#BlackFriday Sale at Evernight Publishing
Evernight is having a sale for Black Friday. As the photo says, all titles are 50% off, but only for today and only at their site. You'll get the discount at the checkout.

www.evernightpublishing.com

And happy Thanksgiving to all my friends across the way! I hope you had a great day with family and friends.

--Kris
#MWTease - Lynked - #contemporary #eroticromance


Hi all!

This is my first time joining in on the Mid Week Tease. Clearly, because I managed to booboo my name up on the linky list. Whoops. Yeah, it's one of those mornings. Forgive me.  *sighs* Also, I might as well just say Doris O'Connor fixed up my list problem down below because I am just a little bit more than technically challenged on a good day. Sometimes it's cute, sometimes it just annoying when I fudge it all up. Anyway, thanks to her for that.

The piece below comes from my manuscript Lynked. Currently, it's going through its first round of edits. And my editor very nicely told me I glossed over the first kiss much too much. I happened to agree when I read it. So, this was the piece rewritten yesterday. It is unedited.

Introducing Devon and Nic:


Inside the car, Devon caught a coy smile playing on Nic’s lips. The strangest urge to catch that grin of hers with his own mouth took hold in an overwhelming way that plucked at every cell in his body. Instantly, he had her backed against the door with his hands gripping right to her waist as Devon’s mouth met hers. To him, she felt hot, simmering already like smouldering coals. Or maybe that was him. Just the taste of her burned him from the inside out. Nic didn’t hesitate to deepen the kiss when his tongue teased along the seam of her lips. The taste of mint exploded along his taste buds.

Her fingers fisted harder into his shirt, drawing Devon closer as her tongue explored his with a languid speed. Slowly, his breathing came to a rhythm that nearly matched hers and when she sighed so sweet and soft, his teeth caught her bottom lip with a gentle nip. The driver cleared his throat and pulling away, Devon chuckled.

“Can you make it fast?”

“Eight minutes if we’re not interrupted, Lynk.”

Devon watched as Nic’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Make it six and you’ll be a happy man in the morning.”

Not so glossy, now, I think...

--Kris

Check out the other teases, too.







#Music #Love
So, last week I promised to share a song that my lady love enjoys, too. And while the naughty version would have been more to her liking, I figured this one works just as well. Because, well, who the hell doesn't like some Robin Thicke? Without Miley and her...twerking...of course.

And you know, Vevo gives the best unrated version of this song if you want to go find it. Just sayin'.

I guess, for me, stuff like this with that upbeat tune helps to keep my mind from wandering into a depressed state while I edit. Which, I've been doing a lot lately and will be doing much more of coming the end of the month when the editors start sending back the first rounds for the next two releases.

Don't you know I just love editing? Not.

Part of the job.

*winks*

Enjoy...


#PromptFiction - The Forgotten Nymph
So, my prompt for the week was more or less a title from my lady, Dixie. At first she sent a picture, and while some may have called it art, to me it just looked like a spider crapped its web all over this model. Couldn't do it without laughing, shuddering, and having bad dreams. Instead, this prompt came from that.

Prompt: Forgotten Nymph

~*~*~

The Forgotten Nymph

She stands but five foot two...in three inch heels. Kate just took her short height as a blessed curse and was grateful the rest of her body matched in proportion. Tiny, pale skin, slim waist, pixie-like features with wide eyes and cropped, wispy hair.

It was no wonder her friends called her a fairy.

And she always ended up being just that at Halloween, too. After all, sexy costumes that were meant to showcase legs and curves didn't look so cute when they hung below the knees.

Of course, that was only some of her friends.

Her very best friend, the one who lived only two doors down growing up, well, he called her the nymph. When she was older, and maybe understood what it meant a little better, the nickname could have bothered her, but by then he'd used it so much she didn't know if she'd react to him calling her by something different.

Called her that when no one was looking, when others wouldn't hear. Whispered it in her ear as he walked by her in the school hallway, reaching out to tug on a strand of hair with a glittering grin plastered over smug cheeks. Laughed it out on the edge of her bed before he climbed back out the window and jumped down the oak tree that lined her house.

Reed said it all the time. Too many times. Said it until Kate thought that's exactly what she was, but only his.

Maybe it didn't help at fifteen when he kissed her sweetly, or at seventeen in the back of a Honda Civic with jeans on the floorboards and fumbling hands learning a whole new thing. It certainly didn't help when words like beautiful, always, and love were slung around like candy.

