not out of my system.”
second he breathed Cord in.
Rosanna Selim can’t recall almost two years of her life, but it hasn’t stopped her from loving her job as a paralegal with one of the top defense firms in Cleveland, Ohio. It also hasn’t affected her relationship with sexy, charming homicide detective, Houston Cassidy. Until he tells her about a twelve-year-old case. As images invade both her waking and dreaming states, she’s certain that uncovering the truth means losing Houston.
Houston has been unlucky in love because of dedication to his job, so he’s determined not to screw things up with Rosanna. She’s sexy, beautiful, and the most easy going woman he’s ever met. He adores her. But when she tells him about the images, and as she works with a therapist to recover her memories, Houston has to come to terms with the possibility that she’s the killer in a case he’s been trying to solve for twelve years.
“I love it when you do that.”
“Are you sure?” He raised his brows. “I can wait a long time.”
“Oh yeah?” She shoved her hand between them and caressed his erect penis. “Doesn’t feel that way to me.”
The laugh she loved so much filled the space around them. “Appearances are deceiving.” Shivers ran up and down her spine as he kneaded her breasts. Even with her clothes still on, the effect was intoxicating. She massaged his shaft, aching for that dick to be inside her.
“You’re going to wait for it, babe.”
“Even with me doing this?”
One finger traced between her breasts, over her abdomen, and landed on her clit, where he rubbed hard. The movement forced her hand off his cock. “Now you can’t reach me.”
“I never tease.” He massaged her swollen bud through the jeans, but she definitely felt it.
“So what do you call this?”
“For being too damn sexy for your own good.”
“Weak, Houston. Very weak.”
“Oh yeah? Who’s the one squirming and begging right now?”
When he clamped his mouth on her groin through the denim, Rosanna cried out in pleasure. He was right. He’d nailed her. How the man had so much self-control was a mystery to her, but she loved it. She loved the teasing and she loved the way he made her so crazy with desire she wasn’t above begging him to fuck her.
“I’ll bet your hot pussy is soaking wet right now.”
“Why don’t you take off my jeans and find out?”
“Oh, I’ll take them off, but I’m not fucking you just yet. There’s something I keep promising you but haven’t delivered.”
“And what might that be?”
A wicked, sly grin had her wondering if she should have asked. Houston yanked off her jeans, taking her panties with them. He removed her socks and shoes, but instead of returning to what he’d been doing with that magic mouth a second ago, he sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her over one knee.
“Houston…” She was so surprised, she had no idea what to say.
“I’ve been threatening to spank you for weeks.” She gasped as he swatted each cheek, hard. He pinned her thighs with his right leg and held her across the lower back with his left hand. She couldn’t move, and the effect was so deliciously dominant that she nearly came.
“Tell me you’ve been a bad girl.” One more stinging smack on each cheek forced another gasp from her. “I want to hear you say it.”
“I’ve been a bad girl.” Her voice came out all breathy and low, but honestly, how could she help that? This was so over the top intoxicating that her clit began to throb.
“Yes, you have.”
“Oh my God!” He delivered five more blows to each cheek, alternating, and now they burned like fucking crazy. Each swat built on the next one, until she couldn’t distinguish the pleasure from the pain. The combined into one sweet, torturous sensation that sent shivers down her spine, and tiny contractions to her soaking wet pussy.
“Had enough yet, bad girl?”
“I don’t even know how to answer that.”
Houston rubbed the wounds he’d made, which forced loud moans from her as the intensity of the burn increased. “Not quite yet. You can take a bit more.”
Don’t piss off the furnace man.
It might be a standing joke around the glass factory— he’ll mix you with the sand and burn you, leaving nothing left to discover—but Lindsey Earnshaw is about to find out the truth behind it.
Placed there to spy on the place on behalf of the government, a warning message brings forth not only a dead body, but also the one man she’s never forgotten.
Michael Hoult cannot believe his eyes, when his ex-wife turns out to be the receptionist on duty. Having to drug her in order to not blow his cover will not earn him her renewed submission, neither will whisking her away to the Death Isle.
Duty first, though. It cost him his marriage all those years ago, but with Lindsey now working for the same side, can they not only catch a killer, but also rediscover each other?Hi all, Raven chatting.
Hi all, Raven chatting.
It’s so lovely to be here and talking about The Furnace Man, the latest book by Kera Faire, my dark side.
I’m very lucky having two author sides of me, as I can indulge what I like doing best—creating stories with a happy ever after—in so many different ways. I just swap hats so to speak. It might not work for everyone, but it does for me.
