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Archive for 'contemporary romance'



Genevive Chamblee: How to Find Daily Joy
Friday, January 22nd, 2021

After a year filled with natural disasters, unemployment, political and civil unrest, supply shortages, illness, quarantines, and death, I’d never seen so many people looking forward to a new year than in 2020. However, 2021, so far, has seemed to say, “2020, hold my beer.” Are we in for round two or the next level of Jumanji? Or maybe, it’s as some has speculated, the opening of the Hunger Games.

Whether we are or not, there comes a point where it can all become overwhelming and one needs to take a break. If life and reality is so heavy that all one can think of is despair and feel sadness, it is time to create an avenue of happiness, hope, and light in one’s life. Here are some ways to bring some daily joy into your life.

  1. TikTok. It just isn’t for kids anymore. If you don’t want to create videos, just watch those that do and enjoy the fun they bring to life. Try the dance challenges or play one of the practical jokes on a close friend with a good sense of humor. Enjoy the many artists and musicians that are on the platform. Learn to cook a new meal or about a new culture. Find new books to read or meet your favorite author on a Livestream. Make new friends. There have been some who have even found love there.
  2. Collecting. Begin a new collection. For many, collecting has a connotation of being a boring, dull, or introverted person. And objects collected have been thought of as being limited to art, stamps, rocks, leaves, dolls, and insects. However, anything can be collected. A good friend of mine who loves coffee collects mugs. It is a small way she inserts a bit of happiness into the beginning of her morning by pouring in her first cup of java. I recently met a group of people who collect Mini Brands. Granted, these things are as cute as the dickens. I’d walked past the surprise balls for over a year, never having noticed. Then, I saw a video of someone opening one and became hooked on the cuteness. There’s a whole community that collects and trades these. Some of the Mini Brand collectors have styled mini-kitchens and displays, while others have converted them to refrigerator magnets and jewelry. Another person stated that she collected eye shadow palettes. Some she uses, while others she displays.
  3. Family time. Unfortunately, many people have been furloughed, laid off, or had a reduction in hours. Others, who may still be working from home. Believe it or not, there are positives and negatives in this. A friend who now works from home admitted that although it was complicated at first and took some adjustment, she enjoys not having the mad rush in the mornings to get ready for work or her children off to school. She confessed that she has been able to save money by not eating out for lunch, not spending money on wardrobes and gas, not having to attend conferences or pay for school trips, and not paying for daycare services. Since she commuted to work, she spent over an hour each way driving. Now, she spends that extra time with family. She confessed that she always wanted to be a stay-at-home mother but couldn’t afford it. However, now she is able to have the best of both worlds. Although it isn’t perfect, she is enjoying the time she has while it lasts. She and her family have created new routines. They all participate in making dinner and find creative and fun ways to make cleaning (and other household chores) a game. They have found time to bond and grow closer as a family. Another friend who was furloughed stated that he despised his job but didn’t have the nerve to quit for fear of what he would do to support himself. He was eventually laid off, but he found another job that he is much happier at doing as well as starting a business that he has always dreamed of doing.
  4. New skills. As mentioned previously, many people have found themselves with extra time. Learn something new. A colleague who was planning to get married in 2020 postponed her wedding due to the pandemic and issues with venues and vendors. At first, she was very upset by this and confessed that she cried for weeks. Then, one day as she was watching videos on YouTube, she began getting new wedding design ideas. Later, she saw a DIY project that she wanted to try as centerpieces. Soon, she found herself creating decorations for her wedding that not only is she having fun creating but that also is saving herself money. A coworker reported that she took a page from the movie Julie & Julie. She’s always wanted to learn to cook, and she’s taken this time to do just that.
  5. Increased awareness. This came from my bestie and was a shock to me. I don’t know why since it’s basic. My bestie stated that when shelter-at-home regulations happened, he began to go stir crazy with such a disruption of his life. He’s truly a man on the go. However, once he became limited in where he could go and things he could do, he stated that he became more aware of his surroundings. He began to notice things in his neighborhood and community that he hadn’t previously. One of the most interesting things he said was the following. “When I purchased my home, one of the selling points was the backyard and view. As time passed, it just became a part of my every day, and I overlooked its beauty. I’d never enjoyed it fully. Being home all the time made me feel a bit stir crazy. One day, I took a book outside and read it beneath an oak in my backyard. It was so peaceful, and the weather nice. I wondered why I’d never done that before. I ordered a hammock from Amazon, and now, it’s one of my favorite places to relax, think, read, and meditate.”
