My WWII romance is now released in ebook!
Audrey Pearson’s life changed dramatically when WWII broke out and her large home, Twelve Pines on the East Yorkshire coast, became a convalescence home for wounded soldiers. Her life is no longer lavish with entertainment, beautiful clothes and surrounded by a loving family. Soldiers, physically and mentally wounded now fill her home. The smell of disinfectant replaces her mother’s perfume and gone are the friends and acquaintances - instead nurses roam the hallways.
Captain Jake Harding, a doctor training in psychiatry arrives at Twelve Pines. Audrey immediately finds herself attracted to the Captain, but he is remote towards her. Puzzled by his cold behaviour, Audrey tries to learn more about the handsome Captain. He reveals that he’s lost a wife and baby in childbirth and refuses to ever remarry. However, despite this, Audrey believes she can change his mind and make him aware he doesn’t have to spend his life alone.
The ice around Jake’s heart begins to melt. For years he has rejected the possibility of finding love again because of the pain it caused him before, but the beautiful Audrey shows him her love and she needs someone to love her in return.
Could he honestly walk away from her, from the love that could be his?
“Can we go for a walk down to the beach?” Lucy asked, flipping the bed sheet up and then pulling it down tight.
Audrey pushed a pillow into a clean pillowcase and sighed. “I don’t know if I can today. Val is having problems with one of the nurses, and—”
“They aren’t your responsibility. You do enough, we all do enough! Blasted army, blasted war.” Lucy gave the sheet a vicious tug. “I’m so tired of it. I want some fun.”
“Oh, I just remembered. I forgot to tell you yesterday that there’s a dance on in Brid this Saturday. You’ll come with me, won’t you? Please?”
“We don’t have enough petrol rations to get to Fraisthorpe, never mind Bridlington.”
Lucy grinned. “All sorted. Owen said he’ll drive us in the old cart.”
“The farm cart?” Audrey laughed. “You’ll not be fit to be seen after traveling in a cart.”
“We’ll sweep it out and put blankets in.” Shrugging, Lucy placed the thin green blanket on the end of the bed. “Do say yes, Aud. I’m desperate for a dance. You adore jitterbugging and you’re so good at it. I do hope there’ll be a few Americans in town, they dance so much better than English men.”
“Any man is preferable rather than dancing with other women, as we’ve had to do before.”
“Yes, but that was over a year ago. Now we have so many soldiers based in this area. I heard the Scottish lancers are in town or coming or something.” Lucy spun around. “Men everywhere. I can’t wait.”
“Well, I’ll see. If Valerie doesn’t need me, perhaps.”
Lucy squealed and jumped over the bed to hug and kiss her. A discreet cough separated them and they turned to find Captain Harding lounging in the doorway, smiling at them in his quiet manner. Audrey’s heart did a spin, as it always did whenever she heard or saw him. In the last week, she’d made sure never to be alone with the doctor, not wanting to give him the slightest reason to even think she saw him as anything other than an army doctor here to do a job.
She forced herself to act normal, sophisticated. “Captain Harding, can we be of help?”
His blue eyes held hers for a fraction longer before he straightened. “Yes, Miss Pearson. Sister Lewis was looking for you, as we believe we need another room for Lieutenant Nielson. Unfortunately his nightmares are keeping the rest of the men in his room awake. Is it possible to prepare another room?”
Audrey frowned, she too had heard the poor solider screaming at night, his cries for them to take cover echoed around the house. “Certainly, Captain Harding. Regrettably, my Father believes the rear parlor has some dampness, perhaps there’s a leak in the roof, and we need to fix that before the room is used again.”
“I see.” He rubbed his chin, frowning. “I’d prefer to keep Nielson in his room, as he’s familiar with it, and move the other two men out.”
“We could use Sister Lewis’ office and move everything in there into the drawing room. The office isn’t large but it’ll fit two beds in it.”
“But the officers use the drawing room, Audrey.” Lucy said.
“The officers will simply have to use the dining room and conservatory for their recreational pursuits.” Audrey stepped towards the door.
“Yes, I agree. Sounds like an excellent plan.” Captain Harding didn’t move to let her pass and she stopped to stare at him. “I was wondering Miss Pearson…”
Her mouth dried. “Yes?”
“I overheard you and your sister,” he shot a look at Lucy, “about your forthcoming dance and I was wondering—”
“Do you wish to go with us, Captain?” Lucy asked, her eyes bright. “And dance the jitterbug with Audrey? She’s ever so good.”
Audrey swallowed, knowing her cheeks flamed. A night of dancing with the handsome Captain? She felt light-headed at the thought.
He laughed softly. “I’m afraid not, Miss Pearson, but I do think it would be beneficial for some of the patients, if they could accompany you? A few of them are in desperate need of some semblance of normality. It helps their healing to remember and experience activities that are good fun and have no connection to war and death…”
“Oh yes!” Lucy clapped. “We never get enough men at these dances. Most of the time we have to dance with other women. What a brilliant idea, Captain.”
“Are-are they well enough to attend?” Audrey murmured, continually saddened by the fine men who were staying at Twelve Pines. They suffered such misery. A couple of officers, Johnson and Price, had changed dramatically since arriving and would happily chat and help around the house. There were others though that still kept apart and were quiet, refusing to discuss what they’d experienced.
“I would say three or four of them, yes. Not the men who arrived with me, obviously, but the others are ready for a little light entertainment. It’ll do them good before they return to the front.”
“They leave soon?” For some reason she couldn’t look at him, frightened, she supposed. Frightened he would see something in her face, the emotion she felt being near him. What a shame the good-looking doctor wasn’t coming with them. She could smell the subtle shaving cologne he wore, a mixture of sandalwood and something else she couldn’t name.
“Yes. Jamieson, Winthrop, Fielding and Battersby all leave a week on Friday. They’ve passed their assessments.”
She nodded and took a step, wanting to be gone from the room, from him and from the emotions warring in her. “I’ll go find Sister Lewis.”
Side-by-side in the doorway they faced each other. Audrey’s head only reached his shoulder. She stared at the shining buttons on his uniform, not trusting herself to look up at him. “Yes, Captain?”
