Ellora’s Cave titles on SALE at AReRomance eBooks!
Yes, you read that correctly, my EC titles are all discounted at ARe for a limited time, so now’s your chance to meet some of the sexiest heroes in my catalogue. Quinn is a man torn between duty and desire as his family demands one future for him, and his heart wants something else entirely. HIDE AND SECRET will soon have two other pieces to frame it – a prequel and a sequel that have been a long time in the making. So, The Secrets Trilogy is continuing.
Once you’ve checked out the excerpt, you can click over HERE pick up the book to see what else this tale has in store for you!
I am alone again tonight, as I usually am, of course. I’ve been reading a love story, one in which I am a player, though it often feels as though it is from a distance. You see, I am the secret he keeps. The woman he wants but cannot openly have, because it would hurt too many people not to do what is expected of him. I’ve stopped resenting it. What choice is there? If I cannot accept this, I will lose him forever. Here and now is all I have. So I will take the private moments we can share, and not think too much about tomorrow.
I smile as I brush my fingers across the pages in my lap…the messages and letters that are the diary of our affaire du coeur. My fingertip lingers over his name and I smile as the feel of the paper is replaced by the memory of his skin and the soft, sensual texture of his lips when I first touched them. My eyes close and I allow my mind to fill with the recalled sensations. From the moment we met, sparks flew…every exchange was punctuated by attraction and outrageous repartee.
I wonder if you knew how quickly I fell in love with you. How much I wanted to be all you needed. I ached for you. The first time you kissed me, I felt as if the sky had opened and rained fiery stars down upon us.
Smooth, sculpted muscles rippled beneath my touch, reacting with the hunger of desire, matching my need to know every inch of you, every response, however tiny…the taste of you, the scent, the fierce burning need. And I remember your touch, the greedy demand of your lips and your hands. I yearned to give you everything your passion asked for, and I still do…long after it feels as though you’ve ceased to want me.
The heat rises in me, the ache between my legs. I need you inside me, filling me, taking everything you crave. My nipples tingle, painfully tight, begging for your kiss,
the glide of your tongue, the bite of your teeth. My eyes close and I feel the splash of tears hit my hand. Startled, I look down, and through the haze that is my vision, I see your words, the ones telling me I am your woman and you will always want me more than any other. I think for a time you even meant that passion, believed it to be your truth. But a secret like this requires sacrifice and devotion…perhaps blindness… So I sit here, surrounded by a life that has gone silent and cold, pretending I am still yours…knowing I’m a distant memory in your world, even though you’re all that exists in mine. I hadn’t been prepared to read your wedding date in the newspaper, even if I really should have been expecting to see that announcement.
As I wonder if there is a way to go on, to walk away and leave this impasse behind, there is a low knock on the door. Gathering up the pages, I place them carefully in the back of my journal and set it on the gleaming coffee table. The fire is crackling quietly, the night outside is glittering with snowfall, and the city lights catch the ice crystals and make them sparkle like tiny stars. Outside the floor-length glass panels that dominate an entire wall of the penthouse, life has taken on a Christmas-card magic long after that holiday is past.
I head to the door and open it, wondering who is visiting me at this late hour. My heart leaps into my throat when you look up and your incredible blue eyes meet mine. “What are you doing here, Quinn?”
Your smile is ironic, even bitter. “You really believe I wouldn’t try to be with you tonight? I saw the paper today too.”
I laugh a little, but it lacks any warmth or pleasure. “Why would I think you’d be here and not with her?”
Your eyes narrow in irritation so I step aside and gesture for you to come into the apartment. I’m startled more than I should be when you slam the door shut and I am suddenly caught between your body’s urgent pressure and the solid wooden door that you push me against. Every part of me wakes, like flame that had been starved for air and is suddenly set free. My response is explosive and desperately hungry. You knot your hands in my soft sweater, already lifting it, your cool touch gliding over my heated skin. I want you, but for the first time this is not enough. Brushing your thumbs indolently over my nipples, you reignite an ache that drags low in my body, threatening to make me forget everything but how much I want you.
