UPDATE: The winner is…Booklady!
It’s finally here! 322 pages of goodness! My latest anthology, filled with wonderful stories—some action-packed, some poignant, some funny! All of them are sexy! I can’t wait to hear what you all think. And after you’ve had a chance to dive in, I want to hear what you’d like to see me do next. My plan is to publish at least one a year, depends on how busy I am. As always. 🙂
Anyway, I’ll give you an overview of the book then an excerpt from my shorty, which is a prequel to another Montana Bounty Hunters story (to be written soon!). My entry is entitled “Quincy Down Under”, and you’ll get the joke/double entendre when you read it. LOL
And there’s a contest, of course! You’ll have a second chance to win if you head over to the Collections website and comment there, too!
Comment for a chance to win a download of one of the full-size books below. You can tell me whether you love short stories. Tell me what theme you’d like to see for the next one. Or just ramble about what you’ll be doing while you’re reading the sexy shorties in this collection (passing time in a dentist’s office, reading sexy stories to your significant other in bed at night, etc.). Just be sure to comment!
Here’s what you might win (click on the covers to learn more):
Stranded: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology
The stories inside…
A Stranger’s Kiss by A.C. Dawn – Sparks in the sky ignite an inferno when a millionaire bad boy rescues a struggling romance writer stranded in an airport
Shelter from the Storm by A.J. Harris – A rogue super soldier and an ocean-dwelling scout discover the keys to surviving enemy soldiers and giant super-storms on their flooded world may be each other
Reviving Artemis by Ara Geller – Defying her alpha’s direct orders, a young warrior braves a pack of hunting werewolves to finally claim her Mate
Quincy Down Under by Delilah Devlin – A bounty hunter following a lead is trapped in an underground-bunker-turned-beauty-salon with a pretty beautician
Rescuing Alaska by Elle James – A Coast Guardsman on an Alaskan fishing trip jumps into frigid waters and dares a bear-ridden island to rescue a beautiful deckhand
Hourglass by Kenzie Mathews – With danger all around them, time-hopping graduate students find it hard to keep their clothes on while their time machine glitches
Out of This World by Kimberly Dean – When an astronaut is stranded without a research partner, her mission’s bad boy commander volunteers to help her complete her studies…on sex in space
Burning Stars by Kimberly Lithe – Heated glances and flirtatious banter ignite into a fever pitch when a mechanic aboard a stranded starship looks for her rescue from an intergalactic criminal
Switching Call by Lucrecia Christina – Stranded in a field, a tow truck driver learns from his sassy rescuer that there’s more to getting stuck in the mud than spinning tires
A Change in Predicament by Melanie Jayne – A doctor with a death wish and a history of bad decisions uses her wits to survive a kidnapping by the wounded leader of a dangerous gang
Put it in a Book by Michal Scott – Trapped in a book by a sorcerer for rejecting his sexual advances, an ex-slave’s daughter discovers one hope of rescue – a nosy thief
Undercover Lover by N.J. Walters – A DEA agent working undercover as a waitress in a dangerous biker bar is stranded without backup until a man from her past walks in
Too Deep by Sam Heathers – When an undercover officer loses her handlers in the outside world, she must trust the top lieutenant of a gun-running gang to survive
Going Down by Sukie Chapin – One broken elevator, one sexy boss, one hot night…maybe falling isn’t so bad after all
An Excerpt from “Quincy Down Under”
Meet my heroine…
“Looks like a damn hickey,” the elderly beauty operator said in her raspy voice as she set the straightening wand in its metal stand.
Tamara Adams rose from the seat at Miss Gracie’s station and leaned closer toward the marquee lights. Yup, the tender mark on her neck did indeed look like a love bite. She touched her finger to the burn and hissed.
“A little aloe vera will fix you right up,” Miss Gracie said and rummaged through a drawer to pick up a tube that looked to be twenty years old and squeezed of all its precious cream.
Tamara bit back a grimace and waved the woman away. “Thank you so much for straightening the back of my hair, but I’ll take care of the burn. You have a dinner at the senior center. Don’t want to be late,” she sang.
Miss Gracie’s eyebrows shot halfway up her forehead. “Thanks for reminding me.” She quickly retrieved her purse from her bottom drawer and headed toward the door leading out of the beauty shop.
The older woman glanced down at the cinder block holding the door open then gave Tamara a pointed stare. Tamara waved her hand in acknowledgement of the issue she still hadn’t addressed, and then held her breath as the woman slowly climbed the steep steps. Miss Gracie disappeared into the sunlight that filtered down the metal staircase—the only natural lighting in Tamara’s tiny shop.
When she was alone, Tamara moved toward her own station, her Sketchers sticking to the misting of hairspray that always surrounded Miss Gracie’s chair, making a sound reminiscent of Squidward’s tentacles.
She opened her own drawer, pulled out a tube of concealer, then did her best to mask the nasty red burn. So, maybe she should have treated it with antibiotic cream first, but she planned to hit Slim ’n’ Shorty’s for a drink as soon as she finished cleaning up and counting her earnings for the day.
Tamara snorted. Wouldn’t take a minute to empty her cash drawer. Miss Gracie’s elderly clients, the ones who could make it down the steep steps, had been the only customers that day.
