| Friday, October 03, 2008
| The Vampire Oracle: Rebirth
Cobblestone Press Presents
The Vampire Oracle
by Lyric James
Genre: Vampire, Interracial
Destined to be together, not even a killer can keep them a part.
A professional thief by choice, Robyn keeps her heart under strict lock and key. An orphan human raised by a vampire. Brandon works tirelessly to keep the creatures of the night a secret from the normal world. Things get a little complicated, however, when the one woman he hoped to never see again gets blamed for a crime he knows she didn’t commit.
Robyn has always loved Brandon, but doesn't know if she has the willpower to accept Brandon and everything being a vampire entails. Will they be able to mend their relationship before she becomes the killer's next victim?
A thick layer of clouds wafted over the moon, dimming the expanse of the backyard. Robyn Hood sprinted across the freshly cut lawn. The now-covered full moon hid her shadow. There was no sound. Not a whisper of wind, no rustling leaves. She was a silent figure lurking in the night.
Dressed all in black, she crept up to the door and peaked inside. Met with darkness, she smiled with satisfaction and pulled her lock pick out of her back pocket. Using both hands, she stuck each piece inside the door and maneuvered it around just so. When she heard the lock click open, she twisted the knob, slipped quietly inside the home and found the alarm system on the wall. She took her equipment out of her bag, pried off the cover, and attached the correct wires. On the green florescent panel, she watched as the six-digit code materialized one by one on her screen.
She keyed in the code and waited for those magic words—system disarmed. "Works like a charm every time," she whispered.
She had it on good authority that the owners of the house were out of town on vacation, so she leisurely looked around, taking in the beautiful surroundings.
They had a large kitchen with crisp white cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The house had been empty for at least two days, but the aroma of pine and ammonia still hung in the air.
In the adjoining family room, there was a big screen plasma TV mounted on the wall, surrounded by cabinets filled with books, DVD movies and small items she was sure they had collected on their many travels. A large room, the moonlight cast a glow over the plush, chocolate leather furniture and oak tables. She traced a gloved finger over the edge of the pool table, then sat and twirled around in one of the chairs at the large poker table in the corner.
"Now this is how to live."
The small refrigerator behind the bar was filled with an assortment of beer and soft drinks, and a collection of crystal wineglasses gleamed above her head.
Out in the foyer, a large chandelier twinkled from the ceiling. She passed an office on her way to the spiral staircase, which took her upstairs.
Robyn quickly found the master bedroom. The blueprints she’d "borrowed" from the state registry office revealed there was a secret room hidden behind the large mirror on the far wall. She found the correct remote control off the coffee table in the sitting area and clicked it to open.
"Un-freaking- believable," she murmured as the glass slid quietly into the wall. She tugged the strap of her bag up and over her head so it slanted across her breast. Then she pulled out the other bag she'd tucked inside it and went to work.
She opened one drawer and found several Rolex watches. After dropping them in her bag, she found another had diamond necklaces and bracelets. "He might be an ass, but he sure has good taste."
A third had diamond, emerald, sapphire and ruby rings. She found pearls in a fourth, and almost screamed when she opened one with several bundles of cash in it. "This is so going to make up for the crap that man put me through the last few months."
Finished, she looked around to make sure she'd shut all the drawers, then stepped out. She picked up the remote, slid the mirror back into place, and placed it exactly where she'd found it on the table.
When she stepped into the hallway, she paused, flattened herself against the wall and waited. She thought she heard voices. After several seconds of silence, she crept down the steps.
It sounded like someone was in the office she had to pass on her way back to the kitchen.
Shit. This house is supposed to be empty, damn it..
Her black tennis shoes made no noise as she slinked across the room to the wall. Her fears were confirmed when she heard two men arguing. But she blocked out their words, hoping she could get past the room unseen. She dipped her body low. Just as she was about to go by the room, she saw an unusual green flash of light out of the corner of her eye.
Unable to ignore it, she turned to look. Her eyes widened in horror as she saw a man dressed similar to her holding a dark stick pointed toward the other guy. A long sliver of energy struck the other man in the chest, and he went flying against the wall, knocking over a lamp and two winged back chairs along the way.
A scream split from her throat at the same time the man slammed into the wall, breaking a mirror. The attacker turned toward her, and she saw his evil red eyes narrow. A table went sailing through the air as he came in her direction.
Robyn twisted around and bolted for the exit. She flew around the island in the kitchen and ran out the door, not even bothering to shut it as she jumped over the four steps to the grass. She sprinted across the lawn as green flashes of light missed her and hit bushes and trees instead. "Oh my god."
