Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Demon Plays with Angel

The demon stepped into the dimly lit neonatal intensive care unit. “Good evening, Angel,” he said softly.

The angel looked up from where she was bent over a stainless steel barred crib. “What brings you here, Demon? This is no place for one of your kind.”

“I saw you fly in, Angel. My…appetite was whetted.”

“Take yourself and your appetites elsewhere. I’m busy.”

“The place is deserted.” He glanced around. Emptiness pooled in the corners of the room, reaching its sly fingers towards the one occupied crib. Soft lights haloed the angel and a very still, tightly swaddled baby. The blue and white cap on the baby’s head advertised his sex. The snaking tubes and softly beeping machines signaled his trouble.

“The obstetrical unit of this hospital is closing due to high malpractice rates.” The angel turned back to her task, leaning over the crib again. “This is the last baby born here.”

Demon almost missed her words, focused as he was on her shapely ass outlined by the pale gray uniform that blended so well with the gray hospital walls. Real nurses never wore dresses any more, but her glamour provided both an effective disguise, and an irresistible lure. This angel knew exactly what she was doing.

“That nurse glamour is oddly sexy, dear Angel.”

“Yes,” she snapped, turning back to glare at him. “We angels know how you demons like to get your purity fix every so often.”

He laughed. “Too true, sweetheart. It does cleanse the palate, so to speak.” He let his gaze wander over her, knowing his bold perusal would start a fire simmering within her. “And we demons,” he drawled, “know you angels need some lovin’ from a bad guy every so often to light you up.” He checked out her shiny brown hair, her wide-spaced gray eyes, her smallish, but determined nose, and her generous mouth. Cute. Adorably cute. He had to have her.

“Hush, Demon.” She turned away from him. “Your voice is too deep. It disturbs the baby.”

He moved to the other side of the crib so he could face her. Now he could savor the sight of her pert breasts, her narrow waist and gently flaring hips. Utterly delectable. His cock ached.

He nodded at the crib. “How much longer ‘til you’re done with the baby?”

“Must you sound so uncaring?”

“I’m a demon, darling. It’s not my job to care.” He grinned at her anger. It would only stoke her appetite.

“I’m not interested in whatever you might be offering tonight.” Her gray eyes snapped at him, told him to go, but her pointy nipples signaled him as effectively as the beeping machines.

“I think you lie, Angel.” He stepped closer, touched her hand that was smoothing the air over the baby’s head. He inhaled deeply to absorb her sparkly-star scent.

"Don’t touch me when I’m helping the baby. I’m determined to save him.”

Demon gestured to the multiple wires, the beeping, winking machines. “You can see mankind is having trouble with this one. And you don’t have the power of life and death.”

“Nevertheless, I intend to try.”

Two parents pushed open the door and rushed into the nursery, followed by a nurse. Demon grabbed a lab coat from a wall hook and he and Angel melted into the far shadows of the partially lit room.

The distraught parents noticed only their baby, as they bent over the crib. The mother cried softly, hope still trembling inside her tears. The father stood there grim and tense, trying to remain stoic in the face of the pain he knew hurtled towards them.

Demon slid his arm around his Angel’s waist. He leaned close to whisper in her ear. “Let the baby go now. Then we can play.”

“No!” Her angry whisper flayed him. “Go bother some other female. I inhabit the same realm you do. So I’m immune to your charms and glamour. Not like those poor mortal women you love to enrapture.”

“Come on.” He touched the back of her neck, stroking her as only a demon knew how to do. “I’m hotter than hell.” He laughed. “And I know exactly how hot hell is.”

She shivered, weakening, but not falling. “No.” She shrugged off his hand. “It’s a baby! I can’t just ignore it.”

“That’s the point. It’s just a baby. Plenty more where that came from.” He leaned forward and pressed his mouth to the nape of her neck. Instantly, goose bumps skittered across her skin, and he grinned within the kiss. She was far from indifferent to him. He placed his hands on her shoulders, still kissing and nipping at her neck. She didn’t resist, nor say something blistering like he half expected. Encouraged, he drew his hands slowly down her sides, avoiding her breasts. He clasped her waist.

“This baby must be saved,” she whispered, her voice fierce. But she didn’t move away from him. “If he dies, it will cast an unfortunate spell over this obstetrical unit. Humans are odd about superstitions like that. The hospital will never be able to open this unit again.”

“So women will go elsewhere.” He moved his hands to her stomach and began roaming upwards.

“The next closest birthing hospital is over 100 miles away. More babies will die unnecessarily.”

He reached the underside of her breasts. “The clock has struck midnight,” he said, using a soft tone to sweeten his harsh message. “It’s Halloween. I could take the baby now, if you don’t agree to have sex with me.”

“Demon!” She whirled on him, eyes spitting her own brand of silver fire. “You’ll never touch me in this or any other world if you harm that baby!”

He grinned slowly, savoring her fury. The more she resisted, the sweeter her ultimate capitulation would be.

"I like that fierce side of you,” he said.

“I don’t like the mean side of you. Don’t threaten me, Demon. You can’t take the baby.”

“Oh, but I could. The veil between the human world and ours is at its thinnest on Halloween. It’s easy for me to reach through.”

“The days when you could get men to perform evil for you on Halloween are gone. We angels have worked hard with humans to de-fang that holiday.”

“You haven’t eliminated the ability of the spirits in our realm to move freely in the human world.”

“That’s exactly why I’m here! It’s the one day in the year I can have some influence over this baby’s fate! So go away, Demon. I don’t want you here.”

