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Holly Bargo: Finding My Niche
Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Some authors just know what they want to write and their work falls neatly into a predefined category. When I started writing, my work (awful as it was) splattered across several categories. I flirted with science fiction. I wallowed in fantasy. I careened into romance. In short, I often wrote the kind of stuff I liked to read—or wished I could find to read.

I basically still do the same.

Genres have expanded greatly since the digital revolution in book publishing, especially with self-publishing. Where once librarians catalogued books as either historical, romance, or fantasy, many search engines find books that span all three genres. Or, rather, the genres now have sub-genres to accommodate authors whose work doesn’t fit neatly into the overarching genre or category.

That said, I’m exploring other genres or, rather, sub-genres than what I’ve written and published earlier. In February, I finished a collaborative project with bestselling author Russ Towne who writes in two different genres: children’s literature and westerns. He manages to keep them quite separate; a feat I can’t seem to accomplish.

We released a compilation of 12 short stories (a couple edging into novella territory) taking place in the “old west,” the era between the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century when men were men, women were women, and the sheep were scared. Since I make my living as an editor and ghostwriter, we decided that I had the most flexibility. Therefore, I jumped over into his genre. Because I also have just enough graphic design training to be dangerous, we also agreed that I’d design the cover—with his input. We ended up with Six Shots Each Gun.

I had a lot of fun. If Russ ever asks me to collaborate again, I’ll jump at the chance. But I’m not sure that westerns are my preferred genre.

So, in my (voracious) reading, I came across yet one more alien abduction romance. Once again, the alien hero is a kinky alpha type who gets his jollies from controlling, dominating, and spanking his submissive heroine. (Why, for heaven’s sake, is the heroine always submissive?) Once again, the story followed the typical trajectory: the heroine gives up her entire life for eternal bliss as a doormat.

Ugh.

There followed the all too familiar spark of “I can do better than that.” (That spark is responsible for some of my other books, too.) Despite the improbability of science which states that humans are more biologically compatible with cabbages than with any alien life form, I hopped into the sub-genre of alien romance. I have to admit, it was slow going. However, in the last few of weeks of drafting the story, it caught fire. Finally.

I knew that book wasn’t going to be terribly long—and it’s not. At just a smidgen over 55,000 words, it barely edges in to novel length fiction. Because it’s supposed to sell, I stuck to some of the tropes of the sub-genre before going off the rails. If one hero’s good, then three must be better. So, we’ve got a reverse harem romance now. The heroes don’t abduct our heroine, her own government does. The heroes are, of course, tall, strong, alpha types: who wants wimpy heroes? But our heroine is no doormat, either, even when she has neither bargaining power nor authority.

The key twist in the trope hinges upon compromise. Everyone’s got to give up something for a relationship to work. Granted, the heroine gives up the most, but heroes who want to make their heroine happy must also do more than simply give her multiple orgasms.

The experiment in jumping into the alien romance sub-genre has been interesting, if only because I’ve got my SEO keywords ready: alien abduction reverse harem romance. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Because my stories dwell on the conflict between characters rather than outside events affecting the characters, the jump perhaps didn’t seem so jarring. After all, people are people, regardless of historical period or planet. See how well (or not) I managed that hop with Triple Burn, due for release in mid-April.

Will I return to alien romances? I doubt it. Strangely enough, my bestselling books are mafia romances that cross over into “New Adult” romance. I left the series open for a spin-off, but probably won’t return to that either. The exercise of writing in other genres (or sub-genres) stretches my mind and writing. I discover things about myself by pushing ever so slightly beyond my comfort zone. I fancy those discoveries hone what I already do well and improve what needs to be improved.

In exploring different genres and sub-genres, I have found my home in paranormal and fantasy romances. That’s where my imagination takes me and where my heart takes flight. That’s my niche, improved through exploration within other genres.

About Holly Bargo

Holly Bargo is a pseudonym, but really did exist as a temperamental Appaloosa mare fondly remembered for her outsized personality. Holly’s life still involves horses. She and her husband live on a hobby farm in southwest Ohio with the aforementioned horses, a clowder of cats, and one yellow-bellied coward of a Great Dane. And an elderly llama. We mustn’t forget the llama. Holly and her husband have two adult children, one graduating from university in May 2019, and the other enlisted in the military.

Her latest book is Six Shots Each Gun, co-authored with bestselling author Russ Towne. Click on the links for the e-book and paperback versions.

