“If I was going to be a princess, I would be a warrior princess.” -Emma Watson
I had the great pleasure in writing a series of four books with the incredibly funny and talented Aussie author, Lexxie Couper. It’s hard to look back at the writing of those stories as work because we were having too much damn fun. The result of our collaboration was a melding of two worlds – America and Australia and a blending of city and country. It was sort of insane to tackle writing stories that happened concurrently on two different continents considering the time differences, but we persevered…barely…and made it through with the patient help of our editor, Kelli Collins, who is now an expert in the game…If it’s 2 p.m. in New York, what time is it in Sydney? lol
One of my favorite books in the series was Misplaced Lessons. It took me five years of writing romance to be able to use my husband’s name for a hero. Snort. And so I give you…Andrew. He’s a very dirty boy.
A forced-sex fantasy is one thing—waking to find a scruffy man binding you to a bed is quite another. Amy fights him, until she realizes her friend must have set up the sexy scenario. They’ve swapped lives, with Harper flying to Australia and lending her Chicago home to Amy. While she’s surprised Harper would go to such lengths to help her fulfill a fantasy, Amy figures…why not?
After days of nonstop travel, Andrew arrives at the home he shares with his sister, Harper, with sleep on his mind—until he finds a naked intruder in his bed. Subduing the beauty, he assumes she’s the blind date his pal had tried to set him up with. But would Mike actually sneak the woman into Andrew’s house? Seems so. And he’s not one to turn down such a gift.
By the time each has learned the other’s identity, Amy and Andrew have shared the most intense sexual experience of their lives. And they certainly don’t want to stop now.
Inside Scoop: This sexy life-swapping tale includes BDSM with a side of ménage.
“When I give you an order, Amy, the proper response is ‘Yes Sir’.”
“Oh yeah. Right. Got it.” She pasted on a look of innocence, knowing her reply would annoy him.
“You don’t mess around, do you? Change of plans. Since you want to play the naughty girl, we’ll start with a punishment.”
As he spoke, he lifted her. She wasn’t exactly a small woman. She liked her vegemite on toast as much as the next girl. Withholding that treat or counting calories wasn’t something she was willing to do. Regardless of the extra pounds, her handsome Sir picked her up as if she were stuffed with feathers, putting her on her stomach with ease.
“Lift your ass.”
“Excuse me?” She twisted her head to look at him over her shoulder.
“Wrong answer. Again.” He gripped her hips none too gently, raising her. Then he forced her to bend her legs, resting her weight on her knees. The new position left her very exposed. And wet.
She didn’t have time to consider what that meant before his hand struck her arse. It took her off-guard and it fucking hurt.
She started to rise, but he placed a strong hand between her shoulder blades and pushed her face against the pillow.
“I’ll bloody well do whatever I want,” she said as his hand landed against her sensitive flesh once more.
“No. You won’t,” he said as he struck her twice more. She continued to struggle, but the man was strong as a horse. Amy’s arse was sore from his spanking, however, she couldn’t help but notice the heat was morphing into something infinitely less painful. She stopped resisting the blows. Her sudden capitulation caused him to cease striking her for just a moment. Then he picked up his rhythm again—his hand landing in different places along her buttocks and upper thighs. No slap was the same.
Amy started squirming again, but this time, she wasn’t seeking escape. She was looking for relief.
He must have recognized her need. Gripping one knee, he pulled her legs apart then ran his fingers along her damp slit. She heard him release a long breath, a whispered “oh yeah” mingling with the air.
She gasped when he pressed two fingers inside her pussy. His actions were quick and forceful. After so many years with lovers who were too careful, too gentle, his rough claiming felt like a homecoming, only she was returning to a home she’d never seen.
“Harder,” she begged.
He took her at her word, adding another finger, increasing his pace. Amy’s fingers clenched the pillow beneath her head as she lifted her hips, shoving them against his delicious thrusts. He was fucking her into oblivion with no more than a spanking and his fingers. Bloody hell. Had she seriously considered refusing this gift?
Gray spots formed behind her closed eyelids. She was going to come. Her body stiffened in preparation, but he retreated seconds before she could close the deal.
“What the hell?” Impulse overrode common sense as Amy turned, ready to demand her due. “Don’t stop.”
His arms were folded. “Still trying to give the orders?”
“Fine,” she shrugged, wishing her voice didn’t sound so shaky. “I don’t need you to get what I want.”
After too many months of abstinence, she’d become an expert at finding her own pleasure. She reached for her pussy.
Strong hands grasped her wrists before she hit her target. “Wrong. You do.”
Amy tried to free herself from his grip, but he was relentless. Within seconds, she was on her back, bound in the restraints once more. Her handsome stranger, still fully dressed, straddled her legs, completing the effect.
Why does it feel so good being trapped beneath him?
Because you’re not exactly small and girly, but he makes you feel that way. That’s why.
“Had your fun?” he asked.
He grinned. “You’re a shitty submissive.”
“No, I’m not. You strike me as the type of man who works hard for what he wants. Where’s the challenge if I just lay down?”
He tilted his head. “Christ.” His brows creased. “You’re right.”
She lifted her eyebrows, surprised he’d admit such a thing. Marc and Keith told her she was too independent and outspoken for her own good. More than once, they’d referred to her as a pushy cow.
He nodded slowly. “Fight me all you want, Amy. Just be warned, I’ll still win.”
She yanked against his restraints, finding them too tight and definitely unbreakable. Yep. He was going to win.
But the best part? She was too.
He left the bed. Amy sucked in some much-needed air, curious as to what he would do next. He’d painted some naughty pictures in her mind with his talk of nipple clamps and vibrators.
She glanced around the room wondering where he’d hidden his bag of tricks. Had he stowed it in the house prior to her arrival or carried it in with him tonight? Given the fact the restraints had already been attached to the bedframe, she suspected he’d set the scene earlier.