“On second thought, I think I might accompany the men to the dance.”
She glanced at him, her eyes wide and the difficulty to swallow occurred again. “Very well…”
“Just in case the men need me, of course,” he whispered.
Audrey’s skin tingled as though he had caressed her. “Of course…”
Buy the ebook of Broken Hero here-
Paperback available in April.
Broken Hero, Her Shadowed Heart and Woodland Daughter, all released soon!
My WWII romance is now released in ebook!
Putting down my pin, I looked up at the moon. It was half full, peeking from the clouds like a large silvery eye. I had always heard that “the crazies” come out on a full moon. The truth was, they were always out, some of them were just more dangerous on a full moon.
I walked to the edge of the balcony and nearly fell backward when I looked over the roses. Marco was standing under the balcony, looking up expectantly.
“Little pig, little pig,” he began.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “That won’t get you anywhere. Besides, I waxed my chin.”
He laughed then too and the sound sent shivers up my spine.
“What are you doing here, Marco?”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
“Can’t I come in?” he asked, the deep and sexy rumble of his voice did things to me that I couldn’t describe.
“No, you can’t.”
“Don’t you trust me, Red?” he said, pretending to be offended.
“No, I don’t,” I answered, but I couldn’t stop the smile.
“But you like me.” It wasn’t a question.
“I could have you killed for standing here.”
“But you won’t.”
Marco knew I wouldn’t kill him, not that night, not for just standing there. He stepped back slightly, and I got a better look at one of the sexiest men I’d ever seen. I’ve never seen anyone look so good in a pair of jeans. They weren’t tight, but they fit well enough that you knew what you were looking at, and I felt guilty for looking. Alfred hadn’t been gone a day, and there I was ogling Marco, again.
“No,” I said after a long pause, “I won’t have you killed, but I don’t feel like conversation tonight either.”
“Well, I didn’t feel like conversation when you cuffed me to the chair.”
A smile curved my lips as I purred silkily, “Well, I don’t feel like sex either.”
The smile he gave me was nothing short of charming, as he responded, “You know where to find me.”
“Yes.” Unfortunately, I did, which made it more tempting to seek him out, I thought with a smile as I watched Marco disappear into the woods.
Red is the first book in my Lilith Mercury Werewolf Hunter Series. Available now at www.newconceptspublishing.com/red.htm.
Hurricane Breeze, released Feb. 20 from The Wild Rose Press
Carter Worthington the fourth is the kind of man whose schedule is laid out in fifteen minute increments, while Tiffany wouldn't know what to do with a day planner if she owned one.
Carter thinks he's happy, tucked away in a quiet Florida neighborhood, where nobody knows his alter ego is novelist Grant Gardner, and he's content to keep it that way. But when a hurricane blows Tiffany Breeze into his sheltered universe, he must deal with his past, overcome his fears and decide if he's spent his life existing instead of living. Is he willing to leave the emotional safety of his orderly existence to experience the highs, knowing hell also have to face the lows?
The doorbell rang. Growling in frustration, Carter got up. Tiffany stood on his entry. Again. Her hair was banded atop her head like a mushroom cloud. Moisture glistened on her face. She wore nylon running shorts and a white tank-top which clung to her in damp patches, revealing impressions of a lace bra underneath. A faint tinge of female perspiration mixed with something citrus wafted up. Inexplicably, his groin tightened.
She strode toward the kitchen, rubber flip-flops flapping, and returned, waving her cell phone. "I forgot it. Sorry."
"How are you doing?" he asked.
"I've got to find a place for Grampa. No power, no air, and it's got to be nearly ninety. I'll make some calls. Find out when the electric company thinks we'll have power. Might have to find a hotel for him. This heat is taking its toll."
He couldn't stop himself. "My power's on. My air conditioning works."
"We're on different transformers," he said.
Was it the air conditioning that made her nipples stand up under her shirt, through her bra? "Why don't you both come over?" he said without thinking. "I'll fix something for dinner, you can clean up, cool off."
"I don't want to impose. Grampa can be a handful, especially when his routine is disrupted. He's been kind of zoned this afternoon."
Take the out.
"It's no problem. I've got a guest room with two beds. You can both stay the night. I insist."
What was going on? Insist?
By choice, he never had visitors, and now he was inviting people over, weeks before deadline? Had he become a character in a story, with some unseen author writing his dialogue?
Loner P.I. Blake Alexander hoped he wouldn't have to involve anyone else in the investigation of his grandfather's death, but the live-in nurse, Karma, suspects foul play... and has secrets of her own. Little does she know, the secret of who Blake really is could kill them both. Can Blake resist giving Karma the truth, and perhaps his heart, or will she convince him to confide all to save her-- and himself-- from the danger prowling in the misty orange grove?
“Who are you?”
When her blank stare continued, he clarified. “Henry’s grandson.”
Recognition lit her features, and her shoulders relaxed a bit.
“I wasn’t expecting you. Henry told me you lived in Oregon.”
“I do.” He nodded, then smiled at her, careful not to show too many teeth. He hoped he looked friendly, not frightening. This would have been so much easier if he’d been expecting to see her here. He suppressed an annoyed growl.
“I came down when I heard the news,” he continued.
She nodded. “The funeral was this morning.” She paused and sent him an expression meant to scold him for not being there. “It was very nice.”
He tried his smile again. “I didn’t come for that.”
If she’d been a cat, all the hair on her back would have stood up right then. “Oh?”
“No. I came to see you.” He tried very hard to keep his tone even. “Of course I didn’t expect to find you here.” He indicated the house in its entirety with one long sweep of his arm.
“You came to see me?” Apparently, it was so ridiculous it bore repeating. “What do I have that you could possibly want?”
“I want to find out what Henry was like from someone who knew him.”
He nearly cringed at the lie and hoped she couldn’t see through him. He’d never liked pompous old Henry in his pompous old houses with his pompous old advice—especially the advice.
“I’d be glad to tell you what I know.”
