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Portrait of Gray Teasers

I love teasers. I tend to spend a lot of time choosing the right one. With Portrait of Gray I actually took one look at the pictures and they just clicked instantly with me. That RARELY happens and when it does you know things are just so right. Here is one of my favorites:

Portrait of Gray, Baxter Family Saga Book 2 Teaser

 

One of the most important people in Grayson’s life is Bindi Gail.  She is that mixture of boldness and heat. The kind of woman that Grayson needs at that point in his life. One of my favorite lines from her:

Portrait of Gray, Baxter Family Saga book 2 - Bindi Gail

 

Loved the image of Grayson so much, I made another teaser of a pivotal scene about Grayson’s family secret

Portrait of Gray, Baxter Family Saga Book 2

 

Stephanie’s 5✫ review of Portrait of Gray (Baxter Family Saga 2) – http://amzn.to/1ymaV6y “…the writing and action are so great…”

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@MeganSlayer ‘s Needing Desire ~ #ClubDesire book 5 #mm #BDSM #ShortStory

Needing Desire by Megan Slayer NeedingDesire_35

A Beyond Club Desire Erotic Gem story

M/M, Anal Sex, BDSM, Toys, Spanking, Bondage

Short Story, Contemporary

Resplendence Publishing

Get your rocks off however you want at Club Desire. We’re not easy and we’re not free, but we are discreet. Find your fantasy in the Club.

Lonely hearts will find a way to mend and grow, especially with cuffs involved.

Jake Charles rules the Toy Box room of Club Desire. Whatever toys the doms want, he supplies. He’s happy with his job, but wants more—especially with Master Tony. There’s only one catch. Master Tony hasn’t noticed him. When the Master comes calling for toys, Jake’s got to decide if he wants to keep his happy but lonely existence or put himself in Master Tony’s arms and gain the desire he desperately needs.

Anything is possible at Club Desire.

Available at Resplendence Publishing: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/712-978-1-60735-818-3–needing-desire-club-desire-series-book-five-by-megan-slayer.html

And on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Needing-Desire-Romance-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B00OQUCT6I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413975788&sr=8-1&keywords=Needing+Desire+Megan+Slayer

At AllRomance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-needingdesireclubdesireseriesbookfive-1664112-147.html

Excerpt:

©Megan Slayer, 2014, All Rights Reserved

Jake made his way down the corridor. The thick carpet muffled his footsteps. The dim light made the deep blue paint on the walls seem softer, almost like velvet. He stopped in front of Master Tony’s door. Being in the blue corridor meant the dom had been at the club awhile and had earned a special room. Jake knocked on the door and waited.

“Come in,” Master Tony said from within the room.

Jake twisted the knob and opened the door. Master Tony’s space had been decked out with the same thick carpet and blue paint. “Here you are, sir. All the toys you’ve requested as well as the lube and rubbers.”

“On the table.” Master Tony stood beside the leather-upholstered table. Plastic had been stretched out under the furniture. He rocked on the balls of his feet, making the plastic crackle with each movement. “I assume you brought everything.”

“Yes, sir.” Jake left the tray on the table then stepped away from Master Tony. “Anything else, sir?”

“Yes. Do you wish to play?”

Jake wobbled on his feet. He couldn’t believe his ears. Master Tony wanted to know if he wished to play?  He hadn’t thought Master Tony was interested. The last thing he knew, Master Tony had a sub. Although Jake had been hurt before, he wanted to open his heart to the dom.

“I asked you a question.” Master Tony stepped up to Jake. He stood about five inches taller than Jake, but the difference seemed greater when they were next to each other. “Well?”

Jake’s heart hammered. He could say no and keep his situation uneventful or he could accept a chance to change his life for a few hours and submit to the man he craved.

Jake nodded then bowed his head. “Yes, sir. I’d like to play.”

* * * * *

Megan Slayer – It’s Always Fun to Squirm

New Mustangs Baseball Series Boxed Sets

 

 

Mustang-Box-Set-vol-2 Mustang-Box-Set-vol-1

 

Just in time for holiday reading!

Save 25% when you purchase the series in these convenient boxed sets!

Volume One -

Free Agent – (prequel novella) She’s more than he bargained for.
Inside Heat – Book 1 – It’s all fun and games until someone falls in love.
Going Deep – Book 2 – Control is the name of the game.
Bases Loaded – Book 3 – He’s through playing games.

Volume Two

Switch Hitter – Book 4 – He’s at home on both sides of the plate.
Spring Training – Book 5 – It takes discipline to play the game.
Strike Out – Book 6 – She’ll break his game down into a science.
Seasoned Veteran – Christmas Novella – There’s no age limit on falling in love.

SNOW CHEETAH, perfect winter read

SnowCheetahCoverArt small

SNOW CHEETAH – Chronicles of Kassouk by Vijaya Schartz. Although this is a series, each book can be fully enjoyed separately as each features different characters at a different point in time. ENJOY.

Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00P4H3T5CAlso in NOOK – at ARE –  etc.

On a mission to annex a planet for Earth, Captain Martial Terrien faces a culture with incredible psychic abilities, and falls for its lovely queen.

Natalia, future queen of Kassouk, pressured into bonding with a power-hungry prince, yearns to improve her people’s lives. She finds the handsome Earth captain a refreshing distraction, despite his five fingers and ridiculous claim of being human, like the lowly workers of her world.

Captain Martial Terrien, nano-enhanced Space Marine from Earth, is on a secret, desperate mission to find his people a new home. The unexpected population on the chosen planet complicates his task, especially since the ruling caste can read minds, levitate, and teleport at will. Furthermore, the lovely princess and her pet cheetah take a shine to him, and beautiful women always spelled disaster in his past.

Natalia’s jilted suitor, determined to reign at any cost, vows to annihilate the Earthlings. When the conflict escalates, can Martial obey Earth Central Command, or will he jeopardize the future of his race to save Natalia and her people?

EXCERPT:

When her arm weakened and her steps grew shaky, he did a somersault over her head, leaving her confused. Then he shoved her sideways, and tackled her. He pinned her to the soft mat, face up, while he held her sword arm to the floor.
He had her.
Her hair came undone around her head, like a bright halo on the soft gray mat, and her luminous green gaze locked with his. Her lips opened slightly, and he couldn’t help but stare. She looked so helpless, her chest heaving. Her eyes unfocused and her pupils dilated. She was not playing the game anymore… neither was he.
Her breath hitched. He lowered his face to hers and hovered closer to marvel at her beauty. She kept staring at him. He couldn’t resist the temptation to probe her mind. A mistake. She was calling to him, wanting him to kiss her. He lowered his gaze to her mouth and she licked her slightly open lips. How could he possibly resist her sensual call?
Slowly, deliberately, he brushed her pliant lips, enjoying the soft contact. When she tasted him with a lick, he held his fire, afraid she would balk at a fierce response. She had to be a virgin. Then she let go of the sword. He relaxed his hold, and she caressed his hair.
The sensation of her six-fingered hand on his head awakened shored up needs he could no longer contain. Cupping her fiery mane, he claimed her mouth and ravished it with the fervor of a starving man.
She moaned softly and arched under him, as if seeking body contact. Flashes of all the disastrous consequences their relationship could bring barely cooled his lust, but he must stop this now.
He steeled himself against the separation and rose slowly, with great reluctance.
She sat up on the mat, staring at him.
“I’m so sorry.” He turned away. He couldn’t watch her like that. “It won’t happen again. I promise.”
“Why not?” The disappointment in her voice and in her mind sliced him deeper than a sword.
“You are promised to another man.” As good an excuse as any. The truth was too ugly to tell. His mission might require him to annihilate her entire race.
“I do not intend to become Kaylar’s mate.” The indignant tone told much about her dislike for the man.
Martial stiffened, closing his fists, then he faced her again. “I hope we can still be friends.”
“Friends?” Tears welled in her beautiful green eyes.
“Or colleagues… diplomat and future queen.” Martial still needed more information on the Starlings.
She swallowed a sob, quickly wiped a tear, then composed her face. “Maybe when you see more of our culture, you will understand that although our females often take a submissive role, we do have a choice in the matter. We are civilized.”
“Of course, you are.” He certainly felt like the Neanderthal here.
She rose from the floor and tossed her long wavy hair behind the shoulders of her impeccable white body suit. “Then shall we meet again tomorrow?” Hope softened her face. “I planned to show you our hydroponic installations.”
“I accept, but I must bring my team.” For his own protection. He didn’t want to repeat past mistakes. And mistakes would certainly be made if he spent too much time alone with her.

