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Archive for June, 2011

Okay, so it’s not my birthday anymore… but it’s the last day of my birthday month which, is still good, right? It’s actually 3:03 AM on my birthday now as I type this, which is entirely my fault as Portia sent me the excerpts on the 21st. Alas. So, as you see, today we’ve got snippets from Portia Da Costa! Anyway, she sent two exclusive excerpts, because she’s frankly doubly awesome – right? Portia Da Costa is a dear and I’m so glad she’s featured today! I hope you enjoy these exclusive excerpts!

The Power of Three

It’s no fun being dumped almost at the altar, but newly not engaged Laurie decides to make the best of things and enjoy her honeymoon at an exotic Caribbean resort all on her own. The plan is to lie in the sun, read a book, do a bit of bird watching and exploring… anything to take her mind off her rat of an ex fiancé and the bimbo he got pregnant.

But it’s not easy to forget about love and sex when everyone around her at the resort is getting in on. Pretty soon, she’s using her binoculars to spy on creatures a bit higher up the evolutionary scale – the hot threesome in one of the adjacent cabanas, and the gorgeously hunky gay couple who are also staying just across the courtyard.

These delicious men especially fire her senses and make her forget her romantic woes, and when she realizes that they’re watching her while she’s watching them, what else is a girl to do but accept the invitation of a lifetime, and become part of a threesome herself?

But what if her luscious faux honeymoon ménage is only the beginning of better and hotter things to come?

***

But this was completely different. A desire and an adventure she’d never be able to overlook or forget. If only she had the boldness to reach out and grab it.

Do you dare?

Yes, I do! I do!

Reaching up, she dug her fingers into Denny’s silky curls, and opened her mouth to his, meeting his tongue when it plunged in, warm and hungry.

Yes! Not two but three silent voices seemed to chorus the word; those of the men, cheering her on, and her own inner voice proud of her own courage.

Denny kissed hard, kissed hungry, kissed dominant. Again, savoring his onslaught, Laurie almost wanted to laugh at the misleading quality of appearances. His fey, pale clothes and golden looks concealed the heart of a predator, and even the fact that

he’d “received” last night probably only meant he’d demanded that his partner service his needs.

He held on tight to her, a hand at the nape of her neck, another on her shoulder, making her accept his kiss in a thrilling, primal way. He tasted of wine and honey and new beginnings.

And all the time, Ed was at work too, at first gently kissing her hand as if it were a holy artifact, but then, suddenly, on the move. As Denny kissed and subdued her, Ed began exploring. Still kneeling, he settled his hands on her thighs, one each, on the outside surfaces, slowly sliding them upwards, then down again, and then up, tantalizing her. Laurie sighed into Denny’s mouth, feeling the urge to open her legs, and lift her bottom, to allow Ed more access.

“Good girl,” whispered Denny, his lips starting to roam too, as he gently pushed her so she was leaning against the woven back of the settee. He kissed her brow, her cheek, and a sensitive spot beneath her ear, then tracked down the side of her neck, on and on down until he nipped at a spot just above her collarbone. As his sharp teeth plagued her, Ed’s hands were down below, sliding between her thighs, urging her to open her legs, and to open her heart and self to the pair of them.

“Relax,” urged Denny, still nibbling. Laurie could feel his fingers at work at the nape of her neck, then before she had time to stop him — not that she wanted to — he unfastened her halter top. Peeling it down, he exposed her breasts in her flimsy strapless bra.

A momentary dark cloud drifted into view. Melanie had huge boobs, and she imagined Jim, who was a breast man, fiddling and playing with them. Laurie’s own breasts were smallish, nicely shaped, but not an enormous handful. But as if he’d sensed her qualms, Denny uttered a hungry masculine rumble of appreciation.

“Mm… so nice, so very nice…” Cupping her, he ran both thumbs over her nipples, teasing her through the lightly forming Lycra of her bra. “Look, Ed, aren’t these just the most beautiful breasts you’ve ever seen? Oh God, I love women with pretty little tits… and wicked hard nipples.”

Laurie closed her eyes and rolled her shoulders, loving the way he teased and played with her, and silently begging for him to bare her breasts completely.

“Let’s have this off, shall we? And get a better view.”

