People say that writing is a solitary occupation and to a great extent it is. I mean, no one can do the writing for you, nor would you want them to. But it also takes a lot of research, especially for me. I am known as Miss Picky because I go to great lengths to get things right.
When I was writing Finding Julia, there were some specific scenes in the story that I needed details on. For example, there’s a cabin in the woods in Massachusetts. I had to know if there was still open land outside Boston, where it was, how much open space, all that good stuff. I managed to find a real estate agent who was willing to take time out of her busy day to answer my questions, although I think she was secretly hoping I was actually looking for property to buy.
There is also a scene at a restaurant called Harry’s House. Now this is of course a fictional place but it’s based on a real restaurant, Little Harry’s, a French colonial structure in Detroit with a lot of ambience. I lived in that city for twenty-five years and Little Harry’s was a place where Detroit’s gentrified elite as well as their Mafia elite frequently dined. Media were strictly prohibited so it was a place where people could be assured of privacy, especially with the restaurant divided into small rooms.
Unfortunately it no longer exists. Singer Anita Baker bought it and planned to turn it into a recording studio. She ran into so much resistance she built an IHop instead. Kind of like when my late husband and I went to Texarkana to see some of the historic landmarks of his ancestors and at one spot found a Taco Bell.
Can a moment of passion outlast years of secrets and misery?
Sometimes life is not fair. For Julia Patterson meeting Luke Buchanan opened the door to a new life and brought her to life as a woman. In his arms she learns for the first time how real passion and emotion can enrich your life. He claims her body with the pleasure of erotic sex and his heart with unrestricted love. But Fate was laughing at Julia, just as she is about to step over the threshold into a wonderful new life. When her almost-ex-husband Charles is diagnosed with a fatal heart condition her divorce is put on hold along with the rest of her life. Turning her back on Luke and the intense passion and emotion they shared is the most difficult thing she’s ever done. But Julia has a secret, one that Charles has discovered and uses like a club. Thirteen years later when Luke walks back into her life the passion and emotion are just as explosive as ever. Will they finally have their chance at happiness or will her secret destroy it forever?
“Our executive vice president is tied up in a meeting right now,” Howard whispered as the executive staff filed in. “He’s the one who says yea or nay. He’ll join us as soon as he can.”
Great. Would he expect her to do it all over again for him?
She sighed and began her presentation again.
It was well into the afternoon and she was pulling out copies of the proposed budget to distribute when the door to the boardroom opened quietly, and Julia’s stomach dropped to the floor. She felt as if an electric surge slammed into her, plucking at every one of her nerve endings.
The man who silently took a seat at the end of the table wasn’t necessarily handsome, but he was one hundred percent male. Liquid brown eyes were framed by the thickest lashes she had ever seen on a man. She noticed the strong jaw and the lines of character etched on an incredibly masculine face. Straight brown hair, a hint of silver reflecting in the lights, was worn just a little long, giving him a slightly rakehell look.
The classic dark business suit barely concealed the power he radiated. More than that, he exuded an aura of self, of authority, of comfort in his own skin few men were able to attain. She could think of only three words to describe him. Dark. Edgy. Dangerous. In her entire thirty years, no man had ever affected her the way this man did. Certainly not Charles. She clamped down on her reaction, forbidding herself to let her thoughts wander into forbidden territory. As she’d learned, her judgment where men were concerned left a great deal to be desired.
“Let me interrupt a moment.” Manning jumped to his feet. “Julia, meet Lucas Buchanan, our executive vice president. He’s been in another meeting until now.”
“I’m pleased you could join us, Mr. Buchanan.” Julia pasted on her professional smile and hoped her voice sounded firmer to the others than it did to her.
Lucas Buchanan nodded at her. “Luke, please. Sorry to be late. Please don’t let me interrupt.”
She struggled to pick up the threads of what she’d been saying, her brain suddenly addled, and her hands unsteady. It took every ounce of personal discipline to keep focused on her presentation.
“Let’s hope,” he muttered. “All right. Be sure to let me know how things are. I’ll be worried about you. Here. Give me your cell phone.”
She pulled it out of her purse and handed it to him. He punched some numbers and gave it back to her.
