Some Write It Hot

February 18, 2011

Coming soon–Sojourn With A Stranger by Keta Diablo

Coming to KINDLE near you in March

About the book:
Penniless when she arrives in Norfolk, her mother and father drowned at sea, Raine Brinsley longs to return home to her grandfather in Maine. When Derek Stafford, owner of a large plantation, offers a solution to her dilemma, she’s stunned, if not outraged. She’d prefer to fulfill the contract to have his child and forget about him and his self-serving scheme. If only she could dispel the passion he’s awakened in her.

Derek’s only wish is to father an heir to Stafford House, thus securing his future. He didn’t count on the Scottish lass with green eyes interfering with his well-laid plan. After one night in her arms, guilt, not to mention the loss of his soul, becomes his penance. He’ll do anything to win her back, anything to quench the hunger tormenting his soul.

Read beginning chapters of Sojourn With A Stranger at Free Fantastical Fiction

For the latest information on Keta’s releases please follow her blog

February 16, 2011

Free Read Gato Negro Chapter 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — practicalkatz @ 04:00
Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright 2010 by Stella Price
Here’s Chapter 6

Cover Art copyright 2010 by Stella Price.

Seis

“Come on, girl, give me something.” Kate leaned over the Jeep’s console to get closer to Beth, as though spicy details might be easier whispered than spoken as they bumped along the jungle trail at fifteen kph. She had been prodding for some all morning.

Immediately on their return the first day, the entire compound guessed what had happened between Carlos and Beth. And any doubts which may have lingered were put to rest when he moved into her room the same night. For the last two weeks, they’d spent every moment together, until yesterday. He couldn’t put his rounds off any longer, he’d said. He’d be gone a few days.

Kate simply took advantage of the opportunity to get Beth alone by volunteering them to drive into town for supplies. “Don’t be so selfish. Since you’re the only one getting any around here, we all have to live vicariously through you.”

Beth didn’t fall for Kate’s pitiful attempt to wring details from her. “Jean-Paul likes you.” She grinned. “He’s cute. And the accent–très sexy. He’d make a great fuck-buddy.”

“Pfah,” Kate puffed as she sat back in the passenger seat. “Wake up, Beth. Jean-Paul likes you. He just knows better than to try competing with Tarzan. I’m not desperate. So, tell me,” she said, turning back to Beth, “is he as good as he looks?”

Beth smiled a secret smile. “He’s as good as it gets and that’s all you’ll get from me.”

The road took a tight turn around a rise, forcing Beth to brake. A moment later, they came to an abrupt halt as the front end of the Jeep slammed into a downed tree. Beth caught herself with a hand to the dash, but her chest hit the steering wheel, knocking the breath from her.

“Damn,” Kate said. “And I so looked forward to getting my hair cut.”

“We have to turn around. Now.” Beth gripped the wheel until her knuckles hurt. If these guys wanted to spring a trap, they couldn’t have picked a better spot.

“There’s no place to turn around,” Kate muttered, catching some of her nervousness.

“How are you at backing up? I could get out and direct.” Hopeful, Beth glanced at Kate for an answer and found her staring wide-eyed over Beth’s shoulder. A second later, something cold and hard poked the side of Beth’s neck. Her heart leaped into her throat, but she focused on the gun with perfect clarity and swallowed the fear.

“¡Salga! Get out the car,” a heavily accented voice said near her ear. “¡Ándale.” The man stepped back. Both women scrambled to the ground.

Before turning to face the gun, Beth glanced up at Kate where she stood stock-still at the passenger side. Even wide-eyed and afraid, she appeared to be calculating her options. Kate being Kate, Beth felt sure she’d make some kind of move. She cleared her throat to get her friend’s attention and mouthed “no.” She wanted only to get out of this in one piece.

The gun swung a few inches, pointing the way to the compound, then back to Beth’s face. “¡Vaya! Walk.”

Carter would not be happy losing the car, but Beth didn’t expend too much energy worrying. She reached into the bed of the Jeep for her pack without taking her eyes from the man.

He waved the gun at her. “No. Go.”

Damn, she needed the things in her pack–her camera, her ID, her birth control pills, for God’s sake. Things not easily replaced in the middle of the jungle without transportation. Though she didn’t think he would use the gun, she wasn’t about to argue with it either.

“Let’s go, Kate,” she said and turned into the chest of a second poacher. She tried to go around. Big as a bear and smelling like one, he grabbed her wrist and shoved her against the tailgate of the car.

“Where is your boyfriend today, chica?” The idea this man had been watching them sent shudders through Beth. What did they want with Carlos? She shrugged and didn’t answer.

The first said some angry words in Spanish. Big Guy answered without taking his eyes off her. Beth stood squashed between the back of the Jeep and his unwashed body, quietly dreading the argument’s end.

Movement in the corner of her eye drew Beth’s attention. She turned her head in time to catch Kate running toward them. Every instinct told her to call out, to stop her friend from doing something which might anger these desperate men even further, but her voice stuck in her throat.

Kate shoved Beth’s captor hard enough to make him stumble. “Leave her alone. We’re going.” She took firm hold of Beth’s arm and pulled her away from the car.

As Beth slipped past him, Big Guy snatched her arm away from Kate and twisted her to the ground. At the same time, he thrust Kate at his partner.

The smaller man held her roughly against his chest, still arguing, still waving the gun.

Then Kate screamed.

A black streak passed behind Beth. The man pinning her to the ground disappeared with a grunt.

Freed, she turned and stared, transfixed for a second, as the cat tore at him. The urgency of their situation cut her interest short. She scrambled to her feet in time to see Kate shoulder her stunned captor aside, knocking the gun from his hand.

Beth kicked the weapon under a shrub at the side of the track. She followed Kate’s trail into the relatively sparse growth beneath the canopy. They ran.

Behind them, the man’s screams cut off.

They wove through the trees in the almost dark. The monkeys’ frantic hooting made it impossible to hear if anyone followed.

The cat roared, much closer than Beth expected.

Kate cried out. Beth slowed to a stop, looking over her shoulder, terrified she’d find the cat attacking her friend.

Kate sat, legs splayed, on the ground where she’d fallen, safe for the moment. She stared back the way they’d come, her expression confused and frightened. Beth followed her gaze.

Carlos strode toward them from the shadows. Speechless with relief, Beth spun on her heels and ran to him.

He stopped where Kate sat and bent to offer his hand.

Kate gaped at him, her face a mask of confusion. “B’alam,” she said. She took the hand he offered and let him pull her to her feet as Beth walked up.

“Are you okay?” Beth asked. Had Kate bumped her head when she fell? What did she say?

Kate blinked a few times, never taking her eyes from Carlos. Her confusion turned to awe.

“You’re naked,” she said.

His gaze fixed on her, but he made no comment.

Beth said as calmly as she could manage, “Carlos, poachers…two at least. The cat attacked. He must be near. Why are you naked?”

“I took care of the poachers.”

“He’s the cat.”

“You took care of them? Are they dead?”

“No, running for town.” His eyes, still locked to Kate’s, filled with despair.

“Carlos?”

“Did you hear me, Beth? He’s the cat.”

Beth gaped at her like she spoke some obscure language.

“B’alam,” Kate said. “Leave it to you to get a god to fall in love with you.”

“I don’t understand. Carlos, what is she talking about?”

Carlos turned sad eyes to her. “I’m so sorry, querida. You were never to see this. Talk to Kate. She can tell you what she knows. I should go now.”