Despite the fact he had a male lover it was obvious that Denny knew his way around a brassiere. In less than a second, hers was unhitched, whipped off and flung cheerfully across the room, out of the way.

“Yes, that is better. Much better… Much, much better…” His fingertips drifted over her flesh, teasing each nipple, flicking at them, and then suddenly, he was reaching behind her, gripping her upper arms, drawing her shoulder blades together so that her breasts were lifted and presented.

Laurie’s eyes shot open. The move wasn’t what she’d expected, but it was stunning, thrilling. The sense of exhibition reminded her of what she’d done last night, showing herself to them. Only this time she was being shown, exposed and offered to Ed’s hungry lips. She saw the quickest of glances pass between the men, and he came up on his knees and leant forward, drawing her left nipple into his mouth and sucking hard.

As he did so, Denny nipped at her neck again, teasing delicately with the edges of his teeth. “Isn’t this nice?” he murmured, between nips.

Portia asked me if “naughty” excerpts were allowed. So – what do you guys think? Yea or nay? Should I start requesting they be PG? 😉 This next book, A Touch of Heaven, will be out on July 5th – so you’ve got a preview, you lucky ducks!

A perfect stranger with a heavenly touch.

Miranda’s first glimpse of her neighbors’ house sitter nearly takes her breath away. He’s everything she likes in a man—handsome and naked. She can’t resist the impulse to introduce herself to this intoxicating stranger.

She quickly finds out he’s more than just looks. His miraculous massage brings relief to her aches and pains, then pleasure that explodes into the sweetest, most erotic experience of her life. Yet with each encounter that follows, her confusion grows. Unlike other men she’s known, he fulfills every secret desire, yet demands nothing in return.

Patrick is holding back more than a scrap of vital information. He is an angel on an earthly mission of kindness, bound by an unbreakable code. Miranda must not know that her wit, gentleness and womanly curves only sharpen his secret longing to live—and
love—as humans do.

And Patrick faces an agonizing choice that could bring them everything they’ve ever wanted…or separate them for all eternity.

