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British Bad Boys Teaser: In Training

 

 

I’m very happy to give you a little sneak preview of In Training, my contribution to the British Bad Boys Box Set. I’m elated to take you all back to my favourite place, The English Lake District, to have a sweaty, outdoorsy, fun romp with Lauren Michaels and Wolf Jennings. the British Bad Boys Box Set comes out in May. But you can preorder yours now for only 99c/p.

Enjoy the excerpt.

 

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!

 

In Training Blurb:

Getting fit on reality TV is PR guru, Lauren Michael’s, brainchild for gym equipment and fitness company Physicality, Inc. The brilliant PR stunt involves one brave volunteer who wants to be fit badly enough to submit to the not so tender training techniques of personal trainer, Wolf Jennings, whose successful, but non-conventional, methods would make a drill sergeant look like a fluff ball. But when CEO and owner of Physicality, Inc, Claire Amos, decides her PR ace in the hole needs to walk the talk , Lauren finds herself between a kettle bell and a hard place … er a hard trainer. That’s nightmare enough, but for six weeks, 24/7 the explosive chemistry between the two will be sweated out live on camera for the whole world to see. What could possibly go wrong?

 

A Desperate Plea — In Training Excerpt:

“Think Big Brother does the gym, but one on one,” Del Allen said to the camera, as though the folks at home were not quite bright enough to figure that out for themselves. “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 plague 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 kudos in the world of PR and marketing, 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 Daniels, his co-presenter 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. Claire, please reconsider. I wouldn’t bet on me either if I was Allen.”

“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 screen built into the plush upholstered wall of the stretch limo transporting them to the Wolf’s Lair, as the place was now being affectionately called.

Lauren glared at the two presenters, who sat in the lounge area of the TV control center. The lounge overlooked the gym, far more intimidating than the presenters, who were now trotting out her less than stellar stats for the world to see, while 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 beer to whisky – lots of it, but for the fact that she had to drive back to her hotel, and 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 fucking Jennings.

Lauren had been up late checking the applicants who had wanted to be Wolf Jennings’ guinea pig. 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. It was down to the wire. This was her last chance to talk Claire down from her hair-brained plan to make Lauren the guinea pig of her own PR campaign. There had to be a way out. That being the case, 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. In spite of her resolve to make Claire see reason, she couldn’t help feeling like it was her last meal. If she couldn’t make her boss see reason, the next six weeks would low-carb and kale hell.

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 know what trainer would be torturing her until she was on her way to her gym prison.

“Here it is, 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 Jenning’s 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 grumped.

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.

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

Claire silenced her with a loud shush and nodded to the screen. “Just watch, and then we’ll talk.”

She glared at the video through gritty sleep-deprived eyes. In her best cheerleader voice, Misty did the voiceover touting Jenning’s unorthodox, but successful methods, as 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 exclaimed, “while Wolf’s methods might seem harsh, no one can deny that they are effective.”

Then the scene switched to early morning light streaming through Lakeland forest and a dozen people sweating their way through the workout from hell while Misty rattled off Jennings’ qualifications as a trainer, 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 a simple but elegant plan to showcase Physicality, Inc. for the brilliant company that it was. The campaign was all about transformation, it was all about pushing yourself to be the best you could be, about striving toward new levels of fitness. 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 by a fucking drill sergeant of a personal trainer on reality TV!

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 would be what it would take to finally get them the healthy fit body of their dreams. Just not her!

The close-up of frogman pulled back to a panorama of a dozen people – men and women, in varying stages of fitness. They were all running and jumping 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 definitely 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 side his clients. 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, Lauren thought.

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 that meant nothing to her.

“Of course there’s nothing wrong with the way you look,” Claire replied smiling up 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 very 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 at 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 a few weeks back. 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 just been fighting off a cold,” she lied.

Claire gave her the evil eye. “You work for Physicality 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.”

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! We were just watching your lovely video, Lauren and I.” 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 screen yelled for his people to clench those gluts until they felt the love.

And suddenly it was like that slow motion scene in a horror film, just before the pretty young innocent is shredded by Freddy Kreuger or pursued by the monster from the feted swamp. Wolf Jennings turned to gaze at the camera from beneath hooded lids 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 music came up and the credits rolled, 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 been some mistake, Claire. I can’t work with her. We can’t work together.”

