*Hurricane Crimes is a short story.*

After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.

Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he's trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.

As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?


On the television set, which was fighting to stay alive, was breaking news. She caught bits and pieces of it as she emptied the bowl of blood-tainted water and threw out the cloth. It was about a high-speed chase that had occurred about a half-hour ago. Beth shook her head. Apparently, Donovan wasn’t the only idiot driving around during a hurricane.

She went back into the living room and began replacing all the medical supplies into the first-aid kit. Behind her, a reporter was explaining that the driver of the car was believed to be a murder suspect.

“The name of the—”

The lights flashed, prompting Beth to snatch up her flashlight.

“Donovan Goldwyn.”

Her fingers went cold around the plastic tube as ice frosted her veins. She straightened her spine and turned stiffly to the television, her heart wasn’t beating in her chest. On the screen was the picture of the man who was right now changing in her bedroom. Above it was a caption in bold letters that read—SUSPECT.

She gripped the flashlight in her frozen fingers. Her heart thudded fearfully. She stared into the immobilized violet eyes through the glass.

“Oh my god,” she gasped.

She had brought a murderer into her home!


Chrys Fey’s debut, Hurricane Crimes, was published by The Wild Rose Press. Mid-2014, she will be coming out with her second romantic-suspense eBook, 30 Seconds. She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

You can find Chrys here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrysfey

Blog: www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChrysFey

Google +: www.google.com/+ChrysFey

You can buy HURRICANE CRIMES here:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00GVK921G

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18757793-hurricane-crimes


My road to publication… by R.T. Wolfe

The road to publication is changing. Self-publishing and the appearance of more unconventional publishers are shaking the landscape, forcing traditional publishers to evolve or suffer in sales. Some have chosen the latter. Although still strong sellers, print books continue to decline in numbers as ebook sales rise exponentially. For authors, this means the road to publication is no longer a standard process. Every author has a story. Here is mine.

I wrote Black Creek Burning, Black Creek Series Book 1, as a stand-alone novel. Although, books 2 and 3 in the series had already taken shape in my head, I had no idea if an agent or publisher would take more than the first book. In fact, I did the same with book 2 in the series, Flying in Shadows. What an incredible challenge it was to create a book that was, indeed, the next in a series, a prequel to the final book in a series, yet could also be a stand-alone novel. It was that sick kind of challenge. The kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night so you can spend a few hours working on it only to leave you nodding off at work the next day with a smile on your face.

As I worked on Flying in Shadows, I queried. I queried agents. I queried publishing companies. More agents. More publishers. The process was daunting. It contains extensive research on each and every agent/publisher you submit to. They each want something different; a cover letter only, a cover letter plus the first 5 pages, first 3 chapters, a full manuscript. And if you want your letter to stand out from the other hundred they received that day, you need to add something personal that is particular to that specific agent or company. I’d rather have a tooth pulled. But I was determined. The drug coursed through my veins, dragging my feet forward to get that next fix. Writing.

One inch away from self-publishing, I was offered my first contract. In fact, I was offered two in the same week. Go figure. I didn’t choose the right one and four months later was able to terminated my contract with that company and sign with ePublishing Works. They are one of those unconventional publishers, and I couldn’t be happier. Five books later, Black Creek Burning hit the top 100 on Amazon and #1 at Barnes and Noble. Pinch me.

Savage Deception, Nickie Savage Series Book 1, was released last month. If you like detective, mystery, romance, give it a try!

Here is the Amazon link: 

And here is Barnes and Noble: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/savage-deception-rt-wolfe/1118045251?ean=9781614175131 (ebook should be live any day now)

Busy juggling loan sharks and Amber Alerts, Detective Nickie Savage makes time when the FBI seeks her expertise with a child trafficking ring. But when Nickie discovers that the men running the ring are the same ones who abducted her as a young teen, the case gets personal.

Risking her badge, Nickie goes rogue. Luckily, she has Duncan Reed, along with his wire tapping and surveillance expertise. But Duncan also wants to take their relationship to the next level.

Now, Nickie must choose: break her own rules and risk her heart or forge ahead alone.


Savage Echoes
Savage Deception
Savage Rendezvous
Savage Disclosure
Savage Betrayal
Savage Alliance

This road to publication is longer than the United State’s Interstate 80. I’m still seriously considering self-publishing a series and have a bigger publishing company that wants a manuscript submission from me. I’m not sure which exit to take or if I should stay on the Interstate. As most authors do, I’m taking one day at time and working on the next book.

And for M.J.’s ‘Just for fun’… (love these!)

If you could be any animal, what animal would you choose, and why? 

An eagle. I love the cold. I love to fly, and could fight for survival if I had to.

What CD is in your CD player right now? 

The playlist I use most has The Fray, GooGoo Dolls, Uncle Kracker, and Callie Colbert. Diversity. J

What is your concept of a fruitful day? 

6,000 words and an hour of marketing. Woo hoo!

What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without? 

Flush toilets. I know this might not seem like a modern convenience, but I’ve been to Liberia, and I’ve been tent camping a zillion times. I have my limits.

What are your three favorite smells? 

Ooo. That’s a good one, M.J. I’m going to say coffee, citris, and subtle cologne. 

Subtle cologne. Definitely a romance writer's answer. 

Thank you for having me back, M.J. I’m truly honored. 

My pleasure entirely! Having my favorite author on is not much of a struggle.

Follow R.T. on Facebook: 

Follow R.T. on Twitter: 

R.T.’s WebPage: 



I am delighted to have on our blog today Miss Sabrina Jacobs from K.M. Jackson's newest release, BOUNCE. So, without further ado...

Sabrina, tell us about yourself? What is your occupation? Strengths, weaknesses?

I’m Sabrina Jacobs. A wife, mother and financial manager at DHP and hopefully on the way to being the first minority woman partner at the firm. Though, sadly, that fact comes sometimes at the sake of missing a few kid’s soccer games and dance recitals.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

This is not the earliest but this one is ingrained. It’s of my father‘s back as the door closed behind him when he left my mom, my sister and me for the last time.

What tangible object would symbolize you? 

A Kelly bag. Why? Because a good quality handbag will never let you down. Also you can dress it up or down and it easily adapts to any situation, classing up an outfit.

Describe Sean. What was your first impression of him and did it change over time? 

 My husband, Sean was perfection. When we first met he was everything I didn’t know I wanted and every other girl at school did. But for some reason he wanted me and wooed me into wanting him back. Our romance was the stuff of college fairytales.

Is there anything about Sean that you would consider a flaw? 

Besides him cheating on me with that thin thighed tramp? No.

Oh. Uhh. I see. Well. [uncomfortable pause] What is it that you want out of life? 

To feel in control of it once again.

Has life handed you any major disappointments? 

Two. Both with men that I trusted with my heart.

I see. I'm sorry about that. How about a happier question. What CD is in your CD player right now? 

Mary J. Blige’s Be Happy. This song seems to be on repeat in my head.

Blurb thanks to River Hills Press:

Growing up as a young girl, Sabrina Jacobs could only dream her life would be this good. She has a successful career, a famous sexy husband, two children, a house in an affluent Westchester suburb and a shoe collection worthy of a magazine spread. Too bad it’s all a façade.

It has been almost a year since her husband admitted he had an affair with a younger and bouncier coworker. Follow Sabrina as she tries to rein in her out-of-control life by kicking her husband out on his rear, chucking her career and even firing her too-cute-for-the-job nanny. But how will she survive as a stay-at-home mom in the land of designer clothes, designer kids’ parties and designer babies? Hmm… maybe the hunky young French teacher, who has been flirting shamelessly with Sabrina, is just what she needs to take her mind off her problems. Well, not if her husband has something to say about it. Will Sabrina be able to forgive and still be true to herself?


