Articles for the Month of September 2014

Happy Thoughts

I recently posted this on another blog I have under a different name, but I wanted to share it here as well.


Sometimes things just don’t go smoothly. But I don’t want to talk about that. Or think about it.

I want to think about guitar solos and nutcrackers.

Scenic walks and dark bars and cupcakes.

Making plans and sharing jokes and not making any sense to anyone but each other.

Falling asleep.
I want to think about long phone calls.

Understanding and listening.

Sharing fears and dreams.
I want to think about boat rides and stair repairs.

Long hours under blankets.

Encouragement and comforting and restoring broken pieces.

Waking up.
I want to think about how fortunate I am. How much wonder and amazement is in my life.

And even when something doesn’t fit and doesn’t work, that doesn’t change where things have been and where I am, and how thankful I am for those who are here with me.

Spotlight on Allie A Burrow

Our second Breathless Press spotlight today is on author Allie A Burrow and her new book For One Night Only.

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Kate Powell only went and fell for the soldier she’d met just once before he had to jet off on a year-long posting overseas.
Seven months in, and Kate is hornier than a blue wildebeest in mating season with only her battery-powered friend for relief. Her skills as a pen-pal scale new heights, but then a text message arrives out of the blue.
Corporal Mark Butler is back in the country for one night only, and Kate isn’t about to let the opportunity pass her by. After all, who needs a vibrator when the real thing comes calling?

*Allie has chosen to donate all royalties from ‘For One Night only’ and ‘Serviced: Volume 1’ to the UK charity Help For Heroes*


Safely enveloped in the darkness of the alcove, the bass pounded through the soles of Kate’s boots and echoed inside her ribs. She lunged and caught Mark’s face in her hands, pulling him down to kiss him, her tongue forcing a route past his surprised lips and delving into the wetness of his mouth. “Take me,” she breathed. Her hand stole over the carved ridges of his stomach, following the arrow-shaped path down to where it disappeared inside his jeans. “Please…”

His mouth opened and closed and he glanced over his shoulder at the heaving dance floor. “But—”

“No buts.” She reached for his fly, undoing it quickly, but instead of finding another layer of clothing, his dick sprang free and elicited a gasp from her throat. “I need this”—she fisted her hand around it, stroking him, and his eyes squeezed shut, his jaw jutting out as his head tipped back—”I need you…inside me”—she swirled her hand over the engorged head and his entire body jerked—”now.”

Mark’s eyes flew open and even in the dim lighting, she saw his pupils dilate, the naked desire on his face almost frightening. His fingers skipped over the back of her neck and lost themselves in her hair, getting tangled in the shoulder-length tresses she had loosely pinned up. The gentle touch was at odds with the fierce hunger in his gaze. Electric shocks surged through the many nerve endings, connected directly to her core, and she had to lean into his hand, let him support the weight of her head, suddenly too heavy to keep upright under her own steam.

He tilted it back and locked his gaze onto hers, issuing her with a challenge. “If we’re going to do this”—he leaned into her, his lips rasping her ear—”right here, right now”—his gravelly voice resonated within her, hungry, powerful—”we’re doing it my way.”

Staggered by the transformation from man to soldier, her need for him ramped up another notch and it was all she could do to move her head the tiniest fraction. His eyes searched hers for an answer, the wait agonizing, until finally, he dipped his head. Achingly tender, his lips flitted over the top of hers, like rose petals blowing in the wind. Her eyelids fluttered closed, cracking under the strain of keeping them open.

Sweet, yet maddening, Kate yearned to take control and deepen the kiss, but he broke off every time she tried before catching her lower lip between his teeth as if to punish her. Their sharp edges sank into her swollen flesh without breaking the surface, his tongue immediately soothing any pain. The all-conquering, take-no-prisoners warrior had arrived.



Allie A. Burrow writes sensual contemporary love stories that are both sweet and romantic but with a liberal dash of heat added. When not burning up the pages, you’ll mostly find her marauding as Aurelia B. Rowl where she pretends to be far more sweet and innocent and writes young adult, new adult, and contemporary romance stories.


She lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband, their two fantastic children, and their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. Too often lost in her own world, she regularly wows her family with curious, hastily thrown together meals as a result of getting too caught up with her latest writing project… or five!… and she has developed the fine art of ignoring the housework.

