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A Teasing Tidbit from The Mount Series Box Set

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I thought I’d take the opportunity to tease you all a bit this weekend with an extended excerpt from The Initiation of Ms Holly, the first book of The Mount Series. I’m doing this to celebrate the release of The Mount Series Box Set. All three sizzling books now available in one place in one package. For the next three weekends I’ll be offering you the first chapters of one of the novels in The Mount Series Box Set beginning with The Initiation of Ms Holly. Enjoy the heat!

The Mount Series Box Set Blurb:

Rita Holly’s sexy initiation; the strange contract Nick Chase fulfills for Elsa Crane; Liza Calendar and Paulo Delacour’s formulation of an exclusive perfume derive from the scent of sex – the cult of The Mount is behind them all. Shrouded in mystery and grounded in sexual exploration, The Mount is world-wide and ancient, its existence known only to its members who keep its secrets from generation to generation. Together for the first time in one volume, the accounts of The Mount in London, Las Vegas and Rome — three novels, three wild romps of lust, sexual largesse and love.

 

Blurb for The Initiation of Ms Holly, Book 1 of The Mount Series:

Journalist, Rita Holly, never dreamed sex with the mysterious Edward in the dark of a malfunctioning train would lead to a blindfolded, champagne-drenched tango, a spanking by a butch waitress, and an offer of initiation into the exclusive mysteries of The Mount. Desperate to save her threatened job, she agrees, scheming secretly to write an inside exposé on the club that will make her career. But as she delves deeper into the intrigue of The Mount and the lives of its members, she soon discovers that her heart may have other plans.

Blurb for Fulfilling the Contract, Book 2 of The Mount Series:

Limo driver, NICK CHASE’s bad night gets worse when he picks up TANYA POVIC at a bar only to discover the explosive sex they share lands her in breach of her very strange contract. Blaming himself that Tanya will lose the large completion bonus earmarked for her mother’s surgery, Nick negotiates with her boss, the tough and mysterious ELSA CRANE, to allow him to fulfill Tanya’s contract and secure her bonus.

Elsa runs Mount Vegas, which offers voyeuristic pleasures for a price. Nick’s job, with Elsa and her quirky team, is to give clients something worth watching through the plate glass windows of Vegas’s luxury hotels and beyond. The learning curve is steep and kinky. As Nick and Elsa’s relationship sizzles and ignites more than hotel room rendezvouses are exposed. In this sequel to The Initiation of Ms Holly things get positively dangerous as Rita Holly and her team are called in from London to lend a helping hand. Bets are being placed. Will Nick fulfil the contract? Will he and Elsa take the gamble? And will they find a way to win at the high stakes, double or nothing, game of hearts?

Blurb for To Rome with Lust, Book 3 of The Mount Series:

The adventure that Rita Holly began in The Mount in London and Nick Chase took up in Vegas continues when a sizzling encounter on a flight to Rome has journalist, Liza Calendar, and perfumer, Paulo ‘The Nose’ Delacour, in sexy olfactory heaven. The heir apparent of Martelli Fragrance, Paulo wants Liza’s magnificently sensitive nose to help develop Martelli’s controversial new line. Paulo has a secret weapon; Martelli Fragrance is the front for the original Mount, an ancient sex cult of which he is a part, and Paulo plans to use the scent of sex to enhance Martelli’s Innuendo line. As Liza and Paulo sniff out the scent of seduction, they become their own best lab rats. But when someone steals the perfume formulas and lays the blame at Liza’s feet, she and Paulo must sniff out the culprit and prove Liza’s innocence before more is exposed than just secret formulas.

 

Holly cover FINAL9781907761270_FCChapter One of The Initiation of Ms Holly

HE PRACTICALLY FELL ON top of Rita, his hand grazing her left breast in the complete darkness. She yelped and grabbed him to keep from losing her balance.

‘God, I’m sorry!’ He gasped. ‘Bloody nuisance, this, isn’t it?’ His voice was warm, melodious, by far the most pleasant thing that had happened to Rita since she left Paris. ‘Oh dear. You’re trembling. Are you all right?’

‘I’m claustrophobic.’ Her words were thin and shaky, as though she didn’t fully trust herself to let them out. ‘It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t know where we are.’ For an embarrassing moment, she realised she was still clinging to him, but the embarrassment passed, and suddenly she didn’t care. If they were going to die trapped in a train in the Eurostar tunnel, buried beneath a gazillion gallons of water, she’d just as soon not do it alone.

He either understood, or was too polite to leave her in such distress. He wrapped his arms around her engulfing her in a muscular embrace, the scent of which was maleness barely masked by deodorant and some spicy cologne, both fading at the end of a day much longer than either of them had anticipated. ‘Don’t worry.’ In the darkness, he misjudged the distance between them and his lips brushed her earlobe. ‘It’s just an electrical malfunction. Anyway we’re better off down here than in the snowstorm up above. Sounds like all London is shut down. Who’d have expected snow this late in the spring? Never mind that, where else do you get the chance to cuddle strangers in the dark?’

He pressed a little closer to her, and she was relieved to find other thoughts, thoughts more welcome than those of their predicament, pushing their way into her head. He felt good, broad-shouldered and tall, easy to lean on.

‘Why are you huddled here in the corner rather than hunkered down in your seat?’

She concentrated on his warm breath pressing against the top of her ear. ‘I was on my way back from the loo when the lights went out and …’

‘And this is as far as you got.’

She nodded against his chest, honing in on the reassuring sound of his heartbeat.

‘Shall I help you back to your seat then?’

The train lurched forward, and she yelped again, tightening her grip around his neck. ‘No, please. It’s better if I just don’t move.’

There was a long pause. ‘Do you want me to stay with you?’

She realised the poor man had little choice clenched in her strangle hold, as he was. ‘I don’t want to be any trouble,’ she lied.

He readjusted his stance and tightened his embrace. ‘No trouble at all. I can’t think of a better way to pass the time than in the arms of a beautiful woman. You are beautiful, aren’t you?’

In spite of the stress she felt, she forced a laugh. ‘Gorgeous, actually. Too bad you can’t see for yourself.’

He ran a hand down the contour of her spine to rest low on the small of her back. ‘I don’t have to see you to admire you.’

The thought that the man was rather cheeky barely crossed her mind before he lifted her fingers to his lips and planted a warm kiss across the back of her knuckles. ‘I’m Edward. I’m from London. Clearly you’re not.’

‘Rita,’ she replied. ‘I’m from Seattle, but I live in London now.’

‘Well Rita, from Seattle, we’ve established that you’re an exotic beauty. Perhaps you’d like to return the favour.’ He lifted her hand to his face and guided it gently over the slight stubble of his cheek. As her hand cupped his well-formed chin, he pulled her middle finger into his mouth and nibbled it, teasing the pad of it with his tongue. Suddenly her struggle to breathe had nothing to do with being claustrophobic.

‘Well?’ He asked pulling her hand away to massage her fingers. ‘What do you think? Am I acceptable?’

Fulfilling the ContractIf he was cheeky, she was downright brazen. She stopped his words with her mouth, amazed at how easily she had found the mark in total darkness. Perhaps it was the darkness that made her so bold, but, whatever it was, he didn’t disappoint. His mouth was warm, opening eagerly to the probing of her tongue, responding in kind, caressing her hard palate, nipping at the fullness of her lower lip before pulling away just enough to speak.

‘There, you see? It’s not so bad being in the dark, is it? The other senses are too often overlooked, which is very sad, since they offer such exquisite delights.’ His hand moved up to cup her cheek, and he raked a thumb across her still parted lips. ‘Taste, for example. Few pleasures exceed that of the tongue.’

She heard him fumbling in the darkness, then she heard the rattling of foil. ‘Open your mouth,’ he whispered. ‘I have something that’ll make you feel better, guaranteed. Oh don’t worry, it’s nothing illegal.’

Reluctantly she opened her mouth, which he primed with a wet kiss, then slipped a chocolate truffle between her lips. It was covered liberally in cocoa and warmed exquisitely almost, but not quite, to the steamy melting point of his body temperature, which only enhanced the sharp, edgy flavour that separates expensive chocolate from the cheap stuff. She gasped her surprise, then moaned softly at the intensity of the taste.

‘Don’t bite,’ he kissed her jaw, then her throat. ‘Savour it, roll it around in your mouth. There are places on the tongue that taste only sweet and places that taste only bitter or salt, or sour. Chocolate can have all those flavours. Caress it in your mouth like you’re making love to it, and you’ll be amazed at what you taste.’

She cheeked the truffle, slurring her words as she spoke. ‘I thought I was tasting you.’