She stared him down, her gray eyes sparking determination into his. But she didn’t move when he placed his hands directly on her breasts. “You know,” he said, “it’s a terrible thing for an angel to lie.” He tried very hard not to smile.

“Stuff it, Demon.” She spoke with the right amount of outraged conviction, but her nipples stabbed his palms.

“Right here and now?” He pushed his erection against her, hard. “Turn around, and bend over the table, then.”

Too late, Demon realized their voices had risen. The nurse straightened abruptly, her sharp gaze pinning them in the corner.

“Who’s there?” she called out.

Demon strode forward. “We were asked to check on the baby. We’re discussing a course of treatment.”

The mother gasped. “Can you do anything?”

“I don’t want to raise any false hope. If you can leave us alone for a few minutes, I’ll examine him.”

The nurse shepherded the parents out of the room.

Angel moved back to the crib. “You did raise false hope, Demon,” she said sadly. “Did you see the mother?”

Demon shrugged, following her. “I warned them.”

“They don’t know you’re a demon! They don’t know you don’t care.”

“I care about you, dear Angel.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know exactly which part of me you care about.”

“The best part, sweetheart.”

She sighed. “Go away, Demon. You’re a bad influence, as you want to be.”

Swallowing hard against a pressure in his throat, he reached for her. Demons didn’t do sadness. It was time for him to make his move. Even angels needed a bad boy now and then.

He placed his mouth on hers, a touch as light as the veil itself. She froze, unsure how to respond to a tenderness she clearly didn’t expect. “Demon,” she whispered, her lips tantalizing his as they moved.

“I’ll give you the rough stuff, later.” He increased the pressure, straining to keep from forcing her mouth open. But he moved his arms around her back to hold her securely where he wanted her. Slowly, slowly, he opened his mouth and hers. When he could feel the emptiness waiting for him, when he sensed her quivering anticipation through the trembling of her arms, he moved his tongue into her warm invitation. Shuddering with pleasure, she sucked him in.

He pulled her closer, tight against his body. “Angel,” he murmured. “I want you.”

Her hands moved in his hair. “Demon.” She sighed into his mouth. “I must use this night to do what I can for the baby.”

“Fine!” He jerked himself away from her. “If it means so much to you, I’ll save the baby.”

“You can’t do that.” She stared at him, eyes wide.

“You gonna watch?”

She grabbed his arm. “Don’t tease me, Demon. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.”

“I can do it. But I need your help.”

"What do you mean?” Her hand fell away. “Is this one of your demon tricks?”

He stepped to the foot of the crib. “Your choice. Do you want to save this baby or not?”

“What do I have to do?”

“The baby needs some of my life force.” He watched her, wondering if she’d take the dare. “Move closer to me.”

Angel eyed the big demon planted before her. He vibrated with charisma and vitality. His black t-shirt and snug jeans barely contained his abundant supply of a life energy that crackled in the air around him. All demons had that excess of energy, which made them irresistible bad boys and, it had to be admitted, inventive and inexhaustible sex partners.

“Keep talking, Demon.” She tried to keep her voice expressionless. She didn’t trust him any more than she trusted an ambulance-chasing lawyer with a damning medical report.

“Even on Halloween, my life force needs to be at its maximum power to be effective.” His black eyes burned her body, undressing her once again. “The consequences of that surge of power will fall on you.” He reached for her hand, and pulled her closer.

“Demon.” She tilted her head back to look up at him. “Speak plainly.”

“Fine.” His strong teeth snapped on the word. “Get down on your knees.”

She froze, struck numb by the sudden realization of what he meant by life force. She stared at his body, which seemed to grow larger even as he stood there, strangely backlit by the dim nursery lights. She saw the smooth muscles of his upper arms limned in the golden light, his face strong and unyielding, his eyes dark and unwavering. His black hair angled across his wide brow.
“Do it, Angel,” he said, his deep voice mesmerizing her.

She dropped to her knees.

“Open my pants.”

She reached a trembling hand to his zipper, eased it down, had to stop. The button would have to be undone.

She glanced up to see his chest moving as he drew in deep breaths, exhaled them slowly. His hands clenched into fists by his hips, as she took him in hand.

“Start sucking,” he said, his voice a mere rasp.

She gasped, and he surged forward, leaning his tall frame over the crib. The tip of his penis stopped one millimeter from her lips and his scent enveloped her, the sharp fragrance of autumn leaves burning. She watched him place his big hands on the baby.

Her mind whirled as she tried to sort out her options. Was this a trick? Could he really transfer some of his life force to the baby? She’d seen the fog of death curling around the corners of the nursery. Only the blazing heat from the demon had held it at bay. She inhaled more of his scent. It drew her as mysteriously as her purity drew him.

Ultimately, she had no choice. She was unable to resist the potent lure he offered. She opened her mouth and took him in. He groaned, loudly, and hardened even more, pushing back on her throat.

“Sweet angel,” he murmured. “So sweet. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.” His thighs tightened, he jerked in her mouth, and she tensed for the deluge. Surely, he couldn’t hold back a hard explosion. She licked, moved up and down on his shaft, listened to his groans of pleasure.

But it was the monotonous beeping from the medical machinery that exploded suddenly. Beep! Beep! Beep! Sound ricocheted around her head and lights flashed in warning.

Demon yanked himself out of her mouth. “It’s done,” he shouted, reaching for his pants. “Get to the door!”

She stumbled to her feet, confused and shaken. She managed to reach the door just as a nurse came rushing through. The parents followed, hope and fear intermingling on their faces.