  6. Pampering self. Roll the clock back to the fall of 2019 when the world had no clue what was looming around the corner. I had begun making plans for the 2020 football season as well as vacation. In December that year, I planned the items I would need. I decided that each month, I would purchase a few of these items to spread the expense over several months and prevent having to rush at the last minute. In February, when talks of a lockdown began, I didn’t believe it. In March, when it actually happened, I thought it would last only a couple of days. Therefore, I continued planning for my vacations and activities. By the time I realized they weren’t going to happen, I regarded what I had amassed and sulked. I had wasted my money. Or had I? Vacations are about relaxing and escape from the normal world. I wouldn’t call a pandemic being my “normal world;” although, I will admit that it has shaped me a new normal. However, just because my vacation plans had changed didn’t mean that I had to chunk all my ideas. I would just have to find ways to use the items at home and pamper myself. Fortunately, many of the items were skincare and perfumes. Who says one must have an audience in order to be smell nice or have clear skin? I also played with makeup that I had purchased in ways that I wouldn’t normally for work. For example, I had an opportunity to experiment with colorful looks instead of neutrals. Because work has been slower, I’ve found more time to read and watch television series that I’ve missed out on. And instead of feeling I’m missing out on being out with friends, I find soaking in a long bath or giving myself a facial isn’t a bad substitute. We’ve even had a few cyber girls’ nights in which were truly fun, and in all honesty, may have been more fun than actually being out, where parking is a hassle and some people can be real jerks. No matter why it occurred, taking time to do something positive for oneself is never a bad thing.
  7. Neighborhood book libraries. Until recently, I never knew these were a thing. For a couple of years, I’ve bypassed one in the downtown area but mistook it for decoration. It’s shaped like a house. And although it is clearly labeled as a book library exchanged, the words didn’t resonate with me. These are a great way to bring happiness into your and someone else’s life. For one, I hate the thought of throwing a book away. It seems like a waste. The public library system in my immediate area is, in my opinion, under horrible management. In the past, it has been proven that they throw away book donations without considering what they are, are rude to patrons, and act in ways that are most convenient for staff but not borrowers. For example, they keep the restrooms locked because children have not kept the area clean. There are two stalls in both the men’s and women’s restrooms. However, libraries in surrounding areas that have triple the daily traffic, restrooms with a half dozen stalls on each floor, and the same number of staff (percentage-wise), they keep their restrooms both unlocked and clean. But that’s a story for another time. The point is, neighborhood libraries offer communities a place to share books without the complications of library cards, due dates, or the fear donations will go straight to the trash. I will, however, point out that some public libraries feel threatened by the neighborhood libraries and have made partitions to the local government to place restrictions and limitations on neighborhood libraries.
  8. Music. Since the beginning of time, people have found solace in music. It is an easy way to relax, and with so many genres, a person most assuredly can find something he/she enjoys. When I was younger and suffered from migraines frequently, loud thumping music (I know. One would think I would seek silence.) would ease the pain away. Maybe the drumbeats vibrated out the pain. The entertainment industry has long used music to set moods and increase the ambiance. Injecting happy music throughout one’s day can lift the spirits and bring inspiration.
  9. Breaks. Then again, sometimes all that is needed is a break and time away. Media can be toxic, bringing into our homes and living rooms negative energy and bad news on a loop. The week after Christmas, the local media kept harping on severe weather that would occur on New Years Day. During nearly every commercial break it seemed, there was the news commercial to watch for the latest update of the weather at five, six, and ten. And while I’m all for people to be informed, I could have done without the constant reminder of what was to come. And dread was building. At the gas station, people were filling up gas cans for their generators. People planned to hunker down instead of attempting to have at least some type of New Year celebration, even if it was no more than grape juice in a plastic cup in the middle of the kitchen. On New Year’s Eve, there was rain (heavy at times) but no wind, thunder, lightning, or tornadoes. No watches or warnings were issued. And while everyone was relieved, the anxiety had built in so many for days. There is a difference between informing the public and inundating them with fear. And I know there will be those who will think it’s no big deal and that the meteorologist simply missed the mark. And would one hundred percent agree with that if I didn’t live in an area where so many people have PTSD from Hurricane Katrina and tornadoes? But the purpose of this point isn’t to place blame on the media. On the contrary, it is to point out that people need to recognize in themselves those things that are begin trigged and tune them out. Shut off all of social media and chill. There was a news article of a man who had isolated himself in a remote area for over a year. There were no cell phones, cable, or internet. When he left to return home, he had no idea of the pandemic. He’d not panicked, stressed, or been bothered.
  10. Great books. Of course, as an author, I’m going to end by saying a great way to bring happiness to any day is to curl up with not just a good book but, rather, a great one. And why not read something from an author you’ve never tried. During the holidays, I know I stocked my Kindle with new reads. Having a favorite go-to author that will never fail you is wonderful. But when I travel, I know I like to try new things and new adventures. If I’m going to always do the same-o same-o, why not remain at home?

Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Reveal! (Contest)
Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

First, thank you to everyone who picked up their copy of Preacher! Thank you, thank you! And bless those who left a review. Very much appreciated! But if you’ve already read the book, you should be asking for the next story, and I didn’t leave that any big mystery whose story it will be…

His name’s Pierce Hardman.

This former SEAL thought BUD/S was hard, but convincing his new trainer that all work and no play doesn’t make a bigger, badder bounty hunter might just be the greatest challenge of his life…

Pre-order your copy now!

I’m not satisfied with that blurb, but blurbs are torturous and I suck at them. I’ll work on it.

In the meantime, can we celebrate the fact that we’re well into the Dead Horse, MT spinoff series now? I love everything about the town. Coming up with kooky names for the town’s businesses was completely fun and some readers helped with that! This is the reading order and includes the short story, “In the Wild”…

Click on the covers to learn more about these stories!

Cage In the Wild
 

And then comes,

Contest

For a chance to win a copy of one of the original Montana Bounty Hunters stories, answer me this…

Since I have this wonderful, crazy little town of Dead Horse, should I plan to write some stories that don’t necessarily center around the bounty hunters just for fun? Would that be something you’d like to see?

Oh, and take a look at the cover reveal my dd put together for Hardman. Is this hot or what?

Preacher’s heeerrrre!
Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

La-la-la-la… I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it! And now, I have that song in my head, but I think I like it.

PREACHER’S OUT! Did I say it loud enough? 🙂

I’m excited for you all to read it. It’s Book #2 to feature the hunters in the Dead Horse, MT office. I had a ton of fun writing the story, and I think you’ll be able to tell. Nadine’s still my favorite Dead Horse oldtimer!

Well, I don’t know what else to say to entice you into reading the book. I think I’ve probably done enough. Oh, wait! Did I mention it’s FREE in Kindle Unlimited? 🙂

Follow the link!

Preacher

MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: DEAD HORSE, MT
Authentic Men… Real Adventures…

An ex-Delta Force soldier, now Montana Bounty Hunter, finds himself slipping naturally into protector-mode when a small-town dessert chef is threatened by mysterious attacks.

Former Delta Force soldier, Dylan “Preacher” Priestley, is the latest hire for the newly formed office of Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT. He’s just settling into the job and getting to know the community when he meets the owner of Deadly Delights, Laura Pinchot. The attraction is immediate, but he finds he’s a little shy about approaching the curvy beauty, until a rock tossed through her store window gives him the “in” he needed.

Laura isn’t a life-long resident of Dead Horse, but she’s sunk her money into the donut shop and isn’t going anywhere. When a string of mysterious attacks target her store, she’s alarmed but doesn’t think it’s anything more than some kids’ pranks. However, when Preacher witnesses the latest assault against her business, she’s grateful for his quick thinking and protection when it appears the attacks are more personal than she’d imagined. That the handsome ex-soldier appears to be interested in her amazes her; she’s not exactly built like a model, but he quickly puts her insecurities to rest in the sexiest of ways.

With the support of his bounty hunter team, Preacher sticks close to Laura while the team tries to solve the mystery of who is after her. As their connection only grows hotter, he’s determined to keep her out of harm’s way.

Available in eBook now!
Also available in Print!
FREE in KU!

If you love the book, do me a HUGE favor. Tell someone else about it! Write a review! You’ll have my gratitude, and I’ll be soooooo much happier writing the next installment of my Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series! And you really do want to see what’s coming next!

PREACHER is coming tomorrow after midnight!! And open contests!
Sunday, January 17th, 2021

It’s Sunday, and I’m still being a little lazy after last week’s craziness. I finished up my plans for the coming week, so now, I think I might kick back and play some Fishdom on my phone. Anyone else play that game? It drives me nuts!

Anyway, just wanted to remind you about Preacher, which releases tomorrow after midnight (the print version is already live)! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the story! For sure, let me know if you’re still loving the bounty hunters. I hope so because I truly have a blast writing them.

Open Contests!