Blake nodded. She’d actually bought it. This was going to be easier than he thought. A little tug here, little push there, maybe even some seduction, and he’d have everything he needed from her. It might even be pleasant, which he affirmed as he took another discreet glance at her legs.
“So shall we discuss it over dinner?”
Karma’s question ripped Blake from his thoughts. A little forward of her to ask him on a date the first time they’d ever met each other. He liked it.
Behind the Scenes of "Cat In The Mist" -- Take a tour of Redlands, California, the real town behind the fictional town in "Cat In The Mist."Sonja Foust
This excerpt is from Object of My Affection, Book II in the Lilith Mercury: Werewolf Hunter Series by Tracey H. Kitts., available now from New Concepts Publishing.
“What if I help you?” he asked.
I stopped and turned to face him through the rain.
“Why would you do that?”
“Well, once we hear from the council, it might not be your job to kill me anymore. Might as well be nice,” he said with a shrug.
Bade smiled, but his angelic features didn’t fool me.
“Look, I’m out of time for this. And whatever the council decides is irrelevant. I’ll most likely have to kill you one of these days anyway.”
I tried to walk away and he pulled me back.
“Then why didn’t you kill me back there? Why not kill me now?”
“Because you aren’t trying to hurt me or anyone else at the moment, and I don’t have time to fool with you.”
When I turned to leave again, I heard him take a step to follow me and I rounded on him.
“Bade, come to the point or I swear, I will hurt you in a way that you would not enjoy.”
He threw back his head and laughed. The pale gold of his hair clung to his face and neck. The small place where my sliver blade had nicked him had already begun to heal. With my eyes I traced the water that cascaded over his lovely features and tried to fight what I was feeling. I wanted Bade too, physically at least. Who could blame me?
Bade wasn’t handsome in the classical sense of the word. He looked like an angel. Not the fat little cherubs, but the warriors. The tall magnificently crafted cherubim of legend. He was the essence of sin, captured in the embodiment of heaven. What could be more appealing than the devil trapped in an angel’s body? He knew all the wrong things to do, and had all the right equipment to do it with.
“Once things have settled down, I have something I’d like to discuss with you,” he said.
Shit. I’d heard that line before. I didn’t like where the conversation was leading.
“You and I have nothing to discuss,” I replied softly.
“Perhaps, but things change. Marco might not always be in charge.”
My heart beat faster at the implied threat which was exactly what I needed to shut off my libido.
“Do not threaten Marco in my presence.” My voice was calm, which meant I was really pissed.
He ran a hand through his wet golden hair. “Easy love, don’t take it personally. Besides, you haven’t accepted his offer ... have you? I mean, that wouldn’t exactly go over well, would it? The daughter of the commander of The Hunters, cavorting with the head of the local werewolf pack.”
“I take any threat against Marco personally. The rest is none of your business.”
The instant I uttered the words I knew they were true, but it still shocked me to hear it out loud. I had just admitted that I would defend the safety of a man who only months ago, I’d been sworn to kill. Technically, I was still sworn to kill Marco. But like Bade had said, that could all change very soon. Even if it didn’t change, I knew in that instant I would never hurt Marco. I wasn’t capable of it.
Bade was a different story.
Book I is called Red and is available now at http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/red.htm
Book II, Object of My Affection can be found here:
You can find out more about me here:
Set against the backdrop of secret missions, mistaken identities, Nazi spies, and larger than life characters, Mia and Jake discover that the past isn't always what it seems…
Mia staggered and a strong hand gripped her elbow while a gruff voice boomed in her ear. “Don’t be stupid; Betty is dead. And this poor thing certainly isn’t her ghost. Now move back.”
A chair seemed to materialize behind Mia’s knees, and she sank into it gratefully. Someone handed her a glass of water, which she took with a shaking hand. The glass was clean, but the water was lukewarm. She sipped it and pulled a face.
“Are you sick?”
Mia shook her head as she looked around her. Dizziness made the people in front of her appear fuzzy. One moment she was standing in the desert serving cheesecake, and the next she was inside a strange house surrounded by a gaggle of women in old-fashioned dresses. Cigarette smoke was thick in the air along with the cloying scent of Chanel No. 5.
Mia’s stomach twisted as she looked around. She knew this place from the old black and white pictures she had found in her grandmother’s battered tin box. It all looked the same, yet different. Larger than life, especially the woman who stood in front of her. Mia recognized her with a jolt. How could this be?
“I know I told Mac I needed another hostess, but I didn’t expect him to fly one in so soon.” The gruff voiced woman was murmuring almost to herself. “And why he picked one who looks so much like Betty, I’ll never know. But that’s a man for you.” Then she turned to Mia. “What’s your name, sweetie?”
“Well, Mia. I’m Blythe Skye, but I expect you already know that. I don’t stand on ceremony, so you’re to call me Sarge. Everyone does. I wasn’t expecting Mac to find a replacement for poor Betty quite this soon.” She glanced at her watch, and Mia could see it was a man’s silver watch. Then she paused and took hold of Mia’s chin, moving her head around. “Are you any relation to Betty Bishop?”
Mia carefully kept her expression blank as she shook her head. Hopefully, no one could see her surprise. She must have been successful, for Sarge continued without pausing.
“The resemblance is astonishing, but now that I take a closer look, I can see the differences between you. Well, no matter. I won’t be expecting you to go to work tonight since you’ve arrived so late in the day. However, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to clean out her room—”
“I could do that.” Mia interrupted. “I wouldn’t mind.”
“I’ll help,” a tall, thin brunette offered.
“Thank you, Annie,” Sarge replied, “but the Colonel’s bringing out some VIPs from the flight test today, so I’ll need you in the dining room.”
Annie turned away with a shrug and a sullen look on her face.
“Let me introduce you to the rest of the hostesses,” Sarge said. She pointed to each young woman as she said her name.
Mia could still hardly believe she wasn’t dreaming. She’d looked at these women’s faces so often, she felt as if she knew them. Their names, scrawled on the back of the old photos, were as familiar to her as her own. She’d have to remember to fake a few mistakes.
