BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS »

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

* ALERON * Kane brings the undead to life


I was lucky enough to win a copy of ALERON in a giveaway. Being a big fan of vampires, I was anxious to read Kane's debut novel and I wasn't disappointed. The book reminds me of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, but the author has his own stunning and unique take on the world of the vampire. Aleron's story begins in 1791 with his mortal life. The pace is a bit slow at the start but soon picks up and I was enthralled. Kane brings the undead to life with his characterization. And his historical detail sets the scene perfectly. Highly recommended.



Product Description from Amazon


Aleron must cope with a timeless existence, seeing those he loves suffer the fate of mortality, while he remains cursed with eternal life. What if your immortal origin as well as others of your kind were hidden from you by the one you loved most; the one who gave you into a life of darkness and a lust for the sweetest nectar? These dilemmas and more face Aleron, but he must first learn to live, to survive, and most of all, to feed.


Seduced by the alluring vampire Mynea, Aleron learns what it truly means to be immortal as he adapts to his new life and new insatiable lust. She is teaching him to give her what her maker never has. She desires a new king and a new coven. Hearts, minds, and vampire souls intertwine as long kept secrets crawl out from the grave, refusing to remain buried beneath earth and lies. A blood kiss between them reveals a darker and even deadlier soul that has learned of Aleron’s blasphemous existence. Vlad is the beginning, the father of them all. Mynea must not let her young prince learn of her ancient king. Can a vampire truly love and trust another of his kind when their very lives depend on skillful deceit?


Find out more here:
http://www.aleron.co/Aleron/Home.html

Available in print or as an ebook:
http://www.amazon.com/Aleron-Kane/dp/0983259569/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1309363924&sr=1-1


Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Monday, June 27, 2011

* Goodreads Update *

I finished round one of edits for book four of Symbiotic Mates, Damian and the Doctor and sent them off, so now I don't have to feel guilty when I watch The Bachelorette tonight. It's another guilty pleasure along with Farmville and peanut M&M's.

If you've seen the previews, you know Bentley is coming back. This guy has now replaced Brad Womack as most hated, because he called Bachelorette Ashley Hebert an “ugly duckling” behind her back. Will Bentley be honest with Ashley tonight? I can't wait to find out.

Other News: The Goodreads Giveaway for SYMBIOTIC MATES: VOLUME ONE is now live. Just go to the sidebar, you can enter from here. I have 5 copies up for grabs and the giveaway will run until Jul 31, 2011. The giveaway for ONCE A KNIGHT will run until July 25, 2011. You can enter both. Book Blurbs are below.

Symbiotic Mates: Volume One, includes the first two books in the MM Shape-Shifter series: Hunter and the Hawk & Peter and the Wolf.

Hunter and the Hawk
Symbiotic Mates: 1

When Hunter, a Lycan Enforcer, comes to the aid of a vampire, Aidan claims to have information about the murder of Hunter’s mate and he’ll trade for Lycan blood. At first, Hunter thinks it's a trap, but Aidan convinces him that the answer to both species survival may lie in their blood. Hunter agrees to secretly help Aidan in exchange for the killer’s name. But he gets more than he bargained for when he finds himself falling for the seductive vampire. When the research goes awry, he’s sure he’s been used by the scheming bloodsuckers. But is Aidan the real enemy or is it someone closer to home?

Peter and the Wolf
Symbiotic Mates: 2


What happens when your blood adversary turns out to be your fated blood mate?


Tyler tends bar at the Wolf Den to fill his lonely nights, but he still hasn’t given up on finding a mate. He has his eye on Hunter, a pack enforcer, but the Lycan kills one of their pack and finds sanctuary in the Colony, home of the Vampires. The Pack Alpha calls Hunter a traitor and wants him back dead or alive. But Tyler believes his friend is in trouble and he allows himself to be captured in order to find out the truth. Instead he’s branded a blood slave to a blonde-haired vampire-hawk who wants more than blood. An unlikely alliance is forged but falling for his captor was never part of the plan.


