Marteeka's Dreams

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Demise of All Romance eBooks

I've been trying to process this whole All Romance closing thing. I tried really hard to feel bad as I was reading the e-mail telling me they were closing at the end of the year (3 days away at the time of the letter.) I mean, here is a woman (or group of women) who have worked for years to make the company successful. As much as my books are my babies, this company was theirs. So yeah. I tried to feel sorry for them. Tried to put myself in their situation. Tried to feel the pain, as it were. Even when I first read the terms they were proposing for a settlement (10 cents on the dollar.) I tried. For all of 10 minutes (figured I'd give them that since they were willing to give me 10% of what they owed me.)

So, then I thought. No. this isn't OK. It's really not OK! And I can't imagine WHY ARe would think it is. I suppose one could choose to look at it as, "Hey. At least they're paying something." But then I see they are still advertising on their Facebook page. They have made no effort to clarify their terms regarding pre-orders (I feel bad about this particularly because I talked Margaret Riley into putting Changeling books up for pre-order several months back,) and are apparently making no effort to return readers gift card money (I suppose those people are just shit out of luck) and companies -- like Changeling and Loose Id, companies that have been around for a very long time -- that have several hundred (or thousand) titles at ARe stand to lose a great deal of money.

So, no. I don't feel bad for them. If they were paying what they owed authors, then yes. I'd feel bad. Sure, they have bills. I get that. They had the right to sell something from their sight to people I personally would never have been able to reach as an self published author and I made money from them for YEARS. Yes. I'm grateful. More grateful than I can express. However. None of this gives them the right to take three months of my income. They have an agreed upon day of the quarter THEY set as pay day (45 days after the end of the calendar quarter.) It's kind of like, when you go out for lunch and your buddy wants something too. He gives you $10 to pay for his and expects change. Do you use his change to pay for your food without asking him? Not if you want to keep your friend. Sure, he might be ok with you using his change, since you're going out and all, but you ASK him if he's OK with that.

So, let's forget about non payment for a moment. Or, at least, let's forget about 4th quarter until the 27th of December. Because the site is still open, still selling titles (that haven't been deactivated) and their Facebook page is still posting sales and such... really? I get that some people schedule posts, but given they know they're closing, is there no one capable of shutting all that down? They may not be actually selling anything, may not be actually collecting any money, but perception is everything. And this from an author! (Lori James, the owner of All Romance eBooks also writes as Samantha Somersby... no, you won't find her work on Amazon -- other than the print versions that can't be taken down -- because the digital versions have been removed, so you can't leave reviews on titles you've already purchased.)

I'd say 10% is better than nothing, but I just don't feel like accepting that. I work too hard to settle for a fraction of what I earned. But i suppose with so many companies going under, it's become acceptable to stiff authors, people you've done business with for years. After all, we live in our imagination for a living. I guess I can just imagine getting paid. It'll be great fun. *insert eye roll*

I will say this. If anyone is unable to back up any of my self published books, if you forward me a receipt or a screenshot of your library (that I can varify from the said screenshot is you) I will gladly replace your book. I can't promise my Changeling Press titles or any books I had with Shara Azod, LLC, but I can promise I will try to compensate you for them. You can contact me at mkarland@gmail.com if you need this service.

You can read more details about the closing here.

Teeka


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hump Day HUMPs... Taken by the Wolf King COMING SOON!




