Psst! Be sure to check out today’s blog at Girls Who Bite! C.J. Ellison is donating two copies of both books in The V V Inn series to two commenters today!
In the meantime… Yup, I have a short story in The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance, which releases today in the U.S.! It’s entitled “Hot Out Here”—and the only way you’ll get to read it is if you happen to beg, borrow, or buy your very own copy. Enjoy the excerpt!
Beads of condensation, glittering jewel-like in the sputtering candlelight, ran in rivulets down the sides of Jason’s ice-cold beer.
Detail I shouldn’t have been able to note, given the fact I wasn’t anywhere near him.
As I lowered my nephew’s toy binoculars, I reflected that I had indeed sunk to a new low. You see, my bedroom window conveniently overlooked Jason and Robert’s fenced backyard. A fact that never registered with the previous tenants, but one that proved too delicious to ignore after the arrival of the handsome duo.
I began a furtive surveillance at once. One that had me cringing in embarrassment each time I greeted them in passing and feeling even more ashamed when we struck up a friendship.
We’d shared meals, drinks, watched football games together on their wide-screen TV. And still, I peeked into their backyard, waiting for those moments when they popped outside to mow it or catch a few summer rays. Their bodies gleamed with sweat while raw lust warred inside me along with the fear that I’d mess up our relationship if I let the guys know how I really felt.
My convenient perch on the windowsill afforded me a window into their private lives, and I was hooked from the very beginning. They’d become an obsession, one frustrated by the fact they treated me like a kid sister rather than a woman one of them might desire.
And therein lay another problem. I’d resisted the urge to seek a deeper relationship because then I’d have to choose. My libido was completely fickle, lusting after Jason’s muscled physique, then sighing over the possibilities of what Robert’s tall, bony frame and large feet hinted at. That their personalities were perfect bookends, fierce and funny, confused my heart as well.
Lucky me, I licked the sweat gathering on my upper lip while this night one of the handsome men living next door tilted his bottle and took several long sips. The look of pure bliss that softened his otherwise stern features made my chest ache.
I watched the movement of Jason’s throat as he worked it down, imagining him sipping at my overheated flesh. My skin began to tingle. My nipples beaded, crowding uncomfortably against my lace bra. My thighs clenched as a delicious wash of arousal seeped to wet the crotch of my plain panties.
The sigh he emitted as he set the bottle on the table was echoed by my own painful groan. Watching either of them had never caused my heart to skip a beat like that hint of a moan sliding on the tail of Jason’s long exhalation.
Sure, it was hotter than hell out there. I too felt the effects of the enervating heat. Record temperatures had strained the region’s resources and planned service interruptions began that night. But something about that sigh felt…un-subtle, exaggerated, maybe even dramatic. And Jason was too straightforward a man for that.
I blotted sweat from my forehead, asking myself again, What am I doing?
Only this time, my peeping hadn’t been deliberate. I’d rushed home from work and showered quickly to beat the brown-out. Then I’d stripped to my underwear, pulled back the curtains, and opened the window, hoping for a breeze to cool my skin. Sitting limply on the sill, I waited for the world to flicker into life again.
That’s when I’d noticed him, sitting in a lounge chair alone in the dark.
He wore his usual work “uniform”—khaki trousers, white shirt and a tie. Tonight, the tie hung loosened and askew, his collar opened beneath it.
I could see it all despite the lack of electricity. Moonlight silvered his dark hair and reflected bright as a beacon against the white shirt. The golden light from the large Citronella candle leant warmth to his skin and the amber bottle he held between his hands.
As always, he was lovely to watch, but tonight his expression drew my attention more than his breath-stealing features. A sullen slanting of his brows, a bit of pout plumping his masculine lips, an edgy energy to his slight movements—he was either irritated or aroused.
Wanting an answer to the “either-or,” I watched. My forte is observation; my people-radar exquisitely tuned to body language and a voice’s tonal cues. My curiosity and my lust were caught. No way could I back away from my window now.
The bottle tapped the table as he set it aside. A long-fingered hand tugged the knot of his tie, dragging it from his neck.
When he began to undo the row of buttons down the front of his shirt, I settled deeper on the sill, leaning closer, but taking care to keep my pale body hidden behind the sheer curtain.
The edges of the shirt parted over a broad, nicely muscled chest. My gaze zeroed in on taut, lean abs dusted with dense fur the same color as his close-cropped black hair that stretched nipple to nipple then ran along a thin dark line to slip beneath his zipper.
His hand stroked his chest, scratching through the hair, the faint crinkling sound causing my own chest to tighten, my nipples to surge.
A light sheen of sweat glimmered on his chest and belly. Again, my tongue swept my lips, tasting salt, and I imagined I lapped the dew right off his skin.
When a lazily roaming hand slid over his belly, I tensed, fascinated as he swept the flat plane. Would he be hard or desk-soft? He looked firm. So, I enjoyed fantasizing that he was and touched my own stomach, following his path.
His hand slid down to the knot bulging behind his fly, and he cupped it. Squeezed.
My own hands itched to replace his and grew still, clenching against the fantasy of holding his burgeoning cock as it roused. My cheeks heated and my breaths shortened. No need to tease my own body into arousal, moisture already soaked my panties.
The buckle opened, and the belt slid sinuously from the loops as he lifted his hips and pulled it free. A flick of his thumb and the button at the waistband of his trousers opened. His zipper rasped as it slid down.
Dark fabric formed a vee-like shadow as his hand rooted beneath his waist, and then he slipped the long, gleaming column of his semi-aroused sex from the flap at the front of his boxers and wrapped his fingers around it.
I swallowed the liquid pooling in my mouth. I blinked to moisten eyes that had grown dry and scratchy as I stared, wide-eyed. My breaths grew ragged, a little choked, and I must have made a noise, because suddenly his head swung my way. His eyes narrowed on my bedroom window.
I froze, hoping his gaze couldn’t penetrate the darkness.
But a crooked smile slowly stretched his lips, and his hand tightened around himself and began to pump up and down the thickening rod, all the while staring up at me.
Jason knew I watched but didn’t seem to mind. I let out a deep, trembling breath and continued to stare, my own body heating, growing increasingly aroused in tandem with his hardening cock.
His head turned away, and his hand dropped from his engorged cock. It fell against his belly with a soft, muffled thud. Heavy, hot, thick—I knew its girth would stretch my mouth.
Another sound intruded. The chime of my doorbell. I bit back a curse and drew away from the window, slung on my robe, then headed downstairs to the front door.
Robert stood in on the stoop, a lazy grin on his face, a sweep of lank blonde hair covering one eye and two beers dangling from his fingers. He was shirtless. Low-riding blue jeans encased his slender hips and long legs. His large feet were bare. “Thought you might like to join us.”