Jo&Isalovebooks Promotions is proud to present:
by Author Misha Elliott
Richard Sisk has never been much of a risk taker. At eighteen, he gave up his dreams for the future—to do the right thing—and marry his pregnant, high school love. Over the years things changed, and now he finds himself divorced. Jill Caldwell has spent the last eight years caring for her younger brother, Evan, being both sister and parent. Now that he is settled into college, she finally has the gift of freedom.
Years ago, their lives crossed paths and now, eight years later, will Richard be able to take a risk for a new love.
Jill knows that together she and Richard can build a life of everything they ever wanted; that is if he can get over being her silver fox.
The minute I walk into the bar, I realize I am probably the oldest guy here. Friday nights were always peak times for going out, if my memory serves me correctly. As I look around the packed space, I realize how much I did not miss being single. If this is all the world offers single people, they can keep it. There is an open table off to side of the bar, close enough to have an unobstructed view of the stage, so I decide to take it.
Reality slaps me hard in the face, erasing any delusions I had about coming here. I feel out of place, like a teenager huddled awkwardly in the corner at a dance. Couples dance toward the edges of the dance floor together as music plays from a jukebox.
This is the first step on my new path. I am not here looking to fall in love again; I do plan to get my dick wet on a regular basis though.
I am about to lose my mind, need some goddamned space to clear my head. But tonight I would settle for a distraction. A trio of giggling, youthful girls walk inside with matching short dresses resembling something my daughter used to dress her dolls in. It seems clear to me they came in with fake IDs, trying to act older than they are. No doubt planning to trap some unsuspecting fool in their snare. It’s fucked up.
I got snared into being a sucker for far too long.
I spent the best years of my youth wanting to please someone, trying to be the best husband, provider, and father.  Doing everything she ever asked—it still was not enough for her.  By the time I realized she mistook my kindness for weakness, it no longer mattered.  It was all a fucking waste of time.
I glance at the clock on the wall; the time reads 8:23 p.m. It has been so long since I have gone out like this. Even if the band is not any good, since most cover bands aren’t great, as nothing can compare to the real thing.  This night symbolizes my newfound freedom. I finally got my balls back.
This is my gift to myself. One night of doing whatever I want, with whomever I choose, damn the consequences, but now it is time for my sex life to no longer be nonexistent. I want to feel something again. Even if it is meaningless, then this will not be so foreign. My cock is ready to make up for lost time, so it appears I am here for the duration.   
Knowing I need to coat my stomach with food since I haven’t eaten much today, I study the white placard. The picture of sliders immediately appeals to my eyes and causes my stomach to rumble.
My eyes veer from the photos, and I watch through the doors as an older woman makes her way through the crowd. As she walks past the bar, she runs her palm lightly across the back of one of the college guys, giving him a come-hither stare.
Something tells me to put my head down and get back to the task at hand, which is food. I do the opposite.  Instead, I keep watching as she tries to joke and fit in with the younger men around the bar, none of them offering to buy her a drink. Hell their focus doesn’t move from the big screens on the wall.
That’s when it happens. She catches my eye. “Shit,” I mutter under my breath and offer up a silent prayer she is not heading this way.  She winds her way around to the side of the bar to my table, her very expensive, heavy perfume wafting through the air.   The familiar scent of this perfume irritates me. I hate it. Now a stranger wears it, but my body reacts the same way. Repulsed.
A young woman with blue hair and a nose ring comes over to ask if I want any food, and I place my order for sliders and fries, hoping the woman will take the hint and be on her way. She doesn’t. I notice when she adjusts her boobs, giving them a boost and licks her lips. I have no interest in her, but when a man sees a pair of tits he looks. She continues to stand there at the table, staring at me as if we are on the African plains and she is on the hunt.
Here we go.
With her short, curled hair, blonde with hints of silver, she has privilege written all over her. Diamonds flash from her ears, to the pendant on her neck, then down to her wrists and fingers.
She presses two manicured palms flatly on the table and leans down, well aware the shirt she wears is showing off quite a bit of flesh. “God, you look good enough to eat,” she murmurs, not bothering to keep her voice low. “You make all my womanly parts tingle.” When she smiles, some of the red gloss from her lips has stained her front teeth.
“The name’s Veronica, but you can call me V. So, tell me handsome, do you like older women?” I am taken aback by her bold statement.
The years have not been especially kind to her. I see the orange, leathered look of her skin, and the fact she’s trying to act several decades younger than her age, I conclude she was rode hard and put away wet.
Even though I haven’t touched a woman, let alone had sex, for longer than I want to admit, I am not desperate enough to be with her.
There is only one thing a person in my situation can do. I need to lie through my teeth and politely tell her I am meeting someone. Before I can open my mouth to speak, the door opens. A faint blue light from the neon sign spills inside.
Right away I can tell the woman who walks through it is different.
Something about her draws my eyes to her, I am pulled back from my current situation and the rewind review of my life.  A warm, sweet charm about her pulls me in.
I cock my head slightly to the side, giving me a perfect view of this woman. She carries herself with poise, she has clearly invested time in putting herself together, but it is not too much.  I can see she has beautiful, long brown hair currently held hostage in a ponytail.
The big sixty-two-inch screen above the bar shows a football game. I watch as almost all the eyes on the bar are no longer focused on the screen. Heads turn to stare at the new sexy addition to their midst.  She takes it all in stride, raising up a hand, and catching the attention of the bartender. They begin a reciprocal exchange of jovial smiles as she places an order.
A moment later, a perfectly tapped mug of beer is placed in front of her. She smiles her gratitude back. Just as she lifts her beer to take a drink, she turns her head to scan the room. I know I should avert my eyes and not keep staring, but I am unable to help it. When her eyes meet mine, she smiles.
To my surprise, she heads in my direction. A sweet smile lingers on her lips, lips glossed in a pale shade of pink. Her gaze stays fixed on me, like she is a woman on a mission. She gets close enough for me to tell the color of her eyes: honey-brown. What I see in them is enough to knock me off my seat and onto the floor.  It is desire. It has been too long since someone has looked at me with a hint of promise, rather than the usual disapproving glare.  Not knowing her story, or why she is here, or if she is even available, I decide to enjoy this moment.
It can’t recall the last time an attractive woman, not counting Veronica, tried to pick me up in a bar, so when this young woman comes and stands beside me, giving me a come-hither stare. She continues to watch me with her soft eyes. “Hi,” she says.  “Have you been waiting very long?” Then she sets her beer down on the table.
My first instinct is to tell her she has me confused with someone else or she is at the wrong table.
She leans over to give me half a hug, “Just go with it,” she whispers into my ear, sending chills throughout my entire body.
“Not too long, baby, I just ordered food.” Those words feeling foreign as they leave my lips, and all I can do is think about kissing hers.
I am taken away by the simplicity of her beauty. Even though most women prefer heavy makeup, she is perfect with just a natural look.  It is obvious this woman is pretty in a real way and doesn’t need a stitch of makeup.  On top of all that, she has voluptuous curves wrapped in the perfect shade of blue. The dress accentuates the swell of her breasts and hips.
“Excuse me, ma’am, but I think this is my seat.” As she turns to face Veronica, I wonder what will happen, but being the older lady, Veronica doesn’t flinch. She merely smiles, eyeing me up one more time.
“Too bad,” she lays a hand on my shoulder, flipping her hair as she as she turns her attention back to the sea of potential options. “The night is young, after all. You could’ve been husband number five.”
“Thanks for the assist, just now, I did not know how I would have gotten Veronica to leave.”
I have no idea who my savior is, but I am willing to buy her a beer, or anything else she wants, for getting me out of an uncomfortable situation.
“Wow. If she’s already been married four times, she told each of those men she loved them and committed to them. Veronica must not understand what real commitment and loyalty means,” declares this beautiful stranger.
The impact of her words hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.  I did not want that to be me. Promising love and commitment without follow through.
After my failed marriage, I am determined not to settle for anything less than true love. If that made me sound cheesy, so be it.
I don’t know how, but I am sure I’ll know it when I find it. This time, it will mean something. Over the years, I tried to camouflage the fact there was no longer the deep connection Sheila and I once shared as teenagers. Made concessions for her easily annoyed, impatient tone with me because she suffered from sleep deprivation. Brushed off her disinterest in sex as par for the course after motherhood.  There was no longer any chemistry or those little things we held in common. I still tried to ask about her day, and she stopped pretending to care about mine.
I close my eyes and pray for the band to start soon. I need something to stop my mind from replaying bad reruns from my past so I can put my full focus on her.
Her hand slides the chair around to sit next to me. Now we are both able to have a clear view of the stage. She takes another sip of beer, relaxes against the back of the chair, and leisurely looks around at the crowd.
“I guess it is a good sign, if this many people are out, the band must be pretty good.” For a moment I don’t respond to her, my mind obviously still in shock that she is here with me.
I promised myself I was going out to have many well-deserved drinks and flirt with anyone and everyone who interested me.  Perhaps I wouldn’t be alone tonight. A one-night stand may not be the new start I am looking for, but it would be the perfect ending to this day.  A chance to let loose of all the built-up tension, and feel something without the emotional baggage and stress.
“I hope you’re right.” I take a sip of my beer and let it run down throat. What is happening to me? It is like I turned back the clock to high school.
