Just finished rough draft of Rebound Baby, Too

and now on to edit, edit, edit.  Sigh….

Here’s an unedited excerpt.

Jake–

I watched as the new interns sat down at the conference table.  Jolie, Andrew, and I had to pick one or two interns to join our teams.  I did my homework last night and read through their internship applications and found two that sounded like they might not be a total pain in the ass to work with and train.  One was Melinda Noonan, and the other was Anna Kincaid.  There were two other interns, Sarah Brooks, and Scott Cunningham.  If I was lucky I’d get either Melinda or Anna, if I was smart I would choose Scott.  

Two years after surviving a nasty sexual harassment suit from an intern, I was still wary to work with women.  I won the suit, but missed the chance to make partner and wouldn’t ever put myself in that position again.  Ever.  The agency had decided it was best if all interns were off limits, and while it was a legally unenforceable rule, we all abided by it.

Jolie whispered to me, “Ready for the cattle call?”

I raised an eyebrow in answer.  We both knew the drill, make nice, be polite, and hope that you got the intern with common sense and a working knowledge of the alphabet.  Jesus, I had no idea what the hell they were teaching in college these days, but it surely wasn’t any marketable skills.

I heard a soft “moo” emanating from down the table and nearly swallowed my tongue at the beautiful brunette seated there.  She was smirking and when I caught her eye she blushed prettily.  The introductions went around the table and I was surprised at her sweet husky voice.  The interns were assigned, and I was thankful that I had Melinda.  I didn’t need the distraction of Anna.  

Three months, I reminded myself.  The woman would be in the office for three months, if I was still interested after that I’d ask her out.  I just needed some patience.  It had been over two years since my last date, I could handle three more months.  

Or so I thought.

Two hours later I found Anna in the copy room, bent over and removing a paper jam.  Anna was dressed prim and proper from the ankles up.  A grey skirt of sensible length paired with a light blue blouse and pearls.  However, the four inch black heels made my mind wander to what it would take to simply walk up behind her, hike her skirt up and take her.  She was the perfect height, the perfect angle.

And I was being a douche.

“Can I help?” I asked politely, begging silently that she would stand up and make the mental images fade.

She squeaked and stood up quickly, “You startled me.”

“Do you need any help?”

She raised an eyebrow, “Are you insinuating that my copier repair and paper fluffing abilities aren’t up to task?”

I grinned, “Yes.”  I liked that smart mouth.  I wondered what it would taste like.

She blew her hair out of her eyes, “Ok, if you can get eight copies of this color copied, collated and stapled I will concede that you are the Conquistador of Copies.”  She handed Jolie’s presentation to me.

I chuckled and couldn’t help but wink at her.  “I see.  You think flattery will blind me to the fact that you’re having me do your work?”

She tilted her head and winked back, “If necessary, I can offer fresh baked cookies as payment.”

I closed up the machine and waited for it warm up, “Bribery and flattery.  So, public relations comes naturally to you then.”  

“I’m afraid so.”  She admitted.  “Can I watch how you manage this feat?”

“Sure.”  I moved over leaving a respectable distance between us as I taught her how to do color copies.  As it whirled to life she murmured thanks.

“I appreciate your help.”  She stepped back putting more distance between us.  

I nodded, “Anytime.”  As she picked up her copies I winked, “I prefer white chocolate macadamia nut.”

“Sure thing, Conquistador.”  Her husky voice left me unable to articulate. It was if her voice stole my soul.

Three months were going to be hell.

Audible offers free Days of Noah audiobook giveaway.

I recently recorded The Days of Noah by Virginia Smith. It’s a wonderful story about Noah and his family with an interesting twist. I don’t want to give it away but I enjoyed reading the book and I’m proud to be a part of the audiobook. If you’re interested in receiving a code for a free copy just email me at doylemacbrayne@gmail.com

Here is her blurb about the story…

Belief in the One God is dangerous in Cainlan, a city founded on the worship of the god Cain. But when the daughter of a pagan priestess meets the son of a religious fanatic she is drawn to Shem’s caring manner and deep faith. Eliana believes his assertion that the One God will wipe the earth clean of the corruption that fills it, especially when she discovers a terrifying secret known only to those high in the government’s ruling council.

Though desperate to escape her destiny, Eliana’s life has been preordained. Not even Shem’s God can rescue her from the fate for which she was born – becoming the next high priestess to Cain.

I think a reviewer on Amazon said it best: The Days of Noah by Virginia Smith is an intriguing and fascinating tale that imagines the time of Noah being an age of advanced technology, in transportation, power, and weaponry. I especially appreciated the parallels with today’s troubling issues of absolute power, corrupting absolutely. The story describes the age-old tragedy of the human situation in which the people who control the power source of society hold oppressive power over the less influential and also control the wealth of the society.
The romantic subplot adds wonderful emotion to the tale as one of Noah’s sons falls in love with a pagan temple priestess whom he desperately desires to rescue from the catastrophic flood which God has told Noah would cleanse the sinfulness of the earth.
The tale is an excellent hybrid of scripture, fantasy, science fiction, and action. Virginia Smith has come into her own as a very gifted writer.

Contact me if you’d like to receive a code for a free copy on audible.

I read a wonderful book and wanted to share…

Do you ever read a book where you just fall in love with the characters and absolutely LOVE their interactions? This is my favorite summer read this year. I found myself smiling practically the entire time I read Back To You. John and Sophie are childhood friends who grew apart as they grew up. Sophie finds herself back in her hometown and a wonderful romance and love bloom between John and Sophie. It is an incredibly sweet story and definitely a great summer read!

I’m still working on Rebound Baby, Too and it’s coming along nicely.

Here’s a link to Back to You by Carmen Roy on amazon.