Her backpack, full of the jewelry she'd "borrowed", thumped against her back, almost making her fall. She jumped at the wall surrounding the property, but slipped and fell to the ground. An energy pulse hit it, sending several of the bricks tumbling to the ground. She scrambled up, used the hole he'd made for support and clamored over the top.
She hit the concrete with a thud, scraping her knee and elbow as her body smacked the ground. Ignoring the pain shooting through her limbs, she got up and sprinted down the street to her car parked on the next block.
Robyn heard his feet hit the pavement with ease as he chased behind her. She rounded the corner and made it to her car. She dug in her pocket for her keys, unlocked the door and jumped inside. When she stuck the key in the ignition and turned, nothing happened.
"Not now. Don’t do this to me now."
She pumped the gas and tried again. Nothing.
When she looked up, he was running full speed toward her, his wand raised. Yes, she knew what he held and what he was. She'd promised herself ten years ago never to return to that life.
"Please, please work," she cried, turning the key again. The engine purred to life. "Thank you, thank you."
He was almost on her as she gunned the engine, sending the car wheels spinning in reverse. Her right side window shattered as he aimed the weapon at her again. She sent the car into a one-hundred- and-eighty- degree turn, yanked it into drive and sped down the street. The last thing she saw was the man standing in the middle of the road and green flecks hitting the ground.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~
Available TODAY from Cobblestone Press
|posted by Lyric James @ 5:06 PM
| Saturday, August 30, 2008
| The Pleasure Club: The Principal
Welcome To The Pleasure Club
Dear Ms. Moore,
We're pleased to welcome you to The Pleasure Club.
As you have already signed and returned the contract and filled out all the necessary forms to ensure you received your every wish, we will be in touch with you shortly with the details of your first Pleasure Night. Your Wish List and Pleasure Forms have been turned over to our staff of highly trained Pleasure Guardians, and they are hard at work finding your perfect match. We will endeavor to meet your personal fantasy.
When you are contacted again, you will be given a location where your Pleasure Night will begin, and you will also be given a safe word to use should you at any time become uncomfortable. There is no shame in changing your mind. We're here to pleasure, and should your safe word be used, your match for the evening will cease all activity, and the game will be put on hold until a mutual agreement between you can be reached.
Once again, welcome to The Pleasure Club.
Please feel free to contact the office at any time should you have any questions.
The Pleasure Club Management
* * * * *
Your Pleasure Night will be held at the Carmichael Building in Room 690, Friday, May 2nd. Please knock on the door at precisely 9:00 p.m.
Your safe word is Grade.
The Pleasure Guardians
* * * * *
Oh, my God. It's really going to happen.
Celeste Moore tightened her fingers on the steering wheel and blew out a deep breath. She slowed down and picked up the directions she'd printed out on her computer, glanced at them, then dropped them back on the passenger seat. Lowering her right foot just a little bit, she watched the speedometer go from fifty-five to seventy. She couldn't wait for her evening of pleasure to begin.
She saw a liquor store off the freeway and thought about stopping to get something to settle her nerves, but she shook her head at the thought. She still had about ten miles to go, and she would never drink and drive. Besides, she wasn't much of a drinker anyway. If she even had one drink, she'd probably pass out. Even one ounce of liquor was too much for her.
The letter she received said her night would begin at nine o'clock. Her plans to arrive early so she she wouldn't chicken out were dashed when her mother called as she was on her way out the door. She couldn't rush her off the phone by telling her she had to be somewhere. Her mother would wonder where in the world she was going at this time of night. She couldn't very well tell her, "I'm about to go have sex with a complete stranger. And I asked for it."
So, she'd waited, impatiently, for her mother to finish telling her about her pregnant older sister, who'd just found out her second child was the boy she and her husband were waiting for. Her younger sister had just gotten engaged to the lawyer she'd been dating for the last two years. Which all led her mother to lament over the fact that Celeste wasn’t married, didn't have a boyfriend, or any prospects for that matter. She was too focused on her career. Why did she have to go to medical school? Why didn't she just find a doctor to marry instead so she could stay at home and have a truckload of babies?
Celeste was on a mission. She would not be her mother or her older sister. Never would she allow a man to dictate the role or plan of her life. Finishing undergrad at the top of her class, as well as medical school, she was now in her last year of residency in anesthesiology. Four more weeks and she would be moving to Atlanta, into a new house and new car, and would be working for a world renowned hospital, making three-hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year.
Tonight was her birthday, and she was going to celebrate it just the way she wanted.
Medical school took up so much of her time she couldn't even remember the last time she'd had sex. Her friend, Victoria, had confided in her a few months ago about The Pleasure Club. The next day nothing could keep Celeste from writing her own letter. The only thing on her mind had been finding someone just as fine and sexy. Not that she knew anything about getting sent to the principal's office. She just imagined being punished. Someone bending her over a desk, raising her skirt and doing all kinds of naughty things to her to make her scream.
