Tag Archives: Excerpt

A Snippet from Concierge Service

Hi, guys!

There really has been a book brewing all this time. Concierge Service, featuring Joshua Hannes, concierge in one of New York City’s premier hotels and Craig Ridley, the guest in the penthouse suit, is in the final stages  of launching.

I should give you a taste, shouldn’t I?  Here’s our two guys, sitting down together for the first time. Craig’s in New York on business, has chased his CFO out of the penthouse suite for being a pain in the ass, and plans to test her assertion that the concierge desk could provide anything he desires. So he’s called downstairs for a “rent-a-friend.”

*****

The rap at the door slightly after eleven jerked Craig away from the e-book he was reading with indifferent attention; if this was a thriller, he wasn’t nearly as thrilled by the text as he was by the interruption.

Perhaps he should have peeked through the peephole, but anyone who knocked on this door had to use the passcard in the elevator, soooo… He opened the door.

Very scenic.

The vision he’d seen coming out of the suite earlier greeted him. Brown eyes under full brows, a perfectly straight nose over a sunny smile, wide shoulders dressed in a decent suit—the same label as the one Craig had treated himself to when he’d sold his first company.

He jerked his gaze back to his visitor’s face—a laser dissection of the visitor’s charms was just not okay. Not when Craig made it abundantly clear he wanted nothing but company. The guy was worth looking at—and an unknown quantity as to what kind of person he’d prove to be.

Ten seconds of admiration for the view. Would this stranger last longer once words started coming out of his mouth?

“I’m Joshua Hannes. You rang?” The smile faltered for a scant second.

Craig found his voice and the memory of why he needed it. “I’m Craig Ridley.” Oh, that was stupid, of course rent-a-friend would know that, but… “Didn’t I see you earlier?”

“You did—I arranged your dinner. Now I’m back. If that’s okay.” Joshua remained in the doorway, a bag dangling from his fingertips.

Oh, right, Craig was keeping him standing. He ushered his guest in. “Hope you brought the Scrabble board, or that there’s one tucked away in some yet to be explored corner here.”

“I don’t think so, but I found us a deck of cards. We could play gin rummy, or War, or Go Fish.” Joshua pulled the sealed deck from his bag.

“Definitely more social than watching a movie.” Craig slit the cellophane wrapper to shake out the cards. “Or we could talk politics and possibly have our first fight, or compare weight lifting routines if we both lifted… Sorry, I didn’t even think about going downstairs to the gym to burn off some energy—I’m exhausted but my body still swears it’s two hours too early to go to bed.”

“No problem.” His visitor’s smile looked genuine. “I brought some Izzes.” He found coasters in the sideboard inlaid with enough exotic woods to endanger an entire rain forest, and two cut crystal tumblers, which he filled with ice from a minifridge disguised as more finely milled cabinetry. “Pomegranate, blackberry, or peach?”

Craig studied a maroon can, searching for symbols. Packaging had betrayed him before. “Is this kosher?”

Joshua examined his own can. “I don’t think it’s certified, but it’s vegan. Is that close enough?”

“Sure is. Blackberry sounds good.” He poured and offered to clink his glass against Joshua’s peach drink. “To new friends.”

Josh gave him that look again, a nanosecond of I don’t understand. “L’chaim?”

“La kayim,” Craig agreed. Whatever that meant. Probably New-Yorkese. That gravelly consonant might just be another regional thing. Craig sipped again, the fruity bubbles dancing on his tongue.

Nice choice—Craig could appreciate the subtlety of not bringing wine or liquor. This wasn’t a date. What the hell did they do next? Cards, okay—another nice choice. Joshua hadn’t mentioned poker. Not when that could go lascivious. Not that Craig would mind in the least demanding shirts and trousers as forfeit.

Stop. That. One more stray thought and he’d have to adjust himself. The thin sweats he’d changed into for lounging wouldn’t hide a thing. Besides, where the hell had that thought come from? That was twice now. His interest hadn’t been piqued like this in years.

“So, gin rummy?” Craig offered.

“You’re on.” Joshua produced a pad and pen from a work of art generally shaped like a desk.

They sorted out their versions of the rules into mutual agreement, and Craig dealt out the cards. “We need some stakes.”

“Money?” Joshua stilled. “Or…?”

Damn it—even the small things worked against this rent-a-friend business. That “or” had to be exactly why his companion hadn’t mentioned poker. He hadn’t removed his suit coat, only pulling the knot of his tie away from his throat and undoing the top button.

