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Excerpt from Handsome Devil.
Several hours later, Jason woke up. Feeling marginally better for his nap, he wondered why he was so restless. Shrugging, he went into his bathroom. When he came out, he was knotting a towel around his hips. A little while in the jacuzzi might settle me, he mused. He walked into the jacuzzi room, dropping his towel on the wide, tiled edge.
At that moment, he saw her. Chiara was lying in the jacuzzi, nude, eyes closed. Before he could take a step back, grab his towel, the scent of Jason’s skin reached her nostrils. She smiled, whispering, “It’s a dream…” Slowly opening her eyes, she realized she hadn’t been dreaming. Jason was here, beside her — naked. Their eyes met and held. A desperate desire for him began to gnaw at her.
Jason, experienced in intimate relationships, saw the hunger in her eyes, which matched his own feelings exactly. Not bothering with his towel, he knelt by her, intent on capturing her luscious mouth in a sweet, gentle kiss.
The moment his mouth touched hers, he realized that a soft little kiss would not be enough for him, nor for her, probably. Ah, no. Slipping into the water beside her, he took her in his arms, parting her lips with the tip of his tongue. As she opened her mouth to him, his tongue danced with hers, beginning to explore the inside of her mouth, his caresses becoming more passionate with every breath he took. Ah, this is so good…
Jason felt her arms slip around him, one elegant hand toying with the hair curling at his nape, as she pressed herself against him. He knew exactly when she felt the hard, virile length of his erection throbbing against her body, because she sighed into his mouth.
Somehow, he managed to lift Chiara from the jacuzzi, dragging her to the soft, silk carpeting surrounding the tiled area nearest the jacuzzi. He couldn’t ask her to give herself to him, the feeling between them was too strong, too erotic to be disturbed by words. He became aware that Chiara was responding to him passionately. Is it possible that she wants me as much as I want her? Stretching her out on the soft carpet, he began a deeply passionate inspection of her body, quickly realizing how beautifully made she was, her bones delicate and elegant, her breasts lovely—and fitting his palms so enticingly. He bent his dark head, his mouth caressing one breast. Kissing his way up to the rose-pink nipple, he took it into his mouth, licking and laving, then suckling with increasing sensuality and enticement. After a while, his mouth sought her other nipple, and he spent some time there, aware that her body had begun to match his own pelvic movements, her passion arousing him even further.
Continuing his caresses, Jason sighed, “Touch me…”
After a slight hesitation, Chiara’s hand began its slow journey down to his pulsing, throbbing erection. At last, he saw her gaze at his naked body, heard her little gasp—probably at the sheer size of him, he thought complacently. He was delightedly surprised to feel her hand try to encircle him, even more amazed to feel her bend down to the head of his penis, licking with unexpected eroticism. He felt her catching a drop of his essence which he knew was escaping from the tip. He was past surprising when she took his penis into her mouth. Thee mou, what she makes me feel… He noticed her other hand caressing his sac, playing very gently with the swollen testes, her gold-flecked eyes huge, and full of wonder, when she lifted her head at last.
She aligned herself with him again, reaching up to kiss his mouth, sighing, “Jason…please,” against his lips.
With one smooth, practised movement, he slid her beneath him. “Open for me?” he whispered, and he was secretly amused to feel her part her knees quickly. Sighing his pleasure, he caressed the inside of her slender, toned thighs. He felt Chiara shaking under his hands, as he entered her with one long, deep thrust. Thee mou, she’s deliciously tight… When she uttered one sharp little cry, Jason stopped instantly. “I hurt you…” She shook her head. He smiled. It was as he had thought, she was evidently reacting to the sheer size of him. This stirred his male ego deeply. From that moment on, all his attention was on Chiara: her beautiful body, her eager, surprising response to him. He withdrew, in order to go deeper with his next thrust, and was touched and enchanted to hear her protest against what she probably thought was his leaving her. He tightened his embrace, seeking her mouth with all the passion he felt for her, his tongue imitating the sexual act, while he slid his hard, virile length still deeper into her hot, silken depths.