  1. Life in the Devlin House (Contest)Ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Insomnia and Blasted Muses! (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  3. Monica Corwin: The Pressure of A Series End (FREE BOOK and Excerpt) — Everyone can get a FREE book!
  4. My day, so far… (Contest–2 Winners!) — Win a FREE book!
  5. Tell me a story… (Puzzle-Contest) — Win a FREE book!
Desiree Holt: Rawhide: Cut the Cards (Excerpt)
Monday, January 11th, 2021

Rawhide: Cut the Cards

It’s a card game like you’ve never played before!
Rawhide is back!

Have you been missing the trips to Rawhide, the ultra-exclusive BDSM club on the northwest side of San Antonio, Texas? Well, it’s time for another trip, and this one has a few twists. First of all, the club has a new Dungeon Master. His name is Reulas, and he runs a strict establishment. Nothing is barred as long as you follow the rules. Secondly, he has sanctioned the introduction of a new card game called “Cut the Cards.” Each card pictures some form of BDSM activity. The sub cuts the cards then draws a certain number. Any cards that picture acceptable activities are set to the side; those that are not are replaced in the deck. After the sub has made her/his choices, then the Mistress or Master makes their choices and…the game is on!

Rawhide: Ace in the Hole

Cut the Cards
Kelly LeBlanc was hot and aroused at being selected as part of a demonstration for Rawhide’s members and guests. A card game for sex? What fun! But then she meets the Dom, Tanner Sloat, and finds all her wildest fantasies are about to come true.

Blackjack
He was everything Nia March ever dreamed about in a Master. As he takes her to levels higher than she’s even been, touching something deep inside her, she wonders if she can protect her heart.

Texas Hold ‘Em
Sage Drummond thought she’d never recover from the effects of a relationship filled with cruelty, but she craved the role of sub. When she tentatively dips her toe in the waters at Rawhide, the last thing she expects to find is a Master who will satisfy her needs as well as heal her heart. Can it last?

Dealer’s Choice
Cade Sullivan was one of the most in-demand Doms until a tragedy sent him hiding from the world and out of the D/s life. Working at Rawhide gives Fiona Wilder the urge to try the D/s life. Can she be the key to help Cade forget the past and build a life with a sub that is all his?

Two of a Kind
They each bring their baggage to a night at Rawhide that is supposed to be nothing but fun—a night of intense D/s play. Neither is prepared for the intense connection they make or how it will change their lives.

Get your copy of Rawhide: Ace in the Hole here!

And a snippet from Cut the Cards

Tanner Sloat was everything subs imagined Doms to be, power flowing from his body. It was hard to ignore the bulge at his crotch, and it had cream flooding the tiny crotch of her thong at the sight of it. Her nipples hardened, poking into the soft material of her halter. At once, she imagined herself on her knees in front of him, his cock on her tongue, her hands squeezing his balls. Would he spank her if he thought her performance lacking?

Oh, yes! Please!

She was instantly even more wet and needy, and he hadn’t even said hello to her yet.

When she looked up at Tanner, a tiny knowing smile flirted with the corners of his mouth and sexual hunger flared in his eyes. He raked his gaze over her slowly, taking in every inch of her. Now she knew what the phrase “undressing someone with his eyes” meant, because that was exactly how she felt. At that moment, if he’d told her to strip naked, get down on her hands and knees, and let him fuck her ass, she’d have done it without a moment’s hesitation.

Holy shit!

She swallowed and curved her mouth in a smile. “Welcome to Rawhide.”

He dipped his head once. “I can see you’re everything Reulas said you were.”

And exactly what was that?

“Tanner is just back from a tour of duty as a member of a Delta Force team,” Reulas explained.

Ooo-kay. So that explained the ripped body. She wondered if he had any interesting scars. Without realizing it, Kelly licked her lips.

“I picked up a little game while I was in…a different country,” Tanner said. “When I mentioned it to Reulas, it interested him. He suggested giving a little presentation to the members.” His eyes looked her over again. “From everything he told me, I thought you would be an excellent choice for a game partner. You enjoy exhibitionism, right?”

Did a bank have money? Heat sizzled through her at the idea of performing before this crowd with this highly sexual man.

“I do,” she answered. “Can you tell me what the game is about?”

He held out a deck of cards. “Take a look at these. The idea is each partner goes through the deck and removes any position or activity that they absolutely will not do. Then they go through them one at a time.”

“Of course, no one expects to complete the entire selection in one session,” Reulas added. “So each partner picks his or her top three and then they begin.”