Pretty boys with popularity complexes broke hearts more often than they understood.

High school kicked ass in ways that shouldn't have mattered. Friends were pushed aside and lost for the sake of the popularity game. New rules applied every which way you turned. Mean girls took on a different meaning every day of the week. Style, speech, and possessions suddenly determined your rank of class.

Sure.

Whatever.

She had all of that. Not that she tried to.

And anyways, they'd be gone in less than a year before anyone knew the difference. What would become of them then? Stumbling, fumbling almost-adults trying to make their ways through university, crappy jobs, or one mistake after another.

Kate didn't want to care.

She really, really didn't.

So, perhaps the high school seniors' Halloween party at the football captain's house wasn't the smartest idea. Turning cheek was becoming difficult and tiresome. Making a scene seemed worse.

Pretty girls with indifferent goals didn't play that way.

"Hey."

That voice had her head turning to the side, eyes seeking out that familiar curve of lips that screamed a cocky seventeen. With a single raise of her vodka filled Dixie cup, she gave her hello back without saying a single word.

Fingers ghosted over the sparkling wings that donned her back and spread out to the sides. Eyes appraised the tiny costume she had on. It wasn't too long before his gaze switched to the head cheerleader across the room with tits that all but spilled out of her black cat costume as her drunken body swayed. Smeared gloss, high eyes, and airless laughter.

Dumb girls with attention complexes ruined everything.

That's what he wanted. That's exactly what he could have.

"Thought you wouldn't show."

Kate smirked, lifted the cup to take a sip, then handed it over.

Tired. Bored.

Wishing he would stop climbing her tree in the dark of night and ignoring her in the day. Betting his girl would hate to know Kate slid into the backseat of his Honda every Friday game night while she was shaking her ass with pompoms high.

High school sucked.

Mean girls didn't always have to be the obvious ones.

Sometimes they were just fucking sneaky, too.

Done playing the game.

"A fairy again?" he asked.

"Nope. The forgotten nymph."

~*~*~

--Bethany-Kris
#Spotlight - #NewRelease - #Excerpt - Wanton in the Wild West by Molly Ann Wishlade

BLURB

Sometimes a train journey can take you in an unexpected direction.

It is 1890, and the Chicago and North-Western Railroad now runs into Deadwood. After a year in Chicago, Amber Carpenter is homeward bound via steam train, escorted by two gorgeous cowboys. Amber swore a long time ago that she would never let a man hurt her, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not open to the idea of some fun.

Harry Delaney and Gideon Swain have their sights set on a bright future … if only their tragic past wasn’t holding them back. But from the moment they laid eyes on Amber Carpenter, they knew that there was something different about her.

Can the three of them turn their lives around within the space of a train journey?



MOLLY ANN WISHLADE LINKS
Wanton in the Wild West at Evernight Publishing.
It will also be available at the following sites:
You can find more information about Molly Ann Wishlade and my books by visiting my blog: http://misswishlade.wordpress.com
Twitter: mollyannwishlade@misswishlade
Total-E-Bound Blogspot on 12th of every month: http://totalebound.blogspot.co.uk/
A Monday Tease #teaser
As promised, here is a teaser from my upcoming release with Evernight Publishing, A Love Unfinished. It is unedited.

In this scene, we get just a glimpse at how possessive a dragon tends to be, even if he's being subtle about it.

On with the show:


“In a minute.” The apartment’s door met my back. Holden’s hands splayed out palm down to the wood on either side of my face. The sudden movements left me stunned. With him so close, I couldn’t think or breathe. Soft grazes of his lips brushed over mine as he said, “Speaking of last night, I wanted to apologize.”

My free hand fisted into the supple dark leather of his jacket, instinctively bringing him closer to inhale that spiced earth scent of his.
“For?”

Lips wet under his tongue, drawing my gaze. “Being careless and rough with you like that. I should have controlled the situation better. It wasn’t my intention to get you up there for sex, Dani. It shouldn’t have been like—”

“I didn’t mind,” I interjected softly. “I’m perfectly fine.” A little sore in all the right places, but I was doing all right. “Really, Holden.”

“It was too dangerous. I should have known better.” His eyes turned distant, brow furrowing. “Your friend…Joey.”

Immediately, I tensed. “What about him?”