My most exciting email to date!

Hi Tobi!

Congratulations! You are one of the 9th Annual Passionate Plume finalists for your entry Rebound Baby.

I still have a huge, stupid grin on my face! I find out in July if I’ve actually won for my category of novellas, and while that would be cool, I’m ridiculously giddy to be a finalist.
Passionate Plume is an “erotic” chapter of Romance Writers of America. I joined earlier in the year, after joining Romance Writers of America and took an interesting online course… My cheeks are still flaming! It took forever for me to even say the words “erotic author” in description of what I write. Now, while I wouldn’t put it on a business card that I hand out to my neighbors, I feel less embarrassed. More confident? Not confident enough to tell my mother-in-law… My husband and I were joking that if she ever heard, I’d explain that I was an exotic author, writing travel stories. Heh-heh-heh. For crying out loud, what would you say to an 80 year old woman?
So – I’m extremely tickled to have been chosen as a finalist and had to share my good news with you all. I hope that you follow me on my blog, twitter, facebook, and encourage your friends to as well. I am currently working on Rebound Baby, Too – and while I love the characters and the plot, it’s taking longer to get the words to page. They are really good words once they are on the page though…
If I get a message from you all, I might even put up another free short story for July 4th.
Have a wonderful Tuesday. Mine is absolutely fabulous!

Tobi

I salute you as you stand and battle cat hair, dog vomit, and burned tomato sauce on your ceramic stove top.

I salute you as you stand and battle cat hair, dog vomit, and burned tomato sauce on your ceramic stove top.

Last November I joined a writing group in my area and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  First of all, some of these folks are wicked talented.  Out of the regulars that attend the meeting, I’m the only romance writer, and I have my own feelings of insecurity about that.  None of the writers make me feel less substantial because my writing is “fluffy” (my word, not theirs.)

A comment was made last night regarding their observation of a library patron.  The middle-aged woman carried eight romances up to the library to check out.  There was some eye-rolling and I, in my weirdly detached, multi-personality self, managed to not feel upset or even insulted by the comment.  Being the only “romance writer” in the group, I’m also the only admitted voracious romance reader too.  You know why romance eBooks sell so well?  ‘Cuz we’re embarrassed by the pictures on the covers.  Sheesh.  Cover art – that’s a whole other rant for another day. 

The person who made the comment is an incredibly sweet, beautiful, young woman, and a damn fine writer.  I’ve probably got two decades on her, and three grown children.  She asked the question about why eight books of mommy porn rhetorically, but still, I felt the need to answer.

However, my polite self (this is where the multi-personality thing comes in), remained quiet and gave an amused grin.  Why eight?  Because some aren’t what you are in the mood for and you toss them out after the first few chapters.  In my life, my time is too valuable to waste on characters that I don’t find attractive.  And not just physically, either.  I don’t give a damn if she’s a Rachel McAdams look-a-like and he’s Channing Tatum.  If she’s self-centered, she’s ugly and I don’t want to even give her two hours of my life for her story.  Even if it includes hot sex.  Although…. I may flip to the pages with the hot sex and give her twenty minutes.

Why Mommy Porn?  Well, let’s see.  After vacuuming dust bunnies, washing the floor, finding desiccated mouse parts and dog vomit, well, perhaps I want a little vacay from my reality.  I love my life, don’t get me wrong.  I am happy that I have floors to clean and pets that love me.  However, I don’t feel attractive anymore.  My youth has been spent, wisely mind you, but it’s gone.  There was a time when men approached me, winked suggestively.  Yeah, now they do that to my daughters.  Ick.

Still, it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re dealing with the realities of life.  Like the fact that four people are counting on you to feed them this evening and you forgot to take out the steak and defrost it.  Or, there are dried leaves in your bed because the cat drug them in and chose to nap under the covers so now you need to change the sheets before you finally fall into bed.  Or, your son was just diagnosed with ADD and adding that to the anxiety medications he is currently taking makes you hope that he’ll remember to take the damn anxiety medications.  And you need to make a doctor’s appointment to see if they’ll prescribe the drugs or does he have to go through the child psychiatrist who has a six month, yes, six month, waiting list.  While you’re at it call the orthodontist, he lost his retainer.  And the weeds are now officially knee high in the front bed that faces the street and the neighbors are starting to glare.

Yeah, so for a few hours a week I like to immerse myself in my twenty-year old self that didn’t have cellulite, or bifocals.  I remember my life back then, when it was just my husband and myself and how silly we could be, and carefree.  I was never too tired for sex.  Ever.

Fortunately, I’ve always been a live-in-the-moment kind of gal, so I appreciated my life then.  I appreciate my life now.  Back then, I hoped that we would have a home, children, and pets.  I just assumed it would eventually be there.  I was a practical sort, and understood that responsibilities come with all those things, so I enjoyed my pre-child, pre-pet life.

Books give me a moment to relax.  To consider other possible life outcomes, although I’d never switch places with any of my heroines.  I am deeply in love with my husband and I’d kill anyone if they threatened with my kids.  My husband, my partner, in every sense of the word is the only one who finds me sexy.  There’s still passion, decades later, but sometimes it takes a backseat to the duties of life.  We were giggling the other night about what we thought when we were younger.  He’s older than me by eight years and before he proposed he asked me what I would do if he died before me.  My naïve twenty-year-old self shrugged and said “I’ll probably get a cat.”  Remember, we were pre-pets then.  Truthfully, now I realize there is no one in the world that I would be able to handle seeing me naked.  Not just physically, either.  The man knows me.  All of my ugly secrets, my numerous idiosyncrasies, favorite foods, and what makes me laugh.  Every scar on my body or my psyche is known to him.  Understood by him.  No other human being will ever know me or love me as well as he does.