Available at Silver Publishing:
https://silverpublishing.info/product_book_info/paperbacks-c-83/symbiotic-mates-print-p-353


****



ONCE A KNIGHT combines Silent Knights and Sleepless Knights in one print book.
SILENT KNIGHTS

Paul Stanton thought he had it all, a great job, a beautiful condo and a stable relationship with his soul mate. When his lover dumps him for another man, Paul is forced to rethink his life. He visits his childhood home in rural Pennsylvania rather than spend the holidays alone in San Francisco. But only a few days with his family is enough to convince him that you can't go home again.

Paul leaves for the airport in the midst of a snowstorm. Stranded in the woodlands, a chance meeting between him and a hunter is his only option for survival. He knows the type. A backwoods bigot like the men he grew up with. But what choice does he have? A few days with the Mountain Man convinces Paul there's more to Andy Reynolds than meets the eye. But is it enough to bind two men who have nothing in common except their sex?

SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS

After falling passionately in love, Andy and Paul are totally committed to each other. But when the two-year itch infects their relationship, Paul becomes distant and refuses to talk about it. Paul is the love of Andy’s life and he’ll do anything to make him happy, even if it means bringing another man into their bed. But is it really the answer? Or will it drive them further apart?

Zach flees to Los Angeles to escape his abusive father. He plans to use his good looks to get into the film industry but catching that big break is harder than he thought. He decides to try his luck in San Francisco. He has no money but if he can find someone to put a roof over his head, he’ll trade sex for security. When two smokin’ hot guys pick him up on the Pacific Coast Highway, he thinks he hit pay dirt. He never expected to actually fall for them.

Also available as ebooks

Silver Publishing:




Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Friday, June 24, 2011

De-romanticized Vampires and Werewolves for Young Adults


The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group is a young adult book I received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. This is a sequel to The Reformed Vampire Support Group. I didn't read the first book, but I don't think it made any difference. I had no trouble picking up the plot, the story was fun, and it was an easy read. Toby the thirteen year-old narrator, wakes up in the hospital, after being found in a dingo pen on a wildlife preserve. He has no idea what happened to him. From the title of the book, I made a pretty educated guess.



The story starts out a bit slow but the pace picks up and the light-heated tone turns dark. I'm not a big fan of first person narratives. I think it limits the insight into the other characters. That, plus the uneven pacing and lack of transformation made it less entertaining for me. But I do think the story will appeal to younger horror fans.


Product Description From Amazon

"When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found unconscious. At Featherdale Wildlife Park. In a dingo pen. He assumes that his two best friends are somehow responsible, until the mysterious Reuben turns up, claiming that Toby has a rare and dangerous “condition.” Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced that he needs their help. It’s not until he’s kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them—and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means."


Available at Amazon:About the Author

http://www.amazon.com/Abused-Werewolf-Rescue-Group/dp/0152066152/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top


CATHERINE JINKS was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1963. She grew up in Papua New Guinea and later spent four years studying medieval history at the University of Sydney. After working for several years in a bank, she married a Canadian journalist and lived for a short time in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with her husband Peter and their daughter Hannah. Catherine is a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier's Literature Award, the Ena Noel Award for Children's Literature, and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal








Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Party


You're invited to the party. The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Event! will go on for two months.
June 1 – 28 is dedicated to Romance books and July 1 – 28 is dedicated to Erotic and GLBT books.



There are scheduled Chats with authors! And lots of awesome prizes, including a copy of One Night in Bangkok.


Here's the link: http://www.theromancereviews.com/



Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Goodreads Update


Goodreads has posted my giveaway for ONCE A KNIGHT. I have 5 copies up for grabs and the giveaway will run until July 15. Here's the link:


http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/11691-once-a-knight

ONCE A KNIGHT combines Silent Knights and Sleepless Knights in one print book. I posted the blurbs yesterday, you can see them below.Both books are also available as separate ebooks


Silver Publishing:


http://silverpublishing.info/index/book_authors_id/48/typefilter/book_authors

Happy Reading!








Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Celebrating Release Day!


