limestone

Second Chance at Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma 14)

Menage Everlasting: Contemporary, Menage, Romantic Suspense, Small Town, M/F/M/M, HEA

Dispatcher, Talia Armstrong wanted Marshall, Joe and Carter Garrison almost as soon as they started working as deputies in Desire, but they’d spent months avoiding her, the guilt of their past preventing them from searching for happiness.

She liked them.

They were sexy as hell.

And she was tired of being alone.

She’s counted on passion, but not the intimacy.

When the stalker from her past returned, she brushed it off, but soon found she was fighting for her life.

The threat came from her lovers’ past, a past that left them filled with a guilt they didn’t deserve.

Loving them, she couldn’t handle being another unwanted responsibility.

Knowing her fears, they vowed to be patient.

No longer feeling guilty, they felt nothing but rage for the woman who’d cost them so much, and love and fear for the woman who’d brought happiness into their lives.

And love for her and the child she carried.

Excerpt

Marshall parked and got out, the music coming from inside the bar and the number of cars parked outside reminding him that it was ladies’ night.

He walked through the front door, finding the place as crowded as he’d expected and, to his shock, the woman he couldn’t stop thinking about.

Wearing a light blue dress and a pair of cowboy boots, with her long hair loose, she drew him like a beacon.

Stiffening at the sight of the man lowering himself onto the bar stool next to her, Marshall started forward, his stomach tightening with anger.

John Dalton, one of the owners of the bar, approached her with what appeared to be a glass of whiskey, his lips twitching when he saw Marshall. He set the glass in front of her, looking slightly relieved. “Hello, Marshall. Beer?”

Inclining his head, Marshall moved to stand behind the man sitting next to Talia. “You’re in my seat. Beat it.”

The other man, one he didn’t recognize, stiffened and turned to look up at Marshall over his shoulder, his features tight with anger.

One look at Marshall seemed to change his mind, the anger being replaced with deference.

Grabbing his hat, he slid from the stool without a word and went to join the crowd.

Looking around with fresh eyes, Marshall saw that Talia had gained the attention of several men in the bar, attention she didn’t appear to notice as she sat watching John, Michael, and one of their newest bartenders fixing drinks.

The wave of possessiveness staggered him, the idea of another man touching her filling him with a jealousy and anger he had no right to feel.

Pushing it aside, he lowered himself to the bar stool next to her, pleased that it put him in the position of being between her and everyone else.

John slid a mug of beer down the bar to him. “How’s it going, Marshall?”

Marshall set his hat on the bar and glanced at Talia, irritated that, after all the times she’d flirted with him, she wouldn’t look at him. “That remains to be seen.” Eyeing the shot of whiskey and mug of beer in front of Talia, Marshall leaned toward her, speaking just loud enough to be heard over the music. “Who’s your friend?”

Talia shrugged and took a sip of her beer, staring straight ahead. “He said his name was Bob. When you were a U.S. Marshal, did they call you Marshal Marshall?”

“Cute. No. Not if they wanted to keep their teeth.” Looking up, he met John’s gaze. “How many shots has she had?”

Talia reached for a pretzel. “None of your business.”

John smiled and refilled the pretzel and peanut bowls. “That’s her second.” Raising his voice to be heard over the music and conversation, he smiled at Marshall. “She walked here so she won’t be driving drunk. I think almost every man in here has had a turn on that stool tonight offering to give her a ride home.”

Talia tossed back her whiskey with barely a grimace, pushing the glass forward in a silent request for a refill before reaching for another pretzel. “Jeez, John. Why don’t you tell him my life story?”

John glanced at the glass with a frown. “Just telling Marshall that he doesn’t have to worry about you driving drunk. You’re sure in a mood tonight, aren’t you?”

Talia finished her pretzel and wrapped her hand around the handle of her beer mug. “I’m fine, John. It’s Friday night. The drinks are cheap, and I can sleep in tomorrow morning.”

Closing her eyes, she blew out a breath. “Shit. No, I can’t.”

Marshall reached for a handful of peanuts. “Problem?”

She glanced at her watch and took another sip of beer, meeting John’s gaze and gesturing toward her shot glass. “No. John, can I have one more?”

Marshall’s palms itched to connect with her well-rounded ass, a phenomenon that had never happened with Emily. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

Her lips twitched as she reached for another pretzel. “If I thought that, I wouldn’t have ordered another.”

He reached for a couple of the pretzels, inadvertently brushing his hand against hers. “Any particular reason you felt the need to drink tonight?”

She yanked her hand back, proof that she’d felt the jolt of awareness as strongly as he had. She took another sip of beer and smiled her thanks when John came over to refill her glass again. “If I felt the need to drink, I wouldn’t be here. I just wanted a distraction.”

“Oh?” He couldn’t help but wonder if her conversations with Joe and Carter had anything to do with her mood. “Want to talk about it?”

Talia tossed back her whiskey and finished her beer. “No.” Sliding from the stool, she reached into her pocket. “Hold on to your hat, Deputy. As soon as I leave, the women who’ve been watching you ever since you came through the door are gonna be all over you.”

Reaching out, he wrapped a hand around her forearm, unable to resist touching her again. “I’ve got your tab.”

