Thursday, 30 October 2014

Red Rex: Blood Echoes by Calinda B

Blurbage:
“Your true name is Red Rex. The baddest of badasses, an alpha warrior beyond compare…” Or, at least, that’s what he’s been told.  Eighteen year old Gaige Dupond has his life all mapped out. Lose his virginity to Emily. Get married. Become a pro soccer player and travel the world.  His father, a pure-bred Deltarc from another planet, whose race is growing extinct on planet Earth, has other plans—either confirm that he truly takes after his warrior father, and not his dearly departed empath mother, or snuff out his existence.  All plans go awry, however, when the dangerous red darkness in Gaige is awakened like a beam of hell flickering from his right eye. Pursued by a vicious Deltarc bounty hunter, Deltarc tracking hounds and his father’s wicked minions, he loses his home, his life, all that he holds dear in pursuit of the truth. In his quest to find his mother, victim to a corrupt cryopreservation project in outer space, and right the wrongs inflicted on him, he finds something far darker—his own sinister motivations and the need to feed on something other than human food. His only companion, a lab rat refugee named Sojourn, Gaige knows he’ll never be loved—not in the way he’d always envisioned. Will he find the revenge he’s seeking, or will he become an evil replica of his father? That’s the last thing he’d ever wish on himself, but it may be his only option for survival. 
Excerpt: The babe he now knew as Susan slowly sauntered toward Gaige. “Mm mm mmm,” she said, her eyes making a lazy sweep of his body. “Where do you want to do this?”
Gaige cocked his head, his erection straining against his filthy jeans. “Seems a little public here. What do you have in mind?”
“Come with me.” Susan grabbed for his hand.
The skin contact stung, sending a searing shock up his arm.  His right eye began to glow like a light switch had been flipped inside.
You’re supposed to do this when they’re asleep, Red Rex.
“It’s Gaige. Gaige.”
I hear your thoughts, his rat, Sojourn, said.
Susan stilled. “What did you say?”
“The name’s Gaige. I thought you might want to know who you’re going to fuck.” Gaige grinned at her, feeling very turned on.
Susan turned to him. “Whoa, I must be drunker than I thought. I’m seeing things. Your eye’s all red, like a holiday light bulb.” She snickered, stumbled and caught her balance, grabbing Gaige’s arm. “Oh my.” She stroked his biceps. “Aren’t you solid? This will be fun.”
He closed his eyes as the red darkness gathered from her touch.
She snagged his hand and pulled him down the street.
You’re supposed to do this when they’re asleep, the rat repeated. Don’t you ever listen? In the delta or theta, not alpha or beta.
“Shut up, rat, you’re messing with my head.”
I can hear your thoughts, stupid human.
“What did you say?” She turned again, blinking and squinting. “Yep, pretty fucked up. Now you’re glowing red all over.” She shrugged and led him into a dark dirt parking lot—the kind used during day hours and abandoned at night. “Here we are. My favorite place to fuck.” She backed up to the side of a brick building, and yanked up her skirt. Next she took his hand and guided it between her legs.
No panties. Gaige, feeling like a kid in a candy store, groaned, feeling her slippery heat. The red in him flared like shooting flames.
Susan laughed. “I really shouldn’t have eaten that E-bomb.”
“You took a happy pill?” Gaige said. I wonder what that will do to her brain waves. Gaige had never done drugs in his life but the effect of her ecstasy high made his erection stiffen to the point of pain.
“Just one teensy little tab, no big deal. And right now you look like a big red fuckable male and I am very horny. Feel.” She spread her thighs wide.
He plunged a finger inside her and moaned.
I’m telling you. She needs to be asleep.
“Shut up, rat.”
She frowned and blinked. “Did you call me a rat?”
“Uh, no. Sorry. Shut up, you’re all that. All that juicy. That’s what I said. Just feel what I’m doing to you, baby.”
Author Bio:
The Fun Part: Calinda B was told early on that she should be a writer. She heard frequent praise for her writing, as well as her sense of humor. Scoffing at such admonitions and praise, she went on to pursue her life of adventure, chock full of the things that make up a well-rounded adventurous life: music (yup, she was a singer in a rock and roll band), dance (even performed hip hop in Russia), rock climbing (ever hung from a rock wall a few stories up? Yikes!), fire walking (taught high-ranking Moscow fire officials how to walk the coals), kayaking, scuba diving (she's in love with sharks), travel, and falling in love again and again.
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two cats, she has now chosen to put fingers to keyboard and write - when she's not in pursuit of another adventure!
The Daily Grind: College educated and life-experienced, Calinda B has worked in the world of computers and technology for a long time. Before that she worked in the world of health and fitness, as well as art. Throughout her career she has relied on her writing abilities to write articles, ad copy and web content.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Release Day Blitz I Will Find You by Allie K. Adams