Staring into her well-lit mirror, Tamara didn’t get it. She was a walking advertisement for her skills. Her messy-wavy, chin-length bob was all the rage in Hollywood. The platinum color with the lone rose-pink streak was flawless.
But she knew the problem was the location of her shop, and the fact she needed more noticeable signage for customers to even find it. Again, she snorted.
Hell, a billboard wouldn’t be enough to convince women to make the trek down into her doomsday-bunker-turned-hair-salon.
Footsteps sounded on the metal staircase, and she whirled, excited that she’d have at least one paying customer this day. However, the huge man descending the steps wiped her smile away. There was something about him that told her he was trouble. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. She’d have to remember to take a razor to them later.
She pasted on a polite expression. “Hello, sir. Can I help you?”
The man’s dark beady eyes glanced around her small shop. Sure, it was economy-sized, with just two stations and a very small sitting area.
His aroma hit her before she could clearly see his face. He smelled musty, like he’d worn the same clothes for at least a week, and she wondered if he understood the concept of deodorant.
She gave him a tight smile as he drew closer, reminding herself she had a lighter and a can of hairspray close by. “Would you like a shave or a haircut?” He was sorely in need of both. His long beard looked matted like a dog’s after a week in the woods, and his stringy hair nearly met his shoulders.
He walked toward her chair and eyed it.
“It’s old, but it won’t collapse,” she murmured then held up her hands. “Not that I’m saying you’re fat or anything.” Her face suffused with heat. “It’s sturdier than it looks.”
He sat, which brought him down to eyelevel with her. The pockmarks on his cheeks and the dark, deep-set eyes made him look even more sinister.
“Shave the beard, and I need a cut,” he said, “and I need to change the color.”
She blinked. Maybe he’d realized he’d never get a date unless he made an effort with his appearance. Bathing regularly would also greatly increase his odds. “I can help with that. Do you have anything in particular in mind?”
His mouth curved, but the smile didn’t lessen her nervousness, so she began to set out the implements of her trade and bent to pull a fresh cape from the stack on the shelf beside her station.
She started with his beard, telling herself not to rush, because the last thing she wanted to do was nick him. She trimmed away the excess hair then slathered on shaving cream. When she picked up her straight razor, he reached out and gripped her wrist. Alarmed, she shot him wide-eyed glance. “It gives the closest shave,” she said, and gave him another inane smile. “I’m going to lean your chair back so I can reach you.” When he let go of her wrist, she lowered his chair and leaned it backward.
His gaze drilled into her, and she read the silent warning in his narrowed eyes.
After taking a deep breath to still the tremor in her hands, she shaved him then patted his pink cheeks with an aftershave. The scent helped to mask his odor, and she felt a little more confident as she returned him to an upright position and turned the chair to face her mirror. She met his gaze in the glass. “Now for the cut. Do you want it short?”
“And you mentioned color,” she said, eyeing his dirty brown hair. “Would you like the tips highlighted?”
“Bleach it all.”
“Oh.” Her eyebrows rose, because she couldn’t imagine blond hair against his swarthy complexion. “Are you sure?”
“Just do it.”
She swallowed. “I’ll give you a cut first. Then I’ll bleach your hair.”
When he didn’t object, she picked up her scissors and began snipping away his lanky locks. She glanced at the clock. It was nearly five. She wasn’t going to have time to change before she headed to the bar. She’d hoped to be there early to get a seat close to Mason Jernigan’s usual table. She hadn’t had a date in forever and hoped to catch his eye. While she wasn’t looking for love, she did hope for a hookup. A girl needed a little attention to keep her confidence up. She’d recently turned thirty and had been a little depressed over the fact her life plan wasn’t shaping up the way she’d thought it would when she’d been younger.
After she trimmed away the bulk of his hair, she used her electric razor to fade the sides. She left the top spiky, because she figured the height would make his face look less round. At last, she pulled out the products she needed and quickly mixed the bleach in a bowl.
Forty-five minutes later, she used wax to spike up his newly washed hair and watched his expression in the mirror. She couldn’t tell if he was pleased or not, but she wasn’t counting on a fat tip from her surly customer. “All done,” she said and swept away the cape. “Since you’re the last customer of the day, I’ll cut you a break. It’s just sixty-five dollars.”
He laughed as he pushed up from his seat.
She drew a deep breath and stepped back, once again wary of the menace in his demeanor. “I can take cash, check, or credit card. I have the Square…”
Only, he was already moving toward the door.
“If you’re not happy, I’ll knock the price down to fifty,” she called after him.
He never glanced back, and she chewed on her lip, trying to tamp down a sudden flare of anger. She’d spent an hour and a half on the bastard and used her expensive products. She deserved to be paid.
At the stand beside the door, he picked up the telephone. Her land line—the only phone that worked in the bunker because the thick metal ceiling prevented cellphone signals from coming through.
She held her breath as he drew back his arm and pulled the cord out of the wall. “Son of a bitch,” she muttered under her breath, but she didn’t move toward him. Her gaze cut to the small bathroom door in the corner. If she had to, she’d barricade herself inside.
Apparently, he wasn’t planning to attack her. He paused and glanced down at the cinderblock doorstop she’d placed to keep the door open…because the door latch locked from the outside…
He kicked it away, and she heard his low, cruel laughter as he slammed the door.