This series, Dark Isle, is darker than my Raven stories. Mainly set around an island on Loch Lomond, in Scotland, The Furnace Man takes a bit of a new track, by starting in a glass works in Yorkshire. I just happened to go to the grand opening of a new furnace, and got chatting. The Furnace Man is the result.
Of course we end up on Dark Isle…also known aptly as Death Isle, an island in Loch Lomond, which is handy as it is not that far from where I live. Good excuse to procrastinate and well, enjoy the scenery. A flask of coffee, a g-f biscuit or three and my lap top. Perfect. Well I hope so.
The Furnace Man Teaser
“Nice now, safe word or suck me off.” He waited as she gulped and hesitated. She swayed towards him and straightened. Many people didn’t involve sex in their play; he and Lindsey always had and that was how he wanted it to be now. However, he remembered oral was something she’d never been keen on and eventually said it was a soft limit. It had never changed and nor had she gone down on him more than a few times, and never ever swallowed his cum. Not something he’d ever encountered before or indeed after Lindsey. She’d tried and after gagging and throwing up, had said swallowing was a big fat red no-no. He’d accepted it, but had missed that special closeness only being jerked off by your partner could bring. But Lindsey was his lady, his sub, he had loved her—still did—and her pleasure came first.
Perhaps it was unfair to throw her into this scenario so quickly, but he knew his pet. She could go round the houses for ever. He intended to show her he would not be fazed or upset by her limits whatever.
“Pet, you need to tell me where you are in this. Safe word.” He rapped his demands out. “Now.”
“Green to lick,” she said so softly he had to strain to hear. “I hope.” She took his cock in between her hands and delicately licked the head.
His pre-cum leaked fast and furious and she drew back and looked at it.
Typical. The one time I could do with it taking its time it comes like the clappers.
“It’s fine,” she said with awe in her voice. “Green.” She took more of his length in her mouth and began to nibble and suck.
He saw stars as the tug and pull became stronger. God almighty did she know the affect she was having on him? He was going to come if she didn’t slow down or pull back.
“Pet, enough, I’m about to shoot.” Michael tugged her hair, hard enough to make her release him. Or so he hoped.
“Lindsey. Pet, stop now.” Did he sound Dom-like enough? It was bloody hard when half of him would like no more than to fuck her mouth until he filled it with cum, and watched the excess run down her cheeks. But he didn’t truly want to. Not yet. Baby steps.
His command evidently got to her because she moved her mouth from his with a gentle plop. The confusion and hurt in her eyes hit him. “Pet, baby steps,” he said softly as he helped her to her feet. “I would happily fill your mouth and fuck it. But, not today. We have so much more to explore and hopefully have a lifetime to do everything in.” Would she understand without him getting too graphic? “I want to fuck your sweet pussy. Fill you that way. Relearn how you sigh and how well our bodies mesh. Make you scream as you come. Shudder and shake for me. Show you how much I love you, have never stopped loving you, and want this to be our happy ever after.”
Lindsey sighed and her eyes became misty. “Sir, My Michael, oh yes. I feel the same. You are mine. My lover, my friend and my Sir. I want it all as well.”
“First then.” Michael paused, tugged off her cardigan and threw it onto the floor. That’s better. Now…” He unzipped her jeans so he could run one finger around her pantie leg. “Firstly, I want you naked so I can spank your sweet ass until it’s the rosy color of that cushion over there.” He slid her panties and jeans down her legs and helped her step out of them. “I want to see my hand print and know that outline shows you are mine. Arms up.” Her t-shirt followed the cardigan. “Stand still, just like that with your arms up. Don’t lower them.”
Michael waited as she did as he demanded, grabbed her ass hard to keep her in place and lowered his lips to the lacy cups of her bra.
And sucked hard.
Lindsey bucked. “Oh grief oh my, oh hell…Oh god, Green bloody green.”
He took that as a good sign, let go of her nipples and ignored her moan as he blew on each hard nub in turn. Deftly he unclipped her bra and flung it in the direction of the rest of her clothes. Now he wished he’d taken her to the playroom. He knew no one was playing in it and he had a cupboard full of delicious things he could use on her. All still new and in their packets. Here, he’d have to be innovative and make do.
At least he had his hands. Michael unclenched his fingers and watched her pupils dilate as he smacked her ass a couple of times. “What color are clothes pegs?” he asked casually. “Specifically on your breasts, nipples and ass.”
“Clo… Pegs?” Her voice rose to a high-pitched squeak. “Pegs on my…oh my…” She blinked. “Can you?”
