GoodGirlGonePlaid72smHello to another Throwback Thursday! Today’s snippet is from Good Girl Gone Plaid.

* * * *
“I find it amazing you’re all still single. I’m sure you’re all hot commodities on the island.”

“Me in particular? Are you hitting on me?” His tone lilted upward, his accent a bit stronger as his grin turned unabashed.

Sarah blushed, hotter than she could remember and sputtered for a response. “No, of course not, I’m—”

“I’m just taking the piss out of ya, luv.”

She relaxed and joined in his laughter, remembering the slang phrase now.

“I was asked to deliver this?”

They both glanced up at the new voice approaching the table.

Sarah’s laughter died and her mouth went dry. You were warned he might show.

“Yes, thank you.” She accepted the glass of wine from Ian and watched as he pulled out the chair to sit next to Colin.

“You’re welcome. Enjoying an evening out I see?”

“I am. Kenzie invited me.” She glanced over at Colin and smiled briefly. “Your brother was sweet enough to let me crash his table. This place is packed.”

“I insisted.” Colin winked.

The mood at the table seemed to shift, become heavier and darker. Seconds ticked by where no one said anything.

Sarah took a sip of wine, but really it may as well have been water for all it mattered.

“I’m going to run to the bathroom. Hold my spot?” She knew they would, but it was just extra words to pretend everything was normal.

“Of course,” Colin agreed.

Sarah scooted her chair back and made her escape, grateful for a moment to compose herself.

* * *

She looked sexy. The denim skirt showed off toned legs, and the red tank clung to the curves of her breasts. She’d kept her hair down, and it shone as if she’d spent an hour brushing it.

Oh yes, Sarah was trying tonight to look good. Almost as if she wanted to garner someone’s attention. But who was that someone?

“You and Sarah seem quite cozy,” Ian remarked in a calm tone he wasn’t so sure he felt.

“Just getting reacquainted. She’s a pretty thing, aye?”

“Aye.” The word about killed him. Hearing his brother say it evoked a dark fury deep inside him. He resented it. Resented more so the fact he could still get jealous over Sarah.

“Why not take her to a movie?” he suggested with a hard shrug. “You’re single.”

Colin laughed and shook his head, before lifting the beer to his mouth and drinking another sip.

Unfortunately, his brother’s reaction only upped his irritation. “You laugh? Why?”

“Because you don’t mean that for a moment. You would saw my head off with a dull spoon if I made a move on Sarah.”

“Bollicks.” Actually, yes, he probably would.

“It’s also a respect thing. Sarah’s sweet, and yes, damn pretty.” Colin sobered, his gaze locking on Ian’s. “If she were just some girl you’d dallied with in high school, and had no real feelings for, then that would be one thing. But I’m not going to move in on a girl you’re still half in love with.”

Fury and disbelief erupted inside him. “Like hell—”

“Don’t ‘like hell’ me. You can lie all you want. And, truly, I think you’ve even convinced yourself she means nothing to you. But you’re wrong.” Colin sighed. “And when you realize that, it’s going to be quite a wake up call.”

“Do you have no recollection of our history? She hates me. I admit I hate her a bit after what she said that day—”

“Don’t let pride stand in your way. You both were stupid and made bad choices that day.”

“Mine a little worse,” he muttered after a heavy sigh. “She won’t forgive me. I hardly forgive myself.”

“But if she did, would you want her back?”

That question weighed heavy on his heart, and he wasn’t sure of the answer. How could he ever want to be with someone who thought so little of him? And yet his heart and body seemed to argue otherwise anytime she came within feet of him.

He settled for an answer his brother would expect. “I might want her for a few nights, but I’m not the sort for permanence.”

Colin grunted. “You would with the right girl. Go ahead and throw crude words my way all you want. But I know you better than you know yourself sometimes.”

Sometimes Ian didn’t doubt it.

tempting-adam-coverIt’s #TBT and today I’m sharing an excerpt from Tempting Adam. Available at Amazon and other retailers.
* * *
“So, where are we going?” he asked, pausing in front of his truck.

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I happen to be a pretty good cook. Why don’t you follow me back to my place and I’ll whip us up some dinner.”

His mouth curved into a smile. She was bringing him back to her place. If he’d had any doubts of her intentions, she’d just put them to rest. “I do love home cooking.”

“Good.” She pointed to her car. “I’m over there. Just follow me. It’s about a five- minute drive and it’s street parking, so take whatever you can find.”

She hurried over to her car, her cute ass swinging, before she climbed inside with a tiny wave. Adam got behind the wheel of his truck and pulled out after her.

The drive following her seemed to take an obscene amount of time, although it had probably only lasted a few minutes.