HAPPY READING

Vijaya Schartz
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
AMAZON -B&NARE

Kentucky Cowboy

Kentucky Cowboy 200 300“Warmhearted and wonderful… Kentucky Cowboy is a keeper.” — Bestselling Author Joanne Rock

A contender for the world title, professional bull rider Judd Romeo defies death for a living. Now he must deal with the death of his mother by settling her estate. Returning home to Kentucky, he runs smack dab into the arms of his high school sweetheart, a woman he has never forgotten.

Veterinarian Mandy Sullivan learned early on that risk-takers are trouble. Having custody of her sister’s child, she is working hard to be both mother and father to the abandoned girl, and doesn’t count on trouble showing up next door.

Mandy discovers she can’t avoid the famous cowboy she’s never quite put out of her mind. When Mandy’s sister comes home threatening to take away the little girl Mandy loves as her own, will she realize Judd is not the same man he was back then?

Amazon | iBooks

EXCERPT

“Short Go” at a PBR Event in Dallas, Texas

“That’s one rank sonofabitch. Good draw you got, Romeo.”

Judd Romeo nodded. “Yep, he’s a mean ’un.” Perched on top of a six-foot deep metal chute, a leather bull rope clutched in his right hand, he acknowledged the flank man.

“Ain’t named Bad to the Bone for nuthin’,” the other man said.

Judd turned his attention to the 1900-pound Charolais-cross bull beneath him in the chute. It was good luck to draw last year’s bucking bull of the year. All he had to do was stick on this sucker for eight seconds and he’d have a win. No doubt about it.

Judd expelled a deep breath and rubbed his wet palms across his Wranglers. Pre-ride jitters. Nothing unusual. He’d gotten them before. He’d have them again. If he didn’t get ’em, he didn’t get that edge he needed to stay on one of these big, bad bulls.

Still, Judd’s gut twisted as he eyed stock contractor Tim Wilson’s bull. Other riders said this bull lived up to his name, and they talked about how Bad to the Bone threw up his head and smashed a guy’s face once. Yet the bull was allowed back into the chutes, and cowboys kept trying to ride him.

Now it was Judd’s turn. Adrenaline pumped through his veins. A thin line of sweat peppered his lip. He backhanded it off. Winning was the reason he had busted his butt on the circuit. He was a professional bull rider and a damn good one. This year he had a legitimate shot at the world title and the million dollar bonus.

Too bad his father didn’t care.

Why think about Jared Romeo now? His dad had never approved of him, let alone his desire to ride bulls for a living.

He had proven his old man wrong, hadn’t he?

Judd drew a breath. Damn, why was he was chewing on the past when he needed to focus?

He slowly put on his leather riding glove, directing his gaze toward the packed arena. How he loved this life. The noisy crowd. The blaring rock music and high-tech pyrotechnics. The earthy smells of dirt, sweat and manure. The camaraderie and danger. Eight seconds of heart-stopping thrills. Stunned silence when a competitor didn’t get up. Applause and cheers when the cowboy stood and staggered like a drunk out of the arena.

His father had never understood this excitement. The beauty of man tackling beast.

Mandy didn’t get it either. He had loved that girl in high school, but she had just seen the danger and walked away from him.

Judd looked away from the crowd. Riding bulls was all he wanted to do. All he knew how to do. It was in his blood.

He tried to swallow over the lump in his throat. His mother had appreciated his passion. She had understood.

The chute boss turned to him. “You’re up, Romeo.”

Judd’s head snapped up. “Right.”

His pulse kicked up a notch. Time to ride. This one’s for you, Mom.

Judd rubbed more rosin on his gloved riding hand and tugged his black Resistol down over his eyes. He plucked a mouthpiece out of the pocket of his protective vest and popped it into his mouth. Ready, he slipped from the railing and eased down on the bull’s flat back.

Bad to the Bone snorted and shifted in the chute. Judd slid his gloved hand into the leather handle of the bull rope, and another cowboy leaned over the railing to cinch the rope around the animal’s girth. Judd’s lips tightened.

“He usually goes out three or four big jumps,” the flank man warned, “and then spins like a sonofabitch.”

Judd jerked a nod of thanks, his total concentration now on the rope in his right hand. He sucked a deep breath and glanced at the other cowboy beside him.

“You gonna suicide it, Romeo?”

“Yeah.”

“Damn risky.”

Judd knew the risks of a suicide wrap. He also knew the rewards. Expertly he wrapped the rope around his gloved hand and the bull strap. Next he split the little finger from the others with a second wrap. For good measure, he pounded his curled, leather-covered fingers with his left fist.

Then with his grip secure, he scooted up over the right hand and tightened his legs against the bull. Blood rushed in his ears. He gulped another quick breath.

“Let’s roll!”

The gate flew open and the bull blew out of the chute jumping high into the air. The animal lunged thirty feet in two jumps and spun to the right, kicking high. Judd gripped the bull rope. Each jerk wrenched his riding arm and shoulder socket.

Riding directly in the center of the bull’s back, he dug the blunt rowels of his spurs into the animal’s hide. His free hand snapped at a ninety-degree angle over his head. His insides churned like a cement mixer.

Bad to the Bone changed tactics and spun faster to the left. Judd went with him. Forcing air through his lungs, he concentrated on staying in the center. He didn’t want to drop down into the middle of the spin. His inner clock ticked away six seconds.

Judd opened up and began spurring the bull. His timing was good. He was making points, but his calves no longer touched the animal’s sides. Any lurch or twist could dust his butt into the dirt.

Damn, this is good. No amount of money could buy this kind of high. He was winning. Riding the rankest damn bull on the circuit and beating the socks off the competition.

The eight-second buzzer signaled the end of the ride. He’d stuck it! The crowd roared its approval.

Like a fool, he kept riding. He loved it. The only thing better would be seeing his father’s face when he won the world title.

Preparing to dismount Judd yanked the tail of the rope to release his riding hand. The bull switched directions at that moment, bucking hard, and jerked him down and away from his grip. His hand caught up in the rope.

Judd fell, still attached to the powerful bull thrashing beneath him. Whipping from side to side like laundry in a stiff breeze, he tried to get his feet under him to lunge back on top of the creature so he could release the pressure on the rope. It was the only way to free his hand.

A bullfighter dashed to the opposite side of the bull, grabbing at the rope. “Judd, I’ll getcha!”

Gritting his teeth, Judd stretched his free hand toward his entangled fist. The bull was too fast, too erratic. Finally the spinning and bucking motion ripped his hand free.

