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An Amazon Best-seller – Winner Take All (Historical Western)

WinnerTakeAll_SMI’ve long been an author who doesn’t linger long in any one genre, so imagine my surprise last week when one of my lesser promoted and known books suddenly climbed to the #17 spot on Amazon’s best-seller list in Westerns! A week later it’s sitting at #24, and a review posted today that made me laugh out loud. (In a good way!)

I’ve always considered myself more an Historical writer than contemporary, though in recent years I’ve become very associated with both contemporary and paranormal genres. The thing is, when I am feeling lost about where to go next, I inevitably go back to the Old West. My first heroes were cowboys and the love affair has never died.

Winner Take All is a combination of influences for me, and Dylan Coulter is many heroes rolled into one. He has Paladin’s charm and easy grace, Chris Larabee’s intensity and deadly accuracy with a gun, and probably both men’s tempers when pushed. (For those who don’t recognize those names – Paladin is Have Gun, Will Travel, played by the late Richard Boone, and Chris Larabee is The Magnificent Seven, played by Michael Biehn.) The heroine, Maggie, is a lady with fight, brains, and independence–she’s the heroine I often wished had graced the screen with the heroes I love.

This particular novella has an odd history. It was first published back in 2005, and sold virtually nothing. Once I got the rights back, I filed it away for a number of years. In 2012, I decided it was time to bring it back for readers. It was a disaster, the company I contracted it with was the wrong publisher for it, and it languished again. I think it was on their catalogue for a couple of months, then I requested termination. Winner had lost again, and I put it back in the literary vault. XoXo Publishing asked to publish it months later, and I decided to let it go again. Another doomed release. So, earlier this year, New Dawning Book Fair, a company I love working with, put out a call for Westerns. This is one of my best books, and I am fond of it. I considered it for a time, then decided to take a chance again. This time I think the book has found a home. Less than six months out, Winner Take All has found its audience.

Probably no surprise that I’m creating a new Western, too – one with some amazing and sizzling possibilities. It’s called Parlour Photography, and I think readers will love the idea!

Here’s an exclusive look at Winner Take All:

Historical/Western Erotica Novella

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble  •  Google Books  •  iTunes  •  Smashwords  •  ARe Romance

When Dylan Coulter rides into Sparkling Springs, he quickly discovers the woman who runs the local saloon is worth the risk of facing the hangman. Things get ugly fast when Dylan is accused of killing the only son of the richest rancher in the area. Unwilling to leave her behind, Dylan takes Maggie with him as he tries to dodge bounty hunters and a determined Pinkerton agent who just happens to be Maggie’s old love…

Excerpt:

It was well into the night before Maggie was able to herd the last of the night’s customers out of the Spur and lock the doors behind them. When she dropped the key in her pocket and turned around, she was startled beyond reason to find herself face to face with Dylan Coulter.

“Mr. Coulter, I thought you’d gone upstairs,” she said, feeling instantly foolish when he grinned at her discomfiture.

“Where am I supposed to go upstairs, ma’am?”

Her annoyance with herself went up another notch. “I’m sorry. I’d forgotten that you’ve just arrived. I’m on my way to my rooms, so I’ll show you the way.”

“You stay here?” He sounded surprised and she gave him a sidelong glance.

“Of course. It’s comfortable, and convenient.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He nodded, still smiling broadly.

He took the oil lamp from her hand and gestured for her to lead the way. A slight scowl marring her face, Maggie set her jaw and headed for the stairs, the soft pool of golden light steady at her back as heavier steps trailed hers up the plain flight, and along the shadowy corridor.

“Your room is number three, Mr. Coulter,” she told him, pointing, “at the end of the hall, on the left. I had your things sent up earlier. Your horse is stabled across the street.”

“When did you have time to do all that?” he challenged, pleased, but also curious.

She laughed. “While you were busy taking money from foolish drunks.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re quite welcome, Mr. Coulter.”

“It’s Dylan, ma’am.” He handed her the lamp and touched the brim of his hat before walking away, humming softly to himself.

Before she could think about it, Maggie stopped him by calling out quietly, “Dylan, have you had any supper?”

He turned, watched her for several indeterminate heartbeats, and then shook his head.

“Would you like to join me?” Some inner voice was already laughing at her, and Maggie ignored it. She never socialized with customers. This was not only uncharacteristic; to her mind it was absurd. Yet… “Jonas Wilkins runs the café a few doors down, and he often stays late for me,” she said by way of explanation.

The amusement in Dylan Coulter’s blue eyes was already making her regret the impulsive invitation, but she bit back the tart words that would retract her cordiality, and waited for him to walk back to stand in front of her.

“I’d be delighted to have supper with you, Miss Watson,” he assured her and offered his arm.

“Maggie,” she said. “If you wouldn’t mind waiting for just a few minutes, I’d like to tidy up before we go.” She knew full well that she looked more than a bit harried after a long shift in the bar.

“I’ll meet you downstairs in twenty minutes, ma’am,” Dylan said with a smile.

* * *

Fifteen minutes after they’d separated upstairs, Maggie was waiting in the main room of the saloon. She heard a heavy footfall on the stairs and swung around to look at him.

For the second time that night, Dylan Coulter took her breath away. He’d changed from his riding clothes into a suit of rich, dark blue. His shirt was pale blue, ruffled at the cuffs and down the front. His silk tie was black, and the jacket he was pulling on drew her attention to broad shoulders and the undeniable impression of strength and power. He hadn’t bothered with a hat, and his dark brown hair was neatly combed, the deep waves gleaming when he passed under a lamp.

As he continued his walk toward her, her eyes drifted over him. Narrow hips flowed into long legs that were muscled from many hours spent on horseback. His boots were polished black leather, and the silver spurs were more ornate than functional. A gold chain dipped gracefully from the pocket of his burgundy vest, and the watch fob was a small, exquisitely carved replica of an old-fashioned flintlock pistol. At his hip, once again, rested a polished black gun, holster and shell belt lacking ornamentation.

A tiny sliver of ice formed at the base of her spine and began a swift ascent, chilling the back of her neck in heartbeats. He knows how to use that gun, too, a tiny voice murmured inside her head. The knowledge scared her a lot more than she wanted it to, though she wasn’t sure why it should.