To find out even more about Allie you can visit her website You can also check out her main writing persona, Aurelia, by visiting

You can also find her hanging out on:








YouTube (as Aurelia)

Spotlight on Ishabelle Torry

It’s Breathless Press Day again, and first up is author Ishabelle Torry, whose new book The Gift is now available.

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Daniel was bound to love Sheryl’s out-of-the-box anniversary idea…wasn’t he?

It’s Sheryl and Daniel’s tenth anniversary, and Sheryl is compelled to get her beloved soul mate the gift of all gifts. Discarding her normally self-reserved persona, she has a nude portrait commissioned. He was bound to love it…wasn’t he?



My chest tightened, and I had to take slow, calming breaths to steady my quivering limbs as I maintained eye contact. I had waited years for this moment; defeating modesty with a blatant desire to shed the snow from its covered mountain peak. I prayed I wouldn’t pass out before the overdue climax reached fruition.

His tongue darted out and he licked the corners of his mouth hungrily, squinting in concentration. “One more touch,” he promised with a whisper. He then threw his head back and bellowed. “Finished!”

I pulled the sheets over my nudity, suddenly embarrassed. My clammy palms smeared the soft fabric with wet streaks as I wrung the material between shaky fingers. I waited for him to speak—to say anything. With pursed lips, he occasionally produced a clicking sound as his tongue bounced off of his front teeth.

I willed his words to come. But silence was the one thing I found to be the most charming of his many qualities. Without words, he couldn’t criticize me…or my newest fetish. My endeavor was safe with this almost mime.

He grunted loudly and twisted his body back and forth. A long stretch pulled him to his tiptoes as his head fell back to blow kisses at the popcorn ceiling. He lowered his gaze slowly and devoured my form from crown to toe, like a lion inspecting his prey. The deep blue of his eyes hid his thoughts, just as the ocean concealed buried treasure.



Ishabelle Torry is a full time mother, wife and student. She enjoys time with her family, and their plethora of pets on the farm. In her spare time, she is constantly dreaming of characters and the worlds they are found in. Occasionally, Ishabelle has been known to argue with her characters and bribe them with cookies when they have a wayward moment.

You can find Ishabelle on Facebook at

Or Follow on Twitter @ishabelletorry

Teaser Thursday- Changing Planes

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“We’ve been making plans and preparations every time we’ve gotten together the past few months.” Oliver really didn’t want to have this conversation. He wasn’t sure what he’d expected from Colin. Obviously the guy would express polite interest in Oliver’s plans. Flight attendants were probably trained to express polite interest in everything they heard unless it was a direct threat.

Colin would have no reason to try to talk Oliver out of marrying Sophia. And Oliver didn’t need to be talked out of it. He loved Sophia. Of course he wanted to marry her.

If he kept telling himself that enough, maybe he would get past the jitters by Saturday.

“That makes sense,” Colin said. “Still, it’s cutting things pretty close. Isn’t it? Maybe not. Hell, what do I know? I’ve never been married. Never found someone I wanted to make that commitment to, especially given how many people rant about gay marriage. Why put myself through the hate before I’m a hundred percent sure I want to spend my life with someone?”

“Exactly.” So he is gay. He didn’t know whether Colin had some ulterior motive in letting that little hint slip or whether it was just a statement. Not that it mattered. Colin was gay. Oliver was…interested. But Oliver was getting married in two days.

“Finding the right person is always good.” Colin took another drink and glanced out the window. “So many people joined at the hip with someone else. Someday I’d like that. If I decide to move here, I might be able to legally marry if I found the one. I think. I can never keep track of what California’s doing about gay marriage.”

“I don’t know.” Sophia had followed the news on the subject and had ranted to Oliver about equal rights and love being love no matter what gender, but he hadn’t paid much attention. He wanted everyone to be able to marry the person they loved, but it didn’t affect him, and he’d learned to tune out Sophia’s rants because otherwise they ended up having debates he didn’t want to deal with.

“It’s possible in Massachusetts, isn’t it?” Colin asked.

“Yeah. Gay marriage has been legal there for a while.”

“Good. I still wouldn’t mind living in Boston someday. At least I’d have options there.” Colin sighed. “Look, I’m sorry. You were probably expecting the wickedly witty man you saw on the plane yesterday, and instead you’re getting the king of the whine-asses.”

“It’s my fault for bringing up weddings.” Oliver found Colin’s self-described whining kind of cute. At least there was another romantic in the world. “No worries. I believe there’s someone out there for everyone. It’s just a matter of finding them, and sometimes they show up right when you’ve given up looking.”