Judd slammed face first into the dirt. The bull’s hoof skimmed over his head.

A second bullfighter intervened, shouting at the bull and tossing his hat in the opposite direction to provide a distraction. The bull swerved to charge the courageous bullfighter. Judd sucked in desperate gasps of breath and speed-crawled away from the flying hooves and sharp horns. When he scrambled to his feet, he lurched toward the rail.

The first bullfighter reached his side. “You okay?”

Searing pain shot down his right arm and up his neck. “My arm hurts like hell.”

Judd let his riding arm hang by his side. He raised his good, left hand and high-fived the bullfighter. “Thanks, Buzz. I owe you.”

“Just doing my job.” The bullfighter grinned. He reached down and snatched Judd’s hat out of the dirt.

Judd took it. An approving burst of applause and cheers shook the arena. He battled a surge of nausea, but still managed to acknowledge the fans with a wave of his hat. Then a doctor from the sports medicine team reached him.

“You got ninety,” the doc said, ushering him out of the arena. “Highest score of the night. Puts you in the lead.”

He had won. It had been the best ride of his life. Winning this event kept him in first place for the world championship title and the million dollar bonus.

Taking deep breaths, Judd reached the gate and turned back to the arena. The barrel man climbed into his padded barrel, his clown smile spreading wide across the white greasepaint that covered his face. The pickup man spurred his horse into position at the end of the arena.

“Let’s look at that shoulder, Judd.”

Judd winced. “Sure, doc.”

Sweat spiked his brow. Although it hurt like crazy, he knew he’d be okay. With a few weeks before the next set of competitions before the October finals in Las Vegas, he had time to heal.

Judd turned away from the noise and the lights. Hot pain throbbed in his shoulder, but it didn’t match the pain in his heart.

He would take care of his arm, and then he would go home to Kentucky. Back to say good-bye to his Mom and take care of her things. Mandy would be there. But his father wouldn’t be.

Maybe it was time to extinguish the torch he had carried for damn too long.

The Bluegrass Reunion series

Kentucky Bride 200 300The Bluegrass Reunion series are heartwarming, contemporary romances about family and second chances.
Each romance stands alone.

Books in the Series:

  • Kentucky Cowboy—Bull rider/veterinarian—She dumped him in high school, because he was a risk-taker.
  • Kentucky Woman—Banker/exercise rider—She loved him when she was a teenager, but they never connected.
  • Kentucky Flame—American Saddlebred Horse trainers—She had his baby, but he left not knowing the truth.
  • Kentucky Groom—Teacher/software designer and Saddlebred groom—She can’t afford to fall in love with a lowly groom.
  • Kentucky Bride—American Saddlebred Horse trainer/CEO—She rejected him once, but he’s willing to try again.
  • Kentucky Heat—Country music singer/artist—She doesn’t need to take on another project, but he won’t take no for an answer. (Sequel to Kentucky Bride.)
  • Kentucky Rain—Divorced single mom/security consultant—She has responsibilities to her daughter and herself, not to the handsome guy next door. (Mentions characters from Kentucky Cowboy.)
  • Kentucky Blue Bloods—Kentucky horse breeder/British thoroughbred breeder and owner—She wants to save the family horse farm, but he has other ideas.

Jan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about family and second chances, and if the plot allows—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books, and the excitement of a horse race or a competitive horse show. A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan has published with Kensington, Five Star, ImaJinn Books, Resplendence Publishing and Turquoise Morning Press.

Visit Jan at http://www.janscarbrough.com

Sign up for Jan’s newsletter http://www.janscarbrough.com/contact/

You can also follow Jan on Twitter @romancerider

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/janscarbrough

Kentucky Blue Bloods

Kentucky Blue Bloods 200-300Book eight of the Bluegrass Reunion series (all books stand alone)

No one crosses Parker Stuart, caretaker to his family’s thoroughbred racing empire. Parker retaliates against anyone who dares slight him or his blue-blooded British family, especially Regina Ward and her poker-playing father. The previous spring, Reggie had had the nerve to walk out on him after a torrid, three-week affair. Now, when Parker arrives in Kentucky to collect his family’s winnings, he’s determined to settle the score with the lovely Ms. Ward.

Regina Ward doesn’t consider herself a damsel in distress. After all, this is America, and she’s accustomed to depending upon herself. However, when her father loses four of the yearlings from their central Kentucky horse farm in a poker game, Reggie knows it’s up to her to save what’s left of her family’s homestead and her proud Kentucky heritage. Can she do it when Parker Stuart, the most arrogant and infuriating Brit she’s ever met, shows up in the Bluegrass?

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | RESPLENDENCE | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

The Perfect Storm (The Blake Boys Series Book 6)

ThePerfectStorm-ByRhondaLaurel-200x300

 

11/8 – Giveaway Update

*Congrats to Veronique and Colleen!  Two comments, two winners!* 

Blurb

Sometimes you have to tear everything down and start over…

Private security specialist Samantha Jane Carson gets the surprise of her life when she arrives at Blake Enterprises for the annual security audit. Instead of her usual contact, she’s greeted by the company president himself, the sexy and elusive J.J. Blake. It’s her job to know everything about the Blake family, and J.J.’s recent divorce is the talk of the town. Women are lined up to become the next Mrs. Blake, and who wouldn’t want to be? J.J.’s gorgeous, rich, and has stormy green eyes that hold women captive.

J.J. Blake is making some major changes in his life. Freshly divorced from ex-wife Eden, he’s building a new house, coming to terms with the injury that ended his NFL career, and is ready to start fresh—without romance complicating things. His friends and family encourage him to get back into the dating pool, but he’d rather not be sucked into those rough waters again. Work is the obvious diversion, and he opts to handle the security audit himself for some good old-fashioned guy/tech work. But when Sam Carson walks into his office, J.J.’s brought up short. The “Sam” he was expecting turns out to be Samantha—beautiful, smart, and a tough-as-nails ex-cop in a polished, professional package. And she’s just the kind of woman who could drag him under…

Excerpt

J.J. Blake woke to find his bed empty and a note from Eden on the pillow saying she didn’t have it in her to say goodbye. He stared at the ceiling, wishing he could stay in bed for the rest of the day with the memory of the heady, lust-filled night with his ex-wife. He’d danced with her at Seth and Morgan’s wedding. Four dances later, they’d swiped a bottle of champagne and retired to the house for one last night of passion. As soon as J.J. opened the door, years of angst let loose like a broken dam as they stripped each other and made love into the wee hours of the night. It was the perfect way to end their otherwise disastrous marriage. Sex was only time the two of them weren’t at each other’s throats.

He roamed around his living room, taking one last look at the place. After two weeks of scouring the house he was pretty sure he’d removed anything of sentimental value. A picture of Eden and him on their wedding day sat on the mantle. It hadn’t been there yesterday. She must have brought it with her. He picked it up and smiled, thinking how happy and clueless he’d been back then. Still, it had no place in the house anymore, so he snagged it and put it in the kitchen trash. Satisfied, he went outside to put a few things in his truck.

“Mr. Blake, we should be ready for phase two in about a half hour.”

He nodded at the foreman. “Thanks, Jesse.”

A truck headed toward them on the road. He could see his mother’s red hair peeking over the steering wheel. She parked and cut the engine.

J.J. helped her get out of the vehicle. “Good morning, Momma.”

“Good morning baby. Is Eden here? I saw you leave with her last night.” She looked around for her daughter-in-law’s car.