“I don’t want you here.” It’s hard to say which one of us is more startled by the words when they spill out of me.
You pull back and look at me intently, your eyes measuring the truth of what I’ve said. Then you shake your head and catch me between your hands as you bend to cover my mouth with yours. Slipping your tongue between my lips, you push your hips against me, telling me precisely what you desire.
I’m drowning in you. When I push at your shoulders you take my hands and pin them to the door, hips thrusting in the same greedy rhythm as your tongue inside my mouth. With a rough twist of my head, I break the lusting kiss and look away.
“I said I don’t want you here!”
Frowning, you step back and run a hand through the thickness of your dark hair, your eyes shrewd and watchful as you calculate your next move. I can see you thinking, working out what you need to do to change my mind. If you only knew how easy it would be…
I see the smile that’s starting to lift the corner of your mouth, the gleam in your eyes tells me you don’t believe my rejection is remotely genuine.
I move away, walk past you, but get only a few steps before you put your arms around me and pull me back against you. Before I can break away, you push your hands under my sweater again, cupping my breasts, stroking and squeezing, fingertips pulling on the hard buds of my nipples, your mouth soft on the curve of my neck.
“You want me, Bella. Why are we playing this game?”
Your voice is equal parts gravel and silk and I feel the question against my skin, pouring into my blood like an injection of heated desire.
JADED HEARTS is my second EC release, another Quickie® with a whole lot of sexy punch for you to indulge in. Carlos D’Alejandro is a man of many shades, a former drug runner, now a protected federal witness. The agent who brought him down is Jade Whinton, a woman with a troubled past, an uncertain present, and even more elusive future. Despite their professed love for others, Carlos and Jade share a passion that burns between them each time they are in the same room. When tragedy arrives at Carlos’ Pacific paradise, it forces them to examine not only their lives, but the truth they’ve long avoided about each other.
This one could have a dozen sequels, and one day soon, I want to revisit Carlos and Jade, and discover what new adventures they have to share with us.
Carlos Juan D’Alejandro knew someone was watching him. It wasn’t a welcome awareness by any means. He was a protected federal witness, which meant he usually had plenty of notice if there was someone coming to see him. He turned toward the west, sensing more than seeing the figure walking hidden behind the rocks that rimmed the private stretch of beach below him. He remained where he was; patience had always been a healthy habit, and he continued to exercise caution and foresight as a matter of survival.
Before long, one of his men knocked on the door and informed him that he had a visitor. Smiling, Carlos told Diego to show her out to the balcony. He knew it was a safe request. If the new arrival had posed any kind of threat to him, she never would have been permitted to stay inside the house, let alone be announced. A few minutes later, a hand came to rest on his shoulder and he turned, already certain who he’d find next to him. He’d know her touch anywhere.
Carlos looked down at her from a six-inch height advantage, and what he saw made his heart pound hard. If she’d ever looked more beautiful, he couldn’t remember seeing it. Her light golden-brown hair flowed in a soft fall that fluttered near her waist when the breeze caught it, her dark jade-green eyes were bright and clear and she was wearing a snow-white bikini with only a filmy wrap twisted around her waist in parody of a skirt. String sandals completed the outfit, and he saw a canvas bag had been dropped inside the door.
“Do you always greet guests in your bedroom, Carlos?” she asked, tone teasing. “I don’t recall you having such suicidal tendencies when we saw each other last.”
“At least not such obvious ones,” he retorted with mocking disdain. “Of course, I didn’t know you quite as well then, did I?” He paused and watched her eyes harden at the reminder of their shared past. “How is Brett?”
