Less than two weeks now until Claim - the continuation of Tessa and Ian's love story - releases! Here's this week's snippet, along with a related photo.
Ian was laughing heartily, causing Gilly to giggle right along with him, when the door to the exam room opened and Jordan Reeves sauntered in. The handsome OB/GYN looked around at the happy, smiling family, and grinned himself.
“Well, you all look delighted about something,” he commented. “Guess the news that the newest Gregson is going to be a boy was well received.”
Tessa glanced over at Ian. “Actually, I think Ian was secretly hoping for another girl.”
Ian shook his head, giving her hand a squeeze. “Perhaps a bit,” he admitted. “I love my girls something fierce, after all, and I’m not sure I really want to share them with another male. But I’m very, very happy to know we’re going to have a son. And especially to learn that the baby looks extremely healthy.”
Tessa beamed at him. “We’ll have another girl next time,” she told him sweetly.
Ian imagined the shock he felt at her words must have been evident on his face, judging by the way Jordan laughed uproariously.
The affable doctor patted Tessa on the shoulder, still grinning broadly. “You know, Tessa, you may be the only patient I’ve ever had who was holding one baby on her lap, had a second one growing in her tummy, and was still sitting there with a smile on her face talking about having a third."
Sorry this is a bit late! It's been a crazy day, doing promos for Claim, finishing up the outline for Serenity (book #5 in the Inevitable series), and dealing with daily tasks.
Just two weeks from today you'll get to read the continuation of Tessa and Ian's beautiful love story when Claim releases! This teaser photo is something of a spoiler for what happens later in the book, but I just had to share it with you. I know that most teasers you see nowadays are sexy, erotic, suggestive, etc., either with the quote or the photo or both. This one, as you will see, is very, very far removed from the norm, but to me it's one of the most exquisite creations I've ever seen! Many thanks to the amazing Najla Qambers for making this come to life.
Happy weekend to everyone! Hope it's a good one no matter what your plans. Let's start it off with a new snippet from Claim, along with an accompanying photo.
Ian turned to face her then, his back pressed against the front door, and he looked so handsome in his elegant wedding suit that Tessa couldn’t help sighing with pure, unadulterated pleasure.
“God, you’re gorgeous,” she told him breathlessly. “And have I told you yet today how sexy you look in a tux?”
He gave her the sort of slow, seductive smile that always made her felt like her underwear was about to dissolve in a puddle of silk and lace at her feet. “I believe you might have mentioned it once or twice,” he drawled lazily. “Should I pack a tuxedo to take along on our honeymoon then, considering how much it seems to turn you on?”
Tessa laughed. “I think that would be unnecessarily cruel of me to expect you to wear that in the Caribbean with all the heat and humidity. Besides, as much as I love the way you look in a tux, I prefer you in swim trunks. Or nothing at all.”
Ian walked toward her slowly, his hands in the pockets of his trousers. “Whatever you prefer, Mrs. Gregson. I’ll just await your instructions, shall I?”
She smiled dreamily. “Mrs. Gregson. That will take some getting used to.”
“Hmm, I agree. But perhaps that’s not the best form of address to use when I introduce you. Mrs. Gregson makes me think of my mother. And you most definitely don’t remind me of her in the least,” he teased.
He stood in front of her now, as he lifted a handful of her full tulle skirts. “I could,” he continued, “call you my bride. Or,” he added, picking up her left hand and bringing it to his lips, his thumb brushing over her wedding and engagement rings, “the most logical term of address would be my wife.”
Then he cupped her cheeks between his palms, his smile the most tender she’d ever seen, his voice husky. “Or I could just call you my beloved, so that everyone would know how much you mean to me.”
Claim releases three weeks from today! Please be sure to add it to your TBR list if you haven't already done so.
Pleased to share this week's beautiful teaser with you, another creation from the always amazing Najla Qambers!
Pleased to be sharing this week's snippet and accompanying photo for Claim!
Tessa giggled, then sighed with pleasure as she took a deep sniff of his scent - a knee-weakening combination of soap, aftershave, and pure male, one that never failed to enthrall her. “Have I told you yet today that I love the way you smell?” she asked in a breathy little voice, her hand cupping his cheek. He had waited until just a short while ago to shave, since doing so this morning would have required him to repeat the task later in the day. His lightly tanned skin was smooth to the touch, and she couldn’t resist nuzzling her nose against his face.
“Ah, none of that, or you’ll smudge your lipstick,” he scolded playfully. “Time for you to get dressed anyway. Simon will be meeting us downstairs in less than fifteen minutes.”
With Ian’s help, she stepped into the gorgeous gold silk chiffon gown that she’d fallen for the moment Madelyn had brought it into the dressing room at Bergdorf’s. The bodice was Grecian in style, softly draped, and baring one shoulder. A pearl and diamond brooch was affixed to the fabric at the small of her back, and provided the gown’s only ornamentation. The skirt was long and flowing, and she hadn’t been able to resist the urge to twirl around in it a few times.
She grinned down at him as he knelt to fasten her strappy gold stiletto sandals. “I think I know now exactly how Cinderella felt when the prince held that glass slipper for her,” she teased.
Ian caressed her silk clad ankle sensuously. “Ah, but you’re not supposed to be Cinderella this evening, love. Tonight you’re going to be my queen. My golden girl. I used to think of you that way all the time, you know. And tonight that particular fantasy is coming true."
Loving the unusual concept of this one! It just goes to show that you don't need to use obscenities or half-naked bodies to create a beautiful, striking teaser photo. Thanks to Najla Qambers Designs for sharing my visions!
Here's this week's snippet from Claim, releasing in just one more month!
Tessa gazed at him expectantly, then felt a warm glow spread through every part of her body when she saw the way he was looking at her - with a combination of lust, admiration, and pride. But as much as it always thrilled her to know that he found her sexy and beautiful, it was the fact that he was proud of her, proud to have her by his side this evening, and especially proud to have her wearing his ring, that made her heart sing with joy.
“I just want to look at you for another minute or two,” he confessed. “To just drink in how beautiful you look tonight, Tessa. And everyone in that ballroom is going to be doing exactly the same thing. You are - incomparable.”
She beamed at him. “It’s just the dress, Ian. Anyone would look good in a dress like this.”
“Ah, but you couldn’t be more wrong, love,” he corrected, his hand touching a fold of the blue silk chiffon skirt of the ball gown. “You’re the only woman in the world who could do justice to a gown like this."
This is the second gorgeous teaser for Claim, created by the amazing Najla Qambers Designs!
This is the first snippet from Claim that I'll be sharing with you over the next few weeks until release date of November 1. Each snippet will be accompanied by a corresponding photo. Hope you enjoy!
Ian murmured in her ear, “But for myself I’d much rather have a soft, cuddly kitten.”
She frowned. “I’m not sure I like that idea. I don’t want to feel weak and helpless, Ian.”
He shook his head, his hand cupping her cheek. “That’s not what I meant. Kittens might be small and somewhat fragile, but they’re also very playful and like to get into mischief. And they can also be extremely affectionate.”
Tessa grinned, her good humor instantly restored. “Meow.”
He returned her grin, though his was far more lascivious. “Actually,” he drawled, “I was looking forward to making you purr instead."
Sorry to have been a bit absent as of late. I've been on a road trip with my husband through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, and will be heading for New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming over the next ten days. I've been enjoying a brief break from the writing process, but will very soon be jumping in to writing Serenity, the fifth book in the Inevitable series.
In the meanwhile, I'm excited to share with you the first official teaser for Claim - the third and final book in the Splendor trilogy! These teasers, like the cover, are the creation of the fabulous Najla Qamber Designs!
Pleased to announce that I've got a giveaway happening here at Goodreads to win a signed paperback copy of my newest release - Crave! You can enter it using this link - https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/202155-crave. Only open to U.S. residents, unfortunately, since international postage exceeds the value of the book. I will, however, be offering a complete set of the trilogy in paperback to both domestic and international entries once book three is released. More info on this to follow.
Speaking of book three. Claim, the final book in the Splendor trilogy, will be releasing on November 1, less than two months from now! It will be the emotional conclusion to Tessa and Ian's love story for the ages, though certainly not the last you will see of this starcrossed couple! Starting September 20 I'll begin posting teasers for the new book, and will also be sharing regular snippets/excerpts along the way. Pre-order links are also up for Claim and are listed below.
Amazon - http://amzn.to/2cepJ5N
Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/2cquYkz
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/2c6MV8m
iTunes - http://apple.co/2cbjuPi
Kobo - http://bit.ly/2ciQmI7
Tomorrow is the official release date for Crave! Reminding those of you who have already read the original book of Splendor that you do not have to also read Crave, as the new book contains most of the original text (but with about a dozen new scenes and others that have been revised).
Here's one final excerpt from Crave! Hope you enjoy, and stay tuned to this blog because I will begin sharing snippets from the third book in the trilogy - Claim - very soon!
But for now, he refused to dwell on his parents and whether or not they would like Tessa. He liked her a great deal, especially tonight when she was laughing and having fun and when she couldn’t keep her hands off of him. Grinning, he slid his hand to the nape of her neck, giving her the sort of little massage he knew she loved.
Tessa purred like a kitten beneath his touch and slipped her hand inside his jacket to latch onto his waist. “You’re wearing my favorite suit,” she whispered in his ear. “And you look super hot in it.”
He touched his lips to her rosy cheek. “Glad you like it, love,” he whispered back. “Dare I hope you’ve got my favorite undies on beneath that very sexy dress?”
She pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “Perhaps. Then again, maybe I’m not wearing any undies at all.”
Ian bit his lip to stifle a groan, and was belatedly aware that they weren’t alone at the table. He glanced up to find both Nathan and Julia grinning at him knowingly.
“If you two need a room, Ian, I’m guessing that won’t be a problem given that you own this hotel,” joked Nathan.
Tessa blushed profusely, and stared down into her wine glass as she took a sip. There was an awkward silence for a few moments until Julia stood, picking up her clutch bag.
“I think you gentlemen should order us some coffee and dessert while we visit the ladies room,” she announced. “Tessa, let’s go, shall we?”
Nathan and Ian were very well aware that theirs were far from the only pairs of admiring male eyes that followed the two gorgeous women as they left the restaurant.
Nathan lifted his wine glass in a salute. “We’re lucky bastards, you and I, aren’t we? As much of a jerk as I was to Julia for so long, she still kept on loving me. I know I damned well don’t deserve her, but I’ll spend my life worshiping the ground she walks on.”
“I think she would disagree with the first part of that statement, mate,” replied Ian. “But you’re right about the other. You and I are bloody lucky to have two such beautiful women. And I cherish Tessa every bit as much as you do Julia.”
Nathan sipped his wine slowly. “You going to marry her?”
Ian laughed. “You’re the second person in as many days to ask me that question. And the answer is yes, but not just yet. Tessa - she’s been through a lot in her young life. I’m trying to give her some time to get used to all this,” he waved a hand around to indicate the splendor of their surroundings, “to make sure it’s what she really wants.”
“She loves you, Ian,” Nathan told him quietly. “That’s not going to change anytime soon.”
Ian sighed. “Sometimes I wonder about that. She’s so young, so damned young, and she’s seen absolutely nothing of the world. We’ve talked about her going back to college in the fall, getting her degree. One of my greatest fears is that she meets someone closer to her age, decides I’m too old for her.”
“Hmm. So that’s really why you’re giving her time. To make sure her feelings for you are real.” Nathan shook his head. “The way she looks at you - it’s the same way Julia looks at me. It’s the real deal, my friend, never doubt that.”
Just one more week until the release of Crave - book #2 in the Splendor trilogy!
As a reminder, Crave is basically a re-release of the original book Splendor, but with about a dozen new scenes and a few others that have been slightly revised. If you have already read Splendor, it is not necessary for you to also read Crave.
Here's the sixth and final teaser from the upcoming book.
Official release date for Crave is now less than two weeks away! Pleased to share this excerpt with all of you.
She unwrapped the box slowly, lifting the lid, and then stared down at the contents in stunned disbelief. She would never in a million years have ever thought she’d receive a gift quite like this one, and her hand was shaking as she slowly withdrew one of the three items.
“My mother’s books.” Her voice was unsteady as she held one of the volumes with reverence, as though she were afraid it would disappear. “My God, Ian, where in the world did you find these?”
“I know several rare book dealers, both here in the States and in other parts of the world,” he replied quietly. “I’ve had every one of them on the lookout for these for some time now. They were able to locate three of the four books your mother had published, and one of the dealers may have a lead on the fourth. Do you like them, Tessa?”
She hadn’t known she was crying until she raised her gaze to his and he wiped away a tear. “This - this is the most wonderful thing you’ve ever done for me,” she told him brokenly. “I had nothing – nothing - of my mother’s. We moved around so much that we always had to leave things behind. And the few remaining items I had of hers burned in the fire. The first fire. All I really had left was one very old photo of her in my wallet. And, well, the second fire took that away. So, yes - I adore them. And I adore you for giving me this.”
“Darling.” He pulled her close against him, holding her as she wept, stroking her hair and murmuring soothing words.
When she felt in control again, she lifted her head from his chest and gave him a sweet, tender kiss. “Thank you,” she whispered. “I can’t even tell you what this means to me. Or how much I love you for finding these. It’s just too much for me to express right now.”
He nodded in understanding. “I get it. And I’m so pleased you like your gift. Look, there’s even a photograph of your mother on the back cover of this book.”
Ian took out one of the other books from the box, this one a hardcover with a glossy jacket that was in excellent condition. The other two books were paperbacks and a bit on the well-used side. Tessa gasped as he flipped open the back cover, and she ran her fingers over the smiling image of her mother in stunned disbelief.
“It’s really her,” she murmured, staring at the image of the happy, glowing young woman who looked so much like her own self. “And this - this is how I prefer to remember her, Ian. Young and healthy and full of life. Not the sad, sick woman she became as I got older. This is my real mother right here.”
Ian pressed a kiss to her temple. “She was beautiful, Tessa. You could be her twin, the resemblance is remarkable. And I was thinking. There’s a photography studio I know of in San Francisco that specializes in restoring old photos. I’m willing to bet if we brought them this book jacket that they would be able to find a way to reproduce the image into a proper photograph. Obviously the quality wouldn’t be the best, but - ”
“I don’t care.” She flung her arms around his neck, hugging him tight. “I’ll take anything, the quality doesn’t matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She pressed fervent kisses all along his cheeks, jaw, neck.
“You’re more than welcome, my love,” he whispered. “Now, come. It’s your twenty-fifth birthday, and no more tears, hmm? Let’s vow to make this the happiest birthday of your life so far, all right?”
Only two weeks until the release of Crave, book #2 in the Splendor trilogy. Have you added it to your TBR list yet?
Here's the fifth beautiful teaser for the upcoming book.
I hope that everyone is enjoying these sneak peaks at Crave, which is releasing in less than three weeks!
As he approached the conference room, he frowned in irritation to realize she wasn’t alone. He recognized the rather whiny, nasally tone as Kevin’s and stopped in his tracks, quite intentionally eavesdropping on the conversation the younger man was having with Tessa.
“Got any hot plans for Valentine’s Day tomorrow?” asked Kevin cheerily. “Or the long weekend?”
There was a pause before he heard Tessa reply, her answer thankfully vague. “Oh, nothing specific. Just relaxing, maybe a yoga class, the usual.”
“Well, that just won’t do,” declared Kevin. “It’s not right that a hot babe like you doesn’t have a date for Valentine’s Day. And don’t feed me that BS about not being ready to move on. It’s been months, Tessa, way past time for you to get out there and find a new man. Maybe several of them.”
Ian was furious, outraged, to hear that little shit trying to convince Tessa - his Tessa, God damn it - that she ought to be dating other men - lots of other men. He had to clench his fists to keep from slamming one into the wall, and counted to ten instead to calm himself down.
“Thanks for thinking of me, but I’ll know when the time is right,” Tessa replied casually.
“Well, maybe I can change your mind. One of the attorneys who works with Terence is recently divorced and on the prowl. And let me tell you, sweetie, he is H-O-T. Looks just like Ryan Gosling. Or is that Ryan Reynolds? I always get those two mixed up. Anyway, he saw the photo that Terence took of you and me at the Christmas party and he is very interested in meeting you. His name is - ”
Ian had had quite enough, and chose that moment to enter the conference room, his strides long and purposeful. Kevin and Tessa looked up as he all but burst inside, and the expression on his face must have been murderous judging from the looks on their faces.
“M - Mr. Gregson. Can I, ah, help you with something?” stammered Tessa.
Ian glared pointedly at Kevin. “Yes, I need to review some data on one of the spreadsheets before our meeting. Kevin, would you excuse us please?”
Kevin looked as though he was about to faint - or piss his pants - but merely gulped and nodded. “Uh, sure. I need to get back to work anyway. See you after the meeting, Tess.”
Ian drummed his fingers on the table impatiently until Kevin slinked out of the room. Mere seconds later he was quietly shutting and locking the door, and then he very nearly flew across the room until he was jerking Tessa into his arms.
“Just so we’re perfectly clear,” he bit out, each word enunciated slowly, “you are not going on a date with any lawyers, doctors, or anyone else that little fucker offers to set you up with. You are not “getting out there” to find a new man. Because you already have a new man in your life, and he’s damned sure not willing to share you.”
“Ian.” Whatever she was about to say was quickly swallowed up by the fierce, desperate way he kissed her. She whimpered beneath the force of his lips and tongue, especially when his hand slid down her back to cup her ass. Tessa clutched the lapels of his suit jacket as he ground himself aggressively against the cleft of her thighs.
Sigh! Isn't Ian THE most romantic hero ever? Too bad he wasn't real! Hope you enjoy this new teaser for Crave, another beautiful design by Najla Qambers.
Less than a month remaining until book two in the Splendor trilogy releases! Here's an excerpt from the upcoming release - this is a brand new scene that was not included in the original book of Splendor.
As the host escorted them to their table - the one he’d requested, in a prime location that offered up the best possible view of the water - Ian kept a hand on the small of Tessa’s back. His gaze dropped to the endlessly long length of her shapely legs, encased in black silky stockings, her feet shod in a brand new pair of black Louboutin stilettos. From his peripheral vision, his acute skills of observation didn’t miss all the pairs of admiring eyes - both male and female - that stared after Tessa in slack jawed admiration. Ian’s chest swelled with pride, both with the knowledge that she looked like a movie star or a supermodel, and that he was the one lucky enough to have her by his side.
He grudgingly permitted the host - who was practically drooling by now - to hold Tessa’s chair out for her. But Ian didn’t even attempt to disguise the scowl he directed the younger man’s way when his eyes lingered on Tessa’s cleavage a little too long. Flushing, the host mumbled his wishes for a pleasant evening and scurried away.
As Ian took his seat directly across from Tessa, he brought her hand to his lips.
“You’re stunning tonight, darling,” he told her earnestly. “Simply stunning. That dress - the way it fits you ought to be illegal.”
Tessa gave him a shy smile. “I thought you told me it wouldn’t be too much.”
“It’s exactly right,” he assured her. “But there’s no possible way I’d ever want you to wear it if I wasn’t glued to your side. By my conservative estimate, there are at least ten different men staring at you right now. I’m guessing there are an awful lot of unhappy wives and girlfriends here tonight.”
She squeezed his hand. “I doubt that. After all, they have you to feast their eyes on.”
He winked at her. “Let them all look, then. So far as I’m concerned, you and I are the only two people in the entire place right now.”
As the waiter arrived to take their drink order and hand them menus, Ian rather reluctantly released Tessa’s hand. But he found it impossible to keep his hands off of her for very long, and found numerous and frequent opportunities to touch her throughout the evening, albeit in fleeting, indiscreet ways. It was still more than enough, however, to arouse her, given the way she stared at him, her eyes huge and round and very blue, her cheeks flushed, her breathing a little shallow.
As for himself, it was taking nearly every ounce of self-control he possessed not to haul her onto his lap and kiss her senseless in front of the entire restaurant. She was a constant temptation, her sexual allure a heady, irresistible force, and once again what made her even more alluring was the fact that she seemed so completely unaware of her intoxicating sensuality.
I'm sooo in love with this one - my favorite of all the new teasers for this book!
I'll start posting excerpts from Crave a little later this week so be sure to check back!
Here's this week's gorgeous new teaser for Crave, another beautiful design from Najla Qambers! I'm loving all the blue and lavender tones, since those are my two favorite colors.
So exited to be sharing this gorgeous new teaser with you from Crave, book two in the Splendor trilogy! Crave will be releasing on August 30, and is basically the re-release of the original book Splendor but with twelve additional scenes and several other slightly revised scenes. This quote is one of my very favorites from the book!
Here is the first excerpt from Crave, book #2 in the Splendor series. This excerpt is from one of the brand new scenes that I wrote for the book, which is the re-imagining/re-release of the original book Splendor.
And despite her resolve not to drool, Tessa was very much afraid that she was about to do just that - especially when Mr. Gregson stopped in his tracks a few feet in front of her desk and smiled at her in a way that he’d never, ever done before. Tessa could only stare up at him, dumbfounded and definitely spellbound by the expression in his hazel eyes.
“Now this,” said Ian in a lightly teasing voice, “is definitely a sight I could get used to starting my day with. Forgive me for saying so, Tessa, but you look far more appealing sitting behind that desk than Andrew ever has. Though,” he added with a wink, “you have to promise never to tell him I said so.”
She couldn’t help herself from returning his smile, even giggling a bit as she assured him, “It will be our secret, sir. And, um, good - good morning. Welcome back.”
His smile deepened. “Thank you, Tessa. And I have a feeling that it’s going to be a very good morning. A whole week of good mornings, in fact. I just hope that Andrew hasn’t put the fear of God in you about making a mistake or two along the way. In spite of what he might have told you, I don’t eat PA’s for breakfast.”
This time her giggle turned into a full blown laugh. “He was, ah, very thorough in his training, Mr. Gregson. And I promise I’ll try very, very hard to live up to all of his expectations.”
Ian rolled his eyes. “That might be an impossible task, Tessa. I’m not at all sure that I live up to his expectations half the time. Relax, hmm?” he added in a gentle voice. “You’re going to do a fine job, I just know it. I have a feeling that you and I are going to work together very, very well.”
I'm so excited to be able to share with you the full cover for Crave, which will be book #2 in the Splendor series! The cover is another gorgeous creation of the amazingly talented Najla Qambers, and the accompanying teasers she has designed are equally as beautiful! I'll be sharing all of those with you over the next few weeks.
Crave is due to release on August 30, but I did want to make sure everyone realizes that the new book is basically the same story as Splendor (Inevitable #2). If you have already read (and hopefully loved!) Splendor, then you do NOT need to also read Crave. HOWEVER, there are approximately a dozen new scenes that I wrote for Crave, and several other scenes have been slightly revised (though nothing that changes the story). I'm going to be making this "disclaimer" frequently during the promo and release period for Crave, because I honestly don't want anyone feeling like they need to buy or read the same book a second time. I didn't "spin" Splendor off into its own trilogy as a means to make more money or generate more sales, but simply because Tessa and Ian's grand love story was just too big for one book.
I'll be sharing pre-order links and the first excerpt from Crave over the next couple of days so please check back!
Release day is almost here - now less than 24 hours away! To tide you over until then, here's one final snippet from the new book!
Mrs. Carrington heaved a sigh of resignation. “However, it doesn’t seem as though you’ll get to meet Mr. Gregson after all this trip. A pity, because he’s quite an impressive man. Trust me, you would never forget meeting someone like him, Tessa. He’s both intimidating and charismatic at the same time. Not to mention the hardest working individual I’ve ever met, especially given his position in the company. Ian is definitely not a man content to rest on his laurels, or delegate what he considers his responsibilities to someone else. He may be one of the owners of the company, but you’d never know it to observe his work ethic.”
“It must be hard on his family to have him on the road so often,” sympathized Tessa.
Mrs. Carrington shook her head. “Ian is a bachelor, actually. No wife or children. And how that state of affairs continues to exist is beyond my comprehension. He’s what one would rather indelicately call ‘quite a catch’.”
Just one more of these after today, and only two more days until the official release!
He kissed her then, and she knew no one else would ever kiss quite like he did. He controlled her, owned her, and she surrendered to him eagerly, clutching his big, hard body to hers like a starving woman. She closed her eyes in breathless anticipation of his possession, her body quivering in arousal as she opened herself up to him, wanting, needing, desiring –
She woke with a start, bolting upright to a sitting position, and pressed a hand against her heart to still its frantic beating. It was dark in the room, and for long seconds she was completely disoriented, not knowing where she was as she reached out a hand blindly for her lover.
But the place beside her in the bed was empty, the sheets cool to the touch, and a quick glance to her left revealed that no one had yet slept beside her this night. And then, as the remnants of her erotic dream faded away wistfully, Tessa sighed as she realized that a dream was all it had been.
Just three more days until release day! Have you added Covet to your TBR list yet? Maybe today's snippet will help convince you!
Peter worked the same shift as she did – four to eight, Monday through Friday – and mostly worked back in the stock room unpacking and sorting merchandise, while Tessa was a cashier. They would nod and say hello in passing, and occasionally make polite conversation, but she sensed that he was even shyer than she was, even more of a loner, and he seemed very content to keep to himself as much as possible.
But she was grateful for his nightly escort out to her car, though she doubted Peter’s slight frame would intimidate any would-be muggers. He was around the same height as she was, maybe even an inch shorter, and as lean as a greyhound. She’d never seen him wear anything but baggy jeans, simple T-shirts, and a pair of high-top Converse sneakers. He had shaggy light brown hair, almost long enough to brush his collarbone, and a small gold hoop in his left earlobe. Some of the other employees thought him weird, or kind of geeky, but to Tessa he’d always been kind and she felt something of a kinship with him, understanding his aloofness and obvious difficulty in making friends.
Just a few more days remain until the official release of Covet! Here's today's snippet from the upcoming book.
He shook his head as he reached for his cup of tea. “There’s nothing else at the moment, no.” He sipped his tea tentatively, his eyes widening in surprise to realize that the beverage was hot, strong, and had just the right amount of sweetness. Despite his resolve to treat Tessa impersonally, he couldn’t help giving her a pleased smile. “I don’t believe I’ve had a cup of properly brewed tea like this since I left England. Thank you, Tessa.”
She blushed furiously, and glanced down at her shoes. “My pleasure, Mr. Gregson,” she replied softly before returning to her seat at the back of the room.
‘Yes, darling’ he thought to himself as he continued to watch her unobserved. ‘It would most definitely be your pleasure if you belonged to me. I would pleasure you for hours at a time, and in ways you could never imagine.’
Incredibly hectic last few days until the release of Covet on June 21! So much so that I forgot to post a daily snippet here yesterday, so I'm including TWO of them today. I'll be posting a short blurb from the book each day until next Tuesday.
But she wasn’t his, he realized grimly, and so long as she was married to the boy seated beside her he had no chance of claiming her for his own. How Colin would laugh uncontrollably were he to learn about Ian’s fixation for a girl so much younger than he was – and a married one at that. He would tell Ian that it was a case of fate biting him in the arse – payback in a way for Ian being so picky about the women he dated. Ian, in fact, could hear his irritating but extremely perceptive brother now.
“Serves you right, old man,” Colin would drawl in that lazy voice of his. “Here you are – good looking, rich, successful – and you could have most any woman you wanted. So what happens, hmm? You wind up falling for the one woman you can’t have. Rather poetic, don’t you think?”
They made quite the odd couple, he and Tess, even though she hotly denied it. But Peter was neither blind nor naïve, and he knew quite well that everywhere they went people must scratch their heads in bewilderment at what a stunning girl like Tessa saw in a pale, skinny, and hopelessly awkward guy like him. She could have any man she wanted in this room tonight – single or otherwise – and yet here she was sticking to his side like glue, her arm looped through his as though they were crazy in love.