Michael smiled. “Oh yes. But maybe not yet?”
She nodded. “Perhaps not. I need to rediscover pain, I reckon. Let’s say yellow.”
“Then maybe we should start.” He pondered for a moment. “Here, I think.” He sat on the nearest chair and pulled her to lie over his lap, head to one side, legs to the other. “Color, pet?”
He could visualize her rolling her eyes at him for being so insistent. However she answered him readily, and politely. “Green, Sir.”
“Then, pet, count. Ten on each side and then I’m going to fuck your wet and willing pussy.”
“Yes, Sir,” she said fervently.
Michael laughed as he raised his hand. He hit her right buttock firmly and then rubbed away the sting as she gasped.
“Good girl.” He repeated the actions on the other globe. By six on each side Lindsey was writhing and he opened his legs enough to reach between them and pinch her clit hard. “No coming or I’ll stop now.”
“Eh?” She sounded dazed. “F…flip, no…no. Don’t stop.”
Want to learn more about Kera? Check out her website: Raven McAllan/Kera Faire
Thank you so much for sharing my latest release, Guarding His Anchor, with your readers! Frank and Charlie haven’t had an easy road, but their journey is romantic and adventurous.
Genre: Contemporary/Suspense/Erotic Romance
Warning: Includes biting (Odaxelagnia) during sex
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Guarding His Anchor Blurb:
Charlotte Weber is no stranger to heartbreak. FBI agent Frank Shaw has swept in and out of her life as though she’s a revolving door, stomping on her heart in the process. Now that she’s finally had enough, he’s back again and seems determined to spin her life out of control.
Frank knows Charlie is the anchor for his lost soul, even though he can’t risk settling down. The demons of his past are too great, and he won’t run the risk of hurting her. This time, his only objective should be locating Charlie’s brother, Sean. But Charlie’s a complication, and not just because she refuses to believe Sean is guilty.
As Frank and Charlie fight for what they believe in, they also try to resist their powerful connection. The future is unclear, but when danger surrounds them, they are each other’s only anchor.
Grab Guarding Midnight for 99 cents HERE
Guarding His Anchor Excerpt:
Frank watched Charlie intently.
That name was for a young girl, not for a woman like her.
To him, she was all Charlotte. Confident, virile, elegant, intoxicating. A vixen who turned a man on with one sultry glance and then brought him to his knees with one heady taste of her. He hated calling her by such the tomboy-ish name everyone else called her.
Others didn’t see what he did. Which was a good thing, too; he didn’t want her sharing that part of herself with anyone else. Especially not with this Numbnuts Neal that Jonas had told him about last night. Another guy was sniffing around his lady, and he didn’t like it. Not one fucking little sliver.
“So.” Charlotte interrupted his thoughts. He’d deal with Numbnuts later. “Tell me”—she shoved the file aside—“in your own words, everything my brother has allegedly done. And sugarcoat nothing on my behalf. I’ll read the report later.”
There was the woman he cared for. The brook-no-argument heat in her eyes. Her deep, sea-blue gaze sliced deep and offered no mercy.
“Your brother actually went undercover five years ago. You knew he was changing jobs and would be out of the country for a long time. You told me that yourself, remember?” Charlotte nodded but said nothing. “Through my contacts and the agent in charge of the case, it’s been almost eighteen months since his handler’s spoken to him.”
Her eyes widened and she shifted, but remained silent.
“I tracked him down in the most desolate area of Tel Aviv and to a branch in a drug cartel he’d started investigating years ago. The minute details are in the file, but to make a long story short, I got too close. Breached a compound to look for evidence of your brother being there and anything else I could use in the case.” He ran a hand down his face, the skin itchy from not having shaved in days. “Only sparse personnel were to be on the grounds, less eyes watching, but the Intel I got had been wrong. Before I knew what was happening, I was getting shot at from every direction.”
“So Sean might not be the one who shot you.” Her eyes were eager, hopeful. Of course she’d latch on to the fact multiple bullets were aimed at him.
He shook his head, wishing he could answer her pleas. “I managed through the worst of it and found my way to an empty garage where I ran into your brother. And before you ask, yes, I am certain it was him. He appeared confused at first, then said, ‘Charlie’s Frank?’ So he knew who I was. Then voices and more gunfire rang out and coming toward us. Before I could react to anything, he suddenly raised his gun and shot me.” Frank rubbed his wound, still surprised he’d survived. The doctors had said a couple inches left or right, depending on travel of the bullet and bone fragment concerns, and surgery wouldn’t have been an option either.