Leif had no idea why he spoke so harshly to her. Even in his whispered voice, he knew he was being cruel telling her this. Hell, he wasn’t even certain he’d be able to follow through with any of it. Likely, his line would end with him because he knew he’d never be able to fully part her from her offspring. That would make him no better than the humans who kept his people prisoner. Perhaps he said it because he knew he’d never be able to carry out his threat. Perhaps he wanted her to think the worst because he knew there was no way he’d ever fully disengage his heart from her, no matter that it would be the smart thing to do. He wanted her to be as confused and hurt as he was, and this was the only way he could think of to do it.
“But make no mistake, you will be my wife. You will learn to please me in everything. I may seek lovers outside our union, but you will not. You’ll only know pleasure when I decide to give it, how I decide to give it…and where I decide to give it.”
Leif had her wrapped tightly in his arms, one arm over her breasts while the other one lay over her belly. Now, he slid his hand up her torso to cup one small breast in his palm. Instantly, the nipple pebbled under his caress, as if straining for his touch.
“Leif…”
“Be silent!” he hissed. “You’re at my mercy, mine to do with as I will!”
Elsa’s soft body trembled in his arms, her breathing deep and rapid. A perverse thrill went through him at the thought of what he was about to do. How far would she let him go before she protested? Not that he’d care. Leif would do anything and everything he wanted to her. No matter they were in a cavern full of people. It was best she realize exactly what her place would be and accept it now, before they got to Denwulf.
Again, he squeezed her breast, kneading it through the material of her tunic. She wore no bra so it was impossible for him not to slide his hand under her top to find her flesh. Leif could well imagine the plump blackberry peaks stiffening under his fingers. Gods knew he’d dreamt about it often enough in the preceding days. In his mind, he’d bitten those luscious nipples to the point of pain, watched in sickening fascination as she cried out with a mixture of pleasure and torment. He’d fantasized about taking her to the point of ecstasy only to intensify the pain so that she fell from that crest without release.
“If you knew all the things I’ve done to torment your little body in my mind since my imprisonment, you’d try to run away screaming. You would get nowhere, but you’d still try.”
“You want to hurt me?”
“So much I ache with it,” he snarled. “I want to pierce these nipples with the symbol of my crest, forever branding you as mine. My possession. I want to tie you to a post and lash that lovely skin until it bears my marks, letting you know you’ll never be free of me. My cock aches to plunge into your little cunt, to push past the ring of your ass until you feel my size so completely you’ll never forget my touch. I want to take you so long and hard you pass out only to take you again when you wake.” His grip on her breast tightened, but surprisingly, Elsa arched into him. So he shoved her pants out of his way and slid his other hand into her panties, cupping her sex.
“I bet you ache with the need to be filled with my cock, don’t you.” He made it a statement. Not that she tried to deny it. Good thing too because she was soaking wet. Had she done so, it would only be another mark against her, another lie. Betrayal.
Leif pinched her clit, tugging the sensitive nub until she shivered in his arms before releasing her to stroke her sex again. Fingers wet with her desire, Leif rubbed little circles over her clit to ease the ache he’d instilled. But not too long. He didn’t want her to come. Not yet.
“I’ll bend you over a rail and take you from behind in front of my men. You’ll be bound and naked for all to see while I take my revenge. Just as I proclaimed you my mate-in-waiting in front of them, I’ll let them all know you’re no longer my cherished mate. You’ll be nothing more than a vessel for my pleasure.” His fingers found their way inside her cunt, two, then three plunging inside her with faster and harder strokes. “Ah, you’re growing wetter at the thought. Being my whore probably turns you on more than being my wife.”
Elsa whimpered, not denying his brutal words, but not acknowledging them either. Her silence made his anger all the more heated. He wanted to hurt her, wanted her to protest so he could remind her over and over she was at his mercy. Instead, she seemed to accept her lot in life, and her place in his.
“Perhaps I’ll share you with my men. Long days on the battlefield away from women or any means of pleasure. You’ll be the camp whore. How would you like that?”
“I wouldn’t,” she whimpered. “But I’ll accept whatever punishment you see fit.”
Leif wanted to howl his frustrations. Did nothing shake her?
“Why do you not beg for my mercy?” The question was harsh as he nipped her ear, a small punishment for her not acting as he’d expected.
“Would it change your mind?”
“No,” he growled.
“Then if I’m to be humiliated, I’ll go to it with as much dignity as I can manage. But I won’t fight you. I wronged you, Leif. No matter the reasons, I hurt you. However you feel the need to punish me, I’ll accept it. It’s no less than I deserve.”
With a frustrated snarl, Leif reached lower, sliding his fingers from her pussy to find her anus. “You think I won’t ream this little hole?”
“I have no doubt you’ll do everything you said and more,” she said without hesitation, her voice steady. Brave little female.
“Yet you don’t beg me to spare you? I had no dignity in that cell. What makes you think I’ll allow you any?”
“Dignity isn’t something you’re allowed to have. Not something you’re given. It comes from inside, measured by how you handle a given situation. If you choose to strip me down and take me in front of everyone, I can’t stop you. But I won’t beg you not to. I won’t cry or plead. I’ll take my punishment as well as I can and hope that you’ll someday believe I’ve paid my debt to you.”
Pulling her tightly against him, Leif plunged a finger into her ass, fucking her there as he might her pussy. Elsa whimpered, but actually rocked against his fingers subtly. With that shift in her body, Leif’s cock shot hard as rock. He’d been stirring before, but the idea that his little mate might like what he was doing to her even as he punished her made visions of carnal sex and sadistic pleasure flash through his mind with unadulterated, aggressive lust. Possibilities shot straight to his brain, things he’d only ever dreamed about doing but never thought to experience. He’d do them with her. Every single one of them.
“You like this, don’t you? You want me to fuck your ass as hard and long as I need to. I bet you’d come from it.”
“Leif,” she whimpered, sweat coating her body as she continued to rock on his fingers.
“You need to come?”
“Would you let me if I admitted it?”
Sweet gods almighty! If she’d phrased that any other way, if she’d sounded bitter at the prospect he might not let her come, he’d have happily denied her. Now, Leif wasn’t certain he could if he’d tried.
“Try it and see.”
“Oh, God, yes,” she whispered brokenly. “I need it so bad it hurts!” She looked over her shoulder, meeting his gaze with her fevered one. It hit him what she was doing. He’d told her the same night she’d betrayed him to always look him in the eyes when she came. Demanded it of her. She was complying with his wishes now. And he couldn’t follow through.
Putting his hand over her mouth, Leif forced her head back around so she looked away from him as he snarled at her ear. “Then come for me.” At his command, Elsa’s little anus contracted around his fingers tightly, her body convulsing slightly even as she bit down on his hand to keep from crying out. Leif decided he must be a sadistic bastard because while she came he continued to whisper harshly at her ear. “That’s it, little mate,” he bit out. “Come for me. Every wolf here knows what you’re doing, can smell your lust. They know I’m doing this to you, that you’re coming so hard for me. Tomorrow, they’ll look at you, covet what I took tonight. Only time will tell if they’ll have their turn at you.”

She continued to come around his fingers. Briefly, Leif thought about taking his cock out and sliding it into that impossibly tight little ass, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to take that step yet. To bring her to orgasm was one thing. To take her in that manner with others all around something else entirely. So he settled with letting her ride out her pleasure until she stilled beside him, her body continuing to quiver.

COMING SOON!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Mom for Christmas... Hump Day!



Sebastian Taylor isn’t looking for a mother for his girls, but playing the role of both parents isn’t something he ever thought he’d have to do. Unfortunately, his wife left him no choice, disappearing before serving him with divorce papers last year on Christmas Day.

He’s known Sadira Duncan since she first started teaching at the school. Coaching the cheerleading squad and gymnastics team put her directly in the path of his girls, setting her up become the mother figure they’d lost even before Dedra Taylor had skipped town.

Now, Sebastian aches for the beautiful, dark-skinned woman he’s tried so hard not to notice. She’s everything he’s ever wanted in a wife, and his daughters love and respect her. Not only that, but she tempts him more than any woman ever has. But when his ex-wife returns, will his life come crashing down once again? Will his daughters have a second Christmas ruined? Or will they get A Mother for Christmas?

This heartwarming contemporary romance will make you believe again in the magic of Christmas. For fans of contemporary romance, interracial romance, and erotic romance.

THE HUMP:

The next morning, it proved harder than Sebastian anticipated to get the girls gone. In the end, he had to swear they’d all do something together the next day before they’d finally left with his parents. He hadn’t told them Sadira would be staying with him that day, but he suspected the knew something was up. The older couple had raised an eyebrow at Sadira, but said nothing. Sebastian wasn’t sure if it was because she was black or because it was the first woman they’d seen him with since Dedra had left. Frankly, he didn’t care. She was with him. Was his.

As time went on, he was beginning to realize Dedra had never been his. And he wasn’t all that broken up about it. He’d thought he’d had a good relationship with Dedra at one time, but it had been nothing compared to how he felt about Sadira. From the very first—even before Dedra left—Sebastian had been drawn to the spunky woman. And if Dedra hadn’t left he’d never have acted on it.

Once the girls were out the door and safely in the car and down the drive, however, Sebastian couldn’t act on his feelings for Sadira fast enough.

With a laughing smile and wicked gleam in her eyes, Sadira let him pull her into his arms. Sebastian nuzzled her hair, inhaling deeply before saying right at her ear, “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting to do this?”

“Do what? Run off your girls so you could have a Daddy day?”

He growled and nipped her neck before licking the skin he’d just abused. “Yeah. That exactly.” Then his mouth found hers, the contact scorching and more erotic than anything he’d ever imagined. Sadira melted into his arms, fitting him perfectly. Opening her mouth, she let him dart his tongue inside to find hers. At the contact, Sebastian knew he’d found heaven. Home…

Sadira knew she’d wanted this, wanted to explore the reserved man she’d known for so many years in the most intimate way, but just his kiss was exceeding her wildest expectations. When he groaned and wrapped his arms around her tighter, Sadira knew she was about to see this man lose all his reservations. And she was giddy with excitement.