Reaching for the buttons on his shirt, he slowly slipped each one from its hole. He knew she’d been on the verge of an orgasm. He obviously intended to punish her for her outspokenness by leaving her in need.
God, he’s hot.
At some point, he’d parted the curtains. Thankfully, the full moon was providing plenty of light for his sexy striptease. Once he shrugged off his shirt, he started on the fastening to his pants.
No wonder he’d been able to pose her like a bloody Barbie doll. He was built. His arms were muscular and she’d take his six-pack over a half dozen ice-cold Toohey’s Dry any day.
She licked her lips when he shoved his trousers down. Either he’d tugged the underwear off with the rough cotton or he went commando.
Either way, she didn’t care.
AND…did you know Misplaced Lessons is now in print along with Misplaced Hands (a red hot menage)? You can find them together in Misplaced Passion.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” – Harriet Tubman
Feel like a menage throwback this week! Happy Hour was one of my earlier menage stories and I had an absolute blast writing it. Why? Because the characters were teachers not unlike the group of friends I hang out with at work. The conversations they had in the book were similar to ones I’d had in real life at Friday happy hours. Happy Hour is also my only menage story where the threesome sex is simply a fantasy. The main romance in the story involves Grace and Jamie–two friends who are perfect for each other. However, it takes a little shove–in a very sexy way–from their buddy, Trey, to make them see just how right they are together.
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…
Warning: Contains a red hot ménage, anal sex, graphic language, bondage, and toys. Serve with a tall, cool one with plenty of ice. How ’bout another round?
Jamie refused to have his night with Grace ruined by Carmen and he reacted before he thought. He leaned over and kissed Grace, a hard, full-on, open-mouthed kiss. He half expected her to pull away and slap him, so he was pleasantly surprised when she wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss.
He wasn’t sure how long he inhaled the sweet scent of her breath and tasted the tang of beer on her tongue. He gripped her waist and held on, reveling in the moment. Their first kiss and it was better than he’d ever imagined. Her lips were soft against his, but her response proved she wouldn’t be a passive or timid lover. She touched his tongue with hers, exploring his mouth while her fingers tugged his hair, pulled him closer.
The kiss betrayed her true feelings and had his mouth been free, he’d have shouted his happiness to the entire bar. She was as hungry for him as he was for her. For a moment, the rest of the world faded away, leaving just the two of them, lost in their own private Eden.
And then reality intruded.
“Jamie?” Finally, the female voice penetrated his lust-clouded mind and he regretfully pulled away. “Jamie?”
He turned to find Carmen standing beside the table, looking confused—and shit—upset. He hated hurting her, but she didn’t understand when he said he wasn’t interested in dating her. When faced with the idea of listening to her nonstop boring conversation another night, he’d acted on instinct. “Hey, Carmen,” he said, forcing a nonchalant tone to his voice.
“Hi,” she said. “I thought I spotted you over here.” An awkward silence fell, and Jamie decided it was time to carry the subterfuge to the next level.
“Have you met my girlfriend, Grace?”
“Girlfriend?” Carmen asked.
He nodded and was grateful when Grace smiled kindly. “I think we may have met a few months ago. At another happy hour, maybe?”
Carmen shrugged and Jamie saw Trey roll his eyes. No doubt Carmen didn’t remember the fact she’d met Grace at least three times in the past. She wasn’t exactly bright and she certainly never paid a bit of attention to the other women at the table, usually saving all of that mind-numbing banter for him or Trey.
“Isn’t she a little old for you?” Carmen asked.
Jamie fought back the urge to tell the woman off for her cruelty. “No. She isn’t.” His words were clipped and halting and any fool could see he was furious. Unfortunately, Carmen was the queen of fools.
She looked Grace up and down and then dismissed her as a serious threat. “What are you guys doing tonight?” she purred, thrusting her breasts forward as if the mere sight of her big tits bursting out of her too-tight top would make him come to his senses and fall madly in love with her.
“We’re having a few drinks together.”
“That’s cool,” she said, looking around for an extra chair. Mercifully, they’d given their extra seats to a large group at the next table.
“Well, it was good to see you again, Carmen. Maybe I’ll see you around sometime.” Jamie’s dismissal was curt and he silently prayed it would be enough because if she persisted on hanging around, they’d have to leave. After the kiss he’d just shared with Grace, he’d rather cut off his left nut than cut this evening short.
Carmen hovered by the table for a moment until Trey and Grace both added their goodbyes, then she left.
“Damn, man,” Trey said. “Quick thinking on that kiss. Well done.”
He nodded, though he was still fuming over Carmen’s insult. He glanced at Grace. “I’m sorry she was so rude to you.”
Grace reached over and grasped his hand. “That’s not your apology to make. Besides, I think we’ve already discussed her lack of intelligence.”
Trey laughed, but Jamie continued speaking. “With any luck, that will be the last time I have to deal with her.”
Grace squeezed his hand. “Oh, I think you made your point. You’ve tried to break things off with her gently at least a dozen times, Jamie. Sometimes, you just have to be less subtle, more direct.”
“That kiss was pretty fucking direct,” Trey said.
Grace looked at him and smiled. “Have to admit I didn’t mind pretending to be your girlfriend for a few minutes. Wow.”
“Few minutes? Felt like you were swallowing each other’s tonsils for hours.”
“Shut up, Trey,” Jamie said with a grin, pleased by Grace’s compliment.
“You know, Grace, I think I see an old stalker girlfriend of mine over there. Mind giving me one of those kisses?” Trey asked.
Grace shook her head. “Don’t you guys have anything better to do tonight than harass this old woman?”
“Carmen’s a fucking idiot. I don’t see any old women at this table,” Jamie said, hating for her to feel the sting of the insensitive woman’s words.
“Maybe not, but I still don’t get why you two are here. Despite my fears of pumping up your already overinflated egos, you’re both totally hot. Why are you sitting here with me tonight rather than going out on dates? Getting laid?”