Blurb:

He abducts women who look like her and takes them as his bride. With each disappointment, he begins again.

A young female’s mutilated body is discovered outside the Newfoundland religious compound in Billings, dressed in Amish clothing. For Montana SBI Homicide Detective Hannah Grace, it’s unnerving how she and the victim bear more than a strong resemblance. She teams up with detective-in-charge and partner, Sean Murphy, to catch the killer before he strikes again. When the investigation leads them to a second body, the same features and clothing as the first, Hannah is shaken to the core and begins to make a terrifying connection—she may know the killer.

A gruesome discovery and a third victim leads them back to Newfoundland, where the monster she’s been hiding from for ten years is waiting to claim Hannah as his bride. After all, she’s the one he’s wanted all along.

And she’s the only one who can stop him.


Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/Will-Find-You-Murph-Grace-ebook/dp/B00NLLZFAA

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/476667

Author Bio:
Allie K. Adams is the USA Today bestselling author of several award-winning stories. An active member of the search and rescue, as well as previously served as a reserve deputy, Allie has firsthand experience in most of the dangers she writes about. Known for her highly erotic, deeply intense suspense romances, she can be found most days in front of her computer, saving the world one sizzling story at a time. She grew up in Seattle and now currently lives in southwest Montana with her husband, two kids, and two fluff ball dogs.

She loves to hear from readers and encourages them to reach out to her through her website at www.alliekadams.com.



Monday, 27 October 2014

Teaser Tuesday! Countdown to Eggnog Kisses



Here's another teaser while you wait for this bad boy to be released!