So, yeah, I read romance.  It makes me happy.  I write romance because I have these stories in my head of where I would want a relationship to go, how it should grow, and sometimes because thinking about sex is just plain fun.  

To my writing companion, enjoy your life in the moment.  Sometimes, however, the moment isn’t as fun as reading a beach scene with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams look-a-likes.  At their beach the sand won’t stick to your skin; and wind won’t make your hair whip in your face and get stuck in your eyes so you are doing this weird grimace thing with your face; and the beach is free of seaweed with sandflies and a rotting carcass of a seal.   Never mind that you missed a section of your thigh with the sunscreen and tomorrow you’re going to have a blistered smile under the right butt cheek.  Nah, in the story we say “I love you” for the first time and hold hands as we walk down the perfectly clean and calm beach.  At least, that’s how I remember it…

It does give me an idea, though.  Instead of LARPing a videogame, we should totally LARP our favorite romance book…  who’s up for it?

Image   

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Here is a free short story to add some steam to the beginning of your summer.

This short story is for mature audiences only.

Fleet Week

I love Fleet Week.  First of all, as a single woman of average beauty and ridiculous height I find myself feeling like I’m a super model for an entire week.  My hips sway more, my hair seems to behave for the entire week, and those five pounds stay off.  It’s a magical week.  It helps that it falls on my birthday week each year.  So for the past five years my best friends and I have celebrated Fleet Week by downing two shots of tequila at our favorite dance club, located near the naval yard.  When I turned twenty-one, three years ago, Kiera dared me to kiss twenty-one men.  Honestly, if you’ve never seen Fleet Week you wouldn’t understand how easy that is.  It’s a truly magical week, where everyone is friendly, happy to be part of humanity, and I was able to kiss twenty-one men in less than an hour.  They were all very sweet and understanding when I explained it was my birthday and I needed a kiss. Some men just gave me a sweet peck on the lips and wished me a happy birthday and a few gave me kisses that made my toes curl.  It was fun, and perhaps innocent isn’t the right word, but it was friendly.

This year, my twenty-third birthday felt special.  I had two more months of college left and the girls and I were all single.  Kiera, Shelby, and I felt a little more reckless, because we knew that this was our last Fleet Week together. 

Kiera dressed in a black tank dress that just covered her ass.  She looked phenomenal; her brown hair had new blonde highlights that made her look like a total beach babe.  Kiera’s huge blue eyes complemented the biggest smile I have ever seen.  Although average in height, she was petite compared to me and it would be easy to hate her but I couldn’t; she was just too damn nice.  Shelby was petite.  At five foot three she had personality that made up for her height.  She had long brown hair and brown eyes and the perfect dancer’s body.  Right now a form fitting pink jersey dress encased her body and hit her mid-thigh making her legs seem incredibly long.  Shelby ran cross country track for our college and was on the dance team as well, and, as my father said an exquisite beauty.  Me, on the other hand, well, I usually watched as men asked my friends to dance over and over again.  If there were three men, I was asked to dance, but for the most part, the hot guy went for Shelby, the wingman went for Kiera, and I nursed a bottle of water.  I wasn’t grotesque, but I was tall.  Slender?  I suppose.  I wasn’t fat, but I didn’t have the muscle definition Shelby had or the curves that Kiera appeared to have.  Truthfully, Kiera and I were the same cup size and we could wear the same bikinis, but I was over six inches taller than her wearing my low heels.  My height should make me feel regal but instead I felt like Sasquatch.

Until Fleet Week!  Fleet Week there were more guys than gals and I spent the entire night on the dance floor having the time of my life.  The men were amazing.  Short, tall, fit, fluffy, and extremely attentive.  It was good to be a woman during Fleet Week. 

The bass pounded, trembling the floor boards and causing the amber tequila to ripple in my glass.  I slammed down the first shot and bit into the lime, loving the acidic bite that followed the burn down my throat.  My eyes caught a stranger, dressed in white and I searched his shoulders.  Two bars and a star.  Lieutenant.  Too old for me, but holy hell did he look good.  And familiar.  His gaze held mine and I felt my cheeks heat.  Damn, he was hot.  Dark hair, too short to tell if it was dark brown or black and dark eyes.  Very dark eyes that studied me.  He wasn’t even trying to hide his interest.  One eyebrow quirked and I felt my lips curl into a grin before I lowered my gaze.

Kiera handed me my next shot and slapped me on the back when I tipped it backward.  She slapped the ensign next to her and announced, “It’s her birthday and she has to kiss twenty three men.  You wanna be her first?”

The guy beamed, “Sure.”  He outstretched his arms but a body blocked him abruptly.  I faced the hottie from the end of the bar.  He glared at the ensign.

“I’ve got this, Sampson.”  He growled.  He turned and faced me, one eyebrow raised in amusement.  His arms encircled my waist and he leaned down, his nose caressed mine, his eyes capturing my gaze and then his lips landed on mine.  Jesus, could he kiss!  It wasn’t just one kiss.  No, he teased my lips starting at the corner nibbling until he landed both lips on me in a full assault, forcing my lips apart.  His tongue darted in between my lips and I opened, allowing him full access.  His hand fisted the hair behind my neck, pulling my head back and allowing him more access.

Jesus, he could kiss!

I could hear Kiera clapping and whistling her approval and the surrounding men joined her.

He sighed as he lifted his head and in a deadly serious growl he stated, “You are not kissing anyone else.  You got that?”

I nodded dazed by the kiss and Kiera punched his shoulder.   “Dude, its tradition!” 