“She left hours ago. Did you want to say goodbye?”

“No, we said our goodbyes. We had a long talk last night.”

J.J. furrowed his eyebrows. “You did?”

Teri-Lyn touched his arm. “I told her that I’m sorry things turned out the way they did and I wished her the best.”

“Wow. Thanks for saying that Momma.”

“Just because the two of you didn’t work out doesn’t mean there isn’t true happiness out there for each of you.”

“If this relationship has taught me one thing, it’s that I’m just not cut out for marriage.”

“You can’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do. It took seven years to figure that out and I will not go through it again.”

“Promise me you’ll think about it some more before you cast that die into the universe.”

The rest of the family was beginning to arrive. J.J.’s brother Seth pulled up and was helping his wife Morgan and their kids out of their truck.

Morgan came over and kissed him on the cheek. “Hey, J.J.”

“Can’t wait to see this surprise you have for us.” Seth laughed as he balanced his twin boys Connor and Colby in each arm.

“Just a little spring cleaning.” J.J. scooped his Jake nephew into his arms.

It was time to begin anew and it felt right to have his family with him when he did it. The rest of the family began pulling up. John Jacob, Tyler and Channing arrived together in his dad’s truck while Tate and Isabelle came riding up on horseback. J.J. scanned the Blake clan, who were all assembled on his front lawn. Morgan’s mouth gaped open when she spied the button in his hand. He winked at her and she nodded back, apparently she understood what he was trying to tell her. She gave him the inspiration, after all. He’d laughed for a half hour when he’d found that steamy romance novel she’d snuck into his briefcase during his visit to Philadelphia, but when he’d read it, he’d realized what was missing in his world.

“Thank you for coming out this morning as I bid goodbye to the past.” J.J. pressed the button and felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders when the house began to crumble. He’d gotten the idea to start over with a literal clean slate while he was traveling for business. He visited a prospective property for a land deal and was overtaken by the serenity of the open space with nothing but the blue sky and luscious greenery all around. When he saw the blueprints Morgan’s brother Jared had drawn up for Jake’s tree house, he knew he’d found the right architect to help him design his new home.

No one really knew what to say; the look of shock and awe was plastered on their faces. Finally his brother Tate started clapping. The rest of the family, including the twins, Connor and Colby, joined Tate.

“Uncle J.J., your house go boom.” Jake clapped.

“It sure did. Now I get to build a new one that will have a great room for you, Connor and Colby.”

“Yay!” Jake clapped harder.

“Is this your way of announcing your separation?” Channing raised an eyebrow.

“Eden and I are divorced. It was finalized last month.”

“And you waited a month to tell us because…?” Seth asked.

“I didn’t want to disrupt the festivities of your wedding,” J.J. replied.

Tyler raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t you two leave together last night?”

J.J. shrugged. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Well, I wish you the best on to the next chapter in your life,” Channing quipped.

“All I ever wanted was for you to happy.” Tate patted his shoulder.

“Me too. So what now?” Seth added.

“It’s time to rebuild.” J.J. looked on as the construction men started clearing debris.

 

The Perfect Storm released October 17th!

Giveaway

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a

$5 Amazon gift card.

You can buy The Perfect Storm at the following retailers:

Amazon (Kindle) US    Amazon Kindle (UK)     Amazon Kindle (CA)

Barnes & Noble     All Romance eBooks     Kobo

Etopia Press

See how The Blake Boys Series began in

For the Love of the Game

MVP 

The Blake Legacy

Texas Heat

Love Notes & Football

Coming soon! 

Hollywood Rush, the sequel to my novella Star Crossed!  Release date November 21st!

Slow Burn (The Blake Boys Series Book 7)!  Release date December 26th!

Check out my website for news on the next phase of The Blake Boys Series for 2015!

 http://www.rhondalaurel.com

Megan Slayer’s Cat Flash ~ Hot #excerpt #paranormal #catshifter

Cat Flash by Megan Slayer ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Stray Cats, book 4

BIN: 07116-02292

Word Count: 18K

Page Count: 59

Price: $3.99

Release Date: September 26, 2014

Editor: Katriena Knights

Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

Genres: Erotic Romance, Paranormal

Themes:  Shapeshifters, Magic

She’s got the flash and he’s the cat. Together they’ll create magic.

Meliana has denied her powers as a witch because she’d rather fit into society. She doesn’t want to stand out, but a woman with blue hair and the power to work magic doesn’t necessarily blend in. She got the cat in an attempt to be normal, but this kitty has a secret and it’s guaranteed to surprise.

AllRomance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-catflashstraycats4-1653996-140.html?referrer=5241a8f276db0

Changeling Press:
Amazon:
Barnes and Noble:
Kobo:

EXCERPT:

©2014 Megan Slayer, all rights reserved

She wanted to make love to him! Hot damn. She liked him as the cat and the man. The possibility of them working out wasn’t completely gone.
Adrian cuddled in her arms. He didn’t mind being in his cat form. When he was Chaos, she snuggled him, talked to him and treated him like a king. Who wanted to pass up such a pampered life and deep love? Not him. He cherished her words of affection. There were times he’d wondered why he hadn’t been able to shift yet, but he’d given up worrying. When the Goddess wanted him to change, he’d be able to shift and not a moment sooner.
A thought occurred to him. He’d been able to shift finally and revealed himself. In order to put her at ease, he’d given in to the animal again. According to the teachings from Hildegard, he shouldn’t be able to move between the forms until he bonded with his mate. He believed he was with his mate already and knew down to his soul that Meliana belonged to him. He loved her and she seemed to love him. Could her power really be the equal for his magic? He hoped so. He also hoped she’d go through with her statement.
Meli held him up and stared into his eyes. “I can’t expect miracles, but if this isn’t some crazy-ass dream caused by one too many glasses of wine, I’ll be shocked. I want you to stay here with me. Stay in your cat form, if you can, until morning so I can process what’s going on. My brain isn’t accepting what I’m seeing because I’m tired and a little drunk.”
He blinked. In his feline form, he couldn’t answer her. The blink would have to suffice. When she plunked him onto the bed, he scrambled to the pillow beside her and curled up. If staying in his cat form made her feel better, then he’d do whatever she wanted. He needed her to trust him.
Adrian stayed beside her as she slept. He needed to protect her — from what, he didn’t know. He wondered about his brothers. Where were they and were they safe?
Did they end up with loving partners and able to shift? He missed them and hoped they were still alive.
He snuggled closer to Meli. He enjoyed her warmth. He’d fallen in love with her practically from the first day he’d been in her home. When he closed his eyes, he dreamed about her. Each of the times he’d watched her with her ex-boyfriend, Lane, he imagined himself in Lane’s position. His body warmed and tingled. He longed to wrap his arms around her and kiss every inch of her. The sight of her naked body, even in his memory, sent shivers through his being.
Adrian, she’d moan. Make love to me.
He rubbed his face in her hair, breathing in the scent of her. Yeah, he wanted to make love to her. Right now. He wanted to roll her over and burrow inside her until they blurred together as one.
“Chaos.” Meli’s scream startled him. “You promised.”
“Huh?” He glanced down at himself, but didn’t register what he was seeing. If he’d been able to answer, then he’d shifted. Shit. “Sorry.”
“And you’ve got a boner.”

 

Megan Slayer – It’s Always Fun to Squirm

Hidden Desire by Barbara Donlon Bradley – book 8 of the Vespian Way

Okay – here’s my last post and my upcoming book. This is an unedited version of the book since I haven’t gotten my edits back from Phaze yet.