Today is release day for ONCE A KNIGHT! This is a print edition that combines Silent Knights and Sleepless Knights in one paperback book. I love my Kindle and my ebooks but it's great to hold the print copy in my hands. And to celebrate the release I'm having a Goodreads giveaway. There will be 5 copies up for grabs and the giveaway will last from June 15 to July 15. Keep an eye out. I'll post the link when I get the details worked out on Goodreads. The blurbs for the two stories are below.


SILENT KNIGHTS


Paul Stanton thought he had it all, a great job, a beautiful condo and a stable relationship with his soul mate. When his lover dumps him for another man, Paul is forced to rethink his life. He visits his childhood home in rural Pennsylvania rather than spend the holidays alone in San Francisco. But only a few days with his family is enough to convince him that you can't go home again.


Paul leaves for the airport in the midst of a snowstorm. Stranded in the woodlands, a chance meeting between him and a hunter is his only option for survival. He knows the type. A backwoods bigot like the men he grew up with. But what choice does he have? A few days with the Mountain Man convinces Paul there's more to Andy Reynolds than meets the eye. But is it enough to bind two men who have nothing in common except their sex?


SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS


After falling passionately in love, Andy and Paul are totally committed to each other. But when the two-year itch infects their relationship, Paul becomes distant and refuses to talk about it. Paul is the love of Andy’s life and he’ll do anything to make him happy, even if it means bringing another man into their bed. But is it really the answer? Or will it drive them further apart?


Zach flees to Los Angeles to escape his abusive father. He plans to use his good looks to get into the film industry but catching that big break is harder than he thought. He decides to try his luck in San Francisco. He has no money but if he can find someone to put a roof over his head, he’ll trade sex for security. When two smokin’ hot guys pick him up on the Pacific Coast Highway, he thinks he hit pay dirt. He never expected to actually fall for them.


Also available as ebooks
Silver Publishing:


http://silverpublishing.info/index/book_authors_id/48/typefilter/book_authors

Happy Reading!


Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier


On Friday, I vowed to start catching up on my reading and I started with one from the Amazon Vine Program - THE LEDGE: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan. I blew through it in record time. I'm not a climber, but I'm fascinated by those who do. I've read just about every book on Mt. Everest, including Jon Krakauer's excellent, Into Thin Air. The Ledge ranks up there with the best of them. It's one of the most exciting and heart-wrenching stories I've read in a long time.

It's a story of friendship, adventure, and tragedy, a riveting tale of a man who overcomes disaster while climbing Mount Rainier. Imagine falling 80' into a seemingly bottomless chasm, losing your partner, and overcoming what appears to be insurmountable odds to survive and then dealing with the emotional aftermath and survivor's guilt.
Back history and family relationships are interspersed throughout. We learn how the two climbers met, and the friendship that developed between them. The author uses technical climbing terms, but they're explained and don't overwhelm the reader. The description of the fall was so good; I could feel the cold, the terror, and the grief, as if I was right there. It doesn't get any better than that.
Product Description from Amazon

“My eyes travel up the frozen walls. I figure it is eighty feet up to the sunlight. The walls above me climb up at about eighty degrees, then they go dead vertical, and then, higher up, they overhang. It is as if I am looking out from the belly of a beast, its jagged white teeth interlocking above me.”


In June 1992, best friends Jim Davidson and Mike Price stood triumphantly atop Washington’s Mount Rainier, celebrating what they hoped would be the first of many milestones in their lives as passionate young mountaineers. Instead, their conquest gave way to catastrophe when a cave-in plunged them deep inside a glacial crevasse—the pitch-black, ice-walled hell that every climber’s nightmares are made of.


An avid adventurer from an early age, Davidson was already a seasoned climber at the time of the Rainier ascent, fully aware of the risks and hopelessly in love with the challenge. But in the blur of a harrowing free fall, he suddenly found himself challenged by nature’s grandeur at its most unforgiving. Trapped on a narrow, unstable frozen ledge, deep below daylight and high above a yawning chasm, he would desperately battle crumbling ice and snow that threatened to bury him alive, while struggling in vain to save his fatally injured companion. And finally, with little equipment, no partner, and rapidly dwindling hope, he would have to make a fateful choice—between the certainty of a slow, lonely death or the seeming impossibility of climbing for his life.