“You mean I’m right?” Kate said. “Don’t go. I have a million questions. How old are you?”

“Older than I look. Beth, forgive me. I will go now.”

“No, Carlos. Wait!”

He walked three steps and his body began to contort. A scream developed in Beth’s throat and stuck as his legs shortened, back lengthened. When the cat stood before her, it glanced back. All that remained of Carlos was the eyes.

“Jesus,” Kate said.

Beth felt her legs give way, then nothing.

* * * *

She came around slowly to the sound of Kate calling her name. When her eyes finally opened, her friend’s worried face looked down at her.

“Are you all right?”

Beth shook her head. She was far from all right, but couldn’t put two thoughts together coherently enough to voice it. With no energy to protest, she let Kate help her to her feet and walk her back toward the road in silence.

The Jeep was where they’d left it, but turned around facing the way they’d come. Both their packs lay in the back undisturbed.

Without a word, Beth climbed into the passenger seat. If Kate didn’t feel up to driving, they would have to sit here until she did. Beth had no desire to get behind the wheel, or to hurry back to the compound.

Kate started the engine right up. No one said a word for the hour drive back to where they’d started. Beth went directly to her room and lay in her hammock, leaving Kate to decide what to tell the others.

He’d warned her. She’d thought he wanted to hide the fact he’d been in prison, or had smuggled drugs in his sordid youth, or some other perfectly normal skeleton. That he wasn’t human–scientists’ minds did not go in those directions. He was beautiful beyond belief, but everything about him said man. He tasted like a man, smelled like one. Yes, he made her body sing like no man had before, but the only magic there was the magic in her heart.

Yet she had to believe what her eyes told her. As a scientist, she should want to explore, to find out why the impossible was, after all, possible. She didn’t, though. She wanted only to remember Carlos as he lay beside her after love, sweet and vulnerable, spent and happy.

The secret revealed. Carlos did not exist. She couldn’t think of him as he was, so she mourned what he wasn’t.

Later in the afternoon, Kate stopped at her threshold. She held a thick book much like the dozens of textbooks Beth had hoped never to see again after four years as an undergrad science major.

Beth roused herself, ready for answers.

Kate spread the book open on the small desk next to the window.

“Here he is.” She pointed to one of four statues pictured on a page of pre-Columbian art. “B’alam Agab, the night jaguar–supposedly one of the four progenitors of mankind–that’s the Maya legend. The Olmec, however…”

“Kate, you’re not talking hundreds of years here; you’re talking millennia.”

Kate glanced up. “Yeah.”

Beth skimmed through the passage next to the picture, then read it more closely. When she finished, she flipped the book closed and shoved it at Kate. “You can’t tell anyone.”

“Like, who would believe me?” Kate said, pulling the book to her chest. “I want to talk to him, though. Imagine the history he could clear up. Olmec! Beth, so little is known…”

“Anything he told you couldn’t be proved.”

“Well, I understand that. But you can’t expect me to stop wanting to know. That’s my job, right?”

* * * *

At breakfast, Carter clinked his cup for their attention.

“Carlos has been called away. He won’t be back,” he announced.

Everyone turned to Beth.

“What did you do?” Sam asked.

Kate stuck up for her. “Leave her alone. Beth didn’t do anything to make him go.”

“The situation was a disaster waiting to happen,” Sam said. “Just great, Beth. Now we don’t have a guide for a month until Antonio gets back.”

Look for the final chapter, Chapter 7, on March 9.

Thanks for reading.
ali
http://www.a-katz.com

Purchase

For Kindle @ Amazon.com

For other readers (.epub) @ Goodreads

and, oh, if you’ve already read, a couple stars would be appreciated. Better yet, stars and a review 🙂

 

February 12, 2011

Meet Cari Silverwood by Cherise Sinclair

Filed under: Who we are — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , , ,

Alas for lost innocence. Author Cari Silverwood has left it far behind. In fact, she’s jumped so enthusiastically into the kinkier side of erotic romance that we heard her inviting Darth Vader to a bondage and hot wax session. (I think he accepted)

Although Cari is previously published under another name in another genre, I think she’s going to stay on the dark side for a while. Her characters have given her a long list of sexual activities they want to try, and she’s having way too much fun trying to incorporate the various positions, places, and…other things…into her stories.

Surprisingly serene despite having a teen and preteen, Cari lives in Australia with a husband who is master of the raised eyebrow when catching glimpses of what she writes. Since she’s a pet-lover with an amazingly diverse menagerie–dogs, cats, lizards, fish, and birds–it’s not surprising that her cocker spaniel managed to sneak his way into her story. And you can get an idea of her sense of humor–the floppy-eared, puffy-pawed spaniel is named “Killer”.

Her first erotic romance, Three Days of Dominance, is coming out this spring from Loose Id, and having read parts of it, I’d say readers are in for a thrill.

Blurb for Three Days of Dominance
When a man with mint-green eyes steps from a lake and offers to rescue Danii’s dog in exchange for three days of total obedience, it’s obvious he must be either joking or crazy. And, being a police officer, she knows how to handle the crazies. But when it comes to Heketoro, she’s the one being handled. Each day their lovemaking becomes wilder and Danii discovers exactly how far this man can take her. Though the tattoos drawing themselves on his body make it clear he’s not quite human, to Danii what’s more important is their burgeoning love for each other.

An ancient curse prevents Heketoro from returning to his world. With one last ritual of love needed to break this curse, Heketoro’s enemies return and threaten to destroy him by using his only weakness — Danii. Will love, or their enemies, triumph?

Excerpt (note – this is an early, unedited version)
Her wrists were drawn taut, above her head, secured to the headboard by ropes of thorned red rose and bougainvillea. The pricks of their thorns threatened to puncture her dream. She resisted that, wanting more. Raising her head, she stared down the length of her body, past her red protruding nipples, and along her stomach where sweat lined the floral rope fastening her thighs up against her body. With her bottom tilted and her legs spread, her pussy was open, available.

The man, his black hair spread in floating streamers about his head, lifted his head from between her thighs and she gasped, rolling her hips upwards. The wet tip of his tongue slid across as he licked her juices off his lower lip. Her clit, so recently probed by that clever tongue, pulsed. If he didn’t put it back there, soon…

She panted, feeling his thumbs glide in the slickness of her labia, felt them sink deep, then deeper inside, and gasped again, lost in the molten sensation. She tried to move her arms, her legs, and couldn’t. Trapped and pinioned for him to do what he wished. Excitement screwed her insides a notch tighter. Her vagina squeezed around his thumbs. He pulled them out and she mewed at the loss.

Slowly, his eyes never leaving hers, he rose to his feet, shifting position until his hands wrapped around her thighs and the head of his cock pressed against her entrance.

Anticipation made everything feverish bright, sent lust snaking, thick as syrup, to her groin. Her thigh muscles juddered as she pushed up vainly against the rope. The rope tightened. The thorns bit down.

The man smiled with satisfaction as her struggling subsided, becoming a trembling acceptance of what was to come. He drove the head of his cock into her, sliding inside, and halted. She groaned, anticipating the thrust as he penetrated farther.

Watching her intently, he skated his finger in tantalizing circles about her clit, sometimes touching the aching nub, and sometimes not. He gripped it between finger and thumb, and squeezed, then thrust with his cock, then squeezed, then thrust — the rhythm driving her closer and closer to the edge, her clit so swollen she was sure she’d explode if her release was held off a second longer.