Tossing bills on the bar, Talia laughed and jerked away from him. “No thanks. Men only buy drinks for women if they’re expecting something in return. You’ve already made it clear that you don’t want anything from me. Happy hunting.”

Stunned that the woman who’d flirted shamelessly with him for the last several months would walk away from him without a backward glance, Marshall cursed at the realization that he and his brothers’ distance had already hurt her. Getting to his feet, he threw several more bills on the bar.

John approached, raising a brow. “You going after her?”

“Damned right I’m going after her.”

John inclined his head and smiled. “It’s about damned time.”

Night Visions

(Night 4)

Menage Everlasting: Contemporary Menage a Trois Paranormal Romantic Suspense Romance, MFM, HEA

Serena Abbott had promised to marry Ian and Alastair Wyndham, who not only accepted her psychic abilities, but could help her deal with the darkness that came with them.

Her own screams woke her when she dreamed of murders, but the vision of one of her lovers betraying her with another woman proved more than she could bear.

Alarmed and fearing for peace of mind, Ian and Alastair Wyndham fought to push away the lingering horror while Ian struggled with her belief that he would betray her.

Hurt at her mistrust, Ian tried to convince her that her vision was wrong, but with a serial killer on the loose, one who targeted women who looked like Serena, he knew that he’d just have to let her see the truth for herself.

When the vision played out in front of her, she found herself at the mercy of the killer, her connection to Ian the only thing that could save her.

Excerpt

Ian holed himself up in his office for the rest of the afternoon and evening, avoiding both Alastair and Serena.

In his present mood, he thought it best to stay away from Serena, the urge to bend her over and take her from behind again, to brand her as his, far too tempting for his peace of mind.

Grateful for the vision that brought her to them, Ian scraped a hand through his hair and went to the window, staring out into the darkness.

He loved her.

Just the thought of it scared the hell out of him, but he was realistic enough to know that he wouldn’t have changed that fact even if he’d wanted to.

His possessiveness grew by the day, but her easy acceptance that their relationship wouldn’t last heightened it to the point that he wanted to imprint himself on her in a way she would never forget.

Jealous of Alastair’s ease with her, Ian went to the small bar between the bookshelves and poured himself a straight whiskey.

Alastair had made the discovery that he could shield her from the thoughts of others, allowing her to be out in public for the first time in years.

It had taken a lot of practice and nerve-wracking frustration, but Ian had finally been able to shield her from the thoughts of others.

Over time, he did it with more ease, but it annoyed him that Alastair was better at it.

Serena, however, had grown stronger and rarely needed them to block her anymore.

I don’t need you, Ian.

She could protect herself from the thoughts of others now.

I don’t need you, Ian.

She’d needed him, however, when her dreams had become dangerous, but it appeared that her mind had found a way to protect her by placing her in the position of the murderer instead of the victim.

Ian smiled to himself. He was the first to be able to get into her dreams—her visions—her nightmares.

He still didn’t understand how he’d known how to get to her, but when he’d realized that she was having one of her nightmares and that she couldn’t breathe, he’d tried to shake her awake, but she’d been too caught up in her nightmare.

Her vision.

Somehow he’d entered her dream and yanked her out, stunned by the horror of what he’d witnessed.

It left him furious to know that she’d been subjected to that kind of vision over and over.

In her last vision, she saw through the murderer’s eyes and felt the evil the murderer felt.

He didn’t know which was worse.

Her abilities continued to grow, and her belief in what she saw was absolute.

But he’d be damned if he’d let her belief in her visions keep him out of her life.

He didn’t turn when the door to his office opened, already knowing that his brother wanted to talk to him. “Where’s Serena?”

“She’s in the guest house painting again.” He eyed the glass Ian raised to his lips. “She’s really shaken.”

Ian sighed and turned. “I know that.”

Alastair raised a brow, clearly furious. “Do you? She’s in the head of that fucking demon, and it’s draining her.”

“Shit.” Ian scraped a hand through his hair and started past his brother. “She needs to cut her loose.”

Alastair caught his arm. “She won’t. She’s taking notes about everything she sees and painting it in the hopes that it’ll help the FBI catch her.”

Ian turned to face his brother. “It’s not worth it. Serena’s a strong woman but sensitive as hell. Too sensitive. What she saw is going to cause a lot of damage. She’s going to see it over and over.”

The thought of it made him sick to his stomach. “She’s going to relive it over and over. She needs to block it. If she won’t, I’ll do it for her.” He eyed his brother. “I’m surprised you haven’t done it.” He took another sip of his drink and shrugged. “You’re a hell of a lot better at it than I am. You seem to have a connection with her that I don’t.”

“Jesus, the two of you are so fucking hardheaded.” Shaking his head, Alastair grimaced. “She needs to do this, Ian. She needs to prove to herself that she can handle her gift. We need to let her. She feels threatened if she doesn’t have control, and when we take that control away from her, it brings back that feeling of helplessness she’s fought so hard to throw off.”

Ian cursed and turned back toward his desk. “So we just sit here and watch her destroy herself? We watch her live through things that are going to give her nightmares for God knows how long?”

Alastair swirled the glass of wine he held, a glass Ian hadn’t noticed. “Yes. The best we can do is help in any way we can to find this killer as soon as possible.” He took a healthy sip of his wine, grimacing as he stared down into his glass. “And to be there to help her deal with the nightmares that are sure to come.”