At once a heart-stopping adventure story, a heartfelt memoir of friendship, and a stirring meditation on fleeting mortality and immutable nature, The Ledge chronicles one man’s transforming odyssey from the dizzying heights of elation and awe to the punishing depths of grief and hard-won wisdom. This book’s visceral, lyrical prose sings the praises of the physical world’s wonders, while searching the souls of those willing, for better or worse, to fully embrace it.


About the Author


Jim Davidson is an accomplished climber, speaker, and science writer. He has brought inspiration to corporate audiences and associations across the United States and overseas through his professional business, Speaking of Adventure. Davidson lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his two adventurous kids and his very tolerant wife.


Kevin Vaughan is a versatile reporter and writer at The Denver Post. In 2008, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. He wrote a five-part series, “The Crevasse,” which delved into the accident on Mount Rainier that took the life of Mike Price and changed Jim Davidson forever. Vaughan lives in the Denver area with his wife and three children.

Available on Amazon:



Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love GLBT Romance? Tomorrow is Gay Day!




If you love GLBT romance you don't want to miss Gay Day. The date is Sunday, June 12th at Ethan Day's Yahoo Group. Gay Day is the one day a month when the best authors in GLBT Romance stop by to post excerpts of their new and upcoming releases. There will be contests for free books and lots of chatting about all the new and upcoming releases. The day will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST in the Ethan Day Yahoo Group.



Here's the link to Ethan's group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EthanDay/




I'll be there - I'm giving away a copy of One Night in Bangkok and posting excerpts from my books. See ya there!





Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

I Have An Announcement!

This has been one busy week - new release, new cover, new ms started...
Next week I definitely plan on catching up with some reading and I'll share what's on my TBR list.

But right now I want to announce the winners of my giveaway for an ebook copy of One Night in Bangkok. I printed the names of all the commenters, put them in a bowl and hubby picked 3 winners.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and Congrats to
Mel, Ali & Jason

Please send an email to gale@galestanley.net and let me know what format you would like and I'll send your copy out asap.

Happy Reading!


Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today is release day!


TA-DA! Today is the official release day for my new MM contemporary romance, One Night in Bangkok.



The blurb and an excerpt are below, as well as the song that inspired me. It's Murray Head, from the Chess Soundtrack. Enjoy!


Oh, almost forgot. There's a giveaway. Leave a comment for a chance to an ebook. Check back Sat. June 11 to find out if you won a copy.


BLURB: The temperature in Bangkok is a humid ninety degrees but things are about to get a lot hotter. David Elliot is in Thailand on business but when he meets Kai, the younger man turns his world upside down. It was never meant to be anything more than a pleasant diversion but can he walk away when it’s over?



Available at Silver Publishing:

http://silverpublishing.info/index/book_authors_id/48/typefilter/book_authors



Excerpt:

The office door opened and David Elliot looked up with a frown, ready to chew out the intruder who'd managed to get past his secretary. His scowl disappeared when Bernard Markham walked in. Mr Perfect from his artfully cut hair to his designer shoes, the head of the Markham & Dunn LLP international law firm, exuded class. Worldly, wealthy, and all mine. How did I get lucky enough to snag the boss? David flashed his biggest, sexiest smile.


Bernie didn't return it. He looked down his perfect aquiline nose, a well-executed rhinoplasty, in that way of his that imparted you were a lesser mortal.


Uh oh. What did I forget? David ran through every detail in his head and couldn't come up with a damned thing. Ever since he found out he'd be going back to Bangkok to negotiate the acquisition of commercial real estate for Bernie, he'd worked long hours trying to tie up any loose ends. Reviewing documents and preparing contracts was tedious, time-consuming grunt work, usually relegated to junior attorneys, but David insisted on personally reviewing his own documents. He'd already gone through most of his files, and this was the last of it. Every problem had been anticipated, and his clients would be left in good hands while he was away.