I speak without looking at her and turn with my drink in hand to catch her eye.  That is my first mistake.  Even in this dimly lit bar, being in this close proximity to this woman is enough to give me a jolt.  It shocks my system, unfortunately causing my bottle to slip from my hand, and the golden liquid to pour from the table, all over the front of her dress. In a flash, I pick up napkins to clean the mess up around the bottle, while I turn it upright with my other hand.
When I am finished, I use the napkin to dab at some wet spots on the top of her dress.
It takes a few moments before we both realize I am gently dabbing at the spot above her cleavage. My hand reacts as if it has touched fire.
“One beer and I’m already clumsy.  Maybe I should switch to water instead.” I have never been so embarrassed in all my life. If it was not before, it should be obvious to her now I am a little rusty at this. I used to excel at talking to girls in my youth.   
“No need to worry about it, actually it’s par for the course with how my day has been going.” When she looks at me, it is still with the same gleam in her eyes I saw earlier, which helps me relax.
“I feel so bad, I have ruined your dress. Let me pay for it,”
“Don’t give it a thought, besides I may not be staying long anyway.”
Her statement disappoints me; my body desperately wants her to stay. To reach out and see if those brown waves of hair are as soft as they look. I need physical contact with her supple lips, to see how swollen they get after being properly kissed.
“You may not remember me.” She stretches her hand out to shake mine. “I’m Jillian Caldwell, most people call me Jill.”
“We’ve met?” I nearly choke on my drink. How could I have forgotten someone like her?
“Yes, Mr. Sisk, we have.” She sounds cocky and confident.
I haven’t the slightest clue where we could’ve met.
“It is nice to meet you again, Jillian, and you can call me Richard.”
Bottle in hand, I bring it up to my now dry mouth for one final pull. I scramble trying to figure out where we could have met, hoping she will let something slip and give me some clue.
“Well, Richard, are you cruising the bars for pickups on Friday night?”
I almost spit out the last swallow of beer. Jillian sits leaned back in the seat, taking a slow sip as her eyes boldly admire me.
I signal to the bartender in need of a replacement drink.
“No, I was actually planning to come here to drink away my sorrows, alone in the corner,” I say with a self-deprecating shrug. “Then you came in and sat next to me. Now it seems my mind is making other plans.” The words slip out of my mouth before I have the chance to think.
This is not information I want to share. Maybe if I tell her she’ll want to console me. A pity fuck wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  No. Tonight there would be no talk about divorce, ex-wives, custody. I am merely a single man hanging out at a bar.
The bartender comes around and Jillian orders another beer also.
“You look like a very smart man. Richard,”
I shrug. “Won’t argue with you there,” I say. “My eyes have been staring at you since you came in, and my brain is in agreement; you are beautiful.”
“Are your eyes the only thing that’s taking notice of me, right now?” She leans in closer, our arms and legs brush, her tone saying all the things missing from her words.
My gaze drops back to her cleavage, and then I look up into those copper pools and know I am drowning.  “I don’t think there is a part of me doing anything but taking notice of you, right now.” My frank tone is filled with raw sexuality, and I hope my words do not throw things off track.  
By the time our drinks come, I have regained my composure. I don’t remember flirting being so easy. Or maybe Jillian just brings it out in me.  “So, Jillian, you said we’ve met before. Would you like to fill me in?”
“No.” She lifts her glass and levels the drink to half its content, a mischievous glint in her eyes.  
“Why don’t you tell me about why you were going to throw a pity party for one tonight?”
This is territory I don’t want to enter. If I overshare, the next thing I know I’ll be giving too much information and making this more personal than I want it to be.  I need to deflect.
“Museum or movie?” I take another pull and wait for her response.
“That’s a tough one. I would have to say museum only if I have time to spend the day.  Movies, unless they are too long. Sitting for a movie longer than two hours feels like I’m being held prisoner.”
“Rock or country?” she shoots back.
“Both. All kinds of popular music, actually.” I take another sip of my beer, relaxing into the conversation. “I’m not especially picky. But for favorites, I would say rock.”
Jillian nods with a smile on her face. “Cat or dog?”
“Dog, of course?” I balk at the question, as the answer should be obvious. “I don’t think guys can be cat people.”
“Of course they can be.”
Just then, the opening lines to “Let’s Go Crazy” blare out through the speakers and Jillian lifts her mug to her lips and finishes her beer. “This is my favorite song.”
In a flash, she jumps on her feet and is slowly shaking to the music. She reaches out a hand and invites me to come along. For a moment she stands inches away with her hands stretched out toward me. I am not the type of person who dances in public, not for years anyway. I do not want to disappoint her and turn her down. So I lift up my hand and take hers and I get up from my seat. My legs feel uneasy as I stand.
I haven’t danced in over a decade. But something about Jillian makes me want to give it a try. This is the beginning of a different life, after all.
“Come on.” She giggles as she drags us both right to the middle of the floor and we start to dance. Dancing in public is not as bad as I thought, at least, not when I dance with her.
My hand goes around her hips and her back plasters to my front as we shimmy to the beat of the music. Then I have her spinning around and she curls her hand in my shirt as her hips sway to the rhythm.  I am taller than Jillian, so tall she has to tilt her head to look at me.
We continue to dance as the band covers all the popular hits.
Something about her expression tells me her mind is somewhere else.  The band is singing as the bar patrons start to move with synchronized hand movements to the words, die for you.
“This is a good song,” I offer.
“It is not one of my favorites. Can we go back to the table?” She seems dismissive, quiet, completely unlike the confident young woman from before. There is a story in her eyes, one she is not ready to tell.
I follow her back and as we settle into our seats, I duck my head down to so she can hear me over the band. I want to keep talking to her. I find myself drawn to her, wanting to know more about her.
“You never told me,” I say, waving my hand to catch the bartender’s eye. “What brings you out tonight, Jillian?”
“Well, I was supposed to be meeting my best friend tonight, but something came up so she’s a no-show,” she says in a nonchalant manner.
I hear a buzzing and realize it is coming from her bag.
She leans down to fumble for something, and with her cell retrieved; she pauses for a moment to consider if she should answer it. When she looks at the display, her expression turns to slight irritation when she sees who the call is from.
She holds up a finger. “Please excuse me, I need to take this, it’s Evan.” She answers the call and holds the phone up to her ear.
“Yes, I’m okay,” she shouts over the music. “Just text me.”
She hangs up and stares at the screen for a moment. Then her fingers glide across the glass, tapping out a message. Her brows are furrowed and suddenly I feel jealous, wondering who Evan is and why he’s ruining my moment.
“Is everything all right?” I ask her in concern.
“Yes, I am fine. My brother is on his way to pick me back up at midnight.” Already? How can she leave, she just got here?
“He says, he’ll text when he’s outside.” As she speaks she lets out a deep sigh; her eyes still fixed on the screen. She seems disappointed, and in fact, I am as well, our time together is being cut short.
I am surprised by my reaction. My eyes look up to the clock, the digital numbers mocking me. Less than an hour is what we have left, so I opt to make the most of it.
“Do you want me to get you something to eat?” Trying to think of anything I can to buy more time with her.
“No, I’m good.” She lifts my half empty bottle of beer up to her lips and takes a long pull.  “Aah, this is good stuff.” She is on her way into the drunk stage now.  Her eyes glass over and in them I see a hint of mischief.
“I just feel bad you aren’t eating anything.”
“Don’t. I’m a meal skipper. This was perfect actually. Today I came to grips with the fact I deserve a much-needed break from my life. You know that feeling you get when you’ve given everything to someone else and realize there’s nothing left for you?”
The honesty in her words strikes a chord deep within me. They sting. Something tells me both of us have been molded by something hard in our lives, and we are on a journey to find solace.
At a perfect moment, a familiar set of bars of music tickle my ears. It seems appropriate. Yes, I am on a journey to be a better man. There’s an earnestness and sincerity in the lyrics.
Without a word, the two of us smile at each other and hold hands. Making our way back to the dance floor, I want the pleasure of holding this beautiful woman in my arms as long as possible.
When she wraps her bare arms around my shoulders, something stirs in me like we have a deep connection. One song leads to several more. It is peculiar the way certain songs can remind me of moments in the past. Moments like this will always stay with me.  From now on, when I hear this music, it will remind me of Jillian.
Her head rests perfectly on my chest and I breathe in deeply, taking in the apricot scent of her hair and skin. We move in perfect harmony to the song, letting the music guide our steps effortlessly. She feels so good and light in my arms, I easily let my mind spin a fantasy of where this night could lead.
My plans are interrupted as her wrist buzzes again. “Evan’s here, I can dance one more song then I have to go.”
As if on cue, the band plays their final song and I thank her for the dance. Jillian leans in, squeezing my middle, and we share a hug goodbye.
“I’ll see you around, Richard.” As I watch her walk out of my life from the same door she entered, I rack my brain for any sign of her before now.  It baffles me I come up empty.
I hope she is correct and we cross paths again. I would need to up my game though, and work through my issues so another opportunity wouldn’t pass me by.
There is something about being in Jillian’s presence that seizes every ounce of oxygen from my lungs, and my heart slides up in my throat. Tonight, all answers evade me as to why, but know I have to see her again.
About Author Misha Elliott
Misha Elliott is a nomadic soul, living all over the US with her Scottish husband. During their travels she fell in love with the written word and put her hands to the keyboard to romanticize her journeys. When not writing you can find her at Scottish Highland games (she’s there for the men in kilts) or at the beach…as long as It’s not hurricane season.
Connect with Misha HERE⬇
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Estes Park, Colorado: picturesque mountains, charming shops, delightful bakeries, a cozy bookstore… and murder.