“Whatever was between you two, that’s done, right? I noticed he hasn’t been around, but he’s stopped by the café a few times.”

How did he even know that shit? “Uh…”

“I’m serious,” he said, gaze back on me with a fire behind them. “I don’t want a rival and I won’t share your bed. That’s not how we roll. Be flat out honest, is it done?”

“Didn’t I already tell you it was before?”

“Are we playing twenty fucking questions here, or what? I’m not trying to give you the inquisition, but I need to know for sure. Don’t fault me for that. Tell me the truth. No crap.”

I sighed, forcing back my irritation. “Fine. Yes, it’s been done for a while.”

“I figured as much,” Holden muttered under his breath. “Last night—”

“Are you worried you need to get tested or something?” I asked bitterly, pushing clenched fists to the hard planes of his abdomen. Holden met my angry stare, surprise registering in blue eyes. “Is that why you’re bringing him up again, because we fucked unsafe? Should I be asking you that, too? God only knows the number of ass you’ve been chasing this past year.”

“Just the one—yours.”
 
Hope it got you stirring a little...until next time!
 
--Bethany-Kris
End of the week updates...
So, in an attempt to put this blog on some kind of schedule for myself, I've designated Sundays to be an update post on whatever has been happening in regards to my upcoming releases, previous releases, or on whatever in general.

Will I keep this new schedule? Yet to be determined.

I'm a fickle soul.

Weather inside of a woman.

Moving on...

Now, updates.

A Love Unfinished, being published by Evernight Publishing, has a tentative release schedule of December, but given its length and whatever else, that could bleed into January 2014. As of now, I don't have an exact date.

On a different note, the first manuscript I ever wrote and submitted in to very few publishers has just been picked up. Yes, I signed a contract for it this morning. I had sub'd this manuscript in so long ago, that I had forgotten it was still in someone's hand for consideration, actually, so getting that email the other day really surprised me.

A little info on the book in question:

Lynked.

It's a full length contemporary romance situated in the predominate Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta. Dealing heavy in the romance aspect, this story still has its erotic moments, but it certainly isn't as graphic or the scenes as frequent as my other titles which was why finding the right publisher for this story was a bit of a challenge. There seems to be a line drawn there, as if it either is romantic erotica, or it isn't. I don't quite think so. Not everything is so physical and not all characters tell their stories that way. I chose to let these ones tell me their story the way they wanted, and despite the story having a new kind of sound--again, my first romance--I'm terribly happy to see it get off my desktop and on to someone else's.

The main characters are Devon Lynk, a former heavyweight MMA champion, and Nic Stacey, a small-town girl trying to find her new start in a crazy way. They find themselves in a sticky situation, and in the midst of trying to handle all of the issues, maybe fall in a little bit of love along the way. Of course, nothing is ever so easy in my crazy head, so we get a twist there, too.

I have a blurb, but it needs a touch of work, so for now, I'm going to leave that space blank and ask you to be patient. ;)

Contracted with Crimson Romance Publishing, I have a tentative release date of early February. Again, it could bleed into later in the month, given schedules, editing, and everything else.

I'm sure a few people, or at least anyone who keeps up with things in the small house world of publishing might just have rose a brow. Yes, I did my homework. Yes, I am aware of things that went on. No, I'm not concerned. I quite like this publisher, just as much as my first. Small house works for me, and they all have kinks to work out. That's about all I'm willing to say on that matter.

I think that's all. Tomorrow I'll be around to drop a teaser off for my upcoming title A Love Unfinished. But for now, I'll leave you with some pretty that reminds me of something. And for those that read my other works outside of OF publishing....blankets on the floor, that's what brought on that pretty.

--Bethany-Kris
A Musical Saturday
I'm feeling awfully nostalgic today looking at the things that have suddenly poured into my inbox over the last couple of days. I'm not quite ready to announce all that yet, but it has me in a pretty great mood. That usually leaves me feeling...well, nostalgic, for some odd reason.

I don't know why, but this song by Passenger always leaves me with the same impression, so I thought I'd share. Lady love, Dixie, hates it. Oh well, my next music post can be something she likes, too. ;-)

While this song isn't old (about a year or so), it feels that way.

Enjoy...



--Bethany-Kris
Blog Tour - Guest Post - The Girl On The Bus by Raven McAllan


The Girl On The Bus by Raven McAllan


Blurb


Julia ran out on Tay five years ago, so she can't be the woman he sees on the bus. However, when she ends up being the one taking notes at his meeting, he knows he will move heaven and earth to make her his once more.