Kelly cocked an eyebrow at him. “Your email sounded intriguing, and everyone is always looking for something new. I’m sure that’s why there’s such a big crowd tonight.”

Reulas nodded. “If I’d told them you were going to be part of the performance, we’d have been so crowded the fire marshal might have shut us down.”

“Reulas tells me you are a particular favorite.” Tanner’s voice rolled over her nerves like the electric wand she loved so much, sending sparks along the surface of her skin.

“He’s very kind. But I do my best to please.”

“As a good sub should.” He gave her a penetrating look that pierced all the way to her pussy. Her inner walls clenched, and she had to resist the urge to squeeze her thighs together.

“Why don’t the two of you step into the little alcove over there?” Reulas pointed. “You can select your cards. When you’re ready, I’ll get everyone’s attention and announce the beginning of the performance.”

*~*~*

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What’s coming on January 19th! (Excerpt)
Saturday, January 9th, 2021

I loved writing my Montana Bounty Hunters series, and I’m really enjoying “meeting” the hunters and townsfolk in my new spinoff series, Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, Montana. The stories are all fun. The heroes are hot and very physically capable (even Brian, folks!). The heroines are all strong, smart, and sassy. And their adventures are often so dang funny. I love getting to “live” inside this world while I write, and it’s very, very gratifying that so many of you love these stories, too. It’s a good thing because I’ll be writing them for a long time.

Book #2 of the series, Preacher, releases on January 19th! I’m still putting the finishing touches on the book. Preacher and Laura have been so much fun to write. And yes, they fall for each other really fast. Write what you know is what they tell authors to do, and since, in my life, I only ever fell in love really, really fast, I write from a place of knowing what that’s like. No long buildup from friendship to happy ever after. No. Not for me. It’s insta-lust until one or the other realizes they really “like” being with that other person. Plus, dangerous situations can force people to have to learn to trust each other quickly. Et  voilà! Love happens.

I’ve included the opening of the story here for you to enjoy, just so you can meet more of the hunters in this series and get a taste for the kind of job they do. There are mentions of the cable TV show the original bounty hunters cast do and “Bounty Hunter Barbie” who is Lacey Jones and a fan favorite from the original series, too. Lacey and her man Dagger are in Dead Horse for a while until Cage (the hero from the first book) staffs up his office. I swear you don’t have to read the other books to figure out who’s who!

Buckle up—and pre-order your copy now! The book will be available only on Amazon, at first, and it’ll be FREE in KU. Print will come shortly afterward.

Preacher

Preacher

An ex-Delta Force soldier, now Montana Bounty Hunter, finds himself bemused as he slips naturally into protector-mode when a small-town dessert chef is threatened by mysterious attacks.

Pre-order your copy now!

From the opening of Preacher

“Preacher, got my eyes on the back door.”

Dylan “Preacher” Priestley eyed the ground between his position, hiding behind a tree in a neighboring yard, and the front door of the property they currently surveilled. Twenty feet tops. Marti, his partner on this takedown, had already circled the house while he’d stood watch, sliding along the wood siding and popping up to peer into windows. According to her, there were three men inside playing poker around the kitchen table. One of them was their target, Jasper Quigley.

“Cage is on his way here,” Preacher said softly. “There will only be the three of us. Dagger and Lacey are still making their way back from Anaconda.” Jasper’s meek-looking mama had sent Dagger and his girlfriend on a wild-goose chase, telling them Jasper had holed up there.

Yeah, Jasper was probably feeling pretty smug right about now. He’d given them the slip twice now. Once, when a bartender in Anaconda, whom they’d promised money for a tip, had let them know he was playing cards in an illegal game in the backroom. The second they’d crashed through the door, the skinny fucker had bailed out a window and was on his bike and gone before Cage, who’d been watching the back door, could manage to get around the side of the establishment.

The second time he’d escaped had been when he’d dropped by his best friend’s house for a shower and a resupply before heading back out into the woods in Gallatin National Forest. A neighbor they’d also offered to reward for information regarding his whereabouts had called to let them know when Jasper had just rolled in. By the time they’d mustered the team, Jasper had been long gone, and according to his buddy, he was camped out in the woods where they’d never find him.

With over 2,800 square miles of territory to search in Gallatin, they’d decided to set up cameras to watch all the likely places he might return to…his mom’s, his best friend’s, his girlfriend’s. That way they wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else. And since Anaconda, Jasper’s stomping grounds, wasn’t far from Dead Horse, they could be there the second their tech guru and general flunky, Fredericka “Fig” Newton, let them know.