“How’d you get out of there?” He hoped the concern in her eyes was true and for him, not just her brother.
“One of the other agents with me pulled up in a jeep. I ran out as fast as possible, and he hauled our asses out of there.”
Charlotte scoffed. “Okay Rambo-slash-John McClane, you still watch too many action films. Unless I hear it from Sean, I won’t believe he’d shoot you for no reason.”
She’d always been pigheaded, but Frank couldn’t believe she’d question it. “What reason would I have to lie to you? Hell, Charlo—ie, I latched on to the case to prove his innocence.”
“Why? Why did you want to get involved? You left Vikki and high-tailed it on the first plane out with barely any notice. You didn’t tell me much before you left. And you were on your way to partnering up with Gavin and Marc with the security stuff. But you dropped everything and left. Why was Sean’s case that important to you?”
“For you!” he bellowed, confused why she didn’t see that. “He is your brother, Gavin’s best friend, and I’d have access to the whole case to help him.”
“Don’t pretend that you were doing me any favors. I never asked you to get involved, Frank.”
“Well, of course not,” he growled low. “You’d never have found out any of it if I had my way. I was hoping to get Sean out of trouble and bring him home to you. But you overheard Gavin and I talking before I left. And as far as leaving Vikki, she and I discussed it. She needed space and was only too eager to see me go. She didn’t need my hovering at that point and wanted to stand on her own, or try to. Gavin watched over her for me.” He smiled. “You all did, and I appreciate it very much.”
“We’ve become great friends.” He loved the way Charlotte’s eyes softened as she talked about his cousin. “It is an honest friendship. And it has nothing to do with you.”
Months had turned her hard, distant. He only had himself to blame. They hadn’t left things on a positive note, but he’d hoped she’d understand one day.
Hell, he’d foolishly hoped that she would come to appreciate having him on Sean’s case rather than a stranger. Their personal relationship aside, he assumed she’d trust the agent he was, and how long and hard he’d continued searching for Vikki. What other proof did she need to trust him?
How wrong he’d been.
“I don’t want to think about Sean doing this.” The worry on her face tore at his heart. “Was he undercover too long? Is that a reason people believe he’s capable of such violence?”
“There are many cops and agents that have gone so far undercover they get caught up in the lifestyle and it’s impossible to find their way back.” Sadness crept across her face. “Sorry, Charlie, that’s as honest as it gets.”
“None of this makes sense.” She stood and piled paperwork on the file cabinet. “It goes against who Sean is, and not who Norris raised. I can’t wrap my head around it. My brother isn’t a monster.”
Her voice broke, breaking his heart in the process. Frank stood and crossed the room, then rested his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry, hon. I know you’re scared, and I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
Charlotte turned, surprising him, and burrowed her face in his chest. Sobs tore from her, shaking her strong yet delicate frame. He wrapped her in his arms, resting his cheek on her head, and let her cry.
It had been so long—too long—since he’d inhaled her sweet scent of fruity shampoo and the coconut butter body wash she used every day. He’d barely made it through any meal that served any of the combinations, the memories of her too fervent to let him eat in peace. Soft, warm, and the tranquility that came to him whenever he held her close were all potently his Charlotte.
Home. Being this close to her again was like coming home. But he wasn’t a man looking for one place to settle down. And it puzzled him why he returned time and time again.
You know exactly why. You have an addiction, buddy. And she’s in your arms right now.
Yes, he supposed his conscience was trying to tell him something, but it was wrong. He kept returning here because of his friends, the security business. But Charlotte pulled him back in like a reel catching a fish every single time.
“No. Fuck no.” Her high-pitched squeal surprised him. He fell back on his feet, shocked at her strength to shove him so hard.
“Shut up. No. Damn it.” She glared at him, fists tight. “Get out. Don’t coddle me. Don’t console me. You won’t use me. Get. Out.”
“Use you? Coddle you?” He huffed. “You turned to me,” he yelled, frustration gnawing at him.
“Guess I’m an idiot, but I won’t fall for it. I won’t let you close enough to betray my brother. If I even hear from him again.” Her chest heaved and sweat dotted her forehead and cheeks. Frank had never seen her so out of control, seething and yet so stunning. How ferocious she was in battle.
Frank’s head whipped around to the intruding voice in the doorway.
“Charlie, are you all right?”
“We’re having a private conversation. Get lost, buddy.”
“Shut up, Frank. Come on in, Neal. He and I are finished.”