“Maggie?”

She actually started at the sound of his quiet, richly timbred voice. His accent, like so much else about him, was something of a mystery; it revealed lingering traces of the south, but also the precision of an education obtained abroad. There was a subtle, growling purr in the texture of his speech A sound that made her feel awkward and vaguely disoriented. She’d felt a shadow of that kind of feeling only once before, and the reminder of it unsettled her further.

“Mr. Coulter.” She tried to smile, and knew it was only a partial success when his eyebrow rose, curiosity lighting the deep azure gaze that studied her. “Dylan,” she corrected softly. “Shall we go?” It was safer than standing around looking at him. She was distinctly certain that too long in his presence would not bode well for her peace of mind.

“Ma’am.” He nodded and offered his arm. “How far is this café?”

“A few doors down,” she said, and waited while he locked the saloon and pocketed the key. She opened her mouth to question the action, then chose not to bother.

“How much money did Billy Madison lose to you?” She asked the question carefully, a deep reticence about the answer stirring something akin to dread in her heart.

“A fair bit,” Dylan replied, his tone casual. “He assures me his daddy will be happy to pay the debt.” He looked down at her, a tiny smile lifting the corners of his mouth. “Is that true, Maggie. Or is the boy really as stupid as he seems?”

She sighed and shook her head. “Unfortunately, both.”

Dylan nodded. “Is this the place we’re looking for?” They’d stopped outside a small building with several windows in the front, and a sign above the door that read Wilkins Café.

She glanced at the door, with its shutter down but a light clearly burning inside. She smiled. “Yes, this is it.”

* * *

“She’s pretty friendly with that stranger, Billy,” Gil Horner noted as they watched from the concealment of an alley across the street from the café. He wasn’t much interested in Billy Madison’s attempts to win Maggie Watson’s heart, but Billy’s father paid him well to keep the kid alive. He had the feeling this would be one night when he had to earn his pay by more forceful means than the threat of his presence. If the kid went after Coulter, Gil knew they didn’t really stand much of a chance. Coulter had an air about him that Horner had encountered before; he was dangerous, cool, and confident. All the things Billy Madison wasn’t, of course. “Why don’t you just leave it, kid?” he advised, knowing as he spoke that the boy wouldn’t be deterred.

“Maggie and me have an understandin’, Gil,” Billy objected. “I don’t aim to leave her alone to face the likes of Dylan Coulter.”

Grinding his teeth in frustration, Horner grabbed the young man by the shoulder and spun him around so he could look Billy in the eye.

“What you and Maggie Watson have is a misunderstandin’, kid,” he snarled. “She’s out of your league, Billy. Leave her alone before it gets you killed!”

He waited, and in a detached corner of his mind, he gave the kid a once over. Billy was a good-looking boy, with light brown eyes and hair as black as his Indian mother’s had been. He carried the best features of both his parents, and there wasn’t a girl within a fifty-mile radius who wouldn’t be eager to marry him. Nature being perversely absurd, the only woman he’d ever expressed an interest in was the one who didn’t want him. Maggie was twenty-five to Billy’s nineteen, and Gil had wondered a few times if that wasn’t her primary objection to the kid. Horner had made a play for her once, and like others, she’d shot him down with kind, but firm words.

“You still hankerin’ for her yourself, Gil?” Billy asked with a sneer. “That why you want me to give up?”

“I’m not a man who likes to be turned down more than once, kid,” Gil snapped. “She said no, and I’m willin’ to leave it at that. Unlike you,” he added pointedly.

“Go home, Gil,” Billy ordered. “If I need backup, I can find Boyd.”

“Billy,” Horner began with forced patience. “The Sheriff’s out of town. Boyd ain’t in a position to be doin’ you favors. He’s the deputy, let him do his job.”

Billy started to object, just as Horner knew he would. Gil’s closed fist rose straight up, clipping the boy soundly beneath the chin, snapping his teeth together and knocking him out cold in a matter of seconds. Sighing heavily, Gil caught the kid’s weight, hefted him onto one broad shoulder, and headed down the alley to the waiting horses. Billy would be madder than a caged bobcat come morning, but that was better than dead. At least in Horner’s book.

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Denysé

Denysé Bridger
“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Predators & Editors Best Author 2012 **
WEBSITE: http://www.denysebridger.com

1-900-SURPRISE!

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Short, sexy contemporary with edge!

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When her lover, Martin Fowler is called away to Washington and she can’t go with him, Daniella LeBeaux is restless and edgy. Martin’s older, worldly, and has a reputation that would make most women think twice about trusting him. Dani loves him, and trust is not what’s making her anxious and edgy – lust and loneliness are combining with a little too much to drink. When the phone rings, and it’s Martin, delayed again, he teaches her a new way to make love long-distance style…. but who’s watching Dani? And is Martin really ready for the revenge his actions incite?

Excerpt:

An hour after her father had gone home, Martin called. He was, in fact, on his way back to New York. Despite the fact that she had an early call for rehearsals the next day, Daniella chose to wait up for him. It was approaching 2 AM now and he still wasn’t home. She glanced at the clock. Less than ten minutes had passed since her last check.

She had stopped drinking after her father had gone, taken a shower, and now she was sitting in the apartment with only candlelight and soft music for company. She smiled, unable to subdue the flutter of excitement in her stomach when she thought about seeing him walk into the apartment. She went to the window, staring at the street as if she could will the scarlet-colored Corvette to appear.

Her father’s visit, and the revelations he’d shared played through her mind again. It explained why Andrew had taken Martin on as a partner in the private investigations firm that was doing extremely well due to the talented men who ran it. To his credit, Martin had tried to dissuade Daniella’s interest in him, especially given her age. She’d been seventeen when they’d met, and her father’s disapproval of her infatuation with Martin had been vehement. Persuading either of them that her teenage crush was actually soul-deep love and adoration hadn’t been easy. By the time she was twenty-one, Martin had been convinced; it had taken more months than she cared to recall to make her father understand and accept it. But, it had finally happened, and she was happier than she’d ever been in her life. Most of the time.

The glitter of soft, dancing light from the flickering candle-flames sparkled on cut crystal and drew her gaze to the bar. She decided to have another drink, even knowing it was likely to be a bad idea come morning. She poured a healthy dose of the scotch Martin preferred, and then tried to settle into an armchair. She closed her eyes and let her head fall back against the plush cushion in an attempt to relax.