 

Hope you enjoy

 

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Chapter 1

 

Heather stood near the screen in their room on Bert’s command ship and glared at the injustice she saw happening to the Vespian people. They were being lied to. Those who realized it was all a lie and fought against Reasta’s guards were getting hurt in the process. “I hate this.”

“My heart, you say that every time you watch the feeds.”

“We should be out there leading these people, not hiding here on this ship.” She turned to face her mate, Storm. “They are dying for us.”

“I know, but you know the consequences of getting caught.”

“It still doesn’t stop me from wanting to be there on the front lines. That is what I was trained for, not sitting back while others died in my stead.”

Storm came up to her and wrapped his arms around her. “I feel the same way, but until we can find away to be undetected we can’t risk it.”

“I know.” She snuggled against him. “But it doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“I know how to make you feel better.”

“You do, don’t you?” She leaned back to look up at him.

He gave her that heart stopping smile that turned her insides to jelly. His hand went to the seals of her gown. “And I know how to make you melt.”

“Already there.”

His lips massaged her mark as she eased his uniform off him. The fact he wore it showed he felt the same way she did. He despised this as much as she did. The heat of his skin against her palm made her smile.

Storm wrapped his arms around her and carried her to their bed. “I can do this all day long if it will make you feel better.”

Heather laughed at that. “You know as much as I would love that, there are too many people demanding our attention. Since this war has started we have been interrupted a lot and you growl every time.”

“Time with my mate is precious to me.” He nibbled on her throat. “Now, we have much better things to do than think about what is going on outside this room.”

She lay back on the bed as he joined her. “I agree.”

His tongue slid against her mark, filing her with need. Her hands caressed his chest, following the contours of his muscles. Thought of him filling her had her heart pounding in her chest.

“Your desire just spiked, my heart. I thought I was here to relax you.” He pressed a kiss against her color bone before he worked his way down to her breast.

“And you will, right after you make me so boneless I can’t speak.” She quieted when his lips closed on her right nipple. The man knew how to make her body sing. Heat pooled in her core. Want had her legs wrapping around his hips, sending the silent signal of what she really wanted.

His hands worked their way down to her legs, stroking several of her sensitive spots before they slipped around her thighs and eased them away from his body. “Not yet my heart. You have been edgy and very frustrated and I want to see that beautiful smile of yours. You need to relax completely and in order to do that I need to build you up to a white hot flame.”

“You always do that. All you have to do is give me that sexy smile of yours and I’m a puddle.”

He rested his chin on her stomach as he looked at her. “Yet when I use that same smile in the security center I strike fear in my soldiers. They don’t melt at my feet the way you do.”

“Ha. It’s not the same smile. I’ve seen that evil one you give my team when you want to push us a little harder than normal.”

“Evil?” He climbed back up her body. “You like it when I challenge the group. All of you do.”

“Of course.” She smiled up at his face only inches from hers. Her hands continued to caress him, touching places she knew ignited his need. He shuttered when she gripped his buttocks. “You do, too. The pride you feel when we master some complicated technique you dreamed up is hard to miss.”

His fingers brushed along her jaw line. Storm’s voice was soft as he spoke. “You have done a good job of distracting me from my mission. This time you win.”

Her smile widened when she felt him drive into her. Her legs wrapped around his hips once more. She felt the heat of his mouth on her mark as he set a slow but deep pace. Angling her body so he could get the best penetration she met him thrust for thrust.

“Don’t let this go to your head, my heart. There is always round two.” Storm shifted his hold on her which changed the pace.

That drew a moan out of her. Now he was hitting that sensitive spot he always aimed to stimulate. Soon she was shaking in his arms. Her voice was barely a whisper. “So close.”

Then she felt her release bubble up from inside her. It flowed through her, filling her with a beautiful euphoria that only Storm could get her to feel.

“That’s my girl.”

****

Kuarto called them to his lab. He had been cryptic but excited when he contacted them. They found him waiting by the door. “I want you to see this.”

He brought them to a monitor, grinning broadly. They looked at the screen, studying the information. Heather wasn’t quite sure what she was looking at. It looked like a finished formula to altering her looks, but as far as she knew her brother hadn’t been able to complete it yet.

“I know you two want to be out there with your soldiers and you know I have been doing some research.” He pulled up some more data. “The biggest problem we have is disguising Heather. Her DNA overrides some of the things we have tried in the past.”

“And you think you have something that can fix that?” asked Storm. He put an arm around Heather’s waist.

“I’ve tested it.” He pulled up a sample of her DNA and they watched as it altered on the screen. “It can be done.”

“You’re sure.” Heather wasn’t convinced this was the smartest thing to do. Nothing had worked before, why would it now.

“Oh, yes.” He looked at her, grinning. “I’ve been studying the data on the device you had in your back. It was designed to disguise your true heritage and have you read as human, but not your looks. It’s one of the reasons nothing worked before. The device didn’t allow anything to alter what it was hiding. Now that I know how it worked I can use some of the same technology with a few advancements to alter your identity.”

“And the first time I’m scanned everyone will know.” Heather shook her head, remembering how that device isolated her and had her tested time after time. “I can’t take that chance, Kuarto.”

“That last device was meant to be found. You told me that was what caught Anseri’s attention when she went through your files in the first place. The ones I will use will be much smaller and undetectable.”

“Ones?” Storm shifted so he stood behind Heather with his arms wrapped around her.

“For you, Storm, I’ll only need to use one to change your features to scans and the naked eye. Heather is a little more complicated than that. I believe three will do it, maybe four. One in the groin, one in the back of your hair line and one at the temple and if I need a forth one it will go in the second temple.”

“Altering my looks to the degree we need it done hasn’t worked in the past.” She knew he was trying to help, but even when they went to Micali’s planet he couldn’t disguise her completely.

“When you went to Aruka I was able to change your hair color and skin color and I didn’t have access to the technology I can now use. Heather you will look and read Vespian. No one will be able to tell who you are.”

“So we won’t tell anyone?”

“No.”

She hated keeping her friends in the dark, but knew it had to be done. “Is it permanent?”

“As long as you have the chip in and it’s activated, yes, but I will be able to turn it off and on as needed.” Kuarto looked at his sister then her mate. “There are a few things we need to go over first.”

Heather knew there would be buts. “What is it?”

“The only thing I can’t hide is if your mind expands. I don’t know how it will affect the chips. It might do noting and let them continue to work or it could fry them. It could also leave them intact but not functional.”

“That is a big risk.”

“Which is why I want to put them in and wait for an expansion before I let you go out into the field. It shouldn’t take too long.” He waited for her agreement before he inserted one in her temple. “It has also been suggested you two shouldn’t know what the other’s new features are if this is successful.”

“What?” Storm growled.

“To protect you both you have to find each other again. I’m not going to mess with your mindmeld, but it will be hard to explain a mated couple just showing up. Two single Vespians wanting to help their world would make more sense. We’re doing the same thing with Skye and Sam.”

“So everyone is going along with us joining the military?” Heather was shocked. Kuarto was the loudest against the idea when they tried to suggest it. “I thought you were afraid we’d be killed.”

“In the beginning we were, but Bert ran the timeline several times and said if we didn’t let you do this we would lose this war. As much as I want to lock you two away to keep you safe I know better. You draw trouble to you.”

****

“Ready?” Kuarto patted a table.

“Yes.” Heather climbed up on it. “You sure this will work?”

