AND THE WINNER IS….
I woke my daughter up this morning and asked her to pick a number between 1-29. I love the scientific-ness of choosing contest winners. With a sleepy voice, she replied 22. SO…
Ivelisse! You are the winner. Look out for my email. And a big thanks to everyone for participating. Happy Hour releases today! Woot!
Do Over. Available now at Carina Press.
Sometimes once is not enough…
After twenty-five years of marriage, Faith Wainwright wonders what she’ll do next. Her kids have moved out and sometimes she feels so distant from her husband, Troy.
Right before their anniversary, Troy gives Faith an unexpected gift: a journey through their hometown to reenact all their “firsts.” Their first date. Their first kiss. And especially the first time they made love—only better.
Each stop on their tour becomes an opportunity for Faith and Troy to rediscover how explosive their passion can be. Now Faith knows exactly what she’s going to do: Troy, over and over again…
When the parking lot was almost completely clear, he turned to her. “Happy anniversary, Faith.”
Her brows lowered. “Our wedding anniversary isn’t until next Tuesday.”
He shrugged. “It’s close enough. I wanted to celebrate it with you here.”
“At the high school?”
He chuckled. “No, here. In Carlylse. Home.”
She smiled at his words. “This place hasn’t been home in nearly thirteen years.”
“It’ll always be home. Too much of our lives happened here for it to be anything else.”
She nodded, knowing he was right. Then, he picked up the present and she blushed. “I feel terrible. I didn’t get you anything yet.”
Truth be told, she hadn’t planned on buying him much more than a card. After twenty-five years of marriage, a simple card exchange and dinner out had sort of become their standard routine. There wasn’t too much that either of them really wanted and with two kids in college, spending money on anything frivolous seemed like too much of a waste.
“You give me plenty, Faith,” he said, tapping her nose playfully, and she had to take a quick breath to fight back the tears at his unexpected, sweet comment. She loved her husband and she knew for a fact that he loved her, but neither of them spoke in flowery phrases. Every night of their lives together, they’d kissed good-night and said the words, “love you,” but after awhile, the meaning behind the words was lost in the rote pattern.
Looking down, she carefully opened the beautifully wrapped package. Pulling off the lid and digging into the tissue paper, she was surprised to find a photo album. She started to open the cover, but Troy’s hand covered hers.
“You can only look at the first page,” he said.
She looked up, the question in her eyes, but he didn’t give her time to voice it.
“This is only the first stop in our celebration. One page for each place. I’ll tell you when you can turn the page.”
She looked at him for several moments, trying to assimilate this man and this incredibly romantic gesture with the easygoing guy who’d been leaving wet towels on her bathroom floor year after year.
Opening the photo album to the first page, she saw a picture of her and Troy the night of their senior prom. They hadn’t come to the dance together, but they’d certainly left the gym hand in hand. His original date had come down with the flu, canceling the morning of. She’d come with Travis Scottsdale, her first semi-serious boyfriend and asshole of the century. Ten minutes after arriving at the dance, he told her he wanted to break up with her, leaving her sitting alone while he proceeded to make out in the corner with Amber Cooper.
“Oh my gosh. Look at us. We’re so young.”
“And sweaty,” Troy joked. “We danced our asses off that night.”
“It didn’t help that the AC in the gym didn’t work.” Faith grinned at the memory.
“Must’ve been at least a hundred degrees in there.”
Faith looked back at the photograph. “Where did you get this picture? I’ve never seen it.”
“It was in the pocket of that letter jacket. I can’t remember exactly where I got it. I think Judy Hayes gave it to me a couple weeks after the dance. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to pass it along to you.”
“And obviously you forgot.” Forgetting little things was a special talent of Troy’s. She always had to remind him it was garbage day or to stop on the way home from work to pick up the dry cleaning.
Troy shrugged. “I was a teenage boy falling in love for the first time. Believe me, I was not about to give up that picture. I looked at it all the time.”
This time, she couldn’t hold back the tears his kind words provoked.