“Fine,” she replied coolly. “Probably comforting Celina over the recent loss of her lover. After all, she did just join his unit!” The sword swung both ways and they’d always had something of a talent for dissecting each other in the most painful ways possible. Strange, the way they remained devoted to people they’d die for but who always remained apart from them. They called their obsessions with the people they wanted love, but Carlos had begun to wonder if it wasn’t simply an excuse to avoid what existed between them.
Carlos’ mouth tightened and his eyes lost much of their warmth.
“What do you want, Jade?”
The words were soft but held no discernible emotion. She peered more intently at him, saw the lines that had settled around his eyes and the weariness that emanated from him now, blunting the unmistakable aura of sensuality that was a natural part of his being. She moved slightly, stood at his back and slid her arms around his waist, letting her fingers drift across well-remembered contours, caressing softly as she pressed her cheek to the broad expanse of his back.
“What do you want, Jade?” he repeated, holding her hands still but making no movement to dislodge her from her place behind him. “I know this isn’t social. It never was with you. I seem to have that kind of luck with the women I trust.” The last was said with faint bitterness and she pulled away, taking the step back to his side that would allow her to face him.
“What if I just wanted to see you, Carlos?” she challenged softly. “It could be as simple as that.”
He laughed, and she was enchanted by the low rumble of sound. There was distinct mockery in his voice when he answered. “It could be, but is it?”
She debated a lie, then chose the truth. He not only deserved it, he’d gotten to know her so well she was certain he’d hear the deceit in her voice if she tried to mislead him.
“Yes,” she nodded, then added, “and no, as well.”
He turned his back to the astonishing view and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I’m waiting,” he prompted after a few moments passed in silence.
“You’re very distracting, Carlos,” she murmured, her gaze drifting over him, drinking in every nuance of his presence. His long legs were slightly spread and the lightweight cotton of his pants was pulled taut across his hips. She knew there was nothing under the pants but bare skin. That knowledge was creating a disturbing lack of focus, as well as a distressing internal trembling. A condition that would soon become an undeniable and visible confirmation of just how deeply his physical presence affected her. And Carlos being Carlos would not overlook the reaction once he’d spotted it.
She dragged her gaze from the endless length of his legs and met his thoroughly amused smile when she faced him again. He reached out and hooked the index finger of his right hand into the strip of material that held her bikini bra together, then he tugged her toward him until she stood between his legs and her eyes were level with his.
“You haven’t answered me,” he observed in a low growl.
Her gaze dropped to his hands and she stared in helpless fascination as his thumbs glided along the sides of her breasts while his splayed fingers held her firmly where he wanted her. The circles of motion expanded slowly, sensually until—finally—the pads of his thumbs brushed a feathery stroke over the rigid, thrusting tips of her nipples, clearly outlined by the thin white nylon of her bikini top.
“What was the question?” she murmured, the query disintegrating into a gasp of erotic pleasure when he bent forward and closed his teeth on one hard bud. The pressure of his tongue made the material between them even more irrelevant. She kissed the top of his head and her arms went around his neck, pressing him tighter to her. “God, Carlos, that feels incredible!” She was talking to him about what was happening as it happened, she thought with a flicker of irony. This was the only man she’d ever known who asked her what she wanted, what she liked and how she liked it. Then he’d given her everything she needed and more. All the time making her talk to him as they shared their passion.
The catch on the bikini top was opened with a careless flick of his fingers and he smiled as he pulled back to look at her. The bikini didn’t fall away, her fully bared skin still hidden from his sight until he decided to peel aside the material,. He watched her, challenge in his dark eyes, making no further move until he was sure she wanted him to continue.
“What do you want?” he purred softly. “That was the question, honey.”
The most recent of my EC Quickies® is a Halloween thriller in the Breathless line. Rick and Cindi are a fun couple, and while they might seem a little mismatched at first, they are more than matched in their passion for each other. Rick’s a little older, and a whole lot more worldly, but he adores Cindi, and is more than happy to teach her a few things about indulging desires and having fun while they explore the sizzling sensuality that is almost a living thing between them. Cindi is incessantly curious, and her trusting innocence worries Rick more than a little. Using her curiosity to lure her to a crumbling old hotel that’s reputed to be haunted, surprises abound, and not all of them pleasant when the hotel’s ghosts and some shades from Rick’s past decide to join the couple for their private party.