***

“The sun is very hot. Would you like me to rub some sun lotion on your back?”
Ooh, yes, you can rub whatever you want wherever you want, you gorgeous creature.
I don’t say that, of course. “Thanks, but I think I’m okay for the moment. I just put
some on.” I barely have to pause. “Would you like me to do you instead?”
He beams. Ah, what must it be like to be so adorable and know you’re so adorable?
“Thanks, but it’s okay. I’m okay for the moment too.”
Disappointment must be writ large on my face. I’m so pathetic. I told myself I’d never do the ooh-I-fancy-you, do-you-fancy-me dance ever again.
“But maybe in a little while,” he adds, with that little eye-narrow again. He’s wise. He knows what’s going on. “Can I offer you something else in the meantime?”
I can’t help but laugh. The cheeky so-and-so. He has the grace to laugh too, as he starts rummaging through his hoard of drinks and snacks, all the time watching me out of the corner of his twinkling eyes.
He offers me crisps, cheesy this and that, cupcakes, cans of full-sugar fizzy drink. He’s a generous host with his smorgasbord of junk food, and against my better judgment and my intention to eat healthy I’m soon putting away crisps by the handful. Oh, they’re so delicious and salty, and allowing the very devil to get into me, I speculate on other treats that are delicious and salty too.
Yes, I’m sneaking glances at his penis again. I try to be discreet, but every time I think I’ve managed to eyeball him without him noticing, I look up and he’s watching me.
“Okay, I admit it. Gerry Johnson always keeps his clothes on, so I’m not used to seeing buck-naked men in my next door neighbor’s garden. Can we get past that?”
He quirks his eyebrows at me. They’re as beautiful as the rest of him, sandy-gold and expressive. “I can go inside and get dressed, if like. I don’t want to embarrass you, Miranda.”
“No, it’s all right. Well, I don’t mind if you don’t mind.” I’m turning brilliant pink now, a rather fetching shade of cherry that’s much like the pop he’s been drinking and nothing to do with the sun. “It’s just that I can’t seem to stop myself looking at you.”
“No problem,” he says. “I can’t seem to stop looking at you either.”
Whoa! Surely you jest, young man?
I look down at myself. If I’m honest, I’m not really a total ruin, but he’s still getting the worst of the deal. I’m a bit fatter than I’d like, and a bit older than I’d like, but all things considered, I’m just about managing not to slide into total decrepitude. Even so, compared to him, I’m far from the pinnacle of desirability.
“Yeah, right…”
His stern look shocks me. “Why do you say that, Miranda? You’re a beautiful woman, and of course I want to look at you.” He abandons his beverage and wipes his lush mouth with the back of his hand in a gesture that does terrible, wonderful things to me, right down in the pit of my belly. “In fact, I’d love to see you naked too.”
I drop the crisp bag and a few spill out, but we both ignore them. I haven’t got the slightest idea what to say, but my mind goes mad, deluging me with a lush erotic picture show.
First, I see Patrick and me in bed, him looming over me, golden and beautiful as he prepares to fuck me. I can almost feel the tip of his gorgeous young cock pressing against my entrance. A second later, I’m lying wide-legged at the edge of the bed, and he’s kneeling between my thighs, his tongue delicately extended and ready to lick my pussy.
My face is pinker than ever now and even though I try to look away from him, I can’t. I’m hypnotized and I feel as if I’m falling into those heavenly blue eyes of his. The way he slowly smiles tells me he’s seen what I’ve seen…or some kind of approximation. I know he knows I’m thinking about sex with him.
“Now I have embarrassed you, haven’t I?” He doesn’t look sorry, just a bit like a naughty boy, who means well and isn’t afraid of mistakes. “I shouldn’t be so forward.” Suddenly he reaches out and takes my hand again. He holds it loosely in his, so easy and natural. “It’s just that I’m not used to being around women. And I tend to mess things up.”
How can a man who looks like Patrick not be used to women? It seems bizarre. And yet he looks so sad for a moment, and wistful, that my heart twists. I still desire him, but his mysterious sorrow touches me too.
“Ditto,” I answer wryly. “I’ve got out of the habit of being around men. I’ve been sort of off them…and it’s difficult to get back in the game.”
Patrick’s hand is warm, the skin smooth and very soft. I wonder what he does for a living; if he does anything at all. He’s been out here three afternoons running when most men of his age would normally be at work.
Good grief, is he a gigolo? I dismiss that one immediately though, even though he’s got the looks and the body. A male escort would be around women all the time.
Another frown pleats his flawless brow, and I shudder. I could swear he’s mind- reading me again.
“Are you cold? I could get another blanket, if you like?”
“No, I’m fine…just a funny feeling, you know?”
He nods and his blond curls bob in the sunlight. It seems he does know, even if I’m not quite sure what the hell I’m talking about.
“Did someone hurt you, Miranda? Was it a man?”
Yes, a man hurt me. I turn away. Those clear blue eyes are too searching. And yet suddenly, against my natural inclination, I start to talk.

So what’d you think? Do you read erotica? Or erotic romance? Ever read Portia Da Costa’s work before? Are you sad my “birthdaypalooza” is ending? 😛

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BIRTHDAY!!!

Yes! Today, it is my birthday! (So all of you who said that before… feel free to carry it over to now ;))

I’m out of town – and writing this post in advance, of course, because I don’t know what net access I’ll on the “actual today.”

My gift to you? … Major hints on the guest post Ali and Joy (and I) wrote. Why? Because I really want you guys to try! Also, it took some effort to coordinate and sort out – and you don’t want me to be sad and give up entirely on giveaways in the future, do you? And on my birthday! I’m allowed to be a whiny pushy bitch about it. Mostly because my birthday generally sucks ass, so I’m hoping this year is an exception.

You’ll notice the list of “facts and fictions” has been repeated below, but color coded. Bonus points to the first person who assigns the correct color to the correct person in the comments!

Ready for the list? (Again?) Here you go!

I don’t know how to drive.

I am prepared for either a zombie apocalypse or in the event that computers take over the world.

I grew up in Switzerland.

I am addicted to video games.

I’ve never been to Europe.

The first RT Convention I went to, I hid for three hours.

I was in a choir that sang for the President.

I took piano lessons for about eight years.

Each car I’ve owned was picked by another person… because I don’t much care what I drive as long as it gets from point A to point B.