“Ah, a philosopher,” Colin teased. “I should have guessed from the size of your coffee.”

“Yes, I do have a big…coffee.” Oliver couldn’t resist the joke, and it paid off when Colin laughed, his blue eyes twinkling.

Mistakes I’ve Made

The following is a post I did on the Absolute Write forums. After re-reading it, and because of feedback I got from other posters, I thought it might make a good blog post.

I’ve technically been published since 2002, when a phonics-based reading comprehension program I wrote was released by a small educational press based in Maine, but from then until 2009 the only other thing I had published was an essay in AW’s Stories of Strength anthology in 2005. Both the phonics program and the essay were under my real name.

2009 was when I first started really aiming for publication. But I am not a business-minded person, and I tend to be VERY literal when it comes to advice from others. So, for example, when people said, “Build a bigger backlist and you’ll have more sales”, I wrote everything I could think of, sent it to publishers that didn’t do great with promotion and marketing, had a few dozen titles released from 2011-2013… and while my overall earnings from writing have increased every year, if I average it out per book, I’m earning WAY less than in 2009 when I only had three releases and was an unknown author.
That doesn’t mean “Build a bigger backlist” is bad advice. It means I *followed* it badly.

Books 1

And because of crap from my past, I found it very hard to look at writing as a career. In my first marriage, writing was the hobby that pissed off my husband and made him rant at me for neglecting him and my kids. Even after I started getting published and earning money–with the complete support of my second husband, who thought it was awesome–I was still in the mindset of “This is a hobby and I have to put my kids and husband and everything else first.” Even when my husband told me to start thinking of my writing as a career and to make it a priority.

I got too scattered. I jumped on most, if not all, themed calls that showed up from my publishers. I submitted to too many publishers, and as I said above, some of them did not work out for me. In the past five and a half years, I’ve only had 4 stories rejected. Two of those were rejected solely because they didn’t quite fit the theme of the calls I’d written them for. And one of those and one of the other rejected stories went on to be published elsewhere.

Does that mean I’m an amazingly awesome author? Not really. It means I ignored the prevailing AW wisdom of “Aim for the top and work down”, and instead started at the bottom because I knew they would accept my books. I have no one to blame but myself for most of the things that have gone wrong in my career.

In a writing career, as in life, there are no do-overs. But there are “start again and do it right” chances. In the past year and a half, I’ve vastly reinvented myself as a human being and as a woman specifically, and I’ve now reached the point of being more confident and more in control than before. I can’t undo the writing/publishing mistakes I’ve made, but I can go forward aiming higher, pulling books that are underperforming or are with publishers I no longer trust, and writing what *I* want to write instead of jumping on special calls or taking requests.

I started reinventing my writing career about a year ago, but things happened in my personal life that negatively impacted that, and so I’m not where I was hoping to be by now. But as long as I keep trying, keep tweaking what isn’t working and putting more effort into what is, I’m succeeding by my standards. And by taking advice from those who know what they’re doing–and who know me well enough to give advice I can understand and/or to answer my requests for clarification–as well as examining and analyzing what I’m doing and making plans for what I should do, I will become even more successful.

Spotlight on Ember Leigh

Our second Breathless Press author today is Ember Leigh, with her new release Carlos and Casey.

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Casey hasn’t seen Carlos in four years, but a business trip brings the ex-lovers together, and the fire comes roaring to life.

Recently divorced, Casey has been longing for a man’s touch. So when business brings her back to Carlos, the one that got away, it has to be fate. Casey soon discovers the four years apart have only done him better, and soon all she can think about is having his arms, and body, wrapped around hers. But Carlos is not the same man he was four years ago. Can Casey help reignite his fire or has time left them behind?


Her breath caught as she followed him up the staircase, tucked to the far side of the house. Carlos had always been fit enough, but it looked like he’d taken up some new form of exercise in the past four years. He was beefier, yet still lean. His ass moved round and tight in front of her as they climbed the stairs. At the landing, he gestured in front of them.

“This is my studio, but it’s all yours for tonight.”

It was a rec room that took up the whole second floor, and far more standard male than the ground floor alluded to. Movie posters, gaming systems, books scattered on floors and coffee tables, and, off to one side, the trumpet, asleep in a bed of sheet music. In the corner there was an overstuffed couch just about as wide as she was long – it would be great to sleep on, even better if he could bend her over that armrest and fuck her until dinner was ready.