So this was Numbnuts Neal. Dark hair, squinty eyes, tanned skin. Dressed to the nines in a suit and tie, with a cute little handkerchief in his breast pocket, and a pair of round glasses in his right hand. Jesus, what a nerd. Frank wanted to pick him up and chuck him back out into the hallway.
“I, um, just came to see if you wanted to catch up. Maybe dinner?” Numbnuts eyed Frank with caution. Good. Frank wanted the guy scared shitless of him.
But the little prick stepped forward and extended his hand to shake.
Frank eyed the small limb with the urge to break it but wanting to be an adult.
“Oh, for cripes sake,” Charlotte groused. “Neal Simmons, Frank Shaw. And vice versa. Whatever.” She pushed a pile of folders into a shoulder bag then her phone and grabbed another smaller bag she slid under her arm. “I’ll call you later, Neal. I need a time out.”
“Hey, wait a second,” Frank called out, following her into the hall.
“No, I’m done here. I can’t do this right now.” She turned and rushed away.
Frank watched, jaw clenched. Anger and frustration filled him as Charlotte and Numbnuts disappeared. He strode back into her office for his cell phone he’d set on her desk earlier. Frank eyed the landline phone sitting there.
After extracting a small case from the front pocket of his pants, he opened it and pulled out the tiny device and lifted the dial-phone. He placed the electronic bug underneath it and set it back down.
If Sean contacted his sister, this would be one number he might call. As much as Frank disliked going behind her back like this, he had a job to do. No matter how much he cared about her, he’d do whatever it took to bring bad guys in. He wasn’t bred any other way.
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Now that he was here, he was stalling, and he grimaced. Nothing much scared him, but the female presumably inside the cabin… He forced his feet to carry up the short set of stairs and opened the front door with a confidence he didn’t feel. Until he saw her.
Huddled on the couch, facing him, was his future mate, the most
beautiful thing he’d ever seen—or scented. Cheeks flushed, hair now streaming in wild abandon and clothing awry, she glared at him, her rage muted by the trembling need radiating from her tense body.
“Baby. I got here as soon as I could. I—” His attempt at an apology
was overridden as Desi lurched to her feet.
“It’s not fucking fair that I have no recourse in this, Tahl. It’s a
done deal because you decided. You. And now I’m stuck with you. I have to submit to your … physical attentions so I can function.” She laughed, a harsh mimicry of her usual, musical burst of sound. The one he hadn’t heard in his vicinity for a very long time but had never
forgotten. The dichotomy scalded his senses.
She stood, her body shaking, the hormonal flux pouring off of her,
and he balled his fists to keep his hands to himself. A vastly angry Desiree
was an incredibly beautiful and appealing female and his wolf seethed with impatience against her siren call. Tahl shoved his animal back and cudgeled his brain for something that would soothe her. Some sense of self-preservation kept him from offering his heart. It was quite likely she’d carve it out of his chest and eat it with a spoon.
His breath stuttered as with awkward, jerky movements, she yanked at the front of her silky shirt, the fine fabric rending beneath her impatient
hands. She threw the remnants in the general direction of the couch before working at the zipper on her little skirt. The garment slid over her thighs to pool around her ankles, his avid stare tracking it as the black lace of her matching panties was revealed as well as the long length of her legs. She stepped out, nearly losing her balance, and kicked the material away.
This was so not how he imagined it. Throat dry, he closed the
distance. “Desiree. Easy, baby. Let me—”
“You’ve done enough, Tahl,” she coughed out between shuddering
breaths. “Now do what nature intended.” Her pretty bra popped open and her breasts were displayed. Sitting high on her narrow torso, they were in perfect proportion to the rest of her, though visibly swollen with need, the dark nipples beaded tightly.
Everything in him screamed to take her right fucking now, his cock
so hard it hurt, his wolf groveling. Groveling. With inner strength he somehow drew from somewhere, perhaps his conscience, maybe his aching heart, he wrestled his libido into submission and hugged her
instead. Trying to offer her comfort. His eyes closed against the intense draw of her soft, silky skin, the heat of her radiating intensely to the very marrow of his bones.
Desiree wrestled free, wild-eyed and flushed. Surely no other male
would have been so fucking stupid as to trigger his future mate’s heat on the side of a goddamn highway and then leave her unfulfilled? He cursed himself again.
She scrabbled at the fine stuff of her underwear and it met the same
fate as her shirt. Tahl drank in his first sight of the female who was his, all
creamy skin and smooth curves, the soft dark hair at her apex neatly trimmed. But she was shaking harder, out of control, the scent of her arousal overwhelming him, and instinct took over.