A single mouthful of the drink reminded her of the way it tasted on Martin’s lips. She let that image settle in her mind, smiling at the shiver that rippled through her. Martin was a stunning man, and she never tired of looking at him, or listening to him, or being in the same room with him.

He was tall, with dark brown hair, and equally dark eyes that dominated a strikingly contoured face. At forty, he was scarred emotionally and physically, but he was beauty incarnate to the woman who loved him. The image of his lean, muscular limbs, and her frequent cataloging of every gorgeous inch of him, made her tremble with longing.

She tossed back the remainder of her Scotch and slouched deeper into the chair erotic memories led her thoughts. The warmth of the liquor coursed through her, creating a flush on her skin that she knew would be visible had Martin been there to see it. She let herself be carried along on the alcohol-edged wave, and felt an undeniable rush of hungry desire when she thought about having Martin beside her in bed. The nights had been the hardest part of the separation—she’d been going to bed later and later over the past week in order to spend as few hours as possible sleeping alone.

She was still finding it difficult to believe just how much she missed him. The apartment was eerily quiet in the morning, and equally so when she came home. The evenings started driving her crazy within a few days. She was always wound up after the extended rehearsals, but that excess energy generally found an outlet in Martin’s arms.

Daniella abruptly cut off that train of thought by getting up to fix another drink, this time making it considerably larger than the previous one. A slow stroll back to the window revealed only darkness and an empty street below. It had rained earlier, and the scattered puddles created sporadic mirrors and reflected back the glare of streetlights and passing car headlights. An absent glance at her watch didn’t offer her any reassurance—he was nearly an hour late now. She forced down the threat of panic that wanted to blossom into a full-fledged fear and told herself that he was all right. His identity was protected and all precautions had been taken to ensure his safety. With her father in charge of that, she had no doubts at all about the quality of the security surrounding Fowler at all times.

Uncomfortable at the window, Daniella spun on her heel and dropped into the armchair again. About halfway to the bottom of this drink, memory steered her thoughts inexorably back to the bedroom she shared with Martin. The tension knotting her muscles was as much sexual as it was concern for his unexplained lateness, and the sudden ache between her thighs was more than enough to awaken her entire body with anticipation. Another gulp and the second Scotch was gone.

Daniella was beginning to feel a bit more relaxed again now that alcohol was dulling her perception but there was still an edge of panic lingering within her. She couldn’t help wondering if something had happened to Martin; he was never hours late without calling—a habit he was slowly drilling into Daniella as well. She looked at the glass in her hand, debating whether to refill it a third time. It was now almost three o’clock, and she decided to have the drink then go to bed—alone. She couldn’t suppress the flare of anger that shot through her at the prospect of another night in the huge bed without Martin. In her heart, she knew nothing serious had delayed him, which meant he simply hadn’t bothered to call.

Twenty minutes and a third drink later; Daniella was staring at the empty glass again. Her head felt pleasantly fuzzy.

Disappointment and annoyance kept her on an emotional seesaw…

Denysé

Denysé Bridger
“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Preditors & Editors Best Author 2012-2013 **
WEBSITE: http://www.denysebridger.com
Fantasy Pages (general): http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
Bound By Passion (adult content): http://boundpassion.blogspot.com

FREE anthology!

Snap-Shots_FINALSnap-Shots

– A collection of Erotic Passion and Nocturnal Cravings

GET IT HERE: http://denysebridger.weebly.com/free-reads.html

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Thirteen stories of sensual seduction, discovered passion, and the shadows in the night that call to our darkest desires. Many of these stories have appeared in various venues over the past five years, but this is the first time they’ve been collected in a single volume. So, enjoy the temptations in these sizzling tales:

Games of Seduction

New Year’s Eve

Beloved Stranger

Haunted

Eternity Awaits

Cold Wind in the Night

Because I Am Yours

Ancient Magic

Pipe Dreams

Rage… And Vengeance…

Anticipation

Behold, My Rahve

And How Was Your Day?

***Contains both erotic and non-erotic material.

Denysé

“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Best-Selling Author of 2011 **
WEBSITE: http://www.denysebridger.com
Fantasy Pages (general): http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
Bound By Passion (adult content): http://boundpassion.blogspot.com

An Amazon Best-seller returns…

HeartOfStone_Blog5.0 out of 5 stars No Emotion Left Untouched!

By Read A Review “Book, Movie, and Product Reviews” (Tucson, AZ) –

This review is from: Heart of Stone (Kindle Edition)

I’ve been a huge fan of Denyse Bridger’s work for years now. This is one author who knows how to touch upon every human emotion and bring them to the forefront of your own mind and soul. Heart of Stone will make you feel as if you’re center-stage with the characters Denyse has created. Better yet, you BECOME the characters. She weaves worlds with such rich detail and characterization you can’t help but enjoy her books. Be prepared to laugh, cry, sigh, and swoon as you read this sexy tale.

Heart of Stone: A Mercenary’s Romance

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Stone-love-romance-ebook/dp/B00FL2D3M4/

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Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Denyse_Bridger_Heart_of_Stone?id=vmxiAwAAQBAJ

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/363641

Randall Stone is the stuff of heroes, a mercenary given a discharge from the army he has served with his life. But the government is still interested in using the skills they’ve taught Major Rand Stone, and he continues to work with his hand-picked team. Into his shadowy world a light has come, and in her love, Stone discovers unhoped for joy, and, perhaps, unbearable sorrow?

Excerpt:

Private Island, South Pacific Ocean

“Magnificent view, isn’t it?”

She flinched, the response instinctive, beyond her conscious control. His voice was becoming more terrifying with each day that passed, and now-familiar loathing coiled within her.

Robin Bourne pulled her emotions around her, making them a protective cloak to shield her terror. She nodded, but refused to look at him. “The view is spectacular,” she agreed.

“My own paradise.” He smiled. “Paradise Lost.”

One eyebrow arched, and she laughed bitterly. “An appropriate name for this particular hell,” she murmured. A pause met the comment. “When is Randall supposed to be here?” They’d been playing this game for several weeks now, and she knew it was the one thing that would make him angry enough to leave her alone.

