2020. Ten years from now, and we look back on this year, what will we say about it? I’d like to believe it’s the year we finally tackled tough issues and solved them. Wherever you are, I hope you are feeling valued and loved. We all could use more love, less hate. More romance stories, too.
Speaking of romance, Tough Luck debuts in just two weeks. Excerpt below! This story about redemption, second chances and the courage to accept love will touch your heart and perhaps spark your own courage. It’s never too late for a happy ending…
Early 5 Star Reviews!
Edge of your seat surprises, heat and smoking chemistry, and characters you’ll love!
“…a read that I wish I could give more than five stars for…”
Ex-con Nathan came to Shakedown to start over, not fall hard for one of their burlesque dancers, Midnight Starr. But who could resist such a woman? She was light and fire and everything good about the world.
He will fight that thudding desire for her. He has to. The MacKenna family, whose son he accidentally killed many years ago, has drawn a target on his back and he won’t drag her into his mess.
Starr, however, isn’t one to give up easily. When she wants someone, she’s all in.
She has no idea what she’s in for.
Excerpt from Tough Luck
One side of Nathan’s mouth inched up, and his neck flushed adorably. Oh, yeah, he liked her all right, and she liked that.
She didn’t need help dousing a bunch of plastic legs and arms in the supply closet’s laundry sink, but having him around made her relax. He didn’t rush her, didn’t assume she was easy like so many men—men like that ice-eyed Ruark. Nathan had a rare tough and gentle combination that touched her in the softest places of her heart—plus it didn’t hurt he was one well-built, handsome man.
He rolled the cart to the small utility closet and opened the door. No way would the cart fit, so she picked up a plastic leg and arm and stepped inside.
Dirt dusted the front of her tee-shirt. “Wow, they’re dirtier seen in the light.” She cranked on the hot water and dumped them in. Nathan handed her three more.
As the water rose, she scanned the shelves for soap. “Can you reach that detergent for me?” She pointed at the bottle of dish soap.
He leaned over, his tee-shirt riding up as he reached to the highest shelf. Dark hair dusted his flat, hard abs, and she chewed the inside of her cheek. He really was a good-looking guy. How was he single? Even if he did just re-enter the world, surely he was on some woman’s radar screen.
Their fingers brushed when he handed her the bottle, his callouses only making him more interesting. This man worked with his hands—the direct opposite of those frat kids the other night.
“Can you hand me the others, too?” She pointed at the cart.
He turned away, reached for the other body pieces. He had a nice butt. Checking him out so blatantly was hypocritical of her, but a quick glance couldn’t be that bad, and it was fair play. She certainly got checked out enough. His tee-shirt stretched thin over the ripped muscles in his back and shoulders, and those jeans fit him oh, so nicely. She cut her assessment of him short as soon as he righted and handed her a plastic male torso—a far cry from the real one standing in front of her.
After dumping the pieces in the sink, he didn’t back up. In the small space, steam from the hot water clouded the air almost immediately. He stood so closely behind her, she could sense how their bodies might fit together, her butt against his crotch, his hard torso against her back, and her head, if she inclined it slightly, might nestle nicely into his neck, where his short beard would scratch against her.
“Where do you want to start?” His low rumble did little to switch off her rising libido.
“The legs.” Like wrap hers around him. Instead, she plunged her hands into warm soapy water. She’d squeezed the plastic parts into the sink so tightly they would barely fit.
His arm brushed hers as he leaned around her and grabbed a leg part and started washing it using a rag that’d been hanging on the side of the sink. She did the same. They stood there, running the body parts under the water, wiping them down, rinsing them under the water again and again until they were clean. She tried not to watch how he handled the arms and legs, or how his large hands wrapped so thoroughly around the ankles and wrists. She failed at that attempt because sweet lord on high he was growing sexier by the minute. Those hands on her would feel so amazingly good. She could tell already.
She pulled the chain holding the stopper. “Let’s leave them in here. Let them drain and dry.” She shook water from her hands. He tore off some paper towels, captured her hands with one to dry them. The gesture was so sweet, so caring, a flood of warmth in her heart mixed in with all her rising physical interest.
He tossed the paper towel in the trashcan.
“You got a little” —he wagged his finger toward his cheek— “dust there.”
She crept closer. “I do?”
His rough fingertip brushed her skin, and more interest awoke between her legs. “Yeah.”
Oh, why not? She leaned into him, let her breasts sink against his hard chest, and what do you know? He didn’t pull back. Actually, he froze. She wasn’t normally this aggressive, but he was just so hesitant. How was she going to get this guy to ask her out?
“Starr, I …” His words died, and he glanced down at where their bodies met.
Oh, damn. “You don’t like me … like that.”
“No. I mean yes…” He stepped backward. “Actually, yes, I do. It’s just …”
“Your life is complicated. That doesn’t scare me.” It wouldn’t, after all she’d seen – police showing up at her house as a little girl, guys slinging back cheap beer as they sat in lawn chairs in the garage, urging her to get closer, and later, bikers hanging out in the parking lot waiting for her after a dance show. And, God, what she’d seen at that strip club they’d had the great misfortune of working one year? He was the dead opposite of all that.
“Does your complicated life have anything to do with this history you mentioned? With that guy, Ruark? I ran into him at a coffee shop yesterday, by the way.”
He cursed and looked down at the floor.
“Nathan?” She bent her knees so she could look up into his eyes.
He looked up at her, and she straightened. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down, and his lips thinned. “It’s a long story. But you gotta believe me, Starr—”
“I do. Ruark’s a bully, and you’re not. So, maybe you could fill me in sometime. Like over coffee … or dinner.” She inched closer. “You know, Nathan, if you asked me out, I’d say yes.”
He remained mute but swallowed hard again. He wanted to kiss her. She could see it—the way his eyes kept returning to her lips, and the way he now leaned toward her.
She licked her lips on purpose.