Look! I just got the proof copies in the mail, and they’re absolutely beautiful! The cover that Jess Buffett Graphic Designs created for me looks superb in print! I hope you’ll order a copy for your own bookshelf.
Forget Me Knot
Crawley Creek 1
Lacy Denvers has lost her job, and lost her way. All she wants to do now is get her career back on track and find some stability again, but first, she wants to mark something off her bucket list: She wants to learn to ride a horse. Her dream vacation to the Crawley Creek Cattle Ranch turns into a lesson in patience when the North Dakota winter proves unpredictable as ever. Wrapped in a cocoon of snow, Lacy finds the ranch to be a hidden treasure trove of cowboy eye candy, and her mouth is watering even as her brain is telling her to run.
After a devastating tragedy, a young Drannon Russo ended up fostering with the Crawley family, and found a home. He’s only moved away once and had to lean on family for support when his dreams were shattered. Being a cowboy on a ranch is a pretty lonely existence. When a beautiful redhead shows up looking for a fresh start he’s determined to give them both what they want.
Will this vacation into the heart of cattle country turn out to be a mistake, or will Lacy and Drannon find their future in each other?
Warning: Explicit romance
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Or grab the ebook if you haven’t yet:
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A big thank you to Lori for having me today! I love visiting new sites, and I’m always happy to chat with new people.
Today is doubly happy. Not only do I get to chat with you beautiful people, but it’s also release day. Shift Happens is book one in a brand new series, I Heart Shifters. Each installment will be short, hot, and funny as heck. I’m excited about this project, and I hope everyone gets a kick out of Ellie’s antics.
Ellie, the heroine in Shift Happens, owns a nail salon. It was an interesting occupation for me to give to a character considering I can’t paint my way out of a paper bag. I blame it on being left-handed. I’m awesome like all lefties, of course, but painting nails isn’t my forte. Unless it’s paint by numbers, I’m screwed.
You get the picture.
So here’s Ellie, manicurist extraordinaire, who caters to the shifter housewives of Atlanta’s elite. Unlike me, she’s a whiz with a nail file and a bottle of polish. She creates colorful creations for her clients, all of whom don’t realize Ellie’s a shifter herself. She’s a half dragon shifter, who’s never quite mastered the art of keeping smoky belches hidden.
Since it’s finally spring and sandal season is in full effect, I couldn’t wait to treat myself to a pedicure at the conclusion of writing Ellie’s story. I got pink polish with white polka dots, in case you’re interested. ; )
My first ever pedicure took place last May, right before I attended the RT Conference in New Orleans. I’m a bit ticklish and the “cheese grater” thingamabob freaked me out…and made me giggle! (When I wasn’t busy being disgusted by the entire process.) But boy, were my foot smooth as silk. I went to the Dark Side and became a pedicure regular since then.
For someone who cringes at the sound of a file, you’d think I’d avoid a nail salon like the plague. Not so, fearless readers. I may cringe, of course, but the discomfort is worth it for a fantastic French manicure and cute, colorful little toesie woesies. I still think I have ugly feet – flat and wide – but no one can deny my love of pink when I’m all glammed-up with a fresh set of paint.
I’m currently growing out my fingernails. For a lifelong nail biter, this is a hard road to travel. My nails have finally grown past the pads of my fingers and I’m already envisioning the perfect shade of pink to christen them with. Fingers crossed I don’t lose an eye taking out my contacts. That is a tricky maneuver, let me tell ya.
So we’ve established I love pink, pedicures, and peanut butter cups…okay, so I didn’t tell you that, but it’s true and it does start with P…I want to know what style everyone is rocking these days.
Come on, share the deets. I’ll be right here taking notes.
I Heart Shifters Book 1
By: Christy Gissendaner
Ellie Reynolds runs a nail salon that caters to shifters of all varieties. The proverbial shift hits the fan when billionaire mogul Jackson Lawrence walks in the door and offers Ellie two million dollars to sell her shop. Ellie has no intention of selling out, especially to someone who plans to bulldoze her shop to the ground and replace it with a fast food joint. Their battle of wit and will is brought to a sudden halt when Jackson’s enemies appear, throwing them into a fight for their lives.
Jackson believed he’d left violence behind when he resigned his position with the Blood Wolves, a secret shifter military group, but someone wants his company’s cyber invention and will stop at nothing to get it. He didn’t mean to drag Ellie into his mess, but he’s willing to do anything to protect her and the firewall his friend created…anything except fight his attraction to the outspoken redhead he’s suddenly responsible for. Jackson soon learns Ellie is hotter than he first gave her credit for…like dragon hot…and life is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Sometimes shift happens when you least expect it.
Buy It Now:
Exerpt from SHIFT HAPPENS
Rain kept up a staccato rhythm on the tin roof, and her supersensitive hearing picked out every drop. She’d never be able to sleep like this, not while her mind was racked by thoughts of Jackson. The situation was laughable. She should be more worried about her safety and instead all she could think about was the fine-looking man in the room across the hall, like the perfect dimples in his cheeks when he smiled really big, or the perfect symmetry of his gorgeous face. And that ass. She could bounce a quarter off that ass.
She groaned as the familiar heat filled the place between her thighs. She needed something to take her mind off Jackson.
Milk. That’s what she needed. A nice, cool glass of milk.
Well, what she really needed was her vibrator, but it was at home, tucked safely away in her drawer under a bundle of handmade scarves that she’d bought and never worn.
Ellie slid out of bed and tugged the hem of the too-short nightgown. She’d picked out a size eight when she was more like a twelve, so Jackson wouldn’t know her true clothing dimensions. When he’d gone to pay for the items she’d chosen, he’d merely lifted an eyebrow but wisely chosen not to say anything. Could she help it if she’d been born with a fondness for sweets? Blame Nana’s genes, not her own lack of will.
Speaking of sweets, cookies would be nice too. She wondered if Jackson had any in the cabinets. He seemed to keep the Montevallo home stocked with foodstuffs since they hadn’t had to stop for groceries.
A few minutes later, with chocolate chip cookies clutched in both hands and a mug of milk hooked around her thumbs, she crept back down the hall toward her room. She bent her head to take a bite of a cookie and lost her grip on the drink. She cursed when the mug fell out of her hands. The milk spilled across her toes and the ceramic shattered when it hit the wooden planks.
“Ellie!” Jackson jerked his bedroom door open and appeared in the doorway, disheveled and entirely too yummy. He wore nothing but boxers and oh geez, he had a six-pack. A perfectly lickable six-pack that made her mouth and sex water. She hoped she wouldn’t drool, although it was a distinct possibility.
“I’m sorry for waking you.”
Jackson ran a hand over his shorn hair. “Fuck. I thought they’d found us.”
“Nope, just the cookie monster.” She held up the cookies in her hands and grimaced. How embarrassing. “Want one?”
He came forward until their toes touched. Hers, milky and chilled. His, warm and dry. She wanted to feel her feet wrapped around his beneath the covers. She wanted to feel everything of his beneath the covers, actually.
His thumb brushed the corner of her lips. “Chocolate,” he explained right before he licked his finger.
Damn her knees. Useless joints that they were. “Umm.”
And damn her larynx for not working properly.
His gaze dropped and she suddenly realized she was in the too-short, too-tight nightgown. Her boobs stretched the cotton material and she didn’t need to look down to know she was nipping. If she turned around, he could probably tell she wasn’t wearing panties. She’d never been so self-conscious before, but never had she been in the presence of a hot-ass canine shifter who was practically naked.
Jackson’s expression turned predatory. His cheeks seemed to hollow out, becoming more pronounced, and his nostrils flared as if he’d caught a whiff of something. Perhaps it was her. The quick shower she’d taken had been hours before. Then again, no panties. Perhaps he smelled her scent. She clamped her thighs tight together and prayed he didn’t laugh. The situation was embarrassing enough without suffering unrequited lust.
“Ellie.” He spoke her name again, but it was low-pitched and soft.
Oh God. She wanted to eat the cookies in his bed. But later. Much, much later. “Yeah?”
“I owe you something.” He slid a hand around her waist and cupped the upper swell of her butt. His fingers spread out in a proprietary manner, as if he was sure of his welcome. “I wanted to wait until all this shit was over, but you’re killing me. I can’t hold out any longer.”
Neither could she. She went up on tiptoe and puckered her lips. He stared at her as he traced the seam of her lips with his index fingers. “I think you misunderstand the type of kiss I want from you.”
Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!
To find out more, please visit
Last week one of my favorite Siren Publishing authors released the first book in a brand new series! Reece Butler’s Bride Train Series has long been one of my favorite historical western series, but now she’s ventured out into the sexy world of highlanders! The debut book in the Highland Menage Series is called Captive Bride and it’s full of sexy Scottish kilts, accents, and threesomes! *happy squeal* Click the buy link and you won’t be disappointed!
Highland Menage 1
By: Reece Butler
Gillis MacDougal, cursing at being captured and tossed into his enemy’s prison pit, has a newly captured lad dropped on him. Though he can’t escape, he will ensure the boy is freed. He then discovers the lad has wit, determination…and breasts.