Withdrawing until the head barely parted her lips, he poised there, making her ache, making her want.

Aaah. She arched, threw back her head, opened her mouth…and something soft and furry landed on her. A long tongue swept across her face. The dream dissolved.

Danii opened one eye. Two doggy eyes looked back.

“Killer,” she rasped. Her Cocker Spaniel barked twice and squirmed closer. She plonked a hand on his head to still his tongue and squinted at the alarm clock.

“Six o’clock. Gah! Couldn’t you have waited one more minute? We nearly did it this time!” Not that it would have mattered. Her dreams always ended before she came, though this time had been close, much closer than usual.

Danii squeezed her thighs together and groaned. She really needed a lover. Only, good men didn’t grow on trees, especially not men that did special tricks with bougainvillea. Whoa, that had been something, way too kinky. She’d never let a man do that to her for real, but in dreams, in dreams it was…nice.

Killer barked again, more urgently.

“You want to go for your walk, don’t you?”

He ruffed and sat up, tail swishing across the sheets.

“Okay. Okay. I’m getting up.”
* * * * *
Getting her mind in gear in the early morning was something she’d had practice at for years. Within half an hour, Danii was at the lake, having wrenched on jeans and a top and collected the neighbor’s dog like she’d promised. The lake was pristine blue-green, cool, and still. The sun’s rays struggled over the horizon in little sparks and glints that hurt her eyes when she looked up.

Preoccupied by thoughts of what might await her at work, Danii barely noticed the concrete path under her feet, the ducks cruising on the water, or the myriad other life in and around the lake. She’d been here a million times and the dogs more than made up for her inattention as they sniffed weeds and tree trunks, a patch or two of sodden grass, and eyed off everything that moved.

Most likely there’d be a long list of thefts and assaults to investigate today. No court appearances, thank heavens.With a wrench she brought her mind back to the here and now — time for all the stresses of work later, when she had to think about it.

Killer and Jugsy, the neighbor’s Dalmatian, easily kept up with her on the lazy walk around the lake, though the Dalmatian had a habit of doing pretzel maneuvers around Killer every so often.

A distinctive child’s hat with butterfly appliqué rested abandoned on the grass ahead. She knew Marie, the mother of the child, and went to pick it up. Jugsy’s lead tangled with Killer’s at the same time she bent over. She absentmindedly fiddled with the lead, and dropped it.

In that one millisecond of sloppiness, a dragonfly darted across Jugsy’s nose, and he took off like a spotted rocket. She lunged then dived for the loop of the lead, and missed. With a gigantic splash, Jugsy plunged into the lake and was yards out before she’d scrambled up off the grass.

Holy hells. Who was to know the dog could win an Olympic medal in dog paddle?

Visit Cari’s website at www.carisilverwood.netfor a longer excerpt and, well, just to say hello!

January 31, 2011

Releasing February 1–Masters of the Shadowlands Five: Make Me Sir by Cherise Sinclair

== Blurb for Make Me, Sir =====================================

Her job is to make his life miserable. His job is to make her submit. Whose heart will surrender first?

Across the country, rebellious BDSM submissives are being systematically kidnapped, one from each club. When her friend falls prey to the slavers, FBI victim specialist Gabrielle volunteers to be bait in a club not yet hit: the Shadowlands.

She finds that being a bratty sub comes naturally, especially when she gets to twit the appallingly conservative Master of the trainees. But she soon discovers he’s not as stuffy as she’d thought. Or as mean. She’d expected punishment, even humiliation, but she sure never expected to fall in love with a damned lawyer.

Courtesy of a prima donna ex-wife, Marcus loathes disobedient submissives. When the club owner insists he admit an incredibly bratty trainee, he’s furious. But as he comes to know Gabrielle and sees the alluring sweetness beneath the sass, he starts to fall for her.

Unfortunately, Marcus isn’t the only one who believes the feisty redhead is a prize worth capturing. And in the world of the slaver, such treasure is worth a hefty fee.

===Excerpt for Make Me, Sir =======================================

The model-gorgeous guy in the suit didn’t like her. Gabrielle saw that already, but no real problem. The only one she had to impress was Master Marcus, and hopefully the suit wouldn’t tell on her. The man positively oozed rich and powerful, so he must be a big shot in the club. “I guess I’d better get back there before my boss arrives.”

“Who?”

“Master Marcus. I’m waiting for him.”

“You most certainly possess a poor idea of how to wait.” He stared at her for another minute, disapproval radiating from him. “I have a notion that introductions are in order before you work your way further into trouble. I am Master Marcus.”

She choked. Oh, no. This day is so not going well. “Ah.” She cleared her throat and tried again. “Nice to meet you. Um –”

“And might I ask your name?” he asked politely. Too politely.

She took a second look at him, at his fancy tailored suit. Dark gray with pinstripes. Oh please, like she’d really believe he was a dom at all? “Gabrielle Anderson. Are you sure you’re Master Marcus?”

He cocked his head. The guy was way too good-looking. Tall, broad-shouldered, lean. His hair, a rich brown shading to gold on the ends, was flawlessly styled. Definitely a perfect person like her parents. Gag. Even his tan wasn’t leathery, but just dark enough to set off incredibly blue eyes. Very sharp blue eyes, in fact, and turning colder by the second.

“Why would you think I’m not Master Marcus?” he asked.

Well, good grief. She waved a hand at him and kept the duh from slipping out. Just in case he really was Master Marcus. Maybe he hadn’t changed yet or something. “The suit? Where are your leathers or latex or…biker jacket or vest? And black? Did you forget to wear black?”

He stared for a second, as if she’d turned into a drooling idiot, and then simply roared. Deep, full laughter — amazing coming from someone who looked like he should have a stick up his ass.

She felt heat flooding her face and decided she really didn’t like him. Maybe he was the club accountant or administrator or something. Shifting her weight, she looked past him. Hopefully the Marcus guy would arrive soon. She needed to get all established before the arrival of the kidnapper — the unsub, as a real agent would call him. She frowned. Unsub sounded too much like fake submissive. That would be me. Maybe she’d call him a perp instead.

“Best you tell me about your previous experience in BDSM,” the suit said, and damn but he appeared totally different when he smiled. How many women had he destroyed with that devastating dimple in his left cheek and crease in the right? “Was it mostly in downtown clubs? Perhaps of the Goth variety?”

“Well, yeees. Why?” Several years ago too, but that’s not what she’d written on her application.

He motioned for her to precede him down the hall, and when she stepped in front of him, his hand closed on her nape. Firmly, as if she were a stray dog. “I do believe you’ll find a private club a mite different. A wider age range, diverse incomes, assorted tastes. Many doms here wear leathers and black; some prefer other attire.”

Her stomach sank with the authoritative way he’d gripped her neck. No accountant from the back would act like this — she’d run into a dom. In a suit. Who called himself…? “You really are Master Marcus?”

“I’m afraid so, darlin’.” He stopped at the place where chains hung from the low rafter and released her, only to walk around her slowly as if she stood on a display stand. “Is all your experience in public clubs?”

“Uh-huh.” In her college days, she’d pop into a club, have some fun, and maybe take someone home. But she hadn’t indulged since then. She’d set her sights on the FBI from day one and wasn’t about to mess up her chances by doing anything less than respectable.

“I see.” He tapped the ribbing on her bustier. “Remove that, please.”