He narrowed his eyes, “Yeah, I remember.  Two years ago I was here and I was your first kiss.  I spent the rest of the night watching you kiss twenty other guys.  That’s not happening again.”  His hands were at my hips and he refused to release me.  I twisted but he just pulled me closer.

“Erin, right?”  He growled.

My eyes widened, “Yeah.  Seriously?  You were my first kiss?”

“Yeah.”  He leaned down and his voice rumbled in my ear, “And sweetheart, you’ve been on my mind for the past two years.   You’re done tonight.  I’m happy to give you all the kisses you want, but tonight, you’re mine and I’m not sharing.”

I swallowed and shook my head.  “I don’t think so.”

“I don‘t give a fuck about your tradition.  For two years I’ve dreamed about you.  You have any idea what that’s like?  Two years on a fucking ship and all I can think of is you.  Your green eyes, your sweet mouth, and what I want to do with you.”

“What do you want to do with me?”  I whispered.

His eyes darkened but a smile played at his lips, “For now, I’ll be happy if you dance with me.”

I grinned up at him, “I’d like that.”  He rewarded me with a devastating smile and my breath caught. 

I heard him mumble, “Thank Christ.”  His hand slid to the small of my back as he guided me toward the dance floor.  Bodies packed the floor and even if we didn’t want to grind together, there was no room for anything else.  My back plastered against his chest and his hands rested on my hips guiding me to the music.

His nose trailed along my ear and I tilted my head to give him more access.  His teeth bit my earlobe and I yelped and tried to pull away.  He allowed me to step back before twisting me in his arms and snuggling me close to his chest.  His voice rumbled near my ear.  “Sorry.  I can’t help it.  God, you smell amazing.” 

His firm chest pressed next to mine and I looked up, “You bit me.”

He nodded and affirmed with no tone of apology, “I did.” 

His total confidence was alluring.  I blinked as I tilted my head back to meet his gaze and grinned, “Damn, you’re tall.”

He chuckled, “We had this same conversation two years ago.  It’s Lt. now, but my name is still Thomas Crane, I’m still six foot seven, and I’m guessing you’re still five foot eleven in stocking feet.”

I nodded, my stomach doing funny things at the thought that he remembered me.  Hell, it sounded like he had obsessed over me, the Amazon.  I rested my head against his warm chest and suddenly a memory of that night came back to me.  We were dancing then too, I had already kissed him a few times that night, simple kisses, and he pulled me on the dance floor and tried to get me to stop kissing random guys, but I was having none of it.  He had me kiss his buddies on their cheeks, and then he had to leave.

“You’re from Indiana.”  I said remembering our brief conversation from the dance floor.

He leaned back, his eyes alight with humor, “Monticello, originally.  You remember.”

I nodded, “I remember.”

“Thank Christ.”

I giggled, “You seem to pray a lot.”

His hand cupped my face, “Erin, I have prayed about seeing you again.  Honestly.  I don’t know what the hell you did to me that night but there is no way I’m letting you go tonight.  It’s ok if you didn’t, but did you ever think of me?”

I shook my head, “I’m sorry Thomas.  I didn’t think that I made an impression on anyone.”  I shrugged, “It’s not like I’m Shelby or Kiera.”

He grinned, “I love that you’re honest.  Who are Shelby and Kiera?”

“My roomies.”  I looked over my shoulder toward the bar, “That was Kiera who slapped the ensign.”

“Ah.”  His eyes narrowed, “You’re a goddess compared to her.”

I blushed and put my head against his chest, “Well, thank you for that.”

His hand came up and he pinched my chin between his thumb and forefinger making me meet his gaze.  “You.” Kiss. “Are.” Kiss. “A.” Kiss. “Goddess.”  His lips attacked mine, nibbling at my lower lips before his tongue entered into the game.  Jesus, he can kiss.  I could spend all night kissing him.  I had never been one for public displays of affection, but I could get addicted to his kisses.  He growled at the first foray into my mouth, his tongue slipping between my willing lips.  His hand slipped to the back of my neck holding me in place while his other hand gripped my back and pulled me impossibly closer to his torso.  I could feel the buttons of his shirt biting into my breast, the hard ridge of his erection against my lower abdomen and the thought that I could make him react like that made me feel like a goddess.

For the next two hours he never stopped touching me.  Either we were on the dance floor or at the bar with his arm possessively locking me against him.  I liked it.  I hated that we only had the weekend because I knew I would miss him when he left.  He bought water, which I appreciated because two shots were my limit.  The buzz of the tequila had worn off and I felt even more attracted to him.

A drunken midshipman came up to us at the bar and beamed.  He was shorter than me and built like a bulldog.  Sandy blonde hair and brown puppy dog eyes that were smiling at me.  “It’s the birthday girl!”  His lopsided grin looked silly, “How many kisses are you up to, birthday girl?”

I flinched as he leaned in close.  Thomas grunted, “She’s done.”

The midshipman’s eyes focused on Thomas and he leaned back.  “Sorry, Sir.  No disrespect ma’am.”  He saluted and hightailed it away from us.

Thomas turned me and kissed me fiercely.  His hands wrapped around my waist and he pulled me in so tight I couldn’t take a breath.  I didn’t want to breathe.  I forgot how to breathe the moment his bit my lip.  He growled against my mouth.  “Fuck.  Tell me we can leave here.  For the next thirty -six hours I want to be with you.  Dammit, Erin, I have obsessed over you for the last two years.  Give me this.  Please.”

Thirty six hours?  That was all I had of this man who made my knees turn to jelly?  It didn’t seem fair.  Could I even be that kind of woman?  I wasn’t naïve enough to believe that we would be playing scrabble and watching television. 

