried to ignore the tiny spark of hope in his breast. Perhaps all this meant that Hauptmann had some sort of work for him. “It was an honor to serve the Fatherland, sir,” he said carefully.

“Such as it is, these days,” Hauptmann growled, watching the buildings roll by. “Once, we were an empire, feared and respected by everyone. Now, we’re a republic.” He spat the last word, as if it tasted foul. “Run by men who wouldn’t know what to do with a bayonet if it was stuck in their guts. And meanwhile the British and French look on our poor Fatherland like it’s their own private playground and treat our people like whores. It’s a disgrace.”

“Yes, sir,” Friedrich said, his stomach knotting at the general’s comment. “As you said, a disgrace.”

“Hmmph.” The general waved a weary hand. “Well, what’s done is done. All we can do now is help Germany through these difficult times. Which brings me to you, von Bader. I was at Heaven and Hell last night. I noticed you over on Heaven’s side.” Hauptmann gave him a shrewd look. “I didn’t know you could afford that kind of entertainment.”

Friedrich worked to keep his expression neutral. “I can’t. I’m working as a guide and translator for an American couple,” he lied.

“Ah, of course. And this couple, would they be named Tracy by any chance?”

The second shock of the night made his skin prickle. “You know them?”

The general snorted. “Not personally, but I know who they are. But it’s a happy coincidence that you’re working for them, von Bader. That could turn out to be very useful.”

“I don’t understand, sir.”

“I’m sure you’re aware that Fräulein Tracy and her fiancé are here on business, ja? She’s representing her uncle’s company, which wants to buy out certain German manufacturing companies. Perhaps you overheard them discussing this at dinner, or during drinks?”

Friedrich’s cheeks flamed. He wasn’t about to tell a former commanding officer what they’d actually been discussing. “Yes, sir,” he muttered.

“Excellent. Needless to say, certain officials in the War Ministry are concerned about losing valuable resources and manufacturing centers to foreign companies. Especially as those resources have a certain military value and would be better used here at home, rebuilding what was lost during the war.” The general’s face was in shadow, but the passing streetlights lit his eyes with streaking glints. “Do you understand my meaning, von Bader?”

Friedrich did. The German military had taken the Treaty of Versailles and the forced reduction of their ranks as a deeply personal insult to their national pride. He could still remember the fierce arguments in the officers’ messes about continuing the fight despite the cease-fire, taking it to the victors and making them work for their so-called “peace.” “The War Ministry wants to rebuild the army?”

“Well, some of them do. Some of them are content to roll onto their backs and expose their bellies.” Hauptman made a disgusted noise. “Luckily those dogs tend to be in the minority. Those of us who are loyal to the Fatherland need to know everything we can about companies like Tracy Electrics. That way, we can make sure that any business arrangements made with German companies will be of benefit to Germany.” A nod towards Friedrich. “Which is where you come in, my boy. One of Tracy Electric’s targets is Schoengraff Metals. You may have heard of them?”

“Of course, sir.” Schoengraff had supplied the German weapons manufacturers with armor-grade steel and iron during the war.

“Unfortunately, Schoengraff suffered a heavy number of losses during the war,” Hauptmann said. “Bombed factories, loss of raw materials, lack of workers, et cetera. Now that the war is over and they have access to their mines in Africa again, they’re trying to rebuild their infrastructure and expand into rare minerals mining. To do this, they need the help of foreign manufacturing companies that can provide financing. One of these companies is Tracy Electrics. Fräulein Tracy has apparently been sent here as the personal representative of William Tracy to oversee negotiations.” He shook his head. “Which is ridiculous, of course. Tracy’s lapdog Arthur Carslyle is running the negotiations, just as he always has. I assume he’s grooming Fräulein Tracy’s fiancé to take over for him.”

Friedrich tried to picture the fun-loving Sam spending hours in a conference room. “I wouldn’t discount Fräulein Tracy so quickly, sir,” he said. “She’s very…unusual.”

Hauptman shrugged. “Unusual or not, she is still just a woman, and a woman’s place is in the home, not in the board room, nicht wahr? Even the Americans aren’t foolish enough to allow such things.” He dismissed the Fräulein with a shake of the head. “Now, the War Ministry wants to know Tracy Electrics’s plans for Schoengraff, and you are ideally placed to obtain this information. We need you to find out as much as you can about what they want to do with the company, if they’re trying to buy it outright or partner with it, and how much money they’re willing to spend.” He leaned over, fixing Friedrich with a gimlet gaze. “Will you assist the Fatherland in this, colonel?”

Friedrich stopped the automatic “yes,” his ingrained instinct to obey a superior officer slamming up against memories of his recent poverty. “If I help you, and they find out, they can fire me at any moment,” he said. “What do I get in return for my assistance?”

Hauptmann stared at him for a long, uncomfortable moment. “I’m to assume that the gratitude of the War Ministry and your country means nothing to you?”

Friedrich ignored the wintry tone and the even colder disapproval, although he knew it would eat at him later. “I have a sister-in-law and a nephew to support, sir,” he said. “I have to think of them. If I get you the information you need, what do I get in return?”