 

Coming 4th May – Pre-order now at just 99c/p

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It’s NaNoWriMo Time Again, and I’m Piloting Fury!

Scribe-computer-keyboardMG_07771-225x300I love November! November is National Novel Writing Month! I love the camaraderie, I love the challenge and I love the endless possibilities and the way the creative energy simply explodes in unexpected ways when I have only thirty days to finish a novel. Most of you already know that my latest release, The Tutor, got written last year during NaNoWriMo, and I had so much fun, that I decided to try it again this year.

 

What I wasn’t expecting was the I’d be making my first ever attempt at a Science Fiction novel, which I’m calling, Piloting Fury. To celebrate NaNoWriMo 2016, I’m sharing a little of my WIP with you lovelies today. This is the beginning of the first chapter. Please remember this is only a work in progress and this is the first draft, but I’m rather pleased with the direction Fury is heading already. Hope you enjoy.

 

Piloting Fury Blurb:

“Win the bet and the Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer, Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered Diana “Mac” McAlister never lost a bet. All her she life she’d dreamed of owning her own starship, and when the Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands the Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. But she does. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 2nd mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out the Fury is way more than a cargo ship. It’s a ship with a history — one Mac may not be able to live with and one that she’s been a part of for a lot longer that she could imagine, and Rick Manning was not above fixing a bet to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Excerpt — The Bet:

 

“Win the bet and the Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” Rick Manning was more than a little bit drunk. He had to be to make that sort of bet with me. Everyone knows you don’t gamble with Diana Mac unless you want to lose. I never lost – ever! What gambling I managed in spaceports was my income, and I hoarded it all obsessively. Every credit of it went toward paying off the contract of my indenture. Nope! I never lose because I can’t afford to, and yet here I stood on the small but efficient deck of the Fury, reporting to Rick fucking Manning, and the bastard was nowhere to be found. “Probably sleeping it off in some whore’s bed,” I growled under my breath.

“You cheated, you bastard!” I said more loudly. Even if he heard me, what the hell was he gonna do, dock my wages, crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76throw me in the brig? “I know you cheated, I just don’t know how you did it,” I said out loud to the console, which, in spite of my anger at Manning, already had me intrigued. OK — Pilot! I confess. Even visions of strangling Rick Manning with a New Hibernian cryo-whip couldn’t hold my imagination quite like the console of a new ship – even if it was one I was now indentured to for who the hell knew how many galactic years. I’m not bragging when I say I’m the best pilot in the galaxy, and that means I’ve never met the spacefaring ship I couldn’t fly. Not that I got that many opportunities indentured to the Dubrovnik, but Captain Harker had fattened his pocket more than once by betting on me in an impromptu race of some sort. Of course the ship was never my own, and that made the bet even more interesting. No one ever saw it coming. In spite of my crap situation, I couldn’t help admiring the clean lines and the efficient arrangement of the Fury’s controls. Already I was jonesing to see what the ship could do, and the truth was that the Fury was one helluva ship – not a new one, by any means. Hell I doubted if Manning even knew what the original make was. If the entire ship wasn’t glued together with spare parts, I’d be surprised, and yet leave it to Manning to win, steal, smuggle and finagled some of the best, state of the art, components in the galaxy. I only knew that because he and I got drunk together on Diga Prim waiting out a lava storm one night in a bar. The man was as proud of his ship as he was his cock and, while I’d made it a point not to check out the latter, I’d wanted to check out the Fury for a long time. Just not like this.

I flopped down in the pilot’s seat, which strangely enough felt as though it molded to fit my butt. I knew for a fact that Manning’s ass needed a little more space than mine did, and so did his broad shoulders, which while I had admired in more than a few space ports where we’d had the misfortunate to ran into each other, I now loathed with a loathing hotter than the fiery pits of Diga Prime, and envisioned kicking that very fine ass out the airlock somewhere in the Outer Rim. But thanks to the fine mess the cheating scumbag had gotten me into, I couldn’t even do that, and it had been such a sure thing. I was sitting pretty, wasn’t I? The newly healed incision on my forearm itched like crazy, and while it was already all but invisible, it was far better than any manacles Manning could have slapped on me. I should have known. I should have suspected something, but I was too busy patting myself on my back for my good fortune, too greedy for more.