But everything should be. It all really should be. I’m about to have it all.

I give Sean a weak smile and pull him towards me. I kiss him deeply. And I can feel the immediate surprise course though his body. But the surprise doesn’t stop him and it doesn’t take much to get him going. He instantly falls into action, running his large hands up and down my back. Kissing my neck then trailing his tongue down toward my breasts.

I let my mind drift as his mouth wanders. Off to the past. To the time when Sean used to woo me by playing my favorite songs for hours on end. The lyrics talking about being with me until the end of time flow through my memory as Sean continues his languid journey stopping at all the places he knows too well to get just the desired response from me. He kisses and I shift. He licks and I sigh. He strokes and I arch. All the while my body goes from sensation to sensation while my mind is at war going from memory to memory. Pleasure to pain. Opening doors to rooms that I don’t want to see. Images that I’m too afraid to face. Me as I could be, dried crust from the tears in the corner of my eyes, hair a wild nest and me on the floor not able to get up once again.

This is the image I am seeing of myself ever since that night. The one I keep trying to shut the door on. The one I keep fighting to keep at bay. I took Sean back vowing to never be that broken women. Never again. I got up and put her away. So why is it she’s here, haunting me anyway?

“Baby, where are you?”

I look up. Surprised to see Sean above me. Eyes filled with worry and questions. A part of me wants to close my own eyes and turn away, but I don’t. I face him straight on. “I’m here. Right here.” I give him a smile then angle up to kiss him. Going deep putting my hand between our bodies and guiding him to my center. He fills me and I let my eyes close. Shutting one door and opening another. Letting him in fully and completely. Mind on the future.

Places to keep up with K.M. Jackson:

K.M. can be found on her site at www.kwana.com

On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/KmJacksonAuthor

On twitter at: https://twitter.com/kwanawrites

Bounce Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cOu9FS

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/K0FcVJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1i2SIUi

ibooks: http://bit.ly/1dkUuhN


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Today I am delighted to have on author Larissa Reinhart with her book HIJACK IN ABSTRACT! I think this is the first time I have featured a humorous, cozy mystery, so let's listen to what our guest host Larissa has to say about it. 

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, MJ! I’m thrilled to be on a romance blog, because although Cherry Tucker is a mystery series, I originally wrote the first book, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, as a romance with a mystery subplot. Like many humorous cozies, the romantic threads continue throughout the mystery series. I like romance in everything I read and write.

On the surface, Cherry Tucker is a sassy, Southern spitfire. She’s an artist with artistic whims and passions, particularly an eye for good looking men. She’s loyal and courageous, but flawed in her need to protect others without thought for her own safety. She feels deeply. However, because of unresolved issues from her past, she’s unable to commit, although she wants love.

Sound like a familiar romantic trope? In a way, I modeled her on an alpha male. But with all the emotional guilt that females tend to carry. It makes her unpredictable. Sometimes stupid. But most of the time, fun.

I have a great time watching Cherry Tucker’s romances unfold (unlike writing the mystery, those stories tend to have a life of their own) and guiding her to a place where she can eventually resolve her past and commit to a true love.

In HIJACK IN ABSTRACT, the third mystery, she takes a step closer to learning more about her past, and we learn more about the three men in her life, particularly Max Avtaikin, the racketeering, Eastern European import to the sleepy, Southern town of Halo. Her sort-of-ex-husband, Todd, is still trying to endear himself back in Cherry’s good graces. And Deputy Luke Harper, her ex-ex-flame is still battling with Cherry over her interference in police business. Three men means three times the fun.


Humor, Hijackings and a Handful of Hunks . . .

With a classical series sold and a portrait commissioned, Cherry Tucker’s art career is in Georgia overdrive. But when the sheriff asks Cherry to draw a composite sketch of a hijacker, her life takes a hairpin as the composite leads to a related murder, her local card-sharking buddy Max Avtaikin becomes bear bait and her nemesis labels the classical series “pervert art.”

Cherry’s jamming gears between trailer parks, Atlanta mansions, and trucker bars searching for the hijacker who left a widow and orphan destitute. While she seeks to help the misfortunate and save her local reputation, Cherry’s hammer down attitude has her facing the headlights of an oncoming killer.


“The fast-paced plot careens through small-town politics and deadly rivalries, with zany side trips through art-world shenanigans and romantic hijinx. Like front-porch lemonade, Reinhart’s cast of characters offers a perfect balance of tart and sweet.” – Sophie Littlefield, Bestselling Author of A Bad Day for Sorry

“Reinhart manages to braid a complicated plot into a tight and funny tale…Cozy fans will love this latest Cherry Tucker mystery.” – Mary Marks, New York Journal of Books

“I love this series! Cheeky, clever, and compelling—keeps me reading way too late. This book has one of the most original—and fun—love triangles you’ll ever come across.” – Kaye George, Agatha Award-Nominated Author of the Imogene Duckworthy Mysteries

“Cherry Tucker is back – tart-tongued and full of sass. With her paint-stained fingers in every pie, she’s in for a truckload of trouble.” – J.J. Murphy, Author of the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries

“Witty, fast paced dialogue sandwiched between vivid descriptions and interesting characters made Hijack in Abstract come to life before my eyes. Larissa Reinhart and Cherry Tucker have a lifelong fan. My recommendation—don’t miss this one!” – Christine Warner, Author of Bachelor’s Special

“Artist Cherry Tucker just can’t help chasing after justice, even when it lands her up to her eyeballs in Russian gangsters, sexy exes, and treacherous truckers. A rambunctious mystery as Southern as chess pie and every bit as delectable.” – Jane Sevier, Author of the Psychic Socialite 1930s Memphis Mysteries

“A true work of art…I didn’t want this book to end! I was so caught up in Cherry’s crazy life, I wanted to just keep reading. You will, too.” – Gayle Trent, Author of Battered to Death

“Cherry Tucker’s got an artist’s palette of problems, but she handles them better than da Vinci on a deadline. Bust out your gesso and get primed for humor, hijackings, and a handful of hunks!” – Diane Vallere, Author of the Style & Error and Mad for Mod Mystery Series

“Reinhart took me on a fun rollercoaster ride…I haven’t had this much fun trying to solve a mystery in a while and it sure beats playing a game of Clue any day! Four out of five stars.” – Literary, etc.


There are many places you don’t want to be at zero dark thirty, but I’ve got a personal top three. One is the ER. Second is a police station. The third is your ex-boyfriend’s bedroom.

Thank God Almighty I was not in number three. Stupid does catch me occasionally, but not this night. I was nowhere near an ex-boyfriend’s bedroom.

At two forty-five in the morning, I found myself in number two. The Forks County Sheriff’s Office to be accurate. My cornflower blues were a bit bloodshot and blurry, but my grin matched Shep Peterson’s, who also found himself in a similar location. However, Shep had a drunk tank grin. Mine was more of a self-congratulatory grin, born from knowing that finally someone in Forks County had recognized my accomplishments in the art world. Never mind the phone call that woke me from a dead sleep and near gave me a heart attack.

Or that I had to drive my sister’s Firebird because her vehicle was blocking my driveway. Or that I now sat in the junior officers’ room with a cold cup of coffee and had just realized I had forgotten to comb my bed-head designed blonde cowlicks in my bleary-eyed haste.

And to put on a bra.

The Forks County Sheriff, Uncle Will, needed my expertise. That’s all that mattered. And I was going to get paid.