Once outside her building, it took a few more minutes before he could find a spot to park in. Christy stood on the dark sidewalk waiting for him. She’d taken her hair down and it fell in waves to her shoulders. Damn, she was sexy.

After he finally locked the car door and turned on the alarm, he jogged over to her.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever used the alarm on my truck.” He glanced over his shoulder. Hopefully it would be okay here.

“Seriously?” she laughed. “Where do you live, cowboy, Kansas?”

“Not quite.” He took her hand and followed her into the brick building, almost tripping over the man who was passed out with a bottle in his hand.

“Sorry about that,” she said with an apologetic look. “It kind of comes with the territory.”

“No problem,” he said neutrally. She had to do this regularly? Avoid drunks outside her building? The thought made him uneasy.

They climbed the stairs to her apartment.

She unlocked the door. “Come on in,” she invited, flipping on the light switch. “And make yourself at home while I figure out what to make us for dinner.”

Adam walked into the center of the room and looked around. The flowers on the table could account for the floral smell. Was there another room somewhere? There was only a narrow door that was open, revealing a tiny bathroom. Hmm. Nope, this was it.

His gaze ran over the living room again. The futon was probably a couch. Most likely her bed, too. How much did a studio run in downtown Seattle, anyway? Best not ask. He didn’t want to come across as rude.

The smallness of the studio also added to the intimacy of it. He was here. With Christy. God, he couldn’t wait to touch her.

“What do you like to eat?” she asked from the kitchen.

Adam turned to look back at her, a kinky response on the tip of his tongue. Don’t shock her to her toes just yet.

“I eat just about anything, darlin’. ’Less it’s tofu.”

“You’re in luck, I hate tofu.”

He watched her pull two steaks out of the fridge. Had she planned this ahead of
time? Or maybe she just really liked meat.

“You can sit down if you want, turn on the television or something.”

She sounded a little nervous again, so Adam sat down on the futon to put her more at ease.

“Tell me something about yourself,” she asked as she brushed some kind of sauce over the raw steaks. “Something exciting.”

“Something exciting?” Was he exciting? Hmm. He could tell her about his business, but that seemed a little heavy. He’d go with the side job. “I’m a volunteer firefighter. Is that exciting?”

Christy looked up from the steaks and gave him a slow smile. “Oh, God, yes. I think firefighters are an incredible turn on. What girl doesn’t?”

He smiled, letting his gaze drift over Christy in her tiny dress and four-inch heels, getting ready to broil them a steak dinner. Now that was a turn on.
Photo: It’s #TBT and today I’m sharing an excerpt from Tempting Adam. Available at Amazon and other retailers. http://amzn.to/1qLxTDJ  #throwbackthursday
* * *
“So, where are we going?” he asked, pausing in front of his truck.

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I happen to be a pretty good cook. Why don’t you follow me back to my place and I’ll whip us up some dinner.”

His mouth curved into a smile. She was bringing him back to her place. If he’d had any doubts of her intentions, she’d just put them to rest. “I do love home cooking.”

“Good.” She pointed to her car. “I’m over there. Just follow me. It’s about a five- minute drive and it’s street parking, so take whatever you can find.”

She hurried over to her car, her cute ass swinging, before she climbed inside with a tiny wave. Adam got behind the wheel of his truck and pulled out after her.

The drive following her seemed to take an obscene amount of time, although it had probably only lasted a few minutes.

Once outside her building, it took a few more minutes before he could find a spot to park in. Christy stood on the dark sidewalk waiting for him. She’d taken her hair down and it fell in waves to her shoulders. Damn, she was sexy.

After he finally locked the car door and turned on the alarm, he jogged over to her.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever used the alarm on my truck.” He glanced over his shoulder. Hopefully it would be okay here.

“Seriously?” she laughed. “Where do you live, cowboy, Kansas?”

“Not quite.” He took her hand and followed her into the brick building, almost tripping over the man who was passed out with a bottle in his hand.

“Sorry about that,” she said with an apologetic look. “It kind of comes with the territory.”

“No problem,” he said neutrally. She had to do this regularly? Avoid drunks outside her building? The thought made him uneasy.

They climbed the stairs to her apartment.

She unlocked the door. “Come on in,” she invited, flipping on the light switch. “And make yourself at home while I figure out what to make us for dinner.”

Adam walked into the center of the room and looked around. The flowers on the table could account for the floral smell. Was there another room somewhere? There was only a narrow door that was open, revealing a tiny bathroom. Hmm. Nope, this was it.

His gaze ran over the living room again. The futon was probably a couch. Most likely her bed, too. How much did a studio run in downtown Seattle, anyway? Best not ask. He didn’t want to come across as rude.