With economic movements, he stripped off his own clothing. Desiree
swayed, her eyes tightly shut as she panted through the tiny whimpers falling from her lips. He spoke her name even as he gathered her up and bore her down on the wide, soft couch, but she wouldn’t—or couldn’t—open her eyes.
There was no time, or need, or foreplay. He’d left her too long.
Testing her preparedness with one finger, he grunted his satisfaction. Soaked. Her thighs opened wide for him as he maneuvered between them, her arms splayed and her head thrown back. She writhed, her wolf clearly right at the surface, and her whimpers escalated both in volume and quantity.
Recognizing the time for fucking couldn’t be put off by
conversation, however necessary, he fit the weeping crown of his cock against her opening. Wet, sultry heat engulfed him as he surged inside on a desperate thrust. And froze at her muffled yelp.
“Fuck me, baby. Fuck. Me.” He wrapped her up, working his arms
beneath her shoulders to tuck her as tightly against him as he could manage while holding his cock steady, giving her time to adjust. It was his turn to screw his own eyes shut in order to concentrate on not moving one fucking iota. He’d just taken her virginity, and even his wolf paused in its desperation to claim her.
4. Arcane (coming soon)
And today we bring you Corrissa James, award-winning author, with her tales of small town romance….
On the tenth day of sexy, my true love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping…
When I think of ten lords a-leaping, I can’t help but think of small town street dances. If you’ve never been to a street dance in a small town, you’re definitely missing out. The town cordons off several downtown blocks, building up a stage for live entertainment and creating a large dance area. Although people come for the dancing, the real action takes place at the tables set up all around the area. That’s where people catch up on all the latest gossip, and a secret or two always come out during a street dance.
The film Sweet Home Alabama (2002), with Reese Witherspooon, Josh Lucas, and Patrick Dempsey, offers one of the best street dance scenes I’ve ever seen on the big screen. There’s great music and dancing, of course, but in the span of just two minutes, we see the main characters dealing with several secrets (Bobby Ray’s sexuality, Melanie’s interest in Deep South Glass, and Jake knowing something about the glass but not sharing it) while Jake and Melanie also try to ignore their love for one another. All this happens while the entire community watches (and yes, everyone can see that the love between Jake and Melanie). So when those ten lords are leaping, they’re not just dancing; they’re also jumping around all the hidden truths and secrets that everyone in a small town tries to hide (but rarely very successfully).
I incorporated a street dance scene into my book Heart So Sweet, which is about Susannah and her high-school crush, Tate, who just happens to be her older brother’s best friend until a falling out sends Tate away. Ten years later, when Tate returns to be sheriff, Susannah discovers that her crush might actually be the love of her life.
Just before the street dance scene, Susannah learns the truth about why her brother Lucas severed all ties with Tate. Of course, she couldn’t have learned that secret just a few weeks earlier, before she fell head over heels in love with Tate—or before she told Tate that the only way they could be together was if he smoothed things over with Lucas and her three other brothers, Jonathan, Daniel, and Andrew (the troublemaker with a temper). Susannah is also the type of woman who is used to being in control, so having her love life decided by two of the most important men in her life doesn’t sit too well with her. Naturally, everything comes crashing down around her at the street dance (because everyone in small towns has to be part of the drama!).
An Excerpt from Heart So Sweet
At the entrance to the dance, she breathed a sigh of relief when she handed her five dollars to a deputy. They were here, so it wasn’t too late. She wanted to ask the deputy about Tate but was having trouble thinking of a nonchalant way to drop his name without sending up red flags. By the time she did, the deputy was ushering her through so he could take the money from the trio of elderly ladies behind her.
“Why Miss Clark, so lovely to see you,” Rose Carter said, linking her arm through Susannah’s. “And is Sheriff Trudell with you this evening?”
Susannah started to answer, then saw the deputy hide a smile. She snapped her mouth shut and led the ladies further from the entrance.
Daisy Carter giggled and linked her arm through Susannah’s other arm. “He’s so yummy!”
“And about time the two of you got together.” Lily Carter’s perpetual frown was in place, but her eyes twinkled with excitement. “Been saying for years that you two would make a good couple.”
Susannah groaned. The Carter sisters might be octogenarians, but they somehow always knew everyone’s business—and weren’t afraid to let everyone know it.
“Oh, hush, Lily. You have not.” Rose shook her head at Susannah. “Don’t listen to her. She’s just jealous.”
“We all are.” Daisy giggled again. “So dreamy.”
“Actually, I’m looking for Tate—I mean, Sheriff Trudell—myself.”