The lower lid of Bernie's left eye twitched, a sure sign he was stressed, and right then David knew this wasn't about business. A cold knot settled in his stomach.


"We need to talk," Bernie announced.


"Have a seat."


"I'd rather stand."


This was bad. David knew all Bernie's shtick and looking down at someone was his way of taking charge, lecturing more than conversing.


"We need some time apart."


The words came straight out of left field, totally unexpected. They hadn't slept together in the past week, David's fault really, but his lover hadn't complained. They both believed in business before pleasure. "I know I've been distant lately, but we can fix this."


"It's not that." Bernie shook his head impatiently. "It's me."


Fuck! He'd heard that before. It's not you, it's me. The worst kiss-off ever, and a low blow to bring their personal affairs into the office. David got to his feet. If this was personal, he wasn't about to let Bernie talk down to him. "Is there someone else?"


"No, nothing like that. I just think we need a little breather. Too much time together will kill a relationship. We don't live together, but I feel like we do. This past week, when you slept at your own place, I started to realize how much I needed some breathing room."


"You're bored." David couldn't keep the injured tone out of his voice.


"No. Yes." He admitted. "A break will be good for both of us."


"Don't tell me what I need or want." David raised his voice for the first time. "Your timing sucks. I leave for Bangkok tomorrow. We don't even have time to sit down and talk this out."


"Why keep rehashing it?" Bernie threw his hands in the air. "Go to Bangkok, take care of my business like you always do, and take some time for yourself. You'll be in Sin City! Enjoy it on me; you have an unlimited expense account." He turned away.


So the timing of this trip was intentional. Bernie hated messy scenes and this was his way of avoiding an awkward situation. He didn't want him anymore, but didn't have the guts to finalize it. "And what will you be enjoying while I'm gone?" David asked acidly.


Bernie walked out and didn't answer him.




Happy Reading!


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jami Davenport talks about Sports Heroes in Romance

Welcome author Jami Davenport, who has a new release out with Loose ID, FOURTH AND GOAL. It's a hot story and a fun read! See for yourself, Jami is sharing an excerpt below.

Sports Heroes in Romance—Do You Love Them or Hate Them?

Are You Ready for Some Football?

How about a sexy football player with a chiseled profile, muscles honed to perfection, a sexy smile, and a will to win in football and in love?


Just the thought makes me drool. Over the years, I’ve devoured every football hero romance I could get my hands on. Granted, prior to the ebook revolution, such books were few and far between.

One of the first rules you learn as a newbie romance writer is sports heroes don’t sell well in romance (along with rock stars and actors) unless you’re Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Either I’m an anomaly regarding my personal reading tastes (which is entirely possible) or this widely circulated statement isn’t a fact at all.


I know some readers consider sports figures to be spoiled, over-paid jerks with big egos and small brains. Sure, there are plenty of athletes who fall into that category and plenty who do not.


What’s not to love about a cocky alpha male with a deep dark secret or an endearing vulnerability? Hey, I’m a sucker for a guy like that. When I write about a sports hero, he might appear to be an asshole on the outside, but I try to give you a hint in the beginning as to what’s really going on inside. My case in point is Tyler, a secondary character in Fourth and Goal. Tyler prides himself on being an asshole. In fact, he goes out of his way to be one, even though under all those layers of bluster and posturing, he’s a softie with a big heart. Tyler gets his own book in Forward Passes, and his bad boy cover is blown by an orange tabby cat.


Derek, the hero in Fourth and Goal, Book 1 in my Seattle Lumberjacks Football Series, is a different kind of sports hero than his cousin Tyler. Derek has been beaten down, his bad luck has come in spades, and he has one last chance to resurrect his career. His confidence is at an all-time low. Derek’s Achilles heel is his need to be liked by everyone. His weakness is his attraction to Rachel, his childhood best friend. He’s a genuinely nice guy.


I love to pit Derek and Tyler against each. On the outside, they’re complete opposites. Inside they’re more alike than either will admit. I also love my sports-hero characters. Judging by the numbers of small presses releasing sports hero romances in the past few years, I’m guessing I’m not the only reader who falls for a hot jock with redeemable, though buried, qualities.