The smallness of the studio also added to the intimacy of it. He was here. With Christy. God, he couldn’t wait to touch her.

“What do you like to eat?” she asked from the kitchen.

Adam turned to look back at her, a kinky response on the tip of his tongue. Don’t shock her to her toes just yet.

“I eat just about anything, darlin’. ’Less it’s tofu.”

“You’re in luck, I hate tofu.”

He watched her pull two steaks out of the fridge. Had she planned this ahead of
time? Or maybe she just really liked meat.

“You can sit down if you want, turn on the television or something.”

She sounded a little nervous again, so Adam sat down on the futon to put her more at ease.

“Tell me something about yourself,” she asked as she brushed some kind of sauce over the raw steaks. “Something exciting.”

“Something exciting?” Was he exciting? Hmm. He could tell her about his business, but that seemed a little heavy. He’d go with the side job. “I’m a volunteer firefighter. Is that exciting?”

Christy looked up from the steaks and gave him a slow smile. “Oh, God, yes. I think firefighters are an incredible turn on. What girl doesn’t?”

He smiled, letting his gaze drift over Christy in her tiny dress and four-inch heels, getting ready to broil them a steak dinner. Now that was a turn on.

SALE ALERT! $1.99 for the weekend only, Samhain and Barnes and Noble have teamed up to help people discover various series’. Great time to discover The McLaughlins series since Good Girl Gone Plaid is 63% off. Get your copy now! (We can try and report to Amazon to price match to get it cheaper there too!) Please help spread the word! Discover the book that the Library Journal gave a starred review to and calls, “…a thoroughly charming romance novel.” Get your copy here.

Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.
GoodGirlGonePlaid72web(1)

The McLaughlins, Book 1

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.

Verdict Stevens (Love Me Knot; Melting Point) has written a solid and thoroughly charming romance novel. Readers will enjoy meeting the McLaughlin clan and be eager for the next series installments. For all romance fans.— Library Journal, starred review, (Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA)

 

shareSo I’m coming up on the third anniversary of having a lap band put in. I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore, I was just going to slink back into the shadows and quietly struggle with my weight. I don’t like getting too personal with health and weight crap. But I can’t in good conscience keep this to myself when I could share my experience, and, hey, maybe save people time, money, and crappy health issues that can result from this particular gastric surgery.

First, a little about me. I had the surgery done for mostly one reason–to see if it helped get rid of my type 2 diabetes. It’s prominent in my family. Every doctor I’ve seen has questioned the type 2 diagnosis, thinking I must be type 1. I don’t fit the profile. No one in my family does. They’d do tests, but ultimately realize that it is indeed technically type 2. Whatever reason my family members get it, it isn’t necessarily due to obesity. It doesn’t matter how small I get, how much weight I lose, I still have it. So does my 145lb dad. So, yay, genetics! But still I thought the surgery might do SOMETHING. The media hype, Kool Aid and all. I even gained weight deliberately to make sure I was eligible for the surgery. *Slams head on desk*

lapbandIn the first year after surgery I’d lost around 50lbs or so (it did not, as I should’ve known, eliminate the diabetes). I didn’t have the band all that tight, just maybe toward medium full.  You see, you can adjust how tight it is. When they perform the surgery to put the band in, they also put in what is called a port. Which is this disk type thing that’s sewn/stapled/however they want to attach it to your muscles along your abdominal wall. That’s how they inject or remove saline to make the band looser or tighter. Yes, they stick a giant ass needle, through your stomach and into the port. And you’d better hope the nurse doing it finds it right away. Because they often don’t, and they dig around with the needle, and let me tell you it feels AWESOME. If you missed the sarcasm, it hurts like hell. And the port itself hurts. They say you forget about it after awhile. Don’t feel it. I always feel it. At least once a day. It’ll just hurt randomly. I’ll twist my body a certain way and it hurts. My kid elbows me in that area and it’s burning pain. Because it’s literally sewn/stapled/whatever to your muscle. I know exactly where that bastard port is.

Anyway, I think I lost most of the weight because I knew the band wouldn’t let me eat as much. So I DIDN’T eat as much. I stopped myself. But as time wore on, and I occasionally ate more than I should’ve, and I realized… hey you know, what? It didn’t matter. I wasn’t full. I wasn’t satisfied. I could eat just as much as I had before the surgery and maybe only feel a little bit of the difference. This being whether I had more or less fluid in my band. But I like I said, I didn’t have it as tight as it could be, because…getting stuck.