“Bea,” Sarge turned to a short and slightly plump blond. “Perhaps you could show Mia to her new room and tell Mac to bring in a couple of boxes from the stable so she can pack up Betty’s belongings.” She shook her head with a sad expression. “I don’t know what we’re going to do with them. The poor child had no family.”
Mia opened her mouth to protest but instead of speaking, she lifted her fingers to hide a fake yawn. Betty Bishop had to have had a family or at least a child somewhere…for she was Betty’s granddaughter!
The screech of a screen door opening and the sound of male laughter wafted in. The women scattered, putting out cigarettes and checking their lipstick in a large gilt-framed mirror.
“Are you ready?” the woman named Bea asked. “It’ll have to be quick as I need to get back to work.”
Mia nodded and followed Bea out of the large room and down a dimly lit hallway. There were six rooms, three on each side. Bea led her to the last room on the right.
“Here’s Betty’s—” then she paused, “I mean, your room. I’ll go have Mac round up a box. I don’t suppose it will take more than one to pack up her things. She didn’t have much, but what she did have is nice. I’m glad Sarge didn’t give Annie the chance to get in here.”
“Why’s that?” Mia asked, looking around the room. The small twin bed was neatly made. A hairbrush, mirror, and several pairs of earrings were scattered on the top of the bureau. She was anxious to poke through Betty’s things for clues to her past, but didn’t want to rush Bea away. Mia could be patient, she’d have all night to snoop.
“Well, let’s just say things tend to disappear around Annie,” Bea replied. She, too, appeared to be gazing around the room. “It’s so hard to believe Betty’s dead. I saw her at breakfast this morning, and she was just glowing with happiness. But that might be my imagination since I’d like to remember her that way, instead of how I…”
There was a moment of silence.
“You were her friend. That’s what friends do.” Mia finally said.
Bea laughed, and the look she gave Mia was nothing short of sly. “Oh, honey. None of us are friends here. We work together and on the outside it all looks like moonbeams and roses, but on the inside, we’re all competing for the same thing.”
“Competing for what?”
Bea elbowed her in the ribs. “As if you don’t know.”
When Mia didn’t answer, Bea took a closer look at her.
“You really don’t know?”
Mia shook her head.
Bea leaned in conspiratorially. “Men. We’re all here for the men.”
“But I thought…” Mia began. She’d heard all the rumors. Even the kitchen staff at Blythe Skye’s one hundredth birthday party had been talking about it. Was the Blythe Skies Ranch really a brothel?
Bea smiled at her expression. “Oh honey, you didn’t fall for all that hostess malarkey did you? With only about twenty women in the area and a hundred flyboys at the base, the odds are pretty good you’ll leave here with a diamond ring on your finger.” She smiled and her eyes sparkled with mischief. She put her hands on her hips and stood with her legs apart. When she spoke, her voice had lowered almost an octave. “Honey, there’s only three ways to a man’s heart – his stomach, his cock, or by sawing through the breastbone. The Blythe Skies Ranch has the first two covered, and we can hire out the third.”
Mia giggled at Bea’s imitation of Sarge.
“Anyway, if you need anything, just knock on the wall by the bed. I’m right next door.”
“There is one thing.”
“How did Betty die?”
Bea paused, an odd look on her face. “I’m sorry, I thought you knew. She was raped and murdered. In this very room.” A small bell trilled and Bea started. “I’m sorry, I have to go.”
She left, shutting the door behind her. Mia had the sudden urge to run after Bea, tell her she didn’t belong here, that somehow, some way, she’d come from the future and wanted to go back. She choked back a sob. All that would get her was a one-way ticket to the loony-bin, if she didn’t end up there anyway—or in jail. The thought made her shiver. So far, Blythe Skye hadn’t asked any hard questions as she assumed Mac had hired Mia. When everyone had a chance to compare stories, it would fast become obvious he hadn’t picked her up at all.
A loud knock on the door made her squeak with surprise. She put her hand over her heart as if to still its frantic beating. What if Betty’s killer had returned?
Mia watched as the knob turned, and the door swung open.
“Oh, hello. I didn’t realize you were in here already.” A small man, looking like a wizened elf wearing faded blue overalls over a dark blue dress shirt, peered at her. She’d only seen pictures of Mac when he was old, but she would have recognized him as he looked exactly the same. “Bea asked me to bring you a box for Betty’s things.”
Mia gave him a weak smile. “You must be Mac.”
“Sarge said you looked like Betty.” The old man tipped his head from one side to the other. “I don’t see it myself.” He reached down and picked up a box, handing it to her. “I also brought up your bag.”
For a moment, she panicked. Obviously, Mac had picked up a woman and in a few minutes, Mia would be forced to explain where she came from and then all hell would break loose.
Mac tried to hand her a small duffle bag. Despite her attempts to act natural, he must have seen her hesitation.
“Don’t worry, honey. Sarge gives these to all the girls. Mostly because what you have isn’t quite up to par with the quality she insists on. There’s a riding habit, a dinner dress, and a couple of day dresses in here as well as,” the old man blushed bright red and thrust the bag at her, “well, you know, undergarments. You wear your own shoes and jewelry, if you have any.”
“Oh, thanks.” Mia took the bag.
“And miss, I’m really sorry you had to walk out to the ranch. Sarge told me you were pretty beat when you arrived. Lately, I’ve been terrible forgetful.” He scratched his head. “Then, with Betty’s death this morning…”
Relief washed over her, and Mia felt like she could finally take a full breath. “Oh, that’s all right,” she assured him, then she hastened to ask him the question preying on her mind. “Did they catch the man who killed her?”
Mac shook his head. “No, they thought they had, but it ended up Captain Sands was in a meeting at the time of the murder. I wouldn’t count on the Army figuring it out. They’re more concerned with looking good to the public. I think they’d just sooner cover it up and forget it happened.”
Is that what had happened? Had the Army covered it up? But, that was all wrong. Betty had been a spy, captured and imprisoned. Not murdered. Perhaps this Betty wasn’t her grandmother. But the year was correct. Things just weren’t making any sense.
Unexpectedly, Mia’s stomach rumbled.