He sighed, then took her by the shoulders and turned her to face him.

“When are you going to stop asking me that?” Amusement was evident in his gaze, despite the thread of irritation in his tone.

“When you allow me to leave this place.” Her voice was devoid of feeling. “You told me Rand sent you to get me,” she reminded him in the familiar verbal fencing. “I believed you. You lie as easily as you betray, Mr. MacIntyre.”

His eyes sparked with real fury, and his mouth tightened.

“Rand thinks you’re dead, sweetheart,” he declared in a blunt tone. “He believes you died in a car crash being chased by that idiot who was so taken with you.” MacIntyre gave her a cold smile. “Ethridge is dead, too, by the way. Rand killed him.”

Robin felt ice form in her veins, and she wanted to laugh, the reaction one of near hysteria. Something in his eyes choked the response and she swayed.

“No,” she shook her head. “Rand wouldn’t do that. Anymore than he’d believe I was dead. Not without proof.”

“Think about it,” MacIntyre jeered. “Why wouldn’t he accept it? The police found your car, your body, and your dog tags.” He laughed when he added the last taunt; she’d been asking for the silver necklace since she’d regained consciousness. He’d told her the first day that it must have been lost on the plane.

“My…” She swallowed and tried again. “My body! How…?”

He shrugged. “Not difficult,” he assured her, sardonic humor glittering in his eyes. “A change of dental records, a dead body of the right age and size, and voila, you’re dead, Ms. Bourne.”

“Rand would know.” She shook her head in rejection of what her heart was already telling her was truth. “You couldn’t convince him,” she almost shouted in her fear. “He loves me!”

“Rand’s in mourning.” MacIntyre gave her a wicked grin. “For now.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Would you like to see your funeral?”

Robin stared at him, stunned into silence. Her mind worked furiously to assimilate the shocking news he’d just told her.

“What?” she gasped, finally, the single word torn from her in spite of herself.

MacIntyre strolled into his study. She followed, if for no other reason than the hope that she might get a glimpse of Rand on the disc MacIntyre picked up from his desk. When he slid the video disc into a waiting machine and turned, she stood in the doorway, eyes riveted to the screen that came to life.

Robin hugged herself and held her breath as the recording began to play. It was grainy, taken from a distance, but the people and the place were undeniable. All the members of Rand’s mercenary team were there: Tricia and Donald Brookman, the few friends she had from her work, even Daniel Rayne and his people from Legacy Designs. Her eyes went to the most prominent of the people gathered, and her heart twisted in her chest. She bit her bottom lip to silence the sob that rose in her throat when she saw Rand tossing a perfect white rose onto the casket that had just been lowered into the ground. His pain was tangible, reaching across time and space to tear at her heart. She ached for him, with him, and the screen blurred behind a curtain of watery tears.

“Randall…” she whispered, barely aware she spoke out loud.

“Who’s the woman?” MacIntyre’s voice penetrated the wall of agony that was building inside her.

Robin shook off the tears, determined not to let him see how deeply shaken she was by the monstrous farce she was witnessing. She looked again at the screen and her expression turned disdainful. The scene had changed, was now inside the Western Star Health Club.

“My mother,” she informed him. “The other one is my sister, Aureena.” She met MacIntyre’s sharp eyes and tilted her head to one side. “Perhaps you should have taken her. She’d probably find you quite entertaining, Mr. MacIntyre.”

He laughed. “Maybe, but Stone wouldn’t much care if I grabbed her, would he?”

Robin’s eyes widened at the words.

“This is about Randall?” She snarled inwardly at the idiocy of the observation. Of course it was about Rand.

“Rand owes me.”

A fragment of memory came back to her, and she concentrated, forcing her mind to work, to recall where she had heard this man’s name before he had kidnapped her off the streets of Los Angeles. It came, slowly, and she wanted to retch when she realized how stupid she’d been to trust him when he’d stopped her.

“You were the one he let escape last year, the one Donald was so angry about,” she said, really looking at him now. “Eddie said he’d been foolish not to kill you when he had the chance.”

MacIntyre grinned, obviously enjoying her shock.

“Blake was the one who should have been killed when the chance was there,” MacIntyre smirked.

“Randall doesn’t owe you a thing, MacIntyre,” she snapped. “He left you alive, and that makes you even. All you’ve done is give him a reason to come after you.”

“We still have an account to settle.” MacIntyre’s voice was eerily soft.

She nodded, slowly. “You’re right. Payment due on your side. He will kill you for this.”

He turned to the video player and shut off the frozen image, then replaced the disc with a new one.

“I want you to see the gift I sent to him a week ago,” he said, voice neutral, eyes watchful of her response.

Denysé

Denysé Bridger
“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Predators & Editors Best Author 2012 **
WEBSITE: http://www.denysebridger.com
Fantasy Pages (general): http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
Bound By Passion (adult content): http://boundpassion.blogspot.com

A taste of Champagne and Chocolate

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CHAMPAGNE AND CHOCOLATE:

Historical Western romance

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From different worlds, drawn by desire, passion is about to change their lives forever….

Austin Standish is a man of refined tastes. Intelligent and educated, Austin enjoys all of the best life has to offer. A gambler, a gunslinger, and a man who has plans to taste the sweetest prize at The Palace Casino and Saloon – the lovely owner, Chantille L’Amour, the most sought after jewel on the Barbary Coast.

Running a high-class brothel and casino isn’t exactly the life she was born to but Chantille is determined to overcome the ruin her family was left in once the Civil War ended. But, she has chosen a difficult path… one that demands much and leaves her lonely. She’s noticed the handsome man who comes into her world from time to time, and when she chooses to give in to desire, the passion evoked by Austin’s touch may change her life forever….

Excerpt:

As she led him to the private wing of the large building that housed her home and business, Chantille had time to question the wisdom of her actions—again. She’d been berating herself for most of the past thirty minutes. Austin Standish was a danger to her; she knew this on an instinctive level. Not that he would hurt her, of course. But, he was dangerous, just the same.

She was acutely aware of every panther-like, lissome step he took behind her. He was elegant in manner and dress, quietly contained but always alert. The sense of being in perilous company assailed her with new severity. She opened the twin doors to her living suite and went inside, hearing him close the doors behind him before joining him.