Holly is the author of over 20 titles, the latest of which include Bear of the Midnight Sun and Daughter of the Dark Moon.

Social Media Links:
• Website – https://www.henhousepublishing.com/
• Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Holly-Bargo/e/B00JRK6VGQ
• Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HenHousePublishing1/
• Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyBargoBooks
• Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/henhousep/

N.J. Walters: Spring is Here!
Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Today is the spring equinox, which means spring is in the air. The snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and the temperatures are climbing. We may still get a freak snowstorm or two—a very likely possibility where I live—but the promise of warmer days is there.

What do you look forward to in spring?

One of the biggest things I love is shedding the heavy winter layers. I live in Canada, so that means I have to put on winter boots, a sweater, scarf, long coat, headband, and gloves before I even consider venturing through the door. I long for sneakers and a hoodie. I’m also looking forward to not having to navigate mounds of snow and sheets of ice on the way to the bus stop.

I love the sunshine, so the dreary winter days can be difficult. The longer days and more frequent sunshine really boost my mood.

Mother nature comes alive. Trees began to bud and the first flowers poke their heads out of the ground. We may get daffodils and tulips in late April or they might not show until May. Things move a little slower up here, but I know that summer is on its way.

And if spring hasn’t quite arrived and you’re looking to curl up on a cool evening with a book, you might try Wolf of her Own.

They don’t come much hotter or sexier than Mikhail Matheson from Wolf of Her Own

Wolf of her Own
Salvation Pack, Book 9

Mikhail Matheson may be an outsider in Salvation, but he stays with the pack to be close to his sister. It has nothing to with the fact that Elise—the most fascinating woman he’s ever laid eyes on—is part of the pack. Mikhail has wanted Elise for years, but being with her could cost him his life. Soon he’ll have to decide if he’s going to leave the pack or risk it all to pursue a place at her side.

After escaping her abusive mate, Elise LaForge has made a home in Salvation with her sons. She never expected to have her emotions stirred up by the always serious and seriously handsome Mikhail. But can she finally put her past behind her and dare to move on?

When danger creeps into the pack, both she and Mikhail have to be willing to sacrifice everything to have a chance at love.

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CWQ4PK1/
Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/wolf-of-her-own.html
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolf-of-her-own-n-j-walters/1128615958
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wolf-of-her-own/id1381437118
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wolf-of-her-own

TEASER:

He turned and got his first real view of her bedroom. This was Elise’s private domain. Sheer white curtains hung at the windows, allowing in light and giving the illusion of privacy. The bed was queen-sized and covered with a white comforter edged in lace. The quilt that she’d had wrapped around her this morning was folded and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Drawn to it, he walked over and ran his fingers over it. The colors were pale and feminine—pink, cream, green, blue, and peach. He noticed the other little touches—a pale pink bench at the end of the bed, a chest of drawers painted white with glass knobs, and a wicker chair in the corner with throw pillows in colors that matched the quilt.

It was totally and utterly feminine. There wasn’t a hint of masculine anywhere.

And wasn’t that the point? Her mate had probably had everything his way in the years they’d been married, so it was only natural she’d swing totally the other way when she was designing a space for herself.

It suited her—intensely feminine without being too fussy. There were only a few extra pillows piled on the bed and the only lace was a thin band around the edge of her comforter. He really felt like the big bad wolf standing here in her room.

A smile tilted up the corners of his mouth. Damned if he didn’t like it.

She really needed something masculine to ground the space—see, watching all those decorating shows with his sister years ago had taught him something—and he was just the something masculine that was needed.

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/awakeningdesires/info
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Beverley Bateman: How do you build your characters?
Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

How do you build your characters? Most people develop character charts. Others use tarot cards or enneagrams. I decided to go back to astrology signs for my WIP to cause more conflict. What I’ve done for many of my books I do a chart; Heroine – her characteristics. Then I draw a line down the middle of the page and on the other side of the page I do my Hero’s characteristics and I try to make them conflict with the heroine’s characteristics. As I write the story, I solve one conflict at a time.

For example: Carly is a strong, intelligent woman, who runs a large company. On the other side, Link Stone is a strong man who doesn’t like strong women or being told what to do by a woman. That’s one conflict they have to work out in The Fourth Victim.

The Fourth Victim – Sara’s Story

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women and on the track of a serial killer.

Mac is been responsible for training women in special ops techniques, so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara, sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.

Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

Buy Links for The Fourth Victim – Sara’s Story
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JQ97L8M?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-fourth-victim-9
Itunes https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-fourth-victim/id1440048796?ls=1&mt=11
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-fourth-victim-saras-story-beverley-bateman/1129787236;jsessionid=DCE3DC6D307F1874CC82403A3F744C44.prodny_store01-atgap02?ean=2940155751731
Google Play Books https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Beverley_Bateman_The_Fourth_Victim?id=_Od3DwAAQBAJ

About the Author

Murder, mystery and romance fills award-winning, Canadian author and blogger, Beverley Bateman’s life. She loves to plot, kill and hopefully baffle the reader. Her nursing and public health nursing background helps with some details and administering a community care facility program had her investigating and directing investigations into irregularities and sometimes a death. She even has court experience.

She began writing in her preteens and loved to write locked room mysteries. Reading Nancy Drew helped her figure out plots. Facing breast cancer, she decided she needed to do what she’d always wanted and began to write. She completed her first romantic suspense novel and hasn’t stopped writing since. She recently moved and now lives among ranches and wheat fields in southern Alberta, with her husband and Shiba Inu dog.

Social Links
Webpage https://www.beverley
Blog – http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/beverley.bateman.18
Facebook Authorpage – http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeverleyBateman?ref=hl
Twitter http://twitter/kelownawriter
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7052567.Beverley_Bateman
LinkedIn – babateman@shaw.ca https://www.linkedin.com/in/beverleybateman/
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/okwriter
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Bateman/e/B008M01F5E
Instagram Beverley.Bateman

Puzzle it out! Hot lawman!
Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Here’s a little pic to remind you of my huge backlist—just in case you’re looking for something really hot to read…

Barbara White Daille: What Makes Us Lucky?
Monday, March 18th, 2019

Whenever I think about what makes me lucky, I come up with a long list.

Today, that list includes stopping by Delilah’s blog to visit with you. This week, I’m grateful to celebrate a holiday that carries on the traditions of my family—and provides plenty of yummy leftovers! And every day, I’m extraordinarily lucky to have a career I love.

I can’t tell you being an author is the most fun job I’ve ever had, because it involves a lot of work, sweat, and tears.

The work comes from trying to bring the ideas in my head to life on the page.

The sweat comes from waiting to see how my editor reacts to those ideas. 

And the tears—oh, the tears! They’re the best part of the job.

Sad tears. . . when I learn about my characters’ lives before the book begins, then when I discover what’s going wrong in their lives now. (As my books are romances, conflict is a given.)

Frustrated tears. . . when the hardheaded hero and heroine can’t see beyond those conflicts to realize they belong together.

Uncontrollable tears. . . when they—or a character who plays an important role in their lives—get hit with a heartbreaking dose of reality.

And the best tears of all. . . the ones that flow when the hero and heroine have finally reached their happy-ever-after.

No wonder I say I’m so lucky!

For this St. Patrick’s week post, I’m sharing a clip from one of my books, Family Matters, a romance that features a heroine from a large and crazy Irish family and a hero who would like to put half of them in jail.

Family Matters

Here’s a quick peek from their first meeting:

The man took a deep breath, which now strained the buttons on his immaculate white shirt, and traced his thumbnail across one eyebrow. “I only argue before a jury. As we’re not in court—yet—that doesn’t apply here.”

Kerry swallowed a wave of panic. “You’re a lawyer?”

“Yes.”

Great. A lawyer who had just stood ranting at Uncle Bren. Things couldn’t get any worse. Or could they? And did she really want to know? “You look like you could use a little assistance with this…meeting.”

He smiled. Despite the situation, she couldn’t help but notice how it changed his entire expression, easing the hard frown lines bisecting his forehead, even lightening the color of his eyes from near black to a dark greenish-gray. An interesting transformation.

She didn’t trust the change in him for a minute.

Still, she squinted at him and found her head tilting slightly, her fingers curling around an imaginary paintbrush. With an effort, she blinked, bringing herself back to harsh reality.

“I could use a warrant and a padded cell.” He gestured over his shoulder. “If you think you’ve got any chance of knocking some sense into that scam artist, go right ahead.”

She squinted again, not in pleasure this time. “Wait a minute—”

“You’ve got no call to say that,” Uncle Bren interrupted, glaring at the man.

He sounded intimidating enough, but Kerry knew the real threat would come from her grandmother, always famous for jumping into any brawl.
Kerry looked over her shoulder. Sure enough, here Gran came, pushing her way through the crowd, barreling toward the lawyer and Uncle Bren.