Turning into the parking lot, she let her gaze wander over the other cars until she found an empty parking spot. A glance at the clock on her console read 8:55 PM. She had five minutes. Checking her appearance in her rearview mirror one last time, she applied another coat of lipstick to make her lips shine, and then grabbed her purse and her keys and got out of the car. She speed-walked through the entrance and found the elevator. As it dinged open, anxious flutters zinged around in her stomach.
It was almost time.
She'd always had fantasies about African American men, ever since she was a teenager in high school. The principal at her school had been so fine. She’d always imagined being sent to the office by one of her teachers for acting up in class. The secret crush she'd carried for him had lasted the entire time she was a student at Southwest High School. Always a good girl, she'd never gotten into trouble, nor had any reason to visit his office, so she’d had to admire him from afar. The fantasy had never died, though.
A few months ago, as she'd begun the momentous task of packing up her old room at her parents' house, she'd run across her high school yearbook, and all those memories and desires came roaring back. Then, a few days later, Victoria had told her about The Pleasure Club. It was as if fate told her to do this.
Now that she was here, she wasn't sure what to expect, but she was excited as hell to find out.
As the numbers on the elevator slowly lit up, one floor after the next, her excitement grew. She was about to have sex with a total stranger. Instead of being scared and timid, or ready to hit the first floor button to go back down as soon as the door opened, a deliberate smile crept over her face.
She needed this night. She wanted this night. Who knew when she'd get this opportunity again? For the next couple of weeks she was going to be tested over everything she'd learned in the last ten years. Celeste was going to sleep, live and breathe anesthesiology.
But, it would all be worth it when she got that huge diploma in her hand that said, Celeste Moore, Doctor of Anesthesiology.
After that, she was moving to Atlanta, into her new home, and into a career she’d dreamed about since she was sixteen years old. There wouldn't be any time for men, or even a relationship for that matter. Sex would be non-existent in her life for who knew how long.
Ding. The sixth floor. Celeste took a left off the elevator, following the signs.
I need this.
I want this.
When she looked at her watch, it was straight up nine o’clock. She took a deep breath, smoothed her plaid skirt over her hips and pulled down the tails of her perfectly starched white shirt. It was the closest thing to a schoolgirl outfit she had in her closet. Her heart pounded louder than the rapid knocks she placed on the door.
"Come in," a smooth, rich baritone voice said from the other side.
I’m really doing this, she thought as she twisted the knob and opened the door. The man who sat on the other side of the desk made the air hitch in her throat. Oh, my God! She took a step back, looked at the numbers on the door again to make sure she was in the right place.
How did she get so lucky? When Victoria told her how gorgeous her Pleasure Master the guy was—Officer Drake—she could only hope hers would be too. But this man, whoever he was, had pleasure written all over him. She couldn't tell how tall he was because he was sitting, but his upper body was coated in a dark, double-breasted suit. Blue or black—she couldn’t tell because the light in the room was dimmed low.
His caramel colored skin made her think of a ripe, red apple and the state fair she used to go to when she was a child. All she ever wanted to do was lick it and lick it until it was all gone, and then get another.
Lean fingers were tented in front of him, his elbows resting on the arms of his leather chair. Dark, sensuous eyes and a smooth covering of low-cut hair accentuated his high cheekbones, regal nose and strong chin. He was a work of perfection.
Now…if only he could fuck.
"Come in, Ms. Moore."
She stepped into the room. It was big for an office. A small conference table and chairs to the right and a couch and coffee table to the left flanked the large mahogany desk he sat behind. He waved to one of the leather chairs in front of his desk. "Why don’t you have a seat?"
Still not sure what to say or what to expect, she nodded her head and sat.
"It has come to my attention that you got into a little trouble today in your health education class."
Oh, she thought with a smile, and sat up straighter in her chair. "I didn't do anything," she said and flipped her auburn, shoulder-length hair over her shoulder, away from her neck. She wished she had a piece of gum, then she could really get into her role of schoolgirl.
"Mrs. Brown told me you wouldn't cooperate in class."
She shrugged her shoulders and crossed her legs. "Didn’t want to."
His gaze dropped. "Why not?" He leaned back in his chair.
"I just didn’t."
"Do you have a problem with learning about sex education, Ms. Moore? It is something you really need to know."
"No. I don't have a problem learning it. I just didn’t want to learn it from her."
"She told me you were very disrespectful."
"Now you're being disrespectful to me. Do you know what happens to little girls when they're disrespectful…and naughty?"