“There. My private number’s in there. I’m speed dial number one. I’ll have my phone on all the time. Call me whenever.”
“Oh, Luke.” Her voice broke and she dug deep to get control of herself. “Why couldn’t we have met fifteen years ago?”
“I don’t think we would have been ready for each other then.” He kissed her one last time, then enfolded her in his arms. “Just remember. No matter what happens in your life, you will always be mine.”
“Yes, I will.” She was fighting tears and clinging to him as if she’d never let him go before taking a step back. “Goodbye, Luke.” And then she couldn’t help herself. “I love you.” She yanked up the handle of her suitcase and nearly ran into the terminal, dragging the luggage behind her.
Julia went through check-in and security as if in a fog. She bought herself another cup of tea and sat in the waiting area, sipping at the hot liquid, hoping it would ease the sudden chill invading her. The man sitting next to her was kind enough to nudge her when the call for boarding came. She entered the plane and took her seat like a robot, buckled in and leaned her head back.
Images flashed through her mind: she and Luke dancing, bodies moving slowly to the music, their first night together, the wonder of exploring each other’s bodies, the night in the cabin, warmed by the flames of the fire, their kiss at the airport, more poignant than sensual.
What a mess. The damn divorce papers still unsigned and now she had no idea when or how they would be. Luke had said he would wait but for how long? And how would the twins handle this? Their relationship with their father left a lot to be desired yet surely this would affect them emotionally. Her life was slowly being flushed down the toilet and she was left with a very inadequate plunger. Tears begin to trickle from the corners of her eyes, and her stomach knotted.
“Excuse me.” The flight attendant was leaning towards her, over the empty seat next to her. “Forgive me for asking but is something wrong?”
“No.” Julia sniffled, then tried on a smile. “Just fighting a cold is all.”
“Can I get you anything?” The attendant was obviously concerned.
“Some hot tea would be nice, if you could. And thank you.” Maybe she could drown herself in an ocean of the stuff.
“Tea it is. Coming right up.”
She realized as she sipped the hot liquid, she would now always associate it with Luke. She hoped she would still be able to drink it without crying. The tea seemed to settle her still-jumbled stomach enough so she could relax a little, but it did nothing to rid her of the feeling of despair creeping over her.
About Desiree Holt
Known the world over as the oldest living author of erotic romance, and referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, Desiree Holt is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications.
“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” (Romance Junkies)
“Desiree Holt is like the Nora Roberts of erotic romance.” USA Today Happy Ever After Blog
October is right around the corner and with it comes my favorite holiday. Halloween! This is the time of year that brings to mind all the supernatural creatures that have haunted our collective memories since the dawn of time. Vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts and demons. What interesting creatures to write about!
I chose to write a romance series about a family of witches. Ever since I was a little girl, witches have fascinated me. The mysterious spells and incantations, the power to change, create or move things sparked my imagination. When I decided to write this series, I first decided that I would set the world within the Regency era. It’s one of my favorite time periods and I love reading paranormal romances set in that time so it seemed natural that I do so, too. Second, I had to decide what type of magic they used. I narrowed my choices to 4 kinds of magic.
Folk Magic: This type of magic includes superstitions, old wives tales and folk practices. These were performed by common people to do things like heal the sick, bring good harvests or grant fertility. It’s often referred to as Low Magic.
Natural Magic: This magic uses things of nature such as herbs, stones and candles. It can also include the moon, sun and planets.
Ceremonial Magic: This is the kind of magic where rituals are necessary. It depends heavily on knowledge gained from books, spellbooks or grimoires. The rituals can be simple or complicated with specific words or gestures required. This is often called High Magic.
Fantasy Magic: These sorts of spells are completely fictional, made up by the author’s imagination. Pure fantasy.
For the world of the Merriweather Witches, I found that each witch had their own method of performing spells. Although most of them use folk magic, there are others that require specific rituals in order to cast. I found it was a good combination. And I use a lot of fantasy magic. It was simply too much fun to come up with spells and magical abilities for my witches that had no basis in fact or reality.
And as there are good and bad people, there are good and bad witches in my fictional world. Some stick to white magic, which is the kind where no harm will come to any. Then there is black magic, or dark magic. This is the kind that can harm a person such as curses or hexes. Performing this magic can taint a witch’s soul, turning them from good to evil if they’re not strong enough. Some of the characters in my books have to struggle with that, too.