Needed me for what was still a bit vague. I hoped nothing needing brushed hair and a bra.

* * * * *

With my messenger bag bumping my back, I hugged my chest, figuring it best not to give an extra show to Shep and the boys. I followed Uncle Will down the hallway, waiting while he unlocked a door. The door opened and two faces turned to look at us. One I didn’t recognize, but judging by his despondent expression, I figured he was probably in a mess of trouble. The other person, another deputy, I identified immediately. Hard not to recognize those brown ochre curls with the highlights I had decided were transparent oxide-red lake. Or the lean, muscled body, much like Michelangelo’s David. Or by the strong jaw buttressing two adorable dimples that made a rare showing.

Unfortunately, I knew Deputy Luke Harper a little too well.

He gave me a scant nod and turned back to the perp.

My hand snuck back to my hair and yanked on a particularly tall cowlick in back. I gritted my teeth and gave myself a quick lecture not to make a scene. We had aired our irreconcilable differences behind the local roadhouse, Red’s County Line Tap, a few months ago and I had not quite recovered.

“That’s Tyrone Coderre,” said Uncle Will. “He’s going to give you a description to draw. We need a composite sketch.”

Uncle Will stopped me before I entered the room and pulled me to the side. “Can I leave Deputy Harper in there with you or do I need to call in another officer? Harper’s the one who picked up Coderre, so this is his investigation.”

“I’m quite capable of separating my personal and professional life,” I said, tilting my chin so I could eyeball Uncle Will. “You might want to ask the same of him.”

“I trust Luke not to screw up his job. You are another story.”

I gave him a “why, I never” gasp.

“I’m going to be watching through the two-way.” He tapped my messenger bag. “Lucky for you, I don’t know other artists to call during the middle of the night. Wouldn’t want to be accused of nepotism. But I want a sketch while the memory is still fresh in Coderre’s mind. Don’t disappoint me, Cherry.”

“So, this is an important investigation?” Excitement zipped through my veins and made my fingers tingle. “I won’t let you down. You can even deputize me if you want.”

Uncle Will chuckled. “Just draw us a good picture. That’s plenty helpful.”

“Yes, sir,” I said and snuck by him to enter the room. I nodded to the man in the black sweat suit behind the table and held out my hand. “Hello, Mr. Coderre. I’m Cherry Tucker, a local artist.”

“Don’t shake his hand,” barked Luke. “Are you crazy?”

Tyrone Coderre’s cuffed hands retreated below the table, and I blew out a hard breath.

Looked like it was going to be a long night. At least the criminal had manners.

Couldn’t say the same for the cop.


Growing up in a small town, Larissa Reinhart couldn’t wait to move to an exotic city far from corn fields. After moving around the US and Japan, now she loves to write about rough hewn characters that live near corn fields, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble.

HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. QUICK SKETCH, a Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT, is in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL (December 2013).

Larissa lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook.

You can find Larissa here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

You can find HIJACK IN ABSTRACT here:


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I have the lovely Caridad Pineiro on today. She has joined us several times and is here to tell us about her latest release, DIE FOR LOVE!


Loving a dead man can be brutal . . .

Diana Reye’s pregnancy is draining her of life. Now vampire Ryder Latimer is faced with the most difficult choice of all. Turn Diana, or lose her and the baby. If Ryder chooses to save them, he risks the wrath of the Slayer Council and will be marked for death by their friend Michaela.

Chasing a vampire can be consuming . . .

While acting as an enforcer for the Slayer Council, FBI agent Michaela Ramirez has been searching for the vampire who raped and killed her mother. Since meeting FBI Director Jesus Hernandez, however, Michaela is losing a bit of her edge. She can’t stop imagining the possibility of a life full of happiness and passion with her handsome boss by her side…and in her bed.

Living without love isn’t an option . . .

But soon trouble comes calling as the vampire she hunts makes Michaela his prey. Now, as she and Ryder both make the difficult decision to break all the rules for love, Michaela finds herself in a battle not only for her own life, but for her friends’ lives as well.


New Jersey Shore

Eighteen Years Ago

The rich scent of the woman’s blood peppered the night air.

The woman who should be long dead.

Connall Burk had grown up on the Jersey Shore centuries ago, and now as an immortal vampire, he came back every summer to relive the many pleasant nights he’d experienced on the oceanfront. Good thing. Apparently he had loose ends to tie up.

He hadn’t seen the woman in the yellow sundress for nearly eight years. Not since the warm summer night he had wooed her at a bar just a few towns over. He remembered her vividly; her blue eyes were amazing, mesmerizing. They’d gone for a walk that night, and after finding a quiet place under the boardwalk, he’d led her deep beneath the fragrant, freshly laid planks of wood.

And then he had raped her and drained her dry of blood, relishing the intoxicating sight of life extinguishing in those blue, blue eyes.

Or at least he had thought it had. Now that he knew better, he intended to fix his mistake.

But not before having a little fun.

Moments ago when he spotted her, he’d gone after her, but the bouncer at the bar had stepped between them, keeping him from seizing her and hauling her off.

She’d run, of course. But he had scratched her arm as he’d grabbed for her, and she was bleeding. Child’s play for a vampire to follow.

With mounting anticipation, he tracked the scent of her blood and the crackle and snap of the sharp marsh grasses as she fled down the dunes. It had been a dry summer along the Shore and the noise was enough to wake the dead. But they were alone on the beachfront.

Or were they…? 

Bio ~

New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word through high school, college and law school. In 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released and over a decade later, Caridad is the author of almost forty published novels and novellas. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.

You can find Caridad at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
You can find DIE FOR LOVE at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | iTunes

Giveaway ~

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Interview with Kaitlyn Darah of Fighting Kat

1. How do you feel you've grown since the Triton incident?

I’ve gained a whole lot of skill sets I never dreamed of back in school. There’s something about living your life as a mercenary that will broaden your opportunities that way.

I’ve also learned to be practical about the realities of living. Books and theory are valuable, give a person the foundation of knowledge. But I think I’ve learned to apply what I know on the fly and improvise in ways I was never taught in a classroom environment.

I’d like to think I’ve become more mature about guys and kisses too, but really, I still don’t know what I’m doing.

2. Do you prefer raw or cooked meat?

I prefer cooked meat most of the time, but I’ve been known to run down a few rabbit-like organisms planet-side. Even cooked, I prefer my red meats rare.

Either way, my prey has to be dead first. The idea of being eaten alive isn’t something I ever want to experience so I give my prey the same consideration.

3. What's up with you and Bharguest?

He’s the better killer.

For now.

Play find the PJ around the Internetz:

Website: http://pjschnyder.com

Twitter: @pjschnyder

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPJSchnyder

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pjschnyder


Book two of The Triton Experiment
Intergalactic mercenary Kat Darah has been ordered to keep her shape-shifting ability a secret from everyone but those closest to her, for her own safety. She’s learned how to control the feral rage…for the most part. But when Lieutenant Rygard’s military unit goes missing, she’ll use every skill she has to find her man.

Lt. Christopher Rygard has witnessed his girl shift, and he still wants her. After Kat rescues him from alien clutches, he’d like nothing more than to wrap her in his arms again, but his first duty is to his men. And half of them have been shipped off-planet to be sold as slaves.

Kat and Rygard will need to form a new team to go deep undercover, posing as gladiators and learning to fight together in order to survive. In the arena, it’s all about who is the strongest predator…

See how it all began in Hunting Kat.


Chapter One

“Unless you are burnt, broken or bleeding, take yourself out of my medical bay.” Kaitlyn didn’t bother to turn as the footsteps paused in her doorway.