Yes. Here’s the next fbathroomun issue of having a lap band. Your food can get stuck above the band. Which is uncomfortable at best, but can be quite painful for some. Sometimes if you eat too fast, sometimes on dry chicken, sometimes–often with me–on an effing carrot. What happens when you get stuck? Well, you throw up. All these blogs I read ahead of time make it sound like no big deal. That it just comes right back up. Nope. Not in my experience. I have to force myself to get sick (and let me tell you, I’d suck as a bulimic). Sometimes it would take up to an hour before I’d get it all out. This would occur at least once a week for me, which actually, isn’t bad. I had banded friends who would be sick several times a DAY. But once a week was even too much for me. It happened while on luncheons with friends. While on my first date with my now boyfriend. It happened in front of my 10 year old daughter much too often. Which, honestly, is why I said I’m done. It’s not healthy for a tween girl to see her mom running to the bathroom to force herself to get sick all the time. Pretty much sounds like the breeding ground for a kid to get an eating disorder.

Jeez, there is just so much that was wrong with having the band. It gave me, literally CREATED acid reflux in me, when I’d never had a problem with it until I got banded (and in the info meeting, they told me if you had reflux it would cure it). I had a gastroenterologist tell me (because I had to go see one) that the banded patients she had would almost always have reflux issues that were created by the band.

lifeOverall, my quality of life went down. I was already gaining weight back (though I blame that on bad food choices and getting comfy in a new relationship). So earlier this year I went in and asked that all the fluid be taken out of my band. Have it completely empty, so it’s basically as close as not having a band as you can be. Because, yes, although they proudly tout that this surgery is reversible if you have issues, what they don’t tell you is it costs around $7,000. Yes, it’s really that much money. But if I had $7,000 floating around, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I want this piece of crap out of me. But I’m a single mom who bought a house a year ago. So the band stays there, just waiting to maybe erode into my esophagus some day (yes, that can happen too, Google it). And while my band is empty, I still get stuck on food now and then. This blog post was actually inspired after spending an hour trying to get up a carrot the other day. I hit my ‘f*ck this band that’s about as useful as tying a string around your finger’ level of fury. And I still have chronic reflux that comes and goes. And my port that’ll just hurt randomly and remind me ‘I’m still here, suckah!’

The more people I talk to, the more I research on the internet, I realize I’m not alone. Some people don’t lose much weight. Some lose and gain back. Some people have major complications that can be life threatening. It’s not worth it. Do your research. Getting the lap band was probably my biggest regret in life–and I paid cash, because insurance wouldn’t cover me. I don’t have the funds to undo this now. And, dead serious here, if there’s ever a lawsuit for this lap band (again, on the blogosphere/forums. people are talking about it) count me in, please!

colorunSo while I save up the money to pay to undo this surgery, I’ll live with it. I’ll focus on healthier food choices, being active and getting fit the normal way. I’ve done it before, when I lost over 40lbs without the band. And I had healthier habits at that time than I did with the band. Regaining weight is going to be a problem whether you have gastric surgery or don’t (though I really can’t speak for other gastric surgeries, only what I see on friends who’ve had it).

Hope I gave you something to consider. I won’t say the nurses/surgeons I worked with were awful, they were all super nice. And there are probably some banded folks who will shout their happiness with the lap band from the rooftops. Maybe they don’t get stuck or have port pain. Chronic reflux. Maybe they just put up with it because they’re in smaller jeans. But I’m currently hearing about many people who are converting from lap bands to the the sleeve. Jumping from my gastric surgery to another. Is it really a solution? So here’s my humble opinion: Run. Run fast and hard and don’t EFFING DO IT.  You can lose the weight on your own. Because here’s the deal. If you can’t make the changes in eating and exercise before the band, you’ll struggle to do it after and deal with all the crappy side effects on top.

And you know what? If you made it this far in my blog? You’re awesome. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share with anyone who’s considering a lap band. (HASHTAG DON’T DO IT)

 

*Bonus ultimate horror story I forgot* If you get some kind of stomach flu/food poisoning, you’re supposed to go in and get an unfill (remember, that means giant needle in the belly). Because they know you may have trouble getting the contents of your stomach back up through the band (remember, getting stuck the food is ABOVE the band). The band constricts your esophagus and throwing up stomach contents is not easy. So when I had the Norovirus, I was supposed to drive myself to the clinic, while throwing up every ten minutes, and sit still, assume the position, while they stick a needle in me. Of course, it didn’t happen. So I went twelve hours getting sick so violently, I was throwing up blood. My body hurt for days.

 

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday, with today’s excerpt from Luck by Delanie! It’s available at all ebook retailers, including Amazon.luck_be_delanie_72_web

Delanie bit her tongue the moment the words were out. Her stomach flipped as he lifted an eyebrow and gave a low, sexy laugh.

She hadn’t planned on going straight for the attack, but seeing the tender scene he’d set up had rattled her nerves.

