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Saturday, April 6, 2013
Passion without limit. Carnal hunger that knows no bounds.
On April 23, Book Three - Shameless Desire - of my Outlawed Realm series (erotic paranormal) for Samhain releases. Woot!
Here's the cover, blurb and an excerpt from Chapter One to give you a taste of what's to come. Enjoy! :)
Within Earth's five dimensions, nothing is as it seems...and desire is never far away.
In E4's jungle, Kuma was the Alpha werewolf, bent on revenge against the hated guards. Swept with them into the E1 dimension, now he prowls Seattle at night, stopping the thugs from abducting women for use as sex slaves in E4's Pleasure Palace.
On her way home from her nursing job, Gwen senses danger in the night's shadows - an instant before a stranger attacks. Clinging to consciousness, she watches the impossible, a wolf fighting him off...protecting her. She wakes in her own bed, convinced it must have been a dream until she sees Kuma in human form. Virile, intense. A man like no other.
Within his powerful embrace, Gwen experiences rapture she didn't believe existed. His unrestrained lust and burning need end her loneliness, though not the menace they face. The guards are a constant threat in their hunt for women and their determination to see Kuma dead. Together, he and Gwen must fight - for his life, her freedom, their future.
PRODUCT WARNINGS Out-of-this-world sex and a romance to die for. Features a hunk whose inner beast won't be tamed, and the woman who craves his most shameless desire.
The drizzle turned to a steady rain. Great.
Good sense and a crappy day in the ER told Gwen Lalani to quicken her pace, putting as much distance as she could between herself and the hospital. Although she’d handled her usual share of trauma these past days, what had happened last week continued to haunt her.
Behind the curtain that night, Gwen had expected to see a guy who was pretty messed up, given what the emergency personnel had said. Still, she had gaped at what was left of a man who’d been attacked either by someone who was a lunatic or in a drug frenzy. The victim’s face, hands and feet were gone, the ragged edges telling her someone had actually gnawed them off.
God. Gwen had seen a lot in the ER. However, the brutality of the attack shocked the shit out of her. Two of the new residents witnessed her reaction. Quick as could be, those guys were gossiping like schoolgirls, telling their peers and anyone who would listen that they’d been afraid she’d pass out. After all, she was a mere RN. No way could they expect her to react to blood and gore as a doctor or a guy would.
Uh-huh. Gwen knew exactly how males behaved. It had never been pretty.
In middle school, she’d been taller than most of the boys, which didn’t sit well with them, so they resorted to bullying. In high school, she wasn’t purebred enough for any ethnic group. Her Hawaiian, Hispanic, Caucasian and black ancestry made her the ultimate outcast. The few boys who’d asked her out wanted sex, not a relationship. No surprise, except they didn’t even try to sugarcoat their demands with the I-love-you lie.
At twenty-seven, she wasn’t finding her male coworkers any better.
She blew out a sigh, hating herself for letting them and the memory of that dead guy get to her…and for allowing that other man to see it. Pausing beneath one of the trees in the parking lot, she looked back without meaning to, half expecting him to be there still, watching her.
The spot where he’d been was empty. Rain shimmered in the halo of light.
A sense of loss, or was it disappointment, rolled through Gwen. For a stranger no less. She frowned at her ridiculous reaction but couldn’t stop from glancing to the left, the right, somehow still feeling his presence and male heat.
He was a hard man not to notice, even more difficult to forget.
From her brief glimpse of him, Gwen gauged his height to be six-three. He appeared to be in his early thirties, his body in superb physical condition, lean and muscular, his skin bronzed. Like a freaking Greek god.
Shivers of delight coursed through her at the thought of running her hands over the hard planes of his body, loitering on all the best parts, pressing her face into the hollow of his neck, smelling his skin and dark brown hair. He wore it combed back, the ends reaching his shoulders, no different from a pirate in a romance novel or a sheik from a Middle-Eastern country. So damn virile, no one would ever accuse him of being the boy next door.
A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. Her breath fogged in the increasingly chilly night even as the rest of her grew fevered. She recalled his strong, masculine features and beautiful eyes. So light they had to be gray, their color nearly silver in the twilight that surrounded him. Arresting. Arousing.
The same as his smile.
A smile like that could brighten a woman’s world on a dreary evening like this. It could thrill and comfort, the same as his big body and musky male scent. With his hands around her wrists, he’d settle down on top of her, his weight deliciously confining, their faces close enough for him to capture her mouth for a kiss.