He chuckled softly. ‘Everything tastes better with chocolate.’ Without another word, he took her mouth, plunging his tongue deep against the melting truffle, whirling it, lapping at it, sighing with the pleasure of it. The more liquid and heated the truffle became, the more liquid and heated Rita became.

‘The taste buds can distinguish wonderfully subtle flavours,’ he said between tongue dances. In the meantime he slipped his hand under her skirt, stopping to caress a suspender. Rita had always hated tights, and sexy or not, she preferred suspenders and stockings, which she found much less confining.

Still sharing the truffle in her mouth, he shoved aside the crotch of her panties and plunged a finger between her swollen labia, moaning his satisfaction at finding her so slippery and receptive.

She ground herself against his fingers. Wriggling and squirming until she was practically sitting on his palm, the heel of it rubbing deliciously against her clit, while they savoured the taste of the truffle.

He smeared chocolate against her lips as he whispered, ‘It’s amazing how closely linked scent and taste are.’ Then he pulled his hand from her panties, and she caught the salty sweet scent of herself just before he plunged a wet finger into her mouth, allowing her to suckle her own juices.

‘You see? The taste is completely different when you add your own flavour.’ He pulled his fingers away to taste for himself, then plunged his tongue back into her mouth.

‘What about your flavour,’ she gasped when they came up for air, dribbling chocolate and saliva down their chins.

She didn’t have to ask twice. Suddenly they were tugging and pulling at his trousers and struggling to get them open enough to extricate his enthusiastic erection. When the warmth of it, the heavy shape of it, pressed against her hand, she dropped into a squat and took it into her mouth, finding him thick and smooth and slightly salty with a warm yeasty scent not unlike new-made bread, like pain au chocolat, she thought.

He curled his fingers in the waves of her hair and shifted his hips. She adjusted, nearly gagging in her efforts to take more of him into her mouth and still hang on to the last taste of chocolate as long as possible.

It was inevitable that her hand, the one not stroking Edward’s distended balls, would find its way between her legs.

But her fingers weren’t enough. She stood quickly, nearly bumping him in the chin with her head. ‘I want more than a taste,’ she gasped, already shoving her skirt up and turning her bottom to him, guiding his cock toward its goal. The thought crossed her mind that, if the lights came back on, they would very much be caught in the act. But when Edward spread her lips with warm fingers and slipped inside her, she forgot all about the risk and thrust back against him.

Surely people around them – even in the total darkness – could figure out what was going on. Who knew? Maybe some of them had also slipped hands in trousers or under skirts for some pleasurable relief from the stress of the situation.

She could tell by Edward’s bruising grip on her hips that he was about to come, and she was riding the edge of her own orgasm, just barely managing to hold back, just a little longer, just a few more seconds.

It hit with such force that for a moment she thought her worst fears had been realised, and there had been an explosion on the train. But there were no screams, though she was desperately trying to keep from screaming herself. That must surely mean that the explosion was personal.

In the midst of the intense pleasure hurtling through her, Edward grunted in her ear, ‘You still want to taste me? Let me come in your mouth.’

As she pulled off him, and they fumbled to switch positions, from somewhere he produced another truffle and shoved it into her mouth, followed in short succession by his engorged cock.

Quickly she cheeked the chocolate to make room for his penis, which she took as deep into her throat as she could, trying to savour both truffle and thrusting cock without choking on either.

The curl of his fingers in her hair tightened as he pulled her mouth further on to him with each thrust until, at last, he grunted the first spurt of semen into her mouth, which blended with the chocolate in an earthy richness that made her pussy twitch again. Chocolate and sex, chocolate and come. The taste alone catapulted her to another orgasm.

As his grip lessened on her hair, she knew exactly what to do next. Holding the last of his come in her cheek next to the truffle, she stood, took his face between her hands, and teased his lips apart, drizzling the blending of maleness and chocolate onto his tongue.

They were still gobbling hungrily at each other’s mouths when the conductor’s voice came over the intercom. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, a train has just arrived to tow us into Ashford. Upon our arrival, another train will be waiting for those of you who wish to continue on to London St. Pancras. For those of you who would prefer, arrangements have been made to put you up at a hotel in Ashford for the night and get you safely on your way in the morning. Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience.’

The car erupted in a buzz of conversation as people discussed their options and their relief that at least something was finally happening.

‘What will you do?’ He asked. She heard him zip his fly, then she felt him carefully wiping between her pussy lips with what must have been his handkerchief.

‘I’ll stay,’ she said, opening her legs to his ministerings, almost wishing the conductor had kept his mouth shut long enough for round two. ‘With all the snow, I can’t get home even if I do get to London. You?’

‘I have to go.’ He pressed a lingering kiss to the inside of her thigh just above where the stocking was attached to the garter belt. ‘Business. It would have been lovely to continue the fun in a hotel room. But I can’t. Not this time. Come on. Let me help you back to your seat.’

To Rome with LustWhen they arrived in her car, by the light of his mobile, she found her place much more quickly than she would have liked. ‘Give me your phone,’ he said once she was seated.

She did as he asked. He keyed in something and handed it back. ‘Now you have my number. Text me.’ Then he gave her a brain searing kiss and left as the train lurched forward and gathered speed. She hadn’t even seen his face.

 

Buy The Mount Series Box Set Here:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA

 

Demon Interrupted Holiday Marathon Day 5

Demon Interrupted CoverWelcome to Day Five of the Demon Interrupted Holiday Marathon!

The Holiday Season is the season for TV and film marathons. Who doesn’t like to sit in front of the telly with a bowl of popcorn, their fave drink and totally veg out over blissful hours of  telly favourites? The holidays are also the time when we love to curl up with a good read. With that in mind, I thought it was an excellent time for a marathon reading of my paranormal erotic novella, Demon Interrupted, which I wrote and ran as a serial on my blog over six months earlier this year. BUT at that time, I could only manage an episode every three weeks, so I thought it would be fun to make it more easily accessible.

For those of you who don’t know, Demon Interrupted is a Lakeland Witches spin-off story set in the fabulous landscape of the Lake District with the witches of the Elemental Coven. With the completion of Elemental Fire, I left my witches with so many stories untold, and they left me with so many mysteries I wanted to know the answer to that I felt compelled to return.

Starting today, for the next nine days I’ll be running a sizzling, chilling instalment of Demon Interrupted for your reading pleasure.  Today I’d like to share with you chapters 9 and 10 of Demon Interrupted.  I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Thanks for joining for this Work in Progress.  And if you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy: Body Temperature and RisingRiding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!

 

Chapter 9

Demon Dreams

A small rivulet of perspiration trickled down Marie’s back as she looked down into the scrying mirror that had belonged to Serina Ravenmoor, the scrying mirror that contained the ethereal prison that had held Deacon. None of the memories involving the infernal thing were pleasant ones.

‘The arrangement is not to my liking either.’ Anderson spoke next to her. ‘But it is important that we have a way to keep the coven safe from Ferris and Ferris safe from himself.’ He took her hand and squeezed it gently.

‘They’ve been in there too long,’ Marie whispered.

‘Do not worry, Marie. Cassandra knows what it is she does, and she has only to will herself to return, and you have only to will the prison door closed behind her, though I do not think that it shall be necessary at this point.’

‘We’re all right,’ Cassandra called up from inside the mirror as though she had heard their concern. Ferris figured she well might have, since he had no problem hearing them. Voices from outside the mirror prison seemed to carry down to its occupants almost as though they were amplified. Though he assumed when the prison was shut and locked all sounds from above, all contact with the outside world would cease. He shivered at the thought.

‘The space inside is secure, as it’s ever been.’ Ferris spoke softly. He wondered if those above could so easily hear his voice. ‘Once Marie shuts the door, so to speak, I won’t be going anywhere.’ And now that he was no longer focused on the couple above, he heard the soft chatters of Anderson and Marie as though he were listening to them from inside a deep well and, indeed, the scrying mirror prison was much like a deep well, a deep well filled with a tiny slice of the Ether. It had been created as a prison for demons. For creatures such as himself, he thought bitterly. Of all that he had suspected of his past, that he might be a demon had never occurred to him. With a start, he felt Cassandra lace her fingers through his.

‘Don’t borrow, trouble, Ferris. I know your heart. We all know your heart, and all of us, every one of us, has a past we’re not fond of.’

‘Demons don’t have hearts,’ he replied, sounding far more bitter than he intended.

‘I’m not so sure about that. Spending quality time with my mother has caused me to question all things I know about demons, and the truth is, none of us knows all that much about them. Besides Lucia says you’re not exactly a demon.’ Before he could respond, she raised a hand and placed two fingers across his lips. ‘I know who you are, Ferris. I know what you sacrificed to protect me, to be there for me, and that’s not something evil would do.’

‘Perhaps I had no choice.’