During his flings, his control had always been absolute, but this time, with Chiara, he began to wonder… Would he be able to hold himself back long enough for her to experience what he was beginning to think was probably her first orgasm? There was the familiar prickle at the base of his spine, and he almost sighed with relief when he felt, at the same moment, the beginnings of spasms deep inside her. He thrust harder, deeper, feeling his heavy length thickening, hardening still more. He thrust one more time—and they were there, together, in a mind-blowing orgasm that shook him with the extent of his passion, taking him unexpectedly to new heights of surpassing rapture, as he came and came, in hot, seemingly endless surges that flooded the very depths of her. He gazed at Chiara, and realized that her ecstatic little sigh meant that she felt exactly the same. Jason remained where he was, to give her all he could during her little after-spasms, safe in his embrace, until their breathing and heartbeats slowed.
After some time, he heard, “Jason…” Her voice was the merest whisper.
Jason was reluctant to lift himself away from her, but felt he must. A sudden jolt of elation coursed through him, when he felt her hands on his buttocks, holding him in place. He sighed. “Chiara, forgive me for breaking my promise, but I couldn’t help myself. When I saw you, so beautiful, so infinitely desirable, lying in the jacuzzi, all my lofty promises of not consummating our marriage…” He sighed against her mouth, finally continuing, “…were forgotten. I had to have you.” Taken aback by her stillness, he pleaded, “Please forgive me for making love to you. I promise I’ll never force myself on you again.”
He tightened his embrace, loving the feeling of her breasts soothing his chest, her hands caressing his back. Caressing my back? Is it possible she wanted this, too?
Just then, he heard her gentle voice, her lips so close to his ear that he felt her soft breath. “You must’ve noticed I didn’t fight you off? That I gave myself to you willingly? Nothing to forgive, Jason. Of course, if this was a-an…anomaly on your part, we’ll say no more about it. But I’d dearly like to know why you made love to me — or were you having sex with me, Jason?”
Nuzzling her throat, he quickly said, “Of course I made love to you, meli mou, surely you could tell?”
“How would I know that, Jason?”
He felt his heart stand still. “Thee mou, you were a virgin?” He more sensed than saw her shy little nod. “And I thrust into you as if… I must’ve hurt you… I’m so very sorry.”
Chiara shook her head, hesitantly tightening her arms around him. To him, it felt as if she wanted to prevent his escaping. As if. She whispered, “Just for one moment, there was a little pain, but you stopped, asking if you had hurt me, and in that moment the pain began to disappear, and then it was completely gone. All I could feel was you.”
Jason smiled into her eyes. “You are, as usual, too generous, agape mou…” He was surprised to find Chiara interrupting him, frowning, her fingers touching his mouth.
“Jason, please don’t say that to me unless you mean it, and how could you possibly mean that? A woman who agreed to marry you to keep your grandfather off your back, protect you from the avid Eleni… You’ve told me often enough that love does not exist, only pleasure. And you’ve even mentioned you have a very short attention span where women are concerned.”
They were still joined, and Jason realized he was becoming hard again. He frowned, sighing, “Believe me, when I say you are unlike anyone I’ve ever been with.” Tightening his embrace, he went on, “You mustn’t compare yourself to these women I had an occasional fling with. I won’t have it. With you, everything is different. Don’t you feel that?”
“Is it, Jason? Different with me? I’d like to believe that…”
“Believe it, because it’s true. Tell me you felt it too. Maybe it is because we’re great friends.” He shrugged. “When I was having a fling, there was nothing back of it. All there was, was…” he shrugged again. “Well, you know what there was, nothing.”
Quietly, Chiara said, “And for ‘nothing’ you left the office early, wasted time on endless phone calls from an unreasonably demanding slut, took a long week-end to be with her?” She looked away from Jason, who drove his fingers through his hair in despair. Peony again, dammit. Can’t she see the difference between herself and all the Peony-clones? Deeply unhappy, he decided to try again.
