In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 2

Mr. Sands’ story, as I suspected, is far from finished. Last week we left Elise North at a Wetherspoon’s  keeping an eye on Daniel Sands as he kept an eye on the woman who had been his inflight meal. Elise North is a PI with something extra, and … you guessed it, she works for Magda Gardener. Can’t tell you how much fun Elise and I are having pursuing Mr. Sands in this unfolding Medusa’s Consortium tale. I hope you’re enjoying our voyeuristic encounters as well.

 

If you missed Part 1, follow the link

 

In pursuit of Mr. Sands Pt. 2

Safely tucked in my booth at Wetherspoon’s, I observed Daniel Sands observing his victim. The word victim didn’t really feel right under the circumstances. The glow in the woman’s face spoke of a well-satisfied lover rather than a victim. And if I wasn’t mistaken, Daniel Sands observed the woman with true affection and more than a little bit of pride. I knew Magda Gardener had at least one vampire on her consortium, and there was a succubus. Both could drain a life away easily and without batting an eye to satisfy their needs, but they didn’t. It was clear that neither did Mr. Sands, though I didn’t know if that were always the case or simply because it was not wise to leave a string of dead bodies on a commercial airliner. As I watched him watching her, I couldn’t help but bask – vicariously of course — in a little bit of their afterglow.

I followed him following her to the car park. Oh they didn’t notice. I have a way of going unnoticed when I want to. It’s one of the skills Magda hired me for. I watched him watching her from beside a black Audi, and I felt the exact moment when he chose to let her see him. She had just settled into her Mini  – an older version — but she didn’t start the engine, as I knew she wouldn’t. Instead she looked around her in nervous anticipation. Oh she wouldn’t have seen him if he hadn’t wanted her to. Being able to hide in plain sight was one of his survival techniques just as it was mine. At the moment when her heart rate had accelerated just so — you know that moment I’m talking about — when the serious gallop of foreplay isn’t enough any longer, when the body demands more. At that moment when her anticipation was palpable and so was his, he took from her once more. Oh it was just one little nibble. I suspected from a distance he could do little more, but that was another question to add to my growing research list. With his taking, he offered her one last little reward before he freed her completely from his thrall. It only took a raise of his hand to rest and a slight flexing of his fingers, and she came. I felt the pulsing of her orgasm deep in my chest. And him, well there was a sense of euphoria that radiated off him like heat waves. If it were even possible the glow of good health and maleness at its prime that he exuded grew even stronger. And then he just stood there watching as she drove away.

I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and got into the car Magda’s people had provided – an apple red Merc AMG that fit me like a glove. Inside I pulled up Magda’s number on the blue tooth.

“He touched me,” I said when she picked up. “On the plane when he was making his rounds. I had to let him. I had no choice really.”

“And?”

“Why, yes, I’m fine, thanks for asking and no, he didn’t hurt me and he didn’t suspect anything.”

Her silence told me in no uncertain terms she was unimpressed with my sarcasm. “And?” She repeated.

“He’s staying at a flat in Soho. He stays here in London until he’s ready for another night flight, unless he decides to fly home.” I recited the address.

“You found all that out from touching him?”

“No. I found that out by taking a peek at his landing card in the Passport control queue.”

Her chuckle was like fur against bare skin and I couldn’t help but wonder if our fearless leader was perhaps a powerful succubus. I’d heard that she could be very charming, hypnotic, in fact. But mostly I’d heard she was flat out terrifying, and she liked it fine that way. It left no doubt as to who was in control of the Consortium. Other than that I knew little about her. I’d never met her personally. She recruited me through a friend of a friend. In the year I’d worked for her, I’d not spoken to her at all until I was assigned to tail Daniel Sands. Him, for some reason, she took a personal interest in, so I was given a phone with only her number programmed in. It was equipped with several other high tech upgrades that made me feel a bit like 007. I knew it was as much her way of tracking me as it was mine of finding her, but then I did have a subcutaneous chip for that. So, what I could glean from the situation was that Magda Gardener wanted Daniel Sands very badly, that Magda Gardener had very deep pockets – which I already knew, and that I was not nearly as expendable as she might have me believe. Listening to her voice and even knowing what I knew, I still had a hard time imagining that she could be more terrifying than some of the nightmares I’d come up against. The thing is, working for her was interesting, and the pay and the benefits were incredible.

“You’re a resourceful little shadow, aren’t you,” she all but purred in my ear. And I all but preened my response.

“I do my best.” I smiled at my reflection in the mirror above the visor as I refreshed my lippy.