Lily clucked her tongue. “He should be looking for you, not the other way around.”
Rose pointed out a table with several empty spots. As the elderly sisters settled in their seats, Rose reached out and patted Susannah’s hand. “Thank you, dear. And don’t worry about the sheriff. Perhaps he hasn’t returned from Rapid City yet.”
Susannah’s mouth went dry. “Rapid City? No, my brother was in Rapid City, not the sheriff.”
“Well, that’s not what Mrs. James told us.” Rose glanced at her sisters, then all three ladies looked at Susannah, smiling.
Susannah excused herself, trying to ignore the coldness creeping into the pit of her stomach as she rushed to find Tate. Had he really gone to speak to Lucas? She was desperate to learn the outcome but terrified by the fact that Tate hadn’t told her he was going—or that he was back. Surely if everything went well he would have come to find her, let her know that he’d worked things out with Lucas?
The fact that Tate hadn’t found her—and that he seemed to be making himself scarce—weighed so heavily on her that she stopped looking for him. Clearly Lucas hadn’t forgiven Tate, which meant that he’d never accept her relationship with Tate.
Susannah’s reaction to this realization surprised even her. She was furious—furious that her brother couldn’t or wouldn’t set aside his history with Tate to allow her just a little happiness in life. Susannah had put her own life on hold, giving up her free time to help Lucas raise Jenny and now even taking over the daily operations on the ranch. She didn’t regret her decisions for a moment, but dammit, it was time Lucas put on his big boy underwear and make this small concession for her. Determined to let him know exactly how she felt, she started to scan the picnic tables lined up along the sidewalk once more.
She saw Jenny first, and her niece came running to greet her.
“Aunt Suz, how do I look?” She twirled around in her jeans skirt and cotton top.
Susannah forced a smile. She would not let Jenny know that she was raging inside. “Stunning, as always.”
“Let me see how you look.”
Susannah twirled as well, noting that the new dress she bought seemed to be attracting a lot of attention.
Jenny noticed as well. “You’re going to be dancing all night long.”
“I hope not! I need to spend some time with my favorite niece.”
Jenny rolled her eyes. “I’m your only niece.”
“Yep, but you’re still my favorite.”
Jenny led her to the table that the family had commandeered. Daniel and Jonathan sat on the far side of the picnic table, drinking beers and calling out to people as they walked by. Andrew was standing next to the picnic table, scowling. Lucas sat on the side closest to the dance floor, but kept his back to the table. His arms were crossed and he was watching the people dance. Susannah stared at him, trying to draw his attention without causing a scene in front of her niece, but his eyes were trained on someone on the dance floor. He was following the person back and forth, without moving his head. She slid onto the seat next to him, wondering who he was watching so intently, but there were too many people, too many possibilities.
During a lull in the music, she leaned closer to him. “Care to tell me about your trip? Anything unusual come up?”
He shook his head, never taking his eyes from the dance floor.
“We need to talk. In private.” She couldn’t hide the iciness in her voice.
He looked at her now, his eyebrows raised in concern. The gesture enraged Susannah even more.
Jenny ran up and grabbed her hand. “Aunt Suz, the funnel cake guy’s here. C’mon.”
Susannah looked at Lucas. “I won’t let you ruin this for me. You owe me this.”
He turned back to the dance floor, making no indication that he had heard her.
Jenny pulled her up, trying to drag her toward to the food vendors. Susannah threw Jonathan a look begging for help, but he just shrugged at her. She let her niece lead her through the crowd while she scanned the faces for Tate. Twice she thought she saw him, but a closer look proved her wrong both times. She would find him and tell him to forget about Lucas and her whole family, if need be. If they couldn’t accept her happiness, well, then they weren’t really her family anymore, were they?
That thought drained the anger from her. Was she really willing to give up her entire family to be with Tate? She couldn’t imagine Lucas not allowing her to see Jenny. He might hate Tate, but he would never do that to his daughter. Jonathan and Daniel would eventually accept Tate, but they wouldn’t be able to stand up to Andrew, would they? Lucas might not like Tate, but he would never attack him. So it was just Andrew, which Tate said he could handle.
The line for funnel cakes wound back and forth multiple times, and Susannah groaned. She thought about trying to talk Jenny out of waiting, but it was an annual ritual for them, and she knew her niece would be heartbroken if she did. Suddenly she wondered what would happen if she and Tate had children—would their uncles accept them, welcome them into their home, take them out for ice cream, and teach them to ride? Or would she be facing a life full of holidays and firsts that she could not share with her brothers? The more her thoughts swirled in her head, the sicker she felt. She tried to tell herself that it was the sweet smell from the fried dough of the funnel cakes, but she knew better.
