In Training is FREE!

 

No! I don’t mean that you can get training for free, though I suppose you could if you looked hard enough or if you did it yourself. What I mean is that my novella, In Training is FREE all through the month of June. All you have to do is follow this link and you’ll find way more than just In Training. In fact you’ll find all kinds of wonderful, spicy summer reads for FREE!

What happens when a girl meets her destiny and her doom in one gloriously hard-bodied, hot package in a pub the night before her life becomes a sweaty, muscle aching, joint straining, cardio pounding living hell? You can find out for free!

 

In Training Blurb:

Getting fit on reality TV is PR guru, Lauren Michaels’, 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 walk, 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?

 

 

Chance Encounter: In Training Excerpt:

Lauren had nearly finished her second pint, when a man plopped down on the stool next to her. “‘Zat Sneck Lifter?” he asked.

She raised her glass and offered a nod.

“Ah, a woman with good taste.” He motioned for the bartender and pointed at her pint. “You don’t see many women tossing back real ale these days.”

He looked like he’d come straight from the financial district in London. It was a look not all that common in a Keswick pub, where walking gear and outdoor clothing were the Cumbrian uniform of choice. Dark hair and delicious bedroom stubble framed the bluest eyes she’d ever seen. The big city look lasted a whole two seconds before he shoved the jacket carelessly onto the stool next to him and jerked at the tie like it was a snake. That it had taken the strip tease for her to really appreciate that the man looked damn fine was a testament to how badly her day had sucked.

“Ah! That’s better,” he said with a northern accent that had local boy written all over it. “It’s like getting out of a straitjacket. Not that I’ve ever actually been in one,” he added, rolling his broad shoulders and cracking his neck from side to side.

When she offered only a jerk of a smile, he continued. “The best thing about a suit is taking it off.”

She couldn’t argue that point after seeing him in the act.

The bartender delivered his Sneck Lifter. He slapped down a tenner and raised his glass. “Here’s to new beginnings.”

“To new beginnings,” she replied, gulping back the last of her pint and ordering another.

Tall, dark and northern gave her the hard stare. “Spoken with the enthusiasm of someone going to their own execution.”

“Sometimes new beginnings aren’t what they’re cracked up to be,” Lauren replied.

The bartender delivered her drink and went back to stacking glasses on the shelf.

“Mind if I ask?” He didn’t wait for her reply. “Break up, divorce?”

She banged her glass down on the bar. “Why does it always have to be about relationships? Why is that the first question you ask a woman? Did it ever occur to you, it might be something else?”

He gave his dimpled chin a thoughtful stroke, not the least bit put off by her sharp answer. Moving closer, he leaned one elbow on the bar in such a way that she couldn’t help but notice the strain of hard muscles on well-cut cloth. “Work, then; you lost your job?”

“Since we seem to be playing twenty questions, no, I didn’t lose my fucking job.”

He clucked his tongue. “I would have thought for sure that was it, foul language and all. Did you have it out with your boss?”

She mirrored his posture and leaned into his solicitous smile, forcing a bitter one of her own. “Oh, I fucking had it out with the fucking boss all right, and it didn’t do a fucking bit of good. Any more questions?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact,” he said without losing a beat. “Where does a skinny-arsed chick like you put all that Sneck Lifter, and will I have to stuff you in a cab to send you home later?”

“I’m not skinny, and I can hold my alcohol just fine, thank you.” She raised her glass and chugged half of it.

He looked her up and down. “Well, you’re sure as hell not fat. Living on caffeine and fags doesn’t put much meat on a woman’s bones. I can handle that, I suppose, as long as you promise not to puke on my shoes later.”

She ground her teeth. “First off, I don’t smoke. Secondly, I don’t recall us discussing any later.”

The bastard still wasn’t bothered by her belligerent attitude. “Hmm. I would have thought for certain he’d fired you—your boss, I mean. You know, didn’t like having a hard-drinking, hard-talking woman tearing him a new one?”

“She.”

“What?”

“My boss is a she, and no she didn’t fire me. I’m her golden girl. She just has a sick sense of humour. That’s all.”

He raised an eyebrow and took a thoughtful sip of his beer. “Didn’t see that coming.” He leaned closer. “Wanna tell me about it?”

“Let’s just say I’m in way over my head, and I have no idea how to get out.”

“Your boss isn’t organised crime, is she? A mafia queen maybe?”

In spite of herself Lauren laughed at the thought of Claire Amos smoking a big cigar and talking with a sharp New York accent. “No, nothing so sinister as that.” She gave a little jerk of her shoulder. “Okay, well there is the offer I can’t refuse part.” Before he could respond she waved a negating hand. “I really don’t want to talk about it. I’ll figure something out. I always do. So you’re obviously here to celebrate. What’s your reason? Just closed the big deal for your company?”

He smiled down into the ale he’d barely touched. “I ammy company, but something like that, yes.” He turned his attention to the bartender and ordered two waters. “Buy you a drink,” he said, pushing one in front of her.

“Oh, how sweet. You shouldn’t have,” she said raising the glass in salute.

“Actually, the way you’re tossing ‘em back, I shouldhave—what with your body weight, even if your metabolism is pretty high, you’ll need it. And let me guess, you haven’t eaten anything since breakfast, if you even had that. Either way, I’d say you need to hydrate.”

“Thank you, Father,” she grumbled.

“You’ll thank me in the morning when you don’t feel quite so shitty.”