Winifred Page and her corgi, Watson, move to Estes Park to hit the reset button on life. Fred is about to open her dream bookshop, and the only challenges she anticipates are adjusting to small town life, tourists, and living close to her loveable mother, Phyllis, and hippy stepfather, Barry.


When Fred steps into her soon-to-be-bookshop for the first time, she expects dust bunnies and spiders… not the dead body in the upstairs kitchen. The local police have an easy suspect—Barry.


Determined to prove quirky Barry innocent of murder, Fred puts on her detective hat, and with Watson by her side, she explores her new town and gets acquainted with her fellow shopkeepers. Could one of her friendly neighbors be the real culprit? And what would be the motive for killing the owner of the Sinful Bites candy store? The secrets Fred discover put her at odds with the local police sergeant and threaten her cozy future in Estes.


With snow falling outside, all Fred wants to do is curl up by the fire with a good book and Watson snuggled at her feet. But before she can begin her new life and put her plans for her bookshop into action, Fred and Watson have a mystery to solve…
“Oh, Watson, what have I gotten us into?” I stared at the shop through the safety of my car window. It was smaller than I remembered. I leaned forward, bumping my forehead on the glass. Fairly tall, though, at least two storeys. With the dark-stained log siding and forest-green trim and shutters, it looked like a log cabin had been sandwiched between the other stores of Estes Park.
And it was mine.
The thought ushered in a wave of excitement. A tingle of nausea too, but more excitement than anything. At least that was what I told myself.
The death grip I had on the steering wheel of my Mini Cooper said otherwise. I tore my gaze away and turned a forced smile toward the passenger seat. I needed to be brave for Watson.
He arched a brow lazily at me, not bothering to lift his head from his curled-up position. Managing to pull one of my hands free from the steering wheel, I slipped the car into Park, then scratched behind his pointed fox-like ears.
“We’re here. It’s been a long day, and you’ve been a great copilot.” A grumpy copilot, but that was normal for Watson. A quality that probably wouldn’t be as endearing if he wasn’t so stinking cute. “I’d say you deserve a treat. What do you think?”
At what was unquestionably his favorite word, Watson bounded to a standing position and began bouncing on his two front legs. His stubby corgi legs didn’t make him that much taller, though the bouncing helped.
“And this is why we work, you and me. Food is king, behind books, of course.” I snagged a dog bone out of the glove compartment, started to request for Watson to sit first—demands never worked—then decided it wasn’t worth the effort, and held it out to him. Despite his voracious appetite, which even a shark would envy, Watson avoided removing my fingers and made short work of the snack.
After a couple of minutes, Watson cocked that judgmental brow of his once more. His thoughts were clear: The prolonged staring is creepy, lady. But I’ll forgive you for another treat. 
He had a point. I was putting off the inevitable. Which was silly. I was excited, happy. Time to launch into an adventure.
I turned toward the shop again, took a breath, and opened the car door. Here goes nothing.
My knees popped as I stepped onto the sidewalk, and I sucked in a breath at the tweak in my back. I supposed a drive halfway across the country was a reasonable excuse, even if I was still two years away from forty. I glanced back at Watson, who had curled back into a ball. “Seriously? The ten-hour nap wasn’t enough?”
After a few more seconds of glaring, Watson acquiesced, stood, and stretched. He raised his knobbed-tail of a butt in the air, just letting me know he was still in charge, and then leisurely crossed the console and hopped out beside me.
“Thanks for joining me, your highness.” I shut the car door and looked up at the shop. It seemed a little larger once I stood in front of it. It would be charming. My gaze flicked to the sign above the door that read Heads and TailsWould being the operative word. Who knew what horrors lay behind the papered-over windows. I’d never envisioned a behind-the-scenes look at a taxidermy business, but it seemed I hadn’t been aware of a lot about my future. Well, whatever. If it was too horrible, I’d just pay one of those junk companies to come in and haul everything away.
That thought brought a sense of relief, but then another swept it away. I was thinking like a city girl. I doubted a town the size of Estes Park had a junk-removal business.
And again, I decided, whatever.
I had a feeling I was going to be saying that a lot.
Movement caught my eye from the store window to the left of my shop. Before I could make out a figure, I was captured by the crimson script over the glass, Sinful Bites.
Perfect. Some fortification would be needed in the very likely chance I was getting ready to walk into a store filled with petrified dead animals. I veered off to the left, giving a quick pat to my thigh. “Come on, Watson. Mama deserves a—” I almost said treat. “—reward too.”
A pleasant chime sounded as I opened the door to Sinful Bites and allowed Watson to waddle through. I cast a quick glance around. The store was done in my favorite colors—the walls, cabinets, and displays all in various shades of rich earth tones. It felt homey, comfortable. Exactly what I would be going for when I redid the god-awful taxidermy shop. That boded well for my relationship with my neighbor.
A woman with short, spiraling brunette hair looked up in surprise from behind the cash register. Her brown gaze glanced at me in confusion, then moved to the front door, and back.
I offered a hesitant smile, feeling like I’d messed up somehow. “Everything okay?”
“Yes!” The woman smiled back, wide and bright. “I’m so sorry. We just closed. I could’ve sworn I locked the door,” she said, her tone apologetic.
“Oh. Well, I can come back another time.” Despite myself, I couldn’t keep my gaze from traveling over the gleaming cases filled with candy.
“Not at all! My fault for not locking the door, and I haven’t started putting things away yet, so I insist.” Another smile.
“Thank you. I promise I’ll be quick.” I moved closer to the cases, unsure if I would be able to keep that promise. Though slightly picked over, the display was magnificent. Gleaming fruit tarts in golden brown crusts, hand-size brownies filled with nuts, caramel, and chunks of candy. Fudge of every flavor, truffles of various shapes and colors, and chocolate. So much chocolate that I was suddenly aware I’d smelled it since I walked in the door. No wonder I felt at home. Chocolates done in nearly every imaginable way—almond bark and turtles, covering pretzels, marzipan and nougat.
Heaven, I decided. I’d died and gone to heaven. I managed to tear my gaze away from the smorgasbord of delights and look at the woman. “I think I’m in love.”
The woman chuckled good-naturedly and held out her hand. “I’m Katie. Always nice to meet someone who appreciates dessert more than cardio.”
I stiffened for a heartbeat, wondering if I should be insulted. But at the twinkling of Katie’s eyes, I couldn’t help but laugh. I felt an instant kinship with the woman. “Yes, I’ll take dessert any day over fitting into a size eight. Though my real weakness is carbs, not candy. Give me a hot loaf of fresh bread and I can die a happy woman.” I took Katie’s hand.
“Me too, actually. I might work in a candy shop, but bread is what I do best.”
“Then I am definitely glad to meet you, Katie.” I released her grip and gestured down to Watson, who stared up at me, salivating. “My little corgi friend is Watson, and I’m—”
“I’m telling you, Lois, if you would just use actual sugar in your baking instead of all the stupid substitutions—” Two elderly women walked through the back door of the shop, cutting me off. They both halted at the sight of Watson and me. The blonde cast a quick glare at Katie. “I thought we closed.”
Katie flushed. “I apparently didn’t lock the door. Sorry. But I believe—” It seemed she was searching for my name. “—our friend here is in need of some chocolate.”
The blonde looked at me and cast another glare down at Watson, but by the time she met my gaze once more, her smile was wide, even if it didn’t reach her eyes. “Well, of course! You’ve come to the right place. Sinful Bites has the best chocolate in town.”
The other woman’s eyes narrowed, but she didn’t say anything.
Katie cleared her throat, cutting the brief tension that had filled the place. “Do you know what you’d like? If you’re not sure, I can get you a sample.”
Getting-to-know-you time was most definitely over. Which was doubly sad, as at any other time I would’ve taken Katie up on the offer of samples. Under the inspection of the blonde, however, I didn’t dare. “You know, I just drove into town, and I really should get home. Why don’t you give me an assortment of the ones you like best.” Chances were high such a thing would end up being more expensive than I’d intended to spend on candy, but since I was going to be neighbors with the shop, it was clear I needed to put my best foot forward as quickly as possible.
“Home?” The third woman finally spoke. “Do you live here? You must be new in town. I don’t think I’ve seen you around.”
“I just moved in. Quite literally, in fact.” I smiled at the woman, who seemed nicer than the blonde. “I’ve visited several times. I have family who live here.” I nodded at Katie as I spoke, trying to include her again and continue the introductions. “I’m Fred, and this is Watson. We just made the long drive from Kansas City to Colorado. This was our first stop in town.”
The woman gave a chuckle. “Fred? I don’t believe I’ve ever met a woman named Fred.” She gestured to herself and the blonde. “I’m Lois Garble, and this is my sister, Opal. Opal owns this candy shop, and I own the one two doors down, Healthy Delights.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you both.” Sisters? The two women definitely didn’t look like sisters. Although, now that I thought about it, they had the same features. It was only everything else that was different. Lois had naturally graying hair, a clean and wrinkled face, and she wore a plain cotton dress. Opal had dyed, highly stylized blonde hair, copious amounts of makeup, a brightly colored dress, and tons of jewelry. “My true name is Winifred Page, but everyone calls me Fred.”
“Well, I think that is simply adorable. And it suits you.” Lois shrugged playfully. “Like I said, I’ve never met a woman named Fred, but if I could imagine one, she’d have beautiful auburn hair just like yours. I’ve always thought Opal would look ravishing in that color.” She cast a sidelong glance toward her sister’s coiffed blonde hairdo.
Opal didn’t comment about becoming a redhead. “Page? Your last name is Page, and you have family in town? I don’t remember a family with that name.”
I nodded, though for some reason I was tempted to lie. “Yes. My mother grew up here. Phyllis Oswald, though now she’s Phyllis Adams.”
Both Katie and Lois seemed to take a step back, but Opal didn’t budge, instead folding her arms over her ample bosom. Any semblance of welcome or friendliness vanished, not that there’d been much from Opal. “I thought I’d heard your name before.” If looks could kill. “So that means you’re the one taking over Sid’s taxidermy shop.”
Again, lying seemed the intelligent thing to do. “Yes. Though I won’t be doing taxidermy. I’m going to be changing it to a bookshop. It’s going to be called the Cozy—”
“I’m sorry, but we’re closed.” Opal sniffed, nostrils flared. “And for future reference, I don’t allow dogs in my business.”
I halted, unsure what to say. One of the things I’d always liked about the town was Estes Park’s dog-friendly nature. I started to glance at Katie and then thought better of it. The last thing I wanted to do was get the shopgirl in trouble. I gestured back toward the door. “Sorry for….” What was I sorry for exactly? “Watson and I will just be going.”
Lois gave a loud good-natured laugh and swatted playfully at Opal, which Opal avoided with a glare. “Please forgive my sister. It’s her intake of sugar and butter and things the good Lord never intended us to eat. It makes her cranky.” She managed to deliver the line with a cheerful air, making it sound more like an endearing quality than an insult. Lois headed around the counter and slipped a birdlike arm through mine. “You come with me. I’ll get you some sweets that are natural and nourishing, and I have homemade dog-bone biscuits.” She looked down at Watson, then back at me. “I didn’t notice. How adorable. He’s a redhead like you.” Without waiting for a response, she looked back down once more. “What do you say… Watson, was it? Do you want a treat?”
Watson bounced on his two front paws again at the word, causing Lois to chuckle. The only thing I really wanted to do at that point was get away, but Watson’s reaction settled it. Plus, how could I deny the woman without seeming rude?
I allowed myself to be led toward the front door and cast a glance back, offering a quick smile to Katie and a final apologetic grimace to Opal.
Lois led me out of the shop, around the front of Heads and Tails, then pulled out her keys to usher me into Healthy Delights. “Sorry, I already shut the place down, but I’ll get you an assortment of things from the back. Give me one second, dear.” She flicked on the lights and then headed through the back door to disappear with a small wave.
The tingle of nausea rose again. My shop sat directly between these two sisters. Lois seemed sweet enough, but Lord knew what I was getting myself into with these two. Pushing the thought away, I spared a glance at Lois’s store. It was the exact same layout as Opal’s, just flipped, but the similarities stopped there. Where Opal’s candy shop felt cozy, warm, and friendly—despite the woman herself—Lois’s was done in a garish combination of pastel colors, sickeningly sweet pinks, and yellows. My stomach gurgled.
Watson didn’t seem to notice. He chuffed and looked up at me.
“Your treat is coming. Calm down.” I shook my finger at him. “And I blame you for pulling me into this.”
He chuffed again, and this time bounded so his paws landed on my foot, clearly telling me to shut up and get on with the treat giving.
“You’re ridiculous.” As if watching a car crash, I looked back at the shop. It didn’t make any sense at all. How could the sister who owned the cozy and delicious-smelling candy shop be so irritable, while the one who designed the monstrosity that looked like Easter on speed was the kind one?
Before the color palette had a chance to permanently scar my corneas, Lois returned with a large brown bag in one hand and a massive dog bone in the other. “I’m sorry I have to rush. I’d love to get to know you and your precious pup, but Opal and I have dinner plans, and I don’t want to keep her waiting.” She thrust the bag into my grip. “For future reference, I make everything Opal does, just a healthy, all-natural version. It’s fun to mix and match.”
I forced a smile. I hadn’t been able to identify what smell seemed to linger in the air, but it wasn’t pleasant. If the desserts were edible, I’d be shocked. “Thank you. I appreciate your kindness. I’m sorry if I did anything to offend—”
Lois waved me off, whipping the dog bone in the air, a large crumb flying across the room. In a rare show of speed, Watson zoomed away in pursuit. Lois didn’t seem to notice. “Never you mind. That’s just how Opal is. You see, she and I were hoping to purchase the taxidermy shop after Sid passed, but your mother wouldn’t consider selling. Said her daughter was taking it over.” Though her chipper tone didn’t fade, Lois’s smile did, a touch. “I won’t hold that against you, dear.” Another hand pat. “But if you decide you want to sell, we’d appreciate it if you would let us know.” Leaning closer, her voice dropped to a whisper. “Lots of people move to Estes Park, captured by its beauty and charm, only to discover they feel a little trapped in the mountains and constricted by small-town life. Chances are it will happen to you too. Of course, I hope not, but”—and yet another pat—“when it does, remember my sister and me.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but was utterly at a loss for words.
Words didn’t seem to be required. Lois wrapped her arm around my shoulders, which was no small feat, considering I was several inches taller than the woman, and led me toward the door. She shoved what was left of the dog bone at me. “This is made from peanut butter I ground myself, and organic grains. They are five dollars apiece, but this one’s on the house.” She opened the door for me and stood aside. “Welcome to town, Fred.”
“Thank you, Lois.” I clutched the paper bag and waggled the dog bone in Watson’s direction, capturing his attention. “Come on, buddy. Let’s go.” Watson tore off from where he’d been sniffing in the back corner of the shop. I nodded my thanks to Lois once more, then walked to the car. I changed my mind a few paces away from my burnt-orange Mini Cooper. Turning around, I headed back toward the front door of the taxidermy shop. I’d been so excited to see inside, to get lost in the planning of what my bookstore would look like, that I had driven straight here when we got into town.
After locking her front door, Lois crossed in front of Heads and Tails, gave a final friendly wave, and disappeared into Sinful Bites once more.
Pushing the odd sisters out of my mind, I addressed Watson as we stopped at the front door. “I’m sure you’ll love all the smells you’re going to find in there, but just remember, if we come across a dead animal and I scream, you’re forbidden from telling anyone. If you do, there won’t be any treats for a week.”
Watson gave a quick, sharp bark.
“Crap. I said treat, didn’t I?” At the repeated word, Watson resumed bouncing, his dark brown eyes wild with excitement and looking like a deranged bunny.
I couldn’t help but chuckle as I lifted what was left of the dog bone. “Luckily, we have one. You can get it as soon we’re inside.”
I paused at the lockbox hanging from the door handle, then set the bag of healthy candy—what a thought that was—at my feet. Catching my reflection in the window, the paper behind the glass causing it to act nearly as effectively as a mirror, I couldn’t help but scowl. My hair was a complete mess, and a sheen of light caught the gleam from dog hair. I glanced down at my peasant blouse. Life with a corgi meant I was in constant need of a lint roller, but after the day in the car, things had gotten to a nearly ludicrous level. To make matters worse, I gave my brown broomstick skirt a flick with my wrist and sent a fresh wave of dog hair spiraling around me. Wonderful. So much for putting my best foot forward. Meeting three of my neighbors while looking like I was part corgi myself.
Well, whatever. Too late to be helped now. Besides, it wasn’t like I’d ever actually be dog-hair-free anyway. Pushing the concern away, I pulled out my cell and scrolled through text messages from my mother until I came across the lockbox code. I punched in the four digits and gave a yank. There was no click and the lock didn’t budge. Clearing it, I tried again. Same reaction. I checked the text, confirming I had the numbers right, then tried a third time. When I was still denied, I tapped my mother’s name and lifted the phone to my ear.
It rang several times, then finally clicked to a message saying my mother’s voice mail was full and could no longer accept messages. What else was new? I tried the lockbox one final time. For a moment, I considered breaking the window on the front door and reaching in. It was my shop, after all.
What a way to start a new adventure, breaking and entering. Patience had never been a virtue I fostered, but letting out a resigned huff that sounded more like a corgi than a woman, I stuffed my cell back into my pocket. “Looks like we’re thwarted at the moment, Watson.”
Retrieving the paper bag, I led us back to the car, held the door for Watson to hop in, then followed.
I’d been so ecstatic about opening the bookshop, I hadn’t even considered who my neighbors might be. Being directly between Lois and Opal was going to be…. Well, I was afraid I didn’t have a word for exactly what that was going to be. I doubted it would be all that pleasant.
Watson chuffed.
“You feel it too, don’t you, boy? Who knows what we’re going to have to face with those two. At least we have each other.”
He let out a long pitiful whine.
“Aww, look at you being all empathetic. What’s gotten into—”
I realized Watson’s frantic gaze was focused on my hand, not looking deep into my eyes and sharing a moment. “Oh, I forgot.” I handed him what remained of the all-natural dog biscuit with a sigh.


