At Blade’s Edge
After the sensual pace of Venice, London seemed to fit like a very well loved jacket. At 11:00 p.m., the city still vibrated with energy. Young people congregated at doorways to pubs and clubs, laughing, fighting, crying loudly over the phone while fighting with boyfriends.
In mid-August, the heat still stuck to her skin, along with the smog. Shiny black cabs whizzed past, darting around busses and pedestrians.
Each neighborhood had its own flavor, and the one she headed to tasted coppery like new money. With hints of pretension. The perfect setting for her quarry, one sanctimonious prick named Roth Wesslyian.
The cacophony of raucous, trendy youth faded into the murmur of patrons sipping expensive cocktails that took twenty minutes and fourteen ingredients to make. They sat at tables on the sidewalk but looked at phone screens instead of one another.
That worked for her purposes. They were all so busily engaged elsewhere, they barely even glanced her way as she strolled past.
Some would instinctively avoid her. Those were most often the people who still listened to their gut feelings. She was a predator and on some level, those people knew it.
Several blocks away from … read more ->
Somehow, coming to this grand opening party had seemed a lot less terrifying when she’d been standing in her bedroom an hour before. The gleaming Twisted Steel sign beckoned, though Jessi stood still, rooted in place.
Her pulse sped as she realized the sleek, black Mercedes parked near the entrance was the super pricy AMG GT. Adam drove a car just like it.
Which meant, most likely, that Mick and Adam both were inside. Hard enough as it was to imagine seeing Mick again after four years, Jessi didn’t know if she had it in her to attempt this…this reconciliation with both of them at once.
You can do this. You are awesome and you have nice tits and pretty eyes and you know all the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” You are the perfect woman, she told herself as she marched right up to those big bay doors and into the party beyond.
Inside it was all ink and chrome. Cars and motorcycles parked under lights aimed to cast a gleam and shine on all those curves. The paint and interior design competed with some of the most gorgeous inkwork Jessi had ever seen. The party was full color, … read more ->
Carmella Rossi held the truck door open for Ginger, who hopped down with a happy look. Carmella understood, she wanted to dance around for joy now that they weren’t at her mother’s house too.
Medication had been delivered for the next three days—it wouldn’t do to let her have any more than that, she’d just use it all and then not have enough and eventually end up in an ER somewhere trying to get pain scrips to get her through.
“Some people’s mothers make pies,” Carmella told the dog as they headed up the steps to the front porch.
Her key was in the lock when she and Ginger both paused at the throaty growl of a motorcycle approaching.
Duke Bradshaw. The hottest neighbor in the history of hot neighbors.
Considering the morning she’d just had with her mother, it was a nice treat to see all that long, hot, inked man get off a motorcycle and amble to his front door.
“Totally the best thing about this entire neighborhood,” Carmella murmured.
Ginger got in front of Carmella and sat. Ever protective and also sort of hot for Bradshaw just like her human was.
Carmella looked to the … read more ->
“I don’t even know who that is, but I’d like to take several large bites.” PJ took in the ridiculously badass alpha male across the room from where she and her sister had just been handed drinks at the bar.
“Who?” Julie asked as she paid and they moved to the side. “Point him out. In a non-attention-seeking way!” she added, like PJ was a beast.
PJ blinked a few times before she spoke. “You’re a terrible human being.”
“I get it from Dad.”
PJ tilted her head to indicate the guy whose sheer charisma she felt from across the room. A brunette with a body straight out of a pinup calendar stared up into his face as she stroked a hand up and down his arm.
“She’s all right in a totally voluptuous, drop-dead-sex-bomb way. I mean, for those who like that sort of thing.” Julie’s dry delivery made PJ smile.
“Let’s saunter by that fantastic Camaro over there so I can get a closer look.” PJ started off.
“At the guy or the car?”
“Two birds. One stone,” PJ called lightly over her shoulder.
“Will this end up in some sort of terrible misunderstanding that will … read more ->
Back To You
Kelly’s first instinct was to pretend she wasn’t sure she heard Ross right. But it would have been a lie and she hated lying. Regardless, she didn’t know how to answer.
She was thirty-three years old. She had two great kids, a successful professional life, and this man, whom she could see building a life with, had just asked her to marry him. Only less romantically, it was more of a we’ve been sleeping over at one another’s houses for a year now. We should just get married because it’s good for everyone and it would be more cost efficient, don’t you think?
What else could she do but say yes? It didn’t matter that Ross wasn’t Vaughan. Or, actually, it did matter that he wasn’t the man who’d broken her heart into so many pieces she’d been uncertain she could ever get over it.
Kelly was pretty sure by that point that she wouldn’t. So it was more like trying to figure out how to have a happy life even though she still ached for someone who didn’t love her.