She cleared her throat, deciding adult friendships could be fun, even after four questionable years. “I thought I’d be sharing a bed with you?” She tried to keep her tone playful as she sauntered toward the couch. She tossed him a smile and she caught a glimpse of him looking very stricken. Shit. Too far. Things are too different now. Abort!

Maybe too much time had passed in general. Maybe he was courting a girl and wanted to take it slow with her. Maybe he no longer found her attractive, four years becoming the dagger in the heart. Maybe he’d become celibate, or found her life too normal and boring. There was a whole list of reasons why she shouldn’t make the first move.

“I was just joking,” she said after a moment, rolling her eyes. “Come on, lighten up.”

He exhaled slowly, looking down at the ground as his tongue found the corner of his mouth. “I know it was a joke, Case.”

“In case you forgot, we used to share a bed.” She looked at him pointedly, already horrified that the words were coming from her lips. What was she getting at? Who had authorized this dialogue?

He squeezed his eyes shut and laughed softly. “Oh, I remember.”




Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young.  A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides in South America with her Argentinean partner, a detail she uses to justify her Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Literature. In addition to romance novels, she also writes travel articles, maintains three blogs, and continually attempts to complete a mildly-gripping short story. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, travels the world, and eats lots of vegetables.

Spotlight on Leona Bushman

It’s Breathless Press day again, and first up is author Leona Bushman. Leona’s new release is The Midwife’s Moon.

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An ex-lover on trial, life as a newly formed werewolf, and a passion kindled; what’s a girl to do? Released from depraved control of a psychotic lupa, free to find his mate, and a passion kindled; what’s a man to do?

Lisa Sanchez is having a bad couple of years. She was betrayed by her lover and made into a werewolf but she’s making the best of her new life…except when it comes to love. Lisa is out of luck in that department until Lance arrives in her not-so-perfect life.

Lance Navarro once saved his mate from the clutches of his ruthless pack leader by hiding her in a rival pack. Then the packs merged and things got interesting.

Can Lisa accept that Lance is to be her new mate, and get past the betrayal of the last wolf who made promises? Can Lance protect her from the vindictive pack leader? Or will they end up sharing an early grave?


His hands started shaking, his breathing hitched, and his senses came to full alert. What’s triggered my wolf? Cautious even though he didn’t sense immediate danger, he began searching his surroundings. As his heart rate increased and a surge of sexual excitement hit him, he panicked. Had his time with Roxy made him so sick he equated danger with sex?

That can’t be right. He always feared sex with Roxy. His body reacted, but his mind never got excited. Wary now, he sniffed the air and all at once, it hit him. She was nearby. His mate. The one who didn’t know him, but he knew her wolf form. The sound of gentle laughter trickled in the wind, engorged with sadness to his ears. Melancholy he recognized, for he’d laughed like that. Laughed and smiled to hide the pain.

Now his heart restricted and plugged his ears as a roaring sound filled them. His wolf snarled within him and wanted to attack whatever caused such sadness in his mate. He walked faster, wanting a glimpse of the woman who was his mate. Still he couldn’t see her. A group of people walked ahead of him nearly to the door. She must be among them. Worried he’d lose her, he started to run, and the fear from the group escalated. They moved inside quickly with only a man turning his face to him.

Lance slowed back to a walk and went in, his shoulders hunched, hands in pockets to appear unthreatening. The warehouse, jammed from one end to the other except around the center raised half-circle, echoed with voices, shouts, anger, jealousy, and fright. He tried to pinpoint the fright as it felt so misplaced. Every wolf in here should smell the fear and react, yet only he seemed concerned.

A loud clanging in his head nearly drove him to his knees. An old-fashioned clock with metal ticking noises had taken up residence in his eardrums and did not look to be leaving any time soon. He fisted his hands in his pockets and looked around. Was he the only one who could hear the minutes counting down?

The crowd around him receded, and the noise in his eardrums became his focus. He followed his instincts and moved slowly as if in a dream. A petite woman in a black overcoat stood in front of him. He reached out to touch her shoulder, but she turned and looked at him.

Her eyes widened in shock as did his. His hand, still suspended where he’d intended to touch her to get her attention, moved up to her bronze cheek, caressing softly. The deep brown eyes gazed at him in wonder before closing up to him. He saw it as clear as day even as he told himself he imagined it. She hadn’t moved, hadn’t flinched, but she had closed down—except for the one brilliant moment when their souls met.