Only ten more days until the official release of Covet! I'm pleased to share with you all both a brand-new excerpt from the upcoming book, as well as the sixth and final teaser. Hope that you enjoy, and please be sure to add the new book to your TBR list if you haven't already done so.
Matthew grinned. “You know my offer stands anytime. Lindsey’s got a virtual hoard of single girlfriends she’s dying to set you up with. Not to mention the hundreds of available women who work for my firm. Though I imagine you’re more than capable of getting any woman you want without anyone’s help.”
Feeling the beginnings of a headache coming on – no doubt the result of too little sleep and far too much stress – Ian pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. “Not quite any woman,” he muttered gruffly.
Matthew arched a brow inquiringly. “Ah, so that’s the real crux of the matter. Not to mention difficult to believe. What woman in their right mind would turn down the dashing Ian Gregson?”
Ian was silent for several seconds as he stared into his wineglass. “One who’s all wrong for me for too damned many reasons. One,” he counted on his finger, “she’s far too young, not much older than a teenager. Two, she works for me – on my management support team, no less. And three – well, that’s the real non-negotiable. She happens to be a married woman.”
Matthew frowned. “You’re not having an affair with this woman, are you?”
“God, no,” denied Ian vehemently. “You know me better than that, Matthew. And if my younger brother was here at the moment, he’d be laughing hysterically at the very idea. Colin insists I’m the biggest stuffed shirt he’s ever met.”
“Hmm.” Matthew swallowed a bite of his steak sandwich. “Not to mention that there’s no way I could ever see you voluntarily taking the back seat to some other man. Does this woman know how you feel about her?”
Ian gave a caustic laugh. “Hardly. I’m sure as far as she’s concerned I don’t even know she exists. I’ve made it a point to keep my distance, to treat her impersonally. Otherwise, I would have little to no confidence in my acting skills, Matthew, and zero hope of keeping my feelings hidden.”
Matthew bit into a pomme frite. “Have you considered approaching her, telling her how you feel? Maybe she feels the same way for all you know. You’re an attractive dude, Ian, a real catch as Lindsey’s overly fond of saying.”
“No.” Ian shook his head. “I’m not about to try and come between her and her husband. I’m not a homewrecker, Matthew, nor would I ever try and seduce her into an affair. What I am is a blithering idiot, having this ridiculous crush on a girl I barely know. Even if she was free, she could in all likelihood turn out to be completely wrong for me.”
“Nah.” Matthew took a long drink of his iced tea. “Without knowing a thing about this girl, I’m convinced she’s perfect for you, Ian. Because out of all the people I’ve ever known or worked with, you have the best instincts of any of them. I’m guessing you took one look into this woman’s eyes and, well, just knew somehow that she was the one for you.”
Ian smiled wistfully. “That’s exactly how it happened, mate. For so long I was convinced I’d never meet anyone that I would have that sort of reaction to. Colin says I’m far too picky, that this dream woman doesn’t exist. But the moment I met Tessa – well, you hit the nail on the head. I just knew.”
Happy to report that the website is back online and looking better than ever due to some much needed upgrades! And also happy to share with you all this fifth teaser from Covet! Don't forget that release date is just two weeks away now - have you added the book to your TBR list?
Less than a month to go until the official release of Covet! I'll be posting a brand new excerpt a bit later this week, but for now please enjoy this week's beautiful new teaser!
Here is the third beautiful teaser for Covet! Doesn't it call to mind Cinderella (which is very appropriate, considering that there are several references to her in the upcoming book!)
Happy Monday, everyone! I'm so pleased to be able to officially reveal the beautiful new cover for Covet, the first book in the upcoming Splendor trilogy! The covers for the trilogy will have a different look and feel than the covers from the Inevitable series. These are definitely more romantic, sensual, etc., carrying on the theme of the books. Design was done by the amazing Najla Qambers Designs, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for books two and three!
Pre-order links for Covet are also listed below.
Amazon - http://amzn.to/1Wdq0Xn
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/1WOD5p6
iBookstore - http://apple.co/1T2VFqT
Kobo - http://bit.ly/1TvVjqc
Another gorgeous creation from the wonderfully talented Najla Qambers! And less than a week until the official cover reveal!
Official cover reveal for Covet is almost here - it will be happening on Monday, May 16! I'll also be posting all of the pre-order links at that time. And check back here in a couple of days when I'll be sharing the second of the beautiful new teaser photos! Until then, here's another excerpt from the upcoming book.
She ought to have been prepared, she told herself sternly. After all, she’d heard plenty about the formidable Ian Gregson over the past two weeks, and not just from her co-workers. Tessa had overheard some of the other managers and their PA’s discussing their boss, and everything they had said about him should have been more than enough warning.
But nothing – nothing – could have properly prepared her for meeting a man like him. Tessa had known from staring at his photo on the corporate website for untold hours that he was handsome, but there was absolutely no way any photo – no matter how detailed or professionally done – could do him justice. In person he was simply – well, splendid was the word that came to mind. Several inches taller than she had imagined, Ian Gregson was also far more muscular and almost intimidatingly strong than she would have guessed. His wide-shouldered, broad-chested frame had taken up a great deal of room in his spacious, well appointed office, and for perhaps the first time since her teens Tessa had felt small and dainty standing beside a man.
But it hadn’t been simply his physical presence that had overwhelmed her – though that of course had been far more than enough. He had an aura about him, something she couldn’t precisely put her finger on, but he positively oozed power, charisma, and authority, and she guessed that nearly everyone who met him – male or female - experienced a similar sort of reaction their first time in his presence .
Here is the first of six brand new, beautiful teasers for Covet! They are very similar in color, design, font, etc. to the soon-to-be revealed cover, and were all designed by the wonderful Najla Qambers.
A brand new excerpt from Covet to share with all of you on this last Friday in April! As I've mentioned before, Covet is the prequel to Splendor and the first third of the book contains much more of Tessa's backstory, and includes a lot of scenes with Peter (which I know some of you had wished were included in the original book). The following scene is from one of the earlier chapters, when Tessa is only sixteen, and finds herself on her own once again.
She would get through this, she told herself fiercely. It was far from the first time, after all, when she’d been forced to deal with adversity. It was true that she’d had her mother with her those other times, but those had almost always been occasions when Gillian had been mired in the throes of a deep, dark depression, and it had largely been up to Tessa to make the decisions. This wasn’t any different, she consoled herself, nothing she hadn’t been through before. One way or another it would work out, and no matter what it would still be vastly preferable to spending one more night in that awful house with everyone fighting and screaming, or living in fear that Slimeball Sean would eventually succeed in forcing himself on her.
Tessa had never felt quite so alone in her young life as she did at this very moment, or so overwhelmed with the bleakness of the future that awaited her. She couldn’t stop the tears that began to stream from her eyes, or the sobs that shook her slender body. She had no idea where she was going to sleep tonight, or tomorrow night, or a month from now, or how she was going to get through all of this by herself.
But, as she forced herself to stop crying and get a grip on her wayward emotions, she knew that she needed a plan of some sort, a plan that didn’t involve merely living from day to day with no thought to the next. She had only herself to count on now, and the sooner she realized that the better.
Happy to report that my daughter's wedding went off smoothly (in spite of a little rain shower during the outdoor ceremony, which everyone insists is good luck!) The newlyweds are off vacationing in Italy, and so my focus can now return to writing!
I'm pleased to present the next excerpt from the upcoming book Covet (book #1 in the Splendor trilogy).
During the years he’d boxed at Oxford, Ian had always been at the top of his game, something he credited to training extremely hard, listening intently to his trainers, eating a proper diet, and having been gifted with superior height, strength, and coordination. Very, very few of his opponents had ever successfully landed a punch, and he had been both a dominant and feared opponent. Therefore, he’d never felt the effects of a sucker punch to the jaw, or a jab to the solar plexus, or a blow to the gut. And yet, never having known how any of those physical sensations must feel, he was experiencing all three of them – and more – as he met and held the very wide, very blue gaze of the gorgeous girl who continued to hover uncertainly at the threshold.
Andrew ushered the girl inside the office, but Ian paid scant attention to what his assistant was saying. Instead, his gaze was fixated on the arresting face and figure of the stunningly beautiful blonde who was approaching his desk hesitantly, hanging back behind Andrew shyly.
“Mr. Gregson, may I introduce you to the newest member of our Management Support Team?” asked Andrew briskly. “This is Tessa Lockwood, sir. She’s just transferred here from the Tucson resort two weeks ago.”
He rose to his feet smoothly, automatically, and extended his hand across the desk. The smile he pasted on his face was, he hoped fervently, one of polite welcome and nothing more obvious.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tessa,” he told her gently. “I trust you’re settling in here without any difficulty?”
Tessa placed her slim, smooth hand in his rather tentatively and returned his smile sweetly. “Yes, sir. Everything has been just fine, thank you. I’m – it’s an honor to be working here for you.”
Her voice was breathy, a little high-pitched, and astonishingly the sound made him instantly and uncomfortably aroused. Their gazes remained locked, her hand still clasped in his, and he wondered if the noise he heard in his head could possibly be bells ringing.
Some news on my next release - Covet (book one of the Splendor trilogy). Tentative cover reveal is slated for May 9, while the equally tentative release date is most likely going to be June 14. Much later than I had wanted but at least the second and third books should be released in quick succession.
And here is a brand new excerpt from Covet!
Andrew seldom smiled, especially not at the office, but he felt the corners of his mouth begin to twitch up ever so slightly as he tried to envision Mr. Gregson’s reaction the first time he met the newest addition to the team. Because while Tessa was undeniably young, she was also – first and foremost – undeniably gorgeous. Andrew had been more than a little taken aback when she’d walked into his office, finding himself oddly speechless at the breathtaking vision she made – tall and shapely, with long blonde hair and huge blue eyes. She’d reminded him of a modern day fairytale princess – Sleeping Beauty in the Big City, he had deemed her rather irreverently. She would certainly cause a stir among the males in this office – even the ones old enough to be her father, or the happily married men with families. Or even, thought Andrew with rather an evil grin, his formal, stuffy British boss – the same one who had an ironclad policy against dating employees, who never even spared any of the females in the office a glance, and who by his own admission was a confirmed bachelor.
‘Well, we’ll see, won’t we, sir?’ Andrew thought to himself with a rare chuckle. ‘It’s possible – just possible – that you’re every bit as susceptible to a pretty face as the next man. That is definitely one introduction I’m going to look forward to making.’
Pleased to announce that I've completed the initial draft of Covet (Splendor #1)! Now it's on to three grueling rounds of proofreading and editing. I expect to have the cover art ready in about a month, and should be able to announce an official release date within the next couple of weeks. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this brand new excerpt from the upcoming book - the prequel to Splendor!
She gasped again as a fleeting image from her dream taunted her – the stunningly handsome face of her until now unseen dream lover. She was mortified beyond description to realize that his face was that of Ian Gregson, one of the owners of the company she worked for, and whose photo she’d been practically salivating over a few days ago.
She’d never been one to indulge in schoolgirl crushes on movie stars or musicians, largely because she’d rarely had the opportunity to experience any sort of normal adolescent or teenage behaviors. Her life had been too chaotic, too difficult, to allow for such little indulgences. Instead of poring over celebrity magazines or listening to music, she had been balancing the checkbook or doing the laundry or worrying about her mother’s latest bout of depression. Tessa had always been practical, realistic, and had rarely allowed herself to fantasize about things that could never be.
As she straightened the rumpled sheets before sliding back into bed, Tessa was grateful that Peter hadn’t been in the room during this latest episode of hers. Not that he would blame her in any way for dreaming about another man, but she still couldn’t help feeling guilty over these increasingly detailed dreams. Despite their dysfunctional sexual relationship, and Peter’s repeated urges for her to find satisfaction elsewhere, Tessa knew she would never be able to betray her marriage vows. Even if it was with a man as sexually compelling and heart-stoppingly handsome as Ian Gregson.
I'm very excited to announce that my next release will be a trilogy spun-off from my second book - Splendor! It will - appropriately - be called the Splendor Trilogy. Book one will be the prequel, where we first meet Tessa as a vulnerable sixteen year old. The prequel will explore her relationship with Peter in much greater detail, and will also fill in many of the blanks after she meets Ian for the first time. Book two of the trilogy will contain the majority of the original book, but there will be several brand new scenes and other scenes will have slight revisions. And book three will be the sequel, picking up where the epilogue of the original book left off and continuing the love story of Tessa and Ian.
The title for book one will be Covet, and I am tentatively looking at a release date around the end of May/beginning of June. This is a few months later than I had originally hoped for, but unfortunately life has been a bit more complicated than usual as of late so I do apologize for this delay.
I'll begin posting snippets from book one very soon, and hope to have a cover reveal ready within the next few weeks. I'm very excited about this trilogy, since Ian and Tessa will always be my favorite characters to write about!
And no worries about the fifth and sixth books in the Inevitable series! I still plan to release Serenity and Stronger during the latter half of 2016 and early 2017. More info to follow soon!
I can't believe it's been sooo long since I made a blog post! No valid excuses besides holiday craziness, elderly family members needing attention, and planning my daughter's wedding. I've been trying to squeeze in some writing time for the Splendor prequel (still untitled at this time) and hoping to make considerable progress on it by the end of this month.
In the meanwhile, I wanted to let all of you know about a new giveaway I have here at Goodreads to win a signed paperback copy of Shattered. The giveaway is open now through March 17 and you can enter it here - https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/169895-shattered
I promise not to wait two whole months in between blog posts next time!
Yes, it's true! Sensational is here a few days early - happy weekend, everyone!
Purchase links for the e-book:
Purchase link for the paperback - http://amzn.to/1NTQ5UT
With release day just over a week from now (unless, of course, it just MIGHT get here a little early!), here's the final excerpt from Sensational.
Lauren extracted herself from Chris’s embrace and turned slowly, her gaze colliding like a head-on crash with those dark blue eyes that had haunted her dreams for far too long, telling herself that this couldn’t possibly be happening; that the man who stood regarding her solemnly from the doorway wasn’t the same man she’d never stopped loving – even when she’d cursed him to hell and back for breaking her heart.
And even though she would have known him anywhere with those piercing eyes, ruggedly handsome features, and hard, leanly muscled body, Ben had changed in too many other ways to count. His dark blond hair was still cut in the same close-cropped style, but was a bit longer these days. He was clean shaven, without a trace of the thick stubble that she’d always found so sexy. The earring was missing from his lobe, and the long sleeved beige cotton shirt hid his tattoo – the one that was a twin to her own. In addition to the button-down, he wore dark tan khakis and brown leather loafers.
He looked nothing like the gorgeous, chiseled man who’d rode into her life on his motorcycle wearing faded jeans and an equally faded T-shirt. The one she’d dragged along on her daily surfing excursions; the one who’d trekked through the Ventana wilderness with her, or walked the dogs along the beach; the one who’d sparred with her out on the deck as they went through their martial arts drills; and he most definitely looked nothing like the man who’d f**ked her with unrepentant hunger on nearly every surface of her cabin, inside and out.
The lover she’d alternately longed for and called every vile name in the book was gone, replaced by this unsmiling stranger who regarded her somberly.
Sorry it's a day late - lots going on these last couple of weeks before release date with various promos, etc. Here's this week's excerpt!
She was crabby and impatient as she continued on her way, especially since she had been required to arrive in town a full four days earlier than previously planned. And all because of the new sheriff in town, the editor who’d been hired to replace the newly promoted Quinn Cohen. No one knew very much about the new boss except that he’d previously worked at Conde Nast. Lauren hadn’t bothered to find out anything else about him, figuring she would have as little to do with Quinn’s replacement as she had with Quinn himself.
She’d liked Quinn well enough – even if he was a little too much of a corporate kiss-ass for her liking. And her former boss had seemed content to leave her alone for the most part, allowing her a great deal of creative freedom with her assignments. Of course, he’d also tried to hit on her at least half a dozen times, until she’d “accidentally” spilled a scalding cup of coffee on his lap. She’d ruined his expensive wool trousers, given him a painful second degree burn, and, most importantly, stopped his very unwelcome flirting for good.
And that had been a very, very good thing, she told herself, picking up the pace as she walked along, trying to stay warm. Quinn wasn’t a bad looking guy, if a little too buttoned-up for her taste. But he’d had any number of strikes against him that would have ensured a relationship between them had never developed. Being her boss had been number one. She would have never considered sleeping with her immediate superior, and then have the resulting gossip and innuendos fly fast and furiously. It was tough enough for a woman to make it in this field without dealing with the stigma of having slept her way up the ladder.
Three weeks from tomorrow (or maybe less!) Here is this week's excerpt from the new book.
It was her. He was sure of it this time. Unlike the dozen or so other occasions when he’d been certain the woman he had spied dashing across the street or entering a restaurant was Lauren – only to realize it had been merely wishful thinking on his part – this time he was convinced it was really her. Who else walked with that particular swagger, or had hair that exact shade of light brown – like creamy, melted caramel? And unlike some of the other women he’d spotted over the last months, this one was dressed as he’d imagine Lauren would be on a crisp autumn day in Manhattan – tight jeans, long-sleeved thermal top, quilted down vest, and high-top sneakers.
And then she was gone as quickly as she’d appeared, swallowed up in the sea of humanity that seemed to be a constant here in the city. Ben cursed himself silently for not having moved faster, at having remained frozen in place as he’d tried to determine if the girl he had glimpsed was really Lauren. Now it was too late.
But, no. It had been too late to run after Lauren more than three years ago. Less than twenty four hours after sneaking out of her cabin like a gutless coward, he’d regretted his actions, had waged a fierce internal battle with himself about whether to retrace his footsteps and run back to her, begging her to forgive him and doing whatever he had to in order to make things right.
Less than a month now until everyone gets to read Lauren and Ben's long-awaited story! Here's another excerpt from the new book to keep you going until then!
And by the time early September rolled around, and with it the need to pack up her things and head back to L.A., Lauren had managed to convince herself that she was well and truly over that bastard Ben Rafferty. She shrugged off the ten days they’d spent together as nothing more than a fun, frivolous summer fling, and now she was more than ready to move on. Maybe she’d finally agree to go out with the hot, tattooed guitar player who lived across the street from her rental, the one she’d previously shunned because one of her roommates had dubbed him Manwhore of the Year. Or maybe she’d ask that cute sales clerk at R.E.I. to have coffee so they could continue their discussion on rock climbing.
Whatever she did – whoever she might date or flirt with or even fuck in the future – there were two things of which Lauren was absolutely certain. One was that never again would she put herself in a position to have her heart and her spirit crushed like Ben had managed to do this past summer. And the second was that she would never – ever – cry over a man again.
I'm not sure if everyone has noticed, but with each of the books there has been a color theme with both the book cover and the titles of the teaser photos. Serendipity was pink, Splendor's blue, Shattered's was red, and the new book - Sensational - is yellow/gold. Here is another gorgeous teaser for you all to enjoy!
Getting close now to the one month mark before Sensational hits the shelves! Here is another excerpt from the upcoming book to hold you over until then.
Ben cherished each second of their last day together, committing it all to memory along with all of the hundreds of other memories he already had of her. He snapped photo after photo of Lauren – gazing out at the water, her long hair blowing carelessly in the breeze; giggling like a little girl as one of the dogs eagerly licked her face; as she wielded a spatula like a pro, flipping burgers and hot dogs on the big gas grill; taking a leisurely sip of Chardonnay from her wine glass; winking at him suggestively, her lush mouth quirked up in an inviting smile.
Thank Christ she hadn’t seemed as yet to detect that anything was amiss, because the very last thing he wanted was to provoke a confrontation, to give her a chance to argue and debate and demand. He’d seen firsthand just how stubborn and determined Lauren could be, how she held nothing back, and Ben knew she’d rant and rave and curse if she even suspected what his thoughts were, would call him ten kinds of an idiot for even thinking of leaving, and react furiously at the very idea of him making decisions for her.
But because she was so impulsive – not to mention so young – he had to be the strong one now, the one to walk away. Lauren was the sort of woman who very much lived in the moment, damning any consequences, and wouldn’t ever think ahead a year or two or ten. And it would break his heart if she ever decided that the life he led wasn’t what she wanted after all, or worse, blamed him for holding her back from what she could have made of herself.
No, he thought sadly as he drank his wine, much better all around to make a clean break before either of them got in much deeper. She was only twenty, he told himself firmly, and so beautiful, so completely desirable and passionate, that she could have any man she wanted. She’d forget that a man named Ben Rafferty was ever in her life without much difficulty at all. Whereas he – well, Ben knew he’d never forget this woman, would never love another in the same way. And he was probably ten different kinds of an idiot for even thinking of walking away from her, but he also knew it had to be done
Visit my Facebook page for the official cover reveal for Sensational, and a chance to win prizes!
Here it is!
She’d surprised him – after her multiple and fervent warnings that she could barely boil water – by just how good a cook she really was. Granted, nothing had been fancy or complicated, and pretty much all of it in the way of comfort food – pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, fish tacos. Nothing had been too fussy – he didn’t think Lauren ever actually fussed over anything – just good, tasty food simply prepared.
Lauren waved a hand in dismissal. “My mom and sister are the cooks in the family. If either of them had cooked tonight we would have had something elaborate like salad Nicoise, coquille St. Jacques, sole meuniere, and crème brulee.” She wrinkled her nose slightly. “They both love all that very traditional French stuff. My grandfather was a chef, you know, first back in Montreal where he grew up and then in New York City. He’d be turning over in his grave right now if he knew I use spaghetti sauce from a jar.”
Ben grimaced. “Well, he’d really have a problem with the ravioli I used to eat from a can, then. And all that stuff you just mentioned, with the fancy French names? I honestly have no idea what most of it is. I’m a pretty simple guy, Lauren, as you’ve probably already noticed. I don’t wear suits or drink expensive wines and I wouldn’t know gourmet food if it fell in my lap. So stop dissing your cooking skills because I’ve loved everything you’ve made so far.”
“Really?” She beamed at him, the smile lighting up her gorgeous face. “Well, don’t get used to it, Blue Eyes, because tomorrow it’s frozen waffles for breakfast and that spaghetti I just mentioned for dinner.”
He slid his arms around her waist. “Sounds a hell of a lot better than most of the meals I get these days. But you forgot about lunch.”
Lauren shook her head. “Nope. But that’s a surprise. You’ll see tomorrow what I’ve got planned.”
He gazed down at her warily. “You’re not taking me surfing again, are you? Because I’m not sure that’s really my thing.”
She smiled before stretching up to brush a kiss on his chin. “Not surfing, no. And you did fine. I mean, you can’t expect to get the hang of it after only two days. I’ve been surfing since I was six.”
In truth, he hadn’t done all that badly during the two surfing trips she’d dragged him along on, had actually managed to stay upright for a few seconds at a time. But he’d been intimidated by Lauren’s obvious expertise, not to mention the dozen or so male surfers who all seemed to know her very well, if the number of hugs exchanged and blatant flirting going on were any indication.
Everyone, in fact, seemed to know Lauren. She hadn’t been exaggerating when she’d told him that first day that she knew every innkeeper and park ranger in the area. She also knew the proprietors of the general store, bakery, coffee shop, gas station, art gallery, and the adventure sports outfitters. When they took the dogs for walks along the beach or a trail, everyone they passed greeted Lauren by name. And Ben had thought each and every time how wonderful it would be to have that sense of belonging, of community, of family – things that he hadn’t known since he was a small boy and even then not to the same degree that Lauren did.
Here's this week's gorgeous teaser photo from the upcoming release!
Here it is - hope that everyone is enjoying these snippets!
“Should I open another bottle of wine, or is it time to move on to the hard stuff?”
He smiled as a now-familiar voice startled him out of his brooding, and he held out his arm, beckoning her close.
Lauren wasted no time in snuggling up against his side, wrapping her arms around his waist as he hugged her in tight.
“I’m good for now,” he told her quietly. “Still full from dinner actually. I’m not sure I could eat or drink another thing at the moment.”
Teasingly, she pinched the side of his waist. “Yeah, you look like you’ve put on a few pounds. Good, because you were a teensy bit on the lean side for my liking.”
“Is that right?” he drawled in amusement. He pinched her ass in retaliation, chuckling when she yelped in protest. “Well, sweetheart, every part of you is one hundred and fifty percent to my liking, so don’t change a thing, hmm?”
She stood up on her bare toes, wrapping her arms around his neck and planting a resounding smooch on his unshaven cheek. “Okay, boss. Whatever you say.”
Ben rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. Like you’d ever think of me as your boss. Or do anything I asked for that matter. You, sweetheart, are what’s known as a law unto herself. No one is ever going to be able to control you.”
Lauren snickered. “One of my teachers used to call me a little tornado.”
He shook his head. “Not tough enough. You’re more like a Category Five hurricane.”
She laughed in delight. “Hurricane Lauren. I love it. Think the National Weather Center might name one after me someday?”
Ben pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Absolutely. Though it can’t hurt to send them an email request.”
Here's the second teaser photo from the upcoming release - Sensational!
Their skin was slick with perspiration, their chests heaving from the intense physical effort of the rough sex, and Ben was in a shell-shocked daze at what had just happened. He’d never fallen into bed with a woman he’d met scarcely an hour earlier, and he’d never – ever – come anywhere near to having the sort of wild, almost primitive sex he’d just shared with Lauren. He lifted his hand, startled to notice it was trembling, and gently stroked the damp, tangled strands of her hair. She was curled up against his side, her face buried in the crook of his neck, and she gave a little grunt at his touch.
“You okay?” His voice was raspy, almost raw, even though he’d barely uttered a word the whole time.
She nuzzled her face deeper against his throat. “Way, way better than okay,” she whispered. “In fact, more okay than I’ve ever been.”
He smiled before pressing a kiss to her damp forehead. “What – exactly,” he asked in awed disbelief, “was that?”
Lauren lifted her head then, propping her chin in her hand as she grinned mischievously. “Honey, don’t tell me a big boy like you never learned about the birds and the bees? Well, see, this is how it works. First, the man takes his - ”
“Brat.” He smacked her on one round, tempting ass cheek, his palm instantly soothing the pinkened flesh even though she’d barely flinched at the contact. “You know what I meant. And by no stretch of the imagination could what just happened be called sex. Sex doesn’t make skyrockets go off in your brain, doesn’t make every single nerve ending in your body come alive. I have never – ever – felt anything close to that before. So, since I’m all out of descriptive phrases here – frankly, I think half my brain cells just got fried – why don’t you tell me what just happened here?”
Here's the second excerpt from Sensational. I hope you are enjoying these snippets so far from Lauren's story!
She took two ice cold bottles of beer from the fridge, popped the caps off, and then pushed a lime wedge inside. “Is the sight of my cleavage disturbing you?” she drawled while handing him a beer. “Is that why you want me to bundle up like it’s thirty degrees outside?”
Ben, who also rarely blushed, once again felt his cheeks grow hot and he tried like hell not to stutter. “Um, disturbing isn’t the word I’d use. Distracting is more like it.”
Lauren laughed in delight. “Well, God forbid that I distract you. So, here, let me cover up the goods.”
She grabbed a T-shirt that had been draped over the back of a living room chair and pulled it on. “Is this a little less distracting?”
The snug fitting white T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of a popular alternative rock band was distracting in a whole different way than the polka dot bikini top. The worn, faded fabric clung to her breasts like a second skin, and the short, cropped hem bared half of her toned, tanned abs.
He gulped before taking a long drink of his beer. “Not really, no. Sure you won’t wear the sweatshirt? Or maybe a bathrobe?”
Lauren snickered, sauntering over to him, beer in hand. Then she shocked him by grabbing a handful of his own T-shirt and tugging him in close. “Or you could just loan me your shirt,” she murmured in a husky, suggestive voice. “Unlike you, I’m not the least bit bothered by a little bare skin.”