Will she agree, or will she run again?

 

Be Warned: BDSM, public exhibition, spanking

 

Buy Links


Excerpt


 

That profile ... oh, that profile. Silver. It couldn't be, surely he kidded himself? One night, five years ago. How on earth would he know for sure? But the hair, like silver silk shot with diamonds glittering and sparkling in the light. It was her hair, her profile ... wasn't it?

Get a grip, man. That was the other side of the country

 

However, Tay was as certain as he could be. He'd been looking unconsciously for her all that time. So often he'd almost walked up to someone and called out her name, only to stop at the last moment before some unknown woman thought him a crazy stalker.

 

Once, he'd almost lost his manhood when a guy objected to Tay calling a woman that name. A woman Tay hadn't even realized accompanied the guy. He'd made his apologies and retreated as the smug bastard bragged about how big and tough he was, and that no one messed with him ever. The guy hadn’t even been a Dom, just a half drunk Glasgow Ned. Tay had been sorry, but no way could he give much credulence to a guy with a tattoo of Hello Kitty on his neck. In full color at that. Even so, Tay was a lot more wary of approaching anyone now. A writhing, crying, so-called macho man wouldn't go down well. He imagined the headlines...

 

No, don't imagine them, just carry on and see if yet again your memory is playing games. And don't flipping crash. He slammed on his brakes as the bus stopped, and wrenched his mind back to the present.

 

This time he overtook the vehicle to let the rest of the traffic move on. Once passed, he sent a mental apology to a mini driver who hovered, waiting for the occupant of a parking bay to drive away. With a mental shrug, Tay slotted into the newly vacant space the mini driver intended on taking, and sat there, his car engine idling as he waited for the bus to catch up. The other driver gave him the v sign. Tay waved and grinned.

 

Yep, he was being an idiot, but needs must. He just hoped with his aviator sunglasses and baseball cap on he wasn't easily identifiable. Not a good move if the driver recognizes me.

 

How many times had he been reminded he was a public figure and any, any misdemeanor would be spotted and filmed? An actor misbehaving became a sure fire investment for some person's five minutes of fame and the star's everlasting shame.

Tay gave a mental shrug as he remembered his meeting. Really, a baseball cap and shades shouted look at me, look at me. With one eye open for anyone who might see through his pitiful disguise, tell him off or capture him in a photo breaking the law, he sent a quick text.

 

Delayed, will phone, re schedule for three pm please.

 

Laura would be furious, but Tay reckoned if the people waiting to meet him wanted him—really wanted him—they'd grit their teeth, mutter about male divas, and wait for him. His sister loved him, whatever anyone else thought.

 

Raven Bio


 

Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.

Her very understanding, and long-suffering DH, is used to his questions unanswered, the dust bunnies greeting him as he walks through the door, and rescuing burned offerings from the Aga. (And passing her a glass of wine as she types furiously.)

 

Find her here:



 Guest Post

Why did I write The Girl on the Bus?

It all stemmed from actually watching a white van man, and a bus driver trading insults, Glasgow style, in the middle of a busy street. They were holding the traffic up and couldn't care less. Some of the insults were shall we say, inventive.

Cars started to toot their horns, passers-by stopped and stared, and I giggled. I'd looked at the bus, because I was waiting to cross the road and seen someone with very pale hair on the upper deck. Looked away and the bus turned the corner. I crossed the road and saw it at the next stop, and the girl had gone, and a bloke sat in the seat. It got me thinking and The Girl on the Bus became an idea.

At that point, I didn't really know where the story was going or why. I'm a pantster, so I wait until my characters speak to me. Tay decided to do that in the middle of the night!  Cue me getting up and starting to write. I know to my detriment that to ignore these middle of the night ideas is a big no-no.

Now I'm darned pleased I didn't stop in my warm bed, but listened to Tay shouting at me instead.
Book Blitz - Outcast by Kiru Taye
Book Release Blitz
Outcast
Sacred Amulet, part one
Kiru Taye

Tags: Paranormal
/ Fantasy / Romance

Out
November 1, 2013
Available
from Amazon
FREE Kindle Download from November 4 to 6
Available for $0.99 / £0.77 afterwards until 30 November 2013.