She continued into the room, uncomfortable as she chafed against the restraints of her heavy dress and the many layers beneath it. She’d permitted a few select men into this suite over the past five years, but none had ever made her so acutely aware of herself and the desire to shed her clothes and feel solid muscles and male hardness pressed to her warm curves. Her breasts felt heavy, and her nipples strained against the fabric of her chemise, rubbing against the soft material until the pebbled points ached. Between her thighs, a slow, steady throb began to increase in rhythm, finding a matching tempo in her heartbeat.

The soft illumination from the fireplace touched the wood that dominated the room’s furnishings, warming the smooth, lustrous finish as shadows danced on the walls and glimmered in the reflections of the mirror that adorned one wall of the room. She saw nothing, only the darkness that had grown around her so steadily throughout the past half-hour, a darkness that touched her with fears she couldn’t clearly define, much less explain.

Watching the play of light catch in the soft gold of his hair, Chantille was struck again by the intuitive knowledge that dominated the man’s handsome features. Barely suppressed sensuality and anticipation were so strong in the shadowed intimacy of the suite that she felt she could reach out and touch the things that presently put them on opposite sides of a chasm she didn’t know with certainty she wanted to close. The only thing she did know was that she wanted to be with him more than she had any man she’d ever met.

“Tell me what you’re feeling right now, Chantille.”

“Angry.”

“At me?”

“No,” she whispered, then shook her head to deny her dishonesty. “Yes.”

“Why?”

“I don’t like being vulnerable.”

* * * * *

For the first time, Chantille looked right at him, and Austin could read all the uncertainty he hadn’t taken the time to notice before. He answered her honestly, unwilling to do anything less.

“Being vulnerable isn’t always a bad thing, Chantille. Sometimes it makes you stronger.”

“I don’t believe that, and you certainly don’t.” The edge crept back into her tone. “I feel like I did when I was a child, needing to be wanted. When I came to San Francisco, I swore I’d never feel that way again.”

Austin drew in a deep draught of air and ran a hand through his hair.

“You don’t have to be afraid of anything, Chantille.” He knew the words were weak, and he could have kicked himself for them once they were spoken.

She actually managed to smile at the statement, though there was no warmth in the expression.

“Weak women hold no appeal for men like you, Mr. Standish,” she remarked.

“Is that what you want? To appeal to me?”

She laughed, a low murmur of sound that stirred the air between them.

“I want to share my bed with you, Austin,” she conceded. “What I don’t want is for it to cost me everything I’ve worked for.”

“What are you afraid of losing?”

“My independence.”

“Your heart.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Don’t lie to me, or to yourself.”

Chantille met his eyes as if she were trying to pierce the shadows that surrounded them, to see what lay hidden behind that confident stare. When nothing shone forth, she closed her eyes.

Austin let the silence engulf them again for a long minute, then he closed the distance, touched her chin, and made her face him. His thumb brushed at the tear welled in the corner of her eye.

“I do want you,” she murmured, voice raw with the force of her feelings.

The loneliness and the need for reassurance was almost a physical presence in the room with them, and Austin was forced to wonder just how long it had been since Chantille L’Amour had uttered those words to any man. If she ever had.

“I want you, too, Chantille.”

Austin’s whispered words were like a soft breath of air touching her face as he leaned forward to cover her lips with a tender kiss. She moved into the caress with a soft gasp, and her knees seemed to buckle as Austin’s tongue slipped into her mouth with possessive hunger.

Chantille broke the intense kiss, and her head fell back as a sigh of relief and pleasure slipped out of her. She wrapped her arms around Austin’s neck, then buried her face against his broad shoulder as she shivered into the sensations they were igniting in each other. She smiled at the slight catch already detectable in Austin’s breathing, then shuddered when his hands began to work the buttons of her gown.

Suddenly, she eased free of his embrace and took a step back. He watched, eyes narrowed for a moment as he waited to see why she’d withdrawn. The wariness left his gaze a few seconds later when she lit another lamp and stood next to it.

The soft golden glow of the flickering lamplight illuminated the deft movements of her hands as she undid the buttons and hooks that held her gown together. Austin smiled and went to sit in a chair near the fireplace, his eyes never leaving her. The beautiful amethyst silk crumpled into a heap at her feet, and she gracefully stepped free of the shimmering mass. Next, the petticoats and crinolines fell into a crisp white pile, and she smiled, her expression faintly wicked with delight. He forced himself to remain still while she undid the hooks of her corset, her actions slow and deliberate. Her eyes never lost their hold on his, and she walked toward him, hips swaying seductively.

When she was standing directly in front of him, Austin smiled up at her. His look dropped, and his eyes locked on the thrusting peaks of her breasts, mere inches from his lips, nipples a soft shadow against the white of her chemise. She bent slightly and cupped his face in her hands as she leaned into a slow, exploring kiss. Austin’s arms went around her, and he lifted her off her feet and sat her astride his thighs as he settled deeper into the armchair. The kiss went on forever and grew more intense with each tiny stroke of tongue they exchanged. When he thought he’d die for want of air, she drew away again and met his gaze.

Austin’s smile became a grin when Chantille slipped the straps of her chemise off her shoulders, then tugged on the front of the thin garment. She peeled the material away from her skin, offering lush ivory breasts to him. He was only vaguely surprised when she took his hands, and kissed each palm before placing his eager fingers over the smooth swells of her flesh. She placed her own hands on his shoulders and slid closer to him, her thighs gliding against his.

She turned as she pushed closer, and her breath hissed from between her teeth when he licked slowly at the ripe nipple she’d all but guided to his lips. She kissed his temple and pressed against him until he took the hard point into his mouth and began to suckle. He repeated the erotic play, first lavishing attention to one nipple, then the other, encouraged by the soft moans that escaped Chantille as she rocked gently in his lap.

“Austin….”

“Mmm?”

“Let me up?”

He leaned back in the chair and released her, curiosity holding his lust at bay for the moment.

She slid back, laughed shakily when her knees wobbled, then she walked a few steps from him. The light trailed her, seemed to be drawn to her within the room, and he watched with renewed fascination as she finished opening the chemise and tossed it aside.