“Um, Sean?”  She blinked.  A closer inspection of the buildings showed the peeling paint and broken windows.
Reese jumped out of the truck, opened the barn doors, and closed them again once he'd driven in.  Once she’d locked the doors, she came back for her backpack.
“This isn’t it, I take it?”  Kaley frowned.
Sean shook his head.  “We’ll have to walk the rest of the way in.”  He reached for the extra cross stone he had in his pocket.
“I can’t believe there aren’t any plows that would come do this road.  Have your parents talked to anyone about this?”
“You can see the road?”  Reese gawked and elbowed Sean with a grin.
Kaley laughed.  “It’s not that snowed in.  But I wouldn’t want to get the truck stuck.”  She tightened the string at the top of her Sorrels and hooked her bag over her shoulder.  “How far is it to your parents’?”
“A half a mile, maybe a little more.”  Sean left the cross stone next to his and fell into step beside her.  She could see the path! She was one of the humans who could cross over.  Reese was grinning from ear to ear.
“There are a few things you should probably know about us before we get to the house,” started the younger sibling.
“Right.”  Sean blew a breath out of his nose.  “My parents are pretty old fashioned.”
“Oh?”  Kaley shrugged, perplexed by how nervous he looked.
Reese gave his arm a squeeze to reassure him.  “They don’t have power or energy.  They’re all about living on the land.”
“Really?”  Kaley was amazed that anyone she knew would have grown up that way.  It seemed surreal.
“Don’t worry, though.”  Sean was quick to reassure her.  “It’s not as bad as you think.”
She laughed.  “I didn’t think it sounded bad.  It might be nice to let things be basic for a bit.”  She stopped walking and frowned.  “Did you feel that?”
Sean managed to hold in a groan as they crossed the threshold into Quelondain and the world’s magic washed over him.
Reese’s breath hitched in her throat.  “By the moons, it’s been too long.”  She inhaled deeply and smiled.  “It’s good to be home.”
Sean nodded.  “Aye, it is.”  Suddenly excited, he took Kaley by the hand and started walking again.  She followed along beside him, smiling at his change of demeanor.
It didn’t take long for them to make it to their destination.
Corrals and pens dotted the area around it the two story house.  Behind the barn, a herd of tiny Black Angus cattle were eating their way through a pile of hay.  Mixed in among them were a few head of horses.
The door opened before they reached the top stairs.
“You made it!”
Kaley blinked at the slightly younger version of Sean.  They could have passed as twins.
“I’m Josh.  You must be Sean’s best kept secret.”
Sean groaned.  “Can we be mature, please?  Kaley, this is Josh, Josh, this is Kaley.”
“Uncle Sean! Aunty Reese!”  A tiny girl with a mess of black hair and sparkling green eyes flew off the top step and into Sean’s arms.
He laughed and hugged her tightly.  “Hello, Sweetling.  You’ve grown!”
“I did!”  She wiggled out of his arms and twirled around for his benefit.  “See?”
“I do see!”
“And guess what else, Uncle Sean!”
He grinned.  “What?”
“Look what I can do now!”
Kaley’s hands flew to her mouth as the young girl’s form shimmered and reappeared as a cheetah cub.
Sean, Reese, and Josh turned to look at Kaley.
“Uncle Sean? Did I do something wrong?”  Sophie had turned back into a girl.
He turned and scooped the child in his arms.  “Not at all, Sweetling.  That’s fantastic.”  He kissed her forehead.  “Why don’t you go in and let Granny know we’re here.”
Sophie ran inside with a grin.  “Granny!”
Sean took a step toward Kaley.  “Sweets?”
Her wide eyes met his.
“I, um…”  He took a deep breath.  “I should also tell you that my family is, um, different.  We can shift.”  He tilted his head to the side, trying to gauge how she was taking this news.
“You… You put something in my coffee this morning!”  Kaley took a few steps back and held her hands out when he tried to follow.
“What?  No!  By the moons, Kaley, I swear I didn’t.  Look at me.  I’m me.  The same me I’ve always been.  I’ve never lied to you.  I just omitted a few details.”
Josh cleared his throat.  “I’ll just let you two talk this through.  It was nice to meet you, Kaley.”  With that, he turned on his heels, his form shimmering until a cheetah glanced back at them.  It blinked and trotted through the door Sophie had left open.
“Josh, you ass!”  Sean growled low in his throat.
“Kaley, you need to take a breath.”  Reese was taking tentative steps towards her, her hands up to show she meant no harm.
“Kaley, Sweets.  Please.  Just come inside and we’ll get you a drink.”
Kaley shook her head.  “I want to go home.”  She turned back the way they had come.
Sean’s heart sank.  “Alright.”
“Sean!”  Reese yanked him around.  “Just like that?”
He looked at the two cross stones in his hand and nodded.  “Just like that.”  He handed her his pack.  “Tell mom I’ll be back in an hour.”
“It’s a seven hour round trip,” she scoffed.
“Do you really think she wants to ride with me in a truck all the way home?” he yelled at his sister.
“Don’t yell at me! You should have told her before you brought her!”
“I wouldn’t have brought her anyway! You’re the drunk who sent a bluebird telling mom I was bringing her!”
“SEAN!”  Kaley’s scream resonated through the clearing.  He shifted and bounded through the woods in the direction she had gone.
He found her standing stiff as she eyed a jaink.  The small wolf-like animal stared at her calmly.  Without pausing, he launched himself at the smaller creature.  The jaink yelped at the sight of the cheetah and scurried into the underbrush.  Sean turned back toward Kaley, his cat eyes blinking.  Did he shift in front of her?  Did he hide in the woods to do it?
“Sean?”  Her question was just a whisper.
He nodded and lay on his side to seem as gentle as possible.
“I… what was that?”
Unable to talk in his cat form, he shifted back to his human self.  He stayed sitting in the snow and looked up at her
“It was a jaink.  They’re distant cousins to the wolf.  If you come across another one, make sure you don’t look in its eyes.  It can hypnotize you so that you won’t fight back.”
She nodded.
“Let’s get you home.  You’ll have to put up with me for a half hour until I can get you to the bus stop.”
She swallowed hard and started walking down the path again.