“Doctor?” The nurse tried to stop them. “What has happened?”

“Get the pediatrician!” Demon shouted. “The baby is stirring!”

Angel felt something crowding behind her, pushing her. Demon. Panting. She glanced back to see his face harsh with desire. He grasped her arm and towed her through the door.

“Hurry!” he panted. “My need is immense.” He hustled her through the empty, late night corridors. She half-jogged to keep up with his long stride. They burst through the hospital doors as a long black limousine purred to a stop in front of them. Demon wrenched open the door, snapped an order at the driver, and tumbled into the back with her. Music poured out of powerful speakers, strong music with a sensuous beat. She scrambled onto the seat as Demon sprawled before her. He reached for her knees and pushed them apart. He shoved up her skirt, growling when he saw her nakedness.

“Perfect, Angel.” He leaned in and his mouth found her. His tongue, strong and sure, flicked over her. Over and over, as she gasped with pleasure. He switched to sucking. She began thrashing on the seat, heedless of anything but the magic he wove upon her. He slapped one big hand on her hips to hold her in place. His other hand moved between her legs, and his fingers pushed into her. She came instantly.

Demon lifted his head and pushed her back onto the seat. He threw one leg over her as he wrenched open his pants. He grabbed her hair, lowered his lips to hers, and pushed into her while she still vibrated.

She tried to scream, but he filled her everywhere. His tongue. His cock. She bowed upwards to clasp him more tightly. Tighter and tighter. Would it ever be enough?

His hands moved over her in a frenzy. His harsh breathing filled the car. “Again, Angel,” he panted. “Keep coming. I won’t be stopping for a long time.” An electric guitar growled from the speakers, and a pounding drum beat a staccato rhythm. Demon rode her through another orgasm before he let himself go.

They clung together for an eon.

Demon finally lifted his head. His still-hot eyes looked down on her.

He tugged her onto the floor. “It’s as soft as a mattress down here and there’s room for me to spread out.”

She slid to the floor, sinking into the plush carpeting.

Demon reached for her dress. “Get rid of this.” He swiftly removed his clothes, then pulled her naked body to his. “Can you take me in if you’re on top?” he asked.

She eyed him, hard again already. “No.”

He laughed. “Baby.” But he wrapped his arms around her and rolled her under him. “Fine. But one way or another, I’m going to be in you all night long.”

She shivered with pleasure.

He kept his promise.

When a pink dawn pushed fingers of light through the darkened windows, they finally stirred. Demon reached lazily for the intercom button and ordered the driver to stop.

Then he looked at Angel. He tweaked her nose, nibbled his way down her neck, and latched onto her breast. He sucked strongly for several minutes, until her breath panted and her back arched.

When he raised his head, his hot eyes burned with satisfaction. “Same time next month?"

She barely managed a nod.

He grinned. "Don’t be busy next time. I want your undivided attention.”

Copyright @ 2010 by Carly Carson. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Star Necklace - Chapter 1

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Ronan Macaulester had never believed in love at first sight.

His opinion wouldn’t change today.

However, despite his dire need for haste and his mortal peril as an Otherlander on the unfriendly planet of Ares, he drew rein at the sight of a young woman kneeling by the side of the dusty road. Her hands were clasped to her chest, and her eyes flashed at two men who taunted her.

“Take off your top,” the older of the two men shouted. His booted foot stamped the ground. “You know the rules.”

Ronan’s bird squawked loudly, as if annoyed by his rider’s stop. More likely, the sensitive animal had picked up the hint of violence hovering in the air, as dark as the line of woods edging the far side of the green meadow.

Big Boots moved closer, crushing the delicate flowers which bloomed around the woman’s spot like a beautiful, but ineffective, moat. He raised one leather-gloved hand, fingers clenched into a fist.

Ronan straightened in his saddle and reached for the cool comfort of his knife. He’d use the high-tech, highly lethal Tazzrak gun hidden beneath his travel-worn shirt only as a last resort.

The woman leaned back against a large boulder, even as her eyes flashed a warning.
“Don’t touch me.” Her strong, melodious voice rang out, and the men halted as if the sound were a tangible, physical barrier to their assault. “You can see enough to know what you’ll be bidding on.”

Shock raced through Ronan’s body. Bidding on? This woman was a whore, offering herself by the side of the road?

Her dress, shimmering in a peach shade almost identical to her skin tone, covered her from neck to ankle, conveying an overall impression of luscious beauty rather than sex for sale. Her golden brown eyes fairly sparkled with intelligence and determination. And the pride that stiffened every inch of her slender body gave her a look of dignity he’d never seen in a prostitute.

But her feet were bare, and her long pale hair flowed down her back in a waterfall of temptation. Though neatly bound close to her head with silk ribbons intertwined in a pattern comprehensible only to women, the hair fell in sensuous abandon where it had been let free. Ronan squashed the memory that intruded in his mind—of another young woman he’d known who’d worn her hair just like that. Another time. Another planet. He refused to remember.

Closer inspection of this woman revealed that her garment was sleeveless, and the neckline in fact plunged narrowly to her waist, yielding a teasing glimpse of cleavage, more than enough to be a distraction. His body stirred.

His eyes glittering with anticipation, the booted man took another step closer to her.

“We have a right,” he repeated, his voice as gravelly as the dusty roadside under the restless feet of the large emu bird on which Ronan was mounted. The emu had an uncanny sensitivity to humans and, if provoked to attack, the nine foot tall, three hundred pound bird could kill a man. But, after two weary months of constant travel, Ronan had grown to admire and trust his bird Griffin. He leaned over to stroke the soft black feathers on the neck of his agitated mount.