It’s a fun world to write about and since its completely fictional there are many adventures and romances found within the pages. Here’s a little about my most recent book…
The Witch’s Thief
To save her sister’s life, Julia Grey seeks a spell hidden somewhere within Merriweather Manor. Her position as a lady’s companion affords her the freedom to search the house. But time is running out. The necromancer she’s bargained with is growing impatient. And an unexpected appearance of a man from her past makes matters worse in an already complicated situation.
Basil Merriweather returns to England after ten years abroad to discover his childhood sweetheart living in his home. But, he’s no longer the carefree man of his youth and she’s hiding something–deadly secrets Basil vows to uncover even as he hides a dark secret of his own.
While neither Basil nor Julia will trust in the other, their hearts speak a truer language. In a grand attempt to save Julia’s sister and Basil’s life, the two must finally confess sinister truths. Will their admissions help or hinder any future they may have together? Or will the necromancer destroy all in a vile attempt at revenge.
“What are you doing?”
He ignored her frantic questioning. Instead, he blocked out the sound of her voice and raised his arms into the air at his sides, his fingers splayed out as he extended his senses to scan the area. His power eased out, like extensions of his fingertips, stretching into the corners of the room, seeking, searching for the source of the magic he sensed.
It was here…somewhere.
He had sensed it earlier on his arrival, but being that his aunt and siblings practiced magic on a regular basis he’d never given it a second thought.
This room, however, stank with it. He smelled the odor, something strangely like sulfur…
“A spell has been cast in this room,” he muttered. A strange spell. Odd. A spell he’d never sensed before, something new. It felt off is some way he couldn’t explain. Who would be working new magic of this kind in his home? And, in this room in particular. Aunt Petunia worked her spells in the privacy of her rooms upstairs, or sometimes in the gardens, but never in this room. And his siblings each, practiced in their own private settings, places where they could concentrate without the threat of being disturbed. A fairly difficult task with the number of people normally in residence at Merriweather Manor.
He took a step closer to the center of the room where he sensed a surge of power. He shivered as coldness seeped into his skin. It wrapped around his arm, sinking into his flesh, right down to the bone. This was not right.
The magic in his house was always full of warmth and gentleness. Goodness and love. This magic chilled him to the bone. His heart skipped a beat. There was fear, terror, pain. This spell was full of darkness.
Tricia Schneider is an author of paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years in a Waldenbooks store as Assistant Manager and bookseller. She now writes full-time while raising her 3 young children. She lives with her musician husband and 2 neurotic cats in the coal country of Pennsylvania.
Thought the word orgy in the title might catch your attention.
I’m in the midst of trying to get three projects out the door. One of them I haven’t even started yet. Why? I don’t have a clue what to write.
I’m stuck for an adventure for my next SEAL hero in my Uncharted SEALs series. Here was the premise of the first story:
WATCH OVER ME
When Deke Warrick accepts an unsanctioned detail to keep tabs on a congressman’s niece while she vacations in the Caribbean, he expects the only dangers he’ll face are sunburn and a rum hangover. Determined to keep his distance, his resolve is challenged by a chance encounter with the beautiful Nicky Martir—and then shattered when she’s snatched from their hotel room.
The next story will also be a novella, so no long convoluted plot. Something simple and quick, with opportunity for nookie. Seems simple, right? Let’s see how simple you think it is after you get done trying to come up with one idea.
That’s all you have to come up with. One idea. And you know what? Give me the outrageous ones too that you know I won’t be able to use, because this is a brainstorming idea and no idea is a bad one when you brainstorm. So, if the best you’ve got is “Hero lets himself be kidnapped by aliens to rescue heroine who has been taken”—go for it! 🙂
The only help I will give you? I have a title: Rules of Engagement.
What’s up for grabs? How about I let you choose. Winner can choose any book of mine available in download form. And guess what? I won’t choose the best idea. I’ll let my trusty random generator choose the winner. So for realz, y’all–give me an idea. Even a dumb one. Even a funny one. You have fun with this.