Raw Desire: Alison’s Awakening

(More Desire, Oklahoma 6)

Contemporary Menage a Trois Romance, MFM, HEA

Married to Dillon Tanner and Ryder Hayes, Alison found a love and happiness she’d never expected to find.

But found she couldn’t completely trust.

Her unplanned pregnancy brought all of the insecurities from her past relationship back to the surface with a vengeance and she found herself watching and waiting for her husbands to realize they no longer wanted her.

Dillon and Ryder were delighted to find out Alison carried their child, and struggled to give her the reassurance she needed.

As her body swelled with their child, they found themselves even more enthralled with her and adjusting mentally for the responsibility of a growing family.

When a threat from the past reappeared, the sense of protectiveness sharply intensified, overriding everything else.

She and the child she carried belonged to them—and they would do whatever it took to keep them.

Excerpt

Marshall Garrison, one of Desire’s new deputies, squealed tires as he came to an abrupt stop on the side of the street. He jumped out and rushed toward them, moving fast for such a big man. “What the hell? Jesus! How bad is it?”

Alison breathed deeply, fighting off the nausea caused by the pain in her hip and upper arm. “I just got a little dizzy. I’m fine.”

“Sure you are.” Marshall frowned down at her, the furious glint in his eyes sending a chill through her. “Did you call—never mind. They’re here.”

Dillon shoved his way through to her, his expression wild. “Ally? Baby, everything’ll be okay. Thanks, Rio. Give her to me.”

The anguish in his tone made her smile. “I’m fine. Just a little sore.” The pain had begun to get worse. “Please put me down. My hip and arm hurt.”

Holding her against his chest, Dillon studied her features, his own grim and pale. “Hang on, baby.”

“I’m fine. Please put me down. I’m starting to hurt, and you’re moving so fast that it’s making me sick again. My arm and my hip feel like they’re on fire.”

“Throw up if you have to, but we’ve gotta move.” Dillon strode back the way she’d come. “We’re gonna get you to Doc Hansen’s. He’s waiting for us.”

Alison pushed against Dillon’s chest. “Everyone’s staring. Put me down.”

Marshall followed them, opening the back door of the pickup as he disconnected his call. “Ambulance will meet you at Doc Hansen’s office.”

Grimacing, Dillon nodded and got into the back seat with her, cursing when she cried out in pain. “Thanks, Marshall. Did you get him?”

“He’s already in cuffs. I’m staying with you.”

Seeing Rio again, Alison gasped in horror when she saw that his T-shirt was drenched in blood. Fighting dizziness, she tried to lift her arm to point toward him, but it proved impossible. “Why are you worrying about me? Dear God! Rio’s been shot!”

Dillon ripped off his T-shirt and pressed it against her hip while Ryder, his eyes filled with fear and rage, tied a towel around her upper arm. “Rio hasn’t been shot. That’s your blood, baby. You’re the one who’s been shot. We’ve got you. I need you to calm down.”

Ignoring the pain in her arm, she focused on her hip, the one that had been broken when she’d fallen down the stairs. “The baby!”

Dillon kissed her forehead, holding his T-shirt to her hip. “Everything’s gonna be fine.” His voice, raw with agony, rumbled in his chest. “I need you to calm down. We don’t want you going into labor until it’s time. Lie still. I’m trying to slow the bleeding.”

The baby had stopped moving, which scared the hell out of her. Fighting not to panic, she forced herself to breathe as slowly and evenly as she could, flattening her hands on her abdomen and willing her baby to move.

A sob escaped. “The baby was moving before. He stopped. Oh God! What have I done?”

Ryder roared down the street, following closely behind Marshall, who used his lights and siren for the short journey. “Just calm down, baby. Everything’s gonna be fine. You didn’t do anything.”

“I yelled at him and told him to go to hell.” She sucked in a breath at the combination of pain and the fear in Ryder’s eyes and whipped her head around to see the same fear and rage in Dillon’s. Leaning forward, she touched her lips to his jaw. “You’re scared. I’ll be okay.”

Holding his T-shirt to her hip, Dillon pressed his lips to her forehead. “I know you will. Ryder and I won’t let anything happen to you or the baby.”

Struggling to hide her pain and her own fears, she leaned into him, growing weaker by the minute. “I know. This baby’s too important to all of us. With you and Ryder with us, we can get through…”

Her head began spinning, and darkness closed in.

Dillon stiffened when her voice trailed off and she slumped again him. “Fuck! Ally? Ally!”

Panicked when he saw that she’d passed out, he held on to her for dear life as they pulled into the doctor’s parking lot behind Marshall. He met Ryder’s terrified gaze. “She passed out!”

Marshall opened the door and stood aside, his eyes going wide when he saw that Alison had lost consciousness. His hard features hardened even more. “She’ll be all right. Let’s get her inside.”

Dakota Sunrise

(Dakota Heat 6)

Contemporary Menage a Trois Cowboys Romance, MFM, minor spanking, HEA

A victim of abuse at the hands of her husband, Deanna Olson suddenly had a way out.

Once at the ranch in North Dakota, she learned that her uncle had not only sold the ranch to them, but had also given them control of the money he’d left her.

She hated being dependent on them and learning that her ex-husband headed toward them, she planned her escape.