Blurb

Ugo’ji is an outcast, an untouchable. She lives on the fringe of society as the lowest of the low, a living sacrifice to the gods. The only person she interacts with is her aged grandmother Nne who nurtures her powerful gift of healing. Until
the day she meets Ebube a strange warrior to their lands. He  ignites a yearning within her she's unable to ignore.
Ebube is drawn to the young maiden with the emerald green eyes who possesses the body
of a goddess and the healing touch of an angel. But he is forbidden from mating with a human and the consequence is the wrath of the gods.
Moreover he is on a mission. If he fails, the gates of hell will be opened and the earth plunged into darkness. He cannot stay and she cannot go with him.


Excerpt


Help me...Do whatever it takes...Keep the gates of
Alammuo sealed.
Darkness tugged
at him and threatened to pull him into its murky depths. With a jerk, Ebube sat
up on his pallet. The creaking wood and thumping of his heart echoed in his acutely
responsive ears.
Danger seeped
from the nightmare he couldn’t remember into the air, leaden and oppressive.
His breath heaved as he choked, his throat clogged with the fetid stench of death.
On reflex, he
extended his right arm, grabbing the scabbard he always kept within reach, the
pitch shadow no hindrance for his sharp eyesight. As a leopard-shifter, his
vision was excellent, night and day. He didn't need to look at his hands to see
the extended claws. Sharp tips dug into his palm. He ignored the sting and his
awkward grip on the carved wooden hilt of the single edge sword.
His beast came
to the fore, clawing to take over, an instinctive response to potential
threats. Muscles tensed, Ebube fought the shift. Sweat streaked down his body
in rivulets. He swiped his face with his left palm, stopping the liquid from
dripping into his eyes.
Sweeping his
gaze across the large, airy chamber of his sparsely-decorated home, he sought
the source of danger setting off his internal alarm.
Apart from the
raised bamboo sleeping platform covered in padded deer hide and the wooden
trunk that stored his personal belongings, the only other items were his tools
of warfare – his spears, shields, machetes and scabbards. They hung on the
single-rung mantel against the burnt-umber rock wall, gleaming with polish and
sharpness, ready for use.  Undisturbed.
A tingle ran up
his spinal column, the way it always did when he sensed something out of place.
Something terribly wrong. He swung his legs around. Cool unglazed stone flooring
met his bare feet. The muscles on his back tensed, primed for action. Slowly,
he stood to his full height and walked through the room.
His home
consisted of two chambers, one for sleeping and the other for entertaining
guests. Though as a guardian, a special warrior of the gods, he could live as
luxuriously as the gods did, they had agreed communally to live as simply as
humans of the era so as not to draw attention to themselves as supernatural
beings.
Nothing was out
of place in his rooms, no stray, malevolent being in the vicinity. Yet the tingling
in his bones didn't dissipate. When he found nothing inside, he grabbed the
wooden knob, opened the door and walked onto the corridor linking his residence
to the rest of his family's. Their homes were hewn out of Amauwa rocks, a hill
range in the middle of the rain forest.
He stopped in
front of the last house, the tension on his shoulders increasing. Nothing
lurked inside it, living or inanimate. Yet the memory of the previous occupant
flooded his mind, hitting him low in the abdomen, spreading pain through his
body. Gritting his teeth, he shook his head and turned his back to the building
and its unwelcome memories.

About
Kiru

A
lover of books, as a teenager Kiru Taye used to read novels under the blanket
during lights-outs in boarding school. These days, with a young family to take
care of, she's still sacrificing sleep for the pleasures of a good book.
During
the day though, she transforms her wildly vivid imagination into sensual,
atmospheric romance stories with passionate characters.
When
she’s not writing or reading, she'd hanging out with family and friends or
travelling. Born in Nigeria, she currently lives in the UK with husband and
children.
You can reach her via her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest
Follow her blog for latest news and giveaways: http://kirutayewrites.blogspot.com
Read book excerpts and free short stories on her website: http://www.kirutaye.com

Contest

Kiru is giving away 2x $5 Amazon gift cards or
paypal cash and 5x ebooks of the follow-up story Sacrifice. Complete the rafflecopter to enter the prize draw.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Review - Under The Alpha's Protection
 My sincerest apologies to the author, as this review was supposed to go up earlier, but a mistake on my part and it didn't go up on time.
 