She stared at him. Just like that? I only met you, dammit. She hesitated, but the merciless look in those blue eyes kicked her into gear. After undoing the hooks, she tossed the bustier onto a chair outside the ropes that fenced off the scene area. She forced her arms to stay at her sides and tried to ignore the air-conditioned draft on her bare breasts.

“Very pretty.” When he brushed sure fingers over her shoulder, into the hollow below her collarbone, and over the upper curve of one breast, her body woke up from her breasts all the way to her pussy — and that was damn disconcerting considering she didn’t even like the guy. But he had that ruthless attitude going for him — the dominant edge that put butterflies into her stomach as if she’d swallowed fluffy bugs.

“And did you play somewhere else?” he asked. “Privately?”

Her cheeks warmed. “Not…really. I might have gone home with a man after, but for kinky stuff, I stayed in the clubs. More public or something.”

“I see. You didn’t trust any dom enough to let him restrain you without other people around.”

“Ah.” She’d never thought of it like that but — okay. He was right. She nodded.

“I prefer to have verbal answers,” he said ever so softly. “‘Yes, Sir’ will serve for now.”

She couldn’t keep the shiver from running down her spine. The guy wielded a razor-sharp voice, no matter how soft it was. “Yes, Sir.”

“That sounds very pretty, sugar,” he said, and the caress in his voice turned all her bones into a seriously mushy state. Until he added, “Remove the skirt, please.”

She looked up, and his eyes could be just as lethal as his tone. Why did he bother to say ‘please’? She stepped out of the skirt, wishing she’d done more time in the gym. Done any time in the gym. Maybe walked a little at least. Nothing like a fat ass to impress a man.

But hey, this wasn’t about impressing the fussy dom. She’d come here to lure a kidnapper — a killer — into a trap. She shivered.

His eyes narrowed. “Do you have a problem with being unclothed?”

Hell. Keep your mind on business, Gabi. “No, Sir. Just cold, Sir.”

“Um-hmm.” He walked around her again, inspecting her as if she were the star at a dog show. Totally insulting — and yet she felt her nipples contracting to dagger points and a disconcerting wetness between her thighs. She shifted to put her legs closer together.

“Master Z requested I take you on. Did you read the rules for the trainees?”

“Um. Yes.” She caught the hint of ice in his eyes and added a hasty, “Sir.”

He unhooked a set of golden-colored leather cuffs from the back of his belt. After buckling them on her wrists, he carefully checked the fit and then attached her left cuff to a chain dangling from the rafter. “The safe word for the trainees is red,” he said as he reached for another chain and did her right arm. He kept the chains long enough her arms could remain at waist level. “I want for you to use it if you become overwhelmed in any way, from fear, pain…whatever. It will bring the dungeon monitors a-running.”

“If I use a safe word, does that mean everything is off?” She couldn’t afford to blow this.

His face softened. “No, sugar. It means I stop whatever we’re doing and we sit down and chat for a bit.”

“Oh. Okay. Good. Um, Sir.” Can I really see this through? This lethal dom wasn’t anything like the ones she’d played with in the downtown clubs. Fear wavered inside her, and she shoved it away. Mostly.

She saw his gaze on her and realized her fingers were tracing the scar on her cheek. He pulled her hand down and enfolded it in his warm one. “Gabrielle, do you have a problem with bondage you didn’t mention on the application?” he asked.

“No, Sir.” When he didn’t move, she added, “Really. I’m just a little nervous, Sir.”

“All right then.” He walked to the wall, and the chains attached to her wrist cuffs began to tighten, pulling her arms over her head. He stopped before she had to go up on tiptoe.

She tried to be grateful for the small concession, but suddenly she felt…naked. Really naked, much more than when she’d taken off her clothes. Then she’d worried about how she looked. Now…now she felt the intensity of his gaze as he strolled around her again.

“What…what are you going to do?”

“I’m fixin’ to acquaint myself with my new trainee’s body as we have a chat.”

* * * * *

Buy from Loose Id

Read more from Cherise her website: www.CheriseSinclair.com
Dominant Males, Sizzling Tales
Author of Masters of the Shadowlands series

January 28, 2011

Tom’s Story Continued–Chapter Seven by Debbie Vaughan

Filed under: Free read — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , , , ,

Just in case you need to catch up:

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six

“You best be steppin’ lively,” he cackled. “Or as light as a dead man can.”

I cast a disparaging glance over my shoulder as I got my bedroll. “You’re not worried you might upset me, Paul? I can’t figure if you’re that brave or just stupid.”

“Bit of both, I reckon.” He cackled louder. “But then I ain’t the one that’s fixin’ to lay me down in the dirt for a nap, while a body I don’t know keeps guard over me and mine.”

He put a fine point on my own thoughts, but my choices were few and dwindling fast. Dawn was about to break. I unrolled my blanket into the trench he’d fashioned in the sandy loam then, stretched out on it. I raised a brow as he flapped another blanket to unfurl it.

“This here will keep the topdressin’ from getting you over dirty.” He spread the blanket, smelling strongly of mule, over me. “Rest easy, Massa Tom.”

“I am no one’s master,” I said aloud—I thought. The sound of hands moving soil and mulch grew faint and then– nothing.
*****
I awoke to the bitter sweet smell of chicory. What Paul used for coffee. I had survived the day with body intact and my companion still with me. I rose slowly, letting the soil and debris shift from the blanket before I removed it. Popping it into the air removed the remainder.

“Be whit’cha in a bit. Jist finishin’ up dinner.” Paul held his plate high, shoveling the beans in his mouth.

The sight of him left me lighthearted. He was a man of his word. I stretched my arms and cracked my back. “Take your time. Have the animals been watered?”

“Only a wee bit Sa, just a sip from the canteen. I daren’t leave ya to go to the crick.”

“That’s right good of you, Mr. Monroe–.”

“Paul, Sa—jist Paul be fine.”

“Paul, you finish your meal and I’ll water the stock.” I untied Silas and Merry and led them the twenty or so yards to where a brook babbled merrily over tree roots and stones. As they drank, I washed the parts I could, rinsed my mouth and wet my hair, running my fingers through in place of a comb. When finished, we returned to the campsite.

Paul sat studying his wrist. He looked up as we entered the fire’s glow. “Don’t that beat all?” He held his wrist up for inspection. “If’n I din’na know no better, I’d said I done dreamed this whole biznez.”

I took his wrist in my hand, no sign of my bite remained. Only a scar of an old rope burn marred his brown flesh. So, not just animal hide.

“You seem surprised Sa. Ain’t this how it always is?”

“Truth-be-told Paul, I don’t honestly know. I don’t normally stay around after feeding.” I raised my eyes and a brow to look into his face. “I knew our spit could stop the bleeding, but not that it healed so completely.”

-Read more >

January 24, 2011

Reward of Courage by DH Starr–Coming Soon

Filed under: Coming soon — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , , ,

The story is releasing soon from Ai Press

Blurb

Derek Thompson and Scott Thayer met in high school. Facing challenges and overcoming obstacles that would make lesser young men fold, they now have the chance to forge a life together. As they enter college, they finally have the time and space to discover each other sexually and give their virginity to each other. However, in spite of the erotic thrill of exploration, there are still challenges ahead, challenges that will test their love and devotion…

While Derek wants to live as an openly gay man, Scott wishes to maintain a degree of privacy. Not only that, but another freshman, Tyrell Jackson, becomes infatuated with Derek and wants Derek for his own. In the face of these threats to their burgeoning relationship, Derek and Scott are forced to look within themselves and make difficult decisions which will change both of their lives forever.