EGGNOG KISSES RELEASES DECEMBER 2nd!

Looks Like Trouble to Me by Calinda B

Blurb: "Last name's Savage -- it means wild and uncontrolled," Jace, a party boy, yacht builder and skilled photographer with a quicksilver temper, tells the pretty waitress at Chica Rios. He's desperate to get laid, but there's something in the way of his driving, overactive libido and the girl standing before him - trouble...big trouble, and a whole lot of it, from the trustifarian prick who works by his side, to his messed up twin sister, to the secret hiding at his house.  He sets out to woo Zoé Dubois, keeping her away from his trouble at home, encouraging her to let go of her inhibitions and live "Savage style," riding with him on the back of his motorcycle, exploring the great outdoors in a variety of oh, so delectable and naughty ways.  He ends up with way more than he bargained for. He uses his sexual experience to teach Zoé how to surrender, and his strong will and single minded focus to get his way with her. But it turns out she's the kind of woman who demands the truth...and that's just not the way he rolls. She leverages his love for her to get him to let her into his troubled world and tender heart - something he's stubbornly determined to protect. Their passionate, erotic, romantic connection keeps them bound together while the trouble he brings threatens to tear them apart at every turn.  Mature content for an audience of 18+. The first in a two part series.
Excerpt: “Sorry you had to wait so long,” Zoé said with a shrug. She set the stout in front of Jace.
“Didn’t mind a bit,” he said. “I enjoyed watching you work. You’re efficient, fast, and friendly.” He held up his dark brew to her.
She lifted hers, clinked his, and sipped her ale.
“And sexy as hell,” he said, gazing over the top of his glass at her, his eyes dark.
She felt another flush creep up her neck and cheeks. “What are we toasting?”
“First encounters. The thrill of discovery. I love to explore new things.”
Another rush of pleasure flooded her insides. “I’ll drink to that.” She took another swallow. “You seem to have an effect on me,” she said courageously. Stop it. You’ll get yourself in trouble.
“Is it a good effect?” he asked.
“Maybe,” she stated simply, fiddling with her fingernails, all good sense suddenly hijacked from her head.
“Are you wet for me?”
“What?” She practically spit out her beer. Wild jungle drums and dancing heathens now accompanied the ache between her legs. “You’re bold,” she replied, feeling ripped apart.
“Are you?” His green-eyed gaze pushed into her. “Wet, that is?”
“Guess that’s on a need to know basis,” she said, feigning a coolness she did not feel.
“I need to know. Because I’ve been sitting here with a hard-on for you for two hours.”
Her entire body surged with heat. “Jesus, who gave you the keys to the bulldozer?”
He chuckled and licked his lips. “Maybe it was you.”
“I don’t think so.” She pressed the cool glass against her cheeks. “It’s hot in here.”
He drained his glass, setting it on the table with satisfaction. “Finish up and let’s head outside where it’s cooler.”
“I don’t think that’s going to help,” she whispered.
Links:
AUthor Bio:
The Fun Part: Calinda B was told early on that she should be a writer. She heard frequent praise for her writing, as well as her sense of humor. Scoffing at such admonitions and praise, she went on to pursue her life of adventure, chock full of the things that make up a well-rounded adventurous life: music (yup, she was a singer in a rock and roll band), dance (even performed hip hop in Russia), rock climbing (ever hung from a rock wall a few stories up? Yikes!), fire walking (taught high-ranking Moscow fire officials how to walk the coals), kayaking, scuba diving (she's in love with sharks), travel, and falling in love again and again.
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two cats, she has now chosen to put fingers to keyboard and write - when she's not in pursuit of another adventure!
The Daily Grind: College educated and life-experienced, Calinda B has worked in the world of computers and technology for a long time. Before that she worked in the world of health and fitness, as well as art. Throughout her career she has relied on her writing abilities to write articles, ad copy and web content.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

For Luca release day!!