She studied his face for a moment, than ran her hand along his cheek. ‘Perhaps not.’

‘And that doesn’t worry you?’

For a long time she said nothing and when he was convinced her lack of an answer was the answer he dreaded, she said, ‘Often things we’re forced to do end up being exactly the things we would have gladly done if we’d only understood at the beginning how they would affect us.’ Then she took him into her arms and held him. ‘You’ve been my family and my friend for a very long time, Ferris. When there was no one else, you were there, and me … well I wasn’t easy to get close to. It must have been lonely for you.’

‘Surely you know that it was not. Surly you know that Lucia made it very simple for me to live from day to day with little forethought and little reflection.’

‘Perhaps that’s true,’ Cassandra said, pulling away to look into his eyes, ‘but time and situations bring about changes we never anticipated, not even a demon like Lucia. And no one else could have been to me what you were in all those empty years.’

This time he pulled her into his arms and held her close. ‘I must ask you a favour Cassandra.’

‘Of course. Anything.’

‘There is a question no one has asked, and yet one that must be answered if, perchance, the worst happens.’

She stepped back, a look of suspicion settling lightly on her face.

‘Find out from Lucia if there is a way to …’ He turned away and paced in the emptiness, unable to meet her gaze. ‘You need to know. The coven needs to know if there’s a way to … end my existence, should things become too difficult, should I lose myself completely in the hallucinations.’ Before she could protest, he continued, raising his hands and looking around. ‘I know that you can keep me in this space indefinitely, and that is preferable to the alternatives, but if I am unable to find my way back to myself, if I am only safe when locked away in this little slice of the Ether, then … then it’s best for everyone if I am … destroyed.’

He could see the muscles along her jaw tighten. The misting of her eyes did not hide the dilation of pupils and the lightening in colour that meant the succubus within her was angry. She swallowed hard, raked her teeth over her bottom lip and said, ‘it won’t come to that. This coven will not give up on its own. If they didn’t give up on me, then they won’t give up on you and you shouldn’t –’

‘I’m not you, Cassandra, and this coven has been through enough at the hands of demons.’

‘This coven has been restored in part at the hand of a demon,’ she snapped.

‘That may be, but I need your promise, and if you don’t give it to me, I’ll simply approach Lucia directly. I would rather not do that. I would rather trust myself to you.’

She cursed out loud. ‘All right! All right. I’ll do what you ask. But I promise you it won’t come to that.’

He felt the tension drain away from his shoulders. ‘Good. And there is then one more favour I must ask you, darling Cassandra.’

She folded her arms across her chest and said nothing.

‘I need to know that Elaine will be taken care of if … if the worst happens. It’ll be hard for her, and having people who can care for her, comfort her will facilitate her healing.’

‘Goddamn it, Ferris! You know we would do that anyway, whether or not the worst happens, but I’m sick of you borrowing trouble. Now, this place gives me the creeps. Let’s get the fuck out of here so Fiori and Sky can prepare the room of reflection for dream magic.’

 *****

castlerigg_Stone_Circle1 It was evening before the circle convened. Tara and Kennet had spent a good portion of the day coaching Elaine on dream magic. That she was a witch had been clear almost immediately, but the sex magic practiced by the Elemental Coven was unique and the dream magic rooted in sex even more specific. Fortunately she seem caught on fast. Also, because of the specific nature of the task at hand, special precautions had to be taken and powerful protection spells had to be cast. Normally dream magic would have been done in the Dream Cave, but because the scrying mirror prison never left the alter, and the mirrors that surrounded the Room of Reflection added to the type of magic necessary should the coven need to imprison Ferris in the mirror, the Room of Reflection would be the place where the dream magic took place.

That Ferris didn’t dream, that he had chosen not to dream since he was released from the pact with Lucia, complicated the magic even further and also made the inclusion of Elaine in the circle essential. Elaine seemed to have touched Ferris in an emotional way no one else in the Elemental Coven had, therefore Tara felt she might well be the key to the success of the magic they were about to perform.

When, at last, the circle was cast, Ferris and Elaine lay upon the central dream pallet, surrounded by the strongest dreamers. Tara and Kennet lay on the pallet to their right and Cassandra and Tim lay on a pallet to their left. Anderson and Marie held the mirror at the ready because Anderson was the best at Ethereal magic and Marie was gifted at scrying, and she had a history and a connection with the mirror.

Alice joined Fiori and Sky as a witness. That there were three of them made their efforts magically stronger for observing Ferris’s dreams as well as encouraging him into the dream, and he feared he’d need all of the encouragement he could get. It would also be their job to guide him safely back if he were overwhelmed by the dream. Before the coven gathered in the Room of Reflection, Sky had guided Ferris in meditation and given him herbs to thin the boundaries between the Dream World and the Waking World, and he had done everything he could to be calm and prepared. Still, he felt as though something cold and dark breathed on him from just outside his field of vision, awaiting the approach of sleep so that it could reveal itself to him in all its horror. Better that than putting those he loved at risk, he reminded himself.

With a catch of his breath, and a squaring of his shoulders, he began the ritual. He eased the robe down off Elaine’s shoulders and cupped her breasts, focusing on her body and the comfort and the pleasure it gave him. She shrugged out of the robe and lay down next to him; opening her legs so that, in the dance of the candlelight, he could see the Gateway she offered him into the Dream World and, at its apex, the Key Stone that would help him focus. In his peripheral vision, not entirely in physical form, but more than just a vapour, Lucia hovered, watching over the ritual, watching over him. Her presence was strangely reassuring, and at the moment, he needed all of the reassurance he could get.

‘It’ll be all right, my darling,’ Elaine whispered against his ear, as she pulled him down to her. I have you here in my arms, and I won’t let you go. I’ll companion you, and I’ll come back to this place with you when you’ve found what you need to know.’ Her slender fingers slid between them and caressed the weight of his testicles and the length of his penis, anxiously hardening in against her touch.

Desire for her washed over him in heavy, pounding waves, she was his companion, she was his path, she was his breath, she was his life force, and he needed her. He kissed his way down the tetchy muscles of her belly, lingering to caress her navel, before descending to the Key Stone. He felt her buck against him and her body quivered at his touch as he tongued her clit and tugged at it with his lips. Below the pebbled swell of her, he fingered her open, probing and thrusting up into the silky mother of pearl wetness slickening against his touch. She was tight and her grip made him feel as though a heavy weight burgeoned between his legs. To his right, Tara wrapped her legs around Kennet’s waist and her hips undulated beneath him. Cassandra and Tim mirrored their lovemaking to the left, and far off he could feel the magic Marie and Anderson were raising like heat waves shimmering off a fire. Then the room slipped into a background haze like a mist on the high fells.

‘You’re ready.’ He heard her voice with the clarity of a black bird singing in high summer. ‘Enter the dream with me, Ferris. Let me help you find your way.’

As he thrust up into her once, and the sound of running water filled his ears, like the fast moving streams that tumbled down the mountainsides. He thrust again, deep and desperate. From far off, he heard her moan softly, calling is name, and then there was wind, drowning out her voice, drowning out everything. With the third thrust, his name on her lips became a mantra on the wind and he found himself floating high above Derwent Water, away from Keswick. He could see the traffic on the A66 like a trail of ants far below him. He could see the rising saddle of Blencathera and the dragon spine of Sharp
Edge. One final thrust and the landscape below swirled, blurred, and moved past him at dizzying speed. The roar in his ears intensified like a storm at sea and then howled like an angry beast. Then he fell from a high place. He thought the sound he heard might have been his own cry of terror as he fell and fell, endlessly fell.

And sometime, an eternity later, he landed with a bruising impact that took his breath away, that left him
blinded and shivering. ‘Elaine? Elaine, where are you?’ He woke to the sound of his own voice. His teeth chattered from cold and body ached and felt raw as though he had been flayed. It was dark, except for the heavy moon shining in the window. Carefully, he sat up and looked around. He found himself in the study at Storm Croft. On the desk next to him sat the basket with what remained of the gourmet treats Fiori had packed for him and for his visit to Storm Croft. His hand still rested against his open fly and his spent cock. There was no sign of Elaine.

 

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Chapter 10

Backlash

‘Elaine? Elaine, where are you?’ It was long past midnight when Ferris made his way into the garden. He had searched for her through all the rooms in Storm Croft remembering that she had once lived here, and thinking that she might have her favourite places in which to retreat if she were overwhelmed by the dream magic that had happened in the Room of Reflection. But then, if he wasn’t in the Room of Reflection, if he was still here in Storm Croft … He scrubbed a hand over his face trying to make sense of it all. Had he been in Storm Croft all along? Had he simply fallen back asleep after he had made love with Elaine? Had she left than only him to his rest? Surely this wasn’t a dream. His head hurt too bad for this to be a dream. But then again, how would he know what a dream felt like?