Mac chuckled. “Sarge said I was to take you to the kitchen and get you some supper. She’ll give you a tour of the place and go over all the rules in the morning.”
Damn, she couldn’t very well protest she wasn’t hungry now. Her hands itched with the desire to start opening drawers and looking through all of Betty’s things, searching for clues to who Betty really was. She swallowed her impatience, and with a sense of regret followed Mac out of the room.
I hope you enjoyed this exclusive excerpt from Mojave Moon, available now from Dark Eden Press!
A Persistent Attraction, my second Regency Intrigue book is available now.
Sometimes desire cannot be denied...
At first, Amanda Halverston assumes the anonymous extortion letter she’s received is a harmless prank. But the following night she is attacked and nearly killed. Desperate for help in finding her attacker, she turns to the notorious rake she has avoided for the last five months, Rhys Stanton.
Rhys, a confirmed bachelor, hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Amanda ever since he met her while helping her sister uncover a plot to sell young women into prostitution. When the alluring Amanda seeks him out, he offers a bargain. He will help her—in exchange for one chance to seduce her each day.
Despite a wicked desire to explore the heat that crackles between them, Amanda refuses and launches her own search. But the attacker strikes again, and when Rhys is there to save her she decides to accept his shocking proposition.
In the midst of an investigation that could claim their lives, the two begin a dangerous game of passion that could claim their hearts.
Buy it here!
To Catch a Casanova by Ericka Scott
-- Available today at Total E-bound!
Aspiring actor, Luke McArthur, has been in love with Aubrey O'Fallon since the first grade. They even dated for a while. Still best friends, Luke always figured he'd get around to proposing to her when he finally made it big. Unfortunately, Aubrey met ultra-rich Troy Fletcher. To everyone's surprise, he proposed on the first date and she accepted!
But Troy has a secret life — he's been seen picking up prostitutes outside The Sand Dollar where Luke works. Luke knows Aubrey won't believe his accusations unless he can prove them. With only four days to stop the wedding, he's desperate. He enlists the help of his transvestite friend, Charles/Cherie, and plans to have Aubrey catch Troy in a compromising situation.
But, it's soon clear Luke is in over his head...
For the last five minutes, I’d sat on this park bench listening to the birds, watching for my best friend, Aubrey Rice, to arrive with my Sunday afternoon delight, and searching for a politically correct way to tell her that her fiancé, Troy Fletcher, was cheating on her.
At last, across the park, I saw her. When I’d first met her, she was a skinny little kid of six. At twenty-five, she had definitely filled out and was now all womanly curves. If you asked her, she’d say she was fat. But to me, she was perfect, with a Jane Russell figure, the face of a goddess and a sweet and trusting nature.
“Hey, Luke!” She slid onto the seat beside me and handed me a triple scoop strawberry cone.
I opened my mouth to take a bite of ice cream but instead the words just spewed out. “Aubrey, I think Troy is a turd.”
Despite all my mental gymnastics, that was the best I could do? Shit.
She turned to me with a puzzled expression on her face. I tried staring into her vivid green eyes but instead found my gaze dropping to the ice cream she held in her hand. I watched as a small drip of vanilla ran down the chocolate-dipped waffle and onto her thumb. It took every bit of my willpower to resist the urge to pick up her hand and lick that drop. But I knew if I did, it wouldn’t be enough. My cock leapt to life at the mental image of Aubrey lying naked in the grass with a scoop of ice cream covering each breast. How I’d love to melt the pink polar ice caps with my mouth. Then, when I’d uncovered her dusky peaks, I would suckle them until she begged for me to taste every inch of her. I shifted a little and sighed.
“I thought you liked Troy.” Aubrey’s voice sounded puzzled.
I snuck a peek at her face and could see I’d hurt her. As her best friend, my approval of her marriage meant a lot. I just needed to tell her what I’d seen, but my tongue got tangled around the words I wanted to say. Instead of spitting out the truth, I limped around it. “I just hope he makes you happy.” It was a lame statement.
Her eyes lit up as she smiled. “Oh, he does make me happy. He really does.”
Aubrey leaned against me, her shoulder pressed up against mine. I longed to put my arm around her and press my lips to hers. While we kissed, I’d slip my hand up under the baby blue cashmere sweater she was wearing. Her skin would be warm and her nipples would bud in my palm at my touch. Somewhere along the road to getting her totally naked and taking her right here on this park bench, I’d make her forget all about Troy.
“You don’t have to doubt it at all,” she added.
But I did. In fact, I’d had doubts all along that Troy was as perfect as Aubrey said he was. But I’d never had any proof until the previous night.
I was cleaning tables during last call when I saw Troy’s bright red Lexus coupe pull up in front of The Sand Dollar. I held my breath, waiting for a glimpse of Aubrey’s wind-tousled blonde hair. Instead, a tall brunette ‘working girl’ approached the passenger window and flirted with the man in the driver’s seat. After a couple of flicks of her hand and a laugh, she opened the door and climbed in. For a second I hoped I’d been mistaken about the identity of the driver, then I saw the license plate. TTYL XO. It was definitely Troy’s car. Then I was glad, really glad, it was Troy. I finally had concrete proof that he wasn’t the person Aubrey thought he was.
Since the direct approach of telling Aubrey failed, I tried a different tack. Perhaps discussing their sex life, or lack thereof, would get Aubrey to thinking about why Troy hadn’t been in any hurry to bed her before they wed.
“I’m glad he’s treating you right. So, how are, you know...things?”
Aubrey just smiled and shook her index finger at me. “Not every male is fixated on sex like you are. We’ve decided to wait until our wedding night, and we’re sticking to that.”
A large part of me was relieved. I was the first one to ever kiss Aubrey on the lips, feel out her breasts and slide my hand between her thighs. It just seemed natural to want to be the first one to pop her cherry. My penis pressed painfully against the zipper of my jeans as I remembered making out with her that hot July evening after the fireworks. She was so wet and ready for my fingers to fuck her. But instead, I’d gotten down on my knees between her legs and got my first taste of her pussy. It was sweet, salty ecstasy. She’d writhed under the explorations of my tongue and told me fireworks burst behind her closed eyelids when she came. I had been ready to sink into her and experience the light show for myself. That was the first time she’d told me no. And it certainly wasn’t the last. Aubrey wanted to be a virgin when she got married.
