Stick Shift has a new look, a new blurb, a new price, and some new words. I’ve been working for weeks on the revisions and published it through Amazon.
For now, it is only available through Amazon. I am giving their Kindle Select program a try to see how I like it and wanted to do so with a re-release first before trying it with a brand spankin’ new book.
I mentioned that Stick Shift has some new words, and it does. I extended many scenes and left others along. It’s a little naughtier and Cam revealed some things to me that he wanted me to add in, which I did. There’s also an excerpt from the second book in the back which I am nearly finished with, and a molasses cookie recipe. Since Cam makes these cookies for Lily, I thought it was only right that make sure y’all have a chance to try them for yourselves.
If you’ve read Stick Shift before, thank you. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll give it a try.
The new price is $2.99 as opposed to the previous price of $5.99 when it was published through Loose Id. I don’t believe I’e undervalued my book, but I do believe that a re-release shouldn’t be priced anywhere near that high.
Now, how about that cover, huh?
Cam Carter is young, hot, and cocky as hell. He’s loved by some, respected by few, and hated by more. He’ll do anything to win the next race, the championship, or the heart of the girl.
Lily is unlike any other challenge Cam has faced. Quiet, full-figured, and several years older, she’s trying everything she can to resist the pull of this bad boy of racing.
Can they find a way to cross the finish line and take the checkered flag together? Or will obstacles, both inside and out, push against them until they crash and burn?
Oh God. She was really there, staring at him, and he – bless his gorgeous face – if his smile was anything to go by, he looked happy to see her. She suddenly felt out of her element again and not quite up to the dress code in her blue, lacy knee-length skirt and white frilly t-shirt. Her pink painted toes curled under as she shifted her weight nervously from one foot to the other in the cute, sparkly flip-flops Alli had talked her into wearing. Then again, there probably wasn’t a dress code, given that he was in faded, threadbare jeans with holes in the knees and one of the back pockets ripped at the seams. His T-shirt was black with a washed-out logo she couldn’t make out, and his sneakers had seen much better days. Still, she felt uncertain about how she looked standing there while they stared at each other. What was it about him that drew her and scared her all at the same time? Maybe it was his freshness, his youth, his smile that was all too knowing and aimed at her. Maybe it was because she was out of her depths and he was way out of her league.
Things like this just didn’t happen to women like her.
He stopped in front of her. “You’re here.” He sounded pleased and Lily hoped she wasn’t making a terrible mistake.
“I-I hope it’s okay that I just showed up without calling first. My friend drove me here and wouldn’t let me call. She was afraid I’d chicken out.”
“Would you have? Chickened out?”
“I tried several times, but I was already strapped into the seat of her car.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re here. I can stop checking my phone every thirty seconds now.”
Checking his phone? Surely he wasn’t serious. Guys didn’t do that sort of thing. Guys like Cam Carter didn’t do that sort of thing. “I’m sure you probably made plans for tonight. I just wanted to…” She wanted to what? She was stranded. Alli had left almost as soon as Lily’d stepped from the car. She hadn’t wanted to give Lily a chance to escape.
“You just wanted to what?” he prompted for her to continue.
Lily hated that she was stumbling all over her words. The man had her tongue-tied and she wished she hadn’t had that particular thought, because she would love to be tongue-tied, naked, and wrapped around him.
She had to stop thinking like that, too. Instead, if she could just stay focused on how much younger he was than her, how different their lives were, she might actually get out of this awkward mess unscathed.
“I don’t know, but I shouldn’t have shown up out of the blue.”
“I love the surprise. I don’t have plans other than you. If I did, I wouldn’t have told you to meet me. No one needs me until tomorrow, so that means I’m all yours tonight.”
“Oh.” She likely hadn’t hidden the surprise at his choice of words, because he laughed. All hers? Yeah, right. In what universe was a man like Cam Carter ever going to be “all hers”?
“You like that idea.”
He was reading her mind again, just as he’d done at the autograph session. She had to learn not to be so transparent. Alli was forever telling her that everything she thought or felt could be seen in her eyes and in the expressions on her face.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She could do this. “Well, yes, of course. How could I not?” She’d play along. How often did an average, ordinary music teacher get this kind of opportunity? “I’d be crazy to not want you all to myself.”
“Great. Because that’s how I want you.” He stepped close and traced the outline of her cheekbone with his callused and scratched fingers that melted her even more. “All to myself.”
He was going to kiss her. She knew it because he took off his sunglasses, because the pulse beat in his neck had kicked into high gear, because his lips actually brushed hers. Oh. My. God.
He’s too young. He’s too young. He’s too young.
Her mind rattled off the litany, knowing she needed to remember it, no matter how weak it might be. It would be so easy to get carried away if she spent any kind of time with him. But all of her reminders, all of her good intentions drifted away at the softness of his lips, the insistent tip of his tongue, the feel of his hand sliding into her hair, the pressure and control he exerted in holding her mouth to his.