I’ve never gone skiing.

I do not pack until the night before a trip… or in a couple instances, an hour before I have to head out the door… makes things interesting, lol.

I was born in Canada.

One of the ladies here once gave me a tequila shot… it was so strong I actually couldn’t breathe for a moment there.

I was treated to a public humiliation & got a spanking one year for my birthday (in a bar in NYC).

Sometimes I will rehearse a whole conversation in my head… even if I don’t end up talking to the other person about it.

I got married and divorced in Vegas… all in the same week.

My middle name is Rose.

I make lemon blueberry gelato every summer.

I could have had a picture taken professionally with Barack Obama.

I go on a cruise every year.

I sang the jingle for a commercial on TV.

I love mowing my lawn.

I’ve burst into spontaneous song in random places, most notably on Capitol Hill. More than once.

I go golfing every week.

I waited in line overnight for Prince Tickets.

I haven’t worn sneakers in five years.

I have had pet cats since I was eight.

I used to call friends at midnight on their birthday.

I am afraid to swim in deep waters.

Nobody in my family (including extended) knows I read romance or go to conventions.

I freeze like a deer caught in the headlights when frightened.

I met Fabio.

I was home schooled.

My birth place is New York.

I met Hugh Jackman.

I wrote a poem that was published.

Ok? Anyway, I hope everyone has an amazingly fantastic Tuesday! Eat some cake and ice cream – have a few drinks. It’s to celebrate me! 😉 That won’t ruin your diet – it’s exempt! 😛 I wanted to post a picture of one of my favorite birthday cards I’ve ever gotten… but I can’t find it. 😥

Hopefully I have awesome stories to share with you once I’m back!

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I don’t know if she knows this… but Melissa Schroeder is one of the very first e-published authors I’ve ever read. Back when I was in college. Which was oh-so-long ago. 😉 I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at RomCon – and she’s a lot of fun. Irreverent, but really nice too. I enjoy her wicked sense of humor, and she lets me bother her even when her status says “DO NOT DISTURB!” Which… frankly is why I do it. I just can’t resist. :X Anyway- her post!

Hey, everyone! If you don’t know me, my name is Melissa Schroeder, known to one and all as Mel. I write sensual to erotic romances. I want to thank Lime for allowing me to be here on the best of all days, HER BIRTHDAY. I would have recorded me signing to happy birthday, but well, I like Lime. If you heard me sing, you would understand this is the bestest kind of gift to give. But, today is about birthdays and being an author, I am a little self-centered. So, I will talk about my birthday.

Why you ask? My birth date sucks. See, I’d like to actually GO somewhere on my birthday but it is on January 4th. It was horrible growing up that way. Both my sister, who has a late December birthday, suffered this as a child. Yes, I did end up sticking my oldest with one in January, but it is later in January. And, it is her cross to bear. And let’s remember, this IS about me. So, back to me. As a child, being so close to Christmas and the time when all the kids go back to school, your birthday is forgotten. You get things wrapped in Christmas paper, and yeah, it irritated not only my sister and I, but also our mom. It was hard to have birthday parties. Being military, a lot of people went out of town for the holidays. Now, as an adult, I have kids to get to school that day. Actually, I call that a wonderful birthday present when they go back ON my birthday.

But, as usual, I digressed bitching about things that are kind of boring. I mean, not to me because of that whole being self-centered. I really do love to talk about myself.

Anyway, I have always wanted to do a birthday trip. It is impossible because of the timing. Kids have to be in school and hubby has a job, blah blah.

So, I would like to go somewhere cool like Tahiti or Greece…something exotic. Part of me would love to go with my husband. But, I am taking him to Italy next year for our 20th so I think it would be fun to do a girl trip. First, I would say Vegas. Of course, it might end up like The Hangover and we would end searching for someone. And one of us would be married to a stripper. Actually there is a very good chance that would happen. So, a resort for the rich and famous where we could be pampered and cared for and just relax. I don’t often do girl things. So, this would be a huge treat for me. And, of course, we would go first class all the way.

So, if you could do one trip, where would you go and who would you go with? And, you have all the money you need so there are no worries in that corner. Everyone who tells me what they would like to do will have a chance at a $25 GC from your choice of online bookstore!