“Chiara…” His passionate mouth was very close to hers, and he felt her excited shiver when he brushed her lips with his. “For a very brief while, that last playmate amused me. You know there will never be another. You also know we had been working very hard, not to mention my grandfather’s daily onslaughts. I just wanted a little R and R, and you have to admit you never gave me the slightest inkling that you might be willing to be with me.” He tightened his hold on her. “If you had, that would’ve made a vast difference. You know that, don’t you?” To his relief, Chiara’s eyes became gold-flecked again, as she slowly shook her head, staring at him in amazement.
“You mean that you would’ve…” Chiara felt Jason’s erection, steel-hard and virile, growing back into her. “J-Jason…?” she whispered.
“Do you want to be with me? Because if you do, yes, I can.” He bent his dark head and caught her luscious mouth under his, teasing and nipping at her full lower lip, then swiftly soothing and laving with his velvet tongue. “Well? If you don’t want me, tell me now, while I can still stop.” His black eyes caressed her with his desire for her.
“Jason—I don’t want you to stop…” He suddenly felt a great tenderness for the shy, virginal woman in his arms. Stirring his hard, heavy length inside her, he was amused at her sudden, breathless gasp.
“Agape mou,” he moaned, and began to make love to her again. Slowly, this time, careful not to hurt her again, building a rhythm for them that brought them surprisingly quickly to orgasm. And when he finally took her with him to the stars, in blissful ecstasy, he realized that only with Chiara had he ever reached such heights of rapture.
Lying there with her in his arms, waiting for their breathing and heartbeat to slow, a vague thought kept nagging at him. He frowned, wondering what was bothering him. And then he realized. He and Chiara had had unprotected sex. Now that he knew she was a virgin, he also knew that she couldn’t have been protected against pregnancy. And all thought had gone out of his head, when he first saw Chiara, nude, in the jacuzzi. In any case, he hated condoms. Thee mou… She might be pregnant with his child, even now…
Excerpt from Sullivan's Choice
Thaddeus Jones gulped when his paralegal sauntered into the office twenty minutes late. His tongue got stuck to the roof of his mouth and he’d swear every ounce of spit dried up. Where the hell did she get those shoes?
The black stiletto heels elevated her legs and shortened the calf muscles to their best advantage. He salivated, wanting to run his hands along the back of her well-toned legs.
Get a grip! This isn’t a restaurant, and she is definitely not on the menu.
She noticed him then. Had he been staring? She gave him that irritating finger-tipped wave of hers.Rather than give her the satisfaction of seeing him slack-jawed and sweating, he gathered himself and strode over to her desk intending to find out why she’d been late.
“Ms. Sullivan—“ he began.
“Mr. Jones,” she smiled then turned her back on him. As she bent over to place the feedbag she called a purse beneath her desk, every thought in his head evaporated. The stiletto-heeled confection in front of him tempted him to within an inch of his ironclad control.
She straightened and smiled, “Yes?”
The tease. His hands fisted at his sides to keep from reaching out and grabbing her by the hips and pulling her deliciously curvy bottom hard up against him.
Did she know what she did to him? Her smile said yes, but her manner said no. When he just stood there, she shrugged and sat down, powering up her computer and monitor for the day. By the time she’d accessed the company e-mail account, he was fully in control and irritated that he’d momentarily lost it.
She tilted her head to one side and finally asked, “For?”
Why did this one woman have the power to simultaneously excite then frustrate him? He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from shouting at her, managing a clipped tone, “Your excuse?”
“Excuse?” She had the gall to feign innocence.
Deciding to play her game and use body language to his advantage, he perched on the edge of her workstation and crossed his arms. “Why were you late?”
An emotion he would have said was fear flashed in the depths of her exotic-shaped eyes. He’d seen the reaction countless times in the courtroom and was ready for her to lie to him.
She dipped her head down, fiddled with the mouse and finally looked back up at him. “I…um—“
She blinked and a thin sheen of moisture filled her expressive eyes.
Damn! Was it her mother? All of the partners in the firm knew about Mrs. Sullivan.
“There was an accident on Route 287.”
Relief speared through him. She was obviously unhurt and therefore only delayed because of the accident. Her tardiness had nothing to do with her fragile comatose mother. He rose and stepped back. “Have you ever thought of leaving fifteen minutes earlier?”
She nodded and slowly smiled. “Every day.”