Feisty tomboy Fiona, bastard daughter of Laird Menzies, knows what her captors will do when they discover she’s not the heir worth gold. The stranger sharing her dark prison arouses her for the first time in her life. With nothing to lose, she begs him to ensure she does not die a virgin.
Fiona helps Gillis escape and they meet with his brother Angus. As they have nothing, they’d wanted to find a wealthy wife, but fall for the penniless, sensual wildcat full of determination and spirit. Gillis handfasts with Fiona to bind her to them before arriving at Inverlochy Castle. Laird Cameron, however, has other ideas as to who should marry the attractive young woman…
BUY IT NOW: SIREN BOOKSTRAND
Reece had this to say about how she came to write this smoking hot new series…
I love hot, hunky, men so much that I write erotic ménage romance, each one well-crafted M/F/M with a Happily Ever After.
I’ve been wanting to write about tall, take-charge, powerful Highland warriors for ages. One of the founding families of my Bride Train series, set in 1870s Montana, were the MacDougals who, of course, came from Scotland.
So when the need to write about braw men in plaids hit, I researched to discover what these MacDougals were doing near the end of the sixteenth century. Turns out they had once been lords of a vast area but, as they had not supported Robert the Bruce, the clan was vastly reduced. That would give them an incentive to be rough, touch warriors…
As I prefer to do my research first-hand when possible, I went to Scotland in September of 2014. I drove 1,000 miles from Edinburgh to Oban to Tongue to Wick to Inverness and back to Edinburgh. And then I took a 5-day historical tour to see some things in depth where I didn’t have to worry about driving and had a licensed tour guide to answer questions.
For three weeks I toured castles (Cawdor, Sinclair & Girnigoe, Doune, Dunottar, Fraser, Urquhart, Edinburgh), walked the land and visited ancient cairns and standing stones, stopped by clan museums, and spent a Saturday at a Highland games. Learned about midges first-hand (a wee biting insect that swarms and is too small to swat), learned about nettles first-hand (youch!), and soaked up the culture, land, and the history.
And then I twisted it into a series…
The 16 MacDougal brothers stoutly defend what’s left of their once-mighty empire. Their father the laird did little but create many sons, half of them without marrying their mothers. The clan has a history of pairing up to find wives, a process made easier due to rumors of their unusual ability to bring much pleasure to lucky women…
EXCERPT from Captive Bride
“Dinna touch me, ye dirty swine!”
The high-pitched demand jerked Gillis MacDougal out of the half-sleep that had filled the hours of endless dark. He crawled to his feet, inhaling a hiss at the reminder of bruised ribs.
“Walk or be dragged, laddie. ‘Tis nay matter to me.”
Gillis recognized the brutal voice. He wouldn’t forget those iron fists for some time.
“I am the heir, nay some laddie!”
Gillis grimaced. Heir or not, insulting your captors was not smart. He wasn’t surprised at the thud quickly followed by a gasp of pain. He hadn’t recovered from his own beating and he was a man grown. Cold, damp, dark, and lack of food and water sapped a man’s strength.
He stood beneath the hole, blinking at the unaccustomed torchlight. A head, shown in shadow, leaned over.
“Ye still alive down there?”
“Aye, as ye can see,” he replied, sounding as forceful as possible.
“Not yer business.”
“The laird will be back on the morrow. He’ll make ye talk.”
“Aye,” added another. “He has a fine touch with the cat.”
Gillis winced at the news. Being flayed by a cat o’nine tails would be just the beginning. When they discovered he was a MacDougal they’d toss him back in the pit, shut the stone lid, and forget him. Though once powerful his clan had little coin or land and too many sons with bellies to feed. He needed to escape tonight, either by himself or with the help of his brother, who remained free.
“Get in the hole,” ordered the leader.
“Me father’ll nay pay a groat for me corpse!”
Gillis silently applauded the shrill voice. Instead of the arrogance of a moment ago he heard equal fear and bravado. Was this the lad’s true nature?
“Och, laddie, ye’ll nay die afore the morrow.”
“You in the pit! Dinna hurt the lad or ye’ll die slow. He’s worth gold.”
Gillis reached up to catch the boy so he wouldn’t land on the stone floor. He grunted as a sharp elbow smashed his bruised chest. The toe of a boot barely missed one of his most tender parts, not that he’d have much chance to use it again unless he could escape. The lad scrambled out of his grasp as soon as his feet touched down.
Coarse laughter followed the comment as they trooped out, leaving the trap open, thank God. The silence which had surrounded him, broken only by the rustle of vermin, was no longer absolute. The boy panted shallowly rather than breathing deep. Had they bruised his ribs as well?
“Who are ye that ye are worth gold to the Campbells?” he asked.
“Ye tell me first.”
Scared the boy may be, but he was doing his best not to show it. He had to come from nearby, unless the Campbells had slaughtered his escort.
“I willna ask yer clan, but are ye a Macintosh or Macpherson?”
That was good. Though the two clans were not MacDougal rivals, they were of his foster father, Laird Cameron of Cameron. Gillis and his older brother, Angus, were to attend Darach Cameron’s wedding, representing the MacDougals. If Gillis couldn’t escape this pit, Angus would be attending his funeral instead.
“Is yer clan allied with the Campbells?” asked Gillis. There was no quick answer this time. He waited while feet shuffled.
“If my father had been their ally, capturing the heir might change his thoughts, aye?”
The words and their phrasing showed education and. It did not match the arrogant lad who’d insulted the Campbells and got swatted for it. The lad was a puzzle and Gillis had nothing else to do except doze and wish the morning would not bring torture and death.
“We have a common enemy, young friend. I be Gillis.”
The boy coughed and fidgeted. Gillis had six younger brothers. He could tell when a lad was deciding how to adjust the truth to suit the situation. He’d done it often enough.
“Call me Patrick.”
An interesting choice of words as it said nothing but his choice of name.
“Dinna fear the dark, Patrick. Ye’ll nay be here long.”
The boy gave a very adult snort of amusement. “Sitting in the dark is safer than facing a brute with a temper and a whip.”
“He’ll nay touch ye if ye’ll bring gold. Unlike me,” added Gillis ruefully.
Gillis snorted sarcastically, wincing at the bruised ribs.
“A wee while back Robert the Bruce helped Campbells steal our land,” he said. “I’ll nay ask my laird to take food from my many brothers to save my hide.” He grimaced. “If I am here on the morrow, I die. So, we must escape tonight.”
“We? Ye’ll take me with ye?” The eager voice trembled.
“Ach, laddie, I’d nay leave an adder with these murderous bastards. If ye can keep up with my running we’ll take ye along. My brother is outside, lookin’ fer a way in.”
“I can run like the wind if the Campbell hounds are behind me.”
It was Gillis’ turn to shuffle his feet and fidget. He’d been there two days by his count and his only plan for escape depended on his brother. Unfortunately, there was one brother and a castle full of Glenorchy Campbells.
“There’s one wee problem,” he admitted. “We’re at the bottom of this deep pit.”
Silence descended again. Small feet shuffled in the muck.
“’Tis nay that deep.”
And watch Reece’s Siren Bookstrand page for the rest of the book in the series!
HIGHLAND MENAGE is a 12-book series:
Captive Bride [Highland Menage 1] April 17
Captive Love [Highland Menage 2] May 1
A Lady’s Seduction [Highland Menage 3] May 15
A Lady’s Vengeance [Highland Menage 4] May 29
An Eager Widow [Highland Menage 5] June 12
A Perfect Wife [Highland Menage 6] June 26
Highland Menage 7 to 12: coming soon
Find Reece @
If you haven’t read anything by the incredible April Zyon, you don’t know what you’re missing. Now she’s released the first book in a brand new series: Adira’s Mate (Space Wars 1). Take a look!
Captured by his mortal enemy General Fintan Daykin is held for many long months in an Imarian Facility. On the day that he’s able to escape he’s faced with one of the biggest surprises of his life.
Adira Lora is the head of the Medical Ministries offices of Imaria and she learnt that there is something seriously wrong with one of the facilities. Something that she has to go and figure out for herself since she trusts no one else.
Taken hostage by the tall, dark Craegin was not what Adira had in mind when she got to the facility, but it seemed as if Fate and the Spirits had something else altogether in mind for her.
She should be wary of the man who could tear her apart but she’s not. She’s drawn to him, she aches for him and she’s desperate to heal his injuries but he pushes her away at every turn.
He can’t let her too close, he’s far too attracted to the small Imarian that he dragged with him onto her crawler. He only wanted to get home, back to his people and away from the slow death that her people were giving him.
Once the pain of his injuries starts to ease and the reality of who little Adi is to him sets in Fin realizes that he will have to protect her from more than just his people. Fin realizes that he would also have to protect her from hers as well.
When Adira finally submits to Fintan however he knows that he will never let her go. He owns her now, she is his in every sense of the word for now and all time and nothing would come between them.
Sounds yummy, right?
Pick it up from these retailers:
Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/prhoy6a
Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/p4fekp7
All Romance Ebooks: http://tinyurl.com/kfpvug5
Adira went stiff as a board when the pistol was lifted to her temple. She took a deep breath and nodded. She understood what he was saying, understood and would comply. She had no idea who it was that had her, so she would play along until she could be free.