The general slowly nodded. “Yes, I suppose you have a point. I can’t get you back into the army, but I have connections with Schoengraff. I can get you a manager’s post at one of their refineries near Ingolstadt, and a salary commensurate to the one you received as an active colonel. You should be able to support your family quite handily on that.”

Friedrich ignored the mild contempt in Hauptmann’s voice, buoyed by a sudden, aching wave of hope. The offer was dizzying; a real job, a safe home out of Berlin for Lilli and Rudi, respect and security.

Hauptmann gave him a thin smile. “So, what do you say, colonel?”

He understood the vital need for intelligence during wartime, and how spies could provide information that turned the tide of a battle. But this was no longer wartime, and he felt uncomfortable with the idea of spying on the Fräulein. She had demanded honesty from him, and offered blessed respite in return. Taking business information from her and passing it on to Hauptmann and his cronies at the War Ministry made something in his soul ache with shame.

But there was Rudi and Lilli. They were more important than anything. And in the end, he thought with some bitterness, he was only a hired whore to the Fräulein and Sam. They would leave soon enough, taking their money with them. He was the one who had to stay in Berlin. And a real job outside of the city, where Rudi could grow healthy and turn into the sturdy little boy he was meant to be? How could he pass something like that up?

He ignored the twinging of his conscience. All he was doing was making sure that Schoengraff and Germany got information that would allow them to cut the best deal possible with Tracy Electrics. The Fräulein would still get what she came for, just at a somewhat higher price. Surely there was no dishonor in that.

He took a deep breath. “I’ll do it.”


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Mid Week Tease: Deep Water #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MidWeekTeaseHappy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with another wonderful Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. I have to be honest with you — I’m hip deep in NaNoWriMo and I didn’t really have time to find a sexy teaser to share with you.

Soooo — I’m sharing a scene from my NaNoWriMo novel with you. And what is it, you ask? Why, its Book Three of the Olympic Cove series, Deep Water! (If you want to see the very first scene in the book, page back a blog post.)

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Poseidon, God of the Sea, has spent millennia alone due to a single terrible act — a drunken assault on his agapetos, or fated mate, shared with his consort Amphitrite. His queen has sworn never to forgive him for his actions, and he must live with the knowledge that he drove an innocent girl to a dreadful retribution.

But when one of the Olympic Cove cottages gets a new occupant with an all-too-familiar soul, Poseidon discovers that the Fates have given him a second chance. Now he must try to right the wrongs of the past and win back both his beloved consort and the mate he betrayed.

Assuming, of course, that the Mad Nereid Thetis doesn’t interfere…

Heather contemplated her newest acquisition, absently tapping a purple feather duster against one thigh as she pondered. Now where should I put it? Garden statuary? Library decor?

For a junk store masquerading as an antique shop, the Lady’s Touch held some genuine treasures for those willing to search through its many, many shelves. Heather was relieved that few of the mortal shoppers who came in to browse ever noticed that the interior dimensions of the store didn’t quite match the exterior dimensions (except for that nice Englishwoman, she thought fondly, Verity something. Such a good eye for spatial differentiation).

As the interior size of The Lady’s Touch developed a certain elasticity over the years, its display system had become rather haphazard as a result, and now she wasn’t quite sure where to store the bust currently sitting on her counter. Perhaps Halloween decorations?

A warm, familiar presence bloomed at her back. “Hy, do you have time for some tea?”

She turned. Behind her stood a tall, lovely woman with long dark hair caught up in a tidy chignon. The woman’s casual but tasteful clothing — designer jeans, silk shell top, and Jimmy Choo flats — didn’t quite fit with the t-shirts and jean shorts of the local tourists, but didn’t make her stand out terribly either. She looked like a rich young matron slumming it in a seaside junk shop.

Until Heather looked into her eyes. They held an ancient pain that seared the soul.

“Oh, crumpets,” she said, tossing the feather duster onto the counter. “What’s he done now?”

“Nothing exactly, but—” The Nereid stopped, staring at the bust. A flash of bitter emotion flickered across her face. “Where did you get that?”

Damn, damn, damn. She hadn’t even thought about the bust. “I bought it at an estate sale,” she said. “It’s genuine marble, you see, and the woman who sold it said it had been sculpted by her uncle, some sort of local artist. It’s really rather well done, but I didn’t know you were coming in, otherwise—”

Amphitrite gave her a pained look. Heather realized she’d been babbling. “Sorry,” she mumbled. “Er, I’ll just put it away, then.”

“No. It’s all right.” The Nereid reached out to the bust, one fingertip trailing over the creamy stone. She traced a high cheekbone, a beautifully full lip, the wide, strong brow.

Heather noticed she avoided the sinuous shapes curled around the bust’s head. “It doesn’t really look like her, of course,” Amphitrite said absently. “But then again, that’s hardly surprising. Most people never look beyond the snakes.”