“So,” she glugged back the water and scooted closer, “you think I’m skinny?”

“No, not really. You’re just not very well muscled. You look a bit wimpy to me.”

“Well, don’t you just know how to make a girl feel sexy,” she said, returning her attention to her pint.

“What can I say, I’m hot for dirty-mouthed, ale-drinking women.”

This time her laugh was genuine. “I think you need to work on your pick-up lines.” She couldn’t help the blush that climbed her cheeks. For the first time in a long time, she found herself feeling almost pretty—even with her lack of muscle.

“I don’t know. It seems to be working pretty well so far.” He reached out and curled a tendril of red hair that had escaped her day-old chignon around his finger. “I figure if you don’t hit me or knee me in the balls, and if I halfway behave myself, I might just get to celebrate with someone interesting and pretty too.”

She groaned. “Fine. I’ll celebrate with you—celebrate my last day of freedom.”

He quirked an eyebrow. “So that’s it then, you’re a convicted criminal off to prison after one last pint?”

She sipped her beer. “Might as well be.”

“I could bring you a cake with a file in it.” He suggested. “Though I don’t really bake.”

“Trust me,” she patted his hand, “I’ll probably be appreciating the cake a lot more than the file before long. And I don’t care if you bake it or buy it at Sainsbury’s.”

“Sounds harsh,” he said, then he added, “Look, I’m gonna be pretty tied up with work for the next few weeks, but I could show you around a bit if you’d like, you know, make your last night of freedom memorable. Beautiful place, the Lakes.”

She leaned in close. “How well do you know the area?”

“Well enough. I was born and raised in Keswick.”

“I’m all yours, then,” she said, downing the last of her pint. “Show me.” She all but fell off her stool and right into his arms.

“Thought you could handle your alcohol,” he said with a chuckle.

“Oh, I can handle that just fine,” she replied, feeling suddenly brazen and bold. “I caught my heel in the strap of my bag. That’s all. Lucky you were here to catch me.”

“Lucky, indeed,” he all but purred.

The lip lock was not planned, but the feel of a hard male body, one that was actually interested in her, was just what she needed after the crap day she’d had. The knowledge it was going to get way worse before it got better emboldened her. She leaned in close to steal a kiss. She decided she really liked being a thief and stole another one. She decided she liked being a thief even better when those kisses were returned with enthusiasm and a stealthy flick of the tongue. He drew her up close to muscle and sinew and strength in all the right places and all the right proportions. She found herself practically on the man’s lap—definitely close enough to be certain he was enjoying the clinch as much as she was.

“Get a room, you two,” the bartender said with a quirk of a smile from under bushy raised eyebrows.

“Might just do,” big and brawny said without actually pulling his mouth away from Lauren’s.

“Might just do,” she repeated, her words distorted because her tongue had better things to do than ensure good pronunciation.

She hefted her bag, and he grabbed up his jacket and tie, throwing the jacket over her shoulders and looping the tie around her neck. Tugging the two ends playfully, he led her past the billiards table, and down a narrow hallway that passed the ladies’ room. Then he made a sharp left out past the open kitchen door into a small, but fairly private garden in the back.

“Don’t think we’ll make it to a room,” he said as they exited the pub and he tugged her into the garden up close to a
blooming lilac.

“Don’t think I care,” she replied.

“Maybe for round two,” he said as he backed her against the rough brick and picked up the mouth-to-mouth where they’d left off.

“Don’t know what’s the matter with me,” she managed between nips and licks and tugs and pulls. “I don’t do this sort of thing.”

“Neither do I.” His kisses migrated to her neck. He slid a hand up her thigh and beneath her skirt. “Celebrating new beginnings, I guess.”

“Must be that,” she agreed. One of the kitchen staff came through the door for a ciggy break, stopped short, gave them the once-over and went back inside. She barely noticed. She was far too occupied with hard muscles and an expressive mouth up close and personal. He cupped and stroked and explored, finding the fastest routes to bare skin and sensitive places. She returned the favour, hiking her skirt enough to hook one leg around his hip. He cupped her bum and lifted her off the ground with her offering an undignified little yelp. And there they were, panties creating friction against bespoke trousers that barely contained his desire, both of them shifting and rubbing and pressing for all they were worth.

It was her efforts to reach the condom in the side pocket of her bag that ruined the mood. The bag slid off her shoulder and ended upside down on the cobbles, the contents skittering in all directions. They both dropped to their knees laughing and gasping and scrabbling to pick up her things. He gave her a hard nip high on the thigh just as she reached for the condom beneath the picnic table. It was then that his phone fell out of his jacket that she had miraculously managed to keep around her shoulders. At the moment he grabbed for it, a text pinged. He started to shove it into his shirt pocket and then did a double take. He froze there on his hands and knees, the colour leeching from his face as he looked from his phone to her and back again.

“You’re Lauren Michaels?”

“In the flesh.”

“Your boss is Claire Amos?” His voice cracked, and he looked at her as though she’d suddenly sprouted horns.

“That’s right, why? Do you know Claire?”

He scrambled to his feet, offering her his hand. “You’re right.” The muscles around his chiseled cheekbones twitched. “She does have a sick sense of humour.” He stood for a second looking her over like he was seeing her for the first time. Then he jammed the phone in the pocket of his trousers. “I gotta go.”

Just like that he turned and fled, leaving her with his coat and tie and one more reason why this had been a totally crap day.

 

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The Romance Reviews

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