It was a brief kiss, just a small taste of him, but it was enough to whet her appetite for more. The little devil inside her head laughed. As if she needed her appetite whetted. For days she’d thought of him and little else. She’d never wrestled with anything more.
Should she or shouldn’t she?
More than once, she’d picked up the phone and dialed his number but never let the call go through. What if he hadn’t remembered her by just her name and voice alone? What if he put her off or changed his mind or hadn’t meant for her to take the date and time on the picture seriously? What if it was a bum number?
Lily’d been so uncertain what to do that Alli had forced her into the car and dropped her off at the race shop, exactly as she’d told Cam. As soon as Alli left, Lily entertained the notion of walking to the nearest bus stop, but then Cam stepped outside, and she couldn’t move, could barely breathe. She didn’t want to leave without trying. Trying what, she didn’t know, but there was definitely something in the air between them.
“Just as sweet as I knew you’d be,” he said softly, his lips still grazing hers
Just as hot as I remembered you being. Lily smiled, not trusting her voice to speak just yet.
“My shy little kitten.” He chuckled and shook his head. “What do you want to do? Dinner? A movie? A concert? A club? Whatever you want to do, we will do.”
“Shy, little kitten?” That had cleared the fog enough for her to open her mouth.
“Yes.” He nipped the tip of her nose with his lips. “You’re all shy and timid, like a scared kitten. Relax, beautiful. I won’t hurt you. I just want a date with you.”
His brow wrinkled and his mouth twitched at the corners when she stammered out her question. She wanted to kiss that mouth again and she wanted to brush her fingers against the creases in his forehead. She wanted to touch every inch of him, commit him to memory.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “What did you think this was?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t know you… A date? In public? With me?”
Cam’s smile faltered as he gazed at her curiously. Now he was the one looking uncomfortable. “Was I being presumptuous in thinking that you might like to go out with me?”
“I… No. No, not at all. I definitely would like to go out with you.”
“On a date? In public?” The light returned to his face as he teased her, and it took her breath away. Damn. The effect the man had on her.
She wasn’t strong enough to deny him or herself. He was offering her a chance few women ever got, just as Alli had said. Alli told her to make the most of it and Lily couldn’t think of a reason why she shouldn’t throw caution to the wind just once and do this one thing for herself.
“And just so we’re clear, Lily? It’s entirely possible that I’ll want more than one date by the time the evening is over.”
Happy Wednesday and Happy Release Day, y’all! It took quite a while to get Slide Down On Me from submission to published, but it’s finally here and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I had a wonderful time working with a new-to-me editor but who is well known in the industry, Kelli Collins. She taught me so much and I can’t thank her enough.
Small-town mechanic and tattooed bad boy Travis keeps his profile low, his needs satisfied outside the city limits, and his business running smoothly. He doesn’t cause trouble and he certainly doesn’t want any.
Trouble finds him one scorching afternoon, however, in the form of the equally scorching Arabella Drake. The former heiress owes Travis for car repairs, money she can’t readily pay.
Their situation requires a creative solution, and while most of the town rejects Bella, Travis wants to ravish her. He offers a proposal, one that will soften the repair costs—and satisfy Travis’ longstanding wish to have Bella Drake naked, writhing and sliding down on every inch of him.
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance eBooks | Ellora’s Cave
“Twenty-five hundred dollars?” Bella’s lips barely moved over the words. Her throat closed and nausea rolled through her belly. If she said anything more, her breakfast of toast and coffee from several hours earlier were going to be all over the garage floor. They probably wouldn’t even notice, given the stains of oil, gasoline and what she could only hope were other car fluids dotting the concrete.
She supposed it could be the fumes making her lightheaded. She wasn’t used to such strong, bitter smells.
“Close,” he said, looking down at his clipboard. “Twenty-five hundred, sixty-seven dollars…” He looked up again, giving a benign smile. “And thirty-nine cents.”
Bella met his gaze. Travis. He was as gorgeous as ever. His cobalt eyes held no hint of emotion, no matter the sarcasm that dripped from his lips.
Tattoos covered his arms and disappeared under his short-sleeve shirt and drifted up the sides of his neck. Black hair brushed his collar and was so dark that in the right light, one could swear it shown blue. He was tall, broad yet lean-hipped, and she’d wondered for years what his rough mechanic’s hands would feel like on her skin.
She’d had a secret crush on him when she was growing up. She’d see him around town and out on the lake, but they were from two different worlds and though their paths rarely crossed, when he was near, she was always acutely aware of him.
“I…I don’t have access to that kind of money anymore, Travis,” she said quietly. No thanks to my brother. Humility seemed to be her new best friend, but in front of Travis? That was a new level she wasn’t exactly comfortable with.