Sensational has now been added to Goodreads (link below). Please be sure to add it to your TBR list and if you can I would love it if you could vote for it on the following lists - 2015 Romantic Releases (July to December) and 2015 Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense (July-December).
I'm happy to announce that the official release date for Sensational will be Tuesday, November 10. Pre-order links will be posted here as they become available.
I plan to post an excerpt from the new book each week until release date. Here's the first one for you to enjoy!
It was the oddest sensation – not precisely déjà vu – but he couldn’t help feeling as though he’d finally arrived home after a very long time away. He’d never considered any of the houses he’d lived in while growing up in Ohio as his home. His parents had divorced when he was seven, and from that point on he’d been shuttled back and forth between their new homes – both of them having quickly remarried and started new families. It had been difficult, if not downright impossible, to ever truly feel comfortable or like he belonged anywhere.
During college he’d lived in dorm rooms, studio apartments, houses he’d shared with several roommates. Since then he’d drifted from one place to the next, mostly living in cheap rented rooms, never calling one place home for very long.
But now, as he walked slowly across the redwood deck that offered up its own spectacular views, Ben felt an instant affinity with the house – more of a cabin, really, he noted now – as though the structure of wood and glass was speaking to him, recognizing him, welcoming him home. He knew a sense of peace, of belonging, that he had never felt before.
He ran a hand over the door jamb as he followed Lauren inside the cabin. “This place. It’s – incredible is the only word that comes to mind. I haven’t even been inside yet but I can already sense how special it is.”
Lauren turned and smiled, her green eyes glowing. “You feel it, do you? I’ve always thought this place was magical, was convinced when I was a little girl that fairies or elves lived here. And even though we haven’t lived here full time since my sister and I were five years old, I’ve always considered this place my real home.”
Totally inexcusable that I haven't made a post in sooooo long! I've been busily scribbling away with the goal of getting my next book to the printer's by the end of this month and happy to report I'm still on target. That book, of course, is Sensational, which is the long-awaited story of Lauren McKinnon and her mysterious boss/potential ex-lover Ben Rafferty. Here is the synopsis for the new book, which is tentatively due for release around November 10. I'll be starting to post excerpt/teasers, etc. within the coming weeks, as well as the Goodreads link to the book.
Lauren McKinnon has always prided herself on never backing down from a challenge, living life to its fullest, and refusing to be ruled by her emotions. She is the quintessential wild child who became a bold, fearless woman, she doesn’t believe in regrets or second chances, and thinks that true love only happens in fairy tales. Except for the time it happened to her one magical summer. But unlike fairy tales, in real life love can also be cruel, and after having her heart broken Lauren has vowed to never allow herself to be vulnerable again.
Ben Rafferty has always been a loner, never truly belonging anywhere or to anyone, until the summer he visits Big Sur and meets the girl he immediately recognizes as his soulmate. But Lauren’s star shines far too brightly, and to stay with her means the real possibility of dimming that brilliant light. The decision to leave her behind will be the most difficult of his life, and for years later he’s left to wonder what would have happened if he’d stayed.
When their paths inevitably cross again, Lauren’s pride and refusal to forgive continues to keep them apart, as does the new woman in Ben’s life. As truths are eventually revealed, and emotions can no longer be denied, will Lauren and Ben finally find their way back to each other, or will they be destined to forever remain apart?
First, let me apologize to any of you who have tried to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for my 1500 Facebook likes. I was just advised earlier today that it is not functioning correctly, so I've chosen to handle the giveaway via random.org instead. All you need to do to participate is go to my Facebook page (link below), give the post a like, and state where you're from. The giveaway has also been extended through Sunday, July 26 at 11:59pm. Winners will be chosen and announced the following day. Enter for your chance to win Amazon gift cards, signed paperbacks, or e-book.
Many apologies for not having made a blog post for an entire month! My only excuse/reason is that I've been hard at work writing Sensational, the story about Lauren that so many of you have been waiting for. I'm still on track at this point for a November release, and hope to have a specific date for you all very soon.
In the meanwhile, some exciting news - I've just reached 1500 likes at Facebook! In celebration, I'm offering a little giveaway which includes Amazon gift cards, signed paperbacks, or an e-book of your choice. You can enter for the next week using this link - http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8e3a02ab2/?. Good luck and thanks for your continued support!
I'll be doing a cover reveal for Sensational and start posting snippets/excerpts within the next month so stay tuned!
And here is the cover for the upcoming print version of Shattered. All of the books should be available in print on Amazon by the end of this week.
Since the original e-book cover image for All You Need is Love was not of a high enough resolution to convert to print, I had to use a different but similar type of design for the soon-to-be-released print version. I should have a release date very soon and will post here as soon as it is available.
This is the beautiful new book cover re-designed for the print version of the book. I'll be posting the brand new cover for All You Need is Love and the print version of Shattered next week.
First, many apologies for more than a month between blog posts! I've been busy doing publicity for Shattered, writing the next book in the series (Sensational - which is Lauren's long-awaited story), and also working with my book cover designers to convert the existing covers into print format. Yes, all four of the books will soon be available in print at Amazon. I expect them to be available sometime after June 22 and will post the buy links once they are activated here. In the meanwhile, I'll share a cover at a time with you. Here is the print version for Serendipity, Book #1 in the series.
It's official! Shattered is now available at all major e-book retailers. Links to purchase are below. And, to celebrate release day, here's one more gorgeous teaser photo to whet your appetite!
Amazon - http://amzn.to/1EpVQ8r
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/1zOi0wz
iTunes – http://apple.co/1E368Mh
Kobo - http://bit.ly/1zOih2x
Less than twenty four hours until the official release of Shattered, the story of Angela and Nick! I hope that everyone has already added the new book to their to-be read list and, more importantly, that you enjoy their fractured love story. Here's a teaser for the book.
Only four more days until the official release of Shattered! Here is the final excerpt from the new book, though I will still be posting daily snippets over at my Facebook page up through release date. Hope you enjoy!
If Angela had harbored any chance of sneaking inside the place unobserved and thereby buying herself an extra minute or two, those hopes were quickly dashed as she stood poised at the entrance of the cocktail lounge located at the front of the restaurant. Nick was already there, larger than life, and had very obviously been watching for her. He was sitting at one of the high, raised tables, a half-empty glass in front of him. His sinfully seductive mouth curled up at the corners as he extended a hand to her while remaining seated. He was not going to make this easy for her, was forcing her to come to him of her own free will, and asserting his dominance over her at the same time. This, she knew, was now the point of no return, that with each slow, tentative step she took in his direction she was sealing her fate, agreeing to his proposal, and that once she placed her hand in his there could be no turning back.
“Your hand is shaking, Angel. Are you afraid?”
She nodded, knowing it was pointless to lie to him for he would only need to look into her eyes to see the truth. “I’m terrified.”
He chuckled. “I know. I watched as you got out of that cab and waited out on the sidewalk for over five minutes. A few times I swore you were going to start running down the street, though how in hell you would have pulled that off in those shoes is beyond me.” He tugged her in closer, whispering in her ear, “And I will definitely fuck you with those shoes on tonight.”
Angela trembled, resting a hand on his broad shoulder to steady herself. “Oh, God. Nick – I’m not – I should go – this - ”
“This is what was meant to be, Angel,” he assured her gently. “Don’t be frightened, okay? And the only place you’re going right now is to our table, where I’ve got a bottle of very expensive champagne waiting for us.”
She gave a nervous little laugh. “You already ordered? Wasn’t that a little presumptuous?”
“Nope, not a bit.” He shook his head. “I knew you’d show up, knew you wouldn’t be able to stay away.”
Angela lifted her chin defiantly. “You’re that sure of yourself, are you? So sure that I wouldn’t be able to resist the thought of going to bed with you?”
He brought her hand to his lips with a grin. “No, Angel. Because I was positive you couldn’t resist the need to be controlled. Now, let’s go celebrate.”
Only two more full-length excerpts until release day of May 5! But, never fear, beginning on Tuesday, April 28 I'll also be posting daily snippets up until release day. Hope you enjoy this week's peek at the new book!
She shook her head, thinking wildly that this was sounding more and more like some crazy, bizarre dream she was going to wake up from at any moment. What other possible explanation could there be for why she was still sitting here listening to this man – this undeniably hot, incredibly powerful, but possibly insane man – listing all of the ways he planned to control her, the unreasonable demands he would make of her, and taking for granted that he had every right to do so.
“Ah, don’t shake your head that way, Angel,” he chided. “Remember I asked you to reserve judgment until you’d listened to everything I had to say? I’m almost finished now, so indulge me for a few more minutes, hmm? Then you can tell me to go screw myself if that’s what you decide.”
Angela hesitated before giving a short, sullen nod. He took one of her hands back in his, stroking his thumb over her knuckles soothingly.
“Your hands are always so warm,” he murmured. “Now, one last thing. I started off this conversation by telling you that I don’t do relationships, or at least not the conventional kind. I don’t believe in marriage or falling in love or even having a long term relationship. I won’t sleep over, and we go to your place or a hotel or sometimes away for the weekend, but never to my house. And when I decide it’s over, Angel, then it’s over. No regrets, no tears or angry scenes, no post-relationship stalking.” He released her hand and lounged back leisurely against the high-backed booth. “Now, are you ready to tell me to shove all this up my ass or do you have any questions?”
She swallowed with some difficulty. “I think – I need a drink,” she croaked hoarsely.
Shattered will be released in less than three weeks! Hope that everyone has added the book to their TBR list! Here is this week's excerpt from the new book.
She waited until practically the last minute before actually applying the lipstick. Everything else was done – the dress that bared her entire back and most of her legs had been pulled and tugged into place; the sexy stilettos were buckled around her bare ankles – no stockings tonight, apparently. She’d fastened the earrings into her pierced lobes, stuffed a few necessities into her new clutch. Her long, straight hair shone with the application of clear glaze she’d applied, and the rest of her makeup had been artfully applied.
The lipstick was her one holdout, and she kept glancing back and forth between the sultry fire-engine red and the more subtle berry shade she normally favored. Should she acquiesce to one more of Nick’s demands, or defy him by wearing the color she preferred?
It was the buzzing of the outside doorbell that jerked her out of her contemplation, and even as she was depressing the buzzer to admit Nick into the building she was hastily slicking the red gloss over her mouth before dropping the tube into her clutch.
Angela took a deep breath before rather slowly opening the door, and then gasped as Nick’s intimidatingly huge body filled the door frame. He looked – like the devil, she thought helplessly. Like the sexiest, most tempting, and most irresistible devil one could ever conjure up. He wore another superbly tailored suit – this one of solid black – paired with a dark gray shirt and a black and gray striped tie. With his raven hair, dark eyes, and deeply tanned skin, the almost satanic image he projected made her feel like swooning.
And from the wide, knowing smile on his face, he apparently liked what he saw, too – his sharp gaze taking in every detail about her appearance, from the top of her silky head down the long, long length of her legs to those fuck-me stilettos on her feet.
“I knew that you’d look like this,” he told her confidently. His long fingers gripped her chin, tilting her head from one side to the other. “That dress could have been made for you, those shoes are practically screaming sex, and that mouth of yours – I think I’ll nearly always want you in red lipstick when we’re together.”
She felt her cheeks grow warm beneath his regard. “Thank you – for all of this. Everything is gorgeous, but you shouldn’t have spent so much money on me.”
He shrugged carelessly. “Why not? I wanted you to have a particular look tonight so the best way of ensuring that was to hand pick the outfit. Including the undies. I take it they fit okay?”
Angela was flabbergasted at the forthright way he demanded answers. “Uh, yes. Just fine.”
“Pity. I was almost hoping they’d been the wrong size so you would have had to go commando. After all,” he added in a husky voice, “it would be so damned easy to just cop a feel while you’re wearing this dress, wouldn’t it?”
Without warning, he banded an arm around her waist and hauled her against him, at the same time inserting his hand into the low back of her dress and sliding it down to fondle her buttocks.
“Next time,” he murmured in her ear.
Another Friday, another excerpt from Shattered! Release day is now less than four weeks away! Hope you are looking forward to reading Angela's story. Here's an excerpt that's sure to tantalize you!
He sat down on the edge of the bed and held a hand out to her. She walked over to him slowly, alarmed to notice that her hand was shaking as she placed it in his. But Nick only tugged her closer, until she was standing between his spread legs, his hard, muscular thighs imprisoning her. His hands held her in place by the hips, making sure she couldn’t back away even if she’d wanted to.
It was suddenly very, very hard for her to breathe – small wonder considering how hard her heart was pounding and how rapidly her pulse was racing. But if Nick was aware of her agitation he gave no clue about it. Or, at the very least, wasn’t allowing it to rush him. And he seemed to be in no hurry whatsoever to get to the main event of this evening – namely getting naked and then giving her brand new mattress one hell of a workout.
His voice was deep and deliberate as he wrapped his arms around her hips, his hands splayed over her buttocks. “When I went to that pointless meeting today – and, by the way, I don’t go to many of those things no matter who the special guest might be – all I could think about was how fast I could make a discreet exit. I don’t especially enjoy listening to people spout all that corporate bullshit, nor do I need pep talks from higher-ups who don’t know their ass from third base. But, as it turned out, I wound up being very thankful that I attended. Do you know why that is, Angel?”
She tried desperately to lighten the mood by cracking a weak joke. “Well, it certainly wasn’t for the great food and top shelf booze.”
He smirked. “Very observant, Angel. But you and I both know the real reason.”
She gasped as he unexpectedly shoved a hand up beneath her skirt to squeeze one of her ass cheeks, the skin bared by the skimpy cut of her thong.
“Ahh.” Her eyes fluttered shut as he continued to caress her bare skin. She was already wet and ready for him, quivering with need at each bold, confident stroke of his hand.
“Look at me.”
Her eyes flew open as she gazed down at him obediently. Nick was unsmiling, his dark gaze silently warning her not to look away again.
“That’s better. It was your eyes, you know, that did it for me. Made me realize that for once I didn’t give a damn if you worked at the same firm, that I was willing to take the risk so that I could have all of this for myself – the big eyes, that sexy mouth, all of this gorgeous hair – ” he paused to wrap a long, shiny strand around his hand, giving it a sharp tug that made her wince a little. “And especially,” he added in a husky voice, “this very, very fuckable body.”
Just over a month until Shattered releases on May 5. Hope you have added the new book to your TBR list! Here's this week's excerpt from the book, a peek at the first time Angela and Nick meet. Enjoy!
He finished off his drink, and somehow the sight of his strong throat as he swallowed was more intoxicating than the vodka in her own glass. “What college?
His grin returned. “Well, how about that? So we have more in common than just having the same coloring and being freakishly tall. When did you graduate?”
“Just this past June.”
Nick’s grin faded rapidly, and she thought she heard him curse softly beneath his breath. “So, you’re like twenty-three, twenty-four, something like that?”
Angela hesitated, sensing his unease, but refusing to outright lie at the same time. “No, I’m only twenty-two.”
“Shit.” He set his glass down on a passing waiter’s empty tray. “I’m thirty-three, closer to thirty-four.”
She shrugged. “So? I happen to like older men.”
He laughed, his good humor quickly restored. “Is that right? You got a daddy complex or something?”
She shook her head slowly. “I would never think of you as my father. Or the least bit old. And you’re definitely not too old for me, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”
His expression instantly grew deadly serious, his voice raspy. “Is that a fact, Miss Del Carlo? Well, you are just a whole lot of very pleasant surprises, aren’t you? What’s that you’re drinking?”
Somewhat taken aback by the rather abrupt way he tended to segue from one subject to another so quickly, she glanced down into her nearly empty glass. “Vodka tonic. Though the vodka isn’t my preferred brand.”
“And what would that be?”
“Absolut Citron. On the rocks.”
Nick smiled, taking the glass from her suddenly nerveless fingers and setting it aside. “The coincidences just keep piling up, don’t they? That’s almost always what I drink, too. And then, of course, there’s the coincidence of our first names.”
She gave him a puzzled look. “My name is Italian while yours is Greek. At least, I assume Nick is short for Nicholas.”
“It is. But I wasn’t referring to their ethnic origins,” he corrected. “Has anyone ever called you Angel? As a nickname, of course.”
Her pulse rate seemed to be jacking up another degree with each passing moment. “N-nno. Just Angie.”
Nick shook his head. “Not Angie. That doesn’t suit you in the least. But Angel definitely does. And, well, many people aren’t aware of this but Nick is sometimes used as a nickname for the devil – Old Nick, to be precise. So, here we are then – the Angel and the Devil. Rather poetic, don’t you think?”
I'll also be posting new teaser photos each week. Here's this week's for your enjoyment!
With just over five weeks until the release of Shattered, I'll be posting an excerpt from the book each Friday. If you haven't already added the new book to your TBR pile, please be sure to do so today! Hope you enjoy this week's sneak peek!
Angela fixed what she hoped was a ferocious scowl on her face as she glimpsed the somber expression on his own features. “What are you doing here?” she asked ungraciously. “Both at this firm and in my office. You have to know you’re the very last person I want to see.”
Nick ignored her question and asked one of his own. “What the fuck happened to you, Angela? You look like the walking dead.”
She gave a caustic little laugh. “Gee, thanks. You never were one to dole out compliments very often, but I can’t remember hearing direct insults either.”
He shook his head. “I’m not trying to insult you. But for Christ’s sakes, Angie, I barely recognized you earlier. You look – Jesus, exactly how much weight have you lost anyway?”
She shrugged, willing herself to remain calm and detached. “Don’t you know it’s not polite to ask a woman how much she weighs?”
Nick looked at her scornfully. “I think you and I are way past the point where we have to worry about being polite to each other. Christ – when I saw you earlier today – I can’t remember the last time I had a shock like that.”
Angela leaned back in her desk chair, regarding him coolly. “I don’t believe you didn’t know I worked here. For you to have made a move like this – to give up everything you’d built at Jessup Prior – you would have done a hell of a lot of research. You had to have known I worked here.”
“I wasn’t shocked to see you working here,” he clarified. “Just at your appearance. You’re – have you been ill? Is that why you’re skin and bones and look like you’ve got one foot in the grave?”
She rolled her eyes. “And the compliments keep on coming, don’t they? You, on the other hand, look as hale and hearty as ever, Nick. But then I wouldn’t have expected anything less. After all, you always did devote a lot of time to putting yourself first.”
In celebration of reaching 1200 likes on Facebook - hurray! - I promised to post the first official excerpt from Shattered. Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more in the following weeks!
She knew who he was the moment she saw him, even standing clear on the other side of the cavernous conference room. After all, there weren’t many men who had his height – six feet six inches – or shoulders that were so wide his suits just had to be custom made to accommodate their breadth.
When she’d learned on her very first day on the job that Nick Manning – the famous football player for both the Stanford Cardinal and the San Francisco 49ers – not only worked in her new office but was among the highest producing brokers, she’d wondered when she might actually get a glimpse of the man.
It had taken almost two full weeks – and this mandatory-attendance meeting with the firm’s CEO who was visiting from New York – to finally afford her the opportunity. But, she reasoned as she allowed her gaze to roam freely and thus far unobserved over the magnificent, manly specimen, the wait had sure as hell been worth it.
The impossibly tall, intimidatingly muscular body clothed in an impeccably cut charcoal gray pinstriped suit looked as though it was still in the kind of shape needed to play pro football tomorrow, if he so desired. And the to-die-for body was just part of the whole package.
From this angle she could only see his face in profile, but that was more than enough to form an impression of strong, ruggedly handsome features, darkly tanned skin covered in an irreverent two-day stubble, and thick, expertly styled hair as black as her own locks. She wondered briefly if he had any Italian or Latin blood in his background, or perhaps even some black Irish.
And then she was no longer capable of even a single logical thought, including her own name, because Nick Manning chose that particular moment to glance across the room, his sharp, dark-eyed gaze locking on her like a laser beam.
She would remember that exact moment for weeks, months, and even years later – the moment when time froze in place; when her heart was beating so fast she thought for sure it would burst right out of her chest cavity; when her palms grew sweaty and her breasts suddenly felt swollen and achy. And when she fell deeply and helplessly under his spell.
Here's the second gorgeous new teaser photo from Shattered. I'm this close to 1200 likes on Facebook as I write this, only need about 4 more, and then I'll be posting an excerpt from the new book over on my Facebook page and this blog. If you haven't already become a fan on my page, I would truly appreciate a quick "like".
Here's the first of the new teasers from Shattered. Official release date for the book is May 5 and will be listing pre-order links shortly. Excerpts from the book will be forthcoming as well.
First, I truly need to apologize for not updating this blog for such a long time. My only excuse is that I've been so caught up in finishing Shattered that I was writing and editing for hours each day and neglected lots of other things in my life. So, happy to say that the finished manuscript is now off to the publishers and we have an official release date of May 5. Please continue to check my Facebook page and this blog for upcoming teasers, excerpts, etc.
Now, to celebrate Valentine's Day, I'm pleased to announce that the third and final (for now, anyway!) batch of extra scenes from Splendor is now available as a free read on Goodreads! The link is here. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24929470-splendor-extra-scenes-part-iii
Last, I would love it if all of you could please add Shattered to your TBR list at Goodreads, and also "shelve" it under new-releases-romance-may-2015. And wishing all of you a very happy Valentine's Day!
It was brought to my attention that for some reason readers aren't able to read the newest batch of extra scenes from Splendor at Goodreads. I've emailed the customer services reps over at Goodreads for help in resolving this, but with Christmas arriving in less than 48 hours I might not have a resolution on this for a few more days. In the interim, I've decided to post the extra scenes here on my blog and will leave them up at least until the Goodreads issue has been resolved. Hope you enjoy!
This is the second of three installments of extra scenes from Splendor, book two in the Inevitable series. Tessa and Ian had such a beautiful love story that I always felt I cut their book too short, despite the longer than average length. These extra scenes are a bonus so that you can enjoy a more in-depth view of their relationship. Most of these scenes were either not included at all in the original book, or were merely referred to in a few sentences and not fully explored.
I do hope you enjoy these additional moments with our lovers. I’ll publish the third and final installment of extra scenes near Valentine’s Day, or February 2015.
All my best,
Extra Scene #5 – “Missing You”
(takes place during Ian’s trip to London)
It took every ounce of Ian’s tremendous powers of self-control to disguise his impatience as the evening seemed to drag on intolerably. He loved his family deeply, and under normal circumstances would be relishing this opportunity to spend as much time as possible with them. But these were far from what he considered normal circumstances – being several thousand miles away from the woman he adored, the one he longed to be with every minute of each day, and whose touch he craved like an addict did a fix.
He checked his watch again – discreetly, of course – and had to hold back a sigh when he realized how late it was getting. It was already past the noon hour back in California, and he only hoped Tessa wasn’t ready to give up on him calling today. The eight hour time difference between London and San Francisco hadn’t been especially easy to manage these past few days, given that he couldn’t very well call her while she was at the office.
And of course he’d had to wait until he was alone at this end before calling her, not wanting to take the chance he’d be overheard by one of his family. Ian had very intentionally not told any of them about Tessa – in particular his younger brother Colin, who’d be pumping him for very intimate details were he to know. Until Tessa resigned from the Gregson Group, Ian had no intention of mentioning her to any of the family. When he’d told Tessa there would be unpleasant repercussions for both of them should their relationship become known, he’d been deadly serious. Regardless of the fact that he reported directly to his father and uncle, the other board members could very well vote to demote or censure him in some way if they learned about his love affair with one of his employees.
As for Tessa, the demand would certainly be made for her immediate transfer, if not her termination. And even though she’d be resigning soon enough, he knew she would want that to be on her terms and not because it had been forced on her.
There would be time enough to tell his family about the new woman in his life, he reassured himself, but for now he intended to keep it a secret. It was just too damned bad, he thought impatiently, that this dragged out dinner at the home of his elder brother Hugh was interfering with his daily phone call to said woman.
To make matters worse, his sister-in-law Victoria had invited a recently divorced female friend of hers to join them for dinner, and the woman’s interest in Ian was rather obvious. Victoria had seated them next to each other, and the woman – Sondra – had been not so subtly flirting with him all evening. Even if he hadn’t been obsessed with Tessa, he knew he wouldn’t have found Sondra attractive. As a rule, he had a general dislike of overly aggressive women, especially ones who practically drowned themselves in what they likely thought to be a seductive perfume. He’d been polite to Sondra, feigning an interest in what she had to say that he certainly didn’t feel, but making it a point to keep his distance and not say anything that she could construe as the least bit encouraging.
Sondra got the hint eventually, especially when he gently declined her offer to meet up for a drink or a coffee sometime during his visit, but he still felt uncomfortable in her presence. Thankfully, his mother seemed to sense his discomfort and tactfully suggested that they all call an end to the evening.
Once back at his parents’ house, he made his excuses as quickly as possible, though he didn’t miss the odd look his mother gave him as he practically jogged to his rooms.
As he so often did when it came to matters involving Tessa, Ian felt like an awkward fifteen-year-old boy who was trying to summon up the nerve to call the girl he’d been crushing on for months. His pulse rate ratcheted up a notch or two as he pulled his phone out and pressed the speed dial button for her number. But his anticipation quickly turned to concern when she didn’t answer her phone right away, especially when she nearly always picked up after just a couple of rings. And since it was still mid-afternoon on a Saturday in San Francisco, he knew she couldn’t be at the office.
Just as the call was about to go to voice mail, Tessa answered but the sound of her voice filled him with instant concern.
“Ian.” Her voice was whisper soft, almost as though she was struggling to speak.
“Are you all right, love?” he asked in alarm. “You sound ill. Were you sleeping?”
“Just resting. And I’m not sick exactly. I, um, have my period.”
“Ah.” He was somewhat mollified at this information but still worried about how weak and exhausted she sounded. “Is it – that is, do you usually have problems during your cycles? This is the first time I can recall you having a period since we’ve been together.”
“Yes – to both questions. My cycles aren’t always regular, so this is definitely the first one I’ve had since we started seeing each other. And, well, the IUD is reliable but has some unpleasant side effects.”
Ian didn’t bother to mask his distress as he probed for more details. “What sort of side effects?”
There was a pause before she replied in a somewhat halting voice. “Um, the usual sorts of things – fatigue, lack of energy, mood swings. And, well, the – the bleeding is usually really heavy, and the cramps get pretty bad.”
His level of alarm had increased with each symptom she’d mentioned. “Darling, that sounds terrible. And forgive me, but you sound terrible. Did this just start overnight?”
“No. On Wednesday. My cycles usually last at least a week, sometime a bit longer.”
Ian was aghast at this revelation. “You’ve been feeling this poorly for three days? And you went to work? Tessa, you should have taken some sick days, love. God knows you’ve earned them.”
“No, Ian, it’s all right.” She was quick to reassure him. “As lousy as I feel, it’s actually better for me to keep busy. To keep my mind off of – things.”
He was becoming increasingly agitated with the tone of this conversation. “What things, Tessa? Is something troubling you? Now that I think of it, you have sounded out of sorts the last few days. Please, darling, tell me what’s wrong.”
Her voice was trembling, and he could tell she was fighting back tears. “I don’t want to bother you, Ian. You’re so busy back there, and I’m probably just being silly - ”
“Tessa.” He interrupted her as she began to ramble almost incoherently. “I am never too busy to listen if something’s troubling you, or if you need anything. And I’d be on a flight home within the hour if you asked me to, if something was really wrong. So don’t ever feel that you’re bothering me. Just tell me what’s wrong, love.”
“My divorce papers arrived in the mail. On Wednesday, of course. Because - ”
“Because bad things always happen to you on Wednesdays, “ he finished, heaving a sigh as he did so. “I knew there was something wrong. Why in the world didn’t you tell me before now?”