On the other hand, how could he have dreamed the last two days at Elemental Cottage? He didn’t dream. He didn’t! ‘Lucia,’ he called in a voice that felt like gravel against his raw throat. ‘Lucia, I need you.’ He knew better than to get huffy with the demon. Her agenda was her own, and her concern for humans and their struggles was limited. But then again, he reminded himself, he wasn’t human, was he? Or was even his lack of humanity a dream? He walked into the overgrown garden behind the stone wall where he had spent time with Elaine, where he had first realised he lived in a stolen body. But even that might have been a dream. Sweat broke on his forehead as he tried for the dozenth time to leave his flesh and take whatever form it was that he had taken, to become the thing that Lucia insisted he was, the thing that Elaine preferred over his flesh, he reminded himself. Unless he had only dreamed Elaine.

That thought left a surprising emptiness below his heart. It was a thing he had never felt before. Even in his caring for Cassandra, even when he was most concerned for her, it had never felt like this. He rubbed his chest with the heel of his hand as though he could somehow ease an ache that was not physical. The ache intensified as he struggled in vane not to think about the obvious. Hallucinations, Lucia had said. If he didn’t deal with his past, he would suffer from hallucinations. Dear goddess, surely Elaine was more than a hallucination. She had to be. Surely he could never have imagined such a woman who could move him as she had.

His thoughts were interrupted by the unmistakeable grunts and moans of sex. Overhead clouds scudded across the surface of the nearly full moon and floated away leaving the garden bathed in shades of sliver and grey. From behind the oak tree, he caught the movement of shadows and the whimper of a woman in lust. With his heart hammering in his chest, he moved on silent feet until his view was no longer obscured, and his stomach turned to ice. It was a hallucination, then, surely it had to be. His conviction at such should have made him feel better, but it didn’t.

Before him, he saw the broad back of an enormous man in a waistcoat and a dark shirt. His  leather trousers were shoved down low and obviously open as the man grunted and thrust into a woman, who was hidden between the tree and the man’s large body so that Ferris could see only her pale arms around the man’s neck, and on bare thigh, hooked over his hip.

Lakeland Witches 1 BTRThe fine hairs on the back of Ferris’ neck rose and the summer breeze felt as though it blew off the arctic. Surely this couldn’t be. Surely…

Ferris felt the man’s deep-chested chuckle like a low rumble making his bones ache. It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be.

‘Oh I assure you, it’s completely possible, my dear Mr. Ryder.’ Just then the woman keened out a desperate orgasm, and Ferris held his breath, knowing what he would see, but hoping against hope he was wrong. As the sounds of orgasm dissipated, the man pulled free, and shielded the woman’s modesty from view with his enormous body. Ferris watched in horror as shadow gave way to silver moonlight revealing in its glint the face of all the nightmares Ferris would have had if he’d dreamed. Tall and broad and as impossibly beautiful and he was horrible, Deacon turned to face him, making no effort to tuck away his enormous wet cock.

For a second, Ferris thought he’d be sick, he who could not remember illness. But his memories of fighting Deacon beside the Elemental Coven were a reminder that there were worse things than illness – much worse. He swallowed back bile and struggled to stand up straight under the weight of the demon’s powerful presence.

‘You look as though you’ve seen a ghost, Mr. Ryder.’ Deacon’s eyes were obsidian black in the moonlight and his smile sent a shiver up Ferris’s spine. ‘Well, I suppose you have in a way, haven’t you – ghost, demon, magical flesh, honestly one such as I defies description, wouldn’t you say, my dear man?’ His smile fell, and the sudden look of concern on his face was obscene in its parody. ‘You don’t look well, Ferris. Though I’m not surprised, not once you’ve found out that all you’ve believed about yourself, about those you love, is nothing more than an illusion. A bit difficult to stomach, I should imagine.’

Involuntarily, Ferris took a step back. Behind Deacon, the woman whimpered and mumbled something that Ferris couldn’t quite make out. The demon didn’t move, only watched with a bemused smile. ‘Oh that bitch, Lucia, is absolutely right about your … predicament. She was right about the hallucinations, and about you pulling the Elemental Coven into those hallucinations right a long with you.’ He took a step closer still holding the woman behind his back. ‘But the slut was just a little confused on the timing, that’s all. Typical of Lucia, really.  Shush, my darling,’ he called over his shoulder to the woman, whose moaning had grown louder. ‘I know that you need me to fuck you again, but all in good time, my dear, all in good time.’ He absently stroked his erection as he turned his attention back to Ferris.

Lakeland Witches 2 RTE‘You remember my destruction, don’t you, dear Ferris? Of course you do. You remember your precious succubus imprisoning me in that infernal mirror the Elemental Coven latched on to? You remember happily fucking everyone in that cottage, don’t you? I’m sure for one such as you that was quite memorable.’ He clucked his tongue. ‘Oh yes, indeed, you have good memories of your time with the Elemental Coven, don’t you? And wasn’t it such a boost for the ego you didn’t even know you had to feel like you could help them a little in their quest to destroy me, to feel like maybe in just a tiny way you were a hero and that they all happily invited you to their beds.’ His laugh was loud and rough-edged, causing Ferris to take another step back.

‘You? Honestly Ferris Ryder. Look at yourself – living out your life in a stolen body, hiding behind weak, puny flesh and assuming anything those Elemental sluts might offer you would be anything other than, what is it they call it these days, oh yes, a sympathy fuck. But the real you, the rider, well, now that’s something different, isn’t it?’ Deacon moved to circle him, still stroking his cock with one hand while keeping the whimpering woman obscured behind him with the other. ‘Yes, that’s right, I know what you are. I know exactly what you are, and the truth is, my dear Mr. Ryder, you were magnificent.’ He shook his head. ‘I can’t tell you how saddened I was when you made your little bargain with Lucia. Oh, the delicious destruction you would have wrought if she hadn’t interfered. Ah, but then we live in a world where men are way too often pussy-whipped, as they say. It saddens me terribly to see such a powerful creature as you residing within the weak decay of human flesh, a beautiful, irresistible creature, a powerful creature, a creature filled with carnal lusts not unlike my own. I don’t understand, my dear Ferris, why you would not want to shrug off Patrick Faraday’s miserable flesh as quickly as possible and embrace your true nature. Look at you. Even dear Elaine cannot bare to look upon the flesh you wear. Even she longs for the creature you truly are.’

With those words, he stepped aside revealing the woman, who had now dropped to her knees, both arms wrapped around one of Deacon’s tree trunk thighs. ‘Please milord, please,’ she begged in breathless sobs. ‘I need it so badly. I need it inside me. Please …’

Her words died away in a strangled gasp as Deacon fisted the lead to the noose around her neck tightly into his hand, forcing her cheek against his leg. ‘Quiet, Elaine. I’ll fuck your slut of a hole when I’m done with this one. Unless perhaps you would prefer his cock.’

With an anguished groan, Ferris stepped forward and reached out his hand. But Elaine let out a high pitched yelp and tightened her grip onto Deacon’s leg, trembling so hard that Ferris feared she would injure herself. ‘No milord, please no! It’s you I want. It’s you I need. He frightens me.’

With all his strength, Ferris tried to leave Patrick Faraday’s body, but to no avail. Deacon watched, still stroking his cock, his rope-fisted hand, now rubbing an angry red abrasion against the exposed flesh of Elaine’s breasts, an act that made her writhe against him and shove a trembling hand up under her torn skirt. To his horror, Ferris’ cock hardened at the sight of her lust, and he found himself wanting to take her while he offered himself to Deacon at the same time. He shook his head and fell to his knees in an anguished groan ‘No! This is the illusion. This is a dream, that’s all. This isn’t how it happened. Elaine would never let you –’

Deacon practically roared with laughter. ‘Elaine had no more choice in the matter than you will when I am tired of toying with her and decided to use up your lust now that you’re tied to that horrid little body. And you’ll be as anxious for my cock as Elaine is, as your succubus was, as Tara Stone and all of the pathetic Elemental Coven were. Oh yes, Ferris Ryder, your hallucination has been a very long, very complex one, one that I must say, I’ve enjoyed immensely.’

He took a step forward, yanking the rope and forcing Elaine to stumble next to him. ‘Shall I tell you what’s real, my dear Mr. Ryder? Shall I tell you what you’ve missed while you’ve been lost in your own illusions?