Heat bloomed in her cheeks, but she was just stubborn enough not to look away. She wanted to get out of here, run as far as she could, but there was nowhere to go, no place for her to hide. And now, thanks to the transmission in her car, no way for her to get anywhere. She squared her shoulders and swallowed past the queasiness.
“That’s as low as I can go, Bella.”
Bella sighed. “That low or going lower or raising the number doesn’t matter. Not even the sixty-seven thirty-nine. At least not until payday.” Her voice didn’t shake and she was proud of that. He was sexier than a man ought to be, but she wouldn’t let that distract her. “Can you hold the car for a little while? At least a couple of days?”
“I take credit cards.”
“Really?” She didn’t roll her eyes, but the sarcasm in her tone couldn’t be mistaken. “Travis…” This wasn’t the first time she’d come up against this argument. “I don’t use credit cards anymore.”
“And I don’t generally hold cars for anyone other than friends. The lot is pretty small, you see,” he observed, looking over her shoulder out the bay door. “I don’t want legit customers thinking I can’t take care of them because there’s a fancy piece sittin’ out front.”
She ignored his emphasis on the word “piece” and fought the suddenly strong urge to kick him. She turned her head and followed his line of sight.
The front of the garage had a small parking area, but there was also room out back he used. “It’s a Cadillac. People drive them all the time. Please, Travis. Just a couple of days until I get paid on Friday.”
“Please” had become the most-used word in her vocabulary. She’d always used it, along with thank you, excuse me, yes ma’am and no sir among, other courteous terms, but they had all taken on whole new meanings since she was no longer the heiress who lived in a mansion.
Their gazes locked again and he didn’t seem moved by her plea.
“It was all I could do to get it here this morning. It kept dying anytime I got it over forty. I don’t have any way to get it back to the lake or anywhere else to keep it.”
He heaved a sigh. “Until Friday. Not a day later.”
Relief swamped her and she smiled. “Friday. Yes. Th-thank you, Travis. Thank you.” It was a small battle but she’d won. “I have to get back to the flower shop, but I’ll be in touch Friday when I get off work.” She spun on her heel, heart thumping wildly in her chest at the victory. Of course, her mind whirled with the fact that it would take longer than two days to get the money, but one step at a time.
His voice from behind abruptly stopped her forward progress. She was thankful that she didn’t stumble over herself.
“Do you need a ride?”
Lust flooded her, but Bella masked her surface reaction before facing him again. Oh yes, she’d love a ride. A long, hard, naked ride. On him. He hadn’t moved closer but heat flared between them. Maybe he wasn’t as indifferent as he’d have her believe. “N-no. I walked here. I can walk back. I don’t want to owe you any more than I already do.”
Travis shrugged. “Suit yourself. Have a good day then.”
I hope you will enjoy reading more about Travis and Bella… And please, whether or not you like and enjoy it, I would appreciate if you’d leave a review at the e-tailer of your purchase.
Now, as a little bit of a special treat, my friend Sabrina York also has an Ellora’s Cave release today. Dark Duke. What an intriguing and sexy title. I’m currently reading the first book in this series, Dark Fancy.
If you’re new to the series, download Sabrina’s free teaser book at http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ to read blurbs and excerpts for this popular series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.
Noble Passions, Book Three
Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.
But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor-bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.
Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.
A Romantica® Regency historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Buy Links: Amazon | Ellora’s Cave
Edward skirted the mêlée in the garden and made his way to the far end of the estate, where there was nothing but flowers and trees and a placid little pond. Nothing to attract diminutive fiends bent on mischief. He would sit in the folly until his temperature returned to normal.
Perhaps until spring.
Dear God. He’d had no idea having the Wyeths of Perth take over his house would be such a nightmare. If he had suspected as much, he would have turned them away at the start. They would probably have crawled in under the door. Through the cracks in the flue. Vermin had a way of finding entrance.
But now. Now they were here.
He had to get rid of them.
Perhaps he could send them back to Scotland.
Scotland would revile him for it, but he had little use for rocky tors, lochs and sheep.
Then he thought of Violet and his heart lurched. It would crush her to be trundled back to what she referred to as “the bleak wilderness.” She was looking forward to a glittering season in London. She was seventeen. She needed a husband. A husband of quality. That might be difficult to find in the wilds of Scotland.
And Ned. Ned was twenty. He was just starting to find his way with the ton. He’d made some friends—decent fellows. He’d even been receiving invitations to game at White’s.
The two of them—the normal two—deserved better than being lumped in with the rest.
He whacked at a rosebud as he passed. It exploded into a flutter of petals. He refused to feel any sympathy.
He couldn’t send them packing.
Hell. He was a duke of the realm. He had six houses spread throughout the empire. Why hadn’t he thought to purchase a spare in London?
That was brilliant.