With a growl, Sebastian lifted her, urging her legs around his waist as he continued to kiss her. Whipping around, he pinned her between the living room wall and his hard, hard body. One hand found her breast, tenderly squeezing and feathering his thumb over her nipple. She knew the sports bra she had on beneath her shirt did little to hide the aroused peaks of her nipples. Knew he felt them stabbing his thumb when he gasped before groaning loudly into her mouth.

“I’m going to enjoy unwrapping this lush little body of yours,” he said between licks at her mouth. His raspy voice sent shivers through her, her nipples tightening even more when he spoke. “I’m going to fuck you so good, Sadira. So fucking good.”

AMAZON


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Yule Tied: Ribbons and Bows



Guess what?

I'm back with Changeling Press! Okokok, so I never really left. I just had too much going on and I wasn't making deadlines and just stopped submitting. Fortunately, being friends with the owner has it's advantages. That and I'm just too cute when I pout. :D

Anyway. Here's my contribution to Yule Tied, the multi author Christmas releases at Changeling Press.com. 

Samson Redding has everything he could want -- everything money can buy. But for all that, he's alone. He's been pursuing the lovely Jerrica in an online relationship, and he's ready to take it to the next level, but she's not ready.
Samson's thought of the perfect way to change her mind. He convinces Jerrica to meet in person -- at a BDSM club he knows she'll love, once she wraps her mind around it.
It may take more than ribbons and bows to tie his woman to his side, but Samson's up for the challenge. The rest? That's up to Jerrica.

EXCERPT:

"Did you tell anyone who I was in order to set me up for Christmas, Tasha?"

"Samson! I swear to you, I've found 'the one' for you. And she has no idea who you are."

He almost breathed a sigh of relief. If she'd told anyone about this, it could get back to the woman he'd set his sights on. He did not want to risk it. Still the situation amused him. "Tasha --"

"I know, I know. But wait until you meet her. You'll see what I mean."

"I actually believe you," he said, grinning. "Though I have no idea why." He'd thoroughly investigated Jerrica after meeting her online at one of those dating sites. At first, she'd seemed too good to be true, but, the more he found out about her, the more he liked. Really liked.

"Because you know that, as a sister who adores her big brother, I would never do anything to make your Christmas miserable." She beamed at him as if she'd just given him irrefutable proof she was on the up and up.

Samson chuckled. "Yes. There is that."

"She's your Elf helper," Tasha continued. "She's the sweetest, most selfless person I've ever met."

"Sweeter than you?" The corners of his lips tugged when Tasha flushed and swatted at him playfully before fluffing his beard again. But that sense of expectation ramped up to full force. His heart sped up with the anticipation building inside him.

"Yes, dear brother, sweeter than me. Though I doubt Mom and Dad would agree with your assessment of me. I was many things as a child. Sweet wasn't one of them."

Samson found himself laughing. "True. I suppose 'spoiled brat' comes closer to the truth, but we were all good with it."

She shrugged unconcernedly. "Occupational hazard. Being twelve years younger than you and born to parents in their forties. I regret nothing."

"And the only girl in three generations. Don't forget that."

"Yeah," Tasha said brightly. "That too."

This whole thing had been Tasha's idea. Samson owned luxury malls all over the country, as well as many other real estate and entertainment ventures. She'd talked him into taking one day a couple of weeks before Christmas and closing the mall in their city to all but invited guests. The "guests" had all been children from the city and a few surrounding communities where poverty abounded. They had no idea why they were being invited, only that transportation with families had been provided and that lunch was free. In an hour or so, a couple thousand people would converge on the place. He had agreed to give every child coming what they wanted most for Christmas.

Though his accountant had nearly fainted, Samson had to admit he felt good about it. He wasn't certain about the number of actual children he'd committed to but even if he spent a couple million, it wasn't like he couldn't make the amount back in a few days. There wasn't much he wouldn't do for his little sister.

The fact that he'd "arranged" for Jerrica Green to work with and meet his sister was a stroke of genius on his part. Knowing Tasha, he'd expected her to do something around Christmas to bring him and Jerrica together.

Assuming Jerrica turned out to be the woman he thought her to be, which he'd had no doubt she would.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heroes: The Carver Brothers




Since I wrote the very first book in this series all those years ago, This family has become my measure of love. True, no one will ever live up to them, but one can hope. :)

Get all our books in this series in one collection. 


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer 2016 -- WARNING! Not for the faint of heart.

It took me several days to write this post. Even now as I'm reading over it, my chest is tight and I'm blinking back tears...

To say the summer of 2016 will be one summer I will endeavor to forget is an understatement, Yes there have been some very positive things, but there have been some life altering, heart rending events as well. Whether they turn out to be for good or ill remains to be seen, but I am not fond of change.

It all started in May. While the event was hands down THE BEST convention I've ever been too -- topping even last year -- it marked the beginning of the end of partnership and a friendship. I shouldn't say the begging of the end but rather the ending of the end. There are always two sides to everything and the actuality is probably somewhere in the middle, but all I know is how I feel about specific instances. The more I think about them, going back and reading past e-mails and IM conversations, the more accepting I am of what I see now as an inevitable outcome. It didn't start out that way which is what is so sad about the whole thing. For years things were fine. When things got tough was when... well, when things got tough. Being me, the non-confrontational person I am, I tend to let things build and build, blowing up at the wrong thing. I also tend to second guess myself afterward. Did I blow up because I was upset at something completely unrelated? Was whomever I lashed out at collateral damage? Did I have PMS? In this instance I was so upset, I called a friend. I turned over the password to my e-mail, said "search for this" and let her have free run of every single message over YEARS. (Folders and tags were extremely helpful here.) Several weeks later, she got  back to me, telling me that, yes, I blew up at the wrong thing but she could see it building as far back as three years before. There were mini meltdowns, resolves not to get lured back into the fray, but I always went back. (Kinda reminded me of my first boyfriend whom I stayed with for two and a half years. Even after he told me that, at 125lbs, I was too fat to be attractive to him. On my birthday.) While I grieve and miss both the partnership and the friendship, I realize that we're both better off. Yes. It fucked with me. Still fucks with me. But then something else happens and I think, at least now there isn't supposed to be loyalty. When it happened before, it was your "bestie." Jury is still out, but I'm not holding out hope.