This time she couldn’t hold back the tears, and Ian’s heart ached to hear her weeping over the phone. “I – I don’t know. I suppose I didn’t want to bother you, didn’t want to seem weak or needy. And, well, you’ve been sounding so tired and stressed every time we’ve talked that I didn’t - ”
“Hush.” He couldn’t bear to think that she’d been suffering – both physically and emotionally – for three days now and that he hadn’t been there to console her. “Nothing is more important to me than you, Tessa. I don’t give a damn about my job or these meetings, and especially not when you’re this upset. God, what terrible timing, love, what with those blasted papers arriving right when your period started and me all the way over here.”
Tessa sniffled. “I know. And I’m – well, I’ve been a little down in the dumps these past few days as well. It’s just everything all at once, you know. I miss you, Ian.”
He swore softly beneath his breath. “I’d give anything to be there with you this very second, my love – to take care of you and hold you close, and make sure you know exactly how much I love you.”
The soft sound of her sobbing made him feel sick, helpless, frustrated. “I – I do know,” she whispered. “I just – miss you so much. I’m sorry to be this way, to be so needy and pathetic and - ”
“Stop.” His voice was firm, almost stern. “Don’t you dare apologize. And I’m the one who should be sorry. I should be there with you now – supporting you, looking after you. I feel terrible that I’m all the way over in England when you need me so badly.”
“It’s okay.” Her reply was soft and sweet, and he was relieved to hear her crying appeared to have stopped for the moment. “I know you’d be here if you could, and that you’ll be home soon.”
“I’m counting the days, love,” he assured her. “And I realize this past week that I’ve had to cut some of our calls short but that’s going to end. Starting immediately we’re going to talk for as long as you’d like, and beginning tomorrow I’m going to call you at least twice a day. And I want you to promise me, Tessa, to call me whenever you need to talk. I may not be able to take the call immediately, but I guarantee I’ll call you back as soon as possible. All right?”
“Yes, I promise. And – thank you, Ian. It means a lot to me.”
“You’re not alone anymore, Tessa,” he told her gently. “You’ve had to deal with far too much for far too long on your own. But no longer. I’ll always be here for you, darling. And as soon as you move in with me and quit your job, we won’t have to be separated like this ever again.”
Her soft sigh was one of relief. “That sounds wonderful, Ian. And I really was starting to pack things up here at the apartment, at least until I started feeling poorly. I even have the first paragraph of my resignation letter drafted.”
Ian chuckled. “How many paragraphs were you planning to write? It doesn’t need to be an essay, love, just a basic letter will do. And I expect you to turn it in as soon as I return from London. This is the last time I intend to be apart from you.”
“Okay. Maybe I’ll finish it later and email you a copy to get your opinion. I, um, need to eat something and shower first and, well, get dressed.”
He frowned. “You haven’t been out of bed the entire day? Isn’t it after two o’clock there?”
There was a pause before she answered. “Yes, a bit. And, well, I tried to get up a couple of times, but – I was sort of – depressed, I suppose.” Tessa started weeping again, her voice dropping to a husky whisper. “I’m scared, Ian. When I get this way, I’m always terrified that I’m becoming like my mother.”
“No, no, darling,” he crooned. “You’re not like her at all. Listen to me, Tessa. You’re a strong, capable woman, and you’ve been taking care of yourself for a long time. Right now you’re just a bit down because of all you’ve had to deal with this week. But you’re not sinking into darkness, love. I’d never let that happen.”
“I know you’re right,” she told him tearfully. “But it just gets so hard sometimes, especially when I’m alone.”
Ian was nearly on the verge of tears himself to hear how sad she was. “God, Tessa, you’re breaking my heart,” he groaned. “I need to be there with you, love, to take care of you. Let me see if I can arrange a flight home tomorrow. I’ll think of something to tell the rest of the board, and - ”
“No!” Her response was emphatic. “Please, Ian, I don’t want you to do that. I mean, of course I want to see you as soon as possible, but I’d feel less than useless if you had to cut your time in London short because of me. I’ll – I’ll be okay, I promise.”
He was far from being convinced. “Tessa – these bouts of depression you have. Have you ever sought professional help, spoken to a therapist about them?”
There was a lengthy pause before she answered. “Not really, no. I mean, I’ve always been able to fight them off before. And, well, the expense was never something I could have - ”
“I understand. But that’s not the case any longer. If you decide you’d like to talk to someone, I’m more than happy to arrange it for you. Just say the word, hmm?”
“All – all right,” she agreed reluctantly. “But, honestly, since I’ve been with you Ian, I haven’t really felt this way at all. You’ve made me so happy, made me feel so secure and loved, that I haven’t had any episodes like this until now.” Her voice grew soft and breathy again. “I just – miss you so.”
This time Ian could feel the physical ache of his heart at her words. “God, no more than I miss you, my love. I’ve never missed anyone this way, never thought it could be possible. But I swear this will be the last time we’ll be parted for this amount of time. If being with me helps you stave off these episodes of depression, then I’m going to glue myself to your side from here on end.”
Tessa giggled, and it was as though a huge weight was instantly lifted from his chest at the happy sound. “I like that idea. A lot.”
“So do I. And it doesn’t sound like we need any expensive therapists after all, since apparently the secret to your happiness is being with me. And the moment I get home, I’m going to devote myself to doing exactly that. We’re also,” he added somewhat sternly, “going to make an appointment for you with a good friend of mine – Jordan Reeves. He’s reputed to be the top OB/GYN in San Francisco, and we’ll see if he can help us find an alternate form of birth control. I hate the thought of you suffering this way from that contraption you’ve got inside of you.”
“Maybe,” she replied noncommittally. “I’ve tried the pill before and had some awful reactions, but maybe there’s another choice we can explore.”
“We’ll discuss this at greater length when I get home,” declared Ian. “Now, I want you to promise me you’re not going to mope about the rest of the weekend, hmm?”
“I promise. I might go out for a walk after I eat something and get dressed. And I’m hoping to feel well enough to go to yoga tomorrow. Julia called me yesterday and said to let her know if I decide to go. She’ll pick me up and we’ll meet Nathan for breakfast after class.”
“I think that’s a marvelous idea, love,” he told her encouragingly. “Provided you’re feeling up to it, of course. You’ve been alone too much in your life, Tessa. It’s good for you to get out, make friends, have fun. Just as long,” he added sternly “as you’re not having this fun with other men.”
Tessa’s voice was filled with emotion as she replied, “You know that could never happen. You’re the only man I’m interested in being with, Ian. Besides, you’ve totally spoiled me now for other men. No one else could come close to comparing to you ever again.”
He chuckled, but couldn’t help feeling immensely pleased at her words. “I’m glad to hear it, love. Needless to say, it’s exactly the same for me.”
They talked for more than half an hour, Ian being determined to make it up to her for the brief, rushed conversations they’d had up until now. He felt horrid that he hadn’t paid enough attention to her this past week, hadn’t realized how sad and depressed she’d sounded, and he vowed to make it all up to her. Perhaps another very romantic weekend getaway at one of his hotels – somewhere warm and sunny this time, like Palm Springs or Laguna Niguel. He would devote himself exclusively to her pleasure, pampering her even more than he’d done in Lake Tahoe last weekend, and make very, very sure she knew exactly how much she was loved. She was everything to him, and he wouldn’t ever let another day go by when she wasn’t fully, thoroughly aware of that fact.
Extra Scene #6 – “Loved”
(takes place the night after the fire)
As Tessa left the bathroom after washing up for the night, she paused upon entering the bedroom, feasting her eyes on the truly magnificent sight of her man. He was sitting up in bed, his back propped up against the pillows as he read something on his tablet. He’d stripped down to just his black briefs, and her mouth watered as she took in the beautifully defined muscles of his chest, arms and shoulders. His body, she thought dreamily, was truly a work of art, so finely and powerfully sculpted that the gods themselves would envy him such a physique.
Since he’d been at home with her all day, he hadn’t shaved and she longed to run her nose along the dark stubble that covered his cheeks and chin. He was so sexy this way, much more raw and primitive then when he was clean shaven and dressed in one of his expensive designer suits. Not that he wasn’t equally as yummy that way – this was just – different. Both parts of his persona – the elegant gentleman and the lusty lover – turned her on to the same degree. And while she’d been far too upset and almost catatonic last night to enjoy him, there was absolutely no way that was going to happen again tonight.
Tessa smiled when she thought of how caring he’d been today, how concerned for her wellbeing and so attentive to her every need. He’d fussed over her all morning, worried when she wouldn’t eat, and she had finally, reluctantly, nibbled on a scone, mostly to satisfy him. Throughout the day he had continually given her hugs, pressed kisses to her cheek, tucked a strand of hair behind her ear – so many tender, caring little gestures that it had nearly brought tears to her eyes. She had never in her life felt loved this way, never had someone as strong and devoted as Ian to look out for her. And despite the fact that she’d lost everything in the fire last night, Tessa knew she’d been lucky enough to find a far greater treasure in the beautiful man she continued to stare at in fascination.
A smile tilted the corner of her mouth as she recalled how concerned he’d been when they had visited the doctor this afternoon. The physician – a kind, but somewhat impersonal man in his late fifties – had examined Tessa thoroughly enough for her own peace of mind, but Ian had been far from satisfied at the relatively brief check-up. In his usual commanding manner, he’d asked the doctor a dozen or more questions, insisting on definitive answers, and by the end of it, the older man had looked more than a little frazzled. Tessa had felt a bit sorry for him, for no one had evidently warned him ahead of time that Ian Gregson was not a man willing to accept less than someone’s absolute best effort.
He glanced up at her then, and her heart soared at the smile that lit up his arrestingly handsome face. He set his tablet aside instantly and extended a hand towards her.
“Come here, love,” he told her in that deep, husky voice that always, always aroused her. Without the slightest hesitation, Tessa walked over to the bed and let Ian tug her up beside him. She sighed with the utmost contentment as his arm went around her shoulders, cuddling her close against his nearly nude body. She wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her face against that firm, broad chest, inhaling deeply of that overtly masculine scent she loved so much.
“Mmm, why do you always smell so good?” she murmured, her lips caressing a path across his pectorals. She heard the slight indrawn hiss of his breath as her hand followed her mouth, her thumb brushing over his flat male nipple. Ian twined his hand into her hair and took a long, deep inhale.
“You smell delicious, too, my love, “he told her softly. “Vanilla and spice and woman. It’s my very favorite scent in the entire world.”
They snuggled together happily for several minutes, and she could hear the steady beat of his heart beneath her cheek. At some point she lifted her face to press a gentle kiss against his darkly stubbled cheek.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “For everything you did today and last night. I don’t think I could have survived it all if you hadn’t taken such good care of me.”
“Darling.” Ian cupped her cheek in his palm, his thumb brushing over her lips. The look in his hazel eyes was filled with so much love and compassion that Tessa felt like weeping from the sheer emotion of it all. “Don’t you know, Tessa, that the entire reason for my existence is to take care of you? I live for the privilege of being able to do just that. So, in actuality, I should be the one thanking you for allowing me to do what I’ve longed to do for so long now – worship you, spoil you, and take exquisite, complete care of you.”
This time she did cry, not because she was sad or frightened, but because his words touched her so deeply. The tears spilled from her eyes as she shook her head in wonder. “As long as I live, I’ll never figure out how I got this lucky,” she breathed. “How by some miracle no other woman managed to snatch you up and make you her own a long, long time ago.”
Ian kissed away her tears. “It’s because I was waiting for you all these years, my love. And not just since the day you walked into my office. I’ve been waiting for you – for a love like yours – all of my life.”
Tessa clung to him, burying her face against his neck as she continued to weep softly. “I love you so much, Ian. And for the first time in my life I feel truly protected, truly safe. I may have lost everything I owned last night in that fire but as long as I still have you that’s all I really need.”
He groaned at her heartfelt declaration, one of his hands pressing her face closer against him while the other stroked her back comfortingly. “And you will always have me, Tessa. There’s nothing or no one who can keep us apart any longer. And I hope you know it goes without saying that this is your home now, love. This house and everything in it belongs equally to you. God knows how long I’ve wanted that to happen. Not, of course,” he added hastily, “under such terrible circumstances. But regardless of how you came to be here, it’s a dream come true for me to finally have you right here where you belong.”
Tessa lifted her head to give him a sweet, soft kiss, her hand cupping his cheek. “The only thing in this entire house that I want is you. My home is with you, Ian, wherever in the world that might be.”
“Tessa.” He kissed her again, lingeringly this time, his tongue swooping leisurely through her mouth. “Every time I’m with you I fall a little bit more in love. How precious you are to me, my darling, so much that I would give my own life to protect you. I would have forced my way inside that apartment building last night if necessary and carried you out to safety. That is how much I love you.”
“Oh, God.” She fought the urge to begin sobbing again, and instead twined herself around his body, returning his kiss feverishly. Ian groaned as she began to run her palms over his taut, chiseled abs and then lower, until she was stroking over the hugely swollen erection that strained against his snug fitting briefs.
“Christ,” he panted, his fingers clamping around her wrist and pulling her hand away. “Tessa, love, we can’t. You need to rest tonight, need to – ”
“I need you, “she interrupted, and moved swiftly to straddle his thighs, grinding herself against him. “I need you to love me.”
His big hands bracketed her hips, gripping her through the soft fabric of her pearl gray robe. “You know I do, Tessa. But not this way. Not yet. You’re still too fragile, too emotional from what happened last night. You need your rest, darling.”
Stubbornly, she shook her head and continued to rub her cleft against his throbbing cock. “No. I need this, Ian, need it inside of me. I need your hands – here.”
Tessa drew one of his hands to her breast, where the robe clung lovingly to the soft, lush globe. She moaned out her pleasure as his thumb rasped over the already erect nipple.
“Please,” she begged. “Make me forget, Ian. Make me forget everything except you and what we have here right now.”
He cursed softly beneath his breath before tumbling her back onto the pillows. He rose above her, his face darkly flushed and his eyes boring into hers with ferocity. His hand returned to her breast, plucking at the engorged nipple through the robe.
“Very well, you little temptress,” he acquiesced. “Unfortunately you’ve already learned that it’s nearly impossible for me to refuse you anything – especially when you beg me so sweetly to do what I want to do constantly. Know this, my love – there isn’t a single minute in the day that I don’t crave you, that I don’t long to be buried deep inside this delectable body – loving you, fucking you, owning you. And even though I should know better, I can’t refuse you one damned thing.”
Tessa smiled triumphantly, her hands unfastening the belt of her robe and spreading it wide to reveal her nudity. “That goes both ways, you know. I want you constantly as well. But especially now.”
Ian growled as his eyes raked over the lavish display of her breasts, her quivering belly, the pale thatch of curls between her thighs. “But there is one stipulation, love,” he cautioned in a raspy voice. “We do this my way, or not at all.”
She nodded, too enraptured by the way he was staring at her to argue. “Anything you want. I’ll do anything.”
“Good. Just trust me then, Tessa. Trust me to know what it is you need tonight. Trust me to take care of you.”
What followed was the most exquisite, soul-stealing lovemaking that Tessa could have ever imagined or dreamed of. Ian could frequently be a tender lover, touching and kissing her with gentleness and care. But tonight it felt as though he were adoring her, coddling her as if she was the most precious, fragile being in the entire world. The kisses he bestowed on her forehead, temple, cheeks, were whisper soft, the touch of his lips against hers like a butterfly’s wings. And even when she groaned beneath his sweet, soft kisses and tried to let her lips cling to his, inviting him to go deeper, he resisted.
Everything was different tonight, everything done with the sole intent of making her feel pampered and protected. He cupped her breasts gently, instead of squeezing them and pinching the nipples hard as he usually did. The feel of his tongue laving her nipple with light, delicate flicks still managed to arouse her unbearably, and her hips began to move restlessly beneath him. The caress of his hand against her hip and thigh was barely imperceptible, no more than a fleeting touch. His lips traveled a tender path between her breasts to her belly, and then lower still until he was softly licking at the moist, ultra-sensitive folds of her labia.
She groaned beneath his exquisite ministrations, her fingers sifting through his dark hair as he pleasured her. Here, too, everything was different, so gentle. Usually when Ian performed oral sex on her he was nearly ravenous – his lips, tongue and fingers working in almost frantic unison to drive her wild, to wring multiple and almost violent orgasms from her hungry body. But tonight he was careful, almost tentative, and she resisted the urge to pull his head in closer, to buck her pelvis up against his mouth and demand more. And then she discovered that his methods really didn’t matter in the least, because they all had the same result – a stunning, delicious climax that rocketed through her body.
“All right there, love?” he whispered against her lips, as his big hand caressed her quivering belly soothingly.
“God, yes,” she panted. “That was – amazing. As always.”
He smiled, brushing a dampened lock of hair off her brow. “Happy to oblige, darling. As always.”
Tessa trailed a hand down his sculpted chest until it closed over the hard, pulsing length of his cock. As she stroked him with slow, deliberate movements, she noted how hard he was clenching his jaw, how beads of sweat popped out on his forehead.
“Tessa.” His voice was hoarse. “God, darling, as good as that feels you’d – ah, Christ – you’d better stop. I don’t – I need you too much -”
“Why are you holding back?” she pleaded. “I need you just as much. Don’t ever hold back for me, Ian.”
He groaned, a long, low sound that grew in volume as she continued to stroke him. “That’s what you need tonight, though.” He shut his eyes, visibly struggling for control. “I promised myself I’d be gentle, that I’d take care of you. Let me, Tessa. Please.”
Moved by the raw emotion in his voice, she nodded reluctantly and released her grip on his penis. “All right, “she murmured. “Your way.”
Ian leaned down and kissed her, another of those gentle, tender meeting of the lips. “Thank you, love. Easy now, hmm?”
And yet, as exquisitely careful as he was, she couldn’t help the gasp of pleasure that escaped her throat as he slid inside of her with slow, measured control. When he was buried to the root, he simply stayed that way for long seconds. Tessa clutched him to her, needing him even deeper, and wrapped her long legs around his hips.
When he finally moved with her, it was with the same sort of gentleness and care he’d been showing her all day and night – taking her as though she were an untried virgin, with slow, careful thrusts, intentionally prolonging her pleasure but also denying himself at the same time. She could tell by the way his arms quivered, how hard he was breathing, and the almost desperate way he buried his face against the side of her neck that he was struggling mightily to hold back. Tessa longed to urge him to let go, that she could easily take whatever he had to give. But she knew he would refuse, that he was honor bound to fulfill his pledge to her, and so instead she simply luxuriated in the sensations he called forth from her body.
They came within mere seconds of each other, and by then she was weeping again, the tears traveling unchecked down her cheeks. Ian kissed each tear away, his tongue licking them up, as he whispered to her in concern. “It was too much, wasn’t it? I knew we shouldn’t - ”
“No.” She pressed her fingers against his mouth, shaking her head. “It was perfect. You were right – you always are. This was exactly what I needed. I’m crying because it was just so beautiful. And because I’ve never, ever felt so loved.”
“Tessa. My love.” He kissed her with soft, gentle licks of his tongue inside her mouth. “You will always be loved, always be cherished. And always, always protected. Let’s get some sleep now. And know that you will wake up safe and loved in my arms.”
Extra Scene #7 – “Surrender”
(takes place two nights after the fire at Tessa’s apartment just after she and Ian have returned from dinner)
After all of the numerous and frequent caresses, touches and kisses they had shared during dinner and the drive home, Ian was more than ready to carry Tessa upstairs to their bed and ravish her for hours, just as she’d practically begged him to do this morning.
But he was determined to thoroughly savor and enjoy this experience, to make it last as long as possible, or at least until his control finally snapped. However, as he helped Tessa remove the new cream wool coat he’d bought her recently, his iron resolve was severely tested. The violet sheath dress she was wearing was classy and elegant but still skimmed over every luscious curve of her body. He tried to picture how she must look beneath the dress in the sexy bra and panty set he’d asked her to wear, not to mention the silky stockings that never failed to drive him wild. The high heels of her cream Louboutins made her legs appear endlessly long, and he wanted nothing more at this moment than to have those gorgeous limbs wrapped around his waist as he screwed her hard and deep.
Tessa shivered as he brushed the wisps of blonde hair from her nape and kissed her on that very sensitive spot. Ian wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her flush against his chest as he nuzzled the side of her neck.
“You smell delicious,” he murmured. He ran a hand over her hip until he reached her waist. “And you feel even better. I’ve been very – ah, eagerly anticipating this evening.” He slid his hand up to cup her breast, his thumb rasping over the heard point of her nipple, and then smiled in satisfaction to hear the indrawn hiss of her breath. “I take it that you’ve been doing the same.”
Tessa’s head fell back against his shoulder as he continued to fondle her breast. “Yes,” she breathed unevenly. “Very, very eagerly.”
Ian chuckled, wrapping both of his arms around her waist and hugging her tight. “I love how much you always want me, how passionate you are. You’re so much more than I ever dreamed I might have one day, Tessa. I’m easily the luckiest man in the whole world.”
She slid her hands over his where they were splayed over her belly. “No luckier than I am,” she murmured. “You are my dream man, Ian. But tonight it’s about making your dreams – your fantasies – come true.”
He took her hand in his and drew her along with him into the library. She stood by the leather sofa while he poured a snifter of brandy at the bar. Ian took a leisurely sip as he watched her from across the room, the corner of his mouth tilting up into a seductive smile.
He didn’t speak, merely held out a hand to her. Tessa walked over to him without hesitation, and placed her hand in his as he drew her close against his body.
Ian smiled, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “How eagerly you come to me, my love.” He held the snifter to her lips, pleased to notice that she drank from the exact same spot he had just sipped from. This time he brushed his lips against hers softly.
His voice was low and rough. “And how willingly you obey me. You would make the perfect submissive, Tessa – devoted, obedient, and so very eager to please.”
Her blue eyes were huge, her lips trembling as she pressed closer against him. “Yes,” she breathed. “I want to obey you, Ian. To please you.”
He groaned, setting the snifter down and pulling her into his arms. “God, you would tempt a saint, my love. Most men wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to take full advantage of what you’re offering me. But I won’t do that to you, Tessa, won’t ask for your obedience.” He nuzzled the soft spot behind her ear, a place he knew to be one of her erogenous zones. “I’ll be your lover but never, ever your Master.”
Tessa couldn’t disguise the dismay in her soft voice. “But tonight – you told me - ”
“Shh.” He placed his index finger over her lips. “I fully intend to take advantage of your very tempting offer, darling. But this will be every bit as much for your pleasure as it will be for mine. And I want you to promise me now that if I do something you don’t like – if it’s too much at any time – that you’ll tell me at once. All right?”
She nodded. “Yes, I promise. Though I know I’ll like everything you do. And I’ll do anything you ask.”
Ian shook his head. “Tessa – God, you make me forget all my good intentions when you tell me things like that, make me want to ravish you until neither of us can walk a straight line. Now, before you tempt me into doing just that, turn around for me, love.”
She complied instantly, and he carefully lowered the zipper of her dress down past her hips. He eased the rich fabric of the violet dress off her shoulders until it pooled at her feet. Tessa stepped out of the garment as he stooped to pick it up before carefully draping it over the leather sofa.
“Let me see you.”
Tessa turned around without hesitation at his softly spoken words, and he hissed at the sight of her lushly feminine curves encased in the extravagant bra and panty set of lavender and cream lace – the opulent swell of her breasts; the soft curve of her belly; the high, taut cheeks of her delectable ass; and the endlessly long length of her legs encased in silky, lace-topped stockings.
Ian traced a finger along the heavy swell of her breasts, beautifully displayed in the low-cut bra. “You’re magnificent, Tessa,” he told her in a husky voice. “The sexiest, most beautiful woman I could ever imagine. Every time I look at you I have to remind myself that you’re mine. And I thank my very lucky stars for that fact every single time.”
She gasped as he slipped two fingers inside a lacy bra cup to find her nipple. The moans she made as he fondled her made his cock swell to epic proportions. Almost roughly, he unhooked her bra, peeling the lacy cups away to bare her breasts.
“God, how I adore these tits,” he rasped, his big hands cupping the firm globes. “You are ten thousand times sexier than the most provocative centerfold could ever hope to be. Let me, darling.”
Ian bent his head to her breasts, his tongue laving one taut, pale apricot nipple while his fingers plucked at the other hard peak. Tessa threaded her hands into his hair, clutching him closer against her bosom, and her moans of pleasure quickly grew to a fever pitch. Ian wasn’t at all certain how long he could hold back his own arousal, the sounds she made turning him on unbearably.
The long, drawn-out groan escaped Tessa’s lips as he slid two fingers inside her panties, brushing through the soft nest of her pubic hair, his thumb circling her clit. She clutched his upper arms, steadying herself, as his fingers dipped inside her drenched slit.
“Mmm, you’re so wet, love,” he purred in her ear. “I’ll bet you taste delicious. Let’s see, shall we?”
Tessa’s eyes were half-shut with passion as she watched him bring his fingers to his lips, licking her juices off. “Just as I thought,” he murmured in a seductive voice. “Absolutely delicious. Here, taste.”
“Ah, God.” Tessa shuddered as he once again slid his fingers deep inside her vagina, gathering up the moisture he found there. Obediently, she sucked his fingers into her mouth, her tongue swirling around his knuckles.
This time it was Ian who hissed sharply, his eyes darkening, his entire body so fully and thoroughly aroused that he was almost shaking. He jerked his fingers from her lips only to grasp one of her hands and draw it down his torso to his throbbing cock.
“Jesus.” Sweat popped out on his brow as he guided her hand up and down the full, straining length of his dick. “See what you do to me, love, feel how much I want you.”
Tessa kept up the motion, her slim hand stroking him until he groaned. He cupped her flushed cheek in his palm.
“Tessa.” Her name escaped his lips in a husky whisper. “Darling – God, that’s so good, so damned good. You need – I need you, Tessa. To take the edge off. So that – “
“Yes.” She was already sinking to her knees, her fingers fumbling at his zipper. He cursed softly as she drew his hard, pulsing cock out, her hand stroking him persuasively.
Ian slid his hands into her hair, his body primed and ready, almost losing it completely when she licked the thick beads of pre-cum from the tip of his penis. And then he could only close his eyes in ecstasy, a long, low groan escaping his throat as she took him fully into her wet, welcoming mouth.
He was so hard, so aroused, and her lips and tongue so eager, that it took an astonishingly short amount of time for him to reach his climax. Through half-lidded eyes, he watched Tessa as she daintily licked any remaining traces of semen from his still semi-hard cock, and he groaned at the decadently carnal picture she made – her pink tongue flicking over the tip of his dick; her cheeks rosily flushed; her naked breasts lushly full and round and entirely too tempting; the rest of her gorgeous body barely clothed. And even though he’d just come almost violently, spilling himself down her throat, he was already hard again.
He fisted a hand in her hair, pulling her head back as she would have eagerly, willingly, sucked him off again.
“Upstairs. The next time I come it’s going to be as deep inside of you as I can get. Come with me now, love.”
Ian held out his hand to her, drawing her to her feet and then pulling her in close for a long, dirty kiss. Tessa wrapped her arms around his waist, her breasts crushed against his chest, and kissed him back with an eagerness that made his head spin.
Without breaking the kiss, he bent at the knees and lifted her into his arms, hearing the little sound of surprise she made as he did so. He carried her up the stairs to the upper level effortlessly, not breaking stride until they reached the master bedroom.
A light had been left on, bathing the room in a dim glow. Ian set her down on the edge of the bed and she gazed up at him expectantly, as though waiting for his next instruction.
“Lay back. Keep your feet on the floor.”
Tessa’s eyes widened at the terse, commanding tone of his voice but complied instantly. He removed his suit jacket and tie before pulling the shirt free and unbuttoning it slowly.
“God, you’re so beautiful.”