She’d called an hour ago, having spied a man on a bike arriving after dusk at Jasper’s best friend’s house.

While they hadn’t been certain the man was Jasper, it had been over a week since the twice-convicted felon had come in for a resupply, and the weather had cooled considerably. So, they took the chance since there were only days to go before the bounty ran out.

Footsteps crunched in the dried leaves behind him. Preacher tensed and glanced behind him, just making out a large, burly shadow moving toward him.

His boss, Cage Morgan, lifted his chin when he got closer. “What do we have?”

“Marti’s already scoped out the place. Three men are in the kitchen playing poker. Jasper’s one of them. She sliced one of Jasper’s tires while she was at it to make sure we don’t have the same issue we had in Anaconda.”

“Knew I liked that girl.”

In his ear, he heard a soft grunt coming from Marti.

Preacher’s lips twitched. After working with her for two weeks, he was certain “the girl” had the personality of an old wooden post. “It’s a shotgun house. Going in the front, kitchen’s right past the living room on the right.”

“They armed?”

“One of them is wearing a shoulder holster. Since they were all seated, she couldn’t see what the other two are packing.” Preacher dug into a pouch on his web belt and pulled out an extra earpiece which he handed to Cage.

Cage took a moment to flick it on and insert it in his ear. “You hear me, Marti?”

“Yeah, boss.”

“Got a plan, Preach?”

Preacher shrugged. “Break down the door and kick some ass…?”

“Sounds good to me,” Marti said in his ear.

Cage grimaced. “Let’s try a little more finesse. I don’t like that we can’t be sure whether they’re going to draw weapons.” He let out a sigh. “Hey, Marti? Think you can be our Lacey tonight?”

“I wish like hell one of you two had boobs,” she muttered.

Preacher chuckled, following Cage’s thread and Marti’s disgust.

“I’m stripping,” she growled.

Cage patted his shoulder. “You get around to the back. She’s going in the front. When she’s had a chance to suss out whether they’re all armed, she’ll let us know.”

“What am I supposed to say?” Marti groused. “Hey, is that a gun in your pants or are you just glad to see me?”

Preacher grinned in the shadows. Marti’s flat tone made the snarky comment all that much funnier.

“Yeah, like that,” Cage said, his smile gleaming.

“Okay. Stashed my shit,” she said.

Preacher gave Cage a thumbs up then made his way from the tree line to the corner of the house, just in time to see Marti crouch low and edge her way along the side of the house before straightening beside the porch. It looked like she’d taken a knife to her T-shirt to cut off the arms and most of the neckline, then she’d tucked the tight shirt into her black cargo pants. Her hair was loose and fell in fluffy waves around her shoulders; her lips were glossy and red. Until the moment she stood beneath the porch light, he hadn’t realized she was actually kind of cute.

He kept moving until he was behind the house and stood in the shadowy space beside the wooden back steps.

“Here goes,” Marti muttered. “Gawd, I can’t believe I’m letting you pimp me out.”

“Suck it up, buttercup,” Cage whispered.

Preacher listened as she knocked on the door.

After what felt like forever, the front door creaked open a crack, and then made a longer creaking noise as it widened. “Can I do something for you?”

“Ooh, what a big gun you have! Wow, are you some kind of cop or something?” Marti asked, sounding like a bad actress in a porn movie with her little girl tone and slight lisp.

“Or something,” the man said, his slithery tone telling Preacher that the man liked what he saw.

“Um, I was wondering…”

Preacher imagined her twisting her hair around a finger.

“Do you have a phone I could use? My date left me on the side of the road, and my phone’s still in his damn car.”

“Now, sweetheart, that’s no way for a man to treat a pretty little thing like you.”

Pretty little thing? While just medium height, Marti had an athlete’s build.

“You really think so?”

Preacher shook his head, thinking he’d underestimated his partner’s feminine powers. She was flirting with the thug, and he was eating it up.

“Why don’t you come inside? I have a phone. You thirsty? Need a drink?”

“What do you have?”

The sound of footsteps followed.

“Lookie, boys, at what showed up on my doorstep.”

Chairs scraped.

“That such a good idea?” one male voice asked.

“No big deal,” Marti’s host said. “She needs a drink.”

“And a phone,” she said, in a soft voice.

“Gotta be thirsty. How far did you have to walk?”

“Damn near a quarter mile,” Marti said. “In the dark. I was so happy to see your porchlight on. I was getting worried.”