Damn. I didn’t want her to marry anyone else. I wanted to marry her. I’d been in love with her from the first day we met. But I wasn’t ready to settle down. The reason wasn’t because I wanted to sow wild oats or party ‘til all hours, but I did want to earn a living. Right now, although I worked my butt off, I could barely afford to support myself.
Now, I knew women these days didn’t look for men to support them. Most of them were more than willing to pay their way and then some. But I couldn’t see Aubrey living with me in my one room apartment located over my brother’s bar or sleeping on the old sofa-bed I picked up at the Salvation Army store.
Lack of money was the downfall of being an unknown actor. In reality, being an actor meant that between bartending at The Sand Dollar, I’d gone to lots of auditions and been in one toothpaste commercial.
“So, have you set a date?” I finally asked. I hated to, but it seemed like the polite thing. I immediately wished I hadn’t asked.
Aubrey squealed a little and wiggled a lot, nearly jumping up and down on the park bench as she showed me a huge diamond ring on her left hand. “February fourteenth. I’m going to be a Valentine bride.”
I pulled out my PDA and began to input the information, not like I’d forget. Being single, I dreaded Valentine’s Day. Now I had a new reason to hate it. I recorded it on the calendar as the day my heart would be permanently broken.
“Looks like Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday next year. That’ll be lucky, but you should probably start booking the arrangements this year. Unless you’re planning on running off to Vegas?”
There was an odd silence and I looked up at Aubrey. She was gazing at me with the strangest expression on her face.
“Next year? Not next year, silly. This year. You know, Thursday.”
Suddenly there wasn’t enough air in the great outdoors. There was a loud buzzing in my ears as my mind tried to comprehend what I’d just heard. I looked back down at my PDA. Troy and Aubrey had only started dating two months ago and he’d proposed on the first date. Why the hurry?
Thinking about it, I realised I knew what the hurry was. Aubrey felt as if she had to keep up with her sisters. There were five O’Fallon girls, and Aubrey was the middle child. The two older siblings had been married over the summer and just this past Christmas, the twins had been married in a flamboyant candlelight service.
I glanced back down at my PDA, forcing myself to appear busy so Aubrey didn’t realise how much her news had shaken me. I counted the days. There was no mistake.
Today was Sunday and Valentine’s Day was Thursday.
I had four days to stop a wedding.
by Jena Galifany
Anna Scott could see snippets of the future, what was going to happen before it happened. She was young, too young to know how to use this gift to her advantage. In fact, sometimes the dark visions frightened her.
She planned out her life, and knew that she would have everything she wanted. She could see it. Unfortunately, she couldn't clearly see the perfect man she knew she should marry, or the years of unhappiness she would have to endure before her dreams came true.
Chase Trent breezed into Southampton fresh from America, presenting himself as the perfect man. Good looks, charm and money blinded the saucy girl who was five years his junior. Chase was used to having the best and, on the surface, this little sample of English tart would look good on his arm. To top it off, she thought he was perfect. On their wedding day, Chase proved to his bride that he was the furthest thing from the man Anna expected him to be.
Colin Marsec would do anything to be close to Miss Anna. As they grew up together, he tried to make her see beyond her dreams, to see him as the man who loved her as more than just a surrogate sister. Once she chose Chase Trent over him, his reckless living trapped him into an unwanted marriage with a woman who would ruin his life.
Will Anna find the perfect man? Does he really exist? And what of Justin Waring?
1907—Southampton, Yorkshire, England
"I plan to marry well and will do anything to make it possible," Anna announced to Colin one warm day the following spring. "I dreamed of the man who would be perfect."
"The perfect man—again." Colin rolled his eyes.
Anna continued, ignoring his attitude. "He has to have dark hair and brown eyes. He is romantic—and loving—and adores me no matter what I do. I will be pampered and taken care of for the rest of my life."
"Where do you think you will find this man?" Colin looked up and down the street. He leaned against the high brick wall surrounding his home. He ate an apple thoughtfully as she paced back and forth before him; his eyes ever surveyed her frame. "There are not too many fitting your description around here."
He took a bite, and blotted juice from his lips with his sleeve. The warmth of the day had prompted him to come out with his shirt loosely tucked and partly open at the neck. He looked very much the part of the gypsy that day.
"Don't worry. I'll find him. You'll see." Anna stopped pacing and pulled his hand down to take a bite from the apple.
"Do you think I might apply for the position?"
Anna laughed. He smiled, and cast his eyes down in mock embarrassment.
"As if your father would allow it. He wants you to marry a girl from a finishing school," she paused to drop a curtsy, "who can run a proper household. Someone who can entertain the best company and…"
"Enough, Anna. I know what my father wants." He paused as if weighing a thought before he ventured on. "It's not especially what I want." He threw the apple core over the wall above his head. Colin caught Anna by the wrists, and slowly pulled her toward him. "Let me tell you what I want." He looked down at her.
Anna stumbled, and nearly fell against him. She recovered her footing at the last moment. He pulled her palms to his chest, their faces barely six inches apart. Anna could feel his heart beating like thunder; the heat of his body penetrated the thin material of his shirt.
She swallowed as she wondered at the emotion that rose within her. "Colin Marsec, we are standing in a public street." Pulling her gaze from his face, she looked around to see if anyone was about. "Someone might see us. This does not look proper."
"I don't care." He shrugged, and increased his hold on her. "I want a certain sixteen-year-old girl. She is slender." His eyes caressed her face. “Stubborn, red-haired, and not as in control as she thinks she is.” His voice lowered to a whisper. Anna caught herself as she leaned closer to hear, melting into his dark eyes before she realized what she was doing. “She thinks she knows what she wants. I happen to know what she needs. I also know where to find her anytime I want her. I don't have to wait for her to materialize from a dream."