Sam Taylor and Carson Wells had no intention of letting her leave.

They’d heard her uncle’s suspicions about her abuse, but seeing it enraged them and they vowed to not only protect her, but keep her and her daughter at the ranch where they belonged.

Falling in love with her was easy, but teaching her to trust in that love proved difficult, especially when she’d known only the pain from a man who still posed a threat.

A threat Sam and Carson wanted very much to meet head-on.

Excerpt

She played the names over and over in her mind, suddenly remembering. “Yes. My uncle told me about both of you.”

You can trust Sam and Carson, Deanna.

Okay, Uncle Don.

I mean it.

I know that, but when would I ever see them? When would I need to trust them?

Who knows? But I want you to promise me that when the time comes, you’ll trust them. Both of them. They’ll do the right thing by you.

I don’t understand. Trust them with what?

Everything, and you’ll understand when the time comes. Promise me, Deanna.

I promise.

“Good. Are you ready?”

Deanna blinked. “Ready for what?”

“To leave Mississippi. Your home’s in North Dakota now.”

Glancing down at Casey and unsurprised at how intently her daughter watched Sam and Carson, Deanna sighed. “I don’t know what you’re doing here. I was going to take a bus to the ranch. I missed his funeral. I’m sorry. I didn’t find out until this morning.”

Sam glanced at Carson. “We figured that. When I called to tell you about your uncle, he answered and wouldn’t put you on the phone.”

Carson spoke for the first time. “So we came to get you.”

“How did you know where to find me?”

His eyes narrowed as if daring her to argue about it. “Stopped by the house.” He glanced at Casey. “Lots of flashing lights. Apparently the police you talked to here went out there. Once we explained things, one of them told us where to find you.”

He took a step closer and crouched in front of Casey. “Hey, Lil’ bit. You ready to go for a ride?”

Casey backed up, pressing against Deanna’s legs. “No. I stay wif Mommy.”

Carson’s tender smile transformed his features from hard and cold to breathtaking affection. “I would never take a little girl away from her mommy. Your mommy’s coming with us.”

Casey hugged her bear tighter and straightened. “Where we goin’?”

Surprised that Casey spoke to him and had actually moved closer, Deanna slid a hand over her daughter’s hair. “We’re going to a ranch, sweet pea.”

“What’s a ranch?”

Carson gave Casey another smile that made Deanna’s pulse trip. “It’s a big place with lots of land and horses. It’s getting ready to snow there, so we’d better get moving.”

“Snow?” Casey turned to look up with wide eyes at Deanna, inadvertently gripping her hand below the cast. “Mommy! I wanna see snow!”

Unable to hold back a gasp, Deanna gently worked her daughter’s fingers from hers. “We will, sweetie.”

Sam stepped forward abruptly, holding her forearm over her sling, his eyes dark with concern. “You okay?”

“I’m fine.”

Carson got to his feet, giving another smile to Casey, his own gaze concerned. “We have to be careful with Mommy.”

Nodding, Casey gently touched Deanna’s cast. “Mommy has a boo-boo. The doctor took a picture and then put a bandage on it. The nurse gave me a wowipop.”

Carson chuckled. “A grape one.”

Casey’s eyes went wide again. “How did you know? Are you magic?”

“I have my moments.” Carson turned to Deanna. “You look like you’re in pain. Didn’t they give you any painkillers?”

Deanna forced a smile, exhaustion making her legs shake. “The doctor gave me a prescription, but I didn’t want to take anything.”

Sam scowled, his expression making him appear even more intimidating. “Why the h—” He glanced at Casey. “Why not?”

“Because I’d planned to spend the night in a bus station and then on a bus filled with strangers. I have a four-year-old to look after, and I’d rather stay alert.”

Sam inclined his head. “Understandable, but that issue no longer applies. Where’s your prescription? In here?”

Deanna nodded, frowning when he took the plastic bag containing her hospital paperwork and a copy of the police report she’d made. “Yes. I’ll—”

Carson shook his head as Sam rummaged through the small bag and turned away. “You and Lil’ bit can come with me. We’ll get you settled in the truck while Sam gets your prescription.”

Remembering her uncle’s words and trusting her own instincts, Deanna nodded again and reached for Casey’s hand. “Thank you, but I don’t understand why you’re here.”

Carson shot her an angry look as he crouched in front of Casey. “We came for you. After Sam called, we waited for you to call or show up. When you didn’t, we got worried and decided to come get you ourselves.”

Almost on eye level with Casey, Carson gave her another affectionate smile. “Would it be all right if I carry you?”

Prepared for her daughter’s rejection and fear, Deanna placed a hand on Casey’s shoulder. “I don’t think—”

To Deanna stunned amazement, Casey nodded and stepped toward him. “Pookey Bear, too?”

Carson’s smile widened. “Pookey Bear, too.”

Casey lifted one arm, holding on to her stuffed bear with the other. “You won’t drop me?”

Carson picked her up, holding her securely with one arm while placing the other against Deanna’s back, silently urging her forward. “Not a chance. You’re safe with me.”

As they walked out and crossed the parking lot, Deanna leaned closer, keeping her voice low. “You handled her perfectly. If you’d reached out to pick her up, you would have scared her. How did you know not to do that?”