“Troy,” she whispered.
He bent forward. “Kiss me,” he murmured. Their lips touched. They’d kissed a million and twelve times in their lives, but this kiss, gentle and sweet and innocent, reminded her of their first. It was in this parking lot after the dance and she could still remember the excitement she felt when Troy Wainwright offered her a ride home. They’d gotten into his car and before he started the engine, he’d turned to her and said the exact same words.
The request and the action had taken her breath away that night and she was feeling the same lightheadedness now as she had then. As soon as the memory entered her mind, she pulled away with a gasp and looked around. If she wasn’t mistaken, this was very nearly the same parking spot.
“Our first kiss.”
He grinned, pleased she’d remembered. “Yep. Right here. In front of the school.” He turned on the radio and slid in a CD. Pushing Play, he pointed back down to the photo album as the sounds of Fleetwood Mac drifted through the speakers.
For the first time, her gaze traveled from the picture on the left page to a letter protected under the plastic film on the right page. It was written to her in Troy’s handwriting.
“What’s this?” she asked.
You and I have known each other nearly our entire lives, traveling the same path through elementary, middle and high school. While we were acquaintances through those early years, I feel like I never really knew you, never saw you until the night of our senior prom.
Betsy Jordan coming down with the flu was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I remember how pissed off I was after her mother called and said she couldn’t go to the dance with me. I almost stayed home that night, but my mom insisted I put the rented tux to use. You know my mom— waste not, want not.
I came late and by the time I got there, that dickhead, Travis had left you sitting all alone. I knew you all had been dating, so I was surprised when I saw him with Amber. I can still remember the look on your face as you watched him dancing with that other girl. You were so pale and yet, so strong. I could see how hard you were fighting not to cry, to hold on to your dignity. It was like a light went on inside me. I’d passed you in the hallways for years and never really looked at you, but that night, you were the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen and I wondered why in the hell I’d never noticed it before.
I was nervous as shit when I walked over to you and asked to sit down. You smiled at me and I felt like somebody had punched me in the gut. Talk about an instant attraction. We talked and laughed and after awhile, we started dancing. The last song of the night was “Landslide” and I took you in my arms and we slow danced while Stevie Nicks sang. After the dance, you said I could drive you home and we had our first kiss in the parking lot. I fell in love with you that night even though I was too stupid at the time to know it. When I dropped you off at your house, I asked if I could call you again and you said yes. I smiled the whole way home, thinking about you.
Even after all this time, I only have to think about you and I smile.
Happy Hour. Available at My Bookstore and More now.
Last Call? She’ll have a double. Straight up…
For six years, widow Grace Wright’s days have been filled as a single working mother. Now, with her daughter graduating, her nest is yawning before her, wide and empty. And so is the upcoming weekend. Invited out by her coworkers, she decides it’s time to turn that corner and get on with her life.
Jamie’s had his eye on Grace for years, but it never seemed the right time to approach her. Tonight, something’s different. The sexual signals she’s giving off are unmistakable—and he’s not the only man in the bar who’s noticed. His best friend, Trey, is breaking a sweat just looking at the delectable English teacher.
The two men make her the offer of a lifetime, and Grace doesn’t hesitate. For one night, Jamie and Trey indulge her every desire, every fantasy, every naughty craving. In the morning Trey is gone with the wind, but Jamie his holding on to every moment as if he never wants to let go. Leaving her wondering if another chance at forever is too much to ask…
“Take off your clothes,” Jamie murmured against her flushed skin. “I want to see you.”
She reached for the buttons on her blouse, noticing that neither man seemed inclined to give her much room to move. Trey’s hands covered hers as he tried to hurry her up. Jamie’s hands only left her for a moment as she removed the material, then he quickly returned to exploring the bare skin of her waist. As soon as her blouse hit the floor, Jamie’s hands moved up to unhook her bra. In mere seconds, she was bare to the waist as well. She waited for some response, some hesitation when they realized what they were asking for by inviting an older woman to bed. It never came.
