Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Damaged - Initiation into Submission: High Protocol - Excerpt

Damaged

Initiation into Submission: High Protocol

Book One

 

The crack of his whip...her initiation into submission.

Evelyn Larsen is numb. She’s lost her job, her lover…and herself. She doesn’t want love or passion, but she does want to feel again. She wants the pain of BDSM…even if it means she’ll have to endure the pleasure.

 

Businessman and Dom, Alex Ferraro isn’t interested in anything more than scenes in his dungeon. But the haunting look in Evelyn’s eyes draws him in. Under his control, he could set her free. But once his, will he be able to let her go?



Adult Excerpt
(graphic content with violence)

copyright 2022 KyAnn Waters

He grasped a pair of leather manacles. He pressed his lips to her pulse point before wrapping the leather securely around her wrist. “Remember, your safeword stops everything.”

An audible swallow, then she nodded.

“Submission doesn’t make you weak.” He led her to a steel wall. D-rings, spaced twelve inches apart, ran parallel to the ceiling. More hooks, approximately ten feet apart ran vertically up the wall. To the left, a selection of chains dangled from large C-hooks, and to the right, an assortment of whips hung from their handles.

Evelyn’s eyes widened as she crossed in front of the whips and then stared at the cold steel.

“This is what you want?” he asked.

She bowed her head. Her chest rose and fell with her rapid, shallow breathing. “Yes.”

“The first strike will take your breath.” He whispered close to her ear, grazing his lips along her neck. “The second will sting.” He took her wrist and pulled a section of chain through the metal ring on the manacle. “Turn around.”

She faced the wall, trembling.

“Are you afraid?”

Evelyn licked her lips. “Yes.” She glanced into his eyes. “But not of you. And not of the pain. I want you to hurt me.” Her gaze pleaded with him to understand. “But I’m afraid you won’t.”

“I’ll hurt you so long as the pain brings you pleasure. I won’t abuse you.” Did she understand there was a difference? He leaned in and touched the seam of her lips with his tongue. She sucked in a sharp little inhale.

Alex stretched the chains to the D-hooks above her. She rested her forehead against the cool steel, her arms creating a wide V over her head. He repeated the process to her legs, spreading them just wider than shoulder width apart and then chaining her to the wall.

He trailed his fingers over the round curve of her smooth, heart-shaped ass. His fingers trailed lower, sliding between her thighs. “I want to touch you here.” His finger slid between her folds.

She rolled her forehead, side to side, against the steel.

He paused. “Is that a no?” He waited for her to answer.

“Whip me first,” she whispered.

Alex had several whips, but the thirty-six-inch bullwhip with the hard, leather wrapped handle and the woven tail gave him the most control. One stinging stripe at a time. He cracked the whip against the wall. She jumped, a little yelp slipping from her at the startling sound. He curled his fingers around the warm leather and struck the wall again in the same spot. He wanted her to see, from the arc of the woven tail, he mastered control of the whip.

He flipped his arm to the side. The tail whistled through the quiet room and painted a line across the flat of her scapula. Evelyn moaned, and her shoulders bunched. Another stripe landed one inch below the first.

Her hands tightened into fists.

The next three snaps of the whip came in quick succession.

Evelyn cried out, her body pressing against the cold steel.

Sweat slipped along his spine, and his cock hardened. She was breathtakingly beautiful. Powerful in her acceptance of the pain. He repeated the strikes to mark her left side. The bright red flesh puckered with thin precision welts, creating a perfectly symmetrical pattern of ridges.

Evelyn gasped. She sank her teeth into her lower lip.

Alex dropped the whip, crossed the space, and crashed his lips onto hers. He plunged his tongue into her mouth, stealing her breath and relishing in her submission. His fist tangled in her hair as he ate at her mouth, sliding his tongue against hers. He growled, gently biting her lower lip, the same way she’d bitten down during the thrashes.

“Can I touch you now?”

Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!










Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The Cupán of Flúirse cover reveal

I couldn't wait to help show off the new cover for my friend M.L. Foxx



Celtic Myst Trilogy Book 1 The Cupán of Flúirse

Forged by the gods, the Cupán of Flúirse is born under the thunder of Taranis, fashioned with symbols of the elements to bring peace and abundance to the clans.

Element of the air, Amergin is a faithful protector and guardian. Through the years, he’s guided the other elements and reigned over times of peace, prosperity, and royal births.