Vacation, while not a complete disaster, wasn't at all what I expected. Or hoped. But hey. It was vacation. My family had a wonderful time and so did I. After the events above, I SO needed to soak up the sun! Which is exactly what I did. Soaked up quite a bit of alcohol as well, but that's another story. :D

After vacation came the disappointing -- and frustrating end of June. Won't go into specific detail, but suffice it to say I learned that, I'm insensitive to everyone's feelings but my own. I'm stubborn, hard headed, concerned only about myself, am unable to understand when things are difficult for others, and am only concerned about things I think I am owed. That was in response to me being upset about being expected to work for free. No one asked me to work for free. No one said I had to work for free or was going to work for free. But I wasn't getting paid for the previous pay period and there was work lined up to be done immediately. So yeah. I found out what a user I was, that I take advantage of my friends but those friends were too nice to say anything to me about it because they are my friends and there was no since making a big deal about it. I was championed, defended, and pushed to be better. But I never saw anything other than what I thought I was owed. Yes. I sound bitter. The conversation was only one of many of this nature and I realized that, the reason those conversations happened in the first place was because I allowed them to happen more than once. Just like with that first boyfriend.

June turned into July and I found out my Dad would not be eligible for any of the clinical trials we'd applied for because his cancer is too advanced or because his heart wouldn't stand up to the treatment. That wasn't a huge blow, but after all the drama I'd just been through, it was a blow. I wanted something positive to come out of this summer! It's all I really wanted at this point! His doctor was still very supportive. Not only for Dad, but for Mom and me as well. They set my mother up with counselors for her to talk to if she had questions or fears, helping Dad's support system have a support system. Every time I go with him to the doctor, Dr Villano asks how my mother is. Asks how I'm doing. It makes me feel like they all really do care about us. That we're not alone. And every single time I've called, the doctor himself has called me back. He talks to me, gives me the means to help myself and my Dad through information. By pointing me to websites where I can get the knowledge myself to help Dad find a treatment plan that he can live with. Even though brain cancer sucks, having healthcare providers who listen and truly care about their patients makes getting through it a little easier. Or, at least, not as miserable.

The positive came from the garden. Vegetables EVERYWHERE! We canned and froze our asses off! Corn and peas in the freezer, Beans, potatoes, and tomatoes canned. Bumper crop of potatoes! My only fear is that we won't be able to keep the potatoes through the winter, but I have hope.

Then August came. Yeah. August. My work place is being sold. To the company I left from to go there in the first place. Fortunately, I hadn't completely quit the old job a year and a half ago, so I was able to go back and keep all my seniority, benefits, and basically pick up where I left off. It does mean giving up a lot to keep a moderate amount. But hey. At least I have a place to go without having to start all over.

I also found homes for a few books where rights had been returned to me. I reacquainted myself with old friends I hadn't really lost touch with, but who were waiting for me to get my head out of my ass and realize I had people who cared about me. Oh, I was reminded that "I told you so" is a perfectly acceptable response to "I'm sorry," but I can't say I didn't deserve it.

So, as August turns to September and Autumn is truly on the way, I'm reminded of all I've lost. All I have. My husband's birthday is in a few days and I'm so very blessed he's in my life. I'm blessed with a relationship that has lasted twenty years and I hope it last twenty more. I have a son who will turn thirteen in October and he still stops by my chair for random hugs and kisses. He never goes to bed without kissing me goodnight. And when he's hurting, troubled, scared, or just in need of feeling loved, he still takes my hand and says, "Mom, I need to cuddle a minute." We lay down, I hold him, and he tells me what's bothering him. I think he does it so he doesn't have to look at me when he's taking. He has the comfort of my arms around him without having to see my expression and that's OK. I know those days are numbered, but I treasure them now. With my dad being sick, I'm having to relearn to love my mother. Our past isn't as loving as my tight family unit, In fact, it's been quite contentious at times. It's been hard to drop everything and go running when she needs help with Dad. There have been times I've really wanted to tell her she's going to have to do the best she can. I have my own life to live. But I can't. I have helped people as a healthcare provider for twenty years. The very, very least I can do is help my own parents out. Besides, the thought of my seventy year old mother sleeping on the floor of the Emergency room because she has no one to stay with Dad while he's there and, even if she did, has no ride to a hotel makes my heart ache and my blood boil. I don't want my own son to have to relearn how to love me. I never want him to stop loving me. Not just deep down inside. I think that love always stays there. But the love on the surface of your emotions can... fade. Grow numb. I want his love for me to be as raw and necessary as it is now when he gets to be my age. I want to know that, no matter where he goes, or who he's with, he'll always come back home.

So, while I am not a fan of cold weather or snow, I say bring on the winter. I want to turn this shit around and be a positive person. I'm not a depressed or sullen person by nature. I love to laugh and make others laugh. I'm hoping that, by writing all this down, I've released it. That was the point anyway. To release negativity and realize everything good in life I still have. I have so much to be thankful for. So much a AM thankful for! I just want to be the best person I can be. The best wife and mother I can be. The best daughter I can be. If I can accomplish those things, then I will be the best writer I can be because I will be happy.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Where the (Blue) Grass Grows




Elise von Switzer has vanquished her own demon by surviving breast cancer. Now, she's determined to help others make it through their own struggles by championing the fight to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Kentucky. Taking control of her own destiny, she ventures into the great beyond to find the answers she craves.

One man deep in the hills of Kentucky holds the promise of help. Trouble is, Dane Lasseter's as elusive as the cure for cancer itself. Even those who know him stay away. Rumor is, he likes it that way. People are always out to take what he has. When the lovely Elise encroaches on his territory, however, Dane has no problem making an exception to his own rule.

Dane knows Elise is hiding something, but discovering her secret only makes him more determined to prove to her what makes a woman roar. But some scars run deep. Will Dane's healing hands be enough to calm the skittish Elise, or will she jet back the city, leaving her mountain man behind? When lust, love and hope get thrust together, all bets are off!


***This contemporary IR breast cancer survivor romance is full of emotion.***

EXCERPT!

There was nothing quite like the deserted mountains in rural Kentucky. Dane Lasseter had fucking missed them like he’d miss his fucking nuts if they’d been gone for three fucking months. Though it was the height of summer, Dane had been in Miami helping his brother and new sister-in-law get settled in their second home. Why they wanted to live there and why Dane chose to leave his mountain to help them, he had no idea. He as just glad they were all back for the moment. Living in a place that big and covered in people made him crazy. It took away his edge. Sure, he could hunt gators, but where was the sport in that? Damned things were practically crawling all over the swamps. But Miami…

Fucking cities.