He would. He’d buy them their own house. Move them all, lock stock and—well, maybe not the barrels, as the older boys did like to drink. He’d move them all into their own domicile.
With Aunt Hortense. Let her manage them.
His life would once again be orderly. He would be the master of his own abode. Free to pursue the life of a wealthy dilettante.
He rounded the bend with a satisfied smile on his face. The trickle of the fountain in the pond was a balm to his tormented soul. Birds sang in the trees. The sun—well, it almost shone. It was a beautiful day.
Soon, the world would be right again.
Soon, they would all be gone.
He skipped up the steps of the folly with a lightness of heart he hadn’t felt in ages. A book on the bench snagged his attention and his mood dipped, but only a bit. Someone had been here. But they were gone.
He picked it up and flipped through it and stilled.
It was a sketch book.
The first page was an attempt at this scene. The flowers and trees, the pond and the little fountain. Not very good. But the second arrested his attention. It was a simple line drawing of Violet. And it was stunning. The artist had managed to depict her beauty, but also captured that glint in her eye, the particular quirk of her lips. Her soul.
The next sketch was one of Ned, showing a brash young man, standing insouciantly with his hands shoved into his pockets, whistling a silent tune. The next was of the twins—whatever their names were—dark heads together plotting some manner of mayhem.
It was so realistic Edward expected them to leap from the page and whack him with a cricket bat.
But it was the last sketch in the book that stole his breath. It was a portrait, in profile. His own face. But not an Edward he would ever recognize. This man was heroic, tragic, a solitary soldier. It was only a few lines drawn in charcoal, but it revealed so much about him. Things he didn’t want anyone to ever know.
It was horrifying. And remarkable.
He snapped the book shut and spun around.
Of course. What’s her name. The girl. The owl. From last night.
“Oh, you found it.” She stepped into the folly and took the book from his hands. He did not know why he let it go.
“You left it here.” An accusation. Really? He hadn’t intended for it to come out like that.
She chuckled. “I had to go rescue Hamish. I was coming back.”
“What…why did you have to rescue Hamish?” This was her work? She saw him like that? And hell, she was a damn fine hand. How he would love to turn such talent to…darker purposes. What a pity she was such a prude. The kind of work he could offer her would make her rich—rich enough to quit serving as Violet’s companion.
But she would never do it. No decent woman would.
He must be crazed, truly crazed, to even think on it.
The gripping sketch of his wounded countenance lingered in his brain. If she could do that, if she could see through to his soul and bring it to life on paper—
“And then he got stuck. In the tree. So I had to rescue him.”
Lord. She’d been talking. He’d missed the entire explanation. No matter. The question had been purely rhetorical.
“How long have you been drawing?”
She winced, clutched the book to her breast. He recalled what fine breasts they were. “I… What?”
“How long have you been drawing? You’re quite good.”
“You looked at my book?” She squawked as though he’d just admitted to peering up her skirts. The lemony face returned. A beetled brow and pursed lips. It was, upon reflection, rather adorable.
“It was lying here.”
“You shouldn’t look at someone’s sketchbook.”
“You shouldn’t leave it where it can be found.” He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned at her. Damn, he loved her accent.
She sputtered. “I told you. Hamish and Tay—”
“Taylor. Hamish and Taylor were building a fort in a tree—”
“Yes. Yes. I know. You had to rescue him. Tell me, have they always been this much trouble?”
She blew out a breath. “You have no idea.”
They both laughed. It was a nice moment, because it seemed, for that brief flash of time, they were friends, bound in mutual misery.
And then he went and ruined it by letting his lust intrude. “So tell me, what did you think of that book?”
She tipped her head. “What book?”
“The one I gave you last night.”
She blinked several times, as though she had to try very hard to remember. “Oh. That book. I didn’t read it.”
He stepped closer. “Ah. You like to look at the pictures, then?” He knew the sort.
“Look at the… What? No, your Grace—”
“Edward.” He infused his voice with a low thrum.
“Your Grace. I didn’t have a chance to open it.”
Why petulance curled within him, he had no clue. “What do you mean you didn’t have a chance to open it?” She was supposed to have read it. Or at least looked at the pictures. She was supposed to be gazing at him, right now, with a dewy look.
She brushed an invisible speck from her skirt. “There was…a distraction.”
Well hell. “What kind of distraction?”
Her lips pursed. The look she shot him was not dewy in the slightest.
Still, he wanted to kiss her.
He wasn’t sure why. She was certainly not the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. But her face had character and charm—especially when she smiled. Her figure was full—the way he liked them—but she didn’t show it off to its best effect. In fact, if he hadn’t known what lay beneath the thick layers of crinoline and bombazine, he would have been fooled. She was prickly as a hedgehog and smacked him down at every turn.
So why did he want to pull her into his arms and smother her mouth with his?
Perhaps because of all those things.
Then again, perhaps just because.