Jamie shrugged. “Spending the night with you is a hell of a lot more fun than spending all our money, buying drinks and trying to get into the pants of some stranger.”
“We’d rather buy drinks and try to get into your pants,” Trey teased. The image of the three of them in bed together floated through Jamie’s mind and he silently cursed the denim cutting into his rock-hard cock as he was reminded of Trey’s proposition.
“Ha ha. God. I can’t tell you how glad I am I’m not still out there, trying to maneuver my way around the dating scene.” Grace picked up the pitcher and freshened up all their drinks, clearly dismissing their come-ons as harmless teasing. When Jamie considered how often they’d made sexual jokes in the past, he could understand.
“Why aren’t you out there, Grace?” Trey asked. “You’re single, hot, young.”
Grace looked as if she wanted to refute his friend’s words and Jamie felt something inside snap. “And before you call Trey a liar, you might want to consider the consequences.”
Grace and Trey both turned to him, astonished by his sharp tone.
“Consequences?” Grace asked.
“Everything Trey said is true. I’m sick of hearing you put yourself down, angel.”
“I don’t put myself down,” she argued.
“Tell me you weren’t about to tell Trey he needed to get glasses, that you’re old, past your prime or some other stupid shit like that.”
She closed her mouth and he could see he’d hit the nail on the head. His eyes narrowed. “Say anything else like that again tonight—or any night for that matter—and I’ll be forced to punish you.”
His words provoked a nervous laugh from her and he could see Trey’s scowl from the corner of his eyes.
“And just how would you punish me?”
She stressed the wrong words and Jamie felt his hibernating grizzly bear begin to wake. “I’d pull down those skin-tight jeans of yours, lay you out and bring you to orgasm with just my hand. Over and over.”
Grace flushed and he could see in her eyes she was struggling like mad to read in his face whether he was joking or not. He made sure she saw the veracity of his words. This was no joke.
“I’m pretty sure that’s physically impossible.” Leave it to Grace to find her footing quickly. She took the middle ground, not giving away anything and once more, he was left to try to decide if she was interested or horrified by his comments. Damn woman never made anything easy.
Fuck it. He was going to lay it all out for her tonight. He was tired of holding back because of their age difference, because of Maddie, out of respect for her dead husband, because he was afraid of rejection or losing her friendship. All his excuses faded away as he looked at her lovely face.
“Clearly you’ve never been finger-fucked. I’d have you begging for my cock in minutes,” he replied, leaning closer to her.
She flushed as he added the last statement, but her suddenly shallow breathing and the turgid nipples poking through her blouse answered the most pressing question in his mind. He didn’t have to wonder about her sexual interest in him anymore. Her body was screaming Yes! loud and clear. Now he needed to clear the hurdle of her mind.
Trey’s voice broke the silence surrounding them. “You two do realize I’m sitting here and can hear everything you’re saying, right?”
Grace laughed, but it had a breathless quality that sent a fresh surge of blood to Jamie’s cock as he imagined that sound in his bed as he came into her body. “I hope you’re driving tonight, Trey. I think maybe Jamie is a little drunk.”
Jamie reached down and pulled her chair roughly toward his until she was sitting between his outstretched legs. “You had to go there, didn’t you? You couldn’t help yourself. It’s easier to make a joke than admit to yourself that there’s a guy sitting at this table who wants to fuck himself to death inside you.”
Jamie saw Trey move his chair closer to Grace and as he looked away from her astonished face, he saw his friend’s hands resting on Grace’s waist.
“Two guys,” Trey added. “There are two guys who want you, Gracie.”
The incredible Smutketeers are BACK AGAIN with one of their amazing “Paloozas”! For the next three days, it’s all things BDSM. Huge prize packages, excerpts, fun interview questions and MORE! Go check it out here.
“Just have fun, smile, and keep putting on lipstick.” -Diane Keaton
This week’s throwback is either a LONG pass or a short toss…considering how you look at it. Three Reasons Why was first released back in 2011, though I actually wrote the first version of the story in 2009. It was rejected (it should have been!) and it took me some time to get back into the right mindset to basically scrap the whole story and start over. I recently got the story back from the publisher and had the opportunity to republish it myself with a brand new cover, which is why it feels like I was just talking about this story. lol
The story of Wes and Jill is one that’s always stuck with me and I’ll admit that the ending makes me cry…every time. Today…I thought I’d share a snippet from the story with you.
Three Reasons Why
Wes wants Jill in every possible way a man can want a woman. But she’s resisting. Hard. When he learns she needs a handyman for her diner, he decides fate is smiling upon him—until Jill offers three reasons why they can’t be together. Always up for a challenge, Wes decides to prove her ridiculous reasons unsound, one by one.
Jill knows her reasons are total bull, but she’s sticking by them, come hell or high water. Unfortunately, Wes is extremely persuasive. Especially in bed. If the sex gets any hotter they’ll likely burn down the town. Before long, Jill’s reasons begin falling away as fast as her clothing whenever Wes is around.
But Jill knows exactly what Wes wants for his future, and she’s just prolonging the inevitable heartbreak. The real reason she can’t give herself to Wes, can’t allow herself to love him, can only lead to pain—the kind from which neither may ever recover.
Wes stood outside the diner and watched his little pixie flit from customer to customer as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Damn woman had been leading him on a merry chase these last few months and he’d had enough. It was high time he called a halt to her cat-and-mouse game once and for all. Since his last DEA mission in December, he’d been laid up with a bunch of injuries that left it too hard for him to pursue his quarry effectively.
He grinned as he glanced down at his cast-free left leg. The ungainly thing had been removed two weeks ago and his physical therapy was going great. For the first time in months, he felt like a whole man—a one hundred percent red-blooded man—and Jill Harper wasn’t going to know what hit her. He spied the sign his best friend and former partner Rick had mentioned this morning at breakfast.
Part-Time Handyman Needed. Inquire Within.