However, the witch Mourdra, is plagued with jealousy over the clans. They hold dear all she desires…and has been denied. The fire dragon and Klenidalf, an evil wizard are tasked to do her bidding, to plunder the clans…and steal the Cupán of Flúirse.

Without the sacred chalice, Amergin is condemned to wander the Earth, those he’s vowed to protect out of his reach.

About the Author M.L. Foxx
ML has lived her life in Utah. She loves the mountains. Someday she’d like to move to Ireland, home of her ancestors. ML and her hubby love to travel anywhere. As long as they’re together and it’s an adventure. Her favorite places she has visited is Ireland, Scotland, and Tuscany, Italy.
She loves to hear from fans. This is her first jaunt into Fantasy and Sci-Fi, she loves it. It gives her freedom of choice.  She also loves to go to the movies and you got it… Watch the Avengers, Dead Pool, among others.
When ML is not writing or traveling she is hanging out with family.

PS… She also writes under her own name, Mary Martinez.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Miranda's Rights - Available Today

She needs pain…she needs punishment…she needs him.

Jase Ralston gets hot under his very blue collar just thinking about his friend and neighbor, Miranda Carlucci. Yet she can’t possibly be interested—not when she could have champagne, caviar and her pick of Vegas high rollers.

The bruises change everything. She denies she’s in an abusive relationship, but his cop instincts won’t let him rest until he finds out the truth. When he follows her to a BDSM club and finds her writhing under a flogger’s stinging kiss, his Dom instincts kick in.

Jase takes command of the scene—and Miranda—at Club Creed. This is what she’s always wanted. Pleasure, pain…and rough-around-the-edges Jase. Yet after his domination transports her to a level of subspace she’s never known, he leaves her—unwilling to continue the scene.

Confusion gives way to hurt…then anger. He’s claimed her and Miranda wants more. Even if it means confronting Jase and making demands of her own.

Read the Excerpt -


“What the fuck is going on with you?”

“Nothing. I went out.” She stood in his living room, glancing at his couch, the window, anything but his face. Normally her bubbly personality had him laughing. At the moment, she seemed almost afraid. He had an infuriating idea of why. The thought of someone hurting her… He growled and jammed his hands into his pockets. He had the mounting need to slam his fist into the wall, scour the city for the piece of shit and show him a little payback. Any bastard who could hurt a woman deserved his ass beat.

Jase understood BDSM. Power and dominance went hand in hand with trust and devotion. He understood the high from pain play. He’d been in the scene long enough to know that the glimmer in Miranda’s blue eyes wasn’t from being taken to the brink and pushed over the edge. She’d been broken, and that wasn’t willing submission. “What has he done to you?”

Her head snapped up and her eyes narrowed. “Who?”

“Who? Christ, who do you think?” He stormed across the room and grasped her wrist.

She winced and tried to pull away. “Don’t.”

“Who is doing this to you?” He jerked back her sleeves. Angry red welts banded her delicate wrists. Deep purple and maroon bruises crisscrossed her porcelain flesh. Higher on her arm, four equally spaced marks bore the impression of someone squeezing her, restraining her. “Miranda, I see it all the time. I recognize an abused woman.”

“I’m not being abused!” She jerked her arm, yanking her wrist from his hands.

“That’s more than rough sex.”

“I’m not having sex either,” she snapped.

“And I’m not stupid. Are you going to tell me you did that—” he pointed to her wrists, “—to yourself?”

“Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m ready to go fucking ballistic.” He’d kill the bastard who put his hands on her. “I can help you.” He lowered his voice. “Please, let me take care of this, let me take care of you.” He heard the desperation in his voice but didn’t care. Actually that was the problem. He did care. Cared about her. Friendship? Fuck. Friendship would be easy. She was everything he found attractive in a woman—everything he wanted.

His cock was in a state of flux. Friendship wasn’t what simmered in his chest at night when he dreamed of her. Dreamed of handcuffing her to his headboard, blindfolding her and raining pleasure over her soft flesh. More than his next breath, he wanted to be the man she needed. He was the man she needed. Hell, he was half in love with her and they’d never even kissed.

She straightened, squaring her shoulders and lifting her chin. “I don’t really want to talk about this.” She adjusted her sleeves. “Besides, I handled…the situation.”

“I’ve heard that before. Do you like getting the shit beat out of you?”

“You’re overreacting. I have a few bruises but not from what you think. I’m not seeing anyone…not seriously anyway, and I’m not being abused.”