I should have suspected something when Manning lost a small fortune to me in game after game of Sandirian poker. At the time, the man wasn’t yet too drunk to make intelligent decisions, and I knew for a fact he wasn’t a gambling addict. I’d heard about addicts who had gambled away far larger fortunes than the one Manning had amassed, which was just enough to buy back my indenture with a nice little nest egg to tide me over until I could find other work. Nope, Manning was a lightweight when it came to gambling losses. In fact a minor satrap was legendary for gambling away a whole planetoid out at the edge of the Orion Nebula. I just figured it was a cock thing with Manning. I recognized the signs. The skirt had worked its magic just like it always did with lonely, horny sailors in spaceport hoping to get laid. Men or women – it didn’t really matter. If they gave me that look and offered to buy me a drink, I knew I had them. They all just assumed because I was sitting alone, shuffling a deck of cards, I was as lonely and as in need of entertainment as they were. And then there was Rick Manning. He’d been doing his best for the past several galactic years to get me in bed. By now it had become a game between us. He flirted with me, and I let it roll right over me. I liked the banter. I liked the fact that we had intelligent, often witty conversations in between his flirtatious, but harmless advances. It was what we did, the two of us, so why should I think anything was particularly different about last night, and yet the man had lost everything he had, all of his life savings and all he could do was chuckle.

“It’s your hair, Mac,” he said, as he motioned over a notary to make the transaction legal. “And when you wear that dress and let your hair down like that, of course a man’s gonna lose. And you, you little minx, that’s what you’re counting on, isn’t it?”

I rubbed my fingers together indicating money. “My entire income depends on me making it work, indentured here, remember?” I laid a palm against my chest. “But if it’ll help,” I grabbed up the band that had secured the battered deck of cards and pulled my hair back in it. “The dress I can’t do anything about. Other than my uniform, which is back on the Dubrovnik, I don’t own anything else.” I truly did live close to the bone. But that was about to end, wasn’t it?

He leaned over the table and offered a smile that would have shamed the Suns of Valoxia. “Well that’s a start. Tell you what, one more hand and I’ll bet my jacket.” If you win, you can cover up a little bit and maybe give me an even chance, and if you lose,” he looked me up and down.

“I won’t,” I said shoving the deck of cards across the table to him.”

He took them and began to shuffle, his eyes still locked on mine. “If you lose, then I get your clothes. All of them.”

“I won’t,” I repeated organizing my cards as he handed them over.

In no time at all I was bundled up in a vintage flight jacket that Manning swore up and down was a real Terran relic he’d one in a poker game he’d apparently done much better in that he was doing in this one. He slugged back another New Hibernian whisky and the barmaid, who bent so he got a good view down her bustier, brought him another one. I laid down enough credits to pay for my drinks and stood. “Gotta go, Manning. You’ve got nothing left I can win off of you, and I sure as hell don’t want the clothes off your back.”

“Not so fast, Mac,” he said, his words not exactly slurred, but getting pretty close. He blocked my exit with an extended leg, nodded back to my chair and with a wave of his wrist sent the barmaid scurrying for another whisky for me. “You can’t leave till I’ve had a chance to win back all my shit.”

“I can, and I will,” I said, stepping over his leg, but even half drunk, Manning was fast, he lifted his thigh, effectively high-centering me and ending me up in his lap. He curled a thick finger around a strand of hair that had escaped my make-shift pony tale and, I remember thinking it strange that he smelled more like a man who’d been enjoying a trek or a camping trip in the National Parks of the Beledine than someone three sheets to the wind on cheap-assed whisky. I even remember not minding his flirtations at the time, but then why would I when I was a free woman at last, one with a very nice jacket, even if it was considerably too big.

“I do have something I can bet.” His breath was warm against my ear, and I felt the buzz of my own generous alcohol consumption that made me think I just might take him up on what I figured he was about to offer me as apart of my drunken celebration of my freedom. After all, an indentured didn’t have a lot of free time for sex, and for me, when I did have the time, I was trying to manage a few more credits toward my freedom.