The distraction also gave him a moment to decide what he should do about this woman. His instinct shouted that a woman this beautiful, and gutsy enough to try to face down two men, would never offer herself as a common whore. But she knelt there in the flower-strewn meadow almost calmly, making no attempt to escape. And the men seemed confident in their behavior, unalarmed by Ronan’s presence, a stranger and a witness to their actions.

Ronan had learned long ago not to make snap judgments. Here, on the isolated and little-known planet Ares, caution seemed even more important than usual. He’d traveled widely and knew that what was forbidden on one planet could be a sacred religious rite on another.

“Show us your breasts,” the younger man called out. His blond hair spiked back from his forehead in contrast to the long thin nose jutting aggressively from his face. “Or we’ll expose them ourselves.”

The woman glanced for the first time at Ronan as if wondering what role he would play here. Her gaze halted at his hand, now stroking the black feathers of his bird, as he soothed the restless animal. A delicate pink flush bloomed suddenly in her cheeks and Ronan’s hand stilled. What was she thinking?

His other hand tightened on his knife even as he felt despair squeeze his heart. He didn’t have time to rescue a damsel in distress. He’d tracked his brother to this planet, found him murdered, and needed to return home with his painful news before his impatient father launched an attack to rescue his missing sons.
Why couldn’t he simply accept that the woman sat there voluntarily, turn his back and make good his escape from this benighted place? This was none of his business.

But the voice of his mother sang the theme of his rearing, even as he hesitated here by the meadow. You are the blessed son of a strong family from a wealthy planet. Your obligation will always be to protect the innocent.

While his father had taught him to defend his family and planet from any enemy, his mother had reminded him of the reverse side of his strength, his duty to protect the defenseless.

With an inward sigh, he raised his voice. “What’s happening here?”

The two men turned as one. One of them spat in the road. “Leave us, ferengi.”

Ronan didn’t flinch at the galaxy-wide epithet for a foreigner. He’d been called worse in his travels.
“Mistress?” he inquired, hoping the appellation carried the same mark of respect here that it held elsewhere. “These men appear to be bothering you.”

“Rogues,” she said. Her full mouth tightened as if to hold in more contemptuous words. And, for the first time, Ronan noticed the beautiful moonstone necklace that gleamed around her throat like a blessing from the gods. Cool, translucent stones sparkled like stars on her golden skin. The mystery deepened. A necklace of that quality was literally priceless anywhere in the universe.

He subtly urged his bird closer to the woman.

Three more men clattered over the hill and into view. As if they bore doom in their wake, a dark cloud scudded overhead and obliterated the weak sunlight. A sudden chill raced down Ronan’s back as the mounted trio drew rein sharply at the side of the road, raising a swarm of choking dust. He could smell danger, as if the sharp, acrid tang of a lightning bolt had struck nearby.

As if emboldened by potential reinforcements, the first two men exchanged a glance and then sprang simultaneously at the woman. Each pulled one side of her dress, and the garment tore open, revealing her perfect, golden, pink-tipped breasts.

For a moment, no one drew a breath as the dust settled. Even the birds remained silent as if in homage. Then a soft breeze exhaled a sigh over the valley, and Ronan moved, vaulting off his bird and racing toward the woman. In spite of himself, his eyes latched onto her perfection. An assault of lust almost stopped him in his tracks, but he used it to knock the two men sideways, one with each hand. Springing past the downed men, he tore off his vest and dropped it over the woman.

“Stand up,” he ordered quietly. “Stay behind me.”

He met her gaze briefly, reading the disappointment there. She knew he’d looked at her nakedness.

Casting off a vague sense of regret, he turned to face the three mounted men, hoping to read their intentions. Right now, they remained on their birds, but the burly black-haired one grinned widely, as if he intended to enjoy whatever happened. A smaller, slender man with silver hair sat at his ease in the middle of the group. The third man, as drab as the cloud of dust, licked his formless lips and waited.

The silver haired man locked gazes with Ronan. His eyes signaled contempt and arrogance, a look Ronan had endured before on this planet.

But he couldn’t stand by and watch five men do whatever they intended with this woman. Not when they’d already started by half-stripping her. If he had to, he could probably take down all five of them. But, as tempting as that prospect seemed right now, he didn’t have time for that, either. Ronan held up a hand.

“Move on,” he shouted. He injected into his voice all the habits of command he’d learned in twenty years of military service.

His bird squawked suddenly, as if she urged her mates to action. The birds ridden by the three men moved restlessly, harnesses jingling, pink beaks prodding the air.

The silver haired man jerked on the reins of his bird, yanking her into stillness. He spoke slowly, his thin mouth curving in a slight smile as if he already enjoyed his victory.

“We’ve come to view the sacrifice,” he said.

“What sacrifice?” Ronan demanded.

“You don’t know our customs, ferengi,” the burly man shouted. “Be off!”

Suddenly, the woman stepped to Ronan’s side. He smelled her perfume, a faint floral bouquet, as if the flowers at her feet had transferred their scent to her.

“The fault is mine,” she said woodenly. He heard her take a deep breath, and then she flung off his vest. Her torn dress gaped wide.

“Observe, gentlemen.” The second word was laced with bitterness. “Plan your bids.”

The incipient violence in the air braked to a sudden halt as all six men stared again, transfixed.

“Allow me.” She brushed past Ronan, her skirt rustling softly in the silence. “I must do my duty.” Sinking gracefully to the ground once more, she resumed the kneeling pose she’d held when he arrived. Except for the breasts bared to the gaze of every man.