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Traitorous Toys


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A Cozy Corgi Mystery, Book 2


Author Bio


mildred abbott pic
Reading the Cozy Corgi series is pretty much all you need to know about Mildred. In real life, she’s obsessed with everything she writes about: Corgis, Books, Cozy Mountain Towns, and Baked Goods. She’s not obsessed with murder, however. At least not at her own hands (nor paid for… no contract killing here). But since childhood, starting with Nancy Drew, trying to figure out who-dun-it has played a formative role in her personality. Having Fred and Watson stroll into her mind was a touch of kismet.
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The Shipwreck
(A Lavender Shores Novel)
by Author Rosalind Abel.
The Shipwreck, Book four in the Lavender Shores Series is NOW LIVE and available to download for FREE with Kindle unlimited.
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Lamont Price’s romance novels have been a hit for the past few years. With his gorgeous looks, kind heart, and tender disposition, Lamont is the darling of Lavender Shores. He’s the guy everyone wants to be their best friend, the guy everyone wants to protect. But even with his success and the love of his family, Lamont feels hidden from those around him. Maybe the first step is attending a writing conference and revealing the man behind his pen name…. Tyler Dixon survives off his beauty and charm. From cover model to runway fashion to weekend arm candy, Tyler’s prices aren’t cheap. While his appearance is taking him places, his life as an artist has little more than flatlined. When an author hires him to appear as the face of her brand, Tyler thinks it’s just one more job. Little does he know another writer is going to steal all of his attention. Escaping the conference to find some breathing room, Lamont runs into Tyler at a bar. Casual conversation leads to Lamont revealing his family’s obsession with helping him find love. It’s not a big deal to Tyler, who has played the role of boyfriend for other people in the past. Before either of them can rethink the situation, Tyler is in Lavender Shores meeting Lamont’s family. Though they’re only pretending to be in a relationship, the chemistry that ignites between them is anything but imaginary…


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When Lamont asked Tyler to pretend to be his boyfriend for the weekend to appease his family, he never dreamed he’d start to fall for the man. Lamont also never imagined he’d share his favorite spot in the world with Tyler, but he had.  Now they’re back at the shipwreck so Tyler can take some photographs of the boat, maybe even use them in his next art show……