So he did.
He took the girl—whose name he could not remember, whose face he could not forget—into his arms and kissed her. It was a gentle buss, as kisses went, but extremely sublime. Because he’d surprised her.
Her lips were open, as though poised to speak. He took full advantage, sweeping in his tongue to dab at hers, nibbling and licking and tasting her sweet breath.
The prick at his side was not a surprise. He’d expected it.
He lifted his head and stared down into her eyes. Her expression was dazed and determined and perhaps a little dewy. “Not this time, darling,” he murmured. He took the knife from her hand and tossed it aside and then pulled her more fully against him.
And ah. She was soft. Sweet. Her breasts pressed against his chest. Her hips molded the cradle of his groin. Of course, he was the one doing the molding, but she didn’t fight him.
No. She sighed and tipped her head to the side so he could deepen the kiss. She tasted like ambrosia. A tantalizing flavor of cinnamon and woman and surrender. His ardor rose, and with it, his cock. He rubbed it against her belly.
She stiffened and tried to push away, muttering something into his mouth that sounded like “No.”
He changed his tack, running his lips down her cheek and along the line of her jaw to nestle in the crook of her neck. She shuddered. Some groan-like sound emanated from her throat. She clutched at his hair.
Thusly encouraged, he sucked at the tender skin of her neck. Nipped.
“Oh! Saints preserve us,” she whispered.
“The saints don’t care,” he responded, switching to the other side of her neck. He found a spot that delighted her even more and feasted there. In her distraction, she didn’t stop the palm skimming over her ribs to cup a breast.
He encased her. Ah. Exquisite. Full and round and pliable. He thumbed a nipple, testing its rigidity. She dipped as her knees gave way. He caught her. Swung her up in his arms and carried her to the bench.
From long experience, he knew better than to give a woman a moment to think. So as soon as he had her settled across his lap and firmly braced against the wall of the folly, he kissed her again. With one hand, he stroked her nipples while with the other, he slowly drew up her skirts.
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
For one commentor, I’m going to be giving away a copy of Slide Down On Me, and Sabrina’s Dark Duke… Mine is contemporary, her’s is historical, both are scorching hot!
What was the first romance you can remember reading?
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Time and distance have a way of sneaking up on feelings thought long buried.
The Bar Next Door, Book 2
Five years ago, Eli held the hand of his dying lover and made a promise he never intended to keep. Find someone new to love? Be happy? Fat chance. Eli’s happiness died that day. He’s doing well to put one foot in front of the other, much less risk his heart again.
The only thorn in his side is Asa, part-time waiter at The Bar Next Door, who can’t seem to take a hint.
After years of carrying more responsibility on his broad, cowboy shoulders than most people twice his age, Asa knows what he wants when he sees it. Eli. Shadows haunt the gorgeous older bartender, who also happens to be one of Asa’s bosses, but Asa doesn’t care about potential complications. He only wants to banish Eli’s ghosts—and bring Eli back to life.
Persistence, a little impatience, and Asa’s very wicked mouth go to work on Eli’s grumpy, prickly defenses. But Asa may have to block the door to love with his foot—or his heart—before Eli slams it in his face.
Warning: Beware of stubborn cowboys, sticky bar floors and hot sexy showers, eavesdropping cooks and well-meaning friends, Irish whiskey, and a young man who doesn’t understand the word no.
“You’re changing the schedule again?”
The voice startled Eli and he struggled to keep hold of his pencil. He hadn’t expected Asa for another half hour or so. The younger man was light on his feet. That he could sneak up on Eli was testament to just how deep in his own mind Eli often was. And what pissed him off most? His thoughts weren’t of Thad and all he’d lost. No, his thoughts were of Asa. His thoughts and his fantasies centered around Asa. Cocky and quiet. Contradictions from head to toe. It drove Eli nuts.
“I am,” Eli confirmed. “We’re going to be short-handed tomorrow night. We need you.”
“So you automatically assume I can work the late shift and close? Again?”
Eli gritted his teeth. He forgot smart-aleck in his rundown on the little pain in his ass. “Yeah. I automatically assume everything.” He felt belligerent, sounded belligerent, but when it came to Asa, Eli couldn’t seem to control his reactions to the man. “You’ve been closing for the past couple of weeks. Now you’ve got a problem with it?”
The tension in the small room jumped a few degrees but leveled off again just as quickly.
“Nope. I’m good. I don’t have plans and don’t have class until noon the next day.”
Asa was standing so close—right up against the back of Eli’s chair. He was leaning over Eli’s shoulder and his breath fanned Eli’s neck with each exhale. Tension coiled in Eli’s shoulders until he bolted up and out the office door. The late afternoon bar crowd was small. Things wouldn’t pick up for another few hours and he huffed out a frustrated breath. What he wouldn’t give for wall-to-wall cowboys, ranch hands, business men and college students. At least then he’d have a hell of a lot more to do that didn’t include having to escape Asa’s all too interested blue-eyed stare.