And after I have a list and have culled it a bit, maybe I’ll put together a poll… No guarantees I’ll use any of your ideas, but maybe you’ll spark a fire in my imagination.
I just finished edits on the first book of a three-book series. I’m on top of the world about it. Strange thing is, the story was supposed to be a short story about a blind date. No more than four or five pages in an anthology. But that’s not what the characters wanted.
As I started writing the story, ideas popped into my head about each character’s past. Who was the main character, Heath Firestone? What happened in his life to keep him single and uninterested in dating at thirty-five years old? Who really is this mysterious man, Anton Barrett, and why did Heath’s co-worker Violet set him up with three disasters before introducing Anton?
As the writing continued, I felt like Heath was in my head directing the story, and it quickly passed the usual word count for a short story. Thus, the first book of the Golden Scepter series was born. Heath ended up the target of a fifty year conspiracy to wipe out his family. Gun fights, treasure hunt, the Orient Express, and a hidden chamber in the catacombs of Salzburg flew from my fingers at Heath’s direction onto the virtual page.
Then a new villain, Justin Pennington, pushed the story further into book two, another full novel. I’ve just finished that one and am going back to fill in anything Justin and Heath missed. But both are still there, making sure I don’t change the essence of their tale.
And I can already hear the characters clamoring to be heard for book three. It’s amazing to me how these stories keep coming, all from a quick idea about a blind date. Some of my editors have commented about putting Heath through all his trials and tribulations in the first book, but the reality for me is Heath told me his story and wanted me to write it. I can hardly wait to see what the real outcome of the full story is. While the idea is already complete in my mind, Heath has been throwing me surprises and loops as I put the words onto my screen.
Bring it on, Heath. Tell me another story.
Brent Archer started writing in 2011 at the urging of his cousins. He’s published in several anthologies, and will celebrate his first cover with his own name on it on October 3rd with the release of his story Halfway Out of the Dark with MuseItHot. You’ll be able to read about Heath’s story starting in Spring 2015 with the release of The Bastard’s Key as the first book of the Golden Scepter series. Visit Brent at his website www.brentarcher.net or follow him on Twitter @brentarcherwrit.
In late 2012, Ashleigh Raine kinda fell off the planet. Or at least it looked that way. For the past two years, we (we meaning Jen and Lisa, the authors who write together under the penname Ashleigh Raine), have been on an amazing, electric adventure—one we’ll soon be able to share with all of you. See, we’ve added new titles to our resumes. Not only are we writers, but we’re also the creators and producers of the upcoming romantic paranormal web series, Necrolectric.
Necrolectric tells the story of a woman named Eve who is struggling with her mysterious need to constantly die and come back to life. She begins to unravel the truth of who she really is when she teams up with a young woman who relives others’ deaths (Z), a young man who talks to ghosts (Jax), a cursed immortal (Alaric), and his electrically charged brother (Cas) to solve a series of supernatural murders.
For those of you who’ve read our Talisman Bay series, Necrolectric is actually a spin-off from this world. In summer 2012, we were working on the long-overdue third book in the series, Eternal Talisman, and were introducing two new characters, immortal brothers Alaric and Cas, who we became so enamored with we were afraid they’d take over the Talisman Bay series. So we decided to give them a book series of their own, which we promptly plotted out. Little did we know at that time that we were going to be approached to create and write a web series, and that our planned book series was going to become a web series too.
We’ll be announcing some exciting news soon, as well as the online launch date of the first season. We hope those of you who love paranormal romance, and shows like Vampire Diaries, Lost Girl, Teen Wolf, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow and other sexy paranormal offerings, will check out Necrolectric. And watch for the book version, Electric Rush, to come out in early 2015. In the meantime, how about a tantalizing taste of what’s to come?
Follow us on social media so you don’t miss out on the upcoming announcements about the show. Spark up!
It’s the question we all get. For some authors, the characters speak to them. Unfortunately, I don’t have voices in my head. It’s just me up there talking to myself. 🙂
Inspiration comes from anything that captures your interest or tweaks your imagination in some small way. And generally, once the idea gets in there, it refuses to leave. Hmm. Maybe it’s an infestation?