“Perhaps some wine first?”

He went to work filling both glasses and her gaze dropped to his hands, which were wrapped around the wine bottle.

Those hands had given her more orgasms in one night than her last two boyfriends combined.

“Here you are.”

She took the glass he held out to her, annoyed to find her own hand trembling. Perhaps a little wine
first would be good.

She lifted the glass to her lips and took a sip of the sweet chardonnay.

“Was I just a one night stand to you?”

His sudden question made her choke on the wine. Jeez. How the heck did she answer that question?

She set the glass back down, and cleared her throat.

“How could it be anything but? Technically, we did only have sex that one night.”

She lifted her gaze, not sure what she’d see. His expression was both curious and strangely intense,
which unsettled her.

“That could have been remedied had you stuck around in the morning.” He sighed and took a drink of
his own wine.

“Look.” She drew in a deep breath before plunging on. “If you brought me out here to get me into bed
again, it’s not going to happen.”

“I didn’t.”

“Because I’m—you didn’t?” She blinked, her stomach sinking with a disappointment she didn’t want to acknowledge. You’re being an idiot, Delanie.

He shook his head and then winced. “Well, it wasn’t my initial plan. Although I admit after seeing you again…”

Something occurred to her, something she hadn’t even considered. “Oh my God. Was it all a ruse? The job offer? Getting me out here with the offer to make donations to our shelter?”

“No.” His mouth thinned. “Of course not, Delanie. I’m not a complete asshole.”

Her smile turned a little bitchy. “But you do admit to being a partial one? I won’t take it you know.”

“The job?”

She nodded.

“We’ll see.”

Irritation flared at his cockiness.

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today’s excerpt comes to you from Savage Betrayal! (Which if you missed it, was nominated for a RT Reviewers Choice award!) It’s available at Amazon and other ebook retailers.

savagebetrayal“Let me stay with you tonight.”

Her sharp laugh was swallowed up by the trees around them. “Didn’t you just try that line back at the house?”

He moved toward her. “I’ll sleep on the couch. You can trust me. My request this time isn’t motivated by me wanting to have you flat on your back.”

The air in her lungs suspended at that last line, and she tried to exhale, tried to say something, but all she could focus on was the image his words evoked.

“You don’t play fair,” she finally managed to choke out. “What do you mean?”

“Stop talking about sex.”

“I just said this wasn’t about sex—”

“Oh, I heard what you said, but you had to tag on that last line that completely screwed up my ability to think.”

His gaze smoldered as he took another step toward her. “Really now? I have that much of an effect on you? Agent Masterson—always so damn cool and calm.”

Oh like there was any denying it now? “You know you do. You proved that back inside my house. Which is why you’re nuts to try and ask to come back.”

He was so close now, his breath feathered across her face. “I’ll take the couch. I promise to behave myself. I just want you protected tonight.”

Why wasn’t she offended by his admission? Normally she would’ve bristled and snapped out some harsh response at the idea that she needed protecting.

But something inside her softened a little. Clung to the idea that someone wanted to protect her. The concept was almost a novelty. Since she’d lost her parents, she and Aubree had been on their own. Guardians or not. Grace had been the protector.

And now here was Darrius, forcing his way into her life. Forcing her to face fears and memories she didn’t want to revive.

How easy and wonderful would it be to crack a little and accept his help?

She struggled between the yes that hovered on her tongue and the no that was nearly an automatic reply.

Curling her hands into her fists, she finally shook her head.

“I’ll be fine. You know I will. Thanks for checking on me tonight.” She turned to walk back to her house.

Strong fingers curled around her elbow, halting her retreat and spinning her back around into his arms.

“I’ll respect your decision. But before you go…” He caught her jaw with one hand and before she realized what he was doing, he’d covered her mouth with his own.

As his tongue slid past her lips to claim hers, the ground beneath her seemed to lift and fall. Or maybe that was just her legs giving out.

If the first kiss tonight had been her sexual resurrection, this one was its rapture.

The nocturnal noises of the forest slipped into the background and all she became aware of was the taste of him. The increasingly familiar scent of Darrius.

It raced through her blood like wine, making her heady and impulsive. Where she’d agree to almost anything. And maybe he knew it, because he released her mouth just as abruptly as he’d captured it.

“Go.” The one word was ragged from his lips, even as the thumb that swept across her swollen mouth encouraged her to stay. “Get your ass back home and fast, Grace.”

She nodded, still not completely back in reality.

“But know this,” he warned, “even if you’re outright refusing my help tonight, you will be safe.”
Still she didn’t move. Her body hummed and ached, and she could barely remember why she’d come out into the forest in the first place.