“You’ll be texted the address of your flat in Soho as soon as we secure you one. It’ll be ready when you arrive.”

I was practically drooling at the thought. Magda Gardener had expensive tastes, and she treated her employees as though they did too. Having said that, she would have no qualms about making me stay in a crack house if that’s what it took to secure what she wanted, and I’d certainly stayed in worse.

I’d barely made it to the motorway before I got the text with the address of my temporary digs. I was impressed. Clearly I wasn’t the only savvy person who worked for Magda Gardener. The place was right across the street from Mr. Sands’ flat with a perfect view of his big bay window and the entrance to the building. I arrived to find the fridge was fully stocked and the closet full of clothes. We’re talking high-end designer stuff that I knew would fit me like a dream. Most of the time I’m called upon to travel at the drop of a hat. There’s seldom time to pack. I receive a passport, credit cards and cash – whatever I’ll need for my cover. Can’t count the number of gorgeous outfits and expensive jewelry I’ve had to leave behind because of time restraints and other … more pressing issues. The necessary accouterments are usually waiting for me when I arrive. As I said, Magda Gardener has expensive tastes. The place was also equipped with state of the art surveillance equipment. The bugs, I would have to find a way to get into his flat myself. But I was confident I could do that with no problems. I made a quick sandwich, drank a gallon of water and, after a quick shower, I went to work.

Pretending to be doing a customer relations survey for the airline, I telephoned the woman who had been Mr. Sands’ inflight meal. Sarah Martin was her name, and she managed a bookstore in Brixton. She had scrimped and saved for her holiday in the Big Apple, had gone with empty suite cases and came back with them crammed with bargains. Being upgraded to first class for the trip home was the cherry on the fabulous holiday cake for her. Sadly, all she remembered about her first class flight was that the food was fab and she’d slept right through most of it. Oh, and the flight attendants had been particularly helpful. Perhaps that one final orgasm had also wiped her memory of events Mr. Sands would prefer she not share with nosy people like me and Magda Gardener. None of the flight attendants who knew about Mr. Sands could be reached for comment. I was informed they’d all made quick turnarounds on other international flights, which I found rather strange since after an international flight, one would have expected at least an overnight layover to rest.

All this I did by phone, along with loads of online research of incubi in general and what information I could find, scant little that it was, on Sands specifically. We suspected he lived somewhere in the Hebrides. But no one knew exactly where, and in truth he was nearly as much of a highclass vagabond as I was. Most of the research was connected to resources Magda had given me when she gave me the assignment. I had lots of time for research and phone calls because for two days and nights Mr. Sands didn’t leave his flat. I know because I could see him moving about inside. He wasn’t secretive about his presence. He never drew the curtains, even when he was fresh from the shower or undressing for bed. Perhaps it was a part of his thrall to hide in plain sight and yet be so irresistibly visible that he was like a peacock fanning his tail and advertising for a mate. At any rate, he had my full attention.

It was the second morning that I began to suspect he knew he was being watched, that he even relished the idea. Of course he would, wouldn’t he? But I never thought for a moment that I was in danger. He was, after all, just an incubus. I’d dealt with worse.

He slipped from the bathroom in a wave of steam with nothing but a towel tucked low around his hips. I nearly spilled tea down my shirt at the exquisite view he afforded me. I watched with heart racing as he disappeared momentarily and returned with a cup of coffee and a copy of The Guardian. Okay, I’ll admit it delighted me more than it probably should have, since this was my job. But he parked himself in the wing backed chairs smack dab in front of the big bay window and, as he sipped and perused the paper, folded for an easy one-handed read, his other hand strayed to his lap. As though he were barely mindful of the act, he opened the towel and cupped himself absently. Any man might sit in the privacy of his living room on a Sunday morning and, without giving it a second thought, reach for a fondle and a caress and perhaps a little scratch of his junk. I would do the same if I were a man, if I had such an interesting, intriguing appendage there between my legs always vying for my attention. But that Mr. Sands was indulging in such an ordinary act of maleness was what made it so extraordinary. I don’t know why I expected him not to indulge in what was such a quintessentially male act, but by the time he laid the paper aside, leaned back into the chair and opened his legs for a good grope, I couldn’t have looked away if I wanted to.

He couldn’t see me. I was sure of it, and it was my job to spy on him. Still there was something so naughty about me watching while he stroked and caressed his lengthening cock, that it was all I could do not to feel guilty. And perhaps the guilt, the little niggle of shame put the edge in my own growing arousal as I adjusted to hold the binoculars in one hand and slip the other inside my panties.