“Well, don’t you worry about a thing now. Jasper, get her the chair out of my bedroom. Better yet, give her yours. You go fetch the other for yourself.”

Chairs scraped again, likely from the two remaining men and Marti seating themselves.

“Such a gentleman,” Marti crooned.

“Not too much o’ one.” The horse’s ass who was chatting her up laughed like a hyena at his own joke.

Footsteps clomped closer. Something thudded on the floor. “She’s sitting in front of my cards.”

“Jasper, we’ll get back to the game,” Horse’s Ass said.

“Well, you all have some fine hardware there,” Marti murmured. “Don’t think I’ve seen so many guns since my daddy took me to church in Whitefish.”

“Need to know how many,” Preacher whispered.

“You spend much time in Whitefish?” Horse’s Ass asked.

“My daddy used to go there a lot, until Mr. Whitcomb went and got himself arrested.”

“You knew Barney Whitcomb?” Jasper said.

“I met him a time or two. Seemed like a nice man. Can’t believe they’re trying him for kidnapping and assault. Daddy said the guy he hurt probably deserved it.”

“He did, indeed,” Jasper said. “I was supposed to be there the night the FBI and ATF took him off.”

“Really? Well, aren’t you lucky? You coulda been sitting in jail with him.”

“Oh, I’m lucky all right. Had some bounty hunters after my ass a while back. Dumbasses never could catch me.”

“Seriously? Bounty hunters? Like Dog the Bounty Hunter?”

Preacher rolled his eyes.

“More like those fake bounty hunters on Bounty Hunters of the Northwest.”

“Do you really think they’re fake?” Marti asked, her voice tightening a tad. “They all look like they can take care of business.”

A laugh sounded. “Come on, you ever seen Bounty Hunter Barbie? She’s got her own action figure now. It’s all fake. Besides, if they were really good at their jobs, don’t you think they’d already have caught my ass?”

Marti’s laugh tinkled.

Preacher shook his head. Hell, he’d never heard her laugh before. And it tinkled.

After a pause, Marti said, “Oh, that’s good. I was really, really thirsty.”

“Got more where that came from,” Horse’s Ass said, sounding like he was talking into her ear.

“Bet you do,” Marti said under her breath, her flat voice sounding almost like her old self. “My daddy bought me a little Remington pocket pistol to carry in my purse. Fits my hand just right.”

“What are you doing?” Cage whispered in warning.

“Mmm. I just love the way a gun feels in my hand when I squeeze off a round.”

“That the only thing you like to squeeze off?” Horse’s Ass whispered.

“I swear I get off on the feel of steel in my palm.”

“Well, you should feel this one,” another male said.

“That one’s so big,” Marti said, sounding a little breathless. “Not sure my little ole fingers can get all the way around it. Ooh, but I like how that feels.”

Cage chuckled. “Get ready, Preacher. Our little missy is gonna get all the guns.”

“If she doesn’t get raped first,” Preacher bit out.

“Try mine,” Jasper said as Preacher climbed the steps and stood in front of the back door.

“Well, let me see. I’m not sure which I like better. That first one was heavy and so wide it gave me shivers. This one’s not so heavy, but it’s looong.” She giggled. “Let me feel yours.”

Horse’s Ass said, “Shoulda tried mine first. It’s the best.”

“Well, now, I have all three. However, do I choose?”

“Now!” Cage said.

Preacher raised his foot and kicked open the back door. The sound of more splintering wood echoed in his ears.

Shouts sounded from inside.

“Give me my gun!”

Clattering sounded and then a loud thud.

Preacher ran through a mud room and down a short dark corridor.

“Babe, why’d you toss the table?”

“Bitch! You set us up!”

When he stood in the kitchen doorway it was to see Marti standing over the men, a long-barreled revolver in her hand.

“Not so fake now, huh, Jasper?”

Flashback: Family Values (Contest–Two Winners! Plus Excerpt!)
Friday, January 8th, 2021

UPDATE: The winners are Annie Kavanagh and Amy Dudley!
*~*~*

Depending on how long you’ve been reading me, you might not be aware of my naughty, nine-book, cowboy ménage series, Lone Star Lovers. All my sexiest fantasies are rolled up in those stories. Two cowboys, three cowboys, four… All that attention on one lucky girl… Heck, it’s not really fair, and there must be something in the water in Two Mule, Texas because there’s a whole lotta sharin’ goin’ on. 🙂

Comment for a chance to win your choice of
one of my Lone Star Lovers books! 