He wouldn’t. Instead, he’d gaze at her while he stroked her palms with his thumbs. Tender foreplay to lull her into complacency. To prepare her for the wanton act to come. His cock would grow stiff between her legs. Her pussy would already be moist with her desire for him. He’d enter her slowly, recording her reaction as he stretched and filled her with his thick rod. He wouldn’t stop until their curls touched and she had no possibility of escape.
Not that she’d try.
She’d yield without hesitation, sheltering his body with hers, drowning in his lust.
Nice. And not at all unrealistic given the glimmer of desire she’d caught on his face. She wasn’t a beauty, nor was she girly, but for a moment, he’d seemed to want her.
He was surely a man who knew how to please a woman. Possibly several at once. What had he been doing here tonight? Where had he gone?
Like a damn fool, she continued to scan the lot for him. Moisture sparkled on the roofs and hoods of numerous vehicles. A blast of wind sent the rain slashing sideways. Jeez. The clammy cold drove away her fantasy’s comforting glow faster than his absence. Despite their momentary connection, she’d never see him again.
Time to get a grip and go home.
She darted through the lot, her teeth chattering and not only from the temperature. A sudden, inexplicable sense of dread gripped Gwen. Once more, she paused and glanced around. The area was empty of pedestrians, everyone else already inside the hospital or driving away. Leaving her alone. Unprotected. Vulnerable.
Right. In a few more seconds, the creepy theme from that old movie Halloween would play in her mind. Best to stop this idiotic nonsense. She was a big girl, could take care of herself and didn’t let shit worry her. Like the recent rash of missing women in the Seattle area, their bodies not yet found.
They were all young, petite, attractive. The news reports had likened their disappearances to when Ted Bundy lived here in the seventies and made the city his personal killing field, offing women without detection.
Headlights pierced the darkness, accentuating the rain. Gwen squinted at the brightness. For one wild moment, she wondered if its driver was the hot guy she’d seen earlier…or the unknown killer. Her pulse kicked up several notches. She imagined the maniac being so desperate for a victim he had settled on her, planning to force her inside his vehicle, taking her to God-knew-where to do God-knew-what.
Fearing the worst, she stepped back.
The car turned left and moved past, its occupants not bothering to glance her way before the vehicle disappeared into the night.
She wasn’t alone.
The thought startled Gwen even as she tried to dismiss it. The hairs on her arms rose up. Something was wrong.
What? Other than the obvious—that she couldn’t afford a car or to live in the suburbs.
Frowning, she gripped her pepper spray even harder and continued across the lot to the surrounding neighborhood, a combination of inner city and working class that had seen better times. Failed attempts at gentrification had resulted in islands of beautiful two- and-three-story historic homes surrounded by blight, trash, weeds.
She hurried past the first vacant lot as quickly as she could, telling herself tonight was no different from any other. No one was after her. She wasn’t a psycho’s type, being too tall and not at all helpless. Hadn’t one of the residents said it very well last week when he’d jokingly referred to her as a ball buster for teaching those self-defense classes at the hospital? You bet he had. Her kind of woman wasn’t on most guys’ radar, especially those looking for an easy target.
Besides, she didn’t have all that far to walk and would get home safely.
Moisture rolled down her cheeks and throat. If the weather deteriorated any further, her hoodie would soon be soaked through. Huffing from her pace, she approached the street corner. The signal was red; the sign warning her not to cross. In both directions, the road was empty. Its wet surface gleamed in the available light.
Wind whisked around an abandoned confectionary, buffeting Gwen. She shivered and turned down the street, deciding to take a shortcut through an alley in the distance. From behind, a car approached. Glancing over, she saw it move down the main thoroughfare rather than turning in her direction.
Her running shoes made slapping noises against the damp pavement, the sounds obtrusive, not seeming to belong. Leaves rustled above her, the dying ones torn free by the wind. The bass of an unknown song thumped from a nearby brick building, its curtainless upper windows amber with light. A young boy with wavy black hair and dusky skin blew on the glass, fogging it, and then he drew a series of letters with his forefinger.
Gwen reached the vacant lot that cut from this street to the next, one over from her own. Just a bit farther to go. She’d be all right. No one was around. No one was following her.
Needing to be certain, she continued to glance back. There was nothing except darkness interrupted infrequently by dated streetlamps, their crumbling concrete facades matching the pockmarked sidewalks. Empty bags of Lay’s potato chips, Cheetos and other fast food littered the area, the cellophane crackling beneath her shoes.
With one hand around her pepper spray and the other clutching her house key, she entered the alley. Debris skittered down it, carried by the wind, the sickly sweet stink of garbage less noticeable in the brisk breeze. Yards ahead, half the length of a football field, was her street, a wall of murkiness separating her from it. Craning her neck, Gwen glanced at the many windows facing the alley, most boarded up. The ones that weren’t were dark.