Lakeland Witches 3 EF‘As soon as that whore, Lucia, freed you from her hold, the hallucinations began, just as she knew they would. But she had no further need of you. She cared not for your plight. She never cared for your plight, Ferris. She cared only for the succubus, but then you knew that, didn’t you? Still,’ he heaved a dramatic sigh, ‘you had hoped, as one would, that the Elemental Coven, or at the very least the succubus, would have stood by you, tried to help you find your way back to yourself, but alas, my dear man, you were … expendable. Do you even think this place is real?’ He waved a hand and suddenly the three of them were inside Serina Ravenmoor’s scrying mirror prison. ‘I’ve only just now discovered that you were here. They put you here almost immediately when you were of no further use to them, when they feared what you might become without the demon’s pact. But my dear Ferris, even your imprisonment wasn’t enough to protect them from your hallucinations.’

Deacon looked around at the grey, horizonless emptiness. ‘All of the events of which I speak, they happened quite some time ago, I’m sorry to say, but I so enjoyed them. As for the Elemental Coven, I have long since –’ he chuckled lewdly ‘—used them all up, ghosts, succubus, witches all gone, every last one. Mind you, I savoured every moment. I am nothing if not a master when it comes to … foreplay.’ He gave an extra hard thrust into his fist. ‘And your lovely little succubus was a very delectable treat, just as I expected.’ He held Ferris in a gaze that made if feel like the earth beneath him tilted like a ship on the waves. ‘Of course I have you to thank for such an exhilarating triumph, my dear Mr. Ryder. Your hallucinations so easily pulled the whole coven into your private little insanity, that I simply waltzed in and took what I wanted.’ He leaned forward offering a smile that could have never been human. ‘Like the proverbial fox in the hen house.’

‘No!’ Ferris shook his head so hard that his vision blurred. ‘None of this is real. This is the dream! It has to be! It’s a dream! Lucia!’ He called out. ‘Lucia, please! I’ll do whatever it takes, please!’ He called until his throat ached, until he had no voice left, but Deacon paid no attention. With some slight of hand Ferris had not seen, they were once again back in the overgrown garden and Deacon had thrown the end of the rope over a low-hanging branch of the oak and given the hanging noose just enough slack that, though Elaine hung from her neck, she could still wrap her legs around Deacon’s waist while he thrust into her endlessly. Periodically, he pulled out and gave her body a hard shove as though she were a child in a macabre swing, then he entered her again, and again, with her always, desperately whimpering and begging for more. All the while, Ferris called for Lucia until at last, Deacon swung the hanging Elaine in Ferris’ direction. ‘Oh do shut up. Lucia’s not going to come to you. Surely you know that. Here, why don’t you have a go at Elaine? That aught to cheer you up,’ the demon called out jauntily. ‘I’m not a selfish man, and I promise you, even if she is a ghost, there’s a lot of good use in her cunt yet.

Elaine swung into his arms clawing and screaming in terror. ‘Don’t let him touch me, don’t let him touch me, don’t let him touch me,’ she cried, as Ferris struggled to hold her, to calm her.

‘Guess she doesn’t want to fuck you, Mr. Ryder. Bad luck that,’ the demon said, grabbing the rope to pull her back to him.

But before he did, Elaine grabbed Ferris’ face between her hands and for the briefest moment held his gaze. ‘It’s not real,’ she mouthed. ‘He’s not real. Follow the dream and come back to me. I’ll guide you.’ The ground gave way beneath him, and he found himself falling endlessly, falling for an age, falling through the night sky as the moon waxed and waned and waxed again, falling through the cold emptiness of the Ether, through the graveyard Deacon had created to hold him and Alice prisoner there, falling through the dark woods of Raven Crag where Serina Ravenwood’s ghost had guided them to her scrying mirror, falling into the deserted Dream Cave where he had always witnessed but never dreamed. Until now.

 

Alice Raine Gives Us an Exclusive Look at the Prologue for SNOWED IN

Snowed In is one of four novellas in Cariad Romance’s Love Under the Mistletoe Collection

Firstly, let me start by extending a massive thanks to KD for hosting me today. It was great fun writing the story for the Christmas anthology, but what was even better was getting to know the other awesome Accent Press writers KD Grace, Demelza Hart and Elizabeth Coldwell (although I already knew Elizabeth – she was the editor of my first book, and the person who ‘spotted’ me and got me signed up! Thanks again Liz!)

For this blog post I thought it might be fun to write a little prologue to go with my story from the anthology, which is called ‘Snowed In’. This wasn’t included in the actual book, so it’s an exclusive FREE chapter! Enjoy!

Alice x

Snowed In

Prologue

loveunderthemistletoeSomething was ringing. And ringing. And ringing. Groaning I rolled over in my cosy duvet den and rammed the heel of my hand down on the alarm clock beside my bed, but it was still ringing. What the heck? Usually a swift whack with my hand did the job, but apparently not today. Blinking my bleary eyes I pushed myself upright and fumbled around in the dark until I found the switch to my lamp. Illuminating my bedroom in the soft glow I picked up the alarm clock and stared at it in puzzlement. It was the school holidays today so it wasn’t even set to go off, but it was still ringing … after a few long, slow blinks my brain became marginally more alert and I finally realised that the alarm in my hand wasn’t the source of the noise. The cheerful trumpeting sounds that was driving me crazy was actually my mobile phone ringtone.

Glancing at the alarm in my hand I frowned, it was 5:34am, who the heck would be calling me at this time? Slamming the alarm down I slithered from the bed, cursed as my feet hit the cold wooden floor, and then looked around for my phone. Conveniently I saw that it was on the dresser by the door right next to where I dumped my slippers the night before. Crossing the room I simultaneously shoved my feet into my warm furry slippers whilst grabbing my phone, clicking ‘answer’ and then lifting it to my ear.

‘…ello?’ My voice was dry and gruff from sleep and barely audible, so I cleared my throat and tried again. ‘Hello?’

There was a symphony of wet, spluttered coughs down the line which caused me to grimace and hold the phone away from my ear before I finally heard someone speaking. ‘Allie?’ Crikey, I recognised the voice as Sarah my best friend, but she sounded even rougher than I had a minute ago.

Shivering I pulled my dressing gown down from the back of the door. ‘Sarah?’ I asked with a frown as I shrugged my arms into the sleeves of the fleece dressing gown.

‘Yeah, hi Allie.’ She croaked.

‘Blimey you sound rougher than a badgers arse.’ I commented as I made my way through the chilly house towards the kitchen. Brushing my hand along the frigid radiator I grimaced – it was so early the heating hadn’t even come on! Sarah better have a seriously good reason for calling this early.

‘I need a huge favour, Allie.’ My best friend whispered in a low gravelly tone which sounded more suited to a porn star than my best friend.

Propping the phone between my shoulder and my ear I clicked the kettle on and lifted down a mug from the cupboard. ‘I kinda guessed that much, you know, seeing as it’s still practically the middle of the night and you’re calling me. Come on then, what’s up?’

‘I’m really sick.’ More coughing resonates down the line, ‘I was wondering if there was any chance you could cover a shift for me today?’ I’m a primary school teacher, Sarah is a house cleaner; they aren’t exactly interchangeable careers are they? As if sensing my hesitation Sarah spoke again, ‘Please Allie, I can’t lose this job. I just can’t.’ she begged with a sneeze. Besides the owner of the house is hotness personified.’ Cough, cough. ‘I can’t remember the last time I saw a guy this good looking. I mean he’s sex on legs. You’ll love it. You’ll love him.’

Closing my eyes I stood for a second, literally able to see my day plan of a Christmas shopping spree disappearing before my very eyes. ‘Please?’ she added beseechingly as I felt my resolve crumbling.

‘I don’t know, Sarah, I’m not exactly a professional, am I?’ I argued weakly, knowing full well that I was going to end up doing this bloody job for her in the end regardless what I said now.

‘It doesn’t matter, it’s just a quick clean round and knock up a casserole. The owner’s away so it doesn’t matter too much.’

My eyebrows shot up and an ironic smile quirked my lip, ‘A second ago you were trying to tempt me with the hot owner, but now you’re saying he won’t even be there!’

There was silence at the end of the line, then a wet sniffle which made me roll my eyes. Sighing heavily I shook my head, ‘Go on then, give me the bloody address.’ I acquiesced reluctantly.

‘Oh my god! Allie! Thank you so much!’ Sniff, sniff, cough. ‘If you … come over I’ll give … you the key.’ Her words were broken up by such loud wheezes and coughs I could almost feel the germs permeating through the phone line and held it away from my ear in disgust.

‘Fine. I’ll be over in an hour.’ I replied with a huff. ‘Hot man or not, you owe me big time for this Sarah.’