Tires. Slashed. Bad guys… Right.

Darrius set her aside and closed his eyes. “Dammit, go. Now. Before I do something I know you’ll regret in the morning.

With clarity returned, Grace let out a strangled moan and then spun on her heels, shifting back to wolf a moment later. Before he could make good on his words, or she begged him to, she rushed back home.

So I have new covers to share! I’ve had my A is for Alpha covers revamped, and I’m totally excited about them! I’m currently working on a third book in the series that will come out this summer! I love the new look, and hope you do too!

 

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seducingalliewebIt’s #TBT #Throwbackthursday and today’s excerpt comes to you from Seducing Allie. Available on Amazon and other ebook retailers!

“I’m hungry.” Her words cut through the faint country music he had playing. “I don’t suppose you planned my kidnapping enough to bring food?”

“There should be a granola bar in the backpack on the floor. And we’ll be stopping for food in about another hour.”

She leaned over and grabbed the backpack, rummaging through the bag for the granola bar. After she found it, she unwrapped it and took a bite. Ugh. When was the last time she’d eaten this stuff?

Chewing absently on the bar, she tried to block out the bland taste. Unfortunately it wasn’t even one of those sugary, chocolate dipped kinds—because chocolate would have been good right about now. It was one that actually had health benefits, full of nuts and berries and shit.

She glanced at the back of Clint’s dark head as he drove the SUV steadily down the two-lane road, singing a country song out of key.

When he’d kissed her, thrusting his tongue into her mouth and grinding his erection into her belly, she’d wanted to push her fingers into his thick dark hair. Pull him closer in a move that could help ease the ache between her legs.
Don’t go there. You will not go there. Wanting to fuck the man who kidnapped you cannot be a good thing. I don’t care how good of friends you used to be.

She ate the last bite of the granola bar and crumpled the wrapper in her hand. Then, even knowing it was petty and rebellious, she threw it at the back of his head.

Clint laughed as it bounced right back off and landed on the seat somewhere. She sighed and looked out the window.

What a mess. Kidnapped. And all because Clint was convinced she wanted Kenneth back and was crazy enough to break up his wedding. Maybe she did want to break it up, but it sure as hell wasn’t because she wanted Kenneth back.

“Seriously.” She sighed and leaned her head back against the seat. “I give up, Clint. I won’t say anything to Kenneth. He can marry Ashley and get taken to the cleaners. I’ll stay away from him all week—I promise.”

“No can do, Allie.” Clint turned up the volume on the radio.

“Well you suck.” Frustration made the granola bar churn in her stomach and she ground her teeth together. If he wasn’t taking her to a cheap motel, then where was he taking her?

“And I’m still running the first chance I get,” she muttered under her breath.

No matter what it cost, she’d call a taxi, take a train or fly if needed. But there was no way she was— damn. He had her purse. It was sitting up front by him. She’d have to grab it back.

“How long were you planning this? To kidnap me?”

“As of last night when I gave you your final warning. And let’s get rid of the word kidnap, okay? I prefer to think of it as two old friends just spending some time together.”

Allison gave a snort of laughter and shook her head. “I’m calling a spade a spade.”

She clenched her hands into fists in her lap, trying not to think about what he had planned for the week. Or his statement that they’d be sleeping together. The image of it had her body trembling. “And I won’t have sex with you. If that was your goal by this whole kidnapping thing.”

“My goal, as I clarified earlier, was to keep you from breaking up the wedding.” He gave a husky laugh. “Sleeping with you will be the bonus.”

“Clint. I’m not sleeping with you.”

“Whatever you say, kitten.” He didn’t sound the least bit unsure of himself.

She scowled. And why should he be? She’d lost herself in that kiss. She’d been ready to hike her dress around her hips, pull off her panties and jump him. That’s what he’d done to her.

“You know, we got a later start than I thought we would.” He sighed. “I think we may have to check into a cheap motel tonight after all.”

“A motel?” Alarm slid through her. Visions of sharing one small room with him, having him shower just feet away. Oh God. This week…how was she going to make it through?

Guess what? I’m currently writing another A is for Alpha book for those who’ve loved that series. So today, for Throwback Thursday, I’m sharing a scene from Beauty and the Sheikh (another book in the series!).

EXCERPT

Swallowing her pride and tumultuous emotions, she sat back down in the chair. It took every ounce of willpower not to snap out a churlish reply that she wasn’t hungry. “How long will you keep me?”

“Keep you?”

“As your pretend mistress.”

His soft, lazy laugh was so potently masculine and self-assured it sent tingles racing over her skin and resentment rising inside her.

“Until I no longer want you, habiba.”

“As charming as that reply is, I’m going to need a much more definitive answer, Rafiq.”

