Thursday, September 7, 2017

Early Halloween Treat! Costa Mesa 1: Batten Down the Hatches by: Roxanne D. Howard

Costa Mesa 1: Batten Down the Hatches - Fun Halloween Facts, Sexy Excerpt, and Character Art

Publisher: Loose Id 
Length: Novella
ISBN: 978-1-68252-230-1
Series: Costa Mesa, Book 1
Genre: Holidays, Contemporary

Cover art: Natalie Duarte
Cover design: April Martinez

Coming out soon in paperback!


Piper Goldhirsch is the head reporter for Business Buster, an Undercover Boss-esque tabloid exposé show. While it was never her dream job, it pays the bills. When she attends a masked Halloween Ball and meets a sexy costumed pirate captain who calls himself Captain Jack, what starts out as a few kind words and exchanged kisses in the billiards room quickly becomes the greatest sex of her life, leaving her haunted by the powerful magic between them. Piper's not sure what she wants or even if she'll ever see her mysterious stranger again… until he becomes her job’s next target.

Captain Jack Spencer runs his own brand new whale watching company, Ahoy, Matey, on the outskirts of Costa Mesa and Balboa Island. He’s so good at it he’s garnered the attention of rival companies. Piper is called in by Jack’s nemesis to go undercover on an ocean tour to expose him, and reveal the alleged illegal tricks that have made his business so successful in a short amount of time. But when Piper realizes he’s the same sexy man she slept with at the Halloween Ball, she’s emotionally conflicted. Plus, Jack has been unable to forget the woman from Halloween, so when they do meet up again, they can’t keep their hands off each other.

It’s time to Batten Down the Hatches, because the waves are about to get wild!


“Help me down?”

He ignored the hand, scooped her up, and lifted her bridal-style off the pool table. He helped her find her feet. She smoothed down her costume. “My, my. Chivalrous and everything. Thank you. I’m glad we waited to have sex, Jack. Really.”

He laughed. “Yeah, I hope it was worth the time.”

“Oh, it was.”

She crinkled her nose up at him, and he wanted to gobble her up. “You’re a funny one, aren’t you?”

“So they tell me.” She looked around the floor. “Where are my panties?”

In my trouser pocket, Legs, but you’re not getting them back. He blinked a little too innocently. “I have no idea.” Her surly smirk told him she’d sooner believe in the Headless Horseman.

“Right. Well, Captain, that was one hell of a pleasure cruise. I’ll have to hop aboard some other time.” She smoothed down her hair and looked around.

Ouch. He stepped forward. “Piper, listen, I’m not some sleazy—”

She patted his shoulder—patted it, as if he were her puppy. Her eyes were soft, but her tone meant business.

“No. It was a nice ride. Amazing. The best I’ve ever had, actually. But let’s not kid ourselves or pretend this is more than an incredible quickie, okay? A nice memory we’ll both hold onto and never forget, remember?”

He frowned. He didn’t want it to end like this. Hell, he didn’t want it to end. But it was too late, because with a gentle kiss on the lips and a whispered good-bye, she slipped out of the room.
* * * *

When Piper walked out after the best sex of her life, she thought she’d feel empowered at having taken control of the situation. She was by all rights an alpha female, and that’s how she liked it. But a wave of regret hit her as she slid into the seat in the back of the company limo. Had it been a mistake? What if she never saw him again? Her mom always said a person’s soul was in their eyes, and he had rich, compassionate eyes, like a deep sea. She leaned against the limo headrest and folded her arms, the feel of him buried inside her so fresh they might as well still be fucking. And he’d felt good, phenomenal, like he’d been designed to be a part of her.

She wrestled with her thoughts on the way back to her condo. She almost signaled the driver to turn around but never did. It turned out to be the biggest regret of her life.

* * * *

A knock rattled her dressing-room door.

“Goldhirsch! Get in the conference room,” Larry Gunn barked.

Piper removed her crossed ankles from the top of her vanity tabletop and glanced at the door, annoyed. She’d been focused on an article in Psychology Today about the pros and cons of one-night stands. Try as she might, she couldn’t get Captain Jack out of her head. Hell, she could still smell him, a whiff of sheer masculinity and sex. Sometimes, it felt like he held her close, like he was a phantom lover.

“Why?” she called out.

“I’ve got one for you.”

She stood up and took her jacket off the back of her chair. “Last guy said that to me got his nuts kicked in. Couldn’t walk for weeks.” She opened the door. Larry worked his gum like a cow chewing cud and looked bored.