Flummoxed by her reply, he had to ask, “Has the thought ever morphed into action?”
Her smile faltered. “Not yet.”
“You might want to give it a try tomorrow. I need the Simpson brief and the interrogatories completed by five o’clock this afternoon, but expect another case to hit my inbox before then.”
Nodding that she understood, the thorn in his side got up and swept past him to the break room. A hint of something soft and subtle teased him. He inhaled and was swept back in time to summer and the beach. Baby Oil? Shaking his head, he watched her walk away.
Excerpt from Dance of Love
London, England December 5, 1889
Life, Adrianna Sinclair realized, brought great joy and extreme heartache. It was how you dealt with the sweet, bittersweet and yes, the sour moments of life that determined your strength. This way of thinking had always served her well in the past
A light snow fell as Adrianna stood in front of the Ballet de la Rose Anglais on Rose Lane. Although it was not the Royal Theatre, the la Rose was highly respected in the world of dance and when Lord James Minden traveled to Paris in order to offer her the position of Prima Ballerina she could not believe her luck. He was offering Adrianna her heart’s desire. She loved dance with a passion and all of her sacrifices had led to this point in her life. With a fond farewell to her friends and fellow dancers, Adrianna packed her bags and returned to England. And her past heartbreak…Christian.
Christian. Simply thinking his name conjured a plethora of feelings. Some wonderful, others sad. Christian Tremont, the Duke of Aimsworth, had been the love of her life.
She met him when he accompanied his friend backstage after a performance where her friend Violet shone in the lead of the ballet Giselle. While Violet spoke with her admirer, Adrianna stole glances of the handsome dark headed lord, never imagining he would be the man to introduce her to the wonders of love or heartbreak.
Her loving mother warned her of the dangers the young lords could represent to a beautiful young dancer but there was just something—a warmth—about Christian that drew her toward his flame. Looking back, she wished she’d listened to her mother. For the intense fire that burned between her and Christian seared them both, leaving them scared and wounded and ultimately alone.
Duty was a foul four letter word but one Adrianna eventually came to understand. Despite the pain of their parting, Adrianna cherished the time they had spent together. Her heart was never hers after willingly and lovingly gifting it to Christian. Time had softened the hurt and distance offered clarity.
Her personal introspection was interrupted when she felt a tap on her shoulder.
“I am sorry madam, I did not mean to startle you. But it is beginning to rain, let us remove to the theatre so you may have a look around,” Lord Minden’s secretary, Mister Tidwell, said as he ushered her up the stairs to the entranceway of the theatre.
“You will be introduced to the company on Monday which will be the first day of practice. We hold practice everyday. We are a family off and on stage. If there is anything you need, do not hesitate to ask.”
Adrianna nodded her head in acknowledgement of the dance schedule, as she absorbed the beauty of the theatre. It took her breath away. It was unlike anything she had ever seen. It was not just grand, the word Stately came to mind. The perfect stage. A sense of peace and belonging came over her as she stood there absorbing the ambiance. She was home.
“It does take ones breath away, does it not, my dear? The Minden Family has done well with their holdings and this theatre is highly respected, but I don’t need to tell you that. The Minden family has owned and operated the Ballet de la Rose Anglais since 1799. In that time, they created a ballet school as well as a troop that is highly respected in the world of dance.”
Adrianna nodded. It was as prestigious to dance with the Ballet de la Rose Anglais as it was to dance with either the Royal Ballet or Russian Ballet.
The tour continued and by this time they had made their way down the elegant hallway, past the grand staircase to the upper floors, which she knew held the private boxes. They stepped past the entrance of the main hallway and into the theatre proper. She found herself holding her breath in anticipation.
The stage was a dream. Red velvet curtains with gold trim were opened to a dark blue velvet curtain which in turn opened to garnet curtains. The frescoed ceiling holding the crystal, gas light chandeliers added to the charm and elegance of the chamber.
“I’m very honored by being offered a chance to dance with this company.” Adrianna’s gaze tracked around the room. “There is magic here, Mister Tidwell. You can feel the passion of the dancers that have graced the stage before me.”