She listened to the man’s breathing and frowned. He was in pain; it was clear from how he was gasping for air but there was something more. He wasn’t breathing as an Imarian would, three sharp intakes of breath and one exhale.
Her stomach felt as if it were in knots. She felt ill because she suddenly knew that she wasn’t being held by someone that was on the island and had no idea who she was. She was being held by one of the Craegin that her people had kidnapped and had been torturing.
Stars. She was in deep trouble. “You really don’t want to do this,” she told the man. “I’m more trouble than I am worth. Ask anyone. I’m seriously not a good person to take hostage.”
“I don’t have what one would call a lot of choices here.” His voice was low, but she could hear the underlying growl that gave it a certain rough quality. “One way or another you are my ticket out of this hellish place. So you can either help me willingly, or I start to break bones. Nothing important, but I know the ones that will cause you immeasurable pain while still allowing you to function enough to get me free. The choice is up to you. What will it be?”
There was no choice. Adira was a lot of things, but able to withstand pain was not one of them. She just nodded. “What do you need?” She would get him to where he needed to be in order to get free. Then she would run as far and fast as she could.
He let out a harsh-sounding breath. “I need you to guide me to the ship bay here. Preferably to one of your crawlers. Then you and I are going to leave on that ship, and get me to a place where I can contact one of my own vessels to pick me up. If you behave yourself, don’t try anything to alert anyone, and generally do not make yourself an annoyance to me I might let you go free. Depends on how bad my mood is by that point.” She felt him shift slightly, his arm slowly letting go of her neck.
“We’re going to take the path of least resistance. No guards, as few cameras as possible, and you are not going to let anyone know anything is amiss in any way. I have zero problem shooting a woman, but I’d rather not have to drag you around at my heels to break free of here.”
Stars. “Okay,” she said with a wobbly voice. “Then the best way to go will be back the way that I came.” She had already killed a guard. This had to be her punishment. She knew it. She had killed one of her own people so this was the spirits’ way of punishing her. She was going to be this Craegin’s shield to get free of her people. “I have a crawler. I came over from one of our other worlds.”
The weapon lowered until it was pressed into her lower back, right on her spine. At that range he’d never miss, and if she wasn’t dead she’d definitely be paralyzed. “How many guards between here and the bay?” he asked. He’d given her a nudge to get her moving, but a hand on her arm slowed her pace. Adira couldn’t see much of him beyond the one arm down at his side. But she did notice he seemed to be limping, even dragging one of his legs slightly.
“None. There was one but he won’t be a problem.” The physician in her wanted to heal him. She wanted to reach out and find out what was wrong, but the prudent part of her kicked in and she knew that would be just plain dumb. She did, however, slow down. She ensured that she kept a pace that would keep them moving, but wouldn’t push him too far. She didn’t know what to expect of this Craegin, especially since the female captive had so easily sold out her people.
“What about the cameras? How many are we going to have to contend with once we’re past the holding areas?” The pressure of the weapon on her spine eased a little. She knew it was still there, but he wasn’t digging it in any longer. He might be injured, but she didn’t think for one moment he wasn’t aware of everything around him.
“None.” She had disabled them so that she could wheel the body out and dispose of it. Why hadn’t she thought to reenable them? “I had disabled them,” she told him. “I had been so caught up in my own mind that I forgot to reenable them,” she added honestly. “My crawler is the one closest to the exit doors as well, so there shouldn’t be anyone in the bays that will see us as that side is blocked from view by my crawler.”
“Good,” he grunted out. Suddenly his hand came up to her arm, pulling her to a stop. “Shh,” he hissed. The pressure of the weapon was back for a moment as the sound of boots on the tiled hall could be heard. They faded a few minutes later, and he released her arm. “Go.”
She nodded and went. There was something about his touch. It was odd. She didn’t focus on it, though. Instead, she concentrated on getting through this alive.
She made several twists and turns, being stopped a few times by the rather large male that held a weapon at her head, and finally they were before the bay doors. “When we enter we need to be fast. Get on my crawler. I need to make a call to the booth. There is audio as well as visual so you will have to stand far to the left behind a console and have to trust me. I really don’t want to die, so I will get you out of here.” She would have somehow gotten him free anyway because she didn’t believe in the tortures her people were inflicting upon this male.
His hand was on her arm again, holding tight. “Say or do the wrong thing when you talk to them and you won’t live long enough to make another mistake. If need be I can fly this thing out of here, but I’d really rather not have to do it with your blood all over the console.” He gave a light but firm squeeze of her arm, then let go. “Move,” he said under his breath.
She nodded and moved as quickly as his pace would allow to her crawler. The medical insignia on the side denoted it to be the head of their Medical Ministry, her. Her hand to the panel at the side had the doors sliding open and engines starting. She explained, “I’m still a doctor. My crafts need to be able to go the moment I get in, just in case of an emergency.”
No words came from him, just a grunt. A hard hand landed on her shoulder as soon as they stepped into the crawler. She could see the weapon out of her periphery as it was sweeping around the space. He was ensuring they were alone in the small craft. The hand eased and gave her the smallest of pushes toward the cockpit as the doors sealed behind them with a hiss of air.
Adira settled into the pilot’s seat and strapped in. Looking back at the male, she viewed him for the first time. He was large and impressive, handsome even. He was also severely injured. “Stand just to the left there,” she told him as she pointed to a console. “Now, please. They are beeping to get through.” She adjusted herself slightly, and when he was hidden pulled up the view screen. “Sorry that took so long, gentlemen. I had to take another call. I have an emergency on Talaxia five. I need clearance to scuttle quickly.”
The man on the screen was looking around the inside of her cockpit. “Likely a good thing you’re getting out of here now, Doc. Sounds like there’s an escapee in one of the wards. No clue how the freak got loose, but he’s extremely dangerous. He’s killed three of our men already, the spirits only know what he’d do to a woman,” he said. The hangar bay doors began to open. “You are clear for departure. Head straight out, and stay in the lane until you clear the beacons. Safe journeys.”
“Thank you.” She winced. Oh God, had he really killed three men? Or was the man she killed one of those? She closed off the view screen, then looked back. “You might want to hold on to something.” She began to move her crawler into place and took off as quickly as she typically would in any emergency situation.
Ten minutes later they were free of the planet and she looked to him once more. “Where are we headed?” She knew that he had said to a planet where his people could pick him up, but she had no idea where.
Easing around the equipment board he’d hidden behind, the Craegin male came forward. He leaned over the console to input some coordinates. “There,” he said. “Set the autopilot, and then we’re going to check the rest of this crawler over.” There wasn’t a whole lot left to check, except for the kitchenette, a tiny medical bay, the small sleeping quarters, and the bathing room that approximated to less than a closet amount of space. Crawlers were meant for short runs, not for comfort. Beyond that there was a storage area, but it wasn’t accessible from inside, only from the exterior of the craft.
Once she’d set the autopilot, he leaned in once more to type something else in. A quick glance showed he’d just locked down the entire panel. Without the code he’d entered she couldn’t call out, or fly the craft. Which meant she had to keep him alive if she wanted to survive this. “Stay here,” he ordered. Now that she couldn’t alert anyone to the fact she was a hostage, he likely felt secure in leaving her in the space. A hard look from his bright gray eyes under the heavy fall of badly tangled black hair, and he turned to leave the cockpit.
He had to keep his head lowered to move through the spaces, being taller than the average Imarian male. She noticed he was also broader, more heavily muscled than an Imarian. Not that she should be noticing anything about him, but it was hard not to when he seemed to take up so much of the space around her.
Since you have locked everything down you should let me have a look at your injuries.” She should just let him bleed to death, but with him having locked her out of her own ship that would end very badly for her. “It’s beneficial to me for you to survive. The least I can do is tend to your injuries. I am a medical doctor, allow me to assist you.”
A derisive snort was her only answer as he continued away from her. He disappeared from view a couple of times, checking out the additional spaces afforded on the craft. Finally he reappeared from the sleeping quarters and signaled her toward him.
Adira cautiously moved forward. “Yes?” she asked as she looked up into his gray eyes. They were actually rather beautiful and ringed with a bright green that captured her interest. Adira shook her head. No, not her interest, something else. “I have a full medical bay. It’s very small but it has everything that we could offer. I could close your wounds and do a scan of your leg to find out what’s wrong with it. If you will let me?” She couldn’t push him to do as she asked, but she itched to ensure that he was okay.
“I know what’s wrong with it. I was there when they did it,” he said. No, it was more of a snarl, given the curl of his lip. “Inside. You’re going to sit on the edge of the bunk and not move while I clean up. I need to get the blood off of me so I can evaluate the exact amount of damage your colleagues inflicted.”
She winced and nodded. “I know that this isn’t a good time to tell you this.” She settled on the bunk and watched him as he moved. “And please don’t shoot me for telling you this truth.” She was chewing her lower lip as she watched him and gasped at the injuries that he wore. “By the stars, how can you even be mobile?” Gone was what she was going to tell him about the Craegin female. Instead her medical training kicked in and she wanted to heal.