“No follow up threat?” Dev’s voice surprised her. The footsteps hadn’t matched her captain’s usual swagger and the air circulation carried scent up and away too quickly for it to reach her. Considering the multitude of aromas her enhanced sense of smell forced upon her when someone appeared in her doorway, usually shot and bleeding or in some stage of infection, the powerful circulation could be a blessing.

Even if it did allow her captain to surprise her. She didn’t turn away from the observation window. “The only people on board are crew. They all know I won’t hesitate to tear a man apart, even if I do have to put him back together again.”

They’d seen her do it. Course, it hadn’t been a crew member and that particular fugitive had tried to kill her. The bounty on the man required him alive so she’d still had to stitch him up afterward.

“Convenient, you being ship’s medic and all.” Dev stepped into her space anyway. “Course, this is my ship and I am captain, so I could make the point that it’s my medical bay and you are one of my crew.”

“You could.” But it’d be for a reason. Her captain didn’t play territory games without one. With her, territory meant a lot more than the average humanoid. Still, she had human logic, she could use it. “In response to your hypothetical point, I’d say you gave me this position when I became part of your crew and thus ceded this territory. Still my facility and personal space. Besides, you put in this window specifically for me.”

“We had a particularly good haul from before I got that installed, made a fair chunk of cred from almost dying. Made sense to invest it in the ship.”

She raised an eyebrow and watched his reflection in the window.

“Modification to the hull of a spaceship never comes cheap and a window isn’t an upgrade to the ship’s structural integrity unless you invested in extremely high quality materials.”

“Which I did.”

“It’s got a perch perfect for sitting and staring out into whatever.” She turned from the window and let her legs dangle over the edge as she faced him. “Too high for any normal human to get up here and enjoy.”

And she needed this space, needed this window. The view into infinity eased the pent up frustration of the beast within. Lately, she needed peace however she could find it. The panther aspect of her lurked restless and irritable beneath her skin. Ready to break loose.

Planting her hands on the ledge, she hopped off for a drop of several meters, landing on her feet with ease. The distance was farther than a human would willingly jump too. She hadn’t had to worry about that for almost four years now.

Straightening, she looked her captain up and down before locking her gaze with his. The predator aspect rose in a wave as the force of her personality crashed into his. Confidence, charisma, command presence, people defined it in their own way. It wasn’t something limited by words or descriptions. It was something a person experienced, a gut reaction, in any interaction with anyone else.

Her captain had won her respect and her trust years ago, but she still tended to…no, enjoyed butting heads with him on occasion.


Born and raised in the North East, PJ Schnyder spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every fantasy and sci-fi novel she could borrow from the local and school libraries.

She scored fairly high in the verbal portion.

She was introduced to the wonderful world of romance a decade later by her best friend at an anime convention in Seattle.

She now lives somewhere temperate watching the seasons go by with her two dogs and super stealthy ninja kitty, writing her stories and gaming.

PJ recently received the Golden Leaf award forBite Me, Book 1 of the London Undead Series, and is one of the contributing authors to the Parsec-award winning Tales from the Archives Vol. 2 of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. In the past, she has also won honors from the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal RWA PRISM awards for her novella, Hunting Kat, Book 1 of the Triton Experiment Series.


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Today I have on writer Vella Munn talking about her newest release, TOUCH OF THE WOLF! She tells us a little bit about how it came about. ~ 

In some respects, writing Touch Of The Wolf, my Entangled Ignite romantic suspense, took root years ago when I was writing Native American historicals. While researching those nine stories, I amassed a library of Native American books. The real gem is Reader’s Digest’s America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage. My copy of that comprehensive book is marked up and beat up, and held together with a large rubber band. I’ve relied on it dozens of times.

It became invaluable while I was plotting Touch Of The Wolf. I had a murder, a woman desperate to learn who had killed her mentor and why, and a man torn between protecting her and defending his heritage.

In order to pull off a suspense, I needed to know how someone could possibly justifying killing a human being—something far outside my personal comprehension. Fortunately the Fascinating Indian Heritage section on the northwest coast traders and fishermen supplied the answer. I had that light bulb moment! Granted, I had to take liberties with what anthropologists and archeologists have concluded about ancient Native American life there but who knows, maybe I’m right.

What am I talking about? If I told you, I’d be giving away a great deal about the book I worked so hard to create. Hey, a girl has to have her secrets, right? Or more to the point, a writer has to draw out that ah-ha moment.

What I can tell you is I had a marvelous time immersing myself in the world, traditions, and beliefs of ancient Pacific Northwest Native Americans and coupling that with a modern day murder mystery and two people falling in love.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I made a wolf spirit part of the saga.

All I’m asking readers is that they suspend disbelief.



Abandoned as a child, Winter Barstow is a woman without a family history and with few clues to lead her in the right direction. When a stolen artifact from the Olympic National Forest arrives at her door, Winter travels to the remote outpost in Washington in search of who sent it to her and why. Instead of answers, she finds the handsome, yet moody Forest Ranger Jay Raven hiding from his heritage.


Jay’s attraction to Winter is instantaneous, and powerful. To admit it, however, means Jay must recognize a culture he’s left behind—something he’s not willing to do. But when Winter discovers the body of her college mentor, her life is in danger and only the call of the wolf can lead Jay to her side and back to his Native American ways.

And a love strong enough to offer both.

As Winter continues her search for the thieves, she becomes a target for killers. Now Winter and Jay must embrace their heritage and the spirit of the wolf to save Winter’s life, as well as the love that has brought them home.


“Peace and renewal. That is what Cha’lak’at’sit has always meant to the Chalat. The river was a gift from K’wati, who intended it to provide for our people. Whatever we decide now must be done with traditional Hoh belief in mind.”

Jay Raven rubbed his aching right shoulder, doing his best to pay attention to his uncle. At thirty, Jay was in the best shape of his life, but that didn’t mean he was Superman. “I knew he’d say that,” he whispered to his brother, who stood next to him on the banks of the Cha’lak’at’sit—or as the non-Natives called it, the Hoh River—near where it fed into the Pacifi c Ocean in Western Washington. “Our uncle and the rest of the elders will always see everything in the context of the past.”

Floyd jerked his head at the cedar canoe they’d pulled onto the gravel shore after bringing their uncle to where the Narrow Roaring Creek stretch began. “They’re going to be at this for hours. At least we’ll be moving with the river’s flow when we head back.”

“Fighting the current about did me in. Thanks for the help.”

“No sweat, bro. I knew you couldn’t get Uncle here on your own. I wish he’d sit down.”

So did Jay, but Uncle Talio was doing what he believed he’d been born to do.

“Seeing so many of the Chalat here today fills me with gratitude.” Uncle Talio turned in a semicircle, connecting with the over one hundred Hoh Native Americans who’d come for the meeting. “This shows that the decision we’ve been asked to make means a great deal to you.” He shifted position, leaning more of his weight on his cane. “Before I read the request from Dr. Anthony Gilsdorf, I’ll try to make sure everyone understands the ramifications should we decide to have anything to do with the anthropologist.”

It had rained last night, and judging by the sodden clouds, Jay figured another downpour wasn’t far off. He’d grown up in and around Olympic National Forest. He didn’t quite have webbed feet, but as he’d told the woman he’d naively thought he’d spend his life with, one reason he’d left the Northwest rain forest was so he wouldn’t grow gills.