He pulled the posting off the window, tucking it in his back pocket as he passed under the jangling bell hanging above the door and into the busy diner Jill owned and operated.
“Hey, Wes,” Cheryl called out from behind the counter. Cheryl Pantino, a fifty-seven-year-old divorcee, was Jill’s right hand at the diner. Between the two of them, they kept the fine folks of Madison well fed and happy at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Hi, Cheryl. How’re you doin’ today?”
“Busy, but the lunch rush is just about over. Going to finish cleaning things in here, then head up to my apartment to catch my soaps on TV before the dinner crowd rolls in.”
Like Jill, Cheryl lived in one of the two apartments above the diner. They claimed living so close saved them the trouble of having to drive back and forth to work. Because of their long hours, they preferred to have as much time in the comfort of their homes as they could manage.
“Where’s the boss?” he asked casually.
Cheryl pointed behind her. “She just headed to the storage room. We got a shipment today from the food distributor and she’s doing inventory.”
He grinned and nodded, then strolled toward the back room. This day was getting better and better. With Jill trapped in a confined space, there was no way she would escape until he laid down the law once and for all.
After returning from his ill-fated mission, he had been stuck in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Jill, always a good friend, had shown up and planted herself on the couch beside his hospital bed, nagging him to listen to the nurses and take his meds. While he’d grumbled about her meddling, he secretly loved having her all to himself. She was a spirited, vivacious woman. She was fun to be with, constantly keeping him on his toes.
As he reached the doorway to the storage room, he spied her unloading cans of vegetables from boxes and placing them on the shelves. Her back was to him and he took a moment to appreciate the view. She was no more than five foot four, with long blonde hair. His fingers itched to touch the thick, silky mass. At the moment, she wore her lovely hair in what she referred to as one of her work ’dos. It was pulled up on the back of her head, twisted into a loose bun and held in place by what looked like a pair of chopsticks.
Despite the fact that she was constantly surrounded by mouthwatering food, she was slim. He could see the muscles in her calves, left bare by her miniskirt. She was an avid runner and it showed in her fit body.
He could have continued to stare in silence at her pert little rear end all day, but she must have sensed his presence, and she turned toward the door.
For a split second, he recognized genuine happiness in her gaze when she spied him, only to see it quickly replaced by the damn indifference he’d come to hate these past couple of months.
“Wes,” she said quietly. “You scared me. How long have you been standing there?”
“Just a few minutes.” He grinned. “Enjoying the view.”
In the past, his teasing would have provoked an equally witty rejoinder and the two of them would spar with words until one cried “uncle”. This time, she merely shook her head in annoyance and returned to her work. He swallowed his anger at her dismissal. If Jill Harper thought she could be rid of him that easily, then she didn’t know him at all.
He stepped into the storeroom and shut the door. She spun around in time to see him turning the lock.
“What are you doing?”
“Well, pixie, the way I see it, you and I have some unfinished business to attend to and I aim to see that you stay in place while we do it.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” A blush covered her cheeks. She knew exactly what he was referring to. He hadn’t been the only one celebrating under the mistletoe, and it was time Jill understood exactly what that kiss meant to him.
“Yes, you do.” He inched closer as she tried to back away from him. He couldn’t help but grin when she hit the shelf and realized she was truly trapped.
“I see you got your cast off.” Obviously she was attempting to dissuade him from his pursuit.
“Yep. Two legs now. All the better to chase you with, my dear.”
She rolled her eyes. “And your ribs? Your wrist?”
“All healed. Two hands.” He raised his palms. “All the better to catch you with.”
“Wes.” Her breathing was labored, but he wasn’t in the mood to be lenient. Ever since their first kiss on Christmas day, she had avoided him like the plague, and now he was going to finish what they’d started.
He continued forward until their bodies were only a few inches apart. He reached down and grasped her small waist, pulling her toward him until every part of them connected.
“You’ve been a very hard girl to capture.” His lips descended toward her cherry-red ones.
He was finished talking. Claiming her mouth, he laid waste to her lips and tongue, drinking in every bit of her sweet breath. He was thrilled when she returned his heated kiss with an even hotter one of her own. She gripped his hair so tightly, he sucked in a breath at the pain she produced while pulling him closer. Sex with her would be an adventure. She was passionate and not shy about expressing it.
“Easy, pixie,” he murmured. “We’ve got all the time in the world.”
She shoved him away.
“Damn you, Wes Robson. How dare you come in here and attack me like this. I have work to do.”
“Attack you?” He chuckled as she struggled to catch her breath. He reached up and ran his fingers through his hair. “Sweetheart, I’m surprised I’m not completely bald after that so-called attack of mine.”
He took a step back to study her flushed, annoyed face. It was the same look she got every time he’d tried to get close to her since the holidays. She would offer her friendship freely but the second he tried to press for more, she pulled away, hissing and clawing at him like a cornered cat. He simply couldn’t understand her continued refusal. “Why are you fighting this, Jill? Why can’t you admit you feel this thing between us as much as I do?”
“What thing?” She tried to pass him to get to the doorway. When he refused to budge, she crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. “I’m not kidding, Wes. I have a shitload of work to do.”
“I just saw Cheryl and she assured me the lunch hour was over. I have no doubt she’s finished cleaning and has already locked up for the afternoon.” He glanced at his watch. “That means we have two hours until you reopen. Plenty of time for what I have in mind.”
“Two hours is plenty of time? Pity. I’d have thought you had more stamina.”
He laughed, relieved to see her fighting with him again. “I was plotting a quickie since you’re so busy. If you’d prefer something longer…” He wiggled his eyebrows and let her fill in the rest.
“God. Spare me. I’m busy,” she insisted. “And I have no idea what’s gotten into you, but we have nothing, no thing to discuss.” As she said the word thing, she made quotation marks in the air with her fingers.
“Is that right? That’s funny, because I think you know exactly what I’m referring to, pixie. It’s that thing that’s making you run from me.” He repeated her finger gesture.