He turned a cold look on her as he dropped the coat and shirt he’d removed to the floor. “Sheer will to not die in an Imarian testing facility. It’s amazing what the body and mind can do when the goals are so simple. Do not move,” he warned again. He took the pistol, and one other she hadn’t realized he had, and set them inside the shower—up high so they wouldn’t get wet, and where he could easily reach them but she couldn’t. He turned on the water and dropped his pants. No warning, no closing the small sliding door, nothing. Down they went, and a moment later his ass disappeared behind the sliding pane of the enclosement.
Adi simply watched him. Her mouth had gone suddenly dry and her mind went places that an Imarian held captive by a Craegin should never go. He was stunning. His height was massive, over two meters tall, easily, and his build was thick but it was the markings on his body that captured her attention. Well, that and the musculature and his ass. By the mother, his ass was impressive. “I’m sorry that you were taken,” she told him honestly. “There was a Craegin female that was held there as well.” Please don’t let them be related, she prayed.
“So I’d heard.” His words were barely loud enough for her to hear. “She was the one feeding your people information about us. Once I’m back I’ll be ensuring that anything we’d done prior is never done the same again. I will not allow our people to be easy prey for you sick freaks.”
“How did you know?” she asked with a frown and tilt of her head. “Yes, she has been feeding my people information for years, from what I surmised. They are sick.” She mumbled that last part. She didn’t protest on the sick freaks comment, because he had that right. Sadly. Her people weren’t supposed to ever take prisoners of war and abuse them as this man had been abused. “She watched. She took glee in telling me that when they did their first procedure on you she was able to watch. I’m so sorry.” Her people had a lot to answer for, but not every being who was Imarian was a sick freak, as he had stated.
“It’s amazing what we can hear in that place. They figure since we’re all going to die they don’t need to watch their words.” She watched him tip his head back, his face into the spray. He was tall enough that his shoulders, neck, and head were above the partition. The water shut off a moment later, and he shook his head before slicking his hair back from his face. He locked eyes with her as he pushed the partition aside and stepped out to collect a towel.
“Holy mother,” she whispered a moment before she turned her face from him. He was…there weren’t words to describe the perfection of this man. Even with the injuries that he had sustained he was impressive. Her gaze had gone straight to his cock and she had to bite her lip at the memory of that brief glance. He was soft, but his shaft hung low and was thick. He was very large, all over, and he made her heart do things that no Imarian had ever made her do before.
She could hear him toweling off. A soft clunk sounded, and she shot him a look to see he’d collected the laser pistols. The towel was wrapped around his waist, barely covering everything of importance. He was peering into the mirror on the wall, twisting this way and that to get a look at all the damage done. His back was a mass of bruises, as were his legs and arms. His chest had some bruising, but older from the colors she could see. Fresh nicks and cuts were all over his body. The leg he’d been favoring, though, looked the worst. His leg looked as if there was a heavy bruise that was practically fully black from his knee up to somewhere under the towel. She cringed at the sight. The pain that he was in had to be terrible. She hurt for the man. Obviously someone had repeatedly struck that leg.
“Will you please let me scan your leg at least? I know you have no reason at all to trust me, with what they did to you, but I need you to understand that it’s hurting me to see you hurting, especially since I can do something about it.” She wanted to help him. He could think all that he wanted about her people, but seeing him injured was hurting her. She had never hurt before like this. It was as if she could feel his pain.
He turned his head slowly to give her a look. She could practically see him thinking through all the options, considering every angle, and coming to a decision. With a small jerk of his head he gave her permission. “I need something to wear. This towel is not exactly comfortable over the wounds inflicted on a certain part of my anatomy. I need pants at the very least, but a shirt wouldn’t be amiss either.”
“I should have a medical uniform that will fit you.” She pointed to the drawer to his left. “There should be one in there. It might be a bit short on you but the male who wore it was rather overweight, so it should fit across your chest. I hope.” She winced and chewed her lip again. “I’m so sorry.” She seemed to continue to say that to him, but there weren’t enough words to tell him just how horrified she was that her people had done this to him.
“Your words hold no meaning to me, Imarian, so you may as well quit spouting them,” he said coldly with his eyes narrowed. Digging through the drawer, he pulled out pants and slipped them on. They were definitely short, only coming down to the top of his calves. He was a lot taller than the average Imarian, and definitely taller than her coworker. The shirt he pulled on after dropping the towel to the floor. It was definitely tight, but he seemed to have no loss of movement. “Good enough,” he muttered.
She nodded. “We should go into the medical bay. There’s a handheld scanner there and I can check to ensure that they didn’t break the bone. If they have, then I can put you into an air cast to help ease the pain.” Cocking her head to the side, she asked, “Are you going to be okay if I get up and go get medical ready for you?”
His head whipped around to look at her. “We’ll go together,” he said. He picked up one of the laser pistols and quickly took it apart, dropping the parts, except for the power source, into the disposal unit. He picked up the other one, but kept it down at his leg as he waved her out into the corridor.
“Okay.” She moved away from the large Craegin and toward medical bay. Looking over her shoulder she saw him following slowly behind her. Once that was done she pulled down supplies. “If you will have a seat on the bay bed there? I will scan you from head to toe. I would feel much better knowing that you are at least mostly healed before you go to your people.”
He eyed her up and down for a long moment before moving to the bed. Easing up on it slowly, he let out a hissing breath. Not that his face showed any of his discomfort, though. Once he was laying down she moved closer to him and saw he still had one hell of a grip on the weapon.
“I won’t hurt you. I know you have no reason at all to believe me but I will not hurt you,” she assured him. “It’s not who I am. I’m a healer,” she told him quietly. “Oh this is not good.” She paused the scan over his knee and bit her lower lip. “It looks as if they have dislocated your knee. I can set it and that will ease much of your pain.”
The Craegin gave her a grunt, but didn’t move. Adira was going to take that as acceptance of the help she was offering. He also didn’t shoot her, so that was a huge plus. “Apparently not all your healers have the same beliefs as you do.”
“I can’t speak for them, only me. I can’t believe that they did this. We have laws in place for a reason.” She was muttering as she spoke to him. “No one is supposed to ever be subjected to the pain and suffering that you were submitted to. For that I am so sorry. I want to kill my people for doing this.” Especially in her facility. She was not pleased at all.
The look on his face said he didn’t believe her. “If you plan on fixing my leg, sooner would be appreciated. I’ll need all the time possible to heal before we reach our destination. Especially since it won’t be in friendly territory, for you.”
“You aren’t going to put me off at a neutral planet?” she asked with a frown and sat back on her heels on the floor in front of him. “Oh stars.” She was so totally screwed. She was never going to live through this one. “Okay.” At least she could set his knee and help him heal, that was what she could do.
“There are no neutral planets anymore,” he said. “There are only ones slightly less hostile than the others. The one we’re aiming for is the least hostile around. But if your brethren weren’t so determined to exterminate us we wouldn’t have this problem. Would we?” he asked with a hard look at her.
Sadly he had a point there, but she didn’t say anything. Instead Adi worked on his leg, then passed him a medical hypospray. “You should give this to yourself to help you with your healing. It’s only vitamins, it shouldn’t harm you.”
He took the hypospray, looking it over a moment, then tossed it aside. “No drugs, nothing from an Imarian. I’ve been given more shots since my arrival than I have in my entire life. No more.
Especially something I didn’t load myself from supplies I trust. Fix my leg, or move so I can get up.”
She nodded and put her hand on his knee. “It’s going to hurt,” she told him only a moment before she popped his knee back into place. “So sorry,” she said once more and moved back. Standing, she looked over him. “No drugs, then. Sorry I offered them to you.” Maybe she should drug herself and be done with it.
He hadn’t even flinched. Either his pain was already so great he hadn’t felt what she’d done, or he was so well trained he’d been able to hide the reaction. She had a feeling it might have been a little of both. Easing to a sitting position, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and slowly put weight onto his leg. “Better,” he muttered. “You really shouldn’t be apologizing to anyone, especially your enemy. It leaves you in a weakened position, more so than you currently are in.”
The amazing KD Jones has stopped by to give my readers an exclusive sneak peek at her brand new book, MAXIM. It’s the 8th book in the sci-fi adventure series Galactic Cage Fighters, and it’s burning up ereaders everywhere! Make sure to snap up this new release and if you haven’t read KD Jones yet, take a peek at her library: http://kdjonesauthor.net
Galactic Cage Fighters Book 8
By: KD Jones
Maxim is a droid halfsie, part human and part android, created in a lab. Now free from the madman that converted him, he must find a way to make a new life for himself. In an effort to put his past behind him, he takes a job as a fighter for the Galactic Cage Fighter Association. Unfortunately, he soon learns that the position comes with some unwanted benefits, like constantly being surrounded by adoring fans. It’s a situation that’s definitely all new for him, and he has to work hard to adjust. Just when he thinks he has finally moved on and gotten used to his new life, he discovers that the past cannot simply be ignored forever. These revelations of his past put everyone around him in danger, including the one woman that holds the key to his hidden heart.
Alona is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful halfsie women in the world. But human men only seem to seek her out when they want to display her as their trophy, and most halfsie men see her delicate features as far too human-like. Just as she feels ready to give up on the hope of a real relationship, she meets a droid halfsie that attracts her like no other. The more she tries to fight her attraction, the more she seems to want him.