Craig liked the lack of assumptions. What else could he like about Joshua? “Lose a round, answer a question, is that okay?” Damn it, that could go bad again fast—Joshua stopped sorting his hand. “Getting to know you kind of questions, nothing super-personal.”

“That works.” Joshua relaxed again. “Prepare to lose.”

“You can try,” Craig shot back, and took the top card from the stack.

*****

The rest will be along shortly!

Why did the bear walk into the bar?

Bear200x300 Please welcome Eden Winters, whom you all know as one of my favorite authors. In honor of her new, very sexy, quite erotic release in the Naked Tails universe, I asked her to spend a few minutes telling us about the book. Which is sexy. Very, very sexy.

Here’s Eden to tell us how she gets her inspiration from unlikely sources.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

My “shiny” is information. I’ll spend a lot of hours not writing while I pursue the details of this or that if it’s caught my interest. My education isn’t terribly formal, but I’m dangerous at Trivial Pursuit.

My second most dangerous lure is a challenge. Some folks just know how to push my buttons, teasing me to write something I hadn’t even thought of. Bear shifters hadn’t crossed my mind until someone poked. Poked hard. Or erotica: I like plots. But people poke.

Cross these two quirks and the next book I write comes out with a title like “A Bear Walks Into a Bar.”

Three quirks—because what was supposed to be an erotic romp went and grew a plot on me. Then all sort of tidbits I’d picked up while writing Naked Tails surfaced. Things like animal group names and behaviors. Throw in my experience in construction, adoration for Harleys, and love for the Rocky Mountains, and the plot takes a certain shape.

The society itself, a hierarchy of different shifter groups cobbled together for the greater good, lives under the direction of the lone bear shifter on the mountain. The animal qualities of these shifters run very close to the surface of their human forms. The wolves would overthrow Sawyer if given half a chance, and the elk want to hone in on his territory for reasons of their own.

In stroll four young shifters: a bear, two wolves, and a fox, cast out from their families and having only each other. For Dillon, Kevin, Jerry, and Brad, sex is comfort, bonding and fun.  Meanwhile, Sawyer uses sex for discipline, reassurance, punishing, and to establish pecking order.

Why yes, there were days where my pursuit of the shiny led me to learn about bonobo apes.

This story was originally intended as a sexy bit of fun, but the characters took on characteristics like loyalty and caring, deviousness and determination, ambition and neediness. Sawyer found himself with his paws full, not just of four young shifters who needed help, but a mountain of creatures with a common enemy in the humans they sometimes resemble. Another bear, wolves, elk. We have some cameos from badgers and bobcats, and the cougars remain a distant danger.

And yes, somewhere, a possum faints.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank  you, Eden, and thank you for this snippet of Sawyer and crew.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bear200x300Sawyer growled, “I’m going to take care of four shifters who haven’t asked permission to cross into my domain.” Besides, the elk might have sent them, and the message he’d gotten only said four shifters, not what kind. They must be desperate or stupid.

“I still don’t like you traveling alone.”

No, you don’t like not knowing what I’m up to. Sawyer’s fist and Rudy’s face were seconds away from meeting again. Sawyer cracked his knuckles.

Rudy winced, but persisted. “You’re the last bear on the mountain. As you said, maybe I can lead the wolves, but do you think for a moment that the deer, beavers, otters, coyotes, and foxes will accept my lead if you don’t come back?” The Lobo folded his arms across his designer-shirt-clad chest. “The possums are stubborn, you know.”

“So growl at them, and when they fall over and play dead, make any decisions before they come to.” Sawyer so did not need this shit right now.

Rudy tapped his foot. In alternate form he’d have his ears laid back, snarling.

“I’m just going to take the long way home. You and the guys go on ahead.” Sawyer added the sinister smile known to get him his way—and make the rabbits shit their pants. “Leave the lights on for me.” What he really wanted was to get laid—repeatedly, to tide him over while he stayed close to his den and spent most of his time sleeping, and waking up with the hard on from hell with only his own paw to solve the problem. Damned hibernation.

“But—”

“No buts, Rudy.” Sawyer turned up the heat, physically driving Rudy back with shifter energy. “You’re the leader of the largest predator group under my protection, and my employee. You keep the business going when I can’t be too visible. I need you. But at the end of the day, my word is law, got it?” If not for the weight of responsibility, they might have been friends.

Sawyer couldn’t afford friends. Rudy hadn’t been party to the extermination of Sawyer’s clan, but he was still a wolf.

Rudy nodded, eyes downcast. Asswipe needed to alpha up before some upstart kicked his butt and seized power—like Brian.