Is their relationship strong enough to bear the strain of balancing their needs as individuals and as a couple? The only way Derek and Scott will attain their ultimate reward is by finding the courage to face their fears. Will they rise to the challenge?

Warning the following excerpt is m/m x-rated!

Scott shot Derek a victorious glance, then the corner of his mouth began to creep up into his sly grin which would soon create a potentially embarrassing situation for Derek if his mother didn’t leave soon. Luckily, Claire turned and left just before Derek’s arousal became visible, pressing against the crotch of his jeans. When she left the room, Scott got up from the sofa and walked over to Derek. “I just thought of what we could do to kill some time before we go to Beck’s.”

“What? And could you please not do things that turn me on when my mom is around? My cock started dancing the Macarena when you flashed your grin at me.” Derek reached into his pants and dramatically readjusted himself.

“I forgot, all I have to do is say one or two words and you sport wood. It’s really very flattering—”

“Okay, enough,” Derek said, cutting him off. “What is this idea that you have?”

Scott walked over to the window and looked out. “I was thinking…oh, there are your parents getting into the car. Good! I was thinking we could take a shower together before heading over to Beck’s. We both stink and, well, the only showers we’ve taken together were in the locker room at school with a ton of other guys.”

All of Derek’s blood ran to his cock. Why hadn’t he thought of that? It was like Scott had a sixth sense. Just when Derek was beginning to feel doubt or concern about the two of them, Scott’s alpha male side would emerge and turn Derek into a puddle of longing at his feet. Without bothering to readjust himself, he dashed for the door, calling over his shoulder. “I’ll race you to the bathroom.”

Having the house to themselves, they didn’t have any concerns about being interrupted. They undressed hastily in Derek’s room, tossing their clothes to the floor, and tumbled across the hall into the bathroom. Stepping into the steamy interior of the enclosed shower, they embraced each other, allowing the hot water to slick their bodies. Scott ran his hands up and down Derek’s back, gently caressing his skin, as Derek ran his hands over broad chest muscles and defined abs, then leaned in and tilted his head up, bringing his mouth to Scott’s, as water washed through their hair and down their faces.

Needy hands gripped Derek’s ass, pulling him closer and grinding their now rigid cocks together. “Before we get too far into this, you know that we aren’t going to do anything more than petting right?”

Derek was too lost in the heat of the moment and water and by standing naked next to Scott to argue. “Yeah, yeah. I know the rules. Not until we get to college.”

Satisfied, Scott returned his attention to touching Derek. “I love the way your body angles down from your shoulders towards your waist and how your ribs ripple your sides, but disappear into you’re your lats. Your muscles aren’t too large, but they’re so clearly defined. I could spend days just looking at and touching you.” After delivering his praises, he lowered his head and captured Derek in a hungry kiss once again.

Derek had fantasized about showering with Scott hundreds of times, but even his most explicit dreams didn’t come close to the reality of standing under the rush of hot water as he held the only boy who had been able to draw him out of his shell. Pulling out of the kiss, he stared at Scott. Beside the dazzling blue-green eyes, Scott had shaggy blond hair which was now matted to his forehead and clinging to his neck. His skin was naturally bronzed and he had a strong jaw line which gave him a rugged, masculine appearance. A bit of scruffy stubble completed the image nicely.

Rising onto his toes, Derek placed his lips at the crook where jaw met neck and slowly kissed his way down the lean cords of muscle until he reached the collar bone. Glancing down, he gasped at the sight of his bulging pecs and flat abdomen and, defined ridged abs. All other images and thoughts vanished as soon as he saw Scott’s cock which stood fully erect between their two bodies.

The combination of running water, slick skin on skin, and seeing Scott’s naked body in the full light of the bathroom sent a new wave of excitement through Derek’s body. “Remind me why we haven’t showered together before?”

Scott bent his head so that his forehead was resting on Derek’s shoulder touched Derek’s, his hands still securely planted on each butt cheek. “She’s called Claire and if she ever caught us doing this, she’d lock up that chastity belt she’s got on you and throw away the key forever. Once we get to college we’ll have all the time in the world to do this and much more without worrying about your mom.”

Taking some body wash, Derek applied a generous amount to the loofah which hung from the shower nozzle and began to clean Scott, forming a rich, thick foam as he did so. “Oh, yeah, that’s right.” He snickered and continued his scrubbing. “Can we stop talking about my mom now? I’m sure we can find other things to focus on.”

Allowing water to wash away the soap he had applied to Scott’s body, Derek lowered his lips to one nipple, closing his mouth around the succulent bit of flesh, running his tongue in circles as the nub hardened.

Scott groaned and placed a hand on the back of Derek’s head, holding him there. Needing no further encouragement, he bit down, using his teeth to increase the stimulation. Over the past few months he had learned exactly how to drive Scott wild. Stimulating his nipples was one of the most effective ways. As he teased, moans filled the bathroom as his erection pressed against Derek’s stomach.

As if choreographed, they both reached down and wrapped their fingers around rigid shafts at the same time. Slowly tugging at each other, they began to increase their motion, still locked in a fervent kiss. Tension began to build up in Derek’s balls and his core muscles began to quiver in fast, ticklish spasms of pleasure. “Scott, I’m…going…to…come.” With a loud moan, he tilted his head back, water crashing onto his face, as his cock erupted under Scott’s skillful manipulation.

As soon as Derek’s release subsided, Scott’s breathing became heavy. Derek quickened his pace as he jerked at his cock.

Scott grabbed Derek behind his neck and pressed their foreheads together tightly. Has his cock pulsed, releasing ribbons of cum into Derek’s hand while staring he stared directly into his eyesat Derek. His moans were not as loud as Derek’s had been, but they contained an animal ruggedness, almost as if he were growling.

Derek felt the lingering spasms of Scott’s orgasm as his cock pulsed in his hand. Leaning heavily into Scott’s body, he rested his head on the rounded shoulder muscle and sighed. After a moment, Scott wrapped his arms around Derek. “That was incredible.”

“Mm,” was all Derek could manage. Bending down to pick up the loofah which he had dropped at some point, he had no idea when. He was rewarded with a sharp gasp from Scott.

“I forgot how fuckin’ amazing your ass is. I don’t get to see it nearly enough.” Scott’s voice had regained some volume, but still contained the ruggedness which sent ripples of electricity through Derek.

Standing and applying reapplied soap to the loofah, Derek laughed. “Turn around. Let me get your back.” Scott turned, exposing the smooth tanned skin of his back and. Derek allowed his eye to roam down the tapered lines of his body until they rested on his firm, rounded ass. While it didn’t have as much bubble as his own, Derek still found the sight alluring.

Read more from DH Starr at his website

January 19, 2011

Free Read Gato Negro Chapter 4

Cover Art copyright Stella Price 2010

Gato Negro, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com. and other readers, in .epub format, at Goodreads.

Without further adieu, Chapter 4

Oh, R-rated content warning!


Cuatro

In the dream, he came through the window, soundless as the cat, a silhouette against the black of night. His naked shadow stood over her, unmoving, except the eyes. The dark hid them from her, but she felt their path. Where his gaze fell, her skin sizzled.