We needn’t have worried. It seemed to be one of those days where the fog was a permanent resident. As much as I’d wanted to stay in bed with him, I was glad we came out to the shipwreck. Especially on a morning like this. These kinds of days had always been my favorite here. Days other people thought were cold and miserable, when they stayed away. These times felt like I was the only one in the world, hidden in the fog and mist, just me and my shipwreck. I was certain it said something dark about me, that my favorite spot was a broken-down, wrecked, abandoned, rotting boat. I’d spent several pages journaling about that very fact as I took shelter in the cabin-like wheelhouse before part of it had been burned away. Ultimately, I decided it didn’t matter. Dark or not, this place fed my soul, brought me peace. Now when I returned, I’d be able to feel Tyler’s presence here. Be able to picture him fussing with his camera, slipping into his artist mode. And always be able to have him near, whenever I wanted.
“Okay, come stand over here beside the bow.” Tyler waved me over. Then pointed to a spot in the muck. “If you take a position right here, I can get the name of the Point Reyes lettering over your shoulder, a lot of the boat, and the way the fog is right now, you can actually see just a little bit of the green hills across the water.”
I started to walk toward him, then realized the point of his words. “You want me in the picture?”
“Well, yeah.” He pointed out the spot again, and his tone grew teasing, cocky. “And I can already hear that sound in your voice, so let’s just skip that part. You’ll tell me the photograph will be better without you in it, and I’ll have to point out how beautiful you are. Then you’d say that you don’t want to mess with the authenticity of the shipwreck, that it should be captured in its natural beauty, and I’d have to remind you about how beautiful you are again and that any picture I could possibly take would be better with you in it. Then you’d come up with some other ridiculously self-deprecating argument, and I would tell you you’re full of shit and to shut up and get in front of my camera. So, can you, please, get in front of my camera, already?”
I laughed. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed so often. “That’s how it would go, huh?”
Tyler shrugged. “More or less.” He lowered his voice to a loud mock whisper. “By the way, in a few minutes when I have you take your sweater off, you’ll be tempted to argue about that as well. I would suggest you not.”
“Take my sweater—”
He clucked his tongue. “No, no. None of that. We’ve discussed this. No arguing with the photographer. And for right now, you can keep the sweater on. Now get your ass over here, hot man.”
I followed his directions. Feeling completely self-conscious but a little pleased as well.
Tyler got me arranged how he wanted, shifting my shoulders with his hands, then moving my face by gripping my jaw gently. He took a step away, paused, leaned in and pressed a kiss to my lips, then walked backward several paces, as he lifted the camera to his eye.
“Perfect. Just keep looking out into the distance like that.” Tyler moved a little to his left. “Slip your right hand into your pocket, please, and rest your left on the hull of the boat. Right about where that little patch of paint is gone.”
I saw the spot he meant and rearranged.
“Great.” A few seconds passed. “Now look at me, directly into the camera.”
I did. Still self-conscious at first, but with the pleased sounds Tyler was making, it began to fade. Considering what we’d done the night before, this shouldn’t be that exposing.
“Seriously, Lamont, these are fucking brilliant.” He walked around, mindless of the mud or when he stepped into deeper water going near the top of his boot, other than having to pause to pull himself free. “You’re gonna want to be your own cover model for your next book.”
Now there was a horrible thought if I’d ever heard one. Tyler moved closer, invading my space with the camera. Focusing fully on my face. There was no breeze, and the fog worked as a sound barrier. All I could hear was the lapping of the water at his feet and Tyler’s breathing. “I don’t hear the click? You actually taking pictures?”
He lowered the camera, cocking an eyebrow at me. “No, I just wanted to roll around in the sludge.” He grinned. “Now that I think about it, pictures of you rolling around in the mud could be quite the hit. And there are settings on digital cameras where you can turn off the shutter noise. I like that best.”
For the next fifteen minutes or so, Tyler rearranged me all around the boat, having me move and twist my body in ways which most definitely weren’t natural. However, he let me check out a couple of the shots on the screen, and like before when I’d seen myself in the mirror with Tyler, I barely recognized the man in the camera. I actually could see them as a cover of a book. Not that I would ever do it. Though my agent would get a kick out of it. Lamont Price on the cover of his own books under the pen name Ginger Peach. As with the pictures I’d seen two nights before, even though Tyler said they needed editing, his photos seemed to tell a story. My story. I couldn’t fathom how he could capture so much with a solitary camera when sometimes it took me an entire novel to explore what he showed in one frame. He was good… better than good.
He went over to the tripod and snapped his camera onto it. “All right, I’m almost done.” He walked back over to me, hand extended, smile devilish. “Get out of that sweater.”
The thought of being photographed without my shirt on was a small bit of terror. “You’ve gotta be kidding. It’s freezing out here.”
Tyler waggled his fingers. “Again, we’ve already talked about this. Don’t make me replay an entire conversation about how I end up getting your sweater. Plus, I saved it till last. You won’t be shirtless in the cold for long. And besides, I guarantee you, it will do delicious things to your nipples.”
Tyler could get me to do just about anything. I started to pull off my sweater, then paused, letting it fall back into place. “You know… this hardly seems fair. If I’m shirtless, you need to be too.”
“Look at you, getting all bossy.” He gave me an appreciative gaze. “I like that.” In one of his almost irritatingly fluid motions, Tyler stripped off his sweater and T-shirt. “Better?”
I moved without even thinking. “Much.” My hands were cold, and Tyler hissed as I touched his chest and ran my fingers over the ridges of his stomach. “You’re the one who should be photographed.”
Tyler slipped his hand under my sweater and pressed his hand to me, causing me to suck in a breath at his cold touch. “It’s your turn to be in front of the camera, your turn to see how utterly captivating you are.” His touch went from sensual to playful as he shoved his hand down the front of my pants and wrapped his freezing fingers around my dick.
I let out a holler and jumped backward without meaning to, accidentally pulling Tyler off balance with his hand still in my pants. He yanked his hand free and caught himself against the side of the boat before he fell. He looked down at the muddy ground and then back up at me. “You are so lucky I didn’t fall. Otherwise, you’d be going down with me, I promise.”
That actually sounded kind of fun, if it hadn’t been frigid water and mud we’d have been rolling around in. “You’re the one who grabbed my dick. I’d say it was your fault.”
“Oh, so you don’t want me touching your dick? Sorry, I keep getting mixed messages.” He tapped the side of his head as he grinned at me. “Don’t worry, I got it now. Tyler does not touch Lamont’s dick. Got it.” He held his hand out again. “Give me your sweater already. I’m freezing out here half naked.”
I pulled off my sweater, the cold instantly making my skin turn to gooseflesh. “You’re mean. Very, very mean.”
I expected another teasing reply, but instead, Tyler’s gaze traveled over my torso. Lust sweeping over any other emotion. “Fuck. I’d never get tired of seeing that.” At his words, he flinched and his expression changed, and he waggled his fingers once more. “Give me the damn sweater already.”
Keeping my expression neutral, I handed it over, and Tyler walked back toward the camera as I repositioned. We’d be saying goodbye soon. Somehow, it seemed impossible. It felt like we were just getting started. Just falling into sync with each other. There was so much more to explore; it almost sounded like Tyler wanted…
I hadn’t been sure what I wanted, not really, but after last night, after simply being on the couch watching TV with him, followed by what was easily the best sex I’d ever had, I thought I knew what I wanted. But that hadn’t been our deal. Not to mention, it would be so like me. I could pretend I could have sex without emotions getting in the way, without feeling things that weren’t really there. But maybe….
Tyler walked back to the camera and hung our sweaters on the tripod, keeping them out of the muck. This time he had me lean back against the boat, spread my legs in a near cowboy-like stance, and hook my thumbs into my belt loops. He made a few pleased noises and then looked over his camera once more. “Unbutton your jeans, and unzip them halfway.”
I hesitated for a split second, feeling the photo shoot take a different turn.
“Don’t worry, Lamont. I won’t have you go any further than that. Although, you, me, a camera, and no clothes could be a lot of fun.”
At his words, my dick twitched in my pants. That was the last thing I wanted. Me naked on film. Or at least, I thought it was. The idea of dropping my pants to my ankles and doing whatever he told me to do while he took my picture, well, that sounded pretty fucking hot, actually.
I unbuttoned my jeans, unzipped them halfway, then retook my position. If he pressed to go further, I just might.
True to his word, Tyler only had me do a couple more poses, taking three or four minutes, before he straightened, adjusted some knobs, and walked toward me, leaving his camera on the tripod. “These were fucking amazing. I can’t wait for you to see them. I’ll send you some copies after I get them edited and ready.”
Suddenly, I didn’t give a flying fuck about any of the pictures. Or how hot it might have been if the photo shoot had gone in a dirtier direction.
He was going to send me copies. Later. As in, there was something after our goodbyes this evening. It was the first time it had even been hinted at, and more than I expected.
A tiny spark of hope ignited. Dangerous or not, it was there.
Tyler came up to me, slipped his fingers into the opening of my jeans, and pulled me around so both of our shoulders rested against the side of the boat, and he kissed me.
I wrapped my arm around his back, crushing him to me. The heat of his body against mine both a welcome relief to the cold and erotic contrast against my skin.
His hand sank in farther, and this time, the chill of his fingers didn’t shock but caused me to cry out into his mouth with pleasure as they wrapped around my cock. I’d already been aroused by the photo shoot with Tyler, but I grew rock-hard in his grip.
“You liked being photographed half naked, didn’t you?” He stroked again as he lifted his lips to my ear, as if keeping anyone else from hearing. “The camera is on a repeat release right now. Let’s give it a show.”
Holy fuck. I glanced at the camera, and Tyler stroked again.
Then there was no thought, no plan, no worry that we were out in the open. Even if there was, the fog blocked anything anyone might see from the houses and grocery store around. I began to thrust into his hand and kissed him again. His other hand slid around my back and dipped to the other side of my jeans, then he slid it down the crack of my ass, lightly fingering my entrance.
I shuddered and broke the kiss, but I continued to thrust against him, the pressure building.
Once again, Tyler was a sensation overload, especially for my starved body. Heightened even more by the awareness of being “watched” and recorded.
The tip of his finger pushed inside me, and I came with a sharp cry.
Tyler pushed in a little farther with a chuckle, drawing out my climax, and then removed his finger.
I shuddered, wishing we could do that all again.
Though his words were teasing, Tyler’s tone was still heated. “I guess you like that.” He smiled and began to pull away.
“Oh no, not again.” My arm was still around his back, and I swiveled us around so he was pressed against the hull of the ship. I sank to my knees in front of him, not giving a shit about the mud or the water or the cold. In a frenzy, I yanked his pants open and pulled them down as far as I could.
“Lamont, you don’t have to—”
I cut him off by taking his dick into my mouth.
Well, not quite—he was much too big to get in all the way—but I took him as deep as I could, the thickness of him stretching my lips, the slick saltiness covering my tongue.
Tyler groaned and arched into my mouth, pushing a little too far, causing me to gag. I popped off him, sucked in a breath and then shoved back down. I gripped his thigh, but Tyler took my hand and moved it to his stomach and used it to make caressing motions over his abs and chest, letting me know what he liked. He released my hand, but I continued, bringing my other up to caress him as well.
Tyler sank his hands in my hair, holding my head still as he began to thrust. Though his pace was quick, he was careful, only so often pushing a little too deep into me.
I could tell he was getting closer, his precome filled my mouth and began to travel down my throat. His breathing grew more and more ragged.
I lifted my hand farther, flicking a nipple. He sucked in a breath, flinched again, and pulled free from my mouth.
“I’m about to come, Lamont.” He took his hand off my head and began to pump his dick.
I pushed it away and claimed his cock once more.
“Babe.” Tyler tensed and then cried out, releasing his load into my throat. It was too much, too big, but I fixed my lips around him, refusing to lose even a drop of him. I swallowed rush after rush of his come. Then he finally let out another ragged exhale and went slack against the boat.
I pulled off him, slowly, giving a final swallow, then looked up.
He caressed my cheek as he smiled down. “You are damn good at that.” Tyler offered his hand and helped me up, then kissed me. Gentle and slow. His hands moving over my back.
I wanted this. Again and again I wanted this. Wanted him.
Someone cleared their throat, and I broke the kiss, whipping around. A few yards away, two men walked toward us, both with huge smiles across their faces.
“Oh my God.” Tyler’s sounded more surprised and amused than the shot of terror I felt. He started pulling up his pants.
“You boys don’t need to stop on our accounts, trust me,” the older of the two called out. There was a brief pause, and then he moved his hand toward his crotch. “We’d be happy to join you, if you want.”
 Tyler laughed softly. How he could laugh in this situation, I had no clue. And when he spoke, he actually sounded chipper. “We appreciate the offer, but…. We just finished up, if you know what I mean.”
Holy shit, I was going to die. Literally going to die.
“You can hang around and watch us then, if you want.” The guy was persistent.
Tyler motioned toward me with his thumb as he stepped around and headed toward his photography equipment. “My boyfriend here is the jealous type. He goes all roid rage if he even thinks I’m looking at someone else. That probably wouldn’t end well.”
I gaped at his back, then glanced toward the men, who were watching me warily. Realizing my pants still weren’t zipped, I fixed that situation and followed Tyler. Within a few seconds, he unhooked the tripod, and we both put our sweaters back on. I gave a little wave of apology to the men as we walked away, though I wasn’t particularly sure what I was apologizing for.
We were almost to the car when Tyler finally lost it and started laughing. “This might’ve been the greatest day of my entire life so far.” He smiled at me like I’d given him the best gift in the world. “A great photo shoot, fucking hot sex, and then that shitshow. Priceless!”
My racing heart was finally beginning to slow, and with his laughter, I was beginning to see some of the humor in it. Thank God it hadn’t been anyone I knew. The men must have been tourists. I wondered how much they’d seen.
I hit a button on my car fob, and the trunk popped open. Tyler’s words came back to me. “Roid rage, really?”
He just laughed harder. “Well, you’re big enough. And I think I’ve seen a spark of uncontrollable rage behind that sweetheart demeanor of yours.” He winked.
“You’re ridiculous.” I leaned my hip against the car and began pulling off the muddy boots.
“Okay, maybe rage is a little too strong a word for your anger issues. Maybe mild slight annoyance with a side of teddy bear fluff would have been a better descriptor.” He laughed again and then motioned toward my ruined jeans. “And the day just keeps getting better. Looks like I get to drive home with you wearing nothing but your underwear. Though, I’m pretty sure those got covered in your come too. You should probably take them off. I promise to think up a good excuse if we get pulled over and I have to give an explanation to the cops.”
“Another sweet, romantic and sexy winner for me that hit on a number of emotions.”
~Debra, Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews
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Rosalind Abel grew up tending chickens alongside her sweet and faithful Chow, Lord Elgin. While her fantasy of writing novels was born during her teen years, she never would have dreamed she’d one day publish steamy romances about gorgeous men. However, sometimes life turns out better than planned. In between crafting scorching sex scenes and helping her men find their soul mates, Rosalind enjoys cooking, collecting toys, and making the best damn scrapbooks in the world (this claim hasn’t been proven, but she’s willing to put good money on it). She adores MM Romance, the power it has to sweep the reader away into worlds filled with passion, steam, and love. Rosalind also enjoys her collection of plot bunnies and welcomes new fuzzy ones into her home all the time, so feel free to send any adorable ones her way.
 Connect with Rosalind
Amazon Author page:
 Facebook Author page:
 Rosalind Abel Website:
 Rosalind Abel Goodreads:
 Lavender Shores Website:
 Twitter: @rosalind_abel
Thank you for touring with Jo&IsaBooks


THE SHIPWRECK By Rosalind Abel Release Blitz

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The Shipwreck, A Lavender Shores Novel 

by Rosalind Abel



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Lamont Price’s romance novels have been a hit for the past few years. With his gorgeous looks, kind heart, and tender disposition, Lamont is the darling of Lavender Shores. He’s the guy everyone wants to be their best friend, the guy everyone wants to protect. But even with his success and the love of his family, Lamont feels hidden from those around him. Maybe the first step is attending a writing conference and revealing the man behind his pen name….

