Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Blog Hop Coming January lst.

It's another year over! Can you believe it? Well we authors, readers, and bloggers sure can't. And to celebrate the New Year with bang, we're going crazy and sending out so many prizes, fun parties, experiences, and other goodies, that it's a bit scary. Each author has a favorite New Year memory, book, idea, or way to party and we're going to show you! Can't wait to see you January 1st - 6th!

And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

In addition, each person who leaves a comment on my personal blog will be entered to receive a set of Dog Tags from the covers of my SEAL books, as well as a free copy of Fallen SEAL Legacy, my new book. Every commenter will also receive a free short (SEAL Endeavor or SEAL Encounter). Be sure to leave your email in the comment. 

Enjoy your adventure into the NEW YEAR!


Come back and join me here on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013.

Here are all the blog participants

Forwarding encouraged!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Angels at Christmas: The Start of the Writing Journey

Angels and the Heaven That Could Be

I was raised in a traditional family, or as traditional as a family could be in Northern California during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. And yes, we had our fair share of quirky characters, as all families do. Laced in there were some serious hours doing service at our local church, mostly because that’s what my parents had done, how they had met, in the shadow of my grandfather, who was an evangelist.

Let me set you straight here, this blog isn’t about religion or much of anything in the way of values, other than as it relates to my characters. I’ve always said I’m a Christian with a bent antennae. I’ll explain.

I was given a unique view behind the curtain, to see what went on behind the production number that was the stage. And that’s where I think the real story is. I got to see the women, kids in tow, coming to my grandfather’s house in the middle of the night, after being beaten by a raging husband. Those things really do happen in the real world. I’d see them at breakfast the next day, and watch as my grandfather would hand out a free meal or a little money to people out of luck. He told me the “hobos”, as we used to call them, marked his fence so one that followed would know there was a kind person living there who might share a scrap of food. I once gave my favorite teddy bear to a little girl who was about 4 and clearly was afraid. I was afraid too. Afraid for her future. I often think of her little face, standing in my grandfather’s kitchen, barefoot, with syrup running down her chin.

What has always interested me is what makes people do the things they do. And what choices they make in life. I didn’t want to go into religious studies. I wanted to know what motivated them. So, in college I majored in Psychology.

Years later, after raising a family of my own and now beginning to see them have children, I still don’t really know what makes people do what they do. But I know how to write it down.

Heavenly Lover is my first book, and it was the book that seized me one cold December day when I was visiting my daughter for her college graduation in Portland. We were snowed in that day, and the graduation (mid-year, smaller) was cancelled. And like the famous story of Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein, we started talking about stories as we went around the room. I had been dreaming about angels, but not anything close to the angels I’d learned about in Sunday School. These were fully fleshed out beings with personalities, in a beautiful place with gardens and classrooms so they could learn about human life.

My blonde angel character was innocent, but drawn to the human world like a moth is drawn to a light fixture. The story developed that her attraction to all things human was what made her such an effective Guardian Angel. And she had a 100% track record, unlike anyone else.

I constructed a world around her and the possibility that she might fall in love so hard, that she wanted to give up her wings and become human. And so I explored what that would look like, how she would feel, and what the consequences would be.

The premise became:  Heaven isn’t 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn’t 100% evil by accident.

I began thinking that she would test the premise that all beings had free will, human as well as angelic. And I wanted her to push the boundaries. And not just push them, I wanted her to fall off the edge and watch her recover, if she could.

Thirty days later, in mid January, I had that first draft done. It was 92,000 words. I asked other writers I was becoming friends with if that was normal, and realized I am a prolific writer. Now that version has been re-written over 50 times now, vetted and critiqued on the contest circuit, where it did very well. It took a lot of people to help me wrestle with this behemoth first novel. But the end result is something that is near and dear to my heart. The premise and the ending remained the same.

I’m now on my 4th book in the angel series.

You might ask me if I believe in the presence of a higher power. And I have to say, when I shut my eyes and tune out everything else, that someone else is there.