His fingers were long and slender as they curled around his heft and moved up and down the length of him. His efforts became ambidextrous as he palmed and cupped his sac while fisting and stroking his erection. The shifting of his hips, the tensing of the muscles in his thighs and his flat, tight belly, the way his toes curled into the soft carpet — together they were all such human acts that it was easy to forget they were being performed by someone who was not human. With a start I realized I was mirroring his efforts, toes curling, hips thrusting, fingers darting in and out of slick depths and over rising hardness. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, nor what I was doing, and it was only as my shuddering release shook the binoculars fracturing the arching spasms of his own release, unashamedly poured out onto the floor in front of him that I raised the lenses just enough to take in his face. I expected to see a man lost in his own pleasure, not a man whose cold eyes were locked on me. I swallowed a yelp of surprise, as though he might somehow hear me and the last thing I saw before I dropped the binoculars on the floor and fled my vantage point was his mouth quirking in a wicked smile.

 

Cover Reveal for Diantha Jones’ Oracle of Delphi Prophecy of Solstice’s End

 

 

Prophecy of Solstice’s End

Oracle of Delphi #3

By Diantha Jones

 

 

 

 

BLURB:

Summer Solstice is here. Let the games begin.

Nothing but lies (some of them her own) and deceit have brought Chloe to Olympus for the Solstice Olympic Games. As the Oracle and the special guest of the King of Myth, Chloe becomes immersed in a life of unfathomable luxury, taunting history, and overwhelming excitement. Though scheming and untrustworthy, the gods remain on their best behavior as the tension and anticipation builds around the outcome of the Quest of the Twelve Labors, the deadliest competition of the Games. All seems well on the celestial front…until athletes start turning up dead and a philosopher missing for months returns with a most terrifying story…

But that’s not all.

 

As Strafford confronts his troubled past and more is learned about the Great Unknown Prophecy, Chloe grows close to another, setting off a chain of events that will bring her face-to-face with a truth that will rock both of her worlds to their core.

 

And it’ll all happen before Solstice’s end…

 

 

 

 

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

About Diantha Jones:

Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She’s the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads (A. Star) | Amazon | Pinterest | DJ’s Book Corner

 

Out Now—Silent Voices by Thom Collins (@thomwolf @realthomcollins) #gay #romance #thriller

Silent VoicesBlurb:

A desire for justice as strong as their passion for each other.

Concerned about the welfare of his young cousin, Josh Jackson, a restaurant owner, traces the boy to Winterstone Grange, a gated manor deep in the country. Miles from anywhere, the protected walls of this stately house conceal dark secrets. Josh’s search brings him into contact with Ed Brolin, a handsome journalist who has spent weeks investigating the secrets of the Grange and its owner. Ray Armstrong is a wealthy business man with influential connections in Parliament and the police. Ed knows exactly what goes on at the Grange but without evidence, he hasn’t got a story.

Drawn together by instant attraction and a powerful hunger for justice, Josh and Ed are determined to expose the sordid secrets of the grange despite the risks it poses. Josh has never met a man like Ed before—so strong, determined and masculine. Falling in love is easy. But they’ll have to put their emotions aside if they’re going to give a voice to all the silent victims of Winterstone Grange.

BUY LINKS:

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/silent-voices

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2oWUfrx

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2nx15UR

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/silent-voices-15

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/silent-voices-thom-collins/1126168330

*****

Excerpt:

Josh Jackson didn’t worry when his cousin failed to come home. It was Saturday night and Kevin was eighteen. Josh wasn’t about to impose a curfew on the kid. Neither was he going to babysit. Kevin was old enough to take care of himself.

Josh checked Kevin’s room when he came home from work at one o’clock. The spare bed hadn’t been made since Kevin had gotten out of it that morning and yesterday’s clothes were all over the floor—discarded jeans with his boxers still inside them, a scruffy T-shirt and a pair of dirty socks. The smell of the socks hit him from the doorway. Despite the reek of cheap deodorant and aftershave filling the room, the socks were pungent. Teenagers. Josh wasn’t about to tidy up after him so he left things as they were, including the damp towel draped over the foot of the bed. The kid was only staying a few nights. If he wanted to live in a mess like that, so be it, so long as he left the place as he’d found it when he moved on.

Josh shut the door and went to bed. He wished his cousin luck. If the boy wanted to get laid, he’d rather he did it somewhere else. It was bad enough that Josh’s lodger, Bobby, regarded the place as a Grindr pit stop, without his cousin treating it like a knocking shop, too.