“Oh that,” I nodded down to his lap and gave a little laugh. “I figure I can have that without wagering for it.”

The chuckle he returned sounded positively animal, and his lips quirked into a crooked smile. “And while I can think of nothing I would enjoy more than a good shag in the sheets with you, Mac, that wouldn’t win me back my stuff now would it?”

I was about to say since he had nothing to offer I saw no point. I was about to walk out the door of the bar free and clear, go straight to Captain Harker and pay off the contract of my indenture and see what it felt like to sleep and wake up as a free woman. That’s what I should have done, in retrospect, but then Manning dropped the bomb.

“One more hand, Mac. Just one. Win the bet and the Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.”

Fuck me! If he hadn’t been holding onto me, I would have fallen right off onto the floor. Now I’m not a woman who is often speechless, though as an indentured, I know when to keep my mouth shut, but this time, all I could do was make a couple of fish gasps as he gave me that look I was sure had gotten more than a few women in his bed and probably worked just as well getting him out of trouble with the authorities when his cargo was less than copasetic.

“What do you say, Mac? You up for it? I’m betting the Fury along with the next three contracts I have to fill.” He shrugged. “If I don’t have a ship, I can’t fulfill the contracts, right? Come on. Give me at least one more chance.”

“Your ship? You want to bet the Fury?” I stumbled off his lap all but falling on my ass before I made it back to my chair, and he was already motioning the notary over.

“What does this mean, her ass is yours?” The notary asked, with a strong New Hibernian accent. “You know I need specifics.”

“He wants me to fuck him, if I lose,” I clarified. Me arrogant? Huh! I could already picture myself easing the sleek bulk of the Fury out of dock and seeing what the ship could do in open space.

There were three other tables demanding the attention of the notary, and the fact that such a big wager had to be witnessed wasn’t making them or him very happy. “Well I can hardly write that down, can I?”

Manning rolled his eyes and grabbed the notary’s device using the touch pad to type in whatever was a good euphemism for the thing I was certain wasn’t going to happen, and I was so sure of myself, so positive that the Fury was already mine, that I didn’t bother to look at what he wrote. I just placed my thumb against the DNA reader on the keypad and the notary grunted his approval, nodding to the barmaid who brought over a sealed pack of cards. Manning settled her on his lap – for luck, he said, as he shuffled the cards, considerably longer than necessary, but then I could be patient when I would be walking away with the price of my freedom plus change and a bright shiny starship of my very own. I certainly wasn’t worried about Manning. He was a respectable pilot – not as good as I am, but not bad Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020either, and he was one cunning sonovabitch. He’d land on his feet no matter what happened.

When he dealt me three tens, I figured I was in like Flin. The vacuous barmaid was too busy playing with Manning’s bronze curles to give anything away, and really, while she might meet him after hours and commiserate with a good fuck, she wasn’t at all interested in the outcome. Looking back, I should have thought that strange. I should have thought the whole situation strange, that a man was about to bet his fucking starship to a woman who had a reputation for never losing. Looking back, I should have thought of a lot of things, but all I could think about was that in one glorious night, I would gain my freedom and a starship with contracts pending.

I sure as hell wasn’t thinking about Rick Manning pulling a straight flush. But that’s exactly what the bastard did. Winner takes it all.

 

Blind-Sided and Tunnel-Visioned

writing-imageIt’s crazy times at Grace Manor right now. Yup! You guessed it. I’m finishing up Blind-Sided, the sequel to In The Flesh. I’m at the “runaway train” part of the writing when the novel not only takes on a life of its own, but takes over  my life as well. I’m at that mad rush to the end in which my mind is on one thing and one thing only — finishing the book. Right now I’m eating, sleeping, and breathing Blind-Sided. My world has been reduced to the dilemmas of my characters and my efforts to gett them to the end of the novel in one piece with, at the very least some, HFN. Everything else falls by the wayside until I write those two magical words THE END.