Ronan gathered his wits and squatted down in front of her, shielding her from the view of the other men. With a supreme effort of will, he kept his eyes fixed on her face.

“Would you please explain what is going on here?”

“She doesn’t owe you anything!” one of the men shouted.

Ronan turned, and for the first time, his large knife gleamed visibly in his hand. “You may attack me,” he said softly. “But I’ll kill the first who try.”

“Enough.” The woman spoke sharply though her voice chimed musically in the still air. “These men are enjoying what is theirs by right, the custom of our land.”

“Your custom requires you to strip before any man who passes by?” Ronan heard the anger in his voice and fought to control his emotions. He wasn’t sure why this spectacle disgusted him so profoundly. He didn’t inhabit this planet, knew nothing of its customs, and had neither the time nor the right to interfere.

But he simply couldn’t turn his back on this woman, no matter that she now seemed compliant in this strange tableau.

“My wedding day is tomorrow,” she said, her voice as colorless as the now sunless day.


“It is our custom to auction every bride on the eve of her wedding.”

“Auction?” he repeated hollowly. “What exactly are you selling?”

“My virginity.” Her soft voice traveled no farther than his ears.

“By all the gods.” He drew in a sharp breath. “That’s barbaric.”

“It is our most honored religious custom. No bride is exempt.”

“Whom does this action honor?” He cast a derisive look at the listening men whose eyes remained fixed on what they could see of the woman. “The god of depravity?”

“It is our custom,” she repeated. Her fierce gaze met his and held it. “I don’t like it. I don’t believe in it. But I have more important battles to fight for my countrywomen.” Her hand waved through the perfumed air. “Go. I see you’re anxious to be off.”

“And what will happen to you?”

“The same thing that would have happened if you hadn’t come along.”

“Enough!” The silver haired man urged his mount forward. “You’re a stranger here, an Otherlander by your dress and your ignorance. You will not disparage our Mother Goddess. It is her command we follow, and our women are pleased to do her bidding.”

Ronan snorted with contempt. “Who interprets the Goddess’s wishes? And who gets the money generated from the auctions?”

The man stopped directly in front of Ronan. “The ministers interpret her wishes, of course.” His smooth voice resonated with self-assurance. “And the money goes directly to the Temple of the Goddess.”

“Fine.” Ronan switched tactics with the ease of a warrior known as much for his political acumen as his battlefield prowess. “I presume any man can participate in this auction?”

“Yes,” the man answered slowly, a small frown darkening his pale face. “Though for a woman such as this one, the stakes will be very high.”

“I can see that.” Ronan nodded. “And I am prepared to meet them. So there’s no need for her to continue exposing herself here.”

He picked up his vest and placed it over her shoulders again, an impulsive gesture he’d undoubtedly live to regret.

He would stay until tonight and attend the auction even though it would force even more haste into his journey. If he didn’t make it back to his port of entry before the night moons vanished from the sky approximately three days from now, he’d be trapped here for at least two years, a harsh price and one he had no wish to pay.

He knew well, both from his own bitter experience in tracking down his murdered brother, and from whispers that hissed throughout the galaxy, that the planet Ares harbored only death for those few who dared to tarry on its unfriendly soil.

But he’d traveled inward by this same route, tracking his brother. So he knew that his return schedule, though tight, had several hours of cushion built in. If he didn’t use those hours to help this woman, he’d never forgive himself.

He kept his attention focused on the men as the woman rose gracefully to her feet, ignoring his outstretched hand.

“What are you doing?” she asked in a low voice.

He raised a brow. “I’m taking you out of here.”


“You deserve better than this.”

He looked down at her, alarmed by a sudden rush of protectiveness. The vulnerability of her bent head contrasted sharply with the tension in her stiff shoulders. Her silvery blonde hair framed a strong face softened by intelligent brown eyes and soft, sensuous lips, lips he suddenly and inappropriately wanted to taste. Lust at first sight was something he definitely believed in.

Pushing the thought aside, he spoke harshly. “Where’s the man you’re supposed to marry?” He should be here protecting her.

“He’s not allowed to interfere.”

Was that a trace of defensiveness in her tone? “I’m not either,” he pointed out. Placing a hand lightly on her waist, he urged her toward his mount. “Let’s go.”

“You can’t take her away.” The booted man jutted out his jaw, as if to buttress his courage. “She’s supposed to sit there all day.”

“Show’s over.” Ronan stared the bully down, letting his hand flex idly on the still visible knife. “You don’t want to be my first victim, do you?”

Deliberately, he moved toward the man, forcing him to either give way, or risk a physical confrontation.
The man waved at his comrades. “Come on, guys. We can take this ferengi.”

“Harrah!” The burly man kicked his bird forward.

“Stop!” The silver haired man held up his hand. “We could deal with him here and now. But it might be more amusing to let him attend the auction tonight.” His cold gaze rested on Ronan. “If he’s so anxious to participate.”

“I’ll escort you home,” Ronan said to the woman. When she hesitated, he added, “Your presence here will only cause more trouble.”

She looked from Ronan to the five men watching her, as if wondering which choice would be the lesser evil. A tendril of hair blew across her face, and she turned her head into the breeze, facing the group of men who stood on the roadway.

“You belong to us, Lady Galatea.” The silent man spoke for the first time, softly.

Ronan dropped his hand to her waist and squeezed gently. He leaned forward to murmur in her ear. “You belong to yourself, Galatea.”