“Yeah, look at me. I’m petrified. Get in the conference room, kid. This one should be good.”

“Weeks,” she hissed as she passed him.

“Yeah, yeah.”

Whatever it was must be serious. They had Tim Chidester, Business Buster’s private investigator they brought in for the heavier pieces, already seated, and another middle-aged man she didn’t know was also in attendance. She considered the stranger. He wore khaki shorts and a dark-blue polo shirt. She put him at somewhere in his midforties, with a red, receding hairline and thick glasses.

“Piper Goldhirsch, this is Peter Newman, owner of Newman Whale Watching Tours on Balboa Island.”

She shook the man’s hand across the table. “Nice to meet you, Peter.”

“Same here.”

She took a seat across from him and Tim and crossed her legs. “All right, let’s hear it.” Tim leaned forward and rubbed his hands together with glee, as if someone had handed him the world’s best Christmas present.

“So, to cut to the chase, Peter here says another tour company is stacking the deck.”

“That’s not what I said,” Peter snarled.

Piper leaned back and crossed her arms. “All right, why don’t you tell me what you said, then,” she said neutrally. The guy obviously had a stick up his ass about something.

“Okay. Well, on Balboa Island, there’s about eight of us whale-watching companies. We all have guidelines and laws we have to abide by, you know?”

Piper nodded, not sure where he was going.

“So, our job is to take people out and see as much wildlife in the ocean as we can within the limits of where we go. On a normal day, people will see a pod or two of dolphins, a group of sea lions, and sometimes if the gods smile on us, a whale. Ahoy, Matey is a new company. They started up less than a year ago by this young marine biology flunky.”

Spittle flew out of Peter’s lips as he talked about the man. Did this come down to some sort of personal vendetta? She steered clear of exposé pieces like that, as they were usually masked cat fights.

“Within eight months, the company went from obscurity on the bottom rung to land the best reviews and the most bookings on the island.”

Piper frowned. “So, how is it you think he’s corrupt? What if he’s just a good businessman?”

Peter rubbed his forehead and looked pissed. “Because out there, on the water, it’s not about business politics. It’s how capable you are as a boat captain. They claim they spot whales every single day, on every single outing, which is unheard of. Look, whales, they migrate, okay? You’re lucky to spot one or two a day, on a good day. This guy’s claimed to see blues, minks, and humpbacks, which are an endangered species and rarely come inland. He’s luring them, mark my word. My bet is he’s got buckets of krill he uses—”

Piper furrowed her eyebrows, confused. “What’s krill? I know next to nothing about marine biology.”

“Shrimplike plankton.”

Larry supplied her with the info as Tim slid an 8x10 glossy photo of what looked like cocktail shrimp across the table at her.

“This is krill. Peter thinks the Ahoy, Matey captain has his first and second mates pour buckets of these guys into the water while the boat’s in motion to attract more whales and up the stakes. The California Whale Watching Guidelines state it’s illegal to interfere, feed, or harass marine mammals. If this guy does, or he has a way to get the whales up close to spotlight his business, he could be sued for animal endangerment, and it goes against countless state and federal laws.”

“Yes, exactly,” Peter squeaked. “Exactly. Thank you.”

Piper curled her finger around her chin and contemplated what she’d heard. “Do you have any evidence of this?”

“No, but I’ve been around. Listen, I’ve been a tour guide on Balboa Island for over fifteen years now. No way is this guy that good. If you go out there and record him like you do on your shows, I bet you’ll get something.”

Larry put his hand on the table. “Peter, would you step out of the room for a few minutes? We need to discuss this with Piper. There’s an espresso machine down the hall and some pastries, if you want to help yourself.”

Peter looked between them. “Sure.”

He stood and leered at Piper. She inwardly cringed as he checked her out.

“I love your show, Miss Goldhirsch. I’ve seen every episode.”

“Thank you,” she said thinly.

When he was gone, she looked at Tim across the table. “I don’t think there’s enough of a story here, and I’m getting weird vibes off this guy. This is complete speculation on his part and what amounts to legal hearsay. Most people at least have texts, videos, an audio recording, something. This guy has no evidence other than an obvious massive chip on his shoulder.”

Tim held up a finger with a sharklike grin. “I don’t disagree, Piper, but hear me out. I did some digging, and there’s more to the Ahoy, Matey captain than meets the eye.”

He slid a closed manila folder across the table to her. She opened it, and Larry leaned over her shoulder to peer at it.

“Do you mind?” she sassed. She often had to assert the upper hand with Larry. Thank God for her take-no-prisoners Jewish backbone. “Or does my personal space mean nothing?”