I hope you’ll take the time to check out Fourth and Goal and allow my heroes fulfill your fantasies as they’re fulfilled mine. If you’d like a copy of Derek’s romance trading card, shoot me an email with your snail mail address, and I’ll send one to you.



Fourth and Goal


Book 1 in my Seattle Lumberjacks Football Series
By Jami Davenport
Available from Loose Id


BUY LINK: http://www.loose-id.com/Fourth-and-Goal.aspx

Author Info


Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamidavenport

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jamidavenport



BLURB:


In a game played on and off the field, only one of them will emerge the winner.


Armed with an uncanny ability for evaluating football talent, a dogged determination to succeed in a man’s world, and an empty bank account, Rachel McCormick agrees to help struggling wide receiver Derek Ramsey get his game back. Rachel believes Derek, her former best friend and lover, knows the truth behind a points-shaving scandal which ruined her father. She vows to expose the secret even if it destroys Derek in the process.


When Derek’s coach suggests sex as an excellent tension reliever the night before a game, Rachel takes one for the team. The next day, Derek has the best performance of his not-so lustrous pro football career. As Derek and Rachel rack up nights in bed and other places, the team racks up wins on the field. Rachel is torn between her loyalty to her father and her growing affection for Derek. Now it’s fourth and goal, one second left on the clock. Their hearts are on the line. Do they trust each other enough to go for the long bomb or do they get dropped for a loss?


Excerpt:


Chapter One -- The Kickoff


Hiring the one woman he could never forget was a dumb-assed idea and the wrong play to run, but Derek Ramsey took the ball and ran with it anyway. Five years ago, his one-weekend affair with Rachel McCormick had tackled him for an emotional loss. She’d been his best female buddy, and he’d fucked up a good thing by following his dick instead of his brain. After battling a half decade of guilt and coulda-shouldas, he dreaded and anticipated this reunion.


She’d been employed as his caretaker and living in the little house next to his barn for a few days. He’d managed to avoid contact by taking an impromptu weekend visit to his dad and stepmom a few hundred miles away. But he couldn’t stay away forever.


Weary of postponing the inevitable, Derek walked down the driveway from his ranch house to the barn and small caretaker’s house. Pausing halfway down the hill, he whistled for backup. Consider him a coward, but his chocolate Lab would serve as a diversion if this reunion didn’t go well. Oddly, Simon didn’t come running. Derek shrugged. He must be chasing rabbits in the woods or something.


He’d have to go it alone. As he rounded the last bend in his driveway, Rachel McCormick stomped up the hill toward him.


Oh fuck. He knew females. He’d endured growing up with an older sister. Rachel had that close-fisted, furious carriage to her stride that meant only one thing: someone was going to die. Please, God, don’t let it be him.


Even as he planned possible escape routes, his male head perused her body and responded with a resounding thumbs-up, though it wasn’t really his thumb that was up.


The woman marching toward him with murder in her eyes barely resembled his tomboy buddy from his high school and college days. This Rachel wore a navy blue blazer with matching skirt and shoes, complete with manicured nails and makeup. The suit hugged her tall, lean body and accentuated her curves and straight-to-heaven legs. Long reddish brown hair was pulled back into a tidy ponytail. While he preferred the blue jeans and T-shirt version, this one was just as gorgeous and way more unapproachable. Don’t mess with me radiated from every pore in her body. Not a glimpse of the shy, sweet Rachel he had once known.


“Rachel, good to see you again.” Derek spoke calmly -- hoping to defuse the bomb -- and halted a few steps from her.


She didn’t return his small talk. Green eyes blazing, she scowled, as dangerous as a hand grenade with the pin pulled in the hands of a chimpanzee.


“Problem?” he asked conversationally and forced a pleasant smile on his face.


“Do you own a demon chocolate Lab?”


Derek barked a laugh and sealed his death sentence. Her expression went beyond homicidal. “I have a Lab named Simon. He’s opinionated and untrainable. It sounds like you’ve met him.”