“The last expansion didn’t do anything to the chip so I feel comfortable letting you do this.” He gestured for her to lie down. “The first chip will change your skin tone. He inserted the chip he spoke about. She held out her arms and watched as her fair skin darkened, but not enough to allow her to blend in with Vespian society.

Kuarto smiled. He must be happy with the slight change. “Storm, if you’ll go with Micali, she’ll insert your chip.” He worked on the first insert as Storm left the room.

“You’re serious about us not knowing what the other looks like.”

“One of Bert’s conditions. He felt the four of you needed to blend in and entering security on your own would do that. You and Storm have your mental connection so that will guide you to each other. I doubt you’ll be apart for long.”

“Has Bert asked me to block that link?” She watched as her fair skin darkened to the Vespian tone. “Wow.”

“He didn’t say anything about it.” He inserted the next chip, the one that would turn her hair black, to the back of her neck. That took a little fine tuning too. “I think he’s leaving that up to you.”

“Hmm.” Heather held up the tips of her hair. “It even has the blue shine Vespian hair has.”

“I know.” He inserted one at her right temple. “So what color do you want your ring to be? And don’t ask for purple. That is a dead giveaway.”

“I guess the most prevalent color out there.”

“Believe it or not that is green.” He worked the chip until she had the Vespian golden eyes with a green ring. The tone started to change, and turned violet. “Hmm. Let’s put in that fourth chip.” The color settled to the green he wanted. “Perfect. Now all I have to do is alter your features enough to hide your identity, alter your voice and we’re done.”

“And what if they fail?”

“You worry too much. About the only thing that would knock them out is a EM pulse and we don’t use equipment that would cause that, but I know you. Storm told me how you kept expecting the one I installed when you went to Akura to stop working even though I knew it wouldn’t. There is nothing to worry about.” He gestured for her to jump down from the table. “Would you like to see the new you?”

“Yeah. No one has ever been able to alter my looks before. Besides you.” She added. Her brother walked her to the large mirror he had brought in for this reason. She looked at the stranger staring back at her through the mirror. Jet black hair hung down her back, the honey brown skin all Vespians had and her eyes. That surprised her the most. Golden with a green ring. “My eyes look a bit like Toki’s.”

“Yeah, when I changed your features I noticed that, but if I tweak it any more it doesn’t look real.” He ran the scanner over her. “Looking good.”

Heather platted her hair so she had a long braid going down her back. Her brother handed her a uniform.

Being able to start with everyone else excited her. Being the mate of the future leader had its privileges but it also had its limitations. This time she could prove her worth by her deeds, not who she was mated to. It also made her think about how no one knew who they were. Maybe she should shield her ability from everyone, including her mate. She bet Storm would still spot her in a crowded room.

If you do that I won’t be able to hear your thoughts, will I? She could feel Storm wasn’t happy about the idea. They had gotten so used to them sharing everything.

No, if I do this I’ll block my thoughts off from everyone, including you and the children. It will help keep me hidden from our friends. No one will get that familiar feeling when they’re near me and it will keep us all safe.

I like that familiar feeling.

My heart. I’m not sure how to keep you and the children in while I block everyone else out. I need to start with a clean slate and let you in later.

So I really won’t know when I met you again?

I won’t know either.

I am so tired of proving we belong together, my heart. Why must we do this separately?

Because it will keep people from questioning us if we meet and then become a couple. It won’t be difficult for us to find each other. Our personalities aren’t being changed. I’ll just look for a very domineering man.

And I’ll look for a woman who always gets into trouble?

See you soon, my heart.

****

Heather had been dropped off near one of the security outposts where she had been told by Kuarto to sign in then was directed to the large cave nearby. She saw about eighty other soldiers with her. This small a crowd should make it easy for her to find her mate, if he had been dropped off at the same place. Looking around, she didn’t see anyone who fit his build and height right away. She’d have to search for him later. The meeting was about to start.

Fridon’s image stood in front of them, waiting for everyone to gather and quiet down. “All of you are here because of your records. I am looking to put together several more elite teams to infiltrate our enemies stronghold. Our war is a private one. Not sanctioned by the council. They have been compromised and can’t help us right now so we need to help them.”

Soldiers around her murmured amongst themselves.

“As with any elite team you must be tested. Once you leave this cave you will find out what your destination is. You’ll have two days to get there. That is all.”

As they filed out they were handed a handheld that all the information they needed to get to their destination. Heather looked at hers as she followed the people in front of her. Interesting, she had two days to get to the target that normally took three days to travel on foot if they followed the basic paths and they weren’t allowed to use any sort of transportation because it could be traced. She grinned. This was going to be fun.

****

Storm looked at his small pad as he headed to the next site. He didn’t see his mate among the soldiers at their indoctrination but that didn’t surprise him. Fridon called for everyone’s attention just as he joined the rest of the soldiers, then they were ushered out and handed these devices. After going through some of the data he grinned. It was a mission scenario he had wanted to use but had never had a chance. Now Fridon was implementing it. Only the best would make it in time. Those who were worthy of being elite would make it undetected. This was going to be fun.

Several Vespian women walked in front of him and he noticed they had cropped their hair. Vespian women didn’t cut their hair so why did these women? He found himself walking with a few other men. “What’s with the hair?”

“They’re honoring Heather.” That was all they needed to say.

Storm wondered how his mate would react when she learned this. She had wanted to leave the planet because she didn’t want to bring war. This could upset her more. The people’s love for her humbled her. He just hoped his mate wouldn’t follow suit to fit in. He liked her hair long, and she knew that, but it would be a way for her to blend in with the rest of the women. He had tried to reach out to her several times with his mind and make her aware but couldn’t connect. She was going to keep him to finding her the old fashioned way.

He knew a short cut that would allow him to make it to their destination point with plenty of time to spare, a lot of others knew it too so what would he miss if he took the short cut? There had to be more than just getting to the meeting place.

****

Heather noticed several of the women sported short hair. Storm had told her the women never cut their hair so why did these women do it?

“You doing it too?” A young woman fell into step with her as she moved through a small village.

“What?” Heather looked over at the young woman, wondering why she singled Heather out of all the other women in security uniforms.

“Cutting your hair to honor Heather.”

“What?” They were doing this because of her? “I thought Heather had long hair.”

“She does now, but when she first came here with Storm her hair was short because of her position in security. Some of the women are cutting their hair and keeping it short until Heather can walk amongst us freely again. That Reasta woman needs to be stopped, but that is why you and I are here.” She worked on her handheld while they walked. “So, what about your hair?”

“Never thought about it.” It humbled her that they were doing this for her. To know they knew the truth even after the rhetoric Reasta was spinning amazed her. “It is a beautiful gesture.”

“I’ve been thinking about it. There is a medical facility nearby. They’re the ones doing it right now.”

“I don’t know.” Heather looked up at the woman. Kuarto didn’t change her height so she was still shorter than most Vespian women. “My mother wants me to leave my hair long until I’m mated. Let my mate decide.”

“Are you bonded?”

“No. Haven’t met the right man yet, but you know how parents are. Mom might think it a wonderful gesture for other women, but not her daughter.” Heather shrugged. “I’ll think about it though. She is mated to our future leader so my future bondmate would understand, and that is only if I meet him right away.”

“True, your hair could grow out before you meet him.”

Heather wasn’t sure how to handle her new associate. They all had a job to do and making friends wasn’t one of them, but there was a reason this young woman approached her and she wanted to know what it was. She didn’t seem to know who she was really talking to, unless she was a very good actor.

“There is one thing we can do to honor, Heather.” She stopped and held out her hand. “My name is Loli.”