Larry put his hands up and backed off.

“Thank you.” She looked down at a black-and-white photo, a side profile of a very handsome guy in an open-throated denim shirt. He leaned over a metal rail and stared out at the ocean with a soulful look about him. He appeared to be around her age in his midthirties, clean shaven with a strong jawline, straight nose, and short, thick brown hair tousled from the wind. “He’s cute.”

“That’s Captain Jack,” said Tim.

Piper’s imagination went into overdrive as memories of last night crashed over her, the way he’d pounded into her and caressed her. She stared hard at the photo. Was it him? The side profile made it hard to tell. “If you start singing ‘The Princess Pat,’ I might have to join in.” Her voice shook as she tried to decipher from the features if it could be him. The crooked, sexy smile did look familiar. Very familiar. Oh, shit.


Buy Links for Costa Mesa 1: Batten Down the Hatches

Or, order all three books in the sexy holiday series for only a dollar more!

NSFW Excerpt:
“I’ll drink to that.” He turned his attention to the flat in his hand. He nestled the slim bottle in the base of the shoe, and using both hands, smacked it against the pool table.
Her eyes widened, and she stretched her hand out. “Whoa. Here’s an FYI, Captain Jack. Those are expensive. You won’t impress me by ruining perfectly good shoes.”
“Trust me.” He winked at her and smacked the shoe on the pool table three more times. The cork loosened and came almost all the way out. He grabbed it between his teeth and yanked. A loud pop filled the room. He gave her the bottle of wine. “Milady. You take the booze. I’ll put your shoe back on.”
PIPER RAISED HER eyebrows, impressed. “Damn. I knew women’s footwear were instruments of power, but this took it to a whole new level.”
By all rights, a man on his knees before her with a cork between his teeth shouldn’t have been sexy, but he was. This guy had confidence coming off him in waves, but in a more organic sense than one of the manscaped Hollywood peacocks who frequented these type of events. He exuded confidence. And boy, those boulder shoulders of his begged to be touched.
“Lift your heel, please.”
She lifted her bare foot. He held her ankle with more delicacy than she’d expected from such a big man. As he slid the flat back onto her foot, his thumb grazed the indent near her anklebone. She shivered at the sensation. This close, the ocean blue of his eyes shone with intensity as he watched her. What did he look like beneath the costume and makeup? She’d noticed his sexy, crooked smile and the roguish way the corner of his mouth lifted up, as if he knew something she didn’t. His fingers wrapped around the back of her ankle and traveled up in a slow, barely there caress.
“I realize it’s none of my business,” he said. “But earlier, out in the ballroom…I don’t know what your friends said or did to make you upset, but if I can help at all, I’d like to.”
“I’m okay. Just shaking something off.” She took a sip from the wine bottle as she watched him. She moved her foot closer to his chest as his hand reached her calf.
“Is this all right?” His long fingers stroked her flesh.
She closed her eyes and nodded. “It feels nice. Don’t worry about what they said. You got a name, pirate?”
His tone was serious. She looked back down at him and smirked. Two could play that game.
“Oh, of course. You’re Captain Jack, and I’m Little Red Riding Hood. C’mere. Let’s see what’s in my basket.” He stood and met her eye to eye. At five feet nine, she often had a vantage point in height in the workplace, which served her well when she wanted to be intimidating, but he had well over four inches on her, easy. His big, muscular frame towered over her. She took another sip of wine and walked her fingers up the buttons of his waistcoat. “Can I level with you, Captain Jack?”
She pushed aside the question of why she felt so at ease with him when all she’d wanted was to be alone and smoothed her palm over his white pirate shirt, his strong pectoral muscles firm beneath her fingers. When she next spoke, her voice broke as she remembered why she’d sought solace in the first place; she’d gotten a man and his whole family deported.
“See, I’ve had a hell of a hard year. I’ve pushed myself and made magic happen in ways I didn’t think I’d ever be able to. Every single day, people want a piece of me. And on normal days, I can handle it. But right now, all I want to do, since you’re here,” she moved closer, her lips inches from his, “and I’m here, is to forget it all and make some magic of our own I can hold onto, even if it’s just this little moment.”
His chest rose and fell as he scanned her. Clarity and kindness were evident in his eyes beneath the desire, and she knew she could have a little fun with him. She noticed that his palms clenched the more she rubbed against him. She smirked, grabbed the lapels of his waistcoat, and crashed her lips onto his.
THE WOMAN WAS unreal. Her thick, pouty lips moved against his, and no sooner had she kissed him full on the mouth than he seized her around her wasp-sized waist and laid claim. She was the sexiest woman he’d ever seen, and her curves were soft and perfect in his hands. His tongue sought entrance to her mouth, and she met him eagerly. She tasted like strawberries and wine, and he groaned as his fingers slipped into her curls. It had been forever since he’d kissed a woman. She scored full check marks in every category, and then some.
Chances were she merely wanted a nice make-out session, but his body already demanded more. He wrapped his arms around her, spanned his hand against her back, and traveled down to the curve of her delectable ass. She shivered against him; the movement went straight to his hardened cock. He nipped her lower lip as he squeezed her bottom.
“Oh, you are one big firecracker, aren’t you? Tell me your name.”
She wrapped her ankle around the back of his calf as she hauled him in close. “No names,” she breathed.
He kissed her and moaned when she rubbed her core against him through their clothes. All right, he’d play along. For now. But he would take the lead.