A delicious shiver shimmied up her spine. She couldn't wait to find out.
She rolled her eyes at him. "Whatever."
When he got up, she almost melted into the leather of her chair. He was tall, real tall. At least six-four. Her gaze roamed the length of him, and a sweet heat she hadn’t felt in a long time sizzled inside her.
He came around the desk and sat on the edge in front of her. Her gaze zoomed to his dick. Oh yeah.
"What happens to naughty girls?" She licked her lips, anticipating how wide her jaws would have to get when she put that magnificent piece of male flesh inside her mouth.
Reaching behind him, he grabbed a long, wooden paddle.
"I'm not scared of you," she said. But she visibly allowed a delicious shiver to cascade over her entire body.
With the handle of the paddle in one hand, he rubbed it back and forth with the other. "Oh, I think you should be afraid, Ms. Moore. Very, very afraid."
|posted by Lyric James @ 8:28 PM
| Saturday, May 31, 2008
| Temptation City
Mixing business with pleasure has never been so tempting.
Ashia Forrester has always lived by one rule: Never mix business with pleasure. As the owner of Temptation City, a male strip club, that has never been a problem. Until now. The talented new stripper she's hired stirs a desire in her that cannot be denied.
Jalen Spencer is an undercover cop who loves his job. His next assignment is to pose as a stripper at a local club and find out if the owner is laundering money for the mob. He's pretty sure this mission will be a walk in the park, until he meets the sexy owner. It isn't long before Jalen's giving hot performances on stage and in bed.
But how will he handle it when she learns everything about him is a lie?
Ashia picked up her walkie-talkie. "Who's next, Vivian?"
She glanced down at her watch. "How many are left?"
Thank goodness. Maybe she would actually have a lunch break today. "Ten-four."
Ashia sifted through the mound of applications and paperwork she’d collected. Not one decent dancer in the bunch. Oh, there were plenty of good-looking guys, but they didn't exude the sexuality and attitude Temptation City was known for. She dropped the folders in the box behind her.
The rich baritone voice sent a tingle across the back of her neck. She swiveled around too fast and tripped over her chair. A pair of large masculine hands grabbed her forearms and held her up. "Are you okay?"
Shock waves charged up her spine. She sucked in a breath, looked up and got a blast of remarkable hazel eyes with tiny flecks of green. "Y-yes. I’m fine. Thank you."
He released her and stepped back. "I'm here to interview for the position you have open."
Yes, yes, oh yes.
Now this was what she was talking about. The man shouldn't be allowed outside without a bodyguard. The way he looked at her was enough to make any woman come on the spot. And the way he filled out a plain black t-shirt with those broad shoulders and chest, his superman arms…it just wasn't fair to the female population.
Ashia allowed her gaze to travel his body from head to toe and then back up again. Close-cropped hair cut, trimmed mustache and full lips slanted upward in a smirk. He looked like he'd been sculpted by Michelangelo, dipped in caramel and left for human admiration.
She saw him peeling away every stitch of clothing on his body and every woman in the club screaming her head off, begging to put money between his ass cheeks.
"Ma'am?" he asked, an eyebrow arched.
She shook away the arousal that threatened to turn her into a complete idiot. "Um, the position?"
"Yes, I heard you had a bartender position open?"
She glanced down at her papers and back up again. "I'm not hiring, um, bartenders at the moment. I'm only looking for…" Her voice trailed off as her eyes zeroed in on his crotch. "…strippers."
A look that bordered on disbelief crossed his incredibly handsome features. "Strippers?"
"Yes," she replied. "The only ad I placed was for male exotic dancers."
His lips thinned. "Well, I didn't come quite prepared for that."
"Have you ever danced before?"
"Not that kind," he answered looking toward the stage.
She looked him up and down again and smiled, tilting her head. "There's a first time for everything."
His eyes pleaded with hers. "You sure you don't have any other positions open? Bouncer? Anything?"
She was beginning to enjoy this. Obviously, someone had given this guy the wrong information. But if she convinced him to step onto that stage, she'd have a full house of dollar-flinging women for the foreseeable future.
Regretfully, she tore her gaze away from his body. She moved in front of the table and leaned against it. "With a body like yours, you could make a lot of money here. Easily seven-fifty to a thousand a weekend."
"Why don't you get up there, try it out and see if you like it?"
He just stared at her.
All right, he was going to take a little more convincing. He didn't give off the "look at me, I'm gorgeous" vibe. He was more reserved. Laid back, a more "I like to be in the background" sort of guy. He'd have to be coaxed into it.
"You got a girlfriend?"
He raised a brow. "No."
"Family in town? Mom? Grandmother?"
He tossed her a wicked smile and shook his head. "No."