Tyler Dixon survives off his beauty and charm. From cover model to runway fashion to weekend arm candy, Tyler’s prices aren’t cheap. While his appearance is taking him places, his life as an artist has little more than flatlined. When an author hires him to appear as the face of her brand, Tyler thinks it’s just one more job. Little does he know another writer is going to steal all of his attention.

Escaping the conference to find some breathing room, Lamont runs into Tyler at a bar. Casual conversation leads to Lamont revealing his family’s obsession with helping him find love. It’s not a big deal to Tyler, who has played the role of boyfriend for other people in the past. Before either of them can rethink the situation, Tyler is in Lavender Shores meeting Lamont’s family. Though they’re only pretending to be in a relationship, the chemistry that ignites between them is anything but imaginary…

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Lamont Price is in the middle of attending his first romance novel conference, and finally revealed himself as the man behind successful novelist Ginger Peach.  It’s all a little more than he bargained for.  In a move of desperation, he sneaks out of the hotel, away from the conference, and takes shelter in a nearby bar. He thought he’d be alone, but ends up running into one of the cover models who’d put on quite the show earlier in the day….
I paused when I reached City Grille. The kid wasn’t joking. The suit was out of place. It looked like the same would be said of a health inspector. However, that guaranteed none of the romance conference attendees would darken the doors of this place. Perfect.
I walked in, hidden at last. If anybody dared to look at me, I might’ve felt as on display as I had earlier. Well, no, not quite. No one did. So, whether I fit in or not in my suit didn’t really matter.
I headed toward the bar, looking for an empty seat. Finding one, I made my way, then halted. The man beside the barstool was wearing a suit as well. And he was turning around to look at me.
He might have been pure sex halfway naked as he’d gyrated in front of a crowd, but he was also movie-star classic in a suit. I didn’t even care about suits, but he looked like he could be a James Bond. And suddenly I desperately wanted to be a Bond girl.
Whoa. Whoa—when was the last time I’d felt like that? I didn’t even have a memory. I was aware of attractive people all the time, but I’d managed to kill my sex drive eons ago. At the sight of him, I discovered some little aspect had survived the extermination.
He smiled and gave a little wave, making me realize I’d been standing there for far too long and most definitely looked like I was mid-aneurysm. “Come sit by me. Please. I felt a little out of place in this suit, but I hadn’t wanted to take the time to change. I had to get out of there.”
My nerves spiking, I slid in next to him. I hadn’t noticed him at the party. “Tell me about it. I thought my agent was never going to look away long enough for me to take off.”
“Doesn’t your agent work for you and not the other way around?”
I shrugged. “You know, I think that’s how it’s supposed to work.”
The bartender walked by, and the model reached out to stop him. “Hey, I’m getting a drink for a friend here.” He tipped his foam-filled glass at me. “Beer work for you? They don’t have anything craft, but desperate times and all.”
“You don’t need to get me—”
He cut me off with a look.
He wanted to buy me a beer? “Sure, whatever kind you have is great.”
The bartender didn’t wait for further confirmation but was back with the beer before I’d even gotten out of my jacket.
“Wow, dude. You’ve got some guns.”
“Wha—” Oh, guns. Right. Duh. “Uhm, thanks. You, ah… do too.”
He gave an unconcerned expression. “Part of the job. But you’re a writer. I wouldn’t expect a body like that on somebody pounding keys all day. But shit, you’re totally stacked.”
Was he flirting? No. Not flirting. Straight guys always commented on muscles and stuff, didn’t they? And they most definitely said things like dude and stacked and guns. At least when I wrote straight guys into romances they did.
I didn’t have a clue how to respond. So I changed the subject. “I’m surprised my agent didn’t force me to bring one of my cover models. I didn’t even know that was a thing.”
“Well, I know some authors don’t like it. They feel like the writers who bring models are trying to steal attention away.” He shrugged. “Which, I guess, they are. It worked for Cheryl today, in any case.” He shot a wicked smile. “At least until you did your thing. That was epic! Totally epic.” He pulled out his phone. “Have you checked out Twitter? You’re practically trending. And with this crowd you are. Everything’s all about Ginger Peach being a man. The whole romance world is fighting. Half of them saying they’re never going to read your work again, the other half defending your rights to use whatever pen name however you want. You’re going to sell like gangbusters for the next several months.”
I glanced at his screen but only caught a few lines before looking up at him. And oh, look at that—green. His eyes were crystalline green. I gave a little shake of my head.
“Well, I know that’s what my agent wanted. To be honest, it makes me a little nauseated. It just feels icky.”
“Nah.” He smacked me on the shoulder. “It’s part of the game. You do what you gotta do.”
Okay, definitely straight. With a smack on the shoulder like that. And his touch didn’t linger at all. Although, what was I thinking? Just because he wasn’t flirting with me didn’t mean he wasn’t gay. Up close I realized he was as young as I’d thought. Maybe twenty-eight, if I squinted. Maybe. Probably more like twenty-four. Most twenty-four-year-olds aren’t hunting down forty-five-year-old men to hook up with. And while I was on that train of thought, and, what was I thinking? There was not going to be hooking up, regardless of whether the guy was twenty-four or forty-four.
“You don’t recognize me, do you?”
 That threw me off. Not that it would take much after the shithole of the day. If I’d ever met this man before, I wouldn’t have forgotten. No possible way. Dead libido or not. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
He chuckled, straight, brilliant white teeth flashing, as he shook his head. “No, we haven’t. But I am on the cover of one of your books. The Alpha’s Lust.” He held out his hands. “I’m your werewolf, apparently.”
I sucked in a breath and felt my cheeks heat. Now that he said it, I wasn’t sure how I hadn’t placed him. The publisher had found the cover for that particular book before I’d even written half. After seeing his image, writing the sex scenes had been a challenge. Well, not a challenge, but more inspired. That was definitely not something I could tell him, though. Instead I stuck out my hand. “Then I guess I need to thank you. That’s one of my bestsellers. And undoubtedly because of the cover.”
“You’re most welcome.” He took my hand, gave it a shake, and this time he held on for a heartbeat. At least I thought he did. “It’s nice to finally meet the famous Miss Ginger Peach in person.”
I flinched. “Oh shit, I didn’t even introduce myself, did I? My real name is Lamont Price. I’m not actually Gin—” Goddammit. “Never mind. You probably figured that out.”
He laughed again. And just like when he had been onstage, though he was completely clothed, he seemed utterly at ease, completely confident, and enjoying simply being alive. “Yes, I figured you were a little bit too rugged to pull off Ginger Peach, unless your parents were abnormally cruel.”
I could almost see my father naming me that as a baby. It wouldn’t have been meant to be cruel. But it certainly sounded like something he would’ve done. I supposed I should count my lucky stars that hadn’t been my fate. I suddenly became aware that the model wasn’t offering his name in return. I couldn’t tell if it was intentional or just an oversight. “And you? Do you have a name?”
Hesitation. There was definitely hesitation. And the first shadow I’d seen crossed his features. It disappeared quickly, though. “Tyler.” He stuck out his hand again, all charm returning. “I’m Tyler Dixon. Nice to meet you, Lamont.”
And again, I could’ve sworn he held my hand a little longer than typical.
Though it made absolutely no sense, and though I was so out of practice even training wheels wouldn’t have kept me from a crash and burn, I was pretty certain Tyler was attracted to me.
Tyler. The name fit him. I liked it.
And holy shit, I almost said that out loud.
His eyes widened. “Shit. Uhm….” He looked a bit flustered. “That’s my real name, but my working name is Tate Dallas. So, if you hear that name, that’s also who I am. My version of a pen name. No one here, except for Cheryl Lee, knows my real name.”
“No problem. If it comes up, I’ll refer to you as Tate.” I could swear he hadn’t meant to tell me his real name. Not that I had any room to judge on that. “Well, after today I suppose you can all call me Lamont or Ginger, now we’re one and the same.” God, that sounded stupid. Telling the hot guy to call me Ginger.
Like an answer from heaven, my phone vibrated in my pocket, and I pulled it out. It really was an answer to a prayer, as I didn’t even need to make up an excuse. “Sorry, text from my dad. He knew I was nervous about today. I’m sure he’s been waiting by the phone.”
“No big deal. Please, answer him.”
Most of the time I would never be that rude, but I needed the distraction.
Hey son! Since I haven’t heard from you, I’m going to assume you took my advice and went to the party this evening. Please don’t check your phone. You’d better be dancing. See you at the baby shower when you’re back in town. And, just so you know, I have a surprise for you.
I groaned. “Well, shit.” I knew exactly what that meant. What it always meant.
“Your dad not okay?”
I glanced at Tyler. I’d forgotten I wasn’t alone. “Oh, no. There’s just a family thing, and my father is going to try to set me up. Again.” Wow, I really had been off guard if I was admitting that so easily.
Tyler’s brows popped. “You’re single?”
Strange, I thought it was tattooed on my forehead. “Yes, which is something my family can’t seem to accept.” And this was the very last thing I wanted to talk about with the magnificent male specimen of the cover model variety. Not that I had anything else to talk about, or that it mattered what he thought of me ultimately. I pulled an overused note out of my playbook and turned the conversation to him. “So, do you do this kind of thing a lot? Travel to book conventions and such? Do you do other types of modeling?”
Tyler wasn’t fazed by the abrupt switch. “I do several types of modeling, but a fair amount of book covers.” He took a sip of beer and then leaned his elbow on the bar. I coveted his ability to look so at ease. “I actually really like doing these conventions. Unless you’re doing runway, which I haven’t done much of, you don’t get the live interaction with fans and such. It’s nice. Although, it can wear you down pretty quick, so I make sure I steal away at least one hour of the day, even put it in my contract. Today was the busiest day, so I didn’t get that hour until right now.”
“You only get an hour break each day? What do you do the rest of the time? Do you have to go to every panel?”
He shook his head. “No, but I do have to stay within so many feet of my author. And be part of her brand for the weekend. Or in Cheryl’s case, part of the brand for her entire career. I’m on nearly every one of her book covers. I have my own room, but it’s even in the contract that I’m not allowed to bring anyone else in there, if you know what I mean. I belong to her brand. Period.”
Well, shit. Him mentioning having someone in his hotel room did something to me. Or at least did something to make my pants tighter.
Ridiculous. He said he couldn’t bring someone to his room. And even if he could, it wouldn’t be me.
But under contract? I’d never heard of such a thing. Maybe it was commonplace, maybe it wasn’t. With this being my first conference, I didn’t know how any of it worked. But that sounded strange and felt a little gross. Although I really wasn’t sure why. Tyler was getting paid, so it wasn’t like he was being forced to do anything against his will. “So you get paid by the hour for just being here?”
“Yeah.” Tyler nodded. “Pretty sweet deal. It’s not only book conventions. Sometimes there are parties here in LA that they need to have….” He grimaced. “Sorry, I know this is going to sound arrogant, and I don’t mean it that way, but it is what it is. But sometimes the parties need to have a certain number of attractive people, so they pay people like me to attend.” Another shrug. “I mean, what other kind of job can you have where you’re paid to go to parties, drink champagne, or take your shirt off in front of a bunch of romance readers?”
“I’ve never heard of being paid to go to parties.” LA was a weird place. So different from Lavender Shores. When the notion hit me, I literally sat up straighter and turned to face Tyler. Too quickly to play it off as casual. Even so, I stopped myself from saying the words, realizing how they would sound.
Tyler flinched at my sudden movement but smiled good-naturedly. “Looks like someone just had an idea.”
I shook my head. I couldn’t play it off, but I didn’t have to admit what I was thinking either. “No, sorry, stupid idea.”
“I might be a model, Lamont, but it doesn’t mean my brain is empty. I can put two and two together pretty quickly.” He looked at me through narrowed eyes, and any degree of flirting I thought I’d picked up on was gone, maybe it had never been there. “Are you in need of my services?”
He’d read my mind. “Your services?” Surely he couldn’t actually be okay with what I was thinking. Then I realized. Dear God, I was so stupid. Of course that’s not what he meant. I shook my head. “No, actually. I doubt I’ll do another conference in a long time, if ever.” Well, shit, now it sounded as though I was rejecting him or felt I was better than him or something. “But if I ever do go to another conference, I’ll talk to my agent and see if having you be part of our booth would be doable. If nothing else, it would sure sell a lot more copies of The Alpha’s Lust.
Tyler slouched, almost looking disappointed. “Oh, for some reason I thought maybe you had an event you needed me to show up at. Maybe that thing for your family. You know, so you don’t have to deal with being set up one more time.”
I stared at him, not even trying to mask my reaction. That was exactly what had flicked through my mind. The crazy, disrespectful, absolutely insane idea. “You would do that?”
“Sure. Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Yeah.” Like it was the most normal thing in the world. “Lots of people need to have a boyfriend for the weekend.
Well, holy shit.