Josh read for a while and half-listened for the sound of Kevin coming home, but eventually fell asleep.

He wasn’t overly concerned in the morning to find Kevin’s room just as he’d left it, though by now it smelled considerably worse. The fancy fragrances had worn off and all that remained was the fetid odor of teenage sweat and damp towel. So, he stayed out all night. Good on him. Josh had been a teenager once, a horny one at that, so he could totally relate. Kevin wouldn’t get the chance to fuck around much when he was at home. His mother had very rigid views on that. It wouldn’t have mattered whether Kevin had turned out straight or gay. His mother had raised a good boy and intended to keep him that way.

Kevin will be going back to her in a couple of days. He might as well have fun while the leash is off.

He was a good-looking lad. Josh knew he’d be popular in town. A little baby-faced for his age, but with the family features of blue eyes and blond hair, his fresh twinkie image would attract plenty of attention. He looked a lot like Josh had at that age. Josh had been a slim-looking twink until well into his twenties. It was only in the last few years he’d filled out with muscle and looked more like a man. The beard helped. How grateful he’d been when the ability to grow more than a few wisps of pale chin-fluff finally occurred. He kept it neat with a regular trim, but now that he had grown a beard, he couldn’t ever see himself being without one.

Josh called Kevin’s mobile while waiting for his morning coffee to brew. It rang a few times before going to voicemail. “Hi, it’s me,” he said. “Not checking up on you, I just want to know you’re okay. Give me a ring back, or a text when you get this message. Just to say you’re alive… Otherwise I’ll have to call your mother,” he added jokingly and hung up.

He had bigger concerns than a randy teenager. His restaurant, The Cellar Steps, was short on staff today and fully booked for both lunch and dinner. He’d asked all his remaining staff to come in early to help with the prep and service, which meant getting in even earlier himself. As the owner, it wasn’t necessary, since he employed a manager for the day-to-day running, but Josh believed in setting an example from the top down. That meant rolling up his sleeves when things got tight. He thought about putting a little cash Kevin’s way to help out, if he arrived home in decent time and wasn’t too hung over.

He heard the heavy thud of the newspapers landing in the hall. Perfect timing. A little news and some freshly brewed coffee. A relaxing start to an otherwise hectic day.

Josh sat at the kitchen table with multiple Sunday supplements spread all around him when Bobby stumbled out of his bedroom in just his boxers and a T-shirt, yawning and scratching his belly and balls at the same time. His semi-hard dick waggled in the front of his shorts. Bobby lurched into the bathroom and returned a few minutes later, looking fractionally more awake, minus morning wood.

“Coffee?” Bobby asked. “Okay if I help myself?”

“You know where it is,” Josh said, drawing back from the stench of alcohol that came off him in stale waves. “Jesus, your blood must be one hundred proof.”

“I think I’m still drunk,” Bobby observed. “The hangover hasn’t kicked in yet.”

“I don’t envy you when it does.”

“One cup of this and I’m crawling back beneath the duvet.”

Josh looked at him uncertainly. An idea had just occurred to him. He hoped he was wrong. “I don’t suppose my cousin is under that duvet with you?”

Bobby chuckled, his dark eyes crinkling. “Wouldn’t that be something? He is kinda hot. But little blond cupcakes are not my thing. In Kevin’s case, I could make an exception. Maybe.”

“But did you?”

“Too close to home, bro. The kid’s a cutie but he ain’t worth the earache. I’d never hear the last of it.”

It was some relief. Josh didn’t have a problem with his young cousin fucking around—but with Bobby, no way. His lodger was a good friend but a total slut. Kevin would need a lot more experience under his belt before he was ready for that old hound. “I don’t suppose you do know where he is? He hasn’t been home.”

“He’s between somebody’s sheets, all right. I walked into town with him last night, had a drink and showed him where to go.”

“You left him on his own?”

“No, he left me. I guess I cramped his style. He headed off toward Gala Square with a group of studenty types. He didn’t know how fast to ditch me once he got to talking to people his own age.”

Josh loosened up again. He’d been right about Kevin. He knew what he was doing. A young man in a new city making friends fast. There was nothing to worry about.

*****

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

His novella Silent Voices will be published by Pride in May, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is making plans for the third.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links:

Blog: http://www.thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Twitter:   @thomwolf     and  @realthomcollins

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 1

There’s something about travel that inspires strange tales and the Muse has been poking me with her big stick again. I don’t mind the bruised ribs of inspiration when they lead me to such fun stories, and this time they’ve led me back to Mr. Sands.