Well, actually, that’s not the end, because then I’m bereft, but this year, I have NaNoWriMo and another novel waiting in the wings to help me through the empty nest period. In the meantime, if you’ve been noticing my absence on social media and wondering if I’ve fallen off the planet, I haven’t. And since you’re all so patient and lovely, I thought I might share just a little bit of Blind-Sided.

Please remember this is a work in progress. It’s the author’s equivalent of sharing the sonogram of the new baby. And yes it’s a girl! And a boy! And a demon and a vampire and … well you get the picture. Enjoy!

 

Blind-Sided Excerpt: Demon Dreams

Susan was running, being chased by Cyrus, his axe raised above his head ready to split her in half. He was gaining on her with every step. “It will do you no good, Scribe. Your angel is dead. Your vampire is dead. Your human is dead and the bitch, Magda Gardener, is captive where she belongs, to service the one she has wronged for all eternity. And you! You will serve him too, but you won’t be required to spread your legs for him like she will.” He roared with laughter, “Or perhaps he will require that of you too. Perhaps he might even give me the honors. But you, little Scribe, you will write the future world order, under his command.”

She stopped dead and closed her eyes. Better the axe than the future he painted, the future she would be forced to write. She waited for the blade to fall.

“There is no axe, my darling. Dreams are often filled with lies and deceit, the things we most fear, perhaps fear even too much to contemplate when we traverse the waking world.”

            She opened her eyes with a start and found herself in the Guardian’s prison, which was much more like a garden 431px-medusa_mascaron_new_york_nythis time. He chuckled softly. “I am, perhaps, influenced in my decorating by quality time spent with Reese Chambers.”

            She smiled in spite of herself. “You could do worse than be influenced by him.”

            “As far as humans go, he is, indeed a jewel, as you say. A pity human life is so very brief. I can scarce imagine how one such as he would evolve given a millennia or two.”

            “Sometimes a deadline is a good thing. Humans tend to do their best work under pressure,”

            “That is true. Time on one’s hands can, indeed, be an unwelcome curse. One does things … things one would not ordinarily do, when one is bored. Things one would regret, if one had an understanding of the transience of the moment.”

            “Ah, I didn’t know you were a philosopher too,” she said, half wondering why she was in pleasant conversation with the bastard, but then it did beat the hell out of being locked in a nightmare with Cyrus and his axe.

The Guardian chuckled. “I shall take that as a compliment, my dear Susan, a thing to be treasured in our … interesting relationship.”

It was only then that she realized where he was. He lay spooned against her back, gently stroking her hair. Her insides tightened in a strange combination of fear and pleasure – fear that the pleasure she felt would lead back to the obsession that had nearly destroyed all their lives.

“That will not, my darling Susan. My desire is but to comfort you and to lend what aid I can to your healing.”

In truth, his touch was making her feel better, but then that could have been just the suggestion of it, just the fact that she was dreaming it so. She lay quietly in his arms savoring his touch, thinking that perhaps she shouldn’t, and yet her doubts were not enough to compel her to action. It was a pressure in her chest, just beneath her sternum that she recognized as his desire to ask something either he feared would make her uncomfortable or he feared her response to. For a moment she wondered how she knew that. She had no memory of them discussing it. “What’s on your mind?” She asked. “You have a question, I can feel it.”

“Why did you not call upon me in the time of your great danger? You left me little choice but to seek out Reese Chambers and to simply battle for our lives. If you would have but called on me, I could have done so much more.”

“I didn’t think about it,” she replied. “I suppose because up until all that has happened with Cyrus, and especially kdgrace-itf-finalbecause I was a bit frightened by what happened at the Dark Side bar three months ago, I didn’t trust you.”

“You may trust me, Susan. You are the possessor of my being, and your body is my home. While it is true that it is also my prison, to be without it would be untenable.”

“Oh don’t you worry, I will most definitely call upon you the next time.” And she was as sure as she was of her own name that there would be a next time. She shuddered and pushed back against the Guardian’s warmth and found him hard. She froze. “Please don’t,” she whispered. “Please don’t ruin it.”

“I am sorry. It was unintentional. I am after all a male.” Before she could respond, he said. “I will leave you.” And she felt the sudden cold of his absence. Shortly after that she woke to find Reese sitting by her bedside holding her hand.

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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