She couldn’t imagine a man more perfect for her than Tate, and if he brothers couldn’t accept him into the family, then she didn’t want to be part of that family anymore.
Twenty minutes later, when they were only halfway through the line, her uneasiness nearly brought her to her knees when she saw Tate meandering through the crowd. Her heart pounded, and she willed him to look her way. She wanted to call out to him, tell him not to bother with Lucas or the rest of her family, but she couldn’t have that conversation in front of Jenny.
Fate was stacked against her tonight. Tate saw Lucas sitting at the table and made a beeline for him. Susannah watched Jonathan nudge Daniel, and the two of them moved away from the table, leaving Tate and Lucas.
Does Susannah get her happily-ever-after ending with Tate? Check out Heart So Sweet to find out.
Heart So Sweet is the third book in the Great Plains Romance series. All the books can be read as standalones.
Award-winning author Corrissa James was not always a country girl. In fact, she fought it all her life, traveling the world to live in far-flung cities like St. Petersburg, Russia, Caracas, Venezuela, Varanasi, India, and Guadalajara, Mexico. She didn’t realize she was meant to live in the country until she returned to her roots in Nebraska, where she discovered the beauty of the fields around her (even if she was allergic to them) and the intensity of Mother Nature (who sure packs a wallop!).
Corrissa wrote her first romance stories in junior high, although at the time she didn’t really know what happened after kissing, so she improvised with lots of ellipses (…). Today she writes contemporary western romance novels, offering afternoon reads focused on strong women and the men they choose (never without some struggles along the way).
Learn more about Corrissa’s books and upcoming projects at http://www.corrissajames.com/
Sign up for her newsletter and get a free ebook: http://www.corrissajames.com/newsletter/
And on the 9th Day of Sexy we bring you Sara Anderson and her newest release in the Wild Mountain Shifters series…and it’s a holiday tale, too. Congratulations to Sara!
In Christmas story, White Mountain Christmas, Blair is making goodies for a Christmas party. The theme is the 12 days of Christmas and she chose 9 Ladies Dancing.
She made her basic sugar cookies recipe…
1 c. butter, softened
1½ c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Then she used a cookie cutter for a lady dancing, like this one…
From: Easy Dress Cookie Cutter
She cut out various ladies dancing and baked them.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove1 piece of dough from refrigerator. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets.
Bake until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
After they were cool, she frosted them to look like Christmas dresses.
Here is a tutorial on frosting sugar cookies: Frosting Tutorial
Cole turned and looked at Blair, and once again, it struck him how much he loved this woman. She had a baby in each arm and swayed as she sang along with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.
Aiden and Alex’s eyes were drifting closed, and it wouldn’t be long before they both drifted off to sleep. Cole came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her to sway with the music. Her head fell back against his chest as they moved slowly in a dance around the living room. This was what Cole always felt was a perfect evening. Holding his mate and his cubs together as they danced around the living room. They didn’t need to talk to feel the connection to one another, just sway to the old Christmas song. Once Aiden and Alex were as limp as overcooked noodles, Cole guided Blair to the nursery and he helped to lay them down. They snuggled them down into their crib, making sure the boys cuddled. The twin bond was strong between them, and they slept better when they touched.
Pulling the door closed ‘til only a crack was open for a bit of light, Cole then led Blair to their bedroom next to the nursery. She loved the view of his ass in those tight jeans of his. Cole was the definition of sexy to her.
Blair’s body began to heat up as Cole gripped the bottom of her little black sweater and pulled it up and over her head. “Baby, I told you that outfit was so sexy on you, but I think it looks so much better on the floor.”
Blair felt the rush of cold air as her sweater hit the floor. She grinned up at him.“You look just as good with your clothes joining mine.”
Cole’s heated gaze moved slowly up and down her body that was only in a bra and panties, and then he glanced at her clothing on the floor. “That is a nice, but I have to say, I like the view of it on the floor better.”
Blair shook her head as Cole picked her up and carried her to the floor in front of the fire. “Give me just a second,” he said as he stood her on her feet. He grabbed a soft blanket and laid it in front of the fireplace, then pulled Blair over. “Lie down.”
Blair dropped down onto the blanket and let Cole guide her to her back. Cole quickly undid his belt, slid his jeans down his legs, and kicked them off. His shirt soon followed, and he dropped to his knees.
Blair only had a moment to wonder what he would do.