He watched the walls go up as she hid behind the facade of a strong woman. She was strong but not against this. This wasn’t any form of love. Violent abuse caused the physical damage. Miranda needed a dominant man with strong hands, but one who wielded his power with her pleasure in mind.
Tumultuous emotions twisted in his gut like a knife. “Do you know how many women are killed each year by domestic violence?”

“Yes, I watch the news.” She stepped farther into the room. “If we’re having an interrogation, can I have a drink?” She sat on the couch and sagged into the cushion. She held up her wrist. “This is not domestic violence. My, um, purse twisted around my wrist and left a bruise.” She sighed and gave him a soft smile. “Besides, you’re the only man in my life.”

“I’m not the man in your life,” he said as he walked to the kitchen. If he was the man in her life, she wouldn’t be coming home in the middle of the night with another man’s scent clinging to her. She’d smell like sex because he’d be the one making love to her every night. With a growl, he grabbed two beers out of the fridge.

“Yes, you are, Jase. You’re my friend.”

He walked back to the living room and paused at the perimeter. Miranda curled into the couch cushions. Her eyes were closed and her mouth had softened. “You’re right, but I’m just your friend. I worry about you,” he said as he approached.

Her heavy lids parted. “You shouldn’t.” She took the beer from his outstretched hand and tipped the beverage to her lips. “I’m a big girl.”

No, she wasn’t. She had perfect round breasts, a trim tummy and lean thighs he imagined locked to his hips as he braced above her and fucked the hell out of her—no he’d make love to her. Rough and dirty. Wild and fast and slow and deep. Whether she was bound to his bed or sitting astride and riding his cock, Jase would be making love. Heat rushed from cock to balls to buttocks.

Christ, he needed to keep perspective. First he had to get her away from her dickhead boyfriend.

“So you want to tell me about your date?”

She adjusted on the couch and angled her body toward his. With her elbow braced on the back of the couch, she tucked her hair behind her ear then rested her head in her palm. “It wasn’t a date,” she said with a little chuckle. “Just more of an acquaintance.”

Great, she was fucking acquaintances. “Sleeping with strangers is dangerous.”

“Oh hell, Jase. Let it go. You’re making a broad assumption if you think I’m screwing strangers.”

“Come on, Miranda. Remember who you’re trying to bullshit.” She was involved with someone.

“I’m not saying I’m celibate.” She narrowed her eyes. “Neither are you. Don’t forget, I’ve been in Vegas two years. I know the city. I have an amazing job.” She smiled and laughed. “And I have good friends, including a wonderful, caring—” she wagged her brows, “—sexy, yet overprotective neighbor who doesn’t mind his own business.”

She yawned, and he decided to let the subject rest for the night. “Do you want to play pool tomorrow night at Jack’s?” Jack’s was off-Strip, a local’s-only pub with pizza, beer, pool and darts. There were also the usual casino attractions—slots, poker and a focus on blackjack—but small-scale without the glitz and glamour. Plus he’d keep her away from whoever she was seeing socially.

“Can’t.” She stretched and stood. “I need to get some sleep.”

Jase followed her to the door. He put his hand on her arm. Her skin was soft, smooth and tantalizing. A shiver raced up his spine. Wisps of her hair brushed his knuckles as he trailed his fingertips higher. She dropped her ear toward her shoulder and stepped away, but not before he saw the marks. Bruising around her neck. Breath caught in his throat along with the bitter taste of bile. His stomach roiled. Every muscle in his body burned to shake sense into Miranda and kill the fucker who hurt her.

“Are you in trouble?”

“No, Jase.”

“Would you tell me if you were?”

“No,” she said again. “Because it isn’t an issue.”

Her vague response unsettled him further.

“I can’t explain.” She opened the door. “Trust me.” She touched his arm, letting her fingers trail to his hand before falling away. “You wouldn’t understand.” She crossed the hall and he let her go.

As far as she was concerned, he’d let the incident go. But neither the cop in him nor the man that cared for her was going to let the matter rest. Fuck that.



Available on Amazon and All Major Online Retailers


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

All Lycan's Eve - Available Today!

A misdirected email invitation is an opportunity for Callie Jones to shed her inhibitions and become a liberated woman looking for a night of wild, hot sex.
Kean Phelan, alpha male, expected a night of fun and fornication for himself and the males of his pack. A full moon brings out the animal for a night of rutting, which is why he’s invited escorts to entertain.
What happens when Kean realizes Callie isn’t one of his escorts…but his mate? Can he protect her, fight for her, and ultimately claim her once the pack discovers an outsider amongst them? 
Will Callie accept Kean and take her place as his mate?