I hope you enjoy the journey I’ve taken. No, it probably won’t send you back to church. But it might make you believe in perfect love. For life doesn’t have to be 100% perfect to be fully enjoyed. We don’t have to be 100% perfect to love or be loved.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tacky Christmas Sweaters

I'm over at Delilah Devlin's blog today, talking about tasteless Christmas sweaters. Come join the fun and win some dog tags!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blog Hop Winners

After over 8,000 comments our Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop has some grand prize winners!!

Grand Prize Winners:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Aimee F.

$200 Amazon Gift Card:
Laura T.

Swag Pack:
Debbie G.


angelheart/My Durango


Merry Christmas, ladies.
When we wear red at Christmas, let's think
of our troops everywhere, and the families that love them.


Do We Need Heroes?

Join me today over at Kaylea Cross's blog:

We're talking about the need for heroes these days, and why reading romance is actually good for you!


Friday, December 14, 2012

All I Want For Christmas is my Husband

There are a lot of military families out there who are separated this Christmas. Thank you for stopping by to help remember them today. It's easy to forget about our fighting men and women when we are just going about our daily lives. In this picture, my husband and I are at the wedding of our oldest son, which took place amongst the redwoods. I'm holding our grandson.

But these precious days wouldn't be possible without those that have sacrificed, and in some cases, given their all so we could have a "normal" life, free from the worries and dangers we might otherwise face.

I think about the families separated this Christmas, and my heart goes out to them especially. They are having a Christmas dinner in a temporary home, sleep on a cot, love getting letters and packages from home. They play video games and read, and they think of their families. I include them in my family. And if I could rule the world, like I do in my military romance novels, I'd bring them all home safely tomorrow. Before Christmas.

But I'm a realist. The world doesn't always have a happily ever after, like in our books. And, sadly, some must pay the ultimate sacrifice or come home wounded. I can only imagine the pain their absense causes.

And so I say thank you, for all you do for us. For giving me a Christmas and a whole life I will not squander.

Please leave your email in your comment for a free short to my new Navy SEAL Brotherhood series, SEAL Endeavor. This is the prequel to my new release, Fallen SEAL Legacy. You must also leave your email addy to be entered in the grand prize drawing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, and be sure to share this post with everyone you know. Remember, EVERYONE who leaves a comment and their email address will win a short. Everyone.

And be sure to stop by all the other author blog sites for other free prizes to make your Christmas that much merrier:

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

After you leave your comments, join the other hoppers by clicking here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fallen SEAL Legacy is now here!

So excited to get Book 2 of the SEAL Brotherhood up on Amazon as of this morning: Fallen SEAL Legacy. The prequel to this full-length book, SEAL Endeavor, is also live.

I wrote the prequel so readers could meet my hero and heroine, just before the love story starts. So no, they don't really meet, but you better believe they've felt the sparks!

This has been a labor of love for me. Hope you enjoy both Book 1 and Book 2. The next one will be based on the character Armando Guzman, who is LPO Kyle Lansdowne's best friend on SEAL Team 3.

You can order your copies here:

Fallen SEAL Legacy, Book 2 of the SEAL Brotherhood.
Accidental SEAL, Book 1 of the SEAL Brotherhood.

SEAL Endeavor (prequel to Book 2)
SEAL Encounter (prequel to Book 1)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Welcome Kaylea Cross

Today I am thrilled to welcome Kaylea Cross. She is a new author I have just discovered, and I love her writing. She also writes about military heroes, but from a detailed perspective I find rare in romantic suspense. You can tell she has studied many disciplines. Hope you will enjoy my new find as much as I have!

Tell me how you got started writing military romance? How many books have you written?

I’ve been a military history nut ever since I can remember, so I guess it’s little wonder that I chose to write about military characters when I decided I wanted to write romance. To date I’ve written 16 books under two different names (because they write different genres).

Why do you think these Alpha military heroes (and heroines) are so popular? What makes them heroes?

I think—I hope—they’re popular because people admire our men and women in uniform. They sacrifice so much, and so do their families.
They’re heroic because they serve and defend their country at risk to their own lives, and they do it with little or no recognition. Or much compensation, in my opinion.

How do you compliment the heroine to a strong alpha military guy? Do you write them strong? Compliant? Kick-butt?