He looked so sincere, but it wasn’t me.  “Um, Thomas, I’m not in the habit of, uh…”  I couldn’t finish that thought.  I had never had a one night stand.  Ever.  I wasn’t a virgin, but I wasn’t promiscuous, either.

“Yeah, I get that, Erin.  You’re a nice girl, right?  You have two shots of tequila and that’s all you need to get buzzed.  I get that.  Honestly.”  He leaned his forehead against mind, “But you’ve starred in every X-rated fantasy I’ve had for the last two years, and sweetheart, I need you.  Do you get that?  I need you.  We can go back to your place.  We don’t have to get naked, but I can’t stand that other men are looking at you right now.  You can have your friends check in with you.  Please, give me the next thirty-six hours.”

Stunned by his admission and intrigued, I looked for Shelby, who was the voice of reason in our trio, but she was somewhere on the dance floor gyrating with someone. 

I looked up into his eyes.  They were a light blue, but his pupils were so large in the dark club that they appeared black.

His hands tightened at my waist, his voice was desperate.  “What’s it going to be, Erin?”

“My place.”  I whispered.

Damn, he was devastatingly handsome when he smiled.  He grabbed my hand and pulled me toward Kiera who was flirting outrageously with very attractive midshipman. 

“Hey,” I nodded at Thomas, “I think we’re going to get out of here.  We’re going to the apartment, ok?”

Kiera punched my shoulder and winked at Thomas.  “I’ll see you at breakfast, Lieutenant.”

He grinned and tightened his arm around me while leading me out of the dance club.  Thomas opened the back door of the first cab in line in front of the club and shuttled me inside.  I gave my address to the cab driver and Thomas relaxed.  He pulled my hand to his lips and whispered, “Thank you.”

My heart rate increased and I wondered if he could feel it.  It was so loud rushing in my ears, beating frantic in my chest.  I tried to focus on the roads the cabbie was taking and found myself chewing my lower lip.  The tequila was now warming my bloodstream, warming my skin, but instead of being relaxed I found myself hyperaware.  His large hand was still holding mine, his thumb caressing the back of my hand making small soothing circles.  His breathing was normal, while I was trying to control mine.

I turned to face him and realized he was watching me intently.  “Thomas…”  I sighed, “You realize that, um, whatever you imagined might not live up to the reality?”  I didn’t want to come right out and say what I meant in front of the cab driver but right now, I was feeling doubt and anxiety.

He turned my hand over and kissed my palm, “Not having to watch you kiss another man is more than enough.”  He leaned in and whispered, “I don’t care if we just hold each other.  I just want to be with you tonight.”

I nodded, grateful that he’d given me an out.  I still felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment.  This was a bad idea.  The cab ride only served to give me time to consider what a bad idea this really was.  Basically, I was agreeing to a booty call with a stranger.  This was not me.  I didn’t do casual sex.  Furthermore, I didn’t really know him.  I mean, I remembered him from two years ago but what if he was a crazy stalker guy?  He seemed to be slightly stalker-ish.  Definitely obsessed.  This was a bad idea, and yet…  And yet there was a part of me that knew I would hate myself if I didn’t take the chance.

The cab pulled to a stop in front of our apartment building and I reached over and placed my hand on Thomas’ thigh.  He gave me a warm smile and I gave my head a little shake.

“Thomas,” I whispered, “I think,”

He put his finger on my lips, pushed a twenty dollar bill toward the cabbie, grabbed my hand and pulled me out. 

His hands held my face, “Shh, sweet girl.  It’s ok.”  He leaned down and kissed me and I was lost.  His lips sipped from mine and then he set to work, devastating all sense of reason. 

His forehead tilted against mine; “Please, let’s bring this inside?  I don’t want to be arrested for public indecency.”

My body was tensed, unable to move toward the apartment. 

His brows furrowed slightly, “Erin?  Are you ok?”

I shook my head.  “No.”  I answered honestly.  “I…  Look, the craziest thing I’ve ever done is kiss random guys on my birthday.  I don’t do this.  I don’t hook up or…”

He grinned and enveloped me in a hug.  “Ok, baby.  How about we go get coffee somewhere?”

“Are you sure?”  I asked in disbelief.  Was he really going to be ok with me dragging him out here and nothing else?

He chuckled, “Positive.  I was serious, as long as I’m with you and you’re not kissing a couple of dozen other men, I’m happy.”

I relaxed against him, laying my head against his very hard chest.  He smelled of sandalwood and I inhaled deeply, calming myself more.  I looked up at him and his sincere face.  I was an excellent judge of character; at least I had never been wrong before.  A loud sigh escaped my lips and I knew that I would not be sending him away tonight.  The fear of not having a night with him outweighed the other options.

You’d think there would be a Starbucks a couple of blocks away, but that wasn’t the case.  This was a residential area and there wasn’t anything nearby or open.  I took his hand and led him toward the apartment building.

I shrugged, “We have coffee and tea upstairs.”

His hand fell to the small of my back and he followed me inside.  I loved that I felt petite next to him.  His arm gently rested against me as we walked up the four flights of stairs.  I was panting by the time we reached my apartment but he wasn’t winded at all.

I smirked, “I take it you work out on board?”

He shrugged, “There’s not much else to do.”

I unlocked our apartment door and flipped on the light.  Thomas kicked the door shut behind us and made sure the door locked.  Thank God my roommate and I were neat.  Although, I remembered I did have three outfits lying on my bed and probably dirty underwear on my bathroom floor.  Hopefully, I could distract him long enough to do a quick run into my bedroom and throw the offending clothing into my closet.  Just in case we got bored with scrabble.

Our furniture was from the eighties, a gift from Shelby’s aunt.  It was comfortable, and the mauve and country blue polyester blend had held up extremely well for being thirty years old.