With a sound she desperately hoped was supportive and not as grunty as she suspected it really was, Heather hefted the bust and bustled off. Halloween decor it is.

When she returned, the store was empty. She stepped to the door and flicked the OPEN sign over to CLOSED, then headed to the tiny office tucked in the building’s front corner. She dropped her disguise as she did; the curly red hair and green glasses disappeared, replaced by her true form as the Nereid Hyacinthe.

She entered the office, pleased to see that Amphitrite had found her electric kettle and filled it. A teapot, a bottle of milk, two mugs carrying the shop’s logo, and a plate of snickerdoodles were already out on her desk.

“Hope you don’t mind,” Amphitrite said as the kettle clicked off, wisps of steam rising from its spout. “I just really need some tea. Or wine, if you have it.”

“Not at the moment, sorry,” Heather said, thinking about the bottle of merlot upstairs in her apartment. The last thing Amphitrite needed was to start drinking this early in the day. “Let me just mash this up and we’ll have a nice talk, yes?”

After the tea had been poured, the sisters settled on either side of the desk, mugs and snickerdoodles in hand. “So, Poseidon,” Heather prompted. “What’s he done now?”

“Well … nothing,” Amphitrite said slowly. “Not exactly, anyway. I was at the cove this morning for a therapy session with Nick Gardiner and his mers.”

Once again Heather was impressed by the breadth of mortal training her sister had picked up over the millennia. “Nice to see you using your psychology degree again,” she said over the rim of her cup.

The Nereid shrugged. “Yes, well, afterwards I went over to the boys’ cottage to ask Aphros about a recipe, and Poseidon was there with Bythos and Ian. I assume they were having some sort of war council.”

“Did Poseidon say anything to you?”

“He offered to step out so that I could speak with Bythos.”

“And?”

“That was it.”

She weighed her next words. “Did you want him to say anything else?”

Amphitrite slumped in her chair. “I suppose it’s childish of me to want him to grovel every time I see him.”

“A bit, yes.”

The dark-haired goddess nodded gloomily. “We’ve done so well, avoiding each other for all those centuries. And now we wind up meeting twice in six weeks.” She grimaced. “I mean, I knew it would be possible if I agreed to be Nick’s therapist, but there’s a difference between knowing something intellectually and actually having it happen to you.”

“I know,” Heather said sympathetically. “Perhaps the two of you could set up some sort of schedule so that you don’t have to run into each other?”

Amphitrite raised a curved eyebrow. “Custody of Olympic Cove? That’s a thought. Although I can’t see him holding to it.”

Heather made a muffled noise of agreement into her tea. She’d been the sea god’s sister-in-law long enough to know that he’d ignore an agreement if it suited him. “You sure he didn’t say anything else to you?”

“No. Just stood there like a self-important martinet and looked constipated. Although I do think he tried to smile once.” Amphitrite pursed her lips. “I’m surprised his cheeks didn’t crack.”

The other Nereid chuckled at that. “Well, why don’t you arrange to meet with Nick, Aidan and Liam somewhere else? You could always use my apartment for day sessions.”

Amphitrite let out a slow breath, studying the tan liquid in her mug. “That’s very kind of you, darling, but I don’t feel comfortable bringing the mers into a human settlement,” she said finally. “Things are rather tense between them and their grotto as it is. I don’t wish to add more stress if I don’t have to. I’ll just have to bite the bullet and accept that I may see Poseidon now and then. It won’t kill me, after all.”

“Yes, one of the benefits about being an immortal, I suppose.” Heather took a quick nibble of her cookie. “Of course, it might not be a bad idea, you know. Talking to him, I mean. I think the mortals call it ‘getting closure.’”

The air in the small office grew chillier. “I don’t see how I could achieve closure with Poseidon,” Amphitrite said evenly. “Unless he did something really spectacular, such as, of, I don’t know, immolate himself in a volcano. I might be willing to watch that.”

Heather winced. “Ammie, you know I’m on your side with this. What he did was cruel and utterly heartless. But that was also thousands of year ago. At some point, you have to let it go, for your own sake.” Her voice gentled. “Tell me truly — do you even remember how she looked?”

Those sea-blue eyes clouded over, looking inwards at something Heather could only suspect. “I will always remember how she looked,” Amphitrite murmured softly. “She had large eyes, light brown, like those of an owl. Her nose was small and straight, and turned up at the tip. When she laughed, the entire room seemed to light up. And even though she was small she always stood up straight, modest and attentive, the perfect handmaiden.” Her expression hardened. “Until Poseidon betrayed her. And me.”

Heather flinched from the grief and rage in the Nereid’s eyes. “I’m sorry, sister. I didn’t mean to dredge up more pain for you.”

The dark-haired goddess shook her head. “You didn’t. That’s the problem. I carry it with me always. And that is why I cannot achieve closure with Poseidon. The bastard drove our agapetos away, and I can never forgive him for that.”

“Even though you miss him?” Heather regretted the words the moment they slipped out.

But Amphitrite simply nodded. “Even though I miss him. And I’m not sure who I hate more for that. Him, or myself.”


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