“Nusi.” Heather looked at Loli. It was weird talking about herself in the third person. The young woman’s face was familiar, she was pretty sure she had seen her during some inspection so she had been part of security for a while. “Know anything about this new squad?”

“Only they want the best of the best.” She pulled out the small pad everyone had been handed. “I do know giving us these is not normal procedure. They must have more than our destination in them.”

“Yeah. I thought the same thing. There must be a target. Something we have to get along the way.” Heather looked at hers. “Figuring out where the information is shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.”

“If it is too easy to find then it’s not the right target.”

Heather looked at the woman and grinned. She just might be a valuable asset.

****

Storm kept looking for his mate as he made his way to the first checkpoint. He also knew he needed to acquire his target before he hit that checkpoint. It was simple enough. He had to go into the center of a small village and grab a chip attached to the main screen. There were a few things he had to follow. One was he couldn’t be caught, so he somehow had to find civilian clothes. The uniform would be a dead giveaway. He also had to get it before anyone else. Standard procedure would have more than one person going after the same item.

He wondered how Heather was getting along.

The screen blared random data. Ever since Reasta had gained control of the council the news had changed to crazy stories that meant nothing to the people. He stared at the screen to find the chip. Fridon wasn’t pulling any punches. It was up at the top of the giant screen, dead center.

He noticed several people who had been in the cave eyeing the same chip he was. Storm grinned. He loved competition.

****

Heather looked at the information that would allow her to get her target.  “Loli, you know anything about this area?”

“A little. I’m a bit of a tech so I studied the area around our first meeting site.” She slipped her device in her pocket. “I can help you with your assignment.”

“What about yourself? You have a goal as well.”

“When it comes to an elite squad what comes to mind?”

“The task force first.” Heather shrugged. “Then those in the background that make everything happen.”

“And that’s what I want to do. I don’t care about the chore given to me. I don’t want to be part of the task force. That is what the first set of goals are for.” She pulled the small handheld they were all given and showed Heather hers. “They also loaded information for those of us who are techs. If that is my goal this is what I need to do to be considered.”

Heather looked at the screen. One of the first things it told her was to find someone who wanted to be part of the elite squad. “So that is why you befriended me?”

“Sorry. I could tell by the way you carry yourself that you’re going to be successful. There is a particular type of person who can do this. Many want to but only a few can actually do it. You are one of those people.” She tapped her screen again and everything disappeared. “The smarter members of a squad start to create their group long before they are actually picked. It’s part of the test. A loner won’t do well in an environment when you must rely on other people.”

She was right. “So how do you propose I can get into this bonding celebration without an invitation, my uniform, or getting noticed?”

“Oh, you’ll be noticed, but not as a member of Vespian security.” She smiled. “I know just what to do.”

****

Storm slid the chip from the screen into his handheld, showing he was the first to retrieve it. The screen cleared and loaded a new task. He thought his assignment was too easy. Now he had to make his way to a small town having a bonding ceremony. His goal was to keep others from retrieving a small gold leaf from the main hall. It didn’t tell him where the leaf was or who would be trying to retrieve it. The notes led him to a particular house where he could dress for the occasion.

The hall was full by the time he arrived. He saw several people from the cave there. Mostly women. There were a few males, dressed like he was. They must have been successful with their mission as well and had gotten the same assignment as him. So the women were to try to retrieve this leaf. Several of the other men had already corralled and taken away couple of the young women. They were trying to break the rules so they were easy to stop. The instructions were clear. They weren’t allowed to wear their uniforms and they couldn’t attract the wrong attention.

He noticed one woman the moment she walked into the hall. It was her beauty that caught his attention first. It made him look, mated or not. That was when he noticed her hesitate. It was only a second before she smiled and slipped into character but he saw it. A Vespian would never show hesitancy, but his mate would. Storm smiled as he approached her.

****

Heather felt she was showing a lot more skin than she was used to, even though she knew it wasn’t true. The gowns she wore at Vespian functions exposed a lot but were made of a lot of see-though material so she felt covered even when she wasn’t. Looking around, she realized most of the women around her bared just as much skin. Fear was not a Vespian trait and she needed to shed hers. Plastering a smile on her face she looked around to see if she could see her goal. What she did see was a man, a good looking one at that, coming right at her. Her smile brightened. He would allow her to move about the area without anyone noticing she was looking for something.

****

The height was right, so was the length of her hair, the one long braid made him happy. She hadn’t cut it yet.

If it was her. Only one way to find out. Time to dance with her.

He bowed to her and she returned the bow, allowing him to take her into his arms and move her about the floor. Bright gold eyes looked up at him. The intricate dance had them touching and moving against each other as well as around each other. The intimacy of the movements aroused him. One of the steps had him bending her backwards as he moved with her. He spoke softly, his breath brushing against her throat. “I wonder what would happen if I were to press my lips against the nape of your neck. Would you melt in my arms? Become boneless for a moment?”

Those golden eyes widened and she studied him. “And if I were to slip my hand inside your shirt and brush you here?” Her fingers brushed his mark and sent a shudder through him.

He pulled her close. “My heart.”

She laughed and it sounded like music to his ears. The steps coming up would separate them and have her dance with another partner but he didn’t want to let her go. He had to though and he watched her move away from him toward the large cake in the center of the room. Moving with the steps she leaned toward the cake then back out again. Then she was gone.

Where the hell did she go?

****

Heather came out of the hall a little breathless. Storm might not be very happy with her, but she needed to get the leaf recorded in her handheld before someone tried to take it from her. A smile spread across her face as the data was uploaded to the proper people.

“I need to go back in.”

“You can’t. Once you sent the data a new assignment downloaded and it’s timed.”

Heather looked at the data Loli was pointing at. “Well crap. That just makes matters worse.”

“Where do you think you are going?” His voice sounded different but she remembered how it made her feel when she first heard it inside.

“My next assignment.” Peeling the skimpy dress off, Heather climbed into her uniform as she spoke to him.

“We need to talk.”

“Nusi?”

“It’s okay, Loli. He’s an ally. He helped me get the leaf.” She pressed her lips to him, quick but heated. “Got to go, but we’ll talk when I can.”

He wrapped his arms around her so she couldn’t move. “I don’t think so.”

“I am going to be on that elite quad and you aren’t going to stop me. You can try, but I will make it and so will Loli.”

Storm’s handheld alerted him to a new assignment as well. He looked down at the screen. “Today is your lucky day, Nusi. I need to go as well, but we’re not done, not by a long shot.”

He captured her lips with his. His tongue swirled against her mouth begging for admittance then swooped in when she gave it, searching for her tongue to dance with his. His desire for her grew as he ended the kiss. When he let her go she gave him a promising smile that made him just a little bit harder.

What he found interesting was she didn’t connect their mindmeld like she promised. He could feel her happiness, her desire, but he couldn’t read her thoughts. She shielded them so he couldn’t use it against her. He grinned. He would have done the same thing.

****

“Wow, that was some kiss. You know he will be looking for you, right?”

“Yeah.” Heather couldn’t help but smile. The thought filled her with desire. She started moving to their next target at a fast pace.

“You also realize he is probably pitted against us.”

“What makes you say that?” But Heather had wondered the same thing. It wasn’t a coincidence that he was there when she went to retrieve the leaf. She saw other women try and were carted off by men she recognized from the cave.

“It would make sense to get the best. If we all worked for the same goal without a little sabotage it wouldn’t really be competition.” Loli looked at Heather’s handheld then her own. “Looks like they know we’re working together now. We’re synced up. They have already labeled us too.”