BLURB
Betrayal is difficult to overcome when the trust is gone.
Luca did everything for Fallon. But as the underboss of the Chicago Syndicate, he has an entire organization depending on him, and she is a weakness he can no longer afford.
When Fallon’s life continues to unravel, she will need Luca more than ever, but can she move beyond all the lies and deceit?
The pull of love still ties them together, but their secrets have driven them apart. Even after everything that’s happened, Fallon owns Luca’s heart, but the Chicago Syndicate owns his life. 
How can he be with the woman he loves yet still remain loyal to an organization that lives by its own rules, above any law? It’s a choice he can’t afford to make, and when nothing is as it seems, the ultimate decision may mean life or death for Luca.

A romantic suspense.

From Amazon Bestselling Author of For Fallon
Novel Grounds Semi Annual Literary Awards 2014 winner of Best Breakout Novel For Fallon (Chicago Syndicate, #1)

EXCERPT

That evening, James and Salvatore – my Consigliere - meet Adriano and me at my penthouse where the doctor stitches us up and provides us with some pain medicine.
As we stand around my black granite-top kitchen island, I look at their weary faces.
James starts. “Any ideas who did this?”
Adriano answers as he twists his golden lighter between his fingers, “Leggia maybe? We should check with Biagio,”
“I’ll set up a meet with Biagio,” Salvatore offers while sliding onto the barstool.
James looks me in the eye. “I don’t like this. This is the first time our headquarters has been targeted. It could’ve been Leggia’s doing, but I have my doubts.”
“So do I,” I agree.
“I want you two to get some rest for a couple of days,” James orders and points to Adriano and me. “And we don’t meet in public for a couple of weeks. Capito?” Understand?
We nod and part. Everyone back to their own life.
James will be welcomed by his wife, Alessa. Salvatore’s Julia waits for him. Adriano will be happy with a whore. And I’m alone. Without her.
As much as I want to, I can’t refrain from reaching out, so I text and call her a few times during the weekend, but not one word from Fallon.



About Author Soraya Naomi

I was born in South America in 1984 and raised in Europe where I presently reside with my fiancé.
I read many genres but favor intense, dark, seductive, and provocative novels where the male character loves fiercely, without remorse or boundaries. I also adore forbidden love tales and have an odd fascination with kidnapping romances. No, I don't secretly want to be kidnapped, though!
I have a passionate obsession with the written word and indulge in chocolate pastries much too often.
My debut novel For Fallon (Chicago Syndicate, #1) was released on July 26, 2014. I’m honored that For Fallon won “Best Breakout Novel 2014” in the Novel Grounds Semi Annual Literary Awards.
For more information about the novel and author:

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Giveaway! Where to Belong by W J Smith


Where to Belong

Madison is an ex-con artist who has now lived by the rules for eight years following the tragic death of her fiance. She has made a new life for herself in Chicago despite the challenges of honest work. Her world flips upside-down once again when she runs into her best friend that she left behind in a desperate attempt to escape the dangerous lifestyle they were leading, only to find out he is in deeper than she could have ever imagined. They are forced to team up with the hope to shield one another while still dealing with the abrupt separation that left them both secretly heartbroken. When not only her way of life, but also the life of her dearest friend is threatened by an old associate, will it be enough for her to continue as a law abiding citizen, or will she be forced back into the line of work that claimed the love of her life?


My review:
First of all I have to say, I love the cover to this book. The lit city overlooking the river... it's beautiful. I can imagine myself on this side of it, listening to the hustle and bustle as it makes its way over the water. 
The story behind that cover? Just as amazing. 'Where to Belong' is a heart wrenching and heart warming story about a woman who, after losing everything dear to her, can't seem to find where or who she should be. Madison is a great character. I love the way she feels she doesn't fit in when really, to those around her, she does. Skyler? Well, throw me in that river to cool me off! You might be starting to notice I have a thing for dark, brooding, protective men that still have enough sense to let their women act as individuals. *sigh* I just found another one. And Chase... well, every book needs that character that makes you laugh out loud. I mean, who doesn't love bursting out laughing when you're in the doctor's office or on the bus? Those sideways glances and raised eyebrows are enough to set anyone off again.
'Where to Belong' is very well written. It is packed with surprises, emotions, and situations that will keep you reading so you can find out what happens. My ultimate favourite part in this story involves the river. I can't tell you about it because it will give spoilers, but I remember when I finished the scene all I could think was, 'holy crap! I can't believe Skyler planned that!'... and off I went to finish reading because I HAD to know if his plan had worked.
This story line could fit under a number of genres... mystery, thriller, romance. If you're a fan of any of those, you're sure to enjoy this novel.
I'm giving 'Where to Belong' five out of five stars and I can't wait to see what Miss Smith's next novel will be.