I personally like heroines that are smart and have a backbone. Though if they’re civilians who suddenly find themselves in harm’s way, they’d better listen to the hero and do what he says without argument. I can’t stand it when a clueless heroine starts arguing with a seasoned soldier/operator in a dangerous situation about how things should be done. Hello? He’s the expert—just do as you’re told!

Do you like writing in series, or single?

Series! I like it best when we get to meet a whole cast of characters and get to know them, so we really care about each of them throughout the entire story arc of the series. When it comes time for each character’s story, the reader will hopefully be that much more invested in the book.

Who is your favorite character you've created? Why?

Hands down it has to be Luke Hutchinson, my former SEAL turned CIA contractor who features in my first romantic suspense series (the hero of Absolution). He’s fifty years old and has gone through hell for his country, including sacrificing his family life in order to hunt down the monster he created early in his career. If anyone deserves a shot at happily ever after, it’s Luke. And he’s CRAZY sexy. For real. Gah! I love him so much.  I have to admit I haven’t started Absolution, but after reading Cover of Darkness, I had to go out and order it. I mean, Yum.

Do you find it easier to write the bad boys or the good boys? I'm assuming both are heroic, but which ones are more fun to write?

I’m going to say good boys, since most of my heroes have very strict moral compasses and high standards of conduct they hold themselves to. Their training and experience in the field mature them in a quick hurry as well. I have written a couple of heroes that have a bit of a bad boy persona, but they know when to stop and put on their game faces.

What about the heroines? Do you find it easiest to write the bad girls or the good girls?
Definitely good girls. They might have an attitude or be able to kick ass at any given moment, but they’re always good people. Not perfect, mind you. Nobody wants to read about a perfect character, since that’s boring, not to mention unrealistic. Each of my characters has to grow and change during their book, struggling to overcome some sort of fear or flaw. I think that makes them easier for readers to identify with.

I did just finish a book with a sort of bad girl heroine (Maya, from the Bagram Special Ops series), but she changes a lot during her story because she lets her defenses down once the hero earns her trust. Not an easy feat, I’ll tell you that much. But so satisfying in the end.

If you could have a date with one of your characters, which one would it be and why? Where would you go?

You mean if we were both single and unspoken for? *g* Oh, that’s so hard! I immediately want to say Luke, but we wouldn’t be compatible for a lot of different reasons. So, I’d have to go with either his son, Rayne (from Out of Her League), a former Marine now SWAT officer, or Cam, the Air Force Pararescueman from Deadly Descent (first Bagram Special Ops book).
They’re both sweet but highly trained and very protective of the women they care about. Alpha males for sure, but not so much that they require special feeding and handling, like some of my other heroes do.

If you could go to a desert island with two companions, who would you bring? What would you do there? What would you bring if you could bring anything?

I love my husband, but he’s an accountant, so I doubt he’d be much good to me on a desert island. (Don’t tell him I said that!) I’d want someone with survival training, and they’d have to be both calm and decisive. Can I take a SEAL and a Pararescueman with me?

Aside from food and water, a GPS and a way to find a rescue? I’d want practical stuff like tools, shelter, etc. And a never ending supply of pen and paper to write with.

Pretend you have just sold your 100,000th copy of one of your books. What will you do to celebrate?

Ah, an author can dream… I’d probably plan a surprise trip to Disneyland for my hubby and kids.

Tell us something about you that most people wouldn't know or guess about you?

I’m a total wimp! Reading my books you might not think so, but I hate conflict of any sort. Gives me hives.

I like being at home with my kids or writing, puttering in the garden, quilting, painting or reading. Though I do own a collection of Civil War weapons… (And up here in Canada, owning any sort of gun is considered very weird if you’re not a hunter. So I’m considered to be a very strange duck.)

Who are your favorite authors/books?

Linda Howard’s All the Queen’s Men is my favorite romantic suspense book of all time. If you haven’t read it, do. I was inspired to write Cover of Darkness because of it.

I also loved the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward (up ‘til Vishous’s book). Those characters seem so real, I got sucked right into their world.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the first book of a new single title series I hope an agent will be interested in, featuring a group of ex-Spec Ops heroes now working as military contractors. Fingers crossed!