He hated them. Could barely tolerate going to Lexington or Louisville for the occasional meeting and continuing education class. If it weren’t for the work he and Blake did for cancer research in both cities, he’d never leave his mountain or the bluegrass of Kentucky. Alas, cancer research centers like Markey, James Graham Brown, and Norton couldn’t serve patients by being located in the woods. Which meant, every now and then, Dane and Blake had to come off their mountain and face civilization. As far as Blake was concerned, civilization was highly overrated.

He’d only been home a few days. Was trying to decompress when he decided the best way to do that was to hunt. He needed fresh meat anyway. City food was so full of preservatives he was sure he’d be backed up for a month. He needed country grub. Fortunately, their cousins had maintained both his and Blake’s multiple gardens while they were away. Potatoes, onions, beans, cabbage, and radishes were all in abundance. Corn too, though it would be a few more weeks until it was ready. Now, he had new taters, beans, and peas waiting on a bit of meat to go with them at home. After a week of city food, his mouth watered just thinking about his own home grown goodness. That distraction was probably why it had taken until nearly sunset to get a deer in his sights.

Still as he could be, Dane brought tension to his bow, his arrow ready to fly. The big buck and his baby mama had been picking at his garden for the past several nights. While Dane couldn’t bring himself to kill the doe or the fawn, this fellow was fair game as far as he was concerned. Being in the city mean he smelled like the city. Which meant he was now covered in wonderful fragrance of pine and deer urine to mask his own scent.

“Shouldn’t have gone into another male’s territory, you bastard,” he muttered to himself as he got ready to take the shot.

The buck stood there, sensing the danger but unable to pinpoint where it was. If he’d turn just a little to the right, Dane could get the perfect kill shot. Just a little bit more… a little bit more…

A twang sounded to Dane’s left. A bowstring? A split second later, a thunk sounded and the deer bolted. As the creature fled, Dane spied an arrow shaft in the exact spot Dane himself was aiming for. Someone had gacked his shot? What the fuck?

Relaxing tension on the bow, Dane swung his aim to his right, wanting to see who trespassed on his land. His bow scope ensured he could see whoever was poaching on his property. The guy was good. He was still, blended nearly seamlessly with the greenery. It was only when he moved to adjust his field glasses that Dane saw him at all.

The guy stayed perfectly still, tracking the deer visually before taking off deeper into the woods. The moonlight gave Dane a glimmer of dark skin shimmering with sweat. The glimpse was fleeting enough he couldn’t tell if the person was black or just darkly tanned, but the absence of feminine…attributes lead him to believe it was a young man. He was slight of build and short, but his arms were lean and strong. The rest of him was covered in camo gear, but he moved with a swift grace as he tracked the deer through the brush. Dane followed at a distance, not wanting to spook the child but needing to warn him off his property. But if the kid was only looking for something to eat…

But that made no sense. No one lived in these mountains. Dane and Blake owned everything from the outskirts of the local town to the next. Everything was nearly virgin wood except where they’d made their homesteads. So why was this kid hunting out of season in Dane’s woods?

As Dane followed the deer’s trail, he had to admit the kid was good. Really good. If it hadn’t been for the deer’s headlong dash and bloody trail, he doubted he’d have been able to follow the kid at all.

It took thirty minutes before Dane caught up to the pair. Despite the mortal wound, a deer could run for several minutes before the adrenaline left and blood loss took over. Now, he saw the kid gutting the fucking deer, a hole already dug to bury the internal organs.

Smart kid!

“You’ve either got a set of balls bigger than I do or you’re just not very smart, kid. No one hunts on my land.” Dane knew his gravelly voice could be menacing and used it to his full advantage. In the dusky dark, the full moon just beginning to lighten the sky, the bloody scene was creepy enough. He’d been known to terrify grown, battle-hardened men. How would a kid stand up to him?

“Not balls,” came a decidedly female voice. “Ovaries. And I’m more intelligent than you.” The voice came from the “kid,” who never looked up from her work. “I killed my deer and still managed not to smell like I pissed a Christmas tree.”

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Mary Jane's Healing Hands -- EXCERPT!



Back inside, she noted her surroundings this time. How spotlessly clean the place was. If there was anything out of place, she couldn’t figure what it would be. Even the woodpile next to the fireplace was freakishly neat. And the food did smell really good. As Blake hung his coat on the rack next to the door, Ruth couldn’t help but watch him move. He had the grace of a jungle cat, all fluidity and controlled power. She shivered at the thought. Carnivorous grace. A predator, pure and simple.

He wore a red flannel shirt over a white tee, both tucked into jeans that hugged his ass and powerful legs perfectly. Muck boots came just below his knees. He toed off the boots onto a rug beside the door. Never had she seen anyone look so fucking good in such plain clothes.

With a little smirk at her, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking, he opened a closet and retrieved bedding and pillows. Just as the lights flickered once, then went out. Blake didn’t hesitate, but continued as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Firelight flickered over him making his dark hair seem to glimmer in the dim light.

Blake neatly made the couch with sheets and quilts like he might a bed, then made a pallet on the floor. “Intended for you to sleep in my bed, but with the power out, it would be better to sleep in here by the fire. I can’t run the generator all night so it will probably get chilly, and I don’t have the fireplace in my room ready for a fire. You take the couch.” He stretched out on the floor, flashing her that heart-stopping grin as he did. “Relax,” he said. “It’ll be fun. Like camping out.”

“This is your idea of fun?” Ruth couldn’t believe this was happening. She was stuck in the mountains of Kentucky with a man she didn’t know all that well in the middle of a snow storm. And she wasn’t broken up about it all. Sure, he routinely fucked up people who got in his business, but he helped people too. Surely that meant he was one of the good guys.

“Na. This is life. Fun would be doing this outside. We’d have to snuggle to keep warm.”

Ruth couldn’t help the giggle that bubbled up inside her. “You’re nuts,” she managed. There was a companionable silence for a while. The wind picked up outside, howling through the trees and over the house, but she felt no cold. He’d obviously taken care to insulate his home against the chill and wind.

“Come on,” he said, snagging her arm and steering her toward the kitchen table off in the corner of the living room. “Food is calling.” The living room and kitchen area were combined. While the room was small, he’d used the space well, keeping all but the couch in front of the fire against the walls to maximize the living area. They ate in silence for long moments. Which was a good thing. Though the meal was simple, Ruth was certain she’d never tasted anything so wonderful outside her gram’s cooking.

Finally, Ruth asked the question she’d been burning to ask since she’d discovered the truth about him. “Why do you do it?”

“Hold beautiful women against their will in my home in the mountains? Because I’m a lusty bastard and hope to persuade them to…get cozy with me when the fire burns low.”