"Then, you won't have to worry about it getting back to them, if that's what you're worried about."
"That’s not it. I just wasn't expecting," he waved his hand toward the long ramp, "…this."
"Well, what's that saying? If the world gives you lemons, make lemonade." She sat and crossed her legs. "You need a job, right?"
"And you want a job at Temptation City?"
"Yes," he answered again.
"Well, up on that stage is all I've got." She paused for effect. "If you can handle it."
It was a dare. She knew it. But for some reason, he struck her as the type of guy who never backed down from anything. Especially a challenge.
"I didn't bring any music."
She yelled to her DJ without taking her eyes off him. "Hey, Ravyn, play this guy some music."
Seconds later, Tyrese's "Signs of Making Love" came over the speakers. Perfect. With his face and body, and if he could tantalize her with a dance, she’d hire him on the spot.
"I’ve never done this before," he reminded her.
She grinned. "I know. Just let the music move you. Let it seep into your mind, your soul, and see what happens."
The lyrics asked her if she was a freak.
His dance was seductive and slow just like the music, and his eyes never left hers as he moved. The words guaranteed her that he’d give her body whatever it needed.
Ashia squirmed in her chair.
When he began to remove his shirt, pulling it from the bottom straight up over his head, she saw an exceptional six-pack and imagined running her hands over his taut muscles. The shirt landed at her feet.
The melody wanted to know if she was the freak he’d been looking for.
Her eyes glazed over when he began to unbutton his jeans. He bent over and slid them down and off his legs. A pair of red knit boxer briefs hugged his muscular thighs.
Her favorite color. She gulped. Oh God.
The next thing she knew, he was coming off the stage toward her. He'd really gotten into his performance. A line in the song asked the listener to whisper in his ear. Jalen leaned over to hers.
"How am I doing?" he asked, a sexy tone in his voice.
He was close enough for her to get a whiff of his scent. She caught a brief hint of tangerine, mandarin and sage. Ashia cleared her throat. "F-fine."
He turned around, spread his legs and bent over to touch the floor, leaving his ass right in her face. She itched to reach out and palm him to see if his cheeks were as firm as she thought they were.
Right now, he was the embodiment of temptation. A graceful animal in motion stalking its prey. A cougar or a panther.
Perfect for Temptation City.
Perfect for her.
Available NOW from Samhain Publishing
|posted by Lyric James @ 8:14 PM
| Thursday, February 28, 2008
| Thoroughly Tempted
Who knew that a little Florida R&R could be so thoroughly tempting!
Wounded cop Wesley Duncan is sent on a forced vacation to spend a week at Tempted, the perfect place for him to relax and recover. But recovery becomes the last thing on his mind when he discovers sexy spa owner Sierra is the only other person around.
After a hectic year and half making Tempted a success, Sierra Morgan is looking forward to having her Florida spa all to herself for a whole week. The last thing she needs is someone messing up her plans to be blissfully alone.
But when a seriously hot stranger shows up, Sierra is thoroughly tempted to make a serious change of plan.
Sierra Morgan adjusted the robe she'd wound around her body and sighed with satisfaction as she walked toward the pool. Pride swelled beneath her breast. It was hers, all hers. Well, hers and Jennifer's. Her gaze strayed toward the window where a custom-made oak deck and white sandy beach spread out all the way down to the Atlantic.
Their very own spa.
She could hardly believe it. She and Jennifer had worked hard the last year to turn their dream into a success. Tempted was a luxury spa that catered to the man or woman who needed a place to unwind and relax, or the couple who wanted to get away from the kids for a long weekend. It was still hard to wrap her mind around the fact that their first year had been so successful.
Quite honestly, no one in her family believed that she could do it. When she'd quit her dead-end job at a medical insurance company and moved to Florida a year and a half ago after much prodding from her best friend, they all thought she was crazy. But it was the right thing to do. Since she didn't have a medical degree, that job would have gone nowhere.
Now, look at her.
She was the owner of her own business that earned a very nice profit and provided her with a place to live.
Being the only one of her siblings who didn't earn a college degree had made her the black sheep of the family, so to speak, the one who was never able to compete with her sister's success as an attorney, or her brother’s famous career as a pro football player.
Here was where she found refuge from all of that. A place to belong. A place she'd help build from the ground up with the money she'd saved and Jennifer, the friend who was more like a sibling to her than her real ones.
Now it was time for a much needed break. Jennifer was off to spend a week with her sister and celebrate the arrival of her brand new nephew. For this one week, they'd closed the spa to enjoy a vacation of their own.
Truth be told, though each and every day the spa opened brought a piece of heaven to her life, she was looking forward to this little reprieve from the constant needs and wants of their customers.