“Stop calling me pixie. If you think you’re so smart, say what you have to say and get the hell out.”
He ran the back of his hand lightly down her cheek and tried not to grin at her slight shudder. “I’m talking about the thing that makes it impossible for us to keep our hands off each other. The thing that makes me think about you all hours of the day and night, desperate to strip those clothes off your body. The thing that makes me want to tie you to my bed and never let you loose.” As he spoke, he watched the effect his words were having.
She wasn’t as unaffected as she tried to pretend. The tight buds of her nipples poked through her T-shirt, and the breathing she had gotten under control after their kiss was suddenly labored again.
“Why can’t you just admit that you want me too, Jilly?” He flashed her a charming grin, the one most women couldn’t resist.
“Ha!” Her laugh was forced, and he was annoyed by the return of her inexplicable defensiveness. What the hell was going on with her? They were friends, and he knew without a doubt the woman wanted him just as much as he wanted her.
Her tone, when she spoke, was light and easy. Her words, however, were not. “Wes, your conceit is only surpassed by your arrogance. You think you can flash those dimples at any woman and she’ll fall down drooling at your feet. Well, I have news for you. I’m immune to your charms. I’m not the slightest bit interested in anything you might have to offer, so if you will kindly step aside…”
“No.” He crossed his arms. “Not this time. You and I are going to settle this once and for all. I would like to know why in the hell you run from me like I’m Satan incarnate every time I come around. I want to get closer to you, Jill, and I don’t mean in this goddamn friendship trap you’re hell-bent on maintaining. Damn it, woman, give me one good reason why you think we can’t make a relationship work.” He sucked in a breath, cursing his anger. He hadn’t meant to lay it all on the line quite like this, but she had a habit of pushing all his buttons.
She gave him a grin. “Oh no, Wes, I won’t give you just one reason. I’ll give you three. Three reasons why this thing…” She paused as if unsure what to call their undeniable attraction. “Three reasons why you and I could never be more than friends.”
Obviously, she’d given some serious thought to her denial of his suit and was now ready to lay all her cards on the table. Unwilling to let her get the upper hand, he took a couple steps back as a peace offering to encourage her. Then he raised his eyebrows and gestured for her to proceed.
“Number one, we are like oil and water. We fight all the time.”
He waited for her to elaborate, but she simply looked at him as if her words were all the explanation needed. “That’s number one?” His voice was laced with disbelief. “That’s it?”
She raised her eyebrows. “Isn’t that enough? Wes, you have to admit we get on each other’s nerves more than the average couple.”
“Jill, we don’t fight. I don’t think you and I have ever had one serious argument the entire time we’ve known each other. We bicker, we pick on each other, we spar, but all of that is in good fun. It’s just the nature of our friendship. You’ve never done anything that’s really angered me and I have a sense that, in truth, our arguments—should we pursue a relationship—would be few and far between.”
“Oh.” Her eyebrows creased as she considered his remarks.
“Besides, pixie, think how much fun we’d have making up after one of our little disagreements.” Leaning forward, he captured her hand in his and brought it to his lips. She watched, her face flushed, as he placed a soft kiss on her knuckles before turning her hand over and running his tongue suggestively across her palm.
She pulled her hand back. “Stop distracting me.”
He struggled to look chagrined. “Sorry to interrupt. You were about to give me two more reasons, I believe, as to why you and I shouldn’t become lovers.”
“That’s right and that actually leads me to my next argument.” Her face became more composed and he braced himself. “I’m not in the slightest bit attracted to you.”
He laughed—loudly. Her words were such a blatant lie he didn’t even pretend to fall for them. “Is that right?” He reached down and gripped her hips tightly. Pulling her closer, he let her feel the erection that was fighting to escape its denim cage.
Jill’s eyes drifted shut and for just a moment, she pushed against him. Then her gaze lifted to his face. “All that proves is you’re attracted to me. We already knew that.” She gave him a cocky grin that made him smile.
He lifted his hand and tweaked her tight nipple. She gasped at his unexpected attack. “You go to hell for lying, Jill,” he teased. “Should I dip my fingers into your panties to see just how big your lie is? How wet are you?”
Jill was nothing if not resilient. “I was fantasizing about Gerard Butler when you walked in. Needless to say, I’m soaked. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to bend over for the first guy who walks by with a hard-on.”
“So that kiss at Christmas meant nothing?” He refused to accept her second reason. He knew she was interested, knew she was as hot for him as he was for her. It simply made no sense for her to deny it.
“It meant we were under the mistletoe and you were laid up in a wheelchair over the holidays. Consider it a gift.”
“You expect me to believe it was a sympathy kiss?”
“Well, it probably started out that way. I’m not going to lie to you, Wes. You’re a pretty decent kisser. Let’s just say it was a gift that kept giving…for a few minutes.”
“Thirty,” he amended. They’d made out like a couple of teenagers in the backseat of a car for half an hour before Rick and Kate returned to the living room.
“Wow. What’d you do? Put a stopwatch on us?”
“I’m observant. And I observed while we were kissing that you’re totally hot for me.”
“It was just a kiss.”
He shook his head. “No. It wasn’t. Do you want me to say it, Jill? I lust after you. And I’m not talking about some meek, mild lust, but a hot, heart-pounding, rock-hard-cock kind of lusting. I’m pretty sure if we explored that lust a bit we’d set the town on fire. And the attraction is definitely mutual.”
She rolled her eyes and he struggled not to laugh. No other woman on earth kept his feet so firmly on the ground. “Fine, Wes. You’re probably right. We’d burn down the house, but we’re never going to let it go that far. It wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“Because it wouldn’t lead to anything.”
“I’m pretty fucking sure it would lead to a ton of orgasms for each of us.”
“Yeah.” She paused, and Wes suspected they were finally going to get down to the heart of the matter. Her first two reasons—weak excuses at best—had been a ruse. “Actually, that leads me to my final reason.”