Ian smiled at the sound of her high, breathy voice and noticed how her big eyes roved hungrily over the bare expanse of his chest. He knelt in front of her, his hands slowly spreading her thighs apart.
“The feeling is very mutual, love,” he told her huskily. “Right now, like this – you look like sex incarnate. And you’re mine to do whatever I want with.” He opened his hand over her belly, caressing it gently. “You have no idea, Tessa, what that knowledge is doing to me at this moment.”
She licked her lips, her gaze dropping to the massive erection tenting his suit trousers. “I, um, think I’ve got a pretty good idea.”
Ian laughed softly, his hands running up and down the inside of her thighs, enjoying the sensual feel of her silky stockings beneath his palms. “Darling, my physical reaction to you is only part of what I’m feeling right now. Knowing that you trust me enough to give yourself over to me completely – it makes me feel like a fucking god, Tessa.”
Tessa ran her hand over his shoulder, the look in her eyes positively smoldering. “You are a god. Let me touch you, Ian. Please.”
He captured her hand in his, pressing a kiss to the palm. “Later. Right now I need to do this.”
In two swift motions, he pulled the lacy panties off her body and then promptly buried his face between her legs. She gasped, her hands threading into his hair as his tongue plunged deep inside her wet, creamy slit. He lifted one of her legs over her shoulder, allowing him even closer access to her delicious body.
Tessa’s hips began to move restlessly beneath his eager, hungry mouth, her pelvis thrusting up in sync each time he sucked her clit or licked along the glistening folds of her labia.
“Oh, oh.” She whimpered as he thrust two, and then three fingers deep inside her, fucking her with long, steady strokes. His thumb rasped over her clit as his tongue continued to lap her up. He loved the way she tasted, loved how responsive she was. It was hard to remember now that she’d resisted him the first time he’d tried to go down on her, that she had been so shy and naïve. Especially given the way she was moaning in pleasure at this moment, her hips moving frantically with each thrust of his fingers, each rub of his thumb. And then she came, long and hard, her tight little cunt convulsing around his fingers, her hands pulling on his hair as he sucked her clit between his teeth.
Ian was hard and throbbing again, as though it had been months since he’d last climaxed instead of mere minutes. The knowledge that he had been the only man to touch her this way, the only one to have ever given her an orgasm, made him feel powerful, manly, as though he could conquer the world.
Until Tessa had come into his life, he had never considered himself an especially sexual man, had kept that part of himself as controlled as the rest of his life. But everything was different now with her – his gorgeous, sexy and constantly tempting love. She aroused him just by being in the same room, which meant that he was pretty much always hard. He’d never felt this sort of need, this constant desire, and had never imagined he would ever be in the sort of highly sexual relationship he enjoyed with Tessa.
He kept his eyes on her while swiftly divesting himself of the remainder of his clothing. He was achingly hard, incredibly needy, as he gazed at the lushly sensual sight she made – laying prone on the bed, her legs still encased in those sexy as hell stockings, her feet shod in the red-soled stilettos. Her thighs were still quivering from her orgasm, parted so that her glistening pink cunt was on full display to his hungry gaze. The skin over her soft belly and sumptuous breasts was flushed pink from arousal, her pale apricot nipples fully erect. She was beyond tempting, so sexy and delicious that mere words couldn’t even begin to describe her, and the need to possess her was overwhelming.
Ian stood between her thighs, his eyes locked with hers as he lifted one of her legs over his shoulders. Tessa gasped as he ran his hand up and down her inner thigh, and then turned his face to nuzzle her calf, his teeth lightly raking her flesh. He repeated the same actions on her other leg, and then she gave a little squeal of surprise as his hands slid beneath her buttocks. He lifted her slightly off the mattress, adjusting the angle of her body until the tip of his hugely swollen erection was probing at her wet, welcoming slit.
“Lock your ankles around my neck,” he rasped. “And hold on to the bedcovers. This is going to get very rough very quickly.”
Tessa cried out as he entered her with one savage thrust, his hands gripping the soft flesh of her ass cheeks as he held her still. Ian’s eyes were tightly shut, and he grit his teeth while struggling for control.
“Jesus. Fuck. This is – my God, Tessa, you feel – I can’t find the words to describe this.”
She was breathing raggedly, her voice barely above a whisper. “I can feel you – so deep – every inch.”
He turned his face against one of her legs, forcing himself to take several long, deep breaths. It always amazed him that she could feel so damned tight and yet still manage to take him inside of her all the way to the root.
And then he couldn’t think at all, could only feel as he began to thrust in and out of her snug, hot cunt. He forced himself to take it slowly at first, all too aware of just how deep he was. The little gasps she made as he would withdraw almost to the tip before sliding back in all the way made him crazy with lust. Ian began to pick up the tempo now, thrusting a bit harder and faster each time, until he was pistoning his hips at almost breakneck speed. Tessa’s gasps turned to moans and then became screams as he took her harder and more demandingly than he’d ever done before. His eyes were closed, his jaw clenched with the effort it was taking to prolong the ecstasy for as long as possible, and he could feel the sweat pouring off his brow as he kept at her.
It was the feel of her wet, slick cunt convulsing repeatedly around his dick that finally brought him over the edge. He came so hard that his legs were shaking with the effort, his hands grasping the soft flesh of her thighs in an attempt to remain standing. The sounds he made as he continued to spill himself inside of her were foreign to him, a guttural, almost animalistic language. He was far beyond any sort of rational thought, of being able to summon up words to speak. All he could do right now was feel, and he knew he’d never felt more than he did at this particular moment – pleasure unlike anything he’d ever known, a deeply physical satisfaction that strummed through every nerve ending in his body, and an overwhelming love for this magnificent woman who’d given herself to him so completely and thoroughly, without the slightest bit of hesitation or reserve.
It was only when he felt her legs quivering in protest and, as if from a great distance, heard her gasping for air, that Ian managed to shake himself out of the stupor his soul-shattering climax had induced. He opened his eyes slowly and gazed down at his beloved. Tessa was staring up at him, her blue eyes huge and round, her mouth trembling as she struggled to breathe. Gently, he unhooked her ankles from around his neck and carefully eased her legs back down until her now shoeless feet were resting on the floor. He smiled a little to realize he’d fucked her so hard that her shoes had fallen to the ground, and then swiftly bundled her into his arms as he tumbled onto the bed.
“Can you speak?” he murmured to her in amusement.
She shook her head, her hand moving to caress his cheek.
He chuckled, turning his face to kiss her palm. “Well, I hope you can think because I’m damned sure not able to right now.”
She gave a little laugh and another brief shake of her head, wrapping her arms around his torso and resting her cheek against his neck. They were both a sweaty mess, both breathing unsteadily, and it was some time later before he could summon up enough oxygen to finally speak.
“I never thought it possible to love someone as much as I love you at this moment,” he whispered against her temple. His hand brushed damp blonde curls off her forehead. “You are the most giving, extraordinary woman in the whole world, and I love you with every breath in my body, Tessa.”
Tessa lifted her face for his kiss, a sweet, tender meeting of lips. Her eyes were brimming over with tears as she murmured, “It’s exactly the same for me. It scares me sometimes – how much I love you. Scares me because I’m afraid to let myself believe that a love like ours is real and not just some fairytale.”
Ian’s hand cupped her breast, his thumb brushing slowly over the nipple until she was groaning. “It’s the most real thing I’ve ever known, my love. The absolute best feeling of all time. Don’t be afraid of loving me too much, Tessa, because I’m more than capable of taking everything you can give me.”
She kissed him again, running her tongue over his parted lips. “God, you’re so romantic,” she breathed. She ran a palm over his taut abs before bending her head to lick a bead of sweat from his torso. “And really, really sexy, too.”
His breath hissed in sharply as he watched her continue to lick the sweat off his chest. “And what you’re doing right now is just about the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Tessa smiled at him sultrily, licking the side of his throat. “I’ll lick you all over if you let me. Head to toe and every yummy inch in between.”
He laughed, threading a hand into her hair and holding her head still. “Maybe another time, love. I can’t quite believe it’s happening, given how hard I just came, but somehow I’m getting aroused again. And I don’t know about you but I definitely need a little time to recover before I attempt another go-round.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Much as I hate to admit it, I probably do as well. You were, ah, a little on the ferocious side just now. I know for sure I couldn’t walk a step right now even if my life depended on it.”
Ian dropped a quick kiss on the bridge of her nose. “Frankly, I doubt I could either. But we need to clean you up, love, so stay put while I attempt to grab a towel. I’ll crawl if I have to.”
“No.” She clamped a surprisingly strong hand around his bicep. “Don’t.” She bent and ran her tongue over one of his nipples before gazing up at him. Her eyes were hooded, filled with desire. “I want to feel your cum trickling down my legs, want to keep that part of you inside of me for as long as possible. I don’t want it washed away. I want to feel you on my body, smell your scent.”
He stared at her, so moved and so turned on by her words that all he could do was brush his knuckles against her cheek in wonder. He was already hard and ready, but knew he needed to recuperate a bit, and needed to let Tessa recover as well before he took her again. He wrapped her up, their arms and legs entwined, and whispered to her raggedly, “Let’s rest for a bit then, love. Then it will be time for the next round.”
Tessa heaved a sigh of blissful contentment, her head on his chest, and they were both fast asleep within minutes.
Extra Scene #8 – “The Initiation”
(takes place on the flight home from Tessa’s first business trip with Ian)
The smartly uniformed chauffeur tipped his cap as he held the back door to the limousine open for his passengers. “Good evening, Mr. Gregson. Madam”.
Ian nodded at the slim, dark-haired Hispanic man who appeared to be in his early thirties. “Good evening to you, Carlos.”
All of the Gregson hotel employees were required to wear name badges, and Ian always made it a point during his visits to address everyone by their first name. He had learned way back when he was a young boy to treat every employee with respect and gratitude, and never as though they were beneath him.
But as Carlos moved to assist Tessa into the limo for the short drive to the executive airport, Ian forestalled him. “I’ll tend to Miss Lockwood, thank you.”
Carlos looked a bit taken aback, but wasn’t about to argue with the big boss – as most of the hotel staff here at the Naples, Florida resort referred to Mr. Gregson. He’d heard the gossip – very discreetly spread, of course, since gossip was highly frowned upon by the company – about Mr. Gregson’s new assistant, but hadn’t believed all of it until he’d seen the beautiful blonde with his own eyes a few moments ago.
Miss Lockwood – who was Mr. Gregson’s girlfriend as well as his PA – was a knockout, and Carlos could easily understand why the normally austere, standoffish Brit had apparently fallen head over heels for the much younger woman.
And they made quite a pair – both of them tall, well-dressed, and with movie-star good looks. The two of them had caused a major stir around the resort today, and seeing them together now Carlos could clearly see why.
Mr. Gregson was evidently extremely possessive about his very lovely lady, so much that he wouldn’t allow Carlos to so much as touch her arm to assist her inside the limo. Not that Carlos could blame the big boss, for the beautiful blonde was an irresistible combination of classy elegance and screaming sex appeal. The chauffeur thought with a wry smile that it was a wonder Mr. Gregson didn’t keep his inamorata chained to his side in an attempt to keep other men away from her.
As soon as the back door to the limo was firmly shut, Ian didn’t waste even a second before sliding a hand to Tessa’s nape and smiling down at her very deliberately.
“Hello, beautiful,” he murmured, and then took her mouth in a long, leisurely kiss. He felt an immense sense of satisfaction as he heard her sigh of pleasure beneath the relentless pressure of his lips. Their tongues tangled lazily, both of them savoring the deep, devouring kiss. Groaning, Ian yanked her into his arms, gradually easing her back onto the plush leather seat, his body looming over hers. He’d been fully aroused and aching to have her from the second their lips had touched, and from the way she was clutching him it was evident that Tessa was equally as needy.
But there was no possible way he was going to make love to her in the backseat of a limo, no matter how comfortable or spacious or private it was. He was still far too much of a stuffed shirt to even consider such an action, especially when he recalled the brief but knowing glance the chauffeur had given him a few minutes ago.
Very reluctantly, he eased himself away from Tessa, pulling her to an upright position beside him. He pressed a kiss to her temple as he hugged her closely against him.
“Remind me in the future, my very efficient traveling PA,’ he teased lightly, brushing his knuckles over her flushed cheek, “not to agree to any extra early meetings on these trips, hmm? Especially when they interfere with our usual morning routine.”
Tessa smiled. “I’ll make a note of it, Mr. Gregson.”
They were on the last stop of their first business trip together, the Naples resort being the fourth of the properties they had visited this week. Due to the professional golf tournament being held at the resort, the hotel manager had practically begged Ian for a very early meeting with himself and the golf course and recreation managers. Ian had agreed - very reluctantly so - and the arrangements had been made for breakfast to be delivered to the owner’s suite for the meeting.
The early meeting had necessitated him to rise at an ungodly hour in order to fit in a grueling workout with one of the hotel’s personal trainers. Tessa had been fast asleep when he’d left, and he hadn’t had the heart to wake her. She’d been working long hours on this trip, more than keeping pace with his demanding schedule, and he knew she badly needed her sleep.
And she’d unfortunately been gone when he had returned, the note she’d left indicating she had decided to take a spin class at the expansive hotel fitness facility. By the time she had finished, Ian had already showered, shaved, dressed, and begun his meeting in the suite’s dining room. When Tessa had quietly entered the suite after her class, the shock had been blatantly obvious on the faces of the three other men present. Ian had offered up a silent prayer of relief that she hadn’t been wearing one of her more revealing workout outfits – teeny tiny shorts and a brief, clingy bra top. She typically – thankfully – reserved those particular garments for workouts at his home gym, or on those occasions when they worked out together and he could stave off overly interested males with a freezing “fuck-off” glare. Tessa, however, seemed to be well aware of his preference for her not to expose too much of her lusciously curved body in public and tended to dress more modestly at the gym.
But even with the black capri pants and loose fitting white fitness top she’d been wearing this morning – her long hair scraped back into a ponytail and her face bare of makeup – she had still been droolworthy, clearly evidenced by the way his three breakfast companions had stared as Ian had beckoned her over. The others had quickly followed his example when he’d stood to greet Tessa, pulling her against his side.
He’d introduced her merely as Tessa Lockwood, and very intentionally hadn’t offered up any details about what their actual relationship was. All he had told the other men was that Tessa would be joining them shortly, and assisting him during the rest of their visit.
After her shyly murmured greeting, she had headed off to change, but Ian had found it almost impossible to concentrate on what was being discussed after that. While the other men were babbling about re-sodding a section of the golf course, Ian had been imagining Tessa in the shower – all wet, naked flesh, her soap-slicked hands touching the soft curves of her body that he hadn’t yet had the opportunity to glimpse thus far today. He’d been instantly and uncomfortably hard at the very erotic image, and he’d cursed himself anew for foolishly agreeing to this meeting when he could at this very moment have been joining his young, eager lover in the huge walk-in shower.
And it had only gotten worse when Tessa had emerged from their bedroom a short while later, perfectly put together and looking both elegant and fuckable at the same time. She’d been wearing a silk blouse of palest peach with pearl buttons, and a slim fitting pencil skirt of taupe linen. Her taupe slingback pumps had a modest heel, unlike the sexy stilettos he loved seeing her in but that were not entirely appropriate for the sort of refined business attire he preferred her to wear. Her abundant blonde hair had been pulled back into a sleek knot at the nape of her neck, her makeup applied with a light, discreet hand. A pair of luminous pearl stud earrings and the classic Bulgari Ovale watch he’d bought her last month were her only pieces of jewelry.
She had looked so beautiful and so tempting that he’d had half a mind to order the three men out of the suite, brush everything off the dining room table with one swipe of his arm, and then spread her out for his pleasure. Instead, he’d had to suffer the tortures of hell by having her close by his side throughout the entire day and yet never managing even one minute alone with her. He’d sat through three meals, a seemingly endless round of meetings, reviews, and inspections, and fielded a dozen phone calls from the regional office all without being able to do more than put his hand lightly on her elbow or the small of her back as they walked through the hotel. And for the better part of fourteen hours now, he’d been forced to notice the way the silk blouse clung lovingly to her lush breasts; to observe the gentle sway of her hips and the tempting curve of her ass in that narrow skirt; to smell her light, fleeting perfume; to hear the soft, breathy sound of her voice; and not be able to do a damned thing about any of it.
They had agreed to maintain a strict degree of professionalism while they worked, and not to flaunt or advertise their very intimate relationship among their co-workers. Traveling together and sharing a suite was one thing, but overt displays of affection were something else entirely. He did, after all, still have an image to portray, a family reputation to uphold, and Tessa had been more than understanding of the fact that they would have to act in a businesslike manner on these trips. Her cooperation, however, hadn’t made the constant temptation she presented any easier to bear.
But all of that torture would finally come to an end in less than half an hour – the amount of time Ian calculated it would take to drive to the executive airport, board the corporate jet, and take off. And once he received the all clear from the pilot that they could move about the cabin freely, he had every intention of pulling Tessa along with him into the plane’s master bedroom, and initiating her in a very, very pleasurable manner into the Mile High Club.
He had yet to share his plans with her, and wasn’t quite sure how she’d react. She always went to him eagerly – more than eagerly, if he was being completely honest. Her desire for him – her hunger – seemed to be increasing the more time they spent together, and Ian sensed it would only be a matter of time before she followed his instructions and took the initiative in their lovemaking – a thought that aroused him tremendously.
But as passionate as Tessa was in his arms, he guessed that she would be a bit shy about actually having sex with other people in proximity. Not that the flight crew – pilot, co-pilot and flight attendant – would be able to hear anything, of course. Besides the noise of the plane itself, the bedrooms were exceptionally well insulated so that one could be assured of a sound sleep on long flights. Not to mention the fact that his flight crew were far too loyal and discreet to ever betray the slightest indication that they knew exactly what would be going on behind closed doors.
Tessa was still going to be reticent about it, though, he sensed, and he’d have to seduce her into the idea. The images that scenario provoked – those of kissing her softly, undressing her with exquisite slowness, cajoling her into the bed – made his body grow even harder with barely suppressed lust. He longed to have her now, this very instant, spread out here against the limo seat, and he had to fight a little harder with each passing minute to control that particular urge. Instead, he merely brushed his thumb over her lips, smiling when her blue eyes widened at even such a light touch.
“You look lovely, darling,” he told her in a husky voice. “I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to tell you that until now.”
Tessa returned his smile, gently holding his hand against her cheek. “But you did tell me. All day long, every time our eyes met. And I hope you know I feel exactly the same way – you’re always so handsome I can’t seem to tear my gaze away from you for even a minute.”
Her heartfelt words pleased him tremendously, as did the feel of her soft skin beneath his hand. “The way you look now – beautiful, classy, pampered – it’s what I’ve wanted for you ever since that first time we met.”
She gave him a puzzled look. “How do you mean?”
Idly, he took her hand in his, entwining their fingers. “I knew you couldn’t afford to buy expensive things,” he told her gently. “And I couldn’t have cared less what you wore because you always looked beyond beautiful to me. But I’d overhear those evil witches Gina and Alicia and even Shelby on occasion make some unflattering comment about you – speculating on what clearance rack your dress came off or how cheap your shoes were. They were very obviously jealous, of course, wildly so because you were so much more attractive than they could ever hope to be. But – it bothered me to hear them talk that way about you. Bothered me that you had to do without nice things.”
Tessa shook her head. “It shouldn’t have, Ian. I mean, I always knew they talked about me behind my back. It’s what the pair of them do – gossip constantly and criticize everyone they know. And, well, after so many years of having so little I never allowed myself to hope for anything beyond the basics.” She rested her head on his shoulder with a little sigh as she clutched his arm against her side. “And I certainly never allowed myself to hope for someone like you.”
Ian groaned, just before dropping a kiss on the top of her head. “It’s the same for me, my love. You are so much more than I ever thought I might have, more than I ever thought it was possible to have. And seeing you looking like this – being able to give you the things I longed to shower you with for so long – it feels like a dream I hope to never wake up from.”
Her slim hand caressed his darkly stubbled chin, her blue eyes shining. “Let’s keep dreaming together, then. I love you, Ian. And I – I missed you this morning, missed, um - ”
He chuckled, even as his hand slid down her ribcage to her hip and back up again. “Missed waking up to me ravishing you?”
She gasped as his thumb brushed over her erect nipple, her head falling back onto the padded leather seat. “Yes. Ah, God, yes. Please, Ian.”
“Shh.” He nuzzled the side of her neck, his fingers splaying open over her full breast and giving it a squeeze. “I know, love. I’m just as starved for you. All I could think about during that bloody meeting this morning was you in the shower and how I wanted nothing more than to join you there. To press you up against the wall and slide inside you, to touch you everywhere.”
Tessa whimpered as his hand slid beneath the hem of her skirt, caressing her silk-covered thigh and drawing tantalizingly close to where he knew she’d be wet and hot and ready for him. “Please. I need – can’t we - ”
He gave her a lingering kiss on the lips before shaking his head regretfully. “Not here, love, no. First, we’re less than ten minutes from the airport and I’m not certain ten hours is going to be enough to satisfy me tonight the way I’m feeling right now. And second - ” His hand caressed her rosy cheek. “I realize we have privacy back here but I didn’t like the way our chauffeur was looking at you earlier. I’m not sure I’d trust him to be discreet enough not to gossip with other employees.”
Tessa gave him a little frown. “But the privacy panel is up and um, aren’t all of the hotel limos soundproofed?”
Ian chuckled. “That’s not what concerns me, love. I’ve little doubt we could be quiet enough that Carlos wouldn’t be able to hear anything. However, as far as the look you get on your face afterwards – well, there’s no disguising it, I’m afraid. Anyone seeing you – including Carlos – would know exactly what went on back here.”
“Oh.” Her cheeks grew even pinker and she glanced away shyly. “I, um, didn’t realize it was that obvious.”
He gave her an indulgent smile, his fingers massaging the nape of her neck. “Very much so, love. Don’t you remember the way you looked after that night in front of the mirror?” At her low moan of arousal, his smile deepened into something far more lascivious. “Mmm, the look you get in your eyes after you’ve just come – like you’re in a daze, like you couldn’t speak no matter how hard you tried.” He cupped her cheek tenderly. “And your skin flushes the most beautiful shade of pink, just like it looks now, and it’s almost impossible for you to take a breath. No, darling, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever allow another man to see that particular look on your face. So, as much as I’m dying to be inside of you right now, we’ll need to wait just a bit longer.”
Tessa gave a little huff of frustration. “Isn’t the flight home almost six hours? Not to mention the drive from the airport? I’m not sure I can wait that long, Ian.”
He brushed his lips over her cheek. “I happen to agree with you wholeheartedly, love. And if you think I’m able or willing to wait six more hours to have you, you’re sadly mistaken.”
“Then what - ?”
Ian placed two finger over her lips. “Wait and see.”
She clasped his wrist, holding it still as she very deliberately sucked both of his fingers into her mouth. He stared at her in mingled shock and arousal, his already throbbing cock almost ready to explode. But then, when he thought he couldn’t possibly get any hornier, any more in need to possess Tessa, the words that she whispered next were more than enough to push him over the edge.
“When I was in the shower this morning,” she confessed, “I kept wishing that you were there, too. Kissing me, touching me, fucking me. While I was washing myself I kept imagining it was your hands on my body.”
The sound that escaped his throat was raw and animalistic, and he had to grit his teeth in a frantic effort for control. “My God, Tessa,” he hissed. “You can’t – Jesus, don’t tell me things like that when I can’t do a damned thing about it at the moment.”
Firmly, he withdrew his fingers from her mouth and forced himself with every last bit of self-control he possessed not to touch her. He was trembling, he realized belatedly, shaking with the force of his arousal.
With his eyes firmly shut, he asked her the question that had immediately come to mind at her impassioned words a moment ago. “Did you – did you touch yourself?” he asked with a groan. “Did you make yourself come?”
Tessa touched his cheek softly. “No. I couldn’t. Because the only orgasms I want from now on are the ones you give me.”
Ian’s eyes flew open and he jerked her into his arms. The skin across his cheekbones felt so tightly stretched that he feared it might snap, and sweat had popped out on his forehead.
“Well, then, darling,” he told her unevenly, “I’ll just have to make sure I give you as many as you can handle. And since you were such a good girl this morning and denied yourself, I’ll definitely reward you the moment we’re alone. And it’s likely a good thing we’re arriving at the airport because otherwise I’d be giving you one of the many orgasms you’re going to enjoy tonight right here and now.”
Tessa shivered as he slid a hand up beneath her skirt and gave her thigh a brief squeeze. He tried desperately to focus on something else – anything else – in a last ditch effort to get his raging erection under control before they had to exit the limo. Needing an extra moment or two to compose himself, he even allowed Carlos to give Tessa a hand this time while he followed, buttoning up his suit jacket for extra coverage as he did so.
While their luggage was being brought aboard the plan, he let Tessa proceed him up the staircase into the luxurious, custom-fit aircraft. Once inside the spacious interior, they were greeted by Will, the flight attendant who’d worked for the Gregson Group for almost a decade now. Ian had first become acquainted with Will when he’d worked out of the London headquarters, and the flight attendant had been part of the crew for many of the European flights. Ian had been impressed by the younger man’s professionalism and attention to detail, and when he’d received the appointment as the Americas Regional Director, Will had asked to be transferred to his staff. Ian knew that the flight attendant – now in his mid-thirties – was gay, but he was also extremely discreet and low key about his lifestyle. But one of the reasons Will had requested the transfer to San Francisco was because of the thriving LGBT community there, and he seemed extremely pleased with the decision he’d made to relocate. Ian was simply glad to have such an experienced and competent employee on his staff, especially when he knew Will to be one of the most discreet, trustworthy people he’d ever met.
Will had also taken an instant liking to Tessa, fussing over her and doing his utmost to ensure her comfort, and Ian’s already glowing opinion of him had zoomed even higher. Now, as Tessa walked inside the main cabin, Will greeted her enthusiastically.
“Good evening, Miss Lockwood. It’s a pleasure to have you on board this evening. Here, let me secure your bags for you while you have a seat.”
Tessa gave him a grateful smile as she sunk into one of the plush leather passenger seats and buckled herself in. “Thank you, Will. And please call me Tessa.”
Will didn’t reply immediately, looking instead to his boss for guidance. Ian gave a brief nod before handing over his laptop case, indicating that Will had his permission to call Tessa by her first name.
Once his two passengers were settled in their seats, Will inquired, “Can I get you anything before takeoff, Tessa? Mr. Gregson?”
Tessa shook her head. “No thank you, Will. We just finished dinner about an hour ago so I can’t imagine being hungry again for a long time.”
“Nothing for me at the moment, either,” said Ian. “In fact, we’ve had a very long day, so after takeoff Tessa and I are going to have a bit of a rest in the master suite.”
If this piece of news shocked Will in any way, he was far too well trained and disciplined to betray his surprise. Ian rarely used either of the bedrooms on board, since the majority of his trips on this aircraft were only a few hours in duration. Generally, he did some work or read or occasionally watched a movie. If he did doze off, it was typically in one of the plush, oversized reclining leather seats.
Will merely nodded in acknowledgment. “A wise idea, sir, given that it will be the middle of the night when we land in San Francisco. Will you be resting until our arrival or will you want refreshments at some point?”
Ian very intentionally kept his tone neutral as he answered. “Some tea, perhaps, once we’re an hour or so from landing. If that changes, I’ll let you know.”
“Of course, Mr. Gregson. Ah, the captain has just signaled he’s ready to take off so I’d best take my seat.”
Ian had deliberately not looked at Tessa during his conversation with Will but did so now, and a smile spread slowly across his features as he observed the expression of wide-eyed surprise on her face. He picked up her hand, giving it a squeeze.
“Everything all right, love?” he asked in a light voice.