Read the Excerpt - 


“Who are you? What are you?”

Kean handed her the dress. “You were the one who said you wanted the animal.” He growled and stepped closer.

“I didn’t realize that meant you were going to get hairy, growl, and bite!”

The growling and hair wasn’t really a problem. Did she really just think that? Of course it was a problem! A major fucking problem. Okay the fucking wasn’t a problem. The fucking happened to be incredible. Oh God, she’d lost her mind. She did want the animal. He certainly wasn’t human anymore. However, she didn’t trust him. He’d bitten her already. What would he do next? Chew off a leg? “Stay away from me.” When she’d hoped he’d want to eat her, she hadn’t meant literally.

“I’m a werewolf. What did you think I’d look like? I didn’t fully shift, Callie. That will happen when we join in the sacred bonding.”

“We’ve done all the bonding we’re going to and there was nothing sacred about it.” Although during her orgasm she could’ve sworn she’d seen the light. That was right before he bit her.

“The wolf inside hungers for his mate…I hunger for you.”

Callie stared. She could see him more clearly now. Narrowing her eyes, she tried to detect a weakness in his position. Kean blocked the exit, but there were still places she could maneuver to further move away from him. However, her body hummed in a frequency tuned to his. Thoughts, not her own, drifted through her mind. It seemed reasonable to assume he too felt the link between them. What she didn’t know was if he was a man— or beast.

Fear squeezed at her chest like a vise. She fumbled with the dress, pulled it over her head, and shimmied it down her body. Her hands shook. The after effects of her orgasm still tingled between her legs. The rest of her trembled with uncertainty.

Yellow eyes narrowed.

“Please don’t be afraid of me. I’m a man with a few special traits.”

She put her hand on her shoulder over the bite. “You’re covered with hair and you bit me!” Although she had to admit his tender licks and taken the pain away. However, she had no doubt he’d left a mark. His mark. Her skin puckered and swelled around the puncture wounds.

He took a step toward her.

Callie shrank against the wall. “I said stay away from me.” Her voice quavered, and her eyes darted around the room looking for escape.

Kean closed his eyes and inhaled though his nose and exhaled through his mouth. She could feel his calmness seeping into her, quieting the storm of adrenaline raging within. Just like before, she was unable to resist the soothing wash and embraced the comforting warmth. Her heart rate slowed, and her breathing mellowed. “What are you doing to me?” She heard his whispers inside her head.
His eyes opened. “You are my mate. Under Lycan law—“

Calmer now, she said, “No, we mated as in had sex.”

“You agreed. Lycan law—“

“Lycan law? What in the hell is Lycan law? I don’t care about Lycan law.” She stuffed her panties into her purse. “Under the laws of the socially accepted behavior of all cultures, you can’t bite people and expect them not to be pissed!“ She narrowed her eyes. “I could press charges, you know.” Yes, she was feeling much calmer. Rational thoughts overrode the wayward yearnings of a few minute before. Well, most of them. She was dressed and had her panties so she could leave and put this whole surreal event behind her.

“Callie, I knew who you were when you walked in tonight.”

“No you didn’t. Or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You thought I was Cindy Jones, escort.”

“You’re right. But regardless of your name or your profession, I knew you were my mate.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “You can imagine my relief to know you aren’t a paid participant.”

“Forgive me if relief isn’t what I feel.” Sex with a total stranger who morphed into a wild, sexual beast left her wanting again. And that was not going to happen. Her vibrator would just have to do. “I don’t know you. This is a one-night stand,” she shrieked.

“By coming here, you gave me no choice. I’ve claimed you for my pack to see.”

She stopped fumbling with her purse and stared at him. What had he said? It didn’t matter, she wasn’t sticking around to find out. Coming out to the cougar club for a night of fun and fornication had been a lark. She’d wanted to have a good time, not find herself with some werewolf that probably just gave her rabies. Lycan law, give her a break. Sex with Kean went far beyond her wildest fantasies. Truthfully, she’d never had rough sex, hadn’t really understood what it implied. Fine, so the rough part felt pretty good until it hurt. No, what she needed to do was get the hell out of the club.
Kean sniffed the air. “You can’t leave.”

“Why not?” She inched around the crates, making her way to the light under the door.