Neither stopped their assault on her senses and her sensitive flesh. Trey’s hands returned to her breasts, his fingers plucking at her nipples until she was squirming against Jamie’s covered cock. She was on fire and nothing short of being completely consumed by the flames would suffice. She pulled her lips away from Trey’s kiss, sucking in some much-needed air.
“Please,” she said, not sure what the hell she was pleading for—air, sex, more touching, more kissing, more everything. Her legs threatened to give way and Jamie’s hands grasped her more firmly, pulling her back against his chest.
“Just relax,” Jamie whispered.
“Relax?” Her voice betrayed her and she knew relaxing was the last thing she was going to be able to do. They both chuckled.
“Let us take care of you tonight, Gracie. We know what you need,” Trey assured her.
“Well, that’s comforting, considering I don’t have a clue.” She wanted far too much.
Trey’s hands drifted from her breasts to the clasp of her jeans she’d quickly changed into before heading to Tully’s and she sucked in a nervous breath. Moment of truth.
“You’re so beautiful,” Jamie said. “I can’t wait to see you naked. I’m going to lick every inch of this soft skin.”
She trembled, but felt relief at his words. She and Jamie helped Trey—six hands working her jeans and panties over her hips. She toed off her sandals, kicked off the denim and held her breath.
Trey’s gaze raked her from head to toe while Jamie started to make good on his licking promise, his tongue and teeth toying with her earlobe as he reached around her chest to grip her breasts in his large hands.
“Jesus,” Trey muttered. He licked his lips as his attention remained riveted to her chest and Jamie’s hands. Before she could wonder whether his response was good or bad, he bent down and captured one of her hard nipples in his mouth. Her hands flew to his head and she ran her fingers over it, marveling at the rough texture of his short hair.
As Trey sucked, bit, devoured her breasts, Jamie’s hands found their way to her ass. He cupped the cheeks, squeezing firmly before dragging one finger along the slit. She turned her head, anxious to see Jamie’s face. She needed to know, to reassure herself that he was okay with this.
He smiled when he caught her looking, and then placed a quick kiss on her lips. “You’re incredible, Grace. Perfect. I knew you would be.”
She blinked back the happy tears his words provoked. “Jamie—” She paused, uncertain what to say, how to express to him what this night truly meant to her. She knew for them it was a one-night stand, a one-time deal and she was okay with that. A threesome was a fantasy, but definitely not something she wanted more than once. Jamie’s hand touched her face gently and she fought back the realization of what she did want.
She wanted Jamie, alone, for way more than one night. The answer seemed so obvious, she wondered how she could have missed it.
“Stop worrying,” he murmured against her lips. “Everything will be fine.”
She nodded, wondering if he could somehow read her thoughts. She dismissed that thought. No, he clearly thought she was worried about the sex. Sex with two virile, healthy, young men.
Well, that thought certainly washed away every other worry. What was she doing here? How could she possibly satisfy both of them?
Jamie grinned. “Trey. I think we better move this show to the bed. Grace’s head is starting to catch up with her body. We must not be doing something right.”
She laughed at his jest. “Believe me, you’re doing everything right.”
Trey rose as Jamie took her hand and led her to his bed. He gently pushed on her shoulders, urging her to sit. She watched both men glance at each other and she giggled, suddenly sensing there were parts of this night that were just as uncomfortable for them.
“You guys okay?” She lifted her eyebrows to prove she knew what was holding them back. While they’d removed their shirts, she wondered how they felt about shucking their jeans and standing side by side with matching erections. “It’s not a contest, you know.”
She hoped her words would put them at ease. Jokes and teasing were second nature to their relationship.
Jamie shrugged. “I’m not gonna pretend I’m not worried about that myth surrounding black guys.” His words were spoken lightly and she watched Trey grin at the joke.
“Who says it’s a myth?” Trey challenged.
She laughed, her concerns about the evening drifting away. These guys were her friends and they always would be. The rest would just have to be sorted out come morning.