He chuckled at the sight of it, “Uh, I think my Nana has that couch.”

I giggled, “It’s Shelby’s.  It’s comfortable, and yet so ugly.”  I wrinkled my nose and grinned up at him.

He rewarded me with big grin.  “It’s homey.  I like your place.  How long have you lived here?”

“Um, three years.”  I sighed and frowned slightly.  “We all graduate this December.  Shelby is moving back to Ohio and Kiera is moving to Arizona.”

“Are you sad or excited?”  His head tilted as he watched me analyze his question.  I shrugged and he pulled me in for a hug and kissed the top of my head.  “Do you have a job lined up?”

I shook my head, “No, I have sent out my resumes and I’ve applied for a couple of internships.”

“Here?”  He asked, releasing me from the hug and pulling me toward the couch.  He sat down and pulled me into his lap.  I loved how big and gentle, and so damn attractive he was.  He was comforting.  I leaned against the arm of the couch, my legs resting on his lap, his arm around my shoulders.  It felt amazing.

“All over.  Europe, Saudi Arabia, Korea.”

He shook his head, “No.  That’s not a good idea.”  He pulled me closer and kissed the top of my head, “I’m thinking Chicago, or maybe San Diego for you.  That way I can keep an eye on you.”

I grunted, “At this point, I’ll take anything in management.  I have this horrible fear that I’ll be living on some crappy interstate managing a Knight’s Inn.”

He laughed, “No, I can’t imagine that.  I picture you at a resort, making all the guests very happy.”

I grinned, “I’d like that.  A resort position, I mean.”  I sighed, “Whatever.  I’m open to anything at this point.”

“Do you have school loans?”

That was an odd question.  Personal but not intimate.  I thought he was going to go for intimate.  “No.  I, um, well my grandparents left some money for college for me and I worked so I didn’t need any loans.”  I looked over toward the kitchen.  “Did you want any coffee or tea?”

 “No.”  His breath tickled my ear as he leaned in and bit my ear lobe.  “Have you thought about the Great Lakes area?”

I shrugged, “I wouldn’t mind it. I’ve applied to several national and international hotel chains and they had a job fair at school and I interviewed for a few of them.  I should hear back in a couple of weeks.”

He nodded and watched as I kicked off my shoes and settled my feet under my legs.  He growled a little and pulled me onto his lap.  His hand ran up and down my thigh.  “In three months I transfer to Great Lakes.  I’ve accepted a teaching position at the Training Center there.  I could maybe change it to San Diego, but it would be easier if you could get a job in Chicago.”

My eyebrows lifted.  He was serious.  “Thomas, I, uh, I don’t know what to say.”

He sighed, “I’m freaking you out.  I get that, but here’s the thing, I’ve remembered every minute of our time together two years ago.  We connected.  You were interested in me, but your friends kept throwing guys at you to kiss and I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Last year I was in the Persian Gulf and couldn’t make it and I promised myself that if I had the chance to come back here this year I would find you and tell you how I feel.”

I swallowed and he kissed me gently.  His hand came up to caress my face and he sighed.  “I know this is crazy, and I’d never openly admit to love at first sight, but Erin, I hope you feel this attraction too.  I hope it’s enough for you to take a chance on me.  On us.  That’s all I’m asking for, honestly.”

“Wow.”  I breathed.  “Are you always this open?”

He grinned and swore I saw him blush, “No, but we have a time constraint.  You’re looking for jobs right now.  You’ll graduate about the time that I’m back  We can spend the next three months writing to each other and getting to know each other better and if at the end of the three months you don’t want to see me, at least you still have a job in a great city.  If you do want to see me, well, it would be easier on both of us to be living in the same city.”

I grinned, “You have this all worked out.”

He shrugged, “I’ve had two years to think about it.”

“It‘s a reasonable plan.” I admitted.  It wouldn’t be a hardship to focus on Chicago for a job or internship.  He stared at me with such intensity, it was like he was trying to read my mind, or control my mind.  Still, if this was a line and he was just trying to manipulate me into dropping my panties it would work.  Just his smile made my panties melt.  Sheesh.

He shook his head, “Shh.  It’s a lot to think about right now.  Just focus on what you feel.”  His lips traced over mine, raining sweet kisses over my entire face, as if trying to memorize the contours of my face with his lips.

“You’re so beautiful, Erin.”  He murmured as his lips trailed across my jaw to behind my ears.  “You like this?”  He asked as he bit gently on the tender flesh of my neck.

“Yes.”  Holy hell, yes I liked it.  I freaking loved it!  Focus on the moment, he advised.  Well if he continued his sensual assault my moment would be getting very naked.  As if sensing my thoughts he gathered me up in his arms and carried me down the hallway. 

I didn’t argue.  I didn’t hesitate.  I whispered, “Second door on the left.”  Implied consent was all he needed; I was naked and perched on the edge of my bed moments later.  My comforter had been thrown back along with my discarded clothes.  I didn’t care.  I wasn’t embarrassed; I was too focused on the man in front of me.  The moment his lips descended on my core I was his for the night or a lifetime, his choice.  The man had me completely and I would willingly bend to his every demand.

His teeth pushed against my clit and I nearly exploded.  He let out a strangled cry, like he was on the edge himself.  He leaned up, two fingers dipping into my drenched core and his thumb circling that nub.

I was so close; there was no trying to relax or needing to chase the orgasm.  No, it was there, threatening to overpower me. 