Will Maxim let down his guard and allow Alona to see him for who he is? Will Alona overcome her disenchanted view of relationships and give Maxim a chance to prove there is more to him than the surface? Can they find their way to one another while surviving the dangers surrounding them?
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You know you already want to buy it, but just in case you need more convincing, check out the first chapter….
WAIT! Before you read the chapter check this out:
In honor of KD Jones Author’s new book MAXIM to be released 4/14, she is holding a contest to give away a $200 Visa gift card. There are just 2 easy steps to qualify.
1) Buy MAXIM
2) Fill out the reader Quiz at the back of the book.
A great book AND a giveaway?! I’ll wait while you scroll back up to click the buy link, but don’t take long.
Okay, now you can read chapter 1!
Maxim grunted as he took the brunt of the punch to his ribs. His internal operating (IO) chip reported that he would suffer a break if he took another direct hit. He needed to end this match soon. His internal clock told him the second round wasn’t near the end yet, but he knew it would be more efficient for him to get it over with before his systems started to shut down automatically.
He stood in the center of the GCFA cage. He didn’t try to protect his ribs. His Beastial opponent grew in size right before he ran and jumped at Maxim, attempting a superman punch with one arm extended. Maxim didn’t move until right before the other man’s fist was about to make contact. Then he stepped to the side so quickly, hardly anyone saw him. The Beastial landed on his stomach and face hard, clearly a bit dazed.
As the Beastial attempted to get up, Maxim stepped forward and aimed a punch at his temple. He pulled the punch slightly, hitting with just the amount of force his IO chip calculated was necessary to knock his opponent out. He didn’t want to kill the other man, after all. It was just enough to make the Beastial slump over and black out.
He straightened up and waited for the bell to ring. It took a few seconds for the crowd to realize that the match was over. Half of them applauded and the other half booed. He was not the most popular halfsie fighter, but his fans were slowly growing in number. Mostly they seemed to be women, and they were constantly throwing themselves at him. He found this strange. He had no interest in them. Maxim turned and headed for the healing facility to recuperate.
“Well, that was quite a match Johann,” said the commentator, sounding a little uncertain of what to think about the outcome.
“Yes, quite an interesting and . . . short match, Poland. You would have thought that the Beastial, with his larger size advantage, would easily defeat the smaller Droid halfsie. But that may be the fastest match I’ve ever witnessed.”
“I think I have whiplash from the speed with which the Droid knocked out his opponent. Speed and strength are definite factors on the Droid halfsie’s side. He’ll be a fighter to watch! But I’d say he still needs to work on his personality a bit to be much of a crowd pleaser.”
“I agree, Poland. He won’t keep his fans happy with his non-existent charm. The winner of the match, ladies and gentleman . . . Maxim the Cyborg.”
“They’re right. At this rate he’ll start losing fans and we’ll have to buy him out of his contract. He’s making us look bad for hiring him. You need to do something.”
Nigel sat back in his seat in the VIP box and stared at the assistant director of the Galactic Cage Fighter Association, William Macey. “What do you want me to do about it?”
“Clean up his image, make him more appealing. I don’t care what it is, just do something. He’s not pulling in the numbers that we need,” William ordered, taking a sip of his beer.
“He’s got a good number of female fans already,” Nigel pointed out.
“Great, expand on that.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Nigel had the beginnings of a headache. He rubbed his temple. His assistant Amelia silently handed him a bottle of pain medication. He looked at her briefly in surprise. How did she always know what he needed?
William certainly didn’t seem to notice that anything might be wrong with his minion. He continued, “I don’t care what you have to do, just change his cold and mechanical image any way you can.”
Nigel sighed. There were times like these where he hated his job. He took the pain meds and handed the bottle back to his assistant. At this rate, he was going to have to invest in a pharmaceutical company to keep his headaches away.
Maxim heard them announce his fighting name as the winner and cringed on the inside. He wasn’t a Cyborg. He was a human droid halfsie. Why the GCFA insisted on calling him that was beyond him.
He walked to the healer’s facility to have his injuries checked, although he honestly considered it a waste of time. The healing program on his IO chip told him that most of the injuries would be healed by the morning. As he entered, he saw there was one other fighter being treated. Hammer was lying on a bed with IV fluids running into him. They grunted at each other but didn’t say anything.
“Lay down on the bed, Mr. Maxim,” one of the healers said, directing him to an empty bed.
He shook his head. “I don’t need to lay down. I need a chair and an outlet so that I can recharge myself.”
“But, sir, we need to evaluate how severe your injuries are.”
“I have already run an internal diagnostic. I have bruises on my chest and upper arms. My ribs are also bruised and require a healing agent. I have some minor scrapes, but no infection has been detected.” He ignored the bed and walked over to the corner, where he pulled a chair over next to a power outlet.
He placed his hand over the outlet and pulled the current of power out and through his fingers. There was tingling sensation, neither painful nor pleasant. He could ignore it for the most part. But it was necessary for his IO chip to have full power in order to heal him from within much faster.
“That was a quick match,” Hammer commented.
Maxim didn’t look at the other fighter as he responded. “My IO chip reported that if I took another direct hit in the ribs, they would be a break. I would rather not have broken ribs, it takes longer to heal from those.”
“Hey man, I understand that. But we’re here to put on a show for these people. They don’t care about your ribs taking longer to heal.” Hammer sat up further on the bed.
Maxim nodded but didn’t say anything else. He understood what his job was; he didn’t need anyone else telling him. He knew that he was not the most well liked of the GCFA fighters, but he had no clue how to fix that. He enjoyed working with the GCFA. If he had friends, they would be those here, his fellow GCFA fighters. He had spent the most time with them since his conversion. He was honestly willing to work on improving his demeanor to appease the fans, but it was all just so foreign to him. There wasn’t a program he could upload that would teach him how to relate to others.
Maybe the problem was in how he was converted to a halfsie. He wasn’t the result of a natural conception or even fertilization splicing, as most halfsies were. He had a whole human life before his droid conversion. He didn’t remember any of it, of course, but he read the report and been told things by the human family he didn’t remember.
His name had been Maxwell Copely. He had been twenty-seven years old. He was training for the Galactic Olympics as a weight lifter. A freak accident had him rushed to the hospital, where they pronounced him brain dead. His human parents had agreed to turn off the life support system when they were told it was the only thing keeping his body alive. As far as they knew, he had died in that hospital room. His brain hadn’t been completely dead yet, but it showed so little activity, and the doctors argued that his body would be useful to others because it was athletic in build and he was otherwise healthy. What his parents didn’t know until much later was that Maxwell had still had brain activity. The reports had been falsified to make it look like he was dead. All in the supposed name of science.
He didn’t recall being this Maxwell, or being in an accident, or any of that. What he did remember was waking to excruciating pain and having wires and tubes running all throughout his body. He had actually thought his body was on fire at first and begged for them to kill him. He had to be restrained. The next time he woke there was less pain and less fire and he found that his brain was processing at an abnormally high rate. He understood things he shouldn’t have, but also seemed to feel fewer and fewer emotions.
It had taken a week for him to be able to sit up, stand, and walk. Maxim was introduced to the scientists that had brought him back to life: Dr. Forbes, Dr. Deans, and a crew of about twelve lab technicians. They all looked at him like he was some kind of experimental equipment instead of a human being. Technically, he was as full of internal operating chips and wiring as he was human organs, so maybe they were right. He hadn’t dwelled on the whys; he only knew he had to learn everything he could so he could escape. So he accepted whatever programming they wanted to upload.
It wasn’t until the IDJ, Intergalactic Department of Justice, raided the lab that had become his only home that he fully understood what had been done to him. The scientists had lied to his human parents, lied to the authorities, and lied to him. They weren’t creating him to help improve medical advancements. They were creating him to be their working model, so they could get funding from the military for a new line of weapons. The military wanted an army of droids just like him.
They had implanted computer chips and wiring all through his body and a central operating chip inside his brain. As far as appearances went, he still looked completely human, but he wasn’t. The IDJ showed him the lower level of the lab, where the scientists kept most of the failed experiments. It sickened him to see all the half-alive, mostly dead species that they had attempted to make into droids.
Human DNA seemed the most compatible for the droid conversion process, but it had taken many failed attempts for them to discover this. Seeing those failed attempts made him realize how close it had been for him. That was the first time since his conversion that he could remember feeling actual fear. He didn’t like it. The IDJ claimed that some of the staff had gotten away and wanted his help to locate them. But Maxim wanted nothing more to do with the lab.
The IDJ took him back to his human family, whom he didn’t remember at all. At first they welcomed him and treated him like a miracle. But it didn’t take long before his stoic and rather blank personality, added to the fact that he couldn’t remember any of them, made it difficult for them to accept him. It was clear that he didn’t belong with them anymore; his human life before was gone. His human mother begged him not to leave, but he knew it was for the best, for their sakes as well as his. They only re-lived the loss of their son over and over, every time they looked at him.
So he left. He changed his name to Maxim, dropping the last name completely. He looked for jobs that didn’t mind his unnatural strength and stoic personality. But it was a chance meeting with one of the trainers for the Galactic Cage Fighter Association that connected him to the fighting circuit. He owed the GCFA a great deal for the opportunity, so he needed to find a way to uphold his contract with them.