Memorable part:
The blaring movie and the flashing of the TV screen faded into the background. It was just the two of them. The world and its unceasing problems left them alone for a short time. That was until Chase came bursting onto the scene positively glowing from his night out.

"Honey, I'm home," he called as he swung the door open, no other warning whatsoever of his arrival. "Sweet mother of Neptune!" he cried when he realized his poor timing.


Excerpt: The elevator doors were beginning to close when she turned the corner.  She put on an extra burst of speed and lunged for them, just barely catching them before they could meet.  She went to the buttons and repeatedly mashed the one that would shut out her pursuer.  The doors finally started to respond.  She pressed against the far wall of the elevator and held her breath as the sluggish doors began to merge.  Her escape was within reach.  But then a hand caught the doors and they slid open once again.

She regretted dropping the scissors when she had left his apartment.  Not that she would use them on him, but maybe they would have deterred him.  Skyler rushed into the elevator and stared at her.  His expression was hard to read, possibly anger or fear.  Either way she didn't hesitate to fight against him.
The doors started to close again, and she let out a scream.  Skyler grabbed hold of her and covered her mouth, pulling her to him in an unyielding grasp.  He was shushing her and hit the stop button on the elevator panel.  The enclosure came to an abrupt halt.
"Be still," he growled.  "I'm trying to help you."
Madison bit the hand he held over her mouth and jabbed her elbow into his hard stomach.  "I was doing just fine without you!"
He wrestled with her and pinned her arms.  "I know," he puffed as she continued to fight against him. "I'm sorry."
She only slowed when the pain in her belly caused her focus to blur.  Her breath escaped her, and she lost her footing.  Skyler's hold lessened at her hesitation and she pushed away from him.  She didn't get far.  She had nowhere to turn.  He dragged her back to him and pulled something from his pocket, sticking her in the arm.
Madison knew what it was without seeing it.  He had dosed her again.  She let out a frustrated cry and fought against him as long as her wilting energy would allow.  He muttered apologies and slowly sank to the floor with her.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Eggnog Kisses (Christmas in Quelondain)

So, with ten days to go until the big cover reveal, I thought I'd put up a teaser from Eggnog Kisses. :D Sorry, no early cover reveal. lol Here you are, Sweetlings. <3 Enjoy!


She managed to get into her apartment while keeping a curious JJ from escaping.  The fluffy white cat purred and rubbed himself against her ankles.

“Hey, bud.  Did you miss me?”  Kaley went to the cupboard and pulled out a few Whiskas treats for him.  She looked around her small apartment and suddenly, she didn’t want to be there alone.  “I’ll be right back.”

She didn’t bother putting on shoes before closing her door behind her.  Sean answered his door and smiled at the sight of her.

“What can I do for you, neighbor?”

“I…”  This was stupid.

 “So, what brings you over here?”

“I just…”  Kaley’s good mood vanished.

His smile softened.  “First Christmas since Gale left?”

She took a deep breath and blew it out of her nose.  “It’s stupid, I know.”

Sean shook his head.  “Not at all.  I know the feeling.  I wasn’t engaged, mind you, but my first holiday after my girlfriend left I was a wreck.  We’d been together four years.”

“I’m sorry.”  She looked at the ground.  “What happened?”

He cocked his head to the side.  “I was just about to have a rum and eggnog.  Want one?”

She was tempted to turn him down, but curiosity got the better of her.  “Sure.”

He held the door opened wider so she could get in and directed her to the couch.  “It was your typical breakup.  We were young and life had other plans for us.”

She watched as he mixed the drinks and brought them over.  “Thanks.”  She took a sip and he took a long swallow of his drink.  “Anyway, it wrecked me when she left.”

“What did you do?”

“I moved here.”  He smiled.

Kaley frowned.  “That worked?  It helped?”

“Not even a little bit.  The only thing that helps is time.”