She glanced over at Will, who was fully absorbed in reading something on his tablet, then looked back at Ian. “Are we actually going to have a rest or, um, - ”
He chuckled at her sudden reticence. “I did tell you that there was no possible way I could wait another six hours to have you and I meant every word. Therefore, the answer to your question is no – I for one am not the least bit sleepy. However, if you really need a nap we - ”
“No.” She squeezed his hand, shaking her head firmly. “I’m not really tired, either. But is it – I mean, is Will going to think - ”
Ian grinned wolfishly. “That you and I have finally decided to join the Mile High Club? Most likely, yes. But he’s far too discreet and loyal to bat an eyelash about it. Nor will he say or do a thing to make you feel uncomfortable about it. And if you’re worried about him or the pilots hearing us, don’t be. This plane is extremely well insulated so the only one who’ll hear your screams of pleasure will be me.”
Tessa couldn’t disguise the shiver of arousal that rippled through her body, and her blue eyes grew soft and dreamy. “Oh. Well, then, I, um, think we ought to have that – that rest you mentioned. Just as soon as we can.”
He leaned across the armrest of his seat to place a soft, lingering kiss on her lips. “I’m counting the minutes, love. Quite literally, in fact.” He pulled back the cuff of his white dress shirt to check his watch. “By my estimation, we have less than five minutes until we can get out of our seats.” He whispered to her then, his voice low and deliberately seductive. “So use that time wisely, love, and think about how you’d like me to give you your first orgasm of the night – with my hands, my mouth, or my cock.”
She gasped, her eyes closing in reaction as his tongue snaked out to trace lazily around the dainty shell of her ear. “Oh, God,” she breathed. “How – how much longer until - ”
She was interrupted by the pilot’s voice coming over the speaker. “Mr. Gregson, we’re at cruising altitude now, sir. You and Miss Lockwood are free to move about the cabin.”
Ian wasted no time in unbuckling his seat belt and surging to his feet, holding his hand out to Tessa. Without a word, she followed suit and let him lead her the short distance to the master bedroom suite. He locked the door carefully behind them, even though none of the flight crew would do so much as knock unless it was a dire emergency. But he could already sense Tessa’s uncertainty about this, her timidity, and he wanted to make her feel as secure as possible.
“Relax,” he murmured soothingly. He stood behind her in the middle of the bedroom, his hands gently massaging her shoulders. “No one will bother us. Or hear us. Now, I have at least five hours to see how many times I can make you come. Hmm, what’s your estimate?”
“Ian.” Her head fell back against his shoulder as his hand cupped a breast, his fingers plucking at the nipple through the silky fabric of her blouse. “Ohh, that feels amazing.”
“I agree,” he said huskily, as both of his hands squeezed her breasts and tugged at her nipples. “I love your breasts, Tessa, love how soft they are, how sensitive. Later, I’m going to suck on these perfect breasts until you come that way. Let me see you now, darling. It’s time for your initiation into the club to begin.”
He turned her around to face him, his lips traveling down the side of her neck as he began to slowly unfasten the dainty pearl buttons of her blouse. “And it’s my initiation, too,” he whispered, his mouth caressing the exposed upper curves of her breasts. “I’ve never brought a woman on board the company plane before, much less made love to one.”
Tessa’s breath grew increasingly ragged, but he could still make out her whispered words. “I’m – ah – glad to hear that.”
Her silk blouse fluttered heedlessly to the thickly carpeted floor. Ian’s lips continued their heated path over the tops of her breasts while his hands smoothly undid the button and then the zipper of her skirt. He backed up a bit to hold her steady as she stepped out of the garment, and then his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as he noticed what she was wearing beneath. Or, more accurately, barely wearing.
He was used by now to seeing her wear one of the many sets of lavish satin and lace embellished lingerie that he’d bought for her. But the bra and panty set she was wearing tonight was very different from anything he’d ever seen her in, and he could only stare at her in stunned silence.
The barely there bra was of a shimmery, flesh-colored fabric that was basically transparent, her apricot nipples clearly visible. The tiny pair of matching panties was equally as sheer, enough so that absolutely nothing was left to the imagination. Paired with sheer, thigh high stockings and her taupe heels –
“Christ, you looked naked in those scraps of fabric,” he croaked. “And it’s a damned good thing I wasn’t able to watch you get dressed this morning. Because if I’d known you were wearing next to nothing beneath your clothes, we would have had to cancel half of my meetings. On second thought, forget half. I would have cleared my whole schedule and taken you back to bed for the entire day.”
Tessa didn’t speak, just stood there on shaky legs while he continued to stare at her. And then, despite all of his earlier good intentions to seduce her slowly, to coax and cajole her, he couldn’t control himself a moment longer and fell on her like a wild animal. She whimpered as he captured her lips in a raw, demanding kiss, his tongue invading the inside of her mouth and not permitting her to resist. One of his hands delved inside a sheer bra cup, palming her full breast roughly, while his other hand slipped beneath the low cut waistband of those fragile panties.
She groaned beneath the unrelenting pressure of his kiss as his fingers thrust up inside of her wet, creamy slit boldly. Her hands clutched his shoulders as though she were holding on for dear life, even as her hips began to move in sync with the fast, deep pump of his fingers. He rubbed his thumb over the tiny nub of her clitoris as she began to fall apart in his arms. And even as he felt her tight, hot pussy continue to convulse around his fingers, he rasped, “I want you naked. On the bed. Now, Tessa.”
He watched her stumble over to the bed on shaky legs before sinking down onto the mattress gratefully. Her hands were trembling visibly as she unhooked that sexy bra, baring her breasts to his hungry gaze. As she began to remove her shoes and stockings, Ian tended to his own clothing, undressing at a frantic, almost desperate pace.
Tessa had barely slid the shimmery scrap of her panties off her body when he was on her, pulling her legs wide apart and then ramming his cock as deeply inside of her delicious heat as he could get. The scream he tore from her throat was high and long, and one of the few cells that was still functioning in his dazed brain at this moment thought what a good thing it was that this bedroom had been reinforced three times over with the best insulation available.
“Jesus, you feel so tight this way,” he groaned, continuing to hold her legs apart in a spread eagle position. “Is this all right, love? I’m not too deep, am I?”
He gazed down at Tess anxiously, belatedly aware he might be hurting her in this position, especially as hard as his dick felt at this moment. But she only shook her head, her blue eyes huge and round, and with an expression that could only be described as spellbound. She emitted a long, low moan as he pulled out of her slowly, nearly to the tip of his cock, before sliding back in with a calculated deliberation. Ian repeated these actions several more times, until both of them were near frantic for more. Groaning, he readjusted her long legs until they were wrapped around his hips and he began to thrust more aggressively. Roughly, he reached down and threaded a hand into her hair, making a mess of its neatly coiled knot, and pulled her head up to meet his wet, open-mouthed kiss. He felt the telltale convulsions of her vagina clenching around his rampaging cock, heard the almost desperate way she was gasping for breath beneath the incessant demand of his mouth upon hers, and noticed how her arms were locked fiercely around his neck as he fucked her with unrepentant, ravenous need.
When he came, it was with deep, racking spasms, every muscle and tendon in his big body shaking with the force of his climax. With one final groan, he collapsed onto the bed beside his beloved, pulling her sweat-dampened body against him tightly and tucking her head beneath his chin.
It was several minutes before he could summon the ability to speak, and when he did his voice was still ragged, as though he’d just run a mile at world record speed.
“So how was that for an initiation?” he murmured, a smile teasing the corners of his mouth.
In answer, Tessa cupped his cheek, turning his head slightly to meet her soft kiss. Her blue eyes were luminous and more than a little dazed, her lips swollen and red from his brutal kisses. Her otherwise flawless complexion was chafed from whisker burn. But the words she spoke next belied any fears that he’d been too rough with her.
“It was amazing,” she murmured in awe. “And I, um, hope we can make more visits to this particular club.”
Ian laughed. “As many as you like, love. And no time like the present, I always say.”
Tessa ran her hands over his sweat-slicked chest before leaning over to lick a bead of perspiration from the base of his throat. “You always seem to say exactly the right thing,” she purred in a low voice, just before he tumbled her back into the pillows.
Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted any new blog entries. Like most of us I've been caught up in holiday preparations and celebrations and neglecting my writing duties. But the good news is that I have an early Christmas gift for all of you - namely, the next collection of extra scenes from Splendor! I just uploaded these to Goodreads so that you can read them in your browser for free as a PDF file. The direct link to the next batch of scenes is here https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24020083-splendor-extra-scenes-part-ii. If you have trouble opening up the link, you can just type my name in the Goodreads search box and it will come up with a list of all my books. including the free reads. Hope you enjoy!
So sorry for such a long time in between blog posts. Between holiday happenings and a lot of writing, I never seem to have enough hours in the day. I'm hard at work on Book Three in the series, which is Angela's story. A short excerpt from Shattered is below. Hope you enjoy!
Angela Del Carlo had just crested a hill – the one she’d nicknamed Coronary Peak – and heaved a sigh of satisfaction. From this point on, the terrain was mostly flat to gradual downhill, making the final four miles of her twenty mile route a little easier. She hadn’t been pushing too hard today since she had a tough 50-kilometer trail race scheduled for next weekend, and didn’t want to toe the starting line on tired legs.
She took a swig from her handheld water bottle, always careful about maintaining her hydration levels during these long runs, even when the weather was cold and blustery like today. Winters in San Francisco were relatively mild when compared to most of the country, but out here on the bluffs of the Marin Headlands the winds could be fiercely biting. She’d dressed accordingly in Lycra leggings, a long-sleeved windshirt, gloves and a knit cap, but the cold still permeated her ultra-thin frame. Angela was almost always chilled, regardless of the weather, a condition that wasn’t surprising considering how skinny she’d become and with almost nonexistent body fat. But food had lost its appeal a long time ago, right around the same time her entire world had been shattered and she’d been cruelly left to try and pick up the pieces alone.
More recently, however, she’d finally begun to start picking up those bits of her life, albeit at a very slow pace and never more than one jagged section at a time. But for the first time for as long as she could recall, Angela was feeling – something. She wasn’t quite sure what the something was – hope, optimism, or God help her, maybe even happiness – but all she knew was that she didn’t feel quite as dead inside as she had for almost four years. She also didn’t know if this newfound sense of hope was because of the new man in her life, or whether it was simply her own sense of survival that had finally kicked in. Whatever the reason, she was gradually getting to a point in her day to day life where she didn’t have to drink herself to sleep every night, and where she didn’t wake up each morning dreading the empty hollowness that her life had become.
Thanks to everyone who helped my author page on Facebook achieve the 1000 likes milestone! In celebration, I promised to release both the synopsis for the next book in the series - Shattered - as well as a brief excerpt. Shattered is the story of Angela and the mysterious man who left her a shell of her former self when their affair ended. The book will tell the tale about how they first met and why things ended, and what happens when they meet again several years later. I'm estimating a spring 2015 release date. Here's the synopsis, excerpt to be posted later today.
Angela Del Carlo has been living half a life, ever since he walked out on her, shattering her entire existence and leaving her to cope with picking up the fragments. Nothing seems to matter much anymore, and her life is a drab existence of work, run, repeat. She’s forgotten how to laugh, how to love, and even how to live. Most days she’s little more than a ghost.
Nick Manning’s life has been one lived without compromise, without rules, and without regrets. Except for his one weakness, his one regret – Angela. What he did to her still tugs at his conscience, still fills him with remorse, and continues to haunt his dreams. But he stays away, knowing that he can never be the man she needs or give her what she deserves.
But when fate intervenes and Angela’s and Nick’s paths cross again, she’s determined not to surrender her soul to the devil ever again, while he’s desperate to have his angel back in his arms – even if it means changing the rules to get it done.
So much going on yesterday with promo blitz, constant follow up to see why the book wasn't yet showing up on Amazon (finally happened a little while ago!), that I totally forgot to update the blog! All You Need is Love officially released everywhere yesterday (November 12) except for Amazon, which happened today. Now that all of the purchase links are up and running, here's the link to the book's official webpage, complete with all buy links. Hope you enjoy this continuation of Julia and Nathan's story!
Head on over to Martini Times Romance Blog today for their featured promo on All You Need is Love!
The Inevitable series is the featured author spotlight today over at the Nose Stuck in a Book Blog! Be sure to visit the blog for your chance to enter a giveaway and win e-book bundles or an Amazon gift card. Many thanks to the ladies over at the blog for hosting me today! http://ycervera.blogspot.com/
Only four more days until All You Need is Love releases at all major e-book retailers! Here's this week's teaser photo, another great design from Mel Jolly at AuthorRX.
Release day is exactly one week away! Here's the final excerpt from the novella (though I may be posting a few additional little teasers here and there over the next week).
Julia, who was more than a little buzzed after several hours of clubbing and barhopping, was still alert enough to glare darkly at her twin sister. Even now, after the scene she’d been at least partially responsible for, Lauren didn’t seem in the least bit concerned and continued to saunter arrogantly down Union Street. She wore tight, low-rise jeans that prominently displayed her shooting star tattoo – her “tramp stamp” as she so charmingly referred to it – an equally tight white ribbed tank that clung to her impressive rack, and high heeled, pointy toed boots that had very recently been planted in a rowdy bar patron’s gut.
“Did you really have to kick that guy so hard?” groused Julia. “Or at all? Why couldn’t you have just called the bouncer over and let him deal with it?”
Lauren gazed at her sister like she’d just sprouted a second head. “Seriously, Jules? Knowing me as you do – which should be very, very well considering – oh, yeah, duh – we’re identical twins, did you really think I was going to ignore what that asshole did? I mean, putting his hand on my ass was one thing – if he’d kept it to that I might have just dislocated a finger or two. But when he actually suggested we sneak off somewhere so I could give him a BJ – uh, uh. There was no way I could let that go without putting him in his place.”
Julia frowned at her sister. “Did the place you put him in have to be on his butt?”
Lauren shrugged, her seeming indifference to the whole matter only serving to infuriate Julia further. “I didn’t even kick him that hard. He must have been really plastered to fall like that. And I refuse to take the entire blame for this fiasco. If you want my opinion, we really have Angela and Courtney to blame for getting us kicked out. Oh, and we can’t forget Upchuck Chick, can we?”
After Lauren had delivered a very sound roundhouse kick to her would-be suitor’s abdomen, all hell had broken loose. He had crashed into a couple of tables, upsetting glasses and chairs, and setting off something of a chain reaction with other patrons yelling and joining in the fracas. In the meanwhile, three of the guy’s friends had rushed to his aid and began screaming threats and insults at Lauren. Angela, who’d been in a bizarre mood all night, stormed over to defend her best friend and tossed the entire contents of her drink into one of the men’s faces. Courtney, who had no real excuse except that she was completely hammered, had uttered a primal scream and jumped on one of the men’s backs, kicking and punching him with surprising force for someone as scrawny as she was.
The burly bouncer had just arrived on the scene to break up the disturbance when Jada made everything ten times worse by throwing up all over his size fourteen shoes. Disgusted and pissed off, the bouncer had made it very clear that the entire group of Julia’s friends needed to leave immediately.
Happy Saturday to everyone! Hard to believe it's already November, and that All You Need is Love releases in just eleven more days. Hope you enjoy this week's teaser photo, another creation from the wonderful Mel Jolly over at AuthorRX.
Good news - I remembered to post this week's excerpt on time! Only two more weeks until release date of the novella. Hope you have all been enjoying the excerpts so far (and be sure to add the book to your TBR list on Goodreads!)
Nathan had made himself scarce during her pampering session, and she found him ensconced in the living room watching a baseball game on the enormous flat screen TV. He had changed clothes, swapping out of his khakis and polo shirt into a very familiar light gray suit. She smiled as she recognized what he’d been wearing the night they’d spent together in New York, even the same shirt and tie. He’d also worn the exact same outfit on another, even more memorable occasion – last New Year’s Eve in Paris when he’d asked her to marry him.
“My favorite suit. Imagine that. Is this a special occasion or something?”
Nathan glanced up, grinning at the sight of her swaddled in a plush white hotel bathrobe, her hair piled in a messy topknot. He turned off the TV and walked over to her with a rather deliberate swagger in his step.
“Well, I kind of think of this as my lucky suit,” he drawled. “I mean, the first time I wore it for you I wound up getting very, very lucky. Multiple times, in fact.”
Julia’s freshly exfoliated and moisturized skin flushed a rosy pink as she recalled the night they’d spent in Nathan’s hotel room at the Plaza. She’d fallen in love with him that night, only to have him break her heart into a million tiny pieces the next morning.
But that was all in the past, and she never liked to remember that time in her life when she’d been sad and lost and longing for what could have been. Nathan had more than made all of that up to her, many times over, and he let her know every single day how much he loved her. What he had done for her today, for example, spoke volumes about the true depth of his feelings.
As he stood directly in front of her, Julia pretended to straighten his tie. “Hmm, and I recall another time when you wore this exact ensemble. You got pretty lucky that night, too.”
He chuckled, running the backs of his knuckles across her cheek. “The luckiest, baby. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, you know, that you’d say yes.”
She smiled. “How could anyone say no to a ring like this one?” She held up her left hand, on which sparkled the gorgeous square cut engagement ring he’d slid on there the night he’d proposed.
Good morning and hope that everyone is having a great weekend so far. Mine is just beginning as it's only 7am out here on the West Coast but wanted to post this week's teaser photo before the day gets too crazy. Just over two weeks remaining until All You Need is Love releases everywhere (and for the bargain price of just 99 cents!)
Once again I let Wednesday pass me by without posting a new excerpt from All You Need is Love - so sorry! Only excuse this week is being deeply immersed in writing Angela's story. I did mark my calendar for the next two weeks until release so no more late posts, I promise! Better late than never, here's this week's sneak peak.
He kissed her softly, tasting the blended flavors of their male and female essences on his tongue. It made for a heady, almost aphrodisiacal combination. Nathan smiled ruefully to see the mess he’d made of her hair, and how her dress was still shoved up almost to her waist. He didn’t have to look at himself in the mirror to know he was even more disheveled, with his pants still tangled around his ankles, his shirt clinging damply to his heaving chest, and his own hair likely sticking up in half a dozen places.
It was almost always like this with the two of them, however, he thought with a wicked grin. The sex was always hot, usually more than a little dirty, and starting to edge a bit towards the kinky side as well. Most of the time, Julia really, really liked it when he bossed her around in the bedroom, and especially the occasional encounters when he might bind her hands together with one of his ties, or blindfold her with a silk scarf. He hadn’t been kidding earlier when he’d told her that the two of them had already checked off a whole bunch of his sexual fantasies.
And while she was more often than not willing to cede him control of their sexual encounters, there were certainly numerous occasions when she took charge, and it was always a wild ride when she did. He loved both sides of her equally – the sexy submissive and the delectable dominatrix. She was the perfect woman, both in and out of bed, and he thanked his lucky stars several times a day that she was his. And in less than two months, she would well and truly be his – his bride, his wife, his partner for the rest of their lives together.
Julia gave a little squeal of surprise when Nathan gave her a fierce, almost possessive hug, and then buried his face against the side of her neck.
“I love you, Julia,” he told her, the passion evident in his voice. “So damned much. Sometimes I don’t think mere words can begin to tell you how much.”
“I know,” she replied softly, her hand stroking the side of his face. “You show me how much every day, Nathan. I feel loved every minute that I’m with you. And I love you, too, baby. Though I’d love you a lot more if we could get up off this wood floor and into our bed. My ass is starting to get sore.”
So sorry for forgetting until today about posting the weekly excerpt from All You Need is Love! Suffering a bit this week from what I can only call "head in the clouds syndrome". Better a bit late than never, hope you enjoy this week's sample!
The cab driver chose to mostly ignore their heated make-out session in the back seat, but the same couldn’t be said for the carload of horny, voyeuristic teen-aged boys in the lane to their left. It was the enthusiastic honking of the car’s horn that finally caused Nathan to stop kissing his very eager fiancée and lift his head. When he saw the three grinning faces pressed against the car windows, all giving him the thumbs-up, he flushed a bright shade of red and gingerly eased Julia off his lap.
“Uh, baby, we sort of have an audience,” he whispered urgently, indicating his head to the left.
“Hmm?” Julia was still more than a little dazed from the way he’d been all but devouring her mouth and how she’d been basically dry-humping him very, very eagerly. She lifted her gaze and then gave a shriek of alarm when she spied the leering masculine faces directed her way, in particular the one in the middle who was even now making a rather obscene gesture that she didn’t even want to try and interpret.
“Oh, God.” Mortified, she hid her face in her hands and scooted several inches away from Nathan. “What in the world is he doing with his hands anyway?”
Nathan grimaced, then scowled at the horny young men before patting Julia on the shoulder. “Uh, trust me, you don’t want me to explain. It would just really, really gross you out. Ah, good, they’re turning left up here.”
Still hiding her face, Julia shook her head. “I can’t believe we were just being gawked at that way. Don’t their parents teach them any manners?”
He burst out laughing, and cuddled her close. “Baby, they all looked about fifteen years old and bursting with hormones. Good manners are the last thing on their minds, trust me. Right about now they’re probably all fantasizing about humping you themselves. Which means I’ve got the brainpower of a high school sophomore, because I’m having the exact same fantasy.”
It's already Saturday, which means it's time to reveal another teaser photo for All You Need is Love. I just had several gorgeous new photos designed for my by the awesome Mel Jolly at AuthorRX so I hope you enjoy her wonderful designs as much as I do!
Today is the final stop on the Inevitable Promo Blitz Tour. Hosting today is Hooked on Books Forever blogspot - many thanks to them for doing this! One final day remaining to enter the giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card and two $5 Amazon gift cards. Be sure to visit Hooked on Books Forever for your chance to win!
I'm pleased to announce that the first installment of extra/bonus scenes from Splendor has been published as a free read on Goodreads! Just use the link below to bring you to the book. Please note the extra scenes can only be read in your browser as an epub or PDF file. Hope you enjoy and look for more bonus scenes in the coming months.
How quickly the weeks are flying by! Just over a month now until the novella releases. Until then hope everyone is enjoying the weekly excerpts. Here's this week's.
They both collapsed in a sweaty, messy heap afterwards, Julia’s upper body somehow hanging half off the bed. Nathan gave his head a little scratch as he tried valiantly to figure out how that might have happened. He propped himself up on an elbow and grinned as he stared down at his beautiful girl.
She made quite a sight as she lay beneath him, their bodies still joined intimately. Her eyes were still tightly shut and her breathing raspy. Mascara was smudged beneath her eyes, and her lips looked bee-stung from the aggressive way he’d been kissing her. She had one boob in and one out of that sexy little bra, and her skin was moist with their combined perspiration. One of her legs was bent out at an angle, and somewhere along the way she’d lost a shoe. She looked incredibly sexy, impossibly gorgeous, and very, very well-fucked.
Julia blinked up at him, the look in her big green eyes more than a little dazed. “Hey, there,” she murmured teasingly. “Does this mean you missed me?”
He burst out laughing and carefully, regretfully, withdrew from her before rolling onto his side and tugging her into his arms. “Yeah, baby, you could definitely say that. Enough so that you’ll never again get me to agree to spending even one night apart, much less three. Girl getaways suck. And whoever thought up that idiotic term anyway?”
She grinned and slid her palm to his cheek. “Probably some girl who didn’t have the dirtiest talker in town waiting in her bed,” she quipped. “And I don’t plan to spend any other nights away from you, lover boy. Except –” she paused.
Nathan frowned. “What? Do not tell me you agreed to go on some crazy-ass adventure with your sister. I don’t care what bullshit she feeds you, Julia, you are not -”
“Hush.” She laid a palm over his mouth. “I’m not going anywhere with Lauren. Her idea and mine of a great vacation are light years apart. She’d be all about camping with the nomads in the Sahara Desert while I’d be getting a massage at a five star hotel in the French Riviera. No, when I started talking about spending a night apart I was referring to – well, the night before the wedding. It’s, um, sort of traditional, you know.”
He smiled at her indulgently. “I get it. And I agree – reluctantly, though. While I don’t like the idea one bit I realize your parents – especially your dad – will probably insist on it.”
Two more stops on the Inevitable Promo Blitz tour. First stop is at Undercover Book Reviews - please be sure to stop by for your chance to enter the giveaway! http://undercoverbookreviews.blogspot.com/2014/09/inevitable-series-by-janet-nissenson.html
Second stop is at Mia's Point of View. Mia has written an absolutely BEAUTIFUL review of Serendipity, one of the best overall reviews I've ever read of any book regardless of whether it's one or mine or not! http://www.miasworldview.blogspot.gr/
Thanks to both of these wonderful bloggers for playing host to the tour! And continued thanks to Truly Schmexy Promotions for organizing this tour.
Since I post excerpts and teasers on both Facebook and this blog, I occasionally forget to update both of them. Just realized that I've forgotten to post teaser photos #2 and #3! So I'll just go ahead and post both of them here and now and promise to do a better job of remembering in the future!
Wednesday already! Hope everyone enjoys this week's excerpt from All You Need is Love!
Julia suggestively slipped her index finger between his lips, then gave a little gasp when he bit down on it lightly. “Though it’s probably a good thing we don’t actually work on projects together all that often,” she confessed. “I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t get a whole lot accomplished each day.”
Nathan chuckled as she drew her hand away. “Depends on what you consider an accomplishment, I guess. If you’re talking about completing designs and holding meetings with clients, then I agree. But if you mean how many times I can get you off in a single day, then I’d be the most productive employee ever known.”
She felt her cheeks grow warm, even as she gave a little eye roll. “And a modest one, too. That confident in your, um, abilities, are we?”
In response, he slid his hand back up beneath her skirt, not stopping this time until he reached the crotch of her silky thong. At her little “ooh” of surprise, he gave a throaty laugh before murmuring in a low, suggestive tone, “Don’t forget I know exactly how to get you off, Julia, and exactly how long it takes to do so. Given how wet your undies are right now, I’m betting it wouldn’t take more than ninety seconds.”
Stop by Just Booked for today's stop on the Inevitable Promo Blitz. This stop includes excerpts, new teaser photos, never before released "Dream Cast" for Serendipity, plus another chance to enter the giveaway to win Amazon gift cards! Thanks to Just Booked for hosting!
Three stops so far today (more are scheduled buy haven't posted yet). Be sure to stop by the following blogs and enter the giveaway for a chance to win Amazon gift cards. Thanks to all of the participating blogs and especially to Truly Schmexy Promotions for organizing!
Starting on Monday, September 29 follow along on the Serendipity/Splendor promo blitz organized by Truly Schmexy Promotions! I'll post daily links to the participating blogs where you can enter the giveaway for a chance to win some Amazon gift cards. And if you haven't read the first book in the Inevitable series yet - Serendipity - you still have plenty of time to do so before the follow-up wedding novella - All You Need is Love - releases on November 12. See the Store link on this website for purchase details.
As promised, this is the first of the weekly photos, to be posted until release week of November 12.
Here is this week's excerpt - hope everyone enjoys! Also, just realized I forgot to post the teaser photo from this past Saturday here on the blog so look for that a bit later on today.
Julia was instantly concerned at the note of sadness in her sister’s voice, definitely not a tone she was used to hearing from Lauren. “I thought you loved your job. This is the job you dreamed of having since you were twelve years old.”
Lauren sighed. “I love the job – the travel, the excitement of seeing new places, capturing images to share with the rest of the world. It’s all – ” she made an impatient gesture with her slim, graceful hands – “the other bullshit I hate. Like having to stop here en route to and from assignments, and having to sit through monotonous strategy and recap meetings. I hate that crap.”
“Is that because Ben happens to be at all of those meetings?”
Lauren’s head whipped around in reaction at her sister’s quietly spoken words. Her green eyes were giving off dangerous sparks. “Baby sister, I have had nowhere near enough to drink tonight to even think of discussing Ben with you. And frankly I’m not sure I ever will. So drop it, okay?”