She locked her gaze with his again for an instant, then smiled when his eyes followed the motion of her hands…

Denyse

“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Preditors & Editors Best Author 2013 **
http://www.denysebridger.com

ARe SALE – How the stories are born…

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Ever wonder how a story is born? Or several best-sellers? SALE! #RomFantasyPosted: 25 Aug 2014 05:43 AM PDT

I thought I’d tell you something about each of the books that is currently on sale at ARe Romance eBooks. Some of these titles are my all-time best-sellers, and each one has a background story. So, instead of book blurbs, I thought I’d share the history or inspiration behind each of these titles. You can find blurbs and excerpts anywhere, right? A few of these titles may vanish soon, as well, so if you’re curious and would like to read them, a sale is a great time to do it!! When you order from ARe, you have all formats available, and they can send direct to your Kindle, just like Amazon.

So, let’s get start, and I cheated and downloaded all the links and info in alphabetical order:

Descent Into Darkness

Price: $4.99 SALE: $2.99

This was my first paranormal novel, and it encompassed my love for Historicals and the allure of vampires. It seems a natural marriage, beings who can ostensibly live forever, they’d be walking through history. In this one, the first part of the book is set in the 1700s, and slowly moves into the modern era. There are three vampires at the core of the book, which was inspired by a little Canadian series called Forever Knight. The oldest of the trio is an ancient, who was created before Christ–the other two are his companions and more or less daughter and son. He loved one woman, and lost her, this is the core of the historical section. In modern times, he rediscovers her reincarnation.

Glass Slippers and Jeweled Masques

ARe Best Seller

Price: $2.99 SALE: $1.99

This one came about when one of my publishers decided to do a line of fairy-tales for adults. I’d done one before, and really loved it. That anthology never happened because the promised stories were never delivered. So, first one is no longer in print, though it’s due for a comeback in a whole new version very soon. I’ve always loved the whole Cinderella thing, so it was a natural choice. In this one, I had a lot of fun figuring out who’d take what roles in the telling. It’s been generally well received, so I’m happy, and it quickly became the #1 best-seller on the publisher’s site. It might still be, I haven’t looked lately.

Hide and Secret

Price: $0.99 SALE: $0.74 (after rebate)

Hide and Secret began with a different title and was intended to be just a short, sexy essay sent from a woman to her lover. I shared it with a friend who pushed me to expand it by several thousand words so it could be submitted to her editor at Ellora’s Cave. We worked on it for a few days, then she approached her editor. I submitted it the following week, and a couple of weeks later it was accepted. What I found interesting is the editor said this little story contained some of the hottest sex she’d ever read, and I’m notoriously bad at the erotic scenes in my books because I don’t like writing those scenes. Guess I got it right, because it’s been my best-seller for Ellora’s Cave. Originally it was intended to be stand alone, then I outlined a prequel and a sequel for it, making it the centrepiece of the Secrets Trilogy. The other two have never been released, and I have no idea if they ever will be. Quinn and Bella are a great couple, though their relationship was anything but typical.

Hunters’ Game

Are Best Seller

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

Hunters’ Game, as some people know, began on a dare to me. Over ten years ago, on a trip to Toronto, author Nancy Baker joined me and a few other friends on a Goth Club adventure. I’d never stepped foot in a club like the ones we visited that night. I soaked up the atmosphere, and watched the crowd, it was fascinating. That’s when the challenge was issued, what kind of story could I create from all this. I wrote a short story the next day that became the basis for Hunters’ Game. It was first released until the simple title, The Hunt, but this version is longer, hotter, and a great deal more intense.

Jaded Hearts

Price: $1.99 SALE: $1.49 (after rebate)

This one began life as a piece of fan fiction based on a single character who was a guest star in one of my favourite shows at the time. I was fascinated with the idea of a protected federal witness who was a former drug lord, and added the twist of an undercover agent who was more than a little bit friendly when using Carlos as a contact point for information. The first release of this was a title called “Any Other Way” and it got great reviews. Years later, after it had been out of circulation for a while, I submitted a new version of it to Ellora’s Cave, and my editor liked it. We worked in more detail and fleshed out the idea to it’s present form. The change of title followed to fit the them better.

Mirage

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

When it was first released back in 2004, this novella was nominated for an Eppie Award. Again, this concept grew from an award winning piece of fan fiction, then it took on a life of its own. It’s one of the more complicated stories I’ve released, and it’s the only one I’ve included a voyeurism scene in–that was a bit different to write. Ultimately, there are really two stories being played out, and in some weird twist, the less likeable of the two “heroes” is the one who gets his girl. The other one…well, now’s your chance to find out–at half price!

Pirates

ARe Best Seller

Price: $4.99 SALE: $3.99

Here again, a combination of fan fiction, and original. Angel-Fire was a brief fiction based on Pirates of the Caribbean the year it came out. A couple of years later, I created a unique pirate of my own, and his story evolved Angel-Fire a little further, and then continued in The Phantom’s Lair. I could probably write a dozen stories with Captain Jack Stanton. Storm-Singer was originally published in Margaret Cater’s Tales from the Crypt magazine, and again, was re-edited for this release. This one has an unusual pair at its core, a shape-shifting witch, and a vampire Prince who is legendary, and has a few unexpected tricks he employs on the locals who fear him. The collection was released as “Rogues” with Solstice Publishing, but after I asked for rights to be returned, the three stories underwent extensive editing, and was renamed simply Pirates! I think they’re better stories now, and they quickly became a best-seller at ARe Romance. Who doesn’t love a sexy pirate, after all?? Yo ho ho!!