“How long has he engaged in a life of crime?”


“Oh shit. What did he steal now?”


“My truck keys. My only set.”


“Oh.”


“Where is the little delinquent?” She glanced up and down the driveway.


“I called for him earlier. He didn’t come. I suspect he’s busy burying the evidence.”


“I missed a job interview because of that hoodlum.” Her laser-tight glare sliced through his defenses.


“I’m sorry. I could get you a cab.”


“It’s too late now.” She spoke through gritted teeth and visibly drew in a long, calming breath. A split second of uncertainty flashed across her face, peppered with a vulnerability that brought memories flooding back to him of the girl he had once known. Sweet Rachel with a passion for football and a kind word for even the most unworthy person.


He watched as she gathered her composure and hid behind an emotionless mask. “I still need my keys.”


“I doubt we’ll find them. He’s very good. A serial digger.”


“What do you expect when you name a dog Simon? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.” She stared up the dirt road. “My keys could be anywhere.”


Derek didn’t hold out much hope. Dense woods surrounded the driveway on both sides. At the end of the woods was a large field, cross-fenced into several smaller grassy paddocks. It’d take an act of God to find her keys. He truly doubted the Big Guy considered such a trivial matter worthy of his attention.


“So Simon’s on your hit list along with me.”


“Right up there at the top.” No denial of his place on the list.


“Are you a member of AAA?”


She pointed down the driveway. “That’s my truck. What do you think?”


He knew what he thought. He thought her lips looked pretty kissable, even without lipstick or gloss. He thought she was the sexiest thing he’d seen in a long time. And he thought -- oh damn, every thought bordered on dangerous and impossible and stupid.


“Derek.” She stared at him as if she expected an answer, but he’d be damned if he could remember the question.


“Yeah?”


“I said I’ve scaled back on material goods and choose to live life simply.”


He raised one eyebrow, not buying that one.


“Judging by the dents in the thing, you might want to part with a few bucks…for your own safety.”


“Harvey has character.” Her anger still simmered below the surface, and a stranger stared back at him with frosty green eyes. Still beautiful, but formal and cold. He liked her better mad.


Derek snorted. “Harvey looks like he escaped a life sentence in a wrecking yard.”


“He runs great.” Rachel squared her shoulders and stood up straighter. She gave him her most charming smile, as if she didn’t have a care in the world. “Look, champ, I’d love to stand out here and shoot the breeze with you, but I’m a busy woman. Your agent already discussed the particulars of the position with me.”


He imagined all sorts of particular positions he’d prefer to do with her. She’d feel pretty good in his arms right about now, all soft and warm. And then he’d take her to bed and bury his cock deep inside her. She’d scream and beg for more, just like one weekend so long ago. Derek shook his head. This line of thinking headed nowhere but trouble and stopped now.


“I’ll get you a locksmith.”


“Don’t bother. I’ll call one.”


Derek wiped sweat off his brow and shoved his hair off his forehead. Damn. Was she so oblivious to him that she wasn’t picking up on his thoughts? He hoped so. As far as money, he knew better than to offer any. She had her pride. He’d let her keep it. He knew how valuable pride was. Since college, his none too lustrous pro career had severely dented his.


A joyous bark caught his attention. Simon trotted down the road toward them. A stick hung from his mouth, and his tail wagged with enthusiasm. No sign of stolen goods. On his best doggy behavior, the felonious Lab sat down next to Derek, grinning for all he was worth and incredibly pleased with himself.


“Simon, meet Rachel. Rachel, meet Simon.” Simon thumped his tail on the ground and gazed up at her.


“We’ve met.” Rachel glared at the dog. Undaunted, Simon took it as a compliment and drooled on her foot.


“Rae, I’m sorry. He’s my dog. I’ll take care of this.”


“A dog-skin rug in front of my fireplace would be payment enough.”


“You don’t have a fireplace.”


“One small detail. I’ll build a campfire on the porch.”


“You’re a heartless woman.”


“Don’t you forget it.”




Bookmark and Share


Share/Bookmark