Leaving hadn’t lasted long, but he’d changed during those years while the forest remained the same. A thousand years after his death, this wet realm would endure. Ancient moss-studded Sitka spruce and western hemlock would still rise above mats of vine maples and fern. Maybe he should stop distancing himself from his heritage and let it absorb him as it had his uncle and other members of the small tribe.

Only he couldn’t.

“Until whites ventured inland from the ocean,” Uncle Talio continued, “the river and the land around it was home to us and the other tribes. But even then our ancient way of life had been threatened by the newcomers’ diseases. Now what remains of the Chalat live near the mouth of the river we love, even as it slowly steals what little land we still have.”

“Did he have to bring this up?” Floyd muttered. “That anthropologist’s request has nothing to do with erosion.”

Jay smelled booze on Floyd’s breath, but Floyd wasn’t drunk. As many times as he’d tried to get Floyd sober, he knew the signs.

When Uncle Talio was acting in his role as a tribal Old People, he tended to sound as if he barely understood English, but just because he’d grown up speaking Quinault didn’t mean he was cut off from the twenty-fi rst century. He simply preferred to live in the past.

Jay’s shoulders weren’t the only part of his body that ached. His back threatened to knot, and his knees were tender from supporting his weight the whole time Uncle Talio, Floyd, and he had been in the canoe. As an Olympic National Park ranger, he was accustomed to spending his days on his feet, not struggling with the seldom-used but well-maintained canoe.

That’s what he was, he reminded himself as Uncle Talio held up a deerskin decorated with the tribe’s symbol of a stylized eagle and a salmon—a forest ranger. He was proud of who he was; he just didn’t want his heritage to define his every moment.

BIO ~ 

Vella Munn cut her writing teeth penning confessions. At the time she had two preschoolers and not enough time or confidence to write anything longer. She hit the confession wall after writing, “I Was An Unwed Father”, and moved onto category romances. Some 30 romances for the major romance publishers later, she dove into historicals and wrote nine Native American historicals for Tor/Forge. Under a pen name she has written mumble-mumble erotic romances for a variety of publishers and self-published. The electronic publishing explosion excites her and she sees endless possibilities. It’s a crazy exciting time for writers and readers. A longtime member of Novelists Inc., an organization for multi-published fiction writers, she is grateful for the knowledge, experience, and support of fellow members.

Her favorite genre has always been romantic suspense and she’d delighted to be part of Entangled’s Ignite line where hopefully her out-of-the-box imagination won’t have people thinking she needs a padded room.

You can find Vella here:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

You can buy TOUCH OF THE WOLF here:


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Her trust in men is sorely blighted by past experience.

But when Bronwyn and Jessie meet, the chemistry between them is electrifying. The barriers come up and she refuses to acknowledge any kind of relationship between them.

He can’t understand what’s holding her back.

Jesse is confused by her resistance, yet he knows she is attracted to him. When an old boyfriend turns up determined to hurt her he fights to give their love the chance it deserves.


She knew he was going to kiss her, making every coherent thought vanish from her mind. She didn’t seem to be able to focus on anything except those sexy lips coming toward hers. When they reached hers it was like a whisper, just the smallest touch feathering on her lips. Pulling away from him his warm breath caressed her skin and his unguarded gaze sent a shiver down her spine.

Bronwyn’s heart did a cataclysmic shift as she stood on tiptoes grasping his soft leather jacket as he returned his lips to hers with a passion not denied by either of them. His hand cupped the back of her neck as his fingers threaded through her short hair.

His lips made small firm strokes setting her skin on fire. She leaned in wanting to feel more. His other hand massaged the small of her back pulling her even closer. His hands moved, she sighed when he reached for her waist lifting her so they were together, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip.

The tight pressure of his hands as he gripped her excited her, then he maneuvered her body against his. She could feel his arousal causing her to elicit a little mew of pleasure. The impact was ... pleasurable she’d completely forgotten where she was letting her body move against his. She opened her mouth even more to his tongue, hot and wet as it tantalized hers. It felt amazing, like a duel of pleasure.

She tasted the rawness, the magnetism was powerful enough to completely clear her mind of all the reasons why this was wrong. The tightening of her breasts made her shiver as her nipples tingled. She absorbed the pure maleness of him with all of her senses gripping the hair at his neck with her fingers as an unexpected hot wave of pleasure hit her like a wave of molten lava.

“Can you feel it?” he breathed into her mouth. “Can you?” His voice throbbed against her lips.

She moaned against his mouth as chaotic sensations cascaded down her body to the tips of her toes. Her body tingled with the expectations she didn’t understand.

Her fingers gripped his shoulders. His lean warm hands created a path of intense heat as they slid beneath the hem of her dress. The surprised roughness of his skin came into contact with her lacy black stockings, his groan was deep as his fingertips tentatively touched the bare skin at the top of her thighs. His deep growl permeated the air and a warning bell imbued on her senses.

Hell fire, didn’t she ever learn her lesson…what was she doing?

With those thoughts she pushed him away only to realize her feet were not touching the ground, he was leaning against the car holding her up.

“Put me down.” Her voice was a whisper; the truth was she was out of breath leaving her voice cracked. “Now.”

Her heart was racing; the thumping reverberated in her ears. She was shocked by her behavior; the ferocity of the passion between them was frightening. He put her down allowing her to step away. He didn’t say a word as he watched her through narrowed eyes. His chest was heaving but she ignored the movement.

She was having enough problems breathing herself.

God what kind of a kiss was that?

It had been earth shattering; however, she had been more than willing to accept the way it had been given. But it could only lead to one conclusion and she didn’t do one night stands. He was a fantastic kisser which could only mean he’d had plenty of experience. Her passion turned to anger at the way she had betrayed herself her dignity was in tatters.

Would she never learn her lesson?

“Goodnight,” she muttered before opening the gate slamming it shut behind her as she searched in her purse for her key. Putting it in the lock she looked back. He was where she had left him, leaning on the
car, his feet spread wide apart his arms folded across his chest. In the lamplight she could see him smile, giving her a casual wave before he put his hand into his jacket pocket. Agitated she opened the door and without another look closed it behind her. Dropping her purse on the floor she went to sit in the rocking chair toeing off her shoes, bringing her legs to curl beneath her.

Oh boy, big mistake, humongous!

Bio ~

As a young child I loved to write. I always carried a notebook and pen around with me and wrote about everything. It was a dream to become a published author. However sometimes in life our dreams get pushed to one side as mine did. So, dare I say at the young age of fifty I think it is time for me to see if those dreams are everything I hoped they would be…and hey it’s never too late to go and grab that dream!

I have been through many major changes in my working life ranging from a Diana nurse, running my own skin care business, helping with the family run bus company and even hairdressing but my heart as always belonged to putting words on paper and making them come to life.

Recently I managed to get in contact with my best friend from Scotland who I hadn’t seen for over forty years. She lives in America and every year without fail I make the trip over to North Carolina and visit with her and her gorgeous family. This is where I have gained a lot of inspiration for many of my stories. I am lucky that my mum and two sisters live close by and I can say that we are all best friends. I lost my dad four years ago and if it wasn’t for the story I wrote after his death where I came second in a competition I probably wouldn’t have started writing with a view to publication.

I am living my lifelong dream of becoming an author something which I never imagined happening. If I had to give any advice to an un-published author it would be ‘Never give up the dream’ because I never did…

You'll find Dylis at:



Hi there and thanks for having me on the blog today. I have a slight confession to make: I have never really talken (I know that's not a word but I'm keeping it) dirty. Well, not really dirty. And I've never sent dirty texts before. Or dirty IM messages. Or dirty emails. Or dirty anything really. Which I guess is kind of boring of me.