He crossed his arms and struggled not to gloat. If her last reason was as lame as the first two, he had nothing to worry about.
“I know what you’re looking for, Wes, and I can’t go there. I don’t want a relationship. At all.”
That caught him unaware. “I’m sorry?” he said, unsure he’d heard her correctly.
“I’m thirty-three years old and perfectly content with my life. I’ve just now gotten to a place where I’m genuinely happy. Upsetting that status quo isn’t something I’m interested in attempting.”
“You don’t intend to date? Ever?” He thought back to what he knew about Jill. He and Rick had moved to Madison nearly five years ago and Jill had been the first friend they’d made. As he considered her words, he realized that while she went out occasionally with different guys and indulged in infrequent hook-ups with Seth Johnson, she’d never dated anyone seriously.
She narrowed her eyes, glaring. “Don’t look at me like that.”
“I tell people I don’t want a boyfriend and suddenly they’re eyeballing me like I’m a lesbian. Why is it so hard to believe that a woman might not want to tie herself to a man?”
“I don’t think it’s that hard to believe. I just don’t understand why you’re so opposed to a relationship.”
“I’m not against dating in general,” she corrected. “The problem is dating can lead to marriage and I’m definitely not putting my neck in that noose.”
“I’m not asking to marry you, Jill. I’m just asking for a date.”
She held her hands out. “Sorry. Not interested in dating you. I like my life the way it is. What can I say? I’m old and set in my ways.”
Wes narrowed his eyes. “Thirty-three is hardly old.”
“It’s old enough for me to have gotten to a nice place in my life. I’m not looking for complications. If you were interested in dating casually, I’d be your girl, but I know you, Wes. You’re a romantic at heart. You’re looking for Miss Right, and I’m not her.”
“I think you are.” Wes appreciated her candor, even though he found it hard to accept. He knew Jill. He’d never met a woman who was more comfortable in her own skin. He also knew she was being completely sincere and honest, but there was a difference between contentment and genuine happiness. He intended to show it to her.
She reached up on tiptoe to place a quick, friendly kiss on his cheek. “I know all about that dominant streak you try to hide. You like to think you’re an evolved man, and in some ways you are. But I’ve seen glimpses of your true spirit as well—the man compelled to protect, to shelter. You’re used to calling the shots because you’ve spent a great deal of your adult life doing just that. I call my own shots. Surely you can understand that.”
“I don’t want to change you, Jill, and I don’t want to take over your life. I just want to be included in your days. I want to be a part of your pleasures.”
She looked at him and he thought he saw a spark of longing before she shut it down again. She’d definitely lied about not wanting him. Unfortunately, she was stubborn as shit when she set her mind to something. He’d have to work overtime to convince her to let him into her life.
“So you’d be happy with no-strings-attached dating?” she asked.
“No.” He wasn’t going to lie about his intentions.
She turned around, shifting items on the shelf. “I knew it. I also knew you wouldn’t accept that I mean what I say about what I want. It’s why I’ve been avoiding this conversation. You just don’t listen. Typical man.” Her ranting turned to mumbling and he chuckled at her last line.
“You’re fooling yourself if you think you have all you need in life.”
She turned to face him, pressing her body against his. His chest constricted at her close proximity and it was all he could do not to pull her skirt up and show her exactly what she needed.
“I need easy. I need free. And occasionally, I need sex. You’re welcome to help me with the third any time you want, so long as you understand nothing more will come of it.” She ran her hand along his side, not stopping until she’d touched him from shoulder to upper thigh.
Narrowing his eyes, he studied her face. She was trying to call his bluff. Trying to distract him from his intentions with sex. Two could play that game.
He reached up, cupping the side of her face, pulling her close. “So now I know.”
She frowned. “Know what?”
“What’s been keeping you away from me these past few months. Fear.”
She shook her head. “I am not, nor will I ever be, afraid of you.”
Yep, she was stubborn. However, her last reason for refusing him—spoken with such assurance—left him at a loss for a rebuttal. She was hiding something. He’d have to bide his time until he figured out why she was afraid of getting too close to someone. Time to fall back and punt.
He studied her flushed face and moved closer. He brushed his lips against hers softly, quickly. “Fine, Jill. You aren’t afraid of me, and you’ve given me three reasons why you don’t want to be with me. Now it’s my turn.”
“Your turn for what?”
“To give you the three reasons why I’m not giving up on us. Reason one, you’re perfect for me. You—exactly as you are right now. Not later, after all these so-called changes you expect me to bring to your content lifestyle.”
She refused to back away, even though he still held her close. He’d always admired her courage, her spunkiness. She never backed down from a fight, which was why the distance she’d been maintaining between them had driven him crazy.
“Second, our bodies were made for each other.”
She huffed out an annoyed breath. “There’s more to life than sex, Wes.”
“I know that, which leads to my final reason. I want to date you.”
“Yep. Goin’ steady. Boyfriend, girlfriend, an extra toothbrush for you in my bathroom, your side of the bed, my side of the bed. Dating.”
She appeared dumbfounded by his words, her mind playing over his completely sincere declaration.
“I think those drugs they gave you in the hospital for pain must have affected your brain. Or at the very least, your hearing. I’m. Not. Dating. You.” He grinned at the fervor behind her refusal. God, she was gorgeous. “Not now. Not ever.”
He considered the heated passion behind her words and wondered if she was soured on the idea of commitment. No one in her life had ever made it very far with that concept. Her parents had divorced when she was young. Her sister’s first marriage had gone to hell in a handbasket after six years. Rick was pushing hard to set a wedding date, but Kate was in no hurry—despite her obvious love for the man. It was inevitable that Jill would have reservations.
It was also inevitable that he would fight like hell to overcome them. His mind was made up in regards to his future…and Jill Harper’s.