“Why do you avoid me?” Asa asked, close on Eli’s heels.
“I do nothing of the sort.”
“Bullshit,” Eli growled. He slipped behind the bar as fast as his booted feet would carry him, but damn if the punk wasn’t hot on his ass.
“See, you’re doin’ it now.” Asa’s tone was a little too cheerful for Eli’s taste. He was tired of clenching his jaw. He was tired of fighting the two things he wanted most: Asa…and Thad.
Only Thad was dead and Asa wasn’t. Only Thad had made Eli promise to keep living, to fall in love again.
And only Asa had stirred any kind of feelings in Eli since. Only Asa made him want to start doing more than simply getting up in the morning and going to sleep at night.
“I think it’s ’cause you like me,” Asa teased.
“I think you should get to work.”
“I think you want me.”
Inwardly, Eli nodded at Asa’s jab. The waiter had no idea just how much Eli wanted him. “I think you need to shut up or find another job.”
“I think you just need to know I want you too.”
Eli whipped around. “I’m warning you.” His heard the low, dangerous tone of his voice. He hadn’t gotten so worked up since… He shook his head. He wasn’t going to think about that night. “Get to work. That’s all I want. You.” He pointed at Asa. “Work.” He jerked his thumb toward the bar.
When he pushed past the stunned and no-longer-smiling man, he hoped he wouldn’t have to get into this again. His fantasies and dreams of Asa needed to stay private. They were keeping him sane, as strange as that was for him to understand. But he didn’t need anyone knowing about them, especially Asa. It was bad enough he felt he was cheating on Thad, even though finding someone else was Thad’s deathbed wish. Damn dead man. Eli would love to wrap his hands around Thad’s shoulders and shake him. He’d love to beg him to explain why he wanted Eli to keep on living. There wasn’t a day that had gone by since Thad’s death that Eli hadn’t wanted to die too.
He shut himself back in the office and picked up his pencil. He sent it flying across the room and watched it bounce off the wall and clatter on the wooden floor.
Asa could never know how Eli felt about him.
Eli had no interest or intention of fulfilling his promise to Thad, no matter the tug Asa had on Eli.
“Asa, will you grab the last of the tumblers off that back table?”
Those were the only words Eli had spoken to him all night since he’d stormed off to the office. Anytime Asa needed anything from Eli, he asked and the deed was done without a sound, gesture, or grimace. Nothing. What he wouldn’t give to take back whatever he’d done or said to send Eli over the edge. He didn’t care much for the chasm that grew between them as the night wore on. That hadn’t been his intention at all with his teasing. He’d only hoped to get Eli to smile or laugh, something that would crack the stony facade he always seemed to put up.
“Sure, boss,” he said lightly.
“Make sure to wipe it down too. Those yahoos were back there for several hours tonight.”
“Got it.” Did the man not think Asa knew how to do the job? And what the hell was up with scheduling them together the last few nights? Asa didn’t have an issue closing the bar with Eli—he just wasn’t sure why he was suddenly the chosen one. A small smile stretched his lips. It wasn’t the first and it wouldn’t be the last time he’d wonder if Eli returned his feelings. He didn’t know what was up with Eli and why he held everyone—especially Asa—at arm’s length, but Asa wasn’t planning on giving up either. He wanted Eli, even if he was grumpy most of the time. There was something riding him, something keeping him from getting close to anyone other than Malachi, the other bar owner, and Asa wished he knew what it was.
He grabbed the glasses from the table and made sure to wipe down the surface. Twice. The second time in a big show of effort so Eli wouldn’t have reason to question whether or not he’d done what he was told. The floor around the chairs was sticky and Asa didn’t want to know why, shuddering at the possibilities. Anything from sodas to spunk. All kinds of things took place in the back of a bar where no one could see unless they were right up on you.
“Everything all right?” Eli asked when Asa set the glasses on the bar top.
“Sure. Why wouldn’t it be?”
Asa shrugged. “Okay.” He headed for the back and returned with the mop bucket. Eli didn’t say anything else, but Asa knew if he turned his head, he’d find Eli staring a hole in his back. The soapy water in the bucket was clean to start with, but as the mopping concluded some minutes later, it was nothing but a dingy gray. This and the bathrooms were the parts of closing he could do without. He’d rather be in the kitchen washing a mountain of dishes than cleaning a bar bathroom.
“You ’bout done?”
Asa turned. Eli was half sitting, half leaning against one of the stools with his arms crossed over his chest, one booted foot hanging by the heel on a low rung. Eli’s hat sat low on his forehead and Asa nearly came in his jeans. Eli was the hottest man he’d ever wanted, and he’d wanted many men. He could admit to having been a slut—though a very safe slut when he first came out a few years ago—wanting to taste and touch and lick every gay cowboy he could get his greedy hands on. He could top or bottom, but what he really loved was a man’s arms tight around him, a rough whispered Southern drawl, a bit of facial scruff and a gruff voice. Give him all that and he was putty. Eli fit the bill perfectly.