She sighed. “Do you take nothing seriously?”

“I always take survival very seriously. Snuggling for body heat is a matter of survival.”

He took her dishes. When she offered to help, he gave her a sexy little smirk and told her to get ready for bed. Which just conjured up all kinds of naughty images.

Once she was settled and he situated himself on the floor between her and the fire, she continued their conversation. “You risk going to jail for drug trafficking and for what? You give away your product. Do you not make anything from it?”

“Ah. That.” He sighed as if disappointed, but continued. “Why would anyone do what I do?”

She thought a moment before answering. “I suppose you had someone in need of…medicine.”

“Very good,” he praised.

Which only grated on Ruth’s nerves so she added, “Or you’re just not very smart.”

He chucked. “I like your sass. You’re right. My mother had breast cancer. She would have died a natural death had it not been for my father, my brother, and me. She was the glue that held us together and she knew it. So she went through all the chemo and radiation the doctors suggested. Never once did she complain. But it was hell for her.

“Finally, my father had had enough. He loved my mother more than anything on this earth. My brother and I included. At her last doctor’s visit, he said he was bringing her home for good. No more treatments. My mother looked at him as if he’d handed her the Holy Grail before she broke down into tears. My brother and I wanted to protest. We wanted her around as long as possible. But we knew what she went through. The sickness every day. Not being able to eat. Losing what little she managed to choke down. And the pain. Always the pain.

“One night, Dad had just helped her from the bathroom where she’d been violently ill for half an hour. She could barely stand. Dad had to carry her back to bed. I did the only thing I could think of. I knew Mom wouldn’t like it. She was a church-going woman. But I rolled a joint and went to their bedroom. She was lying there, nearly lifeless from fatigue and lack of food to sustain her. Mom just looked at me, so obviously wanting her suffering to end but unwilling to leave all of us.

“So I lit the end, sucking in a lungful of smoke. I eased down to her and slowly blew it under her nose so she could breathe it in with her mouth or her nose. At first, she gasped in surprise, trying to turn away. But I kept at it. After a couple of hits, she started to feel better.”

Blake was quiet for several seconds. Ruth thought he was done, but, seeming to gather himself, he continued.

“None of us ever spoke about it. Beau, my brother, and I just made sure she had several joints ready each day if she needed them. The nausea lessened. The pain lessened. She still took the morphine the hospice nurse brought, but not as much. Her appetite increased and she got a little stronger. Did it cure her? Not in the least. She died a couple of months later. But her time was spent with us. Not in a drugged-out stupor where she was in constant pain. She still hurt, but it was more manageable.

“In the years since, Beau and I have dedicated our lives to finding the perfect mix of THC and CBD in our hybrid strains.”

“I don’t understand,” she interrupted. “Are you talking about what makes your weed special from everyone else’s?”

“Exactly. THC is what gives you the high and helps the pain. CBD is what helps the nausea, muscle spasms, and increases appetite. Most doctors favor a product higher in CBD content, while patients need both. It’s all very politically correct.”

“You sound like you know quite a bit about this.”

“Well, I’m not just a hick pot grower, you know.” She could see him smile even in the dim firelight. “I’ve actually got a degree in botany and biochemistry. My brother does as well. It’s taken us years—and we’re still working—but we’ve crossbreed the fuck out of several different breeds of pot.”


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fionn

Irish Sugar

The Bad Boys of Boston


Ice fills my soul. Nothing matters to me but my brothers. I'd kill for them. Every death chips away at the hint of humanity still clinging to me. And when the day comes to pay for my misdeeds....I don't think about that... Until then I will bask in my transgressions allowing the passion of my chaos to keep me warm. I'm the thing you fear when darkness surrounds you. If you're in my crosshairs, you're as good as dead. My name is Fionn O'Shea. Death is all that matters...

Until...her.

She alone fills the gaps in my soul, returns my humanity. By protecting her, perhaps some part of me will be redeemable when I must answer for my sins. She brings order to my chaos, keeps me warm when the ice threatens to overtake me. If you threaten her, you'll pray for the monsters in the dark to take you. But they won't. I'll bring your pain. I'll bring your suffering. I'll live for nothing else...

EXCERPT



“Oh, Fionn! That’s so fucking good!”

Fucking two women at once was definitely not overrated. Anyone who said otherwise was either a goddamned liar, or hadn’t done it and was trying to convince himself he wasn’t missing anything. The blonde and redhead Fionn was currently enjoying certainly lived up to his expectations. Thankfully, the pair was available pretty much whenever he wanted them to be.

“It’s ‘Finn,’ sweet. Not ‘Fee-on.’”

If he fucked them enough, one of the pair might remember how to say his name. Especially if he made them scream it enough.

As he tongued the pussy of the redhead while the other one sucked his cock with much enthusiasm, Fionn embraced the depravity of the act. He relished this. The rush of sex. It was the one thing that engaged his senses and made him feel…alive. The pleasure was good, the sensations of smooth skin and silky hair sliding over his body stimulating. Yeah. To say Fionn O’Shea loved sex was an understatement.

Rolling over, he pushed the blonde away from his cock as he reached for a condom. Sheathing himself, he mounted the redhead, who squealed in her excitement.

“I’m ready for you, Finn,” the redhead crooned, reaching for him. At least she’d pronounced his name right. More or less. Though, it lacked the delicacy of the original Irish. “Come give me the fuck of my life.” She gave him a saucy grin as she spread her legs wider, welcoming him atop her.

“My pleasure, sweet,” he murmured in the raspy voice he knew women loved. “Wiggle that little pussy on me.” As expected, she giggled and squirmed to fill herself with him.

Fionn sat back on his knees, pulling the redhead’s legs over his own as he thrust lazily, letting her do most of the work. While she danced on his cock, the blonde draped herself around his back, turning his head to kiss him hungrily.

Gripping the redhead’s legs, Fionn began a driving rhythm designed to take her just to the edge, letting her linger. It was a move he’d practiced many times, perfecting it over the years. He could do it with his eyes closed. Or, say, with his tongue tangled with that of another woman.

“Oh, yes!” the redhead screamed, twisting her hips, trying to grind on him to put more friction on her clit. Of course, Fionn was having none of it. She wasn’t coming until he said she was. And that wouldn’t be until he was good and ready.

Urging the blonde to her feet, Fionn ran the fingers of one hand along her slit, wetting them before he plunged two inside her. Her head fell back on a gasp, her nails gripping his shoulder as she rode the digits.

Yeah. This was the life.

His phone rang. Glancing at the screen, he saw it was his brother, Shannon. This could only mean work. Without missing a beat, Fionn answered the call.

“What?”

“I need your assistance on a couple of jobs.”