Bethany-Kris Review for Under The Alpha's Protection:
 
 
****Four out of five stars****
 
When Nikita is attacked by things that even her mind can't explain, she's left running to the one person who makes her feel safe, Raoul. While the wolf shifter has been in love with the human girl for years, he's held back on acting on his feelings and attraction. Now, with her under his protection, that's all about to change...
 
This story fed my slight enjoyment of BDSM elements while keeping the heroine true to her nature. Under The Alpha's Protection keeps the BDSM to the bedroom and I gotta love Raoul because of it. From the get-go, he was pretty insistent and clear on what he wanted from Nikita, and the fact that he wanted a strong woman by his side in the light of day, not one who would hide behind his shadow, said a great deal about him.

It instantly made me fall in some kind of love with his character.

Beyond that, as I said in my update while reading, Raoul was always, always, always in control. He never really let it slip, even during what had to have been some of the most difficult moments, like the beginning where he had to see his mate in the state she was, or the night that followed her attack where he needed to care for her while keeping her calm.

Control, it was clear he valued it, showing it, and constantly keeping it. His nature, his status, would demand that, obviously.

I kept wondering when, if ever, we'd see a little crack in that façade. And the control he must have had to keep his wolf from claiming his mate from the moment he knew she was his was another one of those things that showcased the control he had. No one can keep that up and never let it show.

And then we did get to see that little slip. A part closer to the end, a piece I don't want to spoil, we finally get to see what makes Raoul so vulnerable, what could and would make him worry, break, and be frightened: Nikita. I think it made him a better character for it, honestly.

Well done to the author for giving him that moment and writing it the way she did. Alpha's can have weaknesses, too.

The romantic scenes between the H/h were well written, hot, and didn't make me feel like I was just reading some porn novel.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of points that I felt were rushed, like at the end, that kind of jumped out of nowhere as if the couple suddenly just declared their feelings so the story had to jump and start to get done with. Maybe more time could have been spent building them. I also felt like we missed a lot by not having some of their history better delved into, it was almost like the reader had to take the few sentences we got from the H/h about how they met, how he felt about her/she him back then and work out how everything else transpired around them.

Besides the slightly rushed feeling I got at those points, I really enjoyed Raoul's and Nikita's story. Strong characters, a good conflict, and a memorable tale. I'll be looking forward to more from Doris for sure.
 
Bethany-Kris' Goodreads review for Under The Alpha's Protection can be found here.

Blog Tour: Under The Alpha's Protection by Doris O'Connor

Under The Alpha's Protection by Doris O'Connor

Tags: Erotic, Paranormal, Romance, BDSM

Blurb:
Nikita Ashton and Raoul Saint Germain have been friends for five years, so when Nikita is attacked, there is only one place she can run to—straight into Raoul's arms.

Raoul is the Alpha of his pack and he is furious that the woman he loves has been harmed on his territory. Were it not for the fact that Nikita does not believe in anything even remotely paranormal, his wolf would have claimed her aeons ago.

Nikita is in need of tender, loving care, not his baser needs that are threatening to overtake him.

However, when Nikita admits that she knows about his being in the lifestyle, the Dom in him cannot resist the challenge to make her his submissive.

Blissfully happy in their new Dom/sub relationship, everything changes when Nikita is kidnapped. Can Raoul get to her in time to save her life?


Story Excerpt:

"We will have to have a conversation about this warped self-image of yours soon, but now is not the time or the place. You're a beautiful woman, Nikita, and anyone saying otherwise will have me to answer to. Now drop the robe and stop stalling, before I have to drag you to the hospital to get these properly checked over."

Nikita tensed at the mention of the hospital, and he chuckled.

"I'm not going to any damn hospital. You can't make me." She glared at him over her shoulder, and he quirked an eyebrow at her in that irritatingly superior way of his that always turned her insides aflutter. She dropped her gaze to his throat instead and immediately wished she hadn't. This close she could see him swallow, the movement of his Adam's apple strangely erotic, and her fingers itched to trace the veins down to the thatch of dark hair she could just about see in the V of his polo shirt. A shirt that clung to his muscular frame and only served to outline the bulging biceps, as he raised an arm to brush his dark hair out of his eyes. He was in need of a haircut, his hair longer than she had ever seen it, the perfect length to grab hold and…

Nikita bit her lip and shut her eyes for a second at the wayward direction her thoughts were taking.