Lauren stood and padded over to her sister in slim, bare feet. Julia was startled, both at the quick, fierce hug her twin gave her, and the softly spoken words she murmured next.
“It’s enough for me to see you and Angela happy, okay? Not everyone’s life turns out like a fairytale. Now, let’s get some sleep, hmm? It’s the bride’s turn this time to try on dresses, and if I know you that could take most of the day.”
Starting with today's excerpt below, I'll be posting a different excerpt every Wednesday between now and book release date of November 12. There might also be a few additional teasers in the form of photos that I'll include from time to time. Hope you enjoy this first glimpse at the Serendipity wedding novella!
The waitress had just refilled everyone’s coffee cups when Julia happened to glance across the crowded room and noticed the man staring over at their table. She might have been a very happily engaged woman, with an insanely handsome fiancée who could get her hot with just a smile, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t appreciate an exceptionally fine specimen of pure male from time to time. Like the hottie who continued to gaze over at their table with an expression of mingled curiosity and bewilderment. Though he wasn’t her usual type, Julia could find little to nothing at fault with the man’s ruggedly handsome face covered in dark blond stubble.
Lauren was busily stirring more sugar into her fresh cup of coffee as she glanced over at her sister. “What are you staring at, Jules? Did you see someone you – ah, shit.”
Julia frowned at the unmistakable sound of disgust she heard in Lauren’s voice, and looked away from the handsome stranger. Her sister’s face was set in a tight, angry expression and her green eyes, identical to Julia’s own, were blazing emerald fire.
“What’s wrong now?” asked Julia in exasperation.
Lauren swore softly beneath her breath. “Damn it, I can’t believe he’s actually got the balls to walk over here.”
“Who?” Julia followed her sister’s narrowed gaze and spied the handsome stranger walking towards their table, a rather bemused expression on his face.
“My boss,” muttered Lauren ungraciously. “God, you’d think I could sneak into town a few days early and not run into anyone from the office, wouldn’t you?”
Angela, who’d overhead this last bit, stared at Lauren in surprise. “That’s your boss? The one you’re always bitching about?”
“The infamous Ben the Bastard?” chimed in Julia.
Lauren took a gulp of her coffee, swearing when it burned her tongue, and positively glowered. “That’s him. And don’t let his good looks fool you. Beneath all that phony charm, he is definitely a bastard.”
Can't believe it's been over a month since my last blog post - too busy with writing, editing, traveling, etc. but promise to do a better job from now on!
Exciting news! We have an official title, cover release, and release date for the Serendipity wedding novella. The title is All You Need is Love and it will be releasing on November 12. It's a 150-page novella that covers the six months after Nathan proposed to Julia on New Year's Eve in Paris and includes their very romantic wedding. You will also get some more hints about both Angela's and Lauren's stories and also get to visit with Tessa and Ian from Splendor. The novella is a funny, sweet and sexy story.
I'll post pre-order info as soon as it's available but likely won't be until shortly before release date.
The cover is not in the same style as that of Serendipity and Splendor, since it costs quite a bit to have a custom designed cover made. All You Need is Love will be priced at just 99 cents so I had to stick to a stricter budget for this cover. However, I'm very pleased with the results and hope you will be, too.
I'll start posting snippets from the novella next week and continue for each week until release date.
Next up for me is Angela's book, titled Shattered where you will finally get to meet the mystery man who has had such a profound impact on her life. Right now I'm looking at a tentative Feb. 2015 release date.
It feels like it's been forever since I've written a bonafide blog post. Between promoting my latest book and working on my next release, there's been little time to devote to anything else. I did want to share with everyone, however, a post that I wrote a couple of months ago for a guest spot on another blog. I've added to and revised it slightly from the original post. It concerns reader and blogger reviews, and encourages all of us to maybe just be a little bit nicer to each other, especially when it comes to posting book ratings and reviews.
If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Then …
Did you know that the tried and true saying “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all” was not written about book reviews? It was actually a line in the Disney animated classic Bambi and was said by that sweet little bunny rabbit Thumper.
But the saying can certainly be applied to book reviews, in particular ones that are written by us average readers who really aren’t trained or experienced enough to write a bona fide review. I applaud the increasing number of book bloggers and reviewers who simply won’t post a scathing review or rating if they didn’t like a particular book. Most of these have a policy that if they can’t in all honesty give a book at least a three star review then they will not post anything at all. This is a practice that I would strongly encourage more of us to adopt, whether we have our own official book blog or just like to post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. If you’re a reviewer or blogger and truly feel the need to express your opinion on the book, might I suggest that you email the author directly with some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism about what didn’t work for you with the book and maybe some ideas on how it could have been improved. I have very little respect for bloggers who practically insult writers or post a review that is basically unkind and downright mean. Guess whose blogs I won’t be reading ever again?
Unless you’ve written a book yourself, or at least tried to, I’m not sure you can understand the amount of work, passion, and frustration that can go into the process. Even though it’s a work of fiction, there’s a part of your own self contained within those pages, a part that you are sharing with whoever reads your book. It takes tremendous courage to put yourself (or in this case your written words) out there for the whole world to read, and I personally applaud anyone who is brave enough to do this. Self-publishing has made it possible for almost anyone who ever dreamed about writing a book to do so. Who then gives the rest of us the right to cut those dreams into little pieces by bashing what these writers have worked so hard to get published? Bad ratings or reviews can really destroy any chance a book has to succeed, and in the process cruelly crush the dreams of the writer.
I’ve read some truly awful books in recent years, ones that I’ve either had to force myself to finish or that were so badly written that I just couldn’t find a way to keep on reading. But as bad as the writing might have been I still had nothing but respect for the author and for what they had accomplished in getting this book to print. There was no possible way that I was going to badmouth this book and maybe influence another reader not to give it a try. Because what I might have found badly written and not the least bit enjoyable could have been interpreted in a much different way by another reader. And in fact I have seen some books that I just couldn’t force myself to finish receive glowing five-star reviews from other readers. I seldom read reviews prior to deciding whether or not I want to buy a particular book, because I so often find my opinion is not necessarily shared by others. I’ve both found some great books that were not always highly rated, and also scratched my head after reading highly rated books and wondering what all the fuss was about.
The other part of this process that I would encourage everyone to do is not take into account whether or not you like the characters or parts of the plot when writing your review. Instead, ask yourself if the book was well written and engaging, whether or not the heroine made some of the stupidest decisions ever or if the hero was a big time jerk (until, of course, he finally saw the error of his ways). I held off for the longest time reading a particular book that is part of a very popular (and very controversial) series. I’m not naming the book and let me say that when I finally made the decision to read it I knew pretty much, based on reviews and the synopsis, what I was getting myself in for. I thoroughly detested every single character in that book, hated all the excessive swearing, violence, crime, cheating, and overall despicable behavior, and knew I likely wouldn’t read any other books in the series because this type of story just wasn’t my thing. BUT – despite my overall dislike of the plot and characters I had nothing but admiration for the writer and her writing skills. The admittedly controversial plot was also original, extremely realistic and very well written. So here is a prime example of an unlikeable group of characters contained within a very well executed book. I chose not to rate or review the book simply because I didn’t want my feelings about it to possibly influence other readers, but at the same time I found I could put my own feelings aside to still greatly admire the writer’s skill and I do understand why so many people like this series.
Here’s another great example of this type of scenario. In Gone With The Wind, the character of Scarlett O’Hara is neither a very nice nor a very likeable person. She’s selfish, headstrong, impulsive, and downright mean at times. She makes some very poor decisions and at times you truly would love to throttle her. But there’s no denying that she is one of the great characters in American literature and that the book itself a timeless masterpiece. If reviewers had given this book a low rating because they didn’t like the heroine or her actions, that would have shown very poor judgment on their parts.
So I hope more of you will join me in adopting a policy of not rating anything on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. unless you can honestly give it three stars or above. If you feel it only deserves one or two stars, I would encourage you to simply not rate or review the book at all. I’ve gone ahead and removed books from my to-be-read list because I honestly could not give them a high enough rating. Let’s all strive to be more like little Thumper, especially when it comes to book reviews, and keep our negative opinions to ourselves. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all rather than something negative. Or, to quote yet another proverb, silence is golden.
Join me tomorrow, July 18, at 1pmPDT (4pm on the east coast) when I "takeover" the Facebook page for Book Monster Promotions. All of the participating authors will be offering a great array of prizes such as e-books and other swag. I'll be giving away two free copies of Splendor as part of my giveaway. You can join in all the fun here https://www.facebook.com/events/310155519150631/
For the month of July I'll be posting daily snippets (actually, more like quotes) from both Splendor and Serendipity, one in the morning and one later in the day. These will be posted to my Facebook page so if you haven't already "liked" my page please do so and you'll then get the updates in your daily feed.
ALSO--I am THIS close to reaching 500 likes on my Facebook page so if you haven't liked me I'd be forever grateful if you could do that AND ask any other lovers of steamy contemporary romance to do the same.
Hard at work right now on the Serendipity novella. It's tentatively titled All You Need Is Love but that could change, not 100% sure I love the title. I hope to have it released in early autumn, and then follow it up a couple of months later with Shattered which will tell the story of Angela and her mysterious former lover.
Hope everyone is having a great summer so far and wishing you all a safe and happy July 4th (for those who celebrate this, of course!)
Whew! Finally catching my breath a bit after the hectic day yesterday. Between the release everywhere of Splendor, I participated in the Book Enthusiast Promotions Facebook Takeover Party, where I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of new authors and fans. It's been great to see so many new Facebook likes, Twitter and Pinterest followers! Many thanks to all of you for reaching out to say hello!
I've been greatly enjoying the early reviews for Splendor and want to thank all of the bloggers/reviewers and readers who have weighed in thus far. Everyone seems to be in agreement that Ian is perhaps the ultimate book boyfriend (though at age 40 the term "boy"friend might be pushing it a bit!) But there's no denying his overwhelming hotness and I'm glad that everyone seems to be falling in love with him as much as Tessa did. He's going to be a very difficult act to follow!
If you haven't already added Splendor to your TBR list at Goodreads, I'd be forever grateful if you did so, and even more grateful if you read the book and give it an honest rating/review. Spread the word to other readers and friends as well.
Thanks to everyone for your support and words of encouragement. Back to work next week on writing Julia and Nathan's wedding novella, then on to Angela's story (which is going to be much darker and emotional than either Julia's or Tessa's tale).
Today begins a 2-week blog tour with Book Monster Promotions. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win Amazon gift cards!
I'll be "taking over" the Book Enthusiast Facebook page tomorrow, June 17, between 9-10am EST. Join all of the participating authors and look for chances to win some great prizes! The link to the event is here.
With the official release date tomorrow, here is the final snippet from Splendor. Don't forget that the book is already available at Amazon and releases at all other retailers tomorrow. Hope you enjoy!
Ian closed his eyes, muttering something beneath his breath, before standing abruptly and pushing his chair back. “Let’s go,” he said roughly, stepping around the table to pull her chair out. “Otherwise, I’m going to kiss you right here in front of all these people and it will take an awful lot to make me stop.”
Looking forward to a great blog tour with Book Enthusiast Promotions! Tour dates are from June 16-20 and the schedule can be found here. Thanks to Debra for organizing this!
Less than 48 hours now until Splendor is available everywhere! Don't forget you can already buy the e-book at Amazon. Here's today's snippet to enjoy.
The phone calls and texts they’d exchanged since Monday morning weren’t nearly enough to make up for not having her in his arms, and he badly needed to see her alone, even for a few minutes. Ian realized this was uncharted territory for him – this almost stalker-like behavior he was engaging in – but he couldn’t help this obsession he felt for her. He was taking a risk, of course, with so many people in the office this morning, but he was more than ready to throw caution to the wind just for five minutes with her.
With the official release date of June 17 just days away, today marks the final Snippet Saturday for Splendor. Don't forget, the e-book is already available for purchase at Amazon and will release at all other retailers on Tuesday. Enjoy this week's teaser photo and excerpt!
Tessa caressed his smooth shaven cheek, inhaling deeply of his clean, masculine scent. “Tonight, though, will be for you. I know you held back last night, even though you must have wanted more.”
“Hush.” He placed a finger over her lips. “Darling, what you don’t realize is that I’m deliriously happy to have you any way I can. Whether it’s slow and sweet like it was last night, or hard and dirty, it’s always the most intense feeling in the entire world for me. And, yes, I did hold back – I always feel like a rampaging beast when I’m near you – but that was what last night called for. But it was every bit as wonderful, Tessa, every bit as satisfying.”
She pressed closer against him, her lips caressing the strong column of his throat. “For me, too. But I want to give you what you need tonight. I want you to take me however you like. I want,” she told him huskily, staring deep into his eyes, “to surrender.”
So exciting! Splendor has been released a few days early and is now available for sale at Amazon.com! Buy link is below and is also listed on the Store page of this website. Hope you all enjoy!
He raised a brow at her expectantly. “Well, then, you’d best get on with it, hadn’t you? I made dinner reservations for seven-thirty so there’s not much time to waste.”
Tessa frowned, glancing at the wall clock. “But it’s not even one-thirty, we have hours yet.”
Ian smiled meaningfully. “Ah, but I have other plans for you this afternoon as well. And you’ll likely need both a hot shower and a long nap afterwards.”
Here's today's little excerpt from Splendor.
Meanwhile, Tessa continued to feel a little thrill each time she got a flirty little text from Ian. It was almost like they were high school sweethearts, exchanging naughty messages during English class. Except that she’d never had a real boyfriend in high school, and had certainly never been carefree enough to text flirt with one. So she allowed herself this indulgence now, this feeling like she was sixteen again and flirting with the really hot guy she’d had a mad crush on for two years.
Just six more days until Splendor releases and you can swoon to Tessa and Ian's gorgeous love story! Hope you enjoy today's little treat.
The quiet, mellow morning was one of the most enjoyable that Ian had ever spent in this big, often lonely house. He typically spent so much time traveling on business, attending meetings or social events that he wasn’t actually here all that much.
But he could certainly make a strong case for spending a great deal more time at home provided that Tessa kept him company as she was right now.
I'll be posting a shorter snippet each day until Splendor releases next Tuesday, June 17. Here's today's sample.
Tessa’s eyes flew open to find Ian gazing down at her, his handsome features filled with amusement. She shivered as he ran one long finger over the bridge of her nose down to her lips. His stubble was even darker and heavier this morning, his hair mussed, and she thought how incredibly sexy he looked this way – quite a change from the suave, elegant man who strode through the office with such authority. He looked wilder, rougher, but at the same time softer and more approachable.
Only one more snippet/teaser photo to go after this week! However, starting Tuesday, June 10 I'll be posting a much briefer snippet each day until release date of June 17. Here's this week's.
She had begun sleeping in the nude when she was with Ian, his body heat more than enough to keep her warm at night. She loved snuggling up against his big, hard body, entwining her limbs with his, and falling asleep in his arms. His heated gaze fell on her high, lush breasts, the pale apricot nipples peaking instantly beneath his regard.
“Christ, I’d love nothing better than to tumble you back on these sheets and slide inside of you for a few hours,” he rasped. “You’re so beautiful, Tessa. Like a goddess – Aphrodite, I think, the goddess of love and beauty. Except that even she would have been jealous of you.”
She sighed, twining her arms around his neck, her nipples brushing up against his shirt. “Yes, but only because she would have wanted you for herself. And you’re my man, no one else can ever have you. “
Ian grinned, his hands spanning her waist. “Getting possessive, are we? Good, because I feel the same way about you.”
The book blast for Splendor takes place next week, June 10-13. Thanks to Literati Author Services for organizing this great event! The current schedule can be viewed via this link.
Only two more Snippet Saturdays until Splendor releases on June 17 (though there may be a few additional "surprises" in the final week before release day!) Hope everyone enjoys this week's excerpt and photo.
He drew both of her arms above her head, then pinned her wrists against the wall with just one of his big hands. He used his other hand to caress her cheek, his thumb brushing gently over her lips and causing her mouth to gape open in surprise. His hand continued its downward path, brushing over her collarbone and shoulder, traveling down her arm and the side of her ribcage and then, ever so slowly, back up her abdomen until it stopped just below her breasts.
“Christ, look at you.”
His voice was guttural, barely recognizable, and filled with so much raw need that Tessa was nearly swooning.
“Ah, God.” That was her voice, more like a long, drawn out moan, as his hand cupped one swollen breast. His thumb expertly manipulated the taut bud of her nipple through the lace of her bra, and his touch was like an electric shock that pulsed through her entire body.
With a low growl, Ian leaned into her, shoving her further back against the wall. His mouth descended towards hers, and her head fell back helplessly as his warm, firm lips caressed a sensuous path from her temple to her flushed cheek to the soft spot just below her ear. His hot mouth continued moving across her throat, to her chin, and then finally to claim her mouth in a blistering, domineering kiss.
Only three more snippets/photos until release date of June 17! Here's this week's below. Thanks to Luigia Tella for creating the beautiful photo!
He picked up her hand and brought it to his cheek. “You’ll soon learn, Tessa, that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.”
Her glossy pink mouth fell open in a round “O” of surprise at his quietly impassioned declaration. He was astonished to see the shimmer of tears in her eyes, and his heart ached as one teardrop began to trickle slowly down her rosy cheek.
“You’re so good to me,” she whispered. “So kind. I don’t have any idea how I got this lucky.”
“Darling.” He reached across and softly kissed each of her eyelids, brushing the tears away with his thumb. “It’s not luck – it’s fate. You were meant for me all along, Tessa. It just took a while for the stars to align properly.”
Exactly one month from today Splendor will release everywhere. Until then I hope you continue to enjoy these snippets and teaser photos. Here's this week's.
Ian drummed his fingers on the table impatiently until Kevin slinked out of the room. Mere seconds later he was quietly shutting and locking the door, and then he very nearly flew across the room until he was jerking Tessa into his arms.
“Just so we’re perfectly clear,” he bit out, each word enunciated slowly, “you are not going on a date with any lawyers, doctors, or anyone else that little f*cker offers to set you up with. You are not “getting out there” to find a new man. Because you already have a new man in your life, and he’s damned sure not willing to share you.”
“Ian - ” Whatever she was about to say was quickly swallowed up by the fierce, desperate way he kissed her. She whimpered beneath the force of his lips and tongue, especially when his hand slid down her back to cup her ass. Tessa clutched the lapels of his suit jacket as he ground himself against the cleft of her thighs.
Tomorrow is going to be a rather crazy day for me, so I'm posting this week's snippet and teaser photo a bit early.
Ian had imagined this particular scenario dozens of times in the past two and a half years – a warm and willing Tessa spread out on his bed, her lush, ripe body bared to his devouring gaze, and her big blue eyes silently pleading with him to take her any way he pleased. But none of those fantasies could come close to the real thing – the gorgeous, nearly-naked beauty who was staring up at him in wide-eyed wonder, her golden hair tumbled over his pillow.
“How beautiful you are,” he murmured, as he dipped his head, his lips brushing her forehead. “How many times I’ve wished for you to be here just like this, and now it’s finally come true.” His mouth moved to her temple, then to her rosy cheek before sliding around the curve of her jaw and back up the other side of her face. She was already moaning in arousal, making those little noises that were so incredibly sexy, that made his cock swell a bit harder each time she made one.
Getting a little closer each week to release date! In the meanwhile, hope you continue to enjoy these snippets and teaser photos.
Tessa deftly undid his tie, before starting on the buttons of his shirt. He gasped as she nuzzled her face against his bare chest, her hands splaying over his abs.
“What a beautiful man you are,” she murmured huskily. “And you always smell delicious. I’ll never, ever get enough of your scent.”
He groaned, his hands sliding into her hair as he attempted to kiss her, but she playfully swatted him away as she took a step back. “Tsk, tsk, Mr. Gregson. No touching until I say so. Otherwise, I might have to punish you.”
He laughed in delight and acquiesced, letting his hands fall to the side. “Very well, my little Dominatrix. After all, the last time anyone spanked me was when I was a boy of five , when I made the very unwise mistake of sassing my nanny. Though I expect I’d enjoy your brand of punishment far more than I did Nanny Warner’s.”
Tessa laid a finger over his mouth. “Shh. No more talking. And definitely no sassing.”
Hope you enjoy this week's snippet from Splendor plus the gorgeous teaser photo!
Tessa hadn’t missed the way the mostly female patrons eyed him admiringly, and she couldn’t blame them in the least. He was so handsome, so compelling, that she couldn’t take her eyes off of him even for a minute. Ian did everything with a masterful touch, whether it was directing his division of the company, choosing clothes for her, or ordering their lunch. She envied him his easy confidence; the way he commanded respect and attention – both male and female – without much more than a glance; and the natural charisma that drew admiring looks even when he went out of his way to be discreet.
He was clean shaven this morning, but she knew that his five o’clock shadow would start appearing sooner than later. He wasn’t wearing a suit since it was a Saturday, but the perfectly pressed gray wool slacks and black fisherman’s sweater worn over a crisp white shirt were still elegant and classy, giving him the look of a 1940’s cinema star – a Cary Grant or Clark Gable.
Because it's already Saturday somewhere, here's this week's snippet and teaser photo. Hope everyone is enjoying these!
He smiled as his gaze flicked over her body. “Nice shirt. It looks much better on you than it does on me.”
Tessa laughed. “I disagree. I hope you don’t mind my borrowing it.”
His eyes twinkled at her mischievously. “Not at all. Though now I’m jealous of the shirt, even more so than your coat, because this is actually touching your bare skin.”
She placed her hand in his as he extended an arm towards her. “I may not give this back. It smells like you, after all.” She turned her face and inhaled deeply of the soft fabric.
Ian smiled. “You like the way I smell?”
Tessa nodded. “Yes, very much. I used to wish I could just bury my face against your chest and inhale your scent.”
His thumb brushed over her knuckles before he drew her hand to his lips. “So you were attracted to me at least a little?” he asked thoughtfully.
“More than a little. I confess to having quite a crush on you for a very long time.”
Even in the dimly lit room she could see how his eyes darkened at her confession. “Is that a fact? Well, it seems as though both of us spent far too much time pining for the other. We’d better start making up for lost time then, hadn’t we?"
I know it's only Friday, but since I'm heading out for a week's vacation I'm posting this week's snippet and photo one day early. Enjoy!
“Is this how you pictured me?” she breathed seductively. “How you’ve wanted me?”
His hands gripped her shoulders tightly as she knelt before him, her hand still stroking his erection. He made a raw, dangerous sound deep in his throat as he gazed down and saw what a decadent, carnal picture she presented – tendrils of blonde hair escaping her ponytail to curl about her flushed cheeks; her blue eyes huge and round as they stared up at him wantonly; her lips full and trembling, eager to suck him off and give him untold pleasure. She still wore the unzipped exercise bra, her ripe tits fully bared to his gaze, the nipples hard and pointed. She looked like sex incarnate, the most tempting, irresistible beauty he could ever imagine, and she was his – all his – to do with as he pleased.
Hope everyone enjoys this week's sneak peak, as well as the wonderful teaser photo submitted by Luigia Tella. Splendor releases everywhere on June 17.
Ian picked up her hand, idly brushing his thumb over her knuckles. “You know I’ve broken all of my rules for you,” he began half-teasingly. “In all the years – decades, actually – that I’ve worked for my family’s company I have never dated or even flirted with a female employee.”
Tessa gave him an impish smile. “And I’m guessing it wasn’t for lack of opportunity. An awful lot of opportunities.”
He rolled his eyes at her. “Don’t believe all the gossip you hear, darling. I’ve worked hard to develop a reputation as a cold, unapproachable bastard over the years. It’s done a lot to keep most of the overly optimistic females at bay.”
She snuggled up against him, her hand creeping under his gray cashmere pullover to rub his lower back. “There’s nothing the least bit cold about you,” she whispered, her breath tickling his ear. “You’re actually really, really hot.”
Here's this week's sneak peek at Splendor. Hope you enjoy!
Ian had been more than a little surprised when he’d met Peter Lockwood for the first – and only – time at last year’s office Christmas party. Given that Tessa was such a knockout, he’d fully expected her husband to be a tall, well-built and equally good-looking young man. Instead, Peter had been a bit shorter than his wife, boyishly slim, and no more than average looking. It had been very obvious that he was uncomfortable at such a formal event, and certainly not used to dressing up. As Ian recalled, Peter had worn ill-fitting, mismatched trousers and jacket, a wrinkled shirt and skinny tie. His light brown hair had been on the longish side, secured back in a short ponytail, and one of his ears had been pierced.
Tessa’s husband had been so completely unlike what Ian had imagined him to look like that it had been a struggle to contain his shock when she had briefly introduced them. Still, Tessa had seemed entirely devoted to him, sticking to his side like glue, and listening intently to his every word.
Ian had been almost overwhelmed with jealousy that night, and he’d had more to drink than was usual for him. But no amount of alcohol had dimmed the empty ache in his heart as he’d watched Tessa hold hands or link arms with Peter. He’d been consumed with envy over a pale, skinny boy who had somehow managed to claim the most beautiful girl Ian had ever seen.
That was the only time he’d ever seen Tessa’s husband, and he had learned from Andrew that Peter was out of the country a great deal for his job. Ian thought passionately that if Tessa was his there was no way in hell he’d leave her alone for even two or three days, much less weeks.
His traitorous thoughts refused to let go of the memory of how it had felt – albeit very briefly – to have her lush body pressed up against his earlier today. His arm still burned from where one round, firm breast had been crushed against it. If he closed his eyes he could still feel the warm, silky skin of her arm where his hand had wrapped around it to steady her. He could smell the delicate, barely perceptible scent of her perfume or soap, a light, fleeting fragrance and not some overpoweringly strong odor. He’d been close enough to notice the charming blush on her cheeks, the wide roundness of her china blue eyes, and the way that decadently full mouth had trembled slightly. He didn’t know if she was physically attracted to him, or simply terrified, but she had definitely been aware. The knowledge of her reaction to him had given him a least a small measure of satisfaction.
‘What an ass you are, mate,’ he chastised himself. ‘So pathetically grateful for any imagined little reaction from her. You’re ten times worse than a schoolgirl with a mad crush on her favorite movie star. And just as hopeless.’
Here's this week's sneak peak at Splendor. Hopefully by next weekend I will have a release date posted.
“Tessa. This is a surprise to see you here. Was there something you needed?”
She dropped the pen she’d picked up from Andrew’s desk abruptly, and looked up as Ian Gregson appeared by her side. Tessa felt like all of the air had been sucked out of her lungs, and she suddenly forgot how to breathe. He had this effect on her every single time she was within a few feet of him, and she felt her cheeks flush.
“Um, I was just leaving a note for Andrew, sir,” she murmured. “There’s a bit of a discrepancy with one of the spreadsheets he asked me to do for you.”
“Ah, well, we can’t have that, can we?” he replied in a gentle voice. “Why don’t you show me the problem and let’s see if we can figure it out, hmm?”
“All-all right.” Tessa struggled to maintain her composure, for she was hyper-aware of the man standing right next to her. With her sensible heels on, she stood at five ten, but he still towered over her by a good six inches. He had removed his dark blue suit jacket and hovered next to her in his shirt sleeves. She stole a quick glance sideways and had to stifle a gulp when she noticed how the fine linen fabric stretched across his broad shoulders and the wide expanse of his chest.
And she thought faintly that no one had ever smelled as good as Ian Gregson did. It was an irresistible combination of soap, aftershave, and pure male, and it made Tessa long to burrow her face against that strong, muscular chest and take a long, luxurious sniff. Even without making any sort of physical contact, she could feel the heat pouring off his big body, and her nipples hardened automatically in response against the thin fabric of her dress.
As promised here is the first in a series of snippets from Splendor. Check back each week for another teaser.