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Excerpt from The Star Necklace

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Excerpt from The Star Necklace. Available Aug. 1 from

“Lata.” Ronan breathed out her name word on a long sigh. “Try to understand.” He drew her other hand into his clasp and tightened his grip. “I can’t stay here on your planet.”

“I know that.”

“I don’t want to use you.” He paused, his eyes gleaming like the dark waters of a surging night sea.

“You deserve more from a man than what I’m prepared to give.”

“One night of passion,” she whispered, unable to speak clearly over the emotion clogging her throat.

“That’s all I want.” Goddess, please don’t let me beg.

“Passion! What do you know of passion?” His voice rumbled as he struggled to speak quietly, when she could see from the stiffness in his shoulders, from the lines of tension bracketing his strong mouth that some deep emotion held him in thrall. “All these years a virgin when you should have been lying naked in a man’s arms every night.”

His hands gripped hers as a night wind blew over them, bringing his cool, star-kissed scent to her. She curved closer to capture it.

Maybe she didn’t know much about passion. But she’d felt the strength beneath his gentle fingers when he touched her. She’d felt the sharpness of his teeth behind his tender kisses, nipping her in sensitive places. Underneath the patience and control he exhibited at all times, she sensed a fierce potency she wanted to unleash. If that was passion, she wanted it. This man with the hard eyes and the tender hands called out to something deep within her.

Her gaze met his and she understood suddenly that exploring her own sensuality was part of the call to adventure that had drawn her forth from her Temple home. And she understood more—the call to explore her sensuality had been sparked by her attraction to this man. This man and no other.

But could she convince him that what felt so right to her could also feel right to him? He was a strong man, with a strong moral code. Deflowering a virgin was not something he’d do lightly—he’d convinced her of that. She drew a deep breath.

“Ronan, when you touched my hair, it felt so good. Not like when Maemae or one of my friends fixed it.” She leaned closer. “When you touched me, I felt it…deep inside. I thought that was passion—the way a man handled a woman.”

“No.” Ronan leaned into the electricity sparking between them. His gaze riveted on her lips and she saw the moment when he capitulated. “Goddess! You drive me to it.” He shoved both hands in her hair and brought her face close to his. “A man would handle you like this.” His fingers tightened just enough on her hair so that she felt the pull against her scalp.

“And here’s why a man would do it.” Still holding her tightly, both hands wound in her hair, he brought his head down, and pressed his lips against hers. Hard. Her mouth opened under his demand and his tongue plunged in. He filled her mouth, his teeth scraped her tongue, and she rose to her knees, drawn to his heat like water to a fissure, an eruption certain.

Their bodies touched briefly, one sparkle of zinging delight, and then Ronan moved.

“No.” He dropped his hands and pulled back sharply, as if he’d been scalded. “I have responsibilities, obligations. I am not free to simply lie down and partake of a woman who tempts me.” He shook his head as if he needed the negative motion to reinforce his words.

“Then you should have left me to Lucas,” she cried out, chagrin and disappointment roiling within her in a toxic brew.

“The blonde man who bid at the end?”

“Yes.” She pressed her hands against her thighs, afraid that any movement would bring her again into contact with his heat.

“Did you want him?” Ronan’s voice rumbled fiercely as his gaze snapped to hers.

“I preferred anyone to Sheckel.”

Ronan’s mouth tightened, a firm slash across his tense face. “Lucas wanted you. I could see it on his face.”

Lata shrugged, striving for a casualness she didn’t feel. It was time to try to salvage some of her dignity.

“Desire is such a transitory thing, don’t you think? If he didn’t have me, he’d find another woman.”

“Is that how you feel about desire?” He leaned closer until his breath touched her face. “If not one man, another will do?”

“I…I don’t know. I didn’t know anything about desire…until recently.”

“How recently?”

“When you kissed me…after the auction.”

“That was a show, for the Temple elders.”

“It still felt good. Then, in my room…”

“Another kiss. Nothing more.” He waved his hand.

He could dismiss it. But she wouldn’t. She’d been kissed by Toric, and by a few other men over the years. None had affected her the way Ronan had. No other kiss had produced that tingly, melting feeling that reached from her lips all the way through her body. None had sparked a sharp yearning for more. A spark that danced within her, searching for an answering light to ignite a fire that would burn out of control.

“No, Ronan.” She looked up at him. “You know it was more than just a kiss.”

“This is more.” He drew his forefinger down between her breasts. Her nipples hardened under his watchful eyes. “That’s desire. Subtle. A man needs to pay attention to catch a woman’s signals.” He curved his hand and moved it slowly over one breast towards her nipple. “Do you want me to keep going?”

“Yes.” The word sighed through her parted lips.

“That, too, is desire.” His fingers moved onto her nipple and he stroked it, gently. She tried to breathe.

Her back arched in wordless supplication.

“Harder?” His voice scraped her skin.

“Yes, oh, yes.” She couldn’t have imagined something that felt this good.

He increased the pressure almost imperceptibly, leaning over her, the darkness that was his body the only thing she could see.

“Where do you feel it now?” His low voice rumbled in her ear, adding another texture to the delicious sensations washing over her.

“Everywhere.” She sighed, opening her eyes when his hand left her breast.

“How does it feel?” His dark voice continued to tickle her ear.

“Tingly and achy, and wonderful and…”


“Like something is missing.”

He laughed shortly.

“Yeah, that’s desire, the good and the bad.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scarlet and the Sheriff Excerpt 1

Sheriff Hart seemed even bigger without his cop’s uniform. Which didn’t seem fair. As Scarlet certainly felt much smaller standing neck deep in the lake with not a scrap of clothing between her and the beach.