*****

To find out if Allie does meet the ‘hot house owner’, read the full story of ‘Snowed In’ which can be found in the Accent press Christmas anthology ‘Under The Mistletoe’ – out now on Amazon!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Alice Tells Us about Alice:

Alice Raine author picWhere to start? I’m really a lot more boring and normal than my steamy books might suggest. It may disappoint some to know that I’ve never had an illicit affair with a domineering pianist, nor have I ever met or dated a man who frequented sex clubs in London… I have however, always had an overactive imagination, which may in part explain where my stories come from! My books may be fiction, but the setting of London was a deliberate choice, I was born and raised in London and as such it holds a special place in my heart which I hope comes across in my writing. Some of my best times have been spent with friends wandering the markets of Camden or sipping beers in Covent Garden.

I moved to Manchester to study, where I ended up living for over ten years. Originally I qualified as an archaeologist, but I soon realised that jobs in that sector were minimal and decided to put my enthusiasm to use by becoming a teacher. Now I split my time between teaching, and engaging my wildly over active imagination by writing. Currently I’m living abroad spending my days exploring, teaching and writing. Where ever I find myself I live with my ever suffering, but hugely supportive husband, our dog and a crazy half-wild cat who keeps the whole household on its toes.

Music is a huge influence in my writing, I listen to everything from Snow Patrol and Linkin Park to Evanescence and REM, in fact, those of you with a good memory for lyrics might even spot one or two lines popping up in my writing as you read. I enjoys writing a wide range of genres including comical real life stories and youth paranormal fantasy, but my first published novels are the adult themed trilogy series ‘Untwisted.’

Find Alice Here:

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-Raine/1433662383579684

– Twitter: @AliceRaine1

– Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/alice3083/

 

 

 

Liz Coldwell Talks Christmas in Paradise

Hi, KD, and thanks very much for hosting me. I’m thrilled to be able to talk about my story in the Cariad Christmas anthology, Love Under The
Mistletoe Christmas for One.

loveunderthemistletoeChristmas is traditionally a time to be with your loved ones. Even now, I still travel up to Yorkshire to visit my parents over the holiday, it being one of the few opportunities we get for the whole family to be together. I’ve only broken that practice once, the year I hit 30. Blame it on Home Alone 2 (yes, we’re talking quite a while ago here), but the legendary Darlo Ted and I decided we wanted to spend Christmas in New York. We had a fantastic time, doing all the touristy things like visiting the huge tree at the Rockefeller Centre, and even went up over the city in a helicopter on Christmas Day, but somehow it still felt strange not to be at home, tucking into my mother’s roast turkey and all the trimmings.

Dionne, the heroine of Christmas for One, also finds herself spending the day away from her family, but not quite in the circumstances she’d

planned. Her wedding is called off when she learns an unpleasant truth about her husband-to-be, Richard, and instead of a Christmas honeymoon in Aruba she flees instead to a beach resort in Honolulu, where paradise awaits.

Though I’ve never been to Hawaii, I had plenty of fun researching all the activities that would be available to Dionne, as well as the food that she’d eat at the big celebration luau where Santa hands out presents to all the guests.

She even takes an excursion up to the Lulumahu Falls on Christmas Day itself, because who wouldn’t want to visit a hidden waterfall and take a dip beneath the rushing waters? Even though it’s a bit of a trek up to this secluded spot, it’s one of the highlights of Dionne’s paradise vacation.
Of course, what makes her stay extra-special is the presence of one of the resort employees, Scott. He and Dionne quickly discover they have a chemistry that promises to make Christmas sizzle, and when Scott plays Santa, he’s able to give her a present she’ll never forget…

Here’s the moment where Dionne meets Scott for the first time:

She hands me a key card, and I wait for the bellboy to come over. He’s tall, with blond hair that threatens to fall over one eye, and when he smiles, a cute little dimple appears in his cheek. The nametag on his burgundy waistcoat reads “SCOTT”.

‘Scott, could you take Ms Suvari to Room 24?’ the desk clerk instructs him.

‘Of course. May I take your bag, Ms Suvari?’

‘Please, call me Dionne, and there’s really no need …’

The tan leather carry-on isn’t heavy, but he’s already scooping it up out of my hand. When his fingers brush against the back of my palm, my skin seems to tingle in response, and I wonder if he feels it too. But already he’s heading for the elevator.

We take the short ride to the second floor, and step out into a quiet corridor.

‘Here we are.’ Scott takes the key card from me and opens the door.

I’ve been expecting the type of room that’s usually reserved for single travellers; a tiny box, stuck in some out-of-the-way corner, or so close to the elevator that the hum of machinery seeps through the walls. Instead, I find myself looking at a light, airy bedroom with a big, brass-framed bed, a low, cream leather couch, and a coffee table. A small balcony lets out on to the most breathtaking ocean view. The sun is already beginning to set, staining the sky in shades of red and gold.

‘This is really lovely,’ I murmur, reaching into my purse to find a couple of dollars for Scott’s tip. ‘Thank you.’surfing santa

He gives me a little wink. ‘No problem, Ms – Dionne. And if there’s anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant …’

That sounds like a blatant invitation. Looking into those blue eyes, I recall the brief jolt of electricity that passed between us. But I’m clearly reading a little too much into his comment. ‘Oh, I bet you say that to all the girls,’ I quip.

‘Only the ones who look like they’ve been having a rough time.’

With that, Scott lets himself quietly out of the room. When I can at last tear my eyes away from the spectacular sunset, I pick up the folder on the coffee table. It contains all the information I could need about the resort, and lets me know that dinner is served in the restaurant until 9.30. Plenty of time for me to take a shower and change out of the crumpled clothes I’ve travelled in.

I hunt through my bag for a suitable outfit. Everything I’ve brought with me was intended for Richard’s eyes, from my floor-length black evening dress to my skimpy beachwear to underwear that’s all satin and lace. But there’s a short, floral sundress that I can accessorise with silver and jet jewellery and strappy heels; perfect for dining alone.

Once I’ve stowed everything else in the built-in closet, I take my wash bag through to the en-suite bathroom. It’s stocked with high-end toiletries, and a thick pile of fluffy white towels. Just the kind of luxury I need after everything that’s happened.

As I unzip the bag and reach for my toothbrush, my fingers close around a long, slim box. Intrigued, I fish it out, and don’t know whether to laugh or be shocked. It contains a small vibrator, in a fetching shade of pink, with a smooth shaft and tapered head. When I twist its base, it hums into life, so clearly whoever put it in here has thought of everything. There’s a sticky note attached to the packaging. Written in Jill’s big, looping handwriting are the words “To give your honeymoon a buzz!” She must have sneaked it into my bag while she was helping me put on my wedding dress this morning – and how long ago that seems now. Still, providing me with this toy supports her story that she didn’t have a clue about Richard cheating on me.

Part of me wonders where my rat of an ex-fiancé is right now. In the arms of Marcie Grace, most likely. Well, the two of them deserve each other. At least I found out the truth before it was too late; as humiliating as today has been, things would have been so much worse if I hadn’t learned about the affair until after I’d married him.

I turn the shower setting to “tropical”, letting the water beat down on me. The shower gel produces a creamy lather, rich with the scents of coconut and passion fruit, and it feels good to smooth it over my skin. When I close my eyes, a face swims into my mind. Scott, the cute bellboy with the sweet smile. I recall the last remark he made before he left the room, and wonder if my distress over Richard’s betrayal is really so evident.
It would be nice to havelulumahu falls someone around who could help soothe the hurt away. Someone who, if only for a little while, could help remind me there are still plenty of decent, honest men in this world.

Almost without being aware of what I’m doing, I begin to concentrate on soaping up my breasts, brushing my nipples with the pads of my thumbs. In my imagination, Scott stands behind me in the shower stall, his body tight up against mine, and he’s the one who’s caressing my tits. The picture I’m creating is so vivid I swear I can feel the heavy bulk of his cock, trapped between our two bodies. His mouth is pressed to my neck, and he trails soft kisses all the way to the hollow at the base of my throat.

Is it wrong to be weaving a fantasy about a guy I’ve only exchanged a handful of words with? I don’t know, and right now, frankly, I don’t care.

Blurb:

When Dionne runs out on her wedding ceremony, spending Christmas in Paradise, alone, seems like the perfect way to heal her heartbreak. But she hasn’t counted on meeting a very sexy Santa who will make this a sensual holiday to remember …

Buy links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Find Elizabeth Coldwell Here:

Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine. She was the launch editor of Erotic Stories magazine and one of the co-founders of the Guild of Erotic Authors. She has edited for Xcite Books, and written novels for Headline Liaison and the best-selling Xcite Romance imprint. In addition, her short stories have been published by, among others, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Totally Bound, Torquere and Circlet Press.
She lives in East London, and is a season ticket holder at Rotherham United and a keen baker. Her recipe for Yorkshire Parkin is available if you ask nicely…
She can be found online at The (Really) Naughty Corner.