“So good,” he whispered as he watched me, “Baby, I want to watch you come.”  His voice was needy and desperate and I fell over into an abyss that was absolutely amazing.    My mouth opened but I couldn’t even verbalize.  Every muscle seemed to be tightened and then they sprang, sending me into a series of contractions that wracked my body, bringing pleasure to every part of my body.  His eyes became feral and he began to pant.  He changed the position of his hand and prodded my g-spot and I cried out then.  I sucked in a huge lungful of air that I desperately needed.  It seemed to continue forever and I fell back on the bed, knees hooked on his shoulders, my entire body turning to Jell-O.

“So beautiful,” he whispered and leaned over and gently kissed me.  His hand withdrew from my core and he pet my thighs and murmured sweet nothings, gentle praises, all while kissing me lightly all over my face.

I felt amazing and embarrassed.  I was completely naked spread on my bed and he was still fully dressed, his face and hand covered in my essence.

“Thomas?”  My brain stem finally connected to my body and I was able of coherent speech.

“Yes?”

“Please get naked.”  I bit my bottom lip and watched him.

“Thank Christ.”  He hissed and stood up, quickly unbuttoning his uniform.  I leaned on my elbows to watch him.  His chest was magnificent.  I made a funny noise as he tossed his shirt on to the back of my desk chair.  When he turned I saw the art work on his back and scooted up on my knees to get a better look.

On his shoulder was the naval emblem and surrounding it were names.  I raised an eyebrow and he answered my unspoken question.  “My team, my brothers.”

“It’s beautiful.”

He grinned, “You’re beautiful.”

I smiled back at him, “Keep getting naked.”

“Are you sure?”  He teased, turning around and quickly loosening his belt.  He flicked open his trousers and the most beautiful cock fell forward begging for attention.  I leaned closer and as he toed off his shoes and dropped his pants my lips stretched around the head.

“Oh.”  He grunted and pulled away from me and quickly rolled on a condom.  He looked at me and said very seriously, “Next time.  I need to be inside you.  Now.”  He gently pushed my shoulders back and I lay down on the bed.  I wasn’t prepared for him to grab my hips, flip me over and pull me toward him.  He slammed into me and waited for a moment.  I won’t lie, it hurt at first and I flinched.  He released a hiss, his hands gripping my hips holding me to him but not moving.  The pain disappeared and I had a feeling of complete fullness, stretched tight around him and I wanted him to move.  I tried to wiggle in his death grip but he would let me.

“Shit.”  He grunted and sighed.  I could feel him relax behind me.  “If I move, I’ll come.”  He admitted.  “Two years of anticipation and I’m going to fucking come like a fifteen year-old.”  His grip loosened on my hips and his thumbs stroked my skin.

His voice softened, “Here’s what we need to do, and I swear to God, I’ll make it up to you next time.  I need you to put your beautiful fingers on your amazing pussy and rub yourself until you come.”  He hissed again as my internal muscles contracted around him.  “Oh, fuck.  You like the dirty talk.  Fuck, you are so perfect.”  He groaned and I felt his cock twitch inside of me, “You’re seriously killing me here.  Baby, please come.”

My hand slid down to between my thighs and I let my fingers roll over my clit.  The feeling of fullness combined with the heat of his body pressed against mine was almost enough to send me into another orgasm immediately but what set me off was the sound of approval that rumbled through my body when Thomas growled.  “Fuck yeah!  Touch yourself.  I wish it was my tongue.  I wish I could fill you with my cock while sucking on that perfect clit.”

Apparently his baby did like the dirty talk because I came hard.  Maybe I always came that hard but never having been filled to capacity before it felt different.  So very different, in such a very good way. 

“Yes!”  He shouted triumphantly and began to move.  His hips snapped against my butt and I was so wet that I could feel moisture beginning to drip down my thighs.  One hand released my hip and came up and grabbed my hair.

“Up, baby.”  He commanded and pulled, waiting for me to push up on my elbows and hands.  The angle made his cock hit my g-spot and I lost myself again.  I threw my head back, hitting his shoulder and he roared.  I could feel him throbbing inside me, I felt the heat of his release, heard his breaths, sharp and staccato like he had run a race.  The grip on my hair relaxed and his hand dropped to hold me around my waist.  My body was still coming, wave after wave, rolling through me until finally I was aware of myself.  We were plastered together, my thighs were wet and I wondered if the condom had broken because I never…

“Shh,” he murmured and it was then that I realized I was crying.  I never cried during sex.  Ever. 

I quieted myself, suddenly feeling shy and completely naked and aware of nakedness.  His other hand released my hip, and he slid out.  My eyes flicked down and I realized the condom had held.  It was just me, or rather what he did to mee.  I felt him peel off the condom and I’m pretty sure he threw it on the ground.  A part of me cringed at the thought of a used condom on my floor, but the majority of me didn’t care.  I didn’t want him to let me go.

He tugged me on to the bed and pulled me against his chest.  Lying on our sides and facing each other he looked happy and I couldn’t help but smile.  He kissed my forehead and whispered, “You never cried in my fantasies.”

I closed my eyes, “I never cried before.  I don’t know why, it just happened.”

“I didn’t hurt you?” He asked, one eyebrow cocked and I couldn’t help but grin in response.

“Well, um, not unpleasantly.”  I admitted and he chuckled.

“I’ve got two more condoms, and I promise next time I won’t rush.”

 “I’m not complaining.”  I kissed him chastely on the lips, “And I’m on the pill.”

“Thank Christ.” He growled and rolled on top of me.  He leaned down and kissed me, devouring me, taking complete ownership of me and I loved it.  I loved everything about him.  I loved the way he looked at me, the way he made me feel, his passion and his intensity.  When the head of his cock nudged between my lips I simply welcomed him inside.

“Fuck,” He hissed in a low voice, “You feel so good.  So fucking good.”  His eyes closed and it looked like he was trying to memorize the moment.  He took slow, long strokes and I felt my body respond; gradually building the tension in my core, waiting for him to release it.