Shannon, his full-blooded brother, was the enforcer of their…family business. He also ran some of the more questionable areas. The only time Shannon ever called Fionn was when he’d had enough. Which meant someone was going to die.

“More than one? So, it’s a good day to die. What’s the job?” Shannon knew there was no way Fionn would ever turn down a request for help, no matter what it was. As the second youngest of their brotherhood of four, Fionn was just as loyal and steadfast to his brothers as they were to him. Each possessed a particular skill set. Fionn’s just happen to be the ability to rain terror on their enemies and never get caught. Mainly because he was fast and careful. Ever efficient.

“First one is Magda. I need her gone.”

Fionn raised an eyebrow, but didn’t stop his fucking. “Can’t say I blame you. Bitch has had it coming for years. All I can say is, it’s about damned time.”

“Next one is a bit tricky. Bart Holten. He’s making a play for my girls. More at Basic Bitch and the Nunnery than anywhere else. Trying to offer them more money, but when they refuse—and they all refuse—he’s threatening them or their families. I don’t have to tell you the information I get from them is too valuable to lose. Besides, he’d likely have them all into drugs in order to control them and the flow of information. And I have a feeling this all the old man’s doing. He’s testing me. And he wants that information channel for himself.”

“You need him dead?”

“No. Not yet. But I want to send him a message. If that fails…”

“He have family who can be used for leverage?”

“Only one. Her name is LeeAnn Bates. He married the girl’s mother but didn’t give his new wife’s child his name. The fucker didn’t have enough sense to separate himself from her at the earliest opportunity. She lives with him in Beacon Hill.”

Fionn snorted even as he continued to pleasure the two women in his bed. “I wonder why she refused to leave. Keeping Daddy’s money close, no doubt.”

“Probably. In any event, she was seen with one of my girls who frequents the Irish, trolling for clients and information. Don’t know exactly what she’s doing, but quite likely she’s reporting to her father.”

“So, I take it I’m to snag her? Hold her until we decide how to deal with…our little problem?” Fionn might talk business in front of his women, but he didn’t invite trouble.

“Nab her. I’ll let her father we’ve got her. If he’s not a complete bastard, he’ll take the hint and back the fuck off. I’ll get my girl to bring her to the bar. Once she’s at the Irish, you can take if from there.”

“And if he doesn’t back down?”

Shannon’s voice went cold. Deadly. Much like Fionn’s own. Too much like their old man’s. “Then take care of him.”

Fionn ended the call and absently tilted his hips as he thrust into the redhead. He’d never left a woman unsatisfied and, even though he wouldn’t be getting off himself, he wouldn’t ruin his reputation this time.

“Oh, God! I’m coming!” When the redhead started bucking over his cock, whipping her hips at him in a frenzy, Fionn tickled the blonde’s clit until she too spasmed around him. Both women screamed as they writhed on him, sweat shimmering over their pale flesh in the lamplight.

But Fionn’s mind was already on the job at hand. He’d finish up here then begin his search for the woman. If all went well, he’d have her chained to a bed before nightfall. If things went even better, she’d be a beauty he’d convince to give him information as he bedded her. He’d have what he needed. They’d both have a pleasurable romp.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Hero to Master Me

It's finally here. The last Carver Brother book. Mike is a bad boy... That's all ima sayin'.





Zaraiah Nelson is in a bad place. Has been since she spent time in hell. No one knows her secret, but it eats at her every day. Burns her soul at night. Even those closest to her don’t understand the needs that drive her, the need for action. The need to punish herself for her fatal failure. No one, that is, until Mike Carver

Mike recognizes Zaraiah the moment he meets her but can’t place where. He knows she has issues, that something isn’t quite what it seems with the dark-skinned beauty, but she refuses to tell him willingly. What she doesn’t understand is that he’s Force Recon. Gathering information is what he does. No mission has ever been this important, and Mike has only ever failed one mission. That one time in his life will prove to be the key to Zaraiah. If only he can put all the pieces together…

EXCERPT!

“Fuck that,” Mike muttered as he shoved the man out of the way. Desperation clawed at him. He had to get to her, get her to safety. Again, one of the bouncers tried to detain him. Again, he shoved the guy out of the way, but the first guy now grabbed his arm. Jerking away, Mike powered his way through the crowd to Zaraiah.

“I said stop!” The first bouncer now had Mike by the arm, jerking him backward. The second one snagged his other arm, both pulling him away from Zaraiah. With a snarl, Mike let go all pretense at playing nice.

A quick jab to the ribs to one man, a punch to the face for the other, and Mike ran headlong to Zaraiah. People were standing around her now. Some laughing. Some looking concerned. Others muttered, “crack whore,” as they turned away. Only Mike knew the truth. The continuing “pops” put her in the grip of a panic unlike any of those bastards had ever known.

“Move!” he shouted over the din, reaching Zaraiah just she made eye contact with him.

“Help…me…” Then her eyes rolled back and she passed out.

It was all Mike could do not to bellow in rage. Instead, he scooped her up and headed out of the club. When one of the bouncers he’d confronted moments before stood in his way, whatever he saw in Mike’s face had him raising his hands and backing away. Pussy-ass motherfuckers should be protecting Zaraiah instead of letting Mike waltz right out of there with her, but no one lifted a finger to help. Funny how that worked. He knew he couldn’t have it both ways, but damn if it didn’t focus all his anger and fear in a different direction than the horrible worry over Zaraiah. Without that shift in focus, he’d lose his goddamned mind.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

UNEDITED EXCERPT...A Hero to Master Me


COMING SOON!