 

End of Summer Beginnings: Identity Crisis Chapter 1

Welcome to the beginning of my End of Summer Beginnings Posts! As everyone is frantically trying to fit in one last dose of the summer sun and a smidge more holiday before autumn is upon us, I thought it was time for a bit of temptation. One of the best parts of summer holidays is a good read to match the summer sizzle, so with that in mind, for the next two weeks, I’m sharing First Chapters of all my novels. Today I’m sharing more  hot romance, Grace Marshall, style and chapter 1 from Identity Crisisbook two of the Executive Decisions Trilogy. Enjoy!  (Follow hyper-links to learn more and to find buy-links)

 

IC new coverBlurb Identity Crisis:

Book Two of the Executive Decision Trilogy (Click Here for Book One | Book Three)

PR rep extraordinaire, Kendra Davis, is elated when she gets the chance to work for her hero, reclusive, romance novelist, Tess Delaney. Her elation is short-lived when she discovers that Tess is none other than Garrett Thorne, the bad-boy brother of business tycoon and eco-warrior, Ellison Thorne, who is engaged to her best friend, Dee Henning. Kendra blames Garrett for the comedy of errors that nearly destroyed their relationship. Garrett doesn’t like Kendra either, but he’s desperate. His alter-ego, Tess has been nominated for the prestigious Golden Kiss Award. No one knows who Tess really is, and he needs Kendra to play Tess for the awards.

When Tess is stalked by a rabid fan, the two unite to protect her identity. With Kendra, the body and Garrett the soul of Tess Delaney, is there room in this strange ménage for romance? Can a woman who doesn’t exist understand their hearts even better than they do?

 

Chapter 1 of Identity Crisis:

‘Excuse me.’ The man sidled in next to Kendra at the bar all casual-like. ‘I couldn’t help noticing you sitting here all by yourself, and I was wondering if I could I buy you a drink?’

Kendra lifted her barely touched rum and Diet Pepsi. ‘Thanks but I already have one,’ she said without looking up from her novel. ‘And I’m not alone.’ She nodded down to her Kindle. She was just getting to the good part. All she wanted the man to do was go away and leave her alone.

Honestly, she was so engrossed in her novel that she thought he’d done just that until he cleared his throat loudly and sat down on the stool next to her. ‘So, whacha reading that has you so enthralled?’

‘Tess Delaney’s latest, Learning the Business.’ She kept reading. Surly eventually he’d figure out she didn’t want to be disturbed. There was a time it would have embarrassed her to say that she was reading a romance novel, but now she didn’t think too much about it, not when it was a Tess Delaney novel.

But apparently the man wasn’t very bright. He scooted slightly closer as though he might read over her shoulder. ‘It must be really good. I mean this is the Boiling Point. Most people don’t come here to read.’

She heaved an irritated sigh and closed her Kindle. ‘Yes the book’s very good. Tess Delaney’s best so far. And no most people don’t come here to read.’ She downed her drink in one go and jammed the Kindle into her bag making no efforts to hide her irritation. It barely registered as she slid off the stool and headed out the door passed the mountain-sized bouncer that the man hadn’t been bad looking. He was in a nice suit like he’d just come from some office somewhere, and if it wasn’t for Tess Delaney, Kendra probably could have had him in the park on that nice little secluded bench behind the shrubbery if she’d wanted to. That would have been a nice kinky beginning to the weekend. That was what she’d come to the Boiling Point for, wasn’t it? She figured she’d dance a little, flirt a little and with a little luck get nicely laid. She hadn’t done that in a while. Was she losing her touch?

She cursed under her breath. Whoever this reclusive Tess Delaney was, her novels were ruining Kendra’s sex life with her damn romance and love and not settling for just having a tumble a handshake. What the hell was the matter with her? A fantasy, that’s all it was, just a fantasy. Nobody really got a happy ever after!

But when the man at the Boiling Point so rudely interrupted her, she’d left Lisa and David with the sexual tension sizzling between them, and she was pretty sure they were going to get laid even if she wasn’t. That being the case, she sure as hell didn’t want to miss out on their fun. She felt like a damned voyeur. She headed out across the park at a quick pace. It was a short walk back to Dee’s. She’d order herself some nice Chinese and curl up with Lisa and David for their boardroom romp. God, what was getting into her? Was she just getting old? Harris never let her forget she was the oldest of the Three Musketeers. By two months, she reminded herself. And Harris was joking. It wasn’t that she wasn’t horny. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to start out the weekend with a sweaty romp with some hot guy. It was just that, well she knew it would never feel like it felt when David and Lisa’s anger gave way to lust and they ended up humping each other’s brains out on the floor of his office. Oh it wasn’t that Tess Delaney didn’t write good love scenes, they were fabulous, in fact, hot and steamy and pulse racing. But that was just it, Tess Delaney wrote love scenes, not sex scenes. Lisa would have never had a one-night stand with some guy she just met at a bar, and David would have never gone looking. There was chemistry, real chemistry in a Tess Delaney novel, and though Kendra seriously doubted if such chemistry, such romantic feelings really existed, Tess Delaney had drawn her in and made her wish like hell that they did.

As she often did, she was house sitting for her best friend, Dee Henning, who had been in New York on business. Well she was probably back home now, but she’d be having a very steamy romp of her own with Ellis Darby over at his place. Against all odds, Dee and Ellis were a couple almost straight from a Tess Delaney novel. In fact, if she didn’t know better, Kendra would swear that Tess Delaney had been hiding in the closet or under Ellis’s desk taking notes for this novel. Wow! If this was what it felt like for Dee and Ellis, if this is what they experienced when they were together, then she was damn-well jealous. She’d never admit it of course. And as the Chinese food arrived and she scrounged in the fridge for the Diet Pepsi Dee always kept on hand for her, she found herself wondering if maybe she should stop reading Tess Delaney novels. It was pretty stupid really. It only made her want what she knew she couldn’t have. Dee was Dee. Dee had a way of pushing through, of never giving up, of never settling until she got what she wanted in the relationship department, or any other department. Sadly, Kendra wasn’t like that. She wasn’t an optimist where love was concerned. She never had been, even as a child. She knew better. But since her return from California, she’d found it really difficult to get back into the clubbing scene. That meant that the only sex Kendra was getting these days was sex for one.

Dee’s two red tabbies, McAlister and O’Kelly, heard the rattling of the bag from the Chinese food and came to investigate. Kendra handed over the bag to the felines and settled onto the floor in front of the coffee table to eat her spring rolls and kung pow chicken with cheap wooden chopsticks.

Just as David and Lisa clawed their way to the mother of all simultaneous orgasms, Kendra’s iPhone rang, and she dropped a spring roll into her lap, then grabbed it up with her fingers while David and Lisa quickly dressed, embarrassed by all the feelings that they shouldn’t be having. It was Harris on the phone.

‘Hi Ken. Surprised I caught you.’ She could hear the concern in his voice. ‘Weren’t you going to the Boiling Point? Are you alright?’

‘Fine,’ she said, ‘I’m fine, just having some Chinese before I head over,’ she lied. ‘What’s up?’

‘Just wondering if you can pick up some extra beer for tomorrow, maybe some soft drinks It’s supposed to be hot. Plus, with the guest list being what it is, well, I don’t want to run out of lubricant.’

‘In that case, better get some hard stuff too,’ she said. Harris, Dee and Kendra had been best friends from high school and that bond had grown stronger during university and beyond. After all those years, they were still the Three Musketeers. Tomorrow Harris was throwing a little bar-B-Q out at his lake cabin, sort of an informal engagement party for Dee and Ellis. She’d work up a lot more enthusiasm for that little soirée if Ellis’s jerk of a brother wasn’t going to be there along with that Stacie chick, with whom it sounded like the two Thorne brothers had quite a history. Kendra liked Ellis. She liked him a lot, and she’d never seen Dee so happy. However, Ellis’s brother and Stacie, well they were both trouble. The two of them had bumbled about until they’d nearly destroyed the relationship between Ellis and Dee before it happened. Though that had not been their intention and they had both been very contrite, Kendra didn’t place much stock in good intentions. It didn’t matter, though, Garret was still Ellis’s brother, and apparently he was coming with Stacie as his date, even though she was his ex-wife. A perfectly good bar-B-Q ruined. But she supposed if Dee and Ellis could forgive the two, she would have to at least try.

After she hung up she made a quick note to herself to pick up drinks and returned her attention to Lisa, who was now coming clean with her best friend about sleeping with her boss.