Excerpt: From Deadly Descent, book 1 of the Bagram Special Ops series
She kept firing, heartened that some SEALs remained out front. It wasn’t like they’d deserted her.
Her gun clicked when she squeezed the trigger. Empty.
Shit, out of ammo again. She reloaded. Her gaze swept past the SEALs toward the Chinook. She cried out in relief when she saw Cam running flat out toward her. He moved like a blur, weapon firing.
He came barreling into the rock shelter and skidded to his knees beside her. “Come on,” he yelled over the noise.
Still holding her weapon, she grabbed a fistful of his uniform as he levered her onto his shoulders. Amidst the whine and ping of the rounds landing around them, he ran for the Chinook. She kept firing in bursts toward the enemy, and stopped only when she felt the heavy rotor wash beating at her back. A howl of agony ripped from her throat as Cam flipped her off his shoulder and all but tossed her into the cabin.
Someone grabbed her under the armpits and hauled her backward away from the ramp as Cam jumped inside. Black spots swam before her eyes.
“Talk to me, Spike.”
She turned her head at Ryan’s voice. “I’m okay!”
He moved away toward the cockpit. The inside of the bird was so crowded with bodies she couldn’t tell who was who. The pitch of the big engines changed, rising to a shrill scream as the bird struggled to take off. Fighting back the pain, she found Cam at last near the ramp and met his stare. The gunners were still firing from their positions. The bird shuddered and strained under the burden of all its passengers.
Oh God. They were overweight. The engines were already maxed out.
Cam exchanged a long look with Jackson, then pushed his way over to her. She grabbed his upper arms and leaned forward to shout. “They need to throw some ammo and equipment out, or—”
“Listen to me.” His eyes were the most intense she’d ever seen them. She stilled.
He surrounded her with his arms for a second before kissing her hard and pulling back. He shook her once, staring down intently at her. “I love you.”
Her heart stopped beating.
He wouldn’t. She read the intent in his eyes. “No, don’t—”
“Hang on to this for me,” he shouted. He yanked out the chain she’d given him and put it in her stiff hand. Then he turned and disappeared down the tail ramp.
She threw out a hand to grab him. Stop him. But her fingers only grabbed air. “Cam!” He didn’t stop. Didn’t so much as hesitate as he jumped off the tail ramp and joined the SEALs still on the ground around the Chinook.
“Cam, no!” Heedless of the pain in her leg, she pulled herself toward the closing ramp. Desperate to get to him before it was too late.
She tripped on someone’s leg and went down, crying out in agony as her wounded knee smashed into the steel floor. Hard hands gripped her waist. Yanked her up and back. She fought them.
“Dev, don’t.”
Ryan. Mindless, she ripped at his restraining hands. “Let me go! He’s going to get killed!”
Ryan hauled her up and into his arms, holding her tight as the Chinook lifted off the ground. She fought him with all her strength. “Is he on the Hawk?”
“Is he on one of the Hawks!”
“I…I don’t know.” He held her tighter. Cutting off her breath. She weakened and stopped fighting.
Her body was stiff with denial. She was sobbing now, hysterical. “W-we have to g-get him.”
“He’ll get out, Dev. I promise you.”
The pain was suffocating. She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t ease the splitting sensation in her chest. The tears flowed fast and hot down her cheeks. They soaked the front of Ryan’s fatigues as the bird rose into the dark sky and left the man she loved behind.

Bio: Kaylea Cross is an award winning author of edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense. A Registered Massage Therapist, Kaylea is an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dancer and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She is an active member of the Greater Vancouver Romance Writers of America chapter and lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband.

All buy links can be found on my website:
You can find Kaylea through her websiteTwitterFacebook, and her blog.

 Thank you, Kaylea. We wish you all the success with your hunky heroes.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Never Quit: Plan B

More about this guy who never quit. We should all have it so tough. Look what he overcame. When I think of all the sacrifices others have made so I can have a "normal" life, sometimes taking for granted my health, and then someone like this comes along, well, it's a good reminder of what is important in life.

Enjoy the short video and watch it to the very end.