Leona Bushman goes by many names but the most well-known one is superhero. She earned this name from saving a kangaroo from a tree—and yes that is as hard as it sounds. The dragons taught their queen how to write, and Queen Leona hasn’t looked back, even when her muse tries to muck things up.

She can be found goofing off and loving dragons and other creatures of the supernatural at these places:

Twitter: @L_Bushman



Passion in Print:

Murder by Succubus


Breathless Press:

The Ulfric’s Mate*

Ravaged, Vol 1 ~ Barely There*

Rick Sexed Up the Doc ~ Naughty Nursery Rhyme

The Captain’s Christmas ~ Cyber

Crimson, Vol 1 ~ Daryn’s Slayer **my story is an historical vamp/wolf story

Serviced, Vol 1 ~ Over A Dead Body

The Midwife’s Moon*

Down on the Farm, Vol 1 ~ The Lion, the Witch, and the Faeries

Slow Burn ~Dead Man Walking special

Ravaged, Vol 2

The Shot**

*Denotes War of the Weres

**Denotes Traincoach of Death Steampunk series

Just Ink Press:

Mayhem in Mexico ~Urban Sci-fi~ please note, this is not a romance.


Teaser Thursday- Hooch and Howls



They pulled the rowboat out from the storage space beneath the cottage’s verandah. Malachi’s father had built the place on a slope, which left plenty of room below to keep things that wouldn’t fit inside the cottage, while avoiding the need for a separate shed or boat house. He gave the bottom of the boat a cursory inspection to ensure that he and Roger wouldn’t sink on their way to town, since they would have to row around to the other side of Herman’s Island and past the points known as First and Second Peninsula to reach Lunenburg, and then they carried the boat down to the beach.

“Lot of trouble to go to just to get to town.” Roger was out of breath by the time they reached the water. “Be easier if you had a car.”

“The roads aren’t the best,” Malachi replied. “This suits me fine. We should get your boat higher up, maybe into the bushes. Tide will take it otherwise, and if anyone comes looking for you, we wouldn’t want them spotting it.”

“Yeah.” Roger frowned. “I didn’t think of that. They might already have seen it.”

“If they did, they did. We should still move it. The tide’s coming in.” Already it was lapping at the bow of Roger’s little boat, whereas when Roger had arrived the water had only reached the boat’s midpoint.

They pulled the boat up into the bushes where Malachi had hidden the previous day, before getting into Malachi’s boat. Looking at the sun, he estimated the time to be around seven thirty; too early to expect the town’s shops to be open, but by the time they arrived most places would be. That was the only advantage of the trip taking so long.

He made Roger get into the boat and pushed it off into the water before climbing in himself. Cursing himself for not taking off his shoes, he took position in the boat’s stern and started rowing. “I can help,” Roger said.

“Rest,” Malachi replied. “Sleep if you want. I can manage.” He doubted the man was nearly as strong as he was. Increased strength was another side effect of being a werewolf.

Roger sat on the bench in the boat’s bow, facing Malachi. “Why are you so concerned?”

“You came to me for help,” Malachi pointed out. “And I may be a hermit, but that doesn’t mean I have no heart. How long have you been on your own?”

“On my own?” Roger sniffed. “I’m twenty-three years old. You make it sound like I’m a child.”

To Malachi, the man seemed like a child. A tough one; streetwise and too-knowing, but a child nonetheless regardless of his age. “Jonathan said you were on the street when he met you.”

“That.” An unreadable expression crossed Roger’s face. “Left home when I was twelve. I had reasons. Don’t want to get into them, if that’s all right with you.” His tone made it clear he didn’t care whether it was all right. He wasn’t about to talk.

“You don’t have to tell me anything you’d prefer not to,” Malachi assured him. “I don’t mean to pry. You might have guessed I don’t speak with others often. And if you’re not going to sleep on the way to town, we might as well talk to pass the time.”

Roger shrugged. “My father was a fisherman. Died on the water when I was eight. When I was eleven, my mother remarried. Another fisherman, one who did more drinking than fishing. He was free with his hands and expected me to be free with other things, if you catch my meaning.”

Malachi caught it perfectly and swallowed hard against a roll of nausea. He wasn’t naïve; he knew some men did horrible things to their families. But hearing Roger discuss it so matter-of-factly made his heart ache. “Did you tell your mother?”