Reckless Assignation

Price: $2.99 SALE: $2.24 (after rebate)

This is a story that was meant to capture my love of things spooky from Halloween. An abandoned hotel that most fear is haunted, a curious young woman, and a highly erotic plot by her older lover make for a night of surprises. Unfortunately, being a top-flight operative in the world of spies and espionage leaves a man with a lot of enemies, and the past is never far away…

Stolen Rapture

ARe Best Seller

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

New Dawning International posted a call for ménage stories, and I’d written only one before this, something they published, as well. To amuse myself, I created two vampires who are both old friends and deadly rivals. Rahve Falcon owns a fashion business, and Cord Vincente is his general manager and coordinator. Enter Deluna Jordan, a photographer known in fashion circles, catches Cord’s eye and they begin a relationship that is soon noticed by Rahve. The two men are adversaries when it comes to women, and have often shared their passions. Deluna intrigues Rahve, and it isn’t long before he moves in a takes her attention from Cord. The confrontation that is inevitable is both highly erotic and lethal…

STRANDED

ARe Best Seller

Price: $2.99 SALE: $1.99

This was my first attempt to write ménage, and I have to admit, while it was a hell of a lot of fun, it’s not a genre I feel overly drawn to. The premise was simple, and it was to be written in six pieces, as columns for an online ezine. Much to my surprise, it was hugely popular once the first installment was published. The next pieces of the story actually turned into a truly seductive and erotic adventure for the occupants of the yacht that capsizes and leaves then stranded. Two couples, all friends. When Iris dies from her injuries, that leaves two men and the sexy Giselle alive on an island in the middle of nowhere. One man is her husband, the other her best friend…and soon she has two ardent lovers who want to share every fantasy she’s ever had. But once passion has been sated, nothing will ever be the same for them.

The Domino Effect

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

Older man, younger woman. Back to the world of espionage. For a lot of people who have followed my writing as it’s progressed, odds are you first saw my fan fiction, and a lot of that was intelligence and operations. The whole genre is one that I love. This story returns to those roots. The Domino Effect is a dark story in many regards, and tests the strength of the hero, Martin Fowler, in a multitude of ways. Dani is the only child of Marty’s mentor, and she’s fifteen or so years younger than Marty. When one of his enemies grabs her to use as leverage against Marty, his vengeance is guaranteed to be deadly.

The Gates of Infinity

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

I was asked to write something original for a fantasy world and it was a whole lot of fun to combine a love of pirates and fantasy world building. I created a parallel world to ours, it’s called Thaer (There) and then built a structure in which the worlds connect. There are time loops, gates of magick, and a sexy pirate captain–all waiting for the sorceress who may free them from their exile here. Magick tossed them through the gate and left them stranded, but when their hope arrives, with no memory of her alternate life or her magical abilities, Dayne takes a chance on the eroticism of their passion to restore both to her before it’s too late for them. Thaer is a world that mirrors our own, but in many ways it is both the past and future of Earth. Magic and sorcery are commonplace, and beneath the vast sands of Cairos and the waters of Venicia lie secrets that may hold the key to travel between worlds and time itself…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this inside look at where the stories originated, and that you might want to explore a little further. This sale is offering some of my best titles, and I hope you’ll take advantage and discover worlds that interest you, and heroes to die for… Sweet or smouldering hot sexy, there’s a hero for every woman in this set of exotic tales.

Winner and thank you!

Wow – I had a major brain lapse here, thinking the Stay Home party wasn’t over until Tuesday!! It’s been fun, I read more than I posted, and there are some totally cool authors at this party!! Thanks to everyone, and MANY thanks to the amazing TRS team who make these events so easy and friendly.

Laurie P gets the audio version of 1-900-Surprise! I’ll email you shortly, Laurie.

Cheers everyone!

7 Wild And Free Questions: Inspiring Creativity Interview With Author Denysé Bridger

GIVEAWAY – the just released AUDIO of 1-900-Surprise!

Anyone who would like to win the new AUDIO version of my latest title, just leave a comment, and I’ll grab a random winner for it at the end of the party!

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1-900-SURPRISE!

Short, sexy contemporary with edge!

Available NOW from Eirelander Publishing

http://www.amazon.com/1-900-Surprise-Denyse-Bridger-ebook/dp/B00K1KD2Z4/

Now in AUDIO at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/1-900-Surprise/dp/B00KB48B3S/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/audiobook/1-900-surprise-unabridged/id878392267

When her lover, Martin Fowler is called away to Washington and she can’t go with him, Daniella LeBeaux is restless and edgy. Martin’s older, worldly, and has a reputation that would make most women think twice about trusting him. Dani loves him, and trust is not what’s making her anxious and edgy – lust and loneliness are combining with a little too much to drink. When the phone rings, and it’s Martin, delayed again, he teaches her a new way to make love long-distance style…. but who’s watching Dani? And is Martin really ready for the revenge his actions incite?

Excerpt:

An hour after her father had gone home, Martin called. He was, in fact, on his way back to New York. Despite the fact that she had an early call for rehearsals the next day, Daniella chose to wait up for him. It was approaching 2 AM now and he still wasn’t home. She glanced at the clock. Less than ten minutes had passed since her last check.

She had stopped drinking after her father had gone, taken a shower, and now she was sitting in the apartment with only candlelight and soft music for company. She smiled, unable to subdue the flutter of excitement in her stomach when she thought about seeing him walk into the apartment. She went to the window, staring at the street as if she could will the scarlet-colored Corvette to appear.

Her father’s visit, and the revelations he’d shared played through her mind again. It explained why Andrew had taken Martin on as a partner in the private investigations firm that was doing extremely well due to the talented men who ran it. To his credit, Martin had tried to dissuade Daniella’s interest in him, especially given her age. She’d been seventeen when they’d met, and her father’s disapproval of her infatuation with Martin had been vehement. Persuading either of them that her teenage crush was actually soul-deep love and adoration hadn’t been easy. By the time she was twenty-one, Martin had been convinced; it had taken more months than she cared to recall to make her father understand and accept it. But, it had finally happened, and she was happier than she’d ever been in her life. Most of the time.

The glitter of soft, dancing light from the flickering candle-flames sparkled on cut crystal and drew her gaze to the bar. She decided to have another drink, even knowing it was likely to be a bad idea come morning. She poured a healthy dose of the scotch Martin preferred, and then tried to settle into an armchair. She closed her eyes and let her head fall back against the plush cushion in an attempt to relax.

A single mouthful of the drink reminded her of the way it tasted on Martin’s lips. She let that image settle in her mind, smiling at the shiver that rippled through her. Martin was a stunning man, and she never tired of looking at him, or listening to him, or being in the same room with him.

He was tall, with dark brown hair, and equally dark eyes that dominated a strikingly contoured face. At forty, he was scarred emotionally and physically, but he was beauty incarnate to the woman who loved him. The image of his lean, muscular limbs, and her frequent cataloging of every gorgeous inch of him, made her tremble with longing.