“Because I’m not the only one who can smell your fear.”

Smell her fear? She paused.

“Callie, you need to stay in here…with me. I can explain and then hopefully, you’ll accept me.”

“Not on your life.”

He took a step closer. “No, not my life, it would be yours.”

Available on Amazon and all major online retailers


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Roped and Branded - Available Today

Hot cowboys and a feisty cowgirl in a sexy, erotic novella. 
Southern Texas is in the grips of a heat wave and DaniLee Hunter needs a distraction. The man she wants refuses to acknowledge she’s all grown up, but the sexy ranch hand Waco is more than willing for an erotic roll in the hay.

Everything in South Texas stings, bites,or prickles…including Cord Stiles. As foreman of the Iron H, he has enough to deal with—including his growing attraction for DaniLee. She’s wild and reckless—and impossible to ignore. It’s time she’s roped and branded…and he’s just the man to do it.

The stakes are high in a late-night poke-her game. Cord, Dani and Waco lay their cards on the table. Winner takes all.

Read the Excerpt - 


Dani sat next to Waco, facing him. A bottle of whiskey was between them on the table. Waco flipped over his card. Her head fell back and her seductive laughter slid over Cord’s skin, down his spine and into his dick—but she wasn’t flirting with him.

She stood from her barrel and straddled Waco’s lap. Her hips gyrated, just like she was fucking him. “You win. What do you want?”

Dani blocked Waco’s face with her body, so Cord couldn’t see his expression.

Waco wrapped a hand around the back of Dani’s neck and jerked her mouth to his. His other hand went to her hip, encouraging her to grind against him. Her silken blonde hair fell like a curtain to the middle of her back. Waco fisted his hand in her locks until his knuckles whitened.

Dani moaned and Cord walked into the house.

She glanced over her shoulder, then jumped from Waco’s lap. Damn, she was turned on. Her lips were red from kissing and her cheeks flushed with color.

Waco pushed back his stool. “I guess it’s time for me to go.”

Dani put her hand on his shoulder, silently asking him to stay. “The party’s over.” She glanced at the clock. “And it’s late.”

Cord crossed to the large table, grabbing a beer on his way and pulled up a barrel chair. “I’m not tired.”

“Are you sure you want to be here, Cord? Because Waco is staying.”

“So am I.” He could handle her with Waco—so long as she wasn’t shutting him out. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, but he spoke to Waco. “Are you up for another round?”

A devious smile pulled at the corner of her mouth. She shifted, sat on Waco’s lap while continuing to stare at Cord and said, “Oh yeah, he’s up for it.” She arched her back and leaned toward Cord. “Would you like him to prove it?”

Waco coughed and thumped his chest with his fist. “I’m not sure we’re all talking about playing cards.”

Dani pivoted and nipped at his lips. “We can still play cards…and have a good time.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Cord, I hope you remember how to have fun. I know it’s been a while.”

Cord tipped the beer to his lips. Hell, it’s been too long. He didn’t want to fuck around. He wanted Dani. Before he’d walked through the door, he’d known that tonight wouldn’t be about just them. When he’d discovered her in the barn, in a veiled way, she’d invited them both to this moment. “Let’s play.”

“This is my house, my life and you know how much I have wanted you to be here. But what happens tomorrow when you feel guilty?”

He’d rather deal with tomorrow—tomorrow. “Dani, I’m a big boy. I can handle it.”

“Waco?” She leaned in and whispered, “Don’t worry, I promise you’ll feel good.”

He gripped her hips and chuckled. “Then I’m game. What are the stakes?”

Dani moved to the barrel between them and picked up the cards. She began to shuffle then paused and glanced to Cord. “Me.” She dealt each of them two cards, one face up. “Twenty-one is the game.”

“What are the rules?” Waco picked up his hole card.

“No rules.” Cord set his beer on the table.

“I might cheat.”

“Someone still wins,” Cord said. “We’re playing against Dani, not each other.”

She lifted her stare from her card to Cord. “And if I bust?”

“Then we both win.” He ran his finger along the lip of his beer bottle.

Dani visibly swallowed. “I recall a recent conversation we had in the barn.”

He hadn’t been able to think of much else. “Are you sure this is what you want?” His gut clenched. 
Now he’d crossed the line. He hoped to God, she didn’t want him to leave, because now that he was here, he intended to stay. While they were on the deck, she’d given him some advice. Sometimes you just have to take what you want. Damn the consequences.