"You know I hate hospitals. I don't ever want to go back there."

Hospitals meant death and grief, and she had sworn on her mother's death bed that she would never set foot in that place again, if she could help it. Unbidden, the tears fell as they always did when she thought of her mum, her grief still as fresh and raw as it had been two years ago.

Raoul made a rough sound in the back of his throat, and then his hands were cupping her face, his thumbs wiping away her tears.

"I'm sorry, squirt. That was thoughtless of me," he said.

She forced her eyes open, and the quiet compassion she saw in his azure gaze made her cry harder.

"No, I'm sorry. It's been two years. You'd think I wouldn't go into meltdown mode every time the hospital is even mentioned. Whoever said time is a great healer is a blasted liar, and I'm such a goddamn watering pot. Dammit, I'm sorry. That's the second time today I got you all wet."

Raoul laughed—a deep belly rumble that trembled through her until she had no choice but to smile back at him. He always managed to do that to her. One of the many reasons why she loved him.

Her heart clenched painfully, as the truth dawned on her. She did love him, and sometime over the last five years, that love had blossomed and deepened, until she couldn't imagine her life without him in it. Nikita wanted more, so much more, but he was her friend and only saw her as the little squirt he always pulled out of one scrap after the other.

"Don't you worry about me, squirt. Now drop that robe and hold still while I see to these."

Nikita did so, and a tense silence fell between them, only interspersed by their combined breathing. She winced a few times, as his nimble fingers smeared the ointment over her wounds, and he murmured his husky apologies. His hot breath skittered across her slick flesh, and Nikita swallowed her groan.

"What's in that stuff?" she finally asked to break the tension and to distract herself from the tingles of awareness his touch created.

"Oh, this and that. It's an old family recipe. It aids the healing process and staves off infection. Works better than any of that new fandangled mumbo jumbo as my grandfather would have said."

She heard the wistful note in his voice and turned slightly to see his expression. The action exposed her breasts, and she made a hasty grab for the robe to pull it up over her front. Again, Raoul's hands on her tightened and then released. He hastily wrenched his eyes up to her face and sat back on his haunches, before straightening up. She hadn't realized that he had been kneeling on the floor behind her, and the thought of this big strong man on his knees for her made her feel quite light-headed.

Raoul wiped his hands on the hand towel and then screwed the lid back on the old-fashioned jam jar that held the family ointment.

"We'll have to reapply that several times more overnight, for maximum effect, so I'm afraid you're stuck here with me for the foreseeable future."

"I don't want to impose on you, if—"

"Don't be an idiot." He cut off her protest with a wave of his large hand. "If you think for one minute that I would let you walk out of here, after what almost happened to you tonight, then you're insane. You're staying right here with me. You can take the bed, and I'll sleep on the couch."

"You can't sleep on the couch." The thought of his six foot five frame sandwiched on this couch was ridiculous. "You're far too big. I'll take the couch. I can't turf you out of your own bed."

"And you can't sleep on the couch. Your back needs tender care. It's not up for discussion. You're on my bed."

He crossed his arms and clenched his jaw, but Nikita was in no mood to back down from this. She could be just as stubborn if she had to be.

"Fine, then you'll sleep in there with me. I'm sure a man with your reputation has a nice big bed, and I won't take up much room at all." Her voice wavered slightly as his face grew murderous, but she plowed on regardless. "So that's sorted then."

"This is far from sorted." Raoul was growling again, and Nikita thanked the universe she was still seated, as she very much doubted her legs would have been able to carry her right now. He bent, putting his hands either side of her on the back of the couch, until she had to lean backwards to escape him.

"What reputation, squirt?"

 

Author Bio:

Glutton for punishment would be a good description for Doris... at least that's what she hears on an almost daily basis when people find out that she has a brood of nine children, ranging from adult to toddler and lives happily in a far too small house, cluttered with children, pets, dust bunnies, and one very understanding and supportive husband. Domestic goddess she is not.

There is always something better to do after all, like working on the latest manuscript and trying not to scare the locals even more than usual by talking out loud to the voices in her head. Her characters tend to be pretty insistent to get their stories told, and you will find Doris burning the midnight oil on a regular basis. Only time to get any peace and quiet and besides, sleep is for wimps.

She likes to spin sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, BDSM to F/F, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.

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Bethany-Kris' Goodreads review of Under The Alpha's Protection can be found here.