Obviously, Kerry’s luck is about to run out! Still, she will do anything for the family she loves.

So. . . when it comes to luck, how about you? What good things in life make you feel lucky?

Find Family Matters:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0041KLD7E/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/family-matters-barbara-white-daille/1100347286
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781426869211_family-matters.html

About Barbara

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed “The End” to her first novel many years later…in the eighth grade. Now she’s writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.

Social Media Links:
Website https://www.barbarawhitedaille.com
Newsletter https://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille
Twitter https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-white-daille
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-White-Daille/e/B002J6B0QQ

Diana Cosby: Why I Write In The Medieval Era
Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Diana Cosby ©2019
www.dianacosby.com

People often ask me why I write and why in the medieval era. Before I was a writer, I was an avid reader. As a teenager, I remember reading two books a day, and becoming totally engrossed in each story. For me the stories offered an escape to where the good guys lost and life had happy endings. I also owe my drive to become an author to my gypsy ways. With my dad in the military during my youth, my life was one of constant moves; England, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska, and more. Once I graduated high school, I joined the Navy as an oceanographer/meteorologist, then continued traveling throughout my career and eventually retired. As I hung up my Chief’s uniform for the last time, I decided to give a shot at my dream, that of writing.

With thirty-four moves behind me, having lived and traveled from Europe to the Far East, with my easy acceptance of culture and having recently moved back to the U.S. after living in Spain, I naturally gravitated to writing in the medieval timeframe. The first three novels that I ever wrote, which are unpublished, were set in the Viking era. Then, I watched the movie Braveheart. Swept away by the Scots intensity, honor and determination to keep their freedom, I moved up from writing medieval romantic suspense in the 790’s to late 1200’s and early 1300’s.

One aspect of writing that caught me off guard was discovering that my stories are filled with suspense. I never planned on writing action-packed novels, but I find myself becoming bored with my story if it doesn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, so I allow my muse permission to create mayhem.

After writing for nine years, I was thrilled to receive “The Call” from Kensington Publishing Corp. to buy His Captive and His Woman, the first two Scottish medieval romantic suspense stories in the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series. I have so many fabulous memories of the day my editors, Sulay Hernandez and Kate Duffy, called to tell me they wanted to buy His Captive and His Woman, my kid’s hugs, the flood of congratulatory e-mails and cards. Since then, I’ve sold the last four books in the MacGruder Brothers Series, The Oath Trilogy, wrote a story in the Born To Bite Anthology, and on December 8th, and The Forbidden Series, with book #4, Forbidden Alliance, to be released 6 August 2019.

As I persevere in my writing career, I understand that crafting novels are a lot of hard work, but each book is built on a foundation of passion and belief of the story. As a writer it’s a unique path that I travel, but one that has taught me that with perseverance, dreams do come true.

What are the lessons you’ve found in life that has taught you most? What are your dreams?

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
www.dianacosby.com
The Oath Trilogy
MacGruder Brother Series
Forbidden Series: Forbidden Legacy/Forbidden Knight/Forbidden Vow/Forbidden Alliance‒Aug. 6th 2019/Forbidden Realm TBA

About the Author

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

-Website: https://www.dianacosby.com/
-Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Diana-Cosby-Romance-Author-150109024636/?ref=ts
-Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Diana-Cosby/e/B003YJ1MR4/

Rebecca E. Neely: THE BETRAYER, Crossing Realms Book 3
Friday, March 15th, 2019

GIVEAWAY ALERT – ENTER NOW THROUGH MARCH 22ND
Win 1 of 10 Kindle editions of THE BETRAYER and/or 1 $25 Amazon Gift card
(Details below)

“Women—apparently even enemy women—rendered him awkward, nervous. Stupid. He lacked Nick’s charisma, and Dev’s bravado. Over the years he’d tried to emulate both and failed miserably. He was just Curtis, a blend of Keeper and computer geek.”

Yep, that just about sums up Curtis. But he’s going to have to rise to a challenge the likes of which he’s never seen before. Because his realm as he’s known it is about to get turned upside down.

Enter Jordan.

“So then, this was it. This Keeper would finish the job. Forsaken, betrayed by her own people, he would put her down like a horse fallen lame, mercifully and unwittingly ending her misery. Was that some kind of warped, twisted justice, or not? Even if the Keeper didn’t kill her, without the dark energy, she would die.”