Tonight, when she reached for him, her body obeyed. She pushed herself up. Her arms wrapped around the shadow, drawing him to lie beside her.

Slowly, carefully, he settled into her capricious bed, turning her gently to spoon against her back. His hard cock burrowed between the cheeks of her ass. His hands explored what his eyes had already taken in.

Her body responded with a gush of arousal. His mouth descended to her shoulder, biting, then licking away the sting. The hammock creaked beneath their combined weight, swaying to the movement of her hips as she rubbed against his hardness. Cradled in its soft fabric, their bodies tried to meld into one.

Rough hands cupped her breasts, thumbs petting the nipples until they tightened into hard little kernels. The empty, throbbing place between her legs ached to be filled.

Perfectly timed, he pulled her leg over his and penetrated her with the length and breadth of two fingers. Thumb on her clit, he plunged into her wetness, bringing the ache to a demanding need.

She wriggled against him, begging for more. Pitiful, whimpering sounds escaped her. She’d never begged to be fucked. Tonight she did, her only fear that she’d awaken too soon.

With a roll of his hip, he brought his cock to her opening, pressed, stretched, filled her. She cried out as the first spasms struck her before he had even seated himself within her.

His teeth brushed her shoulder. A low growl sent vibrations coursing through her, electrifying every nerve. He rocked, gliding through her slickness with easy, careful strokes, fueling the flames.

A solid lunge and she boiled over into a maelstrom of pleasure. His arm against her belly pulled her tight. He drove her to the peak and beyond, gnawing at her shoulder and neck, growling in her ear. When she fell limp in his arms, his hand slid to the apex of her sex, gathered moisture from their joining and caressed her clit.

The hammock rocked precariously as his thrusts grew more heated. Sharp, barking grunts pulsed against her neck.

Until that moment the dream was hers–all about her pleasure. But now her shadow lover lost control, thrusting hard and deep and long with her squeezed in his arms. His finger on her clit brought her back to a state to match his own. Between them, civilization vanished. In the pitch-blackness, only He and She, sweat-slick flesh and the liquid sounds of their most primal need.

He shuddered when he came, his thighs quivering against hers, his body quaking. The sound he made tore through and out of her in explosive spasms.

When the hammock finally came to rest, he turned her onto her back, slipped between her legs and started again.

* * * *

From the shadows, Carlos leaned against a mossy trunk watching the woman who’d yanked him from the comfortable oblivion of his most basic nature to this–this semblance of humanity. A masquerade so skillfully wrought he himself fell to its allure.

She sat on a rock behind a camera and tripod, downwind of several clumps of bright orange blossoms, observing through binoculars. Now and then, she penciled something into the notebook in her lap or snapped a shot of a feeding hummingbird. He’d found her like this at seven and again at ten. It was now noon.

At long last, Beth stretched, set the notebook aside and stood.

He coughed softly to alert her before speaking. “How do you sit so still for so long?”

Her face turned in his direction already wearing a brilliant smile. Her unabashed happiness at seeing him tugged at his heart.

Exiting the shadows, Carlos moved one step closer to taking the leap he’d avoided for a hundred years. He was about to let himself fall in love. It was inevitable. The only question remaining was would she go home happy for his attentions.

“Sitting for all this beauty isn’t hard,” she said, walking toward him. “For instance, I could sit and stare at you all day–would be no chore at all.” Reaching up on her toes, she planted a welcoming kiss on his cheek that burned through to his loins. “This is my project, heliconia and hummingbirds–at least in part.”

The expectation in her face prompted a question. “What are you looking for?”

“The unfortunate likelihood of losing two species because one is going extinct,” she said. “Let me get my camera.” She returned to her abandoned perch and began packing the equipment away. “Heliconia beckneri is dependent on the Sabrewing for pollination,” she continued. “But, the flower is on the endangered species list. I need to determine if the relationship is as strong in the other direction–if Beckneri’s demise will affect the hummingbird population–and extrapolate the extent of the damage.” All packed up, she stood in front of him expectantly. “It doesn’t look good, actually.”

He took the pack from her hands and slid an arm about her waist. They walked together toward the compound.

“So, the Sabrewing will be no more,” he said. “Sad to hear.” Another notch in his belt of failures.

“It is a beautiful bird–worth saving, if possible. It might adapt, but Beckneri nectar has a much higher nutrient value than the other heliconia I’ve tested. But you know all this, don’t you?”

He answered with a grin.

“I thought so. You could probably write my thesis for me right now.”

“No, the research so far proves only the relationship. Yours might save a beautiful creature from extinction,” he said, in no way wishing to subvert her enthusiasm for the project. If only he had a thousand more like her.

His answer pleased her. The way her face lit up when she smiled stopped his breath.

“But you didn’t come looking for me to talk about birds and flowers, did you?”

No, he came to court a broken heart and, in all likelihood, one for her as well. “There is a place I want to show you. Are you working this afternoon?”

“You mean, like a date?” She grinned. “How does after lunch sound?”

“A date after lunch sounds good. You’ll need your swimming clothes–no fords this time.”

* * * *

The Jeep bounced over a rutted track, hardly a road at all, in a direction Beth had not taken before. At first, Carlos’s efforts to maintain his half of a conversation were obvious and endearing. He loosened up after a while, but his answers to any personal questions, though forthright enough, provided little information.

“No family,” was all he said when she asked.

“How old are you, Carlos? Carter told me you’ve been around at least as long as he has, but you can’t be that old.”

“Older than I look.” The playful grin he threw in her direction softened the obvious avoidance.

They came to an abrupt halt a few feet from a fallen tree blocking the road. Carlos leaped out to investigate.

“You can’t imagine you’ll move that alone. Is there a way around?”

“Wait in the car,” he said.

She ignored the instructions. “Could we use the Jeep to push it out of the way?” she asked, coming up to him where he studied the end of the log.

“Poachers. See how the end is cut, not broken. This is fresh.” He took her by the arm and led her to the driver’s seat. “I have to take care of this. I want you to drive back to the compound.”

“No, I’m coming with you.”

“No, you are not.” He dug around in the back of the Jeep for his daypack and pulled out a gun and holster that he donned low on his hips. “Poaching in the reserve is a serious crime. These men will be dangerous.”

“How will you get back?”

He pointed. “The compound is less than eight kilometers in that direction.”

“Through the jungle? No way. I’ll wait here, and we’ll go back together.”

“Beth, do you see the roadblock? They may be watching us now. Get in the car and drive. I have lived here all my life. I know these people.”

Beth stopped arguing. This was his job. Rather than continue to give him a hard time, she climbed back into the Jeep and started the engine, but watched as he disappeared into the trees.

She hated leaving him. She threw the car into reverse and stretched to keep her eyes on the road behind. Backing up was not her strong point, but the rutted track was too narrow and overhung to turn around. She moved backward at a snail’s pace until she found a spot wide enough, maybe, for a five-point turn. Carefully, slowly, she eased the rear end to the right.

The vegetation muffled the loud bang when the tire blew.

She slammed her hands on the steering wheel and cursed.

What choice did she have? Beth snatched her pack from the back seat and set off after him.

 

Look for Chapter 5 of Gato Negro in a couple weeks.  Of course, if you just can’t wait for the next installment, you can always download the book, and the beautiful cover art by Stella Price.

For Kindle @ Amazon.com

For other readers (.epub) @ Goodreads

Sorry, they wouldn’t let me price it any lower than ninety-nine cents.