“I’ve always know what I’ve wanted.” She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth then let it pop free. “Tell me what you want.”

“I want to be here, with Waco, and fuck you.”

Waco whistled and tipped his beer to his lips. “I guess that ‘bout says it all.” He drank.

“Not quite.” She leaned into Waco and took the beer from his hand. “Do you want to kiss me?” She took a sip.

He closed the space between their faces. “No, I want to fuck you too.”

She smiled. “Then you have to get twenty-one.”

Available at Amazon and all major online retailers

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

After Dark - Available Today!

Kayla March has never experienced an orgasm, but that may change when she meets Alandro Blackwood, a rather unique vampire. Alandro had thought Kayla, his blood match, was dead. With her vampire gene dormant, why would she show up at After Dark, the vampire feeding grounds? He’ll soon find out.

Read the Excerpt


Feathery kisses touched her closed eyes. Silken hairs brushed against her cheeks. Kayla slowly awakened. Alandro was sitting beside her. He leaned over her, supported by his arms and gently kissed her lips.
She lay on a bed draped with black silk sheets. Their coolness on her ass alerted her to the fact her miniskirt had ridden up to her waist, leaving her exposed in only her thong panties.
“Where am I?”
“Sleeping beauty awakes.” His eyes were slow in meeting hers. They tracked along her smooth bare thighs, lingered on the scrap of fabric covering her pussy, and roamed over her chest. Finally their gazes locked. Desire simmered in the heated depths. She was sure he saw the same in her pale, golden eyes.
“Are you Prince Charming?”
“Not Prince Charming. But some have referred to me as a Prince of Darkness.”
She blinked, taking in her surroundings. The room was sparely decorated in muted earthen tones. Besides the bed, there was a chaise lounge and large armoire made from a dark mahogany.
A warm glow illuminated the room, only she couldn’t identify the source. There were no glaring overhead fixtures or table lamps. The room simply radiated its own pale light. Deep shadows around the perimeter kept her from knowing the exact size of the large room.
“This is my home,” Alandro said. “My sleeping chamber to be precise.”
“Your bedroom?” How in the hell had she gotten here? The last thing she remembered was feeling a bit dizzy in the parking lot. “Did I pass out?”
“Yes.” Mirth sparkled in his eyes. “And technically no. I assisted your slumber. Travel is much faster my way.” His lips parted with a smile.
Kayla sucked in sharply. There was no mistaking his right and left upper cuspids. Pointed, clearly fangs, yet the teeth weren’t long.
She’d heard stories, the tales of nightmares her grandmother had told. Vampire. But they weren’t real. They were only the twisted tales to make her afraid of the night. His skin was too dark for him to be an undead. In her mind, vampires wore black capes and spoke with European accents. As a child, that was how she’d convinced herself that she’d recognize the demons that hunted the souls of humans. Alandro exuded a blend of gentlemanly charm and raw, native sexuality.
“Don’t be afraid.”
He couldn’t be real, yet he sipped her lips. Once, twice, and then lingering longer.
“Who are you?” A shiver rippled over her flesh. Words lodged in her throat. Finally she whispered, “What are you?”

Available on Amazon and all major online retailers

Monday, March 19, 2018

With or Without You - Available Today

The best mistake she ever made…

Tessa Brooks is dated. Not dated as in going out with men—having dinner and light conversation in poorly lit restaurants in hopes of finding someone with whom she can get naked. No, Tessa is dated. She's stuck in the year her life changed.

With her twenty-year high school reunion coming up, Tessa’s daughter has surprised her with a makeover on the Jade Star television talk show. However, that’s not the only surprise. Enter Matt Toler, the best mistake she ever made. Tessa might not feel a ribbon of panic tightening around her neck if Matt had spoken to her again after their one-night sexual encounter…and if knew he had a daughter.

Read the Excerpt



Applause.
Tessa Brooks’ heart hadn’t pounded this hard since she’d gone to the Bon Jovi rock concert when she was seventeen.

“It’s time.”

The stage tech gave Tessa the signal. She took a deep, calming breath. Then she tossed her head, loving the way her new chic haircut felt like silk against her bare shoulders. The formfitting, knee-length dress molded to her body like a second skin, clinging to all the curves she worked hard to keep from turning into rolls. She felt like a hot Hollywood starlet—sexy and proud of it.