Carson scanned the parking lot as they crossed it. “I know skittish when I see it. You’re both skittish, but after what I’ve seen and heard, I understand why.”

Remembering suddenly, Deanna paused. “Everything’s in Jimmy’s car.”

“Where is it?”

By the time they got their things from Jimmy’s car, along with Casey’s car seat, Sam had rejoined them.

Once they’d settled in the truck, Sam turned from the driver’s seat. “Before you take a pain pill, they want you to eat something. Where’s a good place to eat around here?”

Satin and Steel

(Erotically Yours 3)

Contemporary Consensual BDSM, bondage, paddling, sex toys, HEA

The peace Beth Matthews had finally found was shattered by her new next-door neighbor.

She’d been alone since her divorce and had found a strength within herself that she’d never suspected.

Searching for peace, Joe Steel wanted to move from the city to the quiet town of Lakeside.

He hadn’t expected to meet the woman of his dreams living right next door.

Beth was everything he’d spent his life searching for and he was determined to make her his submissive.

Joe’s lovemaking made her feel like a woman in ways she hadn’t in a very long time and she couldn’t resist his proposal or the chance to feel like a woman again.

They’d barely begun when her car crash changed everything.

Her paralysis—however temporary—terrified her.

Joe understood Beth’s reasons for trying to push him away, but he loved her and had no intention of going anywhere.

Excerpt

Beth finished her grapefruit and coffee and washed her dishes before going to take a shower.

She knew she would get sweaty while she cleaned, but her eyes felt gritty from lack of sleep, and she hoped a hot shower would put her in a better mood.

Dressed in denim shorts and a bright pink T-shirt, and with her wet hair piled up in with a clip, Beth stripped the bed and started the laundry, drinking another cup of coffee before she started to clean.

Making sure she couldn’t be seen, she peered out the window, surprised to see that not only had all worked stopped but the men had all gone.

The number of trucks remaining and the sight of the two saws still standing in the yard told her that they would be back, but in the meantime, she planned to enjoy the silence.

She started on the bathrooms, cleaning them until they sparkled, planning to wait until they started making noise again before using the vacuum.

She’d just started on the kitchen when a knock sounded at the door.

Irritated at the interruption, especially when she suspected that she’d open the door to find Phil standing on her doorstep, she clenched her jaw, cursing under her breath.

“There’s no way to get any peace around here!” Dropping the bucket and cleanser she’d been using on the kitchen floor, she headed for the front door. “Phil, I told you that I’m not interested—”

She yanked the door open, snapping her mouth closed when she saw that the man standing on her doorstep wasn’t Phil.

It was him.

Sucking in a breath, she froze and stared at him, her mind going blank.

The sexuality he exuded made it difficult to breathe, and she found herself pressing a hand against her fluttering stomach, taking a deep breath.

He even smelled expensive.

Holding on to the door for support, she stared into brown eyes that glimmered with flecks of green and gold.

Dark brown hair, just long enough to brush the collar of his T-shirt framed a face too masculine to be handsome, but somehow was, the streaks of gray at his temple only adding to his appeal.

He had high cheekbones and a strong jaw, and lips that promised incredible pleasure, his bottom lip fuller than the top, and she found her own lips tingling with the anticipation of feeling them against hers.

His eyes glittered with interest and a confidence that unnerved her.

He smiled slowly, another of those knowing smiles that told her that he knew exactly what his presence did to her, a smile that instantly reignited her anger. “Good morning.”

Stiffening, she clenched her jaw, reining in her temper and giving him the cool tone she’d perfected a long time ago. “Good morning? I wouldn’t exactly call it that. A good morning would have been if I could sleep in on the first day of spring vacation.”

He had the grace to grimace, but it only drew her attention to his lips. “I’m sorry about that. I understand it’s been going on for some time.”

His deep voice had a seductive quality that wrapped her in a gossamer web of warmth and desire that had her fighting for calm.

Aware that her nipples had beaded, she stiffened and crossed her arms over her chest. “Yes, it has. Even on weekends, which is especially delightful. Saturdays and Sundays.”

His eyes flickered briefly with anger. “I know. I’m sorry. I just found out this morning. It won’t happen again. I brought—” He lifted a box she hadn’t noticed before, a box from the local donut shop.

“No. Thank you. Please tell those assholes to keep it quiet. Good-bye.”

Shaking by her own response to his presence, she slammed the door, leaning back against it and struggling to catch her breath.

It had been years since she’d felt anything even resembling desire, and it had never even been close to the bubbling heat now flowing through her veins.

Slowly sinking to the floor, she wrapped her arms around her knees and took several steadying breaths, which did very little to steady her.

Listening for any sound, she sat that way for several minutes, stiffening when she heard his car start from her driveway.

Jumping to her feet, she rushed toward the kitchen window, peering out from the side so he couldn’t see her.

Keeping a hand pressed to her belly, she watched him through his windshield. After sitting motionlessly for several heart-stopping seconds, he unexpectedly lifted his gaze to zero in on hers through the window.

With a gasp, she hurriedly stepped away, tripping over the bucket of cleaning supplies and landing hard on her bottom.

“Damn it!”

Bringing her knees up, she wrapped her arms around them again and listened for his car to drive away, her heart pounding.

Even after she heard his car pull out and she got to her feet to watch it disappear down the street, it was several minutes before she drew a steady breath.