And, again a BIG OLD HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lime. I would send you hugs and kisses, but…well…I know your preferences. So, I am waving…and not singing.

Melissa Schroeder is the author of close to thirty novels, novellas and short stories including her bestselling Harmless series. Her latest digital release is A Little Harmless Addiction from Samhain publishing. She is married with children, both natural and the adopted four legged variety. If you want to know about her and her books be sure to check out her website, follow her on Twitter or stalk her on Facebook. Oh, and if you are addicted to her Harmless series, she has a facebook group just for you.

Erm, and if anyone feels compelled to send me on a luxury trip on my special day… well you know. It’d be rude not to accept, right? 😉 I’m not even picky – I’ll go on any fancy trip you pick for me! 😛

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Shelli Stevens’s Winners!

Shelli is totally mobbed this weekend, and this lucky girl is heading to RWA soon! (Tomorrow?) Anyway, she’s still got winners though! Courtesy of randomizer.org. The winner of a $10 gift card to Sephora is Marianne Strnad! The lucky winner of any ebook from Shelli’s back list is Estella! (You don’t have to get Flash Point I just like the cover. 😛 )

Please contact Shelli at: shelli@shellistevens.com about your prize!

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Today, we have Jen B visiting with us! I know I say this a lot (or do I? I think it a lot…) but she’s one of my favorite people [ever]! She’s one of the first few people I started talking to online. I’m not even sure how it happened – I think she visited TGTBTU? And then it was twitter, emails, and instant messaging. We’re very similar, but also very different, and it works. Although we don’t talk as much now because obviously she doesn’t love me anymore and is too good for me. *sobs* It really has nothing to do with her job, or being pregnant (congrats, future mommy! <3) … Hee. Anyway, I obviously need more sugar. Or less. O_o Enough of me. [No really, I’m sure Jen B expected me to do and say something absolutely crazy for her post… she’d be disappointed if I didn’t!]

Hi! I’m Jen B, former blogger/reviewer extraordinaire. 🙂 Lime invited me months ago to come up with a post, and I completely forgot till this week. Eep! Fortunately Lime gave me a gentle reminder. :X (and if you know Lime, you know just how gentle that reminder was) [*Gasp!* I am hurt and outraged you would so malign me on my own blog! Defamation! Libel!]

She said I could talk about anything, be it books, tea, makeup, editing, pregnancy, or gardening. I’ll spare you the pregnancy talk, though it was tempting to describe how it feels to have a fetus using my bladder as a trampoline and my intestines as punching bags. 😉

So I think today I’ll talk about how I became a romance reader.

I’ve always been a reader, and I’ve pretty much always gravitated toward love stories. Even in elementary school, my favorite books were the ones with a boy and a girl who liked each other. If they held hands or kissed, even better! I gobbled up Sweet Valley books like candy. Though I also considered Flowers in the Attic a romance, which might explain my warped reading tastes now… Something for a psychologist to investigate later, I guess. 😉

In college I took a hiatus from pleasure reading. I was a language major (English and Spanish), and all that homework in two languages kept me away from “fun” books for a few years.

In 2007 I got back into reading for enjoyment, and I owe it all to AT&T (I wish they’d pay me to say that). My husband and I were going to convert over to U-Verse, and AT&T “accidentally” disconnected our TV and internet service a week earlier than planned, with no way to reconnect it. No TV! No internet! What were we to do??? We gave it some careful consideration and dragged our grumpy butts down to Half Price Books. Someone had recommended Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, so I picked it up and took it home… And devoured it. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t move from that couch until I’d finished it. Then I went back for more! I consulted the same pal who’d rec’d AKISA, and she listed a few more titles. I think I picked up 10 more books on that return trip to the UBS, all Deveraux and Lindsey. For about a year, I was reading an average of 5 paperbacks a week. I spent hours combing Amazon reviews and discussion boards for my next read, organizing and reorganizing my virtual and physical bookshelves, and for a while my husband and I were spending whatever extra cash we had on books. It was a wonderful time. *happy sigh*

I discovered reviewing during this time too, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of posting my thoughts on Amazon. I discovered m/m romance and e-books as well, and I started a discussion group just for m/m romance fans. Through them I was introduced to my first book blog, which led me to hundreds more. By May 2008 I had my own blog for reviewing and discussing all the books I loved.