Adrenaline surged. Blood pumped through her veins as she walked onto the stage. Her ankles wobbled on three-inch heels. Yikes, one foot in front of the other so she didn’t face-plant in front of the studio audience and millions of television fans. She was more accustomed to running shoes or Crocs because she was a single mom and operating room nurse. She didn’t have time for a social life. Hence the high heels, new haircut and slinky dress. She was getting a life as her daughter called it.

Cheers erupted. The glaring spotlights blinded her, although she could still see the silhouette of the audience giving her a standing ovation. Whistles and catcalls took her breath away.

Tessa spun in a circle and stopped.

Stunned.

Not only did her beautiful daughter stand a few feet away with tears streaming down her cheeks, but she saw her own reflection in the mirrors behind the host, Jade, of the Jade Star Show.
Jade endeavored to turn everyday women into glamorous celebrities for a day.

Tessa barely recognized herself. Gone were the baggy olive green hospital scrubs she wore to work every day. Although her hair still had enough length to pull back to her customary ponytail, today her dirty blonde locks glistened with golden highlights. Cornflower blue eyes sparkled and her lips turned up in a playful smile she couldn’t contain. The miracle transformation was amazing. That’s me. A heavy tear held to her lower lashes then dripped onto her cheek.

Tessa kissed her fingers and waved to her nineteen-year-old daughter. Brianna ran across the stage and threw her arms around her mother like she did when she was a child.

“Thank you.” Tessa laughed and hugged her tightly. She rubbed her hand over her daughter’s back. They’d been through a lot together. They grew up together. That’s what happened when you got pregnant at the end of your senior year of high school. It had been just the two of them since then, because Brianna never knew her father.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I can’t believe you did this.”

Tessa’s high school reunion was a few days away. However, this plan had been hatched weeks ago. Her daughter had called the Jade Star daytime talk show and asked for a makeover. Last night Tessa and Brianna boarded a plane in Salt Lake City bound for Los Angeles, and today she was on national television.

Her daughter was right. Maybe she had let herself become dated. Well not dated as in going out with a man and having dinner and light conversation in a poorly lit restaurant with the hope of finding someone with whom she could get naked. No she was dated. And the year she seemed stuck in was 1988. The year her life changed.

“Mom.” Brianna wiped tears from Tessa’s cheeks. “You look beautiful.”

“So do you.”

Brianna turned in a circle. The show had given her daughter a chic new makeover as well.

“Tessa,” Jade purred into her microphone.

Tessa turned her attention to the host.

“Today isn’t just about makeovers.” The host addressed the audience at the same time a prompt was given for more applause. “This is a reunion show.” She waited as the noise built to a crescendo, then she quieted the group. “Your twenty-year high school reunion is next week. And your daughter has another surprise for you.”

Tessa hesitated, and Brianna gently grasped her hand and led her to the seats in the center of the stage. Jade walked into the audience. The lights dimmed with the exception of a spotlight focused on Tessa.

“Brianna, would you like to tell your mom what the surprise is?”

Tessa pivoted to Brianna. Her heart pounded and her palms grew moist. “What else have you done?”

Brianna sandwiched her hands between her knees and pulled her bottom lip between her teeth. Not a good sign. Brianna was nervous. Tessa relied on patience as her daughter took a deep breath. Then her shoulders relaxed and a reluctant smile found her lips.

Brianna grabbed onto Tessa’s hands and held tightly. “I asked the show for a special favor.”
An uneasy feeling roiled in Tessa’s stomach. She’d never believed in premonition, but she had the distinct impression she was about to experience the reason most sane people do not go on daytime talk shows. Nothing good ever happened to people who heard a secret. At least she knew her spouse wasn’t cheating and she had the stretch marks to prove maternity.

“Your daughter asked us to reunite you with someone special from your past.”

Oh God, not a secret crush.

Jade turned to the audience. “Should we give her the first hint?”

The audience applauded. Colored strobes and flashing lights pulsed over the stage. With or Without You by U2 piped through sound system. Tessa transported back to prom night, 1988, and her heart skipped a beat. Brianna didn’t…wouldn’t…couldn’t… Oh God, if she did…

“Are you ready for your second clue?” Jade crooned.

Tessa didn’t need another clue. Only two men had been with her the night that song played. Please, please, please, she privately prayed. Be bachelor number one. Stan Yarrow owned and operated the local pharmacy back home. She and Stan had been friends and he’d taken her to the prom, but the real dance hadn’t taken place until much later…with bachelor number two…Matt Toler.