Luckily though I'm a writer and I get to make up fictional people who do that kind of fun stuff instead of me. Take my hero and heroine Luke and Marisa in Talking Dirty with the Boss for example. They meet at the wedding of Marisa's best friend and have an instant attraction – and an instant dislike. He's her OCD uptight boss and she's a bit of a party girl, she gets lipstick on his tie and he stands on her foot, it's a whole thing. Anyway, she sends a saucy email about her underwear to a guy in her IT department a few days later and guess who's inbox it ends up in? Clue: not the IT guy's. Another clue: her OCD uptight boss is not amused.

The internet does funny things to people I reckon. It's the anonymity factor. No one knows what you look like, no one knows your name, no one knows who you are period. You can say whatever you like, safe in the knowledge that no one will ever be able to track you down. And I think it's that anonymity that enables you step out of your comfort zone. Except, I guess, when you're accidentally sending emails to people you actually know!

I confess, I've never sent an embarrassing email to someone accidentally (I've heard about too many people who've done and am paranoid about checking addresses) but what about you? Have you sent an email to someone you didn't mean to send it to?  


Marisa Clair wants to get her artist dreams back on track after a life detour. That means no partying, no shopping…and definitely no men to distract her. Should be easy, but there’s something about her hot and exceedingly uptight boss and she can’t seem to stop herself from ruffling Mr. Tall, Dark and Irritating.

Financial consultant Luke McNamara lives his life strictly by schedule – his OCD simply won’t allow him to do anything else. And the very last thing he needs is a sassy blonde putting lipstick on his collar and messing with his routine. She annoys the hell out of him so why can’t he stop thinking about the color of her panties…and how free he feels when he’s with her?

Marisa and Luke’s plans to steer clear of one another are shot to hell after a hot office encounter. Now the two of them will have to learn to get along as they face a much more permanent reminder of their lack of self-control – a pregnancy.


Chapter One

“So. Would you like to dance?”

Marisa, leaning up against a pillar in the hotel ballroom, didn’t turn around. She knew exactly who that deep, dark masculine voice belonged to. The man Caleb had just dumped on her before he walked off not ten minutes earlier. The man she’d been trying to avoid for the past few hectic days leading up to Christie and Joseph’s wedding.

The man with the biggest stick up his butt she’d ever seen.

Luke McNamara, owner of the media company that had bought Total Tech, the magazine where she worked, only last month.

She’d tried to make nice after Caleb had abandoned her because (1) since Compass Media had boughtTotal Tech, that made Luke the big boss and she couldn’t ignore him, and (2) he was Caleb Steele and Joseph Ashton’s friend and since this was Joseph’s wedding, she couldn’t blow him off, no matter how awful the conversation.

But after five minutes of feeling as if she were playing a one-way tennis match, where she kept serving conversational balls without any answering volley, she’d given up and turned around to watch the dance floor instead.

The guy might have been sexy as all hell, but quite frankly there was only so long a girl could stand there admiring him.

The waterfront hotel where her best friend, Christie, and her tech billionaire husband were having their reception was beautiful. The lights of Auckland’s harbor were visible through the big windows that lined one side of it, small twinkles of color that echoed the fairy lights strung around the interior of the ballroom.

Not far away from where she stood was the head table where Christie was sitting, currently sending meaningful glances her way.

Probably wanting her to dance with Luke. Bah. She didn’t want to dance with Mr. Smiling-Will-Kill-Me. He’d given a very stiff and not particularly engaging speech the day his company had taken over Total Tech. A speech that mainly seemed to be concerned with all the new rules he was going to institute. Such as crackdowns on e-mail and Internet usage. On punctuality. Some completely stupid restriction on workplace relationships. She hadn’t paid much attention initially—at least until the tersely worded e-mail from HR had arrived telling her to cease and desist the mild flirtation she’d been having with one of the seriously hot IT guys. Then to make matters worse, a couple of days earlier he’d instituted regulations about skirt length and “revealing attire.” And sure enough, another tersely worded HR e-mail had found its way into her in-box, detailing her “breach” of the new regulations with the cute dress she’d bought only last week. Sure, maybe it was a little short and maybe the neckline was a bit low, but it could hardly be termed “revealing.”

The first e-mail had been annoying. The second had been more personal and that in itself was enough to make her dislike him.

Then they’d been formally introduced at Christie’s little pre-wedding get-together and her initial dislike had cemented into disdain. He’d been so formal and unfriendly. And now she couldn’t really be bothered with making an effort. She was only a tiny cog in the vast wheel of his company anyway, and life was too short to spend time with a guy you didn’t like, right?

Then again, you didn’t say no to the bride.

Behind her, Luke McNamara let out an impatient breath. “I said, would you like to dance?”

Christie’s expression was pleading. Clearly all the “the guy’s a tool” comments Marisa had made to her friend didn’t count.

She rolled her eyes and Christie mouthed, “Do it. For me.”

Dammit. Christie was the only real friend she’d ever had. And sometimes you just had to suck it up and deal for your friends.

Even do something she didn’t want to do, such as dance with Luke McNamara.

Marisa braced herself. Pasted on her trademark sweet-with-a-touch-of-sauce smile and turned around.

Luke was standing behind her, looking as if he’d been born in a three-piece suit. The tux he wore was pristine, not a speck on it. Every lock of his ink-black hair in place. His bow tie straight, immaculately placed.

He was as perfect as a doll just taken out of its box and not yet played with.

Her fingers itched. For all his stiffness, he was damn sexy. All broad shoulders and lean hips, with a dark, brooding kind of vibe going on. It made her want to play with him just a little bit. Because she did like men in suits. Especially tall, powerful, buttoned-up type of men. Men just begging to have their ties tweaked, their hair ruffled. Lipstick on their collar…

Dear God, girl. You don’t like him, so quit it with the ruffling fantasies. And anyway, he’s your boss.

Good point.

Luke’s attention was on the phone he held, long fingers working the screen. Each time she’d seen him, he’d had that thing in his hands. Maybe it was surgically attached.

“Perhaps you’d like to dance with your phone instead?” Marisa observed sweetly.

Black brows twitched and he lifted his gaze from the phone. His eyes were gray. Cool and crystalline. He gave her a glance that took in every inch of her, from the top of her blond head to the green silk high-heeled sandals that matched her bridesmaid’s dress. Normally when men looked at her like that it meant something like “you’re hot.” Or “I want to take you home.” Or “I want to see you naked.”

Luke’s was more like, “What is this…thing?”

It made her feel ten inches tall.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Luke said flatly. “Why would I want to dance with my phone?”

“Sarcasm. I presume you’ve heard of it?”

“Oh, was that what it was?” With a quick movement, he put the phone away in his pocket, then twitched the cuffs of his jacket. “Do you want to dance or not?”

“A please would be nice.”

Irritation crossed his—it had to be said—rather ridiculously handsome face. Marisa tried not to scowl at the awareness that lingered in the back of her mind.

Handsome. Sure. If you liked perfect cheekbones. And straight noses. And beautifully carved mouths. Which she did. Just not on her anally retentive, rule-loving new über-boss.


“Way to go. You remembered my name.”

“Of course I remembered your name. I remember everything.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“Why would I lie?”

“I dunno. To get me into bed?”

He frowned. “I don’t want to sleep with you. You’re with Total Tech. Which makes you an employee of mine. And I don’t sleep with my employees, especially junior ones.”

That he’d somehow remembered just how minor her role was in his organization didn’t make her any more inclined to be nice to him. “Well, that’s good. Because I don’t sleep with people I work with, either.”