“I’ll work on it,” he told Hammer, switching hands over the outlet to focus the charge through the other side of his body. He was determined to make this life work.
ONE MORE THING!
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When Cora Blanchard said goodbye to Jamie Connolly seven years ago, she knew she’d have to see him again eventually. What she doesn’t expect is for all of the old feelings she thought she had let go to come rushing back to the surface. It was as if nothing had changed. Fresh out of a highly publicized train wreck of a relationship, Cora is afraid to trust in those feelings or in herself. She tries to remain friends with him, but she’s just fooling herself. There’s no way she can be with him and not want more.
The moment that Jamie sees her, he realizes that seven years of silence and two thousand miles haven’t changed his feelings. The only thing that has changed is Cora. He sees a sadness in her eyes that was never there before. Just as Jamie is starting to earn her love and her trust, someone threatens to tear them apart forever. BUY IT NOW
In honor of her one year anniversary as an author, Michelle Roth is running a contest. One lucky winner will receive her entire back catalog along with this newest release in electronic format. The contest runs until midnight on April 17th. The winner will be contacted with 48 hours of the contest’s close. Enter here: http://www.michelleroth.net/contest/
One cup of coffee later, she rolled out her yoga mat in her living room. As she slid effortlessly from pose to pose, she could feel the stress leaving her body. She continued working through her routine until she felt completely loose. When she finally opened her eyes, she jumped a little in surprise. Jamie stood there, coffee cup in hand, wearing nothing but boxers and a smile.
Putting a hand over her heart, she said, “I didn’t realize you were there. You scared me.”
Jamie set the cup of coffee he held onto the dining room table and said, “Tell me you’re done with that.”
“I’m done with that,” Cora said, wiping a towel over her brow and wresting the ponytail holder out of her hair. As she shook her hair free, she let out a sigh of relief.
“That was,” Jamie said as he walked toward her, “twenty minutes of pure torture, watching that, baby. I had no idea you were that flexible.”
Jamie stood in front of her now, so close that her breasts brushed against his chest. She said, “I didn’t even realize you were watching.”
His hand moved up to slide the strap of her tank top off her shoulder. As he lowered his mouth to her skin, he said, “I couldn’t help it. That was so fucking sexy.”
Cora tilted her head to the side as his teeth grazed her shoulder. Goose bumps raised on her arms when he cupped her breast through the cotton tank and began to rub his thumb lightly over her nipple. The light touches of his fingers and the barest hint of teeth were driving her absolutely crazy.
“Jamie,” she moaned, when she felt the nip of his teeth against her neck.
He lifted his mouth from her shoulder and tugged her tank top over her head without ceremony. When the cool air swept over her, a fresh wave of goose bumps rose on her skin. She took a final step forward, so that they were pressed together, and pulled his mouth down to hers.
As one kiss melded into another, she let her hands roam the muscles of his back and chest, her nails dragging across his skin. When she finally slipped the waistband of his boxers down and began to stroke him, he said, “Fuck, I love the feel of your hands on my cock.”
Cora slowed the speed of her hand and began to kiss her way down his chest, stopping along the way to run her lips and tongue along the ridges of his stomach. As she settled on to her knees, she asked, “But what about the feel of my mouth on your cock?”
She continued to stroke with one hand as she leaned in to swirl her tongue around the tip of his erection. Licking along the length of it, she flicked her tongue against the sensitive spot just below the head, before she took him fully into her mouth.
One of the hands that had been hanging loosely at his side immediately slid into her hair, gripping it tightly. Cora whimpered around his cock as she felt a flood of arousal between her thighs. She hadn’t thought she’d enjoy the slight edge of pain, but the fact that she was dripping with arousal, said otherwise.
Jamie began to rock his hips, thrusting into her mouth. When his hand tightened in her hair, she moaned around him and pressed her thighs together, hoping to alleviate some the throbbing ache.
When she shifted again, and whimpered around his thick cock, Jamie asked, “Is sucking my cock turning you on, Cora? Why don’t you play with that pretty pussy for me? Slide those shorts down if you can.”
Cora only hesitated a moment before she moved her hands to slide her shorts down. Once they were at her knees, she wiggled slightly so she wasn’t trapped in them.
“That’s it,” Jamie groaned. “Spread your thighs, sweetheart. I want to see. Show me how wet you are.”
Needy, Cora dipped her hand between her thighs and held it up. It glistened with her cream.
“Fuck, baby. You’re soaked. Rub your clit for me. I wanna see you fall apart.”
Cora moved one hand back up to stroke along his length and slid the other between her thighs. Pressing two fingers inside her aching cunt, she began to rock against her hand as he fucked her mouth. She ground herself against her palm, desperate for any sort of friction on her aching clit.
She wanted to see him lose control. She wanted him feeling as wild and needy as she was. Cora knew just how to make that happen. Moving her hand from around his length, she relaxed her jaw, taking him even deeper into her mouth.
When he nudged the back of her throat, Jamie ground out, “Sweet fucking christ. Just like that.”
As the beginnings of release started, she whimpered around his cock. She shifted her hand and now rubbed tight circles around her throbbing clit. The ache only intensified.
Almost lightheaded, she reached underneath, lightly massaging his balls. When he gritted out, “Oh, fuck. Like that,” and gave her hair another rough tug, she cried out around his cock, release barreling through her like a freight train.
Seconds later he said, “Oh christ, baby. I’m gonna come,” as he erupted in her mouth.
Cora felt the hot liquid hit the back of her throat and continued to swallow until the grip on her hair had loosened slightly. Her body throbbed with release in time with his, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Something about this man made her all but insatiable.
Michelle Roth is a novelist from the Great White North (Toronto, ON). When she’s not disappearing into foreign lands, or making two perfect strangers that she invented fall in love, she’s probably curled up somewhere with a glass of wine and a good book.
In her spare time she is typically hanging out with her awesome boyfriend and their two equally awesome cats. She likes taking road trips to nowhere in particular, cooking elaborate meals then making other people do the dishes, and being nerdy on the internet. Her books are currently available on http://www.bookstrand.com/michelle-roth
Find her @
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“You can’t keep doing this to yourself, Romeo.” Drannon stared down at the half-naked form of his brother sprawled out on the front porch. It was lucky Roman had made so much noise stumbling around drunk, or he might have frozen to death before morning. As it was, he’d woken Drannon from a sound sleep, and as usual, Drannon had gone to his brother’s rescue. Dragging Roman’s limp body up over his shoulder, and carrying him out of the February night air, he grumbled under his breath, “Going to end up poisoning your blood with alcohol, or get some sort of damn STD. Why the hell do you think you have to bang every woman this side of the Mississippi anyway? Stupid. Just plain ol’stupid is what that is.”
There was no response from the unconscious man, but Drannon felt better as he spewed out his feelings on the recurrent situation. For months he and the other guys had been bailing Roman out and cleaning him up after his binge partying sessions. Maybe it was time to give the kid an ultimatum. Dry out and straighten up, or…
It was the “or” that was the problem. Drannon would never be able to kick his brother off the ranch, no matter how stupid he behaved. Crawley Creek was all Roman had, all any of them had, and it belonged to the whole lot of them.
With one final curse, he dumped Roman onto the sofa and headed for the kitchen in search of a midnight snack. The bright light of the fridge made him squint as he reached for the milk to go with the cookies he knew Marilyn had just put in the cookie jar.
“I thought I heard something.” Vin’s voice startled him, and he choked on his cookie spewing crumbs all over the counter top. Laughing, Vin slapped him on the back, “Sorry D, didn’t mean to scare you. Didn’t you bring your teddy-bear downstairs with you?”
“Asshole,” Drannon grumbled, reaching for a napkin to wipe his face. “The teddy bear is passed out on the sofa, probably drooling all over Marilyn’s fancy pillows, and mumbling to himself, as usual.”
Vin’s eyes narrowed, and he shook his head. “Not again.”
“Yep. Found him on the porch minus his coat, shirt and boots.”
“Fuck. That kid is trying to kill himself.” Vin took a seat at the breakfast bar, and swiped a cookie from the jar. “Who’d he go out with tonight?”
“No clue, but he smells like cheap perfume and cigarettes. I was half tempted to dunk him in the horse tank before I brought him in, but that isn’t fair to the horses.” Drannon snorted at his own joke. Roman Freemont, aka Romeo, was only ten years younger than he and Vin, but he acted like a teenager. Partying, and womanizing like it was going out of style. “We’re going to have to do something about it.”
“Yeah, but I don’t have a clue what.” Vin scraped his nails over his shaved head in a gesture that was as routine as breathing for him. “He’s been tore up ever since…”
His words drifted off, but Drannon nodded his understanding. Less than a year ago, Abraham Crawley had died of a sudden heart attack while fixing a fence in the west pasture. Roman was supposed to have gone with him that day to help him make the repairs, but he’d spent the night at a lady friend’s house, and hadn’t gotten home in time, so Abe had left on his own. Roman held on to the crazy idea that if he’d been there with Abe he could have saved him, even though the doctors insisted Abe had died almost instantly.
“Guilt’s still eating him alive inside.” Drannon said, sighing heavily as the sweets he’d consumed turned into a heavy lump in his belly. “He needs help.”