“Yeah. Just gotta dump the water and I’ll be ready.”
“I gave you tomorrow night off.”
Asa whipped his head around. “What? Why? I don’t need it.” Eli was pulling even further away. Shit. The boss man was going to drive him completely insane.
Eli shrugged and tipped his hat back. “We don’t need you.”
“We? Or you?”
“Boy, I’m telling you now, you don’t want to go there.”
“Why not? Afraid of me?”
“Turn that question around.”
Asa scoffed. “You don’t scare me, Eli, and the all business all the time boss routine isn’t going to work.”
“I should scare you.”
“You scare yourself and you’re scared of me.”
“You’re a kid and my decision is based on nothing more than we are fully staffed tomorrow night.”
“You weren’t earlier.” Asa called Eli’s bluff.
“We are now.” Eli was nothing, if not stubborn.
“You can try to get rid of me all you want, but I’m not going anywhere.”
“I can fire you.”
“True. But you can’t keep me from coming back as a customer.”
Eli’s cheek twitched. Irritation. Asa had become inordinately good at pushing Eli’s buttons. It hadn’t been on purpose at first, but for weeks now, Eli had made it way too easy. Now Asa didn’t even have to try to worm his way under Eli’s skin.
“Just take the night off. Go out with friends. Have a good time. We’ll see you on your next shift.”
“What’s with all the ‘we’ and ‘we’ll’ crap? Don’t you mean you? You will see me on my next shift?”
“I’ll see you, but others will be here as well. Don’t take everything quite so personal. Nothing is meant by anything.”
“You’re kidding yourself, Eli. You know it and I know it. Every bit of it is personal. This attraction between us is very personal.”
Make sure to pick up your copy today!
IT’S HERE and I’m so excited!
I had a wonderful time when I was in San Antonio earlier this year and though I had the idea for the story long before my visit, being there was more than enough to really get me all kinds of giddy to work more on this series.
There are going to be four books coming out over the next 6-7 months having to do with Lone Star Sweets. Each one will deal with it’s own issues and heros and heroines, but they will also build on one another and the characters will intertwine. I hope you’ll like The Cupcake Cowboy. However, whether you do or not, I would appreciate any reviews you’d like to leave on bookseller sites.
My name is Jackson and I am The Cupcake Cowboy. I own and operate a cupcake truck in downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Born and raised on a cattle ranch a few miles outside San Antonio, I can rope, tie, ride, drive, and wrangle with the best of ‘em. It’s what my father does and what his father did before him. It’s what I was supposed to do too, only… I didn’t want it.
One thing you should know up front, is that I’m more stubborn than a mule and when I get something in my head, I don’t let go until I get it done.
You see, when I realized my little sister had a way off the ranch by way of making people happy with our grandma’s sticky buns, well, I figured I could learn a thing or two about food myself. I liked eating and I knew my way around cooking meals so, how hard could baking be?
I soon found out.
I wasn’t cut out for sticky buns. In fact, I was a downright disaster at it. Sam suggested I go to culinary school, see what I might be good at. Turns out it was cakes and cupcakes.
Culinary school is also where I met Cass. She taught a few of my pastry classes and honestly, I wouldn’t have cared what she taught so long as I got to be around her. I was head over heels the second she smiled. Her enthusiasm was a sight to behold and it drew me in like a moth to a flame.
You’ll like her. Cass is a good woman, smart as a whip, knows what she’s talking about, and I didn’t want to listen. Remember? More stubborn than a mule… She deserves a second chance, in more ways than one.
That’s where this book begins. So, take a load off and grab a cool drink. You’re gonna need it.
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes and Noble
I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend.
It’s Halloween. And I’m being a bit of a scrooge, I’m afraid. I have candy, which my daughter made me buy (yes, made. have YOU ever dealt with a teenage girl? if so, you know what i’m talking about…). But, I’m not feeling much in the answer the door, hand out candy, answer the door, hand out candy… Rinse, and repeat.
Told ya, Scrooge.
I do, on the other hand, have something I am willing to share with you. A new release. Some of you know about it. Some of you don’t. Either way, here’s the blurb, the cover, an excerpt, and buy links…
Once Brax traded in his suit and law degree for part ownership in his best friend’s tattoo parlor, Love and Tattoos, he never looked back. Inked from head to toe, full of business smarts, and an affinity for classical music and hard sex, he’s got life right where he wants it.
Until the woman he can’t stop craving comes home. She’s full of luscious curves, looks a little unsure of herself, and has taken to acting a little odd around him. Brax can’t help but wonder why.