Thanks for reading.
ali
www.a-katz.com

and, oh, if you’ve already read, a couple stars at Amazon would be appreciated. Better yet, stars and a review 🙂

January 14, 2011

Tom’s Story Continued Chapter Six by Debbie Vaughan

Filed under: Free read — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , , , ,

Just in case you need to catch up click on

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five

“Hail the camp!” The smell of beans and bacon had mixed with salt spray and wet sand for the last five miles, someone’s late dinner or very early breakfast. A few hours yet before dawn, I reckoned I had time to stop for a bite and still reach the shore in time to hunker down for the day.

I watched the lone Negro man spring to his feet and reach for his rifle, scanning the wood line in my direction.

“Hold!” He called out, slinging his rifle to his shoulder with practiced ease as the mare stepped into the glow of the campfire. “What’cha be doin’ out and about this time of the morning–Sa?”

The “sir” came belated, as an afterthought. Free he might well be, but cautious. The rifle was Government Issue. I raised my hands, palms outward. “On my way to meet a ship and running a little late, hence my need to travel when I should be sleeping. Mind if I share your fire for a bit?”

“N’sa, I reckon that’d be gist fine. Step on down and into the light. That be a fine lookin’ mare you got yosef there. Mighty fine.” He stepped to the mare’s side, lowering his rifle to stroke her sleek neck. “Here Sa, I takes her fer ya. She can visit with Silas. He’ll be plumb beside hisself keepin’ such fine company.”

I stepped down from the saddle and handed him the reins. Watching as he led her to the picket line where his mule, also Government Issue, was tethered. The man was a medium hue, small, wiry and about as bowlegged as they come. “You seem to know horseflesh.”

“Few things I know better. I worked on a horse farm afor the war, was a wrangler for the Third in it.” He wiped his palm on his pants and then offered it as he leaned his rifle against the tree. “I is Paul. Paul Monroe.”

I took the hand he offered. “Tom Thornton.”

He snatched back his hand and reached for the rifle, his eyes wide but showing no panic. “What be ya, mista?”

Well, this was a twist I hadn’t expected. Granted, my hand was cool, but there was a chill to the autumn air I had thought would mask it. I started to say I meant him no harm, but for some reason couldn’t force the lie past my lips. Curiosity got the better of me. “What do you think I am Paul Monroe?”

He pondered that for a bit. “Ain’t no haint gonna be travelin’ on hossback.” He held my gaze, then squatted and ran a blind hand through his gear. He produced a torn and tattered book. Steadying the rifle against his shoulder with one hand he thrust the book out to me with the other. “Hold on to that, if’n ya please.”

I took the book from his outstretched hand and rolled it over to expose the worn cross on its cover. “Your Bible has seen better days, friend. You read it often?”

“No’sa. I can’t rightly read, but I knows some of them lines by memry. And now I knows you ain’t no devil, but you ain’t no livin’ man either. What’ch be?”

-Read more >

January 7, 2011

Romance is EVERYWHERE! by Ellie Heller

Filed under: Favorite titles — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , ,

I write genre romances. I also, like several of my fellow ERAers, write in other genres. Specifically I write fantasy, suspense, and paranormal. However, all of my works have a romance in them. But…and you knew that was coming, didn’t you?…the tales I write in other genres are not considered ‘genre romance’. In my other stories, the story arc runs independently of the relationship and romantic love between two people (sometimes more, sometimes less). I do admit my stories do have, mostly, an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending crossing the line between the genre I write in and a romance novel. Hey, I am a glass is half full kind of person! (note: thanks to Wikipedia for helping me with a standardized definition.)

Many authors whom I like aren’t “Romance” authors but are novelists who have romances in their books. Easy enough to find as so many main stream and/or literary novels, new and old, have romantic love in them. Nicholas Sparks is clearly an author who incorporates romantic love in his novels. As for F. Scott Fitzgerald, hello? What crib sheet doesn’t list ‘romantic love’ as a main theme in The Great Gatsby? Anna Karenina, please, do we need to go there? Of course, not all these stories have the emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending a ‘Romance Novel’ does.

However, they *do* have one key element, a romantic love which enmeshes itself so firmly around the story line that the novel would not exist without it.

And it’s not just main stream and literary novels, in other genres romance is also a frequent element. I find romance in paranormal novels, as well as many fantasy novels. (Charlaine Harris anyone?) Stories which are rife with ‘life bonding’, ‘soul mates’ and other pairings. In these stories the pairings are not the main thrust of the story arc. However, the romantic relationship (or the enforcing of a non-relationship!) between lead characters can intertwine intimately with the development of the plot. In these genres you more often have the second element, the ‘happy ending’, that you don’t always with literary novels.

Clearly, there exist outside our genre stories where the relationship and the romantic love between two people impact the story line. (The lines are continually becoming blurred, but that’s a post for another day!)

For now, I’d like to share with you, and I hope you share with me, some favorite non-Romance genre writers whose ‘romances’ you have enjoyed. Or at least found memorable.

My list to start us off:
Piers Anthony: Many of the Xanth Series
Kristen Britain: Green Rider Series (I’m still on tenterhooks how the romantic element in this will be resolved!)
Julie Czerneda: Particularly the Species Imperative Series (Mac and Nic, sigh)
Sharon Shinn: Twelve Houses series: always an element!
Elizabeth Peters/ Barbara Michaels : too many to name

I could go on, but I’m interested in what novels or authors you would list.

January 5, 2011

Free Read – Gato Negro, Chapter 3

Cover Art copyright Stella Price 2010

Here’s Chapter 3 of my Contemporary Erotic Romance, Gato Negro, now available for Kindle at Amazon.com. and other readers, in .epub format, at Goodreads.

Tres

“We will cross here,” Carlos said.

Beth regarded the rope spanning a narrow part of the river with more than a little trepidation. Apparently, they were supposed to wade across using the stretched and worn line for leverage.

“Is this s-safe?” she stammered. She was the shortest and smallest of them. Picking up a twig, she tossed it into the middle of the deceptively calm stream and watched it sweep away in the current. “There has to be another way.”

“Nothing in the forest is without risk, colibrí,” he said. “The water is little more than waist deep. I’ve crossed here many times. There is a rope bridge six kilometers upstream. We’ll use it coming back, but Carter said you must take readings at noon. We will not reach the site in time if we try to walk that way.”

She hadn’t heard him string so many words together in the two days since he’d shown up at the compound. Soft and low, melodic, with the hint of a purr, his voice flowed over her, harmonizing with the murmuring of the water until it seemed as much a part of the forest as the bird and insect song.

He called me hummingbird. At the moment, Beth thought she might follow Carlos Elizandro anywhere.

“Well, I’m game,” Kate said and began unbuttoning her blouse where she stood.

Beth moved behind a tree for at least the illusion of privacy while removing her shirt. She folded it into her small daypack to keep dry. They all wore quick-dry shorts, but the bathing suit would be more comfortable than a wet T-shirt.

Carlos took the ford first, striding through the current with apparent ease. The muscles in his back rippled as he tugged and pulled to test the strength of the rope. Among the three men, they’d keep the lead taut for the others to cross.

Kate followed Carlos. Her confident stride took her into water midriff-deep until, about halfway across, the current redoubled. She moved more cautiously. Gripping tightly with both hands, she leaned against the force of the water for about three meters, then strode through the shallows and did a little victory dance in the mud on the opposite bank.