His brows descended. “I have to dance with you.”

Marisa folded her arms. “Have to?”

“The groomsmen and the bridesmaids have to dance together at least once.”

Damn. She’d managed to avoid it so far—couldn’t she just keep on doing so?

Christie was getting up from the table, her arm around her new husband. She glanced over at Marisa and gave her a discreet thumbs-up. Marisa could also see Caleb and Judith, Joseph’s sister and Christie’s other “best woman,” already dancing together, too, Judith scowling at Caleb.

Bugger this. Why couldn’t they have swapped partners? Judith probably wouldn’t have minded, and Marisa would have much preferred to dance with Cal. He was fun to be with. Gorgeous, too. But oh no. She had to get stuck with Luke.

Lucky her.

“Come on. The music’s starting.” His fingers wrapped around her wrist. A gentle but irresistible force tugging her toward the ballroom’s dance floor.

“Hey,” she began.

But before she could really protest, she found herself swept in among the dancers, his arm around her waist, his hand at her hip, her fingers laced with his.

It all happened so fast. One minute she was standing there wishing she could dance with just about anyone else. The next she was in his arms.

She glared up at him. “What. The. Hell. McNamara?”

His attention wasn’t on her—as per usual—his gaze fixed on some point over her shoulder. Frowning in fierce concentration.

“Hello?” Marisa persisted. “This is your partner speaking. What the bloody hell are you doing?”

Luke gave his head a minute shake and said nothing. His movements were a touch wooden, the expression on his face becoming fiercer.

Jesus, what was wrong with him? He didn’t seem like the type of guy who danced, anyway. Come to think of it, given the jerky way they were moving, he wasn’t the type of guy who danced at all.

“Hey,” Marisa said. “What are you—ow!” A large foot knocked her ankle and she stumbled.

The arm around her waist tightened to stop her from falling and she was suddenly pressed hard up against six foot three inches of solid male. One of her hands was trapped between them, her palm against his chest.

“Be quiet,” Luke said. “If you talk, I can’t count.”

“You can’t count? What—”

“If I can’t count, I can’t dance. And if I can’t dance, I’ll stand on your foot again. So be quiet and let me count.”

Marisa opened her mouth to argue. Then thought better of it. What was the point? Better just to be quiet and yeah, suck it up. A dance was only a few minutes and then it would be over.

She let out a breath, stared at the pristine whiteness of his shirt. Beneath her palm, squashed against his chest, she could feel hard muscle.

Wow, the guy was seriously built. He almost felt…good. And he smelled quite nice, too. Not at all like the guys she normally dated, the ones who drenched themselves in expensive aftershave. Luke smelled clean and fresh. A hint of soap. The lightest of aftershaves. Like water, or the ocean. Or rain.

She became suddenly aware of his hand sitting in the small of her back. The heat of it. The pressure of it through the silk. The sensation of his body against her front. So tall.

Muscular through the wool and cotton of his groomsman’s tux.

A flush swept over her skin.

Oh no. No way. This could not be attraction. Not to him. Not to Mr. Controlling Über-Boss. No effing way.

She glanced up, hoping a glimpse of the guy’s too-handsome face would annoy her so much she’d forget about it.

He was still frowning and he looked sort of like an angel. The really stern kind that usually sat on the top of tombs. The ones with swords in their hands that seemed like they’d cut you down without a thought.

Why is that hot?

Yeah. Seriously. Why?

Luke happened to glance down right at that moment, meeting her gaze.

His eyes were an amazing color. A pure, clear gray, darkening toward the center, becoming charcoal. There was an intentness to them, a focus that sharpened the longer he stared at her. His frown deepened.

And she realized two things. One: they’d stopped moving. And two: she was staring at him like a moron. Which she mostly never did. And she’d been with a lot of guys.

Nothing much flustered Marisa, especially men. But hell, she was all blushing and breathless now.

Luke’s expression had become ferocious. As if he’d felt this heat between them, too, and liked it as little as she did.

“Why have you stopped?” he asked.

“Because this dance is over.” She tried to push him away but it was like pushing against a wall. A brick wall.

“No it’s not. The music’s still playing.”


“We can’t stop in the middle of a dance,” he said with finality. Then he moved again, pulling her closer.

Struggling would be undignified. As would letting physical attraction get the better of her. Weird. Just weird. Why was it this guy, out of all the dates she’d had over the course of the last couple of years, who had to be the one to make her break out in a sweat? Not only was he her boss, but according to office gossip, he was a bit of a womanizer, too. Two weeks, that’s all his girlfriends lasted, and if the uptightness of the man wasn’t red flag enough already, that certainly was. The whole thing just pissed her off.

“You don’t want to dance with me, just like I really don’t want to dance with you,” she muttered. “Why not call it quits now?”

“Because the dance isn’t over,” he said with maddening logic. “We can’t stop till it’s finished.”

“That’s stupid.”

He glared over her shoulder. “I don’t care whether it’s stupid or not, we don’t stop until the dance is over.”

“You don’t like me.”

“No, I don’t. But that’s got nothing to do with it. Joseph wanted us all to dance together so that’s what we’re doing.”

Marisa set her jaw. She didn’t care whether he liked her not, of course she didn’t. “Why not? Oh, wait a second, I know. It’s my clothes, isn’t it?”

“Your clothes?”

“Apparently they’re ‘not appropriate for a workplace environment.’ And I suppose I get another black mark for flirting with Leonard in IT, right? Since the ‘interaction’ doesn’t ‘promote collegial relationships.’”

Luke scowled. “Workplace rules haven’t got anything to do with me liking you or otherwise. Can we have this discussion at another time? I have to—”

“Count. Yeah, I get you have to count. Why don’t you let me lead and I’ll do the freaking counting.”

He glanced down at her again, his expression all intense glare and stern mouth. And she had the insane urge to pull his bow tie. Mess him up. Rumple him in some way.

“I’m leading,” he said in a tone that suggested the conversation was over. “So unless you want your foot to be stepped on again, I suggest you keep quiet and let me count. At least until this is over.” A pause. “Please.”

The please did nothing for her temper. She didn’t want to stay dancing with him, pressed up against him. His hand on her back. Hers on his chest. Touching.

This attraction was already making her breathless, and the longer she stayed like this, the more uncomfortable it was going to get. When it came to men, she preferred to be the one in control because there was only one end to chemistry like this. She’d been there before and it was bad. Very bad. Attractive, womanizing men were right at the top of her list of things to avoid like the plague. Especially attractive, womanizing men who were also her uptight boss.

Marisa stared at his shirt, contemplating her options. The cotton was very white. Snowy, it could be said. Her gaze followed the line of buttons to his throat, where his bow tie rested, straight and begging to be tweaked.

She slid her hand up his chest. Took one end of the tie in her fingers. Pulled.

Luke instantly looked down. “What are you doing?”

Maris ignored the demand in his tone. Slowly she flicked open the buttons of his shirt, one by one, exposing smooth, brown skin.

Oh yeah. Hot. So hot.

He’d come to a dead stop. “Marisa? What are you—”

She rose up on her tiptoes, leaned forward, and pressed a kiss onto the lapel of his shirt. Her signature deep red contrasted beautifully with the white cotton.

Abruptly, Luke let her go, and she wasn’t slightly disappointed at the loss. Oh no, she wasn’t.

“What the hell?” He was staring down at the mark her mouth had left, growing horror on his face.

Ah, finally, signs of life. “I’m making sure you look like someone’s been playing with you.”

Anger flashed in his eyes. “You put lipstick on my goddamn shirt.”

“It’s just a little lipstick.”