She swiveled around, eyes darting about searching for a face she’d prayed she’d never see again but also lingered in her thoughts more than she cared to admit. How could he not? They’d shared an incredible night…one stupid, irresponsible, romantic encounter that had changed her life.

Bright lights flashed above the audience.

Jade stood next to Tessa. “Here is your second clue.”

The voice that had haunted her dreams for the last twenty years blended with the music. Just as he sounded in 1988, Matt Toler said hello. Oh crap, it was him! He was here…somewhere. She glanced around the stage, over the audience, to the ceiling where the detached voice echoed.

Suddenly her skin grew clammy. Her attention shifted to Brianna. What in the hell had they told him to get him to come on the show? Did he remember her too? She might not feel this ribbon of panic tightening around her neck if Matt Toler had known her before April 23, 1988…or had ever spoken to her one single time after Sunday, April 24.

Matt stood on the other side of a silk screen. He couldn’t believe he actually agreed to come on a daytime television show to rekindle with a high school sweetheart. The muted melody from the theme song of his senior prom blended with ohs and ahs from the studio audience.

He’d received the call a week ago. The producer from the Jade Star daytime talk show told him someone from his high school days wanted to reconnect. They hadn’t been specific, but the message had been clear. The show was reuniting lost lovers.

Matt had dated girls, but there had only been one who would call a daytime talk show for a second chance hook-up.

Heather Krump. Cheerleader, class vice president, she’d dated him off and on for most of their senior year. They’d had some crazy times. Then he’d left for college right after high school and she’d become a cheerleader for a professional basketball team back East.

The stage tech snapped his fingers and pointed to the side entrance leading to the studio set.
More applause sounded. His stomach tightened. Lately he’d lacked excitement in his life. This wasn’t exactly what he had in mind when seeking adventure, but who was he to balk at opportunity knocking? He and Heather had history…mostly good history.

He couldn’t wait to see what she looked like now. In high school she’d been lean muscle, long dark hair, and had an enticing ass that molded to his palms. He took a deep breath and settled the flash of sexual awareness heating his blood. The last thing he needed was to walk across the stage with a blatant erection.

His hands formed fists at his sides. Tension pulled at his forehead. He relaxed his face into a smile, unclenched his hands and walked into the bright lights.

Confusion crept into his mind. He vaguely recognized the woman on the stage and there was something familiar in the younger woman with her. The younger woman smiled wide with straight white teeth glinting under the bright stage lights. He couldn’t say the same thing for the older woman. Her mouth narrowed into a thin-lipped line. Her eyes widened when she looked at him.

Oh hell, she was clearly not Heather. This woman had blonde hair that moved softly around her shoulders when she looked from him to the woman at her side. Subtle makeup, incredible figure, he supposed it could be Heather. He didn’t remember Heather being so petite, but hell, twenty years could dull anyone’s memory.

Finally the hum of voices around him drilled through the confusion. He turned to Jade Star.

“Matt, are you surprised?” Jade put her arm around the older woman.

Uneasiness squirmed around in his gut. How could he pluck the name out of Jade and not look like he’d forgotten the woman? Not the woman, he was sure he knew her from high school. But what was her name? Perhaps if he wasn’t a bit jetlagged and hadn’t just completed a heavy week at the hospital, he could remember. Doctors tended to have great memories. Two years could pass and he remembered a patient’s name, but come on, twenty years? He wished Jade would put him out of his misery rather than continuing to stand there and stare at him as if he’d grown a third eye and uni-brow.

Hell. He’d done it often enough, he’d bullshit his way through. Opening his arms, he smiled big and bright for the host, the television audience, millions of viewers at home and the almost-stranger in front of him. Then he pulled the blonde woman into his arms and gave her a hug.

Interesting, he felt her breath catch. Beneath the silk of her dress she trembled. Not intending a lustful embrace, but with his hands sliding against the smooth feminine contours of her back, detailing her ribs, he pulled her a bit tighter.

She responded. The audience erupted in cheers and applause.

“I’m sorry.” Her lips brushed the shell of his ear when she whispered.

Chills broke across his skin at the seductive tone to her voice. She could make millions as a phone sex provider. Two little words had his cock hardening and images of this hug taking place with less clothing. Male lust, sure, but he didn’t consider himself a letch. He worked with nurses, had female patients. Imagining a woman naked thirty seconds after he met her was definitely off-par for him. In fact, he could really only remember one other time when lust had sucker-punched him in the gut.

Tessa Brooks.

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