“Yep, but he’s too stubborn to admit it.”
“Just like someone else I know,” Drannon shot back with a pointed look at Vin.
His brother’s nostrils flared, and his eyes darkened in the murky kitchen lighting. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Like you don’t know? You go all Incredible Hulk on everyone at the slightest thing lately. That PTSD isn’t something to play around with, Vin. You need to get back on those meds.” Drannon hated pointing it out, especially this late at night, but the opportunity had presented itself, and he couldn’t let it go.
“That medicine makes me numb. I’d rather feel something than nothing,” Vin grumbled. “Besides, it ain’t my fault the guys you hired last summer are morons. Shit, if we had some hands with brains around here maybe I wouldn’t lose my temper so much.”
It was an argument Vin had made for too long, but Drannon let it drop because two a.m. was not the time to get into it with his brother.
“I’m going back to bed. We have an empty house until Thursday, but then we get a guest.” Drannon put the milk away, and wiped the crumbs from the counter into his palm.
Vin frowned back at him as he put the cookie jar away, “A guest? In February?”
“I know, but they booked it a while ago, and it’s already paid for. I can’t imagine anyone taking a trip to the Dakotas in the dead of winter for fun, but whatever. Money is money, and if we’re going to start taking in fosters this summer, we need what we can get.”
Following Drannon into the main hallway, Vin nodded, “True that. Want me to take him upstairs?” He gestured toward the living room where Roman’s snores rumbled.
Drannon shook his head, “Don’t bother. Marilyn will lay into him when she finds him in the morning, and he deserves what he gets.”
“That’s stone cold, man,” Vin said with a chuckle, “but I like it.”
The two parted ways, with Drannon heading up the main staircase to the original wing of the house, and Vin heading farther down the hallway to the new wing that was added a couple of decades ago. Abraham and Seraphina Crawley had turned Crawley Creek Ranch into a home for foster children, and as their small clan of orphans and runaways grew, they kept adding on to the main house until it was obvious they needed more space. Cabins sprang up all over the back forty acres, and after the kids grew up and moved away, the buildings stood empty.
Walking through the silence in the dimly lit hallway regularly brought back the memory of how Drannon came to be at Crawley Creek, and he let himself drift back thirty years on a memory.
No one ever told Drannon outright that his mother was dead, but it wasn’t hard to figure out. All around him, people avoided his questioning gaze until he stopped looking altogether. The doctor gave him an uncomfortable one-armed hug, and told him that everything would be okay, but the stately man left unspoken the phrase that would shatter a child’s eight-year-old heart.
It didn’t matter that Kelsey Russo was a drug addict who frequently sold her body to men in order to buy peanut butter and bread to keep in the cupboards of their tiny one bedroom apartment. All that mattered was that she was his mom and the only person in the world who had ever loved him. Now she was gone. A victim of her own demons.
After several hours of lonely boredom in the tiny hospital waiting room, a tired looking woman with dark coffee-colored skin, her hair pulled back in a severe bun, arrived to collect him. By the time she’d completed the hospital’s necessary release paperwork, Drannon was near to falling over with hunger and exhaustion.
“Hello Drannon, my name is Danica. I’m with social services, and I’m going to get you someplace more comfortable so that you can get some rest. It’s been a trying day for you hasn’t it, sugar?” Her voice was raspy but comforting after the haunted silence of the last hours alone wondering and worrying. When she cocked her head and frowned, he nodded quickly, feeling his cheeks heat. “Do you have anything with you?”
He shook his head no, thinking briefly of the three t-shirts and two pairs of torn jeans resting in the bottom drawer of his mother’s dresser. It wasn’t much, but it was all he had. Clearing his throat he tried to tell her. “M-my c-clothes, um…they’re in m-my house…er…ap-ap-apartment.”
Embarrassment filled him making the stuttering even worse as he struggled to get the words out. Danica nodded, but her eyes were sad. “Unfortunately, the police have the apartment roped off while they do their investigation, but I’ll do my best to collect whatever you need from there tomorrow. For tonight, we’ll just have to make do.”
She didn’t mention the stuttering at all, and his anxiety eased. When she reached for his hand, he gratefully accepted the gesture. There was no way she could know that it was the first time in his life he could remember anyone holding his hand. Following her lead, they left the hospital that held the empty body that was his mother, and went directly from there to a fast food restaurant where Danica let him choose anything he wanted off the menu.
After a large cheeseburger and fries washed down by an enormous cola, his eyelids began to droop heavily. He didn’t remember anything about the ride other than climbing into the car and buckling his seat belt. On that frigid February night, all that mattered was that he was full for the first time in months, and comfortably tucked in front of the heat vent in Danica’s car.
She woke him when they parked in front of a massive white ranch house that had a wrap-around front porch. Drannon couldn’t see much more in the dark, but he got the impression of other buildings off to his left as he followed Danica to the front door. A tall man with dark hair and a mustache that looked like a huge caterpillar swung it open and gestured them inside.
“Who have we here?” the man’s voice was deep, and it brought a shiver to Drannon’s spine as it reverberated in the foyer and on down the wide hallway.
“This is Drannon.” Danica answered, patting his shoulder hard enough that he had to take another step further into the house. “Drannon, this is Abraham Crawley. He owns the ranch, and he and his wife will be your guardians until we find you a permanent place to stay.”
“Drannon?” Abraham’s eyebrow rose. “Strong name. Do you have a last name, son?”
His throat was drier than the desert, but he managed to force out a reply. “R-Ru-Russo.”
“Drannon Russo, yes sir, that’s a strong name. Italian last name, I believe. Tell me son, do you have a strong backbone to match that name?” Abraham looked him over as if he was measuring up a man his own size, and Drannon felt his chest puff out in an attempt to live up to the other man’s estimation of him.
“Y-yes s-sir.” He said, grimacing at the repetitive sounds. Over the last couple of years he’d managed to get a handle on his stuttering, but the moment he found his mother sprawled out on the bathroom floor with her face covered in her own vomit, he lost all control over his own tongue.
Like Danica, Abraham didn’t react to the stuttering, and Drannon breathed a sigh of relief. It was hard enough to speak to adults, much less disappoint them when they heard him slip up. He realized Danica was talking to Abraham and tuned back in to the conversation. “…release the body from the coroner’s office tomorrow. So far we haven’t located any living relatives.”
A soft voice tinkled from behind where Abraham’s broad shoulders blocked the opening from the foyer into the rest of the house, “So sad. I’m sure she was way too young. Well, anyways, it’s lovely to meet you, Drannon, no matter the circumstances.”
For the first time, Drannon noticed a petite woman with braided brunette hair standing just behind Abraham. The way she slid under his arm against his side, assured Drannon that she was the lady of the house, and he nodded his thanks to her without speaking.
“Drannon, I’d like you to meet my wife, Seraphina Crawley.” Abraham looked down at the smiling woman with pride. For just a moment, Drannon felt envious of Seraphina. What would it be like to have such a strong man look at him with pride? He couldn’t remember his mother looking at him with anything but affection and obligation. Although he knew she loved him, he’d always come second to her addiction.
“Call me Sera; only Abe gets away with using my whole name.” Sera’s eyes were dark chocolate brown, and her kind smile radiated warmth. Drannon’s heart flip-flopped and he fell half in love with her in that moment. “Have you eaten yet?”
“We stopped and ate a burger on our way out here. Unfortunately he’s been stuck at the hospital most of the day. I was in court or I’d have picked him up earlier. I didn’t get the message about his m—er…situation, until after seven.” Danica gave him a smile he figured was supposed to be apologetic, but really held only pity. He hated pity. Thankfully there was no pity in the sympathetic gazes Sera and Abe turned on him.
“Poor thing. I’m glad you’ve got a full belly. That will make it a little bit easier to rest tonight. Come on upstairs and I’ll show you where you’ll be sleeping. We only have one other boy here right now, and he’s in the room across from yours. You’re lucky it’s a quiet time. We’ve had up to fourteen children here at one time.” Without a backwards glance at Danica, Drannon followed the chattering Sera farther into the house and up a wide staircase that split the living room in two. It was an enormous house from the looks of it, but it felt warm and cozy in spite of its size.
At the top of the stairs she turned and led him to a set of closed doors. Opening the one on the left, she stepped aside for Drannon to enter first. The bedroom was larger than the apartment he’d been living in with his mother, and the bedding covering the massive wood framed bed looked clean and fresh. A thick blue comforter covered the mattress, and a chest of drawers taller than he was, was tucked into the corner. Heavy-looking blue curtains hung over a window opposite the bed, and the whole room smelled like cedar.
“This is going to be your room; we call it the blue room for obvious reasons. The other young man we have staying with us, Vinnie, is across the hall, you’ll meet him at breakfast in the morning. He’s been here a while now, so he can show you the ropes. Abe and I are through those double doors at the end of this hall, and there’s a bathroom right here,” Sera gestured just down the hallway, “You and Vinnie will have to share it, and I don’t tolerate fighting, so make sure you get along. You’re welcome to use anything you find in the medicine cabinet and linen cupboard, but if you need anything else, you just holler.”