His laughter died abruptly. “Three months. Or earlier, if my use for you runs its course.”

“Until you find a suitable, biddable wife, you mean?” Her stomach cramped and she lifted her head to cast him a sardonic smile. Three months in his palace. Oh God, could she do it? “Well then, we’ll have to see about finding you a wife quite quickly, won’t we?”

He leaned back in his chair and flashed a smile that displayed perfect, white teeth. “Careful, Holly, or I might begin to think you are jealous.”

Unfortunately, he was entirely too close to the mark, but she’d die before letting him know that. It was ludicrous she’d hold any emotion but resentment for him. “It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve made assumptions.”

Irritation flickered across his face, but she was saved from his response when breakfast was delivered by a handful of servants. An array of food was placed in front of them. Holly glanced over the various cheeses, olives, flat breads, hard-boiled eggs, and beans, and her stomach growled. She hadn’t been hungry, but the mouth-watering smells were rousing her appetite.

She ate a small amount of food, enough to ease her hunger, before her worries once again consumed her. All too soon she pushed her plate away and sipped on strong tea instead.

Rafiq glanced at her plate and then back at her. “Do you not care for the meal?”

“It’s absolutely wonderful.” She could hardly lie, because the food had tasted as amazing as it had smelled.

“You hardly ate a thing.”

“Well, forgive me for not having much of an appetite while knowing my brother sits in your prison.”

“Criminals are treated fairly in my country, Holly. I’m hardly about to have his hand chopped off. But in stealing from me, he made a deliberate choice.” Rafiq paused to lift his tea, bracketing the mug between two hands. “And now you must make yours.”

A laugh of disbelief gurgled from her throat. “What choice? Dammit, I have no choice. You’ve seen personally to that.”

Triumph flickered in his gaze, but his words were calm. “So you agree to my terms?”

Holly closed her eyes. It was a bargain with the devil, and she’d have to be very careful with her heart this time around.

Andrew’s freedom. You’re doing this for your brother’s freedom.

“I agree.”

The words had barely left her mouth before Rafiq barked out something in Arabic. She opened her eyes to a flurry of activity. Plates were being cleared and servants rushed about.

Her stomach clenched. “What’s happening?”

“You said you were no longer hungry.” Rafiq set down his drink and stood. “And since I have a meeting this morning, breakfast is finished.”

She pushed her chair back and stood as well. When he moved to leave the room, she quickly followed after him. Her heart rose in her throat.

“And my brother?”

“Will be free within a few hours.”

“But what guarantee do I have?”

He froze in his brisk stride and turned around to face her. The disbelief and anger blazing in his eyes had her falling back a few steps. “My word is my guarantee, Holly. Do you question my integrity?”

“No, of course not.” But she had. And they both knew it.

Rafiq reached out and cupped her chin, his face just inches from hers and his mouth entirely too close to her lips. Her nerves came alive with anticipation and it was almost as if the air between them crackled with tension.

The quiet in the room hit her. They were alone, all the servants gone, and it was just the two of them.

Her heart began to pound so loud, she waited for him to comment on it.

“Let me be clear about one thing. When I make a promise, I keep it.” He lowered his head so his mouth was just a breath above hers. “I promise to release your brother. I promise I will make love to that decadent body of yours. And then I promise to dismiss you from my life by the time fall comes around.”

The emotions that slammed through her ran the gauntlet. From relief at the promised release of her brother, to the conflicting anger and hot desire at his promise to bed her, and then a soul-searing pain that she would be so easily discarded.

Well, if that’s the way he wanted to play, then she would certainly hold nothing back.

“Let me promise you something in return then, Rafiq. I will never again call you Your Majesty. But I will play the role of your mistress out in public in a performance so damn worthy that you may just find me nominated for a damn Academy Award,” she bit out. “But remember, it will only be a performance. Because I also promise you will never—ever—have me in your bed as your lover.”

It was hard to keep her momentum with his hot breath falling against her mouth.

Rafiq’s laugh was languid and knowing. “I’m going to enjoy making you break that promise, habiba. Almost as much as I will enjoy hearing you beg for my touch.”

A shiver of foreboding ran through her. “You’re delusional.”

* * * * *

His price is her innocence…

Holly Winchester is desperate. With her brother facing theft charges and a potential prison sentence in a foreign country, she seeks help from the one man she knows can give it. But will the ruthless, billionaire sheikh who once broke her heart be able to forget and forgive their painful past?

Two years ago, Sheikh Rafiq Al Hakimi allowed a beautiful foreigner not only into his country, but nearly his heart. It was all too easy, falling for the one woman who didn’t fear him or his scars.  Until he discovered her intentions were as shallow as the modeling world she thrived in.