Family Values

Family Values

Three brothers competing for one woman’s heart learn the values of patience and sharing….

Angelina Flores lived a perfect ranch-kid childhood, complete with three princes on horseback who treated their housekeeper’s daughter like a princess. At age eighteen, the fairytale came crashing down when she realized she had to choose between Brand, Nate, and Eli McAffee. And when she did choose one—she lost all three.

She’s older now. Wiser, thanks to her college education and a few years’ distance. A distance she’d planned to maintain…until her mother begs her to fill in at the ranch while she takes care of a sick relative.

The minute her boots hit the front porch, the memories come flooding back, right along with the hunger. It’s tough to put the past behind her when temptation is so close. Especially since the brothers seem bound and determined to woo her. Separately. Together. Whatever it takes to keep her right where she belongs—in their arms.

An Excerpt from Family Values

For Angelina Flores, stepping across the threshold of the MacAfee ranch house was a moment filled with both nostalgia and pain. The dull thud her boots made on the natural, planed-oak flooring was a familiar sound—and not one she’d heard anywhere else. The faint smells of beeswax and Pine-Sol mixed with the scent of the freshly cut roses in the Mexican crockery atop the rugged fireplace mantel. If she closed her eyes, she could imagine herself at ten years old, running with her muddy boots through the family room to tell her mother about her day, about the animals and the cowboys—her new friends, who’d let her ride behind them on their tall horses.

Her childhood had felt enchanted. And she’d had three handsome princes fawning over her, showering her with pretty clothes and dolls. Even then, she’d dreamed of growing up and having a fairytale wedding, and when they’d teased her and asked her which one she’d choose for her husband, she’d asked why she couldn’t choose them all.

How prophetic that now seemed. As, when she’d approached graduation from high school, two of the McAfee men had suddenly let her know of their individual interest.

Oh, she’d been flattered. And thrilled. Until the moment she’d realized she really would have to choose. Then she’d been filled with dread, because she didn’t want to hurt any of them, and she didn’t know how she could favor one over the other, especially when she was also interested in the third.

Angelina shook her head to rid herself of the painful memories and entered with trepidation, wondering what her welcome would be like once the brothers returned home. The last time she’d been here, in this room, she’d been led through it by a hard hand clamped around her upper arm. She’d been escorted crying and half-dressed back to her room off the kitchen, and then her door closed in her face.

The next morning, she’d been taken by the same hard-faced man through the back door to his Expedition parked beside the porch. The chill in the morning air not nearly as cold as his final goodbye at the Dallas airport.

She’d been eighteen, and the only place she’d ever called home was her home no more.

Angelina took a deep breath and stepped farther into the room. She set her suitcase on the floor beside her and tilted her head to listen for any sounds of movement in the house. Her mother had said the MacAfee boys were at an auction in San Angelo, and that she’d have the place to herself for the weekend, to acclimate and to shore up her nerves.

“Mama, you know why I can’t be there,” she’d said in the early morning hours, holding back her hair and squinting at the digital alarm beside her bed.

“I have no one else I can trust, mija. It’s been years. Things have changed. You have changed. No one will say a word about the past. Have I ever asked anything of you, Angel?”

Angelina’s shoulders had slumped. “I don’t know if I can go there,” she’d whispered.

“I know it will be hard, Angel. I know. But you must take my place and look after the boys while I am away. Do this for me, please?”

She’d taken a deep breath and gripped her cellphone harder. “How long? How long must I stay?”

“Your Aunt Cecilia is having a hysterectomy. I might be weeks.”

Angelina shook her head. Her stomach twisted in a knot, and sudden nausea made her skin clammy. “I’ll have to call my boss. Damn, he’ll probably let me go. I just started there.”

Gracias, mija. You will see. You worry for nothing. The past is the past.”

But the past wasn’t so distant that she didn’t feel the same longing as she gazed around the room for dreams she’d shattered when she’d followed her heart to make the biggest mistake of her life. And she would never forget the shame.

After picking up her bag, she trudged toward the kitchen and beyond it, to the small bedroom that had been her own when she was a child and the world had seemed such a bright place, full of romantic possibilities.

But princes didn’t exist, at least not in her realm. And she wasn’t a starry-eyed chatterbox anymore, eager to sit on certain cowboys’ knees. She was a college graduate. Had her own job—maybe. Her own place. She’d made a life for herself. The fact she still felt pangs of loneliness late at night when she went to bed alone was something she’d eventually outgrow. Someday. And somewhere far from the MacAfee ranch.