While Ian awaited the return of his PA – who would definitely have some things to answer for – the image of young Tessa Lockwood refused to erase itself from his mind. For a man who could easily have his pick of beautiful, desirable women around the globe, it was rare that he was rendered virtually speechless by the mere sight of one. And rarer still that he was instantly and almost uncontrollably aroused by one. Ian was as controlled and in command of his sexual needs as he was of every other aspect of his life, so it was more than a little unsettling for him to have this sort of reaction to a woman.
And Tessa Lockwood was barely a woman. ‘Christ,’ he thought in near-disgust. ‘She looks like a damned teenager.’ But the fact that he was likely almost twice her age did absolutely nothing to diminish the attraction he felt for the breathtakingly beautiful girl who by some rather unfortunate set of circumstances was now working for him.
Following is the synopsis for Splendor. Estimated release date is going to be sometime in June, and I will publish the exact date within the next few weeks. I'll be posting weekly snippets here and on my Facebook page.
FYI, Splendor was actually the book I wanted to release first, but it soon became apparent to me that Serendipity had to be written first due to the timing of various events in both books. Ian is an amazing hero, hard not to fall completely in love with him, and I don't want his story to end anytime soon!
British hotelier Ian Gregson had it all – wealth, good looks, power, and a share in his family’s worldwide, multi-billion dollar luxury hotel chain. His very name was synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and any woman he wanted could be his with just a look. But the only woman he truly desired was strictly forbidden to him for too many reasons to count.
Tessa Lockwood was young, beautiful, and lonely, despite the fact that she was a married woman. Her life had not been an easy one, and the extravagant world she caught glimpses of as an employee of the Gregson Hotel Group was far beyond anything she could ever dream of. She could no more imagine herself ensconced in that sort of luxurious lifestyle than she could attracting the attention of her handsome, debonair boss.
Ian and Tessa secretly long for each other from afar, never daring to reveal their forbidden attraction to the other, until circumstances bring them together in a very unexpected way. And from that point on, nothing will stand in Ian’s way to finally make her his.
AUTHOR’S NOTE – despite what you might be thinking at this point, there is NO cheating in this story – just an incredibly romantic hero who will make you swoon with the way in which he sweeps the heroine off her feet!
Here's the brand new, gorgeous cover for Splendor, book #2 in the Inevitable series. Thanks to Damonza for working his design magic yet again !
Check back on Monday, March 10 for the synopsis and cover reveal for Book #2 in the Inevitable Series. The title is Splendor, and it is the love story of Ian and Tessa. Right now I'm hoping for a mid to late June release date but will know more as we get closer. Will be posting snippets on a weekly basis starting March 17.
Hope you enjoy reading my guest post at Book Monster Reviews. It's titled A Bevy of Billionaires and discusses how realistic (or not) this slew of mega-rich heroes really is.
Thanks to 3 Partners In Shopping and In The Pages of a Good Book for hosting stops on the Book Monster Promotions blog tour!
Serendipity will be starting a new two-week tour sponsored by Book Monster Promotions. First stop on the tour is at Rose & Beps Blog - thanks for hosting!
Today is the final stop on the Fire & Ice Blog Tour. Many thanks to We Love Kink for their terrific review. And, yes, to answer your question there will definitely be a book about Julia's twin sister Lauren - her story will be told in book #4 and it will be a wild ride!
Thanks to Memories In a Box for hosting today's stop on the blog tour. Review can be found here.
Thanks to Sweetie's Contemporary Romance blog for hosting today's stop on the blog tour. My guest post is all about the romance (or lack thereof) in today's romance novels.
Thanks to Cryptic Reads for hosting today's stop on the blog tour and for your great review! Much appreciated!
Thanks to Dawn's Disaster for hosting today's stop on the blog tour. Check out the two guest posts (one titled The Joy of Writing and the second Building The Perfect Book Cover), plus Dawn's review. Appreciate all the good feelings!
Thanks to Rage, Sex & Teddy Bears for hosting today's stop on the blog tour. Be sure to read my guest post on "Where Did All These Wrecked Characters Come From?" I also appreciate the insightful review!
Loved the recent reviews of Serendipity over at the Biblio Belles blog - http://www.bibliobelles.com/5/post/2014/02/biancas-review-serendipity-by-janet-nissenson.html and today's review/blog tour stop at Ramblings of a Book Lunatic - http://booklunaticramblings.blogspot.com/?zx=c75e5610bb7cf19a. I appreciate everyone's kind words and so happy that you enjoyed the story!
As part of the blog tour with Fire & Ice Tours, I was invited to contribute several guest posts. Below are links to two of them. The first is a blog about writing in third versus first person that was posted at Behind Closed Doors; the second is about creating the perfect book cover and that was posted today at The Complete Self-Publishing Indie Authors Resource Site. Hope you enjoy!
Big thanks to Musings of a Book Maven and Tome Tender for participating in the Fire & Ice Blog Tour! Links to both blogs are below. Special thanks to Tome Tender for the wonderful review!
Thanks to Michelle Abbott for her great review and for participating in the tour. Many thanks to Beth Owyn for participating! Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a free copy of the book or an Amazon gift card!
Be sure to read this interview at Fantastic Indie Authors, the first stop on my blog tour.
Click on the link below to see the most updated dates for my blog tour with Fire & Ice Tours. The tour starts this Wednesday, January 22. Be sure to follow us along!
Thanks, thanks, thanks to Brenda Wright at Twinsie Talk Book Reviews for her fabulous review of Serendipity! You can find a link to it right here.
I'm excited to announce the dates for my upcoming Blog Tour with Fire and Ice Books. They are January 22-February 19. Once all of the tour dates have been booked I'll post the full schedule here. We will be hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway in conjunction with the tour, and giving away copies of the book as well as an Amazon gift card.
Just a reminder/request that if you have read Serendipity, especially if you are a reviewer who received an ARC, it would be greatly appreciated if you can post your review on Goodreads and Amazon in addition to your blog if applicable. As a new author, interest in the book is driven by reviews so I would love to see a few of these pop up.
Christmas is just one week away! We are longing for some rain out here in northern California, since it's been the driest year on record. All my shopping is done, gift wrapping about half way there, and the cookie baking is officially in progress!
Not much progress being made as yet on Book Two. Too caught up with all the holiday prep but certainly looking forward to getting some serious writing time in after Christmas. I'll post the synopsis here as soon as possible and excerpts as we go along in the process. I'm hoping for a May release but that is extremely tentative.
Half a day early - Serendipity is now available for purchase at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Serendipity-Inevitable-Janet-Nissenson-ebook/dp/B00H7K6CZ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386635789&sr=8-1&keywords=janet+nissenson
Here's the final excerpt of Serendipity prior to its release tomorrow. Hope you enjoy! Download the e-book to read the rest of Julia and Nathan's love story!
On impulse, he decided to swing by Travis’ office, just to check in – and maybe, if he was being honest - quiz him about this hot new designer that the men in the office were all lusting after.
He grinned at Courtney, noting that her crazy eyeglasses today were purple with pink polka dots. Amazingly they were probably the most conservative part of her outfit. “New hair color?” he asked.
Courtney fingered the red-orange strands. “Yes, but I’m bored with it already. I’m thinking of something less bright, more Goth. Like purple.”
Nathan chuckled. Most people in the office didn’t get Courtney, thinking her too freaky with her ever-changing hair color and odd wardrobe, but he’d liked her spunky personality and offbeat sense of humor since Travis had hired her over two years ago.
“Well, knowing you, it won’t be boring. Travis busy?” he asked, nodding his head towards the half-open door to his partner’s office.
“He’s just finishing up with Julia, but I’m sure he won’t mind if you go in. Have you met her yet?”
Nathan froze at the mention of that name. He shook his head, telling himself his reaction was unfounded. There had to literally be tens of thousands of women in this country with that name. It was just some unfortunate coincidence that their newest employee shared the same name as the woman who’d rocked his world off its axis last year.
“Is she the new designer I’ve heard about? If so, then, no, I haven’t met her yet. But she’s evidently made quite an impression on Jake and Brent,” he replied wryly.
Courtney smirked. “A mannequin would make an impression on that slut Jake. Apparently he’s in a big snit because Julia won’t give him the time of day. He’s dreaming if he thinks she’d ever look twice at him anyway. Travis told me one of her old boyfriends is an NFL quarterback.”
Nathan raised a brow. “Well, now I’m curious. Time for me to meet this supposedly irresistible female.”
“You won’t be disappointed. Hey, I’m a girl – a straight girl despite all the lesbian cracks I know people make about me – and I think she’s hot.”
He was chuckling at Courtney’s candid outspokenness as he knocked briefly on Travis’ door, then walked in before his partner could invite him.
Travis glanced up from his desk chair at the unexpected interruption. “Yes, do just barge in, Nate,” he drawled sarcastically. “Don’t forget you only own half of this place, and that you’ve crossed the border into my territory.”
“Sorry to interrupt. Courtney seemed to think it was okay to come in.” he said sheepishly.
Travis clucked in annoyance before beckoning him in. “Fine. We’re just about done here anyway. Come on in and meet my absolutely brilliant new designer. You ought to see what she’s come up with already for the Gregson project. Julia, meet Nate Atwood, the less creative half of this place. Nate, this beautiful being is Julia McKinnon.”
Nathan walked to the far right of Travis’s desk just as the woman seated in one of the high-backed chairs facing the desk stood and turned towards him. The hand he was extending her way froze in mid-space, and he could only stare in mingled shock and panic at the woman he’d last seen fleeing his hotel room in Manhattan in tears. The woman that Jake had been lusting after this morning was, by some bizarre and unfortunate quirk of fate that he couldn’t begin to fathom at the moment, Julia – his Julia.
By the look of horror on her face, and the way she paled, this was as much of a shock to her as it was to him. The hand she placed limply in his was trembling, and he released it immediately.
“I – it’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Atwood,” she stuttered in a barely audible voice.
“And you, as well, Julia,” he replied stoically, following her lead. “Except you must call me Nathan. We’re not formal here.”
Travis was looking at the two of them oddly. “You both look like someone just died,” he drawled, a hint of his Southern accent noticeable. He rose to his feet, studying them carefully. “Have you two met before or something? I’m getting some really odd vibes here.”
Julia shook her head emphatically, while Nathan chimed in a bit too enthusiastically, “No, Travis. Everything’s fine.” He gave Julia a polite smile. “I’ve never met Ms. McKinnon before, though I’ve been hearing a great deal about her around the office.” His gaze dropped to her feet, noticing the sexy ankle straps of the shoes that Jake had mentioned. Absently, he wondered if those erotically sheer black stockings were pantyhose or – fucking hell – held up by garters. Aware of his face flushing, he returned his gaze to her face, which held a terse, almost angry expression.
“I thought for a moment that Nathan looked familiar,” replied Julia tightly, “but now I realize he’s a total stranger to me.”
Just found this beautiful photo and it really fits my vision of Julia (and her identical twin Lauren, whose story will be told in book #4), much better than the previous image.
It was still dark outside when Nathan woke, groggy from too little sleep and too much alcohol. But his head was pounding and his mouth so dry he could barely swallow, so he forced himself out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. He found some Advil in his toiletry kit, and tossed three back with a full glass of water. After seeing to his other needs, including brushing his teeth, he walked back into the bedroom.
He smiled sleepily as he viewed the disarray of clothing strewn about the room. He liked things tidy and in their place, so it was intuitive for him to begin picking up articles of clothing and neatly placing them on a chair. As he reached for each item of Julia’s, he couldn’t resist taking a curious glance at the labels.
Whatever it was she did for a living, it had to pay extremely well, because everything of hers was designer and expensive. The exquisite pink sheath dress was Moschino, size six; the sexy gray stilettos Yves Saint Laurent, also size six. Her gray bag was Bottega Venetta. He fingered the cream lace on her Victoria’s Secret bra, flipping the tag over to read the size – 32DD – and smiled. The little lady in his bed wasn’t so little in certain places, and he had to stifle a groan just thinking about those lushly full tits.
The pink lacy panties, however, eluded him for the moment and he was too drowsy to continue looking for them, sliding back into bed instead. But as tired as he was, he couldn’t resist pulling the duvet from Julia’s prone body carefully, baring her to his gaze.
He longed to touch her, to run a hand over the gentle curve of her hip or the sweet cheeks of her ass. Her legs weren’t long but were beautifully shaped, not skinny but leanly muscled. She had dainty, adorable feet, the toenails painted the same shade as her dress. Her skin was flawless, without a single freckle or mole to mar its creamy perfection.
Nathan smiled at the teeny little bulge of her tummy, finding it exquisitely feminine. He was glad she didn’t have the rock-hard, six-pack abs that some women at his gym seemed obsessed with achieving. He liked that Julia was slender and shapely but still soft and a tiny bit round. And, of course, there was the part of her body he seemed the most obsessed with – her breasts. He loved their round, high fullness, how they reminded him of big, pink pearls.
He couldn’t stop himself from rubbing his thumb over one soft pink nipple, manipulating it until it stiffened. In her sleep, Julia made a little sound of pleasure, and his hand grew bolder, cupping her breast. He was more than a little astonished to find himself growing hard again, figuring that she’d wrung the very last drop out of him with that soul-stealing blow job. He’d never come close to having this much sex in such a short span of time, would have never believed it physically possible, and could only reason that Julia was the cause. She was such a giving, responsive lover and certainly the hottest, sexiest woman he’d ever met. It was small wonder that all he had to do was look at her glorious body and become instantly erect.
Fully aroused now, he lowered his head and took her nipple in his mouth, suckling her hungrily. As he moved to the other breast, he felt Julia stirring beneath him, heard her soft groan of pleasure, felt her hands sliding into his hair.
He lifted his head, one hand still fondling a breast. “I’m sorry to wake you,” he whispered. “I just can’t keep my hands off of you. I guess I’m addicted.”
She smiled sleepily. “Mmm, we have the same addiction then, because I need another fix, too. I don’t think I’m ever going to get enough of you.”
Nathan slid behind Julia, turning her on her side and lifting one leg over his. She gasped when he entered her from that position, his chest spooned against her back. Their lovemaking this time was slow and careful, and infinitely tender. He captured her hand, their fingers entwined, as she arched her head back to meet his sweet, searching kiss. This time was in sharp contrast to the frantic, physical fucking they had done earlier, so much that Nathan’s chest ached from the beauty of it. They fit together so perfectly, their slow, sensuous movements in complete sync with each other, like this was a beautiful, dreamy dance.
Even their orgasms this time were quiet, though still deeply satisfying. He stayed buried inside of her as they fell asleep, unwilling to withdraw from her and break contact. Just before sleep claimed him again, he thought drowsily that he’d never felt so satisfied or content before.
Writing in first person seems to be the trend these days, as evidenced by the 50 Shades, Crossfire, etc. series. In other series, such as Christina Lauren's Beautiful books, the POV swings back and forth in first person between the male and female character. I honestly tried - I really tried - to write a bit in first person but it never felt quite right to me. For me, I like getting inside the head of both characters. I don't really enjoy trying to guess what's going on with the other person since we never get to see their POV. Additionally, by writing books in third person it also gives the writer the luxury of including scenes from other characters POV's, not just the lead male and female. For example, in Serendipity, there are scenes when the POV is from supporting characters including Cameron, Travis and Lauren. In my opinion, writing in third person just makes for an overall better rounded book, not to mention it doesn't drive the reader a little nuts always being inside the same person's head for the entire book. That's not to say that if the right set of characters and plot materializes in my brain one day that I wouldn't reconsider writing something in first person. But for now, call me nosy but I like the satisfaction of knowing what's going on in everyone's heads.
“How did you find me?”
Julia’s head swung to meet his gaze in disbelief. “Excuse me?”
Nathan leaned back in his desk chair, regarding her across the wide expanse of mahogany, with an expression of barely checked anger. “Come on, Julia. You don’t really expect me to believe that your working here is some sort of wild coincidence, do you? The only logical explanation is that you somehow found out who I was and where I worked, and was lucky enough that there was a job opening. The only real coincidence is that you happen to be an interior designer and that I co-own an architectural design firm.”
She stared back at him, appalled by his arrogance. “Are you kidding? Even assuming that I was able to figure out who you were – Mr. No Last Name, No Occupation, No City of Residence – why would you think I’d want to see you again, much less work with you?”
He shrugged, but his composure looked a bit less cocksure than it had. “Revenge, obsession. Maybe a little of both.”
Julia smirked. “Really? You think I somehow managed to find out your name – by what means I have no idea – then stalked you several thousand miles across the country because I wanted to get back at you? Or worse, because I craved another fuck? Sorry, you weren’t that good.”
Nathan’s eyes narrowed and shot out sparks of light blue fire. “That’s not what you said that night.”
Enraged, she got to her feet, leaning over his desk. “As I recall, both of us said a lot of things that night. But one of us intentionally neglected to say the one thing that would have instantly put a stop to everything else – something along the lines of ‘by the way, I’m already spoken for’.”
He winced at the angry lash of her words. “I deserve that, I suppose. But that still doesn’t explain how you found me or why you followed me cross country.”
She let out a rather undignified hoot of laughter. “For real, Nathan? You’ve still got me pegged as some Fatal Attraction-like stalker? Well, think on this one. I’m normally not a vain person, but I’m not naïve, either. I know I’m hot. Men have been telling me that since I was twelve. If I wanted a man that badly all I’d really need to do would be to walk inside the nearest bar or club or even a grocery store, and let nature take its course. It would take little to no effort on my part to get whatever man I wanted. And he sure as hell wouldn’t be one who’s already taken.”
Julia shook her head as Nathan offered to refill her glass yet again with the deliciously chilled Prosecco he’d ordered from room service to accompany their meal.
“No more for me, thanks. I’ll be too sleepy in a few minutes if I have any more to drink.”
He raised a brow, and filled his glass with the sparkling wine instead. “Well, we can’t have that, can we? I still have plans for you while the night is young.”
Her nipples instantly hardened beneath his white dress shirt that she’d pulled on when their food had arrived. A quick glance at the bedside clock showed that it was barely ten o’clock, and she wondered briefly how many more times he could reasonably be expected to perform tonight, given that he’d already come hard twice this evening. With her limited past experiences, she’d never had a lover who was good for more than two orgasms in one night. By the way Nathan’s blue eyes had begun to glitter, however, she had a feeling – a very, very good one – that he was more than ready for the next round.
The food he’d ordered – an interesting potpourri of a Portobello mushroom flatbread pizza, lobster mac and cheese, and white and milk chocolate covered strawberries – had done wonders to revive her after their very physical and exhausting lovemaking. She’d had just enough Prosecco to feel a slight, pleasant buzz, while still being extremely aware of the gorgeous, half-naked man seated just across from her.
And as she gazed at Nathan across the small corner table where they sat, she felt herself growing wet again, her nipples hardening merely from looking at him. He looked ridiculously sexy wearing just a low-slung pair of sweat pants, his beautifully defined chest and shoulders bare. His thick brown hair was mussed, and the dark stubble on his face lent him a rather roguish look. He was, as she’d told him earlier, a beautiful man in both face and body, and she couldn’t tear her eyes from him. She resisted the urge to lick her lips as her gaze continued to rove over his muscular arms and torso, before dropping to his crotch where his erection was already beginning to tent his pants. Evidently just looking at her was enough to arouse him, too.
He watched her in an almost predatory manner as he sipped his wine slowly and deliberately, neither of them saying a word. His gaze traveled from her tousled hair and flushed cheeks to her trembling mouth before dipping to her chest. He smiled knowingly at the sight of her nipples poking unmistakably against his shirt, but only refilled his glass yet again, emptying the bottle this time. Julia was nearly quivering in arousal as he continued to sip his wine leisurely, seemingly in no hurry whatsoever to satisfy his rather obvious need for her body. When he finally finished the last of the wine, he set the glass down and pushed his chair back from the table.
The softly spoken words were a command, not a request, and Julia got to her feet slowly, walking over to his chair on shaky legs. She tried not to shiver at the intensity she saw in his eyes, their gazes remaining locked as she stood in front of him. She was helpless to say no to him, to resist whatever he told her to do. This was all new to her, for the few previous lovers she’d been with had all treated her like she was something fragile and delicate. But she knew instinctively that she wouldn’t be able to deny Nathan whatever he wanted from her, and already had firsthand experience with his physical, demanding lovemaking. He had her spellbound, and she would do his bidding eagerly.
“Take the shirt off.”
A bit clumsily, she unbuttoned his shirt and let it pool at her feet, standing before him proudly nude. She suppressed a satisfied smile when she heard his sharp inhale, knowing that the sight of her naked body was arousing him.
Nathan is described in the book as having thick dark brown hair, glittering light blue eyes, and classically handsome features. Was there really much doubt that the inspiration for this character could be anyone but the truly stunning Matt Bomer? And fortunately he wears those designer suits really, really well!
This was the photo that inspired my image and descriptions of Julia. Of course the model in this photo has blonde hair while Julia is described in the book as having light brown locks so you need to use a bit of imagination. I'll post my photo inspiration for Nathan within the next few days - any guesses?
He used his thumb to trace over her slender fingers, noticing that she kept her nails neatly tapered and covered in a clear polish. He liked that look, never having been a fan of long, pointed nails covered in bright red gloss. He noted that she wore no rings, her only jewelry a pearl bracelet and a matching pair of dainty drop earrings. God, she was gorgeous, her skin dewy smooth and glowing with youth. He longed to press a kiss to one of her cheeks, and especially to that tempting mouth, but settled instead for her hand.
“Your skin is so soft,” he murmured.
“Mmm, it’s all the hand cream I use,” she admitted. “It’s become sort of an addiction.”
He grinned. “Better hand cream than a more serious vice.” He brought her hand to his face again. “You’re exquisite, but I’m sure men tell you that all the time.”
Julia’s cheeks grew charmingly pink. “Not quite as often as you might think. And not always as suavely as you just did.”
Nathan raised a brow. “Suave? I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of myself that way.”
“Hmm, maybe suave isn’t the best choice of words. Smooth, perhaps? Definitely charming, “ she added with a smile.
He smiled back at her. “And you are utterly delightful. You remind me of the fairytale princesses in a storybook my mother used to read to my brothers and me when we were very young. I don’t remember the name of the book, I’m certain she must have given it away a long time ago. But I remember it had the most incredible illustrations – the colors and details were really special. And I remember thinking that the princesses couldn’t possibly be real people because they were too beautiful for that. You look just like one of those storybook princesses, Julia.”
She stared at him with wonder in her eyes, bringing their clasped hands to her cheek and turning her face into his palm, pressing a soft kiss there. “What a lovely thing to say,” she whispered. “I think that’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me.”
“It’s true. You’re almost too beautiful to be real.” He brushed his thumb over her mouth until her lips parted. He slid the pad of his thumb inside her warm, lush mouth and hissed sharply when she sucked it deeper, her tongue wrapping around it. The sensation it evoked went straight to his groin, and he was instantly hard. He couldn’t ever remember being this hot, this aroused before, and he hadn’t even kissed or touched her yet.
The unspoken attraction between them was unmistakable. He had never come close to feeling this sort of instant bond with a woman, as though he’d known her for years instead of mere minutes. They stared at each other across the small expanse of the table, their fingers entwined. No words passed between them for long seconds, but speaking wasn’t really necessary at this point. He knew from the look in her big eyes that she was every bit as aware of him as he was of her, and that she felt the same sort of irresistible physical connection. Her plush, glossy lips trembled slightly, and all he could think about was kissing her senseless, just before running his hands over the seductive curves of her lush breasts and that perfect little ass.
With the release date of Serendipity expected in less than a month, I will be posting excerpts here once or twice a week, depending on my schedule. Hope you enjoy - I'm excited to share Julia and Nathan's story with you!
Her absence of a love life was certainly not for lack of opportunity. Everywhere she went men looked at her - and often tried to approach her - but she almost always ignored them, pretending they didn't even exist. Until two days ago when she'd spied the gorgeous man walking towards her on Park Avenue.
He'd obviously been out for a run, for his hair and face were damp with perspiration, his gray cotton T-shirt stained dark with sweat. But all she'd really noticed were those piercing light blue eyes, classically handsome features, and that beautiful head of thick, dark brown hair. The body hadn't been any hardship to look at either - tall and leanly muscled, well-defined biceps and slim hips. He looked like an athlete without having an overly-muscled body, or being too big and intimidating. His beautiful face and sculpted body had imprinted themselves into her memory banks immediately, even though she'd only seen him for less than a minute. She couldn't recall the last time she'd even given a man a second thought, much less daydreamed about him at inopportune moments.
When she'd seen him again earlier today, she had definitely noticed how hot he looked with the sleeves of his crisp white dress shirt precisely rolled back, and the way his dark gray suit trousers hung on his body. His clothes looked expensive, and Julia - who knew clothing and designers very well - guessed his suit to be Gucci or maybe Dior. She'd recognized the classic Piaget watch on his left wrist, noticing discreetly at the same time the absence of a wedding ring. His black oxford shoes had been buffed to a subtle shine, and he had looked every bit the suave, polished businessman he most likely was. Julia had a real weakness for a guy who could wear a suit really well, and Mr. Gorgeous - as she'd nicknamed him - certainly fit that bill. It was too bad that the weather had been so hot and he'd left his suit jacket off. She could just imagine how the undoubtedly well tailored garment would show off the breadth of his shoulder, and the dark gray color would complement his blue eyes.
That she was seriously attracted to this man was without debate. The reason for it was something she couldn't explain as easily. Oh, he was undoubtedly gorgeous and sexy, and his smile could melt the panties off a nun. But Julia saw attractive men almost every day in Manhattan - and most of them tried to get her attention. There was something else about this one particular man that made him special, made her want to see him again, have dinner with him, kiss him, go to bed with him for hours, days, weeks. There had just been - something that had passed between them, not just an awareness but almost as though she recognized him, knew him in some inexplicable way, had been waiting for him for a very long time.
One thing I will promise my readers is that every one of my books will be a standalone and that everything will be wrapped up in one book. No two, three, etc. part books with cliffhangers. Not only do I find that extremely frustrating as a reader to deal with, but as a writer I simply wouldn't want the pressure of having to write fast enough to satisfy my own readers or (hopefully, one day!) a publishing firm. The current series I'm working on - Inevitable - is slated to be a total of six books but each one will have its own lead characters and story. That's not to say that characters from other books won't make appearances in some of the others but each book will be its own separate entity. I realize that publication delays are rarely under the control of the author and are often the fault (and I hesitate to use that word) of the publisher or other entities. But because I don't ever want to put my readers through the unwarranted grief of having a book delayed I will only ever write standalones. Besides, I'm not really sure I could "stretch" the plots of a particular book out far enough to warrant more than one book, at least not without creating too many useless and annoying sub-plots and extra characters that have little to do with what's going on. So my books might be a little longer than some but at least everything will be wrapped up in one volume. I'm writing this after a week in which not one but two highly anticipated books I wanted to read have been delayed - one without a real firm date and the other with a new date several months away. No names but let's just say I never want to disappoint my readers that way.
Just over a month until my first book goes live on Amazon! Very excited but also incredibly fearful as well. Though I have been writing for decades this is my first real attempt at publishing (or, more accurately, self-publishing). I confess to completely stumbling through this entire process, though it has been much easier thus far with the existence of such amazing helpers like Bookbaby and Hostbaby. For me, the writing is the easy part, it's all of the technology, social media, etc. that is kind of blowing my mind. Still sorting out the whole website thing, so forgive me if it looks a little weird and unfinished for awhile. Even worse is the Facebook author page which is basically blank right now except for a few posts by me. So eventually I'll figure it all out, but it might not look too pretty for awhile. I hope that readers like my book. I'll be posting some excerpts here and information about the book as the weeks go on and trying to figure out how to connect with potential readers.