In 2008 I also started beta-reading and proofing for a few e-published authors, and by early 2009 I’d snagged my first freelance copy editing job for a m/m romance e-publisher. In March of 2010 I quit my day job and started editing full-time. All romance, all the time. What more could a romance reader ask for?

Reviewing dulled my passion for pleasure reading a little, and editing takes up a lot of time, so I’ve been through several slumps and dry periods, but I’ve never stopped loving romance novels. I still browse Amazon for reviews and recommendations (though nowadays I stay away from the wackadoodles on the Amazon discussion boards). I follow several of my favorite authors and bookish pals on Twitter and Facebook, and I try to keep up with gossip and new releases. And of course I’m still reading an average of 3-5 books a week for work. I still love nothing more than to browse a used book store on a slow afternoon or hit Borders with my husband on the weekend. Sometimes I don’t buy anything. Sometimes I just pick up books, smell them (Don’t look at me like that. You know you do it too!), read the back copy, and put them back.

It’s been so interesting to see how my tastes have changed over the years, and how my preferences cycle. Just recently I gave 5 stars to an urban fantasy romance that had been a DNF for me a year and a half ago. And lately I find myself grabbing books off my shelf that I’d ignored for a year or more—and loving them! It’s been a really fun hobby that’s broadened my horizons and introduced me to many good friends, people I think I’d continue to talk to even if I stopped reading altogether.

These days my pleasure reading has been reduced to about one paperback every 10-14 days, and I’m okay with that for now. I wish I had the time and energy for a paperback a night, but I really can’t complain. Maybe someday I’ll have that old hunger back. I keep thinking I’ll have more time to read in November after the baby gets here and I’m off work for a month, but people keep telling me I’m crazy. 😉 We’ll see!

Thanks for letting me share my story. I hope you enjoyed it. Maybe yours is similar. I’d love to hear all about it in comments. 🙂

Isn’t she adorabubbles? I heart JenB. Who really actually goes by Jennifer, but everyone online calls her “Jen” or “JenB.” Probably because we’re lazy and don’t like typing out 4-5 additional letters. That or we’re a crazy affectionate bunch and like nicknaming everyone. I actually refer to her as “jtgk” often due to her screen/twitter name.

Anyway I’m curious too! What got you started on reading romances? Got a favorite romance to share? Ever give a book a second chance and be glad you did?

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Last be definitely not least, the fourth and final novella in Undercover Lovers is our exclusive excerpt today. It’s written by Dee Tenorio! I think Dee Tenorio is an incredibly underrated romance author, and often suggest her books to people. Especially ones that like contemporary romances. Stay tuned for a giveaway, and all. You likely all know it already, but the book blurb is as follows:

Who’s undercover?

Saffron Burton – Sensual food critic posing as just another customer
Tucker Lamb – Smooth as butter former conman posing as nerdy professor
Shane Madison – Dead sexy private eye posing as a Strippendale’s dancer
Katrina Killian – Brazenly sexual cop posing as a gang member

Four ultra-sexy stories by four great authors, with one theme!

Convicted by Dee Tenorio— Crusty sheriff Cade Evigan doesn’t date convicts, not even ones as irresistible as Katrina “K.K.” Killian. The woman may have gotten under his skin—and once, on the hood of his car—but the sultry biker had criminal written all over her. He has to stay away.

When the crap hits the fan and the case she’s been working on for two years cracks wide open, Katrina heads straight to the hills to protect the one man she cares about. But some temptations are impossible to resist and she knows if she stays with Cade for the night, odds are her cover isn’t the only thing getting blown…

“God, you say the sexiest things. Quick, say something else fun. How about, Grab your ankles, babe, I’m coming in for a landing.” Trina’s slow, dirty grin did terrible things to Cade’s self-control. She was always like this. Taking every little thing
and making it into something sexual, something that tempted him to laugh. Though he had to admit, he’d walked right into that one.

“We’re not having sex. Your clothes have blood on them and they’re cut up. Besides, I need to check you for any other injuries.”

“Aww, come on, Cade. You’re missing the point of the game. Hot to trot damsel-in-distress—”

“With bruised ribs.”