“Er, yes, well…I will inform the director you are here so you can meet. He will further tell you what he will need and require.”
Adrianna tried to suppress her smile but knew she failed. The stage was calling her—the siren’s song stronger here than it had been elsewhere. Yes, magic was afoot; she had made the correct decision when she decided to leave Paris. It was time to stop running from her past and to face her very promising future.
Excerpt from Love Fang
In her Tudor cottage, Dr. Lauren Marsh was assembling her specialty salad, loaded with almonds and artichoke hearts, and topped with her homemade raspberry vinaigrette. She could splurge on the salad with Lean Cuisine as the main course. Just ten pounds to go before she’d squeeze back into her favorite jeans and possibly get up the courage to join Match.com.
She’d been a runner in college, but once she hit dental school, the books took precedence. Now that she had her own practice, work accounted for her lack of exercise, as well as for her messy house. And getting home to her little Chihuahua was more important than stopping at the gym. Smokey would be waiting patiently for her, legs crossed in rapt anticipation.
After dinner and their nightly walk, Lauren soaked in her tub, brushed and flossed her teeth, and then spent more time than she should have searching for her retainer. She found it in the middle of Smokey’s stash of dog biscuits on the bathroom floor. She really did need to get organized.
As she crawled under the covers of her queen-sized bed, she bent over to turn off the bedside lamp and kiss Smokey on the head. She had high hopes for sharing her big bed with someone besides her dog. “I’m making this promise, here and now,” she said to Smokey. “The next guy I date is going to be sexy and exciting. I want to experience that ‘weak in the knees’ feeling, whatever that is.”
Night person that she was, she tossed and turned for an hour before getting up to pop some microwave popcorn, settle into her living room couch, and dig between the overstuffed cushions for the romance novel hidden there. Even farther under the cushions lurked her state-of-the-art vibrator, capable of thrusting, spinning, and tickling with one flick of the switch. Lauren pulled it out and stared at it for a few minutes.
“Hello, friend. I guess it’s just you and me.”
* * * *
John had morphed into bat form for his nightly rounds. He liked to wait until the real bats ended their initial feeding frenzy because he’d gotten pummeled one night by a particularly large female who wanted more than her share of mosquitoes.
With his gum throbbing, he knew it wouldn’t be a long night, but he needed a decent pint of blood to endure the dental procedure tomorrow. He wouldn’t kill his victim, so any respectable drunk would do. He chose a vagrant who was curled up in a gutter, sleeping it off, empty bottle at his side. Swooping in silently, he targeted the jugular, and the guy never knew what bit him, even when John issued a loud “Ouch!” Unfortunately, feeding on a drunk meant the blood alcohol level was high, and when John fluttered off, he crashed into a wall.
Morning was a welcome relief as he eased himself into his coffin. Before Doreen closed the lid, he asked, “What does one wear to a dental appointment?”
“Well, definitely not your cape. I’ll go to the mall today and pick up something casual. Everything in black, of course.” She rubbed her hands together. “One more thing.” She looked at his very long, razor-sharp fingernails. “You’ll need to cut your nails before your appointment, so I’d better wake you just a bit early.”
“Any other traits I should disguise?”
“Hmm,” she said, tapping her finger to her lips. “Well, you could use a good dousing with Old Spice because that musky odor you exude is a real sex magnet. You need your dentist to be concentrating on the work at hand, not thinking about how much she’d like to mate with you. So please be liberal with the after shave.”
“You have a tendency to slip into the King’s English. Remember this is the 21st Century. And please be careful with your eyes. She’s bound to be suspicious if they start glowing red.”
“That only happens when I’m aroused,” John said. “And I’m in too much pain for that.”
“Okay, one last question before nighty-night,” Doreen said. “Why is it that you have the strength of a locomotive and are nearly impossible to kill, yet you can’t fix your own tooth?”
“I have no idea. It’s my only weakness, unless you count my allergies and a stake in the heart,” he said, hands crossing chest in his sleep position.
“Right. And beautiful women,” Doreen said as she lowered the lid to his coffin. Speaking to the closed lid, she added, “I have a feeling temptation is just a dental chair away.”