“We can do this the easy way or the hard way, pixie.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
He grasped her hips and pulled her against his erection once more. She held his gaze. “You can accept my invitation for a date now or you’ll have to suffer my concentrated seduction until you say yes.”
She grinned and for the first time since he’d entered the room, he saw the real Jill emerge. “Oh wow. It’s gonna be tough watching you fall on your ass, Wes, but I’m willing to give it a go.”
He laughed and released her. “Here.” He pulled the help wanted sign out of his pocket and handed it to her.
She took it, looking down at the folded paper. “What’s this?”
“You’re looking at your new handyman.”
She shook her head vehemently. “Oh no, I’m not. I—”
“Pixie, I think you underestimate me.”
“What do you mean?”
“If this is a battle we’re waging, you’re going to face me on the field every day.”
She swallowed heavily, but he could see her considering his comments. Jill never backed down from a dare. She was every bit as competitive as he was. She wouldn’t run away any longer.
“I need a handyman, not a lover.”
“You know I’m perfectly qualified to work here as your handyman and while I’m at it, I’m gonna show you how very wrong you are about everything you just said. I’m going to prove to you exactly how perfect we are for each other and I’m definitely going to change your mind about all three of those damn reasons why.”
Twenty FIRST IN SERIES Romances Boxed Set
Twenty First in Series Romances from New York Times, USA Today and national bestselling authors!
Fall in Love…with twenty romance heroes! Discover twenty “first in series” love stories. Second chances, friends to lovers, secret loves, rock stars, bad boys, men in uniform and more.
Available for pre-order at:
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Lovers at Heart (The Bradens, #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Melissa Foster: Handsome, wealthy resort owner Treat Braden is used to getting what he wants. Max Armstrong has been hurt one too many times. When a chance encounter turns into a night of intense passion, Treat realizes that the mistake he made six months earlier may cause him to lose Max completely. He will do everything within his power to win her heart forever—and Max is forced to face her hurtful past head on for the man she cannot help but love.
Tainted (Blood Lily Chronicles #1) by New York Times bestselling author, J. Kenner: “Can I just say that dying sucks”
Tear (A Seaside Novel #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Rachel Van Dyken: Life as a teenager is never easy. But for Natalee Murray, things have just gotten way more difficult. Bored with life, she can’t wait to graduate high school and get out of town, especially considering the famous band members from AD2 suddenly start attending her school, making her once boring life, absolutely insane.
My First – Jason & Katie (The Crossroads Series #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Melanie Shawn: Jason “Romeo” Sloan can have any girl he wants. Except one. Katie’s the one girl who isn’t putty in his hands and the only one he’s ever wanted in his arms. You never forget your first and Jason was Katie’s first friend, first kiss, first…everything. She’s always loved him, she just didn’t know it.
A Bride for a Billionaire (A Billionaire, A Virgin, and a Marriage #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Hawkeye: Matteo Benenati has spent his life wrapped in wealth and privilege. He is shallow, selfish, jaded—and he likes it that way. When bold American art student Riley Tremaine crashes into his life, her light forces him to examine the dark places inside of his soul, the ones he thought he’d buried with his father. He knows he should let her go… but he’s never claimed to be a good man. When Matteo is pitted against his unscrupulous stepsister Emilia Guerra in a bid for his late father’s empire, he must decide between honor and vice. In need of a wife—and desperate to possess her—Matteo makes Riley an offer she can’t refuse. She will be his bride—in every meaning of the word—so that he can protect his legacy. But Matteo soon learns that Emilia’s soul is darker even than his own. And by marrying Riley, he has made her a pawn in a power struggle that could shatter their world.
Crashing Down (Stone Cliff Series #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Cathryn Fox: Will the fire they created turn to ash when it all comes crashing down?
Getting Out of Hand (Sapphire Falls #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Erin Nicholas: Genius Mason Riley can cure world hunger and piss off the Vice President of the United States all before breakfast. But he’s not sure he can get through his high school class reunion. Then he meets the new girl in town. Sapphire Falls has been Adrianne Scott’s escape from her fast-paced, high stress lifestyle. Now she just wants to open her candy shop and live a quiet, drama-free life. Until Mason Riley bids four hundred dollars just to dance with her. Good thing no one falls in love in a weekend.
Arouse (A Spiral of Bliss Novel #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Nina Lane: After three years of a blissful, lusty marriage, Liv and Dean West are forced to confront dark secrets and temptations that threaten everything they believe about each other.
Two Are Better Than One (Carnal Coeds #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Suzanne Rock: Irish exchange students Quinn and Declan have lost hope of ever finding a permanent third to complete them. Then they meet she, reclusive Hannah and everything changes. Will the straight-laced graduate student be open to a three-way relationship? They’ll have to do everything they can to convince her that two men are better than one.
Come Monday (Wild Irish #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Mari Carr: After the death of her mother, Keira became a surrogate parent to her younger siblings, her dreams put on hold. Now, at 27, she’s finally pursuing a college degree. She has no time for romance. So why is she spending all her free time fantasizing about hot Professor Wallace bending her over his desk?
Through My Window (Red Light #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Jayne Rylon: What happens when a sex worker falls in love with her client but doesn’t plan to quit her job?
Love in a Small Town (Pine Harbour #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Zoe York: Six years. Two break-ups. One divorce. They should be over each other. A small town military romance.
One Hot Fall Term (Yardley College Chronicles #1) by New York Times bestselling author, Sharon Page: I’m Mia Reynolds, 19 years old, and I have to give up the guy I love to go to the college of my dreams. Hardened by a tough life, but sexy and loyal, Ryan Taylor is to die for. Can we make a long distance relationship work with hot texts and scorching weekends? But when Ryan starts to discover my darkest secrets, will I lose him forever?
Tempt Me Cowboy (Montana Millionaires #1) by USA Today bestselling author, Megan Crane: She’s the good girl schoolteacher who’s never been anything but admirable, he’s the bad boy Texan billionaire who’s invaded her Montana hometown and worse–plans to turn the historic railway depot that was once her family’s into a microbrewery. But what happens when sparks fly between these natural enemies.