“—alone in a mountain cabin with inexplicably-single sex god—”

“Hardly.” There were plenty of explanations.

“Since I’m the only one of us who’s had sex with you, I don’t think you get a vote.”

He was not going to give her the smile she was hunting down. He couldn’t allow it. Trina collected his moments of weakness like a kid after baseball cards. But once they were hers, she cashed them in for pieces of his soul. He simply didn’t have enough left to let her play her games.

On the other hand, if she wanted to call him a sex god, who was he to argue?

“I’ll get you something to sleep in. While I do that, how about you get back to telling me what happened?” He got up off his knees, distancing himself from all that beautiful skin across her belly by heading to his chest of drawers on the other side of his bed, as many feet from her as the one room cabin would allow. Bruised or not, he’d never seen anything as tempting as her in his life.

“It’s pretty simple really. Carter has a delivery service up and down California. His crews pick up shipments of heroin in Tijuana, drive it up the Grapevine and drop it in Fresno for wider distribution. I was part of an infiltration team that fed into three different biker crews in California. Of the six of us, two have retired and three are dead. I’m the last one and none of us have managed to get enough evidence to knock out the main buyer pulling their strings. Or even find out who it is. My old partner cut off a major supplier last year, but he got made in the process and there were others just waiting to take the supplier’s place. All I know about the current ones is that they’re Colombian and about ten times more willing to kill than the last guy’s men. I was this close to getting what we needed and now there’s no way it can happen. If Frank or anyone else from Wheels of Pain finds me before I can reach my DEA handler, I’m dead.”

“You’re skipping something.” The sixth sense that had kept him alive in Afghanistan had a bead on Trina and her half-truths. It always had. Which was why he’d never been able to fully trust her. Want her, yes. Need her, even, but from the beginning he’d noticed the signs. The way she’d deflect by hitting on him. How she’d subtly look away before she talked. She had no trouble staring Carter in the eye as she lied to him—he’d seen her do it—but she couldn’t do it with him. It meant something that she almost never looked him in the eye anymore. Until now.

“Just that your department is corrupt.”

He snorted, reaching in for one of his T-shirts. “Tell me something I don’t know.” That was why Rick had asked him to join him in Marketta. Because he needed someone to watch his back. Only for Rick had Cade considered it, even if the Rick he’d found on arrival wasn’t quite the fun-loving kid he used to know.

He touched the plain cotton in the drawer, frowning at the texture. No, this wouldn’t work. He closed it slowly, listening to Trina shifting uncomfortably on the couch. Like him, she was too long-legged for it. There was no way to lay on it without bending a leg or letting something hang off it. Plus those cushions could support the Washington Monument without denting. No, she wouldn’t be able to sleep there and neither could he. She’d have to share the bed with him.

A pulse of dangerous elation danced through his veins.

Squelching it wasn’t even possible. A dead man would get excited about sharing a bed with a woman like her and for all that he’d tried to bury his emotions, he wasn’t dead. Unfortunately for him, no one drove that point home more than Katrina Killian.

From the start, she’d made him wish he could be different. Made him wish he was still the guy with all those hopes about changing the world and saving lives. The one who laughed easily and trusted. That guy had died with so many others, thousands of miles from here, under a killing sun that never seemed to set, in sands that never seemed able to satisfy its thirst for blood. He’d let him die, purposely burying his soul so he could survive. So he could wake up day after day and not hate himself for being able to walk away.

With her, though, he not only could feel, he felt too much. He had no choice about it. At first he’d fought it. Resented her slipping past his guards with a smile or a tease, mocking the control he thought he had. But then he began to look forward to it. To her insane little pick up lines. Her unexpected humor. The vitality she infected him with that made the rest of his day easier to get through. That made waking up something to look forward to instead of dread.

He wouldn’t be fooling anyone if he told himself he wasn’t mentally doing back flips to finally lay her in his bed, in his arms, and hold her all night long. But if he was going to live that fantasy, shouldn’t he go all the way with it?