She tossed back the remainder of her Scotch and slouched deeper into the chair erotic memories led her thoughts. The warmth of the liquor coursed through her, creating a flush on her skin that she knew would be visible had Martin been there to see it. She let herself be carried along on the alcohol-edged wave, and felt an undeniable rush of hungry desire when she thought about having Martin beside her in bed. The nights had been the hardest part of the separation—she’d been going to bed later and later over the past week in order to spend as few hours as possible sleeping alone.

She was still finding it difficult to believe just how much she missed him. The apartment was eerily quiet in the morning, and equally so when she came home. The evenings started driving her crazy within a few days. She was always wound up after the extended rehearsals, but that excess energy generally found an outlet in Martin’s arms.

Daniella abruptly cut off that train of thought by getting up to fix another drink, this time making it considerably larger than the previous one. A slow stroll back to the window revealed only darkness and an empty street below. It had rained earlier, and the scattered puddles created sporadic mirrors and reflected back the glare of streetlights and passing car headlights. An absent glance at her watch didn’t offer her any reassurance—he was nearly an hour late now. She forced down the threat of panic that wanted to blossom into a full-fledged fear and told herself that he was all right. His identity was protected and all precautions had been taken to ensure his safety. With her father in charge of that, she had no doubts at all about the quality of the security surrounding Fowler at all times.

Uncomfortable at the window, Daniella spun on her heel and dropped into the armchair again. About halfway to the bottom of this drink, memory steered her thoughts inexorably back to the bedroom she shared with Martin. The tension knotting her muscles was as much sexual as it was concern for his unexplained lateness, and the sudden ache between her thighs was more than enough to awaken her entire body with anticipation. Another gulp and the second Scotch was gone.

Daniella was beginning to feel a bit more relaxed again now that alcohol was dulling her perception but there was still an edge of panic lingering within her. She couldn’t help wondering if something had happened to Martin; he was never hours late without calling—a habit he was slowly drilling into Daniella as well. She looked at the glass in her hand, debating whether to refill it a third time. It was now almost three o’clock, and she decided to have the drink then go to bed—alone. She couldn’t suppress the flare of anger that shot through her at the prospect of another night in the huge bed without Martin. In her heart, she knew nothing serious had delayed him, which meant he simply hadn’t bothered to call.

Twenty minutes and a third drink later; Daniella was staring at the empty glass again. Her head felt pleasantly fuzzy.

Disappointment and annoyance kept her on an emotional seesaw…

Denysé

Denysé Bridger
“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Preditors & Editors Best Author 2012-2013 **
WEBSITE: http://www.denysebridger.com
Fantasy Pages (general): http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
Bound By Passion (adult content): http://boundpassion.blogspot.com

Bella, Bella Signorina – a sweetly sensual romance from Rome

 

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BELLA SIGNORINA
In its original format for the first time!
Genre: Sweetly sensual contemporary romance
Publisher: Eirelander Publishing
Blurb:
 
Set in Rome, Bella Signorina is a sweet, romantic story of two people who meet in a trendy caffè, and through the magic of dance and music discover they have many things in common. Bianca comes to Caffè Rosati every week, and for many weeks she’s been watching a special man, a handsome, charming stranger who dances, flirts, and leaves alone each week. Bianca is a woman who enjoys her freedom, and has been hurt before, so she’s not anxious to fall in love again. Something about the enigmatic Stefano has captivated her heart, though, and she is drawn to him in spite of herself. When she finally gathers her courage to approach him, and ask him to dance, little does she know that her entire world is about to change.
 
Stefano Esposito is a man who’s past relationships have not left him much in the way of ideals about women. Many have claimed to love him, none have understood him. Stefano is a rare breed in today’s world of fast-paced life and love. He is a gentleman, a man who many consider a little out of step with the times. For Stefano, falling in love is the completion of a soul, not the consummation of a sexual itch. He wants the woman in his life to respect, understand, and adore him, as he will her. When he meets Bianca, he wonders if he’s finally found the one he’s waited a lifetime for? She understands his internal conflicts, his desires, and his dreams, after only hours together.
 
When their attraction to each other flares too quickly and too intently, Stefano pulls back. Confused and uncertain, Bianca flees his beautiful home and business, and goes back to her busy life. But, once the dance has begun, is there a way to go back to what you knew before, or is it just a matter of time before the music lures you back to your dreams and, perhaps, makes them reality?
 
 
Read an excerpt:
 
I simply smiled and raised a glass when she walked over
Then love began, she took my hand, and said let’s dance…
 
Bianca allowed the music to surge into her being, until the only thing real was the easy rhythm of motion that had her spinning into the pulsing sounds of the catchy song. She’d danced with Gianni many times, and no thought was involved, only the perfect movement and the music. He was an excellent partner, and as always, the song ended too soon. Tonight, as often happened, there was a small burst of applause for the performance they’d given.
 
She smiled and turned to go back to her table when the handsome stranger at the bar lifted his glass and saluted her. For just an instant, the cafe and its patrons vanished, and there was only his sparkling eyes and the humor that emanated from him. Excitement surged into her veins, making her reckless and determined. Bianca murmured an excuse to Gianni, then changed direction and headed directly for the beautiful man she’d been wanting to meet.
 
When she stood in front of him, she offered her hand.
 
He took it, kissed it, and waited, faint challenge in his eyes.
 
She ignored the tremor working its way into her knees and making them wobbly.
 
“Let’s dance,” she invited.
 
Laughter accompanied the shake of his head.
 
Bianca eyed him with amusement.
 
“Why?”
 
“I don’t dance, bella.”
 
His voice was soft, richly modulated, and layered with too many subtleties to readily define them all.
 
“Of course you do,” she countered, her head tilting to one side. “I’ve seen you dance here.”
 
“Not like you do,” he replied.
 
He reached for his wine, and she caught his hand and tugged, gently but insistently drawing him with her as she walked back to the dance floor, her gaze locked with his startled look. The four piece band was just beginning a lively number when Bianca struck a pose and waited for him to take the lead. He did, and she was totally unprepared for the shock of awareness that went through her when he pulled her to him and they started to move like one person…
 
Denysé
“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy…”
** Predators & Editors Best Author 2012 **
http://www.denysebridger.com

 

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