Mr. Sands’ story, as I suspected, is far from finished. And as I certainly suspected, someone like Mr. Sands couldn’t sneak around very long without being discovered by Madga Gardener and her consortium. Remember, this is a work in progress, so be gentle with me. Enjoy the next instalment of Mr. Sands’ strange tale.

 

In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 1

 

I followed him at a safe distance. He was fast tracked through passport control at Heathrow, as was I, and neither of us had luggage. He was my job. I wasn’t about to lose him. Once through customs and in the arrivals hall, he made his way to the Wetherspoons, where he ordered coffee, and I did the same, discreetly watching him watch the woman who was ushered in by one of the first class flight attendants, who settled her into a booth and ordered her up a full English breakfast. The woman looked dazed and her hands shook with her first bite of food.

She had good reason to be shaky, and she had good reason to be half-starved. I knew exactly what the attendant was explaining to her in hushed whispers, and so did he. He was the reason for her weakened condition. The flight attendant knew that and so did I. The thing is no one knew that I knew.

My name is Elise North. I’m a PI. At least that’s what Magda Gardener calls me, and that’s what my business card says – the one I hand out when I need to look legit. Most of the time I work under cover, and my ID changes with the job. I don’t own a gun. It would hardly do me any good. I work on cases that need a delicate hand. I do, however, own a silver-tipped stake … more of a stiletto, actually, but I know how to use it, I guarantee you that. I’m athletic, I’m fast and well trained in martial arts because, in a field as specialized as mine, if things ever go south, about the best I can hope for is to escape and run like hell. None of those skills, however, are the reason Magda Gardener hired me. I have other gifts, gifts that in the kinds of circles Magda and her people run in, are highly coveted.

Those particular gifts are the reason I was just off the night flight from New York’s JFK to London Heathrow after paying an enormous sum of money to sit across from Daniel Emerson Sands in first class. Before we were even off the runway at JFK, all of the flight attendants made time to pay the man homage. A big name celebrity couldn’t have drawn more solicitous, yet quiet attention. Each one, whether male of female, approached him with a fan girl flutter of excitement, I observed in a flush in the cheeks, a quickening of the pulse in throats, in temples, in a moistening of lips with a flick of the tongue, in an acceleration in the breath.

He kissed the fingers of the female attendants, so delicately caught up in his strong grip. Each of the male attendants he offered a warm handshake, then a clasp of the shoulder as they bent forward, almost as though they were about to share a secret … or a kiss. While it came as no surprise to me that each attendant responded with a little gasp and then a grunt and a shudder of the body that would have been almost undetectable to someone less observant. Neither did it come as a surprise when, each time, Daniel Sands inhaled deeply and sighed as though he had just past a bakery with the door open allowing its delectable scents to fill the air. What also came as no surprise, the thing I had spent the most time preparing for, and yet still found disturbing, was the frisson of fear that accompanied ritual. Each attendant came to Sands eager and willing, but fear was as much a part of the formula as lust. They all knew what he was. If they didn’t, he couldn’t do what he does, what he must, on this flight … repeatedly.

While we taxied and took off, Daniel Sands sat quietly perusing a copy of The New York Times as though he were any other passenger in transit just wanting the journey to be over with and to arrive safely at his destination. But I knew better. I’ve known better since Magda Gardener assigned me to follow him, to learn all about him that I can. As I said, I handle jobs for Magda that are of a delicate nature. You see, Daniel Emerson Sands is an incubus, a particularly powerful one, and one Magda has set her eyes on. It’s a very dangerous thing to have Magda Gardener sets her eyes on you. Mr. Sands had no idea he was up against a master huntress. All he wanted was his special in-flight meal service.

The flight attendants and the woman at check-in, and all of the others that Sands had contact with before boarding, they were nothing more than nibbles, appetizers, if you will. There were only seven of us in first class, but only one was his chosen main course. As with all of his in flight meals, she was upgraded from economy. I stood behind her in the line at check-in, I watched while Mr. Sands, ever so subtly bumped into her, all apologetic for being so careless. I watched the way he rested a solicitous hand at the small of her back to steady her so she wouldn’t fall. I watched the way he smiled at her. I watched, and I knew from my research, that she was the one, that she would have a visit in the dream world she’d be very unlikely to forget. And she would wake up weakened and confused.