Some people claimed the Mayfair Hotel was haunted, and those who lived in the area could tell endless stories about “sightings” and other mysterious events in the ancient edifice.
Another shudder ran the length of her spine when she heard skittering near her feet. Rats! The place had to be infested with rats. She glanced around, her breath still as she searched the growing darkness for the beady red eyes she was sure she’d find watching her. There was nothing staring at her from the blackness of the corners and she sagged against the wall as she gasped for air.
God! Rick was right, I should never have stayed up all night watching horror movies.
He’d consented to sit through the original version of The Phantom of the Opera—he deemed that particular film “a classic”—but Cinthya had been on her own after that. It had been nearing daybreak when she’d finally crawled into bed—and about another thirty seconds before she flew out again, tripping in the sheets and falling flat on her face at his unexpected grab. Rick had almost fallen out of bed himself from laughing at her. He was still laughing when he’d left the apartment earlier this afternoon.
Cinthya dismissed the monsters and ghouls of the previous night and concentrated on locating the room where she was supposed to find her mystery caller. A sag in the weathered wood of the floor creaked in the hollow corridor. She bit her bottom lip to prevent any sound from escaping. Her hammering heartbeat gradually subsided and she felt some of the fear-induced dizziness pass. A chill rippled through her though, when she realized she was staring up at the shadowy ceiling, her gaze drawn to the vast network of cobwebs that had been woven over the years. It looked like wisps of cotton, stretched to the point of breaking, except that this thready cloak was dulled with years of dust and grime.
A distinct thud at the other end of the long hallway had her heading in that direction.
She was several doors away from Room 313 when she was grabbed from behind. A firm hand over her mouth cut off her scream. There was no chance to fight off her attacker and she cursed herself as she was dragged into a room and flung into a chair. Whoever had grabbed her was little more than a shadowy presence in the near-total darkness. Her hands were tied securely behind the high chair back and her feet were bound to the legs of the seat.
The room grew blacker as her panic escalated, and she tried to force her eyes to adjust by keeping them closed. She let out a gasp of protest when a blindfold was tied around her head. For a split second, the sensation of silk distracted her thoughts; the smooth feel of the material against her skin was actually soothing. Her captor chose not to gag her, but Cinthya knew it would be futile to yell anyway. She’d be considered one of the hotel ghosts if anyone heard her at all—not much of a chance in this neighborhood.
“What’s going on? Who are you?” That was brilliant! she chided herself.
There was no reply and she strained to identify the sound as she caught the distinct rasp of a match being struck. She could smell the hint of burning wood, then the stronger odor of oil. Oh shit! Some nut was setting fire to the crumbling hotel and she was going to go down with it! She opened her mouth to speak then decided against it when she couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Pleading with whoever was doing this wouldn’t get her very far.
Visions of flames running through the old building, devouring it, began to fill her mind, her imagination conjuring images that terrified her more every moment.
She sensed movement more than she actually heard it, and her heartbeat threatened to deafen her when she felt someone standing over her.
“What do you want?” She winced at the unmistakable quaver in her voice then jumped when she felt hands on the back of the chair, close to her shoulders. She opened her mouth again but never uttered a sound as her lips were covered with a warm, gentle kiss.
Recognition left her weak and shaking as she answered the thrust of her lover’s tongue. The caress was sensual and provocative, leaving Cinthya breathless and excited when it finally ended minutes later.
“What took you so long, honey?” Rick whispered, his breath soft against her lips.
And, if that’s not enough sexy fun, you can always grab a deserted island fantasy ménage for free – Get STRANDED! Here