Go on. She’d walked this route last night and countless times before that. The only hassle she’d faced were stray dogs crouching in the gloom, growling at her intrusion into their territory.
Tonight, even they were gone. For the first time ever, Gwen missed them. She knew she could easily frighten animals. Men, on the other hand… There might be a fight.
Again, she sensed someone watching, following.
Sudden outrage rather than fear pumped through Gwen. Halfway down the alley, she halted and turned, ready to rumble, show the jerk some of her martial arts moves.
No one was behind her.
She listened and heard nothing. Certainly not heavy breathing, except for her own.
Renewed apprehension cut through her aggravation. Gwen pivoted, ready to run the remaining distance. A faint whooshing noise interrupted her panting and the other night sounds. Before she could identify it, something hit her neck, stinging her skin.
Jesus, had someone shot her, with a fucking silencer no less?
Her hand flew up, then stalled not on blood but something else. What the hell?
What felt like a small dart had pierced the side of her throat unprotected by her hoodie. Where in the crap had something like that come from? Suddenly, her limbs went numb. Her hand dropped from her neck before she could remove the dart.
Down Gwen went, her legs unable to support her weight, her knees hitting the broken asphalt. She heard the crack of her bones, but the pain didn’t register, blunted by whatever flowed through her. A tranquilizer, she guessed. Although she tried to remain kneeling, her efforts didn’t last. She fell to her side even as her mind kept screamingrun.
Too late. Out of the shadows he came. A man she’d never seen before, hadn’t noticed, his build bruising with a thick neck, burly shoulders and arms. In the light bleeding from her street, Gwen could see his eyes were a light brown, his hair curly and black, his features and complexion not quite African-American or Indian but a mixture of races, the same as her.
He grabbed her arm.
She fought to pull away, but her body refused to work. Helpless, she screamed, or tried; only a croak escaped.
Grunting, he put his hand over her mouth, his fingers clamped so tight Gwen couldn’t bite him. Raw terror tore through her even as her lethargy increased. Was he going to rape her? Kill her? Both? Oh God, oh God, oh God. Her thoughts went in all directions, most of them bad, fueled by adrenaline. She pictured him slitting her throat once he’d finished his sexual assault, leaving her to bleed to death in a trash bin or an abandoned building, her body concealed so well it would be difficult to find.
Aw shit. Her life couldn’t end like this. No fucking way. She had to fight. Come on, dammit. Do it.
She tried so hard to move, her body broke out in a cold sweat. Perspiration mingled with the moisture on her face, stinging her eyes. Despite her efforts, Gwen couldn’t wag one finger. Lifting her arms was as impossible as flapping them and taking flight. Remaining conscious became an effort.
With too much ease, the man dragged her down the alley. Her clothes rasped against the rough surface. Her shoes bounced. Tat-tat-tat, her rubber heels went. Tat—
What’s that? Even in her drugged state, Gwen felt a deeper blast of cold to the left of them and heard a sucking sound that resembled a vacuum. Was it a vent? Leading to where? Why hadn’t she heard it all the times before when she’d taken this route? Why—
What in the holy hell is that?
She listened, hearing another low, menacing growl.
The man stopped at the noise, then hurriedly pulled her toward the intense cold.
The growl deepened, growing louder. Closer.
The man muttered something in a language she’d never heard, couldn’t possibly understand. From the right came a snarl, followed by an animal bounding into the air, hitting the man square in his chest.
His hands dropped away from Gwen. She sagged to the asphalt, straining to remain conscious, gaping at the animal attacking the man. Not one of the stray dogs she’d seen here before. It was larger, more dangerous, looking like a goddamned wolf.
Teeth bared and bloody, it tore at the man’s face, cutting off his scream. Gwen heard his neck bones snap. Unable to keep her eyes open any longer, she allowed her lids to slip down, not wanting to witness the attack, terrified of what the wolf—or whatever the hell it was—would do to her when it finished with the man.
Rain tapped her face. Each breath was a prolonged battle. She wanted to run. She would have given a year of her life to be able to scream.
Quiet. She noticed it suddenly…the utter stillness of the night. How much time had passed? Was she still alive? Had she died and gone to some weirdo version of hell?
Her mouth fell open, but no sound escaped as someone strong lifted her up. A guy, surely. A cop who’d happened upon this nightmare? A Good Samaritan? Had she lost consciousness without realizing it? Where had the wolf gone? Where was this guy taking her?
Gwen’s hands flopped helplessly as he slung her over his shoulder, his forearm firm across the back of her thighs. With quick steps, he moved down the alley.