Do you listen to music? Look a photos or paintings? Watch videos? Listen to the news? People watching is an awesome activity. Maybe the young couple arguing in the park grabs your attention and you start to wonder what they’re fighting about. Or you see a young woman sitting all alone at the bus stop looking incredibly sad. Did she lose her job, lose a friend? It could come from a story you read—something in the same theme, but you envision a very different plot and outcome. It could be a scrumptious meal you just ate and you begin to envision the sexy cook back in the kitchen wondering if he’ll ever meet the woman of his dreams. What about the conversation you overheard between two people in front of you at Starbucks. At the time you stifled a giggle about the topic of discussion, but it’s stuck on repeat in your head until the idea for a story comes together. Perhaps it’s a real life event that affected you deeply and you need to write about it to purge yourself of your emotions.
I took a fantastic course a few years ago. We had to search for five articles from newspapers. The stories had to be odd. They could be strange odd or funny odd. Each week we chose one of the stories and then wrote a scene inspired by the chosen article. The scenes varied in length and they varied in genre. We brought our work back to the class, told them about the original article and what about it in particular inspired the story. Sometimes it was the theme, or simply a sentence or an emotion it invoked. Sometimes, it was difficult to make the connection between the article and the story the author created, but something in how they interpreted that story sparked an idea for them.
For me, it’s usually something I’ve see or read. A great cover will spark an idea. I let the image sink into my mind and from there the story unfolds. I look at submission calls. The publisher or editor provides the nugget for inspiration and then I run away and create a story, taking it in whichever direction I choose. I don’t even necessarily submit that story to that particular requestor. They were simply the conduit for the idea. Somebody or something somewhere, somehow plants the seed. Then we make it grow.
In my debut novella, Worth the Risk, a submission call prodded me to write a story, but the inspiration came from my real life. In Friend with Benefits, the idea was sparked by something a friend said, but my backyard was the inspiration for the scenery. In my upcoming release, Sliding into Home, the idea was sparked by a trip to Las Vegas and a bride I saw in one of the casinos.
The possibilities are endless. Look around. Watch. Listen. Touch. Read. Use every sense, open your eyes, clean out your ears, but be discrete when you’re eavesdropping LOL! Inspiration is everywhere.
I get my ideas mostly from things I see or read about. Where do you get your ideas from?
Sliding into Home, A New League Series (Book 1) By Anne Lange Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Release Date: October 17, 2014, Available for Pre-Order Now Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing Word Count: 37,827 words Heat Level: Hot
Can an injured ex ball player convince the woman he wakes up married to in Las Vegas to take a second chance on him?
After spending the last four months drowning his sorrows over the end of his baseball career, Jack Bishop finds himself winging through the blue skies to Las Vegas, not so ready to spend the weekend with some woman his best friend set him up with. He expects a paid escort. What he gets is the woman he walked away from ten years ago to pursue his passion, and she’s not very happy to see him.
Devyn Tate believes she’s quite capable of finding somebody to take her out to dinner. She’s no longer looking for a lifelong promise. She has a commitment only to her battery-operated toy to fulfill that particular need. Yet her friends have managed to talk her into spending the weekend in Las Vegas, on a blind date of all things. They promise the guy is trustworthy. They insist that she should have fun. Unfortunately, fun is not what she envisions when she discovers Jack Bishop lying on the floor of her suite in nothing but his underwear that’s on backward, and she has a wedding ring on her finger.
Available for Pre-Order September 5th (from Totally Bound) Early Download: September 19th (from Totally Bound) General Release: October 17th
Shoes are her addiction, but books are her passion. Anne Lange grew up with a love for reading. If you take a close look, she’s got either a book, her Kindle or her Kobo—maybe all three—tucked into her bag or a pocket when she leaves the house. You know, just in case there’s time to sneak in a chapter or ten. Anne reads many genres of romance, but prefers to write sexy stories, often with a dash of humor, and usually with a side of those sinful pleasures your mom never told you about.
Oh, and always a happily ever after.
While embarking on this wild journey of becoming a romance author, Anne juggles a full time job and a family. Not always successfully. Who needs a clean house every day? And what’s wrong with cereal for dinner? She lives in Ontario, Canada with her wonderfully supportive husband, three awesome kids who are growing up way too fast, and Rocky the bearded dragon.