“Get a grip, Beth. It’s only a man. Hell, you don’t even know his name.”

Realizing that she’d made a fool of herself in front of him, she inwardly cursed, promising herself that she’d be better prepared if she ever encountered him again.

Burning Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma: The Founding Fathers 4)

Cowboys Historical Romantic Suspense Romance, with BDSM elements, light spanking, HEA

With her home burned to the ground and her family dead, Esmerelda Johnson headed to the Circle T ranch to find safety.

After riding all day and through the night, she found herself caught in a thunderstorm, which spooked her horse into throwing her and dragging her with him across the rough ground.

The men she’d seen in the distance appeared, one of them jumping from his own saddle and using nothing but brute force, forced Lucky to a halt.

Duke Faulkner held her close and rode back to the ranch to tend her injuries.

Finding it impossible to let anyone else care for her, he claimed her as his own.

Fighting his guilt for not being able to save his first wife, he found Esmerelda’s strength and bravery irresistible.

Shaken by the threat to her from the man who’d killed her family, Duke vowed to protect her—no matter the cost.

Excerpt

Esmerelda jolted upright and hurriedly covered her ankle with the hem of her muddy skirt. “It’ll be fine. I just need to rest it a bit.”

Duke wrapped a hand around her calf, trying to ignore its softness. “Let’s see if she can move it.”

“I don’t want to move it.” Esmerelda tried to pull away, but Duke held firm. “Let go.”

Dread at the pain he would be causing her filled him with a sense of helplessness that ignited his temper. “Look, Red. Either you can move it or I will. If you can move it, we know it’s a sprain and can wrap it. If you can’t, it’s broken, and Will is gonna have to set it. We gotta know one way or the other.”

Esmerelda lifted her chin, trying not to cry at the thought of them setting her ankle. “My name is Esmerelda.”

Only the tenderness in his eyes and the memory of the gentle way he’d held her gave her the courage to defy him.

Seeing him in the light, without his jacket and hat, she found herself scared to death of him.

The first thing she’d noticed about him had been his strength. He’d single-handedly caught a galloping horse and brought him to a stop using nothing more than brute strength.

Even while watching it, she hadn’t believed what she saw with her own eyes and had braced herself to be trampled by him or have him fall on her.

He’d done neither—holding on to Lucky’s bridle with a fierce determination that he would win or die trying.

The scar that ran down the side of his face should have detracted from his compelling handsome features but, instead, added a sense of danger and raw masculinity made even starker by his shaved head.

His lips thinned, and he adjusted his hold on her ankle, the little sparks of awareness travelling up her leg unnerving her. “I know what your name is. Now, are you gonna try to move your foot, or am I?”

Panicked to recognize the same determination to get his way, Esmerelda whipped out a hand. “Don’t touch it! I’ll do it.”

He nodded once, appearing relieved. “Then do it.”

The man at her side smiled encouragingly. “Real easy. No sense in making it worse. Duke and I just need to be sure.”

Duke. It suited him.

He smiled again. “By the way, my name’s Will, and that pretty lady holding on to you is Sarah.”

Duke made a noise in his throat that sent a chill down her spine. “We can make introductions later, Will. You ready, Red?”

Will sighed and smiled at Esmerelda, shaking his head. “Duke’s bedside manner stinks, but he’s a great cook, so nobody says anything.”

Duke’s gaze narrowed as he shot the other man an icy look. “We’re supposed to be helping her—not courting her.” He turned his gaze back to hers again, the anger in it confusing. “Go on, Red.”

Sucking in a breath, and aware of the tense silence and rapt attention of everyone gathered, she turned to smile her thanks at Sarah, who reached out to take her hand, before turning back to look at her swollen ankle.

Squeezing the other woman’s hand, she sucked in another breath and shifted her gaze to focus on the way Duke’s large, darker hand contrasted with her pale leg and slowly moved her ankle.

Flexing her foot proved more difficult than she would have thought, probably due to the swelling, but she did it.

Swallowing a moan of pain, she gently lowered it again, lifting her gaze again to meet Duke’s, smiling through the pain at the relief in his eyes. “I did it.”

Several shouts of excitement came from all around her, and she looked over to see a sea of grinning faces.

Duke squeezed her calf and gently lowered her foot again. “So you did.”

Will’s smile was followed by a sigh. “I can wrap that up, but we need to know where else you’re hurt.”

Not about to tell them about the raw flesh on her inner thighs and the cuts and bruises she felt on her bottom, Esmerelda shook her head, her gaze going to Sarah’s. “I’m fine. Please. Just sore.”

Sarah nodded and smiled before lifting her gaze to the tall Indian beside her. “Blade, we need to take her to our house. I can help her take a bath, and she can wear one of my dresses.” She turned to Duke. “I can check out her injuries. Please. This is the most crowded place on the ranch. Men are coming and going all day. You can’t embarrass her that way. Once she has her bath, you can give her some laudanum.”

Esmerelda stared in fascination at the sight of the hard features of the tall Indian softening at the pleading look in Sarah’s. “Please. I promise I won’t lift her or hurt myself.”

Duke straightened. “No. I’ll carry her.” He stared at Blade as if daring him to refuse.

Esmerelda reached out to Duke, pleased when he immediately turned to her. “Thank you.”