Just as I expected, there was no lingering over dinner in first class. everyone fell asleep almost immediately after they’d eaten, and the attendants made themselves scarce. What I hadn’t expected was that as soon as everyone was asleep, Sands rose up from his seat and walked among the passengers, touching each of them lovingly. I was just about to panic, not sure what he’d do when he found me awake and not under his spell. I was just about to throw caution to the wind, flee to the lavatory and lock myself in when his tender ministrations were interrupted by the unexpected appearance of the blonde flight attendant. “You’re here,” she said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” And suddenly my own heart was racing as he took her face in his hands and kissed her. And I swear, it wasn’t his magic affecting me, it was just that – well the way he kissed her was so damned sexy. He tasted and tested and teased her mouth like she was dessert and she responded as though the kiss was a raw desperate fuck. And then with a deep intake of breath, he released her. She shivered out what I was sure was an orgasm and then left, shutting the curtain behind her as though nothing had happened.

Before I could heave a sigh of relief, I was in danger of being found out again. One by one he kissed everyone in first class, as though he sought something out, and each one of them writhed and moaned and sighed in his kiss. I’m pretty sure a couple of the men even came. But I knew exactly what he was doing. I knew that in their sleep, he took the kisses from them, stolen kisses, and yet no one denied him because it felt so damned good. Still, I sensed that same hint of fear I had with the attendants. The mix of fear and lust is such an intriguing blend.

For me, there was no escape, and when he came to me, I could do nothing else but pretend to be asleep. The fear I felt, well that was genuine enough, and so was the sense of arousal after what I’d just observed. All I had to do was exactly what everyone else had done, when he came to me, and I felt his closeness, felt the humidity of his breath against my lips. As he cupped my cheek with a large palm, as he mantled me with the heat of his body and all but pulled me into his arms, for a terrifying moment, I thought I had made a mistake. I thought it was me he had come to claim, even as I knew that was impossible. And anyway, sex has its own magic, doesn’t it? His kiss was slow and deliberate and deep. I responded by pressing up into his embrace, by sliding my tongue against his, by allowing the bruising of lips against swollen lips as my pulse raced and I felt my own humid heaviness down below my belly. When he sighed softly and settled me gently back into my seat, I was as disappointed as I was relieved as he turned his attention to the blonde who was to be his main course.

I had not expected to be required to do more than observe. I had not expected an up close and personal encounter. From the safety of my feigned sleep, I observed what appeared to be nothing more than him laying one hand low on the woman’s belly while he breathed in her breath in a deep kiss. But I knew it to be so much more than that for both of them. I could practically see the magic like heat waves roiling off of them. It was there, something far more than what was visible, something I remained safely on the outside of. And as I observed, I actually believed I had fooled him. I actually believed I might get away with the impossible that Magda Gardener had asked of me. In retrospect, I should have known better.

 

British Bad Boys Out Now!

 

The British Bad Boys Box Set is out at last! Seven novellas by seven different authors: British Bad Boys are the best! I’m happy to have my novella, In Training included in the fabulous British Bad Boys Box Set.  I’m in between the pages with Lucy Felthouse, Victoria Blisse, Tabitha Rayne, Marissa Farrar,Lexie Bay, and Lily Harlem. This box set is romance with heat. It’s perfect for a sizzling summer binge read. To celebrate the release of British Bad Boys, here is an excerpt from my novella, In Training. While In Training may not be the recommended method to get fit for bikini weather, it certainly is recommended to take the chill off while you wait for the brief , but glorious, British Summer. Enjoy!

 

 

British Bad Boys Box Set Blurb:

Indulge yourself with this boxed set of stories written by bestselling and award-winning British romance authors. No one knows British bad boys better than they do!

Come and spend time with a dirty-talking London tattoo artist, a Scottish bad boy, a British gangster who won’t take no for an answer, and MORE! These men are all hotter than hell and have accents to die for. Whatever your desire, you’ll find it within these pages.

Packed full of brand new standalone, steamy stories with no cliff-hangers. With happily-ever-afters guaranteed, you won’t want to miss out on this limited collection, available for a short time only!

 

Buy British Bad Boys Here:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
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In Training Excerpt – I can’t work with her:

“What Physicality, Inc. are doing is unprecedented,” said Misty Daniels, one of the presenters who would be covering Physicality Reality. She was one of Wolf Jennings’ gushing gym bunnies and happily claimed that she owed much of her success as a television presenter to Jennings’ training. Her partner in crime, Del Allen, was some obscure sports personality turned presenter – at least he was obscure to Lauren. They were both ready and waiting for Lauren’s big arrival so that the torture could begin.