The corporate advertising firm in Philadelphia that Annie buttoned up her carefree personality for has laid her off. Now, back in North Carolina, she’s trying to find her sparks again. Her career is changing direction, her sex life is nearly dead, and the one thing worth having in the midst of it all is supposedly off limits.
Brax’s cockiness and Annie’s own desire to for the tattoo artist, dares her to believe he might know her better than she thinks he does. And when he promises that he can help her find what’s missing in her life, she agrees to his little after-hours game.
The challenge he lays out comes with a few strings, the suggestion of stripping, confessions, and the temptation of ink. But, they’ve never been that close, so how could she possibly lose?
“You really should’ve let me take you back to my place tonight.” Brax leaned heavily on the refrigerator door in their closet sized break room. Not the walk-in size either. No, this was nothing more than a bi-fold closet with a fridge, a microwave, and a set of free standing cabinets
“There’s nothing to eat in here.”
“Nothing at all?” she asked, peering under his arm.
Annie backed up and opened the cabinet doors “Nothing in here, either. This is sad. Who’s the designated stock person in the shop?”
“We don’t have one.” He slammed the refrigerator shut and braced his back against it. “Jamie’s is closed too.”
“Wait.” Annie bounced on the balls of her feet and clapped her hands together in rapid succession. “Do we have more water bottles?”
“Yes.” Brax’s tone was wary at best. Annie understood. She did seem a little too excited.
“Grab a couple. Do you know how to pick a lock?”
“Breaking and entering? Okay. Who are you and what have you done with my staid and stand-offish Annie?”
“Yep. Joe’s desk.” Annie fairly skipped into the office. “Joe always keeps a package of cookies in the back of the bottom draw.” She stopped and faced him. “What do you mean staid and stand-offish? I have not been that way with you tonight.”
“Not since you had to get naked. And what do you mean by Joe always keeps cookies in his desk drawer? I’ve never seen them.”
“I know. They’re behind the hanging files. He about killed me the first time I found them.”
“What if he ate them all?”
Annie shook her head. “He never does that. He always makes sure there’s a full package.”
“Okay.” Brax wagged his finger in her face, but pulled it back when she made to bite it. “If we get in trouble for it…”
“I know. I know. I’ll blame it on you.” She barely made it out of swatting range.
She had her shirt and panties back on and he had his pants on and for some reason they hadn’t left. He hadn’t pushed about taking her to his place and she hadn’t invited him to hers. It was fun in the tattoo shop in the middle of the night. It was familiar, but not. It was like being somewhere they shouldn’t be, but not for any reason she could think of.
He knelt on the floor at her feet, with two metal files; one that looked like a pick, and one that looked like it had a flat blade at the end. She wasn’t paying as much attention to the illegal activity of lock picking as she was to the man committing the act. She stared to her heart’s content at his body. “Did Joe do the wings on your shoulders?” she asked, tracing the edges with her fingertips. He was warm to the touch and small freckles dotted his skin.
One wing was white, spread over his right shoulder. The other was black with red tips, spread over his left shoulder. Annie had admired them all night, since he first took his shirt off, she’d just been distracted by other pieces of his ink, other parts of him.
His hands stilled and he lowered his head to let her explore. Ink stood out and he had so much of it. He wasn’t afraid to be who he was. He never had been. His bosses told him to keep his tattoos covered, her bosses never had that chance. She never let her guard down long enough for them to see her. Maybe that had been a good thing. Maybe not.
“They’re beautiful. Who designed them?”
“I did. Joe did the ink.”
Annie opened her palm over the black wing and spread her fingers, the ends just touching the edge of the red tips. Her hand looked small and fragile against the dark shading. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I hadn’t either. Angel’s wings didn’t seem to fit me. I looked through hundreds of drawings and images and photos of other tattoos. When I couldn’t find what I wanted, I drew it. Took me several weeks to get it right. Good, and evil.”
“Which side were you listening to tonight?”
“They were in agreement?”
Brax looked up and captured her gaze. “The good side said go with my heart. The evil side said go with my baser instincts. I did both.”
If she could’ve melted into the floor, she would have. Brax would be her undoing before the sun rose. “Cookies,” she said. “My evil side is saying cookies.”
Brax shook his head. “My evil side is saying forget the cookies and eat the girl.”
“After cookies,” she promised.
“After cookies,” he grudgingly repeated.
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance eBooks
If you’ve picked it up already, thank you. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll be tempted enough to do so… I would appreciate any reviews you care to leave.
The Cupcake Cowboy will be available in November… There’s a Facebook page that has been created for the series. If you haven’t yet, please give it a Like!
And, if you are in the Charlotte, NC area, author Selena Blake and I will be meeting up and would love it if you could join us:
And one more thing… Starting tomorrow, I will be participating in the following blog hop! It’s going to be loads of fun…