The Amazing Transformation of a Guy Who Didn’t Give Up!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not Quitting

Nano has been a bust for me this year, and unless I pull "two-dayer", which I don't do any longer, I will not make the word count. Of course, I could figure my edits in that, but they aren't new words, or at least half of them aren't, so that would be cheating. My new book comes out in December, and there were last-minute edits I chose to do, and I hadn't planned on them right in the middle of Nano. It was the right thing to do.

But I'm not quitting my Nano goal. I'm going on to see how many I can do. Complicated with family drama over the Thanksgiving Holiday, which always seems to happen. As someone much wiser than me said, "It rarely is a Normal Rockwell moment," meaning, my expectations almost always exceed what happens in real time. But getting real has been what this year has been about, so I accept that. No, my dinner was perfect, was not a Norman Rockwell picture, but pretty darned close. It was Sharon's family, and that's more than fine for me.

My 3 year old granddaughter brought a stepstool into the kitchen and said, "Grandma, I help you now." I like that she didn't ask me, she told me what she was going to do. Good going, little one. You have learned something at 3 it took me many years to master. Her sweet little face looking up at me caused me to realize that, of course, everything goes better with sugar. And of course I said yes. And as daunting as the other drama of the holidays can be, it is the beginning of her life, her memories, and I'm here and present and clear of mind to enjoy them, and help make them happy ones. What better gift can I give my grandchildren than the gift of a happy childhood? Not me alone. It does take a family. But I'm part of that family, even though parts of it don't work well.

That's what's real. That is something I am thankful for.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Personal Blog Winner

And the winner is:

Dita Skarste from Latvia! Congratulations, Dita.
Your packages are on their way. And you'll get them before Christmas. Her name was chosen at random from over 80 entries. She gets a paperback version of Accidental SEAL, and a book cover poster signed by Jimmy Thomas (the hunk on all my covers).

Thanks again everyone for participating. I hope you come back again for the new release of Fallen SEAL Legacy. I'll be on another blog hop December 14th (Twelve Days of Christmas), so look for that announcement coming up, plus another one for New Years.

Did you sign up for my newsletter? One will be coming out before Christmas. Don't miss it.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop Winners!!

After over 8,000 comments our BLACK FRIDAY HOP has some grand prize winners!!

Grand Prize Winners:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Angela Heart

$75 Amazon Gift Card:
Emma D.

Swag Pack:
Kim Brooks

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop

Welcome to the Black Friday Blog Hop event. This day is about you: the freebies, the swag, the new authors you'll get to discover. And you don't have to get out of your house or brave the long lines and crowds to do it.

I want you to be able to stop by and see all the other authors participating too, so my post will be short (for those that know me, you're gonna say, "wha?")

Here's to all the men and women who serve our great country. Let's remember to say thanks for all they do, and remember they need our love and support - and a little romance in their day. Can we make this friday a No Dear John Letter Day?

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

In addition, and exclusive to just this blog site, one commenter will be chosen at random on this site to win a free autographed copy of my PRINT BOOK: Accidental SEAL, and a poster, signed by Jimmy Thomas. Remember, to be entered in either the grand prize or my giveaway, YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT.

You have 200 chances to win, plus all the other author freebies. 

Have a great Black Friday Blog Hop. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Playing With The Food

We have a small gathering this year, which suits me. We've also opted out of the gift giving for Christmas, but will do some things for the grandkids. On Black Friday, I'll be participating in the Black Friday Bloghop, checking Amazon and reading instead of standing in line.

I am not in the least bit tempted by the seasonal craziness. Didn't we just have a year of that with the election? Just not feeling like being a lemming. Still recovering from the years of overdoing. Things are simple these days. I cherish the time spent with the family rather than the exchange that used to take up most the day. The excesses of the holidays starts with Thanksgiving. No wonder everyone goes on a diet in January. In more ways than one.

I bought my Willie Bird turkey yesterday at G&G Market, along with everything I'm going to use in the stuffing. Bought some special mushrooms for my famous soup and even found some 1/2 & 1/2, string beans, apples, potatoes and shrimp on sale. Bought the last jar of oysters, which we also like in stuffing.