Those of you who read me, know I love to write short. Short stories, that is. I write them for publication in anthologies, and sometimes to release on their own, as I did with yesterday’s release, Big Brass Buckle. When I have a nice group of short stories written, I publish them together in volumes entitled Strokes. I have two volumes out at present. By Christmas, I hope to have a third. If you’ve never read my short stories and think you would never be satisfied with anything less than a 100 pages of manuscript, I challenge you to reconsider. Sometimes, something small can be quite edible and delicious!
Post a comment today, and you’ll be entered to win
a free download of Strokes, Vol. 1!
From New York Times Bestselling Author, Delilah Devlin, comes a naughty collection of seven bedtime stories for a week’s worth of nighttime reading pleasure—a little “som-som” to inspire sexy dreams or a one-handed orgasm, or to be read to a partner and enjoyed together. Witness one woman’s desperate attempt to seduce her busy husband in “Lily’s Last Stand”. In “Nip ‘n’ Tuck” follow a shy seamstress’s adventures with an online suitor that doesn’t go quite as planned. Dive into “Dreaming by the Sea” where a woman with a mysterious past is surprised by a lover who strides naked from the ocean to claim her. An adventurous Victorian nurse learns the pleasures of steam-driven technology in “Dr.Mullaley’s Cure”. A New York commuter shares lustful daydreams of with another subway passenger in “The Morning Ride”. A woman finds the limits of her inhibitions tested in a one-night stand in “All About Me”. In “The Obedient Wife”, find out what really happened between The Beauty and the Beast. Hint: It’s not your children’s fairytale!
From “Lily’s Last Stand”:
The F-bomb fell effortlessly from her mouth, leaving him feeling bemused. “Who are you?”
“Can I tell you who I want to be?”
From “Nip ‘n’ Tuck”:
She suppressed a grin. He was being a good sport about this. She’d been the one to design the scenario. Something she’d always fantasized about doing to a stranger, but had never had the courage to try. Not until “TallDarkBanker” teased her in a private chat room into revealing her innermost desires.
From “Dreaming by the Sea”:
He leaned his forehead against mine. “A kiss, Despy. Let me give you a kiss. I promise all will be answered.”
A kiss. How simple. How frightening. Everything would change. I knew it.
From “Dr. Mullaley’s Cure”:
“I feel…nearly…oh, the agony…oh, doctor!”
Mrs. Headley gave a choked little scream, her upper body arching on the table before settling again. Her flushed cheeks shone with sweat, but the smile she gave the doctor was so filled with gratitude I felt a stirring of something akin to pride for the doctor’s skill.
From “The Morning Ride”:
She saw him, or at least from the knee on down. Shiny black loafers. Knife-edged creases on his charcoal trousers. Sweeping her gaze upward, but still not looking directly, she eyed his tall, lean body, embracing the quickening tattoo of her heart. When he took his seat along the opposite wall and two seats down, she let out the breath she’d held, the pinpricks of darkness that had narrowed her vision to a tunnel, fading back. All was right in her world again.
From “All About Me”:
“Why don’t you go first?”
He shook his head, a smile twitching at the corners of his lips. “Now, see? That’s not what I want. And you said I could have anything I wanted if I made you come.”
I snorted. “How do know you I didn’t fake it?”
A sexy grin stretched across his face. “Baby, you came so hard you peed on me.”
From “The Obedient Wife”:
The door swung open, and every word she’d rehearsed flew from her mind, because a great hairy beast dressed in trousers and boots and nothing more filled up the door.
“This be the girl?” the beast rumbled.
The daughter shivered at the deep, warm sound, unsure whether it was pleasure or fear and also unsure which excited her more.
Longer Excerpt from “Lily’s Last Stand”:
Lily Newcomb checked her makeup in the rearview mirror. She wore a new shade of lipstick—“Waitress Red”—on her lips with a slick of gloss to wet them. Brent used to say red lips made him think of blowjobs. That ought to make him sit up and take notice.
Then bracing herself, she let herself out of her Volvo and tugged the belt of her raincoat securely around her waist, trying not to think about how ridiculous this was, how cliché. But she was at wit’s end.