“Got a report someone was skinny-dipping.” The Sheriff shoved his hands in his cut-off jeans and glanced at the small pile of her clothes that suddenly seemed very conspicuous on the sandy beach.

“I was hot.” Scarlet tried very hard not to look at his muscular legs, though the bright moonlight insisted on showing them off. “Some law in this town against cooling off?”

“You shouldn’t be out here alone in the dark.” His deep voice carried easily over the calm black silk of the water. “I heard your car’s not going to be fixed for a few more days.”


"So you were just passing through town until the accident.” He kicked off his sneakers and stepped into the water. “You need a place to stay?”

“Nah. I got a room at the No-Tell Motel.”

He regarded her thoughtfully for a long minute. “How is it?”

“It’d be a lot more fun if I had something to do there that I didn’t want to tell about.”

He raised his eyebrows. “I’m sure you could’ve convinced that trucker to prolong his stay in town.”

“Yeah, I was tempted.” She shrugged, hoping her nonchalance looked convincing. “But he was too uptight for me. The uproar over his truck.” She rolled her eyes. “You would’ve thought I destroyed his favorite toy.”

He smiled. “Mistress of innuendo.”

He waded in deeper, walking directly in the path of the moon, and suddenly she couldn’t breathe with the water caressing her, pressing its liquid, heavy weight against her bare breasts.

“What are you doing?” She knew she sounded breathless.

“I need to cool off, too. You don’t mind, do you?” He stopped, and with one swift motion pulled his dark t-shirt over his head and tossed it behind him onto the sand. “The water feels great.”

She still couldn’t breathe. In the clear moonlight, his chest looked wide enough to fill the lake. She could finally see the muscled ridges she’d fantasized were there, but the reality made her mouth water. And other parts of her, as well. Her gaze traveled down as if drawn by the ripple of muscle until she reached the point where his cutoff jeans obscured her view.

“Want me to keep going?” His voice rolled over her, smoother than paint, darker than the night.

She didn’t know if he meant keep going with the stripping, or keep going into the lake toward her. But she did know she was in trouble. Standing here, naked in the middle of a lake on a moonlit night with the sexiest man she’d ever seen approaching, she knew that common sense had never been further from her reach. The water flowed silkily around her, massaging her body with its buoyant touch, relaxing her and yet, within her, a fine tension was building as he approached.

“Double dare you, Mr. Officer of the Law.” Oh, God, if he came close enough to touch, she didn’t know what she’d do. She had to curb these impulses that pitched her right into trouble.

“You like to taunt men, don’t you?”

“It’s fun. What do you do for kicks?”

His white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. “If you’re a good girl, maybe you’ll find out.”

“Darn. I’m never a good girl.”

He took a step closer.

“For a bad girl, you’re rooted to your spot over there pretty firmly.”

"I’m comfortable.” Though her nudity, which had been simply delightful when she was alone, seemed both daring and nerve-wracking now that he’d appeared.

“I don’t doubt it,” he said. “Hot night. Cool water.” His voice dropped a register. “Naked body. I’m sure you feel fine.”

He grinned as if he suddenly heard his double entendre. “Really fine,” he repeated.

“So join me,” she said. “Take off the rest of your clothes.” Oh, she knew she was tempting the devil, but she couldn’t seem to stop. She wanted desperately to feel that hair-roughened chest slam against her, to feel his big hands clasp her head, holding her tightly for a demanding kiss. She wanted to see that tough fa├žade morph into needy greed.

“I wonder why you’re so desperate for attention?”

“Come on,” she said, pitching her voice low enough to just reach him. “You’re dying to see what I showed that trucker.”

“Dying might be too strong a word.” He inhaled slowly, his chest expanding. “Under different circumstances, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing the real thing.”

“Seen a lot of fake ones, have you?”

“I’ve handled a few in my time.”

He was close enough now that she could see his brown nipples, and they were puckered just like hers. She was sure he was interested. So why was he holding back?

“The water’s warm over here.” She swirled her arms, savoring the embrace of the silky liquid. But she wanted something rougher. “Come closer.”

“Don’t think so.” He stopped his slow wade towards her. “As much as I’d like to.”

“You’re afraid we’ll end up having sex.”

“Call me old-fashioned. I like to kiss a woman first.”

Saturday, May 29, 2010

picture links

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Epilogue - Scarlet and the Sheriff

This is an epilogue to Scarlet and the Sheriff. I hope you enjoy it!

“That’s a nude beach in there.” Rand pointed to a wooden fence forming a small stockade on the sandy beach of Lake Monndsee.

“How do you know?” Scarlet tore her gaze from the cool blue, mountain lined lake to eye the fence. She wouldn’t have associated nude beaches with the Austrian Alps.

“As soon as the concierge found out we were honeymooners, he mentioned it.” Rand grinned with that wicked look in his gray eyes that told her exactly what he was thinking. And it definitely involved her getting nude.

Not that she minded that. But in public? Though the brown log fence formed a square on three sides, the fourth side was open to the lake. The fence reached down to where the water lapped the shore, but, if a person didn’t mind a wade in the shallows, they could certainly walk by the enclosure.

“Come on, babe.” Rand dropped his arm around her shoulder, guiding her towards the door in the side of the fence. “You’re the adventurous one. I’m the law and order guy. So if I can do it, you can.”

Excitement began to thrum deep inside her as Rand unlatched the door. A little bell chimed, presumably to warn occupants of visitors. But when Scarlet stepped through the doorway, she saw immediately that the enclosed area was empty except for a dozen full-length lounge chairs facing the lake.