 

newgmbuttonPale morning light filtered through the bedroom window, illuminating the delicate curve of Amanda’s shoulder and the swell of her breasts, which rose and fell in the even breathing of sleep. For a second he wondered if he were dreaming, but then he reached out and ran a finger along her cheekbone and watched the twitch of muscles and heard the soft moan escape her lips. It was no dream and, as memories of the past night flooded back to him, he wanted her all over again.

 

‘Damn it. It’s not right. It just doesn’t feel right.’ For the third time in the last half hour, Garrett Thorne shoved back the chair from his desk and moved to pace in front of the French doors that led onto the balcony. It had not been a stellar day for writing, and there were deadlines looming. He was prolific. Tess Delaney was prolific. He could whip out the novels almost as fast as his publisher wanted a new one, but for some reason, there was just no flow, no chemistry between Jessie and Amanda, and fuck if he cared, to be honest! The last thing he really wanted to write was another billionaire story. But this one was an oil tycoon in Texas, his editor said. A unique approach, his editor said.

‘Think kinky Dallas all wrapped up in a black and grey book cover,’ Garrett grumbled out loud. ‘Yep, that’s unique alright.’ He’d been joking when he brought up the idea, just joking. But hell, he didn’t have any other ideas at the moment, and that was very unusual for Tess Delaney.

At the moment he just wasn’t thinking like Tess Delaney, that was the problem. He was thinking like Garrett Thorne, and Garrett Thorne wanted to kick back, have a couple of beers in front of the television and … well actually, Garrett Thorne wanted to get laid. But he’d only been in Portland just long enough to get settled into his new house. He didn’t know anyone here, and the truth was, he wasn’t into one-night-stands, and he certainly wasn’t anxious to put his heart out there again after what happened with him and Amy. She’d sent him a free ticket to watch her dance the lead role in Sleeping Beauty in New York, but of course he wouldn’t go. He just couldn’t ride that roller coaster again. Not for the first time, he found himself thinking that if he really were Tess Delaney, if there was such a person, she would just get on with it.

He sat back down at the desk and took a sip of the neglected glass of cabernet. Out of the stack of waste paper he saved up from read-throughs, he took a piece and began to write on the back with a fountain pen.

 

I’ve never really thought about what Tess might look like, other than to notice how deliciously comfortable she is in her own skin. And that makes her outrageously sexy. Tess doesn’t really think much about romance and love and struggles of the heart. She just gets on with it. Tess is more practical that Garrett is. Tess knows that sometimes you just need to get laid, that sometimes you just want it to be easy for a little while.

He chuckled to himself and drained his glass of wine.

Tess isn’t really my secret, so much as I’m hers. She can cover for me, and she does. She knows I’m the twit who wears his heart on his sleeve, and that I write all about it. Tess covers for me in a way that’s far more elegant and natural that I could ever be.

Sometimes I wish she were real. I suppose this is a testament to how neurotic I am, but sometimes I wish she were my lover, tough and strong and comfortable in herself and able to slap me around a bit when I need it. Jesus, what am I writing here, Tess Delaney, Bad-Ass Dom? No denying that thought gets my attention, even if it makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Still, I suppose Tess’s fans see her as far more straight-laced that that. She’s hardly the kind who would fuck the lesser Thorne brother, is she? Though she might beat me into submission from time to time, she’d definitely go for the hero at the end of the day. And when she catches the public eye, she’s the paragon virtue, the teller of tales of the heart. Ah! Tess Delaney! Where the hell are you when I need you?

Beneath it, he scribbled a heart with an arrow through it, then stood to pace again. He was just ready to sit down and try once more with Amanda and Jessie when his BlackBerry rang.

It was his publicist. ‘Damn it, Garrett, don’t you ever read your emails?’

Garrett plopped down at his desk and pulled up his gmail account. ‘Why should I, Don? I can always count on you to call me in a panic if I need to know something.’

Don cursed, not quite under his breath. He’d been Garrett’s publicist long enough not to be required to be polite, and certainly Garrett wasn’t at times … most of the time, actually. ‘Tess Delaney has just been nominated for the Golden Kiss Award.’ He didn’t wait for Garrett’s reply, but ploughed on, as he usually did, trying to get as much said as quickly as possible before Garrett hung up on him. ‘You do know what that means, don’t you? You do know what a big deal that is, what a coup? And if Tess wins, well, it could very well eclipse anything else she’s done up until now, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what it would do for sales.’

‘The Golden Kiss? Tess was nominated for the Golden Kiss?’ Garrett almost managed to let the excitement of such an honor sink in before Don was off and ranting again.

‘This year the awards banquet’s in Portland, well that’s right there for you, isn’t it? And frankly, Garrett, your agent, your editor and I, well we all think it’s the perfect opportunity to out Tess Delaney as a local boy gone romantic. And I think –’

‘No!’ Garrett said, feeling as though the bottom had just dropped out of his stomach. ‘There’ll be no outing Tess.’

‘Calm down, Garrett. Don’t hang up. Just listen to me, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s well worth considering. Outing Tess Delaney can’t do anything but help sales and if you win , well it would be –’

‘I said no,’ Garrett repeated, no longer listening to Don’s long litany of reasons. ‘I won’t out her, and you can’t make me. And that’s final.’

He was just ready to hang up when Don said, ‘well, actually, we can. We can make you. Your publisher is riding your editor who’s riding me, and unless you’re dead or dying, Garrett, they want you at that award ceremony. I suppose you could go in drag, but then to be honest, I think you’d make a very ugly woman, and I don’t think you’d be keen on the chest waxing beforehand either.’

‘Goddamn it, Don, I don’t want Tess outed! I’ve told you before, I write better when no one knows, when everyone thinks I’m just Ellison Thorne’s worthless brother. I don’t mind going. But not as Tess. There has to be another way, or I’m warning you there’ll be trouble. You know I don’t have to write for Romancine.’

‘Well, actually you do. You’re under contract for three more novels.’

Garrett gripped his BlackBerry tighter. ‘I can make it miserable for all of us.’

Don’s huff of a sigh into the phone sounded like an explosion. ‘Jesus, Garrett, can’t you ever just do what you’re asked? This is a big deal, the biggest. It’s a huge honor to even be nominated, and it would be the perfect time to let the real Tess Delaney take her bows … his bows rather. Think how it would boost sales?’

‘Sales are already good, Don.’ Garrett made a desperate reach for his wine glass only to discover it empty and the bottle was still in the kitchen.

‘Good, yes, but this could be better than even you, even Tess, could imagine. Garrett, we’ve thought this out, really thought this out and there’s no logical way for Tess Delaney to make her first live appearance ever without letting the world know that Tess Delaney is really bad boy, Garrett Thorne. It’s like a PR dream-come-true.’

In the kitchen Garrett refilled his glass spilling a trail of wine across the granite counter top before drinking back half the glass. ‘Come on, Don. What if I can’t write when everyone knows I’m Garrett Thorne? Then what? Did you think about that? I mean it’s no secret what a neurotic mess I am, just ask my brother. Don? I can always get another publicist, you know?’

‘Alright! Damn it!’ The curse was loud enough that Garrett held the BlackBerry away from his ear. ‘Alright.’ There was a long pause, and Garrett was perfectly happy to wait. Tess Delaney books were top sellers, and the mystery of the woman behind them was discuss in more than a few coffee klatches and girls’ nights out. He did have some weight to throw around where the issue of his outage was concerned, and throw it around, he would!

‘Okay, look. The solution is simple, then,’ Don said. ‘Find someone else to be Tess Delaney, I don’t know, an actress, a friend, someone you can trust. Then you go as her date’

Garrett gulped the rest of the wine and emptied the bottle into his glass. ‘You’re kidding, right?’

‘This is not my kidding voice, Garrett. I’m serious. The way I see it, this is your option. You either come as you are and out Tess Delaney as Garrett Thorne or you come as Garrett Thorne, Tess Delaney’s bad boy date. I mean we could get some serious PR mileage off that, Tess Delaney dating Garrett Thorne.’

‘How am I going to pull this off?’ Garrett said, as much to himself as to Don. He was already going down the list of women who might play Tess Delaney. The obvious choice was Stacie, but everyone already knew who Stacie was and she had a reputation of her own to keep, as well as the fact that she was his ex-wife

Xcite FB campagne for Exec Dec trilogy‘Not my problem,’ Don was saying. ‘If this is how you want to play it, that’s totally fine, but you’d better find someone and she’d better be good or your ass is outed. I’m sorry, man. They want to break ground by having their big name romance writer be noted as a man. They figure women will eat it up. That’s what Romantacine wants. The way I see it, you hire yourself a Tess Delaney or you come clean. I don’t care which you do, but you have to do one or the other. Think about it. And read your fucking emails, for Chrissake.’ He hung up, leaving Garrett white-knuckling the BlackBerry to his ear.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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