Of course, that might prove interesting. This close to winter, Sawyer’s animal instincts were spoiling for either a good fight or a good fuck, and wasn’t too particular about which.

“Where exactly are you going? Would you at least tell me that?”

“A town nobody’s heard of about thirty-five miles from home.” If Sawyer needed to hide, he’d find a similar out of the way spot. Too bad this particular spot sat on the border between elk and predator. Just because they lived off vegetation didn’t mean his rivals weren’t a threat—an expert marksman had joined the herd a few years ago. He’d been tough and stringy, but ceased being a problem.

Conversation grew impossible when Sawyer fired up his bike. Mother Moon, but he loved the rumble of the big Harley between his thighs, the wind on his face, tempting his sensitive nose with a million different scents: moss, pines, rabbit, clover, chicken barbecuing on a grill at a campsite downhill, all awaiting him once he reached his mountain.

Fluffy clouds overhead cast shadows over the scenery, and the crisp scent of snow drifted over the highest mountaintops. Colorado. No greater place existed on earth.

Occasionally he caught a whiff of human emotions: anger, fear, sorrow, lust. Especially lust.

Damn, he needed to get laid.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks, Eden! Good to know that Sawyer gets what he needs. Boy does he get what he needs.

Find the rest at Rocky Ridge BooksAll Romance e-BooksAmazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo, and settle in for reading. You can get your favorite file type (mobi, epub, or pdf) and print.

 

 

 

Rainbow Snippet — Spokes

rainbow snippet logoOnce again, it’s the weekend, and time for a six sentence (or so, I can’t always count accurately 😉 ) tidbit from one of my works or WIPS. We have a group of talented authors playing, which you can find here on Facebook.

Since I told the story of my colleague (male, nearing retirement) picking up a copy of Spokes, I’ll give you a taste of a professional cyclist and the journalist who falls in love with him without understanding the nuances of his world.

Here, it’s their first date: Christopher and Luca were racing their bikes up and down the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, and warned away by a cop. Luca’s furious: doesn’t this cop know who he is?

spokes“Yeah, I said we’d get in trouble.” Christopher tried to soothe the wounded star with,  “Look, Luca, I know the Giro and the Vuelta are just as important as the Tour, and I know that Paris-Roubaix is a huge race, and that the Flèche Wallonne is a Classic. And that you won a white jersey there three years ago and what a great honor that is.” Luca would win no more “Best Young Rider” awards; he was twenty-eight now, two years too old to qualify.

Christopher slipped Luca’s coat from his shoulders, playing the soigneur. “And I also know, Luca,” he said, discarding their jackets and coming to stand close, his voice gone low. “If you were standing there wearing it, I’d still want to take it off and kiss you.”

You can find out what happened next here: Rocky Ridge Books, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Apple, andAll Romance eBooks, as print and ebook (MOBI, EPUB, and PDF.)

Rainbow Snippet — A New Man

rainbow snippet logo The Rainbow Snippets is a weekend challenge to post 6 sentences from one of my works or WIPs. Since A New Man placed so nicely at the Rainbow Awards (which I have been sadly remiss in mentioning, but Chad and Warren placed 4th in Contemporary and 10th overall) I decided to share a pivotal moment from their story. Chad has a difficult -to-admit issue that’s about to change both their lives, and at the moment, they’re in bed together for the first time.

NewMan[A]FS

“Might need to get a little harder than that first.”

No shit. Rolling over and burying his face in the pillows wasn’t enough to smother him so he’d never have to explain. Warren let go and cuddled up close to Chad’s back, where he wouldn’t be for long. Should never have strayed out of the friend zone. Because this was way worse than anything Chad ever experienced with his more adventurous girlfriends. This was everything he wanted. Everything he couldn’t have. Might as well get it over with. Might as well cut out his heart, or cut off his useless balls.

“You don’t understand,” he growled into the ticking. “That’s the best it’s ever been.”

Find the rest of the story:  Dreamspinner or Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or at All Romance eBooks.

Find more Rainbow Snippets at the Facebook group. So many talented authors across all colors of the spectrum are sharing.

An excerpt from Return to the Mountain

billingsgolfCryselle posted a prompt that reminded me of a section of Return from the Mountain. Gary and Seth are seniors (Seth is a super senior, poor guy) playing on the high school golf team in the little mountain town of Phippsburg. Golf teams through the high schools are surprisingly common throughout the mountain west. My little high school in Casper, Wyoming had a team comprised of teenagers much like these young men, or like Seth and Gary.

Find an excerpt from Return to the Mountain at Cryselle’s Bookshelf, and imagine a young man wanting to pat his teammate’s bottom.