Now Holly’s returned to his country, begging for his help. He’s willing to give her brother his freedom—if Holly gives up hers by agreeing to become his mistress…

Available at

Amazon | Amazon UK | IbooksBarnes and Noble | Smashwords  | Kobo

Loch and Key is now on sale as of today! Thanks to all the readers, reviewers and bloggers who’ve picked this up and are leaving awesome reviews. I’m thrilled that it’s in the top hundred for military romances on Amazon already! This is book 3 of The McLaughlins series, but you don’t need to have read the first two books in the series to read the third, but it does make it more powerful).

All the military training in the world won’t help him knock down her walls.

LochAndKey72webYears ago a terrifying attack left Kenzie McLaughlin trusting only a few men in her insular life on Whidbey Island—her brothers and her father. But when a sexy Navy guy who waltzes into the family pub doesn’t hesitate to makes his interest known, no amount of mental red flags are enough to keep her from being tempted to dip a toe back into the dating pool.

Twice burned in the past, Brett Craven has sworn off serious relationships, at least while he’s still in the Navy. A gorgeous redhead with a fiery wit and wariness of men, though, has blown his well-reasoned strategy out of the water.

There’s no denying the attraction between the two, but Kenzie teeters on a tightrope anchored on one end by hope, the other by caution. Because if she lets her guard down long enough to fall for Brett, it could leave her vulnerable to the one man who’s been left free to prey upon her fear.

Now available!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Apple

EXCERPT

He was so potently masculine right now, for a moment she had a brief stirring of panic as he commanded softly, “Come here.”

Her feet felt glued to the ground, and it wasn’t until he held out a hand that she forced herself to take the six or so steps to the bed.

His fingers laced through hers. “Thank you for breakfast. For coming over this morning.”

“You’re welcome.” She sat down on the edge of the mattress beside him, struggling with the urge to bolt.

His fingers stroked her knuckles and a tremor raced through her.

“Lie down beside me, Kenzie,” he said softly. “I won’t touch you. I promise.”

They were only words, and lying down beside him opened her up for all kinds oftrouble. But she trusted him. He wouldn’t touch her unless she asked him to.

He scooted over, leaving her enough room to climb on top of the blankets beside him. It should’ve been weird. Maybe even a bit terrifying. Brett was larger than Charles, and likely stronger. Deadlier if he needed to be, but when her head fell against the pillow and they continued to hold hands, she had no fear.

“You don’t work today?” he asked casually.

“Not ’til tonight.”

“But you were at the pub?”

“Aye. I was dropping off my roommate to go to work.” She smiled. “The pub is very nearly my home. My brothers are there quite often, and I’ve worked there since I was sixteen.”

“Brothers? How many do you have?”

“Three.”

“You’re the only girl?”

“Aye.”

“Spoiled rotten?”

She laughed, and some more of her nerves dissipated. “Oh, aye.”

They fell silent again. She held quite still, breathing in the scent of him and his room. The overall masculine presence of the room. The heat gathering inside her swelled, spreading far and wide throughout her body.

She was aware of every breath he drew in. Every little maddening stroke his thumb made over her knuckles.

Moisture gathered low between her legs and she bit her lip. He was the first man in many years that she could remember being able to arouse her. It wasn’t that she hadn’t thought about sex or had orgasms, but generally they were fantasy induced and achieved alone in her room.

Now there was Brett, a very solid, tangible presence lying right next to her. Awakening her body to sensations she’d thought long dead. She wanted, she realized, more than anything to take advantage of that fact.

“What are your plans for the day? What time do you work?” he asked, his voice a bit more strained now.

Maybe he was aware of the mounting sexual tension between them.

“I have none. I don’t want to talk about work,” she admitted, almost on a whisper. She rolled onto her side and faced him.

“You don’t?” He adjusted his body as well, so they lay facing each other. “What do you want…to talk about?”

“I don’t want to talk.” Oh God, she was being awfully bold right now, and it felt a bit liberating.

His gaze darkened. “What is it you want, Kenzie?”

She wanted to answer. Tried to answer, but her heart was beating so fast and the words were thick in her mouth. Her eyes must’ve conveyed what she wanted, because he drew in a deep shuddering breath that made his beautifully defined chest expand.

He moved slightly, so that he could cup her cheek in one hand and lower his lips to brush against hers.

She closed her eyes and tilted her head back, parting her lips to give him access to her mouth. He took it without hesitation. His mouth slanted across hers before his tongue plunged deep inside to tease and suck.

He tasted of coffee and bacon, and all sorts of wonderfully male goodness. His fingers on her cheek were exquisitely gentle, even as he plundered her mouth.