“Just a little—”

“Hey, I told you I didn’t want to dance, okay? So when I’m done dancing, I’m done dancing.”

Luke opened his mouth, probably to argue, but she’d made her point. She was over it.

And the quicker she got away from him the better.

Marisa smiled, blew him a kiss, then turned on her heel and walked off the dance floor.

There was lipstick on his collar. Lipstick. On his collar.

For a minute Luke just stared at Marisa Clair’s retreating green figure, too angry to do anything.

He hadn’t paid much attention to her since they’d been introduced at the pre-wedding party, although he already knew who she was since Compass, his media company, had taken over Total Tech and he didn’t forget a name. He hadn’t seen any real need to get to know her. She was the PA to the Total Tech editor in chief, far down in the pecking order, and besides, she seemed to be the pretty blond type who sometimes threw themselves at him. The kind who got off on his money or the fact that he was CEO of one of Auckland’s biggest financial companies. He didn’t pay those kind of women much attention.

He preferred serious, intellectual women, and Marisa struck him as neither serious nor particularly intellectual. She’d already been caught breaking several of his new rules, including the one against workplace relationships, which showed him exactly how seriously she took her job. Which was not at all.

She was irritating.

Irritating. Yes. But you weren’t thinking irritating just a moment ago.

No, just a moment ago she’d felt soft in his arms. The curves of her body fitting his in a way…

Luke forced the thoughts out of his head.

Attraction to Marisa Clair was not only highly inappropriate, it was also extremely unwelcome. He’d been dancing with her only because Joseph had asked him to. Because it was expected at a wedding.

Dancing was the very last thing he wanted to do, anyway. He loathed it. The only way he could manage was to count the beat so he wouldn’t stand on her feet. The problem was that once he started, he had to finish.

Not finishing offended every single one of his compulsions.

Luke started after her, following her lush green-clad figure as she dodged the other couples, heading back toward the head table to sit with the rest of the wedding party.

She’d gotten there by the time he caught up, and was picking up a glass of champagne and taking a good, healthy sip.

He stopped right behind her. “Why did you do that?” he demanded.

She muttered a curse, paused, then turned around. Wide, lapis-blue eyes framed by thick, dark lashes stared up into his. Those lashes fluttered. Her full red mouth turned up in a smile that could only be termed seductive. “Do what?”

Luke didn’t respond to blatant sexual overtures from women. Flirting was, in his opinion, a pointless exercise. If you wanted sex you found someone who wanted it, too, and then you went to bed. You didn’t spend hours circling around the subject or talking about it endlessly.

He frowned. “Do what? You put lipstick on my collar.” He didn’t look down. He could almost feel the stain ruining the clean whiteness of his shirt. It was slightly off-center too, which made the whole thing immeasurably worse. Looking down would make him have to go home and change it. And then he’d have an even tougher dilemma—complete the dance first or change?

“Oh yeah.” She leaned back in the chair. “So I did.”

The music was winding down and soon the song would be at an end. The dance would be unfinished.

Dammit, he couldn’t leave anything unfinished. He stepped forward, reached for her, tugged her back into his arms.

Marisa’s hands pushed against his chest, her body stiff. “Hey, stop it.”

People were beginning to cast glances in their direction. Joseph, whirling around with Christie, raised an eyebrow at him from the dance floor. God, now they were attracting attention, exactly what he didn’t want. “We have to finish the dance,” he growled. “For Christie and Joseph’s sake, at least.”

She flashed a quick look toward the dance floor, her mouth tightening at the sight of the happy couple staring pointedly back, then she muttered another curse. Her seductive manner had dropped. Now she looked as pissed off as he was. “You promise you’ll leave me alone?”

“Gladly.” Yes, he wouldn’t be able to get away fast enough.

For the next minute, they danced grimly and silently beside the table, while he tried not to notice that the silk of her back had warmed up underneath his palm. And that she smelled like…musk and spices. An earthy scent. One that he shouldn’t like, but did all the same.

She also had a way of moving that he couldn’t ignore. Liquid and graceful, especially in comparison to him.

He didn’t want to look at her, not with that red stain on his collar, but he couldn’t help himself. Her hair wasn’t plain old gold, it was a mixture of tawny and gilt, with darker undertones of caramel and toffee. She had one hand on his chest, her fingers curled into her palm. She was a lot shorter than he was.

It made him feel…odd.

“Stop looking at me,” she said, her gaze fixed on his chest.

Irritation wound through him. How aggravating to be caught staring like a teenage boy. Especially at a woman he had no interest in.

“How do you know I’m looking at you?”

“Because I can feel it. It’s annoying. Just get on with your damn counting.” She lifted her lashes, a flash of blue peeping from underneath them. “Or do you want another lipstick mark on your collar?”

The weirdest urge gripped him to lean down and kiss her. Silence that smart red mouth of hers. Disturb her the way she’d disturbed him.

He wasn’t a man who gave in to random impulses. Control was of paramount importance—especially control over the demands of his OCD. Yet this urge was almost as irresistible as the ones that had him living life by a strict schedule.

Marisa’s eyes widened, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking.

“Hey, you’re not—”

He didn’t know what possessed him. She was an employee and that should have rendered her immediately off-limits. His rules against workplace relationships were there for a reason. Rules maintained order and order was important.

Perhaps it was the one beer he’d allowed himself. Perhaps it was the red stain burning a hole in his shirt. Perhaps it was because he was angry with her.

Or maybe it was because he wanted to see what would happen.

But for an instant, his precious control slipped and he bent his head, brushing her mouth with his.

Lightning. Sparks like a match being struck. The leap of static electricity. Intense and sudden and burning. Desire, sharp as the snap of a whip, flickered through him.

He’d never experienced anything like it.

He dropped her, the pair of them springing apart like repelling magnets.

“Holy shit,” Marisa whispered. She stared at him, one hand to her mouth. A hand that was trembling.

He knew the feeling. The effects of the kiss resounded through him, bouncing off the walls like sonar, mapping the interior of him. Spreading the vibrations of it through his whole body, tuning him.

“Marisa—” he began, knowing he had to say something.

“Don’t you ever do that again.” Her eyes were intent, a furious light in them.

Dammit. What the hell had he done that for? What the hell had come over him? “Don’t worry,” he said, stiffly. “I won’t.”

“You’re damn right you won’t.” Her creamy skin had flushed and she turned her head to check out the dance floor. He noticed the blush extending all the way down her neck. “Oh, thank God, I don’t think anyone saw. Which means you’re not going to say anything to anyone about it either, okay?”

“Of course not.” He cleared his throat, his hands automatically moving to do up the buttons of his shirt. Then he realized. His shirt. The lipstick. He was going to have to change. “We won’t speak of it again.”

Her hand dropped from her mouth as if she’d only just become conscious of what she was doing. The blush on her cheeks deepened further. “We really need not to be around each other. So after this wedding stuff is done, we stay away, right?”

“Agreed.” He wouldn’t argue. She was right. Completely apart from the fact that they didn’t like each other, he couldn’t be kissing an employee. Especially one in a junior role. No matter that the kiss was a minor aberration. A moment of insanity.

One that he would make damn sure he forgot.

Her gaze had fixed on something. His mouth.

“You’ve got…” She stopped, touching her lips again.

Lipstick. He had lipstick. On his goddamned mouth.

Luke growled. Then, without a word, he turned and made his way out of the ballroom. He had to get home. Get this bloody shirt off. Wipe his damn mouth.

And forget about kissing Marisa Clair.


Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who’ve just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.

She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she’s not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.

You can find Jackie at:

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