“Perfect,” Rand said, glancing around. “This late in the afternoon, maybe we’ll be undisturbed.”

Scarlet spread the blue and white striped towels provided by the hotel onto two lounge chairs. She sat down sideways on the chair, facing Rand’s seat.

“We’re supposed to get undressed,” Rand said, winking at her.

“Oh, I intend to.” Scarlet licked her lips slowly. “After you do.”

“Okay.” Rand shrugged and pulled his navy t-shirt over his head. His tanned chest gleamed in the late afternoon sun and Scarlet shoved her hands under her thighs to keep from reaching for him.

“Keep going,” she said.

His hands were already on his belt. He quickly unbuckled it and moved to his zipper.

“I went commando.” He pushed down his jeans and she had to stifle a moan as his half-erect cock came into view. He kicked away his shorts and sat down on his chaise, grinning at her. “Your turn.”

“In a minute.” She stood up and moved over to him. “Lie down.” She pressed lightly on his shoulders, pushing him back to rest on the half-reclined chaise. She lifted his legs up, pausing briefly to caress his rough, hair-covered calf muscles. He stretched his long legs. He smelled so good she almost succumbed to the temptation to lie down on top of him. But, not yet.

“Feels good, babe.”

She smiled as she moved to the foot of his chair. “Make yourself comfortable.”

Standing just out of his reach, she began unbuttoning her white silk blouse, one slow button at a time. With every button she released, Rand’s cock rose another inch. She flicked her gaze from his face, where a red flush was deepening along his cheekbones, to his cock, which tempted her almost beyond her ability to withstand it.

A cool breeze blew off the lake, freshening the warm air and ruffling Rand’s short black hair.

Scarlet reached the last button, checking to see that Rand’s gaze was fixed on her before she opened her shirt to expose her breasts. Widening her stance, she placed one leg on either side of the chaise and leaned over Rand. “Enjoying the show?” she asked.

“Babe.” He sucked in a breath. “The idea is to enjoy the chance to be naked in the sun. Not to torture me.”

“Is this really torture?” She tossed back her hair and lifted one hand, letting her fingers trail over her breast.

“We can’t have sex in here.”


She tossed her blouse onto the towel. “I wonder if you can control yourself.”

His eyes glommed onto her breasts. “Lose the bra.” His deep voice vibrated in a low growl.

She pulled off the bra, leaned over further and shimmied her naked breasts for a few seconds.

He moaned. “God, Scarlet. You’re killing me now. Stop.”

“But I’m not finished, Rand.” She stepped back to the end of the chaise again. “Do you think I’m wearing panties?”

“If you are, get rid of them.”

“You’re stealing my thunder, Rand. I wanted to tease you a bit more.” But she reached under her short pink miniskirt and slithered her transparent panties down her long legs. Rand’s gaze tracked every move she made.

She stepped out of the scrap of silk and straightened up. “That sun does feel good.” She trailed her hands once more over her breasts.

“Scarlet. You need to stop now.”

“Am I making you uncomfortable?” She giggled, though, inside, she was trembling with need. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep this up. The warm sun caressed her like a lover, Rand’s eyes burned her with intensity, and the sight of his cock, thick and full, pointing straight up with need, enticed her beyond belief. She wanted to touch him more than she wanted to do anything but tease him some more.

“I’ll count to ten.” He leaned forward, and even his teeth looked tense. “If that skirt isn’t on the deck, I’ll take it off myself.”

“So impatient, dear husband.”


She dropped a hand to the bottom of her skirt and began to inch the material upwards.

“Two.” He snapped out the word.

She pulled up a little higher, to reveal the top of her thighs.

“Three…” His hands clenched into fists by his side.

“I don’t know if I can take it off, Rand.” Playing with him, she glanced around, as if wondering if they had observers. “Someone could peek through the slats in the fence.” She hid a smile as she watched his thigh muscles tighten.

“Four…” He dropped his legs to either side of the chaise, and she forgot to move.

“Five…” All she could focus on were his open thighs with his balls pulled up tight to his body. She couldn’t breathe.


He sprang, vaulting off the chaise and grabbing her around the waist.

“Eeeeek! You cheated!”

“I won.” He nipped her ear, holding her firmly with one hand while the other stripped off her skirt. “I have to do something about this hard-on before someone comes in here.” He gestured to his body. “You going to help me out?”

He was already guiding her over to her chaise and pushing her back on the cushions.

“You said we can’t have sex here,” she gasped. The way she felt, she might erupt in orgasm with one touch.

“Changed my mind.” He pushed her legs wide and knelt between them. “You planning to say no?” He brushed his hands over her breasts. “You look pretty turned on yourself.” He eyed her puckered nipples.

“Someone…ah…” She lost her train of thought as he played with her nipples.

“Someone—” He raised an eyebrow, and she could see his eyes laughing.

“Could come in!” She gasped out the words as her back arched off the chair.

“They could.” He pushed himself down the chaise and lowered his head to her crotch. “Think about that while I’m enjoying you.” He pressed his mouth to her and began licking.

She dropped her arms over the side of the lounge, arched her back and, within seconds, her cries of release spilled into the sunlit enclosure.

“Jesus, Scarlet.” Rand lifted his head, laughing. “You trying to attract an audience?”

“Hurry, Rand.” She reached down to him. “I want you.”

“Ah, those are the words every husband wants to hear.” He scooted up the chaise, dropped his mouth onto hers, and plunged into her welcoming body.

The bell on the enclosure door chimed.

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