She pulled her hands from his grip, and stepped away before she found herself lost in his fantasy. "Your father would disown you and your gypsy ways without a second thought. You’d not be able to support her. Then what?" She turned her back on him, as she tried to control the beating of her own heart. She walked proudly away, and swung her hips. She paused to look over her shoulder in what she considered a seductive manner.
His lips curled in a playful smile and there was a dangerous spark in his eyes. Anna loved that look. He was about to break the rules. She picked up her skirt and dashed as fast as she could down the sidewalk to the alley, a short cut to her street.
She heard Colin giving chase and he caught her just over half way through the alley. He had only to reach out and catch a handful of her hair, using his hold to guide her back against the eight-foot brick wall that separated his yard from the alley. Anna grasped his hand with both of hers, and tried to free herself. He took advantage of the situation, captured both of her hands, and pinned them above her head.
"Someday, Miss Anna Scott," his face barely an inch from hers, "you will regret teasing me."
His voice was low and menacing. He pressed his body against her, holding her to the bricks. With the tilt of his head, his lips met hers in a hard kiss that kindled sparks all the way to her toes.
He stepped back in triumph, and slid his hands down her arms and her sides before he allowed them to drop from her hips. Colin winked and strolled briskly toward his street, not looking back.
"No, I don't think so," Anna called after him.It was too exciting. Anna hadn’t known she could draw such attention from him. She was surprised at how she had reacted to his attentions as well. Had the kiss been any longer, any deeper, she would have had no choice but to completely surrender.
Simply Decadent I:
A Gift of Chocolate
A magic elixir. A gift of chocolate. Valentine’s Day will never be the same.
Read the first chapter and discuss this book on Main Street:
Sabrina rushed forward and shouted, “Kennadi.”
Her daughter smiled and jumped out of the car. “Hi, Mommy.” She held up a little red box with a bow on it. “Surprise!”
“What is it? Is she okay?” Abby asked her.
“For some reason, she’s with a police officer.”
“Oh, my God,” she whispered.
Sabrina dropped down on her knees and pulled her close. Kennadi reared back. “Look, Mommy. I bought you something for Valentine’s Day.”
Sabrina touched her face, fingered her ponytail, and inspected her from head to toe. “I was so worried about you. Where have you been?”
With a smile on her face and a chocolate smudge on the corner of her mouth, she said, “I went to the bakery across the street.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. “What? You shouldn’t have done that. You disappeared, and Abby didn’t know where you were. We were both so worried.”
Kennadi’s caramel-colored little face switched from happy to sad. “I’m sorry. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
Not wanting to put a damper on her gift, but needing to let her know what she did was wrong, she responded, “Thank you so much, sweetheart. But you scared Mommy to death. Did you walk over there all by yourself?”
The corners of her mouth tilted upward. “Uh huh. And I even looked both ways before I crossed the street. Just like you taught me.”
Abby asked the police officer, “How did you find her?”
Sabrina was so focused on her child that she hadn’t taken much notice of the police officer standing behind her daughter.
“I was in the store when she came in, so I decided to bring her back. I figured you’d be looking for her by now.”
Sabrina looked up and then up again. This guy, with his shaved head and near-perfect stature, was the stuff heroes were made of on the covers of the romance novels she read. At least six-two, he looked as if he’d been specifically chosen and decadently placed in a rich pool of milk chocolate by God himself.
Abby, unaware of the tension rolling through Sabrina’s body, said, “Well, that’s good. I’m so relieved. We were so worried about her. I’ll go inside and get her bag.”
Sabrina needed to snap out of it. One minute she was about to go stark raving mad with worry about her daughter, the next she couldn’t take her eyes off the officer who’d brought her safely back. “Thanks, Abby. And thank you so much, Officer...?”
“Hughes. Allen Hughes.”
She liked his voice. And his eyes, which were a deep shade of brown, almost black, were mesmerizing. “I thought...” She shook her head from side to side. “Well, never mind what I thought.” She stooped back down to look at Kennadi. “I’m just glad you’re okay.”
“I’m fine. Officer Allen helped me pay for your surprise, too.”
“Oh, no. I couldn’t let you do that,” she croaked, inwardly wincing at the choked sound of her own voice.
He tilted his head to the side and smiled. “It’s no problem. Besides, if you pay me back, then it wouldn’t be a gift, now would it?”
“I guess not.”
Kennadi tugged at her sleeve. “Open it, Mommy. Open it.”
Sabrina untied the bow, then opened the box and lifted out the tissue paper.
“Try one. It tastes really good.”
As she pushed the paper aside, she grinned. “Chocolate.”
“They sure are, sweetie.” She cupped her daughter’s cheek. “Well, since there are three pieces, why don’t we all eat one?”
“I already had one. The lady at the store let me try one before we bought them. Just share one with Officer Allen.”
“Okay.” She lifted the box up, and he grinned as he took one out.
After she took a bite, she told him, “I don’t think I can say thank you enough for finding her, and for this,” she said, lifting the box up. “I really appreciate it.”
He ate his in one bite. “No problem. Just part of the job. Plus, she seems like a really good kid.”
The sudden surge of love for her daughter made her beam as she responded, “Yes, she is.” Sabrina leaned down until she was face-to-face with Kennadi, and then she tweaked her daughter on the nose. “Except for today. Don’t you ever do that again, do you hear me?”
Kennadi’s cheeks flushed and her hazel eyes, so like her father’s, sparkled with excitement. “Yes, ma’am. You like your present, don’t you, Mommy?”
“Yes, I do, and it was very sweet of you to get it for me, but no more crossing streets without an adult. Okay?”
Kennadi nodded. “I promise.”
“You and your husband raised a very well-mannered little girl,” Officer Hughes said.
Sabrina tensed, not quite sure how to respond. “Well, um...” What could she say? I had a husband, but we’re not together because drugs were more important to him than his family. No. She wouldn’t respond that way. She couldn’t hang her dirty laundry out there like that.
“Mommy and Daddy aren’t together anymore.”
Embarrassed, Sabrina squeaked out, “Kennadi.” She gave her a fierce hug, turned her around, and patted her on the back. “Why don’t you go inside and get your backpack from Abby so she won’t have to come all the way out here.”