He turned to the closet, pulling open the doors where he’d put stuff he didn’t want taking up space in the little house he rented in Marketta. Where, under thin plastic, uniforms he’d never wear again and crisp dress shirts from years gone by waited like specters. He pulled a shirt out, the snowy white fabric sliding across his fingers like cool water. It would fit over her lush curves with room to spare, probably covering her at least to mid thigh. His best imaginings starred her in his uniform shirts, a button or two giving little more than lip service between the high globes of her breasts. Those tiny silk panties of hers playing peek-a-boo with every step she took.

If he gave her this to wear, his cock would turn to fucking stone with no relief in sight. Just hours and hours of unrelenting sexual torment until he could safely get her out of there.

He stole a quick glance at her, all that ebony hair flowing like ink over the arm of his couch, her lean body encased in dirty white leather, the toes of her matching boots pointing up as she stretched her legs with a wince.

I’m a masochist.

It wasn’t anything he didn’t already know about himself. He gripped the shirt in a stranglehold and headed back her way. “You need help sitting up?”

She grimaced as he knelt beside her again, but shook her head, already lowering her legs to the ground. Biting off a curse, Cade fit his hand to her back, supporting her regardless of her grudging acceptance. She never liked help. He never gave a shit. He considered it one of the better quirks to their relationship.

Trina took a deep breath, carefully, while he held his in anticipation that she could do it. The air came in and went out with any serious hitches. “See? It was just running up this mountain of yours that made it so bad.”

“You still haven’t said why you had to.” He didn’t care how many deflections she threw out there or how pissed he was that she might actually be telling the truth now, after all this wasted time. He could play being calm better than most, especially knowing every second of that calm was keeping her off balance enough to stop lying to him. No matter what, he wasn’t letting her get away without answers. It had been more than a year of this. He deserved them and he damn well better get them.

Did you find yourself leaning in closer and closer to the screen as you read on? What’s going to happen? Will Cade have a night filled with torment, or bliss? (Personally I think the latter would be fantastic, but with Trina’s ribs, I’m betting not. Or, I’d actually be annoyed if they did because hello bruised ribs. Nothing to mess around with. Pun intended.)

Bio: Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.

The best part is, no more therapy bills!

Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…

If you would like to learn more about Dee and her work, please visit her site or her blog.

Isn’t that excerpt just “!!!” Even while I was formatting, before I’d read it and just skimmed it my thoughts were “oh mah gahhh.” Which yes. Is the epitome of all those years of lit crit and academia. Alongside the fact that it’s the wee hours in the morning. (Hello 3 AM!) Enough of me – and look. A giveaway! Complete with a very simple “how to!”

Dee wanted me to add for her:

I’ll give away 2 copies of UL to a randomly drawn winner who answers the question: Could you resist the one you love, if you knew they were keeping secrets?

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Guess…

Who won Cari Quinn’s giveaway when she contributed an exclusive excerpt from Conquered, her novella in Undercover Lovers?

You mean you don’t want to?

Well. Cuz you know I’ll tell you. Cari chose… Ms. StacieDM! You lucky bird. [I seem to be going with this whole bird thing. It’s 1:03 AM. You’ll have to forgive me.] Anyway, Stacie, you are to email Cari at cariquinnauthor@gmail.com.

Let’s also pretend I posted this at the real time on Tuesday, shall we? And… NB from the end of June until mid July… winners will be posted later. No worries, we’ll still have them. I’ll just… you know. Be gone. Now, they might be posted on time. I might have internet access! Which would be amazingly and lovely and wonderful, because I’m something of an addict. But… sadly I’m not anticipating that. So, you know. Ali and Joy will have to hold my hand through the detox. Only not, because I feel pretty safe in saying they’re just as addicted to the net as I am, if not more. WHEEEEEEEEE.

Don’t y’all wish I wrote more crazy ass posts in the wee hours? I can’t tell if it makes me swear more or less…

p.s. – Stacie, is it Geisha that makes you so lucky? Would you consider lending her to me for a bit? … Wait – you mean I can’t win the contests on my own blog?

Whhhhhyyyyy. Why am I even doing this? Oh right. Birthdaypalooza. So all of you will celebrate with me. That’s right. I didn’t buy friends in college, but I’ll do it now. And no, I will not explain that statement because I’m certain it’d offend many someones and get me in big trouble. So being vague and crazy and manic it works. Right? Right!?

[Be honest. You’re all now laughing at me, not with me, huh.] :\

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