Don and I will be making the house festive today, which is, I think, my real Thanksgiving. The more I do today, the more I get to enjoy tomorrow. All the desserts are going back with the people who bring them, so I won't be tempted. I'll save enough stuffing for my hubby, but I can have beans and mashed potatoes and the leftover turkey and stay on my food plan.

Waiting for my book to come back from the editor, and yes, I'm always nervous at this point. The last 6 months I've worked harder on my writing and the writing business than I ever have. I know I've put in the time and done the things I need to do. It's the waiting to see how it is received that is the hard part. But, need to remind myself, it's all in just doing what I love and know how to do. I just have to have trust and faith the rest will come along, in good time. Remind myself, it really isn't up to me, anyway.

I'm grateful my Dad is able to celebrate one more Thanksgiving. He will be missed. Read someone else's post about collapsing with tears and I burst into tears, too. I'm thinking about all the family meals we all shared, and all the people that are no longer with us--I hear them in my head and feel them in my heart like characters from my books. All the sights, smells and feelings of my childhood are washing over me. I wonder how I will be thought of some day, when I am gone too.

As someone much wiser than I said a few months ago, "Sharon, your job today is to just feel."

Come back Friday for:

It makes a lot more sense spending Friday with your favorite authors than spending too much money, braving the crowds. Find some great new authors. Buy their books for your yourself and indulge in the freebies given away JUST THIS FRIDAY.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Golden Vamps and No Teenage Angst: Free

For a couple of days, my Honeymoon Bite will be free. As of this morning, it has soared in 24 hours to the #6 spot for Freebie Amazon in the Fantasy category. Almost in the top 100 overall.

So, if Edward and Bella's story has got you craving for more, take a gander at some adult entertainment. Strictly over 18 stuff, but I'm proud of the redemption through true love, which is the thread throughout all my books.

I loved writing this, my first vampire story. Book 2 is next, after lauch of the Fallen SEAL Legacy.

I know, I know. SEALs and vamps, you say? Well, these are fictionalized stories based on legend, myth and snippets of things I've either read or discussed with other people. Like any good storyteller, I take the things I didn't like from some of the vamp stories, like their plumbing issues (thank you Anne Rice for your great characters, but no thanks on the lack of sex), and their need to sleep in a coffin (love True Blood but it's getting kinda out there, still fun) and need to stay out of the sun--and I fixed those problems. Why? Because I can.


Excerpt, Honeymoon Bite:

“Does your husband know about your appetites?” From behind Anne came a gravelly male voice that sent shivers down her spine. The screams of the Starbuck’s espresso machine made her wonder if she’d really heard the voice. But the male scent of him was impossible to miss. The hairs at her neck stood at attention, telegraphing urgency. The urgent sensation extended well beyond her waistline. Time stood still before she could bring herself to turn around and fall under the warm gaze from this tall dark male that covered her.
Not man. Male.
He held her gaze as she stood, transfixed, unable to move or to speak. That was the way it felt. Being held. “I’m sorry?” she blurted out finally.
“Don’t be sorry, my dear. It’s a simple question.” The ends of his lips curled up at the corners. When he inhaled, his chest extended, and he appeared several inches taller. Then he exhaled and she was covered with the same musky scent, incapacitating her, wrapping around her like a warm shroud. It was familiar.
She heard mournful viola music drip with slides and rifts that pulled on her heartstrings. She felt dizzy. Did she hear him murmur a groan? Or maybe it was a small earthquake? Probably an ordinary person wouldn’t hear or feel it. But she did.
Anne was on alert; this male took liberties with her feelings.
What a crazy thought. Ridiculous.
He leaned forward, grazing just the edge of her forearm with his warm hand. An electric spark pricked her. He leaned against the counter and looked at the barista, not her. “I’ll pay for the lady’s drink.”
She noticed the strong pulse at his neck. Healthy. Smells wonderful.
“And what would you like, sir?” The young barista was pert. Anne didn’t like her perfect white teeth. That and the fact the girl’s shirt was made for a ten-year-old, showcasing her pierced bellybutton.
“I have all I need.” The rumbling words sparked shivers again down Anne’s spine. He said it just next to her ear, barely touching the small of her back . . . He was facing the barista, but deep inside Anne knew the words were meant for her ears only.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Anne suddenly found the urge to speak.
“My pleasure.” He removed his hand and gave a slight bow.
A bow? No one had ever done that before. Anne had just fed. She wasn’t hungry enough to play the game this afternoon, having gorged herself on a salesman who liked to eat garlic fries. His blood was thick with fat globules she could almost see as well as taste. But it went down smooth.
So maybe she would play along. This stranger might be a good candidate for a snack tomorrow. She had never fed twice in one day. She wondered what being too full would feel like in her current state. It would probably make her horny. Well then, maybe she should reconsider. She should do a wet feeding. That way she wouldn’t have to be too careful, could gorge herself on him. He’d be wonderful to look at in the shower, and his hands might do something unexpected to her. Something memorable in a string of unmemorable feedings.
His hand gently touched the small of her back again, and she allowed herself to be ushered to a corner table, flanked by two purple velvet overstuffed chairs. They sat, facing at right angles to each other. The counter girl called out Anne’s drink. He was up and walking over to pick it up for her before she had a chance to react.
She watched him cross the coffeehouse like a thirsty traveler eyeing a pitcher of water. He was probably six foot six. His dark hair was pulled back in a short ponytail. His black leather bomber jacket showed his nice ass and those long lanky legs that went all the way to Heaven. Even for his size, he appeared graceful. Unassuming. Confident. And the nicest looking male from behind that she had ever seen.
And then he turned, holding the little white paper cup with two fingers, the other ones splayed out, large as antlers. She could see how long his fingers were, how substantial. She envisioned what those hands could do to her. But as sexy as he was, he also made her mouth water to feed.
His prominent jaw line sported blue-black stubble. His strong pulse would be no problem at all, but she would have to bite a little harder to crack the skin. Maybe he would let her take him slowly. Then she could kiss other parts of him in between while his heart pumped more of the blood she craved. His lips were bright red and full. She would enjoy sucking them, licking them. Perhaps biting them.
His eyes found their way to hers, and when she met his gaze, she became self-conscious of her thoughts, as if she knew somehow he could read her mind. Anne told herself it was her craving for blood that caused the almost sexual attraction for this male. After she fed, surely she wouldn’t feel this way, she thought.
He delicately deposited the white cup delicately in her hands. One finger touched and almost seemed to rub against hers. She thought she was imagining the touch, of course. Between her legs, a warm pool had formed. It was a curious place to feel hunger, a hunger of another kind. She blushed at her erotic thoughts.
“You like cappuccino?” He seemed intrigued by the idea.
“Yes. I need the caffeine in the afternoon.”
“And here I thought your cheeks were flushed and ripe from a good meal.” Those black eyes peered right to her soul. Almost as an afterthought, he smiled, and the dark became brown, ringed with a coppery color that drew her in.
I’ll play your game.
“Yes. After a big meal, I get tired sometimes.”
He nodded. “I remember that.”
Anne looked out the window. This was beginning to feel dangerous. She grabbed her drink and stood. He stopped her by placing one hand on her wrist. His action was soft, but deliberate. This male won’t be denied.
“Please, sit just a little longer. Then I’ll let you go home to your husband.”
“Go? You’ll let me go? What kind of talk is that? I think . . .” She began to rise again, but his firm grip on her forearm stopped her.
“Hear me out just a bit.” He did appear to be begging. Could it be she saw a flash of pain there? No way.
“How do you know I’m married?” she snapped out, letting her impatience show.
“You wear a wedding ring.” He fingered her ring slowly, sensually. She let him touch her, perhaps a bit too long. She was going to correct his misconception but decided to leave him thinking she was protected by another man. Safer that way.
But was she looking for safe?
There was an obvious physical attraction between them. She had not felt this before, not since before she was made.
“Do I know you?” she asked, ignoring the comment about her marriage.
“No. Ask it another way.” The huskiness of his voice made her ears buzz, like he was brushing his lips across them, like they were in bed whispering unmentionable things to each other.
“Do you know me?” Her eyebrows rose at the ridiculous suggestion.
He very lightly nodded. “Oh, yes. I have waited a long, long time for you.”