“Think Big Brother does the gym, only one on one,” Del Allen said to the camera. “But I’m wondering, Misty, is there a back-up plan in case Lauren Michaels can’t cut it? She’s a shining example of the walking unfit that plagues Britain right now, putting career above marriage and family, above fitness and health. That path seems to have worked for her just fine judging from her accolades in the PR and marketing world, but this is a whole different ballgame. I’ve seen how Wolf Jennings operates. If I were a betting man, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be putting money on Michaels.”

“Well, Del,” Misty offered him a genuinely fake smile. “I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss Lauren Michaels. Certainly Claire Amos has confidence in her, and I’d be the last person to bet against a horse Amos is backing.”

“Fucking hell. Now I’m a horse,” Lauren grumped. “I wouldn’t bet on me either if I were Allen. Claire, please reconsider.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Lauren. You’re perfect for the job.” Before she could argue, Claire made a loud shushing sound and nodded back to the TV built into the plush upholstery of the stretch limo transporting them to the Wolf’s Lair, as the facility was now being affectionately called.

Lauren glared at the two commentators, who sat in the lounge area of the TV control centre. The lounge overlooked the
gym, which was far more intimidating than the presenters. Lauren racked her sleep-deprived brain for a last minute stay of execution.

It hadn’t been a good night – not that Lauren had expected it to be after tall dark and northern pulled a runner and left her in a bad way. She would have returned to the pub afterwards and switched from ale to whisky – lots of it, but for the fact that she didn’t need a hangover when she faced Claire for the walk of shame. Her boss had arrived in Keswick early this morning for the final briefing before she threw Lauren to the wolves, er … just one wolf, actually – Wolf Jennings.

She’d gone back to her hotel room accompanied by a pint of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, which she followed up with an order of curry fries from the chippie down the street. It felt like her last meal. If she couldn’t make her boss see reason, the next six weeks would low-carb and kale hell.

Lauren had stayed up late checking the applicants who, unlike her, really wanted to be Jennings’ victim. It hadn’t been difficult to line up several, who promised her they would be packed and ready to take her place at the drop of a hat. That was the easy bit. Figuring out how to convince Claire to give someone else the infamous honour was the real battle.

Claire had the limo pick her up an hour before she was to make her grand appearance at Wolf Jennings’ chamber of horrors. It was another nod to Claire’s sick sense of humour that she wouldn’t allow Lauren to even know what the trainer she had chosen looked like until she was on her way to her gym prison.

“Here it is,” Claire said, giving Lauren a maternal pat on the arm.

On the screen, Misty offered the viewers that smile that said she was about to impart the best gossip. “As you know, Del, Wolf Jennings was my personal trainer for over a year, and all I can say is that the man gets results.”

“Sounds like the guy gave her multiples instead of biceps,” Lauren complained.

Claire replied with a silencing finger to her mauve lips, and Misty continued.

“Here’s a little clip we filmed earlier to introduce you to Wolf Jennings, the man and his methods.

“Claire, I really don’t think I’m the right person for — ”

Her boss silenced her with a raised hand and nodded to the screen. “Just watch, and then we’ll talk.”

Lauren glared at the video through gritty sleep-deprived eyes. Sounding more like a cheerleader than a presenter, Misty did the voiceover touting Jennings’ unorthodox, but successful methods. Before and after selfies of some of his clients — all looking svelte and glowing with health, flashed on the screen.

Lauren’s stomach knotted into a tight fist as Misty explained, “while Wolf’s methods might seem harsh, no one can deny they’re effective.”

Then the scene switched to early morning light streaming through a Lakeland forest. A dozen people sweated their way through the workout from hell while Misty rattled off Jennings’ qualifications, which meant nothing to Lauren. On camera, a middle-aged man grunted through something that made him look like an overgrown frog hopping across the grass, and Lauren wondered how it had all gone so wrong. The PR campaign she had created was genius, it was the ultimate way to showcase Physicality, Inc. for the brilliant company that it was. The plan had been to choose someone, someone grossly unfit, a volunteer who was willing to do what it took to get a hard, fit body, or at least get started down that path as far as six weeks would allow. And certainly there had been no shortage of volunteers, people believing that the extra level of control is what it would take to finally get them the healthy fit body of their dreams.

Oh Lauren could talk the talk, but she certainly didn’t walk the walk. Who had time for all that training and planning and eating clean? Of course now that she worked for Physicality, she intended to do all that stuff. Someday. It sure as hell hadn’t been her plan to have it done to her on reality TV!