“What could she do? He used his fists on her as much as me, and she said we needed him to keep a roof over our heads.” He looked down at his hands. “I took it once. Not that he gave me much choice. Hurt like hell. He wasn’t gentle. He didn’t care. I think he liked hurting me that way. I’d just turned twelve then, thought maybe I could find work in the city, so I went.”

“And did you find work?” Malachi braced himself for the answer he anticipated. He doubted a twelve-year-old boy on his own had found a job in a shop or on a ship.

“Of sorts.” Roger’s voice dropped. Even with his heightened hearing, Malachi had to strain to make out the words through the wind in his ears. “There were men who wanted the same thing as my stepfather. Some of them were gentler, and they paid. It kept me fed. Gave me shelter, sometimes. It wasn’t what I wanted, but all in all it might have been worse. At least I lived.”

Malachi’s heart went out to this young man, who had lived by means no one should have had to. And he had done nothing better than the men who’d purchased Roger’s body. “I apologize for what I did to you yesterday. I should have left you and Jonathan alone.”

“What?” Roger looked at him, surprised. “No. I didn’t mind that. I could have fought you off if I’d wanted. I—I’d done that kind of thing before. Some of the johns liked it, two of them and one of me. I didn’t mind.”

“I didn’t ask.” Malachi’s stomach rolled again. He tried to blame it on his hangover, but that had already faded thanks to food, coffee, and rapid werewolf healing. The truth was, in his drunkenness he had victimized one who had been victimized too many times before. He sickened himself.

It’s the Small Gestures

Romance isn’t always found in grand gestures. Sometimes something small means more.

Cooking for someone.

Making them a sandwich because you have a lunch date but not quite enough funds for a restaurant.

Walking between them and traffic along the side of a road.

Noticing that they need a rest and finding a place for them to sit.

Being interested in their career or hobby to the point of offering to help with it.

Sharing part of your past with them.

Telling them all the places you’d like to show them.

Making someone you care about feel special or loved doesn’t take much. And it doesn’t have to cost a cent. Sometimes all you need to do is show that you’re thinking of them, considerate of them, and interested in them.

Teaser Thursday- Knot Intended

Blue Fabric Texture

Joseph’s truck was nowhere in sight when Nolie pulled into their driveway. Of course. He was working late again even though it was the weekend. She admired him for earning overtime pay and helping to ensure they had a nice house and everything they needed, but time with him would have meant more than any money he could bring in.

Disappointed, she went into the house, kicked off her shoes and sat at her computer in the living room to check her non-school email.

At the back of the house, something crashed, followed by the tinkle of broken glass hitting the tile floor in the kitchen.

Nolie jumped, adrenaline surging through her, and her heart pounded. It couldn’t be a break-in. They lived in too safe a neighborhood for that.

A flash of lightning brilliantly lit the room for a moment, followed almost immediately by a boom of thunder. Wind howled through the bushes and wires outside the house.

The storm. Of course. The wind had probably thrown a branch through one of the kitchen windows or the sliding glass door that led to their deck. Although it seemed unlikely, the possibility reassured Nolie.

Through the pulse beating loudly in her ears, she strained to hear any sound that might indicate an intruder. Her breathing was shallow, but she couldn’t draw a deeper breath with the constriction in her chest.

She should have just called the police. Getting up to check on the source of the noise might be the stupidest thing she had ever done. All the books she’d read where the heroine wandered off to check on suspicious things had annoyed the hell out of her, and she didn’t want to be one of those stupid women.

But instead of picking up her cell phone from the desk beside her, she slowly rose from her chair.

Glass crunched in the kitchen. Someone was there.

Trembling, her heart racing so fast she would never have been able to count the beats, she crept toward the kitchen and peered around the doorway.

A man wearing a ski mask and mirrored sunglasses stood beside a scatter of broken glass. The sliding door was wide open.

Nolie clapped her hand over her mouth, stifling a scream. Her legs shook so badly she couldn’t turn away to run, and even if they had cooperated she was frozen.

Someone was in her house, and she was alone with him.

As she stood there, thoughts whirling through her head and unable to move, the intruder lunged across the room and grabbed her. “You’re coming with me, bitch.”

His voice was little more than a low growl in her ear, but she recognized it. She had heard it every day for years.


Nolie took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. Excitement warred with fear and adrenaline within her. He hadn’t forgotten their talk. And now he was going through with his plan.