Heather check to see what Loli was talking about. On her hand held was an image of her new face and the position she was being considered for. Loli’s image was on the same screen with the position she was being considered for. “You think everyone is on here?”

“If I look in the right places, why? You want to know his identity?”

“It would only be fair since he knows mine.” Loli looked at her strangely. “You said my name and he repeated it.”

“Oh. Sorry. Guess that wasn’t very smart of me.”

“Doesn’t matter as long as you didn’t do it on purpose. I know there are probably saboteurs within the group.”

Loli’s eyes widened. “Didn’t think of that either. I promise I’m not. I really am a tech.”

“Don’t worry, Loli. I trust you.” At least she did for now. Heather had been through enough training sessions to know what to look for and to know they could offer Loli a position if she were to turn. She just hoped the young woman knew that the test was to see where her loyalty was. If she did turn traitor she probably wouldn’t be part of the team. “Now, how much time do I have to get to the next site?”

“At a run you’ll make it with two minutes to spare.”

“How fast can you run?” Heather took off at a sprint. Running too fast for too long could cripple most but she had built her duration time up, depending on the distance. It didn’t take her long to get there. She made it with ten minutes to spare. While she waited for Loli to catch up with her she found a secluded spot to watch as others showed up.

She sensed him before she saw him. He must have sensed her too because she saw him looking around. A smile spread across his face when he spotted her. Great, he was going to give her location away. It surprised her when he disappeared from sight. Then she felt his breath on the back of her neck.

“I see you have waited for me.” He slipped his arms around her.

“Not for you, Luprin, but for my partner.”

He pressed a kiss against her mark. She sucked in her breath as her body tightened. “I see you also learned my name.”

“Those handhelds have all kinds of information if you know where to look for it.” She turned in his arms. “They also seem to know everything we’re doing.”

“You mean things like this?” He captured her lips with his, pulling her up against him as he deepened the kiss. His tongue dipped into her mouth, caressing and searching for hers. They got lost in the sensations for a moment. He broke the kiss and rested his forehead against hers. “I wish I could take advantage of this but we have jobs to do.”

“So I need to be careful of being alone or you might take advantage?” She looked up at him and smiled. “I guess I’m going to have to find spots like this more often. How many times can I push before you come through on your promise?”

He grinned. His fingers slid along the seals of her uniform opening the upper section enough for him to slip his fingers inside. “Oh, my heart, if you want to challenge me you know I’ll take that challenge.”

She felt his caresses all along her upper torso and knew where he was headed. She stepped back, trying to get him to pull his hand out. “Okay! Time to get to the task at hand.”

“I am.” He captured her lips with his once more while his fingers slipped into her folds. Her breath shortened as those caresses caused her heart to beat faster and her desire to spike. “This is just a taste of what I want to do to you, but I want to take my time with you, find out what you like, get to know you as intimately as possible.”

“You aren’t fighting fair.” Her voice came out soft as his hand continued to work its magic.

“I know.” His voice deep because he was as effected as she was. “They will give us a safe place to sleep tonight. Wait for me and I’ll give you so much more.” Storm captured her lips once more before he released her so she could pull her uniform back together.

Heather took a moment to compose herself. “I will pay you back for that.”

“I sure hope so.” He grinned devilishly. He looked over her head for a moment. “Looks like your partner has arrived.”

Heather turned to look, Loki was standing in the center of the area searching for her, when she turned back to Storm he was gone. A sigh escaped her as she caught Loli’s attention. The young woman joined her in her hiding place.

“Um, you didn’t seal your uniform right.”

Heather looked down and grinned. Her mate was the only one who could break through her control and he was having a little too much fun with this. “Right.”

“What have you learned?”

That her mate’s touch still took her breath away. “I saw several people go in, but none come out.”

“None?”

“No.”

“You sure you weren’t sidetracked? I saw your new sex partner leave a few minutes ago.”

“We haven’t had sex.”

“Not yet, but it will happen. There’s too much chemistry between the two of you to ignore.” Loli looked at her handheld. “It doesn’t show anyone inside.”

“Now that doesn’t make sense.” She could still sense their presence, but couldn’t explain why she knew what she knew. “Where would they have gone?”

Loli checked the blueprints of the building. “There is no other door to the building so they must still be inside.”

“Then the building must be shielded from your sensors.” Heather pulled her device out of her pocket and started working on it. “We just need to override the system blocking us.”

Within seconds Loli smiled. “That did it. You know you could be a tech too. That was good work.”

“You think I should?”

“No.” She laughed. “You would get too bored too fast. Then I’d have to keep you out of trouble.”

“I have heard that before.” Storm had said the same thing, so had Bear, her commander in Earth’s security.

“Here.” She sent the data Heather needed to her handheld. “This will allow me to track you inside as well as tell you where everyone is. Now that I have the data you released I’m seeing the people in there but they’re not moving. I think you need to rescue them.”

“Has anyone else figured out what is happening?”

“No way to tell.”

Heather nodded. She checked her uniform once more to make sure it was sealed properly before she headed to the door where command had demanded everyone enter.

She checked the interior and pushed her handheld inside before she entered the building. As long as Loli could see and read her she was willing to go in to see what was really going on. The darkened interior blocked her vision for a moment but her eyes adjusted quickly. She caught a whiff of something and held her breath. In order to go in and out she’d need a supply of oxygen if she didn’t want to fall victim like the others.

Dragging one of the people out, she started talking to Loli the moment she was in fresh air. “The air is drugged. That’s why they’re going in and not coming out.” She propped him against the wall so he could regain his senses. Heather inhaled deeply several times from having to hold her breath. “What do you have to help me with that?”

“It’s going to take me a minute.” Loli’s voice came out of the handheld. She came into view and crouched down beside the man Heather had rescued. After pressing a few keys she scanned him to see what the chemical was. “Oh, he is going to have a headache later.  It’s a water vapor mixed with a sleeping powder. It’s making them drunk and tired.”

Heather wondered what she should do. Water didn’t affect her the way it did a Vespian but if she used that to save these people it could give her away. Her helmet was at the cave with everyone else’s. “I remember reading about a plant that can help us breathe underwater. You think there is any nearby and could it help?”

“Actually I have something better.” She pulled something out of her pocket, tapped on the screen for a few moments then held it out. The face of the device glowed as something materialized on top of it. “There you go.”

“You have a materializer?” Heather picked up the small breathing apparatus and studied it. “How did you manage that?”

“There was nothing about bringing handmade items with us. When they scanned me to make sure I didn’t have any contraband on me this was accepted.”

“What else do you have hiding in your uniform?” Heather teased as she pressed it against her mouth and activated it.

“A few other things that might come in handy along the way.”

Heather went back into the building and dragged out two more people. She continued to bring them out until she had gotten everyone. She rested against the wall as she deactivated the mouthpiece. Her handheld made a noise, letting her know where the rest area was. She had done everything she needed to do for the day.

Loli came to where she rested. “You went beyond what was expected.” She showed her the numbers scored for each person. Heather was in the lead. “Of course your partner isn’t too far behind you.” Luprin stats were close to hers.

“Then let’s go to the safe zone so we can get some rest.”

“You go ahead. I have one more assignment.”

“What is it?”

“They want me to go to the leader of this village and pick up a key.” She looked at Heather. “I wonder what the key is for.”

“Let’s go.”

“What? No. You have done your assignments. I can handle this.”

“Yeah, and we know they keep throwing these wonderful little curveballs at us too. You helped me with my assignments. It’s only fair I help you.”