Eight years. She’d walked out on her ex-husband and the father of her children eight years before. … read more ->
Her workday over, Tuesday Eastwood turned the display lights up before locking her front doors. That’s when she realized how cold it was and flipped her collar against the wind with one hand while hurrying to where she’d parked her car.
As she paused to cross at the corner and look both ways, she caught sight of Ezra Hurley. It wasn’t one of those moments when you caught sight of a person and then realized who it was once they got closer.
No, she knew it was Ezra because for some befuddling reason, she was hyperaware of him. He looked good as he waited for traffic, a grin on his face.
In the entirety of her life no one had ever made her belly feel the same quivery, excited swoop when she looked at him. At the rugged, masculine lines of his features. Like his brothers, yes, he was attractive. But he wore it differently than the other three brothers did.
Ezra Hurley was a Capital M Man. In that riding horses, baling hay, hands in the dirt, well-worn jeans way. Well-worn jeans that currently cradled a rear end that a sculptor would drool over. The … read more ->
BLADE ON THE HUNT
It had been a while since Rowan had seen so much blood. And considering what her last year or so had looked like, that said a lot.
She took a look at the male who was her father in all ways but genetic. Blood and gore stuck to his skin, matted in his waist length hair. He had a far away look on his face, what she could see of it.
Rowan had been dreading this. This inevitable decline into his personal darkness that would take steadfast and at times brutal dedication to see him through to the other side. The time when a few brief periods between the bouts of madness made you thank providence he was just run of the mill insane and dangerous instead of supercharged oh-yeah-those-fairytales-are-really-about-my-dad hair trigger slaughter for kicks sort of insane and dangerous.
Unpredictability in a creature as ancient as Theo was exactly what made him dangerous. There was no rule book. No comparison to be made. He was his own fearsome storm.
And Rowan, ill equipped as she was, still remained one of the very few who could coax him away from the song of his bloodlust.
It didn’t … read more ->
The Best Kind of Trouble
It really didn’t matter that the day was sure to be hot enough to melt asphalt; coffee was a necessity if she was expected to work all day at the library and not maim anyone.
Public safety was important, after all. That and her terrible addiction to things that were bad for her like caffeine and sugary baked goods.
Common Grounds was a daily stop on her way to work or other errands in town.
Bobbi was behind the counter, and when she caught sight of Natalie coming through the doors, she grinned. “Morning!” So. Perky.
Perky was not in Natalie’s wheelhouse, so she aimed for amiable because Bobbi the barista was Natalie’s pimp. “Morning. Hit me with something awesome.”
Another luminous smile from Natalie’s favorite barista as she got to work. “I have a new something to try. Are you game?”
“My vices are few, so I like to enjoy what I’ve got.” She looked over the stuff in the case. There were no doughnuts, sadly, so a scone would have to do. “I’d like to enter into a relationship with that cinnamon scone there to go with my something new.”
“It’s early for you, isn’t it? … read more ->
Count On Me
Caroline adjusted the front of her blouse as she waited in the elegantly appointed reception area of the Law Offices of Chase and Chase.
She’d prepared for the interview much the same way a general might prepare for war. Every contingency had been planned for. Every possible question she might be asked needed to have an answer.
All the research and preparation kept her mind off being back in Petal for good instead of one of her usual visits, which tended to last just a few days.
The receptionist, as pretty and elegant as the walnut furniture and framed black-and-white photographs of Petal over the last century plus, spoke quietly over the phone and then turned her attention to Caroline.
“They’re ready for you now.”
She led Caroline into a small conference room where three men, all clearly related, stood upon her entrance.
“Ms. Mendoza, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” One of the men, she recognized from the pictures on the website—the younger of the Chase brothers who ran the firm—held out a hand. “Peter Chase.”
She took it. “Nice to meet you as well. Caroline Mendoza.”
The silver fox she knew was Edward Chase smiled at … read more ->
All That Remains
The night all around her was warm. Once it would have been considered hot, but things had changed over the last four centuries. Enough that the pockets of humanity left called it warm.
She pulled the dress up over her head and draped it over the branch of a nearby tree and walked over the weathered boards that made up the dock. Some preferred to enter slowly at the shore, but Summer was done with easing into things.
She sped up, running to the end, springing into the air, exhilaration racing through her system until the water enveloped her, cool, the weight of it embracing her, speeding her heart.
Kicking her legs, she extended her arms and swam, letting the rhythm, the sound filtered through the water soothe even as her muscles began to work. A fit body and mind was a weapon in the world. A strong woman made her own way and Summer liked that very much.
She let the repetition take over like meditation. One end of the cordoned-off swimming portion of the lake to the other. Back and forth as her strokes ate up the space. Side to side, she moved her head, gulped … read more ->
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