Brent had just spent his last night burning midnight oil. They had enough now—enough money, enough things, enough of the right friends and associates. It was time Brent turned his considerable skills toward shoring up another relationship. One closer to home.
Lily used his spare set of keys to open the outer door of the law offices and let herself inside. The reception area was dark. As was the corridor. Only a sliver of light shone beneath her husband’s door. They were alone.
She unbelted the coat, letting it drop into a messy puddle at her feet. She fluffed her hair, combing her fingers through her bangs to tousle them. With a last deep breath, she strode on her four-inch patent leather heels to his office, grasped the knob with her sweaty palm and inched the door open.
Brent sat at his desk. The neck of his white, buttoned down shirt was opened, his tie askew. His dark hair looked deliciously messy as he frowned at the document in front of him.
Before he lifted his gaze, she leaned against the doorframe in a seductive pose and tossed back her head, hoping he wouldn’t laugh when he realized she was there—and what she wasn’t wearing.
She heard a cough. Brent’s gaze rose and widened, giving her quick once-over before he bolted from his chair.
Too late, she realized he wasn’t alone. She thrust a hand downward to hide her sex, wrapped an arm around her breasts, but it was too little protection, too late.
Brent’s partner, Lou, rose from an arm chair, instantly averting his gaze. He coughed again. “I can see why you were in a rush to get home, Brent,” he said, sounding strangled. He turned to walk toward the door, shielding his face with a hand and offering a muffled, laughing, “Nice seeing you, Lily,” as she stood, slack-jawed beside the door. In the distance, she heard Lou whistling tunelessly as he exited the office.
Heat crept across her cheeks as she glanced at her husband. “This was a bad idea. I’ll just let myself out,” she said in a little voice, backing away.
Brent kept coming. His face wore that look, the one he assumed when dressing down an intern for shoddy research. “Lily, get back here. Now.”
Lily bit her lip, then dropped her hands. She eyed him with trepidation. Not because she feared him. Brent was never harsh. But because she hated disappointing him. Too late again, she realized she’d acted rashly. Would she ever learn patience? To let things happen in their own time?
As always, she’d seen a problem and rushed to solve it. It had seemed a simple plan. An ambush, really. He’d been staying later and later at work over the past weeks. And if she didn’t know he had a deep streak of integrity running through his core, she might have assumed he was having an affair. But she knew him. She used to work for him. She’d seen how deeply he could sink into a case to the exclusion of everything else. She’d just never thought she’d be shunted to the side for so long.
Tonight, she’d decided to give him a wakeup call. Remind him that he wasn’t alone. That he had responsibilities at home to consider.
Only now, she felt foolish. Desperate. Tears burned her eyes, but she lifted her chin, refusing to let her humiliation make her cower. She dropped her arms.
Brent strode toward her, his expression neutral. His firm lips tight and crimped. When he stood in front of her, he snagged her wrist and pulled her across the threshold, then shoved the door to close it.
He towered over her despite the heels—the only item of clothing she’d worn this night besides her abandoned coat. His gaze swept her again, but this time, she noted the flare of his nostrils. Did he catch the scent perfume he’d gifted her with last Christmas?
After she’d opened the gift, he’d held out his hand for the bottle, then tilted it to wet his finger. He’d traced a path downward, between her breasts. That had been the last time they’d gotten wild and reckless together. Since then, sex had been perfunctory, an afterthought once they fell into the bed at night.
His intense gaze bored into hers. His pupils expanded, darkening his eyes.
Her own body reacted in opposition to the tension rolling off him—liquefying, melting toward him. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you. I thought you were alone.”
He didn’t answer, but lifted one hand, palm up, and cupped a breast. His thumb flicked the tight, pearled tip. “Lou’ll be discreet, but what would you have done if I’d had the whole team in here?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Given you a lap dance?”
He snorted. “Lily, have I been neglectful?” he asked, his voice gruff.
“I’ve missed you, Brent.”
“I’m home every night.”
“You’re there, but…you’re not.”
His jaw tightened. He dropped his hand and stepped back.
Damn, was he really that angry with her, that disappointed that he’d reject her now? Lily blinked and lifted her chin, feigning pride when it lay in tatters all around her. “I’ll go home. I apologize again.”