Though it was small compared to others in the area, Tempted was a topnotch spa and resort that offered first-class accommodations and services including a full-service salon that offered manicures, pedicures and a specialty spa that offered massages, facials and make-up consultations. It had a small golf course, an indoor pool, a five-star restaurant, and to top it all off, it sat right on the beach. Since all the staff was gone for the week, Sierra looked forward to having the place to herself. Sometimes, the spa got so busy, all she wanted was a little peace and quiet.
Since she was all alone she decided to go for a swim sans swimming suit. Sierra strolled over to the radio that was on the bar, checked to see what CD was inside, pushed play and turned the sound up sky-high. A hip-hip beat had her sashaying her hips toward the edge. She sat her cell phone down, dropped the robe, did a few stretches to warm her body up and dove in.
The cool refreshing water felt wonderful. An expert swimmer since the age of five, she decided a few freestyle laps would do her body good. But the enjoyment was short-lived when she began to turn a flip into her third lap and glimpsed a pair of tennis shoes at the edge of the pool. Her gaze moved up to muscled tan calves, a pair of khaki shorts and a white shirt that sat on incredibly wide shoulders. She looked up into a very handsome face with forest green eyes and hair the color of midnight and choked back a scream.
"I should have just stayed at home," Wesley Duncan grumbled under his breath as he reached into his pocket for the key his cousin sent him. He tugged the front of his shirt in a futile attempt to get some air since he was unused to the Florida heat. His cousin, Jennifer, had told him that other than her partner, the resort/spa would be deserted and a perfect place for him to recover from the gunshot wound he’d received eleven weeks ago stopping a bank robbery.
Though he would much rather be sitting at home on his couch watching all the summer re-runs he’d missed because of work, he had to admit the place was awesome. His cousin had really outdone herself. And he really did look forward to being alone and away from his smothering mother. A wry smile curled his lips. He did appreciate the fact that she’d taken care of him the past few months, but enough was enough.
Besides, he really did need to get away and decide if being a cop was something he still wanted to do. While lying in the hospital he'd done some soul searching and wondered if it was time for him to hang up his gun and get that law degree he'd always wanted.
At home, he was constantly reminded of the cop heritage he was supposed to live up to. His grandfather had been a cop, as was his father, both his brothers and his sister. Even though he'd initially gone to college and gotten his degree in criminal justice with the express intent to go to law school, he'd followed in the footsteps of everyone else in his family.
At any rate, he was sure this week-long excursion would give him some perspective and help him make up his mind once and for all.
He heard the music as soon as he walked in. He dropped his bag on the floor and admired the space. A cherry wood circular reception desk sat in the middle of the room. Large floor planters with tall trees sat on either side of huge, welcoming chairs and couches to lounge in. The marble floor gleamed and the place smelled like the ocean.
Jennifer had insisted he come here and told him that Sierra would take good care of him. She'd worn an odd little smile when she said it, as if she were privy to some hidden secret he knew nothing about. There were hallways to the left and right so he decided to follow the music.
He passed several rooms with massage tables all decorated differently until he came to a huge glass room with a pool. Inside he saw caramel-colored arms fly expertly through the water. He walked to the edge and waited for her to finish her lap. He saw a white robe on the floor, and as she got closer, he realized the woman did not have on a bathing suit.
She stopped, gripped the edge, and her gaze slowly rose to meet his. Fear lit her eyes before she said, "Who the hell are you and how did you get in here?"
The woman who hovered in the water below him had short dark hair, eyes the color of rich chocolate and a mouth that had "kiss me" written all over it. Two simple, diamond studs winked at him from each ear and a gold chain disappeared between magnificent breasts. He blinked and searched his mind for the correct answer. However, the minute he looked into her face, any rational thought he might have had left his mind.
Damn, he couldn’t even remember his own name.
Available NOW from Samhain Publishing
|posted by Lyric James @ 8:01 PM
| Friday, February 08, 2008
| A Gift of Chocolate
|Available TODAY from Cobblestone Press
Six-year-old Kennadi has a very special gift for her mom on Valentine’s Day: a gift of chocolate.
When Officer Allen Hughes escorts a little girl back to her mother after she buys a special Valentine’s Day present, he never expected his act of chivalry would send cupid’s arrow shooting straight to his heart.
Divorced mother Sabrina Miller is terrified when her daughter turns up missing from her after-school art program. But when a twist of magic brings her face to face with the cop who returns her, she suddenly begins to believe in love and second chances.
Sabrina rushed forward and shouted, "Kennadi."
Her daughter smiled and jumped out of the car. "Hi, Mommy." She held up a little red box with a bow on it. "Surprise!"