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The Palisade
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The Veranda
Book Three in the Series 
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Rosalind Abel grew up tending chickens alongside her sweet and faithful Chow, Lord Elgin. While her fantasy of writing novels was born during her teen years, she never would have dreamed she’d one day publish steamy romances about gorgeous men. However, sometimes life turns out better than planned.In between crafting scorching sex scenes and helping her men find their soul mates, Rosalind enjoys cooking, collecting toys, and making the best damn scrapbooks in the world (this claim hasn’t been proven, but she’s willing to put good money on it).

She adores MM Romance, the power it has to sweep the reader away into worlds filled with passion, steam, and love. Rosalind also enjoys her collection of plot bunnies and welcomes new fuzzy ones into her home all the time, so feel free to send any adorable ones her way.

Connect with Rosalind 

Amazon Author page:
Facebook Author page:
Rosalind Abel Website:
Rosalind Abel Goodreads:
Lavender Shores Website:
Twitter: @rosalind_abel
Thank you for touring with Jo&IsaBooks


Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life, but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.
Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then, he met his pregnant fiancée’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.
A decade later, after a divorce and the crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years. The problem is, those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high…
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In this chapter, Spencer, who is a lawyer, is giving Spencer a tour of his work. Let’s just say, Spencer gets quite a bit more than he’d imagined…
Donovan’s eyes grew wider with each step we took on the tour of my firm. I nearly thought they were going to pop out when he realized the law firm filled the top three stories of the high-rise. It was kind of cute.
He’d kept his Friday afternoon free of clients so we could start our San Francisco weekend a few hours early. Donovan started out the tour nervous, finally meeting my coworkers. By the time we were done, I could feel that my head was a little bit swollen by his awe and the pride I heard in his voice as I introduced him to people.
Giving a tour to a new client was typical, but I normally explained what the client was there for or why I was introducing them. With Donovan, I didn’t give an explanation. The obvious assumption would be that he was a client. And if they assumed something else? Well, that’s what the weekend was. Us not having to worry about what anyone else thought.
As I brought him to my office, my assistant pulled me back to clarify something about one of the cases. Donovan went on in while I chatted with her for a few minutes. I made certain to emphasize that I didn’t want to be interrupted from that point on, by anyone. That the things we were discussing trumped any case that might rear its head. As I joined Donovan, I locked the door, just to be sure. He was leaning by the wall of windows, and he glanced back as I entered but then returned to the view. “This is what you see every day? I bet on clear days, you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge.”
“That’s true. I’ll have to bring you back up here at night. That’s my favorite time.” I joined him by the window, standing behind and wrapping my hands around his waist, holding him to me. He leaned against me, and I marveled at how natural it was already.
“Well, that puts what I see outside of my window to shame. There is a squirrel that comes by every once in a while. Sometimes I think he’s waving at me. So, there is that.”
I chuckled and tightened my embrace.
“Lavender Shores is so upscale most of the time that I feel fairly cosmopolitan, plus I make it into the city frequently enough. Coming up here, seeing you like this, everybody in suits, I feel like I’m from a hick town.”
“I hardly think Lavender Shores qualifies as a hick town. That would be like saying Restoration Hardware is a Walmart.”
He shuddered.
I chuckled again. “There’s that founding family sensibility that you try to hide so well.”
He tried to twist and look at me, but I held him close, refusing to loosen my grip, enjoying the feel of his muscular back against my chest. “I’ve seen your suits, Spencer. You didn’t get those at Walmart.”
“I’ve noticed you have a thing for suits. Don’t pretend that you aren’t a little hard at touring three floors of men in suits.” I lowered my hand, grazing his groin. “See? I told you so.”
“That’s because”—he tilted his hips back so they rubbed against me—“I felt your erection pressing into me since you got in here.” He reached back between us and gave me a squeeze. “But you in a suit? That’s about as porn-worthy as it gets.”
He’d read my mind. I moved my hands to his belt, and began to unfasten it.
He stiffened, though didn’t move until I had his pants unbuttoned and the zipper all the way down. “What are you doing?”
The breathless quality of his voice said that he knew exactly what I was doing, but I played along. “What does it feel like I’m doing?” I pulled his pants down, letting them fall around his thighs and palmed his hard-on over his underwear.
“We’re in front of an entire wall of windows.”
“I know.” I slid his underwear to join his pants around his knees. “It’s four thirty on Friday. Trust me, anybody watching from the other office buildings will appreciate this pick-me-up.” I pressed into him, pushing him against the window.
He sucked in a breath, but I wasn’t sure if it was excitement or the contact with the cold glass, probably both. “But—”
Gripping his hips firmly, I knelt to one knee, and cut short any concern he had by running my tongue between his asscheeks. This time when he gasped, I didn’t have to wonder about the reason. I licked him again, and he trembled. “Spread your legs for me.”
There was a moment’s hesitation, and then he spread wide. He’d taught me a few things over the past week as I’d explored his body nearly every night and I’d committed each of those lessons of what he loved to heart—licking the tender skin of his opening, blowing, daring to push my tongue in farther and farther. With each new ministration, Donovan’s whimpers grew louder and more frenzied. I knew he was trying to keep it quiet with all the people in the office on the other side of the door, and it was amazing bringing him so close to losing control.
“Spencer, I’m about to come.”
I leaned back from his ass, feeling a bit dazed, I hadn’t even realized he’d been jerking off. I grabbed his pumping arm from behind, pressed him against the glass, and held it still. “Don’t you dare. We’re not even close to that yet.”
He let out an agonized groan, but I didn’t relent. I’d noticed Donovan liked being told what to do sexually from time to time. And he wasn’t exactly subtle about his arousal at men in suits. I figured it was high time to combine those into an orgasm he’d never forget. And merely pushing him up against the window and eating his ass for all of San Francisco to see was not what I had in mind.
“You good?”
“Yeah.” He nodded, and I wondered what the cleaning crew would think of the smudges on the window that evening.
“Good man.” I stood, walked away from him, and sat behind my desk.
Donovan stared after me, still standing at the window. After a second he took a couple steps back from the glass and started to pull up his underwear and pants.
I shook my head at him. “Oh no you don’t. Take them off.”
He hesitated, halfway bent over. “What are you doing?”
“The question isn’t what I’m doing; it’s what you’re doing.” I could barely keep from laughing; I felt a little silly trying this role-play.
He glanced toward the closed office door. “There’s about thirty people out there. And we have to go soon. Our dinner reservations are—”
“Do I look like I care about dinner?” I gestured toward the office door. “And, we can be quiet. But if they happen to hear something….” I shrugged. “They’ll just be jealous they’re not me.” Maybe I was pushing things too far.
Donovan looked back and forth between me, the office door, window, then back at me. Then, nervously, he took off his shoes, and stepped out of his pants and underwear. He started to remove his socks.
“No, leave those on.”
He hesitated again, licked his lips, and then straightened, standing tall. If his straining erection jutting through the opening in his shirttails was any indication, I wasn’t forcing things too far.
And judging from my own erection screaming to get out of my pants, I was enjoying this just as much as I figured I would. After all these years, it was time to fulfill some of the fantasies I’d tried so hard to keep at bay. “Stroke yourself for me.”
His pause was briefer this time, and he wrapped his long fingers around his shaft and began to stroke. His enjoyment was obvious as he wasn’t pumping trying to orgasm, but showing off.
This had been all to try to fulfill a fantasy for Donovan, but watching the man I desired for so long, standing in my office, all my coworkers a few feet away, and the entire city of San Francisco in view, I realized I might be getting more out of this than he was. He looked like a fucking sex god, those muscled legs flexing as he stroked his long, thick erection, swiping his fingers over the head and smearing his precome over his shaft, his chest muscles twitching beneath his shirt, and his fully lust-filled gaze boring into me. It took every ounce of self-control to not unzip my pants and join him. It was only through reminding myself that this was for him that allowed me to endure. But I wasn’t going to last as long as originally intended.
I swiveled my chair, clearing the edge of the desk and spread my legs wide. “Come closer.”
Donovan crossed the office, stroking his dick with every step, and came to stop within arm’s reach of me. He didn’t say anything. Yeah, he was enjoying being told what to do.
“Leave your dick alone.”
He did.
I already knew what I was going to tell him to do next, the true test to see if he really would do anything I asked, but I got distracted by his freed erection. I stared, watching the precome roll down his cock. I wanted to get on my knees, take him into my mouth, feel him shooting down my throat.
Again, this was his fantasy. Not mine.
Although, at this point, this was equal to any fantasy I’d ever had.
His cock twitched a couple times, which made me tremble. He must’ve noticed, because he twitched it again. I glanced up to him and saw confirmation there. He knew exactly what he was doing. Donovan was always hot, but seeing him like this, exposed in front of me, that glint of seduction in his eyes, I didn’t know he could look that good. I didn’t know anyone could look that good.
I had to force myself to get back on track. I also made certain my voice left no room for question. “Take off your shirt.”
Donovan reached up and began unbuttoning his dress shirt.
“No, not like that.”
He paused.
Here went nothing. “Rip it off.”
His brows knitted in confusion. “You want me to rip off my shirt?”
“But this is what I’m wearing to the—”
It seemed I’d left room for question in my tone after all. I fixed that. “Rip it off, Donovan.”
There was another heartbeat of a pause, then he curled his fingers around the fastened hems and yanked. Buttons flew across the office, hitting the window, filing cabinets, the desk, my chest. I seriously almost orgasmed right there.
“Holy fuck.” I hadn’t meant to whisper that, but damn. “Now, take it off.”
He did, chest and shoulder muscles rippling as he pulled his arms free, and let the ruined shirt fall to the floor.
I almost considered skipping the next part of the plan, knowing that I would have to be careful to keep from coming, but I thought he’d like it, and at this point, I needed to see it, feel it, cement it in my memory. I angled my hips up, unzipped my pants and pulled my erection through my fly, leaving the belt fastened and everything else in place, and then sat back down in the office chair. “Get on your knees and blow me.”
He whimpered.
I hope you enjoyed that little excerpt. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the rest of that scene or traveling along side Donovan and Spencer as their love story unfolds.
Rosalind Abel grew up tending chickens alongside her sweet and faithful Chow, Lord Elgin. While her fantasy of writing novels was born during her teen years, she never would have dreamed she’d one day publish steamy romances about gorgeous men. However, sometimes life turns out better than planned.
In between crafting scorching sex scenes and helping her men find their soul mates, Rosalind enjoys cooking, collecting toys, and making the best damn scrapbooks in the world (this claim hasn’t been proven, but she’s willing to put good money on it).
She adores MM Romance, the power it has to sweep the reader away into worlds filled with passion, steam, and love. Rosalind also enjoys her collection of plot bunnies and welcomes new fuzzy ones into her home all the time, so feel free to send any adorable ones her way.
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Twitter: @rosalind_abel