Drannon’s head was spinning. He’d gone from a crack house to a mansion in a day, and somehow, even though he’d lost everything, he couldn’t feel the sadness anymore. He wanted to feel sad about his mom. He was going to miss her, but he wasn’t going to miss cold nights on the dirty floor while she was tucked away with someone in the only bedroom. And he wasn’t going to miss racing to school in the mornings so that he could arrive in time for breakfast because it was the only food he was going to get before class.
Turning back to Sera, he surprised himself when genuine emotion boiled up and his eyes stung, “T-thank y-you, Miss Sera.”
“You’re welcome, Drannon. This is your home for as long as you need it, and we’re glad to have you here. Now, make yourself comfortable. I’ll grab you some clothes to sleep in, and if you’ll leave your dirty clothes in the laundry hamper tonight, Marilyn will make sure they get washed for you.” She bustled into the bathroom, and Drannon followed just far enough to keep his eyes locked on her. He had no idea who Marilyn was, but he didn’t really care either. All that he wanted now was to crawl into that big bed, and sleep until he could put this whole nightmarish day behind him.
Sera pulled a brand new toothbrush and toothpaste out of the cabinet behind the mirror in the bathroom, and laid them on the counter. Next came a bar of soap, a washcloth, and a towel. “Do you need help taking a bath, Drannon?” she asked, with a look of concern on her face. He didn’t like it when she frowned like that. It made her forehead wrinkle, and she was much prettier smiling.
“N-no ma’am. I c-c-can do it.”
Her smile of approval nearly blinded him, “Good. I figured at eight years old you were probably well on your way to taking care of yourself, but like I told you, if you need anything at all, Drannon, just come find me. Okay?”
They watched each other, she with rapt curiosity on her face, and he with wary reservation and admiration for the tiny woman in front of him. He wondered why she was being so nice to him. They were strangers, but she was treating him like family. When her face fell into a sad frown he realized he’d voiced his thoughts, and he immediately took a hesitant step backwards when her hands reached to embrace him.
“You poor dear. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through today. No one should have to go through that.” Her genuine concern stole his breath and cracked the shield he’d been holding over his emotions all day long. Tears filled his eyes, and his lungs burned as he panted for air. “It’s okay, let it out. Cry all you need to. There’s no shame in crying when the tears are for someone you love.”
The validation meant everything to him, but he couldn’t find it in him to respond verbally so he just nodded mutely, and wept against her shoulder. All of the fear and sorrow from the day seemed to leak out of him rolling down his cheeks and soaking into her blouse. When his sobs finally subsided and he was left hiccupping and wiping his snotty nose on his hand, she finally released him.
“There now. You’ve got that all out of your system, and now you’ll sleep better.” Tenderly pushing his shaggy hair from his eyes, she brushed her lips across his forehead. “We’ll talk when you’re ready, but tonight you need to rest. Sleep well, Drannon.”
Silently, he watched as she headed off down the hall, turning at the top of the stairs and disappearing from sight. He stood dumbly for several minutes in the doorway of the blue room, taking in his temporary home with a hint of envy for the people who lived here permanently. He assumed by the way Danica spoke it was unlikely he’d be here long, but he was going to take advantage of the luxury while he could. After all, it wasn’t like his mother was going to come back to life and scold him for indulging in a bath with real soap.
If he was going to be on his own for the rest of his life, he was going to take advantage of every possible good thing that came along and relish in it while he could. Who knew what kind of home permanent Danica would find for him? For this brief moment, he was safe, surrounded by warmth and people who genuinely cared about his feelings, and that was all he’d ever wanted.
A door opened and closed downstairs, startling Drannon from his reminiscing, and he shook off the lump of emotion in his throat. Abe and Sera became his salvation as he grew into a temperamental young man with an ax to grind. They’d just as easily been his cheerleaders when he finally realized no one owed him anything and he’d have to go out and work for his future. He invested his energies in a career that turned sour on him, and eight years ago, he came home from the big city with his tail between his legs, and found his heart back home on the ranch.
He and his three closest foster brothers, Roman, Vin, and Hawke had bought the ranch off Abe and turned the main house and most of the cabins into a guest ranch. Of course it was Marilyn who ran the guest side of things, while the boys took care of the ranch. It turned out to be a great investment, and a timely one considering Sera died a couple of years later, and the fire inside Abe fizzled.
Now that both Crawleys were gone, the big house seemed cold and empty most days, even when it was full of guests or ranch hands. Skimming his hand up the wide oak banister, Drannon remembered sliding down it on his rump and getting scolded over and over by Sera, who always did it with a smile on her face. He remembered garland wrapped around it with twinkling lights encircling the posts, and the smell of pies and Christmas cookies. This Christmas Marilyn had put up the tree alone, and the tree skirt had remained empty since the boys decided not to bother exchanging gifts with each other. Maybe it wasn’t just Abe who lost his heart when Sera died. The whole of Crawley Creek Ranch seemed to have lost its sparkle.
Pushing aside his sad thoughts, and longing for the old days, Drannon went back to bed already listing in his head the multitude of chores that needed to be done when the sun rose.
Being a Beta wolf in the Gray Pack is one of the highest honors Luke Gray has ever attained, but he wants so much more for himself and his pack. The recent shift in mating habits, has disturbed his idyllic view of their way of life, and worse yet, no one else seems to understand his point of view.
Tavi Reid is a woman full of grit, and determination. She’s come too far, and worked too hard to let an arrogant man with a chip on his shoulder throw her off track. Even if he’s sexy as hell and makes her weak in the knees, she has to stay focused on her daughter and their future.
They are both tested with traumatic new changes to their lives, but will they lean on each other to get them through, or will these two independent individuals end up with disaster on their hands? Honor is not a right, it’s earned…
Honor of the Wolf
The Gray Pack Book 6
Hearing Tavi ask him for the thing he desired most made his balls draw up tight, and his cock twitch painfully behind the zipper of his jeans. With a gentle push, she sat on the edge of the bed with him between her knees. It put her pert breasts at the perfect level for him to devour. Licking the tip of one while he teased the tip of the other with his fingertips, he began to seduce her body with his.
Every stroke was matched with a moan, or a pleasure-filled sigh, and his cock grew harder and hotter. She smelled of jasmine and raw woman. The sexually potent fragrance made his wolf mindlessly happy and wild with the primal desire to sink both his cock and his canine teeth into her, marking her as his own.
He set about worshiping her body with his tongue and his fingers. Falling back on the bed, she murmured words of pleasure and need, sometimes making sense, and other times incomprehensible.
With her pussy spread open to him, he slid his fingers into her pale pink opening, and had to bite his lip at the velvet heat that surrounded them. She was going to be tight. He was larger than most human men, and she was much smaller than he’d expected. Then again, he’d never been with a woman who’d had a child, so he hadn’t truly known what to expect.
What he got was a sexual goddess. She was beautiful, right down to the teeny tiny white lines that dotted her lower abdomen. She bore the scars of her pregnancy, but it wasn’t a turn-off. It actually fulfilled some primal need inside of him to find a woman that could bear his children. A strong mate.
Before he allowed himself to drift too far down that road, he focused his tongue on her sweet cunt, and began teasing her toward her first orgasm of the night. Her flavor was a deliciously salty-sweet blend and the more he got, the more he wanted. The folds of her pussy were soft against his tongue, and moisture dripped from her opening as her hips thrust up against his mouth seeking more from him. He didn’t make her wait for it, instead he focused all of his energy on bringing her to a fast, hard climax. She didn’t disappoint, jerking underneath him as her cunt spasmed around his thick fingers.
To his surprise she was almost completely silent in her orgasm. Her face twisted and her mouth dropped open with a sharp exhale, but no other noise left her throat. If it weren’t for the obvious reaction under his fingers and tongue he would have doubted how good it was for her.
After a few breaths she caught him staring up at her from between her thighs and she blushed. It stroked his ego to see her cheeks stained with pink and her body trembling underneath him.
Bending, he nipped her inner thigh, and she protested. “Ouch! Hey!”
“You taste good.”
Her cheeks grew even redder, but she returned his grin. “I’ll return the favor if you let me up.”
Luke bit back a growl of need, and shook his head. “As much as I’d love to watch you suck my cock, I’m on the edge of my control already. That will have to wait for later.”
Rising above her, he pressed forward and her thighs spread around his hips in welcome. He kissed his way back up her torso to her sweet tits, pleasuring each one with his tongue, and teeth, before continuing to her collarbone. The moment he reached that thick tendon that connected her shoulder to her neck, his teeth sharpened instinctively. His wolf wanted to mate her, and it was going to take everything he had to resist it.
Burying his face in her hair, he could hear her murmuring words of encouragement as her hands began roaming over his bare chest and shoulders. His jeans felt like they were strangling his cock, and he groaned when her fingers made their way down to his zipper.
“Take them off, Luke, please?”
Her pretty plea was music to his ears, and he rushed to release his erection from confinement. It throbbed against her thigh as he shoved his pants to his knees, and she froze.
“What’s wrong, baby?” Luke frowned in confusion and then realized that she was staring at his cock.
He felt ten feet tall with her staring at him in wonder and appreciation, and he let out a loud laugh. “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“Well don’t let it go to your head, big guy. You haven’t proved you can use it yet.”