She turned to Sarah. “And thank you. Being stripped out of my clothes in a room full of men is more than I can take.”

Duke smiled and glanced at Will. “I guess that’s settled. Stay here while we get your bath ready, and I’ll come get you.”

Law of Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma 13)

Contemporary Menage a Trois Romantic Suspense Romance, M/F/M, spanking, sex toys, HEA

Krystal Kane lived with memories of the men she loved and been forced by family obligations to push away.

Her fantasies kept her going, but she knew that the two men who wanted to share her couldn’t want any more than an affair.

When her mother died, she wanted nothing more than to get away, not wanting to hear from them the words that would end the fantasy.

Needing them more than ever, she fought the overwhelming desire to call them, only to look up, and find them standing there.

Rafe Delgatto and Linc Barrett had waited for Krystal for years, unable to forget the woman who’d stolen their hearts.

They rushed to her side as soon as they learned she needed them, and quickly whisked her to the home they’d made for her.

She could heal in Desire, Oklahoma, while they proved to her that their love was real—and protect her from a threat they hadn’t anticipated.

Excerpt

Determined to put Rafe and Linc out of her mind, she focused on her mother and the memories of the past and happier times.

During the next hour, her mother’s breathing slowed even more.

Krystal focused on each breath, each time wondering if it would be her mother’s last one, sucking in another breath each time her mother did.

It hurt, but she didn’t cry.

She didn’t even know if she could anymore.

She’d known this time would come, but now that it was close, she felt so distant from it all, as if she dreamed it.

She pinched her own hand several times over the next few hours, half believing that she was dreaming and would wake up to see that her mother had woken from her nap.

She ached for Rafe and Linc, but she vowed to herself that she wouldn’t call them until she’d settled somewhere.

The doctor appeared again, using his stethoscope to listen to her mother’s heart. “Are you all right?”

Nodding, Krystal ran her thumb over the top of her mother’s hand. “I’m fine.”

“I’m sorry. You’ve been so strong.”

She felt like a fraud. She wasn’t strong at all. Lifting her gaze to his, she shook her head and forced a polite smile. “I wish I was.”

Dr. Smith smiled and lightly patted her hand. “You are. Most people wouldn’t do what you’ve done.”

“She’s my mother.”

He gestured toward her mother’s tray. “It looks like Maggie brought you some soup.”

Krystal barely glanced at it. “That was nice of her.” Turning back to her mother, she eyed Dr. Smith. “Is there any chance?”

Straightening, he tucked his stethoscope into his pocket, his sympathetic smile bringing a lump to Krystal’s throat. “I’m sorry.”

Forcing another smile, Krystal nodded. “Thank you for all you’ve done. You’ve been very kind.”

Minutes after the doctor left, Krystal’s mother drew her last breath.

Krystal waited, expecting her mother to take another as she had for the last several hours, but it didn’t come.

Her mother had passed away.

Still holding her hand, Krystal sat there, wondering why she didn’t cry.

Time stood still for her, her mind blank.

She stared at her mother’s hand in hers, suddenly feeling completely alone.

When thoughts of Rafe and Linc started to creep in, she ruthlessly pushed them back, her throat clogged with the tears she couldn’t shed.

She needed Rafe and Linc more than she’d ever needed anything in her life, but she wouldn’t call them.

Calling them would be the most selfish thing she could have done, and she wouldn’t burden them any more than she already had.

They would come if she called. All she had to do was pick up the phone and they would be on their way.

Knowing that made it even more difficult to resist calling them.

The feeling of having her entire life ahead of her hit her hard, the enormity of it overwhelming.

She couldn’t let herself think of anything except the next step.

She had to finish taking care of her mother.

She’d already pre-paid for her mother’s funeral and had only to make the arrangements.

Her mother had lost contact with all of her friends when Krystal’s father had been sick, and she didn’t really expect anyone to come.

She would get a taxi and go to the funeral home. She didn’t relish the thought of lugging her three suitcases along with her purse, but she would just have to figure out a way to do it.

She kissed her mother’s cold hand and tucked it under the covers, just as Maggie appeared on the other side of her mother’s bed. “She’s gone.”

“Yes.” Maggie tucked her mother’s other hand under the covers. “She’s at peace now.”

“I hope so. She’s earned it.”

Her mother would finally be with her father again, the man she considered her soul mate.

Krystal had never believed in such a thing, but after experiencing the kind of happiness she hadn’t known existed with Rafe and Linc, and the empty loneliness since she pushed them away, she wondered if it could be possible to have two soul mates.

“So have you.” Maggie smiled and wiped away a tear that Krystal couldn’t shed. “I hope you find the happiness and peace that you deserve.”

“Thank you.” Krystal glanced at Maggie and started to stand, surprised that her legs wouldn’t support her. “I have to go to the funeral home and make final arrangements.”

Maggie frowned and shook her head. “I wish you would call those men of yours.”

Krystal shook her head, glancing at the three suitcases that stood in the corner, dreading the thought of trying to carry them. “They’re not mine anymore.”

“We beg to differ.”

With a gasp, Krystal spun, her knees giving out at the sight of Rafe and Linc striding into the room toward her.