Jack put his hands on her waist and turned her around so she faced away from him. He gently pushed her forward until she was bent over the pool table. He reached for her coat and spread it out beneath her. She lifted a little so he could drape the bottom over the rest of the pool table to cushion her. He moved her hair over her right shoulder and kissed down the column of her neck. She leaned forward over her elbows like a contented cat and lowered her head as he tasted her with little licks meant to entice. From the raised gooseflesh his tongue left in its wake and the way she shivered beneath him, he was doing an admirable job. He inhaled, a delicious bouquet. God, that scent!
“Sweet Poseidon. What are you wearing? You smell incredible.” He planted a hand on either side of her on the table, caging her in. He pulled her stretchy Red Riding Hood top down one shoulder and trailed openmouthed kisses along the top of her back.
She let out a small sigh as he explored her flesh with the tip of his tongue and thrust her ass back against him. He rocked against her in reply.
“Penhaligon’s. It’s called Bluebell. They…mmm…make their own perfume. Your mouth feels nice on me, Jack.”
He reversed his course and brushed his lips against her bejeweled earlobe. He paused as his cock throbbed with desire. Jack rotated his hips slowly against her and nuzzled the shell of her ear with his nose. He wanted her. He’d never gotten so hard for a woman in such a short span of time. He put his mouth very close to her ear. “And would you like my mouth anywhere else on you, Legs?”
He slid his right hand around her waist and stood her back up. He turned her slowly around. She answered him with her aroused gaze. He stepped in close and slid his tongue into her mouth. She twined her arms around his shoulders as their tongues battled for dominance.
Her palms explored his back, and damn, it felt good. He’d been out all week on the boat, both on cruise tours and to scout for new whale sightings. He hadn’t had a woman in a long time, and he missed the human touch. She had magic hands. Everywhere she touched made his cock stir even more. She pulled her head back, panting, and gave an almost imperceptible nod as her large brown eyes met his. He ran his finger down the column of her neck. His lips explored each inch of skin in its wake. He took his time; he wanted to remember this. When he reached her breasts, he looked to her for consent, and her lips parted as they had in the ballroom.
The corner of his mouth lifted as he went to his knees and pulled down the top of her dress. He exposed a perfect, round breast, and latched his mouth onto the warm, dusky pink nipple. He growled and brought her closer as he began to suck.
PIPER ARCHED HER back as his hot mouth enveloped her breast. She threw her head back and closed her eyes. His large palm supported the small of her back. He licked around the areola as he lightly massaged the other breast. What if someone were to walk in? She hadn’t locked the door, and as far as she knew, anyone was allowed to come play pool. He closed his mouth over the other nipple and gave it just as much attention, and she forgot to be concerned. This was heaven.
A rush of hot desire nearly toppled her as he blew his warm breath against her pebbled nipple. He stopped, fixed the top of her dress, then looked up at her as his hands made their way beneath the hem and up her legs.
“What do you want?”
She could tell by his lowered voice what he wanted.
Piper was never short on words, but she could barely speak. She reached her hand out and cupped the side of his face. She stroked his strong, defined cheekbone with her thumb. “I want to forget myself,” she whispered. The hunger in his dark-blue eyes startled her. He nodded as if he understood.
He motioned down with his head. “May I help you to forget?”
Piper drew in a shaky breath. “You may.”
He leaned into her palm, turned his head, and kissed it, grazing her forefinger with his teeth and tongue. He lifted her dress over his head and disappeared. His mouth warmed the inside of her thigh as he kissed his way upward. She kept an eye on the closed door as she felt a breath against her pussy. Her breath hitched. He blew on her pussy again through her panties. Thankfully she’d just shaved. He hooked his long fingers into her panties and slid them down. Oh, my. His tongue dove straight into her with a long, slow drag through her slit. She bucked against him and cried out at the sensation.
Her leg trembled, but he steadied it with his hand. The second she felt his tongue flick her clit, she knew she was done for. She swayed into him and lifted her leg over his shoulder. His touch soothed her and made her forget how awful she’d felt a moment ago. She leaned back a little on the pool table, liking the steadiness with which he attacked her nub, his mouth warm and wet. “Yes. Oh…oh, Jack, that’s… Oh, yes.”
“Hold still, woman. I’m not done with you yet,” he growled.
She shivered with delight at the vibration from his voice against her pussy. Two fingers circled her entrance, and she gasped at the pressure as they entered her while he continued to feast. He shoved his fingers all the way in, way beyond what she’d be able to do herself, and she moved her hips against them.
His mouth and fingers left her pussy, and he reappeared from beneath her dress, his eyes blazing. He stood up and hooked a strong arm beneath her ass, lifted her, and laid her back on her thick coat, smoothing it out. “Are you comfortable?”
“Yes. It’s like a blanket. Don’t stop.”
Piper spread her legs as he disappeared once more beneath her dress, found her slit, and drove his fingers back into her. She lifted her hips toward him, eager for more. He pumped his fingers in and out in a steady rhythm while his tongue circled her clit. He moaned.
“You taste incredible.”
Piper bent her knees and scrunched up the front of her dress so she could see him. She moved against his thrusting fingers in a wanton way she would never have imagined doing for any man. But tonight was different. He was different. He looked up just then and met her gaze, naked desire in his own as he licked her clit. His eyes glittered in the soft light.