Weekend with the Tycoon (Indigo Island #1) by bestselling author, Kaira Rouda: Pretty Woman, island style. An alpha tycoon selects his innocent assistant to be his “date” for his sister’s wedding. He has everything planned until sparks start to fly and the romance takes flight. This could change everything.
Summer of Change (The Springs #1) by bestselling author, Elena Aitken: Samantha Burke likes her town just the way it is. A major resort is certainly not welcome, nor is the arrogant, and way too good looking owner, Trent Harrison. Change is the last thing she wants, but it just might be everything she needs.
Grif (Redstone Clan #1) by bestselling author, Bianca D’Arc: Grif seeks peace in the country after too much sorrow. Lindsey must repay a debt – if the locals will let her. Thrown together, neither can deny their attraction, but will an old enemy rip them apart?
Rumor Has It (Limelight #1) by bestselling author, Elisabeth Grace: All publicity is good publicity, right? Yeah, unless you’re Ellie Wagner. After a viral video gone bad Ellie wants nothing to do with her new found fame. But what’s a girl to do when she falls for Mason Nash, hip hop’s rising star? Hello spotlight.
The Temperate Warrior (The Warrior Sagas #1) by bestselling author, Renee Vincent: He was her champion. She was his weakness. Together, they loved with wild abandon.
Rocked (Lost in Oblivion #1) by bestselling authors, Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliot: Opening for their idols on their first tour, Oblivion is living the dream. Deacon McCoy, used to managing the band, is at loose ends now that the label has taken over. Brutal workouts keep him sane, but romancing the deliciously cute tour chef gives him a glimpse of something more important than his bass guitar. As the child of roadie parents, Harper Pruitt sees musicians as one step above the scraps on her cutting board. Until Deacon. But she has her own dreams to chase…even if what she’s building with him might be the biggest one of all.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Teresa
Today’s Throwback Thursday is actual more like a short toss. lol. Thought I’d feature a book that isn’t particularly old, but seems to have (sadly) fallen a bit through the cracks. Last summer, I put out a quick, dirty little short story called Sparks Fly. When I started the story, my original thought was it would just be a standalone, sort of one and done, story. I’d had the story and characters in my head for a while and they were screaming to hit the page.
HOWEVER, it would appear my brain wasn’t finished with these characters…or this town…or this family. And so…the Sparks in Texas series is about to fire up this year. I’ve written the second book, Waiting for You. Waiting for You will be part of the Novak Box Sets (all proceeds from the sale of those sets goes to diabetes research–I have zero talent in pretty much every realm, so I’m delighted to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause with the only thing I have to offer–words). Those sets will be together for two months only (May 1-June 30). On July 1, I’ll publish Waiting for You individually. My *hope* is that the third in the Sparks in Texas series, Something Sparked, will release this summer as well. See those ** around the word “hope”. That’s me warning you that my intentions don’t always match up with real life (dammit). So fingers crossed I get lots of lovely snow days from school for writing this winter.
Wow…this post got way off track, didn’t it? All of that was a long-winded way for me to say…if you haven’t read Sparks Fly yet, I hope you’ll give it a whirl as it’s just the beginning of a series (and a family) I’m already LOVING. OH! And I should say…Sparks Fly is a short story, so it’s only .99 cents.
Sparks in Texas, book 1
I Do is the easy part. Happily ever after? Not so much.
Evan and Annie are deeply in love, but that hasn’t stopped tension from creating cracks in their relationship. Determined not to fail his wife, Evan takes action before those cracks become craters, damaging their marriage irreparably. Over the Fourth of July weekend, he’ll reignite Annie’s passion with his own brand of fireworks.
Stand back and watch the sparks fly.
“You know, Mace, there’s only one thing I’ve ever been sure of in my life. One thing I’ve known about myself since I was young.”
“That I want to be a father. That’s the life I’ve always wanted to live. The feeling’s always been there.”
Macie sighed softly, her eyes filled with compassion. “Still no luck?”
He shook his head miserably. Evan and Annie had married when they were in their early thirties, both well established in their careers. They’d planned to start a family immediately, hoping for a honeymoon baby. Everyone in town knew they were anxious to become parents and in those early days, very few weeks passed when someone hadn’t asked if they were expecting yet. Then the months turned into a year and that year extended into another. With the passage of time, people stopped inquiring, and actually tried to avoid making eye contact with him and Annie anytime the subject of babies came up.
“I know the doctor said there was nothing medically wrong, but have you and Annie considered talking to someone else?”
Macie seemed surprised by Evan’s admission. He didn’t blame her. She’d been his confidant for most of his life. Maybe it was strange for him to be so close to a female cousin who was several years older than him, but even when they were younger, Macie had felt like a kindred spirit. “When?”
“We drove to Austin a few months ago to see a specialist.”
“And Dr. Bryan was right. There’s no medical reason why we can’t conceive, so the specialist gave us some tricks to try. None of them are working.”
“So adopt.” It was an answer Macie had offered countless time in the past two years.
“You know I’d do that in a New York minute, but Annie really wants to have a baby. She doesn’t want to stop trying yet.”
Macie smiled sadly. “None of this is news, Evan. What’s wrong? Why are you here, sweet pea?”
He took a drink of his beer, then he stared at the bottle, unable to hold Macie’s gaze. Then he heard the words that had been trapped inside him for well over a year falling out.
“I’m fucking done in, Mace. I’m tired. Sex is completely regimented. We’re on this schedule. I’m all but punching a goddamn time clock in the bedroom. It’s hurting my marriage. I love Annie. Really love her, but we’re just so tense. Every month when we find out she’s still not pregnant, I hold her while she cries and tell her it will be okay. But what if it’s not? What if those words are a lie and it’s just another way I’m failing her?”