Night Shadows

(Night 3)

Erotic Contemporary Paranormal Menage a Trois Romance, M/FM, HEA

Serena Abbott’s relationship with Ian and Alastair Wyndham was anything but normal. Her psychic abilities presented a challenge that neither man could ignore. Her abilities grew with her confidence, and the very real threat that she could one day read their minds stood between them. Because of it, she kept a distance between them that frustrated both of them.

While their love and passion for each other continued to grow, her growing and changing abilities had begun to terrify them. Serena had begun to get into the minds of people being murdered and, to Alastair’s and Ian’s horror, when the victims died, Serena started to go with them.

They could protect her from a physical threat, but was afraid that they couldn’t protect her from the visions that threatened to take her from them.

Fearing that she could one day read their minds and change everything, she fought letting them in—something neither one of them could allow.

Excerpt

Leaning against Ian, and with Alastair rubbing her feet that he’d pulled onto his lap, Serena stared at the fire. “You two don’t have to stay up with me.”

Ian pressed his lips to her hair. “There’s no place I’d rather be.”

Lifting her head, she turned to look up at him. “Are you still mad at me?”

Gripping her chin, he ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “I was never mad at you. At times I get frustrated at the situation. But the thought of you married to someone else infuriates me.”

Cupping the back of her head, he urged her to lay her head on his chest again. “We’ll figure it out. You and I need to do some practicing, though.”

Drowsy, but afraid of falling asleep, Serena sat up again. “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll get into that hard head of yours?”

Alastair handed her the glass of brandy he’d poured for her and swirled his own. “I’m sure Ian’s head is filled with the same lecherous thoughts I have of you.”

Ian’s lips twitched. “True. That could make for some very interesting conversations.”

A sudden thought occurred to her. “When he shot me, I heard someone call my name and the barrier slammed down. Which one of you did that?”

Ian slid a fingertip down her body where her robe had slipped, lightly caressing the curve of her breast. “We both did it together. You were crying out and thrashing on the bed. Scared the fuck out of me. Both Alastair and I grabbed you, but you fought us as if it was part of your dream. I turned on the light, and we both kept calling your name, but you didn’t seem to hear either one of us.”

Alastair leaned closer to her, his fingers dancing over her hair. “We couldn’t get to you, and we both panicked.”

Laying a hand on her knee, Ian lightly caressed her. “Since we couldn’t pull you out, we slammed the door.”

Serena smiled. “And shut everything else out for me. I’m impressed. I’m just glad you waited until the end. It gave me the chance to see everything.”

Ian’s lips thinned. “If I’d known what you were dreaming, I would have slammed the fucking thing down sooner.”

Amused at his outrage, Serena laid her hand over his. “No. I need to see.”

Turning his hand, he took hers in his. “You don’t need to see that kind of ugliness. You’ve seen enough of it in your life.”

Touched, she smiled. “I appreciate your concern, but—”

“Fuck that!” Ian took her brandy from her and handed it to Alastair before pulling her back down to recline against him. “It’s more than fucking concern, and I’m not going to let you go through shit like this again.”

With a sigh, Alastair rose. “Here we go again.”

Serena scrambled from Ian’s lap, whirling around to face him. “You’re not going to let me?”

Ian raised a brow and got to his feet, his hands on his hips as he towered over her. “That’s right. I’m not going to let you put yourself through that again.”

“I need to see, damn it! There’s a reason I have this ability—”

Ian raised a brow. “I see you’re no longer calling it a gift.”

Hating the disadvantage of arguing with someone a foot taller, Serena jumped up to stand on the sofa. “I have this gift for a reason, Ian. I see what I’m supposed to see. What I need to see.”

Closing his hands on her waist, Ian steadied her. “You don’t need to see things like that. Christ, it’s worse than watching a horror movie, and you wouldn’t be caught dead watching one of them. Hell, you cry when they show the commercials about abused animals!”

“What kind of person abuses animals?”

Ian smiled. “People who don’t deserve to live. The point is, baby, you have a soft heart, and you don’t need to have the kind of dreams that scare you so much that you don’t want to go back to sleep. You’ve had enough ugliness in your life.”

Serena stomped her foot on the cushion and would have lost her balance if Ian hadn’t tightened his hands on her waist. “I need to see whatever I’m supposed to see. Maybe it would be better if I move out.”

Ian’s eyes narrowed. “I dare you to try.”

“Damn it, Ian!”

Ian gathered her close, turning and lowering them both to the sofa again, settling her on his lap. “I can’t stand to see you this way.”

“You piss me off.”

“Back atcha, baby. Don’t threaten to leave again.”

“It wasn’t a threat.”

Pulling her down to recline against him, Ian tugged her braid. “Careful.”

Alastair handed Serena her brandy and sat at her feet again, pulling them onto his lap. “Serena, neither Ian nor I can allow you to move out. We’d worry about you constantly. We can protect you here, and you know damned well you need us.”

“I’m sick and tired of needing you.” She took a large sip of brandy, coughing at the burn.

Alastair covered her with the soft throw she kept on their designer sofa, lifting a brow as he took her glass. “We need you, too.”

“I still think it might be better if I can get my own place. Maybe an apartment in the city.”

Ian pulled the throw higher and put his arms around her, lacing his fingers together and settling back. “Tying you to the bed is starting to sound better and better.”

Desire, OK Founding Fathers Trilogy

Dakota Heat Anthology 2

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