Fun and Interesting Facts about Halloween

Hi Everyone,

With Halloween right around the corner (hey, a month and 25 days is cakewalk!), I thought I'd share some fun and interesting facts about Halloween with you all. Enjoy, and be sure to check out my Costa Mesa Series with Loose Id; a treat that is no trick! ;) 



  1. The word “witch” actually means “wise woman.” Wiccan women were highly respected before Halloween came to America.
  2. Halloween is thought to have been around for over 6,000 years. Trick-or-treating originated in Ireland in the early 20th century for a festival of the dead called Samhain, where Celts left treats on their front doors to ward off evil spirits, and then eventually it came to America through Irish-Americans. During World War II it died out due to sugar rations. After the war, the “Peanuts” comics helped to bring it back along with children’s magazines and radio shows, and by the early 1950’s it became popular again. In a way, Halloween is more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day. 
  3. The fear of Halloween is called Samhainophobia.
  4. When the movie Halloween was made in 1978, the budget was so small that they used a Star Trek mask of William Shatner for the character of Michael Meyers. When Shatner later found out, he said he was honored.
  5. Scottish lassies believed that they could see the images of their future husbands if they hung wet sheets in front of their fires at Halloween. Some believed that they’d see the face of their boyfriend if they looked into mirrors while they walked down stairs at midnight on Halloween.
  6. October 30th is National Candy Corn Day. Despite it being one of the most hated Halloween candies, Americans purchase over 20 million pounds of Candy Corn every year. It’s surprisingly one of the healthier candies being fat free, with 140 calories per handful. Candy corn was created in the 1880s in Philadelphia, and at the time it was called “chicken feed.” The recipe hasn’t changed in over 100 years.
  7. Some of the first Halloween costumes were worn by the Celts. They would wear animal skins and blacken their faces to emulate the dead to honor them. America didn’t see the outburst of costumes until the 1930s.
  8. The largest pumpkin ever measured weighed over 2,000 pounds and took 105 days to grow.
  9. Bobbing for apples originated from the Roman harvest festival that honored Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees. Young single adults would bob for apples either in water or hanging by a string, and the first one to bite into the apple would be the next one allowed to marry.
  10. The first known pumpkin originated in Mexico around 9,000 years ago. People used to believe pumpkins had the ability to remove freckles and cure snake bites.

Author Bio:

Roxanne D. Howard is a U.S. Army veteran who has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and English. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

Books by This Author

With Boroughs Publishing Group:
Sonnet Coupled

With Loose Id Publishing, LLC.:
At the Heart of the Stone
Chicks Dig the Accent
The Costa Mesa Series
Costa Mesa 1: Batten Down the Hatches
Costa Mesa 2: Toe the Line
Costa Mesa 3: Overboard

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