She couldn’t help the depressed look that took over her face.  “Five years, eh?”

Sean laughed.  “It’s been that long, but it didn’t take that long.  I’ve had a few other girlfriends since, I just haven’t found anyone else I want to settle down with, that’s all.”  He raised an eyebrow at her glass.  “Want another one?”

“Please.”

“So where’s your party at tonight?”

“Mel’s boss is throwing a bash for their office. He rented the Rex Hall.”

“Cool.”

Kaley noticed him glancing at the clock on the wall.  “Do you have something to do?”  She turned toward the door as someone unlocked it from the outside and he stood.

“Sean!”  The dark haired woman dropped her duffle bag and ran into his open arms.  Kaley watched dumbfounded as he hugged her close.  He had a girlfriend.

“I was getting worried.”  He took her coat from her and hung it up.

“My bus was delayed.  There was a crash on the highway and we got caught behind all the traffic.  I don’t think it was too bad.  I mean, there were ambulances and stuff, but the cars looked to be in not bad shape when we were finally able to go by.”

“And you didn’t think to phone?”

She shrugged.  “Ooh! Are you having rum and eggnog without me?”  The woman finally turned her attention to Kaley.  “Since Sean has zero manners, I’m Reese, by the way.”

“Um, Kaley.”

“Let me guess.  He didn’t tell you I was coming?”  She took the drink Sean handed her and settled on the cough beside Kaley.  “And he says I’m forgetful.  You’re getting old, big brother.”

He scoffed.  “And you get more immature the more years you put behind you.”

“Mom’s going to flip when she hears you finally have a girlfriend.  It’s about time you got over that stupid bitch.”

“Reese!”

“Well, what?  By the moons, she was.  None of us could figure out what you saw in her.”

“You were sixteen when we split.  Don’t tell me you gave a shit.”

Reese pounded back her drink.  “Of course I cared.  How many big brothers do I have?”

Sean rolled his eyes.  “Four.”

“Right.  But you were always my favorite.”  She skipped back to her knee high leather boots, slipped them on, and shrugged on her coat.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m meeting Heather.”  She gave him a peck on the cheek.  “I have my key.  Don’t wait up.”

“Just remember I’m leaving at eight tomorrow morning.  With or without you.”

“Yeah, yeah.”  Reese grinned.  “I missed you.”

“I missed you too.  Brat.”

She closed the door with a wave at Kaley.

“She’s, uh… she’s one of those high energy people.”  Sean smiled and went to refill their drinks.

“No kidding.  I had no idea you had a sister.  Or three brothers for that matter.”

“What about you?”

Kaley shook her head.  “Only child.  Your mom and dad?”

“Both alive and running the farm.  You?”

“My parents died when I was fifteen.  Drunk driver.  I went to live with Mel and her folks.”

“But you don’t do Christmas with them?”

“They’re not around since they retired.  Mel gets on a flight tomorrow to join them in Mexico tomorrow morning.  They invite me every year, I just… Christmas needs snow.  You know?”

He grinned.  “I agree.”

Kaley found her gaze moving to his mouth.  He had a great smile.  Had they really been living next to each other for almost six years?  How had she never noticed?

“What?”

“Nothing.  I was just thinking that I can’t believe we’ve been neighbors all this time and we know nothing about each other.”

His smile softened.  “Yeah.  I guess that’s life.  Everyone’s too busy.”

She looked at her watch.  “Shit.  I have to go get ready.”

Sean stood and walked her to the door.

“So, you’re just home alone tonight?”  She looked up into his dark green eyes.

“Seems like it.”

“I was just thinking… Mel is bringing a date tonight and I’m going to be the third wheel.  Want to come along?”

“I don’t think…”

“Come on.  I’ll owe you one.  There’s this guy that works there that always gets drunk and hits on me.  You can pretend to be my boyfriend.”  Sweet mother of fuck.  Had she actually just suggested this?  She was thirty four years old for shit’s sakes.  Her face turned a deep shade of red.  “Sorry.  That’s so highschool.  I’m just going to leave before I make myself sound any more stupid.  Thanks for the drinks.”


Kaley rushed out of his apartment and back into hers.  Good god!  How many eggnogs had she had?