 
The close-up of frog man pulled back to a panorama of a dozen people – men and women, in varying stages of fitness. They were all running and leaping and sweating out jumpy-squatty moves along with the weird frog thingy. Instead of curling up and whimpering on the grass, which Lauren was pretty sure she would have done, they were all shouting breathless encouragement to each other. In the midst of all the grunting and huffing, Wolf Jennings yelled, cajoled and egged them on sounding more like a drill sergeant than a personal trainer. The camera was strategically placed behind Jennings so that it looked out over his clients and, at the same time, made it clear that he was working out right along with them. He was jumping sweating and bulging and doing it all … shirtless!

“I can’t work out with him,” Lauren gasped, her heart doing a drumroll in her chest. I can’t … I mean he’s so … and I would be so …”

“Of course you can work out with him, Lauren, exactly because he is so … and you are so …” Claire spoke around a smile that was almost too big her face. Yup! Definitely a sick sense of humour.

The plan was that the volunteer would actually live with Jennings for the next six weeks. He would train them, monitor them and coach them on good nutrition and a healthy life style. The whole event would culminate in some physical challenge of the client’s choosing – something they dreamed about but never thought they could accomplish. Physicality had put together a state of the art facility complete with living accommodations. They had hired a cook and a nutritionist to help the client learn better ways of eating and cooking. Viewers could tune in any time to the live camera feeds and see what was going on at the Wolf’s Lair. Daily segments would air on YouTube, several cable channels and social media outlets as well as on Physicality’s own fitness network. Sponsorship had been quick in coming from multiple high end clothing, cosmetic and health food companies, all anxious to get a piece of Lauren’s genius. In addition, all those who tuned in and watched could download the recipes and the basic training techniques
Jennings used on his client. Every day there would be a weigh-in with measurements taken once a week. The audience could watch the transformation and participate by sending in their own success stories, photos and questions to the team who would be working social media 24/7. How could something so brilliant have backfired so badly?

The camera zoomed in for a close-up of Wolf Jennings glorious bulging arms and broad shoulders. “There’s nothing wrong with the way I look.” Lauren spoke over the cheerleader, who was now talking fitness jargon.

“Of course there’s nothing wrong with the way you look,” Claire replied smiling at Jennings’ tight arse well presented in athletic shorts. “Believe me, I would be the last person to ever base anyone’s employment on looks rather than skills, and you’ve got the skills or you wouldn’t have the job. But that’s not the point.” She waved a well-muscled arm at the image of Jennings glorious backside as he effortlessly pumped out some more jumpy- squatty thingies. “You’re the brains and Wolf’s the brawn. With both of you comfortable on camera, you’re Physicality’s dream team. But on a more practical level, hon, I thought you were going to have a heart attack before we made it up three flights of stairs when the elevator was down last month. I need you. I can’t have you dying on me.”

“I was carrying a heavy computer bag,” Lauren said, unable to hide the blush at being called on her lack of stamina. “Besides, I think I might have been fighting off a cold,” she lied.

Claire gave her the evil eye. “You work for Physicality, Inc. now, full time, and this new PR campaign is bloody genius,
but it’ll be even more so if the world can see that Physicality’s people are walking the talk.”

“I understand that, really I do, and I’ll join a gym, I’ll even get a trainer if that’ll help, just not in such a public way, and not with him. Please.”

Claire’s phone blared out Flight of the Valkyries over Jennings’ barked instructions to his tortured clients. “Speaking of the devil,” she said nodding to Jennings’ arse on the screen as she answered her device. “Wolf, darling! Lauren and I were just talking about you. Watching your lovely video, actually. On our way over.” She winked at Lauren, whose stomach suddenly felt like it was in free fall. “Here, Sweetie, let me put you on speaker so I can introduce you two,” she said just as the Wolf Jennings on the screen yelled for his people to clench those gluts and zip those abs.

And suddenly it was like that slow motion scene in a horror film, just before the pretty young innocent is shredded by Freddy Kruger or pursued by the monster from the fetid swamp. Wolf Jennings turned to gaze at the camera from beneath hooded eyelids that revealed familiar blue eyes. He offered a smile that was damn near erotic. Then he said in a very northern accent, “If you do your part, I guarantee I’ll get you there.”

As the clip ended and Misty and Del were once again on camera, Lauren sat frozen to the spot, just like all those poor
women in the films. She didn’t scream, though she felt like it. Instead she managed in a shaky voice, “I can’t work with him.”

“I can’t work with her.” The response on the other end of the phone was simultaneous. The familiar voice was honey and heat and frustration. Then he continued, sounding at least as breathless as he had on his video, as he had when he got up close and personal with her in the garden behind the pub. “There’s been some mistake, Claire. I can’t work with her. We can’t work together.”

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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