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More Than My Words by Author Ann Lister Excerpt Reveal, & Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt Reveal, Giveaway & More

More Than My Words by Author Ann Lister.


Read an excerpt from More Than My Words, Guarding The Gods Book Three by Author Ann Lister. She also has some exciting news and surprises for all readers and fans of all things ROCK!!



More Than My Words

Guarding The Gods ~ Book Three

Copyright © 2017 by Ann Lister. All rights reserved.

* Unedited and subject to change. *

Mason arrived back at Tessler’s building just after eight o’clock that night. He’d put in a few hours of office work at Ventura Security, then home to shower and change for his date with Tessler. Now he was sitting outside in the backseat of the car service sending Tessler a quick text message.

“I’m here,” Mason typed.

“Okay, I’ll meet you out in front of the coffee shop.”

Mason eased from the backseat and thanked the driver before he shut the door. When he turned around Tessler was standing there with a huge smile on his perfectly tanned face. It made him remember how tanned Tessler said he was all over his body. No tan lines. He hadn’t been able to get that visual out of his head since Tessler had uttered the words. And his cock was in total agreement–the image of Tessler’s fully tanned body was definitely boner-worthy.

“You’re just in time to see the sun set behind the hillside,” Tessler said. He held out his hand for Mason to take it, then started to tug him toward the entrance of the building.

They stepped inside and Mason was acutely aware that this was the exact spot where he’d kissed Tessler for the first time. That thought had barely registered in his head when Tessler had him pushed up against the brick wall and his lips slammed down on his. Swift and needy, Tessler took immediate control of their kiss with his tongue licking the crease of Mason’s lips before sliding inside. Teeth clinked together while their tongues wrestled and they devoured each others’ mouths. It was a decadent feast that had Mason’s entire body on fire.

His cock ached for attention, but he couldn’t bring himself to pull out of the kiss to even suggest they move upstairs. The slippery wet haven of Tessler’s mouth already had Mason’s nerves on overload. Suggesting more physical contact between them might possibly cause Mason to come in his pants, and did he really want to spend the rest of the night trying to hide the wet spot? This kiss was heaven and hell because it wasn’t near enough to quench his need for the man pressed against him, but damn it felt so fucking good. It was Tessler who finally pulled out of their lip lock. His heavy pants of breath further heated Mason’s already flushed face.

“I had to see if our second kiss would be as good as the first,” Tessler admitted in a hoarse voice.

“And was it?” Mason asked.

Tessler chuckled and said, “It was even hotter.”

“I’d have to agree with that assessment, but we should probably do a little more . . . research to fully prove the data,” Mason said and grinned as wickedly as he could.

“Mmmm, then let’s go,” Tessler said. He took Mason’s hand and started to tug him down the hall toward the elevator.

Mason followed close behind Tessler with so many different emotions flooding his veins. He wondered where the night would take them, and if there’d be a second date. There had to be another date, right? With the kind of chemistry they shared, Tessler would have to want to see him again. There was no way in hell this was one sided or that he was imagining the attraction. Tessler was just as turned on as Mason was and he’d felt the evidence of that pressed into his hip just a minute ago by the doorway.


collabration BANNER

What’s better than one author writing a rock star romance? TWO! And if you love collaborations between authors, then you are going to LOVE the upcoming project Ann Lister has planned with Sandrine Gasq-Dion!!

They’ve already shared their rock stars in each others rock series, but now they’re going to collaborate and write a story together!!

One story. Two authors with rock stars. This story is going to ROCK!! It will be so packed with all your favorite rock star characters, you are going to lose your mind!

Are you ready for this? Get your backstage passes ready, because this story is coming at you soon!!

I have something BIG to reveal!!

WEBSITE, music between the sheets banner

How does a brand new website that’s bigger and better than ever before sound to you? This completely new domain has space for all my men and even has space left over for a NEWSLETTER, too! The Home of The Rock Gods and the men who have their backs in Guarding The Gods will now be sharing this new space with the Gallo Brothers from the Band of Brothers series, along with my collection of M/F titles!!

Go check out the new pages and be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my new NEWSLETTER via my website! I can’t wait to keep you all updated on all things Rock Gods and MORE so be sure to leave your email so we can make that happen! I hope you enjoy my Music Between The Sheets!!

Visit & Subscribe HERE

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If you loved The Rock Gods now is your chance to read the spin off series from the men that have their backs. Read book 1 and 2 FREE with KindleUnlimited.

Zac’s Mulligan Book 1


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Add to your shelf on Goodreads, click I want to read.

Honor And Pride Book 2


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Published Books by Erotic Romance Author Ann Lister

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Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.

After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances.

The Rock Gods series gave her Bestselling Author status on Amazon. Beyond The Music, Book 7 in the series, hit #1 in the Gay Erotica genre during the Pre-Order and held that spot for several weeks. This last book in The Rock Gods series launches the spin-off series, Guarding The Gods, which releases in early Summer of 2016.

Fall For Me, Book One in the series was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Award. Each book in this series brings her two favorite elements together: musicians and the love between two men. These stories focus on what it truly means to love; love unconditionally, love without restrictions or labels, love without fear or judgment – to just simply love.

Connect with Ann here:

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Twitter @AnnListerAuthor

Thank you for touring with Jo&IsaBooks

More Than My Words By Author Ann Lister excerpt reveal

Excerpt Reveal, More Than My Words, Guarding The Gods: Book 3 by Author Ann Lister


More Than My Words by Author Ann Lister is coming soon. Here is your chance to read an excerpt from Mason’s story

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Mason Foxworth has spent the last several months recovering from injuries he received doing personal security while on tour during the horrific fire in Germany. He feels useless and alone, and the worst part of it, the physical scarring left behind from the burns has ruined his self-esteem. Who would want him now, when he is so damaged inside and out and has nothing much to contribute? He doesn’t have many friends and his co-workers feel it’s safer to keep Mason at a desk in the office pushing paperwork, rather than out in the field working security. Mason wants to change that status before he loses the last thread of his sanity, and the main obstacle in his way is a bum leg that’s taking far too long to heal.

Tessler is an enigma in the sci-fi literary world. A young, reclusive author, known for the mystery swirling around him, realizes he’s lost any real joy in his life until he suddenly starts to feel the strange emotion pumping through his veins. Barely beyond the age of twenty-five, and he’s already made more money than most see in a lifetime, but Tessler feels empty inside. What made him this way must remain the secret it is, or he feels he’ll lose the empire he’s created. But meeting a man who could possibly bring all his pieces together is challenging his reasons for anonymity, and Tessler suddenly finds himself wanting more from life and for himself.

Mason wants his life back and Tessler is just looking to have a real life. Can two vastly different men find a way to smooth out their hard edges and blend their lives to offer the one ingredient neither has? Personal growth comes in many different shapes and Mason and Tessler have a mountain of it to climb in order to find their HEA, but it’s a journey both of them are ready to take.


You can now add More Than Words to your TBR shelf on Goodreads



Catch up on the GTG series

Zac’s Mulligan Book 1


Amazon UK
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Add to your shelf on Goodreads, click I want to read.

Honor And Pride Book 2


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Author Ann Lister has some exciting things to come over the next few months. She may not always have time to create sign up forms to invite you all to join and help share. If you don’t want to miss a thing by this Author please sign up to join her master list.


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Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.

After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances.

The Rock Gods series gave her Bestselling Author status on Amazon. Beyond The Music, Book 7 in the series, hit #1 in the Gay Erotica genre during the Pre-Order and held that spot for several weeks. This last book in The Rock Gods series launches the spin-off series, Guarding The Gods, which releases in early Summer of 2016.

Connect with Ann here:

Facebook Page
Twitter @AnnListerAuthor

Thank you for touring with Jo&IsaBooks