“Tell me about your fantasies.” I whispered.

His eyes flew open and met mine.  “My favorite fantasy has already come true.”  He gave me a small smile, “I hoped, beyond reason that you wouldn’t freak out when I asked you to consider moving to Chicago.  In my fantasy, I take you to a nice restaurant and over dinner I ask you to marry me.  I promise you a whirlwind romance when I return and I give you a huge diamond ring and beg you to move to Chicago.”

I grunted, “Eww.  That would have freaked me out.”

His body stilled over mine and he laughed loudly.  “That’s what Mac said.  He said if you bought into that bullshit I should run the other way because you were bat-shit crazy.  He advised me to tone down my request and simply ask you to move to Chicago.  He said that marriage was implied but too early to state, especially when you probably don’t even remember me.”

“He’s a wise man.”  I teased.

He thrust deeply into me, “Enough about him.” 

“Ok.” I panted.  “What about you’re most frequent fantasy?”

“Oh fuck.”  He leaned back grabbed my knees and pushed them onto my chest and drove into me.  My core tightened around him and my hands flew back to the headboard to prevent me from sliding away.  My hips moved against him, pushing him deeper inside and I moaned in pleasure.

“Fuck!  You are so perfect.”

He was so strong, I wondered briefly if the bed could handle his hammering.  I knew I loved it.  I loved that he lost control like this.  He tilted slightly and put his thumb in my mouth.  I sucked on it greedily and he groaned before pulling it out.  He placed it directly on my clit and watched as I writhed under him.

“Love this.” He grunted.  “Love that you can take this.”  He continued to thrust and swirl and grind his hips.  Our eyes never left each other and I felt myself tightening around him, spasms beginning from deep inside that grasped him.

“Yes.  Fuck, yes.  Come with me.”  His guttural command broke me free from any restraints I had and I followed him over the edge of bliss.  It felt amazing, having him and just him inside me, no barrier.  Jet after jet of semen bathed me and his hips lost rhythm, his elbows slammed into the mattress as he continued to come inside me while my body responded in kind.  I was having orgasmic aftershocks and could feel my pulse from my toes to my fingertips.

My head, which had been reaching up toward him finally fell onto the mattress and I sighed.

He fell on me, keeping the of his weight on his arms.  We lay like that for a long time until I heard his muffled voice.  His head snuggled into the space between my head and shoulder.

“My go-to fantasy was you with me in the shower.  Sometimes you’d suck me off and sometimes you’d just use your hands.”  His voice was calmer, relaxed.  He lifted his head up and smiled, “I only get five minutes in the shower, but it worked.”

I grinned, “We could try that, later.”

He nodded and leaned up, allowing my legs to finally unfold.  “Definitely later.  Jesus, I’m not nineteen anymore.”

I giggled, “That’s good, because that would be yucky if you were.”

He laughed. “Yucky?”

“I’d have to attend Cougars Anonymous.”

He chuckled, “That would be bad.”

He rolled over quickly and pulled me on top of him.  I tried to roll off but his hands tightened on my back, keeping me in place.

“I’m too big and too heavy.”

“You.” He reached his head up and kissed me, “Are.” Kiss. “Perfect.”

I sighed, “I’m an Amazon.”

“Ok.  You are a perfect Amazonian Goddess.  I love how tall you are.  I don’t have to stoop to kiss you.  I bet if you sat in my lap I could easily suckle your breasts.”  He leered at me, “That’s another fantasy.”

I lowered my head to his chest, listening to the strong heartbeat.  He liked my size.  That was different.  I mean a few men loved that I was statuesque but most found it intimidating.  Of course, he was a giant.  We were in proportion to each other.  I couldn’t imagine him kissing Shelby.  He would have to put her on the counter.  The image in my brain suddenly made me very jealous.

“It’s not just about your beauty.  This isn’t just a physical thing for me, Erin.  That night, I loved how you talked about your family, how close you all are.  I loved that you want to have children, too, and you weren’t afraid to admit it either.  You’re sexy, but it’s more than that.  You’re passionate about the people you love and I want to be one of those people.”

“Wow.  That’s, um, that’s really sweet.”

His hand move to cup my face and his fingers brushed my hair back.  “I think we are special.  This is something special.  Promise me you’ll give us a chance.”

I grinned against his chest, turning my head slightly to kiss the palm of his hand.  “How can I say no?  It’s like you already own me.”

He gave a quick intake of breath and whispered, “Thank Christ.”

 

Happy Memorial Day from Tobi Doyle

 

Congratulations Goodreads Giveaway Winners!!!

Congratulations to the winners of last week’s Mother’s Day Giveaway. Hopefully the winners will receive their books by the end of next week since I sent the last three out today, Priority Mail.

This week has been an incredibly hectic one for me. My daughter, Sara, who is mentioned in many dedications, has a dance recital this weekend. I have been helping out the studio for a few years as a seamstress and work back stage during the show helping students with quick changes. This is no small production, we sell out of tickets in the college auditorium and there are three shows, over forty numbers, and it’s a four hour show. So, every night this week I have come home reeking of smelly feet and hair spray…

Not exactly romantic, eh? Except that in my real life, my husband has been amazing this week making sure that my son is fed and cared for every night, and kindly helping me as needed, and checking in and texting sweet love texts. In addition to that he let me sleep in this morning and made breakfast and lunch for the kids.
We are coming up on our 23rd wedding anniversary and I have to say that I love him more every day! This is why I can write romance, because I know it’s more than just the initial passion, it’s a promise of passion and caring and understanding every day for the rest of your lives.

I am infinitely in love.

Check back Memorial Day weekend.  I plan on giving away a free short story with a very hot military hero…