UNEDITED EXCERPT!
A Hero to Master Me
by Marteeka Karland


There was pain in her eyes. And resignation. Mike recognized it the second she truly met his gaze, knowing him for the predator he was. Even his family had no idea what he'd really done while in the Marines. They knew it hadn't been pleasant -- one reason he never talked about it -- but most of what he'd done had been so classified Mike was surprised he hadn't been targeted for some kind of kill list. Score one for the good 'ole US of A. Black Ops only touched the surface of what he'd done, the things he'd seen. Only once had he broken protocol and he'd been thankful he hadn't lost so much of himself to the Corp that he'd followed the strict letter of his orders. He knew pain. He knew sorrow. And this woman held both in spades. Now, as then, he felt like a critical piece of his life was about to click into place. That failed mission had signaled his retirement -- his own decision. What would this lap dance do for him?
"Are you going to kick me out of my apartment," she asked. Over the din of the music and drunken laughter, it was hard to hear her, but Mike was focused on her so completely, she could have whispered the question and he'd have heard her.
"I'm taking a dance," was his matter-of-fact response.
"And if I refuse?"
"You won't."
Did she shiver? Her skin glimmered under the lights but Mike couldn't tell if it were from the lotion she used to give her skin a slight shimmer or from sweat. A sure sign of nerves.
The section she took him to created the illusion of privacy. There were dividers, but cameras still canvassed the place. No doors or solid walls. Looking around him, Mike saw silhouettes of dancers and their patrons all around him. He hated that they'd potentially have an audience but he was just damned selfish enough to take this from her.
"You can sit here," she said, gesturing to a small couch. Perfume seemed to waft from the upholstery hanging in a haze through the whole area. What he wouldn't give to get a good, unimpeded whiff of her scent. No matter. That would come later. Right now, he had work to do. Without a word, he sat. "You need to sit on your hands." Like hell.
"I know the rules," he growled. "Hands off the ladies. I won't touch you." With a grin he added, "tonight," and stretched his arms over the back of the couch.
Zaraiah swallowed, her eyes going wide. Oh yeah. she knew. Mike was ready to begin this, though he had no idea where he was going. He knew he was moving in her direction. Where they went together would ultimately be up to her, but he had the feeling she needed this as much as he did. His sexual tastes had always been more kink that vanilla, but he'd repress himself if necessary. Anything to have her. Mike was a Dominant in his heart of hearts. One reason the military had agreed with him. But in bed, he craved dominating a woman just to see her blossom under his touch. Could he give that up for her?
Absolutely!
When he nodded for her to begin. Zarriah gave a defeated sigh, her shoulders relaxing as if a weight had been lifted. Then she began to dance.
The sensual sway of her hips mesmerized Mike as she moved around him. Her movements should have looked practiced. Instead, she was naturally sensual, as if her dance had always been for him alone. In that moment, Mike felt like he was the only man in her world. Thank God he'd sent the two pups away before they'd gotten a look at her like this. Mike was sure he'd have lost his ever loving shit if they had. As it was, he knew this was her last night in this place. She was his. Pure and simple. Now, he just had to convince her of it.
With a sigh, she gave herself up to the music, dipping in front of him, rubbing and stroking his thighs. Naturally, Mike's mind went straight to one theme and he nearly groaned out loud. Now wasn't the time. He had to have complete control of himself. Figuring her out would take some doing, but he was confident he could unravel this mystery. Melanie said she'd seemed restless. Like she needed something. Looking at her now, he could see the fine muscle underneath all that silky looking skin. She was obviously athletic. More than just dancing. There was evidence of hard work in her limbs and torso. Did she work out? If so, it had to involve more than weight training. She was too nimble and graceful. As she twirled around, presenting him with the perfectly rounded globes of her ass, he saw it. His breath caught.
Just above the dimple at the small of her back, was a tiny tattoo. The symbol? A sword standing on end with a snake wrapped around it. Zaraiah was a fucking combat medic. He'd bet his life on it. A few more things clicked into place. The anxiousness. Restlessness. If she hadn't had time to adjust to civi life, she was likely feeling the need for action. The superb condition of her body said she was either newly discharged or continued her daily workouts to ease the stress. But why had she taken up stripping instead of using her skills in the civilian world?
Right. With an ass like hers, why wouldn't she. She had to make more doing this  than she could as an EMT. But, if she did this regularly, why not get a more up scale apartment? Perhaps her boyfriend had frowned on her working here more than a night or two a month? Mike knew he sure would. Hell, he wouldn't want her to at all! Not because he looked down at her or her chosen profession, but he was a territorial bastard. He wanted no eyes on his woman but him. And, God help him, Zaraiah Nelson was his woman.
When Zaraiah bent to scratch her nails up his thighs, then up his chest, raising herself up to straddle him, Mike nearly forgot why it was so important to stay in control. She had the power here, but his dominant nature demanded he prove that he was the one calling the shots.
"You look relaxed," she commented, tilting her head as if she found him intriguing. "Most men are generally struggling to keep their hands to themselves."
"Oh, make no mistake, I want my hands on you right now."
"You don't look like you do." Did she look...disappointed? Hurt?
"I can't touch you, so why try to do what would get me tossed out on my ear. I'm not leaving your side tonight. As much as this situation...tempts me, get used to me. I'm not going anywhere."
Her breath hitched before she got control again. "You know you can't monopolize my time. I have work to do."
"That you do. And you'll do it with me. I'll pay for your time and you'll do as I command."
She grinned at him then, a breathtaking display of dimpled cheeks that nearly took his breath. "I doubt the manager would approve."
"You let me worry about that."
For the first time, she let her facade falter, her gaze looking stricken for the briefest moment. "Mr. Carver, I don't want you to pay for my time."
"Mike," he said.
"That's not appropriate." With a shaky breath, she gingerly rested her hands on his shoulders. "Are you going to use this against me?"
"Not in the way you're obviously thinking." Mike wanted her anxious. Nervous. He had plans for the little beauty on his lap but they didn't include her prostituting herself. For him or anyone else.
"If not that, then what?"
"Melanie said your boyfriend was gone. Is that true?" She bit her bottom lip before starting to slide off his lap. "No!" His command was sharp, an order to be obeyed even though his hands stayed resting on the back of the couch, not clutching her hips and urging her forward. The Army inside her responded. As did the woman. Before his eyes, her nipples hardened to tight peaks around her piercings, their color darkening subtly. Mike doubted she was even aware of the little whimper that escaped her. "You stay where you are until I tell you to move. Understood."
She gave a shaky nod, sliding her body back on his lap fully. The move was purely sensual, a glide up his rigid cock with her silken clad sex. Had the situation been different, Mike's eyes would have rolled back in his head and he'd have gripped her hips digging his fingers in to keep her close. As it was, he let her move, his gaze remaining fixed on her lovely, honey colored eyes.
"Tell me why he left."
Zaraiah paused in her movements, a confused look on her face. "You want to know this now?"
"Yes. And don't stop your dance."
A shudder seemed to flutter through, as if the idea of having a serious conversation with her straddling his lap in only a thong wasn't so much surreal as titillating.
"I--" she swallowed. "You're crazy."
"Now, Zaraiah." He kept his voice firm, knowing what he had to do to get the information from her, what she'd respond to the easiest.
She cleared her throat, pausing her movements only briefly before taking a deep breath and continuing. "I was Army," she began. "Field medic. I saw a lot of action. It...affected me. John couldn't deal with it and finally left."
"I gathered as much," Mike said. "I saw the tattoo on your back. There's more you're not telling me."
"Maybe," she said, lifting her chin, her first real show of defiance with him. "But that's all I'm telling you."
"Then ride me."

She did.