Jordan is in store for a journey of her own. In fact, I chose her name because it means ‘rebirth’ to me – The river’s name in Hebrew is (Yarden), meaning “descend” or “flow down”.

She tells Curtis: “Until I met you, my life felt like. . .” She seemed to search for words. “Like I’m dreaming I’m naked in a crowd but I never wake up.”

And she’s bewitched Curtis: “To his surprise, she grinned back briefly. It was enough to light up her face, and his heart. Had he honestly once thought no one would describe her as beautiful?”

And what’s the significance of the name Curtis? To me, it’s not a sexy or suave name. It’s the name of a hard working, no frills, practical Keeper, which is exactly what he is. But he’s got a sweet, sexy side too…

Plus, did you ever meet someone who just made an impression on you, for whatever reason? For me, as a writer, I guess that translates into the potential to be a character in a book. It was like that for me, when quite randomly, I was introduced to a Curtis, several years ago, and never have seen him again. But his look served as inspiration….

“All her faculties fully intact for the first time in days, she studied him intently. Tall, maybe six-two. Again, she noted his lean, wiry build, clad in jeans and a T-shirt, Vans on his feet. Not a body cultivated at the gym, but one maintained through a healthy lifestyle. Hair unruly around the edges. Inky blue, close-set eyes, which at the moment appeared perplexed and wary. A long, straight nose. Sculpted lips, drawn taut by a scowl. Shifting his weight, he crossed his arms, his stance matching his hard, uncompromising expression.”

INSIDE THE INSPIRATION ~ The entire Crossing Realms series was inspired by some very intense, very vivid dreams I had about my father after he’d passed. I know now they were visitations, and I treasure them. Have you had a similar, or other psychic experience?

The Crossing Realms series ~ Sacrifice or salvation? A chosen psychic few may be both. As the city’s Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

THE BETRAYER ~ Can a Betrayer fight alongside a Keeper? ~ He’d betray his clan for her. She’s a soldier to the core – but for which side? As they battle to save the human race, how high a price will loyalty—and love—demand?

Find out in THE BETRAYER, available now on Amazon…

REBECCA E. NEELY, AUTHOR
~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

Rebecca is a writer, storyteller, author and blogger. A sucker for a happy ending, Rebecca strives to write the kind of stories she loves to read—gritty, suspenseful and featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.

Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer.

Rebecca is a member of Three Rivers Romance Writers (TRRW), a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and is proud to serve as a judge for several writing contests each year.

CONNECT WITH REBECCA
Website www.rebeccaneely.com
Blog https://rebeccaneelysite.wordpress.com/
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-E.-Neely/e/B00PIONVOA
Mailing List http://eepurl.com/bqiDi5
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.mullnerneely
Twitter https://twitter.com/Rebeccaneely1
BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/rebecca-e-neely

Excerpt

Everything about being here with Jordan was diametrically opposed to what Curtis’ clan stood for. She repulsed him. Fascinated him. She was his enemy. Now, maybe his ally. Did she hold the key to saving his clan?

There was no way for him to explain or to prepare Jordan—or himself—for what he was about to do. Not only did he need the element of surprise, he didn’t want to give either of them a chance to talk themselves out of it.

“Well?” She planted one hand on her hip and waved the other impatiently. “What do you think about what I said?”

“Just . . . Ah, stand still.” What she’d told him, the way he saw it, gave him an opportunity to find a definitive answer. And that was his M.O., definitive answers. So, he’d do what he had to do to help his clan.

She was filthy dirty, and he wasn’t much better, since it’d been three days since he’d seen a shower. He figured they were evenly matched there. Writing off the thudding of his heart to nerves and lack of sleep, in one lightning quick move, he hauled her against him.

Understanding flashed in her eyes and her bottom lip curled in what most certainly was defiance. And maybe fear? Before he lost his nerve, he closed his mouth over hers.

Soft. That was the first sensation that leapt into his mind. For an instant, her lips remained motionless beneath his, then yielded, pliant, shocking him. Thrilling him.

Up to now, nothing about this woman had been pliant. Skinny as she was, the subtle curves of her breasts, the angles of her hips molded themselves to his body. His breath hitched, and his erection swelled in his jeans. Thoughts of stripping her bare, wrapping her legs around his waist and burying himself inside her where they stood possessed him.

Sweet gods.

A low moan stirred in her throat, further arousing him. His mouth a breath from hers, the taste of her lingering on his lips, she clutched his wrist. And, jerking away from him, she reared back and punched him in the stomach.

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