The crossing took longer than Beth had anticipated.

Sam grabbed her pack. She tossed him nervous thanks and waded in.

The water was surprisingly warm, but dragged at her legs so her muscles strained in unfamiliar ways with each step. By the time she moved into the midstream flow, the water reached her breasts. She froze.

With only one foot in the current, she already recognized the unsteady hold it had on the rocks. Kate’s extra height and fifteen kilos would come in handy right now.

She paused a moment, considered asking for help. Thought better of it–by the time one of the men reached her, she could be on the solid ground of the other bank with her pride intact.

One more step. Her legs flew out from beneath her, and she went under.

Beth clutched the lead, holding on for her life.

The rope stretched under her weight as the current dragged her legs downstream. She hung on. Forget trying to get her feet on the ground, she needed to breathe.

The surge of water tore at her hold on the rope and the breath in her lungs. Panic tried to swallow her. She thrust it aside and fought to raise her head above the surface.

One hand lost its grip. The current flipped her over.

She finally gulped a breath of air and water. The rope ripped from her fingers.

Two arms came from nowhere, grabbed her about the waist and lifted her to her feet. She gasped, choking, fighting for air and trying to get a grip on the rocks as Carlos dragged her to the bank. Still clutching his arm, she leaned forward and vomited an amazing amount of water into the mud.

Carlos supported her up the bank and held her as she fell against him, shaken, cold and weak-kneed.

“O, lo siento. I’m so sorry, mija. I didn’t think you are so much smaller,” he crooned, while she clung to him.

She became aware of his naked chest against her cheek at the same moment he did. He gasped, and his heart stuttered beneath her palm. Something deep inside her melted.

“She needs mouth-to-mouth,” Kate quipped.

Beth shot her a scathing glance and pulled away from Carlos as a violent coughing spell erupted to expel the rest of the water from her lungs. When she was finally able to stand on her own, she glanced up at him and found him frowning, his golden eyes full of concern.

“Okay?” He attempted a lopsided grin.

“Yeah, good.”

As the other two crossed, without incident, Beth sat on the ground, silently contemplating her mortality while pouring water out of her boots and squeezing her socks dry. Occasional bursts of laughter attempted to erupt from her chest like the monster in Alien, but she managed to control her hysteria.

An uneasy silence fell over the group. Once everyone was put back together, they continued along the path for another hour to the site Carlos had in mind for them. She waved off help from both Carlos and Kate and let the slow, steady pace clear the shock and adrenaline from her system.

By noon, she was fine. They entered an oak grove deep under the canopy where orchids and fungi of every imaginable color wound their way up the thirty-meter trunks and out of sight. Beth recognized half-dozen genera at first glance.

The men went off to find a mid-height tree to set their tackle in, hoping to get samples from higher up.

The equipment she’d packed was safe and dry in its waterproof case, thanks to Sam’s foresight in taking her pack before the crossing. Kate and Beth worked at ground level, metering the light available at this, the brightest part of the day under the canopy, photographing, taking inventory and notating each species’ population and growth pattern. They took samples only of the least familiar species, since keeping the delicate blooms intact on the way back would be a challenge.

At three, they stopped to allow time to get to the Jeep before dusk. The others prepared the samples for transport while Beth took a second set of meter readings for comparison.

As she finished the last reading, Carlos walked up to where she worked. Without a sound, he leaned against a tree, watching her.

I’ve wandered away from the group again. She winced. Carlos looked like he had something to say about her carelessness, but, thankfully, kept his peace.

She sat on a mossy deadfall, filling in her notes and feeling self-conscious. If he didn’t stop looking at her, she was going to come unglued. She glanced up to tell him and met his eyes. Her heart hiccupped. She closed the notebook, packed the meter away and got to her feet.

“You’d better either kiss me or quit staring at me like that,” she said.

His brow rose to his shaggy hairline.

She’d taken only a few steps to join the others when he came from behind. Grasping her arm, he pulled her into a gentle embrace. His mouth came down to connect with hers.

She’d been waiting for this and meant to enjoy every second. But she was not prepared for the heat.

Carlos gently brushed his lips over her face, mouth first, then chin, cheeks, brow, feather-light kisses on her eyelids, down her nose, back to her lips. His tongue reached for her, tasting, coaxing.

Her whole body tingled. Heat rose between her legs and he hadn’t even really kissed her yet.

Instead, he breathed her in.

The kiss became something new. He latched onto her mouth, sucking. His tongue pressed insistently for entry. She opened to give him access and melted into him.

No ravenous, rude rape of her mouth, but a steady invasion. He kissed as he ate, savoring every nibble, pausing to taste, smell, lick. The gentle devouring awakened every nerve cell, visited every pore. His essence became part of her.

His chest beneath her hand quivered and he moaned. Slowly, his arms surrounded her about the back and hips, pulling her tight, and her legs lost the ability to hold her up. He grew hard against her belly as she softened.

Skin to skin, she clung to him, willing the kiss to continue. This was the stuff of life, inevitable, like breathing, like her heart beating. How do you end a kiss like this?

But it had to end. Carlos set her on her feet and pulled back to peer into her eyes.

“This is not a good idea,” he growled. The sound sent shivers through her.

“Oh, yes,” she whispered. “This is a great idea. Like a dream, like something I’ve waited for a long, long time.”

* * * *
If he didn’t sleep, he couldn’t dream, so the cat ran. All seemed well. Whatever had brought him back to his old territory was gone, or too insidious to discern with a cursory examination. TE’e-le, the forest, kept her secrets tonight.

He’d fished earlier. Without hunger to drive him, the running was mere restlessness, an attempt to escape. The woman’s scent carried to him on the night air, relentlessly drawing him toward the compound where she slept until, after the third time turning away, he shifted. In human form, her pull was stronger, but the instinct to surrender was easier to fight.

The man, however, needed rest.

Back at the creek where he’d eaten earlier, he gathered his clothes, donning the jeans, and bundled the rest into the T-shirt. Moving a little away from the bank, he built himself a nest of fallen leaves among the roots of a strangler fig. He rested his back against the trunk and let the night’s lullaby wash over him.

When he was a god, women were served to him. They knew what he was, and whether they thought they wanted him or not, after a week or a month or a year, each returned to her village a goddess and happy for his attentions. He’d loved a few and lost them all.

He’d failed as a god–his people were no more.

Still, TE’e-le held him in her grip. Why she kept him was a mystery–he’d failed her as well, a thousand times, ten thousand times. He was beyond redemption. But she kept him. He must stay until he understood what was needed of him, and neither cat nor man could resist the woman.

He must approach this as a man.

Beth wanted him. She would ask for all he had to give, and what he had wasn’t enough. Eventually, now or ten years from now when he hadn’t aged, she would discover his secret and run. He should tell her, but he didn’t want her to run.

Maybe she would tire of him before Antonio returned. Then only he need know the pain.

He dozed and dreamed.

Look for Chapter 4 of Gato Negro in a couple weeks.  Of course, if you just can’t wait for the next installment, you can always download the book, and the beautiful cover art by Stella Price.

For Kindle @ Amazon.com

For other readers (.epub) @ Goodreads

Sorry, they wouldn’t let me price it any lower than ninety-nine cents.

Thanks for reading.
ali
http://www.a-katz.com

and, oh, if you’ve already read, a couple stars at Amazon would be appreciated. Better yet, stars and a review 🙂

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