“Tell Officer Hughes goodbye and thank him.”
Kennadi turned before she walked through the door and waved. “Goodbye, Officer Allen, and thank you for helping me buy Mommy’s Valentine’s present.”
He returned her wave. “You’re welcome, Kennadi.” Then he focused his attention on her. “So, I see you’re a student, too.”
Almost forgotten, she tugged her backpack up on her shoulder. “Oh, yeah. I just got out of class.”
“Where do you go to school?”
“Pulaski Tech. Kennadi comes here every day after school and then I pick her up.”
“Well, I patrol this area, so I’ll keep an eye out for her. Make sure she doesn’t take any other unsupervised trips to the bakery without permission,” he offered with a grin that threatened to make Sabrina’s toes curl.
“Thank you. I don’t know what made her do that. She knows she’s not to go anywhere by herself.”
He shrugged. “Well, she wanted it to be a surprise, so she probably planned it and waited for the perfect opportunity; when her teacher wasn’t in the room.”
“I guess so. I never knew she was so sneaky.”
His grin sent a shiver through her, and it had nothing to do with how cold it was outside. Lord, this man could get her motor running with just a little smile. “Kids will amaze you.”
“Don’t I know it?”
Sabrina stared up at him for an awkward moment. She never thought she was a sucker for a man in uniform, but something about his dark blue suit, the gun belt wrapped around his narrow waist, and the badge on his chest just did something to her.
“I got my bag, Mommy,” Kennadi said, running full speed out the door.
“Okay then, I guess it’s time for us to go.”
Quickly, she bent down, pulled Kennadi’s hat over her head, and zipped up her coat. It was a short walk to their apartment, but it was still cold outside, and she couldn’t afford for either one of them to catch a cold. After she did the same to herself, she turned to Officer Hughes. “Thank you again.”
She hated to see him go, but as attractive as he was, he wasn’t for her. No man on earth wanted a ready-made family, no matter how nice he seemed. Besides, between school, Kennadi, and her new job, she didn’t have time for a relationship. Not that he wanted one anyway. “Goodbye.”
She watched him as he got in his patrol car. Sabrina clasped Kennadi’s hand tightly as they walked down the sidewalk and turned right, past the arts center. She loved the old building, especially since they remodeled it. The russet brick and tall white columns; the beautiful landscaping and the water fountain out front. Amazing was the only word to describe it.
“You need a lift?”
Shocked, she turned to see Officer Hughes pull up beside them. “Um, no. We don’t live that far away. We can walk.”
How nice of him to offer, but she didn’t want him to feel obligated, even though he was a cop.
“It’s no trouble.”
“Come on, Mommy. It’s cold,” Kennadi said, making up Sabrina’s mind.
“Well, then. If you’re sure it’s okay.”
“Sure. Hop on in.”
She opened the back door, ushered Kennadi inside first, then got in and shut the door. ’
“Where am I going?”
“Sixteen-twenty Sherman,” Sabrina told him as she buckled Kennadi’s seat belt, then her own.
“So, where do you go to school, Kennadi?” he asked as he glanced in his rearview mirror and pulled out into the street.
“Rockefeller Elementary School. I’m in first grade.”
“Do you like school?”
“What’s your favorite subject?” he asked quickly, his lips twitching.
“Which is why the after-school program at the art center is perfect for her,” Sabrina added. “It allows her to get out all that creative energy.”
He probably saw her as pitiable. She didn’t have a car. She almost lost her daughter and, when he saw the building she lived in, it would be even worse. It wasn’t a slum, but it was old and small. However, under the circumstances, it was the best she could do.
“What is her mom studying in school?”
“Cool. I don’t think I’ve ever met a respiratory therapist before,” he replied as he turned onto her street.
“Well, I’m not one yet.”
He glanced at her. “You will be, though. I can tell.”
He pulled up in front of her building and put the car in park. “Here we are.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it,” she said and hurriedly unbuckled both of their seatbelts, eager to put their unexpected meeting behind her.
“I’ll see you around, I guess.”
“I hope so.”
When she reached the front of her building, she turned just in time to see him wave. Maybe she’d run into him again. He worked in the area, and so did she. Plus, she did volunteer that Kennadi was at the art center every day. He’d know she’d be there after school. Of course, that didn’t mean anything. She was quite sure he wouldn’t seek her out. She just wasn’t that lucky when it came to men.
From the moment the two meet sparks fly, and they can't keep their hands off each other. The only problem is, neither is looking for a relationship, so they come up with an outrageous solution. Can they stick to their plan of keeping their relationship strictly sexual, or do they give in to the overwhelming love that threatens to claim their hearts?
He sucked in his breath, his penis jumping strongly beneath her finger. His heavy lidded gaze slid down Libby’s exposed body in a slow, heated caress that made her heart pound and her pulse race. She felt her breasts swelling for attention, her nipples tingling almost painfully with excitement. Lord, it was a wonder she remained on her feet she was so turned on. And all they’d done was kiss so far.
What was Logan waiting for? Libby was all but asking him to make love to her. Didn’t he recognize the signs? Surely he wasn’t a virgin!
“Ah, Logan?” she questioned after a moment, curious as to why he hadn’t made his move yet when she expected him to sweep her into his arms and ravish her. His eyes swung lazily up to hers, the question in them apparent. “Ah, you’ve been with a woman before, haven’t you?” Her finger continued to toy with his erection. “Because if you haven’t, I can show you what to do with this.”
The crooked grin spreading slowly across his face was sexy as sin, and Libby felt the heat of embarrassment crawl up her neck and span across her cheeks when she realized her mistake. All at once the wolfish look in his eyes was backed up with a predatory gleam, and his intentions became very clear.
He was about to make a meal of her.
“I thought I told you Libby, I like it slow and easy.” His words reminded her of what he’d said that night at the bar. Before she was prepared he wrapped an arm around her waist and hauled her up against him. She was the one catching her breath now, feeling the ridge of his desire against her. “And looking is the best part,” he finished in a voice of smooth velvet.