"What is it? Is she okay?" Abby asked her.
"For some reason, she's with a police officer."
"Oh, my God," she whispered.
Sabrina dropped down on her knees and pulled her close. Kennadi reared back.
"Look, Mommy. I bought you something for Valentine’s Day."
Sabrina touched her face, fingered her ponytail, and inspected her from head to toe. "I was so worried about you. Where have you been?"
With a smile on her face and a chocolate smudge on the corner of her mouth, she said, "I went to the bakery across the street."
Her eyes widened in surprise. "What? You shouldn’t have done that. You disappeared, and Abby didn’t know where you were. We were both so worried."
Kennadi’s caramel-colored little face switched from happy to sad. "I'm sorry. I wanted it to be a surprise."
Not wanting to put a damper on her gift, but needing to let her know what she did was wrong, she responded, "Thank you so much, sweetheart. But you scared Mommy to death. Did you walk over there all by yourself?"
The corners of her mouth tilted upward. "Uh huh. And I even looked both ways before I crossed the street. Just like you taught me."
Abby asked the police officer, "How did you find her?"
Sabrina was so focused on her child that she hadn't taken much notice of the police officer standing behind her daughter.
"I was in the store when she came in, so I decided to bring her back. I figured you’d be looking for her by now."
Sabrina looked up and then up again. This guy, with his shaved head and near-perfect stature, was the stuff heroes were made of on the covers of the romance novels she read. At least six-two, he looked as if he'd been specifically chosen and decadently placed in a rich pool of milk chocolate by God himself.
Abby, unaware of the tension rolling through Sabrina’s body, said, "Well, that's good. I’m so relieved. We were so worried about her. I'll go inside and get her bag."
Sabrina needed to snap out of it. One minute she was about to go stark raving mad with worry about her daughter, the next she couldn't take her eyes off the officer who'd brought her safely back. "Thanks, Abby. And thank you so much, Officer...?"
"Hughes. Allen Hughes."
She liked his voice. And his eyes, which were a deep shade of brown, almost black, were mesmerizing. "I thought..." She shook her head from side to side. "Well, never mind what I thought." She stooped back down to look at Kennadi. "I’m just glad you’re okay."
"I'm fine. Officer Allen helped me pay for your surprise, too."
"Oh, no. I couldn't let you do that," she croaked, inwardly wincing at the choked sound of her own voice.
He tilted his head to the side and smiled. "It's no problem. Besides, if you pay me back, then it wouldn't be a gift, now would it?"
"I guess not."
Kennadi tugged at her sleeve. "Open it, Mommy. Open it."
"Okay, sweetie." Sabrina untied the bow, then opened the box and lifted out the tissue paper.
"Try one. It tastes really good."
As she pushed the paper aside, she grinned. "Chocolate."
"They sure are, sweetie." She cupped her daughter's cheek. "Well, since there are three pieces, why don't we all eat one?"
"I already had one. The lady at the store let me try one before we bought them. Just share one with Officer Allen."
"Okay." She lifted the box up, and he grinned as he took one out.
After she took a bite, she told him, "I don't think I can say thank you enough for finding her, and for this," she said, lifting the box up. "I really appreciate it."
He ate his in one bite. "No problem. Just part of the job. Plus, she seems like a really good kid."
The sudden surge of love for her daughter made her beam as she responded, "Yes, she is." Sabrina leaned down until she was face-to-face with Kennadi, and then she tweaked her daughter on the nose. "Except for today. Don't you ever do that again, do you hear me?"
Kennadi's cheeks flushed and her hazel eyes, so like her father's, sparkled with excitement. "Yes, ma'am. You like your present, don't you, Mommy?"
"Yes, I do, and it was very sweet of you to get it for me, but no more crossing streets without an adult. Okay?"
Kennadi nodded. "I promise."
"You and your husband raised a very well-mannered little girl," Officer Hughes said.
Sabrina tensed, not quite sure how to respond. "Well, um..." What could she say? I had a husband, but we’re not together because drugs were more important to him than his family. No. She wouldn't respond that way. She couldn't hang her dirty laundry out there like that.
"Mommy and Daddy aren't together anymore."
Embarrassed, Sabrina squeaked out, "Kennadi." She gave her a fierce hug, turned her around, and patted her on the back. "Why don’t you go inside and get your backpack from Abby so she won’t have to come all the way out here."
"Tell Officer Hughes goodbye and thank him."
Kennadi turned before she walked through the door and waved. "Goodbye, Officer Allen, and thank you for helping me buy Mommy's Valentine's present."
He returned her wave. "You're welcome, Kennadi." Then he focused his attention on her. "So, I see you're a student, too."
Almost forgotten, she tugged her backpack up on her shoulder. "Oh, yeah. I just got out of class."
"Where do you go to school?"
"Pulaski Tech. Kennadi comes here every day after school and then I pick her up."
"Well, I patrol this area, so I'll keep an eye out for her. Make sure she doesn't take any other unsupervised trips to the bakery without permission," he offered with a grin that threatened to make Sabrina's toes curl.
"Thank you. I don't know what made her do that. She knows she's not to go anywhere by herself."
He shrugged. "Well, she wanted it to be a surprise, so she probably planned it and waited for the perfect opportunity; when her teacher wasn't in the room."
"I guess so. I never knew she was so sneaky."
His grin sent a shiver through her, and it had nothing to do with how cold it was outside. Lord, this man could get her motor running with just a little smile.
"Kids will amaze you."
"Don’t I know it?"
Sabrina stared up at him for an awkward moment. She never thought she was a sucker for a man in uniform, but something about his dark blue suit, the gun belt wrapped around his narrow waist, and the badge on his chest just did something to her.
"I got my bag, Mommy," Kennadi said, running full speed out the door.
"Okay then, I guess it's time for us to go."
Quickly, she bent down, pulled Kennadi's hat over her head, and zipped up her coat. It was a short walk to their apartment, but it was still cold outside, and she couldn't afford for either one of them to catch a cold. After she did the same to herself, she turned to Officer Hughes. "Thank you again."
She hated to see him go, but as attractive as he was, he wasn't for her. No man on earth wanted a ready-made family, no matter how nice he seemed. Besides, between school, Kennadi, and her new job, she didn’t have time for a relationship. Not that he wanted one anyway. "Goodbye."
She watched him as he got in his patrol car. Sabrina clasped Kennadi's hand tightly as they walked down the sidewalk and turned right, past the arts center. She loved the old building, especially since they remodeled it. The russet brick and tall white columns; the beautiful landscaping and the water fountain out front. Amazing was the only word to describe it.
"You need a lift?"
Shocked, she turned to see Officer Hughes pull up beside them. "Um, no. We don’t live that far away. We can walk."
How nice of him to offer, but she didn't want him to feel obligated, even though he was a cop.
"It’s no trouble."
"Come on, Mommy. It’s cold," Kennadi said, making up Sabrina's mind.
"Well, then. If you're sure it's okay."
"Sure. Hop on in."
She opened the back door, ushered Kennadi inside first, then got in and shut the door.
"Where am I going?"
"Sixteen-twenty Sherman," Sabrina told him as she buckled Kennadi's seat belt, then her own.
"So, where do you go to school, Kennadi?" he asked as he glanced in his rearview mirror and pulled out into the street.
"Rockefeller Elementary School. I'm in first grade."
"Do you like school?"
"What's your favorite subject?" he asked quickly, his lips twitching.
"Which is why the after-school program at the art center is perfect for her," Sabrina added. "It allows her to get out all that creative energy."
He probably saw her as pitiable. She didn’t have a car. She almost lost her daughter and, when he saw the building she lived in, it would be even worse. It wasn't a slum, but it was old and small. However, under the circumstances, it was the best she could do.
"What is her mom studying in school?"
"Cool. I don't think I've ever met a respiratory therapist before," he replied as he turned onto her street.
"Well, I’m not one yet."
He glanced at her. "You will be, though. I can tell."
He pulled up in front of her building and put the car in park. "Here we are."
"Thanks. I appreciate it," she said and hurriedly unbuckled both of their seatbelts, eager to put their unexpected meeting behind her.
"I’ll see you around, I guess."
"I hope so."
When she reached the front of her building, she turned just in time to see him wave. Maybe she'd run into him again. He worked in the area, and so did she. Plus, she did volunteer that Kennadi was at the art center every day. He'd know she'd be there after school. Of course, that didn't mean anything. She was quite sure he wouldn't seek her out. She just wasn't that lucky when it came to men.
Get your copy today!!!
|posted by Lyric James @ 2:01 PM
| Saturday, January 05, 2008
| Check It Out!
|I'm over at the Novelty Girls today!
|posted by Lyric James @ 12:37 PM
| Friday, January 04, 2008
| A Little "Pimpage"
|My good friend Moira Reed has a release today, Pay Dirt!Elle Parson wins $10 million in the Texas Two-Step Lottery and her life immediately turns to crap. First someone almost steals her purse containing the ticket.Then, she unwittingly mucks up a police undercover operation to catch the Houston Marauder, a psychopath who has already abducted, raped and murdered three women.Then things turn much worse.Get your copy at Cobblestone Press today!
|posted by Lyric James @ 4:05 PM